November 18, 2012

TV Report Card: Week of November 11, 2012

Here is this week's TV Report Card:

The Walking Dead: "Say the Word"
What Worked: It's starting to become pretty clear that the prison's the place to be this season because everything that had nothing to do with Woodbury was good. I especially liked how we got some great character moments from Daryl and Glenn to a lesser extent. Even Rick's psychotic warpath was entertaining and extremely disturbing.

What Didn't Work: As noted above, I could've done without all of the Woodbury scenes because they once again brought the episode to a halt. I don't care about Andrea's little crush on the Governor or how it's driving a wedge between her and Michonne because we've yet to understand what kept them together for so long. Andrea's choice of Woodbury over Michonne was supposed to be a huge betrayal, but it didn't play that way because we still don't know anything about the latter or their relationship.


Homeland: "The Clearing"
What Worked: Obviously, things are going to be good when the show puts Brody and Carrie together, and their little rendezvous in the clearing was another example of why Lewis and Danes won their Emmys. I was also relieved that Dana's silly hit-and-run arc blended well with the main storyline, and how great were Saul and Aileen.

What Didn't Work: I'm still not feeling Mike's amateur P.I. gig, but I was happy that it was addressed. Part of me wonders how much longer he is for this world. I'm sure there are some other things I could nit-pick about, like Quinn, but I'll leave that to the Internet since it just loves to complain about Homeland.


How I Met Your Mother: "Splitsville"
What Worked: Once again, not much. Maybe Barney's lie/truth that he used to help break up Robin and Nick, but that's a stretch since I never have cared about them as a couple.

What Didn't Work: Pretty much everything else. Like I've said over and over again, I hate Robin and Barney together so their final moments weren't cute but more of the same crap the showrunners have been shoving down our throats, and I can no longer tolerate it. I've also never liked pervy Lily, so her inappropriate comments throughout were annoying, as was Marshall. Oh, and don't get me started on how this episode made Nick into a complete idiot out of nowhere just to service the "plot." Ugh.


Castle: "Swan Song"
What Worked: I didn't love this episode, but that last scene where Beckett tricked the camerman into the broom closet and shut the door with a raspberry made up for everything else. To be fair, there were some fun jokes throughout, but I didn't care for the format.

What Didn't Work: Honestly, I'm surprised that it took Castle so long to do a documentary style episode since it's a trick that a few other procedural have used before. Off the top of my head, Leverage's "The Office Job" comes to mind but that was a straight play on The Office, so it worked better. Usually, I'm excited when cop shows do new things, but this one never clicked for me.


Ben and Kate: "Career Day"
What Worked: While I didn't think that "Career Day" was Ben and Kate's best outing, there were somethings that I liked about it. First, the show's been able to utilize Geoff Stults in an effective enough way to deepen my man-crush on him. Of course, Kate was as cute as ever, and Ben and Tommy were good together as always.

What Didn't Work: Having BJ in her own story was a misfire in my opinion because she works best with the rest of the ensemble and isn't a strong enough character to carry her own subplot. Also, this was one of those instances where Ben was too annoying for his own good and his sabotaging of Kate's date with zero comeuppance or true remorse was a little off-putting.


Happy Endings: "Boyz II Menorah"
What Worked: The combination of Max and Brad's always funny, so making them a bar mitzvah hype team was genius. I know that there are many out there who are not happy about Dave and Alex being back together, but I'm enjoying them for now, and even though their story was a little too cliched, I still got a kick out of their antics especially since it utilized the more tolerable version of Jane.

What Didn't Work: Like I mentioned, a lot of this episode relied too much on worn out tropes like slapstick comedy, people getting stuck in closets without phones, miscommunications and lies. That said, almost everything worked because of the rapid-fire nature of the jokes and most of them landed.


Go On: "Video game, Set, Match"
What Worked: It was nice finally getting some meaningful Ryan and Owen time since the show established it back in the pilot and we've seen only bits and pieces since then. If the writers play their cards right, these two can be the foundation for the show going forward, and that could only lead to good things.

