This show has gone off the deep end without any hope of coming back. There are so many things to decry – I’ll do my best to capture most of them without ranting too much. Why there always needs to be an eclipse I’ll never understand, and the fact that everyone’s powers get taken away and then so easily returned is ridiculous. Sylar should have stayed a good guy, since that was so much more interesting than him being the same exact villain he was in season one. To kill off Elle is unforgivable – she was one of the only strong, solid characters on the show and she kept Sylar in check. I can’t comprehend why she needed to go (perhaps Kristen Bell will finally star on “Lost” now). HRG’s pursuit of Sylar and Elle, the only legitimate thing that occurred during the eclipse, was a great insight into all their characters, and it makes it even more of a pity that it was all thrown away so easily. Sylar’s cat-and-mouse game was poorly out and even more clumsily executed. There’s no call for that kind of simple setup on this show. The rest isn’t really worth talking about, except to say that things have reached such a messy point that there’s no recovery. Most inexplicable is Nathan’s sudden shift from hero to villain, and the volume four introduction indicates that he actually thinks he’s looking out for the welfare of the heroes. The trailer for “Fugitive” looks like it’s been ripped out of “Brazil,” and it could be okay, but I sincerely doubt it. While I’ve considered giving up on this show, I feel it’s safer for me to keep up to avoid getting it spoiled.
I totally called that Jill was a spy (spoiling the surprise for the person I was watching with, unfortunately), and I thoroughly enjoyed the sequence where it was revealed. I was impressed by Chuck’s ultimate victory over Jill after she betrayed him time after time and that he locked her in the car instead of letting her go. The Employee of the Month initiative was fun because of the laziness it inspired in all the employees. The guest appearance by a Delorean was terrific, and Gary Cole was pretty good as Sarah’s father. I very much enjoyed the teamwork in the final episode, especially the awesomeness of Captain Awesome. Sarah killing the Fulcrum agent who knew Chuck’s identity is another fantastic confirmation that Sarah really does care about Chuck, and I look forward to seeing more of their romance in the future.
This show hasn’t gotten much better since I last checked in with it. The fire in the club was decent because of the insight into Dave’s character it provided, and Porter’s subsequent arrest is a nice twist, though what’s happened recently with Parker taking his place in court doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Steven Weber, and for that matter, Andrea Bowen, were unfortunately wasted in their brief guest spots when Julie returned to Fairview for an episode. I remember Andrea Bowen being one of the highlights of season one, and for her to have been so abruptly cut out of this season along with Lyndsy Fonseca’s Dylan seems unwise. Focusing in on the Scavo twins as the default children (along with the fairly useless Solis kids and puny MJ) is hardly interesting, and plotlines would come a whole lot easier if Julie and Dylan were once again the supporting stars of the show. The return of Carlos’ sight doesn’t have as much of an impact since he only really lost it a handful of episodes back. This five-year jump has its advantages and its disadvantages, but after all is said and done, Gabrielle is still going to be the same selfish spoiled brat who occasionally happens to do nice things for her family. She’s not exactly a multi-layered character. The only real high point of this stretch was the Hodge family introduction to Andrew’s fiancée, which came out of nowhere but resulted in the a respectable comedy-to-drama shift with Andrew’s realization that Bree actually cares about him and wants the best for him. Back to Dave, the only real reason I’m still watching: I suspected that Mike was a hitman who was hired to take out Dave’s brother in his earlier life, but it would appear instead that Dave’s wife and child may have been collateral damage. I sort of wish it had been someone other than Mike who had so irked Dave since he always seems to be the only one with any good mysterious drama. It was intriguing to see Dave save Mike from the fire only to ensure that he could gain his revenge at a later point, but at the same time it’s a bit much to believe that he wouldn’t just let him die in the fire. I keep asking myself now what’s keeping me attached to this show, and I’m considering it dropping it in January when it returns since I’ll be out of the country next semester and TV watching may be more difficult. It’s still a decently entertaining story that might keep me interested, but I wish it could return to its old positive quality.
I had some qualms with “Californication” midway through this season, but it managed to pull itself together by season’s end. Charlie’s whole plotline with Daisy got pretty ridiculous and out of control, though it may all have been worth it to see Marcy’s awesome takedown of Charlie in the bar. I do like Charlie, but he sort of deserves it because of how ridiculous he’s been this season. The character of Lew Ashby was cool, and Callum Keith Rennie was a terrific addition to the cast. I enjoyed seeing him and David Duchovny interact on a weekly basis. Add into that mix Madeline Zima as Mia and Natasha McElhone as Karen and this makes quite an excellent ensemble. Lew’s untimely demise was unfortunate, but he did make for quite a good book for Hank to write and a good arc for the show to explore. Paula Marshall was another strong force this season as the pregnant Sonja, and her birth scene was pretty great (awfully similar to a previous “Nip/Tuck” finale). I particularly loved Hank’s cheering and his subsequent declaration of “I love you” to Karen repeated right back to him by her. I’m saddened that they’re not both moving to New York together, since I would have loved to see the show back in New York, but I’m impressed by Hank’s willingness to stay. Their relationship is so awesome, complex, and entertaining and I’m thrilled to see that again come next summer.
Season finale: B+ Season grade: B+ Season MVP: David Duchovny
For some reason, I never quite loved this season of “Dexter.” Jimmy Smits is a masterful actor (just look at the final season of “The West Wing”), and while there were some impressive moments throughout the season, I wouldn’t consider it one of his best. It’s bizarre to me that this is the first year that the cast gets a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Ensemble since they’ve been far better in the past (I just watched the pilot again in an attempt to get other people into it, and they used to be REALLY good). Supporting storylines involving Batista’s new flame and anything with Deb just weren’t really as exciting as they’ve been before. Masuka trying to be taken seriously was sort of fun, and it was nice to see Dexter gain a true friend in Miguel, at least for a while. The downward turn when Miguel was revealed to have been deceiving Dexter the whole time sort of mirrored last year’s unfortunate twist with Lila becoming insane all of a sudden. This one worked for a bit, and it was enticing at first to see Miguel’s fascination with Dexter’s drive to kill, but it went over the edge as the season approached a close. That Miguel would go so far as to let the Skinner go and even give him Dexter as a target is rather far-fetched (not to suggest that the rest of this show isn’t), and it was interesting only to a point. The finale sort of wrapped things up a tiny bit too neatly and conveniently, but set things in a good new direction. I’ve read a lot already about the blood dripping down from Dexter’s hand onto Rita’s dress being symbolic for the way he affects her life, and I do think it’s an example of terrific imagery. There’s no clear setup for next season, but I guess neither season one nor season two did that either, and the main plotlines (the Bay Harbor Butcher, Miguel) were introduced in the season premieres. This was a decent but not spectacular season, but the mythology of “Dexter” is hopefully something that can continue for a while.
Season finale: B+ Season grade: B+ Season MVP: Michael C. Hall
I don’t have much to say about “Entourage” since this season really sucked, with the exception of the first few episodes. Jeremy Piven continued to dominate, especially in “The All Out Fall Out.” I’m not sure what made Kevin Connolly receive his first-ever Golden Globe nomination since this season was really sub-par. I was disappointed by the wasted use of Stellan Skarsgard as ridiculous director, and how it didn’t even matter how pointlessly cyclical “Smoke Jumpers” was. The fact that both new studio head Dana and the powerful John Ellis liked Vince means nothing if the movie doesn’t get made. Gary Cole also hasn’t had a chance to warm up and do anything yet. The finale with the return to New York was sort of stupid, and Eric’s dramatic quitting and then so quickly taking Vince back is an obvious waste of time. Gus Van Sant seemed a bit too stubborn, and it was all a setup for a completely unexpected twist that makes next season so exciting while making this one completely irrelevant. I’m shocked that Martin Scorsese decided to be on this show, but it’s great for Vince, especially after this dry, unlucky spell he’s been having this whole season. Side plotlines like E’s other client and Jamie-Lynn Sigler’s romance with Turtle weren’t terrific, and did little to improve an entirely unnecessary season of this show. Is it beyond saving? Hardly. There were a few small glimmers of hope this year, and hopefully one of the greatest directors of all time can light this show up for season six.
Season finale: C Season grade: C Season MVP: Jeremy Piven
This show was an oddball entry from the start, but I’m wildly impressed by how it turned itself around from merely fascinating to truly superb in both its plotting and execution. The finale is what I really want to talk about here, but I’ll first mention the run-up in the second-to-last episode. Amy’s murder was extremely tragic since the character was one of the best on the show and Lizzy Caplan was astounding in the role, but the lead-up to her death was a visceral and amazing montage. The show’s ability to capture and show the effects of this vampire blood drug V are mesmerizing. The reveal of the killer as Rene didn’t do much for me in the second-to-last episode, but in the finale, that was all rectified.
I absolutely loved this finale and found it perfectly exemplary of how good this show can be. It invested from its opening moment in Rene as a major character, focusing in on his face and thoughts and filling in his back story throughout the episode. We knew Sookie was in danger, but it never felt more real than during this episode. Sookie flashing to Rene’s memories while in the house with him was a great way of revealing his past. Only on this show would Sookie run out of her house in her waitress uniform. I find the colors on this show quite terrific. It was also thrilling to see Arlene discover her kids watching the videotape and finding the Cajun dialect for actors tape all at the same time. What I loved most about the Rene/Sookie chase was how both Sam and Bill leapt to her rescue. Sam using his sense of smell and taking off all his clothes while Bill actually went out in the daylight to try to save Sookie, knowing full well what it would do to him were wonderful examples of just how unique this show is. Only on this show would you see either of those things, and I love it. I’m happy that Bill isn’t dead since Sam had the good sense to bury him right away so that he could heal properly.
This season one arc was awesome and it resolved itself so well. I like the introduction of Mary-Anne as a new mysterious character, particularly because Michelle Forbes is a terrific actress, especially in a role like this. It was fascinating to watch her try to shape-shift and telling Sam that he knew she’d find her and calling him a “silly dog.” She’ll be an awesome addition to the cast next season. Lafayette’s disappearance is troubling, but I suppose it wouldn’t be the worst thing if he didn’t come back. The return of Bill’s protégé should be fun as long as it doesn’t get old quick. I absolutely loved the end of this episode, which perfectly set things up for season two. Andy Bellefleur has always been a so-so minor character, but here he’s given a spotlight to close out the first season and moan about how no one ever respects him. He can’t find his car but when he finally does it’s an incredible ending that captures the show’s tone remarkably: he says “that ain’t mine” right when a dead body’s leg falls out the door, and both Sookie and Tara let out high-pitched screams. This show has always been fun, and I’m sure that next season will be just as terrific. I’m so excited.
Season finale: A Season grade: A- Season MVP: Anna Paquin/Lizzy Caplan
I’ve always considered “The Shield” to be the best show I’ve ever seen, since there’s never been a bad episode and it’s stayed consistently good throughout its entire run. “Six Feet Under” ranks a close second, while “The Sopranos” had a weaker final season and poor final episode, and “24” and “Scrubs” would be at the top of this list if only if their early seasons were considered. But “The Shield” went in on top and came out on top. I wouldn’t necessarily say it got even better, but I was incredibly impressed at the end of the show’s sixth season when the game was completely changed yet the show stayed just as good. The show’s second-to-last installment was incredibly powerful if only for the way that it made me feel so bad for Ronnie. For five seasons, he was sidelined in favor of Shane and Lem, but last year he took the spotlight and did a terrific job with it. This year, he’s been the only one who Vic could really count on, and to see Vic get tricked by Corinne into trying to save her and sell out Ronnie in the process was gut-wrenching. Hearing Vic confess to all his sins was intense enough, but then to realize that Ronnie, who’s always been a nice guy, would be the one who would have to pay for them drove the power of the episode home. The closing line of the penultimate episode was also a great preparation for the series ender: Olivia asks Vic if she realizes what he’s done to her and he simply replies, “I’ve done worse.”
On to the series finale: it aired almost a month ago now but my thoughts are still fresh in my mind and I’ve ever headed over to YouTube to browse for some clips to refresh my memory. I’ll point out first in simple bullet-points what I loved about the episode:
Billings gets some appropriate resolution for his character. It’s nothing terrific, but altogether fitting since he was always comic relief, but here it turns out that he’s just sort of a sad sack, but a lovable one who’s come to make peace with Dutch. Dutch, for that matter, also gains a potential new love interest.
Claudette and Dutch’s last onscreen case go unsolved, but you know they’ll get there. Instead of trying to wrap things up neatly or make this one case seem so much more important because it’s a series finale, it’s simply left that Claudette and Dutch know that this kid is guilty and they’re determined to put him away, whatever it takes. Claudette’s taunt for him to get ready for his close-up and Dutch’s call for him to pick a name for himself are not glorifications of the killer himself, but of the way that they work as a truly unbeatable team.
Along the same lines of a continuing narrative, Claudette congratulates Aceveda on his victory despite the election not having happened yet, Dani blows out the candles when she calls all the officers away to a robbery, and Claudette proclaims her determination to keep coming back until she can’t. These characters will continue living on even after the show is long gone.
It was heartbreaking to watch, but Ronnie’s arrest was an incredibly moving scene. He’s crying because of Shane and Vic tries to comfort him, and he feels better once he remembers that they’re clear of all this and they’ll be free soon. Once again, Ronnie’s always been a nice guy, but Claudette uses his arrest as a way to get back at Vic. In that last second, Vic finally tries to warn Ronnie, but it’s no use. Ronnie screaming at Vic that they were supposed to rot together is just another reminder that Vic is going to be alone in his future.
Shane was never going to have a happy ending, but I never expected this. His family meeting (the title of the episode) leads to the deaths of the entire Vendrell family. Watching Shane shoot himself as the cops burst in didn’t prepare me for the sight of Mara and Jackson lying lifeless on the bed and the real horror in the eyes of the cops who knew them. Seeing it all over again through Vic’s eyes is just as traumatizing.
Vic’s fate is the final component of the episode and the series, and it’s a perfect though entirely unexpected one. He has complete immunity for all his crimes, but he’s being punished by not being able to see his family and having to come to a boring job every day for three years without a single friend in the world. The sight of Vic in a plain suit is shocking (he wore a far more stylish one to Terry’s funeral, if I remember correctly), and the mundane nature of his job is all the more saddening. Vic’s an anti-hero, but he’s very much sympathetic. No one wanted to see him end up like this. The pictures he puts on his desk are only of the people who were too innocent to have ever betrayed him – his kids and Lem – and omit the people who he’s betrayed, like Ronnie. Going over to that window and looking out at life on the streets is an incredible reminder of where Vic should be, and how unfortunate for him it is that he’s confined to this life. The last few moments were nerve-racking, but all he does is sternly put his gun in his pocket and walk out ferociously, seeming determined to make it through the next day.
The end credits are a wonderful way of paying tribute to a terrific show. The shots of all the characters who came and went is an excellent method of recognizing such fantastic talents as Glenn Close, Anthony Anderson, Forest Whitaker, and Alex O’Loughlin who had recurring roles on the show, and of remembering dearly departed characters like Lem and even people like Connie. What a great way of showing that this show valued all its participants.
Putting it simply, this was an amazing finale. Maybe not as good as “Six Feet Under,” but certainly close. I’d love to go back and watch the whole series, since it was completely awesome through and through. I’m still comfortable saying this is the best show I’ve ever seen. I’d hope no one who hasn’t seen the show has read this far, but if you haven’t watched it, go do it right now. It’s that good. I really hope that come Emmy Awards time, people remember how incredible this show really was.
Series finale: A Season grade: A- Season MVP: Michael Chiklis Series grade: A+ Series MVP: Michael Chiklis
As I suspected, the film nominees are very excited but the TV ones just aren't. For starters, only one new show was recognized, and it wasn't "Breaking Bad," "In Treatment," or "True Blood." Voters finally decided to recognize David Duchovny (Californication) and the ensembles of "Dexter" and "House" (as well as "The Closer" again). The real shocker is Tracey Ullman (State of the Union) to fill the last comedy actress slot) and Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) instead of January Jones in the drama field. Not much more to say about all this. My Internet's down, so read the nominees at your leisure here.
The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations will be announced Thursday morning, and while they're exciting in terms of which films will prevail, they're hardly invigorating at all on the TV side. I count only three new serious contending shows, all in drama: "Breaking Bad," "In Treatment," and "True Blood." I'm giving a leg up to "True Blood," thinking that picking out standouts from "In Treatment," however much I'd love to see Blair Underwood, Mia Wasikowska, and especially Michelle Forbes recognized. The problem is that the Globes picked (along with Underwood) Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, and Melissa George. Wouldn't it be cool if all the nominees were from the show? And Boston Legal got shut out? Nah. I'd love to see "The Closer" get another nomination for Best Drama Ensemble, but I think it will be like "24" and only get nominated every other year, or maybe just for years one and three. I'm not sure how much SAG will still hold on to long ago abandoned shows like "Desperate Housewives," "Ugly Betty," and "Grey's Anatomy," which seemed prime to repeat in the ensemble categories, but I just can't see any other contenders. "Californication" would be a cool show to recognize, but it couldn't even get a nomination for David Duchovny last year. Maybe "Weeds" will come back just like it did at the Golden Globes last week. Many are predicting "Brothers & Sisters" for Best Drama Ensemble, but if it's sat out this long, I'm not sure now's the time. Neil Patrick Harris' buzz, however, is high, and he should expect a shot at a nomination. I'd be much more thrilled if a show like "Brotherhood" or "Battlestar Galactica" was able to make enough noise to snag a spot, but I think I should stick all my hopes behind "True Blood" winning over the guild with its odd, offbeat nature. Oh, and I'm not predicting stunt ensemble just because I have no clue.
