Thursday, November 26, 2009

Filled with 'Glee'

I haven't written about the wonderful Glee here at PTR yet, but after this week's outstanding outing, I could remain silent no more.  I liked this show from the pilot, but I wasn't in love with it.  I enjoyed the episodes, but it wasn't like I was waiting for the next one with thrills of anticipation.  That changed when the show returned from its baseball-induced hiatus.  Something wonderful happened and this show went from fun and likable to absolutely-can't-miss-because-I-eagerly-await-each-episode.  The focus shifted slightly from the Will/Emma saga and "Terri fakes her pregnancy"(the show's only weak links, IMO) to the amazing kids in McKinley High's glee club.  It sounds like common sense, but this show's strength is its glee club and the stories directly surrounding the kids in it.  These kids have the remarkable ability to make you laugh out loud one moment and move you to tears the next.  But this week's outing had the most moving moment yet...

Observing August

Today, on Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I have the day off so I can finally catch-up on some of my write-ups! Here are some thoughts on last week's stand-out episode of Fringe...

It pains me whenever I hear the depressing news that Fringe is faltering in the ratings.  But after seeing last week's stellar Observer-heavy outing, it makes that pain cut a little deeper.  This was, hands-down, the best episode of the season thus far and it managed to accomplish something that the other outings have not: it perfectly blended the mythology of the show (even advancing it) while also providing a kickass case-of-the-week!  For the better part of the last season and a half, we have wondered about the man we only know as The Observer.  He was often seen, but hardly ever heard.  Last week, we learned that he is really several men -- all dressed the same, all with the bald head and top hat and all observing time.  One of those men, simply known as August, went from observing to participating.  And that's when the trouble started...

Monday, November 23, 2009

PTR Exclusive: The Lighter Side of Kari Matchett

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Every once in a while, a girl just needs to make a little time for herself.

Take a breath.

Have a moment.

Put saving the world on hold.

Stop fighting the aliens.

Meet up with the the dark lords of the underworld at a later date.

Darling of all-things alien and sci-fi, Kari Matchett, needed just that when she signed on for the Hallmark channel original movie, The National Tree.

"I’ve done a lot of aliens and sci-fi stuff," she says with a laugh, "and I just felt like I was in the mood for doing something sweet and light - something that didn’t hurt anybody, didn’t have any violence in it, didn't have any heaviness to it."

That would be standard Hallmark fare, which we here at PTR do actually appreciate given family dramatic programming has become a dying art, and light, bright and airy sitcoms have all but vanished from the television landscape.

So it was refreshing to catch up with newly minted surfer girl grom Kari (pronounced CAR-EE) to chat about her role in The National Tree, which premieres Saturday, November 28th at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central). The film is based on the novel by David Kranes and centers on the search for a new national Christmas tree that is to be delivered to Washington, D.C., planted across from the White House, and lit in honor of the start of the holiday season by the President and the First Family. Kari portrays the marketing rep working for the company coordinating the national contest that selects the winning tree.

"It was a story that I thought would have a nice energy to be in for a while - and it was," says Kari.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Barney Calls the Plays

Barney was back and in a very big way this week!  Not that he abandoned everything that makes him great  while he was in a serious relationship, but it was nice to be able to both root against and for him and his never-ending quest to find the most creative way to pick up girls.  Sometimes I wonder if his ridiculous schemes would ever work in reality, and this week, I thought The Scuba Diver could possibly work (if everything played out as planned).  One thing is for sure, Barney is always a step (or two) ahead of the rest of the gang.  He got them so good, and he used them with one little trick.  Of course, his acts are a way of avoiding being himself and feeling vulnerable, but hey, it works for Barney.  For now anyway.

While Barney was busy getting over his break-up by hitting on every girl he could find who would fall for one of his silly schemes, Robin was taking a different approach to get over her split with Barney.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lilly Crosses a Line

Was it just me or was this week's episode of Cold Case feeling a little Deja vu? Just a couple of weeks ago we watched Lilly and co. solve the murder of a young, promising Philly soul singer and this week, we saw them solve the murder of a young, promising rapper. Same story (complete with weak killer/resolution), different decade and music style. That was a disappoint for me this week. And that's a shame because I liked Donalyn and her compelling story. In fact, I was fully engaged until they revealed the killer was... wait for it... the FOSTER MOM!!! Yeah, I'm still scratching my head too. Would it have been too much to ask to have made the foster father the killer? He was a child predator, a cheater, and an all-around creep! Plus, he had his eye on Donalyn and she rapped about it. Motive - silver platter! The "surprise me" tactic only works when the killer makes sense. Anyway...

