November 28, 2011

TV Report Card: Week of November 20, 2011

Sorry for the delay, but Thanksgiving cut into my TV watching schedule, so I wasn't able to jot down my thoughts on all of my shows until after the holiday weekend. Without further ado, here is this week's TV Report Card:

The Walking Dead: "Secrets"
"Secrets" wanted to show the audience that there was a lot of interesting moments going on between the characters, but unfortunately the writers haven't developed them to make me care about all of the interactions that were thrown at us during this episode. Now, "Secrets" wasn't bad, but so much happened that I wasn't invested in and we need more than secrets to cause the dramatic moments. Lori's pregnancy and debate with Rick about bringing a life into this world should be thought-provoking, but it ended up being tedious to sit through. That being said, I'm glad they took a page out of Homeland's playbook and just talked about her relationship with Shane. Speaking of Shane, I'm glad he finally hooked up with Andrea, now let's get on with it. The main bright spot had to be Glenn as he started to learn that he's capable of more. Again, "Secrets" wasn't necessarily bad, but too much talking from characters that still don't feel fleshed out cannot beat the tension of a good zombie herd.


Homeland: "Achilles Heel"
Homeland was bound to have an off episode, and "Achilles Heel" was that episode. Now, I wouldn't say that it was bad, but not on par with previous installments, and one of the show's strengths was also one of its weaknesses this time around. What Homeland has done so well up to this point was developing these characters and their relationships, but everything that involved Saul didn't quite work in my opinion. I don't know why I should care about his marriage and focusing so much time on his personal life caused the episode to lose some momentum. There were also some story points that were introduced that made my head scratch (like Brody's possible run for office). "Achilles Heel" did have some bright spots though, the scenes between Carrie and Walker's wife were good, and we got the most action to date. The jury's still out on the twist at the end, but I believe that it could still have a good and believable payoff if written correctly. We'll just have to see how things play out.


How I Met Your Mother: "The Rebound Girl"
I really wanted to stick with How I Met Your Mother for the long haul, but I don't know if I'll be able to after "The Rebound Girl" because it has tested my patience for the last time. On paper, it should have been one of the show's better episodes, and it was for the most part. I'm always a fan of two straight dudes acting like a couple, so I liked most of the bro-parents story even if it was outlandish. Even Marshall and Lily's plot about them moving to Long Island was decent, although they need to make up their minds sooner than later. The only weak link was Robin. Her hissy fit was excruciating to sit through and further proof that the writers hate her character, but what was even more insulting was the big twist at the end. Last week's episode killed any chances that I'll ever care about Robin and Barney, and "The Rebound Girl" was the first shovel-full of dirt on this horrible ship's coffin. The writers may salvage it, but I've been jerked around by them too much to have any faith at this point. It's just too bad that I can't quit this show.


2 Broke Girls: "And The Very Christmas Thanksgiving"
I'm sure people reading my thoughts on 2 Broke Girls are getting frustrated with me in the same way that I'm frustrated with this show, meaning that it's pretty much the same thing week after week. "And The Very Christmas Thanksgiving" did give the audience more character development for Max and Caroline, but at this point I don't know how much I care about them, so it kind of fell on deaf ears. I still think that the humor is too low brow ("crotch-less" was this week's buzz word, and didn't I call a period joke was on its way,) and the acting's still problematic (Dennings still telegraphs her jokes and Behrs acts like she's in a TV show,) but the leads have chemistry (and I'm seeing the lesbian vibes people keep talking about) so there's some upside. I just don't know if I'll be around when this show realizes its potential.


Castle: "Kill Shot"
Every season, Castle tries to veer away from its good-humored nature and goes dark for a few episodes, and usually those they involve Kate. So what that being said, cue "Kill Shot" which was a look at ho Beckett's been handling (or avoiding) the fall out from her near death experience. Stana Katic was amazing in the episode, there were some amazing moments between Kate and Javy, and for the first time in a while I was interested in the Case-of-the-Week. The only part of "Kill Shot" that I wasn't feeling was the direction because it looked and felt overproduced which became distracting, but that's a minor quibble. Overall, it was a solid episode for Kate and I'm happy to see that we're going to be seeing some forward movement for the character. I do see a romance with Castle in the near future, but at least we're going somewhere.


Sons of Anarchy: "Burnt and Purged Away"
While "Burnt and Purged Away" was not as overstuffed as "Call of Duty," it still had too much going on and not all of it flowed with the stories that I cared about. I'm still not seeing the purpose of Wendy, Charming Heights, or the fact that the Irish are selling babies, but I was engrossed by everything that revolved around Opie, Juice, and Otto. I'm not as concerned about where this season could end up, I think the show can still be successful if Clay somehow survives it all, and "Burnt and Purged Away" did its job of getting me amped for the 2-part season finale, so it was a successful episode in that regard.


Up All Night: "Week Off"
I think I may be close to giving up on Up All Night. "Week Off" should have been a good episode because it continued the trek towards making Ava a real character, and it was successful to some extent, but it was at the expense of Reagan and Chris. I'll admit that I cannot relate to much of this show's humor. Since I'm not married and childless, the tension between Reagan and Chris did not resonate. I'm sure this kind of argument occurs between couples on a daily basis, but since I do not share my space with anyone, I cannot empathize. That being said, Chris admitting that his identity has shifted from being a career oriented Atticus Finch to a stay-at-home dad was a sweet moment that saved this episode. Unfortunately, Reagan was not redeemed and her antics almost reached shrew levels. I get that being organized and functional is part of her character, but there's a limit to her anal retentiveness.


Modern Family: "Punkin Chunkin"
I'm trying to figure out what the point of having the guy from Book of Mormon show up besides just being a plot device. Sure, sometimes characters and/or situations are introduced just to kick off the action, but this one felt like a wasted opportunity. The episode itself was somewhat successful because holidays are perfect fodder for family sitcoms, and Cam's pumpkin chucking story becoming a debate that challenged the roles and relationships of these characters was novel but also very cliched. Opposites attract, we get it already. Worn out themes aside, "Punkin Chunkin" did have some funny moments ("Dreamers versus Pritchetts!) that cut some of the saccharine ones.


Happy Endings: "Full Court Dress"
After I shouted about the greatness of Happy Endings from the rooftops last week, it followed up the great "The Code War" with a less than stellar installment. "Full Court Dress" still brought the funny, but a lot of the jokes didn't land, and the laughs were not as constant like they were during previous episodes. Jane and Alex's plot about the dress was the highlight because Eliza Coupe and Elisha Cuthbert work well together, and the Max/Penny babysitting story had its moments too. Unfortunately, Brad and Dave were brought down by Rob Riggle's over-the-top mailman routine which wasn't all that funny. Every show is bound to have a few misses, but I hope that this does not become a routine for Happy Endings because I want it to be the great show that I know it can be.


From the looks of it, this upcoming week will also be light on new episodes, so I may or may not put together a Report Card. It'll depend on whether anything note-worthy happens.


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