Weeds Season Six Recap

Weeds Season Six Overall Score: ★★★ 1/2

I’ve had kind of a hit or miss relationship with Weeds since season three ended. After everything moved out of Agrestic, I wasn’t quite sure if I would be as into the exploits of Nancy Botwin and her family of ne’er-do-wells as I was in their initial outing. True to my theory of three, the show floundered a bit and just was’t all that interesting until about the end of season four, when Esteban became a major player in the Botwin family.

Fast forward to season six and Nancy is on the lamb from her estranged husband, complete with illegitimate love-child in tow. What followed was a very erratic season with brilliant character moments oftentimes being overshadowed by some insanely meandering plots. Richard Dreyfuss was quite underused as Nancy’s smitten high school teacher, and the revelation that Silas had a different father came out of nowhere and felt like it was a thing “just because.” It was nice to see Silas fighting against this criminal lifestyle, but the season ended with him STILL being dragged along by the family and not quite able to break free. Personally, I think Silas’ tipping point had been reached much earlier in the season and it would have been nice to see him try and run off to find himself while the Botwins hit up their side quests in Michigan.

That’s not to say that I didn’t like this season. There were a couple episodes that were really good and gave us some strong and memorable moments. I just wish the show had been a little bit more steadily paced instead of dancing around being engaging. What a finale, though. If there is one thing every season of Weeds has excelled at, it’s their season finales. Every single finale has managed to leave me wanting more, and this season was no exception.

Is this season worth watching? For the most part, yes. The world of Weeds is still rich and full of dark humor that remains entertaining to this day. Mary Louise-Parker is way easy on the eyes with a mother’s ferocity to boot. It’s fascinating watching her evolve from the frappe-sipping suburban mom to the drug-dealing kidnapper and master manipulator she is now. Still, I wonder if some of the soul of this show burned down with Agrestic.

Here are the ratings I gave this show on a weekly basis, whether or not you care. Since my Week In TV posts started five episodes in to Weeds, I’ve gone back and given the previous episodes their proper ratings. Enjoy.

S6 x 01 – Thwack ★★★★☆
S6 x 02 – Felling and Swamping ★★★☆☆
S6 x 03 – A Yippity Sippity ★★★☆☆
S6 x 04 – Bliss ★★★☆☆
S6 x 05 – Boomerang ★★★★★
S6 x 06 – A Shoe For A Shoe ★★★★☆
S6 x 07 – Pinwheels and Whirligigs ★★★☆☆
S6 x 08 – Gentle Puppies ★★★☆☆
S6 x 09 – To Moscow, And Quickly ★★★★☆
S6 x 10 – Dearborn-Again ★★★☆☆
S6 x 11 – Viking Pride ★★★☆☆
S6 x 12 – Fran Tarkenton ★★★☆☆
S6 x 13 – Theoretical Love Is Not Dead ★★★★★

My Week In TV: Nov. 14-20

Still a little behind on getting these posts out, but I think this week I’ll be able to catch up. Here’s a recap of last week’s episodes and what I thought. Weeds finished up season six so I’ll probably write up a recap of the whole season and detail the bests and worsts of the whole shebang. So, without further ado, let’s get through last week’s episodes!

Fringe: S3 x 07 – The Abducted ★★★★★

Perhaps the strongest episode yet this season. Olivia makes an attempt at escaping the other side while trying to solve the Candyman kidnappings that have been plaguing the denizens there. We get to take a look into alternate Broils’ life and get more of his backstory. I kind of wish we’d get that for Real Broils at some point in this season. The taxi man makes a comeback and it’s nice seeing an ally on this side of the universes. The way things are shaping up, we’re getting close to the end of the first major arc this season. I expect we’ll see Olivia heading home at some point. Kind of pissed that I have to wait two weeks until the next episode airs. W-T-H Fox!

Weeds: S6 x 13 – Theoretical Love Is Not Dead ★★★★★

What a finale! Not sure what else I can say other than DO ANYBODY NO WHERE SEASON 7 is?! This show, despite it’s varying flaws, still knows how to wrap up a season and make you want more. I really hope they are able to stabilize the pacing a little bit more next year. But then again, maybe the erratic pace is kind of the point. Am I the only one who noticed that Kevin Nealon backed out of the story way too quickly? I hope he comes back next season as his shenanigans provide a much needed comedic balance to the story.

