Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Reviews 4/09/12 - 4/16/12

I fell behind on television again, so the reviews are a day late.

The Killing continued the inquiry into tattoo guy and the mob. They actually catch the tattoo guy and find his drawing of Rosie. Another red herring? Could the show have been fixed? I guess we'll find out soon enough.

A common complaint non-Mad Men watchers have about the show is that it's boring and just people sitting around talking. Yes, it is people sitting around talking, but have you ever been so entertained by people sitting around and talking? I think not. There's something mystical about the show's ability to do so much with so little. Have Peggy take all of Roger's money--instant smiles--then this week have her exclaim that Lane is beating up Peter--instant smiles. The episode takes a step back and look at four men--Peter, Don, Lane, and Ken. All are very different people in very different places. The episode focuses more on the three who aren't Don, and because of a glancing look at Don, it seems like he has a much better life than the rest of the them.

Game of Thrones: Varys has a great conversation with Tyrion about power (one of the highlights of the book, IMO), and he concludes that power is an illusion. Indeed, despite people's proclamations of fealty or piety, they couldn't care less. What matters is how far up the ladder they can be in the future. We see this illustrated in the next scene, as Yoren and others are killed without a second thought. They're supposed to be the Night's Watch, a group all the kingdoms are supposed to support, and they're supposed to be allowed to make it to the Wall unimpeded. But does Amory Lorch care? Not in the least bit. He's going to help the Lannisters who currently hold King's Landing.

Major book spoilers ahead, read at your own peril: There were again many deviations from the book. There was stuff with Loras, Renly,and Margaery that clearly wasn't in the book, but the additions don't change the plot on a large scale. What really caught my attention, however, was Shae becoming handmaiden for Sansa. In the book, over halfway through, Shae becomes handmaiden of Lollys after Lollys gets rape by the mob after they send Myrcella off to Dorne at the docks. This seemed like a pretty big deal in the book, a culmination of the growing unrest at King's Landing that had been building, setting the stage for an unruly King's Landing before Stannis's assault. Is the show going to skip over this? Another less important deviation was Arya, Gendry, and the others getting captured at that point. They're suppose to run away for a bit before getting caught later, but it's not important.

Although this season of Fringe hasn't exactly been my favorite, I've accepted this new format and I've grown to like it. Yes, the writers threw away three seasons of development--which was part of confusion over Broyles since he did die last season--but it's fine for the most part. It turns out that Broyles was not a shapeshifter but was helping Jones in exchange for saving his son's health. Unlike Walter, though, Broyles mostly owns up to it quickly, turning himself in to the other Broyles. The other big development was Jones continuing to cause trouble, culminating with the revelation that he wants to destroy both universes. OK... I have no clue what that's about...

Grimm: Lots of people liked last week's episode and it's quite understandable. Nick's new gang, consisting of himself, Monroe, and now Rosalie, is awesome and with the fast pace and the great humanization of Adalind, the episode had a lot going for it. That said, the overarching plot with Renard and Adalind and the key is awful. The master plan was for Adalind to seduce Hank to put him in a coma to somehow get Nick to turn over the key. Whose terrible plan was this? Why not go after Juliette? Why not provide back up? And we still don't know who the fuck Renard is.

Awake is definitely not coming back for another season, but even in the first season it seems like the show is headed towards a wild conclusion. The Brittons in the red world are moving to Oregon, breaking the locational link between the two worlds.

Up All Night's first season wasn't groundbreaking and it was never a show I watched for laughs, but it had a comfortable, welcoming feeling. Christina Applegate and Will Arnett had amazing chemistry from day one and eventually even Maya Rudolph fit in.

With talk that The Office will be completely overhauled--the current cast reduced to recurring and a new batch coming in--I actually think that wouldn't be too bad. We've seen the show struggle greatly in Michael's last seasons and especially since his departure. Andy clearly isn't a suitable replacement, as he has all of Michael's bad traits without the cluelessness that made Michael a fun character. I wouldn't mind if Creed was given center stage for once.

Psych's season never had a SERIOUS episode, a staple on the show since "An Evening with Mr. Yang" back in the third season, not that it ever needed one. The season finale is mostly a light affair, but it dives into Henry's past and ends with him getting shot. Now, this being Psych, I don't think Henry will die. But if he did, it would fit

Justified: Now that's a finale! Fast, twisty, and of course bloody. Very bloody with the way Quarles left the world. At the same time, the shock of Quarles getting his armed chopped off was tempered by Quarles still alive, reaching for his arm, and Raylan pulling it back--funny stuff we've come to expect behind the mayhem of the show. I was surprised Arlo survived, but with Raylan stating that Arlo shot at person with the hat without recognizing the face pretty much puts him on the short list of people Raylan needs to kill.

Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 was pretty great. There's Krysten Ritter as the eponymous bitch and James Van Der Beek as the Beek himself. Chloe becoming "friendly" with June happened a little too quick, but I'm not sure it would be even possible in thirty minutes to turn someone from total bitch to semi-friend.

I haven't commented on New Girl (or any comedy, really), but I wanted to say how much I like the characters together. We really get the sense that these characters know and like each other a lot and want to hang up.

I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but, yeah, Glee sucked. The plots were again contrived and the songs overproduced (and for once, badly lip synced). The one saving grace--a big one, I'll admit--was Matt Bomer. His lesson about pointing had me cracking up.

The way NCIS ended last week was a bit weird. It seemed like the episode would end with a raid on the warehouse, allowing the heroes who'd been shot at earlier a chance to shootup the cartel. Instead, we just see Gibbs looking at a news report.

See how pleasant Bones can be when the characters aren't arguing over trivial things? The show will never have a plot as cool as Gormogon, but I hope it keeps up.

Being Human's second season was a big letdown. Maybe it would have been better if any of the three plots were any good but they were all equally bad. None were particularly exciting or interesting or emotional or anything.

Castle staged a Firefly reunion, bringing Adam Baldwin to play a Detective Slaughter. It was cool to see Mal and Jayne reunited, the dinosaur toy, and the brown coat, but the episode stood on its own because Slaughter was such a different character. The episode got bogged down in stupid Beckett drama, but it didn't hinder the episode as as whole.

Smash continues having the problem with too many characters and too many uninteresting storylines. The arrival of Rebecca Duvall was done well, as the first thing she does is sing out of key. From there, we see that she clearly shouldn't be in the role and has an attitude, but also that she could play the part adequately.

House, the show and the character, tried to deceive everyone by bringing in Wilson's son. We're led to believe that this kid is perfect and Wilson will have a son who is everything he wanted. Only, this is House, the show and the character. The show has basically resigned itself to never tackling anything of importance, and the character is a long string of pranks. So in the end it was a big prank and we can all go back to what we were doing before. For a while during the episode, I thought the kid might actually be real, considering this is the last season. Maybe the writers would take a chance towards the end of the series. But no, we should never overestimate these writers, and just assume the lowest denominator to be true.

Interesting, in this week's episode, the writers give a little nod towards House and Donika, with House throwing away her INS letter. Well at least something came about another overwrought discussion of everyone's love life.
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