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Last night on the TV

White Collar -- This is the new USA series, about a handsome, smart thief/con-man who becomes a "consultant" with the FBI in return for getting his slate cleaned. This set-up sounded kind of familiar, but Lisa and I decided to give it a try since USA is the network that brought us Burn Notice and Royal Pains, both of which we love. White Collar turns out to be really good too -- it is kind of familiar, but it's also very well written and I really like the characters.

Stargate: SVU -- White Collar's pilot ran ten minutes long, so we watched the last fifty minutes of this. If you caught the end of last week's show, you know that this week's trauma was that the Giant Alien Spaceship, which was almost out of power, was headed straight towards a star. I immediately concluded that this was a refueling maneuver and hence nothing to get excited about, but the cast were all like ZOMG we're gonna die! Much pointless angst was then expended deciding which cast members were going to get to use the Little Alien Shuttlecraft as a lifeboat -- pointless because, once Lt. Scott got assigned to the LAS, while Robert Carlyle's Scientist of Questionable Morals decided to remain aboard the GAS, it was clear that neither ship could possibly be destroyed, and that the episode would end with the LAS racing to get back to the GAS after the GAS successfully completed its refueling stop. Which is exactly what happened.

Dollhouse -- This week in the Land of Total Moral Confusion: If you take a healthy woman you're obsessed with, pump her full of drugs to make her schizophrenic, and then trick the Dollhouse into "curing" her schizophrenia by turning her into a doll you can then use as your love slave, that's rape and kidnapping, and you are a bad person who deserves to die. But if you take a woman who's really schizophrenic, and "cure" her schizophrenia by turning her into a doll who lots of people can use as a love slave, that's... OK?I? And if you think you've done the latter, but then you find out you were an unwitting accomplice to the former, that gives you a crisis of conscience?

20/20 -- A 60-minute-long promo for Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner's new book SuperFreakonomics, which I'm guessing is published by the same conglomerate that owns ABC. SuperFreakonomics has been getting a lot of flack for its chapter on global warming, and since that chapter was largely inspired by a visit the authors paid to Intellectual Ventures, a lab my friend Paul Holman is associated with, I was curious to see what they'd have to say. Unfortunately Levitt and Dubner came across as incredibly intellectually shallow (check out the first segment of the show on 20/20's web site to see what I mean), so the fact that they were excited about IV's ideas wasn't necessarily a compliment.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 24th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
Also not too pleased with the Freakonomics guys: Sady Doyle, who demolishes their apparently quite shallow look at prostitution.

I'm utterly baffled by the positive reactions I've seen to this week's Dollhouse. As you say, the staff's selective morality has crossed the line from intriguingly hypocritical to simply inexplicable, and Priya's actions didn't make much sense either.
Oct. 24th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Priya's apparently voluntary decision to return to the chair in the end was baffling. She can't have felt she owed the Dollhouse anything, and if it's about her being in love with Victor, I'd think the best way to express that love is not by (re)joining him in slavery but by calling the cops.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 25th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Dammit. Forgot to login. This was me (dunno if it will post or disappear into anonymity, sorry...):


Disclaimer: See previous comment about me never paying attention when I watch TV.

I actually loved this Dollhouse. The only one of the season I've liked at all (and it had very little of my least favorite characters - yay!). I actually thought it might have worked better as a "past" episode, given where it left Topher: feeling worse for doing the right thing than he ever did for doing the wrong thing. And Adelle's remark that they all are morally compromised actually made me wonder about Topher's perky assistant. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit, but I really hope she has a nasty story. Or at least a nasty end. I can imagine one, at least. :)

And as for why Priya stayed - I never really considered it as a choice. Given the veiled threat of the attic handed to Adelle if she didn't do as she was told, I just assumed this was a "We can't let you talk, so it's quietly come back or noisily come back, your choice." But again, maybe too much credit.

Maybe the show is better my way: just fill in the plot holes with your imagination. Yay!
Oct. 25th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
Also, I just assumed Topher did this because Sierra was his fantasy sweetie (his awkward remark about beer being only for "special occasions"), rather than because he felt some moral outrage like Adelle did.
Dec. 6th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
White Collar
White Collar is familiar---it reminds me very much of It Takes A Thief, a 70s show starring Robert Wagner as a professional thief who makes a deal with the Feds, etc.

White Collar is definitely better written.

It also reminds me of Catch Me If You Can.

Mark W. Tiedemann
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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