I’m (Probably) Done Watching “Heroes”

The show “Heroes” started out as a fun but derivative concept – the hero origin story. More pointedly, “Heroes” is a take on the X-Men. You’ve got your mind reader (Professor X), the guy who can fly (Angel), the girl who can regenerate (Wolverine), the girl who can look like anything (Mystique) and a bunch of others, but it was fun at the beginning since everybody loves the “origin” story. It’s fun to watch people get new powers and then learn how to use them as well as their limitations. It’s plain ol’ good vs. evil.

The evil on the show is Gabriel Gray, a nerdy watch repairman who took the lame moniker of Sylar from one of the brands of watches he fixed. He is able to acquire other powers by (he thinks, but I’m not so sure) eating other hero-type people’s brains. Lovely.

The first season was fun and I stuck around to see if New York would indeed be destroyed by the man who can’t control his powers, Peter Petrelli. Peter had acquired nuclear capabilities from Ted Sprague. Peter, unlike Sylar, gets powers by being around people who already have the power he will develop. I think Sylar operates the same way but he just doesn’t know it.

Half the joy of season one was watching Hiro, the time-traveling Japanese office worker, discover his ability and then realize that it can be fun as well as powerful. His journey, of all of them, has been the most enjoyable to watch as he grows.

Anyway, there was this “mastermind” named Daniel Linderman (he has powers too – regeneration) who was going to bring about a new age by having Peter Petrelli destroy New York with his nuclear capabilities and then get Peter’s brother Nathan elected president. Nathan helped Peter get out of the city by flying up into the stratosphere before exploding. In the “destroy NY” show Linderman is shot to death, right through the head, and can’t regenerate. He’s dead. Really dead.

Which brings me around to now. Ain’t It Cool News is linking to a story where someone from the BBC is giving away what’s in a season 3 ‘Heroes’ promo. I’m talking spoilers, so if you care and watch the show, skip the next paragraph.

LINDERMAN IS BACK?

What?! Why can’t they kill anyone on this show and not have them stay dead?! Why can’t someone just die and be really dead?! The freaking guy was SHOT IN THE HEAD. Kill him! Kill him! Have him be dead, really dead! Bad guys, even SUPER BAD GUYS, die! Come on, man, just kill someone off of this show and have him be gone! He wasn’t that cool or anything. Even his name is lame. He was even lamer than the guy that could paint the future.1Don’t even get me started on how cool it would have been to have Hiro fighting a Tyrannosaurus. That would have rökked. Jeez.

And man, I’ve hung on even through the lame new characters they tried to introduce last season where all I wanted was for the girl who’s eyes turn black to die. The sweet release of her death would have been a high point of last season, but no, they had to have her “fall in love” with Sylar. She’s as lame as Nikki and Paulo on “Lost” were and the creators of “Lost” were smart enough to kill them off! Kill Black Eyed Girl! Kill her as soon as possible!

The list of people on the show with powers just keeps growing. Nikki, who supposedly died in an explosion, I’m sure will turn up alive. Nathan, who was shot at the end of last season right before he “came out” about his flying power, I’m sure will be back too. Claire’s dad, who’s death was very powerful on the show, was resurrected. Sylar himself probably was dead but they’ve brought him back to annoy us with his “my-head-is-down-but-I’m-looking-at-you” eyes and stupid way of talking again. And Hiro can’t even kill a bad guy; he has to bury him in a coffin alive. The guy he buried is immortal so I’m sure he’ll turn up again, as usual.

The only one that I really am glad is back is Hiro’s friend Ando. Ando is one of the few people on the roster without powers which is probably why I like him so much. Can’t we have fewer people with powers? To see their perspective on those with powers? And can’t this freaking show thin the ranks a little bit before the whole planet is on the show because, you know, they ALL have powers?

Man, Joe from “Blue’s Clues” is Dumb

Being a dad I have to watch lots of television that I wouldn’t normally want to. I’ve sat through or heard in the background hours upon hours of children’s programs, some awful and some good. I can watch the “Wonderpets” or “Oswald” or “Kipper” 1Kipper is awesome. A small British dog that causes my 4-year old speak in a British accent following each viewing. but when it comes to “Blue’s Clues” there are 2 camps: those that like Steve and those that like Joe. I prefer Steve but my youngest child prefers Joe. He is almost 2 years old though, so I won’t hold it against him.

