Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Taxi 1.03

Blind Date

Alex goes on a date with Angela, a woman whom he has never seen before. Even though they got along great on the phone, the date doesn't go any where near as well as their conversation on the phone. Angela expected Alex would walk out once he saw what she looked like. Instead he insists on going through with the date. At first Angela's caustic remarks were humorous, but after a few minutes it got to be sad. She kept firing off one-liners about why he should give up on her. The ending is kind of happy but also doesn't fully address the issue at hand.

In the b-plot Latka finds an envelope with $2,000 in it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Master of None 1.01

Plan B

Dev meditates on the possibility of being a parent after (a) the condom breaks in the middle of sex with a woman he just met and (b) he spends some time with friends who have little kids.

Overall I would say this show was okay. It had its moments. I especially liked the daydream sequences where Dev imagined what it would be like to have kids. In one instance it seems ideally great and in the other abysmally bad. I will probably watch a few more episodes but based on this episode alone I am not a fan of the show.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Flash 1.21

Grodd Lives

Iris confronts Barry. She tries to do it at police HQ but he runs off once again. Instead she shows up at STAR Labs when Barry is still in uniform, after he has removed his cowl. She is hurt. She is angry that everyone else seems to know Barry's secret, except her. Maybe there was just a little too much dwelling on this part of the episode. It is perfectly understandable that she would be angry, very angry but some of these scenes fell a bit flat. It felt as though they were filling time.

Some new masked villain attempts to rob the Central City Gold Reserve. The Flash tries to stop him but is incapacitated by a mental blast. It seems to affect the would be robber as well. Flash runs off before he can get hit with another blast. The police set a trap for the would be robber and with some help from the Flash they catch him. When they pull off the mask he is wearing the face beneath is that of General Eiling.

They whisk Eiling back to STAR Labs and lock him in one of the cells. He is talking but he doesn't sound like himself. He hasn't been seen on the show since 1.14 (Fallout) which ended with the Reverse Flash delivering him to Grodd. It looks like Grodd is the one behind Eiling. He is mentally controlling the General. He talks through the General to Barry and reveals his identity.

Joe West, knowing that Grodd is super-dangerous and has mental powers leads Barry and Cisco on a trip into the sewers to try and find Grodd's hideout. This was one twist that didn't make sense to me. This whole part of the story was kind of dumb. Joe gets captured by Grodd. He gets smacked around and loses his usual cool demeanor very quickly when he come face to face with Grodd.

Barry and Cisco rush back to STAR Labs. At first they act like they don't know what to do. Then they do the obvious and create a headpiece for Barry to wear which will block the mental signals Grodd is sending from reaching Barry's brain. Barry goes into the sewers to retrieve Joe. Before he can get his adoptive father out of there he is forced to fight Grodd. Barry tries attacking him but even using the super-punch which was last seen in 1.06 (The Flash is Born) he is unable to stop him. Grodd gets the upper hand and almost kills Barry by making him step in front of a moving train. It is only Iris' voice and his memories of her, including the kiss that they shared in 1.15 (Out of Time), that enable him to break through Grodd's mental assault and avoid getting killed by the train.

There isn't another showdown with Grodd in this episode. Flash grabs Joe and whisks him out of there after Grodd steps into a moving train, which was really strange. Maybe he isn't the super-intelligent being that he is on JLU but still that seemed a little too convenient. Grodd isn't dead and doesn't seem to be injured. Grodd doesn't add anything to this show as far as I am concerned. I hope that if the character keeps showing up on the show that he will evolve and become more intelligent. I don't want to see him if all he is going to be is a gorilla with mental abilities.

Barry releases General Eiling from his holding cell after confirming that Grodd no longer has control over him. Eiling knows that Barry is the Flash but he's got other concerns, namely Grodd. He wants revenge. I checked and this is the final episode for Eiling so I guess he isn't going to get his revenge.

Eddie Thawne is still the prisoner of his descendant, Eobard Thawne, the man who has been pretending to be Harrison Wells. Eobard visits him a few times but isn't receptive to Eddie's suggestion that he should let him go. At the end of the episode in the final scene Eobard seems very satisfied. It seems that he has the "key" as he puts it. The key to what isn't clear. Can this key be what he needs to return to the future?

Not my favorite episode. I think I already outlined a number of things that I didn't like about it. I missed having Eobard interact with Barry. I hope that the last two episodes of this season are better than this one. I don't think that is a very high bar to clear.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

UnREAL 2.05

Infiltration

Things are still not good between Rachel and Quinn. Rachel is sleeping with Coleman. Most people on the set know that after she arrives to the set in his car with him.

On the set of the show Quinn tries to set things up so that Darius will pick Hot Rachel for a night together. He has to choose between Yael and Dominique, the basketball player who hasn't had many (if any lines) prior to this episode. He seems all set to pick Yael when Dominique fills him in, on camera, on the fact that Yael slept with someone in the crew. Rachel must have given her that information. Quinn is pissed. Rachel is messing everything up, as far as Quinn is concerned. Darius passes on Yael but he also passes on Dominique and picks Ruby instead.

Chet returns to the set. He tries to win back Quinn but she isn't biting. He talks to Jeremy, tries to help out by using one of the techniques he learned in the paleo retreat he went on between seasons one and two. He isn't very successful. Jeremy ends up drinking a lot after their little talk and gets too aggressive with Rachel at the end of the episode. Chet sees what happens and fires him.

Ruby and Darius have their night together although it ends up being just a few hours. At the same time Rachel and Coleman head to a big award ceremony to hobnob with big name people who can help them get ahead. It looks like they are making progress with John Booth, a big shot in television, when Quinn shows up. Booth is played by Ioan Gruffud, whom I know best from the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four movies; he played Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic.

Before leaving for the party Quinn planted a little "bomb". She had Ruby's father flown in. Ruby's father is played by Carl Lumbly, whom I know from Alias, Justice League and JLU. She invites Booth, who is a big fan of Everlasting, back to the set to watch the fireworks go off when Ruby's father arrives. Quinn and Booth arrive on the set just before Ruby's father and at the same time as Rachel and Coleman. At first Rachel refuses to let Quinn ruin things for Ruby and Darius. Quinn doesn't give up easy and talks Rachel into going in to the room with cameras to film confrontation that occurs when Ruby's father storms into the room where his daughter is shacked up with Darius.

