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Heroes: Season 1 Review

Posted by tvondvdcritic on November 25, 2007

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Maybe the most hyped-up show of last fall season was Heroes. Now, I had not seen a single episode on tv, and I came into the show thinking it was gonna be sci-fi to the max, and I don’t particularly care for sci-fi. However, all the hype and all the praise can’t be wrong right?

 I could make this review really short. Here it is in a nutshell:

Random people discover random powers and decide to use them to save the world. However, they do not know what they are saving the world from, only that they need to save it. Some characters know how to use their powers, some don’t. Some know how to act, some don’t.

I must say that this had some of the worst acting *I have ever seen*.

In large part of Milo Ventimiglia. His screaming scenes and scenes of terror make me cringe, and also wonder how he got cast on this show.

The characters are spread across the country, but yet most of them are conveniently located in New York, where the ‘saving of the world’ will take place. They all awkwardly discover their powers and struggle with how to use them. Some more ‘amazing’ then others. Hiro’s ability to travel time is pretty cool I guess, as long as you ignore the fact that he ends up in ancient Japan in the 1400’s as part of the cliffhanger of season 1. You read that, ancient Japan. Someone tell me why I should care and how that makes sense.

Other powers include Jessica and Nikki. I still don’t know if it is one woman or two. Throughout the season the evil one appears to fight bad guys because the nice one is too weak. But then the two personas fight each other, and then they make up, and then at the end it turns out it’s the nice girl all along! She IS strong enough to fight the bad guys. How nice for her, how ridiculous for me.

And then there is Officer Parkman, formerly of my favorite show Alias, who can hear people’s thoughts. I didn’t have a huge issue with him except for the fact that halfway through the season he leaves to fight Sylar (who I will get to in a minute) and nothing else is explained about his wife and unborn child.

We also have  Mohinder, who is as annoying as his name sounds. He is ‘normal’ (for how long? Please, I can see this hidden power coming from a mile away) His father apparently searched the world for people with powers and was killed, so Mohinder takes over. How do they find these people with powers? I still don’t know.

Then there is Peter. The lead actor, god help us. He has the ability to absorb anyone elses powers when he is around them. He has a hard time learning to control his abilities and chaos ensues on more than one occassion. He also learns that he is what these heroes need to save the world from, because he is gonna explode! How? Who knows! They don’t bother to tell us why in the world he blows up! Guess we need to use our imagination!

There are several other heroes who don’t annoy me as much. There is Claire, the cheerleader, who was a part of the stupid slogan, ‘Save the cheerleader, save the world’ which in the end doesn’t turn out to be true, and she also has an adopted Dad, who, let me see if I get this straight, works for a company that captures these heroes for tests, and puts tracking devices inside them, and then finds out he has to bring his own daughter in to run tests, so instead he fakes his own death. Ok, I guess I hate Claire too.

The only character I could semi stand was Nathan, the brother and, get this, Claire’s real Father. He is running for office, congress I think, I stopped caring, and has the ability to fly. At one point he flys away during a speech to thousands, and nobody questions anything! Stupid townsmen.

I gave you the short version of the season, now here is the slightly longer one. As stated, random people recieve powers, for no reason at all, and must stop Peter from blowing up. However they don’t know that’s even happening until the second he’s about to explode. The entire time before, they know they have to save the world, but don’t know from what, so they look even stupider than they already are. Along the way they also have to defend their lives from ‘the bad guy’ Sylar. He, like Peter, can absorb other powers, but to get his he must kill them and steal their brain. Trust me it’s not exciting.

On a side note, another reason this show frustrated me, is anyone and everyone had a power. There seems to be no shortage of gifts under the super power tree. No explanations to why they have them, and even the smallest of characters (role wise and size wise) have powers. Maybe you too have a power. The power to not watch this show perhaps?

As you are about to read my score for this show, you may be surprised to why I gave it that high of score. I will say that most of my frustration and what I wrote is directed to the second half of the season. The part when they are supposed to explain what was, for the most part, an interesting show that just needed some answers, but instead we just got more confusion. If you can tolerate a show with a potentially good storyline that goes downhill and bursts into flames (literally, Peter Petrelli) in the second half, Heroes is the best show ever.

Score: 5.5/10

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Grey’s Anatomy: Season 3 Review

Posted by tvondvdcritic on November 25, 2007

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Let’s recap! Season 2 left us with the death of Denny (Am I the only one who didn’t like him? He was weird to me, and kinda annoying) and Izzy quitting the intern program.  Burke had been shot (hope that shut him up for a while) and Merideth was dealing with having to make a decision between McDreamy and the ‘vet’.

I don’t like when shows will come back from a cliffhanger and start the story well in advance from where they left off (cough cough Alias season 4 premiere!), however they managed to pull this off semi well. We get flash backs of Addison and Derrick arguing because he found out she had a fling with his best friend, which had yet to be shown, but was eventually in a later episode. I hated the fact that he did the same thing, and yet he is upset at her? Another reason I hate ‘McDreamy’ or maybe I should call him ‘McOver-rated’. What’s all the fuss about him?

We see Izzy lying on the bathroom floor, which apparently she had been there for several days. One other thing I found kinda ridiculous. And Merideth still had yet to make a choice, but apparently went home with Derrick the night of the cliffhanger. In the coming episodes she decides to date both of them, but in the end, and to no surprise to anyone on the planet, she chooses Derrick. He resists a bit, they have some rocky moments, but overall that is there storyline this year, kinda boring. However, Merideth’s got a whole seperate issue to deal with later in the season, and it’s wonderful, more on that later.

Izzy decides to try to come back into the intern program, to confront the chief about a possible re-admission, but stands out front the hospital….for an entire day! What is up with her and lack of movement. Not very believable and isn’t even dramatic, just ends up seeming stupid just like her bathroom grieving. She eventually makes her way back into the program but is on probabtion. She’s not allowed to work on patients just observe.

One other odd Izzy storyline is she inherits money from Denny in the sum of 9 million dollars. She doesn’t deposit it into the bank for months, and the resolution to that storyline is she uses the money to help Dr. Bailey fund a free health clinic and names it in Denny’s honor. Seemed like that story should have been worked out a lot better, because the payoff to her decision with the money wasn’t worth it.

Looking back on Izzy this season, I really wasn’t too pleased with her performances. Her stoylines were bad, she came off as whiny and bitchy, and even her Emmy winning performance, where she gives a blood transfusion to her daughter whom she hasn’t seen since putting her up for adoption, didn’t blow me away.

We get to see a lot more of Calle, one of my favorite characters. She stands out from the rest of the cast, and gets more involved with George. They end up getting married (in Vegas by the way) and their storyline also falls flat. Calle however is a good addition to the cast and I find her really likeable. However, couldn’t she go for someone better than George?

Speaking of George, I liked him last season. He was a sweet gentile person. This season, he was an ass. Simple as that. A bitchy little ass. Nothing he did this year made me care about him, it just made me hate him more. He fails the big intern test at the end of the season, so I can only hope that means hes gone for good.

With the addition of more screen time for Calle, we get a new character. McSteamy. He plays a man whore plastic surgeon who is on again off again with Addison. He doesn’t have a huge part in the show, but his presence shakes things up a bit between Derrick and Addison and even Merideth.

Addison has become one of my favorite cast members. A very likeable character who has to deal with the heartache of seeing Merideth and Derrick everyday at work.  As I said, she goes on and off again with McSteamy and even Alex (who actually has his first major storyline late in the season). However, as likeable as she is, it doesn’t mean she can’t have bad storylines.

Example being the ridiculous late season episodes (or should I say ‘Private Practice’ episodes) where she goes to LA to ‘have fun and let go of her worries’ and ends up working in a ‘private practice’, hence the spinoff. It wasn’t that the episodes were bad, it’s just that they weren’t Grey’s Anatomy episodes! And to do that so late in the year, when so many major storylines were unfolding and ready to be resolved, threw me for a loop. Grey’s Anatomy took a backseat to the Addison show AKA Private Practice.

There were moments where my love for Addison grew however. Her seen in the elevator when she found out she couldn’t have kids delighted me. And despite the disruption of flow for Grey’s Anatomy thanks to these Addison eps, she worked it. She showed that she is a great actress. I still like her, which is saying something since this season made me dislike a lot of people.

As I said, Alex gets a story! After a crash that left a woman mangled and nearly faceless, she gets admitted into the hospital as a Jane Doe. No record of her, her face damaged beyond recognition, a Jane Doe. Alex is her doctor and begins to bond with her. They have a strange love developing through time, but as she regains her memory, he realizes she wasn;t the woman who first entered the hospital. She wasn’t Jane Doe anymore. It was nice to see his character get some depth besides sex, however he also had the single most hated moment for me all season. He happens to be in a room right next to McSteamy and Calle as they discuss not telling anyone they just had sex, and as they both leave the scene you see Alex, behind the door eating an apple with a evil smirk on his face. I hated it! An apple? Really?

The Cristina/Burke storyline didn’t interest me, probably because I don’t like Burke. Long story short, he’s a jerk as usual all season and he dumps her seconds before their wedding. Cristina on the other hand is wonderful in every scene she is in. I wasn’t disappointed she didn’t get a better story, something that showed her by herself, not always with Burke, but regardless she nailed every one. Her scene at the end of the season when he leaves her is spine tingling.  After preparing for a wedding she didn’t want to participate in and seeing Burke leave, she stands in her wedding dress, and says ‘I’m free’ and proceeds to cry and scream to get her wedding dress off. Sounds like a comedic scene, but trust me it’s not. It’s almost the best all season. Almost. We’ll get to the best in a second.

This season belonged to Merideth. You wonder why I say I loved this season so much, but yet as you’ve read above, it sounds so negative, this is why I love this season. Merideth. Everything I love about her comes out here. Nothing having to do with Derrick. Their storyline fizzled all year except for the season finale when, shortly before, Derrick and Merideth have a talk about ‘them’ and it seems close to being over, without the words actually spoke, Merideth comes to the front of the chapel, Derrick standing to the side of as the best man, and announces to everyone ‘It’s over’ (the wedding) and then under her breath, with Derrick within range, she says, ‘so over’. Loved it loved it.

We also get to see her trying relationship with her mother. In one episode her Mom goes off on her saying Merideth is a disappointment. She lashes back and lets her have it, showing a range of emotion and anger. The first time this character has shown true anger. One thing I love about Ellen Pompeo (Merideth) is her subtlety. Seeing this range of emotion added to my appreciation.

We get to see her with her Dad, who left her as a child, and just recently comes back into her life with his new wife. They have an icy yet tolerable relationship all season, until his new wife gets sick, and eventually dies from an unexpected trauma. Then, as Merideth goes to break the news to her Father, the best moment all season occurs. He slaps her. Jaw dropping. The emotion in that scene brings chills to me. That’s not it though. Even after that, Merideth prepares to go to her funeral, and face her father, and as she leaves to go her Father comes to confront her and tell her she is not allowed. Ellen Pompeo should get an Emmy for that episode for sure.

After all her family drama, we really see that she is alone. She has Derrick, but even that doesn’t make her whole, nor happy. She is alone. Merideth has the most emotional depth of anyone on the show, and is a joy to watch everytime she is on screen.

SO did I like this season? I loved it. Were there issues? Yes. Bad storylines? Yes. However, despite storylines that didn’t follow through or just didn’t interest me, it was the characters that made me like the show. Yes Izzy was whiny, yes George was an ass, but that’s what a good show does, it gives characters life. Makes you feel for them, or root against them. And I have an opinion on every single character because this show allows me to. Like them, or hate them, your involved with them, and that’s what a great show does to you, gets you involved.

Score: 9/10

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Family Guy: Season 5 Review

Posted by tvondvdcritic on November 25, 2007

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Another year, another Family Guy volume. Right off the bat I don’t like that this show has such short seasons. 13 episodes on a DVD that you pay full price for (opposed to the Simpsons who have up to 25 eps for the same price) seems like a ripoff.

