Friday, December 31, 2010

Year-end lists

By and large, numbered list are useful only for entertainment purposes. Without standard criteria, lists reflect authors' personal feelings and tastes. And even if there were a checklist for television show attributes, this is still television where everything is widely varied. My mindset is that lists are immensely fun to read and write. It allows for reflection on the past which is sometimes necessary when episodes continue to be produced and watched. I didn't feel like writing much at the end of the year, but I typed some random lists--no criteria, no quantification, just whatever came to mind (and trying to avoid overlaps).

Best shows

1) Breaking Bad
2) Mad Men
3) Community
4) The Good Wife
5) Rubicon
6) Supernatural
7) Terriers
8) Boardwalk Empire
9) Lost
10) Chuck

Best mindless pleasure shows

2) Nikita
3) Psych
4) Bones (strictly when it's not a Booth-Brennan episode)
5) Leverage

Most memorable scenes

1) Epic fight between Hank and the cousins on Breaking Bad
2) Every second of the Community paintball episode
3) Final Lost scene, a big WTF
4) Don completely blows up on Peggy in Mad Men
5) Jack Bauer's final goodbye on 24

Most disappointing shows

1) Undercovers
2) No Ordinary Family
3) Big Love
4) Human Target
5) True Blood

Most surprising shows in terms of quality (both good and bad, mostly good)

1) Parks and Recreation
2) Sanctuary
3) The Mentalist
4) Big Love
5) Weeds

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review - The Closer Season 6 Episode 14 Living Proof, Part 2

It's almost the end of the year and I don't feel like blogging, so this will be really short.

"Living Proof, Part 2" wraps up the two-parter, pinning the murders entirely on Armand, who is Skander's father and actually a Serbian who assumed to name to avoid war crimes charges. It's very tidy, making me think that Joan might be more involved than everyone thinks. Either way, the episode does have a conclusion and everyone gets to eat inside the station. By the way, hasn't anyone heard of Google Translate?

Fritz stealing the presents was too far-fetched. We're supposed to believe that to ensure that Brenda's parents don't permanently move to Los Angeles, Fritz breaks into the trailer to steal the presents. Sorry, but these are adults, not kids on a playground.

Score: 8.5/10

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Review - Psych Season 7 Episode 13 Yang 3 in 2D

Merry day after Christmas! I completely forgot about reviewing Psych until Friday, so here's some brief thoughts on the season finale.

"Yang 3 in 2D" wraps up the Yin-Yang saga in similar fashion to the previous two Yang episodes. It's much more serious than usual with lots of tense moments and not the goofy humor we usually see. We learn the origins of the killers and Yin, played by Peter Weller, is the ultimate villain, not Yang who was more of a pawn. The family drama of the crazies reflects on Shawn's own family which is less dysfunctional in comparison. All in all, it's a solid ending to plot which began in season three.

Score: 8.9/10

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review - Human Target Season 2 Episode 6 The Other Side Of The Mall

Newsflash: Chance doesn't belong in the suburbs with normal folks. No, that couldn't be inferred by the fact that Chance's job is to maim people--the writers need an entire episode to spell it out piece by piece.

"The Other Side Of The Mall," in true spirit of the retooled Human Target, is supposed to be funny. It's not. The obvious setups, transparency of the situations, and genericness of the characters just aren't conducive to laughter or even amusement. A further drawback is that attempts for humor take up time, leaving a mere hint of a plot and nothing more.

Score: 6.5/10

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review - Perfect Couples Season 1 Episode 1 Perfect Tens

Perfect Couples isn't funny (no laughs from me) or original (3 guys, 3 girls), but it's not entirely painful to watch. If I had to, I think I'd be fine watching a few episodes in a row. Maybe I wouldn't be rolling over in laughter, but I wouldn't be out of my mind. The show could have been more with the single-camera format. Unfortunately, the plot and concept of the show is exactly what you'd expect: couples fight, but they love each other at the end of the day.

Score: 8.0/10

NBC expected The Sing Off (which does have great ratings) to boost Perfect Couples, but the end result is that Perfect Couples flopped out of the gate with 1.3 adults 18-49. I'm not surprised given how little notice and promotion there was for the preview episode.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review - The Closer Season 6 Episode 13 Living Proof, Part 1

It's Christmas time, but crime still goes on, meaning the crimesolvers have to stick around and finish the job. It also means that we'll have to stick around an additional week to see the conclusion.

Unfortunately for everyone else and their Christmas plans, Brenda remains tenacious and keeps digging. The result is a slew of dead bodies relating to an Albanian blood food (the line had me laughing). Left alive is the boy, his uncle, and his aunt. One or more of them isn't telling the whole truth, and the recording of the uncle and the grandfather arguing in Albanian should shed more light once it's translated.

"Living Proof, Part 1" keeps things mostly in the center with Brenda's parents arriving to add light humor to the episode while the mounting body count forced everyone to stay grounded. The conclusion next week should be more explosive once we learn what's really going on.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Leverage Season 3 Episode 15 The Big Bang Job / 16 The San Lorenzo Job

This season, Leverage had an overarching plot, and it's been a failure--perhaps more accurately, nonexistent. Burn Notice and its successors on the USA network are the prime examples of shows which can juggle a central story every episode while maintaining an ongoing subplot with a sense of progression through the season. Although Burn Notice's spy subplot has gotten stale, at least people were doing something each week.  
Leverage, however, gave us the initial tease of a big picture story in the first four episodes of the season, introducing the Italian woman and her target, Damien Moreau, but failed to follow-up with anything substantial. The Italian woman returned a few times to talk with Nate in the shadows, there was an episode about one of Moreau's associates, but there was never any sense of an impending collision or even that Moreau was a presence in most of the episodes.

Luckily, "The Big Bang Job" and "The San Lorenzo Job" wrap up the Moreau story. The biggest problem with Moreau is that he's not a great villain. In each episode, the team manhandles him, first by putting a bulleye on his back for governments around the world in "The Big Bang Job," and later, putting him in jail in "The San Lorenzo Job." For someone with so much wealth and influence, someone hyped to be the spawn of Satan, Moreau turned out to be pretty easy to bring down.

Another problem which persisted through the season is the Italian woman. Who is she and whom does she work for? Neither question is answered nor does there seem to be a plan to answer them. So what was her purpose? She's mysterious, threatens Nate into working for her... and? At the end of the day, all you can really say about her is that she directed Nate towards Moreau.

As individual episodes, both episodes were decent, but not spectacular. "The Big Bang Job" sheds light on Elliot's dark past and we get the sense that there's a lot brewing underneath the surface that has yet to be explored. I'm torn on the big gun battle near the end of the episode. Normally, I can enjoy Elliot beating up a crowd of thugs, but the whole slow-mo, sliding on water, bullets whizzing by was a little too much. On one hand, it was damn cool to watch--purely as a visual spectacle. On the other hand, it was absolutely unrealistic and absurd to the point where Elliot became a caricature in an episode where his character was expanded greatly.

"The San Lorenzo Job" is one of the most improbably jobs of the show, with Nate orchestrating and stealing an entire presidential election right under the nose of Moreau who's watching him the entire time. You'd think Moreau would be smart enough to have people watching Nate, but it reinforces the fact that Moreau really isn't that scary. And I can't talk about the episode without mentioning the ending, Nate and Sophie in bed together after some drinks the night before. Uh oh...

Score: 8.7/10

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Preview of Week 12/19/10 - 12/25/10

Leverage - TNT, Sunday, December 19. 9:00pm ET

Hopefully the season finale will resolve the Italian woman, Damian Moreau storyline so we can move on to something more interesting.

Psych - USA, Wednesday, December 22. 10:00pm ET

Last time Yin and Yang were around, we saw a photo of Yang and young Shawn. The season finale of Psych returns the return of Yin and Yang in what will probably be a very exciting epsiode.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review - Sanctuary Season 3 Episode 10 Hollow Men

"Hollow Men" throws Magnus--and the viewers--into the proverbial deep end of the pool, with a ton of new elements included without any explanation. It's kind of disappointing that we couldn't learn more about Hollow Earth, but the sheer amount of untapped potential is enough to keep me sated.

A quick rundown of what we now know: There seems to be a blend of mysticism with the kids being able to create holograms with balls of light in their hands; Adam seems to have a band of creepy guys who follow his orders, and he double crosses John; The city Praxis is some kind of autocracy run by Polly Walker (Caprica); Basilisks used to be on the surface but are in Hollow Earth; The mass transit system would make Europeans envious; People still farm underground and the food may have restorative properties due to increased nutrients.

The ending is pretty dumb. Obviously, everyone's not going to die, so the final shot of the four of them not moving is as hollow as Earth. The beginning of the next episode will be a big excuse about how they're not dead after all and they be right back where we were before they were shocked.

Score: 9.0/10

Friday, December 17, 2010

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 12/16/10

CBS won with The Big Bang Theory (4.0), $#*! My Dad Says (2.9), and repeats of CSI (1.9) and The Mentalist (1.8).

NBC was second with repeats of Community (1.2), 30 Rock (1.4), The Office (1.8), Outsourced (1.5), and The Office (1.3, 1.2).

ABC was third with A Charlie Brown Christmas (1.9) and repeats of Grey's Anatomy (1.2) and Private Practice (1.0).

Fox was last with repeats of Bones (1.2, 1.5).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review - Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 17 Out of the Fire/ 18 Last Stand

Finally!!! After four seasons of going around in circles, Burn Notice resolved the ongoing burn notice problem, with the list ending up in safe government hands and Vaughn in custody. It's definitely good that Matt Nix ended it here, seeing as the spy subplot has gotten morbidly redundant the past few seasons.

"Out of the Fire," the first episode of the night sets up the season finale by bringing out a slew of old enemies before killing off Brennen and letting Larry run off again (he probably didn't get caught). The episode ends with everyone knowing that Vaughn is gunning directly for all of them.

That leads right into "Last Stand," which is flat out amazing, an hour of Michael, Fi, and Jesse sieged in a hotel, using whatever skills they have to survive, including a final suicide explosion, before Sam arrives with the cavalry.

The final scene shows Michael dumped off in Washington DC after being interrogated for weeks. It's hard to imagine Burn Notice changing completely into a show about Michael doing spy stuff around the world. The rest of the cast still has to do something, and the show is fundamentally solid. I could definitely imagine the show going on with Michael and friends helping people around Miami without unnecessary subplots. I'm guessing we'll see Michael in the spy world for two episodes at most before going back to the usual Miami stuff, and that's perfectly fine, as long as the burn notice business is out of the way and not somehow reprised through some plot twist.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 4 Episode 11 The Justice League Recombination

"The Justice League Recombination" focuses solely on a single plot, so it doesn't contain the usual dumb subplot that has become a hallmark of the past few seasons. To make things even better, the plot, a big hubbub over a costume contest, is hilarious. I probably laughed out loud 10 times at all the jokes from the twist of the knocking on Penny's door, the Justice League backing away, Sheldon as Flash, Raj as Aquaman, and everything in between. I don't remember the last time I enjoyed an episode of The Big Bang Theory this much.

Not only that, there is a small portion of long-term development towards Leonard and Penny getting back together, which means the writers are building on something. It's clear that Penny isn't over yet and that Zack really isn't a roadblock.

Score: 9.4/10

Stargate Universe cancelled

Syfy cancelled Stargate Universe after consistently getting lower than expected ratings. I can't say I'm surprised or disappointed. There were a few good episodes before the midseason finale, but for the most part, it's been an incredibly frustrating ride with the writers unable to take chances even when the opportunity presented itself.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 12/15/10

CBS won with Survivor (3.5), Criminal Minds (3.3), and The Defenders (2.0).

NBC was second with The Sing Off (2.9) and a repeat of Law & Order: SVU (1.9).

Fox was third with Human Target (1.6) and Hell's Kitchen (2.6). Human Target is stuck in the same spot. We'll see if American Idol can improve it.

ABC was last with repeats of The Middle (1.4), Better With You (1.3), Modern Family (2.0),

Review - Friday Night Lights Season 5 Episode 7 Perfect Record

Although the Lions remain undefeated after drubbing the Panthers 37-7, it's clear things are quickly spiraling out of control for Coach Taylor. The team plays undisciplined, they trash talk, and their leader, Vince, throws a 60-yarder at the end of the game for no reason other than to show off. Clearly, these aren't the kids who entered the fourth season without much knowledge of the game. Instead, the players are full of themselves, confident in their ability and oblivious to their changes. It's only time before they're taken down a notch.

Vince finds himself in a tough spot in "Perfect Record." It's understandable that he would blindly follow his father after not having a father figure for years, but it also means he's not making the smart choices. Eric knows more about recruitment and what is illegal or not. Vince's father, on the other hand, wants the best for his son, but is likely to jump at colleges throwing money. In many ways, it's like the Cam Newton situation and no one wants Vince to turn out to be scumbags like Cam Newton and his father.

Julie still isn't going back to school, and her parents seemed to be resigned to letting him make her own choices. However, Tami still picks up her school material and even meets the TA, holding whatever words she has. By holding back, Tami refuses to fight on Julie's behalf, and gives Julie the opportunity to do what she wants.

Who's this black quarterback on the Panthers? Where's JD McCoy, the messiah of football? Along with the revival of everyone's police records, I was reminded that the whole high school stuff doesn't make much sense.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Psych Season 5 Episode 14 The Polarizing Express / 15 Dead Bear Walking

By now, you can expect Psych to be unrealistic. In the real world, Shawn would be fired for illegal searches, people would hate him for how selfish he usually is, and he'd get in a lot of trouble for hiding a polar bear. Since this is fiction, anything can happen, so serious incidences become manically comical.

"The Polarizing Express" is the Christmas episode and is very funny in spite of how mean Shawn is. In his mind, everyone would be in terrible places without him, but the upside is that we see each characters in wacky situations. There's a crime and Christmas stuff shoehorned in there, but the episode is about Shawn and his imagination.

"Dead Bear Walking" is nearly as silly, with Lassiter's sister filming the proceedings and a polar bear on the loose in Santa Barbara. Lassiter comes off as a bigger tool than usual with his pompous attitude, but the case is cracked in the end.

Score: 8.8/10

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review - Criminal Minds Season 6 Episode 11 25 to Life

There comes a point where a show simply isn't watchable anymore. I've put up with a lot of the crap over the years for the chance to catch one special episode on occasion, but Criminal Minds is quickly wearing thin. There hasn't been a standout episode this season, and on top of that, the past two episodes have been horrendous.

"25 to Life" is total mess from the beginning. The concept of the episode is perfectly fine, except the logic falls apart instantly. It's like no one--the director, writers, actors--cared what was in the script and let every illogical part end up on a television screen.

Here's the evidence why the politician is guilty: His campaign slogan is the same as something he said on the tape (LOL!), businessmen are psychopaths (slander), and he used to own the house (only legitimate evidence). Morgan also comes up with more ridiculous logic. The politician is tough on crime, so when he gets into office, he'll be in position to keep tabs on Sanderson. Obviously, Strauss strikes this down, but the writers want to make the viewers think this is some real analytical thinking and that Strauss is being a bitch again. It's so stupid it makes Tom Friedman look coherent.

And the final confrontation is just sad. Maybe it's okay for a consultant like Cal Lightman to barge in and confront someone on a whim, but for a federal agent like Morgan, definitely not. The sad thing is that Morgan doesn't really push the killer too much, and the killer randomly snaps.

If there's someone to be mad at, it's Morgan. First, he assumes Sanderson's innocence too early, despite evidence to the contrary. By following up on leads unrelated to Sanderson and using specious arguments, Morgan covers his own ass by drawing attention away from Sanderson, culminating with the barging in. Of course, Morgan is correct in the end--by design of the show only--but his behavior is outright shameful and self-serving. The problem is, the writers think he's some kind of hero for protecting the innocent guy and catching the real bad guy. Excuse me, but shouldn't the evidence fit the conclusion?

Lastly, why the hell is Seaver staying? This isn't some testing ground where newbies can make mistakes. The team frequently deals with complex cases involving dangerous people. Clearly, Seaver doesn't fit in. The writers aren't making a concerted effort to make her seem needed, if that was possible. She's just hanging around, soaking in the information without much useful input.

Score: 4.0/10

Review - Human Target Season 2 Episode 5 Dead Head

While the first season was overly predictable to a T, at least it was epic at times. The retooled Human Target, although more less predictable, lacks character. If asked by someone about the show, I really wouldn't know how to describe it. There's action, bland banter, and not much else.

"Dead Head" plays out like a Leverage episode with less energy, less charm, and lack of anything that stands out. The team figures out why an amnesiac was blown up, resolving one of Winston's long-standing problems, a group of corrupt cops, at the same time. We get to meet Winston's ex-wife, but it's more of formality. Yeah, cool fight scenes and a bit of clever trickey--par for the course.

Ames really isn't as funny as the writers think she is, but she's unobtrusive, so at least she's got that over Ilsa. Five episodes into the new season and the changes seem to superfluous, exchanging one boring idea for another.

Score: 8.2/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 12/14/10

NBC won with Minute to Win It (2.3) and The Biggest Loser (4.0).

CBS was second with NCIS (4.0), NCIS: Los Angeles (3.3), and The Good Wife (2.2). The Good Wife is in rough shape, but we'll see if critical acclaim can bolster it.

Fox was third with repeat of Glee (2.1, 2.1).

ABC was last with I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown (1.6) and repeat of No Ordinary Family (1.0) and Detroit 1-8-7 (0.8).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review - The Good Wife Season 2 Episode 9 Nine Hours

Earlier this season, I talked about the universe of The Good Wife has expanded and that there are many more threads compared to the first season. The danger is that too much will happen and there won't be a core to the show anymore.

"Nine Hours" hangs on the edge, juggling multiple storylines and locations, and I'm not sure how I feel about all of it. There's Kalinda and Alicia working together at Alicia's place before Kalinda rushes to catch the arson specialist, Will at the office, and Diane at the prison waiting for the client's daughter to arrive. On top of that, Blake does a bit of investigating, Cary hangs out with his 18 year old cousin, who has a crush on him, and has a discussion with Barry Scheck, one of OJ's lawyers, Peter has a debate, Zack keeps checking out Kalinda, and Grace turns to prayer after Carter gets another trial. I'm probably forgetting something, but the point is, a lot got lost in the jumble.

The main plot, the defense of Carter Wright, was strong enough to stand on its own, and the various subplots only served to detract from it. On the subject of the case, Alicia makes an impassioned plea to the judge to save a potentially innocent man, and succeeds in the end, a sigh of relief after nine hours of fervent work. It also must have been a relief for the clerk who saved a person from his end, originally leading Alicia in the right direction.

The Good Wife continues to tackle cases from different angles and is still very fresh. Still, I hope that some of the subplots could be consolidated to make things a bit tidier. The good thing is that unlike the case with many shows, I don't dislike the loose threads individually, just that it's too messy.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - NCIS Season 8 Episode 10 False Witness

"False Witness" probably won't be remembered for the case--the disappearance of a Navy witness which leads to a DA keeping a secret, a murderer trying to help his daughter, and a guy who wants revenge for his sister's death--but it could be a turning point for Tony as a character, assuming the writers follow through.

I kept thinking that Tony being serious was all a game. This wasn't the first time he's pulled a long prank, so I was expecting a big kicker somewhere. When Ziva confronts him about it, however, Tony tells her that a girl he can a one-night stand with a year ago recently got into a car crash because she was depressed. Whether Tony was the actual cause, he takes it hard upon himself and decides to shape up. But as Ziva reminds him, he is the class clown who everyone loves, and has to balance his behavior, not tilt in any direction. By the end of the episode, he regains his funny side and pulls a massive joke on Ziva, inducing her to even pull out her gun. We'll see if the writers do decide to tone down Tony's antics in future episodes, or whether this is a one time deal.

Score: 8.9/10

2010 Golden Globe nominations and thoughts

Best Television Series - Drama
Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
The Good Wife (CBS)
Mad Men (AMC)
The Walking Dead (AMC)

Not sure what Dexter and The Walking Dead are doing on the list while Breaking Bad is again ignored. I would have chosen Lost for the genre show.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife (CBS)
Elisabeth Moss – Mad Men (AMC)
Piper Perabo – Covert Affairs (USA)
Katey Sagal – Sons Of Anarchy (FX)
Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer (TNT)

Piper Perabo really sticks out among much more accomplished actresses. I like her on Covert Affairs, but the show doesn't have the depth of material to come even close to the others. On the other hand, Katey Sagal was recognized.

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Drama
Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall – Dexter (SHOWTIME)
Jon Hamm – Mad Men (AMC)
Hugh Laurie – House (FOX)

Beastly category.

Best Television Series - Comedy Or Musical
30 Rock (NBC)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Glee (FOX)
Modern Family (ABC)
Nurse Jackie (SHOWTIME)

More inexplicable love for Showtime "comedies".

