Exceedingly Excellent Episodes #1 - The Dead Zone

Every series worth it's salt that runs for more than a single season produces an episode that just defines everything that the series is about. Often these episodes leave you awestruck or make the hairs on your neck raise.

This series will be about those episodes. As such it will often be very spoiler heavy, normally just for the episode in question but sometimes for the season or even the show. As a consequence...

[This post may contain spoilers]

That said let us get onto the very first Exceedingly Excellent Episode (Triple E). The following episode is the one that inspired this entire series and it comes from a moderately popular American show.

The Dead Zone - 205 - Precipitate
I'm going to quote the TV.com/Wikipedia summary here:
"Johnny receives a blood transfusion and starts experiencing the lives of six blood donors, including a homeless man. Johnny must figure out which one is about to be killed and stop it. "
(This version is from the wiki, but the tv.com one is almost identical - I have no idea why the wikipedia feels it imporant to note one of the donors is a homeless man.)

That summary is right on the head for the plot, essentially that's all there is too the episode. Some could even argue that just about every episode for The Dead Zone could be boiled down to something similar. But that is the format of the show.

Johnny gets a vision, Johnny decides to change outcome of vision.

Precipitate doesn't deviate from that format, in fact it's stripped back from a lot of the baggage in the show. Only Johnny and Bruce are involved in the majority of this episode (along with the guest stars and extras) and it's the raw simplicity of this that works. Johnny's visions of the six people have told him much about each of them, but not enough to tell which one will die.
Time and time again he's incorrect about his assumptions with each potential victim, but despite this his interference improves the lives of each donor.

It's more than possible to figure out which person is the donor that Johnny and Bruce need to save quite early on. There are several subtle clues dropped into the episode at key points. But to be honest, doing so would detract from the ride. A ride which cumulates in a truely fantastic set piece, where each donor's changed destiny has a part to play in saving the life of the sixth.

The moment where it all comes together is wonderfully written, shot, acted and edited. All of the running around and failed attempts come together in one beautiful moment. You realise that Johnny only saved the sixth donor by helping the previous five change their lives for the better.

In truth that's what The Dead Zone is about for me, how one person's actions can alter the course of others for the better. Johnny leaves having not just directly saved one life, but improving the lives of everyone he had a vision about.
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Episode Reviews - The Office (401) & Family Guy (601)

Category: , , By Rev/Views
[This post may contain spoilers]

The Office (USA) - 401 - Fun Run
It's rather nice that I get to start off with a short review of 'The Office' season premiere. I much prefer the USA version over the British one, I think for the most part because of the pacing and characters. In this 40 minute premiere Michael Scott arranges a fun run for rabies after knocking Meredith down in his car and we get to see how three relationships have developed since the end of the last season. Michael and Jan, Dwight and Angela and Pam and Jim.

I really cannot express how much I love the attention to detail and character that comes in this show. The writing is so tight and the acting really delivers on it, Jim's bemused/amused looks towards the camera in particular always make me chuckle. But it's Steve Carrell's performance as Michael Scott that was so great in this one. He really portrays a guy who lives 100% inside his own head, but is basically a nice guy. Well he would be a nice guy if he actually understood people at all. I find him far, far more likeable than David Brent. But I find the entire American cast more likeable than the British ones were (which I guess is kind of the point).

I also enjoyed the side stories involving the various relationships and couldn't stop laughing at the Pam and Michael exposing incident. I think it's easy to say there are too many amusing little incidents in this episode to list all of them.

Solid premiere that continues the excellent tradition of this show

Family Guy - 601 - Blue Harvest
After a powercut Peter entertains the family with a retelling of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. This is also a season premiere and it's an extended episode at 42 mins.

The last season of Family Guy was a very hit and miss affair, all to often they rehashed old jokes, especially the "Overly extended ouch/laugh/cry/shin" joke. I cannot express in words how much I hate that joke, it's only been funny once and that was when Chris was laughing for ages, then they ended with something like "I pooped myself" (I haven't seen it for a while, not 100% sure of the exact joke).

Oh, I digressed. The point was the last season was alternately brilliant and awful. But this season premiere was Family Guy at their finest. While it would be difficult for them to screw up such a concept (and Robot Chicken did it first - something they aknowledge in a brilliant fourth wall bending conversation between Seth and Seth as Peter and Chris) the whole thing is just carried off beautifully. From the amusing little set pieces, fantastic 3D Animation, set piece songs and faithful reintepretations the whole thing just shows how much the writers of Family Guy love Star Wars.

I for one loved this Peter-fied retelling of A New Hope. It almost made me want to watch the original movie again. But I won't, I still need more time to wash the taste of episodes 1 to 3 out of my brain.

Series Classic
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Welcome to Earth's Mightiest Television

By Rev/Views
Well, first of all welcome to the birth of a new blog. The hope with this is to provide a place where I can talk about my one of my greatest loves. Stories, specifically stories told in the medium of television.

In my opinion there is little else in the human experience that rivals the television series as a medium for story telling. Books are the only thing that stand up and above TV as a method for the telling of stories. But personally I prefer the television show, the book is more an individual's story while TV shows are collaborative efforts with input from not just the writer(s) but from a whole host of people. And I prefer the results.

Of course this is not to say that films, books and spoken word are inferior methods. They're not, but this is not about those mediums. It's about television.

As for the structure to this, it will be rather haphazard; at times I'll write about single episodes in recently released shows, at other times I'll talk about seasons as a whole or shows from the past. The one thing they will all have in common is that I've watched them and they've elicited some kind of emotion from me. Not all shows I watch are shows that I love, in fact it's rare that I accept a show 100% without pondering about it's flaws or shortfalls. I guess in someways I'm a wanna-be critic at heart, but I prefer to think of myself as a consumer of quality TV.

