Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reviews 5/8/12 - 5/14/12

Smash's season finale wraps up an absurd season with more absurdity. The height of this comes when Ellis announces to Eileen that he was the one who put the peanut in Rebecca's drink. He gets fired, smiles, strolls off, and we don't see him for the rest of the episode. ???????? Do the writers even know what they want Ellis to be? Normally, bad television characters get disappeared. Smash writers, oblivious to everything, continued to write Ellis until there was nothing left to write. He was evil and was scheming, but he didn't accomplish anything and Eileen should be calling the cops on him. The rest of the episode was the same 'ol silliness like Derek hallucinating Karen was Marilyn. The next twist after Julia's pregnancy should be Derek's brain tumor, to explain why he sees thing no one, including the TV audience, sees.

House's series finale will undoubtedly be an unhappy affair, with House going back to prison and Wilson dying. The way House violated his parole was contrived, but it's pointless to complain when the show is over. At this point, I think everyone would agree that the writers missed out on almost every opportunity to do something with the characters beyond the mundane. Now with one final episode, we'll see the writers throw in the towel and make the characters unhappy.

How I Met Your Mother: Robin describes how Ted chooses to get involved with women he knows aren't suitable, and Ted realizes what she says is true. The same can be said about the way the writers dole out the plot. They simply refuse to commit to anything that the viewers would find truly engaging. Robin and Barney? I guess that could be okay, but the wedding twists was completely expected. And Victoria? The clues old Ted already stated seem to rule her out.

Well, that's the seventh season of Bones. The big problem with the season finale is that Palent isn't a good villain. Although he is a bland guy personally, he can literally do magic. Anything he wants to happen happens, and this leaves zero choices for the characters, which leads to Bones running off. The Palent characters feels more like a tool for Bones to run off and get that emotional impact at the end than a serious villain.

Even though soldiers are marching and ships are massing, Game of Thrones steps away from the war and really looks inward towards the characters with several personal conversations. We get Cersei lamenting what Joffrey has become, Tywin discussing legacies and his own, Jon explaining the Night's Watch to Ygritte, Robb and the nurse, and Jaime and his cousin Alton talking about their squiring experiences. It shows us that these characters are not just pawns on a battlefield, even if that's who they will become. They are living people with lifetimes of experiences and desires, and with war bearing down on them, there's nothing to do but think about what could have been. As far as major plot developments, there wasn't too much except for more trouble in Qarth and the Karstarks wanting to kill Jaime for trying to escape.

Book spoilers: Game of Thrones deviates more heavily from the book every week. This week jumbled everything around, tilting things towards the end of the season. In the book, Jaime doesn't proactively try to escape; rather, Tyrion hatches a scheme which almost succeeds. The changes in the show do two things: 1) It makes Tyrion seem less competent, which seems to be the general pattern this season. 2) It makes Jaime seem more bloodthirsty than he should be. Dany's story in the book is pretty boring, as nothing really comes of it in the end, but the show tries to spice things up with some internal politics. Jon gets captured before rejoining Qhorin and the others, which is a big change. In the book, it's Jon and Qhorin alone, fighting off wildings, until they are captured. Prior, Qhorin tells Jon to anything in order to spy on the wildings, leading to Jon killing Qhorin. I believe this will happen more or less once Qhorin is captured alongside Jon, but there won't be the big fight which I was looking forward to.

Betty has been the most problematic character of Mad Men, and is even more problematic in the fifth season when she's not in every episode, not married to Don, and January Jones is pregnant. Betty comes into the episode like a gust of wind, stirring everything up and causing trouble. After everything settles down, you can't help but think, "Well, that's Betty." She's an empty character, lacking the magnetic charms of the other women on the show, or even the patheticness Peter currently embodies. She's just Betty. The rest of the episode was a bit weird because it Ginsberg is set up to be Don's adversary this season. When did Ginsberg get so prissy about his work that he'd directly confront Don?

Fringe's fourth season finale is a test of how much "making up bullshit" you can stand. Objectively speaking, a vast majority of the episode comes from nowhere, with explanations and motivations flying from nowhere. William Bell, following his magical reappearance last week, turns out to be insane, but already not a very good criminal, so his plans go to waste. Walter, Peter, and Olivia save the day and everything turns out great--except for August's warning, referring to the coming invasion, again something not backed up by prior evidence.

Supernatural: I'm willing to buy the reappearance of the Alpha, I'm willing to buy the eventually Leviathan vs. Winchesters vs. Angels vs. Crowley battle, even if nothing has been developed particularly well. What I'm not willing to accept is how poorly the ghost Bobby story has been written. I just don't get it. It's been going on, and I can't grasp what the writers are doing. Okay, he's dead, he's a ghost, he sometimes helps the Winchesters, and now he's becoming a vengeful spirit. What's the point? I guess this question could be applied to the rest of the show. The writers have done a horrible job with the overall plot of the season, meandering from one idea to the next. While the first five seasons focused on demons and Hell, eventually leading to Lucifer and the Apocalypse, this season has gone nowhere. Yeah, Dick Roman is a Leviathan and taking everything over, and there are other factions who oppose him, but there doesn't seem to be a greater point to all this other than God being a bigger dick than Dick.

