Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Andy’s Watching: Survivor

Survivor: Season 21, Episode 11 “We Did It Guys” (F)

This week's episode is a clip show/recap episode composed entirely of never-before-seen scenes! If this sounds boring, then you are correct. If the footage wasn't interesting enough to put in the episode the first time around, then why should we care to see it now?

Nothing major to say about this episode, just a couple of scenes that interested me:

1) Fabio talking abut how his plan is to not attract any attention to himself and just let his goofy side emerge so he won’t be seen as a threat. Fabio looks like a much smarter player than they originally portrayed him to be.

2) Purple Kelly has some camera time - but it's only to show her crying and wanting to quit because of the rain. This show really
hasn’t shown her in a positive light at all (especially if you see the preview for next week’s episode – Probst narrating “and Purple Kelly finally has some to say,” followed by a shot of her crying and whining).

3) Very weird scene of NaOnka confessing to Holly that she took the flour and hid it. With tears streaming down her face, she tells Holly that she loves her. To the camera, NaOnka says that Holly reminds her of her own mother.

4) Sash made a final-2 deal with everyone - meaning that he privately promised that at the end it would only be Sash and whichever tribe member he was talking to at the time. That might explain why he didn’t save Brenda. If he saves her, then it’s obvious he is more interested in her that what his many partners want.

I really wanted to see the aftermath of the fire from last week. Maybe the production team gave them some food and utensils so the topic is purposely being avoided. Just because “Survivor” doesn’t always appear to be contrived, you can’t just assume it’s not.

What I’m Watching: The Good Wife

The Good Wife: Season 2, Episode 8 “On Tap” (B+)

This show really is very good, and it’s awesome to see so many plotlines handled in an episode in such an interestingly juxtaposed fashion. The shot of both Kalinda and Alicia gazing out at the men who makes their lives complicated – in different ways, of course – was just terrifically done. Kalinda’s rivalry with Blake is getting intense and somewhat dangerous, and it’s fascinating to see how Kalinda’s relationship with Cary has evolved to the point that he warns her about her potential complicity in an assault case for which Blake has clearly framed her. Alicia finding out about Will’s voicemail was a great twist, and it’s too bad that his new girlfriend had to be there in the closing scene just as she walked in to speak her mind to him. I loved how Alicia discovered Eli’s voice on the call and then made sure that their next conversation happened in person rather than over the wiretapped phone. The upcoming rift in the firm should seriously shake things up, and I’m interested to see how that plays out. It was good to see Mykelti Williamson, originally best known as Bubba from “Forrest Gump,” in a far more challenging and better role than the one he played recently on “24.” And speaking of the real-time series, it was fun to see Reiko Aylesworth, a.k.a. Michelle Dessler, as the opposing counsel in front of the judge who hilariously insisted on “in my opinion” being stated before any argument was made in court.

What I’m Watching: Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy: Season 3, Episode 12 “June Wedding” (B+)

It really says something about a show when a hostage situation and a few murders don’t constitute an exceptionally intense installment. That’s not to say that this isn’t a good and powerful hour, of course, since it most certainly is. Most surprising and worrisome is Stahl’s latest questionable act, shooting her own partner and lover in order to dig herself out of the hole she’s dug for herself. Kudos to recurring guest star Ally Walker, who delivers a powerhouse performance in this episode. Gemma truly is a wise and fascinating character, talking so bluntly with Opie and then comforting Unser as he cries in front of her. Jax certainly put his own touch on his rescue effort, kissing Tara after giving her the gun and then stabbing Salazar after assuring him that he wouldn’t kill him. That shot of Jax and Tara looking at the image of their baby on the monitor was the first indication in a while that someone’s actually happy on this show, and Opie’s engagement is a similarly positive development. Now all that’s left is for the club to get Jimmy, but I don’t imagine that will be too simple, and I have a sinking feeling that his likely execution is going to mean very bad things for Jax when it comes to consequences from the unstable and treacherous Stahl. On a lighter note, I did enjoy Juice’s response to the expectation that he spoke Spanish: “I’m a Puerto Rican from Queens. I speak better Yiddish.”

What I’m Watching: In Treatment

In Treatment: Season 3, Episodes 17-20 “Week Five” (B+)

This is an especially intense week for all of the patients, and each of the sessions manages to hold its own and prove entirely compelling. Sunil’s consistent deference of his dreams coupled with his anguish over the natural disaster back home is fascinating, and Paul did seem genuinely concerned when he indicated some potentially violent tendencies. I found Paul’s comment about kissing in America and Sunil’s perception of the situation interesting as well. Frances’s session got off to an intriguing start with a discussion of silence and the reading of the test results, and Paul telling her that she has to go see her sister was a rare show of definitive opinion, and she managed to turn the tables right back on him by alleging his past romance with her sister. Jesse’s very angry session was extraordinarily well-written and pretty damn compelling. His frustration about not being able to find a diner in Westchester and his fury with the Nabisco commercial picture were memorable and powerful as well. Paul’s wrap-up session with Adele proved very enlightening as always after a complex week, and it’s so interesting to see him try to justify his crush on Adele and explain it away as something other transference when he was in that very situation with Laura two years ago. What I found most intriguing about this episode was how Adele stood up for herself, not being content with Paul standing outside her building and trying to lengthen the session. Her statement of “are you so paralyzed you’re unable to stand up?” was particularly biting.

What I’m Watching: No Ordinary Family

No Ordinary Family: Season 1, Episode 8 “No Ordinary Accident” (C-)

In this episode, we do have some stakes, but that doesn’t mean it’s a quality hour. The intermittent functionality of Jim’s powers seems somewhat convenient since he never actually runs the risk of being discovered or hurt, and I’m appalled that he manages to walk around mask-less after last episode’s close call while taking out criminals and fully demonstrating the use of his powers. JJ’s teacher is a preposterously stupid villain, haughtily bidding his student “good day” and delighting at being able to take him down with the newly discovered hacking evidence. The way this storyline was handled also felt too clean and simple, since JJ saving his teacher by assisting his mother’s super-fast surgery should have resulted in JJ facing disciplinary action since he wouldn’t be able to confess to being the one to save his life. Daphne manages in this episode to be even dumber than her brother, using her powers to win her crush’s eternal affection and promptly undoing all her not-so-hard work by blurting out the truth. I wouldn’t be so bothered by her actions if she actually got somewhere with them. Katie’s budding romance is going according to plan for her seducer, and if this were any other show, I’d say it wouldn’t be long before the Powell family secret starts unraveling and danger begins to loom. I haven’t mentioned it before, but I’ve felt that the happy tone of the opening credits has been incredibly inappropriate over the past couple of weeks. To give “Heroes” a rare compliment, the eclipse music worked much better for any type of action that was occurring.

What I’m Watching: Glee

Glee: Season 2, Episode 8 “Furt” (B-)

Talk about wedding fever. The notion of one (adult) union in an episode is monumental enough, and to complicate it with a senseless one-person ceremony and a promise ring feels overstuffed to say the least. Sue’s decision to marry herself was simply preposterous, and there’s a limit to which her character is tolerable, and this episode definitely pushed those boundaries as much as it could. It’s a sorry excuse for a guest appearance by Carol Burnett and an attempt at a dramatic plotline that doesn’t quite work. What’s more interesting to me is the realization, made ever so clear in this episode, that the glee club members really have coupled off, with the exception of Kurt and Mercedes, who after a brief crush by the latter on the former turned into the platonic equivalent of a couple (think Rupert Everett and Julia Roberts in “My Best Friend’s Wedding”). It’s also becoming increasingly apparent that Rachel is no longer the main character on the show and, despite his impending and rather shocking transfer, Kurt is the one who more accurately fits that bill. The wedding numbers were quite enjoyable and impressive, and they made for a singular kind of wedding that can’t quite be matched by any other show. It was also hilarious to see Will crooning a tune during the first dance. Will’s closing words before Kurt’s speech are a reminder that Sectionals are coming up again, and the club is going to have to get back to business and really focus to try again for the big win.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What I’m Watching: The Event

The Event: Season 1, Episode 9 “Your World to Take” (D+)

I’ll credit this episode for starting out strongly and finally directly addressing the reason for the aliens’ presence on Earth. The opening sequence with the text messages was well-done, and seeing the sheer numbers of their kind in the meeting room makes it clear that they are far more present and dangerous than anyone suspects. I wasn’t nearly as impressed with Sophia’s disciplinary measures since forcing the traitor to shoot herself in the leg isn’t all that bad of a punishment and Thomas should have expected far worse for trying to kill his own mother. The only reason it would make sense is if the aliens aren’t able to regenerate their human bodies for some reason, though I don’t think that’s the case. Sean’s astounded reaction to the fact that the assassin was hunting Leila and not the little girl is more than a bit over the top considering the fact that she’s been being hunted for capture for the entirety of the series thus far and upping the order from capture to kill isn’t such a big deal since she really wants to avoid either one from being successful. Without much related to the president, this episode feels particularly slow-moving, and the revelations are pretty much canceled out by the continued lack of clarity related to everything else. It’s about time that things came together and we found out exactly what the aliens are looking to do (we’re closer than ever before) and why whoever it is in the government is covering it up. Answers, please.

What I’m Watching: Chuck

Chuck: Season 4, Episode 9 “Chuck Versus Phase Three” (B+)

After so many seasons of Sarah refusing to recognize her true feelings for Chuck, it’s great to see her fight her way through an entire country to bring back the man she loves. It’s a big thing for Sarah to differentiate between Chuck the Intersect and Chuck the spy since she’s always been incredibly overprotective and unwilling to let Chuck live on his own. Now she’s battling Thai sand-throwing ninjas to rescue her beloved boyfriend and acknowledging that she would say yes to his eventual proposal. I enjoyed how Morgan proved very helpful in his own singular kind of way, even if he managed to reveal Chuck’s exact plan for proposing. Casey’s gruff allegiance to Sarah and, by proxy, Chuck is also rather touching, and very entertaining. The gradual removal of Chuck’s memories was well-handled, in a manner very reminiscent of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” with universal prompts for flashing thrown into the mix. Fortunately, Chuck is now safely back in the United States and should be able to regain his flashing abilities sometime soon, I’d imagine. Ellie is about to stumble onto something major and spy-related herself, of course, that’s probably going to put her in considerable danger. It’s cool that she was able to name the password when pretty much the entire staff of the Buy More instantly, and it’s a nice link to the Bartowski parental unit, one of which should probably be coming back pretty soon to wreak considerable havoc in her children’s lives.

What I’m Watching: The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: Season 1, Episode 4 “Vatos” (B+)

Here we have the best episode since the series premiere, full of both dramatic and action-related developments. I was particularly impressed by how the nature of society in this new world was revealed. At first, I questioned the convenient presence of a kindly grandmother, but when it turned out that this former custodian and his crew were simply defending the residents of an assisted-living facility, I understood how and why that came into play. The way Rick perceives and comprehends this new world is to me the most intriguing part of the show, and he makes a great anchor, especially because he’s a far subtler character than most of the others. The developments at the camp were affecting in their own way, proceeding at a much slower pace than everything in the city and managing to be just as compelling. It’s no surprise that someone would crack back at the camp, and this particular case was handled deftly and movingly. The ending to this episode reasserted this show’s incorrigible bleakness, with the dreamer’s vision coming true as all of the graves he dug could suddenly be filled by bodies. I, like everyone else, though that it was Merle come back to avenge his abandonment in Atlanta, and seeing the zombies so close to a supposed safe zone is a devastating reminder that nowhere is truly safe. The death of one character’s sister effectively cancels out Rick’s return with his family, sadly. Only two more episodes to go this season, and I’m sure they’ll both be terrific.

What I’m Watching: Dexter

Dexter: Season 5, Episode 9 “Teenage Wasteland” (A-)

I didn’t think anything could top last year’s Thanksgiving week episode, yet this one is completely terrific while still managing to be so different from the superb “Hungry Man.” Namely, there’s not one slow plotline in this installment. Even the lameness that is the workplace marriage is more interesting than usual, with Batista finally taking a stand and not allowing Laguerta to get away with throwing Deb under the bus. Liddy is terrifyingly close to uncovering the actions of Lumen and Dexter, and the fact that Quinn is no longer on board, which is a major development, is even worse news for them. Astor showing up at the house was a huge shock, and this is the first time we’ve really seen her rebel in a troublesome, teenage fashion, making Dexter’s clarification of her age all the more horrifying. Her interaction with Lumen went infinitely better than expected, and fortunately, it seems all to have turned out for the best. Harry telling Dexter that he’s proud of him was a moving moment, and Dexter later telling Astor that he loves her was touching as well. On a far less happy note, this episode’s ending is one of the best in a while, as Jordan manages to scare the hell out of Lumen by using his token catchphrase and then calling her by name. Jordan’s quick discovery of Dexter’s duplicity and his constant statement of Dexter’s thoughts prove that this is another foe that is a serious match for Dexter, and someone who’s definitely going to complicate his life over the course of the remaining episodes this season.

What I’m Watching: Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire: Season 1, Episode 10 “The Emerald City” (B+)

Margaret may be fine after last week’s troublesome shooting, but that doesn’t mean matters are calm by any means. I’m glad she’s not dead, of course, because her newfound role in Nucky’s campaign efforts is absolutely fascinating. It was very interesting to watch her get up on stage after proclaiming she was nervous and spew out exactly the same kind of speech Nucky tends to give, and with the same gusto, no less. Nucky involving her so directly in his business is extremely intriguing, especially considering the depravity of the rest of his work-related affairs. Her willingness to accept a celebratory glass of champagne surprised me as well, indicating the level to which she is being drawn in by Nucky. The almost offhand execution of Nucky’s would-be assassin by Jimmy is rather alarming, but it’s nothing compared to Chalky’s hands-on strangulation. Rothstein is a bitter enemy for Nucky, and I’m certain that their feud is only going to get worse and take more lives as it runs its course. In terms of frightening shows of authority, the reaction to Al’s prank takes the cake. The best moment of the episode, in my opinion, was the congregant at the Bar Mitzvah speaking to Al and asking him why he wears the cap of a boy - truly superb writing. Nelson’s definitely spiraling out of control, and though he may have some twisted endgame in sight, allowing himself to order some alcohol and give in to his temptations is not a good thing. He’s on his own in this whole investigation enough as it is, and taking solo risks is going to make his eventual confrontation with Nucky even messier.

What I’m Watching: Smallville

Smallville: Season 10, Episode 9 “Patriot” (C-)

The concept of this Vigilante Registration Act is truly interesting, and it’s a shame that the show continually fails to showcase it and pursue the storyline in a compelling manner. Maybe it’s because I was taking some time off from this show back in season six when the first Justice League of America episode aired, but I’ve never been overly fond of the superheroes that seem to pop in and out of this show sporadically. Aquaman’s presence feels random and the evocation of his mystical origins don’t fit too well with all of the Superman mythology. His girlfriend’s manner of speech is one of the things that bothers me immensely, since it sounds just like Lois anytime she’s possessed and leads me to believe that no one at the CW actually realizes how ridiculous these lines sounds. I don’t quite understand why Oliver needs to officially register as a vigilante since he’s already out, so to speak, and a public declaration of his entrance into the program seems foolhardy because his future absence would then be all the more noticeable. Michael Hogan was a perfect choice to play the general hell bent on ridding the world of the heroes, and quite ready to strike at any enemies, as evidenced by his death grip on Lois’ hand after she snatched the photo. This makes Hogan the second “Battlestar Galactica” alumnus to express a furious hatred of the super-powered, following Aaron Douglas, and the second to appear in this episode, after Alessandro Juliani, who plays Dr. Emil. If only this show was anywhere near as well-written as that one these days.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Drew's Watching: Bones

Bones: Season 6, Episode 7 "The Babe in the Bar"

Favorite line: "I went to the liquor store and I bought every brand available." (From Hodgins -- very scientific!) Anyway, maybe it's just me, but I think we're a little too close to the "Science Dude" to be shamelessly aping another pop culture phenomenon (Wapner Chocolates? Wauneeka Chocolates? Wendigo Chocolates!). I cracked up when Bones flatly contradicted the poor chocolate engineer, but it would have been better if she had shut up from there. In general, though, Deschanel does an uncommonly good job with the character in this episode. (I've found that a fun game to play is to pay close attention to Booth's facial expressions when Bones is talking.) Hodgins is nauseating, but Nigel Murray is a scream. I'm glad he's back. The mystery's fun, even if I got it immediately, and I'll admit that it was a nice bonus to see Wayne Knight. All in all, this is what you'll usually get from "Bones" -- nothing to knock your socks off, but you won't demand your hour back.

Plot: 7/10
Action: 0/10
Characters: 9/10
Comedy: 9/10
Bones's Makeup: 2/10

Overall Grade: B+

Golden Globe Musings: Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Entourage
Glee
Modern Family
The Office
30 Rock


New contenders:
The Big C
Hot in Cleveland
Raising Hope


Potential first-time nominees:
The Big Bang Theory
Community
Hung
Nurse Jackie
Parks and Recreation


Past nominees:
Californication

Its continued placement in this category is puzzling, but Entourage has actually earned a nomination for each year it’s been on the air, making it a six-time nominee. I think it finally has to be booted this year. I’m just not sure what can replace it. The best bet is Showtime’s The Big C, given the fact that the similarly-lauded Weeds was recognized here on three separate occasions. 30 Rock, Glee, and Modern Family aren’t going anywhere, and I presume that’s also true for The Office, though you never know. Maybe this is where Community finally gets some recognition? I’m not optimistic, and I think this category will be relatively uninteresting.

