Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A CSI Miami Holiday Elf Dance Party

I’m sure you all remember my CSI Miami Christmas in July message. As Thanksgiving is upon us, and along with it, the start of the whole Christmas and Winter Holiday season, I thought it was time to unveil part 2 of the CSI Miami Christmas video…because one just can’t get enough of the look of David Caruso dressed as an elf.

CSI Elf Dance Party

Here’s the Christmas in July video, in case you need a refresher!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

“24 Redemption” Buys Some Time

As I mentioned last week, Fox’s 24 came back to life last night with a two hour movie titled “24 Redemption”. I watched it with some trepidation, because I wasn’t sure if I really cared that much about Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), as the show has been absent for so long.

It was about what I expected. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have the tension and the thrills that one expects from 24. I can see why this movie came from the remains of the scrapped storyline from which the season was originally to start. But, looking at the previews for the upcoming season, they may have found themselves back on the right track.

In this two hour movie, which “takes place between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Events occur in real time," Jack is in the fictional country of Sangala, Africa, helping his missionary friend run some sort of school and home for children. But, the country is in a state of upheaval, and the children are at risk of being captured for use by the army trying to stage a coup.

While some children play soccer in town, they are captured by the army and told they will now be soldiers in the People's Freedom Army. While two boys try to flee, they are shot, and one is killed. When Jack’s friend Cal Benton (Robert Carlyle) goes to find the boys, he finds one dead and one injured. He calls Jack to tell them the army is coming and to hide the children. Jack, meanwhile, was in process of leaving the area to avoid being taken in by subpoena by a senate committee. But, in order to save the children, he helps hide them, and single handedly almost kills all of them.

A staple with the show “24” is that Jack Bauer is a crack shot, and everyone else misses horribly, even when they are using machine guns.

Jack gets captured and is being tortured for information on the whereabouts of the children, and he sees Cal signaling in the distance. He manages to fool them into thinking the children are there, and of course it’s just a trap. While Cal takes two of the three men out, Jack trips up the last one who is holding him and kills him with a massive death grip and a neck-breaking, using his legs.

There is also a real jerk of a UN worker there who seems to be afraid of his own shadow. He refuses to help escort the school bus out of town, and of course, Jack helps. They know that they have to get to the American embassy as Sangala is collapsing and they must get the kids out. But they run into problems when the road to town is compromised, and they must walk the remainder of the way on foot. Cal steps on a land mine, and knows he’s a goner. He uses this as a way to delay the soldiers chasing them, blowing them, and him, up in the process.

Meanwhile, back in the states, a new President Elect Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) is being readied for swearing in. The outgoing president Noah Daniels (Powers Boothe) had already made the decision to evacuate the American Embassy in Sangala, and when he briefs Taylor, she’s less than happy about his decision. Prior to the inauguration, Taylor’s son Roger (Eric Lively) gets a call from a friend who tips him off to some shady financial doings for the company for which he works. His friend promises to email the information to Roger, because instead of destroy it as he was instructed, he sent it to his home computer. But Roger never gets the email, seeing that the bad guys caught up with his friend and intercepted the information and then killed him.

Back in Sangala, Jack gets to the embassy and has to agree to come back as ordered by the subpoena, otherwise the children cannot be evacuated. As he is flying away in the helicopter with the children Taylor is being sworn in, and Roger’s friend is being buried on concrete. But it was also made clear that those connected to Roger’s friend’s killing are also close to the incoming president and her family.

After the show ends, we are shown a teaser for Season 7. Jack testifies at the senate subcommittee, being challenged about his use of torture and him responding that he doesn't regret his decisions. President Taylor is making an impassioned plea to stop what is happening in Africa. We also see a woman telling Jack that the man behind the threat is someone he knows: it's none other than Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) who just so happens to be not dead. Of course, there are scenes of lots of shootings, explosions, car chases, etc. We also hear Chloe telling someone she's a stay at home mom. There’s also a leak at the FBI. And Jack, very angry with Tony, yelling at him, saying, "So help me God, I will kill you and you will stay dead this time." Now really Jack, don’t you know by now that no one ever really dies on television?

“24 Redemption” was something that probably could have been missed and one would still have been able to pick up the story when season 7 begins. As far as the story itself, it was just OK. I didn’t feel like I wasted 2 hours, but it didn’t make me feel any anticipation for season 7. Well, not until I saw the preview for season 7, which looked more interesting and more action packed than “Redemption.” Did “Redemption” show that Jack truly has been redeemed, or has it just given him more resolve? Has it given him a little more compassion, or just made him angrier? From the looks of the preview, it appears that at least action and thrills will continue to follow Jack Bauer, and I’m glad that hasn’t changed. I would mind seeing Jack tone down the torture, but I don’t want Jack to turn into a wimp, either. Hopefully Jack has been transformed into a man who fights a little smarter - you know, with more brains than brawn.

Season 7 will have its two-hour premier on Sunday January 11 on Fox. I’ll be there.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

CSI: "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" Didn’t Work

Last night’s episode of CSI, "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" just didn’t work for me. Maybe I was still on overload from the colorful and enjoyable CSI NY from the night before (”My Name is Mac Taylor” ) , but the original recipe CSI seems to have become so dark and dreary. In fact, it reminded me a lot of how CSI NY was when that show first started.

In this episode, a mother and daughter are murdered, and the husband is the primary suspect. But, after some generic CSI work and some dogged questioning by Captain Jim Brass (played by the underrated Paul Guilfoyle), they get their man. Well, they really get their woman when the murderer turns out to be the daughter of someone who was killed by the mother and daughter’s husband when he was living under another name. (!) But she gets HER man when she kills him while she has him digging up her father's grave.

Meanwhile, Nick (George Eads) and Hodges (Wallace Langham) work on an average case of a car accident that they discover was caused by two guys horsing around and knocking mailboxes off their posts with a baseball bat. In hitting one mailbox where they owner has filled with concrete, they lose control of the car and crash. The man who filled his mailbox with concrete is arrested for their deaths. Can someone explain to me why? He didn’t force these guys to vandalize his mailbox. Is it because he created the conditions that ultimately lead to their deaths? The only redeeming part of that dull case was Nick and Hodges horsing around like two kids.

The cornerstone of the story was Gil Grissom’s (William Petersen) attendance at a transfer hearing for Natalie Davis (Jessica Collins), the miniature killer. Since Sarah was nearly killed by the miniature killer, Gil has an interest in the hearing. Her original verdict was she was guilty, but ruled mentally ill and sent in for treatment. Now that her treatment has seemed to make her well, ADA Valerie Nichols (Amy Aquino) is working to have her sent to prison to serve her sentence. She is being opposed by Natalie’s attorney (Joshua Malina). Gil gets sucked in when Nichols asks for Gil's testimony on his original interrogation of Natalie and how she went a little nutty at that time, and her apparent state of mind now.

