Posts Tagged ‘CSI

17
Oct
15

It’s Pilot Season – 2015

The Fall 2015 television season is upon us. And that means we’re inundated with the worst the networks have to offer. Each year brings us new series; a few will be great, but most will be unwatchable trash. There’s far too many horrible series out there for me to review them all. So, I’ve decided to watch the three pilots that had the most promotional advertising of this season and review them. Please note, my reviews are not necessarily what I think of the entire series, but simply my thoughts on the pilot episode.

The Muppets

The Muppets have been an entertainment staple since the beginning of time. Ever since Thomas Edison’s phonograph played Mary Had a Little Lamb, the Muppets have been there to make us laugh. Everyone has grown up watching them, and everyone loves them. They love them so much, in fact, that they have become desperately protective of them.

The Muppets are flexible, and have changed their style, format, and humor as the times have changed. In the 1970s, they had a hit show which was based on the popular variety show format of the time. In the 80s, they did feature films. In the 2000s, they had a long dry spell where they only did Disney-based attractions (and Kermit got heavily involved in alcohol). Today, they are back on TV, and the format has changed once again. Now, they are doing an Office-like show, a behind the scenes comedic look at running a TV series, complete with A and B storylines and cut-away confessionals.

People don’t like the new format. Why? Because people are stupid. They cling to nostalgia the same way an NRA nutcase clings to his guns. Since the Muppets’ new show is different from whatever version the audience grew up with, IT’S AN ABOMINATION AND MUST DIE, KILL IT WITH FIRE!

Continue reading ‘It’s Pilot Season – 2015′

05
Apr
13

Person of Interest Season 1

Peoples of Interests

J.J. Abrams is the king of producing entertaining pilot episodes. From the incredibly awesome like Fringe to the good but flawed Alias to the hilariously terrible like Lost, he knows how to put together a first episode. Abrams, however, as a hands-off producer, isn’t the driving force behind this series. That title belongs to Jonathan Nolan, brother of famous film director Christopher Nolan. Jonathan is no slouch in the writing department. He wrote a short story which became the film Memento, and he was co-writer on The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Of course, when I started Person of Interest, I didn’t know any of this, I just started it, expecting another shitty, by the numbers cop procedural.

Surprisingly, this series offers much more than that. Let’s start with the bad stuff. Yes, the show has a case-of-the-week format. Yes, there are a lot of filler episodes. And yes, it airs on network TV which is usually not a good thing. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the good stuff.

First, the premise is great. A computer genius named Harold Finch (played by Michael Emerson) created “The Machine” for the U.S. government in the paranoia following 9/11. The Machine is an omnipresent monitoring device the government uses to eavesdrop on everyone via security cameras, email, telephones, GPS, etc. If it finds what it perceives to be a terrorist threat, it passes that information to the government. If some piece of information is considered irrelevant, it ignores it. Finch realized that the irrelevant stuff often led to crimes and/or murders that he had no way of stopping. He eventually teams up with a disavowed CIA agent named John Reese (played by Jim Caviezel) and the two of them try to stop the “irrelevant” crimes.

“Let’s go save some people we are interested in.”

Second, the show kicks ass. Solving crimes doesn’t involve a bunch of CSI-style bullshit lab work. No, it typically features Reese following bad guys and then confronting bad guys. In order to solve crimes, he usually commits way more crimes including armed robbery, arson, kidnapping, assault, and murder. Of course, he is doing all this stuff to bad guys, but it is fun to watch him deal vigilante justice and cause way more destruction and mayhem than if he had just ignored the irrelevant crime in the first place. Anytime Reese throws down with someone, the show is plenty exciting.

Third, the writing is great. Despite having a case-of-the-week format, there are several story threads that run continuously throughout the episodes. Every character has a compelling back story, which is teased to the audience through flashbacks throughout the season. By the end of the season you know more about Reese, Finch, The Machine, and the two main antagonists, but you certainly don’t know everything. There are plenty of mysteries left to be unraveled. The show can also be surprising, as when Reese and Finch set out to stop a crime, they don’t know if the person The Machine has given them is going to be the perpetrator or the victim. A couple of times, the person they are protecting turns out to be the bad guy. It keeps the show more fresh and varied, and offers up a good deal of entertainment.

