Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Celebuzz 'Supernatural' Recap: Benny's 'Vampirate' Past Comes Back To Haunt Him...

Just last week Supernatural put its guest stars at the center of the story, and we criticized the show for it. So it may surprise you that using the same strategy, tonight’s “Blood Brother” actually re-energized our enthusiasm for this eighth season.


Benny (Ty Olsson) may be new, but if he’s going to stick around for any length of time we need to understand where he’s coming from and where he wants to go in order to care about his plight and be invested in how his presence throws a wrench into the Winchesters’ plans.

So kudos are certainly owed to the writer of this episode, Ben Edlund, and the director, Guy Norman Bee, for giving us that and more.



From LA Examiner: USA Announces 3 Returns; Byron Mann Talks 'Arrow'; Felicia Day Returns to 'Supernatural'; 'Wilfred' Renewed...


"USA announces Jan 2013 returns for Suits, White Collar, Necessary Roughness"

 
USA announced today the return dates for three fan favorite series: Suits, White Collar, and Necessary Roughness.... [MORE]




"Byron Mann talks Arrow island experience & training Oliver Queen"

We’re going to come right out and say it: we have a (not so?) crazy feeling about the character of Yao Fei (Byron Mann) on The CW’s Arrow. The guy shot Oliver (Stephen Amell) with a poisoned arrow his first day on the island but immediately turned around and saved his life…twice. We don’t think he was doing that just to use him as a human shield later. In fact, we know that Yao Fei continues to train Oliver, and it certainly appears that Oliver adopts not only his fighting technique but also his overlook look once he returns to Starling City to be a vigilante and take down the corrupt. So what if his entire motivation was to pay homage to, and get justice for, not only his own father but this surrogate who kind of adopted him on the island and perhaps did not survive to be rescued the way Oliver himself was? ... [MORE]


"Felicia Day to return to Supernatural"

 
It's official; another fan favorite is returning to Supernatural season eight! Felicia Day (who played hacker extraordinaire Charlie who helped the boys take on Dick Roman for an episode just last season) Tweeted this morning... [MORE]



"FX renews Wilfred for a third season"


 
FX announced today that they have picked up a third season for their acclaimed comedy Wilfred... [MORE]

Celebuzz 'Supernatural' Preview: "Blood Brother"...

The center of Supernatural—and in every fan’s heart—has always been two brothers who drive the open road, “saving people, hunting things,” but occasionally characters have come in to shake up the dynamic, or even come between Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki).


In season eight, one such character introduced was Benny (Ty Olsson), a vampire Dean met while down in Purgatory, who fought alongside the Winchester brother and earned his trust so much that Dean pulled him out of Purgatory once he returned topside. The two went their separate ways but in the next all-new episode “Blood Brother” they reunite when Benny finds himself in trouble and Dean rushes to his side.

On paper it may seem like Dean is choosing his makeshift brother over his biological one, but don’t worry Supernatural fans, Olsson assured me that Benny is not out to rip apart the Winchester bond in any way; his focus is on finding a way to survive in a world he no longer understands.



Nobody Puts Jensen Ackles in a Corner...

I can't stand the adorableness. Jensen Ackles refuses to be upstaged by a crying baby-- even if that crying baby is co-star Jared Padalecki's. 

In this fan-shot video from Creation Entertainment's 2012 Salute to Supernatural Chicago Convention, Ackles takes a moment to try to relate to the baby.

 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

From LA Examiner: 'Raising Hope' Halloween Photos; David Ramsey Talks 'Arrow'; 'Community' Officially a Mid-Season Premiere; NBC Shuffles Mid-Season Schedule; 'The Vampire Diaries' Photos...



Burt Chance (Garret Dillahunt) may have spent many a past Halloween scaring his son so he would feel needed—and get a big hug—but Jimmy (Lucas Neff) isn’t continuing the tradition with his own daughter (Baylie and Rylie Cregut). Still, Hope manages to show off her impressive lungs when she’s crying over a lost security blanket of sorts in Raising Hope’s Halloween episode, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Me What To Do.” Is she a Scream Queen in the making? ... [MORE


"David Ramsey previews Diggle & Arrow's new partnership"

Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) took a major risk in Arrow when he chose to bring Diggle (David Ramsey) into his secret hideaway to save him from one of Deadshot's poisoned bullets. He could have saved Diggle and dropped him off on the street somewhere, but instead, he sat with and watched over his friend to ensure a proper recovery. And that resulted in Diggle learning Oliver's secret, which now puts Diggle in the precarious position of what to do with the knowledge... [MORE]



 
It appears our speculation has been proven true this morning. Community will be taking 30 Rock's time slot when the series comes to an end in early 2013. In fact, Community's fourth season premiere date was announced to be February 7th 2013... [MORE]



"NBC's complete mid-season 2013 schedule to include Community, Smash, more"


NBC announced today their plans for mid-season 2013, which includes the highly anticipated returns of fan favorites Community and Smash (among others), as well as some new debuts... [MORE




"The Vampire Diaries photos from "We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes"

Admittedly, we don't know *much* about the upcoming episode of The Vampire Diaries, "We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes", other than that it seems to pay great homage for creator Kevin Williamson in the title. But that's okay, because today The CW released a few images from the episode, sure to give a little more information-- and certainly raise expectations... [MORE]
 

'Awkward’s' Nikki DeLoach Opens Up About Growing Up 'Mickey Mouse Club'...

In 1993, The All-New Mickey Mouse Club introduced young audiences all over the world to fresh-faced talent that would go on to have decades-long careers on both screen and stage. For many it was the culmination of a childhood dream of performing in more than just local talent shows or pageants, but for Nikki DeLoach, growing up in small town Georgia, it was also the big break she needed to prove to her parents she knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.


“I was actually in L.A. for a talent competition when I was 11, and the agents that were out there scouting talent said ‘You should pick up and move to L.A.’ And my parents were like ‘That’s not going to happen!’” DeLoach laughed when I sat down with her in Los Angeles now.

“And they were like ‘Well, then you should really look out for a lot of the stuff that they are casting for Disney down in Orlando. They mentioned that they are going to be looking for new Mouseketeers for the show Mickey Mouse Club.’ So, I went home and immediately started watching it—like was obsessed with it. Sat in the living room with my mom and my dad—I was sitting directly in front of the TV—and turned around and look at them, and I was like ‘I’m going to be on this show. I’m going to be on this show!’ And they were like ‘Yeah, okay, sure you are!’”

But DeLoach was cast and appeared in countless sketches and songs alongside co-stars like Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, and Britney Spears in her two-year run on the series...


 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Is Hurricane Sandy Even A Thing?...

It says a lot about the times we live in that we can't trust the news we get from our computers-- or our televisions.

I feel terrible saying things like I wish I was in the path of the hurricane right now, not simply to have an excuse for not working but to prove the flooding is even as severe as everyone is claiming, but well, those are the times we're living in. Sure, I trust my friends not to exaggerate for effect, but the average person? If the photos coming out of Sandy are any indication, the average person is looking to have a little fun by creating a "Panic! PANIC!" scenario. And with today's technology, that is easier than ever.

See, in order to keep the 24-hour news coverage on Hurricane Sandy going, networks and outlets from The Weather Channel to CNN to local affiliates rely upon images taken "from the streets" of the affected area. Without a team on the ground at any given location individually, it becomes nearly impossible to actually fact check the validity of these images, and so you will find a lot of (amazingly well-done) photoshopped ones floating around the internet, that then end up on television newscasts. The intention of the creator of the photo may not have been to dupe the nation, but by appropriating it on a national platform, that ends up exactly what happens.







Looking at some of the most jaw-dropping photos I have seen this afternoon and evening, I hate myself for judging their realness, but I'd feel like a fool to take them at face value when any ten year old with a MacBook can manipulate images better than this. Everything from the color of the sky to the size of the waves can be altered for effect. And in many cases have proven to be so today. Why do you have to prove my cynical ass right, internet?

Yes, it says a lot about the times we live in...and why I hate them.


(for the record, photos 2, amazingly 3, and 6 have not yet been proven fake) 
 

From LA Examiner: Georgina Haig Says Good-Bye to 'Fringe'; Chris Gorham Directs 'Covert Affairs'; 'Up All Night' Going Multi-Cam; Kim Shaw Previews WIGS' 'Audrey'; Tess Rafferty Talks About Her New Food Memoir; 'Scandal' and 'The Neighbors' Full Seasons...



