October 7, 2012

TV Report Card: Week of September 30, 2012

I'm sorry for the abbreviated Report Card, but time got away from me this week.

Homeland: "The Smile"
Quick Thoughts: It's so good to have newly crowed Outstanding Drama Series back, and I really enjoyed the season 2 premiere. Sure, there were some contrivances such as Carrie's informant and Brody being able to do whatever he wanted in Estes' office, but the tension was taught and I didn't let those tiny snafus interfere with my enjoyment of the episode. Plus, shows like Homeland need the audience to suspend disbelief long enough to get caught up because I'm sure the day-to-day lives of spies and moles aren't all that interesting. On the flipside, I could see how some would be irked by what this episode did, but they need to get over themselves.


666 Park Avenue: "Pilot"
Quick Thoughts: You'd think a supernatural soap opera starring Terry O'Quinn as the Faustian owner of a haunted apartment building would be right up my alley, but unfortunately I was so bored by 666 Park Avenue that I almost gave up on it after one episode. I just didn't find any of the characters interesting, and the main woman was beyond wooden and dull that I couldn't see how she could carry this show for one episode let alone thirteen. I even found O'Quinn to be somewhat lackluster, and I've never liked Vanessa Williams so she wasn't enough to keep me interested. The only bright spot: Mercedes Masohn. Since I like to give most new shows a few go-rounds to catch on, I'll probably be back but I can already tell that I'm going to regret that decision.


How I Met Your Mother: "The Pre-Nup"
Quick Thoughts: Honestly, I don't know why I keep subjecting myself to HIMYM's laziness. A pre-nup episode? And of course this was just a half-assed way for the show to get rid of Quinn which really didn't matter since we all knew her time was limited to begin with. To make things even worse? We got more stupid flash-forwards involving Barney and Robin. At this point, I'm only watching to see these two not end up together because that's the only outcome that will be any kind of payoff. That said, we all know that's not going to happen because Thomas and Bays still delude themselves into thinking that these two once interesting characters have any chemistry what so ever. Gah! And the other couples? Who the f--- cares!


Castle: "Cloudy With a Chance of Murder"
Quick Thoughts: Like most episodes of Castle, I couldn't have cared less about the case of the week although a weather girl turned whistle blower did have some potential. It was just too bad that the reveal of the real killer was extremely anti-climactic. We all knew it was going to be Josh Randall the second he showed up on our screens because who else would it have been. Of course, the most important things about this episode were the relationships. It was cute watching Rick and Kate navigate their new secret affair, and so far their coupling has not ruined the show, but what was even better was the reconciliation between Ryan and Esposito. If anything, their bromance needs to be stronger than Caskett's little fling. That said, Jealous Kate was wildly entertaining.


Revolution: "No Quarter"
Quick Thoughts: I've given Revolution a few episodes, and while it's far from a good television show, I like the post-apocalyptic genre enough to stick around for a few more weeks. While "No Quarter" wasn't its best effort, I was genuinely surprised by the twist but that probably had little to do with the writing and more to do with the fact that I only half-pay attention. And hey, I'm always happy when Mark Pellegrino pops up in a genre TV show. Regardless, so far I've found Revolution to be an entertaining enough way to kill an hour on Monday nights even though I cannot stand the main character. She's just so horrible. Thank god for Billy Burke.


Hart of Dixie: "I Fall to Pieces"
Quick Thoughts: Even though I don't write a lot about Hart of Dixie, it has become one of my favorite shows because of its old-school WB charm and attractive cast. Seriously, I could watch Rachel Bilson in almost anything except for The O.C. ironically enough. Last season ended with Zoe having to make a choice, which she did during the premiere. Instead of going with either George or Wade, she picked herself and that was the right choice. I know it's cliche, but these kind of love triangle stories do need to step back from time to time and focus on the protagonist as an individual before pairing him or her up right off the bat, which is why I'm not quite sure how I felt about her hopping into bed with Wade at the end. It was harmless enough I suppose and a stall until he ends up with Lemon. Oh, bet on it.


Ben and Kate: "Bad Cop/Bad Cop"
Quick Thoughts: While the second episode of Ben and Kate didn't hit it out of the park or define what this show is going to be moving forward, I did find myself liking it in spite of all of its flaws. For example, the whole concept of someone not being a good liar which in turn leads to them piling on fib after fib because they cannot stop themselves is such a worn-out sit-com trope that I was a little upset that B&K went there. That said, there were some good moments surrounding the non-sense to keep me entertained. I'm still smitten with Dakota Johnson (her happy dance slayed me), and Nat Faxon's been able to toe the line between lovable schlub and outright annoyance. So far, so good.


Go On: "Do You Believe in Ghosts... Yes!"
Quick Thoughts: Initially, I was somewhat torn by this episode of Go On. On the one hand, I was a little put-off by the appearance of Ryan's dead wife because it gave the show an odd twist that I wasn't expecting. At first, I was surprised that a show like Go On would do something supernatural, but it was argue that it was all a figment of Ryan's imagination. Either way, I wasn't too keen on it. On the flipside, I did enjoy watching the grief group do something that didn't require Ryan's involvement since his hi-jacking of the meetings have gotten boring, and we did get some nice broments. I still enjoy Go On, but this episode was one I could've done without. Although, I cannot complain about Christine Woods in nothing but a dress shirt.


