Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reviews 7/31/12 - 8/8/12

I'm a couple days behind writing this, so I've included a few extra days of shows. It also helps that USA didn't have new shows for 2 days. I'm slowly making my way through the shows I've missed.

I'm going to be watching Dallas next season--not because any aspect of the show is any good, but because the twists are so wacky that you want to stick around to see what wackiness will follow. Dallas is a summer which shouldn't be taken too seriously, even if the writers try to drum up season-long storylines like Ann vs. her ex-husbands and the Venezuelans. The main draw of the show is how the regular characters interact with each other and what ridiculous thing they're hiding.

Alphas is getting quite interesting in its second season. We get to see the larger alpha community in the form of an underground fight club (I really like that there aren't people killing each other like in every other TV fight club), and Bill drawn to these people like him. Then there's Gary moving into the office which was done really well. Alphas has always done an excellent job with the characters and Gary's mother being in all those scenes was more than you'll see in most shows.

In its third to last episode, The Closer landed with a shocker that Brenda's mother had died, after all the cancer stuff with her father. Perhaps that would be the wakeup call for Brenda, after alienating everyone with her behavior. Somehow, Fritz stuck around long enough to see this happen. We can now see how the series will end according to various people on the show, with Brenda not a MC, still with Fritz, but also not in serious trouble. She'll prioritize her life, put family first, and leave crime solving behind. The penultimate episode finally reveals who the mole is, and it's Gabriel's girlfriend, first introduced only a few episodes ago. It's convenient to set it up like this, making her the mole so that there isn't any big fallout between the existing characters, and it is a cop out. But the series is just about finished anyways, so complaining doesn't really matter. The reveal does put into perspective Brenda's unwillingness to listen to others, as Gabriel expressed discontent over what was going on, yet was ignored.

Breaking Bad began with Walt's 50th birthday, While we've been watching Breaking Bad for years, and it feels like lots of time has passed, we're instantly reminded that Walt hasn't been in the drug business for a long time. He's not a grizzled veteran of the drug trade like Gus, and he sure as hell doesn't know much about running the business. But Walt thinks he's more than that. He's the big boss, the cook, the guy who makes the operation what it is; there would be no blue meth without him. Sure, there would be no meth without him, but Walt doesn't understand business and all the complications involved with it. He doesn't understand people, and really doesn't get Skyler. Skyler finally snaps, but Walt misreads the situation from beginning to end. He starts off not understanding why she would be upset, even though she had actually dropped hints prior to that, and when she does tell him, he can only come up with meager excuses about the nature of the business--which he really has no clue about. Finally, he can only be mean and threaten good. Yeah, good idea, Walt.

In an episode where there is no action and lots of talking, Falling Skies did okay for what the episode was. Given the level of acting on the show and the clunkiness of the writing, we could have had a lot worse. Yes, I'm not going to touch the episode again and at times I wanted to bang my head against the wall, but I managed to make it through the episode--progress! Aside from the usual lousy acting, what bothered me most was the fixation on Charleston. In previous episodes, there was so much else that was going on that Charleston became more of an afterthought, a place to go towards as they were dealing with other problems. In this episode, though, the writers turn on the Charleston hose. Every other scene has someone expressing how great Charleston will be and all the great things they have. And then at the end, strawberries!!!

True Blood's kind of off in bizarro land so I'm waiting a bit before making a big deal out of anything. Luckily, nothing is too terrible. At the same time, none of the stories are particularly interesting, especially with how silly all the stories are.

Harvey practicing law is a constant feature of Suits, so of course he would have to be saved at some point. Last week's episode solves the problem with the whole "skeletons in the closet" plot device which manages to save Harvey but leaves plenty of problems behind.

Damages's hacker story moved the plot forward, introducing the idea that there is a third-party out there who may have stolen the information. But the way in which is done reflects how far behind the media is when it comes to technology. The hacking scenes were awkward in the portrayal of the Samurai 7 hacker and the whole hacker magic thing was going on. This week's story spends more time on the character aspect of the season, giving us lots of McClaren to explain some of his behavior and dipping into the Kate-Patty connection. As much as we can now see why McClaren acts the way he does, he's still obviously a pretty scummy guy who seems to do things for no particular reasons and could still be involved in Naomi's death. Ellen is having disturbing dreams now, similar to the first season flashforwards.

Covert Affairs continues on its much improved third season by putting the characters in different positions than we've ever seen them. Auggie is out on his own--no Parker, no Annie, and an alien job. Annie is also out on her own now, and she falls into the arms of another man (you'd think the CIA would be more careful with her an romantic relationships, given her history). Looks like there will be lots of angst in the future.

White Collar: Well, there's Peter going back to his job. If my expectations for the show had been higher, I probably would have been miffed, but everyone saw this coming. The show needs to return to the same format with Peter and Neal having a case every week.
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