Thursday, October 09, 2008

Life—Everything All the Time & The Business of Miracles

The decidedly mixed blessing of having FanBoyWonder’s favorite television show airing twice a week is that it makes blogging about each episode difficult—especially if much of your non-blogging time is consumed with either earning a living or family obligations.

Another thing—it turns out that we much rather prefer to view Life at it’s “Special” time of Monday at 10 p.m. as opposed to it’s regular time slot of Friday nights at 10 p.m..

The reason? Simple. By the end of the work week, FanBoyWonder’s ass is seriously dragging as the demands of the aforementioned work and home life, as well as our Washington, D.C. commute which compels us to get up at 4 a.m. to catch the 5:10 a.m. train into D.C.’s Union Station each morning.

So by Friday at 10 p.m. it’s tough to coherently enjoy much of anything. Thank goodness for the Internets where we can watch each aired episode of Life in full. See for yourself at—newcomers to the show are most welcome.

Okay, we’re going to do a two-fer review so here’s the Upshot of each episode from NBC.

Everything All the Time: Detectives Crews (Damien Lewis) and Dani Reese (Sarah Shahi) investigate the murder of a man found beaten and tied to a chair at the bottom of a pool. While at first it appears to be gang related the investigation leads to an underground party circuit. Dani Reese's father Jack (Victor Rivers) goes to Ted (Adam Arkin) to see what Crews knows about him. Charlie asks his ex-wife to talk to Rachel the only survivor of the family he was accused of killing.

The Business of Miracles: The body of a cancer research scientist is found frozen, at first Crews and Reese think it was an animal rights group, but as they look into the scientists personal life they aren't so sure. Crews tries to prove that Jack Reese was involved in him going to prison.

Among the many other things we like about Life, we like the wide variety and the quirkiness of the mysteries Crews and Reese must solve each week.

The spoiled rich kids were made to love to hate but it was interesting to see Crews acting the safari guide for Reese in identifying and explaining the three “dog types” of the pack of lads—Alpha (leader) Beta (attack dog) and Omega (clown/fool). No doubt this was hard wisdom Crews learned as both predator and prey during his 12 years in federal maximum security prison.

We found ourselves doing a double take when we realized half-way through the episode that the hard bod head shrink who was a suspect and accomplice to the murdering punks was Stacey Haiduk—formerly Lana Lang from the better to be forgotten (except for her) Superboy TV series of the late 80s.

Oh goodness—still smokin HOT after all these years. Even hotter we must say if truth be told. Three words—“Va-Va-Voom!”

Okay…our apologies to our female readers (if there are any left—we’re thinking of Monic and Elizabeth) but that’s out of our system now.

Moving on, it was not unexpected that Jack Reese would lean on Charlie’s old prison pal and current housemate and money manager Ted Early for information by threatening to violate Ted’s parole and send him back to the slam for his remaining three years stretch.

It scared Ted and who can blame him. The wordless scene later on with Ted starting at Jack Reese’s confidential (and “borrowed”) police personnel file—seriously weighing the two evils of betraying his friend Charlie and losing his friend or not giving up a friend and going to back to the hell that is prison. It was a great, understated scene that we wish they played out just tad longer.

Worse however at the end of the episode when Charlie tells Jack to back off Ted. We REALLY wanted to see Ted stand up to Jack or at least come clean with Charlie—to see Ted make his choice and face the demon head on.

Perhaps this scene was shot and ended up on the editing room floor but we feel cheated because this was a chance for the audience and Ted to take a big step together. We’re surprised that Team Life dropped the ball like this but can’t win them all.

In the Business of Miracles—it was morbidly funny to watch Crews accidentally shatter the frozen solid murder victim. Funny if only for Reese’s reaction “You have to touch EVERYTHING don’t you?”

These two have definitely settled into a groove some not quite hybrid of pals and bickering siblings. Please Team Life, do NOT try to force romance between these two characters—they are pals….or at least we see where they could be.

Meanwhile the bug that Crews planted in Jack Reese’s car last episode is already bearing fruit in the form of finding another conspirator higher up the food chain. Who this big guy is isn’t yet revealed to the viewer but he scares Jack Reese and it’s oddly interesting to see HIM being squeezed.

Suddenly big bad Jack doesn’t seem so tough after all. Rather, there’s someone a whole lot worse waiting in the wings for Charlie as he follows the conspiracy trail.

Better yet was the confrontation between the Reese father and daughter—Jack and Dani—at the extended family dinner table in all of its awkward inevitability.

The confrontation appears to have made Dani fall of the wagon slightly, leading to a funny and completely undignified meeting between her and the creepy new Captain (Donal Logue).

At the same time that Reese is not fully sober, Crews spills a chemical in the lab crime scene and ends loopy where he sees his ex-wife Jenn (Jennifer Seibel) everywhere. We found this to be somewhat over the top and we guess that they are going to pursue the ex-wife storyline.

It’s logical that they should but we are just having trouble figuring out if it’s the character of Jenn we don’t like or the actress.

As we’ve noted previously, Life also employs the A-plot, B-plot formula each episode where our heroes must deal with the mission/crime at hand (A-plot) while unraveling the larger conspiracy putting the pieces together a bit a time (B-plot).

However, Life employs this much more effectively, both in terms of the much more interesting A-plot mysteries but also with the satisfying speed in which they are moving forward with the B-plot conspiracy mystery.

Perhaps because Team Life knows and has known almost since Day One that they are on borrowed time until and unless ratings improve. Whatever the reason, the viewer feels like the show is building ever closer at the end of each episode to a big payoff. Keep it up.

The next episode of Life is Not for Nothing airing tomorrow (Friday) night at it’s regular time of 10 p.m. Eastern. Here’s the Upshot from NBC: When a university's social experiment of running a prison goes wrong Crews and Reese are there to investigate when a student acting as a guard is murdered.


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