TV Thoughts: Ghost Whisperer/Threshold

Friday, September 30, 2005

Each and every Friday night, I have watched two new series that have premiered on the CBS network. I'm not a person big on Friday night television. Friday and Saturday nights seem to be dead nights when it comes to television. Shows seem to be placed on this night and die off quickly. Well, I decided to give two shows a try, and I am glad I did.

First let's talk a bit about Ghost Whisperer. The premise of this show is a newlywed woman has an ability to see and talk to the dead. Melinda Gordon has been able to do this since she was a young child. However, she is the type to let this ability to consume her. She sees herself as helping those cross over by delivering some message to the ones they left behind or having those they left behind give them the okay to move on they need. Last week, we had the ghost of a man that died in Vietnam reunite with his son just in time to see his grandson born into the world. This week, a young boy that died in a tragic accident when a train hit his car is told by his mother that its okay to move on.

This show to me is really touching. It isn't all that scary even with its supernatural element. It reminds me a bit of Touched by an Angel, a popular television that aired previously on the CBS network. Both episodes of this show have brought tears to my eyes, and I really enjoyed this show. Jennifer Love Hewitt plays the title role, and she does a good job here. I would recommend checking this show out, especially if you were a fan of Touched by an Angel.

Ghost Whisperer is followed by Threshold. Tonight the show aired its third episode, and I'm enjoying this show more and more with each passing week. I've spoken about this show here in my blog previously. The basic premise is that aliens have landed some type of probe on our planet, and it plays a signal that changes the DNA strands of humans. A bit different but the show works.

Each week, the Threshold team led by Dr. Molly Caffrey finds more and more people infected by the alien code, and they end up chasing them down. They find someone new each week, and with this discovery more and more is uncovered about the aliens. It's a slower progression than the other alien sci-fi shows that are on air right now.

I enjoy Threshold more than I do Invasion. Although Surface is my favorite out of three, this show is a close second. I hope these shows do well for the network in their Friday time slot, but that remains to be seen.

CD Review: Las Vegas Soundtrack

Released on September 27th, 2005, the Las Vegas soundtrack contains songs heard on the popular Las Vegas television series airing Monday nights on NBC at 9/8c. The release of the CD coincides with the premiere of the show's third season which aired on September 19th. The show follows a surveillance crew working at one of the top Las Vegas casinos.

At the end of last season, fans of the show saw the casino in question torn down Vegas style, and the third season opened up six months later with a brand new boss and brand new casino. The crew is back for more high jinks this season. The premiere contained a performance by Cowboy Troy with Big & Rich, "I play chicken with the train." This fun country song appears on the soundtrack as the fourth track.

The soundtrack consists of fourteen tracks which are a mix of songs of yesterday remixed for a more modern updated feel with songs of today from music's newest artists such as the country song. Other artists that appear on this CD include Elvis Presley, The Pussycat Dolls, Tom Jones, Wayne Newton and Michael Buble. Elvis appears twice on the soundtrack. He both starts and ends the compilation. The first track is a remix of his song "A little less conversation," which also opens up the show each week as the show's US theme song. The fourteenth track is the original version of the song.

As a listener, I particularly enjoyed how they brought in remixed tracks of old favorites. They updated not only Elvis, but Tom Jones, Wayne Newton, Kool & The Gang and the Isley Brothers. Songs from yesterday with a more dance feel to them to go along with the fast pace of the show. Usually with remixes one has to worry about messing with a classic original, especially with a highly popular classic such as "A little less conversation." This is the King after all.

The remix tracks other than the Elvis track include the original artist with additional artists joining in to bring a whole new feel to the music. Artists added to the tracks include a virtual who's who of artists that are gaining in popularity at the moment including Sean Paul and Stereophonics. Other tracks on the soundtrack include a few tracks by female artists including "We went as far as went like going" by The Pussycat Dolls. However, the soundtrack is male dominated.

I popped this soundtrack into my CD player, and I immediately wanted to begin dancing. Not one of the songs is all that slow. This is definitely a CD full of great music to dance to. The soundtrack also fits the show perfectly. Each and every week, the show is fast paced and in your face. This soundtrack keeps up with that flavor. If you're a fan of the show, and the music played on it on a weekly basis, then this soundtrack is definitely something you want to consider adding to your collection. You won't be disappointed in the least by the music contained on this disc.

To check the soundtrack out for yourself check out the following retailer: Amazon

TV Review: ER Episode 12.02

Thursday, September 29, 2005

This week's episode of ER titled "Nobody's Baby" had a complete focus on the ER. We had two larger cases and one minor one. There were also two outside sub plots, but most of the attention this week was focused on medical occurrences. The first case dealt with a woman in labor. There is difficulties early on, and we learn it is a breach birth. We also learn a surprising twist. This is a surrogate birth. The young woman is carrying a child for her best friend and her husband. They have a signed contract and all. When the breach is detected the ER doctor working on her case, Ray, tries to get her to consent for a C-section.

However, the woman is totally against this. She wants to have the baby naturally. The man set to be the father of the child wants her to consent as well, but she is still against it. Something happens, and they have to take the woman to surgery immediately. They do proceed with a natural childbirth, but something does happen and the baby suffers a lack of oxygen. They are able to revive him, but it looks like he will suffer brain damage. When his parents find out this, they walk away from the baby. The surrogate mother doesn't see the child as hers, so the baby is left alone.

The second case is Abby's and it is a young boy that is brought in from the mall. He is in severe condition, but it is not known what caused his condition. Abby ends up interviewing the boy's friends, and they tell her of his vegetarian diet, but he ate two cheeseburgers that day. After thinking it over, she figures out he had broken his diet, and that had caused him to go into some sort of shock. The boy is treated and is fine.

Abby and Neela also have to deal with a woman they had met on the L train earlier that day. While walking off the train, she falls and twists her ankle. Neela and Abby both offer to look at it, but the lady isn't having it. When she demands for a second opinion, Neela turns to Abby, and Abby offers her one, "Your ankle may be broken, and I think you're a bitch." Best line all night. The woman ends up in County General's ER, and she is forced to wait six hours before Abby and Neela look in on her.

One of the subplots on this episode surrounded Pratt and his father. The man shows up at the ER, and Pratt ends up making him wait. The man, played by Danny Glover in a guest appearance, tells Pratt he has a half sister and brother, and he would like Greg to know them. Pratt doesn't seem too keen on this, but by the end of the episode he ventures off to the half brother's swim meet where he meets the family. The scene is awkward at best, and Pratt walks away.

This week we also continued the story line of Sam and Luka. Although it looks like their relationship is now over. Sam finds a place of her own, and by the end of the episode, he is all by himself. He tells Abby of the break-up, and she tries to make a joke based on their relationship. Luka does seem on edge here, and the previews for next week show he is a man about to explode.

In my opinion, this episode was better than last week's premiere for me. This is the ER I know and love, and it is great to see this show back. Abby was really great in this episode with her smart alec one-liners. I also really loved Ray in this episode. I think his character really has grown in this episode, and he fought hard for that baby. The scene at the end where he tells the O.B. doctor that the baby had a rough day, so he didn't want to leave it alone brought a tear to my eye. The whole story line was sad, but Ray just touched me here.

The story line with Pratt seemed to be a bit filler to me. Last week, they had hyped up the appearance of Danny Glover on this week's episode, but it seemed more of a cameo than a full on guest appearance. I think I might expected more here. Next week, we see Luka lose it, and the addition of Kirsten Johnston to the cast. Should be an interesting week!

TV Review: Night Stalker Premiere

Night Stalker premiered tonight on ABC in the 9/8c time slot. The show is a remake of a 70's cult classic of the same name. This show follows crime reporter Carl Kolchak as he investigates the cases of unknown and weird crimes - mostly of a supernatural or unexplained nature. He does this on this show as a crime reporter for The Beacon, a Los Angeles newspaper. He works with senior crime reporter and skeptic Perri Reed.

This week we see Kolchak jump right into a case of a woman's murder. The suspect is her husband, but Carl jumps into this case so fully, Perri decides to look into The Beacon's new reporter's past. She finds out his own wife died a year and a half before, and he was also suspected of his wife's murder. That was back in Vegas. Kolchak's wife's murder has a striking resemblance to the current murder case here in Los Angeles.

After the woman's body is found and identified by her brother and sister-in-law, something strange happens. That night something breaks into the room the family is staying in, attacking the mother and kidnapping the little girl. The police think the little girl is dead, but Kolchak knows she is still alive. At this point, it becomes clear that some type of animal is behind the murder and disappearance. The newspaper's photographer took some pictures, and it appears paw prints are at the scene.

When there is another animal sighting, the three go to investigate and Perri is attacked by the creature. Kolchak saves her by hitting it with his car, and the animal looks like some evil dog out of hell. However, they don't get to prove that because the animal is labeled as a coyote and cremated before they can get their own look at it.

Kolchak somehow uses a chemical he sprayed at the site of the sighting to track the animal to where he thinks he took the little girl, a cave out in the desert. The cave happens to be near where the previous victim's body, the little girl's aunt, was found. They do find the little girl, and after a few scary moments, Kolchak rescues young Julie.

