December 4, 2010

TV Report Card: Week of November 28, 2010

With most shows on winter break, it was a pretty light TV watching week, so this TV Report Card will probably be slim.

The Walking Dead: "Wildfire"
AMC's biggest hit has been flirting with the idea of being LOST with zombies, and after "Wildfire" it was hard not to make the comparisons. Most of the episode dealt with the aftermath from the zombie attack on the camp, and we were given some of the most tense and heart-wrenching scenes yet (Andrea and her sister, leaving Jim behind), but the most interesting stuff had to do with the power struggle between Rick and Shane. This conflict was what really drove home the LOST parallels. Rick is Jack, Shane is Sawyer, Lori is Kate, Glenn is Hurley, Dale is Locke, so forth and so on. We even have someone isolated in lab doing fruitless experiments just like Desmond. To be fair, The Walking Dead is still it's own show, and a really good one at that, but it's way to easy to see the comparisons.


Chuck: "Chuck vs. the Leftovers"
Team Bartowski was back from their little trip to Thailand, and this time around they were back to dealing with Momma B and Valkoff. In a lot of ways "Leftovers" felt like an old episode of Chuck because they rehashed so many plot devices, but the major highlight was the return of Timothy Dalton as Valkoff. Last time, Dalton was a bumbling fool, but this week he was cold, calculating, and a little nuts. Add to the fact that he's head over heels in love with Chuck's mom, and you're in for an interesting ride. As always, the Buy More plot was lackluster even with a bevy of Die Hard references. "Leftovers" was the same old Chuck, but with enough shiny bits to make it a decent episode.


Glee: "Special Education"
After the first time I watched "Special Education" I was beyond frustrated because the episode had so many plot lines involved that it was a chore to keep up. By my count there was at least 5 stories going on at once on top of New Directions competing at sectionals. Some of the plots worked (Puck, Rachel/Kurt, Brittany/Artie), and some were a little stale (Will/Emma). Once I re-watched it though, I realized that "Special Education" was not half bad, and the good stuff heavily outweighed the bad. Plus, knowing what I was in for made the subsequent viewings more digestible. Having some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments (mostly coming from Puck) didn't hurt either. I was ready to give "Special Education" a grade in the C range, but since it got better the more I watched it, I decided to be an easy grader.


Friday Night Lights: "Kingdom"
Only about a third of "Kingdom" worked, but boy did it work really well. Coach Taylor's story was about a road game where the Lions were hell bent on making up for last season's forfeit. The football stuff had all been done before (I don't think Coach has ever led a game), but watching the teammates bond was amazingly good, and a great glimpse of the high school football culture. Most of the time, football is an after thought on FNL, which is fine since we have such great characters, but episodes like "Kingdom" really highlight what makes sports great: pride, teamwork, and community. Julie's arc continued to be awful, but at least she was called out at the end. Hopefully we're done with that story for a little while. Mrs. Coach was just shoehorned in to give Connie Britton something to do, and her empty nest routine was unnecessary. While Tami and Julie brought down "Kingdom", Eric and his Lions made this one of FNL's best episodes of the East Dillon Era.


The Vampire Diaries: "The Sacrifice"
TVD's return from an extended break was not as triumphant as I was expecting mostly because the stories that were told were either boring or frustrating. For example, Elena decided to sacrifice herself to Klaus to save her loved ones. It sounds like the noble thing to do, but Elena's character just came off of way too earnest and a little ungrateful, and of course her actions just mucked things up. I don't get why these two brothers keep fighting over her. I was oddly sucked in by Tyler and Caroline's story as they uncovered more about the Lockwood curse because it was nice to see them bond although I do not like the idea of them as a couple. Speaking of couples, the Bonnie/Jeremy UST was kicked into high gear as well. So, that makes three separate love triangles on the same show (four if you count the whole Katherine/Stefan/Damon baggage). That's way too much angsty relationship drama even for the CW, and Elena's "sacrifice" bored me to tears.


Community: "Mixology Certification"
I'm sure most hardcore Community fans hated "Mixology Certification" because it was a very different kind of episode. It's a good thing that I'm not one of them because I thought it was one of the best episodes of the series. Meta-references, pop culture jokes, and general craziness were traded in for character development and realistic feeling moments. "Mixology" was light on the laughs, but watching Troy grow up before our eyes was moving, and it made him one of my favorite characters on television. Some elements didn't hit the mark. Pierce and Shirley were once again useless, and the Jeff and Britta scenes wore thin after a while, but Troy, Abed, and Annie's stories were good enough to make the episode strong in my opinion. Community needs more episodes like "Mixology" and less like "Basic Rocket Science" to avoid turning the show into a live-action cartoon. It's too bad most fans prefer mindless movie quotes and reference humor to appreciate them.


Nikita: "Dark Matter"
This week's Nikita was a mixed bag. On one hand, we got some good Nikita/Owen moments as they teamed up to help rescue a CIA agent who was framed for the assassination of a foreign big wig after Owen leaked some Division footage. We also learned more about Nikita's motivation, and saw how vicious Percy can really be. All of that worked, but we also got a tacked on story about Alex and her rival that just wasn't interesting, and the promotion of Birkhoff had its moments but was nothing mind-blowing. "Dark Matter" was one of the weaker episodes of Nikita, but it wasn't horrible either.


Supernatural: "Caged Heat"
The Winchesters are still on their mission to get Sam his soul back, and "Caged Heat" was a good argument against them actually accomplishing said goal. For one, Sam was still more entertaining without his soul, that I'm liking the character more and more. Also, both Castiel and Crowley mentioned how returning his soul would be a bad idea since Luicifer's been toying with it this entire time. Of course, Dean doesn't care and wants things done his way. I swear, do these guys ever agree and/or get along? There was some more Purgatory and backstabbing elements tossed in, but the best moments of the night involved Castiel. Let's just say his best lines involved a pizza man. "Caged Heat" was entertaining because it had a lot of action, humor, and twists. Oh and Mark Sheppard and Misha Collins, so that's an automatic win in my book. I'm just getting tired of all of the bickering between Sam and Dean. Enough already.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail