Tales from the Cultural Wilderness Journal

Friday, April 29, 2005

Various In Catchup

[Previous entry: "Short Night"]

After two nights of not cataloguing what I watched, I nearly skipped it tonight as well, but then I nearly didn't watch anything tonight. But after much political back and forth (and some wine) I decided to watch something other than the replay of Bush's press conference...

But first a recap, and Tuesday saw Knight Rider's "Ring Of Fire" which probably qualifies for "most irritating accent" when Michael has to help a young Cajun woman escape from her criminal (and abusive) husband. Of course, driving around the bayou clogs up KITT's electronics something fierce. The only other viewage of the night was Dark Angel's "Haven" which is a pretty good episode, and has Mark Rolston in a small but important part, as Logan and Max get away from it all for the weekend. Max is having medical problems due to the implant, so she's not in full form when they're called on to defend a young boy from a bunch of hoodlums.

Wednesday sees more Dark Angel in "Shorties In Love" which is a pretty memorable episode but isn't really all that good. An old flame of Original Cindy's, Diamond, comes back out of the blue but doesn't reveal that she only has a short time to live. Unfortunately for her, it's shorter than she thinks as she's been infected by Alex Carter with a really nasty virus that'll kill a lot of people unless they get her back in quarantine.

It also saw more of the Knight Rider disc, with "Knightmares" which is the requisite "hero gets amnesia and forgets everything they've done as a hero and thinks they're still the schlub they were before they joined their current team" episode, that might have to be added to the list of required episodes in any show (alongside the clip show and the aircraft show).

The final episode of the night was "Silent Knight" which is the Christmas episode, and Michael has to help a gypsy boy who accidentally gets embroiled in a bank robbery... and avoid going to the company Christmas party (and wearing the hideous tuxedo Devon has acquired for him to wear).

So, on to tonight, and we're done with the Presidential press conference. And when I can drag myself away from my new Su Doku puzzle book I'm watching Quantum Leap. First with "So Help Me God" and Sam has to defend a black woman in the deep south who appears to be guilty of murder.

Then we have "Catch A Falling Star" which sees Sam as an understudy for Don Quixote and having something of a crush on one of the cast-members, who was his piano teacher when he was a boy (and now, as a man, he's in with a chance!). You know, they've either lost or haven't started the roundup of the future that Al gives at the end of an episode... it hasn't been in the last couple - Sam's leaped and we have no idea what happens to those he's helped.

And a leap in to a graveyard (by the grave of John Claridge, and a mausoleum with a woman all in white in the doorway) sees the start of "A Portrait For Troian" which starts out as the first of their silly supernatural episodes but fortunately (if memory serves) doesn't continue that way... we have at least a series to go before that happens...

Ah, okay, maybe it was... we have a genuine ghost story here... the woman is being haunted by her dead husband. And Sam is the ghost hunter trying to find evidence of the ghost. The fun thing here is his equipment is making Al audible to others (and there's a great "Center Me On Sam" gag here).

One more on the disc, but I should get some sleep!

[Previous entry: "Short Night"]

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Short Night

[Previous entry: "Ending With Locusts"]

More Dark Angel tonight, in this case "Rising" and the Reds are back... This time they're using Original Cindy as the bait to get Max - they've been told they need X-5 DNA to cure the problems with their implants and prolong their lifespans. Max, being Max, decides that the only way she'll be able to beat two of them at once is to use the third implant herself... except that it'll burn her out in next to no time. Logan rushes to the rescue, which is nearly literal as he's finding he can walk again. Cindy finds out about Max in this episode.

"The Kids Are Aiight" sees the return of Zack, let lose from Manticore so he can lead them to the other X-5s, but Max throws a wrench in their plans. However, some of the others covers have been blown, so they use Eyes Only to warn them all.

One of them fails to get away (Tinga? Or Jondy?) and Zack and Max have to come in for a rescue where all three X-5s take out a bunch of Manticore soldiers. Then there's the usual "Max really should leave Seattle but isn't going to" speech, and a brief sign that Logan's newfound freedom may not last as long as expected.

"Female Trouble" sees Logan going to see a doctor about his back... and finding out his immune system is attacking Max's stem cells and he'll be back in the wheelchair unless they can do something. However, the doctor he's going to see is being hunted by an X-5... one who chose not to leave when the others escaped, Jace. Max manages to save the doctor and capture Jace, but the doctor thinks she can make a deal with Lydecker (stupid woman, especially after she's worked there and knows his methods) over Jace being pregnant.

So we end the Dark Angel and go back to Knight Rider with "Soul Survivor" and KITT gets hijacked by a computer hacker... well, okay, they remove KITT's processor and leave the car on remote control. There's some music that puts Michael to sleep that sounds like it's part of a John Carpenter film soundtrack. And KITT has to settle for being connected to a portable television for the episode!

Ah, they answer the question I had a few episodes back... KITT doesn't need gas, he's got his turbine for power (although, what the turbine runs on? Nuclear?)... of course, they reminded me by having Michael run out of gas in the convertible he's tooling around in this episode.

[Previous entry: "Ending With Locusts"]

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Ending With Locusts

[Previous entry: "Drunken Ramblings"]

After an almost-exciting Formula 1 race (there was a small amount of interest in the last 13 laps as Schumacher tried to pass Alonso for his first win of the season... which he failed to do) it was on with the show, and we're back to The Greatest American Hero.

They're definitely in a more lighthearted mode with the storylines here, and we kick off with "Train Of Thought" which sees the theft of a train filled with toxic waste, which is really just a Macguffin for Ralph to lose his memory. He forgets everything from the time he got the suit and Pam and Bill have to persuade him that he can do all those amazing things so they can stop the train.

"Now You See It" has Ralph seeing things that haven't happened yet, in this case a plane crash. After discovering that it's going to occur in the future he and Bill set out to prevent it. There's a slight complication when they find out Pam is on board... and the military have orders to shoot it down if they can't get it to land.

"The Hand-Painted Thai" sees the awakening of a group of US soldiers brainwashed by the Cambodians and their attempts to blow up a dam. Unfortunately for the plan, one of the soldiers is now an agent in Bill's office, and his strange behaviour leads Ralph and Bill to look for answers. Bill manages to get himself hypnotized while looking in to whether the hypnosis of the soldiers was possible, falling asleep whenever the word "scenario" is said.

"Just Another 3-Ring Circus" sees Ralph undercover as a human cannonball when he and Bill are looking in to the disappearance of a Polish clown. Pam has to investigate a dating service, while Bill nearly gets killed by a tiger and has his new car (work are fed up with the number of cars he's wrecked so he ends up with VW beetle) sat on by an elephant.

On to Wonder Woman, and "The Queen And The Thief" sees Diana and Steve undercover at an embassy looking for a top jewel thief who is planning to steal the crown so that the queen has to abdicate the throne. Of course, he's a pretty smooth guy, as all international jewel thieves are, and he's being paid by the Ambassador (Boltar from Battlestar Galactica). The vault that the jewels are in is completely over the top here, and why does Wonder Woman give a pause and gymnastic set up every time she does something the least bit acrobatic? Is it so they've got a chance to match up the stunt double?

"I Do, I Do" opens with Diana getting married which seems a bit sudden, especially considering we've never seen the groom before. Of course, it might not be a long wedding when they guy nearly gets killed after taking on a couple of guys going through their luggage at a garage and diner where they stop... of course, Wonder Woman intervenes, and the groom appears to be slightly smitten.

Fortunately for fans of the show, it's just a big cover-up so that Diana and the guy can infiltrate a spa where they believe state secrets are being leaked to foreign powers. It turns out the guy running the place puts the female guests in a trance and they recite all the stuff they've overheard at their husbands parties (assuming he's a state senator or somesuch).

The final Wonder Woman is "The Man Who Made Volcanoes" and we have a guest appearance by Roddy McDowell as a government scientist who wants world peace and has gone off the deep end to achieve it - he's created a laser that can create volcanoes, and he's using it to force China, Russia, and the US to negotiate for peace. However, they send in their best agents to stop him... and now Steve has a promotion, Diana gets sent off on her own.

With an hour and a quarter, there isn't enough time to get two episodes of something in, so I settle for the episode of Dark Angel I'd been delaying, "Art Attack" which is one of my favourites. Max gets invited to Logan's brother's wedding and steals a dress to go. Meanwhile, Sketchy screws up the delivery of a painting and Normal gets taken hostage to retrieve it. When Cindy finds it was swapped with some plans for a meat packing plant, she calls in Max to retrieve it from the locked building.

