Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST "With a little help from my friends..."


And so it ends.

The next week will, undoubtedly, be spent in intense debate over the meaning of the finale and whether it was satisfactory.  On Twitter the debate started raging before the episode ended in the east/central time zone. 

For me, the finale came down to what it always comes down on Lost: the characters.

My brief thoughts after the jump.  Spoilers abound!


What the finale gave us was a lovely farewell to some of the richest characters ever on television.  We got to see the heartwarming and heartbreaking reunions of our favorite couples.  For me, once Sawyer and Juliet reunited, I was all good.  I was glad that everybody's least favorite love quadrangle ended the way it was supposed to.  I love that Ben found some measure of redemption and that Hurley became the unlikely hero.  By the end, my mom and I were both sobbing.   

The visual parallels, particularly the final scene with Jack in the bamboo forest, were striking.  Ultimately, in the end, I didn't care about "the light" or the numbers or any of the 101 other mysteries that weren't spelled out for me.  As one of the critics (Alan Sepinwall?) said on Twitter, not sure how the series mythology holds up across the six seasons, but for tonight, it feels like the journey we've gone on with the characters was worth it.
     
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

NBC's Fall Schedule!

5:30 pm ETA: Video clips of new series!

The Live Feed over at The Hollywood Reporter managed to snag the NBC 2010 Fall schedule before the upfront presentation.

MONDAYS: (CST)
7:00 Chuck
8:00 The Event
9:00 Chase

TUESDAYS:
7-9:00 Biggest Loser
9:00 Parenthood

WEDNESDAYS:
7:00 Undercovers
8:00 Law & Order: SVU
9:00 Law & Order: Los Angeles

THURSDAYS:
7:00 Community
7:30 Rock
8:00 The Office
8:30 Outsourced
9:00 Love Bites

FRIDAYS
7:00 Who Do You Think You Are / School Pride
8:00 Dateline
9:00 Outlaw (AKA Garza)


Break down of each night and descriptions of the new series after the jump.

For each night I'll break down the new series and give official loglines (if available) or a brief description of the show and the production team before I give my first impressions. 

MONDAYS 
The theme of Monday's on NBC seems to be action.  Good way to start off the week and nice to finally have more appropriate programs available to pair with Chuck (though I think Undercovers would have been better).

8:00 pm (CST) The Event

"The Event" is an emotional high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, "The Class"), an Everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancée, Leila (Sarah Roemer, "Disturbia"), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history.  Sean's quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including: newly elected U.S. President Martinez (Blair Underwood, "Dirty Sexy Money"); Sophia (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, "ER"), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Sean’s shadowy father-in-law (Scott Patterson, "Gilmore Girls").  Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. Ian Anthony Dale ("Daybreak") and Emmy winner Željko Ivanek (“Damages”) also star in the ensemble drama.
“The Event” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Steve Stark Productions. Stark (“Medium,” “Facing Kate”) serves as executive producer, Nick Wauters ("The 4400," "Eureka") is creator/co-executive producer and Jeffrey Reiner (“Friday Night Lights,” “Trauma”) is the director/executive producer.  (source THR)
My cynical first response?  I give three weeks tops.  There are some great supporting players here (Zeljko Ivanek could make the phone book compelling) but I don't see Ritter as been a strong enough actor to anchor a show like this.  I've always found him a bit bland.

I also find the lack of character description in connection with the oh so vague "global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind" disconcerting.  With all of Lost inspired failures we've seen over the last five it seems like producers still haven't gotten the message: "it's the characters stupid!"  Mythology is great, I really love it, all my favorite shows have it.  But I can only get invested in the mythology if I care about the characters (see cancellation of Flashforward).  

With the global scale and large supporting cast this is probably a pretty expensive show so if it doesn't do well right out of the gate, it with probably disappear pretty quickly.  I'll reserve final judgment obviously, but I'm not optimistic.

ETA: Clips





9:00 pm (CST) Chase

"Chase" is a fast-paced drama that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. marshals hunts down America's most dangerous fugitives.  Kelli Giddish ("Past Life") stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down the violent criminals on the run. 
Cole Hauser ("K-Ville"), Amaury Nolasco ("Prison Break"), Rose Rollins ("The L Word") and Jesse Metcalfe ("Desperate Housewives") also star as members of Frost's elite team.  

