Thursday Nights on the CW

I wanted to take the time to pay particular praise to two shows that have been growing on me more and more over time. The CW has taken to rebooting itself over the last few years (starting with Gossip Girl and now picking up on the trends–vampires, spies, and now, zombies) and while I was initially skeptical about Vampire Diaries and felt just okay with Nikita, both shows have really stepped up.

Season One of Vampire Diaries was slow. The voiceovers that were Stefan and Elena reading from their diaries killed each episode before it started (I know, that’s where the show gets its name but unless their diaries are insightful who cares to hear it?). As a character, Elena was extremely lame (she was the damsel in distress with little to no personality). Caroline was just the annoying bossy girl. The moral complexities in the show were not so complex. But the show has really come into its own (I kind of want to go buy the books now), thanks to some big twists and new characters: the relationship between vampire Caroline and werewolf Tyler is stronger than either of the two characters ever were pre-supernatural phase (they have fast become my favorite part of the show and were sorely missed in last night’s episode), Damon has become both good guy we root for and bad guy we get disappointed in, Elena finds her strength (she actually stabs herself in the stomach in order to kill Elijah!), Katherine shows up and becomes one of the most riveting villains (who knew Anna Dobrev could be so talented?), and it turns out Stephan killed Elena’s ancestors! Basically, the show developed a real mythology that let us become invested in the story (and make it okay to have doppleganger ancestors).

Then there was Nikita, which was a fun pilot but left me feeling lukewarm about Nikita herself. I thought Maggie Q was fantastic (though she is so thin it is hard to believe she can kick butt as well as she does), I just didn’t think the show developed her backstory solidly and emotionally enough for me to really care about her. The story about her murdered lover was sort of force-fed down our throats and we did not get a chance to really connect to the relationship that was lost. But despite a so-so past, the other parts of her past are much stronger. Her relationship with Michael, for example, which took a pseudo step forward this week (when will she turn him, you can’t help but wonder). I still wonder about her life pre-Division, but I don’t know if we will ever see it. For me, the best part of the show actually comes with Alex. She’s the young recruit, playing double agent. Where all of Nikita’s actions are pretty clearcut and righteous, Alex must live in Division and therefore walk a finer moral line. Does she let her friends and training mates continue to live the lie that they are fighting for the country? Does she sabotage their missions and make it harder for them to succeed? How far does she go to keep her cover? And we’ve only just started to scratch the surface of her past (this week we got a peek at her corrupt father and her druggie/sex trafficking life pre-Nikita). Lyndsy Fonseca really doesn’t get enough credit for how excellent she is on this show. The show has also shown it is not afraid to kill off a character that we think will be around for a long time, which is always a plus when trying to raise the stakes. Has anyone else noticed the rising death toll on the CW as a whole?

Remember back in the day when the WB’s strong night was New Tuesdays? For me, it is Thursday nights now. I can only hope that the Awakening and the other new shows they have picked up for next year are just as solid as these shows have become.

Reviewing a Few Shows

It’s been a while, so I suppose now is the time.

Dexter– at the end of a great season (let me just say that finale was the epitome of a nail biting thriller), I am sorry to see Julia Stiles go and I hope the producers aren’t teasing hen they say the door is still open for her to return. My real wonder is how Lumen feels about herself after everything she has done. Whether or not I believe Deb would have let them go…I’m still not sure. But it certainly didn’t ring as completely false. (If you pay attention, she never actually makes any attempt to identify the vigilantes or even really wonders who they are.) I wonder if Dexter’s acquittal of Quinn has bought him any good will (Quinn has no way of knowing that Dexter definitely changed the results since he couldn’t know for certain that it was Liddy’s blood on his shoe). Why must this show be so short? Bring us the next season already!

The Good Wife– this season has been an interesting one, mostly because you can’t help but wonder about Kalinda’s story that they so teasingly hang in front of us without really revealing much of anything. There was an interesting moment of her in the airport where she got tagged for extra security (I couldn’t help but wonder if they’d show the full body scanners). Also having the son (can’t remember his name) totally into Kalinda was classic. A small detail but this show is all about the small details. People, start watching this show! Saving it from cancellation!

Psych– so we finally have it. Sean and Juliette are dating. At least, that’s what they tell us. Most of the time there’s little indication of this (beyond Juliette making a comment like “I know you, I’m dating you”), only occasionally, when they were first telling Gus, was it actually a part of the story. Personally, I want it to play into things more. It does make Juliette’s loyalty’s conflicted at times. And if she’s around him more, might she ever realize that he’s lying about being psychic? I think that would be a particularly interesting thing to look at.

Nikita– I don’t know how other people feel about this show, but I’m actually really enjoying it. Especially Alex’s side of things since we seem to know enough about her to sympathize with her. We still need more about Nikita (like how she was on death row in the first place). Is it weird to see Ted Moseby’s future daughter act as superspy? The mid-season finale was a particularly interesting test on Alex that really drove home the stakes of what she is doing.

