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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 02:59

It seems quite fitting that the Seattle Seahawks traded for Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor. This way, a player who violated NCAA rules about getting free stuff while at Ohio State and then left Ohio State early (after agreeing that he wouldn't) will get to play for a coach who, while heading up the USC program, saw a major scandal that resulted in the stripping of a national championship and who left USC for the NFL just before the NCAA lowered the boom.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Sports"
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Date: Sunday, 06 Apr 2014 04:00

Way back in 2001, I started a fantasy baseball league with fellow lawyers and staff at Munger Tolles & Olson. Naturally, we called the league "BatMungers." Even as several of us left the firm (and in some of our cases, left the state of California), we kept the league name. Munger or ex-Munger managers who dropped out were replaced by non-Mungerites, but the name stuck. By 2010 or so, however, the league faded away.

Until this year, when we revived it. Well, eight of us, anyway. Our live draft was held this morning, though only half of the managers showed up, and then, not even for the entire draft. I held the #7 pick. Here are my picks, 1-25, in a standard 5x5 league:

7 Jacoby Ellsbury, NYY OF  
10 Hanley Ramirez, LAD SS  
23 Jason Kipnis, Cle 2B  
26 Dustin Pedroia, Bos 2B  
39 Stephen Strasburg, Wsh SP  
42 Jose Bautista, Tor OF  
55 Josh Donaldson, Oak 3B  
58 Joe Mauer, Min C  
71 Greg Holland, KC RP  
74 Matt Cain, SF SP  
87 Gio Gonzalez, Wsh SP  
90 Mark Trumbo, Ari 1B  
103 Masahiro Tanaka, NYY SP  
106 Anthony Rizzo, ChC 1B  
119 Domonic Brown, Phi OF  
122 Matt Adams, StL 1B  
135 David Robertson, NYY RP  
138 Cole Hamels*, Phi SP  
151 Leonys Martin, Tex OF  
154 Carl Crawford, LAD OF  
167 Steve Cishek, Mia RP  
170 Ernesto Frieri, LAA RP  
183 Michael Bourn*, Cle OF  
186 Christian Yelich, Mia OF  
199 John Axford, Cle RP  

Note and comments:

#1 -- In a different, public league (10 teams), I also picked #7, but for some reason, I was able to snag Carlos Gonzalez at that spot. I was pretty underwhelmed by Jacoby Ellsbury, but felt better about taking him than Chris Davis, who strikes me as being due for some serious regression.

#2 -- I was pretty happy to take Hanley Ramirez here. He was once possibly the best player in the game, and while he's 30 now, he's hit well with the Dodgers. Adrian Beltre was tempting, but he's older than Ramirez. Robinson Cano was definitely NOT tempting here.

#3 -- I waffled between taking Jason Kipnis or David Wright. Joey Votto was also available. In real life, Votto is the best among those three (and better than others taken earlier), but the standard 5x5 scoring undervalues Votto's skills. I ended up taking Kipnis over Wright because my motto is, when in doubt, go with the younger player. Yes, I'm an ageist. But this is fantasy baseball....

#4 -- Adam Wainright was available here and I considered taking him (Kershaw, Lee, and Hernandez were already drafted amongst starting pitchers), but besides favoring youth, I try to avoid taking pitchers at all in the early rounds. I figure there are often strong young pitchers who come up mid-season (like last year's Jose Fernandez and Michael Wacha), plus the injury risk is much higher with pitchers, so why risk a high pick?

#5 -- But I gave in to temptation here. He did get bombed today by Atlanta, but Stephen Strasburg is the kind of pitcher I like to draft: lots of Ks. Otherwise, I would've taken Shin-Soo Chin, who I think will have a monster year in Texas.

#6 -- Jose Batista isn't likely to hit 50+ home runs again, but 35+ should be in reach. The other players around this pick were mostly starting pitchers (Sale, Greinke, Bumgarner) or broken-down Angels (Pujols, Hamilton).

#7 -- Nobody jumped out at this spot.

#8 -- This might have been a mistake, especially when Carlos Santana popped up on the screen a couple of rounds later. I was tempted to take Kenley Jansen, but I don't like to take relievers before the 10th round at the earliest.

#9 -- Except here, Greg Holland was clearly better than the other players around this spot. I guess it's basically like taking Jansen a round later.

#10 -- Matt Cain is kind of boring but steady.

#11 -- Gio Gonzalez is not boring; he strikes out lots of batters.

#12 -- It was really hard drafting Mark Trumbo, because he's the kind of player I don't like to take -- all power, not many walks. But his walk rate has been improving, and Arizona is a hitters' park. It was either Trumbo or Werth or Alex Gordon.

#13 -- I could've taken Shelby Miller or Doug Fister. Fister was probably safer, but I think Japanese pitchers do well their first time through the league.

#14 -- I got to this point and realized I still didn't have any first baseman! And this league calls for a first baseman plus a corner infielder (1b/3b).

#15 -- Dominic Brown was once supposed to be a star in the league. That probably won't happen, but the Phillies are so bad now that he should get to start regularly.

#16 -- I don't like the Cardinals as a team (they win too much), but they seem to know what they are doing with young players. And I need to fill that corner infielder spot.

#17 -- Closers are the most overrated players in the game, but David Robertson throws gas.

#18 -- I didn't realize Cole Hamels was on the DL when I drafted him, but that explains why he was still around this late. He's been pretty consistently good though not stellar.

#19 -- I picked Leonys Martin up from the waiver wire last year and got a lot of stolen bases from him. He's a useful role player to sub in as needed.

#20 -- Yeah, this might have been a mistake too. Kind of hoping for some kind of rebound.

#21 -- See #17. I tried to get the league to consider dumping saves as a category but failed.

#22 -- So I draft a lot of these overrated players. I'm surprised Jed Lowrie was still available, though. If I hadn't filled my second base, shortstop, and middle infielder spots, I would've taken him.

#23 -- Michael Bourn is another speedy type player to swap in. I also think steals are a stupid category, and suggested getting rid of them too, but failed here as well.

#24 -- Hmm, I may end up dumping Yelich for a different kind of player. Or maybe Bourn, and keep Yelich.

