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January 13 2008

Summer and ASH get rave reviews from TV Worth Watching. David Bianculli, TV critic for Fresh Air on NPR, says Summer Glau and Tony Head are the best reasons for watching TV this Sunday!

This then can be the discussion thread for both shows. And if anyone wants to post any links to other reviews , please feel free to do so in the comments section of this entry.
Ah, it is good to see our thoughts spoken in someone else's words. But really, "scene-stealer" is such a crude wording, I like to describe my favorite Whedon-alum as them "owning" the scene. It doesn't matter if someone else is supposed to lead that scene… once they're in it, it is theirs! *is in anticipation for JM's ownings*
Not sure if it counts as a review, but my column about Summer's show is here.
In Canada we also have the Victor Davis Story starring Mark Lutz. They are all on at the same time! And I only have VCR recording capabilities. This is going to be a hard choice.
I'm not a fan of Terminator, but Summer Glau is more than enough incentive to give the show a chance :-) I know what I'll be watching tonight!
They are all on at the same time!


River versus Giles versus Groo. It's like a fanfic come true.
Well, Sarah Connor shows at 8:00 p.m. ET, and Persuasion (Masterpiece Theater) begins at 9:00. The problem is that Sarah Connor is 62 minutes long, so it will bleed over into Persuasion's time for those who are recording in the US.
Well, since I've already seen Persuasion I'm going to watch T:SCC.

Except...I have a devil of a time getting a clear picture and I'm not sure I can get it crystal or pretty much so for both stations at the same time - I had promised a friend I'd tape Tony for her.
Fortunately, if you're willing to wait, PBS usually re-runs Masterpiece Theater several times a week. To find out when your local PBS station is re-running Persuasion, go to www.pbs.org/tvschedules and type in your zip code.
CABridges, you raise a very interesting point in your article. What is it with government agencies and their vast, dimly lit, concrete walled bunker offices? A coat of paint, some Ikea furniture and a few motivational posters or pretentious modern art and you're set. It's not like they don't have the budget.
Sarah Connor is 62 minutes long! Anyone know if AChannel in Canada will not have it at 62 minutes? Honestly, this recent shifting of shows a minute or two into the next block is one of the worst ploys I have ever seen. :(

And I was absolutely thrilled to see that Masterpiece theater and TSCC wouldn't be overlapping.....

Edit: warning to Canadian fans, if you have a tv schedule that shows TSCC on AChannel at 8pm, that's now changed to CTV at 9pm.....looks like those VCRs will be needed for Masterpiece Theater viewers. Would never have found out if it hadn't be for looking up this 62 minute thing.....Anyway, it's best to check your local listings just to be sure.

[ edited by Trek_Girl42 on 2008-01-13 22:17 ]
Is the SCC pilot 62 minutes because it will prevent us from changing the channel when the Golden Globes don't start? Actually, I think SCC wil get a boost from the NFL playoff game preceding it.
Thanks to my PBS channel being smart enough to show Persuasion more than once, I'll get a chance to see that, too. I'll also see if Gillian Anderson can fill Alistair Cooke's shoes, or his chair, since she'll be doing his job tonight.
Canadian fans aren't completely screwed for being able to catch both Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Persuasion, since Space: The Imagination Station will be showing the 2-hour premiere on Saturday, January 19th @ 9PM. Now...I will admit that is a situation rife with the potential for spoilage from our American counterparts, but it could help out those who want to check out both at their airdates.
Interesting-- the infamous school shooting scene in Sarah Connor Chronicles, the one that was supposedly being reshot because it was controversial? It's still in, exactly as it was. In fact, as far as I can tell, it hasn't even changed.

I'm glad, cause it's a good scene and I never saw anything wrong with it. It's just interesting that it was so widely reported as being removed.
It wasn't removed, but the scene afterwards (dazed kids and parents wandering around the shot-up school parking lot as the FBI agent investigates) is totally gone.

Cameron's chip eating and Sarah getting shot are new as well, presumably so Sarah and John bond with her a bit more.
I went into T:SCC completely unspoiled and loved it. Although it could've been improved if the bad Terminator were either Adam Baldwin or Nathan Fillion. I'm just sayin'.
Well I'm reasonably impressed with the first hour. It wasn't flawless, but I understand the limits of being an hourlong pilot on network television. The stage had to be set and characters and premise introduced for those who've never seen any Terminator films (heathens).

