Castle: Season 4 Ep 10: Cuffed

Castle and Beckett handcuffed together, in a dungeon-like basement with creepy medical instruments and chains, working together to try to escape? This one’s got to be one of the more stranger things in Castle…or, maybe not. Castle did always have a thing for wanting to be cuffed to Beckett.

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*spoiler alert*

The episode kicks off with Beckett snuggled up with Castle (awww) in what appears to be a bed. And yet, after some quirky and hilarious banter between the two, we find our detective and writer duo handcuffed together in what appears to be a basement, with no noticeable means of escape. Alone in the dark, the two are stumped as to how they even got in this situation in the first place. They finally find the lights to see a refrigerator, and once Castle uses his impeccable lock-breaking skills, they open the fridge to chains and bloody knives.

Creepy.

Back on the 12th precinct home-front, Ryan and Esposito start to get worried about Beckett (and Castle, of course), with them having been gone for hours. They put in a call to dispatch to find Beckett’s unit ditched, and immediately begin to look for clues.

Our trusty detective follow the breadcrumbs that Castle and Beckett had inadvertently left on their own sleuthing, and eventually, after a strange twist in the dungeon/basement, Kate and Richard and home safe, and no one had to cut their own hand off.

*end spoiler*

This episode was a bit on the lighter side, especially with the roaring twist at the end, but overall it still stuck to the general theme of this season’s darker undertone, which I love. No real issues were tackled, but Ryan and Espo rocked it, and Captain Gates showed more genuine concern for her people – of course that would account for Castle as well! Right…? Umm…yes, right!

The numerous innuendos thrown into this episode almost threw me off, and yet, I loved it. I guess you really have to milk it all out when you have your two star characters, who really should be together but can’t for the sake of the series, handcuffed and within each others’ space for however long. Castle’s reactions to everything Beckett asked of him was spot on perfect, and the chemistry between the two characters has never waned. Katic and Fillion do an awesome job at portraying these two characters, and how they feel toward one another – one would think they feel the same in real life! And let’s not short change Dever, Huertas, and Tamala Jones; the 12th precinct would be nothing without our lovable bromance of Kevin Ryan and Javier Esposito, and our sexy-smart M.E. Lanie Parish.

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I’m pretty sure this was the filler before the mid-season break, unless it was the midseason break, which would be really dumb. In any case, this is definitely a sign that some crazy stuff is going to happen in the future episodes, whether it be Beckett battling with her demons, or Castle battling some of his own. Season 4 has been great so far, and I think that the writers have a clear direction of where they want to go with this show for the remainder of the season, and at this current pace, the audience will not be disappointed. Just don’t go hitching Castle and Beckett any time soon. Cuffing is fine; we all know that Castle has a thing for the kinky, and let’s be honest, I’m sure Beckett wouldn’t be against using handcuffs for things other than arresting criminals, if you catch my drift. That being said, leave the relationship-that-isn’t just as it is. The buildup is great, but as I’ve said before, Castle and Beckett cannot get together until the very last episode at the earliest. If anything, make it an ambiguous ending, when the series finale finally does roll along. (Okay, I’m almost positive that Castle and Beckett will be together eventually; I personally would have fun with the audience though, if I were the writers. But I also like a sappy ending, so sue me.) In any case, what Castle and Beckett have got going for the right now is perfect. That undeniable sexual tension drives the show like no other; it’s faaaantastic.

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The Big Bang Theory: 5×11: The Speckerman Recurrence

Well, it seems that Leonard Hofstadter has a childhood bully (what a friggin surprise). Oh wait, there’s more! He’s back in town! And he’s…trying to get connected with Leonard via social media? Alright, you’ve caught my otherwise lacking attention.

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*spoiler alert*

An old acquaintance from Leonard’s nerdy past has decided to reconnect with him. Normal right? Only, this “acquaintance” of his happens to be his childhood bully, and Leonard is more than reluctant to accept his request to go out for drinks.

After much deliberation, Leonard decides that he is not afraid anymore, and takes his old bully, Jimmy Speckerman, up on his offer for drinks. At the establishment, Leonard and his cohorts are awaiting the arrival of Jimmy, only to find him more than amiable toward Leonard, seemingly forgetting that he was Leonard’s childhood tormentor. However, after Jimmy asks Leonard to partake in a new “business idea,” Leonard decides to leave.