The Challenge– People are really hating on Laurel this season and while I agree that at some points she was pretty mean, I think people are also forgetting about the situation they were in. They were in a competition to make money, so there is no reason she shouldn’t have been trying to get rid of the players who she thought would prevent her from doing so. (Yes, she was out of line talking to Eric, but she did apologize and whether it was genuine or not we can’t really ever know, so it isn’t worth debating.) Her cockiness is pretty fair too, considering how strong a competitor she is (it’s like Evelyn, she is that good but she may not know how to play the social game). Whether or not she was right about Cara Maria in the end is sort of irrelevant. (So is the fact that Cara Maria is the only one who didn’t cry, since she was also the one who was carried, whether she wanted to be or not.) I feel bad for Paula, but she also shouldn’t be so surprised about it either.

Friday Night Lights
– I wasn’t loving the newest cast members and the change of schools (not because of the schools but because of the sudden enormous shift in storylines), but this season has really grown on me. I don’t care for Julie’s storyline, she’s acting like a five year old. I never really cared for her since that’s sort of all she’s ever been. But some of the other stories have picked up. I particularly love seeing Mrs Taylor try to connect to that problem kid who all the teachers hate.

Leverage– the show is pretty much the same as always, but who wasn’t charmed by Parker’s love of Christmas?

Vampire Diaries– anyone else think this season is a vast improvement over last? Not that I didn’t like last season, but ditching the diaries, bringing in Katherine, making Caroline a vampire, adding werewolves and creating a bond between Tyler and Caroline…all those elements made the show so much better. This last episode with Taylor’s transformation was particularly excellent. (And it’s nice to read about how supportive the cast and crew was with it in filming.) I’m not into Bonnie and Jeremy at all, but other people seem into it so to each his own. I am still waiting for the “rules” about the Originals. They can go out in daylight, they aren’t killed via stake through the heart, etc. So what are their limitations?

The Sing-Off– anyone been checking this show out lately? It cracks me up that acapella, which is hugely popular in college, has suddenly made it on tv. It’s sad, but true, that it never quite sounds as good recorded live as it does in person, so when you watch, think about how much better it must really be than what we hear. I don’t particularly care for the Jerry Lawson group, but otherwise, I’m quite impressed with the teams. The Backbeats and On The Rocks are my favorites. They’re still in it, but I haven’t watched episode 4 so we’ll see if they make it to the finale. I would say the judges are decent. Not the best I’ve seen but definitely better than certain others (Randy…)

Survivor– sometimes i think Jeff Probst goes a little too far during tribal council. To push them to the point where he literally may have convinced people to change their alliances (and if they had even the slightest brains they would have). I will say that I am impressed by the number of older players still in the game (half! when does that ever happen?) This is definitely the weakest season that I’ve season in a while, but perhaps it just seems that way after coming off such an excellent Heroes vs Villains season?

General Recap

It’s been a while since I’ve really written about anything but Hellcats, so quick comments it is:

Gossip Girl– Who else felt the urge to jump up and dance when they realized that Jenny was pretty much gone. As an added bonus for this episode, Vanessa was MIA. The Chuck-Blaire-Jenny storyline was actually fantastic (and the only reason why bring Little J around is worth it is that she seems to attract scheming) and leaves the show wide open for new ideas. (Could it really have been that easy and that quick to end the Chuck-Blaire war?) Is anyone else sick of Serena’s plot lines? What I once found interesting about her character was how she was this out of control party girl who was trying to change, but that lasted only a little while. Now, her only story lines revolve around fighting with her mom (which is somewhat interesting) and sleeping with boys (which is getting lame). Everyone else has other problems of one sort or another, can’t she have some other issues?

90210– While Annie remains the most annoying character on the show, Naomi had become incredibly compelling of late. EW recapper may dislike seeing the softer side of Jenn, but I found it endearing that while she may be okay with messing with her sister, no one else better hurt her. It’s like a really screwed up version of the typical sibling relationship. I will say that the Ivy-Laurel-Oscar situation is more disturbing than anything else. Poor Ivy. Maybe we’re finally getting deeper into her character? I almost felt bad for Adrianna but aside from the fact that I don’t know how she possibly thought she wouldn’t get caught, she has now made her bed…As for Liam, stuck in the house of stalker-girlfriend should be interesting and you knew it was coming when he asked no questions before accepting. Meanwhile, where was Teddy, make Silver more interesting, get rid of Navid, and wonder about Dixon.

Chuck– People, if you are not watching this show, you are really making a mistake! This episode, dealing with Chuck’s mom was so interesting. I love how this show always examines the idea of family vs honesty. When you’re in the spy game, who can you really trust? Biggest complaint of the show: everyone keeping secrets from Ellie. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think she can handle it. And I think she can kick butt if given the chance. Plus Awesome has been missing for the past few episodes, which is sad. Casey using Grimes as bait though, genius.

Glee– Rolling Stones thinks the Rocky Horror episode was one of its best episodes. It may be true. But as someone who had never seen Rocky Horror (I associate it with the creepy kids who used to walk around in lingerie for the activities fair in college), it was just ok. I mean, it was fun, but it wasn’t anything special either. Adam Shankman did an excellent job though. I will say that the idea of having adults in the play was pretty disturbing and I didn’t find the scene between Emma and Schu to be any better. Time and place people!

