March 5, 2012

TV Report Card: Week of February 26, 2012

I know that I said I was going to take the week off, but I couldn't help myself. This edition of the TV Report is probably going to be short and sweet. I apologize in advance.

The Walking Dead: "18 Miles Out"
What Worked: The showdown between Rick and Shane was a good example of the show working off of the tension that's been built up, so pretty much enjoyed everything at the school. Plus, it made the same old argument, what's the right thing to do in this new world, feel interesting and fresh. Let's just hope this show can keep the momentum going.

What Didn't Work:
Everything that took place back on the farm. Lori vs. Andrea was out of nowhere and archaic. Did't care about suicide girl. I still don't understand why the writers are trying to make short-haired lady and Daryl happen, or why they want us to take her seriously at this point.


How I Met Your Mother: "Karma"
What Worked: The only thing that I enjoyed about this episode was the last minute reveal when Ted decided to give the apartment to Marshall and Lily. I don't know where the writers are going to go from here, but it was the right amount of sweet and sad.

What Didn't Work: Everything else. I thought that Barney getting swindled by Quinn/Karma made zero sense and was an instance of sacrificing character for jokes. Also, I hate everything that took place on Long Island, which is sad because I used to love Marshall and Robin. Have I mentioned lately how much I dislike Lily? Well, I really dislike her ... a lot.


Being Human: "The Ties That Bind"
What Worked: It was nice seeing Aidan and Josh together even if it was because they were pitted against one another thanks to the twins and Nora. This show still works best when it focuses on the roommates and leaves all of the outlying drama behind. It also signified a possible shift in their relationship, which could be interesting.

What Didn't Work: Sally's plot was not as strong as the others' mostly because she hasn't had a solid arc this season. She's gone from having friends, to wanting to be reincarnated, to being a possession addict, to dealing with her dead mom's affair, and now facing the reaper. Individually, all of those plot threads work, but they don't add up to a consistent story.


Castle: "Once Upon a Crime"
What Worked: It looks like ABC's really committing to the fairytale gimmick since Castle incorporated Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty into the Case of the Week. For the most it worked because this show's better when it's light and a little silly, and of course it all fueled some cute moments involving Castle and Beckett.

What Didn't Work: Like most episodes, the actual case was a bit of a snooze once the bells and whistles are stripped away. This time around it involved a hit and run accident that turned into a murder plot/blackmail operation, and of course the perp was once of the princesses in danger. Yawn.


Smash: "The Cost of Art"
What Worked: Honestly, I did not like anything about this episode which is odd because I can usually pick out something I liked, but not this time. I should take this as a sign. Well, I take that back. I'm still somewhat interested in Eileen's money troubles, but the fact that it's tied back to her divorce is a bore.

What Didn't Work: Everything. I didn't appreciate how they turned Ivy into the stereotypical diva, I hated it when those who used to torment Karen became her new friends (it was almost Sebastian levels of whiplash), the only thing I care less than Julia's adoption issues is her stupid affair with what's his name. Nick Jonas? Seriously?


Cougar Town: "Lover's Touch"
What Worked: Nothing. I don't remember laughing once during this episode, and I even tried to remind myself why I liked this show to begin with.

What Didn't Work: Everything. It was another reminder of how much I hate Jules, and how I will never come around to liking her. Her overly protective mother bit's been played out, and she grates on my nerves everything she pulls it out. Dominance ball was a dud, Travis wearing a helmet's not funny, and Andy stalking Grayson's just creepy. This show's amped up the craziness way too high to the point of distraction and diminishing returns.


Justified: "The Man Behind the Curtain"
What Worked: This was the episode of Justified that I've been waiting for all season. We finally learned a little bit more about Robert Quarles, and he became more of a character and less of a caricature during this one. Now, I can see why he should be feared instead of laughed at. I also liked the growing tension between Boyd and Limehouse, Quarles buying the sheriff and the idea of Raylan being painted as a dirty cop.

What Didn't Work: Really, this episode was pretty solid. If I had to nit-pick, I'd say that I wish Quarles' issues stemmed from something besides jealously and an inferiority complex, but he's still more interesting now than he was before. Bringing back Winona's ex was also a bit of a stretch, but I'll go with it.