On the other end, Penny is having issues accepting that she may have been a childhood bully herself, and decides to give something back to the community – her clothes. However, when she, Bernadette, and Amy get the donation bin, instead of giving, they decide to take, hilariously battling their consciences.

Later that night, Jimmy arrives back at Leonard’s place in a drunken stupor, throwing out compliments to Leonard and even admitting that Leonard is the better man, the winner. But, after letting Jimmy stay overnight to sleep off his intoxication, Leonard and Sheldon come to find that Jimmy is, in fact, the same person he always was, bullying Leonard around and even calling him a ‘nancy.’ In a brave, bold attempt, Leonard decides to stand up for himself, resulting in a rather amusing turn of events.

*end spoiler*

Wow did I really hate that Jimmy character by the end of that episode. Good job TBBT writers on unexpectedly flipping the character back to what he was in Leonard’s past. To be honest, I half expected it to happen, simply because all the compliments he was throwing out to Leonard were in an inebriated state, but nonetheless, I was still a bit surprised!

A Leonard based episode is hardly new, but it was still somewhat refreshing, after all the Sheldon-Amy drama and Penny’s own problems, it was nice to have an episode that did not revolve around relationships, or at least those based on love, or even mutual liking. Other than the occasional outburst from Sheldon berating Leonard in an attempt to “defend” him, the show was rather forgettable. Funny at best; just another run of the mill episode filler at worst.

As with HIMYM, I feel that TBBT is slowly running its course, with the themes getting a bit repetitive, and plot lines starting to go bland. I think that, until the writers start to try an instill some new life into this series, it’s going to be the “same old same old” sitcom, as HIMYM had previously fallen into (and is currently trying to climb out of!), but since I’ve stuck to the series since Episode 1, my viewership is going nowhere. As for the rest of America, I think the same can be said, since CBS is always spitting out claims of “number 1 sitcom” and “number 1 sitcom.” They’ve got be number 1 for a reason!

*fun fact: As Jimmy came into Leonard’s apartment, the game in the background being played by the gang was none other than Settlers of Catan. A personal favorite of mine, I was more than pleased, and it definitely made up for the otherwise average episode. 🙂


How I Met Your Mother Season 7 Ep. 12: Symphony of Illumination

The episode of bombshells. I expected HIMYM to have a twist in this episode, because the whole “Robin is now narrating the show for one episode” was a pretty strong foreshadowing of some strange plot twist at the end of the episode.

ep 12

*spoiler alert*

The show unexpectedly starts off with Robin kicking off the story to her supposed future kids about the events that transpired after Robin thought that she might have been pregnant. She immediately confronts Barney, who is more than ecstatic to be a father…at first. The two realize after a while that they are not suited yet to be parents, and possibly not even together, with Robin’s current boyfriend Kevin (Kal Penn) still in the picture. After taking a trip to the doctor’s office, Robin and Barney learn that Robin is, in fact, not pregnant, but further learns *MAJOR SPOILER* news that she cannot become pregnant. Ever. She is infertile.

Woah.

Meanwhile, Marshall goes back to his and Lily’s new house in the suburbs to decorate the house for the neighborhood Christmas lighting contest. He asks help from a neighborhood kid who dupes Marshall onto the roof and knocks the ladder down to commandeer the house for a party. Very smooth Marshall, very not-fatherly of you.

Throughout the course of the episode, as Marshall is stuck on the roof unbeknownst to the gang, Robin tries to mask her infertility with an awkward pole-vaulting metaphor that none of the gang catches on to throughout. But she’s still narrating the story to her kids. What’s that all about? It’s not until the end of the episode that we learn that these kids that she’s speaking to are simply a figment of her imagination, and that as of now, there are no future kids of Robin. Ted valiantly tries to cheer Robin up, though he doesn’t know what’s really hurting her, and when she comes back to her apartment, Ted admirably surprises Robin with an apartment-full of Christmas lights, doing what he can to cheer her up, as a proper roommate should (awww). A bittersweet symphony indeed.

*end spoiler*

Interesting touch on the title of this episode with this one, the episode’s final number is definitely an unexpected key change. This episode was actually starting to be one of the better ones, before the writers decided to punch us in the face, and Robin in the ovaries. The whole bit with Marshall was a bit overdone, but it was a classic Marshall moment, and Jason Segel rarely disappoints (let’s hope the same can be said of his movie career).