Suffice it to say, Max gets to do a whole bunch of her usual acrobatic stuff (as well as beating up a ship full of Koreans) while in evening gown and heels... of course, this does trip her up briefly, and she does have to take it off to dig through a dumpster, so it's not all roses.

Then there's an episode of Charmed and it's all about Pandora's Box... although the episode feels like a pilot for a spin-off series pretty much all the way through. I'm not sure why, but if the WB decide to end Charmed after this season (which is what it's looking like) they've almost got a spin-off all ready to go.

And then, because I'm a sucker for punishment I decide to watch Locusts... it's not a very good film, but Lucy Lawless is in it, and I can just about survive creepy locusts without feeling too creepy crawly.

[Previous entry: "Drunken Ramblings"]

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Drunken Ramblings

[Previous entry: "80s Fatigue?"]

I'm writing synopses while drunk (and watching Buck) so these might not be all that comprehensible! Anyway, we kick off where we left off last night, with Quantum Leap's rabbi episode, "Thou Shalt Not..." which sees Sam trying to prevent his sister in law from having an affair... and initially it appears that he's the subject of the affair, but it's really a sleazy author, who's claiming he's a widower to seduce women so he can write about them. Okay, and that explains why the author was familiar - he's played by Russ Tamblyn who also played Jack Maynard in a fairly memorable episode of Babylon 5, A Distant Star (Keffer's first view of a shadow-ship).

And then on to possibly the best episode of Quantum Leap from its five year run, "Jimmy" which has a good guest cast, including Michael Madsen, and that guy from SeaQuest that I can never remember the name of (John D'Aquino). This is really fun, and is one of the few episodes with a followup (in this case, in season 5 with the evil leaper).

Then, on to Buck Rogers. We kick off with "Ardala Returns" which sees Ardala and the Draconians having trouble with their new fighter, until they hit upon the silly idea of kidnapping Buck and creating robotic doubles. Probably only memorable for the invention of ping-pool, a game which involves hitting a ball that doesn't bounce over a net!

We're then on to "Twiki Is Missing" in which Twiki never really goes missing, but Earth is trying a really risky maneuver of importing a big frozen asteroid of oxygen. Twiki is apparently a suitable candidate for creating a whole race of droids who can mine some really explosive mineral. Buck has to go up against three skimpily dressed women who can throw things around with their minds (and their glowing hands and eyes).

Of course, no-one bats an eyelid at Buck seducing one of the lethal women... need to keep an eye on those all-powerful women, as they might fall in love with the enemy!

"Olympiad" sees an olympic athlete and his girlfriend (also an athlete) trying to defect to Earth, and hitting a minor snag that he has a bomb implanted in his head that could destroy quite a number of people.'

This was the point I took to go out and get drunk, but I still had to suffer through an episode of Buck when I got in, "A Dream Of Jennifer" which sees Buck being haunted by a woman who looks like a love from the 20th Century. Played by the lovely Anne Lockhart, who we saw last in an episode of Knight Rider (the Cadiz episode from a couple of days ago) and will see again in the last season of Quantum Leap (Star Light, Star Bright). It also has a really, really brief appearance by Dennis Haysbert as a security guard... and yes, I had to look this up as I'd never have guessed it was him!

[Previous entry: "80s Fatigue?"]

Saturday, April 23, 2005

80s Fatigue?

[Previous entry: "The Penultimate Calling"]

"Return To Cadiz" sees KITT get an amphibious mode, and then they have to write a not-very good episode around it. It's got something to do with a scuba-diver, a sunken treasure, and a whole bunch of gold, but the KITT on water scenes are just plain silly. There's some nice shots of April in this episode though!

Anyway, I'm not struggling with Knight Rider, not really wanting to carry on but being unable to find something I'd rather watch. I want a big, pointless action movie, but can't really get excited about any of the ones I own. So instead we go on with the aforementioned show with "K.I.T.T. The Cat" which centers around a cat burglar, but is probably more interesting for its guest appearance of Geena Davis.

Finally on the disc we have "Custom K.I.T.T." which is all about custom/classic cars being stolen near car shows... including a classic that Devon is just borrowing. Of course, KITT has to get a facelift to appear in the show (which is pretty horrible to be fair), and there's a guest starring female who looks a little like Linda Blair (but isn't). You know, there's some really weak episodes of Knight Rider... has it just not held up over the years? Or was it always this bad and the bloom of youth blinded me to how shallow it tended to be? Hopefully some of the rest of the series holds my attention, but fortunately, we've got a show change in the rotation and we're back to one of the two (out of the five) that I really want to watch.

So on with the show (Quantum Leap for those not keeping up with the rotation), and we kick off with "Blind Faith" which sees Sam as a blind piano player... fortunately though, Sam isn't blind, which should make his job a little easier as long as he doesn't give the game away!

Oh dear, the audience want an encore... can Sam play the piano? Well, he can manage chopsticks at least. Unfortunately, he's only got 24 hours to leap out of there, as there's another performance the next night!

There's a familiar guest star... playing the pianist's girlfriend's mother... after much umm-ing and ahh-ing over who it could be, I ended up looking her up and realising who she was when she went on a tirade before I got the answer - Grams from Charmed (Jennifer Rhodes).

Gah, Beatle-mania... almost as authentic as when it was shown in Dark Skies... and the mother finds out he can see, and sabotages the relationship by telling her daughter... then Sam accidentally gives the game away, and the daughter runs off in to the park, where there's a murderer on the loose. But before the big confrontation, Sam has to get blinded by a flashbulb so he has to save the day blind. Al has already let slip that Sam was something of a concert pianist in his youth... is there anything this guy couldn't do?

And then, Sam the DJ, in "Good Morning, Peoria" which is a fun episode which sees the town council trying to shut down a radio station that plays rock and roll. There's romance with the owner, there's the gradually escalating siege and game of one-up-manship of trying to take the station off the air, and there's Sam playing at early shock jock. There's also the guest appearance of Chubby Checker, learning the Twist from Sam, which is one of those silly circular paradoxes that this show keeps throwing in.

And then Sam leaps in to a rabbi...

[Previous entry: "The Penultimate Calling"]

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Penultimate Calling

[Previous entry: "More Of The Same"]

Tonight is possibly the last Tru Calling night, what with them having cancelled next week's for the return of a show I'd be tempted to burn the TV if I found it on - The Simple Life. Anyway, as it's a shorter night, I've ended up being distracted from my plan again with more Dark Angel.

And we kick off with "Blah Blah Woof Woof" and Lydecker has decided to put up wanted posters of Max all over the city. Of course, she's trapped in South Market with the military establishing an airtight perimeter around the area. Logan is having medical problems, and so isn't as up to helping as usual (a bullet fragment from the shooting is moving and causing him pain... he might have to go back for more surgery). But fortunately Zack is around and drops by to help.

Of course, after they get Max out of the city, Logan ends up having to be rushed in to surgery and she comes rushing back to see him. After finding out the X-5s are universal donors, we get a really silly dream sequence and then Max is taken into custody. Fortunately for her, Zack turns himself in, so she gets released and Lydecker leaves town (Zack either dies in a helicoptor or escapes when it crashes but they're keeping that a surprise for now).

Then in "Out" Logan and Max have a major falling out when she wants a quiet date and he is obsessed with his war against the bad guys. Even with all this, they manage to stop a guy smuggling young girls out of the country... although Logan and Matt are captured and tortured during the search.

Finally in "Red" Max has to babysit a witness against the Mayor in a court case... unfortunately for her it's Bruno Anselmo from the pilot and he does everything he can to foul up her attempts at keeping him safe. Of course, there's also a bunch of South African enhanced soldiers that are there to capture an X-5, and Max gets more than a little beaten up.

Then back to Knight Rider with "Blind Spot" where Michael has to protect a blind woman when her husband is attacked while bringing some evidence to the Foundation. The episode is broken up by tonight's great episode of Tru Calling, in which Tru's possible boyfriend Jensen dies and doesn't ask for help. After much running around though, she finds William Sadler does want help so she has a chance to fix things... although there's a serious warning from Jack that this is a really bad thing to do.

So Harrison gets the job of saving William Sadler by preventing his escape (which obviously he fouls up) while Tru tries to keep Jensen out of danger and Jack and Carrie attempt to get him killed. And there's a hint that everything isn't completely smooth at the end when Jensen has a serious attack of deja vu over something that occurred on both days...

Of course, we're not going to find out what happened... there might have been a couple more hints of the consequences in the final episode, but that's not being aired... so we'll have to wait for the DVD... or double purchase by buying the UK edition (which comes with all 6 episodes of the second season as well as the first).

Back for a couple of minutes of Knight Rider, and then sleep...

[Previous entry: "More Of The Same"]

More Of The Same

[Previous entry: "Back on Plan"]

"Plague" kicks off the night, and Bill volunteers to investigate a possible plague death in a small town that appears to have its own militia. He's innoculated, but Ralph isn't and as their investigation goes on, he becomes convinced he's infected.

Bill thinks he's safe, and then they find out its smallpox, and Bill finds he's not been innoculated against that. The hypochondria continues until the world health guy tells them that it takes two weeks for smallpox symptoms to appear.

The rotation next takes us back to Wonder Woman, with "The Bermuda Triangle Crisis" kicking off disc 1 side 2. A naval pilot disappears in the triangle and the IADC think that it's deliberate sabotage to prevent the US government from setting up a prototype nuclear breeder reactor in an uninhabited part of the triangle, which obviously disturbs Diana, what with her home being in that area.

Is this the first appearance of the shiny blue swimming outfit or did I miss an earlier one? Sexy, but why does Wonder Woman wear more to go swimming than she does to run around on land?

Diana comes home to find two guys trying to break in to her apartment in "Knockout." Wonder Woman deals with them, but then Joe calls to tell Diana that Steve's didn't arrive in L.A. when he left on his vacation. So Diana goes chasing after him to see if she can find out what's happened.

In L.A. she meets a friendly cab-driver / ex-marine who does quite a lot to help her investigation. Meanwhile Steve is being held by an ex-cop friend of his who wants him out of the way for some operation. Wonder Woman's boomerang comes back, but she doesn't bother actually turning the crown into a boomerang this time, just throwing it and having it come back.

The final episode of the night, "The Pied Piper" sees a musician who hypnotizes female fans in to robbing places for him accidentally preys on Diana's boss Joe's daughter. Of course, Diana has to go undercover to rescue her, and this episode introduces the concept that any spinning will allow her to change, whether she does it or it's forced on her. Like here, where she's trapped in a chair that's set spinning - that spinning allows her to change into Wonder Woman so she can break free.

[Previous entry: "Back on Plan"]

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Back on Plan

[Previous entry: "Diverted"]

More playing rotation-hooky by watching Dark Angel episodes, and starting with "Prodigy" and Kendra's going to see a boy genius who's genes have been manipulated post-birth to cure his learning difficulties. Of course, Max is interested as the technique may work on her... at least to cure her shakes...

Unfortunately, sneaking in to the conference is the easiest part of her day, when Lydecker shows up, and then terrorists try to seize the building.

"Cold Comfort" sees the appearance of the third X-5 in the series, Bren. She's first seen apparently dead in a freezer, but extreme cold is nothing to these people, and she runs off... She calls Zack for a meeting, but Lydecker gets there and captures her (and seriously injures Zack). Of course, he turns up at Max's.

Jam Pony is apparently going to get a new owner... and the staff aren't exactly happy about it. So they run a ridiculous scheme to discourage the buyer...

Okay, Lydecker didn't capture Bren, some other military guys did... and we find out all isn't well with the X-5 genetic code, as four of them so far have started suffering from a progeria-type rapid aging effect... including Bren. How much time to Zack and Max have before they too are struck down by it?

Hey, look, I'm being good... I've gone back to Greatest American Hero, and kicking off disc 2 is "Classical Gas" and Ralph's class have formed a band. However, their big break could be fatal if the terrorists manage to hit the event with nerve gas as they've planned. Ralph and Pam's relationship is getting rather rocky over the suit (and his jealousy of the music producer that's showing an interest in Pam)... but at least it's nice that Pam's back!

"The Beast In The Black" sees Ralph and Bill investigating an apparently haunted house. Ralph is finding hidden rooms behind brick walls (where he's mysteriously attacked), objects move on their own, a falling chandelier kills Bill, but then he comes back to life due to a yellow glow.

We finished the night, although I wasn't paying a great deal of attention so probably should have stopped an episode earlier, with "The Lost Diablo" which sees Ralph's class on a field trip in the mountains which Bill shanghais to go searching for the titular gold mine. Unfortunately, the mine is booby trapped, near collapse, and they're being stalked by a bunch of hunters.

[Previous entry: "Diverted"]

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


[Previous entry: "Buck Sunday"]

See, I do something stupid and it bites me - I put on the pilot of Dark Angel last night, and nearly watch all of it before going to bed (but it wasn't that which meant I got veeeerry little sleep last night - I was reading large chunks of A Stroke Of Midnight), so what do I end up watching tonight when I'm supposed to be watching the Greatest American Hero? More Dark Angel...

We kick off with "Heat" which sees Max tracking down the woman who helped her escape from Manticore, while at the same time dealing with one of the downsides of her feline DNA... she goes in to heat three times a year and tries to jump anything that moves. It must be said, however much I'd like to look like her, having to deal with shakes due to lack of tryptophan and heat tri-annually I'm not sure the upsides of being a gorgeous genetically engineered killing machine is really worth it.

Talking of tryptophan withdrawal, episode 3 is "Flushed" which sees Original Cindy and Kendra deciding Max is on drugs and they need to stage an intervention, flushing her medicine. When she gets thrown in gaol trying to steal more from a hospital, Abraham Benrubi and Original Cindy have to mount a daring rescue (and OC gets to meet Logan).

I very nearly managed to resist after the first disc and go back to the rotation... but I'd have had to add Dark Angel to that rotation. Instead I put in disc 2 and carried on watching things I've already seen...

"C.R.E.A.M." sees Logan investigating the disappearance of a journalist friend of his from many years ago, while Sketchy (who's mysteriously lost the attractive girlfriend - if you're dating Lauren Lee Smith, you've got a good thing going) screws up his side job with a bunch of mobsters.

Okay, Cash Rules Everything Around Me... it's not really the catchiest title in the world...

"411 On The DL" sees Logan's ex-wife show up, and Max's bar-code-number appear in an ad in the newspaper. Unfortunately, her contact needs 15 thousand dollars to give her the information on the other X-5 in town... of course, if she was paying attention she might notice that he's just taken a job at Jam Pony and is Normal's star employee.

After last night's lack of sleep, I'm going to call it a night here...

[Previous entry: "Buck Sunday"]

Monday, April 18, 2005

Buck Sunday

[Previous entry: "Show Rotation"]

Sunday dawned... and then some time later I crawled out of bed... not too worse for wear after the beer last night which was good as first job was to go and retrieve my car. Which proved to still be there, undamaged, where I left it. Of course, rather than just retrieve it and do something useful with the day, I ended up going to see "Sahara" instead, which was a big goofy action movie that did exactly what it claimed to - blow things up, have some laughs, chase around the desert after a mythical object - all the things you'd expect in a film like this.

I nearly proceeded after this to get my car washed, but there was a big queue and I didn't feel like waiting... however, they open at 8am, so I might have to hit them before going to work tomorrow.

Show five on my five-show-rotation is the one that's been sitting on the shelf the longest, Buck Rogers. Here we are on the second side of disc 2, with "Cruise Ship To The Stars" which has the universe's most perfect female on a cruise ship trying to be captured by some woman with incredible powers (throwing people around with a wave of her hand).

Okay, Buck has to go on the ship to protect the girl, and we learn that the evil woman keeps changing back and forth between her evil self and a timid blonde who befriends Buck... but the timid one doesn't remember her alternate self's actions. But her boyfriend knows... and the dark haired evil version remembers what the blonde does.

The second episode is the very silly "Space Vampire" which sees Buck and Wilma stopping at a space station to drop off Twiki for repairs while they go on to Genesia. But a ship crashes in to the station with all its crew dead, and they stick around to investigate.

They initially think it's EL7 contamination (which is some virus that sends people crazy) but the bodies have been drained of energy and aren't technically dead. There's a lot of previous-episodes continuity here - there's mention of Twiki's girlfriend from the previous episode, and Dr Hewer has managed to kill the plant Buck gave him earlier in the series.

