Monday, October 10, 2011

Catching Up on TV Shows

A day later than promised, but here's my big catch-up catch-all post on returning TV that I've seen watching but haven't had the time to talk about since their individual premieres. For my thoughts on new shows, click here.

Now, in alphabetical order...

Big Bang Theory - Not much to say about this show except to say that I'm still enjoying it. As I said when I talked about the premiere, I love that show feels more like an ensemble rather than The Sheldon Cooper Show as much as I love that character. Seeing Amy interact with Leonard in the season's third episode was fantastic as was learning that Raj is super rich (and could conceivably have a sort of normal girlfriend provided she was deaf). Nothing ground-breaking here, but the cast is gelling well.

Castle - After the heavily emotional premiere, the show rightly decided to ramp up the lighter side of things. With a superhero vigilante in the second episode and a porn-mogul who cryogenically saved his body in the third episode, the cases were outrageous and fun. And yet every scene and every conversation between Castle and Beckett are laden with subtext, hidden meanings, and parallels giving us the fans something real to hold on to until they both are ready to deal with their respective issues.

Community - I sense a general sense of fatigue or indifference from some fans regarding the start of this season, but I don't see why. I thought the premiere was solid and while the second episode wasn't one of its strongest episodes, I thought the third episode's willingness to examine and re-examine the group's multiple dynamics was great. If there's one thing to complain about is Chang. He's become this season's S2 Pearce with the writers still unable to figure out what to do with him.

Fringe - This show is so damn brilliant and I'm angry that more people aren't watching it. While I was slightly underwhelmed by the premiere, I thought the two follow-up episodes were pretty brilliant especially the second episode in which the two universes had to work with one another to solve a case. It enabled Anna Torv to shine yet again playing multiple versions of herself. The third episode in the meantime showed why John Noble should have all the awards thrown at him as he tries to deal with his supposed hallucinations of Peter. I'm still a bit worried about how Peter's inevitable return will be treated, but if there's one thing the writers of this great show has earned, it's trust from its fans.

Glee - One thing I have to say about this show is that they seem to be trying. They need to try harder, but the effort is much appreciated. Anything Shuester does annoys me and that hasn't changed. His short tempers with Quinn and Mercedes while probably called for, didn't feel organic as much as necessary to the plot to move forward. And while both characters were in dire need of storylines this season, the beginnings of their arcs this season leave much to be desired. Those are my biggest complaints since again I think they're at least trying. The songs seem to work with the story they are trying to tell rather than the other way around and it doesn't feel like The Rachel or The Kurt or The Blaine show. With that said, I wouldn't mind AT ALL if this became The Brittany Show. Her rendition of "Run the World" made me question my sexuality.

The Good Wife - While none of the episodes so far have completely impressed me, I do love what they have been doing in regards to the steamy affair between Alicia and Will and the burgeoning relationship of Eli and Kalinda. The latter was always going to be my favorite thing in the world since they're pretty much my favorite characters on the show. Most of their brief interaction happened in this season's second episode, but you can already tell the mutual admiration. As for Alicia and Will, I was never a huge fan of them and yet I cannot deny how HOT they are together, at least this season. Props to the casting director as well since we got Eddie Izzard and Lisa Edelstein in these early episodes.

Happy Endings - There's actually been just the one episode since the premiere, but it's more of the same kooky stuff from this group of friends. My favorite is probably Jane stalking a young girl thinking she is hers by way of her donated eggs from years ago. The Mean Girls teenage girls stuff was pretty funny as well to a point. In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing Megan Mullaly play Penny's mom next episode!

How I Met Your Mother - I quite liked the two episodes that followed the premiere though I was a fan of one more than the other. The third episode is one of the show's best with Barney playing his usual mind-games in order to win a bet while we delve deeper into Ted and his mindset on relationships. It was a great mixture of hilarity and poignancy that the show used to do fairly often in the past. The fourth episode had Robin in therapy and while it was a solid episode, there was something a bit off. It certainly wasn't Cobie Smulders who shouldered the episode well. In any case, it's definitely looking like it's going to be a big year for her character surely and I hope the writers do her justice.

Modern Family - I'm glad that after the shaky premiere, the show seems to be back on track providing 30 minutes of hilarity. Ty Burrell continues to shine as my favorite cast member in this ridiculously talented cast though Nolan Gould as son Luke seems to be this season's budding MVP. Their wire act and viral video stunts in the last two episodes were easily my favorite subplots. That's not to say that the rest of the cast didn't deliver. Cam's Streetcar Named Desire riff, Mitchell's beach house breakdown, Gloria's tiff with Jay's new dog, and Claire's fight with the city were fantastic.

The Office - The show has definitely become more of an ensemble with Steve Carell gone, but while not perfect, the show seems to be clicking especially with Andy as boss. The second episode continued the us vs. them dynamic with Andy rallying the office to increase sales as demanded by new CEO James Spader. The end was sweet with Andy getting a tattoo (as promised to his employees) and with them in return giving him a good one. The third episode "Lotto" gave Andy more a chance to show how he is similar (failure at those conference meetings) and different (his existing relationship with Oscar and Darrly) than Michael Scott as boss.

Parks and Recreation - BIAS ALERT! This show can do no wrong to me. So with that said, I've loved everything about this season so far with the possible exception of Rob Lowe's unfortunate hairstyle. The multiple Tammys episode is already classic with a great guest starring turn by Patricia Clarkson as Ron's first ex-wife and Paula Pell as Ron's mom. Plus seeing Ron sans mustache and being cheery will haunt me for the rest of my days. Leslie took center stage in the third episode as she take on Birthers challenging her birth place after she released her Pawnee-centric book. She handles it all with hilarity, humility, and style but that millisecond look between her and Ben by the end killed me.

Supernatural - As a self-professed Castiel/Misha Collins fans, you'd think I'd be leading the charge to boycott the show now that the character seems to be done. But what I really liked about what they've done this season is make me start to care about the brothers again and their angst and plight. It also helps that the Big Bad Leviathans are dangerous and scary enough, but are also understandably low key (for now) enabling the show to come back down from the past couple of seasons apocalyptic highs. Last episode was particularly beautiful with Sam tracking down a woman/monster that he encountered when he was a boy and how he had to wrestle with whether or not to kill her about their history. Fandom Explosion: Jewel Staite of Firefly plays the woman who has the alias of Amy Pond. Looking forward to seeing what's to come, but I do hope Misha finds his way back somehow.

Dang, I know I say this a lot but I watch way too much TV. This doesn't even include cable/British shows I watch such as Dexter, Downton Abbey, and Breaking Bad.

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