Sunday, 28 September 2008

This Week In TV Year II (Week 3, cont.)

As promised yesterday, more of the same.

Potential Plagiarism of the Week:

This week's big scientifical revelation in Fringe, that some ill-defined bad guys are using a mode of tech-lepathy called The Ghost Network, sounds awfully like something Warren Ellis would cook up, right down to the cyber-hip name. It sounds so much like one of his ideas that it gave me deja vu that persists days later. Has Ellis come up with this concept before? Did they rip him off? He's so prolific that can't keep track of every mad thing he has come up with, so until someone sets me right, I'm going to fret about it.

Actual Plagiarism of the Week:

Tim Kring has been eager to stress that he doesn't read comics, thus making any similarities between the show and anything in any comic ever a total coincidence. So does this mean he's now going to say in interviews that he's never seen Cronenberg's The Fly?

Our jaws dropped at the shockingly obvious plagiarism of Suresh's transformation into a wall-climbing superhuman shag-beast whose body is turning into something slimy and unpleasant (much like his original personality). It was just like the movie, even down to the shots of him staring into a mirror in horror, and scaling the walls of his loft before ravishing the nearest hott woman.

Still, even though this means, as Canyon pointed out, we've had to put up with way too many shots of Suresh coated in lard, it does mean we'll get to see him pontificate on insect politics before having his head blown off by a sobbing Maya. I'll get the popcorn ready for that turn of events.

Self-Plagiarism of the Week:

Announcing the season arc for Heroes with a flourish of impressive special effects, we were unfortunately treated to some not ao impressive ideas. Just like the first season, Hiro travels into the future and sees a city (this time Tokyo) destroyed by an enormous explosion.

I mean, this is a joke, right? Or there's more to it. There has to be. Maybe it's a bomb that has the Shanti virus in it, just to rip off the second season as well.

Fashion Faux-Pas of the Week:

Outside the Heroesverse it was either the new, relaxed Daniel Meade, who is only a backwards baseball cap away from total Durst-ocity...

...or Michael Le Traceur and his military beret that looks way too much like a moob stuck to his scalp.

Inside the Heroesverse it was either the futuristic angry garb of Peter "Greaser" Petrelli...

...or Maya Goopez who, as a Hispanic woman, is obviously required by TV law to dress like Hilda Suarez from Ugly Betty.

The costume department couldn't think of any other way to dress her? I guess part of it was so that BrundleSuresh could yank her clothes off and have his way with her at a moment's notice, but otherwise, it's unimaginative and a bit insulting.

Bitchface of the Week:

Robin Tunney spent most of the running time of The Mentalist rolling her eyes and looking really hacked off.

Whereas House's antics exasperate those around him, they still respect him and his intelligence. The cops that work with Patrick Jane, aka The Mentalist, seem to just hate him, and barely even appreciate his Amazing Powers of the Brain. It's enough of a difference to make the formula work without seeming to be more of the same.

Mystery of the Week:

That subtitle makes it seem like I'm really fascinated by the big mystery in Fringe, i.e. who or what is the CEO of Massive Dynamics, what is his connection to Dr. Walter Bishop, and should the company's name be spoken a la Alan Partridge, with the emphasis heavily on the MASSive? To be honest, I'm only mildly intrigued by this (and what The Pattern is), especially when compared to the WTFness of Lost's pilot, with its many fascinating mysteries. However, the Fringe questions are definitely interesting enough to keep me tuning in, and that's before we get to Dr. Walter Bishop and the soothing voice of Anna "Vanatron" Torv. So, here are my guesses for who William Bell, CEO of MASSive Dynamics, is.

  • The clone of Dr. Walter Bishop (this is a popular theory on the internets).
  • The male clone of Olivia Dunham.
  • A miniaturised man operating Nina Sharp's arm from a little operating booth within said arm, as a homage to box office titan Meet Dave.
  • The Fringe universe itself (with the various characters representing different aspects of his personality).
  • A steam-powered clockwork robot constructed by Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Babbage, and Michael Faraday.
  • A swarm of black nanobots that can be repelled by a sonic fence.
  • Doktor Sleepless.
  • Albert Einstein after drinking from the Fountain of Youth.
  • A heckuva guy!!!
  • A cloud of living thoughts in a jar, made crazy in isolation and now plotting revenge.
  • The secret child of Rock Hudson and Doris Day, conceived at the behest of a cabal of Cthulhu-worshippers, and fated to bring about the return of the Elder Gods, Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
  • An unholy genetic hybrid of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Rupert Murdoch, Masaru Ibuka, and Andy Dick.
  • Keyser Soze.

