Of course, in the relatively immediate aftermath of the tragedy, many scripted television shows had episodes or moments that paid tribute to what occurred on Sept. 11, including 'NYPD Blue,' 'Third Watch' and 'The West Wing,' among many others (and almost a decade later, 'Fringe' depicted still-standing twin towers in one of its most memorable moments).
Others programs dwelled on our longing for reassurance in a chaotic world in more oblique ways. 'Lost,' after all, depicted a plane crash, a struggle for survival and the difficulty of sustaining relationships in extreme circumstances, and 'Jericho' took our fears about the state of our union and amplified them in a variety of ways.
The British version of the show has developed something of a cult following, despite the fact that only four two-part episodes were aired. It is science fiction, but it tries to be very realistic science fiction. It's mood is closer to CSI than to most of the more fantastic sci-fi shows out there.
Sonya Walger is a busy actress nowadays. Not only does she guest star from time to time on ABC's Lost as Penelope "Penny" Widmore but she appeared in a few episodes of FOX's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and is starring in HBO's Tell Me You Love Me, show that will return for a second season later this year.
(S01E01/S01E02) To be honest, I was sold on this one long before we finally got a look at what the Drive team has been working on all this time. I count myself as a Tim Minear fan, so his involvement was enough to get me interested. Add in a cast including Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Melanie Lynskey (Two And A Half Men), Kevin Alejandro (Sleeper Cell), Kristin Lehman (Tilt), Dylan Baker (The Book Of Daniel), and Taryn Manning (Hustle & Flow), and you really have something.
Most television shows get a casting shake-up between the filming of the original pilot and, should the show get picked up, its eventual run. It happens for all kinds of reasons - networks don't like a certain actor in a role, scheduling conflicts, etc. In the case of Drive, characters are reportedly being taken in a "different direction."
(S02E08) Well that certainly didn't disappoint. Definitely a fitting end to what I think was the best mini-series that aired this year. I think it's pretty lousy that Sleeper Cell wasn't nominated for best mini-series in this year's Golden Globes (it was last year), but at least Michael Ealy got a nod for best actor. Although I am a little torn because Andre Braugher was spectacular in Thief and I loved that show too. But I think Ealy may have the edge because this finale was just phenomenal in every sense of the word.
(S02E07) Wow... I'm not even sure how to react. Absolutely shocking. If it's even possible, I don't know how tomorrow night's finale could even top that. I'm sure it will, but that's a tall order. This was by far the best hour of this entire series up to this point.
All that being said, I'm still going to nit-pick a wee bit. The more I've been thinking about the whole Mina/Gayle thing, it's doesn't make complete sense to me. Why wasn't there a greater sense of urgency when Mina first made contact with Gayle? Russell and Co. decided to take advantage of this budding relationship, but why was it never considered a breach in Darwyn's cover? Technically it was, right? Even though Farik and Karrar had no idea who Darwyn really was, Mina's approaching Gayle should have signaled something to the FBI. Like I said, in retrospect, it just seems a little off to me. Regardless, the way it ended between those two (in the middle of nowhere) was gut-wrenching to watch. Darwyn's job got Gayle killed. How could you ever forgive yourself for that? I don't think I'd be able to.
(S02E06) One of the things I love about this show is how they pick simple one word titles (the first season did it too) and the given episode stays committed to portraying that title (a theme really) from everyone's perspective. It's a very cool storytelling technique, the way they expand upon everyone but manage to keep it cohesive. Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, and everyone else who has a hand in writing and producing this show deserves a real pat on the back. They've created quite the epic. Entertaining because, well, it is. And scary because... it's real.
(S02E05) Sleeper Cell really doesn't quit. It's just keeps moving at you from all angles and once again, things that I never expected happened. For the most part, I think plenty of people have a good sense of predicting what's going to come next in TV and films because often we've seen the same stories and plots told over and over in different ways. Sleeper Cell is just throwing all convention out the window because I keep making guesses that make sense and nothing pans out. I love it because it's genuinely holding my attention as a result.
(S02E04) This is turning out to be quite the mini-series. Plenty of twists and turns that I did not see coming, especially after the way last night's episode turned out. Sleeper Cell has been edgy since the beginning, but it would appear that nothing is off limits now.
The biggest development was Salim's story. I honestly did not expect him to turn out gay. I really thought his story was headed in a direction with Farrah and that their romance would lead to issues later on. I like the twist -- the scene in the gym completely caught be off guard. What I didn't like was how the revelation manifested itself. The entire story of Salim's disgust with the Muslim televangelist was a bit over the top. Not to mention the fact that it felt exactly like the story from last season when Christian killed that visiting scholar. It was the exact same progression. The only difference was that Darwyn was able to stop it this time around. From here on out it would appear that Salim won't be a problem anymore because Darwyn can hold that knowledge of Salim's preferences over his head. Unless Salim tries to revolt and take out Darwyn for good?
(S02E03) Speechless. When the idea of television was first conceived, I don't think it was ever expected that it could feel this satisfying. Sleeper Cell is some of the best stuff out there, ranking with only a few other shows currently on and this, the thirteenth episode of the series, may well have been the best one yet. The simplicity of the episode title, "Torture," doesn't begin to describe the pains our characters went through.
(S02E02) This episode perfectly displays what I think most people had problems with during the first season. Sleeper Cell is still spectacular but it can be very uneven at times. I think this is partially the reason that Showtime doesn't air it on a weekly basis because I don't think it would hold the attention of picky television viewers. It's much easier to stay with a show like this when you know it will be completely done in a week's time. Again though, that doesn't mean it's not good. It's beyond good.
Taking the cue from season one episodes, "Scholar" and "Immigrant," this episode basically dealt with one person and what he could offer to the cell (surface-to-air missiles). In question was Hassani, a washed up Pakistani arms dealer who now barely got by in the US by driving a cab and running a tiny halal delicatessen. It was the circumstances surrounding Hassani that made it worth watching.
(S02E01) Sleeper Cell is an incredibly impressive show. The first mini-series which aired a year ago was publicized quietly and didn't garner the attention it deserved until well after it had aired. Hopefully people are listening to the buzz this time around because Sleeper Cell is the closest thing Showtime has to HBO's The Wire. Yeah... it's that good. Visually impressive, rich in dialogue, a host of characters to love and despise. The list goes on. Not to mention the fact that it's topically relevant and due to it's place on a premium cable station, it can address the issues directly -- often to an uncomfortable extent. Something that a similarly themed broadcast network clock-ticking drama unfortunately can't compare to. Trust me. You owe it to yourself to be watching Sleeper Cell.
Quick! Everyone stock up on duct-tape, plastic wrap, and whatever else we were told to buy! OK, I jest... you don't really need to buy all that stuff. But Showtime's outstanding mini-series Sleeper Cell is back, so you should at least make sure you own a comfortable couch or recliner because we've all got eight great nights of TV ahead of us. As I reported back in June, Showtime picked up the show for a second series but no dates were set at the time. Now we have them. Series two will have eight episodes (the first series had ten) and the premiere will be on Sunday, December 10 at 9PM on Showtime. But don't forget that Showtime bills this show as a mini-series. So the remaining seven episodes will air one at a time on the next seven nights in that same 9PM time-slot. For the die-hard fans like myself, the entire series will be available On-Demand after the premiere airs. Michael Ealy, Oded Fehr, Henri Lubatti, and Melissa Sagemiller are all back to reprise their roles. In the meantime, you can check out a special preview here. So get excited... I am. And I'm serious about that couch thing.
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