Eclaire Fare

Enjoying Pop Culture, One Bite at a Time

SYTYCD Season 6: The Top 12 Elimination Round November 25, 2009

This will be a warp speed reaction to the results show, because I fast forwarded through everything but the opening group number (it was so weird that I was sure Wade Robson choroegraphed it, and was surprised to discover it was actually a Tabitha and Napoleon creation), the solos, about 15 seconds of Shakira’s horrific performance, and the final results.

The Bottom Three Couples

  • Nathan and Mollee
  • Ryan and Ellenore
  • Karen and Victor

I continued my streak of getting 2 out of 3 predictions correct. I am really shocked that Russell and Noelle weren’t in this group. I guess voters like any contemporary routine, even if it’s choreographed by Tyce Diorio and involves body painting. I am relieved that Ryan and Ellenore survived the night, as well as Nathan. As for the solos, I completely disagree with Nigel – he claimed that Mollee’s solo represented the first time this season that someone really fought for their place in the competition. If that was fighting, then he has a different definition than I do. I thought it looked more like a gymnastics routine than a dance solo. Ryan’s solo was pretty standard ballroom stuff, but he had lots of personality. I enjoyed Ellenore’s quirky solo, yawned through Karen’s (how many times could she twirl around in a circle before she moved on to something else?), and was too disturbed by Victor’s costume to notice much about the dancing. That leaves Nathan, who – in my opinion – gave the most heartfelt and technically excellent solo of the night (with Ellenore being a close second). I enjoy watching Nathan dance so much more when he doesn’t have Mollee at his side. I look forward to seeing who he and everyone else will be paired with next week!

Who the Judges Sent Home

  • Karen
  • Victor

I have no complaints about these results. I’ve been waiting for Karen’s departure for a few weeks now, and I never connected too much with Victor. I wish them well, but am excited about the top ten dancers who have survived to this point! It will be interesting to see if my favorites change after seeing them dance with different partners next week. I’ll wait another week before I rank the contestants from my most to least favorite. For now, I’m sticking with Jakob and Ashleigh.

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SYTYCD Season 6: The Top 12 Perform

I was overwhelmed last night when I found out it was already time for each couple to perform two dances! More than that, I was disappointed that this is the last week that the couples as we know them will be together. 😦   This season is going by fast! I am going to miss Ashleigh/Jakob and Legacy/Kathryn most of all. But I think it’s safe to say that all four of them will make it into the top ten.

First Round

Ellenore & Ryan Lindy Hop (Carla Heiney) – They looked like they were having fun, and so I had fun. But on some level, I still associate the lindy hop with weirdness. A few seasons ago wasn’t there a Lindy Hop contestant who got cut in Vegas who had an uncontrollable wink? This style is beaming with so many smiles and looks of surprise that it’s all a bit much.

Kathryn & LegacyJazz (Sonya Tayeh) – Oh my! We had to do a double take when Legacy crawled across the stage on his hands!!! He is crazy strong and coordinated. And this performance was all about him. Kathryn had some cute moments, but the choreography didn’t give her much more to do than give Legacy someone to play off of. He really shone in this one.

Karen & Victor Argentine Tango (Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin) – They had better chemistry than I expected, but something about this dance was almost comical to me. It was just too serious. I have been sold on intense, serious tangos in past seasons, but it was like Victor and Karen were trying so hard to not crack a smile that they were about to bust! I was reminded of an old SNL parody of Calvin Klein’s Obsession ad, in which Jan Hooks is the spokesperson for Calvin Kleen disinfectant. What’s the connection? Well, everyone in the ad is uber-serious and dressed in high society clothes (as far as I can remember, anyway). So, you may have guessed that I am still not a fan of Karen or Victor.

Mollee & NathanHip-Hop (Jamal Sims) – I was completely disinterested in this routine. Much of the blame for that falls on Jamal Sims. What was the purpose of bringing Alexander Graham Bell into hip hop? That was really a stretch.

Noelle & RussellSamba (Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin) – I agree with Adam that these two were too nice during this performance. Too many smiles, not enough sexy. And why in the world did they make Russell wear that ridiculous v-top?! Noelle looked great, but I’m still just not picking up good vibes from her. Every week she lacks a connection with the audience.

Ashleigh & Jakob Lyrical Jazz (Sonya Tayeh) – Oh, I just love them! I was amazed by their control and strength in the moments where they would hold a leg straight up in the air for what felt like forever, or where Jakob held Ashleigh and slowly lowered her from a hand stand position to the floor, while she meanwhile made it look easy to keep her legs in a diagonal position. I was also thrilled to see something different from Sonya. While I normally enjoy her herky jerky, spastic, weird routines, sometimes it feels like she’s relying on the same old tricks. So to see this light, flowing, beautiful dance was very refreshing. It was my favorite of the night.