I love Summer, obviously, and would watch her do absolutely anything. Also love Lena Headey, more and more in everything I see her in. Have to say though that despite Lena being probably the better actress it's a pretty daunting task to take on the role created by Linda Hamilton. Headey is an outstanding actress, and did a pretty damned good job here. But the nature of the beast is such that I spent the entire hour having to adjust to hearing Sarah Connor speak with a different voice.

Thomas Dekker? *shrug* I liked his John Connor, but it's gonna take a bit more for me to form any attachment to him.

Anyway, liked the first half of this premier. Looking forward to more.


ETA: Forgot to mention the major points this show scored with me with just one simple scene. No, not the nudity (though that didn't hurt). I'm talking about the kevlar in the chair. When the terminator was shooting at Sarah and she hid behind her fluffy recliner I cried foul. But after the commercial break we got a nice little comment about the police finding kevlar in the chair. See how easy that was? A couple of seconds to spit out a line that appeases nitpicky fans like me... wasn't so hard, was it?

[ edited by Haunt on 2008-01-14 03:46 ]
I thought T:SCC was pretty good for a pilot episode. I thought Thomas Dekker was possibly the weakest link, but perhaps this will change in future episodes. Loved Summer in it, of course.

And ASH is a treat to watch again!
The chair bit jumped out at me, too. And her putting Kevlar in it? Totally in character.
I liked it. I haven't seen either movie in a long time. I will probably need to see them to get up to date. I'd give an 8/10. I think there is a law in Hollywood that Summer has to be naked at the end of the premiere episode of a television show on Fox.
Have been loving ASH as a nincompoop. He does it very well. While Summer is just as scary as we would hope. I like the clear indication that there is much more to her than meets the eye - and yes, a lot seemed to be meeting the eye!
Managed to watch T:SCC on a U.S. channel at 8:00 instead of a Canadian station at 9:00, while taping Mark Lutz wearing a Speedo. I'll watch that tommorrow night.
I enjoyed it as well...Mostly because of Summer...I'll continue to watch.
Here on the West coast I just saw Summer knock off the other (bad) Terminator with a truck (kind of like how Glorificus got knocked away on Buffy...). I am looking forward to seeing Giles Tony Head playing Sir Walter on Persuasion!
It was pretty good, I'll keep watching. The addition of the chip-eating was nice, but kinda scares me..Dekker's look back as she gets in the truck came off as him being curious about the chip eating but..it's pretty obvious WHAT he was looking at. ?!

If there's robot love coming...
Although it could've been improved if the bad Terminator were either Adam Baldwin or Nathan Fillion.

Sure, if by "improved" you mean "made into a complete distraction from what's supposed to be going on".

But to add to the thread of things I appreciated: They didn't feel the need to stop everything and have one character ask another "How did Cameron get the truck to blow up like that" and instead just assumed we were actually smart enough to recall her tinkering with the truck several scenes earlier. Thank you, writers, for deciding I had a brain in my head and would be paying attention.

(I actually remember one review somewhere that scoffed at the exploding truck, wondering how in the world one could blow up a standard truck remotely like that. So, I guess some people aren't smart enough to get what was going on there.)
CABridges, you raise a very interesting point in your article. What is it with government agencies and their vast, dimly lit, concrete walled bunker offices? A coat of paint, some Ikea furniture and a few motivational posters or pretentious modern art and you're set. It's not like they don't have the budget.

zz9, it depends on who the budget is for. This morning I checked out of government quarters in a much-rehabilitated, but still decaying, barely habitable, World War II mobilization barracks. On the way home the bus driver pointed out a magnificent wedding chapel on a hill in the same area, built by one of President Reagan's former aids just for his daughter's wedding. It's still not a real church. Just a wedding chapel, for those who can afford it. My home station is mostly (as far as I know) above ground but if you want your peeling paint and desolation, you can find it there. The movie people aren't making it up.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-01-14 07:43 ]
But to add to the thread of things I appreciated: They didn't feel the need to stop everything and have one character ask another "How did Cameron get the truck to blow up like that" and instead just assumed we were actually smart enough to recall her tinkering with the truck several scenes earlier. Thank you, writers, for deciding I had a brain in my head and would be paying attention.

That's what bothered me in Tru Calling, the constant need to have flashbacks to explain every, single, thing to us viewers because we're clearly too stupid to remember something we saw fifteen minutes earlier.

And hiding loaded weapons behind wall panels? I'm so going to do that!

ETA: Dreamlogic, I take your point. However, since all these modern agencies are so morally ambiguous I suggest they go to Ikea and steal some nice desks and shelving units. And some more lighting!

[ edited by zz9 on 2008-01-14 08:01 ]
... wondering how in the world one could blow up a standard truck remotely like that. ...