#25 -- See #17.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Sports"
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Date: Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 21:26

I'm not one for sit-coms, so I didn't watch "How I Met Your Mother" during its 9-year-run, but being the avid Entertainment Weekly reader that I am, I know something about the show. So I was mildly curious about how it would end, though not enough to tune in. And what's fascinating is how many fans (based on critics' reviews and comments added) hated it. When I saw "hated," I'm not exaggerated. I've seen a lot of comments to the effect that it ruined the entire series for them. TV critic Alan Sepinwall does a great job dissecting all the problems with it.

A common theme among the criticisms has been that the showrunners knew what ending they wanted, but it was no longer suitable given how characters had developed over the course of the show. However, they had already shot the footage of the kids' reaction to the story way back at the end of season 2 to lock in the age of the actors; there would be no way to film a scene now with 27-year-old Lyndsy Fonseca trying to look 16 (which she could pull off at age 20).

Of course, they could have just abandoned that footage and adapted the ending without the kids' reactions, so this seemed to be an instance where the producers wanted a particular ending.

Now, a number of long-running serialized shows that I've watched have, to varying degrees, fallen apart by the finale when it became clear that the producers/writers had been making everything up as they went along and thus couldn't possibly tie everything together without contradicting the past or retconning. So in that sense, one has to admire the HIMYM producers for knowing how they wanted to end their series and getting there. On the other hand, as the criticisms persuasively argue, that ending no longer made sense given what had transpired over the past few years.

Well, I guess that means we can cross HIMYM off the list of possible best series finales. I think I'm going with "The Shield" if I have to choose.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Television"
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Date: Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 23:39

I'm slowly becoming a convert to the idea that fantasy football is the best fantasy sport, but I still like fantasy baseball a lot, so I joined a public league more or less at the last moment (i.e., a couple of hours before the live draft) as the final team. It's a standard 5 x5 league with 10 teams, starting one of each infield position, a corner infielder, a middle infielder, five outfielders, a DH, and ten pitchers, with an innings minimum of 1000.

I had the 7th overall pick, which did not look like a good spot in the first round, as the #7 rated player was Jacoby Ellsbury, who I definitely did not see as being worthy of a first round pick at all. I don't generally draft pitchers early, but I resigned myself to drafting Clayton Kershaw....

However, someone else took Kershaw at #4, which meant that Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Davis, or Paul Goldschmidt would be available! Of the three, I preferred Goldschmidt the most and Davis the least, but all were acceptable. I ended up getting CarGo.

The rest of my picks:

2) Ryan Braun, of - yeah, I don't like cheaters, but didn't this guy used to be considered possibly the best player in baseball?

3) Jose Reyes, ss

4) Shin-Soo Choo, of - let's see, OBP machine, moving to Texas; should score a ton of runs

5) Jose Bautista, of - I'm not expecting his monster years, just a good powerful one

6) Adrian Gonzalez, 1b - even with his drop in power, I was quite happy with this pick

7) Matt Carpenter, 2b - iffy about this one, though

8) Matt Cain, sp - my first pitcher

9) Gio Gonzalez, sp

10) Shelby Miller, sp

11) Wilin Rosario, c - have no idea about him but he's young and he plays in Colorado

12) Brett Lawrie, 3b - not sure I like relying on so many Toronto players

13) Sergio Romo, rp - this might have been too early still for a closer

14) David Robertson, rp

15) Leonys Martin, of - this dude was pretty incredible for steals in the second half of last season (I picked him up off the waiver wire)

16) Jed Lowrie, ss/2b - versatile and decent

17) Adam Lind, 1b - only useable against RHP but I wanted some power on the bench

18) Huston Street, rp - in retrospect, a mistake

19) Steve Cishek, rp - perhaps another mistake

20) Francisco Liriano, sp - speculating here

21) Neftali Perez, rp - feel better about him than Street or Cishek

22) Ben Revere, of - cheap speed

23) Colby Rasmus, of - hopefully won't be a headcase this year

24) Kelly Johnson, 2b, of - should start as Yankees' 3b, so will be quite useful for filling in when others have off-days

25) Adam Dunn, 1b - you never know....

This team should have a ton of power and decent speed, and I expect to do well in most of the hitting categories (other than batting average). The pitching is volatile but should amass lots of Ks with decent ratios.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Sports"
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Date: Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 22:38

Over the weekend, courtesy of Amazon Prime, I watched the most recent James Bond movie, "Skyfall." The critics seemed to have loved this flick, with a number of them saying it was the best Bond movie ever.

I don't get it.

First of all, at the most superficial level, Daniel Craig, while a fine actor, looks like an Eastern European villain, not James Bond.

Craig as bond Shaw in from russia

See what I mean? The one on the bottom is Robert Shaw as a Russian assassin in "From Russia With Love." Looks like he could be brothers with Daniel Craig.

Second, what happened to James Bond's personality? Bond is about cheesy one-liners tossed out as he womanizes and as he beats up/kills bad guys. Remember Sean Connery throwing a thug into a bathtub full of water, then chucking in an electric fan, and following it up with a deadpan, "Shocking, positively shocking"? That's James Bond!

Instead, the producers and Craig seem to have morphed Bond into a British version of another JB, namely, Jason Bourne. Bond is dour, serious, grim, and seems to have some emotional demons to deal with. As the Bourne movies have demonstrated, this kind of realistic espionage/action approach can work really well.

But . . . if you're going to have that element of realism, the rest of the movie should be realistic as well. Instead, "Skyfall" has remnants of the James Bond motiff, most notable, Craig going around in a suit and tie for most of the movie. In fact, at one point, he sprints at top speed in wingtips, tie, and suit!! Now I realize that I am far from the physical specimen that a trained MI-6 agent is, but I just don't see running at top speed in that get-up.

And then, when you stop to think about the villain's machinations [SPOILERS] . . . well, it doesn't make any sense at all. He's able to cyber-hack into MI-6's computer systems so effectively that he can cause the building to blow itself up. He waits until he knows that M won't be there. Okay . . . he's after something else then. Yet, his ultimate plan is to let himself be captured so he can let the new Q try to hack his computer, which will only unleash a counterhack so he can take over the MI-6 computers and release the Hannibal Lecter-cage-like cell he's in, so that he can escape and try to kill M????

And having saved M temporarily, Bond's grand plan is to use her as bait to ensnare the villain. Sounds great. Lure him to some remote location and spring a bunch of bad-ass SAS troops on him, right?

No. Bond, the caretaker for his once grand estate (Skyfall), and M are going to fight off the villain and his troops by themselves. Okaaaaaayy.

To be fair, Bond was not entirely recovered yet from his earlier wounds, so perhaps we can forgive him as simply being not anywhere near peak performance. But why would M go along with such an obviously deficient plan? Oh, because she says that no one else should be put at risk because of her past mistakes.

You know what keeps risks down? How about dealing with this super-scary, super-competent villain with OVERWHELMING FORCE, rather than risk being defeated by him and setting him loose to commit more mayhem on the rest of the world???

Now obviously I could nitpick pretty much every single Bond movie of the past and find such ridiculousness. (Well, maybe not "Goldfinger," which remains in my view the perfect Bond movie.) But those movies didn't pretend to be serious. From the outrageously named female characters to the fantastic world domination plots to the sci-fi gadgets, they were essentially espionage fantasies. "Skyfall" wanted to have it both ways, and I think it failed for that reason.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Pop Culture, Rants"
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Date: Saturday, 08 Feb 2014 05:12

According to this 50 question personality test, the U.S. President that I most resemble in personality is Dwight D. Eisenhower. Hmm. . . it turns out that I've been reading about Eisenhower lately because of the U-2 incident, and I do think that he's an underrated President, not unlike George H.W. Bush in many ways.

The test rates you on five categories: Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism. It scored me as below average in extroversion, openness, and agreeableness; above average in conscientiousness; and low on neuroticism. That sounds about right, although I would've thought I'd be above average on agreeableness. Maybe I should go pick a fight with the test writers.

This is the really interesting part:

According to a study done by Jeffery J. Mondak, Ph.D., your scores indicate that you are:

  • Likely to be skeptical of minorities and sexual deviants. [Not particularly accurate]
  • More likely to be pro-life rather than pro-choice. [Complicated but inaccurate as a matter of policy]
  • Likely to feel that any sensible person must start with the status quo.
  • Likely to regard philosophical discussions a waste of time. [Um, hello, I work in the ivory tower!!!]
  • Likely to pursue interests in the real world, rather than bury yourself in book knowledge. [Ditto]
  • More likely to favor military intervention as a means of solving foreign policy problems. [I used to be partial to this view, but now I am a big fan of Star Trek's Prime Directive.]
  • Less likely to think that international cooperation will solve foreign policy problems. [This is probably spot on.]
  • More likely to take responsibility and to take an active interest in your community. [Somewhat right...]
  • More likely to be patriotic and proud of your country. [Yeah, I guess so.]
  • More likely to enjoy romantic fiction than the rest of the population. [WTF????]
  • More likely to frequently change jobs and partners. [Nope]
  • More likely to end up in jail or to get in trouble with the law. [Well, I got into the law, which is maybe close enough to in trouble with the law.]
  • More likely to generally disagree with your immediate friends and family. [Am I disagreeable? I do seem to disagree with my dad's political views, which are best described as anti-libertarian.]
  • More likely to stand your ground and push back against people who are hostile to you, or with whom you are in disagreement. [I'll blame law school for this.]
  • More likely to support the use of capital punishment. [Only in two unique situations.]
  • Less likely to take a favorable view of government welfare programs. [Possibly]
  • More likely to enjoy fitness training and physical exercise. [BINGO!!!!]
  • More likely to nurture a few select beliefs that you regard as settled in stone. [Yeah, I think this is right.]
  • Less likely to flirt with harm and danger. [Um, yeah, this too.]
  • Less likely to have insurance or to belong to a labor union. [I do have insurance, and not just employer-provided insurance.]
Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Politics, Stupid Internet Quizzes"
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Date: Monday, 03 Feb 2014 19:19

I really like watching CBS's "Hawaii 5-0," and I don't even think of it as a guilty pleasure. It's got the gorgeous backdrop of Oahu, good chemistry among the cast, and three Asian-American actors in co-starring roles, which is about three more than other shows that I watch put together. Of course, it's a comic book show, so any expectations about verisimilitude are at the viewer's own risk.

Still, last week's episodeNa hala a ka makua, was chock full of legal errors worthy of comment. The basic premise of the episode was that a two-time felon played by Michael Madsen has just been convicted of first-degree murder but escapes from custody and ends up taking our heroes, Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams, hostage.

First problem: the verdict of first-degree murder is announced in "United States District Court" in a case stylized as State of Hawaii v. Roy Parrish.

U.S. District Court is a federal court, for the trial of federal crimes. There is a federal crime of first-degree murder, but it is not a general murder statute; rather, it is first-degree murder in circumstances giving rise to federal jurisdiction, such as murdering federal employees or foreign officials. And it certainly wouldn't be the State of Hawaii against the defendant in such a case; it would be United States v. the defendant.

(There is a situation in which a criminal prosecution under state law could end up in federal court, but that is where the defendant is a federal officer who is being prosecuted for violating a state law while acting within the scope of federal employment. In such a situation, the federal officer can "remove" the case from state court to federal court in order to ensure a fair trial, on the assumption that the federal court will be less subject to local bias and the like. Thus, when the State of Idaho prosecuted FBI sharpshooter Lon Horiuchi for killing Randy Weaver's wife and baby son during the Ruby Ridge siege, Horiuchi was able to remove the case to federal court, even though the case remained one under state law.)

Now, if this were a federal courtroom matter, the security would be provided by court security officers and U.S. Marshals. Yet, after being pronounced guilty, the Madsen character was escorted out by local police and SWAT team officers. . . .

Fast forward to the end. The Madsen character has been killed, but not before the emergence of apparently incontrovertible evidence of his having been set-up for the most recent crime. His daughter is present in U.S. District Court (again), where the judge apologizes on behalf of the United States for the grievous wrong that was done to her father and announces that he has been posthumously pardoned.

Pardoned? That's an Article II (i.e., Presidential) power, and only as to federal crimes, not state crimes. So it wouldn't be a federal judge announcing a pardon; it would be the President, unless we're talking about a pardon of state crimes, in which case it would be the governor.

I'm being utterly nitpicky here, but at the same time, all of this would have been avoided by simply designating the courtroom a state court, not a federal court; and having the end scene be one with the governor's office rather than a court.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Law (General), Television"
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Date: Friday, 31 Jan 2014 00:37

I've got a new column at Run Oregon about six ways in which running has warped my thinking. Extra bonus: a picture of adorable lion cubs! (Click through to see the connection.)

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Oregon, Running"
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Date: Saturday, 25 Jan 2014 04:29

I was a latecomer to George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" (aka A Game of Thrones series). It took me two tries to get into it, with the second being the ebook version borrowed through Oregon's Library2Go, which I then devoured while running on the treadmill. (Obviously, this was over multiple runs.)