I’ve gotten used to HIMYM beating around the bush and not giving us straight answers, so I’m going to throw it out there that I called this one from the beginning of the episode – Robin definitely did not have kids, I just didn’t know how the writers were going to go about writing that into the show. And man did they really give us a twist on this one, one that I wasn’t too fond of them penciling in.

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I can understand making a character infertile, but if Robin and Barney eventually do get married and ultimately have kids in the “HIMYM future,” I’ll be more that irate that they basically circumvented Robin’s infertility by means of some stupid television magic, or rather some Christmas/New Years/birthday/(insert special occasion here) miracle that gives Robin that family that she always/never wanted. If that be the case, why make her infertile in the first place? If they keep the continuity of her infertility throughout the remainder of the series, then I’ll be happy. Give her the option to adopt. Maybe she finds a homeless delinquent who’s in need of a mother figure (okay, that’s very CW drama; probably not going that route). Maybe even not have kids. But if there’s one that HIMYM does right, it’s continuity, so while I have my suspicions about this move on the part of the writers, I think that they they’ll put a happier twist to this otherwise heart-breaking tele-revelation.

It’s starting to become clear that HIMYM is running out of ideas, and essentially time. I don’t know how the series is going to pull off 3 more seasons after this one, and continue to produce quality episode while maintaining a cohesive story. At this point, all we have left are a Barney & Robin will-they-won’t-they story on top of the bigger “how-the-hell-does-Ted-meet-his-goddamn-wife” story they’ve been telling for the last 6 and a half years. I’m sad to say that I’m slowly starting to lose interest in this show; all these plot twists and bombshells just seem gimmicky to me at this point, but what little faith I have in the show, I hope they use the salvage this season, and hopefully make a graceful earlier exit, rather than milking this CBS cow for another 3-4 years. It’s your call, CBS. Don’t go all Office on us…wait, you already have.


Castle: Season 4 Ep. 9: Kill Shot

Woah. Working around Beckett’s trauma and exploring character defects, all while leaving Richard Castle in the background of the story? That was pretty great; Castle writers are really pulling out all the stops for this season, and I love it. I must admit, though, watching my future wife Kate Beckett go through all that delirium was a bit strenuous on my heart.

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*spoiler alert*

It seems that NYC has a crazed gunman on the loose, picking off seemingly innocent and random bystanders on the city streets. What’s worse is that it’s not just a run of the mill gun-for-hire, but a rather skilled sniper. The case is thrust onto Beckett, who slowly begins to fall apart, with the thought of this new sniper bringing up her own shooting from the end of last season. What’s worse is that it becomes so intense that she cannot control her own mental state to work on the case at hand. Castle sees the physical and mental turmoil that Beckett is going through and invokes the help of Esposito, who had been previously shot and had some sort of idea of what Beckett could be going through. ‘Espo’ really came through for Beckett, allowing her to get over the fear and mental strain of the shooting and confronting the weapon that was used to target her to ultimately move past the incident and solve the case.

*end spoiler*

Yea, that was a pretty quick run down of the episode. That was pretty much it, in terms of plot. Sniper runs rampant on NYC, Beckett starts freaking out because of emotional distress triggered by the shootings, and has to find a way to overcome her internal struggle. Seems simple right?

Wrong.

Season 4 has turned out to be amazing right from the opening shots. (No reference to Kate being shot, that was not cool at all.) The writers have been pushing the boundaries of what the show is capable of, and really going out of the normal Castle comfort zone, and really digging to get to the grittier, darker, heavier elements that this show has to offer. Enter Kate Beckett’s post-shooting trauma.

From the moment she finds out the gunman is a sniper, Beckett is on pins and needles, every sudden noise and unexpected sound startling her to unexpected degrees, even putting some real fear into her. This lady detective is not in a right state of mind, especially in one to solve a case where the sniper is shooting random victims on the streets. There were not many laughs on this episode, but the drama was executed very smoothly, and we got a tv-sense of what Kate was going through, even so much as breaking down in the middle of the investigation at the crime scene. We also get a sense of just how alone Kate is, even with all her friends by her side. She really has no one to go to outside of her work, and her therapist is now her main outlet for things she can’t even talk to Castle about.

