44 reasons to watch Fringe

      

It’s President’s Day. To celebrate our 44 commanders in chief, I am proud to give you 44 reasons to watch Fringe, in random order.

  1. It’s critically acclaimed, if you care about those things.
  2. The tough-as-nails yet still sensitive leading lady, Olivia Dunham.
  3. The father-son bond between Walter and Peter.
  4. Walter’s affinity for psychedelic drugs.
  5. Walter’s affinity for vinyl records.
  6. Nina Sharp, the one-armed wonder of Massive Dynamic.
  7. The floating location titles. I know it’s a small thing, but I like them.
  8. Agent Broyles possesses scene-stealing strength of character in both universes.
  9. The juxtaposition of old and new technologies — a manual typewriter enables communication between universes.
  10. In the alternate universe, blimps are the predominate method of air travel, something any Akronite should appreciate.
  11. Astrid. Or is it Asterisk? Either way, you’ve got to love her ability to relate to Walter.
  12. There’s a cow in the lab.
  13. “Over There: Part Two” was the ultimate season-ending cliffhanger.
  14. The show has more emotional depth than any sci-fi show I’ve ever seen, except maybe Lost.
  15. Trent Reznor remade “Zero-Sum” for a Fringe promo, arguably the best trailer for a TV show ever made. Watch it here.
  16. You’re sharp enough to suspend disbelief and have a good time.
  17. You’re suspicious enough to believe that some of this could be true.
  18. You appreciate a good milkshake.
  19. Leonard Nimoy as William Bell, the head of Massive Dynamic, a powerful global corporation specializing in Fringe science.
  20. Anna Torv as Olivia.
  21. Anna Torv a Fauxlivia.
  22. Walter Bishop is probably the best mad scientist since Dr. Frankenstein.
  23. Yet, Walter is so fragile, so deeply aware of his flaws, that you can’t help but feel for him.
  24. There is romance for the lovers of love.
  25. But not too much romance.
  26. The special effects are top of the line. No cheesy CGI here.
  27. There are new cases almost every week, so you don’t have to know the mythology to start watching.
  28. But, the mythology is really intricate and cool, so you might want to go back and watch old episodes.
  29. It’s a serious drama.
  30. But Walter makes you laugh at least once an hour.
  31. You like blondes.
  32. You like red-heads.
  33. We’ve only just begun. Three seasons in, Fringe has barely tapped into the ethical questions raised by Walter, Massive Dynamic and the alternate universe.
  34. It’s The X-Files, on steroids.
  35. What else are you going to watch on Fridays?
  36. It’s not just for nerds.
  37. But if you are a nerd, you will appreciate the glyphs and symbolism. My favorite one being the apple with the foetus inside.
  38. It comes to us from J.J. Abrams, creative genius behind Lost.
  39. But it’s not a Lost wannabe — Fringe has its own mojo.
  40. Forget everything you know about Joshua Jackson from Dawson’s Creek.
  41. Two universes are better than one.
  42. Especially when each universe has a set of fully developed characters.
  43. The Fringe “Noir” episode, “Brown Betty.”
  44. If you don’t watch this excellent show will be canceled.

Did I mention I like lists? Most disturbing TV scenes by EW

Last week’s episode of True Blood was the inspiration for Entertainment Weekly’s list.

Entertainment Weekly published a list of the top 20 most disturbing scenes on TV. I haven’t seen a lot of the shows that made the list, but here’s what I thought of the ones I do know about.

First up is the scene from last week’s episode of True Blood, in which Bill and his maker, Lorena, have some really bizarre and violent sex that involves her head being twisted 180 degrees, as she chokes out “I still love you” whilst coughing up blood and smiling sickly. That was weird, and disturbing, and surprising. Definitely not for the kiddos. I think most True Blood fans would agree that Bill has usually been portrayed in a more gentlemanly fashion than, say, Eric. So this behavior was shocking coming from him, but also shocking behavior in general.

The next scene I recognized was from The X-Files episode “Home.” This scene, in which Mulder and Scully find the mother of a family of imbreds hiding under a bed, is a classic moment in a show with a lot of creepy, memorable scenes. I’m glad this made the list, as “Home” was truly a great hour in TV history, and is almost universally recognized as the best episode of The X-Files.

Also on the list is a scene from Dexter. The last season of this show brought us many jarring scenes, thanks to the expert portrayal of the Trinity Killer by John Lithgow. Entertainment Weekly points out the Thanksgiving scene, where Dexter snapped and nearly killed Trinity in front of his family, as the most disturbing. To be sure, this was memorable, but for me, the most disturbing scene of this season (aside from the shocking ending, which is the obvious choice) was the first time we saw Trinity kill in the bathtub. Who will ever forget those dead eyes, staring into the eyes of his victim, as the water turned crimson from her blood?

 I also took issue with the scene EW picked from Deadwood. If I had to pick a most disturbing scene from this HBO drama, I would not have picked this one. To me, the most disturbing scene came when Al Swearengen (expertly portrayed by Ian McShane) was taken ill with kidney stones. You could literally feel the agony as he tried to pass them, having stroke in the process. I think it’s safe to say there was a universal wince when he squeezed out a few, bloody, foamy drops of urine. I just winced again as I wrote that.

From the Twilight Zone, EW chose one of the most classic episodes, and one that is oft-quoted in jest in the Rogers Household. Have you ever wished your spouse into the cornfield? I have.

EW also picked the scene from Lost where the guy gets sucked into the plane during the pilot. However, to me this really wasn’t very disturbing. Truthfully, while there were many crazy twists and turns in Lost, I didn’t find any of them to be as disturbing as some of the other items on the EW list. It seems like they just wanted to include something from Lost.

A few things I thought should have made the list:

  • A scene from The Sopranos. There were a lot of disturbing moments in this show (which I have only watched two seasons of) that could have been mentioned.
  • Spike’s attempted rape of Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season six, episode 19, “Seeing Red.”
  • Any one of the cruel and unusual punishments doled out by Henry VIII on The Tudors. Probably the most disturbing for me was the execution of Katherine Howard.

WTF Lost?

Seriously, was there ever a point to showing this weird Egyptian foot?

I liked the series finale of Lost, but unlike my co-blogger, Mark, I have not yet made complete peace with it. I guess you could say that much like Ben Linus, I’m not quite ready to move on. Ergo this list, in which I bring up a few things that I am still wondering about.

  1. Why was there a polar bear on the island? Seriously, I want to know. You don’t just randomly insert a polar bear and expect me to accept it.
  2. Did Jack have a son or not? Because I thought he did, but John Locke said he didn’t. And I’m not willing to chock it up to a game of “he said, he said.”
  3. I get that Michael has to whisper on the island for all eternity, but what about Walt? Why wasn’t he with all the other characters? Or Richard, for that matter? Or anyone else who was strangely absent from that final scene?
  4. Remember that giant Egyptian foot? I do. And I want to know why it was on the island.
  5. What exactly was the point of the hot tub light machine in that tunnel? I know, I know – “It mattered.” But why? Why did it matter?

Feel free to answer these questions, if you have the answers. Also, add your own questions to the list by posting comments below.

The end of Lost

I’m still not sure what to think of the ending of Lost. Here, Jack and John shake hands before moving on.

I’m still processing last night’s series finale of Lost, as many of you probably are, so this may be the first of a few posts as my opinion evolves. At this point, I am still floored by the ending, but I’ll get to that.

If I was going to judge the show on the first two hours and 20 minutes, I would hands down be able to give it an A+. From day one, Lost has been a character-driven show. At the beginning, there were the flashbacks to life before the island, then there were the life-changing events on the island and the flash forwards and time travel stories, and finally the sideways reality. All of these narrative tools allowed fans to build a strong bond with the characters, which is pretty remarkable when you consider the large cast and potentially confusing storylines. So it was only fitting, and a true treat to loyal Lostees, that the very best moments from the previous seasons were replayed as each character had an awakening.

 I must admit, this was a very emotional two and a half hours of TV. I cried. A lot. I cried when Sun and Jin touched in the hospital and saw their baby; I cried when Sayid and Shannon embraced; and I bawled like a baby when Claire gave birth to Aaron and reunited with Charlie. These were some of my favorite stories in Lost, and I sincerely thank the writers for giving these couples a happy ending. With all they have been through, they deserved it.

As the show progressed, I was left with the overwhelming message that the island was a pivotal point of self-discovery for these people, who had been cast adrift in their personal lives prior to boarding Oceanic Flight 815. I was struck by the hopeful prospect that, as Hugo told Sayid, we all decide who we are in life, and no one can decide that for us.

As for the events on the island, the pace of the action was non-stop. I chewed my fingernails as Jack and the Smoke Monster squared off – first in the clearing where Jack challenged him, then at the cave, and finally by the shore. And it was just so great to see his character finally come into his own as the self-assured hero he was always meant to be.