Faulty car alarm maybe ?

.. and Sarah getting shot are new as well ...

She gets shot in the original pre-air version too CA Bridges (in the shoulder, maybe it's more serious this time, not seen it yet ?). Must confess, I watched it again last week and after refreshing my memory, I also couldn't see too much wrong with the school scene (since no-one is actually killed) so i'm glad that stayed (despite widespread reports to the contrary).

And yep, liked the kevlar chair, liked Sarah's weapon hidey-hole (and the fact that virtually the first thing we see her do in her new digs is create another one), liked her unhesitating attempt to prevent herself being used against John when she figures out the Terminator doesn't have him. There's really a lot to like about the show, Summer's performance and about this version of Sarah Connor and Lena Headey's portrayal of her.
Dreamlogic, I take your point. However, since all these modern agencies are so morally ambiguous I suggest they go to Ikea and steal some nice desks and shelving units. And some more lighting!,

I can't speak for the "agencies". But the military, active or reserve, cannot steal from civilians. Back in the '90s when a lot of bases were being shut down, there was a lot of relocation of assets, some of it unofficial. But that train has been and gone.
I don't know. One man's "the viewers are smart enough to remember earlier scenes" is another man's "WTF is going on?"

I hate when shows bring the action to a screeching halt to explain a plot point, but sometimes I need a little bit of clarification to understand what just happened.

For instance, I had no idea after the first viewing that Sarah was painting the new house to hide her weapons stash, or that Summernator rigged the truck with explosives in that one scene. A close up shot of the explosives or a "hey, this remote-controlled bomb may come in handy later on" would have been helpful.
If you find an ordinary thick chair while gunfire is incoming, that you can hind behind - that's what's called cover. Cover is never perfect. I'm a little upset by what people are getting enthuiastic about with the idea of kevlar-infused chairs. What?
Faulty car alarm maybe ?

You did see the part of my comment where what I was saying was that it was clear how it happened, yes?
Summer done good - and I'll watch the SCC again. I never saw a Terminator movie, but this show seemed to have a lot going for it on its own merits.

It's disconcerting, but not in a bad way, to see her all grown into her face and limbs, no longer the graceful child she seemed to be in Serenifly, but an adult woman - such a subtle actor and, of course, so very lovely.

Tony done good, too - odd to see him play so shallow and stupid, but interesting... (that was a convincing makeup job, too.) Overall, I preferred the previous version of Persuasion to this one, which felt very headlong and breathless and a little too arch - and the story's intricacies much less clear and less nuanced than in the 1995 version. And surely that was a somewhat eccentric performance (as Monty Python used to say) by Amanda Hale, as Mary Musgrove, Anne's younger sister? She's supposed to be a pain in the ass, but I don't think she should make you laugh every time she speaks... or was it just me?

Well, there's just no pleasing some people (me) anyway, because I was already ticky that they were airing her last book first...
I'm a little upset by what people are getting enthuiastic about with the idea of kevlar-infused chairs. What?

It's the attention to detail dreamlogic. Cheap motel/rented flat furniture isn't going to stop a bullet but just as some might've been getting ready to think "Well that's bollocks isn't it", they explain exactly why it was a very effective shield. It's also a nice little character detail about Sarah - that she prepares her place and herself for that sort of eventuality, always.

You did see the part of my comment where what I was saying was that it was clear how it happened, yes?

Err, yeah, the faulty car alarm comment would be what we sometimes refer to as "a joke" (though clearly not exactly a zinger) - unless you think I was actually suggesting that seriously theonetruebix ? Ho hum.

(and thusly ends my experiment with reduced use of smileys, seems I can't get away with fewer after all ;)
See and I noticed the chair thing during my watching and said to myself, "self, that's ridiculous! it's only concealment, not cover." So, yeah, the kevlar line was a great add.
Like most whedonesquers, looking forward to part 2 of the Summer Glau--I mean--Sarah Connor Chronicles.

ASH was the perfect smalltime snob in Persuasion, but only one of many reasons to watch the production, which looked amazing and gave us fine performances by the whole cast.
I must say I ended thinking that Mary Musgrove was clearly mentally ill, which is not, I think the right impression. But it did go a long way to explaining why everyone put up with her.
What I want to know is, how much is Sarah making in tips at her diner job? Kevlar doesn't come cheap, baby.
I have to say I was disappointed in the new production of "Persuasion". Not ASH's acting - he was great, but the adaptation was completely inaccurate in parts. Grr argh. It felt really rushed in parts. They were obviously cramming it into 90 minutes.
What I want to know is, how much is Sarah making in tips at her diner job? Kevlar doesn't come cheap, baby.