This was right around the time that A Dance With Dragons was about to come out or had just come out. Other fans had endured a five year wait between the third novel (A Storm of Swords) and the fourth (A Feast for Crows), and then a six year wait before Dragons was finally published. I, being Johnny Come Lately, was able to plow through all five books without much wait at all -- the only wait being getting off the wait list for the library's ebook.

But alas, I am now in the position that those earlier adopters are in, which is the seemingly endless wait for Martin to finish the sixth novel, which is supposed to be titled The Winds of Winter. I gather that part of the reason for the long waits before publication of the last two books was that Martin had found the plot getting away from him and ending up twisted into some tight conundrums that he had to figure out how to unravel. That's not surprising, considering how many characters there are and how many plot lines.

Well . . . if I might offer some help for Martin, how about starting #6 like this:

Drogon dreamed a vivid dream of a succulent boar, roasted by a single powerful breath, and then savored as a prized meal. Though satisfying in taste, Drogon did wonder why the boar was so un-boar-like in shape, slender rather than plump; but he did not dwell on such puzzles. The important part of the dream was the eating.

And then Drogon awoke with a start. His sensitive nose detected a whiff of . . . roasted meat. The massive dragon opened his eyes. There, just in front of his head was a blackened, still smoking form, with a distinct chunk of flesh missing.

Drogon dimly recalled that his precious protector, Daenerys, had been snuggling with him. He loved her and protected her. And now, it appeared that he had accidentally breathed fire on her in his sleep. A tear slipped out of his right eye. There was but one thing left to do.

He devoured her. He was, after all, still growing.

Yea! This would help clear up a lot of problems for Martin. No more needing to write boring passages about Daeny and her Unsullied, wandering around the desert, essentially killing time until being integrated into the rest of the plot.

For bonus points, he could make sure Jon Snow is dead, and the Others take over the kingdom and win. That'd be a shock ending, but hey, weren't you shocked by the, uh, events in the first and third novels in particular? Martin's already made it clear that no one (well, almost no one) is safe.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Books"
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Date: Friday, 10 Jan 2014 23:32

I've been a big fan of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series since I first discovered them in the late 1990s. The Concrete Blonde (1993) is quite possibly my favorite crime & courtroom novel.

Now comes news that Amazon is producing a pilot episode of "Bosch"; if it does well, it's expected to go to a full series for streaming via Amazon Instant Video. Titus Welliver is playing Bosch. I wouldn't have thought of him, but now that I know he's playing the role, I see him as fitting perfectly.

h/t Alafair Burke

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Books, Television"
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Date: Friday, 10 Jan 2014 00:12

CBS's much-hyped mid-season drama "Intelligence" debuted earlier this week to so-so ratings. It stars Josh Holloway (Sawyer on "Lost") as Gabriel Vaughn, an ex-Special Forces operative who has been implanted with a chip that allows him to connect directly to the Internet and access all kinds of information, as well as to "render" 3-D depictions of locations based on such information (with a bit of help from his subconscious). Meghan Ory (Ruby/Red Riding Hood on "Once Upon a Time") stars as Riley Neal, a Secret Service agent reassigned to protect/mind Vaughn. Marg Helgenberger (from "CSI") rounds out the cast as the director of the U.S. Cyber Command agency to which Vaughn is attached.

It sounds a lot like NBC's "Chuck" -- guy with super-information access; woman protector. I didn't watch "Chuck," but I get the sense that was almost a straight comedy/parody, whereas "Intelligence" takes itself seriously. There are attempts to lay the groundwork for longer arcs/serialized mysteries, primarily that Vaughn's wife, another government operative, was believed to have been killed during the Mumbai terrorist attacks, which she apparently aided. Vaughn has been trying to disprove her traitorous turn. . . .

This guy Vaughn has got to be the ACLU's worst nightmare. He can effortless summon all kinds of information on virtually anyone, including driver's licenses, court records, and so on. On top of it, unlike Chuck, Vaughn is quite capable of taking care of himself physically or with a gun, so he's kind of like Jack Bauer and Chloe O'Brien (with computer connection) rolled into one!

Anyway, I thought it was okay. Since I did quite a bit of pruning of my watch list in the fall, I'm sticking with the season pass for now, but I will say that it's coasting much more on the goodwill built up by the main actors from their previous shows.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Television"
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Date: Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 08:46

Warning: Spoilers for the winter finale of ABC's "Once Upon a Time" (air date 12/16/2013)....

 

It's no secret that "Once Upon a Time" is my favorite show on air right now. I love the "Lost"-like storytelling with flashbacks interspersed with ongoing arc, the modern twist on age-old fairy tales, and most recently the deliciously malevolent Peter Pan as antagonist. All of that came to a surprisingly moving winter finale on Sunday.

To recap, the series is about 28-year-old Emma Swan, who is approached by Henry, a 10-year-old boy claiming to be the son that she gave up at birth. She doubts him but takes him back to his hometown of Storybrooke, which he says is inhabited by fairy-tale characters such as Snow White, Rumplestiltskin, and so on, who've been "cursed" by the Evil Queen to forget who they were. Oh, and the Evil Queen is now the Mayor, and she's Henry's adopted mom. Over the first season, Emma gradually came to believe Henry while working to undo the Evil Queen's curse. She succeeds at the end of the first season, so that Storybrooke's residents remember who they were and regain their magical powers. The second season was a bit uneven and started new ongoing arcs that introduced Captain Hook, among others.

Anyway, leading up to the winter finale, our characters -- including the now-not-so-Evil Queen -- were working to stop the evil Peter Pan from unleashing a new curse that would kill them all. First, to get rid of Pan (who would otherwise thwart their efforts), Rumplestiltskin sacrificed himself, with his next to last line being "I'm a Villain, and villains don't get happy endings." With Pan out of the picture, the Queen can stop the curse, but only at the expense of what she loves most: which is to say, Henry. (Throughout the series, she's been the consistent antagonist, but it's a credit to the writers and to actress Lana Parilla that the Evil Queen is something of a sympathetic character at times.) It's not that Henry will die so that the curse can be stopped. Rather, stopping the curse will undo her original curse, so that all of Fairy Tale Land's residents will go back to the Enchanted Forest. Henry, however, was born in our world, so he can't go with them. Emma, who was born in the Enchated Forest, can go back or she can stay in our world, only because of her special power of being the one who broke the curse. She elects to stay with Henry, of course, but at the price of being split again from her parents (Snow White and Prince Charming).... So it's a bittersweet ending in that Emma, who'd felt abandoned all those years going through foster homes and who finally found her birth parents, was going to be separated from them again, but she's also reunited with the son she gave up 10 years ago. As a final touch, everyone's memories of the past two and a half seasons are going to be wiped out, but the Queen can give her a new set of memories in which Emma never gave Henry up.

