Star Trek: Enterprise
I've been a Trek fan since the early days of The Next Generation, so it's gonna be a little weird not to be able to tune into the universe Gene Roddenberry created. Let's face it, though, Enterprise had its problems. And if this were the end of Season 2, I would've been pretty fine saying "Take care!" to this series. But dammit, somehow executive producer Manny Coto did indeed turn this sucker around. What a shame. If Season 4 had occurred two years earlier, there'd likely be three more seasons to go at this point. But since time travel doesn't actually exist (I think), we can't go back and change the past, and thus, the final two episodes aired on Friday.
"Terra Prime," the first, was indicative of the improved state of Enterprise. No doubt that Starfleet and alien integration would survive, but especially since this was the end the fate of Trip and T'Pol's baby was compelling (and heartbreaking) to watch. Also, I'd like to add, Trip's a real guy's guy, but damn if he can't bawl with the best of 'em.
The sudden promise of Trip and T'Pol's relationship made the finale itself all the more tragic to watch. That renewed hope was quickly supplanted by a sense of profound loss when we found that not only had they wasted six years apart, but Trip was going to die soon. Like many fans, I thought, "If they have to kill someone off, why did it have to be good ol' Trip?" Think about it, though would anyone but Anthony Montgomery's family have cared if Travis had accidentally been flushed into space?
As for the rest, while it gave me an initial jump (of joy) to see TNG's flagship again, the contrived premise just didn't work. Who gives a crap about the friggin' Pegasus? Way too much emphasis on Riker and Troi, who did look good, but who are we kidding? Anyway, on the trivial side, Trek's long-term production team got some cameos, including staffer Dawn Velazquez in the dead crew manifest of the Pegasus, and associate producer Dave "Suspicious Diet Coke Can" Rossi as "the guy sitting behind Reed and the others at the ceremony."
So, for the present, we say goodbye to Star Trek. But have no fear, just like the future, a new incarnation of the Great Bird's dream will inevitably be here soon. Danny SpiegelSUNDAY
OK, quick recap of the night: Love, love Coby and think he'll be the cutest daddy ever, Ian is either really dumb or completely crazy and Tom won. Yeah, big surprise there. Let's tackle the Ian thing first. I realize that he was trying to do the nice thing but, dude, this is Survivor, not playtime at the petting zoo; you had to know going in that you might tick off one or two people. After he took down cute little Jenn in the immunity challenge at tribal council, I thought for sure he was going to be in the final two, and I honestly think he would have had a chance against Tom if he'd just hung in there on that bouncing buoy a little bit longer. (I would have been seasick in 11 minutes and never lasted close to 12 hours.) I was hoping that all that bobbing just made him delusional. And while I was sitting in the live audience during the finale, I watched closely and didn't notice him kicking himself with those long gangly legs at any point. Basically, he gave it to Tom by asking him to take Katie. That nice gesture just put a million buckaroos in Tom's pocket. Not that Tom didn't deserve to win he took home almost every immunity and basically tried to be a nice guy, but having Katie next to him was just a gimme. Besides his slightly chauvinistic attitude nice job Jenn for bringing that up he pretty much played an honest game. Katie played the slackers game nice job, um, everyone else for pointing that out and didn't really deserve the cash. Even nice-guy Gregg joined the picking-on-Katie game, though he later apologized. See, Ian, there's the lesson: It is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. Which shouldn't have been a hard concept to grasp for someone who so easily joked that Tom was three times older than him. Nice one. Good thing the new millionaire can take a joke, otherwise the 41-year-old firefighter could've easily taken down that smart-alecky 23-year-old.
Anyway, the best part of the whole three-hour show was Coby. From his "Don't Hate" T-shirt, to his out-of-control facial expressions to the news that he adopted a baby and named it Janu. Well chances are this adorable little infant will at least have great hair if her daddy has anything to say about it. And judging by the roar of the crowd anytime his face hit the screen, I think he has a few people out there who might have already started knitting him some baby booties. The only person who got more applause aside from Tom was my fave, Steph. So many people seem to agree with me that She-Ra rocked and looked great doing it.