Despite the confrontation it looks like things aren't all bad between Ruby and Darius. Quinn orders an elimination ceremony. Darius picks the obvious person to eliminate, Dominique; obvious because she has had such a small part in the show up to this point. Then he goes on to eliminate Ruby, for her own good. She wants to believe that he can be more than just a quarterback, that he can be a force for social justice but he isn't as optimistic as she is.

Quinn and Rachel have words after everything goes down. Quinn warns Rachel about Coleman, that he is her Chet. Rachel isn't buying Quinn's perspective and insists that she is going to do better and go farther than Quinn, with Coleman by her side. After Jeremy hits her and Chet tries to help her, Rachel looks very confused. It seems like she is trying to have her cake and eat is too or at the very least she needs to make a decision. Her experience seems to be telling her to stick with Quinn but her heart has her going with Coleman. I think that ultimately she will break with Coleman. He might make it easy for her to make that decision by stabbing her in the back, but I don't know.

Overall, not a great episode but a really good one with a lot of interesting developments.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Young Justice 1.05

Schooled

There's a subtle focus on Superboy in this one. It opens with a traffic accident on a bridge in Metropolis. Many lives are in danger. Superman shows up and immediately does what he can to repair the bridge and save lives. Superboy also shows up. He tries to help but he is reckless. Once everyone is safe Superboy tries talking to Superman but Superman gets a call from Green Arrow about another emergency and has to leave. It is very clear that he still is uncomfortable with the fact that Superboy exists.

Bruce Wayne observed the whole bridge scene from the Wayne building. He was going to step in to help out when he saw Superman arrive on the scene. I'm not sure what good Batman can do in a situation like that. Just before he decides to sit this one out, he lifts the head off a bust of Shakespeare and presses a button hidden beneath it which opens a drawer in his desk where a Batman costume is kept. This was a nice nod to the 1960s Batman series.

Later in the episode Bruce and Clark meet to talk. Bruce is obviously not happy with how Clark is handling the situation. He can see that Superboy needs some guidance or at the very least to make a connection with Superman. Superman ends up storming off. He doesn't want to talk about it, with Bruce or Superboy.

Black Canary pays a visit to to Mount Justice. She give the group a lesson in hand-to-hand combat. First she takes on Kid Flash and then Superboy. She knocks both of them down. Superboy takes it personally and is not amused. The training session gets interrupted by a call from Batman. He has an assignment for the team. The league just finished battling Amazo, the android who can duplicate anyone's superpowers. They have dismantled Amazo and are transporting its parts to two different labs (far apart from each other) for analysis. Batman wants the team to guard the two shipments. Superboy and Robin guard one shipment. Miss Martian, Aqualad, and Kid Flash guard the other one.

Amazo was built by Professor Ivo, who sends an army of flying monkey robots or Mobile Optimal Neuro Quotient Infilrators (MONQI) to retrieve the two shipments. The young heroes try their best but they are overwhelmed by the monkey-bots. Superboy gets impatient and leaps after the monkey-bots. By the time he catches up to them they have already delivered their cargo to Ivo who has reassembled Amazo.

The fight moves to Gotham where the group reassembles and fights Amazo. Superboy keeps insisting that he doesn't need any help despite the fact that Amazo seems to have no problem dealing with him or the rest of the team. In the end it is a lesson that Superboy learned from Black Canary, earlier in the episode that helps them to defeat Amazo.

Robin is once again shown to be fairly immature. He giggles when Superboy is knocked down by Black Canary. Superboy seems to grow over the course of the episode and by the end of it he is ready to resume training with Black Canary.

Gotham City is in Connecticut, according to the map that shows the routes for the two trucks. There is a photo of Dick Grayson at Gotham Academy where the final battle takes place. Robin's secret identity has not been officially revealed but this seems to suggest that this Robin is Dick Grayson.

Artemis has yet to make an appearance on the show but that has to have been her that shot an arrow at Amazo when it was about to crush Kid Flash. When Robin learns that the arrow was not one of Green Arrow's he assumes that it belongs to Speedy aka Red Arrow.

Not my favorite episode but it has its moments. The flying monkeys were crazy annoying. They were super powerful but not impossible to destroy. The laughing noise they make has to be infuriating to anyone that has to deal with them. Still not crazy about the way the older superheroes are portrayed, namely Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, and Martian Manhunter. I still prefer them on Justice League and JLU.

Casual 3.01

Ashes to Ashes

Val and Laura have moved out of Alex' home. They are renting a space in a less than perfect house. The owner isn't very responsive to Val's request that she get the kitchen sink fixed. Alex tries renting out the spare bedrooms in his place. He scares off the first guy who stays with him by sharing a little too much. Laura tries conning her mother into paying for half of her tattoo removal fees. Leon and Jennifer make brief appearances. Alex seems to have to have a tendency to drop in on them when they are unprepared to deal with him. Alex and Val's mother holds a memorial service for their father at which she drops a bombshell in the middle of eulogizing him.

So far so good. This continues to be a weird show that I find hard to classify. It is somewhere between comedy and drama.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Taxi 1.01

Like Father, Like Daughter

A broken pay phone gives Alex the chance to reach out and talk to his daughter. He hasn't seen her in 15 years. After learning that she will be stopping over in Miami the next day, he commandeers one of the cabs and drives all the way from New York just to spend a few minutes with her.

This episode was much better than I hoped it would be. It was both funny and sentimental. Not all the actors are great but there's enough quality acting here to more than satisfy me.

The actress who plays Cathy, Alex' daughter, also had a recurring role on Mad Men where she played the part of Roger Sterling's ex-wife.

Monday, May 22, 2017

WKRP in CIncinnati 1.01

Pilot - Part 1

Andy Travis moves from Albuquerque to Cincinnati to become the program director for a sleepy AM radio station. After getting the permission of the station's manager, Arthur Carlson, he quickly changes the kind of music the station plays to rock and roll.

