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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Franklin & Bash "Bachelor Party": AKA: Zack, Travis AND Dawson, My Little '90's Pop Culture Lovin' Heart Be Still

Last night was the episode we'd all been waiting for, or at least I was, the episode guest starring the one and only Dawson, I mean James Van Der Beek. As skillfully predicted, by moi, ok, ok it was pretty obvious, he played Janie's fiance, Nathan.

Case One: Nathan, has been arrested for solicitation, during his bachelor party, and has come to Peter for representation. In order to prove he is fully over Peter agrees to take the case.

Case Two: Jarred takes on a wrongful termination case of a teacher from his old high school. Apparently the guy she met over the summer, took her for drinks and then ended up sleeping with her, was in her class that fall. Ooops.

Also, as a couple of  side stories, Karp was being interviewed by a law magazine and the body of Infield's old law partner was fount on Mount Kilimanjaro.

The question, and the really the reason to watch, was not to find out whether or not they'd win their cases, but seeing how it all played out. In case any of you are wondering, yes they did win.

Although he never really went away, I feel like James Van Der Beek has just recently launched a come back. Mostly because as of late he's been popping up in things I actually pay attention to. First on Mercy, then Ke$ha's Blow video, don't ask..., taking over the role that was written for Lance Bass in the upcoming ABC series Apartment 23, I'm still a little bitter about that, and now on Franklin & Bash.

He was the perfect choice for this role of course, Dawson Leery was tame, predictable and maybe even a bit boring when compared to the legendary Zack Morris. Plus they have similar physical characteristics so it's easy to believe Janie could fall for both of them. As Jarred beautifully pointed out in an imaginary conversation between Peter and Nathan. Though, if her and Peter have only been broken up for a year, and she and Nathan are already engaged...she must have started dating Nathan pretty quickly after breaking it off with our Bash.

It should definitely be noted that Breckin Meyer was on his game last night. There were several instances where I burst out laughing out loud over his line delivery.

It was nice to see a little more of the Infield/Karp relationship. How Karp isn't just with the firm because he is Infield's nephew. That Infield respects him as a lawyer as well.

I find it interesting that in the pilot they totally painted Karp out to be the bad guy, willing to do anything, even sacrifice the little guy, to win a case. He is portrayed as some one who is going to make our boys miserable, yet throughout the rest of the series, they seem to have done everything they can to make him a sympathetic character. Ambitious, and driven, yes, but with many insecurities that make him as he is. The fact that he tries to impress the interview by wearing denim and flannel is evidence of that. Awe, flannel being worn in the Dawson episode? Well done!

Since, ultimately Peter, in a classy move, convinces Nathan to go through with the wedding, I can't help but think they're going to have to bring in some fresh blood for next season. Clearly once she's married Peter will have to stop going after Janie. Well, I suppose he COULD still attempt to break them up and win her back, but it would be weird and smarmy. Jarred and Hanna's relationship seems dead in the water, by the way where was Hannah this past episode? Was she still visiting family? How long was it between episodes?

Anyway, I have a feeling just hitting on a random girl each episode may wear thin, so they are gonna have to bring someone new in for either Peter or Jarred, or both. I nominate myself. Sorry, that's the 8 year old me talking again. I would totally do it, though.

Over all, it was a great episode, despite the obvious set ups for next week's episode, maybe the best one thus far. There is only one thing that bothered me, no girl in their right mind would leave Zack for Dawson.

Sadly, next week is the season finale, though we can all rejoice in the fact that they have been picked up for a second season. Huzzah! Infield is arrested for murder and it looks like it is up to our boys to get him off.

I have a tiny issue with the fact that Dawson is the only shirtless one, aside from that this is an epic shot.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Alphas "Anger Management": AKA: The Worst Power Ever...

So last night's episode further illustrated how dangerous some Alphas can actually be.  Sure Marcus could do some pretty crazy shit, but he could also, if he so chose, used his power for good. Or at the very least for not evil. Although he did kill a series of people, he did it as a means of survival. The people killed were going to hurt him, and while I'm not entirely sure why that made it better in my mind, it did.

But Matthew Hurley? He makes me think maybe facilities such as Binghamton are necessary. Yes, I realize how awful and inhumane that sounds, but seriously, the kid shoots pheromones out of his finger tips which cause people to get ridiculously angry/violent and attack/potentially kill people. It's not an involuntary action either, not like he gets scared or angry and oh no, he's leaking pheromones. No, he releases them deliberately and controlled. We get to witness just how bad it could get with what happened to Don Wilson, furthermore think of how awful it must be to be the DOD Agent who did it to him? Imagine having to live out the rest of your life knowing you brutally took another person's life, and worst of all, you didn't for no reason of your own.

The way the "riot" in the Alphas office was shot was amazing. The scene was choreographed beautifully, the lighting, the music, all combined made for a truly terrifying sense of chaos and lack of control.

While I don't believe in them locking up Alphas for being Alphas, I look at Matthew as the equivalent to someone, without special abilities who has killed. It's a little easier to swallow him being locked away then.

Other developments of this episode, Rachel, while under the influence of the pheromones, explodes during a phone call with her mother & claims she is moving out. Nina offers her a place to stay, since she lives in a 3 bedroom loft in SoHo, rent free. Again, can we say coolest power ever?

Hicks seems to be honing his abilities. They've given him what I like to call "Shawn Spencer Psych Vision". If you watch the show Psych, you know exactly that I'm talking about, where the camera zooms in on what he's focusing on, and whatever it is is highlighted.

Also, we can see that he's beginning to actually care about the team members, evidenced beautifully by the fact that he is the only one to help Gary with his buzzing problem.

I think last night's episode did the important job of illustrating that not all Alphas are good & made the necessity for Binghamton Special Research Facility more apparent. This is not your typical good vs. evil super hero story. Things are not simple black and white, just like in real life, there are many shades of grey. I'm curious to see where the show is heading next, and how the characters deal with what is being thrown at them.

Malik Yoba as Bill Harken & Warren Christie as Cameron Hicks in Alphas Ep 3 "Anger Management"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger: AKA Kicking Ass in the Days of Old

I have to admit, aside from X-men, I am not all that well versed in the Marvel universes. Not entirely sure as to why, probably because DC Comics had more awesome cartoons on when I was younger, Batman The Animated Series anyone? But regardless of not really knowing his back story, I was excited to get home Friday night to see opening day Captain America: The First Avenger.

So for those of you who are as unfamiliar with the Cap's story as I was, here's the sitch. Puny little Steve Rogers, constantly getting into fights which he refuses to run from, wants desperately to be in the Army. He keeps getting rejected, until he meets a scientist, Dr. Abraham Erskine, who after over hearing his determination, passes him through for a special experimental program. Though definitely not the strongest or fastest by any means, Steve proves himself the bravest, most determined and deserving, was there ever any doubt? Steve is picked to be the human guinea pig for a serum that will make him into a super soldier.

But as all Super Heroes must go there is tragedy, action and an almost romance. Standard stuff, now that you've got a bit of background, let's talk about this newest incarnation.

The Good

1) The Casting. Props go to Sarah Finn and Randi Hiller, the casting as a whole was spot on.

Chris Evans makes the perfect golden boy. Though his CGI "wimpy" body was a little weird to look at, it's all worth it for that shirtless shot of him after the transformation. Can we say Yum? Plus, despite being delicious looking, he's totally believable as a sweet, shy guy who lacks skills with the ladies.

Tommy Lee Jones as a hard ass, Colonel Chester Phillips. On a whole, I think he's a fantastic actor, who's had a great career. This role shows exactly what he does best, that kinda almost jerky guy who just wants what's best and who will come through in the end.

Stanley Tucci as a compassionate scientist with vision. Another amazing actor with a great career. He's so great that most of the time I forget who he is while watching him on screen. For example while seeing him in this movie I had a vauge idea of who he was, but it wasn't until after the movie that I was able to fully able to seperate the man from his character.

Hayley Atwell, who claimed to have based her Peggy Carter on Ginger Rogers stating "She can do everything Captain America can do, but backwards and in high heels". Now that's just AWESOME.

2) The explosions. Come on, it's a Super Hero movie, there's got to be explosions. And Captain America delivers several awesome ones.

3) The fact that there was a woman with rank who also kicked ass. I'm a sucker for a strong female character, since there, in general, are so few. So to have The Captain's love interest be more than just a pretty face was really cool. Throw in the fact that she actually was involved in the last battle, holding her own made me a happy lil lady.

The Not So Good

1) The backgrounds. Perhaps if I had seen it in 3D I wouldn't have noticed as much, but seriously, most of the time the backgrounds looked like paintings. It reminded me a lot of the backgrounds in Newsies, that's not a good thing. I realize this may have been done on purpose for effect, but with all the money they had, it would have been nice to have a bit more realistic scenery.

2) The battle scenes. I'm torn on this point, because on a whole they were pretty kick ass. That being said, I was a little disappointed in the fact that most of them were shown in montages. I would have liked to see a little more.

3) The ending. Ok, so it wasn't that the ending was bad, and watching the movie you kinda knew it had to end that way, still I enjoy happier endings...

The Rando

1) The costumes/hair/makeup. I will admit right now to be a sucker for the hair & make up of the women of the forties. The neatly coiffed hair, the pale skin, the deep red lips, seriously I would LOVE to pull that look off. Also the Red Skull makeup looked kick ass. The perfect blend of strange & interesting.

2) The Avengers teaser at the end of the credits. While I admit to always having a slight interest in seeing the upcoming film, mostly due to the involvement of Joss Whedon, it wasn't until watching the teaser that I actually got excited for it.

3) Being that I am also a theatre geek, I got a chuckle out of the fact that Wonderland was all over the Marquis Theatre in the background of the present day scene, which sorta dates the filming, if you know theatre because Wonderland only ran for like a nano-second.

All and all Captain American was a pretty good film, full of action, adventure and fun. Groundbreaking? Not so much, but I'm definitely getting more and more excited to see The Avengers.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Franklin & Bash "Bangover": AKA: The Sexy Episode

Last night I turn on my tv to find our dear sweet Franklin & Bash engaged in a light saber duel. Seems only fitting since yesterday was the star of San Diego Comic-Con 2011, which my geeky little heart weeps at not being there for by the way. The judge however, played by Kathy Najimy, was not so amused. Apparently, Sister Mary Patrick has lost her sense of humor. She decides to hold then in contempt for 72 hours, and so they can not use this as a business opportunity they are on house arrest.

In true Franklin & Bash style they decide to alleviate the boredom of being stuck at home by throwing a killer party. Seriously, how do I get to go to one of these parties? They look awesome. During the party Infield's niece Lily shows up, having skipped her flight back to London in order to see our boys, well in order to see Peter. The girl clearly wants him, who doesn't though, and is coming on strong. To his credit, and with some friendly reminding by Jarred about what happened the last time he banged a family member of his boss, Peter resists.

Meanwhile, Carmen has gone to her room to discover Dante her ex/current boyfriend waiting for her. She mumbles some feeble protests about how him being here violates both their paroles and how the last time was a mistake and how he needs to go, and then they go at it like wild animals. Apparently, as she later explains to our boys, she's addicted to the sex with Dante.

Moments later the cops show up, and they have a dog with them, why they have a dog with them, not really sure.  Apparently one of the boys tracking devices has gone off, and adorable Jarred explains he took some trash cans to the curb. The cops want to search the place, but Jarred reminds them they need a warrant. No matter, it all becomes a mute point when the dog starts barking and dashes off to find a large stash of marijuana in a bag, which we learn belongs to Lily. That's right folks, we just found our first case of our two case formula.

Upon hearing the police on hearing the sirens Dante bolts, promising Carmen he will come back for her.

Cut to the next morning where our boys are frantically trying to get a hold of Karp to go get Lily out of jail, where she has been being held since last night. We find out that Karp was the one who was supposed to drive her to the airport, but he got caught up working on a case and so he put her in a cab. Also, there seems to be a temp bustling around the cave cleaning. Already she annoys me. Carmen joins the boys and Pindar in a daze, which the boys think is a hangover, but the rando temp correctly diagnoses as a "bangover".

Lily, who is studying to be a lawyer now finds herself in court, the judge being none other that Tommy Chong, once again demonstrating the awesomeness that is Pagano/Manwiller casting. For those of you who don't get the joke, a) shame on you, b) Tommy Chong was one of the stars of the Cheech & Chong movies, basically its the equivalent to having Kumar, of the Harold & Kumar series, presiding over the case.  Oh look, the DA is Janie, what a coincidence.

Lily is forced to turn in her passport and released on bail.  Karp wants her to come stay with him while she's here, but she insists that she would die of boredom there and gives Franklin and Bash's address as where she will be staying. Janie seems more then a little disturbed by that.

Back at the Franklin & Bash Cave, we learn Lily has a friend back in London, who is going through chemo, which is why she had the pot on her, since California pot is much more potent than London pot. Carmen finds a backpack full of money left in her room by her booty call boy, and Infield stops by to get some advise on a video game case he is working on from Jarred.

The boys, Carmen and Pindar scramble to hide the money and Peter takes Lily to his room to hide. Obviously the end up sleeping together, despite Peter's initial protests. Once again, I regress to a gushing preteen, over the hotness that is Zack Morris all grown up, as a sexy, sexy lawyer. Mmmm.

At some point, after Infield leaves, the cops show up, yet again, and in bigger numbers, this time for Carmen. Having proof that she violated parole by calling/texting Dante they take her in.

Side bar, I'm happy they are employing more actors, but was it really necessary to have that many cops show up to take Carmen in? I mean seriously, it wasn't like she did something violent to violate parole, don't you think two would have sufficed?

Jarred goes to get Peter who comes out of his room wearing only boxers & his guitar...yes that's right ladies, after sex he was playing guitar for her. Um...yes please.

Carmen is taken away, we now finally have our case two! Huzzah!

Apparently all the Infield Daniels lawyers are busy and there is no one able to take Carmen's case. No one but Pindar that is...

Janie stops by the cave with muffins for Peter, and susses out that he slept with Lily and gets upset/pissed. Ok, wait a minute there, she broke up with him & has basically been gloating/throwing it in his face, in every episode of the series thus far, that she is engaged to another man, and now she's upset about him sleeping with someone else? Nope, sorry Hunny, it doesn't work like that. You were stupid for dumping him, but what did you seriously expect him to remain single & celibate forever? Yeah, no.

Clearly, after some Franklin & Bash style trickery and schemeing both cases get won. I mean it wouldn't be Franklin & Bash if they lost. The episode ends with the boys at The Max Version 2.0, playing another game of would you rather, as all good things should.

What's more important as that we got a glimpse into some characters backgrounds. We finally got to learn a little more about Carmen, that she met her boyfriend through a con. Ok it's not much but it's a start. Pindar, in extreme cases can get it together enough to leave the nest. And we learn that Janie still has feelings for Peter, strong ones considering she was willing to drop a drug charge in exchange for [insert character's name here] to be banned from returning to the US for 10 years, just to keep her away from him. I mean, come on, that alone speaks volumes about her character.

Furthermore I am practically giddy over next weeks episode. We finally meet Janie's fiancee, who as I predicted is being played by James Van Der Beek, who apparently has hired Peter to get him off of a solicitation charge. This my friends, has the potential to be deliciously awkward...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harry Potter: AKA: The End of an Era

Ok fair warning if you haven't read the books or seen the movies, stop reading right now and go do that. As much as I would like to do a whole spoil free entry here it's not gonna happen. So if you haven't read/seen them...go do it now.

Over the past few weeks Final Potter Mania has swept the globe, and for almost just as long I have been trying to write some sort of cohesive wrap up. All attempts thus far have failed, until now.

I've been having difficultly wrapping my brain around the fact that it's all ending. That's not to say that JK Rowling won't write more stories, Lord knows she's got a WEALTH of knowledge of these characters and their stories that we have yet to see, and we have PotterMore to look forward to. Most likely at some point in time there will be other movies made, but for this particular sect of the franchise it all ends here.

The cast of the films, which surprisingly and gratefully, has remained the same (save for a few unavoidable instances), was FILLED of amazing veteran as well as plenty of wonderful new comers. It's hard to grasp that these amazingly talented performers will never again be all together as these characters. The movies were made over a span of 10 years, some of us grew up with them, all of us watched the stars grow up together.

The first book was released in the US September 1, 1998, though I didn't read it till a few years later when I was in High school. My older sister is a middle school English teacher, and she handed me her copy of the first book telling me I HAD to read it. So I did, I devoured it and then read the second and ached for the third book to be released. From then on, I got each book the day of it's release and stayed up WAY too late reading them. I remember sitting in the family den, tears streaming down my face when Dumbledor died, I realize I'm a dork and embrace it. I laughed out loud many times while reading the LARGE tomes on the subway during my commutes. I would call my friend Jen, and it didn't matter how long it had been since we had last talked we would have LONG conversations on each book. There came a time, for the last two books actually, when Jen was traveling over seas when the book was released, no matter, our extensive convos took place over email.

I admit to having gone to more then a couple midnight showings of the films, proudly sporting my "Ron" t-shirt, getting lost in the crazy excitement of the experience of sharing these stories with other people who we so invested. Last week, I hauled ass down to South Jersey after work on Thursday night to be able to see the Imax 3D showing of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 with friends from college at 3am, because midnight showings are for sissies! Actually it was because the midnight imax showing was sold out, but that is besides the point. The point was that here I sat on the night of it's release surrounded by friends and strangers all of whom felt a connection to this story.

I thought the movie, as a whole, was done amazingly well, with so many things done right. Of course the movie isn't perfect, there are plenty of things I would have liked to see/see a little differently.

5 Things I LOVED:

1) Snape's memory sequence. This was by far my favorite part of book seven. All the years of debate over Severus' loyalty, the reason for his strong dislike toward Harry, essentially the motivation for EVERYTHING he has ever done revealed to us. I have to confess, this was the one scene/sequence I was worried about. How could it possibly live up to what I had built up in my mind? Despite the alterations made to the memories, I thought the film handled it beautifully. The added part of Snape finding Lily's body after the murders, gave Alan Rickman a time to shine.  I'll admit it, I full OUT SOBBED from his death though the end of his memories. It took HUGE amount of effort to do it (mostly) silently btdubs.

2) Neville! Yeay for Neville! I got giddy as he started to appear in the picture.  His speech to Voldemort and the Death Eaters gave me chills.  The journey his character made was amazing, because Neville has always been there, trying to do what is right. In The Sorcerer's Stone, or The Philosopher's Stone, depending on where you live, he tries to stop Harry, Ron and Hermione from sneaking out because he doesn't want them to get the house in trouble. He is awarded then for his bravery for making the difficult choice and standing up for what he believed was right. Here again Neville stands up for what he knows is right. His speech about how Harry is always with them, in their hearts, which echos what Harry was told by his family, yes I count Sirius & Lupin as family, in the forest. The seventh book shows just how far Neville has come and I was glad that the movie showcased that.

3) The chamber of secrets scene. This was only alluded to in the book so it was nice to actually get to see it. And get some more screen time with Ron and Hermione. Though the reason for the kiss was changed, it kinda had to be since Hermione's obsession with freeing the house elves was deeply diminished in the movies, I was still completely blissful over it. I remember reading "the kiss" for the very fist time and  shrieking out loud with joy. On screen it totally held up. Well done, Rupert & Emma!

4) The moments in the Great Hall when Snape gathers everyone in order to find Harry. Different from the book, yes but still an amazing scene. The way Harry steps forward, and the members of The Order enter the hall & stand behind him ready to fight and die for the cause. The way the whole group as well as his friends from school gather around him to protect him when it is suggested the hand him over to Voldemort. Props to Maggie Smith for making McGonagall one of the greatest teachers ever. Her fierce determination to protect Harry show in her battle with Snape in the Great Hall maybe one of my favorite moments in all the movies.

5) Helena Bottom Carter's Hermione's Bellatrix. Brilliant. Proof that the woman is an amazing actress. Her deliciously awkward movements, the fact that she made it appear as though she couldn't walk in her own heels, everything about it was flawless.

5 (-ish) Thing I wasn't completely thrilled about:

1) The battle scene at Hogwarts. Ok so let me explain, over I was happy but certain things were missing from the battle that made it less epic then it actually was. The Centaurus & house elves join in the battle. It is a turning point and it would have been nice to see it.

2) Percy's return/Fred's death. Ok I admit to the fact that going into the movie there was only one or two details I remembered clearly. However the one thing that stuck out VERY CLEARLY in my mind was this scene. First off Percy returning to fight with his family for the Order was a big freaking deal. [Check fact: He'd been gone for so long, and didn't even come to his own brothers wedding. ] That's something that should have had some recognition, not just a shot of him standing on the steps during Neville's speech. All that aside let's get to the real reason I was annoyed, in the film we NEVER get to see Fred's death. Fred's death scene was the ONLY thing I remember clearly from reading the book all those years ago, I think mostly because I was so shocked I reread the scene like three times before I could process/accept that it had actually happened. Not getting to see this on film made me crazy. I may or may not have walked out of the theatre shouting "that scene better be a special feature on the damn dvd!"

3) The final showdown was supposed to be in front of EVERYONE in the Great Hall. I understand it may have looked cooler/been easier for the film to have the epic courtyard battle, but I prefer the way it was originally written. In front of everyone. Harry trying to appeal to Voldemort's compassion. The explanation of the Elder Wand. A true final show down.

4) The flash forward. It was too short. I felt it should have been a little longer, to make it actually worth it. In the book we get to learn a little more about a bunch of the characters. The movie made it more like "oh look, they all got a little fat".

5) Then there were just a few odds & ends that I wasn't overly found of. In the book McGonagall sends the underage children away before the battle begins. I always thought that showed her maternal side. Also I think it makes it even stronger when you see the younger students who sneak back &/or refuse to leave to fight for what they believe in. Not getting to see Hagrid during the battle, & then him not being the blubbering mess you know he would be when he thought Harry was dead. I realize it was a character choice to go the stoic route, but that's not how I envisioned it. In the book Voldemort protected Nagini in a magic cage until he believes that Harry is dead. It seemed a little careless to me that movie Voldemort just let her slither about. Speaking of Nagini, Neville should have gotten to kill her at the end of his speech, that whole chasing after Ron & Hermione, the will Neville get to them in time, could have been better spent, say on Fred's death scene maybe? Also I realize it is not cost effective for a movie but in the book's final battle we see the Colin Creevey returned & died fighting, and that Oliver Wood has returned, as well as several others. Although I admit there were a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. Finally, how was Luna so clear/unscathed at the end of the battle?

But again, all that is just when I get to nitpicking (well except for Fred's death), over all I was very happy with final movie. It's easy to over look all the little things that may have not been exactly what I expected because honestly the franchise really got so much of it right, and let's be honest, it would be impossible to get it all in.

Harry Potter was/is the great escape of our generation. Hell they built a whole theme park about it, which they need to make bigger by the way. It gave us characters to love & hate, showed us that things are not always what they appear, and that really anyone can grow up to be a hero.

I honestly feel a little bad for everyone who reads/watches the series now, who missed out on the excitement of waiting for midnight book/movie releases. Who, in this world of Wiki & Google, will never get into full out debate wars over Snape's allegiances.

I will miss the world of Harry Potter deeply. It truly is the end of an era. One I was more than happy to be a part of.

Though as JK Rowling reminded everyone at the London premier of the final film, "Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Alphas "Cause and Effect": AKA: X-Men - The New Class

The second (aired) episode has the team moving offices, on account of The Ghost mind controlling Bill to attempt to kill Dr. Rosen. I know I only saw it in the pilot episode, but I really liked their last headquarters, their new offices? Not so much.

The opening scenes provide a little more insight into Rachel's life, her controlling parents and of course ramps up the sexual tension between Nina and Hicks.

But more importantly this week we got a glimpse into the good doctor's past. We are introduced to Marcus Ayers, who has the ability to predict and manipulate cause and effect. Pretty cool as far as powers go, still think Nina's is still better though, but it causes him to be a bit paranoid as he doesn't understand how others don't see this causes & effects that he does.

Marcus makes his entrance by escaping an ambulance with an elaborate accident, while being transported somewhere. At this point, we have no idea to where as we soon learn neither does Dr. Rosen.

We come to learn that the "compound" to which Alphas who are a danger to themselves & others are being sent is no longer trying to help the Alphas control their abilities, but now attempting to suppress them. That's right the compound doctor was sending Marcus out for the R.P. McMurphy treatment.

It is human nature to fear that which we do not understand. The idea of humans with superpowers, because let's face it that's what the Alphas' abilities are, any comic reader will tell you that. However, accepting that superpowers are fact and not just fiction (in real life) is a bit hard to swallow. A little fear is completely understandable, however as history has shown us, when humans feel threatened we tend to react with violence.

Marcus tells Dr. Rosen, he has come to warn him, a war is coming and the doctor is the only one who can stop it. Anyone else having X-Men flash backs?

Glaringly obvious X-Men connections aside,"Cause and Effect"  raises an important point, can humans and Alpha humans coexist peacefully? Looks like we are in for an interesting season.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Platinum Hit: AKA: A Platinum Miss

Ok, so I've tried, legitimately tried to get into this show, I was even excited at the start of it, and I stuck with the lack luster show down to the final 5, but now...I'm done.

So no secret I started watching the show because of Johnny Marnell. I had seen him play in NYC before, fell in love with his EP, and let's face it the boy's kinda a hottie. So despite there being some serious format issues, and time slot issues, seriously, you moved it to 8pm on Fridays, clearly even the powers that be at Bravo realize how crappy the show is, I held on, and attempted to convince myself that the show wasn't really that bad.

So as I sat on my couch on Saturday, because now that it is on Fridays at 8pm, live viewing is not an option, and settled in for, what I now know, was my last episode of Platinum Hit. Now before I go into what was wrong with show on a whole, let's explain why I finally threw the towel in.

Teams are picked from a hat, the results are, Jes and Scotty, Sonyae and Brian and finally Johnny and Nick. Clearly there will be drama with the last pair. So even though it was literally right after last week's judgement session, they were shooed off to the studios to come up with as many hooks as possible.

The next day they are told they are gonna go to pitch meeting where they need to pitch their hooks. Jes and Scotty are told their hook would be good for Bieber, Sonyae and Brian are told Beyonce and Johnny and Nick are told Gavin DeGraw...well, actually Gavin is AT their meeting & they are TOLD to pitch for him. Did anyone else find it strange that they were the only ones with an artist present in the room who had to pitch for that artist? Everyone else got to pitch for a genre and were then told an artist that song seemed right for...

Anyways, the teams now have to go back to the studio to write their songs. Ok so I will flat out say it, despite my love of Johnny, as well as my dislike for Nick the Dick, I'll admit to the fact that Johnny just wasn't being receptive to Nick's ideas. However, Nick was being a douchebag as usual so it's a toss up really as to who was truly at fault for the epic failure that occurred.

Sonyae and Brian's Beyonce song won, which honestly was the song I liked least out of the three, but hey what do I know, I'm only the consumer.

Ok, now that's out of the way, on to the epic meltdown that was Johnny and Nick's judging session. Oh was it ugly, blame flying back and forth, Nick the Dick accusing Johnny of throwing the competition to get him kicked off. Johnny pointing out that Nick pouted the whole session and then WALKED OUT with 10mins left...the judges finally, as this goes on for some time, claimed to be appalled with both of them and sent them away claiming to seriously not know who they are going to send home.

I feel the need to say here that Johnny has won SEVERAL hook competitions as well as several full songs with everything from pop to reggae. Dude the little white boy even won the rap competition. Nick on the other hand JUST had one of the judges tell him that he been waiting for him to prove himself and is starting to feel like Nick is just talk. And then the judges send JOHNNY home? Are you kidding me?!?! You tell someone they need to step it up, they respond by walking out of a session and that's the one you KEEP?!?

Of course the other 5 competitors are shocked, I included Nick in that count because even HE seemed shocked he was staying, which just firmly solidifies to me that he was kept only because he causes drama which the producers hoped would elevate ratings, and not because he has shown any type of skill worthy of keeping on the show.

It was at that moment, that I decided I was done with Platinum Hit. Clearly the producers/creators/powers that be cared more about possible ratings then talent and that just doesn't sit right with me. As I canceled the record series function on my DVR, I realized all the other little things that I had been making myself over look in order to watch the show.

Things that need to change if they ever hope to attempt to have a season 2:

1) The Hosts: I'm sure Jewel is a very nice person, but her on camera skills suck. She seems plastic, and sometimes like she's reading cue cards or reciting whatever speech the producers gave her to memorize. Sorry Jewel some people just aren't supposed to be tv personalities. As for Kara? She no better.

2) The Judges deliberations: SHOW THEM! Plain and simple, I don't want to have to Shazam stuff to see what should be part of the show anyway. It's not EXTRA content, it's what makes the decision of who stays and who goes make sense.

3) The Performances: Show the whole song. The whole show is based on these songs. They are what the contestants have been working towards the whole episode. They are what decides who stays and who goes and you decide not to show the whole thing? Seriously how long are these songs that you can't show the whole song?

As a bit of a music junkie, especially for less popular new songs, I found the concept of Platinum Hit really exciting, unfortunately the execution was awful. On the plus side I don't have to worry about trying to catch a show that airs at 8pm on a Friday night.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Franklin & Bash "Franklin vs. Bash": AKA Seriously? I Can't Choose

"95% of what I did is 100% legal" - Jared Franklin

Last night's episode featured, strippers and kayaks and jewel thefts, oh my!

Two case set up: Franklin and Bash take on a case of two entrepreneurs, Amber and Simone, who have a company called "Rock & Pole" where they teach pole dance parties, who have been accused of drugging the rich socialites at there last party and robbing thousands of dollars worth of jewelery.  However since their client can't stop bickering in the courtroom, they decide to try a "Chinese Wall" defense strategy, meaning they each rep one of the girls. Separate lawyers same courtroom. Oh you know this is gonna turn ugly.

Hannah and Karp are given the case of a 13 year old boy who wants to be they youngest person ever to solo kayak the Amazon River, only problem, his dad is contesting it. As can be expected, the teen develops a crush on Hannah.

Side bar: Garcella Beauvais is very pretty, but I'm starting to find it a little far fetched that EVERYONE seems to fall for her. Also, why have she and Jared not hooked up again? I'm just saying if I had mind blowing unicorn hallucination inducing orgasms with someone, I would want go back for more.

Hannah and Karp end up winning the case after proving that not only is their client completely competent, but his father's reasons for not letting him go had more to do with not wanting to be left alone, than what was best for his son. At first I wondered how a 13 year old boy could afford Infield & Daniels as his lawyers, yeah I know of all things THAT was the part that didn't make sense to me, but then seeing as Infield seemed so impressed with the boy as he talked to Hannah & Karp about taking his case, I figured maybe it was a probono job.

Well, now that we've cleared all that up, back to "Stripper-gate 2011". As Pindar has claimed to be helping Hannah and Karp with their case, though we never actually see him do anything, and Carmine claims she's busy on another case, again which we don't see any work being done on, the boys are on their own. War is declared when Jaine, who's prosecuting the case, offers a deal, first client to talk walks, the other gets 10 years. With the stakes raised the boys go at each other hardcore, with all sorts of childish, yet highly entertaining, courtroom antics. Peter puts locks on Jared's satchel, because sorry I just can't call that a briefcase, so he is unable to open and remove documents from it in court. I fully admit to laughing out loud as he tried and ended up falling to the ground in the attempt. Of course there is retaliation, Jared removes the screws from Peter's chair. After some brilliant "move stealing" and all out feuding, were Peter takes a hit WAY below the belt as Jarred asks him how come if "The Bash" is so great why does Janie not want him?

Peter ends up at the diner, where Jared comes to apologize, bearing a David Bowie mix. The two realize they work far better as a team, and decide to reunite the case.

Ok, wait, there is a diner on this show where bonding occurs and problems get resolved? I will here by be referring to said diner as "The Max V. 2.0". Embrace that.

Putting their heads together with their clients and Carmine and Pindar, who are apparently able to help now, they realize that the host of the party was going bankrupt. They put together that she was the one who stole her own jewelry and framed our lovely ladies.  Peter and Jared bring this to the court and ask for a warrant to search her safety deposit box, where they believe she has stowed the "stolen" necklace. But the damage has been done and their previous antics have left a bad taste in the judge's mouth, he has lost his patients with them, and will not make it that easy. He denies the warrant request.

But fear not after some quick thinking, and a bit of clever deception, the boys pull it off and win their case, was there ever any doubt? And the day is saved for pole dance instructors everywhere. Huzzah!

The moral of today's story, as Infield so nicely pointed out after the trial, is that sometimes you don't know what a good thing you have till it's gone...cue Peter casting a longing look at Janie as she leaves the courtroom, and applying it to their relationship as well.

Once again the fiancee is mentioned & yet not revealed. Pretty sure they've made some sort of reference to in EVERY episode, and yet we've never met him.

