March 27, 2011

TV Report Card: Week of March 20, 2011

Here is this week's TV Report Card:

Breakout Kings: "The Bag Man"
I didn't watch Prison Break, so I wasn't familiar with T-Bag, but he did make for an interesting bad guy on Breakout Kings. That being said, the novelty of the show is starting to wear thin since it's too dark for my tastes, and hasn't broken free of the traditional procedural tropes. I'll be giving Breakout Kings one or two more chances, but it's not looking good. GRADE: C+

Chuck: "Chuck vs. The Muuurder"
Like last week's "A-Team", this episode of Chuck showed a lot of promise but didn't follow through. I thought the idea of Chuck mentoring a new Intersect could have been a great plot line to take us through the rest of the season, but it was quickly dropped for the Volkoff arc. While I don't mind the Volkoff storyline, it's starting to get stale, and I'm more concerned about how the show is going to wrap up its legacy rather than a season long plot line. GRADE: B-

How I Met Your Mother: "Legendaddy"
This week's HIMYM was a big deal because we got to meet Barney's father, played by John Lithgow, and boy did it not disappoint. First off, Lithgow was great as Jerry and a good addition to the cast, but NPH hit it out of the park. I know that there are some fans out there that want Barney to stay as a one-dimensional cad, but I'm loving his evolution as a character, and I'm excited to see where we go from here. If NPH doesn't win an Emmy after "Legendaddy", then there's no justice. Plain and simple. GRADE: A

Castle: "One Life to Lose"
After a somewhat griping two-parter, Castle was back to its old self with another Case of the Week that explored the soap opera world and shippers, which led to some fun moments. Seeing Castle needle Beckett about her love of soaps was cute, and his name for Esposito and Lanie (Esplanie) was classic. Unfortunately, the case wasn't all that interesting and we really didn't get much in terms of Caskett. Every episode doesn't have to focus on their WTWT, but it is the selling point, and I was expecting more of it this time around. GRADE: C+

Hawaii Five-0: "Ne Me'e Laua Na Paio"
The main case about the death of a comic convention attendee wasn't all that interesting, but getting more information about the murder of McGarret's father was a good way to come back from hiatus. Seeing Alex Mack (Larisa Oleynik) was a nice surprise, and I hope she'll be sticking around for a few more episodes. My only real gripe is it seems like they're going to pair up Danno and Kono, which just seems lazy. GRADE: C+

Modern Family: "Boys' Night"
After a few weeks off, Modern Family came back with a vengeance, and "Boys' Night" was one of the stronger episodes of Season 2. The definite highlights had to do with Jay hanging out with Mitchell and his friends, and it didn't hurt that Gloria and Manny were barely in the episode. I do think they missed a great opportunity with Haley and Cam, but the Phil/Claire/Luke/Mr. Kleezak story picked up the slack. GRADE: B+

Community: "Critical Film Studies"
While I don't usually agree that Community is the greatest show on TV today, I do have to admit that it can be the most ambitious when it's not resting on its pop culture laurels. Focusing an entire episode on an obscure movie like My Dinner with Andre while sidelining the better known Pulp Fiction was a ballsy move, and luckily the show pulled it off brilliantly. "Critical Film Studies" was the show at its best because it was character driven, bittersweet, but still funny. Not many sitcoms can pull that combination off. GRADE: A

30 Rock: "Plan B"
The NBC comedies were on fire this week as 30 Rock also gave us one of the better episodes of the season. I'm a big fan of the show when it focuses mostly on Liz and Jack and less on the supporting characters, which was what "Plan B" did in spades. Not only did we get some great moments from the two (as well as from Will Arnett and Aaron Sorkin), but their storylines were also timely and effective. Good stuff from the 30 Rock crew. GRADE: B+

NOTE: Since most of my shows are going to be in repeats over the next couple of weeks, the TV Report Card will also be on hiatus.


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