Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thoughts on Shameless, Girls, and Other Recent Finales

It's been a few weeks since I talked about anything TV related and that was me talking about the divisive How I Met Your Mother series finale. But that wasn't the only show I watched that ended its run this season during the past month, so I'd like to say a few words on them.

Shameless is one of my recent favorite TV shows so when I realized that its season finale was last week and I still hadn't watch any episodes from the past season, I had to get myself together and finally watch what new shit the Gallagher family was up to. For the past week, I watched and with every episode I kept being more and more impressed. Certainly the cast, especially its younger members, has been quite good since the beginning but they all seem to be better. Emmy Rossum and Jeremy Allen White in particular were this season's MVPs with Rossum expertly handling Fiona's descent to rock bottom and White balancing Lip's new collegiate life with his family's troubles back home. Even usually odious Frank had a storyline that enabled William H. Macy to play his character with a bit more humanity than usual. Apparently the show has decided to submit itself as a Comedy this year rightly thinking that the Drama category is way too packed, but it's strange it's also doing this with its most dramatic season yet. But if there was a show (other than The Americans) that deserve all the awards and praise it can, then this would be it.

Girls actually had its finale earlier in March, but I only saw the finale just a couple weeks ago. In any case, I thought it was a pretty solid season in terms of seeing the next evolution of Hannah as a person--stable relationship with Adam, working a corporate job--which of course couldn't last. In terms of getting all of the "girls" together, it was a mixed bag. Apart from a few instances like Hannah's birthday and the Hamptons episode (a stand out), the girls were mostly isolated from the others which makes sense in the real-life sense of these people not having that much in common, but also makes for a disjointed show. As it is we didn't get much of Zosia Mamet until the very end, which was a bit disappointing. I'm intrigued to see how next season will play out.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been an absolute delight and while I wished it hadn't ended early, we still had a full season of laughs with minimal breaks. To say I'm excited about what they'll bring next season would be an understatement. For me, every single character is just so fleshed out as well as how they relate to everyone else making it so that there's rarely a weak scene in the show. It's a show of surprises for me. Andre Braugher in a sitcom? Andy Samberg as the lead character? Gina becoming one of my favorite characters? Rosa and Charles' friendship not creeping me out? Jake and Amy's relationship giving me FEEEEEELS? Just talking about the characters is making me miss them so much.

Teen Wolf is not a perfect show by all means. The pacing of its season-long arcs are oftentimes frustrating and most of that is because a lot of the characters who should know better don't bother sharing key information with each other that would solve everything in a day or so. Fortunately, the cast is not just MTV-approved good-looking, but also quite talented so it's not such a drag watching the show even when the plots are. Dylan O'Brien was definitely the season's MVP playing a Stiles that was possessed by an evil spirit giving the actor something completely different to do and it was simply a joy to watch. The heartbreaking ending with Allison was just that and with the knowledge that the actress was leaving the show all along, I now wished they had given the dark spirit story to Crystal Reed as much as I love O'Brien's work. That also would've given that nogitsune storyline more weight since that ending was slightly anti-climactic (Stiles is fine after all of that? I guess.).

Walking Dead split its latest season in two with the latter part focusing on what everyone has been up to since the Governor's raid on the prison forced the group to splinter off into smallers groups. It enabled the show to highlight different sets of characters, locations, and stories for each episode and the variety quite effective after a couple of stagnating seasons. All of the different stories were tied towards their one goal of going to Terminus, a self-proclaimed haven where all the train tracks meet. And while the reunion was brief and incomplete in the last couple of episodes, it was still well worth the wait (who didn't squee with joy when Glen and Maggie finally saw each other again?). Obviously answering what exactly Terminus is will be the focus on next season, but I'm also looking forward to our heroes reconnecting and seeing how they've all changed after being separated. For example, Rick has given in to his darker instincts while Darryl seems to have grown feelings for Beth. There's also the harrowing journey that Carol and Tyreese went through plus the new "save the world" characters to address.

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