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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

THE 100 Bats Far Above "The 48"


TV Review: ‘The 100′ – ‘The 48′

Article first published as TV Review: 'The 100' - 'The 48' on Blogcritics.

Warning: The following contains some spoilers from the season premiere of The 100.

CW’s The 100 is back for a second season this week. As the premiere episode opens, our cast remains scattered after the chaos of the season-ending battle last spring. Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and forty-seven others have been taken below ground by a group of survivors trying to live much the same way people used to on Earth, hence the title of the hour, “The 48.” Octavia (Maria Avgeropoulos) lies dying from the poison arrow she is shot with, Raven (Lindsey Morgan) is stuck with an unexpected companion, and Bellamy (Bob Morley) tracks a captured Finn (Thomas McDonell) through the forest.

Clarke’s subplot gets the biggest focus, as one might expect, since she is the main protagonist. She wakes up in a white room, confused, not knowing where she is or how she got there. The 100 does a good job of communicating the terror of being in an unfamiliar environment, letting the audience see things through Clarke’s eyes, and only after a bit of action do we find out what’s going on.

Clarke soon meets Dante (Raymond J. Barry, Justified), the leader of the so-called Mountain Men. He and his people are generous, offering the ‘rescued’ teenagers clean clothing and good food. Much of the group is very happy to be there, but Clarke is suspicious, believing the whole thing is too good to be true. “The 48″ doesn’t tell us whether or not Clarke is right, as most smartly-written dramas keep us guessing, letting things unfold in such a way that Dante could be a hero, a villain, or something in between. It will be interesting to see how things with him play out.

Clarke’s story is intriguing, but The 100 is smart to divide its cast because it allows for other avenues to be explored at the same time. Various combinations of personalities can be tossed together, played with for awhile, then remixed to keep the story interesting. For example, Murphy (Richard Harmon) winds up spending time with one of our main group. No one likes him, but by constructing the story in such a way that a beloved cast member is forced to spend time with him, it allows the conflict needed for drama and keeps things moving along. Thankfully, “The 48″ doesn’t end this pairing in a predictable way, either.

What many viewers will be wondering throughout this initial installment is, where are those that fell to the ground from space? Abigail (Paige Turco) and Marcus (Henry Ian Cusick) do show up about two-thirds of the way through the episode. I won’t spoil where they enter or what they do, but one thing is definitely clear: their presence marks a shift in the balance of power. The kids, despite having been back on the planet for only a short time, have their own hierarchy and rules now. Does anyone really think their parents and elders will just join that framework? Of course not. Which makes for another thread I’m anxious to see more of.

Finally, there is one main character who appears to be done in last year’s season finale but is definitely not. I was quite surprised to see this person pop up in “The 48″ and I’m not sure exactly why the writers have decided to keep them. Yet, like most of the other story lines, this one is mysterious enough to draw one in, and I definitely look forward to seeing how the writers get this person out of the corner they’ve written them into.

I’ve striven to tease without revealing, but I found The 100‘s season premiere quite good. It picks back up nicely from where it leaves off, and it begins a number of new plots that should serve the show well.

The 100 airs Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET on the CW.

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF SHIELD "Face" Another Challenge

Article first published as MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Review Season 2 Episode 4 Face My Enemy on Seat42F.

CLARK GREGG, MING-NA WEN

On MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., in an episode titled “Face My Enemy,” Coulson (Clark Gregg) and May (Ming-Na Wen) go undercover to obtain an artifact that has the same strange markings Coulson has been carving. They are hampered by a familiar face with unknown motives. Meanwhile, Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) may be the only one who can save the rest of the team when The Bus is sabotaged. But with his mental problems, is he up to the task?

“Face My Enemy” isn’t a relatively big episode, by any means. There are some nice character moments, but little movement on the larger arcs, the script mostly focused on a mission-of-the-week. This is disappointing as AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., like most shows, works best when it favors the overall story, rather than a procedural format. Hopefully, as in some of the rough episodes early in season one, the seeds planted this week will blossom into something more enticing as the year unfolds.

In looking at the characters, Fitz has the best plot. He is still stammering, still hallucinating Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), and growing very frustrated that he is no longer valued. I think he’s wrong that the others don’t care him, as they will do whatever they can to help, but he’s right that his importance is minimized, with a new lab being built without consulting him. These decisions may make sense logically, but Fitz’s feelings should be considered, too.

