Thursday, 19 November 2009

Tale of the plot bunnies

Ok so, no new recaps because... I got inspired to write more fan fiction. Now it's really getting embarrassing. I'm considering counselling (or at least a 10-step programme to stop me demanding reviews from people).

This one's a work in progress. After the serious romance of my previous work, I decided to write a comedy. It's called Body Swap and yes, at this stage I'm considering changing my awful nick. Maybe repressed spinster? See the poll and as always, comments are appreciated.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Ignore the muse at your peril: the embarrasing story of the TV reviewer and the world of fan fiction

Where have I been the last few weeks? As embarrassing as it is for this satirical recapper to admit, I have been sidetracked by the world of fan fiction. Merlin fan fiction, to be accurate. In researching my rather scathing Merlin review recently, I wandered in to see what fans of the show were doing and... didn't wander out.

I was until recently denying to a friend that I would ever admit to this but nonetheless, here is the complete unvarnished truth: I got inspired to write fan fiction. Yes, the muse popped by my head and deposited a plot bunny and here is the result - posted under the unoriginal and inaccurate name of "Morgana21" - my first and possibly only piece of fan fiction, 'A Lion and a Unicorn'.

Feel free to comment. And if anyone has the time and inclination to give me constructive feedback chapter by chapter I'd be very grateful.

Hope to be back with more TV reviews soon.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Merlin: All hail the Great Slash Dragon

So, there's this show called Merlin and it's mostly made for kids. It's a rewritten Smallville set in a rather anachronistic Middle Ages where everyone bathes and Prince Arthur doesn't have songs written about him because he gloriously slaughtered several thousand people and then slept with his half sister. Guinevere and Merlin are servants, Morgana is the King's ward, Prince Arthur is the same age as Merlin and there's enough HoYay! to please even the biggest Smallville fan pining for the days of Michael Rosenbaum. By making all the characters friends and the same age, the show has managed to spawn an extraordinary amount of slash and shipper fan fiction; culminating in the dubbing of the dragon the "Great Slash Dragon" due to his frequent slashy pronouncements, such as "the half cannot hate that which makes it whole!".

The re-imagining of the Arthurian mythology doesn't bother me because the story has been so reworked over the past 1000 years as to be completely unrecognisable from the original and our definition of a hero has changed significantly since then (which explains why the raping, maiming, and pillaging is gone). The first season was also very enjoyable in a vaguely naff way and had a kick-ass season finale where Merlin kicked far more butt in one episode than Clark Kent has in 9 seasons of Smallville.

But season 2 has just started in the UK and the writers seriously need to pick up their game if they want to build on the positives from Season 1. Firstly there's been no pay off from the developments in Season 1. After such a great season finale, we should have seen some recognition of the journey the characters took in the last season. Instead the writers hit the reset button and created a new set of Season 2 characters: 'Merlin the Coward', 'Arthur the Idiot', 'Gwen the Fickle' and, most tragically, 'Morgana the Mysteriously Absent'.

Episode 1 seemed to have been written by slash fan fiction writers (oh look, Arthur has his shirt off again!) and took the characters' development back about 15 episodes (quite a feat when there's only been 13). When an 8 year old can pick the plot holes you've got to worry. The general consensus of all ages was that episode 2 was unbearably dull and consisted of long boring jousting scenes punctuated by painful conversations between Arthur and Guinevere. Not like episode 4, which contained long boring scenes of people being fed to CGI ROUS' (where's the Dread Pirate Roberts when he's needed?) punctuated by painful angst-ridden emo looks of anguish between Gwen, Lancelot and Arthur, all of whom incidentally have far more chemistry with Merlin than with each other. Hence the HoYay!

The bright spot in the season so far was Morgana's day out in 'The Nightmare Begins', an otherwise excellent episode marred by the very unwelcome appearance of 'Merlin the Coward'. Merlin decides not to tell Morgana his secret because....well... it was in the script. Merlin and Morgana had so much chemistry in this episode there are significantly more Merlin/Morgana shippers today than yesterday.

Pick it up guys. I, and a whole of heap of other children of all ages, will be watching. At least for a little while.

Homoeroticism, Yay!
Enjoy all the HoYay! fun with these great YouTube videos.
Warning: contains slash and inaccurate editing.

'One Way or Another' Arthur is going to get Merlin

Merlin's never gonna give Arthur up in this MerlinRoll!

Merlin and Arthur are all about Love, Sex and Magic, in this video with the classic comment, "How many sex faces can they possibly pull in a single series?", the answer to which of course is "many more, at least until Colin Morgan learns to portray pain without it looking like orgasm".

They 'ship themselves really. Merlin: where everyone has Hungry Eyes

Arthur's 'Already Gone' in this tribute to the Season 1 finale

Some serious Snow Patrol angst in this non-slash tribute to friendship, which bears a striking resemblence to slash.

Someone should have told the editor of this very serious Merlin video that this song is about sex...

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Holidays are for drinking games

Having been stuck on a tropical island in a dust storm and being reduced to the Stargate SG1 drinking game, I thought I would republish the rules. They're here.

Stargate SG1 drinking game

Take one drink anytime:
Jack says, "Fer cryin' out loud."
Jack says, “Bad example”.
Teal'c says, "Indeed."
Teal'c raises an eyebrow
Jack cuts off Sam in the middle of her technobabble
Jack mispronounces a technical or alien word
Someone makes a Wizard Of Oz reference
Jack and Daniel get into an argument over civil rights (Two sips for “But Jaaacck”)
Something splats against the gate's iris
A beautiful female alien falls in love with Daniel
One or more of SG1 gets shot (includes zats)
Jack makes a smart-ass comment to someone holding him prisoner or at weapon-point
Hammond uses the Red Phone
They start the Gate Self Destruct mechanism
Sam cries
Daniel speaks one of his ‘23/27 languages’
Someone says ‘Jaffa kree’
Someone says ‘Shal'kek nem'ron’ or ‘I die free’
Someone says ‘unscheduled offworld activation’ or variation thereof
Jack mentions fishing and/or his pond
Fraiser shines a light into someone’s eye
Daniel says “I have no idea” or “I don’t know”

2 drinks whenever:
The technician says ‘Chevron 7 LOCKED’
Silar gets injured and is then seen being patched up in the medical bay
SG1 walk through the gate armed to the teeth and Daniel says “we’re peaceful explorers”.
Daniel gets so excited about his explanation for something that he becomes incomprehensible
Daniel receives a "fatal" injury i.e. dies, nearly dies or they think he’s dead
Someone jokes about how Daniel always dies and/or they don’t believe he’s dead this time
Someone ascends or changes into an ascended being
Daniel loses all his clothes

Drink the whole nip when:
The point of the entire episode is that Daniel is always right

Monday, 14 September 2009

Why don't Australians watch sci/fantasy?

Is it because it's too intelligent and the average TV watcher isn't smart enough? Is it because it takes too much work?

Join the discussion over at The Tribal Mind.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Chuck me Tuesdays: Chuck versus the Imported Hard Salami

Score: A
So in this analogy, does that make Bryce a smuggled penis?

Continuing the “everyone around us has something to hide” theme, Chuck is ordered to investigate Lou’s smuggler ex-boyfriend with predictably disastrous results. Bryce comes back into his life in a somewhat unexpected fashion.

Anyone who has over-achieving friends will know the affect they can have on your ambition. In the under-achieving world of Buy More, Chuck is the man they all aspire to be so if he’s on to his second hot girlfriend then…Morgan decides to pursue romance with surprising (if eventual) success. Lester’s attempts are slightly less accomplished but much funnier. Sarah is moderately awesome.

The good
The scene in the sandwich shop helps us understand why two awesome chicks would be interested in a computer repairman from a retail store and the scene between Lester and Sarah in the Weinerlicious was great.

The B(uy More) Plot was enjoyable mostly due to Julia Ling as the criminally-underused Anna Wu.

But most of all, Chuck delaying their torture by using his flashes to turn the bad guys against each other shows just how intelligent he can be under pressure.

The bad
The writers follow up last week’s contrivance with a contrivance in the “timer” on the “bomb” that doesn’t actually make much sense if you think about it because, when the timer finished counting down, wouldn’t Bryce die of oxygen starvation?

The Chuckalicious
Smoking. Hot. Kisses. And two of them. I mean, in the list of best TV kisses, Chuck and Lou should rank in the Top 10 but Chuck and Sarah are Top 3 at the least. Excuse me for a minute while I watch it again…

The geekalicious
"He had me at pastrami." Hah!

Chuck me Tuesdays: Chuck versus the Truth

Score: A-
Chuck is enamoured of the adorable Lou (played adorably by the adorable Rachel Bilson) but how to woo the sandwich maker when you have a fake girlfriend? A fatal truth serum, fake sex life, nuclear codes, and a tiny Russian gymnast all feature in Chuck’s battle with the truth.

The good
Once again, Chuck's natural heroism comes to the fore. Faced with the seemingly-inevitable death of himself, Sarah, Casey and Ellie he doesn't hesitate for even a microsecond before giving the antidote to his sister.

Rachel Bilson is adorable in the role of Lou and she and Zachary Levi have a natural chemistry. The writers also resisted the urge to make her a spy, which was very welcome.

Ellie doped up on the truth serum was so funny it's a shame that Sarah Lancaster has to mostly play the part as the straight guy to Awesome's comedy routine.

The bad
Contrivance [noun]: a device, especially in literary or artistic composition, which gives a sense of artificiality.

As a rule, truth serums are ridiculously contrived and this is no exception. And then there’s the fact that the plot relied on Chuck continually bellowing out everything the bad guy needed to know while he’s nearby (and that’s before he gets dosed).

There was a B(uy More) plot involved in this episode. I just can’t remember what it was. Yep, it was that important...

The Chuckalicious
Payne: “Who’s there?”
Chuck: “The NSA, CIA, and me! Which is a little harder to explain...”

Chuck: “God you're so pretty! And Casey, your jaw was chiseled by Michelangelo himself.”

