Monday, May 30, 2011

Review - Breakout Kings Season 1 Episode 13 Where in the World Is Carmen Vega

By its nature, Breakout Kings won't turn into a show where the cons run away and the Marshalls spend half a season chasing after them. It's a procedural, and as such, the status quo must be maintained. There has to be a case every week for the characters to tackle. That's just how things are.

In this sense, one could be annoyed by "Where in the World Is Carmen Vega." The writers put the stakes at the highest they've been--Shea's girlfriend kidnapped, a mole feeding information, Erica wanting to run--but it's all solved easily in the end. Want to find the mole? Oh, it's the Coburn guy who just showed up. Want to run? Promise Erica and Lloyd everything will be fine. And in end, even if there are still numerous questions out there, the team remains intact and is as strong as ever. Were we supposed to expect anything different?

But the episode did do its best to solidify the bonds between the Kings. We may never fully buy the situation, given how ridiculous the premise is, but we get the sense that these people care about each other beyond their own personal benefits.

As far as renewal goes, I have a feeling it won't be renewed. The ratings are far lower than The Glades, which set the standard for a successful A&E drama, and the show doesn't look cheap. We'll find out soon enough.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - Treme Season 2 Episode 6 Feels Like Rain

"Feels Like Rain" is one of those wait and see episodes. There are no large plot developments, but it's not entirely filler. There are plenty of small developments, but none that warrant extra attention. Aside from Sofia's plot, which is beginning to bother me, the episode is as solid as the rest, if unremarkable.

One of the bigger themes in the episode is musical development. There's Antoine trying to teach the students that music isn't about notes on sheet while maintaining his band, Annie trying to figure out what makes a good song good, and Davis starting a band that has a message. Although the payoffs will be further down the line, everyone--except Sonny, who once again finds himself out of a job after being late too many times--is moving in the right direction.

Score: 8.7/10

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review - The Killing Season 1 Episode 10 I'll Let You Know When I Get There

While the progression of The Killing has been far from optimal, "I'll Let You Know When I Get There" seems to steer the show in the right direction. With Bennet beaten and Stan turning himself in, Linden and Holder finally departed from their inquiry of Bennet and the mosque, which spanned a majority of the season and garnered zero leads. It's a shame the show had to go down this path, stringing the viewers along for a journey with no reward, but on the bright side, now we're close to the end of the season. Yeah, maybe this is the optimistic way at looking at the show. The show get only get better from this point on, right?

"I'll Let You Know When I Get There" again revisits the tried and true format, introducing Belko as the potential killer before moving on. What makes this better than the Bennet stuff is that there is actually a great interrogation scene and Belko is determined not to be the killer before the end of the episode.

Best of all, the episode has some momentum. It isn't much but it's suitable. There is a photo of Richmond with Rosie, and Gwen is troubled, though this may be another mislead. Terry is certainly another person who should be looked at closer. And there is a new lead in the investigation, Rosie going to an Indian casino. We'll learn the truth soon enough, so we'll just have to stick around just a bit longer.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - Game of Thrones Season 1 Episode 7 You Win or You Die

I've started reading A Game of Thrones and while I'm not very far into the book (just past where the first episode ended), this new perspective has given me greater appreciation for what David Benioff and D. B. Weiss had to do. One part of the show that I like is how background information is distributed, doled out over the course of the episodes in the middle of conversation. In the book, however, much of this information is front-loaded, as one would expect, in the opening chapters. In fact there were two pieces of new information in "You Win or You Die" that immediately caught my attention as something I had just read. For the writers to integrate background information into the show without compromising plot integrity or pacing is quite a feat, especially considering how well it all turned out.

As far as how much the show stuck to the book, everything is pretty much the same except for some nonessential scenes. The biggest difference, perhaps, was that one character seemed a lot bitchier in the book than on the show, with far more pointed dialogue than on the show.

I haven't read up to "You Win or You Die" yet, so everything in the episode came as a surprise. It's the episode where things changed due to necessity. Robert unexpected dies in the episode, and the whole thing is played off as a foregone conclusion. I suppose to have a game about a throne, the throne must be vacated first. This sets off a chain of events in which Ned fails to see what is really going on. In the final scene, Ned has Robert's final words spoken aloud, affirming that Ned will be in control until Joffrey is of age. But Cersei, of course, has different ideas and tears up the paper. The final twist brings things even further, Littlefinger putting a knife to Ned's throat.

If this internal strife wasn't enough, Daenerys is almost assassinated and is narrowly saved by Mormont. The result is Khal Drogo venging to do all these things to Westeros. Jason Momoa is damn scary in the scene.

Tywin skinning the stag had lots of significance, as I learned from the book that the animal is the Baratheon symbol. Keeping in line with the ominous foreshadowing, the opening scene is wrought with implications for Jaime.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Chaos Season 1 Episode 4 Two Percent / 5 Molé

CBS canceled Chaos over a month ago and is burning it off on Saturday nights, so I'm guessing no one really cares too much about the show. Anyway, both "Two Percent" and "Molé" follow the mold set by the previous episodes. The team heads to another country, get into trouble, and eventually make their way out safely under miraculous circumstances. Along the way, there is some stereotyping and jingoism and talk of duty, but it's nothing too annoying. "Molé" does end on a cliffhanger, with someone tailing Adele, so hopefully we'll be able to see the conclusion. There is hardly any information about the show out there, but I assume production went past the fifth episode before the cancellation.

The thing that struck me most about the show was how much I liked it. The humor is also there, and the team works very well together in any environment. Sure the plots might be hackneyed, but in an age of procedurals that seem very similar, it was nice to have a procedural that focused on another subject. Chaos's ultimate demise was most like a matter of scheduling than quality. Stuck in the 8 PM slot before CSI: NY, the show had little chance to begin with and the difference in tone with the rest of the night only doomed it further.

Score: 8.7/10

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review - Modern Family Season 2 Episode 24 The One That Got Away

While "The One That Got Away" doesn't have the pomp of the graduation episode last week, it hits several striking, sweet notes and ends the season in a high note as expected. There are the jokes of misunderstanding along the way, but the episode is somewhere in the middle in terms of humor. What comes out in the end, though, to elevate the episode higher than a normal one is how it brings everyone's experiences together. Instead of being grumpy, Jay decides to be happy for what there is. After playing catch with Manny, Cam realizes he wants a son. Phil tells Claire how much she means to him after meeting his old rival. Those moments all come through with enough force and really grabbed me.

Score: 9.0/10

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review - Glee Season 2 Episode 22 New York

To the glee club members who have spent their entire lives in a tiny town in Ohio, New York is an entirely different place with bigger everything. It's definitely a spectacle for them which they should  indulge in. But that doesn't mean the viewers have to watch them sing and dance about New York for half an episode without any plot or character developments.

"New York" has a lot of the problems with Glee, namely the decision by writers to substitute storytelling with straight song and dance. The songs are somewhat related to what's going on, but nothing really comes of it. And what's worse is that the original songs all sounded generic, so even the songs weren't that good.

Like most episodes, "New York" also has too much going on in terms of plot. Quinn gets a piece of the episode, Will gets a piece around the same size, Brittany gets one at the end, but there is not enough to be meaningful on an individual level. I guess one could say that the stories all relate to the idea that there are bigger things out there but that some people may stay trapped forever.

It is Rachel and Finn, something that's been overdone at this point, who take the episode and it's not all bad. The date, the kiss, the talks all constitute huge portions of the episode and don't introduce anything groundbreaking. But Rachel and Kurt do have the one excellent scene on the Wicked stage in which Rachel realizes this is where she is destined to be. Kurt and Rachel have much more in common than Rachel and Finn, and that's one of the big problems. When Kurt suggests that Finn could come to New York, Rachel knows that's not happening: Finn belongs in Ohio, away from the grandeur of New York.

New Directions places 12th at Nationals, and the club is bummed out. Still, the final scene puts a bow on top. There is still one more year to achieve hopes are dreams. For Rachel that also means one final year to be with Finn. For Brittany it means another year to be with the people she loves.

Score: 8.5/10

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review - Sanctuary Season 3 Episode 17 Normandy

So there's where all the budget went... After several episodes with obviously low budgets, Sanctuary brought us "Normandy," which looks really expensive compared to normal episodes, featuring authentic-looking WWII sets and costumes. While I liked the episode, you have to wonder the mindset of the producers. They sap the funds from a couple episodes, essentially feeding us scraps of filler, in order to funnel money for one expensive episode. And this episode, while providing background on the Five, is by no means groundbreaking or crucial to the current-day plot. Is that a trade-off viewers will accept?

The Five is a subject that hasn't been explored on since the beginning of the second season, so it was cool to see the crew back together in a different setting. The plot isn't anything too special--Nazis trying to harness an elemental and Magnus stopping them--but the authenticity and cinematography was enough to carry the episode.

The episode seems to be concluded and the next episode's trailer   doesn't indicate any continuation, but the new episode in two weeks is titled "Carentan," so there will probably be a connection.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - The Event Season 1 Episode 22 Arrival

I was debating whether to watch The Event or Sanctuary first, and eventually decided on The Event even though I like Sanctuary a lot more. With The Event ending, I just had to see how terribly the show would end. "Arrival" went as expected with no surprising twists and regular stuff all around. There's a shootout, a hidden recording, and a litany of tropes, none of which have a lick of tension. Then the Event comes and the alien planet pops up beside Earth. Cool, I guess, but wouldn't the gravitational force wreak havoc on everything?

If there was one thing to take from The Event, it would be that Taylor Cole is nice to look at and hopefully got more exposure. Sure, the writers made her character into a one-note action chick who doesn't even say anything significant to Sean other than "thank you" (I'm advocating for a love triangle again!), but Taylor Cole looked really good the entire time and wasn't bad at acting either.

Score: 5.0/10

Review - United States of Tara Season 3 Episode 9 Bryce Will Play

To first-time viewers of United States of Tara, one of the most striking parts of the show, besides Tara's kookiness, is how normalized her condition is. People are affected by her DID, but not a way that demands immediate attention. As Tara becomes unraveled in this season, however, there is a shifting tide. Bryce is not a normal alter like Buck or T who act in their own, weird ways but are generally innocuous. He's dangerous in a way that Hatteras realizes. Systematically, Bryce is sapping away the alters one by one until Tara is there for the taking. After a disturbing scene in which Bryce puts crab in the soup to induce an allergic reaction from Hatteras, Tara realizes she has to seek help from the experts in DID, and that regular psychiatrists like Hatteras won't cut it.

Meanwhile, Marshall comes to terms with who Tara is, not a weird person but a flat-out crazy person. His short film reflects all of this, and Max is deeply troubled. While the other plots this week were again rather uninvolved in Tara's plot, Marshall and Max come into conflict and the future is as hazy as ever.

I was surprised to learn this morning that Showtime had canceled United States of Tara and renewed Nurse Jackie (which I stopped after the first or second episode of the second season). I guess the cancellation was warranted since the show only has a couple hundred thousand viewers, but the thought didn't really cross my mind through the season. From what I've read, the season finale does provide a good conclusion for the show which is good even if the show won't return next year.

Score: 9.0/10

Monday, May 23, 2011

Review - The Chicago Code Season 1 Episode 13 Mike Royko's Revenge

Sadly, The Chicago Code was canceled, and unless a miracle happens, this is the last we'll see of it. There was a conclusion to the series, albeit a hasty and somewhat unsatisfying one. I guess that would be expected given how many plot threads were developed and needed to be tied up, so my quibbles are purely structural. The quest to bring down alderman Ronin Gibbons comes to an end, leaving him in a prison cell to rot. This is a satisfying conclusion given all the bad things he's done and after thwarting the main characters.

There is a lot going on in the episode and all the characters get a send-off for the most part. After Teresa is reminded how little of a personal life is, she starts a relationship and relocates to Denver; Wysocki reconnects with his fiancee (I have a feeling she wouldn't have returned had this not been the series finale); Vonda and Isaac are still good.

The plot is resolved conveniently when Jarek discovers Vincent's (his brother) box on evidence and gets all the dirt on Gibbons from the past, which leads to a conviction. The biggest fallout from the episode is the revelation that Vincent was a dirty cop, casting his character in another life. Maybe he was a bad husband before, but now he's a bad cop. And Vonda, who took her father's lead, is devastated. Still, everything is partially saved in the end.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - House Season 7 Episode 22 Moving On

On the heels of news that Lisa Edelstein will not return to House next season, "Moving On" feels right. It begins with an ominous set of circumstances--terse, dark, suggesting that House will do something really bad. The end, in truth, is utterly hilarious and silly beyond reason. House drives his car into her house! With this amount of absurdity, it's no wonder why Lisa Edelstein would want to leave a show which offers her lower pay and stupid plots.

Falling in line with the general theme of the episode, Rachel is also pregnant and Taub is still a loser. 13 blabbers on about art and New Yorker magazine while the patient's "art" was dumb in a funny way as well. It's possible that the episode was supposed to be a big joke like a parody of a House episode, but there were no other clues besides the plots. I guess the writers were trying to be serious and that's a scary thought.

Score: 7.2/10

Review - Treme Season 2 Episode 5 Slip Away

The first scene of "Slip Away," the funeral of Dinerral Shavers is a wonderful representation of what Treme is about. The funeral is for someone we've never even seen, something that would normally be awkward and possibly bad on another show. But David Simon knows exactly what he's doing. The cohesive and communal culture of New Orleans has been well-developed enough that we understand the significance of the event. Coupled with the direction, the scene works incredibly well even if we only see glimpses of the characters.

"Slip Away" is a pretty interesting episode in that we see the potential for the characters to grow through the rest of the season. Delmond shifts his music towards New Orleans, Janette gets another job as a chef, Davis's record company is kind of moving, Annie tries to write her own songs, and Sofia is revisiting the place where her father died. The overarching theme of the episode is the violence that has gone on in the city, and the community changes as well, shifting from a passive to active stance, deciding to march against the murders.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - The Killing Season 1 Episode 9 Undertow

The Killing is really starting to test my patience. I wouldn't say the show is bad, but my expectations have certainly decreased and I no longer eagerly await the next episode. "Undertow" spends a great deal of time trying to convince the viewers that Bennet and Muhammad are Rosie's killers, and then nullifies everything.

There are reasons why it had to be this way, chiefly the fact that there are still four episodes after this. But the way in which this is done is nothing short of ludicrous. The pandering going on in the episode is so extreme you begin wonder if the writers went into the show wanting to "change American's perspectives on Muslims," rather than tell a story about a investigation. Not only are Bennet and Muhammad not the murders, they are saints. Instead of killing a girl, they're saving a girl from female circumcision!

Parts of the episode play out like a documentary on the Muslim community: "There are some Muslims who are extremely conservative and perform female circumcision, and then there are some progressive Muslims, like Bennet and Muhammad, who try to prevent this from happening. You see, not all Muslims are bad guys." Wow, really? You mean an audience who watches AMC wouldn't have the common sense to know this? Tying in with these "lessons," the writers take the audience for suckers, dragging us along for a plot which amounts to nothing. If they aren't the murderers, then these past episodes have netted zero clues towards the murder.

The one good thing that comes from the episode is that Stan and Mitch are no longer in victim territory. After what Stan did, egged on by Mitch, they no longer have the moral high-ground. Painted in a different light, they're not the grieving parents anymore but the vengeful parents, and watching and connecting with them takes another light.

Score: 8.3/10

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review - Game of Thrones Season 1 Episode 6 A Golden Crown

In the Game of Thrones world, winners are those who ignore convention and play dirty. Positions, inheritances, and rules of honor no longer matter when there is something gain and with a lot going on already it is easy to get away with practically anything. The title, "A Golden Crown," refers to the final fate of Viserys. He was brought up to believe he would rule a vast kingdom and has a sense of entitlement. This would the right way of thinking if his father were still in power, but Viserys, too, is crazed to a degree. And Khal Drogo? He doesn't care one bit about this scrawny kid and gives him the crown he wants--in burning, liquid form.

"A Golden Crown" doesn't advance the plot as much as last week's episode did, but it did not stagnate. The show is still climbing to a climax, and the pieces are still being shifted around before everything breaks loose. One of the reasons why the episode did not advance as much as last week's was the fact that it focused on several plots instead of just Ned at King's Landing.Tyrion is freed when Bronn, fighting as dirty as possible, wins Tyrion's freedom. We see the the mechanisms of protection work when Robb saves Bran from some criminals, but the perpetrators, grimy and in rags, stand in stark contrast to the high-brow criminals who roam King's Landing. It's easy to kill some miscreants when they are identifiable and expendable compared to the covert killings ordered by someone rich.

After getting his leg punctured last week, Ned sticks around and tends to the king's duty while Robert is off being irresponsible again. Ned discovers that all the Baratheons had black hair--except Joffrey who is blond. Are we to assume Joffrey is Jaimie and Cersei's son?

I think it's interesting that all the young boys--heirs to the thrones--are all damaged or somehow incomplete. Bran can't use his legs, Joffrey is a douche and possibly a product of incest, and Robin is batshit crazy. There are a couple reasons, in my mind, why this is. They are reflections on the current kings and lords in that the boys who seem inadequate as ever do indeed grow up to take positions of huge power. Another possibility is that the lineage of these families are so weak that the elders are forced to fight and deceive even more.

Score: 9.1/10

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Review - Camelot Season 1 Episode 8 Igraine

Morgan posing as Igraine and infiltrating Camelot had a lot of potential and could be written in a way that affirmed that devious, dark underbelly we've seen of Morgan. Instead, the plot plays out in a fairly boring manner. Morgan as Igraine befriends a kid, hangs out with Merlin, but does little else that would indicate any sort of plan befitting of this deception. She's posing as the king's mother, and the best she can do is flatly tell Leontes the truth. Come on.

The rest of the episode is around the same as well, with a prickly moment to cap them, but the meat of the other plots are stale as well. The hunting is boring but the wolf was a interesting moment for Leontes and it will probably pay off in the later episode, depending on how Leontes decides to deal with Arthur and Guinevere.

Score: 7.3/10

Review - Supernatural Season 6 Episode 21 Let It Bleed / 22 The Man Who Knew Too Much

To be honest, I could care less about the angels at war. There's supposed to be a massive war between the angels, presumably with all sorts of bright light and other fantastical happenings. With the low budget, however, Supernatural can never shows us any of this, and we're left imaging all the cool stuff going on in heaven. But that's not how television is supposed to work. We're supposed to see what's significant. Hints about the war just don't cut it. These angels dropping in for two seconds to kill something and then running off don't matter to me one bit.

Sam and Dean matter to me, though, because we always see the significant events in their lives and there is real, emotional weight to their scenes. "Let It Bleed" focuses on Dean after Lisa and Ben are taken by Crowley because the Winchesters won't stop poking around. Eventually, Dean rescues them, but always smacks Ben in the heat of the moment in order to get him to concentrate. Obviously Dean feels horrible about this afterwards, but his solution is troubling. After Cas saves Lisa, Dean asks for Lisa and Ben's memories to be wiped clean of everything Dean. If all he wanted was for Ben to not hate him, then that's fine. But Lisa and Ben are still at major risk and not remembering Dean when being attacked will be a death sentence.

Even if this was a less than rational plot machination, the significance in Dean's eyes is major, so much so that he tells Sam never to remind him of them. The season began with Dean happily living with Lisa and Ben, and 20 episodes later, at the end of the season, he's at the opposite end. Lisa and Ben don't even remember him anymore and that happily life, as close as it seemed, is now too far away to even fathom.

"The Man Who Knew Too Much" continues from Bobby and Elle's plot in the previous episode and resolves several issues before bringing up a new, possibly bigger, problem. As we learned in the episode before, Elle is from purgatory and her blood is needed to open the portal. This is all solved in the fantastic final scene where Raphael and Crowley conspire to bring down Castiel once and for all. Castiel also plays them, however, having performed the ritual already and absorbed all the souls. Crowley runs off, Raphael is popped (literally), and that's that... or not. Castiel's transformation is complete. No longer is he fighting for heaven or the disenfranchised angels. Castiel has lost sight of everything and now believes he is God. Psst, God, it's time to come back and clean up the mess.

