Ugly Betty

   15 October 2007, mid-afternoon

Shima and I finished watching the first season of Ugly Betty last night. The show is actually quite entertaining. It’s a very over the top soap opera of sorts: most of the time its quite funny, with the occasional poignant moment thrown in for good measure. There is a long and convoluted story arc for the first season with tons of twists and turns: like any good soap the show features plenty of love triangles, murder, etc. This also makes it difficult to sum up the show in one line. I enjoyed Ugly Betty much more than I thought I would. The characters on the show are all really good, which is what makes it work. (I think I like Amanda the most. She’s hot which is a plus, and she has a cool accent.) The season ends with what feels like a million different cliff hangers. I can’t wait to start Season 2.

(The show originated in Colombia. It was brought to the US market by Salma Hayek and some other dudes.)

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Intelligence Season 1

    1 October 2007, terribly early in the morning

I just finished watching Intelligence Season 1. The show really is kick-ass. I can see why Rishi was going on about it so much last year. If you can track down a copy on the Internet you really should. It’s full of intrigue and murder and double-crossing and all sorts of good stuff. I can’t wait to start watching Season 2.

I watched the last half of the last episode on the ride in to work. Watching television on the iPhone works well enough, but i’m not sure it’s something i’d do normally. Getting stuff onto the phone involves converting it to an iPod friendly format. In my case, I used iSquint to do this, and it worked quite well. The only issue is the time it takes to convert from DivX to h.264. The iPhone tracks where you are in the various videos you are watching (it does this for podcasts too) so you can watch them piecemeal. I can’t imagine watching a video on the ride to work on a regular basis, but it’s a nice feature nevertheless.

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Intelligence

   21 September 2007, terribly early in the morning

Rishi would rave about CBC’s Intelligence to anyone who would listen. It’s pretty much the only show he watches: no Lost, no Prison Break, just Intelligence. (I know, I thought he was crazy too.) I finally started watching the show yesterday: it’s very good. There are basically two lead characters for the show: James Reardon who is a mob boss, and Mary Spalding who runs the organized crime unit. Intelligence is basically about the intersection of their two lives. The show looks at Canadian spy and law enforcement agencies, and the power struggles that take place between them and within them. It also looks at the issues Reardon has running his “business”, dealing with the law, and dealing with his rivals. A big part of the show is the interplay between the intelligence agencies and their informers. The entire cast is quite good, and you’ll recognize a few faces I’m sure. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Reardon’s ex-wife is hot (but crazy), and Cristina the Stripper is perhaps even hotter. (She has an accent: meow) So yeah, it’s a really good show.

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"I don't know. It Felt Far."

   11 September 2007, early evening

I love the Office. It’s so damn good. Shima and I blitzed through Season 3, watching everything over the course of 2 days. I’ve started watching the commentaries to get an Office fix. I’m hoping the writers can keep things up in Season 4. The way Season 3 ends really doesn’t leave them many options. It’s not as subtle as the British show, but it’s funny and poignant in its own right.

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Smallville Season 5

   18 July 2007, early morning

I finished watching Smallville Season 5 last night. I’ll probably buy Season 6 when it comes out on DVD. I have to admit that Season 5 is certainly a step up from Season 4, but on the whole, it was still pretty disappointing. You can put Erica Durance in a bikini, or you can put her in a shower, but that isn’t enough to carry a whole season. In the earlier seasons, Lex Luther was constantly conflicted about the choices he makes and the things he does. This conflict makes his character interesting, and warms the audience up to the character. By the 5th season this internal conflict is all gone, and with it one of the best things about the show. The relationship between Clark and Lex is purely antagonistic for most of the 4th and 5th season, which also removes one of the more interesting elements of the show. Lana and Clark get together and break up for what must be the billionth time, which is fast becoming a very tired plot point, and one the writers can’t seem to get over. I’ve already talking about how stupid Chloe’s character has become. Season 5 took me ages to get through. There was no real drive for me to finish it. I feel like I’m going through the motions with the show. Smallville used to be a really great show. I think the first three seasons were really solid television; at times it was melodramatic, but for the most part it was very enjoyable, and the plot and characters were interesting. I love the show so much I’m willing to put up with 2 seasons of mediocrity in the hopes they’ll turn things around in Season 6.

