Monday, August 13, 2007

World tour

Spoilers for, in order, "Doctor Who," "Flight of the Conchords" and, for habit's sake, "Entourage" coming up just as soon as I use soundwaves to reset my DNA...

Sorry for the brief lag in "Doctor Who" postings. The conclusion of the Dalek two-parter was just so underwhelming that, even when I eventually finished it (over several sittings), I didn't have the enthusiasm to write about it. "The Lazarus Experiment" wasn't a masterpiece, either -- outside of the arc stuff with Martha and the mysterious Mr. Saxon, it felt very much like a "Who" spec script, science gone awry creates a monster for the Doctor to stop -- but it worked well as a MacGuffin on which to hang the question of Marth's role in the Doctor's life. (Also, was I the only one who thought all the references to the London Blitz were going to be building up towards some link between Lazarus's experiment and the events of "The Doctor Dances"?) I'm glad Martha forced the issue of being a passenger versus a companion, and the Doctor's clearly developing a real respect for her. (Did he ever let Rose use the sonic screwdriver on her own?)

I can't say much more about the arc elements. Though I've tried to remain unspoiled for all the remaining episodes (save the self-contained "Blink"), forces beyond my control have given me a pretty good idea who this Saxon fellow is. So for the benefit of people who are completely unspoiled about the rest of the season, let's try to contain discussion to this episode.

Not the funniest "Flight of the Conchords" of the season (though, in fairness, fatigue was kicking my ass again; I really ought to just wait to watch this show early Monday nights), but the focus on Murray was welcome, as was the notion of devoting an entire episode to nothing but the band and its struggles. (With a little side dish of Murray's marital strife, I suppose.) The leather suits were a good running gag, though I can't decide which is funnier: that Murray way overcalculated their per diem (per weekem?), or that the shopping in and around the LaGuardia Hotel was so cheap that they could afford three leather suits with their meal money. There are about seven different things that are funny about the concept of the NJU women's water polo team, and I liked how all of Bret's standard behavior suddenly became very expensive, rock 'n roll-seeming behavior once the trio hit the road.

I suppose I should give "Entourage" the same respect (or lack thereof) I do "Rescue Me" and just leave it alone until the end of the season, but I keep watching the damn thing out of laziness, and I can't even blame it on having dipped into Vince's secret stash. Once again, we have one of the boys (this time Turtle) seemingly getting into trouble and then escaping consequence-free, and once again we have Ari operating completely independently of the guys. I like Mrs. Ari to a point, but how does Doug Ellin not recognize that Ari (and the show) is so much funnier when he's running around trying to extinguish the many different fires that Vince is setting to his career? Also, did anyone not see the punchline to the Anna Farris story coming from miles away?

What did everybody else think?

21 comments:

Steven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Yes, the doctor did let Rose use the Sonic Screwdriver, in "The Doctor Dances," no less. He gave it to her to repair the barbed wire around the base so the drones couldn't get out.

Anonymous said...

Entourage isn't having a good season, but at least I find it watchable. That's more than I can say for Rescue Me this year.

Still, Entourage is at its best when it is about the behind the scenes of the movie business. That's why season 1 (which was all about fratboy wish fulfillment) was so incredibly weak, while seasons 2 & 3 (which were about Vince trying to land the Aquaman role and the subsequent fallout when he passed on the sequel) were so much better. I don't know why the writers don't realize that and have spent this entire season on lame plotlines about parties and shopping. I just hope next season gets "back to business."

Eric said...

Did anyone else find that the way The Young and The Restless was treated felt a lot like product placement? (Particularly the usually-smooth HBO variety.) Particularly Lloyd's fawning and the prominent shots of the logo. And don't the daytime soaps film in NYC?

Edward Copeland said...

My favorite Conchords line: When Murray threatens to quit and Jermaine reminds him that it's always Bret who quits, not him.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And don't the daytime soaps film in NYC?

Some do, some don't. Days of Our Lives, for instance, films in LA, even though Friends spent a lot of time devoted to the NY-based Joey having a part on the show.

dez said...

^The majority of the daytime soaps film in NYC (General Hospital is one that films on the West Coast).

FoTC wasn't as funny as some past eps, but the parts that were funny were hilarious (especially the leather suits having "snugged up" and the whole "Mel's stalking us" bit). Plus, I love Murray, so any focus on him is welcome in my book!

dez said...

Oops, I was responding to Eric, not Alan re: soaps. Ignore the ^ please.

