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Review Pile 1: The Path of Least Resistance

Otherwise known as "Over the summer, RS has totally and completely forgotten how to watch 15 hours of TV a week AND write episode reviews, so in order to get back into the habit of what seems like an incredibly daunting task, she is starting with the shows about which she has the least to say."  But that was too long for a subject line.  And my obsessive-compulsive/anal-retentive self hates the fact that these are in no semblance of chronological order, but that's because I couldn't behave myself and *watch* the shows in chronological order.

Oh, and my recording situation is as follows: After seven hours of driving around and shopping last weekend, I ended up with a DVR sporting a built-in tuner, which is practically perfect in every way except for the fact that when I go to the final step up of setup, "auto tune," I can't get it to pick up any channels and thus can't record.   If I can't figure out why it doesn't work within 2 weeks, I'll have to return it.  In the meantime, I'm either watching live and reviewing from memory (time-wasting, and lack of rewind/pause/fast-forward option sucks), downloading (pretty good, but takes an irritatingly long time, and once obtained you can only jump along the progress bar, not actually watch it fast-forward), or recording select shows on Magnavox, whom I have hooked up in the living room because he can still get CBS clearly (alas, speed manipulation options are less useful when TV is not in the same room as the computer).  All right, on to some reviews. 

1. Cold Case: 5.01, Thrill Kill
Recovering from an all-nighter, I slept right through this when it aired and woke up right at the very end (way to kick off Premiere Week!).  Luckily, by the following day, it became my first successful download.  Which is where I discovered that it had been very stupid of me to have turned on the TV as soon as I woke up, because it spoiled the identity of the killer, and took away all the suspense as soon as they met the boys' parents (who were extremely irritating).  Nevertheless...I thought it was a solid premiere.  Perhaps a little bit predictable when someone loudly dropped a box on the floor and the entire team jumped out of their skin - c'mon, I assume Lil's been gone at least a few weeks to recover; are you telling me that's the first time anyone's made a noise that sounded like a gunshot? - but case-wise, it was solid.  It's hard not to feel a major twinge of sympathy for the victim of the week when said victims are little kids who've been beaten to death.  ...and for the second time in a week, I am confused as to when my objective outlook on children changed.  I'm sure that even two years ago my reaction would have been a lot more like "oh dear.  Dead kids.  How tragic."

For once, I'm glad they opened the season some time after the finale events, rather than picking up right where they left off.   I wasn't really interested in watching Lily's dramatic rescue in the ER.  Good place for fanfic to play in, though...if anyone writes fanfic...I'm not entirely sure they do.  I'm also glad that they didn't focus too much on her back-to-work jitters.  There was a bit of slo-mo when she first walked through the doors, but then they shook it off, and I think she seems ready to be back, even if her boss doesn't.  I'm slightly less glad if IAD is going to be whining about Scotty not having a good shooting, but I guess they'd be remiss not to mention that.  And the real scene-stealer of the night went to the war over Chinese food.
Vera: You're reaching, Lil.
Kat: *head shoots up* And you're reaching for my Kung Pao chicken.
Vera: ...It's family style.
Kat: Do I look like your family?

Oh, Kat.  Mistress of the dagger-like looks and quiet but intensely threatening warnings.  These two are developing into the best bantering pair ever, and I love when the writers play it up.  They style reminds me very much of an old dog just trying to be sociable, and getting shoved around by the smug new cat, who swipes him with her claws every so often just to remind him who's boss. 

Lastly, because I might not ever notice fashion but am hypersensitive to hair...I highly approve of Lil's glam new bangs.  I've always hated her shag cut, and the bangs help her look a lot more feminine as opposed to androgynous.  As for Kat, her longer curls are going to take some getting used to - I rather liked the pouf - but once I'm settled in I'll realize they serve to make her prettier than ever.
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Hm, you know what?  Forget what I said in the opening paragraph.  All of a sudden I seem to have remembered how to write standard-sized reviews, and I'll even be going in the order in which I watched things this week.  There will be no repeat of last year, when I was so overwhelmed by the deluge of good TV after a summer of starvation that I didn't write a word until the second week of October...

