24 Live Another Day 1 PM to 2 PM

12 05 2014

24Logo3I can think of no more difficult thing than watching an episode of 24 and not post things people would consider spoilers. Let me state that if you have not watched the first two episodes, then do not proceed with this blog post.

In the last episode we learned what the end-game is for Margot (Michelle Fairley)–the killing of an American president on foreign soil by hijacking a drone. Helping her is her daughter Simone (Emily Berrington). Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) and Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) are hot on Simone’s trail. Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski) and Erik Ritter (Gbenga Akinnagbe) are not far behind Jack and Chloe. I’m biting my nails and am hyperventilating at this point. Chloe shares with Jack some news that shocks him and makes me cry. We are now just 14 minutes into the show. Jack and Chloe learn the identities of the players involved, but the plot and mystery thickens. Are allies really allies? Are enemies really enemies? And the there is what I call “creepy cam.” I was cheering for Audrey and for the last minute of the show, I actually held my breath.

All I want to hear now is that Fox Broadcasting orders a pickup for this show! Today is upfronts for Fox Broadcasting.  Come on, Fox. Make my day.  Give it the green light for another season.

Watch tonight, Monday, May 12, on Fox Broadcasting at 9/8 Central.

 

(Thank you Fox Broadcasting and FOX VIP for the privilege of watching the screener for tonight’s episode)





Preview of 24: Live Another Day

5 05 2014

24Logo2Tonight Kiefer Sutherland returns in his iconic role as Jack Bauer in 24: Live Another Day. Watching the first two episodes was like visiting with an old friend–it picks right back up as if there had not been 4 years between the end of the season 8 and today’s reincarnation. I knew some of the major cast members who had been announced but I was pleasantly surprised to see Colin Salmon, the actor who I have come to know from Arrow on the CW for the last 2 seasons. Ironically, he had a role in the Bond series “Die Another Day.” Another funny parallel is Yvonne Strahovski‘s character, Kate Morgan. Dexter fans will enjoy that last name.

Some of my observations from the first hour (without outright posting spoilers):
– Cool tech!!!
– Captures your attention immediately.
– How Jack Bauer does not shatter his ankles I will never know.
– The content is relevant to today’s politics.
– Heller (William Devane) is still witty.
– Jack always has a plan.
– It’s the CIA but it still feels like CTU.
– I love Chloe’s badass look.
– Who are the players? We find out who some are during this first episode.

Observations from the second hour:
– That’s unexpected!
– Dangerous bedfellows.
– Was that Stephen Fry? (Yes, it was).
– Chloe is downright bitter.
– Lesson for episode 2: Never trust a woman.

Tune in tonight at 8 Eastern/7 Central for the return of 24: Live Another Day

Follow some of the cast/crew members of 24: Live Another Day on Twitter at:

@RealKiefer
@rajskub
@Y_Strahovski
@colinsalmon24
@marcimichelle
@GbengaAkinnagbe
@joncassar
@gilesmatthey
@KimRaver
@JBoyega
@maccageezer
@MandiDhillon
@stephenfry
@mannyhectorcoto
@TheDavidFury
@HowardMGordon
@evanjoshuakatz
@heckstallsmith
@iainsmith
@24fox

(I would like to thank Fox Broadcasting and the FOX VIP program for allowing me the courtesy of seeing the preview.)

24Logo





Celebrity Corner: Bart Montgomery: Promotional Wizard (Part 2)

4 11 2013

Please read here for Part 1 of the interview:  https://pbmom.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/celebrity-corner-bart-montgomery-promotional-wizard-part-1/

How long do you get to work on a particular preview before it goes to air? Have there ever been close calls to deadlines? Can you share anything specific if you did?

Usually you get a week to work on promos for a show during the regular television season. You want to finish promos for an episode at least a week before the episode airs so there’s time for viewers to see them. On launch promos for new shows you get a longer time frame, perhaps weeks or months because you have the pilot episode already. For returning shows, you have to wait for production to start before you can get material to cut promos with.

There have been some close calls when it comes to a promo making air. Back in the day when I was doing promos for “America’s Most Wanted,” we would promo the specific fugitive that the show was looking for and sometimes viewers would see the promos, recognize the fugitive, call the police and the fugitive would be arrested before the actual episode could air. This would throw everything off and we would quickly have to produce new promos featuring a different fugitive. I remember having an hour to produce a new promo and finishing just in time for the new promo to be slapped into a tape machine and broadcast. Haven’t had to do that in a long time, thank God.

(X-Files Promos)

How do you decide which way to take a preview? I noticed that just recently on Twitter you asked viewers what they wanted to see in a preview and you got a pretty good response–no spoilers, action, explosions, relationships, which I think pretty much covers all aspects.

Ideas on how to approach doing a promo will usually come to me while I’m watching an episode. I take lots of detailed notes on dialogue and shots that I like. For “Fringe” alone I’ve taken around 2000 pages of notes. Notes make things move faster during an edit session because it’s easier to find what you need.

During most of my career I’ve never really had an occasion to ask fans of a show what they’d like to see in a promo / trailer. Twitter provided the perfect opportunity to learn what fans thought about how a favorite show is being sold to them. I asked fans questions when I was working on “Fringe” and the responses were very helpful. The music we used in the final “Fringe” promos was suggested by a fan. Fox has always been a leader in embracing new technology. Twitter is a wonderful tool for promotion and linking fans together and with “Fringe” it really showed. There are some AMAZING “Fringe” fans in the Twitter-verse and I am still awed by what they were able to pull off.


(Fringe Promo–Thanks @NataliaQuique)

I think that in some aspects part of your job is sales. You have to sell a show in a very specific short period of time. I think it is very reminiscent of commercials for products except people are usually flipping through commercials on their DVRs. Would I be right to think that while flipping through these commercials they have to see this preview of an episode and want to stop and look at it before they continue flipping through the products to get back to their show? If so, that’s pressure!

Television promos and trailers can be considered an art form but in the end yes, you are selling something. Promo producers are acutely aware that viewers are very adept at wielding the DVR remote. I try to have at least one shot in whatever promo I’m producing that will entice a viewer to stop fast-forwarding through a commercial break and rewind the DVR to watch the entire promo. Sometimes a few frames of a promo will be all you have to promote a show so you’ve got to really think about what you’re putting on the screen. It has to be interesting. It has to be compelling because most everyone is an expert at watching television and people know when you’re messing with them. The audience knows when you’re not being honest. They may not be able to quantify exactly why something in a promo or trailer isn’t quite right but they know something’s wrong. Make sense?

Alcatraz Promo

Have there ever been moments where after a piece airs you feel you could have done things a little differently, or is there no second guessing yourself in this line of work?

Yeah, I have thought of better ways to do a promo after the fact. Sure, there are a times when I feel that I absolutely nailed it but they’re rare. Given time you can find a million different ways to make a promo so there is some second guessing, I suppose.

I remember a particular promo I did for “The X Files” that had a shot in it that I thought was really cool. I didn’t stop to consider that younger viewers might be frightened by this shot. It was just a cool creepy shot to me. So the promo aired and I got a few irate e-mails from some parents who didn’t appreciate having to explain the “coolness” of this particular shot I’d used to their children. They were right. I learned from that mistake and don’t think I’ve ever repeated it.
Second guessing has its merits the trick is to do your second guessing before the promo airs.

With all the changes coming so rapidly in the way people view television, do you have any thoughts about the future for promotional clips?

Yes, things are changing fast in the world of television viewing. I think the future of what a promo will look like and how it will be viewed will evolve depending on one thing and that is when a viewer records a show on a DVR or streams it off the internet, will that viewer be able to fast-forward through promos. We all know that right now if you record a show on DVR, you can blaze through anything by fast-forwarding. Will that continue to be possible? We’re already starting to see disabled fast-forwarding in video on demand and streaming. Will that extend into all viewing options? Only time will tell.

Regardless of what happens, my personal philosophy regarding promos is this: Most everyone who watches television is an expert at watching television. Even if they can’t quantify why what they’re watching promo wise feels wrong or out of place, they will know something is not right. Viewers know when they’re being messed with because they’re experts at watching television. So, if you’re viewing a recorded show and a promo begins to play, that promo had better somehow grab your attention from the first frame and be compelling enough so that you don’t fast forward through it, you just have to watch it. It’s as simple and complex as that.

The future of promos will be interesting. I suspect there will be many new options explored for enticing viewers to watch new shows as well as established ones. Ten years from now who knows what the promo world will look like? It’s certainly changed a lot in the last ten years. One of the most exciting things to me is fan participation. It’s amazing to see fans up-loading promos of their favorite shows to the internet and sharing them with others or creating their own fan made pieces. It’s really cool. When fans get involved in this way, great things happen and as a promo producer, it’s really a lot of fun to watch!

Bart next to the Headless Horseman costume from Sleepy Hollow

Bart next to the Headless Horseman costume from Sleepy Hollow

I’d like to thank Bart for being SO generous with his time and his answers and to @NataliaQuique for being the ultimate uber-Bart-fan who gave me an idea and a push in the right direction.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know him better.  I sure did!





Celebrity Corner: Bart Montgomery: Promotional Wizard (Part 1)

1 11 2013

For a brief period of time from August 2008 until November of 2008 I had the tremendous opportunity to be part of a live newscast for Fox 26 Houston for a segment once a week called “Your Family Matters.” Other women within the community were also invited. While I was not on every week, because I had a unique perspective of being a mother of a child with a disability or politically because of my no-party affiliation, I was often selected for a particular topic as part of a group. I was captivated by all the elements that went into a production of a newscast. Every job is important. About the same time, I found a blog by Joseph Mallozzi who was an executive producer and writer on the series Stargate. Oftentimes he would feature a Q&A of different people working on the show. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more of all the elements that went in to creating a popular series. Occasionally I get a chance to ask questions of people working on a show. Occasionally they graciously indulge my request for an interview. What I am learning is that their stories are far more fascinating.

One such person is Bart Montgomery. Many of us on Twitter got to know him as the man behind the promotional pieces for Fringe on Fox Broadcasting. He became a rock star to us (although the modest man he is, I imagine that he would blush that I have said that). I wanted to know more about his career and how he makes certain decisions that lead him to create the videos that lead the viewer to decide whether or not it is something they might want to view. The answers were so terrific that I had to break this up into two parts. Here is the first of two. Enjoy!

What is your official title at Fox?

Senior Writer/Producer, Fox On-Air Promo Creative.

How long have you been with Fox?

I’ve been with Fox for 16 years, first from 1990 – 1999 then from 2006 to present.

BartsEditBay

Where the magic happens!

How did you get into this particular field of work? Was it something you studied for in college, or something that you got on-the-job experience? If you didn’t study for this particular field in college, what was your major?

I studied Film and Television production at the University of Missouri-Columbia. There isn’t a university level course that I know of that deals with producing television promos. It’s kind of a specialized thing that you learn on the job. I mean, you can learn the basics of television and film production in college and that will help you in promo work but in my university experience, I never studied anything as detailed as promo or trailer production.

To tell the truth, I kind of fell into producing promos by chance. I had moved out to Los Angeles to get into the film and television business in some capacity. I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet but just wanted to get involved. Unfortunately I arrived in L.A. during a writer’s strike so there was no work to be had. Every show and film set was shut down. After a couple of weeks looking for work, a friend of mine from college who was living in Florida and knew I was looking, told me that a friend of hers in Florida had a sister who was working at a promo / trailer production company in Hollywood. She told me that I should contact her friend’s sister so I did. I met her the next day and she hired me on the spot for the high profile job of runner / tape librarian. I had a masters degree and I was running around Hollywood picking up and delivering video tapes. Exciting huh? It does prove, however, that when it comes to getting a job in Hollywood, it IS who you know.
After several months working as a “runner” I was delivering tapes to an edit session for one of the company owners, a man named Geoff Calnan, who is a legend in the promo business. I kid you not, he is a promo master and anyone reading this has seen his work. I had dropped off the videotapes that were needed for the session and Geoff turns to me and asks me what I wanted to do in the company. Without thinking I replied, “I want to do what you do, produce promos and trailers.” I remember he looked at me for a moment and said, “Okay, you’re doing the next promo for “Superboy.” “Superboy” was a syndicated show that we had the promo contract for at the time. So, that was the first show I ever produced a promo for and it launched my career. I’ve even found some of my “Superboy” promos on YouTube— Go figure.

You do/have done the previews for episodes like The Following, Sleepy Hollow, Fringe, Almost Human, Touch, and X-Files. What are some other shows?

Well, in addition to the shows you’ve listed, I can give you a short overview. I’ve produced promos for “America’s Most Wanted” “Beverly Hills 90210” “The Simpsons” “Married with Children” “Millenium” “Harsh Realm” “24” “Family Guy” “Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles” to name a few.

Is it a team effort to produce the one preview or do you work on a particular project/episode by yourself while others are working on other episodes?

Usually each producer is assigned a show to write and produce promos for. Sometimes, especially when a show is first launched on the network, several producers will be assigned to produce multiple launch promos. But, most of the time, there is a single producer for each show.

Fox is a very creative place to work. They give you a lot of freedom to try different approaches. I’m biased of course but I think Fox is the best network on television and I’m proud to work here. There, I said it.


(Space Above And Beyond within a commercial block)

Do you get to choose the music for a particular preview? If so you must have to listen to quite a variety and be very knowledgeable about current trends. Do you hear something and think, “That would be great for such-and-such show” or do you file it away for a different time in the future?

Yes, as a producer I usually select the music for the promos. There are times when someone at a higher level will have a specific music idea or there may be a new music track being offered at a reduced rate by an established band looking for exposure that we’ll use but most of the time it’s me listening to various production music libraries. I’m always listening to current popular music tracks looking for ways to use songs that that I think would be good for a show I’m working on. More often than not, I’ll find something really good that I’ll file away in my mind for possible use later. I remember listening to Pandora one morning on the way to work and hearing a song by the band Collide called “Am I Here? I just had to use it and it became the track I used for the “Fringe” Season 4 launch promos so sometimes it’s just pure luck that you find exactly what you need musically. I’ve used music from Trent Reznor to Johnny Cash and everything in between. One band I’m dying to use in a promo / trailer is Garbage, just haven’t found the right situation yet.

(Come back for Part 2 in the next day or so.  The best is yet to come!)





Old Favorites Returning in 24: Live Another Day

6 10 2013

Kim Raver and William Devane will reunite with award-winning star Kiefer Sutherland when they reprise their respective daughter-father roles as AUDREY RAINES and JAMES HELLER on the thrilling new event series 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY, premiering Spring 2014 on FOX.24LiveAnotherDay

Both joined the original “24” in Season Four (2005). Devane served as Secretary of Defense JAMES HELLER and the father to Raver’s character, AUDREY RAINES, a committed and passionate woman with a tragic past, who fell in love with JACK BAUER (Sutherland). They were both last seen in the final scenes of Season Six, when Jack said goodbye to a catatonic Audrey.

Raver and Devane’s reprisals add to the previously announced return of Mary Lynn Rajskub as CHLOE O’BRIAN, Bauer’s quirky CTU confidante. Raver, known for her roles on “Third Watch,” “The Nine” and “Lipstick Jungle,” was most recently featured on the network series “Revolution” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Devane, best known for his villainous role on “Knots Landing,” recently played the U.S. President in the feature film “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Restarting the groundbreaking and Emmy Award-winning drama franchise, 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY will be set in London and will follow the further exploits of Bauer, taking up his story four years after the events of “24’s” final season. Once again, viewers will join the heroic agent on a pulse-pounding ride in real time.

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY is a production of Teakwood Lane Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television. Howard Gordon, Evan Katz, Manny Coto, David Fury, Robert Cochran, Brian Grazer, Jon Cassar and Kiefer Sutherland will executive-produce. The original series, which had its last American broadcast on May 24, 2010, was created by Joel Surnow and Cochran.

(Via Press Release)





24: Live Another Day

3 10 2013

LONDON CALLING JACK BAUER!!!  24LiveAnotherDay

NEW ACTION-PACKED EVENT SERIES “24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY”
TAKES JACK BAUER TO ENGLAND FOR 12 ACTION-PACKED EPISODES

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY Marks the First “24” Production to Film Abroad
Since 2008 Telefilm “24: Redemption”

Twentieth Century Fox Television, Imagine Television and FOX are sending the production of 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY across the Atlantic to London for a thrilling international adventure, as the new tent-pole event series restarts the clock on the groundbreaking and Emmy Award-winning drama franchise starring Kiefer Sutherland. As previously announced, 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY will make its historic debut in the summer of 2014 on FOX.