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not discuss the last 10 minutes, even though I am still not sure how I feel about them. I, like most fans, did not see this coming. And I don’t need to point out the vast array of inconsistencies with previous events in the show. That being said, I don’t hate the ending. I’m glad the characters reunited, and were finally given the ultimate gift of redemption. It was, in many ways, satisfying to see such deeply conflicted characters come to such a peaceful ending.

On the other hand, it is such a final, closed ending. Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hugo, Charlie, Claire, Desmond, Penny, Jin and Sun don’t go on. Their lives are over. Granted, many of them presumably lived out their lives off the island (I assume they all died at different times), but many of them did not (Jack, Charlie and Jin and Sun all died on the island). And I’m still not sure of what to make of the sideways reality storylines being somewhat irrelevant. Some of these people had good lives in the sideways reality – Jack had a son, Locke was in a loving relationship with Helen, and Ben was not a bad guy. I liked these stories, and was rather unsettled with the abrupt end to them. Particularly troublesome was Locke’s assertion that Jack didn’t have a son. I just don’t know what to make of that.

Please post your reaction in the comments. I’m sure there are a lot of different viewpoints about the events from last night’s show, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What a difference a week makes

With a little help from Hurley and Anna Lucia, Desmond (who is much like The Puppet Master) escaped with Kate and Sayid.

My heart was pounding after last night’s episode of Lost, and I was pretty keyed up when I went to bed last night. But I promised myself I would wait and let the gravity of the episode sink in before I gave my reaction. I think a sufficient amount of time has passed, so here goes.

Wow. What a difference a week makes. Last week, I was completely underwhelmed with the show. This week, I can’t stop thinking about it.

On the island, we have four remaining characters who seem to be firmly on the side of Jacob – Hurley, Jack, Kate and Sawyer. Jack stepped up to be the candidate to replace Jacob, but a twist may be forthcoming. It just seemed way too easy that he accepted the job no questions asked. It looks like we are in for a crazy couple hours in the season finale, with Kate and Jack pledging to kill the Man in Black, and the Man in Black out to destroy the island once and for all.

Miles seems to be undecided, and Desmond is MIA. Meanwhile, the Man in Black caused quite a ruckus at the abandoned Dharma compound. I couldn’t believe it when he cut Zoë’s throat. A real jaw-dropper there.

Ben is obviously on the side of evil at this point, which was a welcome return to what I felt was his true nature. As I’ve said before he really has it coming.

If the events on the island weren’t enough to chew on, there was all the action in the alternate reality. Desmond pulling the strings to bring all the Oceanic Flight 815 passengers together, Ben and Rousseau’s apparent love connection, John Locke’s meeting with Jack, and the final, awesome twist – jailbirds Desmond, Sayid and Kate escaping with a little help from Anna Lucia and Hurley. I have to hand it to Henry Ian Cusick, who plays Desmond, for his deadpan delivery of such lines as “I ran over a man in a wheelchair.” Also, even though Ben is a good guy in the alternate reality, I did a little happy dance when Desmond opened a can of whoop ass on him.

Sunday at 7 p.m. can’t come soon enough for me. What about you? What was your favorite moment from last night? What was the most shocking? There’s just too much for one blog post.

Preview thoughts on “What They Died For”

In the first sneak peak from tonight’s new episode, Hurley speaks to a young Jacob.

With a title like “What They Died For,” tonight’s episode of Lost better deliver. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking for some real answers. And I’m ready for the grade-A television that I have come to expect out of projects helmed by J.J. Abrams.

It’s no secret that last week’s episode of Lost was a big let-down to us here at Remotely Entertaining. Sure, we got a few answers, but we also got a lot of new questions and a stark break in the forward motion of the series. And I don’t know about you, but I felt like the Jacob/Man in Black back story was a cop-out for letting the audience actually deal with the deaths of Jin and Sun.

That being said, I really hope that the answer to “What They Died For” is not a glowing tunnel of light. That’s just not going to cut it as far as I am concerned. I don’t expect all the answers to a show as complex as Lost to come in the final season. However, I do expect that I will be left with some concrete sense of why the island is so important.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t lost my faith in the series. I’m betting that tonight is going to be one hell of an hour of TV. In fact, the final season has been great – so great that it’s almost hard to believe that we’ve made it to the end so quickly. I’m sure we are going to have a lot to talk about tomorrow. For those who are brave enough to try to DVR this and watch it later in the week, you might want to bury yourself in a hole until the fervor dies down or you will most certainly be bombarded by spoilers.

