Breaking Bad: Damn, what a pilot. While most folks know Bryan Cranston as the dad from Malcolm in the Middle, he'll always be the moody Buzz Aldrin in From the Earth to the Moon to me. At least until now. He plays a dying, broke chemistry teacher who decides to supplement his income by cooking crystal meth out in the New Mexico desert with one of his old miscreant students. He's phenomenal. The cast is great. The writing is excellent (and profanity-laden). Interestly enough, some nudity was blurred out and some extreme profanity was "silenced" out. I imagine they shot this pilot for HBO or something and had to tone it down for basic cable. Bring on Episode 2!
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: First, let me say that I'm wholly of the opinion that if a show has to resort to voiceovers to let you know what's going on, neither the writer nor the director has done their jobs. Once in awhile there's an exception to the rule (e.g. American Beauty), but in general, let the story unfold without undue exposition. There's way too much voiceover on this show. Also, there was a major mistake made in part 2 of the pilot that pretty much screws up the entire premise of the show. Since no one reads this, I'll explain. The whole point of the Terminators-looking-like-humans thing is that only items sheathed in organic material can travel through the time tunnel. Maybe that's ridiculous, but I didn't make up the rules of the show. So when Sarah, John, and Cameron (played unevenly by Firefly's Summer Glau) rocket forward to 2007, there's NO WAY that the busted-up skeleton of the Terminator can go with them. NO WAY. This really bugs me. This show won't survive, though, since they'll have to focus on teen (and adult) angst for a good 25-50% of every episode to avoid the kind of action that would kill hundreds of Los Angelinos every week. I've given it 3 episodes. I'll probably give it one more before it's off of the DVR menu. On the bright side, I only gave The Bionic Woman three chances, and it starred a far hotter woman.