“‘24’ has always had such a global sensibility,” said Sutherland, who also serves as an executive producer on the event series. “But to be able to tell this intense ‘24’-style story with the beauty of Europe’s history and architecture as the backdrop is going to be fascinating. Hopefully, by the time you’re finished watching an episode, you’ll feel like you’ve been there…on the edge of your seat.”

Co-showrunner and executive producer Evan Katz added, “We wanted the show’s return to be an event, and part of that was putting Jack in a very different context. Four years ago, we left Jack a fugitive from justice and we’re going to pick him up four years later in London.”

Co-showrunner and executive producer Manny Coto continued, “Jack is soon back on the run and it takes us into the streets of London and in places that break new ground for the show. We’ve shot in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Cape Town — but now we’re in London and Jack’s loose on the streets of Europe, hunted by and hunting bad guys.”

Originally premiering November 6, 2001, “24” was nominated for a total of 73 Emmy Awards, winning for Outstanding Drama Series in 2006. Over the course of eight seasons, and a two-hour telefilm, Sutherland garnered seven Emmy Award nominations and one win for Outstanding Lead Actor – Drama Series. While the series gained global recognition, Sutherland’s portrayal of the legendary character penetrated the American psyche like no other dramatic television character to become part of the cultural lexicon.

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY is a production of 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television in association with Teakwood Lane Productions. Howard Gordon, Brian Grazer and Kiefer Sutherland will executive produce, along with an additional team to be announced. The original series, which had its last American broadcast on May 24, 2010, was created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran.

(Via Press Release)





“24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY” On FOX

13 05 2013

NEW ACTION-PACKED EVENT SERIES “24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY”
TO RESTART ICONIC CLOCK IN SUMMER 2014 ON FOX

Kiefer Sutherland to Return as JACK BAUER in New Event Series
Produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Imagine Television and Howard Gordon’s Teakwood Lane Productions

(Press Release) FOX has ordered 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY, a thrilling new tent-pole event series set to restart the clock on the groundbreaking and Emmy Award-winning drama franchise starring Kiefer Sutherland. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Imagine Television and Howard Gordon’s Teakwood Lane Productions, 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY will make its historic debut in the summer of 2014 on FOX.

The announcement was made this morning by Kevin Reilly, Chairman, Fox Broadcasting Company; Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen, Twentieth Century Fox Television; and Brian Grazer, Chairman, Imagine Entertainment.

The high-octane saga will reunite showrunner Howard Gordon with Sutherland and retain the real-time, pulse-pounding, fast-paced format with split screens and complex interweaving storylines, with 12 episodes representing 24 hours. The suspenseful event series once again follows the exploits of heroic agent JACK BAUER (Sutherland), who will resume his story several years following the events of the final season.

“It’s great to have Jack back. ‘24’ redefined the drama genre, and as we reimagine the television miniseries, this iconic show will again break new ground for the network,” said Reilly. “The series remains a global sensation, and everyone at FOX is thrilled to be back at work with Kiefer, Howard and the incredibly creative ‘24’ team.”

“When Howard came to us saying he had an idea for a new chapter of ‘24,’ he quite simply had us at ‘hello,’” remarked 20th Century Fox Television Chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden. “’24’ is a signature series for this studio, beloved by critics and audiences worldwide. Howard’s idea to revive the franchise as an event series couldn’t be timelier, and with the brilliant Kiefer Sutherland on board to reprise his iconic role, we can’t wait to get started.”

Added Imagine Television Chairman Brian Grazer, “I’m both excited and proud that Howard, Kiefer, and I, along with ours partners at 20th and Fox, have this new opportunity to give ‘24’ fans what they’ve been asking for – more Jack Bauer. It’s been my experience that people love Jack Bauer because he’s a guy who cuts through the red tape and gets the hardest things done. I am certain 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY will again have a huge impact on our culture.”
“The response to ‘24’ is unlike anything I have ever experienced as an actor before,” noted Sutherland. “To have the chance to reunite with the character, Jack Bauer, is like finding a lost friend. The story ideas from Howard Gordon are exciting and fresh, and will not disappoint. Great thanks to 20th Century Fox Television, Imagine Television and the FOX network for this opportunity. Make no mistake, my goal is to knock your socks off. See you soon.”

“Jack Bauer has always been an exciting, thrilling character, and I confess that I’ve missed him. I think the audience has too,” said executive producer Howard Gordon who served as showrunner for most of the series’ run and won multiple Emmy Awards for his work. “The character has evolved through the years, and this new and exciting event series format is perfect to tell the next chapter of his story and continue to reflect how the world is changing. Fans can rest assured that the Jack they know and love will be back.”

Originally premiering November 6, 2001, ‘24’ was nominated for a total of 73 Emmy Awards, winning for Outstanding Drama Series in 2006. Over eight seasons, Kiefer Sutherland garnered seven Emmy Award nominations and one win for Outstanding Lead Actor – Drama Series. While the series gained global recognition, Sutherland’s portrayal of the legendary character penetrated the American psyche like no other dramatic television character to become part of the cultural lexicon.

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY is a production of 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television in association with Teakwood Lane Productions. Howard Gordon, Brian Grazer and Kiefer Sutherland will executive produce, along with an additional team to be announced. The original series, which had its last American broadcast on May 24, 2010, was created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran.