When LA TV Insider Examiner was up in Vancouver last month to visit the set of Fringe in its fifth and final season, John Noble let it slip that the cast and characters had to deal with the “death” of Etta (Georgina Haig). We rationalized the choice of words in our mind that her being missing for so many years must have felt like a death, but really, we feared the worst: that it was actually a spoiler for the character we had barely gotten to know but already loved’s fate... [MORE]


"Behind-the-scenes with Christopher Gorham directing Covert Affairs"


Christopher Gorham is slipping on his director's hat once again for the next all-new episode of his hit USA series Covert Affairs and today we have some fun behind-the-scenes shots of him taking the lead to get you even more excited for the episode! ... [MORE]



"More Up All Night coming to NBC but as a multi-camera sitcom!?"

NBC really loves Lorne Michaels. Though his half-hour family comedy, Up All Night, has been consistently under-performing, even with a time slot move for its second season and an overhaul of cast and storylines, the network just isn't giving up on the little show that could... [MORE]




"Kim Shaw on WIGS' unlucky-in-love-and-life food blogger Audrey"

The biggest TV heads absolutely know Kim Shaw from her turn as Amber Madison on The Good Wife, her stint on I Just Want My Pants Back on MTV, or even her memorable guest appearances on White Collar, Royal Pains, or most recently, How I Met Your Mother. But the fresh-faced Canadian actress is now co-starring in a WIGS original series, entitled Audrey... [MORE]


"Tess Rafferty talks food, wine & entertaining in new memoir + what to pair with it?"

As a stand-up comedienne and staff writer on The Soup, Tess Rafferty certainly knows humor and pop culture, but with her new memoir, “Recipes for Disaster”, she is out to show her fans and the general public a side to herself typically reserved for her friends, family, and co-workers... [MORE



"ABC orders the back nine for Scandal & The Neighbors"

 

ABC has announced today that full seasons of returning favorite Scandal and new comedy The Neighbors are coming... [MORE]

Celebuzz 'Revenge' Recap: Aiden Makes a Power Move & Amanda Goes Rogue...

When a show entitled Revenge delivers an episode entitled “Forgiveness” that is any episode but the series finale, you just know that the actual act of forgiving can’t truly be carried out to fruition.


Armed with the new memory that her mother tried to kill her, Emily (Emily VanCamp) set off for the hospital first thing when she learned Amanda (Margarita Levieva) was awake. After all, Mommy Dearest hadn’t yet tried to smother her with a pillow, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t planning something.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

'Homeland': A Master Class Indeed...

When you look at today's television, across networks, genres, time periods, one thing is pretty consistent: individual scenes are a page and a half at best. For some series, there is a seeming rule to never stray past a page. There seems to be a general consensus among the people who make television that modern audiences don't have attention spans; that the pace of story-telling has to be brisk in order to be compelling. Sometimes this is actually at the detriment of the writing, and it is still unclear what came first: the network notes to keep things short and sweet or the writer's own trend of wanting to get in and get out of a scene in order to "show" rather than "tell". As a pop culture consumer, I have been most fascinated by the interaction and dialogue between characters, and you can lose a lot of the intricacies of personality and relationship when you cut them off. It's probably one of the reasons I loved soap operas in the '90s; you could linger with those characters, and even when they were delivering exposition, they were drawing you into their world with their words. Tonight's Homeland, aptly titled "Q&A", thrillingly proved you can still do long, compelling scenes on television. I defy any of you to tell me you were not completely riveted by Carrie's (Claire Danes) interrogation of Brody (Damian Lewis).


What has always made Homeland so smart and psychological to me was the cat and mouse game played between Carrie and Brody in the first place. After the first season ended with them physically separated and her unable to remember some key moments of her recent encounters with his "case," it seemed like the show was getting away from that theme, but then along game "Q&A" and slammed us right back into what we loved but thought we lost. 

Sitting across the table in that interrogation room, there was no doubt in my mind that Brody had planned out what he would say-- just how much he was willing to confess to. He is a smart guy, and he had been taken prisoner before; he had to have a plan for if it should happen again, just in different circumstances and this time from the other side. I'm sure he was truly blindsided by how soon it happened and by whom, but still. And there was no doubt in my mind that Carrie sliding across the table, cutting the cameras to boot, changed that plan, even just a little. He has been a man torn ever since he got back and started re-integrating into his family life and the American way. But her presence complicated things even more because under different circumstances she would have been someone he could have confessed everything to; she would have been someone to understand, squeeze his hands, and maybe even stand on that side with him. 

