Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics
With CTU dismantled, Chloe tries to save the day while Dana tries to suppress her past once and for all.
It’s been two solid weeks in a row for “24,” ladies and gentlemen. With a show such as this, it’s hard to have a series of episodes of wildly erratic quality: since it’s so plot-driven, the show’s about as good as its story. To date, the story of Season 8 has been wildly unfocused while feeling painfully familiar: we’ve gone from an assassination attempt to a coup to a nuclear attack while moving through four or five possible Big Bads. All this while employing the usual tricks and trades that the show employs in order to take a 5-6 hour story and turn it into 24 hours of prime-time entertainment.
Roughly halfway into this season, has “24” finally found its narrative stride? The jury’s still out. Tonight did feature some tense scenes with Jack, some classic Chloe O’Brien, finally turned the season’s weakest link (the Dana subplot) into…well, you’ll see in the full recap, after the break...
What's a Red Test and will Chuck be able to pass? And who could go for a Subway sub?
So let's say that due to circumstances beyond your control (or possibly within your control), your life situation has changed. You suddenly find yourself in an environment, in a job, that you never necessarily wanted to be in. But you're there. You're committed to it.
Now what's the worst thing you can imagine having to do to prove that you belong, to prove that you're prepared to to go all the way and embrace the New You?
That was the big question in the background of Monday (March 21) night's "Chuck
," titled "Chuck vs. the Final Exam."
How far would you go?
[Full recap of "Chuck vs. the Final Exam" after the break...]
AMC's meth-fueled dramedy starring Bryan Cranston returns for its third season
Bryan Cranston of 'Breaking Bad'
The opening scene of the third season of "Breaking Bad
" is one of the more arresting out-of-nowhere images I've seen on TV
. An old man, presumably Hispanic, is crawling through the dirt. What appear to be tears stain his face. He's slowly making his way away from something ... or perhaps toward something. And yet, the people around him, standing and going about their business, simply do not seem to care. And then the camera pulls out, and we can see that this old man is one of many. There are dozens of people crawling through the muck, supplicated to something we can't yet see.
[More recap after the break...]
Champagne challenges and incorrect directions cause tensions to bubble up
Brent and Caite of 'The Amazing Race'
In its lesser moments, "The Amazing Race" has been prone to being geographically irrelevant. All too often, teams fly thousands of miles around the globe, arrive at one of the world's most remote, most exotic locations and then teams are asked to bungee jump or to swim a few laps in a pool. They're asked to do things that could pretty much be done anywhere on Earth without any variation in the task or the outcome.
Perhaps that's why I'm tolerant, even excited, about an episode like Sunday's (March 21) "Amazing Race." Normally, I wouldn't exactly be pleased by an hour that ended and began with the same team in first and the same team in last and only a little minor shuffling in the middle. But "Cathy Drone
?" was a lovely celebration of French Champagne Country, awash in important life (and "Race") lessons and, in some ways, a clever counter to traditional "Amazing Race" strategy.
Full recap of Sunday's "Race" after the break...
Daniel and Joseph take two very different approaches to locate their daughter's avatars
Eric Stoltz and the Zoey-Bot of 'Caprica'
Fans of “Caprica” are almost universally also fans of “Battlestar: Galactica.” Not all, but most. So when I tell you that everything has happened before, and will happen again, you have more context for the speech than simply Amanda’s utterance of it last week. What tonight’s episode, “Ghosts in the Machine,” sought to demonstrate was just how one iteration of one stage of the neverending cycle started to pick up speed. Both Daniel and Joseph spent this episode looking for their daughters, fully unaware of how much they are fueling the fire of the younger generation’s imminent revenge.
As yes, I use the phrase “fueling the fire” intentionally. Between Zoe’s pathological fear of it to the invocation of Prometheus in New Cap City, the episode foreshadowed the fire the will engulf the Twelve Colonies in the near future. But that’s a tale for another time. Let’s focus our recap on the here and now, shall we?
[Full recap of Friday's (March 19) "Caprica" after the break...]
Which contestant will throw the other one under the bus?
Jonathan is on one of the lower scoring teams this week, but is he going home?
Okay, I’ve finally figured out that Lifetime, home of the woman in peril/menopause/a tawdry extramarital affair with the underage but ripped pool boy movie, is not entirely trustworthy when it comes to promos. But, even after seeing and scoffing at the ridiculously over-the-top plug for this week’s “Project Runway” (“But NO ONE is prepared for what happens NEXT, bah dah DUM!”), I’m still excited to see this episode. After all, it’s a team challenge, and if there’s one thing we know about “PR” is that this is a certain recipe for the kind of passive aggressive sniping, angrily thrown pin cushions and weeping/high-pitched screeching that makes reality television so much fun but sucks eggs in real life. But good news, this isn’t real life (or at least it isn’t ours), so let the hysterics begin!
In another 90-minute episode, the models get naked and two are sent home
Alexandra of 'America's Next Top Model'
Credit: The CW
Cycle 14 of "ANTM" seems to be moving quite fast. Looks like the show producers want the girls to get naked on the second date. Here comes the obligatory nude photo shoot, girls!
After an hour of filler, 'Idol' cuts to 11 without a major surprise and without using the Judges' Save
Tim Urban of 'American Idol'
9:00 p.m. We begin the episode with a Top 12 montage set to The Everly Brothers' "All I Have To Do Is Dream." Presumably the joke is that the dream is about to become a nightmare for one contestant?
9:01 p.m. Close, but not quite. "One dream is on the line," bombastic text informs us. Uh-oh!
[Find out whose dream became a nightmare on Wednesday's (March 17) "American Idol" after the break..]
Sawyer takes center-stage in an episode that feels like a stepping stone
AlternaLocke and Crazy Claire both had some major drama this week, even though 'Recon' was a Sawyer-centric episode as we continue the build to the series conclusion.
As an important part of the overall mythology in this final season of "Lost," episode 6.08 was well-constructed by writers Jim Galasso & Elizabeth Sarnoff, and it certainly laid out certain information in a way that sets a number of things into motion for the next few episodes. But there's still something about it as a stand-alone epsiode that seems disappointing. Slight, even, and when there are only eight episodes after this before the finale, then it's no time for "slight."
The featured player in this week's flash-sideways TIMELINE A segments is Sawyer, although he's not Sawyer in this version of reality. Instead, he's James Ford, Los Angeles cop with a dark secret and a partner named Miles. The notion of Ken Leung and Josh Holloway teamed up in a buddy cop show is just plain great, and I highly advise ABC to get busy on the spin-off right away, regardless of how the series ends. The introduction to undercover officer Sawyer is pretty canny, a spin on what we've learned about him over the years. He starts the episode in bed with a woman, and he starts to run a con on her. It's the familiar pigeon drop we've seen him do before, and the problem is that she recognizes the move as well. She draws a gun on him and tells him she knows he's a con artist since her husband is as well, and she knows the moves. He tells her that he's actually a cop, and that she's walked into a trap designed to catch her husband. It's a fun game for viewers for a few minutes, because as AlternaLocke observes later in the episode, "You're the best liar I've ever seen." James could be a cop. It could be a way to get out of trouble. It could be another layer of scam. For a few minutes, there are some rich possibilities in play.
Siobhan Magnus earns Adam Lambert comparisons, but several other singers also shine
Siobhan Magnus of 'American Idol'
Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX
New stage set-up. New announcer. New Top 12. This is "American Idol."
Tuesday (March 16) night is the music of the Rolling Stones and I can't wait to hear what Lilly Scott and Alex Lambert are going to sing!
Huh. Well, click through for a full recap of tonight's episode. [And also check out my interviews with the Top 12.]