Better With You– despite my earlier critique, this show has actually grown on me. The scenes seem to be a bit longer (or maybe I’ve just gotten used to them) and the show has hit its stride. Maybe not the best comedy out there, but it definitely has some good moments.

Raising Hope– this show has actually grown on me as well. Every grandmother scene makes me cringe, but otherwise, I like where things have gone. They’re still all incredibly stupid, but somehow it has become more endearing than annoying. (Take this week’s Halloween episode: The dad spent years scaring his son on Halloween so that his son would come home and hug him because he never hugged him anymore. There’s something oddly sweet about how screwed up that is.)

No Ordinary Family– Another show that more people should be watching. The show has started pushing into the realm of the bigger mythology aspects, which is always exciting, but the family drama is pretty solid as well. Daphne right now is pretty lame and could use something more interesting, but the others are much better to watch. EW seems to think JJ was on the road to evil because he kept his powers a secret and used them to get on the football team and do well on tests. The issue has sort of been relieved this week, but personally I disagree with the assessment. Everyone else used their abilities to succeed in sports or academia or some other area, why shouldn’t he? Should he not do well in school despite his ability to do well now, not get into a good school, and not put himself into a position where in the future he might be able to cure cancer or something simply because he has a special ability? I find his making the football team less plausible because even if you can read all the angles, having the ability to throw well enough or far enough or run far enough requires more than a superbrain. We never got the impression that JJ was particularly fit. In fact, they kept talking about how small he was, so how is it that when he got tackled by someone twice his size he was totally fine?

The Event– This show seems to be getting as many complaints as it gets viewers, but I haven’t been as bothered. Sure, it was annoying to have Sophia locked up because she was relegated to the role of “I can’t tell you the truth but I want to be your friend” and nothing more. It was a little frustrating to see Layla be little more than the damsel in distress, but I don’t think that her escape attempt was undermined by the fact that they planned it. Not everyone would have taken the opportunity to even try. And earlier she made an attempt without them planning it. Not to say it isn’t nice to see her out and free. Let’s just hope she gets to play a stronger role now.

Survivor– compared to the epic season last year, this one has been a relatively calm and lame one. I am not sure why they thought it was a good idea to have a young vs old season. Not to say that no old people can do well in this game, but a less physically demanding set of challenges gets boring after a while. Then there’s the question of what some people are thinking. Marty giving up his idol at the promise that he’d get it back next week, Naonka attacking a handicapped person with such fervor that you wonder if it was her religious calling, Sash not watching his tongue at tribal council…I love Jeff Probst’s comparison between Brenda and Parvati. He makes some good points. I think Parvati definitely has to be considered one of the, if not the best, player to have ever played the game. If I could vote on one player for them to bring back, Parvati would be it (though I hope she watched the last season’s tribal and learned what she should have said), though I think she’s done so well in the past that she might get voted out first just to make sure she isn’t a threat. There’s no one as polarizing and compelling this season as in others. I will say that seeing Alina cry actually made her more endearing. The only reason I don’t think it was an act was because normally we’d see a confessional with her saying so.

Caprica– not much to say here other than it’s a shame this show is going off the air (and bizarre that they are doing another Battlestar spin off considering the lackluster success of this one). The show has some solid points, though I wish it focused more on Zoe because it always felt like she was smarter and more complex than everyone else.

Vampire Diaries– Bringing Katherine into the mix and turning Caroline into a vampire were two of the best decisions this show ever made. (Clearly they were going to bring Katherine in eventually, but I’m glad it has happened.) I will say that though I really liked Bonnie in season one, she has really begun to frustrate me since her major anti-vampire crusade has begun. She, with all her history and all she’s seen, should know better than to lump all of them into one group. I’m glad Jeremy is no longer so mopey, but the truth is I’m sort of done with him. He’s never interesting except in so far as the other things going on around him.

Grey’s Anatomy– I absolutely love how this season has shaped up. Some people may say the show is past its prime but I really think this is one of its best seasons so far. Christina is a particularly fascinating case and despite my initial dislike of Torres going gay, I love her and Arizona together. I find Mark and Lexie slightly creepy because she could totally be his daughter, but she does have a good effect on him. The one thing that I feel like I’m missing right now is more Bailey time! Why has she only had a few minutes? (Still not a fan of Hunt-Yang, but fine, I won’t fight it for now.)

Private Practice– You know, a lot of people think this is just a poor imitation of Grey’s but I really find it enjoyable. Some episodes more than others. The Pete-Violet relationship is ridiculous, but I find Charlotte incredibly compelling (and can’t wait to see this storyline with her tonight) and even like how she is with Cooper. If they actually use Amelia, I think she could be an interesting character as well because she has a lot of crazy baggage. (Apparently so does Derrick, but who knew?) I’m sad that they totally dropped the ball on Betsy and kind of feel like it Sam in particular really screwed up. Dale died saving his daughter, Sam couldn’t save Dale’s? Naomi’s absence was oddly felt because this was a moment you’d expect her to be involved in. And have quite the say in. I would love to see Betsy back in a few years, totally screwed up and angry at them. Knowing Shonda Rimes, I wouldn’t count that possibility out.