Current predictions:
The Big C
Glee
Modern Family
The Office
30 Rock

Golden Globe Musings: Best TV Series – Drama

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Big Love
Dexter
House
Mad Men
True Blood


New contenders:
Boardwalk Empire
Hawaii Five-O
Justified
Parenthood
Treme
The Walking Dead


Potential first-time nominees:
The Good Wife

Past nominees:
In Treatment
Lost


In evaluating this race, only one nominee is truly secure, and that’s Mad Men. Given the fact that “Big Love” has been nominated all three times it’s been eligible, that’s a good bet too, and Dexter is still going strong. Swap out the fading House and declining True Blood for Emmy-nominated drama The Good Wife, which won Julianna Margulies the Golden Globe last year, and one of HBO’s new offerings. Boardwalk Empire is much hotter than Treme ever was, so that’s the frontrunner to take down three-time champ Mad Men. As far as a new FX series goes, The Walking Dead is a dark horse for a nomination, though I'm thinking that will be in the Miniseries or TV Movie category. I don’t think that former nominee Lost can return to reclaim any glory – the Golden Globes don’t usually work that way; once a show’s out, it’s out.

Current predictions:
Big Love
Boardwalk Empire
Dexter
The Good Wife
Mad Men

Golden Globe Musings: Best Mini-Series or Made-for-TV Movie

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important.

Though I haven’t seen anything, this seems to me to be the easiest category to predict. Take the two Emmy-nominated miniseries, The Pacific and Return to Cranford and the three most buzzed-about Emmy-nominated made-for-TV movies, The Special Relationship, Temple Grandin, and You Don’t Know Jack. The one complication comes from the second half of 2010. Since I’m predicting Andrew Lincoln for Best Actor, I should probably include The Walking Dead. If it ends up classified here, I think it will be as a sixth nominee.

The Pacific
Return to Cranford
The Special Relationship
Temple Grandin
You Don’t Know Jack
The Walking Dead
(6th nominee)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Television Series

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Jane Adams (Hung)
Rose Byrne (Damages)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Janet McTeer (Into the Storm)
Chloe Sevigny (Big Love)

This category aggregates supporting actresses from drama series, comedy series, mini-series, and TV movies. Also, no one stays in it for very long. Since 2003, no one has earned more than two consecutive nominations. One of those ladies is Rose Byrne, nominated twice for her work on FX’s drama. While I thought that she turned in her best performance yet, Golden Globe voters may be over her. Jane Adams (Hung) was a pleasant surprise last year, but I think that she’ll be forgotten (tragically). Jane Lynch (Glee) will probably stay, while last year’s winner Chloe Sevigny (Big Love) could just as easily return as not return. The ladies of “Modern Family,” Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara, may be easier to honor than the boys on their show since there are only two of them, but I’m not convinced that the Globes will honor the supporting players at all. On the mini-series/TV movie front, we have Emmy winner Julia Ormond (Temple Grandin) and nominees Catherine O’Hara (Temple Grandin), Susan Sarandon (You Don’t Know Jack), and Brenda Vaccaro (You Don’t Know Jack). Any of the Emmy-nominated drama supporting actresses like Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) or winner Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) could be nominated, but I think that new actresses arein line ahead of them: Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire), a nominee in this category for TV movie “The Girl in the CafĂ©” back in 2005, and the uber-popular Betty White (Hot in Cleveland).

Current predictions:
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire)
Julia Ormond (Temple Grandin)
Susan Sarandon (You Don’t Know Jack)
Betty White (Hot in Cleveland).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Television Series

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Michael Emerson (Lost)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
William Hurt (Damages)
John Lithgow (Dexter)
Jeremy Piven (Entourage)

A number of important things to note about this category. First of all, last year was the first time since 2004 that all five nominees were from comedy or drama series only rather than mini-series or TV movies. The fact that it was an exception makes it hard to predict this category and whether standalone fare will be included along with weekly shows. Next, both Hurt and Lithgow are out since they did not appear on either of their shows in 2010. Emerson was the first “Lost” inclusion at the Globes since 2006, which is very atypical for this awards body, and I think the show will be entirely ignored in its final year. Harris should be safe, while Piven is increasingly less likely to return as a nominee as his show goes on, despite having been nominated for all six seasons and continuing to be recognized after he already won his trophy three years ago. As far as mini-series and TV movie contenders go, watch out for John Goodman (You Don’t Know Jack) and Emmy winner David Strathairn (Temple Grandin). Watch out also for another John Goodman (Treme) role, and I imagine that HBO’s newest show, “Boardwalk Empire,” won’t be able to single out a performer for nomination in this category. The same may hold true for “Modern Family,” though Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Eric Stonestreet all received Emmy nominations. I’d like to hope that Martin Short (Damages) can fill the spot left vacant by Hurt, but my bet for the fifth slot: Oliver Platt (The Big C), who got nominated back in 2004 for his last Showtime series, “Huff.”

Current predictions:
John Goodman (You Don’t Know Jack)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Jeremy Piven (Entourage)
Oliver Platt (The Big C)
David Strathairn (Temple Grandin)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Made-for-TV Movie

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important.

Since I haven’t seen one of the contenders in this category, my analysis will be very brief. Three Emmy nominees from this past year are pretty much sure things: winner Claire Danes (Temple Grandin), Hope Davis (The Special Relationship), and Judi Dench (Return to Cranford). As far as the other two nominees go, I’m stumped. I don’t keep up with miniseries and TV movies as much as I should. Maybe Winona Ryder (When Love Is Not Enough) and Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)? Those are my best guesses.

Current predictions:
Claire Danes (Temple Grandin)
Hope Davis (The Special Relationship)
Judi Dench (Return to Cranford)
Winona Ryder (When Love Is Not Enough)
Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Made-for-TV Movie

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important.

Since I haven’t seen almost all of the contenders in this category, my analysis will be very brief. The three eligible Emmy nominees from this past year are all locks: Al Pacino (You Don’t Know Jack), Dennis Quaid (The Special Relationship), and Michael Sheen (The Special Relationship). Though it doesn’t quite make sense to me, last year’s nominee Kenneth Branagh (Wallander) may once again be eligible. I’m not sure about singling out one person from HBO’s landmark miniseries from earlier this year, but James Badge Dale (The Pacific) may have an edge over Jon Seda (The Pacific). I do suspect, however, that AMC’s six-episode series “The Walking Dead” may land here, and therefore Andrew Lincoln might be a nominee.

Current predictions:
James Badge Dale (The Pacific)
Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead)
Al Pacino (You Don’t Know Jack)
Dennis Quaid (The Special Relationship)
Michael Sheen (The Special Relationship)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy/Musical

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Toni Collette (The United States of Tara)
Courteney Cox (Cougar Town)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Lea Michele (Glee)

New contenders:
Laura Linney (The Big C)
Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope)

Potential first-time nominees:
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)

This category isn’t too hard to predict. Barring any big surprises, Laura Linney swoops in and takes Cox’s spot. Amy Poehler could also figure into the race, but her show not having been on during the later half of this year definitely hurts. Beyond that, this category shouldn’t be too interesting.

Current predictions:
Toni Collette
Edie Falco
Tina Fey
Laura Linney
Lea Michele

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy/Musical

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Steve Carell (The Office)
David Duchovny (Californication)
Thomas Jane (Hung)
Matthew Morrison (Glee)

Potential first-time nominees:
Joel McHale (Community)
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

Not many contenders in this category. While it saddens me to say so, I think Duchovny is a goner, which is a real shame. His likeliest replacement is Ed O’Neill, who is the most arguably lead male character on ABC’s hit and a two-time past nominee in this category for “Married with Children.” I’m not so sure about McHale or Parsons since they weren’t nominated last year. Sometimes the Globes don’t love shows that Emmy voters do, and those two aren’t even shows that have been embraced particularly warmly (or at all) by the Emmys. Therefore, I’d posit that neither gets nominated and that the very deserving Thomas Jane doesn’t get ousted.

Current predictions:
Alec Baldwin
Steve Carell
Thomas Jane
Matthew Morrison
Ed O’Neill

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Glenn Close (Damages)
January Jones (Mad Men)
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
Anna Paquin (True Blood)
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)

New contenders:
Lauren Graham (Parenthood)
Melissa Leo (Treme)

Potential first-time nominees:
Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)

Past nominees:
Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters)

This category isn’t all that exciting since all five nominees are eligible again and likely to repeat. I don’t know if “True Blood” will still be popular, so Paquin may be out. Lauren Graham, a nominee in 2001 for “Gilmore Girls,” may take her place in that case. I also think that Jones may be swapped out for costar Moss since the prevalence of the respective actresses has changed since last year. I think voters may stick with what they’re used to, though Rachel Griffiths was able to move around for “Six Feet Under” way back when. At this point, both Moss and Jones are going to be considered in the lead category.