Time to shoot some interesting people.

The acting is kind of a mixed bag. Caviezel plays his character as a stoic, monotone warrior who would rather kick your ass than mince words. At first this seems to be a drawback, but as the character becomes more fleshed out, you get a sense of why he became that way, and it ultimately works in his favor. Emerson is consistently good as the nerdy and paranoid Finch, and manages to be dramatic and comedic in all the right places. Kevin Chapman, who plays a crooked cop (Fusco), is also consistently good. Even guest stars like Enrico Colantoni (Elias) can bring in pretty great performances. The major weak link in the acting is Taraji Henson (Carter), who plays a sassy cop who is hot on Reese’s trail. The material is beyond her capabilities, and she is completely unbelievable as a police detective. Any time she’s on-screen with someone else, she’s upstaged. She doesn’t have the acting chops to successfully pull off this role. I’ve never cared for her. She was annoying on Boston Legal, and she’s just as annoying here.

My biggest complaint of TV in general is that seasons are too long. With a 22 episode order, and maybe 11-12 episodes worth of ideas, the writers are stuck shoe-horning in 9 or 10 shitty episodes every year. If the networks followed cable’s example, and did 13 episode seasons, the writing of all their series would be much better. With Person of Interest, it becomes obvious which episodes are meant to move the story along and which are written as afterthoughts because they needed to fill an order for a specific number of episodes. The filler episodes are generally weak, and easily skippable. The important episodes, though, are a blast, totally engrossing, and definitely worth watching.

Sure, Person of Interest isn’t revolutionary. It’s not meant to be. But it is a step above the typical procedural dreck that plagues network TV. If you are in the mood for something a little different, with a cool premise, fun action, and good writing, then you should check this one out.

Verdict: Good

23
Sep
11

Fringe – Seasons 1-3

Fringe title screen.

Most television shows cater to people with moderate to severe mental retardation. As a result, I don’t watch a lot of television. When you are constantly bombarded with crap like: The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: Antarctica, CSI: NCIS: SVU: Los Angeles, Gray’s Anatomy, Jersey Shore, everything on the CW, and the fifty Kardashians reality shows, there is hardly any reason to turn on a television. Fortunately, I found a reason to watch TV again, the sci-fi series Fringe.

When this began airing in 2008 I figured it would be nothing more than an X-Files rip-off, so I completely dismissed it. Since that time it has garnered a cult following, as well as some critical acclaim, but has stagnated in the ratings. It was recently picked up for a fourth season, but only just barely. It was nearly canceled. Being someone who inevitably gets hooked on unpopular series that get canceled without a proper conclusion, (e.g. Twin Peaks) I decided to check this show out.

Continue reading ‘Fringe – Seasons 1-3’

01
Jan
11

Awesomest/Shittiest Things of 2010

It seems like every year brings nothing but 365 days of non-stop shit. Awesome things are much harder to come by. It would have been a piece of cake to write a top 10, top 20, or top 500 list of shitty things that happened in 2010. Choosing just a few was quite a challenge. An even greater challenge was finding an equal number of awesome things from this year. With a little bit of scrounging, I realized that there were some cool things that happened in 2010, after all. This list is the best and worst things of the year, as I see it, which means it is 100% right. If you disagree with any of them, you’re 100% wrong. So here you have it, a list of the awesomest and shittiest things of 2010.

