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by Chris Conaton

18 May 2009


Prison Break is over. Three seasons after Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) successfully broke his falsely accused brother Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) out of Fox River Penitentiary, and two seasons after creators originally intended the show to end, it’s done. Well, mostly. Word is that they’ve cooked up one more two-hour special that takes place between the end of the last episode and it’s “4 Years Later” epilogue. But for all intents and purposes, the show wrapped up on Friday night.

Some people have complained that the show lost its momentum in the second season, as the characters got out of prison and separated. Others thought it jumped the shark in the third season, when most of the characters ended up in another prison, this time in Panama. “It got completely ridiculous!” they shout. I submit that the show was always completely ridiculous and that they’re remembering season one through rose-colored glasses. Look, I’ll admit that the twist at the end of season two that put them back in prison was over-the-top silly, but that was the point where I decided to mostly stop worrying about the logic of the show and just enjoy the twisty thrills it provided on a week-to-week basis. Clearly they had to come up with something when Fox renewed the show past the second season, so they completely embraced the pulp fiction/1940s movie serial-style action that was always bubbling under the surface. Prison Break always packed in the thrills and suspense, and they always knew when to ratchet up the action. This kept the show as an exciting guilty pleasure even when it bent over backwards with the twists.

by Rachel Kipp

14 May 2009


Channel Surfing readers: you owe me. I haven’t watched an entire American Idol results show in years, but last night I suffered through it in order to properly weigh in on next week’s Final Two showdown.

I hate the results shows. They represent everything loathsome about American Idol: excruciating chatter by the judges; shameless product placements for Ford and Coke; and Ryan Seacrest torturing the contestants by dragging out the two minutes we actually care about—who stays and who goes home.

But never have I had so much invested in the next American Idol. No I’m not talking about the debate over Adam Lambert’s sexuality or Danny Gokey’s personality flaws. I like Adam and dislike Danny but the contestant I really cared about this season was underdog Kris Allen.

by Rachel Kipp

11 May 2009


Memo to Isaac Mizrahi: I know Tim Gunn. Tim Gunn is a friend of mine. And you sir, are no Tim Gunn.

And therein lies key failing of The Fashion Show, Bravo’s attempt to recover from Project Runway’s flight to Lifetime. Anyone who’s seen the real deal will recognize the show and all of its moving parts as a limp imitation.

Instead of the glorious Gunn and snarky Heidi Klum, we’re stuck with the middling Mizrahi and former Destiny’s Child second banana Kelly Rowland. As Bravo reality hosts go, the stiff Rowland is deep in Katie Lee Joel territory.

by Chris Conaton

30 Apr 2009


Here we are at the end of a rocky three years for Heroes. I was a big fan of the show in the first season. It was never a great show, but it had moments of greatness, was consistently entertaining, and had a cast of engaging characters. Sure, there were some troubling signs even then. Creator Tim Kring had never handled a genre project before, cutting his teeth as a writer on Chicago Hope and creating Crossing Jordan. But he filled the show with intriguing characters and gradually revealed their abilities as well as the plans of the shadowy organization behind the scenes. Despite Kring’s claims that he never really read comic books, somebody in the writers’ room certainly had. Plotlines throughout all three seasons have borrowed liberally from stories that would be familiar to any comic book geek, but at least the first season handled the stories with style.

Kring and his team started season 3 out with a lot of candid admissions about the problems of season 2 and a lot of promises saying that this season would be better. And while season 3 didn’t replicate the problems of season 2 (terrible pacing, characters literally off in their own worlds), it had a set of problems all its own. I was ready to give up on the show after Volume 3, “Villains,” ended in December, but since the season was divided into two different arcs, I decided to stick with it through the season finale and see where the show stood at that point. Well, here we are at the end of Volume 4, “Fugitives,” and I really am done with Heroes now.

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