Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reviews 6/05/12 - 6/11/12

Longmire's second episode once again brings the characters into another culture, Mennonites this week. It's a bit odd that both episodes would have these cultural backdrops, with several sections of exposition and explanations. Hopefully we don't go visit Montana Chinatown next week. The rest of the episode expands on the various plots for this season, the big mystery over Longmire's back and Cady sleeping with Branch. The latter is mostly fine, but the former is gives me pause with the whole "mystery dialogue" thing going on, where characters speak obliquely about things so viewers don't know exactly what's going on.

Mad Men's very strong fifth season ended with an episode that was just okay for a season finale. Now, okay for Mad Men would be a dream for other shows, but a lot of the episode seemed disconnected. First, Adam and the tooth--way on the nose. Overall, the episode lacked a central plot core outside of the character relationships. It has a little bit of everyone--Roger and Marie, Peter and Beth, Don and Megan--but not any chain of events that would constitute much of a complete plot. There has been relatively little advertising this season, and the season finale reflected this. Even the idea of expanding the office isn't played up to be a big deal. Actually, the episode felt a lot like the theme of the episode, the unobtainable. I'm reaching for the main plot of episode, but instead only find thematic connections. The episode ends with Don walking away from Megan and ending up at a bar. It looks like this seals the fate of their marriage, as Don is willing to let her go, even if he knows this will end their marriage. He tried to keep her close the entire season, but Megan didn't want to, and Don acknowledges that certain things just have to play out. Megan has actually been a pretty decent person through the season, despite concerns that she'd be conniving, given how she married Don. But we finally see that side of her when she screws over her friend and gets the role instead of suggesting her to Don. I don't think she'll be sticking around too much longer.

Veep's first season looks like it's going to end with Selina on top, somehow making the public like her despite all her gaffs. But then it all collapses and she's in worse shape than when the episode began. The thing about Veep is that we never really feel the full implications of the shitstorm of the week. There are never any permanent changes that really affect the makeup of the show. Overall, Veep's first season has been pretty entertaining, to see Selina and her staff scramble each week to fix problems only to create more, but I don't think the show ever reached the level of must-watch television.

The beginning of True Blood's seasons are always good. We have new plots, new characters, and a plate full of new problems. The fifth season premiere is no exception, serving up plenty of funny moments while keeping the plot moving. The most interesting plot, as always, is when vampires and involved. The Authority stuff is pretty interesting, complicated by Russell Edgington's return. On the other end of the spectrum is Sam's ongoing feud with the wolfpack. Sam hasn't been a relevant characters, except in his own little world, for so long that it's hard to care. Even Terry gets a more interesting story, with a military friend telling him how the rest of the squad members had fires burn down their houses. So it wasn't crazy ghost lady? The episode ends with Tara bursting out of the ground and she probably isn't too happy.

Unfortunately, quality of episodes waxes and wanes on the characters they focus on. Sooner or later, there's going to be a Sam episode and everyone will be bored out of their minds. Or maybe the season will devolve like it did last season and everything will be stupid. In any case, the writers have proven, unquestionably, over the past few seasons that their capacity for utter failure rises as the season progresses.

Going into Fairly Legal's season finale, I wonder why the writers decided to add Ben to the show. He's not a bad character, at least not in comparison to the others on the show, but he's not exactly an improvement. And what the writers are doing with him, making him Kate's love interest from afar, is a big stretch. I mean, are they trying to spice up the show? Give Kate something to do? To me, it seems like the writers are grasping at straws trying to make the show work.

Saving Hope: No, Daniel Jackson didn't die and ascend again. Michael Shanks plays a doctor in a coma who  is floating outside his body, watching everyone at the hospital. You can quickly tell why the show was relegated to summer duty. Its filled to the brim with lens flares that would make Michael Bay blush, and the plotting is clunky, awkwardly moving from one patient to the next, with Shanks randomly sounding off about one thing or another.
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