Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall Spy Lineup

It's that time of year again! Time for the various networks to try and wow us with their lineup of new shows. We've heard many rumored spy-themed shows, but I only found two definite n00bs in the spy lineup this year (let me know if I missed others!):

Undercovers
NBC Wed. 8/7C
Premiere Sept. 22
Premise: From our beloved J.J., former CIA husband and wife are pulled back into the line of duty after supposedly being "retired." (Image from NBC's site)

Nikita
CW Thurs. 9/8C
I missed the premiere...
Premise: Nikita was rescued from death row by a secret U.S. agency known only as Division, who faked her execution and told her she was being given a second chance to start a new life and serve her country. What they didn't tell her was that she was being trained as a spy and assassin.

Returning favorites:
Human Target - FOX Fri. Oct. 1 8/7C
Fringe - FOX Thurs. Sept. 23 9/8C
Burn Notice - USA Returning in November!

176 comments:

Paul Kremer said...

I'm definitely planning on giving Undercovers a chance. Let's just hope that JJ Abrams sticks around this time instead of following his current pattern of starting an unbelievable show and then allowing other writers to slowly write it to horrible endings, ala Lost and ALIAS. (I am still FURIOUS about LOST)

What are people thinking of Covert Affairs? I'm enjoying it, although its no ALIAS.

Paul Kremer said...

Just a quick followup so that I get responses in my e-mail :)

SRM said...

Covert Affairs is very "eh" for me, especially after recently discovering the fun of Chuck. Last week's CA finally gave us an "ohh!" moment at the end, but man, that's how many episodes in? I'll prob still watch it through the season...not much else to watch at the moment.

I also plan on giving Undercovers a chance.

Page48 said...

My conversation with Roco regarding the "Nikita" pilot.

uncle111 said...

Warehouse 13 guest star as I watch online...Sark!

The last 2 CA's were ok, just no feel of greatness. I liked Nikita much better.

SRM- Thanks for the fall schedule!!

Page48 said...

Uncle, that was the first time I've seen Sark a) as a good guy and b) without a foreign accent (not counting "Bob").

I also couldn't help but notice Buffy's Principal Snyder in that episode.

CA has definitely wasted an opportunity to fill a niche, but people rave about it online, so I suspect that USA is very happy with its performance and that suggests to me that next season will be more of the same.

Oh well, maybe by next year, we'll be off of "Covert Affairs" and onto "True Lies"?

Page48 said...

Paul, JJ has so many projects on the go, or in the development stage, that I imagine his involvement with "Undercovers" is already a distant memory.

Every day I see a new JJ project in the news:

*a show about Alcatraz
*a crime thriller with "The Dark Knight" writer Nolan
*a movie about some robot named Boilerplate
*his "Super 8" movie

Add that to ST2 and MI4 and who knows what else and I think we can safely say that his commitment to "Undercovers" will be fleeting at best.

JJ directed the no doubt very expensive pilot, so it should be entertaining, but after that, my fear is a whack of standalone, mythology-free episodes on a much tighter budget, produced by a soap opera writer, Josh Reims.

uncle111 said...

Page,

I just read your exchange with Roco. VERY good. You've done a brilliant analysis of the show using Alias as the standard. The fact that Alias isn't found in that role more often is something I just don't get.

Page48 said...

Thanks, Uncle. "Alias" is and should be the standard, but all too often what I read online paints "Alias" in a negative light.

As we all know, JJ was very vocal in denouncing "Alias" when he was out promoting "Fringe", and now we have his co-creator of "Undercovers", proudly stating that the goal with UC is to NOT resemble "Alias", and furthermore, that he's never even seen an episode of "Alias", (as if that's something that ANYONE in the TV industry should be proud of). "Alias" should be required viewing for any schmuck who thinks he's prepared to write a TV show, let alone a spy show.

Of course, Reims isn't alone. Piper Perabo admits here that she's never seen "Alias", either (although someone coaxed her into watching TBT). I would guess, by watching CA, that no one at the USA Network has bothered to watch "Alias" either.

Maybe it's time that the people associated with all of these spy show wannabes smartened up and did some homework.

Lazarus Lupin said...

I like the idea of another JJ abrams spy thing, I'm hoping for a good tv season!

Lazarus Lupin
http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/
art and review

Page48 said...

I enjoyed S1 of "Stargate: Universe" which is a whole different breed than the previous Stargate series, so I was pleasantly surprised to read that Victor Garber has signed on for what may be a recurring role.

This should be a marked improvement over VG's steady string of garbage since "Alias". Maybe he auditioned using his deleted scene from JJ's "Star Trek" flick.

Page48 said...

S1 of "Fringe" left MUCH to be desired, and even S2 was pretty uninspiring until about the midway mark. Just too many standalone episodes about nothing, leaving us serial hungry viewers severely malnourished.

Fortunately, as I mentioned some time ago, I think the show has reached the point of no return, where the standalone formula has to be nuked in favour of the far more interesting serialized storytelling (in other words, the stuff that put Bad Robot on the map in the first place)

The 2 reviews (one, two) I've read of the opening episodes of S3 are both extremely positive and offer a degree of hope for the series that, even halfway through last season, had seemed too much to ask for.

Robetron said...

Glad to see you're on board the ole, Chuck - wagon, SRM. It is a good mixture of comedy and spyspoof that just leaves you always wanting more.

[no spoilers]
I just watched CW's pilot of Nikita online. The writing is decent, though they may be trying a little too hard to be intense with the dialog. The acting follows suit, but I have no complaint there.

There was plenty of good action and enough spy-maneuvering to set the flavor right for those of us missing that aspect of ALIAS; except, there were no real-life moments, no light side to keep us believing its all happening. It is very dark and heavy throughout the entire episode, only showing us the humanity of Nikita in hind-sight, not the present.

This, I believe, is what allowed ALIAS to fit so perfectly together. Sydney was both capable of incredible feats of will in physical prowess when the situation called for it, but immediately soft, likable, and girly, wearing her emotions like a billboard. Both aspects so perfectly combined that we all fell in love with her.

I'm not getting that from Nikita, which is what I feared when I first heard of this actress playing the roll. There is very little distinct personality coming out, which is possibly what they had in mind, introducing us to Nikita after a lifetime of hardship. They may well imagine her as having lost some part of her more tender side in order to maintain focus on her mountainous agenda. That does seem natural, and believable; but, sadly, it's just not that likable.

It's like Covert Affairs went too far to one side, while Nikita is too far to the other. I guess when perfectly met in the middle means you just re-air episodes of ALIAS, you have little other choice when creating the direction of a spy show.

Take, for example, what we know works: Burn Notice. Great action, wildly different characters, wonderful spy craft, internal conflict over a flexing moral compass, light and humorous moments, and a lot of explosions. The same could be said about Chuck. The same could be said about Human Target. The same could be said about ALIAS.

Now, it's too soon to judge CW's Nikita, being only one episode (available to me), but in the overall scheme of things, they are off to a pretty good start. It will be something I return to watch and see how things develop.

One thing I hope they phase out is the speech making. It's a little hokey. It works in Smallville, but not so much for the more serious and dark edginess (which is clearly what they are trying to be) of Nikita.

What do you think?

Robetron said...

Page 48, I just read your conversation with Roco. Interesting how we come to the same conclusions without collaboration.

[spoiler alert]
One thing that Roco said at the end stuck out to me. Putting Alex at risk. I don't care how much time and training Alex has undergone by her side, Nikita threw an innocent into a dangerous situation by putting her that deep within the bowels of the Division training facility. That's going to be hard to swallow if some regret is not displayed by Nikita.

It's not exactly parallel, but a recent release of an animated Batman story involves his sense of guilt and regret for having put a young man in danger when he recruited Robin. Yes, I know it's a cartoon, but the story is compelling because it maintains that human internal conflict. TV is enjoyable when it shows us ourselves, or who we'd like to be.

At any rate, you (page 48) ask a number of great questions, which were nicely teed-up by the show. I just hope, like you, that they manage to hit it down the fairway of intrigue as well as noble heroism.

Because it does bare so many ALIAS comparisons, I think they may be doing something right. It the spy show that goes wrong that holds no parallels.

