April 30, 2011

TV Report Card: Week of April 24, 2011

Sorry that it's taken so long to get this edition of the TV Report Card, but other things took priority over the last couple of days. Since this is coming out later than I'd like, I'm going to try to keep things moving:

Glee: "Born This Way"
Any episode was bound to be good after the somewhat average "Night of Neglect", and the super-sized "Born This Way" allowed the show to rebound nicely. It was able to move some of the more important story lines forward, and it laid the foundation for some interesting future plot points. Tackling image issues that teens face is not new territory for Glee, but the subject was still fresh thanks to Quinn vs. Lauren, and Santana. Rachel's nose job story felt a bit lazy, but it was fairly well executed. My only gripe with the episode was the added time, which didn't benefit the plot, and it gave the whole thing a bloated feeling. Had the writers used the extra minutes to clean up the narrative rather than add more singing, "Born This Way" would've been one of the best episodes of Season 2.


The Voice: "Blind Audition, Week 1"
It's no secret that I'm not a fan of most reality TV, but for some reason I'm a sucker for the singing and dancing variety (with the exception of American Idol). I was initially hesitant about NBC's The Voice, but it had enough big names and an intriguing concept to lure me towards the premiere. While, I cannot say The Voice is my new favorite show, I was entertained by the entire spectacle. The idea of having "coaches" instead of "judges" made everything feel fresh, and the four the show picked work due to their recognition and chemistry. Heck, I was more entertained by those signing during the Blind Auditions than by the handful of Idol performances I've checked out this season (Xenia and Javier are my early favorites). Since it airs right after Glee, I'm willing to give it a few more chances (sorry Raising Hope and Traffic Light).

Cougar Town: "You're Gonna Get It"
Like I mentioned earlier, Cougar Town's been a bit off since its return. I still find myself laughing at most of the jokes, but something's not quite clicking for me. This week's episode only had a handful of funny moments, mostly thanks to Bobby, Andy, and Travis. I couldn't muster any sympathy for Jules, and Laurie's Twitter joke ran out of juice fast. It was nice seeing Ellie and Grayson as a team though. I still think CT is a gem of a show, but it just needs to be polished.


Community: "Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts"
After last week's meta-heavy episode, Community gave us a more character-driven episode that worked for the most part. "Applied Anthropology" had some pretty funny jokes and some nice callbacks (Abed delivering a baby), but the actual birth of Shirley's baby was anti-climactic. First off, the writers really haven't given me a reason to care about Shirley this season, and her unplanned pregnancy (and the debate over the baby's daddy) felt tacked on because they didn't have anything better for her to do. Also, I'm not a fan of Chang, so having an episode that relied so heavily on him was bound to annoy me. Thankfully, the two side-stories (especially Jeff and Britta's) made up for the meaningless A-story.


Nikita: "Glass Houses"
For some reason, I haven't been feeling Nikita as of late. I think the show lost some of its charm once they took Alex out of Division, gave her a love interest, and started shoving Nikita and Michael down our throats. That being said, "Glass Houses" was pretty entertaining. It took the story back to its roots (Nikita saving/converting Division agents), while also staying true to the Black Box arc. It even made Nikita/Michael vaguely appealing despite the lack of chemistry between Maggie Q and Shane West. Also, having Amanda figure out that Alex's secret was a great way to kick off the last string of episodes.


30 Rock: "Everything Sunny All the Time Always"
This week's episode of 30 Rock was hit and miss for me. For the most part, I enjoyed Liz's story even though it really wasn't all that compelling but it did have its moments. For the first time in a while I wasn't won over by Jack's story, which just felt like a way for the show to get rid of Avery once and for all. Unfortunately, Tracy's return to TGS only highlighted how over the board crazy that place is with him around. Overall, "Everything Sunny" was a mediocre episode within a pretty strong season.


Supernatural: "Mommy Dearest"
The Winchesters are back from their trip to the Old West and are back on Eve's trail. "Mommy Dearest" itself was a pretty standard episode as the boys took on a new breed of demon (AKA Jefferson Starships), but things really didn't get interesting until the end. Apparently, Crowley was not killed and he's been secretly working with Castiel this entire time. I'm sure it has something to do with souls being an energy source, and Cass' War for Heaven, but colored me intrigued. I do feel that this War has been a wasted opportunity up to this point, but it does seem like things are finally going to get crazy.



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