November 11, 2012

TV Report Card: Week of November 4, 2012

No fluff or frills, here's this week's TV Report Card:

The Walking Dead: "Killer Within"
What Worked: Pretty much everything that happened at the prison was gold. Obviously, we got so more crazy, zombie-killing action, but we also got some major twists and turns as two main characters died. Anytime a show can make me care about the passing of one of its most unlikable characters, it's a triumph and "Killer Within" was able to do just that in regards to Lori.

What Didn't Work: I wish we had gotten to know more about T-Dog before his demise, but oh well. Also, every time the story shifted to Woodbury, I found myself losing interest because it revolved around characters I don't care for or don't know enough about. This episode was a major argument for a one on, one off formula for the rest of the season, but I doubt that's in the cards.


Homeland: "A Gettysburg Address"
What Worked: I know that some people love to nitpick when it comes to Homeland, and I'm sure they had plenty to complain about during this one, but I thought it was a fine episode. I thought that it was a decent enough bridge between last week's excellent "Q&A" and whatever's on the horizon. That said, nothing really stood out but it was good enough.

What Didn't Work: The Mike, P.I. subplot needs to wrap up soon because it's not gelling with the rest of the series, so I can understand why some would be irked by it. Dana's story has also failed to take off, and I didn't need to spend time with her at the hospital when it could've been spent on terrorism and espionage.


How I Met Your Mother: "The Autumn of Break-Ups"
What Worked: Not one thing.

What Didn't Work: This episode as a sitcom at every level. It didn't make me laugh once, it made me hate every character involved, and I couldn't wait for the whole thing to be over. The funny thing is, I forgot that HIMYM was even back last week. It's too bad I can't go back to the time when I didn't have to bother watching this show. If I had to pick the thing I hated the most, I'd have to go with the assassination of Victoria's character, but Marshall's unfunny bit was a close second. Hell, I don't even care about Ted and Robin anymore because this show has even ruined them for me.


Castle: "The Final Frontier"
What Worked: Castle always works best when it doesn't take its cases too seriously, so a murder at a sci-fi convention was right in the show's wheelhouse. Of course, we got some Firefly winks and nods, but I was happy that it focused more on Kate than on Rick. Plus, I'm never going to complain about seeing her in a skimpy Star Trek-esque outfit.

What Didn't Work: Aside from the sci-fi backdrop, it was your typical police procedural story. I shouldn't be blaming Castle for doing what it does, and I admit that I'm starting to tire of the genre, but when you take the geeky stuff out of the equation it was your standard cop show. Again, it's Castle being Castle, so I can't complain too much.


Arrow: "Damaged"
What Worked: It was nice going back to the island and getting more of Oliver's origin story, and I appreciated how we got some glimpses of his sage-like mentor. I'm probably more excited about these elements than I am about what's going on in the States. That said, I'm always in favor of a scheming John Barrowman.

What Didn't Work: I think it was smart to bring Diggle into the fold, but I did feel that the show played the "have the vigilante and his alter-ego in two different locations to clear the latter" card a little too soon. It probably made sense within the context of a 13-episode run, so it had to be accelerated , but I would've liked to see Queen dangle a little bit more or had this episode occur down the line.


Modern Family: "Arrested"
What Worked: On the last installment of The Small Screen Podcast, I mentioned that I like Modern Family more when it shakes up the dynamics, so I enjoyed watching Cam and Mitchell being brought into the Dunphy's orbit as Phil and Claire had to deal with Haley's arrest while at college.

What Didn't Work: It shouldn't be shocking that I hated anything and everything that didn't revolve around the main storyline. I still dislike the Pritchetts, and adding Shelley Long didn't help at all. In fact, that character's such a cartoon that she actually made me hate them even more. Going back to Haley real quick, I was a little irked that the show kicked her out of school because that move felt very status quo.


American Horror Story: Asylum: "I Am Anne Frank, Part 1"
What Worked: I have to admit that adding Anne Frank, or someone who thinks she's Anne Frank, was a compelling move and it revitalized the series for me, especially when it looks like she might be correct about Arden's backstory. Is it silly? Sure, but then again this is American Horror Story, so I'll go with it.