Awesome

  1. Large Hadron Collider – It’s the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. From smashing atoms it is expected to help answer some of the universe’s greatest questions from the Big Bang Theory to the Mystery of Oprah’s Fluctuating Weight. It had countless delays but finally got up and running this year. Scientists are already using it in the hopes of analyzing Dark Matter. Doomsday-nutjobs predict that the LHC will atom-smash its way into the complete destruction of the universe. Sweet!
  2. Inception – It’s actually pretty rare for Hollywood to make a good movie, let alone a great one. This film had it all. From cast to music to action to directing to plot, this movie shines in every department. It is a rare and wonderful thing when a movie doesn’t dumb itself down to pander to the billions of mouth-breathers who will inevitably watch it. I suppose it’s rare because movie studio execs are mouth-breathers, too. While the story about dream-stealers wasn’t particularly confusing if you actually paid attention (most people didn’t), it was innovative enough to draw you into its world. It was intelligent, with overlapping dream sequences, and fun, with the incredibly entertaining rotating hallway scene. Director Christopher Nolan worked on this for nearly a decade, and his love for it and detail to attention really shines through. Probably the best movie of the year.
  3. Goldilocks Planet – Scientists discovered a planet about 20 light years away which, like Earth, has all the right factors to sustain life. Better yet, scientists hypothesize that there are many more planets like it in the universe, meaning there could be a lot of aliens out there. Hopefully, they are all super hot and look exactly like humans except for weird shit on their faces just like in Star Trek. Can someone say alien porno?
  4. Russian Spy Ring – Earlier this year the FBI busted a Russian spy ring that was operating in the U.S. Some of them had been spying for Mother Russia since the mid-1990s, while others came on board later. They had spied on various facets of the U.S. government, and had a complex, covert means of communicating with Russia. They were eventually caught, and traded back to Russia in a large-scale prisoner exchange. Best of all, one of them was definitely supermodel material. There’s nothing like a beautiful Russian agent to bring out those James Bond fantasies in all of us.
  5. Winter Olympics – It always seems like the Winter Olympics is the ugly half-sister of the super-hot Summer Olympics. This year, however, things were different. People were genuinely excited for the games, and I found myself watching it often. For some reason, everything was captivating from Snowboarding to Speed Skating to Bobsleigh to Country Cross Skiing. Yes, that’s right, even Cross Country Skiing was awesome. I had always remembered it as some boring guys doing a leisurely snow-walk across a flat surface. What I saw this year was a bunch of totally crazy dudes racing full force through a mountain of snow with a couple of skiis attached to their feet. It was hardcore, and they looked like they were putting way more energy into it than any Summer Olympics track star. I will definitely be tuning in to the Winter Olympics in the future. It is the ugly half-sister no longer.
  6. Psychic World Cup Octopus – Paul the Octopus lived humbly in Germany. During the 2010 World Cup, he had accurately predicted all of the winners of 8 matches, including the final round. Food (a mussel) was placed in two boxes, each with the flag of a country. Whichever mussel Paul ate first was predicted to win the match. And he never got one wrong. The undefeated octopus was indeed psychic. Now all I need to do is kidnap the little guy and take him on a roadtrip to Vegas.
  7. Flight Attendant Quits – Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater quit in a blaze of glory that I certainly hope to live up to someday. When a passenger gave him some attitude, he decided he had enough. He used the intercom to let loose a tirade of four-letter words, grabbed a couple of beers, and commandeered the emergency escape ramp to slide out of the plane. There are very few things more awesome than cursing at someone and downing some booze while you’re at work.
  8. Daft Punk – This is by far the most talented electronic music group working today, and probably of all time. This year Disney made a smart move by allowing them to do the entire soundtrack to their movie Tron: Legacy. It only makes sense to have a electronic soundtrack populating a computerized world. It’s rare for such a perfect match to happen these days. Apparently, one of the two robots of Daft Punk stated he was heavily influenced by the visual aesthetic of the original Tron film. I guess that means things have come full circle. Oh yeah, and the soundtrack fucking rocked.
  9. Colbert Testifies – For some reason, Congress decided to call Stephen Colbert to testify in front of a House of Representatives subcommittee on illegal immigration. Apparently Congressmen don’t watch TV. Either that or they are completely retarded for thinking that Colbert was going to give earnest testimony. And why would a TV comedian be qualified to testify on such an issue? They wouldn’t, but that gives you an idea of how in-touch with reality U.S. politicians are. Colbert appeared in character and immediately showed anyone who watched it what a farce the whole thing was. He kicked things off early with this line, “As you heard this morning, America’s farms are presently far too dependent upon immigrant labor to pick our fruits and vegetables. Now the obvious answer is for all of us to stop eating fruits and vegetables. And if you look at the recent obesity statistics, you’ll see that many Americans have already started.” And later, “Because my great grandfather did not travel across four thousand miles of  the Atlantic Ocean to see this country overrun by immigrants. He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. That’s the rumor, I don’t know if that’s true, I’d like to have that stricken from the record.” And finally, “For one thing, when you’re picking beans, you have to spend all day bending over. It turns out – and I did not know this – most soil is at ground level. If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we make the earth waist-high? Come on, where is the funding?” It takes a lot of balls to walk into Congress, who is 100% serious and 100% stupid, and make fun of them right to their faces.
  10. This blog – rules.

