Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Open Letter to the Inmates of Alcatraz

Dear Various inmates of Alcatraz,

You bore me.  I don't know why your criminal lives are so boring, but I find that I don't care about what you do or did.  Which is unfortunate, because I care about what the doctors/wardens/guards did to you at the notorious prison.  But your lives are rather dull.

What happened to you when you disappeared?  Who helped you?  Who is giving you instructions?  These are the important questions, and I look forward to finding all that out each week.

It is not your fault that everyone compares every JJ Abrams produced or fantasy/sci-fi show to Lost.  Lost is untouchable: it came together at the right time, got lucky with the right actors and writers, and were blessed with an amazing pilot with lots of questions.

What you inmates are lacking is some reason for me to care about you.  Take your time, fill in some holes, and then commit your crime.  Maybe it would help if episodes involved a number of you, possibly overlapping at Alcatraz, or even seeing you before you were a criminal.

At least you are more interesting than Detective Madsen.

I have not given up on you yet, but and I will continue to hold out hope that you will become interesting.  Can I recommend committing a crime that is not exactly the same as your crimes from 50 years ago?  Maybe you could do more things that the Powers that Be command you?

Lockingly yours,
Chris

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

REVIEW: Are you there, Chelsea?

NBC Wednesday 8:30/7:30 Central

Are you funny, Chelsea?  Are you there, Humor?  Are you there, Audience?  Are you cancelled, Chelsea?

These are just some of the headlines that will surely accompany articles about NBC's new show based on Chelsea Handler's book, "Are you there, Vodka?  It's me, Chelsea."  The problem with this show is that it takes Chelsea Handler's book, and thus her views and takes on life and tries to make it into a successful observational sitcom.

The problem is that it doesn't work.

1.  Does it entertain me?
The actors involved appear to be trying, they are really hoping for laughs.  The problem is that the material is just so shallow and plays for cheap laughs.  There doesn't appear to be any sort of real creativity involved, and everything seems forced.  It is a show rite with sex jokes directed at the lowest common denominator, hoping to rope in the female audience.

However, it treats that female audience like idiots, and like people who are not capable of understanding sophistication.  It makes it seem like women want to work in bars and not go to college and live their lives as if they are 22 years old.  And this is all women.  They are shallow and hopeless in their life, and want nothing more than casual sex and more vodka.

This is all quite unfortunate, because NBC has given us so many great comedies ("Community" and "Parks and Recreation" are 2 of the three funniest shows on television right now), and then they follow that up with this trite.

The show tries to be sentimental, but it never quite nails that mix of humor and love the way that something like "How I met your Mother" does.  It also doesn't have a lot of promising characters, people who exist for more than just a cheap laugh.

2.  Is it realistic?
In the way that I can see this all actually happening, yes.  I can.  People work in bars all the time, and they move closer to their workplaces, too, so they can live their lives of debauchery and drunkenness, in essence, continuing their college experience.

I find it unrealistic that they would all be so unfunny, though.

3.  Are immoral actions defended?
Yes.  One of the running jokes is about Chelsea having sex with her bartender boss.  It's crass and never gets funny.  Which is the bigger sin in the television world?

Moreover, DUIs are made light of, dating is seen as a means to sex, and there's a colorblind midget.  Which seems like it should be funny, but not even Tyrion Lannister could pull that off.

4.  Are traditional family values upheld?
Chelsea does have a pregnant sister that she visits in the hospital while having her baby.  There is no marriage in the show, and there is no sense that people find children and family important to society.

So I'm going to answer this question with a "no."
______________________________________________________________________________
"Are you there, Chelsea?" makes no sense as a title, and it makes even less sense as a show.  It's not funny, it's not entertaining, and it's not worth your time.

Plus, it's paired with "Whitney" on Wednesday nights, which might make this the worst night on television.

