Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gone To See The Grandkids…

FanBoyWonder will return…likely next week as after getting out of work today, FBW and Mrs. LoveyWonder will pack up and hit the road due South for (an always too short) weekend to visit Brianna the Girl Wonder and her new baby brother/our new grandson Tyler.

Assuming we can view the episodes online, we’ll have reviews of tonight’s Bionic Woman and Life on NBC, as well as the final Battlestar Galactica Razor Flashback and comic book reviews all upon our return….if a bit late.

Until then…

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bionic Woman—The List

We’re a little late in getting out our review of our Wednesday night shows but writer’s strike or no, Bionic Woman has been getting progressively worse since its premiere.

The show is on its third show-runner and the way it keeps bleeding off viewers, we may have one less “select” television program to review in the near future.

This week’s episode turned the corner on this show from unfulfilled potential to boring to now barely watchable—even during the 2-minute replays on the NBC website.

Ok, in the immortal words of Faber College’s Dean Vernon Wermer—“Let’s finish this damn thing.”

The Upshot from NBC: The Berkut Group has to team up with the CIA to catch a dangerous man, Victor (Callum Keith Rennie) who is selling a list naming the Berkut Group and CIA operatives. When Jaime (Michelle Ryan) and Tom (Jordan Bridges) are partnered on the mission in Paris, they find themselves in the city of love, competing and flirting with each other, while still trying to maintain a professional relationship. Meanwhile, Becca (Lucy Hale) lands herself in jail when she tries to impress a boy and Jonas (Miguel Ferrer) has to bail her out.

Victor is setting up another buyer for his list of both CIA and Berkut covert operatives at the Sahrawi Embassy in Paris. The problem is, no one knows what Victor looks like, since he has had multiple reconstructive surgeries, and they're going to have to work with the CIA. Jaime suggests Tom, the picture perfect spook from last episode so they can spy hard and then maybe make a love connection.

Under cover as Mrs. and Mrs. Spook, Jaime will have to scan the eyes of two hundred cocktail party guests, so Nathan the tech guy can ID Victor using iris scanning software via Jaime’s on-again-off-again bionic eye camera (more on that later).

They scan the partygoers, until Jaime leads them to a guy in a white dinner jacket, and introduces Tom as a Picasso expert. Jaime can't scan his eyes, so when he offers to show them a painting, she accepts the invitation.

Jaime identifies the guy in the white dinner jacket as Victor, just as he locks them in a wine vault. Jaime wastes time calling Ruth (Molly Price) on her cell phone to whine that they are locked in the vault—but don’t they know that since they were watching via the aforementioned eye camera?????

So far during the life of the show, Ruth’s only purpose has been to give people freaky tests and to act as the resident nag.

Jaime locates Victor behind a locked door, and Tom says he's going in alone. So Mr. and Mrs. Bickerson waste time arguing yet the bad guys don’t’ hear them. One prolonged, poorly-choreographed fight later, Tom is captured.

Later, Tom is waiting for Jaime at a table in the café wearing a bomb. In a fanboy moment, he talks about how he used to read comics as a kid…one group the Freedom Fighters and the Human Bomb where he opens his jacket to show the vest of C4 he’s wearing.

Dressed as a waiter, Victor delivers the list in a menu. As soon as Jaime scans it, she hits him in the head with the bag of money, which splits open. Everyone starts shooting. Under the table, Jaime waits while Nathan tells her which wire to pull to disarm Tom's bomb. Once the charge is disabled, Tom takes off running after Victor but bionic Jaime catches him first.

Throughout the entire episode Jaime is treated as a backward child by the spooks because she acts like one. We think maybe the writers this show went on strike a wee-bit early.

It’s one thing for Jaime’s character to be naive and ignorant of a new world and a culture she knew absolutely nothing of before her accident but thanks to the revolving door of show-runners and an otherwise undistinguished writing staff, this Bionic Woman—the often mentioned “$50 million weapon”-- comes off dimmer than a three-watt bulb.

Paging Sarah Corvus (Katee Sackhoff)…you’re needed to help save this show…STAT!

Life—A Civil War

For us, this series keeps getting better and better. This week’s episode had a strong script, expert direction, an urgent plot and two lead actors who rose to the occasion while furthering their individual character’s development.

The Upshot from NBC: When two Persian Americans are killed and a third is kidnapped, Detective Charlie Crews (Damien Lewis) and Dani Reese (Sarah Shahi) believe they have a hate crime on their hands. They race to meet the kidnappers’ demands before it's too late. What unfolds is a complicated scheme involving drugs, money and ultimately a young mans desperate attempt to win his mother's affection. Meanwhile, Crews' dream about solar panels prompts him to want to buy a solar farm. Crews' roommate and financial advisor, Ted Earley (Adam Arkin), questions his impulsive nature.