Natalie’s attorney questions Gil’s motives, but he denies having any. The court rules Natalie should go to prison. While she is being led from her room to prison, Gil apologies that he couldn’t help more, and she says she has changed, but that people who do bad things should be punished. When she leaves, Gil scans the room and notices that she scooped out her soap. This causes him to look at a floor tile, which he pries away from the floor. Connected to the underside of the tile, he finds a small female figure dressed in a prison uniform, hanging with a rope around its neck. I presume she made the figure of herself using the soap.

I hope that the whole miniature killer story is now over. I think it ran its course long ago, but maybe they needed this one last reference for some sort of closure, so when Gil fades off into the sunset that the whole storyline is wrapped up nice and tidy. What I realized after this episode is that while I have some concerns about Laurence Fishburne replacing William Petersen, that I think I am ready for him to move on. It seems of late many of the episodes he’s been in just seem so dark and depressing to me that it sucks all the enjoyment out of the show. In fact, while I think that Paul Guilfoyle does a fantastic job in his role as Capt. Brass, I also get the same feeling from every scene he’s in. I don’t mind the occasional downer scenes – after all, this is a crime show we’re talking about – but I wish they would at least lighten up the scenes, literally, a bit. The lighting is dark, the colors drab, it just isn’t very pleasing to watch for a long period of time. It could be that I am still on color overload from this week's episodes of CSI Miami and CSI NY.

The other thing I noticed is that CSI seems to be downplaying the traditional Las Vegas scene a lot. Sure, we see many shots of the city skyline, but it seems they actually spend very little time in the most active parts of the city. My perception may be wrong, though. It still seems odd that the show is set in such a colorful place, yet they don’t seem to play that up. It’s always the seedier side of the city that is portrayed. Maybe no crime happens in the casinos, or it’s just too expensive for them to either film there or recreate various casino scenes in their studios. Maybe the casinos don’t want the insides of their casinos filmed for security reasons, or they just don’t want people to think of the area a crime-ridden. Either way, I hope they get themselves out of the dark and drab sets, because it really drags me down.

Still, CSI is one of the best crime dramas on television, but it’s slipping a little in my book. I hope Petersen’s eventual absence from the show and Fishburne’s arrival doesn’t push the show down further.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

CSI NY: “My Names Is Mac Taylor” Times 100

The episode of CSI NY "My Name is Mac Taylor" was an interesting case and a creative way to celebrate the 100th episode of CSI NY. And they have reason to celebrate. The show, which is part of the successful CSI franchise, appears to have become more popular over the years. I was never much of a fan at first, but I have to admit that during this season and the last, the series has really improved its storylines and has grown on me. The chemistry of the cast has seemed to gel and they seem to act as a true team – unlike their Miami counterparts, who seem to be constantly sniping and competing against each other.

I found the episode’s references to the number 100 very creative and enjoyable. Maybe because I knew it was episode 100 going into it, the references were easy to spot. First was in the opening sequence where a man seemed to be running from something. He opens a glass door, which is clearly marked 100. He’s at the 100th floor somewhere I assume, as he continues to run down the stairs floor by floor. But sadly he ends up dead, apparently falling to his death.

The twist is that his name is Mac Taylor, and he’s the second Mac Taylor to die in less than 2 weeks. This is cause for concern for Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) who happens to share the same name. And Mac thinks the killer has already paid him a visit while he was taking a swim, as he thought someone was watching him, and his wallet and keys appear to have been tampered with during his swim.

When Mac’s team realize someone seems to be targeting Mac Taylors, they check and find there are 23 Mac Taylors within a hundred - yes 100 - mile radius. In checking them out, they rule out those that don’t have cars or don’t drive (since the killer seemed to have an interest in their car keys). They bring in several for questioning. One of the Macs - Machiavelli Taylor - is being played by Chris Daughtry of American Idol fame, and he was just OK as an actor (stick to singing, Chris). But another Mac - Mackinley Taylor - played by Scott Wolf, seems a little more uncomfortable than the rest while he’s being held, and it was clear to me that this was the Mac the killer was after.

What I really liked about this episode wasn’t so much the story as it was visually enjoyable. While all the shows in the CSI franchise seem to have the flair for color – especially the ever-orange CSI Miami with its splashed of cartoon color – this episode of CSI NY was almost artistic in how each scene was painted with color. CSI NY probably does better than any other NY-based show, either filmed completely in NY or not, in highlighting the city and its great sights. A real treat was seeing the ‘Waterfalls’ Art Installation , which is located at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.

We also get to meet Deputy Inspector Gillian Whitmore (Julia Ormond) who I assume is Mac’s new boss. Maybe I missed something. I always see Chief Sinclair (Mykelti Williamson) but didn’t realize there could be another layer of bureaucracy between the Chief and Mac. I think I watch too many crime shows that I can’t keep them straight anymore. If someone can clue me in as to what Gillian’s role with Mac is, I would be grateful. Ormand’s performance, however, was flat. Something about her laugh when she was telling Mac about his reputation seemed forced to me. If they make her some sort of love interest for Mac, well, that would be too much for me to handle. Nothing against Gary Sinise, but I want to know how it is that average looking guys always attract beautiful women? Horatio Caine (David Caruso) is the perfect example of this phenomenon. Sinise is another. When will we get a crime show with average women who have great looking guys chasing after them? It’s a double standard, I tell you!

I thought the ending worked well, where Adam (AJ Buckley) and Stella (Melina Kanakaredes ) were looking at how many people in the area shared their name and those of their colleagues. What is the deal with only ONE Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy), and having it be a 90-year-old woman? Why wasn’t Sid’s name listed, or is there something he’s not telling us? Sid’s definitely not 90 years old.

Bottom line, I enjoyed this episode. It was fun to watch. And I think I’m becoming a die-hard CSI NY fan, something I thought I would never be.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CSI Miami Gone Baby Gone: Wrong Baby Wrong

Another episode of CSI Miami that had possibilities. Another story ruined by the absence of drama, stiff acting, and a laughable story.

