Saturday, 27 August 2011

TV Week in Review: 21st - 25th August

So, let me just dive into it and recap the last wek in TV.

Breaking Bad: “Cornered”; Season Four, Episode Six [B+/A-]
For me, Breaking Bad is the sort of who which benefits from excellent technical work. Sometimes I’m not on board with the writing, but the directing and editing is always good as it was in this episode. After a robbery on Walt’s Meth the episode is bookended by two significant conversations with Skylar. Anna Gunn continues turning in fine performances even if I feel that the writers are constantly forgetting how much of an asset Skylar is to the show. Meanwhile, Jesse’s stint in “body-guarding” continues as Walt begins to worry about the implications. It seems knowledge isn’t worth much. Even as Walt senses that they’re trying to drive a wedge between he and Jesse he seems unable to prevent it from happening – just like he’s unable from preventing Skylar’s worries, which are logical.
[Writing: B+; Directing: A-]

Entourage: “Motherfucker”; Season Eight, Episode Five [B/B+]
So winding down the final season we’re moving ahead with a number of arcs. It’s such a rarity to see Vince dig into his past at least in any significantly dramatic way. Thus, his potential Vanity Fair interview is an interesting change of pace – even more so because the interviewer doesn’t seem all that charmed by him. Even though in the literal sense Drama is moving backwards in deciding to strike, it’s a nice development to see him trying to get Dice on board and doing his utmost to ensure that his venture doesn’t fail. Piven continues to be the kingpin of the series and I’m all for Dana and Ari starting a liaison especially since Mrs. Ari has turned into a bit of a shrew. Still, it was Eric’s liaisons with his ex’s ex-step-mother that was the highlight.
[Writing: B+; Directing: B/B+]

True Blood: “Let's Get Out of Here”; Season Four, Episode Nine [B/B+]
So, things are moving fast and there is a vaguely disjointed way to which it all develops – but it’s forward movement, and I’m all for development. Lafayette’s arc seems a bit divided from the rest, but Ellis delivers a fine performance and I have a feeling that he and Jesus might work the same kind of magic on Martonia soon...we’ll see. Speaking of Martonia, though, she’s now turned on her doubting coven and it seems Tara’s back in the ways of the good. I have to admit I went to a happy place when she helped Sookie get to Bill – if only they could find consistent good use for her, Rutina is being wasted. The werewolves have finally managed to get a real use and as silly as it was I think that Tommy’s heart is in the right place when he goes to them as Sam. I’m curious to see what the fallout from that will be. Although the bigger fallout will be what happens at the “tolerance thing.”
[Writing: B/B+; Directing: B+]

The Closer: “A Family Affair”; Season Seven, Episode Seven [B+]
The episode’s end revealed a troubling reality as it seems that there’s a leak in Brenda’s department which will lead to dastardly things. The return of Captain Raydor is much appreciated and McDonnell and Sedgwick are absolutely brilliant opposite each other. The main case this week with a detective from Phoenix tagging along to see why her estranged daughter was murdered made for an interesting investigation. The revelation itself felt a bit too precise for me to enjoy it, but the actual investigation was filed with strong dramatic arcs and I especially appreciated seeing the finer bits like Brenda interacting with Flynn, Provenza and especially Sanchez. It only points to the mystery of who the leak could be. Will it be as obvious as Taylor...or some surprising?
[Writing: B/B+; Directing: B/B+]

The Big C: “A Little Death”; Season Two, Episode Nine [B+]
It’s the most sombre episode of the season, unsurprisingly since it was a funeral but we still got some lovely moments. The highlight was Cathy and Paul dealing with the funeral of Cathy – the other one. Linney and Platt are such an authentic couple so moments like the ones in the cemetery take on an even more beautiful meaning when they’re together. Rebecca and Sean are both dealing with their issues in their own ways, and I feel especially bad for Rebecca. Her closing conversation with Cathy was especially thought provoking. I’m not quite sold on Parker Posey’s curious character, but I’m all for Basso getting an arc where he isn’t playing a douche.
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+]

