Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Instant Lost 2.2 Review!

It wasn't as good as the Season Premiere, but it was solid enough... and I am excited like no other for next week!

Ten quick discussion points:

  1. I loved that they showed the portions of last week's story that we didn't see last week intertwined with the Rafters story. It really helped whet my appetite for the Hatch action without diminishing the Rafters story.
  2. TV Guide didn't lie. Locke indeed climbed down the Hatch this week. I'm the moron.
  3. Desmond typed 4-8-15-16-23-42 as predicted (nice job, Will).
  4. The shark had the Dharma symbol on its tail! What does that mean?
  5. Desmond seems as clueless as to what's going on on the island as the rest of them.
  6. Ana-Lucia looks to be the only survivor from the tail of the plane... and she's a captive of the Others.
  7. God bless the camera angle of Kate in the air duct!
  8. The Others are freakin' scary.
  9. Maybe the computer doesn't control the Monster... it seemed to control the clock countdown... and what was up with that?!
  10. Maybe Desmond didn't recognize Jack after all.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Lost - "Adrift"

Episode Title: Adrift

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: This week’s preview promises “we learn the fate of all the castaways” – meaning we’ll get the confirmation we all are wanting that Michael, Jin, and Sawyer (the Rafters) are alive and well, albeit five miles off the coast. But this is also a Michael episode, and our boy Mikey is now adrift in life. His son, his reason for being lately has been stolen away. I’d bet his flashbacks show how his life was kinda “adrift” as well, prior to Walt entering it.

TV Guide Description: “With the abduction of Walt fresh on their minds and their raft destroyed, Michael, Sawyer and Jin fight for their lives and discover a new predator in the roiling ocean. Meanwhile on land, Locke must descend into the hatch when one castaway goes missing inside.”

TV Guide Breakdown: Here’s what I’m interested to see: how they keep an entire episode focused on three characters floating on pieces of driftwood in the middle of the ocean. There must be something strange or fantastic that happens to them for a two reasons:

How else are they going to get back to the mainland?
After last week’s cliffhanger, if the show’s writers are going to move away from that storyline for a week, there better be something else good going on or we’ll all be very disappointed.

So what could it be? Another boat comes to save them? They come upon another smaller Island? A whale leads them back to land, a la Tom Hanks in Castaway?

No, based on the description, a new “predator” is in the rolling ocean. Could it be sharks, or perhaps “The Monster”? How about a different “Monster”, a water version of its land brother, the kind that could make a boat wreck (see: CFL) or could drag them back to the land? Either way, with Sawyer shot and bleeding and the Rafters with a few floating pieces of wood and no food or water, it’s pretty unrealistic to think they’re just going to make it back to the land by doggie-paddling.

I also think this might be one of those “TV Guide” lies weeks (as they are prone to do). Locke descended the Hatch last week. Does he climb out and then climb back in? I doubt it. Look for the Hatch (and the rest of the “land stories”) to take a break this week.

Now let's get on to the insane analysis of last week!

Complete Lost 2.1 Review and Analysis!

  1. What Happened Last Week: So, let’s say you had some lame excuse for missing the Lost season premiere last week. I really can’t think of what sort of excuse this could be, but hey, maybe your priorities are way out of whack. At any rate, here’s the super brief summary!

    We find a mysterious stranger living inside the Hatch who has a full blown apartment with running water, electricity, and mysterious computers. Locke lowers Kate into the Hatch, only for her to disappear. Shannon sees Walt in the jungle (or did she imagine it?). Locke enters the Hatch to rescue Kate, Jack does the same later on. The episode ends with someone holding a gun to Locke’s head, with Jack pointing a gun at both of them. We discover the person living in the Hatch is Desmond, a mysterious man from Jack’s past.

    So what? So let’s dance…

    Through The Looking Glass: All the sudden, with the first scene of the second season, we are now through the looking glass. Think about it. Up until now, we were all hypothesizing about what was going on on the island and it really could have gone anywhere. But now, about half the far fetched theories about the island are out the window. No dinosaurs. No aliens. They’re probably not dead. While we got more questions from the appearance with Desmond than we did answers (so far…), he did put a lot of rumors to rest.

    I’m now much more comfortable with how last season ended. We had a whole summer to hypothesize about anything and everything – the sky was the limit when it came to the theories. A lot of people were worried that the inside of the Hatch would be a disappointment, or take forever to be revealed, but it wasn’t. The writers basically showed us the inside of the Hatch as soon as possible. While we don’t fully understand it, we now have a whole new set of theories and questions to work through, which is fun.

    Always leave them wanting more.

