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.
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