Saturday, October 13, 2012

More reviews!

My schedule will be wonky for a while until I catch up on everything I've missed. Here are a couple reviews.

Strike Back's third second (the second co-American season) was a mixed bag for me. While the visuals were stunning and the action frantic, the plot never took off. There was Knox and his wacky plans and not much else. Twists never really came and individual multi-part episodes weren't as good.

Yep, Grimm is going there with Renard and Juliette. That was the most predictable thing that could have happened and the writers choose it.

Beauty and the Beast is a misfire from the CW. The dialogue is horrible, the acting is horrible, and it's just boring. For all the sexiness littering the script, the pilot is just lifeless with Kreuk just going on with the flow when she's supposed to take charge. What's going for the show is that it follows The Vampire Diaries and it has a very similar setup to TVD, the main character being saved by a mysterious "beast" with a dark past. Also, the actors/actresses are good looking...

The Vampire Diaries: I was done with Klaus when the team failed to kill him midway through the third season. He'd already gone a whole season as the big bad, killed Jenna, and he's still here. From then on, I was annoyed by Klaus's existence. When he died in the season finale but showed up in Tyler's body, I was even more annoyed, and you can guess my reaction when he returned back to his body in the season premiere. Without Elena blood, he's not much of a supervillain anymore, unable to create the hybrid army he wants. Now what, more chasing Caroline? Most of the episode, consisting of Elena becoming a vampire while dealing with the council, was solid. The writers didn't cop out of turning Elena and there are some really good moments. The council part was a little more iffy, as a bunch of random people come out of the woodwork and cause lots of trouble for the vampires. Then the rev blows them all up. Um... okay?

Ranking the three Last Resort plotlines, I would say sub > DC > island. The sub part actually make sense because militarizes about the world want to get rid or steal the Colorado, which makes for some tense action scenes. In DC, Kylie poking around makes business sense, even if there is no personal reason why she's looking in places she shouldn't be. Then there's the island, which makes no sense. Between the flat SEAL and Dichen Lachman parts and Julian irrationally pissing off Chaplin, the island parts are just weird and seem to belong in another show. Another problem is that the show isn't describing anything else that's going on in the world. What happened after the nuclear missiles hit Pakistan? Shouldn't Chaplin be following this, in case there's an opportunity out there?

The CW is doing something right. Arrow managed to get good reviews and ratings (for the CW). It's a dark comic book adaptation with shades of the recent Batman trilogy, while keeping with the requisite CW sexiness. The pilot sets up Oliver Queen as the Green Arrow, and there are plenty of cool action scenes. There is plenty of eye candy with Stephen Amell's chiseled abs out in the open and Katie Cassidy who's a lawyer instead of Black Canary. Arrow has a mystery in it, the island where Oliver learned all his tricks.

I'm not counting out Supernatural yet, as there's been nothing in the first two episodes that are particularly concerning, certainly nothing on the level of the Leviathans. Kevin and his mother are great characters, funny at times and also very human when they need to.

Nashville's pilot does just about everything right. It's a sprawling drama with plenty of characters but also a very clear identity. We see the stratification of the music scene, from the aging superstar Rayna James to the hot upstart Juliette Barnes to Scarlett, a newbie who isn't even writing songs yet. There is also political drama brewing with Rayna's husband, a failed businessman running for mayor with Rayna's father's help. It's all a bit to take in, but the pilot does an excellent job with Rayna, giving her enough historical foundation so we can really understand her. Juliette, meanwhile, is given extra layers by having her mother having big problems. And Hayden Panettiere, despite the criticism, is quite good, pulling off Juliette's shiny veneer with ease while also doing the private scenes pretty well.

Chicago Fire premiered badly and probably won't last very long. I think I'll watch some more, because, well, the fires were quite impressive. That's pretty much all I have to say. The rest of the show is as generic as it comes.

Once again, Vegas procedural plots leave much desired when across town Vic Mackey, Savino rather, is handling the guys from Chicago. Savino has proven to be a savvy guy, not an angry thug like Rizzo. He has a legitimate business plans, knows how to handle problems diplomatically, but also knows when to get his hands dirty.

Revolution: Well, there goes Maggie. We didn't get to know her well, but there was enough weight behind her death, as the flashbacks reveal some information, up until her final, sad breath that it wasn't a complete waste. However, her death could have been far more effective if the writers had spent more time building up her character, especially her relationship with Charlie. Instead, all we get is a brief explanation, some short flashbacks, and tears from the girl who always cries. Up until the last minutes, we never saw Maggie and Charlie being particularly close or anything beyond friends. But the last minutes worked, which is mostly what people will remember.

As Homeland progresses, I predict there will be more instances where the writers have to really stretch the realm of possibility. The problem is that we know all the players and the general situation, so it's hard to come up with a serious twist. The second episode of the season ended with an impossible twist, Saul finding a memory card with Brody's confession hidden in the bag Carrie took from the house of the Hezbollah guy. The chances of this happening are close to zero, and no viewer could have figure this out. And yet the twist works in the narrative, because it puts Saul on Brody's trail. The downside is that the show becomes even more unrealistic, if that matters to anyone. The bulk of the episode is the tense operation to nab Abu Nazir. It plays out with Carrie and Saul waiting in Beirut while Brody watches it at the Pentagon. Brody foils the plot, but it's confirmed to be Abu Nazir which gives Carrie plenty of confidence. She may be home now, but with her appetite for the spy world whetted, it's only a matter of time before she returns to the game.

Dexter: Deb finding out about Dexter being a serial killer is the saving grace of the show. The rest of the show is still pretty shitty as we found out in the second episode of the season. The stuff with Louis is plain stupid, with no tension unless Louis turns out to be more of a psycho, in which case Dexter can easily dispose of him. And who gives a fuck about Quinn? Dexter, like The Office, has ruined so many of its characters that even if some parts are good, there will still be serious problems left over.

Okay, what is The Good Wife doing with Kalinda? She's basically become a generic sex kitten. The last time she had any real material was when Alicia found out about her and Peter. This thing with her ex-husband hasn't gone anywhere yet and there's no indication it will.

Revenge: The bitch is back. Victoria pulled out no stops in reinserting her back into everyone's lives and positioned herself to gain even more. I love the way Revenge just throws this massive twist right into the middle of the episode and essentially resets everything.

Alphas is awesome. I've said this plenty of times, but it needs repeating. Even more awesome is Kat, currently my favorite television character. The writers have an exact bead on her character and give her the best line. It always helps that there is depth to her character, explored in the heart wrenching reveal that the woman in the blue dress was from a TV commercial. Meanwhile, Rosen is becoming more and more disturbed, further blurring the line between the good guys and bad guys. Maybe Rosen is on the right side, but he's quickly becoming a sociopath.

Castle: Stana Katic has surprised me. After her complete failure in the 1940s flashback episode, I was worried she wouldn't be able to pull off the flirty banter. But indeed she did, putting new life in a show that's been sputtering for a while.

I don't have much to say about Hawaii Five-0, but I'm wondering why Michelle Borth was made a regular when there is no indication Catherine is leaving the Navy and joining the team. Is she really just going to help the team in her spare time? Surely she can't be searching for McGarrett's mother every week.
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