Saturday, 3 September 2011

TV Week in Review: 28th-31st of August

No write-ups for Wilfred or The Hour this week....but, on with the rest

True Blood: “Burning Down the House”; Season Four, Episode Ten [B+]
That before the credits when Sookie unleashes goes down as one of my favourite moments in Bon Temps. Finally, we’ve got Anna doing something significant (even if they’re still sort of wasting her this season). It was a genius move on the writers’ part to have Marnie be a willing vessel for Antonia’s possessing of her. Even though season two was a my favourite, the concept of the necromancers is undoubtedly brilliant and Fiona Shaw is getting more and more interesting as the week go by. It’s excellent how almost everyone gets tied to the arc – Tara and Holly working on their spell was nice, as was Jesus, Lafayette and Jason joining the ruckus. On the note of poignancy, though, Trammell and Altman in Tommy’s death scene was especially profound. I’m going to miss Tommy; he brought out the best and worst in Sam. With two episodes to go the stakes are high, how can I not be curious to see how they’re resolved?
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+/A-]

Breaking Bad: “Problem Dog”; Season Four, Episode Seven [B+]
This is one of those classic episodes of Breaking Bad where I contemplate on the odd type of protagonist that Walt is. Even though it’s the least seismic of the arcs the dynamic between he and Skylar is always interesting to watch – both of their scenes reveal important facets. I’m appreciative of the forward movements, this episode. The car wash opens, Jesse and Walt’s tentative reconciliation (which is bound to be short-lived) and most importantly, Hank’s investigation which closes the episode. The striking moments contained in the episode ensured that it’s profundity would be felt (Jesse in group therapy, Hank at the diner) but it’s a bit strange how they each feel autonomous in and of themselves, and not tied to the greater narrative. Still, it’s an especially solid – as usual because of the acting and some good directing work.
[Writing: B/B+; Directing: B+]

Entourage: “The Big Bang”; Season Eight, Episode Six [B+]
Only a few more episodes and no more Entourage, and I will keep saying that as ephemeral as the show tends to be on occasion it’s still humorous and as it nears it ends the characters are all moving forward. Eric probably does the least tactical development, but his “relationship” with Melinda is interesting to watch and it’s nice that he’s all but admitted he still is hung up on Sloan. Turtle trying to launch is business isn’t quite diverting, but Ferrera is a good actor and it’s vaguely poignant (as much as one can get on Entourage at least) as he tries to gain some respect. Drama’s success at the end seems a bit odd, so I’m not certain if I believe his strike paid off. Coming off last season we’re back to having Grenier being sidelined, and even though his “awakening” was a nice concept I wish he’d get more screen-time, though he’s good with what he gets. Ari’s divorce dilemma was easily the episodes strongest portion. Piven continues to be phenomenal.
[Writing: B+; Directing B/B+]

The Big C: “How Do You Feel?”; Season Two, Episode Ten [B/B+]
It’s the darkest episode of the season, and also possibly the weakest. Although, it seems so only when you put it in perspective because it’s still a solid instalment. I’m still curious about the inclusion of Parker Posey and seeing her take Adam to her reunion was odd, as was the revelation of her being a cutter. It’s nice seeing Adam have something else to do than be a douche, though and that closing with him and Cathy was sweet. I’m also happy to see Cathy and Lee make up and with Cynthia Nixon apparently gone, I’m glad to see Hugh Dancy stepping up and being excellent. Sean’s relapse is not a pretty thing to watch, so that’s probably going to be a significant arc as the season draws to a close.
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+]

The Closer: “Death Warrant”; Season Seven, Episode Eight [B+/A-]
I have to admit, as much as I’ve been enjoying the past few episodes of The Closer I have been missing the goodness of season six and with this – easily the best of the season – I’m reminded as to why this procedural has held my interest all these years. Brenda’s subordinates are being deposed while she works with Captain Raydor on a special case and the way everything manages to coalesce is absolute genius. The show isn’t as focused on the personal aspects of things like, for example, The Good Wife but the nuances among the cast is great to watch and things like Brenda and Captain Raydor or Flynn and Provenza is always nice to watch. The investigation was superbly done and it’s even interesting wondering just where the leak is in Brenda’s team.
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+]

