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09 October 2008 @ 11:17 pm
Ugly Betty & Life on Mars (Oh, and Survivor too)  
Thursday night viewing ... I already wrote my mammoth Secret Diary of a Call Girl post. Here are a few of the other shows I managed to watch tonight too.

THIS is the show I fell in love with season one. I said last week that I was okay on the first episode, but that last week's was like season one UB, this one totally continued that. Everything was just so, so right. (Okay, one minor exception, more on that later). The interplay, interaction, the comedy, the drama, the Daniel/Betty moments, the shocks and spills. Awesome!!!

And that ender!?!? SO AWESOME!! I was just first relieved when she said that Daniel Jr. wasn't Daniel's son because I (like, I think, everyone else) am SO not feeling that storyline, but then she added "I am," my mouth literally fell open. And then I laughed and declared "YES! My show is back!" THIS is my Ugly Betty.

However, I am hating the Hilda story. Hilda is having an affair with a married man. Period. And I HATE how they are making Betty and Ignacio basically whitewash and say it's alright because Hilda is a good person. I don't care. He's married. Period. It's adultery; it's wrong. Stop white-washing it and acting like it's not that big of a deal. Maybe not on the Manhattan side it wouldn't be, but in the Bronx-Saurez side it definitely is.

Ahem, but other than that, I am LOVING the rest of the show.

Skipping past Grey's Anatomy as I no longer watch that and moving onto ...

Life on Mars -- Okay, so I'm going to confess something here. I DID try and watch the original, BBC version of this show. And I barely got through the first episode and couldn't finish the second. I don't know what it was because obviously I like BBC dramas, and I thought John Simm was fabulous, but it just didn't connect with me at all. (I do remember I REALLY didn't like the actress who played Annie, though, so maybe that had something to do with it?) But I loved the premise and so I was actually anxious to see if I would like the show any better done US-style.

I did. First of all, I LOVE Jason O'Mara. I've seen a bunch of stuff he's been in and aside from being quite dreamy and charismatic, he's quite the good actor. So, as great as John Simm is, I thought that they did a great job casting Sam Tyler for the US version. And this premiere episode proved that I was right in thinking so. I felt for him from moment one and the scene when he was facing the TV and hearing the "doctor" and then had the tears in his eyes, so devastated? Man, I felt so for him.

Also, there's Annie. I actually really love the actress who was originally supposed to play Annie in this version (Rachel LeFevre), but they of course, recast and reshot the Pilot with Gretchen Mol in the role. I don't dislike Mol, but I've always been quite unimpressed with anything I've seen her in. I was quite surprised that I liked her in this, and I thought that she did a delightful job. (Loved the whole "poof, I'm going to disappear." Sam opens the door and, of course, she's standing there. "It's magic." scene.) Furthermore, I thought that she and O'Mara had some fine, fine chemistry. ALWAYS A PLUS!!!

The rest of the casting -- Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperoli, etc. -- really well-done. I'm meh on Lisa Bonet, but I'll get over it because as of yet, she's not a huge part of it. I don't know spoilers, and again, only watched the first episode and a half of the BBC version, so I don't know how big her role may or may not eventually become (and I don't want to know). One thing I also really wanted to note was the direction and camera work. I thought it was marvelous. The lighting, the quick camera cuts when necessary, the almost identical Sam chasing bad guy in 2008 to Sam chasing bad guy in 1973 was fabulous.

Finally, obviously, they couldn't hit with this in the BBC version, but man!, when Sam looked up in 1973 and saw the Twin Towers, it was a powerful moment and really struck home the OHMYGOD factor for me. I don't know, some may see that as using the tragedy for a gotcha!shot, but I didn't feel that way. To me, it was a way of symbolizing the monumental shift that happened to him without a word. I don't even remember how it was telegraphed in the BBC version, but I can't imagine it held the same punch, because that one was a sucker punch here.

Overall, I give it two thumbs up. Really well-done.

ETA: Oh, yeah, I watched Survivor too. It was good, typical Survivor. I still like the same people: Sugar, Bob and Matty, and I still dislike the same people: GC. Knowing they'd still have a four-three advantage and seeing how useless Kelly was in the challenge, I'm not sure they made the right decision in voting Jackie off, but we'll see I guess.
 
 
 
Sarah: Harry Potter - Life on Marspie_is_good on October 10th, 2008 04:51 am (UTC)
Wow, I couldn't have read a more opposite review than what I thought! It's probably my absolute adoration for the British version that made me think the pilot tonight was a load of crap, though I haven't decided if that's the case yet.

I do know that I really don't like that it didn't feel like they're trying to do anything new. It feels like they're following the same path as the UK version, and I don't think that will capture US viewers and I think it won't translate. =/

I'm really surprised to hear you say that you thought they had chemistry. I honestly...saw nothing between them. I thought the acting between them was very wooden. It could be the fact it's a pilot. It could change. But so far, idk, I don't see it.

I laughed at the Twin Towers thing. I really thought it was hilariously cheesy. In the original, Sam realizes he's near a construction site for a highway that's been around decades in his time. I really think the difference speaks loads for the way US shows tend to treat their viewers. Like we needed something so huge and obvious to make sure we knew it was the past.

I'm not trying to tear your opinions apart, btw, just sharing mine. I think about the only thing we agreed on was that the camera work was really pretty.
Arabian: Feelings Journalarabian on October 10th, 2008 07:32 am (UTC)
I read your review and when I saw your name here, knew you wouldn't agree, LOL!

I laughed at the Twin Towers thing. I really thought it was hilariously cheesy. In the original, Sam realizes he's near a construction site for a highway that's been around decades in his time. I really think the difference speaks loads for the way US shows tend to treat their viewers. Like we needed something so huge and obvious to make sure we knew it was the past.