Not quite as good as I remembered it but it had its moments, most of which involved Dr. Johnny Fever. It was a bit disappointing to watch the show without the original music. There is a box set out there with most of the original music restored but I was watching it on Hulu which must have a different cut of the show.

I didn't recall that a different actress played the role of Arthur's mother in the pilot. I was also surprised to learn, after checking on IMDB, that Arthur's mother only appeared in three episodes.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Kids on the Slope 1.07

Now's the Time

Kaoru and Sentaro haven't spoken two words to one another since the end of the previous episode when Kaoru blew up during the clam digging competition.

Sentaro runs into Yurika at the record shop. It isn't clear why she is there but she is thumbing through some records, staring at the cover to a Chet Baker album. He immediately thinks of the Christmas night when they played at a club for American servicemen. For a moment it looks like Yurika and Sentaro and going to kiss but then Junichi comes stumbling around the corner. Did Yurika know or suspect that he was staying at the record store? Is that why she was there? Was Junichi drunk? Sentaro punches Junichi. Yurika runs off. Clearly, Sentaro knows now that something happened between Junichi and Yurika.

Kaoru and Ritsouko are nominated to be in charge of collecting applications for the music festival. Kaoru ends up talking to Sentaro briefly when he comes to sign the band up he is playing with at the moment. Their conversation is mostly business. Kaoru makes a half-hearted attempt at bridging the emotional gap between them but it doesn't seem to change anything.

The day of the festival rolls around. When Sentaro, Seiji, and the rest of the band are playing the electricity suddenly gets cut off mysteriously. While looking for the cause of the problem Kaoru overhears Sentaro talking to another member of the band. He is telling him about how this is a one time thing and that once the festival is over he is going back to jazz and playing with Kaoru.

Kaoru doesn't find the problem but he goes out and starts to play My Favorite Things on the piano. Sentaro joins in on drums. Fairly quickly they have the crowd mesmerized and kids coming from all over the school to listen to them.

They get a huge round applause when they are done playing. This was by far the highlight of the episode. It was good to see them playing together again. It was an inspired performance. After they finish playing Sentaro drags Kaoru out of the building and they go running off down the hill.

I don't know where this is all going. Will there be some sort of romantic reconciliation between Kaoru and Ritsouko and/or Sentaro and Yurika? What about Junichi? What's going to happen to him? I'm still watching this mostly for the music. The interpersonal drama is what it is but the music is great.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Flash 1.20

The Trap

The episode opens where the last one left off, in Dr. Wells/Eobard Thawne's hidden room. Barry, Caitlin, and Cisco study the newspaper headline about the Flash disappearing during the crisis. They notice that it is dated 10 years into the future and that the author of the piece is Iris West-Allen. There are some subtle differences in the Flash's costume which Cisco notices. They talk to Gideon and learn that it believes that Barry is the police commissioner of Central City. Gideon also says that Barry created it. They get out there, thanks to Barry's speed, just before Dr. Wells arrives on the scene.

Barry confesses to the gang (Joe, Cisco, Caitlin, Eddie) back at Joe's house that he has time traveled before. He tells them about the tidal wave that he prevented by traveling back in time (see Flash 1.15 - Out of Time). He doesn't mention how he changed into the Flash in front of Iris. He theorizes that Cisco's dream of getting killed by Dr. Wells was more than just a bad dream, Barry suggests that it actually happened. He wants to get Wells to confess to killing his mother and sees Cisco as the key to getting that confession.

Eddie want to propose to Iris. He tries talking to Joe about it but Joe shoots the idea down. Eddie insists that he was only asking for Joe's blessing as a courtesy and that he doesn't need Joe's permission. I have a hard time hating Eddie. I'm not sure why. Maybe it is because he isn't destined to end up with Iris. Maybe it is because Barry doesn't hate him. Maybe it is because he is a nice guy.

Caitlin and Cisco invent (with a little help from Dr. Wells) a pair of lucid dreaming glasses. They use the glasses to get Cisco to go into his dream, relive them, and remember everything that happened before. They use this information to set the trap for Dr. Wells. They recreate the scene as best they can. Cisco pulls up the hologram of the Reverse Flash just like he did that night. One big difference is that this time around Joe and Barry are hidden behind some equipment in the bunker waiting to grab Wells once he confesses.

Cisco isn't the only one who dreams in this episode. Early in the episode Joe daydreams back to when Barry was still in a come in the hospital, after the reactor blew up but before he awoke and discovered his new powers. Joe remembers how Dr. Wells came to him and insisted that he was the only one who could help Barry.

Before the trap is set for Dr. Wells, Iris meets Barry at his office in CCPD headquarters. I thought she was going to tell him she was having dreams about him being the Flash. Instead she gives tells him about a theory she has that the reactor blowing up was responsible for giving a lot of people superpowers, including the Flash. Barry is flustered and doesn't know what to say. She gives him a folder with her evidence. He promises to read through it and leaves very abruptly. After he has left Iris daydreams back to when Barry was still in a coma. She sits next to him in bed and tells him that she needs him. She reaches out for his hand and gets an electrical shock.

The trap doesn't work out as planned. In large part because it is not the final episode of the season but also because Dr. Wells/Eobard Thawne is one step ahead of them. It looks like Dr. Wells comes down to the bunker to confront Cisco. It looks like he is about to kill Cisco again when Joe and Barry leap out. Joe fires three shots at Dr. Wells. Barry stops two of the bullets but is unable to stop the third bullet before it reaches Dr. Wells and kills him. As they are standing over the body it changes and reverts to its true form, Hannibal Bates, the shapeshifter (from Flash 1.19 - Who Is Dr. Wells?).