Fitz is determined to prove himself to be valuable once more. It’s no easy task, but an excellent opportunity presents itself when several lives, including his, are put on the line. Operating under pressure and strict time limits is a constant part of the job, and that’s when it’s most vital that Fitz step up. Thankfully, he does, working with Hunter (Nick Blood) in a couple of moving scenes that show Fitz not only getting better, professionally speaking, but starting to form new bonds of friendship, which will serve him well in his re-integration to the team.

At the same time that everyone on MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is able to stop worrying about Fitz, they need to start worrying about Coulson. Coulson clearly wants to help himself, going out into the field personally to recover the artifact in “Face Me Enemy,” rather than just sending his people. Yet, he himself wants to discuss contingency plans, naming May heir apparent, a mantle she doesn’t want to shoulder, as she’d rather devote her resources to taking care of Coulson.

How much should one really be worried about Coulson? He keeps saying he doesn’t want to end up like Garrett, but Garrett was part of Hydra long before he took the medication. His issues went far deeper than the connection he shares with Coulson. Coulson may lose his judgment and reasoning skills, but as long as May is able to help him step down from the Director job, he doesn’t need a bullet in the head, Coulson’s suggestion for dealing with the problem. Why is he thinking in such extremes?

I sincerely hope MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t remove Coulson from the game. It’s hard to imagine the show without him, the writers already bringing him back from death to star in it. The characters on this show are not static, but there are plenty of directions to take Coulson in without killing him. Whether he is healed or descends into madness, there’s no reason to get rid of him any time soon.

Besides, Coulson will be needed. Whitehall (Reed Diamond) is demanding Raina (Ruth Negga) give him back the mysterious obelisk, and it looks like she’ll have to if she wants to live. In Whitehall’s control, there is no telling what the strange device will do. We’ll need all hands on deck, including Coulson’s.

Is it just my imagination, or is something sparking a little bit between Skye (Chloe Bennet) and Triplett (B.J. Britt)? There’s nothing overt, but an underlying tension seems to be present, and I’ll take this pairing. They are both young, hot, and capable. Why not?

There are plenty of enticing things in “Face My Enemy,” from the “reveal” of Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) to be Hyrda, to the reveal that he’s not actually Hydra, to May fighting a woman disguised as May (both played by Wen), to some lovely dialogue between May and Coulson. For an episode that really doesn’t go far enough into the mythology, it’s still pretty entertaining.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

No "Oppo" For THE GOOD WIFE

Article first published as THE GOOD WIFE Review Season 6 Episode 4 Oppo Research on Seat42F.

Oppo Research

This week’s episode of CBS’s THE GOOD WIFE, “Oppo Research,” puts the recent legal drama on hiatus as the focus shifts to Alicia’s (Julianna Margulies) campaign for State’s Attorney. That’s right, she’s running, and Eli (Alan Cumming) sets her up with a campaign manager named Johnny Elfman (Steven Pasquale, Rescue Me). Together, the three begin laying out what Alicia’s campaign will look like, starting with the bad stuff, which is much more of a problem than Alicia, or perhaps the viewer, expects.

There are plenty of people in Alicia’s life that could spell trouble for her. Her mother, Veronica (Stockard Channing), isn’t the most put-together woman, and there is video of her spanking a (horrible, misbehaving) child. Alicia’s husband, Peter (Chris Noth), hasn’t always been faithful, and because their separation isn’t public, it’s quite likely that he is sleeping with someone and it will look like he’s cheating. We learn in “Oppo Research” he isn’t fooling around with his slutty intern, whom Eli takes great joy in firing, but Peter could be sleeping with the intern’s mother. These two will probably flare up with more issues as the story unfolds.

Worse is Alicia’s brother, Owen (Dallas Roberts), who is seeing a married bareback gay porn star. Alicia doesn’t confront Owen about this in a mean way; instead, she is worried about his safety. But even raising the issue causes him to storm out. It’s really a shame that this should come between them, though Owen would have a right to be mad at Alicia for dragging him into the public eye without his consent. Let’s hope they work it out.

She also has a big problem with her son, Zach (Graham Phillips), who she learns had a secret abortion. Alicia is so furious at Zach that she essentially cuts him off, just asking him to support her in the media’s eye. We’ve never seen Alicia like this, though her anger is understandable, her son having been lying to her for quite awhile. Can she repair her relationship with Zach? He’s one with a track record of being trouble while thinking he’s doing the right thing, righteous stupidity. Combined with the now-chilly relationship, this can’t be good.

