Criminal Minds: "Amplification"

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We enjoyed Picard, but we found it excessively tropey. And don't get us started on the epilogue. However, Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner are excellent, and it does entertainingly well with effects+location takes on Standard Star Trek Planets # 39,  245, and 102.

Realizing that my online work would require tonnes (that's Canadian, eh?) of time this week, I relaxed by finally blazing my way this weekend through a brutal true crime docu-series from a few years ago. I was intrigued by the beginning of The Keepers and I must say, it has many good points. Despite all the praise it received for being atypical of the genre, and, despite its laudable and excellent advocacy for victims, I found that, in the end, it was as manipulative and misleading as any crime doc you might care to name. Its omissions are startling. Worth seeing, yes-- but take its take on this case with a pillar of salt.

We're really looking forward to catching up with West World, which we might finally start tomorrow.

Better Call Saul remains excellent when it focuses on, you know, Saul.

PICARD: Now that we’ve finished Picard, we’ve moved back into our DS9 re-watch.

WESTWORLD: Also now that we’ve finished Picard, we’ve moved back into Westworld. We are currently caught up with three episodes yet to be aired. Very different from previous seasons, but equally good. The “real world” is even more frightening than the amusement park.

JLU: Well into season two with Tintin waiting on deck.

At the end of today's episode of Riverdale, the preview had a scene where the group is asked "who has experience getting rid of a dead body." Everyone raised their hands and I cracked up.

I'm watching NIGHT COURT on Laff TV. Don Cheadle was just in a 1988 episode. Last week, Lou Ferrigno appeared, wearing purple tights.

Just saw the season finale of All Rise. It was a cool experiment; Judge Lola Carmichael conducts a bench trial via videoconference. 

I hope it's not the series finale; it hasn't been picked up yet for next year. But the network wouldn't have greenlighted this Very Special Episode if it didn't have some faith in the show, yes?

Like most shows these days, All Rise didn't get its full complement of episodes done before the COVID-19 shutdowns hit. But the producers didn't like ending the season with the last episode they had, so they worked up an original idea: Let's lean into this pandemic shutdown by showing how out merry band of characters are faring in the City of Angels -- all by video chat. 

Like the last two episodes of Saturday Night Live, the actors worked from home. But unlike SNL, it wasn't a string of unconnected skits but a full-length story.

So, the judges, prosecutors and public defenders are fretting over the backlog of cases. In a video conference call with the judges, Judge Carmichael floats the notion of the video bench trial. A couple of the judges object -- to make it work, the defendant has to waive several rights, such as the right to a trial by jury, the right to confront his accuser, and the right to appeal any aspect of the courtroom procedure, although an appeal on the merit of the case would still be allowed. But the Chief Judge is on board; not trying means the defendant loses the right to a speedy trial.

So the case of the week is one brother accusing the other of carjacking him to retrieve the car they both own. The defendant's girlfriend is expecting a baby in five weeks, so a speedy trial appeals to him. 

In and around the necessary expository legal stuff, we see the characters shine. Judge Lola frets over her mother delivering meals instead of staying at home. Prosecutor Mark misses his new girlfriend. Public Defender Emily misses her boyfriend Luke, and talks him out of putting his L.A. County Sheriff's uniform and going to the courthouse. He wants to help and not stay at home, but finds another way. Court Reporter Sara became a driver for Instacart; without trials, there's no work for her. Judges' Assistant Sherri is as efficient and prickly as ever.

There's also the banter between Judge Lola and Prosecutor Mark, her work husband. Her real husband Robin is an FBI agent, and he's in Washington, DC, as his bid for a transfer to Los Angeles didn't come through. Judge Lola also commiserates with Rachel, her old buddy from law school, who just moved to town and started a new firm, which can't function with the courts closed.

Judge Lola has a heart-to-heart with her mother; she found letters Mom wrote to her when she left home for law school declaring they'll stay connected even though she's flown the nest. How, Mom? Judge Lola asks today. Mom says we're connected through the experiences we've had, the meals we've shared, the time we've had. 

The connective tissue of the episode is the observations from D.J. Tailwind, a presence on the radio who offers words of encouragement as we see sights around the city. 

The case of the week gets resolved, all the lovebirds connect digitally with their paramours -- including Judge Lola and her real husband, FBI Agent Robin. And in the end, they all join the party D.J. Tailwind throws, and the episode concludes to the sound of Stevie Wonder's "As."

Well done.

I'm watching the 6th season premiere episode of the original Magnum, PI, and it's practically Magnum goes to a Doctor Who convention. The episode takes place in England, and the main guest stars are Francesca Annis and Peter Davison. Aside from Annis, most of the actors in this episode appeared in Doctor Who at one time or another, usually in multiple episodes. Geoffrey Beevers, voice of the Melkur, appears briefly as a morgue attendant. Pat Gorman, who appears here as a police officer, is listed on IMDB as appearing in 105 Doctor Who episodes! That's more than some of the Doctors!

We just moved on to season five of Will & Grace and we are on the cusp of moving from The Return of Ultraman (Ultraman Jack) to Ultraman Ace.

I'm watching an episode of Gomer Pyle, USMC on MeTV, and Jack "Jimmy Olsen" Larson is in it.

I've come across some Quantum Leap episodes, including the two-part story in which Sam leaped into Lee Harvey Oswald and the series finale. A show about a well-meaning do-gooder who travels through time "to make right that which went wrong" is kind of appealing right about now.

I did actually watch it live back then, although I lost interest the longer it went on. And the series finale -- which was only meant to be a season finale -- was just as disappointing and confusing now as it was then.

It's also kind of quaint to watch a show that debuted 30 years ago set in the near-distant "future" of 1999. Oh, boy!

Two summers ago we were dong this Irwin Allen thing. We watched all of Lost in Space, then all of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (I thought). The plan was to move on to Land of the Giants next, but when we returned from vacation our interests had moved elsewhere. I has been some time since I discovered that we had actually stopped a season shy of completing Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, so we're watching season four now. At it's best, Voyage falls between Star Trek and Lost in Space on the spectrum, but season four is much closer to Lost in Space. If our purpose holds, we'll move on to Land of the Giants next. 

I'm still on my rewatch of The Dick van Dyke Show. In season 4, episode 31, Rob buys a small motorcycle and shows Laura his new crash helmet. She tells him to take it off as it makes him look like Bulletman! According to the trivia section on the IMDB page about this episode, Gary Busey is one of the biker gang Rob encounters.

In season 5, episode 3, Rob sees what he thinks is a flying saucer and Brick Bradford is name checked. Madge Blake (Aunt Harriet from Batman) appears in this episode.

Just re-watched "Warriors of the Deep".

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