May 22, 2012

TV Report Card: Week of May 13, 2012

Sorry for the delay, but upfronts took up most of my time over the last couple of days. Again, apologies. Without any further ado, here's the TV Report Card for the week of May 13, 2012:

Sherlock: "The Hounds of Baskerville"
What Worked: Watching the back and forth between Sherlock and Watson will always be a major draw for me, which is good since the rest of the episode wasn't up to the show's higher levels. I'll say that the story could have been more interesting had the run time been shorter, but that's not going to change anytime soon.

What Didn't Work: See above. "Bakersville" was an example of why the runt time's problematic because the story had to stall a few times in order for it to fit the entire hour and a half. Had it been trimmed down to a more manageable hour, it would have been more effective. Sometimes less really is more.


How I Met Your Mother: "The Magician's Code, Part 1"
What Worked: Not a damn thing. I didn't laugh once during the entire episode. Well, I take that back because I thought that Barney's words to the bus driver about Marshal that convinced all of the old people to fake heart attacks was a nice touch.

What Didn't Work: Everything, but what really irked me the most: Robin treating Lily like she was a horse, Lily, Marshal's drunk routine, the contrieved nature of Marshal not being there for the birth of his child just to show up in the nick of time, Barney's stupid nickname for the baby, Robin bringing up Victoria.


How I Met Your Mother: "The Magician's Code, Part 2"
What Worked: Barney's elaborate scheme at the airport which turned into a way for him to propose to Quinn was wacky and sweet...

What Didn't Work: It's just too bad he ended up getting married to Robin which was by far the worst kept secret in the history of television, not to mention one of the most annoying. While I knew that Robin was going to be the bride, it didn't make it less aggravating due to the sheer sloppiness and laziness involved. Don't even get me started on the contempt that Bays and Thomas have for the viewers.


Smash: "Bombshell"
What Worked: Once again, I found myself actually liking the parts of the episode that dealt with putting on the show, and I didn't end up hating this one as much as I expected to. Another shocker: I'm still liking the idea of Derek and Karen since he's the only one who's able to make her interesting at all.

What Didn't Work: Anything and everything that had nothing to do with the musical and/or Derek and Karen was a chore to sit through, and I'm really hoping that Season 2 is radically different because I don't think I'll even be able to hate-watch it if it's not.


Glee: "Props"
What Worked: After a string of sub-par episodes, "Props" felt like the beginning of a resurgence for Glee. I really enjoyed getting some closure on Beiste's troubled home life and how it was used to help underline some of the character development that we've seen from Puck over the last couple of weeks. I even liked the whole body-swap gimmick because it wasn't over used and a lot of fun.

What Didn't Work: For a Tina-centric episode, this one did her no favors because she really wasn't allowed to grow and ended up being a supporting character in her own story thanks to Rachel once again overtaking the story. While I was glad that Tina got some screen time, it was a wasted opportunity since nothing really changed when it was all said and done.


Glee: "Nationals"
What Worked: There was not a lot of story to get away of the performances, which was fine since it was a competition episode, and for the first time in a long time I actually liked every performance. I thought New Directions had a fun set list, as did Vocal Adrenaline. I also thought this episode did a good job at starting the redemption process for Will and Sue.

What Didn't Work: I hated the fact that Emma decided that her first time should be Will's reward for winning a singing competition. To be clear, I have no problem with her sleeping with Will prior to their nuptials, but if she was going to hold on for so long, why not wait just a little bit longer? Sure, that may sound like I'm making sex out to be more than it is, but it should be somewhat important and not a misguided prop. Other than that, "Nationals" was a very strong episode.


Modern Family: "Tableau Vivant"
What Worked: Not much. Usually, I like it when the cast gets mixed up for a bit, so I should've enjoyed watching Phil and Mitch interact or even Cam and Claire, but most of those scenes fell flat. Even the dependable combo of Luke and Manny didn't work.