"Chase" is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc., in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Warner Bros. Television.  Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman ("CSI" franchise, "The Amazing Race," "Cold Case") and Johnson serve as executive producers, while KristieAnne Reed is co-executive producer.  David Nutter ("The Mentalist," "Without a Trace" "The X-Files") directed and is executive producer of the pilot which was written by Johnson.  (Source: NBC)
My response to this is basically "eh" *shrug*.  Being a Bruckheimer crime procedural it seems like it would be a better fit at CBS.  It's also likely, if CBS & ABC aren't changing up their Monday schedule, to be up against CSI Miami & Castle and I'm not sure how this series is going to differentiate itself enough to draw viewers from those shows.  The cast is decent but no one I'm dying to see.  I doubt this will be on my "must see" list this fall.  

ETA: Clips
Chase



WEDNESDAYS
7:00 pm (CST) Undercovers

"Undercovers" is a sexy, fun, action-packed spy drama that proves once and for all that marriage is still the world's most dangerous partnership.  Outwardly, Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, "Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion," "Soul Food," "Resident Evil: Afterlife") and his wife, Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, "Doctor Who," "Bonekickers"), are a typical married couple who own a small catering company in Los Angeles and are helped by Samantha's easily frazzled younger sister, Lizzy (Jessica Parker Kennedy, "Smallville").  

Secretly, the duo were two of the CIA's best spies until they fell in love on the job five years ago and retired.  When fellow spy and friend Nash (Carter MacIntyre, "American Heiress") goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, "Deadwood") to locate and rescue Nash.  The pair is thrust back into the world of espionage as they follow leads that span the globe -- and Steven and Samantha realize that this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides the excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing.  Also starring is Ben Schwartz (NBC's "Parks and Recreation").

"Undercovers" is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television.  The pilot was written by J.J. Abrams & Josh Reims and directed by Abrams.  Abrams, Reims and Bryan Burk ("Fringe," "Lost, "Alias") are the executive producers. 
(Source: NBC)
This is the series I'm probably most excited for this fall.  I love JJ Abrams and, while he does have his faults (see time-traveling Felicity & the convoluted conclusion to Alias), he's a pretty fantastic producer and director.  The "Mr & Mrs Smith"-esq plot is also incredibly fun.  I'm a bit surprised that they didn't pair this series with Chuck unless they thought it was too much spy couples for one night.  (Maybe if The Event gets pulled). 

I'm also incredibly psyched about the casting.   A major network series with two black actors as the leads? Totally awesome and it's about damn time!  (I also love seeing Doctor Who cast members over here.  And yes, I'm still bitter about Rex).   Oh, and now that Heroes has been finally put to rest, how soon until Abrams pal Greg Grunberg joins the cast?  

ETA: Clips




9:00 pm (CST) Law & Order: Los Angeles

The new "LOLA" ("Law & Order: Los Angeles") is a procedural crime drama that will follow the theme and storylines similar to the "Law & Order"-brand series on the streets of Los Angeles.  The series, from executive producer Dick Wolf and Blake Masters ("Brotherhood"), is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Media Studios.  Casting and pre-production work are continuing. (Source: NBC)
It's Law & Order.  In Los Angeles.  It'll be interesting to see how the casting shakes out.  That could really make or break it.  I imagine they'll try to get at least one big name to play a DA.  I imagine the pilot will debut to huge numbers because of curiosity and then taper off.  

It's so hard to imagine Law & Order without NYC.  (I've been meaning to watch L&O:UK because of Jamie Bamber and Freema Agyeman but I haven't gotten around to downloading it.)


THURSDAYS 
NBC is playing it safe keeping to all comedy Thursdays.  They are holding back Parks & Recreations until midseason though which folks on Twitter seem to think is a big mistake.  The series has become something of a critical darling and with the high profile Rob Lowe joining the cast they seem to have a momentum going that might be disrupted by a long hiatus.  Might be better to hold 30 Rock back.

8:30 pm (CST) Outsourced

“Outsourced” is a comedy where the Midwest meets the exotic East in a hilarious culture clash. The series centers on the all-American company Mid America Novelties that sells whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon -- and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India. Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway's “The Gingerbread House”) is the new company’s manager who learns that he’s being transferred to India to run the operation. 
Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world. But as strange as America seems to his eclectic sales team, Todd soon realizes that figuring out India will be more than a full-time job. Rizwan Manji (“Privileged”), Sacha Dhawan (BBC’s “Five Days II”), Rebecca Hazlewood (BBC’s “Doctors”), Parvesh Cheena (“Help Me Help You”), and Anisha Nagarajan (Broadway’s “Bombay Dreams”) also star as members of Dempsy’s off-shore team; Diedrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show”) and Jessica Gower (Network Ten’s “The Secret Life of Us”) additionally star. 
“Outsourced” is produced by Universal Media Studios. Robert Borden (“The Drew Carey Show” and “George Lopez”) is executive producer/writer. Ken Kwapis (“The Office”) developed the project through his company, In Cahoots, and serves as executive producer/director. Alex Beattie serves as co-executive producer.  (Source: THR)
This is another series I'm very excited about.  I love the concept, combining work place & cultural conflicts might end up being really hysterical and you've producers who've dealt with these issues before.  It feels like something the audience can easily connect to.  I also love the idea of raising the profile of so many Indian actors and actresses.  I'm really pulling for this show (and it'll have to do well because P&R will be waiting in the wings if it gets pulled).

ETA: Clips



9:00 pm (CST) Love Bites

From Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Cindy Chupack (“Sex and the City”), “Love Bites” is an hour-long romantic comedy anthology series featuring three loosely connected, modern stories of love, sex, marriage and dating. Each episode contains multiple vignettes, all illuminating the theme of love with an edgy, irreverent spin. Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”) stars as Annie and Jordana Spiro (“My Boys”) stars as Frannie, the last two single girls standing after all of their friends get married. Annie is an infectiously bubbly optimist and Frannie is an always-a-bridesmaid realist. Their story will anchor the series, while other romantically-challenged characters will come and go each week. 


The pilot's guest cast includes Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Ghost Whisperer”), Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”), Craig Robinson (“The Office”), Jason Lewis (“Sex and the City”), Lindsay Price (“Lipstick Jungle”), Larry Wilmore (“The Daily Show”), Charlyne Yi (“Knocked Up”), Pamela Adlon (“Californication”), Stacy Galina (“Hidden Hills”), Brian Hallisay (“Privileged”), Kyle Howard (“My Boys”) and Steve Howey (“Bride Wars”). 


“Love Bites” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Working Title Television, which is a new division of Working Title Films (the U.K. production company behind box office hits including “Love Actually,” “Bridget Jones's Diary” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral”). Chupack is creator, executive producer and writer. Emmy Award-winning producer-director Marc Buckland (“My Name Is Earl”) also is executive producer and directs the pilot. Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan and Shelley McCrory from Working Title Television are executive producers. “Love Bites” is Working Title Television’s first U.S. commission. (Source: THR)
Hmm, I can't decide if this is going to be cute or vomit inducing.  (Full disclosure, I don't like Sex & the City and I hate Bridget Jones's Diary with a fiery passion.  I find the ways both texts co-opt the language of feminism offensive.)  I do love Becki Newton & Jordan Spiro though so if I even bother to check this out it will be because of them.     

ETA: Clips




FRIDAY
7:00 pm (CST) School Pride

In "School Pride," cameras will follow students, teachers and parents as they motivate their community to renovate the school. Making use of local businesses and skilled local labor, the community will make over classrooms, public spaces, art and music halls, and athletic facilities. The work will include everything from re-painting and re-carpeting to improving the utilities, and updating the technology systems of the school.
A team of experts will lend their expertise in the makeover process but it's up to the students, teachers, and community to execute the restoration. As the story of their progress unfolds, multiple surprises will be revealed to them, ultimately concluding with the unveiling of a brand new, completely transformed school. Months later, cameras will revisit the school to discover the lasting effects of the transformation - a renewed sense of school pride and an increase in student achievement scores. The experience at Carver Elementary proved those results. (Source: NBC)
While this series will undoubtedly rely on and perpetuate standard tropes about race, class and gender, (most reality shows do) it's ultimately in service of a worthy and noble cause.  I'd expect to need a box of kleenex on hand when watching. 

9:00 pm (CST) Outlaw

Starring Emmy Award winner Jimmy Smits ("NYPD Blue," "West Wing"), "Outlaw" is a new drama from executive producer John Eisendrath ("Alias," "Felicity," "Playmakers"). Cyrus Garza (Smits) is a Supreme Court justice who abruptly quits the high-level position. A playboy and a gambler, Garza had always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed.  Now that he's quit the bench and returned to private practice, he's determined to represent "the little guy" and use his inside knowledge of the justice system to take on today's biggest legal cases.  And he's making plenty of powerful people unhappy along the way.  Jesse Bradford ("West Wing"), Carly Pope ("24"), Ellen Woglom ("Californication") and David Ramsey ("Dexter") also star.  

"Outlaw" is a Universal Media Studios production along with Conaco productions. Eisendrath is executive producer along with Terry George ("Hotel Rwanda," "Reservation Road"), Conan O'Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger ("Andy Barker, P.I.").  "Outlaw" is written by Eisendrath and directed by George. (Source: NBC) 
 9:00 pm on Friday with Dateline as your lead in even though you have a star like Smits and it's an in-house production?  This show already has one foot in the grave.  When the network shows that little confidence in a show it's always a bad sign.  
ETA: Clips




The big question is can NBC recover from the Ben Silverman era with Zucker still at the helm?  Gaspin bungled the Leno/Conan fiasco, but the decision to dump losers like Heroes and Mercy and get into business with people like Abrams shows that NBC may still be able to turn things around.  As they release more information on midseason and trailers for new seasons I'll be posting them here.  

So, what do you think about the schedule and the new series?  Any you are excited for?
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's that time of year again: On cancellations and pick ups

There were some very high profile TV series pickups and cancellations over the last few weeks all leading up to a very important 4 days starting Monday, May 17th. 

Next week is upfront week where the broadcast networks present their fall schedules to advertisers and the press.  The networks present their lineups including tentative start dates and then advertisers have the opportunity to buy airtime "upfront", months before the fall television season begins.  (Here's a nice little summary of the annual event and how new media is shifting it by Ad Age). Usually the nets air clips of their new series and sometimes screen pilot episodes in their entirety.

Here's the schedule:
Monday, May 17: NBC & Fox
Tuesday, May 18: ABC
Wednesday, May 19: CBS
Thursday, May 20: The CW

Television critics seem (at least to me) to be more leery of pronouncing judgments based on scripts, clips or even entire pilot episodes.  Back in May 2006, for example, critics were raving about the pilot for The Nine the story of nine strangers linked together when held hostage in a bank robbery gone wrong.  Turns out, the pilot was only truly interesting hour of the series.  In 2008, the previewed scenes and the leaked script for the unaired pilot of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse impressed with it's morally grey characters and though-provoking meditations on the nature of identity and memory (episode is available on the Season 1 DVD, I highly recommend it).  The reshot pilot that eventually aired failed to live up to the early buzz surrounding the series.

They aren't always wrong though.  In 2007, many of the critics were raving that Pushing Daisies was amazing, the most original, creative, and charming series they'd seen in years.  I spent the entire summer anxiously awaiting this new series that I was sure would be a personal favorite.  Last May the critics were lauding the CW's Life Unexpected and thought that the CW was making a mistake by holding the series until midseason (I only hope that decision hasn't doomed the lovely series).  The critics are also pretty good at spotting total duds.

I say this all as a disclaimer that much of the entertainment news in the next week needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  Schedules get shuffled, pilots are reshot, and series fail to live up to their potential.

Read my thoughts on the pick ups for Chuck & V, the cancellations of L&O, Heroes and Flashforward, the fate of Rex is Not Your Lawyer and more after the jump. 

(For the full list of series that have been renewed, canceled, or fate still unknown check out this handy 2010-2011 season scorecard at The Futon Critic.) 

Notable Pickups 

Chuck (NBC)
I started watching Chuck again this season (after finally quitting House) and really enjoyed it.  I still haven't had a chance to go back and watch season 2 though it is on my summer "To Do" list.  They were a bit hamstrung by the original half season order which was then extended by a few episodes making it difficult to balance the overarching mythology episodes with the lighter fare but overall the show remains a critical favorite.

It's another 13 episode pick up so it'll be interesting to see if Schwartz & Co plot the season arc for just 13 episodes again or if they'll roll the dice on getting a back nine pickup.  Executive Producer Ali Adler has also announced that she is leaving to join ABC's new superhero family drama No Ordinary Family.

V (ABC)
I enjoyed this series when it first aired in November but I wasn't head over heel about it (which I was really hoping for).  I don't know why I didn't feel more connected to it.  I love the concept, I have fond memories of the miniseries freaking me out as a child, and the cast is amazing.

Anyway, I haven't watched the second half of the season yet.  First it was because I was busy and then when there was talk of the show being canceled I wasn't sure it was worth it.  Now that the series has been renewed, catching up is also on the summer "To Do" list.   


Human Target (Fox) 
I watched the first four episodes and episode six.  I liked it, largely because of Mark Valley (I've liked him since he was on Days of Our Loves and the criminally overlooked Keen Eddie), Chi McBride, and especially Jackie Earle Haley as the dark and mysterious Guerrero.  It was not, however, appointment TV largely because the mythology was so vague and obscure as to be uninteresting.

Given the amount of stunt work, explosions and location shooting I'm frankly very surprised at this pick up.  I hope that they will air reruns this summer, the episodes are so self contained that I think it will do well in reruns.  Fox would be smart to try to air the show after sporting events or at least heavily promote it during those events because it's basically a different action movie each week. 

Lie to Me (Fox)
I've actually never seen this show (quirky male/uptight female partner burnout) but I've heard good things about it.  Given that Fox has taken to airing episodes in the summer and the news that EP Shawn Ryan is leaving for his new series Ride-Along, it seemed like only a matter of time before cancellation.  But, lo and behold the series managed to squeak out another 13 episode pickup. 

Notable Cancellations


Law & Order (NBC) 
The original series will end its historic 20 year run on Monday, May 24, 2010.  The series ties Gunsmoke for the longest running drama series ever.  I admit, I haven't watched L&O very often in the last few years, but the few episodes I did catch were enjoyable.  L&O: SVU has been renewed for a 12th season and the new spinoff L&O: Los Angeles (LOLA) has been picked up for the fall.  Presumably, the decision to end the Mothership's run was based in part on the new series pickup, with the network betting on an SVU type hit.  Guess the folks at NBC don't remember previous Wolf flame-outs Law & Order: Trial by Jury or the interminably boring Conviction.

Heroes (NBC) 
FINALLY.  This show should have ended after season 1.  Since then it's been an unmitigated disaster.  

24 (FOX) 
Another 'finally'.  What was once groundbreaking and exciting had become increasingly boring and outlandish. 
 
Flashforward (ABC) 
I loved the pilot.  I loved many of cast members (especially John Cho, Sonya Walger and Jack Davenport) and I loved the concept.  I wanted to love the series but as I watched this show for several months I just could not get into it.

This was a show that was trying to be Lost but in the process they overlooked the principal reason for Lost's success- the characters.  Lost may have become a trippy time-traveling tale with mystical (or scientific) mysteries but it only got there because we cared about the characters.  Season 1 introduced a few mysteries (polar bears? Adam & Eve? a monster? a hatch?) but at its heart, the show was about a diverse group of individuals reacting to a crisis.  Lost earned their mythos. 

With Flashfoward, I rarely connected with the characters, especially Joseph Fiennes' wooden portrayal of Mark Benford.  The characters felt like little more than pawns on a chessboard, there to serve the plot and nothing more.  I also never bought the global scale of the destruction, fear, panic, etc and found it difficult to engage in the 'willing suspension of disbelief' that in a global crisis a group of random FBI agents in LA would be leading the investigations.

And it's too bad, because it is a great concept.  I won't miss the series but I mourn for the show it could have been.  (And, unfortunately, looking at some of the new pilots that have already been announced, I expect this same mistake to be repeat again.)

Mercy (NBC) 
It ranked as one of the worst pilots by most TV critics and the series as a whole didn't seem to get much better.  It did draw a decent audience though and with the disaster known as the Jay Leno Show disaster leaving a lot of open primetime real estate meant the series managed to stick it out a full season.  I'm hopeful that its cancellation means NBC is really confident in all of the new series they've picked up. 

Notably Undecided 

Life Unexpected (CW) 
This charming series has yet to be picked up but it also hasn't been canceled.  It's an old school WB style family drama, more Everwood/Gilmore Girls than Gossip Girl/90210 reboot.  I'd really hate for The CW to dump the highest quality original series they've developed since the network was created.  Here's hoping they get a pick up, heavy summer promotion, and good lead in!       


Notably Passed On 

The Rockford Files (NBC) 
I've never seen the original 1970's series staring James Garner (I was born just weeks after the series finale) and I've not seen it in syndication, but I've always heard good things about it.  I am, however, a bit of cynic when it comes to reboots.  For every Battlestar Galactica there are dozen Knight Riders.  Then I heard Dermot Mulroney, one of the dullest actors imaginable, had been cast as the lead and I was sure the show would suck.  I wasn't expecting it to never make to the air though.  This does free up Alan Tudyk.  Somebody give that man his own show!

Rex is not Your Lawyer (NBC)
This legal comedy stars one of my favorite actors David Tennant (Doctor Who).  The show was considered as a midseason replacement in January but NBC passed.  The buzz in April was the show had a real chance to make the fall schedule but Deadline reported last week that Rex was dead.  NBC has not officially confirmed this but will presumably address it on Monday.  When I first heard the premise, a lawyer suffers from panic attacks so he coaches his clients to defend themselves, I was skeptical, it sounded too silly.  But, then Jace over at Televisionary read and reviewed the pilot script and I was heartened by his review.  Regardless of happens with Rex, somebody needs to find a way to get David Tennant on my television each week.

So, what do you think about the cancellations/pick ups/passes?  Comment below! 

(Note the new threaded commenting system which allows you to track replies to your comments via email!) 
   
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Blog Change: Intense Debate & Contact


I really love Blogger, but one thing I'm not crazy about is the lack of interactive comments- ability to reply to specific users and for users to track comment threats via email.  I've just downloaded Intense Debate which is a commenting widget that I've read good things about for a trial run.    Click Here For Full Post..

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Supernatural "Swan Song": Reactions

So yeah.

There were some parts of this episode I absolutely loved and a few parts I hated and then there was a lot head scratching and ambivalence. I watched it again as I was writing up my comments and I had pretty much the same reactions this time around.

(note, this is a series of quick reactions, not really a comprehensive review and spoilers abound.)

LOVED
-The Impala love and the way it featured in the narrative. Fabulous.
-Sam and Cas saying goodbye, it was so wonderfully sweet and awkward
-Bobby's goodbye to Sam
-Chuck & Adam being an important part of the story
-Bobby surviving
-The showdown happening in Lawrence. Fanon=Canon
- Jared as Lucifer. Jared did a really wonderful job all around. Loved the scene with Luci and Michael. (Jensen was great too).
- The flashbacks
-Sam and Dean having faith in each other and being mature
- All the callbacks to The End
- Ambiguity= lots of opportunity for fanfic writers to fill the hiatus

HATED
-No Crowley. Ah, well, at least he didn't die
-Finality. I felt like this could have been a pretty good way to wrap up the series and knowing it's not kind of cheapens it.
-Er, this is weird, but I'm kind of upset no one died. Cas blowing up felt way too abrupt so I didn't really think he was dead and then when Bobby was snuffed out just as quickly I didn't quite buy it and I was a bit too much in shock. And then we knew Sam wasn't dead so... yeah. I actual cried way more when Ellen and Jo died.
-Cas flouncing on Dean at the end.
-I feel like they had done such a great job of bringing Adam into the Winchester clan but that it was really shoved aside in this episode. The only part where it was even really acknowledged was when Dean apologized.
- No surprise!JDM. I didn't think it was too likely but I was really hoping :(
-I loved Becky/Chuck so that not working out made me sad, though given the next point it kind of makes sense...

AMBIVALENT
-Chuck=God? That seems to be the popular interpretation on LJ and Twitter. The other theory that someone floated was that Chuck was a creation of God's just to assist the boys. Kind of fitting seeing as Chuck was modeled on Kripke. Though saying you're God... isn't that like "M Night level douchiness"? :)
-Cas surviving and getting all his angel powers back. I kind of like human!Cas and I also kind of like the idea of Cas sacrificing himself for Dean the greater good. Angel!Cas is too powerful to really help out much in season 6 and Cas living in Heaven isn't really that interesting to me.
-Ambiguity. Supernatural is rarely black and white when it come morality and emotion but the plotting is usually pretty tight.
-Lisa. I liked the character in season 3, I love what she represents, and I actually kind of like the idea of Dean getting the apple pie life that he'd tried not to let himself hope for. But, I did feel like she got shoehorned into the end of this season.
-I love meta and breaking the 4th wall, but I kind of wondered if the bitchy fan bit at the end was kind of a cop out.

