TOWER PREP “Buffer” Review

TOWER PREP "Buffer" Episode 4

TOWER PREP “Buffer” Episode 4 – Tower Prep has its own approach to everything, from student recruitment to sports and episode 4 delves into Buffer, the school’s unique sport, a blend of lacrosse, hockey, tackle football and a few others I might be missing. Tower Prep‘s newcomer, Ian, is less than enthralled by the game and was as confused by the rules and the subtleties as I was. As Gabe snarked to Ian, however, baseball would seem confusing to an outsider at first. Whether that is true or not, Ian wanted no part of it and to make matters worse CJ’s fascination with all things buffer (or perhaps all things star buffer player) made matters that much worse, add to that Coach “kindly” got him a work study position as buffer team “manager” (and we all know what that means!) and his dislike of the game was set in stone. Until…

There had to be an until, didn’t there? A reason he would end up playing the game? In this case it was Coach History and his involvement with the mysterious Gnomes, the secret police for the school that no one even admits exist, despite evidence to the contrary. When Coach History comes to Ian and asks him to play for his buffer team in the final game before the semi-finals, Ian eventually agrees, planning to use the opportunity to find out more about the Gnomes.

Sound a little familiar? Yeah, the plot for Buffer was pretty stock. Okay, let me restate that. The plot was stock, so stock that you could have missed an act and still have known where you were in the action. And usually that annoys me. Really annoys me. Even on my favorite shows or in movies from favorite actors. That said, in this case they pulled it off amazingly well, I was sucked in from the beginning, enjoying the twists and turns even though I generally knew where each would lead. In fact, I even found myself holding my breath a bit at one point in the action.

It was remarkably refreshing to see the show so comfortable with that idea. So often in the slightly to moderately dark shows that are now popular, they try to break away from the stock plot with a twist so ridiculous that even if you were enjoying the show to that point, it’s over. That didn’t happen here, the writers focused on character development and their relationships. Even though the over-all plot was right out of the boiler, the writers made it their own and built on the continuing mystery of Tower Prep, so that when they did offer up the twist, it was enough to make me stop and think. They got me, I totally wasn’t expecting it.

I do have one major gripe, and it might just be because my TV has yet to enter the hi-def world, but the texts they show on the students PDAs are almost impossible for me to read on my TV screen. It was frustrating. Very frustrating. Of course, the action eventually explains the content, but I want to know what they say, they are obviously important and it bugs me that I can’t read them.

The show does have a very strong ongoing storyline and if you just jump in, you might spend part of the first act doing a little catch up, trying to keep track of who’s who and what is going on. They do a good recap at the beginning and another at the end for newbies to catch up and it is not so confusing or complicated that you can’t figure things out. Did I mention the little recap at the end also has an evil little preview for next week that goes with it? It does, and it’s just enough to be evil. And I really have no patience. Is it next week yet?