Dexter– Julia Stiles welcome back! She has been fantastic as Lumen this season and the way her character interacts with Dexter is fascinating. I love Deb and hope her story picks up a bit. Frankly, it’s time her story be about something other than boys. I’m not sure what since she’s already done the victim thing and already worked for the job she wanted, but something’s gotta happen. What do you think would happen if she found out about Dexter and her dad?

Brothers and Sisters– I’m not sure why people are so upset with this current season. While I find Sarah to be a lamer version of herself, Nora as talk show host is just fantastic. The newest Kevin-Scotty drama is both endearing and upsetting. Just when I was starting to really like Scotty. I’ve never cared for Kitty so her story is neither here nor there for me, but I would be okay with getting rid of Luc. (Some people may find the accent thing sexy, for me it just gets annoying.) But even with these many issues, I still find the show compelling. It always has a couple good tearjerker moments and I love the family’s banter. I did miss Saul this week though and hope to get him back soon.

Nikita– I’m liking this show more and more as it continues (whereas I’m finding myself no longer watching Undercovers) though I still don’t find Nikita herself as compelling as I’d like. It really comes down to her protege. She is excellent in basically all she does and I can’t wait to see how they try to test her next. I also wonder how long her identity can remain a secret. Nikita employs a large degree of “idiot plot” (the only reason Alex’s cover works is because everyone around her, despite being a highly successful secret ops organization, is apparently too stupid to see her sending constant outgoing messages and being in the computer lab when she shouldn’t be. (Idiot Plot is my new favorite term.)

Project Runway– Ah the finale. While this season wasn’t nearly as compelling as some others (Heidi really needs to learn what the phrase “throwing someone under the bus” actually means and the talent was disappointing), there is enough there to pique my interest. The final runway this week should be interesting at least since they’ve got the three designers with the most distinct visions competing. It does seem unimaginable that Mondo won’t win, but hard to say for sure.

America’s Next Top Model– Ann’s awkwardness has finally found its weakness. We always knew what it was but it was well highlighted this week. Meanwhile, Kayla is excellent and I really hope she keeps strong. She might be my favorite, weird hair color makeover and all. Not many other girls who I find particularly great (oddly, all the international versions seem to get the more interesting and breathtaking girls). I don’t love commercial weeks. At the very least, I appreciate them having a photograph at the end as well and wish they’d opted to do that this season.

Anyway, that’s about everything. Any shows I missed? What have you been thinking about this season’s shows?

General Recaps

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Tod Margaret– I had the chance to finally check out this new show and I wasn’t impressed in the least. It was basically just watch an ill-qualified idiot be given more responsibilities than he can handle and see him fail. There wasn’t really anything funny about it and much as I love British accents, that wasn’t enough to draw me in. None of the characters were compelling or made me want to watch more.

Glee– Before I even mention this week’s Grilled Cheesus episode, I wanted to talk about the Britney/Brittany episode. TV guide complained that Heather’s vocals are weak, but if we’re honest with ourselves, so are Britney Spears’s. I remember when Baby One More Time was popular, we got one of our teachers to listen to the song and she said: “well, it’s fine, but why does she whine so much?” What the episode did showcase was Brittany’s awesome dancing, her body (which is better than Spears’s ever was), and her awesome stupidity. I didn’t really expect more out of the episode, though I do agree with the assessment that I prefer songs directly related to what is happening and given the number of songs Britney’s put out, it shouldn’t have been all that difficult to manage. On to this week, I really liked the conversation about religion though it would have been nice to hear about the actual Jewish side of things (Rachel for example who cares enough about Judaism to want her kids to be raised Jewish though not enough to date/plan to marry a Jew). As always, Kurt was fantastic. Anyone notice that Rachel is much more stylish this season?

Running Wilde– hasn’t gotten any better really. One of the faults of the show is the daughter’s voiceovers. She’s just got no comic delivery (though she doesn’t have much to work with)

Raising Hope– It’s starting to grow on me. I’m not sure why though. I did like the baby getting lost in the Hoarders’ closet. Interesting that the mom kept all that stuff because she hoped for something better, I don’t think that’s what it’s about for most hoarders.

Parenthood
– Continued solid performances by all involved but I don’t like how Amber has been mostly MIA lately. Bring her back! I liked seeing Gabby get stuck dealing with Crosby and I actually kind of hope they bring Gabby in more. The kid who plays Max is fantastic and the episode about Adam trying to bond with him was really one of the best.

Brothers and Sister– I still think this is some of the best writing for TV dramas. Thank you college roomie for insisting I watch it. (If you haven’t watched it, start from the beginning and give it a couple episodes before you decide.) Not a huge fan of Sarah’s bangs and the daughter’s haircut is pretty awful. I surprisingly don’t mind Tommy being gone but I do miss Saul and Rebecca.

