Community

My Week In TV: Sept. 26-Oct. 2

Overall, this was a good week for television. The only rough gem is a new show that started this past week.

Boardwalk Empire: S1 x 02 – The Ivory Tower ★★★☆☆

This is clearly the episode AFTER the episode that Martin Scorsese directed. It pretty much lacks all the directorial flair and style of the pilot, but still remains interesting and engaging. I just wish this episode had kept that little “something extra” as the style suited the story very well.

Chuck: S4 x 02 – Chuck Versus The Suitcase ★★★★☆

Compared to the season opener, this episode is a breath of fresh air. Chuck is his usual geeky/goofy self, and everyone else gets a chance to shine. It’s what every episode should be by default, and this one in particular gives me hope that the rest of the season is in good hands. Of course, there’s still time to ruin everything.

Community: S2 x 02 – Accounting For Lawyers ★★★★★

They make it look easy. My gut hurt before the teaser even finished. Every other show on the Thursday comedy lineup needs to take note: Community is the one to beat. I am in love with the Troy/Abed credits sequence from this episode. Also, Drew Carrey is rather striking nowadays.

Fringe: S3 x 02 – The Box ★★★★★

By the time you reach the end of this episode, you’ll be wishing it was next week already. This show continues to get better in each andevery aspect, from the way they handle the main arc to the standalone episodes. Anna Torv (Olivia Dunham) shines in this episode, pulling off alternate-Olivia with a subtlety and nuance that you never would have guessed possible in season one. Note to all: Do not eat dinner during this episode.

No Ordinary Family S1 x 01 – Pilot ★★☆☆☆

I’m surprised this show got picked up from this pilot alone. The premise is strong, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The best parts of the episode can be found in the commercials for it, leaving only one scene in particular to surprise viewers. The hook of having the husband and wife in counseling isn’t very well thought-out and by the end of the episode I don’t buy that any therapy is needed at all. That’s not to say this is a complete pan. TV shows have rough starts all the time. I just hope things pick up speed as the season progresses. Note to network: saw that turn a mile away. Re-think your reveals.

Terriers: S1 x 04 – Fustercluck ★★★★☆

This is a solid episode and manages to further the main arc in an interesting way. I’ve been getting a little wary up to this point because the show has lacked much direction, but with this episode it’s apparent that something is going down. I’m interested in where this goes. Would be cooler if Olivia Williams was in this again. Shame she was only a guest.

Undercovers: S1 x 01 – Pilot ★★★☆☆ :: S1 x 02 – Instructions ★★★☆☆

Apparently people have the notion that Undercovers is supposed to be this deep and engaging spy series that has the layers of an onion and makes you think. Folks, this is the diet coke of spy shows and it’s a mistake to get any kind of pissed off when you don’t get the depth you’re looking for. This is light and it’s easy to watch. The leads are attractive and have amazing chemistry, and the side characters are goofy and pop in with accurate comedic timing. I’m not sure I’ll stick with it past episode three, personally, but if you want to lightly nom on some spy action, this is the show for you!

Weeds: S6 x 06 – A Shoe For A Shoe ★★★★☆

Shane Botwin. The kid has had tremendous growth as a character these past six years and it shows. This episode neatly wraps up everything that went down in the previous one and gives us the right amount of closure. Odd that things are starting fresh from this point on since this is half-way through the season, but I imagine more trouble is on it’s way. Perhaps the strongest point of this show and this episode even is the extent in which Nancy has really lost her way and how it’s made her a much weaker person overall. I wonder if she’ll ever be able to recover what she had from way back in the Agrestic days.

My Week In TV: Sept 19-25

The Fall television season has begun and I decided to watch a few more shows this year than I did last. I think last year it was a grand total of three, and even then I watched those rather inconsistently. This year I’ve decided to check out some newcomers. We’ve got a Martin Scorsese led series on HBO, an FX original about private investigators and a show about a husband and wife spy team. Usually I’m not one to jump into a series until fans have developed for it, but this year is about doing things different and being adventurous. I’m also returning to a few shows from last year, but we’ll see how long some of those last as their writing remains a bit spotty at best.

Without further ado, I’d like to share with you my thoughts for this first week of television.

Boardwalk Empire: S1 x 01 – Boardwalk Empire ★★★★☆

Martin Scorsese directed this season opener and it shows. If you liked his previous films, you’ll like this. The episode opens and closes with an iris in on Steve Buscemi’s character and from there we’re taken into the gangster scene of that era. Michael Pit from The Dreamers stars in this as well, and we get a brief look at the burgeoning mob scene in Chicago, and Al Capone getting his start. Lots of promise. I’m definitely on board for the season at this point.

Chuck: S4 x 01 – Chuck Versus The Anniversary ★★☆☆☆

Chuck is a show that’s severely plagued by inconsistent writing, but what it lacks in that department it makes up for in heart. The show keeps it’s characters honest, even if it has no idea what to do with them. Such is the case with the season four opener. The revelation of Linda Hamilton as Chuck’s mother is a nice touch, but the rest of the episode is boring and Chuck seems to be stuck in this feedback loop of “I gotta lie to everyone and waffle on being a spy between every commercial break.” I hate to do this to a show, but I give season four at least two more episodes to get a handle on the writing. After that, I think I’ll wait out the DVD release.

Weeds: S6 x 05 – Boomerang ★★★★★

It’s nice to see characters getting their just desserts, especially in a show about bad decisions. This episode is the culmination of way too many bad choices and in Nancy’s dilemma we finally see some of the humanity that she’s lost in previous episodes. Granted, they’ll probably wrap up the cliffhanger neatly in the next episode, but it’s nice to have a little bit of time to wonder what will happen to the Newman family.

Terriers: S1 x 03 – Change Partners ★★★☆☆

The pilot for Terriers was a strong one. Two blue collar ne’er-do-wells go into the private investigation business “unofficially” while their lives crumble apart around them. Seems like a strong premise and one that could develop into a strong show. Now that I’m three episodes in, I’m starting to wonder if this won’t take the Justified route for me and get continually less interesting as things progress. There’s no real arc to speak of within these episodes and this episode could have done with WAY more Olivia Williams than it got. Next week promises something bigger, so we’ll see. Losing interest.

Community: S2 x 01 – Anthropology 101 ★★★★☆

Community hit me like a blast of fresh air last year. The Office had grown stale for me and 30 Rock had long since lost my interest (just didn’t have exciting guest stars or something). Coming into this new season I’ll admit my expectations were a bit high. Thankfully, the laughs came in right around the 20 second mark for me. A strong episode that manages to be funny and continue with the Winger / Brita arc. Also, Betty White.

Fringe: S3 x 01 – Olivia ★★★★☆

I couldn’t help but yell at my TV a few times with this season opener. The arc seems to be progressing naturally and at the same time building toward something. By the end, I’m still at the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next. I can’t help but wonder at how this show has grown in just two seasons from a REALLY flat sci-fi monster of the week series with bad acting to an engaging sci-fi drama with characters we can really get behind and root for. Major props on this episode for being able to make the taxi driver a well-developed and likable character. Looks like we’ll be seeing more of him too, which is nice. This is easily the best sci-fi show on currently, maybe even since BSG (first couple of seasons).

Filed Under: Didn’t Get To Watch

Undercovers: S1 x 01 – Pilot ☆☆☆☆☆

Forgot to watch this, and therefore can’t really give my thoughts. I’ll check it out with the second episode next week and let you know. Did you see it? What are your thoughts? I liked the movie Mr. And Mrs. Smith and I’m getting that vibe from this show.