Monday, October 5, 2015

Last Week in TV - Week of Sept. 27 - Reviews / Episode Awards

Welcome back to Last Week in Review. With the onslaught of Fall TV, I am officially behind already. Thankfully I had a great group of people volunteer to write guest reviews for me. Thanks so much to Blue Star, Emma, Laura Markus, Missions, Swanpride, and Toni for being our next batch of guinea pigs. I very much appreciate it. Since we are still in the middle of pilot season, I decided to postpone the nominated episode until next week but I am very excited that it is Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which is tied with Buffy as the greatest Joss Whedon creation for me. I love this show! If you have a show you would like me to review, simply fill out the form below. If you have any questions about the nominating process or how shows are randomly picked each week, please sound off in the comments below. Don't forget to leave your episode awards for the week there too. Thanks to everyone who kept the discussion going last week. It was fun chatting with you about TV again. Until next time, happy viewing.

Show of the Week

The Blacklist - 3.01 - The Troll Farmer

The Blacklist is a show I generally marathon because of its slow overarching mytharc and general lack of answers. It's in marathon that this show sizzles. That being said, I couldn't wait to see Liz on the run and it really paid off. Many times I have a problem with how hypocritical Keene can be but now that she's on the run that is all taken away. It puts Reddington and her on a more equal footing and that's great for their interaction. I also like how Ressler is getting a bump up in leadership as well. While I'm not a fan of him believing the worst in her, it makes the interplay between them more intricate and fascinating. Real kudos though goes to Aram, who never gives up faith that Liz is innocent. Here's hoping that he gets more screen time this season because he and Navabi are often shafted. Another plus to this episode was the blacklister himself. I find information warfare through social media fascinating. It really brings home that nothing on the internet can really be trusted. Mostly though, this is my Show of the Week because of the fantastic pacing.

Grade: B+

Wish List:
1. Answers to the big questions come faster and throughout the season, not just at the end
2. More Aram and Navabi, preferably out in the field
3. Liz and Ressler need to be less of hypocritical douches (more sympathetic)
4. Don't clear Liz's name right away but let it stir character development
5. Keep the interesting criminals (Check)

Best Reason to Watch - Liz on the run keeps her from being hypocritical
Best Scene / Best Action - Dembe takes down everyone
Best Change - Liz as a blonde works, although I do prefer the brunette look on her
Best Plan - Lizzie goes to the Russian consulate
Worst Plan - Lizzie admits to being a Russian spy in front of Ressler and Navabi
Best Update to a Classic Speech - instead of searching every farm house and hen house, Ressler wants to search every Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit thread
Biggest Backstabber - Reddington gives up the Troll Farmer to Ressler
Worst Move - threatening Dembe's family
Most Charming - only Red can make a woman feel special while locking her in a bathroom
Most Ingenious Crime - information warfare through social media
Most Competent - Liz for finding a perfect new place to hide / Navabi for outing Ressler on helping Liz escape
Most Interesting Storyline - What do they want from Dembe?
The "Say What?" Award - I thought Dembe's daughter was blind. How could she describe him like that?
The "What the Heck" Award - Ressler just pops the gangbanger who is holding Navabi hostage. Frankly, I expected Navabi to save herself but Ressler didn't give her any time.
The "Come On Guys" Award - You didn't immediately suspect something when a car trailer was in front of them? That's the first place I would have looked. No more watching The Following for you.
The "You Must Die NOW" Award - anyone who threatens an infant must die
The "Be Careful What You Wish For" Award - that body double is way too big of a Reddington fan

Best Quotes -
1. Reddington: "Chin up, Chang. Believe in yourself and others will too." Chang: "What is that? Another one of your dumba** literary quotes." Reddington: "Fortune cookie."
2. Navabi: "They can't just disappear." Aram: "It is Mr. Reddington."
3. Ressler: "So that's what this is about. You knowing that I'll find her and giving me a blacklister in exchange for when I do." Reddington: "No, it's not a trade or a bribe or an offer of payment in kind to entice you to look away. I admire your probity too much for that." Ressler: "So what do you want cause you only give to get?" Reddington: "All I want is your word as a man of honor."
4. Ressler: "If they get out of this city, we're going to be hunting ghosts."
5. Reddington: "You have every right to be afraid. Just don't let it control you."