Grade: D

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

REVIEW: Alcatraz

Fox - 9/8 Central

In 1963, Alcatraz prison was shut down and all the inmates transferred.  At least that's what was reported, and even Bobby Kennedy signed off on it.  Apparently, though, this isn't what happened, as all the guards, prisoners and administration disappeared.  And now they are returning in 2012 to do some mysterious evildoer's evil business.

What we get is a cross between the procedurals on CBS and the fantasy shows that appear on Fox and ABC, as our young blonde detective (Sarah Jones) teams up with an Alcatraz historian and a mysterious FBI agent (Sam Neill) to bring all the prisoners back and keep them from killing anyone.  Fantastic!

1.  Does it entertain me?
For the first time during this mid-season, I can wholeheartedly say yes.  The pilot and first episode (both of which aired Monday night during a special 2 hour episode) were entertaining, energetic and full of twists and turns.  The characters were interesting, and the show was not bogged down too much with mythology, although it appears that it will be very myth-heavy, which is fine.

There were many things to like in these first two episodes, not the least of which is Sam Neill's Emerson Hauser, who was one of the guards assigned with shutting the prison down in 1963, only to find it already mysteriously empty.  Now his FBI task force has set up shop beneath the prison to make sure no one comes back "dead."  He also has built a state-of-the art prison in the middle of the woods to put the reclaimed prisoners away (also, I think he keep Magneto there).  What Hauser knows is another story, as he could know everything, or nothing.

Jorge Garcia's historian/comic book nerd is essentially a branch off from Hurley, which is fine, because he plays the Reluctant Hero once again, and he does so wonderfully.  In fact, if there is one negative to be said, it's that episode 2 did not have enough Dr. Soto.

The weak link might end up being Sarah Jones' detective Rebecca Madsen, who is the typical young heroine who wears the white top buttoned down to her cleavage.  Which, you know, all detectives do.  It's part of their professional code.  However, what she might lack in acting bravada, the writers may make up for, since her partner was killed by her grandfather 4 months ago.  Her grandfather was one of the prisoners in Alcatraz when it shut down and they disappeared.

A good pilot is one that asks a lot of questions, and sets up a season long story (and possibly series long).  "Alcatraz's" pilot did just this.  We're left wondering:
How did the prisoners get out?
How did they come back?
When they come back, why haven't they aged in 50 years?
Who is behind all this?
Why did they come back, and what is their target?
How much does Emerson Hauser know?
What were those doctors doing to the prisoners back then?
Is the government involved?
What's the key for?
Who shot at the outrigger?

To help us out, we have the return of Michael Giacchino's excellent musical score, as well as Jack Bender (hands down Lost's best director) and Elizabeth Sarnoff (although she was responsible for writing some of Lost's worst episodes).

The acting is good, the writing is good, the pacing is good, and the dialogue is good.

2.  Is it Realistic?
If you buy the science-fiction premise, it is realistic.  These shows always require a willing suspension of disbelief, and "Alcatraz" is no different.

The big problem I have right now is the handling of the prisoners.  For instance, they set up the first prisoner to come back, Jack Sylvane, as a family man who robbed a post office to feed his family and ended up in Alcatraz.  However, he then comes back and immediately kills the former Chief Guard (who abused him, so that's ok) and then another seemingly random guy in cold blood, not knowing the reason why.  There needs to be motive here, and we may find out what later on, so I'll hold off judgment for now.

Other than that, only Detective Madsen is not realistic, but other people were already questioning how she got to be detective so young, and I understand the need to appeal to audiences.  So I'll let that fly for now, too.

3.  Are immoral actions defended?
No, they are not.  People are sent to prison for crimes they commit.  That's justice.  (Thanks, Lee Adama, for making sure I know what justice is).

The doctors in Alcatraz were up to something fishy, but we are not led to believe that they were correct in their experiments.

The only thing to be wary of is that "Alcatraz" seems fairly violent, with gunshots and blood everywhere.  Moreso than a lot of other shows on network, so that is surprising.  But is not the bloodiest show on television, just be careful when watching with children.

4.  Are traditional family values upheld?
We get two instances of family: Madsen's uncle works in bar and seems to know more than he leads on, and Sylvane's brother married his ex-wife when he was pronounced dead.  But if Homeland taught us anything, it's that you should never mess with your friend's (or brother's) wife.  But this isn't too bad.

There is no sex, no adultery, no cheating, no swearing, nothing that would threaten the traditional family.  Except for murder.  That threatens families.
________________________________________________________________________________
Overall, "Alcatraz" is a very entertaining show with a lot of potential.  It's mysterious and well-written and has a lot of great potential plots.  It appears that each week is going to follow the capture of a new criminal, but we're also going to get further into the why of the escape, disappearance and later reappearance of criminals.  Which all makes for a good television experience.

Grade: B+

Monday, January 16, 2012

REVIEW: iRob!

CBS - Thursday 8:30/7:30 Central

Rob Schneider takes the apparently hilarious relationship he has with his wife's Hispanic family and turns it into a television show.  I think it's supposed to be a sitcom, but the laughs come only during the commercials when that All-State commercial comes on featuring Mayhem.

Hands down the most offensive show on television, iRob! (get it, because it's in a hispanic family?  Good stuff) suffers from stupid characters, bad dialogue, that insane laugh track, poor writing and situations that cannot get better.

1.  Does it entertain me?
Like most of this midseason, no.  I'm really getting tired of watching bad shows for the off chance that they might be good.  I hate that these shows keep getting made, and I hope that network executives keep thinking these are good.  That's the problem with television right now: it doesn't matter if a show is funny or not, as long as people watch it.  Which says more about the people in the country than anything else.

I generally like Rob Schneider, and that may be a fault of mine, and I know that he does not venture into the cerebral very often (one of the many ways he differs from his good friend and contemporary Adam Sandler).  And maybe I expect too much of our comedians these days, but I want to see a show that I can laugh at and where the writers make me feel good about laughing at that.

"Rob" manages to be offensive to Mexicans, Catholics, Caucasians, men, women, children and out of work poor siblings.  Given this is based on Rob Schneider's life, this is what I learned of his family
1.  They are lazy.
2.  They drink.
3.  They are scoundrels.
4.  They don't treat him well.
5.  They put up with his insensitivity
This is not an ideal family to live in, and if this is the case, I feel bad for him.  It must be tough living in a world where you are not accepted and you have no filter on your asinine comments about your family.  No wonder he turned this into a sitcom and pointed out where his family let him down.

The real issue is that, as bad as the show is, and as poor as the character are, there is no room for growth.  There don't seem to be enough situations that they could take the show and the characters that is redeemable or could be funny.  It's poorly written with no thought for the future.

2.  Is it realistic?
No.  No one is as stupid as the character of Rob, and no one could possibly spit out the nonsense he does.  No one would get caught in the inexcusable positions he does, and no one would keep saying the things he does.

I get it, this Mexican family is different than his family, their customs are different.  But no one is so ignorant to think that Mexicans use siestas to make babies, and even if they are, they don't say that out loud the first time they meet the in-laws.  Some things just don't happen.

3.  Are immoral actions defended?
The only immoral actions are the things that come out of Rob's mouth, the offenses and slurs against his wife's families.  And these are done as shock value in the confines of the show, but they are never revisited.  If I said the kinds of things to my wife's family that Robs says to his, I would be drawn and quartered.  But Rob gets to get away with them, because we, the audience, are supposed to feel uncomfortable yet identify with him.

4.  Are traditional family values upheld?
The strange thing is that there seems to be a genuine love between Rob and his wife.  They laugh about strange situations, they talk in the car, they spend time together.  Rob and his father-in-law have a heart to heart to discuss the family ways.  These are genuine moments.

Too bad they are surrounded by stupid situations and absurdity.

