Friday, June 24, 2011

Falling Skies & Happily Divorced Premiere; Futurama Returns...

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Reviews & [Commentaries] for "scripted" shows this week include: Falling Skies, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Switched at Birth, Hot in Cleveland, Happily Divorced, and Futurama.

Falling Skies
"Pilot" (S01E01):
[I really started out with no intentions to watch this show. I just thought it seemed too much like the upcoming Terra Nova. And then I found out that Steven Spielberg was behind it. And that Noah Wyle was in it. And then I got an email with a trailer. And then they started following TheTalkingBox on twitter. So, I decided that the universe wants me to give it a chance, LoL.] We open seeing childrens' drawings and explanations of the aliens arriving and killing the military and bombing the major cities and taking control of some of the children. [so far, so creepy...] Then, we cut to a couple adults running around with guns, trying to transport a wheelbarrow of stuff. Then, they see an alien and run into some other adults with guns. [If this show is really going to take place at night often, it must be very difficult to film!] They come to a refuge of sorts. Noah Wyle plays Tom, who has one missing son and two others. The Commander wants 100 fighters and 200 civilians in each group, and that they should split up. The main plan is to run, hide, and survive. [sounds pretty serious...] They have recon information about food stores. Tom was a history professor. Tom brings 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and A Tale of Two Cities as they move out. [Are they really short on cars? How long have they been on the lam?] The food stores are picked clean, and the leader of the group is concerned that there are just too many mouths. Tom volunteers to take half of the fighters and half of the vehicles to go get food and supplies. The leader lets him have six fighters and some knives. 7-8 months ago things were fine. Hal, the oldest son, is a scout and he sees Ben, the missing son/brother. He's under control through the harness. Tom is afraid that there are too many aliens/robots and that they won't be able to take them, so they should stick to the mission. Hal disagrees. Matt is the youngest son, who stayed behind, taken care of by a pediatrician friend, Dr. Glass. "We don't have to kill them all, we just have to kill enough of them" is the general motto. [reminds me of the adage about not having to run faster than a bear, just faster than one of your comrades, LoL!] They make it to the food store and start collecting, but there are aliens/robots in there. They manage to kill at least one, but there are others. Then they kill another. They bring back a truckload of supplies, which should last a few days. Tom and Hal tell the commanding officer that they want to go back for Ben after the next objective, but he says no. It's Matt's birthday and Hal arranges to get him a ripstick, which he says is from Tom. [cute little family bonding time.] Soon, they're on the road again. To check for traps they throw a ball that a dog chases, luring out the aliens/robots. Jimmy, the kid who called after the dog, is 13 and a good fighter. [this has me a little concerned overall.] Captain Weaver has the fighters sleep in houses while the civilians sleep in tents. Dr. Glass suggests that some of the civilians could rotate sleeping in houses. Weaver says there's no time to discuss such things. [gotcha. he's a jerk.] The alien/robots are called Skitters. There's a religious girl around who seems to like Hal. Weaver wants the guys to check out the Armory that night, so they can't look for Ben and the other kids for yet another night. They don't let Jimmy go this time, perhaps because he screwed up the previous night, but they say it's because they need someone bigger in case they find weapons. Turns out, there are evil humans still out there who capture the group and say that they want to take Hal, the girl, and the Asian guy, but not Tom or the black guy. When they go to shoot Tom, Hal speaks up, tells them that they're part of "The Resistance" and that they have more weapons. They don't kill Hal or Tom, and they try to strike a deal, offering them their lives for weapons. Just the leader of the bad guys (John Pope) and Tom talk in an auditorium, and they find out the bad guys call the alien/robots "Cooties." Maggie, a bad girl, hoods Hal and turns him loose to go back to Weaver and try to negotiate a trade. Weaver wants to run instead. Hal wants to go after his father, but Weaver tells Mike to keep an eye on Hal. Mike gives Hal his weapon and suggests that they say Hal overpowered him and stuck him in a closet. As Hal is headed out, Dr. Glass mentions that she might be able to help, so she goes with him. The bad guys have a generator that they use to run a refrigerator, so the John Pope gives Tom a cold beer. Tom suggests that the John Pope join The Resistance. Hal and Dr. Glass return to the bad area, and Maggie threatens them. Dr. Glass offers to help the wounded man. After she fixes up the guy, most of the bad guys go out, leaving a few behind to watch the hostages. John Pope and Weaver talk it out, and Weaver agrees to give them what they want this time. Maggie shoots her two companions. Tom & Co are free and go to shoot at the bad guys. Weaver helps and they take the bad guys. Weaver gives Tom & Co three days to go find Ben. Tom and Matt play some lacrosse, but then Tom leaves with Maggie and a bunch of the fighters to go in search of the harnessed kids. [okay premise. decent storyline so far. not sure that it will keep my attention in the long term, but I'll try it again.]


The Secret Life of the American Teenager
"Another One Opens" (S04E03):  [I guessed the title right, LoL.] We open with Leo looking at a photo of himself with his first wife. Betty comes in and says that she feels sorry for Ben, Leo, and Adrian. Betty wants to help Adrian. Betty wants to be Leo's new assistant. But Leo wants Betty to take care of Ben, and maybe Adrian as well. [why no update on Betty's family?] Adrian searches the night sky, wondering where Mercy is. Ben likes to think that his mother is taking care of Mercy. (It's the same night where we left off last week.) Adrian tells Ben that Amy moved in with Ricky. George wants to re-do the kitchen, and Anne doesn't want him to, since the house is hers. [we never see George working anymore... he still has the furniture store...] George says he's mad at Amy for moving in with Ricky. George is watching Robbie while Anne is off someplace a few hours away. One rule for Ashley's roadtrip is that she has to call every night, and she messed up the first night. Ashley reads the rules back to George. [Ashley's hair looks lighter and redder than usual.] Amy talks to George, and he tells her than he heard from Ruben that Amy moved in with Ricky. George tells her that living together unmarried is "low class." They proceed to have an argument that ends with Amy apologizing that she didn't tell George about moving in with Ricky, and George telling her that the door is always open. Grace is talking to Adrian via video conference, and Grace tells her that she needs time. Grace suggests that Adrian do a good deed in her daughter's name. [dunno about that...] Leo calls Ben to tell him that his assistant quit. Leo also tells Ben that Betty will be headed over there. Then, Grace talks to Kathleen, who won't go check on Adrian for Grace. Grace wants to stay longer in Africa, but Kathleen says no. [good. that girls needs to be in school, not off gallivanting!] Jack is going to move into Tom's room since Tom's girlfriend and children are moving into the guesthouse. Grace hangs up on Kathleen. Ben and Ricky talk about the struggles of being young-and-serious. Ricky reiterates that he's not with Adrian, and Ben's not with Amy. Ben thinks that Ricky would sleep with Adrian if Ben left her, and Ricky doesn't respond. [yeah... I think that we all know how that one would go!] Jack tells Madison that he misses his parents and wants to go to college in Arizona. [okay, so we can potentially write him off soon. I'm okay with that.] Amy tells Lauren that she lied to Ricky about telling Adrian that she's living with him. Lauren tells her to confess, but she doesn't. Ricky knows the truth and Amy didn't confess, and now he has a problem with her. It's short-lived, and Ricky forgives her anyway. Ben talks to Henry and Alice about how Ricky is having sex with Amy without making a major commitment. Ben tells them that he is planning to leave Adrian sooner rather than later. Alice says that she and Henry were going to visit Adrian, but Ben says it's too soon. Betty goes to Adrian's, makes a Jewish joke, and suggests that Adrian should go to the gym and go to a salon and get shape-up shoes. [a bit abrupt.] Adrian tells Betty that she's in mourning and Ben doesn't care how she looks. Betty tells Adrian that Ben does care, and that she should smile more. Adrian tells Betty that she's afraid that Ben will leave her. [well, if everyone can see it coming...] Rachel's kids' names are Ronnie and Bonnie. [hahaha.] Kathleen tells Jack that she wouldn't be upset if Grace and Grant broke up. Leo tells Ben that he's not gonna be able to get back together with Amy. Ben thinks Leo is in love with Camille, and that Camille is in love with Leo. Ben think that Camille quit because Betty came back and she has to give up wanting to be with Leo. [I pretty much agree.] John is 2 years old now. [why not a party or any larger mention?] Anne gets back to pick up Robbie and is upset that George is still tearing up the kitchen. Anne tells George that she's not seeing the same boyfriend anymore. We end with George offering to make Anne something to eat.  

