Television notes

Big TV Week for SciFi Fans

This is shaping up to be a big week of television for fans of science fiction. Monday we started with the two hour premiere of Heroes, which returns for its fourth season. Last year’s storyline was far superior to the lame second season, so it will be interesting how the show develops, especially given its ratings plummet since the first season.  I know a lot of people have jumped off the Heroes train, but it’s still be enjoyable for me. 

Tuesday saw the season finale of the pretty good–if not quite great–original SyFy series, Warehouse 13. They’ve done a decent job of mixing the world-in-peril stuff with the comic relief stuff, and the cast is uniformly appealing.  Not unlike Fringe and Dollhouse, the show struggled to define itself in the early going but really hit a good stride in the second half of it’s run.  Given that it’s the highest rated SyFy show ever, we will see a second season and that’s pretty exciting.  Especially how the season wrapped up on a good cliffhanger.

flashforwardTonight at 8 on ABC is the series premiere of Flash Forward, about what happens after the entire world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds.  ABC has high hopes for the show and so far the previews have looked intriguing/promising. 

Following, on Fox, is actually the second episode of the second season of Fringe, a J.J. Abrams created series which is consistently intriguing and suspenseful and has one of the best characters on television. John Noble plays the goofably loveable (possibly insane) mad scientist, Walter Bishop. Again, an excellent cast throughout, in particular Anna Torv as a strong, yet vulnerable, FBI agent.  Now that the show is weaving a strong mythology into it’s weekly story arc, this one has become must watch tv for any lover of creepy sci fi.

For me, Friday is the cherry on the sundae. That is when we get the return of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. Admittedly, the first season was a little uneven. The appearance of Alan Tudyk toward the end definitely “kicked it up a notch.” BSG’s Tahmoh Penikett manages to play FBI agent Ballard as earnest and stoic without making him boring; and, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit I would probably watch Eliza Dushku reading the phone book.

Another Whedon Alumnus Finds a New Home

It looks as if Nathan Fillion has finally found a quality home after the ignominious loss (to us) of the brilliant Firefly. Since then–with the exception of Joss Whedon’s clever web vid. Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog, where Fillion did a great parody of the macho/heroic persona of Captain Mal–he hasn’t really had much to work with as an actor. Until this spring.


Castle was given a shortened (10 episode) first season, where it garnered decent ratings.

More importantly, it turned out to be good. Nathan plays Richard Castle, a wealthy and famous divorced novelist of murder mysteries, who manages to wangle his way into a squad of homicide detectives so he can observe the real cops in action. Stana Katic almost manages to out-Mariska Mariska Hargitay when it comes to playing the hard-assed and competent detective Beckett, who — just coincidentally, and often to her own frustration — happens to be heart-stoppingly beautiful. Of course, she finds the flirtatious Castle’s presence in the middle of her investigations to be a huge irritant; but, he’s a personal friend of the mayor’s, so what can she do?

Excellent cast of characters in support here, as well. Susan Sullivan is a kick as Castle’s mother, a one-time Broadway star. Molly Quinn is appealing as his pretty teenage daughter, who manages to be a good girl most of the time, while eschewing cuteness. Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever and Ruben Santiago Hudson are the other cops, who, to Beckett’s chagrin, all seem to enjoy having Castle around. I’m pretty confident that you’ll enjoy it, too.

Season premiere was last Monday, where it airs at 10 pm on ABC. You can also catch up with episodes on or Hulu.

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