The Mexican family and their values is insulted, the Catholic Church is insulted (the reason, Rob says, they have so many children is because they are Catholic and thus don't use protection.  Completely ignoring the Church's true teaching on the dual nature of marriage and sex).
_______________________________________________________________________________
Once again, Rob is not worth your time.  It is not family friendly, is not funny, and it doesn't have hope that it will ever be.  It's offensive to Mexican families, to the Church, and to fans of good comedy who think television can be a way to enrich our lives, not destroy it.

Grade: D-

REVIEW: Napoleon Dynamite

Fox - Sundays 9:30/8:30 Central

Based on the popular 2004 movie of the same name, Napoleon Dynamite is an animated venture with the same actors and same characters.  It attempts to recapture what worked so well with the original, the offbeat protagonists, boring Idaho, and their attempts to survive high school.

The problem is that the animated outing does not fare as well as the original movie, making this a pointless effort to recapture the magic, and its attempts at nostalgia come up short.

1.  Does it entertain me?
No, not especially.  This is due to a couple of reasons, and a couple of the misguided attempts with this cartoon.

First, Napoleon Dynamite (similar to Seinfeld) is much more fun to talk about than to actually watch.  People doing impressions of Napoleon and Pedro and Uncle Rico is funny.  Watching them in action was always just awkward.

Second, the show does not have the same charm that made the original popular.  Watching Jon Heder awkwardly talk to people, or run like some sort of weird art, was amusing when it's a real person.  Watching the animated version try to do the same things is not.  Cartoons are cartoons are wacky and weird, and we're used to seeing them do things that are out of the ordinary.  Real life counterparts, however, is a much more satisfying affair.

Third, the charm of the movie is just not there.  Mannerisms are not captured, voice inflection and facial movement are different, and there just aren't any awkward pauses.  All of that combines to make this not only not funny, but also a strange choice to turn into an animated romp.

This would all be well and good if the show were funny or entertaining, but it's not.  It's hard to watch at times, and the other times you want to flip through the channel guide to see what else is on.

2.  Is it realistic?
Not as realistic as the movie, since that captured teenage awkwardness wonderfully.  When Napoleon wanted to be a ninja warrior, it was funny in the movie.  When he tries to do the same thing in a cartoon, it just seems sad and tired.

Teenage angst is a wonderful thing to capture on screen, and other shows try to do it, but end up infusing it with too much maturity and adult problems.  Napoleon Dynamite, the cartoon version, still has strange high school problems, but they have now graduated into the absurd.  The pilot featured a love machine that matches up people in the class based on personalities.  Hilarity is supposed to ensue when Napoleon is placed with the new foreign exchange student, Deb is with the popular jock, and Pedro is with the head cheerleader.

The problem is that none of these storylines are innovative or intelligent, and instead of wanting more of the same characters, you want to return to the musical stylings from the casio keyboard of the movie.

3.  Are immoral actions defended?
Unlike most of the rest of Fox's Sunday night animation block, there really are no immoral actions in this show.  The movie was one of the most family friendly movies that came out in a long time, and it still stands up that way.  The cartoon version is made from the same stuff, at least the pilot, which is the only episode I have seen.

4.  Are traditional family values upheld?
Yes, they are.  Napoleon and Kip are raised by their grandma, and she is a little out there, but most grandmas are.  There is no sex, no adultery, nothing offensive, which is refreshing in this day and age.  Too bad the show really isn't worth watching.
__________________________________________________________________________________
Never quite living up to the awkward greatness of the original movie, "Napoleon Dynamite" is not funny and is generally a waste of time.  The characters have no purpose and the writing seems lazy.  In reality, this animated version almost taints the original, and that is unfortunate.

Grade: D

Thursday, January 12, 2012

REVIEW: The Firm

NBC - Thursdays 10/9 Central


Taking place 10 years after the original, The Firm follows Mitch McDeere (now played by Josh Lucas instead of Tom Cruise) after taking down Bendini, Lambert & Locke, a mob run law firm.