The glowing red blob, that no-one can see, is stalking Wilma. And then she sees the Vampire in the bar. And then it goes and kills the doctor (while waking up one of the dead people).

Of course, this ends with Wilma getting bitten (and sort of turned), and then Buck's planned trap of sending the obvious escape ship flying in to the sun nearly misfires with Wilma having to escape it at the last moment.

Then we're on to Buck's birthday in "Happy Birthday, Buck" and Wilma and Doctor Hewer and trying to plan a surprise party, so Buck gets set nursemaiding a courier. Meanwhile, there's a guy who can tranform any matter by touch alone out for revenge on Hewer for some alleged misdeed many years ago.

This isn't a very good episode, and it's not helped by being broken up by an episode of Charmed with Leo and Piper being shrunk by Wyatt and housed in a doll-house replica of the manor to keep them safe from Zankou and his demonic minions. Zankou is trying to gain control of the manor so he can release the Shadow and gain lots of power... when did the Woogie Man become The Shadow? And Phoebe's mobile phone joke is great - she's been left in charge of the paper, but Paige keeps dragging her off to vanquish the demonic minions, so when the phone rings while she's in the underworld hiding, she comments on the great range she's getting!

Oh, Leo keeps getting injured and has no powers to heal any more... and they don't want to keep getting Wyatt to heal them... but now he's taking over magic school he'll probably be a little bit safer. Considering the history of mortal lovers of the Charmed Ones in previous series, I'm not sure how long Leo would be around if that didn't happen.

Back to Buck, and they appear to have run out of money, as we've got the requisite clip-show in "A Blast For Buck" with a mysterious object being transported into Hewer's office and then a cryptic limerick explaining that "the man from old earth's past" has the key to preventing the terran sands being destroyed in a blast.

There's not really much you can say about a clip-show... and as it finishes the disc, I guess I won't have to (as we're back to the Greatest American Hero in our show-rotation).

I should go to bed at this point, but I'm waiting for the tumble dryer to finish, so as background noise, I'm putting on the pilot episode of Dark Angel... it's been jumping off the shelf recently with me wanting to watch it again (but I've got such a backlog I feel guilty about watching things I've already seen so I haven't gone back to them yet - I do have to watch Firefly again before the film is released though).

[Previous entry: "Show Rotation"]

Show Rotation

[Previous entry: "Bloodsucking Wonder"]

Next up in the crazy nostalgia merry-go-round is Knight Rider season 2, and we kick off with the two part "Goliath" which if memory serves is the first "lets do what we can to trash KITT and then rebuild him with new gadgets" although I don't think this is where we get the super-pursuit mode added.

Okay, so we've got a mysterious rich guy, and a photographer who clearly shouldn't be there. Okay, the mysterious rich guy looks like Michael Knight, but he's got an evil moustache (and a cane that he can shoot people with).

Of course, this is the season where Bonnie has disappeared and he have to live with April instead... do they actually explain that change anywhere?

Devon goes to dinner with Wilton Knight's wife, who poisons him to get the formula for KITT's molecular bonded shell which she can then give to the evil guy, Garth. Ah, okay, Garth was serving three life sentences in Africa so there was no chance of him showing up and getting confused with Michael... but somehow he's back anyway, and he has a veeeery large armoured truck that he's now making indestructible.

Considering KITT drives everywhere, I wonder what the Foundation's petrol bill is... criss-crossing the US every week... Oooh, stock footage of Rio De Janeiro and then a dead body, making it clear that Garth has all the formula.

See, I got distracted and didn't summarise the rest (or indeed, the next episode). Suffice it to say Michael manages to stop Garth (even having to impersonate him at one point, which he does a reasonable job of considering how little interaction they've had) and take out Goliath. The next episode was "Brother's Keeper" in which Michael breaks a guy out of gaol who doesn't want to leave, and then runs around after a bomb for the rest of the episode.

Then I watched Norwich City snatch a draw from the jaws of victory... when you're winning 3-1, only Norwich could throw it away enough that the last couple of minutes are praying they don't lose. Of course, if the Palace player with the raised foot had been sent off when he dug his studs in the back of one of the City players then he couldn't have scored their second goal, and if Norwich had substituted Shekell like I'd been telling them to do for half the match then he couldn't have pulled Johnson down again forcing the ref to award a penalty.

Back to Knight Rider, "Merchants Of Death," and Michael has to postpone a trip to California to go to Phoenix and look for a missing woman... with a personal connection to Devon.

Okay, woman gone missing has a photo of a freight yard, and after tracking down evidence of her death, they gain evidence that she was killed by a weapon fired from a helicopter - a special miliatary helicopter firing some top secret missile. It's another KITT takes on a helicopter episode...

Show four on my little merry-go-round is Quantum Leap series 2. And we kick this show off with "Honeymoon Express" which sees Al testifying before congress over the loss of control of the Quantum Leap experiment. The congressional committee seem skeptical that God is in control, especially considering that he doesn't appear to have impacted any significant global events. Unfortunately, as Al's word is the only evidence that Sam really is back in the past, the committee want to stop funding it... so presumably Sam'll have to do something to get their opinions changed.

But how's Sam going to do that on a train on his honeymoon... going to Niagara Falls with his new bride. He's a cop, married to a law student (whose father is a senator). Al wants Sam to save the U2 bomber, while Ziggy thinks Sam should be helping the wife (Diane) to pass the bar exam. Of course, it doesn't help that Diane's ex-husband tries to kidnap her.

Everything comes to a head when Al finds out that the head of the committee ran against Diane to get his position, and when he cuts of funding, Sam helps Diane to pass her bar exam, thereby changing the outcome of the congressional race, and getting the funding for another year.

Sam leaps into a disco dancer in "Disco Inferno" and he gets shot in the first couple of minutes. Fortunately, he's an stuntman and he's on a set. But the stunt coordinator quits and the two sons have to leave with him.

Worryingly for Sam, all they know is that the younger brother dies in the next couple of days. He seems to be keen to do his own stunt and Sam doesn't seem to be doing a good job of persuading him he's not ready. So if the brother has a future in music, who is he? Presumably he's famous at some point knowing how this show drops the stars in.

The brotherly connection in this leap leads Sam to reminisce about him and his older brother Tom. It's not until halfway through the episode that Sam recalls that Tom died in Vietnam.

Of course, things work out so he can leap in to Popeye in "The Americanization Of Machiko." Of course, his lack of knowledge of who he is means he leaves his Japanese wife at the bus when his father turns up to take him home.

Guest starring K. Callan as his mother, she's the one disapproving of Machiko and unwilling to accept her into the family. The old flame, Naomi keeps throwing herself at Sam, and Rusty has a grudge against the Japanese for ruining his baseball career. You know, the usual conflicts!

Of course, I'm not sure the next leap shot at the end is the actual episode - the leap shows him jumping in to a black man and sitting down at the counter in a whites only cafe. But isn't the next episode "What Price Gloria?" in which case it's picking up the leap from the end of the first series... i.e., Samantha...

Yep, there's that bubble bath. We get Verbena Beeks' first mention as the project psychiatrist, and we find out Al sees Sam as whoever his host is rather than as him.

But how do Samantha's clothes fit? In the mirror shots with Gloria, she's about four inches shorter than Sam. I guess this is just one of those temporal mysteries.

Just to shake things up, Sam then leaps in to a blind piano player... fortunately he's just finishing his performance...

And that finishes the disc. I'm now going to go out and forage for food, so we won't immediately be doing show five.

[Previous entry: "Bloodsucking Wonder"]

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Bloodsucking Wonder

[Previous entry: "Tru Heroes"]

One more episode to finish disc one, "Hog Wild" and we could do with a return of Pam, who's only been seen on the end of a telephone so far. But so far all we have is Bill and Ralph arguing in the car, and then being harassed by a motorcycle gang.

Ralph's got a problem with Bill's anger, especially after they get beaten up by the bikers because of it. Of course, when they're captured by the bikers and forced to tell them how the suit works, one of the biker's suffers from Maxwell's subterfuge (jumping off the roof of the barn and breaking his arm).

Ralph is forced to go along with the biker's attempts to take over a small border town or they'll shoot Bill (who's being held in the barn by the guy whose arm he broke, at the other end of a walkie-talkie from the head of the gang and Ralph).