It would have been THE perfect ending for the show, as in the end, Emma and Henry shouldn't be part of the fantasy world, but the fairy tale characters shouldn't be in ours. If this is how "Once Upon a Time" ended, I would've ranked it way up there on the list of best TV series finales ever.

However . . . it's just the winter finale, and the last two minutes set up the reboot for the spring episodes. I'm happy that the series is not ending, of course, but I sort of wish the writers had saved this ending for the actual end of the series.

* * *

On the subject of the best TV finales ever (that I've seen), I guess I'd consider as contenders [SPOILERS!!!!]:

 

Perfect

M*A*S*H -- though I'm not sure how well it holds up now

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine -- another bittersweet ending in a way that felt perfect for the show

24 -- no happy ending for Jack Bauer but no death either

[The Shield -- haven't seen the ending but I know what happens, and it's appropriate]

 

Good but flawed

Lost -- it felt warm from the perspective of saying good bye to the characters but the whole "sideways world" of the last season made no sense

Battlestar Galactica -- loved parts of the finale, including the really touching scene where Adama takes Laura Roslin on her last flight across Earth as she dies, but other parts made no sense either

Alias -- glad that Sydney got her happy ending and it was fitting/ironic that Sloane became immortal and then got trapped in an underground cave but the last year and a half were so unwatchable that the finale couldn't undo the bad taste

Prison Break -- I actually liked the final twist where Sara says to her son "let's go see Daddy" but where it turns out seeing Daddy isn't quite what you might have thought . . . there was enough time to put together the foreshadowing, but it was still effective; unfortunately, the resolution of the main characters' dilemma was too deus ex machina

La Femme Nikita (USA Network version) -- the last episode of the fourth season would've been a better ending; those who want happy endings would've preferred the second to last episode, when Michael and Nikita "got away"; but as you can see, I don't really believe in truly happy endings, and the fourth season finale where Nikita gets dragged back in and turns out to have been a mole for the mysterious "Mr. Jones" as a kind of inspector general was a great twist. The "revive LFN" campaign succeeded partly, but only an eight episode short order in which the writers proceeded to kill off most of the characters. Nikita and Michael survived but were split apart at the end. I guess it was appropriately somber but it lacked the punch of the previous season's ending.

Boston Legal -- too many last minute story lines (Crane Poole & Schmidt was bankrupt???) wrapped up too quickly

Burn Notice -- I stopped watching the last two seasons, but did tune in for the finale. Michael's mom's sacrifice was touching, and it was clever how when Michael wondered how he would explain everything to his nephew (whom he and Fiona absconded with, seeing as how his brother had been killed earlier in the series), Fiona quoted the voiceover that Michael uses in the opening sequence ("My name is Michael Weston . . . I used to be a spy. . . .") Otherwise, too much reliance on overused tropes -- outrunning an explosion, fake funeral, disappearance and immediate establishment of a home/life in some foreign country.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Television"
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Date: Monday, 16 Dec 2013 05:08

Continuing my "who would win in a fight" series, today's match up pits John Reese (Jim Caviziel) from CBS's "Person of Interest" against Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) from "Star Trek: The Next Generation." (Last week, Xena defeated Sydney Bristow.)

First of all, the stats: Caviziel is 6'2", while Stewart is 5'10". Caviziel would've made a really good Jack Reacher, while Stewart is a . . . Shakespearean actor.

Now, I will easily concede that if I were a taxpaying* Federation citizen, Picard would be the clear choice for who I'd want to be in charge of the flagship of the fleet. He's calm, rational, and skilled at diplomacy. But that doesn't mean he would do well in the fight to the death.

* I am not at sure whether the Federation of the Star Trek Next Gen era imposes taxes; after all, as Picard so haughtily told Alfre Woodward in First Contact, "The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century... The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity." Still, I'm guessing that, whatever their stake, Federation citizens do have some interest in how captains command their fancy starships.

Well, let's take a look at Captain Picard's prowess. Here, he is forced to rescue Lwaxana Troi (Betazoid ambassador and mother of Enterprise officer Deanna Troi), who is being held hostage by a Ferengi pirate.

 

 Oh wait . . . wrong clip. That one isn't very impressive, is it? Here, let's try this one, from the episode "Starship Mine" (aka Die Hard on the Enterprise). Picard is alone on the Enterprise with a bunch of terrorists who are planning on stealing something from the ship. (Yes, that's the actor who will go on to play Tuvok in Star Trek Voyager). 

I guess that's not bad for a dude in his 50s. Presumably, Picard is adept at 24th century martial arts, and has somehow mastered the Vulcan neck pinch, which is kind of impressive.

Let's take a look at his opponent, Reese, seen here fighting a deadly Russian mafia assassin:

Reese does take his licks in this fight, but notice that he starts off at a disadvantage, being held at gunpoint. And then he gets hit while still being held at gunpoint, and he has to begin his attack by neutralizing the gun.

I just can't see Picard beating Picard. First of all, he would probably try to negotiate his way out of fighting Reese, which would simply give Reese the first strike. Second, Picard is captain during a time when the Federation is clearly more intelligent, having issued regulations advising against having captains being part of away teams. The downside of this approach is that, from a Darwinian standpoint, Picard has not been tested against the various forms of lethality that may exist on different planets.

Reese would leave Picard fatally wounded with whatever stabbing or smashing implement happened to be most handy. Reese joins Xena in moving on to the second round.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Television"
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Date: Thursday, 05 Dec 2013 23:48

Okay, let's get going on the "who would win in a fight?" competition! For an explanation of the ground rules, check out this post.

The first match-up is between Sydney Bristow (ABC's Alias, 2001-06), played by Jennifer Garner, and Xena (syndicated, 1995-2001), played by Lucy Lawless. In case you are wondering, Garner is 5'8", while Lawless is just a shade under 5'10".

