Joe Dyton

Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Lost Thoughts: “Jughead”

In Lost on January 30, 2009 at 2:49 am

 So, last night on “Lost,” we got a few answers, even more questions and saw no sign of the Oceanic 6. Overall though, I’d say it was decent episode. Not great, but decent. I felt it was strange in the fact that not a whole lot happened, but we still learned a decent amount, especially about Charles Widmore and Daniel Faraday.

 

The revelation I liked the most last night was finding out Charles was living on the island back in the 50’s. At least we now know why he’s so interested in the island. We still have no idea what he wants with it once he finds it, but at least we understand his attachment to it.

 

I also enjoyed Richard and Locke’s sit down. Richard told Locke before the flash last week, that the next time they’d see each other, Richard wouldn’t remember him. Well, he was right. I am not sure how he knew that, but he was right. I thought it was very clever that when Richard said he didn’t believe Locke about his being from the future, he told him when he was born and for Richard to visit him. This explains why Richard was there when Locke was born (to confirm his birthday) and why when he visited Locke as kid he asked him if any of the items he had looked familiar (future John would have had them on the island). I just thought this was a very interesting development; especially when Locke told Richard that he was his leader. Unfortunately for Locke, Richard couldn’t tell him how to get off of the island before the next flash occurred.

 

As for our favorite time traveler, Desmond, he was all over the place, wasn’t he? After waking up from a memory (not a dream), he decided he needed to go back to Oxford to find Faraday’s mom. Before the trip, we learned that he and Penny have a son, appropriately named, Charlie. I’m going to go out on a limb and say their boy is named after Charlie Pace and not Penny’s sadistic father. Anyway, I loved how Desmond told Charlie about a very special island that he left a long time ago and never thought he’d see it again”—Great Britain. Ha-ha.

 

Anyway, Desmond was probably the busiest character this week (along with Faraday) as he was off to Oxford only to find there was no Faraday (mother or son) in their database. All he was able to find was Daniel’s abandoned lab and the “fumigator” telling him Faraday had checked out. It turns out Faraday’s experiments put his friend (or more) Theresa in a vegetative state and he left her for greener pastures in the United States. This is where Desmond learned that his father-in-law has been funding Daniel’s research and paying for Theresa’s healthcare.

 

I loved how Desmond just stormed into Charles’ office and demanded to know where Mrs. Faraday is. I was a little surprised that Charles gave up her location so easily (Los Angeles, of course). I thought he would have asked for a quid pro quo, he’d give Desmond the location, if Desmond got Penny to see him. Maybe he knows he’ll be sending Desmond on a fool’s errand by pointing him towards L.A.

 

Back on the island, we learned “when” Sawyer and Co. where—1954. That explains the Others’ outdated weaponry—flame-tipped arrows. There was a lot of good stuff going on here. For starters, who the heck set up those bombs that ended up killing a few more background characters? And who exactly is that rifle wielding young lady, Ellie? I feel like she’s a younger version of a character we’ve already scene before. But you never know, she could just be a new character. I did enjoy Juliet saying, “Why don’t we all put our rifles down?”

 

I do wish we could have gotten more insight into what Miles got from his ghost whisperer skills. It just kind of passed by. All we know is that there were a few soldiers buried nearby.

 

I’d be remiss not to mention the title character of this episode, the bomb, “Jughead.” I’m not really sure what it’s doing there, but Faraday has it on good authority, that if it’s buried immediately, everything will be fine. There’s way it will detonate because like he said, he’s been to island 50 years later and it’s still there. Besides, there’s no way he’d let it go off, he loves Charlotte, remember?

 

So, at the end of the hour, we have a better idea of Widmore’s connection to the island, found out Desmond and Penny have a son, the Others have inhabited the island since at least 1954, Widmore funded Faraday’s research and that research put one of Faraday’s friends in a vegetative state. We’re left wondering, what does Widmore want with the island, who the heck is Ellie, what’s that bomb doing there and what’s causing Charlotte to have nosebleeds, headaches and double vision? Once again, we’re left with more questions than answers, but some answers are better than none I always say.

 

Did you think this episode was good? Were you disappointed we didn’t get to see the Oceanic 6 at all like I was? Who do you think Ellis is, if anyone? Feel free to comment below.

 

Do you have a question, comment or criticism for Joe? Contact him at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

 

24 Recap: “1 p.m.-2 p.m”

In 24 on January 29, 2009 at 1:37 am

On Monday, we were treated to the sixth hour of “24,” and it didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t overly action packed, but it moved along well and there a few good twists to it. What surprised me the most was the storyline that had interested me the least, the first gentleman trying to figure out what really happened to his son, had me the most intrigued last night.

 

I think that is because none of the other stories left us hanging. I guess the closest would be Jack and Tony burying Agent Walker alive and wondering how she was going to make it. But I don’t think any of us thought that she was going to die before Jack had a chance to explain what he was doing. If they really wanted to sell it to us that Jack shot her, the camera should have given the audience the same view that Tony and Jack’s cronies had from the van, where all they saw was Jack pull the trigger and Renee fall face first into the ground.

 

The stuff with the Henry Taylor, Gedge and his late son’s fiancée, Samantha, however had me intrigued. After Gedge service agent poisoned him, I couldn’t help but wonder he would be able to get out of the situation without anyone getting hurt. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case as Samantha and Gedge were both killed in the struggles. It’s amazing, that story went from being a snooze fest to having some of the best action of this young season. And, things will continue to get interesting as now Mr. Taylor has to explain why there are two dead bodies in that apartment. I wonder if he’ll be able to make it out of there alive.

 

As for the rest of the episode, I thought it was alright. I think things will really pick up once Tony and Jack deliver the Matobo’s to Dabuko. Speaking of which, I did love when Mrs. Matobo asked Chloe if she was with the F.B.I. and she replied, “No, I’m a stay-at-home mom.” Classic Chloe. As for Chloe and Bill, I’m not sure why, but I was totally caught off-guard when they pulled up and rescued Renee. I’m not sure why, or who I was expecting to get her out of there, but it wasn’t Bill and Chloe. Maybe I was surprised because I never saw Tony make the call telling them where she was. I might have missed, but I don’t think so.

 

And President Taylor is still unwilling to budge. I give her credit for not wanting to cower to Sangala’s demands. However, at some point, she has to reconsider, right? I was really shocked that those the two planes actually collided. I was for sure that either she’d cave, or the device would be recovered before any real damage was done. Then again, that’s the beauty of “24,” you never know what’s going to happen.

 

The only thing I didn’t like about Monday’s episode was how President Taylor’s advisors kept badgering her to change her mind. It’s one thing to make suggestions, but in the end, it’s her call. It got annoying when they kept questioning her. I didn’t blame her one bit for calling for Tim Woods’ resignation. Other than that, I thought this was a solid episode. I’m looking for even better things to come.

 

So, what did you all think of this episode? Do you feel “24” has improved greatly since the nightmare that was last season? Next week, Dubako has another two planes ready to collide, this time at a chemical plant in Ohio. Will Jack and Tony be able to stop him in time? Feel free to comment below!

 

Got a comment, question or criticism for Joe? Contact him at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Friday Night Lights Recap: “Tami Knows Best”

In Friday Night Lights on January 28, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Hello Dillon Panther Fans!

 

I apologize for the tardy recap. I was out of town last weekend and didn’t get to re-watch the show until Monday night.

 

So, although the episode was titled, “Tami Knows Best,” the mayor of Dillon and the boosters would say that’s a big ol’ Texas-sized lie. After watching this show, the movie it was based of off, as well as the film, “Varsity Blues” and reading the book that started it all, “Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream,” I thought I knew how big of a deal high school football was in Texas. It turns out, I didn’t know how big it was until watching this episode. The fact that the boosters and the mayor are down Tami’s throat because she decided to use their precious Jumbotron money for education said it all. You would have thought she shut down the football program by how upset they were.

 

Overall, I thought this was another solid episode. Some of the storylines were stronger than others, but the weaker ones didn’t kill the episode. I am thoroughly enjoying watching Smash work his way back to being a college-level running back. The other two good stories from Friday were of course Tami and her battle with the boosters and Matt trying to figure out a way to keep his grandmother healthy. On the flip side, Tyra’s quest for class presidency was pretty silly and Riggins freezing up at dinner was just odd.

 

Here’s a closer look at what happened in the season’s second episode….

 

Will Smash return to form?

 

This is probably the most interesting story of the season so far. Watching Smash, who was so cocky and brash for the first two seasons, suddenly become timid and vulnerable has been a real treat. I love that writers went in this direction and humbled him a bit. I also like the one-on-one time he’s gotten with Coach Taylor. We’ve gotten to see some of their best scenes together since he discovered Smash was doing steroids. And I have to give Coach kudos for not giving up on Smash, no matter how many times the kid wants to give up on himself. I loved the scrimmage he set up for Smash with the guys. My heart stopped for a second when he went down, but when he got back and up and said, “That’s six!” I knew Smash was back.

 

And how great was it when Coach finally got a call from a college (Texas A&M) that was willing to give Smash a walk-on tryout? I loved that he went to Smash’s house to deliver the news rather than just call him, and the cheering that came from the Williams’ house was one of the most uplifting and triumphant moments of the series. The look on Coach’s face was priceless as well. Now all Smash has to do is wow them at his tryout.

 

Tami vs. The Boosters, Round 1

 

Like I said before, it’s insanity the fuss that’s going on over this Jumbrotron. I felt for Tami because she’s only doing what she feels is best for the whole school, not just the football program. I was floored when Buddy told her that he and the boosters went over her head to the superintendent and were able to freeze the funds until there was a hearing. The superintendent is OK with the idea of using that money to put a big scoreboard on the football field instead of buying new textbooks and supplies. What planet is this? It’s Planet Dillon, TX I guess.

 

I also felt for Eric last night too, as he is caught in the middle of this. He wants to support his wife, but as football coach he knows in the back of his mind Tami might have crossed the line. He knows how the boosters think, and how seriously they take their football. He even admitted that people might call her decision, “questionable.” I loved how when the newspaper article broke about Tami shaking things up, Eric just said, “I’ll get more wine.” Here’s hoping this mess doesn’t affect Eric and Tami personally.

 

Matt Saracen: Quarterback, Student….Legal guardian?

 

Wow, Matt can’t catch a break, can he? I’m sure all the kid wants to do is play football and get through is senior year, you know like a normal 17-year-old would. Unfortunately because of his unusual family situation, he has to play caretaker for his grandmother.

 

Since Grandma Saracen has developed an aversion to taking her medicine, it’s up to Matt to get her to take it. Too bad for him, Lorraine’s doctor can’t give Matt the meds legally, so he has to become an emancipated minor in order to be his grandmother’s legal guardian. Something every high school senior wants added to his or her plate.

 

This is where Matt’s storyline got interesting. With his dad in Iraq, Matt’s forced to reconnect with his estranged mom, Shelby. Turns out, she left home a long time ago. To say their reunion was awkward would be a big understatement. I thought Matt was a little cold to her, but I guess I can’t really blame him since she walked out on him all those years ago. I hope we haven’t seen the last of her; I think watching Matt and her try to have a relationship again would be very interesting.

 

Tyra for President, Yes she can!

 

I felt Tyra’s campaign was one of the two bizarre storylines of the episode. It was silly and didn’t have much to do with anything. I was mildly entertained that she had some of her sister’s, ahem, dancer friends drawing people to her rally. And her speech to the school was just preposterous. I couldn’t blame Tami for being so mad at Tyra for the way she went about winning the election. My guess is the vice principal, Mr. Truck’s, original punishment, a three-day suspension would have hurt Tyra a lot less than Tami’s disapproval speech.

 

Tim Riggins, high society man?

 

Not likely. I felt this was the other less than stellar storyline. It wasn’t bad, just bizarre. I was with Tim, it felt like Lyla was trying to change him when she dragged him to that dinner with Buddy and the McCoy’s. Riggins in a jacket and tie? I loved Tyra’s reaction when she saw him in that outfit, “Who died?”

 

Anyway, Lyla’s heart was in the right place; rubbing elbows with Joe McCoy, and Oklahoma alum, probably would have been good for his future. I just don’t think that setting was right for him. I was very surprised how strange and uncomfortable he was at dinner though. Riggins struck me as the kind of guy who could handle any situation. I’m not sure if he was rattled by the pre-dinner tongue lashing Buddy gave him, or if he was so put off by the whole situation, but he was a stammering mess. I can only imagine how bad that rare squab (pigeon) must have tasted.

 

While I didn’t really care for this story, I did like the way it was handled. Rather than make us sit through another five to 10 minutes of an uncomfortable dinner, we got the recap from Tim and Lyla’s car ride home. They were able to fill in the blanks, and it sounded like things didn’t get much better. I thought it might have been curtains for them after their fight, but Lyla the sweetheart that she is brought Tim a hamburger and they made up. I could only imagine what was going through Lyla’s mind when she got to the Riggins’ house and saw Tim sitting on the couch with Tyra without any pants. Thankfully, she didn’t panic; turns out Tyra was just there waiting for her sister Mindy to finish, “getting together” with Tim’s brother, Billy.

 

The Game

 

Not much to say here, as we only got a few seconds of game action. Dillon whooped Laribee, 49-0. So much for the team not being able to score points without Smash, huh?

 

So, after two episodes, has “Friday Night Lights’ been everything you hoped it would be be? Will the booster get their Jumbotron, or will Dillon High get the much needed school supplies and additional teachers? Will Smash get into Texas A&M? How will Matt handle guardianship of his grandmother? Feel free to comment below!

 

Got a question, comment or criticism for Joe? Contact him at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Grey’s Anatomy recap:”Stairway to Heaven”

In Grey's Anatomy on January 26, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I thought there was a lot to like about last night’s “Grey’s” episode, “Stairway to Heaven” (appropriate title I’d say). What made last night’s show so good was the storyline distribution. Last week, there was too much going on and it hurt the episode, but last night while there was a lot going on, the lion’s share of screen time went to the storylines that mattered the most: the fate of William, the serial killer and the young liver patient, Jackson. The fringe stories (Mark’s injury, Cristina and Owen’s relationship and the Denny/Izzie stuff) were appropriately put on the back burner. There’s no rule that says every story has to get the same amount of time in the script. It’s like Bradley Whitford’s character on “Studio 60” said when he and Matthew Perry’s character took over the show. “This isn’t TV camp. It’s not important to us that everyone gets to play.” And while Izzie’s fringe storyline got the most play out of the three, it worked out well (although still annoying) because her problems with Denny occurred while she was helping with Jackson’s case, so there was no time wasted there.

 

So, if the “Grey’s” writing staff can stick to putting together episodes like last night’s, I think the second half of the season will be very good. To me, the anatomy of a good “Grey’s” episode is a couple of interesting medical cases, some comic relief, a standout acting performance or two and some sort of plot and/or character development. And I felt like we got all of that yesterday; the best episodes are the ones when something is stake (other than patients’ lives of course). We had that last night with Derek and Bailey’s medical dilemmas and Derek and Meredith’s relationship.

 After a bumpy start in ’09, “Grey’s” looks like it might be back on track. It’s obviously too early to tell, but there’s definitely some promise with the upcoming crossover episode with “Private Practice” (more on that later). I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

 Below are some additional thoughts on last night’s episode….