    Desmond: Remember all those wacky riddles about the inside of the Hatch? Well, they all turned out to be true… but only because they kinda referred to multiple things inside the Hatch (a small form of cheating). But really, we should have been able to figure this out. Check it:
  • In a way, it's something you've never seen before. But in a way, it's something you see every day and are probably seeing right now = Apartment or Computer?
  • It begins and ends with the same letter = Desmond
  • Some of you were there this morning = Bed or Shower or Apartment?
  • The word that begins and ends with the same letter is not a plural = Desmond
  • One of the castaways has already seen this thing before. The others might have as well, but I know for sure that one of them, one of the MAAAAIIIIN ones, has seen it before = Jack
  • This thing in the Hatch can be called by two different words: One is three letters and starts and ends with two letters that are right next to each other in the alphabet = Man
  • The other is seven letters long and starts and ends with the same letter = Desmond

But really the reason we should have got it is because there are at least FOUR PEOPLE NAMED DESMOND WHO READ THIS EMAIL. Seriously, the first thing I did when I read the clues was think, “Maybe it’s me in the hatch? Nope, ‘Brian’ – that’s not it. What else could it be?” Very disappointing, Desmond clan.

But is Desmond one of the Others? I don’t think so. I think we could be looking at three or four distinct “groups” on the Island. The Others. The Fuselage. The Tail. Desmond. Why? The “Others” were clearly not afraid of being above ground, whereas Desmond is – plus, he was keeping in shape and didn’t look like a grizzled pirate.

Quarantine: The word “Quarantine” was written on the inside of the Hatch. Meaning that it was meant for Desmond (and whoever else was down there with him – Alex, anyone?) to warn them not to go outside. If this is the case, then all the Survivors are “infected” with something, which could explain why he would have grabbed Kate and put a gun to Locke’s head in this episode. If they’re “infected”, then he might need to kill them before they become crazy! But crazy with what…

Numbers: So, the numbers were all over this episode (on the walls inside the Hatch, all over Jack’s flashback, etc.) but what do they mean? Here’s my newest “Numbers theory”… did you notice that they were written on the side of the bottle that Desmond injected into his arm? Obviously that was some sort of steroid / drug. Based on the fact that there is a “quarantine” on the outside, let’s assume it’s a vaccine.

Well, what are vaccines made of? That’s right, weakened versions of the virus. Since the numbers were written on the side of the bottle, I’m thinking that the “name” of the “sickness” on the Island (the same sickness that made CFL’s crew go crazy and make you hear voices in the jungle) is “code-named” Virus 4-8-15-16-23-42. If that’s the case, are the numbers named for the Virus, or vice versa? Is one of the “symptoms” of the Virus that you repeat the numbers incessantly until you go crazy (like the guy in the mental institution with Hurley), or does saying / reading / using the numbers make you go crazy and bring about some wicca curse on you?

Amazing Race: When Desmond said he was “training for a race around the world”, it got me thinking one of two things:

He actually was speaking literally, and somehow on his race around the world he got stranded on the island. But that makes no sense, because how would he end up “working” inside the Hatch, and why would he have such a devilish grin on his face when he saw Jack? Plus, way too easy and convenient for a show like Lost.

He was on his way around the world to visit “potentials” to bring to the Island. He visited Jack this episode. Let’s say he visited the rest of the Castaways – Kate in Canada, Sun and Jin in Korea, Claire in Australia, Charlie in Europe… that sounds like around the world to me. Plus, there’s probably some other “potentials” that didn’t make the cut for one reason or another which probably took him to even more places.

Think about this: what would have been missing from these “potentials” 10-15 years ago when he was visiting? Well, Michael wouldn’t have had Walt and Claire wouldn’t have been pregnant with Aaron. Is it a coincidence that kids keep getting stolen on the island? I don’t think so! Maybe they’re immune to the virus, or maybe it would be cruel and unusual to subject them to whatever is going on. But whatever the “plan” is for these castaways, the children are not a part of it!

So what’s the “plan”? Some sort of experiment? Working with the virus and developing an antidote? Raising super-human soldiers in the fight against the mole people? I don’t know. But if you think about the circumstances of each character, it’s possible that Desmond could have manipulated them to get them on that flight… and then he could have brought that flight down.

I'm looking for Desmond to show up in at least some of the other characters' flashbacks this season, if not all of them!

Rutherford: Jack saved Sarah in his flashback, letting the other man die. That other man was Adam Rutherford. He died at 8:15. Shannon’s last name is Rutherford. Her rich father died when she was young and left her a lot of money. You might think she’d blame Jack for her dad’s death. Remember what happened when she blamed Locke for Boone’s death? She stole a gun and turned it on him! Watch your six, Jack-o.

Kate: There were rumors this summer that the next “big death” on the show would be a female. Locke said Kate was fine. You better not be lying to me, John Locke.

Mama Cass: “Make Your Own Kind of Music”. Once again, Lost teaches me a song I would have never otherwise known. Aside from being super creepy due to it blaring when Jack entered the Hatch, the lyrics look to have some deeper meaning:

Nobody can tell ya;
There's only one song worth singin',
They may try and sell ya,
Cause it hangs them up to see someone like you.