Best Actor in a Drama Series BRYAN CRANSTON, BREAKING BAD MICHAEL C. HALL, DEXTER JON HAMM, MAD MEN HUGH LAURIE, HOUSE JAMES SPADER, BOSTON LEGAL
Best Actress in a Drama Series SALLY FIELD, BROTHERS & SISTERS HOLLY HUNTER, SAVING GRACE JANUARY JONES, MAD MEN KYRA SEDGWICK, THE CLOSER ANNA PAQUIN, TRUE BLOOD
Best Actor in a Comedy Series ALEC BALDWIN, 30 ROCK STEVE CARRELL, THE OFFICE NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER JEREMY PIVEN, ENTOURAGE TONY SHALHOUB, MONK
Best Actress in a Comedy Series CHRISTINA APPLEGATE, SAMANTHA WHO? TINA FEY, 30 ROCK AMERICA FERRERA, UGLY BETTY MARY-LOUISE PARKER, WEEDS VANESSA WILLIAMS, UGLY BETTY
Best Actor in a TV Movie/Mini-Series RALPH FIENNES, BERNARD AND DORIS PAUL GIAMMATI, JOHN ADAMS KEVIN SPACEY, RECOUNT DENIS LEARY, RECOUNT TOM WILKINSON, JOHN ADAMS
Best Actress in a TV Movie/Mini-Series EILEEN ATKINS, CRANFORD JUDI DENCH, CRANFORD LAURA DERN, RECOUNT LAURA LINNEY, JOHN ADAMS SUSAN SARANDON, BERNARD AND DORIS
Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series 30 ROCK DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES ENTOURAGE THE OFFICE UGLY BETTY
Best Ensemble in a Drama Series BOSTON LEGAL GREY’S ANATOMY IN TREATMENT MAD MEN TRUE BLOOD
My predictions: 3/5, missing returning nominees “The Office” and “Weeds” Who’s missing? “Pushing Daisies,” “Ugly Betty”
So, my rule about shows not getting nominated after being left off the year before has clearly been broken. Both “The Office” and “Weeds,” the latter of which definitely had a critical resurgence, are back. I didn’t expect the lack of any love for “Pushing Daisies,” but I guess last year was it for the show. Thrilled to see “Californication” still in the mix, and I’m also glad to say that these are five shows I happily watch on a weekly basis whenever they air.
My predictions: 5/5 (technically), though I predicted “Breaking Bad” also for six nominees Who’s missing? “Breaking Bad,” “The Tudors,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lost”
I mentioned in my Best Actor reactions that I think “Breaking Bad” may not have in fact been eligible. This is almost like the Emmys this past year, where my predicted five and my alternate all got in, but here I predicted six and only five made it. I’m thrilled for “Dexter” and especially the awesome “True Blood.” I can get around “House” and then it’s a pretty terrific list. This was great for “In Treatment,” which got the most nominations of any series with four acting nods.
Who will win? I’d love to say “True Blood,” but I think I’ll go with “In Treatment”
My predictions: 5/5 Who’s missing? “24: Redemption”
It seemed pretty simple to meld the two Emmy categories into one, and it’s a good list. I’ve only seen the first episodes of “Cranford” and “John Adams,” as well as “Recount,” but it’s clear which miniseries and TV movies were popular this past year.
Who will win? I’m not sure anything can beat John Adams.
My predictions: 4/5, missing Catherine Keener, my alternate Who’s missing? Phylicia Rashad (A Raisin in the Sun)
Simple math here as well, take the Emmy list and factor in Shirley MacLaine (Coco Chanel), and you have to get rid of one of the nominees. I didn’t expect it to be Phylicia Rashad; I much more thought it would be Catherine Keener. Regardless, it’s still a great list of actresses (I may not be the biggest Judi Dench fan, but I know that most do love her).
My predictions: 5/5 Who’s missing? Sean Combs (A Raisin in the Sun)
Simple math here, take the Emmy list from this past year, subtract Ricky Gervais (“Extras” aired its series finale in 2007), and add in Kiefer Sutherland, the only real new contender. As a former “24” lover, I can safely say that Sutherland didn’t come close to doing awards-worthy work in the dreadful TV movie, and at least it’s not up for an award itself. I still haven’t seen “Bernard and Doris” but the other three nominees are a fine bunch.
My predictions: 3/5, missing returning nominee Rachel Griffiths and Melissa George Who’s missing? This category isn’t significant in relation to the Emmys, so the only omissions worth noting are a lack of love for special events “A Raisin in the Sun” and “House of Saddam.”
Some great choices here in terms of Eileen Atkins (Cranford) and Laura Dern (Recount). Griffiths isn’t a big surprise, I guess she’ll just keep on coming back until she doesn’t. The inclusion of the two “In Treatment” women is nice, though I wish that my preferred actresses Mia Wasikowska and Michelle Forbes had gotten in over Dianne Wiest and the so-so Melissa George, whose nomination comes as a huge shock (the only TV inclusion that truly surprised me, save for Kevin Connolly of “Entourage”).
Who will win? I would go with Laura Dern, but Eileen Atkins won the Emmy, so I’m wary of predicting Dern again, but for the moment, I think I will.
My predictions: 3/5, underestimating the love for Neil Patrick Harris and Denis Leary Who’s missing? This category isn’t significant in relation to the Emmys, so the only sort of big thing is that Harvey Keitel didn’t get in for “Life on Mars”
I’m ecstatic that someone finally recognized Blair Underwood, whose performance was the thing that initially intrigued me about “In Treatment.” He deserves this award. Jeremy Piven has now managed five consecutive nominations for “Entourage,” which I consider quite impressive. Golden Globe voters clearly still like the show, but Piven’s performance continues to be well above the quality of the series. Tom Wilkinson and Denis Leary are direct imports from this past year’s Emmy list. It’s weird that Neil Patrick Harris gets included now, but I’m sure some people are thoroughly excited (reader JG probably loves this category, except for the lack of William Shatner).
Who will win? It might be Tom Wilkinson, but I’d like to predict Blair Underwood.
My predictions: 4/5, missing Debra Messing Who’s missing? Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies)
So they do like Debra Messing (The Starter Wife). Otherwise, a perfectly expected, “Housewives”-less list, save for the omission of Friel as per the “Pushing Daisies” shut-out. They’re hanging on to Christina Applegate and America Ferrera, and most excitingly, Mary-Louise Parker of “Weeds.”
Who will win? No clear frontrunner, so I think it might be Christina Applegate this year, or maybe (runner-up) Tina Fey again.
My predictions: 3/5, missing Kevin Connolly and Tony Shalhoub Who’s missing? Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) and I don’t think there was ever really any hope for Zachary Levi (Chuck)
Such an oddly-timed surprise to see Kevin Connolly finally nominated for “Entourage.” Everyone thought this was a terrible season yet they chose to reward him now. Tony Shalhoub is back in the mix, which isn’t too much of a shocker since it was his snub last year that was weird. Otherwise, I’m thrilled to see David Duchovny again (as I’m sure is reader CG) as well as Alec Baldwin and Steve Carrell. One last note: Here begins the “Pushing Daisies” shut-out. Too bad for that show.
Who will win? No clue, maybe David Duchovny again.
My predictions: 4/5, missing Hargitay Who’s missing? I think I need to check the eligibility rules here: Holly Hunter (Saving Grace) missed out, as did Minnie Driver (The Riches) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) in the best actor category, and all their shows only aired seven episodes. Coincidence?
I’m so delighted that Anna Paquin made it in since I do love “True Blood.” Ditto January Jones, who really should have gotten awards attention last year but is making up for it now. I’ll just ignore Sally Field (sorry, “Brothers and Sisters” lovers) and forget the surprising return of Mariska Hargitay. Rounding it out, Kyra Sedgwick continues to be great on “The Closer.”
Who will win? I hope it’s down to Anna Paquin and January Jones, in which case I’ll go with Paquin.
My predictions: 4/5, missing Jonathan Rhys-Meyers Who’s missing? Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), who I’m starting to think wasn’t eligible because his show only aired seven episodes
I didn’t know that Rhys-Meyers was still alive and kicking on “The Tudors.” Otherwise, this is a terrific list, the same one from the Emmys this past year minus Cranston and James Spader of “Boston Legal.” I’m glad “In Treatment” did well at the Golden Globes, even better than at the Emmys (as I’m sure a reader of mine is as well, JG). Once again, great list, but it’s hard to tell who the winner might be.
Who will win? It might be Jon Hamm again, but I’m going to go with Gabriel Byrne.