Next week's episode has the boys under house arrest, & apparently the only person who can save them from jail is Pindar...looks like things are gonna get interesting...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Alphas: AKA: A New Kind of Super Hero

Last night Alphas premiered on SyFy. Not gonna lie I'd been looking forward to this since I found out one of the reasons Mr. Vincent Nigel-Murray, aka the fantastic Ryan Cartwright, was written off of Bones was because his pilot got picked up. Since Vincent was my fav of the replacements for my beloved Zack Addy (what can say I apparently have a thing for geeky, sorta socially awkward squints), I was devastated by his final episode. So hearing that he would once again be gracing my television screen once a week I KNEW I'd be tuning in.

The concept of Alphas is nothing new, a group of humans with extra ordinary powers, secretly working for the government. Luckily for the Alphas they look more like X-Men's  Jean Grey, without the hideous costume, than Beast. Fun Fact one of the writers, Zak Penn, also worked on X-Men: The Last Stand and The Avengers, so the man knows his super powers.

Another interesting twist, that most Super Hero stories, because let's face it having awesome powers means you have two career options: super hero or super villain, leave out is the day to day stuff. For example the Alphas need to find ways to pay rent, find transportation and such.

Another interesting stipulation is that these super humans have limitations, believable ones too, as opposed to the I can do ANYTHING until you wave a glowing green rock at me, nothing against the man of steel but I have issues with SEVERAL plot points of that world...

Anyway last night we were introduced to several characters with extraordinary abilities:

Nina Theroux, played by the lovely Laura Mennell, who has the extraordinary ability to bend peoples will. Which if you ask me as a seriously kick ass power.

Bill Harken, played by Malik Yoba, who has incredible strength brought on by a heightened fight or flight response, however after a few moments he goes all into shake overload mode and has to take a breather.

Rachel Pizard, played by Azita Ghanizada, can amplify her senses, at the expense of all others.

Cameron Hick, played by Warren Christie, is the new comer to the group and he has what I'll simplify to say perfect aim and extreme muscle control.

Finally we have Gary Bell, played by Ryan Cartwright. Gary is an autistic “transducer”, which basically means he can read electromagnetic wavelengths and is able to hack into cellphone signals and Wi-Fi frequencies purely using his mind. Now as I said I am predispositioned to love all that Ryan does, but it was fascinating for me to see just how much of a range he has as an actor. His transformation was incredible, he was almost unrecognizable from the happy little British squint I've come to know and love.

The team is lead by Dr. Lee Rosen, played by Academy Award Nominee David Strathairn. Who seems a bit Professor X to me, though interestingly enough we haven't learned if the Dr. himself has any abilities.

Despite a lot of technical jargon, Alphas not only held my interest, but made me want more. There is A LOT happening in every scene, and not all of it in the foreground. Many times during the pilot I caught myself rewinding to try and catch a part of the background conversations as well, just to learn more of what was going on.

I full on admit to being a bit of geek, super heroes especially, so I am really excited to see where they go with this series. Alphas has totally given me something to make me look forward to Mondays.

For those of you who missed it, full episode is available on the official site.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Platinum Hit: AKA Friday Nights Now?

So, again this maybe because I am the only person I know watching but, Platinum Hit got moved to Friday? Really? Isn't that like the kiss of death for a show? Aren't people supposed to start their weekend out and about on Fridays?Thus meaning I may continue to be the only person watching....

Actually I have to thank my dvr, who sadly I have yet to name, for alerting me to this, as all of a sudden it switched over to Bravo on Friday, because I have seen NO advertisements on the switch & just figured there wasn't an ep this past week due to the holiday.

(Spoilers ahead)

Anyways on to the actual show. The hook challenge was to write a hook about "Risk" & then compete against the other contestants to make the most money "busking".

Just wanna say, Sonyae was damn lucky to have immunity this week because she doesn't play an instrument & let's face it, her acapella skills sound like 50 cats are dragging there nails across a chalkboard, while drowning. Clearly street preforming was NOT gonna be her strong suit. Jess actually came in third, with her song about the only person who you can depend on is yourself. Johnny places second, with his betting on you, Jason Mraz-esq love song. Big shocker there, come on the boy is cute and his songs tend to be on the dreamy side...I'd give him money. Finally Jackie came in first place with her hook about taking the leap & telling someone you love them first.  To be honest I think she only won because the girl can work a crowd, not that her hook was bad, but I think she got more money on her personality, but hey work whattcha got, right?

Now of course comes the crucial picking of teams, Jackie ends up with the only team of three, made up of her, Scotty & Sonyea. Johnny takes Brian, & Jess takes Nick.  Now comes this week's twist, they have to write the song in a different genre than which it was originally written in. Dum Dum DUM!

Jackie goes with Country....again I say Jackie, who is working with Scotty & Sonyae, picks country...yeah, let that sink in a moment....

Johnny & Brian went for which Scotty pipes in "You better do it right." Ok I admit it, I enjoy me some Scotty, but really?

Finally Jess & Nick pick Pop...thus ensuring Nick will play the same cords he always does.

Off to the writing sessions. Despite thinking that Brian is COMPLETELY insane, Johnny lets him do his crazy thing and they end up working like the talented bromantic partners they were always meant to be.

Discourse rules in the land of Country and Jackie, Sonyae & Scotty attempt to put together a crazy disorganized mess of a song. Scotty checked out to mix the track, as he seems to always do, and Sonyea & Jackie tried desperately to actually come up with some decent story telling lyrics...

Jess & Nick seemed to work surprisingly well together, or at least Nick the Douche claimed that he brings out the best in whomever he works with, thus Jess is a good writer "when she works with Nick" my memory Nick, but how many of these episodes have you been on a wining team for? Just saying...