But you've gotta make your own music
Sing your own special song,
Make your own kind of music even if nobody else sings along.

You're gonna be knowing
The loneliest kind of lonely,
It may be rough goin',
Just to do your thing's the hardest thing to do.

But you've gotta make your own music
Sing your own special song,
Make your own kind of music even if nobody else sings along.

So if you cannot take my hand,
And if you must be goin',
I will understand.

But you've gotta make your own music
Sing your own special song,
Make your own kind of music even if nobody else sings along.

If you’re Desmond, the song seems to speak to your living alone in a Hatch underground on a mystery island in the middle of the Pacific. It’s lonely, and just doing his job is the hardest thing to do. But he’s jamming down there, even if no one else is there with him.

Pushing Buttons: The verdict is still out on the Creepy Walt that Shannon saw. I’m betting on “image projected by Vincent, who has some sort of super powers.” The last time we saw a dead person mirage on the island, it was Jack’s dad leading them to fresh water in the caves. This time? Playing Walt’s words backwards reveals he says “Don’t push the button, the button is bad.”

Coincidence that the “Execute” button on the keyboard inside the Hatch seems to bring forth the “Monster”? Coincidence that Desmond showed up with a gun just as Jack was about the press it? No – that’s a bad button, and Walt knows it. Now if we only knew if he was alive!

Monster: Did you catch the logo on Desmond’s shirt when he was running with Jack in the stadium? Or the logo on his Ghostbusters-like “jumpsuit” in the Hatch? No? Well, here it is:

Image hosted by

What’s that pictured in the middle? The Loch Ness monster? A serpent of some kind? THE MONSTER THAT IS ON THE ISLAND?! Desmond is controlling the monster! Do the math and check out this timeline:

Desmond wakes up while Jack, Locke, Kate, and Hurley are at the Black Rock.
Desmond types something in his computer as they’re walking to the Hatch.

(oh, and what did he type?)

Image hosted by

Desmond hits “Execute” as the Monster attacks Locke.
Desmond works out, showers, eats, the gang continues to walk and arrive at the Hatch.
Desmond is startled at a loud sound as the gang blows up the Hatch.

It matches! So the “Monster” must be something mechanical – but what is the purpose of it? Did Locke figure this all out long ago? Why did it kill the pilot? So many questions, but there’s one other thing…

See the word in the middle of the picture? My best guess at it is “Dharma”. At first I thought maybe he was just a big fan of Dharma and Greg, but then realized that was impossible, no one likes that show – so’d the word. Turns out, it also means…

“The undefineable everyting. The basis of life itself. Energy.”

Whoa. That’s pretty heavy. And blows my mind for a Blog post. It could pretty much sum up everything on the island in a way that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Instant Lost 2.1 Review!


That sums up Lost episode 2.1, "Man of Science, Man of Faith." Whereas the season finale left us wanting answers, the season premiere gave us answers... lots of them... and somehow opened even new questions, more intriguing than ever. I could go on and on about my theories of what everything means, but I'll just leave you with 10 discussion points for Thursday morning...

  1. The Hatch reveal did NOT disappoint! Somehow, against all odds, all the riddle clues came true (kinda, but close enough). Desmond. Man. Obviously! Yet, even though the Hatch is revealed, there are now TONS more questions about Desmond, his mission, his connection to each of the Survivors, and his connection to the island. Who wants to bet he shows up in flashbacks for some, if not ALL of the other Survivors?
  2. There seems to be more of a "purpose" or "reason" why each person on the island is there, rather than being some random accident. Are they all connected? Did Desmond bring them together?
  3. Something freaky is going on with Walt - is he dead? Was it an Omen? Did Vincent call his spirit?
  4. Parallelism rules! The "eye open" beginning scene, the same as Season 1! Kate counted to 5 while being lowered down the Hatch... like Jack in Season 1!
  5. Quarantine was written on the inside of the Hatch, meaning the guy in there was being protected by the "virus" that was on the island... the sickness... the Others... Hmmmm...
  6. The drawing inside the tunnel had the number 42 and 108 (the sum of 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42), along with the word "Sick" and a house underground... and looked to be drawn by a child...
  7. The vaccine Desmond injected himself with was called RX-1, 4-8-15-16-23-42. All his stuff looked to be really old... like 16 years old?
  8. Did Desmond cause Sara to get better? Did he grant Jack's wish? Does he have special powers to heal?
  9. Where is Kate? Why isn't Locke afraid? Has he met Desmond before?
  10. In the flashback, Desmond's parting words to Jack were "See you in another lifetime."

Next week looks to be a "Raft-only" episode, so it might be a grueling two weeks before we learn anymore... just gives us more time to discuss!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Lost - "Man of Science, Man of Faith"

Hello Again. It’s been too long.