(Source: Press Release From Fox Broadcasting)





Series Finale for Touch on Fox

11 05 2013

On Thursday, May 9, 2013, Fox Broadcasting confirmed what we all had been expecting: Touch would not receive a season 3 renewal. Friday, May 10, 2013 would be the series finale.

I think we could see the writing on the wall from the beginning of season 2. It was supposed to be aired in October 2012. Then it got bumped to January of 2013. Then it was pushed to Friday, February 1, 2013. Then it was changed to Friday, February 8, 2013. People in the science fiction community believe the Friday night slot is the place where shows go to get the final nail in the coffin. It was true for Fringe.

There was very sparse advertising for the show’s premiere. The shows the network had more faith in, like The Following, The Mindy Project, Ben and Kate, and New Girl got far more advertising both on-air and with the use of social media.

The first season struggled. Although 12 million viewers tuned in to watch it on Monday, a sweet day in the past for Kiefer Sutherland when he was on “24”, viewership quickly declined and it was moved to Thursday night after Idol, hoping to give it an American Idol bump. Fringe had that same progression. Monday to Thursday to Friday. For years now, people have been critical of the antiquated Nielsen structure to determine number of viewers and to target 18- to 49-year-old men. As a woman, that is really insulting to me. I have as much buying power as my husband, if not more. People have new viewing habits. The days of an actual TV in a home are limited as people go to the internet to watch TV shows now. But the methods advertisers base their rates are still built on the old model. In February, it was reported that Nielsen was going to roll out a new system. It would include people who watch over broadband, XBox, Playstation. Then next phase of the program would include any type of video viewing. It is also adding a new viewing measurement for social media to include people participating in tweeting and those exposed to those tweets (I am thinking this sounds similar to Klout). But it is too late for many of our cult favorites. Fringe would have benefited greatly from the massive fan support on social media.

The story also struggled. The biggest mistake was calling Jake autistic. After the first episode, many of my friends tuned out, turned off by the unrealistic portrayal by Hollywood AGAIN of their beloved children. At first, the show was about finding people who were hurting and help restoring happiness and wholeness to their lives. Shows are often a reflection of the times we live in. I think this is why The Following has had tremendous success–it is a very dark show. Then mid-season, Touch started building into it a mythos that sounded promising but moved a little bit too slow for an audience who needs to be on the edge of their seat an entire show to go out and convert others to watch it. When season 2 was introduced, people who gave up by the end of season 1 did not care to tune back in to see all the wonderful changes that were made. The story pace was quicker. It was building the mythos quicker, resolving things (like finding Amelia) in a timely manner, introducing an element of evil vs. good in the plot. Without a massive campaign saying, “Come try the show out again.”

Shows struggle in their first year to find their footing. I know this is true of Stargate Universe. It came from a franchise that had phenomenal fans and a lengthy history of good ratings, 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, 5 years of Stargate Atlantis, 2 Stargate DVD movies. With the success of Battlestar Galactica, they wanted to try a storyline they had really wished to pursue on Stargate Atlantis but could not–the heroes were trapped without any way to contact Earth or the original SG-1 team for help. By the end of season 1, Stargate Atlantis knew it needed to connect back to Earth. In Stargate Universe, they used a unique way to do this. There was an active campaign from within the Stargate community to boycott the show and point out all the flaws. Free speech still governs our society and they had the complete freedom to express their opinion. Whether it played as a factor in the ultimate demise of Stargate Universe remains unclear. I do know season 2 of Stargate Universe was better than season 1. Season 2 of Touch was better than season 1.

I was concerned for the finale. In the last episode, Amelia and Jake had been kidnapped after Martin’s car was hit. Would we have a finale where someone’s life hung in the balance, and the viewers would not have resolved whether or not a character would live or die? Would they be endings that would leave us at peace? Would the people in season 2 who were evil or sometimes evil and sometimes good receive justice? Would a new threat be introduced? Would Avram be found or locked away somewhere that we will never know if he is freed?

After watching the show, I have a feeling Tim Kring saw the possibility that this show would not get a season 3, and he decided to write the final episode, giving emotionally invested fans a story to leave in peace. He gave us just that. And the ending was a sweet acknowledgement of the first episode with the same narratives. I did cry at the end. However, it was not like the finale of Farscape where I was so disgusted with the abrupt cancellation and the inability of the writers to give fans a proper ending that I talked about it for years and, in fact, boycotted the network (in my narcissistic narrow world, I thought it would matter) for years, missing out on Stargate SG-1 for quite awhile.

Coming on the heels of hearing of Touch’s demise was the immediate rumors that Fox Broadcasting is now in talks with Kiefer Sutherland about reviving “24” in a “limited fashion.” Some on the internet think it might be a 13-episode series. Some think it might be the movie he was hoping for. For others, they are speculating that a miniseries might work. With the number 13 episodes, I now wonder if they plan for this to be tied in with The Following next year given its phenomenal ratings as that would be about the number of episodes. The first episode could give us background for the new story and then the episodes could still be in a full-day fashion with each episode being: “The following takes place between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.” which would be more realistic in Los Angeles or New York traveling times (or wherever they plan for it to take place). Twelve episodes of 2-hour increments would give us “24”.

And so it goes….another well-written show that goes into our history. I want to thank the cast and crew for producing a type of show I was craving, something I cared deeply about. But in the end, thank you for giving us a happy ending.

