October 15, 2010

TV Report Card: Week of October 10, 2010

Here is this week's TV Report Card:

Chuck: "Chuck vs. the Coup D'Etat"
This week's Chuck had the return of Premier Goya from Costa Gravas and we got a glimpse of one Awesome statue. More importantly, Casey was brought off of the bench and had more of a role this time around. Add these elements to better actions sequences, more laughs, and "Coup D'Etat" was one of the better Season 4 episodes. Unfortunately, there was still too much "Suck" drama, and Morgan/Alex absurdity for the episode to be great.


How I Met Your Mother: "Subway Wars"
In a lot of ways "Subway Wars" took everything I dislike about HIMYM and wrapped it up in one episode. It had too much annoying Lily, douchey Ted, pathetic Robin, reliance on silly "rules", and mindless stunt casting (Maury Povich, really?!?!?). Don't get me started on the forced Robin/Barney stuff. Despite the fact that the episode was made for me to hate it, I didn't mind it so much. What saved the episode for me was Marshall's folk song, and seeing the gang run around NYC. I still don't think Season 6 is any better than Season 5, but at least it hasn't gotten any worse.


Castle: "Punked"
Once again, we got a Castle episode that had another mediocre mystery, and once again I could have cared less because all of the other elements were clicking on all cylinders. "Punked" introduced the 12th Precinct to the classically stylish sub-culture that is steam punk, and what was great was the fact that they didn't insult the lifestyle, but really integrated it into the story pretty seamlessly. The only part better than the steam punky goodness was all of the Alexis-Rick stuff, which really is the heart of the show. Watching Rick deal with Alexis growing up before his eyes and falling in love was funny and heart warming all at the same time. The only minor flaw: not enough killer Beckett looks and yet another lover getting in Caskett's way, but it's all good for now.


Hawaii Five-0: "Lanakila"
This week's Hawaii Five-0 was the first episode that was underwhelming. "Lanakila" wasn't a bad hour of television, but it wasn't very memorable either. I guess it was kind of interesting seeing Balthazar Getty as a psycho inmate on the run. There was also a lot of action going on, but it's all been done before, which in someways was a kind of letdown. H5-0's tricks are starting to feel familiar, which means it needs to start distinguishing itself from other cop shows/movies, and it doesn't look like that's about to happen anytime soon.


Glee: "Duets"
"Duets" was a rarity; an episode of Glee that was strong from start to finish. Don't get me wrong, Glee's still one of my favorite shows, but I don't pretend that it is flawless. Fortunately, every once in a while we get an episode that reminds us why we like the show to begin with. This time around we got stories that made sense, character development (nice re-introduction of Sam), and musical numbers that supported the plot and not the other way around. Seeing some unique pairings was a nice touch (Mercedes and Santana), and it was refreshing watching Rachel and Finn do something besides fight. The only story that I wasn't on board with was the whole Brittany and Artie subplot, but you can't win them all.


No Ordinary Family: "No Ordinary Ring"
The Powell's origin story continued as we watched Jim refine his crime fighting skills, Stephanie go to great lengths to protect their secret, and Daphne struggle with keeping said secret. While the story of "Ring" didn't scream "original", the episode was able to re-tell familiar superhero stories in a fun and stylish way, and it was able to add its own spin as well. One of my favorite moments was when the robbers held up the high-end weddings, not because I enjoy seeing people being held-up, but because I had never scene anything like that before. I was also impressed how the show was able to combine the family stuff with superhero antics. For example, the father-daughter moment between Jim and Daphne could rival the Rick-Alexis moments on Castle. NOF hasn't wowed me enough to pick it over Glee, but it's one of the first videos I click on when I visit Hulu the next day.


Modern Family: "Strangers on a Treadmill"
Maybe I'm just being picky, but I feel that Modern Family is suffering from a sophomore slump because there hasn't been one episode this season that was totally won me over. This week's "Strangers on a Treadmill" had some good moments, but not everything was clicking. Almost anything involving the Dunphys will be funny to me, I thought the Phil and Alex/Haley stories worked, but the other families are hit or miss. I did like seeing Mitchell and Claire together, but I'm starting to detest almost every Jay/Gloria/Manny moment. To be honest, I can't even tell you what their story was this week because I tuned out every time they were on screen. Yes, "Strangers on a Treadmill" had some decent laughs, but I expect more from a show that won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy.


Community: "Basic Rocket Science"
Speaking of sophomore slumps, Community has also lost some of its luster. This week's Apollo 13 homage fell flat, and I don't remember laughing once. It's not because I didn't get the references; it's because the episode just wasn't funny. The annoying thing about Community is its reliance on throwing out random pop culture references and pretending that it's being clever and original, and when you base an entire episode on that gimmick it had better be fool proof. I still think the show can be witty, but unfortunately "Rocket Science" was far from fool proof.


The Big Bang Theory: "The Hot Troll Deviation"
I stopped paying attention to Big Bang as soon as I realized it was going to be a Wolowitz-centric episode. I can't stand that guy, and even the usually fun duo of Raj and Sheldon couldn't salvage this one.


As you can see, the Report Card was a lot shorter this week due to either repeats (The Vampire Diaries & Nikita) or lost interest (Boardwalk Empire, Terriers, Undercovers, and Bones). While I'll still watch most of the latter shows, I just don't feel the need to go on and on about them.

On a more positive note, I might be adding Supernatural to the rotation now that I'm officially caught up and watching the show live. Apparently, The CW is now my favorite network...if I start watching Hellcats and/or Gossip Girl, please shoot me.


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