The Thanksgiving marathon is in preparation for a new, two-hour episode that airs December 4th. In it, Brenda is called upon by the CIA to assist in an "off-the-record investigation of a would-be defector found murdered in Los Angeles." Johnson has to find a link between the death of a KGB agent, several CIA agents, a young terror suspect and 20 pounds of missing plutonium. The second hour of that episode, called Serving the King, is directed by star Sedgwick's husband, Kevin Bacon.
Also, following the special, two-hour event, season two of The Closer will air every Tuesday night at 10 pm starting on December 5th.
TV Squad reader Bill Pruett asks 'What's with The Closer? There have been a few episodes than . . . nada. I can't even find a web site for the show. Will it ever get on some sort of regular schedule?'
Actually, Bill, The Closer is on a regular schedule. It is a summer series for TNT that normally begins in June and runs for about 15 episodes. So, you won't see it on a fall schedule, unless it's in repeats. The good news is that it has been renewed for another season, which will begin in the summer of 2007.
Reader Rod wrote to us recently asking for a comprehensive list of all the television programs that can be downloaded or streamed online. That's a pretty tall order, and I'm sure I'll forget a few, which is why I'm asking our faithful readers to fill in any gaps left due to my ignorance or plain forgetfulness. I'm going to focus purely on legitimate downloads and not such things as peer-to-peer downloads or torrents. I'm not going to list specific shows, because obviously as the television schedule changes, so do the programs.
I encourage you to add this post to your Favorites, as I'll be updating it every now and then.
(Last updated on 01/21/07)
(S02E13) Well, I'm glad this season has come to an end. While I loved the first half, the second half just seemed to lose its steam. It's as though there were two teams of writers or something. The culmination of the season came tonight and it wasn't that great. Sure, we got to see more of Fritz and some of the minor characters got a few good lines in (Provenza's "Miss Scarlett to the rescue" line was great), but it was just like any one of the last 4-5 episodes. Nothing special. And the end? Well, although I didn't solve the case, I did see it coming with the Crown Royal bag and that's what the entire episode built up to, wasn't it?
(S02E12) This episode opens with a sombre tone when a teen-age boy is found shot to death in front of his home, in a very nice neighborhood. The kid (Carl Neilson) doesn't have any gang affiliations but he is the star witness in a murder case and his testimony could free the man on death row for the murders of two convenience store owners. Detectives start their hunt for the man described by the kid as the real killer.
But hell with the case. We've got a bitch fight between Estelle (Chief Pope's soon-to-be ex-wife) and Brenda and it ain't pretty. Estelle barges into the investigation room and, with every single member of Brenda's team present, she yells at Brenda about her previous affair with Chief Pope and accuses her of having another affair with him. Yowza. So much for spending all of last season gaining the respect of her team.
(S02E11) Brenda's back! You probably thought she was getting her act together, thanks to the last few episodes. But, no. She's just as bumbling and unorganized as ever and it ends up with her backing her police vehicle into some guy's SUV. Brenda neglects to report the accident, as she was in a rush to get to a crime scene. Seems harmless, right? Wrong!
Chief Pope's divorce is getting ugly and Brenda's getting dragged into it. During a deposition where Brenda thinks she is testifying on Pope's character, his wife's attorney holds up a letter that Brenda wrote to him when they both worked in Atlanta and had an affair. Before she can kill the lawyer with her glare, Brenda's called away to a homicide.
This week's crime victim is the daughter of a former heavy hitter in the city. Gennifer spelled with a 'G' was a meth addict and all the doors were locked up tight. There's a suspiciously large hole in a mattress in the guest room. Brenda's still flustered from the deposition as she stumbles through the crime scene.
(S02E09) Brenda's wardrobe just keeps getting worse and worse, doesn't it? That black, strapless dress looked okay at first glance, but then the camera zooms out and we see a tule slip underneath. That has to be from somebody's prom in the '80s! And then she wore some horrible, polka dotted skirt with a grey, cowboy-looking jacket and hot pink shoes. To Brenda, clothes are an after thought. It's a wonderful little touch for her character.