However, when he writes his story up, he leaves out the occurrence with the animal and this raises concern with Perri, but she keeps quiet. Kolchak had told Reed a story about how all these people with this similar mark are being killed - each in some strange supernatural manner. Kolchak investigates each crime that occurs where the symbol is involved. Kolchak also mentions that women that are pregnant are particularly affected by this phenomenon. He also has the same marking on his arm as we see at the end of tonight's episode while we hear a voice over speech by Kolchak.

I never watched the original of this show when it aired in the 1970s. It aired before I was even born, but I have to say I loved this show. It has two wonderful well known actors cast. Stuart Townsend plays Kolchak, and Perri Reed is played by Gabrielle Union. Both actors with film acting credits behind them. The way the show is filmed even feels a bit movie like, and I think the casting done here is excellent.

The show also has a minor X-files feel to it. We have the believer in Kolchak and the skeptic in Reed. Very Mulder and Scully, but this isn't a rip off of the X-files. This is very much its own show. The only similarity here is the relationship to the supernatural these murders have. This show has definitely won me over to at least keep up with it next week. Let's see if it keeps me as a viewer in the episodes to come.

TV Review: The OC - Episode 3.04

How far the mighty will fall and how quickly! This week's episode of The OC titled "The Last Waltz" has Marissa dealing with her new school environment after being expelled by Dean Hess from Harbor. Since it turns out Caleb was as broke as could be, there is no more private school in Marissa's future. In fact, we soon find out that there will be no more home for the Coopers either. Due to the debts Caleb left, the house is sold, and Julie is given a little bit of time to get things together to move out.

Problem here is she has no money in order to go anywhere. She even goes to Sandy for a loan from The Newport Group. However, Kirsten has decided to sell the business. This means no loan for Julie. She plays it off for Sandy, but she is in serious trouble here. By the end of the episode, we see the bank come with a deputy and movers in order to remove her and everything in the house off the premises. Julie ends up a in a cheap motel crying into the scratchy comforter. While all this is happening, Marissa is staying with Summer.

Dealing with the loss of her home isn't all Marissa has to deal with in this episode. She is also now starting classes at Newport Union. Being the new girl is never easy, especially with it being senior and oh yeah ... the whole she shot and killed someone thing causes some problems. Marissa definitely has a name for herself, and that name follows her to her new school. This causes some problems, but Marissa does quickly make a few new friends at the school. A quick thought about the students she meets at Newport Union. Does anyone else think the three look like a season one set of the The OC foursome. We have the Ryan, Seth and Summer like characters with Marissa fitting right in with them.

Her new friends stick by her side even with some of the negative response Marissa is getting by attending the public school. Marissa is intent on fitting in at her new school, and this causes some new problems for Marissa and Ryan. He fears that he will lose her. When he calls or shows up at the school, he feels some sort of distance with Marissa. Marissa doesn't help this by lying to him about the school dance being held at Newport Union. Her friends show up to take her to the dance, but Ryan shows up just as they are about to pull away. She had told him her plan was to study that night. He tells her to go, but you can tell he isn't happy with the situation. He ever goes to the dance, but Seth stops him from going inside just before he is about to rush in. By the end of the night, all is well. Marissa is there when Ryan arrives back home, and the two share a moonlight dance by the side of the Cohen pool.

What about Summer and Seth? Last week, Seth and Summer helped borrow the tiki hut for a romantic night for their friends. Dean Hess catches Seth, but Seth doesn't give up Summer. However, Dean Hess has a pretty good idea Summer was Seth's partner in crime. This week, Taylor Townsend turns a new leaf and decides she wants to make new friends and help Summer planning Harbor's own school dance. However, something just isn't right here when Taylor goes to Summer and tells her that Seth is about to be suspended if he doesn't give up who helped him. Hearing this has Summer running to confess to Dean Hess. A move that loses her position as social chair. Her replacement: Taylor Townsend. Summer confronts the other girl, and we see that it was all a ploy to get Taylor the social chair position.

The night of the Harbor school dance, which coincides with the dance at Newport Union, Taylor takes all the credit for the school dance. A move that angers Summer, but Seth calms her down. While Seth is running off to help Ryan, he leaves Summer alone at the dance. While there, she makes a startling discovery, Dean Hess and Taylor are caught making out in one of the school's dark hallways. They don't know Summer saw them, but she did. I saw this coming a mile away. These two had some connection from the first episode they come in. An affair is an obvious connection.

We also figure out what is up with Charlotte in this episode. She is looking for money. She meets up with Kirsten for lunch at the yacht club, and immediately begins to tell her about a halfway house she wants to build in Sedona, Arizona. All she needs is some investors, and she wants Kirsten to come into the program from day one. However, Charlotte doesn't know that Kirsten has no funds since her father left her nothing due to his debts. This doesn't deter Charlotte, and she will continue to pursue Kirsten. She had gone so far to find a mark that she had entered the rehabilitation program only to find a rich victim to milk for money.

Okay, in my opinion this episode felt a bit weak. With the hiatus coming up you would think they would pack a real punch here. Most of the fans already had figured out something was up between Dean Hess and Taylor. Signs just screamed affair two episodes ago. Also the Charlotte story line is kind of obvious and weak. A total waste of a good actress in my opinion. I felt really bad for Julie the last two episodes. Which is weird to me because I usually want to smack her. Kirsten and Sandy are kind of ho hum boring in this episode. Once she returned home, one would have expected Kirsten to freak out once she found out everything that occurred over the summer, but she hasn't yet. Fans now have to wait until November 3rd after the Major League baseball play offs for the show to return.

Thoughts: Invasion Episode 2.02

Some brief thoughts on tonight's episode of Invasion. I watched again, and while it was better for me than last week's episode, I still didn't find myself pulled into the story being created on the screen. On this week's episode, the hurricane has still left most of the area without power, and there are even more changes in the doctor found after being missing on last week's episode.

The daughter seems to know her mother is different, and something just seems off about her step-father too. This week we followed the sheriff as he tried to discover the origin of the alien like creature he and his step brother found. Finding another victim of the alien's, that later dies at the hospital. The victim being military supposedly overseas on a mission.

I sat here after watching tonight's episode trying to figure out why the show just isn't grabbing me. I know I am in the minority, although I have seen others not catch onto the show. I think its because there is no secret here. We know aliens landed and have invaded. We know whom they have taken over already. What is left for us to know? Why the aliens are there? That's all.

With Surface and Threshold we have a more of a sense of the unknown. With Invasion, everything is already out there, and that to me doesn't really make for exciting television. I'll probably give it one more week, but if it doesn't grab me by then I won't continue watching.

TV Review: Lost Episode 2.02

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

This week's episode of Lost titled "Adrift" was said to have answers to all of our questions. However, if this episode did anything at all it added more questions. When last we left Jack and Locke, Jack was in a stand-off with Desmond with Locke's life at stake. Instead of going back there, we go back in time to see how Locke got to where he was. Locke goes down the hatch when he loses Kate down it. He does en up finding her, but Desmond finds them. At first, Desmond thinks Locke is some man he is looking for, and Locke plays along until he doesn't pick up on some kind of message Desmond has for him. Locke fails the test, and Desmond then takes him and Kate prisoner.

At first, Desmond wants Kate to tie up Locke, but Locke convinces Desmond that Kate is the dangerous here because she is a fugitive. While Locke is tying her up, he slips her a knife just before Desmond puts her into a dark room. Kate does manage to free herself and turn the light on in the room only to discover she has been placed in some kind of storage room with a whole stock of food. Definitely enough food to last for a good long time for one person or a good number of them. After a candy break, Kate makes her way up into the air shafts and crawls through the system of ducks there. She makes it to one of the openings in time to hear the music to begin playing and for Jack's arrival. However, we stop at the same scene we did last week here. With Jack going, "You."

At the end of last season, four had gone to sea on a raft built by Michael and the others. Walt was taken hostage by some men on a boat, and the raft exploded. On this episode, we learn their fate. Michael and Sawyer are in the water with no sign of Jin, Walt or the other boat. Sawyer pulls Michael out of the water and revives him. Michael is determined to find his son, and he keeps yelling for the boy in hopes that Walt will hear him.

While staying on a piece of a raft, Michael and Sawyer don't get along at all. Sawyer also has been shot, and he digs out the bullet with his bare hands. Ouch! Sawyer eventually finds his own piece of raft, but the two aren't alone. There is a shark joining the party, and we all know three's a crowd. With a bit of drifting and time, the two find one an even bigger piece of the raft, and with the current they drift back to the island where they began. Just as they reach land, Jin finds them, but Jin seems to be on the run, tied up and screaming one word over and over: Others. As the episode fades to black, we get our first look at what the others look like. A brief look, but they don't look friendly.

The flashbacks in the episode are Michael and Walt centered. We see Michael fighting for custody of Walt when he was younger. There is a minor court battle here, and in the end his ex-wife Susan pleads with Michael to give up on his son, which he ends up doing. Michael signs all his parental rights to Walt away.

Some things I noticed during this episode:

  • Charlie has one of the evil Virgin Mary's filled with heroin bags from the airplane Boone and Locke found. We see this in a short scene back at the camp when Jack leaves to go in search of Kate and Locke.

  • When Michael is saying good-bye to young Walt, he gives him a bear - what appears to be a polar bear. Don't we all remember what happened with the polar bear on the island last season. Nice little connection here.

  • The food. Why have a underground home with all this food? How long has Desmond been underground. The markings on the walls of the hatch just seemed to be a lot. Months? Years? Why is he down there? It seems he thinks he is the only person left on the planet because of his reaction to Kate and Locke talking about the plane crash. I loved how the first thing Kate goes for in the food stash is the candy. Hey, a girl has to have her candy! Also what is the symbol on the food and what about that same symbol appearing on the shark?

  • When Michael and Sawyer first find the piece of raft, they hear someone else screaming. It sounded like Jin to me, but then we find out Jin was taken by the others. This means they were still around when Michael and Sawyer dragged themselves out of the water. Why did the others leave them behind? Why just take Walt and Jin?

  • What is the purpose of typing in the sequence of numbers into the computer? What does that do? Does it protect the island and the world from some horrible thing? What will happen if the numbers aren't inputted? What about Walt's warning? "Don't push the button. The button is bad." If the clock does reach zero will it set them all free from whatever loop they are in on this island?

  • How about the one? Who is it? It wasn't Locke. Could it be Jack? How about Sawyer? Or Hurley? Since Hurley knows about the numbers and their cursed nature could he be the one Desmond is waiting for?
I really loved this episode, but I don't think it answered many questions. It only created more for me. Questions about the hatch, Desmond, the others? So many questions here, and only so few answers. With each week that passes with this show we're left wanting to know more of its story. I can't wait for next week's episode. We'll see a new character introduced when Michelle Rodriguez joins the show. Another survivor of the plane crash that spent some time talking to Jack in the airport bar before take off. Nice addition to the cast. We'll see what her character adds to this never ending puzzle of a show next week.

So You Think You Can Dance - The Final Dance-off

Three words immediately come to my mind with this episode: Oh my God! This week's So You Think You Can Dance came at us with the final dance-off. Four dancers competed, and this time next week only one will be named winner. If you think the level of competition had been tough up to this point, tonight blew previous weeks out of the water with the dancing and skill demonstrated by the dancers. In my mind one dancer stood out from the four remaining, but before I tell you who I think should win this competition, let's talk about this week's episode.

Each week's episode begins with the elimination of two dancers. This week's eliminations were definitely a shocker on one hand. On the hand, it was kind of expected following the judges commentary last week. Five million votes were cast for this week's elimination. The shocker here was of Blake being eliminated. Week after week, he had danced well. He never entered the bottom couples for possible elimination. The first time he is put up for America's votes he is sent home.

Even with all his experience and skill, America still chose him. Why is that? I have some thoughts, and I'm sure others do as well. Early on in the competition, he had been just a little too cocky. He'd made some not so nice comments about one of the judges, Dan Karaty. Did this come back to bite him now? Did America remember? This is only one possible theory. I'm sure others will have their own.

The other dancer sent home tonight was Kamilah. Week after week, she performed well. Her technique is there, and she is a wonderful dancer, but as the week's continued on it became apparent to the judges that Kamilah is a performer. She is an actress, and this is a part of her dancing. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but at times it felt Kamilah was more performing than dancing. That is what caused her to be sent home at this time.

Once the eliminations were complete, we moved onto what America had been waiting all week for: The Final Dance-off! The format of this week's program completely changed once again. Gone was the random selection process, and this week we saw all five judges on the stage ready to give their commentary. Instead of the selection process, all the dancers danced with each other. The men and women were both paired off for one dance each. We also saw the normal male/female pairings. Very interesting seeing the two remaining men and women dance with each other here. Solo performances were also shown throughout the show.

The skill shown here by each of the remaining four dancers was amazing. They each stepped up and put out their best in this episode. We have the best of what remains, and now it is up America to choose the best of the best. We began tonight's competition with a pasa doble by Melody and Nick. This couple dominated last week with their disco and Broadway performances. They once again shined here. The judges absolutely loved them.

Nick and Melody were followed by an Ashle and Jamile with a salsa performance. The judges were loving Ashle here, but were quite harsh on Jamile. Out of four dancer's left, he has the least amount of technical skill, and when he dances out of his style it shows. He is an amazing hip hop dancer, but he seems to falter a bit when it comes to ballroom specifically.

Following a commercial break and a solo performance by Melody, we see Jamile on stage once again. This time in a hip hop type performance with Nick choreographed by one of the judges on tonight's show, Dan Karaty. Once again Jamile receives heavy criticism here. He isn't going for it yet, and the judges tell him he needs to step it up another notch if he wants a chance to make it.

Jamile and Nick's performance is followed by solos. Here we see Ashle and Jamile before we see the girls pair up in a contemporary performance choreographed by Mia Michaels. This performance was just amazing. It took athleticism and skill to pull this routine off, and that is just what these two women did here. They even have the bruises to prove it!

Following the final solo of the night by Nick, we saw Melody and Jamile pair up to do a jazz routine. It was a bit worrisome at this point because Jamile hadn't really done well in tonight's show up to this point, but he finally stepped it up here, and the performance was done extremely well. The judges even complimented Jamile for his performance here.

We then saw the final couple of the night - Ashle and Nick. This couple performed a hip hop routine and they both shined here. Ashle seemed to be in her element, and Nick also did well. The dancing wasn't done yet. Before the phone lines were open, we saw the dancers all dance together one final time. This time an unchoreographed performance to music none of the dancers had heard before. For a short period of time, they improvised to the music, and this allowed us to see them in their purest form.

Let's go back to talk about the solo performances. Each of the dancer's did well here, but with the solos one dancer did stand out to me, and this dancer stood out to me the entire night. The best solo performance in my mind was performed by Nick. He went out on stage, and he dominated it. He made that stage his for the short thirty second period he was performing, and the crowd went wild for him. Out of the four dancers left, he is my choice to win it all.

This week's episode of So You Think You Can Dance was fun and fast paced. I know I was cheering the dancers on. I was really shocked at Blake's elimination, but after seeing tonight's performances it was clear the dancers remaining were the best left of this competition.

What about you America? Were you just as shocked by Blake's being sent home? Do you think the voters made the wrong decision? Who was the best on tonight's show? Who do you want to be named winner next week? This is your chance to sound off! Let me know what you think.

Music used on tonight's show

Melody/Nick - Espana Cani by Manhattan Pops Orchestra
Ashle - Jamile - Oh Mayi by La Sonora Pancena
Jamile/Nick - Young'n by Fabolous
Ashle/Melody - Message in a bottle by The Police
Melody/Jamile - Coldhearted Snake by Paula Abdul
Ashle/Nick - Feel the girl by Ms. Jade

Melody - Listen to your heart by DHT
Ashle - Endangered Species - Dianne Reeves
Jamile - Early in the morning - The Gap Band
Nick - Pardon me - Incubus

TV Review: Real World Austin - 9/27/2005

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The focus on this week's episode of the Real World: Austin remained on Johanna. On last week's episode, she had been arrested for public drunkenness after stealing a flower from a vender. Lacey had informed Leo, the bartender Johanna's been crushing on since moving to the house, and he went to go pick her up. This brought the two closer together.

On this week's episode, we see them start to get even closer. However, we have a problem that develops here. Johanna quickly discovers that she isn't the only girl that Leo is seeing. He has a girlfriend. Something she hadn't been aware of up to this point. This upsets her, and she tells Leo she knows of the other girl, but Leo gets rather aggressive in his pursuit of her. Something that excites her. They get closer and closer over the course of the episode, and by near the end they sleep together. Johanna really likes Leo, and she decides to let her guard down with him.

Following their night together though, Leo stops calling her. When she confronts him, he tells her he is very busy with South by Southwest coming up. Johanna doesn't buy it, and she continues to pressure him about the situation. Then she tells him he can't like two girls because that is so sixth grade. He comes back with "Well, you are so sixth grade." I think my mouth even dropped open with this insult. She ends up leaving him there and returning home with Rachel in tears. Once there she turns to Wes to comfort, crying in his arms over the incident. I actually feel bad for Johanna here. Yes, early on she had played the bartender a bit, but she seemed to be done doing that. She genuinely liked the guy, and for him to say that to her seemed really cruel in my opinion.

Johanna wasn't the only one with things happening on tonight's episode of the Real World. We had a bizarre and confusing scene with Wes. For some unknown reason, he trashes the house. He goes from room to room messing things up. He throws a chair in the pool. He pulls off bed covers, takes items from one place to another. Pulls item after item from the desk. He does this while his other roommates are out of the house, and we just have no idea why.

When they return and discover the house has been trashed, they immediately figure out it was Wes. He was the only one home. I have no idea why he did it, but to get back at him, Melinda, in a surprise move, grabs some of his own clothing and throws it in the pool. Reminded me of scene a la Tonya from one of the past season's of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Wes appeared to be drunk, but it is really unclear what his motive was for trashing the house.

In my opinion, this episode seemed a bit sluggish to me. We had the drama with Leo and Johanna, but other than that this episode felt like filler to me. They needed an episode and they threw this one together. The whole scene with Wes was just odd to me. He acted out, but they don't say why. There was no incident preceding this, and when Johanna came home crying he was there by her side. A scene such as this with no explanation just doesn't fly with me. If they had shown something before hand happening I would understand that. Other than Wes' problems with Johanna and Leo, there was no real reason for him to act in the manner he did on this episode.