Page48 said...

Robetron, having been raised on "Alias", I think we're all on the same page regarding our hopes for "Nikita" or any other contenders for Sydney's throne.

Apparently, ABC has now confirmed that "True Lies" is a go (as if there was any doubt, what with James Cameron's name attached). This comes less than a month after ABC also indicated that "MI-5" will be adapted for US consumption.

So, we are well and truly off to the spy races these days. Now let's just hope that at least one of these new efforts knocks one out of the park.

I watched the season ender of CA, and, while the action wasn't bad, I just had to wonder why any of it mattered. Where's the story here? And, was that supposed to be a cliffhanger worthy of end-of-season???

The "Chuck-wagon"? Excellent! Hey, it's more "Alias" than anything else going on right now. Televisionary is gushing about the S4 season opener.

SRM said...

Anyone else just watch The Event on NBC? I found it pretty intriguing, and very serial in nature, no standalone eppies for this one, yay! :)

Page48 said...

SRM, I thought "The Event" was good enough to bring me back next week. I'm a sucker for a little sci-fi mystery.

I'm having trouble getting jacked about "Hawaii Five-0", though (despite it sporting 2 former members of Wolfram & Hart). So far, it's just a standard issue cops and robbers procedural with some familiar faces. Thing is, I don't do procedurals.

"Chuck" and the nerd herd are back tonight, too, kicking butt and taking names.

uncle111 said...

OK, I haven't heard about The Event. Can someone fill me in?

I taped H50. I'll watch it tomorrow.

We had my 40th class reunion this weekend. It was so much like a big family gathering. I loved it and I'm already missing people I haven't seen for 10-40 years.

Page48 said...

"The Event" preview trailer.

Like last year's "Flash Forward", this show is hoping to be the next "Lost". "Flash Forward" lost me after 2 episodes and flamed out in one season, so we'll see if TE can eclipse either of those milestones.

uncle111 said...

I'm sure Undercovers is trying to be a Mr. And Mrs. Smith type semi-comedic spy show, but instead it was an uneven amalgamation of action/fight scenes with a smattering of spy genre themes and a completely flip attitude. The fast paced "witty" dialog was completely ineffective and forced. The script felt as if it was written by and action writer, a comedy writer, a spy writer, a couples dialog writer, all in different parts of the country and then pieced together by some automated software without any blending of the separate parts into a cohesive work.

How did this ever get on the air????

Page48 said...

Uncle, I tossed in my 2 cents at Televisionary following Jaces' setup for tonight's debut.

The action scenes, particularly the ones set in Moscow, gave the impression that there was something worthwhile happening on my TV screen, but the rest of the show was, as advertised, lightweight rom-com nonsense. And, we can assume, as Jace points out, that subsequent episodes will be run on a much smaller budget than the pilot.

So, how long do we have to hold out for something that, at least, tries to be a suitable replacement for "Alias"? Where is the ambition among TV writers?

Every day I read about JJ having a new show in development. His new Alcatraz show has been picked up, as has the 'crime thriller'. Whether either gets beyond the pilot stage is anyone's guess, but I liked JJ a lot better when he was 10 years younger and committed to greatness, instead of just trying to challenge Bruckheimer for the most shows on TV at any one time. Quality, not quantity is the way to go, IMO, although quantity probably pays better.

Page48 said...

Here are a few brutally honest takes on the UC pilot. Remember when pilots used to be important enough to give a proper title to, like "Truth Be Told"?

And, what was I saying about JJ striking up a new show deal every day? Today is just another JJ day.

Page48 said...

I also foisted my opinion on some TV Fanatic blogger.

uncle111 said...

Page,

Your comments are on the mark. I wonder if anyone who matters will be listening?

uncle111 said...

I've never watched Chase (actually never heard of it), but it was in an ad while I was watching The Event on Hulu and I tried the opening segment. If you want to see a woman LEO in a good fight watch the opening of Chase.

Page48 said...

This, from The Hollywood Reporter, seems pretty typical of the response to "Undercovers" debut: "J.J. Abrams' return to primetime espionage is a tepid affair showcasing stock subterfuge and leaden leads."

Even the black folks aren't impressed, and that's an audience that wanted UC to rock, for obvious reasons.

I wonder if JJ even understands why this reaction was inevitable. I'll bet Grunberg watched it twice.

Page48 said...

Oh, here we go. Another spy show with "Alias" roots, this time from Orci/Kurtzman.

And, it's guess what????? A procedural. Isn't that special? We may have a hundred spy shows to choose from next season, and yet nothing at all to choose from.

uncle111 said...

If ES is dependent upon UC...well, you get the picture.

uncle111 said...

I'm just now getting around to watching 5-0. I'm really liking it.

Page48 said...

Uncle, I checked out that opening segment of "Chase". Girl can handle herself. With moves like that, it's very appropriate that she took him down at the rodeo.

"Fringe" 3.01 was one of the best of the series so far. I'm cautiously optimistic that "Fringe" turned a corner somewhere in the 2nd half of S2 from which there can be no going back. Certainly tonight's episode showed what great promise this series has always had, but has so often failed to tap into.

uncle111 said...

Page,

I just finished Fringe. Serial Fringe is now implanted. I don't see anyway for them to get out of it now and survive.

uncle111 said...

I recently realized that the season finale of CA was a 2 parter. I missed the first part and didn't notice anything missing. I just watched the first part and didn't see that the 2 were necessarily connected. If the two parts of the two part finale not seeming connected doesn't show how stand alone the episodes are I don't know what does.

I also just watched a 5 minute segment of 1st season Alias. The use of music with action was masterful. Nothing on TV now comes close.

I'm liking Nikita, Chuck and others, and am looking forward to Human Target and others begining. It seems I'm going to have too many shows to keep up with. I guess it's a good thing Rubicon isn't available online.

Page48 said...

Uncle, the CA finale was a complete bust as far as I'm concerned. The guy dies, who cares? He pulls through, still who cares? Was that supposed to be a cliffhanger?

Rubicon is probably my fave right now. I just hope it leads somewhere. TRUST NO ONE!

I thought the 3rd "Nikita" was stronger than the 2nd episode.

I'm having the same problem you are. Too many shows to try to keep up with. I'm going to have to weed a few out. I just don't have time to watch everything.

Paul Kremer said...

I was definitely disappointed in the finale of Covert Affairs. I too noticed that the 2 hour finale consisted of 2 episodes that weren't connected at all. Seriously, USA has some of the best shows on television...how did they blow that? I'm also not sure I'm loving this whole love/hate thing between Perabo and this guy. I'll continue to watch, as overall I still enjoy it, but its definitely not one of the stronger spy shows on TV.

I'm loving Nikita though! The ONLY problem I'm having is how many times Shane West's character is going to have Nikita dead to rights and not pull the trigger! The first time was totally buyable, but how many times can that happen?

Page48 said...

Paul, exactly!

Michael keeps playing 'catch & release' with Nikita which cannot continue if the show is to have any credibility. She's supposed to be the best operative they've ever developed and yet she gets caught in the act every week. Not gonna fly for very long.

And, FWIW, I wish Michael would stop sounding like Chritian Bale's Batman all the time.

Page48 said...

Sooooooo, apparently ABC is still up for "Alias 2.0".

However, by my count, ABC already has 2 spy shows in the works, "True Lies" and "MI-5", so unless they plan on becoming the Spy Network (as opposed to the Alphabet Network), I wouldn't expect 2.0 any time soon.

Page48 said...

The vultures are circling already for JJ's dumbed-down spy pooper. Looks good on the dude.

Robetron said...

Has anyone else given "Not Your Ordinary Family" a chance? Michael Chicklis (Fantastic 4, The Shield) stars as an every-guy whose family seems to be splintering, until they each begin to develop super powers.

I have to say, they are handling it just about right. There is very little of the comic book campiness that seems to follow this genre, and the amusing parts are only of the type of humor we ordinary people might experience with newly discovered advantages.

This might get old quick without a long range plot, which it has. in two episodes, they have managed to weave a prototypical bad-guy organization developing in the background of a family trying to figure out what is happening to them.

The story is not overly heavy, and at times it feels a little bit "after-school special", but the last scene of episode 2 takes a very dark, and for me, unexpected, turn.