I dunno, for me it was such a powerful moment that, like I said, showed just HOW monumental the change was. Of course, while I tend to love the subtle moments, the big sucker-punch moments -- if done at the right time -- I love. And it was just that moment. It wasn't as if the entire episode was filled with them, it was just that one that was the big one, like in the BBC the rest were the smaller, generational changes.

I did think they had chemistry, especially in the heart-scene, but then I thought the actress in the BBC version was terrible (again, could be part of why I could NOT connect to the original ... and I REALLY wanted to like it) and I thought she and Simm had NO chemistry. I wasn't OHMYGOD, blown away by Mol, but she was better than I expected, and, of course, I didn't have an immediate dislike towards her as I did BBC-Annie.

I did expect the Pilot to be a lot like the BBC Pilot as that is how most redone shows are, how it continues and differentiates itself is where we'll see how it does. As for how it will be seen by viewers? Well, I know that most reviews were quite positive, and as you read my review, I'm not surprised.

Edited at 2008-10-10 07:34 am (UTC)
eolivet on October 10th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
I do know that I really don't like that it didn't feel like they're trying to do anything new.

Pardon me for butting in, but I adore the UK version as well, and I completely disagree. By omitting the end scene, with Sam on the roof, and having him try and take action like killing a kid to change the future, it set up a Sam that is much more willing to fight to get home (instead of just complaining about it). The UK Sam talked himself out of jumping (by feeling the grit on Annie's hands) and ultimately handed the decision over to her. The U.S. Sam heard Maya's voice (which the UK Sam never did in 1x01), which changed his mind. Already 2008 is more tangible in the U.S. version than 2006 was in the UK version (and Annie and Maya's dynamics with Sam are already very different, as well)

That's where I think the shows will part ways. :)
eolivet on October 10th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
I'm thrilled you liked the new old new LoM. :D I thought everyone did a fantastic job.

I felt for him from moment one and the scene when he was facing the TV and hearing the "doctor" and then had the tears in his eyes, so devastated? Man, I felt so for him.

I'm psyched to hear this, because I've seen the Genuine Original so many times, that moment kind of got lost on me (because I was remembering it from before). But it's an incredibly powerful moment. :)

I was quite surprised that I liked her in this, and I thought that she did a delightful job.

Loved Mol, too -- she was fantastic in that scene. I didn't get it at first, but she really put it in context later (and played it so differently from Liz White in the Genuine Original, too!)

This was just incredibly well-cast, and the ending blew me away. Excellent point about the Twin Towers -- the Genuine Original had a sweeping pan of an empty skyline, emphasizing how it was before tall buildings, but NYC isn't like that: they had skyscrapers in 1973. ;p And I kind of knew that shot was coming, but they did earn it. :) Really well-done. :D

I'm SO glad you like the remake, yay!!! :D
Arabian: TVarabian on October 11th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
This was just incredibly well-cast, and the ending blew me away.

No one struck a wrong note and in this day and age of casting for looks as opposed to talent or suitability for the role.

Excellent point about the Twin Towers -- the Genuine Original had a sweeping pan of an empty skyline, emphasizing how it was before tall buildings, but NYC isn't like that: they had skyscrapers in 1973.

Right, now I remember it; and you're right that simply couldn't have worked in the US version, so they came up with a way to really stick it home and managed to do so in a wonderfully powerful way.

I'm SO glad you like the remake, yay!!! :D\

I do. I wish I could have gotten into the BBC, but you know I tried and it just did not take for some reason.
harper47harper47 on October 10th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
I liked the British version but I'm with you. I wasn't a fan of the British Annie.

I loved the show last night. I say word to your entire post except that I've always loved Gretchen since I saw her perform at the Sanibel playhouse years ago. I am so happy at how much I loved this. And yes, the twin towers shot was really powerful.

I thought the stupid Fang gang is made of stupid. I want Matty to team up with Ace and Sugar and stay safe because along with Bob, these are my favorite people right now.

I loathe Crystal and her little boys.
Arabian: Deanarabian on October 11th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
I loved the show last night. I say word to your entire post except that I've always loved Gretchen since I saw her perform at the Sanibel playhouse years ago.

Well, you have a personal investment in her that makes it different. Prior to this, I've only seen her in a few, unsuitable roles and was unimpressed. I did like her in this, though.

I thought the stupid Fang gang is made of stupid.

But they are right in that Jackie COULD have been playing them and thus sided with Ace and Sugar, and if Sugar DOES have the immunity (which of course she does) that gives them an extra out. So they were playing it strategically. Doesn't take out that they are morons, but in this case, they were making a logical strategic move.

I want Matty to team up with Ace and Sugar and stay safe because along with Bob, these are my favorite people right now.

Yup to every word above, with Sugar being my number one, right now.

(Off-topic - I don't watch SPN anymore, and thus really have no reason to keep this Dean icon, but other than the fact that I just love Jensen Ackles so much, I've actually kept it mostly for you. I appreciate how you make an effort to respond to many of my entries and I like having a matching icon to fit this default of yours.)
harper47harper47 on October 12th, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)
I can always appreciate a good Dean icon so thanks. It's too bad you're not watching it this year though because it has been superb, except for this week's misstep.

And true, I guess it is good strategy. I just don't like that whiney girl. I would be booted so fast on Survivor. Hee!
Arabian: Deanarabian on October 12th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
Well, Dean is so pretty. I dunno, I'd like to say it lost me early last season when I stopped watching, but if I'm being honest, it really did when they turned Ava bad and then unceremoniously killed her. I loved her, and she made Sam interesting for me. So yeah.

I think I'd be booted pretty quickly too. I'd drive people insane, utterly insane.