Second Round

Ellenore & Ryan Broadway (Spencer Liff) – Ryan’s role as the temptation of fame came across as a poor man’s version of Kupono’s evil addiction persona from last season. Other than looking devious and rolling his arms and hands around, he didn’t have much to do but give Ellenore someone to play off of. But then, I hardly noticed him because she was so good! She was perfect as a stiff, doll-like character, controlled by puppet master Ryan. She has an unusual style that has shone through in the past few weeks. I hope that she can hang around past this week, because I’m afraid these two performances won’t be memorable to the voting audience to keep them out of the bottom three.

Kathryn & Legacy Viennese Waltz (Jean Marc and France Généreux) – This performance was very pretty. While Legacy stood out in their first performance, this one was all about Kathryn (well, except for Legacy being shirtless – couldn’t help but notice that). But it was clear that Legacy was fully invested in the performance, since he brought tears to his own eyes when it was over. I like the passion and dedication he has to dance and to the show.

Karen & Victor Hip-Hop (Laurie Ann Gibson) – I really don’t remember much about this dance. My glimpses of recollection include the thought that Karen’s hot pink and black outfit didn’t fit the routine, and that this performance in no way, shape, or form moved any mountains! It didn’t even move an ant hill! In fact, it may have done just the opposite and pushed Karen and Victor further down into the valley of elimination. (Cue ominous music now…) Laurie Ann Gibson needs to step up her game and quite overhyping her routines, or the audience will roll their eyes every time she appears in the choreographer rotation.

Mollee & Nathan Can Can (Tyce Diorio) – And so the show welcomed another new dance. I couldn’t help but think of Moulin Rouge, although this cheery, bubbly can can couldn’t have been further from the manic, sensual can can of that movie. That being said, I actually liked it. I’m still not a fan of Mollee, and her performance was just as “little girl playing dress up” as ever, but I thought Nathan finally came out of the shell he’s been hiding in for weeks. He actually looked like he was throwing caution to the wind and giving his all to this rather girly dance. It was a bonus that Tyce threw in Nathan’s trademark pirouetting. So yes, this was better than last season’s awkward Russian folkdance, by a long shot.

Noelle & RussellContemporary (Tyce Diorio) – I really wanted to like this one. It started off so beautifully, everything from the music to the movements. But then Tyce had to go and throw in actual paint. How distracting was that. It would have worked better if they had literally painted each other from the beginning, but since they only reached for the paint and smeared it on each other once, it felt too gimmicky. The weird paint thing took away some of my enjoyment from the performance, but I still liked it, and thought it was better than their first dance of the night.

Ashleigh & Jakob Cha-Cha (Jean Marc and France Généreux) – This wasn’t the best cha cha I’d ever seen on the show, but it was certainly fun to watch Ashleigh in her element. This was the first time that Jacob looked a little out of place, but that’s probably more because he was basking in the light of Ashleigh’s ballroom glory. One thing’s for sure: this couple will be safe this week. As usual, they had the best performances of the top 12.

My Favorite Performances

  • Ashleigh and Jakob’s Lyrical Jazz
  • Ellenore and Ryan’s Broadway

Predicting the Bottom Three – In previous weeks, my predictions have usually been 2 out of 3 correct. I wonder if I’ll finally be 3 for 3 this time.

  • Karen and Victor
  • Mollee and Nathan
  • Russell and Noelle

Who Will Go Home? – Keeping in mind that the judges want to keep the most popular dancers around another week so they will be part of the top ten tour, the contestants who have drawn less attention are likely in the most danger tonight. If it were up to me, I’d send Mollee or Karen home over Noelle, but I think the judges are too in love with Mollee’s personality and Karen’s hips to send them home just yet. As for the guys, I’m a little nervous for Russell, but feel like it’s Victor’s time to go. Even if Ellenore and Ryan are in the bottom three, I think Ryan would be safe because the judges don’t want to break up the top ten draw of a married ballroom couple that are super cute.

  • Noelle
  • Victor

What are your thoughts about this week’s episode?

 

Glee 1.10: Ballads November 19, 2009

Filed under: Glee,Music,Television — Emily @ 2:32 pm
Tags: , ,

This week’s episode of Glee was one of my favorites yet. While some of the episodes have struggled to find the right balance of “funny” and “sweet,” this one was perfect. I laughed, I cried, I tapped my foot, and after the credits rolled I was singing the ballads that were so entertaining. My only complaint is that we didn’t get our weekly dose of Jane Lynch, aka Sue Sylvester. Maybe she needed a week off to get her edge back, after going soft in the last episode.