There is decent special effects for a made-for TV show, and it doesn't have a meandering problem like Heroes did.

While we wait for the networks to continue to disappoint us with the promise of the "next" Alias, may I recommend, "Not Your Ordinary Family" to take the edge off?

Check it out on Hulu. That's where I am catching it. Last night's episode was available on Hulu tonight. How's that for service?

-R.

Page48 said...

I've seen the first 2 eppies of "No Ordinary Family". I'm kinda on the fence about it. As you say, it has the after-school special feel to it. Mind you, I loved "The Incredibles", but I'm just not sure that that kind of story can be told as well with real actors as opposed to animation.

The first couple of eppies had a lot of "holy crap, look what I can do", so as that wears off, maybe they can develop an interesting storyline. I plan to keep watching until I get a better picture of whether or not it's going to be worth the time investment.

"Rubicon" is fulfilling my evil conspiracy-thriller needs very nicely as it heads for the S1 finish line in a couple of weeks.

Blinkx Remote is a site has tons of streaming TV shows available, including "Rubicon" (and "Alias", for that matter). I understand there is a time limit on streaming (some say 72 min.) so people suggest pausing the video, allowing it to buffer all the way through and then watching offline.

Is it legal to watch these streams? I have no idea, but Blinkx is a publicly traded company and this seems to be the jist of their business.

uncle111 said...

Not much going on around here. I am all caught up on Rubicon. Very good show. I don't really see them going beyond one season without API and Atlas going down and a new mystery with new groups starting up.

Page48 said...

Uncle, I think that 40th comment took about 2 weeks to appear. I suspect that's a record since LTA was hatched.

But, now that vacation is over, here's a disheartening story for those of us clinging to our "Alias" movie fantasies. I aired a few thoughts on Seriable earlier today.

I read somewhere recently that "Rubicon" was supposed to be more case-of-the-week next year, if it is actually renewed. I don't know why they would do that to such a deliciously serial show, which I consider to be the best show to debut in 2010. I know a lot of people found it slow and plodding, but I love the whole trust no one conspiracy stuff. I thought that having Will's next door honey-bunny turn out to be an operative (which I think we all wondered about) was the kind of twist that makes shows like "Rubicon" and "Alias" so much fun.

I love these brutally honest comments regarding JJ's lameass "Undercovers". These things had to be said.

uncle111 said...

Undercovers- BRUTAL comments...but true!!!

Page48 said...

I was a little underwhelmed by the first few episodes of "Chuck' this season. Too much Chuck/Sarah romance and not enough of what makes "Chuck" great. But I thought this week's installment was excellent.

This week NBC officially committed to a whopping 24 episode season for "Chuck", making it 5 episodes longer than last year's season. Not bad for a show that's been on the bubble since Day 1.

SRM said...

From everyone's comments about Undercovers I've made no attempt to watch the pilot or catch up online. What a missed opportunity.

I stopped watching The Event after the first episode...not because it wasn't done well, but I just wasn't in the mood that second Monday to watch a mystery sci-fi drama. I'm going to blame that simply on the day of the week it's on.

Hubby and I are about halfway through season 2 of Chuck and loving it. Chuck's got to be one of the most likable characters out there.

uncle111 said...

I just saw a 247 on the plate of a car Nikita was driving. Reminds me of the 47 on a plate on Rubicon.

I still see my usual number of 47's. It's just too tiresome to report on all of them.

Page48 said...

I'm glad that "Nikita" is mixing it up a little, rather than just having her show up to ruin the weekly mission and nearly get caught by Michael, cuz that by itself just won't sustain the show for very long.

I thought this was a solid episode and it's nice to get involved in a good serial.

Speaking of serials, I'm still watching "The Event", but I've got it on a short leash. My TV plate is about as full as I want it already. Right now, "Nikita" and "The Event" are the only new shows I'm still watching.

uncle111 said...

I couldn't find the latest Nikita on Hulu or the official site. I did find it on another online TV site. It's turning out to be a very good series. I can't find the latest Fringe episode anywhere. Did they take a week off?

Page48 said...

Uncle, call off the search. "Fringe" 3.05 doesn't air till November 4th. Till then, FOX is all about baseball playoffs and the World Series.

For me, this year's WS is all about my man Vladdy Guerrero going to the WS for the first time. Unfortunately, it's not with my late great Montreal Expos, so it will have to be with your Texas Rangers.

BTW, you nabbed that 47th comment again.

Page48 said...

BTW, I can't tell whether CTV's site is geo-blocked in the US, but, if not, you can always catch up with "Nikita" here.

uncle111 said...

Page,

Thanks for the Fringe info.

I couldn't resist the 47th post.

I'm not a big team sport fan, though I grew up watching Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra play Yankee baseball on TV. I will probably have to break down and watch this WS. Everyone else in my family will probably soeak of nothing but that till it's over.

uncle111 said...

Page,

Here's where I watch what I can't find anywhere else:
http://watch-series.com

Page48 said...

I just gave watch-series.com a peek, and it seems to point to most of the same streams that Blinkx Remote does, mainly megavideo.com. Great source for catchups, especially if you have some time to kill at work.

Re: the WS, I'll be glued to every inning, but you may be more like my Mom, who watched every pitch of the Toronto Blue Jays World Series run in 1992 (since it was a first for Canada) and hasn't watched an inning of baseball since (despite the Jays winning again the next year).

uncle111 said...

They have introduced a bit of an Irina Derevko element into Chuck. Good move.

SRM said...

DO NOT GIVE ME ANY CHUCK SPOILERS!!! I'm only on season 3!!

Thank you. :)

uncle111 said...

SRM,
Sorry. I forgot. When you get there you will see that this bit of info did not effect anything for you one way or the other.

SRM said...

hehe ok good, thx :)

uncle111 said...

Besides Orci and Kurtzman, H5-0 has another Alias alum, Donald Thorin Jr., as director of photography.

Page48 said...

Uncle, you dug deep for that one.

Speaking of Orci/Kurtzman, FOX has ordered a pilot for their "Locke and Key", based on a graphic novel which I have absolutely NEVER heard of.

Page48 said...

Charlie Rose has Noomi Rapace ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") tonite. What a transformation from Noomi to Girl! I didn't even recognize her until she was introduced.

uncle111 said...

Is anyone still watching Undercovers?
I haven't even thought about it.

Page48 said...

Uncle, this pretty much sums up "Undercovers" viewership.

The good news for UC, though, is that JJ and Grunberg are probably glued to their sets, since it's not so hard to follow as that pesky "Alias".

SRM said...

I haven't watched a single eppy of Undercovers. I stopped watching The Event after the first episode, just wasn't in a good mindset for it.

BTW I'm thinking of being TBT Sydney (all black, pink wig) for my office's Halloween party tomorrow...most people prob wouldn't get it, but I think it would be kinda fun. :)

Page48 said...

SRM, since you're going as TBT Syd, you might as well drop a Mueller Device on your boss's desk and tell him you're taking a week off.

uncle111 said...

Well, I took a chance and got caught up on Undercovers. They may have waited too long to do it, but they have improved the show. The 5th episode still had the geek and the annoying agent, but the couple were more serious and were not so much the ones the humor was coming from. The 6th episode the annoying guy was not there at all, though the geek was, and the spyness of it was more serious and much better quality.

Will it last? I don't know. But if they had started out where they are now they'd have a fighting chance.

uncle111 said...

I forgot- I noticed a 47.

Speaking of 47, my brother voted early and his voting confirmation number was 7447. I also just noticed that a printer that came with my computer years ago, but which I just started using because my better one pooped out, is model number 3747.

Page48 said...

Uncle, here's a dude who agrees with you re: UC 1.06. Still, it was a series low ratings-wise. I haven't seen it, but I guess maybe I should make arrangements.

uncle111 said...

My antivirus gave me a report about an attack on my computer that it prevented. It was a high threat level. It gave the source computer for the attack as, believe it or not, 47.47.47.2

Page48 said...

Guest starring in this week's "Chuck", Timothy Dalton's character actually gets off a line about "Alias".

uncle111 said...