The end is nigh

Just a quick post to say that I am ridiculously excited for the season finales of Fringe and Vampire Diaries, and to share a couple other random TV thoughts.

Fringe’s finale is going to be a two-part episode, beginning tomorrow. Finally we get to see more than a glimmer of the alternate universe. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend checking out the extended trailer. It is completely nerdtastic.

Also airing tomorrow is the season finale of Vampire Diaries, which looks to be pretty juicy from the trailer. After last week’s revelation that Damon is in love with Elena, all bets are off.

I would talk about Lost, but well, my co-blogger Mark perfectly summed up my feelings. What a boring hour of TV that was.

The end of all these shows means one very awesome thing – True Blood is right around the corner. Did everyone see the latest minisode with Jessica? Did I mention that #waitingsucks?

Wanted: First two episodes of Justified

Timothy Olyphant (of Deadwood hottie sheriff fame) plays the lead in Justified.

I’m always on the lookout for a good, new show to watch. Some of my favorites have been suggested by my co-blogger, Mark (he’s the one who pointed me in the direction of Fringe and Lost), and I also got a great suggestion from a couple of pals about It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

This morning, I talked to my dad, who is also a great source of TV inspiration. We like a lot of the same things – Deadwood, The Office and 30 Rock, to name a few. He highly recommended Justified, which is in its first season on FX. I had heard buzz about this show, but was not really listening until my dad told me that Timothy Olyphant (of Deadwood hottie sheriff fame, not my dad’s words, but that’s how I know him) is the lead.

So now I’m really interested, but in a bit of a pickle. The first season is airing right now (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.), so it’s not on DVD yet. So I turned to the Web, but the FX site and Hulu don’t have the first two episodes. What’s a girl to do in this situation? I don’t want to start watching it mid-season and miss the important stuff from the initial episodes, but I don’t want to wait until it is on DVD either. Any suggestions?

Does anyone else watch Justified? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Now that’s just depressing

The husband doesn’t watch Lost, but I like to enrich his life by discussing it with him anyway. Trust me, he likes this.

No sooner than I turned to him last night and said, “I love Jin and Sun. They’re my favorite Lost couple,” they were meeting their demise on the sub. Now, I enjoy some emotional drama, but that was just depressing. What about their daughter? As the remaining four Lostees cried on the beach, I also shed a few tears on my couch. Bummer.

On a somewhat brighter note, Sayid met his maker. For me, this was a little late in coming. In the last couple episodes, his character was basically a full-fledged minion of the Man in Black. To me, this was a turn for the worst in a character I had once liked a lot – in the first two seasons of the show I was really on board with his story. I bawled like a baby when Shannon died in his arms way back in season two.

I didn’t see Lapidus come up for air. I really hope he’s not in a watery grave. I like his character a lot, and have always felt that Jeff Fahey’s acting talents were under-utilized.

As we march on toward the final episode, it’s pretty clear that the characters are going to start dropping like flies on the island. Of course, hope remains for those still living in the alternate reality. I am wondering who will be the next to go. For a quick minute I thought Kate and/or Sawyer were also going to kick it last night as well. Now, I’m guessing Ben will be next. Who do you think has it coming?

Making sense of the dual realities on Lost

I am increasingly vested in the alternate storyline of Jack and his son.

As the season finale draws nearer and nearer, I am finding it increasingly hard to believe that the writers of Lost will be able to pull everything together in a way that is satisfying for me. Not because the writers aren’t great (they are), but because I am truly torn between the two realities. This is probably a testament to just how good the writing is – to be engaged with such a far-flung concept as an alternate reality, there has to be a good narrative with strong characters.

On the one hand the sideways reality (a term coined by my co-blogger, Mark) is often better for the characters – take Jack, Locke and Ben for example. On the other hand, the entire show has been building up to the struggle for the greater good on the island, and some characters have undergone tremendous change for the better (Sawyer, for example).

Mark has theorized that the show will end with both realities intact, but this is not very satisfying to me. So, in the end I hope the two realities are somehow tied together. I am particularly vested in the alternate storyline of Jack and his son, even more so after last night’s episode solidified their relationship. I would also love to see Jack perform a successful spinal surgery on Locke.

What did you think of last night’s episode? I’d love to hear your thoughts.