Chuck– I never thought I’d say this, but I really enjoyed Nicole Richie’s performance. Her dynamic with Sarah/Jenny is fantastic though from what we’ve learned of her past I can’t imagine her as a punching bag. I would love to learn more about her. I don’t really get this ever changing agent Greta thing, but that’s ok. I do miss Elie and Awesome.

Outsourced– I’m ready to cross this one off, now that I’ve given it a second episode. This season’s new comedies are just not doing it. How did they get so many great shows last season (Modern Family, The Middle, Cougar Town) and have so many blah ones this season?

No Ordinary Family– I didn’t love this episode the way that I loved the pilot, but it was still enjoyable. I particularly liked the mom tripping over a bicycle while running at superspeed (didn’t anyone ever tell her to watch where she’s going?) and it did help us discover that she has a Wolverine healing factor (or a cheerleader’s). EW talked about JJ’s ability as cheating, but I have a different take on it. Aside from the fact that I’m not sure he can turn his ability on and off, is it cheating to use his own abilities?

Life Unexpected– it’s unclear to me why exactly Lux didn’t want Tash to stay with her newest foster family (was it because the woman was awful or because the woman had been a mother figure?) I miss Cate on the radio but I suppose this woman does bring new drama. My question is how the listeners feel about it. The decision to fire Cate seemed almost arbitrary, like it was a personal vendetta and not a business decision.

Nikita– learning what we did about Alex was really interesting (and even better that Amanda recognized that she was lying despite an excellent acting job). I really like the flashbacks and wish we could learn more about Nikita and why we should really feel for her vendetta (not in the sense that I don’t think Division is bad and needs to be brought down, but in the sense that I don’t buy the love story).

Dexter– There’s something fascinatingly disturbing about Deb’s blindness when it comes to Dexter. How can she, being so close to him, think he is the strong, supportive older brother? Can anyone with so little humanity really fake it that well? Seeing Dexter with Cody was great though I can’t pretend I’m sorry to see Astor go. There’s only so much pre-teen melodrama a person can take.

Undercovers– another show where I found the second episode slightly less appealing that the first. I think my main issue here is that there isn’t any real tension between the main characters. Everything was just a little ordinary. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing either.

Vampire Diaries– if there’s one show that’s really kicked it up a bit (despite a sadly departed Anna), it’s this one. The Katherine vs Elena scene was great and I think I actually believe Katherine loved Stefan. Of course, Katherine’s version of loving isn’t so loving, but that’s a different story. I like Caroline the vampire when she’s struggling with her feelings for Matt, less so when she’s Katherine’s puppets. Why not come clean and get help? I miss the Bonnie of old, this new, moody, vindictive one is tiring.

Gossip Girl– Serena’s storyline is just dumb. I appreciate that she’s meant to be the hot wild child, but really, I prefer her storylines to revolve around her sordid past, fighting with her mom, and fighting with Blaire. And if they must do a love angle for her, perhaps one that brings in a new character. I’m so sick of Dan and Nate. (Nate for his lack of personality and Dan for…liking Vanessa.) I did feel for Dan losing “his” baby. The Blaire-Chuck dynamic has taken an interesting turn. A part of me didn’t think Eva would really be gone or expected him to fly after her or something, but instead he’s decided to go to war against Blaire. Should be interesting. You know, Serena and Blaire fought to get into that exclusive society and now there’s nothing about it.

90210– Adrianna is so dumb that I kind of feel like she’s getting what’s coming to her. But then, her new manager is so slimy that I kind of feel bad. As always I don’t care for Annie so her selling her eggs, besides being stupid and so illegal since she’s probably not old enough to do it (where will she do it?). Silver’s was sort of background this week. All she really did was make situations that allowed for other people’s drama. Ivy’s sex insecurity can only get better now that Dixon has found out that he might be HIV positive. How paranoid will she be when he either doesn’t show or doesn’t want to have sex? Liam and his brother was just eh. Naomi was also sort of a non-entity this week, but she’s been fairly interesting in the last couple weeks so I forgive her.

Grey’s Anatomy– I still mostly don’t care about Meredith, though I will admit that I like how she interacts with Christina. Speaking of, how did anyone think Christina getting married was a good idea or that it was something she wanted/was ready for. I’m guessing the writers will make it work, but I don’t believe it. (I don’t particularly like Hunt so that could be part of it.) Her reaction in the OR was so compelling and was definitely one of the moments of the week. I also liked Lexie-Mark (or lack thereof) for its complexity and Arizona-Callie for its sweetness (even though I had a hard time believing Callie was gay, I like their relationship enough to not care). I’m actually quite impressed with this season so far. I think cutting out some of the new cast from last season was really smart and the fallout of the shooting has been masterfully done. The thing I am most excited for: Amelia’s arrival. Which leads me to…

Private Practice– this show has had its ups and downs and it seems like the Grey’s-Practice writers were murder happy last season. The Violet-Pete relationship is still pretty awful (because though I liked the actress as Amy in Judging Amy, I find Violet grating and Pete so much better than her) but I love the way it interacted with the Coop-Charlotte relationship. I really like Charlotte and she did a great job this past episode of becoming more human while implying that she’d been that way all along. I don’t care for Naomi or Sheldon, but I must admit Addison has grown on me lately. I like Sam though I do hope his storyline doesn’t become all about him and Addison and nothing more. (Same goes vice-versa.) Though sad to see Dell go, I do accept the reasoning, better to get rid of a character than force storylines that are bad. Plus his death was pretty heart-wrenching and unexpected. Finally, I’m thrilled that Amelia has become a permanent cast member, it’s like another link between this show and Grey’s but still natural.