The truth serum may have been a tired and contrived plot device but Zachary Levi was charming as a doped-up Chuck and got some great one-liners as a result. And the “fake breakup of our pretend relationship” was emotionally pitch-perfect.

The geekalicious
None. No, really.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Sick of the shipping or "burst the URST already"

As a writer and a TV watcher, I am extremely ambivalent about 'ships. Human relationships are a very natural thing to write about and when ships are done well they can keep people tuning in week after least until they get sick of the soap opera.

But after watching some episodes of Castle (allowed to be mentioned in this blog because it stars sci fi/fantasy god Nathan Fillion - have I noted lately that they cancelled Firefly?) I declare myself officially over ships for ships sake. If, 20 years later, they're still comparing shows to Moonlighting, something is very very wrong.

The problem of course is not ships per se. The problem is that writers don't seem able to write good, believable, romantic relationships. Anyone who watched the painful decline of Lois and Clark after the writers decided that a romantic relationship meant their new combined IQs must be half their individual pre-relationship ones will know the awful truth that TV writers are unwilling or unable to write relationships. So we get the same tired old device of initial dislike combined with sexual tension, relationship development, relationship reversal, relationship rebuliding and the tired old treadmill of "will-they-won't-they".

Clark Kent and Lana Lang should have met, dated and broken up like normal people instead of making us endure 7 seasons of whiny emo angst; Mulder and Scully should have just gotten together in Season 6; after three years together, Max and Liz should have just bloody consummated; and if Chuck and Sarah are not a couple in Season 3 I think that, combined with the Subway product placement, might just make me turn off for good.

Even worse is when writers push a ship just because a show should have one and now we're back to Castle. If your characters have no chemistry, you should acknowledge it and move on.

So, I've decided to help TV writers by compiling a list of of good, bad ships and will-they-won't-they's that should remain will nots. Have I got it right? Let me know. Kyle and Amanda have, you will note, made both the best and worst lists after consultation with the brains trust. And Press Gang should be nowhere near this blog but I don't care: Spike and Lynda were the best ship of my adolescence (and possibly my adulthood should I ever have the courage to admit it). Oh, and Bones is so wonderfully ridiculous it deserves to be on the fantasy list despite its genre.

Best Ship
Spike/Lynda (Press Gang)
Mulder/Scully (X Files)
Tom Paris/B'Elanna Torres (Voyager)
Sarah/Chuck (Chuck)
Kyle/Amanda (Kyle XY)
Buffy/Angel (Buffy)
Apollo/ Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica)
Sheridan/ Delenn (Babylon 5)
Max/Logan (Dark Angel)
Sookie Stackhouse/Bill Compton (True Blood)

Should remain/have remained friends
Booth/Brennan (Bones)
Max/Alec (Dark Angel)
Doctor/Rose (Doctor Who)

Worst ship
Gwen/Captain Jack (Torchwood)
Gwen/Owen (Torchwood)
Castle/Beckett (yawn) (Castle)
Seven/Chakhotay (Voyager)
Baltar and Six (Battlestar Galactica)
Kyle/Amanda (Kyle XY)
Clark Kent/Lois Lane (Smallville)
Lex Luthor/Lana Lang (Smallville)

How right/wrong am I? Who have I missed Have your say below.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Chuck me Tuesdays: Chuck versus the Alma Mater

Score: A

Adore him or despise him, Bryce Larkin is an integral part of Chuck and this is the episode where we get the background we’ve been waiting for. Wondering why Bryce got Chuck kicked out of Stanford? (sip). It’s all here, it all makes sense, and it turns Chuck’s perception of his life upside down.

The good
“It was the worst day of my life, getting kicked out of here.” – Chuck.

Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski continue to impress with their acting and this was no exception. How can a show that, at its core, is quite silly contain so many great actors that portray ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances so well? The simple fact is that there are very few shows on at the moment where the acting is to this standard.

The bad
The B plot (that’s B for Buy More) is usually loosely-related to the main plot but if there are links between them in this episode, it escaped me. It was obviously superfluous to the main plot and it showed.

The Professor’s death was played for laughs but just made Chuck look stupid. Which he’s not.

The Chuckalicious
“You can’t put him out in the field; he won’t survive.”

For all its silliness, Chuck does serious emotion exceptionally well by avoiding melodrama. And in case you missed the point:

Life is not a TV show. People all around us have their own lives and we’re often radically unaware of what’s really going on inside them.

Life is not a soap opera. When our lives are affected by other people’s decisions, we don’t have serious emotionally-searing conversations where our well-structured monologues express everything we’re feeling and we come to realise why people did the things they did. Sometimes they disappear from our lives. Sometimes we never get the chance to ask and even if we do, we choose not to. We may never have that conversation or ever understand what really happened. After 5 years, Chuck actually got some answers. And that, is awesome.

The geekalicious
If Chuck can be said to have an arc, albeit one based on character development rather than plotting, than this is an arc episode. Not much for the geeks apart from multiple Lord of the Rings references in the B plot, including the “one remote to control them all". Morgan refers to himself and Chuck as Frodo and Sam and to Harry Tang as the Dark Lord Sauron.

During the channel-changing competition in the Buy More, The O.C. season 2 is referenced and Lester says, "underrated". The O.C was created by Chuck creator, Josh Schwartz.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

TV Heaven

Well, if you like genre television then the next month or two is the one to watch. How things perform overseas determines whether we get these shows down south, but with a few new Australian free-to-air channels devoted to genre shows things are definitely looking brighter for us Antipodeans.

Here's a list of what's on now or is starting soon:

True Blood Season 2 - one of the best shows on television at the moment, True Blood Season 1 did very well in Aus and so we'll definitely be seeing Season 2 here soon. It's on US screens as we speak

Burn Notice Season 3 - technically speaking not sci-fi/fantasy so it hasn't been mentioned on this blog before. This spy show is most notable for its subtle humour, bad ass lead, and great action sequences not to mention the fact that it's filmed like a 1970s police procedural. If you want to remember what shows looked like before we subverted the gaze, tune in. From a feminist perspective, it's quite fascinating. Season 3 is showing in the States now.

Supernatural Season 5 - Starts Sept 10th and after the awesome awesomeness that was the Season 4 finale, I'm actually looking forward to it. Quite a bit.

Fringe Season 2 - I have to mention it because like Lost this inexplicably popular show is not going anywhere. Season 2 starts on Sept 17th but, like it's sister show, I would imagine we'll be seeing Season 6 before you know it. And I imagine it'll make about as much sense.

Flash Forward - brand new sci-fi show starting in the States on Sept 24. Based on the novel, the show's premise is that a mysterious global event causes everyone to simultaneously experience, for two minutes and seventeen seconds, his or her life six months in the future. When it is over, many are dead in accidents involving vehicles, aircraft, and any other device needing human control. Everyone who survived is left wondering if what they saw will actually happen.

Smallville Season 9 - Nine seasons (and Firefly was cancelled!). Starts Sept 25th. Prepare for "Superman, the Retirement Years" in late 2010.

Dollhouse Season 2 - Arguably the most intelligent show on TV at the moment, with the possible exception of True Blood, Dollhouse got picked up for a second season despite low ratings because, well, an enraged Whedon fan is not something Fox wants to see again. Starts Sept 25.

Sanctuary Season 2 - My ambivalence about Torchwood Vancouver won't stop me from tuning in on Oct 9. Amanda Tapping is just that good.

Stargate Universe - Meh. Didn't the writers once make fun of networks producing "younger, edgier" versions of shows. Oh well, if I watched every painful episode of Atlantis, I can tune in to this in October. After watching this scene from the SG-1 episode '200' again. And again. And again...

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Chuck me Tuesdays: Chuck versus the Sandworm

Score: A-

Trust. Who do we trust? Why do we trust them? Who is worthy of our loyalty and …oh hang on…just a moment…yep, it’s another trust episode and so soon after the first.

Chuck’s tendency to trust people gets him into trouble again when he tries to help an escaped CIA asset who’s accused of murdering his handlers. One of the few episodes where the B plot (that’s B for Buy More) is more interesting than the main plot, ‘Chuck versus the Sandworm’ has Chuck realising that the excitement of his new career is not worth sacrificing the things he used to value.

The good
42 minutes and 15 seconds, Awesome and Morgan’s “adult” conversation, and roast beef on a deserted island.

The bad
Lazlo’s motivation. What was it? I don’t know. If you do, let me know, because I get that he was deliberately manipulating Chuck but why did he need to go through all that when all he wanted to do was blow something up? And at what point did he decide on his (remarkably convoluted) plan.

Did I mention the plot was remarkably convoluted? ‘Cause it was.

Oh, and the ejection seat? Back off the slapstick guys; it’s just silly.

The Chuckalicious
“Would you like to see my snake?” Awesome’s Halloween costume as Adam sent hormones soaring and his sheer lack of embarrassment at being practically naked sold the scene. This guy is truly the anti-Chuck.

How can you not love a Dune reference? It takes a lot to make me laugh out loud but Chuck’s, “Hello, it’s a Sandworm. Shai-Hulud to be exact,” was the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

The bromance scene between Chuck and Morgan at the party was (for those unaware) word-for-word, shot-for-shot a Ryan and Marissa scene from the OC. Putting two males who aren’t romantically involved in it was “champagne comedy”.

The geekalicious

Star Trek, Star Wars and Bond. The every day geeks had a field day with this one. The more sophisticated geeks (hey, I’m writing this so I can say what I want) love the Dune references. Chuck and Morgan go to the Halloween party as Shai-Hulud and is that a Dune poster I spot in Chuck’s bedroom?

Tang's middle name is Tiberius (a more obscure Star Trek reference)

The Herder's self-destruct stopped on 007 following a succession of Goldfinger and other Bond references.

Sarah dressed up as Princess Leia from Return of the Jedi and Chuck as Hans Solo (although that photo was fake)

When Laszlo reveals the Home Theatre room can access Air Force command channels, he asks Chuck "How about a game of Thermonuclear War?" a reference to the old 80s film, ‘War Games’.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Chuck me Tuesdays: Chuck versus the Sizzling Shrimp

Score: A-

"This is the part where we hide," – Chuck.