I'm a bit worried about the potential nominees because I think they'll be, quite frankly, boring. There are so few new shows out there this year, especially in the comedy categories, and I'm thinking it will just be an unimaginative repeat of past performers. I'd love to see some creative picks ("Battlestar Galactica," "Brotherhood"), but I can only hope that the shows I'm pulling for manage to do well ("True Blood"). These nominees don't really mean anything since Emmy season is so far away and, as I said, there are so few new contenders. On top of that, shows like "Damages" and "24" don't come back until next month and haven't aired this year, leaving out other questionable contenders for the Emmys. Nominations are announced Thursday morning; I'll be back sometime that day with detailed reactions. Full predictions below:
Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama BRYAN CRANSTON, BREAKING BAD MICHAEL C. HALL, DEXTER HUGH LAURIE, HOUSE GABRIEL BYRNE, IN TREATMENT JON HAMM, MAD MEN
Best Actress in a TV – Drama SALLY FIELD, BROTHERS AND SISTERS KYRA SEDGWICK, THE CLOSER JANUARY JONES, MAD MEN HOLLY HUNTER, SAVING GRACE ANNA PAQUIN, TRUE BLOOD
Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy DAVID DUCHOVNY, CALIFORNICATION ZACHARY LEVI, CHUCK STEVE CARRELL, THE OFFICE LEE PACE, PUSHING DAISIES ALEC BALDWIN, 30 ROCK
Best Actress in TV Series – Comedy ANNA FRIEL, PUSHING DAISIES CHRISTINA APPLEGATE, SAMANTHA WHO TINA FEY, 30 ROCK AMERICA FERRERA, UGLY BETTY MARY-LOUISE PARKER, WEEDS
Best Actor in a TV Movie / Mini-Series RALPH FIENNES, BERNARD AND DORIS PAUL GIAMMATI, JOHN ADAMS KEVIN SPACEY, RECOUNT TOM WILKINSON, RECOUNT KIEFER SUTHERLAND, 24: REDEMPTION
Best Actress in a TV Movie / Mini-Series SUSAN SARANDON, BERNARD AND DORIS SHIRLEY MACLAINE, COCO CHANEL JUDI DENCH, CRANFORD LAURA LINNEY, JOHN ADAMS PHYLICIA RASHAD, A RAISIN IN THE SUN
Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series JEREMY PIVEN, ENTOURAGE BLAIR UNDERWOOD, IN TREATMENT TOM WILKINSON, JOHN ADAMS HARVEY KEITEL, LIFE ON MARS JOHN SLATTERY, MAD MEN
Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series EILEEN ATKINS, CRANFORD SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO, HOUSE OF SADDAM DIANNE WIEST, IN TREATMENT AUDRA MACDONALD, A RAISIN IN THE SUN LAURA DERN, RECOUNT
Best Mini-Series or TV Movie BERNARD AND DORIS CRANFORD JOHN ADAMS A RAISIN IN THE SUN RECOUNT
Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical CALIFORNICATION CHUCK ENTOURAGE PUSHING DAISIES 30 ROCK
Best TV Series – Drama BREAKING BAD DEXTER (6th nominee) HOUSE IN TREATMENT MAD MEN TRUE BLOOD
Oddly enough, the only previously-nominated show recognized last year was Entourage, which has been nominated every year it’s aired for this award. The show’s reviews have been dwindling, but will Globe voters abandon the show? They tend to favor new, hot shows, something that’s missing entirely this year. Last year’s winner “Extras” ended, and this year’s hot new British show “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” didn’t air enough episodes in 2008 to compete (even if that’s not the reason, it’s not eligible). Last year’s nominees Pushing Daisies and 30 Rock are likely safe, and I do hope that Californication can get nominated once again. I think this is where Chuck comes in and breaks into the field, one year late, though that thunder could be stolen by The Big Bang Theory or Kath & Kim. The Globes don’t nominate shows they’ve given up on, but I don’t think it’s a complete lost cause for The Office, Ugly Betty, and Weeds.
Predicted five: CALIFORNICATION CHUCK ENTOURAGE PUSHING DAISIES 30 ROCK
Looking at last year’s list, forget “Big Love” and “Damages” because they didn’t air in 2008. Knock both Grey’s Anatomy and The Tudors down to unlikely contenders due to lack of critical praise and buzz, respectively. Keep Mad Men and House; they’re safe. Factor in new cable shows Breaking Bad, In Treatment, and True Blood and I think you have your list. I suspect that Dexter will be a sixth nominee this year. With its critical resurgence, Lost might have a shot at a comeback, like it did at the Emmys this past year, but I don’t think the Globes are likely to bring it back. I don’t see it, but other Golden Globe prognosticators are hedging their bets on the lone new buzz-worthy network TV drama, Life on Mars.
Predicted five: BREAKING BAD DEXTER (6th nominee) HOUSE IN TREATMENT MAD MEN TRUE BLOOD
Even the Emmys forgot about Jaime Pressly after handing her a trophy last year, and I think the same is likely true for Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy), though it’s possible I’m completely underestimating the staying power of the show and someone like Sara Ramirez or Brooke Smith could show up here. I think this is a category that will be dominated by limited series events, starting with Laura Dern (Recount), Eileen Atkins (Cranford), Audra McDonald (A Raisin in the Sun), and Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Saddam). Rounding out the nominees should be Dianne Wiest (In Treatment), whose recent Emmy win and revered status should help her, guaranteed voters embrace the show. Last year’s nominee Rachel Griffiths (Brothers and Sisters) may not be down and out for the count, and awards forum posters seem pretty interested in Jessica Lange (Sybil). Recent Emmy-favored comedy actresses Jean Smart (Samantha Who) and Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) may make the cut, but sometimes the Golden Globes are a bit slow on the uptake, and only come to shows after they’ve long declined (an example might be Jaime Pressly, though I think “My Name is Earl” sucked from day one). This is a category I’ve done horrendously in with past years, so expect to see a slightly, if not completely, altered list.
Predicted five: EILEEN ATKINS, CRANFORD SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO, HOUSE OF SADDAM DIANNE WIEST, IN TREATMENT AUDRA MCDONALD, A RAISIN IN THE SUN LAURA DERN, RECOUNT
This category takes its nominees from dramas, comedies, mini-series, and TV movies. Sometimes it’s dominated by the latter two (“Angels in America”), and others it’s only TV. In 2002, this category was expanded to fit 9 people. In other words, it’s an extremely volatile, unpredictable race, and I’m trying just for fun. Jeremy Piven (Entourage), last year’s winner and a four-time nominee, should return if voters haven’t completely given up on his show. Tom Wilkinson (John Adams) is likely to score a nomination, but he has tons of internal competition I haven’t even included within my top ten contenders. Both John Slattery (Mad Men) and Blair Underwood (In Treatment) should benefit from the critical love for each of their shows, but the chances of the latter are saddening since he somehow missed out on an Emmy nomination when the rest of the cast got in. Some of last year’s nominees like William Shatner (Boston Legal), Kevin Dillon (Entourage), and Donald Sutherland (Dirty Sexy Money) may have a shot, but I suspect voters have forgotten about their shows and performances (in Dillon’s case). Denis Leary (Recount) swore a whole lot and got an Emmy nomination, and if he can overcome the other few supporting men in the TV movie, he might just be in (a former nominee for “Rescue Me”). Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), whose popularity seems to be growing through the roof, has two previous nominations, one for “Doogie Howser,” and the other for a 1988 film, and voters may finally find him on their radar if they’re looking for contenders. Though I doubt this show’s chances, I think that this is the spot where Harvey Keitel (Life on Mars) represents one of the only new network television shows to make a stink at all. I could be wrong though, and we may see a whole lot of surprises here.
Predicted five: JEREMY PIVEN, ENTOURAGE BLAIR UNDERWOOD, IN TREATMENT TOM WILKINSON, JOHN ADAMS HARVEY KEITEL, LIFE ON MARS JOHN SLATTERY, MAD MEN
It seems to me that this year’s list should look exactly like last year’s: Christina Applegate (Samantha Who), America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies), and Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds). Three new faces to watch out for are Molly Shannon and Selma Blair (Kath & Kim) and Debra Messing (The Starter Wife), who received a nomination for the mini-series that preceded her show. Rounding out the contenders, voters may feel comfortable with old favorites Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine) and Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives)
Predicted five: ANNA FRIEL, PUSHING DAISIES CHRISTINA APPLEGATE, SAMANTHA WHO TINA FEY, 30 ROCK AMERICA FERRERA, UGLY BETTY MARY-LOUISE PARKER, WEEDS
From last year’s pool of nominees, only one isn’t eligible this year: Ricky Gervais (Extras). The other four should return, simply because there isn’t anyone else to compete. I can’t pick out a winner among them, but expect to see Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Steve Carrell (The Office), David Duchovny (Californication), and Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies). Slot five will likely go to either Zachary Levi (Chuck), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), or Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone). I’m personally pulling for James Roday (Psych), and I’m not so sure voters have forgotten about Tony Shalhoub (Monk). Minus other legitimate contenders, Justin Kirk might be promoted to lead actor (Weeds).
Predicted five: DAVID DUCHOVNY, CALIFORNICATION ZACHARY LEVI, CHUCK STEVE CARRELL, THE OFFICE LEE PACE, PUSHING DAISIES ALEC BALDWIN, 30 ROCK
Last year’s list in this category contained seven names, two of which are ineligible because their shows did not air in 2008: Glenn Close (Damages) and Edie Falco (The Sopranos). The remaining five could get make up this year’s list, but I fear for Minnie Driver, whose show (The Riches) got cancelled after a tragically short seven-episode season. Patricia Arquette may also have been forgotten by voters because her show (Medium) hasn’t aired on NBC since May. The other three are probably safe: Sally Field (Brothers and Sisters), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), and Holly Hunter (Saving Grace). Though the Globes rarely reward shows they’ve given up on, Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) may be fresh enough in voters’ minds. Though it’s hard to gauge how voters will react to Alan Ball’s new HBO series (True Blood), I think Anna Paquin will get in. My wild card prediction for the runner-up slot – an actress who has, along with her show, been gaining buzz for years now and almost got an Emmy nomination this year: Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica). Last year’s hot show (Mad Men) has only gotten hotter, and I think it’s time lead actress January Jones got recognized, although she’ll have internal competition from Elisabeth Moss.
