Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week in Review: 2/6-2/12

It has been a crazy week in TV. This week a few shows returned from hiatus. A few new shows finally hit the airwaves. And as for the regular shows I watch every week - well a few of those hit some highs as well. I'm still catching up on the week, as always, so sorry if your favorite show is missing! And please remember, I will tell plot points in here. So if you want to watch the show and haven't, don't read that part of the post.

GLEE (Times Two!): Two episodes of Glee aired this past week. First there was the much talked about Post-Superbowl Thriller episode. To be honest, it was okay at best. Thriller was pretty good but I was annoyed with the direction of it. I wanted to see more of the choreography and less of the stylized shots of individuals. I'm also not thrilled with the way the bully's storyline is going. Or at least the direction of it in that episode- they made it like Kurt and Blaine were cheering him going onto the field. Yes, congrats for not being completely crippled in your inability to admit your gay. But I think they could have handled that better. Brittany was hysterical though, "I don't want to die until One Tree Hill gets cancelled." Dear Brit, bad news. It was cancelled. Please don't die. Love, Everyone. Two days later Glee got back to what it is good at - the fun personal stories. This Valentine's day episode was very good. Highlights: Finn giving Rachel the necklace proving that he isn't always a complete ass. Kurt, Rachel and Mercedes friendship. This threesome seem to have come out of nowhere when Kurt transferred, and I pray that Ryan Murphy doesn't ruin it because he "got bored." I love them. And speaking of Kurt the hightlight of the episode for me was how well he handled the Blaine thing. It reeked of a moment where Kurt was going to go all crazy and whiny, but he didn't. It was my favorite Kurt moment.

CHICAGO CODE: Shawn Ryan is someone I count on to create quality TV. The Shield and Terriers were two of the most brilliant shows to hit the airwaves, in my opinion. When I saw he had something new, I was watching without question. I hope you all did too. I believe there are way too many cop shows on TV nowadays, I almost never start watching new ones, but this is smarter than anything I've seen in a long time. Instead of spelling it out you had to actually pay attnention to understand the story. Novel idea! I loved the use of the flashback montages, made even better when they used it to lure you into submission just before Antonio got shot. The audience became invested in this character and the fact that he was giving you a flashback said "care about this guy" and then it was taken away mid-sentence. I yelped. Loud. I am excited to see where this goes. And fall more in love with Jarek. What a fantastic character!!

THE GOOD WIFE: First of all, Cary wasn't on, so ultimately I was a little disappointed because I look forward to that Matt Czuchry smile. But other than that, this episode was fantastic. While the case pitted Alicia against Michael J Fox's character once again - always a delight - the real plot movement came from the discovery that Bond has been monitoring the computers of several people at Lockhart/Gardner. Alicia, Will, Kalinda, Diane and David working together almost like a spy team to undermine Bond has been extremely entertaining. I love how they are having as much fun with this as they are with any case they are working on. Plus it led to the most adorable low five in the history of low fives between Will and Diane. So cute. I don't know how the writers manage to balance so many storylines (case of the week, Will and Tammy, Alicia/Will/Peter triangle, Peter's campaign, Cary at State's Attorney, Kalinda/Blake, Bond takeover, etc) without the viewers ever feeling overwhelmed or that they aren't getting enough about any storyline. The writers at The Good Wife are magic.

JUSTIFIED: I feel like I could spend an hour just sitting at the computer gushing over the second season premiere of this show. It was perfection. It took season one's developments and transitioned it so seemlessly into season two's major story arc - The Bennett Family. Instead of going huge with the season opener, they just played it the same level as always. The show rides a fine line between overwhelming intensity and soothing calmness, much like the character of Raylan himself. I honestly don't know what to say except this is one of the best hours of television you will watch every week. I hope you are all paying attention to it. And if not, why??? My favorite moment of this week's episode (and it was a hard decision to make): Raylan standing at the car of Jimmy Earl Dean (three first names = bad guy), a child molester with a kid in his trunk. JED went into the gas station market and when he comes out and sees Raylan he assumes Raylan is stealing gas to which Raylan responds, "Yes. I'm stealing gas. I don't know why I do it. It's not like I can't afford it." Seems silly, but the delivery was the greatest. Watch this show.

MR. SUNSHINE: I will forever love Chandler Bing, so I felt I had to watch this. I also really like the supporting cast, especially Allison Janney. The pilot was okay. I'll reserve judgement for an episode or two and I'll get back to you.