Also, loved that Jeff Probst who really did seem to egg people on more this season brought up the fact that it seemed like he'd coerced Janu into quitting. Coby's baby's namesake said that wasn't the case at all, but at least it was nice to see that Jeff is aware of public opinion. Someone who is not aware? Wanda, who decided to appease her fans with another tune. I just wanted to hide under my chair until it was over. Which is what Jeff W. and Gregg looked like they wanted to do when asked how their island romances with Kim and Jenn had been fairing since leaving "Rat Island." Doesn't seem like Rob and Amber have to worry about another set of Survivor sweeties stealing their spotlight anytime soon. Oh, and on a random side note, I feel for the poor production person who had to swim back down and retrieve all those torches so that they could be auctioned off for charity. — Angel Cohn
This was a mighty tough week for the guys. Let's give the rundown:
Rex: He gets more bad pills, is insidiously framed for blabbing about his S&M fetish and, to top it off, has a heart attack thanks to George, while his loving wife makes the bed. Pillow-fluffing has never been so bitterly cold in its execution.
Carlos: He beats up the wrong guy, lands in jail and, when he kindly suggests that Gabrielle lie for him, gets turned down. Well, at least he has a nice, fresh roll of toilet paper nearby. He deserves it, though if you're gonna screw around with your wife's pills, pay out of pocket, dude.
Tom: On the same day he impulsively quits his job, he finds out that it was his own wife who submarined him on an earlier promotion. Lynette is not gettin' any tonight.
Paul Young: The only thing his plan got him was a solid punch in the face.
Zach: He thinks his father left him, and all he got was a lousy T-shirt. Uh, I mean glove. Although, maybe he actually did get a T-shirt, and we just didn't see it on screen. You never know.
Mike: OK, it wasn't totally a bad deal for the plumber. He did get to pummel Paul, and he's moving in with Susan. However, he's moving in with Susan. That's literally an accident waiting to happen.
I guess the only guy who had a good day was George. But he had to act like an immoral bastard to do it. No, wait, I almost forgot the construction worker who got to hook up with Edie had the best day, by far. Nice going, dude! Danny SpiegelMONDAY
Everybody Loves Raymond
Nobody died. Or announced a pregnancy. Or a divorce. Or any other sort of life-changing event that typifies so many long-running series' contrived grand finales. What happened in Everybody Loves Raymond's sweet and touching and very funny final episode was a typically small but powerfully resonant moment a medical scare for Ray triggering reactions that veered from heart-wrenching emotion to rollicking comedy with breathtaking agility and impact.
The setup: Ray goes into the hospital to have his adenoids out. Finally! (Frank figures they're close to those other 'oids on his backside.) Everyone mocks neurotic Ray for being such a big baby over such minor surgery everyone but smothering Marie, who thinks breathing in the fumes from her minestrone can cure all ills (including Debra's cooking). But at the hospital, when a nurse comes into the waiting room to tell Debra that Ray is having trouble waking up from anesthesia, the instant panic is real and scary. Debra and Robert freak. (Marie, thankfully, is in the ladies' room at the time.) But once it's clear it was a false alarm, Debra calculates it's best that "nobody tells Ray." Frank adds, "Or his mother."
Still, the family is shaken to the core. Debra, in bed with Ray, gets choked up talking about her daily routine. Frank, in bed with Marie, is unusually reflective and thoughtful and naturally can't keep the secret. Frantic Marie rushes to her boy's bedside, crawling over Debra to pummel an aghast Ray with kisses. "I knew one day this would happen," Debra sighs. So did we all, but that doesn't make it any prettier.