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Comedy Or Musical
Toni Collette – United States Of Tara (SHOWTIME)
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie (SHOWTIME)
Tina Fey – 30 Rock (NBC)
Laura Linney – The Big C (SHOWTIME)
Lea Michele – Glee (FOX)


Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Comedy Or Musical
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock (NBC)
Steve Carell – The Office (NBC)
Thomas Jane – Hung (HBO)
Matthew Morrison – Glee (FOX)
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television
Carlos (Sundance C)
The Pacific (HBO)
Pillars Of The Earth (STARZ)
Temple Grandin (HBO)
You Don't Know Jack (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Hayley Atwell – Pillars Of The Earth (STARZ)
Claire Danes – Temple Grandin (HBO)
Judi Dench – Return To Cranford
Romola Garai – Emma
Jennifer Love Hewitt – The Client List

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Idris Elba – Luther
Ian McShane – Pillars Of The Earth (STARZ)
Al Pacino – You Don't Know Jack (HBO)
Dennis Quaid – The Special Relationship (HBO)
Edgar Ramirez – Carlos (Sundance C)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Hope Davis – The Special Relationship
Jane Lynch – Glee (FOX)
Kelly MacDonald – Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Julia Stiles – Dexter (SHOWTIME)
Sofia Vergara – Modern Family (ABC)

Comedy versus drama--honestly, there's no good way to look at the supporting role categories.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Scott Caan – Hawaii Five-O (CBS)
Chris Colfer – Glee (FOX)
Chris Noth – The Good Wife (CBS)
Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family (ABC)
David Strathairn – Temple Grandin (HBO)

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 12/13/10

CBS won with How I Met Your Mother (3.6), Rules of Engagement (3.2), Two and a Half Men (4.2), Mike & Molly (3.6), and Hawaii Five-0 (2.8). Up against two repeats Five-0 couldn't crack 3.

NBC was second with The Sing Off (3.3) and a repeat of Chase (1.2). Chase repeat doing about the same as new episodes. Yeah, it's gone.

Fox was third with repeats of House (1.5) and Lie to Me (1.0).

ABC was last with Skating with the Stars (0.8), Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to You (1.1), and a repeat of Castle (1.2).

Review - Hawaii Five-0 Season 1 Episode 12 Hana 'a'a Makehewa

So much for the Christmas spirit. "Hana 'a'a Makehewa" begins off the bat with Chin Ho sweating profusely with a bomb strapped to his neck. The episode features the return of Victor Hess, the guy who killed McGarrett's father in the pilot. This time, with the help of Sang Min, he eludes capture and lures Chin Ho to a secluded area.

We learn more about Chin Ho's past, including why he was suspected, the fact that he is protecting someone else, and that he may have been setup. The "borrowed" money getting burned in the end is practically begging for a follow-up episode. If anyone finds out the money is missing, McGarrett will be in trouble for stealing the money and Chin Ho for having the plans.

There is another development in the form of Victor Hess at the prison talking with Wo Fat, who hopefully isn't a stereotyped "Red China is devious and out to get us!" character this time around.

"Hana 'a'a Makehewa" was one of the more out-of-the-box episodes, without too much investigation before the episode turns towards pure action. I also like the bits and pieces of backstory which should prove useful in future episode. Overall, not a bad way to end the first half the season.

Score: 8.8/10

Monday, December 13, 2010

Review - The Closer Season 6 Episode 12 High Crimes

With the surprise announcement last week that The Closer would be ending after seven seasons, I began to think about how the series would end. The six season has danced around the fact that change in the department is coming and Brenda may be in a new position soon. However, she's steadfastly clung to her current position of head of Major Crimes and no one can force her to do something she doesn't want to do.

Still, Brenda getting promoted and leaving her team behind would be a fitting end to the show. She came to Los Angeles under hostile conditions and proved herself to the team and any doubters, solving case after case with grit and tenacity. Now, she's more or less settled into a comfortable position and it would be a good time for her to slip into another role.

"High Crimes" has Chief Delk directly asking Brenda about replacing Pope and she declines, partially out of an illogical loyalty to Pope. Certainly, she done her fair share by making Pope look good for hiring her, so I don't see why Brenda feels that Pope deserves anything extra.

The case involves marijuana dispensaries being robbed, so Provenza, the crotchety old man, came out. Delk, luckily, views his actions with amusement and not an impulse to get rid of the old, useless guy. The twist was predictable once Tao shot the glass and nothing happened, but there were enough laughs in the episode to make it worth watching.

The scene of Brenda and Fritz arguing really epitomizes their relationship. Fritz shows that he cares about her and doesn't want her to get hurt, so he gets a little pushy about Brenda taking Pope's job. She throws it back into his face rather indignantly. Neither are right in the situation--Fritz could have been more diplomatic--but Brenda, as always, is off in her own world. Fritz has a dangerous job as well and she doesn't seem the mind if he's in harm's way, and only seems to care about his job when she needs information. Somehow, Fritz puts up with all her crap.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - How I Met Your Mother Season 6 Episode 12 False Positive

The usage of Ted in "False Positive" is quite brilliant. Despite Ted not having any developments in the episode, he proves to be the glue of the group, making sure everyone is headed down the right path. That's the kind of person Ted is. He's not the funniest or most interesting of the group, but he is the main character, the focal point upon which the other characters revolve.

The plot of "False Positive" is executed in superb fashion, with the initial announcement of Lily and Marshall's pregnancy serving as the jumping point. From there, there are a series of quick developments. We see Robin decide to get a job for Worldwide News and Barney decide to give to charity. When they learn of the false positives, however, things turn sideways. Robin decides to be the coin flip bimbo for the new gameshow which is inextricably popular and Barney adds a decimal to the amount he's giving. And in reality, Marshall and Lily freaked out so much after the pregnancy test that they feel relieved they aren't going to be parents.

But there's Ted, hanging outside the theater with a Christmas-themed snack, without much to do. When he learns of everyone going back on their dreams, he snaps into action, throwing the gingerbread house into the ground. It's a wakeup call for everybody. Just because there wasn't a pregnancy this time doesn't mean Marshall and Lily should give up, Robin should stop pursuing her journalism career, or Barney should not donate to charity.

The episode ends with Robin asking Ted to be her best man. Again, we're left wondering about that wedding at the beginning of the season. My gut tells me that it is Robin's wedding and not Punchy's, but there's hardly enough evidence right now.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Leverage Season 3 Episode 14 The Ho Ho Ho Job

For whatever reason, TNT decided to split the season in a very awkward place, with only one new episode (the one this week) before the season finale next week. The episode is in December, so I'm guessing "The Ho Ho Ho Job" was planned a while back.

"The Ho Ho Ho Job" takes a big turn with the return of Wil Wheaton's character, the computer hacker Chaos. The initial villain actually turns into a good guy in the end who regrets his actions. It turns out that Chaos was manipulating the team from the beginning to stage a bank robbery. After a bit of soul-searching by Nate, the team manages to turn the tables on Chaos and save Christmas.

Overall, the episode was a lot of fun with full usage of the Christmas theme. Elliot got to dress up as Santa, we got to see Parker's enthusiastic joy of everything Christmas, and the Christmas gifts at the end of the episode was really cool--and Sophie, presumably, gives Nate her real name.

Score: 8.8/10

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Review - Dexter Season 5 Episode 12 The Big One

If you've read my Dexter reviews, you'd know I don't have high expectations for the show. Ever since the third season, I've been thoroughly unimpressed with how stagnant the show is. Nothing ever changes. We may learn more information about Dexter, but the format of the seasons and episodes are pretty much the same: Dexter is a serial killer, finds himself in tight spots, wriggles out, continues killing. Whether it's the serial killers, friends, Rita, coworkers, and another number of outside factors, the show remains very standard through and through.

With "The Big One," there were a couple of bold directions the writers could have taken the show. Lumen and Dexter could have gone of killing people together or Lumen could have been arrested, among many other choices. Instead, however, the writers take the easy way out, letting Lumen leave. Just like that, we're back to square one. Dexter has no one to care about but himself and the knowledge that he can care about someone else.

For a brief moment, when Deb had Dexter and Lumen at gunpoint, I held my breath, my heart beat faster, and then I realized, "oh wait, she'll let them go." And that's exactly what happens. The tension will always resolved itself and the show will return back to equilibrium. After five seasons of watching this happen, it's just frustrating

Following in suit, Quinn is freed after briefly being suspected of Liddy's murder, an all too easy conclusion for what could have become a gamechanger. Sure he probably still suspects Dexter, but how far are the writers willing to go? Probably not far enough.

At the end of the season, looking back on the various subplots of the season, there was a lot of useless bullshit. Santa Muerte went nowhere, office politics went nowhere, LaGuerta the bitch went nowhere, and the relationship stuff was as flat as ever.

Showtime announced last week that Dexter is getting at least another season, and since the show is still getting great ratings for the network, there are probably more than a few executives who want to squeeze out every last drop out of the show. Already, the show is wobbling all over the place with Dexter the character as the only steadying factor. Soon, though, that could disappear, and with the other elements of the show, turn to a total crapfest.

Score: 8.3/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 12/09/10

CBS won with The Big Bang Theory (3.9), $#*! My Dad Says (2.7), CSI (3.0), and The Mentalist (2.4). Awful numbers for The Mentalist, but I assume it's an anomaly.

ABC was second with Shrek the Halls (1.8), Disney’s Prep & Landing (2.2),  Barbara Walters Special: Oprah, The Next Chapter (3.0), and Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2010 (3.2).

NBC was third with Community (1.9), 30 Rock (2.1), The Office (3.7), and The Apprentice (1.6).

Fox was last with Bones (2.2) and Fringe (1.7). Fringe's last night on Thursday was par for the course, justifying the move to Friday.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 12/08/10

CBS won with Survivor (3.6), Criminal Minds (3.5), and The Defenders (2.0). The Defenders still in the low-2s, probably not enough for renewal.

NBC was second with The Sing Off (2.7) and a repeat of Law & Order: SVU (1.8).

ABC was third with The Middle (2.4), Better With You (2.2), Modern Family (4.2), Cougar Town (2.6), and  repeats of Modern Family (1.9) and Cougar Town (1.3).

Fox was last with Human Target (1.6) and Hell’s Kitchen (2.3). Human Target still looks like it's down the path to cancellation.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 12/07/10

Fox won with Glee (4.4), Raising Hope (2.8), and Running Wilde (1.7).

NBC was second with Minute to Win It (1.9) and The Biggest Loser (3.1).