I think this week's episode of the Real World really fizzled out. The last couple of weeks have been highly intense and fast paced, and while we had some high emotions here they weren't high enough to carry an entire episode. Next week's episode does look promising. We finally are able to see the roommates work. However, it looks like tensions will once again be high.

What do you think of this week's episode of the Real World: Austin? Do you agree with me or do you think this episode sizzled the screen? Let me know what you think.

TV Review: Supernatural Episode 1.03

This week's episode titled "Dead in the water" brings us more spooky happenings for the Winchester's boys to uncover and solve. The setting this week is Lake Manitoc, Wisconsin where we have a series of unexplained drownings. Sam and Dean venture to the town to check into it. This has nothing to do with their father's disappearance and Sam mentions this, but Dean is persuasive in getting Sam to go along with it.

Once they reach the small town, Sam and Dean once go undercover using their wildlife agent stories to get more information from the brother of one of the more recent drowning victims. We learn the girl that drowned was varsity swimmer, and her brother thinks someone dragged her down. They take this information and go to the town's sheriff. Sam and Dean think something is in the lake dragging down the victims.

The girl is the third drowning in the area. The sheriff informs Sam and Dean that the lake is in the process of being drained. While there the two brothers also learn of another drowning victim. The father of a young boy also drowned and the boy witnessed it occur. Since this happened, the boy has been silent, instead drawing picture after picture.

Dean thinks they have a sea monster on our hands, but Sam thinks their is some other reason behind the drownings. With other sea monsters, there is numerous sightings, and we do not have that here. Sam and Dean decide to try to get the boy to talk to them. Dean reaches out to the boy since he feels a connection to him having seen his own mother die in front of him around the same age the boy Lucas is now. At first Dean thinks he failed to reach the boy, but Lucas comes up and gives him a picture.

Soon Dean realizes that the picture is of the house where the young girl had drowned in the lake outside. He discovers this following the second drowning to occur in the same home. The young girl's older brother drowns mysteriously in the kitchen sink. This totally blows the sea monster theory out of the water. Looks like we have a water wraith on our hands.

Sam and Dean figure out that the man who owns the house is somehow involved. Both of Bill Carlton's children are killed, and the boy's father was his God son. The brothers try to figure out how the drownings are connected to the old man. They soon discover Bill was friends with a boy that drowned nearly thirty-five years ago. Is it possible there was foul play involved in the murder? Now the spirit of the boy is looking for revenge and will kill to get it? Taking one family member at a time until no one is left.

Bill Carlton offers himself to the spirit by going out into the lake. His children are gone, and he has nothing left. He drowns like the others,. and it appears the spirit is appeased. Or is it? Is there more that this spirit wants? Was there more people involved? Sam is ready to move on following Bill's death, but Dean makes him stay and go back to Lucas' house. They arrive just in time to save Lucas' mother from drowning in her bathtub. The spirit isn't done yet. We then learn that the sheriff is also involved with the drowning of the young boy all those years ago. Lucas ends up going out to the lake the next day, and the spirit tries to take him too, but his grandfather offers himself in exchange for the boy. The spirit lets Lucas go and takes the sheriff instead. It looks like it is finally done.

Another great episode from this new WB hit. Supernatural comes at us with a different case to solve each week. Case might not be the best word here, but it does fit. We have mysteries to solve. Everything from strange supernatural occurrences to spirits that died tragically and still haunt the places they once lived wrecking havoc for those still living. Sam and Dean are also enjoyable characters. The relationship between the two brothers is growing each week, and we're also seeing some character growth here, especially when it comes to Dean. I can't wait for this show each week, and next week's episode looks great in the previews. If it continues this way, it looks like we will see this show on the WB for some time to come.

To read more about what I think of this show check for my 9/28 entry over on Thoughts from the couch.

TV Review: Bones Episode 1.03

On this week's episode titled " A Boy in the tree, " Dr. Temperance Brennan has to discover whether a high school age boy found hanging from a tree at a posh boarding school is a suicide or in fact something more sinister. They mother of the boy, a Venezuelan ambassador, knows there is no way her son could have killed himself. The boy had recovered his hearing after being deaf at an early age, and he valued his life. All clues point to suicide, but not all the pieces of the puzzle fit.

Even with all the facts pointing to suicide, basic instincts and little clues picked up during the episode definitely lead someone to think more happened with the boy than just a lonely depressed boy giving up on his life. The school is determined to have the death labeled a suicide from the time the body is discovered, and they make the investigation difficult.

Do you smell a cover up? Well, your nose would be right! Bones and Booth end up going to the boy's room sifting through his belongings. As Booth would call it letting Bones "do her anthropological thing." Brennan goes through the boy's CD collection, and a surprising discover is found. A DVD that when played shows the boy in a hot little porno of the home made variety. Hot is a figurative because the little scene is fairly tame.

Bones and Booth inform the school's headmaster of their discovery, and it turns out there is a whole lot of home made sex tapes made on the campus. Bones and Booth make it a point to find the girl and investigate the case further. They find the girl on the tape and they also find the roommate of the teenage boy - interrogating them both. The teenage boy died when he was supposedly away on vacation with his roommate. A mysterious email was even sent to the boy's parents when according to time of death, the boy would have already been dead.

The investigation into the sex tapes uncovers even more shady dealings at the school. Apparently the sex tapes aren't only of students sleeping with students but the parents also seem to be joining in the fun. However, even with all these discoveries Brennan still says all the facts point to suicide. Angela makes her take another look at the facts because her gut and she knows Brennan's gut as well knows that this boy didn't kill himself.

Angela pulls up some more of the sex footage from the dead boy's laptop, and Bones notices something Booth and Angela don't. The girl knew she was being filmed. Booth and Bones call the roommate and the boy's lover back into interrogation. Turns out the roommate and the girl killed the boy because the boy was going to uncover the sex tape scandal.

The case wasn't the only action on tonight's episode. Watching as these characters interact is just as entertaining as watching the case and investigation unfold. This week's episode jumped from trying to hook up Bones and Booth to the love life of one of Bone's team, Zack. Seems Zack doesn't have much experience in the love department, and he goes from person to person asking for advice. The only one willing to help young Zack is Angela. She tells him to tell the woman of his dreams that he doesn't know anything about love making.

Booth also has some difficulties on this week's episode. Apparently his favorite hang-out is overtaken by Bones and her team. He wants it to be clearly known that the place is his and no one else's - even if they do start coming to the joint. Here we see guest star Heavy D, a much skinnier D, for those that know the man for his rap skills.

This show just keeps getting better and my opinion. You have the case and investigative work mixed in with the interaction between this quirky group of characters. Each have their own unique traits, and they each show them as the episodes progress each and every week. The back and forth each week between Bones and Booth is also fun to watch.

One thing I noticed this week though was there was no push to hook these two up as a couple. No appearance by Booth's girlfriend either. They played up the hook-up between these two hard last week, it is a bit odd to not see even one mention of it this week. I know I mentioned that pushing them too hard together so early on in this show was odd but them going totally back and not mentioning it this week is even more odd here. Were the shows filmed in another order? Because not even one mention to Booth's girlfriend is just weird.

I'm really enjoying this show so far. Each week we have a new case, and we are able to learn more about the characters. I even dragged a family member into watching this week's episode and they loved it. Looks like they will be tuning in now. However, we have some bad news for Bones fans! The show is on a small break until November 1st. FOX has its coverage of the Major League Baseball play offs to air in October. I'll be waiting oh so impatiently for this show's return.

To read more about what I think of this show check for my 9/28 entry over on Thoughts from the couch.

TV Review: Surface Episode 1.02

Monday, September 26, 2005

Surface comes at us tonight with a second episode that might even be better than its premiere, and that was good. This week picks up where last week left off. Last week, something unexplainable was found in the waters of our planet, and it looked like more were coming from wherever it came from. Miles Bennett, a teenager living at home, has found a batch of eggs belonging to one of the creatures and brings it home, placing it in his aquarium. Well, this might not have been the smartest of moves because the egg hatches, all his fish die, and then whatever creature came out of the egg breaks through the fish tank and is let loose in the house. Oceanographer Laura Daughtery sees one of the creatures when going down under the water's surface as part of her scientific research, and diver Rich Connelly gets an up close at the creature when him and his brother are diving near an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana.

On this episode, Miles has captured the creature, and his friend finds a way to hide him in his sister's playhouse. The creature looks pretty harmless as an infant, but in reality it is anything but harmless. We cut to a scene where a man is in his lighthouse when strange noises are heard. The man goes to investigate, and the noises get progressively louder until they are so loud they bust the glass of the lighthouse windows, break the light, and cause the man great pain. We see the creature swimming away, and it is huge. Definitely not something to mess with.

Last week, a whale carcass had been found in South Carolina. Well, turns out that the carcass is no sperm whale, but the first of these new creatures to die. An autopsy is performed on the animal, and we learn it is a mammal. Much like dolphins. This ain't no Flipper though! The discovery of the carcass sets Dr. Laura Doherty into action. She flies out from her home in California with her son, and we also learn that Rich is also on his way to see what is up with the carcass found.