Predicted five: SALLY FIELD, BROTHERS AND SISTERS KYRA SEDGWICK, THE CLOSER JANUARY JONES, MAD MEN HOLLY HUNTER, SAVING GRACE ANNA PAQUIN, TRUE BLOOD
Expect previous nominees Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), and Hugh Laurie (House) to return. Last year’s nominee Bill Paxton is ineligible because his show (Big Love) didn’t air this year, and I think that Jonathan Rhys-Meyers won’t be nominated again because his show (The Tudors) may have lost buzz. It’s always possible that past nominees like Matthew Fox (Lost), Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy), and James Spader (Boston Legal) could turn up again, but the Golden Globes rarely like to revisit once-adored shows once they’ve left them off their lists once. The only real new network TV show star in the running is Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars). Expect instead the actors of two highly-praised new cable series: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment).
Predicted five: BRYAN CRANSTON, BREAKING BAD MICHAEL C. HALL, DEXTER HUGH LAURIE, HOUSE GABRIEL BYRNE, IN TREATMENT JON HAMM, MAD MEN
I've been frantically watching as many episodes as possible in the midst of a whole lot of schoolwork, and for the moment I've fallen too far behind to catch up. As it happens, I'll be leaving the country for the coming week of Thanksgiving and won't be able to watch any of my regular television series, let alone review them. The week following that will be busy as well, but after that I'll have a chance to start reviewing on a regular basis, just in time for mid-season cliffhangers. I won't be going back to the episodes I neglected to review, but I would like to inform you of six notable television events this coming week which I'll be taping and reviewing once I get back:
1) The 2-hour TV-movie return of "24" a.k.a. "24: Redemption" Sunday on FOX from 8pm-10pm 2) The season finale of HBO's wonderful "True Blood" Sunday from 9pm-10pm 3) The season finale of HBO's so-so-these-days "Entourage" Sunday from 10pm-10:30pm 4) THE SERIES FINALE OF "THE SHIELD" ON FX TUESDAY FROM 10PM-11:30PM (I'm so excited!) 5) A special holiday episode of "Monk" on Friday on USA from 9pm-10pm 6) A special holiday episode of "Psych" on Friday on USA from 10pm-11pm
Besides that, don't miss episodes of "Dexter," "Californication," "Chuck," "Prison Break," "Heroes," "NCIS," "Pushing Daisies," "Gary Unmarried," and "Dirty Sexy Money" during the coming week. Happy Thanksgiving!
I was glad to see Mary-Kate Olsen as a guest star here since she was extremely impressive on "Weeds" last year. Her role as advertised in the previews looked pretty terrific, and Sam slapping her was especially entertaining-looking because the post-amnesia Sam really is a kind soul and to see her get so fed up with someone, in this case someone truly obnoxious, is amusing. Unfortunately, Olsen's guest turn is remarkably short-lived and makes for a quick chuckle but nothing lasting. That's the impression I'm getting from this show. It seems like a comedy that shouldn't be tied down to a traditional sitcom week-by-week format, focusing instead on the recurring idea of Sam regaining her memory. Instead, it's pretty contrived and each week is so independent from the next that it's hard to keep each week straight and piece them together. I'd like to see a major tightening of this show's story arcs really soon.
First of all, that opening credits shot with the "Villains" logo instead of "Heroes" was absolutely preposterous and laughable. This show needs to spend more time grounded in the present because, much as I do love time travel, nothing is being developed by going back in time. The new ground that is being covered is just making way for new characters who weren't around when the show started (Elle, Meredith, Arthur Petrelli) and changing the origins of the heroes to make everything make more sense. Linderman certainly is a completely reworked character, who never would have served Petrelli so blindly (until his betrayal) as he did in this flashback. It's been made clear that Sylar used to be bad, but now is good. They shouldn't try to shift it and make it seem that Sylar was really always good, but he was tricked and manipulated into being bad! I don't know why we're following Meredith and her brother since no one really cares and we already know the Company is corrupt. Bringing back long-gone recurring cast members like Eric Roberts and Rena Sofer is bizarre and nonsensical. Was this supposed to be a trip back to the glory days? It sure feels like treading water because they've got nowhere to go. Villains also need to stop pulling people's heads off; it's just plain ridiculous.
Prison Break: Season 4, Episode 10 "The Legend" (F)
I'm wondering if perhaps I should apply to be a cop or an FBI agent - it seems that the age criteria is pretty low. With Jessica Lucas posing as a high school student on "90210" and Shannon Lucio (who's not quite as young as she looks, but she'll always be Lindsay from "The O.C." to me) here working for Don Self, it seems that it's pretty darn easy to go deep undercover on what's likely your first assignment. The fact that Lucio's Trishanne is undercover is a bit sticky plot-wise, since Don would have had to know way more than he does to bring her in so early before T-Bag arrived, which she seemed to indicate when she spoke with Self. Sara is a terrible liar and is really dragging down Michael, but what I enjoyed most was the doctor who uttered the obvious, "I know who you are," and still wanted to help Michael. These people are walking around in broad daylight every single day and it's a wonder they haven't been caught yet. This whole operation thing is a bit ridiculous and I'm starting to lose my grip on what's going on. The flashback homages to Bellick are so ludicrous considering how everyone detested Bellick so much at the beginning of the show.
Chuck: Season 2, Episode 6 "Chuck Versus the Ex" (B+)
I wouldn't have imagined Jordana Brewster from "The Fast and the Furious" (they're making a fourth movie with the original cast, by the way) as Chuck's ex-girlfriend, but she's pretty great. I laughed for quite some time at Casey's disguise, complete with a fake hairdo, normally reserved for other cast members. It's often hard to tell who's good and who's bad on this show, and I'm still not quite sure about Jill. She is a fun character to have around though. What I enjoyed most about this episode was oddly enough the Buy More plotline, with new dictator assistant manager Emmett mandating a CPR course, taught by Captain Awesome, where all Morgan, Jeff, and Lester all plan to cheat off Chuck. I love that they forced Jeff to start choking to have Awesome explain how to do CPR, and of course also loved the encounter between Ellie, Awesome, and Morgan when he was holding her underwear.
Californication: Season 2, Episode 7 "In a Lonely Place" (B)
I couldn't quite place who she was for a bit, but Justine Bateman was a fantastic guest star as Damien's mother. Each scene with her, Hank, and Damien was incredibly hilarious. On the other side of things, all the Daisy/porn stuff is getting a bit out of hand. The dramatic revelation that Marcy is still addicted to coke should work as a nice turning point for Charlie's out-of-control storyline, but I don't know what will happen with Daisy. I wished at first that she'd be on the show more than she was, but now I'm thinking that what was for a while a nice, unexpected turn of events has turned into a wild, dangerous experiment.
Entourage: Season 5, Episode 10 "Seth Green Day" (C+)
Ah, Seth Green. This show chooses certain celebrities to focus on as their real selves. Seth Green is an odd choice and I must say that he was far more relevant and appropriate for the previous episode. While the end of the episode with Seth Green getting punched right before the meeting is somewhat worth it, it's a waste of an episode in the same way that Seth making Eric run around town like an idiot is a waste of his time. Vince needs to be done with "Smokejumpers" right now because it's already old and not funny. Ari continues to be the reason to watch this show, embarrassing Barbara when she refuses to accept Andrew into the company. His scene with all the other women is by far the only great part of this episode. Only two more episodes left this season, and then hopefully season six can start fresh and good.
This episode provides the opportunity to really get inside Miguel Prado's psyche. Up until now, he's been an intriguing character who seemed to sympathize with Dexter's notion of righteous killing. Now, Miguel really lets his anger boil up and lashes out at Dexter when our hero refuses to kill someone he isn't certain is guilty of unforgivable sins. The revelation that she is in fact noble is an important step for the show, and more importantly, something extremely relevant to the relationship between Dexter and Miguel. It had seemed as if they would become an avenging angel duo, but now perhaps they'll more likely keep each other in check. Deb's stupidity and naivete has become too much, as she can't decide who to trust and just keeps shooting her mouth off to anyone who will, or won't, listen. Dexter's final act for Camilla is moving, and she really has been a terrific recurring character for the series. Her telling Dexter that she knows about Rudy and understands Dexter should provide Dexter with appropriate closure. He now has three people in the world who at one point knew what he was (Miguel is the only surviving one), and hopefully that means he'll feel all the more compelled to share his motivations and feelings with Miguel.
Desperate Housewives: Season 5, Episode 7 "What More Do I Need?" (C-)
We've gone from repetitive to just plain uninteresting. Jackson paints - wow! His moment of actual connection with Susan and that "look she's seen in the mirror" is almost moving, but the rest is just garbage. Porter's more-than-dalliance with Mrs. Schilling is sure to end in her being written out of the show, but the main problem is that they're trying to make him into a major character when we (or at least I) just don't care enough about him to be so actively interested in his life. Isn't there another twin? Porter has been the center of attention now with the Facebook clone incident and now this - where did the other one go? I wish Frances Conroy's character hadn't gone south so immediately and sabotaged Carlos right off, but that would have required her to have been introduced a little more smoothly and probably earlier, before Carlos aroused her. Bree and Orson's impromptu sex scene seems rather out of character for both of them, and of course it's merely a facade to reveal that Katharine is sleeping with Mike, which is a decent development for the show. I, for one, am thrilled that Dave's doctor knows his location now and that he's presumably on his way to come confront Dave and seriously expose whatever devastating secret he's hiding.