The best way to dissect this episode is to look at the ballads, since these songs reflected the characters’ struggles, triumphs, and awkward dilemmas:

Rachel and Mr. Schuester sing "Endless Love"

  • “Endless Love” – Rachel and Mr. Schuester kicked off the glee club’s ballad assignment by singing Rachel’s favorite ballad – a song that turned out to be highly inappropriate for her to be singing with her teacher, and which set off a major crush that led to many funny moments in the episode. I knew this would be a special episode when all the voice-overs started during this song; while most of the students were thinking about trivial things, Rachel was admiring Will’s eyes, and his dental hygiene. I loved Will’s reaction to the crazed look in Rachel’s eyes: his eyes got wider and wider, and the look on his face became more and more uncomfortable. It was so at odds with the song lyrics, that it was highly entertaining. Meanwhile, their duet was fantastic. All in all, this segment worked well on many different levels.
  • “I’ll Stand by You” – I like this song, and I liked Finn’s performance of it. It was silly, yet sweet, that he was singing to the ultrasound video of the baby, but for the audience it’s also a little sad, since that baby isn’t really his. The moment between him and his mom was touching – upon seeing the ultrasound video, she realized that Quinn was pregnant, and her reaction was to comfort her son, who had broken down in her arms. That was a much better parenting technique than the one we saw from Quinn’s mom and dad later in the episode.
  • “Don’t Stand So Close to Me/Young Girl” mash-up – This may have been my favorite moment of the whole episode. After Emma suggests that Will let Rachel down gently through a song, he performs a mash-up of Sting’s “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and Gary Puckett’s “Young Girl.” First of all, what a fantastic mash-up it was, and second of all, Matthew Morrison once again gave an amazing performance. I loved how he was pleading for Rachel to understand his very clear message, through his dancing, his tone of voice, his looks of desperation, and most significantly, the lyrics. Of course, Rachel and Emma were both so enamoured with his performance that they didn’t notice the meaning. Speaking of Emma’s infatuation with Will, I am glad that the show has toned it down a bit. It is mostly a one-sided deal now, whereas for awhile Will seemed to be showing an interest in her.
  • “Crush” – What an awkward moment, when Rachel pushed “play” on the mix CD she made for her and Mr. Schuester, and started singing Jennifer Paige’s flirtatious “Crush.” The whole car ride was painfully awkward, but also amusing.
  • “Having My Baby” – Speaking of awkward, what a way to break the news of their teenage daughter’s pregnancy to two prim and proper parents: serenading the whole family in the middle of dinner with a Paul Anka song that includes lyrics like “I can see it, your face is glowing” and “the seed inside you, can you feel it growing.” In the midst of the song it was funny, but as soon as Quinn’s parents turned a cold shoulder it became very sad. It really wasn’t Finn’s place to tell them the news, but I guess we’re supposed to think that Quinn needed his support and didn’t have the strength to do it alone. Once again, Finn’s mom came through and offered to let Quinn stay with them as long as she wants to, after Quinn’s parents kicked her out.
  • “Lean on Me” – After an episode full of ups and downs, crushes and crushing moments, it was nice to end with such an uplifting, sweet moment. The whole glee club showed their support for Quinn and Finn by singing the ultimate friendship song. “Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on…” I loved the camaraderie that was represented through this song – despite all the people giving Quinn and Finn a hard time, they have their glee club buddies to depend on. Sniff, sniff. And they sang every last drop out of the music and lyrics. I was ready to stand up and sing along with them, but I didn’t, because then I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate their voices! After hearing Amber Riley (Mercedes) singing the national anthem at the World Series, I have an even greater respect for her voice and overall star power. Those American Idol contestants wouldn’t stand a chance competing against her! “Lean on Me” was a great ending to a great episode.

The main non-singing related aspect of the episode that I enjoyed was Sarah Drew’s guest starring role as Suzy Pepper. She was worlds away from her role as the soft-spoken and sweet, but level-headed Hannah on Everwood. I was amused that she is still playing high school student roles, even though she’s nearly 30 years old. She was great as the neurotic, hot pepper-eating, student who had never gotten over her out of control crush for Mr. Schuester. I’d love to see more of this character on future episodes.

What did you love about this episode? Am I the only one that thinks it was one of the best yet, or was it really that good?

 

SYTYCD Season 6: The Top 14 Results Show November 18, 2009

Cat was pretty in pink for tonight’s results show. Not sure what to say about her poofy shoes, though. I thoroughly enjoyed the opening group dance to Imogen Heap’s “Aha.” I’m not sure what it was all supposed to mean: were they ghosts, or works of art come to life? Who knows, but the sheets draped over them at the beginning were mysterious and a little creepy. I’d expect nothing less from Wade and Amanda Robson. I never mentioned how much I liked last week’s African themed group number. It really gave Russell a chance to shine.

On to the results…

The Bottom Three Couples

  • Karen and Kevin – I think we all expected them to be here.
  • Channing and Victor – I expected this, but it was disappointing anyway.
  • Mollee and Nathan – I was surprised that their faithful followers didn’t keep them safe, but I also think they should be in the bottom. They haven’t performed as well as many of the other couples so far this season, so maybe they needed this wakeup call to kick it up a few notches.