Once the two reach the area, they learn that an evacuation is in place. FEMA is ordering an evacuation due to a Red Tide, which is something that kills all the fish in the area. A government cover-up perhaps? Both Rich and Laura are determined to get on the beach where the whale carcass had washed up. Rich runs out onto the beach, and he is taken down by army personnel. Everyone in the area is then taken into custody.

Rich and Laura meet up while in custody, and soon learn they have seen the same creature. After a bit of a separation due to the government and the CDC, they find their way back to each other, and make it back to the beach. Laura finds a type of fish that latches itself onto carcasses, and cuts it open in order to see what is inside, and it appears it has digested part of the creature. She takes the specimen back home to California to investigate, but she soon learns she is out of a job. The government has shut her down as a result of her trip to South Carolina.

Back with Miles, we learn that his parents are heading off on a vacation, leaving him and his sister alone in the house with our new little friend. Soon after they leave, his sister Savannah decides to throw a little party. A little party turns into a big party, and she decides to grab the boy of her choice for a little one on one party. Where does she decide to hold this party? In her playhouse. Not smart. The creature has escaped the cooler Miles and his friend had put him in, and Savannah gets an up close look at the creature before it runs off through her party. Savannah wants to tell their parents about the creature, but Miles holds the fact that she had a party while they were gone over her head. The creature is now moved into the house and placed into the bathtub. Miles also quickly learns the creature, which he has named Nimrod, likes to eat live food more than dead food.

Now what about our scientists working on the autopsy of the carcass? Well, they have their own problems to deal with when the carcass explodes, and what is inside the carcass ends up all over one of the doctors. He is severely injured, and it is unclear whether or not he'll be okay. We keep returning to see scenes of this doctor in the hospital while we also see the scientists discussing the creature. By the end of the episode, the injured doctor appears to be completely healed.

We learn so much here just by watching. Apparently this creature has made its way worldwide, and it is killing people. Did anyone else notice the map on the wall during one of the final scenes of the episode? This creature has been all over the globe, and it is getting more and more violent with each appearance. The creature makes one more final appearance by the end of the episode. A shark fishing trip goes horribly wrong near the Great Barrier Reef which is way south of where this creature had been sighted previously. They catch the shark, but when they try to pull it up, they find the shark half-eaten. The final scene shows us the creature jumping out under the boat and eating it whole! Good-bye boat!

As I said at the beginning of this review, this episode might even better than the first episode. The show is a bit slow, but it is building. Then scenes like the one at the end of tonight's episode make you jump out of your seat. Out of the three shows that premiered this season dealing with some unknown entity, in this case the sea creature, Surface has grabbed me more. I am beginning to love the characters. Laura is more real and accessible to me as a single mother working to make ends meet while working at a job she loves. Same with Rich. His wife gets on my nerves though.

The creature itself is another thing I am loving. On one hand, we have the innocent infant, and on the other hand we see the evil it can become. Very interesting here. Something tells me this show has a lot more in store for us. For those that missed the first two episodes of this show and you want to join in, looks like NBC is re-airing them this Saturday night. Nothing in my listings, but it scrolled across the bottom while the show was on. So check for that in your local listings. Also appears Sci-fi channel is airing this show as well. Caught a repeat of the premiere late night last night, so check your local listings once again for this in your area. I definitely recommend giving this show a chance. I'm enjoying the ride so far.

To read more about what I think of this show check for my 9/28 entry over on Thoughts from the couch.

TV Review: Grey's Anatomy Season Premiere

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Another season begins for the interns at Seattle Grace. In March, we met the interns when Grey's Anatomy started as a mid-season show. The plan was to air a few episodes and see if it stuck. What happened is the show took off taking over the time slot it had borrowed from Boston Legal, sending that show to an early season's end. For nine episodes, we followed the lives of five interns as they made their way through their first year as doctors and not med students. Their lives as we came to know them were not only in the OR and on the floors of Seattle Grace, but in their homes and in their beds as well. There was more bed-hopping in nine episodes than I've seen in some entire seasons of shows.

Meredith and Cristina both found themselves in relationships with their bosses. Meredith having met Dr. McDreamy prior to her first day at Seattle Grace, and Cristina ending up in a relationship/non-relationship with Dr. Burke in which she ended up quickly pregnant. Oh my! Not to mention George's crush on Meredith, and his bed hopping with the nurse, and have we all seen the looks between Isobel and Alex everyone?! Last we saw our beloved Meredith, she had just discovered that Dr. McDreamy was in fact married! Oh my again! Looks like Mrs. McDreamy or Dr. McDreamy female version is now joining the cast for a bit. She is coming in to assist while Chief Webber recovers from brain surgery.

Season's two premiere, an episode titled "Raindrops keep falling on my head" picks up right where season one left off. Actually the first four episodes were meant to air as a part of season one, but instead were added to season two. The show opens with Meredith at a bar drinking shot after shot after her discovery of boyfriend's marital status. Apparently this is the same bar in which Meredith met Derek for their one night stand. She drowns her sorrows in booze, and tells the bartender, Joe, about her situation. This earns her a drink on him.

We then jump to Addison and Derek talking back at SGH. We can quickly see these two do not get along at all. the animosity is just dripping off of them. Then its onto Alex and Izzie talking, and Alex has a huge shiner courtesy of a punch from George - who by the way then joins Meredith at the bar with Cristina in tow.

Meredith wants to play the whose life sucks more game. We all know these three aren't having the best of months. Meredith informs her friends Derek is married. When George walks away, Cristina informs Meredith she is pregnant. Over Cristina's shoulder we see the bartender collapse. This begins season 2!

The bartender is taken to the hospital, and we learn he needs a complicated operation. Basically, he will need to be killed in order to be worked on, and then brought back to life. Derek goes to Chief Webber to discuss the chief position and the procedure he is about to do, but finds Addision there laughing it up with the Chief. Once she leaves, Webber informs Derek he knows of his little affair with Meredith, and there is no room for private lives when it comes to the chief position. That is why he gives the position of acting chief to Burke while he recovers from brain surgery.

Wonder what Webber would have done if he knew Burke has been sleeping with Cristina, and got her pregnant? Of course not even Burke knows that little tidbit of information. Which comes a little interesting plot, Chief Webber knows very little being in his position. He barely knew about Meredith and Derek, and he was on his feet then. He then employs George to be his eyes and ears of the hospital. George isn't too comfortable with this job because this means spying on his friends. Soon after he becomes the eyes and ears of SGH, he sees Cristina and Burke kissing in a stairwell. He withholds the information from Chief Webber, but he does end up telling Meredith though.

Early on, Meredith is paired up with Addision. A match made in hell or no? Addision is a bit hard on Meredith during a case of a woman with pregnancy issues. However, she quickly informs Meredith that it isn't just because Meredith is screwing her husband. She is just tough on everyone. The patient overhears Meredith and Addision in the hall, and she holds some resentment towards Meredith because her husband also cheated on her. Meredith ends up discovering that the twins the woman are carrying are in danger, and Addison rushes the woman into surgery.

Derek and Burke take the lead informing the man of the procedure, but the bartender is a small business owner and his main concern is the cost. George learns of Joe's concerns, and he tries to help the man so that he doesn't lose his bar. He finally gets Chief Webber to sign off on the item, but it does take some work on George's part. The surgery is a success, and afterwards Cristina goes to Burke wanting to go out, but in a surprise move Burke ends their relationship.

The surgery Meredith is involved in with Addision is also a success, and afterwards Addision stands up to the woman when she chastises Meredith for being the other woman. Addision informs the patient it wasn't her husband that cheated, but herself. From here, we go to Derek telling Meredith the whole sad sob story of what happened. Yes, break out the violins and the handkerchiefs everyone. Turns out Mrs. McDreamy cheated on Derek with his best friend. Once his story is complete does Meredith run into his arms, kiss and make up? No. She drives away, leaving Derek alone in his trailer.

She once again finds herself at the bar, and Cristina is there. Cristina tells Meredith she is her person. She had to tell one person about her pregnancy in order to have the abortion. She needed an emergency contact, and she chose Meredith. We also see a surprising show of emotion by Alex when he learns of what George did for Joe and the bar. Throughout the episode, we were able to see Alex and Izzie play mental footsie back and forth. Izzie watches the touching moment between George and Alex with a smile and there we have the premiere of Grey's Anatomy.

We were waiting all summer for the return of this show, and this show was definitely worth the wait. Not one character was left out of the fun. Some had less to do, such as in the case with Alex and Isobel, but they were also visible in this week's episode. I love the little back and forth between these two, and I can't wait for these two to stop playing around and just do it. Derek's sob story was cheesy and I was ready to roll my eyes if Meredith took him back at that point. I cheered when she didn't. She is by no means easy here. Also looks like Alex is finding a heart and George is finding some balls. Both much needed here in my opinion. I'm so glad this show is back, and I can't wait for next week's episode!

For more of my thoughts on this season premiere of Grey's Anatomy, check out my thoughts from the couch here. If you want to discuss this episode, hop on over to my Grey's Anatomy forum on Media Village.

