Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reviews 9/25/12 - 9/29/12

My new plan is to writer reviews on Tuesday and Sunday to lighten my load and so I remember more things. It's the beginning of the season, so I'm covering every premiere I watch, but after the premieres, they will definitely be less shows and words.

Starting from the pilot, Fringe's mythology makes zero sense. From the Pattern to the Bible stuff to alternate universes to Peter and Olivia in the fourth season to the Observer invasion from the future, nothing really fits together. In fact, Lost probably fits together better. The only constant between all the rambling storylines is the characters, and that's really all the show needs. The characters are so good that the show works regardless of how convoluted the plot is. So here we are in the fifth and final season, with the Observers taking over the world and our old buddies ambered for 20+ years. Does it correspond with any part of the show other than the single episode last season? No. Does it matter? Not really. The season premiere reassembles the crew and then looks towards a future which may be fixed. Fringe has always manages to pull the right kind of pathos out of thin air when it needs to and the premiere has plenty of it, with reunions abound. Fringe has also done amazing things with Walter Bishop through the years, and the premiere gives us plenty of good Walter content. Basically, the season premiere hits all the right marks, while ending with glimmer of hope as Walter sits in the car listening to music.

I have no clue why someone at CBS thought Made in Jersey would make it onto TV, but it somehow found its way onto Friday nights with a fair amount of promotion. But as the ratings for the first episode show, people aren't interested in watching Jersey Show meets The Good Wife.

For a CBS show, Elementary's main characters have surprising amounts of vulnerabilities, and the pilot doesn't shy away from them. Both Holmes and Watson have dark pasts and while they can solve crimes easily, they also have to contend with their own inner demons.

While I trust Eric Kripke to make Revolution work eventually, I have even more trust that Shawn Ryan will make Last Resort work, especially after an undoubtedly good series premiere. Okay, it's not the pilot of The Shield (seriously go watch it if you haven't), but it's pretty impressive stuff. The episode moves very quickly, skimming over certain parts like the SEALs and islanders, pounding the message home with scary ferocity. Broadly, the show deals with this issue of information and channels of communication. The USS Colorado has specific orders how to deal with from a certain channel, which blows up in their face and we can see the pitfalls in authority given limited communication. Then, the world is misled to believe Pakistan attacked the Colorado, and we can see how easily everyone can be manipulated to believe certain things. It's another manipulation of information when Chaplin shoots a nuclear missile at DC, making the bombers turn away. All the mysteries and plot entanglements, not to mention the tropical island, give whiffs of Lost, but Last Resort is far more grounded in the world and reality. The bad news, unfortunately, is that the ratings, like ABC's recent offerings in the Thursday 8PM slot, were weak for a premiere. Maybe the ratings will stay the same over time, but it's looking bleak for now.

In its sixth season, it's clear The Big Bang Theory is not about geeks making fun of themselves in a friendly way. It's more normal people making fun of geeks in a mean-spirited way. This is no different than CBS's other comedies in which various stereotypes get made fun of--different races on 2BG, fat people on Mike & Molly, gays on Partners, etc. We shouldn't be surprised when Howard is put on full display in the season premiere, shown to be as pathetic as ever.

The Office's second episode of the season expanded on the good parts from the season premiere, giving Pam a reason to want change as well, but the rest of the episode reminded us why The Office was so unwatchable last season. There's this other story with Clark, Erin, and Andy which is maddening. Clark turns out to be a creep, Erin remains a slimmer, perkier Kevin, and Andy becomes Michael, a buffoon, following his stint as Robert California in the season premiere. I don't even want to get into the hand-chopping business.

Up All Night spent another episode figuring out what the show is supposed to be in the second season with Chris working at home. Reagan has parenting trouble, Ava is being her usual self-centered self, and Chris isn't really doing anything. There's not much to say about the episode.

If Parks and Recreation were a more serious show, say, The Newsroom, then I would have a huge problem with Leslie and her soda tax which was aimless and stupid. (Pawneeans seem to be addicted to sugar, so taxing soda would have little effect on their consumption, which was Leslie wanted, and she doesn't mention anything about revenue.) What's more important is how she goes about doing her job and sticking to her beliefs. Even if she's being dumb, her can-do attitude is all that's needed.

I find it interesting how Criminal Minds manages to lock down big name actors and actresses so often. Now they have Jeanne Tripplehorn to replace Paget Brewster, which is a pretty even trade, even if Brewster probably belongs in comedies more than dramas. The problem, however, is that Criminal Minds has some of the most stilted, awkward writing out there, wasting the abilities of the people on the show who we've seen can shine if given the chance. The season premiere starts off with one of these moments when Garcia falls into the overdone talking about someone when they're behind you trap. The rest of the episode sets up Tripplehorn's character, Alex Blake, having her butt heads with Morgan as well as teasing the past between her and Strauss. Like the rest of the characters, she's not particularly interesting--standard Criminal Minds in order words.

The Neighbors is a really weird show about regular people living in a neighborhood of aliens. Its humor comes from how different the aliens are from humans with their customs and behavior, but there's nothing too funny. Then there is an attempt to humanize the aliens by showing how they have some of the same problems humans do. The show isn't bad, but I'm not watching another episode.

Modern Family picked up a slew of Emmy wins last Sunday once again signaling its hold over the awards shows. And its season premiere ratings were once again very high so we can expect plenty of years ahead. As for me, I haven't thought much of the show since the first season. It's a pleasant show, but it's also a static show, with minor changes once in a while which don't matter much on a greater level. I'll continue watching the show, but don't expect me to say anything about it each week.

Sons of Anarchy: After the CIA magic last season, I couldn't understand why the CIA couldn't step in this time and save Jax and the others. If Galindo is going to commit foot soldiers in prison to protect them, why not the big boys in the CIA? The problem with this line of thinking is that Kurt Sutter already decided Opie would die in that particularly manner, regardless of the situation. He has Opie ask Lila to take care of his kids, put himself in prison, and that's that. There is no particular logic behind any of this other than that it results in Jax's best friend killed, and Tig once again getting other people killed. This fully positions Jax to take the reins of the club and go wild.

Vegas, from the previews, appeared to be pretty exciting with Michael Chiklis as a bad guy and Dennis Quaid opposing him. I imagined the pilot would set up this conflict between them, propelling the show forward. Instead, the majority of the pilot is spent setting up a procedural. Perhaps CBS, after the failures of The Playboy Club and Pan Am, wanted more of a weekly backbone to the show. Even then, why have a pointless murder which is wrapped up in a tidy fashion? Why not start with the murder that the episode ended with?

NCIS's current arc never impressed me, and the season premiere was no different. The episode starts with all the main characters being safe from the explosion, as all the contract problems were worked out during the summer. The season premiere is as standard as it gets. The hunt for Dearing goes wrong when he escapes out of a window (which was stupidly obvious) and blows up FBI agents. Then he fakes his death in a car explosion before the team catches on and Gibbs kills him for good. Every was way too obvious for there to be any suspense. I can't remember the last time there was any episode with so many obvious "twists."

The Mindy Project's pilot isn't quite clear with the franticness from the start of the episode to the end, but there is nothing objectionable in the pilot and Mindy Kaling gets a lot more to do than she did on The Office. I'll wait a bit before making much judgment about the show.

New Girl is a fun show that doesn't really need a review each week. The characters are great together and episodes don't need complex plots to be good. Have them interact together in some way, and it's usually fine. New Girl changes things up by having Jess laid off and the first two episodes seem to imply that the rest of the season will be different for Jess.

Ben and Kate: With NBC churning out stuff like Guys with Kids and Animal Practice, FOX has turned into the new comedy leader. Ben and Kate starts with the annoying brother one might find in a CBS sitcom, but by the end of the episode, the sense of family comes through and annoying becomes heart-warming.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reviews 9/18/12 - 9/24/12

Looks like Blogger finally switched everyone to the new layout and it's quite a bit different (the old one worked fine) so if there are any differences in formatting that's Google's problem. Also, I'm thinking about writing 2 review posts a week, on Saturday and Tuesday to lighten my load on Tuesday and so I don't forget too much.

Oh hey, Alphas had another awesome episode. That's like 20 in a row now. The episode starts off weird with these flashbacks and time skips, then jumping straight into the action, and I was actually uncomfortable for a few minutes. But the writers, as they always do, manage to put all the pieces together, and the episode comes together brilliantly. Dani is locked up, Hick pretends to be with Parish's plan, and Parish has these super DARPA grenades which can kill millions if used in a certain way. We get to see some other alphas and their powers, deepening our view of the alpha community. The episode ends with Dani killed and a lot of sad people, although it was a bit silly that Dani, without much combative powers, would put herself in situations like that. One complaint: Parish does comes off as a legitimately scary guy willing to kill millions which ups the stakes; however, he has this stupid Malthusian logic which makes him seem more insane than brilliantly villainous. No Kat this week, but with Dani's arc over, we should be seeing more of her soon, hopefully with FBI training.

When Hawaii Five-0 really wants to, it can be a live-action cartoon, which was pretty much what the season premiere was, starting with Wo Fat's escape which was silly and ridiculous but also very slick. The rest of the episode makes little sense with McGarrett's undead (not the zombie kind) mother in a safe house along with Catherine, a Navy lieutenant, who will somehow be on the show much more, now that Michelle Borth is a regular. Then after McGarrett's mother leaves, they find out that she shot the ground instead of at Wo Fat. The parts with Chin were solid, though, and almost balanced how silly the rest of the episode was.

Serious Castle, amping up with the Big Mystery, is a pretty bad show, without the acting needed to push things enough and without the humor that made the show likable in the first place. Luckily for us, this only happens a few times a season when Andrew Marlowe puts his serious boots on. The season premiere has a few cute moments between Castle and Beckett, but it soon turns towards the overly dramatic, plot-heavy stuff that never resonates and isn't particularly interesting with the usual big-time politician behind it. I'm guessing next week's episode will be better.

Revolution is okay. It's not terrible like Terra Nova, but I also don't think it's as exciting as certain episodes of The Event. The main theme of the show, from the second episode, is the United States, or at least its flag used a symbol by the rebels. Included is the Monroe Republic confiscating all guns. The characters remain iffy. Charlie is a pretty bad character with her do-goodery and impulsiveness, but at least she can think on her feet. Then there's the mystery of electricity and Elizabeth Mitchell alive. Well, I hope everyone's in for the long haul.

CBS comedies are filled with caricatures of all sorts of people, but no gays until Partners. As it turns out, the gay caricature is the most annoying one yet, making even The New Normal look good.

If not for Max and Caroline (and Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs), 2 Broke Girls would be a pretty terrible show. The racial stereotypes are stupid and the jokes aren't smart. Still, those two girls make the show very watchable. The show won't get better, as long as the diner remains, but it's probably not going to get worse.

How I Met Your Mother has been dragging out the Mother reveal for so long that those still watching probably don't care too much. There is still plenty to like beyond Ted and his problems. The season premiere sets up the end point, with Robin and Barney getting married and Ted finally meeting the Mother. In the present time, though, there's Quinn and Victoria, so we know exactly where the season is going.

Treme is actually more direction-less than Boardwalk Empire. A lot of the characters don't even interact with each other on a regular basis, and the show has never had a real direction, even by seasons's end. Still, the common thread holding characters together is far more vibrant and alive than anything on Boardwalk Empire. The way New Orleans is portrayed and viewed by characters gives it an essential texture that emerges into this world. Contrast that to Boardwalk Empire, where the sets are detailed and pretty but ultimately hollow.

I've rarely commented on Haven, but I've kept watching. It's been a long time since the show's aired, so I'll add a few comments, which are actually a restatement of my usual complaints about the show. The Troubles. What are they, exactly? No one knows, and yet that's how every single episode is resolved. Something funky happens, Audrey and Nathan investigate, then a bullshit explanation of the Troubles combined with a personal problem and it's fixed. Rinse and repeat. The season premiere actually has something cool going on--aliens. But alas, it's the Troubles again. Then there's the mystery man and life goes on.

