May 12, 2008By Joe Diliberto Posted: May 12, 2008
GHOST WHISPERER: Sadly, GENERAL HOSPITAL's Ignacio Serricchio (Diego, who's really ex this time!) had little more than a cameo in this episode in which Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) got a few answers about her father, Tom (played by indie film mainstay Martin Donovan). But it also raised more questions: Why does dear old Dad seem to prefer his son (previously shown to have a big hate on for Melinda) to his daughter? Is the ghost of the man Tom wrongfully prosecuted long ago possessing his body in order to kill him? If so, why not just throw Tom off a bridge instead of shooting himself? And why is the ghost haunting Melinda decades later? Gabriel's presence makes the long-time viewer want to connect Tom to the underground nightmare of angry spirits lurking beneath Grandview...but is that accurate? Will we ever see Aisha Tyler (Melinda's late best friend, Andrea) again? Um, anyway...Hewitt again cries beautifully (Yes, I do look at her eyes!). Serricchio plays evil-or-not sibling Gabriel with a kind of laconic menace that promises there's something more to his character than what we've seen so far. And I'm interested to see if that river of blood flowing under the door was real or a ghost-image.
MOONLIGHT has a lot going against it in my book, mostly stemming from the completely unoriginal premise. I despised the cliché-riddled pilot. But most damning: I was a megafan of ANGEL (I got to interview David Boreanaz in person twice — he is a gentleman and a scholar), so no vampire PI gets a free pass from me. MOONLIGHT also had a strong mitigating factor in that I love Sophia Myles, who plays love interest Beth. She used to date DOCTOR WHO's David Tennant (the Doctor), and actually appeared as Reinette, the titular girl of the episode "The Girl in the Fireplace." Sophia plays Beth as very empathetic and caring. Good line from Beth: "Even if I have no romantic interest in [Talbot], your jealousy makes me feel desirable." Better line from Mick: "Our relationship is neither normal or human." I disliked the ending, with Mick's name is penciled on the back of the WWII-era photograph. In short, this series does nothing to rise above its clichés. I suspect that the individual popularity of star Alex O'Loughlin (ex-Hiatt, THE SHIELD) is the only thing keeping the show in the air.
Meanwhile, in the 42nd century, DOCTOR WHO took Donna to visit the Ood-Sphere, home planet of the Ood (previously seen in season two's "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit"). The Ood-Sphere was a wonderfully realized ice world. The outdoor filming combined with visual effects to make a familiar but convincing alien environment. Taking a gander at the Ood-Sphere's solar system, the Doctor realized that he had previously visited the neighborhood — specifically the nearby Sense-Sphere — in his first incarnation, in a season one tale called "The Sensorites." He popped by in the 29th century, which was way back in 1964 for you and me. Two old-school shout-outs in two weeks (he mentioned the story "The Romans" last week)! The Sensorites may be cousins to the Ood; in addition to vaguely similar head shapes, the Sensorites were also capable of telepathic communication. And, plot-wise, the First Doctor was investigating a mysterious illness sweeping through the Sensorite population. Quite similar to what his 10th incarnation was doing this week. The Ood — who first appear to be a passive slave race eager to serve humans — were becoming rabid and turning on their "masters."
The Doctor and Donna discovered that the Ood were secretly being lobotimized at conditioning centers, so he helped the aliens shut down the system and free the Ood from their bonds. The revelation that the Ood normally carry part of their brains in their hands was truly shocking and a unique idea. Donna's initial revulsion at the Oods' biological quirkiness was entirely human. She was eager to feel sorry for and help the poor oppressed Ood even though it turned out they are actually a little nauseating. And even in the 42nd century, the "Great and Bountiful Human Empire" is capable of shameful horror. In just her first trip off-world, Donna learned the universe is most certainly not a bright and sunny place filled with shiny, happy creatures. In other words, she's learning how the Doctor sees things. (She was sickened to realize that he could "hear" the Ood's telepathic sing-song crying.) And here's something odd: while saying goodbye and offering thanks to "Doctor/Donna," Sigma the Ood shocked the Doctor by suggesting, "I think your song must end soon." (WTF?)
