Saturday, 9 July 2011

TV Week in Review

True Blood, The Big C and Wilfred.
Just some short write-ups this week, all of which are egregiously late.

I caught the first three episodes of FX’s zany new series Wilfred last week. It’s one of the oddest shows I’ve ever gotten the opportunity to see. Elijah Wood is Ryan, who seems to be something of a manic depressive and he forges a friendship with his neighbour’s dog whom he sees as a man – in a dog suit. As I said – difficult to explain. It’s going well so far, though. I’ve always liked Elijah Wood and this role encapsulates a great deal of his appeal.
There’s a sort of bathetic charm about Ryan which is excellently expressed. Obviously, the concept of a man playing a job is a bit illogical but other than the first three episodes are doing a good job of studying its protagonist’s character.

The pilot opens with Ryan printing the fourth draft of a suicide note and as he attempts suicide on what are (unbeknownst to him) sugar pills the writing does much to examine this confusing man. The writers are doing much to reconcile Ryan’s view of Wilfred as a man in a dog suit with some of the more obvious dog actions is used for all the hilarity it could allow. Episode one ends with a riotous hook of Wilfred humping a teddy bear. Fiona Gubbleman as the girl-next-door is affable, but she’s being underused so far. Much more interesting is
Ethan Suplee who plays the neighbourhood jerk. He’s much better used here than he was in My Name Is Earl and watching his short-lived friendship with Ryan in episode three was nice.

There’s no telling where Wilfred is headed, but it’s nice seeing Wood have the opportunity to play such a character and Jason Gann is brilliant as the dog.

Episode 1: B+
Episode 2: B/B+
Episode 3: B+
True Blood: “You Smell Like Dinner” [A-]
Even with the fairy land and the sinking in of Sookie’s departure the season premiere of True Blood felt easy and even light, this episode digs a deeper and everything’s looking skewed and dark. Tara returns to good old Bon Temps and of course things are as crazy as usual. We get to see how Bill became the king of Louisiana and the beginning of another arc immediately arises as he continues to keep the secret of Sookie’s blood. I love that Trammell is getting more work to do, but so far I don’t love the arc, although I’m glad to see him and Tommy getting back on track. Despite their supporting status, I like the Hoyt/Jessica relationship and the developing of their issue is well-handled. Of, course the big bombshell is the power of the Wiccan cult which seems to have made Erik lose his memory. Let’s see where that goes...
[Writing B+; Directing A-]

The Big C: “Musical Chairs” [B+]
The second episode of the show’s second season is not as faultless as the first. There are times when the show’s just too happy with Cathy’s bitchiness, but it still makes for good TV. We’ve never gotten the opportunity to see Adam at school, so with the appearance of fall on the show we’re probably going to get some more opportunities to see him with children his own age. Alan Alda is a nice addition as Cathy’s new doctor, and the appearance of the patient who ends up dying is nice way to remind us that at the end of the fourth season Cathy’s probably going to be dying too. Rebecca’s baby-shower gives Nixon the opportunity to be golden, which she succeeds in doing and it’s nice that Cathy and Sean and have reconciled.
[Writing B+; Directing  B+]

Standout Performers
Cynthia Nixon in The Big C B+/A-
Elijah Wood in Wilfred B+
Jason Gann in Wilfred B+
Alexander Sarsgard in True Blood B+
Laura Linney in The Big C B+
Gabriel Basso in The Big C B+


Jose said...

Cynthia Nixon needs an Emmy nod for her work here. She's so fucking fabulous! I hate to admit it but she was always the best actress from the SATC gals.

Ryan T. said...

Oh man, you're already watching Wilfred! I need to get on that.

True Blood... haven't seen last night's episode, but as for the 2nd episode... I just really am loving the whole witch v. vampire thing. It's odd that you don't see this pairing a lot compared to other supernatural battle royales.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

jose YES. i'm hoping she at least gets nominated in guest actress this year and next year she can go full-out and get a supporting actress win. yes, i'm thinking ahead.

ryan wilfred is legitimately insane. and ball is doing good things keeping true blood fresh. kudos to him and his team.