Switched at Birth "Portrait of My Father" (S01E03):  We start off with Daphne and Toby playing basketball while Bay works on a painting. Kathryn is running a fundraiser and a friend of hers comes over to donate a vase. The friend sees Regina and wants to know who it is. Regina suggests the truth, and everyone comes up with funny stories. Daphne wants to tell the truth as well, but Kathryn wants to just say that Regina and Daphne are old friends and are staying there until they relocate. Bay apologizes to Regina for the lie of sorts, and then asks her who her father is. Regina says that he ran off when Daphne was young and that their lives are better for it. [short. I suspect it'll take a while to get more info.] Daphne and Emmett sign about the situation about identity, and Daphne realizes that Bay and her family don't know how to be different. Liam comes up and Daphne gets upset that he didn't defend her the other night. Regina is now doing hair out of the guesthouse, even though most of her clients are taking 3 buses for 45 minutes to get there. Bay is out with Ty, having tacos at a restaurant near the "old neighborhood." [I'm kinda sick of Bay's storylines already...] John goes to Daphne's basketball practice and is upset that there's not more passing going on. He meets the coach, who knows the truth behind who he is, since Regina tells her everything. [starting to look like a small world.] Kathryn goes shopping and picks up some things for Daphne. Regina doesn't know what to say, but eventually says that Kathryn can do so. Kathryn wants to get Regina a job at the hair salon she goes to. Ty's truck won't start, so Bay texts her brother to come get her. Daphne asks John to come by basketball practice again sometime. Bay asks Toby if he ever thinks that they live excessively. [always interesting when spoiled kids realize that they might be a bit extreme. I mean, 8 amps?!?!?] John tells Bay that they're suing the hospital to teach them a lesson, which she takes offensively. Daphne seems to like her new clothing, but some of the items aren't her. Liam calls Daphne and the Video Relay Service interprets for her. [my apologies if it's actually something different they're using. I had a bit of deaf culture education but not a ton.] Regina gets the job at the salon. She starts curling some hair of a friend of Kathryn's and they start some minor gossip. Bay asks Daphne what she knows about her father, which is nothing. Bay asks Adriana (Regina's mother) about who her father was, and Adriana asks Bay to drop the subject without even giving a name. The basketball coach is Emmett's mom, and she's really a guidance counselor. [more with the small world!] Ty cancels on Bay because he can't get his truck running. Bay goes to Toby to get money to give to Ty, but he won't take it. She doesn't get that he doesn't want to be a charity case. [eh. I have mixed feelings about how this was handled, but it doesn't bother me too much yet...] John makes another suggestion at basketball practice and ends up becoming the coach. Ty apologizes to Bay for overreacting. John is rough on Daphne in front of everyone. [poor girl. I wasn't that great at sports, but I also took criticism from family horribly, so I feel like I can sorta relate.] Regina suggests to Kathryn that she tell people the truth since they might be making up horrible things to fill in the blanks. [good point!] Kathryn tells Regina that she's never had a career or stuck to a hobby, and that the only thing she's proud of is that she's a good mom. [really? she hasn't even stuck to a hobby??] John over-coaches and Daphne gets upset and leaves. John tells Daphne that it seems that she doesn't like to play outside of her comfort zone, which ends up encouraging her to go see Liam. Kathryn talks to a friend about the fundraiser and then admits the truth about Regina and Daphne. [and it goes interestingly.] John tells Bay that the lawsuit with the hospital has nothing to do with her. Daphne gives Bay a photo of pregnant Regina. 

Hot in Cleveland 
"How I Met My Mother" (S02E12): Elka renamed the dog from "Dummy" to "Chance." The pastor at her church is having animals act out Bible stories. [say what??] Victoria wrote to a criminal who wrote her a fan letter... and she used Joy's name in response... for years. But, the guy got paroled and they're worried that he's on his way. [giant chuckle at Elka's gun.] They accidentally shoot a guy outside the front door. His name is Owen and it seems that he's Joy's biological son. [Melanie's accent was hilarious! Joy trying to be American was great... reminded me of when her Daphne tried speaking with an American accent on Frasier years ago! Victoria using a British accent as well was good, but her playing Melanie's stepmother was a bit out there.] A guy shows up who Victoria and Melanie think is the alarm system guy, but he's really the criminal. [Interesting that the guy who plays George Juergens on The Secret Life of the American Teenager plays the criminal. and I LOVED Victoria's outfit with the yellow top and grey bottoms.] Meanwhile, Joy is with her son when he wakes up in the hospital, and he thinks that maybe they should just move on. Turns out, the criminal didn't chop people up, he ran chop shops. [haha. Victoria doesn't read carefully.] Victoria comes clean about the letters, but the criminal still says he wants Joy after seeing a provocative photo. Joy shows up at home but shortly afterward leaves for the hospital again. Victoria gives the criminal Susan Lucci's number. [haha! should have seen that coming!] Joy storms the hospital room and says that she and Owen should talk. He asked who his dad was. She asks if he's married (nope). He's an actuary. He asks why Joy gave him up for adoption, and she says that she hoped that he would be well-raised. They hug. It ends with the girls laughing about what they chose as the code for the alarm system... turns out it's Victoria's birth year +12. [love it. Victoria even wanted the alarm to know a false age for her!]