Modern Family: "Leap Day"
What Worked: This is going to sound like a broken record, but I thought the only storyline that was funny was the Dunphys'. Sure, having Phil freak out about the fact that all the women in his life were monster-ating was a bit cliche and insensitive, but it was also responsible for the majority of the laughs.

What Didn't Work: Leap Day itself. I'm so tired of a character being a Leap Day Baby because it's not original and only an excuse for them to get a childlike birthday party (see last week's Parks and Recreation for another example). It didn't help that it was Cam's birthday which meant he had another reason to be immature and petty. I don't even remember what Jay and Gloria did during this episode, but I'm sure it wasn't very amusing.


Happy Endings: "Cocktails & Dreams"
What Worked: This episode was firing on ally cylinders. The idea of the gang having sex dreams about Dave was the gift that kept on giving. What was even better was how they teased a possible Penny/Dave pairing. Sure, this show doesn't need "will they, won't they" to be successful, but I like the idea of this couple. Also, Alex's cleanse could've been a throw away plotline, but Elisha Cuthbert made it work.

What Didn't Work: My only complaint has to do with Max. We all knew James Wolk wasn't going to be around for that long, so Grant had to be written out somehow. I was just a little irked that they went with the tired "we want different things" excuse. It did give Max some growth, but it's been done so many times before that it's lost all meaning.


30 Rock: "Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whisky"
What Worked: What surprised me was how much I liked the Jenna/Tracy story. Since I'm not the biggest Jenna fan, I can only take her in small doses, so I should've hated it, but I appreciated how it spoofed police procedurals. Another shocker was the fact that I didn't hate the Jack/Kenneth story either. I wouldn't say it was the best part of the episode, but I didn't hate it.

What Didn't Work: Having Liz and Frank pretend to be dating was lazy and unfunny. I didn't like the idea of Frank dating his old teacher when it was first introduced, and I liked it even less this time around. It sucked that Liz had to be dragged into it because it meant she had less time to interact with Jack, but I guess changing things up isn't a horrible idea. Too bad this one was.


Archer: "Crossing Over"
What Worked: The idea of Archer and Pam hooking up's so out there that it had to work. Having them sleep together was not only funny, but it also added some depth to their characters which is always a good thing. I don't think these two need to be an item or anything, but hopefully their liaisons will be a running joke throughout the show's run.

What Didn't Work: The story about Bionic Barry taking over the KGB and Jakov defecting gave this episode an oddly serious tone that didn't mesh well with the Sterling/Pam zaniness. While I think both plots were interwoven fairly effectively, I just didn't care for this one as much as the former.


Grimm: "Three Coins in a Fuchsbau"
What Worked: Grimm's always need the serialized components to fully work, so I was happy that it revisited Captain Renard's ties to the fairytale world without giving too much away. Ditto for Nick's backstory. I'm also a fan whenever Titus Welliver shows up on my screen, so I'm hoping we haven't seen the last of his character.

What Didn't Work: Not enough Monroe. When are the writers going to realize that he's the breakout character, and that most fans only want to see him and Nick interact? This whole "leave him off-screen until we're 30 minutes in" junk needs to stop. Also, that lost shot of Hitler morphing into a creature was silly even by this show's standards.


Spartacus: Vengeance: "Chosen Path"
What Worked: We got a lot of good character moments during "Chosen Path." While it was hard to watch Naevia relive what happened to her in the mines, her flashbacks did give her character some development as well as Crixus'. We didn't learn much about Spartacus or Gannicus, but having them face off was also a fine moment. Glaber and Ashur's slide into evil was unnerving but intriguing.

What Didn't Work: Not enough action for my liking. Now, this show doesn't need to be non-stop fight scenes, but I felt the lack of action caused the episode to stop in its tracks and diverted it from the main story arc. In some ways, this episode seemed like it was restarting the narrative which was a little jarring.


NOTE: I missed another episode of Lost Girl, so I left it off of the Report Card. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back on track soon, but I wouldn't be shocked if it stays on the bench for now like Supernatural.


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