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Latest Season: Chuck, House, The Mentalist, NCIS, Survivor: Nicaragua, PLUS Human Target and Lie To Me

7.December.2010

FOREWORD

This post is all about my take on the aforementioned shows, so naturally, if you’re a fan of any or all the shows but you haven’t seen the latest season/episode and you don’t want to be spoiled, you had better stop reading.

Consider yourself warned.

But if you have seen the latest season down to the most recent episode, then please, read on, and see if we’re thinking the same thing or not.

If we’re not on the same page, give me a piece of your mind by writing in the comments area.

If we are on the same page, I’d appreciate it if you could give me a “Hell yeah!” again, by writing in the comments area.

Well, here goes.

* * *

Use crtl+f and input the corresponding number code to skip to the part you wish to view.

01 – Chuck

02 – House

03 – The Mentalist

04 – NCIS

05 – Survivor: Nicaragua

06 – Human Target

07 – Lie To Me

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» Currently in its 4th season

Watch on: NBC, Mondays, 8/7c

Episodes so far: 10

Status: On hiatus

Next fresh episode: January 17th

01

Chuck entered its fourth season with the promise of keeping the show chuck-full (forgive the pun, I had to do it) of dazzling guest stars, and, I must say, the producers have really delivered on that promise so far. Reports (aka spoilers) mentioned Linda Hamilton as Chuck and Ellie’s mom Mary Bartowski, Lou Ferrigno (aka the Incredible Hulk), Robert Englund (aka Freddy Krueger), WWE alums Dave Batista and Stacy Keibler, and the brilliant Timothy Dalton (aka James Bond)—to name a few; all have already made their appearance (Hamilton and Dalton with more appearances later this season), and their performance has been well-received by the show’s fans, myself included.

Plotwise, this season has been all about the return of Mrs. B, revisiting Chuck’s dependency on the Intersect, Chuck and Sarah toying around with the idea of taking that next step in their relationship *wedding bells* *wedding bells* (I’m sensing the writers/producers have a Mr. & Mrs. Smith theme planned for next season), and the emergence of the show’s new chief villain, international arms dealer Alexi Volkoff (Dalton).

THE GOOD

Yvonne Strahovski. Need I say more? Fine, whatever.

—Linda Hamilton as Chuck and Ellie’s mom Mary Elizabeth Bartowski: can it be any more spot on? I don’t think anyone else could have played the part better. By the way, she has aged beautifully, in my opinion (Sure, the make-up helps her look younger for the role, but still, no BOTOX, thank God!), and she definitely looks like she could be Zachary Levi and Sarah Lancaster’s mom in real life!

It’s still astonishing to me that the first time I’ve seen her was way back when she played Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 (yeah, I saw T2 before I saw The Terminator).

—Episode 3 Chuck vs. the Cubic Z: I was amused to see Stone Cold Steve Austin and Nicole Richie again. And goodness gracious, Stacy Keibler is freaking sizzling hot! Wish she had more scenes that episode though, or better yet, that she be made a recurring character (probably not going to happen, see next bullet).

—The whole Greta thing the writers/producers came up with is really cool. I like that they can use the Greta character to be able to have different guest stars come over to join the show, albeit fleetingly.

The Gretas so far? In chronological order: Olivia Munn, Old Spice Guy (apparently Greta can be a guy) Stacy Keibler, and most recently, Summer Glau.

The show’s website has a survey going on to see who Chuck fans want the next Greta to be.

—Episode 5 Chuck vs. the Couch Lock, the A-Team themed episode, was hilarious. Casey’s fake funeral, which ended with him getting abducted a la Salt, was quite entertaining.

T.I., the hand-to-hand combat expert on Casey’s former A-team: Batista! That’s got me thinking, what is it with Chuck and wrestlers? First there’s Austin and Stacy Kiebler, then Batista. Who’s next? Triple H, The Undertaker, or The Rock? I just hope it’s not Cena.

—Episode 9 Chuck vs. Phase Three featured Sarah as the “Giant Blonde She-male” in Thailand. The entire episode is a testament to how physical Yvonne Strahovski can be when the role/plot/scene demands it. Not that she has to prove it to anyone, really. Okay, granted, some of the shots were probably performed by a stunt double. But still, she was freaking awesome.

