Dear FRINGE – You Have Been Put On Notice

On Facebook, I posted brief thoughts on my initial WTF reaction to Fringe last Friday. The majority of the episode was entertaining, but the last five minutes of the show made me cringe.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

I’ve read in various places that the show finally jumped the shark.  I don’t view it as such. Fringe is the type of show where if you have any intelligence what-so-ever, you realize the science behind the plots is pretty bad. Sure, there are stable concepts on which things are built, but you pretty much have to take anything with a grain of salt. If I wanted a show based on real science, I’d watch Discovery or the Science Channel. I don’t tune into Fringe for the educational value. I faithfully watch every episode because it’s fun. It’s a great story.

It’s a show that relies on its viewers to suspend belief in reality, while still utilizing their core intelligence.  I admire it for that purpose. I wouldn’t know what the hell Walter was doing or saying if I wasn’t a well-read individual. Sure, it would look cool, but if I weren’t a fan of those basic and much expanded on theories of science, I would miss half of the show.

Where the writers ruined it for me was Bellivia. If you’ve watched last week’s episode, Walter is desperate to bring William Bell back. He feels stunted in his current role to help save his version of the universe. Long story short, William worked on a project called ‘soul magnets’.  According to the ‘conservation of energy’ theory, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Working upon those principles, Bell and Bishop theorize that human souls are made up of that same energy. Therefore, when you die, your soul remains somewhere in this universe. They then hypothesized that if there were some way to draw that energy back to an object, you could re-awaken the consciousness of said person, technically bringing them back from death.

See, the concept based on scientific principle and yet stretched for entertainment purposes. That’s what I love about the show.

Bishop rings a bell and he and Nina wait patiently for William to show up. Meanwhile in Olivia and Peter land, Olivia pauses as Bell’s consciousness is drawn into her body. Again, one of those, “He must have set this up when she was a child,” moments. I could have lived with this. I knew what was happening. I am not stupid. Yet, the writers felt they had to take it a step forward and have Anna Torv act out Leonard Nimoy’s voice as well, just so that the audience was sure it was his.

I could see this as a necessary step in a radio play. You don’t want to confuse the listener. However, Anna Torv is a pretty versatile actress. She could have pulled it off without resorting to vocal histrionics. My bullshit detector immediately went off. It was something I wasn’t willing to forgive. For everything that Fringe relies on me to believe, this was one thing I just couldn’t. Pulling in a floating consciousness would probably result in odd mannerisms, but the voice is part of the body. A body which no longer exists. Speech patters would definitely be there, but the voice really bugged the shit out of me.

Perhaps it comes down to one simple fact — Since Fringe relies on me to be intelligent to fully enjoy the show, why did the writers think I wasn’t smart enough to get that Olivia was instantly transformed into Bellivia? Please don’t lump me into the same demographic that finds Jersey Shore appealing.

Anyway, I usually give forms of entertainment a three strike policy. That episode for the reasons explained above was the first disappointment. Hopefully, it’s the last.

Hey Doctor Who Fans Waiting For The Season Five Soundtrack…

As I finished Mass Effect 2, which was an awesome game, the final battle sounds a bit like Doctor Who music. So, if you’re eagerly awaiting the soundtrack to season five as I am, this should tide you over nicely. The similar “Doctor is about to solve a crisis” music starts at 41 seconds. Enjoy.

Update: As I played this video, my five year old came running in thinking I was watching Matt Smith. 🙂

Torchwood Triangles: Jack, Gwen & Rhys

NOTE: This post does contain spoilers for Torchwood: Season One, Two, and Three. 

I don’t know why I thought about this the other day, but I think it was the conversation I had with a friend about the relationships in Torchwood. 

The predictable romance/sexual tension between Gwen & her two beaus was a very eye-opening experience for me. It shows that  I’ve possibly learned a lot as I’ve traversed the rocky ground that is love, romance and longing.

At the beginning of the series, I sincerely hoped Rhys would kick the bucket and Jack and Gwen would go tromping off into the sunset together. After all, who couldn’t deny the looks Jack gave Gwen, or that memorable shooting instruction scene? I kept getting impatient, figuring I’d have to wait as long as I did for Mulder and Scully to finally admit their love, which pissed me off. To my surprise, my wish almost came true. Almost. Rhys gets stabbed by some crazy man hell bent on destroying the world, and then is somehow brought back through a reset of the rift in time. (If life was always that easy.) Watching his crumpled form on the dungeon floor, I had mixed emotions. I was sad and yet I cheered for an instant as Rhys’ body lay broken and bleeding, his head cradled against Gwen’s heaving chest. She was free! Jack could finally have her!

Then I pulled my head out of my ass. 

Granted, I know I’m talking about a fictional piece of entertainment, but Gwen is lucky to have Rhys! Looking back, I dislike her all the more for sleeping with Owen and wanting the unattainable relationship with Jack. Rhys stood by her at every turn, and sure,  they had their problems, but ultimately, they kept finding their way back to one another as Torchwood dragged Gwen even deeper through the mud.

I’m glad Gwen seemed to get her own head out of her nether regions as well, and demanded to marry her longtime boyfriend despite wedding day complications. Yet, even as she was about to walk down the aisle, there was still an ever present longing for Jack. Old habits die hard I guess.  

 Despite everything they’ve been through, Rhys and Gwen(for the most part) have stayed committed to one another, which is more than what I could say for Jack, who disappears when the world goes to shit. I’m surprised John Barrowman isn’t demanding that his script writers be burned at the stake for making Jack a coward when it comes to introspection. Perhaps if Captain Jack Harkness stuck around and faced his internal demons, it wouldn’t be so hard to forge acceptable and real relationships with people, instead of letting his 51st century hormones do all the talking. 

I guess my change of heart comes from changing my romantic ideals. Ten years ago, I would have wanted to be rescued by Jack. Who doesn’t like handsome and charming at first glance? Yet, when you scrape away the facade, inside are only demons and guilt and ultimately, Jack wants no part in helping himself. 

Rhys, however, is the ultra loyal partner who will tell you how it is, and hope that Gwen lives up to her side of the bargain. Yet, he’s also shown time and time again, that even when she can’t, he’s more than willing to cut her some slack and help her. He’s dependable, he’s her rock, and he loves her. He’s the smoldering spark that refuses to die. 

Jack, I hate to say it would be lighter fluid over paper. A brilliant, white hot flame that lasts for seconds. Hell, milliseconds to a person who supposedly lives forever. 

I have had my share of Jacks in my life. 

Give me a Rhys.

Review: Torchwood – Children of Earth

I’ll admit, season one and two of Torchwood, was no Battlestar Galatica, but it filled my insatiable void for mainstream science fiction. Quirky characters, fun little stories, unbelievable conclusions, it was like Mulder and Scully got sexy and fun.

A pterodactyl? Check. A glove that brings people back to life? Check. A sex robot who lives on orgasmic energy and turns her victims to dust? Check. It was safe to say that the first two seasons of Torchwood were a nice distraction from everyday life.

However, Children of Earth, the five day mini-series event, changed all that. This post gets terribly spoilerific, so if you haven’t seen the newest installment by Russell T. Davies, go no further.

Day One starts out much like the original series. After a flashback from 1965 involving children walking into a strange light, we see Gwen standing at a Cardiff ATM when two children in her immediate vicinity just stop moving. Staring straight ahead, both sets of parents figure their children are playing a game. After a few moments, the kids move on as if nothing happened. It wouldn’t be Gwen if she didn’t find something odd about the situation, so she investigates on the down low. Turns out, reports have been coming in that it was not an isolated incident.

Later the same day, it happens again, except that all the kids start to scream and then speak in unison. Like a heavy antique circus train trying to chug up a hill, “We, we, we” is repeated, building slowly to the full sentence “We are coming.”

It’s one of the creepiest scenes I’ve ever experienced in televised history. Having children of my own probably added to my visceral reaction. I wanted to check on my girls to make sure they were sleeping soundly in their beds.

As the series progresses, we learn that an alien entity named the 4,5,6,  (I’m still confused where they get the name — I know it’s the radio frequency on which the being transmits, but it also has 3 heads as well) has come back to Britain. Is it alone or part of an invading armada? All we know is that it’s extremely dangerous.

Continuing on, we find out a number of things. Gwen is pregnant. In the same moment we find she is  six weeks along, we find out Jack has been the victim of a nefarious scheme aimed at taking Torchwood out of the picture. A bomb has been planted in his stomach and he manages to get Gwen and Ianto out of the super secret lair before it blows sky high.

