Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reviews 8/15/12 - 8/21/12

Alphas did it again, this time with a cool haunted hospital episode. And it's not a generic slasher haunted hospital. The characters confront what they manifest themselves, and it's not the same for everyone. Gary sees Anna, Bill fights himself (this was dumb, to be honest), and Rachel sees Nina. The rest of the episode was spent on Rosen getting Nina to start "pulling" people in order to extract a memory from a senator. Part of this is using Kat as a guinea pig, and Kat remembers glimpses from her 16th birthday after being pulled. As promptly as that happens, Rosen and Nina are off, leaving behind poor Kat, highlighting how bad of a therapist Rosen is and how fixated he is on finding Stanton Parish. One thing that bothers me, though, is why Rosen doesn't want Kat to help the team. He might not have time to help her, but she seems like she could be helpful when the team needs a person to do something very specific.

Grimm wraps up the two parter with more of the same stuff as the first episode. There is the fighting, the meaningless, mysterious dialogue, and once again lingering questions. We learn this week that Renard is a bastard, literally. So does this new fact go with anything we've seen in the past and can it help us answer anything? Not really. We now know that he's not in the inside circle of royalty, but that still doesn't mean much without more details. The plot moved forward, as Juliette is woken by a kiss from a purified Renard. But, surprise, she doesn't remember anything. *Collective groan* On the plus side, there was plenty of Monroe and Rosalee, an awesome duo and the best part of the show.

I don't think I'll be watching any more of Major Crimes. Between always complaining Rusty and always sucking up Sykes, the new parts of the show are too much to take. Provenza and Raydor fighting is fine, but the rest is too much. I'll wait until Provenza and Flynn get their own spin-off.

This week's episode of Breaking Bad was the best episode of the season, brilliantly following up on the train heist from the week before and the deadly shooting by Todd. It's about as complete of an episode you'll get, with lots of plot but also some really solid character work. First, Walt, Mike, and Jesse have to deal with the body and it's somewhat sickening, the crew slowly tearing down the bike then dissolving it (and they used plastic!) before moving on to the kid--thankfully that part wasn't shown. They decide to let Todd stay after Walt lays out the options. They, like Skyler, don't have much going for them, as paying him off or killing him would make their situation even worse. So they get back to business, and Jesse sees that side of Walt, the one which whistles gleefully in the aftermath of child's murder, further burdening his mind. Then there's Mike, constantly being pursued by the DEA. He's freaking Mike, but there's a limit to abilities, and there is no way he'll stay perfect. This all comes together when Mike and Jesse confront Walt; they're out, ready to sell they're share of the methylamine. Walt is pissed but he's Walt and, in his mind, he can do everything. However, Mike tries to sell the methylamine and hits a brick wall--they want Walt's share as well to take the blue meth off the street. Now logically Mike should be able to find another buyer, but ultimatums are good for storytelling. Mike and Jesse are forced into a corner. They want to cash out, but Walt is standing in their way. Jesse tries to convince Walt at his home, and Walt has to bust out the Gray Matter history. It's not about money or drugs for him--it's about empire building. Jesse always thought Walt wanted money for cancer and he's seen a different side of Walt over time, but this is the first time Walt has explicitly laid out what he wants. The hilariously awkward dinner with Jesse, Walt, and Skyler follows, before heading towards the end of the episode, which is action-y like the previous episode. Mike ties Walt down and goes to talk to the DEA before selling all the methylamine, but Walt manages to escape. He supposedly has a plan that allows Mike and Jesse to get all the money they want but also lets Walt keep his share of the methylamine. Great episode from beginning to end. So many problems and potential solutions, and all roads all leading to what all viewers can see as an unhappy ending.