ABC was third with A Charlie Brown Christmas (2.6), No Ordinary Family (1.9), and Detroit 1-8-7 (1.4). NOF is still teetering on the edge and Detroit is still in big trouble.

CBS was last with repeats of NCIS (2.0), NCIS: Los Angeles (1.9), and The Good Wife (1.3).

Preview of Week 12/12/10 - 12/18/10

Dexter - Showtime, Sunday, December 12, 9:00pm ET

We all know Dexter will get away clean (unless the writers finally decide to change the status quo), but what will happen to Lumen, the only person who understands Dexter?

Leverage - TNT, Sunday, December 12, 9:00pm ET

Leverage returns with three more episodes. This week's episode is titled "The Ho, Ho, Ho Job," so we'll see what Christmas shenanigans happen.

The Good Wife - CBS, Tuesday, December 14, 10:00pm ET

As anyone who's watched the preview can attest, it sure implies something steamy may happen between Will and Alicia.

Burn Notice - USA, Thursday, December 16, 10:00pm ET

Oh no, the list was stolen! What will happen? Of course I'm being facetious, seeing as this is Burn Notice. I can already guess that nothing will happen and Michael will still be doing his normal thing even after the season finale.

Sanctuary - Syfy, Friday, December 17, 10:00pm ET

We're headed to Hollow Earth!!

Review - In Treatment Season 3 Episode 25/26/27/28 Week 7

The third, and possibly final, season of In Treatment ends on a somber and ambiguous note. Leaving Adele's office, Paul steps outside, looks around, and then walks through a sea of people, unsure of how to proceed. Does he continue his practice, even with his recent failures? While Paul usually gets a win here and there with his patients, Paul really hasn't succeeded this season. Sunil was tricking him from the beginning, Jesse remains incredibly rude and obnoxious--so I guess Frances is the only patient who's helped in the slightest.


With Patricia dying, Frances has the hard choice of deciding what to do with the respirator. Again, she's boxed in the corner with Izzy sure to make a big deal after the decision is made. Nonetheless, Paul tries to make her feel like she is good enough for Patricia and that she can make the right decision. At the end of the episode, we don't know what Frances will do, but at least she's not outright resentful of Paul.


So Sunil is just a normal person who used Paul to get deported? He doesn't have serious mental issues? In one respect, it's kind of cool that Sunil turned out to be a mastermind, guiding everyone's actions so he could go back to India. In another respect, it's made the previous six episodes rather pointless in terms of what we learned about Sunil since we don't know what is or isn't the truth. The end result is that the only thing we can take away from Sunil's sessions is how Paul reacts. To me, that's not enough.


To say that Paul didn't help Jesse would be untrue. Without therapy, Roberto probably wouldn't have reached out to Jesse as he is now. But to say that Jesse has truly changed is stretching it. At the beginning of the sessions, Jesse was out of control and by the end of the sessions, he's still the cursing kid with no manners or respect for Paul. He regularly insults people, and now, following his father's lead, blames his problems on his mother, which only spells further disaster.


Paul's sessions with Adele have revealed him to be an overall trainwreck. He substitutes people to avoid real issues, crosses professional boundaries, and after realizing that his patients, like Sunil, may have all been lying to been, contemplates not doing therapy anymore. Adele, true to form, doesn't show her hand, asking questions here and there, but never gets forceful. Once again, Paul tells her that he thinks she should be with him, but that won't happen. And there's nothing Paul can do but walk away. Three seasons of Paul treating patients, and there he stands, largely a failure.

Score: 8.9/10

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review - The Mentalist Season 3 Episode 10 Jolly Red Elf

I am an entire day behind the television watching, so for the sake of time, reviews for Thursday and Wednesday shows will be very short (shorter than they the present short reviews). I was overwhelmed this week with other stuff, but I'll definitely be churning out reviews next week.

"Jolly Red Elf" has a fairly average case involving addiction and a wacko nurse, but if we are to believe that Jane wasn't lying while undercover, it holds a certain significance. Jane is addicted to finding Red John--like a true addict, throwing away his life for a singular goal.

The investigation of who burned the suspect at the end of last episode begins and Jane is the first suspect, although we know it isn't him. In the end, Minelli helps Jane obtain the entire suspect list, but I'm still convinced he is Red John. I guess we'll find out in a few years.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - Nikita Season 1 Episode 11 All the Way

I am an entire day behind the television watching, so for the sake of time, reviews for Thursday and Wednesday shows will be very short (shorter than they the present short reviews). I was overwhelmed this week with other stuff, but I'll definitely be churning out reviews next week.

Wow, now that's a great midseason finale! Nikita continues to impress with kickass episode. In addition to the incredible scene of Nikita breaking out and beating up a room full of recruits in the process, Alex is promoted after doing what is necessary--killing Thom and leaving him to die.

The lines are drawn and Alex's will has only been bolstered, and now that she's an agent, we'll see how she exploits that to her advantage. The only trouble is that her only form of communication with Nikita was discovered.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Supernatural Season 6 Episode 11 Appointment in Samarra

The pacing of season six is rather peculiar. It's been serialized to an extent, at least more than the first few seasons, and the plots have more or less followed the search for Sam's soul. At the same time, however, we have no clue where the story is going, as opposed to the fifth season when we knew the season would end with a confrontation with Lucifer.

"Appointment in Samarra" takes yet another turn, with Sam getting his soul back. What happens now? Will the wall in Sam's mind hold? How will he feel about almost killing Bobby?

Dean's end of the bargain, acting as Death for the day, felt too scientific to me, too precise in actions and consequences. Call it destiny, but the cause and effect that Dean sees peels back the veil of Death to a level humans can understand, just like it was done with Heaven, Hell, angels, and souls. The mystery behind various entities just doesn't seem to scale with their power.

Death comes through in the end and puts the soul into Sam after some cryptic words about Dean getting closer to know knowledge about souls. What does it all mean? I guess we'll find out when the show returns.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Sanctuary Season 3 Episode 9 Vigilante

Wow, Sanctuary did it again with another great episode. There's a lot going on with the search for the keystone as well as the main plot regarding various deaths around the country. "Vigilante" wraps up the episode earlier this season about the death of a priest who guided abnormals towards the Sanctuary. Christopher Heyerdahl plays double duty with both Bigfoot and John on screen a fair bit, and hits the right notes and Bigfoot catches the killer, a guy who's off his rocker and wants to rid the world of Abnormals.

Helen, suffering from the affects of radiation, travels with John to find the keystone, hitting a few dead ends before recovering the real ones. While the extent of plot development is only finding the keystone and getting the map in the end, there is a real intimacy between Helen and John, and we see how comfortable they are with each other when John doesn't have the entity.

The only mark on the episode is Will's FBI friend. Seriously, why was she in the episode? All she did was act cutesy-annoying and bother Will. Surely there could can be a better way to tie the deaths with the priest's death.

The midseason finale is next week, and the team will be heading to Hollow Earth. So excited!

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Bones Season 6 Episode 9 The Doctor in the Photo

I am an entire day behind the television watching, so for the sake of time, reviews for Thursday and Wednesday shows will be very short (shorter than they the present short reviews). I was overwhelmed this week with other stuff, but I'll definitely be churning out reviews next week.

Despite the fact that the first half of the episode has ridiculously clunky dialogue--some of the worst I've ever heard--and frustratingly unsubtle parallels between Brennan and the surgeon, "The Doctor in the Photo" contains the biggest development for Brennan, and Emily Deschanel is fantastic.

Along with the tricks Brennan's mind plays on her, Micah (presumably, he was part of her imagination) and the same voice and photo, the episode becomes watchable. And now that Brennan realizes she should have made the move earlier, Booth knows, and we're finally moving ahead and out of that ditch.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 4 Episode 10 The Alien Parasite Hypothesis

I am an entire day behind the television watching, so for the sake of time, reviews for Thursday and Wednesday shows will be very short (shorter than they the present short reviews). I was overwhelmed this week with other stuff, but I'll definitely be churning out reviews next week.

What happens in "The Alien Parasite Hypothesis"? To be honest, nothing--literally. Amy Farrah Fowler finds herself attracted to one of Penny's ex-boyfriends, making involuntary noises when looking at him. She talks to Sheldon about it and they try to deduce her urges. Up to that point, everything is fine. When Sheldon takes her to get laid, however, Amy turns back, deciding that the guy is too dumb, and leaves. She holds hands with Sheldon, doesn't react, and lets go. Basically, the episode was about Amy miraculously attracted to one person. There are no bigger implications.

As for Howard and Raj, what the hell? How about letting them run around in circles singing? That's almost equivalent to their ridiculous superhero-sidekick competition.

Score: 8.0/10

Review - Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 16 Dead Or Alive

I am an entire day behind the television watching, so for the sake of time, reviews for Thursday and Wednesday shows will be very short (shorter than they the present short reviews). I was overwhelmed this week with other stuff, but I'll definitely be churning out reviews next week.

I've never gotten anything out of the attempted pathos for Burn Notice. The writers try from time to time, but I really don't care. Serve up some explosions and guns, and I'm fine. Tonally and thematically, the show just doesn't have it enough to get me choked up as a show like Friday Night Lights. Call me heartless, but I found a good deal of "Dead Or Alive" cheesy. Sam and the grieving widow was really uncomfortable to watch. The plot is the usual trickery, except that there's only one person to fool, so they take him down fairly easily.

The list subplot doesn't go anywhere, aside from useless "Michael might be working for the government!" jibber-jabber, until the end when Brennan steals the list.

Score: 8.4/10

Review - The Office Season 7 Episode 11/12 Classy Christmas

I am an entire day behind the television watching, so for the sake of time, reviews for Thursday and Wednesday shows will be very short (shorter than they the present short reviews). I was overwhelmed this week with other stuff, but I'll definitely be churning out reviews next week.

To me, "Classy Christmas" felt like a test of how much people can stand certain characters. Michael is behaving like a child and Dwight is outright evil. On the other hand, Jim and Pam are wonderful and Darryl's daughter brought the Christmas spirit to the episode. I'm not sure it was enough to make it a great episode though.

Michael is stupid. That's pretty much a fact. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he'll pursue something to the end, and then go further. With Holly, he still thinks she's the one, making everyone in the office know just how great she is. When she arrives to temporarily replace Toby, Michael is ecstatic and they fall into the same rhythm. Here's where Michael stupidity comes in. He's so stupid he doesn't realize when he's being mean, throwing Holly's boyfriend's Woody doll into the trash. What's more, when Holly's boyfriend AJ does arrive, Michael acts all downtroden. The writers try to bring it back by making Holly smile as Michael pretends to be Santa. However, the damage is done: Michael again looks like a complete tool, trying to force himself on Holly like the creep he is.

