Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Triangle and Time Loop

TV watched today:
MASH: Season 4 eps 3 & 4
My Name Is Earl: Pilot
Stargate SG1: Random
Glee: Funk
How I Met Your Mother: Murtaugh
Burn Notice: Wanted Man

Last night, during my X-Files stint, I finally happened upon an episode I've only seen once but have been remembering fondly since 1998. That episode is: Triangle.
Wow, this episode is crazy.
Crazy Brilliant.
Basically, it's this: If Hitchcock's Rope and The Wizard of Oz had a baby and gave it to Chris Carter to raise, it would be Triangle.

Mulder sets out on a secret mission to find the Queen Ann, a British luxury liner missing in the Bermuda Triangle since 1939.  He gets there and gets swallowed up in time, fighting off Nazis who look suspiciously like Douchey Agent Spender and the Impossible-To-Kill Cancer Man. Skinner's in the mix too and soon Scully hits the scene looking all 30's vixiney in her pin curls and sexy red gown. Mulder gets all beat up and taken hostage and then it's the commercial break. Bam! Just like that.
Then there's Scully, back at a lame desk at the FBI. The Impossible-To-Spin-Off Lone Gunmen find her, explain Mulder's situation and she spends eleven minutes trying to get the info that will inevitably lead her to Mulder. Oh yeah... and this happens:

Anyway, back to Mulder, who's all... Time Lost. He teams up with Past Scully, who has no idea who he is, but she's got a lot of moxy so she's willing to help this weird, babbling American take out some frakking nazis. Awesome. So they run around the ship together just as Our Scully also clambers aboard the Queen Anne... but the ship Our Scully's on is eerily quiet-- a ghost ship. And when Mulder and Past Scully and Our Scully eventually cross paths... they can't even see each other... though both Scullys clearly get that goosebumpy WTF feeling when they walk THROUGH each other.

Anyway, finally all is made well. The Nazis don't get what they came for and Mulder jumps into the blue, somehow knowing that this will get him home. He wakes up in the hospital to the whole-- "you were there... and you were there... and YOU were there..." Oz stuff. 

But here's what makes this episode so irresistible: 
Aside from the fact that it appeals to my historical fiction lust, it's shot in a series of frak-long takes. Just like Rope. It's very kinetic, always moving forward, always pushing the story. Just like Rope, it also cheats a little. It's not ACTUALLY just four takes, it's digitally altered to make it look that way, as each time we go though a curtain, the take changes. But still, it's the appearance of continuousness that matters to me, the viewer. And to me, it looks like FOUR takes. I know it would probably get old eventually, but as I watched it I thought, "Why couldn't all X-files be like this?" 

Well, obviously, I know why. It's hard to make. Hard to write. Hard to shoot and edit and all that. But wow. Triangle is so amazingly watchable,  I might just watch it again tonight. 

NEXT! since last winter, we've been watching Stargate Universe. Known in this household as Battlestar Gate Voyager. For... obvious reasons. If you haven't seen the shows or any of the shows I just referenced I'm not entirely sure why you're reading this blog, but I hope you're interested in broadening your horizons because I'm about to explain it to you. 
Battlestar= Because it's shot like, and has a tone very similar to Battle Star Galactica
Gate= Because it actually is a Gate show, the sort of grandchild of the movie and child of SG1
Voyager=Because they're FRAKKING LOST IN SPACE! Just like Star Trek: Voyager

Anyway, in spite of its similarity to all these scifi premises and... maybe because of them, we really, really like this show. It's smart and even though it looks a lot like BSG and recycles a lot of the Trek plots, it still finds a lot of room for itself. It's got its own voice and it does a lot of things Trek would never DARE to do.  
For example: In one episode, a young crewman is mortally wounded and begs his commanding officer to just end it. In BSG they would've just pulled a gun, squeezed the trigger, and downed a pint of space-hooch, before the crewman could finish his plea. In Trek, the commander would either deliver a pc speech about euthanasia OR the crewman would die totally unnoticed because he's a redshirt. 

In SGU, Young feels REALLY bad but puts his hand over the kid's nose and mouth and effing SUFFOCATES him, holding his own breath the whole time.  Once the kid is dead, he finally breathes out, tears welled up in his eyes. That's some good shit. And that's the kind of thing I'm talking about. SGU is different, in spite of the fact that it's so much the same. 

This week, Adama er... I mean, Young starts having crazy ass dreams about the Enterprise, I mean, Destiny, blowing up because 7of9's, I mean, Chloe's weird alein-ness is attracting other aliens. Baltar, I mean, Rush is being a huge douche the entire time and Apollo, I mean, Scott has to do some taking over. Meanwhile, Neelix/Data/er... I mean, Eli is totally hitting it off with this Maquis, I mean, Lucian chick who totally digs his equations. 

 That hoodie you wear every day really brings our your sexy math skills.

The episode is pretty hardcore even though the Groundhog Day premise has been sorely abused in SciFi.  Just as I said before, SGU found a new way to both explain and solve the problem, then they subverted their own explanation in the end. Pretty brilliant. Can't wait for next week. 

That's it for tonight. Modern Family's on.