With the looks of an average procedural law show, The Firm struggles to distinguish itself from others in the genre.  Except that there is something sinister going on at Mitch's new new firm, headed by a Cylon (Tricia Helfer).

1. Does it entertain me?
The Firm never fails to be boring, I'll give it that.  The problem with the pilot, which aired on Sunday in a two hour special, is that it never really succeeds in becoming something other than a legal drama.  Josh Lucas is very good in the role of Mitch McDeere, blending a little bit of Grisham's Mitch and Tom Cruise's Mitch, and he really makes it his own character.

Mitch is presented as a kind-hearted lawyer who cares about the human aspect of the law.  He helps the impoverished and gives people a chance at a good lawyer who would not normally have that.  Through awkward moments of exposition, we learn that Mitch came from a tough childhood, had to scrape for everything he got, and graduated top 5 from Harvard Law (this is the moment of Cruise's Mitch, since Grisham's Mitch was never this arrogant).

Mitch is tasked with defending a 14 year old boy who murdered a classmate, but we don't know if it's through self-defense or not.  The courtroom scenes are very well done, along the same lines as any Law & Order out there.  They are believable and effective.

The greatest moments of intrigue come at the beginning and end of the episode, with Mitch running from something, although we don't learn out what (tune in next time!!  Will Mitch finally get his due for putting away a notorious mob boss?  Will Mitch's daughter be invited to Jenny's birthday?  We'll find out!).  There is also a Legion of Doom meeting between the partners at Mitch's new law firm where they all discuss bringing Mitch on board for a reason, and it's not because of his million dollar payout coming.  They were also eating live bunnies.

So the question remains with The Firm: Will it become anything more than a standard legal drama?  If the answer is yes, then this show is worth watching.  If not, it may still be worth watching, but only if you enjoy legal procedurals.



2. Is it realistic?
It is, as long as you can get past the fact that Mitch might be getting sucked into another sinister law firm.  But that may just be a problem with the pilot, and other episodes may answer that question.

A very surprising and pleasant part of the show that I rather enjoyed was the relationship between Mitch and his brother, Ray, an ex-con now turned Private Investigator, played by Battlestar Galactica vet Callum Keith Rennie (which, if you're counting, makes 2 cylons on this show.  Out of a possible 12; the times are good right now for actors who have played machines.  I look forward to seeing the girl who played Vicky in Small Wonder soon).  They have good chemistry together, and they also work well in a sleazy/straight-laced team.

Time will tell if the realism of the rest of the show stays in place, or if it quickly devolves into the absurd.  I wouldn't put it past this show to abound in Idiot Plots (where characters do things that don't make sense for the sake of advancing the plot).


3. Are immoral actions defended?
Not by any of the protagonists.  Mitch and Ray do entrap one of the characters who wants to put a hit on the 14 year old boy who killed his son.  But they also go about it in such a way that he never has to serve time for a mistake he could have made, and instead help the man out.  So that was swell of them.

Other than all that, there really weren't any immoral actions to be found.  No murder, no premarital sex (or any other kinds of sex for that matter).  Sure, you might get some of the lawyers acting as lawyers and doing law things that I don't understand but which could be construed as immoral, but generally not.  

4. How does the show deal with the family and traditional family values?
Very well.  Mitch and his wife Abby have a 10 year old daughter who is going through the usual 10 year old daughter types of things: will anyone come to my birthday?  I'm tired of moving, I finally have friends and I like my school; should I be wearing this much makeup to go to public school in Washington DC?

Plus, you get the added bonus that the mob boss' son from the original book and movie is now trying to exact revenge for his father's death.  Talk about honoring your father! (note, I am being facetious here, and I am in no means suggesting that you avenge your father's murder by Tom Cruise).

There is no adultery, no homewreckers, no letting their kids watch Whitney.