And so we leave the Barones the next morning, three generations crowded around a breakfast table rambunctious, fractious, full of life and love, waiting for chocolate-chip pancakes, courtesy of Marie (who once again has taken charge of Debra's kitchen). As the camera pulls back for the final fade, it reminded me of the last shot in Moonstruck, another grand comic fable about an unforgettable Italian family. I never wanted that movie to end. I never wanted this series to end.
But all good things must, though rarely with as much class and confident grace as Everybody Loves Raymond. Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts, Peter Boyle, Brad Garrett. Man, it just doesn't get any better than that. Matt Roush
The Bachelor: The Final Rose Live
Ugh. After three hours of foreplay, Charlie O'Connell finally picked his next ex-girlfriend. And we got to watch. Some of you even got to look away. Not me. So, for those of you who couldn't stomach the journey, I offer you a predigested tour through the night I will never get back. Thanks a lot, ABC.
8:01: Ahh, the look, the feel of Chris Harrison, live from Hollywood.
8:18: Krisily meets the O'Connells, who love her. Probably since she doesn't mention Mom's Flintstoney bone necklace. Or ask for Jerry.
8:19: Chuck's buds prove to be the whitest whiteys on Earth by declaring that the salon coordinator is "so down," while pounding lite beer.
8:30: Sarah B. shows up in Montauk to irk Chuck's best pal, who calls her "a bit controlling." Maybe, but his "whips and chains" comment is way off. She's clearly of the feathers-and-duct-tape scene.
8:32: Is it me, or does Sarah seem a little drunk-faced at dinner? And is that a new bone necklace Mama O'Connell's sporting? Pretty.
8:37: It's a Bachelor on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown! Charlie tears up thinking about how confused he is. I know, let's give him two months to date the ladies off-camera. They'll love that!
8:38: Or maybe not. "I think it's kind of f----d up," grumbles Sarah. Hmm...
8:50: The gals head back to NYC for their last dates with Charlie, who "kicks it on the couch" with Krisily before facing Sarah's wrath. Which should tell him something... other than that "kicking it on the couch" is a sucky idea for a date.
9:00: Kissing montage! Wow, this guy got some major play.
9:02 We're back live with Chris and the ladies are off in their dressing rooms. "I'm freaking out," says Sarah, looking anything but freaked. Must still be loaded from dinner with the O'Connells. Krisily, however, is bangin'. So obviously, she's doomed.
9:03: Hey, it's Byron and Mary from the last Bachelor in the audience. How convenient. And they're planning a 2006 wedding. Good thing ABC had some hits this year, 'cause you know that's gonna cost 'em.
9:22: OK, enough with the Mexican date footage. Bring out the boy!
9:24: It's about damn time. Charlie finally comes out to banter with Chris about turning 30 and hating the show right now. Word.
9:30: Clips of Charlie, Krisily and Sarah watching themselves on the show? This thing has more filler than a crab cake from the TV Guide cafeteria. Oh, sorry. "On-site restaurant." Did Krisily's mother just call Kimberley a slut?
9:36: The ladies' families exchange pleasantries about one another's "beautiful girl." Which, in reality-TV speak means "your skank ho is going down!" And there's Krisily's nana, working the C.Z. like a pro. Bless her bedazzled heart.
10:06 Dancing with the Stars? Really?
10:24 I called it. Krisily just got the boot. Still, she's taking it well. Do I smell the next Bachelorette? Or is that Chuckles' instant regret?
10:48 Wait, you're kidding me, right? "I will be the greatest boyfriend ever"? This Sarah chick has been hanging around for two months, for a boyfriend?! Cripes, I could have set the ninny up with my roommate John and spared us all the last two months of Mondays. That's it, O'Connell. Just like your 15 minutes, we are so over. Damian J. Holbrook
I think I need a minute alone with my Kleenex. [Sniffling and wiping eyes. Taking a deep, deep breath.] OK, I think I'm good. But you won't mind if I get all verklempt, right? 'Cause I'm pretty sure I can't write about Lorelai asking Luke to marry her (!!!) without getting totally choked up. How amazing and unexpected was that? Lorelai has finally come of age, shedding the self-doubt and flightiness that made her oblivious to the perfect thing right in front of her. As Luke rambled on about his master plan to get Rory back into Yale, we literally watched the transformation come across her face. (Lauren Graham deserves an Emmy nod for that scene alone.) It was the perfect ending to the best season yet. (Please, oh, please, we don't want to wait an entire year for this wedding! November sweeps would be perfect, thanks.)