 Here is what I liked about last night’s show:

 *Chandra Wilson and Ellen Pompeo’s performances. Chandra Wilson was especially good; she showed a very vulnerable side Bailey that we rarely get to see. I never thought we’d the say the day where Bailey wanted off a case. Her scene when she asked Derek to stop operating on William so Jackson could get his organs was the stuff Emmy Awards are made of. I was also impressed with Ellen Pompeo’s work last night as well as during this whole three-episode serial killer arc. Her scenes with Eric Stoltz were very gripping and even her nonverbal cues were excellent. And it all came to a head at the end when she actually attended William’s execution, as his “friendly face in the crowd.” I was shocked to see her there. Her teary-eyed confession to Derek that she had to go to show him some compassion was just icing on the cake. It’s always nice when the title character actually gets a juicy storyline to sink his or her teeth into.

 *The Denny-Izzie storyline is finally starting to make some sense. I still don’t like this storyline mind you, but last night it became clearer what he’s doing there. He’s there for Izzie as a warning sign that she’s not OK upstairs. She needs to get checked out. ABC president Steve McPhearson swears that sitting through this story will be worth it when we finally find out what’s going with Izzie. I thought it was weird he felt the need to say Denny wasn’t a ghost. Oh, you think so, Doctor?

 *How the serial killer storyline played out. I assumed that it would work out that either a) William would get away with not having to pay for his sins by getting to donate his organs or b) that William would get executed and his organs would go to waste and poor Jackson would die. I never thought about a “c)” scenario where a third-party would intervene and give Jackson the organs he needed. I thought it was a good way for justice to be served and for the kid to survive.

 *Lexie being there for Mark and Sadie coming to Lexie’s rescue. I figured these occurrences go hand and hand, so why not put them in the same bullet point. I enjoyed watching Lexie be at a laid-up Mark’s side as he recovered from a “broken bone.” I feel like that’s one of those key moments where their arrangement could transform from “fling” to “relationship.” And how about Sadie getting Lexie’s back when the other interns were badgering her about potentially being the one who broke Sloan? I was very impressed by Sadie’s resolve here, considering early in the episode Lexie made it a point to tell Sadie that they weren’t friends. That was great stuff all around.

 *Cristina and Meredith finally making up (or at least appearing to). It was about time. I was really disappointed in Cristina’s nonchalant response when Derek told her he was planning to propose. I agreed with Derek when he asked her isn’t about time that they wrapped their fight up. It’s a shame it took Meredith freaking out about the execution of a serial killer to bring the two of them together, but whatever works, right? I also loved the fact that when Derek couldn’t get her to calm down, his first thought was to bring her to the best friend.

 Here is what I didn’t like about the episode:

 *Not enough Sloan. He’s become one of my favorite characters. His injury put him off-screen for most of the episode, but he did make the most of the time he did get.

 *The strangeness that is the Cristina and Dr. Hunt relationship. I love Dr. Hunt’s character on his own, a lot actually. But him and Cristina together isn’t working for me. I think once they get past that initial awkward phase of the relationship and define what they are, everything will be fine. Right now, it’s pretty painful to watch though. After the sad display that he put on for their failed first date, I was surprised Cristina gave him a second chance.

 *Watching Eric Stoltz bang his head into a pulp against the headboard. That was disgusting. I got a headache just watching him do that. We saw him do it at the end of the episode last week, why couldn’t he have finished by time last night’s episode started and just been lying there bleeding? We still get the point.

 *Lexie’s fellow interns. I just find them annoying. The less they’re on screen, the better.

 OK, a few random thoughts and I’ll wrap this up….

 *I didn’t like or dislike the Chief convincing that soon to be widow to have her husband’s organs donated. I just found it interesting that he “crossed the line” as he put it by asking her to reconsider after he told George that they aren’t allowed to put pressure on people about that. Speaking of George….

 *T.R. Knight watch: I think George only got about five lines again last night; seven tops. Part of me can’t blame him for wanting to leave, but I the other part of me can’t feel sorry for him. He gets paid whether he’s the focal point of the episode or not, so why not just collect the six-figure weekly paycheck and call it a day?

 *It looks like Alex was losing his patience with Izzie a bit last night. I’m hoping he was just frazzled from working on Jackson and he’s not reverting to his old attitude.

 *I had gotten so used to Derek and Meredith playing nice; it was weird to see them bickering last night. I felt bad for Derek, he came into the hospital in an overly-cheery mood, which was a blatant sign that it was going to be short-lived. I thought it showed how much stronger their relationship has gotten now by the fact they were able to see each other’s point of view regarding William. In the past, they would have avoided talking to one another for two to three episodes.

 *After such a good episode, it’s kind of a bummer that we have to wait two weeks for a new one. But hopefully, it’ll be worth the wait with this crossover event. According to TV Guide, on February 5, Addison’s brother Archer (Grant Show) has a brain disorder and needs Derek to help him. Then the following week, Addison, Archer, Sam (Taye Diggs) and Naomi (Audra McDonald) will all make the trip up to Seattle Grace. Addison, Derek, Sam, Naomi and Mark all went to college together, so it should be an interesting reunion. The story apparently runs through Feb. 19 and Meredith will learn from the college pals about a certain talent Derek has. My guess is it’s juggling—Patrick Dempsey is an accomplished juggler.

 *“Lines of the Week.”

 -“We have organs!”

-“That’s a really bad noise.”

-“We’re doctors, not executioners.”

-“I broke his bone.”

-“You’re like the guy who graduated from high school and still hangs out at the football field.”

-“Guys run into this sort of thing on the battlefield, do they?”

-“Little Grey, go away.”

-“Dead man talking stuff?”

-“Am I an executioner, or a surgeon?”

So, what did you all think of the episode? Has Denny worn out his welcome yet in your opinion? Comment below!

Have a question, comment or criticism for Joe? Contact him at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Lost recap: “Because You Left”/“The Lie”

In Lost on January 22, 2009 at 10:44 pm

When “Lost” went the way of “24” after the third season (starting the season in January and running uninterrupted until the season finale), it was bittersweet. Bitter, because we had to wait until January for a new episode, but sweet because once the season started, we knew we wouldn’t have to suffer through any long hiatuses.

 

Last night, the “bitter” part of being a “Lost” fan ended with the airing of the two-episode season premiere. It’s been eight months since Ben turned that huge wheel and moved the island, but it honestly felt like eight years. However, I thought the premiere was worth the wait. As I am often after watching “Lost,” I was scratching my head when the show ended last night. I have so many questions, I wish I could fast forward to next Wednesday.

 

So out of the 120 minutes of “Lost” I watched last night; here’s how many of those minutes I didn’t enjoy: zero. That’s right, I enjoyed every second of the show. It’s rare to sit through two hours of a show and like everything, but not once did I feel bored or annoyed with anything that was going on onscreen. It stinks that there are only 16 episodes in a season now, but it’s also good because the writers don’t have time to waste with meaningless stories. Every minute counts; that’s why there are so many quality cable series out there. Most of them only run 12 to 13 episodes a season, so just about every scene if meaningful.

 

Well, I guess that’s enough of the lovefest for last night’s show, let’s start dissecting it, shall we?

 

When the episode opens, we see an alarm clock go off at 8:15 a.m. I mean what other time would the alarm clock go off, right? You have to love the little winks and nods that go on with this show regarding numbers. We then see someone going through a morning routine without seeing his face, very similar to Desmond during the Season Two premiere. Part of that routine includes putting a record on, which probably means we’re looking at a scene from the past. That assumption proves true as we see Pierre Chang (AKA Dr. Marvin Candle) getting ready to film on of his Dharma Station videos.

 

Unfortunately, Dr. Chang is interrupted because of a strange occurrence at the next Dharma Station worksite. It turns out the workers are unable to drill through a wall that after seeing a picture is covering the huge wheel that Ben turned at the end of last season to move the island. Dr. Chang explained that behind that wall there was a mass of energy that could lead to time and space travel, and if the energy was released, well, God help us all. The workman who Chang explains this to thinks it’s a bunch of hooey and says as much to none other than time traveler extraordinaire Daniel Faraday. This scene sets up basis for the first of two wonderful hours of “Lost.”

 

As confusing as it was, I did enjoy the first hour and all of the time travel stuff. I’m very intrigued by the “When am I?” phenomenon. I assumed that when Ben turned the wheel last season, that the big flash was a one time thing. But it happened time after time and put our favorite survivors (not to mention us) in a state of confusion. When are they?

 

Regarding the time jumps, I enjoyed them the most when we got to see how they affected Locke. I was blown away when the plane that almost clipped him was the one that was carrying the drug-filled Mary statues and Mr. Eko’s brother. I was even more shocked to see Locke held at gunpoint by former Other, Ethan. I realized then we were in for some serious time travel tales when he popped up. Fortunately for Locke, he was saved from a second (and fatal) bullet when another flashed occurred.

 

After that flash, we saw which I thought was one of the best and most important scenes of the episode, Richard helping repair Locke’s bullet wound. I loved how when Locke told him that Ethan shot him, Richard replied, “Well what goes around, comes around,” an obvious reference to when Ethan was riddled with bullets by Charlie in Season One. Anyway, during this pivotal scene, Richard wishes he had more time to explain what was going on with the time flashes (we wish you did too, Richard), but simply tells Locke that what’s going on is happening because the Oceanic 6 left. Not only that, but Locke has to bring them back by, gulp, dying. Say whaaaat? As we know, Locke does die, but how and when I guess adds to the mystery that is “Lost.”

 

I liked the time jump scenes with Sawyer, Juliet, Faraday, et al too, but I thought they paled in comparison to Locke’s scenes. What their scenes did provide was a sort of explanation for what was going with the flashes. Faraday explained that when Ben turned the wheel, he knocked the island off of its supposed time axis. Another reason, I love this show: even the smallest insignificant things occur for a reason. When Dr. Chang’s record started skipping, it seemed like it was happening just because, but it turned out that was foreshadowing for Faraday’s explanation for what was going on with the island. It also provided a good visual for the explanation, just in case some viewers are too young to know how a record player works and what happens when a record skips.

 

Although their experiences with time were kind of bland, it did refresh some old memories like the hatch. It was very interesting to see it blown up one minute, and then back in tact with Desmond living there the next. Speaking of Desmond, I thoroughly enjoyed the scene between “past Desmond” and Faraday. It was very similar to Richard’s scene with Locke where he had to rush to explain what he had to do before the next flash happened. It looks like Desmond has another trip to Oxford on his hands. This time he’ll be looking for Mama Faraday.

 

Wow, I just realized I’m closing in on the 1,000 word mark and I haven’t even gotten to the off the island stuff or the second hour of the premiere. I’ll try to breeze through the (mis)adventures of the Oceanic 6 and the second hour recap.

 

*Kate and Aaron: Their storyline probably raised the biggest question of the “6”: who the heck wants their blood samples? My first guess would be Charles Widmore, but is anything what it seems on this show?

 

*Jack and Ben: I felt their storyline was the least interesting thing going on during the premiere. They were more or less stuck getting prepared to round up the Oceanic 6 and head back to the island. This might have been a total snooze, but Michael Emerson is so good as Ben, that my interested is piqued anytime he’s on the screen. I also loved his response when Jack told him Hurley was locked up in a mental institution, “Well, that will make him easier to convince than your other friends.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point.

 

Sun and Charles: The results of their little airport meet and greet remains to be seen. All we know for now is they have a common interest: Ben’s head on a platter. I loved how Widmore had Sun’s passport flagged and everyone at the airport was under his control. “They only do what I tell them.” It must be nice to be rich.

 

Hurley and Sayid: Every good “Lost” episode has at least some action in it, and this one didn’t disappoint. After Sayid got Hurley out of the institution, they stopped for some fast food and headed to the safe house that was anything but safe. Sayid luckily noticed that the tape he had over the door was broken, so he knew they had company. An all out brawl broke out which led to one guy being thrown off of a balcony and the other perishing by falling on a couple of knives in the dishwasher. Didn’t Sayid take Home Ec.? Put knives blade-side down in the dishwasher so you don’t accidentally grab a blade when you’re cleaning it out. Anyway, before Sayid took out the intruders, he was shot with a poisonous dart. Now it’s up to Hurley to get him medical attention. And, oh yeah, Hurley’s now wanted for murder.

 

Of course the most shocking thing to happen during Hurley and Sayid’s storyline was the return of Ana Lucia. Well, sort of. Hurley imagined her as a cop who pulled her over. She gave him some good advice about how to stay under the radar. When I heard Michelle Rodriguez was going to return, I wondered in what capacity. I assumed it would be a flashback, but a figment of Hurley’s imagination was even better. I also loved the, “Libby says hi.” line. I hope we haven’t heard the last about Libby. We never found out why she was in that institution.

 

Alright, on the Hour Two (“The Lie”) with a few quick bullets….

 

*The episode was pretty much all Hurley. I loved the t-shirt he bought at the gas station, and the “Weekend at Bernie’s” move he pulled by putting sunglasses on Sayid to hide the fact that he was unconscious. I also loved how he explained to his mom what really happened from the moment Oceanic Flight 815 crashed up until that point. It sounded crazy listening to it, but it was great that his mom believed him.

 

It’s such a shame that Sayid told him to do the opposite of whatever Ben tells him if they should ever cross paths again. Normally, I’d say that advice was sound, but this time Hurley should have listened to him since he was telling the truth for once. Unfortunately, Hurley took Sayid’s advice to heart and decided to turn himself in to the cops. Good luck getting him back to island now.

 

*I can’t mention Hurley without mentioning how great it was to see Cheech Marin back as his father. What a great casting job. I also loved that he was watching “Expose,” the show that starred former island dweller, Nikki.

 

*I’d never wish pain and suffering on anyone, even a fictional character, but I couldn’t help but love the irony when Neil was whining about not having any fire, and then seconds later he got hit with a flaming arrow.

 

*I enjoyed the scene with Sun and Kate at the hotel. I was happy that Sun said she didn’t blame Kate for Jin’s death, but I was surprised she told Kate that she needed to kill the lawyers who want her and Aaron to take a blood test. Jin’s death had made her cold!

 

*When Ben was in the butcher shop, the number he took was 342 and the camera stayed on it for an extra second. I was wondering if there was anything to that. The only thing I could think was that the last two “Lost numbers” are 23 and 42. So there’s your 342. I’m probably just reading too much into that though.

 

*Speaking of Ben, I assumed the woman he was talking to at the end of the episode about gathering the Oceanic 6 in 70 was being shown to us in the first time. It’s actually Miss Hawking, who first appeared in the Season Three episode, “Flashes Before Your Eyes.”

 

*It was great to see Locke come through and rescue Sawyer and Juliet from those soldiers.

 

*Just about every episode of “Lost” leaves me with more questions than answers. Here are my questions from last night:

 

-Why does the island keep experiencing time flashes? I thought it would have just happened the one time when Ben turned the wheel. Also, why will the Oceanic 6 coming back to the island make a difference?

 

-Who wants Kate and Aaron’s blood?

 

-Who were those soldiers who captured Sawyer and Juliet? When were they during that scene?

 

Well, “Lost” fans, our show is back. What did you think of the premiere? Was it worth the wait? What questions do you have? Feel free to comment below!

 

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Gossip Girl Recap: “You’ve Got Yale!”

