Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Talk of Circadian Rhythm

After a year long hiatus, I've decided to jump back into writing the rest of my Daysleepers comic book project. The year was spent working on my X-Men fan fiction stories, which were a fun experiment and writing exercise. Also, I think that writing for The Comic Addiction and interviewing people within the comic book industry may have afforded me a few connections that I might be able to exploit.

I posted on the CA forum that I was looking for an artist, but I haven't had any bites. Interestingly enough, Robert, the original artist, contacted me yesterday with an image of a freshly finished page seven. He says he's still interested and that he's been really busy with other projects. I would total write the guy off if it wasn't for the fact that his work is so good.

I guess the best thing I can do is just finish the script for the rest of the issues (I'm planning the opening arc to be five issues), and see where he's at when I'm done. In the meantime, I think I'm going to set up a blog for Daysleepers where I'll post the pencils and the corresponding script pages. This way the work is "published" and might make potential publishers more comfortable about looking at it.

I've got the roots of another series buzzing around my head, too (calling it Dirty Bomb at the moment just to have something to call it). It's a different world than Daysleepers and my attempt at coming up with some sort of superpower based series. It involves such fun topics as terrorism, religious freedoms, collective living, airline disaster, dirty bombs, and possibly time travel mechanics.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ways to Make it Through the Wall

When the first few episodes of Fringe aired, I found the premise interesting and the hours fairly entertaining. As the season has progressed, I've grown to really like most of the characters and the shows mythology became more established and deeply compelling. Fringe gets justifiably compared to The X-Files, but Fringe is starting cut out its own identity while benefiting from the lessons learned from the nine seasons of the older show. (Note: There will be possible spoilers for the first seventeen episodes of Fringe.)

Where The X-Files mythology was made up and strung together on the fly, the creators of Fringe appear to have a solid grasp on their own long term story arc. At their core, both myths are fairly similar. The X-Files dealt with an impending alien invasion, whereas Fringe focuses on an impending war with forces from a parallel universe. Both shows had/have Monster of the Week episodes, but Fringe has managed to throw in splashes of mythology in these seemingly standalone hours ("Inner Child" is perfect example of this). "Bad Dream" seemed like a MotW, until the halfway mark and threw us some of the most compelling and frightening additions to the myth arc.

While having only two principal characters allowed for deep exploration and great acting on The X-Files, it didn't leave much room to wiggle outside the lives of Mulder and Scully, and some occasional Skinner. Fringe has its own Skinner in Broyles, but we've been given three leads and a few nice subordinates in Astrid and Charlie. This opens up the possibility of widening the character focus as what happened to Charlie Frances in "Unleashed". He's been around since the first episode as Olivia's guy Friday, but got to know the character a lot more once his life was put in jeopardy.

I'm like the three leads on Fringe, for the most part. While Anna Torv's Oliva is the show's primary hero, she's been the hardest character to enjoy. For most of the season, it didn't feel like I actually knew who this person was, outside of her job and affair with Agent Scott. Giving her a live-in sister and niece has helped humanize her while mythology hours like "Ability" and the awesome "Bad Dream" has given Torv a lot of fantastic material to work with. I'm slowly coming around on my opinion of Agent Dunham.

Walter Bishop is probably the most compelling character on the show. John Noble is in danger of being typecast as the go to lunatic (see Denethor the crazy steward of Gondor in Lord of the Rings). Still, Walter has been a wonderful balance of outlandish comedic asides and a man slowly uncovering the horrors his research has unleashed on the world. As he begins to unearth events that he has apparently blocked (or had blocked) from his memories, the more the greater myth expands.

The one character I've been surprised to find really interesting is Peter Bishop, played by Joshua Jackson (who is my vote to play Will Riker, if there's ever a call to reboot Star Trek: The Next Generation). As Walter's son, I'm sure we'll slowly learn about the experimentation that Peter was subjected to as a child. He may not have been in Jacksonville with Olivia and Nick, but something about him has drawn the attention of the Observer. Also, Jackson's character supplies some great humor and is a stand-in for the audience when it comes to questioning the absurdity of the cases faced by Dunham's team. He's the Scully to Olivia's Mulder.