Sure, I'm still swooning over the proposal, but this ep was incredibly bittersweet. Lorelai and Rory, whose lives have always merged so perfectly, have veered terribly off-course. From her new Richie-Rich Yalie friends to her very Richie-Rich boyfriend to her new living arrangement with her Richie-Rich grandparents, Rory is proving to be a true blue-blooded Gilmore, much to her mother's dismay. And now that Emily and Richard have their moneyed hands on Rory, Lorelai's lost yet another piece of what was once her sweet, down-to-earth daughter. (How bad did you feel for Lorelai, watching from outside as Rory put her books away inside the pool house?) Perhaps mom does need to let go a little and trade one bond for another. Good thing Luke's right there waiting with his toolbox, the Twickum house and his dreams of their children filling up their home. (There I go, getting all teary-eyed again.) I can't wait until next season. Robin Honig
Britney and Kevin: Chaotic
OK, this show is nauseating, but that has less to do with the content of the show than the shoddy home-video "cinematography" by Kevin and Britney. The show is really more baffling than anything else, because before Kevin drops on the scene, Britney insists that she's never getting married again. And I get that the girl likes sex, almost obsessively apparently, but why Kevin? He was kinda somewhat attractive before he let his shaved head get all matted and unkempt, but he also claims not to believe in the institution of marriage. Yup, there's a real catch. Even her security guard, Mo, was ready to take out the glorified hanger-on. But the relationship on display for the world to see is no cutesy Nick and Jessica on the Newlyweds; in fact, those comparisons are ridiculous. Jessica and Nick are living a PG-13-rated life filmed by professional cameramen. Brit and her dirrty dude are living the XXX high life with a hand-held camcorder on what is a true candid camera. Not only does the pop star share her sex life I'm just waiting for the Paris Hilton-esque bedroom tape to leak now that Brit's figured out the night-vision function she also performs a grand inquisition on her staffers, asking them inappropriate questions about their favorite sexual positions and then chickens out and won't tell them hers. Guessing it has something to do with that treadmill in the gym. Here are a few things I learned about Ms. Spears-Federline on tonight's episode:
She thinks Pink is cool. Is that just because she once called her pretty in a song?
She has amazing hair and makeup artists who can magic away acne and bad hair extensions. That explains a lot.
Pregnancy has been very good to her either that or her interview outfit was just particularly revealing.
She's a "wham, bam, thank-you, ma'am" kind of girl. Yeah, she actually said that.
She doesn't care what her dream man looks like so long as he's not a--faced ugly. Aw, who says romance is dead?
Love is a big mystery to her, and so are the lyrics to Eminem's "My Band" song with D12.
She has stars on her tour bus ceiling, which I applaud as a slightly less tacky choice than mirrors.
Her dream man is Brad Pitt. Too bad that now he's free-ish, she's off the market. They would have given Tom and Katie a run for their US Weekly covers.
She's looking for a man who is cool, not really phased by that much stuff, and who hasn't seen that much of the world. I guess two out of three ain't bad.
