Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Ordinary Family Pilot (Spoilers for pilot, I guess)

I watched the No Ordinary Family pilot about a month ago when ABC posted it online. I wrote a note or two about it and saved it as a draft, but I never got around to reviewing it. I honestly don't remember the pilot well enough to give a detailed review. So, I'll just share my basic thoughts on it:

I enjoyed the casting of the parents. I'm a fan of Julie Benz's from her work on Buffy and Angel, so I enjoyed seeing her again (I know she was on Dexter, but I've never watched that). I'd never seen Michael Chiklis in anything before, but I thought he was great for his role. I couldn't stand the daughter, but honestly, I'm not sure good casting would have fixed that. Her role was a one-note role, and that note was whiny. All she did in the pilot was whine and text. Oh, and she made oh-so-cool references to twitter and photoshop. I don't have much to say about the brother, but he was somewhat likeable. I really would have liked for the storyline about his not having a power to have been drawn out a bit more because I think it could have led to a good twist and some good conflict.

As for the show as a whole, I can't say I'm a fan. I found No Ordinary Family to be cliche and unoriginal. I don't mind that it's similar to The Incredibles or other shows; I just wish that it brought something new and interesting to the table. Obviously, as this was the pilot and was expositional, there's a lot of room for improvement. That being said, I probably won't watch again unless I happen to come upon it while flipping channels or the rest of the season gets rave reviews.

And one last thing. I don't remember who he played on No Ordinary Family now, but I wrote "7th Heaven dad!!!" in my notes. Just thought I'd share that little piece of information with you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Leave Britney Alone": Glee's "Britney / Brittany"

Glee is a show that I have a love/hate relationship with (yeah, I just ended that with a preposition because I'm going colloquial style). I was hooked when it premiered back in May, but I've had some problems with it since then. I don't want to ramble too much on the subject, but basically, there's little to no character/plot development and the show is going in circles. I enjoy the dialogue and it's a fun show if I turn my mind off, but it could be much better and often ranges into hot mess territory.

But that's neither here nor there. Tonight's episode is the focus of my plot post. Did it have much plot/character development? No. Did it make much sense? Not really. Did I love it? Heck, yes. Why? It was fun, silly, and Britney-Spears-arific. "Britney/Brittany" definitely ranked among the most hyped episodes of Glee, but I felt no disappointment. Even though Britney appeared in maybe a total of a minute of the episode, it was fun to see an appearance from her and her songs were played all throughout the episode (with the exception of that one Paramore song).

As much as I loved the Britneyness of this episode, I also loved the Brittanyness. Although I was iffy about her character at first, Brittany is probably my favorite character of Glee now. She has some of the best lines and is a really fun character. She's usually pushed to the background, but in this episode, she was brought to the front and center. I loved that she got a chance to show off her dancing skills, even though she's normally a standout in any dance scene. I also loved that Brittany decided she's the best singer and deserves all the solos, even if just for the look on Rachel's face that it caused.

I thought there were some fun little quips in this episode such as "leave Brittany alone" "is this real life?" It's nice to see that the Glee writers watch youtube like the rest of us. Another shining line in "Britney/Brittany" was Finn's line about the guys "personifying" Rachel. Even though the dumb jock schtick is a little cliche, the writers normally manage to come up with great lines to go along with it.

As much as I loved seeing Uncle Jesse, I have to hate him for being the cause of Will's performing Toxic. That was just too much second-hand embarrassment for me to handle. I just hope the writers don't turn him into the cliche "secretly having bad intentions" guy. Emma deserves better than the kind-of-douchey-manwhore Will (speaking of Will's manwhore ways, I'd have loved to have heard Emma sing Womanizer about him).

I'm about to have to study for a test, so I'm going to end with this plea: please Glee writers, do not keep putting that creepy guy on Glee. He's been funny in the past, but he went too far tonight. I really don't want to subject myself to anything like that again.

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 Great Moments of Lost (Warning: Full of Spoilers)

If you're a Lost fan like me, you can probably understand how much I loved the show. And if you're not a fan, quit reading this spoilerific list and watch the show. Sure, over six seasons, it had plenty of bad moments (ahem, Stranger in a Strange Land). However, it had way more great moments, and in my opinion, the good definitely outweighed the bad. I thought I'd share some of my favorite here. Now, keep in mind, there's been a lot of Lost, and I've probably forgotten some of my favorite moments or couldn't find them on YouTube. So, this is in no way a definitive list, even for my humble opinion. In fact, I was going to call this "The Best Moments of Lost," but I think I'll just call it "10 Great Moments of Lost," instead.

Hurley's Explanation of Lost
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Anyone who watches Lost should know that it's a show that towes a thin line between ridiculous and completely insanely awesome. When someone asks what it's about, it's hard to explain without sounding like a crazy person. This moment  is great because it serves to show just how many insane things have happened on Lost from the beginning of the show.