“Gone Baby Gone” opened with Jill Walsh (Teri Polo), who is out walking with her baby, Sofie, when a couple approaches, claiming Jill stole their baby. While a man restrains Jill, seemingly assuming she was a kidnapper, the couple that accused her of stealing the baby runs off with her child. It’s a scenario that frankly could actually be believable. Soon afterwards, Horatio Caine (David Caruso) arrives on the scene, askance, and when Jill asks if she will ever see Sofie again, he responds, "You will. " Of course, he didn’t specific if she’d see her ALIVE again. And then…the opening scream.

At the Walsh home, Jill is surrounded by her husband Stuart (Mark Humphrey) and son Keith (Steven R. McQueen – grandson of THE Steve McQueen). Calleigh (Emily Procter) obtains DNA samples from the family, and the traditional phone taps are in place. It’s surprising anyone would kidnap a child for ransom any more since they should know that their calls can be easily traced. But, these kidnappers are not so bright, and they call, asking for $500,000 and keep the call short so the call can’t be traced.

But, even though Horatio seemed to promise Jill that Sofie would be returned to them, Calleigh throws cold water on that by telling Jill that if she pays the ransom, there will be no reason to keep Sofie alive, saying "If you give them what you want, they will kill your daughter…You can't blame yourself. These are professional criminals. This is what they do!" I suppose that amateur criminals would keep the baby alive?

Eric (Adam Rodriguez) is investigating a broken window in the house, and Keith informs him that someone threw a baseball through the window the previous week. Keith kept the ball, and Eric improvises and uses a blowdryer to get prints off the ball. No match.

At the kidnapping scene, Horatio notices that the area where the kidnapping took place had no surveillance cameras, which means the kidnappers had some knowledge of the area prior to the crime. Ryan (Jonathan Togo) checks the trash bins in the area to find the baby’s clothes, to which Horatio remarks "They changed her clothes because they're planning to keep her alive." I’m not quite sure how he would arrive at that conclusion; I would think the kidnappers changed the clothes just to disguise the baby so they could get her out. The clothes yield a DNA match to Marty Ellis (Bradley Snedeker), and Jill positively identifies him as one of the kidnappers. Horatio and his posse arrive at Ellis’ home, and he’s dead by gunshot. It’s assumed that Marty’s female partner in crime killed him and took the baby, which makes them think she’ll also kill the baby.

Back at the Walsh house, it’s discovered that Keith swapped the SIM card in the cell phone being used by the Walsh parents, and was intercepting the kidnapper’s calls. I suppose no one noticed he was hovering over the phone? And Keith has also taken the money from his parent’s safe in order to pay the ransom. Meanwhile, Eric borrows some equipment from ME Dr. Price (Megalyn Echikunwoke) to help him get evidence off the insides of the baseball. He does, and it’s a chemical used in photo development. This implicates Brad Garland (Peter Porte), the Walsh’s next-door neighbor who is a photographer and still develops his pictures in his home the old fashioned way. It seems odd that this show, which seems to use all the real and imagined technology, that they still have a photographer who still uses 35mm film and develops his own pictures. Horatio is then questioning Garland, who admits to throwing the baseball because Keith annoys him and he was trying to teach Keith a lesson.

Meanwhile, Eric catches up with Keith, and it seems Keith met the kidnappers in the park, gave the kidnappers the money, but got stiffed and did not get the baby. At the park, Horatio and his crew talk to people in the area, but the eagle eyed Horatio, with his magic sunglasses of infinite vision, spots a pacifier lying in the grass under the park bench where the drop was made. He removes his sunglasses to better see the binky, touching it without any protective gloves on.

At the lab, Natalia (Eva La Rue) gets DNA off the binky and discovers that Stuart is not Sofie’s baby daddy, which means Jill lied to them. Horatio questions Jill and gives her the news, to which see seems somewhat disappointed. She hoped Stuart was the baby daddy, because she only had one fling with Brad Garland, the photographer. It is amazing in this day and age that people don’t know that all it takes is one fling. (Didn't they use protection? What is it with these people?)

Brad Garland is back being interrogated, and seems shocked that he is Sofie’s biological father. He hopes they find her, but doesn’t want to get saddled with child support.

Dr. Price has managed to get the fragmented bullet out of Marty Ellis, and Calleigh works magic to identify the bullet and match it to a casing found at a recent robbery of a jewelry store. She also gets a suspect: Carla Hoyle (Alexandra Holden). Now that’s some magic bullet!

It seems only a blink later that Horatio and his posse have Carla face down on the pavement. Carla admits killing Ellis, and says she gave the baby to the man who hired her, Rodrigo Sanchez (Mario Prado Jr.), the man who just happened to restrain Jill when her baby was being kidnapped. It seems he made it look like he was stopping Jill from kidnapping the baby, when he was really part of the plot. Horatio instructs them to "seal off this city. " Yeah, sure, they'll get right on it now that someone already had plenty of time to leave.

Natalia and Frank (Rex Linn) search Sanchez's locker at the restaurant where he works and find a hidden compartment. The find a journal and a picture of Jill and Sophie Walsh, the photo apparently taken by Garland. Natalia states the obvious and says. "I think Garland and Rodrigo were in on this together." She is just brilliant, I tell you!

Garland is back in interrogation, and he admits that he knew Sophie was his child. He used the baseball to break into the house and steal some of the bay’s hair for a DNA. It made me wonder, the Walsh family has all this money and a safe in the house, but no alarm system? It seems that Garland was able to walk right in and find the baby’s room and take hair without the worry of being caught. Anyway, he does a home DNA test which must have been done at warp speed, seeing that he had to mail it in and get the results back in the time that the window was broken and he planned the kidnapping. Keith said the window was only broken about a week before. That is some fast mail and DNA turnaround! Anyway, Garland said he went to see a lawyer, who said he had no right to the baby, so he decided to take Sofie. But Horatio breaks the bad news to him: Garland’s partner Sanchez is in the wind, presumable along with the money and Sofie.

Sanchez journal also seems to indicate he’s going to sell the baby, and someone is coming from Cape Town that very day. (Now that's fast to arrange a kidnapping and an adoption.) Meanwhile, on the tarmac, a couple disembarks from a private jet and meets Sanchez. The exchange the cash, but before they get the baby, Horatio arrives with sirens blaring, tipping off Sanchez. Sanchez jumps into the car and drives off with Horatio in hot pursuit. Too bad Horatio didn’t seem to call for back up or reinforcements before he arrived, because the ensuing chase caused an accident and Sanchez’s SUV flips. When Sanchez crawls out of the vehicle with his gun drawn, Horatio shoots him dead. Next, we see a cloud of smoke, and Horatio emerging from it, carrying Sofie, who seems to be untouched. Considering the severity of the wreck, that must be some magic car seat. The baby is returned to Jill, who is overjoyed. Horatio stands there, looking like it’s just another day in the life in Miami.

This episode actually started very well, with Teri Polo doing an excellent job as the mother of the kidnapped baby. Sadly, her convincing performance couldn’t save this episode, which was gone, the minute Horatio and his team got the case. The episode clearly descended into cliché, with the typical panicked parents, the renegade son, the convenient evidence, and Horatio being the savior at the end.

But the flaws and holes in the plot were numerous. First, as I mentioned earlier, the turnaround for Garland’s home mail-in paternity test and the evidence of the broken window was just too quick to be credible. One would have to assume at least 3 days just in mail time alone, even if the testing facility was local (and Garland didn’t seem to send it in express.) That doesn’t even take into account how long it would take to actually conduct the test and get the results. I checked a few on line sites and they said their turnaround is five days, unless it’s sent express. I still think this “window” was a little too tight.

Along that line, we have to assume that during that period where the window was broken, Garland did the test and got the results, consulted a lawyer, hand e also had time to set up a kidnapping plot with Sanchez. Let’s go over the kidnap scheme. Sanchez manages to catch someone swiping a credit card off another table to steal the information off the card. Who in their right mind would leave their credit card unattended at a table? Especially a table that is outdoors, no less. I found this ridiculous. Why did Sanchez assume that if they’d steal credit card information they would be willing to steal a baby? That’s quite a leap. Then, what would have happened if the couple refused to cooperate in Sanchez’s scheme? How would he get someone else to kidnap the baby in so short a time? Maybe it’s me, but I found the whole kidnapping plot laughable and completely unrealistic.

I also found it amusing that these professions CSIs had to be constantly reminded to work the case fast because there was a baby involved. If I was Natalia, I would have punched Ryan squarely in the face had he nagged me to hurry. Likewise, Eric thought it was OK to just take Dr. Price’s equipment without permission because there was a baby involved. You know, he does have a cell phone, he could have called her and just asked. For a group of people that are supposed to be on a team, they certainly don’t act like a team.

And what’s the deal with Horatio arriving at the airport with apparently no backup, and with sirens blaring? If he would have had back up, they could have easily surrounded the car and the plane and a chase would not be necessary. If he arrived without his sirens he may have been able to get closer to Sanchez so fleeing would not have been so easy. It was foolish to engage in a chase like that, especially with a child involved. After all, it wasn’t like they were on an urban highway or on streets where someone could have easily disappeared. It was an airport, which may have been easier to close off. I suppose without the chase and resulting car accident, we would not have had the corny scene with Horatio coming out of the cloud of smoke, like some sort of heavenly apparition delivering child from the sky, or some sort of magician pulling off a trick. Scenes like that are what make a joke of the character of Horatio Caine. In fact, the show gets more comic-bookish every week.

And please, will someone do a wardrobe intervention with Ryan? I have no idea who picks his clothes, but I swear he must get them in a clearance bin. He wears the oddest colors. It seems like every week we are treated to some sort of sherbet-type color, like pale orange, lime, raspberry, etc. And he matches the tie in the same color no less. He really needs a makeover.

As far as I’m concerned, “Gone Baby Gone” was bad, baby, bad.

PS How could I forget? This was their 150th episode. Here’s a video where the cast talks about it:

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Can 24 "Redemption" Redeem 24?

First of all, I am in quite the cranky mood today because somehow, despite all my anti-virus, anti-trojan, and anti-malware software, my computer still got infected with some malware. I thought my McAfee anti-virus program caught it (it said it did) but part of it must have gotten in under their radar. Anyway, I spent the whole morning – from 5:30 AM until now – fixing it.

So take all this into consideration when I say that I am very indifferent to the upcoming 2 hour movie for “24” titled “Redemption,” scheduled to air on Sunday, November 23. (The trailer can be viewed here.)

It seems like forever since an episode of "24" has aired. In fact, I am not sure if anyone has even shown any episodes lately in syndication or on cable, either. And, as the writer’s strike virtually killed its new season,  it's as if Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) dropped off the face of the earth.  

Making matters worse is that there were reports that when they DID start filming, they didn’t like what they saw and scrapped it. If I recall the premise of the story that was scrapped, I think that’s what we’ll be seeing in “Redemption.” It’s being referred to as a “prequel” or “bridge” to season 7; I call it a cast-off , or made from recycled material. 

Here’s what’s supposed to happen in this upcoming 2-hour movie (don’t read this paragraph if you don’t want to be a little spoiled):

Jack left Los Angeles and the LA life behind and is now in Sangala, Africa. He’s now a missionary, alongside his old colleague Carl Benton. Sangala is under siege by a ruthless warlord (played by Tony Todd), who happens to be using abducted children for his militia. And when this militia begins to mess with the children that are under Jack’s care, Jack does what Jack does best – fights back.  Back in the US, there’s a new (female) president - Allison Taylor (played by Cherry Jones) - being sworn in. She’s immediately faced with this “problem” in Africa.   Although Jack is in Africa, finally outside of his comfort zone in LA, this prequel also spends time in the US by introducing new characters that will play a part in season 7. But, don’t expect to see the old standbys like Chloe or Buchanan in this 2-hour show.

Somehow, this doesn’t sound very interesting to me. I think it was necessary for the success of the show to get it out of Los Angeles, but taking Jack to Africa seems a little overboard. (After all, isn't going to Africa what killed the NBC show ER?) I also don’t see Jack as a person who would act as a missionary, or help in a missionary effort, no matter how repentant or regretful he would be over his past deeds. And, since I know the 2-hour episode is the result of a storyline they didn’t think they could carry through the whole season, it sounds that it could be somewhat disjointed. But, the biggest problem is that “24” has been off the radar for so long that I’ve simply lost interest in Jack Bauer. But, I will still watch the show to see if somehow they can make lemonade out of a bunch of lemons. If, however, "Redemption" doesn’t set things up for something new and different for season 7, I think that I may scratch “24” off my must watch list. Hopefully, next week I’ll be writing a glowing review, because I hate wasting 2 hours on a show that I didn’t like. (Maybe by then I’ll be over my computer mishap today and I won’t be in such a bad mood,)

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

House ‘The Itch”: Scratching Makes It Worse

This episode of House, titled “The Itch” made me want to scratch out my eyes. Why? It’s the horror of all horrors for this show: House (Hugh Laurie) seems itching for more to his relationship with Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). I urge him not to scratch that itch.

