TAG | MacGyver
The Big Bang Theory
A sitcom (with laugh track) about four scientists and their hot neighbour.
I’m still enjoying this show very much. I don’t understand why they broke Penny and Leonard up (especially because it felt like one of the most normal relationships on TV) but at least they didn’t put any bad blood between them.
Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth investigate murders where only a skeleton is left of the victim.
Quite a few episodes of this season where just “OK” but it’s still watch-worthy and I assume that next season will have a totally new dynamic due to the “time leap”.
Michael Westen is a former spy who has been “expelled”. He now works as a “problem solver” for people whom the police can’t help.
It’s a good show but I hope that one day they’ll drop the whole “I want to go back to the spy game” aspect of it and just run with the main plot.
Richard Castle is a best-selling thriller author who solves crimes with Detective Kate Beckett who has become his inspiration for his novel heroine “Nikki Heat”.
They are only in their second year and both characters already know they have feelings for each other. Progress! While the WTWT is certainly an aspect of the show that can’t be ignored, I tune in because of the crimes they have to solve and the ways they do it. For me, it’s the unofficial sequel to Murder She Wrote.
A guy who works in an electronics superstore get all the secrets of the government uploaded into his brain. From now on he works as a spy and helps to put the members of the most dangerous organisations behind bars.
I enjoyed the first third of the third season but then disliked where the show was going with Shaw and Sarah. Not because I’m a Charah shipper (I am that, too ) but because it didn’t feel real that Sarah would tell Shaw (who just came into her life) things, she didn’t share with Chuck. But now the show is great again, and I can’t wait to see the finale and the fourth season.
Categories: Short Review, TV Season 2009/10 Diary
Tags: Bones · Burn Notice · Castle · Chuck · Gossip Girl · House M.D. · How I Met Your Mother · Knight Rider · Leverage · MacGyver · Murder She Wrote · Smallville · Star Trek VOY · The A-Team · The Big Bang Theory · True Blood · Two and a Half Men
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Since everybody seems to be starting to count at zero instead of one the first decade of this century and millennium is now over. So it’s time to recap these past ten years and take a look at the TV Shows it has given us.
Let me give my résumé at the beginning: Of the four decades I know TV Shows from (70s – 00s) this was without question the best decade for us TV junkies. When you read my review you might say in the end “Hey what about <insert your favourite here>?” (e.g. The Sopranos, Dexter, The Wire, Six Feet Under, …) but that’s exactly my point. This decade has given us so many outstanding shows that it was impossible to watch them all. Also, everybody has a different set of favourite genres but I’d say that every genre got their fair share of excellent series in the last years.
But let’s face it: There’s rarely any series (if there’s one at all) that could keep up the quality and its appeal for its entire run. Some had a bad year in between, some fell short at the end. But even in these “bad years” they had more quality episodes in it than entire shows from previous decades. So all the shows I am going to name have of course aspects that can be criticized and I invite you to do so.
For me the most outstanding characteristic of this past decade’s shows is that they are more often than not more about the “journey” of the character(s) than the actual events. It’s not the character who shines a light upon the unfolding events but it’s the events that shine a light upon the character and his development. I have to say that shows (hereby excluding comedy shows that work with stereo- and archetypes) that don’t have a real character development don’t interest me at all. But if the character development is interesting I might even watch shows from genres that usually don’t interest me at all.
If the character development is interesting enough I might even set the fact aside that my second favourite characteristic is missing: A real story-arc. The first TV Show in my TV universe that had a real story-arc, was Babylon 5. Later Star Trek: DS9 did the same albeit not in that quality and complexity. But these shows were two of the rare exception in the 90s (another famous exception would be Twin Peaks, but I never watched it). It seemed that viewers weren’t interested in either developing characters or story-arcs.
