Thinking Man Reviews: Boss – Pilot

By Anthony Medina

**Be aware this review contains spoiler** 

Season 1 Episode 1

“Listen”

“You think this is easy?” – Mayor Tom Kane

The Specs

Originally Aired: October 21st 2011

Creator: Farhad Safinia

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Farhad Safinia

Channel: Starz

You may know him as Frasier or even Side Show Bob. But funny man Kelsey Grammar has put aside his wine glass and big floppy shoes to give us Tom Kane, the ruthless and powerful Mayor of Chicago. So if your looking for the usual good hearted high brow comedy we’ve come to expect from Mr. Grammar, look else where, because the Boss ain’t #$&*ing around.

The Rundown:

Personal

We open on Tom Kane, as he sits patiently listening to his doctor describe the rare neurological disorder that will take his mind and eventually his life. After hearing this disturbing news he calls his estranged daughter but it unable to reach her. As we delve further into his personal life we find that his marriage to Meredith Kane (Connie Nelson) is a sham, maintained only for appearances. Tom Kane has no one.

Politics

For reasons as yet unknown, Tom has turned on his political ally, Governor McCall Cullen, in favor of State Treasurer Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner). On the surface Zajac appears to be a family values, church going man who works in the interest of the people. However, we quickly learn that there are skeletons in his closet as he begins an affair with Kitty O’Neill (Kathleen Robertson), Tom’s political adviser.

City Business

When Native Art work is found in a construction site, a man named Moco takes it upon himself to report it to the local news. Unfortunately for him, this project has been in the works for 22 years and Mayor Tom Kane has been at the forefront for the expansion of the O’Hare International Airport. And now his plans are threatened by this act of show and tell. Tom calls a meeting with the Hispanic Council Member overseeing the project and delivers a devastating and terrifying speech chastising the man for this failure. The Councilor gets the message and vows to make amends. He does so by delivering the ears (yup actual human ears) of the man who spoke to the reporters. The Mayor attempts to deal with this issue by adding an amendment to a garbage bill that would give him sole authority over the archaeological artifacts. But he meets opposition and is unable to pass the bill.

Thoughts:

For those of you most familiar with Kelsey Grammar as Frasier, the lovable quirky therapist, you will be quickly relived of that sentiment as Tom Kane is a ruthless, corrupt and monstrous man whose sole aim is maintaining and augmenting his power. There is nothing likable about Tom Kane. Even his illness garners little sympathy as we see him abuse his position in ever self aggrandizing maneuvers. And yet we are left with the unassailable impression that Tom Kane is definitely an effective leader. And maybe even a good Mayor.

Farhad Safinia the creator of Boss and the writer of this episode strives to present a grittier, more realistic approach to politics by showing us the darker side of democracy. There are no good guys or even bad guys, just human beings each working to their own advantage. In the end this episode is highly entertaining and beckons the viewer to continue watching. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and go watch Boss, you won’t regret it.

Thinking Man Rating: 9/10

Thinking Man Reviews: Game of Thrones “Blackwater”

By Anthony Medina

**Be aware this review contains spoilers**

Season 2 Episode 9

“Blackwater”

“Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them.” – Tyrion Lannister

All season long fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones waited for a big flashy battle to satisfy an ever growing blood lust. Episode 9 entitled “Blackwater” finally delivers. But can a TV show budget really do justice to an epic battle? Can it meet our high and often unreasonable expectations?

Apparently the answer is an epic and wild fire fueled YES! This episode was an instant classic and delivered on just about every level. The scenery was beautiful, the effects were flawless, the characters were both depressing and inspirational, and most importantly the dialogue was immensely clever and memorable.

The Rundown:

We open on the naval fleet of Stannis Baratheon (Stephan Dillane) as they make their way across Blackwater Bay. In King’s Landing, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) makes the necessary preparations for the defense of the city. It’s clear however, that they will be vastly outnumbered and are likely to lose. Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), who will spend the majority of this episode drunk and bitter, makes her own preparations securing a vile of poison to ensure she is not taken alive. Lastly, we see Sansa Stark (Sophia Turner) who throws a few veiled insults at King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and goes to stay with the other high born ladies during the battle.

As the ships approach the two sides play music at each other (a great little scene) and Tyrion launches his first assault. Wildfire. The sea lights up with an enormous explosion of magical green fire. However, this only takes out the first wave and soon Stannis himself is leading the charge. What follows is a truly epic battle with all the blood and gore you could possibly want. Eventually, the Lannister forces are driven back and King Joffrey (the little bastard) runs away to his Keep. It’s now up to Tyrion to lead the remaining soldiers in a final stand against the invaders.

