Friday, August 19, 2011

What I'm Watching Now #7 (August 19, 2011 Edition)

Has it already been another week?  Amazing how time flies, when you've got nothing to do (but wish you did).  More summer TV seasons ended this week, and this post is going to start getting pretty small until September.  Let's go ahead and get to what I'm watching now.

Ratings Legend:

*Don't waste your time
**Some people may like it, but overall, it's not going to change your life if you watch it or miss it.  Shows between 2 stars and 3 stars are on the line of watchable.
***Solid, watchable show.  If I give something 3 stars, I think you can safely watch it, and usually enjoy it.
****You should definitely watch this show, at least once.
*****Why are you not watching this show?


Alphas (Syfy, Check local listings)****
Most recent episode rating-***.5

I'm only giving this episode 3.5 stars because it was an exposition episode.  I may have said this in a previous edition, but it appears the sides have temporarily been drawn.  The last two episodes have been a little aberrant, in that they haven't really focused on fully fledged Alphas (August 8th episode), or on an Alpha at all (this week's episode).  Part of what's been missing from the series is why these Alphas are working together.  We don't really have much back story, on most of them, so now the makers are starting to fill that in a bit. 

In the August 8th episode, we had Rachel's weaknesses on display with the "Love" Alpha (who may not have known he/she was an Alpha).  My speculation is that Rachel was just one of Dr. Rosen's patients, and that her Alpha skills were later discovered.  It doesn't seem she used her Alpha skills in ways that would have gotten her into trouble, unlike most of the others.  I also think Gary was one of Dr. Rosen's patients, whose Alpha skills were discovered in the process of helping him deal with his autism.  To sum up, Rachel and Gary were likely just patients whose Alpha skills were discovered in therapy, while the rest of the "team" actually used their skills in bad ways, or with bad consequences.

In this week's episode, we find out what got Bill in trouble with the FBI.  Evidently, another agent made him angry, and his fight-or-flight response kicked in to the point that he broke the other agent's clavicle upon pushing him into a wall.  Early in the episode Gary is left in the minivan by Rachel, being told to stay in the car.  Unfortunately for Gary, Rachel parked illegally, and a cop comes up to the minivan and starts asking Gary questions.  Gary is not known for dealing well with people, and ends up getting arrested.  Bill comes and gets Gary out, at which time, it is discovered that Gary has seen a kidnap victim using his Alpha skills.  Bill sees this as a potential opportunity to get back into the FBI, and takes Gary along with him.  There are many screw ups along the way, and the show is basically used as a basis of explaining Bill's particular issues inside the FBI.  It's just an exposition show, for the most part, and no Alpha skills, other than our heroes', are on display.  The Bill and Gary story was a lot of fun, and it was nice to see their interactions, especially since they are now considered "partners" in this episode.  However, since there wasn't anything deeper going on (for the first time in the series), I think it deserves a little less praise than the previous episodes.  It's still an episode very worth watching.

The Closer (TNT, 9pm EDT)****
Most recent episode rating-****

Remember how I've been giving each TNT Monday night cop show block a title?  Well, this week's title is "Sex Offender Monday".  This episode is really fortunate to get the 4 star rating, because this show was really off the wall zany.  Nearly every scene had a comedic bit in it, and proves, once again, that this series just does not take itself seriously.  Maybe that's part of its charm, but I wish it would tone it down a bit. 

This week, Brenda gets a lawyer in her civil suit.  Lawyers are 'spensive, and Brenda takes every opportunity to bemoan the fact that she needs a lawyer, and has to pay a $25,000 retainer, when she feels she has done nothing wrong (she has, trust me).  Here is an example of one of the many instances that shows her contempt for what she's going through.

Gabriel: Nice dress, by the way.
Brenda: Really? Does it make me look like the Queen of England?  Cuz that's how much money you need to be a police officer these days.