In Gossip Girl on January 20, 2009 at 8:36 pm

 Last night, our favorite Upper East Siders were anxiously awaiting to hear if they had earned an early acceptance to the colleges of their choice, and I wasn’t all that interested.

 Don’t get me wrong, I was curious to see who got in where (and who didn’t), but that “main” storyline of the episode paled in comparison to the juicier, “B” storyline of Chuck trying to wrestle control of Bass Industries away from his duplicitous Uncle Jack. Tell me I’m not alone here!

I found it no surprise that Chuck wasn’t going to give up control of what his father had built without a fight. It also wasn’t surprising that he was resorting to dirty tricks (planting coke in his bag, setting him up with transsexual, um, ‘entertainers”) to try to unseat his uncle. Unfortunately, it wasn’t happening. Thankfully he came to his senses and realized he needed some assistance. Enter, Lily.

I was happy to see Chuck turn to Lily in his time of need. I felt it was awful that he blamed her for what happened to his dad. But it turned out, they made a very good team. I loved how they were able to send Jack packing for Sydney. Not only was Lily adopting Chuck able to put the company back in Chuck’s hands, it gave him the family he so desperately needed. I wasn’t 100% sure how Lily adopting Chuck overrode Jack’s guardianship over him though. Technically, Jack took guardianship of Chuck first and he’s blood. I’m sure if Jack hadn’t lost his mind in the power room (more on that in a second), he might have been able to fight for guardianship in court.

 As for the Jack’s powder room attack on Lily, all I could think of was when Chuck tried pulling the same thing on Serena and then Jenny in the pilot episode. By the way Chuck decked Jack, he must now see the errors of his ways. Kudos to Chuck for realizing there was something afoot going on in there, as he and Rufus were able to get to her in time.

 So, Jack is gone now, right? I would think him losing guardianship of Chuck and sexual assault will forfeit any future claims he’d want to make for control of Bass Industries. However, while he may be history on the corporate side, I’m not sure we’ve seen the last of Uncle Jackie on the personal side. There’s still that little mystery of what happened between him and Blair over New Year’s. That can’t just go away, right? My guess is that’ll come back up on Chuck’s 18th birthday as he’s celebrating not  only is birthday, but legally taking majority stake in the company. What better way to destroy such a monumental day than finding out the woman you loved did something scandalous with the uncle you can’t stand?

 As for the “A” storyline, I learned things have changed since I was applying to college. How cool would it have been to find out you  received an early acceptance via email on your cell phone, rather than waiting for that “thick” envelope in the mail?

 Anyway, back to the show, last night, Blair was at her witchy best as she proved she’d do anything to get in to her dream school Yale early, even if it meant bullying a teacher. I’m not sure I buy that a prestigious, Ivy League school like Yale would pass on a model student like Blair so that they can boast about having an “It” girl like Serena on their early acceptance roster. But that’s just me. I also didn’t buy Blair grabbing the new (and very young) teacher, Ms. Carr and telling her how, “things work around here.” Since when are students allowed to put their hands on students? I did like how Ms. Carr stood up to Blair and told her she wouldn’t change her grade. I guess the young teacher does have a thing or two to learn about how things work in Gossip Girl land.

To me, this storyline was so-so in this episode, but got much more interesting because of its future potential. How great was it that after Ms. Carr realized that she’d been played by Blair, that she reported her to the headmistress? That is an amazing turn of events. Now Blair is in detention indefinitely, and her dream of going to Yale hangs in the balance. And of course as Dorota asked, “Is this war?” You got that right, Dorota. No one messes with Blair and gets away with it. Good luck, Ms. Carr. You’re going to need it.

 Here are a few random thoughts about the rest of the episode:

 *It was great to see Nate and Vanessa in the same scene this week, since they are you know, going out. It’s strange that Nate was a very prominent character last season, and this year he’s more on the fringe. Hopefully now that he has his money back and his family situation is more under control, we’ll get to see more of him.

 *Speaking of Nate and Vanessa, it’s amazing how hard of a time these people have of being honest with one another. I thought it was a great gesture by Vanessa to pay for opera tickets for her and Nate, but would it have killed Nate to say, “Thanks Vanessa, that was sweet. But, in case you’re interested I have a box at the theater we can sit at too.”? Or why couldn’t Serena just tell Dan that she wasn’t sure she wanted to go to Yale from the get-go? Wouldn’t that have been better than making him think that they were going to the same college together all this time? And she also probably should have told Blair that she was the Constance student who got early acceptance to Yale right away. The longer she waited, the worse that situation was going to be.

 *I hope the Dan-Serena-Rufus-Lily thing gets figured out soon. It’s so silly to watch Dan and Serena pull away from each other anytime Lily and Rufus are romantic with one another. They need to decide once and for all if they’re OK with dating each other while their parents are. Because it looks like Lily and Rufus are going to be an item for awile.

 *I thoroughly enjoyed watching Erik give Rufus opera lessons. Too bad he was tutoring him about the wrong show. I loved the “Opera for Dummies” book too.

 *Despite all the good stuff that went on last night, my favorite scene was when Chuck and Rufus walked by one another and shook hands. It was a touching, “all is forgiven” type of moment that doesn’t happen too often on this show.

 Well, unfortunately there’s a rerun next week (“O Brother, Where Bart Thou?), but we’ll get a new episode the following Monday. Until then, what did you think about this episode? What will Blair do to get back and Ms. Carr? Will Dan and Serena figure things out? Have we seen the last of Uncle Jack? Comment below!

 Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Championship Sunday recap: Cards, Steelers to meet in Super Bowl XLIII

In NFL on January 20, 2009 at 7:53 pm

 

 

Ah, Championship Sunday, my second favorite football Sunday of the season. My favorite is Week One. For awhile, I could never decide if I liked Week One or Championship Sunday better. Week One after all is the first week of football games that count after a long, six-month wait. On the flip side, Championship Sunday provides (in my opinion) the last true day of football for the season. I’ve always felt that Super Bowl Sunday felt more like an event than a game, so I’ve always treated Championship Sunday as the last real week of the season. Don’t even get me started on the Pro Bowl.

 

Then on Sunday, I decided that my favorite football Sunday is that of Week One. I love Championship  Sunday, but unless my favorite team (the Rams) are involved, it’s just two games I’m watching with no rooting interest. Week One however, includes a new beginning for the Rams and the rest of the league. It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

With that said, I was pumped for the conference title games on Sunday. My only hope was that the games would be good, and I won in that respect. And both games went the way I expected as far as game play, although the NFC Championship game didn’t yield the result I expected.

 

I was pretty sure the Eagles would find a way to win on Sunday. So imagine my surprise when they fell behind 24-6 in the first half. I couldn’t believe how poorly their defense played in that half. As the Cardinals were marching up and down the field in the first half, I started writing this recap in my head, coming up for reasons why the Eagles lost. For starters, they didn’t seem to realize that wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is the Cardinals’ best offensive weapon. He scored not one, not two but three first half touchdowns. Hey Eagles, maybe you want to get some players on him! That was all I kept thinking as Warner and Fitzgerald hooked up for completions time after time. I couldn’t believe this was the same defense I watched swallow up the defending Super Bowl champion Giants just a week ago.

 

But then, something happened in the second half. A light bulb must have gone off in someone’s head and they thought, “Hey Fitzgerald can’t hurt us if he doesn’t get the ball.” And with that, the Eagles consistently put pressure on Warner and the Cardinals were forced to punt on their next three possessions. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ offense managed to finally get their offense going and somehow took a 25-24 lead with a little more than 10 minutes to play. Everything looked like it was going the Eagles way, they got the lead, the defense hadn’t allowed the Cardinals to get anything going, Philly was headed to Tampa, right?

 

Not exactly. Football is all about making adjustments, and the Cardinals did just that on their next drive. They recognized that the Eagles’ constant pressure was taking away their big play capability, so they went with shorter, quicker passes and let their receivers pick yards after the catch. As a Rams fan, I was treated to watching Warner serve as the ringmaster of the “Greatest Show on Turf” for a few seasons, and he’s got a very quick release. With that release, the Cards were able to “dink and dunk” their way down the field. The Eagles’ “D,” which had been so good for all of the second half was collapsing at the worst possible time. But they were still nursing a one-point lead and had the Cardinals in a 3rd down and eight yards to go situation at the Eagles eight-yard line. If they could hold them to a field goal, they’d be down just two with a little less than three minutes left. Plenty of time for McNabb to get the Eagles down into field goal range.

 

Unfortunately, the Eagles were unable to keep Cards’ running back Tim Hightower from taking a short pass from Warner and scampering eight yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Inexcusable. The Eagles can’t allow a touchdown there. Not after the offense worked so hard to get the lead. Despite the time left, I didn’t feel very confident that McNabb would be able to get the team down the field or another touchdown. If all they needed was a field goal, I like their chances, but their attack is so hot and cold, it’s tough to believe they had one more touchdown drive in them. Sure enough, Philly could only get as far as Arizona’s 47 before the drive stalled. An incomplete pass from McNabb to Kevin Curtis sent Arizona to the Super Bowl. And yes, that was pass interference; I’m not sure why it wasn’t called, but the Cardinals deserved to win that game. Despite the fact they almost blew an 18-point halftime lead.

 

What can one say about Kurt Warner? He looked frustrated and beaten down after the Eagles stopped him and the Cards’ attack for the third straight time in the second half. But on their last drive, he showed why he’s a two-time MVP and a Super Bowl MVP. He coolly led his team on a 14-play 72 yard game-winning drive without throwing an interception. All in a day’s work.

 

So, the Cards are going to the Super Bowl. Who would have thought it? Certainly not me. Like I said, the game went like I thought it would, there’d be a few lead changes and a good amount of points scored. I just thought the other birds would be the ones flying down to Tampa. Congratulations, Arizona and good luck in the Super Bowl.

 

A couple of thoughts before we get to the AFC title game if I may:

 

*Not a banner day for David Akers. After making his two field goals, he sends a kick-off out of bounds and then on the next Eagles touchdown, he misses the extra point! I couldn’t help but wonder if he was shaken up a bit after getting run into after nailing the extra point after the Eagles’ first TD. If he makes that extra point, then the Eagles don’t have to go for two on their third touchdown, and they’re up by three on the Cardinals game-winning drive. Since the Cardinals scored a touchdown, it didn’t really matter, but it’s always interesting to see how things would have played out if Akers had taken care of business.

 

*I wasn’t crazy about the Cardinals blasting Queen’s “We are the Champions” after the game. Technically, they are the NFC champs, but I feel that song is better served after winning the whole thing. To me, their job is only half finished. But, that’s just me.

 

As for the AFC Championship game, I expected the opposite of what we saw in the NFC title match; a tight, defense-oriented game where one mistake could make all the difference in the world. And, that’s exactly what we got. Unfortunately, it was the Ravens who made all of the big mistakes.

 

Heading into Sunday’s game, the Ravens’ defense played extremely well and rookie quarter back Joe Flacco was never forced to do too much. I felt the Steelers were going to win this game, and mainly because I knew they were going to force Flacco to make some plays. The Ravens’ “D” is good, but not invincible and once Pittsburgh was up by two scores (16-7), I felt Baltimore was in big trouble. I’m not sure the Ravens would have gotten on the board again, if they weren’t helped out by that pass interference call that put the ball on the one-yard line. They were in field goal range, but I think that’s a good as it was going to get for the Ravens.

 

Despite how badly the Ravens’ offense looked, they were still in the game late in fourth quarter, thanks to their defensive efforts. The Ravens were only down by two points with seven minutes to go and a punt return got them decent field position at their own 39. Unfortunately, that’s where the Ravens’ big mistakes happened. An inexcusable unnecessary roughness call, pushed Baltimore all the way back to their own 14-yard line. And this wasn’t a ticky-tack call, the penalty occurred deep in the bench area. I don’t know how anyone can take such a stupid penalty with the Super Bowl on the line.

 

Anyway, we saw what happened next. Pinned deep in Ravens’ territory and desperate to make a big play, Flacco heave-hoed the ball right into the hands of Polamalu, who the interception for a touchdown, which put the nail in the Ravens’ playoff coffin. Talk about a game going according to plan.

 

The Ravens have nothing to be ashamed of though. They went for five wins last year to the AFC championship game this year. They have a good, young quarterback who is only going to get better. If their defense holds up, I think they’ll be a playoff contender next season too.

 

As for the Steelers, what can you say? They’re a complete team and have a great chance to win their second title in four seasons. At first glance, they’re my Super Bowl pick, but we’ll look at that decision in more detail closer to the big game.

 

Enjoy this upcoming football-less Sunday if you can. I know I’m going to have trouble doing so.

 

What did you think of the games? Were you surprised by the Cardinals winning? Who do like in the Super Bowl? Feel free to comment below.

 

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com..

Friday Night Lights recap: “I Knew You When”

In Friday Night Lights on January 17, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Welcome back, Dillon Panther fans!

 

Last night, NBC began its season three run of “Friday Night Lights.” I have DirecTV, so I’ve seen the entire season already, but I didn’t start this blog until there were about four episodes left in Season Three. So, I’m going to write recaps about the first nine episodes. That’s right, I like this show so much I’m going to watch it again during NBC’s run. Also, I will do my best to write these recaps like I don’t know what’s going to happen, so I don’t spoil anything for those who haven’t seen this season’s episodes yet. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, whatever you do, don’t read my recaps titled, “The Giving Tree,” “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” “Underdogs” or “Tomorrow Blues.” Those are recaps of future episodes.

 

Now, let’s get back to business. Last night’s episode began season three and picked up with a new football season. We find out that last season ended without a return to the state finals, mainly because the team’s biggest offensive weapon, Smash Williams got hurt. This season, Smash has graduated, and its up to senior quarterback and newly appointed tailback Tim Riggins to pick up the slack. Will they be able to do it? I guess we’ll find out….

 

Coach Taylor’s on the hot seat

 

The town of Dillon is not so sure about Eric’s coaching despite being one year removed from a state title. He took the brunt of the blame for last year’s playoff collapse because he didn’t have a backup plan after Smash got injured. Now he’s burdened with questions about whether Riggins can effectively take over for Smash and if the new freshman phenom quarterback J.D. McCoy will replace Matt Saracen. It’s all is a day’s work, right coach?

 

There’s a new sheriff in town, and her name is Tami

 

That’s right, folks. Tami has been promoted to principal of Dillon High. When “FNL” creator Peter Berg asked Connie Britton to be on the show to reprise her role from the movie, he promised her more to do this time around. He wasn’t kidding. She quickly went from “Coach’s wife” to guidance counselor at the school to principal. Not a bad turn of events for her I’d say. But Tami learned quickly that heavy lies the crown. She’s now stuck with trying to figure out how to pull Dillon High out of its economic crisis. That sounds eerily familiar to what’s going on in real life, doesn’t it?

 

Tim Riggins and Lyla Garrity: Secret Lovers

 

Last year’s season finale was titled, “May the Best Man Win.” Well, it looks like Tim won as we saw him having a sleepover at Lyla’s house unbeknownst to her father, Buddy. It looks like these two had quite a summer together, but once they get back to school, she’s decided she wants to keep it hush-hush. I guess I can’t blame, she’s right about Tim: he drinks constantly, skips out on class, has rally girls do his homework, why should she take him seriously? It’s like Tim’s brother, Billy said to him, “She went to bed with Jesus and woke with…you. You’re a rebound from Jesus.”

