October 31, 2010

TV Report Card: Week of October 24, 2010

This week's TV Report Card might be an abbreviated version since I haven't had the chance to watch all of my shows due to traveling, but here's what I have so far:

Chuck: "Chuck vs. the Aisle of Terror"
As a Halloween episode, "Aisle of Terror" was an OK installment because only the Jeffster plot had anything to do with the actual holiday. From a larger story telling prospective, "Aisle" did a lot to move the Momma B arc along. We actually got a prolonged look at Mary Bartowski, questions about her background, and how she'll be impacting Team Bartowski. I still wish Chuck wasn't morphing into Alias, but I'm intrigued to see how Chuck and Sarah's relationship will be impacted by what took place at the end of the episode.


How I Met Your Mother: "Baby Talk"
On paper, I should've hated "Baby Talk" because it had to do with Douchey Ted, mopey Robin, Robin + Barney, and Marshall and Lily baby drama. Yet for some reason I didn't detest this week's episode. Barney's challenge to pick up a woman while talking like a little boy had some laughs, and it was good getting some insight on why Ted and Robin didn't work (although I'm not happy they're still flirting with a Robin/Barney reunion). For once, Marshall was more annoying than Lily, and his whole Nordic conception bit was a dud, but at least the story was rooted in real situations. The Marshall's Daughter, and seeing him as a member of a 90's R&B group were worth a few chuckles. This season's HIMYM still isn't very good, but at least it's starting to look up.


Castle: "3XK"
Castle's strengths revolve around its humor and chemistry between Kate and Rick. The actual murder cases each week usually take a backseat to the aforementioned elements, so when the mystery takes center stage things could be mixed. "3XK" introduced a serial killer who has made his return, and the 12th Precinct was back on his trail. The concept was a good one, but I wished for more execution. It was easy to figure out who the Triple Killer was, and I really didn't feel like any of there characters were in any danger (unlike during last season's excellent "Tick, Tick, Tick"). A fairly predictable mystery with a lack of Caskett banter (although we got some nice moments towards the end) led to a decent episode, but "3XK" wasn't one of the show's best. Although, I am looking forward to a season long arc involving said killer.


Hawaii Five-0: "Ko'olauloa"
I wasn't able to finish this week's Hawaii Five-0, mostly because watching a murder mystery that involved a surfer just didn't ring true to me. I'm not saying surfers aren't victims of murder or the subculture doesn't deserve some mainstream treatment, but I just wasn't interested and it all felt like baiting to me. Also, Grace Park's acting was a tad bit over-dramatic for my liking. I might try rewatching this episode sometime down the line, but my initial reaction wasn't good.


Glee: "The Rock Horror Glee Show"
We got a Ryan Murphy penned episode of Glee, and once again it was a very polarizing hour of the show. It seems like most people either loved the Rocky Horror themed episode due to the campiness and Will/Emma drama, or they hated it because it didn't have any substantial storytelling. As always, I'm somewhere in the middle. I thought the musical numbers, and the stories about male body image issues and boundary pushing art worked. On the other hand, I could have done without the Will/Emma stuff, especially since it made Will look like a complete jerk. "RHGS" was far from one of Glee's best episodes, but I didn't hate it and we've seen worse ("Britney/Brittany" and "Funk" come to mind). I do have to admit that I was a little bummed that we didn't get another great episode like "Duets", but I'm getting used to the roller coaster nature of the show.


Modern Family: "Halloween"
I'm convinced that I only like a third of Modern Family. Usually, I find the Dunphy stories pretty funny, the Cam-Mitchell stuff can be mixed, and I can't stand the Jay-Gloria-Manny stuff. This week's "Halloween" was more of the same. It was fun watching Claire being excited about Halloween, but the story about the rest of the family messing up her plans was a family sitcom cliche. The Cam-Mitchell stuff fell flat because Cam's issues with the holiday felt half-baked, and I think the writers thought seeing Mitchell in a Spider-Man costume was funnier than it really was. As for J-G-M, they were once again given a horribly boring plot that didn't add anything to the overall episode. Had we gotten more of the Dunphys and a little more Halloween goodness, and less Gloria mispronunciations, "Halloween" would've been a decent episode of Modern Family.


Friday Night Lights: "Expectations"
The final season of the underdog drama that is Friday Night Lights kicked off this week, and I had mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it felt like we were just plopped in the middle of story lines that have been taking place in between what happened during "Thanksgiving" and now, which isn't new for FNL, but it was kind of jarring. I was glad to see that we're getting to see more of Vince, and he's becoming a character we can hang an entire season on rather than last season. Also, I'm glad Landry's finally leaving Dillion. I never liked him. Julie disappointed me though. Yes, she's always been independent, but not knowing how important it is for parents to drop their child off at college just seemed selfish and made me like her even less. I can't wait for her to be overwhelmed by college and begs for her parents help. "Expectations" wasn't a stellar start to FNL's final season, but I have faith that we're in store for the show's traditional greatness.


The Big Bang Theory: "The Irish Pub Formulation"
Big Bang, like some many of the shows I watch on CBS, is starting to lose some of its luster. So far, I haven't really liked any episode this season, and "The Irish Pub Formulation" was another letdown. First off, I will never believe that someone like Raj's sister would find someone like Leonard attractive, so watching them hook up immediately took me out of the episode. Watching the gang relive ways they've betrayed one another was humorous, and Sheldon had some great lines, but overall "Irish Pub" was a dud.


Community: "Epidemiology"
When Community wants to put together a rip-off episode, they can either do wonders or they can fail miserably. Luckily, "Epidemiology" fell in the former category unlike this season's "Basic Rocket Science". The zombie filled, Halloween episode worked a heck of a lot better than this season's first rip-off episode because it wasn't as obscure, it had more laughs, and more character driven moments that felt organic rather than forced. Plus, it was a nice change of pace seeing Troy at the core of the episode instead of Jeff. My only gripe, Annie with pottery class guy seemed like a bad idea from the get go. In the end, "Epidemiology" was a fun version of Community instead of the self-congratulatory mess that it tends to be.


Nikita: "The Recruit"
It seems like Nikita is trying to be three shows in one: 1.) saving recruits from Division, 2.) finding the Guardians and the Black Boxes, and 3.) an origin story. The biggest difference between these versions of Nikita and the 3 Glees is they combine into one larger, coherent story which has been pretty great so far. This week was a Type 1 episode where we learned about other Division recruits, Sara and Robbie, and how Nikita and Alex's actions impacted them. Not only did we get some new characters, a better understanding of Nikita's motivations, but also a glimpse of how Division works. While "The Recruit" was lighter on Nikita's story, it was able to build the universe around the character, which was nice to see.


NOTES: I wasn't able to get to this week's The Vampire Diaries (bummer) or Supernatural, so I just left them out of the Report Card. Also, I started but couldn't finish No Ordinary Family, but I'm planning on catching up once I'm back home.


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