Granted, this is just one episode, but for the most part, the family value portion of the show is very high.
_________________________________________________________________________________
The Firm is a nice legal drama that airs after the wonderful comedies on NBC on Thursdays.  It is well acted and fairly well written (it's not perfect).  I would recommend giving it a look and seeing if a legal procedure with mob possibilities is right for you; but if not, I wouldn't feel bad about missing it.

Grade: B

Thursday, January 5, 2012

REVIEW: Work It!

ABC - Tuesdays 8:30 pm
This show is terrible.  I don't even have a strong opening or an attempt to make this review seem like it's going to be anything but negative.  That part at the top about when it's on shouldn't even go there, since this show will soon be cancelled, and in the meantime, you should not watch it.

1. Does it entertain me?
Not even a little bit.

This is a "comedy" revolving around a man (I'm leaving out all actors and character's names for their own benefit.  They won't even want to put this gig on their resume) who has been out of work for a year who, in order to get a job as a pharmaceutical salesman, dresses like a woman.  Then he tells his friends, and they, too, dress like a woman to get a job.

There is no inspiration, no comedy, no positivity and no hints of redemption for anyone involved.  The laughtrack even struggled to laugh, that's how bad this show was.

ABC should be ashamed of itself for putting out a show like this.

2. Is it realistic?
No, and it doesn't even try to make you think it's realistic.  It wants you to laugh at its ridiculous premise, but only one of the things in that sentence is true.

The reason for the characters dressing like this is because there is, and I quote, a "mancession," whereby all the men lose their jobs and all the women keep theirs.  Which might work in a world where the women are actually smart and have good work ethics.  But all the women in "Work it!" are bimbos, talking like valley girls and showing no drive whatsoever.

The workplace isn't real, the women aren't real, and I wish the show wasn't real.

3. Are immoral actions defended?
The only immoral action was that this show was broadcast and humanity was subjected to its idiocy.

4. How does the show deal with the family and traditional family values?
By being not funny.
__________________________________________________________________________________
In case you couldn't have guessed, "Work it!" is terrible.  It's not funny, it's not creative, and it's not ambitious.  Do not watch this, and do not recommend it to your friends.

And may God have mercy on the writers' souls.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

REVIEW: Homeland

 Created by the same guys who created 24, Homeland focused on the return of a US Marine held captive in Iraq for 8 years, who may or may not have been turned by al Qaeda.  Each episode is quick paced and fast moving and full of twists and turns.

The resemblances to 24 are strong, and it runs like a 13 episode shorter season, only better written and better acted.  It doesn't fall to the same unbelievable constraints as 24, but it maintains the tension and conflict that defined that series.

1. Does it entertain me?
Overall, yes it does.  Very much.  The episodes were a breeze to watch, and they never struggled to make me question my insanity or intelligence.  Mandy Patinkin's CIA agent Saul and Claire Danes' crazy CIA analyst Carrie were well written and well-acted, even if Carrie drove me bonkers at times with her actions that could feel forced, but more appropriately, could be chalked up to her being certifiably insane.  Which is always fun to watch.
There existed throughout the whole season the question of "Is Sergeant Brody actually working for al Qaeda" that never really gets answered until the very end of the first season, and that's fun to play along with.  Plus, in true 24 fashion, there are side quests and turns that all come back to the main terrorist plot.

There has always been certain emenies that every American movie watcher loves to hate: Nazis, Klingons, Orcs and Terrorists are the big 4.  Homeland uses the last one, and this makes everyone on the same side.  No one wants terrorists to win, and everyone understands that if someone wants to be a suicide bomber and use that as the method to inflict destrution, that cannot be a good thing.  What Homeland does, is try to show that there might be a reason for these bombers, and they very definitely try to humanize them.

This isn't to say that they are justified in their actions, just that there may be more reasons behind what is going on.

On the whole, I would recommend Homeland to anyone who is looking for a good thriller.
2. Is it realistic?
There are some Idiot Plot points (when the characters do stupid things just for the sake of advancing the story), but in general, it is realistic.  There are reasons given for almost everything in the show, and the plot is woven together very artistically and intricately.

