November 13, 2010

TV Report Card: Week of November 7, 2010

Here is this week's TV Report Card:

The Walking Dead: "Guts"
While I wasn't able to watch the series premiere Halloween night, all of the positive buzz I've heard and read about The Walking Dead convinced me to catch up on the pilot online, and I was impressed enough to come back for episode two. While "Guts" really didn't color outside of the zombie apocalypse lines, it was still an entertaining hour of television, and watching it didn't feel like a chore unlike watching Boardwalk Empire and Terriers. Episode 2 felt very familiar in some spots (people being trapped in a store while fighting amongst themselves), but some of the character driven moments stuck out like when T-Dogg not only left Merle on the rooftop, but went back to lock the door to keep him up there. The zombie stuff might get old fast, but watching how the human characters react to life in this new world will definitely be compelling. On an aside, I hope the zombies eat Shane and Lori.


How I Met Your Mother: "Natural History"
I had to watch this week's HIMYM after the fact, and it looked like "Natural History" was getting a lot of good feedback online, so I was naturally hesitant because I figured it would inevitably fall short of my expectations. Luckily, I was wrong and "History" was an enjoyable episode. All three storylines worked, which has been a rarity, with the Marshall/Lily and Barney/Robin stuff taking the lead. Out of the two the B/R subplot was my favorite because it combined zany child-like antics with a surprising little twist at the end. Usually, I'm not a big fan of LAME, but seeing them deal with the progression of their relationship was a nice change of pace. The Ted/Zoey story was good too; just not as strong as the other two. While "Natural History" was one of the best episodes of Season 6, I'm not ready to claim that the show's back because I still have the bitter taste of "Canning Randy" in my mouth.


Castle: "Murder Most Fowl"
This week's Castle was a rare miss in my opinion, and it pains me to write that. The Case of the Week about a dead subway worker whose death was linked to a kidnapping plot schemed up by former stock brokers (I think?) just felt strung together. There wasn't enough good Caskett or Esposito/Ryan moments which didn't help, and even the Rick/Alexis scenes lacked punch which was odd since the CoW had to deal with a father and his missing child. There were some good tender scenes where we learned about Castle as a dad, but they still weren't enough to make "Most Fowl" a great episode.


Hawaii Five-0: "Mana'O"
Despite taking a body reveal right out of Bones' playbook, "Mana'O" focused on Hawaii Five-0's strongest asset: Scott Caan. Danno took center stage as the 5-0 investigated the murder of his former partner. The plot involving a dead officer, drugs, and a dirty cop all felt familiar, but it was Caan's performance that made the whole episode tolerable and even a little interesting. The bond and witty exchanges between Danno and McGarrett were appreciated, and it's nice seeing a crime fighting duo click without all of that unresolved sexual tension. Although, their chemistry might be able to rival that of Castle/Beckett and Brennan/Booth. Just saying.


Glee: "Never Been Kissed"
Oh Glee, what can I say except you still have some getting used to after a season and a quarter. My initial thoughts about "Never Been Kissed" were mixed. I didn't feel the Puck/Artie storyline was all that interesting, and the Kurt/Beiste subplots were well intentioned but missed the spot a few times, but I enjoyed the musical performances and laughed more often than not. After a second viewing, I liked the episode a lot more. The storylines didn't get any better, but I was able to better appreciate the performances from Chris Colfer, Max Adler, and Mark Salling. "Kissed" wasn't a revolutionary episode of Glee, but I do think it set the foundation for some interesting stories.


Friday Night Lights: "The Right Hand of the Father"
Narrative-wise "The Right Hand of the Father" wasn't anything special; Vince's ex-con father was introduced, Julie's making poor decisions at college, Coach and Tami are still not getting through to all of their students, and Buddy had to deal with his teenage son. From a thematic standpoint; which included parenthood (both the biological and surrogate versions), pride, character, and responsibility, the episode transcended typical storytelling. Watching Coach and Tami do whatever it took to instill decency and values into their students was inspirational, and seeing Vince become a man in front of our eyes was equally impressive. The only drawback of the episode was watching Julie make the same mistake every young, college-aged woman on TV makes which was getting involved with a teacher. So far, her time at school has turned Julie from a once insufferable yet complicated character into a stereotype. "Father" wasn't FNL's brightest example of excellence, but watching Coach and Tami do what they do was still satisfying.


