12 Monkeys;SyFY

12 Monkeys: "Paradox" and "Arms of Mine" (Season 1, Episodes 12 and 13)

I'm honestly glad I watched this show. That's the best compliment I can give something, and 12 Monkeys deserves it. For all its low-budget flaws, it is solidly written while aiming for real drama. Well done, chimps.

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12 Monkeys: "Shonin" (Season 1, Episode 11)

"Hope is the luxury of those unburdened by fate." That's as good a line as any for a show that's literally swallowing its own tail in a fairly impressive manner. The future's attempt to stop a historical plague is, in fact, causing it to happen. So what do you do? I guess that will be up to Cole to figure out in 2015. At least this time he knows how twisted the game has become.  

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12 Monkeys: "Divine Move" (Season 1, Episode 10)

"What we do here still happened in God's eyes." That's a great line, certainly a disconcerting one to time travelers trying to erase the present by any means. Or not. This week's big development is an antagonist committed to keeping the plague timeline in place. His genesis is a bit forced, but I'll spot that since this show continues to be interesting.   

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12 Monkeys: "Tomorrow" (Season 1, Episode 9)

Hooray for 12 Monkeys. In quite the shock, this show has been renewed for a 2nd season, something it has certainly earned in the creative sense. Cue the violins, however, for Syfy. It just renewed a show with an average Live + Same-Day viewership south of 900,000, which speaks volumes about the network's place in TV Land.  

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12 Monkeys: "Yesterday" (Season 1, Episode 8)

Whatever this show's flaws may be, it makes up for them with genuine stabs at originality. If tonight's episode loses focus a bit, that's because it's trying to do something ambitious--move us from two timelines to three without cluing us in on that until the end. The effect isn't exactly seamless, but I applaud the thought being put behind it. This show is genuinely trying.   

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12 Monkeys: 'Keys" (Season 1, Episode 7)

This show seemed to find its dramatic stride tonight. Alternatingly cute, colorful, technically interesting and touching--with minimal grunge and murkiness--this episode is the best of the series so far. It's enough to make me overlook SyFy's lame gimmick of an app that will change lighting to match the mood of the show. They need to fire whoever come up with that.

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12 Monkeys: "The Red Forest" (Season 1, Episode 6)

"You are walking through a red forest, and the grass is tall. It's just rained. Most of the blood has washed away." That's a nice little bit of poetic monotone. Too bad they don't do much with it.    

This is the week where budget issues finally hit home. Pretty much every dangerous conspiracy conducts its business in an abandoned warehouse with no security system and maybe a couple guards. You can walk right in and take whatever you like. That gives the whole thing a sad sack feel the overall concept doesn't really deserve.

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12 Monkeys: "Atari" (Season 1, Episode 4)

This week we get an engaging enough little "ship in a bottle" episode. It's trying  to be clever and more or less is, though weighed down by some questionable pacing choices and the relative thinness of its future world building. Nonetheless, this show is actually trying to interesting stuff. That's better than average for SyFy fare.  

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12 Monkeys: "Cassandra Crossing" (Season 1, Episode 3)

Third time is the charm, or so it seems. Even as its ratings threaten to plummet, 12 Monkeys found  reasonably solid footing this week with a nicely tangled time travel web and a wicked dab of deception to go with it. It wasn't bad at all for SyFy.

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