May 23, 2011

TV Report Card: Week of May 15, 2011

It was a busy TV week with Upfronts and finales, so I'll try to make this TV Report Card somewhat coherent:

Chuck: "Chuck vs. The Cliffhanger"
If NBC had not picked up Chuck for a fifth and final season, I think "Chuck vs. The Cliffhanger" would have been a decent series finale, but I am glad that we're getting more of this show because this episode rejuvenated what was a mediocre to good season. Chuck's mission to save Sarah's life was exciting even if it was predictable, and there were some good payoffs for the whole Volkoff arc in spite of Vivian. Even the ending was a great set up for what will be a fun Season 5, but I'm not 100% on board with the twist at the very end. We'll have to see how that works out.


How I Met Your Mother: "Challenge Accepted"
In a lot of ways, "Challenge Accepted" was an appropriate finale for Season 6 of HIMYM because it had almost every element of the show that I dislike: running jokes that weren't funny, Barney & Robin, Zoey, pathetic Ted, and Lily. Since this season was one of the show's worst, having another bad episode was a fitting end. I would've liked Barney's reconnection with Nora if it hadn't been for RoBar being shoved down our throats, which made the cliffhanger ending even more annoying. I no longer care about Ted, so see him be all conflicted about Zoey was a bore, and Marshall and Lily (as a couple) haven't been entertaining in quite a while. Don't get me started on the psych out. It's like the show runners hate their fans. Such a disappointment...


Castle: "Knockout"
After what felt like an eternity, Castle finally went back to the mystery around Beckett's mother and her death, and boy did they want to shake things up. I won't go all spoilery, but the big twist shouldn't have been too shocking to those paying attention since they foreshadowed the fate of a character a few episodes back. Twists and turns aside, "Knockout" wasn't groundbreaking story-wise, but it had some great character moments. Rick and Kate finally talking about their relationship, Javy and Kevin fighting like brothers, and everything that involved Captain Montgomery were enthralling. Good stuff all around.


Glee: "Funeral"
The penultimate episode of Glee's second season was almost as frustrating as last seasons, but in a more positive way. The big death ended up being Sue's sister, which really didn't have a huge impact on the greater story, but it was another attempt to humanize Sue, which I'm on board with if they don't revert back to making her a cartoon character next year. The B-plot about Jesse's role as New Directions' consultant was great, but should have been a part of a different episode. I would've preferred if Will and Finn's minor plots had been beefed up to go with Sue's sister. Oh well.


Modern Family: "See You Next Fall"
We got one of those rare episodes of Modern Family where everyone was together for Alex's middle school graduation, and it was proof that this show works best as a true ensemble. Some of the physical humor (Cam falling down and running into things) got old fast, and it was a reminder that Mitchell's not a nice person, which was kind of a letdown since Cam's such a nice guy. The Dunphys once again stole the show though, as seeing Phil and Claire deal with their children growing up had a good mix of humor, heart, and slapstick. One of the best developments this year has been the growing relationship between Haley and Alex, and I'm excited to see more of their bond. Luke moving things with his mind doesn't hurt either. Jay's botox could've been scrapped, but he had to do something.


Cougar Town: "Free Fallin'"
Maybe it was the long break between fall and spring, but Cougar Town has not been at the top of its game since coming back, with the exception of last week's "Damaged by Love". "Free Fallin'" was probably my least favorite episode of the season, if not the series, because it took Jules and Travis' relationship to an even ickier place than it already was, and even the Penny Can and Children of the Chalk stories fell flat after a few initial laughs. For some reason this show hasn't been bringing the laughs like it used to, or maybe I've just outgrown it.


Supernatural: "Let It Bleed" and "The Man Who Knew Too Much"
I haven't been to enamored with Season 6 of Supernatural because it felt like more of the same at the start of the year. It did pick up towards the middle and end, and getting more information on Castiel's involvement in the War for Heaven was by far more interesting than the Eve arc. Part 1 was the weaker of the two because I stopped caring about Lisa and Ben a while ago, but the scenes between Dean and Cas were killer. Part 2 was where things got interesting as we saw what Cas was willing to do to win the War, and I'm genuinely interested to see how he'll adapt to his new role and how it was affect his relationship with the Winchesters.


With most of my shows done for the season, I don't think I'll be putting together TV Report Card this week. I might bring back a Summer School Edition once cable takes over, but we'll see. It was a fun season, even if not all the shows brought their A-games, and I'm excited for next fall.


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