Season two has been really well done thus far and while I was just excited for the rest of the episodes, it is even better to know that we will have a season three!
Last year Fox (the network most likely to give a series a chance and then kill what has the makings of a phenomenal show) debuted Fringe, a darkly intriguing show from the minds behind Lost, Alias, and Transformers.
Officially: FRINGE returns for a second thrilling season that will continue to explore the unexplained phenomena and terrifying occurrences linked throughout the world – known simply as “The Pattern” – in pursuit of a larger, more shocking truth.
Set in Boston, the FBI’s Fringe Division formed when Special Agent OLIVIA DUNHAM (Anna Torv) enlisted the help of institutionalized “fringe” scientist WALTER BISHOP (John Noble) and his son, PETER (Joshua Jackson), to save her partner and lover from a mind-bending death. Through unconventional and unorthodox methods, the FRINGE team imagines and tests the impossibilities while investigating unbelievable events, macabre crimes, and mystifying cases involving pyrokinesis, neuroscience, cryonics, genetic engineering, astral projection, and other fantastical theories. When the unimaginable happens, it’s their job to stop it.
Agent PHILLIP BROYLES (Lance Reddick) guides the group, while by-the-book Agent CHARLIE FRANCIS (Kirk Acevedo) and Junior Agent ASTRID FARNSWORTH (Jasika Nicole) provide support and depth to the team. Underscoring the unfolding mysteries, enigmatic Massive Dynamic executive NINA SHARP (Blair Brown) asserts that the advancement of technology is changing the world of science, and conversely, the science of the world.
I’ve heard comparisons to shows ranging from X-Files to CSI and none of those labels due the show justice. Not only is Fringe its own unique self, when people see it likened to another show so constantly, it gives a misleading expectation of what the show is and so they go into viewing it with preconceived notions that affect how they see it, often spoiling it from trying so hard to fit in into the vision of what they thought it would be rather than just watching it for itself. And when one does that, it shines on its own merits.
It had a slow and stuttering start, and was a bit touch and go as the show found its path. But by mid-season I found myself quite intrigued and the show did not disappoint.
Olivia has a poise, a grace under pressure, that makes her excellent at handling these impossible cases and which also makes you hope that she comes out of this entire mess all right. She is quickly hired by Broyles, who knows way more than he is saying. Nina Sharp knows more as well. Just how much is still vastly unclear. Olivia’s step-father was a psycho and is likely going to come after her at some point. (I certainly hope that they do not drop that subplot!) Olivia has a very accurate memory, is adept at connecting things, almost preternaturally so. She never forgets a face. She also never forgets numbers as well. We find out that she was dosed with the drug Cortexiphan (sp?) as a three year-old child by Walter and William Bell. It is a drug that works on “perception” and appears to be able to basically give people any ability. All the other children that we have encountered that were given this drug have come to deadly ends and tragic circumstances. There was Nick, who was Olivia’s partner in the drug trials, who ended up becoming so dangerous to himself and others that he was put into a coma indefinitely. And pyrotechnics Susan Pratt and her twin sister, one of whom blew herself up and the other narrowly avoided the same fate. It is obvious that the drug has been affecting Olivia, esp. the issues with the tank and John’s consciousness. And the thing with the lights and the bomb in “Ability,” which was glossed over in the following episodes. Olivia seems to be better than the other children, but is she really?Do we have any real idea of what she is capable? And just how important is she supposed to be? At the end of the finale, she was stuck in the parallel world/ dimension with William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), who appears to have been hiding out there.
