December 2, 2012

TV Report Card: Week of November 25, 2012

Here is this week's TV Report Card:

The Walking Dead: "When the Dead Come Knocking"
What Worked: As always, Rick and the prison worked for me. Even the silly cabin the woods scene was entertaining in its own way. But by far the best moment was one of the quiter ones as Carol and Rick shared that knowing glance in regards to Lori.

What Didn't Work: If the prison worked, that means Woodbury was once again the weakest link. I'll give it credit for the brutal interrogation scenes involving Merle and the Governor, but any goodwill was wasted on the boring Andrea and Milton subplot. Sure, it introduced some interesting questions but it took the wind out of the sails.


Homeland: "Two Hats"
What Worked: I know that one of the cool things to do nowadays is to poke holes in Homeland's plot, but I thought that this was a decent enough episode. Nazir's plot and the taking down of his cell had enough tension (and I could appreciate them because I don't constantly nit-pick) and they helped keep things moving along. Ditto for Saul's fake interrogation.

What Didn't Work: While I'm not in the anti-Dana camp, I did find her annoying this time around, but then again she's always been annoying. I also could have done without Jess and Mike's sexy time because it was so telegraphed and anti-climactic. No pun intended.


How I Met Your Mother: "Twelve Horny Women"
What Worked: Not much. I think I laughed a few times because of Brad's antics but that was about it. I suppose I also didn't hate the fake out involving Marshall but I'm so tired of this show trying to trick the audience.

What Didn't Work: There are certain standby gags that HIMYM insists on pulling out that just bore me to tears and one of them is the pointless competitions. I get the point behind these stupid games but I'm no longer entertained by them, so them trying to prove who was the biggest teenage bad-ass was a huge waste of my time. And that final bit about Robin re-thinking her feelings for Barney because he called off his pursuit was insulting.


Ben and Kate: "Guitar Face"
What Worked: Even though this episode was Sitcom Writing 101, it was still successful at being a competent episode. Usually, I'm not a fan of the lead picking apart their new significant other as a way to protect him/herself, but Dakota Johnson can do anything in her own awkward way and win me over. And as always, I'm not opposed to more Geoff Stults. Man, I miss The Finder.

What Didn't Work: As much credit as I gave Dakota Johnson, the rest of the episode was a little too formulaic. While I got a laugh from Ben and Tommy, their story was very familiar and didn't bring anything all that new. As for BJ, she was downright dreadful and I'm shocked that people still think that she's the best part of this show.


Go On: "Back, Back, Back... It's Gone!"
What Worked: I was really excited when it looked like Carrie was going to play a major role in this episode but was even more upset when she was once again tossed aside for more Ryan and Lauren moments. That said, her presence alone was enough to keep me happy, and the episode subverted the Ryan and Lauren stuff just enough to keep it from being trite.

What Didn't Work: The rest of the subplots involving Sonia, Danny and George were decent enough, but I would have rather traded one of their stories in favor of more time with Carrie and Ryan. I know I'm getting repetative, but why does this show hate Allison Miller so much?


New Girl: "Eggs"
What Worked: Nick Miller's probably the funniest character on television right now and he's even better when he's teamed up with Winston. Those two had me rolling all episode long, but they also had a very human story that I could relate to. I still want Winston to be his own character, but I'll always be in favor of him being Nick's source of wisdom.

What Didn't Work: I haven't been loving Jess this season and her story about her biological clock ticking was OK but far from great. Even Cece's part didn't quite land because it felt like something we've seen a billion times before. Also, I don't care about Schmidt's sex life or the fact that he's in love with Cece. That ship's sailed.


The New Normal: "The XY Factor"
What Worked: I'm nowhere close to being a father, but even I could understand where Bryan was coming from when it came to the gender of his unborn child, and the added angst made the character even more sympathetic, so I couldn't help but smile when he realized that he could be a good father to a son.

What Didn't Work: Even though I thought that Goldie's story line worked this week, and I was happy that she's been given some direction, my beef has more to do with the fact that she's floundered for most of this season. The character really hasn't had much to do besides putting up with her wacky family, and there were even moments when she was nothing more than a prop. I hope we get more stuff from her moving forward; if not then I'll be convinced that Ryan Murphy hates blonde, pregnant women. Or he cannot write for them at the very least.


Arrow: "Muse of Fire"
What Worked: I like the idea of Helena Bertinelli but we'll have to wait to see about the execution. Her introduction was decent enough, although I couldn't remember if her family's been a major player up until this point or if it was just introduced, and I'm glad that Oliver's been given a romantic foil for now because the rest of the characters are not pulling their weight in the love department.

What Didn't Work: So, that last comment had to do with the fact that I still do not care about Laurel and Tommy. His courtship was not cute, and the only positive this story brought to the table was the fact that Captain Jack's his father. Also, has the acting always been this bad? I know that Stephen Amell's chops haven't quite been there all season long, but it felt like everyone was too busy chewing scenery.


Modern Family: "When a Tree Falls"
What Worked: Luke got a few chuckles out of me, and the Phil/Jay combination's usually works for me but that was about it.

