I've opted for longer recaps of certain shows where I found it necessary, and the usual short bits elsewhere...you know, because I like writing too excess.
On with the shows...
The Killing: SEASON TWO, PREMIERE “Reflections / My Lucky Day” [B+]
I meant to attack the issue of this show head and on and discuss how the response to its “controversial” season one ending shows all that’s worrying about television audiences. Perhaps in the future. The most overwhelmingly annoying thing about non-fans of the show is the wave of condescension which overrides their discussions of it and if it is the unfulfilling which was the show’s main albatross, it’s odd that the previous 12 episodes are being ignored. Nonetheless, I was pleased with the show’s first year and it returns just as bleak and gripping as it left us. To nitpick, I was a bit displeased with the easiness with which Richmond’s arc was wrapped up – although we still have to see what becomes of the elections now that he’s wheelchair bound. Mitch is still MIA from her family and credit to the rest of the cast for not making the absence of the excellent Michelle Forbes glaring. Sexton and Allman turn in fin performances as they contemplate where the family must go next, especially with Rosie’s killer still – apparently – on the loose.
Mad Men: Season 5, Episode 3 – “Tea Leaves” [B+]
This season is the first time I’m watching the show as it airs, so I’m privy to things like background chatter – case in point: Betty. I must admit, I don’t get the vitriol spewed at Betty, and not just because two separate personality quizzes decided that I was a repressed sixties’ housewife inside (Exhibit A; Exhibit B). Betty’s outward steeliness is such an obvious example of inside uncertainty and January Jones’ natural frailty as a performer is what makes it work so well. Certainly, this is not one of the finest Betty episodes and I’m confused if I’m applauding Jones’ performance as much as the scenario (she has some odd moments), but there are moments like that frantic phone call to Don or – her best scene of the episode – eating ice-cream with Sally that work so overwhelmingly well as important moments for the episodes, and suggestions about her character, that make me pleased.
Scandal: SERIES PREMIERE – “Sweet Baby” [B+]
I was worried about Scandal. Even with Grey’s Anatomy being a true beacon of drama in the first three years, and continuing to be at the very least good in the remaining years, Shonda Rhimes doesn’t seem to have a good reputation among “real” TV critics. Enter - Scandal. It’s dealing with even higher stakes than doctors, it’s about lawyers and the president, my beloved Kerry Washington is front and centre and Shonda fatigue might be at its highest. And, we get typically Shonda-features – dialogue at a fast pace, a racially dynamic cast, sex mixed with work and someone who’s in way over their head. And…it works…?
Strong characters, generally strong performers and interesting arcs? I don’t ask for much – and I’ve got enough to come back, certainly. But….why am I worried?
Notes on other things I watched this week….
Shameless: Season 2, Episode 12 – “Fiona Interrupted” [B+]
HERE). It’s a nice, sweet closer. Estefania’s return being played for laughs is a nice bit, Frank ending up on the lawns – even better. It’s nice to see Lip back, as it is to see Sheila make a decision for the baby, even at Karen’s expense. It’s been a great ride, I shall miss this show over the rest of the year.
Smash: Season 1, Episode 9 – “Hell on Earth” [C+]
GCB: Season 1, Episode 5 – “Forbidden Fruit” [D-]
Perhaps, the less said about this show the better…it’s one thing for a few plot-points to falter but when every development in this episode lands with a resounding thud it makes for a particularly uncomfortable viewing experience. Even with an amusing song number at the beginning (alas, without Chenoweth) and said Chenoweth’s to squeeze humour from stone, and an admittedly good attempt at charm from Eric Winters what we end up with is turgidity. And, that’s something I can’t endorse.
30 Rock: Season 6, Episode 16 – “Nothing Left to Lose” [B+/A-]
Grey’s Anatomy: Season 8, Episode 18 – “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” [B/B+]
I’m so happy that the show continues, in its eight season, to deliver with an easiness that’s admittedly not top-notch but still above average in every way. The appearance of the elderly couple was a particularly nice touch and led to a moving moment towards the end. It’s all about transition for the lead players – Cristina’s outburst at the end was hilarious, necessary and worrying and watching Alex trying to navigate the personal against the professional makes me still a bit sad that he’s not being used as much as he should. But, still. I don’t much care for Lexie and Mark’s silliness – but it’s hardly objectionable.
Community: Season 3, Episode 14 – “Pillows and Blankets”[B+]
Random Moment of the Week:
Abby screaming “Paige is a whore” was the most bizarre moments of the premiere – in a good way. I’m so interested in seeing more of Dabney. I never met a redhead I didn’t like (other than Mariska Hargitay and Ginny Weasley).
Jane Krakowski in 30 Rock A-
Miereille Enos in The Killing B+/A-
Kerry Washington in Scandal B+/A-
Joan Cusack in Shameless B+/A-
Joel Kinnaman in The Killing B+
Tina Fey in 30 Rock B+
January Jones in Mad Men B+
Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock B+
Donald Glover in Community B+
Elizabeth Moss in Mad Men B+
Brian Sexton in The Killing B+
Who's ready for some Jewish awesomeness on Mad Men? Did you return for The Killing? Did you tune in for Scandal? Did you buy Community's gag? Will you miss Shameless? What did YOU watch this week?