Alicia herself is by and large a good person. That’s why the name of the show is THE GOOD WIFE, and when considering her personally, there isn’t much dirt to dig up. She is moral, and while some may have a problem with her atheist leanings (a real life political landmine that shouldn’t be, in my opinion, being one myself), she does the right thing the vast majority of the time. Her slip ups are minor and average.

But even she does not escape the smear. Before even announces she’s entering the race, she is already set up for a DUI test (which she passes easily) in full front of the public eye, and stories about her alcoholism (which isn’t true; she isn’t an alcoholic) are spread. This goes to show that even someone as good as Alicia is at risk of being torn down during a campaign, a regrettable fact that only paints her opponent in a more negative light, which is saying something, since he’s already known to be total scum; the main reason Alicia is getting into politics is to keep him out of a position he doesn’t deserve.

The question I’m left wondering, and I’m sure it’s intentionally painted that way, is, is Finn (Matthew Goode) betraying Alicia? She is meeting him for a drink just before she is pulled over. Technically, he works for her opponent. While he claims that he wishes her nothing but the best and that their fights in court are merely a part of the job, what if he’s turned?

Now, I don’t really think that, of course, but you can be sure the thought will cross Alicia’s mind, and if not hers, than Elfman’s. This makes Finn look very bad. Thus far, Finn is painted only as a good guy on THE GOOD WIFE, and if he ends up being crooked, I will be very surprised. But the implication may be enough to stir up trouble.

And, of course, there’s Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter), a drug dealer that Alicia represents. She tried to fire him, and once he finds out why, he not only lets her, but forms a secret PAC to support her. Alicia has never liked Lemond and it’s likely she sees the campaign as a good excuse to be rid of him once and for her. His thwarting of her efforts, tying her even more firmly to him, will come back to hurt her in the end. It’s not Alicia’s fault she’s in this position, exactly, but I don’t see any way for her to come out of it smelling good.

So, with all of this in mind, should she run? It’s a little late to ask that, since she’s pulled the trigger, but I’m more divided now than ever. One wants to see her move up in life, and the arc ramped up on “Oppo Research” gives the show new ways to grow, exploring fresh plot avenues. Unfortunately, this is also a way more cruel game than Alicia is used to playing and I worry what might happen to her in the heat of battle. One thing is for sure, this will not be a boring year.

THE GOOD WIFE airs Sunday evenings on CBS around 9 p.m. ET. Air times may vary based on sports run-overs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

USA Not Likely to Be BENCHED For New Sitcom


TV Review: ‘Benched’ – ‘Pilot’

Article first published as TV Review: 'Benched' - 'Pilot' on Blogcritics.

USA’s newest comedy, premiering this week, is called Benched. A smart lawyer named Nina (Eliza Coupe, Happy Endings, Scrubs) suffers a breakdown after being dumped by her fiance, Trent (Carter MacIntyre, Undercovers, Drop Dead Diva), and being passed over for promotion at her company. Her explosion is spectacular, and leaves her lucky to find employment in the crummy public defender’s office. Here, though, she might just find a sense of purpose amid the downtrodden misfits.

Benched doesn’t have much that one could call fresh and original. The Jerry Maguire-opening and tale of a person who finds deeper meaning than money is nothing new. There are quite a few other shows like it on television, both dramas and comedies, and so it seems like USA is just repeating a common structure. But there’s something charming and breezy about Benched that makes for good entertainment, even if it’s not exactly high quality.

One thing Benched has going for it is the quirky supportive cast. Like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, our lead is surrounded by a number of cartoonish players who give the proceedings a hyper reality. Sheryl (Maria Bamford, Adventure Time) looks to be very near the edge, even as she’s flighty enough to not let much in her day bother her. Oscar Nuñez plays Carlos, a role that, at first glance, seems quite similar to his part in The Office, non-showy, but still funny. Micah (Jolene Purdy, Under the Dome) keeps Nina going, the intern who tells the hard truths. Phil (Jay Harrington, Better Off Ted), a compulsive gambler, serves as a love interest and cautionary tale for Nina. And Trent is still around, often facing Nina in court. Because of these various personalities, I like the show.

Coupe is a great leading lady. She has proven her worth as part of an ensemble, and as much as I enjoy seeing her do that, she can also carry a program as the protagonist on her own. The second fiddle here is Harrington, who has been desperately missed on television, a few years having passed since his last starring role, and together the pair have terrific chemistry. It’s a no-brainer match, one audiences are sure to eat up. I did.

In the first episode, a lot of time is spent establishing the premise. We have to see Nina get to where she’s going to be. Still, it seems like there is time for her to start to find her footing, giving viewers an idea of what Benched will be on a regular basis. Nina spends time in the court room, sparring with Trent, Judge Nelson (Fred Melamed, Silk Stalkings), and a grumpy bailiff (Cedric Yarbrough, Reno 911!). While the case isn’t all that important, just watching the cast interact is good enough, and will probably be the best part of any installment.

Benched is genuinely humorous, well-crafted by creators Michaela Watkins (last see on-screen in Trophy Wife) and Damon Jones (Tammy). Even if they didn’t come up with many ideas of their own (maybe they were instructed not to by the network?), they show great talent in putting the various pieces together to make them work. Not every effort in this vein is nearly as good as Benched is. It takes some people who know what they’re doing to pull it off, and given the small writing resumes of the creators, this is a fine first big effort to be proud off.

Benched is far from perfect, and it has a lot of work to do if it wants to become anyone’s favorite show. Yet, there are some excellent ingredients here, well stirred, so it’s worth checking out. Given how funny those involved can be, it is likely there will be payoff if you start watching and stick with it.

Benched premieres Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET on USA.

DOCTOR WHO Barely Avoids "Flatline" This Season


TV Review: ‘Doctor Who’ – ‘Flatline’

Article first published as TV Review: 'Doctor Who' - 'The 48' on Blogcritics.

In last night’s episode of Doctor Who (BBC America), “Flatline,” the TARDIS begins shrinking and draining of power. Clara (Jenna Coleman) gets out to investigate, but The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) stays in, soon becoming trapped in a box that fits in Clara’s purse. This means, though The Doctor offers a bit of help, Clara must take on his normal role in the crisis at hand, involving the invasion of two-dimensional beings that are killing human beings, whether intentionally or not.

“Flatline” does not feel out of character for Clara because she steps up on a regular basis. While the crutch of The Doctor may be sort of gone here, she is on her own enough in other episodes that this isn’t all that novel a concept to see again. I like the idea presented, that Clara must become like The Doctor, but because of who she is, the execution is not all that impressive, as it doesn’t change her much, if any.

At least, that is, until the end of the hour. Saving the day, Clara takes a moment to gloat that she’s a good Doctor. The Doctor says she is an excellent Doctor, but not necessarily a good one. This echoes the debate playing out throughout this season as to whether The Doctor is good or not. It’s hard to know exactly the meaning of the dialogue in this scene, but there are many things to consider. Does The Doctor not see himself as good? Is he afraid that by forcing Clara to act like him this week, he’s making her take on the worst parts of him? Is his judgment of her related to the way she’s been lying to Danny (Samuel Anderson) about quitting her adventures, something The Doctor clearly does not approve of?

Strange, too, how we see Missy (Michelle Gomez) crowing over ‘picking’ Clara. Did she arrange for Clara to meet The Doctor in the first place? If so, there are a lot of implications to explore, given Clara’s importance, more so than any Companion in memory, to Doctor Who. She saves every incarnation of The Doctor and the entire universe itself. Why is Missy shown to be proud here, at a comparably small moment, rather than during the bigger ones? Does this scene mean something else entirely that just isn’t obvious in the presentation of this episode?

The Doctor himself is a bit uneven in “Flatline.” For most of the episode, he’s the same as he’s been in previous weeks of Doctor Who, a bit too callous and uncaring. Then, at the climax, he steps out triumphantly to expel the aliens and declares Earth under his protection, making a heroic speech. At first glance, this is an inspiring moment for him, but upon further reflection, it feels unearned. What has he done, really, besides the obvious and necessary? He’s still not The Doctor fans love, and has not been since the latest incarnation takes over; still a broken man who needs mending.

I know I’m complaining a bit about character inconsistencies, but “Flatline” is certainly a better episode than last week’s, and highly enjoyable. The guest cast may be a bit weak and flat, 3-D beings more so than the literally flat monsters, but the pacing is solid and the story builds suspense appropriately. There is a mystery that unfolds quite naturally, and the writing makes us think about who the aliens are and what their motivations could be. It’s an examination of a new species with a different framework from our own, and paired with some intense running and clever problem solving, it’s a pretty good hour. Plus, the sacrifice of a noble headband is quite moving.

The special effects are also mostly amazing. There are some weird things when the TARDIS first goes small (not to mention, why doesn’t it keep shrinking at a regular rate?), but the tiny TARDIS is cool and the creatures are really well designed. It’s easy to imagine what we’re seeing is exactly how a 2-D life form might manifest in three dimensions, not yet understanding the concept enough. The folding in of the art and graffiti is neat, and the design of “Flatline” leaves much to be revisited and appreciated.

