June 19, 2008


I have really missed writing the Pop Life column I used to do for Eye on Soaps and then for The Diva Digest.  Unfortunately, it requires a great deal of research (believe it or not) and really needs more time than I have to devote to it. 

I also really missed writing my Moon Magic column that used to be on Eye on Soaps in which I reviewed movies and TV shows I'd recently seen, but I wasn't happy with the page layout and could never seem to find another one I truly liked. 

So there I sat in limbo.

One of the things, silly as it was, that I missed most about doing the Pop Life column was the page layout I created for it, for which I always had a deep affection.  Tonight, a light bulb went off in my pointed little head and I thought, "Hmmmm.  I'll bet I could use my old friend, the Pop Life layout, for my review column and most of the readers would forgive me for double dipping."  So kapow, there it was and there it is and I'm off to review things like movies, DVDs, TV, books and such.

Glad to be back in that particular field.  Since I've been "gone" for a while, some of the things I review will be from a bajillion years ago, but with any luck, they are still worth talking about or hearing about to you.

During this break, I watched a lot of series seasons begin and end, saw a good many movies and watched some old favorites again.  Movies and DVDs will be covered next week, but for this edition, let's go over some season premiere news and other TV show info:

Weeds just started up again on June 16 and although I did enjoy the first episode of this season, I am a bit concerned that the show has written itself out.  I love it, don't get me wrong, but it seems to have gone about as far as it can go.  The season finale was fairly weak compared to others and the characters are becoming increasingly less complex and more predictable.  Nancy now sleeps with anyone and everyone.  If there is a penis in the show, she will be on it.  I fully expect that this season, it will be Andy, Doug and Dean, the only ones she's missed so far that she did not birth.  Celia was great fun during her affair with Doug, but now she has fallen into the same trap as the other characters of being one note, one-dimensional characters, although her experiences in jail might make some good story material.  My hope is for a shake up with the relocation to the beach after Nancy burned down the Agresta house.  Will we still get the "Little Boxes" song?  I sure hope so.  I will be quite sad if Heylia isn't back, I can tell you that.  She, Vaneeta and Lupita were the light of the show for me.

Big Love is backed up for its newest season (season 3) until January 2009.  Although always strong in acting and overall writing, the trajectory seems erratic and stilted.  It seems to have fallen to recycling the same stories over and over, just in different forms.  Season 2 interjected the arrest of Roman and Adaleen Grant and the introduction of Ana, a potential 4th wife for Bill.  The general public is now more aware of the Hendricksons' alternative lifestyle and Margene's pregnancy should be concluding in the new season.  Selma and Horace Green, violent fringe FLDS leaders, presented a real and present danger to both the more mainstream Hendricksons as well as the compound back home, as did the defection and rampant lying of Ronda Volmer, Roman's teenage almost-wife.  The second season of the show seemed more centered on outside forces whereas the first was dedicated to fleshing out the members of the Hendrickson family as individuals and as a unit.  Where HBO takes the third season is unknown, but I certainly hope they tie it up better than the did the second.

House is not losing any steam at all and is all set for a September 2nd launch of its 5th season.  The last season, which ended this month due to the delays presented by the writers strike, left us with many hanging issues.  Now that we know that 13 does have Huntington's Disease, what will become of her medical career?  With House indirectly responsible for the death of Amber/Cut Throat Bitch, will the grieving Wilson ever be able to forgive him?  Will House's medical condition be changed when he wakes up from the coma?  Will Cameron and Chase continue to only play peripheral roles in the show?  Will the show ever give in to the long-term sexual tension between House and Cuddy?  Will Kumar ever make it to White Castle or will Doogie Houser be coming in to participate in differential diagnoses? (Wouldn't THAT be a hoot?)  What/who will be the nemesis this season?  The writing continues to be sharp and on task.  Characters are remaining true to their own nature and lupus is still always an immediate consideration, as are auto-immune issues.  It's as good as it ever was and isn't much different than it ever was, sticking to a main formula with changes going on around that structure.  But if it ain't broke, etc, etc.