I'm pretty sure that Fringe is set to be renewed for a second season. If the quality continues to improve and the mythology maintains it cohesion and depth, I'm definitely looking forward for another twenty or so episodes. I think that fans of The X-Files should check out Fringe especially if they would like to see how a similar concept can be improved upon.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Kill Your Television Update

The ending of Battlestar Galactica has left me without a weekly excuse to blog about something. I don't plan on reviewing shows episode to episode as I did with the final season of BSG, but I'm going to try to post my thoughts about some of the shows I'm currently watching. Be forewarned about spoilers ahead.

Lost - Season five continues to build on the momentum established by the last season and the new shorter seasons, plus the established end date, seem to suit the show well. This makes the writers fill each hour with little filler, which bogged down some of the first three seasons.

This week's show was a Kate episode that was actually really good. The character was given quite a bit of badly needed development. Hopefully this will continue to happen and we'll get a Kate that is creating her own destiny and not dependent on someone else the entire time.

Sawyer has really developed into a great multi-faceted character. I used to hate the guy and his nicknaming and smart remarks, but the writers have gone a solid job of transforming him into a leader over four and a half years of the show. I certainly hope he sticks with Juliet and doesn't go padding off after Kate, again. This week's show gave me hope.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Despite how slow the show tends to be, particularly during the first three episodes after the winter hiatus, I'm still really digging it. The resolution of the whole Jesse/Riley arc was handled really well and we finally got to see John behave as if is going to grow up to be the savior of mankind that we've led to believe he's going to be.

I was sad to see the death of favored recurring character last week. I was hoping that his reintroducton would lead to a more frequent appearances, maybe even joining up with the Connor's team, but it doesn't look like that will happen now.

The Weaver/Ellison/John Henry plot took some interesting turns this past week. While Weaver's true agenda continues to be unknown, we now have another rival agency to contend with. I wonder if this will force Weaver and the Connors to have to work together in the near future.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Daybreak (Part II)

Battlestar Galactica - Episode 4.20

The series finale is clearly cut into two distinct halves, both spotlighting the dichotomy that is Battlestar Galactica. The first hour was an edge of the seat, action and special effects extravaganza, while the second was serene and character focused. In the end, this was sort of ending I would expect from Ronald D. Moore and by the completion of the two hour and eleven minute finale, I was emotionally and physically spent.

Before the mission, there are a few moments that set up how the rest of the fleet will operate if Galactica and her crew don't make it back. The notion that Lt. Hoshi and Romo Lampkin were installed as the Admiral of the Fleet and President of the Colonies was hilarious yet made perfect sense. Adama, a battlestar commander aboard a ship that was about to be decommissioned, and Roslin, a low level cabinet member, were thrust into those roles at the beginning of the series, so it makes sense that their replacements would to.

Given that this was the final episode and that the danger and stakes were so high during the Galactica's attack on the Cylon colony, the feeling that anyone could die was potent. Once the old girl jumped only yards away from the front door and Gary Hutzel and his effects team got to work, it was hard to get excited. The work on the space battle scenes have always been topnotch, but this took it to a whole new level. Setting the conflict in a debris field on the edge of a collapsing star gave a different look than the usual star-speckled blackness, and evoked a feeling of our heroes storming the gates of hell. Every time the ship took a hit, I could almost feel it and the explosions and crew being thrown around on the inside helped sell the concussive nature of the battle. Throw in the Raptor strike teams jumping out a pylon, tearing a hole out of it, Vipers dogfighting thousands of Raiders, and red-stripped rebel Centurions punching it up with old school '70s models, and you've got battle that almost rivals the liberation of New Caprica in season two.