Dwight harassing Jim got a little out of hand. It's fine for Dwight to get some payback for years of Jim pulling pranks on him, but when Jim is mentally distressed and physically disheveled from the pummeling, it's time to stop. Yeah, Dwight has always been a crazy person, but full-on psychopath?

Score: 8.6/10

Review - Friday Night Lights Season 5 Episode 6 Swerve

I am an entire day behind the television watching, so for the sake of time, reviews for Thursday and Wednesday shows will be very short (shorter than they the present short reviews). I was overwhelmed this week with other stuff, but I'll definitely be churning out reviews next week.

"Swerve" is one of my favorite episodes of the season for the Julie story alone. For the first time, there's nowhere to run for Julie. She can stay in her room or crash the car, but at the end of the day, she is an adult who must confront her actions. She made specific choices to get to where she is, and there's no avoiding that. As with the Vince storyline, the trouble brewing nearly derails the football game. This is, however, the magical season for the East Dillon Lions when nothing can do wrong. For the personnel, though, things are spiraling out of control.

The writing for Vince is plain stupid. He asks his criminal father for help and reminds him of his parole. But it's clear to audience that his father will violate his parole. Vince suddenly goes from distrusting his father earlier in the season to trusting him completely. And afterwards, Vince still thinks everything is fine. Get a clue!

Score: 9.2/10

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review - Fringe Season 3 Episode 9 Marionette

Wow, "Marionette" had lots creepy imagery with people's body parts being taken to the marionette herself. The plot isn't very complex with a straightforward story, but it bridges the subplot of Peter and Olivia. At first, Olivia is somewhat fine with the situation, but after seeing how much the other Olivia intruded into her life, things start crumbling. She's passive-aggressive towards Peter throughout the investigation, and after the doctor tells her that he knew something was wrong with the reanimated woman, she believes that Peter, too, should have known something was wrong. Is she right? It's hard to take sides, but I think we should give Peter the benefit of the doubt since he was trapped on the other side for a while.

A lot of people bashed Anna Torv early on for her wooden acting, which was a valid complaint, but you have to admit that she was been terrific this season. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see her in shambles. Looking ahead, how do Olivia and Peter continue working together?.

An Observer shows up at the end of the episode to tell whoever he's calling about Walter. Ehh... I want more information to genuinely care about the teaser.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - Community Season 2 Episode 11 Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas

How does Community continue to do this each week!? This season has been all over the place, and I mean that in the best way possible. No two episodes are alike in structure or message, and the comedy has been consistently topnotch.

Somehow, "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" manages to top everything with everything we'd hope from a Christmas episode. The episode is shown through Abed's (slightly) messed up mind in stop-motion. What starts as a group therapy session with Professor Duncan becomes a trip to find the true message of Christmas.

Aside from how delightful the world looks and the songs, the episode has an underpinning of sadness from the fact that Abed won't be spending this Christmas with his mother. The Christmas card from his mother pushed him to fall back into his subconscious where animation and his childish imagination exists, shielding him from the pain. In confronting the truth, however, his friends are there to support him, and that's the meaning of Christmas. Even if Abed's mother isn't there, at least he has a group of people who care for him.

Score: 9.6/10

Review - Psych Season 5 Episode 13 We'd Like to Thank the Academy

Yeah, Chief Vick never comes down on Gus or Shawn--or anything else, for that matter--but she sudden decision to get tough made for a fun times at the police academy. Maybe Juliet didn't get what she wanted, a trained Shawn, but the viewers got to laugh at the hilarious antics for an hour.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Criminal Minds Season 5 Episode 10 What Happens at Home

The BAU is made up of the brightest FBI agents. They've caught countless killers and whatnot over the years with impeccable skill and intelligence. There has never been a problem with the team unable to do their jobs correctly.

But wait! In "What Happens at Home," Hotch immediately decides they can't do it, so he gets help--no, not an expert like Rossi but a freaking cadet!!! Why? She was the daughter of a serial killer. WHAT THE FUCK. That makes her qualified to spot other serial killers? Huh? The team has seen and caught serial killers in the past, and pertinent to this case, in a residential setting. This isn't some extreme circumstance which requires outside eyes.

If the writers or CBS wanted to introduce a new character, that's fine. But if they want to introduce a newbie with no extra training and place her on a team when she clearly has no place on it, then that's ridiculously stupid. And how exactly is she going to stay on the team? Clearly, she's not cut out for the job. She's inexperienced, highly emotional, and almost got herself killed already. My brain hurts over how terrible this situation is.

Score:  7.0/10

Review - Human Target Season 2 Episode 4 The Return of Baptiste

I'm confused about the direction of the second season. The season premiere made clear that the cliffhanger at the end of the first season, directly involving the Old Man, was to be dealt with quickly before heading off to new ventures. However, with "The Return of Baptiste," the Old Man is mentioned several times. So is he a key figure or not? It seems like the writers are backtracking on the Old Man after seemingly tossing him away.

"The Return of Baptiste" is bolstered by the fact that Baptiste is back. Together, he and Chance venture to Paraguay to save Ilsa's friend, and it's the usual banter and action both in Paraguay and at home base with Ilsa taking a more active role. There's really not more to the episode, with Baptiste headed by to prison after Chance feigns offering him a job. We don't learn more about the Old Man other than that he doesn't need/want Baptiste anymore.

Score: 8.3/10

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review - Modern Family Season 2 Episode 10 Dance Dance Revelation

"Dance Dance Revelation" spends way too much time following the characters fighting each other. A normal episode will have a conflict here and there, stemming from understandable disagreements or misunderstandings. However, "Dance Dance Revelation" makes us dislike the characters.

After acting bitchy the entire episode, Claire claims she only cares about the dance which is why she went crazy when she saw Gloria intruding in her area. That still doesn't excuse her mean behavior. Cam and Mitchell fighting, literally, over Lily was just sad. Like the other overreacting family members, Jay's overreaction to Phil's non-reactions prompts Phil to overreact.

Since there were three separate plots this week, all very average, there wasn't a real tie-up to everything that binded everything into that one emotional moment that we usually see. Instead, Phil delivers a voiceover while we see everyone having a good time. Does it excuse their behavior during the episode? In my eyes, not really.

Score: 8.3/10

Review - No Ordinary Family Season 1 Episode 10 No Ordinary Sidekick

I didn't review No Ordinary Family last week, because it bothered me a lot and I didn't want to spend time picking the episode apart and being a grouch. Since this is the midseason finale, I decided to review the episode--regardless of what I felt.

Luckily, "No Ordinary Sidekick" isn't all bad and has a few good things to cling on to. Daphne's mind-wipe was a very cool way to end the episode and the show took a big leap forward by killing off Dr. Childs who wasn't really that useful. George's speech at the end of the episode was a nice way to wrap up the various plots after the sidekicks split.

The bad was again from JJ and the writers' inability to write him as anyone other than a genius-idiot. Remember when JJ set up the fake profile and got Katie to a date and this random guy showed up? Remember that JJ was hiding out and saw what happened? Well, he finally connects the dots after Daphne tells him where Katie met Will. Yeah, he's that dumb, not to mention his idiotic use of powers.

Score: 8.4/10

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 2 Episode 13 Secret Santa

Random Christmas episode... hooray? "Secret Santa" is a standalone episode, not following up on the cliffhanger at the end of episode 12, which probably is a good thing since it's a lot less complicating. Basically, the episode is light on everything, plot and depth included, to give a generic Christmas, friends and family happy together. Claudia gets Artie and his father to reconcile, and like other relationship problems on the show, it's done very easily.

As far as the artifact finding goes, it was really nonsensical and only an easy way for Pete and Myka to do something Christmas related. And seriously, what's wrong with building a shopping mall? It would create jobs--you know, lowering the 9.8% unemployment rate--and deliver cheaper goods for consumers.

Score: 8.2/10

Review - Glee Season 2 Episode 10 A Very Glee Christmas

"A Very Glee Christmas" focuses some of the more unrealistic elements of the show--Sue's pervasive mean-spiritedness and Brittany's near insanity--and it's all pretty silly. We're supposed to believe that Brittany is so oblivious that she'd still believe in Santa, discounting every shred of logic behind his nonexistence. Sue is more Grinchy than usual, actually dressing up as a Grinch and destroying the tree and presents at the school for no reason other than to cause trouble. Predictably, the episode ends on a happy note as everyone gets together at Will's house to spread some holiday cheer.

There are also a bunch of random subplots jammed into the episode. Finn officially breaks up with Rachel, Will decides to stay away from Emma, and Kurt shows up at the beginning of the episode for a song and then disappears.

At the end of the day, we have to remember this is a Glee Christmas episode. The combination inevitably results in an abundance of Christmas songs, a warm feeling in the end, and a thin plot surrounding the Christmas theme. "A Very Glee Christmas" fulfills the criteria and that's what anyone expects.

Score: 8.3/10

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 12/06/10

CBS won with How I Met Your Mother (3.6), Rules of Engagement (3.1), Two and a Half Men (4.2), Mike & Molly (3.4), and Hawaii Five-0 (2.8).

NBC was second with The Sing Off (2.8) and Chase (1.5). The Sing Off returned very strong for NBC, but could not boost Chase.

Fox was third with the American Country Awards (1.5).

ABC was last with Skating with the Stars (0.8), a repeat of Modern Family (1.1), and Castle (1.9). Castle without DWTS... youch!

Review - The Closer Season 6 Episode 11 Old Money

How about that opening fight? We usually see Sanchez doing that kind of thing, but Flynn was pretty awesome there. Anyway, "Old Money" is a fairly standard episode with Flynn getting attacked, the culprit being a guy Flynn put away over 10 years ago. Brenda does her thing, getting the involved parties to help and gets the guy in the end.

There's a further development in the Brenda getting promoted arc; this time, Fritz tells Brenda that she'll be taking over Pope's job. Again, she's lured away from her team and it's hard to imagine the show working if she's in a higher position, unable to get her hands dirty in the interrogation room. Where is this all going?

Score: 8.5/10

Review - Hawaii Five-0 Season 1 Episode 11 Palekaiko

While "Palekaiko" isn't fundamentally different than the large majority of the episodes, it had a few good splashes of information, including Chin Ho talking about where he would be taken his fiancee on a honeymoon had she stuck with him and McGarrett learning that his mother was actually murdered and that his father was working on it before he was killed.