In the 5th edition, Family Guy uses the same concept. Shock value and politically incorrect humor. However, unlike Sarah Silverman who uses her politically incorrect humor in a subtle way that makes me laugh, Family Guy uses it in an over the top in your face way that seems to be going stale.

While I still think the show is funny, the shock value has been eliminated since we have come to expect the brash and bold comedy. While the first several seasons worked so well being ‘did they just say that’ their new remedy for fixing up the show is curse words and lots of them. They’ve run out of shocking things to say so they throw in as many foul mouth words as they can, and in this DVD set they are uncensored. I have nothing against it, I just think it’s a cheap way of appealing to that ‘bro humor’ which is what the show has become, and one other reason it’s losing it’s appeal to me.

However, it’s still Family Guy, and it’s still funny. My favorite joke has to be the spider from Charlotte’s Web who suffers tourettes. There’s a few other ‘laugh out loud’ moments, but for the most part, we’ve seen this season, about 2 seasons ago. One other thing I noticed is they used several of the same ‘jokes’ multiple times this year, and by the same joke I literally mean the exact same clip. I don’t know if it was intentional but it sure was strange seeing it.

One other gripe I had about the set is they have one full disk exclusively for bonus features. Now I’m not a big fan of special features, I will rarely watch them on any set since I have so many other sets to watch, and I’m big on packagaing and the way a set looks on the shelf, so I didn’t like that this set is bigger than it should be with a full extra disk.

If your a fan of the show you’ll like it. They didn’t break any new ground this year, but it will make you chuckle. However if this is the direction the show is going, it is slowly going down hill.

Score: 6.5/10

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Sarah Silverman Show: Season 1 Review

Posted by tvondvdcritic on November 25, 2007

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Poop jokes, Black Gods and TAB, oh my! That pretty much sums up season 1 of the Sarah Silverman show. In your face offensive politically incorrect humor is my cup of tea.

I’m gonna review this one a bit differently from the rest only because there are only 6 episodes on here so I’m gonna do it by each episode. Those without a sense of humor please do not continue onward down this page.

Officer Jay: Sarah gets depressed because her sister goes on a date with a police officer, the police officer that just so happens to arrest Sarah for driving while high on cough syrup. Not my favorite episode but it does improve throughout the season, it sets a good base for whats to come.

Humanitarian of the year: I loved this episode. Sarah’s sister’s boyfriend receives an award for his kind acts, and to upstage him Sarah takes in a homeless person to live with her. At Officer Jay’s award ceremony Sarah gets the attention after announcing her good deed to the crowd. Eventually the hobo goes mad, and trys to kill Sarah because she mentioned his Mom who used to be a cafeteria worker, and queefed all the time. So, to warn Sarah, the dead Mom comes to tell her the only way to stop him from killing her is to queef. She does, and eventually becomes great friends with ‘queefy’. At the end of the episode Queefy must leave, disney style, out the window into the stars.

Positively negative: My favorite episode. Sarah has the ‘blahs’ and needs good news so she gets an aids test to cheer her up. She soon finds out she may be positive, so she becomes an aids activist, active in promoting herself, in the fight, or awareness of herself. She gathers people for an aids rally and midway through must stop it because she has to go get her test results. The crowd is furious that she is an imposter, but Sarah tries to calm them down with the musicall styling of Jewel.

Not Without my Daughter: Another good episode. Sarah tries year after year to become the winner of the child pageant she painfully lost when she was young. Being too old, Sarah adopts a girl to live her life through and win the pageant. She trains this girl vigorously to aim for the top. My favorite line of the season occurs when the girl walks out on Sarah and says ‘Stick it up your motherfucking ass’ and Sarah responds “MAYBE I WILL!’.

Muffin Man: Another great one, Sarah falls for a lesbian, Tig. ‘I’m trying to watch Tig’s vagina.’ What she meant to say was I’m trying to watch the TV, Tigs Vagina helps her remember ‘TV’. Tig doesn’t believe Sarah is really a lesbian, but a new haircut, and a song about lesbianism shortly changes Tigs mind. Soon the two have an opportunity for romance, Tig goes in for the kiss, and Sarah turns away.

