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Factory Made (2008– )
Content familiar - Narration ridiculously stilted
27 February 2010
We've seen a proliferation of manufacturing "behind-the-scenes" programs in the past few years. They often cover the same products and processes, varying the focus and/or duration when covering different steps. I could swear some shows reuse footage, but I don't know.

When it comes to content, "Factory Made" falls into this same pattern. They cover some new ground, yet also re-hash products covered in other series. One welcome item that they have introduced in their production is the addition of occasional informational graphics. Used sparingly, but effectively, they provide extra information without really interrupting the exposition of the process.

The problem with this show is the stilted narration. Sentences are often stopped midstream in an annoying rhythm, not corresponding with expected hesitation points or durations. For example, "This is the kind ---- of sentence ---------that - might be heard." The narrator, Zach Fine, has done much better narration for "How It's Made," so one wonders how the narration ended up in this format.

All things considered, this show does not do enough to differentiate itself positively in a rapidly populating genre.
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BlackJack: Murder Archive (2003 TV Movie)
a.k.a - The "Farscape" or "Water Rats" Reunion
9 January 2008
I haven't actually seen this, but when you look at the cast listing, you'll see that out of 30 or so in the cast, not including the director, almost half were on Farscape at one time or another, and it looks like it is almost the same for Water Rats. For a large continent, they sure do have a small acting pool. (Just to avoid misunderstanding, I'm not commenting on the quality of the actors in the show, just the quantity of talent down under. :) ) I'm sure the "cross-pollination" happens with other shows, but I'm not really all that familiar with the other ones.

Now that I've got more channels, I'll have to see if I get any Australian programming, or try other avenues. I really want to see some of these people act without elaborate costumes and prosthetics.
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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Ending Happy (2007)
Season 7, Episode 21
She's grown up
27 April 2007
(No real spoiler but hints at the direction of the episode.)

I have to agree with the statements that that this was one of the best episodes this season. The constant redirection, the outrageous things done to the boxer, not to mention the whole "boxer trains at a brothel" idea are some of the most creative of the season.

I really like the continuity of this season. Events and plot lines from previous episodes affect the characters as the season progresses. But every once in a while, you just have to have fun and break away from the formula. It allows both the writers and the actors some freedom from having to continue to answer questions from previous episodes, while still allowing consistent character development.

But, to my summary. I wondered where I had seen the actress playing one of the "pleasure providers." I realized she was the daughter in "What Women Want." She has really grown up.

EDIT: I just realized where I had seen Doris Babinkian (the "madam"): Sister Mary Robert from the Sister Act movies. Talk about growing up.....
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The Musketeer (2001)
All for one and...all for one
15 September 2001
The title should be a warning. By making the rest of the Musketeers simply a supporting cast for the lead character, you have completely destroyed the reason for their strength, and therefore undermined the strength of the story. I understand the concept of "basing" a movie on a book. However, some attributes are going to carry over no matter what you do with the rest of the story line.

In this movie I got no sense that the character of D'Artagnan ever really got it through his head that he was striving to become part of something larger than himself. He was bent on revenge, and becoming a Musketeer would help in that quest. Sure, he used mottos and principles of the Musketeers to shame them...into helping HIM. They performed as one, doing their duty, while he went about his quest. Even at the end, now fully a Musketeer, his last words to Richelieu are not those of someone who is part of a greater good, but simply mano y mano, if I may be allowed a cross-cultural reference.

(I don't analyze every film this way. Some just happen to strike a chord. I like to go to movies for pure fun, and I was prepared to let this one stand on its own merits. However, the characters must be believable, or completely outlandish, for me to really enjoy the film.)

The Musketeers subsumed the individual within their organization, reaching towards a unified goal. This movie does just the opposite and is all the weaker for it.
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