Welcome back to Season Two! We’re new and improved with this new “Blog” method of writing, so get ready for pictures, hyperlinks, more frequent posts, and the ability for you to respond to the Emails via the comment section for everyone to read and debate. We’ll keep the general format of last year, with a few changes. Let’s get it started (ha)…

Episode Title: Man of Science, Man of Faith

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Part of me really hopes this is a Jack / Locke episode, but the more I think about it, it’s just going to be a Jack episode. I’m thinking that something happened in Jack’s past that caused him to lose his faith (losing a patient, his marriage breaking up with Sarah, Sarah having a miscarriage?) which is why he is so staunchly a man of science today. Expect the flashbacks to center around Jack and what happened that caused this dramatic character shift.

Also, in listening to the commentary on the DVDs (a must buy - $39.99 for SEVEN discs, are you kidding me? That’s like $5.71 per disc, and $1.66 per episode!), they mentioned that the tattoo Matthew Fox (Jack) has on the show are Fox’s real tattoos. They debated whether or not to cover them up with makeup when the show started, but decided to keep them.

If you look closely, the tattoo is a “5” with some symbols around it. It fits with Jack’s character due to his “I let the fear take over… but only for 5 seconds” speech. The creators mention “You’ll eventually find out why he gets the tattoo – and it represents a dramatic shift in Jack as a character” – could this be the episode where he loses his faith and gets a tattoo?

Image hosted by

But of course, this is Lost – so it must be more complicated than all this. The title also refers to the emerging power struggle between Locke (Man of Faith) and Jack (Man of Science) on the Island. With the Hatch now open, Locke should be nuttier than ever, and whatever is inside that Hatch – he is going to view as a message from the Island with some huge deeper meaning. Jack, our Man of Faith, will view it in a totally scientific and logical way, and there should be some conflict as the two try to win the other castaways over to their side.

The Jack / Locke “war” I wrote about all last season? We could see the start of it. Brian might not be crazy after all!

TV Guide Description: “As the second season opens, one of the castaways enters the hatch and discovers its contents. Also, a survivor of the attack on the raft makes an appearance. As does Jack’s wife, Sarah (Julie Bowen), in a flashback. Meanwhile, Shannon runs into a familiar face in the jungle.”

TV Guide Breakdown: The first sentence is a big win for winning over people disappointed by the season finale’s lack of revelations: we discover the contents of the Hatch. Series Creator Damon Lindelhof has promised – “you don’t just see a flash of it – you get a good long look at the inside of the Hatch. You might not know what it means, but you’ll know what it is.” More on this later…

The second sentence is puzzling… a survivor of the raft attack makes an appearance. This has to be Walt, right? Because the other three were treading water five miles off the coast of the island together. Could Walt possibly have already escaped the Others? I mean, he has special powers, so in theory he could summon a polar bear to attack them, or cause a freak rainstorm, or clown to scare them away – but it’s a little doubtful, since so much of the storylines of the first season led to them kidnapping him. I’m thinking Walt is gone for a good chunk of this season… and when we see him again, he’s changed (more on this later too!)

Jack’s wife in the flashback – pretty much what made me accept this is a Jack-centric episode, but I’m still hopeful for the dual Jack / Locke flashbacks! I’m excited to see more of this “Sarah” storyline for two reasons:

1. We never got a clear indication of if Jack and Sarah got married or not!
2. Sara was hot!

Image hosted by

Lastly, we have Shannon running into a familiar face in the jungle. Could it be Boone? Jack saw his dead dad in the jungle… could something similar happen to Shannon?

Okay, let’s set the stage for the new season before we start our insane obsessive hypothesizing…

Character State of the Union:

Last Seen: kidnapped by “The Others”, on their boat
Prediction: will remain disappeared until mid-way through the season, and will be very changed (either considerably older / brainwashed / evil) when he returns.

Last Seen: clinging to a piece of his blown up boat, screaming Walt’s name, 5 miles from the shore
Prediction: along with the rest of the Rafters, will spend first few episodes getting back to the rest of the Survivors, will then become totally crazy in his obsession to overtake the Others and find Walt.

Last Seen: with a freshly returned child (“Aaron”), thanks to Charlie and Sayid - at the caves
Prediction: winner of my “Most Likely To Die in Season 2” award.

Last Seen: at the caves, comforting Shannon and giving Vincent water
Prediction: will become a leader and will rekindle relationship with Jin upon his return

Last Seen: just returned to the caves after discovering the bonfire on the beach and retrieving Aaron from CFL
Prediction: will slip back into the H habit, until Claire dies. Claire possibly dies due to Charlie being strung out – then straightens up and flies straight, since he has to raise Aaron.

Last Seen: peering down the Hatch
Prediction: will lead “Science” faction of camp, being the logical “head” of that tribe, will be 1/4 of the “love rhombus” of Jack-Kate-Ana-Sawyer.

Last Seen: standing behind Jack, at the Hatch
Prediction: against all logic and odds, will continue to get hotter

Last Seen: shot (?), in the water five miles from land surrounded by boat wreckage
Prediction: will survive, continue to refer to other characters by funny nicknames

Last Seen: hugging Shannon, at the caves, just returned from the Aaron rescue with Charlie
Prediction: will continue romance with Shannon

Last Seen: hugging Sayid, still taking care of Vincent, at the caves
Prediction: will begin seeing dead Boone in the jungle, second most likely character to die this season

Last Seen: freaking out after seeing the Numbers on the Hatch, at the Hatch
Prediction: will become the most important character on the show as we begin to realize the importance of the Numbers

Last Seen: in the water and boat wreckage, unharmed
Prediction: will be critical in getting Sawyer and Michael back to the mainland, will warmly embrace Sun upon return

Last Seen: peering down the Hatch, with crazy in his eyes!
Prediction: will be leader of the “Faith” faction of the Survivors, we’ll think he’s evil / crazy, only to find he’s really had our best interest at heart all along when Evil Walt returns and Locke is our only hope!

With that out of the way, let’s start the crazy thoughts and theories for this season!

Nigeria. Here’s the thing. We all know there is going to be a Nigerian character on the show this season, which means one of two things:

1. There’s some weird time warp thing going on on the island.
2. There’s some portal thing that connects the island to Nigeria.

Personally, I’m pulling for the first. Check out these clues:

1. Originally, the script said that CFL was studying “Time” when they found the island.

2. The other two Nigerians are skeletons, meaning they’ve been there for a while – how is the third alive and well? Time is either going very slow for him or very fast for the others.

3. CFL seemed very confused when they mention to her “your distress signal has been playing for 16 years” as if she has no concept of time / thinks it should be longer or shorter.

4. Everyone on the show is still wearing watches. I’ve noticed it a lot on the DVDs. Check it out. Weird.

5. The Others seem to fit well with the Black Rock, since they look like Pirates – but honestly, when did Pirates go extinct? They’d have to be a few hundred years old…

But then there’s the second theory, which is a little easier:

1. Time warp things are for science fiction nerds. Lost is cool.

2. Since there’s also a polar bear dead on the island, it seems that there could be multiple portals – one to the Arctic, one to Nigeria, etc.

I don’t want to get too crazy here, so I’ll just leave it as – I think the overall theme of the show, the whole point, it’s going to be something to do with time.

The Hatch. Some people on the Internet know what’s inside the Hatch. For one, somehow “television critics and writers” get preferential treatment from me, and get to see episodes early. Totally unfair. Also, they aired the season premiere in Hawaii last Wednesday. Again, totally unfair. These people get to live in paradise and see Lost early? Come on…

At any rate, there have been “hints” about what’s in the Hatch. Hints that will drive you crazy, keep you awake at night, and shake the very foundation of your being. I’ve given them a lot of thought, and I got NOTHING. But maybe you’re much smarter and attractive than me, and you can figure it out. Here are the clues:

1. In a way, it's something you've never seen before. But in a way, it's something you see every day and are probably seeing right now.

2. It begins and ends with the same letter.

3. Some of you were there this morning.

4. The word that begins and ends with the same letter is not a plural

5. One of the castaways has already seen this thing before. The others might have as well, but I know for sure that one of them, one of the MAAAAIIIIN ones, has seen it before.

6. This thing in the Hatch can be called by two different words: One is three letters and starts and ends with two letters that are right next to each other in the alphabet.

7. The other is seven letters long and starts and ends with the same letter.

Here’s the thing that bothers me – all the clues seem to cancel each other out. I originally thought that someone would be down there, but it’s constantly referred to as a “thing” in the clues. If it’s something that only one person on the show has seen, it makes me think of the monster or perhaps something medical that just Jack would have seen, since he’s a doctor? But if it’s something so obscure, how could I have been there this morning? How could I be seeing it right now? I really have no idea. Help?

Okay, with my new Blog format, I can post immediate responses after the episode, so be sure to check back throughout the week.

As always, the Delta House will be open for business for the Season Premiere on Wednesday. Take note, Lost is now on at 9:00 pm, an hour later than last year!

Official Season Two Prediction: Better than Season 1.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Fall TV Guide

(I watch TV with a discriminating eye. I’m serious. It might seem like I watch any show that comes along, but really – my time is valuable. If the show isn’t funny, thought-provoking, exciting, or featuring scantily clad teenagers, I’m not going to watch it.

Likewise, I’ve always hated how TV controlled my life. You could pretty much cross out two or three nights a week in previous years as “I can’t do that because _________ is on tonight.”

But no more! Last week, we finally joined the rest of the smart people in America and got DVR. This should radically change my life. No longer am I the slave to the Network TV Schedule. I don’t want to sound like the commercials, but do you know how cool it is to pause and rewind live TV? Suddenly I’m saving 20 minutes of every hour of TV I watch. It’s great. And you can record two shows at the same time! Suddenly the sky’s the limit! I can pick the shows I want based on quality, not on availability of free time!

With that, I’ve had a few requests from people this week for “What shows should I watch this fall?” Well, I’ll tell you. Keep in mind, these shows are listed assuming you also have the wonderful invention of DVR to allow multiple shows at the same time.

There are some intriguing new shows that may or may not pan out, some returning favorites, and some shows you’re not watching, but probably should be. Without further ado, here is how you should spend your Autumn Evenings…)


8:00 – Arrested Development (Fox) – You Should Be Watching. Ranks right up there with the Office and Scrubs (returning in January!) as “The Only Funny Shows on TV Last Season.” You probably haven’t watched it up until now due to its dreadful Sunday night timeslot opposite Extreme Home Makeover (admit it, you cry). Now it’s got the prime location to kick off our TV week. Quirky, fun, great cast, and unique – plus it’s narrated by Ron Howard!

8:30 – How I Met Your Mother (CBS) – Promising. It’s told in flashbacks by Bob Saget. It stars Doogie Howser and the American Pie girl. What’s not to like? That's enough for me!

8:30 – Kitchen Confidential (Fox) – Promising. Bradley Cooper (Alias, Wedding Crashers) and Nick Brendon (Buffy) star in this comedy about working in the kitchen. I like both actors, and I like food - so I want it to be good.

9:00 – Prison Break (Fox) – Promising. I’m already sold. See my large review a few posts down. It’ll be gold at least through the prison break!

10:00 – Laguna Beach (MTV) – Returning Favorite. Don’t mock it until you try it. Watch the rich and beautiful high schoolers of Laguna fall in and out of love, go on multiple trips, and never actually study. It’s amazing how quickly you take interest in the lives of these kids, and will find yourself shouting things at the TV and discussing who Kirsten should be dating at the bar with your friends. It’s the very definition of a “guilty pleasure”.

Image hosted by


9:00 – My Name is Earl (NBC) – Promising. Jason Lee (Mallrats, Vanilla Sky) stars as a guy down on his luck who wins the lottery and decides to right all the wrongs in his life. Jason Lee is maybe one of the funniest men alive, the premise has promise, and the reviews have been very strong. Plus it's on right before the Office, so you'll be watching NBC anyways, right? :)

Image hosted by

9:00 – Amazing Race (CBS) – Returning Favorite. See interesting places and watch friends and lovers bicker under the stress of traveling. What’s not to like? Far more entertaining than the formulaic Survivor and Real World, the contestants don’t act like they’re on a reality show. If you’ve ever backpacked across Europe, you can appreciate the trials and tribulations of each leg on the journey.

9:30 – The Office (NBC) – Returning Favorite. If you work in a cube and haven’t watched this show, you deserve to have your stapler put in a Jell-o mold. The diversity episode last season (“No, I’m pretty sure they’re called ‘colored greens’ – because you don’t call them ‘collared people’) was the funniest half hour of TV all season. Picked up for a full season after the paltry 6 episodes it got last year, I’m ready for it to become my favorite comedy on TV.


9:00 – Lost (ABC) – Returning Favorite. Obviously. The first season was phenomenal. What’s lost on a lot of people (no pun intended) is that this show isn’t about revealing the island mysteries – those provide the background for the fascinating character development that we see each week. Think about it. I feel like I know 14 characters inside and out – their motives, their histories (at least some of them), and what makes them tick. Think of another show that has developed its characters, and as many characters, as much as Lost. You can’t. The writers have promised to deliver some answers right off the bat this season to appease the angry people with pitchforks that came out after the season finale failed to reveal what’s inside the Hatch. New characters will be introduced, we’ll be pulled further into the mystery of the island, and we’ll become more obsessed. It will be great.

Image hosted by


8:00 – The OC (Fox) – Returning Favorite. The first season was fantastic. The second season was okay, with some good and bad. The third season? Here’s hoping for less melancholy, more happy Sandy and Kirsten, and more Chino in fist-fights! Keep Seth’s pop culture references coming fast and furious, and you’ll keep me happy. Otherwise, I may be a casual viewer come season four.

8:00 – Alias (ABC) – You Should Be Watching. Okay, okay – last season was definitely the worst of the four thus far – but I’ll give Alias one last chance. With Jennifer Garner pregnant (and being written into the storyline, as I hoped this summer – come on, Rambaldi’s baby!), this is likely the show’s last season. Given JJ Abrams at the helm, that sounds like free reign to have some insane storylines and kill off some major characters… and maybe, just maybe – solve the whole Rambaldi mystery once and for all!

Image hosted by

8:00 – Everybody Hates Chris (UPN) – Promising. Think “The Wonder Years”, except told by Chris Rock. It’s got nothing but glowing reviews, and honestly – who didn’t love The Wonder Years? Damn you Winnie Cooper, stop messing with Kevin Arnold’s head!

9:00 – Reunion (Fox) – Promising. It’s “The OC” meets “24”. Each episode tells the story of one year in the lives of one group of high school friends. The twist? The first episode is at the funeral of one of them, and we don’t know which one. It’s a great, fresh concept for a TV show – we’ll see if they can pull it off.


9:00 – Desperate Housewives (ABC) – Returning Favorite. Between you and me – this is the weakest “Returning Favorite” on the list. It’s a good show, but it’s not great. After starting last year with a great murder mystery storyline, it kinda dragged on with the characters becoming almost cartoonish in their actions by the end of the year. It’s on the list because it’s mandatory water cooler talk on Monday mornings – and unless you want to be that nerd who doesn’t watch the “cool show” on TV, you’ll tune in.

9:00 – Family Guy (Fox) – Returning Favorite. Sorry Simpsons, this is the funniest cartoon on TV. With so many pop culture references even I don’t get some of them, the story lines are pretty "out there"… but in a good way. Here’s hoping they can continue the smart writing that made it the first show to ever be cancelled and then renewed by the same network.

Image hosted by

So there you have it. As you can see, Mondays look pretty loaded, but the rest of the week is pretty sparse, and there's really no TV to watch during the weekends, when you can go out and be social. Add it all up, eleven hours a week… but like I said, some of these shows still need to prove themselves. But I’m hopeful. This list should be pared down to 8 hours or so before Christmas.

Comments? Reviews? Post ‘em below! (Seriously, when I look down and see 0 comments, I die a little on the inside)

Tell your friends, block off some time on the work calendar, and put the kids to bed - the first full blown Lost Email of the year is coming in a week!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina is a Bitch

(Some random thoughts about Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath...)

At first, I thought "Here we go, another Hurricane" and didn't really pay attention to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I mean, we were in the middle of "The Great Styrene Evacuation of 2005" here in Cincinnati. Then over the past few days, I've watched countless hours of news on this tragedy... and it's made me very sad.

Some random thoughts.
  • New Orleans is going to be some freaky ghost town for the next three months. There will be mobs roaming the streets, fighting over whatever food / supplies are left, living in filth, in the dark, in the water. It's like the scariest horror movie you could imagine.
  • This is what you get when you live below sea level. Nothing against the people of New Orleans, but living below sea level is asking for trouble. Now is the time to raze the city to the ground, build it up, and start over. Seriously.
  • My mom had a good point - anyone who gets caught looting electronics or clothes or anything other than food and basic necessities should be charged with manslaughter. If the police and national guard have to worry about these idiots, they're not rescuing people they should be.
  • What in the world happens to all the businesses that were centered around the Mississippi Delta? How do you just shut down for three or four months? Do people still get paid?
  • Anyone who complains about the cost of gas should immediately be forced to donate $1,000 to someone who lost everything they owned in the Hurricane.
  • No one has any idea how they're going to get things back to normal. The engineers involved in pumping the city dry admit they're pretty much doing the Brian-math-style "Guess and Check" technique.
  • This is an environmental and health nightmare. Waste is everywhere. This is how things like the bubonic plague re-enter a society. Once they get the city's pumps working, it's going to pump all this waste into the Gulf of Mexico. That's not good either.
  • New Orleans may be dead. A lot of the history and old buildings are gone. People have insurance, but rebuilding takes a lot of time... and who's to say another Hurricane couldn't hit? At what point do you throw in the towel and say "God doesn't think people should be living here"?


Image hosted by

You can donate (totally tax deductible!) to help people here:

The Red Cross

Lions and Tigers and Bears... Oh Yeah!

(So I started reading this article the other day and thought: this is insane. By the end of it, I though: let's do this... like right now! What do you think?)

Cheetahs, lions, camels and elephants would roam wild in the United States under a new proposal to re-introduce large animals similar to those that humans hunted to extinction long ago.

Image hosted by

The U.S. Ecological History Park, as it is billed by scientists, would help preserve species that are under increasing pressure for survival in Africa. It would also re-create a more balanced predator-prey relationship in the Great Plains and Southwest, an ecological diversity that has been absent for more than 10,000 years thanks at least in part to hunting pressure.

The idea, similar to one already under way in Siberia, is laid out in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature by a dozen ecologists and conservationists at 10 universities and institutions.

The park, where large and sometimes dangerous predators would roam free, could be an economic boon to depressed farming regions that humans are fleeing from anyway.

The scientists would like to start now, using large tracts of private land, and expand the effort through the century.

"If we only have 10 minutes to present this idea, people think we're nuts," admits Harry Greene, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University. "But if people hear the one-hour version, they realize they haven't thought about this as much as we have. Right now, we are investing all of our megafauna hopes on one continent — Africa."

Better than rats
One justification for "rewilding," as the scientists call it, is that one way or another, we humans have a dramatic effect on the animal kingdom and ecology in general, so a proactive approach is better than letting the world go to the dogs. Or, in this case, to the rats.