Peter has an I.Q. of 190. He is brilliant, cynical and sarcastic. The son of a mad genius scientist, he has lived on the shady side of things and is in trouble with any number of people. At first he wanted nothing to do with his father, but then he becomes personally involved and decides to stay in order to find some answers. This is a man who has cared about no one, never really had friends, no real family. He starts to connect to his father for the first time. That connection between father and son, so off-kilter and unusual given their background and individual issues and demons, is very interesting. Also, he is starting to care about Olivia, and Astrid. He is finding a family and maybe even finding he wants that responsibility of caring for others and being there for them. And I do see Olivia and Peter as family – brother and sister with their wacky father figure Walter, who has harmed them both in the past but genuinely cares for them now. So, Peter has quite a past that may well cause problems for him, as well as being in the dark about where he comes from…
Walter is a madman. He is perfectly frightening and can be equally perfectly frightened by his own behavior. He swings from periods of lucidity to muttering, confused asides, to furious rants and temper tantrums to complete obtuseness, often obsessing about a food or beverage. He can be a sweet, vulnerable old man and the next moment he is a soulless, disturbed scientist who will do anything to attain his objective. John Noble plays it so brilliantly. Walter loves Peter, but also grows very angry with at times. We find out that Walter lost Peter to an illness when was seven years old and this loss so consumed him that he was driven, with the aid of William Bell, to travel to another dimension. Walter brought back the Peter of that parallel universe back with him. Which explains a lot of Walter’s cryptic remarks about Peter’s health records to Olivia toward the beginning, the fact that Peter rarely recalls the childhood incidents that Walter brings up and why occasionally it seems Walter is a different person. Question is what happened to the other Walter? Why doesn’t Peter remember? At what age did Walter bring him back? When will Peter find out and how will this impact him? And his relationship with Walter? And just why exactly is Walter so messed up? His memory loss? Is that all from the drugs or is there something else going on?
And what is up with the Observer? He saved Walter and Peter from drowning, even though he is not supposed to interfere, but merely observe. He should not have been there, but he was. Why? And does he have a connection to the boy from “Inner Child”? Are they connected or was he merely observing him?
Officially: Hank (Mark Feuerstein) is a rising star in the New York City medical community, until he loses everything fighting for the life of a patient. With his career stalled and his personal life in shambles, Hank is in need of a new beginning. That’s where his younger brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo) steps in. Fed up with Hank’s personal pity-party, he convinces Hank to join him on a last-minute trip to the Hamptons for Memorial Day weekend. When the brothers crash a party at the home of a Hamptons billionaire and a guest falls critically ill, Hank saves the day. His dramatic medical rescue draws attention from the crowd, and soon Hank’s phone starts ringing off the hook with patients demanding house calls.
Inadvertently, Hank has become the hot new “concierge doctor” in town.
Though Hank is initially reluctant to embrace this new career, with encouragement from Evan and an ambitious young woman who volunteers to be his physician assistant he decides to stay in town for the summer. Once again solving medical crises and helping those in need, Hank is back to doing what he does best. And now he’s reinvented himself as the Hamptons’ hottest new doctor-in-demand.
Other supporting characters are Reshma Shetty as Divya Katdare and Jill Flint as Jill Casey. These two women superficially may seem similar given they both work in the medical profession and both seemingly find the lifestyle of the rich and indolent less than admirable and seek something more fulfilling. Yet, while Divya was for me a fun character to get to know and I looked forward to her scenes in each episode, I found Jill to be annoying and shallow and most of her scenes made me cringe or just turn the channel. As a love interest, zip. Nada. Divya’s struggle with her parents and their plans for her life made for far more compelling viewing.
Each week some medical emergency, usually exotic and rare, (much like the cases that continually find their way to House’s institution of medicinal practice) pops up in Hank’s sphere of influence and he saves the day, usually with the help of his small group of companions, notably Divya, but Evan and Jill occasionally are instrumental in solving what the mystery illness is. Evan and Jill are also the main source of Hank’s other problems. Evan, as Hank’s wilder younger brother, has his share of foibles, many of which inevitably somehow involve Hank. Afterall, it was one of Evan’s party-crashing escapades that landed Hank in the Hamptons. And Jill and Hank’s attraction to her… well, that was simply painful to watch. My favorite episodes were those involving Tucker and his girlfriend. They were quite interesting, as they were rich but also had some character to them. I was glad when they brought them back for two more episodes and am really hoping to see them again in season two. As the story stood at the finale, Jill had broken up, in a sorta, kinda, not really sure fashion with Hank, Divya had failed to break off her arranged marriage minutes before the engagement ceremony, Evan had lost all Hank’s money in a scam and we discover that the scammer that just took their money is none other than Hank and Evan’s father! So, there’s all that to address when things come back and, of course, Evan is on the outs with Hank, who said he could not trust him, so it will be interesting to see where everything goes from this point.