Dr. Wells/Eobard Thawne contacts them. He doesn't reveal his true identity but he tells them that even though he has been using them, he has grown attached to them but he won't let that get in the way of his mission. Barry goes looking for Iris, who is with Eddie, who is about to propose to Iris. The Reverse Flash gets there before the Flash does and just before Eddie is about to propose. He almost kills Iris but Flash shows up. The Reverse Flash runs off with Eddie. Flash takes Iris' hand and promises to rescue Eddie. As he leaves Iris gets a mild shock as their hands separate, just like she did many months ago in the hospital. She whispers Barry's name questioningly but he is already gone.

The final scene takes place in Eobard Thawne's secret lair. He takes off the mask and tells Eddie who he really is. Eobard has a flashback to the hospital when Barry was still in a coma. He talks to unconscious Barry about how he has watched him grow up and how determined he is to kill him, but not until the time is right.

This was such a good episode. I love so many things about it. There are so many secrets in this show, things that this character or that character is withholding. Some of them are clear, some not so much. Some are revealed in this episode. This is not a perfect episode. There are a few leaps that happen a bit quickly. As always it seems like it takes little to no effort to develop new technology.

UnREAL 2.04

Treason

Rachel finds out what is up with Darius. He had back problems before Brandi attacked him in the last episode and before the season began. He has been hiding it from everyone including the team for which he plays. Rachel sneaks in his doctor who tells Darius that he needs to get surgery right away. Romeo, Darius' manager, talks him into listening to the doctor and gives Rachel one more day with Darius.

Quinn finds out that her father has died. Rachel tries talking to her but Quinn isn't listening. Rachel stabbed her in the back.

Darius was supposed to take part in a football game with the ladies. Rachel reworks it so that Darius will be commenting from the sidelines with Tiffany. Darius is getting along just fine with Tiffany when London, one of the ladies, who is more than just a little tipsy, talks him into joining them on the field. There is a reporter from Entertainment Weekly on the set so Darius joins the contestants. London tackles him before they start playing which just makes his back that much worse.

London was pushed to do what she did by Chet. He and Quinn picked up on the fact that Darius was nursing some sort of injury. Their plan to drum up some publicity was to get him injured and then taken to the hospital. At first it looks like everything is going their way but then Rachel offers Darius another alternative. Against the advice of Romeo he goes with Rachel's plan and is given an epidural by a physician that Coleman called in. Romeo goes ballistic when he finds out. He gets into an argument with Darius who fires him on the spot.

Quinn and Chet aren't exactly pleased with Darius' miraculous recovery. Chet, who has had his baby with him on the set for the entire day, tries talking Quinn into getting back with him. She looks very skeptical. Chet looks like he has put on a little weight since the last episode. He doesn't look overweight, he just doesn't look as thin in the face as he did before. Before Chet's talk can get very far a couple police cars show up. Apparently Chet took his son from his ex-wife without permission. He gets arrested and hauled away in handcuffs.

Ruby visits Darius later than evening. He is nervous about letting down his guard. There's no camera crew with her but there are cameras everywhere on the set. He seems to have forgot that fact. They start by talking but it isn't long before they start making out. They think they are alone but there is a camera crew filming the whole encounter.

Throughout the episode Yael, Hot Rachel, has been cozying up to Jeremy. He has looked not quite as fit and trim as he did in the previous season. I don't think that has anything to do with why he is receptive to her advances. I thought it was a bit strange that she would show an interest in him, but not because of his appearance. After watching the entire episode, I think she is up to something. I don't know if Rachel knows what she is up to but I think she is doing it to try and win points with Rachel. The last thing she does in this episode, before joining Jeremy in his trailer, is to swipe his keys when he isn't looking.

Rachel and Coleman share a drink and a kiss on the hood of his car in the final scene.

I continue to enjoy watching this series. I have yet to grow tired of it even though there was a lot of setup in this episode but not a lot of delivery. I expect that there will be some payoff in the next one.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Young Justice 1.04

Drop Zone

The team is sent on its first official mission by Batman. Their orders are to investigate the island of Santa Prisca. What they know going in is that Santa Prisca is the location of a factory that manufactures the drug known as Venom. Shipments from Santa Prisca have mysteriously dropped to zero in recent months.

Unbeknownst to the team, Santa Prisca was invaded by the cult of Kobra a month before their arrival. Bane used to run Santa Prisca now he is struggling to regain control of the island. They arrive and quickly witness a firefight between Bane's troops and the troops of Kobra. After Bane is captured by the young heroes, he offers to help them infiltrate the factory. Things go south quickly. Robin strikes off on his own, despite being the nominal leader of the team, without telling the others what he is up to. Kid Flash takes off looking for Robin. The others get into a fight with the forces of Kobra.

Robin picks up some valuable information after breaking into the factory's control center. The factory is now being used to manufacture a hybrid drug that combines Venom with the formula for the drug manufactured by the scientist of Project Cadmus, Blockbuster. This drug was seen in 1.02 (Fireworks).

The team regroups but then gets trapped in a tunnel. Robin bristles at Aqualad's attempt to provide constructive criticism on his style of leadership. Robin suggests that Aqualad lead. Aqualad humbly accepts the burden, which is exactly how he characterizes the role. He leads them quite ably. They tangle with another supervillain, Sportsmaster, who shows up in a helicopter to pick up a shipment of the hybrid drug. They manage to blow up the shipment and the factory but Sportsmaster escapes with one vial of the drug. His bosses, the council known as the Light, are happy enough and believe they can reverse engineer the drug now that they have a sample.

The team of heroes gets back to Happy Harbor. They expect to be given a hard time by Batman because they diverged from the original plan. Instead he congratulates them for the work they did.

There's a lot that my summary doesn't cover. There's a lot going on in this episode. It all flows together very nicely.The team is still learning to function as a team. Robin seems to think that he is the natural leader of the team but he doesn't seem to know what leadership means. He takes off without a word to the others on at least two occasions. He smirks at the idea of having Kaldor, Aqualad, lead but agrees to it anyway. He is far from the most likable member of the team. Kid Flash isn't much better than Robin. Both are very rash.

Superboy is still learning. At least he has an excuse. He grows a bit in this episode, emotionally speaking. He listens more than in the past but still lacks some of the tact or discipline that he should be exhibiting as a hero. Miss Martian definitely has a crush on Superboy, It was apparent before this episode but there's more of it here. She compliments him a number of times but he doesn't seem to notice. She blushes the one time he compliments her.

