February 27, 2012

TV Report Card: Week of February 19, 2012

Here is this week's TV Report Card:

The Walking Dead: "Triggerfinger"
It hasn't been a secret that Season 2 of The Walking Dead has had its share of ups and downs, but hopefully "Triggerfinger" will be the episode to get everything back on track. While I didn't care too much about what was going on back at the farm, the moment when Shane lied to Lori in order to convince her to return with him was an example of character that this show's been missing. Rick, Hershel and Glenn fighting off the others and walkers worked the most because it had a good amount of action and tension, but that final scene between Rick and Lori where they talked about Shane was tops. It's just too bad that everything that worked was surrounded by nonsense involving the other characters that I still don't care about, although there was some decent stuff between Glenn and Maggie.


How I Met Your Mother: "No Pressure"
At this point, I don't know what else I can say about How I Met Your Mother. I knew that the ending of "Drunk Train" was only going to be yet another swerve and more stalling, so I wasn't surprised by what happened during "No Pressure." While I'm still a Ted and Robin believer, I knew that they were not going to end up together, so I wasn't invested in the main storyline. Plus, it seemed like another episode that was supposed to highlight how Robin and Barney still care about one another, and since I don't care about them as a couple, it all felt like a waste of time. Also, I've disliked Lily for sometime now, but that bit about her and Marshall betting on Ted's lovelife, and how she tried to sabotage his happiness was the lowest of the low. She's by far the worst character on television, and there's no redeeming her after this episode. I just wish I wasn't so invested in this show so I could just walk away.


Being Human: "Mama Said There'd Be Decades Like These"
While I still like Being Human, Season 2 has been starting off a little too slow in my opinion, and "Mama Said" was probably one of my least favorite episodes of the bunch. Usually, I'm a fan of whatever Sally does, but I found myself being bored by her story because I couldn't muster much emotion for her mother, and I was disappointed that they went away from her possession addiction arc. I responded much better to Josh's situation and having him be indebted to the vampire cop could be interesting, but I could've done without the two detectives snooping around because they didn't add all that much. For the first time in a while, I cared about what was going on with Aidan, but I am getting tired of his sad-sack shtick. Every show's entitled to have a few missteps, so I'm not writing off Being Human, but it can't afford too many misses like "Mama Said."


Castle: "Linchpin"
I can't help but that that "Linchpin" was a wasted opportunity. While I mostly enjoyed the CIA/spy plotline of this season's two-part event, this episode was a misfire in my opinion. First off, as soon as Gage showed up, we all knew that Sophia was going to be involved, and having her end up being the bad guy was way too easy. I just felt that the writers shot themselves in the foot by having her be the one behind it all because I actually liked her, and I could've seen her showing up in future episodes. Instead, she was used in such a cliche way that came off as a little silly. Thankfully, the episode ended up a relatively high note, but we need to get past the little moments between Caskett sooner rather than later.


Smash: "Enter Mr. DiMaggio"
This was the episode that critics thought was so bad that some even asked viewers to skip it altogether, and I understood why after watching it. "DiMaggio" was a pretty bad hour of television from Karen's boring trip to Iowa, to Ellis AKA the most annoying character on all of television, to the continuation of Ivy's tryst with the British guy, to the reveal that Julia had an affair with the guy they wanted to play the male lead (who looks nothing like Joltin' Joe BTW). Overall, it was just a clcihed mess, but what I had the most issue with was the fact that it felt like the show was glamorizing infidelity. Now, I get that scandal's what drives a lot of these kind of shows, but I've never seen one so blatantly root for the main character to cheat on her husband. But apparently that's Broadway for you. Oh, and horrendous music didn't do the episode any favors either. Ugh.


Glee: "On My Way"
Well, Glee promised that everything was going to change after "On My Way," so at least they kind of followed through with that assertion. While I liked most of this episode, it did suffer from some pacing problems. It asked the audience that commit to two very emotional plotlines (Karofsky's attempted suicide and Quinn's possibly fatal accident), but they bookend an extremely lackluster regionals competition that had some of the worst music this show's ever produced. On top of that, the writers also wanted to squeeze in the Finchel wedding and Sue's pregnancy (what could be this show's worst idea ever). So, what ended up working was muddled by a lot of junk around it, and in hindsight the Karofsky and Quinn stuff should have been kept for a different episode altogether. Oh well. I liked what those two offered enough to keep me from disliking the episode altogether.


Cougar Town: "A Mind With a Heart of Its Own"
Season 3 of Cougar Town has not started off on the strongest foot, but I hope it can turn things around soon. One of the reasons why I'm not feeling CT so far has to do with the fact that the show has done nothing to make Jules likable, and I cannot stand watching her. Ditto for Ellie, so I could not stand their little spat about the maid of honor junk. Laurie was also somewhat problematic, but I enjoyed her when she was removed from the other two women and paired with Bobby and Andy. The C-plot about Grayson, Travis and Chick had its moments, but it wasn't enough to completely win me over. I still like Cougar Town for the most part, but Jules will also be a liability, which is a shame because she is the main character. I guess I'll just have to grin and bare it until it's finally canceled.


New Girl: "Bully"
Honestly, I don't know how I feel about this week's New Girl. I thought that everything that involved Schmidt and CeCe was pretty good, and I'm liking how their little relationship has evolved (but the idea of a Schmidt/Jess pairing has some short-term potential). Watching Schmidt try to do parkour will also be worth a few chuckles as well. On the flipside, the rivalry between Jess and one of her students fell a little flat (it also felt really out-of-place because I wouldn't expect someone like Jess to react the way she did), and Nick's self-sabotage was so telegraphed that it lacked any real emotion. It was also a minor let down that what little character development Winston got was stalled because they still don't know what to do with him, but at least he had a few gems throughout the ep. Like I've said before, they all can't be winners.