Remember when I said I liked the way the show was exploring the darker side of Lil? Well, my friends, I think we just went a little too dark!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dinner and a Favor

Thanks to his brain tumor-induced coma, Booth is more aware of his feelings for Brennan.  He's also aware that, on paper, they make a terrible couple.  And now, thanks to the always-fabulous Gordon Gordon, he's aware that the heart wants what the heart wants (and when it doesn't get it, that frustration bleeds into other areas) and a little bit of patience could go a long way.  But the one thing that Booth is painfully unaware of, is the fact that Brennan has the same feelings for him and she is just as frustrated by them.  If she weren't, she never would have written a story in which she and Booth were nightclub owners, married and expecting a baby.  Ever since she deleted that story, she has seemed changed.  There have been two moments this season when it appeared that had Booth closed his eyes and jumped in, she would have followed.  The first one was during the premiere when he told her he loved her (and then abruptly took it back by passing it off as their partner relationship), and the second was when her exhibit opened and he brushed the hair off her shoulder.  I'm convinced that had Booth not chickened out, Brennan would have dove in with him.  I guess we'll never know for sure.  I don't think that she ever considered the possibility prior to his tumor, and now she's probably trying to determine whether his feelings are real.

This week, Booth took a few steps that made a pretty convincing argument that his intentions are genuine.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

'Friday Night' Divisions

One of the greatest things about Friday Night Lights is its realism.  The show prides itself on it and its small, but devout, audience praises it.  And one of the greatest aspects of its realism is the relationship between Tami and Eric.  What couple hasn't fought over money?  And what spouse hasn't "forgotten" to tell the other (the one who keeps the books) about a check they wrote (or a check card transaction), and consequently, messed up the other person's budgeting?  We've all been there.  But in this case, Eric didn't so much forget about the $3000 check he wrote to Under Armour for new team uniforms (after burning the old ones in a symbolic gesture), he just sorta-kinda failed to mention it to Tami.  Probably because he knew it would illicit the exact reaction it did, and frankly, Tami was completely justified.  And in a nod to the beautiful complexity of this show, so was Eric.  The Taylors have a very good relationship, so after discussing the matter further (and when Eric was a bit more sober), Tami wound up supporting Eric's decision.

Unfortunately, things weren't quite as honky-dorey on the East Dillon Lions' sidelines.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Catching Up with 'Dexter'

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

I owe Dexter Morgan and Co. an apology.

I'm not really avoiding him.

Er, them.

It's amazing how much DVR time one does NOT have when one is holding down multiple occupations.

So goes the life of this particular writer these days.

But perhaps what is most frustrating for me is that this season continues to impress. Thus, I'm feeling even worse for falling behind on covering life at Miami Metro Homicide.

(Ne'er mind I'm wondering why my lapse in covering the show couldn't have happened LAST year, when I was already bored to tears by the time we reached this point in the season).

So where are we?

How Two Friends 'Met' Again

"Everyone stop!!  Alan Thicke, shut up. Marshall, it's a station wagon -- get over it.  Ted, stop talking about porn.  And for the love of God, somebody get the Storm Trooper some Pizza!" -Lily

"It's not a Storm Trooper!" - Everyone else

And that, ladies and gentlemen, summarizes the funniest scene I've seen on TV so far this season and one of the funniest I've seen on any TV show EVER!!  HI-LARITY that seemed to have no end in sight as the scene just escalated by the second.  Lily, Ted and Marshall, on a mission to break up Robin and Barney, piled into a stake-out station wagon (because the iconic van would have cost them $25 more to rent) and set a plan into motion that seemed destined to break up the pair: make them relive their four worst fights.  Lily, in a one-night only return from breaker-uper retirement, hatched the break-up scheme that brought Alan Thicke, Crazy Meg, dirty dishes and a robot who was supposed to be a Storm Trooper together in a station wagon while Lily watched the unsuspecting couple from her binoculars.  And it just got funnier from there...

Monday, November 09, 2009

'Case' is Off to the Races

It's fun to see a show that's boxed in by a formula do something a little outside that box. Such was the case with this week's Cold Case. The formula was still there (complete with the "who's the least likely suspect" game), but the story was just a smidge outside of the usual for this show. And it was enough to make me sit up and pay attention. Although about halfway through it, I found myself wishing we were working on Jeffries' case.  And that's not a knock on the episode, but a compliment to the intrigue the show created surrounding the missing girl he never found.  I have a feeling that case will make a re-appearance soon (fingers crossed). Anyway, I enjoyed this horse racing tale and found the move outside of CC's comfort zone to be fun.  And of course, there was also that funny conversation about whips and crops between Lil and Scotty.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Dust in the Wind

This week's episode certainly brought literal meaning to that famous Kansas song!  As Walter said, the victims were reduced to their most elemental state.  I tend to enjoy the stand-alone/freak- of- the-week episodes more than the mythology-laden ones and I thought this one was especially good.  The special effects alone were worth the price of admission!  How (disgustingly) awesome were those scenes with the remains, still intact, that began to crumble or, in some cases, blow away (thanks to an oscillating fan)?!  I wanted to be disgusted (and I'm sure I would have been had I been the one discovering my loved one like that), but the darn special effects were so good that I found myself in awe of their awesome-ness.  But there was also an intense race against time, a puzzling mystery and lots of pressure on Walter.  And a lot of that dust.