My fave quote of the night: When her antagonized limo driver begged not to be asked about his bedroom activities, she just drawled, "It's not all about sex, y'all." Um... OK, you say so. Angel Cohn
No way! Did you see that coming? The gihugantic element that plowed into Smallville? So cool! I figured they would use the blow-out finale to wrap up the mystical crystal story line, but this? Forget about it. Ya got special effects out the wazoo, Lana shanking Genevieve, Jor-El barking at Clark about following his destiny, Jason pulling a Desperate Hours on a surprisingly heroic Jonathan and Martha and meteors turning the whole damn place into The Day After with prettier survivors. Oh, and lest we forget, it looks like the three stones are like, the key to the Fortress of Solitude or something. I mean, hello! The trumpet-soaked Superman-y music after Clark was zapped from the cave to the Arctic? Total foreshadowing. As for the Teagues, we'll miss you, Jane Seymour. It was a hoot. And yes, you guys were right: Jason survived Lionel's bullet last week, though I'm pretty sure he won't be walking out of the Kents' now that the farm has, well... bought the farm. Besides, WB is already running ads for Jensen Ackles' new fall series, so it's a safe bet he's a goner this time. Lionel, I'm not so sure about. He seems pretty out of it right now, but if Lana can survive that helicopter crash, old man Luthor could be up and running by September, right? If he is, Lex is in for a world of trouble. And somehow, I'm guessing his little romantic confession to Miss On-the-Lam Lang is going to make things easier. Though if Lois tracks down her sister in Europe and decides to come back, we could have an interesting love triangle. Then you throw in Lex, maybe Chloe... oh, man, it's going to be a long summer. Damian J. Holbrook
OK, so the monster is some kind of security system for the island? Have these people in the weird Pacific never heard of the Slomin Shield? And what the heck is up with that black cloud rising on the horizon. Is it sending subliminal messages to the audience? And is it wrong that I seriously want to go to the library today and find a book on ancient smoke signals to see if I can figure anything out? Anyway, it doesn't bode well for our favorite island dwellers. While the last few weeks have been a little um, slow, they are obviously building up to something big and bad and just altogether not good. It is rather suspicious that they made a point of showing us a scene with Jack and that Girlfight chick saying that they sat in seats 23B and 42F respectively. I thought everyone in the back of the plane was presumed dead... hmmm, interesting. Those numbers are still perplexing me, and I'm guessing a few other people, too. Now if someone may die in next week's season finale, the possibilities are numerous. I worry for Sawyer, I mean, James who finally redeemed himself by telling Jack his dad's final message and whose departure on the raft seemed ominous when he didn't get to say farewell to Kate. Sniff. Sun and Jin's tearful parting was sweet and heartbreaking and sent me into full-on weepy mode. I'm even a little bit worried about Walt. who heroically gave his dog Vincent to Shannon for safekeeping and company. And while it was exciting to see the bamboo raft finally set sail on the deep blue sea, I was more fascinated by the other boat on Mystery Island the big pirate ship known as the Black Rock. How did that get landlocked, and does it have anything to do with the Others? I loved, loved, loved the twist on the flashback sequences that combined multiple characters on the same day instead of focusing on one person. Got oodles more info that way about Sawyer's headbutting incident, Jack's marriage not working out, why Kate so coveted that little toy plane etc. Best of all was seeing old Shannon being her bitchy self and turning in Sayid at the airport for leaving a bag unattended. I just hope that the remaining castaways pick the "run" option instead of hiding or dying from the crazy French lady's list. And watch out for that creepy science guy with the unpronounceable name. If he doesn't like Hurley, then I just don't trust him. Angel Cohn