Boardwalk Empire: S1 x 09 – # ★★★★☆

A solid episode that manages to blend the slice-of-life period-piece aesthetic and the mobster shenanigans well. Michael Pitt’s character returns to Atlantic City on a murderous quest and shows how much he’s grown from the first episode of the show. I’m anxious to see how this plays out, especially given the episode’s rather startling ending.

The Walking Dead: S1 x 03 – Tell it to the Frogs ★★★★☆

This show continues to impress and give us strong character moments. Episode three is an improvement on two and it’s worth watching just for the family reunion alone. If you’ve read the first volume to the comic, you’ll know how things play out overall, but the show manages to keep things surprising with the subplots that aren’t in the book.

Community: S2 x 09 – Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design ★★★★☆

Greendale is a place I want to go to, especially since the world of night classes are straight out of a paranoia thriller and there exists the probability of blanket forts. There’s really not much more I can say other than the multiple shoot-out at the end is hilarious.

Terriers: S1 x 11 – Sins of the Past ☆☆☆☆☆

Missed the episode last week. Will catch up on both this week.

No Ordinary Family: S1 x 07 – No Ordinary Mobster ★★★★☆

The stakes are higher for the Powells now that we get a glimpse of what the Big Bad knows. Even though there’s no real danger to the family in this episode, the sense of foreboding is strong here and it feels like only a matter of time before the family is presented with their first real challenge. I like the character work in this episode as well as the darker tones that permeate throughout. It’s nice to see that these characters are being lightly shoved in the direction of heroism instead of being completely thrust into the action. Given the suburban family aesthetic of the show, it makes sense. Amy Acker guest stars in this episode, although she’s not given a lot to do (DAMNIT!).

My Week In TV: Oct. 31-Nov. 13

So, this week’s My Week In TV is more like “My Two Weeks In TV Plus A New Show.” As you may or may not know, The Walking Dead premiered on Halloween to rave reviews and the following week the second episode got even better reviews. Since I like zombies and dramas involving those inept dead, I thought I would add them to the mix and add this show to my weekly roundup. Also, Fringe is back from a stupid hiatus involving something I don’t care about (sports). All in all, a lot has happened in television while I’ve been off galavanting at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater for AFI Fest.

Let’s jump right in.

Fringe: S3 x 05 – Amber 31422 ★★★★☆ & S3 x 06 – 6995 kHz ★★★★☆

Shawn Ashmore (The X-Men series, The Ruins) turns in an excellent performance as twin brothers in a tragic tale of crime in the parallel world in a very strong episode of Fringe. What a great episode to return with, and it was very interesting to see how yet ANOTHER actor on this show was able to play two roles with such nuance. Major props. The followup episode, 6995 kHz, was also strong and gave us a glimpse of the direction this season is taking. It’s nice to have this show back.

Community: S2 x 07 – Aerodynamics of Gender ★★★★☆ & S2 x 08 – Cooperative Calligraphy ★★★★☆

Abed is perhaps the best comedic character on television currently, and Aerodynamics of Gender proves it. The way he tears into the ladies with terminator-style precision is absolute comedic gold and the deadpan delivery nailed it for me. It was interesting seeing Hillary Duff cameo in the episode, and her subtle turn was about as surprising as Drew Carey’s rather healthy physique a few episodes prior. Episode eight is called “the bottle episode” and when you go look up the definition, you’ll understand why. This is the episode you’ll refer to your friends who are interested in seeing Jeff and Annie sans most of their clothing.

The Walking Dead: S1 x 01 – Days Gone Bye 31422 ★★★★☆ & S1 x 02 – Guts ★★★☆☆

Zombies are awesome, and volume 1 of the comic book The Walking Dead is awesome as well. It’s nice to see an adaptation that’s faithful to the spirit of the comic and one that pulls no punches in the gore department. Do NOT eat dinner (or any meal for that matter) while watching this one. Episode one delved into the tragedy of the zombie outbreak, lamenting the loss of humanity. It was a great way to start the show and really drew me in. The second episode continued the story and introduced more characters, but didn’t have quite the thematic oomph of the first. Still, I anxiously await the rest of this short first season.

Boardwalk Empire: S1 x 07 – Home ★★★★☆ & S1 x 08 – Hold Me In Paradise ★★★☆☆

Episode seven is a Nucky-centric episode, and delves into some of his troubled past. There’s a bunch of good stuff in the episode and it’s nice to see some kind of humanity in the character this show is based on. The last few moments of the episode are particularly poignant, as it’s been with previous episodes. Hold Me In Paradise continues with the poignancy as the turf-squabbling hits a bit too close to home. I’m quite intrigued with the way this show has set up Federal Agent Van Alden, especially in his interactions with his wife. Neither of them during the dinner scene were in the same frame, pointing out the rather significant divide between them. It’s not every day that device is used in television and it’s a nice touch.