Maybe under "Any other interests" on her job application she put "Saving the free world". Cos that has to be worth a body armour related bonus, surely ? If I were her employer I might even give her extra holidays for that.

(in T2 she was seemingly involved in some shady goings on - gun running etc. - and apparently had caches of weapons stashed about the country so i'd fan-wank that the Kevlar was either bought with ill-gotten gains or just pulled from one of her stashes. And I definitely wouldn't put her above stealing in order to complete her "mission")
Handgun bullets don't have much penetrating power, all other things being equal (some illegal types of ammo excluded). That thing in the movies where somebody shoots a pistol into a car and it blows up? Doesn't really happen. If you can get behind some furniture, do it. Just sayin'. I guess the kevlar idea was a clever detail, though.

The pilot really held up for me on second viewing, and I'm so looking forward to the second episode tonight. I'm happy to have an "appointment" show on TV again.
Mythbusters did an episode on the myth of hiding behind a car while being shot at. Large caliber handguns could penetrate the doors and mid-caliber rifles could make it all the way through the car, including the engine block. The terminator was firing a rather large and impressive automatic weapon that EASILY would go through a recliner.

Just sayin'...
Missed the kevlar line entirely, so the Husband and I were left going "Yeah, right, that chair would stop those bullets."

As someone who's never seen a Terminator movie, I had no idea what was going on a great deal of the time. Sort of got it by the end. Summer looked fabulous, and I loved her reaction to Sarah telling her to go to hell... great moment.

ASH on Persuasion... love ASH, still prefer Corin Redgrave in the other version (especially his pronunciation of "Dalrymple").

ETA: Oh, and when did "Masterpiece Theater" become "Masterpiece"? Ick.


[ edited by Kirochka on 2008-01-14 18:25 ]

[ edited by Kirochka on 2008-01-14 18:26 ]

[ edited by Kirochka on 2008-01-14 18:26 ]
Tony Head was a delight in Persuasion. The scene where he runs headlong down the hallway to ingratiate himself with (I forgot their names already) the muckymucks Lord/Lady whomever, nearly knocking Captain Wentworth over, had me almost rolling on the floor. What a performance. The production itself was way too truncated (I agreed with you QG) to be considered a very apt version, but I liked very much that this Captain seemed much more age-appropriate for Anne.

I have nothing much to add to the positive comments for TSC Chronicles. Loved it, fine attention to detail. The dream sequence at the beginning was great and set up the sense of foreboding. I also like that John has more gravitas and the same concerns about boyhood geekiness that most boys have (I should have known a hot girl wouldn't be interested in me) and has outgrown the Furlong snottiness. I'll be watching.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2008-01-14 18:51 ]
QuoterGal; As to Tony's "convincing makeup," he is getting older. "Welcome to the Hellmouth"w as filmed over 11 years ago.
Just dropping in to say how much I enjoyed The Sarah Connor Chronicles and that Summer was great! And that I also got my dismembered Summer poster in the mail today, so for the people who signed up for the FOX thing, keep an eye out. And it's huge. I thought it would be mini poster. No, BIG poster.
Tonya J, I had the opposite view - that Captain Wentworth was too young! Then again, Ciaran Hinds stole my heart in that role, and my husband is twenty years older than I am, so the combination probably is too much for me to overcome...
Terminator got 18.3 million viewers last night (aided by the football game). It will very interesting to see how it does tonight. I'm curious if it will have more or less viewers than Prison Break.
I think the car bomb surprise worked perfectly, it was an exciting thing which showed that Summer/Terminator (I guess I should learn the character's name, huh?) was always planning ahead. I love her performance, very cyborg while showing that she has some real knowledge about humans (I wonder if John programmed her in the future, so she would understand more about him and Sarah?). I will definitely be watching this show!

And I agree with everyone who felt that 'Persuasion' was too rushed. I adored Tony Head's performance, and that Edwardian hair style looked amazing on him! He should do more costume dramas (actually he should be in more things period). I loved the casting and the acting, my only complaint is that it could have been much much longer.
Mythbusters did an episode on the myth of hiding behind a car while being shot at.

Yep, that's what I was going on Haunt, having only ever fired a shotgun and a .22 rifle and those over 20 years ago (and not at a chair ;). IIRC, they thought the best option was to try to put two wheels between you and the gunperson.