Community: "Cooperative Calligraphy"
Many on the Internet were claiming that "Cooperative Calligraphy" was the best episode of Community this season, if not of the entire series. When I read such hyped up reviews, I tend to be cautious while watching the episode (much like I was with this week's HIMYM) because they always tend to disappoint (like most episodes of Terriers or Boardwalk Empire). My knee-jerk reaction to Community's "bottle episode" was lukewarm. I thought the plot was weak, and the episode just became a shouting match with few jokes that actually landed. The second time I watched it, I appreciated "Calligraphy" much more because I wasn't watching for zingers, but examined how the study group was reacting to one another. Seeing how these individuals view and relate to one another was more interesting than the actual story or jokes. The ending was also a nice touch, and I'm glad that the writers are developing Troy's character.


The Vampire Diaries: "Katerina"
This week's Vampire Diaries was in the vein of "Memory Lane" because we learned a lot more about Katherine's backstory with very of the action that has been jam packed into recent episodes. That being said, it was still a very entertaining episode. Not only did we get some important information about Katherine's association with the Originals and Rose, but we also learned what her motivations are and what she needs to do to break the curse. On top of that we were introduced to even more characters, and we're in for an even twistier plot down the line. While the exposition was interesting, my favorite parts had to do with Stefan and Caroline because I think they have great chemistry. What can I say, I'm a sucker for Stefan/Caroline moments.


The Big Bang Theory: "The 21-Second Excitation"
In my opinion, Big Bang was been on a downward trend since Season 3 and it doesn't look like things are going to get better any time soon. This week, Sheldon got in some funny lines but that was about it. The whole Indiana Jones/Wil Wheaton storyline was boring, as was the girl's night B-plot but it was also uncomfortable. "The 21-Second Excitation" was just another sub-par outing from a once funny show. I have a feeling BBT is going to join Bones on my list of shows I'll still watch out of habit, but will not waste anymore time on.


Nikita: "One Way"
Speaking of backstory, we also had the chance to learn a little more about Michael thanks to this week's Nikita. While all of the stuff that involved Michael's family was a little cliché, it was nice seeing what led him to where he is today. I'm sure there are plenty of fans out there who were excited to see Nikita and Michael working together, which was neat but I don't watch this show for the "romance". Seeing Nikita betray Michael's trust and widening the chasm between them was heart wrenching though. The Alex B-plot, her evading being busted by Division, could have been really tense but it fell a little short. I never felt she was in any real danger, but I do hope they show her having to maintain her cover in the future. "One Way" was a good episode that expanded the Nikita universe, but was lacking some of the punch from earlier chapters.


Supernatural: "All Dogs Go to Heaven"
At first, I wasn't too jazzed about this episode of Supernatural because werewolves (skin walkers in this case) are starting to bore me, but the story changed gears and became pretty interesting. The monster of the week plot had to do with a sleeper cell of shapeshifters who posed as family dogs and would turn on their owners to create even more skin walkers. Things took a creepy turn when we saw one of the shifters, Lucky, jumped in bed with his female owner and started licking her. Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) continued to have the Winchesters do his dirty work by collecting alpha creatures in order for Sam to get his soul back. I'm still not sure why Crowley wants them, but I'm always for Sheppard being on my TV.  Also, I'm not sure if I want Sam to get his soul back because he's been a lot more interesting without it. As a stand alone episode, "All Dogs" was decent one-liners from Sam of all people, but I'm more interested to find out what Crowley's up to.


NOTES: Bones has officially made my skip it list, and No Ordinary Family will probably be joining it as well. I still haven't watched the last two NOF episodes, and to be honest I don't have any desire to. I might catch up some time down the road, but I'm OK with not knowing about what's going on with the Powells.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail