Thursday, October 04, 2007

Killer Legs vs. "Killer" Legs

The Bionic Woman. It premiered last week and I finally caught episode 2 last night. As I expected, BW touches on many of the same characters, themes and plot-lines as Alias. Really, the biggest form of flattery is imitation. Below are a few flattering points:


Opening Sequence: Um, excuse me, but were Jae and his gang running down the same dang hallway as Alias used time and time again? Also, Jaime's bar gig looks and sounds very similar to the varies night clubs Sydney and the gang used as a meeting place or on missions.

Dead Fiances and Car Crashes: I swear I have seen that car crash scene before... where, oh where did I see it? Oh right, at the end of Alias season 4. Weird. And come on, a dead fiance in the pilot?

Alice in Wonderland: Jaime looks a bit lost- in a world she doesn't understand. How did she get there, what is happening to her, who is she working for? Alice in Wonderland was a major theme on Alias. Sydney's world was upside down from day one, packed with friends and foes alike. No doubt Jaime will run into the same sort of issues on her journey to self discovery and ridding the world of terrorists.

Handler: Sydney had Vaughn, Jaime has Antonio- formerly known as Preston Burke on Grey's Anatomy. Jaime might not fall for him as a love interest, but he's already meeting her in coffee shops undercover.

Arch-nemesis: Sydney had Ana Espinoza, and Jaime has Sara Corvis- the original Bionic Woman. It's lovely to see these two spare, knocking knuckles and mechanical body parts. More to come I am sure...

The Boss Man: Jaime's boss, Jonas Bledsoe (formerly Garrett Macy from Crossing Jordan) seems to be a nice mixture of the slime that was Arvin Sloane and the cool as a cucumber of Director Kendall. I like him, he cares about Jaime- but I am sure there is plenty she doesn't know.

Geek Squad: BW is not lacking in technology. Alias had Marshall and all his pen bombs, microphone purses, supa swank sunglasses and various other gadgets. BW has Nathan- he can fix a ringing bionic ear with a tap to the skull. Pretty sweet!

Friends-Family Plan: Sydney had Will and Francie- not to mention every innocent sole ever, to protect. Jaime has little sis. Father has yet to make an appearance, but I am sure we will be seeing him very soon and maybe he has a secret... We love our bad- ass heroines when they are kicking ass and taking names, but we also love them when they can make it home in time for dinner.

I'm not overly impressed with Michelle Ryan's acting ability. I thought the tequila (TEQUILA- ah, I miss Will) scene was very unconvincing, however, Ryan's look is definitely Bristow-esque a la girl next door, a cute face and well, killer abs. Oh, and Jaime's workout and training scenes were a tad longer than Bristow's one frame silhouette in boxing gloves. I feel that as Jaime learns more about her abilities and who she is fighting, the more we will learn and like her character. I am loving the little sis right now and I am dying to know why Will had a file on Jaime 2 years before he met her.

So, what do you all think? Thoughts?

26 comments:

Page48 said...

Okay, this is gonna be lengthy:

Other moments which invoke "Alias" deja vu include the unimportant phone call from sis while Jaime is crouched in a life or death situation, similar to Syd getting the phone call from Francie while Syd was crouched down in the parking garage trying to avoid assassination.

And Jaime telling Jonas when she would be available for work was reminiscent of Syd telling Sloane she was taking the week off for midterms.

Timeless travel is another similarity. One minute we're in San Fran, the next minute we're in Paradise, Idaho. I'd like to know if Jaime got home from the killing fields of Idaho by 7:00 p.m.

I was really underwhelmed by the mission in Idaho. It was SO unsophisticated compared to anything seen on "Alias". Part of the disappointment stems from the dreaded self-contained episode, which strips away the significance of the bad guys, their plan and their motives. They don't have to have a plan or a motive because they won't be back next week. Another problem was the lack of decisive leadership in addressing the situation in Idaho. Should we go in? Should we leave it to the army? Who can we send in? Should we send Jaime in? Is anybody in charge here? Do we have a mission statement or a plan of some sort or are we just winging it?

Another issue I had was the complete lack of intensity, even while Jaime and the young girl were under fire, and at the end of the show, when the baddies were rounded up, they basically gave up without a struggle. Gotta build up a little tension here, guys, we're supposed to worry about the safety of our heroes and wonder if they're going to make it.

When we met Sydney, she was several years into her career as master spy. She was confident and capable and wise in the ways of the world, although clueless about who she was working for. Jaime is younger, green as grass, and has no idea what she's doing at this point. She's a trainee with no skills, but plenty of recently installed technology. It's hard to picture her becoming Sydney Bristow anytime soon. That was visible in her bitchslap fight scene with the "soldier". I'm okay with her lack of skills, though, because that's who she is. She's not Sydney.

Certain scenes in the first 2 shows should never have made it to air. In the pilot it was the girl in the back seat of her mom's car. This week, the suicide lady. The whole tequila/bathroom scene was just something out of a bad soft porn flick. C'mon guys, this stuff is all filler, no killer.

For now, it's good to see Will out of the picture (he's such a weenie), but I would not be surprised if he's back one of these weeks. There's just no way they brought the brilliant Dr. Anthros in for 1 show.

FWIW, in the pre-air pilot, Will was 33 years old, in the actual pilot, he was 39 years old. He was planking a gorgeous bartender 15 years younger than he was. That's the stuff dreams are made of.

Lisa said...

I, too, am having a hard time with Michelle Ryan's acting ability. I'm just not convinced with anything she says.

having said that, last nights eppy was waaaaaay better than the pilot, and I am hoping that trend will continue.

I agree totally with you, Page, on all your points, especially loathing the self-contained plotlines. I tried to just leave my thoughts focused on the things that are still in the air, like, "who are these people really?" and "what the heck about that file?" and "where is this Sarah thing going?"

it seems like next week's episode will get good with the idea that Sarah is both enemy and ally. that sounds like the beauty of Sloane to me, complex and able to manipulated to her advantage.

Lisa said...

oh yeah- forgot to mention- I also noticed that the hallway she was walking down at one point was sooooo very APO- with red pipes and everything!

Girlscout said...

THANK YOU PAGE, I knew I forgot something- the telephone call from the sister! Very Alias.

I just think the show is too new and its trying to find it's audience and its nitch. I mean, Alias is all kick ass in our eyes now- but I remember hearing about Alias when it first aired and being totally un-interested in it. It wasn't until I watched a season 2 episode on DVD that I got hooked, went back and watched it all and appreciated it all.

Only time will tell...

hahahahahahahahaha!

Page48 said...

I think it will be important to develop a frequently recurring enemy group (presumably the elder Dr. Anthros is part of such a group) with an unfolding plan that can be advanced as the season unfolds. Rivalries are important in sports but equally important in heroine shows, IMO.

The enemy-of-the-week just won't cut it. "Alias" was adrift early in Season 4 when there was no focus on a worthy opponent. Taking out an arms dealer (or whatever) is important work, but "Alias" thrived when there were groups like Prophet 5, K-Directorate, The Alliance, etc...Worthy opponents are key, you can't crush your enemy every week, they have to escape, regroup and come at you again down the road.

Questions that I would like answered, (aside from how Sarah Corvis survived a close in head shot), are things like:

**Is Sarah Corvis really Sarah Corvis or a clone/double? If she is the original, who was she referring to in the pilot when she asked the badass European guy if she reminded him of HER?
**Is there more than 1 Sarah Corvis? If not, why did the SC in the pilot have a black cross tattooed on her left shoulder blade, but the Sarah on the rug with Jae in 1.2 NOT have a tattoo?
**What happened during the 3 years since the head shot when there was NO bionic woman?
**What was the Burket Group up to during this period?
**If they were tracking Jaime for several years, how did they plan to recruit her had she not been in the car accident?
**If they were tracking Jaime for years, why did the Burket Group need to be briefed about her at the round table meeting as if they had never heard of her?
**If they were in the process of recruiting her, why was Jonas so pissed that Will used the bionic program to save her life instead of allowing her to die? Is this not what they wanted, OR was Will a double agent tracking her on behalf of the dark side?
**Why didn't Jaime question Jonas about how he knew she saved the suicide lady?
**What would cause Antonio to think the Jaime may have been compromised, or working for another agency?