Containing so many pop-culture references that I was forced to create a new section in this review called “The geekalicious”, Chuck versus the Sizzling Shrimp has Chuck’s spy life impacting on his real life for the first time. Chuck talks a (yet another young, hot) spy into defecting and is forced to break commitments to friends and family to help her out. Chuck disobeys orders to save the day and he gets to eat his sizzling shrimp as well.

The good
“An evening of Morgan”. I like the Chuck/Morgan interaction in this episode and I love how affectionately amused Sarah is by Morgan and Chuck geeking out on their evening together. Underneath it all, Sarah longs for a normal life and Yvonne Strahovski manages to constantly portray this without ever stating it out loud.

Sarah Lancaster’s Ellie was absolutely fantastic. Saving her brother’s best friend, despite her aversion to him, was lovely and her talk to Chuck at the end was emotionally perfect.

For the first time we see that, despite Chuck and Morgan’s friendship, their co-dependence has become so great that they’re actually better spending some time apart. Morgan starts to realise he can make his own way in life without relying on Chuck to take care of him all the time. Of course, it will take him nearly two years to make this transition completely but hey, that’s why it’s called character development, ain’t it?

The bad
Where was Awesome?

Chuck ordering food from the restaurant they were staking out and having it delivered to the stakeout vehicle was briefly funny but very out of character, as was his painful “tailing rules” conversation. Guess the writers were still working out just how nerdily clueless he’s supposed to be. What sells it of course is Zachary Levi’s delivery of, “Uh, hello? That's why I used an alias!”

Where was Casey in the Buy More sales competition? I love that in between defecting Chinese spies and Triad kidnappings he had time to be a good enough salesman he wasn’t even worried about being fired. Casey taking his Buy More job seriously is “champagne comedy” and they should have included at least a reference to it.

The Chuckalicious
“Spastic colon, what the f…” - Chuck

Casey: Stay in the car.
Chuck: That's my four favourite words.

Some great one-liners, poor Sarah’s spastic colon, and a fantastic kitchen implement fight scene that had Casey, Sarah and Mei-Ling kick some bad guy ass while Chuck…stopped a guy in a wheelchair.

But most of all, Mother’s Day. Sniff. It’s a Mother’s Day miracle.

The geekalicious
Actor James Hong was in both Chinatown and Big Trouble in Little China. He played a wheelchair-bound Chinese businessman in the first and David Lo Pan in the latter. And in this episode? A wheelchair-bound Chinese businessman named Ben Lo Pan (as in “been” Lo Pan). At the end, Chuck says, "Forget it Ben, it's Chinatown," - almost exactly the last line of the film Chinatown. And if that’s not meta enough for you, he follows it up with, “Did you ever see that movie?"

The Chinese operative Mei-Ling is named for the operative in Enter the Dragon. Enter the Dragon is mentioned as being part of an “Evening of Morgan”.

"Help me, Chuck Bartowski; you're my only hope”. The Hunt for Red October, White Nights and the detective Ironside all get references, along with the ongoing Star Wars meme.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Fringe: perhaps it should be renamed "The Ludicrous"

What would happen if J.J. Abrams decided to remake the X Files? Well, you’d probably get a flashy, complicated but ultimately hollow endeavour that only makes sense if you don’t spend too much time wondering about the fact that it makes no sense. It would capture the zeitgeist. It would mysteriously get picked up for a second season. It would start on Australian screens in August 2009 (did you know we had a channel called GO!?). It would be called Fringe.

Revel in a plot line so convoluted it makes the X Files appear straightforward; marvel at the fact that all the bad things in the world are the result of one man’s experiments and all happen in Boston; wonder at the only show in the world that uses deus ex machinas as a normal plot device; celebrate such quality sci fi nomenclature as the “pattern” and the “observer”; ponder the truly ludicrous so-called “science” (and remember that you can't question a dead man if he's been dead more than six hours or if he's lost his head); and glory in two leads who deliver every conversation as though they’d really rather be tearing each other’s clothes off right now if only the gigantic genetically-engineered snake/bat hadn’t lain larvae in their partner’s chest.

Tune in and enjoy the silliest show to ever take itself so seriously.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Chuck me Tuesdays: Chuck versus the Wookie

Score: B+

Trust. Who do we trust? Why do we trust them? Who is worthy of our loyalty and how do we know? People lie to us for our own good and tell the truth to manipulate us. Trust in relationships is one of Chuck’s main themes and ‘Chuck versus the Wookie’ is the first episode devoted to it. Well, that and hot chicks showing a gratuitous amount of flesh.

Carina, an undercover DEA agent and frenemy of Sarah’s, shows up and tasks the team to help her steal a diamond from some bad guys, who turn out to be a whole lot badder than they thought. Chuck tries to protect Morgan from his spy life by lying to the bearded buffoon as he starts to take issue with the fact that Sarah is doing the same thing to him. Sarah lies and Carina tells the truth but in the end it’s Sarah he should have trusted.

The good
“Isn’t there a nicer establishment where beautiful people can shop?” A host of good one-liners, a plethora of Star Wars references and a perfectly-executed “fake date” sequence at the beginning make for an enjoyable episode.

Casey running around in his underwear handcuffed to a broken-off bedhead was bloody priceless, as was the “fight scene” between Chuck and Carina, and Chuck and the bad guy at the end. But most of all, for the first time but not the last, Chuck’s faith in the inherent humanity of people made someone else a better person for a moment.

The bad
The writers obviously think their audience is exclusively male because there was so much female flesh on display the actors were probably surprised when they actually got to put some clothes on. While Chuck is obviously not used to so many beautiful women paying attention to him, the fact that all it took was a flash of flesh and a well-placed truth to manipulate him is kind of annoying. Isn’t he smarter than this?

The Chuckalicious
“My middle name is Lisa”. The number of fans who fell in love with this show based on this scene alone is immense so I have to put it in, even if the emotional resonance was somewhat lost on me on first viewing. Sarah’s character development begins.

The look on Agent Graham’s face when he realises Chuck used the mail service to send him a priceless diamond. Oh, and did I mention Casey? I swear, Adam Baldwin is the funniest person on TV right now.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Chuck me Tuesdays: Chuck versus the Tango

Score: B

Better on a second viewing, ‘Chuck versus the Tango’ has Chuck on his first mission in the field. You’d think the Government might have given the poor guy a bit of training first. But they didn’t. So he whines a little, flirts a little, dances the woman’s part of the tango and nearly gets tortured but it all turns out well in the end because Sarah and Casey kick some serious ass.

The good
Casey’s hidden sense of humour and big-brother-ribbing of Chuck starts and it’s as good as you would think. The contrast between the two “Team Bartowskis” all arguing about Chuck’s future while Chuck ignores them is great. Chuck may be jarringly useless in retrospect but when captured by the bad guys we see the first signs of his tendency to use brain over brawn. Under threat of torture, he manages to convince an international arms dealer that he’s just a computer repair guy who snuck in under a fake name to impress a girl. Pretty damn good. The tango with La Ciudad just makes the good because of Chuck’s sheer lack of embarrassment at being taught the girl’s part. And Casey taking bad guys out with a variety of whitegoods is comedy gold.

The bad
This isn’t my favourite episode but I honestly can’t think of anything too bad. Chuck is surprisingly whiny. He also spills soy sauce on himself, announces loudly that he’s a spy, and grumbles about being told to stay at the bar “like a dog”: all a bit jarring after watching Season 2. Remember when he had a secret James bond fantasy? Ummm, kinda.

The Chuckalicious
Captain Awesome teaching Chuck the tango is, well, awesome. The fact that he was half naked while doing so increases the level of awesomeness, at least according to certain members of my family. Oh, and a Dark Crystal reference? These guys own my DVD collection, I swear.
Most of all, Special Agent Charles Carmichael arrives. Ah, the memories.

Chuck me Tuesdays: Chuck versus the Helicopter

Score: C+

In their second episode, the writers of Chuck made a serious misstep. “Chuck versus the Helicopter” is silly and clichéd and it’s not surprising that many viewers simply switched off after this episode aired. Chuck suspects Sarah or Casey might be dirty when a Doctor who was trying to get the Intersect out of his head dies in suspicious circumstances. Chuck ends up flying a helicopter, hence the name.

The good
The little things: Casey pursing the shoplifter; the fight between Casey and Sarah; the “make-up” sex gag by Awesome; and Chuck being ordered to stay in the car; Chuck ordering Casey to put Sarah on the phone when he’s trying to fly the helicopter; and the conversation between Beckman and Graham about Chuck being an idiot...but thankfully not as big an idiot as Morgan. Adam Baldwin finally nails his character and is pretty well awesome.

The bad
The plot is moderately ridiculous and, while I can handle the silliness generally, an “NSA incinerator designed to leave no biological traces” would render forensic experts useless in less than a year and is a step too far. It’s all a bit Get Smart with the gadgets and the upgraded Nerd Herder and the helicopter. The voiceover introduction got ditched in the third episode, thank the Lord, and the “wacky” “hijinks” of the dinner party combined with the “magician” gag were painful.

The Chuckalicious
Chuck: So in this plan I basically do nothing?
Casey: Yup.
Chuck: Let’s do this.

“Stay in the car”. The show’s main running gag is used for the first time. And that’s about it.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Chuck me Tuesdays: The Pilot aka “Chuck versus the Intersect”

Score: A-

Fast-paced and absorbing, the pilot episode takes us into the action right off the bat by contrasting video game playing ubergeek Chuck with super-spy hottie Bryce Larkin in action. As Chuck alienates girls at his birthday party with talk of his computer-game inflicted injuries and his long-lost love, Jill, Bryce Larkin breaks into the Intersect computer with some seriously Buffy-esque moves and emails all the United States Government’s intelligence to Chuck.

Which then get downloaded into his brain. And if you can accept that right off the bat, you’ll be fine.