Aqualad is by far the most professional member of the team. He takes his role as a hero very seriously whether he is leading the team or not. Maybe he could stand to lighten up a little bit but considering how sloppy the others are it is refreshing and provides hope to see that there is at least one level head on the team.

This is by far my favorite episode so far. It reminds me a bit of the Task Force X episode from JLU. It doesn't feel like a standard superhero cartoon. Things are a bit gray as the heroes work with a villain, Bane, for most of the episode. I love watching the team develop and how their interactions change over time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

NewsRadio 2.22

Led Zepplin II

A fire breaks out on one of the lower floors in the WNYX building. Phil refuses to stay put and tries to leave. Lisa and Dave kiss and make up on account of the fire. Mr. James is thinking about marrying a woman that he dated once before but can't remember why they split up the first time around.

Final episode of Season 2. Not the best episode ever but it is a good one in my book. There were a few good laughs and Phil Hartman was great, as usual.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Maron 4.13

Bookend

Marc finally gets to talk to Shay. She doesn't want to have anything to do with him at first. Eventually she comes around. Marc starts to podcast again.

I'm not sure about this ending to the series. I don't love it. I don't love the series as a whole. It had its moments. As a devoted listener of the WTF podcast I stuck with it. I love the podcast. Not every episode is a winner but most episodes engage me on one level or another.

The first 3 seasons of the TV show seem to be a fictionalized version of Marc's life. This season went a bit off the rails. Sometimes that is for the best. I'm not sure if I would say that's the case this time around.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

UnREAL 2.03

Guerilla

Coleman, new show runner, lets Chet run the show, at first. Chet's first idea gets shot down by Darius as being too dangerous. His second idea is to have the women run an obstacle course. Darius is okay with that but refuses to run the course himself. He says it is because he can't afford to risk an injury. There is some sense to that but considering what happens later in the episode I have to wonder if he wasn't hiding something.

Quinn goes behind the scenes to spice things up. She has chats with two of the contestants (Brandy and Chantal) before the obstacle course, and gets them mad enough to start a shoving match during the obstacle course. Chantal falls from about 10 feet up on the climbing wall and lands on her back. Quinn loves it. She has Rachel put Brandi in a room and locks the door. Brandi flips out. All of this is being filmed for possible use in the show.

Darius is sent to check on Chantal who is by now in a hospital bed and has a bandage around her head. They talk. He is sweet. She feels better. They make out. Quinn loves it.

Ruby and Beth Ann have a moment at the party that afternoon. They go at one another, vocally. There are no fists thrown or hair pulled. Quinn does not love it.

Quinn pays Brandi a visit. She explains to her that she needs to apologize to Darius, tell him about her past, about being a foster child. They set things up. Darius and Brandi have their moment alone. Brandi explains how tough she had it growing up. Darius comforts her they kiss. Quinn is much happier.

Quinn calls a meeting with Darius in her office. She has a woman with her, Brandi's mother, who explains that Brandi was never in foster care. Her daughter is a compulsive liar. Darius feels totally betrayed and agrees to kick Brandi off the show. That is exactly what he does. He calls her out on camera in front of the other contestants. Brandi flips out and attacks Darius. She jumps on his back and gets him in a headlock.

Security pulls Brandi off of Darius. Darius looks injured. I'm left wondering at this point if he wasn't already nursing some sort of injury. It is possible that Brandi was able to cause him that much damage that quickly but I wonder if Darius hasn't been hiding something from the folks on Everlasting and everyone else. What Darius doesn't know but it quickly revealed is that the woman who claimed to be Brandi's mother was just an actress who was hired to convince him that Brandi was lying about the foster care system and the abuse she suffered when she was younger.

Quinn is laughing it up and has a good time though out this episode right up until the last few minutes. She has owned Chet. She did a masterful job of manipulating Brandi and Darius, with some help from Rachel. In the last few minutes of the episode Gary stops by the set of the show, the next morning, and congratulates Coleman (in front of the entire crew) for putting together a great episode. There was a moment there where it was unclear who he was going to congratulate. For a few seconds there I thought it was going to be Rachel, which totally would have blown her cover, but he didn't, not in front of everyone.

Gary pulls Quinn aside after he talks to everyone. He reprimands her for the voice mail she left him and then tells her about Rachel. Quinn is facing Rachel who can't overhear the conversation but who can see the look on Quinn's face. She knows that Gary is letting Quinn know about what she did. She freaks out, goes back to her office and starts to pack. Coleman walks in. He tries to reassure her. They make out briefly.

The final scene is a bit of a tease but honestly it wasn't as good as wondering what Quinn is going to do to Rachel. In the last scene Rachel goes to see Darius. He looks like he is in a lot of pain. Yes, it is a bit of a cliffhanger but there are other things that intrigue me more like what is going to happen to Quinn and Rachel's relationship now that Quinn knows that Rachel went behind her back.

This was more along the lines of what I was expecting from this season all along. This episode more or less followed developments on the set and behind the scenes of an episode of the show. This time out Rachel seemed to play second fiddle to Quinn, that isn't usually the case on this show. Yes, Rachel works for Quinn but Rachel seems to spend more time in the spotlight that Quinn does. It was also different to see Quinn running around goading the contestants and the bachelor into doing things. In the first season she usually stayed in her office or the control room and got Rachel to manipulate the folks on the show.

Overall this was a great watch. I consistently amazed at how much they manage to pack into each episode without making it feel bloated or like it is dragging.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Flash 1.19

Who Is Harrison Wells?

Barry, Joe, Eddie, Caitlin, and Cisco meet to discuss what to do next about their investigation into Dr. Wells. They are all on board except for Caitlin. She has doubts. The meeting ends abruptly when she storms off.

After the meeting Cisco and Detective West head to Starling City to try and dig up something on Dr. Wells life before he moved to Central City. They get some help from Lance of the SCPD. I can't figure out what his rank or title is at this point. I know that in the first season of Arrow he was a Detective. He later got busted down in rank. In this episode someone addresses him as Captain. That someone is Laurel Lance, his daughter.