Just watched this week's Chuck. Did you notice this was Season 4 Episode 7? Loved the direct mention of Alias. And the music toward the end of the episode was a lot like toward the end of the final episode of Alias.

Page48 said...

And, how fitting that the "Alias" love came from a former James Bond? I mean, after all, he should know!!

Page48 said...

Julian Sark working for JJ again in tonight's "Undercovers". It must make him long for the old days. Makes me long for the old days.

Page48 said...

It wasn't Alias-y enough? Well, no freaking kidding!

So, indeed, can we get that "Alias" reboot now?...or at least a decent facsimile?

Page48 said...

Another pilot available for viewing on AMC, the good guys who gave us the delicious "Rubicon".

This one is "The Walking Dead". Yeah, sure it's a zombie thingy based on something (a book, a comic, I'm not sure). First eppie features Lennie James (of "Jericho" and more recently, "Human Target"). I always like that guy, whatever he shows up in.

Personally, I can't say no to these survivalist shows, whether it's body snatchers, zombies, deadly viruses, or killer plants. So, yes, I watched the pilot and it was really pretty good TV. It's not played for laughs, it's "dead" serious.

Like "Rubicon", if you choose to watch the pilot on their website, you'll have to find some other way to watch after that.

"Nikita" is really scratching an itch for me this season. "Covert Affairs" couldn't do it, "Undercovers" didn't come close. I wish they'd go for the weekly cliffhangers like "Alias" did. It is a little predictable, though, and it will be interesting to see if they can break out of that pattern eventually.

Next week (Nov. 11), "Burn Notice" resumes. I can't even remember how it left off. That's the thing about a split season.

Page48 said...

Wow, some nice candid talk from an insider on why UC failed so miserably.

How can anyone be so out of touch with reality and have such a (presumably) high paying gig?

uncle111 said...

Page- Those are VERY candid comments- and seem to me to be very accurate.

OK- between 5-0 and Nikita this week we have had 2 dead Russian women named Irina, one of them an agent.

Page48 said...

Uncle, can you believe I saw that "Nikita" and didn't make the Irina connection? Dang, is "Alias" so long ago that it's fading from my memory? Say it ain't so.

Speaking of "Nikita" and speaking of "Alias" and speaking Lennie James (as I did a couple of comments back), here's some interesting news. Michael Vartan (whose career post "Alias" has sucked) has apparently completed a movie which may actually be decent.

The flick is called "Colombiana" and is an action thriller written by the guy (Luc Besson) who gave us the original 1990 version of "Nikita" as well as the more recent Liam Neeson thriller, "Taken".

"Colombiana" also stars Zoe Saldana, who most will know as Uhura from JJ's version of "Star Trek", as well as the main blue girl in "Avatar". Also starring is the aforementioned Lennie James and Max Martini, who many of us will remember from "The Unit".

Note the observation about Jen's career path in the article about "Colombiana". Looks like we're not the only ones lamenting JG's sagging post-"Alias" career. Too bad she won't do anything about that.

uncle111 said...

I just did a Google search for Rubicon to find out when 2nd season starts and saw a Vanity Fair article link that indicates Rubicon will not have a second season.

Page48 said...

Yupper, Uncle, pretty ridiculous decision on the part of AMC and the viewers who chose not to view.

Robetron said...

I'm changing my mind about Nikita. I have been catching up recently, and it seems to be getting better all the time. I think Alex might be more compelling than Nikita, but whatever... the stories are good, the acting is superb, while the sets all apparently enjoy the same stain on the floor, but I can over look that for all the action that pounds the screen.

Anyone else have a change of heart?
-R

uncle111 said...

Robetron,
I've like Nikita from the beginning, but I do think it is getting even better.

Page48 said...

"Nikita" is the best of the new fall shows, IMO. In fact, I have a hard time coming up with a close 2nd.

They are making the effort to mix things up, instead of just having Nikita mess with the weekly mission, which is what she promised in the pilot.

Escalating the degree of danger for Alex each week is a very important element. It's what puts the thrill in thriller, because I never really worry about Nikita herself. She seems to be the untouchable one, but all manner of bad things could happen to Alex inside.

Last week's ending was particularly good, I thought, with bad dude trying to entice Nikita into joining forces with him.

It's a good show and thankfully got a full season order. I just wish it was on on Wednesdays, since Thursdays are getting a little crowded with "Fringe", "Nikita", and now the return of "Burn Notice" tonight.

Page48 said...

A little Marshall Flinkman on "Fringe" tonight. "Alias" writers for tonight's episode, as well.

uncle111 said...

The latest (and lastest?) episode of Undercovers started out VERY much like an episode of Alias. Don't know how much more of it will be like this, but it was like I was watching a lost/new episode of Alias.

WHY, WHY, WHY COULDN'T THEY DO THAT FROM THE BEGINNING????

Page48 said...

I prattled on with Roco about UC's demise over at Seriable.

He kinda asked the same question you're asking. Why did they wait?

Page48 said...

Oops! I lied, "Fringe" did not have "Alias" writers last night. They were co-exec. producers, but they have an episode coming up (3.09).

uncle111 said...

Do we know how many UC episodes will air before it's gone? I just finished the latest. They have introduced a serialized element- a conspiracy, possibly inside the government, or else outside with people inside.

Page48 said...

Uncle, I believe NBC plans to show the 5 remaining episodes, probably ending in December.

uncle111 said...

If the final 5 are this good I will miss the show. NERDS!!

I have to report all triple 47s. One of my customers had me ship to their PO box. The box # is 2471 and their tracking number has 2 47s in it.

Page48 said...

It's not as if UC had ANY competition in the Wednesday time slot, which makes its failure so much more glaring.

Cancellation is leading to the usual cries of racism in America, but there's no way it failed because of black leading characters. Try telling Denzel Washington or Will Smith that the world isn't ready to embrace black actors. Or Morgan Freeman or Eddie Murphy. The argument is ridiculous but entirely predictable.

uncle111 said...

Let's see- there are approximately 40 million blacks in the US. How many of them were not watching UC? Are they racist?

Page48 said...

"Who do you work for, you pretty little girl?", aka Ric Young, guest stars on the Nov. 15th episode of H50.

uncle111 said...

Can't wait for 5-0.

Burn is supposed to be available online the day after it airs. The new season was supposed to air Nov.11th, but I still can't find it anywhere.

Now to sting Christmas lights on the roof.

Page48 said...

Now, THIS is a movie I have high hopes for. Trailer out in 2 days.

Page48 said...

But, long before "Cowboys & Aliens" sees the light of day, there's more Narnia coming. Me, I like the Narnia flicks.

uncle111 said...

Page,

My wife wrote her Master's thesis on the Chronicles of Narnia back in 1978, so we're a little partial to the Narnia films ourselves:)

Page48 said...

This being Wednesday, we have the first trailer from "Cowboys & Aliens", written in part by "Alias" (Orci/Kurtzman) and "Lost" (Damon Lindelof) personnel.

Not exactly HD, but a trailer nevertheless.

uncle111 said...

Well, so what did we think of the new HT?

Page48 said...

I like what their new filthy rich boss lady did with their run down office.

I notice that Chance's FBI honey from last year got killed on H50 this week.

HT, to me, is very much like "Burn Notice", in that it's mostly a guy and his buddies helping the helpless each week, with just a touch of bigger picture story added here and there.

Page48 said...

When I saw this scene with Olivia last night, I was immediately transported back in time to this scene with Sydney.

Robetron said...

Man... I can't keep up.

Burn Notice is back. I missed it. Human Target is back. I missed it.
Nikita is worth watching, but I'm behind in seeing it.
I still watch Smallville, but I'm several episodes behind there too.
I enjoy No Ordinary Family, but I miss it every week.
House has returned from a three week layover in rerun-land, and, of course, I missed that too.
I keep hearing about Rubicon, but I have not found a way to see any of it.
I'm assuming this week's Chuck was not a rerun, so I guess I have some catching up there too.

Where do I file for a break from responsibilities and jobs?

Page48 said...

Since "Rubicon" was cancelled, it seems that its online presence has vanished. Even the free-preview-pilot is no longer available anywhere that I can see.

Only option I know of now is EZTV, or wait for DVD's.

