diligentdrool

IMDb member since December 2012
    Lifetime Total
    5+
    IMDb Member
    7 years

Reviews

Person of Interest: Liberty
(2013)
Episode 1, Season 3

Below Average
I was eagerly waiting for Person of Interest's season 3 premiere after the outstanding S2 finale that was 'God Mode' and I have to say the S3 premiere was very underwhelming, all things said.

The storyline was a little weak, and the writers seemed to be trying to juggle too many balls at one and it just didn't click.

The biggest negative was Shaw. I was willing to give Shaw a chance, despite people getting annoyed with her by the end of S2 itself, but I am very disappointed after this episode - if anything, it seems like I was wrong. Shaw just seems robotic, boring and tries too hard to be "badass". It doesn't help that Sarah Shahi is really not a good actress.

Too many characters struggling for screen space, in the end at the cost of one of the leads - Finch (surprisingly, given his 'the hacker who can worm him way to any information' act is one of the show's best aspects). The fact that this show treats the 'tech support' as one of its leads was what made it unique. That and the Machine, of course!

In the end, weak POI, narration that was all over the place, too much Shaw and her 'badassery' and too little Finch made it a below average episode - AND POOR BY POI STANDARDS.

Maybe I am jumping the gun here, but really there was nothing wrong with just Reese and Finch, with Carter and Lionel just helping out. Root and Elias are great as always, but Shaw is really an 'extra' that this show didn't need so soon.

I hope I am wrong, but this seems like a case of fixing it when it ain't broke. Thats never good. Prove me wrong Nolan. I hope you do.

Person of Interest: God Mode
(2013)
Episode 22, Season 2

Brave finale; mostly works
For a lot of this episode, I wondered why TPTB didn't end the season with the previous episode "Zero Day", which was a phenomenal episode that had ended with a terrific *gasp* moment. But that is when I realised that this was a conscious effort from the makers of POI- to not make this one a cliffhanger, but rather a chapter-closer of sorts.

For me, it largely worked. Despite a few absurdities which I have come to simply ignore or accept, it was a great fast-paced episode that did justice to its larger arc about the past of Finch and the future of The Machine. Some good writing and solid acting made it a very good one hour of television.

The best moments of the episode were in the Finch flashback - which was basically the point come to think of it. I don't want to divulge much but the scene towards the end with Finch and Grace was just heartbreaking; when I started watching the show, I never thought this procedural-like show would make my eyes well up but it did and how! hats off to Carrie Preston and Michael Emerson for that powerful moment.

I do have a few gripes about this episode. I wish this had been a two hour finale, it had too much content to be satisfactorily told in 42 minutes. Some parts seemed rushed - especially the Carter bits and the ignore to Fusco's character was surprising.

I am both excited and anxious about Season 3. Season 2 has been a massive improvement from season 1 if you look at the overall quality (though the last 6-7 episodes of season 1 were just as good). But the main reason for it was because this season was largely centered on the mysteries of the show's two best characters - Finch and The Machine. The backstory bits of Finch were just phenomenal throughout the season and now that it has been wrapped up (and very beautifully, I might add), I am a little concerned what will be that trump card that holds the next season together. Here is hoping that Jonah Nolan has a few more tricks up his sleeve because POI has been a great experience so far and we fans want it to remain that way for some more time to come!

Lost
(2004)

A one of its kind experience
Lost's Pilot has to be one of the greatest single episodes in Television history. Because it sells a rather absurd premise like I have never seen any pilot do. A group of strangers crash in a plane in a remote island in some unknown part of the world that no one can find and are stuck there. The story follows how they fight to survive in the spooky island which they later find out has a monster and its own original inhabitants called "The Others"; later we find out the supernatural and metaphysical elements to it. Sounds wacky, I know. But it, oddly enough, worked for me.

Season one went smoothly for me, though there were a number of silly characters I think the show could have done without. Story lines of Boone, Shannon, Claire, Kate and Ana Lucia (in season 2) bored me off my pants; but small complaints. Somewhere in the second season, in the middle, Lost almost began to lose me but the last 5-6 episodes again picked up amazingly well and got me piqued for the third season. But overall, the first two seasons were 'setting the mood and mystery' - though it is questionable if they really needed 45 episodes to do that. But that's how seasons work in American television!