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The (American) Office

   17 July 2007, terribly early in the morning

Shima and I finished watching the first two seasons of the American version of the Office last night. I was skeptical at first about how good the show could be — the original is beyond excellent — but was pleasantly surprised to find it is actually a very entertaining show. The premise is exactly the same as the original version: the show is set in an office with a horrible, but well meaning, boss; there is a smart dorky witty sensitive guy in love with the receptionist, who happens to be engaged; it’s filmed the same way, as a sort of faux-documentary. That said, the supporting cast for the American show play a much larger role in the story, and there are a lot more side-stories than in the British version of the show. The plot of the American Office moves in the same general direction as the British Office, but is distinct enough to not feel like a rehash of things you have seen before.

After the first few episodes, one really feels that the American characters (Michael Scott, Jim, Pam, and Dwight) are in fact fairly distinct from their British counterparts (David Brent, Tim, Dawn, and Garret). The characters are essentially the same archetype, but they aren’t played the same way. There are moments when the dialog coming out of Carrel’s mouth matches something Gervais would say, but for the most part Carrel’s “boss” and Gervais’ “boss” are different. Dwight manages in someways to be even more ridiculous than Garret; they are both funny in their own ways. The people doing the American show were smart to not try and duplicate the British show verbatim. In addition to the original main cast of characters, the other characters on the show are great — in particular Angela, the uptight Christian accountant. I think she’s my favourite character on the show. (I’m also a big fan of the temp, and his bizarre relationship with Michael.)

The show was very funny, and just like the British version of the show it could be quite poignant and touching at times. The actors all do a really amazing job. Season 2 of the American Office ends with quite the cliff hanger, so I am dying for Season 3 to show up on DVD. The show is well worth watching. I’m not sure if I like the American Office more than the British version, but I like it quite a lot.

[My opinions on The Office: Series 2, and The Office Christmas Special. You need to watch the British version of this show if you haven’t; it’s amazing.]

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Smallville Showers

   14 July 2007, lunch time

Is it just me, or does Season 5 of Smallville feature way more chicks in the shower scenes then the previous 4 seasons. I’m watching episode 20 of season 5 now, which features Lois taking a steamy shower in her flat above the talon. Meow.

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Battlestar Galactica Season 2

   24 June 2007, late at night

Holy shit that was good. This is the best show on TV, bar none. I can’t even imagine what they’ll get up to in Season 3. Also, I love the song they play at the start of the season finale. The songs called Something Dark Is Coming, and it certainly hypes you up for the show. Battlestar has an awesome soundtrack, done by Bear McCreary. I also liked how the first few shots were done with some wide-angle lens which gives a weird look to everything. Like I said, this is the best show on TV right now.

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24 Season 5

   29 May 2007, mid-afternoon

I wanted to love this season, but it just wasn’t as good as the previous ones. It had its moments to be sure, but nothing that made me want to stop watching to blog about what I had seen. Season 5 had its twists and turns, but on the whole it was tired and formulaic. They killed off a lot of the more interesting characters on the show, and really didn’t do much with that. The ending of the entire season was great, but i’ve been told they don’t do much with it in Season 6. I’m all done with 24 till Christmas, which is when Mezan usually buys the DVDs of the last season.

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Lost: Season 3

   26 May 2007, late evening

I just finished watching the 3rd season of Lost. Best show on TV? Oh hells yes. That ending came out of no where. I have no idea what’s going on. I love this show.

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It's So Unfair

   15 May 2007, terribly early in the morning

I watched Arrested Development, from start to finish, one more time with Shima. Its just as good to second time through. I still can’t believe they canceled this show. Well, I can. That’s how things go on TV. The good stuff rarely lasts. We get 3 versions of CSI, 8 versions of Law and Order, but one show about a crazy-ass family? That’s just too much for TV to bear.

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Catching Up on Lost

   27 April 2007, terribly early in the morning

I spent 4 or so hours watching 5 episodes of Lost. The Nicky and Paulo show seemed a bit out of place in the grand scheme of things, but on the whole that was an awesome run of episodes. I’m now only 1 episode behind. I love Lost. Once you start watching its very hard to stop.

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Grey's Anatomy

   13 March 2007, terribly early in the morning

Shima and I started watching Grey’s Anatomy Season 3 last night. So far it seems very much like the last season: you have melodrama, comedy, and convoluted love triangles all in one neat package. Plus, the second episode features a dude with a tree through his body. The third season is off to a reasonable start.

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Battlestar Galactica Season 2.0

   27 February 2007, terribly early in the morning

Battlestar Galactica split their second season in half. I finally bought the two DVD sets that make up the second season, after waiting a year or so for them to make a combined box set. I finally watched all of Season 2.0 over the weekend, and started into Season 2.5. Battlestar Galactica is pretty dark as far as sci-fi goes. Season 2.0 was clearly a bit more bleak than the first season, but the mid season finale, where they find the Pegasus, was something else. The show has entered a whole new realm of fucked up. Battlestar is easily the best show on TV. I think the only people who could doubt that are people that haven’t seen the show.

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Chloe Sulivan: l33t h8x0r

    8 February 2007, early evening

What’s with Chloe in Season 5 of Smallville. She just picked up some random piece of junk electronic gizmo off the floor of Lionel’s office and started prattling off about what it did. Then she took it back to her laptop and triangulated some shit so they could find the person who planted the device. What the hell?

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Jack Just Stabbed Himself

   17 January 2007, late afternoon

Jack Baurer just stabbed himself so it would look like he was injured during an attack. He freaking stabbed himself in the stomach. I love 24.

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24 Season 4: 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM

    8 January 2007, evening time

My plan is to watch 6 episodes of 24 Season 4 everday from today to Thursday. I watched from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM today. The show feels a bit repetitive. I’m not sure i’m buying everything they are doing so far as well. The evil muslim family? Come on. And the black chick is bitchy, cut-throat, and evil? They haven’t done that before. Still, I’m enjoying the show thus far. Jack Baurer is kicking ass, CTU is torturing innocent people, there are probably a couple of moles in the intelligence department, people are not following orders. It’s all in a days work. 24 is one of my favourite shows.

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Erica Durance in a Bikini

   16 December 2006, late morning

Episode 4 of Smallville Season 5 opens with Erica Durance, who plays Lois Lane, in a bikini. Smallville Season 5 is so awesome. Update: Not even 10 minutes later, she’s in a bikini again. Meow. Update: Aquaman can’t act.

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Smallville Season 4

    4 December 2006, early evening

So over the last few days I finished watching Season 4 of Smallville. As I feared, the show sort of tanks in the last half of the season. I think the problem is that the whole season seems poorly thought out, and the various plot points we were introduced to at the start of the season were barely fleshed out. I had assumed that Lana being possessed by a Witch and the hunt for the stones would figure more prominently in the show, but these things are really sub-sub-sub-plots of various episodes. One minute Lana is a witch, and just like that she’s not. Great. Jason’s mom shows up a couple times and then she’s dead. Awesome. And what’s with Jason’s transformation into an evil boyfriend? (Nevermind that this plot device was used in Season 3 when we were introduced to Lana’s conflicted Zombie boyfriend.) At least when Boon became evil it sort of made sense — barely. In Jason’s case, there are so many inconsistencies in the plot, and in his character at the start of the season to his character at the end of the season. A couple shots of Jason fuming over Clark and Lana and we’re supposed to believe he’s suddenly turned into a less conflicted Lex. Nevertheless, the last 5 minutes of Season 4 show promise that the upcoming season might be good. I’ve heard Season 5 is much better — we’ll have to wait and see.

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Battlestar meets Smallville

    3 December 2006, early evening

Episode 18 in Smallville’s 4th season opens with Chloe trying to blow up the school midway through the prom. The next scene, which clearly takes place at an earlier point in time, starts with her and Lana discussing the upcoming prom. Midway into the discussion, a posse of Mean Girls wanders over: two white chicks and a black chick. Who plays non-descript black girl #1? Why, it’s none other than Dee from Battlestar Galactica. Television worlds collide. Episode 18 is awesome. Martha Kent possessed by an 18 year old is pretty funny. I also enjoyed Lois in a prom dress. Yummy. (“Did you pin this on me? Pretty close to the boob don’t you think.”) I love watching Smallville.

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Smallville Season 4 is ... meh?

   22 November 2006, terribly early in the morning

I’m midway through Smallville season 4. I haven’t watched Smallville in ages, so it’s nice to be watching it again. Season 4 is probably the most hated season of the lot. It’s the one with the “Lana is a Witch and everyone is searching for these stupid stones that came out of nowhere” story arc. I watch Smallville on DVD; since this season is so unpopular, I was waiting patiently for the price of the DVDs to drop. Fast forward a fair amount of time, and Dave buys me Smallville season 5 on DVD. Now, I can’t watch season 5 without watching season 4, so I went out and bought season 4 a week or two ago. So far, it’s really not as bad as I had thought it would be. Smallville Season 3 was awesome. There are some really good story arcs throughout that season, and the finale was top notch. (Smallville usually has kick-ass season finales.) Season 4 has yet to have any real stand out episodes. There are still a few cool moments here and there, but nothing like the earlier seasons. That isn’t to say this season is bad per-say, it’s just not as good. My fear is that the season takes a more serious nose dive in the last 12 or so episodes.

Update: My final thoughts on the season.

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Lost Season 3 Episode 6

   12 November 2006, mid-afternoon

Holy Shit. That episode was amazing. My heart is probably beating a little bit faster. Lost is the best TV show ever.

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The Soprano's

   26 September 2006, early morning

I’m halfway through the 5th season of the Soprano’s. I started watching the show during the 3rd season. I was hooked; it’s an amazing show. I went back and watched the 2nd, which they were showing at the same time, and then waited patiently for David Chase to make the 4th season.

My family had canceled TMN by the time that season premiered, so I had to order it again. There were ads all over the city advertising the premiere of the 4th season. I put off getting TMN till the last possible moment. I’m an idiot like that.

I called up Rogers Cable. “Hey, I need to get TMN.”

I talked with a fellow for a bit. I explained I already had a digital box. He told me how much it’d cost, and said he’d hook it up right away.

“That’s great. When will I be able to start watching shows?”

“It should be very soon.”

“Tonight? Like in a few minutes?”

“You want to watch the Soprano’s, don’t you?”

“Yeah”

“You aren’t the only one.”

The fith season is great so far. It’s just as dark and depressing as the rest. If you’ve never watched the Soprano’s, be sure to check it out. I’d say it’s the show that really kicked off this new wave of really good television.

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Arrested Development

    1 June 2006, early morning

When Arrested Development was canceled, I didn’t care all too much. I never watched the show, despite being told by my brothers that it was amazing. Two weekend back, while at Heathers, I watched the first 5 or 6 episodes of the show. It’s funny. So funny that I went out at bought the first season the next day, while wandering around the city with Shima. The show is about a very dysfunctional rich family, whose patriarch is in jail for cheating the government. The show is very quirky, and very witty. The acting is great. The characters are all so bizarre. Watch this show.

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Prison Break Season 1

   18 May 2006, late evening

What a way to end the season. My friends were hyping Prison Break up for quite some time, but it wasn’t till I went to Sydney and watched an episode with my cousin that I got totally hooked on the show. There were so many big twists at the end, I’m dying to see how the second season goes. I wonder how different the show will be. Clearly they can’t do the same sort of stuff again. If you haven’t see Prison Break before, it is well worth watching.

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