Speaking of Castle, the episode did a great job at leaving Castle in the background for this one, and letting the show focus on Beckett, and even shining some light on Esposito (Ryan and Espo are amazing!), allowing him to help Beckett with what she’s going through, and showing her that a sniper is not something to constantly be afraid of and let run your life. Jon Huertas is seriously the man; he and Seamus Dever make one helluva team on the show, and yet, when asked to be more than material for side-banter, they really come through. Dever rocked the earlier episode where Ryan was facing his own demons when the 3XK killer resurfaced, and I’m betting that in a few episodes, we’re gonna get an Esposito-based episode (even though we’ve had one before, but that was ages ago!), that’ll really have people sweating bullets in the tension.

I’m loving where season 4 has gone so far, and every week seems to get better and better. There’s been a great blend of light-hearted to heavy themed episodes throughout the nearing-first-half of the season, and I think the writers will tone it down a bit for the upcoming episodes – probably 1 or 2, at the rate they’re going. Either way, I’m in it for the long haul with this series, and can’t wait to see where it goes from here…man I sound like season 4 just ended or something. UNTIL NEXT WEEK!


The Arrested Development Effect

Arrested Development. The great comedy of the last decade. I’m sure everyone who watches television has seen, or at least heard of, this comedy. After Fox decided to pull the plug on the series after 3 seasons of sub par ratings is when the series really took off.

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I think I was too young to appreciate the comedy of Arrested Development when the show was actually airing on Fox. I vaguely recall seeing Michael Bluth on tv wondering what the hell these guys were taking about. And then, as a few years passed, people would casually be talking about the show and even mentioning obscure references from various episodes. All this talk of a tv show that I had rarely watched? I was intrigued. Yes, I went straight to Netflix and under through the whole series in a matter of weeks.

Wow. 3 seasons, and then it was done. I wanted more. What just happened? Did I just watch sheer ridiculousness, or pure genius? So many questions that needed answering, regardless of the fact that I had believed to have possibly found my new all time favorite series.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about why the series worked – perfect characters, superb cast, great writing, etc. – but rather, the one unexpected and rather fortunate reason why this show is deemed a “cult classic” by many. Personally, I believe that Fox’s decision to pull the plug on the show was the best thing that happened to it.

Let me explain.

For three seasons, the writers of the show pumped out some amazing scripts, and every show had comedy that was delivered with intelligent grace and wit. We as the audience got hours and hours of really good material that was being delivered flawlessly by the likes of Will Arnett, David Cross, and of course Jason Batemen, but America just was not ready for Arrested Development yet. Ratings were not stellar. No one was paying attention to this show. The final season was no worse than season 1 or 2; the show was possibly at its zenith of comedic value. And yet, no one was really paying attention to it. And then, in a blur, it was gone.

Well it wasn’t really gone, because the magical power of the DVD kept it around. The funny thing is that sales went up dramatically a few years after the cancellation of the show. Obviously, as the past 5 or so years have shown us, the popularity of Arrested Development skyrocketed post-tele-mortem.

Here’s the thing: no one really watched the show while it was still airing on Fox. It took the time after the show was cancelled for the series to blow up on YouTube, Netflix, and various other internet outlets, where people became familiar with the shenanigans of the Bluth family. I believe that the cancellation of the series during a time of television-istic perfection was the ultimate trigger in the fan following and the seemingly perfect qualities of the show.

In a Firefly-esque fashion, people now began to rave about this show, and throngs of people were craving more, wanting more, possibly even needing more. But, Michael Hurwitz, the writers, and Fox, had promised us that there would be no more. So claims of an Arrested Development movie arose from practically nothing, to the point where not even the actors of the series could really comment on its mythical existence or not. That only fueled the fire. The series somehow got better. Even now, when I watch an episode, I marvel at what I’m watching, because it’s so crazy, but it’s so good.

Which leads me to:

The Arrested Development Effect (n.):

1. The premature cancellation of a television series that ultimately leads to a viral popularity and cult following.
2. Fox’s big mistake.
3. Fox’s big success.