In the absence of elephants and large predators, which together stomp the ground and keep other animals on the run, landscapes will come to be dominated by dandelions, rats and other undesirables, the scientists write.

Large predators can be "keystone species" that are crucial to shaping the flora and fauna of an entire range.

A modern example is the widespread disappearance of wolves and grizzly bears in parts of the West, again at the hands of humans. Elk populations soared. Elk eat willows, which beavers rely on, and so beaver populations in Colorado declined by up to 90 percent, the authors state. Fewer beavers meant fewer dams, and the reduced wetlands caused willow populations to decline 60 percent in some areas.

The paper’s lead author is Cornell graduate student Josh Donlan.

"Humans will continue to change ecosystems, cause extinctions, and affect the very future of evolution -- either by default or design," Donlan told LiveScience. "The default scenario will surely include ever more pests and weed-dominated landscapes and the extinction of most large vertebrates."

Cheetahs, woolly mammoths and relatives of the camel were just a few of the large mammals that roamed America during the Pleistocene era, which ended 10,000 years ago as the last Ice Age retreated. Studies have shown that their demise was due largely to hunting by humans, not from climate change, as one theory held.

Their absence has altered the biodiversity of the continent and potentially the evolution of other animals. Large prey such the antelopelike pronghorn of the Southwest evolved lightning speed over millions of years to escape cheetahs, for example.

Start now
The park would actually involve multiple locations and phases of introduction, beginning immediately.

One first step would be to import endangered camels from the Gobi desert to the American Southwest, where they might gobble woody plants that now rule some landscapes.

Small numbers of African cheetahs and elephants from Asia and Africa could immediately be introduced on private property in the United States. The endangered cheetahs are close relatives to cats that roamed prehistoric America. Elephants are related to mammoths.

The elephants could bring economic benefit by their natural ability to manage grasslands and the potential for ecotourism, the scientists say.

Financial benefit is a key to the whole plan, in fact. The researchers cite the more than 1.5 million annual visitors to the semi-wild San Diego Zoo as an example of the draw that might be expected in a Pleistocene Park.

The scientists realize they have an uphill battle to gain public support. The controversy surrounding the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park shows the "clear obstacles" faced by any rewilding effort, Donlan said.

"Obviously, gaining public acceptance is going to be a huge issue, especially when you talk about reintroducing predators," Donlan said. "There are going to have to be some major attitude shifts. That includes realizing predation is a natural role, and that people are going to have to take precautions."


(The first must see TV of the fall 2005 season... Fox's "Prison Break"!)

Image hosted by

So, about this time last year I was downloading the pilot episode of a little show called Lost. I watched it, was hooked, and began showing it to anyone who would watch it. By the time the season premiere came around, I couldn't wait. Little did I know the show would go on to become a full-time obsession, but it was definitely "my show" of last year.

Actually, thinking back, there has been a new show each of the past few years that won my heart. 24. The OC. Lost. This year, I think it's going to be Prison Break.

For those of you who missed the two hour season premiere, here's the basic premise: white collar engineer (Michael Scofield) gets himself thrown in prison to break out his brother, who's on death row for murder. Seems simple enough? It's not. In the first hour, we learn that in the months before committing a fake bank robbery, Michael studied the life history of every other person in the prison and tatttoed the entire blueprints of the prison onto his body (along with some other clues). By the end of the second hour, he's getting a toe cutoff from a fellow prison rather than give up information about a mafia snitch in hiding who he apparently found before being imprisoned.


Now, this isn't going to be a Lost-type over-analyzing show. It's more like a 24-type action-drama show... which is fine by me. I don't think my brain could handle another Lost show without me forgetting how to drive or type or something.

What's to like about this show?

1. The Production. It's actually shot on-site in a real prison in Illinois. Everything about the show looks real.

2. The Story. Even though we're only two hours in, they've already planted the seeds of a dozen storylines, with the main one being the prison break.

3. The Acting. It's good. It's not over the top, and doesn't come across as stereotypical, which is a big risk for a prison tv show / movie.

What worries me?

1. The Pacing. The first half of the season, maybe the whole first season is obviously going to deal with how Michael is going to break out of prison, which is fascinating. We see his mind working, we see him stealing items and doing things, but we don't know why. Half of the fun is going to see how he uses everything to get out. But then what? While Currin and I have hypothesized how the story would work once he gets out, I think a lot is going to be lost. We'll see.

2. The Story. Already, one or two storylines feel poorly ripped off from Shawshank Redemption and other prison movies. There's enough good and fresh stuff to let me overlook it, but there's really only so much that you can have going on in a prison, isn't there?

All in all, it's a good start to the TV season. The first two hours were very impressive. Here's hoping they can keep it up until 24 takes over after the New Year. At the very least, the episodes leading up to the actual Prison Break should be fantastic.