2. Back to You/Til Death
Since I wasn't paying attention to the new-show grid this year, I failed to realize that Back to You started before my returning shows, and thus I missed the pilot.  But I really wanted to give it a chance, so I just watched episode 2, and...wow.  I will not be doing that again.  Watching this show, that is.  Remember how I was hoping that we could gloss over the detail about how they once slept together? That's going to be a little difficult to do when it turns out they have a kid.  Thus did my interest keel over and die.  You pitched me a show about snarky rival newscasters  - where did this stupid sideplot of "absentee father returned after 10 years" sneak in?  I'm sorry; Kelsey and Patricia are great actors and unlike most people I don't feel they suffer from association with their previous characters, but I don't like the premise of these characters, so...I'll just save myself an hour on Wednesdays.  Dear FOX: Please move Bones back in this timeslot after Idol starts, k?  Or even before.  Before would be great.

Actually, the real measure of how much I disliked "Back to You" was when I watched "Til Death" immediately afterwards and thought "Hah, this show is funny, I'm glad it got renewed!"  (Although, while it pains me to say this, I really do think TD has cute, quirky humor as long as Jeff & Steph aren't in the scene.)   

3. Private Practice, 1x1, In Which We Meet Addison, A Nice Girl From Somewhere Else
Oh God, they're going to be like "Friends" and give all their episodes descriptive summary titles.  Boooo. 

Let's start by talking about characters - specifically, the casting changes from pilot to season premiere.  As you may or may not have heard, I was devastated to find out Merrin Dungey had been replaced, because I was *so* looking forward to seeing her as Addison's best friend, and also living in eternal hope that she would get back together with her husband.  I am less than enamored of her blockier, tougher-looking replacement.  But you know what makes up for that?  THE FACT THAT PIZ IS GONE!  They've replaced the front desk kid (who looked about 15) with a guy who is not only ten times hotter, but actually looks intelligent.   Welcome to position #4 on the Totem Pole of Favorite Characters, and if you're very good you might even kick Sam down a peg.

[Edit: What do you mean, IT'S THE SAME ACTOR?  *squints hard* Was he on Extreme Makeover over the summer, or what?  He's unrecognizable!]

Speaking of that, I am going to make a concentrated effort to refer to him as Sam from now on, even though I desperately want to keep saying Taye Diggs, because he's Taye Diggs.  I still really like Sam, and I'm delighted that they didn't forget about the Chihuahua from the pilot.  I like continuity, even when I fear the little pup isn't much longer for this show.  Who has time to keep track of pets when you're focused on sex?  (observe my rolling eyes) Because Sam has a masterful grasp on dry humor.  :D   

I love Violet because she's so adorably flaky, and seems to float back and forth between proper adulthood and adolescent mentality.  She seems in constant need of a hug, which is why I like her silly friendship with Cooper, who seems similarly caught between two stages of development, depending on the amount of clothing in use at the time.  I don't want to like Cooper, because I am disturbed by the fact that he's a pediatrician...I dunno, it just seems like an internet sex addict (*shudders*), consensual relations or not, is someone I wouldn't want around children...but when he's with colleagues and fully clothed, he's dopey and lovable. 

Addison is still my favorite character by default, but I feel like she might soon be eclipsed by her colleagues, especially if she gets herself tangled up in yet another messy workplace relationship.  Holistic Healer guy, whose name I swear I will learn by next week, is not so much "charming" as "nauseatingly smarmy," and his belief in his own superiority is a huge turnoff - by far my least favorite right now.

As for the episode itself, I am unbelievably glad they seem to have dispatched with the talking-elevator gag.  I am less glad that we had to be subjected to Addison dancing in a towel - I was mortified on Kate Walsh's behalf - and abjectly horrified when she dropped the towel entirely and started dancing naked.  In front of a window.  I'm amazed by the stupidity of that, actually...I mean, if for some reason you feel that you must celebrate your new life with nude dancing, how hard is it to find somewhere that's not directly in front of uncovered glass?

The storyline that resonated most with me was Violet's; I thought it was really well done even though I kept getting distracted throughout the hour and missing chunks of what was going on with her crazy patient in the store.  It really showcased what both she and her work are about., and enjoyed it.  I did not enjoy the whole sperm-from-a-dead-guy-for-his-20-something-girlfriend thing squicked me out beyond belief, and I couldn't help siding with the ex-wife in that scenario.  I mean, it's just creepy.  I'm sure the girlfriend was heartbroken and distraught, but having a baby will not make up for losing him.  I'm thinking it would be much healthier to mourn and move on.  Perhaps fall in love with someone a bit closer to your age, and have babies naturally.  I also suspect this person will be easier to find if one is not a single mom raising a kid.  The only redeeming part to this storyline was Sam siccing Naomi on the uncooperative ER doctor.  Hehehe.