Abbie said...

re: FOTC,

There were a lot of subtle bits, but on the whole this was one of the least interesting episodes of the season. It was funny that we only got one song in an episode about their "world tour".

Also funny that their big tour included such far-flung locales as LaGuardia airport and Passaic, NJ. I don't know the area that well, but both of those are commuting distance to Manhattan, so they didn't exactly need hotel rooms or per diem.

The leather suits were good, and we got more Mel. I love that we keep hearing little snippets of the "who likes to rock the party" (New Zealand rocks the party!) song without getting the full treatment.

jim treacher said...

There's no good way to say this, so I'm just gonna say it: Martha Jones' mom looks like Blacula.

bill p said...

FOTC was underwhelming as an episode of FOTC but would've been great for any other show. I think it was because we only got one song and then didn't get it till the 20 minute mark. You can tell they're running out of songs. Which should make Season 2 interesting, if it happens. And I hope it does.

I now realize he's been a supervising producer from the get-go, but was nice to see "Written and Directed by Paul Simms."

Jon Delfin said...

On the road again: I liked how they made the "tour" seem so mammoth (Murray falling asleep at the steering wheel from exhaustion) for the, what, 20 minutes it took to get to La Guardia.

Nicole said...

I think the Lazarus Experiment is one of those episodes that improves when viewed in the context of the entire series/season, unlike the Dalek two-parter, which just seemed kinda there. But for now, you'll just have to take my word for it.

I did find it interesting to learn that Mark Gatiss was once a candidate (who knows how serious though) to be the next Doctor.. I think pre-Eccleston. He may even be in the running now.. giving hope to all sci-fi writers.


Luckily, I have gotten aboard the Conchords train because references are showing up everywhere. I was reading Jason Sobell's ESPN golf blog about the PGA Championship, and "it's business time" crept up there too.

Dark Tyler said...

This DW episode actually convinced me that I really like Martha Jones. By the end of the series I was certain, but here was the first time that I didn't feel like the writers were just treating her as a natural extension of Rose. I hope this makes some kind of sense in the English language. (LOL)

By the way, I really don't get why Sci Fi should have to wait so long to air the show in the US. If French networks are able to air, say, "The Shield" even before FX, why couldn't an american network air DW concurrently with the BBC? I mean, after all these months there probably won't be a single viewer that remains unspoiled!

Nicole said...

I am so with you on that. To make it worse, my tax dollars help co-produce DW and Torchwood (which hasn't even aired yet on CBC and series two will air in the UK in the fall) and except for series one when there was a 10 day lag, DW has barely aired on the CBC at the same time as Sci-Fi. (This series started a week or two sooner, but has been pre-empted on the CBC so often that I believe the same episodes are aired within the week)

There isn't that much else on CBC and if they aired it concurrently, the ratings would be much better.

I recall that the UK got the first season of Battlestar Galactica prior to Sci-Fi, but that has since changed.

The industry is way behind on this because while networks want to control the schedule, unacceptable delay, especially for certain genre shows, just increase the potential for unauthorized viewing, and not all will be obsessed enough to rewatch it on regular tv.

Tom said...

'Not the funniest "Flight of the Conchords"....'

And this but a week after complaining that the episodes about the boys and their girlfriends were weak.

Whew. Tough crowd.

"Personally, I preferred the mixed nuts caper. At least it was original!"

This show has officially joined the pantheon.

JZ said...

Agreed, Tom. Anytime one weaves "mixed nuts" and "caper" together: gold.

I've been checking out Entourage on On Demand, a couple days after the Sunday originals. Yes, the plot with Eric was predictable, but it does continue the ongoing struggle between him and Vince.

Hopefully, Eric evolves into the total sleazebag the boys have avoided becoming.

Elisabeth said...

The music was weak this week...but who couldn't love a mixed nuts caper?

I love Mel. I love Murray. Heck, I love them all.

par3182 said...

i loved FotC this week; it was up there with the jermaine gets mugged episode

manly due to murray - rhys darby is the discovery of the year

stevie said...

I thought this week's FOTC was pretty great too. The song was no "Part-time Model" or whatever it's really called, but the scene of Mel rapturously "sleeping" on Jemaine and Bret was priceless.

Anonymous said...

I thought this episode (as well as last week's) was among the best so far. Favorite moment: Brett and Jemaine in their grotesquely shrunk leather suits looking at Murray's perfectly fitted suit and commenting, "It's a bit large".

My favorite moment last week was the very last one: Jemaine answering "I'm Bret" -- even though he knows what horrible emotional trauma Bret's just been through.