Friday, September 16, 2011

What I'm Watching Now #11 (September 16, 2011 Edition)

Here we are again, another week later, another brain filled with TV.  Several shows ended their seasons, and many network shows will be back, and new ones premiering, within the next week.  I don't think I'll be posting these until Sunday or Monday, once the full season gets going, because there is going to be too much to watch to get it all done by the weekend.  Buckle up, there's going to be a lot to cover starting in the next few weeks.  It sure is a good thing that TNT and USA got out of the way for a little bit, or this would be a pretty stressful undertaking.  Here is 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?

Mondays: 

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

Can I just say how much I loved this episode of AlphasToo bad, I already said it.  I hope you're not too worried about spoilers, or anything, when you read this, but I have to talk about a couple of things.  First of all, what do you think the chances are that Dr. Rosen is actually a bad guy?  Would it matter to you?  He's dropped a few lines and character affects in a few episodes that make me think this could be the case.  Even if he is a bad guy, I'm definitely still rooting for his team.  If Red Flag is the good guys, then effa Red Flag.  The other thing I'd like to talk about is the wildcards.  Throughout the series, so far, there have been a few Alphas whose allegiances have been made unclear.  These Alphas may be used on the other side, but I have a feeling each one of them will actually come in quite handy for Dr. Rosen's team, at some point in the future.  The series has been picked up for another season, which I think is going to lead to some very exciting story lines.  The three Alphas to keep an eye on are Marcus Ayers (from "Cause and Effect", episode 2), Skylar Adams (from "Catch and Release", episode 7), and someone from this episode.  I will not tell you who, because it would spoil a lot of the fun.  I loved this particular character, and it would be a crime if this character doesn't actually end up joining Dr. Rosen's team.

As for the episode, we find out that Bill's fight-or-flight Incredible Hulk response has been disabled, by his encounter with Jonas, in the last episode.  Bill is cool with that, but Dr. Rosen is decidedly not cool with that, and is going to try to help him get his Alpha ability back.  We are shown an interrogation room that has been set up to be able to disable Alpha powers, or at least make some kind of barrier between them.  A high risk prisoner is about to be transported to the office, and Dr. Rosen and his team are charged with holding him, and I guess finding out what he's all about.  The prisoner is blind, but his Alpha ability is quite spectacular, and has to do with sound.  As a sound guy, you know I loved this episode.  The wildcard is that there appears to be another "force" inside the building, as the prisoner is transported in.  The "force" causes all kinds of problems for the team, in the episode, and, during this whole time, we see little cracks forming in various areas of the building.  The prisoner is also a doctor, and he will have a very philosophical conversation with Dr. Rosen, regarding a form of "genetic engineering".  The series is at its best when Dr. Rosen is forced to be introspective about what he's really about.  It's why I think there is at least some possibility that he is a bad guy.  However, even if he is, I don't care, because I love him and the team.

I think this episode is basically a "set up" episode, and that if this gives us any idea of where next season is going, it should be quite spectacular.  The buzz is already beginning to go around that this show is better than Heroes.  I never watched that show, so I don't know.  All I know is that I love this series, and I'm extremely glad it got picked up for another season.  I don't know anyone, who's seen Alphas, that doesn't like it.  At least no one's telling me they don't like it.  So, it must be good, right??  I've put up a few polls about this series, to see if I can get a gauge of what people think.  There are a few more episodes left, before the end of the season, and I can't wait to see what happens. 

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

This week was the season finale of The Closer.  Brenda's case goes to court in hopes of obtaining a summary judgment.  I'm not a lawyer, so I think that means that the case sux or something, and they're going to try to get it dropped.  Brenda's lawyer is very confident he will win.  We think there's a leak inside of Brenda's unit, because Booger knows too much.  While at trial, Blackberries and iPhones start blowing up with communications.  One by one, everyone, there to support Brenda, leaves.  She eventually has to leave herself, because a Sheriff's Deputy has been shot.  I'm not going to give spoilers here, but remember what I said about The Closer.  It's a cop show at its dumbed down finest.  Do not try to zig or zag, this series just does not do that.  Their idea of convoluted is trying to make you figure out which candy Brenda's gonna take out of her desk drawer.  They could have taken this "case" in a lot of different directions, but this is The Closer, so they didn't.  They also couldn't resist the parallel between Brenda's case and this one.  In the summer finale, you will get resolution to Brenda's court case, and that's all I'm gonna say.

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

I didn't think there was a connection on TNT's Monday night lineup, this week, but it just hit me that there is.  We'll call this one, "Just When You Think It's All Over Monday".  We start out by having a guy stabbed as he is in a bathroom awaiting his release on bail, from jail.  There is just enough time for Rizzoli to get there and question the guy before he dies.  Unfortunately, due to security issues, and a-hole Warden issues, the guy dies before Rizzoli is able to question him.  While Rizzoli & Isles are examining the body, Jane's name (Rizzoli) is called by a spooky voice.  If you remember that I just started watching this series, this season, you will know that I have no clue about the back story of this, and I probably don't care.  It turns out that, in the bed next to the dead body, is a serial killer, a serial killer who had nearly killed Rizzoli.  He has cancer, and is on his death bed.  He proceeds to do a bunch of nonsensical rambling, giving the indication that he had "done a bad thing in 2005".  Isles thinks he's potentially delusional, but Rizzoli is genuinely spooked.  I won't spoil any of the rest, but it had a lot of nice convolution (Hey, The Closer, are you paying attention? No, you're done after this season, anyway, and you don't care? Okay, fine.).  I like this series a lot, and I can officially say that I will be back for next season.  My wife, who was highly resistant to the series, at first, also really likes it.  Angie Harmon, you have turned a corner, and my hate for you is now only mild dislike.  Stop with the goofy forehead expressions, and my perception of you might be neutral. ;)

The Big C (Showtime, 10:30pm EDT)*** 
Most recent episode rating-**.5

I just realized I forgot to write about this.  It must have been really forgettable.  Paul is apparently going to become addicted to cocaine.  Other than that, I don't really remember much.  I don't want to spoil the other big thing that happens...

