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TV Reviews

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Lost – Ab Aeterno

Some may accuse me of being biased, of not being objective in reviewing episodes of shows I happen to like a lot. And I say to those people.. you’re probably right. However, I like to give shows benefits of the doubt and not be too harsh on them, especially when their worst episodes are better than a lot of the drivel on TV right now. Long story short: tonight’s episode of Lost was incredible, an hour or so of great acting, writing and (dare I say it) explaining. Well, maybe not full-blown explanations, but anybody who’s not happy by the scenes between Jacob and Richard, or Jacob and the Man in Black at the end, are crazy, and you probably won’t be happy with anything Lost has to offer from here on out. I was very happy with the way tonight’s episode played out, and while I think an episode this dense deserves more than a few hours of thought and consideration, I feel I should write it while it’s fresh in my mind.

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The Office – “St. Patrick’s Day”

I am definitely one of the fans of The Office who have found Season 6 to be less than stellar. The show seems to have hit its creative peak in Seasons 2 and 3 and ever since, it’s been more focused on showing the characters delving into ridiculous situations that are far from realistic, yet funny at the same time. However, just because a show is funny doesn’t mean it’s as entertaining as it used to be. I don’t think The Office has reached the point yet where it can be considered bad by any stretch of the imagination. And from what I can see, people are just not feeling the new episodes. However, I thought this episode had some great work by the supporting characters and some increasingly irritating work by Michael Scott, who has turned into a needy little child over the six years on television.  It’s one thing when you have a main character who is notorious for being strange, but when you let the oddities of his personality smother the tolerable parts, it becomes a bit difficult to handle.

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24 – “Day 8: 2:00 A.M. – 3:00 A.M. “

Last week was a breath of fresh air for 24 after losing its way for a little while. We were given plenty of typical 24 moments: action, twists, cliffhangers, political drama and great acting. This week’s episode picks up almost exactly where last week left off. Wait, on second thought, isn’t that every episode of 24? Jack is preparing to bring Marco’s mother into the mix in order to convince Marco to back down, Hassan is still paranoid as hell, although he has calmed down a bit, Dana and Cole are still bickering and the terrorists are in the same place that they’ve been for what feels like hours and hours.

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Boardwalk Empire – Family Limitations

In the Boardwalk Empire universe, the time has come for the characters to all take a good long look in the mirror.  From Nucky, trying to balance seeing himself as a good man and the debaucherous life he leads, to Margaret imagining herself as Cinderella transforming from commoner to princess; to more minor characters such as Agent Van Alden with his strange obsession with Margaret and Lucky Luciano, who finally realizes it’s not Jimmy’s wife who he’s been sleeping with, but his mother.  All around the show, everyone seems to be being forced to confront the lies they’ve been telling themselves so they can sleep at night.

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Lost – Happily Ever After

It’s difficult to write reviews for Lost more than a day after the episode has aired unless you plan on watching it several times to soak in all the details.  Unfortunately, I’ve slacked off on my writing duties as of late, and for the last three episodes of Lost, I’ve fallen behind, forgotten key details that I look back on and curse myself for not remembering and just written some sloppy sentences.  I decided that tonight, I would try and write a review while the details were still fresh in my head, and I must admit, it helps quite a lot.  Every stand-out scene, line of dialogue and plot development stands out to me, and tonight’s episode was filled with plenty of them all.  While I wouldn’t consider “Happily Ever After” the best episode of the season, it certainly is in the upper echelon of Season 6 episodes.