Who the Judges Sent Home

  • Channing – This is the first elimination I’ve been sad about – the others I was pretty much indifferent to. However, I couldn’t argue with Nigel when he explained that Channing hasn’t been as much of a star as they had anticipated. There has definitely been some personality missing from her performances. She didn’t seem fully invested. Even so, I would much rather have seen Karen or Mollee sent home. I knew that Mollee would be safe, though, since there’s no way the judges will let go of this fan favorite before she makes it into the Top Ten (they have to think about the tour ticket sales, after all). However, I did disagree with Nigel when he said that Karen has been a star this season. She and Kevin’s performances weren’t all that memorable, at least not for the dancing.
  • Kevin – I agree with the judges on this one. Victor’s solo was very good, so he totally deserved to stay in the competition instead of Kevin. Nathan’s solo was also good – he seemed to have fun with it, and it had a lot of quirky touches. He looked much more relaxed than he ever does dancing with Mollee. (Can you tell I’m not a Mollee fan?)

So this result means that we’ll have a new couple next week: Victor and Karen. They will potentially be an odd pair; then again, maybe they’ll surprise us. What are your thoughts on this week’s results?

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SYTYCD Season Six: The Top 14 Perform

I enjoyed seeing childhood photos of the judges and contestants on this week’s episode, and there was enough variety in the dance styles to make most of the performances interesting and entertaining. I’m continuing a “quick thoughts” format due to my busy fall tv viewing schedule.

  • Ashleigh & Jakob (Hip-Hop w/ Napoleon & Tabitha D’umo)“Whatcha Say,” Jason Derulo – I like this song, only because it gives me another chance to hear Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek,” which never received much radio play in my area. The song was certainly appropriate for a routine about a girl hashing things out with her cheating boyfriend. For me, this routine marked the return of Tabitha and Napoleon, whose routines for awhile have been lackluster. I loved the emotion and character that shone through the choreography, and as usual, Ashleigh and Jakob more than brought it all to life. I just love them, and to me, they are way better than all their competition, in terms of a knockout combo of technique and showmanship.
  • Karen & Kevin (Broadway w/ Spencer Liff) “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” Sweet Charity (2005 revival cast) – Um, no. Awkward, uncomfortable, and any other synonyms for those words. I guess these two need to get back to the sexy, slightly inappropriate routines. 
  • Noelle & Russell (Foxtrot w/ Edward Simon)“Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes),” Michael Buble and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – They both seemed very stiff during this routine, which prevented it from being graceful and elegant. I’ve never been a fan of Noelle, and I’d be happy to see her go home this week so I could see Russell paired with a different partner. In my opinion, she’s always seemed artificial and tense on stage. Russell hasn’t lived up to my expectations, considering he was my favorite going into the season. It does seem like he’s been stuck with ballroom a lot, and it’s obviously not his strong suit.
  • Channing & Victor (Jazz w/ Tyce Diorio)“Blackbird,” Bobby McFerrin – This was an unusual routine, and seems like Tyce’s attempt to channel Sonya. He sure was acting weird when he explained the choreography! Is he auditioning for the role of Paula Abdul? As for the dancing, I thought Channing and Victor did well, and it was fun and quirky. I agree with Nigel that Channing looked like she was relaxing and having fun. Victor is still off my radar, but I was glad to see them do well this week. Not sure it will be memorable for viewers, though.
  • Kathryn & Legacy (Paso Doble w/ Tony Meredith)“Pursuit,” Ka (Cirque du Soleil soundtrack) – Legacy certainly made his presence known in all his shirtless glory! Despite this, I found myself focusing on Kathryn. I continue to be impressed by her performances, which surprises me since her initial off stage personality was that of a blubbering high-pitched cry baby. She completely transforms into the character of the moment each week, leaving no trace of her sensitive, sweet country girl personality. Don’t think that I don’t like Legacy, though. He did well in this performance. Too bad that they fumbled the ending – that kept it from being a knock-out routine. Kudos to Tony Meredith for coming up with a creative spin on the paso doble!
  • Ellenore & Ryan (Contemporary w/ Travis Wall & Jaimie Goodwin)“Your Ex-Lover Is Dead,” Stars – I wanted to love this routine, with it being a contemporary one choreographed by the lovable Travis Wall. Something was missing for me, though. That being said, I was impressed by Ellenore. She seemed to be more in character than Ryan, and her movement and confidence were striking. While last season, Evan often suffered from being short-statured (for example, it was a noticable hindrance on ballroom routines), I think that Ryan is suffering from the opposite – his bulkiness is sometimes distracting, and prevents him from carrying the smoothness that some routines demand. During this performance, he didn’t float around the stage and leap in the air as easily as someone like Jakob would have done. So, as much as I like Ryan, I don’t know that he will go much further in the competition.
  • Mollee & Nathan (Pop-Jazz w/ LaurieAnn Gibson) – “Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga – They looked like two kids running around the playground, but at least it was a vast improvement on last week’s disastrous salsa. My enjoyment of the performance was also hindered by the lack of story. LaurieAnn was too busy screaming to inform the audience what this dancing and prancing was all about. I really enjoyed the “Battlefield” routine that she choregraphed for Brandon and Jeanine last season, but this one fell flat. And what is with the pink headphones that she’s always wearing?! For me, Nathan and Mollee lack the stage presence and personality that many of the other contestants have showcased, and that has made them less interesting to me.

The Top Performance

  • Jakob and Ashleigh’s Hip Hop – Honestly, while I enjoyed a few of the other routines, none of them came close to my favorite duo’s performance.

Predicting the Bottom Three Couples

  • Karen and Kevin – This was the most awkward and forgettable performance of the night, and so I will be shocked if these two aren’t dancing solos.
  • Noelle and Russell – As Adam said, the Foxtrot is second only to the Quickstep in being the kiss of death. I hope that doesn’t mean we’ll say goodbye to Russell this week!
  • Channing and Victor – This last spot was a toss up between these two, or Ryan and Ellenore. But in the end, I think that viewers prefer a Travis Wall contemporary over an eccentric Tyce Diorio jazz routine any day.

Who I Would Send Home – Neither of these dancers has made an impression on me, and while I think Victor has more all around talent than Russell or Kevin, they have much more personality when they dance.

  • Noelle
  • Victor

So, how are you feeling about the contestants at this point in the season?

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V: Then and Now November 12, 2009

Back in the 1980s, reptilian aliens arrived on earth dressed in fake human skin and red jumpsuits, and speaking in warbled voices about promoting peace and the betterment of the human race. Twenty-five years later, the aliens are better at disguising themselves (through some sort of human skin cloning procedure), and they sound and dress just like humans, but they are still using the same manipulative techniques of telling people what they want to hear.

The Cast of the New V

I am thoroughly mesmerized by both the 1980s miniseries and the new tv series that share the title of V. This single-letter creeped me out big time when I was younger (especially in its recognizable format of oozing red spray paint on a black background. I was five years old when the first miniseries aired in 1983, and six when the second one aired a year later. I am surprised that I watched them at such a young age, and it’s no wonder that I was disturbed: aliens eating gerbils and mice and taking out their fake human eyeballs to reveal yellow lizard eyes, people ripping the fake human skin off of alien visitors, and then there was the birth of the inter-species twins – one a seemingly “normal” baby with a forked tongue, and the other a full-fledged lizard child!

The creepy logo of the original V miniseries

But of course I watched V! Everyone did at the time. According to creator Kenneth Johnson’s website, the original miniseries drew an audience of 80 million viewers! I know that my family tuned in to every episode of both miniseries (from what I hear we should pretend like the short-lived tv show follow up never happened). The new ABC version has now aired two episodes, and while it hasn’t drawn anywhere close to 80 million viewers (more like 10 million), it has created a lot of buzz and has received a near unanimous two thumbs up from critics.

In preparation for the new show, I recently watched SyFy’s marathon of the original V miniseries. I am amazed but pleased that the show has stood the test of time! Sure, there are plenty of blatantly 80s music, cheap special effects, and melodramatic moments (a la all those ’80s primetime soaps), but the story and the characters are fascinating! As a child, I didn’t pick up on the Nazi allegory. But as an adult, the parallels are obvious: the V’s persecution of scientists (just as Nazis targeted Jews), the recruiting of Friends of the Visitors (similar to Hitler’s youth), the swastika-like emblem on the V’s uniforms and flags, etc.

The new version seems to have abandoned the parallels to the Nazi regime, and instead frames the arrival of the visitors in the more timely concerns of our post-9/11 world, namely the threat of terrorism and the difficulty of fighting it. I found it especially interesting that FBI agent Erica (Elizabeth Mitchell) was investigating a terrorist cell that actually consisted of alien visitors. This is a smart change from the original: rather than the spaceships’ appearances marking the first time the visitors came to earth, the new version reveals that many of the visitors have already been here for years, living secretly among us, while plotting a human takeover from within our ranks. That’s actually much more disturbing than in the original (which was pretty creepy, too, as I mentioned earlier). At least in the original version the resistance fighters could easily identify the visitors by their weird voices and distinctive uniforms. As for the new version, how unsettling to think that these aliens look exactly like us, and there’s no easy way to know that they aren’t human. Erica had worked with Dale for seven years, and while he seemed like a nice guy, he was all too eager to kill her when she got too close to the truth.