I'm not sure how I feel about Addison's patient, the pregnant teenager with her cranky father in tow.  I sympathize with Addie's frustration about having a birthing suite in place of a sterile hospital room, but can't help wondering why she didn't realize this earlier.  Also, isn't she like Superwoman in terms of her surgical skills?  Seems like a little step down, and possibly a giant loss for the medical community, for her to move to a midwife position.  However, I did really like the bit where Dell came in to hold the girl's hand and keep her calm.  That was the singularly greatest moment of patient care I have ever seen in a Shonda show - he was so incredibly reassuring, I felt calm.  More doctors should be like that.  You know, without being Izzie or Alex and falling in love with their patient.  Dear Addison: please let the student help more often.  You remember having interns, ri...actually, no, forget you ever had interns.   Just let the student help. 

Overall, I think I like the show.  Certainly not the best show on TV, but then neither is Grey's, and I think at the moment I like this one better - I will definitely be tuning in next week to see how Addison settles into the team.  I like the fact that it's a smaller ensemble, with a small group of adults around the same age, rather than a complex staff hierarchy with interns running around all over the place.  Do I think this will make it a more mature workplace?  Absolutely not, but I like to believe it will result in less ragingly hormonal rabbit!sex in storage closets and such.  It's cute how my optimism never fails

4. CSI: NY - 4x1, Can You Hear Me Now?
That was probably my least favorite premiere of the show so far - I mean, the cases were better than "People With Money", but character development counts for 65% of episode enjoyment and it fell flat here.   I think I'll just cut to specific list of things, and  summarize at the end.
Things I Didn't Like:
-The remixed credits.  CSI: NY has always had one of the best theme songs ever, and now suddenly the musical interlude is extended and the lyrics don't fit with the rhythm of the shifting pictures and it's just very sad.  I'd rather kill the theme song entirely than listen to this. 

-I already miss Peyton.  Extending "10 days" to "a few extra weeks" does not bode well for the future.  But that may have been because while watching this live, I totally failed to see this fabled lipstick print on Mac's cheek that everyone else has been talking about.  Just my luck.

-Dear Show: get the hell out of the goddamn bedroom!  Is this the new standard for all premieres & finales?  If so, knock it off.  You have no business covering the sex lives of people whose names we know, but you especially have no business covering the sex lives of people who aren't even main characters.  No one cares about what Adam does outside of work.  Scratch that - I'm sure a lot of people do care, but they should have to suck it up and discuss their fantasies in the dark corner with the slash shippers.  Some things should just be required to stay in fanfic, and half-naked lab rats are among them. 

-I cannot stand Kendall.  Her perkiness makes me want to strangle her, and her twittering attitude of self-satisfaction as she competes with Adam for title of CSI's Pet  makes me dig my nails into the wood of my desk to keep from throwing things at the TV screen.  It's not cute, and it's not funny, it's just irritating.  They're trying too hard to make her likable. 

-I've been hating Lindsay's haircut since it appeared in the promo picture and it...just does not get better in live action.  It's short, severe, lifeless, and has aged her about 10 years.  I miss the loose curls. 

-Lindsay's explanation of spray-on condoms?  UM.  What part of "I am still scouring my brain from Snow Day" wasn't clear?  Suggestive looks over this subject matter = need for brain bleach.  I liked D/L when they were flirty and/or angsty.  Now that they've crossed the bedroom threshold, however, their supposedly cute scene didn't so much say to me "we're in love" as "LOLZ, we're totally shagging like bunnies after hours!"  This is the problem I've recently developed with them...okay, pull up your chairs, we're venturing into Digression Land.

I buy that they like each other and care about each other, and certainly have potential as a longterm couple.  But I am still not entirely convinced that they are soulmates and/or deeply in love. This is mostly Danny's fault, because as a Typical Guy I don't think he's capable of achieving that type of depth, at least not this early.  But Lindsay didn't help matters when she tore his clothes off last spring; all of this serves to convince me that they are in a lust-based relationship more than anything else.  That makes me sad.  Actually, more like annoyed. 