Categories: Short Review, Thought Storm
Tags: 24 · Alias · Angel · Babylon 5 · Battlestar Galactica · Being Human · Bones · Buffy the Vampire Slayer · Burn Notice · Chuck · Dexter · Doctor Who · Farscape · Firefly · Friends · Heroes · House M.D. · How I Met Your Mother · James Bond · Knight Rider · LOST · MacGyver · Six Feet Under · Smallville · Star Trek DS9 · Superman · Supernatural · The A-Team · The Big Bang Theory · The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy · The Sopranos · The Wire · Thursday Next · True Blood · Twin Peaks · Two and a Half Men · Veronica Mars
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Let me start this post with a constraint. This post is not about science-fiction shows or shows that portray obvious über-equipment (like K.I.T.T.). This is about shows that at least try to pretend to display “reality”. I am of course aware that there’s a thin line but I hope than I can show my point during this excursus.
But first this College Humor video:
Technical equipment has always been part of TV shows that play in the “here and now”. And why shouldn’t it? It’s part of our every day life, so it should play a part in the TV shows we are watching. The questions are, what part, how big a part and how realistically the equipment is used. And – to give my conclusion at the beginning – I think the more modern a show is and the more real-world technologies there are the more unrealistic becomes its portrayal.
Categories: Thought Storm
Tags: 24 · Alias · Bones · Buffy the Vampire Slayer · CSI · Hackers · MacGyver · Riptide · Smallville · T.J. Hooker · The A-Team · The Fall Guy · The Net
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Children of the Gods is the movie-length pilot of Stargate SG-1. It is said that there were creative differences between the producers and the networked “Showtime” chipped in, too. Additionally due to the story-telling of the series some aspects don’t make sense anymore.
Thus someone decided to create a “Final Cut” version of the pilot where scenes are reordered, shortened and the FX were enhanced.
I was getting in the mood and have started watching MacGyver again, starting with the first season from 1985/86.
And I love to see so many known guest actors in it:
Robin Curtis (Star Trek 3 & 4), Peter Jurassik (Babylon 5, Sliders), Nana Visitor (Star Trek DS9), Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street, V), Stephen Williams (The Blues Brothers, 21 Jump Street), Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark, Desperate Housewives), John de Lancie (Star Trek TNG, DS9, VOY, Stargate SG-1), …
Galactica Discovers Earth
Synopsis: After many yahren, the Galactica has finally discovered Earth. But Earth isn’t the save heaven they had hoped for. They are technologically inferior and wouldn’t survive a Cylon attack. Adama decides to send small teams down there to speed up Earth’s development while he leads the fleet away from Earth since they are still followed by the Cylons. Troy (who was called Boxey when he was a child) and Dillon are being send to a country called “United States of America” where they want to meet with a leading nuclear scientist. And the local TV reporter Jamie Hamilton becomes their “tour guide”.
My Opinion: And once again Los Angeles was destroyed by aliens – even though it was only a simulation. I liked this first episode of the series, it showed promise. To bad the bridge sets seemed to be destroyed. The new bridge looked far inferior to the old one, but I liked to see Colonel Boomer again. I had forgotten that another recurring character (besides Adama) from the old show reappeared in this show. I also like the new two-seated Vipers because I like Jamie and that gives her the chance to ride along.
Galactica Discovers Earth, Part II
Synopsis: Troy and Dillon have been ordered back to the Galactica and they brought Jamie along (they didn’t have much choice). Dr. Xaviar has travelled back in time to advance Earth’s development in th past. He’s gone into the year 1944 and to Peenemünde in Nazi-Germany. He’s helping to develop the V2 and must be stopped. Troy, Dillon and Jamie follow him there.
My Opinion: The whole plot doesn’t make much sense. Even if he could change the past, 36 years are clearly not enough to catapult Earth’s technology forward in a way that it would be of any use in 1980. And even though the Nazis were the most advanced in regards to rocket science at this point in time I think it’s very unlikely that the “Master Race” would be very open-minded towards a truly superior alien race.
Galactica Discovers Earth, Part III
Synopsis: Troy and Dillon can successfully sabotage the start of the V2 and it explodes shortly after launch. Xaviar is accused of being a spy and gets arrested but can escape, returns to his Viper and travels back to his own time. Jamie, Dillon and Troy follow him but lose his trail. After they successfully returned Jamie to California a new problem arises: The cloaking field has deactivated and made the Vipers visible. They are now in the hand of the US military and they need to get them back.
My Opinion: Even if the V2 test had worked (btw: the V2 tests started in 1942, in 1944 they were already mass-produced in slave labour), one year later a nuclear bomb over Europe would have still ended the war.