They charge out in full force but are unable to stop the horde of enemy soldiers. In the fighting Tyrion is injured (by one of his own men) and collapses to the ground. Just when it seems like all hope is lost. Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) rides in with House Tyrell at his side. They beat back the invading forces and Stannis is dragged away from the battle still screaming at his troops to stand and fight. Lannister’s win.

Thoughts:

This episode was AWESOME. But it’s not just the fight scenes that were amazing. Inside the castle, the increasingly drunk Cersei Lannister reveals quite a bit in her conversations with Sansa Stark. Cersei seems to reach out to Sansa but can’t help showing her bitterness and resentment. As much as people will talk about Tyrion in this episode, Cersei will not be far behind.

It’s important to note that “Blackwater” was written by George R. R. Martin, the genius author of the Ice and Fire novels which spawned this televised masterpiece. And anyone familiar with his work can see the clear Martinesque style wit present in the dialogue making the conversations and speeches even more memorable then all the flashy special effects.

I couldn’t possibly say enough good things about this episode and it instantly jumped up to be my personal favorite of the entire series. And if somehow you managed to not like this episode, then clearly you’re worse then Hitler, there I said it.

Thinking Man Rating: 10/10

Thinking Man Reviews: Supernatural Season Three Premiere

Another review of a recent CW series. Uh, 2007 is recent…if you’ve been in a coma since, say, 2008.

BY ANTHONY MEDINA

**This episode originally aired in October 2007. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be aware this review contains spoilers.**

 “Fatdrunk, and stupid is no way to go through lifeson.” Dean Vernon Bobby

The hunt is on as the Supernatural boys gear up to take on the hundreds of new demons released into the world in the Season Two Finale. And what better way to start a crusade of righteous fury then by taking on the demonic embodiment of the Seven Deadly Sins, or as the episode title not-so-cleverly suggests “The Magnificent Seven”.

We open on Sam (Jared Padalecki) reading some archaic version of Demons for Dummies, while Dean (Jensen Ackles) has some naughty-fun-times with a woman he proudly refers to as “The double mint twins”. It seems as though Dean has resigned himself to his inevitable fate having damned his soul to the underworld last season in return for saving Sam’s life. And with less then a year to go before the grim reaper comes to collect, he’s determined to have as much fun as possible. Which for Dean is a combination of random sex and demon slaughter.

They are contacted by Bobby (Jim Beaver), who says he has a lead on some possible demon activity. They head out to Lincoln Nebraska and run into Isaac and Tamara, a couple of fellow Ghostbusters investigating the same events. Sam suggests they work together but Isaac wants nothing to do with the men who allowed the gates of hell to open in the first place.

Sam, Dean and Bobby continue their investigation and discover that the Seven Deadly Sins are behind all the hoopla. For those of you who don’t know these sins include: Greed, Lust, Envy, Pride, Gluttony, Sloth and Wrath. Personally, I would include Michael Bay movies but I guess Sloth and Gluttony already have that covered.

They track the Seven to a local bar but soon realize Isaac and Tamara are already there. Unfortunately, these Demon slayers came underprepared and are quickly overpowered. Our heroes race to the rescue but are unable to save Isaac who is already dead. They save Tamara and manage to capture one of the demons before retreating.

Back at HQ they use the Devil’s Trap to isolate the demon, Envy, and bring on the Vatican water torture. They don’t really get any useful information so Tamara performs an exorcism to kill him off. Unfortunately for them, the Seven are the Marines of the underworld and never leave a man behind. Pride, Lust, and two other demons attack the Supernatural crew and things get ugly. Fortunately, they are saved by a mysterious blonde woman who jumps into the fight to help them. The demons are killed and the blonde woman disappears with no explanation for her sudden appearance. Well gang, looks like we have another mystery on our hands.

It was a solid opening for the third season of Supernatural, but probably the weakest season opener so far. I would have liked a bit more insight into the motivations behind the Seven but with two of them still out there maybe we’ll find out later in the season.

Thinking Man Rating: 7/10

Thinking Man Reviews: Nikita Season Two Finale

BY ANTHONY MEDINA

**This episode originally aired in May 2012. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be aware this review contains spoilers.**

“Power Mr. President. Real power.” – Percy

It was another fast paced and action packed finale for the CW’s Nikita, as her war against Division finally comes to an end and she is forced back into the life she abandoned long ago.

That’s right. Nikita (Maggie Q.) has finally defeated the wonderfully evil Percy Rose (Xander Berkeley) in the season two finale “Homecoming”. But rather than destroy the organization she hates, Nikita and the gang must take control of Division and reform its practices in order to save the lives of the Division agents led astray by both Percy and Amanda.

But how is it that Nikita came to such a precarious position?