Wilfred's season finale made fun of Battlestar Galactica and it made fun of Lost in the previous season, making explicit references to the two shows which led viewers down an unending rabbit hole. Along with the random Amanda being crazy twist, the show seemed to resemble Children's Hospital, a parody with no sense or reason to the plot or continuity. I still have no clue what the show is supposed to be, whether it's supposed to be a legitimate exploration into Ryan's disturbed mind or just a funny show about a guy in a dog costume. Regardless, I like watching the show for all the amusing moments.

Parks and Recreation's season premiere had funny moments, but it couldn't have this joyously funny tone throughout, because the underlying problems with Leslie in Washington were laid bare as the episode continued. She came to get things done, instead realizing the impossibility of everything, the largeness of DC and how puny she is compared to everything else. She goes back to Pawnee and promises to get things done herself. The Ron story was a bit odd, as he was in charge of an event and failed to deliver, but we saw a smidgen of caring somewhere in his meat-loving heart.

For the first time in a very long time, it felt like The Office was going to have a good season. This is likely only because this will definitely be the final season, but it's never too late to change things and give something good for those fans sticking around (however little may be left, looking at the pathetic ratings). For starters, there are no new people other than the two inconsequential newbies, meaning we won't have another Robert California disaster this season. And after some thinking, Jim gets on board with his friend's business. Change is on the way for everyone.

Up All Night went through a major retooling, putting Chris back to work and canceling the Ava show which put Reagan back at work. I'll have to watch more episodes to decide whether this was a good move or not, but the initial concept of Chris staying at home while Reagan runs the Ava Show had to go dry eventually. Maybe such a dramatic overhaul wasn't needed, but there's certainly a limited amount of things that can happen in the original conception.

Glee: Britney 2.0 wasn't good, as one might expect. I don't think I'll say something about Glee every week, because thinking about the show just makes my blood pressure high.

I watch Royal Pains every week, but I never really have much to say. The Boris episodes are dumb in their attempts to be serious and drum up some drama. The characters developments are usually superficial, as guests sometimes stick around for a while then move on. Royal Pains still has that summer vibe that

White Collar hasn't been particularly interesting this season. While the show went into Neal's past this season, we haven't really learned anything too relevant about him that changes, or even enhances, what we know about him. Sam is Neal's father... so what?

The first season of Covert Affairs is one of the best first seasons of a television show in recent memory. The show felt fresh and Piper Perabo did a great job portraying Annie as a new agent still figuring out how to do the job. Then the second season came around and it was flat out boring. The third season captured the glory of the first season, putting Annie in a interesting situation with Simon. Annie proved herself multiple times and has confidence she didn't have earlier, and this can-do attitude pushed her forward. At the same time, though, she'd never do anything like this before and took a big risk like this. In the end, it all blew up with Lena being the mole and Annie gets her revenge. With all that happened to her this season, Annie should take stock and learn some lessons.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Reviews 9/11-12 - 9/17/12

Revolution: Eric Kripke is one of the best showrunners out there. He made Supernatural into a top-tier show (at least before the last two seasons), allowing it to go far beyond its horror roots. Despite this, the pilot of Revolution is pretty bad. It's all mystery and little else. In fact, I would have guessed JJ Abrams wrote the pilot if I didn't actually know Kripke was the writer. Revolution is supposed to be about science. All electricity stops working one day, but everything else continues to work. To continue watching, the audience has to accept this despite what real science says. So okay, years after this happens, humans are miraculously still alive, able to form peaceful communities and militias. Again, we have to accept that this happens even if it doesn't make sense and none of this is explained. Beyond the electricity part of the show are the characters--teenage characters. Teenage characters, by and large, suck. The writing is usually shoddy and the acting isn't much better. Not all of the characters are teens, but there are enough to be off-putting.The pilot gets off to a bad start with Generic Stupid Teen getting his father killed, and the main objective of characters is to rescue this idiot. Well, it's up to Kripke to make this work and the ratings started off very high (4.1), so he should have enough time.