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24 – “Day 8: 6:00 A.M – 8:00 A.M”

Under the right circumstances, silence can be more powerful than sound.  In Hollywood movies, it’s always entertaining to see an explosion or two, but in the grand scheme of things, which is more eerie: the explosion itself or the silence that lingers over the aftermath?  24 has perfected the use of silence to achieve a more powerful effect via the silent clock that sometimes ends each episode.  Normally, each episode of 24 ends with the ominous “beep, beep” sound byte, indicating that we’ve reached the end of yet another hour in the life of Jack Bauer (it also indicates when the narrative is about to be interrupted by increasingly irritating and lengthy commercials involving the Old Spice guy who rides backwards on a horse and Walmart “Rollback” sales).  However, in a particularly powerful moment, 24 will turn towards an interesting gimmick: the silent clock.  Instead of turning to the “beeps,” episodes that end on an emotionally heavy note will end in silence, as if to magnify the tragedy that has occurred.  In last week’s two-part episode, 24 turned to the silent clock for the first time this season, providing some of the best twists, action sequences and dialogues between characters that we’ve seen so far in Season 8.

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True Blood – Beautifully Broken

A more methodical episode that develops the main plotlines introduced in Bad Blood, whilst introducing some new characters that bring a few fresh twists to the tail. Even if slightly lacking in the ‘crack like’ addiction of the first season, it’s still infused with dark comedy and there are some very strong hints that there may be more to Bill’s attachment to Sookie than we were first led to believe.

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Breaking Bad – The Show You Should Be Watching

There’s some television shows, such as Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and CSI (any cop procedural show will fit the bill as well) that do not have to make an attempt whatsoever in order to pull in massive ratings.  Once shows that were considered contenders for Emmy awards, they’ve become the butt of jokes in the TV community.  In a way, they’re the TV equivalent of fast food; it’s fun while it’s around, but in the long run, you’re left unsatisfied, craving a little something extra and nursing clogged arteries for the rest of your life.  Okay, maybe not the last one, but I’m assuming everybody understands my little diatribe.  On the other hand, there are shows that win every award under the sun (“Mad Men” and “30 Rock” jump immediately to my mind) yet fail to pull in the ratings of the aforementioned “fast food” shows.  I realize that there are probably numerous fans of Grey’s Anatomy and CSI that are throwing food, drinks or anything sharp at their computer monitors, cursing me for saying these horrid things, but it’s just my opinion.

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Lost – LAX, Parts 1 and 2

Move aside, Damages. Get out of the way, 24. The men and women who have helped model one of the greatest serial television shows of all time are back with a vengeance, bringing the same level of intrigue and mystery as always. Lost has made a habit out of reinventing themselves each season, changing the game in ways that most writers and directors wouldn’t dare to do. Where some shows play it safe from season to season, rarely departing from the same tired format, Lost has been able to change the game every season and keep people interested. The story may be confusing as hell and leave millions of people each week screaming at their televisions, but it’s important to realize that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have an endgame in mind. If you remember that, as I do, the show is that much more enjoyable.

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Lost – What Kate Did

It’s always tough for shows to follow up premieres, especially if your show has an incredible premiere, and especially if that show is Lost. Luckily, Lost is able to keep the momentum moving, even if it’s not quite as energetic as last week.  Kate is a character that is almost universally hated on Lost, and I’ll admit that, on occasion, I’ll cringe a little bit when I hear a Kate-centric episode is approaching us.  However, the focus on Kate is actually somewhat interesting thanks to a superb performance once again by Josh Holloway as Sawyer and the sideways-flashes, which continue to frustrate as much as they intrigue.

Part of me expected this to be your typical “Kate runs away from the cops” episode, but it was quite the surprise to see the Kate and Claire reunion last well beyond the taxi cab ride. The parallels between each universe continue to appear, as we see that Ethan ends up being Claire’s doctor when she goes into labor, and even though Kate and Claire clearly do not know each other in this parallel universe, Kate is still helping Claire and her son.  Kate has made it clear, between last season and the beginning of this one that she is on the Island for no other reason than to find Claire and reunite with her. The fact that the writers have found a way to unite these two characters in both the normal, straight-forward story-line we’ve come to know and love AND the alternate universe makes everything much more interesting. I have to give many props to the writers for setting up the universe this way because it’s really bringing up some interesting points. The way that Claire said the name “Aaron” just came to her is almost a sign that these two realities are going to have to merge at some point and become one. They’re related to each other in ways they don’t know yet and Juliet’s phrase “It worked” may end up being the phrase to remember this season.

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