Also: They won’t kill german soldiers because that would change the future but they free an entire train of Jews who were about to be brought to Auschwitz. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t critizise the break-out but then they might as well shoot the Germans.
The Super Scouts
Synopsis: After the Cylons have attacked and destroyed the fleet’s school ship, Dillon and Troy have to evacuate 12 of the children down to Earth. There they disguise themselves as boy (and girl) scouts. Due to the higher gravity and the denser atmosphere in the fleet the children are stronger and faster as normal children of Earth. But that doesn’t protect them from Earth’s diseases and especially not from water that is poisoned by a chemical plant.
My Opinion: C’mon, gimme a break! Kids that jump 30 foot high? How high can Troy and Dillon jump? The Empire States Building? It’s always a good idea to critizise how we treat our environment, but to shift the focus in a Sci-Fi show from their main protagonists to a bunch of kids who (of course) do childish things isn’t a good idea.
The Super Scouts, Part II
Synopsis: Troy and Dillon have to care for three of their children who are very ill. But that’s not their only problem. The military is after them because they detected the landing of the shuttle. The police is after them because they are accused of bank robbery. And the local workers are after them because they threaten the chemical plant.
My Opinion: And now a real “flying saucer”, too. This ship looks nothing like a ship from the colonies. Why would they use such a design? No, these two episodes didn’t work for me at all.
Children of the Gods
Synopsis: A year after the events in the movie the project “Stargate” is practically shut down. But then a Ra-look-alike comes through the gate, kills several soldiers and abducts a female soldier. After that Colonol O’Neill’s bluff is called and he has to disclose that Daniel is not dead and that Abydos was not nuked. After the team around O’Neill successfully returns to Abydos they learn that there is not only the Abydos and the Earth gate but also many thousands more. But then Abydos is also attacked by this new enemy and they kidnap Daniel’s wife and Skaara, a friend of Jack’s. And so a rescue mission is set up, which will lead to strange new places and to new friends…
My Opinion: A very good pilot which takes upon the events of the movie and continues to tell the story. It simply ignores the contradictions to the movie instead of giving some cheesy excuses. Only Teal’c’s switching of sides was a bit too fast, he doesn’t know Jack at all. But I can’t come up with a better plot on how to manage this.
The Enemy Within
Synopsis: Kawalsky has more and longer headaches and phases of black outs after which he can’t remember anything. Back on Chulak he was taken over by a Goa’uld larva and now they fight for the mastery of the body. Meanwhile Teal’c is being interrogated by a men from Langley who wants to learn more about the Goa’uld.
My Opinion: I liked the fact that they didn’t accept Teal’c blindly in their team, even though Jack thought that he deserved it. It still went fast in the end but at least they mentioned their doubts and pointed out the problems. Now SG-1 is complete: Jack O’Neill, Daniel Jackson, Sam(antha) Carter & Teal’c.
Synopsis: SG-1 arrives on a planet where the population leads a life like in the times of Genghis Khan. It is forbidden for women to appear unconcealed in public, neither is it allowed for them to speak unless spoken to. Carter soon collides with these laws.
My Opinion: “SG-1 arrives on a planet” – I wonder how often I will write this sentence in this marathon. I didn’t like this episode much, mainly because they tried to communicate the morale with the grace of a sledgehammer. I nonetheless like the fact that they at least argued about the fact whether it is right to interfere with local customs and affairs.
What’s the show about?
Michael Knight works for Foundation for Law And Government. But he doesn’t work alone. He has help in form of his car: The Knight Industries Two Thousand, KITT. KITT is a bullet-proof computer on wheels and it helps Michael on his missions to help people who need help.
“Knight of the Phoenix”
Michael Long works undercover until he is shot by the industrial espionage expert Tanya Walker. Luckily he survices the attack but his face is totally destroyed and has to be surgically repaired. After that Michael Long is officially dead and Michael Knight arises. His surgery was conducted by doctors paid by Wilton Knight who also gives him his new identity. Additionaly Wilton’s engineers have done something to Michael’s car…
Another 80s classic one simply had to watch back then. Oh gosh, I definitvly watched too much TV in the 80s. And the 90s. And now.*g*
BTW: There was a cultural reference in the pilot: When Michael sees KITT’s interior for the first time he says that he feels like being in Darth Vader’s bathroom!