Current predictions:
Glenn Close
Lauren Graham
January Jones
Julianna Marguiles
Kyra Sedgwick

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced in just a few weeks, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Bill Paxton (Big Love)

New contenders:
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Peter Krause (Parenthood)
Timothy Olyphant (Justified)

Potential first-time nominees:
Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Matthew Fox (Lost)

Past nominees:
Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment)

Hopeful nominees, beware! With the exception of one-time nominee Baker, the other four men in this category have all been nominated pretty much since the start of their shows and likely aren’t going anywhere. Baker probably is, however, leaving one insanely competitive spot. Three-time Emmy winner Bryan Cranston still hasn’t scored a nod, and Kyle Chandler might be able to squeeze in like he did at the Emmys. Byrne won for season one of HBO’s therapy drama and wasn’t nominated last year, so he might be able to return if season three is looked upon more favorably, though that’s rare with the Globes. I think the likely fifth nominee will be Steve Buscemi, who finally has a bona fide lead role in HBO’s latest and most highly-praised series.

Current predictions:
Steve Buscemi
Michael C. Hall
Jon Hamm
Hugh Laurie
Bill Paxton

What I’m Watching: Burn Notice

Burn Notice: Season 4, Episode 14 “Hot Property” (B+)

There are few actresses I find more fantastically entertaining than Callie Thorne. Usually she plays crazy on “Rescue Me,” and therefore it’s a treat to see her reprise her role from last season’s “Friends Like These.” I very much enjoyed the way that she asserted her trustworthiness despite being so continuously untrustworthy, and having her along on the operations was a lot of fun. Take notes, “Nikita.” When you have two sworn enemies working together, they still don’t like each other and don’t just magically get along for the duration of their mission. Natalie rushing to Fiona’s defense and seeing the two take out their hatred of each other by fighting to make their presence seem less suspicious was amusing. Thorne wasn’t the only notable guest star in this episode, as we also got Richard Kind of “A Serious Man,” a.k.a. Jesse’s only real link to his old life. Kind does a great job of being a comic actor in a serious role, and fortunately, unlike what happened with Madeline’s friend played by Tyne Daly last season, this didn’t end up ruining his career or backfiring on him too badly. There isn’t much of the greater mythology present in this episode, but that’s not much of a problem, especially because it’s about reincorporating Jesse into the team and him using his connections to help Michael rather than himself or to get his own burn notice repealed (likely impossible at this point). It will probably be a while before they completely bury the hatch, but they’re on their way.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I’m Watching: The Office

The Office: Season 7, Episode 9 “Wuphf.com” (B+)

Well, it’s a relief to be back in the office (mostly, at least), and though this episode wasn’t spectacularly funny, it did include a few important plot developments. For the second week in a row, we have Michael being childish for the extent of an episode, he ultimately ends up being mature at the end and realizing that he needs to be smarter about how he deals with people. With Erin, he knows that she looks up to him. With Ryan, however, he knows that he’s a bad friend and doesn’t respect him, and he just tries to tell himself it’s not true. I enjoyed the somewhat random assortment of investors in Wuphf as well as Oscar’s arguments against why the business model doesn’t make sense. With Dwight out of the office, it’s good that Jim found a new person to prank. I thought he was going to pull a Pam and rearrange Jo’s words to change the rules about commission limits, but making him suffer through the same unbearable boredom is a fitting punishment for his adherence to corporate policies. While Dwight’s hay stuff was all very strange, it was great to see a bored Angela strike up conversation with an extremely Dwight-like individual, played by Jack Coleman, best known as Horn-Rimmed Glasses on “Heroes.” Maybe the formerly serious patriarch does have a funny bone, and it will be interesting to see how much of a role he plays on the show, especially considering the relative absence of newly hired traveling salesman Danny, played by Timothy Olyphant (he’s on the road, I’m sure.).

What I’m Watching: 30 Rock

30 Rock: Season 5, Episode 8 “College” (B)

This episode is entertaining, if a bit all over the place. Whereas the title of last week’s episode was somewhat obvious (the clothing store of which Liz was so very fond), it wasn’t so clear to me, and I guess “College” makes sense as a way to define the times that all of these characters either remembered being or wished they had been cool. Jack’s voice being programmable was of course very amusing, and it’s true that Alec Baldwin does have an awesome voice. I enjoyed the sight gag of Baldwin playing a pizza delivery man who entered the lab right after Jack left, prompting the lab geeks to question their racist sentiments. Jack’s efforts to destroy the microwave were entirely hilarious, and this was one of those episodes that did reaffirm Jack as a fantastic character since he hasn’t been quite as front-and-center lately. Liz’s desire to be cool is nothing new, and as a result, it wasn’t all that funny. The presence of Daniel Sunjata out of uniform from his role as Franco on “Rescue Me” was fun, though he didn’t have all that much to do other than be a Good Samaritan and give Liz a hard time. The pranking of Pete was less enthralling, but I did enjoy the fact that it was exactly what Jack needed at the end of his earth-shattering (and nearly microwave-shattering day), therefore letting Pete off the hook and making his behavior infinitely less embarrassing. Definitely not what the writers had in mind.

What I’m Watching: Psych

Psych: Season 5, Episode 11 “In Plain Fright” (B+)

After four seasons of Juliet and Shawn almost getting together and then ultimately having something get in their way, I’m absolutely ecstatic about them now being an item. It’s especially fun to see how it plays out when it comes to Juliet sticking up for Shawn to Lassiter and Gus not caring at all or being surprised about Shawn’s success after pursuing her for years. It’s not as if Juliet has suddenly transformed into an entirely laidback person, and that’s evidenced by her unwillingness to fool around with Shawn in the police station. She’s always been one of my favorite characters on television, and I like her even more now. I’m thrilled to see the return of the recently more absent Young Shawn & Gus intros, particularly since this one puts them in a situation of fear and terror that they haven’t really grown out of (at least not Gus) in the present day. When all of this emphasis was put on payoffs to the family, I worried this might be the work of an identical twin, but I was pleased to discover that it involved two characters we had seen and largely ignored before. Juliet getting so upset about the weight guesser’s 145-pound prediction was entertaining, and it’s good that she got her revenge on him by knocking him out and saving the day. No “Psych” this coming week for the Thanksgiving holiday, but after that I’m looking very forward to a couple more episodes of Shawn and Juliet hiding their romance from Lassiter.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What I’m Watching: Modern Family

Modern Family: Season 2, Episode 8 “Manny Get Your Gun” (B+)

There really isn’t another kid on TV like Manny. Sure, there may be children like Becca on “Californication” who seem impossibly older than her age in terms of maturity and the way they speak to their parents, but no one has the same flair and distinctly adult attitude about growing up and no longer being a little kid. It’s no surprise that one of Jay’s off-handed and accidentally insensitive comments would be the thing to set Manny off on an existential crisis full of soda combinations and lots of moping. I enjoyed the battle between Jay and Gloria over who misplaced the keys, but the most entertaining spousal debate was that between Phil and Claire. I like how each parent took the children of the other gender with them, and it was entertaining to see Haley and Alex start bawling while Claire herself got upset when she realized that Luke had thought that they were getting divorced and proclaimed that he wanted to go with Phil. Mitchell’s performance in a flash mob was very amusing, as was Cameron’s reaction to what he saw as a betrayal, or “cheating with choreography.” Cameron’s latest efforts to save one marriage had a nice surprise twist, and it’s fun how Cameron continues to insert himself into other people’s business only to find he’s missing a key piece of information. The culmination of the episode with all four cars screeching to a halt at the same time was great, and it’s good that this family all made it back together again.

What I’m Watching: Better With You

Better With You: Season 1, Episode 8 “Better with Flirting” (B)

I’m genuinely curious to know what kind of people are watching this show and what they think of it. Whereas the clearly superior “Modern Family” likely appeals to all demographics (especially Republicans, according to a surprising recent study), it’s not as clear who would like this show. I’m enjoying it just five, however, and even if this episode is a little weaker than some of the episodes, it’s still funny. Watching Ben flail about in a given situation is always amusing, and this episode gave him two things to go on about, the defense of his hotel and his miserable efforts to flirt. I suspect that this “special flavors” theme isn’t something entirely unfamiliar to some viewers, and it’s entertaining to see just how unaware Maddie is of how her actions have been misinterpreted by her kindly barista (yogurt equivalent). Of course planning a wedding would be a stressful affair for all involved, and I’d like to commend the show and Reba McEntire on keeping her cameo to a fairly non-intrusive, not-so-distracting bit that proved to be pretty funny, especially considering Mia’s reaction to all of her prized wedding pieces being stolen and Lorraine’s response to being attacked by the bride-to-be. I enjoyed the sentimental conclusion of the episode, featuring Casey making a grand gesture and Mia appreciating but ultimately rejecting it in favor of a family-planned, extravagant, expensive wedding. I’m not sure this show is going to make it to their big day, of course, since I don’t actually know for a fact that anyone’s watching.