Saturday Night Premiere: I, Robot

Saturday, September 24, 2005

This week's Saturday Night Premiere comes to us on the HBO network in the form of I, Robot. This film stars Will Smith and Bridget Moynahan. Set in 2035, it tells of an earth much different than our own, even if it is only thirty years in the future. During the film, we follow police detective Del Spooner as he investigates a death. The future in this film shows many technological advances, specifically with robots. Robots are owned by many of the world's citizens, and they look to have become a part of many families. With any technological item, there is advancements that are made, and in this movie we are seeing the release of the NS5, the 5th series of robots made. This series of robots is totally unlike any of the previous series of bots, and some issues do come up. Well, if you can call them trying to take over the world an issue!

The creator of the robots, Dr. Alfred Lanning played by James Cromwell, turns up dead of an apparent suicide. Or is it? This leads to an investigation by Detective Spooner, who just happens to hate robots, even though he is part robot himself, and knows Dr. Lanning personally. A nice little twist to the film if I do say so myself.

Upon beginning his investigation, Spooner finds an NS5 unlike any of the other robots created in this series of robots. This robot being Lanning's personal bot. Sonny, as he names himself, is definitely interesting to watch. He seems to be able to think and feel unlike my most robots, and he becomes central to helping Spooner and Dr. Calvin in solving the case behind these new strange robots that seem to be able to defy all laws put forth into their programming.

For almost two hours, this movie keeps coming at you. Action scenes are throughout the film, and they are quite fun to watch. Will plays his role perfectly of a man that just hates the new technology. He lives in the past, or if you look closely - our present. One of my favorite scenes is when a demolition robot goes to tear down the doctor's home with Will and the doctor's cat inside. The cat gets into as much action as Will does. Another memorable scene is a tunnel sequence when all the robots corner and attack Spooner.

While I was watching, I found myself thinking of other movies in which robots played a part. We have Terminator and the succeeding films in that series and A.I. Those are the two that immediately come to mind. I, Robot stands on its own in my opinion. Fun and action packed that kept me entertained the entire way through. Will Smith is such a great actor. He's a visual actor however.

Previously in this blog, I had reviewed his cartoon film appearance, Shark Tale, a cartoon that just didn't live up to my expectations of it. After thinking about it, I realize that this was because we couldn't see Will. Will is a very visual actor with his facial expressions and movements playing a huge part in his performances. In a cartoon format, we don't see this. I, Robot doesn't have this problem. I thoroughly enjoyed Will Smith and this movie. I'd highly recommend it.

To check this movie for yourself check the following retailers: Amazon or J & R or rent through

An Announcement

Friday, September 23, 2005

This blog is still fairly new, and I enjoy watching the shows and reviewing them each week for everyone that stops by to read. Feel free to jump in with your comments. I love reading them and discussing the shows, as I do on various message boards and forums.

Shortly after I began this review blog, I went into talks with another site, Media Village to work with them as a contributor. It took some work, but I am proud to announce my work with this site. As a contributor, I have a blog and forums on the site. My blog, Thoughts from the couch, went live today! On that blog, I'll cover television news with additional analysis - mostly covering the shows that I review here with other shows as well. My forums, contained under the Dramatic Series category cover Lost, The OC, and Grey's Anatomy.

What does this mean for One Couch Critic? Not one thing will change. My weekly recaps and reviews will still be here. My movie, book and music reviews will remain. Nothing will change. This other avenue will only assist me in being more in the know when it comes to television. I'm looking forward to continuing this blog throughout the 2005-2006 season and beyond.

CD Review: Bon Jovi - Have a Nice Day

Over twenty years ago, Bon Jovi broke onto the scene. It took them a few albums to get it right, but with the release of 1986s Slippery when wet, they had it right, and the album put them firmly on that map. 100,000,000 albums sold later, and this rock band from New Jersey is still cranking out the albums, and their ninth studio release hits store shelves on September 20th in the US.

Titled Have a nice day, this album has twelve tracks, three more are added to overseas releases, making for a total of fifteen songs on the album in its entirety. The album consists of all new songs, minus one track that was previously released on their box set edition last year named “Last man standing”. However, the version on this release is totally different than the version released previously. That version was more acoustic, and this version definitely rocked out some more. The opening of the song reminded me of something off one of their ‘80s releases. The song is Jon’s own message about the state of the music industry today, and at one point he worried about releasing it, keeping it off their greatest hits compilation, This Left Feels Right.

The first single and title track off the CD, Have a nice day, hit airwaves back in July, with a video release in early August. Bon Jovi has been quite busy the past month getting the word out about the release. A short tour is already planned to begin in November and go through January to support the album. The band made appearances at Live 8 and recently a concert with country act Sugarland was taped for air on the CMT network as a part of their Crossroads series. That show premiered on the 19th of September, and as a viewer of the show and having seen Bon Jovi perform live, I have to say that the men from Jersey still have it.

Have a Nice Day contains a mix of what the band is known for - rocking tracks with a few power ballads thrown in for good measure. Production on the tracks for this CD was actually done late last year, after a summer spent in the studio recording. In fact doing dual work by working on the new CD while also working on the box set they released in November, 100,000,000 fans can’t be wrong. However, instead of turning in the finished product, Jon held the CD back, going into the studio by himself to work more on certain tracks and write new material. The band joined him in this effort in early 2005, and the results are what we see now.

The message behind their songs is always clear. It is one of fighting on and keeping the faith. Something that is so hard to do in these times. Jon even has mentioned in interviews about how different this world is since his release of “Livin’ on a prayer” almost twenty years ago. Before it had a message of hope, and now the message of the song has changed to holding one to what little you’ve got left.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is ‘Welcome to wherever you are.” It has a message of accepting where you are in your life at that moment. You have to be happy with yourself, ignoring what others might say about you or to you to bring you down. This ballad is the third track on the album, and it is followed by another track that I enjoy, “Who says you can’t go home?” This track is rumored to also being released to the country airwaves in the form of Jon’s duet with Sugarland’s lead singer, Jennifer Nettles.

Other memorable tracks on this release include “Unbreakable,” “Bells of Freedom,” and “I want to be loved.” My least favorite track on this offering is “Wildflowers.” The lyrics didn’t really grab me any, and it reminded me of one of their earlier tracks off their Crush CD.

As a fan of this group, I am thoroughly pleased with this release. It reminded me of the Bon Jovi of yesterday, but it also had enough newness to it in order to appeal to the audiences of today. Die hard fans of this band shouldn’t be disappointed in the least by this release. I know I wasn’t, and I’ve been a fan of this band almost since day one.

For full tour information, visit the Have a Nice Day tour site found here, and for lyrics and other CD information visit Bon Jovi’s Have a Nice Day section of their website here.

To check this CD out for yourself check the following retailers: Amazon, J & R or download the album on iTunes

Song to download: Welcome to wherever you are

TV Review: ER - Season Premiere

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Another popular season opens for NBC’s hit medical drama, ER - a long time staple of NBC’s Thursday night must-see television line-up. The majority of this episode followed a story line for the show that began last season and culminated in the season finale with the son of one of the ER nurses, Sam Taggert, running away. Sam is divorced from the boy’s father, and has been living with ER doc Luka for a bit of time now, but the boy, Alex, wants his father. He goes off in search of him, knowing he is in Colorado, just not where in the state exactly. This running off poses a problem. Alex is diabetic, and without his dose of insulin his health is in danger.

Sam is determined to find him, reporting him missing to the police. They do locate a boy in Iowa, but it turns out not to be Alex. Sam decides to drive to Colorado in hopes of locating him. This is a high intensity situation for Sam, and her mood is definitely on edge. Definitely understandable under the circumstances. During the drive to Colorado, Sam hits an antelope, and this damages their car. Luka and Sam then have to hitch a ride to Colorado, and during this time the couple talks.

Their discussion is difficult, and it might be telling of just where this relationship is going - and that is nowhere fast. Luka wants marriage and family. Sam doesn’t. They are at direct odds with each other. In an anti-climatic result, the boy is found, unharmed and quite quickly. Sam tells her son his father is in jail, and they go to see him. Outside the jail, Sam and Luka talk again, and she walks away from him.

Back at the ER, we have new interns, and last year’s new residents are in charge. They are now expected to teach and treat patients all at the same time. Abby is Miss work all on her own. Neela is Miss Smarty Parts, and Ray is Mr. I don’t know how to teach - let me do it all! Definitely doesn’t make for the best teaching atmosphere in the ER. None of the new interns really stood out to me, but their is new cast additions coming into the ER soon, and hopefully these additions will bring some more life into the place.

The end of last season saw the exit of one of the original cast members when Noah Wyle’s John Carter left the ER for life with Kem in Africa. Carter left some big pretty shoes to fill. With news that this season will also more than likely see the exit of Susan Lewis from County General, things are beginning to look a bit dim.

Hardly any of the original cast is left. We’re left with new faces or faces of those that came in later on in the game. The scenes with Sam and her son particularly spoke to me, but the ER scenes did very little for me. Will this ER deal well with the loss of John Carter? That is yet to be seen. Carter played a major force on the show for quite some time. I’m looking forward to seeing what the additions of Kristen Johnston and John Leguizamo does for the cast.

TV Review: The OC - Episode 3.03

The third episode of this season of The OC titled “The end of innocence” had revelations and high emotions. In my opinion, we’ve had the best episode of this season so far. In this episode, Marissa’s and Ryan’s parents fight to keep these two apart, but it only ends up bringing them closer together.

Sandy talks to Ryan about his recent behavior with a suggestion that he takes some time away from Marissa in order to focus more on himself. Julie takes a different tact. Once Caleb’s will is read, Julie and Jimmy plan to marry, and then uproot the family to Hawaii. This is after a suggestion to send Marissa to boarding school with her sister is vetoed by Marissa.

We would think that Marissa would also veto the move to Hawaii because it would mean her separating from Ryan, but the idea appeals to her. It would mean keeping the family together, and that is something she has wanted since her parents divorced. The move would also be immediate, which gives Ryan and Marissa little time together.

However, her family is not without problems. Unknown to the two Cooper women, Jimmy is still having financial problems, and he is waiting for the reading of the will. Sandy learns when it will be read, and informs everyone - including his wife Kirsten. He wants her to return for the reading, but he would understand if she did not.

At school, Seth and Summer are having a few problems with Dean Hess. He knows that they are close to our recent expelled couple, and he wants to make things difficult for them. He makes a suggestion that they become stage hands at the school’s drama club production of South Pacific. An idea neither is two keen on, especially since Taylor Townsend is involved with the production. They are in a sense forced to work with the girl or soon they may find themselves suffering the same fate as their friends.

Once Ryan learns of the impending Cooper move, he puts a plan into motion to keep her in The OC - she moves in with the Cohens. He asks Sandy, and Sandy relents easier than I thought he would, but when he informs Marissa of his plan, she shoots it down - explaining about her family and how she wants to be a part of them reuniting. He can’t deny her this, so the plan becomes to spend as much time together before she has to leave.

The reading of the will brings some out some secrets as most will readings do. All are in attendance, including Kirsten. Caleb’s intention was to divide his assets equally between his two daughters and his wife. However, we soon discover Caleb had no assets to divide up. He’s flat broke. The only thing he left is a letter to Kirsten - a letter sent off to his lawyer the day that he died.

The lack of money does make some considerable problems. Some we won’t see until future episodes, but the most immediate concern has to do with Jimmy. He had been counting on the money from Caleb’s inheritance to Julie to pay back his own debts. With no money to be had, this means he can’t do this.

While working on the set, Seth and Summer come up with a romantic plan for Marissa and Ryan using the set. They hijack it, and it becomes the scene for the most romantic moment in a young couple’s life - the first time. This little stunt does have Seth ending up with two month’s detention when Dean Hess catches him returning the tiki hut to the stage.

I had to find myself asking the question - didn’t the first time already happen for these two? I even asked a person or two, and they had the same impression. Ryan and Marissa are always affectionate, and it just seemed they had already gone past this point in their relationship last season. However, as we can tell I’m wrong about this because we see these two share this moment on this episode.

While this moment is taking place, Marissa’s father, Jimmy, is dealing with the consequences of his debts. He is beaten quite badly, but he does survive. The next day he calls his daughter, and he tells her he has to go. Marissa is left to tell Julie she has been stood up at the alter, and she tells her father if he leaves this time don’t come back.

After the reading of the will, Kirsten has some problems with the letter she received from her father, and it almost sets her back into a relapse. We’re not sure if she goes through it, but we do see her buy a bottle of vodka at a liquor store. She returns home the next day, reading the letter at her husband’s side. It is letter of apology from her father.

During this time, we also see Charlotte caught in a lie. The house is not her own, and she is thrown out. However it looks like she runs out without paying for the house rental, taking a picture of the Cohens in her bag.

This episode by far was the best episode of this season. I really enjoyed it. the last twenty minutes with the Cooper story line had me emotional. I actually felt bad for Julie. She finally thought she had it. She had the man she loved back, and she would have her family back. I think the sense of family might have been as important to her than it was to her daughter Marissa. The scene of Kirsten reading her father’s letter was also touching. I'm learning to love to hate Dean Hess, and I'm really enjoying him. Although can we lose the hair color please? Perhaps this is because I've seen this actor elsewhere, and the faux blonde just doesn't suit him. I can’t wait to see what happens next week.

Want to discuss this episode of The OC? Head on over to my OC forum over on Media Village in the Dramatic Series section.

TV Review: Invasion Series Premiere

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Aliens! Take three! Invasion is the third and final show to enter the networks this season with a premise based on the arrival of aliens on our planet. This show begins as a hurricane is baring down on the coast of Florida. The first third of this episode shows the hurricane as it attacks the area, and how a few of those involved are affected. The focus is on one extended family. During the storm, a small girl goes out into it searching for her cat. She gets lost, but sees a strange occurrence while out there. A stream of lights falling from the skies. Her father finds her and proceeds to take her home, the missing cat turning out to be in his truck the entire time. However, they never make it home that night due to a car wreck that causes the truck to flip over.

Also out searching, the girls mother is lost, but found the next morning - naked and by the swamps in the area. Not one scratch is on her, but she is disoriented. This state raises some concerns, but she appears fine. Another man, a priest, is also found in this same manner. The little girl tells her uncle about the lights she saw the night before, and they go out into the swamps to investigate. They find something strange, what appears to be a part of a boat or possibly the scientific plane that went down during the beginning of the episode. The uncle also makes another startling discovery - a skeleton. A discovery he hides from the little girl - returning them home.

He goes back on his own to retrieve it, and brings it back to the house to show his brother-in-law. He immediately brings up the alien theory, but it is quickly dismissed by the brother-in-law. They return to the spot the skeleton was found, and more strange occurrences happen. This coupled with the innate sense the little girl seems to have in this situation. She knows immediately that something is up with her mother. Something is also happening with her step-father and the priest. We just don’t know what. All we do know is that it appears the invasion has begun.

I can’t quite put my finger on this show yet. I’ll watch again, but for some reason it just didn’t grab me very much. I know I might be in the minority, and upon watching the episode again, my opinion might change on the show, but I just don’t see what the big deal about this show is at the moment. The first twenty minutes were the best part of the show to me. The rest of the show seemed to drag a bit. I’ll watch again next week, and see what happens.

Compared to the other two shows with this basic premiere, Surface and Threshold, both reviewed in this blog previously, I think Surface is the best out of the three, and I see the most promise here. Threshold and Invasion need to pick it up just a bit in future episodes in order to compete.

TV Review: Lost Second Season Premiere

Emmy award winning Lost returned to ABC’s line up in a new time slot at 9/8c with an episode titled “Man of science, Man a of faith,” a Jack-centric episode. The show opens up with an answer to the question all Lost fanatics have been waiting for. What exactly does that hatch lead down to? The first scene we see is of a man getting ready for his day - making breakfast and listening to music. Is this what has been down there all this time? This one man?

We don’t learn this for sure then because the four - Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Locke - that had gone to the hatch decide there is no way to get all the remaining crash survivors down the hatch to safety before the others arrive. If there is even any others to begin with. On the way back to the camp, Hurley tells Jack about the numbers, and his theory about how they are cursed. The first thing Jack latches on is the fact the man spent time in a mental ward causing Hurley to state that he isn’t crazy.

While they are returning, the scene switches to Shannon. She’s not had the best time since the death of her brother Boone which occurred last season. Apparently, she has lost Vincent the dog, and she is determined to search for him because he was her responsibility. She sets out into the woods with Sayid quick on her heels. They find the dog, but he runs before they can retrieve him. Separated from Sayid for the moment, she sees something that is completely unexplainable - Walt. The boy was set adrift on the raft in the show’s season finale. Shannon is adamant that she saw the boy, but no one believes her. Her state of mind is in question here. However, she saw him, and so did we the viewers.

The four enter the camp just as this discussion is taking place. Jack takes the lead here, informing the castaways about the hatch, and the fact that they will not be venturing to it. John Locke has other plans though. He wants to go down the hatch, and he doesn’t want wait. Kate joins him, and they return together to the hatch. Once they arrive, Locke makes a point that Kate would be easier to go down the hatch due to her size. She agrees, and he begins to lower her down.

This is where things get dicey. They have a few problems in the lowering, and Kate ends up at the bottom just as a bright light comes from the hatch. lex also ends up down the hatch. Jack unable to wait, follows the two to the hatch, only to find them both gone. He decides to go down to investigate finding the room the man was in at the beginning of the show. Just as he is about to push a key on a computer keyboard, the man and Locke appear - the man holding a gun to Locke’s head. He orders Jack to lower his own weapon, but Jack is stubborn, and he wants to know of Kate’s whereabouts first. The man wants the gun down now, and the episode ends with one word ... “You.” This is preceded by the man calling Jack brother.

Throughout the episode, we cut to scenes of a younger Jack as a doctor working on a case of a woman that has become paralyzed during an automobile accident. He has his doubts during the case, but pushes forward to a favorable conclusion - the woman’s recovery.

One word for this episode is wow. The pace was slow and steady, but a lot happened during this episode. Some questions were answered, and even more questions are now present for the fans of this show. Brother? Had a brother for Jack been mentioned previously? I believe so, but there is so many twists and turns to this show to keep up. If it is his brother why was he down the hatch on this lost island?

The items in the hatch appeared to be something out of the sixties. Everything from the computers to the music being played was definitely from an earlier time. What about the appearance of a silent Walt to Shannon? Did those that kidnapped him bring him back to the island where he escaped for a few moments - allowing Shannon to see him? So many questions, and not enough answers. The preview for next week’s episode promises even more answers. However, I think the more questions that are answered, the more questions that will end up popping up.

I thoroughly loved this opening to this season of Lost. it starts things off for a season that promises to be even more exciting than last season.

Want to discuss this episode of Lost? Head on over to my Lost forum over on Media Village in the Dramatic Series section.

TV Review: So You Think You Can Dance - 9/21/05

Another fast paced show on this week’s So You Think You Can Dance as the final six dancers battle it out for the four spots on next week’s finale. As always the show begins by saying good-bye to two of the dancers picked for elimination on last week’s episode. As the competition continues, elimination is tougher because all the dancers at this point deserve to win. They are the best of what’s left. Since this is a competition, not all of the dancers left now will be named winner. That is a title left for the best of the best.

This week we said good-bye to Melissa and Artem. Melissa chose to be on the show instead of going on a dance trip to China with sixty other dancers. In my opinion, she is one of the best girl dancers on the show. Artem has shined on stage week after week. He is known internationally as a ballroom dancer, and in this style he performed well. It is hard to see him sent home because he set the standard for the others when it came to the ballroom style.

The format of this week’s program changed once again. The selection process stayed, but judges comments returned after each performance. Last week, the commentary by the judges had been saved to follow each couple’s second performance. This looks to have been done to fit the fourth couple into the new hour long broadcast which had previously been set each week at ninety minutes. A change also occurred with the solos at the end of the show. On this week’s show, the judges didn’t choose any bottom couples. All six dancers were up for America’s votes.

During the first set, Ashle and Blake followed an awesome hip hop performance by Kamilah and Jamile with a smooth waltz. Not the best style to follow a high energy performance, but these two did well. Nick and Melody followed with a hot and sexy Broadway performance. All three performances here were well done, and the judges for the most part all agreed on this. Judge Dan Karaty commented on the smooth waltz style following hip hop which caused a minor eruption between the judges, but other than this all the judges scored the three couples well.

In the second set, the couples didn’t fair as well. Both Blake and Ashle and Kamilah and Jamile received negative critiques on their performances. The best couple of this set was definitely Nick and Melody. This couple came out and performed a high energy and fun disco performance. The other two couples had tougher ballroom type styles to work with - the Argentine tango and the American jive.

Judges comments were harsher this week, but at this point in the competition that is to be expected. They aren’t looking for the best performer or the best dancer. They want the entire package now. Kamiliah had comments made by Mia Michaels about her being the best faker. She is a performer. Dan Karaty also made reference to this. She can dance, but she dances to perform. It is all an act to her, and at this stage in the game she shouldn’t be there. Nigel Lythgoe also said if he had his choice, she would have been the one sent home this week.

All six dancers came out with dazzling solo performances. This was their last chance to show America just what they could do on stage. The decision is now left to America. Which four of the six left will make it to next week’s finale?

In my opinion, the top two females are Melody and Ashle. I agree with the judges in regard to Kamilah’s performance. On the male side, I think Nigel and America might get their wish for a Blake and Nick dance-off. Jamilie is a talented dancer, but in my mind Blake and Nick are the best male dancers left here.

What do you think America? Which of the six dancers left do you want to see in next week’s finale? Are your favorites still in the competition? Who do you think is the best of the best and will be named this competition’s winner? This is your chance to sound off! Let me know what you think.

Music used on tonight's show

Set I:
Kamilah/Jamile - Toma - Pitbull
Ashle/Blake - Rilassamento - Gianna Pavesi
Melody/Nick - All that jazz - Ute Lemper

Set II:
Kamiliah/Jamile - Jump Jive and wail by Louis Prima
Ashle/Blake - Santa Maria - Gotan project
Melody/Nick - Knock on wood by Amii Stewart

Kamiliah - Maniac - Michael Sembello
Jamile - Atomic Dog - George Clinton
Ashle - I like it like that - Tito Nieves
Blake - Body language - Queen
Melody - Brave and Crazy - Melissa Etheridge
Nick - The first time I ever saw your face - Jeffrey Gaines

TV Review: Real World Austin - 9/20/05

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

This week’s episode of the Real World: Austin was fast paced and action filled. All the roommates found a way to be a part of this week’s events which involved one of the roommates being carted off to jail, and a couple fighting it out over their relationship.

The majority of this episode dealt with the relationship between Danny and Melinda. These two have been an item within the household since week one - almost day one in fact. Danny has been feeling a bit tied down, and his frustrations with the relationship have become more prominent as the season progresses. These frustrations are now causing seriously problems for the budding relationship. Danny wants to have the single life while he is in Austin, but he also has strong feelings for Melinda. Melinda shares these feelings, but she wants all of Danny’s attention now, or she will walk away from the relationship. She feels she deserves more from this relationship than she is currently getting. Danny writes her a letter expressing his feelings, and it seems to set these two on a break.

As is the case with these roommates, they spend their night once again drinking at their local bar. Danny finds himself with the other male roommates at one, and the girls end up at another. Soon they all find themselves together, and Melinda catches Danny getting a phone number from a girl in town just for that week. This angers her, but we really aren’t allowed to see much of this here before it is learned that Johanna is being taken into custody by the police just outside the bar.

Danny and Wes go to investigate, just as intoxicated as she is, and learn that she is being arrested for public drunkenness after taking a rose from a vender on the street. Rachel and Melinda go home, leaving Wes and Danny to go to the police station to see about Johanna’s release. Once Rachel and Melinda reach the house they inform Lacey of their roommate’s situation, and she calls the police station. As a result, she discovers that Johanna will have to spend the night in jail. Her release won’t come until the next day.

Danny and Wes soon return to the house, and they bring back the same information. Melinda sees how drunk Danny is, the numbers all over his hands and the way him and Wes are acting - this sets her off. She goes into her room, and begins to vent her frustrations to Rachel and Lacey. However, Danny overhears every word she says, and this leads to an argument between the two. Tempers and words fly, and it really turns into an ugly situation. By the next day, the two talk it out, but it is unclear what their status is as a couple following this week’s episode. I do find the fact that Danny lied to Melinda about the source of one of the numbers interesting. He says one is for Wes, and the other is for Nehemiah, but one of the numbers he did obtain for himself.

Johanna is released the next afternoon. The judge dismisses her case if she promises to do community service and pay a small fine. The arrest will then not appear on her record. At the jail, she is met by Leo. Lacey had called him once she heard Johanna is in jail. This leads the two to bundle up under the covers in the pool room, while Danny and Wes laugh over the incident. The main reason behind her arrest seems to be her stealing of the flower. This causes quite a lot of humor for her male roommates.

I really enjoyed this episode. It was definitely one of the most action packed episodes of the last few weeks. The Melinda and Danny situation is getting a bit old, but seeing these two fight was a hoot to. The return of Johanna’s drinking problem to the show was also welcome. This has been brought up at the beginning of the season, but it hadn’t been addressed again until here. No work for the roommates this episode, and it doesn’t look like any set for next week either. I’m definitely curious to see how Wes reacts to Johanna’s renewed closeness with Leo. Things once again seem to be heating up on this season of the Real World.

What did you think of this episode of the Real World: Austin? Was it hot or not? Let me know what you think.

This review also appears on Blogcritics.

TV Review: Supernatural - Episode 1.02

This episode of new WB arrival Supernatural might have been even better than its premiere episode last week. The legend explored on that episode was of the lady in white. This week, we have the legend of the Wendigo torn apart.

We begin with three young men that appear to be a camping trip in the woods of Colorado. Something explainable takes them from their tents, and we soon learn once Dean and Sam reach town that the men haven’t been heard from since that night. One of the young men had been in contact with his sister at home by using cell and satellite phones with daily check-ins.

Sam and Dean are in the area because this is where their father wanted them to go with the coordinates he left for them in his journal. Posing as rangers, they learn some more information, and they also meet the sister of the young man, Haley. She is set to go into the woods with the help of a guide to search for her missing brother, Tommy. Dean and Sam end up tagging along with the young woman, her younger brother and their guide to help her search. However, they aren’t just searching for her brother, but their father as well . A fact they decide to leave out.

Once in the woods, they discover they have a wendigo on their hands. This makes the search harder. The wendigo is a legend about a man that has evolved into something more and turned immortal by feeding off human flesh. Dean and Sam believe they have one here, and the only way to kill one of these creatures is by fire. Knives or guns just won’t cut it.

The remainder of the episode is a game of cat and mouse between the wendigo and the group lead by Sam and Dean. Their father is nowhere to be seen but once they lose their guide to the wendigo the mission becomes to kill this wendigo. The loss of the guide leaves the four alone. By the end of the episode Dean and Haley are also taken but quickly found by Sam. They also find Haley’s brother alive, and the four escape just after setting the wendigo aflame.

This show definitely has a younger hipper X-files feel to it. I see this show becoming the X-files of this generation if the show can find success and stay on the air. Jared and Jensen play the brothers well, and we learn more about them and their personalities on the show with each episode. Jensen’s character, Dean, reminds me a bit of his past role on Dark Angel. Definitely the smart alec type, and that is no different here. However, you can already see him working on the broken relationship between him and Sam.

I am definitely looking forward to seeing what this show has in store for us next week. This is quickly becoming one of favorites of the new crop of television shows. I even had my eighty year old father watching and enjoying it. Now that has to say something! To learn more about the wendigo legend in one part of the country visit the following website.

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