Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Terminator vs. American Gladiators

So we're only about two weeks into 2008 and we already have seen not one but two beloved franchises from the not-too-distant past reemerge: Terminator and American Gladiators. I'll give you clowns some brief thoughts on each show.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

I don't think I have ever watched an entire season of a drama on television, ever. Never watched 24, Lost, The Sopranos, CSI or whatever but when I first saw the previews for Terminator I knew that my life was about to change. I, like every other human with a penis, feel that Terminator 2: Judgment Day is probably one of the greatest action movies ever (and 1 and 3 are pretty good too) so it was a no-brainer that I should watch this show. Here are some scattered thoughts about it:

Obviously I knew Governor Schwarzenegger would not be involved in the show (although I hold out hope he will have a cameo at some point) so I thought there wouldn't be an actor I thoroughly enjoyed in this series. My mind was quickly changed less than five minutes into the show when Dean Winters appeared as Sarah Connors boyfriend. For those of you who don't know Winters played Dennis Duffy (aka the Rat King), Tina Fey's boyfriend, on 30 Rock for a couple episodes and absolutely killed me. Even though he has a really small role the show is made at least twice as good knowing that the Rat King is always looming. It's kind of like having a stud pinch-hitter like John Vander Wal or Lenny Harris on your bench in baseball, you don't know when their going to emerge but when they do, good things will happen.

Anyway the show seems pretty basic. Sarah Connor must protect John Connor from Terminators sent back in time by SkyNet. The Connors' are aided by a sexy she-Terminator and they can jump through time. That's about it. Oh and there are sweet Terminator fights like every 5 minutes. It is also very important to remember that this show takes place a couple years after Terminator 2 so Sarah has escaped from the mental hospital and the black guy who invented SkyNet has been killed but Terminator 3 has not happened yet (I think). Here is what has specifically happened in the first two episodes: In 1999 a Terminator finds the Connors and tries to kill John but with the help of sexy-Terminator he and Sarah escape and all three jump through time to 2007. A detective was trying to catch Sarah in 1999 because of the whole fleeing an insane asylum and blowing up a building thing(from T2) but he loses the trail when they jump through time. That's the end of Ep 1.

In Ep. 2 the Connors and sexy-Terminator get fake IDs and what not but also get outed to the cops by one of Sarah's old friends. Also, John makes contact with the Rat King. Not a whole lot happens except Terminator fights.

So that's about what happens. Here my thoughts in stream-of-consciousness: I really like how they kept the music from the movies ("duh-duh-DUH DUH"). The sexy-Terminator mentioned to John how she's different than the others, leaving the door open to a bizarre romance; I'm kinda freaked out by it. Sarah Connor is a MILF and a half. The Rat King needs a bigger role (I hope he turns out to be a good Terminator). The sexy-Terminator's eyes glow blue while the evil ones' glow red, I don't like that departure from the movies. Also do the TV people think the viewers need the bad Terminator's eyes to glow red so we know they're evil. John is kinda a whiny bitch, I don't know if I want to take orders from him when the battle against the machines begins. Schwarzenegger deserves a ton of credit for his acting job as the Terminator; the sexy-Terminator, while sexy, isn't doing a very good job. She doesn't have that same stupid-robot, corny sense of humor thing that made the movies so entertaining. Also I'm going to need more bad puns and one-liners from her.

Final grade 8 flaming robot skulls out of 10.

American Gladiators

I only watched about 1/2 of an episode of the new American Gladiators because the editing and shaky camera work were going to, at best, make me vomit or, at worst, give me a seizure. Still it was OK. I'm going to cheat here and copy the email my friend, Brett, sent me with his evaluation.

"STOP IT WITH ALL THE INTERVIEWS—totally unnecessary and all I do is tivo through them. The contenders are OBVIOUSLY given one-liners that are completely cheesy and are very similar to MTV shows like "Next." Wolf is by far the best gladiator. Most of the other guys are huge ass clowns (titan) or have no personality (can't even remember any other names, only that one of the guys has a brohawk). Mayhem has potential with his ronaldinho hair, but hasn't really shown much so far in terms of performance or personality. They're really missing out on guys like Laser and Malibu...why not bring them back for a guest appearance? As far as the chicks go, venom is the hottest, but she's clearly only on the show because she's hot, and loses every time to the contenders. It's only a matter of time before she appears in playboy, which I will absolutely purchase.

As far as events go, assault is much harder for contestants this year, as the gun shoots the tennis balls at 100 mph and is impossible to dodge. I would equate it to playing the net against [our friend] Mellars in Mario Tennis when he is on the bottom screen and getting hit with one of his donkey kong spikes. The upside to that event is that when you do hit the bulls-eye above the gladiator (which has only happened once), it rockets them through the air and into a huge pool, which is hilarious. The other events have been pretty weak so far. They really screwed the pooch on "hangin tough." There used to be a million rings you had to cross to get to the other side, making for great chicken fights. Now you only have to make 4 moves to get there and you can make it pretty much every time. Joust is still classic, especially when the women do it and get rocked into the water below. The Eliminator is tougher this year, but you can cheat so easily...there is no penalty for falling off of things ( i.e. the handbike, which is the hardest and most time-consuming part of the whole obstacle course. You can fall right off of it and run to the next part with no penalty)."

I agree with pretty much everything Brett has to say. Here are some quick thoughts: It looks like the handbike is a lot tougher this time around for some reason, not sure why. Why is water involved in nearly every event. Was it wrong for me to notice that the black guy running the eliminator (in last night's show) really, really struggled in the swimming portion of the event? I hate Lalia Ali. The producers claim the Gladiators are tested for steroids, that has to be a lie, right? It seems like you can shoot the balls in in Powerball with relative ease; I'm not a huge fan of that, you should have to dunk it. I am still convinced I could win Assault (although I am almost certainly delusional).

Final grade 6 shriveled gladiator balls out of 10

That wraps this up but before I go I have a couple random thoughts:

-Futurama is/was the most underrated show of the past 10 years. The new movies they're coming out with just hammer this point home.

-Yes is an awesome band that I should have been listening to for the past decade.

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