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Smallville: Finale (2011)
A classy, albeit unfortunate, end to this series
What a great way to end the series! I've watched since the beginning, feeling somewhat of a lull around season 6 or so, never to the level of the Dean/Cain TV series (that seemed in search of subject matter by its third season), then felt that this edition picked up towards the final seasons, transitioning into newer, younger characters and plots that moved from the effects of meteor rocks to what the future held for a maturing Clark. I loved this episode in that it brought many of the characters back from the earlier years, had flashbacks of many of the memorable scenes, integrated the best of the music of the "Superman" movies with Christopher Reeve along with the humor of it towards the end (between Lois and Clark on the stairs), and the high-impact finish that transitioned from the "no tights" era. Well done, and thank you to all that made the series possible.
Columbo: Suitable for Framing (1971)
Best in Season 1
This was the best of the first season's episode, for it was a seemingly-innocent "occurrence" that provided the key evidence that was later used on the murderer. All of the other episodes of this season were the typical ones of this genre where the evidence is made obvious or, in one case, the evidence was suggestive but was questionable whether it would hold up in court. This is not to say that the subtle clue in this episode was to the level of the Ellery Queen series (starring the late Jim Hutton), where there were sometimes multiple clues that weren't always obvious, but this case stood out from the others in season 1 on this basis.
Bobby Ewing guest stars
It was difficult for me to see and believe Patrick Duffy in the role of BIll Cord, attorney, which was the opening this episode, as he seemed as genteel as he is as Bobby Ewing on Dallas. This set the tone for this episode, i.e. the plot starts off as a bit of a stretch in that regard, and it seemed like one where some of the usual actors and actresses were given the night off, as Jacyln Smith is whisked off to San Diego, where fate takes her. Ray Milland is an excellent cast for her father, and the means employed to dispose of him was believable, but how the wine came in contact was a longer stretch. So was Robert Reed in part I, but fortunately he came into his usual fine form as a villain in part II, which was a return to more of what I've come to expect from this series. Towards the end of this part, though, was Smith in a rigged up car, and she seemed clueless as to how to slow down her renegade car, bypassing downshifting, spinning around, or otherwise making for a less-dramatic, but quicker resolution to her circumstances, something one would expect from a detective who's been on the series for 4 seasons at this point! But then, it would be less dramatic, yet it was also less believable.
Charlie's Angels: Toni's Boys (1980)
This Angels episode doesn't fly for this viewer
I've watched all of the episodes sequentially over the last few months, and this one felt like the series fell off a cliff, IMHO, like the writers didn't put in an "A" effort and in seeing the next episode, although somewhat better than this, was surprised that the series was renewed. In this episode, an attempt on the trio is not an unusual plot line, that didn't bother me. It was turning to another agency for help that just happened to have 3 young men with smiles worthy of dentists that started my souring on this episode. Then, as the wary Angels tried to ditch each of those assigned to them, how they did so was clumsy and predictable. Each of the men had a talent, but it was almost an afterthought, held back towards the end of the episode, that each would use theirs, and the execution was weak and unconvincing. A man catching up to a plane taking off with barely any runway left, then lassoing the tail and pulling it off to flip the plane was impossible to believe, the coup d'grace! Altogether, this was a poorly written and executed episode, reminding me of some of my home movies, and it seems that the series has run out of gas.
That fish has guts
A fairly innocuous opening, with Max doing a non-verbal Gorton's fisherman impression, missing the arrival of his ex-wife...and the murder that she's apparently connected to. This script would need altering today, as this episode takes you back to the day of luggage being checked out. That aside, the intrigue is maintained for quite awhile, as Max rekindles his relationship with his ex-wire after he realizes she's alive. We hear and see the good and the bad between them that explains why they split. Meanwhile, a couple of plays on her name, Pearl, "I hope it's not Pearl Harbor" and "I think it's time we stopped letting Pearl string us along" and a nice diversion to what looked like Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach). A brief, dual scuffle towards the end, and all ends well...and that's no fish story!