Terriers: S1 x 09 – Pimp Daddy ★★★☆☆ & S1 x 10 – Asunder ★★★★☆

Episode nine is a rather straight forward one-off episode involving a trans hooker trying to find out what happened to her friend. There’s not a lot of meat to the episode and it is a little light on the drama, which isn’t a bad thing per se. The moments near the end were good, but I wonder if more could have been made out of the search and what the disappearance meant. The followup episode was much better in contrast, taking us back to Hank’s struggle with his ex’s impending marriage. At the very end of that episode we get a turn back to an earlier story arc to reveal that the case isn’t quite as closed as we first imagined.

No Ordinary Family: S1 x 06 – No Ordinary Visitors ★★★★☆

Not a whole lot to say. It’s a very cute episode with a logical progression of one super power and more family-oriented goodness. Haters gonna hate, but I think this show is solid and fun to watch. I also appreciate that we’ve only been getting villain-of-the-week, as it’s allowed for more focus on the family and them developing a better rapport with each other. By the time the main villain does his thing, I expect this family will be ready. Didn’t care much for the “parents visiting” thing happening so early in the show, but it wasn’t played too cheesy and ended up being integral to the theme of the episode.

Weeds: S6 x 11 – Viking Pride ★★★☆☆ & S6 x 12 – Fran Tarkenton ★★★☆☆

Weeds has had a pretty up and down season. Well, mostly down. The stuff with Esteban in the beginning was strong and gave us strong character moments. Near the end of the season, however, it all became a series of complications “just because.” I’m glad they brought the Esteban stuff back at the end of episode twelve, but I hope all that mess gets resolved. Not sure I could take another season 6.

My Week In TV: Oct. 24-30

Solid episodes from the shows I’m watching this week. Perhaps the standout of this week comes from Boardwalk Empire, with the worst offender of the bunch being both the Not!Fringe episode and the lackluster Weeds episode. Seriously, I have some guesses as to how the season is going to end and I hope to Christ it throws me a curve ball. Community was a riot as usual and No Ordinary Family is still pulling me in with solid writing and engaging characters. Check it!

Boardwalk Empire: S1 x 06 – Family Limitation ★★★★☆

We get some serious mobster schtick this week in Boardwalk Empire and it’s all from the Chicago crew. I admittedly squee’d in delight when I saw the pictured characters gun down their adversaries in as close to a Scorsese fashion as possible by someone NOT Scorsese. The guy playing Al Capone plays the role well. I’m interested in seeing how this progresses in paralel to the Atlantic City plot with Nucky Thompson. Also at the forefront is Eli and her sudden attention from Nucky himself and what that means for her life. Seriously, if you aren’t watching this show, you need to be!

Community: S2 x 06 – Epidemiology ★★★★☆

Last year’s Halloween episode was epic, and the clip of Abed as Batman has been played on my computer COUNTLESS times. While this episode wasn’t as groundbreaking, it served perhaps THE MOST HILARIOUS sequence I’ve seen in awhile. Let’s just say it involves an old horror film trope I don’t particularly like and it involves an animal that the internet at large likes. Anyway, laughed my ass off. The rest of the episode was solid and the references were clever.

Terriers: S1 x 08 – Agua Caliente ★★★★☆

If there’s one thing that Terriers has going for it, it’s the depth that’s been given to all of the characters. So, when a rather straight-forward and predictable episode like this one comes along, it’s nice that we ACTUALLY CARE about the characters. A worthy follow-up to last week’s heartfelt and heavy episode.

No Ordinary Family S1 x 05 – No Ordinary Quake ★★★★☆

No Ordinary Family gets a lot of flack for not being what the hardcore nerds want it to be. The problem is that everyone expects this to be THE NEXT HEROES or HEROES EQUIVALENT. It’s got super-powered individuals so NATURALLY the themes need to be complex and the situations harsh and gritty. Problem is that this is a family-oriented super hero series on ABC. As far as that genre is concerned, this show is television gold. The characters are decently written and played by charismatic and likable actors. No exception in this episode, which continues the Powell’s struggle to figure out their lives as a family with super powers. The message that Jim delivers to his son J.J. is thematic gold and makes up for the relatively little danger the family finds themselves in.

It makes a lot of sense that the Powell family hasn’t found themselves in considerable danger yet. They’ve been by and large under the radar, and the bad guys have been working behind the scenes. The Powells haven’t come across the decision to become the gung-ho good guys yet and I appreciate that they haven’t had to address that yet. They’re just a young family going through life.

All that aside, this beats the shit out of anything in Heroes past season 1.

Weeds: S6 x 10 – Dearborn-Again ★★★☆☆

There’s really nothing new in this episode and it’s frustrating. We’re almost done with the season and all the Newmans have done is flounder around on one giant road trip. The introduction of a potential parental unit was interesting, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from using this episode as white noise while I wrote. Also, what an utter waste of Richard Dreyfuss. Absolutely no chemistry between him and Mary Louise-Parker, which makes their backstory almost impossible to buy. As is custom for Weeds, the malevolent good guys are onto them and we get a glimpse as to what to expect in the next few episodes with the Feds and their search for the Botwins.

Not!Fringe: Episode Something-Or-Other ★☆☆☆☆

An improvement from last week, but still utterly terrible. It’s obvious that there was an attempt this time, as we were given a look into the Not!Other Dimension and how things worked on that side.


Next week can’t arrive fast enough.

My Week In TV: Oct. 17-23

Going to change things up a little this week in terms of the format. Instead of writing these out in alphabetical order based on the show name, I’d like to write them out in rating order, putting the best at the top and the worst at the very end. That said, it was a better week for TV than the last and I was more engaged with the shows in general. I hope the coming weeks can see the same or better.

Terriers: S1 x 07 – Missing Persons ★★★★☆

This is A GREAT episode. The writing is superb and the character work between Hank and Steph is both moving and tragic. Can’t really gush too much without spoiling, but this is easily the best episode of the bunch this week.

Community: S2 x 05 – Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples ★★★★☆

It’s not a billion laughs a minute, but it’s interesting character work. Shirley gets to step into her own and deal with her place amongst the godless youth at Greendale. Pierce gets an interesting sub-plot with Jeff and Brita. There’s only one complaint that I have for this episode and it’s a joke that doesn’t make sense for Shirley’s character. Other than that, another great episode from a crew that seems to get my sense of humor.

Boardwalk Empire: S1 x 05 – Nights in Ballygran ★★★★☆

I was wondering if we’d get an Eli-centric episode. She’s an interesting character and I was hoping we’d be able to get back to her point of view in the story. After all, she’s fighting the good fight against alcohol and the only challenge that she faces is the very man (Nucky) who helped her out. Quite an interesting twist at the end. I’m curious to see how this complicates matters. Highlight of the episode: Nucky’s brother in a kilt, bombing a speech completely. I hope we get an episode with him down the road.

Weeds: S6 x 09 – To Moscow, And Quickly ★★★★☆

Nancy is going through change. She’s coming to grips with being a failure as a mom and by the end of this episode things get rather clear for her. Interestingly enough, we get another look at who might care that the Botwin family did some bad business in the previous season. The humor was subdued some in this episode, but the character work was good and it was nice to see the Botwin brothers together after the aforementioned bad business. A bunch of likable assholes these people are.

No Ordinary Family S1 x 04 – No Ordinary Vigilante ★★★★☆

A strong episode for a show that’s starting to find it’s feet. It’s not without it’s cheese and far-fetched plot this time through, but I bought the events as they played out and thought the character development was strong. Chiklis and Benz are great in this and a treat to watch. While it might not be the pinnacle of subtle writing, this episode is a worthy contender with everything else this week. Except maybe…

Not!Fringe: Episode Whatever ☆☆☆☆☆

A poorly constructed non-episode from a rather uninspired non-crew. You’ll remember that these assholes were the ones in charge of that Non-Doctor Who episode where the Non-Statues didn’t do a damn thing. Yeah, folks. It was THAT bad. I’m going to go punch myself in the face to try and clear my  mind of this non-monstrosity. J.J. Abraham, you should be ashamed of yourself.

My Week In TV: Oct. 10-16

Community and Fringe were perhaps the highlights of this rather uninspired week of television. I hope things pick up for these other shows in the weeks to come. No new Fringe until November. That means this post will be shorter next week. *frowns*

Boardwalk Empire: S1 x 04 – Anastasia ★★★☆☆

This episode was a bit of a step down from the previous in that there wasn’t a whole lot that happened and there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot of character development. There was a bunch of setup, so I imagine that things established here will be resolved later. Still, they could have at least done more to make it interesting.

