Monday, November 21, 2011

Thoughts on last week's shows

While I'm not doing reviews anymore, I still want to provide some thoughts on the shows of the week, some of which I've already said on Twitter. Basically, I'll write a sentence or two about the show that comes to mind, so I may not cover all shows if I don't have anything good to say. Also, I haven't watched the past three episodes of Boss or Boardwalk Empire. The episodes discussed, unless otherwise specified, will be from last week only. I'll try to keep the order in which they were aired.

Homeland remains the best new show on television and one of the best shows period. Each week the show is flipped on its head, all while the characters are richly developed to the fullest extent. Last week, Carrie hung out with Brody and we got all the explanations for his odd behavior, then learned of Walker still being alive. This week, Walker escapes and we see that Brody knows more than he's telling.

Dexter continues to be very boring. It seems like the only thing the writers have left is the eventual reveal that Gellar isn't actually there, something that's constantly been hinted at.

The Good Wife having less focus on Alicia is good. It allows for interesting plots like Will being the center of a big corruption investigation.

Hell on Wheels is visually gorgeous, but is otherwise lacking. It's never bad, as I would occasionally describe The Walking Dead or Dexter, but it's certainly awkward. The episodes are choppy and don't flow well, both plot-wise and thematically. A couple things I noted on Twitter earlier about last night's episode: Weird music at times, Bohannon randomly stumbling on Lily on his way to find Harper, acting on Johnson's tip a whole episode after getting the information, super explicit dialogue that would make Dexter blush.

The Walking Dead has gotten better since the opening episodes of the season. It's clear the writers are holding back the plot, but the farm setting has improved the viability of character development.

Terra Nova remains the most underwhelming show, using generic plot after generic plot, with the worst sci-fi tropes around. I wish someone would stand up in the writers room, toss all the papers to the ground, and tell everyone the truth: it's not just crap, but boring crap.

NCIS's two-parter ended with a whimper. There was hardly any plot and Gibbs's flashbacks were completely random.

After a great episodes two weeks ago--which was rightly touted, for once--Glee came back with an awful episode, reminding us why we shouldn't trust the show. Half the characters were crazy bitches in the episode and the other half was just crazy.

Sons of Anarchy has been great as it heads towards the end of the season. The lines are being drawn and it looks like a monumental shift will happen some time soon. It's funny that Kenneth Johnson got blown up again by Kurt Sutter.

Covert Affairs tried to do this big emotional episode with Annie and Eyal, but it was more cheesy than anything else. It stems from the fact that Eyal's role in the previous episodes was to be the smooth, foreign spy. Here, the writers try to make him something he isn't, with far too much fake emotion compared to who he is.

The Ava from Up All Night's pilot return and it wasn't pretty. Too screechy, too in your face, too much.

Psych had Shawn in a psych ward, which obviously had funny results.

American Horror Story still makes no sense, but I watch it each week because there are the occasional interesting flashback or something really freaky.

The identity mixing on Revenge is pretty fun.

Sadly, another awesome Community episode was predicated on the fact that it isn't on NBC's midseasons schedule. The episode works so well because we know these character intimately. The documentary format following Dean Pelton's madness is genius.

Parks and Recreation is on the midseason schedule, so that's something. Andy going to college with Ron was funny, and Amy Poehler showed her versatility in the episode.

Bones last week was better than the previous two episodes of the season, with less emphasis on Brennan doing something obviously objectionable and a better investigation. Hopefully the season will pick up from here.

The Office hasn't exactly been appointment TV for a while, but this season is embarrassing. Occasional, over the top silliness is fine, but every plot every week is the characters being buffoons.

The Mentalist had on okay case and some Cho scenes we always like, but I wish there was more follow-up on Red John. Lisbon wants to talk about it, but that's all the discussion there is.

Chuck, in the fourth episode of its final season, finally hit that familiar balance we've come to love.

Grimm is getting more interesting and the tone of the show is good, but Nick could use a big dose of charisma.

Fringe had another solid episode with an interesting, touching plot. Peter is still off on the sidelines--invisible, like the "bad guy" in the episode--which was fitting for the episode, but not necessarily conducive to the overall narrative.

Supernatural had the best plot in a long time, with plenty of icky shots and funny moments. The Leviathan twist was expected, though, and they aren't good enemies.

Blue Bloods is well-acted and well-made, but it's too damn perfect. There's zero flaws with the Reagans. Every problem they have is mostly resolved at the end of the episode, even if the episode begins with something major. With nothing on the line in every episode, it's hard to care what happens to the characters.

Sanctuary is quickly becoming something not worth watching. The Hollow Earth arc in season three--from episode to 7 to 10--was truly great, filled with wonderment, action, and a grittiness we rarely see on the show. After that petered out, the show went back to the lame, cutesy plots. Laughably, last week's episode tried to make us care about some characters we saw about one time total, and was a rehash of the 5th episode of the series. And the week before that featured the two flying abnormals--characters that were either introduced awkwardly or I'd forgotten about them.
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