What I’m Watching: Human Target (Season Premiere)

Human Target: Season 2, Episode 1 “Ilsa Pucci” (B+)

It’s nice to have Christopher Chance back on the airwaves, and he’s often brought along a few friends. After the show was inexplicably delayed six weeks to make way for the boring “Lie to Me,” it’s finally back, and two new female characters have been added to balance out the dominance of testosterone formerly present on the show. While I enjoyed so many of the female guest stars from last season, including recurring actress Emmanuelle Vaugier, and would have been happy with any of them being promoted to series regular, I was pleasantly surprised to find that both new ladies are quite charming. Of course, this episode was only expository, so we’ll learn more about them in the coming weeks. It seems like Ilsa will be more of a supervisor to Chance, while Ames is likely going to be a thorn in the side of Winston while remaining terrified of Guerrero. I think that these new female characters will be entertaining, and I’m looking forward to more of their adventures since this was more of a rescue operation than an actual case. Guerrero seems to have a real penchant for shooting people in the hand which, as evidenced by Timothy Omundson’s acting, appears to be quite painful. I hadn’t expected him to be so pleased about Chance’s return, and it really turned out well for that guy in his trunk who was presumably bound for some unfortunate fate. It’s truly great to have the gang back together again, and with new windows, no less!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Andy’s Watching: Survivor

Survivor: Season 21, Episode 10 “Stuck in the Middle” (A+)

It's not a stretch to say that this was one of the most exciting episodes of Survivor this season.

It's also not a stretch to say that no one on the island is particularly bright. And not in the “how the hell do they not vote out Marty when he failed to play the immunity idol a few episodes ago” way. No, this was just a clear lack of thinking. So the castaways wanted to protect their fire from the elements so it doesn’t go out. Makes sense. So before they leave for the Reward Competition, they surround it with wooden chests. That contain all of their food and cooking utensils. That promptly burn down.

It's a little disappointing that they don't show the complete aftermath. How did the second half of the tribe react when thy returned from their reward?

Furthermore, isn't the game about survival? How are they going to cope with barely any food left. I really hope future episodes address this. I want to see more of thier mental anguish, their hardships, their instability. I don’t care as much about the plotting against each other. That happens in every episode. I want to see something new and original.

As much as I normally dislike NaOnka, in this episode I was actually quite impressed with her. One might argue that it was a huge mistake to turn on her good friend Brenda, but I would say that it shows that she is actually putting emotions aside and thinking about the game. Not only was she willing to turn on Brenda, but she actually pulled Fabio, her enemy, aside and told him her plans. Without Brenda’s support I don’t really see a way that NaOnka will stay in the game, though. What use does anyone have for her, save Chase and Sash? Way to go Holly for convincing every single person (except for Purple Kelly, but more on that later) that Brenda was a huge threat.

Also, a rare occurrence happened at Tribal Council when Jeff asks Purple Kelly a question, thus giving her an actual opportunity to talk. Of course when she does it makes no sense at all. Furthermore, she is totally out of loop with regards to anything that is going on with her tribe. At Tribal Council, everyone voted for Brenda, except for Brenda who voted for NaOnka and Purple Kelly who voted for Benry. They don't show how this odd voting came to be, but this is what I imagine: The people trying to vote out Brenda figured that if they told Purple Kelly, she would just tattle on them. (Not sure why it was ok to tell Chase though) Also, Brenda figured that Sash would give her the idol and with Chase they would have enough votes to vote out NaOnka, thus telling Purple Kelly the plan might jeopardize the operation, and it wasn’t necessary in the least bit. So everyone basically kept Purple Kelly in blissful ignorance.

Was is smart for Sash to turn on Brenda and not give her his idol? In a way, it was really the only move he could make. If he gave her the idol, they both are safe for this week, but next Tribal Council, both of them will be targets. This way, Sash was able to gain the trust of the rest of the tribe-mates.

Very poor decision by Brenda not to scramble. In Survivor, miracles do happen. Brenda could have probably convinced a lot of people to blindside NaOnka (Fabio hates NaOnka, Dan will vote whatever, Holly witnessed NaOnka stealing).

And lastly, very impressive for Jane, the oldest tribe-member to once again win an Immunity Challenge that’s strength based. Of course this might paint an even bigger target on her back, but it’s very good for her personal morale and might be one of the most precious things she
takes away from the game.

What I’m Watching: Parenthood

Parenthood: Season 2, Episode 9 “Put Yourself Out There” (B)

It concerns me a bit that Amber was able to score a 770 on her Math SAT but isn’t able to add up three numbers ending in zero. I’m glad she did well, however, because it prompted Amber to go talk to Gordon’s friend, played by the fantastic Rebecca Creskoff from “Hung.” What proved rather bothersome and concerning to me was the lack of the Braverman middle generation in this episode. Sure, Crosby was busy undermining Joel with the school play, which wasn’t as compelling as it could have been in my mind, and Sarah was busy trying to prep her daughter for college applications. Julia’s absence is nothing new, but what about Adam? I’m not sure why Peter Krause didn’t appear in the episode (at all, if I recall correctly), and it’s strange not to have the anchor and lead actor of this show completely absent from an episode. It did give Kristina a chance to deal with something on her own and for the first generation of Bravermans on this show to complicate and then sort through their marital issues as Zeek decides to take a stand. Haddie’s budding relationship with Alex is interesting, but I’m not sure why she or the show seem to find it so surprising. I expected her to profess love for the guy when talking to her grandmother, and the revelation that she likes him isn’t all that flooring. She had a boyfriend last season, so I don’t see what’s the big deal is.

What I’m Watching: The Good Wife

The Good Wife: Season 2, Episode 7 “Bad Girls” (B+)

I’ll admit that I know very little about the reason for Miranda Cosgrove’s celebrity status and have never followed her at all, but I am impressed that this show managed to handle her pretty well in this episode by casting her as an entitled starlet who isn’t all that bright and isn’t all that stupid at the same time. I was very pleased also to see Zach Grenier in his second appearance as the seedy and manipulative David Lee, and it’s particularly interesting to see the way he talks down to Boyd. Alicia’s concern with the peer review was intriguing as well, and it’s sometimes hard to remember that she went back to work because her husband lost his job and went to prison and that she does really need the money. I was fascinated by all the developments involving Peter, Eli, and Wendy, and it’s especially interesting to hear Eli cite his own likely untrustworthiness has his main reason for declining her offer (though I imagine he was simply not mentioning his deep loyalty and commitment to Peter). Peter turning down the offer he got to withdraw from the race was a nice moment, though the latest development in leadership at the church will likely throw yet another wrench into the uphill battle that has been the Peter Florrick campaign. It is nice, however, to see Grace looking up stuff about her father’s scandal and being able to laugh at the ridiculousness of it, all the while seeing her mother in court and being in awe.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What I’m Watching: Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy: Season 3, Episode 11 “Bainne” (A-)

While “Breaking Bad” and fellow FX series “Rescue Me” are on hiatus, this show is doing an excellent job of churning out gut-wrenching storylines, delivering no less than three monumentally tragic and powerful moments in this episode. The extended sequence in which Jax follows the couple that has adopted his son and music is heard while no dialogue is spoken was completely unexpected and atypical for this show, but it worked fantastically. Following that up with Jax finding them both murdered by Jimmy in his latest quest to complicate the lives of the SAMCRO members was particularly devastating. To top that, of course, Jax finally has his grandson back in his hands, and then he gets a call that presumably precipitates the execution of his girlfriend and the mother of his unborn second child. Tara was clever to escape, but letting Salazar’s girlfriend die was not a good thing, and though I can’t imagine the show killing her off, I don’t know what else to expect at this point. These horrifying developments, of course, came after Gemma pointed a gun at a baby and quoted a biblical story about cutting a baby in half to make her intentions clear to the nun. This show is not afraid of taking risks and being edgy, and that’s a good thing, because it’s magnificently compelling. Add to all this the impending takeover by Jacob Hale and the shaky deal between Agent Stahl and Jax and I simply can’t wait for the next two episodes that will close out this season.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What I’m Watching: In Treatment

In Treatment: Season 3, Episodes 13-16 “Week Four” (B+)

There’s plenty of meaty material this week, and it’s well spread out among the four sessions. I found Sunil’s fourth week to be the most intriguing and engaging so far, as he tried to shift the conversation away from and back to his dream in order to get out of talking about his once-upon-a-time romance. He really is the calmest and most level-headed of all of Paul’s patients, and very much like an equal for him. I think that Alex and Walter came closest to filling that role in the past, and especially when Adele questions the format of their sessions, it’s clear that Paul really does like Sunil, adding that he feels he may have actually helped him. Frances inviting Paul to her performance and then getting angry when he declines is reminiscent of the past mistakes and indiscretions Paul has had with clients like Laura. Jesse’s discussion about his parents and the way he contradicts himself and always gets caught by Paul was riveting as always. After this, it’s always fascinating to see Paul fall prey to the same predictable avoidances and missed connections that his own patients do. I enjoyed seeing his surprise and excitement at Adele actually answering one of the questions he asked her. It was also very nice to see Mae Whitman return as Rose, all grown up and fully aware of her the situation with her parents. I’m glad they didn’t recast both of the kids who are now on “Parenthood” since Whitman delivered a very mature performance that’s quite different from her role on the newer NBC drama.

