Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Premiere Week Impressions: Monday Night

I haven't gotten a chance to watch Lone Star yet, so it's missing from this rundown. Apparently, it tanked in the ratings anyway, so I'm not sure if I'll watch now or just hold on to it until I see if it picks up better ratings next week.

The Event (NBC, 8 pm CST) - I tuned into this mainly because I missed the whole phenomenon of watching Lost as it aired and I didn't want that to happen again. NBC has played fast and loose (and for good reason) with what the titular event actually is, but I was happy to see that we actually found out what it is in the pilot. The show had the tone of something like 24 or that one episode of Flashforward I managed to catch. Lots of moving parts in the pilot, with very little time devoted to fleshing out the characters, other than who I assume is the main character, Jason Ritter's Sean. I was kind of 'meh' on the whole thing until the last 5 or 10 minutes when several things (including "the event") really piqued my interest. I will definitely give this one a few more episodes, at the very least.

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, 9 pm CST) - I really loved this pilot. For one, I adore Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan. For another, James Marsters, Spike himself, is in it! It wasn't deep, it wasn't all that meaningful, but it was pretty and entertaining. The pilot sets up a nice continuing plot line involving the murder of Steve McGarrett's (Alex) father (briefly seen to be Jim Sadler, my dear Sheriff Valenti from Roswell), along with the potential for Case of the Week hijinks to be tackled by McGarrett's task force. The best part of the show was the banter between McGarrett and Caan's Danny "Dano" Williams. Scott Caan is best when he's allowed to be the sarcastic smartass, and hopefully the show will continue to let him exercise that skill. Season pass is already set up, so I'm in for the year, unless something really drastic happens.

Castle (ABC, 9 pm CST) - This was a returning favorite, and I have no complaints about the episode, but it didn't really wow me. I feel like we've made no progress from last season. I know that will-they-or-wont-they is a timeless tv trope, but getting stuck in a rut is no fun either. Here's hoping they're going somewhere interesting with Beckett and Castle this season. I'm actually looking forward more to what happens when Alexis gets a boyfriend than anything else on the show. Oh, and Ryan and Esposito. They make this show for me.

Other new shows I'm watching so far: Nikita (mainly due to my love of the Peta Wilson show), which I may review eventually, and Terriers, a fantastic new little drama on FX starring Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James. The characters are fantastic and the dialogue is some of the best I've seen in a while.

TV Review: The Vampire Diaries 2.2 "Brave New World"

Spoilers, as always!

Oh, Caroline. I'm not sure how I feel about your transformation into a vampire. On the one hand, it'll be interesting to see a vamp besides the Salvatores in Mystic Falls and the hijinks that will ensue on everyone's parts to keep Matt and Liz in the dark should be entertaining.

Observations in order as I watched:
  • Why in the world does Vamp!Caroline not question the fact that she wants to drink blood? Does she already remember some of her Damon-repressed memories? I'd have run screaming to the nurse if I had a craving to drink blood out of a bag.
  • What the hell is a goldfish toss?
  • Damon heading up the Anti-Vampire Council of Mystic Falls? Fantastic.
  • Also fantastic: the Lockwood boys in very little clothing while they discuss Tyler's anger issues. Obviously, Uncle Hottie is digging for info to see if Tyler inherited the wolfiness.
  • Again, why the hell isn't Caroline questioning what the hell is happening to her? Is it new vampire instinct to hide what's happening to them?
  • Poor Pudding Pop. I'm certain he's in for a rough season.
  • "Aren't you worried that one day the forest animals are going to band together and fight back? I mean, surely they talk." Heh.
  • Candice Accola is really knocking her material out of the park.
  • Oh, Uncle Hottie, no one believes that the moonstone you're looking for is useless. Family heirlooms on this show always have super special powers.
  • Jeremy, threatening Damon is even more stupid than your usual stupid behavior. Loved that Damon threw the ring back at his head.
  • "Get him, Stef!" Hee. Damon, I love you so.
  • "Maybe they're Ninja Turtles." Stefan, you can stay, I suppose.
  • Ambiguous Supernatural Mystery Uncle is Uncle Hottie's new nickname, at least until next week when we find out he's Jacob Black.
  • So Caroline obviously has contempt for Damon now that she remembers everything he did to her. Will she align herself with Katherine to get back at him? In the books, even though she's not a vamp, Caroline is more of adversary to Elena and Stefan than an ally. It will be interesting if her becoming a vampire moves her more in that direction. Still, I'm sure Stefan helping her puts some marks in the good guys' favor.
  • I heard a few rumblings since the episode first aired about Elena seeming to be more okay with Damon than she should have been after the end of 2.1. I disagree, however. She's not being nice to him, but she also recognizes that there is much supernatural hijinks afoot in Mystic Falls and that she needs to know what is happening in order to help her friends and family. Besides, she knows (as do we) that she is safe with Damon, at least physically, so going with him to find out what's going on wasn't a huge risk.
  • Though I have high hopes for Vamp!Caroline, Damon makes some good points about the difficulties of keeping her alive.
  • Ambiguous Supernatural Mystery Uncle is not very good at diverting attention from his wolfy traits. Tyler wasn't fooled for even a millisecond.
  • I don't know about anyone else, but I thought how sweet Damon was to Caroline before he tried to stake her was genuine. I think he really didn't want her to suffer and genuinely felt bad that she'd been put in this position.
  • How much do I dislike Bonnie right now? That would be a lot. Its not Caroline's fault that she got turned into a vampire. And you know what? Its not Damon's either, at least not any more so than it is Bonnie's or Elena's or Stefan's. The blame lies on the shoulders of Katherine "Bitch Incarnate" Pierce. Deal with that, Bonnie. Damon is a bad, bad man for many reasons, but he is not to blame for everything that ever happens in the history of the world. There are other bad people too. If I'd been Elena, I'd have slapped her ass for being a bitch instead of hugging her.
  • I see some really intriguing possibilities in a Damon/Jeremy alliance. Better yet, Damon, Alaric and Jeremy can be the three amigos, cracking wise and fighting the forces of evil in Mystic Falls.
  • "It was 1864...people knew how to whittle."
  • The Edward Cullen Spider-monkey jump was the low point of the episode, which sucks, cause that's how the show ended. I love me some Twilight, but I watch TVD because its not that.
Next week: It's all about the Ambiguous Supernatural Mystery Uncle. And Alaric is back!

