Helix S01E01 – Pilot

helix

From Executive Producer Ron Moore, who oversaw the re-imaginging of the highly succesful Battlestar Galactica series, as well as creative forces involved with The X-Files and Lost, Helix, from its beginning has promised to be fun, smart and downright scary.

Tonight at 10pm on Showcase, you can find out if it lives up to its pedigree.

In my opinion… oh yes.

I was lucky enough to get a look at the pilot episode a day early, and was completely floored and spooked by what I saw.

Show creator Cameron Porsandeh has made a series that has me hooked from the get-go.

Bill Campbell leads a mostly unknown (to me at least) cast, which for my money, makes the story that much more believable, because I’m not constantly thinking – oh isn’t that so and so from whatsthatshow? He plays Doctor Alan Farragut, a member of the CDC, who is called to a remote Arctic installation, run by Arctic Bio-Systems, that is studying viruses, pathogens, and as we learn fairly early on… mutagens. The outpost is manned by 106 scientists and 15 support staff, and Farragut and his team are thrown right into the mix.

helixsyfy2-700x400

Viruses themselves are pretty scary, add in a remote environ, a high-tech base, a copious amount of black goo (which couldn’t help but make me think of The X-Files), and the character development we’d seen on the shows mentioned in this program’s pedigree, and you can tell this won’t be your average television show.

There is a large amount of mystery, as we try to learn what’s going on, what this pathogen is, and more importantly, what it’s doing!

There is a large amount of tension, because these characters, despite being professionals, all have pasts, and some of them have intertwined, and there’s going to be a lot of stress for them, not just from the situation going on, but from the company they keep.

There is paranoia… who can the characters trust, and just as important, as the story begins to unfold, who can we trust? There are allegiances and relations at work here.

And it’s scary. There were two rather unnerving sequences that got me in this first episode, I won’t tell you what they are, as mentioned, I don’t do spoilers, but it was enough to make me go GAH!

helix-trailer04

The VFX, especially the design of the outpost, are top-notch, and you definitely get the hint that we are at the beginning of something pretty amazing with this episode.

Campbell has always been a favorite of mine since I heard he was this close to playing Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I thought he was great in The Rocketeer, and from what I saw of The Killing – Awesome. He can totally carry a series, and as each of the characters around him continue to grow and develop, I believe he will fit in nicely what will be a strong ensemble cast.

There’s also a nice BSG shout out early on as well that made me smile.

Following right on the heels of the first episode tonight, is the second, so if you can peek out from behind the blanket, watch it, and then let me know what you think of it!

Helix will air Friday nights at 10 on Showcase!

helixsyfy-700x400

About these ads

Toronto After Dark 2013: Odd Thomas – Stephen Sommers

qvBeAZO8UVc

Before I get into last night’s early feature at Toronto After Dark, I want to say a quick blurb about the short film that screened before it.  Every year, a Canadian short will screen before each feature film of the festival, and last night’s film was paired with a wicked little short by Adam Schafer called Down Bob.  There’s something oddly charming about the protagonist, Bob, who only wants to help people.  Then he meets Lucy, and his whole world changes.  The majority of the film is done in voice-over from inside Bob’s head, and the lines come so fast and furious sometimes that it’s had to keep track of them all.  It’s hilarious, sweet, and some quick edits during the violent climax serve the overall film very well.  I really enjoyed this one, to the point of needing to mention it here, as well as provide a link to the film itself here, so you can check it out, too!  Make sure to watch right through the credits at the end for the beautiful dedication, too.

oddt

After Down Bob got us geared up, we were treated to the new feature from Stephen Sommers, Odd Thomas.  Based on a series of books by Dean Koontz (the first of which shares the same title), the film focuses on a young man whose name is actually Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin), though he never got a straight answer from either parent as to why that is.  Turns out that, while Odd appears to be just like everyone else, he does happen to possess one particular ability which sets him apart – he can see dead people.  And, when he’s approached by one who has died wrongfully, Odd does his best to help catch their killer.  He’s aided in his quest by police chief, Wyatt Porter (Willem Dafoe) and his beautiful girlfriend, Stormy Llewellyn (Addison Timlin).  They are pretty much the only people who know about Odd’s abilities, aside from a very few close friends like Viola Peabody (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

odd-thomas-movie-photo-6

The film opens with our introduction to Odd, followed quickly by the arrival of a mysterious silent visitor whom Odd follows to a quiet intersection near his home.  He stops a man driving by in a car (Harlo Landerson, played by Matthew Page) and proceeds to have a chat with the man, at which point Odd reveals that he knows what horrible crime Harlo has committed.  Harlo takes off on foot, and Odd races after him, leading to an amazingly-choreographed and somewhat brutal fight scene.  This high-powered opening set the tone for the rest of the film, and from there, it was all about trying to solve a mystery with Odd and company, rather than watching him try to figure everything out for us.  The audience is right there with him, every step of the way.

odd-thomas-movie-photo-2

Part of that is Yelchin’s screen presence – his ability to draw you in with his sincere and steady gaze.  One of the strongest aspects of the film for me was the wonderful depiction of his relationship with Stormy.  The chemistry between Yelchin and Timlin is palpable every second of their shared screen time, and it’s that chemistry that humanizes them and makes them incredibly easy to relate to.  Odd Thomas is as much a love story as it is a mystery and a ghost story, and all of the elements of each are there.  When Odd starts seeing an overwhelming number of bodachs (invisible creatures which signal some form of violent impending death) surrounding one strange yet specific man, he is determined to find a way to stop whatever disaster is coming their way, even if it means putting himself in mortal danger.

