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Showing posts from July, 2010

Psych: Not Even Close… Encounters

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An outstanding Psych last night. Let’s dive right in:

A lawyer named Roy Kessler (Charles Martin Smith) works late in the study of his stately manor. Suddenly, the house starts shaking, the lights start blinking, and the television goes on the fritz. Accompanied by Toby (Adam Greydon Reid), a young attorney with his firm who was helping him with his work, Roy rushes outside and sees a blinding light in the sky. The light descends to the ground, and a spooky, alienesque apparition appears. Toby stumbles into the light… which disappears, taking Toby with it.

In the morning, Lassiter, Juliet and Henry all arrive at the crime scene, trailed by UFO enthusiasts Shawn and Gus, who are naturally gung-ho about Roy’s story of Toby’s extra-terrestrial abduction. (Roy: “Are you UFO chasers?” Shawn: “Nothing as ridiculous as that. We’re psychic detectives.”) The police refuse to investigate this nonsense any further, but Shawn and Gus happily take the case.

Toby’s car, which won’t start, is st…

Covert Affairs: South Bound Suarez

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Ah, the life of a CIA agent. Annie’s important mission this week: Cozy up to a leggy Venezuelan soccer player/ Georgetown student named Diego (Michael Steger). Diego’s sister Julia (Lana Parrilla), a banker in Caracas, is the mistress of a crimelord named Victor (Julian Acosta). With Julia’s assistance, Victor has been embezzling millions of dollars out of the accounts of US oil conglomerates. The CIA, keenly invested in the plight of those poor, downtrodden oil companies, wants to use Julia to bring Victor down.

(Seriously, oil companies? I don’t think Covert Affairs could have come up with a less sympathetic victim. Oh, sure, it’s mentioned that Victor is using the influx of embezzled funds to dangerously destabilize the Venezuelan economy, which is a legitimate-sounding concern, but… oil companies??? My heart, it bleeds.)

To get close to Diego, Annie poses as a Smithsonian worker who spends her weekends playing soccer with a gaggle of nubile college students. Oh, hell, why not…

Psych: Feet Don’t Kill Me Now

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Lassiter and Juliet investigate a fatal car accident in which the driver, Desiree Blake, evidently drove over an embankment into the ocean and drowned. Still concerned about Juliet’s fragile mental state after her traumatic encounter with Mr. Yin, Lassiter shoos her away from the crime scene, sternly telling her, “There will be plenty of other females who have died horrific deaths, and you can investigate all of them when you’re ready.”

Shawn and Gus arrive and snoop around. Shawn notices signs in the car that indicate Desiree wasn’t in there alone. He also finds a baggie filled with unidentified prescription pills. Shawn tries to share his results, but Lassiter won’t let them in on the case until they get approval from new police liaison Henry. Shawn is not terribly pleased about this:

Shawn: I’d be lying if I said I liked having to ask my dad for case assignments. I’d also be lying if I said Val Kilmer still looks like Val Kilmer.
Gus: I still have hope.
Shawn: Me too.

Gus leave…

White Collar: Need To Know

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Still looking into the plane explosion that killed Kate, Diana and Peter stake out the secret meeting that Fowler had scheduled. An unidentified man shows up at the meeting point, but scurries away when Peter runs toward him, waving his badge around and identifying himself as a Federal agent. Imagine that. I have no doubt that Peter is an excellent FBI man, but perhaps he should work on his sneaky, stealth approach a bit.

Meanwhile, Peter and Neal investigate a corrupt State Senator, Gary Jennings, who has been illegally funneling money into his reelection campaign. One of his staffers has provided Peter with an account of mysterious meetings, unaccounted-for donations, and two sets of books. Neal comes up with a plan to bring Jennings down: After Peter makes a big public commotion about wanting to dig up dirt on Jennings while investigating an old scandal, Neal swoops in, with a carefully-crafted alias, and tries to get hired by Jennings to smooth over the scandal and get the FBI…

Covert Affairs: Walter's Walk

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We open with exciting news from the CIA’s Domestic Protection Division -- they’re moving into new offices! Spies: they’re just like us -- they have to schlep boxes filled with their personal crap to their new cubicles, too. Anyway, I guess they upgraded the DPD HQ set since shooting the pilot, because here we are, in a shiny new facility, which looks not terribly dissimilar to the shiny old facility. Still, everyone seems pretty happy about this development.

Joan gives newbie Annie the usual rookie assignment: debriefing the various civilians who walk into the CIA from off the street claiming to have valuable intel. Cue the usual montage of babbling crazies. Discussion topic: Can anyone name a montage -- of bad auditions, bad job interviews, bad blind dates, anything -- from any film or television show that was genuinely funny? It’s the nature of wacky montages to fall flat, and this one is sadly no exception.

One of the walk-ins is a woman named Helen, who claims her brainy young…

Life Beyond Thunderdome: Dance 'Til Dawn

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Dance 'Til Dawn. Anyone know this one?

