The debut of 24: Legacy brings up a (semi)philosophical question. Is the real-time format or Jack Bauer the star of the show?
Four episodes into the “worst day” of Eric Carter’s life and the answer still isn’t clear.
It’s easy to forgive certain things Jack Bauer did or to accept them as simply part of the power of Baur because we’ve spent ten days together. Seeing Carter act with a similar reckless abandon to what Jack used in order to get the job done and damn the consequences doesn’t necessarily feel earned yet. In the first four hours, Carter has used a large concrete pipe as a shield to take on terrorists, got himself arrested in order to steal $2 million in cash from a police squad and, as hour four ends, is breaking out of CTU in order to try and get a list of potential terrorist cells back. Continue reading
For some reason, I missed season one of The Magicians when it aired on SyFy.
OK, I didn’t really miss it so much as tune into the first two episodes, set a season-pass and then had it stack up on the DVR. And then I promptly deleted all the episodes halfway through the season because there are only so many hours in the day.
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when the show showed up on Netflix and I decided to give it another try.
Boy, I’m glad I did.
Based on a trilogy of novels by Lev Grossman, The Magicians follows a group of friends who are studying to become magicians at Brakebill’s School for Magic. The series is described as “Harry Potter for adults,” but I think that’s doing a great disservice to both series. The Magicians owes more a debt to the C.S. Lewis Narnia series than it does to Harry Potter, if only because our main character, Quinten Coldwater grew up reading a series of Narnia-like books and has always dreamed of visiting the magical land described there.
Like a lot of shows today, the show has an arc and a seasonal big-bad. In this case, it’s a threat called the Beast. A six-fingered magician, the Beast shows up in episode one and is a looming threat over the entire season, bringing our team together to try and stop them in order to prevent their own deaths.
The series unfolds at Brakebill’s with Quinten and his friends studying magic and trying to up their game to take on the Beast. Meanwhile, Quinten’s life-long friend Julia fails the entrance exam to Brakebill’s and is sent back to the real world. Unfortunately, the memory wipe used on her doesn’t work and she spends much of season one trying to reconnect with magic and get back into the world that Quinten is exploring.
During my teenage years, I picked up a photonovel copy of “The Power of the Daleks” at a sci-fi convention. The original script for the long-lost story was put together with the telesnaps (photos of the actual episodes) in an attempt to give fans a chance to see what the watching the serial back in 1966 might have been like. At the time, I figured this would be a close as I’d get to fully experiencing “The Power of the Daleks.”
When I first got on-line, I discovered the Doctor Who fan community and the practice of sharing the off-air audio from lost serials with each other. Thank to the generosity of a fellow fan, I was able to acquire the audio from several lost serials that I eagerly listened to, imaging what it might have been like to see the story back during its original airing. At the time, I figured this would be as close as I’d get to fully experiencing “The Power of the Daleks.” Continue reading
After last week’s installment of The X-Files, I was concerned that Chris Carter wouldn’t be able to stick the landing for this six-episode event series.
And that concern, unfortunately, was realized with the muddled mess that was “My Struggle II.”
Beginning things with a voice-over monologue by Scully of things we learned just five weeks ago is not a good sign. Pile on the typical mythology trope of separating our two heroes for much of the episode and then wrapping it all up with little or no closure and a cliffhanger ending and you’ve got — well, you’ve got a mess that was the final few seasons of this show.
Watching the episode on my DVR, I kept pausing things, thinking — oh great, it’s going to run over and I didn’t pad the recording time enough so that I’ll see how this all winds up. Except that Carter wasn’t really interested in giving us resolution so much as he was about trying to keep us on the edge of our seats, not give us any answers and then leave us wanting more. Continue reading
Nobody but the FBI’s most unwanted. I’ve been waiting 23 years to say that!
Ever since season three, it feels like Chris Carter has been trying to compete with Darin Morgan (and later to some extent Vince Gilligan) for the title of funniest X-Files writer. And every time that Carter has tried to prove that he can be funny too, it feels like his episode goes over a bit like a lead balloon.
It’s not that Carter can’t find humor in things and that he hasn’t done some pretty interesting things to stretch himself a storyteller and film-maker, but I just have to think that going for the funny bone may not be exactly up his alley.
Watching “Babylon” I couldn’t help but think that this was an episode that was trying to on the one hand be funny, on other hand be an observation about our current world and political climate and on another hand, an attempt to set up a spin-off should the schedules of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson not coincide any time in the near future for an eleventh season of the show. Continue reading
While a lot of the early success of The X-Files can be attributed to series creator Chris Carter, I’ve always felt that the real credit for fleshing out Scully as more than just the “skeptic” to Mulder’s believer came from the pen of Glen Morgan and James Wong. Looking back on season one, it’s Morgan and Wong who really take the time to deepen Scully into something more than just the woman sent there to de-bunk Mulder’s work.
No where is that more evident in the first truly great Scully episode “Beyond the Sea.”
Interestingly, that’s one of the ten installments that Carter recommended fans visit again before the mini-series kicked off.
And while some fans may have been hoping that “Home Again” was a sequel to Morgan and Wong’s most infamous hour “Home,” I have to admit I was far more satisfied to see this one be a continuation of the character exploration of Scully that began all the way back in “Beyond the Sea” and served as the lynch-pin for the entire series run (even when it went completely bonkers in seasons eight and nine). Continue reading
Mulder, the Internet is not good for you.
When it was announced that Darin Morgan was part of the X-Files revival, my interest in the project was peaked. All four of Morgan’s previous offerings for the show were among my favorites of the series with “Clyde Bruckeman’s Final Repose” ranking not only as my favorite hour of the show, but one of my favorite episodes of television ever.
But even as I was enthusiastic to see Morgan back on the show and had “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” circled in my mind as the “must see” installment of the new season, I have to admit I felt a bit of apprehension. I wondered if Morgan could return to the fold after a break of nearly twenty years and capture the magic again.
Thankfully, it only took the teaser on this week’s new installment to affirm that Morgan was back and that this episode could be something special. Continue reading