Friday, September 10, 2010

TV Review: The Vampire Diaries 2.1 "The Return"

Spoilers ahead!

Oh, Damon. Its a good thing I like my fictional characters really freaking broken. Otherwise, I'd hate your guts right now. Instead, I'll hate Katherine (and maybe Stefan?) for making you into the person we saw in last night's season premiere of The Vampire Diaries.

We left off last season with Katherine cutting off Uncle John's fingers while pretending to be Elena, Jeremy lying motionless after ingesting Anna's blood and a bunch of pills, and Caroline critically injured in the hospital.  This episode picked up right where that left off and, as Damon put it, "doppelganger hijinks ensued." Elena finds John, but not Katherine, and gets him an ambulance, then she and Stefan discover that Jeremy is not a vampire, just an idiot. I'm hoping that Jeremy isn't whining about becoming a vampire all season.

Damon was the first to put the pieces together and realize that Katherine was back in town. The look on his face when he realized it was Kat he kissed and not Elena was typical Somerhalder awesomeness. Stefan, on the other hand, recognized Katherine right off the bat. He was such a badass in this episode, in his interactions with Katherine and when he threatened John Gilbert. I like Forceful!Stefan. I was a little frustrated when he was focusing so much on Damon trying to kiss "Elena" since I thought he was missing the forest for the trees, but Stefan had come to the same conclusion by episode's end. That's the beauty of this show: no waiting!

With the CW promoting this season as "The Year of the Kat," you have to think that Katherine will be sticking around all season. Props to Nina Dobrev for making Elena and Katherine so distinct from one another. And really, she's playing 3 characters right now: Elena, Katherine, and Katherine-pretending-to-be-Elena. I'd hazard a guess that eventually we may add Elena-pretending-to-be-Katherine to the list.

Then there were the two screaming-at-the-tv moments. First, Damon, heartbroken after both Katherine and Elena tell him that they don't love him, that its always going to be Stefan, snaps Jeremy's neck. I was horrified for Elena, wondering if Jeremy was really dead or going to become a vampire. Turned out, it was not really either: John Gilbert had given Jeremy his Ring of Imperviousness. Elena now claims to hate Damon, since he just killed Jeremy, but Stefan insists that Damon must have noticed the ring. I'm not real clear on how the ring works, since John told Jeremy that it only protects from "supernatural" death and not accidental. I'm going to assume he wasn't referring to being killed by Dean Winchester. I'm actually wondering how if John was telling Jeremy the truth about why the ring didn't protect his dad, or if there's more to that story.

Meanwhile, over at the Mystic Falls hospital, Katherine tells Caroline, who is magically healed thanks to Damon's blood, to give the Brothers Salvatore a message: Game. On. Then she smothers her with a pillow. Presumably, next week, Caroline will feed and turn, unless she dies. I think the preview for next week gave the answer to that one away.

I don't even think turning Caroline was Katherine's opening gambit. I think that came when she told Damon that she'd never loved him. I'm not saying she actually does, but I'm certain that her telling him was a purposeful act to drive a wedge between him and Stefan. Whether Katherine still cares or ever cared about either brother remains to be seen. Damon's heartbreak at the end when he was alone in mansion was palpable, and I'm certain that we'll be seeing the effects of the premiere on his behavior all season.

The most powerful scene in the whole episode, in my opinion, was when Damon confronted Elena about her feelings for him. I actually wondered for a minute if Damon was going to rape her, and kudos to Somerhalder for displaying that kind of desperation, though I'm not sure how I reconcile my love of Damon as a character with my willingness to believe he could actually do that. In the end, I don't think that Elena loves Damon. I think they definitely have a connection that she won't admit to, but its not love, at least not the romantic kind for now. Poor Damon, he's just so desperate to be someone's first choice.

Looks like Williamson and Plec are going to keep the hits coming this season. Overall grade: A- (The minus is due to lack of Alaric. More Matt Davis, stat.)