No Ordinary Family was a show that I did not expect to get drawn into so quickly, but I believe that it has a lot of potential to be a big hit for this fall and beyond.
No Ordinary Family is about a typical dysfunctional family with their typical problems: Stephanie (Julie Benz, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), a workaholic mom who is never home; Jim (Michael Chiklis, The Shield), a sad and depressed father who feels the best years of his life have come and gone; Daphne (Kay Panabaker, Summerland), a emotional teenage daughter trying to make sense of her life; and JJ (Jimmy Bennett), a younger son that feels inferior to everyone and can't seem to make life work right. The difference is that this family, after a near death experience with a plane crash in Brazil, now has a slew of different type of super powers.
Jim, akin to the protagonist of the video game Crackdown has super strength and near invincibility with the ability to leap from rooftop to rooftop. Stephanie, wanting to slow down her hectic life, finds herself with super speed, able to traverse at many hundreds of miles an hour. Daphne finds her self with the ability to read minds, making her deal with the never ending onslaught of mental criticism you can find in a typical high school. JJ, initially a bit challenged in school, seems to have find the ability to be hyper intelligent. All of their skills seem to be an unsurprising match for their personality and personal situations, which at first glance may seem a bit cliche, but can work in the long run.
In the pilot, we also quickly learn that they are not the only ones with these powers, as Jim's first challenge is to fight a jewelry robber Reed Koblenz who has the ability to teleport similarly to Nightcrawler. The question I have is how did Reed gain his powers? Is the material in the river that they crashed in artificial and found in other places? What does this corporation know about these people and their powers?
I think the pilot episode was fairly strong overall, though I admit it felt a bit rushed and still didn't go over JJ's powers. There were a lot of time spent experimenting with Jim and Stephanie's powers and building up their character backstories, where I think it would have worked better to see more of JJ's powers instead. I'm not a very big fan of the "therapy session" motif either, as it makes the pacing a bit uneven. In the end though, it's an interesting enough show that I'd give it at least another week's look.
- Jim isn't complete invulnerable, as a high caliber bullet can hurt him. Was that due to getting shot in the back of the head or just that he has a limit?
- Dr King and the company Stephanie works for obviously has dealings with these super types, but do they know about her and her family? Presumably if the material in the water was artificial, and they put it there, they would know about the plane crash.
- It's very similar to Pixar's The Incredibles but with a bit more of an action movie flair.
- How was Daphne texting while in a plane flying over Brazil?
The famed Britney Spears episode of Glee has come and gone, and overall, I felt it was a decent episode with good music. The story aspects of Glee in general, though, leave a lot to be desired.
Tonight's glee revolves around the introduction of Dr. Carl Howell (John Stamos), Emma's new boyfriend, and the interactions between Will and Emma as they continue to work though the remnants of their relationship after last season's breakup. While Carl doesn't have much screen time, he does accent the fact that Emma still has a lot of feelings for Will, but Will's stressful situation is starting to get the better of him.
In the parallel story, we have Finn trying to work though his personal life as he tries to return to the football team with Rachel worried that she will no longer be important enough in his life to continue being his girlfriend. I'm getting a little tired of Rachel's insanity personally. I hate the fact that she's so down on herself and is always trying to bring down Finn (and everyone else) just so she can be either superior or just plain not alone.
As for the rest of the club, there is a sudden desire to do a lot of Britney Spears covers though Will is trying to impose a number of old 80s songs on them. I did love the fact they enhanced the musical numbers with Britney inspired costuming and sets as all the songs were fantasies as a result of Carl's hallucinogenic anesthesia.
Overall though, the songs were merely plugged into the show in what felt like another cookie cutter episode. It starts with some class assignment that parallels some personality issue that the cast is facing. There are a number of songs interjected between bits of dialog where one pair or small group of characters is working though some type of issue. Then there's a group based song where the issues seem to just resolve themselves, ending with a final comforting song by some cast member to bring the viewer to an emotional catharsis. Unfortunately for me, I've gotten tired of a lot of the drama between the generally unlikable characters, and I really only care for the musical numbers.