Boomer's demise went down as expected. It was fairly obvious over the last couple of episodes that she have a change of heart, betray Cavil, and bring Hera to the Colonials. When she delivered Hera into the arms of her parents, there was nothing left than to have Athena shoot her. Given that in a single episode a few weeks ago Boomer beat her up, tricked her husband into sex, and kidnapped her daughter, she was probably justified in her revenge.

I couldn't help but think that the resolution to the opera house vision was a little anti-climatic. This was a lot of build up to just have the outcome be Caprica Six and Baltar picking up Hera and taking her to CIC to be safe. The moment that the vision of the Final Five came into play was nicely handled, but overall it the outcome fell a bit flat.

What did work was the revelation of Head Six and Head Baltar as guiding forces for Caprica and Gaius. This helped the two wayward lovers reconnect and defined what was going on in their heads, especially Baltar's, all this time. However,the stilted delivery at the end of the episodes by these angels seemed to undercut the impact of the revelation. Still, Gaius Baltar stepped up to the plate and helped end the war by approaching Cavil in an attempt in end the cycle of violence.

The offer of resurrection by Tigh that finally sold Cavil on peace seemed too simple at first. Luckily, Moore found a way to use it to inject one more eruption of chaos. Tyrol finds out Tory's execution of Cally at the most inopportune time and keeping with his quick reactionary self, Galen kills her before the Final Five can complete the transfer of resurrection knowledge to the Cylon colony. I loved that once all hell broke loose (again), Cavil just decides to shoot himself right there. He was finally at his wits end with having to deal with all of this and decided to go out on his own terms.

A resolution that really worked was the payoff for Starbuck's destiny and the revelation of her true nature. I was disappointed when Ron Moore said on the podcast that the missing seventh model, Daniel, was not Kara's father as I and apparently half the watchers of the show felt they were led to believe. Still, her Christ like return and departure was very compelling. Kara Thrace did die when she plunged into that worm hole in season three. However, some greater force decided that she be returned in some fashion to complete her destiny. Her good-bye to Lee was sad and sweet, too.

The last hour dealt with our heroes finally finding a home. Ironically enough that home is Earth. Not the Earth from earlier in the season, but our Earth. Looking back, I don't recall ever seeing any continents from orbit of the first Earth, so this trick really worked for me. The twos, sixes, and eights decide to stay to help humanity settle in, who in turn decide to destroy their ships and technology and start from scratch. Also, we find out that Hera is to become our, the humans on Earth today, evolutionary mother (though the logistics of her spreading her genes is a bit staggering).

This was also the hour that the creators and actors went that extra mile to emotionally wreck their longtime viewers. The first was Kara's good-bye to Sam before he flew the fleet into the sun. Despite her treating him badly over the years, she did really love the man. His love was equally strong and enough to break through his Hybrid nature for him to shed a tear and say that he would see her on the other side.

Another great moment was the flashback of Saul and Ellen at a bar on Caprica. He's about to retire and she thinks she's about to get what she has always wanted: Saul. She has had to share him with his career and Bill Adama for far too long. This goes along way in explaining her behavior. She slept around on him so much because he was never there and part of her wanted to hurt him for that. At the end, Ellen finally gets her Saul all to herself as they march off through Africa to live out the rest of their years together.

The expected death of Laura Roslin was sweet, sad, and sincere. The romance between her and Bill was allowed to slowly develop over the four seasons and was well-earned. While I grew tired of seeing Adama break down so much in the past fifteen episodes, this one was really justified and I couldn't help but feel heartbroken when he put his wedding band on her hand (as telegraphed Laura's vision earlier in the season).

These moments were great and emotional, but the one that strangely got to me the most was Baltar's admission and acceptance of his farm roots and the fact that he had come full circle. James Callis played this moment extremely well and despite all the mistakes and self decisions the character had made over the years, I couldn't help but feel for him here. The character of Baltar seemed to have been directionless for most of the fourth season, but he got plenty of payoff in this finale. Oh, and he survived even though he helped start this mess in the first place.