We learn Jack was to be contained (since he’s got that whole, immortality thing going on) in a cement prison because apparently, what you didn’t see in the beginning 1965 flashback, was that he was the person leading the children into the light.

More plot details unfold — hey, I have to leave some surprises, and ultimately we find out that the 4,5,6 want ten percent of the world’s children. Again, I’ll leave out the reason why as the discovery is one of the most disturbing moments in the series.

There is resignation from politicians,  balking by people who give a damn  and there are severe consequences related to both. One of the most insightful and horrifying things portrayed in CoE are how the heads of state react to this alien threat. The Americans rush over to Britain and hurl insults while screaming about “national security” and UN resolutions. Oh, how high and mighty we are in the face of something so vile. Noting the British incompetence, its the US which takes immediate control of the situation.

I can’t say I liked the portrayal very much, but with that said, I don’t doubt it would go differently. Depending on of course, who is president at the time.

My only other minor complaint had to deal with the lack of panic. A great big column of fire decends into London, the children of the world are mind controlled by an unknown entity and it’s business as usual? Where are the protests, where is the panic, where is the looting? Davies puts a lot of faith in the human spirit when the government asks for trust. As we’ve seen, it only takes something little to tip the scales and induce a mass hysteria. I still can’t turn on my news without hearing about Michael Jackson…

CoE is as much character driven as it is superb story. We find out that the British PM is a total coward, hiding behind small glasses, a polite accent and paperwork. He’s the kind of guy who retreats when it counts and leaves the most difficult decisions and work to other people, hoping to coming out unscathed in popular opinion.  It’s those kinds of people that make me sick and all to often, they are the people at the wheel of a sinking ship. It’s disheartening.

One of the most intriguing parts of the series was the character, John Frobisher, the Permanent Secretary to the Home Office. I wanted to hate him at first, but I slowly realized that he was a peon in the civil service, used as a pawn and thrown into a situation over his head. A complex character arc, he does what he thinks is necessary and right to protect his government and is ultimately betrayed in the end. I had to walk away on Day Five to control my crying and shaking in his last scene. I don’t think I’ve ever been that upset, moved, disappointed, and angry at what this man is forced to do.

As far as Torchwood is concerned, I find it interesting that throughout the whole event, they are ineffective as a group. In episodes past,  standing together was their strength and usually dictated how well they worked with one another. Not the case this time around. In this story, it comes down to the heartbreaking decision of one of the members that ultimately dictates the conclusion.

There are no happy endings in this series and I think this is one of the rare cases where I’m glad it happened as such. Had all the strings been neatly tied and organized into proper places, I would have been less satisfied. There are severe consequences for everyone involved and the chaos is at times overwhelming.

If you haven’t seen Torchwood: S1 & S2, I would at this point tell you not to bother unless you’re interested in something entirely different. While the original year series is everything that I mentioned, CoE is vastly different. Even the characters are different in spirit if not by name. It’s almost like watching a horny college student grow into adulthood and suddenly realizing that there are far more responsibilities out there than waving a gun, having sex and blowing up alien goo.

I hope there are more events like this going forward. There has been talk that the series will continue provided the success of this 5 day mini-series and if early numbers are any indication, I think we’ll see more Torchwood in the future.

I watched the conclusion on Friday and still, I’m asking myself questions and digesting the content. Would I have made the same decisions? This is one of those experiences from which you walk away thinking about everybody involved. You need to put yourself in their shoes and realize that while it’s unlikely in my lifetime to ever see an alien threat, it could be something as simple as war, or disease that sets a similar chain of events into action. In any effect, it made me squeeze my kids a little harder and hoping I’m never put into any such situation.

Torchwood – My New Lover

One of my favorites scenes so far in season one. It’s 2 a.m and I’m only through episode 7. I.can’t.stop.watching.

This show has everything a lonely single woman loves in a show. Good stories, memorable characters, swearing, guns, aliens, murderers, blood, guts and sex! Wooo. Why I didn’t start watching this show long before now is a mystery to me. Thank God, Captain Jack Harkness can help me figure that out. Oh, and he can totally help me perfect my real life shooting skills any day.

I am watching it on Itunes, only because I have no idea what censors do to the show once it gets here after airing in Britain. Trust me when I say, this show is a dish best served whole…with good stories, memorable characters, swearing, guns, aliens, murderers, blood, guts and sex! (Oops!)