House’s and Cuddy’s preoccupation with THE KISS from the previous episode, ”Joy”, almost destroyed the potential for an almost interesting case with the Patient Of The Week, Stewart Nozick (Todd Louiso), who is an agoraphobic. He becomes ill inside his home, and since he refuses to leave his home for treatment, it opens the show up for a ridiculous story. Ultimately, as they can’t bring Stewart to the hospital, they have to treat him in his home. As his case becomes more complicated, they decide to fake him out and make him think he’s being operated on in his own home. Once he’s under anesthesia, they transport him to Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital for the surgery, and then plan to return him home afterwards. Things go awry why Dr. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) decides to wake him from anesthesia and tell him what’s going on. He panics of course, and the operation won’t continue. Later, though, in a clear shark-jumping moment for the show, they actually bring all the equipment to the Stewart’s home to perform the surgery on him there. During the surgery, Dr. Taub (Peter Jacobson) accidentally ignites the gas coming from Stewart’s intestines and he is burned, and in the presence of his lawyer, no less. Cameron stays with him after the surgery, and despite the fact that House tries to switch his IV to saline, Cameron made sure Stewart still got morphine. House is interested when, despite the morphine, Stewart was still having stomach pain. House deduces the pain he had while still on morphine must mean lead poisoning, and, finding an area hear the man’s hip where he suffered a gunshot wound, cuts him open while he is not anesthetized and picks out pieces of the bullet. He's cured! House then berates Stewart for keeping himself locked up in his own home and deluding himself to thinking this makes him happy. Of course, this is just the impetus Stewart needs to make his first walk outside the house in a long time. He's cured again!

But, during the backdrop of diagnosing the unfortunate patient, House is dropping comments all over the place about what happened between him and Cuddy, saying "I kinda hit that last night, so now she's all up on my jock. " It seems that everything thinks he’s kidding, except for Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). And, in typical Wilson form, he seems compelled to stick his nose into the matter, going so far as discussing it with Cuddy. He quizzes her on why she's never thought of House "that way." She goes into a long explanation of how she thinks it would all have played out, clearly a sign that she HAS thought of him that way. Later in the episode, Wilson admits to Cuddy that he's always had feelings for her. She seems interested and asks him on a date the next night, and then she suggests they just have sex in front of House's office. She then tells Wilson that she got his point, which apparently is to make House jealous so he'd realize he should be with Cuddy.

Meanwhile, Drs. Cameron and Chase ( Jesse Spencer ) seem to be having some troubles of their own, Cameron not willing to make room at her place for Chase, and Chase not willing to wait any more for her to come around. Things are made worse when it seems that Cameron’s soft spot for flawed people kicks into high gear when it seems she’s staying at his place to watch over him while they work on his case.

During all this, the self-centered House also seems obsessed with a mosquito bite, even to the point that he dreams he blows up his apartment by accident trying to kill it. I suppose, though, the whole purpose of the mosquito bite is symbolic of the “itch” that he seems to be experiencing when it comes to Cuddy. Too obvious?

It must be nice for this whole team of doctors to only have one case to work on that they can just leave the hospital en masse and focus all their attention on one patient. It doesn’t seem realistic to me. I thought another huge stretch was performing an operation in the man’s home. Does that happen in the real world? I found the whole premise ludicrous.

One good thing about the episode was the fact that they brought in Chase and Cameron for a little more than just a few seconds on the screen, and they put the other three doctors in the background. I believe that those two are much more interesting that the new three. And it seemed that the three newbie doctors were a little miffed at the ease in which Cameron interacted with House; she seemed to be answering his questions directly just to help the conversation move on. I am sure they will learn their lesson that you can't fight House's childish streak or his need to intimidate or belittle his colleagues.

But there is something wrong with this show as of late. House seems to be regressing, becoming more juvenile with every week. His response to his kiss with Cuddy was something I would have expected from a 11 year old who just had his first kiss with a girl behind the bushes near the grade school playground. And while they make references to House’s continued drug problem, his real problem is that he seems emotionally stunted in his relationships with his colleagues and people in general. In fact, everybody on the show seems to be acting like they are juveniles that don’t know the first thing about “big people” relationships. I am starting to believe that the show is trying to appeal to a much younger demographic, and seeing that the show airs at 8:00 PM, maybe they are trying to catch the teen crowd? Seriously, during the first year or so of this show, it seemed to be a compelling drama that had grown up acting people in grown up scenarios. Now, I feel like I am watching a soap opera for teens.

But what really gets me are these overly contrived scenarios that seem to be placed there just to give the illusion that the characters are outside their comfort zone. It seems odd that a person who won’t leave their home is the excuse they use to get ALL the characters (except Wilson and Cuddy) out of the confines of the hospital. It is almost believable, up until they decide to put the whole staff on the case and seemingly move a surgical set up and other hospital equipment into the home. It must be nice to have a hospital where so many specialists can work on only one case and take vital equipment out of a hospital to tend to one patient’s needs. It just does not ring true, and that’s what I dislike about what is happening to the show.

The episode leads up to Stewart taking a walk outside the confines of his house, Cameron clearing some drawer space for Chase, House letting a mosquito go free and then acting stalker-like outside Cuddy’s window, then walking away.

My hope is that House would just keep on walking and stay away from Cuddy. I have every hope that the show just drops this story arc, because frankly I find it worse that the ever annoying Stacy story line that we had to deal with in a previous season. I am not sure if I care any more if House finds love. I just want House to re-engage his BRAIN.

I have to admit that I don’t know what I want from this show anymore, except maybe to tell the writers to look back at their first season and try to recapture the real drama that the show had as viewers discovered the many layers of House. House now seems to have become a two-dimensional character, without depth, substance, and grown-up behaviors. I can only hope that one day the writers will stop reading fan forums or catering to the fantasies of teenage fangirls. It’s no wonder that the show continues to lose viewers and that NCIS is seemingly trouncing it in the ratings. It’s because grown ups are fleeing in droves.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

CSI Miami “Cheating Death” A Rip-Off

He can't hide from this turkey

Another episode of CSI Miami – another feeling that I just wasted an hour. Even "Xena" couldn’t save it.

The bottom line in "Cheating Death” was that a man was killed by a woman who was scammed by a “tanning butler,” and she killed him because he stole her expensive wedding ring. It also uncovers Audrey Yates (Lucy Lawless), who runs an escort service, who was working with the tanning butler to help drive away her “competition.” And while all this is going on, Wolfe (Jonathan Togo) and Delko (Adam Rodriguez) play a prank on ME Dr. Tara Price (Megalyn Echikunwoke) that may have compromised evidence.

Rather than dissect the case – which was one of the dullest on record, mind you – let me cover some of the many misses in this episode.

Of course, the tone of the show can sometime be felt by the line delivered right before the opening scream. In this case, it was not a good sign when Frank (Rex Linn) makes note of the couple – from Kansas - who made the noise complaint that led to the discovery of the body. Horatio (David Caruso) responds dryly, "They're not in Kansas anymore, are they?" Groan.

Another bit of silliness is the hotel concierge who keeps special toys on hand for hotel clients' “special “ needs. And how nice of the hotel to have their logo on the handcuffs. Excuse me? A hotel logo on handcuffs? Did they also put their logo on the other "special" toys too? Somehow I doubt it. But, they needed this little clue to help point them to the concierge, which lucky for them later points to a phony receipt system he had going on the side which eventually pointed to the actual murderer. (Whew! Did you follow that?)

What was amazing to me is that when Wolfe and Delko decide to play a prank on Dr. Price, that with all their experience they didn’t’ realize that the body had been moved in exactly the same position that it was at the crime scene. Now, if these two are supposed to be such great CSIs, and have probably seen a lot of bodies in the morgue, shouldn’t the body's unusual positioning in the morgue have raised a red flag that this was not the time to play a juvenile prank? Equally dumbfounding was that the ME and Calleigh (Emily Procter) could manage to get the body back in the exact position in order for the ME to get those mold of the murder weapon. Even more astounding is that Horatio was able to clear away the ME’s concerns with inconsistencies about the evidence just by looking at the molds and simply turning one of the mold blades!

Equally magical is when Delko is able to reconstruct a bottle that the tanning butler used to drug his victims just by fuming the pieces for prints, then photographing the pieces so the computer can just put them together again. The flaw in this process is that Delko holds the pieces under the camera to be photographed, which, unless he holds the piece exactly the same distance from the camera, could cause distortion when the computer tried to assemble them. Should he have placed them ON the table underneath the camera so the distance and lighting would be exactly the same for each shot, and therefore the proportions of the pieces identical?

And I still think that the women in Miami must be some of the dumbest women on record. Now really, would any woman in their right mind take a drink of something out of a bottle from a stranger that they didn’t really know what it was? And the fact that Lisa Radley (Vanessa Branch) took the murder weapon with her and still had it in her trunk even after being questioned by the police also confirms that Miami continues to have dumb criminals. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for her to have disposed of the weapon in some public trash bin, miles away from the murder scene?

As a side note, David Caruso seemed to be speaking almost too quietly during this episode. It almost seemed like he was getting into some sort of Zen mode or something. I had to keep turning up the volume to hear him. After a while, I decided I wasn’t missing much.

I could go on and on about this episode, but why? I was already cheated of an hour just watching it, why waste any more time?

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Monday, November 10, 2008

60 Minutes: 30 Minutes Of It

One of these days I am actually going to watch all 6o minutes of the CBS show “60 Minutes.”

The reason I never watch the full 60 minutes of the show is because it almost always gets time shifted because of football game run-overs. And, by the time they finish introducing everyone (it seems like that drags on forever) it seems that whatever I want to watch at 8:00 PM is starting.
I did manage to catch two of the segments in last night’s show. The first segment covered a discussion Steve Kroft had with the Obama campaign “inner circle” that ran the campaign. It was interesting to meet the people behind those emails that I received during their campaign. And I did get a lot of emails from them. I'm not complaining, mind you, I found the emails very informative. Still, it was an average interview, nothing stellar.

The second segment was an eye-opener where Scott Pelley took viewers to a location they billed as “one of the most toxic places on Earth - a place government officials and gangsters don't want you to see. It's a town in China where you can't breathe the air or drink the water, a town where the blood of the children is laced with lead. “ In fact, at one point during the segment, Pelley seemed to be gagging on the acrid air.

This segment shows the strength of “60 Minutes” where they go to places and cover stories that some people would rather keep hidden. The story showed how the good intentions of Americans to recycle computer components and other “e-waste” goes awry when the parts are processed outside the US by people who have little regard for the effects that the toxic by-products can have on people and the overall environment. During this segment, the people conducting the investigation and filming are under clear pressure by local government and gangs who want their dirty little secret kept secret. In this case, “60 Minutes” did its job by reporting the facts in the case, and hopefully making viewers think about who may be suffering as a result of the waste we generate.

I didn’t watch the third segment, which was about Ted Turner for a few reasons. First, I can’t stand Ted Turner. Second, after watching the depressing segment about toxic “e- waste” I needed to laugh so I turned on The Simpsons. And frankly, even on the days where I may be available to watch the end of the show, I am usually half annoyed and half repulsed at Andy Rooney. The annoyed part comes from the fact that he’s always, well, annoyed himself. The repulsed part comes from those eyebrows, which are in serious need of a pruning.

The bottom line is that the show delivers only some of the time. I recall watching the show years ago in the 1970s and it was always out for the controversial story, or a hard-hitting expose. There seemed to be real investigative reporting going on. Now, we don’t get those kinds of stories as much. Maybe there are more concerns over lawsuits, maybe people have just gotten wise to the show and don’t feel the desire or the need to talk to a "60 Minutes" interviewer. After all, the show has been on for 40 years, so it’s bound to lose its edge after a while. Still, the segment from Scott Pelley gave me hope that somewhere the old "60 Minutes" is still out there, waiting to uncover some wrong that needs to be righted.

So even though I don’t watch “60 Minutes” for the full 60 minutes, I think the show still has value and provides some interesting commentary on those things that we sometimes don’t know about or think about. Well, except maybe for that Ted Turner story, he’s someone I’d just rather not think about at all.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

CSI NY “Enough” Makes One Want More

With each week, CSI NY continues to impress me for many reasons. Unlike its Miami counterpart, the stories and cases are interesting and relatively believable and the dialog crisp.

In this episode titled “Enough”, three people are found dead from gunshots. One is shot in a bar, one is found dead on the street (we see him shot while in the back seat of a car with a woman), one is shot in his apartment after what seems to be his own personal drug party. The victims are later identified ad Michael Jones, Duckins LaBranch and Luther Stockton, and Mac recognizes their names. They are drug dealers who were set to go to trial for murder the next day, and Mac had worked on the case.