True Blood: Season 1, Episode 10 "I Don't Wanna Know" (B+)
Things are certainly intensifying. I suppose that Amy murdering Eddie was inevitable, but I would have liked to have that character around for a while. Though Tara is ready to rip her head off, Miss Jeanette does have a great point about Tara's mom being believing she's been cured and changing her ways. I like the idea of Sam as Sookie's protector, and I think eventually she'll fully come around to his shapeshifting ways. The flashbacks to Sam were a nice, unexpected touch, since usually only Sookie gets that kind of treatment. Bill's trial was rather intense, and I was delighted to see Zeljko Ivanek, now a big name after his "Damages" Emmy win, as the presiding judge. I was surprised that his guest turn hadn't been touted since big news was made over his upcoming appearance on "Heroes" this January. He plays great kind-of-evil, and this time was no surprise. The punishment for Bill was perfectly appropriate, something that he hated to do and really makes him regret what he did. Hopefully he'll return home next episode, since I'm dying to find out who the killer is. We almost found out with Sookie's mind-reading flashbacks, and I'd like to see more. I couldn't hope to guess who it was since we seem to be following everyone so closely, and I'm pretty sure it's a major character. My only guess would be Amy, which doesn't make sense because she's not a regular cast member.
30 Rock: Season 3, Episode 2 "Believe in the Stars" (B)
I do love this show, but when it's a bit too uncontrollably wacky, I hesitate a bit. The fake Oprah bit was sort of cool, but it's the unfocused nature of Liz's hallucinogenic state that's just peculiar. The setup was pretty great, with Jack insisting on Liz taking pills and her sharing her strategy for getting out of jury duty. Tracy and Jenna are both crazy characters, and I think putting them together just makes for too much chaos. The funniest part of this episode was most certainly the fake Olympic games, which are devastatingly hilarious. The essence of Kenneth's character is also wonderfully underlined here with the cable bit.
The Office: Season 5, Episode 6 "Customer Survey" (B+)
Against all odds, Jim and Dwight actually make for a fantastic team when they're truly working together. The humorous mug revelation was really funny, and giving Kelly more to do is always a pleasure. The fake sales call with Michael, Jim, and Dwight was terrific, and a wonderful characteristic of the classic quality of "The Office." My favorite thing here was not the Bluetooths that constantly connected Jim and Pam, but the one marvelous scene it led to: Pam's delighted exclamation of "That's what she said!" three times in a row. The actually serious conversation Jim overheard about Pam's possible future in New York is great drama, but seriously troubling for this fantastic couple.
Hooray for an episode that features Amanda! While the episode's premise was a bit thin, I do love seeing her on a regular basis and particularly enjoyed the way she dealt with advertising the party. I was a fan of both Henry and Gio, so it will always sadden me to have Betty's heart fluttering over some random musician. Marc's personal life seems to shift in and out of focus, and his mistaken notion to propose to Cliff is sure not to turn out well. The new financial planner at Mode isn't working out quite as well as I had hoped, but hopefully now that everything's out in the open, things will improve. Wilhelmina's bonding moment with Betty towards the end of the episode is yet another example of the true heart of this show: ultimately everyone can empathize with Betty.
I can't count the number of times every single character on this show has been possessed, though I'm happy to acknowledge that this isn't the worst time it's been done like this. Part of the reason for that is that this episode involves delving further into the backstory of one Davis Bloome and his dangerous superpowers. I've appreciated the grander focuses of episodes recently, rather than on just one specific plotline, but in this case the only supporting story is the return of Kara, who I'll admit I haven't missed, though her performance in the show's previous season finale was pretty terrific. I'm not sure whether she's sticking around, but considering how the rest of the show has sort of turned around this season, hopefully they can incorporate her and improve her as well.
Dirty Sexy Money: Season 2, Episode 5 "The Verdict" (B)
This episode felt like a wondrous return to the unfettered wackiness of the pilot, which wasn't quite as high in quality but way up there in terms of hilarity. The episode, especially in its final moments, contained two monstrously huge, interconnected revelations: Nola has the ability to get a new job within five minutes, and she's working with Simon to infiltrate and bring down the Darling family. My favorite part of the episode was the interaction between Jeremy and Nick, and I can't describe how funny they are together. Nick's decision to leave Lisa probably won't be permanent, but it really does shake things up a bit. I'm excited to see where things go next.
I'm covering this show on a weekly basis for a reviewing course I'm taking. I'll copy my thoughts onto this blog every week as well.
Gary Unmarried: Season 1, Episode 6 "Gary Meets the Gang" (D+)
Given the traditional web of sitcom plotlines, I’m surprised it took Gary this long to meet “the gang.” Why any guy would think it would be a good idea to try to impress all of his girlfriend’s friends without her approval is inexplicable. And yet, Gary goes for it anyway. It seems like he’s trying to be especially obnoxious when he speaks to them, deliberately insulting them and then acting as if he’s too dumb to realize that’s what he was doing. There is one hilarious moment in “Gary Meets the Gang” where Gary’s ex-wife Allison asks him to name some of Vanessa’s friends and he stumbles, blurting out Chandler, Monica, and Joey (an amusing series of references to "Friends" ensues). The joke directly contradicts the previous scene, where Vanessa outlines her friends’ names for Gary, but this is the world of sitcoms where earlier moments are irrelevant if there’s an ample opportunity for comedy. Perhaps tackling "Gary Unmarried" with such severity is a mistake, and a confusion of its genre expectations, but it seems that the show goes for the easiest option and often finds itself luckily coming out on top. As a whole, this episode, like all those before it, is hardly memorable and just another easy-to-categorize typical comedy episode. Most disappointing about "Gary Unmarried" is the waning number of impressive moments per episode, since the premiere’s multiple chuckles have now diminished to an occasional burst of brief hilarity. Gary desperately escaping the discomfort of putting his foot in his mouth in front of Vanessa’s friends leads to his futile attempt to jump out the window, only to be tricked into believing he’s high up when he’s actually only two inches from the ground – that’s slightly funny, but can’t sustain itself long enough to engage a viewer. Shows like "Two and a Half Men" are in fact able to function purely on one-liners and a lack of any attention paid to plot, but that’s a rarity. Charlie Sheen knows that the show he’s on is not "Frasier." It’s hardly quality television, and that’s the beauty of it. Jay Mohr seems blissfully unaware that the show around him isn’t a masterpiece, and both he and the show might benefit from a new perspective. If this comedy wants to go for broke and succeed based off of its dumbness, it should. But it can’t straddle the line between good and bad and expect to do well. "That 70s Show" was never a truly good show, yet it lasted for years because it acknowledged that in the way storylines were crafted and the characters carried themselves. "Gary Unmarried" needs to get with the program and reframe itself under a new lens, or everyone involved needs to step it up and start churning out a better quality show.
The Shield: Season 7, Episode 10 "Party Line" (B+)
I'm not sure I've ever seen such real anger and passion from Aceveda. This episode spotlighted a terrific, unexpected performance from Benito Martinez, who hasn't had scenes like this since the show's third season. I was shocked that Beltran so quickly put out a hit on Pezuela, and of course I'm impressed by Vic's handling of the situation. All that stuff is really heating up. Corinne going to the police still felt like a surprise even though it's not really out of character for her, and Claudette coming in on Mara's call was pretty intense. Shane and Mara do see pretty loyal to each other, and I doubt either of them would let the other take the fall. Ronnie and Vic's Plan B to run south doesn't seem like it will pan out - remember how well that worked for Lem? I'm still grasping the painful realization that this show only has three more episodes ever, but word has it that the last two are incredible, so I'm beyond excited.
Silver's renewed friendship with Naomi is puzzling to me, but no more so than the other elements of this series. Of all people, Dixon is the one who invites over a million guys so that the low-key sleepover could turn into a huge ripper? You'd think a cop like Kimberly, a.k.a. the least convincing cop EVER, would be smarter than to get picked up from a party by a teacher where she could easily be spotted by any number of students. I did enjoy Debbie's threat of violence towards Tracy, but who wouldn't? For those confused, Debbie is the name of Lori Loughlin's character. I had to look it up - I had no idea.
Samantha Who: Season 2, Episode 4 "The Building" (B)
James Tupper is a fine addition to this show's cast, and his relationship with Sam is something that should propel it in an excellent direction. The element of unreality with Regina coming up with ads portraying her and Sam as sisters is a bit frustrating, since the rest of this show is pretty grounded. Even Sam's flashbacks tend to feel real. Andrea's subplot with Todd's friend is actually a good use of her talents, and I like that he was fully aware of what she was doing. This show does have its moments.
Prison Break: Season 4, Episode 9 "Greatness Achieved" (F)
I don't quite understand why Bellick needed to die, but maybe that's just because I wasn't paying close enough attention. His 180-degree transformation from vicious prison guard to sympathetic loser was entirely inexplicable, so I suppose it's for the best that his character arc has come to an end. I thought for a few minutes that they were going to kill off Michael, which would have inspired me to stop watching this show instantly. The quick disposal of Wyatt is peculiar given how they could have used him, and I sincerely hope that Gretchen is playing the Company because otherwise this show is going to go on forever. What excited me most about this episode was that the digital voice recorder Self used to trick Wyatt and edit his random babbling into exactly what they wanted him to say is the same recorder I use when I go to press days or conduct interviews for journalism classes. That was quite cool. Unfortunately, this show is so not.