Shitty

  1. Bristol Palin – The evil spawn of Sarah Palin has already had more publicity than any vapid, obese teen mom should. The biggest insult to humanity in 2010 was subjecting us to her antics on TV’s Dancing with the Stars. For the love of god, who would want to watch her ineptly gyrating on stage week after week? And I really do mean week after week, because she lasted until the final episode. Making matters even crazier is that her bitch mom forced her to go on DWTS because she “owed” it to her after she caused her to lose the 2010 election. Yeah Sarah, I’m sure the fact that you quit your first term as Governor, and you can “see Alaska from my house” had nothing to do with it. If you didn’t think it could get worse, well it does because Bristol is also the only contestant on DWTS history to actually gain weight! Yes, all those hours of dancing must have been off-balanced by the extra Big Macs and Twinkies she shoved in her face every night. Finally, her dancing was so awful a Wisconsin man made national headlines when he was so enraged by Bristol’s terrible dancing that he blasted his TV with a shotgun, resulting in a standoff with police. You see, Bristol, look at what you’ve done. I think you “owe” it to us to never appear on TV again.
  2. iPhone4/Steve Jobs – The iPhone 4 was supposed to be like the Jesus of telephones. It could perform miracles and come back from the dead. It could do anything… except make phone calls. Apparently they changed the antenna so that when you held the phone a certain way, the calls would get dropped or not go through at all. Fan-fucking-tastic engineering, Apple. Of course when people started complaining, the incredibly humble and consummate everyman Steve Jobs told people, “Just avoid holding it that way.” Thanks, Steve, next time I make a call I’ll try to avoid holding the phone with my hand. Asshole.
  3. 3D – Will this trend please, please die already? It worked well enough in Avatar, but only because director James Cameron essentially built a whole new 3D camera rig from the ground up. Of course it still gave me a headache while I was watching it, but it was OK for just that one movie. Unfortunately, now everything is in fucking 3D. Most of it is shitty post-converted 3D, which means it wasn’t filmed that way, so it looks extra terrible like The Last Airbender. It seems like every movie is being made in 3D now, and Hollywood is charging extra for the ticket prices. It’s a shitty gimmick that allows them to continue to get away with weak ass stories and shitty acting. Hey Hollywood, how about this for a gimmick: make good movies for a change.
  4. U.S. Republican Party – To quote Obi Wan Kenobi, in Capitol Hill, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Never before have I seen a group of people so adamantly opposed to doing absolutely anything. For the last two years, Republicans have cockblocked every bill brought to Congress by Democrats simply because they were brought to Congress by Democrats. That’s right, they opposed everything simply out of principle. And we aren’t talking heavily partisan politics here, we are talking bills that would do things like help decrease the world’s supply of nuclear weapons. Yeah, we can’t have enough of those. (Eventually they did pass that one, but only after bitching about it for months ahead of time.) Republicans, however, are amazing in their ability to use Jedi Mind Tricks on the American public. They brainwashed everyone into thinking that lowering taxes on the richest citizens (while not giving a fuck about anyone else), and effectively decreasing the flow of revenue into the government, would somehow decrease the giant deficit. Bravo! I am genuinely impressed. Democrats are idiots, too, because they essentially just laid down and allowed this shit to happen to them despite having control of Congress with a super-majority. Nice going, dipshits. I think that the Republicans should attempt to do something in order to get things moving along in the U.S, and Democrats should stop being such pussies. If nobody does anything, then how do they expect anything to change? On the bright side, former Republican Congressman and world-class asshole Tom Delay, was convicted of money laundering in 2010. So at least we have that to smile about.