While the social/political allegories differ, the main theme remains the same: the struggle to preserve the human race and to convince the world that the visitors’ supposed agenda is not what it seems, and that they and their message are indeed too good to be true. Both shows also play out like a suspense thriller, mixed in with a bit of drama. The easiest way to compare/contrast the remaining characteristics of both versions is to take a look at the main characters:

  • The Leader of the V’s

    Formidable foe Diana wasn't as friendly as the new version's Anna.

    • Then – Diana – Jane Badler was so distinctive in this role that she is easily recognizable, probably even now, as evil, conniving, ambitious Diana. She was a ruthless leader who had no qualms about destroying an entire race, using mind control to extract information from a prisoner, or even murdering an innocent priest. Still, though, if she had been dressed in an evening gown instead of her alien-issued red uniform, she could have easily blended in with the ladies on Dallas or Knots Landing.

    Anna is the "too good to be true" leader of the V's.

    • Now – Anna – I am amazed by Morena Baccarin’s transformation into short-haired, blinky-eyed alien leader Anna. I hardly recognize her as the actress who played Inara on Firefly. I have been impressed by her captivating and commanding portrayal of a charming and devious leader. Her interaction with reporter Chad Decker has been great, and her “behind closed doors” plotting against the humans has been disturbing but well played. She brings a strange allure, combined with a certain amount of creepiness, to the role that was mostly melodramatic campiness in the original.
  • The Leaders of the Resistance

    Mike and Julie were the resistance leaders of the 1980s miniseries.

    • Then – Cameraman Mike Donovan and Scientist Juliet Parrish – Mike was played by the beastmaster himself, Marc Singer, while Juliet was played by Faye Grant, who is known more now for being married to 7th Heaven alum Stephen Collins than for any of her post-V roles. Mike was the more interesting character, since he was usually the one infiltrating the V’s ship and exposing their true faces, but Juliet had the responsibility of leading the resistance when she didn’t even know anything about being in charge. Regardless of which character was more interesting, they were a duo worth rooting for, and I’m sure the ’80s television audience was pleased when they became romantically involved.

    Erica and Jack are the modernized leaders of the resistance.

    • Now – FBI agent Erica Evans and priest Jack Landry – There’s not much chance of the new dynamic duo hooking up like Mike and Juliet did, since this time around one of them is a priest. I like the changes the writers made in the main characters. A scientist and a camera man wouldn’t have as much influence as an FBI agent and a priest, considering the scenario presented in the new version. As an agent, Erica has access to files concerning the visitors, and as a priest, Jack will be presented with many challenging scenarios. How can a priest, who vows to do what is right, be honest, and keep people’s deepest problems confidential, among other things, be involved in a movement that will no doubt involve deception and bloodshed? On the other hand, if he chose not to act, he would be turning his back on a huge threat to the safety of God’s children. I really like his character so far. I know Joel Gretsch best for his role as an FBI agent on The 4400, and while I was skeptical about seeing him as a priest, he has done a good job, and he has great chemistry with Elizabeth Mitchell. It’s strange for me to see Mitchell decked out in makeup, nice clothes, and with perfect hair, since for the past couple of years she’s been stuck on an island looking pretty rough, as Juliet on Lost. Since we last saw her in extreme peril on that show, it’s nice to see that she has landed a juicy role on V. I really like Erica, but I do wish she weren’t such a clueless mom! She should know that her son’s “promise” to not get involved with the visitors doesn’t mean much.
  • Trouble-making Teens
    • Then – Daniel Bernstein and Robin Maxwell, visitor Brian – So far there is no human villain in the new version that matches teenaged Daniel’s despicable, self-serving ways. While he was busy working his way up the ranks of the V organization, his parents were tortured by Diana and his grandfather was packed up into a pod as future food for the aliens. Basically, he was willing to step on anyone and everyone for his own selfish gain. I hope that the new version will give us a human just as worthy of being despised as he was. As for the young love storyline, the ’80s version gave us sweet, love struck Robin, who fawned over visitor Brian like he was the latest teen heart throb. Unfortunately for her, Diana turned that budding relationship into a mating experiment, and Robin went through all the trauma of teen pregnancy, compounded by the many unusual side effects that went along with carrying and giving birth to alien offspring.

    I doubt that an alien-human hybrid born on the new "V" would look anything like this precious lizard baby from the original version.