With only one week left before the big, two-part finale, I’m still not confident this will all come together as well as it has in the past, but I’m getting excited to be done with the mundane cases and see what this season has been about. Will it make year eight worth it, or will the conclusion be as disappointing as certain weeks have been recently? And will River Song finally make a long-overdue appearance?

Doctor Who airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America.

Monday, October 20, 2014

TRANSPORTER: THE SERIES Speeds Into the U.S.

Article first published as TRANSPORTER THE SERIES Review on Seat42F.

TRANSPORTER THE SERIES TNT

TRANSPORTER: THE SERIES, a French-Canadian spin-off of the successful film franchise of virtually the same name, first premiered two years ago in Germany, and is just starting a second season there. After Cinemax declined to air it in the States, it finally finds a home on TNT as it premieres this weekend.

Note: I have not seen any of the movies in the series, so this review is strictly about a single episode of the television show, the first in the American broadcast order.

Frank Martin is The Transporter. A man who can get anything he is hired to from point A to point B (or C or D, for that matter), he is focused on his work, which he does extremely well. This, despite the fact that he consistently breaks the only three rules he has: never change the deal, no names, and never open the package. He’s a capable, smooth bad-ass, the type of guy women want to sleep with and men want to be. If that sounds cheesy, well, it’s no cheesier than the dialogue.

TRANSPORTER: THE SERIES is fast-paced and adrenaline-pumping. There are numerous car chases in the first installment alone, with the promise of plenty more where that came from. Action sequences are frequent, often with a slowed-down camera to better highlight the stunts being performed. There are guns, of course, one-note villains and sexy, exotic women for our hero to sleep with, though none he’s tempted to begin a relationship for. Clichés are tossed about freely, and we know Frank will always win.

There is something to be said for predictable popcorn fare. Many people enjoy seeing such scenarios played out, the fantasy of fast cars and willing women, living a life they will never live. It’s escapism entertainment, to be sure, and the writing is not particularly smart or high quality. But the production looks cool, with neat, foreign landscapes (the show is filmed in Canada, France, and Germany) and attractive individuals inhabiting it.

Chris Vance (Rizzoli & Isles, Burn Notice, All Saints) brings the titular role to the small screen. Because of the non-American involvement, he may be the only face recognizable to local audiences, and even he’s not a household name. Vance is well-suited for this role, and while I know he can do better than TRANSPORTER THE SERIES, he’s giving it his all, delivering a fine performance for what this is and probably having a ton of fun.

The focus is mainly on Frank and the case-of-the-week, but the show does list four other main characters, who occasionally appear. There’s Inspector Tarconi (François Berléand, the lone actor reprising his role from the movies) as Frank’s police friend who keeps him out of trouble, mostly. Carla Valeri (Andrea Osvárt, Elsö generáció) is former CIA, a tech genius who gets Frank his information. Juliette Dobois (Delphine Chanéac, Splice) is investigating Frank, so he should be careful around her. And, of course, there’s the comic relief, Frank’s pal, Dieter Hausmann (Charly Hübner, Ladykracher).

Our pilot is called “Trojan Horsepower,” which aired as episode two in France and episode seven in Germany. The broadcast order of all of the episodes have varied quite a bit (check Wikipedia for details), but it really doesn’t matter because TRANSPORTER: THE SERIES does not seem like the type of show to introduce long-ranging mythology or a serial story. If you like procedurals and this type of thing speaks to you, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Similarly, there have also been different cuts of the installments for each country. Had TRANSPORTER: THE SERIES aired on Cinemax, as originally intended, each week would probably have differed in running time and we’d get to see some boobs, as that’s the type of story this is. Moved to TNT, it will be trimmed into matching parts, and any nudity or cursing is danced around, with nothing to offend the basic cable audience, which is a bit disappointing, given the format, but it is what it is.

TRANSPORTER: THE SERIES is not for me, but I was still at least mildly entertained. If you enjoyed the films, check it out, and my guess is you’ll be satisfied.

TRANSPORTER: THE SERIES airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.

My Horror Movie Survival Man Crate


My Horror Movie Survival Man Crate

Article first published as My Horror Movie Survival Man Crate on Blogcritics.