Watching him struggle to share only enough, and watching her struggle with whether or not there was more she needed to dig out while she just wanted to embrace him was amazing. It was a master class in acting and just another reason Danes and Lewis deserve all the Emmys while this show is still on air, in contention for all the Emmys. But it was a master class in writing and production, too, and why the show deserves many more awards than just for performances. 

A 15 minute scene. When all was said and done, we spent 15 heart-pounding, breath-holding, pulse-racing moments cutting back and forth between two people having a conversation (and the occasional shot of them on monitors as Saul (Mandy Patinkin) watched them having said conversation, which admittedly I could have done without because letting you out of the room let you breathe just a little bit, and the full effect really came when you felt trapped with them in their tight close-ups). It was tense and scary and exhilarating, and I wanted to scream at both of them, for different things. 

(Now, I'm well aware commercial interruptions on broadcast television mean a fifteen minute scene would absolutely get cut up, interrupted by ads. I'm not trying to imply every show should do a fifteen minute scene, specifically, either. But what I love is the idea that this can inspire other shows to being willing to expand past a page and to cut back and forth less and just let us sit with one thing at a time. You know, old-school, pre-MTV fast-cutting f*cking every future generation up).

Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa never let you get comfortable in this scene. Aside from the words that had the audience squirming-- from Brody refusing to admit he had strapped on a bomb to Carrie admitting she wanted him to leave his family for her-- it never even gave you a traditional two-shot. Instead, it put you in either characters P.O.V. at any given moment so you could feel what he or she was feeling before it snapped you out of it just as abruptly to show you the other side. You could forget all you knew that either character didn't; you were no longer the omnipotent, if not fully objective, third party observing their scenes. You were in the trenches with them; you were them.

Most importantly, though, it was the kind of scene I didn't think you could do anymore-- on television or otherwise. It was almost taboo. Maybe that added to the level of excitement because at around nine minutes I realized how long the scene was running and just wanted to see how much longer they could go. I would have been fine if the entire hour had been Carrie and Brody in a room, manipulating each other with mind games. That is the heart of the show; that is the core conflict.

Let's be honest, the majority of the audience was waiting for a real Carrie/Brody face-to-face since he turned her into Estes (David Harewood) last season. So this scene certainly had a lot riding on it. The fact that Homeland gave it such attention and care was not surprising. But the willingness the show was to take the risk that was letting it play out in one chunk-- letting it speak for itself-- made it so much more powerful. Tonight Homeland proved that when done smartly, a long discussion scene between two rich, engaging characters is much more exciting than any car chase or explosion or loud, screechy noise followed by a shock value amount of blood or gore.

The risk seems like nothing compared to the reward.
 

Celebuzz 'Revenge' Preview: "Forgiveness"...

On a typical soap opera, a character who slipped into a “coma-like state” would linger unconscious for months on end, as new drama flared at their bedside. A character back from the dead would equally start wreaking havoc the minute he or she returned, sauntering in triumphantly, sending all those who wronged him or her in the past scattering and shaking.

 
But ABC’s Revenge is hardly a typical soap opera.



 

Friday, October 26, 2012

From LA Examiner: Connie Britton Performs on 'Nashville'; Joshua Jackson Talks 'Fringe'; 'Parks and Rec' Wedding Plans; '666 Park Avenue' Halloween Spoilers + Photos; 'Malibu Country' Advance Review...


"PHOTO PREVIEW: Connie Britton takes the stage on Nashville"

The social media buzz surrounding Nashville's Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon's (Charles Esten) Bluebird Cafe duet was so great last week, we like to think it was responsible for ABC releasing the single on iTunes after all. But if you think things heated up then, you may not be able to handle the "We Live in Two Different Worlds!" ... [MORE]



"Joshua Jackson talks major Fringe reveals, callbacks, & challenges in season 5"

Get ready, Fringe-heads, because the fifth and final season is chock-full of little tidbits just for you. Just because the Fringe team find themselves in a new world and time in 2036 doesn’t mean they have lost the very elements about their characters and their stories that endeared them so to their fans in the first place... [MORE]



"Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, & Mike Schur on the Parks and Recreation proposal"

