Thursday, April 23, 2009

CT, In Plain Sight: In "Sight" of Greatness

In the final issue of the Campus Times for this year I wrote about the return of USA's show "In Plain Sight." I also had the privilege of getting to interview of the writers/supervising producers of the show, Lynne Litt. Follow the links to read more.

Click here to read the online version.
Or click here to read the PDF version. Scroll to page 16.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Firefly, Joss Whedon You're Kind of a Genius

Beware of spoilers for “Firefly” and “Serenity.”

I’ve made my love for all things Whedonesque clear by now. I fell in love with Angel from the moment he stepped out of the dark in his mysterious leather jacket. I think that Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog is a stroke of pure genius. And I have stuck with Dollhouse from the beginning because of my pure faith in Joss to write a damn good hour of television. So obviously when I heard I had missed the critically acclaimed series “Firefly” I knew I had to fix that. “What’s it about?” I asked naively. “It’s a science-fiction-western,” my Dad told me in a matter a fact kind of way.

Excuse me, a what? Continued after the jump.

Yes, I admit it. I was thrown. A science-fiction-western sounded far from my interest. How on earth could space ships mix with horses and tumbleweed? Well, I sincerely apologize for questioning you Joss. Once again, you hit the bulls eye.

After only fifteen episodes I found myself caring for each and every crew member of Serenity just as much as I cared about the scoobies in Sunnyville after seven seasons.

I found myself enamored by Captain Malcom Reynolds’ (Nathan Fillion) sarcastic yet heroic demeanor as leader of the ship he put his whole heart and soul into. This was beautifully shown in “Out of Gas,” where an explosion leaves Serenity crippled and Mal reflects on finding his crew and the piece of metal he calls home. Sure, he’s a thief and a criminal who steals, trespasses, and houses fugitives. But hell, he is a thief and criminal with heart and one that you can’t help rooting for in the end.

Zoe (Gina Torres) is Whedon’s trademark badass girl. She can put up a fight, she knows how to handle her a gun, and she does it with style. Sometimes it may seem like Zoe follows Mal blindly, but in “War Stories” we really learn that this is just her pure respect and trust in the man who helped her survive through the war. Zoe is a role model for women; she is beautiful, knows how to stand up for herself, and doesn’t take shit from anyone. Not even her husband.


Now, I have to say that when Wash (Alan Tudyk) was killed in “Serenity,” after his brilliant effort to land Serenity safely, tears poured down my cheeks. Tudyk’s portrayal of this light-hearted and passionate pilot and husband served as great comic relief throughout the show. The marriage that Tudyk and Torres portrayed was a real, healthy relationship that is too often ruined in television interpretations. Their chemistry was a perfect balance of couples banter, ardent love, and respected co-workers.

If you know me at all, or read this blog at all, then you are aware of my obsession with “Chuck.” That obsession extend to all of it’s characters and the actors that portray those characters. So you can imagine my excitement when I realized Adam Baldwin (Casey on “Chuck”) was featured in a Whedon show. As one of my favorite characters on “Firefly,” Baldwin plays Jayne, the muscle of the ship. He is a true pirate; in the job for the treasure and reward. Jayne is the one who looks for a fight. The one who blatantly states what other won’t. He is simultaneously the core of the comedy and the action throughout the adventures of this crew. Despite his selfish motivations, he still has a good heart, which is apparent in “Serenity.”

Then there’s Kaylee (Jewel Staite). Like the engine of a ship is its heart that keeps it running, Kaylee is the heart of the crew. She is the one who cares about what happens to each person and won’t her crewmates forget it. Her innocent, childlike personality is balanced by her complete brilliance when it comes to all things mechanical.

I am still mad that after 15 episodes, and one beautiful feature film, Inara (Morena Baccarin) and Mal did not get together. Their bickering relationship was one of the details of this show that made it so overwhelmingly loveable. You wanted to see them fight. You wanted to see Mal’s reaction to her next client. And subsequently you wanted to see her reaction to his reaction. Inara in herself is a beautiful, strong woman who cares for the crew of the ship that takes her to her business probably too much.