The Biggest Loser is still inspirational beyond all reason, but this particular season (Couples), as well as the previous season, brought cheating to the front as we, the audience, became more aware of the behind-the-scenes dramas that go on.  Silly us, we thought it truly was about people who needed and wanted to lose weight giving it their all and working with better foods, reduced calories and intensive exercise.  (Around 6 hours a day of exercise, from what we now hear - yowser)  We should have known different considering that there is a big ol' ton of money at stake.  We found out about things like water loading and people starving themselves and all kinds of crap.  I will watch the new episodes and continue to be inspired by the very drastic changes made by those who participate, but wow, I don't think I will ever look at it the same way again.  The Biggest Loser is set for a new season to begin in the Fall.

The Sopranos has been finished for quite some time with rumors of a movie coming up and then being immediately dismissed as fictional by creator David Chase.  I miss my mobster friends and the last time I wrote about the show, I was lost in a haze of "what the frig was DAT?" following the very odd series finale.  I actually had to get someone smarter than I am to explain it to me, then it all made sense.  We got the almost total annihilation of Tony's crew, all of them being systematically killed off by Johnny Sack's old crew following the murder of Phil, the late Johnny's right hand man who had been managing the business while Johnny was in prison, where he died.  We think the truce is in place when we see the Soprano family going out to dinner together.  Meadow takes about an hour and a half parking her car while we see nefarious looking guys seeming to get in place in the area for something big.  Why Tony is not more awake and aware, I can't imagine.  Meanwhile, Steve Perry is blasting with "Don't Stop Believing" at an ear-shattering and honestly, very annoying, volume.  I may not be able to ever like that song again, so I can't imagine why Journey agreed to its use ($$).  Then, just as we are wondering what the hell is going on, the screen goes black and the credits roll.  Everyone almost immediately started heating up the message boards about what a genius David Chase is and I was totally lost.

Finally, I was reminded of a conversation Tony had with Bobby WEEKS before in the episode where they got drunk and Bobby beat the complete shit out of Tony over a Monopoly game for insulting Janice one too many times after being warned.  Before all that happened, Tony and Bobby were on a boat in a lake and Tony was commenting on the fact that as long as he had been with the organization, Bobby had never made a hit on anyone.  Bobby admitted that he just didn't have the stomach for it and hoped it never came to it.  Of course, after Bobby humiliated Tony with the total beat down later that night, Tony immediately made sure that Bobby had to take someone out, which Bobby did with honor, even though, if I remember correctly, he vomited afterward.  Anyway, in the course of that conversation, Bobby asked Tony if he thought you knew it when you got shot.  Tony thought about it and said no, that he figured everything just went black.

So having the screen go black meant that Tony had been done.  Since the whole show is pretty much done from Tony's perspective, it made sense.  From the second the last show aired, David Chase was very adamant that all the info anyone needed was there if they would just look.  I guess I just initially dismissed the wrong information and now, The Sopranos are at rest for me except for the chance wondering of what happened to Carmella, who I don't really much care about anyway.  The pressing question is what happened to Furio, who was a hot Italian mess I would have liked to have seen more of before the series ended.

Scrubs is done.  It was so fun, but it went over the shark-filled tank a season or so ago.  I love it, but it's like seeing a dear friend who has succumbed to drug and alcohol abuse in a big way.  It's almost painful to watch now.  I have yet to even see the fairy tale episode.  NBC let it go and ABC picked it up for its 8th and final season as a mid-season replacement for the 2008-2009 season.

Deadwood, where are you now, my dear, old friend!  What a shame with so much potential!  Bastards, all.