Wednesdays:

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

I'll start out by saying that there is good news for any actual Necessary Roughness fans.  The series has been renewed for a second season.  If it's not a lot better than the first, there probably won't be a third.  This series needs some serious re-tooling, and the season finale gave us no indication of what that might be.  I was kind of shocked to find out that my dear friend, from college, Hope A., loves this series.  I asked her why, and she didn't respond.  Are you embarrassed to say why, Hope?  Don't be shy...I love you, and it won't change my opinion of you even one bit.  I think a lot of the appeal for this series comes from the way it is constructed.  I had sort of thought about it in prior episodes, but it really hit me when I watched the season finale.  The series is constructed like a more convoluted soap opera.  As the series has gone on, the writers are getting more bold with the addition of story lines.  Unfortunately, for the viewer, the extra story lines are often terrible, and unnecessary.

I've already gone on about how much I hate the way this series is dealing with the football aspect.  Because they can't get attached to a real team, the series just rings hollow.  When you factor in that the Hawks are now making a playoff run, it gets even worse.  The good news is that the season finale was after the first playoff game.  This series totally would have tried to have the Hawks win the Super Bowl, because it is just that creepy and weird.  The episode ended with a truly WTF? cliffhanger, that was very similar to how House ended, last season.  I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that this series does not go away from why it was started.  Dani had a struggling Psychology practice (on the heels of her pending divorce, and needing a lot of extra cash flow), and was given the opportunity to be the team Psychologist for the Hawks.  This will always need to be an underlying premise on the series, and if they go away from this, there will be big trouble for the series.

I'm not going to talk about the episode, this time around, other than to give you a list of all the story lines that were in it.  If I counted right, there were ELEVEN story lines.  That's a huge amount for traditional scripted TV.  Please feel free to add any that I have missed.  I will give a shout out to T.O. for his performance in the episode.  Some of the trash talk he spat at T.K. was pretty funny.  I'm sure they were used on him, throughout his playing career.  My favorites were "T-Bag" and "T-Cup".

Story lines on the season finale of Necessary Roughness

1. The Hawks have a playoff game
2. T.K. having anxiety attacks over a cornerback (played by T.O.) who has thoroughly gotten in his head
3. T.K. relationship with Vivica
4. Dani's kids in relationship to the playoff tickets
5. Dani's divorce papers signing's effect on the kids
6. Nico being asked to dig up dirt on the Hawks's Owner's wife
7. Nico being involved with Owner's wife
8. The unanswered question of whether the Owner's daughter is really Nico's child
9. Nico needing "therapy" from Dani
10. Dani and Matt's potential relationship 
11. The post playoff game

My only comment about this episode is that they better not get rid of Nico.  I'm really only watching this series because of Callie Thorne and the Nico character.  Callie is so ke-yoot, and Nico is an awesome character.  There are a bunch of other castings I like in the series, but it just comes back to these two reasons.  I'm sure I'm not the only person watching the series for these two reasons.  Why else would so many people be watching such a mediocre show?  Also, here's my suggestion to the writers of this series.  The kids are so unhappy staying with Dani, so why don't you just ship them off to stay with their dad?  The kids are THE worst characters on the show, and I wish they would just go away.  I hope next season is a lot better than this season, because the series does have potential.  Right now, it's just bland, boring, and average on so many levels.

Up All Night (NBC, 8pm EDT)**.5
Most recent episode rating-**.5

You've (not) read my write up on the series, but this is where you can visit to get the weekly rundown.  This is where I officially tell you my star rating, and the series is currently rated at 2.5 stars.  I don't think it's worth skipping, yet, but I certainly wouldn't give a full recommendation to watch it.  The Pilot was right in between "probably good enough to check out" and "it won't change your life by missing or seeing it".  For a fuller version of what I thought of the Pilot, please click the link below:

UP ALL NIGHT: The Problem With A Good Lead In 

Free Agents (NBC, 8:30pm EDT)**.5
Most recent episode rating-**.5

Ending up squarely in the same boat as Up All Night, but for entirely different reasons, is Free Agents.  I see more potential with this series than I do for Up All Night, but this series has bigger problems to overcome, not the least of which is mediocre ratings, when nothing else was on.  The Pilot was pretty polarizing, but I'm willing to give it a few more chances to see if it turns into something good.  I firmly believe you have to do this with sitcoms, because there are often many cooks trying to spoil the broth, in regards to sitcom Pilots.  For a fuller version of what I thought of the Pilot, please click the link below.

FREE AGENTS: The Best New Sitcom To Premiere On NBC On Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 10:30pm EDT

That's it, for this week.  Next week, a bunch of stuff premieres, and there should be plenty to write about.  Please take the time to read my two write ups of Up All Night and Free Agents, if you don't mind.  Thanks for reading.

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