Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Cape – Farewell

When a show is cut from 13 episodes to 10, and then the final episode is only aired online, it’s pretty safe to say that the show will be canceled. While it’s a sad ending for The Cape, I’m glad NBC at least gave fans the opportunity to watch the last episode.

I first remember the extremely vague teasers for the show. They were frustrating. I wanted to know what kind of show it was – historical? speculative? action? Then I found out Summer Glau (best known as River from Firefly) was going to be on it, and I knew I’d at least be watching the pilot.

The pilot was engaging enough for me to keep watching. A cop is framed and presumably killed, but is rescued by a criminal carnival troupe. With their help, he becomes The Cape, a superhero without supernatural abilities, who fights crime, looks out for his wife and son, and plans to bring down the man who framed him.

The visual effects and soundtrack for the show are stunning. The cast is a mix of decent to exceptional actors, and the overall story arc was pretty good. The intrigue built with each episode, but a few plot holes and unclear motivations marred the story. And it was full of dichotomies – a dark, gritty feel with very few actual deaths, a superhero without any powers, a dad putting his family through emotional hell to avoid possible physical danger.

Like No Ordinary Family, The Cape seems to be trying to blend a family show with the superhero genre, with mixed results. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a “must watch.” I mostly liked the fact that it fit nicely between Chuck and Castle for my Monday night Firefly trifecta (Jayne from Firefly is Casey on Chuck; Mal from Firefly is Castle on Castle). I was hoping they’d explore more of Glau’s character Orwell, but the most they gave was in dream sequences during the two-part “The Lich.”

I feel the show would have succeeded better if they’d decided to lean one way or the other – making the show darker and delve more into characters and motivations, or give it a lighter spin and inject some humor.

In all, it’s worth watching, but I don’t plan to get it on DVD. But if the soundtrack ever comes out, I’ll definitely buy it. It would make great writing music.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Changes

As I get further into the Buffyverse, I’m not liking some of the new things that are cropping up. The first three seasons were awesome, but season four was a bit of a letdown (I’ve read that it’s the worst season of the seven so I’m not alone in this). I suppose since I watched season one of Angel first that I grew attached to his character, so his absence in the later seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is something I’m still getting used to.

Not that I mind Riley – I’ve enjoyed Marc Blucas’ acting in several movies (and even an episode of Castle). And I enjoyed Spike being in the story more – he’s hilarious.

I miss Oz. I feel they could have done a lot more with his character. And Willow went from being one of my favorite characters in the first three seasons to someone I could barely relate to, and from spoilers I’ve caught it sounds like it will only get worse.

The science vs. supernatural worked well for the plot arc of season four, and Adam as a combination of the two was a truly creepy “big bad.” I also enjoyed catching the crossovers with season one of Angel as I rewatched it.

Now with the start of season five of Buffy we have another big change – the addition of Buffy’s little sister Dawn. I knew she was coming in later seasons, so I noticed the two or three times Buffy is mentioned as an only child in earlier seasons. But I didn’t expect Dawn to be so awkwardly dropped into the show. Seriously, Buffy’s parents are divorced – couldn’t they have made it that Dawn was living with her father in Los Angeles up until this point instead of pretending that she’d been in Sunnydale this whole time? And I think it would have been far more interesting for Dawn not to know that Buffy was the Slayer at first and have to figure it out. Her initial reaction would have be much more compelling than the whiny intro she is given instead.

White Collar – Con Man vs. Lawman

I don’t remember what first perked my interest in the show White Collar. I likely heard something about it while watching another USA network show such as Psych or Burn Notice. And generally, if a show is on USA, I usually don’t need to hear anything else to try it out, or at least watch a few promos and uncover the premise.

If I wasn’t hooked already, the first five minutes of the pilot episode would have been enough to do so. It opens in a prison, where an inmate shaves his beard, changes into a guard’s uniform, swipes a forged key card, and proceeds to walk out the front door. That is our first introduction to Neal Caffrey, con artist extraordinaire.

FBI agent Peter Burke, the only man who’s ever been able to catch Caffrey, is called in. He deduces the reason Neal would escape with only a few months left on his four-year sentence, and brings him back in with four more years added to his sentence.

But con artists know how other con artists work, and Neal is able to strike a deal with the FBI – serve out the remaining years while working to catch other criminals for the FBI’s white collar crime division, under the supervision of Agent Burke.

Peter’s solidness and by-the-book methods contrast with Neal’s charm and out-of-the-box thinking, and the two gradually come to trust each other. Since the show focuses on white-collar crimes, it’s a refreshing change from most crime dramas’ “murder of the week” scenarios. It also keeps the show free from most gruesome images, sensual scenes, and crude language.

Neal is played by Matt Bomer, who had a reoccurring role in Chuck as Brice Larkin. And I can’t write about White Collar without mentioning Neal’s friend, Mozzie, an OCD conspiracy theorist who doesn’t trust Feds (or as he calls them, suits. Peter is the Suit, his wife Elizabeth is Mrs. Suit, and FBI agent Diana is Lady Suit).

White Collar just finished season two, ending a major plot arch and adding a final twist for the cliffhanger. I must admit, though, it wasn’t nearly as powerful of an ending as the previous 3 (season one ending and the two mid-season breaks). In a way, I’m grateful, as those 3 made me nearly go crazy waiting to find out what happened. This one has far less emotional ties.

I’m still ambivalent about White Collar adding Sara Ellis as a permanent member of the cast for season three. I didn’t feel much chemistry between her and Neal these last few episodes, though I think they had some earlier this season.