I was recently approached by the community manager at Man Crates about doing a Halloween-themed blog post. The topic: What would you want in your Man Crate to survive a horror movie? The exercise seemed interesting, so I gamely agreed to participate, then began to think. (Note: They did not send me any merchandise or compensate me in any way for this column; my participation is merely voluntary because I think this is a fun idea.)

A quick glance at the Man Crates already available on their website isn’t much help. Not because they are not cool; they absolutely are, and I’d like several of them as gifts (if anyone reading this is looking for a present for me). But I know with absolute certainty that nothing among the site’s current offerings could help me escape from a serial killer or monster, or combination of thereof long enough to make it through the opening credits.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of horror movies. They scare me, so I don’t watch a lot of them. Yet, my favorite show currently airing on television is The Walking Dead. This is because it boasts fantastic characters and compelling stories, not because of any chills or thrills. I would never survive a Walking Dead scenario, given the long-term outlook, so I decided to focus on staying alive through the types of horror movies most people like, the ones with a bad guy picking off a group one by one, until one or two heroes survive. How can I be one of those hanger-oners?

Thinking about it, I have a terrific solution. Here is what I’d want in my Man Crate.

First, there should be a ton of weapons and combat supplies. We’re talking massive amounts. Enough to fill a crate big enough to hold a refrigerator, at the very least. I would distribute these among the rest of the group I’m with, selflessly keeping none of it for me. Aren’t I an awesome person? I’m sure I will get tons of thank yous and appreciation.

Second, as soon as the party splits up to hunt down our tormentor, I’d crawl inside the box. There will be a smaller crate inside with the supplies I actually want for myself, including a hammer and nails I can use to secure myself inside the massive crate, making it appear to have never been opened. Surely, our villain wouldn’t waste time breaking into a harmless crate that no potential victims could be hiding inside, right?

Now that I’m safely stashed away, I’m likely to get bored very quickly. I haven’t been bored since around 1995, so this just won’t do. My smaller crate will contain a laptop computer with a good video driver and lots of extra batteries, loaded with many great television shows to watch. I’ve been meaning to get around to The Wire and The Sopranos. This seems like an opportune time to get to them. I’ll want some cushions to make the place comfortable. And I’ll need a way to plug my cell phone (set to silent, naturally) into the computer or batteries because I’m pretty addicted to the Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff app and I don’t want to miss meeting a timed goal just because I’m hiding from a psycho.

I know what you’re thinking. Surely, the sound of the television shows will give away my location. I’ve got that figured out; comfortable headphones are also conveniently stashed in my crate. What about the light, flashing through the slats? Well, this crate is extremely well constructed, with just enough space between the slats to allow air in, but not enough to allow light. Perhaps they overlap in some way. I’m not a crate-builder. I leave this up to the experts. Thankfully, it’s fall, so there won’t need to be an air conditioner or heater, because I really couldn’t stay in a hot, stuffy crate for long.

I’d be tempted to write on the laptop, but I will resist the urge, as the sound of the keyboard could be my undoing. I am sure I will have some type of TV review deadline, as I always do, but I am confident my readers and editors will understand if I take a quick break while trying to survive a horrific experience. Right, (Blogcritics Executive Editor) Barbara? Can the Doctor Who column be late this week?

I’ll probably be in here for a few days, so a good pillow and a warm blanket are required. I don’t do well without sleep. I’d also want some food and plenty of water. That does present the problem of needing to use the restroom. I’m thinking of some type of contraption I can go into with a tube that leads underground, straight through the bottom of the crate so it isn’t visible. Or perhaps a bathroom crate that I can sit on and will somehow suck smells down in. Again, I’m not an expert, so I leave this to someone else. And this is a little more gross than I want to think about, so it’s time to move on.

Lastly, I’ll need some type of surveillance system I can access on the laptop so I know when it’s safe to come out. It should be unobtrusive, a hidden cameras that lacks any blinking lights or operates on remote control. That way, the bad guy doesn’t suspect he (or she or it) is being monitored and come looking for me.

Oh, and now that I think about it, after a few days it will probably be time to text the police for help with that cell phone I’ve only been using to play Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff.

I will be sad about losing the group of people I am assuming I’ve just met (because it would be heartless to hide while friends or family are slaughtered). But I think, with the help of this crate, I might just be able to make it through, and I will make sure my life is a testament to their courage and all that. Or, I’ll at least dedicate a short story to the deceased.

Feel free to weigh in on the comments below about what you’d like in your survival crate and whether or not you think I’ll survive, and check out Man Crates for some cool gift ideas for any guy, whether they be the type who can slay the zombies, or the type that hide in a box and watch TV until its over.