What Didn't Work: On the flipside, adding evil Nazis to a narrative that already has the Devil, aliens, flesh-eating mutants and serial killers might be a step too far. To me, take out the alien abduction storyline (at least keep it as Kit's alibi but not making it real) and turn down the insanity by a notch, and AHS could flow better. Also, let's cut out the unnecessary conversion therapy in future episodes (I get its point, but it was hard to watch).


Nashville: "Move It on Over"
What Worked: I suppose I kind of liked Deacon becoming a soul-saving super-hero as he somehow convinced Juliette's mom to go to rehab when her own daughter couldn't make a dent. Also, I'm still enjoying the young trio over the vets even though Avery's sabotaging of Scarlett and Gunner's pitch was a bit contrived.

What Didn't Work: I don't care about Rayna's husband or his stupid botched business deal, and I really don't care about his partner showing up out of nowhere. Other things I don't care about: the shady person taking pictures in an attempt to create a stupid affair. Focus on the music, damn it!


The Vampire Diaries: "The Killer"
What Worked: You got to give TVD for being able to keep the pacing amped after three plus seasons, and I actually got a kick out of the whole hostage scenario in spite of its somewhat stale feeling.

What Didn't Work: Apparently, Elena becoming a vampire has not made her any less of an annoying character because she was making so mad during this one. I get that everything's more elevated now that she's turned, but I don't know how much more I can take if she ends up being even more of a brat who never listens. Also didn't care for the new triangle or Bonnie's conniving professor boyfriend.


Glee: "The Role Your Were Born to Play"
What Worked: I appreciate how small this episode felt. It really didn't worry about all of the relationship drama, rather it focused on two simple storylines: casting Grease and figuring where Will and Emma were heading. I liked that and how it stayed in Ohio versus jumping back and forth between Lima and NYC.

What Didn't Work: As one of the few Finn fans out there, I'm extremely frustrated by the two-steps forward, one-step back approach the writers take with him. For example, he finally got some direction and was willing to stick up for Unique, but then he dropped the r-bomb which deflated all of the good things he was doing. I get that his reactive personality makes him more realistic, but it's hard to root for him when he does stuff like that.


Elementary: "Flight Risks"
What Worked: Everything that involved Watson's side mission where she learned a little more about Sherlock was interesting and kept me entertained, which was good because...

What Didn't Work: ...the rest of the episode was a chore to sit through. The case of the week brought nothing, and even Sherlock's involvement wasn't enough to keep my attention. I get why this show's been a modest success for CBS, but it needs to have more interesting cases if it wants to stick around for the long haul. It just has to because right now it's starting to become nothing more than an everyday, character-driven cop show.


Grimm: "To Protect and Serve Man"
What Worked: I'm not going to complain about a Hank-centric episode that gives us more information about his background, and the concept of him and Nick saving a man on Death Row how was there because of a windigo had a lot of promise.

What Didn't Work: I don't think the show's mishandled the Ranard/Juliette storyline, and I liked how Monroe was brought into the whole thing at the end, but it shouldn't take 40 minutes for us to get our first Eddie scene. The more he's on the sidelines, the worse it is for the show because he's still the draw no matter how much the writers shove Hank down our throats.


Nikita: "Consequences"
What Worked: Amanda and Owen are back! I don't know if I completely loved their re-introduction, but they did ground the show in a sense of history that's been lacking this season. I just hope the show can capitalize and made Amanda the baddie she should've been last year.

What Didn't Work: I was never a fan of Alex and Sean, so all of his concern and his I love you fell on deaf ears. I'm just never going to get on board with these two. Also, having her go back to drugs felt forced because we all know where this story's going. I just hope Nikita surprises us with this new arc instead of going through the motions that we've all seen a million times before.


As you can see, no Revolution or Sons of Anarchy this week. I wasn't able to finish the former, but I'm planning to. Sons, on the other hand, might have lost its spot because of the past two episodes. I'm just tried of that show's need to use shock for shock's sake.


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