New Girl: "Fluffer"
Quick Thoughts: I probably should've liked "Fluffer" more than I did. Now, I'm not saying that I hated the episode because I actually liked everything that didn't involve Schmidt. Jess an Nick's bickering and banter has become one of the show's strengths, and while I don't need to see them hook up anytime soon, I am liking the way they bounce off one another. I even liked how Winston has filled the role of reason as he parachutes in and slaps people back into reality. It's just too bad that his own sub-plot didn't quite gel. Back to Schmidt. While I thought his son of Romney bit worked at the beginning, it worn thin awfully quickly and I was bothered by CeCe's underlining his daddy issues. Other than that, it was a solid New Girl but not one of its finest attempts.


The New Normal: "Nanagasm"
Quick Thoughts: Part of me understands that Nana needed to be humanized in order to avoid Sue Sylvester territory, but a whole plot revolving around her having an orgasm didn't quite work for me. Sure, she deserves to get freaky just as much as the next person, but it felt like a cheap way for the audience to sympathize with her. Another lazy element: Bryan having mommy issues and clashing with David's mother. And when did Goldie and Shania become background characters on the show that should be revolving around them? Are we in for another Quinn epidemic on our hands? Ryan Murphy seriously needs to stay away from pregnant characters at all costs.


The Mindy Project: "Hiring and Firing"
Quick Thoughts: I didn't hide the fact that I didn't like The Mindy Project's pilot, but I checked out the second episode since I want the show to be successful. I'll just come out and say it: this show's not for me. I didn't find "Hiring and Firing" enjoyable at all. The sexual tension between Mindy and the douchey doctor was beyond idiotic. It makes zero sense and Kalling has absolutely zero chemistry with the actor. And the whole plot about firing the nurse and hiring a new one was a feeble attempt at quirky humor that fell flat. I don't think I laughed once. Even Seth Meyers, who I did kind of like was ruined by Mindy's mere presence. I guess what it comes down to is I don't like the character one bit. More than likely I'll give TMP one more chance, but that'll be it.


Sons of Anarchy: "Stolen Huffy"
In a lot of ways "Stolen Huff" had a huge uphill battle because it had to follow up the death of one of the show's most beloved characters. In that regard, the episode was a failure because the loss of Opie was barely addressed and instead of getting a proper send-off, the audience was subjected to Jax rescuing hookers, being chased by the most stereotypical cholos, making deals with pimps and more Gemma vs. Tara nonsense. Had Opie not just recently died, "Stolen Huffy" may have been a better hour of television but the minor lip service felt a tad bit disrespectful to Ryan Hurst and his fans. Maybe it's unfair to judge this episode so harshly, but it had so much to accomplish and it didn't even come close to meeting the expectations.


30 Rock: "The Beginning of the End"
"The Beginning of the End" was the perfect example of my feelings about 30 Rock. I've always enjoyed this show when it was a satire about the television industry, so everything that involved Jack trying to tank NBC  so he could move up was brilliant, and of course it was all punctuated with some pretty great Liz and Jack moments that continue to be a major draw. On the other hand, I could barely stand watching Hazel and Kenneth's sub-plot, and for once Tracy wasn't the most annoying character involved. And don't get me started on Jenna's stupid bachelorette party. So, only 1/3 of the episode worked for me, but that's not too shabby when all things are considered.


Glee: "The Break-Up"
This episode was touted as being one of the best Glee's ever done, and while it was very good it was almost impossible for it to reach the heights that were promised. I did think that all of the relationships that were discussed were given proper attention, and I appreciated how they three that involved the younger characters represented the three kinds of break-ups because they all had a relatable quality. My major issues with the episode had to do with the silly Left Behind sub-plot (although it made sense within in the context of Brittany's story) and how Will and Emma's presence brought very little to the overall episode and took up space. So, I ultimately really liked "The Break-Up," but I needed to love it.


Elementary: "While You Were Sleeping"
While Elementary still has a ways to go before it's a passable television show, I have to admit that I'm enjoying it so far. During the second episode, it became clear that its strength will never be the cases because this week's was inane and contrived by traditional measures. Thankfully, Jonny Lee Miller continued to impress, and even I have to admit that I liked Lucy Liu's Watson even though I wanted her to have more to do. The bit with her ex was all a little lazy. Like I said, it still has somethings to figure out because Elementary's still not even a good CBS procedural, but it's better than most cop shows and still entertaining enough to keep me around for a few more episodes.

Grimm: "Over My Dead Body"
From the get-go, I was convinced that Grimm would work better as a private investigator/Wesen of the week show instead of a supernatural cop drama, and "Over My Dead" only strengthened my opinion because I thought the episode flowed better without the police aspects. Of course, a Monroe-heavy episode that brought back Angelina was going to rank highly in my book, but they weren't the only good parts of the hour. It's fun watching Hank and Monroe bond, and I liked how the story allowed some alone time between Nick and Angelina. I even found myself liking Juliette more than I ever did before, but the only drawback was the sense that the whole royals arc's starting to spin its wheels. Overall, a very solid Grimm and an example of the show at its best.


Again, sorry about the hastily put together Report Card. I'll try to do better the next time.


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