On a smaller scale, Sam's feeling of incompleteness is fixed in a nifty set of scenes in the first three-fourths of the episode. His soul, shattered in pieces, is finally put back together, but only after his main soul kills soulless Sam and the Sam that remembers Hell. With the way the episode begun--Sam without memories running from the cops and trying to figure out who he is--the two pieces of the episode seem somewhat incongruous since the Winchesters and Bobby have zero influence over the ending, though they try. But Sam putting his single soul back together and feeling complete stands in contrast to Castiel who acquires more souls and transcends his being.

Score: 9.0/10

Friday, May 20, 2011

Review - The Mentalist Season 3 Episode 23/24 Strawberries and Cream Parts 1/2

Damn, that was a fantastically crafted two hours of television, wasn't it? The episode begins with the normal investigation and stuff we usually see. Jane is doing his thing while Lisbon and the others try to keep up. This takes up most of the first hour, but the episode quickly takes a turn and we learn that Red John is involved and looking for Hightower to kill.

Jane crafts a clever plan to catch Red John's friend in the CBI, dropping hints to the remaining suspects to lure them in. After the CBI director is implicated, there is another twist: O'Loughlin is the mole. This is an easy solution to the Rigsby and Van Pelt stuff, and always a plausible explanation. Lisbon gets shot--both Hightower and Van Pelt don't immediately tend to her--but she is okay. The writers have a final, more spectacular twist, however, when Jane meets Red  John at the food court. We see everything that is going on, and just as Red John prepares to leave, Jane shoots him several times, killing him. Impressive, bold writing.

Throughout the episode, we never really know what will happen next. The writers have been unpredictable with Red John, and have shrouded him in so much mystery that practically anything could happen. I kept wondering whether Jane could actually outsmart Red John this time and whether Red John knew everything that was going on. Even now, I'm not entirely convinced Red John lost.

There are so many questions that have to answered still, so there is plenty of story to tell. Was that really Red John? How did he get so many followers who seemed normal otherwise? Of course, there is another huge question looming--what happens to Jane? I doubt he'll be prosecuted, because Red John did have a gun, but what at the aftereffects of Jane shooting a man who was prepared to walk away? The Mentalist is coming back next fall, so we'll get answers soon enough.

Score: 9.4/10

Review - Parks and Recreation Season 3 Episode 15 The Bubble / Lil' Sebastian

The third season of Parks and Recreation ends with a pair of hilarious episodes, and the show certainly has met our expectations after returning at midseason. The two episodes focus largely on Leslie and Ben's burgeoning relationship, and even if you aren't that invested in them (I'm not), you have to appreciate what the writers do with them.

With Chris's policy still in place, they have to tip-toe around and Leslie's mother showing up only makes it worse. Leslie gets Ben in shape, though, and Leslie's mother approves--but only after hitting on Ben. The rest of "The Bubble" is spent on changes in the office due to Chris's meddling. He has good intentions, but he doesn't know how to optimize this specific group of people who respond to things much differently than Chris does. Luckily, Ron Swanson is the man and fixes things.

"Lil' Sebastian" works amazingly well because Lil' Sebastian is practically a legend already. We saw a while back how everyone venerates the horse, so it was no surprise that there could be a large funeral thrown for the horse with many in attendance. The whole proceeding is moving, epic, and hilarious. The last few minutes of the episode lead naturally in the fourth season and several potential stories. Leslie is courted for political office, which is a big deal since she's the main character and heart of the show. And Ron's first wife shows up--and even Tammy (the second one) is freaked out!

Score: 9.5/10

Review - The Office Season 7 Episode 24/25 Search Committee

Jim versus Dwight is one of those things that will get me every time. Unless Dwight is completely out of control, I'm usually laughing really hard. The scene where Dwight comes in for the interview as a burn victim was one of the funniest things I've seen since the Community season finale (OK, it's not that long ago, but you get my drift).

That's why I'm more willing to forgive the faults of "Search Committee" than I normally would. There is practically no plot, and the litany of famous guest stars serve no real purpose. Essentially, it's an hour of television where nothing much is going on and there is no progression to the plot. For a season finale, I would definitely agree that it was underwhelming. Maybe my standards have been lowered, but I was entertained by the episode and laughed quite a bit, and that's enough in my book.

Score: 8.5/10

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 24 The Roommate Transmogrification

Okay, I have a confession to make. I read spoilers about Raj and Penny a couple weeks ago, so I wasn't surprised when they ended up in bed together. But I don't think anyone, halfway through the episode, was too surprised at the conclusion, considering how Penny said she'd have sex with Raj if he wasn't Leonard's friend. However, before the episode aired, the idea of Penny and Raj sleeping together would be out of the question. Raj can't even talk to women without alcohol, has been fawning Bernadette, and Penny didn't really care about him before. It happened, though, and the characters will have to live with the consequences. Then again, we don't actually see the act and the writers could easily pull back if they realize they don't want to go that path.

On a whole, I liked "The Roommate Transmogrification" more than almost all episodes this season. There wasn't a plot that made me cringe, and the dialogue was really fun. Amy isn't a huge presence in the episode, but she remains a fun character when interacting with Sheldon. The whole resolution to Priya was pretty lame, and for plot's sake, she should stick around a while longer. Leonard finds out she's returning to India, breaks up, and it's done. That's it?

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Bones Season 6 Episode 23 The Change in the Game

Progress! Bones has been stagnating for so long that significant development is welcome simply because little has actually happened these past few years. There are lots of arguments why this latest development might not be optimal--it results from the trauma of Vincent's death so it lacks meaning, it's too sudden, we see little of the transition--but I like it just because it sends the show on a new trajectory. Instead of the will-they-won't-they dynamic, which has dominated the show and has gotten less returns as the show progressed, the show can firmly transform itself. Booth and Brennan can still be friendly, but without all the awkwardness.

The plot of "The Change in the Game" is mostly fluff with the murder of a bowler and the conclusion doesn't matter. Booth and Brennan spend their time undercover at the bowling alley, unnecessarily, I have to add, but it gives them something to do while Angela is giving birth and the other characters do the lab work.

During the undercover scenes, there was definitely something different about the way the characters acted. Brennan is smiling a lot and seemed a lot happier than she usually is, and Booth was a touch cheerier as well. Max didn't really need to be around to clue us into the changes.

The question going forward is, of course, how the writers handle this situation. Will they put Booth and Brennan together immediately at the start of the next season, or will they drag this out even longer, making a season of "Booth wants Brennan to marry but she's afraid to commit, until she gives birth?" The latter would be very problematic, possibility more so than the Hannah stuff. But for now, I'm willing to give the writers the benefit of the doubt and assume they won't drag their feet any longer.

Score: 8.6/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 5/17/11

NBC won with The Biggest Loser (2.9) and The Voice (4.5).

CBS was second with NCIS (4.0), NCIS: Los Angeles (3.3), and The Good Wife (2.4). The Good Wife was up quite a bit, but was moved to Sunday for next season, so it doesn't really matter now.

ABC was third with Dancing with the Stars (2.5, 3.5) and Body Of Proof (2.1). Body of Proof was renewed and will remain in the same spot.

Fox was last with Glee (3.6), Raising Hope (2.2), and Breaking In (1.3). Without American Idol, Breaking In plummeted and showed that the cancellation was justified.

Going over ABC's 2011-2012 primetime schedule

MONDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”
10:00 p.m. “Castle”

With Castle in the 3 range consistently in the last part of the season, this night should continue to be strong.

TUESDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Last Man Standing”
8:30 p.m. “Man Up”
9:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”
10:00 p.m. “Body of Proof”

ABC putting 2 comedies before DWTS and Body of Proof.

WEDNESDAY: 8:00 p.m. “The Middle”
8:30 p.m. “Suburgatory”
9:00 p.m. “Modern Family”
9:30 p.m. “Happy Endings”
10:00 p.m. “Revenge”

With Cougar Town moved to midseason, Happy Endings takes the post-Modern Family slot. Interesting choice.

THURSDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Charlie's Angels”
9:00 p.m. “Grey's Anatomy”
10:00 p.m. “Private Practice”

Charlie's Angels is either going to flop or become really popular, so we'll have to see what happens.

FRIDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”
9:00 p.m. “Shark Tank”
10:00 p.m. “20/20”

SATURDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Saturday Night College Football”

SUNDAY: 7:00 p.m. “America's Funniest Home Videos”
8:00 p.m. “Once Upon a Time”
9:00 p.m. “Desperate Housewives”
10:00 p.m. “Pan Am”

ABC launching a pair of dramas around Desperate Housewives.

Going over CBS's 2011-2012 primetime schedule


8:00-8:30 PM How I Met Your Mother
8:30-9:00 PM 2 BROKE GIRLS (N)
9:00-9:30 PM Two and a Half Men
9:30-10:00 PM MIKE & Molly
10:00-11:00 PM Hawaii Five-0

CBS's Monday comedy line-up looks strong as always.

8:00-9:00 PM NCIS
10:00-11:00 PM UNFORGETTABLE (N)

The Good Wife is moved out of 10pm slot in favor for... another crime show! Seems like a no-brainer.

9:00-10:00 PM Criminal Minds

CSI moving to the time slot after Criminal Minds seems like a good choice.

8:00-8:30 PM The Big Bang Theory
10:00-11:00 PM The Mentalist

CBS is trying to launch another comedy after TBBT after $#*! My Dad says was canceled and launching a new crime drama before The Mentalist.

8:00-9:00 PM A GIFTED MAN (N)
9:00-10:00 PM CSI: NY
10:00-11:00 PM Blue Bloods

CBS is trying to go back to the supernatural vibe with A Gifted Man while keeping CSI: NY and Blue Bloods.

8:00-8:30 PM Rules of Engagement (NT)
10:00-11:00 PM 48 Hours Mystery

Looks like CBS will just burn off Rules of Engagement on Saturday until it reaches syndication.