Page48 said...

Ouch. Come January, FOX is dumping "Fringe" in the old Friday night "Dollhouse" slot. That's where they sent "Dollhouse" when they realized it was going to pretty much fail miserably.

uncle111 said...

I'm actually a little worried about HT. Since they have up the production budget and the money available to the team, and added a new team member I'm concerned the dynamics may move away from some of the things we liked about the show- 3 guys fighting for justice on a shoe string, and moments that had to be filled with clever dialog and relationship things may now be filled with catchy things or more action, sacrificing contrast.

I hope I'm wrong and that it doesn't adopt a production formula that drags the show into the standard mold.

Robetron- I am not as far behind as you are, but 3 weeks ago I thought there was no way I could keep up. I got caught up when several shows took breaks and now that Rubicon is gone, though I'd gladly trade if for something else, it will help...but only a little.

And, I guess that since Fringe is now in a format that we like that it is doomed.

Page48 said...

Uncle, it's pretty easy to spot the hand of FOX at work with "Human Target". Trying, I suspect, to tweak their demographic.

I read this unflattering review of the changes. Apparently, this guy has seen the first few eppies of the new season.

uncle111 said...

Page,

Thanks for the review. This is what I was afraid of- meddling with a winning format. The pressure to preform on a budget with occasional help from Chance's mysterious contracts from his mysterious past are now gone. And it sounds like the very cool action/fight scenes will be diluted. Big mistake.

Someone ought to sic Guerrero on the producers.

Page48 said...

"Alias" cancelled 5 years ago today. JFK cancelled 47 years ago today.

Coincidence???

Page48 said...

JJ puts Sawyer to work in MI4 and now hires Hurley for "Alcatraz", but apparently can't find a spot for JG anywhere.

uncle111 said...

A guy I used to fence with came in the store today to order a wedding ring. He left his office # and his cell #. They both had 47's in them. The time with that customer made me late to get my hair cut (it's been 6 weeks) so I called the place to tell them I was on my way. When I looked their phone number up it had a 47. The customer came back later to put the ring on his credit card (I didn't think to look at the number), and when I ran the card the time stamp on the receipt the machine printed out ended with 47 seconds. When the machine closed the batch for the day a little after midnight the time stamp on that also ended with 47 seconds. This guy has some serious 47 mojo going on.

Page48 said...

People are talking. But is Jen listening? I think not.

uncle111 said...

Page-

Great article! I wish she would read it and take it to heart.

uncle111 said...

I have to say that I liked the second HT episode. Several good dialogue moments ("You don't happen to need a tank, do you?" "Not at the moment."...."What happened to your glasses?" "They fell into a meat grinder."....Etc.)

The boss lady was a little annoying and in the way, but looks like she is realizing that she may nor be able to handle being close to this. Maybe this will be a dynamic that ends in her leaving latter this season, or beginning of next and they can be free of that dynamic.

I still see the new team member as taking away more from the show than she contributes.

Page48 said...

I was radio-surfing on the way to work this morning and caught a conversation between Glenn Beck and Brad Thor about Thor's latest novel, "The Athena Project".

Thor disclosed that a deal has been inked to bring TAP to the big screen.

Beck immediately suggested Jen for a role as one of the Athena black ops girls, and what followed was an "Alias" love-in between Beck and Thor, with a stinging (albeit tongue-in-cheek) rant by Thor against Ben Affleck for expediting the untimely demise of "Alias" (which they both agreed was one of the best shows EVER).

Sadly, we know that Jen, even if approached, would turn this down.

uncle111 said...

Page-

I remember Beck talking about Alias as one of the best shows back when Alias was still on. I'm glad they talked about it. I bet sales of the DVDs will go up as a result! Hopefully this will shake it up a little and some of them will start thinking about doing something.

Page48 said...

Feel free to cast a vote and leave a comment on Roco's "Seriable" poll, asking "Who Is Your All-Time Favorite JJ. Abrams Serialized TV Heroine?"

Sydney could use our help.

SRM said...

82% for Olivia, are you kidding me?!?

Page48 said...

SRM, truth is stranger than fiction.

uncle111 said...

I just brought Olivia down to 69%

Very few votes so far.

uncle111 said...

Have all shows but Chuck and The Event gone on vacation?

Page48 said...

Uncle, I think "The Event" is now gone for 3 months while they figure out what to do with it.

"Nikita" returns with a new episode tomorrow night, along with "Fringe". "Undercovers" begins burning off its final few episodes tonight.

Another week or two and it's nothing but "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

uncle111 said...

Well, at least Robetron will get a chance to catch up.

uncle111 said...

I joined Brad Thor's forum and put in a word for JG to be in his movie, and gave a plug for LTA.

Page48 said...

Thor's certainly on board. Said on Beck's program (kidding I'm sure) that he would double whatever the studio offered her if she would sign on for his movie.

uncle111 said...

I heard some of that interview, but tuned in after they talked about Alias. I picked it up on Beck's website later. They were hopped up about it. I loved it.

Page48 said...

Bonus Christmas episode for us fans of "Warehouse 13". Who knew? Not me.

And, the "Doctor Who" Christmas Special featuring my favourite Doctor (so far), Matt Smith.

And, while Brad Thor pleads with Santa Claus to bring him Jennifer Garner for the big screen version of his novel, "The Athena Project", let's cast our memories back 5 years ago this December, when Sydney found herself stranded (until April) on a cargo ship named....wait for it...."Athena".

Is someone trying to tell us something??? Hmmmmm!

uncle111 said...

Page,

I was involved in a little back and forth with Brad Thor and a couple of others on Brad Thor's site about being named Brad and he posted a related picture. I Photoshopped him into that picture and pasted it into a relpy
with a quote from your post above.

uncle111 said...

I posted this on Brad Thor's forum today.

Page48 said...

Uncle, I like the matching outfits. Very suave.

Yeah, I think WE've all decided, but has anyone contacted Jen's agent?

Ya know, we just got done watching "Salt" this summer, and now my TV is plastered with ads for Angelina's NEXT thriller, "The Tourist" with Johnny Depp.

Meanwhile, Jen, in her first attempt at drama since "The Kingdom", can't come up with anything more compelling than playing a prescription-druggie plotting with her married pharmacist boyfriend to murder his wife, in "Better Living Through Chemistry" Oh, pullleease, Jen, you're killin' me.

Found this big write-up on Melissa George's and her new business venture on an Aussie website.

uncle111 said...

I bet you haven't seen this JG video
.

uncle111 said...

Well, so far the only thing that disappoints me about HT is the annoying new boss and the annoying new operative.

Page48 said...

Uncle, I did read that Jen was going to be on Martha's show, but Martha isn't what I would consider must-see-TV. I have no problem with Jen doing fluff like this, I just wish she would get her career in order before it's over for her.

I missed this week's HT, but it's rerun on Sunday nights here so I'll catch up tomorrow (well, later today actually).

This week's "Fringe" was excellent, IMO. Too bad they waited until half way thru S2 to get this thing in gear.

Olivia is slaughtering Sydney in Roco's poll, but I'm not surprised. First of all, most readers of his "Seriable" blog arrive there directly from "Fringebloggers", and then there is also the old rule of politics which basically says that the advantage at election time goes to the incumbent. With "Alias" and "Lost" both in the rear view mirror, Olivia is clearly the incumbent.

I had a true "Alias" moment at work this week. I came back from lunch and the secretary had a CD playing in her computer. The tune??? Joni Mitchell's "River". I almost cried. Oh, the memories.

uncle111 said...

Page-

I'll catch Fringe online on Sunday. I did HT and Burn today.

I actually enjoyed the MS video. JG seems like a normal person there. I hope she is.

Love that song. Getting caught off guard like that would get me too...well I wouldn't even have to be off guard.

I think everyone on Thor's forum, of Thorum as they call it, would like to see JG in the Athena Project movie.

Page48 said...

Yeah, every time I've seen Jen on talk TV, she seems pretty grounded. I like her, but I seem to want more for her than she wants for herself.

Gratuitous Rolling Stones clip here (I'm surfing Youtube). I often hear the Stones referred to as the greatest Rock 'n Roll band of all time, but I've always maintained that no one does Country Music better than Mick and the boys.