Californication: Season 2, Episode 6 "Coke Dick and the First Kick" (B-)
I'm not quite sure where all these little plots are headed. Hank looking for Ashby's lover doesn't look like it's going much of anywhere, and Charlie's porn endeavors are funny but not substantial enough to get the show going. I really do like "Californication" and I admire its ability to completely go off the deep end and explore storylines other shows typically wouldn't. Unfortunately, here it seems really aimless and like all of the Sunday night shows, I'm hoping it can whip itself back into shape before it clocks out for the season in just a few weeks.
Ever get the feeling that nothing at all is happening on this show? And this after the show finally got back into its groove, or so I thought. Jason Patric is a pretty random actor to cast as the star of "Smoke Jumpers," and I can't say that I'm impressed with his performance or his character. Drama and Turtle trying to sabotage him is nothing new, and as usual, it's up to Ari to save the day. While I'm not quite certain what Gary Cole's agent will be up to, he seems to be interesting and I know I love the actor, so hopefully his casting will lead to the show being steadily and continuously improved.
It's fun to see Dexter and Miguel working together more, especially as Dexter feigns stupidity to constantly deceive Miguel and one-up him to protect his secret killer instinct. Deb's plotline is also improving, which is good, since her actual smart ideas are unsurprisingly her best. I do worry that little is actually happening in each episode here, and that things could slow down a lot if the adventures of Dexter and Miguel continue to be so easy. Things aren't dire yet, and "Dexter" has always managed to rebound effectively, even after the dreaded Lila incident. I'm looking forward for a heightening of the pace.
Desperate Housewives: Season 5, Episode 6 "There's Always a Woman" (C)
This feels familiar. Andrew sleeping with Lee Tergesen's character, a.k.a. Bree's one-time lover, and Edie's nephew sleeping with Katherine. Children have constantly been mistaken for adults, and I see no reason why one of the Scavo twins should possibly end up sleeping with Gail O'Grady's character. I have to imagine that Lynette would at least confront Tom rather than simply throwing in the towel and packing her life up. Susan's shower scene is additional proof that walking in on someone in the shower is never a good idea. Though she is a klutz, she should be smart enough to know that. The comedy keeps getting dumber and dumber. I'm thrilled that the talent is growing, however, with new guest stars Frances Conroy and Lily Tomlin. Tomlin seems like she'll have the meatier role, especially as Karen McCluskey's sister. As an avid "Six Feet Under" fan, I do hope that Conroy's role becomes a recurring one and her part improves a bit.
True Blood: Season 1, Episode 9 "Plaisir D'Amour" (B)
The central plotline of this episode just didn't cut it for me. I do think that the head vampire guy is thoroughly fascinating and any of Anna Paquin's reactions to blood being everywhere are priceless and incredible, but sending Bill away is a dangerous move. This also had to serve as the interim episode where he's leaving, which didn't really amount to much. Ditto Tara's plotline. Her mother's exorcism worked better than it should have, but believing in this kind of supernatural influence is a bit kooky, even for a show about vampires. If she really gets into it, then I believe it can work effectively. What really gets me about this episode is comparable to the scene that really made me like "Breaking Bad" - an incomparably intense bonding and brief sense of empathy between captor and captive. In both cases, the captor isn't really a bad guy, and he's not the one truly responsible for kidnapping the guy. In both cases, it doesn't end well, but here it's a starkly compelling character study of both the vampire and Jason, who usually isn't as three-dimensional and interesting as he is here. With respect to the Sam-is-a-dog reveal at the end of the episode, this show is weird but I guess it all does make sense. I think that should provide an interesting twist and work in the show's favor, especially in the absence of one Bill Compton.
Much as I'm excited by this show's return, I didn't go quite as ga-ga for this episode as others did. It's still a whole lot of fun, though. Highlights include Jack getting multiple promotions within one day and Liz talking about her annual sex guest. Megan Mullally was a fun guest, and her performance underscores this show's superiority over predecessors like "Will & Grace" where guest stars were flaunted and dominated the show rather than casually appearing in the episode. NBC is promoting the show as if it's like "Will & Grace" with the guest stars, but hopefully they won't be too distractingly showy.
The Office: Season 5, Episode 5 "Employee Transfer" (B-)
This isn't a bad episode, it just feels incomplete. Three storylines that feel like subplots can't quite carry the episode, since none of them are sufficiently strong. The multiple Jokers and Creed's dead-on, creepy impersonation are good for a quick laugh. Jim and Pam's dinner with the brothers is uncomfortable and awkward with no real comedic value. That one tanked from the start. Michael's departure with Holly is sad because it means that Amy Ryan is leaving the show, which is truly devastating, and a few funny moments in this episode only recall the sad nature of Michael's big dreams that could never possibly come true. I'd rather have done away with this episode together and signed Ryan on for five more seasons. The subplot involving Dwight and Andy is a lot of fun, although, as Alan Sepinwall points out, Dwight is oddly assuming Jim's role as office clown and perpetual time-waster. This feels like a bump in the road rather than a downward turn for the series. Once Holly is fully out of the picture next episode, things should be back on track with new directions and hopefully, new laughs.
The contrived setup coming out of last week's episode is here remedied quickly by a positive outcome that reaffirms the strengths of "Ugly Betty." I was a bit fed up with the constant, unsubtle badgering of characters to vote (also on "Dirty Sexy Money" this week), but giving Hilda a new plotline is probably for the best, especially since Eddie Cibrian seems to be gone for good (the men on this show don't last long, do they? See Christopher Gorham and Freddy Rodriguez for further evidence). Lindsay Lohan wasn't a bad guest star per se but she didn't add a whole lot (like, say, Mary-Kate Olsen, whose performance on "Weeds" was better than I could ever have expected). I love any chance to see more of Marc and especially Amanda, and in this case when they're working for the common "good" with Betty it's even more delicious. What really makes me happy is the heart of "Ugly Betty" that is driven home in the end with the notion that Betty can always save the day and bond with the big stars through simple honesty and kindness. And while I was pretty sure he was Sean Bean, I'm glad to see Grant Bowler (the freighter captain from "Lost") as Daniel's new buddy who worked with him to trick Wilhelmina into hiring him.
I'm very pleased with the Superman-style direction this show is taking. Positioning Oliver as the fake Superman works quite well, and while I thought Clark was about to mess up his plan by having to go save Lois, it turned out perfectly in the end. I wonder how this show will cope with masking Clark's face, since it seems unlikely that they would have him running around as he is during his presumably upcoming transformation into the Superman character we know and love. I can forgive the slight plot defects - Lois calls Clark out of all people to help her, Chloe is planning to hit Jimmy with her car when he could very easily recognize her and presumably her car - in favor of a positive direction this show seems to finally be taking.
Dirty Sexy Money: Season 2, Episode 4 "The Silence" (C+)
Most of the occurrences in this episode are just too obvious and expected. Patrick is too eternally blinded by his affection for Carmelita to realize that he can't expose her to the entire world only weeks (days? months? no idea) after the supposedly tragic death of his wife. Tripp is always looking out for the family with a stern attitude that sacrifices personal happiness for professional well-being. Karen is too constantly oblivious to realize that Nick doesn't actually want to be with her, but that Simon is really the one she should be worrying about. That does make the character of Simon a tad more compelling, since he exposed his own motives so that he will be able to throw them back in everyone's faces later. Nick's outright refusal to even entertain Lisa's business proposition is very much unlike him, but I am impressed with his detective work, exploiting Jeremy's stupidity to find out who he's secretly dating, a revelation which will likely explode in the coming episode.
Pushing Daisies: Season 2, Episode 5 "Dim Sum Lose Some" (B+)
This really is quite a peculiar show, but I do enjoy it. The lavish setups and surprising connections to the case are amusing and inventive. The plea to Emerson for help via fortune is incredibly original, and his reaction to everything, especially his love for the food, is great. It's also fun that the show brought back a supposedly one-shot character, one of the four wives from season one, whose interaction with Emerson is terrific and who I feel might be popping up again on the show. I'm always perplexed by how the whole gang ends up going undercover so quickly, but it's well worth it for the amount of humor that comes out of it.
There's something very spooky about Shane being a known criminal and having the upper hand against Vic by blackmailing his family. I've really grown to detest both Shane and Mara, even though they're in theory supposed to be somewhat sympathetic. It makes their being on the run even more real, since they're clearly the villains while Vic and Ronnie are clearly the heroes of our story. Dutch being outed for his undercover investigation turned dating scheme is too bad, since Frances Fisher is always a welcome actress. Billings finally gets his first good dramatic plot line since setting up Dutch to catch Tina in the act, and it's a good one. His relentless pursuit of the pedophile in his daughter's neighborhood is impressive, and the parallel Dutch makes about being Shane to his Vic is pretty powerful. And Tina's finally back, her absence explained away by a long weekend. I'm glad Vic is working hard to save his job as undercover man in Pezuela's organization, since Vic as an outlaw doesn't quite suit him as well as his badge.