Guest Reviews

Criminal Minds – 11.01 – The Job

By Emma

I loved the S10 finale but I was a little concerned that the season 11 premiere would be a bit underwhelming in comparison since everything was wrapped up when we went on hiatus. I needn’t have been worried though as the writers used the opportunity to take a different approach to introduce us to the newest member of the BAU. Having Dr Lewis’ traditional interview interrupted limited the exposition on how great Dr. Lewis is and instead used the COTW as a working interview to show us her talents and how seamlessly she fits in with the team. Kudos to the writers for mixing it up and taking a different approach to a new character’s introduction. This episode also had great little moments: sassy Rossi, Garcia/Morgan love, and a glimpse of JJ and her new baby (played by AJ Cooks’ real life newborn). The COTW was pretty standard fare for Criminal Minds but it also seems to be setting up a season long arc with the serial killer network. My only concern with this arc is that Morgan seems to be particularly bent on bringing them down which could be setting the stage for Shemar Moore to leave the show. All in all, a very solid premiere for a show starting its 11th season!

Grade: A-

Best Reason to Watch – Dr. Lewis’ (Aisha Tyler) character introduction
Best Scene – Dr. Lewis pretends to be the Captain’s wife to relay to him the BAU plan without tipping off the Unsub
Best Character Interaction – Garcia and Morgan
Best Example of Art Imitating Life – JJ talks on the phone with Hotch about the difficulties adjusting to life with two kids (AJ just had her second child in July, who is shown onscreen as JJ’s new son)
Best Improvisation – When the police interrupt your original plan to murder someone, glue a grenade to their hands instead.
Best Reason Not To Hire a Hit Man – Assuming one actually needs a reason, how about they will kill anyone, including former clients
The “Welcome Back Award” – Jose Zuniga from film and TV (think Mark Sheppard, only Honduran) and Aisha Tyler of The Talk and Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Best Quotes:
1. Reid: “Windows in both residences were tampered with so he knows how to get in and out undetected.” Garcia: “Ok, that’s impressive because aluminum foil is super crinkly.”
2. Hotch: “Keep sending the baby pictures.”
3. Morgan: “Let me get this straight. You put a hit on a hit man but you went cheap?”
4. Garcia (to Dr Lewis): “Penelope Garcia. You’re marvelous.” (To Hotch) “She’s maaarrrrvelous”.
5. Dr Lewis: “2 am is my jam.”

Dominion – 2.13 - Sine Deo Nihil

By Blue Star

This was probably the busiest season finale I’ve ever watched. So much happened that it took three views in order for me to be able to write up this review. I loved that Alex had such a great display of power evicting all those 8 balls at once, and that this episode had so many important reveals from why Michael didn’t fully trust Noma to where Lucifer has been waiting all this time for his body to heal. I have a love/hate relationship with the flashbacks since they changed so much of what was previously said and diverged greatly from Legion (the reason why I checked out this show in the first place). But they were really great scenes. After everything that has happened, this show really needs a Season 3, especially since Lucifer is coming!

Grade: A

Best Reason To Watch - This episode is jammed pack with shocking reveals, action, and heartbreak
Best Scene - Noma reveals her new wings and in turn, her darkest betrayal
Most Shocking - Claire dies
Most In Love With Monologuing - Julian who keeps making long villainy speeches with no one else around. He must really like to hear himself talk.
Least Trustworthy - Noma who betrayed Gabriel, Michael, and now Alex
Biggest Ret-Con - Michael lied in 1x03 about how Charlie died to hide the fact that it was Noma who killed her. (And again, Legion is most definitely not a part of canon anymore.)
Biggest “Aw” Moment - Michael holding baby Alex. I can check that off my flashback wish list.
Biggest Relief - Gabriel is finally free of the darkness and wants to help Michael save Alex. Oh, how I missed your character growth Gabriel.
The “Survivalist” Award - David, you really are a cockroach. What does Duma want with you?