(EDITED BY munchman TO ADD: Ooh! Ooh! I know the answer to that question. Because somebody at the CW saw the last season of ANGEL, where he takes over the Demon Law Firm that’s been the enemy for years and said, “Hey, I have a bright, fresh and new idea! What if we–” Nevermind. Sorry to interrupt.)

Well, it all started when Dr. Evil Percy called up the President and told him he had sharks satellites with freaking lasers pointed their way under his control, which he proved by blowing up a power plant. After that the Nikita crew mobilized to disarm the satellite and take it out of Percy’s hands. Nikita and Michael (Shane West) achieved this by infiltrating Division and not-so-subtly blowing up a big computer.

Problem solved. But, hey, this is Percy we’re talking about, ain’t no way he’s going down that easy. Percy calls the President again and reveals that it was all a fake out. He had convinced the President of the United States that he was shooting laser beams from outer space when all he really did was plant a bomb in the power plant. Oh Percy, you so crazy.

He also tells the president that his top man (Roan) will set off another big bang unless Percy gets immunity and a nice retirement package. Little do they know that Percy had been given membership in an international shadow organization (the Evil League of Evil I assume) that will take him to the next level of… evilness?

Meanwhile, Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) and Shawn (Dillon Casey) were having trouble tracking down Roan (Rob Stewart). Inside Division Nikita was forced to protect Percy and get him out safely so he could call off the attack.

It seemed as though everything was coming up Percy. But just as they made their way to the surface, his pride and ego refused to cooperate and he turned on Nikita beating her down and threatening to kill her. Unfortunately for him, the only reason any of us are alive is because Nikita allows it. And as you might expect, she quickly turned the tables and caused him to fall to his death.

Fortunately, Alex and Shawn managed to find Roan before the bomb was set and gave him a nice one-two punch to save the day. Crisis averted. Nikita wins. Huzzah!

With Percy down and Division disarmed, the government considered killing the remaining Division agents but Nikita and company decide to take control of it themselves and hopefully return it to the principles for which it was originally created.  And with that it’s all over. Except one thing, Amanda is still out there and in the final scene we discover she has a deciphered blackbox. Season three here we come!

Season Two 

Thinking Man Rating: 15 Thumbs Up

Season Two Finale

Thinking Man Rating: 14 Thumbs Up

**Be aware the Thinking Man rating system is based on awesomeness and should be disregarded if you are not now, or have never been, awesome.**

Supernatural Season Two Finale – Recap and Review

BY ANTHONY MEDINA

**This episode originally aired in May 2007. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be aware this review contains spoilers.**

 “I couldn’t have done it without your pathetic, self loathing, self destructive desire to sacrifice yourself for your family.” – Azazel

After two seasons of chasing down the Yellow Eyed Demon, our ghost hunting heroes get a final showdown with their arch nemesis Azazel and all hell breaks loose, literally.

But before Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) can unleash their righteous vengeance, they have to deal with the small issue of Sam being dead. In the first half of the two part finale “All Hell Breaks Loose”, Sam is killed by a rival psychic in a demon sponsored battle to the death. With Sam down, his opponent Jake Tally (Aldis Hodge) is named the winner and is recruited to help Azazel find and open the gate to hell.

Dean is inconsolable and refuses to accept his brother’s death. Luckily for him, in the world of Supernatural being dead is only a minor inconvenience. Nothing a little deal with the devil can’t fix. Dean summons an old demon pal and offers his life for Sam’s. The demon agrees and gives him one year before coming to collect. And with that Sam is back in the game.

The two track down Azazel’s man Jake to an old cemetery where the gate to Hell is opened and the demons of the underworld rise up in all their smoky glory. The ghostbuster crew kill Jake and try to close the door but Azazel shows up and opens a can of whoop ass on Sam and Dean. But just as he is about to finish the job, our old friend John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) spirits his way out of hell and wrastles Azazel down to the ground. Dean grabs the Colt and kills the Yellow Eyed Demon bringing a close to the biggest story arc of the series so far. John gives the boys a nice nod of approval and wisps off to spy on women changing or whatever it is spirits do. And season three is set up nice and proper with an army of demons on the loose and a ghost fighting duo ready to take them on.

So what can I say about Supernatural. This was a good episode, but I keep running into the same problem with this show. The overall story arcs are fairly interesting, and there are strong episodes to be found. But so much of this show is ghost of the week filler. Not necessarily bad, but very “meh” which is sometimes worse. Perhaps season three will pick things up a bit. After all there is a demon army out there and a ticking clock on Dean’s soul. Let’s hope they take advantage.

Season 2

Thinking Man Rating: 8 Thumbs Up

Season 2 Finale

Thinking Man Rating: 13 Thumbs Up

**Be aware the Thinking Man rating system is based on awesomeness and should be disregarded if you are not now, or have never been, awesome.**