In the 1990’s tough, smart and attractive women investigating bizarre and intense murder cases became a stable of American television. They were hailed as feminist icons but where these characters all they appeared to be?
FBI Agent Dana Scully of ‘The X Files’ was a prime example as she and Mulder investigated unexplained phenomena, she was the rational sceptic. Scully was supposed to be a strong, independent woman well able to take care of herself however she was usually portrayed as narrowmind and kept getting kidnapped. She had her ova stolen, she got the TV version of the Big C, she had to give up her son and she ended up quitting the FBI.
Then was Lois Lane on ‘Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’, when the show began Lois was a one dimensional stereotype. She was aggressive, insensitive and got kidnapped and needed rescuing. One point in her favour was that she preferred the suave and charming Lex Luthor over the bullying Superman. She was so obnoxious it was hard to see why Clark loved her. When the show was axed after four seasons, Lois had mellowed a bit but the reasons why Clark loved her were still elusive. Her character never recovered from one villain of the week calling her “the most monumentally stupid woman who ever lived” for not guessing that Clark and Superman were one and the same. Still this Lois still came off better than the Lois Lane of ‘Smallville’ who was depicted as a drunken, ignorant, work shy pole dancer.
Detective Rose Phillips was the lead in the short lived ‘Under Suspicion’. She was the only woman in her squad room and had to endure her patronising, hostile and obnoxious colleagues. She earned their respect by solving a variety of complex murder cases. Then TPTB decided to soften her character by giving her a love interest in the form of James Vitelli. He had the personality and IQ of a tablecloth. Show was axed and never repeated or released on DVD.
Dr Dawn Holiday of ‘One West Waikki’ was one of the best forensic pathologists in the land. She teamed up with Detective Mack Wolfe to investigate murder most foul on the sunny aloha state. Nothing stops Dr Dawn and Mack be it organ traffickers, stalkers, criminal masterminds, drug lords, bored housewives and a male strip troop. They got to rescue each other in equal measure from crazed situations. One character even commented: “I’m living in a Stephen King novel.” Too true buddy, too true.
Then there was Officer Jane Castle on the ill-fated ‘Space Precinct’. A cop in outer space working alongside muppet aliens? The series didn’t gel properly. Castle managed to look dignified throughout various improbable plots. Still she and the handsome Officer Jack Haldane did end up getting together after saving a planet from evil fungus.
Looking back on these shows, one is both nostalgic and not at the same time.
Cleared out a videotape from circa 1997. Again I have to wonder, why did I watch some of this stuff? There were 4 eps on the tape. One each of ‘Babylon 5’, ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’, ‘The Pretender’ and ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’.
The ‘Babylon 5’ ep was a season 4 missive entitled ‘Moments of Transition’. In it Garibaldi works for William Edgars. The boring Minbari civil war concludes in a cheap looking fashion. Bester (Walter Koening) shows up. There are exposition dumps and horrible acting. No one not even Zack wonders at Garibaldi’s odd behaviour and personality change. Lyta is abandoned and evicted, forcing her to make a deal with Bester. People yell, why is everyone yelling? This was not good.
Best Line: “It’s good to see they’re continuing the fine tradition of hiring from the shallow end of the gene pool.”
The ‘Xena’ ep was the season one missive ‘Mortal Beloved’. Xena swims to the Underworld to find it in chaos. Hades (the gorgeous Erik Thomson) has lost control of his realm, again. For a god who was brothers with Zeus and Poseidon, he was a bit of a slacker. Charon is rude. The guest villains can’t act and wears too much make up. Hades lives in a taste free palace. There’s not enough Hades in this ep, he is depressed and grim for most of it. He only shows up in his fine looking black leather outfit for about 30 seconds. Most of the characters should wear more clothes. There is terrible CGI. This was boring save for Hades and his leather.
‘The Pretender’ ep was the season ep ’Baby Love’. As Jarod (Michael T. Weiss of ‘Dark Shadows’) runs from the horrible Miss Parker he finds a baby. Also he sends Miss Parker, Sidney and Broots on a quest to uncover more secrets in The Centre. The terrible trio venture into sub-level 27 and uncover more sins of The Centre, yet for some reason they kept working there. Sidney in particular has no regrets about Jarod being stolen from his parents. They are all amoral jerks. Angelo acts up. There is evil debris. This was dull.
“What died down here?”
Finally there was a ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ ep called ‘Blaze of Glory’. It was a sequel to earlier eps entitled ‘For The Cause’ and ‘For The Uniform’. Nog has authority issues. The Maquis arc is wrapped up; the Dominion wiped most of them out. The holcommunicators haven’t been seen or mentioned since ‘For The Uniform’. This ep was about as subtle as a concussion as Sisko and his arch enemy Eddington exchange moody, sullen snarls. Eddington turns out to have played Sisko yet not once, not twice but thrice. Then he dies. Sisko smirks with self adoration. This was okay.
“Look where you lead them. Right into their graves.”
“You still there captain?”
“Attacking two Jem’Hadar soldiers with a pipe? That’s a brilliant plan.”
“I just waited to see which of you was knocked down first and then I shot the one still standing.”
This was a sporadically amusing zombie apocalypse comedy. But it is way too smug and full of itself. It’s not nearly as clever as it thinks it is. It has a self indulgent celebrity cameo and the characters suffer frequent stupidity leaks. There was some funny and gross zombie stuff in there as well though; the ruins of the zombie ridden world are well done. The trailer made this look better than it actually was. Some bits are just dull. The zombies are plague infectees not the walking dead. So in closing, hark the redneck battle cries and the smug characters need to remember something. They’ve got to sleep sometime.
