Friday, December 02, 2005

Toss Up: Lost vs Veronica Mars week 8

First off, I’ll be discussing the alternative ending to , so if you haven’t already, check it out here. Both and Veronica Mars dealt with coming to terms with having a parent who isn’t perfect but they took dramatically different paths. On one hand, Kate gave up all hope that there were any redeeming qualities about her (step) father while Veronica wouldn’t give up hope that her mother was indeed a good person. Now let’s get the first topic from the producer over the load speaker (bonus points for anyone who gets that last part):

Token 90’s TV Star
Lost – Kate’s mom was played by Sabrina’s aunt that didn’t get her own failed talk show
Veronica Mars – Two Buffy alums for the price of one
Winner – Veronica Mars

Machiavelli Wanna-Be
Lost – The Dharma people who have even got skeptic Jack to become button obsessed
Veronica Mars – Vice Principal Clemmons, excuses me, Principal Clemmons orchestras his promotion
Winner – Veronica Mars

MIA Black Kid Who Was Recently Reunited with His Father
Lost – Walt hasn’t been seen this season communicated with his dad via primitive instant messaging
Veronica Mars – Wallace hasn’t been seen in weeks communicated with Veronica via e-mail
Winner - Lost

Animal of the Week
Lost – Kate is haunted by a black horse
Veronica Mars – Keith is keeping the dead rat from the bus in his freezer
Winner - Lost

Dead Token Hot Chick
Lost – Sadly Shannon’s still dead
Veronica Mars – Luckily Meg only died on the alternative ending
Winner – Veronica Mars

Are They Still in the Cast?
Lost – I think Kate’s mom has had more lines this season than Claire
Veronica Mars – I think Mac has been in more episodes than Jackie this season
Winner – Lost

Start of Something?
Lost – Jack and Kate finally kissed
Veronica Mars – Beaver and Mac seemed to hit it off
Winner – Veronica Mars

Déjà vu All Over Again
Lost – Kate was involved in another crash, that’s four by my count
Veronica Mars – Beaver once again is in search of his daddy’s approval and considering he’s chose Kendall as his partner he will fail miserably again
Winner – Veronica Mars

Lost – Hurley, that Bernard was white
Veronica Mars – Veronica, that Meg was pregnant
Winner - Lost

Male Bonding
Lost – Shaft and Locke bond over faith
Veronica Mars – Weevil and Logan have tea and talk about their feelings like Weevil agreeing with Logan that it wasn’t him who killed Felix, well that was until the beat the crap out of each other
Winner – Veronica Mars

Well after a close race last week, Veronica Mars once again asserted its dominance going to 7-1 while Lost slipped back into predictable mode granted it wasn’t as bad as the beginning of the season. The big new this week is that we finally learned what Kate did. Last week I predicted that she killed either her father or step-father and apparently I was right on both accounts. So Kate killed him because she thought she wouldn’t be a good person knowing that he was part of her. And here in lies the twist, by killing him it only made her fears come to fruition. And much like Sawyer was stalked by the man he killed reincarnated by a boar, Kate instead got a horse. Although I don’t understand why the horse showed up at after she escaped from the marshal. Hopeful Shannon will stalk Ana Lucia in person instead of a lame animal.

Elsewhere on the island, Shaft comes up with the missing piece of the film even though what was missing wasn’t that interesting and obviously was going to lead to Michael to use the computer in the way that was forbidden by the missing film. I was surprised that the metal doors that he discovered earlier didn’t drop during his chat. But if I were a betting man I wouldn’t rule that out as being the first scene of the next episode which, according to my sources, won’t be until next year.

Veronica Mars once again pumped up the action even though there was only one major storyline this week that involved Veronica trying to find out why exactly her mother was suspended during her senior year. Even though Trina was my first thought when Veronica found out about the prom baby, she is the only one we’ve met in Neptune that was in their mid-twenties, that didn’t take away from the episode as a whole because that was just one of numerous twists in the show. The biggest twist being that the whole thing was staged by Vice Principal Clemmons who gave Veronica the detention in the first place and all the essential leads. This then begs the question what else is Clemmons capable of? Much like with Sheriff Lamb two episodes, Clemmons just got a whole lot more interesting. Granted we haven’t seen Lamb since then.

This week there seemed to be an extra amount of pop culture reference than usual with Clemmons even dropping a Cold Case reference. But my favorites had to Veronica describing Trisha as “the second female lead in Wilder Things” and Trish claiming “Big Pat” owed her after leaving pervy messages on her answering machine. Classic. And they didn’t even have to stoop to a blatant Buffy reference when Cordelia and Willow reunited on screen but they did have a nice catty fight of words that brought back fond memories of such war of words the two had back in the Sunnydale High library.