Batteries: After Sarah’s batteries go dead for her remote, she must go to the store to get new ones. As she makes her way to the store she encounters a wheelchair race across town, homeless people and cops. She also makes time to have her daily brunch with her sister and friends, in which she lets out a fart, but accidently poops. Thus leads into a song about, what else, poop. And in the end, she meets God, who is black, and turns bad guys into Bugles.

Every episode has a musical number to it, which is somehow charming even if they do have to do with poop. Each one has a happy ending in its own bizarre way. If you don’t like in your face offensive, politically incorrect shows, stay far away from this one. If you do like these shows, grab some bugles and enjoy the ride.

Score: 7/10

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Ugly Betty: Season 1 Review

Posted by tvondvdcritic on November 25, 2007

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When Ugly Betty first came out on tv last fall, from the looks of it I thought it was gonna be a cute, mildly funny show with stand alone episodes but no great depth. I watched the first episode on tv and liked it. I thought America Ferrera as Betty played a great character, but I still felt the show was a bit campy and over the top. I decided to not watch any more until the DVD came out, and after watching the entire season I see that I was wrong on many levels. The show DOES have emotional value, good continuing storylines, characters you actually care about and Ferrera only gets better and better as the show goes on.

 Betty Suarez gets a job at a fashion magazine called ‘Mode’. She becomes the assistant to the editor in chief Daniel Meade. On Betty’s first day on the job, she meets her fellow co-workers, all of whom fit the mold of working at a fashion magazine, something Betty does not do, as you can tell from her colorful poncho. There’s Amanda, the slutty receptionist, Marc, the loveably evil festive assistant to Wilhelmina. Speaking of evil, Wilhelmina wrote the books on it.

Wilhelmina is the creative director to the magazine, and the women who was expected to inherit the editor in chief position. When she doesn’t receive it, her and Marc cook up plans to bring the magazine down from the inside so that she can reign as the woman who saved Mode.  Throughout the season we see attempts from these two to make their way to the top, and I must say it’s probably one of my favorite storylines. Vanessa Williams plays Wilhelmina wonderfully, and Marc is delightful as the gay assistant, who happens to be best friends with Amanda (more on her later).

Betty awkwardly situates herself into Mode throughout the first several episodes, getting harrassed by Marc and Amanda, and several embarrasing situations in between. She settles into her assistant position, still without respect from anyone, even her boss Daniel, but does her job well, keeping her dignity, or trying to at least.

Betty’s homelife plays a huge part in the show. She lives with her Father, Sister and Nephew in a modest home in Queens New York. Throughout the season Betty also has an on and off relationship with Walter, who dumped her in the first episode, but yet she takes him back several episodes later (Hated that. You can do better Betty!). Not much better though, as later on in the season she falls for an accountant at work, who like Walter, was on again off again, and of course, Betty went running to him. I guess you could say I didn’t like her love triangle storylines, only because she seems smart enough to not take these guys back after what they do to her.

 As the season progresses, Betty gets more confidence, a tad bit more respect, and saves the day on more than one occassion. The interaction between Betty and Marc is always great as with her and Amanda. I will say that Marc and Amanda were my two favorite characters on the show. Both deliciously evil, but yet so likeable. And even more impressive, you actually felt for these people even if they are up to no good. The strength this show has is just that, character development. It does a wonderful job to keep the episodes simple, but yet continue the storyline throughout the season, and gives us a lot of depth for each character. That scores high in my book.

I enjoyed it very much. I liked it much more than I thought I was going to. There’s enough surprising moments (gender bending, shocking inheritances, and alcoholic Mothers), enough touching moments (Marc’s coming out to his mother, Betty’s humiliations, and Wilhelmina’s attempt at being a Mother) and enough funny moments (Marc’s Betty screensavers, Amanda’s acting audition reel, and Betty’s nephew, Justin).

A great show, great cast. Can’t wait for season 2 to come out.

Score: 8/10

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