In Alias, Bristow is a UCLA graduate student who secretly works undercover for what she thinks is the CIA, going on aglobetrotting covert missions; except at the end of the pilot episode, she learns that she's actually been working for a terrorist organization known as SD-6. Bristow is quite skilled at armed and unarmed combat. Here's an example:

 Xena, also known as Warrior Princess, was once a supreme baddie who slaughtered masses of innocents as an evil warlord. Unfortunately -- and I say this because she was always more interesting in the flashbacks as an evil character -- a run-in with goody-two-shoes Hercules caused her to seek redemption and try to atone for her past. Fortunately, she retained her fighting skills: 

As appealing of a match-up as this might have seemed, I just don't see how Sydney Bristow would be able to last against Xena. While Bristow quite competently dispatched her foe in the clip (kicking his head through the car window was a nice touch), she seemed more convincing in the running scene than in the fighting scene. Xena, on the other hand, dominates multiple foes, and while most of those are dispatched by sword, under the ground rules of the competition (basically, the asteroid from the Star Trek episode "Arena"), I don't think she would have much trouble finding sword or staff-like weapons.

I think Xena would win pretty easily, probably within half a minute, and move on to face the winner of John Reese (Person of Interest) versus Captain Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation).

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Humor, Television"
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Date: Tuesday, 03 Dec 2013 00:07

All rightie, November sweeps are over and many shows on the broadcast networks are going into midseason finales or have already.

1. Once Upon a Time (ABC Sundays) [last week: 1]

Did you catch the reveal of Peter Pan's true identity a couple of weeks ago? Wow, that was pretty awesome -- very well done in terms of the build-up and the actual reveal itself. This past episode, which appeared to resolve the Pan storyline, was quite effective as well, with the backstory providing even more depth to the Evil Queen's character. Lana Parilla really does a great job of imbuing Regina with such malevolence yet vulnerability in terms of her need to be a mother.

2. Scandal (ABC Thursdays) [last week: 2]

"Scandal" is totally insane in terms of its pacing and plotting, but it doesn't pretend to be anything that it isn't. In some ways, it's kind of like a successor to "24" in that it just throws so many ridiculous mini-arcs out there to see what sticks. The most recent episode, which showed how Mellie stuck with Fitzgerald during his initial campaigning for the California governorship, including an awful rape, was incredibly powerful.

3. Survivor: Blood vs. Water (CBS Wednesdays) [last week: 3]

The water is bloody! This has been a pretty good season, much better than I had initially thought it would be from the seemingly lackluster cast. It's not "Heroes vs. Villains," of course, but then, no season of "Survivor" has matched that one.

4. Hawaii 5-O (CBS Fridays) [last week: 4]

The Thanksgiving episode was pretty fun, especially with the guest turn by Carol Burnett. It looks like Kono (Grace Park) is getting back to Hawaii soon. I'm guessing that Grace Park had a baby over the summer, which would explain her sparse screen time coupled with strategically placed above the midsection camera shots of her.

5. Person of Interest (CBS Tuesdays) [last week: 6]

Wow, they killed Detective Joss Carter! When CBS kept teasing viewers with the someone will die promo, I figured it would be Detective Fusco, because he seemed the most expendable (and also wouldn't decrease the gender/racial diversity of the cast as much). Jim Caviezel sure managed to look deranged in the following episode! The only negative is that Amy Acker's uber-hacker Root has become ridiculously powerful in ways that don't even make sense. I mean, sure, the Machine is feeding her useful information, not just social security numbers, but how can it turn her into an elite killing machine? You could tell me where to shoot, but it doesn't mean I'm going to be super-proficient with a handgun.

6. Grimm (NBC Fridays) [last week: 5]

The last episode reminded me of "The X-Files" episode with El Chupcabra. That's not such a good thing, since even "The X-Files" realized how subpar that episode was, when it made fun of it in the episode "Bad Blood."

7. Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (ABC Tuesdays) [last week: 7]

It's still okay but my mind often wanders while watching. Not a good sign.

8. White Collar (USA Tuesdays) [last week: 8]

The formula appears to be wearing old at this point. Con artist Neal Caffrey appears to have rubbed off in a bad way on his FBI handlers, as a number of them are concealing things from one another or otherwise breaking rules/laws. Except for the upright secondary character, the inaptly named Clinton Jones.

9. The Blacklist (NBC Mondays) [last week: 9]

Kind of an interesting/stupid cliffhanger episode from last week, where the FBI demonstrates CTU-like (from "24") ineptness in letting its office be captured by terrorists. James Spader is still playing Red as an older Alan Shore, but is still entertaining. I'm not convinced about how Megan Boone's new agent/profiler has all of a sudden become Xena.

10. Almost Human (Fox Mondays) [last week: NR]

Karl Urban (who plays Dr. McCoy in the new "Star Trek" movies) is a gruff cop in the near future paired with an android named Dorian in something that looks like a cross between "Blade Runner" and the William Shatner Tekwar novels. It's really just another mismatched cop buddy show mashed with semi-dystopian sci-fi, and not must see TV, but it's handled competently.

(missing the cut), Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC Thursdays), Shark Tank (ABC Fridays), The Voice (NBC Mondays/Tuesdays), Covert Affairs (USA).

"Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" drops off the rankings. I'm still watching it, sort of, but that's because I'm stubborn about these things. "Shark Tank" and "The Voice" are fine but I guess I strongly prefer scripted dramas. (Hmm, why is "Survivor" ranked so high, then, you ask? I'm sure there's a lot of scripting going on there....) "Covert Affairs" ended its season so I guess I should drop it altogether.

Cut: Sleepy Hollow (Fox Mondays), Revolution (NBC Wednesdays), Hostages (CBS Mondays), Castle (ABC Mondays).

On the horizon: Intelligence (CBS Tuesdays starting in January), Justified (FX starting back in January).

"Intelligence" sounds a lot like "Chuck" (a show that I never got into), where a guy gets some kind of super cyber-intelligence and has a tough female agent assigned as a protector. With Josh Holloway (Sawyer on "Lost") and Meghan Ory (Ruby on "Once Upon a Time"), it's earned a chance from me. "Justified" is starting its fourth season, but I just discovered it via Amazon Prime, and I really like Timothy Olyphant's portrayal of Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. (He looks kind of like Holloway, now that I think about it.) It's weird that I read the Elmore Leonard novel "Pronto," in which Givens is introduced, but I remember nothing about it.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Reality TV, Television"
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Date: Friday, 29 Nov 2013 06:22

The other night, I was watching CBS's "Person of Interest" where Jim Caviezel's soft-spoken ex-Special Forces operative Reese beats up a bunch of bad guys single-handedly. This followed CBS's "Hawaii 5-0," in which Alex O'Loughlin's not-so-soft-spoken Navy SEAL/H50 task force leader Steve McGarrett beats up a bunch of bad guys single-handedly.