The plot cycles through an assortment of characters and incorrect leads before it's discovered that there's actually a serial killer loose, and makes for a fun ride. But the downside of barreling through the episode at breakneck speed is that cool characters like Max only show up once. After he does the autopsy and leads them in the right direction, he's left behind as the team chases other leads. I guess I can't except too much from the show.

Score:: 8.5/10

Monday, December 6, 2010

Review - Castle Season 3 Episode 10 Last Call

As a crime procedural, Castle is one of the least impressive shows out there, with bland, uninvolved crime solving each week. It's hard to ignore the major deficiencies: the crime solving, mentioned above, the secondary characters don't have much to do but carry out generic police operations, and the Alexis plots are the same each week--Castle worrying and Beckett chiming in to add more worry before everything turns out fine. It's the third season now and instead of improving, as the vast majority of shows do, Castle has stagnated into a familiar pattern, refusing to push anything beyond the safety of repetitive plots.

As a playground for Castle, though, it's a pretty fun show. It's frustrating to see a show unable to get things to click when the pieces are there. All the writers have to do is occasionally up the ante, add more layers to the characters, balancing the playfulness, and it would dramatically improve the show.

"Old Money" is the Prohibition indulgence episode for Castle, and fitting a day after the Boardwalk Empire season finale. He relishes the old tavern ways and shows how much knowledge he has of the city and its past. The auctioneer is revealed as the murderer, but the episode's main point is that Castle can run around an ancient labyrinth with aged bottles of alcohol. The fact is, crimes are structured around the theme of the episode instead of the other way around, leaving very little plot.

Score: 8.0/10

Review - How I Met Your Mother Season 6 Episode 11 The Mermaid Theory

"The Mermaid Theory" is a pretty wacky episode. There are a bunch of sight gags, my favorite being the manatee costumes, running jokes about the "mermaid theory"--women turning into mermaids from manatees after a while, turning back if pregnant, and again turning back if breastfeeding--and Future Ted totally mixing up a future story, teased by Ted in a dress, and the present story. The episode doesn't really touch on any sweet or emotional points, but is altogether a pleasant, funny episode.

As far as plot goes, there's not much going on between Marshall and Robin having dinner and Barney and Lily fighting. Ted goes on a boat trip with the Captain, and defying Ted's expectations, the Captain does not kill him. We do get some movement between Zoe, who is a lot more likable when not protesting, and Ted. They agree to be just friends and that they don't have feelings for each other... right.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - Boardwalk Empire Season 1 Episode 12 A Return To Normalcy

The first season of Boardwalk Empire is more about internal problems than external. The characters grapple with who they are and what the empire is supposed to be. There are external pressures put on from the Italians and Rothstein, but they only serve to further the internal conflicts.

"A Return To Normalcy" largely puts things back into their rightful places, except that everyone's mindsets aren't the same. The large change comes from Jimmy, who has grown increasingly tired of Nucky. After the Commodore tells Jimmy about Nucky practically taking New Jersey from him, he requests that Jimmy, his son, take his rightful place as ruler of Jersey. Eli is sheriff again, but he in league with the Commodore wants to move on Nucky. Gillian, the Commodore, and Jimmy are a family, but there is still a dark undercurrent (The whole maid poisoning Commodore thing seemed way too easy. I still think Gillian was involved and Nucky is helping her. Maybe we'll learn the truth next season or maybe we already have it.)

Meanwhile Margaret is back with Nucky, believing him to be a financial safety net, but her doubts and concerns are still there. As much as she dislikes what Nucky does, she has a connection with him and his wallet is large enough to sustain her needs.
Van Alden continues to fall further and further. He covers up his murder of Sebso and then quits his job. There has to be a limit to how much he can cling to the Bible while knowing everything he's done. To make things worse, Lucy tells him she's pregnant. It's interesting that she would go to Van Alden instead of Nucky. Couldn't Nucky be the father? It would be an easy way to get into his life. In any case, Van Alden might snap and do something totally insane.

Chalky pops his head into the episode to show his loyalty for Nucky and his business sense, squeezing Nucky for a little more. I really hope we see more of him in the second season, because besides his incredible speech about his father, he hasn't done that much.

The beef with Rothstein is done for now, Nucky getting his DA friend in Chicago not to charge him. In exchange, Nucky gets a nice million dollars and the D’Alessio to take out.

On the political side of things, Nucky gets his wishes; the Republicans own New Jersey and Harding wins the presidency, both expected developments which show Nucky's power under all that's going on.

Looking ahead to the second season, we've been well-acquainted with every character and they with each other. How does they cope with where they are? Does Jimmy act on his father's wishes and go after Nucky? Does Margaret stay with Nucky, or does an opportunity present itself to set her free?

Score: 9.3/10

FX cancels Terriers

As everyone expected, FX dropped the hammer on Terriers, following the season finale last week. No one can really complain since Terriers was nowhere close to being a viable show on FX, averaging less than a million viewers the entire season and far fewer as the season progressed. All in all, it must be disappointing for FX to see such a promising show unwatched. Pin in on bad marketing, the wacky dog, or going off brand, as Tim Goodman suggests, Terriers badly missed the mark.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review - The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 6 TS-19

A lot could have been made of the cliffhanger last week, the doors to the CDC opening up. Instead, by the end of "TS-19," the center is blown to pieces and the time spent there seemingly like a mere placeholder. That could be attributed to the shortened 6 episode season, but still, the second season could have picked up at the CDC.

Nonetheless, "TS-19" injects more despair into the show, if that were even possible. Dr. Jenner has all but given up, leaving himself to die in the inferno. Rick himself admits to believing that everyone will die. Shane seems to have gone off the deep end, and would have done something serious had Lori not forcefully pushed him away.

What did Jenner whisper to Rick? Something medical, personal, or nothing of interest? There's no point speculating since the evidence is so scant.

"TS-19" ends the potential for a long CDC arc and doesn't really advance anything, which is disappointing since it is the season finale. Hopefully the second season will be plotted better.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - Dexter Season 5 Episode 11 Hop a Freighter

One week before the season, the plot advances at a fervent pace, in true Dexter fashion with everything that can go wrong going wrong. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, just that we've seen similar situations go down before. The biggest difference this time around is that Lumen is in the picture, and she's not the usual expendable adversary. Dexter comes to the realization that he may love Lumen, risking him well-being for her sake.

It's safe to say that Dexter will get away by the end of the season, so I'm not too concerned about him. In another season, when Lumen isn't around, I'd say that Dexter getting away again is boring. However, since Lumen is here, so many great developments could happen. Will Lumen die, driving Dexter further into the darkness? Will Lumen survive and stay out of law enforcement's reach, ending the season on a sunny note? Or will Lumen survive but be arrested, complicating matters for Dexter for the next season?

Emily is disposed of quickly before we can learn more about her. It's a shame, really. Unless her backstory is somehow tied back in postmortem, she'll be completely wasted, because she was the one parallel to Lumen who went in an entirely different direction.

Likewise, Liddy proves to be another minor barrier, as he's killed instantly before much can come of the kidnapping. His recording, however, is a big deal which needs to be taken care of.

There was the usual Quinn loves Deb stuff, and LaGuerta partially making up for Deb by getting a court order. Basically, lots of people trying to make Deb feel better after she got shit on this season.

"Hop a Freighter" is pretty standard episode with big plot development, easy deaths, and not much else. We'll see how the season finale plays out next week.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - Sanctuary Season 3 Episode 8 For King & Country

Consider me thoroughly impressed. Sanctuary continues to push the boundaries, this time fully exposing the dark origins of the Five and the Sanctuary network. As we dig deeper into the show, the entire foundation of the show, and of which the title is based from, is shown to be mired in dirtiness.

The Five, with their enhanced powers, were employed by the British government to track down and take down Adam. Their reward was the funding they needed to continue to Sanctuary network, and we can assume that's where Magnus's great wealth comes from. It makes you wonder if they did anything else for hire, thinking it would also benefit the public.

We also learn how Adam is still alive. After falling off the cliff into a river, John found him, but let him go. From there, his body floated into Hollow Earth where he was revived. I can't say I'm too surprised, but he's the direct link to Hollow Earth.

In the meantime, traveling through space is extremely dangerous and has begun killing Magnus and Adam, inextricably tying their fates together. Magnus also retrieves John, who's hiding out in Cambodia, and she displays more badassery.

The biggest challenge for the writers is to keep the momentum going. So many times in the past, with the Cabal and its various schemes, the world seemed to be on the brink and the Cabal was poised to do something incredible. And then the situation dissipates and the Cabal is gone. Hopefully, the writers don't do that with Hollow Earth.

Score: 9.3/10

Preview of Week 12/05/10 - 12/11/10

Boardwalk Empire - HBO, Sunday, December 5, 9:00pm ET

The personal rifts opening up last week lead into the first season finale of Boardwalk Empire.

The Walking Dead - AMC, Sunday, December 5, 10:00pm ET

As soon as The Walking Dead splashed on television on Halloween, it's the season finale now--last episode for almost a year. Last week's episode ended with the CDC guy opening the door, deviating enormously from the comic. What happens now?

The Closer - TNT, Monday, December 6, 9:00pm ET

The Closer returns for six more episodes to finish off the season.

Men of a Certain Age - TNT, Monday, December 6, 10:00pm ET

Middle-aged men rejoice at all the inside jokes, and everyone else doesn't really care.

Criminal Minds - CBS, Wednesday, December 8, 9:00pm ET

This is now series regular Rachel Nichols's first episode. Let's see how this goes. What confuses me is how Nichols could be a cheaper actress than AJ Cook, seeing as she's been in some big Hollywood movies.

Community - NBC, Thursday, December 9, 8:00pm ET

Stop-motion animation! Community continues to top itself every week.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Review - Blue Bloods Season 1 Episode 10 After Hours

We're 10 episodes into Blue Bloods and I'm kind of tired of it. I get that it's supposed to be a cop show about a family, but it just feels like the audience get bashed over the head each week with a blunt instrument. "After Hours" is the "is Danny going to cheat?!?!?" episode and it's just tedious.

Everything is in place for deed to happen. The hot girl dances with him, he seems to like it, and there's a parallel situation with the doorman from North Carolina. But we know Danny won't do anything wrong. Why? Because he's a Reagan--they're built that way. Chalk it up to superior genes or the world tilting everything in their favor, but every character comes out squeaky clean after every episode. The writers refuse to make them bad guys, even when Danny tortures a criminal. The episode is an exercise in unfulfilled potential, the dangling of bait--for a better, morally ambiguous show.