Best Quotes -
1. Gabriel: “A burial at sea doesn’t resurrect. You don’t add water and bingo - get another Lucifer.”
2. Noma: “From this day forward, the Chosen One and I are bound. My life for his. Forever.” Gabriel: “Word of advice, brother. She turned on me. How long before she betrays you?”
3. Alex: “I’m no leader. I’m not special. I’m just a man. But I can promise you one thing, if we join together we’ll kill every one of those black-eyed monsters, until we either take back our home or we burn this God forsaken city to the ground.”
4. Julian: “Haven’t been this close to oblivion before. Having my death so near I could reach out and touch it. In this time, like all those other times, I remember. I remember the whispers I heard in that dark place. Yeah, hearing my brothers and sisters, the lower angels beseeching me to fight, to hope, to believe there will be more. That you’re not alone. In a world where the tyranny of rank means nothing, where there’s no eye looking down in judgment, there’s no father to classify us, to put the few above the many, here we’re all kings. Here we can revel and rule. Do you see the future that I do and our place in it? Because I tell you my brothers and sisters, that this is just the beginning! You’re not alone.”

Heroes Reborn - 1.03 - Under the Mask

By Laura Markus

I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. I'm growing a bit anxious waiting for Hiro, Mohinder, and Matt to appear in an episode, though. But I imagine when they do, I will enjoy it quite a bit. Poor Molly, it hurts so much to see her get tortured. Come to think of it, a lot of women got beat up in this episode. Hmmm. Luke getting a power was really interesting to me. The irony will no doubt be a huge factor later on, and I can't wait to see Joanne's reaction. Quentin and Noah seriously need a buddy cop movie. Their chemistry is awesome! And their scenes are nothing short of great. I hope Tommy and his mom are okay. Still missing some of the older faces, and I'm still in denial about Rene but it was a good episode. I hope they can keep it up.

Grade: A-

Best Reason to Watch - All the different people using their powers. The wide variety of talents and skills people have make for interesting television.
Best Scene - Luke, after cooking his steak, realizing he has a power. Maybe they'll do a callback to Ted from the original series?
Funniest Scene - Quentin using his gunshot wound to allow Noah to knock out the man guarding Molly.
Most Ironic Scene - Luke, after hunting people with powers for a year with his wife, finding out he has a power.
Biggest Tease - Noah watching the security footage and realizing Hiro was there with him travelling through time.
Worst Special Effects - The "spirit" helping Malina with her power is supposed to be invisible, yet the effects clearly show her being there.
Most Unsettling Moment - Tommy and his mom getting into that car accident.
Biggest Question Raised - Aside from the obvious, "Is Claire really dead?", why is Molly so afraid of Noah? What did he do to her that would make her rather get tortured from Renautas?

Best Quotes -
1. Quentin: "I know we gotta get going, man, but I think I need to go to a hospital." Noah: "I told you I'd sew you up when we stop for gas." Quentin: "What, with like dental floss? Come on, man! I've been shot!"
2. Molly: "You really think they wanted your boyfriend to stay behind? They're gonna kill him. And if they don't, that's worse. Doing god knows what to him while they try to figure out how to turn his powers into a friggin' app. You got him killed. And now you're gonna do the same to me."
3. Quentin: "Aw, man. Now that we made it inside the Death Star on time, what do we do now? Huh? I can't exactly go in there and start showing my old Renautas ID, while you sneak Molly past security! What are we gonna do?" Noah: "Sorry." Quentin: "For what?" [Noah punches Quentin in his gunshot wound.]
4. Luke: "God, why is this happening to me?"
5. Anne: "You're not leaving this house tonight." Tommy: "Yeah?" Anne: "Yeah." Tommy: "Watch me."

Once Upon a Time – 5.01 – The Dark Swan

By Missions

The hiatus felt like forever and I was all kinds of excited to watch the highly anticipated fifth season opener of the fan favorite Once Upon a Time. Fortunately, it did not disappoint and was among my favorite returning shows’ premieres. In my opinion, it felt like the old Once Upon a Time, which I found brilliant due to my profound love of the show in its earlier seasons. Many different stories were being told in the premiere which the writers mastered very well. It continued right where it left off last season, with Emma sacrificing herself and unfortunately therefore turning dark. The writers and directors executed this very well and did a very fine job at balancing all these different yet interesting storylines. We were introduced to both Merida, who by the way has the coolest accent, and the new Camelot characters and their whole storyline in general. In Storybrooke we saw how everyone was dealing with Emma’s sacrifice and the viewers could clearly see the impact it had on every single character. In addition to that, we saw how Emma started turning dark, being taught by the one and only Dark One, and thus started to do really bad things. However she was thankfully stopped before she could actually cross some lines. Well, that is what I thought before I saw that last scene which was absolutely brilliant. Flash-forwards seem to be working extremely well this season! I am really curious to see what happened in the six weeks that let Emma turn dark in the end and why everyone but Emma forgot everything that happened in that time period. So, overall it was a very good premiere with a mixture of comedic elements, great dramatic moments and mysteries with the intention to build up storylines for the season.

Grade: A-

Best Reason to Watch - the show has really gone back to its roots and storylines are really starting to relate to each other, which they always have, however this time the writers seem to be doing it even better.
Best Scene - the flash-forward at the end of the episode, presenting a fully “dark” Emma. / Finding out that the dagger of the dark one is a missing piece of the Excalibur, showing that the Camelot storyline has always been connected to Rumpelstiltskin's.
Best Character Development - without a doubt, Emma. Everything that happened in the episode developed her character, the end in particular of course.
Best New Character - Merida of course! She had one of the coolest accents and I am really looking forward to dig deeper into her back story.
Best Cinematography/ Photography - the scene when they show King Arthur and his knights riding through the hills and through the forest. Beautiful!
Most Annoying Character - I still cannot sympathize with Henry. There is something I just hate about him and this episode certainly did not help.
Funniest Character - this goes to Regina with her hilarious and unique one-liners
Most Cringe Worthy Scene - when everyone goes to the Enchanted Forest to go save Emma – it was a bit too rushed in my opinion and therefore seemed unrealistic. / Zelina cuts off her hand and attaches it again with the use of magic which looked very fake
Worst CGI Effect - the scene when everyone enters Camelot – Once Upon a Time really needs to work on its visual effects. The Camelot they showed, looked like a version on the Wii or another video game.
Storyline I Am Most Looking Forward To - finding out why Emma became dark/ Finding out what the connection between Camelot and Rumpelstiltskin is and why he has the end of Excalibur/ Discovering Merida’s back story

Best Quotes -
1. Emma: “There’s no savior in this town anymore.”
2. Regina: “It’s not like she rode off on a unicorn. She got sucked up by a vortex of evil.”
3. Merida: “In my land, people, well men, don’t think a woman can lead." Emma: “Oh not just in your land!”
4. Leroy: “Twister!” Snow: “It’s okay, we summoned it!”

SHIELD - 3.01 - Laws of Nature

By Swanpride

The first two seasons of Agent of SHIELD were pretty much a very, very, very drawn out origin story. Consequently, my expectations towards this season are very high. After everything which was set up, it is time for some pay-off. Therefore it is a good thing that the episode jumps immediately with both feet into the action and delivers a season opener, which had me immediately on the edge of my seat. The downside of this set-up is that when the show then starts to catch up with the characters (minus May, who hasn't returned from her vacation yet and Ward), it really slows the episode down. For a while it seems like it would get bogged down in exposition - until the writers throw in some of their usual twists. Two I saw coming (Fitz is too smart to not plan for every eventuality, and the set-up in the subway smelled to much like a trap for Coulson not to be prepared). Two I honestly didn't. It was a nice surprise that Bobbi and Hunter are on the same page concerning their dysfunctional relationship after all, and quite a paradigm shift to realize that this shadowy, dangerous organization is not responsible for killing Inhumans left and right. The advertising for the show took great care to reveal next to nothing about what is coming, so hopefully, there are a lot of unexpected turns in store for the audience. In the end, the highest praise I can give a show is calling it unpredictable. One thing is for sure, Simmons lost on an alien planet is a nice little stinger for next week.

Grade: B+

Best Reason to Watch - More twisty than a ball of wool after a bunch of hyperactive kittens played with it
Best Scene - Skye (ooops, sorry, Daisy) and Mack extracting Joey
Best Character Interaction - Daisy and Mack make a surprisingly good team
Best Prop - Look, it's the Tardis!
Best Addition - Awww...the Helicarrier and the Bus had a baby! Love the new plane
Best Casually Thrown in Detail - Joey is apparently gay...yeah for more diversity
Best Effects - Every scene in which an Inhuman uses his or her abilities
Biggest Head Scratcher - Why exactly is Bobbi working in the lab? Yes, she is still recovering, but she is a trained field agent, not a scientist
Most Heart-Breaking: Fitz screaming at the monolith
The "Welcome Back" Award - President Ellis. Surprising that you are still in office after everything which has been going on during your tenure, but your presence is a nice reminder that this show is part of a larger universe.

Best Quotes -
1. Mack: "Believe me, she is the muscle."
2. Some goon: "We speak English, but you do not speak Arabic."
3. Fitz (after a terrorist offers him his life in exchange for opening a suitcase): "No Deal"
4. Coulson: "Wait, is that still KGBanter or are we being honest all the sudden?"

New Shows

Blood and Oil - 1.01 - Pilot

Blood & Oil was the new drama I was least looking forward to watching. Growing up in the 80's with Dallas/Dynasty/Falcon Crest, I learned that backstabbing families get old quickly. Besides, I already watch Empire. Therefore it surprised me at how easy this was to watch. It had very little exposition as much of the pilot was show instead of tell. That's a welcome relief since so few pilots master that. It also means that the pacing was supercharged. Maybe a little too much given that the rags to riches story happened in 1 episode. I'm sure there's more rags to come but it did lead to nothing dragging here. Of course the majority of characters are despicable and that will likely be the reason I drop it in the future but for now it's a nice surprise. I'll watch a couple more episodes and see where it's going. Besides that was one heck of a cliffhanger.

Grade: B
Ranking - 4
Audience - it's obviously made for those who like nighttime soaps but it should also interest gamblers and those who like big stakes where fortunes turn on a dime

Best Reason to Watch - a lot goes on in the pilot so there is no exposition overload
Best Character - Cody
Best Actor - Don Johnson
Best Character Interaction - Billy and Cody
Best Scene - Billy and Cody negotiate with Hap and Darla
Best Cliffhanger - everyone in an oil-based fire, even though none of these characters are dying here
Best Negotiating Team - Billy and Cody, who talk Hap out of $1,100,000
Best Awww Moment - Billy toasts to his wife
Least Enviable - being Sheriff of the chaos
Least Surprising - Cody is pregnant
Most Sassy - Cody announces the douche who's trying to pick her up is there for hemorrhoid cream
Biggest Mom - Cody and her seatbelt warnings
Biggest Optimist - Billy, who after every screw up and bad luck, says they're okay
Biggest Realist - Cody, who sees the bills in the optimism
Biggest Ouch - Hap tells Wick he's never been proud of him
Biggest Douche - Wick, the dumbest spoiled brat around
Worst Choice - skimping on the insurance
Worst Place to Live - Boomtown, which makes the Wild West look tame
Worst Driver - Billy, who totals 2 cars in 35 minutes
The "Say What?" Award - Billy promises he'll do anything to take care of Cody, but it's Cody that found them a place to live AND is bringing home the bacon
The "Being Nice Pays Off" Award - the Eze's help Billy and Cody when they first get to town and when Billy and Cody strike it big, they invest in a restaurant for the Eze's
The "Welcome Back" Award - Don Johnson of Nash Bridges, Miami Vice, and the 80's / Chace Crawford from Gossip Girl / Rebecca Rittenhouse from Red Band Society / Scott Michael Foster from Greek and Zero Hour / Justin Bruening from Ringer and The Messengers