7:00-8:00 PM 60 Minutes
8:00-9:00 PM THE Amazing Race
9:00-10:00 PM The Good Wife (NT)
10:00-11:00 PM CSI: MIAMI

After struggling this year, The Good Wife is moved to Sunday nights. Will it work?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review - Criminal Season 6 Episode 24 Supply & Demand

Criminal Minds is in a transition period right now and we can't overlook that when evaluating these episodes. The ratings are as strong as ever, so there's no danger of the show getting canceled, but there have been problems that needed to be resolved. Both AJ Cook and Paget Brewster were fired for budget reasons while Rachel Nichols was added to the cast. None of the news makes much sense, especially because AJ Cook is returning to the show and Paget Brewster likely will as well since her show was not picked up at NBC. This is the reason why the dialogue throughout the episode obscurely refers to internal change going on in the FBI without going into specifics. As of now, only Thomas Gibson does not have a contract, so there may be more change ahead.

Unlike most Criminal Minds season finales, "Supply & Demand" is not part of a multi-part episode. The story is self-contained and the investigation had more evidence finding than normal because the unsubs were motivated by money and the characters didn't need to look into further motivations. There is a cool twist where one of the kidnapped girls is actually the one in charge and lured other girls in. The writers try to dangle out the possibility of a second part with her near escape, but Morgan and Rossi see through her ruse after several specific questions.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - Modern Family Season 2 Episode 23 See You Next Fall

I think "See You Next Fall" was originally intended to be the season finale. Its name has lots of meaning behind it since the characters fall down a lot and  the show is returning during the fall. There is also a sense of completion, Alex graduating from middle school. It's probably inconsequential in the long run, but it's a big milestone for Alex in her short lifespan.

Instead of the three-plot system which made up a majority of the worse episodes this season, it brings all the characters together for a funny time. At the heart of the episode is Claire and Phil, who realize that their younger daughter is entering high school and may forever be changed. Despite Phil's initial goal of inducing her freak-out, his maturity comes on as he realizes the implication alongside Claire.

For the laughs, there are a couple gags going on. Jay gets Botox and half of his face is left stiff and Cam keeps getting into minor accidents while the Pritchetts laugh at him to his dismay. But that was the least of it, because Phil and Claire rolling down the hill to get to the graduation had to be the funniest part of the episode, and Cam agreed.

What disappointed me was that Alex falls in line and delivers the speech everyone wanted to hear instead of what she really thought. I mean, those same people who disliked her will still talk about her behind her back and see her as the nerd. In the end, it's not like anything changes, despite what those cheers might indicate. In a more subjective complaint, I didn't like the content of her speech either. Yes, everyone has their problems, but the degree of culpability in their problems is also something to consider. If Haley might not go college because she doesn't study enough (which we frequently see), then that's her problem. Haley has far more opportunity than most people--money, a good school, good family life--and yet she's complaining about college when she clearly does not put any effort in it. She'd probably argue that she less intelligent than her peers, which is probably true, but guess what? No one cares--study twice as much.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - The Event Season 1 Episode 22 The Beginning of the End

The problem with The Event right now is that it's boring. I could care less about how stupid everything is if it were remotely interesting, but it isn't. Unlike FlashForward, which actually maintained mystery towards the end, The Event has become a straightforward action show with characters that all seem roughly the same, the exception being Jarvis who is far dumber than any other character (and that's saying something). Plot threads that seemed somewhat interesting or could grow--the girls who looked really old, a possible love triangle (yes, I'm partially advocating for a love triangle!)--have been dropped.

We're stuck with this flu getting released while the good guys try to stop it. No twists or anything, just predictable plot. Even the stakes don't seem that high. As much as the writers try to throw in factoids about the Spanish Flu and how this variant is far deadlier, it's the flu! In an age where we can drop by a drug store for medicine, the name of flu doesn't seem that scarier, no matter how the deadly it may actually be.

Score: 6.0/10

Review - Body of Proof Season 1 Episode 9 Broken Home

I'm kind of troubled with the way the season ended. Megan gives Lacey a new cell phone cover and both are smiling. This is nice and all, but I do question Megan's mindset. She's upset that her ex-husband is dating her boss, and that seems to play a big role in the fact that Megan may be spoiling her daughter. The greater point is that there are some consequences of Kate dating her ex, but I have a hard time caring, considering how little the characters have been developed. Given that this season was only nine episodes long and the show was renewed, there should be improvement next season.

Score: 8.3/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 5/16/11

ABC won with Dancing with the Stars (4.6) and Castle (3.3). Fantastic ratings for Castle to end the season.

Fox was second with House (3.5) and The Chicago Code (1.8). The Chicago Code is already canceled, so the ratings don't matter (unless they suddenly shot up by 100%).

CBS was third with How I Met Your Mother (3.1), Mad Love (2.2), a repeat of Two and a Half Men (2.0), Mike & Molly (2.6), and Hawaii Five-0 (2.7).

NBC was last with Chuck (1.5), The Event (1.3),  and Law & Order: LA (1.1). Chuck was renewed while the other two were canceled.

Review - Breaking In Season 1 Episode 6 Breaking Out

You probably read by now that Breaking In was cancelled yesterday. I was leaning on the side of renewal, but I was wrong. Here was my thinking: Breaking In had okay ratings (a bit less than 2.5), but that was probably because of the American Idol lead-in. Still, FOX may have renewed it for a 13 episode season to see what would happen without AI as a lead-in, considering that Traffic Light bombed and Raising Hope has been doing worse than Breaking In.

The pacing of "Breaking Out" through me for a loop, defying my expectations for once. The KFC problem is resolved quickly and the show usually has the team redoing the job. Instead, Oz traps them inside the HQ where they have to break out. As the episode wound down, it seemed like the team would break out themselves, but Oz shows up to reveal how he'd been inside the whole time. This would normally be the end of things, but no, the writers throw another twist, making Oz fake-panic and cause the team to work together.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Breaking In Season 1 Epiosde 7 21.0 Jump Street

There it is, the series finale of Breaking In. After only seven episodes the show is gone forever (unless those rumors floating around at correct, though I surely wouldn't hold out hope), and I'll miss it. Breaking In is unique and very, very weird in self-acknowledging sort of way. "21.0 Jump Street" is a perfect example of how the show operates. It takes a situation, high school cyber-bullying, and spins it into something really silly, overblown, and ultimately, funny. There are exaggerated high school stereotypes, the nerd jokes, and a wrong but somehow right handling of the bully, humiliating him more than the bullied kid. There's some unrealistic about the show, with Dutch still acting crazy and Oz with God-like abilities, but there is always something relatable under there.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - The Good Wife Season 2 Episode 23 Closing Arguments

The second season of The Good Wife ends without too much of a climax since most of the explosive stuff was resolved earlier in the season. This is an interesting choice by the writers, because most network shows operate in the same way, weighing episodes of major importance at the beginnings and ends of seasons. The Good Wife does it differently, though, condescending the arc so it doesn't seem drawn out and retains the same vigor throughout.

These episodes since the Kalinda revelation haven't had the same "what will happen next?!?!" vibe, but are maintained by a sense of unease. "Closing Arguments" keeps the viewers on edge, moving several plots forward while using each character to their fullest. There is a great scene between Peter and Will, scenes between Alicia and Kalinda (who've cooled down, but are definitely far from where they were), and the case features the velocity that the show can pull out when warranted.

The final scene is a bit sappy, although you have to appreciate the acting and directing that went into it. Is this a game changer or a one time deal? With Eli Gold joining the firm and the Democrats wanting Peter's entire family out there, difficult choices have to be made.

We're now in wait and see mode until CBS announces something. As most people probably know, The Good Wife's ratings are low in comparison to CBS shows and low in general. If it makes you feel better, CBS canceled Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior earlier today and renewed CSI: NY so I have a feeling CBS will renew TGW along with the rest of the locks.

Score: 8.9/10

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review - Glee Season 2 Episode 21 Funeral

Glee................ Yeah, that's my frustration talking.

Often when I'm watching Glee I find myself enjoying what's going on at the present moment, which probably isn't a surprise since I'm watching the show after all. But there is usually something nagging at me, refusing to be ignored, and that's the part of my brain reminding me that all of it makes no fucking sense.

Take "Funeral," for instance, where Sue's sister dies. Oh yeah, Sue has a sister, which is why she treats Becky well. I can hardly remember Sue's sister and with Sue acting like an evil person this entire season, I actually didn't believe her sister died until a fourth of a way through the episode. Following Sue's absurd behavior, it wouldn't be out of the question for Sue to lie about her sister dying as part of a nefarious scheme, would it?

While the funeral was well-crafted and emotional at times, we also have to see it for what it is, the writers teleporting Sue from the bottom of the cliff, where the crazies hang out, to the top where the normal people are. After seeing Sue literally try to kill people, it was hard to buy that Sue could somehow care about another person and the scenes with her sister were a distant memory.The question going forward is whether Sue will actually be nice, or relatively nice compared to her former state. If she does become more nice, I'll give this plot a pass; if she doesn't, then this will be a colossal waste.

What's scary about "Funeral" is that Sue was one of the smaller problems. The other plot, revolving around Jesse St. James, was one of the worst things I've seen on the show. His appearance last week was already completely random and bad all around, but he sticks around to be a douche and cause strife in the club. Worst of all, Will lets Jesse do whatever he wants until the very end. And, oh yeah, Will is apparently going to Broadway. That would have been good to learn without springing it on us, wouldn't it?

Score: 7.0/10

Review - NCIS Season 8 Episode 24 Pyramid

I like that NCIS can go for more complicated plots stretched out over a few episodes, and the writers know not to overindulge in pathos (I'm looking at you, Castle). But let's be honest--the plot made little sense. This was Cobb's plan: (1) Leave EJ alive in the trunk of a car and run off. (2) Kidnap Ziva. (3) Turn himself in and drop hints about Ziva's whereabout to lure Gibbs and the rest out. (4) Re-kidnap EJ to kill her.

It's complicated and all, fitting an hour of television and giving the actors something to do, but it's way too complicated. Why couldn't he have just taken EJ at the start instead of jumping through more hoops which ultimately got him caught? We expected something really big to come out of their, with the SecNav coming and the "Cone of Silence" activated, and instead it was only an angry guy whom the government turned into a killer.

Aside from the plot holes, the episode had some interesting things going on. For one, we learn why Gibbs was being so rude to EJ at the beginning--her uncle is the SecNav. This puts EJ in a new context where she bears extra responsibility, because she knows a cloud hangs over her head and it takes its toll on her. At the end of the episode, no one else dies and we don't know where everyone stands. Both Ray and EJ have a definite chance of showing up later with the way they left.

The final scene, of course, will be a major part of the next season. Tony is tasked to find a mole and he reacts to the name in a way that would indicate familiarity. Does this have anything to do with the thing EJ pulled out of Levin's arm? Will this be another Jeanne situation?

Score: 8.7/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 5/10/11

 [Restored from Blogger]

NBC won with The Biggest Loser (2.6) and The Voice (4.7). The Voice still going incredibly strong.

CBS was second with NCIS (3.5), NCIS: Los Angeles (2.8), and The Good Wife (2.0). After the spike last week, TGW went back down to the normal low, low 2s.

FOX was third with Glee (3.7), Raising Hope (2.0), and Traffic Light (1.3). No surprises that Traffic Light was canceled earlier today.

ABC was last with Dancing with the Stars (2.1), 3.4) and Body Of Proof (2.1).

Review - The Good Wife Season 2 Episode 22 Getting Off

[Restored from Blogger]

The Good Wife has built up such a universe that the implication of the twists have far more impact than the plot development does. The revelation of Peter having slept with Kalinda in the past would be bad news obviously. Alicia is co-workers with Kalinda, so that's a clear problem. But the writers did this season was to make Alicia and Kalinda a lot closer, so there was mutual trust between them. This betrayal, then, is not just withholding of information but of a deeper level of deceit.

Now, with Kalinda remaining Lockhart Gardner after some plot machinations (it would be cool to see Kalinda working somewhere else, wouldn't it?), the tension can only get higher. Alicia will have to see Kalinda every day, forced to relieve the betrayal by both her husband and best friend.

As far as other plot developments, not much happens except more drudging up of Alicia's feelings for Will. After lots of waffling in the first two seasons, will something finally happen between them?

Score: 8.8/10

Review - United States of Tara Season 3 Episode 8 Chicken 'n' Corn

All the parts of United States of Tara are coming together and "Chicken 'n' Corn" makes for a very interesting and exhilarating episode. While Dr. Hatteras resumes his help of Tara, Tara endangers Wheels while her other alters are acting out. This all boils down to Bryce Crane, Tara's half-brother, or at least Tara's manifestation of him. He apparently kills Chicken and is now looking for Tara to kill. With Buck looking for the real Bryce, there seems be in an endless possibility of stories.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - The Chicago Code Season 1 Episode 12 Greylord & Gambat

The Chicago Code was canceled last week, sadly. Before anyone complains about Fox "only canceling good shows," the ratings sucked and declined over the course of the season. Luckily, "Greylord & Gambat" is a very strong episode and leads right into the season finale which may see the end of Gibbons.

This isn't typical procedural stuff, afraid to do something bold and move ahead. Shawn Ryan is perfectly fine putting all the cards on the table--people are shot, the grand jury begins, and Gibbons is cornered. All the pieces in place for a major confrontation. Now, all Teresa has to do is calmly collect the evidence and present her case. There doesn't seem to be too many strings that could hold her back, but we never know.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Hawaii Five-0 Season 1 Episode 24 Oia'i'o

A problem with procedurals is that an episode like "Oia'i'o" will likely have few lasting consequences. Hawaii Five-0 is a procedural and as such, it will eventually return to the case of the week investigations. The major build up towards the end--McGarrett arrested for murder and Kono arrested for theft--will be resolved early in the next season. In a serialized show, this would be a game changer which is impossible to turn back from. In a procedural, this is a temporary obstacle which will be overcome.

It's hard to get any hopes up for lasting change, but "Oia'i'o" is a good episode by itself. It's subversive in the vein of 24, with the governor turning out to be in league with the bad guys on the island. I'm not sure if the logic all works out since the governor let McGarrett get awfully far in the investigation instead of shutting him down immediately when they were clearly times when she could have. But that's not really the point since the episode positions all the characters on the back foot and they'll have to come up with something in the season premiere.

What I didn't like about the episode is how it wants us to care about certain character who've had little or no impact. I don't care one bit about Laura Hills (the stuff with Chin at the beginning of the episode was dumb) and Rachel hasn't been developed enough so we have a clear idea who she is or why she cares about Danny.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - Sanctuary Season 3 Episode 16 Awakening

Compared to the episodes after the Hollow Earth arc, "Awakening" is definitely a step up. Magnus is back in full force, Tesla returns for the first time, and the episode explores the vampires and their battle against Praxis. Unfortunately, like most promising stories on Sanctuary, everything gets resolved much too quickly.

Magnus and Tesla come upon an old Praxian stronghold which was taken over by vampires and revive the vampire queen, Athena, who was in stasis. Meanwhile, Tesla gets this vampirism back and is chummy with Athena until her ideas of grandeur kick in and she decides to rule to world with Magnus as her "canteen" (in Magnus's words). Magnus tricks Athena, using the hologram device to blow out the place, and she and Tesla make it out alive.

Why couldn't this drag on for a few more episodes? After the epic Hollow Earth arc, something new would be nice, and the idea of vampires trying to retake the world seems interesting. We don't exactly see that Athena, so there may be a chance of her return, but the implication is that this vampire plot is for one episode only.

Kate's story was flat out boring. Maybe that's only because it was worse than the main plot. Every time the episode switched back to Kate, I wanted to skip ahead, knowing nothing would come of the plot and that there is something way cooler going on at the exact same time. But out of obligation, I watched the whole thing and was bored the entire time.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - Castle Season 3 Episode 24 Knockout

Here's one of my big problems with Castle: why can't the writers blend the "Knockout"-style episodes with the usual, fun, charming episodes? A few times in a season, Castle will turn to serious mode--there is a huge crime, lots of people are in trouble, and Castle and Beckett almost kiss. Then there's Castle in normal mode--fun, lax, and generally not that intense. The result is that the serious episodes have better plots while the normal episodes are more enjoyable if one isn't into super-intense episodes.

The structure is Castle is so that episodes like "Knockout" stand out, relative to the other episodes where nobody important gets killed and Beckett isn't as emotionally invested. In effect, the episode seems much better than it is, because the writers undershoot the other episodes. If the writers had the right mix--beefier plots to go alongside the funny--Castle could be greatly improved.

"Knockout," like those other special episodes is a lot more intense than normal episodes. The stakes are higher, the plot is directly related to Beckett, and the possible romance between Beckett and Castle, one of the drawing points of the show, is teased to death. What makes the episode work is the involvement of Montgomery in the events that led to Beckett's mother's death, We learn why he's so supportive of her and why he cares about her so much before his valiant death. He committed a crime in the past and did his best to make up for it. It's hard to fault a man for that, so I think Montgomery was given a good send-off.

The episode ends on a "cliffhanger," which was unnecessary and clichéd.We know Kate won't die unless the entire show goes through a DNA resequencer. We already knew someone was gunning for Kate. And after years of insinuation and non-action, was Castle saying "I love you" supposed to be the tipping point? Obviously this is another ploy to get the viewers to believe something will actually happen when the show returns in the fall.

Score: 8.8/10

Monday, May 16, 2011

Review - House Season 7 Episode 22 After Hours

There comes a point in a television show's life when a change--any change--would be welcome. For House, that episode is "After Hours." It's certainly far from perfect, but it's different and that has to count for something. I know this isn't the greatest endorsement and I'm not sure how I would react to this episode if it were in an earlier season. Still, given the level of boringness that descended on House this season, let's just give the writers credit for effort.

Following the odd rat drug stuff, "After Hours" is a pretty harrowing episode of House. Characters are driving at breakneck speeds, 13 is holding herself back, House is operating on himself to remove tumors--we knew this would all be resolved without major damage but there were some genuinely freaky scene. Ignoring the lame bits of dialogue, the episode was actually quite good.

The whole Taub plot seemed like one big joke, but with a baby in question, it couldn't be one of those funny things we could laugh off at the end. Taub somehow comes to a revelation after a stripper has a gun on him and decides to keep the baby. The whole circumstance is funny and probably not appropriate for the subject, but the writers don't seem to care.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - Chuck Season 4 Episode 24 Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger

That was a quick reversal, wasn't it? The episode starts with Sarah in the hospital, covered in ice, and a second later, Chuck and Casey are outlaws after failing to break Volkoff out of prison. None of this makes any sort of sense, but it positions out heroes in the perfect place for an epic episode. It's representative of what Chuck has become. Plot is one of the lowest priorities, and contrivances are expected in large doses and the season finale contends for the most in series history. I'm sure most people who have problems with that stopped watching already, and it's only a small inch that doesn't bother me that much, so I guess it's okay. Would I like to see better plots? Yes. Will that happen? Probably not.

The best part about "Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger" is that Chuck was reviewed. If the series were canceled, that would be a messy way to end the series, with another huge game changer and no resolution. Luckily, we still get a fifth and final 13-episode season, though I wonder if another year of NBC ratings failure could bring about more episodes (wishful thinking, perhaps). Morgan is now the Intersect with kung fu while Chuck no longer has the Intersect but instead has all of Volkoff's money and is the boss of their private spy operation. With a new plot on the horizon about someone shaping all their lives (at this point, I'll assume it's not as big in magnitude as it sounds), Decker, a completely new structure, Chuck still has room to grow and have a final season.

As far as the season finale itself, "Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger" had those exemplar moments that the current Chuck lives off, heavy doses of pathos. Looking past the plot, there are some fascinating dynamics going on. Volkoff, now Hartley, comes to terms with what he did, who he is, and what he has the potential to do. These factors swirl around as he tries to make sense of the world around him and more importantly, make a decision about what to do. Similarly, Vivian Volkoff is going through an identity crisis and when faced with her father, now not a criminal mastermind, and Chuck, she struggles with her next move. Ultimately, it's a happy day as Hartley and his daughter use Chuck's blank identities to get away and Chuck gets the identity.

I liked, above all, was the team effort. All the characters, minus the Buy More ones and including the Cat Squad, helped in their own way and get a little scene to show how much they care about the group. Even Casey puts aside his dislike of Russians! At the end of the day, I could poke holes to death if I felt like it. But why would I? The episode was touching, it had funny moments, and had a cool ending to lead into the next season.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - How I Met Your Mother Season 6 Episode 24 Challenge Accepted

"Challenge Accepted" is framed as a season finale, with events to push the show into the next season, but it really didn't feel like one. Everything has been teased for so long that Lily getting pregnant or Marshall potentially getting a job as an environmental lawyer really doesn't matter to me. I liked the final moment when Lily reveals her pregnancy, but that's it.

On the bright side, Ted's plot manages to do two things. Best of all, it forever takes Zoey out of the picture. Yeah, I hate that bitch. The other thing is that it brings up the question whether one should get back together with an ex and whether that can ever be successful. From Ted's numerous experiences, probably not. But throughout the episode, we see Barney and Robin talking about their past relationship and there's clearly something going on between the two. Finally, Nora shows up at the end of the episode and Barney wants to get back with her, Robin smiling difficultly in the background.

The episode ends with a big tease, Ted being the best man at Barney's wedding. Intuition would tell us that the bride is Robin, but we've been tricked before. The writers may choose to drag this thing out long for the sake of filling in additional seasons. What if Barney and Nora get married, divorced, and then Barney and Robin marry? That could take up two seasons, which is definitely what the writers want.

Score: 8.7/10

Going over Fox's 2011-2012 primetime schedule

9 pm House

After Terra Nova was supposed to premiere for the 2010-2011 midseason, delayed to having its pilot air in the spring, and then further delayed, it's finally arriving at fall. Curiously, House gets moved to 9 and Terra Nova takes the 8 PM slot. Is the purpose so that people who want to watch House end up watching Terra Nova, or are they just better fits for their respective time slots?

8 pm Glee
9:30 pm Raising Hope

Fox is again trying to use Glee to launch a successfully comedy block.

8-9:30 pm THE X FACTOR

Assuming The X Factor is successful, Fox will look pretty scary with a whole year of X Factor and American Idol.

8 pm THE X FACTOR (Results Show)
9 pm Bones

8 pm Kitchen Nightmares
9 pm Fringe

8 pm Cops
9 pm Encores/America’s Most Wanted (Specials)

Cops continues, but AMW, which apparently hasn't made money in years, will only have specials.

7:30 pm The Cleveland Show
8 pm The Simpsons
9 pm Family Guy
9:30 pm American Dad

View NBC’s Complete Fall Schedule


8/7c House

House moves back to 8 while JJ Abrams's new drama Alcatraz is at 9. Given JJ Abrams's latest failures, Undercovers and, to an extent, Fringe, we shouldn't be too quick to assume Alcatraz will survive.

8 pm Glee
9:30 pm Raising Hope

8-9:30 pm American Idol

8 pm American Idol (Results Show)
9 pm FINDER/Bones (Returning in Spring)

Emily Deschanel's means Bones won't have a full season. That means Finder will fill its place to a while. Sadly, the Finder backdoor pilot was horrid.

8 pm Kitchen Nightmares
9 pm Fringe

8 pm Cops
9 pm Encores/America’s Most Wanted (Specials)

7:30 pm The Cleveland Show
8 pm The Simpsons
9 pm Family Guy
9:30 pm Bob’s Burgers

Going over NBC's 2011-2012 primetime schedule

I wanted to go over NBC's schedule for next year and add a few of my thoughts.

*New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)

8-10 p.m. – “The Sing-Off”
10-11 p.m. – “THE PLAYBOY CLUB”

NBC is finally changing up its Monday schedule after toiling at the bottom for the past few years. First off is The Sing-Off, the singing competition. It got good ratings last season, so it should do well full time. Coming after a family-friendly show like The Sing-Off, the tawdry-sounding The Playboy Club should spice up the night. We'll see if this works.

8-10 p.m. – “The Biggest Loser”
10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood”

NBC's stablest night remains the same

8-8:30 p.m. – “UP ALL NIGHT”
8:30-9 p.m. – “FREE AGENTS”
9-10 p.m. — “Harry’s Law”
10-11 p.m. — “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”

8-8:30 p.m. – “Community”
8:30-9 p.m. — “Parks and Recreation”
9-9:30 p.m. – “The Office”
9:30-10 p.m. – “WHITNEY”
10-11 p.m. – “PRIME SUSPECT”

The comedy block remains intact, with 30 Rock held for the midseason due to Tina Fey's pregnancy, replaced by Whitney. NBC's remake of the British show Prime Suspects comes after, so NBC is putting a lot of hope into the night.

8-9 p.m. – “Chuck”
9-10 p.m. – “GRIMM”
10-11 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”

Chuck's final season will be spent on Friday nights, where it probably belonged the past few seasons. The placement of Grimm after Chuck and against Fringe means that NBC wants to sink Fringe for good and/or is fine letting Grimm out to dry.

Encore programming

7- 8:15 p.m. — “Football Night in America”
8:15-11:30 p.m. — “NBC Sunday Night Football”

*New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)

7-8 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
8-10 p.m. – “The Celebrity Apprentice”
10-11 p.m. – “THE FIRM”

The Firm seems like an odd show, a sequel to a film made almost 2 decades ago, but I can see it working after Celebrity Apprentice

8-10 p.m. – “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. – “SMASH”

NBC's only breakout hit, The Voice, will help Smash, a musical drama, greatly.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 5/12/11

FOX won with American Idol (6.5) and Bones (3.2).

CBS was second with The Big Bang Theory (3.4), Rules of Engagement (2.5), CSI (2.6), and The Mentalist (2.7).

ABC was third with Wipeout (1.7), Grey's Anatomy (3.2), and Private Practice (2.3).

NBC was last with Community (1.5), a repeat of The Office (1.3), The Office (3.3), Parks and Recreation (2.4, 2.3), and Outsourced (1.5). Outsourced was canceled last week, unsurprisingly.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 5/11/11

Fox won with American Idol (7.1) and Breaking In (2.3). Breaking In was canceled last week; the 2.3 vs 7.1 tells the tale of that.

CBS was second with Survivor (3.1), Criminal Minds (3.3), and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2.1). That 2.1 is definitely not good for Suspect Behavior.

ABC was third with The Middle (2.2), Better With You (2.0), Modern Family (4.3), Cougar Town (2.3), and Happy Endings (1.7, 1.4). Interesting decision by ABC to cancel Better With You and renew Happy Endings.

NBC was last with Minute To Win It (0.9), a repeat of Minute To Win It (1.1), and Law & Order: SVU (2.4).

Review - Treme Season 2 Episode 4 Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get The Blues?

I'm not entirely sure if this is true, but I'm pretty sure I would like Treme much more if it were the only show I watched. Since I didn't have time last week, I watched Treme on Saturday, so the show was fresh in my mind when I watched "Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get The Blues?" The result was that I really, really liked the episode. It wasn't that the episode was better than the others--I think last week's episode was better--but with the plots and characters from the previous episode still in my mind, I saw the progression much clearer than I usual would. This goes back to the point that Treme is one of those shows that is optimal to watch over the course of a weekend, instead of watching once per week.

"Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get The Blues?" has some great stuff going on, with Antoine's band taking off, Davis starting a record label, and Janette being awesome. There are quite a few intersections this week as well, Sonny joining Antoine's band and Janette meeting Delmond in a bar (there's a New Orleans bar in New York?).

Score: 9.0/10

Review - The Killing Season 1 Episode 8 Stonewalled

After watching "Stonewalled," I though to myself: "What is The Killing about?" What a show is about, after all, establishes the baseline for what is actually important and what makes a show worth watching. There is an obvious answer out there--"it's about a killing, of course!"--but that doesn't seem to fit with everything we see on screen.

The biggest thing that sticks out is the Richmond campaign. Aside from its connection to Bennet and the campaign car, the plot has run its own track, following Richmond and his advisors in the mayoral race against Adams. There is yet to be concrete sign that any of this is related to Rosie's death, but the plot is still a huge part of the show. Eight episodes into a 13-episode seaosn, why have the writers not revealed the connection? If the the show was about a killing, wouldn't they let us know already that it is important?

Another thing that's been on my mind is Rosie's past acquaintances who showed up in the first few episodes. We see how the Larsons are dealing with Rosie's death, but what about Sterling, who was supposed to be Rosie's best friend? Jasper? Were they just characters to initially move the plot along, or do they have other roles?

It is understandable that the show would focus more on the Larsens. Family always takes precedence over friends, but in terms of screen time, it is getting a bit much. While Michelle Forbes is as good as ever, it's kind of the same stuff. Mitch is slipping and almost gets her two kids killed. She can't/refuses to look ahead, and instead clings to a past she knows she'll never had. But I do wonder why its relative importance seems to be so high when nothing is really going on.

When I look at these things, they don't seem to fit together either as a coherent plot or theme. There is an underlying sadness which permeates everything, but it's not a substantial force. So, at the end of the day, I don't really know what part of The Killing is relevant.

These concerns are probably not too important, though, as one can appreciate a show even if there are numerous unanswered questions. "Stonewalled" handles the Holder-Linden relationship and resolves the problems they've been having. The bald guy turns out to be Holder's sponsor, so he's not up to anything (unless he has more secrets). After all is said and done, they each have a better understanding of each other and we should see much more cooperation in the future.

The Richmond campaign took a turn this week, as Richmond, after listening to his wife's killer (it was only drunk driving, contrary to previous implications), blows a gasket and decides to go negative, leaking to the public that Adams has been paying to keep a mistress quiet. We get to see a darker side of Richmond, in contrast to the weak man Jaime describes. This may or may not be related to Rosie's murder, but it is a definite turning point in both the campaign and Richmond's character.