When the trial opens and the three defendants are nowhere to be found, Mac (Gary Sinise) steps up to the judge and states that all three of them are dead. Outside the courthouse, ADA Natalie Greer (Heather Mazur) tells Mac there was a deal made where the three were going to rat out another dealer in exchange for lesser sentences. She refers him to Jones's lawyer, Jacob Donovan, and after pressure from Mac, he tells him the three men were going to rat out a dealer named Petrix DeRosier. But, before Mac questions DeRosier, Danny discovers that two recovered murder weapons at the scenes of the three separate shootings were the same guns the three men used in their initial crime. Later, Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Flack (Eddie Cahill) question Petrix, and all he tells them is that the murders were bad for his business. When Stella (Melina Kanakaredes ) and Detective Angell (Emmanuelle Vaugier) find the vehicle Duckins was killed in (the woman with him turned out to be a hooker and she stole the car after the shooting) Stella finds the third murder weapon in the car.

While all this is going on, Adam (AJ Buckley) uncomfortably approaches Mac and seems concerned about his job. Was it “the paper airplanes or the dancing” he asks. When Mac looks befuddled at Adam's question and why Adam is acting the way he was acting, Adam tells him he’s being let go, and he shows Mac a letter stating that fact. It seems that Mac’s boss Chief Sinclair is making cuts, and Mac won’t stand for it. He argues with Sinclair over the phone and tries to think of other cuts to make like waiting six months to purchase state-of-the-art automated workstations. Stella brings him to his senses, and reminds him of the critical need for the workstations.

Back to the case. When Mac finds out that Maggie Hall (Katherine Cunningham-Eves), the woman who gave him critical information in the past to help bring charges against the three men, is called as a witness for the trial, he is concerned. He had promised Maggie that he would do all he could to avoid her having to testify. When Mac visits Maggie, he is shocked to see her face with multiple deep cuts, and she tells him that they did this to her to stop her from testifying. Maggie’s three brothers are also there, very upset with Mac that he seemed to have broken his promise.

Later, they clear Petrix DeRosier based on electronic surveillance evidence, which gives them alibis. Evidence may imply Maggie’s three brothers. It seems a logical leap that the three brothers killed the three drug dealers. But Adam, after sifting through and printing all the glass found at the bar scene, gets a print off a glass and it a match for Jacob Donovan (J.R. Cacia), Michael Jones' lawyer. Under separate questioning from Danny, Flack, and Mac, they confront the three defense lawyers with their belief that the lawyers had possession of the guns the three drug dealers used in the original crime, and the lawyers used them to kill their clients over their disgust after what they did to Maggie. Of course, they had.

As a closing note, each team member comes in to Mac’s office to tell them their vacation plans have changed and they won't be taking them, and Stella clues Mac in that a friend of a friend of a friend ( and so on) helped her to transfer the allotted vacation funds to help cover the cost of keeping Adam, at least until they can find a permanent solution to the budget problem.

This episode was very entertaining because it kept viewers guessing. It also played a bit of a creative trick when it seemed to dish up the three brothers as the logical killers. It never crossed my mind that the defense attorneys would have done it I guess maybe even defense attorneys get fed up with the scummy clients they defend. The lawyers took the law into their own hands. It’s also in stark contrast to the episode of Law & Order (“Rumble”) that aired directly opposite this episode of CSI NY, where a brother of a man killed in a street fight took the law into his and his friends own hands and caused a near riot where people were beaten and killed. The episode of Law & Order had a grittier, heavy-handed message – a person can’t dish out their own form of justice, and they go after the killers with the heaviest hand of the law. In this episode of CSI NY, though, it almost seemed like they wanted you to feel that the lawyers had good reason to do what they did, almost rationalizing it. After all, when Flack asks Mac “What if it were your sister?" Mac pauses and responds "I'd kill them.” I would have preferred a heavier hand with the attorneys in having them to pay for their crime.

I think they want the viewers to have a sense of discomfort about Adam’s job security, but I don’t see it as an issue, seeing that they seemed to recently give AJ Buckley billing in the main show credits. Still, a dose of reality is sometimes needed in the CSI universe, which sometimes doesn’t seem to mirror what happens in a real life forensics operation. Budgets can be an issue. But rest assured, I think Adam still will be the go-to guy when it comes to doing all the time consuming tedious work, and I think that every show needs to have someone on which one can dump all the dirty work no one else wants to do.

It was also nice to see the group make sacrifices to temporarily plug the budget hole and keep Adam, but how much time really could they buy? A few weeks vacation really would only buy a few weeks. That may be all the show needs to resolve the story arc.

What makes the episode really work is that we get a good mix of the detectives working together and interacting as a cohesive team. It seems that the personal drama of the previous season has been lifted a bit, and I think the show was dragged down because of it. So far, the show has dealt with personal issues with a lighter hand, and I think it makes the stories tighter and a lot more interesting.

So as far as this episode “Enough”, I think I would really like to have “more!”

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

CSI Miami “Wrecking Crew” A Total Wreck

This episode actually had possibilities. It had as strong opening. But then it seems to have wrecked itself under the weight of a completely ridiculous story.

In the opening of the episode, Calleigh (Emily Procter) and Eric (Adam Rodriguez) are talking to William Campbell (Tim DeKay) in a high-rise apartment filled with expansive windows. He’s going to testify against the local mob boss, Joey Salucci (James Russo) in a murder trial. It seems they have him in a safe house. Now think about it, how safe would you think you’d be in a high-rise apartment with such expansive windows that it would be easy for anyone to see your every move from another building?

There are other reasons why this place isn’t so safe. While Campbell is going over his testimony for the grand jury, a huge construction crane smashes into the building, throwing the three of them into the wreckage. Calleigh is thrown away from the crumbling edge, Eric is pinned against a wall, but Campbell is hanging over the edge. Calleigh tries to save him, but he falls to his death. And then…without Horatio Caine (David Caruso) present, we hear the traditional opening “scream.” I thought the scream only worked for David Caruso, but I thought maybe the fact that Calleigh got the scream, after her silent gaze down at Campbell’s body, that may, just maybe, this episode had a chance at being good.

I was wrong.

This episode was flawed on so many levels. The most obvious was the murder case for which Campbell was expected to give his grand jury testimony. Calleigh and Eric seemed so sure this would gain them a sure indictment against Salucci. But anyone who has even watched 5 minutes of a credible crime show like Law & Order would know that his testimony meant nothing. Why? Because he SAW nothing. He saw no murder, he only heard a gunshot. There was no body. He never saw the face of the shooter. I’m no lawyer but I think that I could poke tons of holes in this. In fact, if I was on a grand jury, I am not sure this information is strong enough for an indictment.