The good
The pilot sets the scene and manages the right balance between exposition and action. The contrast between Chuck at the birthday party and Larkin in the Intersect are television gold and the scenes between a clueless Chuck and a rather mercenary Sarah are very well done. The characterisation of Chuck, Sarah, Ellie and Awesome is good, something you don’t usually see in pilots, and the obvious attraction between Sarah and Chuck is already palpable. Most importantly, Zachary Levi perfectly portrays Chuck’s confusion and fear about how his life has been turned upside down, while still giving us the surprisingly-brave Chuck we’ve come to know and love.
Oh, and saving the day with porn? Bloody classic.

The bad
Gratuitous underwear shots and a ridiculous volume of beautiful people remind us that the last show these people created was the OC. There’s a slight overtone of slapstick that jars and the nightclub scene, while undoubtedly popular with 14-year-old boys, was somewhat annoying and contrived. (Actually, make that very annoying). Casey and Morgan are underdeveloped and Casey in particular is far more of a serious badass than in subsequent episodes. The overall plot is somewhat clichéd, as is the “Seth Cohen meets Doctor “JD” Dorian” lead and the scantily-clad ass kicker. And as enjoyable as it all is, you just can’t shake the feeling you’ve seen this all before.

The Chuckalicious
Fun, fun, fun. It’s just so much fun.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Chuck me Tuesdays Drinking Game

Chuck reviews are incoming. To help you enjoy them, I've developed the "Chuck me" drinking game.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Take one sip when:
Chuck flashes
Chuck says he’s freaking out or tells someone not to freak out
Someone mentions Bryce Larkin
Someone mentions Chuck getting thrown out of Stanford
Someone mentions Jill
Someone says “awesome”
Someone calls Devon “Captain Awesome” or “Awesome”
There's a reference to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Dune or Tron
Casey grunts or growls
Casey is seen pruning a bonsai
A female cast member strips to her underwear or a bikini
Sarah or Casey tell Chuck to stay in the car
Chuck mentions his desire for a “normal life”
Awesome has few clothes on for no apparent reason
Jeff and Lester are repulsively perverted

Take the whole shot when:
Sarah and Casey tell Chuck to stay in the car
Devon says “awesome”

Take two shots when:
Someone mentions Bryce Larkin, Chuck getting thrown out of Stanford and Jill in the same sentence.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Torchwood recaps

Six months after I waved goodbye to Torchwood Season 2, I've suddenly had requests to recommence my recaps. Australia's ABC has begun playing the series from the beginning on ABC2 and this perhaps has prompted the sudden interest. Now that my schedule has has been freed up, I'm willing to consider finishing off the season but will only do so if I get enough interest. Want Torchwood? Comment and let me know.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Burst the URST

Tribal Mind, one of Australia's more successful TV blogs, has coined a new phrase for tricks television writers use to try to maintain interest in a failing show. "Burst the URST" means to resolve the unresolved sexual tension between two characters and as far as TV phrases go, this one is gold.

All of David Dale's work can be found at Who We Are, including the URST post.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Chuck Season 2 on Fox? Five kinds of awesome

I've just discovered that those lucky Australians with Fox8 will be sitting down to Chuck Season 2 from July 1. The station has announced it will begin Season 2 straight after Season 1, meaning Chuck fans will get a straight run through to new episodes.
It is, as the man said, Awesome. Nearly awesome enough for me to get Foxtel...but not quite... Chuck you later.

PS - for those interested in recaps of Chuck, TWOP is doing weecaps.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Chuck: The best show you’re not watching

Derivative. Cliched. Silly. All true. So how come I love Chuck so much? I guess it just speaks to my geek.

Season 1 of the wacky adventures of the geek-turned-secret-agent has been released in Australia and I can barely contain my inner geek girl. And yet the show shouldn’t work. From its ridiculous premise (electronics store employee gets entire CIA and NSA database downloaded into his brain), to its nerd-turned-superhero lead and its sexy, scantily-scad CIA agent, and crazed Ugly Betty-esque supporting cast, everything about the show is wrong and yet it somehow works. Maybe its appeal is in its gleeful use of cliché or its sheer silliness but I think the show’s secret is in its wonderfully-likeable, beautifully-cast set of main characters.

Zachary Levi is so appealing and attractive as main character Chuck Bartowski that he easily replaces former nerd-turned-hero sex symbol Dr Daniel Jackson. Sorry Danny boy, you’ve not just been replaced but trumped and gazumped.

Yvonne Strahovski somehow manages to walk around beating people up in a ridiculously sexualised outfit without alienating female fans: quite a feat when you consider that such a thing would usually make a lot of us switch off within 10 seconds. She plays CIA Agent Sarah Walker’s strength-masking-vulnerability so well that you genuinely feel for her character and her sexual tension with Zachary Levi is so palpable it saturates the set. Never before have two people smouldered so much on screen while still convincing us they’re not just in lust but falling in love.

No review of Chuck would be complete without mentioning the always-awesome Adam Baldwin who brings his true comedic gift to trigger-happy NSA agent John Casey, a character who somehow manages to dance on the edge of psychotic without tipping over the edge.

Together, the “team” battle Afghani drug lords, international arms dealers, Russian mobsters, Chinese Triad, rogue CIA agents and a four-foot-long Marlin while maintaining their cover as retail employees. It is, to quote from one of my favourite irregular characters, “awesome”.

Season 1 of the show was cut short by the writer’s strike and is consequently a completely-inadequate 13 episodes. Considering Fox only started to play Season 1 on Australian TV in April and Season 2 has not yet been released on DVD in the States it will be a long long time before new episodes are available for Australian viewers (at least by legal means). In the interim, we will have to be content with a Season 1 DVD and a lesson in Klingon (one day it could save your life; just ask Chuck).

NOTE: I would like to add an addendum to this post in the hope of starting a new expression. To be "Chucked" referring both to inexplicable love for the show and the strange capacity the main character has for making everybody love him. They've been Chucked and we've been too. See you after my Season 2 DVD release marathon.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Supernatural Season 4: Fucking Awesome

I think it's pretty well established that this blog is written by a continuity pedant. A well-constructed show is going to get more kudos from the Recapper than one that's not. It's certainly why the Season 4 finale of Supernatural was a truly awesome piece of storytelling, topping off the best season they've ever produced, and why I suspect the Smallville writers are about to have a lot of very angry fans burn them at the stake.

On a personal note, I started watching Supernatural because a friend of mine was a huge fan and she asked me to. She wanted someone with my...unique perspective on talk it over with. But in Season 4 I began watching for myself.

Week after week, starting about halfway through Season 3, the show began to shed its road trip, frat boy beginnings to construct a truly fascinating character piece that had me chomping at the bit for each week's installment. And in the final episode of this penultimate season, the writers delivered the goods, drawing together all the previously-unconnected elements of the show into one glorious, coherent whole.

This single episode not only justifies every seemingly crappy one I sat through in the first two seasons: it totally recasts everything that's come before as relevant and important. In the words of the recapping God, Demian, whose greatness to which I can only aspire, "Thrilling is a good word for it, friend of friends, though I myself am inclined to use awesome. More specifically, fucking awesome."

Couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Smallville finale: whether you're a Chlarker, Chloiser or Cloiser you're still going to be pissed off

Smallville fandom is an unusual bunch. I defy anyone to find another show with such a polarised fan base; most of which live in complex fantasy worlds of their own devising.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not necessarily a criticism. Smallville is incredibly literal, has inconsistent characterisation, and no sense of continuity. It’s no surprise then that many fans see the main story as happening in a weird and wonderful place called “Offscreenville” where all the inconsistencies are explained by …well …basically making stuff up in their own heads. Thus we have Chlarkers, Cloisers and Chloisers (among many many others), all interpreting every minute detail of the show in a way that fits their own personal fantasy.

With such a diverse base of fans, all with wildly-divergent opinions on the plot and characters, it’s truly astonishing that in the final episode of Season 8, the writers have managed to do something unprecedented.

They’ve managed to piss them all off.

In one fell swoop, the writers retconned a retcon they had already retconned this season, assassinated Davis’ character, stomped on Chloe once again, made Clark out to be an even bigger jerk than previously, wedged in a ludicrous plot device to get rid of Lois in the first 20 minutes, killed Jimmy Olsen then retconned a “real” Jimmy to replace him, and managed to reduce Clark’s battle with an unstoppable alien killing machine to 3 minutes plus an explosion that killed aforementioned indestructible alien killing machine but not for some reason Clark. Oh, and Tess released Zod. Again. Because that’s original.

Viewers of the show have had to put up with a lot this season. For a start, the action moved mostly to Metropolis, with the tenuous link to Smallville maintained through improbable trips to the small town and its mysteriously-empty coffee shop. The producers also made the questionable decision of casting a whole heap of new characters, calling them “stars” but only giving them 13 episodes each. This made the narrative disjointed and resulted in some truly bizarre behaviour. Lois staying by Jimmy’s bedside in Edge City after the wedding, while his wife stayed in Metropolis (apparently having forgotten his entire existence) was one. Lois being strangely absent when her cousin had just run off with an alien serial killer was another.

While the Davis/Doomsday plot was seriously underdeveloped and required some massive and clumsy retconning to work, it was nonetheless interesting and the show had done quite a good job of building people up to the big battle between Clark and his nemesis. The only problem was it never happened.

Perhaps the great battle between Clark and the apparently unstoppable Doomsday fell into one of the great yawning plot holes that littered the mess that was this episode.

I suspect a lot of the show’s dedicated viewers went the same way.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Epic Fail

With a new contribution by guest writer RLB, the Recapper has started a new area of the site. Called "epic fail", it will contain all of RLB's reviews of movies and TV finales that disappoint.

As well as the previous review of Battlestar Galactica, RLB has now reviewed the latest X-Men film. The producers of this should have taken the advice of a certain US President who said, "it's the plot, stupid". Oh ok, they said "economy" but why let facts get in the way of a good analogy.

X-Men Wolverine: It's the Plot Stupid

By guest contributor RLB

I have seen X-men Origins: Wolverine and I don’t want to hold any punches… it was rubbish.