—I had to chuckle when in Episode 10 Chuck vs. the Leftovers Mrs. B said to Chuck: “Come with me if you want to live.” That’s Linda Hamilton harkening back to the second Terminator movie (that was the first thing the good terminator said to Sarah Connor in Terminator 2).

THE BAD

—Every conceivable thing has happened to Chuck’s Intersect in previous seasons: it had been removed (courtesy of Orion aka Papa B), improved (Intersect 2.0), it had taken its toll on Chuck’s brain (eventually solved by Orion’s Governor), and this season, it’s been blocked (by a program called Eurybia), and then it gets unblocked, and it seems to me, that it has also gotten another upgrade (Chuck flashed with much greater ease in the closing moments of Chuck vs. the Leftovers—could it be Intersect 3.0?) with the help of Orion’s back-up plan from the grave. Honestly, I think the writers are running out of ideas when it comes to Chuck and the Intersect. All this back and forth motion is really wearing down on me. Well, unless something gives in upcoming episodes.

—The whole “in-and-out-and-in-again of the spy business” storyline is getting old real quick.

—So, the writers had Frost (that’s Mama B’s spy name) and Chuck go through this whole convoluted way of concealing their true relationship from Volkoff and then it was revealed to him in a rather anti-climactic way? Add to that how Volkoff responded, and man, calling that a letdown is an understatement. On a funny note, Zach Levi can now add Timothy Dalton to his list of on-screen kissing partners.

THE VERDICT

I still plan to watch Chuck every week, if only to see where the story eventually leads to (Come on writers, give us something intense!) and if there will be a fifth season (considering ratings so far, cancellation rumors abound). And, quite frankly, I’d tune in just to get my weekly dose of Yvonne Strahovski. The Strahotski should be IS enough motivation to watch Chuck religiously.

» Currently in its 7th season

Watch on: Fox, Mondays, 8/7c

Episodes so far: 8

Status: On hiatus

Next fresh episode: January 10th

02

Fans and critics of House have been arguing about whether or not the show has jumped the shark yet. A lot agree on the fact, only disagreeing about when the “jump-the-shark” moment came. Some say it happened when House fired all three members of his team at the end of season three, some say it happened when the writers/producers eventually succumbed to the powerful pull of Huddy, which is precisely what this season is going to be all about (according to producers Katie Jacobs and David Shore).

Eight episodes into season seven and I must say, I’m relatively fine with the overall state of the show. The season kicked off Huddy: the official beginning of the relationship, and as early as now the writers/producers started to test its very foundation, with House lying to Cuddy in order to save a patient, blah blah blah. Clearly, I couldn’t care less, but after watching eight episodes chock-full of insufferable Huddy moments, I’ve come to realize that Huddy ain’t so bad.

Because ultimately, Huddy is about House being in a relationship since the Stacy era. Sure, the whole set-up makes for some really cheesy scenes, but not a lot of viewers realize that this is actually a unique opportunity for hardcore House fans to see Dr. Gregory House IN a relationship—IN a romantic, mutually exclusive relationship. Essentially, season seven House is House with Stacy, which was before the show’s televised storyline.

Now I don’t know about you, but I choose to watch Huddy in its entirety, and then I take what I can from it, while leaving the annoying parts in some deep, dark place where it will never see the light of day.

THE GOOD

—I’m not a Huddy fan (I’m rooting for Hameron, just sharing), but being a hardcore House fan, I’ve known deep down inside, for a while now, that Huddy was going to happen one way or another. But now that House and Cuddy finally get together, I’m under the impression that it’s quite belated. Anyhow, thank the Lord it’s happened already; time to move on from that point in House’s life story.

—They changed the opening sequence (finally); still can’t help but feel sad that Jennifer Morrison is no longer in it.

—Snappiest counter-argument House has used this season: “Woof!” (Episode 4 Massage Therapy)

—13’s absence sure feels fine with me. I think I’d be okay if it were just “in favor” (Foreman), “indignant” (Taub), and “indifferent” (Chase) on House’s team. On a different episode (Episode 6 Office Politics), they were “boring”, “bimbo”, and “bite-size”. If you don’t know which one’s which, I strongly suggest you watch more House. Seriously.