Viral. Cult following. What does that even mean? I didn’t even really understand those terms until a few years back, when I was randomly Wikipedia’ing tv shows to watch, and came across Firefly, Fox’s other real mistake (One season? Really? C’mon Fox). Most shows with said cult followings have lasted less than 3 seasons. The Tick, The Critic, Firefly, Arrested Development, etc. You may not have heard of these shows, but they’re pretty good, and they have a solid fan-base. Why were they so good? Because they were never around long enough for the writers to run out material and start producing bad television! It’s really that simple. When you’ve pumped out enough good shows, and you’re on top of the ratings, and you’re at season 4 or 5, I’d say that you’re in way too good of shape to not go out on top. But hey, everything in the entertainment industry revolves around money, so who’s gonna put down that prize fighter when the fighter still has more than something left in the tank? (Yes I just compared a television show to a prized fighter).

My point to all this is relatively simple: I feel that most television shows – sitcoms more so than other dramas and such – haves relatively short life spans. If a show has got it right, it will shoot up in quality from its inception well into the second and third seasons. However, it’s that fourth season that seems to presently be the pivotal season that signals a show’s downfall. I present How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory as my two prime examples.

What I’m trying to get at here is that because of the lack of quality television out there, and the fan following of shows that do exist, often times writers and networks will just milk the series for everything it has (*cough* The Office), and this generally leads to a degradation in the quality of what was once an above-average series. If shows stuck to Arrested Development’s unfortunate, but almost brilliant, exit, more television series would probably be hailed as “amazing” or “before its time” or some ridiculous critical review. But the fact of the matter remains that at that point in the lifetime of a series, it may still be quality television, and could go out on top, rather than taking, say, 10 years to tell a story of meeting a girl (seriously CBS?). Only one sitcom pulled off a decade of comedy, and I don’t see any reincarnation of Seinfeld being born any time soon. But what do I know? Maybe I should just become a professional combo analyst and therapist.

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Quote of the Day: November 3rd, 2011

“Just because my body growing a fungus (fetus) , doesn’t mean my metal factories (mental facilities) are in any way fenicular (I don’t even know) !” – Lily Ericsson

How I Met Your Mother – Season 7, episode 8 – “The Slutty Pumpkin Returns.” Lily talking about her baby-brain with Marshall interjecting.


Castle: Season 4 Ep. 7: Cops and Robbers

It seems as though Castle has decided to step it with the heavier drama this season, and I must say, I’m loving it. This week was Castle meets Inside Man, in a devilishly similar set up to Denzel’s conflict with Clive Owen, only with a very, very different ending. Man, Inside Man was a good movie.

ep7

*spoiler alert*

I’m not gonna go heavy on the plot, because I don’t think this episode was all too dependent on what was happening, but rather how it was happening.

In a nutshell, Castle and his mom are at the bank, when a group of masked gunmen in medical scrubs hold up the bank. Beckett informs the police, who have already been alerted by the bank alarms, to head over to try to rescue the hostages. Castle tries to figure out what’s going on in his sly Castle-y ways, and figures that this robbery is more than just a standard stick-em-up type of deal, so he investigates as much as he can.

All the while, Beckett is trying desperately not to get Castle killed by attempting to negotiate with the gunmen, but to no avail. When they feel that there is a moment of hope with some bought time, *boom* there’s an explosion, and when the police breach the walls of the bank, they find that…YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE EPISODE TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS! (duh)

*end spoiler*

Alright, so without giving too much away, which probably doesn’t really matter since you’re probably only reading this if you follow Castle anyway, I really enjoyed how this episode was executed. Yes, the story was trite and had been done in numerous shows and movies, but a Richard Castle take on something old is definitely something new to me.

beckett ep7The tension in the episode was killer. We saw genuine concern for Castle in Beckett’s eyes, which was to be expected, and we also got our usual bout of machismo-induced heroism from our writer-cop-consultant lead. We could see from the moment Beckett found out Castle was held hostage that she had to do whatever she could to get him out, regardless of what the cops in charge commanded her to do. As for Castle, it’s always a refreshing change of pace to see a serious side to Richard Castle, the side that actually tells us that he knows how to be an adult even if he doesn’t want to be. That, and through four seasons (years?) of working with Beckett, as well as Ryan and Esposito, he’s gotten a pretty good feel on how to stay calm and act more like a cop than a brash writer. Nonetheless, having a writer’s mind never hurts him; in fact, apparently, it’s helped Castle saved Beckett more times than she’s saved him!

