Thursday, January 04, 2007

On The Tenth Day Of Christmas...

My true love (TV) gave to me - Ten Favourite Moments.

In no particular order:

Kristin Chenoweth in The West Wing: "He died." I've said it before and hopefully I'll say it many more times - Kristin Chenoweth is 4 feet 11 inches of utterly amazing talent, not just as a singer or comedic actor but as a dramatic actress. The way she says these words is heartbreaking, but it's her whole body language in the scene that sells it. We're used to seeing the confident Annabeth, who looks taller than she is because of the way she holds herself. In this scene she actually seems smaller than she really is, coping with the lost of her mentor, friend, lover (? - there was tension and I wouldn't be surprised if she eventually succumbed).

Ed Asner on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip: "I won't pay a 73 million dollar fine; I won't pay a 73 cent fine; I won't time delay the news, and I won't say, 'I'm sorry.' I no longer recognize the authority of the FCC in this matter. I'm going to have to be ordered by a federal judge, and when they come to get my transmitter they better send a group a hell of lot more scary than the Foundation for Friendly Families or whatever the hell they are. Let those guys embed themselves with 2nd Marine Division for a while; they'll rejigger their sense of what's obscene." If only real network executives would stand up to bullies like the PTC and the American Family Association and the rest like this we'd have more quality shows like NYPD Blue was before Janet Jackson's nipple.

The tie breaker in the Survivor: Cook Islands finale: A moment of delightful ... something. Having shown mutual respect for each other by deciding that the final vote will be a draw between Sundra and Becky - though Yul offers Becky the "hidden Immunity 'Idol'" if she wants it - they are given the now traditional tie breaker challenge: make a fire using only twigs, coconut fibers, flint and a machete. Usually it doesn't take too long for one or both of he contestants to get fire. This time it dragged on, and on, and on. The Jury started yawning. Eventually - and apparently this was two hours after they started - host Jeff Probst gave the women some matches. Still no fire. Sundra eventually ran out of matches without getting a fire started. It all meant that Becky won the right to lose to either "Dolphin Boy" Ozzie or Yul "The Godfather" (who did win), but it was funny.

Jerry Springer doing the Waltz on Dancing With The Stars:
I'm not a huge fan of Springer's at the best of times, and for the most part he was pure comic relief on Dancing With The Stars and he knew it. But when he danced the Waltz it was deadly serious. His only real goal on the show was to learn the Waltz so he could dance at his daughter's wedding. And when he finished and when to hug his daughter there wasn't a dry eye in the joint - including the judges. Sure he didn't have the ability of a Mario Lopez or the determination of an Emmitt Smith, but in that one dance he had heart.

The robotic foreplay scene on House: In the episode in which House is shot, he continues to treat the patient whose mysterious symptoms include a swollen tongue and an exploding scrotum (among other things). At one point House recommends that the patient undergo treatment using a surgical robot. He demonstrates the device on Allison Cameron. He caresses her cheek; he lifts the bottom of her blouse, exposing her navel and blows into it; he removes the top button of her blouse and pulls it open to expose the top of her lacy bra. It is an amazingly erotic scene that is revealing as to how House sees himself because (1) even while expressing intimacy he is still remote, clinical and detached, and (2) it is all an hallucination - even the degree of intimacy he shows there is beyond him in real life.

Hiro goes to New York on Heroes:
Series premieres are full of great moments, and frequently the series themselves don't live up to those moments. In the pilot of Heroes the character of Hiro Nakamura is convinced that he has a special ability despite the ridicule of his friend and co-worker Ando who calls him "super-Hiro". Then he presses his power to the max and transports himself to Times Square in New York. He doesn't know the circumstances yet, but the sheer joy he feels as he stretches out his arms and shouts is amazingly endearing and makes him special among the people who are constantly trying to deny their abilities.

The death of Special Agent Graham Kelton on Vanished: Not all series can be winners and this series wasn't. People saw it as too derivative and not "realistic enough" or something. Derivative it probably was, a show along the lines of The DaVinci Code with huge conspiracies and a pair of FBI agents who weren't Mulder and Scully in terms of being attractive to the audience. Still, if the show had been a hit or at least popular enough to stay on the air for rest of the year people would have been amazed by what Executive Producer Josh Berman had up his sleeve. The show seemed to have been built around FBI Special Agent Graham Kelton (played by Gale Harold) but suddenly, at the end of the eighth episode Kelton is shot to death by an assassin, who intended to kill Senator Jeffrey Collins. It is the equivalent of Hitchcock casting Janet Leigh in Psycho and building her up as the apparent lead character in the film only to have her killed in the first third of the movie. And if Vanished had lasted 22 episodes instead of nine (with the remaining four episodes shot being relegated to the Fox web site where Canadians can't see them) it might have been far more memorable than it turned out to be.

The return of Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who:
In just about every poll ever taken of Doctor Who fan(atic)s the favourite "companion" was always listed as Liz Sladen (who looks very good for 58) playing Sarah Jane Smith. She started on the show with the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) but really connected with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker). Of all the companions - and I did check this out - she was the only one who left the TARDIS not of her own free will. So her reintroduction into the Doctor Who mythos in the episode "School Reunion" was not only most welcome but closed off a dangling plot line, albeit in a rather bittersweet manner. Apparently it was so well received that Russell T. Davis and Gareth Roberts have created a new children's drama called The Sarah Jane Adventures. Now if they could only bring back Lethbridge-Stewart and Ian Chesterton.

Bianca Ryan wins America's Got Talent:
By all that is holy that little girl can sing. And she's only 11 years old. There was some great talent on the show in among the animal acts poor jugglers and repetitive quick change artists (who fans kept for even though the act they did the first week was the act they did in the finals), but from the moment I heard her sing I knew that she was going to be the winner. Oddly enough I've got a bunch for number ten - I suppose you'd call them runners up. There's the little Filipino-American winner of the big prize on Identity getting more and more excited as he gets answers right culminating with him leaping into Penn Jillette's arms (quite a leap believe me - this guy was half Penn's size in every respect). There was Coach Taylor's reaction to finding his daughter and Matt cuddling - chastely - under a blanket while watching TV and then his wife Tammi's reaction to his reaction: "You're an idiot." There was the shower scene at the end of the episode "...As We Know It" on Grey's Anatomy where the reality of Meredith, Christina and Izzie in the shower together (cleaning the "red mist" that had been the bomb disposal expert) off of her was contrasted with George's fantasy that began the previous part of the two part episode.

Starbuck kills "Leoben" again on Battlestar Galactica: The scene tells us so much about Starbuck and quite a bit about the Cylons. Starbuck stabs Leoben to death and then stays in her chair, calmly eating her dinner until the newly resurrected version of Leoben enters the apartment/cell and steps over his own "body", and sits down at the table. Kara is reacting the only way that she knows how to the Cylon even as she acknowledges the inevitability of her eventual failure. She knows that Leoben will be back. For his part even as Leoben knows that Kara will continue to seek any opportunity to kill him even though she knows what will happen, he is still determined to break her to his will, and eventually introduces a new factor into the relationship by bringing in "Kara's" baby.

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