a749e773eeaae58459437a6f467

I had not read the book, so went into the screening pretty cold, and I am glad I did.  I was somewhat surprised by how easy it was for me to slide into the world created on screen, and understand it on what I felt was roughly the same level as someone who would be reading the book for the first time.  There can often be a period of adjustment required when starting into something new, but to me, this town, these characters, and their relationships all seemed to be fully realized within the film setting.  I didn’t feel like I ever needed to catch up to what Odd was thinking, and likewise, I never felt like I had everything figured out way before him, how dumb can he be, etc.  Even when I thought I knew who the bad guy was, or what someone’s next step would be, I found I was generally wrong – or at least not quite right – and yet never felt like the reveals came out of nowhere.  Odd Thomas is a listen to your gut but keep your eyes open kind of film, and I loved it so much that I hope to read the book soon.  And, truth be told, I really hope there are more films to come.

kinopoisk.ru

Odd-Thomas-UK-film-poster

Murdoch Mysteries S07E01 – Murdoch Ahoy

mm

The CBC is proud to see the return of celebrated Canadian detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) in the season 7 opener this evening.

In typical Murdoch style we see a wonderful blending of elements forming a highly enjoyable season opener, as Murdoch, Brackenreid (Thomas Craig), and Dr. Julia Ogden (Helene Joy) board the S.S. Keewatin and journey into mystery and adventure.

Taking pages from Titanic and The Poseidon Adventure, the season premiere has everything you’ve come to expect and want from a classic Murdoch episode, there is the mystery… a woman apparently leaps from the ship to her death (or does she?). There’s romance as Julia and William steal moments where they can, as well as watching the wonderful relationship between Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris) and Dr. Emily Grace (Georgina Reilly) continue to develop. There’s nods to future innovations, and this one had me laughing out loud (I refuse to ruin it for you!). And of course there is adventure as a series of bombs explode, crippling the ship, and leaving our beloved heroes in dire straits!

MM_701-2-highres

While Murdoch is out on the water, George is at the station house, seeing over the first Victoria Day, until a distraught Annie Taylor, a 63 year-old woman and the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel arrives, unable to give her presentation because someone has stolen her now famous barrel.

Jonny and Georgina are perfect foils for one another, and each of their scenes has sparks. Watching the two of them in the station as more items are reported missing is a joy. If there’s ever a spinoff…

The sinking of the Keewatin allows for an amazing set piece, the submerging of one of the cargo holds as the doomed vessel takes on water on her way to the bottom. It also serves to pit Murdoch in some serious danger, and in need of rescuing!

There’s a brilliant moment towards the end of that sequence when Brackenreid is watching what is happening, and the flabbergasted look that passes over his face is simply priceless, as well as Murdoch’s dead-pan delivery of a line quickly after it…

MM_701-3

As I sat there watching the show, I found myself hoping that we get to watch this show for a long, long time to come. It continues to be smart, family-friendly, engaging, and is beautifully Canadian.

The cast all slip so easily into their characters, bringing these beloved creations to life each week, and every time I watch an episode the same beatific grin spreads across my face. This show is sheer enjoyment. It’s no wonder that the show has garnered fans the world over, and from what I’ve seen so far of the 7th season… the CBC was kind enough to send me the first three episodes (more please!), this is going to be a fantastic season!

Murdoch Mysteries returns tonight on the CBC.

Will you be watching? Who is your favorite character?

MM_701-highres

Ringu (1998) – Hideo Nakata

The late 90s saw a huge inflow of Japanese horror into the North American market, spreading and replicating itself, much like the curse in this wicked and delightful ghost story.

Remade, successfully, three years later as The Ring with Naomi Watts and directed by Gore Verbinski, the original film was one of the first Japanese horror films I was ever introduced to, and still maintains a nice creep factor.

It was great that the 101 Horror Movies brought it my way for another look.

A reporter and single mother, Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima) is running down what sounds like just another urban legend. There are rumours of a mysterious tape or broadcast late at night that once viewed, results in a phone call advising you that you have one week to live.

When her own niece falls victim to the curse, Reiko begins to look deeper into the stories of frightening images and unexplained deaths. She traces the story to a cabin on Izu peninsula, and its there that she finds an umarked VHS tape, and watches it.

A series of bizarre images later, and the phone rings…

She has seven days to figure out how to save her life.

She turns to her ex-husband and her son’s father Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada) for help. It seems both he, and the boy, Yoichi (Rikiya Otaka) happen to have a little of the old shining, which Reiko discovers after her dead niece tells Yoichi to watch the recording as well.

All three of them, having viewed the tape, are in mortal danger, and Reiko believes the only way to save them is to find the story behind  the tape. A story about a village woman with unusually powerful ESP abilities, and her even more powerful daughter, who can kill people with a thought.

The story is an enticing blend of ghost story, revenge tale and mystery, and while for me, it doesn’t hold the same punch as it did when I first viewed it, I still think it’s a wonderful example of horror done right.