Even though the Lianne storyline took up much of the time, they were able to add some other important scenes including Duncan and Logan’s powwow, Veronica discovery of the rat, and of course the ending with a pregnant Meg. Again I’m not a betting man, but I think good ol’ Chris Talley from Seattle is the leading candidate of being daddy dearest. Originally I like the alternative ending more with Meg’s mom killing her daughter but the more I thought about it, the less it made sense. First why did her mom wait so long to do so and also, even as good the Mars clan are, they couldn’t be able to clear Veronica’s name when she was caught with the smoking gun by the nurse. So I’m glad they went with the ending they did, plus now we have a newly conscious Meg.

And next week on Veronica Mars, someone will be Lost forever. Okay, sorry for the pun, I couldn’t help myself. But much like Lost, I really don’t like having a major plot point revealed in the preview. But hopefully it won’t be as easy to figure out who will be the one who dies much like it was in Shannon’s (and Boone’s for that matter) case. And right now the list is a long one as the only people I consider safe are Veronica, Keith, and assuming since they just killed Meg in an alternative scene, they won’t do it for real the very next episode. The leading candidates have to be Logan and Weevil after what happened this week but for some reason Grace stood out to me during the preview and I do have a sinking suspicion that it would be a member of the Manning family and if we were playing Clue, I would guess it was Pappa Manning killed by Sheriff Lamb with a revolver in the library.

As for Lost, if my source was correct, we won’t get a new episode for about a month but they did leave us with a preview of what looks to be an Eko-centric episode where Shaft himself was for some reason spouting Coolio lyrics. (Cues up Gansta’s Paradise)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch

There are a few things for everyone that until it happened, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. For me I must hear U2’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) , eat some of my mom’s special holiday jello, watch somebody shoot their eye out (no need to watch all of ), and number one on the list is I have to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas which is December’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame. I hope it goes without mention but I’m referring to the original cartoon, not the live action Jim Carrey version that came out a couple years ago.

As versatile as Jim Carrey is, he just can’t compete with Boris Karloff’s narration of the classic book and captures the book much better than the movie that drags on too long. At 26 minutes, the cartoon was a perfect way to tell myself, back in my younger days, what truly matter at the holidays and it can still hit home with the youth of today even after almost forty years.

I’m sure everyone is different in what reminds them of Christmas, but whatever it is, make sure you take time out in the next couple of days to make sure you check off all you holiday tradition list and also take some time out to remember what Christmas is all about.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Won't Get Fooled Again

I have had a long standing ban of the Fox network. The television network typically puts on three types of shows. First are the unfunny sitcoms who think that being shocking should be enough not realizing that you still need a good story and funny jokes to make it a good show (see my review of The War at Home). Then there are the reality show that are either stolen from other networks (Trading Spouses) or ones so vile no other network, or even cable station, would consider (Who’s Your Daddy, The Littlest Groom, the list could go on forever).

Then there are the shows that are actually great, not that anyone knows because Fox would rather cancel than actually promote properly. My original ban originated after they unceremoniously canceled after only four episodes which even included a timeslot change. Wonderfalls easily was the best show on television at the time and after viewing the unaired episodes from the DVD, the show could have went down as one of the best ever. Granted I have been soft on my ban because since then I’ve been conned into watching other quickly canceled Fox shows including , , Keen Eddie, The Jury, , , and The Inside. Granted I must admit Tru Calling and Point Pleasant were subpar but there was room to improve. And they even had to eat some crow and bring back the Family Guy. I have also been watching which they didn’t cancel after only a few episodes but considering how Fox has moved around the show and reduced the number of episodes last season and has cut this season too just so they can air repeats of the overrated Prison Break.

And that leads me to the latest casualty of Fox shows that I watch. Just a week after I named it the third best new show of the 2005 Fall Season, Fox announced that they were going to cancel Reunion. Yeah the show was predictable and it has some of the worse acting aside from whatever Pam Anderson show is currently on. Except I’m addicted and neeed to know how the show turns out and who killed Sam. But alas, Fox has screwed me again. And with another spot open on the schedule, that mean another lame hour of American Karaoke. Oh what, I think Skating with the Stars, yet another reality rip-off, is going to be on Fox soon. Yipee. So once again, I will have to fire up my ban on Fox. Feel free to join me and bring down that worthless network once and for all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It Ain't Pretty After the Show

Switch - INXS

was one of my favorite bands of the 80’s. But like many bands from the era, the transition to the 90’s were not a smooth one and was brought to a screaming halt with the death of lead singer Michael Hutchence in 1997. So now in 2005, what is the band to do, well exactly what every washed up 80’s celebrity does, get its own realist show. So in American Karaoke fashion, the voting public would tune in every week, voting off the worse karaoker until they crown the winner how would spend the rest of his life singing Need You Tonight while everyone in the audiences wished Hutchence was still alive.

