Fringe, Smallville, Spartacus, Who Do You Think You Are

My Saturday had me choosing from this bunch of appealing shows. I began with the first in the 2nd US series of Who Do You Think You Are, with Ugly Betty’s Vanessa Williams. The UK version has been running for a few years and the US version last year was pretty similar apart from the endless adbreaks and ‘coming next’ moments that were a right pain!

Vanessa Williams family investigations were really fascinating, showing her to be from a family of ground breaking black Americans. While I got a bit tired of her “wow!” moments (approximately 20 I reckon) I ended the episode – as if often the case – with a tear in my eye as Vanessa’s search brought her back to her beloved (and departed) father, and how he and the men in her lineage led the way for her.

Meanwhile on the fiction front, Fringe was back with a slightly dull story and yet more of Olivia’s “oh Peter, how could you!” speeches. On the other hand, the mind reading fellow cortexiphan subject revealed to her that Peter does indeed still have thoughts and feelings about Olivia’s more emotionally accessible double. Furthermore, Nina’s invetigations took us back to Sam at the bowling alley who says that the Olivia who Peter chooses will survive along with her world, while the other may perish…ooh er!

This wasn’t the strongest episode, and I hope they do indeed move along the Peter/Olivia stuff as I am keen to see some progression. Next week apparently sees us back ‘over there’ and I’m eager to see how Walternate and Bolivia are getting on.

Smallville has been gone a looooong time and the return was much anticipated by fans as Chloe was back. Sadly, the episode was pretty dull in my opinion. Smallville can be wonderful at times. I am a huge Lois fan, ever since the Teri Hatcher series, I’ve loved that dynamic. I only really started watching Smallville when Erica Durance joined in series 4 (I think). I love her version of Lois. Really ballsy and go getting, but with a vulnerability to her too. To me, the Lois-less episodes are always less interesting. However, I have missed Chloe a lot this season too. Really, it’s only Lois and Clark that have held my interest this year. Oliver without Chloe and Tess just aren’t that interesting. Chloe’s absence and return are pretty contrived – and I suspect the network’s budget is more of a factor that pure plot reasons. However, it was great to see her return as Loi and Clark were living in The Matrix – a dream state they had to break out of. Bit of a yawn to be honest. However, I am still very sorry the show is ending. The direction with Lois and Clark’s relationship and and Clark’s evolution this season has been good.

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena saw Batiatus’ dad return, just as he, Gaia and Lucretia were getting ready for round 134 of their sexy threesome! Poor John Hannah was back to playing second fiddle as dad wanted to be back in charge at the ludus. Gannicus was also cast aside as Crixus stepped up to become the lead fighter at the climax of this week’s episode. It was another intriguing, nasty, brutal and blood drenched episode, but the storytelling remains strong.