So I finally got some time to myself this weekend, after about three weeks of going to the office every day. I’m happy to say that my backlog of about 20 TV episodes has been whittled down to around 8, after today’s fairly serious binge. A quick rundown is in order:
HEROES (Season 1, Episodes 3 through 5)
Tim Kring’s series about ordinary humans that begin to manifest superhuman abilities keeps getting better and better with each episode. The killer sequence for me was the cliffhanger ending on Episode 3, where a battle-hardened Hiro Nakamura appears before Peter Petrelli and tells him that he’s from the future. It implies a much deeper and richer storyline than we are perhaps giving the show’s creators credit for.
In the most recent episode, we finally begin to understand what Peter’s ability really is: he’s a mimic, which is why he can’t fly without his brother near him. This is an extremely cool kind of ability because it will have really interesting consequences for people like say, Nikki the internet porn star (whose ability involves some kind of physical transformation) or Hiro’s time-bending powers (would they be able to bend time together? was that how they were able to talk on that train?). The show’s one weak area is in the rather inane cheerleader subplot, mostly because this is the one area where everything kinda reverts to type (i.e., rival cheerleader grabbing all the glory, arrogant quarterback who thinks he’s God’s gift to women, etc.). Hopefully, the next episode will be the last time we see or hear from any of the high school-related supporting cast, so we can get down to the real meat of the show.
LOST (Season 3, Episodes 2 through 4)
Jack, Sawyer and Kate are being held captive on (what turns out to be) a totally separate island from the one they crashed on. Locke wakes up after the big hatch implosion, and decides that he is a hunter again. His first mission, following a curious drug-induced hallucination with Boone in it, is to save Mr. Eko, who has apparently been spending the last two episodes being ravaged by a polar bear. Sayid, Jin and Sun try to lay a trap for the Others but misfire badly and end up losing their sailboat. If you’re keeping score, this is now the second boating mission that has failed miserably for our friends. Sawyer dutifully fulfills the one-beating-per-episode-minimum clause in his contract. Jack discovers that one of the Others is suffering from a tumor in his spinal column, but he doesn’t know which one. (It’s probably Ben/Henry Gale, but whatever.) Speaking of “Benry,” he did say one interesting thing in the fourth episode, i.e., that he had spent his entire life on the island. Very interesting indeed.
I’m not quite as excited about Lost as I am about Heroes at the moment though, just because Heroes is still in that initial discovery stage where every new episode is a step forward. Lost is still very well-done of course, and the test for Heroes will really be when the principal characters have finally all met, and have understood what it is that they are there to accomplish. How that particular resolution will be handled will say a lot about the tone that the rest of the series will take.
JERICHO (Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2)
Skeet Ulrich’s big TV debut is a post-apocalyptic, small-town drama that has more than a passing resemblance to Stephen King’s “The Stand.” I’m not a very big fan of small-town dramas unless there’s some kinda ritual homicide mystery involved, and Jericho hasn’t really shown me much in its first two episodes that seems worth hanging around for. The premise is pretty simple. Skeet Ulrich’s character arrives at his hometown after a long absence, right on the day that the United States becomes the target of multiple nuclear strikes. We are led to believe that only the small towns have been spared, and even they are obviously in danger of fallout, scavengers, etc., etc. It seems like it should be more interesting, but so far it just feels kinda gay. All I can honestly remember from the two episodes that I saw are copious slow-motion shots of people crying and/or hugging each other with (what sounds like) . Ugh.
THE NINE (Season 1, Episode 1)
On the surface, this new ABC series looks like yet another bank-heist-gone-wrong kinda deal: two rookie bankrobbers hit an average-sized bank and take everyone inside hostage. 52 hours pass. Then everything is chaos; the SWAT team charges the place, immediately dropping one of the bankrobbers. One of the nine remaining hostages is bleeding on the floor with a gun shot wound to the chest. The rest are in various states of shock. The entire series looks like it revolves around what happened during the 52 hours in the bank, and how it affected the 11 people involved. There’s a very distinct support-group kinda feel throughout the last 15 minutes of the pilot, which left a bad taste in my mouth. Still, it’s an interesting take on a familiar concept and I’ll probably check out at least the next 2 episodes just to see if there is, in fact, something worth viewing here.