What Didn't Work: At first, I wasn't too fond of the rest of the support group getting their own story, especially since it revolved around Yolonda. She has been one of the weaker parts of the ensemble because she's been playing the repressed Asian stereotype since day one. I'll give the episode credit for developing her and showing another side of the group's dynamic, and I did feel for her when she was ditched, but it would've worked better if both storylines meshed better. We also needed more Carrie.


New Girl: "Menzies"
What Worked: Part of me wonders how much better this show would be if it was all about Nick because he was by far the MVP of this episode. His plot about venting to a silent, wise old man had me in stitches because it let Jake Johnson just riff and it was all gold. I know that New Girl needs the ensemble, but right now Johnson's the main reason I check in.

What Didn't Work: Having an entire episode revolve around Jess and her menstration cycle was old and unfunny, even if it did try to tie in to her larger arc, and even Winston using fake sympathy PMS as a way to cope with his break-up fell a little flat. As for Schmidt and CeeCee, I no longer care about them as a potential couple.


Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23: "Sexy People"
What Worked: The idea of James Van Der Beek winning People's Sexiest Man Alive was novel enough and had potential, especially since it was able to give us more insight on his relationship with June. Her manufactured crush on him was worth a few laughs, mostly due to JVDB egging her on, but it was smart that the show squashed any real romantic avenues.

What Didn't Work: Even though Chloe played a vital role in the episode, she was still the weakest link. Once she got JVDB on the cover, the rest of her time at People stopped being relevant and that's when things started to wobble. Krysten Ritter was still good, but her actions meant very little after a while.


The New Normal: "Unplugged"
What Worked: While I didn't love this episode, it was competent enough and wasn't a bust. For me, the best parts had to do with the Sing set visit and all of the Glee in jokes that probably didn't make sense to those unfamiliar with the show. I hope we get to see more of Bryan's worklife because we all know how much I dig self-deprecating Glee jokes.

What Didn't Work: The concept of the episode was tired right off of the bat. Yes, we live in a more plugged in world, but having the main characters go without their electronic devices is one of the newest comedic cliches and I'm already tired of it.


Arrow: "Legacies"
What Worked: I find that I enjoy this show more when Thea and Oliver are getting along and she's not acting like a total brat. That's to say that I kind of liked the first part of this episode, but it started to unravel pretty quickly. I suppose getting more glimpses of the island didn't hurt and Riggle's influence on Oliver's commendable but I didn't love this one.

What Didn't Work: It's too bad that Thea went back to her drunken, smart-ass ways, and to make things worse was the fact that she did it because of a schoolgirl crush on Tommy. As for him, I wonder if anyone truly cares about him and Laurel at this point because I couldn't stop rolling my eyes every time they should up on screen together. The thing is, I should've liked this one since I'm a sucker for heists, but even that plot was bogged down with heavy-handed themes.


Modern Family: "Mistery Date"
What Worked: Not much. Phil had a few funny scenes but anytime he was with Matthew Broderick, I cringed. I did like Alex and Claire together because that's a relationship that doesn't get too much exposure on this show and it should.

What Didn't Work: Anything that didn't involve the Dunphys just angered me. Heck, I don't even remember what Jay did this time around. Putting two of the most annoying characters together, Cam and Gloria, was a recipe for disaster. And my dislike for Manny was only heightened as he went on his idiotic quest to find the girl at the bar mitzvah. Thankfully, Luke was around to redeem that subplot but he could only do so much.


American Horror Story: Asylum: "I Am Anne Frank, Part 2"
What Worked: The second installment was a slight improvement over its predecessor but still had too much going on. It wasn't as frantic, but it still could do with one less plotline. I'll admit that I should've seen Bloody Face's true identity sooner, but I have to credit the the writers for duping me long enough to make the reveal work.

What Didn't Work: The alien stuff still isn't working for me, and even adding Grace to the mix didn't win me over. Also, I didn't quite buy Sister Jude's little outing but that might have to do with the fact that I started tuning out about mid-way through the episode. I'm sure if I re-watch "Anne Frank, Pt. 2," I'll appreciate more... maybe.