Addendum: Upon rewatching it, I have to conclude that Heather Morris is an amazing dancer and the "Me Against the Music" cover might just be better than the original.
- Brittany's full name is Brittany Susan Pierce, or Brittany S.Pierce.
- They made a reference to two YouTube videos this episode. First there was an off comment "Leave Britney Alone!" Second there was a "Is this the real world?" comment taken from the "David after Dentist" video.
- Britney Spears appears in Brittany's fantasy as herself. She also appears in Rachel's fantasy as the school teacher. Finally, she appears as a cheerleader at school in Artie's fantasy.
- I don't quite get why Biest suddenly allowed Finn and Artie on the team. Did she feel a little bad for the way the others were treating them due to her overreaction?
- "This room looks like the one on that spaceship where I got probed." - Brittany. Say whaa? I think some of the best lines in the show come from the consistently insane things Brittany says.
- This is the first time Brittany has a solo, and there is very little work done by the cast as a whole this episode. Most of the musical numbers involved other performers.
- Disappointingly, there was no music from Circus, which I find to be my favorite of her albums.
- Baby One More Time (Brittany)
- I'm a Slave 4 U (Brittany)
- Me Against the Music (Santana and Brittany)
- Stronger (Artie)
- Toxic (Glee Cast)
- The Only Exception by Paramore (Rachel)
In this week's Chuck, we have our hero fighting another great foe, Sarah's suitcase.
Now obviously Chuck isn't actually fighting a suitcase, but rather the fact that Sarah, after eight months, has yet to actually unpack her stuff. It's a spy's life, always on the go, but there was obviously something holding her back form fully moving in with Chuck. Fortunately, the writers have seemed to find the right balance of relationship building and drama with action and comedy, without giving us too much of the former with not enough of the latter. One of the standing points that appeals to Chuck fans is the fact there is a lot of humor in the show with likable characters and odd, yet sometimes compelling situations.
Now of course Chuck is a show directly targeted towards the geeks, namely the male young adult geeks, and this episode was definitely right up that alley. Chuck and Sarah have to go to Milan and Fashion Week to catch a supermodel spy that's stolen weapon's technology to sell on the black market. Sofia Stephinova (played by actual Czech supermodel Karolina Kurkova) is a cold, ruthless, and "fetching" arms dealer for Volkoff, and it's pretty difficult for Chuck to keep his composure as they attempt to steal back the weapon technology. Despite the idea that this might be a fashion based episode, it's definitely not as it quickly turns into one action sequence after another with Chuck and Sarah working great as a team.
Back in Burbank, things at the Buy More are going perfectly well, but to Morgan's notice a little too perfect. Both he and Devon instantly recognize the fact that it's actually a spy base because in reality, a store like that would be filled with "people like [Devon]." From this, we solve the great mystery of how they would introduce the old Buy More staff back into the show, as they are all rehired back to help bring the efficiency of the store down a bit. I'm glad to see the return of the old Buy More employees, as I think they really gave the store a lot of it's insane charm. The real question is how are they going to interact with the agents that are already stationed there.
With the return of a lot of the old staff, and an increasingly good dynamic between Chuck and Sarah, I have a lot of high hopes for the rest of the season.
- This week's Greta was Isaiah Mustafa (Old Spice Man). Lifting a TV with one hand and using a tag gun for target practice is pretty pro.
- Chuck flashing to know what the safe code is quite a stretch.
- Alex and Casey have started to talk again. Hopefully that means we'll be seeing her again.
- Casey was grounded from this mission for "stabbing a guy with a stiletto."
- "Strapless Versace eh? Very daring Agent Walker." "How much Project Runway have you been watching?"
- "I don't wanna be an astronaut, I wanna work at the Buy More!" - Upon seeing Greta in his ridiculous perfectness
- "Rumor has it you're pregnant, is there room enough in that womb for two?" - Jeff, I missed the super creepy.
- Morgan is now the store manager as Beckman and the hire ups recognize he is the best suited for the job.