It pains me to say this as X-men is a great franchise (overall) and Hugh Jackman deserves any and all success in life. However, this movie fails, and I mean FAILS to deliver on pretty much any level. The major problem though, is the plot.

The first 20 minutes of the movie jump from scene to scene, erratically attempting to chronologue the life of Logan a.k.a ‘Wolverine’ from 1850 to about 1960 in his travels with his ‘brother’, Viktor. Aside from being so incredibly confusing that one is not actually sure where or what Logan and his ‘brother’ are doing, let alone why, it was filled with so many clichéd shots that one suspected one was stuck in a recruiting video for the US military. Epic shots of the American Civil War segued to valiant running-down-beaches action, brutally plagiarised from “Saving Private Ryan”, which then switched to hand-to-hand fighting in what the viewer is meant to believe is the Vietnam war.

Just in case you didn’t get the point (after this ramming), Logan and his “brother” are fleeing violence in the home and finding their ‘place’ in society as bringers of justice. What is missed here is WHO is Victor? The movie script hints and I do mean, blink-and-you-will-miss-it, that he is the illegitimate son of a man who had an affair with Logan’s mother, although it is never mentioned again. But hey, he’s only a major character. I guess that part was less important than the montage of brave American soldiers.

Logan ends up in a team of other mutants, led by the character from X-Men 2, Stryker. Logan’s involvement in this mercenary group, whose introduction to the viewers is as equally detailed as that of Victor, again lasts for about 5 minutes until our hero valiantly walks out to start a ‘pure’ life.

The nerd in me wants to point out again the glaring lack of any explanation of the characters and their powers besides a misshapen covert attack on a building by the team. By the end of this important mission, all the viewer knows is that one guy is fat and the other can move his hand(s)? really fast.

At this stage you seem to accept that this movie is poor and you’re happy that the special effects are cool enough to distract you. That is, until you learn that knowing and caring about this group of mercenaries is something on which the entire plot relies. It wasn’t until the end that I truly understood the depth of this rubbish. When the final villain, Mutant 11, walks on, I had to turn to my partner and ask who the hell he was and why he had his shirt off. (P.S Ryan Reynolds without a shirt is never bad).

The middle of the film is set around Logan’s new life and his girlfriend who gets killed by his brother, blah blah blah, and Logan wants revenge, blah blah blah and gets filled with Mutant metal making him a ‘serious badass’ blah blah blah. 1 hour of crap upon crap, made truly a religious experience by watching the now “Wolverine” take on a helicopter Jason Stathom style. (At least Transporter doesn’t take itself seriously!)

The introduction of the Gambit character, which has been highly anticipated by fans, was embarrassing. The bad acting on the part of Taylor Kitsch made the only ‘real’ mutant encounter abysmal. After telling Wolverine that he doesn’t believe he wants revenge on Stryker and Viktor he proceeds to kick Wolverine‘s butt...until that is Wolverine runs into (literally) Viktor and they start fighting. Wait, wait, this is the best bit! Upon seeing this, one would think that the Gambit character would believe Wolverine’s past claims of vengeance, oh no. In this movie, he jumps in at the last minute, SAVES Viktor and proceeds to kick some more Wolverine ass. What the?!?!? Couldn’t the writers think of a better reason for them to go at it? What about outfit envy?

In the final scenes “Wolverine” comes to know that his girlfriend isn’t dead (she was in cahoots with Stryker), and his brother didn’t kill her. Here is where it lost me…. Viktor then decides he should kill the girlfriend and Wolverine saves her. Then they go at it… again. Then the “big bad” comes on screen and the two brothers realise they need to unite to defeat him, and so are friends again. Then once the seriously hot Mutant 11 is killed, they are still kinda half friends and decide to that a “live and let live policy is probably the best thing for both parties”.

All topped with a clichéd scene where Professor Xavier comes and saves a young Cyclops form the evil clutches of Stryker. This is where you’re supposed to go “OOOH that’s where it all comes together!”. It is more like, “This is crap, you’re crap I want my life back.”

I won’t even mention the fact that the movie posters currently have Wolverine posing in a kick ass pose with mutants in the background like Silver Fox whose actual screen time is less than 2 minutes. Me thinks the marketing team were short on draw cards for bus stop posters and decided to throw anyone in there to ‘beef’ up the look.

Don’t get me wrong, Hugh Jackman and Live Schreiber can act (and Hugh is the best presenter of the Oscars ever), and “almost” save this movie from being anything other than a special effects bonanza, but even their acting can’t save the terrible storyline, abysmal script and poor delivery. Bryan Singer we need you!

Friday, 8 May 2009

The Recapper’s thoughts on Star Trek

Spock is hot.

What? What were you expecting?

Some cerebral, intellectual analysis involving lots of large words? This is not a cerebral film, people. This is big explosions and cool special effects and improbable science. This is good acting and fantastic characterisation and, oddly, amazing music. Damn that score was effective.

Unfortunately, this is also obvious product placement, women walking around in underwear for no apparent reason and rather clunky dialogue.

But ultimately, and this is not to be understated, this was effective.

It was believable recreations of characters that most people recognise even if they never watched Star Trek. And it was emotionally, if not intellectually satisfying. And in the end, if you walk out of the cinema on a high, what’s the problem?

Margaret and David gave it four stars. So do I. Go and see it. Hopefully they’ll make a sequel. Hopefully this sequel will have Brent Spiner. He’s also hot.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Recapper roundup

Wow, it's been a huge month for TV. For those of you still seething over the Battlestar Galactica finale, our guest contributer RLB has given his detailed opinion in a scathing review. RLB rather amusingily stands for "Recapper's Little Brother" and yes, he was the source of the 18 missed phone calls mentioned in my previous post.

Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles finished its second season with a "Holy Continuity Batman" in a truly excellent season finale that hopefully convinces Fox to renew it for a season three. If not, at least it serves as a satisfactory series finale as well.

Joss Whedon's Dollhouse seems to have finally hit its stride and although the season is coming together in Joss' usual intelligent, thought-provoking and slightly-disturbing way, the show still fails to grip. While I enjoy watching the show, it's not "must see TV".

Smallville has bizarrely been renewed for a ninth season (and Firefly was cancelled!!!), an unusual decision after an uneven Season 8 that should rightly have been titled "Metropolis" instead. Still, Tom Welling's hot and that seems to be all fans need. Stay tuned for more Smallville weecaps after I manage to turn my snark from rabid to witty. Here's hoping.

The strangely-bright spark in my television viewing week has turned to to be Supernatural, which seems to have turned from turgid supernatural cliche to fascinating character piece. Jensen Ackles' acting is, when he's given the material, fantastic and this has helped the show no end. And any show that can make fun of its own Slasher fan fiction deserves a tune in.

Well, that's it for my attempt to distract you from the fact I haven't written any recaps lately. Hey, I am busy you know?

Keep complaining and I'll be back soon. More qualified (finally!) and with more free time.

Battlestar Galactica Finale: Um, it sucked

“You will know the truth” - bad writing can ruin even the best shows again and again and again.

Guest contribution by RLB
In 2003 the new re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica blasted onto the small screen with a 3 hour miniseries watched by over 4.5M people in the US, making it the third-most watched program in history on the Sci-Fi Channel

Often compared to shows like “Lost” and “X-Files”, where the viewers must maintain religious viewing to ensure they are “up to speed” on the current state of play in the universe, Battlestar pushed the boundaries by adding award-winning acting and dialogue into episodes that made the characters’ interactions amazingly realistic to the fantastic, confronting and complicated plot points. So realistic were the character developments, non-SciFi regular viewers found the ‘gritty’ “reality” of the show interesting to watch and the “set in space” background seemed (properly) secondary. This leverage helped build Battlestars’ reputation as a well written, well acted and well placed (post 9/11) television show, which ultimately took the story to a much wider audience that would usually tune into a SciFi show.

Six years later, after a delay because of the writer's strike, Battlestar Galactica came to an end on 22/03/2009 with a 2 hour finale, promising that the devoted viewers will finally “know the truth”.

This famous tagline (reminiscent of “The X-Files”) was in reference to the many open-ended plot points, twists, red herrings and amazing cliff hangers that punctuated the show during its 4 year run.

As the number of remaining episodes dwindled to single digits and massive plot points remained not only un-resolved but glaringly overlooked, the sense of impending elation for “the truth” punctuated every corner of the internet. Helped along by the SciFi channel's official website, which ran a series of webisodes and a “You will know the truth” webpage with clues, spoilers, hints and new information encouraging viewers to “share their theories” on the forum, the curiosity turned to wonder, the wonder to obsession, the obsession to rapid fandom. A brilliant commercial strategy that allowed the SciFi channel to double its usual audience for the three hour finale to 3M.

How was the finale?
The promise to reveal all, and the build up of excitement came to a head with... almost the worst possible ending to a television show in history.

Epic Fail.

In what I call a “slap in the face” to fans everywhere, any unexplained event from the past 4 years was given a Deus Ex Machina. God did it. It didn’t seem to matter if the character's interactions and motivations had been erroneous to that point on issues there was nothing to it: they were angels. God's motivation is mysterious, which is another way for Executive Producer Ronald D Moore to say “Don’t question me Eddie”.

It seemed that in the fourth season the writers/producers decided that there was no point in even attempting to wrap up any plot points and instead opted for one of the classically-lazy story approaches. (Others like “It was all a dream”, or “This is all in the head of a mental patient” are some others that thankfully they did not use but funnily enough would have made more sense.)

SciFi fans are notorious for wanting everything ‘explained’ in a finale however it is not simply an occasion where ‘some’ plot points were left to the viewers' imagination, but most of them. Some unresolved plots were so critical to the story throughout the whole show (not just the final season) that leaving these out of the wrap seems condescending and unfortunately too much like “We had no idea”.

Making the “head” six that Baltar has been seeing from season 1 an Angel made absolutely no sense whatsoever. The so called “Angel’s” responses to stimulus throughout the show were not that of an all-knowing being, in fact the complete opposite. This does not make sense.