What I’m Watching: No Ordinary Family

No Ordinary Family: Season 1, Episode 7 “No Ordinary Mobster” (C-)

Fortunately, this episode is much better than the previous horrid grandparents installment, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near good. The risk that presents itself in this episode comes from the main character being impossibly stupid – wearing a mask but not bothering to secure it or ensure that his captive doesn’t pull it off while he’s pinning him to a wall. That risk is additionally negated by the fact that someone else happens to off the guy who could forever change Jim’s life for the worse, once again keeping the Powells completely safe. A new threat has emerged, of course, though I do have to take issue with how that came about. Even though JJ’s newfound power came with the gift of deductive reasoning, apparently it didn’t come with foresight and the ability to predict that his internet chatting plan would lead something in the real world. What doesn’t track at all is that Dr. King’s number one henchman was able to find out that Katie would be waiting to meet someone there when he isn’t able to immediately deduce that the whole Powell family is hiding a major secret. I find that little plot hole more than a little troubling. I was thrilled, however, to see the addition of Amy Acker, most recently seen on “Dollhouse” and the horrible “Happy Town,” as George’s love interest, and I’m so relieved that she wasn’t killed. Hopefully she can inject some much-needed quality into this show and give George something else to do besides hang out in a lair all the time.

What I’m Watching: Glee

Glee: Season 2, Episode 7 “The Substitute” (B)

I’ll start out by saying that I enjoyed the number one guest star in this episode much more than I thought I would. I’ve never been a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow’s, but I thought her spot in this episode was great, both dramatically (or more appropriately, comedically) and musically. The way that she got the students energized and performed numbers with Rachel and Will was great, and her stunt casting doesn’t bother me all that much since she did a great job. What is somewhat problematic (only knocking the grade down a bit) is the fact that, just like last week, the students seem to mature for no reason when we only see the adults experiencing any sort of transformation. The kids were delighted to have Holly take over the glee club, and therefore the push to get Will back doesn’t exactly track. I was disappointed that this episode allowed Mercedes to back off from Kurt so easily. Just like when Finn told him that the problem isn’t that he’s gay but that he needs to understand that no means no, this isn’t merely a case of Kurt finding someone to love and Mercedes not having anyone. It’s him completely ignoring his best friend, and we even see Blaine trying to engage Mercedes in conversation before Kurt steers the topic away from any of her interests once again. The return of Terri was puzzling to me since she’s still such a reviled character, and I did enjoy Sue attempting to exert her new powers and comparing herself to one Richard Millhouse Nixon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What I’m Watching: The Big C (Season Finale)

The Big C: Season 1, Episode 13 “Taking the Plunge” (B+)

Saying goodbye to Marlene proves to be a fascinating jumping-off point for the externalization of fears that both Cathy and Paul have. Cathy’s decision to undergo some form of treatment is a major step for her, and Paul’s problems with Cathy being so flip about her mortality are similar to those of the good doctor last week. Adam’s discovery of Cathy’s garage full of presents to him for all of his future birthdays comes as a bit of a surprise to me, considering both that his constant desire for money seemed comic more than anything and that we hadn’t seen the extent of Cathy’s preparations for after her death, save for the change of date on the car she bought for Adam. It was good to see Cathy really speak her mind when confronted by Marlene’s disrespectful family, and it’s extremely nice and creative that she decided to give the house to her homeless brother. Sean has been my favorite character this season, and seeing his reaction to the fact that he’s impregnated someone is quite entertaining. I doubt that Cynthia Nixon will be sticking around full-time next season, although she certainly wouldn’t be a bad addition to the regular cast of the show considering Cathy’s go-to gal is now gone. Additionally, both Lenny (understandably) and Andrea (mysteriously) seem to have disappeared over the past few episodes, so I’m curious if they’ll be back next year (or, more appropriately, next season). This show got off to an uncertain start, but from episode four on, I’ve been hooked, and I’m looking forward to season two.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Laura Linney/John Benjamin Hickey/Phyllis Somerville

*On a semi-related note, Laura Linney was behind me in line at Starbucks in Rockefeller Center last week.

What I’m Watching: Weeds (Season Finale)

Weeds: Season 6, Episode 13 “Theoretical Love Is Not Dead” (B+)

Well, this season has felt extremely frantic and all over the place. It’s hard to believe it’s already come to a close. Fortunately, all of the episodes have been pretty great, and it’s been an entertaining if more bizarre than ever season. Comedy is definitely starting to overtake the dramatic side of the show at this point, but the show has managed to maintain its more serious moments well. Nancy’s escape from Esteban and Guillermo by pointing out that he had her passport was particularly clever, and her execution of Plan C to ensure that she, somehow, can save her own life and presumably ensure/hope that the charges don’t stick so that she can be reunited with Stevie/Avi. Warren’s decision to leave the bag stuffed with money on the plane with Shane was interesting, and I’m truly curious about what’s going to happen with the three Botwin boys in Copenhagen next season. They’re finally in a good financial situation again, thanks to devious civil servant Warren, but the woman in their lives has gone and confessed to a murder she didn’t commit. I really don’t think there’s another show on television right now that’s as wild as this one and manages to get away with it so well. Compared to other seasons of this show, it’s not as good as the first or the third, but a marked improvement over the fifth. There are reports circulating that creator Jenji Kohan plans for season seven to be the show’s last, and I think that makes sense. It’s been fun, but it’s gone on long enough.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Mary-Louise Parker

What I’m Watching: The Event

The Event: Season 1, Episode 8 “For the Good of Our Country” (D-)

Why is this episode necessary? Sean and Leila are literally running around while no one’s chasing them, desperately kidnapping paramedics in order to get Sean’s gunshot wound closed up. What next, you ask? Well, presumably Sean possesses some great knowledge about why his future father-in-law was the one chosen to fly the plane that the shadow organization behind everything deems dangerous enough to devote teams and teams of hired killers to botch time and time again. I just don’t see the point. This goes back to my problem with Vicky’s fake boyfriend not being in on it all – wouldn’t it have made sense to take care of all loose threads, like Sean, from the beginning? It’s so frustrating I get annoyed just thinking about it. And then there’s the Vice President, revealed to be deeply involved in the conspiracy in a completely non-interesting way that doesn’t help to drive the plot forward one bit. He’s just another person in over his head who couldn’t provide any helpful answers if he wanted to. Hal Holbrook’s Dempsey as an alien for some reason unable to hide his age? Now that’s a bit more interesting. But given the welcome break from that freaky kids reveal at the end of last week, it’s clear that this stuff won’t be addressed in a linear fashion. This show is continuing to go down the same route “Flash Forward” did last year by airing two more episodes and then going off the air until the end of February, when the show will be relaunched. Say it with me: “there’s going to be another event.” Who cares?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What I’m Watching: Chuck

Chuck: Season 4, Episode 8 “Chuck Versus the Fear of Death” (B+)

Before I say anything else, I have to say that I love Summer Glau. I’m a fan of “Firefly,” and while I wasn’t all for “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” I did award Glau the prize for Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series this past season for her insanely good spot on “Dollhouse.” Here, she’s very amusing as the latest Greta who piques the stalking interests of Jeff and Lester. Additionally, the promo that NBC aired for upcoming series “The Cape” (which will air in the 9pm slot on Mondays in January) featuring little else but a shot of Glau was brilliantly-timed and extraordinarily effective in creating excitement, at least for me. Back to the episode at hand, it was cool to see Chuck almost flash and have Rob Riggle appear as the hilariously showy Agent Rye. Some (specifically reader LBK) suspect that he isn’t actually dead and it’s just an agency trick to get Chuck to flash, but I’m not convinced. Chuck’s definitely in danger, and while it’s a good thing that Sarah, Casey, and Morgan are rushing to his aide, it may prove difficult for them to find him. Hopefully, that true sense of danger and abandonment will inspire him to regain his ability to flash, escape his captors, and then some. When he said he likes being a spy, that’s a part of him that isn’t entirely linked to the intersect, and therefore it’s time for him to realize that all of his experiences have taught him something and can be just (well, maybe not quite) as valuable as having a computer in his head.

Take Three: The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: Season 1, Episode 3 “Tell It to the Frogs” (B)

This episode barely features any zombies and instead deals with intimate and complex human relationships. For a show about the dead, it’s good that the focus is on the living and the way they keep on going in the midst of impossible circumstances. Compared to the previous two action-packed episodes, however, this one isn’t quite as thrilling. While this show has already been renewed for a second season, what I hadn’t realized is that season one is a devastatingly short six episodes! Looking at it that way, not having too much plot development and only character development in an hour does feel a bit sluggish. On the positive front, however, we do have Rick’s saintly decision to go back and rescue the man they left behind, and I like the fact that these people run towards danger instead of away from it. It’s a good thing they have Daryl on their side since his arrow contraption seems to be a pretty terrific way of taking out the walkers without creating plenty of noise and drawing the attention of the other undead. At some point, Rick is going to have to discover about the relationship between Shane and his wife, and Lori’s current plan to push Shane away isn’t going to help anyone. The next episode should prove considerably intense, and I suspect that the handless Merle is still one of the good guys, and it will be up to Rick and his buddies to find him before the zombies get overly attracted to the enormous amount of blood he’s hemorrhaging.

