Month: January 2011

Fringe: Season 2

Fringe 2

Fringe DVD season 2

Tonight I finished watching the second season of Fringe. Its difficult to say how this season ranks with the first season – I enjoyed both quite a bit. I don’t know that I could pick which one is “better.”

This season has several “reveals” in it, so if you don’t wanna know… don’t read any further. Once again, Walter and Astrid steal the show, but during this season Olivia and Peter became far more interesting, as well. There was one episode that is “flashback” to 1985 when Peter dies and one episode that is like taking an LSD-trip with Walter (“Brown Betty”).  The latter is very weird and not at all like any other episode. I don’t know if that makes it good or bad. I guess I just don’t know what the writers were thinking with that one.

Not all the episodes in this season were part of the “over there/second dimension” storyline, which is nice. I think its a good thing that we see other odd cases as opposed to only ones dealing with the parallel universe and Walter’s exploits there.  In some of these episodes we learn more about the Observers, as they are called, and we also get a lot of our backstory questions answered. People who watched season 1 will definitely want to watch season 2 for all the answers. Most of the answers we get are regarding Peter.

The season ends not so much with a cliffhanger, but with Olivia in a bad spot, so to speak.

Walter:  “You know what? You know what you’re putting into our bodies? Death! Delicious, strawberry-flavored death!”
4 stars

 

Deadly Decisions

Deadly Decisions

Deadly Decisions cover

Deadly Decisions is the third book in the Temperance Brennan novel series by Kathy Reichs.  I have read both the first and second novels, and now today, completed the third.

I started this book sometime in August 2010. I finished it on January 25, 2011.  This does not mean that it was a 2,000 page tome.  I have the ability to read a number of books at the same time. Its like watching TV shows, most people do not watch an entire series of one show and then begin the next. Easily, they watch their favorite shows and manage to keep track of all the storylines and characters.  Nevertheless, I admit that I was not actively reading this book during all these months. I started it, made good progress (perhaps as far as page 120), and then just failed to pick it back up again. I got too absorbed in any number of things.  Last night, I was all set to start yet another novel and I admonished myself:  finish up the old ones first!!  So I did.

From the back of the book:  A North Carolina teenager disappears from her home, and parts of her skeleton are found hundreds of miles away. The shocking deaths propel forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan from north to south, and deep into a shattering investigation inside the bizarre culture of outlaw motorcycle gangs — where one misstep could bring disaster for herself or someone she loves.

Of the three books by Kathy Reichs that I have read, this was my least favorite.  I think the topic of biker gangs and motorcycles and such just really holds no interest for me.  And, if the book had been really gripping, it would never have taken six months to read the whole thing.  Still, I am not saying that this is a bad book.  I am used to Reichs’ writing style, I like the majority of the recurring characters in her books, and I like the tone and setting of the books.  I understand both the Montreal and Dixie aspects of the stories, and its fun to read about stories that take place in areas that I am familiar with.

In chapter five, we are introduced to a new ongoing plotline involving Andrew Ryan (Brennan’s partner in the previous novels). I, frankly, do not like Ryan whatsoever, so I just did not give a rip about this storyline. By the end of this book, I was disappointed in how this plotline is working out.

I am quite fond of Brennan’s cat, Birdie. I also am starting to become amused by the interactions between Brennan and Claudel.  I feel these interactions could really develop and be quite good in future novels.  Claudel is an intriguing character.  Once again, the story included some of Brennan’s family, Kit and Harry.  This was okay, but Kit is nineteen years old and as a major figure in this novel I was annoyed by him. I am not thrilled with the antics of teenagers.

Overall, I have to give this book 2 stars. It really is on the cusp of 3 stars, but it did take me 6 months to read it.  I will be continuing on in the series.

2 stars

Fringe: Season 1

Fringe 1

Fringe DVD season 1

Last night I finished up Fringe Season one.   I had gotten the season on sale on Black Friday for $10.  It stars Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham, an FBI agent who ends up drafted into the “Fringe Division” to investigate bizarre cases that are beyond the norm of known empirical science.  She is assisted by Peter Bishop (played by Joshua Jackson) and Walter Bishop (John Noble).

The Pilot episode was not very good. I’ve learned, though, that pilots are not usually good.  I hate flying and so the chaos on the plane crash to start the show left me uneasy.  But putting aside my fear of crashing, I have to say that the characters seemed dumb, confused, and a bit retarded. The story was only so-so average.

Thankfully, the storyline gets a lot better. Walter is a fascinating “mad scientist” and Peter plays a good antagonist to Olivia and Walter.  I like the concept of Walter getting his laboratory back and I love the crazy things that go on in his lab. I also like Walter’s randomness.  The supporting character of Astrid Farnsworth, an FBI agent who is on Olivia’s personal team and hangs out in Walter’s lab is one of my favorite characters. She’s fun and cute and interesting and rounds out the group in a nice way.  Olivia’s FBI partner, Charlie Francis, annoys me, but not too much. Its just that his voice grates on my nerves and his character is merely an enabler because he always lets Olivia do whatever she wants to do.

I have to say I was not impressed at all with Anna Torv’s acting skill. In the first few episodes, she barely hides her Aussie accent. Also, it seems the only facial expression she is really good at is looking confused.  In the latter half of the season, however, her character develops and she gets a better handle on not talking like an Aussie. One of the things that I do appreciate about her character is that Olivia is not another screamy-whiny-female character, prone to tears and flowers.  (A good example of this is in the episode “Bound.”)

Olivia’s boss, Phillip Broyles, isn’t really developed much. Its hard to ascertain what his rank in the FBI hierarchy is.  We know he has kids and is divorced, but that’s about it.  Also, the actor (Lance Reddick) who plays him has definitely got to eat some serious fat and protein. He’s way too thin!

One of my favorite quotes from Season 1 is, predictably, from Walter, who is speaking to a nurse at a hospital:

“Unless your IQ is higher than mine, I don’t care what you think.”

4 stars