We're treated with the usual happy ending. Reagans are the best--they destroy friendships to uphold the law and they never cheat on their spouses. They can debate various issues at the dinner table, but at the end of the day, it's the Reagans on one side and a horde of heathens on the other.

Score: 8.1/10

Review - Supernatural Season 6 Episode 10 Caged Heat

Since the revelation that Sam doesn't have a soul, Supernatural has backed off on the dark, ominous Sam in favor of letting him crack honest but otherwise rude jokes. Instead of feeling scared about what Sam will do, we more or less feel bad for him and chuckle at the jokes. With "Caged Heat," however, Sam is put in more unfavorable light, as he doesn't really want his soul back. There is a practical reason: Lucifer is undoubtedly hurting the soul and it could like Sam worse off. And with Sam without a soul, uncaring about what happens, the chance of getting worse isn't appealing.

"Caged Heat" is pretty significant as plot development goes. The Winchesters are on Meg's side for a change, and Crowley, seemingly the evil supervillain, is killed. That leaves Lucifer as the top dog, and he's doing who knows what to Sam's soul. Samuel shows up again helping Crowley in exchange for Mary's soul. It's a tough choice, but he decides to put his daughter before his grandchildren, one of whom he doesn't really know, and ostensibly, any humans who Crowley may terrorize. Now that Crowley's gone, however, what does Samuel do?

Score: 8.8/10

Friday, December 3, 2010

NBC cuts Chase order from 22 to 18

I was initally surprised when NBC gave Chase the back 9 a few months ago since it had much lower ratings than other shows given extra episodes and it wasn't showing signs of improving ratings.

Now, NBC has backtracked, seeing as Chase has only done worse since then, and as the Hollywood Reporter reports, Chase will get 4 less episodes than planned.

It's also worth noting that Chase is moving to Wednesday, 9 PM for the midseason.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 12/01/10

ABC won with Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (2.3), Grey’s Anatomy (4.0), Private Practice (2.8),

NBC was second with Community (1.9), 30 Rock (2.3), The Office (3.7), Outsourced (2.5), and The Apprentice (1.4). CBS comedies on repeat and no bump. Interesting.

Fox was third with Bones (2.3) and Fringe (1.8). 2.3 for Bones makes Fringe's 1.8 look somewhat decent, albeit still very low. It's also Fringe's second to last Thursday episode before the move to Friday in January.

CBS was last with repeats of The Big Bang Theory (2.4), $#*! My Dad Says (1.9), CSI (1.8), and The Mentalist (1.7).

Review - Nikita Season 1 Episode 10 Dark Matter

In light of the Wikileaks debacle, "Dark Matter" comes at an opportune time. We see the effects of leaking classified information--widespread unrest--and the fact is, for diplomacy to happen, it must be conducted under a veil of secrecy. However, there is also the need for tight governmental scrutiny which is not applied to Division, which is why it's out of control, not just because it keeps secrets.

"Dark Matter" is an awesome episode with a truly global scale as Nikita and Owen travel across the world to rescue a CIA analyst. In the process, they get captured by the US military but manage to escape. The whole experience builds the trust between them, and by the end of the episode, they consider each other partners.

Alex and Jaden fought again, but not enough time was given to develop the plot. While Alex spies on the Engineer and Birkoff, Jaden traps her in there and tries to find the picture, but finds some plastic thing instead. Is it a thumbprint?

Score: 9.1/10

Review - Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 15 Brotherly Love

Nate is a really tedious character, always getting Michael in trouble with his money schemes. "Brotherly Love" had nice brotherly love, but everything could have been avoided if Nate got a real job or something. Clearly, he doesn't have Michael's skills, so he should just settle down and do things normally. To make things worse, Madeline rags on Michael the entire episode. The reason? Nate's going to have a child. Sorry, but that means Nate should leave and allow the real professionals to get things done.

Michael uses his suited car thief persona (I think the episode was about protecting a neighborhood.) to help Nate, but the plot goes nowhere as they know who the car thief is, the drug dealer's right hand mad, so the only thing left is presenting the evidence. In the end, they get the car into the thief's house and we can imagine what the drug dealer did to him.

While that's happening, Jesse and Sam are in Santo Domingo trying to grab the list. At the end of the episode, with Michael and Fi's help, they take down the motorcyclist, steal the list, and get away. Michael faces a hard choice at the end of the episode: follow through and take revenge on those who burned him, or, like Nate, settle down and leave the spy life behind?

Score: 8.4/10

Review - Bones Season 6 Episode 8 The Twisted Bones in the Melted Truck

Bones suffers from an inundation of romantic relationships. There are only three options with them: together (Angela and Hodgins, Booth and Hannah), apart permanently (Booth and Cam), or the weird, dysfunctional UST of Booth and Brennan. Currently, the show is simply juggling too much relationships. In addition to the aforementioned ones, there is also Sweets and Daisy who get significant screen time in "The Twisted Bones in the Melted Truck." Frankly, I could less about them--as long as they don't interfere with the plot.

Sadly, however, the time spent on Daisy being weird while Sweets helps her, Parker liking Hannah, takes away from the the main story, which should be the focus of the episode. Instead, we barely get any investigation or science and just a load of predictable gooeyness.

Score: 8.0/10

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review - Fringe Season 3 Episode 8 Entrada

Following Olivia's near escape last episode and Peter's discovery that the Olivia he's with is an impostor, there were many directions the show could have gone. The two Olivia's could remain trapped in opposite worlds, with Olivia still trapped in the other world and Peter trying to find an angle on the other Olivia. All sorts of good stuff could have gone on. Instead, one episode before the midseason finale, the writers decided to let things go, putting both Olivias on the run.

"Entrada" is probably the most exciting, fast-paced episode of the season as we see Olivia escaping with Broyles and the other Olivia tying up loose ends before her getaway. At the same time, there's lots of great acting and emotion during the slower scenes. By the end of the episode, the Olivias are back in their proper places.

The aftermath, however, leaves a mess which has to be cleaned up. In the first universe: Olivia is back and says that Peter is the reason why she stayed alive. How will she feel when she learns of Peter's relationship with the other Olivia. In the second universe: Broyles is dead. The other Olivia, before leaving the universe, expresses to Peter that what started as a job progressed to something more. Is she really harboring feelings? And after seeing the other universe and seeing them in a closer, personal way, how will she feel about trying to kill them?

After next week's midseason finale, Fringe will be moving to Fridays on January 28, and possibly going into the homestretch of the series, seeing as the ratings have been incredibly low. How will the show proceed? The doomsday device has one more piece, and everything is in place for the war to proceed to the next level. Will the world-switching format of the show change? "Entrada" featured alternating blue-red credits, but the format wouldn't really work if it's a monster episode, unless, of course, the writers put the foot to the ground and go all-out with the war.

Score: 9.5/10

Review - The Office Season 7 Episode 10 China

It's hard to believe exactly how ignorant Michael is. He discovers how powerful China is after reading Newsweek, and makes a big deal about it, including going on the internet to find additional facts. We're supposed to believe that this is the first time Michael has ever come across information about China undercutting US hegemony, which is ridiculous. It's the one big point the audience has to overlook.

The good thing is that the episode doesn't turn into a ridiculous display of Michael going overboard and doing something stupid like gathering the employees host an anti-China rally. Instead, the China issue sparks an opportunity to explore the office dynamic. Oscar, the guy who always corrects everyone else, gets bested by Michael on one issue and the entire office kind of jumps on Oscar's back. At the end of the day, everyone knows Oscar is smarter, but what he doesn't have is Michael's lofty dreams and irrational logic; basically, he's talking like a politician.

Meanwhile, Pam, the self-appointed office manager, battles Dwight over the conditions of the building which Dwight bought last season. Again, we have to assume that no one in the office knows about OSHA or labor laws. Pam uses a bit of trickery, faking the existence of a better building, to force Dwight's hand, until he discovers the ruse.

"China" is an episode which could have spiraled out of control into the madness we've seen before. By showing restraint, the writers crafted a quieter episode which was pretty enjoyable.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - Community Season 2 Episode 10 Mixology Certification

Community has many types of episodes--the parody ("Basic Rocket Science"), the strange ("Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples"), the brilliant ("Cooperative Calligraphy"), and mixtures of everything. "Mixology Certification" is a sweet episode, having that warm fuzzy feeling of Modern Family along with the same biting humor.

When the group discovers that Troy is actually turning 21 and not 20, they take him out to a bar. There is a lot that happens. The sexual tension between Jeff and Britta is amplified as they argue over their favorite bar--which turns out to be the same one--sniping at each other every chance they get. They end up kissing in the car going home before stopping.

Annie indulges in a fantasy where she's not Annie Edison, overachieving student, but Caroline Deckard, carefree groupie. We see that Annie doesn't really want to be the way she is, but that's the path she's chosen. It'll be interesting to see how Annie develops, knowing expressly that her alcoholic alter-ego looks down on Annie.

At the bar is a picture from Shirley from only a few years ago bombed out of her mind. It's funny for everyone except Shirley, who's reminded yet again that she isn't living up to what she preaches.

Even drunk, Abed is more or less the same guy, engaging in a lengthy Farscape conversation with a guy who's hitting on him. Of course, everything goes wrong when Abed tells him that he knew he was being hit on and kept talking about Farscape because he likes to.

And regarding the final Stargate is better than Farscape retort, they're both around the same. Averaging out all the episodes, Farscape probably comes out on top, and the epicness and ballsy writing certainly doesn't hurt; however, Stargate has that ineffable camaraderie and fun that can't really be matched.

Troy, meanwhile, is unable to drink until midnight and sits back to watch everyone. Seeing that everyone is drunk, he leaves his drink alone, stays sober, and helps everyone out. And that's what being adult is, making the right, mature choices to keep friends safe. It might sound a little PSA-y, but Community does it in a way that's funny and heartwarming.

Score: 9.0/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 12/01/10

CBS won with Survivor (3.6), a repeat of Criminal Minds (2.2), and The Grammy Nomination Concert (1.7).

Fox was second with Human Target (1.6) and Hell’s Kitchen (2.6). Human Target is still in major trouble.

NBC was third with Undercovers (1.3), Law & Order: SVU (2.5), and Law & Order: Los Angeles (2.2). The latter two dramas improve, facing weaker competition. As for Undercovers, yeah, it's toast.

ABC was last with repeats of The Middle (1.9), Better With You (1.6), Modern Family (2.3), Cougar Town (1.5), and a new episode of The Whole Truth (0.9).