Community: S2 x 04 – Basic Rocket Science ★★★★★

Community is my favorite show on television right now. Not many are able to balance the comedy and pop culture references with the heart and character development like this show does. And this episode is right up there among my favorites for this series, being a smart parody of Apollo 13 and most other space mission films in existence. Kudos.

Fringe: S3 x 04 – Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep ★★★★☆

Another strong episode of the best sci-fi show out now. We’re back to the regular universe as “Fauxlivia” finds herself under a bit of scrutiny for being different since the season finale. Considering she’s not the real Olivia, it makes sense that she would have some problems portraying her original counterpart. It’s nice that they haven’t outed her as the fake yet. If this were in anyone else’s hands, we might have them guessing right away and her running off into the distance firing her weapon and swearing. Thankfully, everyone is still convinced that she’s the real deal. Great title. It plays well into the story and reminds me of a good book I read awhile back. Heh.

No Ordinary Family S1 x 03 – No Ordinary Ring ★★★★☆

This show is getting better with each episode and I much enjoyed this step back to develop the characters rather than focus on the bad guys. Granted, there were still bad guys in the episode, but they weren’t the focus. The crux of this arc seems to be the Powell family coming to grips with their powers. I wouldn’t mind keeping the bad guy quotient low if it meant fleshing these characters out even more. I’ll admit in the beginning that I was skeptical of the super powers that were chosen for these characters, but it works and makes sense by this episode. I say it’s worth sticking with for now.

Terriers: S1 x 06 – Ring-a-Ding-Ding ★★★☆☆

An episode about a ring with predictable twists and turns and a bit of a melodramatic ending. Not my favorite in the bunch and if the previous episodes hadn’t been as good as they were, I’d probably put the show on notice. Still, the characters are compelling. Basically, a light and fluffy episode when I expected a little more meat.

Weeds: S6 x 08 – Gentle Puppies ★★★☆☆

Nancy finally gets it on after a few episodes of frustration and everything going completely wrong. Andy, meanwhile, is up to his usual hilarious antics and everyone else plays along. It’s a pretty straightforward episode, and still a fun ride for the most part. I’m kind of curious if they have some kind of payoff in mind this season or if it’s just going to end. They’ve brought in the feds, but we’ve only seen them in the opener of an episode.

My Week In TV: Oct. 3-9

Here we are with another solid week of television. The only major thing for me was that I dropped Undercovers from my “watch” list in preparation for The Walking Dead coming up at the end of this month. As much as I enjoyed the episodes of Undercovers that I watched, it just wasn’t as engaging for me as the other shows and was getting to be kind of a chore to watch. Not a slight on the solid work that goes into the show, but it’s just not for me.

Boardwalk Empire: S1 x 03 – Broadway Limited ★★★★☆

Another strong episode, with solid writing and character development. Perhaps the most interesting character in this episode agent Alden, pictured above and played by Michael Shannon. His doubled efforts to catch the bad guy are evident here, giving us a rather intense scene in a dentist’s office. It’s this scene juxtaposed with a comically mundane home life that shows off the great character work in this show.

Chuck: S4 x 03 – Chuck Versus The Cubic Z ★★★☆☆

This episode is a step down from the previous. It’s nice that they’re keeping the Chuck’s Mom story arc drawn out, but this lacks much of the heart of the second episode and I found myself more interested in Morgan’s bumbling attempts at managing a Buy More than yet another boring foray into Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. Frankly, I’m not sure how much more of them I can take. Let them simmer for the rest of this season, please.

Community: S2 x 03 – The Psychology of Letting Go ★★★★☆

While not as laugh out loud hilarious as episode two, this episode has heart and as such is a very good episode. Three solid episodes in a row? I’m blown away. Still not sure why this show has low ratings.

Fringe: S3 x 03 – The Plateau ★★★★☆

Kudos to the Fringe writers for being able to balance both the overall story arc and monster-of-the-week. Very rarely can shows pull this off and yet here it’s masterfully done. Because of this, all the incidental characters get the proper time and attention required to make picking a side difficult. Perhaps the strongest stylistic choice so far in this season has been sticking to one universe per episode. Now we’ve essentially got two Fringe divisions working on two sets of cases that we’re weaving in and out of. Essentially, this has evolved the monster-of-the-week style and taken it to new and interesting heights. As always, can’t wait for next week.