- Chuck created some tranq gloves to disable someone.
Gratuitous shot(s) of Sarah
- Sarah in her strapless Versace
- That one scene in with all the garment bags.
- "Flaunt It" by TV Rock
- "I Like That" by Richard Vission and Static Revenger
- Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper
- "A girl a Boy and a Graveyard" by Jeremy Messersmith
How I Met Your Mother Cleaning House
In a uncommon, but welcome, emotional episode, we find out a lot more about Barney's childhood and the acknowledgement that Bob Barker is not Barney's father.
Wayne Brady returns to guest star as James Stinson, Barney's brother, and Frances Conroy returns as Loretta Stinson, Barney's mother. In a rare instance, almost the entirety of this episode takes place outside of the bar, namely in Barney's old home which Loretta is currently selling. To everyone's surprise, we find out the identity of James's father, Sam Gibs played by the great Ben Vereen, which Barney immediately latches onto as his new father.
It's a rare occurrence that we have such a fairly serious episode, especially involving Barney. It was really nice to see a little glimpse into Barney's childhood though, and to see the lengths that his mother went to protect him as a child. I think it's these asides into the characters lives that parallel real life that make the show so appealing, as often times things don't work out neatly and conveniently for everyone. The episode as a whole wasn't really funny at all, but in the end, I think it was well written and satisfying.
- Ted thinks the greatest movie ever is The Karate Kid.
- Marshal's mom game him cough medicine as a child to make him calm down.
- Lilly refuses to lie to her future children, which includes not teaching them about Santa Claus.
- "Ted Mosby is really handsome, but extremely violent. Really rich, but lacks bladder control."
- Ted and Robin ride in the back of the truck, which surely isn't safe.
- I'm sad that Wayne Brady and Ben Vereen didn't get to go all out on a duet of "Stand By Me", which would have truly been legen...wait for it...dary. HIMYM producers, please tell me the whole song will be on the DVD or something!
- Not much this week, other than he might have gotten a fist bump from the Queen of England.
- "Valentines, the 2nd base of 3rd grade."
- Barney sends his baby nephew a suit.
- We finally know that Barney knows that Bob Barker isn't his father, but like Barney, I think we all find ourselves living a little bit in a fantasy world. Sometimes it's just easier than reality.
The first week of the 2010 Fall season is just about finished. I've had a lot of thoughts over a lot of the new shows, but there were several shows that just didn't quite make the cut to me.
Be sure to check out the rest of the shows I did like for the Fall 2010 Premiere week
I might watch another episode of this drama, but overall it just moves at a glacial pace with uninteresting characters that with no emotional connection. I might catch another week and see, but I'm not impressed.
With horrible writing, this show just feels tired and recycled.
Slightly sweet but overall very laden with cliches similar to My Name is Earl which might be a bit tired by now. It does have a strong Glee lead in, but it's follow on the other hand...
This horribly written show is dull, uninspired, and generally annoying.
Better With You
This comedy just feels like a lousy version of Rules of Engagement without the charm or humor. It has a superstar comedy cast, but the overall pacing and writing needs to be "better than it is."
It's a tedious show about annoying people.
$#*! My Dad Says
Boring script. Boring concept. Boring cast.
This show takes everything that could be funny about life managing a call center in India and leaves it out on the cutting room floor. All that's left is an unfunny, borderline offensive show. Check out the movie [Netflix] instead, which actually is funny.
While it's a returning I just wanted to mention that I'm glad this is Steve Carrell's last season of this show that should have been canceled at least 2 seasons ago.
All the other crime dramas
I can only handle so much crime drama, as it's not a genre I care for that much. Overall, none of the drama of the week seemed that appealing to me.
Audrey's FBI boss Agent Howard has come back to Haven to figure out what Audrey has been up to and why her reports are so thin in content and they both end up trapped on Duke's boat. Meanwhile, Duke and Julia are trapped in the ship's hold as a pair of mind reading casino con-artists look for one of Duke's off the books deliveries. We never find out the contents of the mysterious package, but in reality it doesn't matter. The interesting bit is that Agent Howard's arrival (and subsequently Parker's departure from the FBI) is actually part of an orchestrated plan to get Audrey to remain in Haven and track down the whereabouts of her mother and the origin of the Troubles, the mysterious happenings around Haven.