I’ll say the same thing about the remake as well it was well-made, smart and enjoyable, taking the concepts of the original and twisting them enough to adapt them for North American audiences.

As always, the original film is always the best, this one however, has spawned, prequels, remakes, sequels and apparently even a 12 episode television series (has anyone seen that?), and this one is still top-notch. I’d actually be interested in an updated take on this story using the viral nature of the internet and youtube. There have been rumours for a while that a new film may be coming.

Nakata’s film while containing supernatural and ghostly elements, doesn’t really have any of the expected jump scares, it’s more of a mood piece, although the ghost bits can be extremely frightening. Or of course, may have been before the image of the little girl with the long hair hanging down in front of her face had been so overused and over-exposed that it’s become a bit of a cliché.

Do you before the original or the remake? Which is your favorite of the Japanese horror genre?

Haven: Season 3, Episode 1 – 301

Well, if the Season 2 finale ended with a bang, then the Season 3 premiere can be said to have blown things wide open!  This episode was an incredible rush from start to finish, and if the rest of the season is at all like its opener, then we are in for a dark and amazing ride!  Welcome back, Haven!!!

Okay, we started Season 3 where Season 2 left off – with Audrey (Emily Rose) missing from her apartment and Nathan (Lucas Bryant) and Duke (Eric Balfour) locked in possibly a battle for their very lives.  The mysterious tattoo that’s been haunting Duke ever since he learned that it would be on the arm of the man who kills him is now in full burn on Nathan’s arm as he takes aim at a fallen Duke on the floor of his boat.  Nathan believes Duke to be behind Audrey’s abduction, and means to get her back at any cost.  Shots are fired and punches are thrown, but the fight comes to a screeching halt when everything metallic in the room – including the gun – is suddenly yanked to the ceiling and suspended there without apparent cause.

In the next moment, we are shown poor Audrey’s predicament, tied to a post in a dark windowless room, being beaten and interrogated by a man (Tim Post) whose face remains in shadows.  The man wants to know one thing and one thing only:  Where is the Colorado Kid?

Holy Hell, Havenites!  Cue credits!  We are rolling on Season 3 at last!!!!

`

Now, I actually love watching Haven’s opening credits, especially at the start of a new season, because there is SO MUCH in there, and it all happens to fast that it’s easy to miss a lot.  On this particular viewing, I was half-busy trying to scribble down a note before I forgot what I’d just been thinking, but kept glancing up to see what I could catch the first time around.  There were the familiar images that I love (the reference to Stephen King uber-villain Flagg, the little dog, the Haven Herald picture from the Colorado Kid murder that started Audrey on her quest, etc), and some that were new, but went by too quickly for me to catch.  What I did notice, however, that I don’t remember seeing before, was the inclusion of Adam Copeland, as WWE Superstar Edge in the opening credits!  Awesome!  I love Dwight as a character, and have had the good fortune to meet Edge in person briefly, so seeing him pop up in the credits as a regular got me pretty excited, to say the least!

Anyway, on with the episode.  There was quite a lot of confusion inside and out when all the metal objects dropped back to the ground a few moments later, and Nathan grudgingly decided to accept the idea that maybe Duke had been framed for Audrey’s abduction, so the pair head out to see if they can find out what happened to her.  Dwight (WWE Superstar Edge) is on scene helping to clean things up downtown (he comes up with a story about gas lines blowing some manhole covers from the street) and helps alleviate any panic among the people of Haven.  Stan The Cop (Glen Lefchak) tells Nathan and Duke that another woman was also abducted from her home just hours ago, and that it may have been connected to Audrey’s disappearance, so the frienemies head over to talk to her son.

The Teagues brothers, Vince (Richard Donat) and Dave (John Dunsworth), don’t really seem to be speaking to one another, given their firmly divided stance over Duke’s position amongst the Troubled of the community, and possibly about how much of Audrey’s past they know or want her to know.  But a few very interesting things happen in the space of a few minutes, at this point.  Some of these things must ultimately be important to keep in mind as the series progresses through Season 3, I think.  In one, Dwight and Vince have a conversation in which Dwight confirms that Audrey is missing and asks if Dave could be involved.  What?  Why would he think that?  Then I remembered that Dave saw another Audrey lookalike as “that which he fears most” in the second season episode that dealt with visions of fear, and again wondered what that could have all been about.

During that conversation, Vince suddenly gets a nosebleed, and my X-Files-lovin’ brain goes, “aliens!”, but then I remembered that we are in Haven, Maine, and that this is all linked to some kind of Trouble.  Not Little Green Men.  Or gray, as the case may be.  ;)

However, when Nathan and Duke arrive to question the son of the other missing woman, Wesley Toomey (Michael Therriault), he himself believes that it was aliens who took his mother, and is eager to show both men all of the evidence to corroborate his theory.  Wesley believes that the Troubles are a myth, but that aliens is a perfectly rational explanation for what happened to his mom.  It all falls in with what his grandfather told him as a child – right before HE was abducted by aliens from the front yard, which young Wesley saw with his own eyes.  Duke talks Wesley into going to the police station where they have “better equipment” and where he’ll be safer from possible abduction himself, but Wesley speeds off on his motorcycle and Nathan and Duke are forced to pursue.

Back to Audrey being held captive and questioned about the whereabouts of the Colorado Kid.  Now, the whole thing up to this episode has been about who KILLED him, so why does this mystery man talk about the CO Kid as though he’s still alive?  Then, right on top of that, he asks Audrey if she thinks she was the only person who loved him?  WHAT?!  Pretty sure her jaw dropped at the same time mine did at THAT particular question!  Man, I love this show!!!

We also learn that another woman is being held in a room next to Audrey, also tied up and being questioned about the Colorado Kid.  Her name is Rosalyn (Deborah Tennant), and she was running the inn where the Colorado Kid had been a guest all those years ago.  Rosalyn tells Audrey that they are being kept in the inn’s basement (Altair Bay Inn?), but that she has no idea who their captor is, either.  The two women keep one another talking and connecting while Audrey works to cut herself free using a piece of broken glass.

Nathan and Duke hit a snag in their pursuit of Wesley when all of a sudden the truck engine dies and they coast to a halt in the middle of nowhere.  Cell phones have also stopped working which, of course, must also mean aliens.  In fact, everything that’s happened so far pretty much fits the stereotype of alien abduction and invasion tales, and it doesn’t stop there.  Nathan confesses to Duke that he can feel Audrey’s touch, right before he is dragged into the forest by an unseen force.  Duke tears after him on foot, and Nathan comes to a halt as quickly as he’d been upended – but now they are both standing in a field of crop circles, filled with strange (read: alien) symbols.

It turns out that Wesley Toomey is obsessed with alien conspiracies, and as luck would have it, his Trouble is that he can make those stories come true.  Everyone catches up with him at his house, where he has gone so that he can try to “jam their frequency” and save everyone. A meteor crashes nearby, and for the first time, I realize how close Nathan, Duke, Dwight, Vince, Dave and Wesley all are now to where Audrey and Rosalyn are being held.  The meteor draws attention to the area, and starts a small fire in the basement, which Audrey manages to put out before it can do much damage.  Their captor is back, too, only this time he is in the other room, hurting Rosalyn and dragging her away.  Audrey manages to cut herself free, but by the time she does, there is silence from behind the wall.  She sneaks upstairs and finds a phone to call Nathan and tell him where they are, while Nathan realizes that Rosalyn is Wesley’s missing mother, and takes him with them to try and save both women from their abductor, as well as possibly the town from Wesley’s alien invasion if he realizes that it was a man who’d taken her, not the aliens of his imagination.

The guys arrive at the Inn in time to save Audrey but, unfortunately, not in time for Rosalyn.  They find her body burning in an outdoor brick stove, and that horrid discovery fuels Wesley’s alien conspiracy story even more, bringing it to a fever pitch.  The man who abducted them is nowhere to be seen, and Wesley says that his grandfather showed him pictures of what the aliens do to people they don’t keep, which is how he accounts for his mother’s cruel fate.  A large mothership arrives overhead, and everyone heads indoors to try and talk Wesley down before he detroys them all.

Now, at this point, my own brain is in overdrive trying to figure a few things out, but coming up with more questions than answers.  I haven’t gotten a good look at the newspaper picture of the Colorado Kid murder, but to me it always looked like he was a burnt corpse leaning up against a dock piling in the foreground of the picture.  A bit macabre for a local paper, but that’s kind of what I always thought it was.  So THEN I started wondering if the CO Kid was actually Wesley’s grandfather, and that he’d been abducted and left burned on Haven’s rocky beach all those years ago, as a result of the family’s Trouble.  I also got pretty worried about our intrepid crew, because how do you convince someone that what they are seeing with their own eyes isn’t actually real?  How do you get them to believe that they are creating it all with their own mind, when all of the evidence matches up with reports from all across the globe?  Wesley himself says to Audrey that you can’t just erase everything he’s known about himself and his family for as long as he can remember.

And yet – that’s pretty much exactly what’s happened to Audrey, time and time again, isn’t it?

Duke grapples with the idea of killing Wesley to save everyone else, but Nathan instead talks him into allowing himself to go with the aliens, to “learn the truth”.  He tells him that maybe that’s what his grandfather did, and Wesley thinks that maybe he’s even still up there, waiting for him.  So he goes outside and lets himself get abducted by his own Trouble.  Wrap your mind around THAT!

As if all of this wasn’t enough to take in, Episode 301 isn’t quite through with us yet!  Duke and Nathan argue about which method of essentially killing Wesley was the “right” way to handle the situation.  Audrey confronts Vince and Dave on the secrets they’ve been keeping from her.  Was Lucy in love with the Colorado Kid?  Is the Colorado Kid still alive?  Vince says he helped bury the man himself – Plot Number 301 in Potter’s Field.  Nathan coaxes Audrey home for a rest, saying that they can see what’s buried in that grave tomorrow.  The brothers Teagues agree to put their differences aside in order to investigate who abducted Audrey and Rosalyn, and how he knows so much about Haven’s past.