Hart to Hart: Murder in Paradise (1981)
A vacation in paradise...is murder
The Harts visit Hawaii, where they go swimming off a boat and he plays croquet with the best mallet and hoops this viewer's ever seen. Jonathan makes an unbelievable shot, then the murder and the "key" clue surface. Some wonderful "color" in this episode, with Hawaiian dancers and a terrific backdrop of Diamond Head, too-brief flight over Oahu, Byodo-In Temple, and what appears to be the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (featuring pink). A bird they name "Croquet" is taken in for questioning, but for no obvious reason until later on, when she leads the Harts towards the final confrontation in the case, one where American politics separates a fake agent from a genuine one. Heck, this viewer didn't know the answer to the ultimate question!
Hart to Hart: Murder Wrap (1981)
Clever title, I'll give it that
Early on in this one, Jennifer proclaims her interest in the study of Egypt, which led this viewer to believe that aspect would come in play sometime later in the episode. Not so in a "knowledge" sort of way, although it reminded this viewer of something similar to the second Indiana Jones movie, albeit on a much lower production scale. Another observation was that Jennifer was the lone woman to dress in costume for the Egyptian event held during the beginning of this episode, while the other women limited themselves to formal gowns of the ordinary stripe. So much for a costume ball. What ensues is uncovering a mystery involving a mummy and pharynx (I think it's called; it looks like a dog's head) that bored this viewer.
Tis the season to check out the toys
The Harts go "undercover" to investigate why their Hartoys company is having their secrets stolen, which they have an over-the-top investigator checking into, that is until he becomes a victim. The key culprit is revealed relatively early in this actor-sparse episode, and then he makes multiple feeble attempts to squelch the Harts' investigation before his demise, which escapes in-episode detection. The Harts' "covers" are cute, but only fool the employees at Hartoys, which at first I thought was because the Harts had never visited the store, but later it seemed that the employees were just plain clueless. The same could be said for the Harts, who took awhile to figure out who was the key insider was despite the electronic-oriented attempts towards them, one of which was foiled with a garage door opener, which seemed to be a leap of faith. The other insider's reason for involvement wasn't ever clear.
Back to the successful formula
This marks a return to the successful formula of this series. Introduce the nefarious part of the plot. Introduce the Harts in some light-hearted moments featuring Max. Cleverly bring the two together. Reveal the murder. Keep the storyline going and the audience wondering how the Harts will be connected to it, and to what part(s) they will be connected to. Finally, someone spills the beans and the Harts' curiosity is stoked. An encounter with a thug spurs them to investigate further. We learn the nefarious element, although the murder isn't it (nor is even mentioned - evidently, that element was well covered up). Crooks and Harts have their encounters. The Harts eventually win. Ends with a light wrap-up that has a touch of humor. Where this episode excels is that the intrigue is drawn out, and the sport of the lead thugs is brought into play towards the end.
Hart to Hart: What Murder? (1980)
Better than the debut for season 2, with a long way to go
Jonathan witnesses a murder, then contracts amnesia and must recover in order to capture the killer. For whatever reason(s), Robert Wagner looks terrible in this episode, both around the eyes and lack of his usual well-coiffured hair. As it turns out, the murderer is a friend of the Harts, and he attempts to get rid of Hart by using drugs that he cons the access to from his wife the doctor, who conveniently carries a stockpile at home. That's hard to fathom, as is the fact that Jonathan will get into a car after he experiences the effects of the drugs his "friend" gives to him, which include blurred vision and not feeling well. It would've been better had the effects ensued after he started driving the car. Still, it's clever that his friend chooses a restaurant that's high on a hill, allowing for the predictable wild ride down the curved road, missing all cars and obstacles. Lastly, the most unbelievable part of this episode is that the parking enforcement staff only issued one parking ticket to the Harts' car and didn't tow the car that sat there overnight!