Why Most Horror Movies Suck

Okay, let me clarify. The title of the post should really have been, “Why Most Horror Movies that the SciFi Channel plays, Suck.”

As with most of the testosterone laden channels out there right now, everyone has some sort of monster movie marathon happening in the lead up to Halloween. Usually a History Channel or Discovery Channel addict, my father, who ever since I can remember, gets a grin and starts flipping through the senseless and copious amounts of B-movie stupidity.

I don’t watch much TV these days and I’m usually stuck in my home office working anyway, but I’ll occasionally take a bio or get some food, only to pass by the TV to walking zombies, killer dolls, or generally something that is spurting blood or screaming.

It was a few days ago, but when I went in the kitchen to grab a sandwich, there on the TV was a teenage girl going absolutely insane along side Mimi Rogers. Mimi ends up biting it near the end, I didn’t stick around to find out how, but the only thing I can think of is that she bled out from her ears after listening to the girl whine for a full half hour. In fact, I believe I came back out and the girl was still crying and hysterical in the same car, in the same seat, and pleaded with whatever killer to finish her off.

More recently, we were treated to some sort of zombie movie in the afternoon hours while the kids were in school.

As this is basically all I’ve seen, the SciFi channel will buy rights to a zombie movie with the specific criteria:

1.) One abandoned warehouse where one can house all secret-pseudo military operations
2.) One male protagonist who despite his cocky attitude and troubled past, is one hell of a nice guy
3.) One hawt female counterpart who has turned down advances from the male hero multiple times, only to fall in love with him as she does kickass battle beside him against hordes of zombies
4.) Multiple people playing zombies who overact their parts
5.) One actor who plays a role of international flavor, who usually shits all over nationality being played by sporting a horrible accent, or displaying bad stereotype
6.) One black dude who has, “seen it all”, but usually bites it (or gets bitten) regardless of any heroics
7.) One Mexican who playfully jabs the wholesome white guy only to point at the hawt female protagonist as she pulls camos over a slammin body and say, “I’d hit that”.
8.) One rich, white dude who funds the operation that turns everyone into zombies in the first place, only to get eaten in the end.
9.) Lots of blood, guts and body parts
10.) Lots of weapons
11.) No real plot required

Now, the issue I have with the Scifi channel is that they only seem to be buying the cheaply made b-movie crap-in-a-blender these days. I don’t recall watching anything good. With the exceptions of Battlestar Galactica and some would argue Dr. Who and Eureka, Scifi should just merge with SpikeTV and be done with it. I mean, they’ve already got boxing, and fake wrestling on, and I think I saw the daytime soap Passions, a while ago while I was lazily channel flipping.

IF you’re going to have an aptly named science fiction channel, strictly dedicated to science fiction, then it better play 24 hours of science fiction! Is that such a hard concept to fathom? Why not some decent movies? NBC owns Universal. Why can’t there be reciprocal SF offerings on both stations? Instead, the faithful will have to endure Starship Troopers (1,2,3) quality crud that we can’t stomach even with a bottle of Pepto.

Enjoy your killer (scientifically-altered, alien, animal) of the week preying upon small (towns, boats, children, hunters) and testosterone laden adventures into frivolity with shit such as Ghost Hunters and Scare Tactics, while I actually go find some good TV.

CNN Offering T-Shirts From Headlines

WTF?

This is almost as bad as FOX’s blunder with Michelle Obama last week. Let’s take serious news, twist the headline and then sell it as a shirt with our branding. Seriously, what is going on in the heads of marketing over there?

Who wants a t-shirt that says, ” Clerk plans to marry same-sex partner?” or ” Furor erupts over guns in national parks!” I’m not kidding here, if you go to the news site and click on the little shirt icon next to the video camera, you can make yourself a t-shirt.

It’d be nice if you could alter a headline to say, “CNN has no class!”

Furthermore, who’s the lucky soul who chooses the headlines? Will they get raunchy and more ‘tongue-in-cheek’ as time progresses as some asshat buys the merchandise? Why can’t it all be equal opportunity either? “Police shoot man beating to death toddler” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Give me a fucking break will you please? This type of money making scheme would maybe work on “The Daily Show” or “The Onion”, but CNN? I’m officially cutting myself off from reading/watching news in all formats.

Someone please tell me when the world starts to end, cause I’m not going to know about it.