As far as the salient points of the murder investigation go, there is heavy implication at the end of the episode that Bennet is involved with terrorism. The FBI is all over the place, and Bennet's wife hears him in a phone call talking about passports and the police. Luckily, Holder had the foresight to put a wiretap on Bennet. Is this another mislead? Probably, but we have to get through all these to reach the real murderer.

Score: 8.7/10

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review - Game of Thrones Season 1 Episode 5 The Wolf and the Lion

Exactly halfway through the season, Game of Thrones hit a boiling point and now everything seems right on the cusp of breaking loose. Like the other episodes, "The Wolf and the Lion" spends plenty of time exploring the world with great expository dialogue. We learn of some more people who may want the throne and there is open talk of the conspiracy. But what caps the episode is straight and direct, Jaime making his move.

From Ned's perspective, there is practically no good option. Does he just go along with Robert's decision to kill Daenerys who has an unborn child or argue and risk losing his position or even his life? Further tying his hands is the fact that his wife went ahead and capture Tyrion, which results in Jaime confront him. This, of course, ends badly and shockingly, as a spear goes right through Ned's leg.

Catelyn's fateful decision to take Tyrion as a prisoner leads the viewers on an odd journey to the Eyrie, where her slightly crazed (she seemed batshit crazy, actually, breastfeeding her grown child and talking wildly, but I don't want to count her out yet) sister Lysa Arryn lives. The prison is great as one side of the walls is missing with a steep drop-off for the prisoner to look over (or, I assume, to jump off as well).

Cersei's conversation with Robert was wonderfully done. There has always been distance between the two even though they are supposed to be married, and the dialogue crystallizes that. Cersei asks direct questions and Robert answer that he could never love her as he loved his first wife. With years of this going on, Cersei is put in a certain context, one that may be more forgivable to her actions than before.

Score: 9.4/10

Preview of Week 5/15/11 - 5/21/11

NCIS - CBS, Tuesday, May 17, 8:00pm ET

After the way the last episode ended, I'm looking forward to the season finale and the possible capture of the P2P killer. The question is, who will die?

Bones - Fox, Tuesday, May 19, 9:00pm ET

Will we get confirmation that Brennan and Booth slept together? The episode is titled "The Change in the Game," but Hart Hanson loves to play tricks--remember the alternate universe finale? In any case, we know Brennan and Booth are going undercover for sure.

The Mentalist - CBS, Thursday, May 19, 10:00pm ET

I've been very pleased with The Mentalist this season, and was impressed by the Red John-themed episodes in the beginning of the season. Now, the two-hour season will address who Red John's CBI is, and hopefully we will learn a bit more about Red John.

Supernatural - CW, Friday, May 20, 8:00pm ET

The jig is up and the Winchesters know Castiel was behind much of the bad things that happened in the season. While this two-hour season finale probably is as anticipated as the Lucifer showdown last year, the writers are always good at season finales.

Recapping last week's cancellation bloodbath

Mid-May is an important time for television executives, producers, and viewers alike. Upfronts are coming up and some shows just have to go. With natural expectations that a show should continue until a proper, definitive ending, most television fanatics end up disappointed. This year in particular was very bloody and almost assuredly left many irate fans. But among the shows left on the side of the road, there were glimmers of hope.


The network in the deepest hole the past few years has been NBC. There was the Leno debacle and many failed shows or shows that declined greatly over time. Most notable, NBC did not have a new scripted show that was a hit. Even its comedy lineup, while critically acclaimed, did not have a legitimate hit other than The Office, which is in its seventh season. NBC again tried to make its scripted lineup, ordering several shows which could have succeeded. But alas things did not work out again. Chase was initially given extra episodes but was shuffled off to Saturday, The Cape flopped quickly, Outsourced started strong but faltered, and Perfect Couples was DOA. NBC’s big thrust, though, was The Event.

The Event was this year’s FlashForward. It was supposed to be the next Lost, NBC pouring in advertising money and giving it a big budget; instead, it flopped. People attributed the demise to a number of things—the wonky flashbacks, among others. In my opinion, it was simply because the writers couldn’t sustain the energy of the better episodes and didn’t develop the characters enough to make us care when the plot was not going full-speed ahead. But that’s just conjecture. One factor that assuredly did not cause the demise of The Event, however, was the long hiatus. It’s easy for fans to blame networks for a show not working (“Fox only cancels good shows!” “You moved it to Monday!”), but the facts are facts—The Event was doing badly before the hiatus. The last episode before the hiatus, airing on November 11, was already down to 1.9 in the demo, a far-cry from the 3.6 which began the series. Sometimes shows just don’t work.

Law & Order: LA was one of those shows that had disaster written all over it. It was picked up for a 13-episode season even before the pilot was done. All the series had was the Law & Order tag and Los Angeles name. Unlike other L&O iterations—Special Victims Unit, Criminal Intent, and Trial by Jury—this one was pretty vague. The show was retooled, returning on April 11, but the ratings was even lower than where they were. Despite Dick Wolf’s best efforts, another Law & Order was unable to flourish, and with the original cancelled, Criminal Intent in its final season, and SVU on its last legs, the franchise may well be becoming to an end soon.

The notable renewal was Chuck, which renewed for a fifth and final 13-episode season to my delight. It’s not that I particularly like Chuck or was too surprised by the renewal, but its run has been nothing short of amazing. Chuck was renewed for a third season after a vigorous fan campaign—which may or may not have been a big contribution to the renewal, though NBC executives claimed it was. The ratings for the season started decently, but begun to drop. But NBC, as a whole, was doing terribly. What would be low ratings on another network was the norm on NBC, and Chuck was doing fine.

Now in its third season, Chuck’s ratings are again down—to the low 1s, quite a bit lower than the previous season—but lo and behold, NBC’s primetime ratings are even lower. Suddenly, Chuck looks pretty good compared to the likes of The Event and LOLA. In each renewal, Chuck was only given a 13-episode season—accounting for the numerous potential series finale episodes. However, NBC, in its misery, actually gave Chuck additional episodes in both instances. We don’t know the specifics of this new deal—how low WB offered to get Chuck to syndication, whether there are budget cuts—but the saga of Chuck continues for at least one more season.

Looking ahead, NBC remains in trouble, but we shouldn’t count it out just yet. Its Thursday comedy lineup remains fairly robust, especially for NBC standards, the cancellation of Outsourced and 30 Rock returning at midseason allows for the new blood of Whitney to be injected in there. Parenthood, which hung in there against such competition as The Good Wife and Body of Proof, was renewed and should remain stable given its adverse situation this season. Harry’s Law proved to be a surprise, hanging in against Castle and Hawaii Five-0, and was given a renewal even though it skews quite old. NBC’s biggest new show, The Voice, was not only a hit compared to the network’s other paltry shows, but also a hit in general. Debuting with an astounding 5.1 (my reaction: “People choosing to watch NBC?!?), it represents the perfect opportunity for NBC to launch new shows next season.


Fox has been having troubles lately as well. Outside of perennial stalwarts American Idol, the Sunday animated comedy lineup, Bones, and newcomer Glee, the network hasn’t had much success. Comedies failed and new scripted content during the summer just didn’t work. However, the network renewed several dramas last year—Fringe, Human Target, Lie to Me—beyond their first season (in the case of Human Target) and even into their third (Fringe and Lie to Me). After a retooling of Human Target and Shawn Ryan’s departure from Lie to Me, the two did not meet ratings expectations and were canceled earlier this week. And of the new comedies—Raising Hope, Traffic Light, Breaking In, and Running Wilde—only Raising Hope survived.

The Chicago Code was one of those shows, like Lone Star, which critics liked but television viewers didn’t necessarily gravitate to. The ratings started decently and appeared to stabilize in the low 2 range, before dropping off into the 1s. The reason for the failure of The Chicago Code is hard to pinpoint. Its creator, Shawn Ryan, is undeniably a master when it comes to popularity and quality, as he helmed The Shield to unprecedented heights. But that was on cable, where the standards of behavior were more lax. The Chicago Code was not about tough, head-bashing cop/vigilante work but the police department tackling city corruption. I guess viewers didn’t see the appeal.

Out of the canceled dramas came one survivor, Fringe, which was renewed several weeks ago. Moved to Friday nights, Fringe was in a tough spot and many people predicted it would not survive. Along those same lines, lots of people blamed Fox for putting it in the time slot, going back to the same complaints we’ve heard through the decade about Firefly, Wonderfalls, Dollhouse, and Dark Angel. It’s hard to have too much animosity against Fox, though. Fringe was given great chances at the beginning—plum post-Idol slots and post-House slots, but the ratings kept falling. As the show became more serialized, viewers dropped off. Still, Fox renewed the show for a fourth season and everyone should be grateful for that.

Fox may not have as many problems as NBC, with several strong shows and only two hours of primetime to fill per night, but its inability to get a comedy block and launch new dramas is certainly troubling. Fox has not released its 2011-2012 schedule yet, so I won’t be able to comment too much on future prospects yet.


In the current television climate, ABC is doing reasonably well compared to the other networks. It launched the hit Modern Family last season, which led to great stability in ABC’s Wednesday comedy block with The Middle and Cougar Town reaping the benefits, not to mention the usual rocks—Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Dancing With the Stars, Castle, and Desperate Housewives. Despite this, ABC has its own share of growing pains, My Generations and The Whole Truth getting cancelled almost instantly. In terms of total cancellations, the numbers alone look ugly. Off The Map, Better With You, No Ordinary Family, V, Mr. Sunshine, Detroit 1-8-7, and Brothers & Sisters (without a proper conclusion)—all gone.

Of these, No Ordinary Family stands out. I remember watching the pilot at Comic-Con and the loud reception it got. I wasn’t entirely sure why people liked it (I think it was the jokes I found clichéd), but clearly people liked it. The ratings started quite strong and waned over time. For those who watched the show, it seemed like the writing was the biggest problem, with the plot going in every which direction and the sheer weight of teenage clichés that weighed everything down. By the end of the season, the show was all but forgotten.