It isn't common for a special Halloween episode of anything to make a viewer, let alone a reviewer, tear up, but Parks and Recreation has as much heart as it has humor, and it literally knows how to surprise you. Thanks to Ben Wyatt's (Adam Scott) "Halloween Surprise" proposal, October 31st has a whole new kind of romantic meaning... [MORE]



"666 Park Avenue scares up Drake secrets for Halloween"

The first few episodes of 666 Park Avenue have been focused on introducing the colorful characters of the infamous Manhattan luxury high-rise and just how entangled each may be with mysterious Gavin (Terry O’Quinn). But as little pieces of the relationship dynamics unfolded, so came the questions about just what Gavin—or the Drake in general—had to gain by making deals with the residents to fulfill their desires. In a very special Halloween-themed (appropriate, no?) episode entitled “A Crowd of Demons,” though, we finally get some answers... [MORE]


"Fall 2012 TV Preview: ABC’s Malibu Country"

We won’t lie to you: back when Reba McEntire had a self-titled sitcom about a woman whose husband cheated on her, raising her teenage kids, and not getting along with an over-the-top younger counterpart, we thoroughly enjoyed watching the weekly, situational antics. It seemed a throwback to simpler times in sitcoms, and it provided wholesome family fun while still keeping a modern edge. But we just can’t say the same positive things about McEntire’s new sitcom about a woman whose husband cheated on her, raising her teenage kids, and not getting along with an over-the-top younger counterpart. Malibu Country may be a tale told years later and in a brand new setting, but its premise and humor is pretty much identical to what we saw McEntire do in Reba. And we refuse to settle for a lesser copycat when we can just watch reruns of the original... [MORE

From LA Examiner: Photo Previews for 'The Carrie Diaries', 'Happy Endings', 'Supernatural', and 'Arrow'...


It feels weird to call The Carrie Diaries a period piece considering it takes place "only" as far back as the 1980s, but that may just be dating LA TV Insider Examiner. The truth is, for the majority of The CW's audience, that seems like a magical period in the past, which they have to thank for such trends as the side pony, neon, leggings, and yes, leg warmers... [MORE





Max (Adam Pally) may have had his moment in the spotlight in the second season finale of Happy Endings when he got up on stage at a friend's wedding and performed with his all-male Madonna cover band, but if you know anything about Max, you know he's not going to be content to just sit on the sidelines at other major functions. That's why in the third season of Happy Endings he gets a job as a Bar Mitzvah hype man... [MORE] 



"First Look Photos: Castiel out of Purgatory, Amanda Tapping on Supernatural"

Misha Collins already told us what life will be like when Castiel returns from Purgatory on Supernatural, but now you can see for yourself what it is like. The CW has released first look images today, not only of Castiel back topside but also of special guest star Amanda Tapping in the episode, among other things.... [MORE] 




 "First Look Photos: Arrow trains with Diggle & meets the Royal Flush Gang"

Arrow executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg had told the press that we should expect many more DC characters (namely villains) to pop up in the first season episodes, and in episode six we get a big one in the Royal Flush Gang.... [MORE]
 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The CW To Target Their Talent & Demo with CWD Originals...

While too many networks still only reluctantly share their content online, The CW is actively using such a not-so-alternative-anymore platform to develop new originals as a way of expanding their brand and really zooming in on their target demographic. Not only does The CW understand that the majority of their young audience does not consume media through the traditional television platform anyway, but they also see opportunity to create new partnerships with talent above and beyond what their still limited broadcast options can accommodate. The CW as a network still does not program the ten o’clock hour, nor have they expanded their scripted series slate to include comedy or animation. Their new CW Digital (CWD) is out to adjust that, though.


“What we’re trying to do with the CWD brand is fill in those areas we know we can’t do on broadcast but we know the fans want to see,” Rick Haskins, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Digital Programs at The CW explained.

“I think there are some things that just work better on a digital platform, but some would work well on both. We can do a concept on digital and then [later] roll it out on TV. We really do have to look at that on a case-by-case basis, but nothing would make me happier than to pilot something on digital and have it transform into one of our broadcast shows.

If I had to put a bulls-eye on our target audience, it’s Adults aged 24. From there, there’s a ripple effect above that age and below that age that we’ll capture, but that’s really the age we’re looking for.”