The Riches has not yet been scheduled for a 3rd season, but all indications are that it is still in the running to be picked up again by FX.  The FX network is notoriously lackadaisical about renewing it's shows, so there are certainly no guarantees.  The show is still fully enjoyable, however, it seems to have lost its way in the last season with Wayne and Dahlia basically leading separate lives while living in the same house.  Even that is not true as we saw that Dahlia now has her own dive of an apartment to satisfy her parole officer's requirement of having her own place without revealing to him that her "own place" in is Eden Falls and belongs to a dead couple.  The whole Pete issue was not only messy, but cumbersome and meandering.  I agree that life is like that, however, I would have liked to have seen a better finality to the issue than was provided.  Dale is a loosely crafted "bad guy" who could do with some greater personalizing as a character.  Nina has become a mainstay character who deserves more focus than she gets.  The kids are being developed nicely as characters, which is good to see.  The introduction of Eamon Quinn as another central bad guy is intriguing, but since very little was done in the way of background work on the character who came in at the end of the season, it's hard to tell whether or not his presence in the story will be an asset or a liability.  At first, the connection of Wayne and Dahlia to their Traveler roots by way of the encampment was a good facilitator in telling us more about who they are and from where they came, now it has become tiresome.  I find myself eager for the encampment scenes to end so I can get back to the part of the story that interests me.  Maybe having Cael and Quinn there will rekindle my interest.

Rescue Me's 5th season premiere has been delayed out until March of 2009 because of the writers' strike.  Why some series can manage to produce sooner than A YEAR AFTER THE STRIKE ENDED and some can't, I cannot fathom.  Denis Leary says that FX will broadcast "mini-sodes" in June and July to bridge the gap between seasons 4 and 5.  A full season of 23 episodes has been ordered by FX and supposedly will air concurrently.  I can barely even remember what happened last season.  It's lost in a mess of bad AA meetings and Tommy almost drowning a baby and Tommy's dad dying at a baseball game.  Is Mikey gay or bi or straight and curious?  Does Franco really want custody of his daughter or not?  When will the ghosts return to haunt Tommy some more? Will Garrity divorce Maggie now that Tatum O'Neal was busted for crack?  Will Lou get a story?  Will Sheila get baby Elvis back?  Can I please punch Janet in the face now?  Enquiring minds want to know.

LOST is back in January 2009 for its 5th season.  The show is set to end in 2010.  I found myself well intrigued with the 4th season and I can't really say I was dissatisfied in anyway.  Some episodes were more intense than others, but that is the nature of storytelling.  I was surprised they tilted their hand as much as they did by telling us that the island's secret is time travel in nature and revealing Penny's father as being the mastermind behind most of what has been going on.  They definitely left a lot of mysteries to unfold over the next 2 years and I very much look forward to the story.  Matthew Fox (Jack Shepherd) is the reportedly the only cast member who actually knows how the story will end and he says the other actors try to pump him for information, which he is not giving up.  Harold Perrineau, who plays Michael, is bothered that his returning character was not used more and that he and Walt never got a reunion.  Perrineau is even taking his complaints a step further by criticizing the show for perpetrating "black stereotypes" for not giving Michael and Walt their happy ending, fussing that Sayid got to get back together with Nadia and calling the show's storytelling "not fair."  As most LOST fans know, there were two alternate endings shot for the season finale.  This webpage has a clip that shows them both, each one with a different person in the coffin as "Jeremy Benthram."  I definitely do feel that the right choice was made for which to use.  Now we are left with the adventure of the Oceanic 6, plus dead Locke (who may not be dead once he gets back to the island) and Ben getting back to the island.  What happened to the Losties once the island was moved?  Are The Others and the Losties pals now?  Is the island no longer in danger?  Did Jin make it off the freighter before the explosion (the last shot of the boat before the explosion - while Sun was going nuts - showed no one on the deck where Jin had been standing there moments before)?  If so, was he able to swim back to the island, where ever it is?  Did Penny and Des truly have their happy ever after? How can Richard not age and still get hotter every time I see him? So many questions and only 2 seasons to clear them all up.  I hope I am smarter with this than I was with The Sopranos!

And that, my friends, is all for now!