As I mentioned above, the final scene between Head Caprica and Head Baltar falls sort of flat. Not that the idea was bad, but the execution wasn't up to James Callis or Tricia Helfer's best work. Still, I loved the use of the Jimi Hendrix version of "All Along the Watchtower" over a montage of robotic creations manufactured by the humans of Earth today. This does more to pose the question of whether or not we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of past than the conversation between the two angels.

Looking back at the series as a whole, I think that I got more personal satisfaction watching Battlestar Galactica than any other series on television. Ron Moore did an amazing job using a fantastic setting to make us reflect on real world ideas and situations. He gave us characters that were never without flaws, and rarely were any of them truly evil. It was the gray of human nature that made the show so exciting and engaging. The acting was, more often than not, excellent, particularly Mary McDonald, Edward James Olmos, and Michael Hogan. Tricia Helfer should be commended for being so versatile and so good. This was her first true acting gig. The production and special effects were motion picture worthy and I am still astonished that they were able to do so much with a television budget.

When it comes down to it, Battlestar Galactica was just a really, really good show, sci-fi or otherwise. It very, very rarely felt like a waste of an hour (I'm looking at you "Black Market"). It made me think and it thrilled me. It went out on its own terms and I'm very satisfied as a viewer who took a chance on the mini-series.

9 out of 10

Friday, March 20, 2009

Starting Over: Superman

As a child, I loved the first two Superman movies. The first one did an excellent job of re-introducing the character for a 1978 mainstream audience, had a great cast, and established the core mythology of the character. The second one explored the idea of Clark giving up his powers to be with the woman he loved, only to sacrifice that desire to combat a huge threat in the form of Zod (Terrance Stamp rocks!), Ursa, and Non. It was a great balance of character exploration and hi-octane action. For the longest time, I felt that these two films established the model that most successful superhero movies tended to follow: set up in the first flick, take the ball and run on the sequel. The first two X-Men films did this, as did Spider-Man and the Chris Nolan Batman movies. The Iron Man film franchise seems poised to do the same.

Superman Returns wasn't a bad film. Unfortunately, several decisions were made in the casting, writing, and performance that cast a green glow upon it and did not allow for it to be a really great movie. The first was the initial concept. Instead of rebooting the franchise, the new film was a sequel of sorts to the first two Christopher Reeve/Margot Kidder/Gene Hackman films, but wisely ignoring third and fourth movies. As a result, Superman Returns played more like a love letter to first two films rather than a movie that entertained on the merits of its own red booted feet. Also, the casting was weak. Brandon Routh was primarily brought in due to his looks capturing the ghost of Christopher Reeve. Kate Bosworth just didn't have the physical presence of Margot Kidder or her charm. Kevin Spacey, who is usually a fantastic actor, channeled his inner Gene Hackman and didn't really put his own spin on Lex Luthor. To tell you the truth, the most interesting character in the movie was Lois' new man played by Cyclops himself, James Marsden.

I purpose a hard reboot. Let's start the Superman movie franchise over from scratch. Let's take the best of the Superman comics and the movies and boil it down to a great movie for the 21st century. The first one should follow the model established by the 1978 film: introduce the character and have him face his first big crisis. Also, introduce the important players of Clark Kent's world as well as his arch-nemesis. Superman Returns did have some fantastic special effects and the costume looked really cool. Bryan Singer can direct the hell out of a movie, so I'm not adverse to giving him a second go.

So, who do I see playing the three most important roles in this reboot?

Superman/Clark Kent: Michael Trucco
If you're a fan of Battlestar Galactica then you know that Michael Trucco not only looks good and is physically fit, but he's really, really grown as an actor over the past two seasons. The problem with Routh was that he was just... there and I didn't get a real sense of who Clark Kent was (also the script turned him into a creepy super voyeur). Trucco is more than good enough for an exploration of a man raised by Kansas farmer who has moved to the big city to further his career, as well as a superpowered alien Jesus figure. I think he is more than capable of finding the human underneath the alien (he'd done it before). He can also act and look younger than he actually is.

Also, look at the man. He's tall, athletic, and he would only need to do a little working out just to bulk up a little, but that's it. How would he look in the glasses though? Clark Kent is a disguise and it's all about the body language and the delivery. I hate buffoon Clark. Clark can have as a distinct personality and presence as Superman without looking like an incompetent fool. I say make him behaviourally different than when he's in the cape, but still attractive and skilled enough to draw Lois Lane's attention in a way that she's intrigued by both men.
Trivia note: Michael Trucco was in a car accident in December of 2007 in which he fractured four of his vertebrea. He's made a full recovery from an injury that doctors say was almost identical to that sustained by Christopher Reeve.

Lois Lane: Rashida Jones
First off, she looks and sounds sort of like a young Margot Kidder, only in my opinion, Rashida is prettier. I know what you're saying, "But, Paul, you didn't like that they cast Routh for similar reasons!" Homage is fine as long as you can build on it. I think she's a far better actress than Kate Bosworth and she's got some decent comedic timing which is a nice element for the quick-witted and savvy Lois Lane.

The daughter of music pioneer Quincy Jones can do that. Look at her character of Karen Filippelli on The Office (US). She wasn't just book smart, but she could hold her own with the pranksters and smart-asses around her. Her Lois would be similar but with more of a proactive edge to get the story and sharpness that would allow her to hold her own in a room with either a superpowered Kryptonian or a the world's smartest man.

Lex Luthor: Bruce Willis
I think that Lex Luthor should as be charismatic as he is intelligent. He knows how to manipulate the world around him and that includes people. I think Willis could easily pull this off. I also like Lex to be older than Superman. Here's a man that has worked hard to establish himself as Metropolis' main businessman and innovator, then along comes this guy who can lift a 747 over his head and everyone forgets about the first guy. Superman becomes one part target of envy and one part riddle needed to be cracked and another part obstacle of Luthor's ambitions.

Another thing is that Willis has a physical presence that can be conveyed without the maniacal rantings utilized by Hackman and Spacey. I want a calm, cool Luthor where the wheels are always turning behind the eyes. Luthor is not a wimp mentally and I don't think he needs to be a wimp physically either.

Are Trucco and Jones too old to play Clark and Lois in a Superman film that restarts everything? That's a fair criticism. But let's look at some real world practicalities. If Lois Lane is supposed to be a hard hitting and respected journalist at one of the biggest newspapers in the country, she's not going to be a recent college graduate. She's going to have fought her way up the corporate ladder and made a name for herself in the trenches. I don't have problem with her being around thirty when we first meet her.

The same thing with Clark Kent. He's a farm kid that went off to school and got a journalism degree. Wouldn't it make sense that he worked a few years at a paper in Kansas first? He loves his family dearly and despite the ability to fly home in the blink of an eye, he could be a bit resistant about straying too far from the nest, especially as his parents get older. It's not until he hears Jonathan Kent's dying words that urge him to be something more and to use his gifts for a greater purpose, does Clark decide to move to the big city and eventually go public.

The last half of the film would be a battle of wills between Superman and Luthor. We would get to see how these two are perfect counter parts to each other. Superman is physically powerful, but not a dummy. Luthor has the mental advantage, but isn't a wimp. One thing I don't want to see is Lex Luthor in the real estate business. That "ultimate goal" always seemed a bit silly in the Hackman/Spacey version of the character. Also, no spinning the Earth backwards to undo events. Even as a kid I knew there was something totally false about the maneuver as far as the "science" of time travel is concerned.

