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FINALES, PREMIERES + A CLASSIC

September 28, 2010

We’ll start with Chuck, since Episode 2 aired tonight. Yvonne Strahovski doing excellent reaction work again, great to see General Beckman as a regular, see no useful purpose for Morgan, the lying to Ellie conflict is weak…hmmm, I don’t sound thrilled.

The Big Bang Theory is back and on form. Sheldon and Penny are the central axis about which the show rotates. Sheldon not dating his perfect match and yet discussing having progeny with her, dissecting Penny’s sexual history with statistical math, etc. very funny. And one of the true tests of any comedian is the spit take and Kaley Cuoco, of course, passed in style. Looking forward to the new Thursday night slot so we can leave Mondays for Chuck and Top Gear.

Caught the first episode of The Event because Gayle was curious, but not impressed. Too much repetition and no compelling characters. Also caught most of the first episode of $#*! My Dad Says. Felt forced.

Picked up the first issue of WSJ Weekend. In too many ways, the Off Duty section reminded me of a catalog. Still prefer the Financial Times and FT Weekend (which the WSJ Weekend obviously used as its model), now I just have to figure out how to be able to afford to resubscribe.

Season Finale time: Warehouse 13. Wow. So impressed/intrigued with the Myka character arc over the course of the season. As soon as I realized that she planned to resign after she talked Pete into staying her decision made sense. But I was very surprised at how attached I’d become to her character when she walked out of the Warehouse.

Nice to see the villian climax happen outside, in an epic location, tossing around an epic weapon. Not surprised that H.G. turned, but a little surprised by her seemingly random vehemence (destroy world, wreck Pete’s relationship) about some things. Played very well by Jaime Murray, but the H.G. character pinballed too many places. Plus, the practical part of my brain wondered why they didn’t just cut off her access to funds. Hope the Warehouse 13 writers find some way to reincorporate H.G. I do have one quibble, which is the unevenness of the writing. The “For The Team” episode hit mood and character notes which made it a stand alone episode that had nothing to do with what the rest of the writing team was doing. An episode that fit in better — or follow up episodes that matched its nuance would have served the show better.

Saw Rashomon on TCM last week. Amazing. Sordid little story and yet I couldn’t turn it off and I’m very glad I didn’t. It reminded me of the Joan Of Arc silent movie I ran into early one morning and couldn’t turn away from. Not surprising, since director Akira Kurosawa incorporated silent film esthetics into his work. I became more convinced with each character’s testimony of the power of actors and the pull of storytelling. Simple sets, actors talking to the camera and an audience that can’t look away.

The last fight scene is possibly the best fight scene I have seen in movie. Two characters struggling ineptly and reluctantly in a fight they’ve been forced into by a woman neither wants anymore. It’s not polished, neither of them come off as at all experienced with a sword, they’re blindly groping for survival and it’s amazing in its awful rawness.

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