Monday, June 23, 2008

TV Time!


Poker sucked this weekend. Bombed out huge in everything I played.

The pizza on Friday was pretty awesome. Easy dough, tasty shrimp, tasty sauce.

Okay... now to the topic at hand. TV shows. I never really do episode-by-episode reviews, but there's a couple shows that have wrapped up or are wrapping up for the season - Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who.

BSG first, since it's last episode until 2009 aired a couple Fridays ago. There be spoilers here if you haven't been keeping up, ye been warned:

Since everyone knows this is the last season of BSG, we knew they'd have to resolve the search for Earth at some point. Let me say, I was surprised they got there when they did. The downside of making it at the mid-season finale is that you KNEW something would need to go wrong to fill out the season. The looks on everyone's faces as they stared across that ruined landscape were fantastic. Each one reflecting what that character had risked and sacrificed for nothing... so where do they go from here? Do they keep looking for another planet? Are there humans on Mars? The moon? Remnants of the population still on Earth with the fleet being THEIR salvation? What happened? Is the 13th colony really the 1st and this is all that's left? Did the Cylons attack here? Tons of questions, and at least 6 months until they get answered.

And who is the 5th? Only 4 in the fleet? Is the 5th on Earth? Were they killed earlier? Is it Starbuck's Viper? What's the deal with that anyway?

Anyway, great 1/2 season. Like any sci-fi show, it has the forced issue of "this episode has a huge space battle, so the budget means we spend the next one in a hallway." This leads to some slower points, and there were definitely times they dragged out a plot point. But on the whole, they did a good job of using the first half of the season to get all their pieces into place - Lee's ascension, Roslin's decline, Baltar's rebirth, Adama's collapse, the 4 secret Cylons dealing with their secret and now being outed to the fleet, the return of D'Anna, the Cylon civil war, Starbuck's return and acceptance, etc., etc., etc.. Now is the time for the endgame. I have faith in Ronald Moore to pull it off.


Doctor Who - 2 episodes left in the season, and they'll undoubtedly be a 2-parter. While not serialized like BSG, Russell T. Davies has always put an underlying thread through his seasons. There were some stellar episodes in this one, especially when Stephen Moffat laid the groundwork for his takeover of the show. One complaint of Davies is that he's a fanboy who got control of his show. Doing things like throwing the Daleks and Cybermen together was his wet dream, but also made the fans say "coooool". Well, except the more cynical ones. The way the latest episode ended ties his whole time as showrunner together... talk about a bang to lead to the finale.

And next week's preview - Sarah Jane, Rose, Martha, Donna, Jack, Torchwood, Daleks, and more! Yah, Davies is going out with a bang.

But here's the thing that Davies has done right - he made the show visually match its concepts. Because of him, Doctor Who has a budget, and it's not just styrofoam sets and garbage can aliens. Action, F/X, and acting, all together with some great scripts. He understands The Doctor and what he stands for. In a world of entertainment where crude humour and violence are believed to be required for success, he's crafted a show where the action is intellectual, and the humour is brilliantly wry at times. I suppose it's best described as British. This season has had some stellar stuff in it, although occasionally the messages being sent are about as subtle as a sledghammer to the groin. Hell, even Catherine Tate went from being the most annoying companion in the history of everything to a really great addition to the show. The latest episode built on this, where she did a phenomenal job of going back to that annoying numbskull character she used to be, and it really showed how much the character has changed and grown.

Now if only Heroes would get back on the air... oh, and be good again.

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