Best Quotes -
1. Darla (straightening the politician's tie): "You're a little crooked."
2. Wick: "What are the charges, Tip?" Sheriff: "Drunk and disorderly, disturbing the peace, and being a constant pain in the a**."
3. Cody: "Nice driving, Dale Junior."
4. Hap: "You think I'm gonna just toss you the keys to the kingdom and watch you drive it over the cliff?"
5. Jules: "Around here you've either got two jobs or two houses." Cody: "Yeah well, right now we don't have either."

Code Black - 1.01 - Pilot

I'm not a big fan of medical dramas, especially those in the vein of ER or the soapiness of Grey's Anatomy. I was only here for Marcia Gay Harden. While she delivered and the characters are already distinguishable (for the most part), the show was your typical overly stuffed trauma show. There's the close-ups of blood and vomit, the sickening crunch of bones being put back together, the narcissism and insecurity of the residents, and two hospital power punch storylines. We've got the baby born in less than ideal surroundings and the miracle of donor organs. Like the ER itself, this story runs like clockwork. There's the cowboy doctor (which they actually say in the pilot), the "by the book" doctor, the scared interns, and the sassy nurse. There's butting of heads, crises nearly averted, last minute saves, and a redeemed co-worker. Basically if you like medical dramas, especially those less interested in the characters' love lives and more interested in their medical prowess (thankfully), then this show is for you. If you never understood why ER was such a hit, skip it. Or better yet, just watch all the Jesse parts because he's awesome.

Grade: C+
Ranking - 2
Audience - people who like their medical dramas more gritty and less slutty…er, Doctor Sexy

Best Reason to Watch - there's about 3 episodes of story that races by in one night / Jesse and Taylor banter, which is the best of the week
Best Character - Jesse aka Mama
Best Character Interaction - Jesse and Rorish
Best Scene - Krista talks to Rorish about loss
Best Acting - Marcia Gay Harden after telling a little girl that her father is dead
Best Speech - Jesse's Mama speech
Best Cheerleading - Guthrie helping the residents feel better about their performance on the first night
Best Teamwork - Malaya talks Angus through his first life saving procedure of the night
Worst Sign - when you have to show your doctor where X-Ray is / when the director of the ER orders a barrel of morphine
Biggest Ewww - There is a lot to choose from in this episode but my biggest blech was straightening the guy's leg. Just no!
Biggest Awww Moment - You can have your traffic baby miracle birth. I'll take the stroke patient having the ability to tell his wife that he loves her again.
Most Heart Tugging - Ariel meets the girl who received her dad's heart
Most Common Sense - Taylor, who keeps the doctors from squabbling like bratty kids
Most Fun - Jesse sings "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler in Footloose
Least Smart - Both doctors decide to tell this child her dad is dead without waiting for someone she knows to be with her. They needed someone who speaks Child to be with her at least.
The "Say What?" Award - Who schedules the residents' first day on the busiest night of the week? That's some truly shoddy planning.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Marcia Gay Harden from the too-soon cancelled Trophy Wife and How to Get Away with Murder / Raza Jeffrey from Elementary and OUaT Wonderland / Benjamin Hollingsworth from Cult

Best Quotes -
1. Jesse: "Clearly you don't speak the native tongue of my people - sarcasm."
2. Jesse: "People come here for one reason and one reason only. To get one last miracle. Now in your mama's house there is a #1 rule and in order that you properly obey this #1 rule, ask me all the questions you think are stupid. Why? Because you're going to be too afraid to ask daddy. So better to ask me than to violate the #1, which is that you are not under any circumstances allowed to kill a guest in my house."
3. Taylor: "You put a patient into suspended animation. How's he doing? Has he reached hyperspace yet?"
4. Jesse: "Life lesson - when asked if you want to examine your patient some more, it's like being asked if you want a breath mint. The only answer is yes."
5. Taylor: "I have eczema. It itches like crazy. You don't care, right? You know these people here, they don't care about your problems either."
6. Jesse: "For the next 3 years, I'm your mama. I'm the senior ER nurse and I can promise you there's nothing that goes on in this house your mama don't know about. Try hiding something, your mama will find out. You think you're smarter than your mama because you got an MD…well, you are not. Your mama knows when you're lying, crying, or dying and it's not only my job to teach you right from wrong but to make sure you don't leave here in three years thinking you can do no wrong."

Dr. Ken - 1.01 - Pilot

Full disclosure - Chang is my least favorite character on Community, even more than Pierce. I wasn't sure if it was the character or the brand of comedy of the actor. Turns out it's the actor. Dr. Ken is all exaggerated hand gestures and body contortions set to a laugh track to let you know when it was supposed to be funny. For the record, it wasn't. Not even a little. Everything was transparent from the time his wife was revealed to be a therapist to the moment he started yelling his daughter's name at the club. Plus the secondary characters are so one-note, it's painful. Even when it bypasses the laughs and shoots for the heart, it comes up short. I agree with an united parent front but I don't care enough about the characters to feel much of anything except a need for the clock to move faster. Damona has potential as does Allison and Molly but even Albert Tsai struggles to be anything but annoying in this one. Given his past track record, that's the true crime. It's easy to see why ABC dropped this to Friday. Given the former goldmine of a comedy in Enlisted that also debuted on Friday, it's a shame that this drivel got decent ratings while the far superior Enlisted got shafted.

Grade: D
Ranking - 1+
Audience - those who loved Jeong on Community or those whose Friday night plans got scrapped at the last minute and half the cable channels aren't coming in clearly

Best Reason to Watch - What else are you doing on Friday night?
Best Character - Damona
Best Character Interaction - Allison and Ken, since they are mostly the only extended character interaction we got
Best Scene - jail scene with Allison and Ken
Best Potential - the women except for the screechy doctor
Biggest Saving Grace - at least it doesn't have puppets
Most Annoying - the patient who thinks he's right since he read WebMD
Most Whiny - Ken
The "Fran Drescher" Award - for the single most annoying voice currently on TV goes to…Julie, whose screechy child voice did me in by the second sentence she spoke.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Albert Tsai from my much missed Trophy Wife and guest stints on Benched and Fresh Off the Boat (good comedy taste there) / Ken Jeong from Community / Dave Foley from NewsRadio / Tisha Campbell-Martin from My Wife and Kids and Martin

Best Quotes -
1. Ken: "Dave, every kid does one thing in school that they're defined by and you really don't want yours to be mime because that is an invisible box that you cannot get out of."
2. Damona: "It is nice having a daughter who trusts you." Julie: "Thank you." Damona: "You know what else is nice? Having a daughter who's alive."
3. Hector: "Julie, no one wants to hear your valid point right now."
4. Ken: "What you're experiencing is not love. It's a massive release of serotonin and other monoamine transmitters in your bloodstream, whereas real love is a struggle. An unending chess match between two opposites, constantly jockeying for control of their children and each other. That is love." Clubber: "You are my spirit animal?" Ken: "Good luck with that."
5. Ken: "Kids don't need freedom. They need…oh what's the opposite of freedom? Duct tape."
6. Pat: "Damona, I know you want to have a diversity brunch but let's face it. You're in the minority. And I will give you 2 extra vacation days if you don't report that."

