Friday, 8 April 2011

TV Week in Review: April 3rd – 5th

It’s a generally slight run of television this week, so many shows are on hiatus and I just didn’t have the time to catch the two hour premiere of The Borgias, I’m not even sure I have the longevity to add another show to my line-up, although I do miss The Tudors. Nonetheless, on to what I did see.

Desperate Housewives: “Everything's Different, Nothing's Changed”
I honestly have no solid reason for the time I put into this show weekly, because as much as they’ll get an occasional burst of invention they constantly keep regressing and bringing up old storylines. This week, Bree and Lynnette both seem to be part of plot-lines that are straight out of season two. Why is it that they only bring up issues as it suits them? It’s become so exasperatingly contrived that there’s little chance to enjoy the reappearance of old guests like Shawn Pyfrom. Even Paul’s response to Beth’s death feels too on the nose, especially when measured against the realisation that Felicia is just not going to bury that hatchet. After seven years this is easily the least interesting journey to the finale for the show...the title of it is way on the nose, though.
United States of Tara: “Cracerjack”
As I expected, Tara’s return to college acts as a fine springboard for plot development. Collette does fine work in this episode, which manages to retain its comedic nature while maintaining a sensible hold on the issue of D.I.D. That final showdown between T and Kate was just excellent. Larson too was in good form this episode. Marshall and his filmmaking was an enjoyable, if vaguely extraneous plot-point. It will be interesting what becomes of Tara’s spats with her lectures, if Kate will really leave for Japan and what will become of the now jobless Neil.

Nurse Jackie: “Enough Rope”
It’s another solid episode from this show, though I must admit I really don’t care for Eleanor or her friendship with Jackie. As with United States of Tara there’s constant movement forwards, although I can’t help but wish for more because there are so many issues to cover the half –hours bits always seem like too little. There were a surprising wealth of comedic bits, most of it coming from Coop and his ridiculously half-assed apology. Then there was Zoey and her glove-stealing and Gloria learning to skip rope. Like the best of medical dramas, though, Nurse Jackie always manages to retain the importance of its patients. As I said, a solid episode – not excellent but more than just a little good.

Parenthood: “New Plan”

This we get a very good episode from the folks over at Parenthood, plot development isn’t sacrificed for entertainment or vice versa. I’m glad to see that Adam has chosen to stop being such a giant dick and has actually reconciled with Crosby, Lauren Graham turns in this episode and Sarah’s speech to Adam was well done. I still feel that they could bestow more time to Erika Christensen and Sam Jaegar, that’s a plotpoint that seems to deserve more than ten minutes of screentime – although the time they do have is well spent. Oddly, the prom turned into a highpoint of the episode. The meeting at Adam’s house with the parents, grandparents and children was incredibly well played.

The Good Wife: “Wrongful Termination”
This episode feels decidedly filler-ish, but not necessarily in a bad way. We know we’re headed for a big fallout, and in a big way and this episode is all about that transition. Things are happening, and they’re happening quickly – and in a way it’s necessary for Cumming’s Eli to be a beacon for this episode. Bringing Cumming on as a leading character was one of the best decisions the series made in its second season (which has been a big improvement over the first, which was quite good). Margulies does a fine job with her character this episode and I do love seeing things like Kalinda and Cary bonding. A fine episode, but I can’t help but be anxious for when the fireworks really start.
Standout Performers
Toni Collette / United States of Tara: B+/A-
Alan Cumming / The Good Wife: B+
Julianna Margulies / The Good Wife: B+
Lauren Graham / Parenthood: B+
Mae Whitman/ Parenthood: B/B+
Brie Larson / United States of Tara : B+
Edie Falco / Nurse Jackie: B/B+
Anna Deveare Smith / Nurse Jackie: B/B+
What did you watch this past week?


Robert said...

I'm so glad you singled out Brie Larson! I thought she was perhaps the best she's ever been in this week's episode of Tara.

CrazyCris said...

Plenty of Kalinda and Eli in the Good Wife last week so GOOD episode! :o)

You should definitely give the Borgias a try, Jeremy Irons was excellent!!! As was the rest of the cast, show etc... I'm not sure Pope Borgia will fill the void left by Henry VIII, but the Borgias are definitely filling my need for a richly visual world of intrigue and political machinations! :D

As for other shows last week: the Body Farm on Bones gave a lot of laughs! And was sooo glad to see the return of Vampire Diaries and Nikita! And Justified... well wow! Can't wait to see where Mags Bennett takes the consequences of that shoot-out...