I think that's enough for an introduction, it's time for me to go watch some TV!

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Table of Contents

Category: By Rev/Views
DVDs in Review:
30 Rock - Season 1

The 4400: The Complete Series

Arrested Development

Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Fourth Season
Bones: Season One

Cabbage/Almost Everything Ever in One Gloriously Fabulous Ludicrously Definitive Outrageously Luxurious Monty Python Boxset

The Corner

Dexter Season 1

Futurama: The Complete Collection

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs

Futurama: Bender's Game

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

Gavin and Stacey: Series Two
Generation Kill
The Green Wing: 8 Disc Collector's Edition

Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law: Volume One
Homicide: Life on the Street - Series 1 (Seasons 1 and 2 collected together)
Homidice: Life on the Street - The Complete Second Series

Homicide: Life on the Street - The Complete Third Series

Homicide: Life on the Street. The Complete Fourth Series

Homicide: Life on the Street - The Complete Fifth Series

Homicide: Life on the Street: The Complete Sixth Series
How I Met Your Mother: Season One

Lead Balloon: Series One
The Living Planet

Marion & Geoff: Series One & Two
Monk - Seasons One to Six Collected
Moving Wallpaper/Echo Beach

Red Dwarf I: The Original Series

Red Dwarf II: The Second Series

Red Dwarf: The Complete Third Series

Red Dwarf: The Complete Fourth Series

Red Dwarf: The Entire Fifth Series
Red Dwarf: The Entire Sixth Series
Red Dwarf: The Entire Seventh Series
Red Dwarf: The Entire Eighth Series
Rescue Me: The Complete First Season
Rescue Me: The Complete Second Season

Seinfeld: The Collected Review

The Office: An American Workplace. Seasons 1 to 3

The Shield: Season 1
The Shield: Season 2

The Shield: Season 3

The Shield: Season 4

The Shield: The Complete Fifth Season

The Shield: The Complete Sixth Season

The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Series
Skins: The Complete First Series
Skins: The Complete Second Series


Sugar Rush (The Complete Series 1 + 2)

Supernatural: The Complete Third Season

The Complete Adventures of Tintin

Weeds: The Complete First Season

Weeds: The Complete Second Season
The West Wing: The Complete Series
The Wire: The Complete First Season
The Wire: The Complete Second Season

The Wire: The Complete Third Season

The Wire: The Complete Fourth Season

Wire in the Blood: The Complete First and Second Series

The Beast:

101 - Pilot
102 - Two Choices
103 - Nadia
104 - Infected

Burn Notice:

201 - Breaking and Entering

202 - Turn and Burn

203 - Trust Me

204 - Comrades

205 - Scatter Point

206 - Bad Blood

207 - Rough Seas

208 - Double Booked

209 - Good Soldier

210 - Do No Harm
211 - Hot Spot
212 - Seek and Destroy


201 - I Lied, too.
202 - Burn It, Shred It, I Don't Care
203 - I Knew Your Pig
204 - Hey! Mr. Pibb
205 - "I Agree, It Wasn't Funny"
206 - A Pretty Girl In A Leotard

301 - Our Father
302 - Finding Freebo

303 - The Lion Sleeps Tonight
305 - Turning Biminese


201 - Find Your Happy Place

202 & 203 Everything All the Time & The Business of Miracles
204 - Not For Nothing

The Shield - The Final Act:

701 - The Co-Efficient of Drag

702 - Snitch

703 - Money Shot

704 - Genocide

705 - Game Face

706 - Animal Control
707 - Bitches Brew
708 - Parracide/Parricide
709 - Moving Day
710 - Party Line
711 - Petty Cash
712 - Possible Kill Screen
Finale (713) - Family Meeting

Stephen Fry in America

Episode One - New World
Episode Two - Deep South
Episode Three - Mississippi
Episode Four: Mountains and Plains
Episode Five: True West
Episode Six: Pacific

Top 50 Shows:

Top 50 Shows - Countdown List

Top 50 Shows - Numbers 50 to 46

Top 50 Shows - Numbers 45 to 41

Top 50 Shows - Numbers 40 to 36

Top 50 Shows - Numbers 35 to 31

Top 50 Shows - Numbers 30 to 26

Top 50 Shows - Numbers 26 to 21

Top 50 Shows - Numbers 20 to 16

Top 50 Shows - Numbers 15 to 11

Top 50 Shows - Number 10

Top 50 Shows - Number 9
Top 50 Shows - Number 8
Top 50 Shows - Number 7

Top 50 Shows - Number 6
Top 50 Shows - Number 5
Top 50 Shows - Number 4
Top 50 Shows - Number 3
Top 50 Shows - Number 2

Top 50 Shows - Number 1

Watching The Wire:


Episode One: The Target
Episode Two: The Detail
Episode Three: The Buys
Episode Four: Old Cases
Episode Five: The Pager
Episode Six: The Wire
Episode Seven: One Arrest
Episode Eight: Lessons
Episode Nine: Game Day
Episode Ten: The Cost
Episode Eleven: The Hunt
Episode Twelve: Cleaning Up
Episode Thirteen: Sentencing

Season Two - Introduction

Why You Should Watch..:

...30 Rock
... Arrested Development
... Boston Legal
... Dead Like Me
... Homicide: Life on the Street

... Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

... Friday Night Lights

... Life

... Mad Men

... Six Feet Under

... The Dead Zone

... The Shield

... The Wire


Top Ten Celebs I'd Like to be Trapped in a Lift with
Rich Sommer of Mad Men interviewed over at GeekSpeak

British Celebrity Panel Quiz Shows - Part 1
British Celebrity Panel Quiz Shows - Part 2

The Fifteen Greatest Opening Credit Sequences:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
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By Rev/Views