October 22, 2010

TV Report Card: Week of October 17, 2010

Here is this week's TV Report Card:

Chuck: "Chuck vs. the Couch Lock"
I've been pretty honest about my feelings about the fourth season of Chuck, it's been far from stellar, but I loved "Chuck vs. the Couch Lock". For me everything worked. I'm always a fan of getting to know more about Casey, and I was glad to see Morgan out of the Buy More and back in the field. The awesomness of the episode was only underscored by the fact that the angsty "Suck" stuff wasn't even brought up this time around. I even liked Jeffster, and that almost never happens. The only aspect of "Couch Like" that I didn't dig was the unbelievability of the whole Morgan-Alex relationship, but I can look past that for now.


How I Met Your Mother: "Architect of Destruction"
You remember when Bays and Thomas promised that How I Met Your Mother would get back on track? I'm still waiting for them to deliver because they gave us yet another mediocre episode. The Ted story, him going back and forth about whether he should work for GNB since it would mean tearing down a landmark, worked mostly because of the back and forth between him and Barney. The introduction of Jennifer Morrison as a hippie was good too with a nice little twist. The Marshall story on the other hand was tedious the sit through, and once again it was all Lily's fault. Hannigan has become a one-trick pony, like the rest of the cast, but the difference is she needs to be taken out to pasture.


Castle: "Anatomy of a Murder"
After two really fun episodes of Castle, this week was a minor letdown just because "Anatomy of a Murder" just couldn't keep up with "Punked" and "Under the Gun". The riffs on Grey's Anatomy were amusing, the jailbreak case had a nice little twist, and seeing Castle with his ex, now current, flame was a nice change of pace. "Anatomy" just didn't bring as many laughs as some of the best Castle episodes, and I really can't remember any truly standout moments, but it did have one of the best closing scenes ever.


Hawaii Five-0: "Lanakila"
The shine might be coming off of H5-0 because I thought this week's episode was kind of weak. The whole kidnapping, international incident plot just felt played out and boring. Now, I don't watch Hawaii for its avant-garde storytelling, but for some good old fashioned action. The thing is, "Nalowale" felt too old fashioned just like last week's episode. I did appreciate the fact that they are trying to flesh out the characters by giving McGarrett a love interest, but it just wasn't enough for me to be totally invested in the episode. Plus, we didn't get enough Danno or Kono, which was a bummer. On the bright side, we got to see Coach Tanaka be a bad ass. Maybe if he'd shown these skills earlier he'd still be with Emma...in Hawaii!


No Ordinary Family: "No Ordinary Vigilante"
I was on board with this week's No Ordinary Family up until the last fifteen minutes or so. Once Jim confronted the alleged vigilante in the bar, and he pretty much said that the reason his son died was because he wasn't around, I checked out because it was a 2x4 to the head because Stephanie just got done saying the exact same thing seconds before. I don't mind when shows want to convey a moral or message, but when you have to drive it home so often, it starts to get annoying. The J.J. lying bit also started to feel a little stale, but that last shot was pretty great. Hopefully, he'll be coming clean sooner than later. While "Vigilante" wasn't a phenomenal episode, and it was a step back from last week's "No Ordinary Ring", I was impressed how it was still able to combine regular family problems with the superhero stuff in an effective way.


Modern Family: "Unplugged"
Once again, I only liked about two-thirds of this week's Modern Family, which was a letdown. The Dunphys giving up electronics was a decent story with some laughs ("They cut corners!"), and I liked how Haley pulled one on her parents, but it wasn't as good as what we've gotten from them in the past. The Cam-Mitchell plot which had them trying to get Lily into a high-end preschool was familiar territory, but the commentary on the tokenism of diversity and Cam's idea of pushing them over the top by claiming that he was Native American was pretty funny. I could have done without the entire Jay-Gloria-Manny scenes because they didn't bring anything new. We got more Colombia jokes, Manny being Manny, and Gloria shrillness. When this show is 100% on, it's worthy of the praise, but I don't feel like Season 2's been on its game like Season 1, and hasn't been anything special.