In opposition to the early adopters I’ve always been more of a late adoper. Especially when it comes to trends and hypes. Every time a hype is rolling I am against it per se. And to be honest in most cases the hype doesn’t last long and it was a good thing I wasn’t being involved in that crap.
Something like that happend with Friends. It was running on TV all the time but I haver felt any connection to that flat sharing community from New York. Over the years I watched a few episodes but I had never the urge to zap in the next week. Since a few months, Friends is running again on the german TV station Kabel 1 and I watched a few episoded again.
When we talked about this show at work, a friend of mine recommended this show wholeheartedly. He watched it during its original run and additionally with the original soundtrack (usually movies and shows are dubbed in germany).
Thus I made the decision to buy this show three years after it ended. And I decided to buy the entire show at once. Unfortunately the german box is sold out and I didn’t want to have a variation of different box types. Then I found the UK box and bought it for 90£ (135€, $187). 13.50€ is a fair price for a season box around here, although a national electronic store is currently selling them for 9.90€ apiece. Well, at least I’ve got a really nice package for all ten seasons:
And what can I say: I was fascinated from the first episodes on. The facial expressions and the gestures of the actors and the jokes are awesome.
But the most important element of the show is a continuing story telling. As I have stated in this blog before (and also in the forums I am posting), TV shows must have a continuing storyline to be interesting. I grew up in the 80s and (being born in east germany) I watched a lot of “Westfernsehen” (TV stations from west germany). I watched everything the TV stations deemed worthy of broadcasting: Star Trek, The Fall Guy, Riptide, MacGyver and so on. But somewhere in the history of making TV shows they switched to continuing stories. Examples for this are Babylon 5 and later on also Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Both shows, as well as Emergency Room and Friends started in the years 1993/1994. In my opinion these shows had a lasting impact on TV shows.
Some say that Friends was corny and contained many soap elements (especially the Ross/Rachel story and the season cliffhangers) but they always spiced it up with a great pinch of humour.
But let’s look on other comedy shows in comparison: Married With Children, Home Improvement and King of Queens. All sitcoms in the classical fashion with a certain set of places (first and foremost the living room) that remain constant throughout the years. The difference is that the characters only change slightly or not at all. Granted, the children get older but other than that very few things change. If you watch an episode of the first or seventh season becomes only clear through the age of the actors. That’s my personal reason why I stopped collection these shows. There is no need to watch the next episode. You’ve had a few good laughs but when the next episode begins everything has been resetted.
On Friends there is the additional element of the relations between the characters. This is through the chosen setting (6 friends). Almost all characters are “combinable”, while the classic sitcoms is based upon a family and thus the characters have defined relations among each other. Just the combinations of who is roomie with whom and situations based on that are simply not doable in other sitcoms.
The next thing is the ensemble. No one of the six is perfectly normal but that is not unusual among sitcoms (Al Bundy, Steve Urquel, Dharma Freedom Finkelstein-Montgomery) but in this show everyone is a bit of a weirdo. And they are well-balanced. Nowadays Jennifer Aniston may be the well-knownst actress but I had never the feeling one of the characters was missed out. No character outshone all others nor was anyone over-shadowed. Granted, Joey had the least character developement of all (although he made a great leap forward over the last two seasons) but that doesn’t mean the others outshone him.
So I watched The One Where It All Began for the first time on October, 18th and in the night from November 1st to 2nd The Last One. 14 days (in which I regulary went to work) for 236 episodes á 22 minutes. A great deal but absolutely worth it. One hopes, worries and suffers with the characters and that’s exactly what makes a good TV show. When you almost get the feeling the characters are real and not just on that screen. When you ask yourself after the last episode whether they will see each other on a regular basis even when they live in different places now.
I thank you Monica, Phoebe, Rachel, Chandler, Joey & Ross for a great time!
Categories: DVD / Blu-ray, DVD Marathon
Tags: Babylon 5 · Emergency Room · Friends · Home Improvement · MacGyver · Married with Children · Riptide · Star Trek · The Fall Guy · The King of Queens
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