Thursday, October 4, 2012

Reviews 9/30/12 - 10/2/12

I'm way behind on television again, so here are some reviews. I'll see if I can add more on Sunday.

Alphas needed a cool down episode after all the action in the previous weeks. It's not a bad episode, certainly not in comparison to other shows, but it wasn't up to the extreme standards set this season and in the previous one. Besides, the Rachel stuff, which was flat as always, there wasn't much objectionable to the episode. Gary was awesome as always and Rosen had some good moments. Next week, Kat!!!

Revolution is really trying to underwhelm, isn't it? These latest episodes have worked like clockwork. There's a problem, Charlie is incredibly naive yet handy (which makes her all the more annoying), a flashy action scene, some flashbacks, and then a twist at the end. The characters remain boring and it's getting pretty tiresome at this point.

When Warehouse 13 pulled the same obvious trick Dexter did in the previous season by making Brother Data part of Artie's mind, I rolled my eyes. The show has hit a creative dead end, and this was the final nail in the coffin, confirmation of the show's dead end. Myka and Pete had become a squabbling sideshow, Claudia and Steve don't have anything special after fixing Steve's problem, and Artie is under influence of an artifact, of which the level of influence is unknown so we can't differentiate Artie from the artifact. All in all, these artifacts and the characters have remained the same, and there's not much left in the show. Maybe the show will become more interesting in the second half of the season, but I'm holding out hope.

When Homeland won all those Emmys the other day, I wasn't sure it really deserved them, having watched both Breaking Bad and Mad Men much more recently. But when Homeland returned, all the memories came back and I immediately remembered what made the show so great. The episode sets the pieces for the season, showing us where all the characters are months after the end of the first season, before turning everything up a notch. The smile the episode title refers to is the turning point of the episode, and it's an iconic moment of television, crystallizing who she is, her desire to get down and dirty with these world events. Her demeanor, restrained earlier in the episode, completely changes as does the direction of the rest of the season.

Dexter ran out of good ideas seasons ago, culminating in the sixth season, the godawful batshittery overflowing with obvious, twists, and pointless side adventures. The big question going into Dexter's final two seasons was whether the show could reinvent itself enough that it could reclaim, if partially, the glory of the beginning seasons and not end up like Weeds, forever scorned after a promising start. The signs in the seventh season premiere are hopeful. There is lots of progress with Dexter's life for once, with Deb recalling things that happened to her, doing a little digging, and discovering Dexter's secret. And after lying for a majority of the episode, Dexter comes clean in the end.

Once Upon a Time is a show about magic where anything and everything can happen. As such, the writers make stuff up as they go and there is still some logic left over. Throw in fairy tale characters everyone knows and they have a hit. The second season resets the show without rhyme or reason, but promises interesting things will happen with new characters as well everyone's memories back.

Revenge started off a bit like a procedural, Emily x-ing off people each week while working a larger plan. Soon, though, that changed, and Revenge became one of the big surprises last season with its twists and solid characters. Its second season remains ripe for reinvention, as Victoria is shown to be still alive while revelations about Emily's mother have raised another can of worms. One complaint: the old Takeda looked cool and the new one really does not.

Positioned at Sunday 10PM after Once Upon a Time and Revenge, 666 Park Avenue was in the right time slot. It has magic going on like in Once Upon a Time, but also the darkness of Revenge. And Terry O'Quinn knows how to be this devlish kind of villain perfectly. The pilot is a solid piece of television, never slowing down to a crawl, and delivering some genuinely scary scenes in the vein of those you'd see on Supernatural. Along with good looking characters and the mystery of the setting, the show is near the top of new shows this season.

The Good Wife sort of fell off the map to a degree last season, moved to Sunday and not having anything too compelling happening during the season. Sadly, the season premiere doesn't indicate anything too big will happen this season. Lockhart Gardner has money problems and the campaign is getting more press, but the show still feels too comfortable for every character, except for Kalinda, who's off with her own wacky plot.

I'm not sure what to say about The Mentalist's season premiere. The CBI squabbles with the FBI, Jane pulls his usual tricks, and Red John gets to Lorelei. Nothing particularly interesting happens.
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