She will give a ton more of those type of quips, by the time the show is over.  She even goes as far to take away her husband's newspaper and cable TV, in the name of saving money for the retainer.  Behind the scenes, her husband uses money from an inheritance to pay the retainer, but tells the lawyer that he cannot tell her where it came from.  Hijinks ensue, in regards to this, and we are left to wonder what will happen when the city actually does come through with financial help.

The case revolves around a body being found in a retaining wall that was being built without a permit.  The body belonged to that of a sex offender who lived in the neighborhood.  The case is seriously easy to figure out, but there is A LOT of fun humor along the way.  One of the more entertaining scenes was when Brenda and her husband (unknown at the time to him) go to an open house of the suspect.  She says they are Doctors, and then proceeds to snoop all around the property, giving very lame excuses for what she's doing.  Even though it was more like a slapstick comedy than a cop show, I still found the episode quite enjoyable, and gave it 4 stars.

Rizzoli & Isles (TNT, 10pm EDT)****
Most recent episode rating-****

Much like Burn Notice, this series is really hard to write about.  I generally won't be able to give you a quote, because a lot of the lines aren't particularly funny, as written.  What makes them funny is how they're performed.  All I can say about this episode is that the ultimate reason behind what is going on is related to a sexual offense committed by a character in the episode.  It took a long time to get to this conclusion (I figured it out, though), but I knew the episode would have some relation to The Closer, and gave me the title "Sex Offender Monday"

One of the nice things about this episode is that they put Isles's humor on display.  One of the reasons I like her character so much is because she is, quite often, unintentionally funny.  However, this week, she was trying to be funny, several times in wildly inappropriate situations.  The best way I can describe her humor is with the old "Too soon?" that you should be able to get, when you think about it.  When she attempts her first joke, it is sort of laughed at, and Rizzoli asks her if she just told a joke.  Isles responds to her "Only if it was funny."  The case was a relatively small part of the episode, and that's what made the show work, once again.

The Big C (Showtime, 10:30pm EDT)***
Most recent episode-***

Darlene Hunt (the creator of the series) wrote this episode.  That usually means something big happens, and will need to be handled with tenderness.  In the first season, I might have emotionally attached to the situations that happened, but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to care how the stories turn out.  This episode had a lot going on, and a lot of it revolved around a Thanksgiving dinner.  If you've seen the series, you know the implication is that this could be Cathy's last Thanksgiving, even though we're given the idea that her treatment is beginning to work.

Paul makes a bad decision, two relationships intensify, one relationship is blown up, and a huge thing happens at the end of the episode.  This episode is important to the story arc, if you've been watching all along, and shouldn't really be missed, even though it's not really anything special.


Memphis Beat (TNT, 9pm EDT)***.5
Most recent episode rating-***.5

This episode was the season finale.  I hope it's not the series finale, because the show gets pretty good ratings.  The ratings are better than Franklin & Bash, which was picked up for a second season, so I really would be shocked if this show were canceled.

This week's episode featured a Hatfield and McCoy type story line, or should I say...?  Nah, you'll have to figure out the rest, on your own.  There are lots of little funny scenes in this episode, but I have to say my favorite is when Sutton is confronted by Dwight's "girlfriend".  It is an exterior scene, and it was played for lots of laughs.

HawthoRNe (TNT, 10pm EDT)**
Most recent episode rating-*.5

A few weeks ago, I was talking about crying myself to sleep since Franklin & Bash had ended for the summer season.  I have the exact opposite reaction to HawthoRNe ending (hopefully forever).  I'll give a brief synopsis of the season finale, below, but if you are looking for more about the episode, please read the post directly below this one, about the final scene of the season finale.  I had to torture myself watching it, and writing it, so please, do me a favor, and read what I wrote.

Here's the brief synopsis of the season finale of HawthoRNe:

:Wake up:  "Isn't this supposed to be the season finale?" (30 minutes in)
BOOM! (55 minutes in)

Good riddance (hopefully)!!!


