Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Cape, Episode 7

I really should find something else to talk about.  (Just as soon as I find someone to actually read this, I guess.)

Anyhoo, more thoughts on The Cape, even though it's already been effectively cancelled.  (The order was cut from 13 episodes to 10, never a good sign for renewal.)

-It's nice to know that even in Vince's dreams, Trip is a complete snot.  Lordy, but I hate that kid.

-My idea to revitalize the show: get rid of everyone except Keith David and Richard Schiff, and make it a buddy show between those two.  Actually, Martin Klebba can stick around, too.  He's cool.  But definitely David and Schiff, all the way.

-Obviously, it's always good to have Richard Schiff back in an episode, but why only use him in the first few minutes?  What a waste.  Plus, what a dumb scene.  First, Orwell warns him that they're being watched, so they should act like they're not talking to each other... then they proceed to have an obvious conversation.  Nice work!  You'd think Orwell would be better at this whole "covert" thing.  You'd think wrong.

-Okay, so there was no birth certificate for Conrad Chandler.  But Toby had a "record of birth" for him.  Um... what's the difference?  Where'd he get that, if it wasn't an official record?  But, if it was an official record, why didn't the land go to him in the first place?  I don't get it...

Mostly minor quibbles with this one, except for that one really, really HUGE issue:
-So Dana catches herself flirting with her new boss, and gets upset.  She's crying to herself that she wasn't really flirting, yadda yadda yadda.  No problem.  She's still mourning Vince, she doesn't think she's ready to move on, she knows any new relationship won't meet with the exacting standards of her little snotrag of a so.  That's all well and good.  But then... "you were always so jealous"?  Wow.  I think we kinda went from "deeply in love" to "battered wife syndrome".  Seriously, is she afraid that if she does flirt with another guy, Vince is gonna come back from the dead to put them both in their place?  Jeebus.  That really didn't sit right, y'know?  (Before, my biggest problem with Vince was his insane quest to be Michael Biehn, and the fact that he spawned the most annoying child in the history of the universe, but now... yikes.)

Ah, well, won't have this one to kick around much longer, I suppose...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Cape: Episode 5

Okay, so the show's not really that great, but it's somewhat watchable, at least.  Keith David remains entertaining, as always, and since they brought Richard Schiff back for a second episode, I'm hoping he remains a regular recurring character (assuming the show lasts... which, of course, it won't).

The premiere two episodes were chock full of "WTF?" moments, although the subsequent episodes haven't had too many (at least by the standards of comic book superhero fare).  Still, this episode did have a few things...

-Vince has Orwell get the criminal records of the Carnival members; he gives them their records, which they proceed to burn.  And that accomplished... what?  Are we to assume ARK and/or the Palm City police only keep paper records (and only one copy)?  Or did Orwell delete any computer records as well?  (In which case, why even have the paper copies?)

-Then again, that may be typical of ARK's utterly nonsensical security procedures (like not deactivating deceased employee's security cards and allowing regular dictionary words as non-expiring passwords).  Vince asks Fleming if the only copies of the plans and data for TRACE are in the ARK building, which Fleming confirms.  Really?  You guys don't keep off-site backups of your business-critical data?  Really?  I mean, this was supposed to be a revolutionary product that would supposedly find its way into everyone's homes within a year, and you keep everything in one location?  Aren't you supposed to be somewhat intelligent, Fleming?  (I can assure you Apple doesn't keep the latest iPhone plans in one place like that...)

-And while we're on the subject: just one guard watching the cameras for the entire building, who neither checks in with anyone, nor receives check-ins from anyone?  Why would anyone hire these ARK people for any kind of security work, let alone take over a police department?  I know the demands of fiction require guards be incompetent, but this is pushing the boundaries of believability.  (Maybe not quite as bad as 24 could get sometimes, but that don't make it good...)

-Was it just me, or did Vince get across that tightrope really fast?  He seemed to be slipping with a considerable distance left to go, yet suddenly he's inside the building?  How'd he do that?

-So Vince stops Dice from blowing up Fleming and the TRACE project, then... blows up the TRACE project with Fleming right there, where he can get blown up, too?  Probably not the smartest course of action there, Vince.  Woulda been easier to just let Dice blow everyone up in the first place, y'know?

-Trip continues to be an annoying petulant snot.  Seriously, Vince, why would you *want* to go back to that brat?  Stick with Keith David; he's awesome.  That kid sucks.

-Okay, this is really a minor quibble, but does anyone pronounce TRACE the same as "Tracy"?  Seemed a tad odd to me, is all.

-Speaking of pronunciation, was it intentional when Fleming pronounced "evolution" as "evil-lution"?  Not sure if that's a common British pronunciation, or if they just wanted to make Fleming seem more evil, or what.

Anyhoo, like I said, it's still watchable (and coming up with ridiculous plot holes can be entertaining in and of itself), but it's not great (or, really, even good), and I'll be surprised if it even lasts its full first season.  But time will tell...

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Cape

Okay, this took a bit longer to get to than I had hoped.  Ah, well, not like anyone's reading it yet anyway, right?

Anyhoo, last night was the premiere of NBC's The Cape, so I figured it's as good a place as any to start my rambling.

First, the show (SPOILERS!): Vince Faraday is a police officer in "Palm City", where crime is rampant.  After the new chief of police is murdered by masked supercriminal "Chess", Palm City decides to hand over management of its police force to private security company Ark, run by Peter Fleming.  Vince's old friend Marty, who already works for Ark, gets Vince a job there as well (if they're taking over anyway, might as well get in early).  However, Vince gets a tip from the mysterious "Orwell" that Ark is smuggling in the explosive L-9, so he contacts Marty and goes to investigate.  What he finds is that, indeed, Ark is smuggling, and that not only Marty knows about it, so does Fleming... who is also Chess.  They put Chess' mask on Vince, then let him loose (with Ark in close pursuit), letting the media know that they've almost caught Chess.  Vince is "revealed" to be Chess on live TV, then appears to be killed in a tanker explosion.  But, of course, he's not killed, and is brought in by the "Circus of Crime" (led by the always-entertaining Keith David).  Believing him to be Chess, they figure he may be of use in their bank robberies; Vince convinces them he's not actually Chess, but uses his Ark security clearance to help them with their robberies to get back at Ark.  In return the circus members teach him various talents (sleight of hand, hypnotism, etc.), which he decides to use as a superhero (calling himself "The Cape" after his son's favorite comic book) to thwart Ark's schemes and clear his own name.

All in all, the show was... okay.  Not great, not awful; probably worth watching a few more episodes until it inevitably gets cancelled.  (Spoiler alert!)

But, of course, there were quite a few things that just scream "WTF!?"...

-The big one is probably Chess.  After framing Vince as being Chess, Fleming continues to operate as Chess himself.  Buh?  Why?  Why would you do that?  What's the point of framing someone else as your alter ego, if you're just going to keep on using that identity yourself?  Aren't you pretty much inviting people to figure out it was a frame-up, especially since everyone believes Vince to be dead?

-For a private security firm, Ark has even worse security than CTU from 24.  (And that's not easy to accomplish!)  Yeah, they think Vince is dead... but why is his security card still valid at that point?  Why would that not be deactivated right away?  And even if you buy that... why, after the first robbery using that clearance, would you not deactivate it then?  Could they not tell whose clearance was used to commit the robbery?  Where I work, if you use your keycard to access the building, it gets logged automatically by the computer.  Why would a private security firm have worse security protocols than that?  (You'd think they would also at least suspect Vince might still be alive once his security card starts being used; sure it'd be possible someone else got a hold of the card, but... why take that chance, especially since Vince knows who Chess really is?)

-And speaking of "worse security than where I work", there's Ark's password policy (or lack thereof).  At once point, Vince accesses Ark's network using Marty's user credentials, explaining that Marty never changes his password.  Um... they don't require password changes every so often?  Really?  That's a pretty major security hole there.  Not only that, but Marty's password is "FLOWERS".  A  7-letter word that can be found in probably every English dictionary ever published?  Yikes.  (Where I work, it's a minimum of 8 characters, using a combination of upper-case letter, lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols (at least three of the four categories), which needs to be changed every 90 days and can't match any of your previous 24 passwords.  Ark's password policy is crap...)

-The second episode shown features Chess trying to assassinate the head of the bureau of prisons for Palm City (played by the always-welcome Richard Schiff!), so that Ark can take over the prisons as well as the police.  Now, assassinating the chief of police makes a fair degree of sense, at least: it's not like he wouldn't be a target for supercriminals anyway, and Ark taking over the police was just a rumored possibility at that point (the assassination pushed it into reality, but there was always the possibility it might not happen, I suppose).  But with the prisons, Ark was already trying to take them over; Toby (Richard Schiff will always be Toby) was the dissenting vote in the city council that was blocking it.  Assassinating him (when he really wouldn't be much of a target for Chess, one would think) would pretty much scream "Ark did it!", since they would obviously be the ones to most benefit from his death (and obviously so even before they tried to kill him).

-A big part of Vince's reasons for using the superhero identity to get back at Ark is because, since Ark is the police force for Palm City, there'd be no one to go after them for their crimes.  Does Palm City not reside in any state?  Couldn't the state government investigate their criminal activities?  And, if not, what about the federal government?  I'm pretty sure they could find some "civil liberty" reason to investigate that whole situation, no?

-Note to Orwell: if you don't want the circus folk to know about you, don't drive up to their circus in your brand-new gull-wing-door Mercedes.  There can't be too many of those around, y'know.  (Nice car, though.)  (Looking like Summer Glau probably isn't helping you remain inconspicuous, either, but that's neither here nor there...)

-Vince's son is really kind of a petulant snot, isn't he?  (Okay, that's not really relevant, just had to throw it out there.)

-Wow, that's some slow-acting poison Cain used on Vince, isn't it?  He gets hit with it in the middle of the night (it's completely dark out), but it's already morning by the time Orwell gets Vince to the circus for treatment.  Maybe that was the point, I'm not sure, but that seems really inefficient for an assassin who specializes in poisons, doesn't it?

-Also, the knife that Cain coated with the poison was bloody when Vince pulled it out.  Maybe that'll be a plot point later, but shouldn't Fleming now have DNA evidence to tell him who The Cape is?  (I guess maybe Vince never had his DNA entered into any systems, but as a former solder, police officer, and security personnel... I don't know, it seems a stretch.  But I'll reserve judgement until it's confirmed they're not going anywhere with that.)

-Why did it take Vince so long to figure out that a mask might be a good idea?  You're trying to hide your identity, so Fleming won't go after your family.  Fleming already knew Vince, and would probably have some ability to recognize him if he saw him again.  Why would you confront someone like that in person without taking the simplest of precautions to keep him from seeing your face?  (That hood ain't concealing your features, buddy.)

-David Lyons (Vince) really looks like he wants to be Michael Biehn.  Just sayin', is all.

Anyway, I probably will watch a few more episodes; I didn't feel like I wasted those two hours, although it could have been a lot better.  But, man, some of those plot points...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome!

With the start of the new year, I figured: heck, why not put up a blog?  Don't know how often I'll update it, and I'm sure I won't get too many (if any) readers, but it's mostly going to be for me to rant and ruminate on whatever.  So we'll see where this goes.

And, hey, if you do ever end up reading this: hello, welcome, and please let me know what you think, 'kay?

Um... yeah, that's it for now.  (Off to a great start, no?)