The only thing that I don't buy, however, is the chracter of Carrie, who has risen the ranks of the CIA despite being nuts.  Many of her deisions and choices in the show are stupid and irresponsible, but they could be chalked up to her craziness.  So I guess they at least try to explain it.

Other than that, I believe every other character in the show, and I believe and understand their motivations.  It's not possible for everyone in every show to do everything correctly, but I find myself more often getting angry at the decisions characters make rather than the writing behind those characters, which is an important distinction.
3. Are immoral actions defended?
There is sex, as in almost every other show, and it is passed off as normal and commonplace.  But there is not an overabundance of sex, and very rarely is it used as a tool other than to advance the plot (which seems like a flimsy excuse or defense, but it's much better than sex for the sake of sex).  There is some violence, and some gory scense involving violence as well, but none of these are seen as good actions.

The depiction of war and terrorism is always going to be a delicate task, but one that Homeland handles fairly well.  They never once make a pronouncement that certain actions are justifiable or objectively good: it's really more of a presentation of the world and what happens within it.
4. How does the show deal with the family and traditional family values?
The first time we meet Brody's wife, she is having sex with Brody's best friend (Mike).  Doesn't look good for family.  Turns out, though, that Brody was declared legally dead, and has been missing for 8 years.  Mike had been essentially raising Brody's kids in his absence, and has done a pretty good job with it (aside from the oldest daughter's rampant drug use).  But this could hardly be counted as an affair, since Brody was dead.

The affair does come, though, with CIA agent Carrie.  And that cannot be justified or explained so easily.  Except that she's crazy.

Brody and family are still seen taking a vacation together, playing cards together, and eating dinner together, so there are at times flickers of a family unit.

We see Saul's job getting in the way of his marriage, a young couple finding refuge in each other while living in a foreign land, and we see people fighting to protect the American way.

But there is no indication that the immoral behavior throughout the show is a good thing.
___________________________________________________________________________________
In a week 2011 freshman class, Homeland stands above the rest.  It's not the best show on television by a long shot, but it's also not the worst (which many of 2011's shows were fighting for the title of).  Homeland comes recommended with slight reservations; it's not a family show, but it's also not morally offensive.  And the bottom line is that it is entertaining.

An Open Letter to Ned Stark

Dear Ned Stark,

When I think of the great fantasy names that have come before, I think of Aragorn, and Boromir and Han (by the way, doesn't Hope Solo have to name her first born son Han?  She would be stupid not to.  Imagine the day when he's in school, and the teacher is taking attendance, and she gets to Han Solo.  How great would that be!?

But not you.  Your name is Ned.  I have a hard time picturing you without a green sweater and a bushy mustache, and yet I try.  Now I picture you without a head, which is unfortunate.  But at least you don't have that green sweater on.

As far as I could tell, Ned, you are guilty of nothing but being a good father and a great leader.  The Hand of the King they called you, but in the end, you trusted the wrong person.  Thomas Carcetti.  And he turned you over to the Lannisters.  You should not have died, but you never should have been handed over to the little Lannister either.  He's a turd.

But the saddest thing about your death, dear Ned Stark, is that you never got to see dragons.  You never got to see the destruction they will bring, or possibly the salvation.  For we do not yet know whose side they are in.  Just that dragons are pretty fantastic, and there will be hell to pay.

This is the fate we are destined to.  One in which Boromir dies in the first film.  In which Ned Stark lasts 9 episodes.  Where we never get to see The Odyssey.

It's tragic.  But at least you're not wearing a green sweater.

Diringly,
Chris

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Catholic Carnival 1/1/2012

Good-bye to 2011 and hello to 2012!


Busy week this week over here on the television page.  2011 Year in Review is up (an addendum: I'm in the middle of Homeland right now, and it would probably land at 3 or 4 for the year when all is said and done), as well as Open Letters to Rosie Larson, Ron Swanson and Bill Henrickson.

Enjoy!