This episode as a whole is a bit weak but some of its individual components are decently strong. I like the end reveal of the perpetrator, since crime procedurals often make it way too obvious who the guy is from the start. Despite the bizarre incorporation of the Dragostea Din Tei video, the computer stuff is pretty cool. I'm always happy to see Max Gail drop by a show since his wonderful role as the patriarch on "Sons & Daughters" was far too long ago and remembered by no one except me.
90210: Season 1, Episode 7 "Hollywood Forever" (F)
Ah, the relationship of Dixon and Silver never ceases to amuse me. The constantly changing character of Silver gets nicer and less like herself every minute, hopped up on painkillers after a wisdom teeth extraction. Dixon, on the other hand, continues to be the complete opposite of Silver in every possible way, and somehow their relationship works as only such relationships can work on shows like this, "The O.C." and "One Tree Hill." I'm still curious if people as truly goodhearted and obliviously noble as Annie really exist in the real world. Her driving test scene with her mother was actually quite funny, a rare good use of Lori Loughlin. Number one honest teacher is a bit too pushy, but I guess he gets rewarded in the way he wishes.
Sam's repeated memory flashbacks are fun, and I sort of think that having so many revelations every episode could infuse this show with some much needed direction. It could also get old pretty quick. I like the idea that, however forced in its execution, Sam remembers Todd's proposal and then forgets it by the end of the episode, though the ring lying in the apartment should mean that it will eventually be revealed once again. Tony Hale's creepy doctor is just about as random as Andrea's attempts to seduce the lesbian at her job. These unfocused side plots are a bit of a problem for this potentially decent show.
I'm totally behind the idea that Sylar is now transforming into a hero rather than a villain. What doesn't make sense is that the grand Arthur Petrelli doesn't see through his scheme to save Peter's life. I also don't get why Daphne is in fact working for Arthur rather than trying to legitimately help Matt. And correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't Matt be able to read her mind and figure out that she's deceiving him? There are way too many plot holes in this show. I always welcome the return of Kristen Bell, but her antsy flying skills here and nervous demeanor doesn't suit her. Why Claire wants to get rid of her powers escapes me. She's pretty annoying, but I am liking the assembly of groups and teams of our heroes and villains.
Chuck: Season 2, Episode 5 "Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer" (B+)
It's cool that "Chuck" is attempting to spotlight some of the minor characters and give them legitimate back stories and purposes on the show. I totally believe that Jeff could have been a world class video gamer. While I got lost with the whole formula for winning thing, I like that it's always Chuck who's there to save the day. Tony Hale, who's also popping up on "Samantha Who," is a fine addition to the cast here and is sure to serve as an amusing thorn in Chuck's side. I'm sure he'll be a better assistant manager than Lester.
Californication: Season 2, Episode 5 "Vaginatown" (B+)
Wow, Chloe Metz really was an obnoxious character but it was great to have her around. Her transformation from flirtatious chatterbox to having an insane meltdown is humorous and unexpected. I like where Charlie's plotline is heading, becoming a bona-fide porn agent. This show is so peculiar, but I do think it's great and I thoroughly enjoy every episode. It's the definition of a non-sitcom comedy, and it's wonderful.
Entourage: Season 5, Episode 8 "First Class Jerk" (B+)
I thought I had gone and accidentally spoiled the outcome of Ari's decision for myself when I read about Gary Cole's casting as an agent/series regular in season six. Instead, "Entourage" pulls off a terrific shocker which may well point it now in the right direction. Dana Gordon has always been a great character, and her interactions with Ari are pretty much priceless. Constance Zimmer, despite having appeared on "Boston Legal," is actually a good actress and I'm hoping that she can help change Vince and this show's fortunes.
Mad Men: Season 2, Episode 13 "Meditations in an Emergency" (B+)
This is what I asked for: a good, powerful finale which leaves ambiguity without a tragic cliffhanger. It's unclear as to what will happen at the newly-owned Sterling-Cooper, since I have a feeling that Duck will be out of his own deal and Don will still be in power. Don's return to the office is pretty awesome, as is the enlightening conversation between Peggy and Pete. This season has been terrific, and I'm eagerly awaiting seasons three and four.
Season grade: A- Season MVP: Jon Hamm & January Jones
Dexter: Season 3, Episode 5 "Turning Biminese" (B+)
This episode may not have moved at a furious pace, but it's all worth it for the incredible finish. The notion that Miguel really is a sympathetic friend for Dexter who understands him and does see him as the "Dark Defender" is absolutely stellar. I'm thrilled for the direction this show is headed in. Dexter's interactions with Rita and constant debates over what's happening with him makes for a good subplot, and I think focusing on Dexter in both of his elements rather than some of the supporting characters is probably best. I can't wait for Dexter's new relationship with Miguel.
Desperate Housewives: Season 5, Episode 5 "Mirror, Mirror" (B-)
This episode is really much more of a filler episode than anything, but it's good to have some back story for everything. I'm still waiting to hear more about Dave, especially considering his latest move. I liked his conversation with Mrs. McCluskey in the ambulance at the end (though why did they need to call an ambulance) since that's the only real look into his true nature we've seen thus far. I'm pleased with how Orson dealt with working with Bree and Katherine, and hopefully it won't turn too comic because that could become cyclical and predictable almost instantly. And while I hope Tom doesn't take the family cross-country in an RV, I do like the fact that he's standing up for himself. Is this show in good shape? I think it's doing a lot better than it's done in a while.
True Blood: Season 1, Episode 8 "The Fourth Man in the Fire" (B+)
I knew Bill couldn't be dead, but I wasn't prepared for his awesome return, lunging up from underneath the ground and then engaging in a passionate sex scene with Sookie. I'm liking him more and more nowadays, and this show continues to impress me. I guess Lizzy Caplan will be sticking around for a bit, especially considering that insane finale. Stephen Root, who really is a great actor, giving a performance so directly opposite from his "Office Space" role as Milton, creates a sympathetic but needy portrait of a friendly vampire. I'm saddened to think what will happen to him, as Jason's new girl is nowhere near as innocent as she first seemed.
This is an overall enjoyable episode, particularly fun because it highlights the terrific yet somewhat dysfunctional relationship between Michael and Holly, now sure to come to an end due to their indiscretion around one David Wallace. I thought the auction was great, especially all the items that Michael got together, including Phyllis' hug that went for $1000 ("$500 and one penny!") and David Wallace's surprising willingness to come auction off a weekend at his country home. Dwight's hopeless pursuit of Angela and his turning to Phyllis for aid was alternately endearing and hilarious. Jim and Pam seem to be on the sidelines for the moment, but I like that their relationship seems to endure even though we never see them together.
Ugly Betty: Season 3, Episode 5 "Granny Pants" (C-)
I suspected that Lindsay Lohan would be back, but I'm unhappy that I was correct. Her presence is almost disastrous for the show. After two seasons, Betty has finally found her place at Mode, and I can tell you exactly how this is all going to turn out. Daniel's eventually going to apologize to Betty after seeing the light and Kimmie's going to be erased from the show's history. It's as if Betty doesn't have enough problems - would it kill the show to make her happy for once? Everyone else can be miserable, but why must she be treated like this, especially when everyone (including her) saw it coming all along? I enjoyed Justin's misunderstanding of the pound when his closet dancer bully finally accepted him in the end, and Daniel and Wilhelmina's accidental date was funny as well. This show isn't completely lost, this is just a completely unnecessary detour that should soon be quickly forgotten.
I’d think a man from Mars who was able to live among humans for years would possess a bit more subtlety than our good friend “Jones” does here. Receiving confidential, secretive identities from Clark sends him right to all their homes so that his source is immediately outed? Not exactly meteoric police work. I'm glad to see Davis back in the spotlight, especially since it's clear that he's going to play a bigger role now that he's been revealed as the killer. It's hard to decide whether he is aware of his destructive powers or whether he's actually innocent, and I'm still not sure. I'm sure all will be made clear soon. I know that I never used to say this, but I'm actually missing Lois, and I think bringing her back for more episodes and reducing the screen time of Chloe's support group would do this show some good. Also, Tess and Oliver should be featured more prominently every episode.
Dirty Sexy Money: Season 2, Episode 3 "The Star Witness" (B-)
This show is slipping a bit in a lot of its overall plotlines, but there are certain elements I love. The main thing this episode is the meeting between Karen and Lisa, where Lisa finally really tells Karen off - and she sort of gets it. Jeremy's dalliance with and falling for Nola, however predictable, is semi-touching. Nick's trip to visit his mother is also fairly effective, but I feel like she's been too quickly written off. I also enjoyed Brian's trip to Brazil to see his son, and it's crazy that Brian Jr. actually snuck onto the plane and is headed back to America! I doubt his mother will believe Brian when he tells her that. As far as the problems go, this show is a bit too narrow-minded where Patrick is concerned in the same way that "Heroes" so easily catapults Nathan to the presidency in every flash-forward. It's as if there's no scrutiny being placed on these popular public figures. Patrick almost confesses to the death cover-up, thinking mistakenly that there will be no consequences, on live national television. When he sees his father and Carmelita, he launches into some pathetic story about how Ellen wasn't a regular smoker. I just don't buy it, and it's that very short-sightedness of this show that's dragging it down in my opinion.
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