Nathan and Dwight discuss Nathan’s tattoo while digging up the Colorado Kid’s grave the next day.  Did Nathan actually go out and get that tattoo, so he could be on the list of those who may kill Duke someday?  I had assumed that it just appeared on his arm temporarily while he and Duke were fighting, much like it had briefly shown up on Julia’s (Michelle Monteith) shoulder back in Season 1.  But it appears to actually be a part of him now, and Dwight seems unsure as to what to think about it.  Meanwhile, Audrey is on the phone with someone – a coroner, perhaps? – about Rosalyn’s body, and she can be overheard saying that she’d just been talking to the woman less than an hour before her body was discovered, so there’s no way that she had been in that fire for hours, as the evidence seemed to suggest.  I have a feeling that little tidbit might be important later, too, so I’ve tucked it away for now.

The dying moments of the episode, however, explode forward with even more pressing questions.  The coffin has bricks instead of a body inside, so now we don’t know where the Colorado Kid is, dead OR alive.  What’s more, there’s writing on the inside of the coffin:  “find him before the Hunter”.  What does that mean?  And who wrote it?

The second question is answered by Audrey immediately.  It’s her handwriting.

Haven airs Fridays at 10pm on SyFy in the US, and at 9pm on Showcase in Canada.

Stone Cold (2005)

For those who know me, they know that Tom Selleck is probably one of my favorite actors.

Thomas Sullivan, my new stalwart companion, is named for one of my favorite Selleck characters, Thomas Sullivan Magnum.

So for all of that, why did it take me so long to watch this film?

That I can’t tell you.

I can tell you that I really liked it, and am going to be watching the rest of them as well.

Jesse Stone was created by Robert B. Parker, and is featured in a number of the author’s novels. He’s in his 30s in the novels, but Selleck’s interpretation as Stone, a cop in his late 50s early 60s actually seems to work really well for the film.

And Selleck is pitch-perfect. He’s funny, crafty, and smarter than everyone seems to give him credit for.

The story takes place in Paradise, Massachusetts (though actually shot in Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia – and also features some familiar faces from Haven) and Jesse Stone is the Police Chief of this small town. Previously he was an LA cop, but a troubled marriage encouraged and fostered a drinking problem, which had him busted for being drunk on the job. He relocated to Paradise, on the opposite coast, and settled in to work there.

The film has two story lines, the ‘A’ story follows Jesse as he investigates a murder in his small town, a murder that turns into a spree as a a serial killer comes to town. The B story concerns a young high school student who is gang-raped by some of her fellow classmates.

Jesse and his team investigate both cases, drawing the attention of the killer onto himself, and plots to trap the killer himself.

The movie is well-written, allowing Selleck to play to his charms, as well as have a dark underside, as he battles with his alcoholism and the loss of a friend as the killer makes things personal.

I’ll be interested in reading the Jesse Stone books to learn whether or not the villains are revealed as early as they are in the film. We learn who the baddies are pretty early on, it’s watching Stone catch them that makes it fun!

Watching him in the B story is a treat, as he also learns fairly quickly who’s responsible the rape, and makes no effort to stop the girl’s father when he takes on one of the rapists and his father, decking them both.

Selleck is surrounded by a cast of familiar faces Mimi Rogers, Polly Shannon, Viola Davis, Jane Adams, Haven alumnus Stephen McHattie, and John Dunsworth.

While I may not read a lot of mysteries (I do like Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie) I do enjoy a mystery series tinged with a bit of police procedural.

This film falls right into that arena, and I am delighted to know that there are more films to the series, and I believe I may even delve into the books.

Have you read or watched the series?

What are your thoughts?

Saving Hope

I just watched this week’s episode of the new medical drama with a supernatural twist, Saving Hope, last night, and I’m feeling the need to say just how much I am enjoying this show so far!  We’ve only just had 2 episodes to savour, but I find that I am already emotionally invested in the characters – to the point of not being able to do anything else while it’s on, actually.  Though nothing can replace the hole left in my TV-watching soul by the departure of my beloved Dr. House, Saving Hope is managing to ease the pain in leaps and bounds.  My eyes and attention are again fully focused on the events unfolding on my screen each week, and I’m finding that I can’t even dabble with any creative projects I may need to be working on at the same time.  It’s quite ridiculous, really, but only in the best way.  :)

Saving Hope is based in Toronto’s fictional Hope-Zion hospital, where the popular and brilliant Chief of Surgery, Charlie Harris (played by the popular and brilliant Michael Shanks), has fallen into a deep coma, leaving the hospital struggling to care for him, while also trying to continue treating their patients without him.  The one who finds herself most at the centre of this delicate juggling act is Charlie’s beautiful and talented fiancee, Alex Reid (played by the beautiful and talented Erica Durance), as she is instantly divided right down the middle – needing to save Charlie’s life and simultaneously save the lives of the other patients who come under her care.  Alex is joined in her efforts by the newest addition to the hospital’s staff, star surgeon Joel Goran (Daniel Gillies, who has no legal right to look that hot in scrubs – apparently I have a weakness for surgeon attire), and the rest of the team, who now all look to her to set the tone for how to proceed through their daily chaos of hospital life.

Meanwhile, Charlie wanders the hospital halls unseen – not sure if he’s a ghost, or a figment of his own imagination.  Still wearing the tux he’d planned to get married in when his accident occured, Charlie sees everything as it happens, and tries to solve the mysteries of the patients he encounters – as well as the reason behind his own coma – while also attempting to get a message through to Alex.  He needs her to know that he’s still there – and to not give up on him.