The Vampire Diaries: "Plan B"
I never thought I'd be saying this, but The Vampire Diaries has quickly become one of the best shows on network TV. So far, Season 2 has been a non-stop ride of drama and intensity (even the lulls like "Memory Lane" had substance), and it's officially my must-see show on Thursday nights (along with CW teammate Nikita). The week off didn't cause the show to miss a beat, and "Plan B" picked up where "Kill Or Be Killed Left Off". We got another good mix of intense elements like Damon torturing Mason before taking more drastic measures, and some emotional stories that involved the rest of the Mystic Falls gang. Watching Caroline compel her mother to restore order was heartbreaking, and she continues to be one of my favorite characters ever. Elena and Stefan's break up was kind of over the top, but affective. The only flaw was Bonnie because she's become one of the dullest and annoying character on the show. Aside from her tude, "Plan B" was some good stuff.


Community: "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples"
The show's "wink, wink, nod, nod" brand of comedy is starting to wear thin, and the prefect example of this exhaustion was this week's way too meta episode. Yes, I understand that the Abed-Shirley storyline was commenting on the show's own tendency to be overly meta, but all just fell flat. The sad thing was this storyline could have been really good if Dan Harmon wasn't too busy patting himself on the back. Fortunately, it was saved with the sweet moment between Abed and Shirley at the end. Oddly, the Pierce-Jeff-Britta storyline was actually the funniest part of the entire night. Quick aside, under using Alison Brie should be outlawed, and the tag convinced me even more that she needs her own show with Abed and Troy.


The Big Bang Theory: "The Desperation Emanation"
All I can really say about this week's Big Bang is almost all of the Sheldon/Amy stuff was funny (I laughed more before the credits rolled than I did during the entire episode of Community), and the rest wasn't. "The Desperation Emanation" just reminded me how little I care about Leonard and Wolowitz. Too bad a show just about Sheldon and Penny probably wouldn't fly.


Nikita: "Resistance"
The Vampire Diaries' partner in crime, Nikita, was just as intense and crazy as the former. This week we got to learn even more about Nikita's past and her connection to Owen, and how she ended up taking Alex under her wing. All good stuff, but the craziness all revolved around Alex as she was put through some serious Division exercises which involved interrogating and being interrogated. While Alex was being put through her paces, the higher ups watched it go down on the tube like it was a reality show. The big twist ended up being that not only was Alex being tested but so was Michael. Percy wanted to see if Michael would fall into the same pitfalls with Alex that he did with Nikita. My only criticism so far has to do with the weird, incestuous love triangle developing between Nikita, Michael, and Alex. It's kind of icky, but it could lead to some tense betrayal moments down the line. "Resistance" not only gave us some backstory, some intense present day stuff, but it also gave us a glimpse of the rest of the season as Nikita continues on her road to redemption while hunting down the remaining black boxes and their Guardians.


Supernatural: "Live Free or Twi-Hard"
My first Supernatural entry is actually going to be a pretty short one because I was only half-paying attention to the episode. The Twilight bashing was funny, but then it's always making fun of Twilight, but things quickly became serious as Dean was turned into a vampire while Sam watched...willingly. The whole arc of the season seems to be moving towards this Sam not being the Sam of old, which could be intriguing, but so far Season 6 feels tacked on (which it is from what I understand). Too bad we didn't get to see any Asian vampires because they are the most vicious of all the vampire, and all I know is we need Cass back full-time.


It was good having all of my CW shows back this week (man, that's just and odd thing to type) especially since we were Glee-less, but a repeat of "Hairography" didn't stop the show from getting even more pub.

This week didn't wow me start to finish, but it was bookend by a great Chuck and almost as good episodes of VD and Nikita, so it wasn't a total wash.


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