BONES: Six months ago I never thought I would say this, but I'm going to miss Hannah. Did I want her to say yet to Booth? No. Of course not. But man did I love Hannah and Breannan together. I think she offered a sort of friendship to Brennan that Angela couldn't. Kathryn Winnick (Hannah) is gone for now, and while I hope this will eventually lead to Bones and Booth getting together, I still want Hannah to come back. For Brennan. And as for Booth - how amazing was David Boreanaz in those last couple scenes. For the first time in 6 years of Bones I saw Angel when DB was on screen. I think his acting in those scenes made me realize just how good he is all of the time on the show. I realized I NEVER see Angel when I watch Bones. Well done. Now, let's get Booth and Bones back on track!

PRIVATE PRACTICE: So, this isn't a show I normally blog about. I watch it and generally enjoy it, but it isn't one that inspires much in me to feel the need to discuss it. But this week the last 10 minutes were huge for me. First, the Charlotte/Lee storyline. I love the (general) end of that story arc. Lee will get what he deserve and Charlotte can finally move on. But, because I enjoy discussing the wonderful acting ability of anyone from the Whedonverse apparently, I was mostly in awe of Nicholas Brendon's acting in that final scene. Lee's words were defiant and strong towards Charlotte's threats, and he attempted to keep his face stoic and strong as well, but he faltered just slightly, and in his eyes you saw the fear and sadness. So wonderful on the part of NB. If you haven't watched Buffy, first, WTF is wrong with you (LOL), and second, do. And when you get to the season three episode, The Zeppo, you will see why this bit of acting was not a surprise to me at all. The second part of PP that stood out to me, obviously, was the suicide of Addison's mom, Bizzy. For those who watch it, and please be honest, did you see that coming? I was screaming at my TV for Addison not to leave because I knew. It was wonderfully played by both actresses, and I commend Shonda Rhimes for how true to life (trust me) that final scene between the two played out.

And on that cheerful note, I'm done for the day. I know... I left out pretty much all the comedies this week. They were all friggin adorable as always. Also, and I feel I should say this weekly, I love Joel McHale. Also missing: Fringe. Haven't watched, but I do know the big twist. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about it, so I'm holding off on commenting for at least a few episodes.  I could also comment on all the CW, but that would be ridiculous to do every week..... LOL.

Comment away!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Week in Review: 1/30-2/5

Well, this is a day late because I had such a busy weekend! Sick kid, Legally Blonde, Super Bowl! But here is a look at some of the highlights of last week. (Side note: I am still catching up on some of the shows from last week. So if you think something was extra super awesome and I didn't include it, there is a pretty good chance I just haven't watched it yet!)

DOWNTON ABBEY: Alright, admit it. You are sick of me pushing the Masterpiece shows on you. But I have to because they are amazing. Over the past month Masterpiece Classic on PBS has aired Downton Abbey, a mini-series that originally aired on BBC back in jolly ol' England last year. It was one of the greatest 6 hours of programming I have ever sat through. Sometimes I think that those "takes place in a big castle with lots of rich people" movies can be a bit stuffy (though I always still like them) but this was not stuffy in the slightest. It looked like a period peice but the storylines played out like a CW drama. Backstabbing, sex, death, cover-ups, angsty love - all of it is there. I honestly can't recommend it highly enough. And you may be saying, "Oh well, it's already aired. Sorry Melissa." But that's not an excuse - it's already on DVD. Don't want to buy it? Request it at your local library. Librarians love this kind of stuff! But please watch it and tell me if you do! Join me on being Team Bates. And even better! They are starting production on season 2 next month!! So catch up before it airs on PBS next January.

BEING HUMAN: This show is simply a lot of fun. The characters are all interesting. Least intersting to me is Sally, the ghost. She just seems kind of whiny. But I'm hoping her new abilities give her character a boost. She does have great interaction with Aiden and Josh though, and I love her more when they are in the room. Josh is by far my favorite character. I'm not sure where the show is ultimately heading - is there a big bad? Besides the always delightful Mark Pelligrino, of course. Is there going to be more mythology? Because if it is just "we are going to be found out" drama every week, it could get old. But as for now, I'm on board.