It’s heartbreaking to watch their scenes together, really.  Shanks has all the calm insight of a world-class doctor, but he can’t comfort the woman he loves when she can’t hear or see him, and it tears him apart to be so helpless.  At the same time, Alex’s mind is in overdrive trying to figure out how to wake Charlie from his coma, and while she wants nothing more than to be by his side for every moment, she knows that she has a job to do for the other patients in her care, and she is determined to do it.  Every so often, it seems like Alex can sense Charlie nearby, and we watch – just as helpless – as Charlie catches his breath and waits in hopeful anticipation that she can feel him.

Erica Durance is beautiful, and she inbues Alex with a genuine warmth, caring, intelligence and determination that anyone would love to see in their doctor, especially if surgery is required.  And while we barely got to see Charlie as a doctor on this side, watching him interact with patients – usually as they are on their way out of this life – makes me hope that when my time comes, there is someone as beautiful, calming, gentle and openly caring as him standing next to me along the way.  If he looks that awesome in a tux, too, all the better.  ;)

While all of that emotional drama is going on between to two characters trying to hold onto one another across dimensions, there is also a whole hospital to keep functioning, and the stress that responsibility puts on everyone is evident on the faces of each and every member of this stellar cast (including Lost Girl’s K.C.Collins, who also wears scubs extremely well).  From the new acting Chief to the interns struggling to learn in such a tense and rapidly-changing atmosphere, viewers get the sense that they are all just feeling their way in the darkness of this new territory – while finding out that maybe even a team without a leader can still be a team.  In fact, it is through the sense of shared victories and losses, grief and happiness, strengths and weaknesses, that this remarkable little crew can draw you in, and take you from feeling like just a viewer – to being one of their own.

Kinda like Charlie Harris, when you think about it.

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9pm EST on CTV and NBC

The Killing – Day 18 – Ghosts Of The Past

Gah! This show! It just keeps getting better and better every week! I’m finding that there is so much going on now – with everyone – that it’s really no longer about who killed Rosie Larsen anymore. Yes, I want to find out, and my brain is still spinning on all the new information this ep provided, but at the same time, I really care about a lot of these characters, and there’s so much more going on outside of the investigation that it’s become more about the lives of these people, rather than the death of one girl.
I’m going to insert a brief apology here, and a spoiler alert. A lot is going on in MY life, too, all of a sudden, and I can’t seem to find the time to put all of the energy and thought into this post as I want to. Nor will the next week or two be any better – but I should be back on track after that, hopefully! It’s kind of a shame, too, because I really loved this episode, and it bothers me that I can’t write about it in the way that it deserves. Also, I ain’t got time for no dilly-dally, so if you haven’t watched up to and including the final line of dialogue, STOP reading now, because I’ll be needing to talk about it shortly!


But first, let’s talk about everyone else, shall we? We’ll start with one of Jamie’s ghosts from the past – a woman with whom I assume he’d once been in a relationship. Interesting, because until now, we’ve never really seen him talk to women. Well, Gwen, but – yeah. Jamie’s always been married to his job, and sort of asexual – unless you count how close he seems to be to Richmond. So if finding out that he’d once had a girlfriend wasn’t really a surprise, finding out that he was getting information from her for Darren (after having been fired) was even less so. I’m not entirely sure he’s right about Mayor Adams being behind the faked toll bridge photo, but I do love that he knows about it, and that he was able to bring that information to a Darren Richmond who’d all but died inside. Maybe that’s what he’ll need to get out of bed.


Stan Larsen. Dude can not catch a break! He keeps trying to do the right thing, but that seems to put his family in danger or land him in deeper trouble than he’d already found. Yet when he gives into the pressure from his former life, it also seems to put his family in danger and land him in ever deeper trouble. Now he’s looking at jail time, losing his business, his kids – he has no idea where his wife is. And then there was what I’m going to call the Terry Incident. Stan is having a rough go of it, and Day 18 was one of the roughest. He’s a lost soul, just struggling to stay afloat until he can figure out a way to make things work out for everyone.


Speaking of family trouble, Linden is not having the easiest time of it, either. Bless Holder for sending her home to Jack when he did. He didn’t even know about the custody battle Jack’s dad (why can’t I remember his name?) is launching, and neither of them could have guessed that her baby daddy would be waiting for her in the dark like that. I mean, dude, seriously? I’m sure a feverish Jack could still fall asleep if you’d left a lamp on, or something. Sitting there silent in the dark is just creepy. Especially when you know the ex is carrying a loaded weapon. Bad form, Baby Daddy.
I actually really loved the scenes between Mitch and the young girl staying at the hotel (is she the same actress who’s in Ringer right now? I’ll have to look that up), even though I knew the kid was going to break her heart. It’s impossible for that to end well – the girl is not Rosie, and no amount of youthful runaway wisdom from her is going to change the fact that Rosie is dead. But she really seemed to bring Mitch some comfort, and got her talking about Rosie a bit – that’s something she’s never really done yet. We don’t know how well either Larsen parent knew their daughter, but it seemed to me that maybe Mitch was starting to admit that maybe Rosie wasn’t entirely the same girl she thought she was. I think Mitch is beginning to acknowledge that Rosie had secrets.
By the way, hearing Rosie’s voice recorded on Alexi’s phone was pretty haunting, even though she was technically dead before we ever met her. Some pretty incredible moments between Alexi and Linden came from that, too!