From seasons 3 onwards, the dynamic of the show changed with the introduction of a number of other characters. My biggest reason to watch the show, despite some harebrained plot twists that expectedly followed the rest of the seasons, was Michael Emerson's turn as Ben Linus - I vaguely remembered the guy from some movie (took me a while to actually place him as "that bug-eyed freak" from that terrible movie called 'Saw'), but didn't really know him or expect him to be as amazing as he was. Within a few episodes of his induction, he had become my favourite TV character and actor. To be honest, he spoiled me; Every season, it was the Ben-centric episode that became the benchmark for awesomeness, so much so that I stopped caring about a lot of the other original characters/leads! It is a curious thing nowadays how character actors and characters who weren't in the original scheme of things become the show's biggest calling cards!

Also, I simply loved how Emerson and Terry O' Quinn played off each other, from mid-season 3. Their scenes were rarely NOT electrifying: easily the two best actors in the series - as evinced by the fact that they are the only ones who won an Emmy for their performances in the series. Together, these two kept me hooked for the best part of the final four seasons. Quinn's achievement was in the fact that his character often irked me but he still kept me hooked was nonetheless. On the other hand, Emerson had it a tad easier because his character was just so much more awesome though I think he was 90% the reason for it panning out that way anyway!

Of course, the phenomenal - just phenomenal - finales of virtually every season especially starting with season 3 helped!

Overall, Lost was a great experience; not necessarily a fully satisfying one and don't expect all your questions to be answered at the end. It raises too many questions and digs too many plot holes to satisfactorily fill in the final few episodes.

But it kept me hooked for 6 seasons, didn't bore me enough to give up on it and I didn't really "watch out" the series as I have done with a number of other shows; I remained interested in the plot development and major kudos to the writers for managing to do that for six seasons, if only just!

Give it a try; it is a unique experience, very different from most other shows and writers and the cast for the best part sell it pretty well; and you may enjoy it. Just a word of caution; sit back and enjoy, don't rationalize too much. This is not for the cynics.

Dexter
(2006)

9.1? Are you kidding me?
I cannot believe this terrible series is rated as high as it is and so many people praise it to the skies. 9.1? Should ideally be 1.9.

Dexter is one of those classic "American-American" TV shows that celebrates serial killers and the knife/gun wielding American hero. It is a propaganda piece that has unfortunately been accepted by some intelligent people as well.

I confess I watched only the first season but even giving time for a whole season to this crappy show meant I just had too much time in my hands. But it was more than enough for me to asses it as a very pseudo- intellectual show that only deserves brickbats. The plot is very unpleasant and stupid at the same time, the story moves slowly and one feels no attraction to any of the characters. Dexter is just...there. The writers try so hard to make his love interest Rita come across as the tortured poor woman that it just looks pathetic. And the other characters are just STUPID. On that note, a dialogue that comes to mind for me is Dexter saying "If I had a heart, it would be breaking right now." PUKE-WORTHY. Talk about lack of subtlety.

I have seen some seriously dumb shows in my life, but not all of them take themselves as seriously as Dexter. These guys have this misguided sense that they are creating a masterpiece. And that only makes it worse because they are so NOT.

The Prestige
(2006)

Nolan's best? I think so.
One of my most favourite films ever; 'The Prestige' is Christopher Nolan's most fascinating and engrossing film to date, pipping 'Memento' and 'Dark Knight', for me. The story of two rival magicians with a tragic history linking them, trying to outshine one another and the mysteries surrounding makes the premise of a magical two hour narrative.

There ARE holes in this movie and the story is not as compact as some other Nolan films; having a few weak moments. But this is where the genius of Nolan comes in - he makes it work completely, despite those problems - which is why I rate this movie as one of his best directed films.

This film doesn't have the heavy-handedness of 'Inception' (which is overrated IMO), isn't too clever for its own good (again, like 'Inception' and 'Memento' to an extend though I think the latter is Nolan's strongest in terms of sheer narrative brilliance)or the slightly impersonal feel of 'Insomnia' (a great film nonetheless; an underrated Nolan film I think). It is, in my opinion, the right mix of entertainment and quality. You will just not get bored with this film - in fact, I was left wanting more!

The acting in the film is flawless and is what makes the film such a compelling watch. The entire cast is brilliant, without exception, from Rebecca Hall to Scarlett Johansson to Michael Caine. As the two rival protagonist magicians, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman seem to go one better that the other with each passing scene. Ultimately, it is Jackman who shines more as Robert Angier though. As the mentally distraught, obsessive but consummate showman, he pretty much steals the show from perhaps an actor who may, in retrospect, be superior in sheer acting quality.