In what has to be the goofiest and least elegant scene in this episode and possibly the whole season, Laurel admits to Cisco that she is the Black Canary. She asks him for some help with fixing or augmenting one of her weapons. He does so but there are no demonstrations on this episode. That probably happened on an episode of Arrow. I was a bit concerned when I saw that there were two characters from Arrow going to show up in this episode. On the whole the Starling City characters didn't appear as much as they have in a few other episodes which was definitely a good thing.

Barry and Eddie have to deal with a metahuman who is able to assume any form. At first they aren't sure what they are dealing with until Barry sees the guy transform into a teenage girl. Apparently he retains the ability to assume the form of anyone he has touched. He loses Flash very quickly during their first encounter. The second time around the metahuman, whose real name is Hannibal Bates, assumes the identity of Eddie and shoots two cops. Eddie is arrested for shooting the two cops. Eventually he gets cleared thanks to some sleuthing by Iris and the Flash.

Still disguised as Eddie, Bates goes to Joe's house. Barry is the only one there. He thinks it is Eddie and gets knocked out by Bates. Caitlin walks in next but she is also fooled by Bates who now looks like Barry. Bates and Snow head back to STAR Labs. Bates is acting strange but Caitlin fails to pickup on what is wrong, even after "Barry" kisses her. What's really interesting about that is that she doesn't tell anyone about him kissing her. She gets really jumpy when the real Barry touches her on the shoulder later in the episode.

In Starling City Lance takes West and Ramon to the site where Dr. Wells and his wife were in a car crash, that was depicted in 1.17 (Tricksters). Using some of his high tech gadgets Cisco finds what turns out to be the remains of the real Dr. Wells. This proves to be a crucial piece of information in swaying Caitlin to believe that the Dr. Wells they know isn't who he says he is.

Bates, still disguised as Barry, is about to shoot someone when Dr. Wells takes him down from behind with a TASER. Iris is visiting STAR Labs and insists on taking the bad guy to the police. What a stupid idea, colossally stupid. The inevitable happens, Bates escapes. Caitlin goes back to Joe's house. There she finds Barry who is still unconscious and tied up. She frees him and they head back to STAR Labs.

Soon thereafter Dr. Wells is able to detect Barry's cellphone, which Bates has, at the airport. Barry rushes there and gets into a fight with Bates. Bates changes form several times during the fight. At one point he is Caitlin, then Eddie, and then finally Iris. I thought this was very cool. Barry is able to defeat Bates at last thank to a serum developed by Caitlin. Bates gets locked up at STAR Labs like all the other villains. He admits that he can't remember who he really is.

Dr. Wells goes to see Detective West after he and Cisco return to Central City. He seems suspicious of Joe's reason for going to Starling City. He suggests that they should have another drink together some day. Joe is wary.

Finally Cisco, Barry, and Caitlin go looking for anything strange in STAR Labs. They find and enter Dr. Wells secret room where he stores the Reverse Flash costume and the digital newspaper from 2024 which has the headline about the Flash disappearing during the Crisis. They are all stunned.

I am always chagrined by how fast people leap to conclusions on TV shows, on very little or no evidence. How in the world were they able to confirm that the body was not the real Dr. Wells that quickly? Why did they assume that the shapeshifter has to be a man? In the end it seems like it is but still.

Another exciting episode. There are lots of little things that were cool. I liked how the two stories (supervillain of the week and the mystery of Harrison Wells) were layered together and interacted with one another.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Young Justice 1.03

Welcome to Happy Harbor

Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash try talking Speedy into joining the team but he's not interested. Life at their new headquarters is kind of boring. Miss Martian takes the boys for a spin in her bio-ship. While they are flying around Happy Harbor they get a call from Red Tornado asking them to investigate a distress call from a factory in Happy Harbor.

At the factory they get into a fight with Mr. Twister, a super villain with powers similar to Red Tornado. They get it in their heads that Mr. Twister is Red Tornado in disguise, but he isn't. He proves to be very difficult for them to defeat. He has their number and they can't seem to do anything to stop him until they fool him. Miss Martian uses her shape-shifting abilities to make herself look like Red Tornado. Kid Flash uses his superpowers to augment the illusion that Miss Martian is Red Tornado. It proves to be the decisive Factor that allows Aqualad and Superboy get close enough to finish off Mr. Twister who is, like Red Tornado, an android.

In the aftermath they return to the cave and ask Red Tornado why he didn't help them when they were having so much trouble with Mr. Twister. He isn't very forthcoming which leaves them a bit puzzled.

The first time I watched this series I wasn't completely won over in the early going. What got me in the end was the development that happens over the course of this season. There are a number of things being seeded here that will bear fruit later on. The main characters change, evolve over the course of the season.

There is a definite lack of teamwork in this episode. When the team arrives at the factory there is no coordination. Robin just takes off to deal with the problem without saying anything to anyone. The other team members kind of follow his lead but there is no plan or communication. They each attack on their own. It isn't until they follow Miss Martian's lead and work as a team that they are able to beat Mister Twister.

Miss Martian is new to Earth. She tries communicating with the others telepathically. Her telepathy proves to be useful in the battle with Mister Twister but it also leads her to a false conclusion. Because she is unable to read Mister Twister's mind, as she was unable to read Red Tornado's earlier in the episode, she concludes that he is not human. That was a correct assumption to make but then she jumps to the conclusion that he is Red Tornado, which is not the case.

T.O. Morrow, the inventor of the Red Tornado shows up briefly. He was the one behind Mister Twister. If I remember correctly this is not the only appearance he and his newer creations will make in this season.

Overall this is not a great episode but it is laying groundwork for the rest of the season. There is more than one story that runs through the season. This episode does not touch on all of those stories but it is an important building block.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

NewsRadio 2.21

Led Zepplin

Dave and Lisa announce to the staff that they have broken up. Matthew is not happy and tries to get them back together again. Lisa doesn't want to talk to Dave and insist that he communicate to her through memos. Phil tries to commiserate with Dave by telling him about the gal who dumped him.