Between these cancellations, only two shows have survived—Body of Proof and Happy Endings, the latter of which was somewhat of a surprise. ABC has not released next season’s schedule, but I have a couple things on my mind. (1) Could Castle be moved off Monday so a new show can reap DWTS’s lead-in? Castle has been steady 3.0s in the past few months while other shows in the same timeslot have declined. Surely ABC wants Castle to succeed, but maybe the show can survive on its own while a new show is bolstered by DWTS into ratings success. (2) Could the The Middle get the slot after Modern Family? Anyone who’s looked at Wednesday ratings would notice how small Cougar Town’s ratings look compared to Modern Family while The Middle does just fine by itself. I don’t want to be a stringent retentionista (as TVBTN coins it), but that’s something to consider.


CBS is currently the most stable network, and for good reason. It has the CSI franchise, the JAG/NCIS franchise, the burgeoning Criminal Minds franchise, a solid comedy lineup on Monday, and The Big Bang Theory to anchor Thursday. But like the other networks, it has had its share of problems this year. Although CBS has not released too much information about cancellations or renewals, here’s what we definitely know: Mad Love, $#*! My Dad Says, and The Defenders are cancelled. Those should not be a surprise to anyone and the writing has been on the wall for a while. The definite renewals that have not been announced yet are The Mentalist, CSI, Criminal Minds, Mike & Molly, NCIS: Los Angeles, Rules of Engagement, CSI: Miami, Hawaii Five-0, and Two and a Half Men.

The fate of a number of shows remain up in the air, however, and it is hard to say what CBS will do. In the forefront of my mind is The Good Wife. It has been doing poorly, garnering ratings in the low 2s, far from the 3s of its lead-in, NCIS: LA. Still, The Good Wife is the only drama on the network that gets any attention from the award shows and the critics love the show. Does this publicity make up for a lack of ratings? A pair of spin-offs, CSI: New York and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, are also in trouble. They each have a saving grace, with CSI: NY not performing horribly and CBS’s desire to turn Criminal Minds into another big franchise. While almost every major TV site says that Blue Bloods is a lock for renewal, I have to question that. The ratings are decent for Fridays, but an absolute lock?

At the end of the day, CBS will remain in good shape even if it cancels all the aforementioned shows (which it probably won’t). The network remains as strong as ever and NCIS, in its eight season, was actually growing at the beginning of the season. There are warning signs on the horizon, however, as CSI dropped perilously low in recent weeks while the Monday comedy block as a whole has been hitting lows.

To wrap up, this season of television has been horrible for new shows. We can literally count the number of new shows that survived the season on our hands while our hands and feet wouldn’t even cover all the canceled shows. With the networks gearing up a new development slate, we’ll be seeing a lot of new shows in the next week, and yes, most will be canceled by this time next year.

All missed reviews

Here are the short reviews for shows I missed through the week. I included reviews for shows I've stopped reviewing to balance things out. Also, you might have notice that reviews for Breaking In and The Good Wife are still missing. Blogger still hasn't restored them, but since the Glee review was restored, I assume the other posts should follow. If that does not happen by Monday, I repost them. (If you really want to read them, they're on Insidepulse TV.)

Body of Proof Season 1 Episode 8 Buried Secrets: "Buried Secrets" is a reminder that Body of Proof is a mash up of different shows. Every part of the episode has been done before in large amounts, but Body of Proof does them well, which makes the show worth watching.

Modern Family Season 2 Episode 22 Good Cop Bad Dog: I normally find plots of Modern Family to be somewhat realistic, but Jay and Gloria’s plot with Guillermo and the dog seemed like it belonged on Breaking In instead of Modern Family. But Phil and Claire were great in the episode, and realistic, so it mostly balanced out.

The Chicago Code Season 1 Episode 11 Black Sox: I’m not particularly interested in Jarek and his lady problems, especially since it’s been one of the least developed plots. It looks like Gibbons is finally making his move, whatever that they be. We originally thought he put a hit out on Teresa, but that turned out wrong. Is he capable of ordering her murder if she gets too close?

House Season 7 Episode 21 The Fix: It was really out of the blue for House to suddenly decide to fix himself with an experimental rat drug. But this contrivance does put House in some kind of danger. That’s better than nothing, right? OK, maybe not, but we should see what the writers do first before casting too much judgment.

The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 23 The Engagement Reaction: Priya wasn’t mean in this episode for once. She talks to Penny without being bitchy and is actually fine with Leonard being near Penny. The Raj stuff was again weak and random, but that’s to be expected. As far as the main story goes, the stuff between Howard and his mother was hilariously creepy, especially when Bernadette yelling reminded me of Howard’s mother while Howard thought it was sexy.

Parks and Recreation Season 3 Episode 13 The Fight / 14 Road Trip: Two episodes of Parks and Recreations!! And if that wasn't good enough, next week has two more episodes! While I enjoyed both episodes, I would give the edge to “The Fight.” There were so many great moments with the actual fight, Snake Juice, and Ron. Ben and Leslie finally make out in “Road Trip,” so there was development on that front for once.

The Office Season 7 Episode 24 Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager: Dwight is a guy who often expresses wacky ideas, but since he’s never in a position of power, nothing really comes of it. Well, this was Dwight’s chance to shine. Unfortunately, his excessive regulation in the office ends up with him shooting a gun in the office and eventually being demoted. The episode has the Dwight and Jim dynamic that was been lessened over the years, so that was nice to see. And as Jim tells Dwight, Dwight did one good thing in making all the orders on time.

The Mentalist Season 3 Episode 22 Rhapsody in Red: Before the two-hour season finale next week, The Mentalist dished up a fairly standard episode. Jane solves the crime while the rest of the team fills in the background. I did like, however, the increased attention on Cho, who is easily the funniest character other than Cho, and he got to tackle something close to home for once.

The Event Season 1 Episode 20 One Will Live, One Will Die: This new plot device the writer are using is the one where they show us part of what’s going on to mislead us. In the previous episode, it was the cocaine trafficker who turned out to be irrelevant, and in this episode, we only hear half of the phone call. To be honest, it’s plain stupid.

Hawaii Five-0 Season 1 Episode 23 Ua Hiki Mai Kapalena Pau: "Ua Hiki Mai Kapalena Pau" heads directly into the season finale, mixing a standard standalone plot with the only search for Wo Fat and Chin Ho’s admission of guilt to stealing the money. The episode is tense, with the whole island potentially in danger, but as always, the day is saved.

Blue Bloods Season 1 Episode 22: The first season of Blue Bloods ended with a resolution to the Blue Templar plot, which chugged slowly along as the season went. It is resolved as expected, with the acknowledgement that the Blue Templars are just a couple of bad eggs in the basket. As always, the Reagans and police department come out looking like the greatest heroes ever.

Camelot Season 1 Episode 7 The Long Night: After last week’s snoozer, Camelot came back with a fairly strong episode. Morgan had some really nefarious schemes up her sleeves, deceiving Arthu and the rest of them, while stealing Igraine’s place at the end of the episode, using her shapeshifting ability. Oh, and gratuitous nudity!

Breakout Kings Season 1 Episode 10 Paid in Full: “Paid in Full” puts all the dirty laundry out there. The cons find out that Ray is not actually a Marshall and the audience and other cons learn that Lloyd was sent to prison for writing a fake prescription which ended in a girl dying. Charlie’s big speech at the end is a tinge disingenuous with his big “revelation” of a congenital heart defect, but it makes a point: everyone has their secrets and problems, but they have to trust each other. Considering what Shea was doing in the previous episodes, there is still a lot to be resolved.

Treme Season 2 Episode 3 On Your Way Down: In an episode riddled with crime, there is an obvious standout, the rape of Ladonna, which was harrowing to say the least. The fallout is executed brilliantly with Khandi Alexander coming through. As the visible crime affects several characters, there is also an undeniable crime in the background being perpetrated against all New Orleans, Nelson’s slimy dealings with the city’s money.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Review - Bones Season 6 Episode 22 The Hole in the Heart

"The Hole in the Heart" is a pretty significant episode for a number of reasons. One of them is the death of Vincent Nigel-Murray. He was my favorite squintern, so I'll be sad to see him go. This plethora of random knowledge was always entertaining and he had an undeniable charm. It's also good to know that Vincent was killed for a good reason since his actor, Ryan Cartwright, is on Alphas, which Syfy picked up. The episode handles the situation well, dealing with the emotional ups and down, as well as resolving the Broadsky plot.

But perhaps greater than all this is the implication that Brennan and Booth slept together. All we see is a grieving Brennan lay on top of Booth, and she later tells Angela that she got into bed with Booth and possibly something more happened. Brennan and Booth give each other a bunch of looks at the end of the episode, but there is not definitive answer. The dialogue is written ambiguously for a reason, to get fans interested and questioning. I don't want to get negative since this is the closest we've seen to resolving 6 seasons of UST; however, this better not be another fake-out.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Nikita Season 1 Episode 22 Pandora

In true Nikita fashion, "Pandora" is chalk full of plot turns. The episode moves quickly from one thing to a next and the characters are all over the place in the episode. It begins at the loft with Alex shooting Nikita before Division agents arrive, and we soon learn that Alex faked Nikita's death (that one was pretty obvious). After Michael disables Percy, Nikita says the CIA top dogs, and Amanda lets Alex go, the episode comes full circle, ending where it begun: with Nikita and Alex together in the loft. This time, however, it is the official cutting of the alliance, as Alex cuts the zip line, physically making it impossible for her to rejoin Nikita.

Looking forward to the next season--assuming the show is renewed--the show has completely changed. Nikita and Alex are no longer allies but wary adversaries, while Nikita and Michael, once enemies, are completely together. As far as the endgame goal of taking down Division there is certainly a long ways to go still.

Alberta Watson, Madeline on La Femme Nikita, guest starred in the episode as one of the government people. Along with Amanda's increased presence, it reminded me how much darker the original show was.

Score: 9.2/10
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