From reading the initial synopsis, seemed like a typical annoying recap episode. Fortunately, it was very light on the recap and merely talked about some of the cases Audrey worked on while spending a lot of time trying to retake the ship. The B-story involves defining a bit more of the relationship between Audrey's partner Nathan (Lucas Bryant) and his father Chief Wournos (Nicholas Campbell), and why Nathan hates him so much.
While initially not as strong as the similar show The X-Files, Haven is a well written and engaging show with a lot of acknowledgment to it's X-Files heritage and plenty of charm amongst its characters. Like the ships in the town of which the show is based, Haven has been a slow but steady show with great interpretations of classic mystery stories. With two episodes remaining this season, hopefully Haven will end on a strong point. It is a very underrated show, and you should definitely check it out from the starting episode.
- Audrey talks about "that other agent that chased aliens" which, to me, is a obvious reference to Mulder.
- What is the relationship between Chief Wournos and Agent Howard?
- While having mediocre ratings on SyFy-US, it has had very strong ratings on Showcase in Canada. Hopefully it's enough to get a renewal.
One of my favorite shows from last spring is back, and its back in fine form. The Good Guys is an action comedy that pays homage to the cop dramas of the 70s while at the same time mocks their cliche style. In the fall return for season one, Dan (Bradley Whitford) and Jack (Colin Hanks) find themselves suspended after a property damage incident downtown, which is amazing considering it hasn't happened until now.
The main story revolves around the fact that Stark fires his gun in public, gets sprayed with pepper spray, commandeers a vehicle, and drives down the road blind and destroying a lot of property resulting in a week long suspension, or "vacation" as Dan puts it. You can't even be surprised that that's what Dan would do in this situation, which makes it all the more hilarious. With their "vacation" time, Jack has a chance to get away from his chaotic partner while Dan continues his renegade cop ways by "borrowing" $50,000 dollars to help out his informant and bust a loan shark. Of course he merely ends up in a situation where he has just now financed a prison break via the corrupt warden, and it's up to Dan and Jack to get the money back. The side story involves Liz (Jenny Wade) and Jack as they continue to work though their rocky, tension filled relationship as friends wanting to be more than friends again. It doesn't take up much of the story, but it's a good buffer between the chaos that is Dan and Jack's life as a detective pair.
One of the best things about The Good Guys is the great chemistry between all the characters: between Dan and Jack as reluctant and adversarial partners; between Jack and ADA Liz as former couple with plenty of left over emotional connection; and between Dan, Jack, and Lt. Ruiz (Diana-Maria Riva) and her desire to fire them with every fiber of her being but having to accept the fact that Dan always finds a way to save the day. The characters all have a lot of heart and are always likable. Over the course of this season, Dan and Jack have definitely started go get much more comfortable with each other and are turning into a great team.
- "I don't need my eyes to bust a punk. The only sense I need is my cop sense!" - Dan
- 'I'm two thirds fun, one third danger." - Jack
- "It's not stealing if they don't see you take it." - Dan
- Milkshake - Using an spoiled jug of milk to disable a pursuing car.
- "I love the smell of teargas in the afternoon!" - Dan
NBC's new show Undercovers provides viewers with another spy based action drama with touches of comedy which is very similar in the vein to Chuck cross with Mr. and Mrs. Smith. From the currently super hot J.J. Abrams (Fringe, Lost), Undercovers is about a married spy couple Steven and Samantha Bloom that have long since retired from the service that the CIA are reactivating to complete deep black-ops missions that they can't even send their regular agents to do.