TouchbutterflyThankYou





TOUCH (S2E4) Enemy of My Enemy Recap

23 02 2013

TouchLogo4“For the purpose of travels, both inward and outward, is not merely to see the unseen but to bring those wishes home, to share with those we love.” The magic number tonight is 1075! Stars and the color red are embedded heavily throughout the episode.  Some of my commentary is embedded in bold italics within the recap.

Lucy (Maria Bello) gets boxes from her husband sent to PO Box 457, tracking number 1Z14785, NJ–1075–CA. [I tried the QR code but it was not valid (sad face). What would have been infinitely MORE interesting would have been for it to lead to fox.com/touch or something else really cool like hidden bonus features for the episode.]

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Lucy encourages Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) to send Jake (David Mazouz) to school where Soleil Friedman (Isabella Acres) goes. Jake pulls out a picture of a birthday party with Lucy and Amelia (Saxon Sharbino). Guillermo (Said Taghmaoui) is lurking in the background, but they don’t know who this man really is yet.

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Martin gets a text to meet at Lebanon Street off 6th, at 10 a.m. with presumably Calvin. Martin meets with Trevor (Greg Ellis). He wants Calvin (Lukas Haas) to think he is a reporter. Martin needs a cover backstory and Trevor needs a reporter of Martin’s caliber. Martin accepts.

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At the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, it is 64.9 km to Peer Kalay, 207 to Kabul and 568 to Kandahar. Mallory Cane (Audrey Marie Anderson) tells her husband (Mackenzie Astin) on the phone that she thinks her hotel room phone has been tapped. The border guards take her into custody as her husband listens. The green flag is shown [it has a star on it]. The guard has a red circle that looks like the pattern Jake sees also like the QR code on Lucy’s package.

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The color red is back! Jake has a red and gray striped shirt. Lucy’s tablet is red. Jake is drawing a pattern on a napkin of an oval with a circle in the middle, actually looks like a spaceship. There is a woman walking in the background with a red dress. [I know the picture I’m clipping looks like the umbrellas are orange, but I think that is just the quality of my picture; it was red when it aired.]

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Jake hands it to a woman sitting near them (Patricia Rae). It makes the woman upset and she tries to give it back to Jake. Lucy asks her if she knows Amelia. The woman does not respond to the question and Jake hands her purse to her, not before lifting an envelope from it. It is addressed to Seaman Vicente Corliss, Bldg 1075 Port Hueneme Naval Base, Port Hueneme, CA. When Lucy sees the number matches her box, she opens it. It contains cash and a picture of a man who looks like Guillermo. The letter says, “You must find him. I no longer can.” The note looks like a suicide letter from someone to Vicente. Lucy is boiling water in a red kettle to open the envelope with the steam.

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A limo pulls up for Martin and he gets in.

Jake narrates: “From the smallest amoeba to the grandest of galaxies, we define ourselves by our borders. I am me; therefore I am not you. We are safe within our territory, but borders can be places of instability, of danger. Cold fronts collide with warm; dynamic energy explodes. Yet it’s at the edges, the frontiers between us, where ideas are exchanged, where knowledge is gained. I am me but I must push past my borders if I am ever truly to know you.”

The woman looks for something on a map. Amelia draws tides in the Arabian Sea and labels Pakistan. There are red numbers on the map. She has a box decorated with butterflies [a few of them red].

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Martin meets Calvin who is firing a gun at a range. He remembers Martin from the elevator. Martin says he believes Aster Corps is involved with criminal activity such as murder and kidnapping. Calvin says that the average person is lied to up to 200 times per day. Despite hating guns, Martin has some pretty awesome aim. Calvin approves.

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Mallory is wearing a red scarf as she is escorted to prison. The guard thinks she is a spy but she tells him she is in sales.

The book at Amelia’s house is “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Frances (Linda Gehringer) says, “Today won’t be a workday; it’s a chance to get to know each other.” Amelia is speed reading.

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Back in the limo, Calvin directs Martin to building “J” , top floor, room 1075. He will need a red-level pass card. Mallory Cane has one. Calvin wants Martin to find her. He believes she can be persuaded to give him her card. Apparently Calvin wants his research back [or so he says].

At the naval base, Lucy and Jake meet with Vicente (Alex Ruiz). His aunt wrote the note. “So you’ve been out of touch?”. [Cute line]. The portrait is of the man who killed Vicente’s mother 4 years ago by slicing her throat. [Yep. That sounds like our Guillermo.] Aunt Sofia and his mom, Claudia Corliss, were identical twins. His mother was a savant astronomer with amazing insight who did not talk much either. [Star reference there.] She predicted the trajectory of the Corliss Comet. The picture that Jake drew was the path of the comet. He asks them to find his aunt. The Corliss Comet has a cycle of 122 years but it can be viewed that evening. Lucy theorizes that Sofia will wait to see that before she tries to kill herself.

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Frances gets out a red board game called Tokeekol [not a real game name]. Amelia talks about the book, about “not understanding a person until you see their point of view.” It’s on page 177, 12 lines from the bottom. Amelia moves her piece then rolls the red dice (which match, number 9). The woman asks her if she knows what she’ll roll next. Amelia moves the woman’s piece 2 moves; the woman rolls snake eyes. Amelia sees herself winning the entire game.

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Mallory meets with a man who threatens she’ll be sent to Bannu prison if she is not honest.