Speaking of songs, can I mention that this season boasts my favorite arrangement of the WHO main theme. I still have a soft spot for the classic electronic sound effects used during the reigns of the First and Second Doctors, but this fourth go-round is the best of the reimagined series.
Another "reimagining" that is hitting it out of the park is BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, which has finally begun answering some major questions about the Cylons. One biggie that has been nagging me since the miniseries: Exactly what the frak is a Cylon? Thanks to a trigger-happy Centurion, we got to see that the humanoid Cylons have metal guts. This fits with the way Six's and Boomer's spines glowed when they were having sex, and Boomer's ability to plug a raptor navigation computer into her forearm. But this reveal also begs the question: Why can't all that metal be detected? Are Doc Cottle and Baltar so stupid that they could not come up with a way to spot all that interior wiring and thus discern humans from skin-jobs?
The episode picked up directly from last week, with the tense standoff on the bridge of Demetrius. The tension was nearly unbearable until Anders shot Mr. Gaeta in the leg. The decision was made to let Kara take a raptor to the damaged basestar Leoben came from. She, Sam, Barolay and Athena made contact and formed an alliance to jump the basestar to Galactica. There, Athena met up with a horde of surviving Eights (who were strangely fully clothed this time - unlike when seen in "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II). The Sharon squad said they learned rebellion from Athena, and thus sided with the Twos and Sixes and joined the search for the final five models.
Meanwhile, back on Galactica, Roslin's condition grew worse, and she met the terminal Emily (STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE's Nana Visitor in a touching performance) and discussed the afterlife. Roslin saw a vision of her mother, but insisted it wasn't her time to die yet. But death was in the air on the basestar. One of the Sixes recognized Barolay as the human who killed her on New Caprica (to the best of my knowledge, that Six was referring to an unbroadcast scene) and kills Barolay (there had to be a reason a "red shirt" was brought along). A disgusted Natalie agreed that her sister needed to be punished to satisfy the humans' blood lust, so Nat shot her in the head with Sam's gun. (Skin-job Sam hesitated to pull the trigger.) With no resurrection ship nearby, that copy of Six was truly killed. As part of the uneasy alliance, Kara was taken to the Hybrid, who supposedly had info about Earth. When an Eight disconnected the Hybrid in order to hook the basestar to the raptor's nav computer, the Hybrid's screams spooked a nearby Centurion, who gunned down the Eight, thus revealing her robot innards. In the confusion, Eight bled into the Hybrid's tub, and Kara finally heard the prophecy voiced by the Hybrid seen in movie RAZOR: "The dying leader will know the truth of the opera house. The missing three will give you the five who have come from the home of the 13th. You are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their end." Naturally, Kara was horrified — but I was thrilled to learn we will see Lucy Lawless' D'Anna again. Athena's refusal to comfort her dying sister was unnerving, but Sam stepped in to hold Eight's hand while she died her true death. Whatever else the skin-jobs may be, they have deep reserves of compassion for each other. How human of them....
Sunday night saw the finale of SURVIVOR: MICRONESIA — FANS VS. FAVORITES. Parvati won! Parvati won! This marked the first time that I picked a castaway in the premiere who went on to win. While I was happy for Parv, I felt sorry for weepy Amanda, who once again made it to the final two but lost the jury vote. The night's most bizarre moment definitely belonged to Natalie, who asked a convoluted question about how Parvati's flirty persona translates to the bedroom. Parv, Jeff and the rest of the jury looked lost. (It sounded like a titillating question, but I couldn't really follow it, so I'm not sure.) Parvati did her best to address it by conceding that she will flirt with guys or girls as conditions warrant; that seemed to be what Nat was going for (and it worked for me).
And that's enough work on the Night Shift for one day....