COUGAR TOWN: Excuse me while I drown my sorrows in a Big Carl size glass of wine. My favorite friends on the Cul de Sac crew are going away for 10 whole weeks (!!!) while Courteney Cox's former TV hubby, Matthew Perry takes her time slot with his show, Mr. Sunshine. More on that next week. For now, let us bask in the funny that was Cougar Town's Valentine's Day episode. If Jules and Grayson ever broke up I think I would liquify. They are beyond adorable. Besides I appreciate a guy that deals with the crazy because, hello, look at me! While I thought the Love and Anger circles were hysterical, and very Scrubs-esque (always a good thing), my favorite moment lies with Ellie and her disgust with the neighbors that still have their Christmas decorations up on February 14th. I second your call for their death, Ellie. It's just plain lazy. Although this a comedy, so there can't be a killing spree. Instead just a glorious bonfire in the street made up of everyone's decorations. A beautiful image to hold me over for the next ten week. (sob)

PARENTHOOD: I'm not sure if it is just me, but I find Kristina to be the most unlikeable character on almost any TV show. She is just a completely self-righteous pain in the ass. Just when I start to think she isn't so bad, BAM, she does something obnoxious again. How does the completely loveable and adorable Peter Krause aka Adam stay married to that woman? I get being stressed out about your teenage daughter's love life. I get being afraid she is going to get hurt. But she CAN NOT LIVE IN A BUBBLE! Your kid will never learn if you don't let them make at least one mistake. And this mistake, if it is one, is hers to make. Let it go. Even your husband isn't siding with you anymore. Goodness. And putting that picture of the family in the suitcase you bring Haddie... well, Amber put it best, "Ew. So manipulative." Rant over.

THE OFFICE: I haven't watched most of NBC comedy this week. But I did watch this. While I haven't been loving this show as much recently (WHERE THE EFF IS JIM?!) I do love Michael and Holly. And the gag of having Holly do everything Michael did without even trying is perfection. Everyone knows they are soulmates, and that bit was a beautiful way of solidfying that. Even shockingly hateful Erin had to smile at them kissing on the roof. (Apparently the roof is where all sweet moments happen on The Office)

SUPERNATURAL: Ok, let me get this out......SAAAAAMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!!!!! Ahem. Sorry. After the first half of the season it was just so wonderful to see Sammy walk into the room and give his big brother a hug. I got a little misty. Also, somehow having his little brother back made Dean even cuter. And funnier - see the "sword in the stone" scene. Still laughing over that one. Also funny - Dean reading the girls diary. Or it is creepy if you are Sammy. Despite Dean not wanting Sam to find out what happened over the past year and a half, Castiel ends up telling him. Really need to make sure everyone gets that memo, Dean. So now we need to worry about that wall Death put up. But in the mean time, I'm just enjoying having my boys back together. (Bobby, get over it!) And now we have a new Buffy-esque Big Bad: Mother. And boy, does she seem scary. Lillith, who?? And one last side note: why is the "obviously not really a virgin character" was named Melissa? Really?? Sigh.....

Alright.... what did you love this week. Yes, I know, Community. I'm going to watch it right now, okay?? What else? What are you looking forward to this week? Valentine's Glee is tomorrow! Blaine and Kurt forever.....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CHUCK: Chuck Versus the Push Mix

I wasn't planning on doing any blog for individual shows. I honestly barely remember to do the weekly blog. But last night's episode of Chuck was such a wonderful episode, that I feel compelled to give it a shout out separate from the Week in Review. Josh Schwartz showed with this episode that he appreciates the loyal fan base and that he is willing to ultimately give them what they want. And guess what other show runners - that is not necessarily a bad thing, despite what some of you may think! Happy characters don't always mean a boring show.

So, instead of doing a regular recap. I'm going to list the top 10 thing I loved about last night's episode of Chuck.

10. Jeffster. Yep, Jeffster. Listen. I am not always on board with these two. Are they amusing? Usually. But sometimes they are simply grating. But having them sing "Push It" over the loud speaker while Ellie was, in fact, pushing, was so wrong that I couldn't help but laugh. Plus, Ellie and Casey's reactions were worth any of the awkwardness that came from Jeff and Lester grinding with pregnant ladies.

9. Volkoff didn't die. I'll get to the mission itself in a minute, but I loved that it didn't end with Chuck (or anyone else, for that matter) killing Volkoff. While I'm sure Mama Bartowski would have loved to pull the trigger on him (Chuck does need to explain those tranq guns), as a viewer, I'm excited to still have Timothy Dalton on the list of possible villains that could resurface. Perhaps with Shaw? How cute would Bond and Superman be together?