Of course, the dust was only a small part of this intriguing tale...

Friday, November 06, 2009

Birds of a Feather

This week's episode of Bones could have been a preachy platform for animal rights enthusiasts.  It could have been anti-meat eater, but the writers did a nice job of presenting the wrongs of the chicken industry without crossing the line into activism.  Through the characters, we got both sides of the chicken debate (including painting the "PECT" activists as extreme).  As someone who loves animals and wants them treated humanely (but also enjoys a chicken sandwich and some BBQ), I appreciated the balance in this episode.  The point was made in an educational way and not anvilously dropped onto our heads or preached from a Hollywood pulpit.  I also liked the dynamic it created between Brennan and Angela with Angela taking the more sensitive, save-the-animals approach and Brennan the more "they're just chickens" one (ironic because, in real life, star Emily Deschanel is an animal rights supporter).  Loved the way Brennan (on Sweets's advice) let Angela "have this one" at the end.  Rational or not.  Of course, none of that chicken debate mattered because the victim wasn't killed over animal rights, but rather, gas money.

When we last left off, I had hypothesized that the writers couldn't realistically move forward without Brennan and Booth being a bit changed by their shared moment at the opening of her exhibit.  And from the looks of things this week, this hypothesis seems to be proving true.  And speaking of "looks," there were a lot of them in this episode.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Tale of Two Dillons

I'm starting to miss the departed Friday Night Lights characters a little less.  Maybe it's just that the abrupt changes in the premiere have had a week to sink in, or maybe it's because we got to know some of the new characters a little better, or perhaps, it's just the prevailing awesome-ness of Eric and Tami Taylor, but somehow the new FNL was a little easier to swallow this week.  I like the way the writers are developing the central conflicts inherent in Coach Taylor's new coaching position.  First, he has no team.  Or at least he didn't until that 10 p.m. practice.  Now, he has a group of kids who are willing to give him a second chance.  They're willing to put the past behind them and go forward with their season.  But they're going to need to learn how to play first.  They need to craft their raw talent, work together as a team, and trust their coach (even if he didn't let them finish their fight during the first game).  Otherwise, it's going to be a very long (and painful) season.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

One 'Mother' of a Fight

Anyone who is in or has been in a long-term relationship can completely relate to Lily and Marshall's power struggle fight over dishes in this week's episode.  I am a "Lily,"in that, I too want the dishes cleaned as soon as you're done eating with them.  They can simply be rinsed off and placed into the dishwasher, but for the love of all that's good and holy, please don't leave them in the sink!  As you can see, Mr. TVFan and I have gone back and forth over this very issue in the past.  Luckily for him, he did not suggest that I clean all the dishes since it's "my problem" that I want them clean.  If he had, I'm afraid that he would have been packing a much bigger suitcase than Marshall.  Nonetheless, the bottom line with these sorts of domestic differences is you have to learn to live with each other's differences in order to make the relationship work.  And as Lily and Marshall stated at the end, these fights boil down to swallowing your pride and realizing that your love for each other is greater than winning.  It can be a tough pill to swallow at times, but if you love the other person enough, then you do it.  But, I got the impression that neither Barney nor Robin will be swallowing that pill anytime soon.  Yeah, that relationship is never getting off the ground.

Monday, November 02, 2009

'Cold' Sabotage

I've been complaining about Cold Case's lack of a strong doer this season (although, the problem can be traced back several seasons).  This week, I thought the show did a better job of picking someone who seemed like a plausible killer.  It's not that Iris was the most convincing murderer, but the show made a pretty strong case for her and provided a decent motive.  I'm not sure that I can see her sabotaging Vivian's plane knowing it would kill her (especially since it wouldn't look good for the WASPs to lose another pilot -- and their best one at that).  One thing that I found to be quite excellent about this outing, though, was its subject matter.  I'm embarrassed to say that I was unaware of the WASPs prior to this episode.  I knew that women helped out in wartime in many different ways, but I didn't know about the women who flew non-combat flights for the Army Air Force.  Interesting subject matter and a nice slice of history that paved the way for the many women in the military today (pilots and otherwise).

Other developments were a bit mixed, though.