Joe, to the untrained eye, appears to be Joe-like, but he acts far more juvenile than Steve Burns ever did. Watching him you get the feeling, and it’s probably not Donovan Patton’s 2The guy that plays Joe fault. Steve, towards the end of his tenure on the show, seemed to be getting more and more cerebral. He would lift an eyebrow for effect here, a slight double-take there. He even used the word ‘jejune’ on the show.

Then Steve’s brother Joe showed up right as Steve was going away to college.

The producers probably wanted to go back to the more kid-friendly format of the early years of the show but after watching Burns Patton’s delivery seemed so pre-preschoolish.

When singing the signature song he looks longingly at the screen like he honestly doesn’t remember from program to program that he needs to use his notebook or find a clue. For god’s sake, in one episode he didn’t know where his nose was. Or his ear. Who in their right mind doesn’t know where his nose is? If you’re Joe, then you don’t, obviously.

The whole “Steve goes to college” angle was alright, since Burns wanted to leave the show, and, from his own website “we have male pattern baldness.” Steve was looking a little long in the tooth. But how could “Steve” get into college? He couldn’t find clues (as far as I know he only found one and that was in the “Blue’s Big Musical” episode) so how did he get into college? And what college is it? Stupid U?

But at least Steve got into college. Joe, the stupid brother, has been stuck at home for years now, living out his pre-preschoolish existence with a talking mailbox, some talking salt and pepper shakers, and a bar of soap that wants to be a ship captain. Maybe Joe is crazy and the “Blue’s Clues” show is all in his head, or maybe Steve was crazy and, living in the Bluesiverse, made up a brother out of thin air so he could escape his own insanity. Think about it. It could happen. Sorta Being John Malkovich-esque. Or like the ending of “Saint Elsewhere”. Maybe Joe is dreaming up the whole thing. Wouldn’t surprise me if he did.

Steve Vs. Joe : The Ultimate Blue’s Clues Human Sidekick Competition

There are many important things going on in the world today – the Iraq war, horrendously high gas prices, a ramping-up presidential campaign and other stuff. But this may be the most earth-shattering event of all : Which was a better human sidekick for Blue of Blue’s Clues, Joe or Steve?

Steven Burns, who played, inexplicably, “Steve”, was on the show from 1996 to 2002. When Burns decided to move on (one reason given – male pattern baldness), “Steve” went off to college and his younger brother Joe (played by Donovan Patton) moved in to take care of Blue. Joe was introduced over several episodes where he learned the ropes of playing the signature game, “Blue’s Clues”. The human sidekick would ask Blue a question and rather than answer, Blue would demand that his token human must find 3 clues that would lead to what Blue would have said.

Just once I wanted the human, upon learning that Blue wanted to play the game, to say, “No. I don’t want to play Blue’s Clues today.” Would have been a short show.

So which was a better human henchman, Steve or Joe? Both are likable enough, and my son is glued to either of them when they’re on the screen, but each has a different style, which, after repeated viewing (as I’ve done) becomes apparent.

Patton’s acting is more sitcom-y, I think. He’s a ham when he’s onscreen, kind of like a silent screen actor. He has terrible hair, but that’s only partially his fault, since he was born that way. The other half of it is his fault, because he should get a cooler haircut.

Hard to believe, but Donovan Patton is a cousin of General George S. Patton. 1It comes from that repository of old people information, Parade magazine, where people frequently bet steak dinners over questions written into the magazine. I think Patton’s acting is goofy and his character of Joe acts more stupid and clueless than Steve did.

Steve just seemed to be played by a better actor. I actually laugh at him, which isn’t saying much, but he had facial quirks, eyebrow movements, comic timing. Joe seems like his mother drank while she was pregnant with him.

So I award Steve the Ultimate Blue’s Clues Human Sidekick award. Congratulations Mr. Burns. You earned it.