Another thing that seemed wrong was the construction crane. It looked flimsy for its height. But, the base of the crane at ground level looked wrong. A freestanding crane should be firmly attached or bolted to the ground, and that one looked more like simple red scaffolding at ground level than an actual crane. It looked like a cheesy erector set crane. No, even those look better.

When Ryan (Jonathan Togo) is in the cab of the crane, he finds blood. When Boa Vista (Eva La Rue) is testing the blood sample, she praises it for being “pristine.” Does that mean that the other blood they examine is usually contaminated? I found her observation odd to say the least. And why praise Ryan for collecting a blood that he just happened to find? It’s not like he had anything to do with its quality when it was deposited there. Also, Ryan seemed to be able to find the crane’s black box – which is later called a “tattletale system” too easily. How did he know what it was just by looking at it that it was a system of capturing all the crane’s activity?

One red herring was the project manager, Travis Drake (Joe Penny) who did nothing except volunteer his high-rise property to use as a safe house. Excuse me, but how can a location be considered safe if an outsider volunteers it? His motives for doing so would have been questionable at the time, especially since it was the only finished apartment in the whole high-rise. And how convenient that the construction crane just so happened to be at the exact level of the only finished apartment in the whole building that was on level with the crane? And, lucky for them that there happened to be one car – just one – that was at the construction site that happened to leave pristine tire marks in the nicely placed, undisturbed dirt around the site.

Later, when Eric and Calleigh speak to the Campbell’s wife Beth (Melinda McGraw) and her son Noah (Devon Graye), Beth gives Calleigh a slap on the face for invoking her husband’s name. There are days I have wanted to slap Calleigh for a lot less, so this was a great scene. But, her slap later turns into an apology when she finds that her son is the one who operated the crane by remote and when he lost control, it crashed into the building. Of course, her son got the information on how to do it on the big, bad, internet, which, if you believe these crime shows, only bad things can happen when you get information off the internet.

And I still contend that Miami has the dumbest criminals around. Why would Noah leave the remote in the trash right on top of the building that he operated it from? They made it sound like it was so big that he couldn’t have hid it to remove it. It wasn’t all that big, and frankly, since no one would have been looking at the neighboring building after the crane crashed, he could have walked out the door with it and just thrown it away in some public trash bin. And the man who shot the guy who accidentally killed Salucci’s daughter decides to leave the bullet at the crime scene by flushing it. Now really, wouldn’t it have been smarter to just walk out with it and throw it away in some public trash can a ways away from the crime scene? Also, how did he get out of the club with the guy, who was clearly shot and yelling? If he wasn’t dead when he removed him, how come we didn’t hear him yelling in pain on the 911 call? Did the shooter knock him out too, and if so, how could he NOT be seen dragging out his body? This just didn’t make sense.

But amazingly, while they seemed desperate for Campbell’s testimony with the grand jury in order to indict Salucci, this crack CSI team never seemed to have previously considered checking the audio tape of Campbell’s 911 call before. The 911 call in itself was strange. Think about it – you’re in a public rest room, you’re trying to be quiet so the shooter can’t hear you, yet you get on the phone and whisper? I would think that even despite the loud music, someone would have heard him. And why was the sound of the flushing toilet in the next stall seem so quiet on the 911 call, when the music in the background was so loud? Those public toilets make A LOT of noise when they flush. In fact, ANY toilet makes a lot of noise when it flushes. This just seemed like poor detective work to me that they didn’t check the 911 recording sooner. And lucky for them that the bathroom crime scene remained intact after the shooting because the owner had to close because of lack of business. This allowed them to find the magic shell casing which luckily had a fingerprint burned into it, despite it being flushed. Luck, luck, and more luck.

Of course, they finally get Salucci for the murder of his daughter’s “accidental’ killer when they find lily pollen on the dead man’s body, which luckily Horatio has seen Salucci at his daughter’s grave with the same type of lily. More luck!

All the evidence and the situations surrounding all the crimes in this show are just too convenient. It makes for a boring show and one that is an easy target for ridicule. And David Caruso doesn’t deserve any blame for this one, because it’s the writers who come up with all these contrivances that are really at fault. They’re the real wrecking crew here. In fact, I am starting to feel very sorry for the CSI Miami team because it requires little acting. Emily Procter’s reactions of shock, fear, and then horror when the crane smashes into the building and Campbell falls to his death are later erased as the amateurish story unfolds. Compare this show to any of the CSI and CSI New York shows from this season and it seems clear that while those two continue to maintain a very high quality, CSI Miami is becoming cheesier.

Viewers deserve better. And frankly, so does the cast of CSI Miami.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Get Ready For Election Day News Coverage

Too Much Politics Can Make Anyone Ill

For the last two years – it seems like an eternity – our news shows have been filled with election talk. It started even before the primaries, but it went into high gear as the primaries progressed, and has continued to escalate to the degree that one almost can’t escape it. Even for news and politics junkies like me, I think I’ve reached the limit.

But wait, there’s more. Election Day. It all leads up to this, and many of the networks are touting full day coverage, either on their main broadcast channels, or their cable equivalents. I think NBC Universal may have the most chance to grab viewers, with coverage on NBC, MSNBC, and probably even some coverage on CNBC. Usually on election night I find myself flipping channels, desperate to find something non-political to watch. This year, though, I think I will probably remain glued to the television, especially after the polls close here in the Eastern Time zone. My network of choice – NBC. They always seem to have the best coverage across the country, and I like their on-air people like Brian Williams. The fact that Tim Russert had passed away makes no difference to me as I wasn’t all that taken by his political analysis anyway. His political replacement, Chuck Todd, seems to do just fine. In fact, Chuck seems to have more easily embraced the new technology available for graphics, and I think this helps him explain things a little more clearly than Russert.
But, even I have limits with political coverage and unless there is some big surprise coming when the results come in, I’m content to go to bed like normal and wake up and find out who will be the new Big Man on the White House campus.

And speaking of political coverage, for the first time in a long time, I watched the Fox News (AKA “Faux) “Cost of Freedom” two-hour block of business shows on Saturday. I was appalled at their lame attempts to paint the Democrats, and Barack Obama, in the worst light possible. They should be ashamed of themselves. When they refer to themselves as fair and balanced, they’re kidding, right? Come to think of it, I haven’t heard the fair and balanced tag line from them in a while; maybe they dropped it because the FCC would go after them for false or fraudulent advertising? If the apparent shift in political power in the presidency and the Congress takes places as projected and the country is in fact leaning democratic, this may begin to put a few nails in the Fox coffin. We can only hope, because their kind of political coverage – or their “news” coverage - is simply poison.

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