November 20, 2010

TV Report Card: Week of November 14, 2010

Here is this week's TV Report Card:

The Walking Dead: "Tell It To The Frogs"
After last week's by-the-numbers episode, "Tell It To The Frogs" re-focused the show on what makes it special: the characters and how they relate to one another. Seeing Rick be reunited with his family was both uplifting and heartbreaking because we knew what's been going on his their separation, and watching him reconnect with his wife was nerve-racking. Thankfully, we were given some insight to what motivated Lori to find comfort with Shane, and waiting for the fallout is going to be interesting. We also got to see how these people live with one another, and got glimpses of the new society they've built for themselves and how antiquated it was compared to what they left behind. After watching "Frogs", I couldn't help but feel like The Walking Dead is LOST but with zombies, which isn't a bad thing at all.


Chuck: "Chuck vs. the Fear of Death"
This week's Chuck had its share of ups and downs. On the positive side, "Fear of Death" questioned if Chuck could be a spy without the Intersect, and how the answer could affect Team Bartowski. More importantly, the episode also gave us some insight on how Sarah views Chuck's involvement in the spy world. All of the Buy More and Greta stuff could have been scrapped altogether because the B-plot did not add any substantial laughs or larger plot moments (with the exception of the Casey stuff). While "Fear of Death" didn't push the larger Valkoff arc forward, it was a nice stand alone episode that could add to a more interesting mini-arc.


How I Met Your Mother: "Glitter"
"Glitter" was another sub-par episode to add to another sub-par season of How I Met Your Mother. All it really proved was how Robin Sparkles was a one-hit wonder, and the magic of "Slapbet" will never be re-captured. Ultimately, this episode was just lazy with tired Canada jokes, annoying Lily, and douchey Ted. I found myself shaking my head more than laughing, and caring less and less about these characters. The only reason why "Glitter" wasn't a total failure like "Robots vs. Wrestlers" was because I did chuckle at a few of the inappropriate jokes made during Space Teens. Other than that, this was a wasted effort from Thomas and Bays.


Castle: "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind"
This week's Castle was a nod to X-Files, and was also a notch above last week's somewhat disappointing "Murder Most Fowl". That being said, I really cannot recall a lot about the actual case that took place during "Close Encounters". I remember that it had to do with UFOs, aliens, and Lyle Lovett, but I cannot pinpoint why the victim was killed. That doesn't mean I didn't like the episode because I did thanks to some good back-and-forth between Castle and Beckett (they're at their best when she's the skeptic and he's the believer), and the X-Files shout outs were a nice touch. All I can say is while "Close Encounters" wasn't the best Castle episode ever, it was still fun to watch and much better than Bones' homage to X-Files.


Glee: "The Substitute"
Admittedly, I may have been a little too harsh on "The Substitute" during my initial review, but my enjoyment of the episode was determined by my reaction to Holly Holliday. Since I didn't care for the character too much, I wasn't able to enjoy the lighter, fun moments that she brought to McKinley. I found myself warming up to her after a few more viewings, but I still didn't love the episode as a whole. The Sue/Mercedes/tots fiasco was a weak plotpoint, and I'm still frustrated by Will's character development to this point. So, even my new appreciation for Holly wasn't enough to change my overall opinion about "The Substitute".


Modern Family: "Manny Get Your Gun"
I should just start copying and pasting my mini-reviews of Modern Family because it seems like I have the same thing to write week in and week out. Once again, the Dunphys saved this week's episode thanks to Phil and Claire's competition which led to some sweet and funny moments between them and their kids ("We made daddy cry"). The Cam/Mitchell plot which started off odd with the elderly couple, and quickly turned on its heel to somehow incorporate a flash mob. All of it felt out of place, but it did have some funny moments. The same cannot be said about the Manny/Gloria/Jay story (as always). I hate Manny's old man shtick, I hate Gloria's overblown personality, so I hated almost everything about their scenes this week. Even the BB-gun sight gags could only make me muster a chuckle. "Manny Get Your Gun" didn't remind me of the show that was anointed Outstanding Comedy, but it did make me question why it won in the first place.


Cougar Town: "Little Girl Blues"
I hate to admit it, but Cougar Town has started to grow on me in spite of Courteney Cox's insufferable character. Let me just get it out of the way; I hate everything about Jules. She's self-centered, childish, and extremely creepy with her son (her entire story about meeting Travis' girlfriend was just bad). I cannot stand her at all, but I do enjoy watching the rest of the characters on the show. Some of the best moments this season have involved various combinations of the guys, and I laugh out loud almost every time they're together. For example, the scene where they were telling Travis about their performance anxiety had me rolling. Honestly, I'd watch a show just about the guys with Laurie sprinkled in from time to time. Unfortunately, the show revolves around Jules so I'll have to deal.


Friday Night Lights: "Keep Looking"
So far Season 5 of Friday Night Lights has set up a few story arcs: The Lions' quest towards State, Tami's mission to change East Dillon one child at a time, Julie's first semester at college, Buddy's transition back towards being a father, and the troubled lives of the students. All of the story lines are interwoven, but I've found myself caring more about Vince, Becky, and Luke than Coach and Mrs. Coach. Watching Vince have to cope with life has been interesting, but his relationship with Luke could be the best source of drama this season. Luke's been kind of pushed to the background since last season's abortion plot, but when we have seen him this year he's been overshadowed by Vince, and you can tell Luke's not happy about it. Watching these once rivals, now friends, deal with jealousy and anger could be some gripping stuff. Quick aside, I only watch Julie's scenes to see glimpses of Texas State's campus. Other than that, I could care less about her or her storyline.


Community: "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design"
I jumped on the Community bandwagon late last season, which means I like the show but don't love it, and I haven't been too impressed with Season 2. Thankfully, things started to change for the better with the zombie episode, and it feels like Community is back on track. This week's Jeff & Annie heavy episode about conspiracy theories and friendship was firing on all cylinders. Even the blanket fort B-plot had some genuine laugh out loud moments thanks to Troy. "Conspiracy Theories" was just a fun, zany ride through Greendale which I couldn't help but enjoy, and I'm also glad Dan Harmon hasn't completely closed the book on the Jeff/Annie would-be romance.


Supernatural: "Clap Your Hands If You Believe..."
This week's Supernatural was a good combination of the old fashioned Monster of the Week structure and the Sam's Soul arc. I for one have found Sam to be more enjoyable sans soul, and this week was more proof of how interesting the character can be when not being burdened by caring. The actual case, which started out being about aliens (another X-Files homage) but ended up being about faeries, could have been silly but ended up being pretty entertaining and fun. I'm still growing tired of Dean and Sam always fighting about whether they can trust one another, but at least we got a few laughs this time around.


NOTES: After another unfunny episode, The Big Bang Theory is officially off of the TV Report Card. Also, I wasn't able to get to this week's Hawaii Five-0 or No Ordinary Family, so they've also been left off this week's Report Card.


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