But because I'm feeling like a sucker for punishment, I'm not going to immediately go on to disc two, and instead watch the Vampire High disc - it's supposed to be the first four episodes edited together into a feature length show. And lets see, synopsis - The vicious Fury and the enlightened Elders are at war over ruling the undead, and a bunch of young vampires are sent to Mansbridge Academy to learn to temper their instincts and live amongst humans. It's an elaborate boarding school, so while you've got the regular students upstairs studying (including the very cute Meghan Ory), you've got the five vampires living in the basement and taking lessons at night.

Of course, one of the vampires is going to fall for one of the students (Meghan Ory, obviously). Well, there are four vampires, two male, two female (including Karen Cliche), and if we can get past the nasty rock soundtrack we might see a few of their powers (other than speed - which we see when one of them pulls the chair out from under one of the others as she's about to sit).

Okay, apparently they can pick up people's thoughts - or else the vamp wouldn't know Meghan was looking for someone. Okay, one of them can read minds. Carl is the dimwit of the bunch - at least scholastically, as he can hack in to the closed circuit camera feed of the school.

Meghan's ex-boyfriend keep trying to get back together with her, but she doesn't want anything to do with him... of course his actions nearly get him bitten by the vampire with a crush on her (Drew). Instead he's pushed through a window, which exposes Drew to sunlight.

Episode two, and one of the vampires has been caught on camera... actually, all five of them have - we get another vampire (bad boy Marty). Merrill (the mindreader) is showing an interest in Drew (who's on probation for his stupidity in the previous episode).

Carl's only been a vampire for a year. Karen Cliche plays Essie, and Marty is interested in her, although she seems to be more interested in her clothes.

Marty persuades Carl and Essie to go out for a night. Unfortunately, it's the same night Meghan's roommate persuades her to sneak out to a road house, so obviously Drew will go along with the trip. Marty can move objects from a distance...

Of course, they meet the requisite stupid goth chick at the bar who thinks vampires are cool, and who they bring back to wine cellar for tasting. Marty and Drew fight over whether to take her. Essie proves she can put the whammie on someone.

Part three sees Drew dreaming of Meghan (who I should really start calling by her character's name), and dancing with her in the main hall of the academy. There's apparently something in vampire lore about vamps falling in love - and the person they fall for being called "The One."

Of course, Drew starts sending love letters and sneaking flowers and ice cream to Meghan. Unfortunately, Meghan thinks it's the ex-boyfriend.

Okay, apparently Merrill can "dreamslide" allowing her and others to enter people's dreams. So we get Meghan the ballerina. And Sherry the little girl (played by someone other than Meghan). And then they have to go to class... will we get more?

Young Sherry gave a marble to Drew... and he managed to leave the dream with it... and now Meghan is stammering (because some speech therapist used the marble to cure the stammer). When he goes back in to return it, little Sherry is evil, so he gives the marble to Meghan, and then there's a whole dawn sequence where Drew doesn't burst into flames. Oh, and evil Sherry? Marty followed Drew and Merrill in.

Final episode and Carl has "The Chill" which they'll hopefully explain shortly... and can they stop with the stupid cryptic names. Okay, he's having trouble giving up his human life and wants to go back to it... Murdoch talks him out of it, saying that their vampire experiment would give him the chance to go back if it's successful. Except the school geek knows him (and overhears their conversation).

Oh dear, the geek's posted the sighting on the internet. So the vampire hunters turn up - a government agency (the BPDA or Biomorphic Predatory Disease Agency) who investigate vampires, werewolves and other paranormal entities.

And finally Drew explains the Chill - one year to the day after their death, they're called back to their grave... but this isn't a good night for it, what with the federal agent turning up and vapourizing gravestones with some laser weapon.

Now watch me come up with a plan that makes it look like I'm making absolutely no inroads into the boxed sets on the shelf. I have five old shows that need to be gone through, and I'm going to rotate discs. The Greatest American Hero has already gone, so next up is Wonder Woman season 2.

I'm liable not to stick with this plan very long, but it's only four episodes of a show at a time, so I might manage it... anyway, on with the plan and "The Return Of Wonder Woman" kicks us off, with no Nazis in sight as we've jumped forward quite a few years to 1977 but there's still a Steve Trevor working for government security (presumably the son of the former Steve Trevor).

And we're dealing with terrorists... and trying to build a nuclear power plant in the imaginary country of Samarra... has somebody got an appointment there. And someone is spying on their flight - from Dr. Solano's secret lab in Washington DC. Of course, they have to fly over the Devil's Triangle and Dr. Solano has a plan to capture the plane, but it goes wrong and the plane is going to crash.

Of course, the magnetic field around Paradise Island prevents a nasty crash and they bring it in to land. Diana gets there first and finds the crew unconscious and then discovers Steve, who she obviously recognizes, but can't understand how it could be the same man. Cue flashback to the old Steve Trevor.

Diana clearly wants to go back to the outside world as Wonder Woman, but her mother the Queen clearly doesn't want her to... but she's overruled by the council... until her cousin challenges Diana to bullets and bracelets over who gets to go... haven't we seen this before?

Except they're only trying to block bullets from a bit of statuary this time rather than from themselves... they've gone soft in the last 30 years.

When they've hypnotised everyone into believing Diana Prince is Steve's aid, and sending them on their way, they find that two days have passed with them missing! Considering they think no time has passed, they're slightly confused.

Okay, and the episode has descended in to farce - they're going to airlift a nuclear power station in to the country! Diana has to deal with an intractible computer (IRAC, or Ira) to get her identity set up, and then sell some rare coins to get her starting capital. Of course, she's being spied upon by Dr. Solano's aid and they believe, because she's paying for everything with cash, she's an extremely important person, whose apartment needs to be bugged.

Heh! Her crown turns in to a boomerang. And she's 2526 years old. Oh, and Dr. Solano has a robot that can fence... that'll be useful if they're ever attacked by pirates! Okay, now the crazy doctor has a Steve Trevor look-a-like - is that the robot? Or some other double?

"Anschluss '77" sees Wonder Woman making the front page of Tempo magazine (which looks a lot like Time), although the press are skeptical of her. Called to a secret briefing room, they find out a top Nazi is still working in the South American country of Cordova (you know, keeping all these fictional countries in order could be a complicated affair).

When Steve's wallet is stolen, Wonder Woman has to put in an appearance to drive off the thugs. Of course, we're talking cell regeneration, cloning, secret nazi bases, bringing Hitler back to life, Diana having to get out of a tricky problem in a cave with some dynamite.

And now she's trying to stop a tank! Well, okay, Wonder Woman is. Meanwhile, Steve's stealing a uniform and pretending to be a Nazi. Of course, he has to go to a rally where they unveil the new Hitler clone.

One to go, "The Man Who Could Move the World" and there's a scientist in trouble, his assistant getting trapped in a time-locked vault and a japanese guy with ESP or something. Fortunately for the mystery, the scientist always records his experiments, so they have a tape of the events.

The scientist was working on a brainwave amplifier, which allowed the Japanese guy to move things with his mind. He then decided he'd take the machine as he had plans for it which the scientist didn't want... but that's where the tape ends.

Wonder Woman goes to Ishida's house, where she finds what is almost a shrine to her. Or at least, when Steve turns up and explains it, a shrine to her death.

By typing letters allegedly from Wonder Woman and then taking control of Steve's jeep, Ishida gets him to the deserted internment camp that Ishida's parents were kept at during the war.

Ah, Ishida and his brother tried to escape the camp but they were running through a live target area for artillery fire. Wonder Woman went in to try and save them and the elder brother was hit. Ishida blames Wonder Woman for that (even though she took the elder brother back to the camp and he survived). And now she's being forced to walk in to a mine field...

[Previous entry: "Tru Heroes"]

Friday, April 15, 2005

Tru Heroes

[Previous entry: "Wingover"]

After giving it very little thought, I settled on the second series of The Greatest American Hero which will get broken up at 9pm by Tru Calling. But we kick off with "The Two-Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Fastball" which is presumably a baseball themed episode...

Someone's intimidating major league baseball players, running them off the road and beating them up so they can't play. Ralph has to join the team as a pitcher (wearing the suit under his uniform) to get to the bottom of it.

And it's guest starring Carmen Argenziano as the bad guy. He's sporting a dopey looking moustache here, and has slightly more hair than his Stargate SG-1 days though.

Of course, Ralph gets to pitch and bat in the major leagues, two games only, winning the team their entry into the World Series, and then he disappears.