What I’m Watching: Bored to Death (Season Finale)

Bored to Death: Season 2, Episode 8 “Super Ray Is Mortal!” (B+)

As this season comes to a fun and unfortunate end, I bid a sad goodbye to one of TV’s most subtly hilarious comedies (only until next fall, of course!). I’m not sure I’ve done Ted Danson justice, since he’s absolutely terrific in his role as George, and nothing demonstrates that better than his therapy session in this episode. Of course, quitting his job so that he doesn’t have to go to rehab is pretty extreme, and so next season will likely find the rich man slumming it with Jonathan and participating more actively in cases with him. I loved the fact that Louis actually was trash-talking Jonathan during his interview since it makes the usually paranoid Jonathan seem a bit more normal, and it also just ended up being really funny. I wonder whether Nina will stick around next season as a more regular player or if Jonathan will take George’s advice and oust her now. I’ve enjoyed having her around, and this show could use some stable female presence. Well, then there’s Leah, who seems to have returned to having great affection for Ray, even if he had to get stabbed in the shoulder with an exacto knife to make it happen. Hands down, my favorite line of the episode was Jonathan’s comment that it was weird to have two things happen at the same time, like when there were two Capote movies released (I saw both; the one you’ve heard of is better). In any case, this show is wonderfully irreverent and entirely enjoyable, and I’m eagerly looking forward to season three.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: All three guys

What I’m Watching: Desperate Housewives

Desperate Housewives: Season 7, Episode 8 “Sorry Grateful” (C+)

We’re at that point in the season where all but one plotline seem to be headed nowhere interesting, or nowhere at all in some cases. I’m most fed up with the three-way relationship between Renee, Lynette, and Susan, and I wish that more time would be spent on something actually intriguing, like the dangerous dynamic between Tom and Renee. New characters are supposed to come and bring drama of their own rather than just a hatred for all things under the age of eighteen. Beth is certainly doing her share, as she starts becoming attached to Paul and her mother freaks out in prison and decides that she has to take her own offspring down along with the man who murdered her sister. I was very annoyed by the arrest and likely deportation of Hector since an illegal immigrant living in the United States undetected for a number of years wouldn’t risk it all by driving in the breakdown lane to beat traffic, even with Gaby shrieking at him from the passenger seat. I worry that the potential adoption Grace will be another Kayla all over again, and that’s not something the show needs at all. The fact that Bree might enter into yet another marriage is a bit much to take, and I’m confused by the creepy flirtation of Keith’s father. He seems charming enough, but I don’t think that Bree needs to go down a gender-switched “Something’s Gotta Give” path. This show is taking the next two weeks off, and I hope its pre-Christmas return will be more on target than the last few episodes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What I’m Watching: Dexter

Dexter: Season 5, Episode 8 “Take It” (B+)

This was a terrific episode, mostly because it’s fascinating to see Dexter operate as he usually does when someone else is fully aware of what he’s up to. That’s doubly true, considering the fact that, in addition to Lumen participating with Dexter in his ritual, Cole is also aware of Dexter’s true identity and the fact that he works for the police department. Lumen’s presence at the hotel predictably caused some problems, and Cole spotting her and breaking down the door made for one particularly intense scene, the likes of which this show hasn’t had in a while. Lumen’s breakdown during Cole’s late-night romp was also pretty powerful, and it’s really interesting to see her next to Dexter while he’s ending the life of one of her tormentors. Dexter getting called into Jordan’s hotel suite and then up onto stage gave our serial killer hero much more social interaction to do than usual, and it’s a wonder he managed to complete his murder as planned. I also enjoyed his reaction to the fact that Jordan said exactly what he thought to himself. His discovery of Jordan’s complicity in the murders thanks to his signature “tick tick tick” tagline is sure to make next week’s mission even more volatile, though that’s hardly the biggest revelation of this episode. Stan has proven himself to be quite a dedicated detective, and his photos of Dexter and Lumen getting rid of Cole’s head are definitely going to make Dexter’s life infinitely more complicated and stressful. Laguerta serving up Deb was unfortunate, mostly because of the inevitable ensuing martial drama that will involve Batista and Laguerta.

Two fun notes: My roommate is just getting into this show now, and therefore I’ve seen snippets of the first season this past week. It feels so dated, but it’s great to see Doakes again (and even Rita – I guess she wasn’t as annoying in season one). Also, David Zayas, who plays Batista, was in “Skyline,” the horrifically awful film that came out this weekend. Entertaining to see him in another role, but the film is truly horrendous.

What I’m Watching: Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire: Season 1, Episode 9 “Belle Femme” (B+)

As we’re getting closer to the end of the season (only three episodes left), things are picking up on this show. By its close, we have Margaret shot and Jimmy arrested, two things that will affect Nucky much more than he would like. For a man who prides himself on being untouchable, he’s just come dangerously close to death himself, and the new love of his life ended up taking the bullet for him. It’s just like an HBO show to delve deep and heavily feature one character during an episode only to have her suffer a potentially fatal (though I doubt it) injury at its end. Margaret’s trip to the fitting room and subsequent conversation with Nucky was very intriguing, and their relationship continues to be absolutely fascinating. I was caught off guard by Nelson’s move to arrest Jimmy, but I have to hand it to Nucky’s disciple: he does a good job of not talking or giving up any of his partners. The roadside assassination of the other prisoner really doesn’t bode well for anyone, of course, and I’m sure Nelson is going to mad as hell about it. I think the subplots of Harding’s campaign and the search for a new sheriff to take over for the ailing Eli are being very well handled, in a way that doesn’t distract from the primary storyline but still manages to assert their background importances. I doubt that Rothstein is going to give up so easily even if the henchmen he sent have botched their mission, so things will just get even more dangerous in the next few installments.

What I’m Watching: Smallville

Smallville: Season 10, Episode 8 “Abandoned” (C+)

Forgive me if I’m still a bit confused about how Tess suddenly went from being a major villain to a trusted ally and new best friend for Clark. Ignoring that gaping plot hole, this episode was somewhat more interesting than recent installments because it delved into the past of a character whose origin story previously involved only Oliver. The revelation that the show’s replacement for Lex is actually his (half?) sister is intriguing, and it inspired me to do research on whether the character was actually part of the Superman mythology or simply invented for this show (more of the latter, it appears). It continues to mystify me that this show is going to such lengths to bring back the Luthor legacy after it pretty much dismissed it and moved past it (not quite, I guess) with Michael Rosenbaum’s departure a few seasons back. The rest of this episode was extremely self-contained, and I’m sure fans of the last live-action Superman show to be on the air were ecstatic about the appearance of Teri Hatcher as Lois’ mom. The congruity of all of the episode’s plotlines, dealing with accepting the absence of parents, felt a bit forced, but at least it’s better than things being all over the place, like an Amish clan trying to sacrifice Lois while Tess plans lots of birthday parties. Another compliment I can give this episode (the Tess part) is that it’s actually headed somewhere, which is important given the fact that this final season should present some sort of wrap-up for a decade-long saga.

What I’m Watching: Burn Notice (Winter Premiere)

Burn Notice: Season 4, Episode 13 “Eyes Open” (B+)

When I watched Wednesday night’s “Psych,” I thought I was lost. With this episode, however, I know I am, since I don’t remember anything that happened back in August when last we saw this show save for Jesse getting really angry at Michael and then shooting him to save his life. Still, this show is entertaining enough that knowing exactly what’s going on isn’t always required. There’s something relatively alarming about seeing Michael in such a weakened state where he can’t quite escape in time because he’s simply not able to move that fast. On the same note, however, it does give Michael yet another personality type to assume, since there’s the sense that his soft-spoken, nervous nature isn’t entirely acting since he’s lost much of his strength thanks to Jesse’s bullet and all the blood that he lost while in the car with John Barrett (I guess I do remember something). Even though this isn’t technically a season premiere since there are only a handful of episodes left in this back half of the season, it’s more unclear than ever what Michael’s new endgame is. He may be close to finding a list of names of the people who burned him, but then what? And how long can Jesse stick around and learn to trust Michael, Fiona, and Sam again? Fortunately, this show is enjoyable enough that all those questions can wait for the moment and we can focus on hashing out all of the relationships and dynamics on this great USA show.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What I’m Watching: Nikita

Nikita: Season 1, Episode 9 “One Way” (C+)

In a way, this is the best episode of this show we’ve seen in a while. Giving Michael a bit of depth is a welcome thing, since up until now he just seemed like a completely obvious moral center for the immoral Division. Now, it appears that he’s just as damaged and broken as Nikita and the other recruits, and equally as hell-bent on revenge as any of them. What continues to perplex me is how he chooses to work with Nikita and cooperate with her amiably, knowing full well that the next time they come face-to-face they’re going to be pointing guns at each other. There’s something fascinating about that dynamic, but the way it’s handled here seems to discount that all together and simply ignore it for the length of the episode. Michael shrugging off the fact that Percy sent people to kill him also seems like a stretch, and, as I’ve stressed before, there’s just no way that Percy should trust Michael to stay loyal after everything that has happened and continues to happen with Nikita. Back at the farm, the laughable computer security presents a decently dramatic scenario where Alex has to ask her mortal enemy to help pin the blame for her attack on the physician without revealing her duplicitous nature. This show is still hopelessly unaware of where it’s headed, and therefore I think the three-week hiatus it’s going on is a good thing. Maybe some time away will help make it seem better. The show will return on December 2nd.