This one had a number of good laughs in it. Big thumbs up.

Seinfeld 3.05

The Library

The New York Public Library claims Jerry checked out Topic of Cancer in 1971 but never returned it. George thinks a homeless man is the high school gym teacher who got fired in 1971 after George complained about him.

I remember this one. It is by far my favorite so far of this season. Philip Baker Hall in the role of Mr. Bookman, the library cop, is over the top but I love the deadpan delivery of his lines.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Maron 4.12

The Bookstore

Marc tries to make a life for himself in Chilton. He goes to an AA meeting, stalks his son, meets his son, tries to get a job at a used bookstore.

Not so into this one am I. There were parts that felt a bit forced. Not awful just not very special in my book.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

UnREAL 2.02

Insurgent

In some ways this felt like the first episode of the first season. In many other ways it did not. The previous episode built up to the first episode of the new season of Everlasting. The focus this time around is the first episode of the season. Chet is trying to take control of the show back from Quinn but she is not about to give up without a fight. She knows how to run this show. Chet's new ideas all come from the paleo-influenced diet/regimen that he has been on and don't make the best creative or business sense.

There are a lot of contestants on this episode but four of them get little spotlights: Beth Ann, Ruby, Tiffany, Yael. There are other contestants with speaking parts but none of the others get a moment in the spotlight with Darius (the bachelor) that standout like these four did.

Beth Ann is a southern, white girl. Rachel talks her into wearing her Confederate flag bikini on the first episode of Everlasting. Once she sees who the bachelor is she tries to run away and hide. It isn't just the fact that Darius is African-American but also the fact that he is the quarterback for her favorite team. Rachel talks her into going up to Darius and talking to him. They have a bit of a moment as Beth Ann strips off her top after apologizing. Maybe it is this boldness or her apology but Darius includes her in the contestants that make the cut to the next round of Everlasting.

Ruby is the contestant that (last episode) Rachel talked into dropping out of university for the show. She is not trophy wife material. She is African-American, outspoken, and takes great exception to Beth Ann's bikini. Early in the episode she confronts Beth Ann but later when the cameras are on she holds back her feelings, much to the disappointment of Quinn. Rachel made promises to Ruby, some of which she had no intention of keeping. Ruby is kind of fed up with the show by the end of the episode but Darius likes her enough to keep her around.

Tiffany's father is the owner of a professional football team. She's upset because she came on the show to get away from football. At first she thinks that it was her father's idea to get her on the show. They assure her that it was not although it is a little unclear whether he had anything to do with it. At first she wants to get off the show as quickly as possible and does something which might cost her. Rachel talks her into making a run at winning the whole things and marrying Darius. Tiffany is Quinn's pick for the winner. She looks like "wifey" material in Quinn's eyes. She is the last one that Darius selects to advance to the next round.

Yael is given the nickname of Hot Rachel by Quinn. Rachel hates the name. Yael seems oblivious to it, if she is even aware of the nickname. She tries to get some advice from Rachel on what to do to make herself standout. Rachel isn't feeling very charitable and doesn't take Yael under her wing. Yael is forced to create her own dramatic moment and does so by falling in the pool and then pretending that she doesn't know how to swim. Darius dives in, fully clothed, to rescue her. Like the other three she also advances to the next round.

Rachel is doing her best to keep it together but seeing how the war between Chet and Quinn is destroying the show and her chance to be the show runner get to her. She goes behind their backs to Gary, the network executive who green lit the show. She thinks she is doing the right thing and that Gary will hand the show over to her but that's not what happens. Instead Gary brings in Coleman Wasserman to run the show. Coleman is the show runner of another successful show. He knows that Rachel is the one who blew the whistle on Chet and Quinn but they don't know that yet.

This episode was much more focused on the contestants than the last one. I like how this season is shaping up. It has some wrinkles that the previous one did not. The contestants who are getting the most screen time don't seem like carbon copies of the ones from the previous seasons. The changes to Chet and his role on the show have also helped to guide the show in a different direction. Rachel is still the star of the show. It seems like she is in a dark place right now. The music helps to emphasize that fact. I am eager to see where the show goes next and how it may surprise me.

Kids on the Slope 1.06

You Don't Know What Love Is

A new school year begins. Sentaro is assigned to a different class from Kaoru and Ritsouko. Kaoru tries to tell Sentaro what he knows and suspects about Yurika and Junichi but can't bring himself to follow through.

Sentaro goes on a date with Yurika, despite Kaoru's advice not to. They end up talking about Junichi quite a bit but Sentaro doesn't pick up on why she is so eager to talk about Junichi. He does make friends with Seiji, a new classmate who is also friends with Yurika. Seiji idolizes the Beatles, wants to start a rock band, and wants Sentaro to be their drummer. Sentaro agrees to but his heart doesn't really seem to be in it. He seems to be hanging out with Seiji because of what he can tell him about Yurika.

Kaoru and Ritsouko continue to be friends but things aren't as warm as they once were. Kaoru worries that Ritsouko is romantically interested in Sentaro. I don't think that's the case. I think it is a combination of shyness on her part and possibly something to do with her religious convictions.

The trio goes to the beach with Sentaro's younger siblings in tow. They dig for clams and run into Seiji. Kaoru gets very hurt and runs off when Sentaro tells him that he is going to join Seiji's band. He remembers other friendships from earlier in his life that ended abruptly and fears that this one will suffer the same fate.

I might have missed it but for the first time the song title that is also the title of the episode was not played. The only song that is played is My Favorite Things.The Beatles are referenced but none of their songs are played.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Iron Fist 1.05

Under Leaf Pluck Lotus

Danny confronts Ward about some legal, synthetic heroin that Rand Industries is making. Ward shrugs it off. He doesn't see a problem with it. Joy has to deal with a group of people from Staten Island who claim that they are being affected by the toxic waste emanating from the factory that is making the syntheic heroin. Unlike her brother she has a conscience and isn't happy that they are dealing in this product or that she has to stand up for the company on this issue.