Martin goes to Mallory’s house. Her husband tries to choke him. She has been working on a program called T1 security program that Aster Corps sold to Pakistan. She found a flaw. Innocent people would be hurt. She threatened to go public when her supervisor did not act. Martin finds a file called the Fibonacci Project. He also finds a file for a bill to Stanford House on patient Adeline Danvers. And something called The Danvers Project. There is an expense memo for August 25-28 for meals, hotel and transport for a total of 800.27. He sees a dental bill for a “cavity fill with cap”. [I wonder if she has some kind of implant.] That was the cover name for Amelia. Martin thinks she is being hidden, that Aster Corps does not know where she is because the money trail ends 3 weeks prior.

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At BreakWire, Jake is trying to call locally 1-323-78 to 1-310-64. The principal of Soleil’s school (Patricia Bethune) calls Martin. Jake made the connection between the two of them. School starts at 8:50 and Jake wants to go.

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T1’s sole purpose was to profile terrorists. The web says too many innocent people are being snagged. Calvin helped design it. Aster Corps is using it to set her up. Calvin is going to jam the program to give them time for her to be released but he needs a connection in Pakistan and Martin can help there–a man in LA named Nazim Farzat (Sanjay Chandani). It is the man who picks up Lucy and Sofia on the highway to bring them back to Lucy’s car in a later scene.

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Lucy goes to the Astraeus Society’s observatory. The comet viewing was cancelled because of cloud cover.

Jake is typing 1075 repetitively on the laptop. Amelia is writing the same number on her map. Lucy knocks Sofia out of the way at mile marker 1075. She says she should have been killed not her sister [which makes me immediately think she is Claudia and not Sofia since they were identical.]

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[Nope I was wrong.] Sofia met Guillermo at her bar and invited him home. Guillermo became violent and tried to kill her. Sofia stuck him in the side of the neck with sewing scissors, but he killed Claudia and walked out the door with the scissors still stuck in his neck. Lucy explains that this guy thought Sofia was Claudia.

The guards throw Mallory out with her Aster Corps ID badge and bags.

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When dropping Jake off, he goes into the lengthy detail about what Jake likes and does not. Soleil is very excited to see Jake.

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“We cross borders; we explore new frontiers, frontiers of the heart, frontiers of the soul. And if we’re lucky, we go home again having learned great lessons of our shared destiny. For the purpose of travels, both inward and outward, is not merely to see the unseen but to bring those wishes home, to share with those we love.”

Mallory goes home.

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Sofia reunites with Vicente.

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Lucy asks Martin if he can trust Calvin. Calvin confirms Mallory is home. He uses an access code pad and thumb-print scanner [Really? No retinal scanner?] to get into the house where he has Amelia. The code is 500# [a star instead of a pound sign would have been really cool here]. Amelia’s caregiver is Calvin’s mother! So that is what she meant about having to “go underground” in the episode “Closer”. He asks Amelia if she is ready to do some work and says, “How’s my girl today?” [I am thoroughly creeped out by this.]

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Back at the house, Lucy recognizes Guillermo in the picture from 3-1/2 years ago at a park in New Jersey. She shows Martin the scar. She wants to know why he’s standing behind her daughter 6 months after he killed someone just like Amelia. Which leads us to episode 4 of season 2.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

See my individual comments to scenes in brackets above. The color red returns. Why red? In Chinese culture, it signifies good fortune and joy. Stars take on more significance. “To Kill A Mockingbird” was the perfect choice for a book. The symbolism in the book of the mockingbird is someone who is innocent and kind but is persecuted. I did an English paper back in grade school on this topic. Clearly, the mockingbirds in TOUCH are the 36 Righteous Ones. It is still unclear if Calvin is a good guy or bad guy or somewhere in between. Why did Guillermo not kill Amelia? Was she still on the path of righteousness and he moved on to another person?





TOUCH (S2E1) “Event Horizon” Recap

12 02 2013

“There are infinite ways to communicate.”

And so begins season 2 of TOUCH. After meeting Amelia’s mom, Lucy, (Maria Bello) at the pier at the end of season 1, Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) and Jake (David Mazouz) begin a new adventure: The Search for Amelia (Saxon Sharbino). Guillermo (Said Taghmaoui), a shadowy figure, kisses the tree of life, a pendant around his neck.

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Martin gets Lucy up to speed. Jake plays with the crystal paperweight he got from his aunt in New York, the aunt who works for the evil Aster Corps. Jake looks at the map of the area. Martin tells Lucy Aster Corps staged Amelia’s death.

Jake stops Lucy to look at his notebook that shows the numbers 24, the next numbers in the sequence. The paperweight lights the spot on the map; 24 is translated also as 2-D.

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Once at the spot, Jake jumps out of the car and Martin and Lucy follow as Martin says, “Welcome to my world.” They see the hotel sign pointing to room 2-D. The man behind the door is told they are looking for someone. Then they hear a young girl scream who takes the opportunity to jump out of the window. After a scuffle, the guy runs out of the room. He gets into the car, license plate 9NBW742.

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Martin urges caution to Lucy and convinces her to do things his way. A journalist friend in Los Angeles can help them.

Guillermo is searching for a musician named Frederick LeMay. According to Guillermo, “Some same it’s like hearing the voice of angels” but he never wrote another. The waiter admires his pendant who Guillermo says is “perfection of the universe.” “Each has their own path to God, destiny preordained. It’s a mortal sin to deny it.” The waiter (Anthony Debaeck) is creeped out, especially when Guillermo admires his attire.

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At Aster Corps, Calvin Norburg (Lukas Haas) is having a meltdown. He, too, has the next sequence in the Amelia equation. He wants out of the project and asks his friend, Tony (Adam Campbell) to help him get out of his contract. Calvin tells him that eventually the number will wrap around to the beginning. “This is the God sequence. It’s going to change humanity forever.” He cannot let Aster Corps have it.