Crews and Reese report to a gas station food mart, where two Persian American students have been shoot in the head and stuffed in the freezer. The murderer has scrawled "Go Home" with motor oil, highlighting ethnic tensions of the area.

A white store clerk knows there were three shooters, who can be seen in security camera footage. Beside herself, Persian Roya Dervishi and her daughter Shahnaz push through the crowd. They ID the victims as friends of Roya's son Amir, who would have been with them.

In the elevator, Reese hears Stark (Brett Sexton), Crews’ former partner, mutters something about the Bank of L.A. robbery and asks him to repeat it. He tells her to step back, because she's crossing a line and Crews sees that it’s a sore point for Reese.

Crews (and the viewers) later find out that Dani Resse’s father Jack was the head of the SWAT team on the day of the Bank of L.A. robbery, thus earning his new partner a space on Crews’ conspiracy wall.

Reese also tells Crews that her mother was Persian, but her father wouldn't let them speak Farsi around the house and there’s an undercurrent of resentment with her father.

Meanwhile, the missing young man’s mother receives a cell phone photo of Amir and a message—they want the drug money, or they'll kill Amir too. So it’s gone from a hate crime to a beef between two drug dealers, prompting Lt. Davis (Robin Weigert) to repeat her mantra that “it’s always about drugs and money.”

We think this is the storytellers’ way of clueing the viewer into to something beyond this current case.

After searching his room and computer, the cops grab game console after seeing a mysterious file on there but to access it they have to get to Level 10 of the game. It’s an amusing scene to see a room full of cops cheering on the computer geek playing a game knowing its official business. Eventually Crews gets the kidnap victim’s sister to play and she gets to Level 10 forthwith.

The secret file turns out to be financial records noting lots of hidden money. After a couple of unforeseen twists, Crews and Reese end up in a confrontation with the kidnapper/killer at the bank where he is promptly cut down.

At the end of the episode following an day and all night chase of the bad guys, Crews and Reese are exhausted but we see her starting to thaw to him—a simple gesture as giving him a cup of coffee—all the more is the pity just as he has added her to his conspiracy wall in the every widening mystery of who framed him for the crime he didn’t commit.

A Civil War was Episode 7 in a 13 Episode commitment for Life. We’re hoping that despite a weak lead-in from the disappointing Bionic Woman, stiff competing shows and the current writer’s strike, this show will make it through the fall schedule and beyond as it’s really finding its groove.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

FanBoyWonder Salutes Veterans Day

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"…. President Woodrow Wilson, November 11, 1919 on the one-year anniversary of what became to be known as “Armistice Day” and then later as “Veterans Day.”

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the final shot was fired in “The Great War” in Europe that somehow managed to draw in nations from around the globe, ending four long years of killing on an unprecedented scale…at least until the Second World War 20 years later.

According to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a congressional resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar congressional action. If World War I had been "the war to end all wars," November 11 might be still called Armistice Day.
Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of World War II and Korea, Congress decided to make the day an occasion to honor all those who have served America. In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day, according to the VFW.
A law passed in 1968 changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

Today is also the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. More commonly known as “The Wall,” it is a solemn place for anyone who has ever visited it and we encourage everyone to visit and pay their respects at least once in their lifetime.

Recently on a return trip home to see the parents, FBW and Dad FanBoyWonder enjoyed a rare, prolonged conversation and an even rarer talk about Dad’s time in the service.

Following college, rather than waiting for his number to get called, Dad enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Following Officer Candidate School (OCS) Dad served two years aboard an aircraft carrier, U.S.S. America then his final year of his service at a naval base in Denang, Vietnam.

Dad is the last one to ever say that anything he did was heroic—he just did his job, fulfilled his military service obligation and then got back to his life with our mother and about a year later, FanBoyWonder was born.

Like so many other young men of the time (or any time), Dad had no great desire to go to war. But when many other of his contemporaries—including a couple future Commanders in Chief—found creative ways to dodge or shirk their own service obligations, Dad chose the option that was best for him in the most honorable way available and he did what he was called upon to do to the best of his ability.

We are proud of our Dad and not just for that.

Furthermore, Mrs. Lovey Wonder is a Navy Brat who comes from a long line of Career Navy sailors, including her late father, a Senior Master Chief, who served honorably for 30 years before passing away when she was a little girl.

To Dad FanBoyWonder, to Lovey’s Senior Master Chief and to the all the men and women, past and present who served or are now serving….especially those somewhere in harms way—and to the families who love them, Thank You!!!
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