  5. Bieber Fever – It’s not Justin Bieber that I have a problem with. To me, he’s like… eh, whatever. What pisses me off are his ridiculously obsessive, moronic fans. They actually remind me a lot of Twilight fans. While Twilight fans are sickening, obese, middle-aged housewives who fantasize about dreamy guys who don’t have sex, Bieber fans are sickening, obese, pre-teen/teenage girls who fantasize about an androgynous guy who probably hasn’t developed pubic hair yet. His songs aren’t that good, yet they flood the radio. As a teenage generic love-song factory, he was rightly given a multi-episode guest starring role on the TV show CSI. Yeah, that makes sense. His performance was… hilariously amazing. And now Bieber fever has catapaulted him to star in his own movie Never Say Never, which of course is a movie about his life. Ah, I can’t wait to see all the arduous trials, his long slow struggle through his career, and the sage wisdom he accumulate over all of his 16 years.
  6. Kesha – The fact that this bitch can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t write coherent songs, is drunk 99% of the time, isn’t attractive, and can still be a major music star is the reason why I have shunned popular music. Since she can’t sing she just pseudo-raps or “sing/talks” throughout each track with heavy auto-tuning to make up for her wailing voice, which is akin to the cry of a dying cat. Her songs are horrible, but the music industry wants them to be hits, so they just force radio stations to play them over and over again until they eventually become hits. Between her braindead “music” and Kanye West getting credit for rapping over Daft Punk’s hard work (i.e. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger), the music industry should just burn in hell.
  7. BP Oil Rig Leak – This one seems like an obvious choice, I realize that. But it doesn’t make it any less shitty. For months oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico. Nobody seemed to give a fuck, and the oil kept coming and coming. And of course it happened to New Orleans, who seems to have still not quite made it out of the Hurricane Katrina clusterfuck. Poor New Orleans seems to be a magnet for bad shit. Pretty soon Bristol Palin will fly down there to dance for them, causing their next natural disaster. At the very least the oil leak seemed to have a decent resolution. Unfortunately, Obama seemed to care about this as much as Bush did about Katrina. It’s not like Obama was going to personally dive underwater and plug up the leak, but he could have at least pretended to give a shit.
  8. Full Body Airport Security Scanners – There’s nothing better than having a creepy, bald-headed, nude photograph taken of you at the airport for TSA to drool over and inevitably jerk off to. I’m glad that this is what airport security has come to. Either have a public naked picture taken of you (With bonus radiation zapped through your body!), or get a public groping instead. Decisions, decisions. Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I agree with him, and people who complacently agree to be scanned should go fuck themselves.
  9. Jay Leno/Tonight Show Debacle – Last place network NBC made a great move earlier this year by firing Conan O’Brien from his 6-month-long hosting stint at The Tonight Show and replacing him with former host Jay Leno. Conan put up a fight, and NBC went straight to a child-like tantrum by threatening to block Conan from appearing anywhere on TV for the next three years. Leno, of course, was backing NBC’s decision, so he looked like a complete tool. Soon, everything went entirely to shit, and NBC fired Conan. Conan fought back with his last week of shows by spending exorbitant amounts of money, just to stick it to NBC as a final “fuck you.” So now that Leno is back as the host of The Tonight Show, how did it all work out? Well, The Tonight Show has the worst ratings in the series’ history, NBC is still the last place network, NBC’s jackass president resigned, and Conan’s new show on TBS is getting better ratings than The Tonight Show. You see, NBC? That’s what you get for being douchebags.
  10. Any blog that isn’t this one – sucks.

Well, the year 2010 has given us plenty of awesome things, but way more shitty things. I suppose every year is like that. Let’s see what happens in 2011. I’m sure there will be no shortage of shit that will piss me off.




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