One other thought that I think they ought to at least consider. The old "Batman" show used to have a cliffhanger every other show (same Bat-time, same Bat-channel). In other words, stories were always wrapped up in 2 eppies. If the network is hellbent on episodic instead of serial, why not use the "Batman" compromise to increase excitement and generate more return business without completely alienating the casual viewer?

Robetron said...

I waited until I could watch both episodes before reading any comments, and I have to agree with most of it. The most interesting part is noticing all of the ALIAS-inspired moments.

David Eick is an excellent producer, but when you do not have a top-notch cast, its hard to make it all come together. I think the best part of the show is Katie Sackoff's character, the first bionic woman. Interestingly, her character as Kara Thrace on Battlestar Galactica, was also well-acted, but nothing like Sara Corvis. Its like looking at a totally different person - a sign of a good actor.

Also, the prison guard for the "super-high security" prison was/is a major character in BSG, named Chief Petty Officer Tierol, or "Chief" for short. (It was good to see both of those characters again, as it has been a while since the season closer, and the new season of BSG will not start until November sometime.)

Anyway... the direction is poor, the writing is unrealistic and the only hook to the show is her special powers, of which we see very little. I'll not purchase another episode, but I will try to catch it on TV to see if things improve.

-R.

Lisa said...

another wild Alias/Bionic Woman connection!

check this out from TV Guide, print edition:
"Michelle Ryan, TV’s new Bionic Woman, was in a hotel elevator in Vancouver, where the NBC series shoots, when Jennifer Garner walked on.

"I was such a huge fan of Alias, so I was totally starstruck and went all silly," says Ryan, who might have opened the conversation with any number of logical questions: What’s it like playing a female superhero? How do you turn a TV series into a worldwide sensation? Can I borrow some of your old leather pants?

Too bad Ryan couldn’t speak. “I was so flustered, I just stood there,” she says between scenes on the set in Canada. “And then — I’m such an idiot! — I got out on the wrong floor."

you can read the rest of the article here:
http://www.tvguide.com/cover-story

Page48 said...

Lisa, I saw that over at bionic-media.com. I'd love to be on an elevator with either of them, although the two of them at the same time would kill me.

I see JJ has another couple of shows in the incubator. "Fringe" sounds like the promising one. Female FBI agent exploring unknown phenomena (speculation about Keri Russell, although personally I would place a call to JG). Going to spend 10 mil on a 2 hour pilot for FOX. Does that sound anything like a previous long-running FOX show?

The other show, "Boundaries" sounds more like his more recent crap. I'll go with the sci-fi, thank you very much.

Robetron, I don't think an all-star cast could make it all come together with the kind of grade-school writing we've seen on the first 2 eppies of BW. Give actors stupid things to do and say and they will do and say stupid things.

There has been a lot of shuffling going on behind the scenes of BW. The "X-Files" connection (Glen Morgan) was severed after 5 eppies. That begs the question was he part of the problem in the early going or will it get worse after his influence is gone?

"Alias" looked like a show that was mapped out well in advance of hitting the airwaves, while BW looks like it's being written while the cameras are rolling.

The tequila scene was brutal, the suicide lady scene should never have seen the light of day, the girl who seemed pretty bored about her grandparents' murder was awful, ruthless murdering terrorists rolled over like mama's boys, Jaime's girlfriends were like Paris and Britney, and while his boss was helping to save the world with the rest of the team in Idaho, Jae was getting busy with Sarah on their anniversary.

"Alias" was slick, intelligent and complex right out of the gate. So far, BW is not slick, intelligent or complex and needs to consider getting some of that before the 12-and-over crowd stops watching.

While I've got the floor, "Heroes" needs to pick up the pace, too. The first couple of eppies this season have NOT rocked. Better bring Sylar back to life or replace him with another baddie. Heroes can't save the world from evil if there is no evil.

uncle111 said...

Page48,
I think by the blood trail from where Syler was "killed" to the man hole cover, they were letting us know he is still alive.

Page48 said...

