July 18, 2010

TV Report Card: Week of July 11, 2010

Here is the triumphant return of the TV Report Card...summer school edition.


Leverage: "The Double Blind Job"

I've already shared my thoughts on "The Double Blind Job", so if you're interested just click here.



Rizzoli & Isles: "See One, Do One, Teach One"

My love for Castle (and to a lesser extent Bones) has reawaken my appreciation for crime procedurals, which meant I was slightly intrigued by TNT's new cop show, Rizzoli & Isles. Part of that intrigue also has something to do with the fact that I've had a crush on Sasha Alexander since Dawson's Creek. Unfortunately, I didn't know that she was on NCIS until after her character was killed off, so I didn't want to miss out again.

One thing that was surprising about the show was how dark the tone was. The first episode of the show focused on a serial killer that has a history with Rizzoli (the cop), and his apprentice was causing havoc in Boston. The audience quickly learns about Rizzoli's character and the world she lives in. Having the first episode focus on a serial killer that knew Rizzoli created an engrossing and tense experience. Plus, it shows a little bit about the history of the universe in which these characters occupy.

So far R&I is a pretty standard cop show set in Boston. A crime happens, the police, medical examiners office, and occasionally the Feds trying to figure everything out in less than an hour. With that being said, this show if unique enough that I'm willing to stick around.

First off, having two strong, female leads was appreciated. Most, if not all, procedural shows have to have two leads, one from each sex, so they can have the obligatory unresolved sexual tension. By having two female leads, R&I avoids that cliche. Although they could have UST, which will make the show more interesting, but I digress. It's just refreshing watching two partners be friends first without the angsty relationship stuff to get in between them. That's not to say UST does not exist on Rizzoli & Isles because a hunky FBI agent was introduced so the ladies can vie for his attention.

All good shows should have interesting characters, and Rizzoli & Isles has just that. The two main characters are strong and sexy in their own ways, and are complete opposites which should make for some great moments when we watch them interact as friends and partners. The supporting cast, especially Rizzoli's brother and partner, was also top notch.

Rizzoli & Isles is not Castle, Bones, or CSI but it doesn't have to be. TNT has a show that fits the crime procedural mold, but it is also unique enough to stand on its own. Sure, I wish we would get more shows that don't focus on death and crime, but there are worse ways to waste an hour.



White Collar: "Withdrawal"

I'm convinced that there are two types of crime stories that will never fail: con-men and bank robberies. You add them together, and you have "Withdrawal". The Season 2 premiere of White Collar pretty much stuck to what makes the show great. Neal and Peter have a pretty interesting case with an equally interesting bad guy, and of course we got some great bromantic banter between the two leads and Moz even got in on the action.

The only real difference so far was Natalie Morales was replaced by Marsha Thomason who plays Special Agent Lancing, which's a little funny since Morales replaced Thomason after the pilot. I'm OK with the cast change because Morales just stuck out on White Collar. She did a fine job, but her look and charisma couldn't match up with the rest of the cast.

I also like how the mystery from Season 1, and the music box, are being carried over. This move was a non-brainer, but WC has one of the most intriguing mystery sub-plots on TV right now, which is hard to find nowadays. I'm also loving the fact that we really don't know who is playing whom just yet. Good stuff.


Warehouse 13: "Mild Mannered"

This episode of Warehouse 13 was a particularly special one because two Firefly alums, Jewel Staite and Sean Maher, guest starred as two would be lovers in down and out Detroit. While Serenity gave fans some closure, it was nice seeing the actors that played Kaylee and Simon back on screen together.

The case revolved around a masked vigilante superhero that was taking care of crime on the streets of Detroit. Myka and Pete are called in because an artifact has to be involved. Of course the superhero turns out to be the quiet Sheldon (Maher) who just wanted to protect Loretta (Staite). The team was able to capture the artifact (his trunks) by turning Myka into a superhero as well with catsuit and power gauntlets. To be honest, seeing Myka as a superhero was kind of hot.

Based on this episode it looks like the creators want to bring Myka and Pete closer together, but it looks like they might be taking a friendly, sibling approach to the partnership rather than the typical UST one. I have to admit, I liked watching the two of them tease each other like they were brother and sister rather than secretly pining for one another. Then again, I might have misread the chemistry, which would make my interpretation kind of icky.


Covert Affairs: "Pilot"

I gave USA's newest show a chance, but I wasn't sold after the first episode of Covert Affairs. First, Piper Perabo was miscast because I do not buy her as the kick-ass spy type, and I just have flashbacks to Coyote Ugly when I see her on screen. If I want to watch a strong, sexy, blond superspy named Walker, I'll stick with Chuck.

Perabo was not the only weak spot of Affairs because none of the characters are that likable (this coming from someone who loved Kari Matchett on Leverage), the premise was tired and predictable, the action was mediocre, and to be honest the pilot was boring from start to finish. Also, I know I'm supposed to suspend belief, especially when it comes to a show about spies, but there is no way someone without full CIA training could've done so well on her first mission.

The only interesting part of Covert Affairs was the storyarc introduced involving Annie's old boyfriend/assassin/spy/whatever. It was obvious as soon as she woke up alone where the show was going, but the ending of the pilot was interesting enough to keep me on the hook for a few more episodes, but if things don't get going soon then I'm out.

In a world that already has Chuck, Alias, and Burn Notice, the addition of Covert Affairs seems unnecessary, but I can see why some people will like this show. It's very much a USA type show, which means it won't have a problem finding an audience; I just don't think I'm part of it. I just hope Undercovers is more interesting.



Psych: "Romeo and Juliet and Juliet"

I really don't have much to say about the Season 5 premiere of Psych except for it was your typical episode of Psych. Sure, this one had Triads and a star-crossed lovers plot, but other than that there wasn't anything really special about "Romeo and Juliet and Juliet".



Eureka: "A New World"

The benefit sci-fi shows have over other genres is they can use time-travel to essentially reboot the franchise, and that looks like the approach Eureka is going to take. Last week's season 4 premiere had some of the Eureka residents transported back to the 1940s when the town was being established, and they ended up bringing back a hitchhiker, which of course altered reality.

Season 4 is going to address how the characters are going to live in a brand new reality, and "A New World" was the first step in that process. From the onset, life in this new Eureka might better for most of the characters. Allison's son was not autistic, Tess and Jack are still together, Fargo's leading Global Dynamic, and Henry's married. Jo's new life was the only one that was negatively impacted, Zane's no longer her boyfriend, but she found out that she's head of security for GD.

The ethical question that faced the group was do they fix the time warp, thus taking them back to the original Eureka or do they keep things as is. It's how the characters handle this dilemma that could make or break this season. Some will want to stay in this new reality, Allison for one, but the ramifications could be catastrophic. This group will have to determine if they want to keep time altered for selfish reasons, or set things right which could save the world. It will be interesting to see where this season goes.


Haven: "Butterfly"

I wanted to share my thoughts on "Butterfly", but I haven't gotten around to watching it yet. I have a feeling I didn't miss out on much.



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