On to the actual competition, because really why else watch. So the time has come for our lovely little song birds to sing their little hearts out in the quest to become one step closer to winning this damn show. Nick & Jess are up first, he plays a pink paisley guitar and she rocks out...hmmm maybe you should have gone with rock instead of pop there Jess.  Johnny & Brian brought forth an AMAZING drinking margaritas on tropical beach type song. Of course during both performances we have shots of Johnny/Jess each jamming out to the others song. Then bring up Jackie and co. right after Scotty leans in & tells her she "needs to sing it Country"...bring on the fake accent.

After all is said & sang, Johnny & Brian and Jackie, Sonyea & Scotty are all called to the stage. Seriously when Jess's team isn't one of the first two to get called, you can see the tears start to form. Poor girl just can't take the stress, but fear not Jess, your song, though not a good pop song is NOT the worst...

No that honor goes to Jackie's team, who's song seems to not only to have displeased the judges, but also offended them...the bad accent was a bad idea....

After an awesome he said/she said match of bus throwing it was finally time to say goodbye to our dear Jackie. Which is sad, as I do find her talented, I just think the girl WAY missed her mark on this one.

The episode ended with Jewel walking in on our lovely remaining contestants telling them their next challenge starts....NOW!

Really? That's how you're going to end it, as much as it pains me to say it, but if it wasn't for the fact that Johnny is still on the show kicking ass & taking names, I probably wouldn't still be watching...but alas I am hooked...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Franklin & Bash "Big Fish": AKA Jason Alexander Makes a Good Jerk...

Ah, Thursday morning, that can only mean two things. 1) One day closer to the weekend (Huzzah!) and 2) Time to talk about last nights Franklin & Bash (Double Huzzah!!)

This week's episode was directed by Fred Savage (Aka Kevin Arnold of the Wonder Years, and more importantly The Grandson, yes that's the actual name of the role, in The Princess Bride!!)

Now for the Double Case Set Up:

Case 1 (Aka Franklin & Bash): Carter Lang, A rich Wall Street CEO (who paid himself $20 million as his company went bankrupt), finds out he has two months to live & so he puts Franklin & Bash on retainer while he "rights the wrongs" he has done.

Case 2 (Aka how Karp & Hanna earn their keep): Karp & Hanna have their sights set on snagging Abba Jia, the founder of Madeline Exports, a very wealthy, slightly crazy Indian woman as a client. Hannah, gets the brilliant, & let's face it obvious, choice to get Pindar, as their token Indian, to help.  Of course things don't go as planned (do they ever?) & despite loving Pindar at first, Abba is appalled/scared off by the "Proof" Peter has tapped to the fridge of Jared leaving his toe nail clippings about. It all works out for the best though,  & after some quick thinking by Carmine, Infeld & Daniels ends up winning her over.

But back to the boys, because let's be honest, that's why we watch, Carter is play beautifully by none other than Mr. Jason Alexander, best known for playing George Costanza on tv's hit Seinfeld. But let's face it folks, Jason Alexander has had many great roles, Philip Stuckey in Pretty Woman, Albert Peterson in the 1995 tv remake of Bye Bye Birdie, and my personal favorite, this little gem outta the 80's. (For those of you that have never seen that before now, You're Welcome.)

He starts to do some crazy (illegal) things, stealing & selling off a yacht, which belongs to his "protege" John Stills, breaking into his home to steal bare bonds & expensive wine, then disrobing in the wine cellar and taking a naked jog around the neighborhood.  Thinking he only has a few months to live, the prospect of being in jail for a bit doesn't seem to even phase him. That is until Peter & Jared talk to his doctor to get him to testify, in an attempt to get leniency from the judge & find out the truth. They visit Carter in jail & inform him there was a mix-up at the lab, and he is in fact NOT dying.

You can literally see the change happen, suddenly Carter is not so nonchalant about his situation. He turns on a dime, threatening to lie & say that Franklin & Bash had prior knowledge of his criminal acts, which of course would lead to jail time for them. The boys then find out that John Stills, that Carter was focusing his Robin Hooding on, is in fact the guy poised to "steal" Carter's job. Suddenly the whole rob from the rich to give to the poor attitude seems fishy.  The question now is what can they do about it? Sure he's a scumbag who deserves to go to jail, but he's still their client & it is their jobs to defend him.

There is actually a whole darts scene in where the two discuss what "the right thing to do is", Infeld even weighs in.

What follows is some VERY creative lawyering. The guys not only get Carter out of jail time (which I guess is essentially winning the case), BUT trick him into signing most of his money over to the people he has wronged and get him to agree to going to do volunteer work in Haiti for two years. SCORE!

We also got a brief glimpse into the relationship between the guys & Debbie, their adorable blond Infield & Daniels' secretary, as they offered her advise on the guy she'd been texting with.

Having a lot of the same issues with the show as before. Still not a fan of Hanna or Karp, nothing against the talented Garcelle Beauvais & Reed Diamond.  They just don't have much to work with and so their characters feel flat to me, in fact I think the fact that they went deeper into the bromance of Peter & Jared last week, makes the supporting cast of characters seem even flatter, only popping in & out of the stories when deemed necessary. The exception being Stanton Infeld, who seems to be the only character, I think at least, who's been steadily building since the show's beginning. Last night's episode showed his belief in doing "what's right", and his generosity, he mentions giving a portion of his salary to charity, add this to his want/need of understanding different cultures and the way he obviously cares about the people in his life, checking in on Jared about his father, employing his nephew ect, and you have a  great mentor for our boys.

Next week's episode pits Franklin against Bash which should be interesting. Also, it appears Janie Ross will be back in the courtroom with them. Interestingly enough I think she & her impending nuptials maybe mentioned/alluded to in ever episode, though to date she herself has had very little actual screen time. Maybe we'll FINALLY get to meet this fiance of hers. I'm still betting on it being Dawson.