I agree, Uncle, I don't think you can just dispatch a character like Sylar unless you've got something really good up your sleeve. And Peter Petrelli survived a good extraterrestrial nuking, unscathed save for a little memory loss and a haircut, so I think Sylar's return is a cinch.

Robetron said...

RE: Heroes

Do you not remember the hooded figure that killed Hiro's father? Who else could that be, but Sylar?

RE: Bionic Woman

I agree about the writing, Page48, but some of the lines would have been decent had they been delivered decently. How many agonizingly awful lines were made believable by the ALIAS crew? The lead-woman (whatever her name is) brings none of the sense of serious intelligence behind the eyes the way JG did for Sydney Bristow.

-R.

Page48 said...

BW 1.3 was, IMO, a much better effort than 1.2. Perhaps no coincidence that this eppie was written by David Eick, who is the chief stakeholder in the success of this series.

No ridiculous bathroom scenes, no silly suicide lady scenes, no embarrassing lines like "drop the toothbrush and put your hands on your head".

On the other hand, still no attempt at defining an enemy with a purpose, which should be half the fun of this kind of show. 1.3 featured four Serbian goons whose sole purpose was to get demolished by the Women.

Hopefully, once we get past this character development stage, we can bring in an arch-enemy group and get into a tug of war with bigger stakes than the safety of a spoiled teenager. PLEASE!

Lisa said...

Page,
the bigger stakes now seem to be life or death for Sarah, would you agree? which ultimately means life or death for Jaime, too, or so Sarah would like her to believe...."the enemy" right now, seems to me, to be the more ambiguous idea of right and wrong- whether it be violating Jaime's privacy, or saving someone who may be ultimately and primarily very bad, or having to trust people you know nothing about, etc. maybe later they will introduce more enemies with faces but for now these "enemies" are pretty compelling for developing a tv show.

this Sarah thing is smelling more and more like a Sloane situation- you love to hate him, but have to love him too. Sarah and Jaime will have a complex relationship, though Jaime seems to be able to remain in control of things.

I'm still not sure if I'm into BW or not, but I agree with you Page, it is getting better.

uncle111 said...

I just watched the Alias pilot for the ____th time. I think it was the best pilot for any series, EVER.

Page48 said...

Absolutely the best pilot of any series, EVER.

Can you imagine being part of the "Alias" pilot and then, 5 years later, you're reduced to doing a pilot for "Brothers & Sisters" or "Justice"? How do you force yourself to go to work everyday when you know the finished product you're putting out is "Brothers & Sisters"?

Or how about if you opt out of most of Season 5 of "Alias", and then, 2 years later, the best gig your agent can get you is "Big Shots"?

Or let's say you've been Jack Bristow, who never once sold airplane parts, and now you're going to be part of a show where George Michael sings "you gotta have faitha faitha faith". Can a man ever hope to get over that?

What if a bit part in "Clerks II" was the only job you could land after 5 incredible years on "Alias"?

Or, what if you are JJ, and, after hitting the jackpot with "Alias" and "Lost", you lose your touch and start spewing out "Six Degrees" and "What About Brian"?

Truth Be Told, as I look around, all I see is a post-Alias train wreck.

Bonkers for Bristow said...

Hi, guys. (I apologize in advance to those who like BW. The opinions expressed in this comment are my own and should be taken with a grain of salt - or completely ignored if you prefer.)
I'm sorry but I have really tried to like BW. The second episode had some promise but this third one was really the clincher. The writing was so bad - "I'm about to get animal on your ass." Really? That's supposed to be tough and get Jamie all pumped up and ready to fight? Syd would have died laughing. There was one line that made me laugh. When the brat was locked in the car and Sarah and Jaime were talking. Sarah told her to shut up because the adults were talking. I don't know why I thought that was funny - it must have been the delivery.

If you ask me, Sarah is running away with this show. Michelle Ryan has no charisma and I don't feel for her. When Sarah was holding little sister by the throat I found my self marveling at how the little actress was able to let her head loll around like that. I sure didn't feel Jamie's inner turmoil. And when she talked about how Will was the only man she ever loved, I was like, huh? There was no crying, there was no makeup smeared all around your eyes and scenes of taking off your ring or changing the message on the answering machine. There was no grief at all. I've seen little if any emotion from this actress and I'm not buying it.