In a nutshell, 'The Prestige' is unlike any other Nolan movie. The sheer "watchability" value of 'The Prestige' beats the other Nolan movies blue and black. I have watched it four times completely; I enjoy it more and more each time. Without doubt, my favourite Nolan movie.

Watch it; it is truly magical.

Invasion
(2005)

Deserved at least another season
Let me tell this right off the bat. 'Invasion' is not a GREAT show. Rather, it was the "almost" great show that could have been a lot more if the writing had been a bit tighter and ABC had managed the show better.

Secondly, Invasion is not your normal sci-fic show. It focuses on how people's lives are affected by a calamity and not the calamity itself; which kind of suits my taste so there you for sci-fi fans: this may not really be your cup of tea.

Writer/Creator Shaun Cassidy really had something going here. I liked the premise of this show and the fact that it concentrated on the human angle rather than the science part of it all. Popular opinion is that it took off a little slow but I think otherwise. Sure, it was not a LOUD beginning, but it was not exactly boring and for sure, it was not misleading: it set the tone perfectly well. For me, it was in the middle that the writers lost their way a little (but the episode "Redemption" which if I remember was bang in the middle of the season was wonderful), but they managed to get the juice back in it towards the end. Although I am in the camp of those reviewers who felt the characters sometimes spend too much time talking! The scrip of many episodes could have been tighter and a little more action would have helped.

As for the acting - this one is a mixed bag. Eddie Cibrian as the 'nominal' lead Russel Varon - the all American good guy - was well, good but boring. There wasn't a lot more that he could do though his scenes with William Fichtner often left his acting skills less than flattered. But this is television and the acting meter is never expected to go to the red zone.

There was a lot of good in this show. Tyler Labine as Dave Groves and Alexis Dziena as Kira Underlay were pretty convincing in their roles. While Nathan Baesel as the lovable Lewis Sirk was surprisingly delightful.

There was some bad acting as well. Lisa Sheridan as Larkin Groves was just irritating for the most part. Elizabeth Moss as the crazy Christina wasn't very good either. But it is Evan Peters who plays the incredibly stupid and ill-written character Jesse Varon who takes the cake when it comes to the worst thing about the show. Terrible character; terrible acting.

Saving the best for the last, Kari Matchett as Dr. Mariel Underlay was simply brilliant. I have never seen her before but I sure will look forward to seeing more of her work; as the confused, loving but strong- willed mother of three married to the most creepy guy in town, Matchett shines. She brings a lot of mystery but a whole lot more of sympathy to her character.

However, the best thing about Invasion was without doubt, William Fichtner as the Tom Underlay. He was the reason I started watching Invasion and the mysterious Sheriff is the biggest reason to watch this show and trust me, Fichtner delivers big time - like he does pretty much every time in front of a camera, be it a film or TV series. I don't get tired of saying this: this guy is one hell of an actor and he stands out so much when he acts with TV actors who are so much inferior (look up Prison Break for example). Somehow, Fichtner gets the best roles even if they aren't the regular, normal leads - the guy who intrigues you and doesn't fall into the 'good' or the 'bad'. Don't we all love those morally ambiguous characters!

He has a terrific on-screen personality, a crookedly attractive face that is not conventionally handsome but gives him a unique edge on screen. Plus, he is exceptionally expressive and very skilled an actor of course. Underlay carried this show on his shoulders and they really had a great character going here, one that could have become a cult figure in modern day TV had they given it more time/seasons.

A special mention about the extraordinary background score by Jon Ehrlich and Jason Derlatka. Fichtner apart, the bes thing about the series. I would pay to buy that music disk.

All said and done, Invasion was a good enough show to deserve that and from what I hear, in spite of ABC's catastrophic management of its airing time, it still averaged almost 10mil viewers! ABC really dropped a ball here; to think they had silly shows running on 4 mil after dropping this one! I would have watched season two of Invasion for sure, if they had made it.

That said, often season 2 is the big problem for most dramas. With Invasion, we will never know and at least we were spared of a possible disappointment. But still, that cliff-hanger ending was a real turn-off.

Not a must-watch unless you are a Fichtner fan (and you haven't seen nothing if u are one but hasn't seen this show). But for everyone else, give it a try still; it is a good show that really could have been a lot more.

Prison Break
(2005)

More than a little "out there", but fun nonetheless
I started watching Prison Break really to find out how the makers were going to create at least 22 episodes of compelling story inside a single prison compound. I was pleasantly surprised by Season 1 though which basically managed to do this very well for the best part.The BGM by Ramin Djawadi helps and works a spell. Season 1: 8.5/10. A great season.

Season 2 didn't kick off in the best possible way with the first couple of episodes but picks up soon enough. A lot - in fact, too much - happens in season 2 and a lot of it may feel like taking the audience for a ride. This season moves faster than Season 1 and is filled with some unnecessary sub-plots but the introduction of the morally ambiguous FBI agent Alexander Mahone was a WIN in every way.. The mental struggle of the neurotic Mahone alone makes it highly watchable. Season 2: 8.5/10. A good season with special props for the introduction of Mahone.

But Season 2 had ended poorly and I had a bad feeling about Season 3, and right on cue - Season 3 was for the most part simply absurd and boring. The whole "Sona" prison thing just didn't work. Lo and behold, they had all ended up in the same prison somewhere in Panama, even the FBI agent! However, I would also add that the only compelling parts of this season again were in fact those of Mahone who in no time becomes not only the most interesting character but the one that moves the audience as well. Some of his scenes in this season were downright painful to watch, and not in a bad way - a rarity in Prison Break which is filled with one-dimensional characters with limited impact otherwise. Season 3: 6/10. Slightly above average.

The worst was saved for the end however. The first half of PB4 was a improvement from PB3 but they undo all the good work post episode 12 or so and unfortunately that is the lasting impression - one that makes you feel..."If Only!" It breaks all limits of senselessness and blatantly abuses the fact that viewers have chosen to overlook the absurdities the writers have thrown at them throughout the series. Season 4: 5/10. Average at best.

One of the biggest problems in PB is its characters and the acting. Wentworth Miller as Michael Scofield went from being a highly interesting genius in season 1 to plain boring and bland in seasons 3 and 4. All that whispering and staring has a small shelf-life. He does get his act together towards the end in bits but overall his performance makes a mediocre lead. Some fault lies in the writers too who create a rather bland "hero" with limited character development and depth.

However, Miller is the best of the 3 "lead" actors. Dominic Purcell as is Lincoln Burrows (a terribly written "thug" character to begin with) is just wooden and insanely one-dimensional. He is a very limited performer and his face has as much expression as a mug-shot and we feel no connection with Lincoln. Sarah Wayne Callies was Sara Tancredi is just as bad. While she was alright in season 1, in season 2, her lack of creativity shows and by season 4, she had easily become the most irritating and ill-evolved of characters.

Amaury Nolasco as the "good friend" Fernando Sucre too is a mediocre actor his sub-plot was one of the most unnecessary and distracting in Season 2 and he doesn't even play an important part in seasons 3 and 4.

However, there were two notable roles and performances that stood head and shoulders above this mediocrity. Robert Knepper's brilliant performance as "T-Bag" is one of the best performances in small screen. He brings an odd attractiveness to an incredible pervert of a character and does it with such unique style - hats off Mr. Knepper. Here is hoping we see more of you in the future. In fact, he was that good as T- bag that the writers overused him and even his effectiveness was diminished by the fourth season.

Which brings me to the one character that stood out in terms of character development. The character of Alex Mahone, played by the always stunning William Fichtner. Now, here is a truly great actor! Mahone's character develops brilliantly. He goes from being the mysterious and neurotic FBI agent to a cold-blooded killer who makes you hate him, then a traumatized victim to an entrapped drug addict who deeply disturbs your mind, and ultimately from a broken man to a redeemed one who you ultimately love. It takes a great actor to pull all this off and Fichtner does it brilliantly. I can't think of one scene of his in which he seemed to "phone it in". I have always felt Fichtner is a grossly underrated character actor and performances such as this are reminders of not just how good this guy is, but that he is a better actor than majority of Hollywood actors as well. Take a bow, Mr. Fichtner. You were a treat.

The writers go to both extremes through the 4 seasons of the series - from simply brilliant to awfully bad. The second half of Season 4 in particular was disastrous to say the least with the writers more or less losing the plot and most of the cast could do nothing to save it.

At the end of the day, Prison Break would have been a great show had it stuck to its original plan - of being a 2 season show. But it overstayed its welcome and much of Seasons 3 and 4 left a distaste in the mouth. I would still rate it as a "good" show that offers you some entertainment, albeit mindless. Watch it without expecting a realistically intelligent plot and you just may enjoy it as many others did.

See all reviews