  • I demand prizes if any of these is right.

    Passive Aggressive Jerk of the Week:

    Upon being confronted by his annoying mother about being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Greaser Petrelli snaps, "Sorry mom, I'm too busy saving the world right now."

    We were hoping he would follow that up by saying, "Saving it with string, mom. String!"

    Unedifying Sight of the Week:

    Paula Garces, who spent a period on The Shield being unbearably snotty and unprofessional to everyone else working at The Barn while being groomed by Dutch Wagenbach in a particularly depressing subplot, has taken a break from appearing in televisual excellence to be treated like a big sexpot on Knight Rider. Seeing her disembark from a car with gullwing doors from a seat that is way too low was utterly depressing. It's not her fault, obviously, but did no one realise that showing a hott spy struggling to get out of a car had the opposite effect of that intended, i.e. to get the teenage boys at home all excited?

    The series of pictures above range across about five minutes of screentime. (This is a lie.) If you could see it in motion you'd understand why it's so awful. Poor Paula Garces, forced to dress like someone from an Austin Powers movie.

    Still, at least she inspired Jerell when coming up with a pop-style outfit for the odious and bratty Kenley on this week's Project Runway.

    Lose, you whiny brat, LOSE!

    Career Move of the Week:

    An end to our pain...

    Run, Stephen Tobolowsky! Run for the hills! And if they want you back for a flashback or dream sequence, just say no.

    Gupta of the Week:

    Zoe, the button-pusher in Knight Rider, is so ill-conceived, mean, and relentlessly smug, that it shows up the entire awful show for the mistake that it is. There is no charm here, no humour, no excuse. Lowlights include:

  • Reacting to the imminent fiery death of Michael Le Traceur and Sarah Blandhott by sleazily delivering the line, "This just got interesting."
  • Reacting to the lucky escape everyone gets from being killed by a napalm-coated morphing supercar crashing into a closed door by saying, "That was awesome." She trots out another awesome when her colleague, Billy, "comically" passes out.
  • Saying "Owned!" to Billy after KITT chides him in Kilmeresque monotone. That one was for the kidz!
  • Sneering at a highly stressed Billy that, "You'd better hope this works, because if it doesn't..." meaning, "...our two colleagues will burn to death," all the while smiling at some fixed point off camera, which is the least inspiring comment ever given to a rapidly-typing computer nerd during an emergency.

  • Who the fuck thought it was a good idea to put a catty bitch in this cast? Is she meant to be funny? Sassy? All she is is a skinny burr under our mind-saddle. It's like someone wandered into the Knight Rider HQ from an America's Next Top Model photoshoot. There is no scenario conceivable that makes this decision work.

    Silliest Exposition of the Week:

    While going through a list of supervillains, Noah Bennett tells newly glum daughter Claire what each of their superpowers are. The German is Magneto, Pyrokinetic Man is Pyro, and Jesse... Well, you don't want to know! Except that anyone with the superpower of being able to read can see that his superpower doesn't sound so bad.

    So, basically he's Paul Oakenfold.

    I'm shaking in my boots.

    Over-Used Plot Device of the Week:

    Brain surgery! It's grisly, it's scary, it's slowly becoming boring. If it's not Chase the Moron poking around in Felicia Day's medulla oblongata...'s Dr. Walter Bishop moving a blob of liquid metal around Bill Hicks-lookalike Zac Orth's visual and auditory centres...

    ...or it's Sylar doing... well, something nasty to Claire's brain.

    I love that Tim Kring said we would get an answer to the question of what Sylar does to brains in order to acquire powers. Well, now we know. He does something nasty. Thanks Tim!

    Improbable Transformation of the Week:

    After an act of stupidity so profound that it drove Canyon into a fit of rage, Betty ends up renting the worst apartment ever without viewing it first because of an attack of plot-contrivitis.

    As if that wasn't annoying enough, in the final scenes Hilda, Justin and Ignacio save the day with about eight hours of decorating, leaving the apartment looking so good Betty and her heinous stockings have a little dance to celebrate.

    I have to keep reminding myself that this is a fairytale, and that in the Ugly Bettyverse, nothing can trump The Power of Family. Still, though.

    Intensity of the Week:

    It almost burns, the intensity.

    So, a busier week than I expected, but with a bit of actual entertainment, a promising new show, and lots of unintentional humour. So what does Brian Michael Bendoom think?

    That's some dastardly indifference right there.

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