Which brings us to young Alexi and his freaking earth-shattering revelation right at the end of the episode! Who the heck is Rosie’s real father?! Is it Jasper’s dad? ‘Cause EW, man! Someone should have put a stop to Rosie and Jasper’s relationship right away! Although…maybe they did…maybe that’s how Rosie found out.
I don’t think so, though. If Stan and Mitch even remotely suspected that…like, do they KNOW that Rosie knew? If it’s even true? If they’d thought that had had any bearing on her murder case, they would have told Linden, wouldn’t they? So many secrets.
Okay, I’m not even going to go into my theories for who killed Rosie (it was Rick!) this time…instead, I want to wonder aloud at who Mitch would have cheated on Stan with, if she did (I mean, before Day 17). Keep in mind, it was the birth of his daughter that brought Stan back from the dark side, so clearly he thought Rosie was his. He and Mitch were together – so who would Mitch have slept with 17 years ago that would have caused her to lie to her husband about whose baby she was having? Or did she even know who the father was?


And who did Terry get a call from that made her get all dolled up and go meet the dark fancy car with tinted windows? Possibly the person Rosie was afraid of? If it was someone Terry was seeing through Beau Soleil, that would explain why Alexi and Rosie kept seeing the car at the ferry dock on casino nights. Easy to assume it was Jasper’s dad – Terry was clearly surprised to get the call. But while HER father mentioned him earlier, he mentioned another mystery man, as well.
Ah, the plot – she sure doth thicken, doth she not?
I love this show. :)
The Killing airs Sundays at 9pm EST on AMC

The Killing: Season 2 Premiere/Day 15

One of television’s best written and most intelligent shows is back for a second season, having already begun with its two-hour premiere on AMC this past Sunday night.  So much happened on the finale last season that I had more than a few “oh YEAH” moments during the initial catch-up sequences, but then I was right back into the story again; the months in between all but forgotten.

We immediately return to where we left off; the rain-drenched streets of a dark and brooding Seattle city-scape lending the same ominous atmosphere to the question followers of the show would most like answered:  Who killed Rosie Larsen?

Many thought that the case had been solved last season when Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) presented his partner, the intrepid Detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), with a photo which seemed to contain damning evidence against Mayoral candidate Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell).  The police arrested Richmond, and Holder was left to clean up the end of the case while Sarah and her son, Jack, departed for Sonoma in the hopes of patching up her relationship with Rick (Callum Keith Rennie), the fiance who’d decided he’d been waiting for Sarah long enough, and had left her to return to California on his own.  After having just boarded her plane, however, Sarah received a call that told her the photo Holder had used as evidence to close the case was, in fact, a fake.  Floored by the revelation and all it could imply, Linden barely managed to get herself and Jack off the plane again before it took off.

In the meantime, the unstable Belko (Brendan Sexton III), who is a close friend of Stan Larsen, Rosie’s dad, finally killed his crazy freakish mother, and then went after Richmond, perhaps hoping that he could somehow avenge Rosie’s untimely death if he could kill her killer.  He opens fire on Richmond and is subsequently arrested, while political aids Jamie (Eric Ladin) and Gwen (Kristin Lehman) head to the hospital to see if Darren can survive the shooting, let alone the dive his career will have taken now that murder charges have been laid.

Stan Larsen (the brilliant Brent Sexton) is having trouble of his own.  His wife, Mitch (played so well by Michelle Forbes that she deserves every acting award ever invented for the first season alone), has left him alone with their two young sons and her sister, Terry (Jamie Anne Allman).  Neither adult really knows where Mitch has gone, nor if she’ll ever return.  Her pain at losing Rosie had become too much to bear, and she left her family behind; her whereabouts unknown.  So Stan now not only has to find a way to stave off his sons’ mounting questions about their mother, but he also needs to find a way to make them feel safe, even as the Larsen family itself begins to unravel.

Linden and Jack move back into a hotel room, and she quietly tries to further investigate the Larsen case while avoiding Holder, whom she believes has betrayed her with the photograph.  Gwen and Jamie bond slightly while they wait for Darren to come out of surgery, and Gwen reveals her suspicions of Richmond’s whereabouts the night Rosie was killed.  Jamie doesn’t buy it and kicks her out of the hospital, only to realize that he may potentially have to be the only “family” his boss has around him if he survives the surgery.  Stan visits Belko in jail after Holder has a chat with him and attempts to calm him down.  But when more evidence begins to arise in the Larsen case (which they had just closed the day before), Holder – separately from Linden, who’s finding out things on her own – also begins to suspect that they may have arrested the wrong man.

Now, I have to admit, I had so much fun “investigating” this series last season.  My brain would not shut down for hours after each episode, sleepily turning over every new piece of evidence until it sometimes inhabited my dreams.  I was on the suspect tracker and message boards each week, clicking off my chosen suspect and seeing what others had to say.  There were many interesting theories – and some that were just ridiculous – but I was always fairly confident that understated fiance Rick was The Killer.  I felt that the case was going to end up being more personally related to Linden than it had at first seemed, and Rick was awfully eager to get her out of Seattle and into a happy marriage.  Which – fair enough – but seriously, who waits until the day their fiancee is supposed to move to start planning the wedding that’s to occur mere weeks later?  Besides, Callum Keith Rennie is always a safe bet to be the bad guy, in my experience!

