Let's take last night's Heroes first as we work our way around the television landscape. Last week I was disappointed with the episode, little happened, little seemed to even be set up. It was not bad, it just seemed like a waste of a chapter. Yesterday however, I feel as though the previous week's sins were atoned for. The Peter story got moving as did Hiro's time travel trip to see Kensei, Parkman's investigation, and Claire's life. Happy days are here again.
For a moment though, what I'd like to focus on is Claire's cutting off her toe in order to see if it would regenerate. Why, I beg of you, did she not use a nice sharp object in order to make the slicing of the little pig that went wee-wee-wee all the way home less painful? Was it really necessary to use a pair of old scissors. Surely Henckels or Wüsthof make a toe-slicing knife?
Then, Hiro. While it was fun to see him freeze time to beat the samurai, did it all feel a little too Back to the Future, not that particular action, but the plot in general? His acting on behalf of someone else to earn the love of a girl for the other person while floating around in past. I know that the particulars were different but every time I saw him in the past I thought about Marty McFly. I even associated the samurai outfit he stole from Kensei with the radiation suit Marty wore when he tried to convince George to take Lorraine to the dance (“Silence Earthling! My name is Darth Vader. I am an extraterrestrial from the planet Vulcan!”). Sure, the Heroes stuff looked different and was still fun, but it had that sense of déjà vu to it.
I feel the exact same way about last night's Chuck episode. Virtually every single plot point in the show has been done elsewhere numerous times before. Yet, Chuck was able to rehash the same old plot points in a new, and funny way. For instance, when Chuck had to land the helicopter on his own, he needed an explanation from someone on the ground of what to do. Along comes John Casey, who provides absolutely no help whatsoever. In fact, I think he came awfully close to threatening to kill Chuck if he wasn't able to land the helicopter. So it fell to Sarah Walker to talk him down, and she ended up equating the whole thing to a videogame in order to calm him which is surely not original. And, like the entire show, I can't quite put my finger on where that plot point came from, but I know I've seen it before. Right now, the producers of Chuck are able to be funny enough about the characters and series that I don't mind that retread feeling, but it might start to wear thin soon enough.
The only show that really disappointed me yesterday was Journeyman, which, because I liked Quantum Leap a lot, I will give yet another chance next week. In the pilot episode of Journeyman we learned that the amount of time that our hero, Dan Vassar, is gone in the present has nothing to do with the amount of time he is in the past. Last night however it felt like they were almost exactly the same in duration. I can forgive that, because nothing specifically was mentioned about it, so maybe the amount of time just seemed equivalent. What I can't forgive is that after he was finished doing his job in the past during a leap last night he would come back to the present just in time to avert a major crisis in his personal life. He leapt backwards last night while on a plane, the plane was turned around and his wife questioned. Thank goodness Dan miraculously appeared right there at the airport (which I also question) and was able to go see security, where is wife was being questioned, instantly. I want to know what would have happened if he had been gone for two days at that point. Then, he missed a dinner party his wife was throwing, getting back just as she was cleaning up from it and in time to make her feel better about his disappearing for it.
It's all a little too coincidental and I find myself trying to figure out a plot-based reason for it. The only thing I can come up with is that there is an organization or individual making Dan leap, maybe future Dan is making present Dan leap. Said hypothetical organization returned him last night just in time to patch things up so that there wouldn't be a huge problem in his life.
This theory is of course complete garbage because the hypothetical organization ought to just return him two seconds after he left and he'd never have a problem again with present time disappearances. No matter what theory I come up with for Dan's leaping back before things get too far out of control, I keep hitting my head against this problem. I can fathom no organization, individual, sentient being, or cause that would force Dan to go through such hardships in his present life in order for him to do good in the past. That means that it is all just random happenstance and it's a little too coincidental for that. What could it possibly be? Anyone? Theories? I beg of you people, I need theories.
And, while you're pondering that, make sure to watch the season finale of Eureka tonight and maybe even Boston Legal. We'll talk more tomorrow.