On to episode two "Operation: Spoilsport" and we're at a missile base. One of the missiles decides to launch on Russia without anyone triggering it. Fortunately, one of the soldiers manages to disarm it before launch, but the computer system decides that in 24 hours it's going to launch a full arsenal - and there's no way to stop it.

The aliens really don't want Ralph to have instructions for the suit, but they're willing to borrow a dead army guy to tell them that the world is going to end unless they stop it.

Ralph's really got the hang of invisibility by this point - pretty much at will. And there's a very silly scene with Ralph stopping a missile from launching!

Episode three, "Don't Mess Around With Jim," will get interrupted by Tru, but we'll start it anyway. We've got a funeral of a rich guy, and we've got Ralph and Bill getting kidnapped. They've been kidnapped by the dead guy, who wants the suit.

Okay, it's really about the guy's will and how he wants Bill and Ralph to go and get it back... there's cheating in a casino, and Ralph trying telekinesis on a roulette wheel.

So here we are with Tru Calling, and Davis is being asked out on a date by the woman upstairs (Carrie)... at his apartment, although he needs to leave early to tidy up. Jack meets a blonde girl who looks very familiar... lets look her up... okay, Maggie Lawson, looks like Alicia Silverstone, was in Party Of Five, probably seen her in bit parts but nothing starring.

Jack is trying to get Carrie and Davis together? The woman Jack met has jumped off the roof and he's there to find the body - but she asks him for help, and he and Tru both rewind... but get each other's rewind effect. Jack usually sees the day that the dead person had in rewind, which explains how he always knows who Tru is saving... but Tru gets it this time.

Ahhh... The girl has leukemia and an insurance policy that pays on an accident, not a suicide. She wants the money to go to her sister, so is Jack going to help her make it an accident? Or is Tru going to win the money in a bet, persuade her to change her mind about dying, and put Jack in a really difficult position.

Back to the Hero, and we find out the rich guy once had a suit but the power went to his head and the aliens took it away. Ralph and Bill's task is to rescue his partner and get the will back so that some good can come of his death. And then they find out that the aliens come and collect the pair of them when they're about to die - which clearly isn't to Bill's liking!

Early start tomorrow, so we'll call it a night here.

[Previous entry: "Wingover"]

Thursday, April 14, 2005


[Previous entry: "Wingin' It"]

Hopefully the last night of The West Wing starts with "Privateers" which sees Amy's first day. She has to deal with the foreign aid bill having a gag order added to it over abortion, one of the Daughters of the American Revolution planning to boycott Zoey's induction because Mrs Bartlett's ancestor was a pirate, and a small number of hazing pranks.

Will takes a hit for the team when a glacier melts and kills a whole bunch of people - possibly the first casualties of global warming. Donna has to tail around after a security risk at the party, but can't tell anyone, and Charlie tries to ignore a Dear John letter from Zoey.

"Angel Maintenance" sees a fault on Air Force One keeping it in the air until they can confirm the landing gear is down. There have apparently been friendly fire deaths in Kundu.

Josh has to deal with Democrats who don't want to give a vulnerable Republican a victory over Chesapeake Bay cleanup. The Black Caucus are willing to support the interventionist policy of the President, but they want to reintroduce the draft in return for their support.

"Evidence Of Things Not Seen" sees poker night when all the senior staff have the night off. Josh has to interview someone for the council's office position. The President's secretary wants to join the game. A Predator drone is lost, and it's the equinox and CJ is convinced that they can stand an egg on end.

Will's an Air Force reservist, and also something of a card dealer... Josh's interviewee is Matthew Perry... which is going to be a little scary.

Someone shoots at the White House and they lock it down while the Secret Service are investigating. Matthew Perry is replacing Ainsley Hayes, which makes sense considering he's another Republican...

Three to go, and we kick the last disc off with "Life On Mars" - and there's a woman delivering a letter to the President, except it's supposed to go to the Secretary of State... so it must be important. Ooookay, the Vice President just resigned. This is gonna be a doozy!

Of course, I got a little distracted through these three episodes trying to finish my taxes... I'm getting a fat refund so it's not all bad...

Anyway, there's a band playing above my bedroom, so I've got time to write synopses - Hoynes is having an affair, so he resigns.

Then in "Commencement" the Zoey, Charlie, Jean-Pierre triangle comes to a head when the french guy takes Zoey to a club and drugs her. This wouldn't be too bad, but Danny has the Sharif story and wants to go public, and someone's abducted Zoey and killed one of her secret service agents. Oh, and Toby's ex-wife goes in to labour.

Finally, "Twenty Five" sees the President overwhelmed by the abduction and invoking the amendment of the constitution designed for this event. Unfortunately, the guy who's supposed to take over resigned two episodes ago, so they end up with the speaker of the house, a Republican... well, okay, they end up with John Goodman.

Which finishes the series. Which means I can watch something else tomorrow (assuming I remember to take a break to watch Tru Calling, which I forgot last week)... don't know what at the moment though.

[Previous entry: "Wingin' It"]

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Wingin' It

[Previous entry: "West-ward (Wing) Ho!"]

Disc 4 of The West Wing kicks off with CJ's class reunion in "The Long Goodbye." She's also visiting her fther, who's struggling - his Alzheimer's is getting much worse, and his (latest) wife has left him.

There was very little more to say about that one (except maybe for mentioning the embassy bombings that end the episode), but maybe "Inauguration Part I" will pick things up.

The President is worried about which bible he's going to be sworn in on; Toby and Will are trying to find new language for the foreign policy section of the inauguration speech; and fighting in Equatorial Kundu is turning into a massacre.

Looking for casualty figures if the US sends forces there, the President gets Donna's boyfriend in trouble and he's transferred. The tension continues though in "Inauguration: Over There" when the guy from the Pentagon leaks to Danny that executive orders were overturned allowing the President to assassinate foreign leaders.

But wooden soldiers in a Laurell and Hardy movie persuade the President that he should overturn his foreign policy doctrine and declare that the military can be used to uphold liberty and freedom around the world.

The speech seems to go down well, enough that Will gets Sam's job (and Sam'll get a promotion if he comes back).

You know, "The California 47th" might have something to do with Sam's congressional race. Except it starts with troops going in to Kundu and seizing the airport. Then we move on to the trip out to California... well, almost, the President is demanding the ruler of Kundu surrender, or he's going to take a capital by force.

The California trip has a problem - the Republicans are rolling out their tax plan, and the Dems aren't going to be able to respond for 48 hours (because if they try to announce a tax hike in Orange County on the richest 1% they'll kill Sam's campaign). This could be fatal... to the tax policy or to Sam...

The Republican tax plan is its usual farce - 15% cut across the board, plus all the other things they want to cut, which will, obviously, explode the deficit and do absolutely nothing to stimulate the economy... sounds like Bush's tax plan...

Will's struggling to put together White House remarks on the tax policy when all his speechwriting staff have quit and he's left with interns. One of them used to be a ballerina though.

Kundu get given a deadline before the troops move in, but the ruler decides to finish the genocide before it expires. A drunk guy insulting Congresswoman Wyatt ends up with Toby and Charlie under arrest for assault.

Sam pretty much derails his own campaign when he realises they're covering up the tax plan for his sake - but then his campaign manager was running it to avoid burning the DNC's bridges rather than to see Sam win, so he wasn't losing a great deal.

On to disc 5 with "Red Haven's On Fire" and we'll get some fallout from the capture of 3 US marines in Kundu. Toby and Charlie make bail but it still makes news.

Will continues to try and get miracles out of his interns. The First Lady loses out on a budget item she wanted, and Josh suggests she needs a professional chief of staff to fight for her agenda. I have a feeling that won't go well for Josh...

The captured troops have been beaten, and the President has to sit down with the families, before sending special forces in for a rescue. The First Lady has an interesting encounter with Amy Gardner... see, I was right about Josh...

[Previous entry: "West-ward (Wing) Ho!"]

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

West-ward (Wing) Ho!

[Previous entry: "A Mixed Sunday"]

"Election Night" sees everyone voting... although, based on the bunch at the beginning, no-one understands what to do with those crazy complicated ballot forms. Josh is a little nervous, and Sam's race in California seems to be going well in the exit polling, which appears to worry him.

The President is having an attack of the shakes, which could bode badly for his next four years in office. And at 13:30, both the President and the dead buy are winning.