Time is flying. I watched the FOX News special on the 30th anniversary of Lennon's murder last night. I remember the instant that I heard the news on radio minutes after it happened. I was lying in bed listening to the radio on a Monday night, waiting for sleep to come. I remember the DJ's name and the words she said at the time. At first, she announced that he had been shot twice in the back and taken to hospital. Two or three tunes later, she announced that Lennon was dead. I remember she played Elton John's "Funeral For a Friend". At that time I thought 40 was pretty old and now I think he was just a kid when he died.

And, while we're talking about Joni Mitchell, how about some Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Neil Young, Ronnie Hawkins, Ron Wood, Ringo Starr and The Band doing Bob's "I Shall Be Released" from 1976's "The Last Waltz". I remember when the promos for that ran almost every 30 seconds on radio.

Page48 said...

I don't often envy my ancestors. I mean I think I've got it pretty easy compared to my great grandparents. But, one aggravation they never had to deal with is wet snow on the satellite dish.

For the uninitiated, the mathematical formula goes like this: satellite dish + wet snow = no TV until a) snow melts and falls off, or b) I go outside, climb up and clean off the snow.

Option "a" is preferable but can take several hours, and may actually require a blast of morning sunlight.

Option "b" is much quicker but involves a certain degree of personal risk, i.e. broken back, broken neck, broken you-name-it and the potential to not be found unconscious and lying on the ground until the following morning when the neighbours go to work.

Perhaps cable would have been a better bet.

uncle111 said...

Undercovers- I love the Alias sound track!

SRM said...

Son of a...hubby and I are now completely caught up with Chuck, only to find out last night that the next new eppy isn't until Jan. 17. Dammit!!

Page48 said...

SRM, you shoulda saved a few eppies of "Chuck" for the Christmas break, cuz there's not a lot on after this week until sometime in January, if not even later for some shows.

W13's Christmas special airs tonite, but I have to wait until it's available on the internet. Based on the events of this season's finale, the previews don't make sense to me, so I assume it's a standalone taken out of the timeline of the show.

Page48 said...

Agent Rachel guests on "Criminal Minds" tonite. This time, she's FBI.

Page48 said...

"Limitless" looks more interesting than Bradley Cooper's usual pablum.

SRM said...

Sunday night I sat down and watched the first three episodes of Alias season 1. It's the first I've watched Alias in almost a year and a half, and I can honestly say that it's just as awesome as I remembered. More, actually considering the crap that's come out since then, ah well.

On a separate note last night I baked some Christmas cookies for an office party. I swear this wasn't on purpose, but the dough for the peanut blossoms ended up making 47 cookies.

Page48 said...

SRM, were those cookies for the SD6 office party or the CIA office party?

uncle111 said...

SRM,

That's a good one.

I just send a message to someone on eBay who sent something not as described. When I was finished I notice I had 476 characters left for use in my message.

Then yesterday I had an order from someone in Canada. Their CC had a 47, their phone # had a 47, and their bank's phone number had a 47.
The triple 47's keep coming my way.

Robetron said...

Good gravy!
Nikita keeps getting better and better with every episode.

Page48 said...

Robetron, agreed. Sadly in a momentum sucking move, "Nikita" doesn't return until January 27th.

Two hour season finale of "Burn Notice" Thursday night.

Robetron said...

The delays and hiatuses we all hate are par for the course. They all do it.

Waiting to watch each new episode of any TV show, and suffering through 20 minutes of drama-stealing commercials is awful. The "limited" interruptions online are better, but it still has the same effect.

Plus, you can often watch more than one episode at a time if you are fortunate enough to catch it before they take it offline, but each show has their own set of "rules." (House on FOX waits a full seven days to release the new episode, while Chuck on Hulu is available the next day, and Smallville has been terrible about only making one episode available for seven days before replacing it with the next - if you missed it, too bad, so sad.)

Watching them on DVD, without commercials, one right after the other is THE best way. BUT! You have to wait for at least 6 months for the box set to be released after the whole season has ended, and everyone else know what happens and spoilers abound.

Unless you have TiVo or some equivalent, watching favorite TV shows can be highly irritating. Even then, you have service-provider outages, broadcast foul-ups, and presidential speech(lie)-making interruptions.

Delays and interruptions are unavoidable. We might as well get used to it.

Robetron said...

Burn Notice connection:

I recently rented the fist disk of the single season Western spoof Bruce Campbell did in 1993 - "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr."

I think one reviewer on the Netflix website hit it right-on when he said (paraphrasing), "Sometimes all you want is to simply be entertained. This series does just that."

It has all of Bruce Campbell's trademark tough-guy silliness in a western setting with an occasional Flash Gordon view at technology and a dab of the Army of Darkness supernaturalism (nothing too overwhelming).

The special effects are typical for the early 90's TV shows (at best), but its so much fun, you do not mind overlooking it. It's rarely laugh-out-loud funny, but for someone who likes humor to be a little more subtle, it will keep you grinning the whole time.

There is plenty of action with fisticuffs flying every few minutes. Bad guys are shooting as often as possible. there are train robberies, train wrecks, explosions, a burgeoning romans between the semi-mad scientist's (the actor who played Gomez Adams) daughter, the seduction of a femail entertainer with plenty of double entendres and much more.

I give it two thumbs up, and I recommend it to all Bruce Campbell fans.
-R

Robetron said...

Ha!

That should say "burgeoning ROMANCES"

Page48 said...

Speaking of Bruce Campbell, the BN prequel movie about Sam Axe's last mission as a Navy SEAL is officially on, with filming beginning in Spring 2011.

I wonder if Michael Weston will still narrate.

Page48 said...

Ha, burgeoning Romans. You gotta watch out for those guys. I love it.

Page48 said...

First trailer for "Limitless".

Is it possible that someone from "Alias" goes on to do something half decent post-"Alias"? Is that even allowed??

Page48 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Page48 said...

I deleted the previous post cuz it was meant for another blog. Problem is, "Seriable" doesn't have 'preview' capabilities, so I have to come to a Blogger site to preview my posts for other blogs.

Since I'm here, though, I haven't watched the BN season finale yet, but, having read a couple of reviews (I can't resist the spoilers), I gather they have actually decided, after 4 seasons to retire the "burn" and move on. Sounds to me like they just aired their "Phase One". I'm in favour of that because it was getting long in the tooth. Question is: what now?

I'm kinda saving up some of my viewing for the Christmas holidays cuz they're always a TV wasteland, but I think BN will probably get watched tonite.

Page48 said...

Now I know how Syd felt when she woke up a couple of years later.

Here's a preview for episode 3.11 of "Undercovers"

uncle111 said...

Catch this one before they kill the audio:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voCOJxtVgis

And give this a try:
http://family.go.com/santas-list/video/211005-samaritanarts/

uncle111 said...

OK, so on the Undercovers article:

"For those who haven’t been following the show for the last 3 seasons"

"Part Mr. & Mrs. Smith, part Bourne Identity"

How did this guy get this job, and how does he hang on to it? Could he even be sworn in to testify to matters of fact in a court case?

Page48 said...

Uncle, I couldn't believe that article. It's one thing to make a typo, indicating S3 instead of S1, but then to prattle on about previous seasons of "Undercovers" is just flat-out cwazy!

That clip of Syd in the red dress from 3.1 is burned into my retina. Seems like yesterday that I watched it for the first time. I can't freakin' believe it was more than 7 years ago.

Looks like ABC is officially committed to bringing "Alias" on board. Not OUR "Alias" of course, but a Marvel Comic named "Alias" (that I've never heard of). And for obvious reasons, they'll give the show a different name, "AKA Jessica Jones".

If she wears an outfit like what's shown in the picture, I predict a short-lived series.

uncle111 said...

Page,

That clip has always been one of my favorite parts of the series. The clip is uncut from the DVD and shows the broad range of Sydney Bristow's life and gut wrenching emotions, and what an incredible actress JG can be.

Page48 said...

Uncle, "can be" are the operative words.

The only TV series I have ever rewatched is "Alias", a feat I accomplished in 2006, begun immediately following "All the Time in the World".