Starbucks “I’m an Angel, or a Ghost and puff! I’m off to who knows where" was the worst. When explaining to your friends the day after you disappear from a party, club or event you can now say “I pulled a Starbuck last night”. Hey if Ronald D Moore can get away with it they why not you?

The “flashbacks” to life on Caprica before the fall seemed contrived, out of character and didn’t serve any perceivable purpose whatsoever. We knew that Tigh and Ellen were drunks, we knew Adama was a career man (we certainly didn’t need to see him spewing on himself to get it!).

Seeing Kara and Apollo almost go for it on their first meeting (in front of Zach), only served to cheapen the relationship that had BUILT up, yes that’s right Ron, built up over the four seasons. Now all it looks like is that Starbuck is a whore and Apollo is a jerk! (or perhaps the other way around?...Mnem)

One of the most interesting character developments over the show' four-year run was the internal struggle felt by the character Baltar. His self-denial, underlying self-loathing, superiority complex, and his journey to salvation served as a measure for the scale of the post-apocalyptic world. The back story in the finale, which outlined his ‘love’ for the Cylon model as the reason for his betrayal, undermined the development of his salvation by basically saying “he was a good guy all along and just in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Come on!

Worst of the worst was how they tied up the 12 cyclons, er sorry 13 but one doesn’t count. After a full year of WHO is the final Cylon, it turns out to be Ellen Tigh who, after “Her escape was just the beginning”, comes back to do…. Absolutely frakking nothing! She knows nothing, does nothing, explains nothing (Anders takes care of that for her), she proceeds to get drunk and freak out that her husband has had sex with a model “6” , “their children in her eyes”, yet never blinks that she frakked a number 1 heaps of times on New Caprica! What the…!?

Apparently also after having your minds wiped you can spontaneously add your hand to a goo bath and spawn off the secret to resurrection technology. Lame!

Tyrol’s rage and subsequent execution (neck snapping) of Tory seemed massively out of place, particularly after the show had set up that a) she was his wife in another life, b) the woman she killed was a filthy cheater who Tyrol even ranted to Adama about how much he hated her, and c) Tyrol was now free to get with his one time love Boomer. Definitely sounds like the crazy bitch should die, or get a medal! Completely ridiculous.

The biggest, massive, most amazing error is one that is not a plot inconsistency (amazingly enough as almost all of the final 3 hours was), but a missed opportunity. If in fact the writers were sitting around with no idea on how to finish the show (which RDM admits to in one of the finale interviews), why would they not have used Daniel?

In one of the final episodes of season 4, Ellen makes reference to a long lost 7th Cylon, Daniel, who being a sensitive artist had been killed by number ‘1’. Then it is revealed that Starbuck was taught the secret Cylon song (All along the watch tower) when she was a kid by her father that mysteriously disappeared. It never occurred to the writers to make the 7th Cylon Starbuck's dad?

When Starbuck went back to Caprica she even played Helo a piece of music her father had played (Philip Glass’ song, “Metamorphosis”), and the producers used this song again for the background music on board the Cylon base ship in season 3. Hello platter…! Why not make him the force behind the scenes, working them all to help his daughter, the first hybrid, into a peace with the cylons and finding earth (which is where he fled to).

From season 1 you knew that Starbuck's father was an artist who up and left without warning.

Why was it bad?Rubbish writing + The potential of greatness lost.

During the first season, much of the story lines focused around the human struggle to comprehend the devastation of their lost worlds but was punctuated with a mythic story of hope. This was a smart move on behalf of the writers as it allowed the characters to expose themselves to the realisation that they had lost everything and what that meant, but it allowed them to still have a ray of “hope” in terms of the future. This hope is critical especially from the audiences’ perspective as they also need a reason to continue to watch week after week. The storyline consisted of 2 concurrent plots (one set on Caprica – the world destroyed) from the perspective of a soldier left behind, whilst the other was set on the Battlestar Galactica and showed the daily struggle of being on the run, hunted by the Cylons.

Concurrent storylines are not a new idea but what made this one particularly effective was the mythic background “bubbling along” story arc of Kobol and the Tomb of Athena. This 3rd plot point allowed the 2 concurrent main stories to travel to the same point overall, with the viewer waiting and watching each week to see them come together. Not only “hope” for the characters, but ratings for the SciFi channel.

The second season carried the now joined storylines together and moved them forward as a one using the knowledge and plot points (which the audience already knew from seeing both sides in season 1) towards the conclusion of the Kobol and Tomb of Athena story arcs. It then began setting up for a new set of plot points for season three. What is most interesting here is that the outcome from the first plot points was directly related (in terms of being critical information required) to the next set of plot points making the viewer feel as though what they had invested in the show so far was critical to the journey.

The third season focused on this new set of plot points that were extremely well developed in the first 10 episodes again using the successful concurrent storyline formula from season 1 and 2: the first from the perspective of a human on board a Cylon baseship; the other again from the perspective of the humans and their struggles whilst on the run. Where the writers went wrong with this season, and indeed where the show went off the tracks completely, was they did not allow the story lines to reconverge, take stock and move forward together. Once the storylines were merged, the “next steps” were not a rational extension of the new knowledge gathered meaning that the audience was not sure exactly why or what “we” were now doing. One of the main drivers for the fan “backlash” over the third season was due to the heightened expectations fans had after the brilliant work that had come before it.

Is it art?
Art must be conceived in advance if it has any hope of delivering a message or impact as derived by its creator. The now truncated, transitory nature of television development and production is such that the use of the word “Art" can no longer apply.

Writing a story as you go along with no real concept (and let's face it even if you did have a concept, the commercial propensity for re-direction often negates this), is not art. Notable Exception Babylon 5 – JMS you’re an artist. (Don't forget the Joss; the first three seasons of Buffy were definitely Art... Mnem)

Certain ‘protections’ we provide to works of art, such as defined clarity, scope, presentation and purpose do not apply. As such Ronald D Moore is a great producer, not an artist.

Ethereal phrases like “You can think what you want”, “Starbuck is whatever you want her to be” or “That was a rabbit hole”, are self-serving, self-promoting, self-delusional and a complete cop out. Come on RDM are you that much of a megalomaniac?

When bad writers or executive producers pull a “God did it” or other suitably lame offering, they often run for the cover of “It was Art”. This type of attitude is true for “Art”, however backed with so much commercial interest and funding (and admitted directionless writing and development) Battlestar Galactica (like any mainstream television show) can not realistically throw this trump card into the pile at the last minute and still expect it to carry any real weight with people who are not the ignorant, uneducated, ‘kool-aid’ drinkers of the SciFi community. (Oh when will we find a world when long haired, fat, socially inept self-important ignoramuses are accepted as one of us? – hopefully never) (well, I'm not self-important, at least...Mnem)

Online polls estimate that 50% of fans loved it and the other 50% hated it. The abysmal failure of the finale not only served to disappoint fans, but impacts the shows’ long term commercial survival. Many of the watchable reasons that could have made this show ageless have been stripped away. Knowing that it goes nowhere, it is not possible to re-watch the show with any of the same senses or experiences from the first time round. In the end this may be the biggest mistake (commercially) that the Executive producers could ever have made.

Ronald D Moore should be avoided like the plague and if you are currently in the middle of watching Battlestar Galactica for the first time, “pull your team out Gorman!“

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Smallville Weecap: S08E18 Eternal

Too. Many. Retcons. Can’t. Cope.

Night time at the formerly Lair of Lex, now apparently the Lair of Tess. Because running a global diversified multi-national from Smallville makes sense: almost as much sense as CEO of aforementioned diversified multi-national spending most of her time editing a daily newspaper in Kansas.

Tess is curled up by the fire, obviously riveted by a large book with the Veritas symbol on the front entitled “Everything you ever wanted to know about Clark Kent, alien from Krypton, but were afraid to ask!”

It turns out that in his desire to keep Clark Kent’s secret and to protect him from Lex, Lionel Luthor decided it was wise to write a detailed journal, complete with annotated drawings, and to leave it lying around Luthorcorp for Lex to find. I can just imagine the entries:

March 8: spent all day in caves trying to unlock the mystery that is Clark Kent, even though I already know that he’s the Traveller. I feel that alienating him will be the most effective strategy in my eventual plan to control him.

September 20: had long conversation with a Dr Virgil Swan about the caves where, even though we were completely alone, we pretended not to know each other or to have ever been involved in a secret organisation called Veritas. Got to be careful. His couch was looking a bit shifty and you never know when an armoire will sell you out.

December 9: Lex met Jason Teague today but for some reason seems unaware that they played together for months at a time as children. This strange memory loss also applies to Oliver Queen, whom Lex frequently refers to as “that bully from school” rather than “that child I spent hours playing hide and seek with over several years when we were young”.

As Tess lovingly strokes a drawing of the ship falling to Earth in the Smallville meteor shower (captioned: ship that Clark Kent, alien from Krypton and saviour of us all arrived in. Shhhh don’t tell anybody) we go to a FLASHBACK. Wow. A long flashback. A first episode of Smallville flashback.

The ship crashes, meteors hit Smallville, Jonathon and Martha Kent’s car flips over, Lionel finds Lex in a field sans hair but doesn’t notice he’s mysteriously morphed into a different actor, and adorable baby Kal-el strategically hides his boy bits with clever lighting and camera angles. The camera pans over the “spaceship that eventually went Boom!” to reveal an egg. The egg cracks open and oozes genetic matter that becomes the boy we know as Davis Bloom, Doomsday in waiting. He’s also driven by a strange instinctual desire to hide his boy bits.

Back in the Lair of Tess, she says, “Lionel was too blind to see the truth; there was another”. So, the guide to “Everything you ever wanted to know about Clark Kent, alien from Krypton, but were afraid to ask!” mentions the egg and the ooze and the second boy but somehow Lionel didn’t notice that... wha’? What’s going on? No time to question however as we are on to the...

CREDITS: A list of people who probably won’t appear in this episode. Smallville’s definition of “starring” is not my definition of starring but that’s ok because the credits are over and we are at the...