If successful, CWD would hardly be the first to attempt to take a web original and put it, in longer-form, on television. ABC attempted it in mid-season 2009, adapting the Suave and Sprint sponsored In The Motherhood to a half-hour comedy series. It was full of star power, and yet it only ran from March until June. Adult Swim, however, has had much greater success with Childrens Hospital, a high concept parody of medical dramas from Warner Brothers. They altered the format from six or seven minute webisodes to fifteen minute episodes aired on the cable network.  
 
CWD has already rolled out the acquisition of Prom Queen, an original online series about murder at a high school prom from Michael Eisner’s Vuguru. The series was an important get for CWD because of the “built-in equity with that franchise,” per Haskins.

“For right now we have only acquired what is on our site. Prom Queen: Homecoming has twenty-two episodes, and they are new, and we are excited to see if they find a home on CWTV.com,” he said.

Haskins is also excited to collaborate with CelebTV to create an original lifestyle and interview series based around the talent of The CW. Calling it “ The CW’s insider, like Access Hollywood or Entertainment Tonight,” Haskins is sure the series will have cache among the fans of shows like The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, and 90210, who want to know as much about their favorite stars as they can learn. The CW stars don’t pop up often on major network talk shows, but this will give the fans an opportunity to see them talk about everything from their shows to their charity work and fashion sense. 

CWD is already shaping up to be extremely well-rounded with a genre series, a reality one, a comedy (Stupid Hype starring Hart of Dixie’s Wilson Bethel, debuting in November 2012), an animated series (working title Gallery Girl), which “focuses on the day-to-day life of an overly educated, bitterly underemployed twenty-something who works at an art gallery,” and a “name-your-own-adventure concept that The CW announced at upfronts and Haskins promised was still “in active development.” 

In order to integrate the programming among platforms as best as possible, CWD is focused on social media—and key cross-overs.

“In our animated series, the patrons who come into the art gallery, many of them are animated characters from The CW shows,” Haskins provided us with an example of the plan to draw in the already existing CW audience to CWD originals. 

“For instance, Kat Graham from The Vampire Diaries will come in; Misha Collins will come in; Justin Hartley will come in. What we’re trying to do is [merge] that content online and on-air and have that equity of our current shows drive awareness and viewership of our new digital series.”

CWD isn’t stopping there, though. Haskins admitted he is very much interested in more and differing genres and is open to collaborating with other CW talent and complete outsiders to give them the most unique slate possible. 

“We definitely will be exploring opportunities to connect our original shows on TV with our originals on digital, and I think that we’re really casting a very wide net to see what will work and to see what will be [most] successful,” he said.

“[We] also take cold calls—about ten meetings a week of people who come in with shows, and I will tell you, they come from all varieties: fashion, music, personality-driven, and it’s fun to listen to them all. You know within the first few minutes whether something is going to work for you or not, but I know in my mind what I want to do, but sometimes people will come in with something I haven’t thought of that I think ‘Okay, that’s absolutely perfect for us’.”

And while Haskins pointed out that there is nothing officially “on the plate” when it comes to web series spun from already existing CW series, he wouldn’t rule it out forever. 

“I think some web series in the past have not been as successful as they could be because the characters that they are portraying are really just C or D characters, and therefore I don’t know how breakthrough that’s going to be. I think in order to do a web series, you really have to be about a part of the story that’s going to be on-air as well,” he offered.

What kinds of programming are you most excited to see on CWD? And do any of their already-announced originals sound like shows you’d want to see turned into full series on television, as well? Let us know your thoughts in comments below.


My Five Cents: The Bloody Mess of 'Supernatural's' "Bitten"...

So here's the thing...I recap Supernatural for Celebuzz now, but I am limited by format and word count over there, and I often find myself with extra thoughts about the episodes that I try to express on Twitter but often get taken out of context or simply misinterpreted because I am much worse limited over there.



Anyway, here's the thing: I truly didn't hate "Bitten", but I felt like it was a back-door pilot for some other new genre show, rather that an episode in the eighth season of a show I have come to know and love so well. Now, I applaud that they wanted to do something different and take a risk-- and I am impressed by the fact that after eight years they found something that actually was different and risky-- but I think about stand alone episodes, and I have specific criteria for them. 

If stand alone episodes have absolutely no point in furthering the overall season arc or mythology, they theoretically could be picked up and moved at any point in the season, and it wouldn't matter. They don't inform anything, and nothing is changed by them. In a nutshell, that is kind of my problem with stand alone episodes in general: I pretty much always consider them filler and could skip them and not feel too badly about it. That's just me. With "Bitten", though, I realized that if this particular stand alone had actually come at the end of the season, I would have been pissed.