Review - Friday Night Lights Season 5 Episode 10 Kingdom

"Kingdom" isn't a big picture episode. We don't learn more about TMU, Vince's father doesn't revert back to his old life, East Dillon High isn't even in the picture, and there's not really an emotional kicker; nothing major happens. We do, however, see the team bond in numerous ways during the trip to Kingdom.

But while the team had lots of fun, and the audience did also, there were a few dark undercurrents. The Lions win in the end, but it leaves an uneasy feeling for Coach Taylor who gives up his mantra of not stooping down to the opponents' level. It's a win alright, but not up to the usual Taylor-standards. And what about the rest of the season?

As far as plot developments go, Julie returning home after the TA's wife exposes her in front of a bunch of people. It's old by know, seeing as Julie has been snapped by to reality plenty of times before. Hopefully Julie can turn the corner and get something better to do know.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Terriers Season 1 Episode 13 Hail Mary

Well, that's probably the last we'll see of Terriers, and I was not disappointed in how it went down. Despite the low, low ratings, Terriers really has been a great show down the stretch. The plots gelled and the characters became more and more likable each week.

"Hail Mary" wraps things up, not perfectly but suitable for the occasion, in a beautiful fashion, with a sense of completion as the season comes to a close. There's not the frantic pacing of last week's episode, but more of an impending end, as Hank discovers this guy called Cutshaw above Zeitland. He cuts a deal, getting Cutshaw to stop the airport in exchange for a set of photos not getting published. It's kind of cool that we never see the pictures, but it's not important either.

We get to see the various characters Hank and Britt have met along the way, the mini-Lone Gunmen, Eleanor, Steph, Laura, and the regulars. Britt has prison time, but it's nothing compared to what could have happened.

As for the ending, almost undoubtedly, we can assume that they continued forward. After Britt's speech to Katie, it would be terrible if they ran off like that, and Britt isn't that kind of person. It was more of a feel good capper, the possibly of Hank and Britt living out a long vacation in Mexico, than a real cliffhanger for the hypothetical next season to resolve.

Score: 9.3/10

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review - Human Target Season 2 Episode 3 Taking Ames

"Taking Ames" is the invariant "let's show how loyal the new character is" episode. The new character in questions is Ames. Every character on the show, at heart, is a good person and Ames is no exception. Like Chance, she was drawn into the criminal world out of obligation. Obviously she's prove her loyalty and become a productive member of the team.

So the episode basically goes through the motions with a jewel heist followed by the capturing of the criminal--without any serious twists in there. There are some pleasant moments in there, but nothing that made me really care about the characters.

Ilsa is there to hover around and be a general downer, making sure the team doesn't get out of line. In other words, she's a direct barrier to the team doing awesome things, and considering she's on a show which is only watchable because it can be fun and exciting, she's generally dislikable.

Score: 7.8/10

Review - Psych Season 5 Episode 12 Dual Spires

Twin Peaks is, unquestionably, one of the most important television show--and one of the best. Created 1990 by master of the surreal, David Lynch, Twin Peaks was as serialized as television got--15 years before Lost--and as esoteric and mindtwisting as later shows. In retrospect, it's amazing to think that Twin Peaks was made 20 years ago and

But enough of that--this is a Psych episode we're talking about. Psych and Twin Peaks are fairly incompatible shows. While Twin Peaks was about subtlety, the unknown, and eerily ambiguity, Psych is one of the most obvious shows on television. The jokes are obvious, the crime solving is obvious, and there's hardly any thinking beyond what's on the screen and said in the dialogue. That said, Psych can pay homage to Twin Peaks, not by emulating the tone, but by throwing in a gazillion references, and that's what "Dual Spires" is all about.

I'm not exactly sure how people who don't know much about Twin Peaks would react to the episode, but being a big fan of the show, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode, so here's a list of references I jotted down (there are probably a lot more): Julee Cruise's  "Failing" Santa Barbara-style, Bob, Log Lady, Father's hair, saw mill burned down, a theme similar to Angelo Badalamenti's amazing "Love Song," cinnamon pie, Lodge Blackman, crazy birds, letters under the nail, random people dancing, and of course the numerous guest stars.

The town of Dual Spires has various similarities to Twin Peaks, and there is even the classic shot of Laura Palmer dead, except it's actually Paula. The plot is the usual Psych fare and ends with Shawn discovering the real killers.

"Dual Spires" was a fun episode for me, but if I weren't a fan, I'm not sure I would really care. Sure I would get the idea that Twin Peaks is weird, but the rest of the episode is pretty standard.

Score: 8.7/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 11/30/10

CBS won with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (3.9), a repeat of NCIS (3.0), and Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (3.4).

Fox was second with Glee (4.6), Raising Hope (2.7), and Running Wilde (1.4).

NBC was third with Christmas in Rockefeller Center (1.9) and The Biggest Loser (2.9).

ABC was last with How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2.2), Shrek the Halls (2.4), No Ordinary Family (1.9), and Detroit 1-8-7 (1.6). NOF and Detroit still in the doghouse.

Review - In Treatment Season 3 Episode 23/24 Jesse/Adele Week 6


Jesse didn't have much going on this week. It's his birthday, but the episode rehashes what we already know: Jesse is floundering with a sense of who he is, never fitting in with his adopted parents or his sexuality. The result is that he says and does anything and comes off very, very rude.


From Adele's perspective, Paul must be a weird person. He came into the sessions openly looking down on her because of her age and inexperience, and now he tells her a creepy fantasy about how they help each other with their patients. But part of that seems to appeal to Adele, as she doesn't completely shut him down or turn him away. Instead, she lets him speak his mind, even encouraging him to reveal more. Then she reveals that she's pregnant, but doesn't say more. What's going on?

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Sons of Anarchy Season 3 Episode 13 NS

Throughout most of the third season, I found myself passive watching Sons of Anarchy, not really caring that much about the characters or what they were doing. The lead-up to the trip to Ireland took way too long, and the trip itself didn't really have much going on either other than providing some insight into the background of the club. But as the season finale indicates, the Sons belong in Anarchy, and moreover, the Sons focus should be on Charming, for the show to work.

"NS" wraps up the season and various loose ends in the most satisfying way. It begins on an incredibly upbeat note, very suitable following everyone's experiences in the previous episodes. Thinking back to last season's finale which ended on a crazy cliffhanger, I was already wondering whether the joyous tone would descend into darkness. For a while, it seems like it would end that way, with Jax revealed as a rat and having a target placed on his back. But no, Kurt Sutter isn't going that way, fracturing the club--yet.

The Sons will spend some time in prison, likely the 14 months with good behavior, so the time between seasons shouldn't be too long. The implications for the next season, however, are far-reaching. It's important to remember that beating Stahl and Jimmy is only a short-term victory, and that Hale will probably become mayor in bring in the corporations.The Russians are surely ticked off and looking for revenge. And Tara will have John's letters, the ominous set of missives which already talk about Clay and Gemma plotting against JT. What else will Tara find and what will she tell Jax? Again, we'll see how the writers balance the external and internal conflicts.

The best part about "NS," though, is how everything is tied up. There's a feeling of utter triumph as the club pulls the long con on Stahl. The scene opening of Stahl in bed, reaching to the other side and finding nothing--before flashing the grin--was indicative of what she's become, the ultimate villain with no scruples whatsoever. While every characters has had some development over the past few seasons, Stahl, one of the more prominent characters, is purely a one-note character who's actually gotten worse over time, so it's about time she was dealt with. The bitch got what she deserved. Opie gets payback for Donna's death and Chibs gets payback for everything Jimmy's done. The club gets reduced jailtime and for the time being, they've won.

I'm glad this season of Sons is done and over with, capping the Irish melange that plagued the middle portion of the season. The prospects for the next season are as high as they've ever been and we'll see if the show will retake the glory of the second season. We'll just have to wait about a year first.

Score: 9.3/10

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review - Stargate Universe Season 2 Episode 10 Resurgence (Part 1)

Stargate Universe has been exceptionally good as of late, and I actually came into to the episode expecting a lot. Well, four good episodes in a row would have been pushing it. "Resurgence (Part 1)," the mid-season finale, brings up a few pertinent question and then is filled with a space battle which ends up going nowhere, not to mention the first half of the episode which moves slower than molasses.

That cliffhanger is pretty boring like the rest of the cliffhangers on the show. Chloe does something to the ship, drones are swarming around, and there's no way out for Destiny. The only problem is that everyone knows the ship and crew members will survive--mortal danger on a TV show isn't that exciting. I'm far more interested in what Chloe did than the drones still shooting, and we didn't even get a teaser for what she did.

Looking ahead, there's the Ursini who, according to Telford, are just out to save themselves. Are they good as Telford says, or not to be trusted, according to changed Chloe who seems too have crossed the line between humanity and alien.

Score: 8.3/10

Review - Glee Season 2 Episode 9 Special Education

While sectionals surely is important in the grand scheme of things, "Special Education" puts it on the backburner, putting more important issues before the event. Ostensibly, it is a Rachel episode, but not in the typical "Rachel gets the spotlight" way.

It's been coming for a long time, but Rachel gets put in her place. Her overzealous scheming and attitude finally reaches a point when Will, taking Emma's advice, decides to let others take the lead roles instead of Rachel and Finn. At the same time, she learns about Finn and Santana hooking up a year earlier. The glee club falls into near turmoil as the various couples, sans Quinn and Sam, threaten to destroy the group.

We see that glee club, arguably, has been a negative factor in Rachel's life, forcing her to be competitive, rude, and mean.With Kurt, her main competition, out of the club, it generated my favorite moment of the episode, Rachel in the crowd reminding Kurt to smile. But there was that same spiteful Rachel in the same episode, about to hookup with Puck as if it was equivalent to what Finn did with Santana when they weren't even together.

Sectionals itself goes as planned, the group managing to get through without any mishap. In a eye-rolling twist, New Directions ties with the Warblers, so both will go on to Regionals. Glee writers sure love their easy resolutions.

There's a tiny bit of Emma and Will drama in the episode, luckily nothing too intrusive. Emma misses Sections per Carl's request and they end of getting married. Of course Emma has to give Will a kiss on the cheek. It's the same damn song and dance, but at least Will doesn't do anything dumb this time around as he did in the Rocky Horror episode.

The final scene pretty much sums up Glee. It's a show which doesn't push the envelope, doesn't go for important, long-term developments. Everyone is happy, maybe with a few sore spots here and there, and that's exactly what it's intends to be.

Score: 8.7/10
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