Man, I love Quentin Tarantino. He can start with what is already a fantastic procedural show and take it to the next level. His odd-but-appropriate music choices and visual style are unmistakable (I'm sure he added the Dukes of Hazzard board game, too). However, I'm a little bit worried about his current obsession with stuffing people in confined spaces. He tossed Uma six feet under in Kill Bill 2, and now Nick is in the same predicament. Tarantino does do tight quarters better than anyone, though Alias and Veronica Mars have followed suit pretty convincingly this season. He really kicked it up Tarantino-style with the icky fire ants and tons of explosives. Did anyone else start itching when they showed those bugs biting into Stokes' flesh? I'm not too squeamish, but that really got to me. I'm not sure if tonight's torture was delayed payback for George Eads' money-grubbing stunt earlier this season, or a reward for his solid performances since then, including that showcase episode where he really got to show some range. Or maybe he and Gary Dourdan really did flip for it. The warped autopsy scene was also clearly a byproduct of the oddball Tarantino mind, but I've got to give credit to the writers for keeping their snappy dialogue and tone intact, even with a big personality calling the shots. They did a great job of bringing the whole season full circle with Grissom's request to reunite his team. That was very poignant, as was watching Grissom read Stokes' lips on the web cam. But the most touching moment of the evening was unintentional. This episode turned out to be character actor Frank Gorshin's final performance before his death earlier this week. So riddle me this: Is there any better way for an actor to go out than on the top-rated drama on TV? I don't think so. Angel Cohn
What is with Fox making me cry this week? Last night it was losing the Vonz on Idol. Tonight I'm wet-eyed over, like, everything. First it's Hailey and Jimmy returning for Caleb's funeral. Then, it's the funeral itself, though don't ask me why. He was the devil. After that, Sandy explaining Kirsten's drinking problem to Seth gave me a lump in my throat, which became full-on chin-quivering as soon as the gang whipped out their tough-love for Kiki's "after-school special" intervention. Once she 'fessed up and broke down, forget it. Gone. (Oh, and FYI: Kelly Rowan? Devastating, thank you very much.) Honestly, I barely pulled it together before Marissa shattered into a million pieces and told Summer about Trey's attempted rape. Even the ensuing and horrifyingly brutal beatdown between the Atwood boys had me sort of open-jawed upset, though not as much as the inevitable tragedy of Coop blowing a hole through Trey to save Ryan. Good thing there was the action of Jess the Coke Whore's drug-deal-turned-shootout at the Bait Shop. We needed the jolt just to break up all those raw emotions. But that's the beauty of Josh Schwartz's writing. He respects his characters' histories, so we don't just get random, out-of-the-blue dramas that scream "SEASON FINALE!" We get moments jammed with resonance: Summer seeing her addict stepmother in Kirsten's boozy mess at the wake, Ryan risking the last year of being a good boy to teach his scuzzbag brother a lesson and Julie realizing that Jimmy was the best thing to happen to her. And mentioning Caitlin! Whoo-hoo! Of course, how all of this plays out will have to wait until next season, so until then, let's all say a little prayer that Kiki makes friends with Bill W. at that rehab and that Marissa makes bail over the summer. After all, they'll probably want to be around when Theresa the 40-year-old teenager finally turns up with that damn kid of hers. 'Cause you know that's coming, right? Damian J. Holbrook
So Kendra got hired. I'm so shocked... OK, not really. Especially after Tana's less-than-professional outbursts about her team during last week's task. I thought for a moment that she just had one bad night, but her Arsenio Hall-style whooping when she took credit for the Pontiac task during which she ditched Kendra in order to get some beauty sleep made me realize that's just her personality. I was with her up until the Bedazzling incident and then... well, she just started to crack. I was worried that Trump might appreciate that sort of outspoken behavior, but at the end of the day, he chose the quiet, hard worker to represent his company. The fact that polished, book-smart Kendra has teamed up with gritty, street-smart Chris made me realize a couple of things: This whole grand experiment between the two kinds of education was really a failure, as it seems like you need a bit of both to succeed; and also that Kendra wasn't sitting around wasting the last few months hoping that Trump would give her a job, but was out there working it with the most difficult partner she could find. Good luck; just stay spunky and don't become a humorless worker drone like Kelly and Bill have become. And Donald, before next season, maybe you want to spend less time plugging your friend Martha and all your sponsors' great products and actually learn the names of the contestants. He clearly got confused when it came to Erin and Kristen. Ahh, the beauty of live TV. AC