Ben Eats Breakfast

When Ben first appeared on Lost,  it would have been hard for anyone to guess just how much of a criminal mastermind he was going to turn out to be. Sure, it was logical to assume that he might have malicious motives, but that's simply because a rule of Lost seems to be assume guilty unless proven innocent. This scene gives the viewers a glimpse into the insanity that is Benjamin Linus.

The Awakenings

To many, the flashsideways aspect of season six was a disappointment. And although I didn't hate them, I was a little disappointed in their execution and the reveal of their true nature. Regardless of my feelings towards the flashsideways as a whole, I loved the "awakenings" that occurred during them. They were the perfect way to give Lost a sense of nostalgia as it was nearing its end. Maybe it's Michael Giacchino's beautiful music or possibly I'm just a sap, but the awakenings even made me tear up.

The Death of Charlie

In many shows, you can feel safe that your favorite main character will live to see the end of the show. Maybe some red shirts will die and a couple of minor characters will die, but as a whole, everyone who is generally liked and is a part of the core group is guaranteed safety. This is not the case on Lost. For several episodes before this, Desmond's "you're gonna die, Charlie" pretty much laid out what was going to happen. And it's to the credit of Lost, that they actually followed through.

Michael Shoots Libby and Ana Lucia

This would have to go down in my mind as possibly the most shocking moment in Lost. It was heartbreaking and yet slightly satisfying. Like many people, I was not a fan of Ana Lucia. I spent much of season two wishing that they would kill her off, and surprisingly, my wish was granted (if only my wishing power had applied to Kate). But my heart broke a little bit at seeing Libby die, especially as she and Hurley were about to go on their first date. This moment was not only shocking because it contained the death of two characters of medium importance. It also contained the transformation of one of the main characters into a murderer.

"Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do"

Throughout the six seasons of Lost, there were a number of catchphrases that our favorite (or least favorite) characters uttered repeatedly. One of the most prominent of those was "Don't tell me what I can't do." This phrase was said in a variety of places, by a variety of characters, in a variety of contexts. The first proclamation of this was in the office of the walkabout company by John Locke in an effort to overcome his disability (sounds a bit like Clue, doesn't it). This is the scene where we, the audience, learn that the island has somehow "fixed" John and is one of the first major "why the face" mysteries of the island.

"We Have to Go Back"

Another catchphrase of Lost, albeit one that's been ridiculed a bit more, is Jack's "we have to go back." Although many mock the phrase, I absolutely love the scene in which it was first said. As you can probably tell from some of my other choices, I love those scenes in Lost that blew my mind and left me in shock. This would have to be one of those. Laugh if you must, but in my shock, I initially thought that this scene meant Jack and Kate somehow knew each other before the island. When I heard "we have to go back," however, I realized that Lost was going to make a gutsy move and actually allow some of our castaways to escape the island. The idea that not only did some escape the island, but Jack actually wanted to go back provided an intriguing setup for season four.

Opening Scene

Lost's philosophy often seems to be "show now, explain later." So, it's no surprise that the show opens in medias res. Our first glimpse of Lost is a man lying in a field, but we quickly see the wreckage of a plane crash. By initially leaving us clueless as to the situations and characters that we see, it puts us in the mindset of the flight's passengers, one of chaos and terror. This scene introduces us to Lost without really introducing us to anyone in Lost.
The Final Scene

Like the flashsideways and pretty much the entirety of season six, the finale of Lost was widely debated. Some absolutely loved it, but others felt cheated by a show in which they had invested so much time. I'd have to say that my opinion of it fell somewhere in the middle; I enjoyed it, but I was also fairly disappointed. Regardless of my opinion of the finale as a whole, I thought the final scene was near perfect. In a sense, it was a joyful scene featuring the reuniting of couples and characters that hadn't seen each other in seasons. On the other hand, even though I had mixed feeling about him, it was heartbreaking to see Jack stumble to the first place he had ever been on the island. The symmetry of Jack's ending and Jack's beginning was one of the most narratively beautiful things I've seen on television. And like pretty much every other scene on this list, the score adds a strong layer of emotion to the scene. The mixture of happy and sad emotions evoked by this closing moment has me sobbing almost any time I watch this scene.

The Desmond-Penny Phone Call
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Out of all the scenes in Lost, this is probably the scene that I've youtubed the most times. Everything in this scene is just on point. The thoroughly convincing acting, the beautiful score, and the enduring love between Desmond and Penny hits all of my emotional buttons. This scene definitely makes a strong argument for Desmond and Penny being the cutest couple in all of Lost. I get the warm fuzzies (and I'll try to never use that phrase again) just thinking about it.