Overall, the show is well paced, and has plenty of touches of Abrams style of writing and production, including an assumed tongue in cheek signature lens flare style shot. Watching the show, I felt like it was as if it were a future sequel to Chuck if Chuck and Sarah married and then retired to become caterers. There is a lot of action in the pilot, and plenty of great dialog, but the pacing seems to be very uneven at times as Abrams tries to mix in backstory of our characters with limited success. I think the show would be better paired with Chuck on Monday nights as the demographics would fit better, but considering how much promotion NBC gave this show during the summer, they are banking on the fact that it'll be a strong hit for the fall.
Unfortunately, preliminary numbers show that is pulled equal ratings to the unadvertised Chuck which is not a good sign for it's future.
- J.J. Abrams littered the episode with his usual sweeping photography style and light tone, and he even includes an lens flare scene.
- Why..why did they pull the "enhance a digital photo" gag.
- Sexpionage is a cool term. I'm sad I didn't come up with it.
- 'Mr. Hoit, the more you kiss my ass, the less I like you.'
- Loading an RPG while high speed driving and then hitting her target is awesome.
The Big Bang Theory The Robotic Manipulation
The season 4 premiere of Big Bang Theory has a lot of elements that are enjoyable, but unfortunately, they also have an overabundance of cringe scenes. Oftentimes, this show has a peculiar mix of geek and sex, and this episode had more emphasis on the latter than I'd like to see.
Mayim Bialik (Blossom) returns as guest star Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon's mathematically calculated soulmate. Mayim has another great performance as Amy, and the chemistry between her, Kaley Cuoco, and Jim Parsons is great. The power of the show to me is the chemistry between Penny and Sheldon, and having another "Sheldon" type character to bounce off of makes for a great exchange of dialog and comedy.
On the other hand, I feel the B story for this episode of Howard and the robotic hand takes the whole episode down a notch. The whole situation with the arm seems very contrived and forced while overall leaving me with an uncomfortable feeling. It's as if the writers were afraid of not writing in a strong opening using the entire cast, and had to use the typical formula of "nerd + robotics + sex" to create a situation that doesn't even make sense. While the ratings are strong against the similarly well written Community, I worry that the quality of the show might be waning if this is a sign of the season as a whole. This show has always been about the extreme geek-ness of it's characters and their interactions with each other.
- Sheldon and Amy...or Sh-amy
- 'You have broad hips and a certain corn-fed vigor. Is your womb available for rental?' - Sheldon
- I don't understand how they wouldn't consider just turning the whole thing off.
- 'Penny, to your mind..are you a slut?' - Amy
- Numbers are very strong against Community, but with the dismal failure of My Dad Says, I feel that this show will end up being alone on Thursday very quickly.
Community Anthropology 101
Two things always worry me about shows I like. The first being that a new season might change the formula that made the show so lovable in the first place. The second thing is stunt guest stars. Fortunately, Community does not error on either of these points, and we have another strong example of why this underrated show is so good.
As a quick aside, @oldwhitemansays is a real twitter account. Considering it started over the summer and has been tweeting since last week, I have to almost conclude that it is owned by the show itself and not a fan made account.
Tonights episode brings our study group back from a nice summer break and continues to acknowledge the "I love you Jeff Winger" ending of last season. The episode as a whole moves quickly to redraw in fans to the show while giving a micro-snapshot of all the characters for new viewers. It also introduces guest star Betty White as the insane anthropology teacher, fortunately using her sparingly as merely a crazy teacher and not some type of uncomfortable sex crazed old lady.
The biggest thing I could fault this episode on, though, is the cluttered feeling of the episode as they try to cram and resolve the majority of last season's plots all at once. I'm not sure how well it will do against CBS powerhouse Big Bang Theory, but I hope the NBC executives understand that quality written shows like this deserve to have a long run.
- "Someone's talking my chang-uage"
- Starburns + hat = girl magnet
- Ahbed's meta-commentary is what makes the show for me.
- The best moments in the episode are the looks of agony by Annie watching Jeff and Britta.
- Jeff and Britta's kiss was the most awkward television kiss ever filmed, ever.
- Then again, the half Jeff half Britta balloons are just plain freaky.
- "Men are monsters who secretly crave young flesh." - Underlying metaphor of Twilight