QUESTIONS:
-Will Cas be back next season?
-Is that really Sam at the end? I think so, though some people are floating the idea that it was Luci!Sam.
-If it is Sam, will he tell Dean he's back? I can kind of see him not doing it, thinking that Dean's better off... in which case Dean is going to be hella pissed.
-If Sam got out did Adam? If Adam got out did he go to Heaven or is he alive? I'm rooting for alive or still trapped in hell and Sam and Dean need to get him back.
-Did the magic amulet never work? Cause if Chuck is God then it should have done its thing in 4x18.
-What about Jimmy? That would be another way to get Misha back. Jimmy becomes a hunter or something.
-Are Lisa & Ben going to be part of season 6?

Thanks for the memories Kripke. You'll be missed (even if I'm annoyed with you right now!)
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this syndrome, fibromyalgia (abbrev FM or Fibro) is characterized by chronic widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue, cognitive problems, and depression. (This is the abbreviated list, there are a few other, less common symptoms as well as a host of additional diseases and syndromes that are often co-morbid). For those with severe symptoms, fibromyalgia can be extremely debilitating and interfere with basic daily activities.

(There is a wonderful explanation of living with these types of symptoms called “The Spoon Theory” which was one woman’s way of explaining it to a friend, because it is really hard to understand if you’ve never experienced it.)

There is no cure for fibromyalgia. In recent years there have been improvements in drug therapies to help manage the symptoms, as well as additional recommendations on specific lifestyle modifications, dietary changes and complementary alternative medicines that can be useful for managing symptoms. But it is only management, not a cure.

There is no simple diagnostic test to identify the syndrome. It is an invisible illness, meaning those who suffer from it “don’t look sick.” It also disproportionally affects women. All of these factors lead people, even many doctors until recently, to dismiss the suffering of those afflicted by it. They are told that “there is nothing wrong with you” or “it’s all in your head.” The average length of time it takes to even receive a diagnosis is 7 years. Imagine living in constant pain for 7 years and being told that you were crazy.

That’s why FM Awareness Day is so very important. (It also raises awareness about invisible illness/invisible disability generally, which helps those suffering from things like CFS/ME, IBS, Crohn's, Lupus, RA, MS, etc.)

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2006. I was working on my PHD at the time and I was a complete wreck, practically bed ridden. As if the debilitating pain and fatigue weren’t enough, the cognitive impairment was severe and scary. I started bawling one day because I couldn’t remember the word for the microwave. I was 26 years old and trying to complete an advanced degree and couldn’t remember basic words and was putting the peanut butter in the freezer and my car keys in the pantry.

I was very fortunate. I was able to get a diagnosis only a year after the onset of the first symptoms. This was largely due to the support and the medical knowledge of my parents. My dad is doctor and he’s been on top of all of the latest studies and off-label prescription options and we’ve managed to find a combination of medications that keep me relatively functional. (Though I live with my parents and I’m leaving my current job in part because the hours, stress, and lack of flexibility are taking their toll on me. So, ‘functional’ is still way outside of the norm for a 30 year old.)

So, please, take a moment today to read or share the info available at a http://www.fmaware.org or the stories of those living with this and other related conditions at a site like http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/ 

Add the “Make Fibromyalgia Visible” graphic on your website/journal/blog/email signature, etc (additional sizes available). Send a tweet or retweet or post on facebook. Add a twibbon to your icon. Anything you can do to help get the word out will be much appreciated by all of us.

Sorry so long, but I’m obviously very invested in the subject! Click Here For Full Post..

Monday, May 10, 2010

Exciting Changes!

I'm leaving my job!  I'm staying while they hunt for my replacement so I'll be employed full time for at least a month or two, maybe a little longer, though I'm able to start working one day a week at home.

I'm applying to teach a few classes at the local community college (Intro to Film and Public Speaking) for the fall semester and I'll probably be looking for a class or two to teach online. 

So, I know that this blog has been sadly neglected in recent months, but hopefully I'll be spending much more time here soon! 

I've also been invited to be a contributor to a new blog Coincidental Penalties.  I think my friend Bukka explains this blog best:
We're Blackhawks fans first and foremost, but we're also girls. So while we'd much prefer to spend our time talking about Q's Line Jumbler 2000 or whether or not our team has forgotten how to forecheck since last we saw them, there might be the occasional post discussing the awe-inspiring beauty of Patrick Sharp's eyes. I'm pretty sure everyone can agree that kind of slippage can't always be helped.
If that sounds like it might be something you're interested in, check it out!   Click Here For Full Post..