What I’m Watching: The Office

The Office: Season 7, Episode 8 “Viewing Party” (C+)

After doing a “classic Michael” episode that didn’t quite work last week, do we really need a repeat of that just one week later? Additionally, it’s yet another field trip that really goes against the premise of what this show is – a workplace sitcom. This episode centers around an idea that’s never really been fleshed out, spoken accidentally by Kevin and then only really addressed by Michael later, and that weakens it considerably. Part of the problem also is that Gabe, unlike the predecessors Michael cites like Charles and Michael (and Ryan, for that matter), isn’t nearly as antagonistic or disagreeable, and also doesn’t actually exert as much influence as he could. The “Glee” isn’t anywhere near as entertaining as I might have thought, save for Kelly predictably being the most into it and Creed finding out what happened after Michael cut the power. What I did enjoy was Dwight managing to quiet Cece and then forcing Jim to do stuff for him in exchange for keeping her asleep. I’ve always enjoyed the peculiar relationship between Dwight and Pam, and I liked their back and forth: “We’ve always been good friends” / “True, but you married my enemy.” What was especially fun after that was Pam’s immediate admission that she knew where Dwight had to be and her willingness to go talk to Angela and tell her that Dwight wasn’t coming to cash in on one of their agreed-upon intercourse sessions. Some of these characters are truly entertaining, and the show would do well to focus more on the people who are going to be around after Michael leaves.

What I’m Watching: 30 Rock

30 Rock: Season 5, Episode 7 “Brooklyn Without Limits” (B+)

Leave it to this show to pull off excessive product placement for a product that both isn’t real and is nothing like what Liz Lemon thinks it is. I very much enjoyed the deconstruction of the Brooklyn Without Limits brand, executed most effectively by Jack telling Liz that “handmade by usa” roughly translated to slave labor. My favorite reference, of course, is that made by Liz to finding a bag of discontinued candy Tastations in her horrendous pair of suspender jeans. I was a huge fan of the chocolate mint flavor, and the only place I can reliably find them these days is at my grandparents’ home. I don’t think this series has the clout to get them back into production, but I still appreciate the shout-out. The first positive reference to Jay Leno I’ve heard in a while was entertaining as well, condemning the chances of one Steve Austin, Jack’s candidate to defeat Regina Bookman. It was fun to see John Slattery cutting even looser than he does on “Mad Men” to portray the worst possible candidate in history, and Jack’s edited footage of whatever was salvageable that he said was amusing. I did enjoy the plotline with Jenna and Tracy, with the former trying to sabotage the latter while he actually managed to put on a decent presentation and move his HFPA audience. I’m not sure this will tempt Golden Globe voters to honor either Krakowski (a nominee back in 1998 for “Ally McBeal”) or Morgan, but it’s still a lot of fun.

What Drew's Watching: Bones

Bones: Season 6, Episode 6 “The Shallow in the Deep”

In the hard and fast details, this one's pretty ho-hum. The plotline is formulaic but cozy, like your favorite sweater -- I solved the mystery straight away but refused to believe my initial suspicion. There's a good turnout in the comedy department--Sweets on the cruise ship is a lot of fun, and I got a kick out of Hodgins's and Daisy's reenactment of the murder at the end. (Also, Booth rolling his eyes at Bones's pedantic corrections had me chuckling.) But what really drew me in was the background stuff -- you know, the stuff you usually gloss over. I groaned at the beginning when after the revelation that the Jeffersonian's staff would be working on an old slave ship, the camera gave each character an opportunity to showcase his or her best long-suffering, slavery-is-horrible expression. Wonderful, I thought. I came for a murder mystery, and I get a lecture on slavery. So you can imagine my shock toward the end of the episode when Cam says almost exactly the same thing! In fact, Cam's and Angela's natural and self-aware treatment of the slavery topic stands miles above most similarly themed discourses, which all too often devolve into sanctimonious white guilt trips. The relationship conversation between Sweets and Daisy in the final scene touched me in the same way: it makes sense on a bone-deep level that many hokey "life lessons" wrap-ups in similar TV shows (or in other episodes of this TV show, frankly) never reach. Of course, I'm not here to grade these episodes based on their quality, not on how they make me feel, so this one gets a B-...but personally, I may well watch it again.

Plot: 6/10
Action: 1/10
Characters: 10/10
Comedy: 8/10
Bones's Makeup: 2/10 (And thank goodness, because whoever did Daisy's makeup this episode must have wandered in off the set of “Zombie Guido House Party.”)

Overall Grade: B-

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What I’m Watching: Psych

Psych: Season 5, Episode 10 “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part” (B+)

I’ll admit that I had completely forgotten about everything that happened on this show since we last left it two months ago (over two hundred episodes of television will do that to you), plus the fact that this episode was actually continuing a plotline begun in the previous season’s premiere. Nonetheless, I was quickly reminded of how fun, light, and entertaining this show is. Having Cary Elwes back as the fanatically clever Desperaux was very welcome, especially because of just how much Shawn admires him. His ability to break out of prison on a whim and Shawn’s willingness to trust him make for a fantastic, incredibly Gus-vexing hour. The main wonderful part of this episode, of course, is that Shawn and Juliet finally get together after four and a half seasons of talking really closely and other romantic entanglements. Though it means the departure of Nestor Carbonell’s Declan, I couldn’t be more excited. I thought for sure that Shawn had blown his chances when he refused to talk to Juliet while he had Desperaux in his hotel room, and I was so delighted to see them making out in public place after public place before Shawn finally realized that he had a hotel room. I’m not sure how their newfound romance will play out in the office, and how partners Lassiter and Gus will react, but I’m very intrigued to see how it goes. Even with so much other television on right now, I’m so glad to have “Psych” back.

What Andy's Watching: Survivor

Survivor: Season 21, Episode 9 “Running the Camp” (B)

Winning Survivor isn't based solely on skill. It's mostly luck. You can get lucky that a fellow tribe mate really screws up and gets on people's nerves. You can get lucky that Dan isn't on your tribe.

Unfortunately for the ladies of this season of "Survivor," they all got randomly placed on the same team against all of the men (except for Chase) for the Reward Challenge.

Not being placed on any team, Chase was able to choose which team he supports, and if that team won, he would accompany them on the reward excursion. He chose to back the women, which in my opinion, wasn't such a bad idea. I figured that considering Dan is really lousy at
moving in general, there would be no way that he could keep up with the rest of the men. I didn't anticipate that the team of guys would be able to just drag him through the hard parts, and that Jane, after dominating the previous challenge, would just fall apart. Also, the women couldn't break the brick wall.

It's no surprise that Marty got the axe this week. The fancy editing of the show tried to have us believe that Sash was actually considering sticking with Marty, but it's painfully obvious that Jane was a better fit for his alliance. After all, she doesn't scheme at all.

Maybe I have the luxury of saying this because I'm just watching it from afar, but it seems pretty obvious that Brenda, Sash, Chase, and NaOnka are all in an alliance together. Maybe the older folks don't know that, but shouldn't Benry and Purple Kelly know that? (We are assuming Fabio doesn't know anything, ever.) It's hard not to shake your head, when painfully obvious alliances go
unrecognized by the other players.

We are getting close to the end here. I'm just hoping some idols get played to breathe some life into this dull season

What I’m Watching: Undercovers

Undercovers: Season 1, Episode 8 “Crashed” (B)

Knowing that a show has been cancelled can really take the fun out of watching it. If the show is truly good or just on the verge of getting good, it’s a semi-melancholy, semi-joyous occasion. In this case, however, this show just really isn’t there yet, and while it’s somewhat on the cusp of achieving awesomeness, it’s not going to get there since it’s not going to have the chance. Having Alan Dale step in as the man in charge of everything (a role he’s played at some point or another on “Lost,” “Entourage,” “NCIS,” “24,” “Ugly Betty,” “The X-Files,” and “The O.C.”) is a step in the right direction, but the episode as a whole just doesn’t feel quite right. I guess reading about how Television Without Pity thought Hoyt was one of the most annoying characters on television has prejudiced me to start thinking that too, and I have a hard time believing that he’s such a skilled field agent based on the way he carries and talks about himself. This episode felt in some ways like “Alias,” especially due to the music, yet it was never quite as exciting. The stakes are certainly infinitely higher than they are on “No Ordinary Family,” but there’s still something missing. Lizzy’s world also seems so distant and inconsequential, and then there’s the case of the frequently disappearing Leo Nash, who only seems to pop up when he’s needed to enhance the storyline rather than actually be helpful when there’s a dangerous mission to be undertaken. We should have at least two more episodes of this show, if not five (amounting to a total of thirteen), so hopefully this show can come close to fulfilling its potential in the little time it has left.