During my 10 days off from now until the New Year, I am going to begin my 2nd series rewatch. For the entire calendar year of 2011, I will be following along with Nikki Stafford's Great Buffy Rewatch. Nikki is the author of a number of TV show companion books, including books on "Alias" and "Lost". And, she's a good Canadian girl, but that's beside the point.

Between the fall of 2009 and the spring of 2010, I watched all 144 episodes of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer". A few short years ago I would have scoffed at the idea of watching a show about a teenage girl doing battle with vampires. But then something happened. In my search for great TV to fill the void left behind by the early demise of "Alias", and thanks only to the Internet, I came across a highly acclaimed, but very short-lived series, "Firefly".

I saw Joss Whedon's name tossed around with that other boy genius, JJ Abrams. Shortly after my tour through "Firefly", a new Whedon show was announced. "Dollhouse" was a huge disappointment out of the gate, but got a lot more interesting after cancellation was announced.

What I needed now was more conclusive evidence that Whedon was truly gifted and that "Firefly" wasn't merely a charming fluke. My research (aka Googling) led me to Buffy. To find out if Whedon was legit, I decided that I needed to check out BtVS, so, about a year ago, I dove in head first and didn't come up for air for 6 months.

With Buffy, Whedon created a community of young characters and their mentor, Giles. They were the self-proclaimed Scooby Gang. This community embarked on a 7 year journey full of friendship and heart and loyalty and adventure and fantasy and love and heart-breaking loss and desperation and perseverance and forgiveness and acceptance and redemption and sacrifice, and the kind of love we all could use more of.

Whedon managed, in the midst of an outrageously unbelievable show, to touch upon every emotion we have in our repertoire. There were scenes along the way that actually left me weeping like a baby. Scenes that I would rewind and watch again and again to appreciate the humanity and the beauty and the heroism.

There were weak episodes, to be sure, but the best episodes of Buffy were memorable and iconic, silly one moment and remarkably beautiful the next.

Unlike "Alias", Buffy spawned an excellent spinoff, "Angel", which itself ran for 5 seasons and featured many characters who first appeared in BtVS.

I think that anyone in LTA land (and I realize there are few of us with the stamina to remain standing 4 years after the fact) who are even casual fans of Buffy, should consider joining in Nikki's rewatch.

I now list myself among the legion of Buffy fans. I can't say how much I will participate in the comments during this rewatch, but I'll be there for every episode, gaining what I can from the commentary of the guest bloggers that Nikki has invited. This will be the first time that I've tagged along on this kind of exercise, so I'm looking forward to a new way of watching a TV show.

Maybe someday, she'll even do an "Alias" rewatch. Now, wouldn't that be something?

Robetron said...

I made an honest effort to get into Buffy after all the talk associating it with the greatness that is Alias. I watched the first season, irritated that my intelligence would have to endure the insults in order to get to the second season, when all the Buff-fans said it really got good.

I plunged into the second season. First episode, no improvement. Into the second, third, fourth, still little or nothing appealing. I never bought into the love affair NOT happening between Angel and Buffy, and even when they seemed to make strides toward coming together, I found myself not caring.

Time passed and I found other interests in TV watching. I never returned to finish season 2. That length of time, and I still don't believe the characters could be real people... I just don't see what everyone seems to like about it.

To me, its typical unrealistic girl-power, teen tripe aimed at nothing more than selling more bubble gum between segments. The absolute worst of Smallville (the Stride gum infomercial) still had more sense of actual danger and drama than anything I found in Buffy.

It literally bothers me that people write about Buffy (this long after its cancellation) so longingly, as if an old friend had move away. Even people like Page 48, whose TV opinions I'd hold higher than anyone else I know outside the cyber world, sounds as though the fair remembrance of Buffy is in the class of Alias.

I just don't get it. What am I missing? I want to like the show even more now, but the prospect of going back for more foolishness when there is many other things I believe to be worth the time, just runs against my grain.

Someone say something to change my mind and give it another chance.

Page48 said...

Ha Ha, Robetron, I feel your pain. TV shows can be very polarizing.

When I watch Buffy, I can't help but realize that I'm watching "Alias" growing in the petrie dish. But, "Alias" aside for now, I'm midway through S3 of "Veronica Mars", and I gotta say that, rather than being distant cousins, BtVS and VM are sisters separated at birth. VM, IMO, is simply BtVS with the supernatural aspect filtered out.

These shows both chronicle the adventures of cutie blonde teen girls, raised in a broken home under the California sun. They attend high school in the beginning and after a few seasons, it's off to college. The blonde cuties carry enormous, adult-strength responsibility, while the adults themselves are mostly incompetent, irresponsible, or blissfully ignorant of what's going on around them. If you want a murder solved or an apocalypse thwarted, call the nearest blonde cutie teen girl.

The girls do all of their good work in their own back yard, seldom, if ever leaving their own time zone. The rich kids they go to school with are portrayed as empty vessels. The dialogue in both shows is snappy and clever and the girls are blessed with an endless supply of timely sarcasm.

So, what I'm trying to say is that VM, which is a show that you thankfully turned me on to, and which we both enjoy, is simply a retooled version of BtVS. You could argue that Veronica is more mature than Buffy and that's a valid point. Buffy didn't even drive a car, wasn't financially savvy like VM, and came to her line of work reluctantly. Still, it's clear that VM was created to appeal to Buffy's audience, who had witnessed the end of that show a year earlier.

Now, getting back to "Alias", a much more adult-themed show, but which also felt Buffy's influence. Cute older girl, raised in a broken home for the most part under California skies. Like Buffy, Sydney was a reluctant hero (at least once she realized she was working for the wrong team). She wanted out and threatened to walk away, as did Buffy. Both longed for normal lives, but normal was out of reach for both of them. Their particular skills were needed to save a world that wasn't even aware that it was in danger. Both girls lived secret double lives, with only a few close associates knowing the true nature of their work. Both girls gained a sister several seasons into the show. Both shows dealt with prophecy and Chosen Ones. Both shows had elements of immortality and dealt with themes of power falling into the wrong hands and kick-ass girls saving the world. Both shows dealt with mysterious organizations like Prophet 5 and The Initiative. And, what was there about that fateful night in Svogda that didn't look like a typical school night back in Sunnydale?

To sum up, I would say that, while BtVS employed a completely different approach (and one that won't appeal to all viewers), it told essentially the same story as "Alias". They both came down to the age old story of good vs. evil
(and the grey areas that exist between the two) and the reluctant heroines that sacrificed their own dreams (or at least put them on hold indefinitely) so that others could live theirs.

Just to address one other point you made. It doesn't bother me that people write longingly about BtVS years after it ended, but what does bother me is that almost NO ONE writes longingly about "Alias". Sydney is in greater danger today of being the Forgotten One than being the Chosen One.

When Roco's "Seriable" poll shows Sydney as a close 3rd (out of 3) to Kate from "Lost" and neither in the same hemisphere as Olivia, I shake my head at the cluelessness. And, I find no consolation in the fact that, the better "Fringe" gets, the smaller its audience gets. It all makes sense till it doesn't.

uncle111 said...

Even though Page48 drew dynamic similarities between VM, BtVS and Alias, everything else said about the first two shows makes me think I wouldn't be the least interested in them. Doesn't mean they aren't good shows, just not what I like.

Page48 said...

Uncle, what you said is fair enough. There's a lot to be said for personal taste.

One thing I notice right now is a trend away from the "real" hero, whether it's Sydney or Buffy, and in favour of the comic book style of super hero. There is endless chatter these days about the new "Wonder Woman", there was the recent "Kick Ass" movie, and we have "Iron Man 2" and "The Avengers", both of which include Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow.

In other words, while the late 90's and early 2000's featured so-called "ordinary" girls as butt-kicking heroes, we're now into a period of costumed super-heroes. I'm okay with the make-believe types, especially in movies, but if I had a say in the matter when it comes to TV, I would definitely lean toward the "real" characters like Sydney or VM or Nikita (although we might debate whether or not Nikita is a hero) or Buffy or Olivia. I just like the idea of real people with real lives stepping up to make a difference.

In my humble opinion, comic book super heroes are more at home in the realm of block buster movies, but, again, it comes down to personal preferences.