Toby and his ex-wife are having conflicts over their pregnancy and upcoming twins - Roll Call have the story, and there's plenty of pressure on them to remarry. Donna, who's accidentally voted for all the Republican candidates on her absentee ballot, is trying to find a Republican locally who'll trade votes with her. Sam owns up to Donna about his volunteering for the campaign in Orange County.

Donna's quest leads her to meeting a submarine commander who's now working in the White House... potential love interest? Will's praying for rain... and he gets his wish. The President manages to squeak out a win in his home state, but Sam's watching the news reports that say his race is too close to call.

"Process Stories" sees a continuation of the previous episode, with Sam still waiting for a result in his California race - and they win. Which means he's got to put a campaign together...

Unfortunately for the party, there's a coup in the offing in Venezuela, just when Donna's poll-trading guy turns up to take his position as Nancy McNally's guy in uniform.

On to disc 3 with "Swiss Diplomacy" and the son of the Ayatollah of Iran needs a simultaneous heart/lung transplant, and only the US can do the procedure. Unfortunately, the three doctors who can perform the operation are unavailable - one is in the middle of a very complicated procedure, one is rapelling K2, and the third's father was tortured by the Ayatollah... not a good situation.

Josh has to talk to Hoynes about the potential Presidential primary that's going to tie the party up as he's been shopping for precinct captains. It's making the potential opponents nervous. Except, he hasn't been shopping, he's been white water rafting.

Then we have "Arctic Radar" and there's the top woman pilot being charged with disobeying an order after being ordered to end an affair. The White House have to decide whether to intercede.

Toby's struggling to write a speech, and Sam sends Will Bailey there to help him out. Which is probably a good thing as Toby's setting fire to his draft.

Donna tries to start a relationship with Jack, but sends Josh in to test the waters, which is a really dumb idea... all her embarrasing stories get told, and it's surprising that Josh has time to deal with a Star Trek fan in his office.

"Holy Night" sees a flashback to Toby's father's early years, just after Toby's birth. Andy's deception over her pregnancy has made its way to a deposition and Toby isn't having much fun. Danny makes a surprise reappearance in CJs briefing. Toby moves Will in to Sam's office, and Toby's father turns up in his office.

Hey, the therapist is back. And so is Zoey... and she's brought a boy with her - although he's French... and royalty.

Oh dear - Danny appears to have some evidence on the Sharif assassination, which could have serious repercussions if he breaks the story... what with Qumar wanting to go to war and the assassination being a war crime and all.

Lastly tonight, "Guns Not Butter" sees a guest appearance by Megan Ward, although she's a really itty bitty part playing a Republican on the hill - where Josh is trying to find one last vote on foreign aid.

Danny's getting closer to the story, and Toby of all people might get the extra vote. Charlie is chasing a letter handed to him at a rally, and gets deferential treatment because of his position - something's going to get sticky here.

CJ's arranged photo of the President with a cow turns out to be with a goat instead. Charlie gets a memo back from the Pentagon, which has unfortunately been cc'd to the Joint Chiefs, Leo, the President and Vice President, and anyone else vaguely important. Josh finds out the vote can be bought for a trifling amount of money, but it needs to be spent on a study over the healing effect of remote prayer.

[Previous entry: "A Mixed Sunday"]

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Mixed Sunday

[Previous entry: "Up To Sunday Morning"]

The last of the rom-coms, and the penultimate film bought during my bargain hunting last weekend, is "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days" which I've frequently caught the beginning of but not seen all the way through. So here we go...

This film is really, really good. Very silly, but rom-coms have a tendency to forget the comedy at times. And that's a freaky looking dog!

And then on to "Swimming Pool" which will round out last weekend's purchases! I saw a good review of this somewhere and added it to my wishlist of purchases, but for the life of me I've no idea what it's about any more. Wow... 10 minutes in and I've already lost the plot... will have to try this again another time as I don't appear to be able to watch it now.

Instead we'll go with one of the musicals that's cluttering the shelf (there's four... or maybe five - is Bambi a musical?) - "Easter Parade" - which I'm fairly certain I haven't seen before. This started slow and ended slow, but the middle of the film was good.

I followed this with "Bambi" which hasn't really stood up over time like some of the other Disney classics. It's fortunate that it's short, but then what can you really do with a deer? He's not very vocal either, speaking about 100 words in the whole film.

And then, I ditch the films in favour of The West Wing with "20 Hours In America" kicking the season off, and they're out stumping in Indiana. But Josh, Toby and Donna get left behind by the motorcade.

A feature length opener to set up the election campaign, to beat Toby and Josh over the head with the problems everyday people live under, to set up Sam's search for more responsibility, to set up the potential war with the fictional middle eastern country of Qumar, and to give the President a new secretary.

Episode two (or three if you want to count the first one as two) sees Qumar calling the Us bluff by blaming Israel for their lost aircraft/Ambassador/people, but there's obviously another important story here considering the episode is called "College Kids."

Okay, they're following up on Toby and Josh's talk with a struggling parent last episode and trying to get tuition fees made tax deductible. They're also following up on the pipe-bombing and there's much talk with the secret service over hate groups. Leo's lawyer turns up again to help the President deal with the Qumar issue. Ooh! Josh's extremely cute girlfriend makes a reappearance.

The next episode is going to get interrupted halfway through because Charmed is back with their 150th episode... But in the meantime, more Mary-Louise Parker goodness as the third party candidate throws a wrench in the White House's plans.

Donna has to go to a self-help class run by an opponent's consultant. Sam gets interested in a race in Orange County where the Democratic candidate is in the hospital having suffered his fourth heart attack.

Hey, look, I failed to accomplish what I intended to do today, and I opened a bottle of wine when I was planning to go a week without alcohol... strangely though, they occurred in that order.

And then Charmed (although, I missed the first 30 seconds or so I think I can gather what happened) - Leo gets called away by the Elders to face his punishment for messing around with the Avatars. Which is completely ludicrous - stripped of his powers and relocated, then expected to find his way back to Piper. If he succeeds, he gets to live as a mortal with his family; if he doesn't he joins the Elders but never sees his family again.

And there he is, sunny old Texas, causing car accidents already! He's remembering bits of his former life as an army medic though.

Why is Billy Zane still here? Isn't he expected to die at some point soon? He has three weeks and he's got time to go skiing? Oh, okay, he dies tonight at midnight.

You know, I got thoroughly fed up with Cole when he was on the show, especially as they ran out of storylines for him after about 10 episodes, and he was then around for another series and a half, but it's nice to have him back here.

Why is John DeLancie helping Leo get back? Oh, okay, he's trying to persuade Leo he should return to the Elders rather than go back to his family.

So Leo becomes mortal, Billy Zane leaves, and the Charmed Ones need a new white lighter... wouldn't bringing Agent Brody back be a good idea about now?

Oh my god! New Charmed and then back to Mary-Louise Parker making balloon animals - okay, now my night is complete!

After the broken up mess that was "The Red Mass" we're on to "Debate Camp" which should theoretically see the President spending 48 hours in seclusion with his staff preparing for the single debate against his opponent. Joey Lucas is back. And there are flashbacks to their meetings pre-inauguration.

Yaaay! Mrs Landingham flashback... and we need more of this! But what's going on between Toby and his ex-wife. They clearly broke up over their inability to have a baby, but Toby appears to want to get back together with her.

Donna managed to get into trouble with the NSA in her first couple of days over a missile silo under the bowling green!

Tonight's last episode is "Game On" and Sam is in San Diego looking into that congressional race he was showing an interest in. Ah, Will Bailey makes an appearance, played by Joshua Malina, who needed a proper role since Sports Night. Okay, the candidate died, but they're still running the campaign. Sam needs to shut it down.

Oh, and there's the minor matter of a debate. Of course, the President will kill his opposition, but it'll get played as a close run thing because there has to be a little bit of tension going into election night in an episode's time...

And the tie gag is great...

Leo has to deal with the new Qumari Ambassador to the UN. While he's trying to turn a Qumari boat around that's armed with missiles that are intended for terrorists, the President blows his opponent away in the debate. And Sam throws his name into the contest for election in the San Diego special election (presuming, of course, that the dead guy wins).

[Previous entry: "Up To Sunday Morning"]

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Up To Sunday Morning

[Previous entry: "Various Films"]

Friday night saw the viewing of "My Best Friend's Wedding" which is just about bearable as a rom-com. Rupert Everett is the best thing in this as the gay friend/editor, and Cameron Diaz is suitably annoying as the potential bride, but Julia Roberts sleepwalks through this performance (to be fair, she's played this role about six times before this film).

Saturday, after going out and watching Sin City - good but not great film, I didn't realise it was going to be a bunch of short stories rather than one long film; the only interesting this to note about this is the use of colour, only showing reds and a couple of yellows along with the black and white; Elijah Wood does a really good creepy character; Devon Aoki is cute - I came home to "A Cinderella Story" which wasn't very good.

Alright, it was a typical Disney teen movie, but even it's connection to Cinderella was tenuous... so she dropped her cellphone, but they didn't exactly make any effort to track her down by it...

Anyway, I followed that with "Princess Diaries 2" which isn't much different from the previous Princess Diaries film - it's predictable as hell, and there's a guy from Dead Like Me in it (which I think is the only thing I've seen him in other than that - Callum Blue for reference). And Heather Matarazzo needs a bigger role in something... how about a Now And Again reunion movie?

I probably could have squeezed in another film, but I'd making reasonable progress on the Kelley Armstrong book (Industrial Magic) so instead went to bed to read.

And now it's Sunday morning and "Garden State" is looking to be quite a good movie so far. Why didn't Natalie Portman stick to dramas like this, rather than that pile of dreck that is the Star Wars trilogy? The use of music and colour in this film is great, and its populated with a great cast of bizarre characters.

[Previous entry: "Various Films"]

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Various Films

[Previous entry: "Night Of The RomComs"]

And again I've been slacking... it's just been films... Tuesday kicked off with "Josie And The Pussycats" followed by "13 Going On 30" which was something of a girlie movie overdose. I'm still unimpressed by the Jennifer Garner movie - it's got its good moments, but tends to fall flat. The Pussycats movie is great though...

Wednesday night's plan was the presidential movies, but I only made it through a film and a half - "Dave" is the fun little movie about a Presidential impersonator who ends up having to play the President when he's left in a coma after a stroke. I like this film, but I realised I tend to get it confused with the subsequent film, "The American President." Of course, the latter appears to be an audition piece for the West Wing, considering four of the cast have major roles in it. And who decided this DVD should be non-anamorphic... stupid dopey DVD producers!

Unfortunately, I had to sleep, so I had to save the best bit of the film for tonight... and tearing up at the President's speech in the press conference pretty much always does it...

And then we need to find another film... being late home and having to finish last night's duo means I'm only going to get the one done tonight... which will screw me up slightly considering I'd just about managed to pair up the films I bought at the weekend. Fortunately, I bought an odd number, so it looks like I'll be okay!

Unfortunately, the odd film out is "The Chronicles Of Riddick" which isn't exactly known for its highbrow intellectualism, or even its teary-eyed sentimental moments.

But wow, the director's cut actually adds everything that was missing from the original. All the strange mystical stuff that happens and Riddick's secret past as a Furyan actually get explained. The rest of the story is pretty much the pointless action-fest it always was, but the extra scenes tie it together better than the previous cut.

[Previous entry: "Night Of The RomComs"]

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Night Of The RomComs

[Previous entry: "Classic Filmage"]

And three days go by again... of course, Saturday I didn't watch any DVDs. F1 qualifying (dull), Norwich football (at least they played all of the first half this time!), and then bits and pieces on television until I decided to go out, get food and watch a film. It ended up being Constantine, which was much, much better than I thought it would be. Keanu wasn't very good, Rachel Weisz was good, Tilda Swinton made an excellent Gabriel (I really must track down Orlando at some point), and the only really bad bit of casting was the guy playing Lucifer - too old, too unattractive. They needed another Tilda Swinton really...

Then a couple of beers and then home - I did manage to forget my newly purchased book in Callahans though. After some sleep (although clock change meant an hour less than I'd have liked) and watching a lacklustre grand prix I then had to go out and retrieve the book. Fetched successfully, I then descended into buying DVDs I didn't need... although I managed to pay no more than 10 dollars apiece so it wasn't too horrible. Back to the cinema, I saw Ice Princess which at least had a good cast (Kim Cattrall, Joan Cusack, Michelle Trachtenberg), but I really need to find someone to go and see these teen girl movies with so I'm not so conspicuous... It wasn't a bad film, but it did nothing clever or particularly original.

At home, I put on a couple of those DVDs I'd bought - First Daughter (my first "previously viewed" purchase, which seemed to be okay) with Cardboard Finn and Joey Potter. I do like Michael Keaton in this as the President, and the rest of the story is fairly reasonable (if predictable). Of course I had to follow it with Godzilla which is entertaining fluff, even if there are much better sci-fi films out there.

So, we're on to Monday and I really need sleep, but first "You've Got Mail" with the reteaming of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan after Sleepless. Okay, this isn't a bad movie... but I failed to emotionally connect with any of them, and although I knew how it was going to turn out, I didn't really care all that much. The attempts by Hanks to persaude Ryan that he's not such a bad guy after her store closes is touching and has some amusing moments, but otherwise not too special.

And then, because I'm stupid and sleep is over-rated, I put on Sleepless In Seattle. And this is much, much better. I'm tearing up after ten minutes - although did they get a bulk license on Somewhere Over The Rainbow? It appeared at the end of Mail, and at the beginning of this one...

Okay, this is a film that starts really well and ends really well, but the middle is pretty average. The story flows quite well, and you're rooting for the two leads to get together at the end (and for Goddess' sake ditch Bill Pullman and let him go off and be President), but it possibly needs a little bit of a kick in the middle just to propel the viewer to the end. Hey, it's streets above You've Got Mail (and First Daughter from last night) but we'll see if it holds out against the other rom-coms in the offing bought on Sunday... I have a feeling one or both of the presidential films upcoming will knock it off though as I absolutely love both of them...

[Previous entry: "Classic Filmage"]

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Classic Filmage

[Previous entry: "A Mixed Bag"]

Wow, missed two days again... I'm slacking. Okay, no I'm not, because I haven't actually watched anything I own the last two days. Wednesday saw two DVDs that I'd been lent, and then Thursday saw me watching real, honest to goodness broadcast television... my TV was starting to wonder why there was a cable box plugged in to the back of it!

So Wednesday's films? "Wings Of Desire" which was an hour and a half of tedium (which I can understand the purpose of, but it's reeeeaaaaallly slow), followed by an absolutely brilliant 40 minutes. The problem is the emotional impact of the last 40 might be lost without the slow buildup. But I imagine the film has turned off quite a few people with that initial segment though. Film 2 was "Cold Comfort Farm" which was lighthearted but not particularly funny - good cast of British actors, but otherwise forgettable.

Thursday saw the return of Tru Calling... finally. Of course, there's only six episodes, and they showed 2 on Thursday, so we've only got another four weeks of show, but this was a good season opening. Tru and Jack are back at each other's throats after a summer apart. Tru's father seems to be taking a much closer interest in the conflict here, having moved back to the city and employed Harrison in an attempt to turn him to their side. Davis has a new love interest. Tru is auditing medical school.

These were good episodes but there's a bit of a nagging question - Tru knows who dies because she's there when they ask for help... but how does Jack know? He seems to know it's the harbour patrol woman who dies, and the circumstances of her death (enough to warn the boat she was out to rescue about Tru's possible appearance). He then knows about the psychologist in the second episode minutes after rewinding. So he must get that information from somewhere...

And now, on to tonight, and actual owned DVD viewage - first we've got an episode of Buck Rogers to finish the disc, "Escape From Wedded Bliss," which sees Princess Ardala come back with a weapon that can destroy Earth... unless they give up Buck to marry her.

Then the night descends into classic films. Starting with the next of the Fox Studio Classics (which I'm going to watch in order, even though I'm a long, long way behind), "How Green Was My Valley" about a boy growing up in welsh mining town. This was a bit slow and I never really connected with any of the characters, so I'm not sure how it one all the oscars it did...

"Laura" continued the filmfest, which was an improvement over the previous film, and a fun little mystery. I'm still not entirely clear on what makes it a film noir, but I guess I'll have to track down the other releases to find out.

I should really have stopped at this point, but stupidly put on "Carry On Matron" which I then wanted to go to bed in the middle of. It's not the best Carry On film, with Sid James' band of criminals planning to steal some pills from a maternity hospital (with requisite undercover criminal disguised as a nurse), and Kenneth Williams as the hypochondriac doctor, but it still has its endearing moments.

[Previous entry: "A Mixed Bag"]


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