Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CHUCK: Second Season Premiere

Maybe the best season opener so far for 2008. It really had all the things I like about the show, and served as a great "coda" for the series.

My favorite character, by far, is Casey. He had some awesome moments in this episode. I like his fondness for Chuck, and the fact its not overdone. I also love that we will never know if Casey would have actually followed his orders and killed Chuck. Also? Love Casey's apartment with its secret spy stuff.

The only thing I don't like about the show is the Buy More silliness (especially when it doesn't involve Chuck himself). The cage match battle wasn't really funny, and Morgan continues to grate. The inclusion of the Buy More staff in the opening credits has me fearful. I was hoping for LESS of that element, certainly not MORE.

But all the stuff with his sister and Captain Awesome> awesome. That stuff really works for the show. I love Chuck's relationship with his sister. It's 100x more interesting than Morgan. And I love his interplay with Awesome. I hope they live together for the rest of the season.

Oh, and Chuck's first date with Sarah was very cute.

HEROES: "One of Us, One of Them"

AICN is hateful for the sake of being hateful in its "Heroes, Shmeroes" smear, but many of the points Herc raises are valid (others? not so much). What is frustrating for me, as a viewer, is the almost deliberate-seeming sloppiness of HEROES. The show can't seem to keep its own characters, plots and continuity straight. Even from one episode to the next!

EW gives another fair review, echoing many of my own thoughts.....


After watching tonight's ep, I have a few more "rants"

What is this show's obsession with the following plot: "here's a really bad thing that's going to happen; now watch our characters try to avoid it!"

First season had the prophetic paintings PLUS Hiro's glimpse into a nuked NYC.

Season two showed a glimpse at a future ravaged by a plague.

Now, season three shows us a glimpse into the... you guessed it... "Days of Future Copyright Infringement" PLUS ... now they are dredging up another dude who does prophetic paintings.

Methinks HEROES needs a new plot structure, especially for its season-long arcs!

Then we have the fun of the HEROES head scratchers: Why would Mama Petrelli let Sylar loose? Why would Sylar go along with a tenuous partnership and then return to possible imprisonment? Why would Peter accompany powered up villains to a bank robbery where he's out-numbered and out-gunned? Why would Claire's Two Moms not suspect she's going to run off the second she gets a chance? Why is Micah in a church/funeral home alone that's still exhibiting his mother's body? Why is Hiro an idiot?

And, although Sylar's arc looks intriguing, we've seen nothing in his behavior to suggest he wants redemption at all. He's been a cold blooded serial killer. It seems they are going to try to "blur" the lines of good and evil, with Peter as "bad" and Sylar as "good"... but I'm not quite buying it.

I admit I enjoyed moments of "Sylar as cop"... it was chuckle-worthy. But really, we've seen nothing in Sylar's past to indicate he's capable of that sort of ruse. Even when he was posing as "phony" telephone repairmen or whatever, Sylar couldn't shake his creepy-mojo.

Moreso, it seems like the HEROES crew is enamored with Zachary Quinto's ability to elevate what he's given in the script. I fear they are going to get too precious with this notion, as evidenced by (no doubt alternate-reality) Martha Sylert viewed in the previews.

And Hiro-Ando. This storyline just feels so forced. The rift in their friendship. Their new quest. It's a shame, because some of the dialogue was fun. And the notion of them chasing a villain backed by "oldtime serials soundtrack" was a little inspired. As usual, HEROES fails in its execution of what was a good idea "on paper." And, again, Hiro works best as earnest nerd. Emotionally retarded boy child? Not so much.

My final gripe... the way the show keeps using the word "villains" (cuz it's the name of the arc, silly!). "Claire, these people are villains." And Claire line about "tracking down these villains."

Really now, HEROES, do people talk like that? The show is self aware of comic books and Batman, Robin and the Hulk... yet it wants us to take it seriously when a character uses the word "villain" in an irony-free, turgid delivery.

Wouldn't one say super-powered criminals? whack-job lunatics? sadistically super-whammied (well, Chloe Sullivan would say something like that...)? When was the last time you heard someone say the word "villain" in normal conversation?

There are some good ideas in HEROES. Some potentially fascinating characters. Some undeniably fun moments. What is maddening is that, in there somewhere, is the potential for a great show... and instead, HEROES seems content with being a mild diversion.

HEROES: Third Season Premiere

I'm still watching, but..... yeah.....

There's an EW review that points out many of my own thoughts....

Here's just one quote:
"All too often, the characters behave not as they should, but as the plot needs them to"

That just about says it all... why didnt Peter time dump a day before Nathan's speech and just try to talk him out of it? Why does HRG guy leave classified level5 files on the kitchen counter?

and Hiro with his destiny and quest (back to my nit that Hiro is sometimes borderline retarded)-- why not start some super-power research center? Why would Hiro want to start another quest after all the death, hurt and pain he's seen? Did he already forget about his dead waitress? Why would Hiro's father grant Hiro access to a file he didn't want him to see? (maybe you're saying, "Hiro's father knew Hiro wouldn't obey that"... well, if so, why not just be direct about it? Why leave it to chance that Hiro just might obey the warning?

EW says it better than I:

"''I don't want to be a sentinel. I want to be a hero,'' says Hiro Nakamura, a man who has endured much — the deaths of family members, the loss of his first true love, the precipice of Armageddon — and should know better. That's what experience does: It teaches us. Instead, with his late father's company at his beck and call, and the world at his fingertips, he's pouting like a bored rich kid with a dead DS. Our greatest heroes of fiction are that great because they never want to be heroes. They don't want glory; glory is forced upon them. They rise to a challenge, not recklessly wobble about looking for one. And when their quest is done, they'd be pleased as punch to return to a normal life. All they want is a normal life. There's a fine line between looking for a destiny and coming off like a petulant lad with ADD.

And, speaking of knowing better, if Hiro's dad didn't want what was in the safe to be molested, he never should've told Hiro about it. Or left the access button on his desk. Or made the combination Hiro's fingerprint. Or, more to the point, put the most important thing in the world in that safe. Kaito Nakamura was a smart cat who shouldn't have been prone to doing dumb things. (And why are fathers in this show incapable of keeping their goodies hidden? Kaito leaves his Ragnarok formula in the wall safe, and Noah Bennett leaves the files on the worst superpowered criminals in the world...in a cardboard box in the kitchen. Gadzooks.)"

Why would Mohinder inject himself with a serum he knows could make him "Exploding Man" or "Dead Black Eyes Person"?

oh, and why is Nathan still all religious when Linderman shows up and says he cured him? Also, that politician says "I think I found our candidate" to Tracey (NuNikki), and then in ep2, NuNikki is trying to convince politician to partner with Nathan -- which was his idea-- continuity anyone?

And all these things happen - or don't happen - because Tim Kringe needs it to be that way for the plot to keep moving.

I do enjoy Peter, Elle and Mama Petrelli. And the actor that plays Sylar seems to be the only one that knows how to "play" with what he is given. I enjoyed his "I don't eat brains" line. Sylar, as a character. has reached a dead end-- but Zachary Quinto makes him playfully watchable at times.

Sylar is probably the best example of "changing personality to fit story purposes". He's an all-purpose badguy with inconsistent motives. Hell, his motives and drives have changed so many times, it's almost a joke that the character can't recall them sometimes.