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Fringe – “Night of Desirable Objects”


“Night of Desirable Objects”

September 24th, 2009

Thursday night television is, well, a night of desirable objects. With the return of Grey’s Anatomy and CSI, along with FlashForward, FOX’s decision to move Fringe into this competitive timeslot proved temporarily terrifying for J.J. Abrams and company as the show plummeted 23% in overnight ratings. Now, Live+7 numbers will ultimately tell the story of how many people DVR’d the show in order to catch the more buzzworthy Grey’s opener, but it’s like a big old red flag that FOX knew was coming, but that it hoped could be avoided. Bones has nicely situated itself in the once Survivor-dominated 8pm timeslot, and FlashForward dominated the timeslot with its premiere and CSI debuted to its own lowest premiere numbers since likely the first or second season.

What’s unfortunate for Fringe is that “Night of Desirable Objects” isn’t particularly desirable, effectively stopping the long-term storylines dead in favour of presenting a pretty simple (and not overly complex) frightfest along with a slow burn reveal regarding Olivia Dunham. For those who want the show to be a full-fledged television serial, it’s the kind of pace changer that turns them off entirely; meanwhile, for those who are mostly tuning in to see Walter have too much fun investigating dead people and to get some cheap thrills with some characters you enjoy, it was a harmless hour of entertainment that did some good work making Olivia more interesting and perhaps provide some laughs or scares along the way.

As someone who kind of sits in between, it was a not entirely unwelcome change of pace, although one that’s likely to prove an ineffective lure for new viewers.

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The Mole (2008) – “Episode Two”

“Episode Two”

June 9th, 2008

Last week’s premiere of The Mole’s fifth season (if we’re counting the celebrity editions) was one of those episodes where you could see some growing pains, but beneath them was the core of the show we enjoyed before. There was the unique tasks that brought out the worst in the competitors, the wonderfully cheesy music, and a game that was more about the mind than anything else.

However, it’s not an easy sell for new viewers: I made a quick guest appearance on the /Filmcast last night, and guest GreatWhiteSnark (From his eponymous site) really didn’t understand all of the hype after last week’s episode. I tried my best to explain it, but it isn’t the easiest thing to do in thirty seconds and ABC.com’s synopsis is fairly useless. However, I stand by my assertion that as a mind game it rises above most reality shows, and that we’ll eventually get to that point.

What’s funny about this, the season’s second episode, is that it’s one step forward and one step back. While I am pleased to report that host Jon Kelley was much improved the second time around, especially with his voiceover work, the end-of-episode quiz was dumbed down to the point that it felt like the game was a mockery of its former self. While it might be the same on the surface, if this is seriously all they expect of these people they must not be a very smart group.

But we could have known that from the wheelbarrow.

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