It has nothing to do with the fact that the guest stars were the central characters in the episode. I actually quite enjoyed the different perspective in that way. The character dynamics set up with these strangers were unique and dynamic enough to draw me in. The "found footage" aspect certainly winked at the crappy horror movies being released a dime a dozen today, and having one of those characters actually want to capitalize and simply get his fifteen minutes helped make it more plausible that all of these random things would be caught on camera. Personally, I thought all of that was well-executed, especially when you started to see the parallels between Mike and Brian and Sam and Dean, but I don't think it fit easily into the world Supernatural worked so hard to create. If anything, it felt like another, lesser show that was trying to capitalize on Supernatural's fandom by inviting those characters to cross-over into it. If I just shut off my brain and went along for the ride with "Bitten", it was a fun, very well shot episode. 

But I don't like television that wants me to shut off my brain, and I never felt Supernatural was that. Again, it didn't feel like something Supernatural would do, and by the end of the episode, when two of three were dead, and the third, in  my opinion, should have been hunted down and made dead, I had this feeling of "Why should I care about the perspective at all?" In the truest sense of the word, that perspective did not matter because these people weren't around to let their experiences resonate with them and potentially alter their behavior.

Yes, yes, I know Kate walked away from the situation vowing to never kill anything human, and words are nice, but actions will speak louder. I have this feeling we will never physically see Kate again, and I think that would be a mistake. In order for this episode to have impact at all, she has to pop back up-- whether its because she slips up and Sam and Dean have to make good and hunt her down (like he told Amy's son he would come for him, by the way), or if they just happen to stumble on her and it's an "I'll be damned" moment of her actually living an "apple pie life" with a terrible thing inside of her. 

To say I'm rooting for the former would be an understatement. Admittedly, I think it was absolutely ridiculous for Sam and Dean to let her life, but for the fact that it was the end of the episode, and the writers had to wrap it up because next week would be onto something bigger, better, and actually mythology driven. 

Sam and Dean have been down this road before. They have made the same exact choice before. There was no need to see them repeat themselves unnecessarily. That was my biggest problem with this episode by far: it felt like filler for filler's sake, and it felt sloppy at that. For one thing, the entire episode was based around the fact that this girl left behind a laptop, with a carefully edited video that I don't know how she even had the time to finish, by the way, to explain what she and her friends did to each other. She could have just took off with the footage. Or burned it. But she didn't. If that was supposed to be some kind of grand statement that she was remorseful-- that she wasn't a sociopath who would get drunk on her new strength and power like her pal Brian-- it got a little lost in the fact that it was basically a final act, procedural trope expository reveal. Neither Sam nor Dean made that point when they decided to let her go anyway, so for an audience member to have to read it between the lines means the audience member is grasping at something to make the whole scenario logical.

That's also something typical procedurals do: wrap up everything neatly at the end with a "confession." Please, so many people (Kate included) would get away with their crimes if they just keep their mouths shut. And one of the reasons I always liked Supernatural was because it was smarter than that. These guys never proclaimed to be the best hunters, but through their actions and ability to ascertain what the things were they were fighting and how to stop them every time, the show made the case that they were the best, special, the chosen ones. There's nothing special about being handed the answers. It's hard to feel good about that-- as a cop, a hunter, or a viewer.

Furthermore, Dean came back from Purgatory such a hardened soldier, it seems that much more likely he would let this stranger go without a second thought. It would have made much more sense if he had gotten a call from Benny at that point and got distracted or felt pulled to his new brother or even knew for sure the guy was in trouble and wanted to choose him over hunting down this new thing. That would have been complex, emotional, and set up an internal tug-of-war for the guy. But that didn't happen.

Even in stand alone episodes, Sam and Dean's actions, interactions, or overall relationship evolve. The decisions they make have repercussions on them later, even if just with the way they look at each other because of said decisions. If anything, Kate's purpose seemed solely to cushion the blow for when Sam learns that Dean not only let Benny live but was responsible for bringing him back in general (Benny earned Dean's trust and loyalty, though, and therefore deserves the courtesy; Kate did not). But we didn't need a whole episode of nonsense first. After all, Dean and Sam were in surprise agreement about Kate here, so it didn't even serve to drive the point home that they have changed after a year apart.