So maybe I went in hoping for a smart, well written, action show with real emotions and characters I cared about. Believe it or not, but The Unit is fulfilling that need far more than BW is. BW is the CW's version of Alias - lite!

Page48 said...

I've watched "The Unit" a few times but it doesn't do much to float my boat, even with "24"'s president and "X-Files" agent Doggett. I much prefer them in their previous shows.

BW is being played more like an after-school kids' show instead of an action show for us growed-ups. Until there's more to the story than the 2 BW's and their software issues, I don't know what the point is. Three episodes in and we don't have any bad guys. A couple of bad teenage girls, maybe, but no evil empire that needs taking care of.

At the rate the plot is moving, it will be Season 2 before we get to where "Alias" was in Episode 2. I was hoping (and am still hoping) for much much more.

If it doesn't get it's poop together, Season 2 of BW will be like Season 6 of "Alias"...a long time coming.

Page48 said...

I know we have an Aussie on board LTA (if I could remember who it was, I would address you by name). I'm wondering how far you are into Season Five and whether you resisted the temptation to download Season Five in advance of its airing in Australia.

How well I remember that agonizing hiatus where we in North America had nothing to cling to for 4 freaking months but the aerial view of Sydney on the deck of that ship, the camera zooming out in typical "Alias" cliffhanger fashion. Knowing that when we came back in April we would be in the series homestretch was no less agonizing. I assume that Australians have been spared the lengthy time-out.

I could not help but notice Gordon Dean (Tyree Allen) has landed a new series, "Women's Murder Club". It took me a few minutes to recognize him as he sports some facial hair in his new role. "Women's Murder Club" is not on my must-see list BTW, since it seems to be typical formula crime-show fare.

If anybody cares, I MISS "ALIAS".

Page48 said...

These comments are completely off topic and may be unwelcome by some but I believe they constitute a public service and must be passed along.

In case you haven't been paying attention, the U.S. currency is being aggressively devalued against other world currencies. Since I believe most readers here are American, I have to encourage you to investigate this situation and do what you must do to protect yourselves financially.

As a Canadian, I can tell you that it has only been a few short years since the Canadian Dollar was only worth about 62 cents in U.S. Dollar terms. Now, the Canadian Dollar is worth about $1.02 in U.S. Dollars and it will only go higher in the near future.

I lost my baseball team, the Montreal Expos, in 2004 because they could not compete with teams that paid their players' salaries in U.S. Dollars. That was only 3 short years ago and now those players can only wish they were being paid in Canadian Dollars. but for them it's too late.

Do your homework, folks. Bookmark websites like jsmineset.com, 321gold.com, goldseek.com, kitco.com. Go there, read up, learn what's going on, and take care of yourselves.

Guys, this means nothing to me, since I hold no U.S. Dollars or U.S. stocks, but it means everything to you. Educate yourselves and take the necessary steps to avoid being screwed by your own government and Federal Reserve. Trust no one. This is up to you.

Read, read, read. You can be pissed off at me if you like. As long as you come at me with your eyes wide open, I can accept your criticism.

ilovealias4ever said...

Page48; I believe you were referring to me -- I'm an Aussie.

In reference to Season Five, we actually just saw the final episode last Sunday (the 14th of October).

We actually had to wait well over a year after the Season Four finale before Season Five finally aired over here.

I did not resist the temptation, and I did download ALIAS in sync with you guys over in the states.

It started with me seeing random episodes of Season Four, then getting a little obsessive and just HAVING to download Seasons 1 & 2.

Season Four finished over here in November 2005, and I just couldn't wait to fnd out what the hell happened... :)For that 2005 Christmas, I recieved Seasons 1-3 (then bought Season Four about a month after that -- when it was first released).

I will NEVER forget the wait after the four month hiatus, lol. Or the heartbreak I suffered when I found out, then watched the final episodes.

I am actually still heartbroken now, with the final episode just airing over here -- it has renewed that feeling of utter loss... (even though I had already seen it).

Yes, we got the episodes consecutively, with only 2 weeks being missed, but made up the next week with double episodes.

