Todd mason


"My Own Worst Enemy"

At last the best sitcom on television is back alas for its final short seasonSynopsis Picking up with the season finales emotional cliff-hanger JD Zach Braff] and Elliot Sarah Chalke are about to kiss JD speculates that they are both afraid to commit even to this but after seeing Elliot close her eyes he readies himself only to discover that Elliot is about to call them both to their senses or at least to get them both to wonder why they keep pulling themselves and each other out of serious relations Elliot decides she cant marry Keith Travis Schuldt and tells him so only days before the wedding he doesnt take it so well After a week of insulting Elliot at every opportunity Keith arranges to pick up his stuff at her apartment with the proviso that shell not be there she cant abide his hostility though and shows up hoping to make things at least civil between them Instead they become impulsively romantic leading to Elliot breaking up with h read more

"Thirteen"

Quite a packed episode this Veteran scriptwriter Don McGill and whoever else mightve had a hand in it managed to get at least an episode and a halfs worth of incident in wrapped around solving the central case but with plenty of little nudges toward resolving aspects of the longer arcs within the series some of those resolved or at least dealt with perhaps a little too quickly Thanks to any number of crime dramas we mightve seen before ranging from Grand Guignol and its heirs the weirder edge of film noir and contemporary English suspensehorror films and German krimis and Italian gialli and on up through that other film with a digit in its title Se7en and its contemporaries and all the crime fiction that helped to inspire them this episodes fanatic is a familiar type One might even have grown accustomed to his sort from the other procedurals and policeinvestigator shows This is where spoilers will become more explicitBut what was most remarkable about read more

"Velocity"

Series creators Heuton and Falacci wrote this one perhaps explaining a stronger sense of both the open and closed mystery aspects of the drama that was present in the previous two episodes and the greater attention to mathematical detail So to get right to the spoilers I missed the explanation of why the LAPD would ask the FBI to look into a vehicular manslaughter case I know the team initially saw this as vehicular manslaughter because they didnt see the original suspect stagger out of the trunk of the street-racing car he was suspected of running into a coffeeshop Hence the first strong open mystery thread we the viewers know that their suspect lying in a coma in a hospital was not driving in the illegal race but no one else does except perhaps the assailant who stomped his head So we waited for the FBI and academic investigators to determine this Then there were the closed mystery questions of who assaulted the suspect and who the actual driver of the cr read more

"Hollywood Homicide"

This was a consolidating episode for the series It eased the Colby character back into the team and it showcased the romances of the Eppes brothers David Krumholtzs Charlie with Navi Rawats Amita and the slight edge in Charlies voice in response to the gentlest of nudges from his woman friend Rob Morrows Don with Aya Sumikas Liz Warner neither of whom are good at defusing the workplacerelation tension It gave nearly everyone in the cast a setpiece and it also gave the show an opportunity to mock Entourage and to make a few inside jokes about Numbers itself as when mildly star-struck Charlie and the less-impressed Larry Fleinhardt Peter MacNicol demonstrated how they use calculations of water displacement to determine the size of a murder suspect only to be told by their audience of a film actor and his lifelong friend that their efforts are just like something out of the movies only not as coolAside from the Eureka moment th read more

Trust Metric

In Numb3rs to give it its preferred logotype Cheryl Heuton and Nicholas Falacci have created an almost perfect machine taking the classic eccentric detective series whose roots go back at least as far as the Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle but which is perhaps best represented on US television by Columbo and combining that with the ensemble workplacefamily drama which came to its mature form on US tv with such 1980s series as Hill Street Blues and St Elsewhere In addition to good-to-excellent scripts sly casting and performances and often impressive production design the two extra strokes of brilliance in the makeup of Numb3rs are the gimmicky but nonetheless enjoyable use of applied mathematics in the characters crime-solving and less obviously the splitting of the single eccentric detective into a team of eccentrics including making at least some of the FBI agents at the heart of the show nearly as odd as the mathematicians and physicists and a c read more

"The Discarded"

Tonight's episode is the fourth and last of the six that were produced that ABC intends to run. (All six will be seen in Canada, at least, on the cable channel Space, starting in November). And it was the episode a number of viewers were most eager to see, I suspect, since it was based on a short story by Harlan Ellison, who has established himself as a major figure in both fantastic fiction (among other sorts of prose) and in screenwriting, as well as being responsible for some notable comics scripting and work in other media. Apparently Ellison gave executive producer Keith Addis strong support when they resisted the attempts by ABC to call the series "Masters of Sci-Fi," which would be comparable to calling its Showtime sibling series Masters of Horror something like "Masters of Spookiness" (ABC chose to slip "scifi" into the URL for the series' pages on abc.go.com, anyway... perhaps the smallest of many hostilities the network has shown toward this project). And the story was ad... read more

"Jerry Was a Man"

“Jerry Was a Man” is the slickest and most handsomely produced of the three episodes shown by ABC so far, and it’s based on a short story by probably the most influential of 20th-century American science-fiction writers, Robert A. Heinlein; 2007 is the centennial of his birth. He wasn't the best American sf writer of the century (though many would give him that, too), but the most influential in part because he demonstrated the ease with which one could sketch in details to give a sense of otherness in fiction — but an otherness in which the characters were entirely at home (unless there was some reason they shouldn’t be). And ingenuity, both in sociological speculation and in story construction, was often his strong suit, particularly in the work he published in the first decade or so of his sf-writing career, beginning with a story in John Campbell’s magazine Astounding Science Fiction in 1939. This story was first published in a competing magazine, S... read more

"The Awakening"

Like the characters in tonight's episode, we can live in the hope that "The Awakening" remains the weakest installment of this series. In fact, we might even wonder why this arguably religious fantasy was included in a series devoted to science fiction at all; more importantly, we can wonder why, if this obviously heartfelt production was to be included, they executed it so poorly, with so many goofy little details that pull the viewer out of the drama.Based, presumably rather loosely, on Howard Fast's short story "The General Zapped an Angel" (the producers were so concerned that the not-exactly-surprising ending would be given away that they credited the story in the opening as "The General Zapped... "), it's squarely in the tradition of attempted mystical uplift in science fiction drama. As I mentioned in my first post, Howard Fast is best known for his historical fiction, the field to which he contributed most often and most importantly; like sf, historical fiction is a field th... read more

"A Clean Escape"

Well, as John Kessel (the author of the short story adapted for this first broadcast episode of the series) advised us, the acting by Judy Davis and Sam Waterston in "A Clean Escape" was excellent; it was particularly good to see Waterston away from the harness of Law and Order (and he even got to be the U.S. president in this one, as opposed to district attorney or ADA for NYC). Good performances are crucial in this kind of context; as several have noted elsewhere, this was largely a two-character drama, one which with not much revision could be nearly as powerful as a "legitimate" theater/stage play, particularly given the stark and sweeping ethical dilemmas involved: personal responsibility, the (necessary?) abuse of (always corrupting or at least reason-distorting?) great political and military power, real and metaphorical losses reinforcing one another as the drama plays out. Literary sf (along with other forms of fantastic literature, such as fantasy and surrealist fiction) an... read more

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