I watched the last half of Boardwalk Empire's second season in succession after a long break from the show and I got more into the show than I had watching it week by week. The dialogue becomes more familiar, and the little things the show does become more recognizable. Months after catching up, the third season premiere came around, which I watched and I was struck by how little I cared about the characters. Stuff is certainly happening--characters being despicable, violent, wistful, people getting killed, deals being made--and yet I'm not eagerly awaiting next week's episode. I don't have any problems with the show, and I'm a lot more positive about Van Alden now that he's crossed paths with Capone, but the show leaves me cold. Maybe I'll do the same thing I did with the previous season.

Alphas was awesome once again. I don't think there have been any duds this season which makes the low ratings ever more disappointing. There was tons of Kat this week and lots of her spunky cuteness (and more squabbling with Gary!), but there was also introduction to her past, which was sad and scary. The other part of the episode is Rosen confirming that Dani is involved with Parish which ends with a gut-wrenching scene with Dani in interrogation, asking for a chip in her head. I don't know how Alphas continues to do it every week, but everything the writers wanted landed squarely in the right place.

There are times in The Mob Doctor's pilot when it seems like it won't just be another medical procedural, when the main character, Grace, might actually do something unforgivable and get caught in a deeper mess. But by the end of the episode, everything is fine, the mob boss is dead, and Grace is indebted to a seemingly nicer mobster who knows her well. All signs point to normal procedural stuff in the next episode.

The Gormogon arc is by far the coolest arc of Bones, with an interesting mystery to go along with the crime solving. That was seasons ago, and Hart Hanson is still trying to recapture that, introducing the sniper Broadsky and now Pelant. The problem is, the Gormogon arc was about history with a certain tradition through the ages, bringing a National Treasure vibe to the show along with the murders. The Pelant arc is about computer magic. He uses computer magic and Angela fights back with her own computer magic. And of course the only way to communicate computer magic is through dialogue, which is more or less rubbish. Worst, the fun of Bones is sucked out because Pelant is so dangerous, and an unfun Bones is not something I want to watch.

When Weeds returned to Agrestic, now called Regrestic, in the penultimate episode, I believed the show had turned a corner and would deliver a good series finale. For a show that went cuckoo years and years ago, this was a hopeful, but not entirely unrealistic, idea. As it turns out, the series finale wasn't great but it also wasn't awful. It's way too long, an absurd amount of time spent on Doug's pointless cult while taking far too long to reach the critical points. Finally, we get to the main point: Nancy is alone by her own doing. Silas has a kid with Megan, who won't let Nancy hold the baby. Shane is an alcoholic. Andy has finally moved on and has his own life now. And really, Nancy deserved it all, maybe more. This time, Nancy can't bat her eyes and take a sip from her drink. This is her life now and she has to live with it.

Three-fourths of the way through Damages's series finale, I really wasn't feeling it, as the case never interested me. The last part of the finale, with the rush of the reveals, is nothing short of brilliant. The ominous shot of a bloody Ellen on the ground is actually her miscarrying and Patty looking worried at the police station is because of Scully killing Michael. Ellen also manages to beat Patty at the custody trial, giving her two big wins over Patty, which would seem to be good news. There is this lingering tension, however, about who Ellen has become, how she betrayed Chris and got Rutger Simon killed. It seemed as though she would become Patty in the end. Then the coda, a lovely 5 minutes of television--some of the best I've seen--that manages to exactly define what Damages is about. Ellen has a daughter, is with Chris (the VA comment being the hint), and is no longer a lawyer. Patty has a job, possibly the Supreme Court one (as implausible as it is), and is sitting in her car. Ellen comes up to talk, even thanking her, and introduces Patty to her daughter, with smiles all around. But it's one of Patty's visions. Ellen is still in the store and Patty has no one to talk to. The show ends with the camera lingering on Patty's face and we all understand: Patty is alone. How the writers handled Ellen's conclusion was great. There were immediate parallels between Ellen and Patty regarding their fathers and childhood and their approach cases. In the end, however, Ellen turned out different, because, as Patty's vision suggests, Patty taught Ellen important lessons. Ellen was able to see who Patty really was and the path she was on. Patty never had that and she never learned. Sometimes all it takes is a lesson to get on the right path before it is too late.