Cancellation note: Huge, Lonestar, and My Generation have so far been canceled.

What do you think? Any shows you didn’t like, shows I should give a second chance, or shows you think I should be watching?

Some General Recaps

I haven’t done one of these in a while but I thought now was as good a time as any:

Chuck- Before saying anything about the show, I would first like to say IT WAS RENEWED! I think this season has done a really impressive job of balancing Chuck’s new abilities with the old, bumbling Chuck. I would really like Ellie to find out the truth already though, it just seems unfair that she’s the only one who knows nothing about it. At the same time, this new storyline with her being tricked into betraying her dad is pretty awesome and not unexpected. In TV Land, there are always consequences to keeping secrets, just not always the consequences you might expect. Also, while I am not a fan of the Shaw plot line (mostly because doesn’t it seem strange to anyone that the CIA had Sarah kill one of their agent’s wives as her final spy test?), I do think the handled Chuck and Sarah’s relationship overall. Especially how they finally decided they could not give up the spy life. Final thing, anyone else not shocked that Bryce is not dead? (Though isn’t he on a different show now?)

House- I know some people are not a fan of this current season. They think House has lost his bite. But personally, I’m rather enjoying it. I’m a little unhappy with the way they’ve resolved the Cameron-Chase relationship and I miss the Cuddy-House dynamic, but I think they’ve taken the House-Wilson friendship to great new heights and we’ve gotten some more insight into House, which is always interesting. Plus, I love the way House and Wilson’s ex/current gf treat each other.

24- Not the biggest fan of this Jack Gone Wild section of the show. Murdering Dana Walsh!?! I mean, I hated her too, as is appropriate, but execution? He may have gotten away with all the torture in past seasons–and let’s be honest, most people were cheering for it regardless–but I’m not sure how easy this one would be to get out of. Wouldn’t that be crazy if he ended up in jail in the end? Weird to see Freddie Prinze Junior back in acting, but I’m kind of glad. He’s not the best actor, but it is so nostalgic. Chloe needs to become more assertive. I miss her battle of wills with Renee (or whatever her name was from last season).

Glee- In light of the recent article in Newsweek, (saying that out gay actors cannot successfully pull off straight characters), I feel the need to say that I didn’t know the guy who played Jesse was gay but I don’t really care. If he’s a good actor it won’t show, if he’s a bad actor it will. I think Mark Harris said it best in Entertainment Weekly this week when pointing out that movies are all about suspension of disbelieve and forgetting reality, “Robert Downey Jr. does not really have a special suit that lets him fly.” Anyway, I agree that Jesse and Rachel may not have the BEST chemistry, but keep in mind that he’s playing her and she’s really supposed to love Finn, so it isn’t all that unexpected. Rachel getting laryngitis was hysterical but I’m sad to not have heard her sing “The Climb” because it probably would have sounded awesome. Bringing Rachel to see a paraplegic might have been a little overkill but it was kind of nice to see another piece of Finn–the sympathetic kid who goes to visit a guy despite him no longer being “cool” and it being uncomfortable. And Puck and Mercedes? Bleh.

V- I’m loving how this show has turned out. I think it slowed a bit after the finale but it really picked up as things progressed and I think it has re-hit it’s stride. Largely because of Laura Vandervoot’s character. I think adding her as a more active member of the storyline is much more interesting. ALSO RENEWED!

ANTM- I did not expect a two hour episode this week. I didn’t love the finalists (or even the semi-finalists) and I love the winner even less, but the thing that did strike me most was how much more natural and relaxed Nicole is. Not only that, but she was great in the runway show and putting her first was a stroke of genius for whoever planned things because she didn’t come off looking short in that position.

Mercy- It has not been a good year for medical dramas. How many have been renewed that started in the fall? I’m not sure anyway. (The summer ones fared pretty well, minus Mental, but Trauma, Miami Medical, Three Rivers, Mercy…) It was sort of clear Mercy wasn’t coming back when we saw that Georgina was returning to GG and I can’t say I’m disappointed. The show went from eh to awful. It’s gotten crazy too quickly. Most shows take a few seasons to have characters acting as murderers and main characters nearly dying many times.

Vampire Diaries- Would they stop killing the characters (vampires) that I like! Lexi, Vicky, Pearl, Anna. Come on! I feel like they’ve killed off a lot of potential. And it would have been nice to see some good vampires other than Damon. I’m glad to see that though Elena looks like Katherine, she does not look like Isobel. I can’t wait to see what happens between Elena and Bonnie and how Jeremy’s transition to a vampire (assuming he’s not found first, which I think there’s a good chance of) goes. This was mostly a really good finale, despite my disappointment that Malese Jow (who played Anna) is gone.