The “Lost” Short Term Memory Syndrome

I’ve loved “Lost”, and I’ve hated “Lost”. I swing like a pendulum between these two extremes, and all because some television writers want to drag out something that probably only last another season or two. Currently I’m back to loving it, but up until the second half of season 3, I was hating it, and with good reason, because it was sucking wind. After a pretty killer season 2 finale episode, the first block of new episodes for season 3 were less than stellar. I know that the producers of the show say they were setting up stuff for later in the season, but face it, they still weren’t very good episodes. I was so sick of it I was ready to swear off of the show for eternity, but lately they’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping the average Vance glued to the telly week after freaking week.

As best as I can gather, the Losties have been on The Island for roughly around 70 days, just south of 2 months. In that time they’ve had 9 of their own die (Scott, Boone, Shannon, Arzt, Libby, Ana Lucia, Mr. Eko, Nikki, Paulo) and one more if you count the Oceanic Air pilot killed in the first episode, and some of those people, if the show’s time line is to be believed, died literally only weeks ago. Our castaways don’t seem very visibly upset by a lot of the death going on around them.

I attribute this to the “The ‘Lost’ Short Term Memory Syndrome”. It’s a condition commonly found in television characters who crashed on an island 3 years ago and are still living in that time, yet they’re being watched 3 years in the future on television. How else can you explain the lack of feelings, the forgotten things that happen from one week (or day, or whatever their passage of time consists of) to the next?

We’ll be talking in “Lost” time, not real world time, FYI.

On the second day our Losties are on the island some of them hike to higher ground to see if they can use a radio to contact the outside world, but they pick up signals in French from a radio tower. Shannon is able to decipher them, but many more people were there besides her. Do they not remember this unseen tower? Why aren’t they looking for it?

Sawyer was tortured by Sayid roughly a week and a half after they crashed for hoarding, yet in last night’s episode, Sawyer and Sayid are paling around and trying to get Juliet to talk. Would you be friends with someone who had tortured you not 2 months before? Why isn’t Sawyer trying to get even with Sayid for doing this?

Three weeks ago Jinn, Sawyer, Michael and Walt set sail on their boat, which was blown up by the Other known as Tom later that day. That was 3 weeks ago? Feels like forever ago.

Sayid loved Shannon, and she died about on day 48 of their time on the island. If we’re at about day 65+, shouldn’t Sayid still be a little torn up over her? The guy sure did mourn a long time for his girl, didn’t he?

On day 59, Locke was trapped beneath the blast door in the Hatch. It pierced his thighs, but a week later he’s fine? What gives? I know it’s the “healing powers of the island”, but come on, don’t give me that.

Eight-ish days ago, Michael killed Ana Lucia and Libby. Eight days ago. Three days after that Michael and Walt are given a boat and coordinates by Ben Linus. They leave the island.

On the same day the Hatch explodes. If the Hatch exploded on day 65, and we’re right around day 70 or so, it’s been less than a week since that occurrence. None of the Losties seem to remember the Hatch, but the Others talk about the Purple Light that screwed up their navigation systems.

I guess they forgot about the Numbers too. And they were such a big deal, weren’t they?

I’ll give them a point of consistency though – Sawyer has not reverted to calling people nicknames yet. I expect that to change as he conveniently forgets his deal with Hurley.

Why Colonel Tigh is the Coolest

Saul Tigh, Executive Officer of the Battlestar Galactica, is one tough frakkin’ SOB. The man drinks, he swears, he beats up prisoners and crew members alike with a passion, he overthrows governments, he’s had one of his eyes ripped out of the socket and, to top it all off, he’s had to kill his own wife! How’s that for one tough guy?

Tigh has been my favorite character on BSG since the excellent miniseries launched the show, and it’s funny, since if the guy were real and we were to meet in real life I’d probably hate him, mainly from his demeanor. Upon first meeting he’d probably give one raised nostril in a sneer and snarl something degrading, But Michael Hogan makes him so real and flawed that his humanity (or lack of humanity, now that the season 3 finally has come and gone) pours out of him.