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Martin’s friend, Trevor (Greg Ellis), started a news organization similar to Huffington Post called “BreakWire.” Ruben Santiago (Ray Santiago) is their resident hacker who traced the license plate to a private investigator (Kirk B. R. Woller). The PI deposited cash into his bank account the same day he had an appointment with Lawrence J. Pearl (John Prosky), senior partner, of Lesser, Rasmussen and Howe, whose primary client is Aster Corps.

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Frederick LeMay (Ray Proscia) is making bread. Guillermo turns the sign to “closed” and locks the door. Bread of Life: Meet the Tree of Life. Guillermo puts on the vinyl album. Frederick says from time to time people find him. Guillermo is not just seeking his autograph! He tells Frederick he has quit on God. Time to snuff him out: “You are in HIS way.” After giving him a cut that is similar to Guillermo’s neck wound, he says to a dying Frederick: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” At the moment of Frederick’s death, Jake lets out a gasp.

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Jake passes the time playing video games and lands on 5227 every time. Meanwhile Trevor and Lucy play ping pong as Lucy gets background on Martin.

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Meanwhile, Martin heads to the building where Pearl is to plant a sniffer program for Ruben, posing as a worker and heads to office # 5227. Norburg and Tony ever the elevator with Martin to meet with the law firm.

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Norburg cannot get out of his contract. Pearl takes a call out in the hallway saying, “You LOST HER?” Martin and Pearl run into each other as Pearl heads back to his office to get a file and Martin is leaving his office. Martin knocks him over and bolts, just missing the elevator down with Calvin and Tony. As Martin passes the car they are in, Calvin opens the door and knocks out the security guy, ensuring Martin’s escape.

Guillermo discovers the sheet music and starts writing numbers for the notes, which, of course, are the God sequence.

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Santiago finds lots of great information, including an address that Lucy connects to Jake’s scores on all the video machines, a place where they might find Amelia, 5227 Lindera, zip code 90046 [not a real address–bummer].

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It leads to a crack house and find someone who they think is Amelia. Jakes come into the building. The PI hits Martin. Lucy and the PI search the house. “What is it with you people?” Martin knocks him out. This is not Amelia. While walking outside, Jake drops her backpack and a map falls out. Nicole (Madison Leisle) tells them some girl gave her the backpack near the pier (Amelia). Pearl apparently is her real father. Lucy makes her call home.

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Norburg loses it as a stakeholder’s meeting. He says they are using this algorithm to program machines to be smarter than people. Then these machines will create new machines who are more intelligent than them. The human brain will become obsolete. It will be a “dystopian nightmare” brought to you by Aster Corps. “Evolution of the species in numerical form.” Tony tells him to prepare for the mother of all lawsuits, but someone in the audience is intrigued. Vikash Nayar (Dileep Rao) approaches. He has money, something Calvin needs, and no questions asked.

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Guillermo is in a cab and when it jerks, pictures fall out of it, including one of Jake. Jake now has targets on his back, Aster Corps and Guillermo.

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At the beach, Jake finds a knight chess piece after running and creating a circle in the sand.

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The pattern resembles the tides and the scene shifts over to Amelia who sits at a table. IN WALKS NORBURG who says he heard she went to the beach that day. He tells her, “Your parents gave you away.” A knight piece is missing from her chess set. She is communicating with Jake!

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Avram’s cousin (Harvey J. Alperin) gives Martin, Lucy and Jake a nice place to stay. Lucy says to Martin, “Nine hours and we’re already leaving together.” A record even for her.

Martin gets a call from Santiago. He discovered a death certificate on Jake, with the date issued blank, that says, “Injuries sustained in a car crash with 1 other fatality, his father, Martin Bohm. Funeral home is undisclosed. The certificate number is S0195520 (not sure if that is significant, but wrote it down anyway).

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MY COMMENTS

I like the new changes. There are easter eggs if you look for them. An “aster” in biology is “a cellular structure shaped like a star, formed around each centrosome during mitosis.”  If you look closely, you can see the star references. Another example is on Ruben’s desk. One of the puzzle toys on his desk are like Dr. Teller’s, the ones the boarding house tested Jake, the shape that is identical to the crystal he carries. Also, Ruben is using a screensaver on his computer that is full of stars. There are two stars that are on either side of the address at 5227 Lindera. That swirl pattern is in the gate of the crack house. The star of David on the door to Avram’s cousin’s house.

Jake needed out of the boarding house and to be with Martin as they find more pieces to the puzzle. A Los Angeles shoot provides them with access to more diverse scenery. At this point we are unsure of Calvin Norburg’s true intentions. My gut tells me that Amelia may have been feeding him the sequence and his math skills are what they appear. I 100% believe that Guillermo thinks he is doing God’s work and that is totally creepy. It adds an element of evil and explores the world of religious zealots. Going off the grid will be difficult for Martin. While Clea (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was a great character to play off, it was something that was getting stale. Lucy and Martin understand each other and complement each other. There is potential for romance between them. Instead of having the “A” plot and “B” plot and Martin never seeing the connection between them, it looks, so far, as if the “A” plot and “B” plot have individualized stories that will eventually meet somewhere down the road. Season 1 was about Martin helping individuals reconnect while discovering what the danger was underneath. The wound Guillermo is creating on the 36 Righteous Ones is similar to the one on his own neck, so I am eager to see this episode with his backstory. This year the danger is brought to the forefront which propels the story forward.