Book Review: The 100

I really liked the pilot of the CW’s The 100 TV show, and enjoyed the second episode, so I was very curious to read the book. (Well, disclosure: I started the book before the show started, but it took me a while.) Unfortunately, I was almost entirely disappointed. If the show continues to be enjoyable, or even watchable, it will join the ranks of the many CW shows that have (at least for me) elevated their source material, along with The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, and The Secret Circle.

I wanted to like this book, as it plays with some really interesting ideas and asks some good questions about what humanity could or should do to survive. Unfortunately, for a book with so much going on, both plot-wise and idea-wise, it somehow managed to be boring and an extremely slow read. (The many, many points of view didn’t help.) The writing not good, and I felt distanced from the characters throughout; it took me most of the book to even feel like I was being pulled into the story at all. Unfortunately, by the time I finally got interested in the story, almost all of the main characters turned out to be so idiotic and/or selfish that by the end of the book, I was pretty much rooting for (this version of) humanity to just die off already. And I’m pretty sure that was not the intended effect.

That said, I . . . would not be entirely surprised if I wind up reading the next book. I’m sure I’ll want to throw that one across the room too, but as I said, some of the ideas the book plays with are really interesting and I’m curious to see how certain issues resolve. And sometimes I just like to punish myself, apparently. We’ll see.

New Captain America: The Winter Soldier Videos

Captain America: The Winter SoldierCaptain America: The Winter Soldier will hit theaters this Friday, April 4th, which means we’re undoubtedly in for a big marketing push this week. (Not that there hasn’t already been plenty of marketing, but you know what I mean.) Marvel has released some new videos for the movie over the past few days.

First, here’s a featurette focusing on the character of the Winter Soldier himself:

And a Black Widow-centric clip:

As well as a new TV spot:

Bones Promo & Clip: The Turn in the Urn

BonesThere’s an all-new episode of Bones called “The Turn in the Urn” airing tonight. And ooh, looks like we’re getting back into Finn and Michelle’s relationship stuff, fun! Not to mention Finn’s hot sauce venture. Ready for a taste?

Here’s a promo for the hour:

And a clip, “Finn’s Financial Freedom:”

Pilot Thoughts: Surviving Jack

Surviving JackLast night, FOX premiered Surviving Jack, a new sitcom starring Christopher Meloni and Connor Buckley and based on Justin Halpern’s memoir I Suck at Girls. I reviewed the book when the pilot was announced and . . . really didn’t like it. Like, at all. I was only vaguely hopeful for the show because it’s produced by Bill Lawrence, whose work I tend to really like. And it turns out that that hope was justified, at least in that while this pilot wasn’t my favorite thing ever, I liked it way better than the book.

The main reason why the pilot worked for me where the book didn’t is that it basically completely changed the main characters. The book is told by adult Justin, who is thoroughly unlikeable and hard to root for; the show centers on teen Frankie, who is hapless and clueless but basically okay. And the father, who I found completely unbelievable in the book, is very toned down on the show so far. I described the father in the book as “so ludicrously extreme and vulgar that I couldn’t picture him as a real person, never mind a successful physician,” and the father on the show, while at times clueless, inappropriate, and misguided, is basically well-meaning and not someone on whom I want to call DCFS immediately. The mother and sister also have more of a presence already, which is good. And hey, I like all the nineties references.

One of my big questions about this show was whether they were going to maintain the structure of the book, which has adult Justin telling stories from throughout his life in a series of flashbacks. (It’s basically How I Decided to Finally Propose to Your Mother, but even more interminable.) While the narrative structure sort of made sense for a show in that it was episodic, I was confused as to how they were going to pull off the wildly differing ages of the characters in the different flashbacks. And the answer, at least so far, seems to be . . . they’re not. This structure is basically gone from the show (at least in the pilot) and it focuses solely on a specific period of time when Frankie is a teen.

Surviving Jack turned a book I disliked into a basically watchable show, so . . . good job! Will I keep watching? Not sure. I’ll try at least one more episode.

Arrow Thoughts & Open Thread: Birds of Prey

Arrow[SPOILERS BELOW FOR LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE OF ARROW.]