Justified: "When the Guns Come Out"
While I liked "When the Guns Come Out," it did have me scratching my head a little bit. For the life of me I couldn't understand why the writers would waste so much time on reconnecting Raylan and Winona just to break them up again. Sure, it showed how he's not going to change, but that's something we already knew, so why have us start caring about them. Also, why are they trying to make Charlie a bad guy? That move just felt like another stall tactic. Other than those minor issues, the rest of the episode was pretty good. I was glad that we got some more from Quarles and Limehouse even if they relegated to only a handful of scenes, and I'm still enjoying the new direction that the show's taking with Ava's character, but nothing could compare to that tense and electric scene between Raylan and Boyd. Just further proof of why Olyphant and Goggins were nominated for Emmys last year.


Modern Family: "Virgin Territory"
"Virgin Territory" was an example of Modern Family at its best and worst. Let's just get the bad stuff out of the way first. For the life of me, I cannot understand why this show would put two (three if you add Cam) of its most annoying characters, Claire and Gloria, in one storyline. Admittedly, I still somewhat fond of Claire, but her shrewness has been amped up this season, but I've always disliked Gloria, so having them bicker at one another was not entertaining. Plus, we're two-and-a-half seasons in, and Gloria's still trying to win Claire over? Like I mentioned, Cam was a weak link as well, but at least he wasn't directly interacting with the others. By far the best moments belonged to Phil and Haley, and I'm really enjoying their relationship. He needs to divorce Claire and move somewhere new with the kids. I'd probably love that show. Jay and Mitch were OK, but they're plot was tired. Another minor highlight was Manny and Luke, but I was glad that they didn't milk the scenes between them. In the end, it was your typical episode of Modern Family.


Happy Endings: "The Butterfly Effect Effect"
Last week's "Everybody Loves Grant," had me feeling very comfortable, but I think that's because I feel bad when outsiders are subjected to the HE firing squad because I don't mind it as much when they're mean to each other. For example, the idea of Dave and Penny manipulating Brad and Jane into having a fight just so they could reap the benefits should be repulsive, but it worked because it only affected the six main characters. Plus, it was responsible for a great fake fight, a somewhat entertaining real fight (complete with Eliza Coupe in her undies), and some great one-liners from Alex. Oh, and we cannot forget Bear Max which had to be one of the better sight gags of the entire television season. I've accepted the fact that these people are not nice, and that's why these hang-out comedies usually work (see Cougar Town and Friends); I just don't like it when others are subjected to their venom.


30 Rock: "Leap Day"
I'll admit it, I didn't get the appeal of "Leap Day." Sure, the idea of a holiday built around February 29 that Liz had no idea about may have sounded good on paper, but I didn't think the execution was all that great. It's not like Leap Day was all that new because it just riffed on other holiday traditions, and it didn't feel like anything was special. Also, I had a problem with the idea of Liz sleeping with that dude for money. It didn't feel in character, but Jenna's jealousy wasn't as grating as it could have been. I did like Jack realizing that he should spend more time with his daughter, and Jim Carrey making fun of himself was a nice little nod, but I thought Tracy's plot about using a giftcard before it expired and learning a valuable lesson seemed a little tacked on. Much like Cougar Town, I'm starting to rethink my allegiance to 30 Rock after a few duds this season.


Archer: "Bloody Ferlin"
What's better than an episode of FX's Archer? How about an episode of Archer that spoofs FX's Justified? Talk about corporate synergy. While "Bloody Ferlin" was not as strong as "Lo Scandalo," it was still pretty great because it wasn't a complete riff on Justified, rather an homage that assumed that you knew enough about the show or its genre. Regardless, watching Sterling, Ray and Carol visit rural West Virginia to help Gillette's drug dealing brother was classic Archer. The only minor speedbumps along the way had to do with what was going on back at ISIS. Lana and the gang covering for the others with Malory just fell a little bit short in my opinion, but it did uncover Kreiger's bum fights which could have some fun returns. "Bloody Ferlin" was just another solid offering from one of the better comedies on TV today.


Grimm: "Last Grimm Standing"
"Last Grimm Standing" was the episode that we've been waiting for. Not only did we get some good Nick and Eddie moments (not enough in my opinion, but whatever), but we got a little more information about Captain Renard and how he's connected to this underworld. Now honestly, we should have gotten some of this character development a few weeks ago to Grimm could've had more of a serialized edge to it, but it's better late than never, and I can honestly say that I'm interested to see where things go from here. As for the monster-of-the-week, the lion creatures weren't anything special, but I thought that idea of a fairy tale fight club was a nice touch and was a good appetizer for Spartacus.


Spartacus: Vengeance: "Libertus"
In a lot of ways, "Libertus" was a pretty standard episode of a show that revolves around war. It involved prisoners of war, their brothers going behind enemy lines to save them, a sense of camaraderie and loss. There was some big action scenes and smaller character driven ones, and overall the Spartacus A-plot was serviceable. What made "Libertus" special was the continued politicking and social manuvering that was going on above the ex-slaves' heads. I applauded the scene between Glaber and Ilithyia where they discussed their marital problems because that's something that other shows would've dragged out, and man was Viva Bianca great (as was Craig Parker), and I wonder what's going to happen now that they're stuck together. Who was also great? Ashur of course, who was somehow able to worm his way out of a predicament once again AND threw Lucretia under the bus. Drama!


NOTE: As you can see, Lost Girl was left off of the Report Card. I didn't have a chance to watch the episode, and I may add something down the road, but its absence will probably be a temporary thing (unlike 2 Broke Girls and possibly Cougar Town and/or 30 Rock).


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