July 31, 2010

TV Report Card: Week of July 25, 2010

Here is this week's TV Report Card: Summer School Edition.

Leverage: "The Gone Fishin' Job"
Best Chain-Gang Ever!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Eliot and Hardison are the best comedy duo on television, and "The Gone Fishin' Job" was just an example of how good these two are when they're together. Watching these two complete opposites running around the forest, handcuffed together, was pure comedic gold.

Why were they running through the forest handcuffed together? This week's mark was a former IRS agent that has created a scam that maxes out credit cards that belong to people who are in trouble when it comes to their taxes. These stolen funds then go through dummy companies to help fund a right-wing militia group (i.e. domestic terrorists). Eliot and Hardison are kidnapped by the militia after posing as IRS agents, but they soon break free and go on the run. The rest of the Crew are working over the mark, not knowing what happened to the boys, but once they figured that their own were in trouble, the greatness started. I mean Nate actually stole a moving train!

Once again, I'm always a fan of Leverage episodes that don't focus on corporate corruption, and while there were some of these elements during "Gone Fishin'", it was the leader of the "revolution" and his gang of wannabe soldiers that made the episode interesting. It was kind of scary listening to the rants of these ultra right-wing nutjobs, and unfortunately people like this do exist.

Another aspect of the show that was firing on all cylinders was the chemistry and the bond between all of the characters. "Fishin'" really focused on how these five people have gone from loners to a family, and the best example of this bond was Eliot and Parker. This season has cast Eliot in the big brother role to Parker's little sister, and watching them interact is amazing. For example, this week Parker was obsessed with getting candy out of pinata, which caused surly Eliot to rip off its head. Amazing! Nate and Sophie were also great in their parental roles (Nate (to the boys): "When I steal a train for you, you get on it"). Oh yeah, and Nate calling Eliot and Hardison "the boys" might be my all-time favorite Leverage moment.

Everything in "The Gone Fishin' Job" worked from start to finish, and it may have been one of the best episodes to date. OK, "the best" might be a bit of a stretch, but it was by far one of my favorite episodes of the series.


White Collar: "Copycat Caffery"

The only thing I like more than watching con-men working marks is watching cons con other cons, so "Copycat Caffery" was bound to be my favorite episode of White Collar yet. The story revolved around a crime that mimicked a heist pulled, and we learned that a criminology professor was teaching his class about Neal's body of work.

Of course, the professor was using students to pull of heists and watching the crew get their comeuppance was great. The Case of the Week was by far one of the most interesting one on White Collar because it's always fun watching con-men do their thing, and it's even more fun when they're out duped by superior grifters.

As always, we got some great Neal-Peter banter which was amplified due to the fact that Neal's ego was stroked when he learned that someone was actually teaching a class about him. You couldn't help but smile while watching Neal gloat and Peter trying to bring him back to Earth.

Alex & Neal: A pretty great pairing
We also got an added bonus as Alex made her Season 2 debut, and it's still clear that her chemistry with Neal was way more intense than anything he had with Kate. We're slowly moving away from the Kate storyline, and moving closer to a Neal-Alex pairing, while still keeping the Music Box Mystery alive.

Speaking of the music box, which was just a MacGuffin at first, has quickly become one of the most intriguing aspects of White Collar, especially since it's going to end up coming between Neal and Peter. I love it how we don't quite know whose side Peter is on. I just hope we're in store for a pretty stellar payoff.


Warehouse 13: "Age Before Beauty"

The Warehouse 13 Crew
After some pretty decent episodes Warehouse 13, "Age Before Beauty" was just OK. One reason why I felt this particular episode was only medicore had to do with the case/artifact of the week. As a viewer, I'm getting a little tired of the Fashion Week trope that a lot of procedurals have been utilizing (I can think of an episode of Castle and Leverage that has used this seem set up).

Also, as soon as we found out that models were involved, of course the logical item for an artifact was going to be a camera. Sure, they tried to swerve us with the Buddha thingie, but we all knew where the plot was going.

The only real upside of the episode occurred when Myka turned up the hotness factor to go undercover as a model (although Parker from Leverage had a better catwalk debut). It was also kind of cute seeing Pete tell her how beautiful he thought she was, which will get the shippers all in a frenzy yet again. I'd still rather see them as friends rather than lovers, but that's just me.


Covert Affairs: "South Bound Suarez"
So, I gave Covert Affairs one more chance, and it still didn't win me over. A miscast main character, unlikeable supporting characters, boring story lines, poor acting, sloppy action scenes; none of it works. The thing is I feel like I should like this show, but I think that has to do with USA's brainwashing tactics, which I was immune to until White Collar. I'll just add Affairs to the list of USA shows that are all hype, but just don't wow me (along with Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, and Psych).


Psych: "Not Even Close...Encounters"

Once again, Psych failed to leave any impressions on me. There was something about aliens, Freddie Prinze Jr. being a nerd with a hot wife, and that's about it. I do kind of remember thinking to myself that the Prinze character was kind of entertaining, but not someone who would go down as one of the most interesting characters ever. Heck, he wouldn't even be one of the most Psych characters ever.



Eureka: "The Story of O2"
The Jamie Kennedy Experiment comes to Eureka
After a really good Eureka last week, we were given a sub-par episode this time around. "The Story of O2" was just your typical episode with very little humor, drama, or much of anything that would have made it somewhat interesting.

Carter's in Boston visiting Zoe, but he showed up unannounced which of course led to your typical, "child's all grown up, but parent can't handle it" scenario. This plotline really didn't have much going for it because it's been done so many times before, expect we had to deal with an invisible cat this time around. It kind of makes sense that Carter's story would be lowkey since Colin Ferguson (the actor who plays Carter) directed this episode. Usually episodes that are directed by stars tend to have very little of said actor/actress in the actual show (see Angel's "Soul Purpose" and HIMYM's "Jenkins" for other examples).

The second plotline involved a GD sponsored race to the moon involving rockets built by Eureka residents. Alison's son, Kevin, was one of the participants but his rocket was compromised when his mom add some oxygen producing chemical to his rocketfuel to give him an edge. Yes, a well-respected doctor and scientist cheated for her son. I couldn't help but roll my eyes at this point. Of course, the chemical caused some scientific mishap which once again threatened Eureka.

The only aspects of this episode that I actually enjoyed was watching Jo take control of the case of the week in Carter's absence, and the focus on some of the relationships that involved Lupo. It looked like the creators are headed towards putting Jo and Zane back together, but I'm still holding out that somehow she will end up with Carter; now that would be something out of the ordinary.


Once again, Rizzoli & Isles and Haven were left off of the Report Card. I actually did watch R&I, but I was also doing other things at the time, so I don't remember the episode. Haven is pretty much a goner when it comes to the Report Card, and will probably not make an appearance anytime soon.


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