Sunday, November 6, 2011

TV Report: Weekly Drama Rankings

While the comedies went to guest actors for November sweeps, the dramas decided to throw in some game-changing plot developments as you will note below.

1. Cops & Robbers (Castle) - The thing about this show is that it leans toward the light side of drama. But when they do get their mind on doing a serious, pulse-pounding type of an episode, it fully delivers. This last episode was one such episode where Castle and Martha found themselves as hostages in a supposed bank robbery. Beckett and co. had to assist from the outside and while there was no doubt that Castle would live, the fear of Martha dying made the episode nerve-wracking. In the end though, despite the bomb explosions and teary Alexis, it was Beckett and Castle laying their eyes on each other that became the highlight. "We're partners." SIGH.

2. Charade (Revenge) - I have long considered this my favorite new show of the season, but last week's thrilling episode just solidified it. The best part was the reveal that Nolan was "3 on the Kinsey scale" and used some insider info on skeezy Tyler to get some action. And that was just one of the big plot developments in the episode. Frank's quest to uncover Emily's secrets took a big chunk of the episode and provided us a glimpse of the bigger picture Amanda has weaved. We saw that Emily has a Warden that is helping her. We also met the "real" Emily Thorne who ended up killing poor Frank but not before Frank was able to leave Victoria one last seed of doubt regarding Emily. This two-week wait for the new episode is a killer.

3. Novation (Fringe) - Fringe is back! Peter is back! I've missed them both so much. All of the Peter stuff was amazing especially his interactions with Walter (broke my heart every time). I really wanted more of that and possibly answers though of course I knew we wouldn't be getting them right away. But it did make me resent the B-plot despite it being quite solid by itself since I just wanted to go back to Peter and whatever it was he was going through. Still the version 2.0 shapeshifsters are back and it looks like they'll be the big bad (or their boss) for the remaining season. Going back to Peter, Joshua Jackson has been missed, and he seems to be relishing tapping into S1 Peter aka being smart, manipulative, and a wildcard. Loving it!

4. Affairs of State (The Good Wife) - Sometimes I wish that Cary was still working with Lockhart & Gardner, but last week's episode showed that probably won't happen anytime soon. In fact, his patience and skills displayed throughout the episode led him to a promotion and a rare win. There's also some movement on the Will front... meeting Alicia's son awkwardly and becoming new associate Caitlin's crush. With Alicia not wanting Will to meet her kids formally and Caitlin's non-subtle interest, things are about to get interesting. Finally, we meet Eli's wife and she is played by Parker Posey and not only does she get tons of scenes with him full of witty banter that you'd expect, but she gets a nice scene with Kalinda as well. More please!

Those four on top have been leaps and bound better than the shows below for one reason or another this season. Not saying all the shows below are bad, not at all, but the top four have just been really consistent.

5. Oh Gawd, There's Two of Them? (Ringer) - I feel like in spite of itself, I'm still quite enjoying the show, but the twists and turns in this episode really showed promise. First, I'm just glad that Malcolm is finally free from his kidnappers. I couldn't stomach seeing him beat up and drugged up one more time. Second, the shot of Andrew and Henry in the beginning confessing to knowing Bridget was a WHOA moment and thumbs up to the writers for that. Finally, finding out that Bridget's new sponsor not only works for Siobhan but is the one to kidnap Gemma was at once both cool and so utterly frustrating in its contrivance. Oh well.

6. The Genuine Article (Pan Am) - I was hoping that a Maggie-centric episode would make Christina Ricci's character a bit more interesting to me, and in some aspects it did. Learning that she lied her way to become a Pan Am stewardess makes sense for her character, but in spite of this I still think Ricci seems to be playing her a bit too broadly. Perhaps it's just because the writers aren't exactly sure what to do with her yet, but she has the talent. They just need to tap into it. The Dean/Ginny B-plot doesn't really interest me though it looks like Maggie has used it to her advantage. Kate is on precarious grounds with the government and Niko and I'm looking forward to seeing where this will lead.

7. The Thing You Love Most (Once Upon A Time) - This was much better than the pilot especially since most of the "real world" stuff felt a bit more grounded. I especially enjoyed Emma connecting more with Henry and Mary Margaret (they all like cinnamon!) and firming up her reasons to stay in town. I'm still not sold on Regina's intentions and I do hope her character's evilness is explained a bit more, but this episode had two things for it, Giancarlo Esposito and Kristin Bauer, as the Mirror on the Wall and Maleficent respectively. Hope to see more of them in episodes to come.

8. Bears Will Be Bears (Grimm) - Even though I ranked this just a hair below its ABC counterpart this week, I thought it was still a solid outing for a show that I'm finding myself preferring over that other show. My favorite part is actually Kate Burton's performance as Aunt Marie, so her death disappoints me a bit. With this kind of show though, death is never the end. I also liked the re-telling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

9. Beneath (The Secret Circle) - This certainly brought Dawn and Charles back into the fold after being conspicuously absent last week, but other than that most of the episode dealt with more of the hormonal drama the leads are going through. I mean Truth or Dare? Seriously? I DO like that they seem to be giving Cassie some edge and Faye some non-mean dimensions.

10. The Mentalists (Supernatural) - There's just something about this episode that didn't sit right with me. I guess most of it had to do with me being angrier at Dean about Amy than Sam ultimately ended up being. I mean I knew that they had to make up and be all brotherly love again, but I thought it was all just a bit too quick of a resolution. The case itself wasn't particularly noteworthy unless a possible girl for Dean interests you.

11. Pot O' Gold (Glee)* - Apart from Burt confirming he's the perfect man by single-handily saving Sue's ridiculous plot arc of running for office by running against her, I didn't like this episode at all. As adorable as Damian McGinty is, I think introducing yet another character is not what this show needs despite the fact that this HAD to happen by virtue of him winning The Glee Project over the summer. They can still salvage it, but with the bulk of the episode dedicated to introducing him, the rest suffered.

N/A. A Gifted Man - Not sure why they felt compelled to air this episode a week later than they had planned since it gave Margo Martindale lots to do. Unfortunately, I'm dropping this show since it's 100% certain to be canceled in the next few weeks. I'll keep watching though until it happens, but I will no longer include it in my weekly rankings.

N/A. Terra Nova - Last week's episode bored the crap out of me. I'm thinking of dropping it permanently, but will give it one more episode.

*I guess technically Glee should be in the comedy rankings, but at the moment I'm more comfortable putting it here. I'll probably change it next week... or not.

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