    • Now – Tyler Evans and visitor Lisa – I am quite curious about how the new version will develop Tyler’s crush on visitor Lisa. So far, Lisa seems to be a relatively good-natured alien, but then again, looks can be deceiving. In the original, Brian seemed nice and genuinely interested in Robin, but it turns out he was just as power-hungry as Diana. The possibility and consequences of alien-human offspring don’t seem as monumental in the new version, since it seems like it would have already happened, what with so many visitors already being integrated into human society. I wonder how the writers will address this issue. But I’m gektting way ahead of the story here. Right now, Lisa is simply Tyler’s motivation to get involved with the Visitors.
  • The Ambitious Reporter
    • Then – Kristine Walsh – Kristine’s professional ambition, and willingness to step on anyone for the sake of her career, made her an extremely irritating character. I felt no sympathy for her until her one redeeming moment, when she finally stood up for what was right.
    • Now – Chad Decker – Oh, Scott Wolf. I loved him as Bailey on Party of Five, but wasn’t sure what to make of his more grown up character on Everwood. So far I am intrigued by his portrayal of the ambitious but slightly good-intentioned reporter. I hope he doesn’t fall into the same sticky web of power and fame that Kristine did. I’d prefer that he join the resistance and work against the V’s from the inside. After all, they need someone with an inside connection.
  • Human-friendly visitors
    • Then – Willie (and his waitress girlfriend Harmony), Martin – I really liked Martin in the original. He was the noblest of the visitors – willing to risk his life for the sake of doing what was right. So far there isn’t a character like him on the new version. Willie and Harmony were almost comic relief. I was amused to discover that Robert Englund, best known for playing horror icon Freddie Krueger, played such a dopey, gentle-hearted character. He and Harmony’s relationship was really sweet, especially after she still accepted him despite learning of his true appearance and eating habits.
    • Now – Ryan Nichols (and his human girlfriend Valerie Holt) – Ryan is definitely not comic relief. He is intense about everything from picking out an engagement ring to answering his cell phone to sneaking off to a mechanic’s shop to get his reptilian arm repaired. I like him, though. I’m not so crazy about Valerie, mainly because she’s not very interesting so far. I have a feeling she won’t be as accepting as Harmony if she finds out the truth about Ryan.

    Dale is Erica's not-so-human FBI partner

  • Dale Maddox – There is no counterpart in the original to this visitor disguised as a human FBI agent. In a way, I suppose he is the new version’s Kristine Walsh, since Kristine and Mike were close until she basically went over to the “dark side” (Dale and Erica are close professionally speaking until he reveals his true nature and disappears). It makes sense for the writers to introduce an entirely new character to be the leader of sorts for the terrorist visitors who have infiltrated human society. I look forward to seeing more of Alan Tudyk in this role, especially since Dollhouse, on which he played the villainous and basically insane Alpha, has now been canceled. It is strange to always see him in these bad guy roles, since he was such a goofy, likable character on Firefly (may Wash rest in peace…)

Many questions remain unanswered for the moment on the new series:

  • What is the Visitors’ true agenda?
  • Do the Visitors plan to eat the humans, steal all the earth’s resources, destroy the earth, or all of the above?
  • Is Tyler going to be a lizard-baby daddy?
  • Will any more of the supposedly human characters be revealed as Visitors?
  • Will reporter Chad Decker hold on to his journalistic integrity (is there such a thing?!), or will he become a media puppet through which Anna will spout propaganda to the public?
  • Will the writers pay homage to any classic V moments, such as Diana swallowing a gerbil, or Mike ripping off the fake human face when he fought one of the aliens?

Hopefully, the new show will have a chance to find its footing and tell its story before it gets canceled. It is worrisome that there was a drastic ratings drop from episode one to two. I suppose it’s good news in a way that the show only has two more episodes to air before going on a planned hiatus until the spring. Perhaps by then viewers will be ready to tune in again after months of anticipation. If not, then at least we always have the truly classic original to return to for a complete and satisfying tale of manipulative, lying lizard visitors from outer space and the human resistance movement that brought them down with a lot of heart, hope, and helium. (In case you don’t recall, hot air balloons were an important factor in the humans’ final battle with the visitors…)

What do you think of the new V so far? I’ll leave you with a scene from the original miniseries that really disturbed me as a child, but which I now find quite amusing, particularly because of the dated special effects.

 

SYTYCD Season 6: The Top 16 Perform November 11, 2009

Was Cat Deeley participating in the much-promoted Simpson’s Scavenger Hunt last night? That would be the only good excuse for her bizarre appearance, with her hair pulled back tightly along the sides and piled high above her forehead. Her 1980s style snake-skin dress weren’t any better. I don’t know what Simpson’s character she would have been impersonating, but maybe we were supposed to spot Lisa’s saxophone in her hair or something. Anyway, on with the show. This was a pretty mediocre night, which may be more to blame on the choreographers than the contestants. We were introduced to a handful of new choreographers, some of whom stood out more than others.

