April 16, 2011

TV Report Card: Week of April 10, 2011

So, after weeks of repeats and debuts of mediocre mid-season shows, most of the shows that I watch regularly came back, and to be honest a lot of them were just OK.

Breakout Kings: "Like Father, Like Son"
The Fugitive of the Week was a redneck, right-wing, nut job who wanted to take down the government who was also an explosives expert, and the Kings had to capture him before he took out a city block due to his mommy and daddy issues. While the actual bad guy was nothing more than a cliche that we've seen time and time again, this episode did have some interesting character moments that involved Lloyd.  Jimmi Simpson is by far the best aspect of this show, so getting to learn more about his character, and the teased relationship with Julianne is a nice little twist. Breakout Kings as a whole is starting to get a bit formulaic, but there are enough good performances (although Shea and Erica are still one-dimensional) to keep me around.


Chuck: "Chuck vs. The Family Volkoff"
After a few episodes that had good ideas, but lacked follow through, we got back to the whole Volkoff arc that permeated Season 4, and all I can really say is I'm glad Timothy Dalton was back. Watching Alexi Volkoff at his crazy brilliant best made up for the fact that his daughter turned out to be nothing more than a bad action movie trope. Having Vivian be the heiress to his evil empire just felt lazy, and took the air out of the sails. Also, the ill-conceived Ellie/Agent X plot and an unnecessary prenup that caused a speed bump on the Charah highway also brought the episode down a notch. While I'm not going to give up on Chuck completely, this episode was proof that the show is on its final leg and maybe NBC should pull the plug. Just saying.


How I Met Your Mother: "The Exploding Meatball Sub"
Speaking of being on a final leg, this week's HIMYM was an example of the show at its weakest. They threw out cringe-inducing attempts at adding to the pop culture vernacular (graduation goggles), Marshall going back to the idea of working for the NRDC and Lily not being honest with him about how that made her feel, Robin not being funny, Barney wasting too much time and effort on a weak prank, and Ted's unimportant relationship. Nothing in "Meatball Sub" was particularly funny, and it felt like the same old junk the show has been churning out for the past three seasons. After a few decent to good episodes, "Meatball Sub" was a big letdown.


Castle: "The Dead Pool"
This week Beckett and Castle took on a case about a dead swimmer which lead to a cover-up that involved steroids. As always, the case really didn't matter and it wasn't all that entertaining. It seems like Castle has finally figured out what it does well, but the thing is the show keeps doing the exact some thing over and over gain. To be honest, it's getting kind of boring. Fortunately, the sub-plot about Rick being jealous because Kate was hanging out with another writer made up for the yawn inducing mystery. The nod to Stephen Cannell during the poker game was a nice moment, and the final three minutes were also top notch. Castle is still better than most cop shows on TV, but it needs to shake things up before it gets too repetitive.


Modern Family: "The Musical Man"
Once again, only about a third of Modern Family made me laugh. You would think that watching Cam direct a middle school musical would be comic gold, but it only partially worked, which is more than I can say about Jay's worn out storyline. Oh, and I still don't know why so many people think that Gloria is so funny. None of her jokes landed, and I cannot remember the last time she said or did anything remotely amusing. Leave it to Phil being an accidental pimp and Luke being Luke to provide the chuckles. Also, I realized that the show has criminally underused Alex who could be the show's MVP if it gave her stuff to do. It's starting to get harder and harder to see why this show beat out Glee for the Emmy.


Community: "Competitive Wine Tasting"
One of Community's strengths (or weaknesses depending on who you ask) is its ability to be diverse when it comes to its subject matter and tone. One week you can get a pop culture farce, the next you can have a very dark episode, and then you could get a subdued outing that focuses on the characters and their relationships. "Competitive Wine Tasting" was a good mix of the first and last flavors. I was giddy that the show finally revisited the idea of a Troy and Britta pairing, and it's clear that the two (characters and actors) have chemistry. Even Jeff and Pierce's twisted relationship was interesting to watch. If anything, the pop culture heavy Abed storyline (all about "Who's the Boss?") was the weakest of the three because it didn't add much to the character or his relationships, and it felt like a way to give the great Stephen Tobolowsky something to do. Abed's stuff was still funny, but not as deep as the other plot threads.


Parks and Recreation: "Andy and April's Fancy Party"
Usually, I don't include Parks and Rec in my Report Cards mostly because I'm a casual watcher at best, so you know something has to be special about "Andy and April's Fancy Party". This week's episode had it all: a quirky but sweet wedding, great Ron "F-ing" Swanson one-liners, nice Leslie and Ben moments, and some big laughs. The only aspect of "Fancy Party" that really didn't click for me was Ann's attempt to flirt at a singles bar. Rashida Jones was great per usual, but it was hard for me to believe that she would have such a hard time talking to men since she's been in three major relationships during the show's run. While I still don't consider myself a fan of Parks, I definitely appreciate more after this episode.


Nikita: "Into the Dark"
Michael and Nikita are officially a couple...I think. All I know is they hooked up and Owen walked in on them which led to the Mission of the Week where they tracked down one of the Blackboxes. The typical love triangle (or quadrangle if you count that government guy) wasn't anything special, but there was some nice action to counteract the mediocrity of the main plot. That being said, I'm still interested to see if Michael is going to double Nikita in the end. Back at Division, Amanda's grilling of Alex was also just OK, but it didn't have any added punch like the Mikowen drama.


30 Rock: "I Heart Connecticut"
Tracy's attempt at hiding from the public eye finally came to an end as Liz and Kenneth went on a city wide search, and he was done in because she recognized her futon with its absence of sex stains. The whole man hunt started off strong, but kind of ran out of steam, but it was still a decent storyline. On the other end of the spectrum was Jack and Jenna's work on a Saw-like movie that was overtaken by product placement. The satire on the business end of the creative process was just as biting as ever, and it gave me the ability to watch Jenna with out cringing for once. Pete's fantasy about being an arm wrestling stud didn't work as well in my opinion, but it did have a nice twist.


Supernatural: "My Heart Will Go On"
Changing the events of the past and creating an alternate timeline is one of the top sci-fi gimmicks, so it isn't surprising that Supernatural went there. To be honest, I'm not sure if SPN has done all of this before, but having Sam, Dean, and Castiel deal with Fate because the Titanic never sank was more entertaining than it should've been. I was also glad that they went back to the season long arc, which is finally starting to get interesting. I still feel that Supernatural has been stale the last couple of episodes, but it looks like things are starting to look up.


NOTE: I'm three episodes behind on The Vampire Diaries, so I don't know when it'll be back on the TV Report Card.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail