This week’s episode was named after the ball of rubber bands that Sydney became obsessed with. Noticing the similarities between Sydney’s knowledge of numbers and Max’s fixation on insects and lizards, Julia and Joel began to worry that their daughter also had Asperger’s Disease. Julia told Kristina about their concerns and got an appointment with Dr. Pelikan. As Kristina and Adam worried that they were bad people for feeling relieved that someone else in their family had the same condition, Dr. Pelikan informed Sydney’s parents that she was actually gifted. Julia’s relief was short-lived, however, because she felt guilty about telling Kristina, who was already bringing her books about Max’s condition. This upset Joel, who just wanted his wife to announce the good news. Julia eventually did so, but I think this was a sign that they have problems other than Racquel.
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Dear god, this show is still on. And I hate to be the one to say it, but we still have five more weeks. You now get the feeling that folks are sticking with the show only because they’re waiting to watch Glee. In any case, seven contestants remain, down to six tomorrow night after a special episode, Idol Gives Back and Boots Off Michael Lynche. This season has been rocky, to say the least, and watching the final seven line up for the evening’s show provided a sinking feeling. The cuts of Katelyn Epperly, Alex Lambert, Lilly Scott, etc., are really starting to come back and hurt.
Thankfully, we keep getting off-stage scuttlebutt every few days, and what rocked Idol Nation this week? Crystalgate! Word spread that Bowersox, the clear frontrunner, wanted to abruptly quit the show (“What’s the point?” she cried), but she was talked off the ledge by Ryan Seacrest (“You’ll be able to buy your mom a house!” he pleaded). No mention of the episode on Tuesday’s show, but the story did take attention away from Kara’s ongoing quest to be publicly nude. (First her bikini stunt on the show last year, then a Maxim spread a few weeks back, now the Allure “Nude Issue”). Tonight’s guest coach was Alicia Keys, who mentored the kids on the supremely vague theme, “inspirational songs”, the lamest producer’s move in a season full of them. Here’s what went down.
Over the course of the past decade there have been few shows that I have consistently enjoyed more than Smallville. As a student of television, I watch a large number of shows, including most of those that are considered the best in the medium. Objectively I have never ranked Smallville among the dozen or so best shows on TV, but I nonetheless retain an affection for this show that transcends its aesthetic achievements. What is more, I sometimes find myself looking forward to the next episode of Smallville more than the next episode of more acclaimed shows like Breaking Bad or Big Love.
Certainly there is little on Smallville to justify ranking it among the elite shows on TV. The writing is inconsistent and occasionally downright awful, though it must also be conceded that there are times when it is unexpectedly and delightfully memorable. The acting is not going to win many awards. While Tom Welling—given his uncanny resemblance to anyone’s expectations of what Clark Kent should look like—is absolutely perfect for the lead role, he will never be nominated for an Emmy or Golden Globe. While the revolving cast (only Welling and Alison Mack, who plays Chloe, remain from Season One) is adequate to the task at hand, the show is not going to win any awards for ensemble acting.
There has been a lot of hype about the 100th episode of Supernatural, with various websites and magazines giving away spoilers and gossiping about just how big this episode was going to be. Even though I either knew or guessed a lot about what was going to happen, I was still impressed with how well all of it was done.
The episode mundanely opened with two guys complaining about their jobs in a bar, but one of these guys is no ordinary barfly, it’s Zachariah. Just as the human realizes that there is something different about his newfound friend, the bar is consumed with a loud humming, shaking, and a blindingly bright light. This is the result of a powerful angel speaking to Zachariah, who teleports him “back in the game”.
Meanwhile, Dean is packing his meager possessions along with a farewell letter into a box addressed to Bobby. Sam arrives, realizing that Dean wants to kill himself, and tries to convince him that “running away” is wrong and to keep faith, because “Bobby will figure something out.” Moments later, Castiel appears and teleports everybody to Bobby’s place. While Dean argues with everyone, Castiel finds himself teleported to a decimated forest. After fending off two violent angels with martial arts and their own angel-exorcising knives, Castiel notices some ground moving nearby and pulls a person out of the dirt.
Hollywood producers, studio execs and network suits do a little mating dance every spring where they make writers, directors and actors shoot pilot episodes of potential shows. Based on these one-offs, where the creative types pour everything they’ve got into setting up a premise, it is decided what viewers will be offered on network TV in the fall.
One problem. No one in Hollywood has any clue whether a great pilot will translate into a long-lived and rewarding series. Development season is a bit like Christmas for them, except that they can’t tell if they got a present or a lump of coal in their stocking.
So, normally, I don’t pay a lot of attention to pilots. Why get excited about a premise that may never make it onto the schedule, right? But this year feels a little different. Not because the pilots sound better, but because a number of my favorite shows are ending. 24, Lost and Ugly Betty are all hurtling toward series finales. FlashForward seems to be a dead show walking. Scrubs fizzled out without much fanfare (though I suppose it could be back). So I’m starting to wonder what I’ll be watching in the fall (other than the last few episodes of Mad Men, Weeds and Entourage).