*Sorry for the delayed review. I was visiting my adorable 5-week-old niece in Utah and my in-laws don't have TiVo (I know, I know. But what can you do? They're family!).
(S02E08) Wow. What a change of pace from the last few episodes. I was wondering whether The Closer was turning into a comedy... until this episode. Warning: Spoilers in the next paragraph.
(S01E08) While I haven't been overwhelmed by every episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes, for the most part I think they picked decent stories to base the episodes on. I would have liked to seen more of Stephen King's older short stories represented, but I guess the producers lost my phone number or they forgot to call and ask me which stories I would have picked.
Anyway, I would not have picked "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band" as one of the stories. One of my favorite things about Stephen King's short stories is how outlandish they can be, but this one, about a couple that winds up in a small town inhabited by dead rock stars, was just silly. I thought maybe they could turn that into something kind of fun and goofy for television, but instead they played it straight, which really wasn't the best approach.
(S01E07) Everyone has a list of fears, and being buried alive and waking up during surgery are both very high on my list. People have awoke during surgery before -- it's rare, but it does happen. Stephen King based his short story "Autopsy Room Four" on an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in which a man is paralyzed in a car accident and pronounced dead, despite being very much alive. To his horror, he's taken to the autopsy room to be hacked into, but he manages to save himself by crying a single tear to show he's still alive.
As King writes in a note after the story, a tear is nice and all, but he wanted his protagonist, Howard Cottrell (Richard Thomas) -- who gets paralyzed by a snake bite while golfing -- to demonstrate a different way of showing he was still alive. So King has him get a huge boner while the older sexier doctor is handling his junk. That's very King-like, and it works on paper, but I knew it was going to be difficult to portray that on television and not have it seem trite or silly. In King's story, Howard is single, but in the televised version he's married and suffering from occasional impotence due to an old war wound. The backstory makes Howard's eventual "rise from death" seem a little less gauche, but it's still kind of goofy.
Of course, Bacon's famous enough to get this job on his own, but he does have a little "in" with the show: series star Kyra Sedgwick, who just happens to be Bacon's wife. This is apparently the third time he's directed her in a project; he directed Sedgwick in Losing Chase, his directorial debut, and the theatrical film Loverboy.
According to his IMDb profile, those are Bacon's only two directorial credits. Hm. Maybe Kyra's a security blanket for him. Anyway, his next directorial effort should be Kyra-free. Maybe J.J. Abrams will let him direct an episode of Six Degrees, just for shits and giggles.
[via The Futon Critic]
(S01E06) I've never been a big fan of gritty crime drama, which is why "The Fifth Quarter" has never been my favorite short story of Stephen King's. It's a very bare bones tale of a man whose friend is killed over a buried stash of millions of dollars and his subsequent quest to retrieve four pieces of a map, each belonging to a different "bad guy." It's not really typically "King" and even he acknowledgers in the Notes of Nightmares and Dreamscapes that the story is more like something that would have come from Richard Bachman (his occasional nom de plume) or even Richard Stark, the malevolent writer from his novel The Dark Half.
Of course, I can't really blame King for wanting to try something a little different once in awhile, but in a lot of ways the story works much better in a visual medium. The problem is, one hour isn't enough for a story that is this involved. Screenwriter Alan Sharp fleshes the story out by giving the protagonist (Jeremy Sisto) a wife and kid, and everyone in this episode plays their parts well, trying to convey a lot of backstory in a short time so we can get to the blood and guns. If anything, the episode suffers from trying to cram way too much drama into a short amount of time. I think this would have worked much better as a feature film, following Wilie (Sisto) as he hunts down the men who killed his friend and begins to piece together the map that will lead he and his family to a better life. That could still happen, I suppose, it's not like they haven't done multiple adaptations of King's work before.
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