—Oh, what the heck, who am I kidding. Get 13 back pronto! The show needs an older hot babe (Cuddy) and a younger hot babe.

—I’m really digging Martha M. Masters (Amber Tamblyn), especially after House’s first remark about her during their first meeting: “She’s like the Internet with breasts. Oh no wait, the Internet has breasts.” Plus, she’s stubbornly ethical and is not afraid to stand up to House, so she’s pretty much Cameron, only way younger and definitely geekier. I also like that she’s being treated like the team’s baby: House’s wunderkind; and Foreman, Chase, and Taub’s little sister.

—I like that even in its seventh season, House still bravely confronts the ethical dilemmas found in the practice of medicine. Like in Episode 2 Selfish, when the kid with severe congenital muscular dystrophy could be a bone marrow and lung donor to his dying sister, but it would significantly shorten his life expectancy.

—Hilson banter will always be one of the highlights of this show. I’m really glad there’s no shortage of it so far this season, even after House moved out of Wilson’s condo, which of course means the banter goes back to happening in Wilson’s office more often. Now I realize, I actually missed seeing that place.

—I don’t know if it’s just Hugh Laurie’s delivery or what, but I’m happy that the dialogue is still as good if not better than in previous seasons. Maybe it’s the writing AND Hugh Laurie’s brilliant acting.

This is what’s going to make every episode this season worth watching, at least for me. I have to make sure I don’t miss it if indeed the writers/producers decide to bring back J-Mo!

THE BAD

—Not really a Bad here, maybe just semi-Bad: whatever happened to the clinic patients that used to be a fundamental part of the show? Those cuckoo clinic patients serve as icebreakers from the actual case/s and are usually the reason why I watch previous episodes again and again. Hope the writers incorporate them into the episodes regularly like before.

—Episode 1 Now What?: I don’t know what it is exactly, maybe the feeling is “grossed out”, but I really didn’t like that Cuddy kissed House’s bum leg, you know, right on the part that’s disfigured, because “she loves him”. One of those moments that make me pinch myself and ask aloud: Am I watching a freaking soap opera?

—Ever since House lied to Cuddy in order to save his patient (Episode 6 Office Politics), she’s been acting a little childish (from Episode 7 A Pox on Our House to 8 Small Sacrifices), don’t you think?

—Oh, and yeah, all the annoying Huddy moments this season’s had thus far, and we all know there have been a lot of them.

THE VERDICT

House is actually doing a lot better than what a lot of people (critics included) are saying. But what do I know? It’s not like I’m an expert on these things.

On the other hand, what I do know is that I’m sticking to this show as long as Hugh Laurie is in it. Since the name of the show is House, and House IS Hugh Laurie, then there’s no show without Hugh Laurie—therefore, I’m staying on board until the series ends, which I know won’t be anytime soon.

» Currently in its 3rd season

Watch on: CBS, Thursdays, 10/9c

Episodes so far: 9

Status: On mini-break

Next fresh episode: December 9th

03

Four things impelled me to watch The Mentalist week after week: the old school feel the show has as a police procedural (which we have in excess nowadays); the main cast—Patrick Jane (Simon Baker, The Guardian), Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney, Prison Break), Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman, Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles as the first Cromartie), Amanda Righetti and Tim Kang, both I saw for the first time on TV—the prospect of gaining a little insight on the practice of cold reading, hypnotism, and crime-solving a la Sherlock Holmes; and lastly, the Red John story arc.

The first two seasons of The Mentalist were highly enjoyable, with the zenith of the show coming in the second season’s final moments: Jane and Red John finally meeting face to face (Uh, mask?) for the first time.

As for its third season, The Mentalist has been rather boring and borderline predictable ten episodes deep, maybe with the exception of the twist at the end of Red Moon (Episode 10). I’ve even come to a point where I can’t recall specifics from an episode, especially if that episode didn’t reveal anything Red John-related (or anything interesting about Jane, Lisbon, or Cho). And with creator-writer-executive producer Bruno Heller saying that Red John being taken care of would be the end of the show, I’m getting the feeling that I’m going to have to suffer through a whole bunch of filler episodes (and seasons most likely) until I get to see the only thing that matters: the resolution of the Red John case (aka Patrick Jane’s retribution).