If Mal is the soul of the ship, Kaylee the heart, and Jayne the muscle, then Sheppard (Ron Glass) is the head. He keeps things in perspective. He reminds everyone what their purpose is and how to act like rational beings in irrational situations. He is also a character that has a past, but a past that audience is not privileged enough to know about. Sure, if there had been a few more seasons, maybe we would have gotten to learn more about this so called “Reverend’s” past. But we were not given that luxury. We will never know why the Alliance so willingly cleared him and listened to him. He clearly had a story to tell and I for one am truly disappointed that we will never get to hear it.

Then we come to the Doctor (Sean Maher) and his sister, River. They hold the true mystery of this show. Their story is interesting and compelling that I really don’t understand how anyone could not be invested in it. Summer Glau exemplifies acting at its best as she portrays a tortured, innocent young girl who has been through too much for someone of her age. Her brother, Simon, is the epitome of the protective older sibling. Every action he takes is in an effort to help his sister. Their brother-sister relationship is one of the best I’ve seen done on television.

Firefly is clearly an example of a show that is far too smart for it’s own good. In this day and age, it depressingly seems that any show with imagination and creativity might as well be thrown out the window from the start. It catches brief flight, and for a moment you think you’re about to witness something amazing, like Superman flying. And then the network works it’s inevitable gravity causing the beautiful work to fall, crashing to the ground.

Whedon tried to do something original. He attempted to create a show that blended cultures and genres. A show with characters that can speak fluent Chinese as if it were an integral part of their lives. A world in which “companionship” (prostitution) is a respected profession. Not to mention the brilliant way that this short lived series was filmed. The camera work was done in a way that made the audience feel as if we were flying alongside the crew. The abrupt movements, zooming of the lenses, and fluidity of tracking shots was a completely different style than anything I’ve ever seen on television. Firefly combined two of the most innovative genres into one beautiful short lived series. Joss Whedon, you truly know how to create a masterpiece, bravo.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

CT, Fringe: The Sole Survivor of Fall's Pilots

In this week's Campus Times I reviewed J.J. Abrams' newest television show "Fringe." This show has gotten better and better throughout the year and finally won a place in the CT. Read on for my thoughts.

Click here to read my article online.
Or click here to read the PDF version. Scroll to page 9.

For full post and comments follow this link

Saturday, April 11, 2009

CT, Cupid: Can ABC's Remake Strike the Hearts of an Audience?

In this past weeks Campus Times I reviewed ABC's revival of Rob Thomas' show "Cupid." 

Click here to read the article online.
Or click here to read the PDF version. Scroll to page 9.

For full post and comments follow this link

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Chuck", Don't Freak Out...Too Late

For weeks, no months, I have ignored all of the signs. I overlooked the ratings charts. I disregarded the response, “what show is that?” I even bypassed the all of the petitions forming online to save my favorite show.

Follow the link to see what happened when I stopped ignoring.

After reading’s Top Ten Shows in Danger, and seeing my beloved “Chuck” at not 10, not 5, not even 3, but the number 1 spot, I can say that I have officially begun to freak out. So now that I am in crisis mode, I think rather than panic it’s time to take action. I absolutely refuse to accept that my Monday nights could be sans Awesome’s abs, Jeff’s prison comments, Casey’s tranq darts, Sarah’s slow motion entrances, Chuck’s eyes rolling into the back of his head…well you get the point.

This is my proposal. In the past, endangered shows have sent the networks something relating to the show (Jericho-peanuts, Pushing Daisies-daisies). I propose that we, the Chuck fans, send sunglasses (cheap ones from your local drugstore) or watches (same deal) to the NBC. Why sunglasses and watches?

Well, my brilliant idea is to write on the sunglass lenses saying “Intersect Update, Chuck Renewal for Season 3 Complete,” and on the watches (maybe on a note) “Where’s Chuck now?” (GPS tracking system, get it?). Or any other clever phrase you can think of. Attached to either product, I suggest you attach a note that says “Buy More Seasons of Chuck,” (maybe in the shape of a Buy More t-shirt?).

And to spread more “Chuck” love I will soon be posting an Ultimate-Chuck update with mini-reviews of all the episodes I have missed. I know, you can hardly wait.

In the mean time tell EVERYONE you know to watch “Chuck” on Monday nights at 8pm.

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CT, Kings: The Political Soap Opera

NBC's newest show, "Kings," began several weeks ago and as the TV addict that I am, I added it to my DVR list (seeing as I've got room on Sundays.)

To read my take on the new show check out my Campus Times article.
Click here to read it online.
Or click here to read the PDF version. Scroll to page 19.

For full post and comments follow this link