What Didn't Work: By far the worst part of this episode was Gloria getting jealous over Jay's bond with the random waitress. I understood why she reacted the way she did, but it all felt extremely fake and something we should have learned about her character a few seasons ago. For some reason, now pointing out that she has insecurities felt hollow. Oh, and I don't want to forget to share my extremely dislike for Lily. Now that Happy Endings and Apt. 23 will no longer be aired on Wednesdays, I might be saying goodbye to Modern Family once and for all.


Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23: "It's Just Sex"
What Worked: Watching James Van Der Beek navigate his way back to fame will always be funny, so I got a big kick out of his Dancing with the Stars shtick and the fact that he and Chloe have a sex tape which could be the key to his resurgence. What was even better was the fact that we learned how they've grown to care about one another and have become real friends. I even liked how Chloe and June are rubbing off on one another.

What Didn't Work: Nothing comes to mind, but I'm sure the creepy neighbor said or did something that was extremely off-putting which led to me blocking out his scenes altogether.


Community: "Digital Estate Planning"
What Worked: Only Community could pull off an episode that mostly took place inside of an old-school, 8-bit video game. "Digital Estate Planning" was the perfect example of the kind of high concept episodes that have become Community's calling card, and it was a whole lot of fun to watch.

What Didn't Work: The story itself was pretty weak. It had nothing to do with the larger arc about Chang taking over the school, and it introduced us to a brand new character who ended up being Pierce's illegitimate half-brother, yet no one questioned him about it. While "Estate Planning" was fun, it didn't add much to the bigger picture.


Community: "The First Chang Dynasty"
What Worked: I'll say it again; I'm a sucker for heists, so I was immediately won over by the fact that the Greendale 7 planned an elaborate one in order to save Dean Pelton from Chang. It was just a perfect spoof on movies like Ocean's Eleven. Oh, and let's not forget Britta dressed up like a goth babydoll.

What Didn't Work: Any episode that features too much Chang automatically gets docked a few points, which really isn't fair since this one wouldn't have worked without him, but he's such an annoying character that I would've preferred a mediocre episode without him than a good one with him.


Community: "Introduction to Finality"
What Worked: "Finality" would have been a decent series finale, and I would've been glad that Community got picked up for another season, but Sony not renewing Dan Harmon's contract thus removing him as showrunner changed things up a bit. While I'm glad to be getting new episodes, part of me wonders why NBC and Sony didn't just cancel Community instead of bringing it back just to rip out its heart and soul.

What Didn't Work: It was a pretty solid episode all around, and I can't think of anything that I disliked about it. I guess I was a little irked by how clingy Britta was with Troy, but that's really only a minor quibble because she was somehow able to remain cute.


Nikita: "Homecoming"
What Worked: This was a pretty good episode from Nikita with the right amount of twists, turns and action. It was also a bold move to essentially reboot the entire story since Percy was taken out of the picture, especially since there was no guarantee that it would be coming back for a third season. Had this been the final episode of Nikita ever, I don't know if it would've been satisfying, but it was effective as a season ender.

What Didn't Work: I was seriously pissed off when Percy was killed off because he was by far the best villain the show had. What annoyed me even more was that brief glimpse of Amanda because it was a pretty clear indicator that she'll be next season's big bad despite the fact that she was one of the weakest links this year. The other weak links: Sean and Alex, and unfortunately it doesn't look like we're done with their stupid relationship anytime soon.


Grimm: "Woman in Black"
What Worked: I'm always a fan of when Grimm goes deeper into its mythology, and we got a lot of those elements during "Woman in Black." It also didn't hurt that we got a decent amount of Monroe as Nick tried to explain his double life to Juliette. And then there was the ending...

What Didn't Work: While we got a lot of mythology, we didn't get a lot of answers which I suppose is OK since we're getting a second season, but it didn't feel like anything was wrapped up. Instead we got more questions and misdirections. Also, I was a little bummed that Juliette wasn't killed off because she's been more of a liability this season, but oh well.


Since most shows have already had their season/series finales, this very well might be the last TV Report Card of the season. I might try to put together a Summer School version, but that'll depend on how many shows I watch over the next couple of months. Either way, I hope everyone enjoyed this silly little write-ups, and thanks for reading.


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