Danny pays a visit to Colleen. Colleen happens to have a student with her when she shows up. The student is Claire Temple. Danny wants to have a meal with Colleen. He insists that it isn't a date, unless Colleen wants it to be. So dumb. Claire sticks around, they talk, eventually Claire leaves.

After Claire is gone Danny talks Colleen into accompanying him to the pier that Rand Industries just bought. He is convinced that something shady is going on there. They sneak around the pier, avoiding the armed guards. Danny sneaks onto an 18-wheeler and discovers a secret chamber where the man who developed the synthetic heroin is being kept. The guy has a bodyguard. Danny tussles with the bodyguard. Danny and the scientist escape after the scientist gets very badly injured. Danny and Colleen bring the badly wounded scientist to Claire.

The scientist reveals that he works for the hand, but not willingly. They have his daughter. Claire flips out when she hears that the Hand is behind this. She calms down after Danny insists that he can handle this and looks forward to battling the Hand.

Not good. Not good at all. I got the feeling as I watched this episode that there times when I was supposed to care but I didn't. There were moments that felt like that they were supposed to be tense, but they weren't, like the scene on the pier. I'm not impressed with the actor who plays Danny Rand but I think a bigger chunk of the blame needs to be poured down the throats of the writers and the director. This show feels clunky. It lacks in subtlety. There has been little to nothing in the way of flashbacks to the monastery.

There is a definite lack of character moments in this show. There is no internal struggle for the main character like there is on the other Marvel Netflix shows. It all feels very surface level. Honestly, I'm surprised that I made it this far into the Marvel Netflix shows before getting a dud.

I'm not sure I want to continue watching. At the very least I think I need to take a week or two off before I start watching again.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Young Justice 1.02

Fireworks

Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Superboy fight their way back to the surface. It takes some convincing before Superboy agrees to help the other three. Dr. Desmond planned to clone the three new arrivals to Project Cadmus but Superboy interfered with that plan once he decided to pitch in and help the other three escape.

The fight to the surface is not an easy one. It turns out in the end that the four young heroes had a secret ally at Cadmus, a genomorph named Dubbilex. He doesn't like the way that genomorphs are being treated. He wants to Superboy to escape and do what he can to end Project Cadmus.

Before they finally do escape they have to fight Dr. Desmond who swallows a serum from Project Blockbuster. It turns him into a hulking monster. He is very tough to beat. Some of the hits the heroes take from Desmond should have been life threatening but they just shrug them off.

The League shows up at the end of the episode, after they are free from Project Cadmus and the building has been destroyed. They are very unhappy with their sidekicks. Superboy meets Superman, who seems very unnerved by the notion that he has a clone and doesn't say much to him despite the puppy dog eyes that Superboy keeps throwing him. Batman tries reprimanding the youngsters but they throw his attitude right back in his face.

The episode ends with the League conceding to the younger heroes and giving them the League's old headquarters, the cave in Happy Harbor. They are told that they will be a covert team that operates under orders from Batman. Red Tornado will keep an eye on them and Black Canary will train them. They also meet their 5th team member, Miss Martian.

Desmond is now in captivity. Guardian is left in charge of Project Cadmus. He reports back to a group called the Light. The faces of the group are not seen. Only their voices are heard. In the comic books Guardian was a hero but here he seems more like a mercenary, a gun for hire. It reminds me a bit of the role Hawkeye played at the beginning of the Hawkeye mini-series when he was the head of security for Cross Technologies.

Another solidly good, but not great, episode. The best part is the centerpiece, the escape from Project Cadmus. It seems like the young heroes are in a no win situation. The forces stacked against them seem insurmountable. Superboy isn't as strong as Superman, can't fly, and doesn't have heat vision. Kid Flash gets a little annoying. One of the strengths of the season, as I recall from previous viewings, is that the characters evolve.

I find the adult heroes to be a bit annoying. Maybe that is to be expected considering that the intended audience is most likely not adults and that this is not their show.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

UFO Robo Grendizer 1.04

Island of Fear

Kouji volunteers to draw away the latest attack by Vegan minifos. Daisuke is reluctant to use Grendizer because he fears that the Vegans will learn the location of their base. Kouji is partially successful but eventually gets overwhelmed and crashes lands on an island. He is badly injured and the TFO is incapable of flight.

Eventually Daisuke in Grendizer comes looking for a finds Kouji. Kouji and Duke Flled have one peaceful night before the Vegans spot Grendizer and attack. At first it seems bad but Kouji fizes the TFO and proves to be the decisive factor in the battle with the forces of evil.

I laughed a bit during the battle with the saucer beast when it kept ramming itself into Grendizer's crotch. It was probably hitting more than just crotch but seeing it made me laugh.

It's also kind of funny how when they don't want things to work they don't but then suddenly the TFO is fixed or Grendizer uses just the right weapon and destroys the latest saucer beast.

NewsRadio 2.20

Coda

Dave, Phil, and Mr. James spend a whole day working on a 15-second promo spot. Matthew tries to get everyone interested in pitching in for a summer home in the Hamptons. Joe turns to Lisa for help in studying for an engineering exam.

On the whole this episode felt like a bit of a hot mess. None of the three plots amounted to much. Humor-wise I liked it. Not every joke brought a smile to my face or made me laugh but there were a few good ones that made me laugh out loud.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Seinfeld 3.04

The Dog

Jerry gets stuck taking care of a stranger's dog. Caring for the dog interferes with his plans to see a movie, Prognosis Negative, with George and Elaine.

I've seen this one before. I didn't remember how annoying the scenes with the dog barking were. Jerry yelling at the dog didn't help either. The dog is always off screen and probably isn't a dog, based on the way his bark sounds.

Overall this is a very skip-worthy episode.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Maron 4.11

The Geographic

Marc hits the road (in the RV his father gave him) and heads north to see his biological child. Along the way he stops and sees a number of people he knows.

That description (especially the second sentence) makes the episode seem more epic than it actually is. It's a decent episode, a bit weird in parts.