I’m in a weird place with Arrow recently, where I’m still enjoying it, mostly, but I feel like what the show cares about and what I care about are pretty different. So while I thought last night’s episode was mostly fine, I am surprised to see reviews calling it “perfect” and saying that everything Huntress-related is The Best. Which really just means that those viewers’ wishes are more correctly attuned to what the show itself is trying to do, and I’m probably in the “wrong” here, and this is basically just a roundabout way of saying that I don’t have a whole lot to say.

What I do have:

  • Felicity: “Or as I like to call her, Oliver’s psycho ex-girlfriend hellbent on revenge against her father.” Sara: “Ex-girlfriend?” Oliver: “That’s what you took from that sentence?” Thank you, Oliver. Priorities, Sara.
  • “I’m still facing sanctions from the bar.” “Ah, I’ve got a buddy on the disciplinary committee, I squared it for you.” I have a lot of questions about the Starling City bar association, not least why Laurel is referring to herself as a lawyer in the past tense when she’s “facing sanctions” rather than, you know, actually disbarred.
  • Felicity: “Anyone with boobs can get a frat boy to do anything.” Oliver: “I was a frat boy.” Felicity: “I rest my case.” Heh. I like snarky Felicity better than pining Felicity.
  • Oliver: “It’s not like Helena to show restraint.” Sara: “Sounds like you have a type.” Point, but also, again, priorities, Sara.
  • Oliver: “I thought I was helping you control it.” Roy: “You are. I mean, I can’t look at a bowl of water without slapping it.” HEE.
  • Oliver should know better than anyone that just telling Roy to stay away from Thea for her own good will never work. But I liked that Roy realized the risk he was posing himself and then followed Oliver’s advice. (But I enjoy the Roy/Thea dynamic, so I hope this situation doesn’t last long.)
  • “Unfortunately I decapitated the engineer.” Oh, right, this is why I love this show.
  • “I created the Huntress.” “Yeah, well you created Slade too.” These people are really into taking credit/blame for everything, huh?
  • “See this, Mr. Donner, is what happens when you let freaks with masks run wild.” Heh.
  • The courthouse scene was interesting because Oliver was there as himself, which curtailed his options of how to actually help. And: Oliver: “I’m with Lance as Oliver and he just called the Arrow.” Felicity: “Oh. Oh. It’s getting really hard to keep track of who knows whose secret identity.” Confusing for us too!
  • “Are you one of the good guys?” “No. But I’m friends with them.” Interesting.
  • Laurel never recognizing Oliver in “disguise” is one thing, but not recognizing her own sister when she’s just wearing a tiny mask is completely ridiculous.
  • “Does this make us girlfriends?”
  • “Helena, don’t kill him. You can never come back from that.” “It’s too late. I’m already gone.”
  • Love Ollie basically buying his way into a police interrogation room. I like a boy who throws his money around occasionally.
  • “I have to say, I’m impressed. I’d have thought blackmail was a little dark for you.” I like Laurel’s darkness.
  • “You’re the only one who does lie to me, Ollie. You’re the only one who doesn’t keep secrets from me.” Oh, Thea.
  • I loved the tiny wordless moment toward the end of Diggle comforting Roy.
  • When Slade picks up Thea, they act like they’ve never met, but I thought they had, at the house. No?

TV News: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Bones, Arrow, Elementary, & More

Amy AckerAmy Acker will appear on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Adrian Pasdar has also been cast.

The Bones season finale will air on Monday, May 12th.

NBC’s Undateable will premiere on May 29th, and Crossbones on May 30th.

Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Valdes will be bringing their characters from the Flash spinoff to an episode of Arrow.

Garret Dillahunt will guest star on Elementary.

ABC’s summer show Astronaut Wives Club has added Desmond Harrington, Zoe Boyle, and Odette Annable.

Dwight Yoakam has been cast on the second season of Under the Dome.

Rosemary’s Baby Teaser & Photos

Rosemary's BabyWe don’t have a premiere date yet for NBC’s new Rosemary’s Baby miniseries, based on the novel by Ira Levin and starring Zoe Saldana, Patrick J. Adams, and Jason Isaacs, but we do have a few images featuring the young couple at Entertainment Weekly – and a very teasing teaser, which is basically just a poster with the sound of a baby crying. Thoughts?