I got to wondering, who would win in a fight, Reese or McGarrett?

And thus was born the "who would win in a fight" bracket. Further refinement of the idea led me to decide that four brackets would be necessary: TV versus movie characters, and human versus non-human (or enhanced humans -- thus obviating the "where does Khan belong" question).

Ground rules:

1. Although I'm thinking of characters rather than actors, I decided that there would be only one character per actor. Thus, no matter how badass you might have thought T.J. Hooker was, especially when it came to jumping on to the hoods of moving cars, William Shatner gets one entry, and it's obviously as Captain Kirk.

2. In a normal bracket, such as the NCAA basketball tournament or professional tennis, there are seedings to reduce the likelihood that heavyweight contenders meet in the early rounds. In this case, however, every single character has a claim to being the #1 badass, and hence seeding doesn't make any sense. Instead, I would randomly draw the matchups.

3. What kind of fight to the death is involved? Some characters are quite deadly with weapons but less so in hand-to-hand combat. I decided that this would be something like the classic "Star Trek" episode "Arena," where Captain Kirk is stuck on a deserted asteroid (one with an atmosphere!) with no advanced weapons but the capability to improvise.

Okay, so here's my first bracket for TV humans:

Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner), Alias v. Xena (Lucy Lawless), Xena: Warrior Princess

John Reese (Jim Caviezel), Person of Interest v. Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Star Trek: Next Generation

Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin), Hawaii 5-0 v. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace (Katee Sackhoff), Battlestar Galactica

Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Star Trek v. Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell (Robert Knepper), Prison Break

Miles Matheson (Billy Burke), Revolution v. Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan), Burn Notice

Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine v. Angus MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson), MacGyver

Nikita (Peta Wilson), La Femme Nikita v. Nikita (Maggie Q), Nikita [Yes, this really worked out without any manipulation on my part.]

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), 24 v. Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), Human Target

* Note: In past debates with me about female action actors, Professor Bainbridge has consistently pushed for recognition of Yvonne Strahovski's Sarah Walker from "Chuck." As I never watched any episodes of it, I'm simply not in a position to assess a hypothetical fight to the death between her and any of the above characters. Sorry!

Look for semi-regular entries in this series of frivolous posts, but in the meantime, comment away about my choices, your thoughts about the first round battles, or anything else related to "who would win in a fight"!

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Television"
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Date: Thursday, 21 Nov 2013 17:12

Fortune Magazine put together a list of the 25 most powerful female characters on TV but it's at best incomplete. It's bad enough that the #1 woman is the insufferably insipid and vapid Daenerys Targaryen from "Game of Thrones," whose sections in the book series made me want to put the book down and do something else, anything else. (In fairness, I haven't watched the TV series, so I suppose the producers may have done something to improve her, but then again, this is HBO, so "improvement" in their eyes is probably just having her show even more skin than is suggested in the novels.)

#2 is Olivia Pope from ABC's "Scandal," which I do watch and I can understand her appearance on the list. Fortune is no doubt going by her "I'm in charge of fixing things" mode, as opposed to her simpering, weak-kneed submission to President Grant's puppy-dog eyeing of her.

As for the rest, well, as much TV as I watch, I don't watch any of the remaining shows. Now, at first glance, that might suggest that maybe I get too much testosterone from TV, but I don't think that's it. For example, just consider my favorite current TV show, Once Upon a Time (not to be confused with its vastly inferior spin-off, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland), which has not one, not two, but THREE powerful female characters who drive the show for all intents and purposes: (1) the Evil Queen/Regina Mills; (2) Snow White/Mary-Margaret Blanchard; and (3) Emma Swan.

How the Evil Queen fails to make Fortune's list is hard to fathom. I mean, she's the Evil Queen! She wields dark magic and is powerful enough to have cursed nearly all of the fairy tale characters we grew up reading about. (The article made clear it's not about realism; it's about the power that the women have in their fictional domains.) Daenerys may have her dragons and her Unsullied warriors, but I'm pretty sure the Evil Queen could defeat them all with magic.

I'll admit that the Snow White of the childhood fairy tale is somewhat of a passive figure, but in Once Upon a Time, she's more like a saner version of Xena: Warrior Princess. How powerful is she? Well, in Fairy Tale Land, she spearheaded the revolt to overthrow the Evil Queen's rule....

Finally, Emma Swan, though born from fairy tale royalty, grew up in our world and has no apparent magic of her own (though some latent magic has been coming out). But she's resourceful, independent, and a loving mom on a mission. In fact, her love for her son was so strong that it broke the Evil Queen's curse at the end of the first season. How powerful is that?

I could go on . . . okay, I will go on a little more. Let's take Person of Interest, which has been getting better and better with the introduction of longer arcs. Detective -- now Patrol Officer Carter, following her demotion for tangling with the secret, bad organization known as HR, has proven her worth to the good samaritan team. And as for recent joinee Samantha Shaw . . . sheesh! She's basically like a female version of Jim Cavaziel's Reese, deadly with guns, deadly with martial arts, and ice-cold under pressure. (Amy Adam's severely disturbed hacker Root, who's just a recurring character, is pretty interesting too.)

Piper Perabo's Annie Walker on the USA Network's Covert Affairs makes a lot of mistakes in the field that should get her fired or killed, but she somehow manages to keep her job and stay alive, so she must have some kind of special mojo. Plus, her boss, Joan Campbell, does happen to be head of the fictional Domestic Protection Division of the CIA, which sounds like a pretty powerful position.

Anyway, I guess my TV tastes are more conventional than Fortune Magazine's.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Pop Culture, Television"
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Date: Friday, 08 Nov 2013 23:48

The fall season is still young but not so young that winners and losers aren't already sorting themselves out. The new shows (in bold below) have been a very disappointing crop from my point of view, but fortunately some veterans have been on fire.