Large-Scale Review

Heroes– So the current season’s part two is now in swing and what do we think about it? Not a fan of this whole Claire as a lesbian thing. As I’ve said before, I don’t mind people being gay, I mind when shows make someone gay just for the sake of having a storyline. If a character is gay they should actually be gay, not just a sudden “new thing” to try out. I think the story about Hiro being slightly out of his mind was pretty funny. I’m frustrated by the Sylar storyline because he had the opportunity to find love and be with someone with Elle and then he just killed her, so it feels like this storyline has been done and over again. And the Samuel in love thing was forced. Crazy stalker!

Castle– This was a great episode, dealing with Beckett’s mom’s murder but leaving it open-ended so that we know there’s more mystery to come. Not much else to say since the show isn’t super deep or anything but though Beckett is slightly funny looking, they’re dynamic works so well. (I love Nathan Fillion!)

White Collar– I’m not sure how I feel about this newest Kate bit since it feels like such a build up for such a let down. But I get the sense that there’s more coming with that and maybe what they have us thinking about Kate now isn’t the entire truth.

Human Target– Having watched two episodes now, I am no more pleased than I was with the first episode. There just isn’t enough personality and heart in the show to make me care. (I will say that I have this suspicion that the bad guy–girl–of this last episode may not be as dead as she seems. What are the odds that she had a parachute under that jacket?)

Friday Night Lights– I don’t think this season is as good as the previous ones. The newer characters are not very interesting and Julie, as the only real carrying over high school student, remains as dull as ever. And now the racial tension stuff feels a little over the top.

Burn Notice– I’m thrilled that Fiona is still there (not that I ever expected otherwise). I felt so bad for his mom in this episode and she made some good points. How do you decide whose life you can ruin?

Bones– I didn’t like the part about Booth’s obsession about it not being JFK though I understand the reasoning, it’s naive of him to think that the US has no secrets. Not that I’m paranoid like Hodgins but I’m sure there are some things they don’t want us to know or that they keep secret for reasons of security. But it was sweet of Bones to lie (even if it isn’t logical).

Grey’s Anatomy– So…welcome back Izzy. I’m kind of proud of Alex and a little irritated at Mark for being angry at Lexi. Arizona and Calley are super-cute and even though making her gay was also a little forced, they’re a cute enough couple to make up for it.

Private Practice– Wooahh Naomi. That’s all I can really say.

Vampire Diaries– I’m not sure how I feel about this newest episode. Elena was still a whiny baby, not that I was expecting much more. Stefan was still dark and broody (though interesting to see his history with Bonnie’s family). I’m kind of glad Damon got beaten up. Sad about Gina Torres though.

Project Runway– This season is definitely proving better (and more talent-filled) than last’s. I don’t understand how Ping is still in the competition but maybe the producers told the judges to keep her as long as possible for entertainment’s sake? I guess I’m okay with that for now, as long as someone truly awesome doesn’t get booted in her place.

Legend of the Seeker– Another good episode this week. I’m not quite sure how I feel about Sister Nikki taking all of his powers since that cuts out a large portion of the book (either they’ve completely changed everything about the rest of the book series or Richard needs to get his magic back which may mean that Nikki dies). I guess they decided they had to make the han-acquirement more TV friendly because it is WAAAY more gruesome in the book, but I understand, it is syndicated TV. Don’t love Leo but I do like Cara’s interaction with him so good and bad for the new seeker. And if they are returned to Richard then what? My final question: if prophecies just appear on the walls does that mean we won’t be seeing Nathan Rahl ever? That would be a shame.

General Reviews

As I like to do every so often, I am going to go through a bunch of shows I’ve been watching to write some general thoughts on the show and any exciting or upsetting news that I may have heard about it.

Survivor Samoa– One thing I like about this show is that they try and make certain that the women have an equal opportunity at most things. Very often, the physical competitions are divided so it’s women vs women and men vs men, elimination/immunity challenges tend to include equalizers like puzzles or skills that aren’t strength based. (I find this admirable since MTV’s RW/RR Challenges seem incapable of doing this. Remember the Battle of the Sexes’ final challenge?) About other aspects of the show: Russel has figured out something very basic–if there is no exile island, then the immunity idol must be hidden at camp. And if it is hidden at camp it must be an identifiable location so that clues can be given to find it. So twice now he has just wandered around camp searching the few places that it could be, and found it. Why has no one else taken this approach? Especially after he found it the first time? I will say that Russel, while I can’t stand him and don’t understand why so many people have gone along with him for so long, is quite the player. He’s super manipulative and strategic. And nice blindside this week.

Vampire Diaries– I have a few distinct issues with this show. 1) It bugs me that Elenia and Bonnie look exactly like their ancestors Katherine and Emily. They couldn’t just hire other actors for the three seconds that they are on screen? 2) Quite killing the interesting people! Vicky and that friend of Stefan’s were both interesting story lines that I would have liked to see develop a lot further. 3) Elenia is the dullest person ever. I mean really, she’s possibly the worst main character in existence. Otherwise, I think they did some clever stuff this week. Especially because there is obviously more to come from Damon, plus all the new vamps. Is Logan one of them?