Necessary Roughness (USA, 10pm EDT)**
Most recent episode rating-***

Surprisingly, this episode was pretty decent.  It's been awhile since there's been a decent one.  Maybe it's because it went to a 4 story line format, as opposed to the usual two.  Maybe it was because there wasn't the relationship friction caused by the recently introduced love interest to the trainer that was going on between her and Dani.  Maybe it's because we realize that T.K. KNOWS he can't get away from Dani.  Maybe it was the goofy golf story line.  I don't know, but it seemed like one of the better episodes in the series.  Things are clearly leading down a path to the summer finale, now, and we just have to see if it builds enough dramatic tension to make it worth watching.  I have a feeling this series can get at least that right.  

As I have said, before, this series usually throws in one good nugget of a comedic line, even though that had been missing in every episode since my ratings downgrade.  Again, it was the Coach of the football team who had the line that was so quick, you may have missed it if you weren't paying attention.  I was, so here it is:

Coach:  "We're losing our crap faster than a goose on an all bran diet."

State of Georgia (ABC Family, does it really matter?)*.5
Most recent episode ratings-**

The summer finale episodes were two of the best episodes in weeks.  They were so good that I can confidently say that if you saw them, you didn't see much, and if you missed them, you didn't miss much.  I was thinking about writing a blog post about what went wrong with this series, but it's too simple to write something with substance.  

This series failed because the plots were written like Georgia and Jo were college students, and, in addition to that, the plots were just plain dumb.  Georgia is a grown woman, and Jo is a PhD candidate, if I'm not mistaken.  Maybe the writers of this series should have watched the whole series run of Friends to find out what kinds of issues people have in the transition from the college world, to the real world.  Instead, they took what should have been a very solid series, and made it nearly unwatchable.  The series was at its best when there was more than just a focus on Georgia and Jo.  The best characters on the show were Honey, Jules, and the Physics geeks.  I didn't really like the hyped up ego and hypersexuality of Georgia's character.  It just didn't really make much sense, and actually made me like the character less than I probably should have.  

Raven's so great as a comedic actor, and it's a shame she allowed this show to go where it went.  She did the best she could, but it's hard to polish a turd.  This may have sounded like an obituary for this show.  That's because if this show comes back, ABC Family is making a BIG mistake.  Expect it to be canceled, very very soon.

I will say this, though, this show could have a potentially successful spin off featuring Honey and Jules.  There's just no way it could be put on ABC Family, since it would be featuring old people.  Come on TV Land, TV One, BET, or CW.  Step up, and make that happen. ;) 

I'll even give the name of the series for free:

Honey's Jules (if you saw the season finale episode, you will see why this title is perfect.)


Burn Notice (USA, 9pm EDT)*****
Most recent episode rating-*****

I can confidently say that the last two episodes in the series are my favorite episodes of all.  There were a ton of great episodes, in the last two seasons, as well, but these last two are priceless.  The cons that Michael Westen and friends do are so amazing.  It is hilarious watching them turn people against each other, and basically telling the people they are doing it to exactly what they are doing.  I think it goes to the adage of making it seem like you're lying to make people think you might be telling the truth.  This is an amazing show, and once they get all the stupid spy crap out of it, it could be one of the best P.I. type shows since The Rockford Files

Suits (USA, 9pm EDT)**** 
Most recent episode rating-****

Harvey finally meets his match, I guess.  There is a leak inside the law firm, and it's threatening to derail the class action lawsuit that the firm is working on.  A slick Boston lawyer, played by one of the leads of CHAOS (Robert Redford light, Eric Close), seems to have way too much inside information about the case.  Louis charges the associates with finding the leak.  Mike Ross drops a bunch of briefs off in Louis's office, that no one else will drop off, and inside those briefs is the "answer" to who the leak is.  

It's clear the Boston lawyer has loose ethics, and Harvey hires his own investigator to dig up dirt on what's going on.  Harvey is forced to make a decision that could ultimately make his clients win, but could make him lose part of his soul.  Tune in to one of the many repeats, in the next week, to find out what happens.

Thanks for reading. 

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