Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12/19/11 - 12/27/11 Reviews

Agonizingly, The Closer ended the first half of its final season without revealing who Goldman’s leak was. At this point, it’s almost impossible to know who it is. The ones who “shouldn’t” be  are Sanchez, Tao, and Provenza (and maybe Flynn too), while the ones who “could” be are Gabriel, Taylor, and Pope. My money’s on Gabriel, for what it’s worth. Although we didn’t learn who the mole was, Goldman got put in his place several times, which was a plus.

This week’s Leverage was very simplistic, the con barely entailing more than 3 steps, and even then, the job probably could have been done with even less effort. Without any advanced security system or dangerous enemies, it was easy pickings for the crew.

This is the kind of thing Sanctuary has been building towards since the beginning—the rest of the world knowing about abnormals—but the writing for the episode was painfully weak. Most notable, Magnus wants Will to join Baldouche, telling him he can feed her information. In the very next scene, Will is sitting at his new desk, and then all hell breaks loose and Will has no clue what’s going on. Qhat the hell? Will doesn’t know what Magnus is doing and neither does the viewer.

Last week’s Chuck episode got tons of hype—in my memory the most since the second season—but I was disappointed with it. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good episode, which it was, just my expectations were high and it didn’t live up to them. The problem with the episode is the same with all other Chuck episodes, and especially those of the final season—it doesn’t make sense. Without a stable, fully understandable plot, the episode is shaky, as the plot creaks forward and it soon dawns that the writers either made it up as they were going or have no idea how to create a season-long story where the ongoing story isn’t linked solely by the beginning and ends of each episode. Instead of a single, cohesive story, the story is tediously strung together by cliffhangers. A problem arises at the end of each episode, often sprouting out of nowhere, it’s fixed in the next episode, and then the new problem arises. This kind of plotting, when the writers want to make it seem like a big conspiracy is afoot, is awkward for the viewer who tries to piece things together. And when the viewer does piece things together, the idea that there is a long chain of villains and events leading up to the climax is pretty dumb. The Omen virus turned out to be a massive plot device which was hazily defined by the writers and served its purpose to get rid of Shaw’s Intersect.

But I can understand why this episode would stick out. First, it’s a Christmas episode and it’s a perfect holiday for a show that emphasizes family. Secondly, Shaw makes a better villain than the grab bag villain of the week, with his history and recognizable personality. There’s real danger in the episode several cool fights. In the end, however, plot is a critical part of television. It’s probably less important than in movies, but still something everyone pays attention to. No matter how great the characters are, there has to be a feasible plot to be a top episode.

The first season of American Horror Story was bizarre to say the least, and the season finale was no exception. There were little frights in the season finale, the majority taking place in the first half of the episode when the Harmons were chasing the new family away. The rest of the episode was rather mellow, with Christmas and the oddly soothing idea that they are happier dead than alive. So everyone ends up dead while Constance raises the Antichrist who is already killing people. Thus ends a truly batshit season of television. American Horror Story, for the most part, was terrible. The underpinning of the show is that anything messed up that’s sex or death related should happen, regardless of how that point is reach. Random crap happened and then, “Oh, they’re having sex. Oh, she’s killing him.” It’s not particularly imaginative.

If Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck were providing commentary on the current state of American horror movies, which are mostly mindless scares, then I’d probably be more lenient. This was no parody or commentary, only rehashed content revolving around sex and killing. It is this tone-deafness which has turned Glee into a farce and will likely continue.

The good news, announced the next day, is that the second season will not be a continuation but rather something completely different with some of the same actors playing different characters. Hopefully the writers will try out new things and less of the sex and murder. Ryan Murphy also said there was a hint in the last three episodes where the second season would take place. The obvious guess would be Roanoke, which would be very cool since the best parts of the season were the flashbacks with the Montgomerys.
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