To top of my life story of ALIAS; I actually bought the COMPLETE SERIES SET from the US. (Yes, that does mean I have two sets -- both the Australian and the American... ;))

And to finish, I am right there with you, Page.

I MISS ALIAS... So Bad!

uncle111 said...

Page 48,
I know there are ups and downs in economies and currencies. One of the things some here are fuming about is that China has devalued their currency. The effect is that their products are cheaper here and ours are more expensive there. France is fuming because our products are now cheaper there and theirs are more expensive here. When I was in college the head of the economics department wanted me to major in economics. But I didn't find it particularly interesting. Over the last 25 years I have listened to (and believed) a number of the-sky-is-falling professional economic prognosticators and have seen all of them prove to be wrong. I haven't found anyone in the economics field ever be anything but moderately accurate.
The one thing that worries me about a devalued dollar is that it invites investors from outside the US to buy up our companies. The upside of that is that they then have a reason to make sure the US stays healthy.
The thing that helps people the most is to watch your own finances, work hard and smart, be conservative in your spending and planning.

Page48 said...

Uncle, I agree that the extreme doom-and-gloomers go overboard, but I also believe that the individual citizen must ultimately look out for his/her own best interests, and wearing blinders can be very expensive.

I have always felt that one of the glaring omissions of a high school education is teaching young people how to manage money to their advantage, not just to make a buck (which is cool), but to protect what wealth they may be fortunate enough to accumulate in life. Forget about the periodic table, which will affect 1 kid in a thousand, teach kids how to survive and thrive financially.

As "little guys", the deck is stacked against us from the git go. Most of us work our 2,000 hours per year, get bled dry through layers of taxes, and then, if the government of the day deems it advantageous, they suck the spending power out of the few dollars we manage to put away in a retirement account.

Steps can be taken to sidestep or hedge this kind of damage, but nobody talks about it. Katie Couric won't speak out. Bill O'Reilly would cut your mic and call you a traitor if you suggested to people that they might want to diversify out of the Greenback as a means of protecting their nest egg from a government who is highly motivated to inflate their debt away. O'Reilly's answer to all problems economic is to apply windfall taxes on big oil. These people will bring you all you need to know about Anna Nicole Smith, but they never bring you news you can use.

It's a struggle to get ahead in the world and I believe that people have to take responsibility for educating themselves. No one else will do it for you. The more we understand how things work, the better we are equipped to cope with the shenanigans of our leaders.

That's why I am always telling people to take the time to read and understand how to take advantage of what is presented to them instead of just letting it happen to them.

The government isn't your Mom. You don't have to eat what they put in front of you.

Page48 said...

Ilovealiasforever,

I can't imagine seeing all of Season 5 without that ridiculous hiatus. Not to mention the further delay that we had to cope with in the spring, having the return put off until April.

I wonder how many diehard "Alias" fans in Australia had the discipline to avoid peaking ahead to find out how it turned out.

At least you guys didn't have to listen to the cast making the talkshow rounds telling you what a great finale they had planned for you.

uncle111 said...

Page48
I have always felt that one of the glaring omissions of a high school education is teaching young people how to manage money to their advantage...
ABSOLUTELY!!!
I'm 55, I work 60 hours/week, I make less than the average wage earner and I have no health insurance and very little in retirement. It wasn't until I was 54 that I heard how if someone who is 18 puts $2000.00 per year in an average mutual fund for only 7 years and leaves it alone, at age 65 he will have around $2,000,000 to retire on. If I had known that when I was 18 I would have made sure I put that much in mutual funds. Where were all the responcible adults who should have made sure all of us in high school understood that dynamic?
Your economic well being is in your own hands, not the government or anyone else's, and only those who understand that get ahead. At least I finally came to understand that. I just hope I have enough time left to do something about it.

Page48 said...

Uncle, the only thing of value that high school bestowed on me was a working knowledge of the QWERTY keyboard, and to be honest, I still have to peak at the top row.

Mom and Dad's tax dollars at work.

Bonkers for Bristow said...

So what other shows are you guys watching? Out of the new batch this fall all that caught my eye and I think is *still* interesting is Journeyman.
Anyone watching it?