Now that supposedly Tigh is a Cylon, I have no idea how they will rectify his back story with what we now know he is. According to the excellent Battlestarwiki.org, Tigh served aboard a warship called the Brenik during the first Cylon war when he was just a teenager. He was released from service after the war, served aboard civilian ships and met Bill Adama during a bar fight. The two men grew old together while they served the colonies together. How they’re going to make him a Cylon that grew old is beyond me. I don’t know.

I guess what I like about him is his irascible character, his take-no-garbage attitude and his willingness to do anything that is necessary to survive. He only seems to have given up that fight twice in his life, once when he’d divorced Ellen and was drifting aimlessly, and then after he’d had to kill Ellen and return to the Galactica. Executing Cylon collaborators seemed to have helped quench some of his fury, but as a man he was drifting.

Now that he believes that he is a Cylon he has turned back to the one constant in his life; serving under Bill Adama as XO. He defiantly declared upon realization that he isn’t human, “My name is Saul Tigh. I’m an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that’s the man I want to be. And if I die today, that’s the man I’ll be.”

God, I love this man. Godspeed, Tigh! May you make it to “Earth” so we may all know you in all your ornery glory!

Why is “Lost” trying to win me back?

I was done with “Lost”, I was tired of it and never wanted to watch it again, and then what did Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof go and do?

Make me care again.

You bastards!

The people behind “Lost” must have noticed that our household was getting tired of their little televised social experiment, because out of the blue they’ve started putting on far better shows than we were used to seeing on ABC on Wednesday nights. Except for a few glitches this season (like the horr-i-ble Jack-centric “Stranger in a Strange Land”) the second half of season 3 hasn’t been too shabby, with episodes like the Desmond-centric episode “Flashes Before Your Eyes” being the stand out for me this season, followed by “The Man from Tallahassee” and last week’s fun (for me, at least) “Expose” where they killed off the latest clumsily introduced members of the Losties.

The producers definitely were yanking our chains when the season started, what with the downbeat episodes of Jack, Sawyer and Kate’s captivity and Jack’s growing relationships with Ben and Juliet. I love Ben now, he’s just so creepy/weird and you really (up until “Expose”) didn’t know where he was coming from, but he’s either manipulating people to do what they wouldn’t normally do and he’s a mastermind of sorts, or he’s delusional and thinks he’s some amazing puppet master. And Juliet has evil written all over her. Just a feeling I get.

John Locke has been infuriating this season though. You can’t stop playing with computers, can you John? First Mikhail escapes because you want to play chess on the Fire Station’s computer, then you blow up the Fire Station out of stupidity, and then you kill Mikhail because he knows you were a paraplegic, and to top it all off you go and take that C4 that you found and blow up the one reliable mode of transportation off of the island? What’s your angle, John? You better pray that Penny Widmore rescues your ass, or at least your compatriots, since you’ll never want to leave the island now that you can walk.

Charlie can die anytime he wants now. After the drug storyline was done with he started feeling extraneous, like Shannon. Hey Desmond, don’t tell Charlie when he’s going to die so he won’t know you didn’t save him, okay?

Where did Rose and Bernhard go? I liked both of them and they’ve just disappeared, but of course, in “Lost” time, they’ve been gone for probably 5 days.

I keep hoping we’ll see Michael and Walt again someday. I like to think that the coordinates that Ben gave Michael when he left at the end of last season took him straight to the second island and that they’re both there. They’re probably locked up somewhere, but I wish they’d explained Walt’s weird gift with animals and drawing them to him. Guess that’ll go straight into the toilet, won’t it? Along with so many other mysteries.

And I don’t miss Eko. He had the ability to become cool, like Locke, but he used all of his street cred up with me. RIP, Eko.