In any case, Simon Baker just got nominated for a People’s Choice Award for Favorite TV Crime Fighter. In the same vein (unsurprisingly), a survey shows that 60% of The Mentalist viewers are female—most certainly because of Jane… and probably Cho as well (sorry, Rigsby).

THE GOOD

—Episode 2 Cackle-Bladder Blood: finally, Jane’s wife and daughter’s names revealed: Angela and Charlotte, respectively.

—Out of all the characters, I’m really interested in just two besides Jane: Cho and Lisbon (I don’t really care anymore what happens to Rigsby, Van Pelt, AND Hightower). So long as these three are in the show, it’s all good. Everyone else is expendable, well, except for Red John, at least until it’s time to end the show.

—The third season of The Mentalist is getting around 13-15 million viewers per episode. That’s fairly well compared to other shows on Thursday nights.

THE BAD

This sums it up quite well.

—I’m just about at the point where I’ll completely ignore every episode that’s not directly Red John-related, but then again, after the Red Moon episode, the writers/producers are sending us a clear message: that we, the audience, can never know when, where, and what, would eventually be revealed to be connected to Red John (meaning, we’re just going to have to suffer through getting bored to death just to make sure we don’t miss anything that helps us get to Red John).

—It seems to me that the flashy, frivolous, saucy Jane of season one and two (which gave this show the edge it needs to make it distinct from other procedurals), has been replaced by the plain old grumpy, sometimes bordering on cruel, annoyingly smug Jane.

THE VERDICT

I plan to see The Mentalist through to its very last episode—because going through insufferable filler after filler is absolutely worth it in the end—when Jane gets his hands on Red John (or vice versa).

» Currently in its 8th season

Watch on: CBS, Tuesdays, 8/7c

Episodes so far: 9

Status: On mini-break

Next fresh episode: December 14th

04

It’s only been nine episodes, but it feels like so much has happened thus far—in the eighth season of TV’s most watched drama (according to Nielsen’s ratings; I checked): Naval Criminal Investigative Service, more commonly known as NCIS.

NCIS is the show to watch because:

1. It deftly blends humor, crisp dialogue, drama, and action, all in one inimitable concoction;

2. It’s a one-of-a-kind TV show simply because it manages to generate more viewers and continues to boost its ratings and reputation as it gets older—an amazing feat in this day and age;

3. A growing number of people end up watching it, and, subsequently, joining its fanbase not because it has been winning awards or lauded as the best, but because of word-of-mouth endorsement coming from viewers of the show;

4. It refuses to conform to the usual plot lines—when Sasha Alexander (Special Agent Kate Todd) wanted out, they killed her off instead of keeping the door open for the possibility of  her return; when fans got wind of the plan to write NCIS Director Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) off of the show, they begged and pleaded the writers/producers not to, they still went according to plan; when they had the opportunity to wipe out Gibbs’ team a la House they didn’t—because the writers/producers strive to make the writing and the show exceptional in every aspect;

5. It’s one of a small number of spin-offs that managed to outdo its precursor;

6. It focuses on the value of family (the team itself is one big happy one, even off-camera);

7. It’s all about serving those who serve (NCIS agents proudly serve the men and women of the United States Navy and Marines Corps and their families).

8. It’s characters—their diverse personalities and personal lives—make the wheels of the show turn.

9. Eight seasons in, and it’s only getting better.

Needless to say, NCIS has been my numero uno show to watch ever since a close friend of mine (Thanks, Lu!) recommended it for me to watch about three years ago, and I have nothing but high praise for it.

THE GOOD

New opening sequence after having the exact same one for seasons 7 and 8.

—Episode 1 Spider and the Fly quotable quote: “Do what you have to for family”—the unspoken rule.

Spider and the Fly: Glad I wasn’t the only one left clueless with the ending, Eli David (aka Mossad Director and Ziva’s father) texting Vance a very cryptic “I found him.”

(Later eventually explained—along with the paper shredding incident at the start of Vance’s career as NCIS Director—in Episode 9 Enemies Domestic: him is probably Former NCIS Agent Riley McCallister, and the shredded paper was the document he made up that said Vance was a pilot and that he was once a director of a field office.)

—Episode 5 Dead Air: Tony not having his voice (a refreshing change), hilarious! And Ducky taunting him with a movie reference from Top Gun, priceless!

—Episode 8-9 (Enemies Foreign, Enemies Domestic): See how cool it is when Mossad and NCIS really work together? It was nice to see Ben-Gidon (T.J. Ramini) working well with Tony and McTim.

—Funny exchange between Tony and Ducky in Enemies Domestic:

(Tony and Gibbs walk in on Former Special Agent Sharpe and Ducky having a conversation)

(after Sharpe leaves)

Tony: Huh. Could’ve hung a sock on the door.

Ducky: There’s no knob. (referring to the sliding doors of Autopsy)

—I’m really stoked with the whole ‘this is the season for the cast to explore their back stories’! Especially after seeing how well they actualized Gibbs and Vance’s first meeting in Enemies Domestic.

—I’m feeling the string of father and child patch ups: the Gibbses, then the DiNozzos, and most recently, the Davids.

Sarai Givaty as Mossad Officer Liat Tuvia. Yummy!

This. Is. Epic. (perfect combination: NCIS and Coldplay’s Fix You)

THE BAD

—I’m left unsatisfied with how they resolved the Paloma Reynosa – Alejandro Rivera situation near the end of Spider and the Fly. I feel that the resolution was somewhat rushed, or maybe that was the only way they knew of how to resolve the situation? Either way, I’m kind of disappointed with how it all played out.

—I’m bothered by the fact that women characters of this show are getting killed left and right: first there’s Kate Todd, then Paula Cassidy, then Jenny Shepard, then Michelle Lee, and now Paloma Reynosa. I hope Ziva and Abby live ‘til the end of the series, which I pray isn’t anytime soon.

—I don’t get why TV award-giving bodies are snubbing NCIS. Shame!

—How long do we have to wait until we get to see the rest of the team’s back story? How Gibbs and Tony met, how Gibbs and Abby met, and if they plan to toss in how Gibbs and Ducky met, the more the better!

—There’s 15 episodes left (assuming they’ll do 24 episodes this season) to see and I’m dying with anticipation!!!

THE VERDICT

Watch NCIS, period.

» Survivor’s 21st season

Watch on: CBS, Wednesdays, 8/7c

Episodes so far: 12

Status: Ongoing

Next fresh episode: December 8th

05

Survivor is the granddaddy of all reality shows in US broadcast television, and accordingly, it is also the longest-running reality game show in US television history. And I’m proud to say that I have been a devotee of the show ever since its huge start in 2000 (Survivor: Borneo).

But the thing is, I had almost given up on Survivor a couple of seasons back—in Samoa, when I had enough of all the creative editing they did to make the challenges appear more exciting. Though the Survivor production staff is adamant that they do not tamper with the results of each and every challenge, Survivor fans and haters alike have their concerns, particularly with the flurry of editing that the past couple of seasons have had.

Not that Survivor never used creative editing from its inception. I mean, seriously, imagine having to cram 72 hours into a 40+ minute episode. There has to be some editing of some kind, right? But it used to be just the right amount of editing, coupled with really interesting challenges and characters. A classic example would be Survivor: Cook Islands (Season 13).

And after last season’s Heroes vs. Villains crap (I only stuck around because I wanted to see Russell Hantz crash and burn in the finals again), the 21st season of Survivor offered a really cool concept: Old vs. Young. It kind of harkens back to Survivor: The Amazon (Season 6) and Survivor: Vanuatu (Season 9), which featured the battle of the sexes.

Initially, I wasn’t entirely sure if the competition would be a lot more intense if they kept the tribes as they are up until the merge or if it would be more interesting if they were shuffled before the merge. It turned out they would do the latter, and it turned out great.

In any case, this season already had an intriguing theme from the get-go, but it gets better, with the introduction of the Medallion of Power. The concept is simple enough: before the tribes were officially formed (they were mixed up at the start), the castaways were sent into a lagoon where the person who would find the Medallion wins it for their tribe. The tribe that has the Medallion has the option to use it in ANY challenge, to gain a significant advantage in that particular challenge (after which the Medallion must be passed on to the opposing tribe), or opt to keep it for another, upcoming challenge. It was interesting to note how each tribe rationalized the use of the Medallion, which was used only as long as the tribes were split by age.

It’s great that there’s a “disabled” (as opposed to handicapped) castaway this season (Kelly B.), sparking the dilemma of whether or not her disability made her a target because of potential sympathy votes (assuming she’ll get to the end), going easy on her in challenges because of her disability, and so on. That got me thinking, maybe Survivor should have a season for disabled castaways. That would be fun to watch.

Survivor is set to have its 22nd season in Nicaragua as well, while the 23rd and 24th will take place in Caramoan, Camarines Sur, which is HERE in the Philippines!

THE GOOD

—On the second episode opening sequence, did you notice that they changed Jud to Fabio? Hilarious! I just hoped they would’ve changed Kelly S. to Purple Kelly though.

—Jane: she’s like Bob from Survivor: Gabon, especially with the way she’s winning individual immunity as of late.

—Fabio and his antics, hilarious (every Survivor season needs a clown); and NaOnka getting irritated by him, that’s icing on the cake right there.

—Can’t wait to see how this all goes down until the finale (which is on the 19th). It’s basically a free-for-all right now!

THE BAD

—NaOnka. (Do I need to explain?)

—Initially, I liked them mixing up the opening sequence by going back to the old school opening music. But when I found out that THIS was supposed to be the opening music for Nicaragua, shame on you Burnett!

—I thought Shannon’s idea of an all-guy alliance was cool, until he started blowing everybody off in tribal. He got what he deserved.

—Jimmy T. is off-the-charts annoying. It’s unbelievable how he couldn’t keep his trap shut.

—I didn’t like that Libertad voted off Alina just because she was perceived as a wild card, and that she was a very good strategic player, whereas Brenda, Sash, and Marty were way more threatening than she ever was. I would’ve made an alliance with her because she’s such a wild card.

—Brenda and Sash’s arrogance, which led to Brenda being voted off the game. Hope Sash goes home soon, too.

—NaOnka and Purple Kelly quitting (Kelly didn’t even help much in the whole Gulliver challenge) AND them being part of the jury still.

—I feel so bad for Alina (she was crying at the last tribal council when Nay and Purple Kelly quit), for sure she’s feeling so frustrated because she wants to play the game but she’s already on the jury, then here’s two players still playing for the million that just quit like that. Pretty sure Marty and Brenda are feeling the same thing. Wonder what happens when they all meet up at Ponderosa.

THE VERDICT

Survivor, to me, is the perfect combination of predictable (the rules, mechanics of the game) and unpredictable (the characters, producers, even Probst at times), however contradictory as that may sound.

And as long as Survivor continues to have the things I like about it—the amazing sights, the hot girls, and some really challenging challenges—whatever overload of creative editing won’t keep me from watching it week after week.

» Currently in its 2nd season

Watch on: Fox, Wednesdays, 8/7c

Episodes so far: 3

Status: Ongoing

Next fresh episode: December 8th

06

I got interested in Human Target only this late May 2010, right after 24 concluded its eighth and final season. I figured I should keep watching at least two shows from Fox. Nah. But seriously, I thought the show would be the perfect replacement for 24 in my line up of  TV shows to watch, since it is action-packed, machismo bursting  style type of show with an all-male main cast.

After a tremendously entertaining first season, HT returned just a few weeks ago, with the first season’s main cast intact: Mark Valley (Boston Legal, Fringe) as Christopher Chance, Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies, House) as Laverne Winston, Jackie Earle Haley (All The King’s Men, Watchmen) as Guerrero, along with new additions Indira Varma (Rome) as Ilsa Pucci, and Janet Montgomery as Ames (Entourage).

Three episodes in, it’s already evident that HT‘s second season has a different feel to it, but a good feel nonetheless. I just hope the show’s ratings would improve over time so that it doesn’t get axed by Fox anytime soon (or ever).

THE GOOD

—Really digging the addition of Ilsa Pucci (Indira Varma) and Ames (Janet Montgomery) to the main cast. It’s a given that you have to have some babes in the main cast of every primetime show, especially one such as HT. Besides, Chance and Co. could use Ilsa’s deep pockets and Ames’ first-class trickster skill set.

—Cool that the writers had an excuse to refurbish AND fancy up the whole San Fran HQ: Ilsa’s huge bank account… uh, i mean, accountssss.

—The sultry Ames getting physical ALL SEASON LONG. How would I know? What, you want proof? Here’s proof:

Episode 1 Ilsa Pucci: knocked out by Guerrero, shoved by two cops against the back of a police car;

Episode 2 Wife’s Tale: pushing Guerrero to the ground to protect him from the shooter;

Episode 3 Taking Ames: shoved against a car (that’s twice this season), this time by Chance; and getting all oiled up and going through the vent during the Three Sisters of Antwerp heist.

Taking Ames: during the fight sequence inside HQ, did Guerrero get smashed around the place or what?

—On that note, HT‘s top-notch stunts, snappy dialogue, and humor: some of the better traits of the show that’s praiseworthy.

THE BAD

—They changed the opening music. The first season’s opening music (composed by Bear McCreary) was more suitable, as it gave the show a “superhero” feel to it. It would also help to know that the original HT opening theme received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music.

The new theme music (composed by Tim Jones, Chuck), on the other hand, seems to give a feel of swagger, and it seems to highlight that this show is action-packed and full of intensity. After three episodes, I’m starting to feel that the new music really fits the show’s theme this season. But I still think the original theme is way cooler.

—Joubert aka the Old Man (Armand Assante) MIA, “the Book” left unexplained, and whatever happened to the Interrogator (Timothy Omundson)?

—I thought Episode 1 Ilsa Pucci was kind of haphazardly made, especially the early part, from when Chance and Guerrero save Winston up until Chance gets back to San Fran.

—If this keeps up (HT viewership in the 5-7 million range), and if this leads to HT being cancelled, to call this bad would be an understatement.

THE VERDICT

Before I started watching HT, 24’s Jack Bauer was my action hero. With 24 now gone (And off to movie theaters perhaps?), Christopher Chance is my new hero.

If you want an action hero too, better get caught up with the latest happenings in Human Target. The first season is just 12 episodes—that’s short enough to watch in a day or two, or a full weekend.

» Currently in its 3rd season

Watch on: Fox, Mondays, 9/8c

Episodes so far: 8

Status: On hiatus

Next fresh episode: January 10th

07

To be honest, I only started to watch Lie To Me because I had run out of stuff to watch online a few months ago due to some of my favorite shows going on break for a week or two.

I started to watch Flashforward (I went on a mean streak and finished the whole 22 episodes in just three days) but after that, still no new episodes from my slate of must-watch TV shows. That’s when I decided to give Lie To Me a shot.

I’ve heard about it for a while, but I was hesitant to watch it, fearing that it might be a run-of-the-mill crime/drama show a la Monk or Psych, except that it focused on the science of lie detection.

In the end, curiosity won out, coupled with a lack of stuff to watch, I resolved to watch its pilot episode and to my surprise, I was very much pleased with it. I wound up blitzing through the show’s first two seasons in under a month. Good thing I got curious and bored enough to try it out.

I really liked the pace of the show, as well as the formula they had going: two cases per episode, maximizing the broadness of the show’s scope (cases ranging from terrorism to cheating spouses), and the slow and steady dissection of  jerky, hyperactive, restless Cal Lightman’s personality and humanity through his work and family.

In its third season, Lie To Me is pretty much the same, except it has gotten a little laid back (which is a lot laid back than the usual Lie To Me I’m accustomed to), but the show’s  two lead characters’—Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and Dr. Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams)—superb acting keeps this a show worth coming back to every single week.

Never in my wildest dreams have I thought of simultaneously watching three shows from Fox.

THE GOOD

—The chemistry and palpable sexual tension between Lightman and Foster is what makes this show tick; which is exactly why they’re not going to be romantically involved with each other anytime soon (They better not!).

—The Lightmans: Cal and Emily moments show us a Cal that’s considerably toned down and unabashedly caring and concerned.

—Deaf Behavioral Science grad student Sarah from Princeton (Shoshannah Stern) and Lightman Group employee Anna (Jennifer Marsala): hope we get to see them more.

—Detective Sharon Wallowski (Monique Gabriela Curnen) has been impressive as season 3’s resident muscle and yet another Cal Lightman love interest. All good, since Curnen and Roth play well off of each other.

—Moments when the characters reveal the truth about themselves, like in The Royal We (Episode 2), when Lightman started to write the first words of his second book, where he admits to understanding very little, especially the people closest to him. On a different note, I actually liked “Let there be Lightman.” better. Seriously.

—Emily Lightman (Hayley McFarland) now part of the main cast. I guess the writers/producers realized how important it is to keep Emily around, since she is the most important person to Cal.

—Cal and Zoe episodes/moments never disappoint. See Better Half (Season 1 Episode 10), The Whole Truth (Season 2 Episode 13), and Pied Piper (Season 2 Episode 19). Zoe Landau (Jennifer Beals) is Emily’s mom, and Cal’s ex-wife.

THE BAD

—Sad to see that FBI Agent Ben Reynolds (Mekhi Phifer) is no longer in the main cast. I had hoped his and Lightman’s relationship would’ve grown, especially after Lightman helped him clear his name. But I kinda figured his stint would be brief, seeing as his function while with the Lightman Group was pretty much as muscle and not much else.

—On that note: whatever happened to Reynolds? Eight episodes in and we haven’t heard a thing about him.

—In the same vein: whatever happened to Torres’ season one flame, Special Agent Karl Dupree (Sean Patrick Thomas)?

—I have to agree with what a lot of fans of the show are saying: Ever since the start of the 3rd season, Loker and Torres have really started to wear me down. Writers: either give them a personality, or just do without them altogether. Or replace them; hell, I don’t really care anymore.

—We have yet to see Jennifer Beals this season. Hopefully a Zoe episode is right around the corner.

Lie To Me viewership this season is ranging from 4-6 million per episode, and the least-watched episode of the entire series (so far) is from this season as well.

THE VERDICT

Lie To Me is a breath of fresh air from all the other shows on TV right now. Not that it offers anything new or uniquely different, but that it highlights some things other shows have taken for granted. I can’t pinpoint what it is that makes it different from other shows—but it is, so I hope you try it out when you’ve got the time and you have nothing else planned to watch, so that you can see for yourself exactly what I mean.

* * * * * * * * *

WORD

1. This just EFFING made me so happy.

—Annie Wersching (24’s Renee Walker) comes back from the dead to guest star on NCIS! Hope the writers/producers give her character—Deputy District Attorney Gail Walsh—a multi-episode arc (AT LEAST!). She is a redhead after all, and NCIS fans know Gibbs goes gaga over redheads. She appears in Episode 10 False Witness, which airs on December 14. That’s next Tuesday! I’m going to die waiting.

2. This could be the start of something great.

3. Bring on the Nashty.

4. Moments that make life a little brighter: courtesy of Minnesota T’wolves’ Kevin Love-Wesley Johnson and, more recently, San Antonio Spurs’ Gary Neal.

5. Couldn’t stop laughing after reading this article from omg.yahoo.com. Apparently, a social networking site-related fund-raising campaign is a bad idea. They got to the $1 million mark, by the way, though they probably raised some of the money themselves. Also, the campaign organizers got off easy after a $500,000 donation from Stewart Rahr (whoever he is).

SHAME

1. Adamson University blew the chance of a lifetime (not exaggerating), that is, to take the Philippine Collegiate Champions League crown from Ateneo de Manila University.

2. This is just pathetic.

3. I can see why the Philippine Daily Inquirer decided to publish this: read and judge for yourself. Sweeping generalizations and fallacious comparisons—especially of the junked divorce law and the Reproductive Health (RH) bill currently pending in the Lower House of Congress—makes for entertaining reading.

* * * * * * * * *

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

It isn’t easy being human? Try being Filipino.”

~Conrado de Quiros’ closing words in “Being Filipino” from his column There’s The Rub published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 1st, 2010.

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