Overall, this first season did not wow me, but neither did the first season of In Plain Sight. Admittedly, the characters in most of USA’s series are very unique, as shown by their channel’s tagline “Characters Welcome.” And this particular type of show has done very well: Monk, Psych, Burn Notice and In Plain Sight. All of these shows have either charismatic or very forceful, memorable leads like Adrian Monk, Shawn Spencer, Michael Weston, and Mary Shannon, with superb supporting casts. And while Royal Pains remains the weakest of the group for me, it is still light, breezy fair for the summer and worth a try. It returns for a second season in 2010.
Give ‘Royal Pains’ A Try @ Starpulse.com This was a good review of the pilot.
So, Supernatural. Several links to share.
Supernatural-Season Two Finale: About Dean and Sam
Supernatural – Running up that Hill: About John Winchester and the deal he made. Not too many of those.
And for all things SPN, the Supernatural Wiki. Some useful info, but beware as you search there. Some crazies will show up and scare you. For real.
Squidoo’s Supernatural Music List (1-4) w/ lots of other videos and tidbits.
TV IV’s Supernatural Music List (seasons 1-4)
MR: Can you talk a little bit about Sam and Dean? Between them, is it pretty rocky or do they just kind of move on and go back to hunting together? Do you have it mapped out?
EK: Yeah, we certainly have the main emotional sweep of the season mapped out. Sam’s part for the season is primarily one of redemption. He has a lot of wrongs to set right. For Dean, it’s a little bit about understanding what his role is, but having the strength of character to do the right thing.
I mean, Dean’s story has really always been — both boys’ stories have been — [about the same thing]. The core concern of the show is free will versus destiny. And when you’re destined to do something, can you rail against it? From Sam’s perspective, when he’s destined to do something and then he has fulfilled that destiny, which was to end the world, how can you come back and be redeemed?
And so they both have their stories. But I always say that it’s about them coming together, because the story is really not about one or the other; it’s about the bond between them that’s called brotherhood. It’s about this connection of the two of them. The two of them being one unit is for us really what the story is about.
And people online, they get furious — alternately furious and upset — or they throw their arms up because they think we’re focusing on one brother or the other, and some people are Sam fans, and some people are Dean fans. And in my mind, anyway, you know, they’re both on completely equal footing because the story is about the two of them being intertwined. For me, the story is about, “Can the strength of family overcome destiny and fate, and can family save the world?”
The Pretender ran for four all too brief seasons. It had good acting, truly fascinating, lovable and at times heartwrenching characters and twisty, devious plots on the Centre side of things. Jared’s weekly mission plot got to be very formulaic, but it was balanced by the utterly wacky going-ons at the Centre which were never fully explained to anyone’s satisfaction.
The premise of the story is that in 1963 a young boy named Jared was taken from his family by an organization known only as “the Centre,” a secret research facility, among other things. Jared had a high IQ and was used to run simulations and solve problems. He lived there in a miserable little cell for thirty years. Then he escaped in 1996 and has been searching for his family, his past, and who he really is ever since. He also helps other people, bringing justice or saving lives along the way.
Sydney Mihileau (?), who has his own complicated past, works for the Centre and was the person in charge of Jared. Or at least the person that interacted with Jared and taught him, since he technically had no control over Jared’s fate. Sydney came to love Jared like his own son and Jared loves Sydney, the only father that he ever knew, the only person that cared about him in that place.