Web Therapy: “We've Got A Secret”; Season One, Episode Six [B/B+]
If Fiona wasn’t such an irrepressible, narcissistic psycho I’d feel bad for her – but she isn’t, so I don’t. She gets it from both ends this week – first there’s her mother who’s found her long-lost son and then there’s Kip and his gayness. Kudrow is still doing beautiful, even if the guests didn’t pack as much a punch as I’d have hoped this – except for the continually hilarious Komal. It’s rather curious how despite her naiveté and complete lack of ethics how Fiona still manages to crack her patients and get what she wants – except for her mother of course.....
[Writing: B+; Directing: B]

Damages: “I'm Worried About My Dog”; Season Four, Episode Seven [B+/A-]
Really, I wonder if this is the best season of the show. The brilliant slow burn of this episode is just thrilling to watch and Glenn is in superlative form. But, before we go to Glenn let’s retract to High Star. Messina has returned (cheers and applause) and that conversation with Erikson was most interesting. Goodman is doing a good job of infusing Howard’s generally gregarious temperament with a more sinister undertone that makes him an interesting character. Ellen is sidelined a bit this episode but she has some important bits like meeting with the CIA leak who ends up getting murdered. But, it’s all about Patty. She’s in therapy where we get that lovely reminder of Tom. Then, she’s got Michael to deal with who remains to be a puzzling boy/man. Then, there’s the brilliance of her using her current case to help Ellen’s which results in that great conversation with Gerry. And THAT ENDING! Wow. Just, wow.
[Writing: B+/A-; Directing: B+/A-]

The Hour: “Two”; Season One, Episode Two [B+]
This episode doesn’t fire on all cylinders like the previous one for me, but it’s good one. I’m curious about the murder arc because it seems decidedly secondary to the politics of the work era. Garai holds down this episode moving between her two men. There’s still something off about West, even though his performance is up this episode and we’re seeing a bit more shades of gray in Whishaw’s Freddie, which of course just makes him more fascinating for me. It’s nice to see the ensemble being used as much, and Anna Chancellor still demands my attention each time she appears on screen. I’d love to see her headline a show of her own.
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+/A-]

Wilfred: “Isolation”; Season One, Episode Ten [B+]
This was another solid episode, perhaps even better than last week. I can’t stop singing praises to Wood who is just outstanding as Ryan and it’s nice to see his loner habits being addressed as Wilfred tries to get him out of the house. It leads to a series of hijinks because this is Wilfred we’re talking about but it’s charming how much Ryan fears the public (although that tongue scene was just disgusting) and the ending is pleasing. I’m still curious to know if they’ll address just what the deal is with Ryan and Wilfred but their bond continues to amuse. And, those asides to Bear never get old.
[Writing: B+; Directing B+]

Random Thoughts
  • Why is that The Killing is the only AMC show which treats it blonde women well? Both Mad Men’s January Jones and Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn get the shaft on their shows.
  • Hasn’t Cynthia Nixon been just priceless on The Big C? I hope this doesn’t mark her imminent departure.
  • How adorable is Luna’s daughter? Not at all annoying like most children on television.

Standout Performers
Glenn Close in Damages B+/A-
Romola Garai in The Hour B+/A-
Elijah Wood in Wilfred B+/A-
Laura Linney in The Big C B+
Ben Whishaw in The Hour B+
Nelsan Ellis in True Blood B+
Jason Gann in Wilfred B+
Oliver Platt in The Big C B+
Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad B+
Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer B+
Dylan Baker in Damages B+
What did you watch this week?


Jose said...

Rose Byrne FTW! Love her this season and yeah this might be the best Damages ever! Hope they bring it back next year too.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

if i heard correctly, it's definitely picked up for season 5. so, YAY.