This episode did a good job in bringing out the more vulnerable sides of our normally collected characters, such as Alexis (oh, Molly Quinn), and Castle’s mother, Martha. Also, you get another affirmation that Beckett’s feelings for Castle are beyond some sort of silly infatuation that she can just shrug away, as noted in the climactic moments of the episode, with a will-they-won’t-they moment that was to die for (obviously they WON’T this early into the season; no one’s life was truly at stake, minus the whole Castle-was-being-held-hostage deal. But the resolution provided us with a happy cliff-hanger-less ending; the good guys won, justice was served, yadda yadda yadda, you know all those cliches. All that coupled with a guest appearance by Dean Norris (Breaking Bad fans, you’re gonna love seeing Hank as…a cop again!) made this a tensely enjoyable episode. Also, the eye-locking moment that Castle and Beckett share when she finds out he’s alive and well is undeniably great; we all knew the two of them wanted to do more than just smile and go googly-eyes on each other (way to ruin the moment Martha!).

All in all, I love the pace at which Castle is going, and the new writers have not tanked the show into the ground (yet), and at this rate, I think season 4 will be a solid season, possibly better than 3, but definitely worthy for a casual viewer to follow and watch. We have gotten a taste of a much darker undertone, and the change of head writing is evident, but I think it’s for the best; with a show like this, more of the same is always a bad thing, and at some point, you need to shake things up just a little bit to put a new spin on the same old thing. In Castle’s case, shifting the balance between light-hearted humor and heavy, dramatic plot lines is definitely a great change turn in the road for this series. The series will definitely get stronger – it also gives the writers more ways to evade Castle and Beckett getting together! Whatever they decide to do, I’m extremely excited for Season 4 to run its course. Enjoyable primetime television at it’s finest; ABC’s doing some things right!


Fall Premieres: Once Upon A Time

What if you took your most beloved fantasy stories of all time, brought them to life, and had them living alongside you in a time-frozen remote town in Maine? Well, it seems ABC was definitely thinking out loud with this fall series premiere of Once Upon A Time.

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Consider it the modern day story telling of a fairy tale. The characters that we know and love (and/or loathe), are, in fact, real people from another land and time – possibly some alternate dimension. And yet, the evil sorceress has of course cursed everyone in the land – including herself, strangely enough – into living out their lives, not aging, but not remembering who they were in their once happily-ever-after lives. We have Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and her Prince Charming, who, under unfortunate circumstances, have their happily ever after dream-lives thwarted by The Evil Queen (Lara Parilla). Now shift to our main character, the troubled, yet loving, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), who’s been told by her supposed son Henry (Jared Gilmore) that it’s now her destiny to save Snow White, who happens to be her long-lost mother, Prince Charming (the baby-daddy of course), and all of our lovable fairy tale characters from the evil plans of Miss Queen Evil.

This show could have been at least one hundred kinds of bad. It could have been beyond cheesy. It could have been a live action fairy-tale gone terribly wrong. It could have even been a ripoff of a tale. But ironically, it’s not that bad; on the contrary, it’s actually quite good and smart for what it’s presenting – a dark themed story of true conflicts of good and evil, whether they be between two sides or a moral struggle within. I’m not too sure that centralizing a story around the fictional daughter of a fictional character in this fictional series was it’s strongest suit, but its strong themes and quirky-enough idea have already pulled me into to see what this series is all about.

We have with us the actual Snow White and Prince Charming, even the 7 dwarves, all come animated, living personas, along with the rest of the fairy tale world – Gipetto, Rumplestiltskin, Maleficent, you name it! The simple back story is simply that Snow White has, in some way, done some wrong to The Evil Queen (yet to be named), and Queen Evil is butthurt and wants revenge, so she casts a dark and powerful across the land of fantasy, one that even she can’t control, and here we are in our story, in Storybrook, Maine.

What intrigues me, and also perplexes me, is revolving the show around Snow White’s unknown child – Emma Swann, and her unwanted child, Henry. The whole family lineage thing is pretty outrageous, but Emma’s back-story is thematically pretty cool, though relatively corny, but very fairy-tale-esque. The introduction of her unwanted child, Henry, coming back to find her to “right the wrongs of Storybrook” and “fix all the damage to these fairytale characters” (I’m not quoting anything in particular) is interesting to say the least. For a 10 year old, this kid Henry is way beyond his years, and also pretty ballsy for stealing his school teacher’s credit card to take a trip to Boston and find his mom who didn’t want him in the first place. I can definitely sense future parent-child drama, moreso than we’ve already been subject to in the first TWO episodes. These writers really are packing it in, but its quality shows in the execution of the story telling.

In regards to the story, I really like the format that the show follows by going between the present day of the show, and to the backstory of how all these characters came to be. Granted, it has only been two episodes, and they pretty much explained everything about how all these characters now exist in the real world, I think the writers can take this opportunity to follow what they’ve started, and use the flashback-like element to introduce backstories to the various characters, and really go into some solid character development mixing up what’s happened in fairy-tale-land and what’s happening in Storybrook.

Though not my usual choice of primetime television, I will say that this show has caught my interest, along with fellow fairy-tale-esque/supernatural premiere brethen Grimm (I’ll talk about that in another post), and I suggest that if you’re looking for a new show that’s come out in the last few weeks, and don’t want your ordinary cop-dramas or legal-thrillers, check out Once Upon A Time. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to stick around and see what becomes of this fairy-tale series. Will it have a fairy-tale run on primetime television? We’ll soon find out!


Modern Family: Season 5 Ep. 5: Hit and Run

Two in a row! Solid, solid performances from the cast yet again, and to top it off, Tobias Funke…er, I mean David Cross, makes a memorable guest appearance reminiscent of the good ol’ Arrested Development days.

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*spoiler alert*

Cam and Mitch are driving down the street in their prius, bickering as any other couple would, when *boom*, they’re rear ended by an SUV. The driver is, unexpectedly, a skinny, timid looking guy who seems a bit too eager to get his contact and insurance info. Sure enough, amidst all the the confusion, the driver gets in his car and bolts off, and Mitchell refuses to chase after the SUV, with Cam hilariously running after it trying to get the plates. This sets up the episode’s theme of confrontation.

In the Pritchett household, Manny and Jay are having problems of their own – Jay is being denied a sales pitch from a new hot-shot businessman, and Manny being fed up with his current schooling. However, neither of the two want to take Gloria’s advice on their own separate matters, even though Gloria claims to “have all the answers.”

Though Manny and Jay don’t listen to Gloria, Claire decides to take a chance with Gloria’s advice, as she admits that she fears losing her mini-crusade to become a member of town council and finally get that long-awaited stop sign up on her street. Her opposition is the always funny David Cross, who’s running for re-election, and Claire is hellbent on getting that stop sign up and doing some good for her town in her own Claire-esque way.

The episode culminates with the men of the family trying to solve Haley’s problem of losing $900 to a sketchy fake-ID seller who scammed Haley out of her (and her friends’) money. Mitch, Cam, Jay, and Phil all roll up to the house to find a meek looking guy who, upon being confronted, also runs! Only this time, Mitch owns up to his fears and chases the scam-artist, even going as far as “tackling” him and taking him down! Go Mitch! Who knew he had it in him? Finally, the closing scene shows Gloria pitching Jay’s sales idea to the businessman with a fantastically-low-cut shirt, effectively solving Jay’s problem. Look at that, Gloria did have the answers. Two of them, to be exact!

*end*

Modern Family is on a little roll right now! I really hope I’m not ahead of myself in thinking that this is going to be a great season; we’ll find out when I watch episode 6, but I loved this episode again. Maybe it’s David Cross bringing that something special to this story arc and bringing the best out of everyone. Maybe it’s the full ensemble cast rocking it with the group chemistry and really putting on solid performances. Or maybe the writers are just doing drugs and thinking of ridiculous things and them sobering up and executing them very well on paper. Who knows? Truth be told, if an episode is of high caliber, I don’t really care. As long as the means were not unscrupulous (even then…I might be okay with it).

Anyway, once again, the episode had its laugh-out-loud moments, and the classic Cam-screaming-like-a-girl moment that kept me laughing like a hyena past the commercial. I don’t know if the writers should continue to milk that one, because it is extremely funny, but I really hope it doesn’t become trite after a few more instances. However, I have faith in Cam to fabulous-ize anything he does into comedic gold.

Straying back from Phil and focusing on Claire has been surprising working for me. Claire’s over-the-top bossiness is usually a bit too much for me to find all that humorous, but her ongoing crusade for the stop sign of the neighborhood has really worked for me as a viewer, and I think the audience enjoys it. Also, it’s not like we don’t have Phil anymore – Ty Burrell is still there doing what he does best, and the trio of kids are great at adding to the product.

My favorite moment of the whole episode was the deliberation between the men of the family about to do in the case of a hit and run. Should Mitch and Cam have called the police? Should they have taken action into their own hands? Should Cam really have screamed at the top of his lungs and chased after the car to no avail? Obviously, as we find out in the resolution of the episode, the men come to an agreement on how to handle a given situation. As Luke phrased it best, “Police. Aren’t they busy winning the war on drugs?”


Castle: Season 4 Ep. 4: Kick the Ballistics

Damn. That was one hell of a heart-wrencher. But most definitely in a good way. Castle decided to bring out the big emotional guns for this one, and this early in the season? I like it.

Ep 4

*spoiler alert*

The show kicks off with a recap from the previous season’s triple killer, or the 3XK. When we last saw the 3XK, he had not been caught, got Ryan and Castle off guard, and fled with Ryan’s service weapon.

Cut to present day in Castle-time, a new murder has taken place, this time a tutor named Jane, who seemed to have no ties to any suspicious persons. The bombshell of this episode is that Ryan’s old, stolen weapon is the murder weapon. Distraught and a bit dysfunctional, Ryan uncharacteristically loses his cool on numerous occasions, obviously disturbed that the murder weapon was once entrusted to him. The crew sets out to find the killer in hopes of catching the 3XK, but Richard Castle is there for a reason, and realizes that the 3XK is too smart to use Ryan’s weapon again, and figures out who the murderer is.

The murder vic Jane happened to be tutoring the son of a Chinese family that was notorious for drug dealings, and the the crew figured out that Jane was trying to get out of the city with her student, Ben, with whom she had fallen in love. Ultimately, the showdown features Ben with a confrontation with his lover’s killer (let’s not ruin the ending), and luckily, Ben survives and helps Ryan, Esposito, Castle, and Beckett to lay the case to rest and in the process give justice to Jane.

*end*

So much for the trademark Castle charm and banter. However, this episode was excellent in its darker theme, much like the season premiere. I sense that throughout the season, we’ll be getting more darker episodes, especially when our cop crew is closer to finding the bigger killers out there, such as tonight’s revisit ofthe 3XK, or even Beckett’s sniper, and ultimately, her mother’s killer.

This episode gave us the seldom seen serious side of detective Kevin Ryan. Now, all Castle viewers know Ryan to be joker of the group, the almost-comedic relief, and the relatively cheery member of the group trying to raise morale when spirits are down.

Not this week. The dramatic shift in Ryan’s character initially took me aback, but the episode played out nicely, and we got to see a side of Ryan that was unexpected, and yet admirable, having a noble quality. His determination to find out who had besmirched his name through his weapon was not at all selfish, as he was ultimately trying to serve justice to the murder victim in this episode, and simultaneously trying to clear his own conscience of thinking that the murder was his fault.

Poor Castle. The writers are highlighting more and more that he isn’t a cop, and its interesting to see how he deals with it as the cases come on. His imaginative mind is almost essential to many of the cases in the show, since he tends to think of the most over-the-top hypothetical, and yet, they almost always lead to a break in the case. As Beckett says at the end of the episode, “Look at you Castle, thinking like a cop,” I think Richard Castle’s cop-assisting days are not numbered, and he’ll continue surprising everyone with his tenacity and cop-like drive.

Speaking of surprises, surprise guest star of the night award went to…Ross McCall! If anyone out there is as avid a viewer of White Collar as myself, you will recognize that name better by his character, Matthew Keller. McCall has that look of a villain, an almost rat-like quality (no offense, he’s a good actor), and that Ratso Rizzo quality about him (thank you, Peter Burke and White Collar) makes him a perfect choice for a villain role, or just a character you really don’t want to like. And he fit that role perfectly in this episode, playing an undercover cop who didn’t abide by all the rules, and did not really have much compassion for anyone, risking innocent lives just to make a drug bust.

Ultimately, this show was about Ryan’s internal struggles with his own conscience and him owning up to his mistake in the past, and though not his fault, he dealt with it properly, and I’m glad the writers did not allow him to go off the handle and do something stupid.

I like the new direction that Castle is taking, and though I don’t know if I can handle such heavy episodes in succession, I really look forward to more breaks in Beckett’s cases, and this tension between her and Castle regarding her memory of the day of the shooting is very subtle, and yet just enough to amuse me and keep me interested. Kudos to you, new Castle head writer. You’re doing a fine job.