Common Law gives off this vibe that it's trying a little too hard to make Travis and Wes dislike each other. I mean, the underlying theme behind their partnership is that they are meant for each other. Besides that, the pilot has the spunk you'd except from a USA pilot. It's fast moving, presents the characters decently, and a crime gets solved. But there's nothing about the show that really makes it necessary.

In the penultimate episode of the season, Grimm sets up a situation where Hank and Juliette are poised to learn Nick's secrets. Hank sees the Wildermann change forms in front of him and Juliette discovers that the DNA of Wildermann isn't human or animal. Will the show actually pull the trigger, though?

Awake was canceled as expected, but as the show moves towards the season finale, it's clear the show is leaving before its time. Lots of twisty things in last week's episode, showcasing the potential of the dual reality format and the psychological effects.

Well, there's the last of The Finder, canceled as expected on Thursday. I, for one, am sad to see it go. The acting was solid and the writing was quirky enough to differentiate it from the multitude of generic police procedurals out there. If there had to be one thing that sunk the show, I would point to the Gypsy story. I think Willa as a personality is fine, but the random Gypsy stuff never really came together. It was always hanging on the sides of episodes and never made an impact on the show, other than when it explicitly affected Willa.  FOX's failures to spin-off Bones follows CBS failure to spin-off Criminal Minds.

The Secret Circle was canceled on Friday, and I don't particularly mind. I probably would have watched the second season, but the writing never improved through the season and the finale contained many of the serious flaws seen throughout the season. The plotting is lax with characters running around the place to follow magical leads, which became the ultimate plot device, and the enemies were never that scary. On the character side, I'd say the biggest failure was in Dawn and Charles. The writers clearly had no idea how to use them, making them absent from most episodes and present only when they're needed, despite the glaring fact that the series began with Charles killing Cassie's mother.

The Vampire Diaries season finale, on the other hand, was all sorts of awesome. Twists came rapidly--Klaus dying, Klaus taking over Tyler's body, Damon meeting Elena before the beginning of the series, and finally Elena dying and becoming a vampire--mixed in with character moments--all the vampires preparing to die, Elena making a choice between the brothers, Caroline and Tyler.

The Mentalist: Red John poked a prodded Jane, showing him how little control he has, and Jane finally snapped. He's out of the CBI and it looks like he'll go even further in the season finale.

There was no chance in my mind that Parks and Recreation would not end the season with Leslie not winning the city council seat. She does win in the end, despite the writers trying to string us along for most of the episode. The decision to make her win was sitting on the table, an opportunity to advanced the show in new direction that simply could not be passed. With the very skilled way the writers have and continue to handle the show, I'm not worried at all where everything will go.

At the end of The Office's season finale, I wondered if that really was the season finale and checked Wikipedia to confirm. That's the kind of season it was. You can't really believe how ineffectual the show is at everything--the humor, drama, even basic plot structure. The season ends with Andy back as manager, Nellie possibly staying, and Robert California thankfully gone, and the show is where it was a season ago. The Robert California experience turned out to be a continuation of the DeAngelo Vickers story, a big name star playing an unscrupulous weirdo while the rest of the characters remained stagnant, save a few random twists along the way, which didn't amount to much.

Community again did the cool twist on the clip show idea, showing clips of things we've never seen before. It also did something that wasn't in the clip show last year, with clips of things we have seen, only reflected in the psych ward style. The characters being in Greendale Asylum actually makes plenty of sense, as the trampoline and paintball fight are too good to be true if this was real life. In the end, it was part of Chang's larger scheme, and the group, fine with what neuroses they have, is prepared to fight him.

I don't remember saying anything about The Big Bang Theory for a very long time, so I thought I'd say something about the season finale. We can expect by now that the show is static; nothing major will change, even if Howard and Bernadette are married. The show works as long as the plots aren't too ludicrous and the characters don't become too unlikable. In this sense, the fifth season was pretty good, with plenty of amusing moments and little cringeworthy moments.

Revenge: An episode consistently entirely of flashbacks needs to show something the viewers would not be able to construct on their own. There has to be something that is actually shocking, changing something viewers know in the present. Otherwise, there's no point and it's a waste of time. Revenge, unfortunately, spent an entire hour in the past telling us essentially nothing. We see the origins of Emily's quest, but there is nothing that's particularly unexpected. When we go back to the present, we see the symmetry that lies in New Year's Eve, but the flashbacks still weren't necessary.

New Girl turned out to be a good show that grew beyond the initial draw of the adorkable. The other characters became better known and by the end of the season, I looked forward to seeing what every character would do each week. The season finale sets it up so that Nick is going to leave their apartment, but it's a light-hearted comedy in its first season so of course he says in the end.

Remember when Glee made domestic violence a big issue in the previous week? I do, but not Glee writers. Once again, they show the world how dumb they are, diminishing an important issue by completely ignoring it. (Remember Karofsky?) The plot machinations to the prom plot were as bad as it gets, with the ridiculous lead-up to the anti-prom, Quinn needlessly becoming a psycho again, and then Quinn and Santana making Rachel prom queen.
Related Posts with Thumbnails