Nashville: "You're Gonna Change (Or I'm Gonna Leave)"
What Worked: I have to give it to Nashville because this was the first episode that I really liked. Juliette's road to redemption worked for me, and I was happy to see Rayna in an actual music-based storyline instead of watching her be torn between two men. Ditto for Deacon. I even warmed up to the mayoral storyline ever so slightly.

What Didn't Work: Let me clarify that last bit. I sorta liked Carlisle's end of the political bits, but I cannot stand Rayna's husband or father, so I got bored every time they showed up to twirl their mustaches. Unfortunately  I don't see this aspect of the show improving since it look like Carlisle might jump in the mud with his opponents.


The Vampire Diaries: "We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes"
What Worked: As much as I enjoy this show, I have to admit that it's been frustrating me over the last couple of episodes. The only part of this episode that I enjoyed was Stefan and Caroline's scheme to free Elena but that's because I like those two together so much that I'll put up with them risking their lives to save one of the most annoying characters of all time.

What Didn't Work: I'm just going to say it: I hate Elena. She's whiny, sanctimonious, ungrateful and a pain in the ass. I'd go off on her for treating Stefan like crap over the last couple of weeks, but I stopped caring about their relationship seasons ago, and now he can go off and find someone more deserving of his affections (like Caroline or even Rebekah). Let Damon have Elena because she's just going to take him for granted too. I'll be honest, part of me wanted her to off herself. I'm not even going to get into the other stupid love triangle or whatever Bonnie's been up to.


30 Rock: "Aunt Phatso vs. Jack Donaghy"
What Worked: Watching Jack and Tracy go head-to-head over a character the latter created based on the former was fun, and it allowed for Tracy to get some actual character development and growth. Speaking of growing, I also appreciated Liz's dilemma and it looks like the end really is near since she's going to have to pick between work and life.

What Didn't Work: Hazel has been one of the worst things to happen to 30 Rock, so the fact that she had a major role during this episode knocked the grade down a full point. I just don't understand why the show felt the need to introduce this kind of character to an already outlandish show, and the sooner she goes away the better.


Glee: "Glease"
What Worked: Having the majority of the action revolve around the musical was another good move on the show's part, and I was glad that the new characters were given some more depth as a way to let them shake off their 2.0 status. It was also a pretty good episode for Finn even though I wanted more closure on what he said to Sue last week.

What Didn't Work: I realized that I no longer care about what's going on in NYC or about the former couples. The second the focus moved from Lima to Rachel, I lost interest, and I couldn't stand having to put up with a mopey Kurt. As for Cassandra's reemergence  who didn't see her seduction of Brody coming weeks ago? For now, I'd be happy with Glee sticking around Lima from now on but we all know that's never going to happen.


Elementary: "One Way to Get Off"
What Worked: Like always, the Holmes and Watson moments worked for me, and it's been interesting ever since Irene Adler was brought up due to the friction that it's caused. We all know that the two leads will make up in the end, but this temporary rift has livened things up for now. I also liked how we got more of Holmes' bond with Gregson.

What Didn't Work: It's good that the relationships are keeping my attention because the case once again failed to deliver. I will say that the idea of a wrongfully accused serial killer had some juice, but it felt like the previous episode about the kid napped kid who ended up being the real bad guy. It was too familiar and was too much of a retread.


Grimm: "Season of the Hexenbiest"
What Worked: It was nice having Monroe back at Nick's side as they dealt with Adalind and her band of Wesen assassins. Speaking of Adalind, her return was very much welcomed and I hope she can be the big bad that this season needs. I still see a Buffy/Spike vibe when it comes to her and Nick, but her being a pain in his ass could be entertaining during the short-term.

What Didn't Work: For the first time in a while, I didn't care for Juliette and Renard's arc because she was written so poorly that I wanted to see her killed off all over again. I still think there's some potential with these two and the spell that they're under, and I'm really excited to see what happens now that Nick knows, but this was a pretty big speed bump.


Once again, no Revolution. I'm two episodes behind and have no desire to catch-up so I don't know when or if it'll be back. Sons of Anarchy is still too frustrating to deal with so it's in the same boat.


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