The Best Show on Television Ends Its 3rd Season

Battlestar Galactica Season 3 is officially done and I have mixed feelings about it. It started off with a real bang and I just loved the occupation of New Caprica by the Cylons and the ensuing struggle/escape from the planet, but once they got off-planet the show started to waver. It started off great with “Collaborators“, which was amazing and hard to watch and was probably my favorite episode of the year, but then they started throwing in the “story of the week” episodes, like “Hero“, “The Passage” and “The Woman King“. And yeah there were some exceptional episodes thrown in the mix in between the valleys (like the soon to be classic “Taking a Break From All Your Worries“), but the season just didn’t have the tight feel that the majority of season 2 had. From listening to the Ron Moore Podcasts, you can tell that the season’s storyline went through a large metamorphosis concerning the presidency/legacy of Gaius Baltar and his relationship to that sub-genus of humans, the Sagitarans. There was supposed to be a big hullabaloo in regards to Baltar shooting Sagitarans during the Occupation and how it was filmed and how Lee was supposed to suddenly come into possession of this film and how there was more to in that it seemed, but that all got sgarbageped when they realized that no one really cared about the Sagitarans (my opinion). The film was going to feature heavily into the trial of Baltar but that was also sgarbageped.

This is more just rambling, isn’t it?

The infected basestar episodes (“Torn“, “A Measure of Salvation“)were excellent in execution but made me furious when a potentially huge new plot line was discarded just because Helo had a conscience. Adama should have shot him himself. Or else Tigh could have eaten him, which I think he would have gladly done.

Tigh continues to be my favorite character of the series, and when he isn’t on screen for long periods of time I miss him. He’s a complete jerk and a drunk, but it’s priceless lines like “It’s in the frakkin’ ship!” and that little laugh he gave Helo in “The Woman King” that make me wish someone would recognize how great an actor Michael Hogan really is. But he’s Canadian and a recluse, from what it sounds like, so he may never get the recognition that I think he deserves.

Next favorite is Chief, Galen Tyrol. Everytime they want to have a heavy mythos-centric episode they seem to allow him to shine. Whether he’s coming to grips with the idea that he may be a Cylon, or trying to decipher the Eye of Jupiter, or even in Crossroads, where he and others, for some reason, keep hearing “All Along the Watchtower”, Aaron Douglas as Tyrol is great, and he plays the tortured part well.

Is it okay to think that Grace Park (Sharon/Boomer/Athena) isn’t that great an actress? Yes, it is okay. Because she’s not.

And I miss Brother Cavill (Dean Stockwell). We need more of him next season. He’s just so slimy.

I’m Lost

I’ve been feeling it for awhile, and I’ve started seeing the same thoughts I’m having start popping up across the internet : I’m probably done with Lost. It was nice and fine when it began, but I think it’s over with.

I thought it was a great concept – 40ish people crash land on a deserted island and have to survive. Meanwhile strange things start happening. What’s causing it? Well, tune in next week and learn some more. In the mean time you’ll learn about the people that you’re following through flashbacks to their lives off of the island. Not a bad idea for a show.

And I stayed around for months, years now. Two and a half years as it is, and I tune in dutifully week after week, like all of the other people who have been there from the beginning or got hooked on the show at some point during its run. Every Wednesday at 8 pm was Lost, and you watched it for clues and then you talked about it the next day at work, and you pondered the meaning of little things and hoped and prayed that your theory(s) would be addressed at some point.

What is the monster? What was Walt’s power? How did he draw animals to him? How did he manifest himself when he was somewhere else? Who was the guy that Jack thought was his father? Who’s the guy that Eko thought was his brother? Was it the smoke monster? How did Locke lose the ability to walk? Was Charlie ever doing more heroin on the island that he found in the plane that Eko’s brother showed up in? Why did Boone have to die? What happened to Desmond’s boat? What was the deal with that shark that had a Dharma logo on it? Where did Rose’s cancer go? What’s with the magnetism on the island? And what do the Numbers matter for?

All are some of the questions I’ve got about this show, and I know from the episode where Jack watches the Boston Red Sox win the World Series that they’re only 70 days into their stay on the island. At this rate Sun will finally have her baby along about season 12 or so. Time moves slower here, things happen more rapidly on the island than in our world, since we wait an entire week to watch one or two days on the island.

And it’s getting tedious. There are better, far better, shows out there (Battlestar Galatica) and shows that are more interesting (Heroes), so why stick around for Lost anymore? The ratings for the season 3 opener of Lost were down 1 million viewers from the season 2 finale. One million viewers is a lot of ad dollars to ABC. Are they going to start prodding the show’s creators to start giving more information to get people back?

If they would just cough up some big plot points (Why the crashed, who the Others are, where the island is, what the monster is) they could always create new plot points, like they did in the season 2 finale with the huge stone foot Sayid saw on the beach. But instead they drip out minutia week after freaking week with no secrets revealed.

Why should I stick around for a show that I feel takes me for granted? Why should I watch a show where I know almost no more about the Lostie’s situation now than I did when it began? Will ABC force changes to the show in order to get people back? And since it’s not even my favorite show on TV anymore, why should I care about Lost now?

The New Battlestar Galactica

I’ve written a lot about Lost (well, at least some about it.) on this site, and while I generally think the show is great, it has it’s bumps and dips in the road on its way to perfection. When it’s great, it’s really great, but when it’s mediocre, or just plain bad, it’s bad. I like the show mainly for the people, which is usually what keeps you around for a given length of interest, but sometimes the writing is just lacking.

I watched “Battlestar Galactica” when it was on in 1978. I was high on Star Wars and this was the next best thing to Star Wars that we had on TV, which made sense, since many of the ILM designers who worked on Star Wars worked on BsG also. I even watched the crappy “Galactica 1980” when I was nine or ten years old. I’d also heard for years that Richard Hatch, he of Apollo fame, was attempting to resurrect the series and have it continue from the stopping point of the first series. I thought it sounded lame and like something that a washed up actor would try to do, kind of like how Tom Arnold keeps saying that there’s going to be a True Lies 2. Then I started reading about Ron Moore’s adaptation and how it recast many of the original roles and that they’d sexified the whole thing and it sounded pathetic and lame.

But then I (belatedly) saw the miniseries on DVD. And I was hooked.

Gone was the loopiness of the first series. No more casino planets. No more Ovians. No more Dagget or lumbering Cylons with their hokey swords. The Cylons were bad muthas. The apocalypse of the 12 colonies of Kobol felt real (naturally in a post 9/11 world) and immediate. There were moments where people had to make decisions that would get the entire fleet killed or just half of the fleet. It was gut wrenching to watch as the president decides to abandon half of the fleet to die so that the rest of the fleet can live on to run from the bad guys another day.

And then the SciFi Channel greenlit a first season. And it was great. And then based on the ratings of that they greenlit a second season, something that the first series could never do. And it’s still great.

My favorite characters from the new series are Col. Tigh and Gaius Baltar, two people that I never cared about from the first series. Tigh always was the nice genteel second in command (I remember very little about him) to Adama, and I remember nothing of Baltar, except that I think he was already a turncoat to the Cylons when the series began. Michael Hogan and James Callis, who play Tigh and Baltar, respectively, are great, with Hogan being my favorite of the two. His Tigh is a lowlife drunk scumbag who Adama sees some sort of value in. He’s crass, gets in fights, and is almost universally hated by the crew, especially Starbuck. Callis, who I remembered as the gay guy from Bridget Jones’s Diary is hillarious here as the egomaniacal genius who keeps having visions of his Cylon girlfriend/handler in his head. That the man who unwittingly helped bring the apocalypse on is able to be elevated to the post of vice president of the former 12 colonies makes for great television.

I love the show. I wait weekly now to see what will happen next. I try not to read on the net what will happen the next episode. I don’t do such a good job of that sometimes. The sign of great television is that you will clamor for more and more like this show does. I want to know who else is a Cylon. I want to know what the colonists will find on Kobol. I want to know how Helo and Starbuck are going to get back to the fleet and what will happen to them on the way. I want to know when Baltar will finally turn to the Cylon side and either be forced to flee or will stay and be a Fifth Columnist for the Cylons. I want to know what is going to happen to Boomer now that she shot Adama. Will President Roslin die? Will Baltar become president at that time or will he have to campaign against Tom Zarek? When is Tigh going to attempt to clean up and get rid of his crazy wife Ellen, who consequently lusts for Tigh to have power? What will happen to Chief when he gets back and his suspicions about Boomer being a Cylon are realized?

Damn! I love this show!