Saturday, February 9, 2013

Quick TV Thoughts

You could tell it's February sweeps when I'm tempted to do one of my mega-post trying to talk about a bunch of TV shows I watched this past week...

Post-Superbowl Elementary Fumble

First, let's talk about football! Just kidding. Of course, I was one of the 100 million people who saw the Super Bowl last Sunday, which definitely got more exciting post-power outage. Unfortunately the outage also extended the game by half an hour which pushed CBS freshman show Elementary out of prime time giving the show less new eyeballs. I have to say though that I think they picked a pretty bad episode of the show to show off. Yes, there were strippers and a serial killer on the loose, but the episode failed to highlight the main reason to actually watch the show: the relationship between Sherlock and Watson. Instead, both were relegated to separate stories with him working with the FBI agent to solve the murders and her dealing with her apartment situation. They still interacted, of course, but not at the level they usually do, which also gave the episode a "so what?" kind of feeling. As an aside, the episode this past Thursday was a much better episode minus the requisite strippers.

Robin Sparkles 4.0

It's no secret to say that How I Met Your Mother has seen better days. When it was officially announced last week that it was renewed for a final season, the reactions were largely mixed with many former hardcore fans just wishing the show had ended a few seasons ago. I for one am happy the show has a firm end date and I know CBS feels the same way. This last new episode got the best ratings for the show since last February rating a 4.0 in the demo beating out its Monday neighbor 2 Broke Girls and Wednesday powerhouse Modern Family. Of course, it was also a Very Special episode featuring everyone's favorite Canadian pop singer Robin Sparkles. And while it still didn't capture the magic of the first RS episode, it was certainly the best of the sequels with tons of Canadian celebrity cameos that put a perma-smile on my face throughout the episode. Hope the show can use this momentum and go out on top.

Smash Falling Through the Sky

In the other end of the ratings spectrum, Smash debut to horrible numbers, even worse than already lowered expectations. Despite all of the much publicized changes the show had made in-between seasons, it seemed no one really wanted to come back for more. The tepid reviews didn't help with many TV critics admitting that while the show addressed many of the surface problems from the first season, it was largely unchanged. This was most evident in the continued misstep of the show to prop up bland Katherine McPhee over the obviously more talented Megan Hilty. Hiring Jennifer Hudson, herself not the greatest actress, highlighted all the more that McPhee can't even hold a candle to another Idol alum. The two-hour premiere also felt overstuffed and viewers probably needed more breathing room. One of the brighter spots of the premiere was Jeremy Jordan's rendition of "Broadway, Here I Come." Too bad his character is also kind of a jerk. Smash just seems to want people to root against it every time. Many did hate-watch it the first season, but this season no one seems to care enough to do even that.

Pilot Thoughts: Monday Mornings and House of Cards

I don't have much to say about these two shows except to say that I generally liked their pilots. Monday Mornings is a medical drama on TNT by David E. Kelley so you know it doesn't really break any new ground while House of Cards is a political drama starring Kevin Spacey and is more know as Netflix's first foray in original programming. The pilot, directed by David Fincher, was made available at the same time as the entirety of the first season with the company wanting its subscribers to have a choice on how quickly they consume the show. I already know many people who have seen all 13 episodes and while I can definitely see myself binge-watch one snowy afternoon, I only made time to watch the first episode where I was definitely intrigued by the various machinations that were introduced. I especially latched onto the smarmy genius that is Spacey and look forward to the chaos he'll surely be inflicting, though I'm still unsure about breaking the fourth wall. As for Monday Mornings, it's solid if a bit unremarkable save for seeing the beautiful Jamie Bamber be this show's answer to McDreamy. The ratings are apparently dismal so I won't get too attached, but I'll keep watching just to see his pretty face. House of Cards: B+; Monday Mornings: B-

I Peacock NBC Thursdays

"That's our show. Not a lot of people watched it, but the joke is on you, because we got paid anyway." First, I would just like to toast to 30 Rock which ended its run last week with a series finale that let the show end on its own terms and nothing else. It wasn't for everybody, as evidenced by the opening quote (which was uttered by Tracy in the finale), but it certainly was a big influence on the TV landscape. I express my thanks to Tina Fey and company for the show and hope they all quickly find a job elsewhere. The other NBC Thursday show ending this season, The Office,  also seems intent to go out on top re-tooling the final season to showcase more of the ensemble and put the drama on the Jim-Pam relationship. The latter is made more complicated with this fabricated love triangle that probably could've worked if given more time, but unfortunately it all just seemed manipulatively engineered to get us the inevitable emotional payoff by the end.

With those two shows going off into the sunset, NBC is "stuck" with Parks and Recreation and Community which incidentally were their #2 and #3 sitcoms of the week with The Office taking the top spot. I'm hopeful that these ratings are good enough for NBC to renew them both, but I'm just relieved for Community that its ratings actually went up from its average last season especially with the behind-the-scenes drama of Dan Harmon getting the boot and the show's premiere being delayed four months. The premiere also allayed my fears that Harmon's absence would be felt in the show suddenly becoming more mainstream, but it was still the same goofy, niche, and hilarious show that I love. Jim Rash continues to steal every scene he is in. Finally, Parks & Rec is consistently amazing, but I have to give them kudos on that super funny scene of Ben, Chris, and Ron suffering together from a bout of food poisoning. Emmy Awards for all of them!

Honestly Impressive Girls

And finally, I'll end this already too-long post by commending Lena Dunham on delivering possibly my favorite episode of Girls. As much as I don't "like" Hannah as a character I at least have a handle on her, which I couldn't really say with regards to Jessa. This episode really showed us what made that mercurial character tick and it was a delight to see Jemima Kirke really show off her talents not only in that super awkward dinner scene and her explosive break-up with Thomas-John, but also in the beautiful scene in the bathtub that ended the episode. My favorite part of the episode though was that surprisingly subtle and honest declaration of love between Ray and Shoshanna on the subway platform cementing them as two of my favorite characters and couple on the show bar none.

1 comment:

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