 

By episode’s end though, Lyla must have seen some potential in Tim, at least enough to give him a big kiss in front of everyone at the Pathers’ post-game rally, much to Buddy’s chagrin.

 

No college for Tyra?

 

Ah poor Tyra. After goofing off for a better part of her high school, career she learns point blank that her college prospects are bleak. Despite cranking it up and improving her grades, her current GPA was a pedestrian 2.6. The vice principal told her point blank that state schools were a pipe dream and she should be “realistic” about her post-high school plans. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the way he went about explaining Tyra’s situation to her. On the one hand, he was just being honest. Why build up her hopes only for her to end up disappointed? On the flip side, I can’t help but feel as an educator, he’d want to encourage Tyra and make her feel if she continued to work hard, who knows what could happen. Thank goodness there’s Tami to do that. I’m glad Tyra realized she’s better off at least trying to get into college rather than end up like her sister Mindy who earns her living dancing for dollars (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and marrying a slob like Billy Riggins. After realizing this, she probably could have waited until the next school day to talk to Tami about this rather than waking her up in the middle of the night, but whatever works.

 

Will Smash bounce back?

 

After Smash’s devastating knee injury last season, we see him working with Eric to get back to his old self in hopes of landing a football scholarship somewhere since Whitmore took back its offer. After finding out from the doctor that his knee might be as good as its ever going to get, he decides he’s going to give up. That really surprised me since all Smash wanted to do since the series began is play college football. It seemed out of character for him to be discouraged so easily. Fortunately, Coach wasn’t willing to give up as easily, and told him he’d keep working with him. We’ll have to wait to see if Smash takes him up on his offer. Hopefully he will because as Eric put it, “I need something good to happen.”

 

The Jumbotron

 

One of my favorite characters on this show is Buddy Garrity and last night is one of the reason why I like him so much. Despite Dillon High’s financial woes, he presents Tami with a huge check from the boosters to purchase a Jumbotron for the football field. He just cracks me up with how short-sighted he can be sometimes. Never mind the four teachers who quit or the fact that Tami was forced to decide between buying soap or chalk because the school couldn’t afford both, what Dillon needs is a Jumbotron!

 

I have to be honest, I was very surprised that Tami so brazenly decided to go against the boosters wishes and use the money for school funding. She made the right choice of course, but I don’t’ think the boosters are going to see it that way. There’s nothing Dillon, TX loves more than its high school football. She might be fighting an uphill battle on this one. Of course what will make this interesting is what side Eric is on in all of this. Does he back his wife or side with the boosters as they’re the ones that back him and his boys?

 

The Game

 

Well, I guess the Panthers are going to be OK, aren’t they? Geez, all that panic about losing Smash seemed like it was for nothing as Dillon mopped the floor with South Pines, 44-13. Hopefully the critics were silenced after the performances Saracen and Riggins put up.

 

I have to say, Matt may have a right to be concerned about his job security as QB1. Freshman phenom, J.D. McCoy looked pretty good in garbage time, didn’t he? The look on Matt’s face (and his grandmother’s) said it all.

 

My only complaint about the game was why was Coach Taylor still calling passing plays when they were up, 38-13? He doesn’t seem like the kind of coach who would run up the score, does he? Wasn’t he the same coach who had the defense let South Pines score a TD last season so they wouldn’t be shut out?

 

Overall, I felt Season Three of “Friday Night Lights” is off to a good start. Last night’s episode was solid. I especially liked the interactions with Coach and Smash and Tami dealing with her new position. I’m not too keen on the father of the whiz kid J.D., Joe McCoy. Who offers a coach Cuban cigars and a bottle of scotch unless they want something in return? His kid is a freshman for crying out loud! He’ll have three more seasons to lead Dillon to state titles. I did get a kick out him sending a smoothie truck to the field though. It was just ridiculous enough to be funny.

 

Whew, so that’s enough writing for one episode. I’d love to hear what you all thought of the premiere. How happy are you that the show is back? Will Matt lose his job at QB, will Smash and Tyra get into college? Will Hermann Field get a Jumbotron? And where the heck is Jason Street? Feel free to comment below!

 

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Friday Night Lights recap: “Tomorrow Blues”

In Friday Night Lights on January 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Hello Dillon Panther fans!

On Wednesday DirecTV’s 101 Network finished its Season Three run of “Friday Night Lights” with the season finale, “Tomorrow Blues.” I for one was very grateful for DirecTV pitching to keep this fantastic show alive. I also enjoyed watching these episodes without having to sit through commerical breaks. And as much as I hated seeing a shortened season (13 episodes), I think that number of episodes worked perfectly. Since this show deals with the high school football season, there’s no need to worry about what stories to tell during the offseason with only 13 episodes. If the show is brought back (fingers crossed!), I wouldn’t be surprised it there’s another 13 episode run.

As for the season finale itself, what else can I say besides it was excellent.  Even without any game play, there were plenty of stories that kept us in suspense, mainly Coach Taylor’s future with the team. We also spent the hour wondering if Tyra would get into college and if Lyla would stick with her plan of going to San Antonio State with Tim or attend her dream school Vanderbilt courtesy of funding from Buddy’s less-than-beloved brother, Gary.

Let’s take a look at what happended, shall we?…

Coach Taylor, thanks for the memories.

Wow, football really is a, “What have you done for me lately” type of business, isn’t it? Despite leading Dillon to three straight playoff appearences, which included a state championship and another state finals appearance, Eric was shown the door to make room J.D. McCoy’s personal quarterback coach, Wade Aikman. Did anyone find this as ridiculous as I did? I guess money talks, as the board felt they’d rather have Joe McCoy’s financial backing amongst the boosters than Coach Taylor’s coaching experience.

I think what surprised me the most about the situation was when Joe was more or less threatening to have Eric fired, one of his demands that J.D. would be the starting quarterback next season. Was there any doubt he would be? The kid led the team to the state finals (although he was pulled), was named the high school player of the year and Saracen was graduating. Of course, he was going to start at QB next year. Joe’s other demand is probably what more so made Eric tell Joe to “stick it.” He wanted Wade to call the plays, which would make Eric’s current  offensive coordinator, Mac obsolete. I was happy that Eric stuck to his guns and told Joe he knew what he could do with his “opportunity,” even if it did cost him his job.

I liked that Coach did the right thing and showed up at the board meeting to defend himself. His speech was short and sweet, but true: “If you want to replace me with a guywith a lot money whose son has a rocket of arm, you are wrong. You are dead wrong.” I was paraphrasing, but you get the idea. And who knows, maybe by him showing up, it helped him land his new gig: as head coach of the East Dillon Panthers. I wonder if I could place a bet somewhere that next season, East Dillon will face Dillon in a crucial winner-take-all matchup. It’s just a hunch, that’s all.

Tyra’s going to be a Longhorn!

After what seemed to be an uphill battle a season and a half, Tyra battled her way into not only college, but a good one, Texas U. It’s funny how when this show started, she was more or less a fringe character, but now she’s front and center and a wonderful part in this cast. When she opened her acceptance letter, I felt that was one of the most triumphant moments in the show, maybe the most triumphant since Smash dove into the end zone to win the state title in the Season One finale, “State.”