8. Casey and Alex. I'm a sucker for a good father/daughter moment, since it's one I don't get to have anymore in reality. Alex has been a very peripheral character since she was introduced, which I understand. Just how many more regular folk can the General give top level security clearance too? But I hope the father/daughter (and Morgan!) moments in this ep lead to more Alex. I think she has a lot to offer this group. And we need a regular person back on the scene, now that Morgan gets to go on the "climactic missions." Speaking of....

7. Morgan Grimes, mission ready. While Morgan has proved to be an important fourth member to Chuck's team, he has never really been invited to be part of the missions in any capacity that requires him to leave the Castle. And yet there he was in his wet suit on the Contessa doing yoga moves to get through the laser-ridden hallway. Sure he may be a bit of a doofus, but he managed to come through in the clutch and helped to save the day instead of just screwing up and ruining the plan - something I honestly expected would happen.

6. Devon Woodcomb, not always Awesome. Captain Awesome has shown a few cracks in his Awesomeness over the past season or two. He can't lie. He's not exactly mission ready yet. And apparently, he is prone to panic attacks at big life moments. Like when his wife is having a baby. He has an incredible plan that crumbles because he doesn't have a "Push Mix" CD. And he spends Ellie's entire labor in freak out mode. But once Casey has a talk with him (which I will get to next) he calms down and is there for Ellie when it counts. And when he holds his adorable baby daughter for the first time he captures the moment in a way that is entirely fitting for the character, "Awesome."

5. John Casey, Unlikey Voice of Reason. In the first two seasons I think Adam Baldwin barely gave more than a few unhappy grunts in every episode. But in this season especially he has become the unlikey heart of the show. He convinced Chuck not to give up on Sarah and to propose and even helped Morgan with the ultimate romantic sub-mission proposal. And in this episode he proved that he really is family to Devon and Ellie as well and helped Devon to realize he was about to miss the most important moment in his life thus far. Who would have guessed 4 years ago that Casey would have been the guy to turn to for life advice? And that he would always give it so eloquently? Now that is what I call character development.

4. Mama Bartowski. There were several ways we could have ended the Volkoff story when it came to Linda Hamilton's Mary Bartowski. She could have died, like Dad, but that would have been pretty upsetting. She also could have just gone back into the night, never to be seen again. Or immediately sent on another mission for the CIA. But instead she was there for her daughter, finally, after 20 years. Able to see her first grandchild born. Poor Ellie is always alone and in the dark on this show and unsure why the things around her are happening, she deserved the win, and I'm glad they allowed Mary to be there to give that to her.

3. Orion wins in the end. When Scott Bakula's character, Steve Bartowski (or Orion) died, it was an emotional moment for the series that I think worked really well at the moment. But I have to say I am now regretting (and I bet the writers are too) not being able to give him a reunion with Mary. He worked so hard to find her and to take down Volkoff, so to allow his computer to be the defining aspect of Volkoff's demise, well, that felt like the perfect closure for Chuck and his father. Even if Orion wasn't there for Frost in person, it felt like he was there in spirit. If I mission end could ever be labeled as beautiful, it would be this one.

2. No one really screwed up. If there is one thing that I have ever really had a problem with on this show it is the need to have Chuck screw up all the time. He is a solid spy now, and is incredibly good at his job. No longer is he the dorky kid who would never stay in the car and always mess things up. So to allow CHUCK to be the one to come up with the mission plan and to execute it in a way that allowed everyone a moment to shine and do they jobs well....well, I honestly couldn't ask for anything more. Except....

1. The Proposal. Man, it has felt like Chuck has been carrying around that ring FOREVER. How many almost proposals have their been this season? All so elaborate and beautiful. So to have him propose in a hospital hallway while the janitor is 20 feet away with the floor cleaner was incredibly smart. Especially because we couldn't hear it. As soon as he looked at Sarah, you knew what was going to happen. We didn't need to hear what he said. We know what he said. Not just the "will you marry me" but all the rest as well, because if the writers have done one thing to perfection it is to allow their loyal viewers to truly understand the character of Chuck. You completely understand the level of love he has for Sarah, and this season you finally got to see how much she reciprocates those feelings. In an episode that allowed for everyone to have their happy ending, this moment topped them all. Thanks, Josh Schwartz - it seems your coal heart isn't entirely coal afterall.