But much in the tradition of releasing a new album before the new tour even though everyone would much rather hear Jumpin' Jack Flash than any of the new material, INXS pumped out an album, , featuring their karaoke winner just weeks after the end of the show. And it is easy to tell that the recording of the album was rushed as all the songs slug along as if an INXS cover tried to record their own material. The album starts off with Devil’s Party which the band tries to recreate their classic Devil Inside but fails miserably.

The closest the band gets to its past glory is Afterglow, a slowed down song that could have benefited from a singer that could handle the delicate cadence, but ruins the song whenever he tries to hard. He just can’t handle the subtleties that Hutchence was so good at. But instead the karaoke champion can’t decide throughout the album rather he should channel Hutchence or find his own voice and ends up failing at both. And the karaoker isn’t all to blame as even Hutchence couldn’t have save such bland songs as Hot Girls, Perfect Strangers, and God’s Top 10.

Song to Download – Don’t Bother, just pick something from their back catalog instead (check out my recommendations)

Switch gets a Terror Alert Level: Low [GREEN] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, November 28, 2005

5% Pleasure, 50% Pain

The Rising Tied - Fort Minor

Most people will know Mike Shinoda as the rapper of multi platinum group , but after spending the most of the time with the rock group Shinoda decided to take a break and get back to his rap roots with he hip-hop troupe, . Then for the album (yeah I know its spelled wrong, but I’m sure there is some deep meaning to it, but it when over my head) he recruited some of his favorite rapper such as and Black Thought of to give some lines as well as singers like and then rounded out the album with having as the executive producer.

Even though it is always refreshing to hear a rap album that doesn’t rely on money, drugs, bling, and ho's, the album fall flat partly because the beats are sub par and Shinoda really doesn’t know what to do with a beat if there was one. Certain songs are saved by the previously mentioned guest stars in addition to the rap due who appear on five track. The best of which is Remember the Name with one of the few beats that I would blare in my car.

But what Shinoda lacks in rap skills, he makes up in content. Where Linkin Park stays neutral in their songs, as Fort Minor, Shinoda isn’t afraid to talk about touchy subjects. On Right Now, featuring Black Thought, the two trade verses about the injustices in the world like, “For the act of freedom right now somebody is stuck in Iraq hoping that he gets shipped back breathing in a war that he’s not really sure of the reasons.” He also takes on racism, but not the usual racism addressed in rap song. On Kenji he raps about how poorly Japanese immigrants were treated during World War II and even though the war ended decades ago, those types of issues still need to be address today substituting Muslims for Japanese.

As for the other guest artist, John Legend is sadly relegated to the chorus and some chopstick type chords on the piano on High Road where Shinoda rags on all his haters even though he says he’s taking the high road, but obviously with all the smack talk he isn’t. Common ads some class on Back Home with a decent verse despite the lame beat, but he was used to those before he hooked up with . And Holley Brook is a star in the making with her addition to Where’d You Go and makes me wish that they would have dropped the aggravated drum loop and Shinoda’s rap and focused the song around her instead. In the end, this is a side project that should have stayed on the sidelines.

Song to Download – Remember the Name

The Rising Tied get a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Longer We Talk, the Less We Say

Many of us will remember the for the early 90’s classic Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong which put stuck up brats in their place. Sadly a decade later those stuck up brats are rewarded reality shows and equally sad is how the Spin Doctors slipped into obscurity. Granted part of the blame is on the band that followed up their breakout album with a lackluster album and some lineup changes hurt the chemistry of the bad. Now the band is back, original lineup and all with a new album, .

Much like other 90’s group who released albums earlier this year trying to resurrect their career, (see my review – If Looks Could Kill I’d Die Today) and (see my review – I Carry the Madness Everywhere I Go), the new album is a vast improvement of recent releases, but it still lacks the one song that sticks out as a smash hit like Two Princes, Run-Around, and Wonderwall did ten years ago. For the Spin Doctors, the closes is the title song that opens the album. The song is a bluesy record built around dirty guitars and even dirtier vocals, and is very reminiscent of English bands trying their hands at roots rock.

After the opener, the band tries to recreate the pop influenced rock song that got them on the radio in the first place. Except Sugar falls flat, but the band does a little better with Margarita, a bouncy song with a catch chorus, “revenge is sweet, but success is sweeter, take the salt from my wounds and put it in my Margarita.” This song is the best chance for the band to get back on the radio.

Happily Ever After sound like a lost song from Pocket Full of Kryptonite and would have fit well on the album. And much like How Could You Want Him off that album, Can’t Kick the Habit shows that the band can slow things down without losing a step. But sadly this album won’t get its deserved attention because it lacks that one break out song to push it onto the charts.

Song to Download – Nice Talking to Me

Nice Talking to Me gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.