The thing to remember is this:  only two weeks have passed since Rosie Larsen died.  Fifteen days.  It’s actually quite amazing that Sarah Linden accomplished as much as she did in so short a time, really, especially considering the fact that no one believed there was even a body to be found, let alone a death to be investigated.  It was her dogged determination that led to the discovery of Rosie’s beaten and broken body in the first place.  It was supposed to have been her last day of work, and she could have just left when they were calling it a runaway or a teenaged girl’s secret time spent with her ex-boyfriend.  But she stayed and persisted, against all odds, managing to find the body at the end of the first day, and leading to what would be one of the most heart-wrenching scenes I think I’ve ever witnessed.  The moment that Stan and Mitch Larsen realize their daughter is dead is something I doubt I’ll ever forget, and really brought home the brilliance of this series to me.  I’ve been hooked ever since.

While I will continue like Rick as the killer until he’s definitely not (it’s just more fun that way), I have to admit that the season premiere/Day 15 had me back to thinking it’s got something to do with people in the Mayor’s camp.  It seems to keep coming back to the waterfront project, and I’m thinking that the whole thing is a lot larger than one girl’s death.  I think there are cops in on it, I think the Mayor is in on it, and I think Holder was brought in on the case because he’s generally known as an ex-addict and a screw-up.  I think Linden was expected to leave, and Holder would just do what he was told and not do any thinking for himself in the hopes of making detective.

My current theory involves Rosie being used to get closer to Richmond, but she genuinely liked him, and refused to do anything that would put him in a bad light.  So she was killed, and Richmond was framed for the murder, sort of.  At the very least, her body was discovered in one of his campaign cars, so the whole case shed a bad light on those in his camp and weakened his political clout.

There is also a constant reminder from pretty much everyone around her that Sarah once had a similar case and that she didn’t come out of it unscathed – everyone keeps ominously refering to what happened “last time”.  That’s another reason why I wondered if maybe this one was done to personally break her in the end, but we’ll see.  So far, she’s chewing a lot of nicotine gum to kick her smoking habit, but she’s not nearly as fragile as those who were around “last time” would have us think.  I never really liked Belko as the killer, nor Richmond.  I don’t think it’s a woman, and while Gwen is obviously jealous of anyone who’s closer to Darren than she is, I think hers is more focused on his dead wife.  It’s impossible to compete with a ghost, and she knows that all too well.  I doubt she would have seen young Rosie as a threat to her relationship with Darren Richmond, even if she did sort of resemble his late wife.

I know – I’m pretty much just crossing people OFF the suspect list, instead of adding them to it, at this point!  I suppose that comes from my X-Files days of Trust No One, but it really seems like everyone in this case is hiding something.  Maybe not the identity of Rosie Larsen’s killer, but certainly something they’d prefer to be kept secret.  I think it’s safe to say that this incarnation of the series has separated itself from the trail blazed by the original Danish version, so now it doesn’t matter who the original killer was – now it’s anybody’s game.

And since my beloved Lost Girl has begun its break between seasons 2 and 3, my Sunday nights are all about finding out why The Killing was just the beginning…

The Killing airs Sundays (and several other days and times) on AMC.

Also, for more fun, check out the interactive features on AMC’s website, including the Suspect Tracker, Case File and search Rosie’s Room!

Why Aren’t You Watching Guidestones?

You get out of life what you put into it, the same can be said of the Guidestones web-series.

Now we’ve covered this awesome show already, however Sue and I just came off of a great interview with the series creator Jay Ferguson, and the two charismatic stars Supinder Wraich and Dan Fox, and we can’t believe that more people haven’t come across it yet…

Now, you can just watch the series, episode by episode, delivered right to your inbox after you register (for free), or you can delve into the layered, conspiracy-filled world that the Guidestones exist in.

The Georgia Guidestones, are structures that actually exist, and you the viewer are thrown into a mystery-laden world as you follow two journalism students as they discover a web of intrigue that takes them around the globe!

If  you put your Google to work, you can get so much out of this series! There are clues, hidden websites, hidden videos, strange symbols… It’s so involved, and the more you learn, the more you get into the events that are happening to Supinder and Dan’s characters, Sandy and Trevor respectively.

There are about 50 episodes altogether, and if you sting them together, they’ll probably run about two hours all told. But if you start seeking out the supplemental material, there is so much more to find and do, and hours of exploring! All of which makes the world that much more real for the viewer.

It’s an engaging, interactive experience, and also very addictive!!

Despite that, it’s not asking a lot of your time, because the story spills out in real-time. You may only get an episode, or two a day, the course of the series runs about 3 weeks.

I, as of this writing, an on episode 34, and I have no idea how they’re gonna have things tied up before the end of the first season, but I am having a great time watching for things to hunt down online!

That’s right, I said first season, they are toying with ideas for season two already and I am very eager to see Sandy and Trevor in action again.

So if you are looking for something different, something fun, something unexpected, then you really need to do yourself a favor and explore the world of Guidestones.

You won’t regret it.

And then check in on Saturday for our podcast this week, when we chat to series creator and director, Jay Ferguson, and the stars Supinder Wraich and Dan Fox!

Jump into the adventure here!