Daily Planet. Tess, CEO of the multi-national Luthorcorp, now affiliated to Queen Industries and thus possibly one of the largest corporations in the world, is busy at her full-time job of editing a newspaper. Oh hang on, I made that gripe already.

So, Clark Kent, the world’s least-qualified reporter after Lois Lane, pitches a story to the CEO of Luthorcorp (oops, there I go again) about a whole heap of missing people he believes were all attacked by the same criminal. Tess, who has obviously followed up Jimmy’s tip and knows that they’re actually Doom’s handiwork, shoots him down by declaring the work unprintable and makes an appropriately-snide comment about the Red Blue Blur not doing his job. It’s obvious she knows he’s the Blur...after Turbulence, why is Clark still working there?

Clark accuses her of “sweeping it under the rug” and why is Tom Welling playing this scene as if they’ve been arguing for three hours already and he’s lost his temper over it all? The guy looks as if he’s about to go into hysterics. In fact, Tess and Clark are acting as if they’re in two completely different scenes, one where she is smoothly trying to divert attention from her pet investigation and one where CK has just discovered that Luthorcorp is still running illegal medical experiments on meteor freaks and Tess is trying to cover it up.

Meanwhile back in Smallville at the coffee shop that the writers forgot, Chloe is fixing Davis’ phone and Davis is fixing her dinner to thank her, which is not at all a transparent excuse to move in on her now that he got rid of hubby by drugging him and convincing everyone he was a deranged addict.

Flirt, flirt, banter, banter. Davis asks Chloe if she’s heard (about him being a murderer and a manipulative drugger) from Jimmy lately and Chloe notes that her every overture has been viciously spurned with an excess of expletives but doesn’t note that last week she declared her determination to move on only two seconds after he left her and is now finding really transparent reasons to spend lots of time with another man. Why did those two get married again?

She actually delivers the bizarre line, “I thought we were best friends but obviously there was some stuff brewing beneath the surface for a while”. Not “I thought we were in love but...” or “I thought our relationship had a solid foundation of trust but...” so it’s obvious we’re supposed to notice that she could be talking about Clark.

Oh and then we follow that clunk with a CLUNK because Davis “cuts himself” but of course there’s no injury and she gives him a worried “been through all this before with a certain BDA” look and Jesus show, we get it. There are obvious parallels regarding her deteriorating relationship with Clark and the fact that the person she knows as Davis is a lie but dear God. Can you get any clunkier? It’s stuff like this that makes me throw things at the television.

Clark walks in and asks Chloe to help him on the missing persons’ story. He’s obviously not happy that Davis is there but, and please don’t send me hate mail for saying, he is not showing jealousy. His concerned reaction is actually a very natural one considering he used to think Davis was a murderer and Chloe just got brutally dumped by her husband after a whole 10 seconds of marriage.

Davis excuses himself and walks down into the always-inexplicably-deserted coffee shop and starts to Doom out so we cut to a field where he’s just presumably buried his latest victim. As he handles the rosary beads he stole from his first victim and prays for forgiveness, Tess appears and blows up his car for no reason that I can see considering that if he’s just a human serial killer she’s now a murderer and if he’s Kryptonian this won’t kill him. Is she trying to prove he’s Kryptonian? I thought to do that you had to take ludicrously-convoluted trips by plane where you pay the pilot to abandon ship and then pretend there are no parachutes so...sorry, still trying to deal emotionally with that mess of an episode.

Back at Chloe’s place, she’s doing her computer thing to confirm that an awful lot of people have gone missing in the past month. She calls Clark on his pensiveness and he says she’s moving on kind of fast and that he doesn’t trust Davis. She notes that she needed a shoulder to cry on, which is a reference to last week’s episode “Adventures of the Pod!People” that I still maintain never actually happened.

Clark brings up all the weird stuff about Davis that doesn’t add up and Chloe basically accuses him of being jealous and dear God, I’m back in Season 2. You figure that by now Chloe would have noticed that whenever Clark “has a bad feeling about someone” he’s always right? This is like telekinetic Seth Cohen and double-trouble Jonathon Taylor Thomas all over again.

Chloe discovers that Davis’ car has been found abandoned and they drive out to the cornfield where Clark’s ship went down and Clark uses his x-ray to discover the field is full of bodies.

Meanwhile at the Lair of Tess, the writers introduce the “lame and obvious biblical references for people who never bothered actually reading the bible” part of tonight’s episode by having Tess ask a bandaged Davis if he was expecting a “chorus of angels”, because all genetically-engineered killing machines can expect to go to heaven.

Tess admits that she was trying to kill him by blowing up his car and oh yeah, now it all makes sense. The kind of sense that’s not.

Tess tells Davis about the Ludicrous Lionel plot contrivance that is the diary and here we have my main problem not just with this episode but also with the whole post-Requiem development of Tess’ character. It’s all based around the dumbest plot device since the "stones of power" of Season 4...or the Caves in Season 2...or the inexplicable quantities of kryptonite strewn throughout the planet that means Clark is constantly made impotent...or...oh hang on.

So, my main problem is that the entire episode is based around one of the top 10 of Smallville's dumbest plot devices, namely that Lionel Luthor kept a diary that documented in detail Veritas and Clark and the second child and didn’t arrange for Clark to receive it in some way after his death but instead left it lying around for Tess to conveniently steal later on.

So we once again flash back to the crash where Jonathon and Martha are carrying a now-swaddled Bubber Kent and Doomsy is hiding from them. This is actually a very very clever way for the show to retcon this whole thing because they do manage to edit the pilot episode to make the existence of a second child believable. Just so long as you don’t spend too much time thinking about it of course.

Bubber Doomsy watches the Kent’s leave before being captured by some military guys on the payroll of one Lionel Luthor. They take the boy away but leave the big honking spaceship there for the Kents to retrieve later on. Because that makes sense.

Sometime later, but we’re not sure when, Lex and Doomsy play in the mansion while the Magnificent Bastard is apparently “at some farm”, presumably the Kent’s. Is this supposed to be right after the crash? Because Doomsy looks like he’s about 12 and speaks perfect English.

In the present day, Tess and Davis are in some bizarre “sick child being read a bedtime story” tableau where she explains about Veritas and the Traveller and how Lionel captured him that day because he thought he was the Messiah.

Later, Davis recovers completely and makes a break for it but remembers playing with Lex in the mansion. We have a really nice reference to the lead box that Lex gave Clark for Lana’s necklace (what happened to that box, by the way? Anyone?) and lots of references to the way in which Lex’s upbringing of hero stories and Warrior Angel comics were already feeding into his delusion that heroic ends justify unheroic means. In Lex’s head, he was already the hero of the story.

Davis remembers that, on that day, kryptonite made him ill and he says, “there’s a way,” as he realises that kryptonite is the one thing that may kill him.

Tess confronts him and explains that she’s been trying to figure out what to do about him. She asks what you do when you “find Judas in your midst” and, huh? How is he Judas? He’s not a follower of Clark, he’s not Clark’s friend. Nothing he’s done has been a betrayal of Clark. Unless he’s society’s Judas; betraying our trust in him as a member of society? Then she goes on some bizarre tangent about how Jesus would only have been remembered as a prophet if not for Judas’ betrayal. I know she’s buying into this whole “Clark as Messiah” thing but Doomsy’s role in that still doesn’t make sense.

Doomsy agrees with me and colours himself confused. She says that without Judas’ betrayal, Jesus would never have come back and “faced his greatest challenge”. Which was? Ascending bodily into heaven and leaving everyone to squabble over every aspect of his life, as written by a bunch of people who never even met him, for the next 2000 years?

Oh, “saving humankind”. How was that a challenge? All he had to do was die. And pity the millions of people born in the 60,000 years before Christ’s birth then. Guess they’re in hell. Serves them right for being born. Evil bastards.

“There is a Messiah among us,” says Tess, “and you are here to betray him” and for the final time, how can Davis betray Clark when they have never really liked each other and are not friends? I’ve thought for a very long time that the final straw that will push Clark into the role of Superman will be Chloe’s death. That’s the only thing I can think of that Davis could do that would involve a betrayal that is in any way related to Clark. Sorry Chlarkers, she’s toast.

So Tess decides that Davis has to be allowed to challenge Clark because only in overcoming him will he embrace his destiny as our world’s saviour and she doesn’t for even a second consider the consequences that would ensue should Doomsy defeat Clark instead so I can only assume that she is just as batshit insane as Lex was in the end. This explains her irrational actions in Turbulence, actually. Like Lex, she’s so goal-focussed that she doesn’t think of the consequences of her actions on the people around her. Not that she can do anything about it now, but she could have warned Clark that she knew who Doomsday was the minute she worked it out. The point becomes moot as Davis morphs into Doomsy and belts her across the room.

Having driven three hours to the Daily Planet for no sane reason that I can fathom, Clark is re-iterating the “things that were always suspicious about Davis Bloom” and Chloe says she chalked his blackouts up to low-blood sugar. This is such a dumb thing to say I can only assume it’s a defence mechanism. Both she and Davis were suspicious about his behaviour at the beginning of the season but she was pretty convinced he’d been proven innocent. It’s not surprising then that she’s been rationalising his behaviour.

And she is very suddenly being confronted with a lot of unhappy truths about her life: Jimmy was telling the truth and it’s pretty obvious that Davis drugged him to shut him up; she’s been lusting after a vicious serial killer; bloody Clark was bloody well bloody right again.

Clark says he thinks Davis must have been taken by somebody because he wouldn’t abandon his car otherwise. Chloe thinks it was Tess and suggests a trip to the “widow of Luthorcorp”.

So the three hours back to Smallville after driving to the Daily Planet to have a one-minute conversation, which makes it a...six-hour round trip. Dear God show, make some fucking sense.

Clark visits Tess in the hospital where she tells him about the journal and how Lionel was only in Smallville the day of the meteor shower to find the Traveller. She reminds everyone of the Kiwatche Indians’ story about Naman and his nemesis and then she tells us that all those episodes we watched about how Lex was Sageeth were even more of a complete waste of time than we thought because the second head of the two-headed cave drawing was actually Davis Bloom who came to Earth with Clark.