With this storyline, came a great pep talk, or maybe it was more of a venting session from Landry. After Tyra stormed the Texas admissions office begging for a slot on the freshman call sheet and found out she had a one in a thousand shot of getting off of the wait list, she really began feeling sorry for herself. Thankfully, Landry, the voice of reason, finally got out of the car because he couldn’t take her whining anymore. Basically he told her she can be anything she wants to be and needs to believe in herself. I can’t help but wonder what will happen with these two, who make a good couple. They bring out the best in each other. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall where Landry said he’s going to school

Lyla and Riggins part ways

Well, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Tim and Lyla were going to San Antonio State together in the fall. As it turns out, Buddy may have found a way for his fisrt-born to go to Vanderbilt after all. It seems like he’s willing to swallow his pride and his brother for the money. Which begs the question, why didn’t Buddy think of this weeks ago when Lyla moved out because she was so mad that he blew her college fund? Wouldn’t that have saved everyone a lot of heartache and aggrevation? The answer is yes, but of course that would not have made for great drama. As great as “FNL” is, it is still a TV show.

To add more drama, Lyla had the ultimate decision to make: go to SAS with Riggins, or attend her dream college? She predictably decided to stand by her man and go to the lesser school. But Tim unpredictiably wouldn’t let her do it. He didn’t want to be “that guy” that asks his girlfriend to stay only to resent him for it later. I have to say that Tim has really grown from the slacker who only loved girls and football in the beginning of the series.  He really has become quite wise, even if he almost decided not go to college. Thank goodness his brother Billy told him he had to go to college if for nothing else to show his future niece or nephew, or maybe even his own kids that anything is possible if you go to college. That was a very touching moment between the Riggins Bros. Speaking of bad decisions…

Matt’s staying in Dillon?

Last week we learned out of nowhere that Matt was an incredible artist, which got him into the Art Institute in Chicago. Everything looked like it was set up for him to head up to the Windy City. He and his mother were packing up the house so Grandma Saracen could make her way to a retirement community. But then he pulls a 180 and decides to take his grandmother out of there and that he’s not going anywhere. Huh?

I understand Matt feels he owes his grandmother because she’s the only person who never left him. And that he didn’t want to break up with Julie, I get it. But I just don’t buy him giving all of that up, even though it’s something his character would do. I guess I was more suprised that his grandmother didn’t give him the same “Go” speech that Tim gave to Lyla. I can’t wait to see what Matt’s doing with himself next season. I’m hoping after he and Grandma danced, she talked some sense into him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s working at the Alamo Freeze in the Season Four premiere (fingers crossed!).

What happens now?

With Riggins, Lyla, Landry (?) and Tyra all headed of to college and Coach Taylor taking over a new team, our beloved show will have a new look next year. I have to give Jason Katims, writer of this excellent episode, credit. The episode ending the way it did (with Eric and Tami standing in the center of the poor-looking East Dillon field looking around) made it a perfect season or series finale. I’m hoping for the former, but if it does end with this episode, at least we know what happened to all of our favorite characters. But I’m not ready for this show to be finished. So, please cross your fingers along with me that “Friday Night Lights” gets renewed!

Oh, and two random notes because I didn’t know where else to put them:

*I loved the cowboy hats Billy and his groomsmen wore during the wedding

*How nice of the Eric and Tami to buy Julie her first car.

What did you think of this episode, and this season as a whole? Do you think it will come back for a fourth season? Feel free to comment below!

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

24 Recap: “8 a.m.-10 a.m.”/10 a.m.-12 p.m.

In 24 on January 17, 2009 at 4:21 am

It’s almost hard to believe that until last Sunday, there hadn’t been a new episode of “24” on the air since May 2007. With that long of a break, I was anxiously awaiting the new season. My main concern was I’d be let down by a dud of a season premiere. Fortunately, the four-hour two-day event didn’t disappoint.

 

There wasn’t much that I disliked about these first four hours. I could go through a laundry list of what I loved about the premiere, but instead I’m going ramble for a bit about what I liked best. That was of course the triumphant return of Tony Almeida.

 

Like most “24” fans, I was shocked when I first learned that Tony was going to be on the show this season. I thought he was dead! It’s too bad they couldn’t have kept Carlos Bernard’s return a secret, but with so much time in between seasons, that would have been impossible. But, even more shocking than Tony’s return was the news that he was going to return as this season’s antagonist. Say what?? Then sure enough he’s in the van filled with kidnappers. I cheered when I heard him talk thought that clichéd black ski mask. Our man Tony is back.

 

I felt the same way that Jack did when he found out Tony was working for a terrorist organization. There’s no way, he has to be undercover or something. But when FBI Agent Walker said they checked with every organization and no one could vouch for him, I assumed he was officially on the wrong side of the law. Not to mention how convincing he was when dealing with the computer expert and talking to the FTA officials. I was sold with him as Season 7’s bad guy. And, if I was on the fence about whether or not Tony was good or bad, I wasn’t anymore after his interrogation scene with Jack. Holy cow, that was intense. He said some pretty awful things, like Jack working with the FBI was like spitting on Teri’s grave. Ouch! I couldn’t blame Jack for wanting to break Tony’s neck.

 

And then at that very moment, my faith was restored when mid-strangle, Tony whispered, “Deep Sky” into Jack’s ear. “Deep Sky” of course was code for an old CTU phone number. When Jack called, who’s on the line? None other than former CTU head Bill Buchanan! Things just kept getting better and better. And, they got even better when we saw that Chloe is working along side of Bill. So, it turns out Tony isn’t a terrorist, he’s working undercover with Bill and Chloe as they try to prove that there are U.S. Government officials doing dirty deals with the Sangala army.

 

I can’t express how floored I was by the “Tony’s not a bad guy twist.” During the entire off season, all I heard was Tony was going to be this year’s bad guy. I am amazed that twist was able to stay hidden so well. I was hoping Tony wasn’t really on the bad side, but I prepared myself to watch Tony and Jack match wits and go at one another for 24 hours (honestly, that would have been pretty cool). But, I think it’ll be fun to watch these two working together again like they did during Season 5. With Bill and Chloe manning the command post, I think we’ve got a really fun season on our hands.

 

Wow, I just spent six paragraphs gushing over what I liked about one storyline. I’ll try to keep the rest of my analysis a little shorter.

Here is what else I liked about the “24” premiere:

 

*The fact that there is no more CTU. As the series wore on, I began to like the characters there less and less. In fact, two of the only characters I liked (Bill and Chloe) are still around, so it works out perfectly. I am sure that some people will feel that the FBI has just replaced CTU as the pain in the rear office. Part of me felt that way too, but let’s give it time. Speaking of the FBI…

 

*I really like Janeane Garofalo and Rhys Coiro in their roles. I’m really impressed with Garafolo; when I heard she was going to be on this show, I wasn’t sure how that was going to work. She’s a great comic, and I didn’t know how she was going to adapt to a dramatic setting, but so far so good. As far as Coiro goes, how can you not love Billy Walsh? He’s solid in his role here too, although it’s strange to see him clean cut and wearing a shirt and tie.

 

*The subtle moments that have to be extremely subtle because every second counts on this show. For example I got a kick out of Tony apologizing to Jack for the things he said about Teri and Jack in turn apologized to Tony for almost crushing his windpipe and Tony just said, “I’m glad you didn’t.” There aren’t a lot of exchanges like that on this show, so when they pop up it’s always fun. I also liked Chloe and Jack’s exchange when they saw each other again. It was so awkward but touching all at the same time.

 

The only thing I didn’t really like was all the stuff with the First Gentleman trying to prove his son was killed. It didn’t fit in with everything else and slowed down the rest of the episode. I have a feeling it will eventually connect itself to the rest of the storylines.

 

So, I think it’s fair to say the seventh season of ‘24” is off to a fantastic start. I can’t wait to see if President Taylor decides to call off the troops in Sangala to save all the Americans in the air, or to proceed with the plan at hand. Something tells me we already know how it’s going to turn out, but this “24,” so you never know.

 

So, are you happy to have “24” back? Are you satisfied with how the season started and with Tony’s rise from the dead? Feel free to comment below!

 

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com.