Even though the season didn’t end as strongly as I hoped, much of season two was excellent, particularly the third episode from the end, “Payback,” the mid-season finale “Point Blank,” and the retrospective “Forging Bonds.”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Coming Full Circle

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my very first introduction to the world of Joss Whedon – and it didn’t capture me. I had heard some good things about the show, so I watched the two-episode opening in August 2008, and thought it a bit campy. Looking back now, I probably should have given it more of a chance, but with my slow internet at home, I could barely watch 4 shows a week over lunch at work. It was also the first time I’d watched anything about vampires, and to be honest, it creeped me out a little.

I didn’t give up on Joss, though. I figured maybe I’d enjoy one of his other shows, so I tried Firefly – and loved it! Less than two weeks after watching the first episode, I’d finished the entire series and the movie. A few days later I watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which was also excellent.

I figured that perhaps the high-school cheesiness was what bothered me about Buffy. Maybe the show Angel, which seemed aimed more at twenty-somethings, would be an improvement. Hulu had the entire first season, so I watched it and enjoyed it. Returning fall shows crowded out my viewing time.

By the time Dollhouse came out in early 2009, I had become a rabid Whedon fan, so there was no question of whether or not I’d watch the show. I loved the action, the humor, and the mind-twists it put me through. Seeing a few Firefly actors was also a nice plus.

A year after Dollhouse ended (almost to the day), the combination of three things made me come full circle to retry watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One, with the new Hulu Plus, I now had access to all seven seasons of Buffy and all five of Angel. Two, I had a renewed interest in redemptive vampire stories after discovering Being Human.

And three, I realized several actors I didn’t know the first time around were a huge part of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Of course I “knew” Angel and Cordelia from the first season of Angel, but there were others. I now watched Darla on No Ordinary Family. And Giles I knew as King Uther on Merlin. But the primary reason I tried watching Buffy again? Alyson Hannigan, who plays Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lily on How I Met Your Mother.

And I guess second time’s the charm, because I’m on season two and loving it! Yes, it does have its corny moments, and sometimes low-budget special effects (reminds me a bit of Merlin in both ways), but it’s a show with heart and humor.

(Now that I’m thinking about it – there are tons of similarities between the shows Merlin and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So many, in fact, that I’m shocked that Anthony Head is the only common denominator between the two shows. Not only do they share similar corny moments and special effects, they also have the whole similar “monster/demon/creepy spell of the week” thing. The main characters’ ages are similar, and there’s the whole “forbidden love that is meant to be” aspect. Gaius and Giles play very similar roles advising and doing research in dusty books. And of course, in both shows characters live a double life, hiding their gifts. I’ll probably find even more as I continue watching both shows.)

If you’re not sure you’ll like Buffy, give the show at least 4-5 episodes before you make a final decision. This show grows on you. 🙂

Nikita – Intense Intrigue

I think it was a Hulu ad that first alerted me to the show Nikita. I wasn’t familiar with any of the previous renderings of the characters and storyline – in fact, I was several episodes in before I realized this wasn’t a brand new show.

The premise of the show intrigued me. A rogue agent taking down a corrupt agency and an undercover agent helping her from the inside. It alone was enough to get me to watch the first episode. I didn’t recognize the actors (the only one I might have noticed in the ad was Shane West), and I generally don’t watch CW shows.

The pilot episode blew me away. Great acting, great plot. Intense action sequences and deep back stories. Intrigue, manipulation, and hidden agendas. And more than that, it filled the missing place I’d had since another show I loved was canceled. That show? Dollhouse.

Before all the Whedonites jump down my throat, let me say that it’s not exactly like Dollhouse or even as good as Dollhouse. There is one Whedon-verse connection on the show, however – Amanda (who channels Adelle from the early episodes of Dollhouse) is played by Melinda Clarke, who also plays Nandi from the Firefly episode Heart of Gold.

Every episode of Nikita delves deeper into the characters. That plus the twisting plotlines makes me feel like I’ve watched the show for two seasons when I’m only 16 episodes (of 22) into the first season.

My favorite character on the show is Michael, played by Shane West. I’d only seen him before on A Walk to Remember, which I’d enjoyed, but not to the point where I looked for him in other movies and shows. After Nikita, however, he moved to my top 20 (if not my top 10) favorite actors. He plays the brooding, conflicted hero so well. And it’s surprising, because he doesn’t seem to have too much that typical “brooding look” many actors do (hint – they’re often cast as vampires). He has to show that brooding in a more subtle and difficult way through his acting.

Maggie Q as Nikita seems a bit cold, but she’s a trained assassin on a mission, so anything else would seem out of place. And that makes her emotional moments all the more poignant.

I only knew Lyndsy Fonseca (who plays Alex, the young undercover agent-in-training) as the daughter in the opening sequences of How I Met Your Mother. Her acting seems slightly overplayed (more dramatic), which works well against Maggie’s underplayed acting.

To round out the cast, you have the power-hungry and manipulative Percy, the poised but lethal Amanda, and the spineless computer genius Birkhoff, plus other recruits, agents, guards, and allies.

To up the show’s pull, episodes end with a final cliffhanging scene that makes you beg for the next episode. This past week’s episode’s was a doozy! And only after watching it did I realize that the show is off the air for 5 whole weeks. I’m going to go crazy! (And yes, that’s why I’m blogging about it now, to keep myself sane as I anticipate the wait!)

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: suv | Thanks to toyota suv, infiniti suv and lexus suv