Dollhouse– Probably the most upsetting, though not surprising, news of the week is the cancellation of Dollhouse. The show was getting really good this season, finally focusing on the entire cast instead of just Echo and Paul Ballard. There are so many things that Fox did wrong with this show (formulaic first season, poor advertising, horrible timeslot, not airing epitaph one) but I do think that Joss Whedon would be more suited for Syfy or some of other cable station (one thing he will have to do is have a cheaper budget though because Dollhouse, for example, is too expensive to produce for Syfy). At least the full season two will be aired. If you haven’t checked out this show already, I really recommend it. What I like about Joss is that he takes things further and uses his shows to examine human behavior and morality in a way that most shows do not.

FlashForward– After a bit of a lull following the series premiere, the show has really picked up steam again. The last few weeks have been some of the best episodes yet and they call into question everything that’s been revealed so far. And then call that into question. A few, interesting twists have come into play now and you can’t help but wonder what everyone is going to do as conspiracies and cover ups seem to multiply and desperation leads to some pretty crazy behavior.

V– Also on the upsetting news of the week, I did not realize that V would only be airing four episodes before going on hiatus until March. That’s pretty lame. The show’s second episode was just as good as the first (which says something about the show since I’ve found that most Sci Fi has a great pilot and a weak follow up). I have no idea what will be filling the time slot during the months off, but I really wish the networks would stop doing that.

Smallville– On the good news, this series has really improved from the last few years and it’s showing in the ratings. Despite being in its ninth season and on a Friday, the show has actually seen increases every week in its viewership. Perhaps everyone is just glad to be rid of Lana Lang for good or they like the playing with Lois Lane. Either way, the plots are better. Lex Luthor is gone for now which is actually fine by me. We looked into Oliver’s story more. Chloe has proven herself to be more interesting than ever before. Lois is just kind of crazy but entertaining. Sadly, Clark continues to be somewhat dull. There’s only so much entertainment to be had from a guy whose entire storyline revolves around “being the perfect hero.”

Ugly Betty– Another show that has become more interesting than before. It takes a look at dealing with grief, poor self esteem, jealousy, being gay in high school, what a mother would do for her daughter…In other words, real issues instead of just scheming against each other which, while interesting in Gossip Girl, isn’t suited for this show as much. Not to say some scheming isn’t good. I just don’t think in this show that should be the entire story. I think also the dad’s story about being wanted in Mexico or wherever just wasn’t as interesting as Justin learning to deal with being in high school.

White Collar– while not as exciting as the first episode (it has become a bit formulaic at the moment) there are some things that leave me interested in the show. The first is that Neal Caffrey is an interesting character. The second is the questions about his girlfriend. It is clear that more was happening than that she was just dumping him and now Neal is trying to find her. I’m hoping we’ll get more than cursory mentions of that in episodes to come. More chasing her and a little less of chasing random bad guys. It does bother me a little that he’s supposed to be this huge romantic in love with this girl and meanwhile he’s hitting on the new FBI agent transferred in to work with them.

Ghost Whisperer– I think one thing I dislike about this show is that the son, Aiden, is kind of weird looking and a bit annoying. Would have been nice for them to have gotten a cuter kid. But oh well. This week they introduced a frightened child-ghost who is hiding with Aiden at the very end which could lead to some great story soon. I wish they would get back to the Shinees and Shadows stuff a little more. (And I think we will be seeing that soon.) I dislike shows that are formulaic with little bigger arch. This show has a bigger story but they tend to ignore it for the majority of the time which is unfortunate. Show us more of Aiden’s skills, show us who he can see. And it would be cool to see more real murders instead of just misguided ghosts.

Merlin
– I know this show didn’t do well this summer when it came to the US, but I was watching it last year (online of course) and I really enjoyed it. I would like to learn more about Morgana (we got some hints with the introduction of her half sister Morgose–come on practically the same name!) but I think this season is pushing along well. Especially with the whole magic good or bad dilemma. Arthur and Uther are constantly being forced to rethink their stances only to be hurt by magic and revert back to hatred again. I can’t wait for the day when Morgana and Merlin’s magic is revealed. It would be nice to see more occasions where they almost get caught.

Legend of the Seeker– As I’ve said before, watching this show inspired me to read the entire 12 book (sort of 13 book) series. This season looks even more exciting with the introduction of Cara, a Mord Sith who has allied herself with Richard. I would like them to go more into depth about how the Mord Sith are created as that is an interesting/terrifying story. Meanwhile, I’d also like to stop seeing scenes of the underworld. (For one thing, it’s depressing to think that no matter what type of life you live you are doomed once you die and for another, it’s just not a very well executed bit of imagery.) I’m looking forward to seeing what else they are planning since they have changed things enough from the books to leave you surprised by how things turn out while sticking to the heart and emotion of most of it. (And while leaving out a bit of the preaching.)

As you can see, I’m a real sucker for Fantasy (which would explain why I’m writing a fantasy book–currently 400+ pages in). Any shows you have some complaints or good news about?