And at no point in the last 7 effing years has Clark said, “but if my life has been painted on these walls for hundreds of years than why didn’t those ancient Kryptonians just stop the apocalypse from happening”.

So, Clark, instead of going, “OMG, Davis is Doomsday and I have to stop him before he destroys the whole world” or even, “OMG, Davis is Doomsday and so Chloe’s in trouble” plays the dopey farmboy routine and goes, “Planets? There are other planets?”

Tess fills him in on the extensive rewritten exposition that has been the bulk of this episode and says that Lionel held Davis “for five days” before dumping him into the street when his test results came back normal and he “got a phonecall from Martha Kent” and, hang on, just ignoring what the hell that phonecall would have entailed, does that mean that Lionel knew Clark was the Traveller right from the beginning? I’m sorry but none of his actions in the first four seasons make any sense in this context.

"The Kents are raising an alien child sent to Earth to be our saviour and I belong to a secret organisation that wants to control him...but instead of ingratiating myself with them and ensuring I can be around to keep an eye on him I will instead blackmail Jonathon Kent into helping me buy the Ross' cream corn factory...because nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important to me than creamed corn."

Lionel would have gone and stolen Clark in a heartbeat and locked him away for testing. This is crap; retconned senseless crap. Then Tess plays on Clark’s guilt card by saying that he “was the reason Davis was abandoned in the first place”, which I’d take issue with but I’ve ranted too much and this is supposed to be a weecap so we are moving on.

So Chloe, back in her apartment above the Talon about eight or nine hours later but still wearing the same clothes because it is somehow mysteriously the same night, is working when Davis comes in and tries to justify his actions by saying that he only killed bad people. He tells her that he loves her and asks her to help him kill himself.

Clark gets back to...oh, was Chloe actually at Isis and not her apartment? I have no idea. Anyway, Clark follows Chloe to Dr Grohl’s Prometheus lab, which apparently has a meteorite containment facility, where Chloe is trying to get the courage to pull the lever that will douse Davis in liquid kryptonite and Davis is begging her to let him die.

Clark comes in and stops her and tells Davis he’s trying to be a martyr and this Clark is honestly acting as though he doesn’t know Davis is Doomsday.

He says that everything that has happened to Davis is “because of him”, which is true, since he was created in opposition to Clark and is programmed to be a killer and has tried everyway he knows how to stop himself transforming, even those ways that are morally questionable But then Clark goes on some bizarre tangent about how they should have been brothers and it’s just Davis’ bad upbringing that is the problem. WTF?

He and Davis have what would have been a truly excellent scene if Clark didn't know Davis was Doomsday where Clark pulls up all his deeply-entrenched long-held fears about the monster he could have become if he’d been bought up by people who wanted to control him or exploit him. What would his life have been like if the Luthors had found him?

The retcon means it was a near miss, a chance accident, a matter of seconds between his life with the Kents and the abusive childhood of Lex Luthor. And it’s his great belief in people that leads him at the moment to believe the evidence of his heart, that Davis can overcome his basic biology through sheer force of will, rather than the evidence of his intellect, which tells him that Doomsday is programmed evil, a destroyer who has no free will.

Davis declares that ultimately we will always return to our true natures. “It isn’t always about where your heart is,” he says, referring to his feelings for Chloe, “it’s about what you’ve done and what you’re going to do”. And I love that Davis has been so well-drawn that he further exemplifies Smallville's definition of evil: a belief that the ends justify the means. Davis is saying that it's our actions and not our motivations or intentions that define us, which is what made Lex so evil in the end.

And here’s the real problem with this episode: it’s too late in the season. This should have happened before Doomsday kidnapped Chloe/Brainiac and went into stasis in the fortress. What emerged from that stasis pod should have been completely 100% Doomsday and it should have been the episode before the two-part season finale. Coming as it does now in the season, and with everything Chloe has been through at the hands of Brainiac/Doomsday, this episode not only makes no sense but it just makes Clark look...well...really really fucking stupid.

Davis Dooms out and when Chloe sees that he threatens Clark, she pulls the lever and sprays Davis in kryptonite. Both he and Clark go down because of the presence of that much kryptonite and this time the obvious parallels between the two are subtle and powerful, rather than clunky and contrived. As we zoom in on Davis’ face, we flash back to him being dumped in the street by a Luthorcorp employee. As he dies in the present, we see him turn into Doomsday in the past and kill the guy who dumped him, long before he suffered the impact of a bad upbringing.

Back in the present, while Chloe looks on, Davis is dying slowly covered with gloopy, fake, green goo. That scene was bloody powerful and they ruined it with silly fake slime from the local gag shop. Clark looks on sadly, not knowing what to do about Chloe’s pain. Jesus, how many kicks can this woman withstand before she cracks?

Back at the Talon and it’s daylight again; Clark walks into Chloe’s apartment, where she’s cocooning and about bloody time. If I was her, I’d be demanding to be allowed to stay there for a month, Watchtower or no Watchtower.

Clark asks how she is and she non-answers with the euphemistic, “I’ve had better days”. They talk about Chloe killing Davis and he says that there’s always another way if they try to find it. Chloe says quite bluntly that she’s not going to risk the safety of the world because of his code of ethics and because he refuses to stop the things that threaten him. Clark notes that ultimate destroyer didn’t put up much of a fight and then burns the photo of the two-headed retcon.

Back on the farm, Clark is doing chores when Tess comes in to harangue him about being a very naughty farm-chore boy rather than the Messiah he’s supposed to be because she’s a believer and he’s her idol. Then she re-iterates that he needs his Judas to betray him to drive him to greatness because he’ll never achieve his great destiny without a great challenge. Batshit. Insane.

Clark says that she knows nothing about his life and she says that if that’s the way he lied to Lex then she can understand how it pushed him over the edge. Clark notes that Lex was well on the way before he met him and...ok...but we should note that after Turbulence it’s been pretty well-established that she is now Lex so I’m still going with the fact that Tess is batshit insane.

She says that betrayal is always harder the more you love someone and she’s talking about the fact that the person who betrays Clark has to be someone he truly loves for it to “work”. From her perspective, he faced Doomsday and won and it didn’t drive him to heroing so she has to facilitate a betrayal by someone he truly loves and...yep Chlarkers, Chloe is toast. Oh and Tess? Batshit. Insane.

Once he’s out of hearshot (is that even possible with Clark) she refers to him as Kal-El and then returns to the mansion where it’s suddenly night again for some reason and she pulls out an artefact that’s whispering to her. Have we seen this before? Am I supposed to know what this is?

At the Talon, Chloe walks in with groceries but investigates a sound in the basement we’ve never ever seen before. It’s Davis who now realises he’s immortal. He tells her that only she can stop him from Dooming out and killing Clark and so she locks herself in the basement with him.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

It's a tie: Dark Angel and Torchwood worst shows ever

After a month of intensive voting and input by a whole SEVEN people, the Recapper announces the definitive "worst scifi/fantasy show" as voted by "some people who could actually be bothered but are in no way representative of anything". And it is....a TIE. Dark Angel and Torchwood have two votes each and take out the award jointly. Personally, I'd have gone more for Tru Calling or Crusade but as the redhead says it's "votes that count" and the "people have spoken".

As sample surveys go, it's not what I'd call definitive but hell, it's no less accurate than any other internet survey. I do know there's at least one dedicated reader who's currently confused as to how anyone could dislike a show with Jensen Ackles in it. You know who you are.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Battlestar Galactica says goodbye and thanks for all the fish...suckers

The Recapper is not a Battlestar Galactica fan. While The Recapper can appreciate the show on technical grounds, The Recapper likes her shows with a sense of humour and BSG is the ultimate "serious, this is very very serious, look at my serious face" show. That's the technical description.

But the series finale of the show has caused such a furore on the forums and blogs of the world's geeks that it deserves comment, even from such a determined non-fan as myself. After giving most episodes a rating in the vicinity of an A for the past four years, Jacob the TWOP recapper has given the finale an F, describing it as a "silly, bloated, preachy, half-assed mess", an opinion expressed to me far more forcefully by a member of my family who finally managed to raise me this morning after leaving 18 messages on my mobile while I was sick yesterday. In his opinion, the finale was so awful it has destroyed the show he loved completely and that constituted an emergency worthy of being communicated.

Any finale to a show as popular as BSG is going to be controversial and not all fans are going to be happy. However, in this case, the consensus seems to be that BSG completely screwed up. What a disappointing end for fans of the show.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Twilight: The Beautiful Undead

Jenny Turner has written a piece about Twilight in the London Review of Books and has expressed everything I wanted to much more accurately and in much more poetic prose. I highly recommend it.

"It’s not that the books read like Mormon propaganda exactly...(but) religion bulges out in unacknowledged places – in the interest in immortality and eternal bonding, sects, and the very odd and uninformed fascination with ‘addiction’ and ‘obsession’, among other forbidden things – and, above all, in the centrality of ‘abstaining’, which is one word Edward’s sect uses for its refusal to feed on humans and, of course, the description for what Bella and Edward are doing when they renounce sex. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, teen chastity was fit only for the bluntest satire; and yet, here it is, a decade later, stronger than ever, the most moral and the most erotic position to take, the practice that brings the human closest to the god."

"Bella’s character, in accordance with the conventions of the most finely mashed romantic fiction, has no features at all, apart from a mild emo-ish Helen Fielding did with Bridget Jones, Meyer has hitched a ride on the Mr Darcy plotline, but without bothering to give her heroine any of Elizabeth Bennet’s spirit – raising a reprise of the Bridget question, why would a man of any style or substance fall for a lummox like her?"

And most importantly, and probably a view I didn't stress enough in my review since I was concentrating on the subtext rather than the cinematography, casting, special effects and acting of the film itself:

"In accordance with the adage about the rubbishy book making for the better movie, Twilight the film is great."