Chuck Versus The Predator
Chuck looks for Orion, the creator of the Intersect as Orion looks for him. Sarah sulks. There is more Buy More stupidity. A glowering Fulcrum agent (Arnold Vosloo of The Mummy’, ‘The Mummy Returns’ and ‘Hard Target’) gives the team the run around. Numerous people attempt to rob the Buy More. Chuck’s a moron. Chuck studies blueprints of the Intersect. This was not good.
“It’s called Tetrodotoxin. A modified poison extracted from blowfish. Fulcrum agents are taught to survive its near death state.”
“That sounds like a fun class.”
Chuck Versus The Broken Heart
I wish I was watching ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ or ‘Sanctuary’ instead. Sarah is replaced by Alex (Tricia Helfer of ‘Battlestar Galactica’) due to rampant unprofessional behaviour. Chuck gurns and his whining grates. A bachelor party takes place to the tune of Lady GaGa’s ‘Lovegame’. Devon gets too close to Chuck’s secret life. Ellie acts like a cow. Sarah’s belligerent. After Sarah gets her job back she and Chuck locate Chuck’s deadbeat dad.
Chuck Versus The Dream Job
Chuck and Ellie are reunited with their dad Stephen (Scott Bakula of ‘Quantum Leap’ and ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’.) Ellie complains and acts like a cow, TPTB have turned her into a bridezilla harpy this season. Chuck gets a job working for IT mogul Roark (Chevy Chase) Arnold Vosloo’s character returns to glower. Roark turns out to have an Intersect. Chuck’s dad is Orion, which has been obvious since Ellie mentioned his favourite movie was ‘Tron’ several eps back. Fulcrum grabs Stephen. This was dull and the characters are all hateful now.
Chuck Versus The First Kill
Jill is sprung from jail to help locate Chuck’s dad. Chuck and Jill run from a Fulcrum agent to the tune of ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’. There is more Buy More boredom as Emmett steals Big Mike’s job as store manager. Sarah is a nasty person. There is shameless product placement. One wonders: just how big is Fulcrum and why does it come across as a cult? There is a well done raid on a Fulcrum building. Chuck lets Jill escape. Casey is ordered to put Chuck in lockdown so Sarah helps Chuck go on the run. Chuck fails to consider that he can never have a normal life now. The baddies know who he is. This was dull.
“Bernie didn’t like Jill’s last boyfriend and that’s the last we saw of him.”
“Operation moron is over.”
Chuck Versus The Colonel
Casey hunts Chuck and Sarah. Devon and the Buy More crew ponder the creepy contents of Casey’s locker. Casey is a jerk. Devon is so suspicious of Casey that he breaks into Casey’s home and finds out about Chuck’s secret life. Sarah makes bitchfaces. Roark is an awful bad guy, awful as in the failure to actually act or be menacing. F-16’s attack Roark, Arnold Vosloo’s character may be dead. Stephen removes the Intersect from Chuck’s head. Morgan quits the Buy More. Ellie is a real bitch, what have TPTB done to her character? Everything is wrapped up neatly or is it? This was fairly okay. I don’t care about Chuck’s emotional journey, the Chuck/Sarah romance or his relationships with friends and family.
“Feel free to use whatever despicable acts of violence that are in your nature. You could eat them if you want. I don’t care.”
“You can’t kill me with that radiator. It is far too confined in this car for you to get the appropriate torque.”
“I knew you weren’t a loser who worked at the Buy More!”
“We have the Intersect Cube, Fulcrum is defeated, your mission complete. Mr Bartowski you are free to return to whatever it is you do.”
Chuck Versus The Ring
Chuck and Casey quit the Buy More. Intersect 3 is ready to go. Bryce is to be the new Intersect. Matthew Bomer looks very hot. Ellie’s wedding dress is ugly. Chuck’s a snot. Roark shows up to be non-menacing. Bryce reveals he knew about Orion all along, which means the shows mythology makes no sense the more you think about it.
This plot of this ep is similar to the plot of a ‘Kung Fu: The Legend Continues’ ep. Chuck’s moron Buy More friends ruin Ellie’s wedding. Bryce, Casey, Chuck and Sarah fight Fulcrum. Ellie sulks and Chuck pays for his bridezilla sister to have a second wedding with new outfits for everyone.
Roark is killed off. Chuck’s dad has his own Intersect. Chuck whines like a Halliwell sister. Chuck, Sarah and Casey somehow find the location of the secret Intersect. Bryce is killed by baddies. And there goes any chance of me watching season 3. Damn you TPTB!
It is revealed that Fulcrum is just one part of The Ring. Fulcrum have just been minions all along, there is a bigger bad out there. As to whom The Ring are and what they want and why they killed Bryce is to be answered in season 3 apparently. Chuck uploads Intersect 3 into his head and gets a new skill set. He wipes the floor with The Ring flunkies in a terrible kung fu scene. Casey and Sarah just stand and watch. This was okay. They killed Bryce Larkin! No doubt Chuck will be back in the Buy More in season 3 with his moron buddies. Also Ellie and Devon will probably get divorced because TPTB have to make her unlikebale again. I doubt I’ll watch season 3. I’ll miss you Bryce Larkin, but not you Chuck because you kind of suck.
“In case of emergencies. My personal number. But your fingers better be on fire when you’re dialling.”
“This is a really weird family.”
“Just think that terrible pun is the last thing you’ll ever hear.”
"No one stops us. No one ever has."