(not sure if it was the same show but they also did one on fuel tanks exploding when shot and nope, you're bang on dreamlogic, they really, really don't)

I'd still get behind some furniture though based, if nothing else, on the "under the duvet theorem" that worked so well when I was 5 i.e. if the bogeyman can't see you, he can't get you ;).
OK, seen the new version now and have to say, I prefer the pre-air pilot personally. They recast the guy Sarah marries so that he's (IMO) much less sympathetic and, no offence to the current fella, less well acted too (the previous guy was softer, actually less like the sort of person Sarah talks about being with in T2 - which is, IMO, a stronger statement about what she wants, what she misses, what she's giving up).

The petrol station scene was OK but just makes Cameron's empathetic nature more obvious, I can understand why they might do that for new viewers though, people that maybe don't know that's not what a Terminator is usually like. The bullet wound was a much bigger deal in the new version too which is fine though again it's maybe a slightly too obvious way of showing Sarah's softer side - Lena Headey is easily good enough to do that in a much more subtle fashion I reckon.

And, worst of all, they took out a tiny bit that I loved right at the end, the aforementioned rebuilding of Sarah's weapons hidey-hole being almost one of the first things she does in her new place. Now it's just the three of them in a garden which does more to highlight Cameron's constant vigilance than it does Sarah's. And much as I love Summer, these aren't her chronicles ;).

They didn't break it too badly, I just think the changes were, by and large, not for the better and lost some of the subtlety. Ah well, so it goes. Looking forward to episode 2.
Yah, DaddyCatALSO, I have been doing all my own reading since I was 40 (; >) so I'm fully aware of the Buffy air dates, and ASH (and my own) aging, but I've seen plenty of fairly recent ASH photos, as well as appearances on Little Britain up to 2006, and I think he's holding up a lot better than he looked as Sir Walter Elliot... ergo, his makeup job was convincing. Anxiety over his diminished beauty is one of that character's chief concerns, so it makes a lot of sense to muck him up a bit...

And, as b!X is fond of saying (words to the effect of) "Let's take it as read that I'm not an idiot, and work from there, shall we?"

Yah know, lightly, and with love... Oh, I'm breezy...
Mmm, good advice that, definitely words to live by ;).
It shows, I think, that Persuasion was made for ITV - the channel with adverts and thus more time constraints than the BBC. PBS lumps all the Brit costume stuff together, but there is a difference, or at least there has been since the glory days of Granada and Brideshead. It's been a fair few months since it aired here, but I felt it really needed to be at least twice the length to do it properly, and ASH's role was cut too much. It wasn't such a pig's breakfast as one other they did around then, though. And I thought ASH did the ageing, self-obsessed dandy to perfection.
It's a great performance because he found the juxtaposition between the humor, ridiculousness, and the ugliness in Mr. Elliott. Before the trampling of Captain Wentworth, we have in an earlier scene his absolutely despicable dressing down of Anne in front of people, practically spitting in her eye about not wanting to meet the rich people he wants to impress. And he did so in a very short period of time allowed to him.
QuoterGal Ya don't get much more recent than this.

At least he hasn't gotten a Medicine Man-type role...

Wanders away shaking her head at the mental image of ASH in a ponytail
ACK! Double post. *(!#% computer.

[ edited by ShadowQuest on 2008-01-15 01:05 ]
QuoterGal; Oh, I knew you could do ciphering yourself, but I hate numbers so much myself I never take for granted anybody wants to, and besides my second sentnece was just for emphasis. The first sentence was my point, and I'm not enough of a stalker to know how much you've been keeping track of Our Tony's pictures. Those lights are murder on the moisture and the collagen, aren't they? Which isn't to say that he doesn't still look about 10 times better than I do even tho I don't have the laughlines.
Okay, ShadowQuest - ow-owow! - that is a brutally revealing ASH-photo indeed - though admittedly, the most unflattering flash lighting possible, as opposed to the gentler lighting used throughout Persuasion.

But still, no getting around the fact that Tony appears significantly older than he used to - as do we all, ever day... *sigh*

*refuses to accept human mortality*
*refuses to accept signs of aging*
*refuses to accept wrinkles in mirror and in ASH*
*squeezes eyes up tight*
*wriggles nose*
*transports to QuoterGal's Imaginary World*

There! Denial firmly back in place in "My Imaginary World," where DaddyCatALSO and I always appear to be twenty-nine and dewy soft with collagen...
QuoterGal You just made me LOL! Shadow deigns to disclose her own age...which is a couple decades less than Tony's current...

Sometimes his site has some rather...uh...unflattering pictures of him up.

But here's one from a recent BBC show he did. Or if you'd rather see him sans make-up & lights, check this one with squishy puppies.

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