I don't think Superman needs to go darker either. Superman is not Batman. Superman defends us from evil in full view. Also, his fight with Luthor is as much a public relations battle as a mental or physical one. A newspaper plays a major role in the story of Superman and the PR aspect could be crafted into the narrative.

Ultimately, I'd like a Superman film that is just darn entertaining. As Iron Man proved you can still have a fun and exciting superhero film that has serious character exploration, a strong plot, and solid acting. There's no reason why the Man of Steel can't have one in the next few years.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Daybreak (Part I)

Battlestar Galactica - Episode 4.19

Here we are, the beginning of the end. As I suspected, and I'm sure others did as well, the last three hours will be delivered to us by the writer and director of the mini-series and the first episode of the series: creator Ronald D. Moore and Michael Rymer. These two have had the biggest impact on the show as a whole (my number three pick would be Gary Hutzel for those amazing big screen visual effects on a television budget). Moore ran the writers room for the entire project and was an executive producer. Rymer's docu-style direction has been the standard for everyone else that pointed a camera on the series. This is a perfect set up to bookend the series.

Another interesting move is another series of flashbacks. These take place at least a few years before the Cylon attack and are great reminder of how ordinary these characters were before fate trust them into the roles that they now inhabit. We get to see Adama on the verge of being put out to pasture by the military brass. We see Roslin dealing the tragic death of her sisters and father. We witness the first meeting of Starbuck and Apollo. Anders gives an interesting locker room interview that is an neat clue to his true nature. Finally, we get to see Baltar's frustration and shame when dealing with his elderly father, as well as the development of his relationship with Caprica Six.

Back in the present, Adama finally comes to the conclusion that Hera needs to be rescued. Whether this is because he believes, as the Final Five do, that she is the last best hope for the future of Cylon and potentially human civilization or that he just wants Galactica to go out in a blaze of glory is a little unclear. Maybe it's both. He asks for volunteers and it looks like the bulk of the cast is shipping out with him.

It's hard to really dig into this episode any further. This is the big set up for the final two hours. Still it's really, really well done, which is what I would expect from the team up of Moore and Rymer.

9 out of 10

Monday, March 9, 2009

Islanded in a Stream of Stars

Battlestar Galactica - Episode 4.18

It's really a shame that BSG doesn't have another half a season to explore the merging of the Colonials and the rebel Cylons into one society. I think some of the best beats for this episode were about new unholy union of these two peoples. At the beginning a Six and one of the a human crewman get into a argument about the repair work going on in their section of Galactica. An eight breaks it up and they go back to their duties. Later, when a hole tears open that same section and starts sucking people out into the vacuum, that same Six sacrifices herself and saves the life of the man she was fighting with earlier. Sure, we've seen this kind of material films about sea-faring, but it here it has the implications of a civilization on the build.

We also learn that part of the agreement that allowed the Cylons a seat on the new "Council of Captains" is that Adama would be able to transfer his flag over to the baseship and continue to have complete control of the military from there. This is a huge concession on the part of the rebels and, more than anything thus far, displays their desire to be vital and co-operative part of the fleet.

Of course this doesn't go over too well with the other ship captains. They've already started claiming pieces of the Galactica since it's obvious that the ol' girl is on her last leg. When Lee tells them that nothing is coming off the Galactic while she's still operational, one of the captains asked what does Gaius Baltar think of this. Jamie Bamber's reaction and delivery of "Gaius Baltar?!" is simple perfect. It's a mixture of shock and confusion and a little bit of pissed off.

Speaking of the Baltar, the character seems a bit rudderless as of late. What is his purpose? I think it would have been more interesting if he used his cult to make him more of a player in the political spectrum given all the changes that have been occurring politically in the fleet. Instead, we get him "outing" dead Kara as an angel and more philosophical ramblings.

Starbuck's reaction to Baltar's betrayal of her confidence was another nice moment. Instead of hauling off and decking the man in front of everyone, she simply slaps him. This is shows us that his wounding of her runs really deep. She went to him for help and he makes his findings public. She is simultaneously scared, angry, and saddened. At the same time, this offers Kara a sort of closure. The old Kara is dead and she must live as the new Kara.

Part of Kara's closure has to come from her having to accept what Sam has become, both his reveal as a Cylon and his current Hybrid-like state. Looking back, the writers were giving us clues to Sam's current condition since he was shot. His head was shaved for his brain surgery, so now he's bald like the Hybrids. He was babbling with too much information like the Hybrids, when he was trying to explain the origin of the Final Five before his operation, too. With the ship dying, it'll interesting to see what becomes of Sam. I have a feeling he'll be very important in the endgame against Cavil's forces.

The biggest blunder of the hour was yet another Adama breakdown in the bathroom. This is either the second or third this season. We shouldn't forget about prior meltdowns. Remember the model ship? What makes this even more silly is that Olmos directed this episode, so it comes off as overly indulgent.

So now we only have two episodes (three hours) left of the best science fiction show to ever grace the television screen. It looks like the ol' girl will go out with a bang, given the clues laid by the end of this episode and the previews for the next. I just hope that after the big fight with Cavil and rescue of Hera that we get at least twenty minutes of epilogue. Like Kara Thrace, I will be in need of some closure.

7 out of 10

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

With or Without You

I noticed something about my viewing habit during last night's episode of Heroes. During the commercials I would run into the other room and check on CDs that I was ripping down to put on my iPod (I'm still in the process of throwing all my music on my lovely new 80 GB model). The funny thing is that the show would come back from commercial and I wouldn't be in a hurry to get back to the living room to watch it. If this was Battlestar Galactica or Lost, I would probably still be in my seat, most likely due to the mind-frak that occurred before the break and my inability to move as a result.

Heroes used to be a really entertaining and unique show. Now it's become just silly. Granted the concept is outlandish, but so are BSG and Lost. It comes down to the writing and to some extent the acting. Bad acting can kill a show, no matter how well it is written (I'm looking at you Babylon 5). Still, the words on the page have to deliver, both in plot and dialogue.

Take Farscape for example; this was visually one of the most outrageously goofy looking shows on television. Half the cast was in heavy alien makeup or were puppets, but if the show didn't have me on the floor laughing, in a good way, it had me sobbing due to the emotional turmoil the characters had to endure week to week. Of course the beauty of the show was that the main character was a guy from Earth thrown in the middle of it all who acted as our lens to this incredible universe.

In other words, what makes shows like BSG, Lost, and Farscape work is that there's a heavy emphasis on realistic reactions to outlandish situations. The characters on Heroes react, but usually the reactions are knee-jerk and for plot movement only. At least the show has narrowed the focus for the last half of the season. One of the biggest faults of the first half of season three was that the show was spread to thinly over way too many plots, many of which were just there to give some cast members something to do.

On the other end of the spectrum, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles may be suffering from too much character focus as of late. Granted, Sarah is the title character and she was in danger of becoming overshadowed by the rest of the cast. Unfortunately, the writers have spent four consecutive episodes diving deep into her fragile state of mind. While most of it is compelling, this show also has the word Terminator in the title, and people, including myself, want to see big robot shoot 'em ups, motorcycle chases in dried up canals, and explosions in factories that are empty of personnel yet still operating. Still, it's a ton more interesting and entertaining than Heroes has been as for the past two seasons.

I'm going to stick with Heroes for the rest of the season though. I rarely dump a show in mid-stream (the last season of the Dead Zone was such crap, I couldn't stand it anymore and jumped ship). Also, Bryan Fuller (DS9, Voyager, Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies) has been tapped to come on board for the last quarter of the season and hopefully fix it. He wrote the show's best episode, the excellent "Company Man" from the first season, so there's some hope.

Now if they can get some better actors. I'd keep the guys that play Noah, Nathan, and Ando, but I say they should kick the rest to the curb.