Robetron said...

The thing I love about the costumed super heroes (Iron Man, X-Men, Smallville, etc.) is that they are written as realistic personalities (well, for the most part) trying desperately to deal with huge moral dilemmas while facing the increased responsibilities that come with their advantages (that often seem like curses).

That, I think, is precisely what I am NOT getting from Buffy. Nearly every person on the show is a caricature designed for comic relief. Even the lead is too often portrayed that way, and when she isn't, she doesn't see the ridiculous behavior of the others as at all strange.

Since you made such a compelling parallel between VM and BtVS, I'll go back to Hulu and see where I left off in S-2 and try to pick up on the snappy wit and the more human-struggle elements.

If I am distracted by rubber monster masks, a librarian supposedly "training" a power-enhanced super-natural killer (whose body language in a fight is unconvincing at best), not to mention the freak-of-the-week problem that Fringe also had (but far more believably), well, I'll consider misled that it "gets better in season 2."

Smallville, too, had a rough first couple seasons, so I can appreciate the need to see things from a broad perspective. Tom Welling, however, did a decent job at portraying a super powered being struggling to live a normal life as a conflicted teen. The characters of father and son Luthor were so well acted that every episode that focus on them shined above the others leaving me to believe they were what made the show last through the worst of the writing issues. I fear Buffy does not have those touchstones, but I have not seen everything there is to consider.

I am determined to see it your way Page48. If by S-3 I cannot, well, I'll just mark it up as a preference thing, and my view of your TV opinion will not suffer.

-R

Robetron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Page48 said...

I actually think it was pretty clever to avoid the title "Superman". I think that a lot of people would have felt that they already knew that story and would never have given "Smallville" a chance back in 2001.

The FOTW format from the first 1.5 seasons of "Fringe" left me wondering why I even bothered tuning in. It's all I can do to tolerate the far-too-cartoonish Walter at the best of times, and when the show was rolling out one meaningless episode after another, I was nearly overcome by the stench of missed opportunity.

Thankfully, Bad Robot turned it into the serial it should have been from the beginning. The most recent episode broke with that new tradition, and the result was the weakest episode of S3, which was very bad timing in light of the upcoming 2 month hiatus. If you're disappearing for so long, the usual strategy is to leave fans with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger to ponder in your absence.

I was much more a fan of the Over There episodes which followed Olivia in Walternate's world, largely because of the absence of the Bishops, Walter in particular. I see Walter as the weakest link in the show. He's just a predictable barrage of food and fart jokes and lacks the gravitas that a character in this show should have, IMO.

FWIW, Buffy shares VM's traditional season-long story arc formula, but also like VM, there are a number of episodes which are pure standalone.

Page48 said...

Here's an article that claims that "Law & Order", canned after a 20 year run, deserves another chance. Oh, please.

I do have to agree that "Rubicon" deserves another chance, but not for the reasons cited. Simply because it was great TV, albeit great TV that nobody was watching.

uncle111 said...

Sure has been quiet here! How was everyone's Christmas?

Page48 said...

Christmas was as quiet as LTA.

Finally, we get the kick-off of S2 of "V" tonight, if we're calling 10 episodes a season these days.

Robetron said...

I don't know why I didn't notice or mention it before, but...

...the opening music for Human Target? Absolutely rocks.

The whole unspoken attraction between Chance and Ms. Pucci is cliche' and already as tiresome as her bellyaching every time the "team" take a broad perspective on "legal".

She knew what the deal was when they first saved her life, and when she first bought into the business of saving lives. I do hope they stop with it. It's too good of a show to be so... Moonlighting - not that Moonlighting was a bad show, but they pretty well covered this love-hate / boss-guywhogetsthejobdone thing as well as it can be covered.

I'm still lovin' me some Ames each week though. And I mean that in the most noble sense.

The stories are usually pretty good, and the action is superior to most anything else on TV. The only other criticism I have has to do with the narration of reactions. What I mean by that is, well... I'll illustrate.

Chance is fighting in close quarters with a bad guy who is trying to hurt "Maria." Every time she gets jostled, he cries out "Maria!"

Or, Chance is fighting with another bad guy in an abandoned drug refining house. The bad guy tossed chemical dust of some sort into Chances' face. Chance cries out, "My eyes!"

The writing is just a little too... what? I can't think a good way to describe the made-for-the-80's-TVness of it. But it only happens in a few spots, like the director isn't sure the viewer is smart enough to know what is happening, so he feels it necessary to have the characters tell us through dialog. It's a little insulting, I guess is what it is.

Even still, it's one of the best shows (left) on TV. The testosterone thrill ride, complete with excellent one-liners and richly unique characters to deliver them... it's just a good formula for a long lasting A-Team type show.

I ignore the little flaws and come back enthusiastically. Besides, in Robetron-world, Ames would be sad and disappointed if she didn't get to see me every week.

-R

Page48 said...

I find the whole back and forth with Chance and Ilsa is pretty annoying. Sure, without her, they wouldn't have a jet on standby or that kick-ass new computer setup, BUT, this whole burgeoning romance angle doesn't do it for me, any more than Peter and Olivia does anything for me on "Fringe".

Ames is a much better fit within their team, but Ilsa should remember that she was supposed to be the silent partner, not the whining bitch.

I'm dismayed that HT shows no inclination toward being a serialized show. I thought there were hints of that last year with Baptiste and glimpes of Chance's back-story, etc..,but even though Baptiste showed up earlier this year, it was just a case-of-the-week (another throwback to the 80's).

Very sporting of FOX to show back to back new eppies last week, though, during a period with absolutely no new programming to consume.

I watched the 2 hour debut of "The Cape" last night. Nothing to get excited about, IMO.

uncle111 said...

My only real disagreement with the HT comments is with the idea that Ames is really adding much to the show. I will say that when she is fixed up she is very pretty. She is one of the few women that I think looks as pretty with her hair up as down. Betond that I think it's just more distraction from the real story and a way to keep the show less serialized.

Page48 said...

Uncle, if I could trade Ames for a serialized format, she'd be gone in a nano-second.

Obviously, the chicks are on board to try to broaden the audience appeal, one of them (Ilsa) replacing the FBI babe (and Chance's potential squeeze) from last year, and the other may be FOX's attempt to ward off feminist letter-writers??

Page48 said...

I'm reminded of the old saying, "if you throw enough shit at the wall, some of it's bound to stick".

JJ, fresh from his "Undercovers" failure, seems bent on TV domination. Quantity, if not quality.

He's now flogging a new series conjured up by the "Alias" and "Fringe" writing team of Monica Breen and Alison Schapker.

According to this article, "Pulp" is supposed to be reminiscent of the movie "Pulp Fiction". That alone calls for a gigantic Red Flag on the play, IMO, since I think PF is a steaming load of typical Tarantino crap.

Another potential problem for me is the dreaded "crime drama" label tossed around in articles about this project. I don't do well with crime drama, so it's gonna need to be extra special crime drama for me to tune in more than once.

With Bad Robot involved, I assume there is a sci-fi element in there somewhere, which may be a saving grace. We saw how well "Undercovers" did without the usual JJ sci-fi mythology ingredient, and I would expect the same for "Pulp" unless it doles out something more than run of the mill cops and robbers.

uncle111 said...

This is off topic, but I would like to ask anyway. Does anyone here know where I can find thsi movie to watch online:
"The Legend of Silent Night" starring James Mason. I think it was a 1968 production.

Page48 said...

Wow, Uncle, that sounds like a tall order.

TIME has this description: THE LEGEND OF SILENT NIGHT (ABC, 9-11 p.m.). The life of Composer Franz Gruber, played by James Mason and narrated by Kirk Douglas. Adapted from a story by Paul Gallico.

Apparently shown on December 25, 1968, but doesn't seem to be available anywhere.

uncle111 said...

Page,

I posted it here because I figured if there was a chance that anyone could find it, you could.

uncle111 said...

I forgot, the only other thing I didn't agree with about Human Target was about the music. I thought last season's opening music rocked. This season's does not. For some reason they decided to remove the melody from the music. I remember that I used to find myself humming it. Now there is nothing to hum.

What were they thinking???