What Didn't Work: Cam in a tree was stupid. Cam in Cats was stupid. Mitchell giving in to Cam was stupid. Claire and Gloria at Costco was stupid. Alex trying to humiliate Haley was slightly less stupid but far more insidious and not very fun. At this point, I'm done writing about Modern Family. I'm just tied of writing the exact same thing over and over again, and I'm those few people who read these entries are just as burnt out on my indifference. I'll keep watching it, and I might add it back to the Report Card if it improves but that's doubtful based on the last two and half seasons. I just cannot do it anymore.


American Horror Story: Asylum: "Dark Cousin"
What Worked: Maybe I've become desensitized but this episode did not seem as frantic as previous installments. The angel of death was a nice touch which was used quite effectively and I hope this was not the only time we got to see her. And there were some good performances as usual.

What Didn't Work: While I thought Sarah Paulson did a great job during the episode, I didn't care for the curve ball that was thrown at us after she escaped from Bloody Face's lair. I understand that they needed to get her back to Briarcliff (sort of), but having her get away from one monster just to encounter another was a little silly.


Nashville: "Lovesick Blues"
What Worked: If the last two episodes are an indication of the new direction Nashville's going in, then I'm going to be a happier camper because I thought that this was another solid episode. Having Rayna and Juliette ditch their love triangle with Deacon in favor of actually making music has been a breath of fresh air.
Leave the lovey dovey angst to Gunner and Scarlet.

What Didn't Work: Do I really have to write it? Fine. Nothing will ever make me care about the mayoral campaign storyline. Nothing at all. It even upset me even more because the supposed clean Carlisle decided to jump in the mud with Rayna's husband (I honestly don't know his name at this point). Just horrible stuff all around.


The Vampire Diaries: "My Brother's Keeper"
What Worked: As much as The Vampire Diaries has frustrated me this season, I still enjoy plent of aspects of the show. For one, I love Caroline Forbes. Love her. So, seeing her tear into Elena for being an idiot was amazing and made up for everything else in one single swoop. And I'll admit that my Caroline/Stefan shipper tendencies are speaking for me, but that's fine by me. Something else I liked, Jeremy stabbing Elena in the neck.

What Didn't Work: As you can see, I still hate Elena. She has never been my favorite thing about TVD and so far she's made me question why I'm still watching. Her damsel in distress routine's getting old because she insists on doing stupid things to get herself into trouble. I cannot have sympathy for a character like that. As for her romp with Damon? Yawn. I'm just glad they decided to pull the rug from under us by blaming a sire bond. That should make Dalena fans happy.


30 Rock: "Mazel Tov, Dummies!"
What Worked: I guess the idea of Liz Lemon finally getting married has entertainment value, but I would've liked to have seen it be taken seriously. Sure, this was a 30 Rock wedding but still. Honestly, my favorite moments had to do with Jenna which surprised me since I don't like her, but watching her and Jack realize how their aging was bittersweet..

What Didn't Work: I honestly cannot think of why we needed Tracy around this week. To be fair, his story went along with the rest of the episode's theme but having him on his own can be a tricky thing to pull off, and unfortunately he didn't stick the landing.


Glee: "Thanksgiving"
What Worked: Much like The Walking Dead and Nashville, it's going to be easy to figure out how I felt about Glee. The stuff that revolved around McKinley and Sectionals worked for me because it was a good mix of old and new. Having the graduates come back to mentor the newbies was a good idea that I wish had developed more but it felt like Glee was successfully blending its two generations...

What Didn't Work: But then we had to go to New York to see what Rachel and Kurt were up to and all of the momentum was lost. Once again, I don't care about NYC and I don't know what Murphy and Co. have to do in order to get me invested. Having characters constantly going back and forth won't work but something needs to happen. And who cares what a Kiki is?


Elementary: "The Long Fuse"
What Worked: For the first time in a long time I was not bored by the case-of-the-week. Dr. Cuddy playing a hooker who tried to bomb her own business was entertaining enough to keep me from wandering off, and I liked how Lisa Edelstein once again played a character smitten with a Sherlock-ain character. I'd say she was in to the real deal, but we all know that Miller's version is as much Holmes as Dr. House was. Police stuff aside, I also appreciated the Sherlock and Joan moments as she prepped him for her departure. We all know she's not going anywhere but the idea of breaking them up was intriguing.

What Didn't Work: Even though I wasn't bored by this week's case, the procedural nature's still the show's biggest drawback. I don't expect CBS to stray from what it works, but Elementary's still not doing enough to make it standout from the rest of its ilk. Castle and Bones are just as by-the-book as this show, but there's enough unique elements to set them apart. Right now, Sherlock Holmes isn't enough to make Elementary more than what it's supposed to be.


Nikita: "The Sword's Edge"
What Worked: I got a kick out of this week's mission, but I found myself caught up more in the Alex and Owen moments. Now, I don't need Nikita to be bogged down in relationships, but the idea of Alex and Owen's far more interesting than her with Sean because Lyndsy Fonseca has way more chemistry with Sawa than she does with the other guy. Also, how good was Sawa in that interrogation scene?

What Didn't Work: I'm getting a little burned out with all of the distrust going around Division, and I felt that Ryan's getting an unfair shake since no one really knows how to run a covert, black ops outfit for good and not evil. But that's a minor quibble.



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