1988 NBC made-for-TV movie? Alyssa Milano? Christina Applegate? Tracey Gold? Matthew Perry? Kelsey Grammer? Tempestt Bledsoe? Chris Young? Alan Thicke? Brian Bloom? Edie McClurg? Mary Frann?

If you have at least a passing familiarity with 1980s sitcoms, this is one to throw in your Netflix queue.

My review of this delightful monstrosity is up at Forces of Geek.

Psych: Romeo & Juliet & Juliet

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Hey! Psych is back, and it’s cute!

In the aftermath of last season’s finale, in which Juliet was kidnapped by the mysterious Mr. Yin, Henry has gone to work for the Santa Barbara police department as a consultant, Juliet has been reassigned to a desk job at City Hall until she recovers from her traumatic experience, and Shawn and Gus, optimistically (and erroneously) assuming Henry would send a bunch of fresh police cases their way, have hired (and fired) an awesome new assistant, Ken (Jerry Shea).

(I don’t know if there are any plans for Ken to last past this episode, but I’d be happy to see him stick around. Long-suffering and blisteringly funny, with a low tolerance for Shawn and Gus’s usual nitwittery, he adds a fresh dimension to the show. I found myself giggling at pretty much every one of his lines.)

The SBPD investigates the disappearance of Becky Cheng, a young woman abducted in broad daylight during Santa Barbara’s China Festival by a highly acrobatic young man. Henry ref…

White Collar: Withdrawl

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Bad news first: At no point in the White Collar season premiere does Neal wander around shirtless. Nor does he get captured and tied up and/or roughed up by miscreants. There are certain reasons why viewers turn to White Collar, and the expected weekly dose of Nealsploitation ranks high among those reasons.

So that’s disappointing.

More bad news: This is a thoroughly okayish kind of episode, but nothing more. Really, for a season premiere, it’s a bit underwhelming. Still, Neal is his usual beautiful and irrepressible self, and Peter is his usual gruff yet sympathetic self, and they still have that same fun chemistry and snappy banter that made the first season so satisfying, so how bad can things be? Mozzie, Elizabeth, June and Jones are all back, and Marsha Thomason even returns as Peter’s smart and savvy subordinate Diana; it’s good to see them all.

It’s been two months since the plane explosion that killed Kate. After a brief return to prison, Neal goes back to working with P…

Covert Affairs: Pilot

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Aw, crap. I knew I should’ve joined the CIA, but noooooo, I had to pursue that important screenwriting degree instead. Just going by Covert Affairs, the CIA looks like great fun. Shootouts! Skydiving! Fistfights! Fabulous outfits!

We open with new CIA recruit Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) taking a pre-admission polygraph test. This gives her a handy chance to divulge a few chunks of her backstory right off the top: She’s 28, she speaks six languages, and her last relationship ended two years ago when the hot guy she met on a Sri Lankan beach (Eion Bailey) abandoned her without explanation, leaving an enigmatic note on her pillow: “The truth is complicated. Forgive me.” We see flashbacks of Annie frolicking around Sri Lanka with her beau while speaking fluent Sinhalese, so, y’know, she’s probably not kidding around about this “six languages” business. Perabo, by the way, is great in the role: She’s smart, she’s athletic, she’s goofy, she’s gorgeous. Thumbs up for the casting.

A …

Mohinder shops at the Banana (and other resale shop discoveries)

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Oh, dear.

So this afternoon, I popped into The Best Store in Los Angeles, better known as the It's A Wrap studio wardrobe resale shop on Robertson. Seriously, this place is pretty close to paradise. It's just a big old thrift store, where all the clothes are provided by film and television wardrobe departments.

Here's the odd thing: Because this is Los Angeles, and because the entertainment industry is just another industry here, the whole studio-wardrobe/potential collector's-item aspect is rather aggressively downplayed. If you're looking for something from a specific show or film, be prepared to hunt for it. The price tags generally have a two- or three-letter code hand-scrawled on them; there's a key taped to the far wall that deciphers what the codes stand for (for example, wardrobe from Criminal Minds -- i.e. endless racks of Hotch's crisp white shirts -- is marked "CRI"), but you really have to search for it.

Anyway, this place is filled…

New content arriving soon! Very exciting!

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Excuse me for a second while I dust off a few cobwebs.

The USA network is kicking off their summer lineup this week, which means fresh recaps will land here very soon. In addition to returning shows White Collar and Psych, I'll be recapping and reviewing their much-anticipated (around here, at the very least) brand-new series, Covert Affairs. It's a spy drama executive-produced by Doug Liman, director of Swingers, The Bourne Identity, Go, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. From the show's official website:

New jobs are tough -- especially when your new employer is the CIA. Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) is fluent in six languages, has traveled the world and is besting her fellow CIA trainees in every test. But that doesn't explain why she's suddenly summoned by CIA headquarters to report for active duty as a field operative one month before her training is over. She doesn't know there may be something -- or someone -- from her past that her CIA bosses are really after.

Ann…