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Resistance is...not futile?: The Falling Skies Season Finale

Maggie and AnneAlthough I was fairly hard on Falling Skies in my initial look at the series, I have been enjoying watching it this summer.  The story arc about Ben and his post-harness changes has been an interesting one, and the evolution of Pope from a bad guy to a bad guy with (maybe) a heart of gold has been intriguing as well.  The two-episode arc where the children are taken to a safe place that ends up being, well, not at all safe ("Sanctuary," parts 1 and 2) was particularly provocative, as it introduced another shade of gray into the "humans good, aliens bad" dichotomy.  I have also been pleasantly surprised that a number of episodes have passed the Bechdel test--my favorite one being "Sanctuary (part 1)" in which Maggie teaches Anne how to shoot a gun.  And perhaps most importantly, the characters have made strategy choices in their fight against the aliens that make me think that they are perhaps not completely without common sense after all.

So, coming into the two-hour season finale, I had a number of expectations [spoilers after the jump]:

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X-Men in Real Life

AlphasAt some point, I think, we have all dreamed about what we would want our superpower to be.  I always ruled out mind reading because I figured it would cause more problems than anything (who really wants to know what everyone thinks of them?), and perhaps I'm too much of a goody-two-shoes to be drawn to invisibility.  But flying (with big wings, please) always held a very strong appeal, and after spending much of the last year driving all over creation, I think I'd probably have to go with teleportation.  Sitting in traffic in Chicago is something that I would really love to be able to avoid.

But these are the types of superpowers that people in capes or skin-tight suits have.  People like Magneto, Rogue, Cyclops, and Storm.  People who are played in movies by actors who are extraordinarily attractive and make more in one movie than I will make in my entire life.  People who are--let's face it--not you or me. 

But what if someone made a show about people like you and me who did have superpowers?

Alphas is that show.

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Stupid is as stupid does...

Falling Skies...and for a bunch of allegedly smart people, the folks in Fallings Skies are pretty stupid.  This new TV series on TNT takes place six months after an alien invasion, and it focuses on a group of resistance fighters from Boston who call themselves the Second Massachusetts.  Like the movie District 9, Falling Skies glosses over the details of the first contact with the aliens and instead tells the story of what happens after the initial meeting--in this case, a meeting that nearly wiped out the human race.  I found this set-up really thought-provoking in District 9, and I think it has a lot of potential here, too.  It also makes me wonder: is this show just following District 9's lead, or does this mark some sort of larger trend to focus on the aftermath, rather than the alien invasion itself?  Furthermore, does this reflect something particular about our own society?

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Like a circle in a circle, like a wheel within a wheel...

Game of ThronesI realize that I'm coming rather late to the Game of Thrones party that's been going on the last two months, but given the major plot developments in this past Sunday's episode, it seems like a good time to talk about my favorite part of the series--the opening credit sequence.

This isn't to say that I don't enjoy the rest of the show--I do.  The costumes and scenery are amazing, the story is engaging, and the acting is well done.  My one complaint is that I never really felt connected to any particular character in George R. R. Martin's series, and that feeling continues for me in the TV adaptation.

But, as the opening credits make abundantly clear, that is the point.

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Betrayal and Hope: The Chuck Season Finale

From what I’ve read around the Internet, the response to the Chuck season finale has been positive, maybe even overwhelmingly so.  Fans have loved the twist at the ending, and are looking forward to seeing how it plays out in a fifth and final season, now that we know for sure that Chuck has been renewed for another 14 episodes come fall.

But can I respectfully disagree?

I didn’t like it.  And I’m someone who has watched Chuck from the very beginning, who owns it on DVD, and who is thrilled there is going to be a fifth season.  I’m a fan--a huge fan--of the show, and I see the unbelievable elements of the show (I could give examples, but I’d be here all day) as a key part of what makes the show great, rather than a reason to write it off.

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