Saturday, 25 February 2012

TV Week in Review: 19th-23rd February

Still have not caught up on Once Upon a Time, and I don't even know if I ever shall....

The Good Wife: “Road to Damascus”; Season Three, Episode Fifteen [B+]
Coming off the last entry in this fine third season, anything would seem a bit anticlimactic and the focus on the main case (which, as is often the case) was only mildly entertaining felt a bit extraneous. Nonetheless, it was a solid episode which only loses its lustre because the entire season has been solidly presented. Will’s suspension from the firm will surely make for an interesting arc for this season and it doubtlessly will be intriguing to see what the writers decide to make of it. His suspension heightens the drama, though, since now Alicia will be Kalinda’s lawyer which shall surely present us with some key Kalicia moments (something this jam-packed season has been lacking), I also expect that Diane will get some more key moments to be that great mentor that she is. Elsewhere, Eli’s issues with Stacy and the decision to defend his wife feel just a slightest bit out of the sync with all else in the episode mostly because it’s not integrated into the rest of the storylines. But, it does present a nice arc for Eli, I’m interested in seeing where that goes.
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+]

Smash: “Enter Mr. DiMaggio”; Season One, Episode Three [B/B-]
First things, first – the show is still keeping my interest and I am interested in its arcs and seeing where the varying narrative strands lead. But, it’s just not coalescing into something that’s completely working for me. Some of it is the direction (that bridge flashback to Julia’s affair), and some of it is the writing (Ellis, everything about him) but together it’s not helping the good parts of the show. The Julia/Tom relationship continues to be the show’s strongest asset, and sure Messing has been there, done that somewhat but I’d be more intrigued in THAT show than this one mostly because as entertaining as the Broadway angle is as the focus of the show both Karen and Ivy are being dragged through much to mundane issues for me to become completely interested in them. Eileen’s issues are quite riveting, but Huston – always the performer – continues to hook me with her choices. I’m still appreciating it, but with diminishing returns.
[Writing: B-; Directing: B-]

Glee: “On My Way”; Season Three, Episode Fourteen [B/B-]
This episode is something of an oddity. Karofsky’s return is a bit unnecessary in a show that desperately needs to trim its cast, many of who are beginning to feel extraneous. The Finn/Rachel debacle continues to prevent Lea Michele from giving anything remotely close to a natural performance and the Karofsky debacle gives me Chris Colfer’s acting which I could do without. But, both arcs allow for great things like Stokes Mitchell and Goldblum trying hard, and succeeding mostly and the latter allows for that excellent bit with the teachers (especially Jane Lynch. The performances were typically on point, although I didn’t care for Rachel’s solo (I know, me of all people. But, what ever happened to Show Choir being about standards? The building use of genre music seems a bit bizarre). But, generally, it’s a coherent offering and would that that “shocker” had come at the end of last season when it would have made much more organic sense considering Quinn’s spiralling.
[Writing: B-/C+; Directing: B-]

Parenthood: “Remember Me, I’m the One Who Loves You” [B+/A-]
I will be so sad when this show leaves, although it will give me some free time. This penultimate episode of the season is an excellent with surprises and disappointments and most importantly a decisive movement forward for the major plot arcs, fine writing and excellent acting. What more do I need? I keep on biting my nails waiting forth inevitable breakup of Mark and Sarah which I just know will devastate me because they’re so adorable. Speaking of devastating, though – Christensen gets a chance to turn in a fabulous performance that’s all about sadness and pathos and every bit that Julia does this episode is so rooted in sadness and that final one-two-three punch of having Zoe tell her she loves her, then realising that Zoe will not give up the child and then that breakdown just make for a truly outstanding performance. Adam continues to annoyance, and this decision of his seems set to be a catastrophic but for now Jasmine and Crosby getting together, adorably in the rain will suffice. Lovely.
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+]

Cougar Town: “A Mind with a Heart of its Own”; Season Three, Episode Two [A-]
Is it because I’ve simply missed the show, I think not. This episode had me laughing aloud at so many moments from the innocuous to the more pronounced. Jules planning for her wedding seems destined to become a season long arc that I shall adore, mostly because the clashes between Laurie and Ellie seem destined to become hilarious. Ellie’s selfishness is such a delightful running theme, especially when Christa Miller seems determined to hold on to her MVP status. Elsewhere, Grayson getting assimilated to the way of his son to be and his father-in-law to be and it’s an extraneous arc in lieu of the other two, but it’s hilarious nonetheless. I feel like the team know they need to tread carefully for the way that Bobby responds to the marriage, but so far I’m loving it.
[Writing: A-; Directing: A-]

Modern Family: “Virgin Territory”; Season Three, Episode Sixteen [C/C+]
Easy to watch, but ultimately it just seems so trite. That’s all I can muster up.
[Writing: C+; Directing: C+

30 Rock: “Leap Day”; Season Six, Episode Nine [B+/A-]
Seriously, 30 Rock is turning in its best work in years and I’m overjoyed. The Leap Day silliness is such an obvious throwback to Christmas, but the parody workings are used better than they’d be ins – say - Community. The cast once again is at the top of their game, with Kenneth toned down and Jack in-form their arc is a bit of silly sweetness that’s a joy to watch. The same goes for a toned down Tracy who I’m managing to enjoy this season. Naturally, though, a Jenna/Liz arc will take top honours and it’s a hilarious one where both Fey (her acting this season!!!!) and Krakowksi are as hilarious as you could hope. What more is there to say? Love.
[Writing: A-; Directing: B+]

Parks and Recreation: “Sweet Sixteen” [B+]
Ah, the return of Ron leading the way in intelligence and steering Leslie towards the right path! How I’ve missed him. Leslie is taking on too many tasks and with Jerry’s birthday things get out of hand. Hilariously, the cast gets together and just enjoy each other’s company and silliness ensues and I like that. I’m still up in the air on Ann and Tom, but Rashida Jones is made of win, so I don’t really mind. Donna is hoot, so any chance for her snark is much appreciated. But, Poor Chris :( I also like those little bits of delightful things like Ben’s wakeup face or drunk April and Tom’s Ginuwine tales.
[Writing: B+; Directing: B+]

The Office: “After Hours”; Season Eight, Episode Sixteen [B+/A-]
This is, for sure, the season’s finest episode…and that is no faint praise because the episode is especially excellent. It lacks Robert California, and I feel that this may be the best route for the show to go. For one, Dwight who gets something of the A-plot manages not to be over the top while doing so. Jim’s plot of being seduced by a certain hussy is as good as I expected, because Krasinski is so excellent with these awkward moment and the entire bit becomes even more hilarious when he adds Dwight to the occasion (and it’s nice when those two can work together). Erin and Ryan’s bit is lovely, even though I do wish shallow Ryan could wise up and hook up with her, if only temporarily. And, back home, things are actually interesting. There are solid random character moments, excellent one-liners from Kelly and that Daryl business which just works beautifully. I’m so pleased with this offering.
[Writing: B+/A-; Directing: B+]

I wish I’d had the chance to see THE ARTIST at Cannes so that me liking it and not LOVING it wouldn’t mean that my response is just “backlash”. Hate that ideology.

Standout Performers
Christa Miller in Cougar Town B+/A-
Amy Poehler in Parks and Recreation B+
Jane Krakowski in 30 Rock B+
Lauren Graham in Parenthood B+
Erika Christensen in Parenthood B+
Busy Philipps in Cougar Town B+
Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock B+
John Krasinski in The Office B+

Alan Cumming in The Good Wife B+
Debra Messing in Smash B+
Tina Fey in 30 Rock B+
Josh Charles in The Good Wife B+
Christian Borle in Smash B+
Archie Panjabi in The Good Wife B+
    
What did you watch this week?

1 comment:

Nick Prigge said...

"I assume this is her horse stable and she's hammering that nail as a funny joke."

That's all.