No Ordinary Family S1 x 02 – No Ordinary Marriage ★★★☆☆

I feel weird when I make some kind of criticism about a show and then in the next episode those criticisms get addressed. Such is the case with the second episode of No Ordinary Family. The characters were written stronger, and the episode itself was by and large a “learning the rules” episode, which is perhaps my favorite part of any super hero origin story. I still wasn’t sold on the villains until the very end. If they stick with this touch of dark, I think we might be in store for an interesting arc.

Terriers: S1 x 05 – Manifest Destiny ★★★★☆

The end of the Lindis arc. Not sure how I feel about this not playing out to the end of the season, but after this episode I’m not entirely sure they could have gone much farther with it anyway. Still getting some strong character work overall, and it’s an interesting watch.

Weeds: S6 x 07 – Pinwheels and Whirligigs ★★★☆☆

This is a pretty chill episode in a series of rather frenetic and stressful episodes, and as such it loses some of the bite that’s made it really awesome so far. This is probably for the best. Looks like there are some investigators on the case of the murdered politician, so things could heat up quite a bit in the episodes to come. The highlight of this episode was the scene pictured above. You’ll know when you see it as you will probably share the same grimace I had throughout.

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.

On Premium Television and Cable

Have you seen True Blood? Have you seen Weeds? How about Dexter? Hung? Sopranos? Dead Like Me? Six Feet Under? Really, have you had the pleasure of watching anything on the premium channels? Unless you’ve been living under or rock or lack an internet connection, you probably have. Chances are, you’ve raved about at least one of these shows to your friends. Makes sense. Want to know why? These shows all share one thing in common:  they know how to create damn good stories. Can you say that about regular cable?

Let’s do some comparison between shows on the premium networks and your basic cable.

Hit or Miss Factor

On your basic cable channels (including ABC, NBC, and CBS) there’s a higher chance of “miss” versus “hit.” Granted, these channels produce a lot more content than the premium channels, but most of them are just garbage. NBC and TNT are great examples of this as they surround their flagship shows with forgettable tripe. Really, what show was worth staying to see after Chuck on Mondays? Heroes? Maybe back in season one. How about The Office? Does anyone recall what shows surrounded that hit?

With TNT, were ANY of their “originals” any good? It seems like every week they put out ads for some new, bland show that rocks a tired premise. HawthoRNe? Gimme a break. I think we had enough of the nurse with a heart of gold story line. ER, anyone? A few shows had some promise, but then faded due to lack of viewership, which brings up an issue I talked about awhile back with the way that TNT advertises their shows versus USA. Point being that these channels flop way more often than they succeed.

And then there’s TBS. The only show worth watching on that channel is the syndicated episodes of The Office and Family Guy that they air.

With the premium channels, the chance for hit or miss is skewed more toward hit as they put more “oomf” into their marketing and have much better storylines in general. It’s almost worth the infrequency of new shows when each season of their flagship shows are continually solid and entertaining. Dexter’s second season, although not my favorite, is still leaps and bounds superior to a lot of the regular cable fare.

Freedom of Subject Matter

The basic cable networks are limited out of the gate in what they can put into their shows in terms of adult content and graphic violence. If you know me at all, you’ll know that those are the two things I’m a huge fan of. I like that my shows are gritty, and I like it when my favorite television characters swear like real adults do. I like when two characters cut the flirtatious bullshit and get to the sex. Witty, flirtatious dialogue and camera suggestion are all that the basic cable channels have (to protect THE CHILDREN) which oftentimes leads to some HORRIBLE exchanges.

GUY: Hey there.

GIRL: Hey.

GUY: Are you a thief? Because you stole my heart!

GIRL: I have an apartment.

Next Day


Granted, the more successful basic cable shows can work around these limits and still produce engaging content (see: anything Joss Whedon does). But oftentimes I find myself wishing that the characters in a show weren’t so damn bound to the rules of basic cable. With premium channels, anything goes. Kind of liberating, ain’t it?

Story Arcs

Premium cable shows have the benefit of having a better handle on their story arcs than that of their regular cable counterparts. You ever find yourself wishing that something more significant would happen to the characters of The Office ala Jim’s transfer? Ever wish that someone in Heroes would JUST FREAKIN’ DIE ALREADY? *cough*claire*cough*sylar*cough*peter*cough* Again, the point is that a majority of these regular cable shows need to keep going if they’re successful, so any major changes that get rid of favorite characters or dramatically alters the formula just can’t happen. It’s not really the writer’s fault for this, since it’s a mandate from above, but it really hurts the show’s ability to grow and evolve with the characters. The only shows that I know of that can escape this issue are the procedurals, which aren’t necessarily about the characters themselves.

Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts on the matter. Agree? Disagree?