I like this season of True Blood, much more than the previous two seasons. In the latest episodes, there have been surprising clarity to the show that hasn't been seen since the second season. There haven't been the stupid side-stories or quivering fools we've grown accustomed to. Mainly, every character with a significant part is a badass and the other characters don't have their own storyline. A great example of this is Sam and Luna. They have, personally, a huge task at hand, to save Emma, but no one wants to see them for half an episode. So instead of having them chase random creatures as they may have in previous seasons, they have Steve Newlin having Emma, which brings Sam and Luna to the Authority HQ where they get caught at about the same as Pam. Now Sam gets to ask Pam to help Luna, and Pam gets to say a funny line about not knowing who Luna is. We don't spend much time on Sam and yet he's getting stuff done. Meanwhile, the Lilith blood has driven Bill and the others crazy while Eric and Nora, both off Lilith, run off, but not before Eric kills the general which supposedly will draw the wrath of the military, which has yet unseen anti-vampire weapons. Then there's Russell who has a whole bunch of faeries ready to be eaten after he defeats the head faerie who actually sucks at fighting.

After two seasons of Falling Skies, I'm ready to say that Falling Skies will never be a good show. It'll have its moments, maybe twice a season, but it's not cut out of be a good show, not in the way Alphas is or even The Walking Dead to an extent. The writers are so interested in moving the plot in whatever direction they want that the characters and dialogue become afterthoughts. But it's those elements which separate the average shows from the rest, and it's clear we won't be getting anything worthwhile. The season finale is what you'd expect from Falling Skies--lots of plot development. General lets 2nd Mass go fight, Tom declines, gets tossed in jail, rebel Skitters come with mission, Tom and others go on mission, they get caught, rebels save them, Red Eye is killed, Tom kills overlord, they go back to Charleston, get ready to go back to fight, and finally another alien shows up. It's basically an hour of info-dump and cliches. Woman throwing up = pregnant; non-white soldier = dead; big twist = generic third-party alien; overlord alien = supersuperduperduperduperidest genius with massive, glaring  flaws; 2nd Mass = fighters4lyfe; Hal waking from coma = a couple episodes with him plotting before the inevitable reset. You get the picture...

I haven't said much about Weeds this season, because, well, nothing noteworthy has happened. In its last season, Weeds is staggering to the finish line more than ever before, with some of the most pointless episodes of television I've ever seen. Stuff is happening--sex, a pregnancy which turns out to be fake, more sex, pot growing, pharmaceutical sales, more sex--but none of it means anything. You keep expecting a "so what?" to pop up, but it never comes. I get that these characters are terrible messed up, resulting in them doing messed up things, but there is nothing new, not even an attempt to return to the earlier seasons in some form.

Strike Back is the Cinemax equivalent of Starz's Spartacus. There is over the top violence and sex, and yet there is something oddly compelling about it. Call it trash if you want--you're still watching. Strike Back is a step towards serious programming for Cinemax, known mainly for softcore porn. There is an actual plot and the sex is not the main point of the show. In fact, the season premiere was shockingly restrained with only two sex scenes. The show's core retains most from the first season, a wholly British production. Toss in an American, a bit of 24, and you get the new Strike Back which aired last year. The third season is again a Sky1/Cinemax production and all the gungho kickassery one could want. The season premiere introduces the lovely Rhona Mitra as the new head of Section 20 after much deception, and she's already fighting with Scott. The writers got Stonebridge back into action rather quickly and, it seems, disposed of his wife so he'll be with Section 20 permanently. The plot in the first two episode has Section 20 in Somalia ttracking stolen nuclear triggers which go missing at the end of the episode, and there's this shadowy charity at the end of the episode to signal conspiracy.

Boss is a serious show. Most people figure this out pretty quickly. Tom Kane, played by Kelsey Grammer, grits his teeth and growls out his lines, as the camera lingers on his eyes, burning full with intensity. The ambient music grows, and the viewers is told, "We're not playing games." We're supposed to be impressed, thinking to ourselves, "Wow, this is SERIOUS!!" but it's mostly funny the way the producers try to hammer in the seriousness of certain situations. Okay, so Boss takes itself far too seriously and becomes comedic once or twice an episode when it's really trying to make a point, but it's the summer and there isn't much serialized television. I can see that the people on the show are trying hard, and the story isn't half bad, so I suppose there's nothing wrong with watching it each week. Watching Kane trying to create a legacy for himself is pretty interesting once you throw in the rest of the political and personal intrigue.
Related Posts with Thumbnails