1. Once Upon a Time (ABC Sundays) [last week: 1]

Last time, I wrote: "I really like this new storyline with Peter Pan as the archvillain(?). He's powerful, clever, and exudes malevolence." That's all true still. The actor who plays Pan has an appropriately androgynous look, and Pan has been written to tempt/induce/exploit his adversaries. Last week's episode had a hilarious scene with Regina Mills and Mr. Gold -- the two characters whose actors are clearly having too much fun playing their roles. Lana Parilla (Regina) oozes snarky evilness, and her explanation to Gold about why she had left the others was spot on: "I've spent a week with the Charmings."

2. Scandal (ABC Thursdays) [last week: 2]

Ooh, a new mini-arc mystery . . . did Fitz kill Olivia's mom by shooting down her plane, and if so, was it all orchestrated by Daddy Dearest? As long as "Scandal" stays away from the Olivia-Fitz forbidden love storyline, I love it.

3. Survivor: Blood vs. Water (CBS Wednesdays) [last week: 3]

Last time, I wrote: "Blindsides, strategic playing, and no Colton. What could be better?" With the survivors being thinned out with elimination votes, there's more time to be spent on the remaining players, which is good, as it allows more development of gameplay storylines. Tyson is one of my favorite players as a narrator, which is funny since I couldn't stand him the first season I saw him. More Tyson confessionals = good.

4. Hawaii 5-O (CBS Fridays) [last week: 4]

So . . . when is Kono (Grace Park) going to get back to Hawaii? I'm kind of surprised that the producers whacked McGarrett's Navy buddy/possible romantic rival so quickly; I was really expecting some kind of blow up as they fought over Catherine.

5. Grimm (NBC Fridays) [last week: 7]

"Grimm" is back, yeah for Portland exposure! It's still not as good as "Once Upon a Time," but season 3 is off to a promising start. Zombie Nick Burkhardt was kind of interesting -- sort of like a deranged version of Arnold Schwarzeneggar's Terminator in the bar scene near the beginning of "T2." It's a shame Nick got cured so quickly.

6. Person of Interest (CBS Tuesdays) [last week: 10]

This has been getting good. I like the development of an antagonistic group to sustain a longer arc, and the addition of Samantha Shaw (Sarah Shahi) to the team has been a delight. She's like a female Reese, but in a way that's almost a wink-wink to the audience as a subtle parody.

7. Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (ABC Tuesdays) [last week: 5]

It's still okay but my mind often wanders while watching. Not a good sign.

8. White Collar (USA Tuesdays) [last week: 9]

The formula appears to be wearing old at this point. Con artist Neal Caffrey appears to have rubbed off in a bad way on his FBI handlers, as a number of them are concealing things from one another or otherwise breaking rules/laws. Except for the upright secondary character, the inaptly named Clinton Jones.

9. The Blacklist (NBC Mondays) [last week: 8]

Like "SHIELD," I often find that I'm not paying attention, and I don't care enough to rewind.

10. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC Thursdays) [last week: 6]

Falling fast. It's boring and lacks most of the charm of its parent show.

(missing the cut) Shark Tank (ABC Fridays), The Voice (NBC Mondays/Tuesdays), Covert Affairs (USA).

Cut: Sleepy Hollow (Fox Mondays), Revolution (NBC Wednesdays), Hostages (CBS Mondays), Castle (ABC Mondays).

"Castle" joins the list of shows consigned to the heap. I really liked it when it first debuted, but it's gotten tiresome.
Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Television"
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Date: Saturday, 02 Nov 2013 06:09

I've been listening sporadically to the audiobook of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon for the past month or so, about an hour to an hour and a half at a time when running. Audiobooks take a little getting used to, but in this case it's probably an easier transition since I've read the novel twice before.

So today, the last 15-20 minutes of my run were spent listening to the super-nerdishly detailed description of how Randy Waterhouse has perfected the art of eating Captain Crunch cereal.

Fifteen to twenty minutes?!?

All of a sudden, I was reminded of how I found Charles Dickens' works -- at least, those that I had the misfortune to read (David Copperfield, Oliver Twist) -- to be incredibly boring and overwritten, seeing as how it could take over a page to describe someone opening the door. Bleech!

Yet, I was completely enthralled by the ridiculously lengthy discussion of how to eat Captain Crunch cereal. With near freezing milk. Which touches the cereal as little as possible before entering the mouth.

I guess I'm just  a math/science nerd at heart, so nerdy digressions that are thought up by a math/science nerd is just bound to appeal to me.

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Books"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 03:56

1. Once Upon a Time (ABC Sundays) [last week: 1]

I really like this new storyline with Peter Pan as the archvillain(?). He's powerful, clever, and exudes malevolence.

2. Scandal (ABC Thursdays) [last week: 2]

A couple of strong episodes marred only by the seemingly inevitable return of the "forbidden love" storyline. The highlight was seeing Drunk Mellie laying waste to Fitz with a verbal flamethrower.

3. Survivor: Blood vs. Water (CBS Wednesdays) [last week: 3]

Blindsides, strategic playing, and no Colton. What could be better?

4. Hawaii 5-O (CBS Fridays) [last week: 4]

Still hilarious. I don't watch it for any logic or realism. It's just about the banter between McGarrett and Danno, the blue interrogation room, and Hawaii.

5. Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (ABC Tuesdays) [last week: 6]

The episodes have been getting better of late. Tighter stories, and the nerd pair has been less annoying.

6. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC Thursdays) [last week: 5]

The second episode was more straightforward than the pilot, but this is still dropping in my rankings. It's just not as compelling as "Once Upon a Time," and its ratings suck.

7. Grimm (NBC Fridays) [last week: 7]

Hasn't premiered yet.

8. The Blacklist (NBC Mondays) [last week: 8]

I'm almost caught up. I can see why this is the highest rated new drama (I think), but I can't see it moving up much in my rankings. It's like Alan Shore (star James Spader's character on "Boston Legal" and "The Practice") because a bad guy or something. I thought Spader had acting range, but he's just smirking his smarmy way through the episodes.

9. White Collar (USA Tuesdays) [last week: 9]

Some potential to move ahead of the stumbling shows just above it.

10. Person of Interest (CBS Tuesdays) [last week: 10]

Haven't gotten around to watching the first four episodes of the season yet.

(missing the cut) Shark Tank (ABC Fridays), The Voice (NBC Mondays/Tuesdays), Castle (ABC Mondays).

Cut: Sleepy Hollow (Fox Mondays), Revolution (NBC Wednesdays), Hostages (CBS Mondays).

Author: "Tung Yin" Tags: "Television"
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