Saturday, 26 November 2011

TV Week in Review: 13th-17th November

It's rather easy doing a weekly TV recap when so many shows are off...on with the shows...
Boardwalk Empire: “Battle of the Century”; Season Two, Episode Nine [B+]
I don’t know if I’m alone in thinking it, but this episode seemed to have a striking tonal difference from most of its predecessors. I wager that much of that had to do with Nucky’s trip to Ireland. But, it didn’t stop there – with Emily struck with polio and Jimmy navigating new territory, there was a sort of sedateness to it all even as things were very active. I continue to be worried about Jimmy and what his movement up in life implies for him as a character. He seems to be losing which once made him a sympathetic character – and Richard seems to be picking up on that. Still, their “bonding” at the end was great. I’m not certain what Emily getting polio will add to the overall impact of the show. That is, unless she dies which will be something catastrophic. The return of Chalky's talkative cellmate, now working with Chalky signals some interesting things and that Prosecutor seems hell-bent on being as troublesome as possible. I wonder if Nucky was worried about not being fully in the loop or if he, like I, was surprised at the coldness with which Owen allowed his former boss to get assassinated. I always knew he was going to be a worrisome addition…
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+]

Dexter: “Sin of Omission”; Season Six, Episode Eight [B/B+]
There were quite a few things to like about this episode, but there were also some things which I found troubling. I’m wondering what the necessity of Drunk-Quinn is yet again, as the writers seem to not realise how valuable of an asset Quinn could be. Then, I think too that the entire concept of angel being protective is something that’s been established before and is unnecessary. The advavement of Dexter’s work on the case is a good things and it’s awful seeing that Travis’ sister ended up being a victim of it all. This, of course, makes the Professor that more dangerous – especially now that he’s seen Dexter. The episode’s finest moments, though, rested on delving into the relationship of Deb and Dexter. I have an inkling that perhaps this will be the season she finds out about him, but regardless it’s nice – even though I don’t particularly love seeing Deb reassess their relationship and realising that sometimes she’s too much in the dark. [Writing: B+; Directing: B/B+]

Homeland: “Achilles Heel”; Season One, Episode Eight [B+/A-]
So, the story was turned on its heels last week and things just keep getting more and more interesting. There was a curious feeling of this episode not giving us as much – on the ostensible level at least – for our actors to do, and then it’s probably because it’s the shortest of the episodes. Still, we get some significant development of relationships which always makes me happy. I still want more from Saul, but Patinkin is his usually awesome self and more turning my favourite episode of his yet. It was made even better by two brilliant scenes of his opposite Danes. The show really is doing such a fine job of miring the boundaries of what a pseudo-political thriller should be. The revelation of who our real turncoat is was great, and it was a nice touch having Walker’s family being his Achilles. But, then, we begin to wonder what’s going with that final scene which is only making things even more exciting. Even though I miss [ ], it’s nice seeing Jessica and Brody working on their relationship and I wonder if a position in office is what they’ll use to keep Brody on the show without making things stagnant.
[Writing: B+/A-; Directing: B+/A-]

The Good Wife: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”; Season Three, Episode Nine [B+]
On occasion, I tend to forget – only temporarily – that The Good Wife is a television drama, and not real life and an unbelievably apt quote at the film’s end about the necessity to hold people accountable has me thinking about all that’s to come in the sure-fire cataclysmic blow-up which will happen eventually on the show. The coldness looming over this season still seems a bit jarring, but it’s all for a cause and the plot developments this episode are as provocative as I’d hope. Really, I like Jackie Florrick for all her despicable deeds, and I’m just a bit dubious about Alicia lording it over her, her judgemental inclinations irk me. Still, this episode was a stellar one for Alicia (and, by extension, Julianna Margulies). Her proclivity to become overly attached to cases sometimes seems forced; but, the case this week is a clever one, and a return to military court is not something I’d play down. Elsewhere, the investigations into Will mounts and even as I’m annoyed at the absence of Peter (bring back Chris Noth) the appearance of Wendy Scott-Carr made me do a happy dance because Anika Noni Rose is divine. Honestly, Eli’s lobbying was turning into something vaguely like a caricature and having him lose and then share quiet a moment with Diane was a necessary moment of softness. Where shall we go from here? I can’t wait to find out.
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+]

Gossip Girl: “All the Pretty Sources”; Season Five, Episode Eight [B/B+]
And, voila we may be on our way to the disappearance of that dastardly Prince. It’s only the slightest bit jarring watching how quickly Louis has moved from potentially charming prince to questionable villain, but I’m really quite all right with it – and his actions make for some rather interesting results. It’s been some time since I’ve felt any affinity for the machinations of the waifish Serena, but she works well in this episode and it’s nice that she and Blair are going so long without any turbulence in their friendship. Chuck and Dan will continue to be wrong, but still a lot of fun and their scenes end up being some of the best of the episode. I’m not sure what to make of Ivy and her boyfriend. I’m unwilling to believe that everyone who enters the realm is intent on some scheming machinations – but, then, this is New York. Nate and Victoria’s issues are the slightest bit trite, but I can’t help feeling a bit bad for her – especially with the way that Taylor keeps playing her and it’s going to be fun to see what happens when it all blows up in Nate’s grandfather’s face. And, really, we know that it must.
[Writing: B/B+; Directing: B/B+]

Parenthood: “Mr. Honesty”; Season Three, Episode Ten [A-]
And, this show delivers yet another fine episode examining the well-worn crannies of family life. I was a wee bit worried about that montage with Amber, because she has been a bit underused this season and sometimes I wonder if the creators are finding it difficult to work her into the fabric of the show. And, even though there is a sense that they’re trying a bit much to keep her around it’s an interesting development of events and I’m happy to see Mae Whitman get some solid scenes to work with. There are a whole lot bigger issues going down than Amber not making her rent, though. Naturally, because Adam is such a stand-up guy he has to tell Kristina about that kiss last week and of course it doesn’t end well. Honestly, I don’t like Kristina in this register because as understandable as her breakdown, it’s more than obvious that she’s overreacting – and that particular blowout was painful to watch. And that’s not the only thing going pear-shaped. Every Julia/Joel scene this episode was wonderful, and it was sad watching them move from the silly mundaties of their usual lives to realising that they might not get to adopt that baby. Meanwhile, it’s nice to see how Crosby has matured – and how good Dax Shepherd has become in the role. I think it was apt that this time he was the one advising Adam, and being right, and though I’m worried that Jasmine will greatly regret it, it was nice seeing the two of them bond over memories.
[Writing: A-; Directing: B+/A-]

Modern Family: “Punkin Chunkin”; Season Three, Episode Nine [B+/A-]
It was somewhere around the time that the first pumpkin launched that I realised that the episode was almost over, and I realised how quickly the episode flew. The thing is, I’m dubious that this is my favourite episode of the season but it definitely one of the better ones and it raises some issues that always make me think of the show without making it too ridiculous. Having the three Pritchett’s turn out to be sticklers didn’t end up being as awkward as I thought it would, and it’s interesting because two of the three are my favourite characters of the show. I’ve remarked before especially in this season that Claire’s practicality often makes her come off as a harridan and I think it’s essential for the writers to remember that she’s more than just a stick-in-the-mud (the same goes for Mitchell). The eventual ending though, for all its sentimentality turned out to be just the right amount of sweet.
[Writing: B+/A- ; Directing: B+/A-]

Revenge: “Suspicion”; Season One, Episode Nine [B+]
And, Fauxmanda strikes again. I saw that coming, and yet again I sort of didn’t and it only works at strengthening the drama and the absolute lusciousness of all this madness. I’m pleased to see Emily Vancamp severely stepping up her game (to think I once doubted her) and watching Emily navigate the strictures of her relationships with Daniel, Amanda, Jack, Victoria and Nolan sure is fun to watch even if the danger of everything is getting more and more pronounced. It’s nice having Jack be more than a moping simp. Elsewhere, Victoria going all “Who’s Afraid of Baby Jane” on Lydia and keeping her locked up is fun, and it’s too bad that Conrad has foiled her plans. It seems that she might have found a partner in Ashley, which is going to be interesting. I still don’t like Ashley, but I’m appreciating the role that she’s playing. Tyler and Nolan’s tug-of-war is still a bit puzzling, and I’m curious to see where that is going to end up.
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+]

American Horror Story: “Rubber Man”; Season One, Episode Eight [B-]
I’m not thrilled with the direction that the show is shaking. Will Falchuck and Murphy keep to their promise and expel the Harmon’s at the end of the season to move on to new prey? I wouldn’t mind because they’ve become a bit ridiculous lately. Structurally, it works having Tate turn out to be the Rubber Man because it makes it more than just a red-herring. But, putting logistics to the test (a dubious decision, considering what we’re talking about here) it wouldn’t make sense in terms of height and build, and if Vivien really had sex with a 16 year old teenager and thought it was her husband she deserves to be committed. It’s also worrying when I now consider how disturbing it is that Violet has allowed her mother to be committed. It almost makes me think of Stella allowing Stanley to lead Blanche away. As an aside, I sort of wish the Zachary Quinto was the lead – he’s much more fun that the Harmon’s.
[Writing: B/B-; Directing: B]

Standout Performers
Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife B+/A-
Damian Lewis in Homeland B+

Claire Danes in Homeland B+
Christine Baranski in The Good Wife B+
Dax Shepherd in Parenthood B+
Peter Krause in Parenthood B+

Mandy Patinkin in Homeland B+
Emily VanCamp in Revenge B+
Ty Burrell in Modern Family B+
Gabriel Mann in Revenge B+
Ed O’Neill in Modern Family B+
Archie Panjabi The Good Wife B+
Jesse Tyler Ferguson in Modern Family B+
Julie Bowen in Modern Family B+
Kelly MacDonald in Boardwalk Empire B+
Michael Pitt in Boardwalk Empire B+
Monica Potter in Parenthood B+
What did you watch this week?

1 comment:

Squasher88 said...

I thought "The Good Wife" was great this week, the entire cast got to shine. Modern Family was solid too.