Happily Divorced "Pilot" and "Pillow Talk" (S01E01 & S01E02): We start with Peter and Fran in bed, and Peter can't sleep. He tells her that he thinks he's gay. [the opening is animated, I wonder if Fran really enjoys that type of thing since it was on The Nanny as well.] They both get up and talk about it. [loved the joke about where he'd meet a man - the hallway? hahaha.] Her parents both knew he was gay and thought that Fran knew. [puzzling.] Her mom tells her not to throw away her marriage over nothing. [The guy who played Ernie on George Lopez works for Peter.] Fran wants a divorce and to split everything 50/50, but they owe more money on the house than it's worth. Peter wants to move into the den, but Fran wants him to move out completely. We skip to six months later, and the divorce papers have been signed. [this is interesting to me. Jumping six months in the pilot? Strange choice.] Fran is out with her friend Judy. Peter is going to the gym more often and has gotten rid of his chest hair. Fran hasn't had sex in six months and can't stop eating. Fran meets a man at the movies and they plan a date. Peter wants Fran to accompany him to a Sound of Music sing-along, but she wants to go on the date. [reminds me of the Will & Grace where Grace is dressed up at the theater waiting for Will, who ditches her for an impromptu date.] Peter also doesn't want Fran riding a motorcycle with the guy. Her date is allergic to truffles and Fran gave him some truffles... and he ended up passing out. He comes over the next day and brings her chocolate truffles. [LoL.] Her parents come over for lunch.

We open with Fran making out on the couch with a guy, but her ex-husband interrupts to ask where a certain wallet was, and then what shirt to wear. [their co-dependency is getting on my nerves. If that's part of the point of the show, I'm not gonna last as a watcher!] Her parents also stop by and interrupt. [this is also getting kinda old.] Then, going back to making out, Fran says Peter's name, and that ends it. Peter goes to the bar with a friend of Fran's and they both get uber-drunk. Drunk Peter gets in bed with Fran's boyfriend when she's in the bathroom. She gets in with them and they're all spooning. In the morning, they realize what happened and Fran tries to explain the whole thing as an accident. [kinda funny?] Her boyfriend suggests that Fran isn't ready for a relationship yet. Fran wants to move out but has nowhere to go. Her parents won't let her live with them. Her dad is upset that he lost his sports buddy in Fran's boyfriend. Fran and Peter set some boundaries. And then they proceed to go on a date, more or less. It ends with Fran saying that she's with Peter to stop a guy from hitting on him. [I just found this strange.]

Futurama "Benderama" (S06E15): [so I caught Futurama online this week and didn't realize that there were two episodes until I went to make sure my numbering was correct after the hiatus. So, I inadvertently missed # 14, "Neutopia" ... so I'll include that next week. sorry!] 
The Professor invented a cloning machine of sorts. He uses Zoidberg's wedding album as the "matter" to clone a sweater. The Professor wants Bender to bed/fold the sweaters, but he steals the duplicator instead and creates two miniature versions of himself. They pull some pranks as a team. [decently funny.] The team delivers some facial products to a giant and the Benders make some "you so ugly..." jokes. The little Benders had the duplicators inside of them and each created two mini-mini-Benders. Soon, Benders of all sizes are partying in the wall. The professor realizes that they need to kill 2,046 of the Benders, otherwise they will eventually take over the world. [I was a bit creeped out by the gobbling of Benders like popcorn.] Because Bender functions on alcohol, the tiniest of Benders go about Earth stealing it all... but it does kill them off when they're out of alcohol everywhere. The Professor's bathwater tastes like alcohol... since the Benders, on an atomic scale, re-built water molecules to make alcohol. There's a concern that there won't be enough water left in the world... [oh geez...] The crew is all drunk and the giant shows up.
He wants to apologize for overreacting, but the crew makes fun of him since they're drunk. The giant is trying to stay calm, but he ends up having a meltdown. Fry tries to get Bender to stop the giant, since he's the only sober one. Bender falls for it, because he's only asked to do one thing, though it's "save the world." [haha on quantity and not difficulty mattering!] All the mini-Benders come to help him, forming Big Bender (which is why he's kinda glittery in the picture). Big Bender starts to beat up the giant, but the giant fights back. The mini-Benders consume the giant, then disappear into the atmosphere. Everyone else was drunk and they don't really remember everything that happened, and we end with the idea that there still might be many mini-Benders. [weird. just weird.]  

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Off season/Coming Up:
Melissa & Joey (season 2 starts June 29th, 8pm)
State of Georgia (Series Premiere June 29th, 8:30pm)
How I Met Your Mother (Season 7 in September)
Terra Nova (premiering in September) 
The Simpsons (Season 23 in September. In the meantime, go online and vote for what should happen to the Nedna relationship)
The Middle
(Season 3 in September)

House, M.D. (Season 8 in September)
South Park  (Season 15, Episode 8 in October)
Mr. Sunshine (Canceled. we saw nine episodes.) 
The Paul Reiser Show (Canceled. we saw two episodes, and at least 5 more were filmed.) 
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