NCIS Los Angeles Review: “Expiration Date”

Photo credit: cbs.com

Photo credit: cbs.com

Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season six episode “Expiration Date.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

A few hours before this episode aired, my mother asked me if they were killing off LL Cool J’s character, Sam. Because I had actually missed all the previews for this episode, I had no clue what she was talking about. As it turns out, Callen’s bluff about Sam dying of his gunshot wound was in the preview. My mother hadn’t seen any of the episodes this season, but I assured her that LL Cool J wouldn’t be dying. “If they kill off a main character like that, it’ll be in the season finale,” I told her.

And I was right, of course. Sam didn’t die. They may have tried to fool the audience during the last sequence in the hospital but he was never in real danger. He’s got something called “Main Character Armor” which protects him (much more effectively than the kevlar vest he probably should have been wearing). Because of that, this plot point wasn’t very effective in “Expiration Date.” Surprisingly it was the Deeks, Kensi, and guest star Thapa storyline that made the episode worth watching.

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Sleepy Hollow Review: “Tempus Fugit”

Photo credit: ew.com

Photo credit: ew.com

Here’s my review of Sleepy Hollow season two finale “Tempus Fugit.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

When you were a child, did you like to play with the light switches? I did. It was fun, wasn’t it? To just flip the lights on and off by flipping the switch up and down. You could do it over and over again forever, or at least until someone yelled at you to stop messing with the lights (and then you could just go to another room and start again)

This episode “Tempus Fugit,” the season finale, felt like the writers were playing too, only it was with a “reset” switch instead of a light switch. They played with audience expectations and gave the episode possibilities for starting the series over only to have that change be undone by the end of the episode. It was a strange ride, but altogether not a bad one. It feels like the writers are ready to take risks again with the ridiculousness, so let’s take a look at what they did in this season finale.

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Elementary Review: “When Your Number’s Up”

Photo credit: @ELEMENTARYstaff

Photo credit: @ELEMENTARYstaff

Here’s my review of Elementary season three episode “When Your Number’s Up.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

If you’ve read any of my other reviews, then you know that I like when procedural tv shows shake up their routine. Elementary has always done a fine job of this by placing more emphasis on the main characters’ lives while investigating murders. This episode is another attempt to show a murder investigation from a different angle than we usually get to see. More specifically, the audience knows who the killer is right from the beginning. The question is: does this make the episode better?

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Music Rec Wednesdays: String Covers of Rock Songs

This is a weekly feature called Music Rec Wednesdays. As you can guess from the name, I’m going to make a post recommending a song, album, or artist I like. Not a full review, just some thoughts on what I like. 

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to put together one of these posts, so today I’m recommending three different bands. I don’t really know much about them other than that I enjoy their music. We’ll be looking at Apocalyptica, Hampton String Quartet, and Vitamin String Quartet. The commonality they all share is that they do covers of rock songs with string instruments. It’s pretty awesome.

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Sleepy Hollow Review: “Awakening”

Photo credit: comicbookmovie.com

Photo credit: comicbookmovie.com

Here’s my review of Sleepy Hollow season two episode “Awakening.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

The title for this episode is “Awakening,” and while that’s supposed to refer to Henry’s plot to awaken the magic of the witches in Sleepy Hollow on the surface, the true meaning of this title refers to Katrina’s own personal awakening. She’s finally figured out her motivations and what she wants to do. It’s a shame that it’s taken the writers all season to get to this point, but better late than never I guess. While this episode was mostly bogged down with the bell plot, the last fifteen minutes set up the next episode to be quite interesting.

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Elementary Review: “The Female of the Species”

Photo credit: @ELEMENTARYstaff

Photo credit: @ELEMENTARYstaff

Here’s my review of Elementary season three episode “The Female of the Species.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

“What do you guys do when you’re not solving cases?” Detective Bell asks at one point in the episode. “Sit around and contemplate in silence?” His tone, as always, is full of snark.

I mention this quote because it reminded me of something Elementary does well: there’s always a sense that the characters have lives outside of the cases they work. And we actually get to see some of it. In fact, lots of screentime is devoted to showing us it.

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NCIS Los Angeles Review: “Forest for the Trees”

Photo credit: cbs.com

Photo credit: cbs.com

Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season six episode “Forest for the Trees.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

For all my dislike of procedural style shows, I tend to watch a lot of them. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t find the details of investigating a murder all that fascinating. I mentioned in my last NCISLA review, that the writers don’t push this show out of the box very often and that’s true. But “Forest for the Trees” was a little bit of fresh air since it involved the team tracking down a kidnapped Sam and Callen and there was no murderer to bring to justice. And what made this episode fun to watch was, as always, the character interactions.

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Sleepy Hollow Review: “What Lies Beneath”

Photo credit: tv.com

“Are you a…hologram, Mr. Jefferson?” Photo credit: tv.com

Here’s my review of Sleepy Hollow season two episode “What Lies Beneath.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

In my humble opinion (which isn’t worth more than a three-leaf clover), Sleepy Hollow returned to form last night with a genuinely entertaining episode like the ones we used to have in season one. It’s weird though because I can’t figure out why I liked it so much. I thought that pulling back on the serialized stories would hurt the show, make it less compelling to watch each week, but I’m beginning to see that an episodic format with light serialization works wonderfully for Sleepy Hollow.

Or maybe I’m just a sucker for magical presidential holograms.

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Elementary Review: “Hemlock”

Photo credit: @ELEMENTARYstaff

Photo credit: @ELEMENTARYstaff

Here’s my review of Elementary season three episode “Hemlock.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

The key to good storytelling is to subvert the audience’s expectations. We want the fun of the surprise. There’s no point in telling a story if we already know the beginning, middle, and end. Here’s an example: say you want to tell me that about the time you went fishing. I know, logically, that this story will end one of two ways. 1.) you caught fish or 2.) you caught nothing. What I’m not expecting, however, is for you to tell me that your friend accompanying you in the boat stood up at the front, declared that he was “king of the world” and then promptly fell face forward into the water as the boat hit a tree stump.* Because I’m not expecting this, it’s a great story for me to listen to. This episode of Elementary, “Hemlock,” is a great example of throwing the unexpected at the audience.

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Sleepy Hollow Review: “Spellcaster”

Photo credit: tv.com

Photo credit: tv.com

Here’s my review of Sleepy Hollow season two episode “Spellcaster.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

Guys, we have a Katrina problem. But unlike our Hawley problem we had last week, we can’t just send Katrina off into the sunset. That sort of thing is why we have this problem to begin with.

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