Web Therapy: “Exposed”; Season One, Episode Seven [B]
There is something a bit ridiculous about everything in this episode, from Fiona’s mother and her Asian son to Fiona getting her patient fired and then hiring him. But it does make for good acting opportunities which the entire cast delivers on. Bucatinsky has always been my favourite of the supporting actors on the show and it’s nice watching him play in a completely different register at the beginning of the episode. Cox continues to bring a startling amount of hilarity to her dumb role although I will miss the dynamic between her and Komal. Tomlin is a hilarious actress to watch, and even though she seems to be playing it a bit too broadly with the humour towards the end, she’s still fun to watch.
[Writing: B/B+; Directing: B]

Damages: “The War Will Go On Forever”; Season Four, Episode Eight [B+/A-]
Week after week after week, Damages keeps on surprising me with where it goes and delivering on all-round excellence. The liaison of Patty and Ellen has been one of the more interesting dynamics of this season and watching them double team Ericson in the depositions was a brilliant thing to watch. Byrne will never be close, but it’s a beautiful thing watching how she’s grown as an actress. Baker, Goodman and Messina have all been great additions this season, even if the latter has had less to do as of late. We’re still learning about them all, so they keep managing to surprise us with the little things they do with their characters – Goodman in particular was on the ball this week. With only two more episodes left, there really is no telling what’s going to happen at the season’s end. But, damn am I anxious now.
[Writing: B+/A-; Directing: A-]

Standout Performers
Glenn Close in Damages A-
John Goodman in Damages B+/A-
Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad B+/A-
Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer B+
Rose Byrne in Damages B+
Jeremy Piven in Entourage B+

Mary McDonnell in The Closer B+
Lisa Kudrow in Web Therapy
Fiona Shaw in True Blood B+
Dylan Baker in Damages B+
Hugh Dancy in The Big CB+
Anna Gunn in Breaking Bad B+
What did you watch this week?


Anonymous said...

That final shot in True Blood was brilliant and got me really excited for today (actually tomorrow since I'm not in the US). I'm sad they killed off Tommy (I guess they needed to kill someone off, since they never do) but now it feels like the whole turning into another human thing is lost since Sam can't do it ever now that all of his family is dead. Unless they consider Tommy dying instead of Sam Sam killing Tommy.

I'm lagging behind in Breaking Bad but that seems to be a great season as well.

Ryan T. said...

I definitely teared up a little on the Tommy/Sam scene in the end. I just wished they'd develop their relationship a bit more this season rather than repeat their love-hate deal from last season. Also thought making Marnie a willing vessel was a genius movie. It at least gives the audience a reason to root against her (but man Fiona Shaw has been on fire this season).

Definitely already see Aaron Paul as the frontrunner of Emmys 2012 with this performance, but I guess we'll see what the competition is like in the next few months. Looking forward for the inevitable Walt v. Jesse clash by season's end (or if not this season then next season). At this point, Jesse is the more sympathetic character.

Jose said...

Tommy sucked ass. I'm glad he's gone!
Ugh why do TB and Damages have to end at the same time? *sobs*
Damages has arguably some of the greatest season finales EVER, can't wait to see what goes on in this one.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

5plitreel yup, i'll miss the chance to see other actors having fun being possessed by tommy.

ryan well, i don't like walt to begin with (skylar for the win) and how can you say no to a face like paul's? still, with michael shannon, alan cumming and vincent kartheiser still to come i'm not sure if he'll take as easily. eh, he probably will.

jose i know! i mean, i'm looking forward to patty clarkson in parks and rec and dexter and boardwalk empire (hee) but no patty AND no vampires seems so extreme at once.