Things I DID like:
-I'm squeeful that they've changed the format of CSI:Q so as not to tip off hints to the final solution.  Now I won't have to duck and shield my eyes/plug my ears every time I hear the announcer start a commercial break.

-Hawkes, working the facial hair again...that'll take some getting used to, but I know I used to like it better, so I'm sure I'll soon feel that way again.  Same for the longer hair on top.  It really doesn't matter...I think it's impossible for him to not be attractive.  Hill Harper is a very good-looking man.

-The 3:33 Mystery.  I'm a little wary of setting up a season-long plot arc, just because I feel like people are quickly going to start whining about its lack of sufficient advancement and/or the final payoff will fall short of expectations (you can thank NCIS for that), but I'm always up for anything that involves Mac angst.   There were also some very nice Mac/Stella scenes tucked in here; I never tire of the emphasis on their close relationship. 

-The murders on the case were really interesting (guy stuffed inside a timpani!), even if I squirmed excessively at the sight of a guy being embalmed alive.  This was made up for by the fact that Nova Kent may be my favorite guest character ever.  Is it sad if I went straight to the internet to find out if she was a real singer, and/or if I could find the name of the song she was performing at the concert?  Shut up, it was really pretty.

-Apparently this was really obvious, but I was still proud of myself when I realized the landlord was the killer before the show told me so.  It only took me half an episode to decide he seemed too nonchalant and helpful to be innocent!

-Aggressive + Sarcastic Flack in interrogation room = love.  As is action!Flack grabbing a fleeing suspect. 

Synthesis: Overall, I think it was the weakest of the CSIverse premieres.  I was interested enough while watching, but had no desire to go through it again.  In fact, I'm giving up on my review right now because I've grown bored with thinking about it.  We'll try a fresh start next week.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
laguera25
Sep. 29th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Have you Googled DVR Auto Tuning? From my skimming, it seems to be a relatively new feature. You could always ask the techies at CNet.com for help. Or google the DVR brand name for a help page...

Have you seen this? numb3rs_eps? Three guesses what it is...
laguera25
Sep. 29th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
Does this help?

OK, my DVR tuning problem was embarrassingly simple. To tune channels below 100 on my 3412 I need to enter a 3 digit channel number (eg. 054 for Nick) instead of just 2 digits, the way it worked with a 6412. Who knew?

I got it from here:

Comcast Help forum

You might not use Comcast, but they use third-party boxes, so...
rainbowstevie
Oct. 1st, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, that didn't seem to work, and further attempts at Googling have churned up a lot more pages of complaints than help. Apparently it was unwise to buy the Target name brand. Thank you so much for offering a suggestion, though; I'll keep poking around.
muzzy_olorea
Sep. 30th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC)
I agree with you pretty much on everything you said regarding CSI:NY - the new credits, the guy stuffed in the timpani, Kendall, knowing the landlord was the killer, but especially about the DLness mainly because I was so sure that I was going to be the only one who wasn't overjoyed by the scene and the hints of sex. I always prefer the build-up and the UST more than once the couples are actually together (Standoff being the big exception) and I'm in the minority when I say 'Sleight Out Of Hand' does more for me than 'Snow Day' but my big issue with this condom scene I guess is that I see Lindsay as so innocent and just the image of her putting the can in Danny's pocket was .... cringe. You see if it had been Lindsay purely focussed on the case and then at the end having Danny make a suggestive remark/look at least as I could see that as being more in character. Also, like you said, the difference for me in terms of my OTPS between DL and Booth/Brennan is that Danny has been portrayed so much as being a Typical Guy whereas with Booth we know how much he has values and is in for serious commitment etc. so in terms of depth of love my money has to be with BB. I just hope that they don't ruin the Danny/Lindsay with too many scenes like that one. I'm actually hoping Lindsay gets shot/kidnapped/hurt some time this season so we get to see Danny play off her as someone other than the guy who's having a lot of sex.

Sorry for the ramble. :)

rainbowstevie
Sep. 30th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
I see Lindsay as so innocent and just the image of her putting the can in Danny's pocket was .... cringe.
Yes! That is definitely what tipped the scene in the wrong direction for me, because you're right, I usually think of her as being more innocent. And good comparison to BB - Booth is a perfect example of someone who can be the guy's guy, but also have so much more to draw on when it comes to relationships.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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