Tuesday, September 23, 2008


After the many missteps in the truncated second season the creators of Heroes seemed bound and determined to come out of the gate swinging in their third season. Did they succeed? Sorta.

They certainly threw a lot of balls up in the air…diving right into new subplots while putting off or casting aside some older, seemingly dead end plots (see ya, Molly, we hardly knew ye…and it seems that we’re probably pretty much done with Micah’s extended family as well.)

In these first two hours they gave us (among other things) heroes and new villains, resurrections and returns and seeming reincarnations, religious and scientific epiphanies, deaths, hauntings, portentous glimpses into the future, betrayals, mistrust among once stalwart allies, damsels in distress, sexual shenanigans, ruminations on the meaning of life and being human, a secret formula that could change the world, a hero trapped among the villains, Sylar being Sylar, and the revelation of Mama Petrelli’s power.

They hit the ground running with the promise that they’ve learned from past mistakes. I certainly hope so because I want to really like Heroes again…the way I really liked it during its first season. So far it’s mostly setting the stage (it’s pretty bleak so far…but, of course, it’s always darkest before…well, you know)…time will tell if they can pay it off in a satisfying way.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Billboard's Top 10 All-Time Songs

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of their “Hot 100” chart our good friends at Billboard Magazine have put together their list of their “100 All-Time Songs” (“all time” in this case meaning the first 50 years of the Hot 100…August 1958-July 2008.) The list ranks the songs by sales and radio airplay (and not, as should be readily apparent by some of the tunes that made the top 10, by any subjective artistic merits.)

The top 10 All-Time Songs are:

1) “The Twist” Chubby Checker

2) “Smooth” Santana featuring Rob Thomas (see above)

3) “Mack the Knife” Bobby Darin

4) “How Do I Live” LeAnn Rimes

5) “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” Los Del Rio

6) “Physical” Olivia Newton-John

7) “You Light Up my Life” Debby Boone

8) “Hey Jude” The Beatles

9) “We Belong Together” Mariah Carey

10) “Un-Break My Heart” Toni Braxton

Every decade in the period covered is represented…though apparently there were a lot of monster singles in the nineties. The Beatles made the top 10 only once and Elvis not at all (nor did Motown have a hit big enough to make the cut. ) I guess I’m surprised that Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” didn’t get into the top 10 either.

The rest of the top 100 can be found here.

And now, come on baby, let’s do the Twist! :-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


After our summer hiatus (hey if Best Week Ever can take August off then so can we :-) the Rainbow is back and we start with the first new show of the fall season that I’ve caught.

The pilot of Fringe, the new Fox show co-created by J.J. Abrams, made me think of the opening lines of the old Buffalo Springfield hit “For What it’s Worth”there’s something happening here, what is ain’t exactly clear.

But then it is the pilot, the time to set up the status quo for the series, so I guess I can cut them some slack on that (I don’t need or want all of the answers in the first episode, I just want enough to make me want to stick around as the answers unfold.) That said, the show seemed to plod along after a startling and grisly opening scene and it never seemed to find its footing…perhaps that will come as the series unfolds.

At first blush, Fringe is deep into X-Files/Lost territory touching tried and true plot points such as the supernatural, seemingly sinister conspiracies, government intrigue, unspoken attraction between the leads, etc., etc. It’s all very portentous (as these shows intend to be) but so far underwhelming.

As FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham, Anna Torv is pretty enough (she first appears lying naked in bed with her lover and later they manage to contrive a reason for her to strip down to her underwear) but her acting is tentative and bland (unless they were going for that Dana Scully cool reserve thing, then she nailed it.) So far she doesn’t seem to have the presence to be the center of a sprawling show like this one appears to be.

Joshua Jackson is game as the smart but cynical ne’er do well Peter Bishop, who is blackmailed into helping Dunham, but, again, I didn’t quite believe him as the character.

One hopes and expects that they will grow into their parts as the show moves on.

John Noble has some interesting moments as Peter’s estranged father Dr. Walter Bishop (who has been isolated in an institution for 20 years…for reasons we are not yet privy to…but who is apparently not so dangerous that he can’t be signed out with just his son’s signature.)

Lance Riddick is on aboard as a hard-bitten FBI agent who has both a mad on for Dunham (for something she did to one of his friends years ago) and the knowledge that there’s something strange going on in the world.

Throw in Blair Brown as the creepy and, yes, seemingly sinister executive of the mega-corporation created by Dr. Bishop’s former partner (himself unseen as yet) and you’ve got yourself a party.

The sum of Fringe’s parts don’t add up as yet but I’ll probably give it a few more episodes to try to win me over.

* * * * *

On an unrelated note, Fox followed up the premiere of the Fringe pilot (which will air again on Sunday before the show returns to its regular Tuesday time slot) with an airing of their new game show Hole in the Wall (which is about people trying to jump through holes in a moving wall before they get dumped into a pool of water.) This show may not be the dumbest thing ever shown on network television but it’s definitely in the running for that dubious title.