Sons of Anarchy certainly grabs me more than Boardwalk Empire, with its visceral nature and more explosive storytelling. It's also a more flawed show, while it's hard to nitpick at Boardwalk. The greatest problem is that the show still feels the same as it has in previous seasons even though lots of bad shit has gone down inside the club. The club members are more or less the same after all this time and Clay is still around. Meanwhile, there's this new big bad this season, Pope, who's as vicious as they get. We can already see that he's going to be the guy the club bands together to fight even if they should be at each others' throats.

NBC has given us comedies like Parks and Recreation and Community in the not too distant past and The Office and 30 Rock further back. Was it all a fluke? The latest batch of comedies, including the awful Guys With Kids, indicates a shift in philosophy. Comedies like Whitney, The New Normal, Go On, and Guys With Kids confront broad topics with characters of certain types. They're supposed to have a "point" to tell, usually something obvious, and the characters and story lag far behind.

Glee would be a much better show if it weren't so schizophrenic. The show is about so many different things that every episode is all over the place with the plots and the songs. Sometimes it seems like the show wants to have a lesson about something, but then it veers off into another galaxy. This happens with a multitude of plots as well. Something seemingly important happens but is forgotten in the next episode. Remember Karofsky and the bullying episode? The characters don't. Lately, I'm beginning to wonder if there is a reason beyond bad writers to explain why Glee has become so terrible. iTunes. "Born This Way" coupled with Autotune and makeup. Or Rachel telling Tina to wait for her turn the next year before Blaine takes the spotlight. Or "Call Me Maybe" being Rachel's song (with all the people not in Lima, the writers couldn't even use the song properly?). At some point, one could wonder whether the bad writing of the show is due to the commercial interests of the show. Maybe the writers aren't so bad after all and are slavishly tailoring the show to hit certain songs. If that's the optimistic way of looking at things, then we could also face reality, which is that Glee has become a bad show--not a flawed but overall enjoyable show as it was in the first show, but simply bad. There's the guy singing in the shower again, tough love teacher, new characters with their notable problems, Unique awkwardly moving to McKinley, and Sugar and Tina, still not doing anything. The one thing I liked: Rachel and Kurt at the end of the episode.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reviews 9/4/12 - 9/10/12

Alphas has had several very dense episodes this season, with the latest one being one of the most dense yet. The show could have just resolved the hive mind plot the way it did, Rosen talking down Jason Miller and everything being fine. But the writers have always pushed for more and they toss Stanton Parish into the mix, making the episode much more complicated. We get some cool background on him, like him fighting in WWII, and the rest of the team gets to meet him. And finally, Dani  is exposed, making the next episodes have even more to look forward to.

I believe I already made a post about Go On, but I don't think I have said anything about The New Normal yet. When The New Normal tries to be a normal show--you know, with characters and plot and the like--it's perfectly fine, even charming. Too often, though, it descends into preaching zone and it's like Newsroom without the gravitas. Characters make these big speeches and it's gets really stupid with how the "new normal" is showed. Show, don't tell, please.

Leverage sticks with its format every single week, so I became more amazed as each second passed. Parker got her own episode! This is a big deal on a show which runs on routine and regularity. While the plot wasn't all that impressive, Beth Riesgraf is just wonderful and made things fun.

Copper was chugging along nicely, and then Eva kills Molly at the end of the last episode. Didn't see that coming. The show is still defining itself and this shocking new development definitely changes things. I'm curious to see what the show looks like at the end of the season.

This final season of Damages hasn't grabbed me like previous seasons have. The people involved in the case just aren't interesting and I could care less about the eventual outcome. At the same time, Ellen seemingly dead isn't too interesting, with only one episode left. Maybe she'll actually be dead, but there's really no huge threat looming after the fake out at the end of last week's episode. So there's no actual tension involving any other characters. That all we have left is Ellen on the ground, blood pooling, is, quite frankly, far below what the show is capable of delivering.

Covert Affairs ended with the surprising twist of both Annie and Simon being shot by Lena, bringing up a load of questions. At least one load of questions was answered, as we learn Simon knew about Annie and the CIA, and isn't playing her.

Okay, I'll dispense with the Coma puns that can be made. I don't get Coma. It's a two-part miniseries, each part being way too long, and nothing really happens. In short, people with certain genetic markers are put into comas for medical research. It's that simple. None of the characters stand out, so it's not like there's anything to say about them. There is this message about the role of doctors and medical research, but it's understood within the first 30 minutes. The rest of the time is spent on non-tension filled tension, with an ambiance that's supposed to put you on the edge of your seat. Except nothing ever comes of these scenes and the miniseries crawls to the end.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Reviews 8/28/12 - 9/3/12

I finally caught up on The Newsroom. It's an absurd show. The show was designed solely to attack the Tea Party, as if the Tea Party is the most important news event in the history of the world. Worse, good journalism,  according Aaron Sorkin, seems to be airing sound bites of a bunch of people. There is no rigorous analysis, any attempt to pin down the size or scope of the Tea Party, what most of its members believe, what most think is important. They treat the Tea Party as a monolithic group of dishonest dummies. That may well be true, but The Newsroom sure as hell doesn't come close to proving that. The funny thing is, Will accuses the Tea Party of being against science and yet it's these journalists who make conclusions with no scientific rigor. You can find more of my rantings on Twitter. What I wonder is whether Sorkin himself was out to "civilize," because The Newsroom will only make conservatives hate liberals more, and make liberals hate conservatives more.

I also caught up on Copper. While the setting and tone of the show is nice, the characterization of Corcoran has been sketchy, often contradictory. He's set up to be a good guy sometimes, in the vein of cops you'd see in modern procedurals, but at other times it seems like he's just another guy living back then with all the stuff they did.

Grimm made big advances with Hank fully accepting everything Nick tells him. He takes it all in stride, and the episode doesn't slow down for those "show me the evidence" moments. It also looks like Juliette may be learning soon, as she at least hears the word Grimm. Beyond that, Monroe and Rosalie are as great as ever. Things are looking up this season.

Breaking Bad: Every viewer knew the other shoe would drop in the midseason finale. There was no way Breaking Bad would end the summer without a final bombshell leading to Walt's demise. So the episode is winding down and nothing happens yet. Are bullets going to fly into the yard and hit Holly? No, it's Hank taking a shit. The great Heisenberg, ruined by a bowel movement. Walt's arrogance and carelessness has led him to this point when he allows this book to do him in. The rest of the episode was fun stuff with two great montages showing how Walt got to the now. Now we'll have to wait for the final 8 episodes next season and Walt's final downfall.

Damages comes to an end in less than two weeks and those ominous images of Ellen dead appear related to Patty's attempt to kill her. The past two episodes have spent a great deal of time on this issue--first Patty stating she wasn't behind the attempted hit, then Ellen looking deeper and finding the guy. Another big issue which could cause problems is Chris getting the PTSD information to McClaren. It's kind of a random plot right now, I could see Ellen having to sell Chris out for one reason or another, becoming Patty in the process. The details of the case are still murky, but with Torben in the picture and Gitta going behind Ellen's back, stuff has to get going soon. We learned some of Patty and Kate's backstory, though I'm not sure if any of it is relevant or even particularly interesting. I guess extra bits of information don't hurt.

Covert Affairs: Annie's greatest asset as a spy is her ability to connect with people. Unfortunately, it's also her greatest weakness. Simon has to be playing her, right? Lena keeps hyping him as a master spy, so Annie fooling him would be way too stupid. Unless of course he's actually undercover and a good friend of Ben, and the two of them killed Jai on Arthur's orders and Joan, somewhat unwillingly, has been subtly pushing Annie towards Simon, using Lena as a proxy, which explains why she's been standoffish towards Arthur. Okay, probably too complicated, but I expect big shenanigans to happen.
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