Capsule Reviews: Survivor, Ugly Betty, The Nine, Lost

Survivor: Cook Islands – Episodes 4 & 5

After a promising start that emphasized the social game over the last few seasons’ increasingly complex (not in a good way) and lengthy challenges, we had 2 episodes that returned to the excesses of the past.  Of a 43 minute episode, more than 20 minutes was spent in challenges.  There’s nothing else to say.  If this continues another week, I’m dropping this show.

Avi’s Episodes Rating: B- 

Ugly Betty – Episode 1 and beyond

I finally got around to watching the first episode which is also the last as far as I’m concerned.  I would end this article right here except I have to express my confusion as to what the critics who are gushing over this show are seeing that I don’t.  Let’s start with the concept which I don’t think is enough to sustain a crappy movie let alone a weekly show – ugly girl works in fashion industry and shows that brains and inner beauty are more important than superficial appearances.   Nothing wrong with the message but this show takes this base concept and makes everyone in the show mean.  Now I admit I don’t work in fashion or pretend to care about fashion and maybe I’m naïve but I find it hard to believe that any workplace is as unprofessional as this one.  Even if I’m wrong about the fashion industry or even society in general, this show takes it one step beyond reality and common decency and mixes in even worse dialogue and background music.  Even despite these issues, I like to give new shows the benefit of the doubt and would have watched one more episode, until the last 5 minutes.  The big reveal that the believed dead editor of the fashion magazine is still alive, attached to a machine and conspiring with Vanessa Williams’ character to take on the CEO and his son (Alan Dale and Eric Mabius who both deserve way better) took this show into ridiculous soap opera territory and made me erase the remaining episodes off my PVR.

Avi’s Episode Rating up to the Last 5 Minutes – C+

Avi’s Episode Rating after the Show – D

The Nine – Episodes 1 & 2

 If you’re not watching this show, go right to ABC’s web site and get caught up.  The premise is a simple one – 9 strangers are held hostage in a bank robbery for 52 hours and emerge as different people who together now share a unique bond.  The mystery of what happened in the bank unfolds in short clips over each episode as the story follows the characters in the aftermath.  The cast is a “who’s who” of TV actors in particular the great Tim Daly (I miss Eyes) as the detective with a gambling problem who stepped up as a hero during the crisis, the understated Chi McBride as the bank manager who has bottled up everything that happened to him and his daughter, the ever dimpled Scott Wolf as a surgeon (like his former older brother now on Lost) who last episode killed the hospitalized bank robber and finally the outstanding John Billingsly as the formerly suicidal man who becomes a hero and finds a new lease on life.  There’s a lot going on and I don’t know how they can keep the show going for more than a year or 2 but I don’t care.  It’s a great show and I don’t know why more people aren’t watching.  Go watch now!!!!

Avi’s Episodes Rating – A-

Lost – Season 3, Episode 2

I enjoyed this week’s episode much more than the season opener.  Sun and Jin’s back story was great and answered the question (maybe) from last season whether Sun’s pregnancy is an island miracle or the result of an infidelity.  Kate and Sawyer’s chain gang adventure was lots of fun ending with Sawyer’s assessment of the Others’ troop strength.  It was good to see Sayid the hunter back in action and I appreciated the irony that generally passive Jin could be more dangerous than Sayid if he wanted.  Finally, the ending with Ben holding out to Jack the possibility of returning home made me hopeful that the show may actually have an ending.

Despite all these good things it finally hit me 5 minutes into this episode my issue with Lost.  The thing I like the best about this show is also what in my opinion is its biggest weakness.  I love the complexity of the show, the sprawling cast, the numerous mysteries and the large canvas where so many things are simultaneously happening I can’t wait to see what happens next.  The problem is with a cast roster that takes the first 10 minutes of the show to unroll most characters don’t appear week-to-week.  The huge mysteries and sweeping storylines unfold at a pace that I find frustrating when it only runs 22-24 episodes a season.  I want more.  I want to see all the characters every week.  I want lots to happen every week.  Unfortunately it’s just not possible in a network TV show.  To be clear, I’m not going anywhere.  I do, however, increasingly understand why some people like to wait for the DVDs where these issues become less obvious.

Avi’s Episode Review – A-

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One Response to Capsule Reviews: Survivor, Ugly Betty, The Nine, Lost

  1. Steve says:

    Lost episode 7 – Not in Portland
    Brainwashing Scene with Karl strapped to the chair in Room 23.
    Seperated with surround sound and played backwards you can hear a creepy woman saying “Only fools are enslaved by time and space”

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