Miss Parker, once sweet and good, acts like a thoroughly unpleasant hag: nasty, unfeeling and callous of the feelings and needs of others. Her mother died when she was a young girl and her father ignored her. All Miss Parker has ever wanted since then is to be loved by her dad, which has never happened.
Broots is just this normal, rather cowardly guy who works at the Centre. He, Miss Parker, and Sydney are assigned to track down Jared and bring him back. Well, Sydney is always helping Jared. Miss Parker ends up finding out that she and Jared are both on a search for the truth about who they are. And Broots wants to help, but also does not want to end up being killed, courtesy of Mr. Parker, Mr. Raines, Mr. Lyle, Brigitte or another operative of the Triumvirate. It can be very confusing, and also very funny, especially as Jared discovers things that we take for granted, but that fascinate him as he discovers them for the first time, things like Play Dough, Silly Putty, ice cream, Monkeys in a Barrel, Pez and Bazooka Bubble Gum to name a few.
Unfortunately, in 2000, NBC canceled the show on a cliff-hanger ending and although two tv films were made, they did not address the open questions of the series, but rather just raised more. Although there was talk of a third, more conclusive film, none has been made to-date. Still, one of my favorite series, it is a lot of fun and I highly recommend you take a look.
Psych is USA’s brilliant comedy-mystery series that is partly about crime-solving, partly about fitting in obscure 80’s references and totally about having a zany, fun time. Oh, and finding a pineapple.
Those reasons are pretty accurate. Great cast, they have a ton of fun, its lighthearted. The one thing that I wish they would do is resolve issues. They open up these huge issues between characters, most specifically Shawn and his dad Henry and then they leave it unresolved. Please, please stop doing this. For instance, has Henry ever told Shawn he loves him or hugged him in his life? I am still watching to see how that father/son relationship is developed. I felt that when Shawn learned the truth about his mom leaving and how his dad tried to protect his mom even then by taking the blame that we should have seen a shift in their attitude toward one another. Especially on Shawn’s part when he realized that his dad was not who he had thought him to be all these years. But it ends before anything meaningful is said and by the next episode it is forgotten or so it would seem…
And there was this one part in “Spelling Bee” where Shawn gets run off the road while riding his motorcycle by the villain and has to go to the hospital overnight. It does not appear in the episode that Henry knew everything that had happened. Then, in “Cloudy with a Chance of Murder,” Henry tips off the cops about Shawn’s illegal parking and gets his bike impounded. He and Shawn then have this spat about Henry having always hated that bike, esp. since Shawn’s “accident.” Are they referring to the accident in “Spelling Bee”? Considering that Henry explodes and says something like “Fine, do whatever you want. Just take me off your emergency contact list so that the next time you get hurt they don’t carry you through that door bleeding,” or the like. He may just have been making a point or referring to another accident. I wasn’t sure, but it was interesting. And if he was referring to the “Spelling Bee” one, why wasn’t he contacted when Shawn was taken to the hospital, since when Shawn comes back to the house the next morning with his brace on, Henry had no idea, or seemed to have no idea of what had happened? I am looking at the far too closely, but I’d like to know.
Anyways, season four started this month and it looks like a good year, with a lot of fun, wacky episodes, and some more serious ones too. One with some background on Lassy, one where Shawn takes a shot, etc. The only thing I am definitely not looking forward to is them having Shawn and Abigail date. Meh.
Fridays @ 9 pm on your USA channel.
And today, some links for all things Elven.
Quenya Lapseparma: A Brief History of Nonsense (Elvish names A-Z)
Ardalambion: A World of Language
Behind the Name ~ Because names in general are fascinating and closely related to philology.
Parma Eldalamberon ~ Ever wanted to actually speak one of Tolkien’s elven languages? Head here to get the goods.
Flower Fairy Prints ~ The Artwork of Cicily Mary Barker (Technically not Tolkien…)