* I must confess that I was lazy and didn’t take the time to type up the list of contestants, styles, choreographers, and songs. I “borrowed” that info from TV Squad, where you can read another review of this week’s episode:

The Top 16 Performances

  • Karen & Kevin – Hustle (Maria Torres) – “Come to me” France Joli – When was the last time we saw the Hustle on this show? Not long enough, in my opinion. The Hustle is right next to Disco at the bottom of my dance preference list. Kevin looked very uncomfortable in his glittery ’70s costume, but Karen looked like she was having fun. The choreography was pretty dull. This performance was instantly forgettable to me.
  • Ashleigh & Jakob – Jazz (Mandy Moore) – “Relax” Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Hooray for my favorite couple! They have been excellent every week, and didn’t lose any ground with this performance. Adam pointed out the one cane mishap, which I also noticed, but who cares, when everything else was near perfect? Now that Mia Michaels is no longer on the show, Mandy Moore has a chance to gain more recognition, which she is much deserving of.
  • Pauline & Peter – Quickstep – (JT & Tomas) – “Hey Baby! (Shake Those Hula Hips)” Big Kahuna & The Copa Cat Pack – Um, I wasn’t feeling this one. Peter was completely concentrating on the quick stepping, leaving no room for him to stay in character, and Pauline looked frightened that she was going to get left behind, as she held on for dear life as Peter swooped her across the stage and she tried to make her feet move at lightning speed. I think these two will be in the bottom three this week.
  • Kathryn & Legacy- Broadway (Andy Blankenbuehler) – “I Wanna Be Like You” Swingin’ Fireballs – I was bored and confused during this routine – something about a woman wanting to steal the remote from her man because she felt neglected? Also, Kathryn’s shorts were too short and not very flattering, and this wardrobe problem distracted me throughout the performance. I was so impressed with Legacy and Kathryn the past two weeks that I am willing to overlook this week’s unfortunate mediocre work.
  • Channing & Victor – Contemporary (Stacy Tookey) – “Be Be Your Love” KCRW version – Rachael Yamagata – This newly paired couple had their work cut out for them, and they did pretty well. They were in their own style, which helped. The routine had some really nice moments but lacked the chemistry that would make a “toxic relationship” story come more to life. But still, I’m much happier seeing Channing with Victor, than Channing with Phillip. I’m still not finding Victor very memorable, but having Channing as a partner instead of Bianca should help – that is, if they stick around long enough to prove themselves.
  • Ellenore & Ryan – Hip-Hop (Lil’ C) – “Lost BoiZ Anthem” Tha J-Squad- Come on, Lil’ C, you can do better than this. I was quite bored with this routine. It seems like half of the time Ellenore and Ryan were just carrying around their loot bags or throwing money in the air. The actual dancing only took up a fraction of the routine. I agreed with Adam that Ryan did really well considering he was a ballroom dancer doing hip hop. And Ellenore looked pretty comfortable in the style, standing out more than Ryan. I still like this couple, but they drew a bad choice this week, in terms of the style and Lil C’s nondescript choreography.
  • Mollee & Nathan – Salsa (Gustavo Vargas) – “Quimbara” Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco – And the award for “most painfully awkward” goes to… Yikes! I could barely sit through this literally awful performance. First of all, Nathan looked horrible with greasy hair and a sloppy shirt, and Mollee looked like she was playing dress up in the high heels and yellow dress. There wasn’t an ounce of “genuine” in their performance. Nathan, who is normally so charming and pleasant to watch, was cheesing it up big time, with a huge fake smile and squinty eyes, and he was stressing me out with the way his shoulders were hunched over. Mollee had more poise than Nathan, but didn’t look like she was having any fun at all. Many times you could see a look in her eyes that said, “Is it over yet? Are we done?” But like Adam said, their avid fan base will most likely keep them safe this week.
  • Noelle & Russell – Afro Jazz (Sean Cheesman) – “Frog Dance” Mickey Hart and Planet Drum – Russell was definitely the star of this routine. As Nigel pointed out, it gave him the chance to move like a krumper, which is good since that’s his style. Kudos to Sean Cheesman for introducing himself to the show in such an impressive fashion. I look forward to seeing more of this style on the show. Noelle hung in there pretty well, but I’m still just not seeing much personality in her performances. I was impressed, however, with that one trick were they flipped over each other like three times in a row. Something about this routine reminded me of Hok and Jamie’s “Hummingbird” routine from season three. A bird and a flower, a frog and an African princess… Tonight’s routine isn’t an instant classic like the Hummingbird one, but it definitely falls in the category of interesting and creative.

Predicting the Bottom Three Couples

  • Karen and Kevin – I’m not convinced that America is as in love with these two as the judges are, and so I expect to see them dance solos tonight
  • Pauline and Peter – It’s always hard to be popular on the show when you are constantly getting paired with new partners. Pauline has already danced with Billy, Brandon, and now Peter. On top of that, neither of these two had much screen time before the top 20 was announced. I do like Peter, and he’s shown an impressive amount of versatility so far, and Pauline is adorable, but I’m not sure that’s enough to make people vote for them.
  • Channing and Victor – In another case of revolving door partners, these two have had a difficult time of it. And while they had a decent performance this week, other couples have more devoted fans. If they are in the bottom three, I am hoping that at least Channing will escape elimination, because she is still one of my favorite girls.

Predictions on who will be sent home:

  • Victor
  • Pauline