Grandfathered - 1.01 - Pilot

To be honest, I was interested in this show only because of John Stamos and Paget Brewster. I didn't expect to like it because it felt like it would lend itself to the bumbling bachelor stereotypes which usually depend on poop jokes and baby vomit for humor. Instead Jimmy is a fairly competent grandfather from the beginning. I mean he changes a diaper in the first episode with no peeing in the face or diaper sliding off when he stood the kid up. Who cares if it was the wrong kid? I really like that they aren't making parenthood seem like rocket science - changing a diaper isn't that hard. They focus on the emotional turmoil of parenting instead, including the fear that every little thing is urgent and every sniffle is life-threatening. Mostly though, there isn't a character that I hated or found ultra annoying. That is rare in most comedies today so for right now this show gets my early thumbs up. Here's hoping they continue to mix heart and laughs, especially if it looks to be heading down a typical trajectory of the long-lost lovers eventually coming together again.

Grade: B
Ranking - 4
Audience - those who like their comedy family based and full of both heart and laughs

Best Reason to Watch - it's funny but it's not stupid funny
Best Character - Sara, although I like Jimmy much better than I ever expected
Best Character Interaction - Sara and Annelise
Best Scene - Jimmy confronts Sara
Best Surprise - Jimmy isn't completely incompetent at being a grandparent until it comes to having the baby in the restaurant
Biggest Oops - Jimmy changes the wrong baby
Most Awkward - the father-son hug
Most Sympathetic - I have to side with Jimmy here. He can't be expected to just welcome a surprise son and his baby into his arms when it's sprung on him with no warning. Everyone needs time to process huge, life-changing events.
Most Clever - Sara makes Jimmy think that the doctor needs to know his personal info but she's really just snooping on his vanity
Worst Plan - ambushing someone at work to tell them they are your father
Worst Prank - locking the new guy in the freezer
The "Excuse Me" Award - While Jimmy wasn't smart to bring Edie to the restaurant, he's not near as irresponsible as NOT getting a competent babysitter for your kid so you can go out on a date. Gerald, you are the big suck of this equation.
The "I Think We'd Get Along" Award - Sara gets mad at Jimmy for pointing out the logic flaws in Kramer vs. Kramer. I'm with Jimmy here. Just because it's Hollywood doesn't mean common sense must fly away. Plus why sob when you can snark?
Least Surprising - Whenever a parent says the kid will be asleep the whole time so babysitting will be easy, it's a guarantee that it will not be. / Jimmy really loved Sara before.
Best Meta / Best Music - Wouldn't It be Nice by The Beach Boys
The "Welcome Back" Award - John Stamos from Full House and ER, Paget Brewster from Criminal Minds and Community, and Christina Milian from Snowglobe.

Best Quotes -
1. Sara: "Jimmy, I hope this goes well. I do and I hate being the scolding, protective mother stereotype so I hope I only have to say this to you once. If you hurt my son or his daughter, I will choke you to death with your own overly moisturized hands. Okay, gotta run."
2. Sara: "You look great by the way. Deal with the devil really paid off." Annelise: "Yeah, I'm on her side. She's awesome."
3. Jimmy: "Listen kid, I'm a 50 year old bachelor. We're society's most worthless people."
4. Jimmy: "Everyone, what's the one thing I've always said was missing from my life?" Annelise: "A linen pant that goes from the beach to the bar." Jimmy: "Yes and the search continues. No, I meant a family."
5. Sara: "Parenthood is pretty much an endless string of moments where you think you've killed your kid."

The Grinder - 1.01 - Pilot

I wasn't sure what to expect from this show but it sure wasn't a drawn out version of the two Rob Lowe's DirectTV commercials. No, there are not 2 of them in here but the one on screen is sufficiently hammy enough to feel like there are two. Fred Savage's character doesn't come off very well either, since he is often whining. In fact, the only character I didn't feel like Gibbs' slapping is Stewart's wife, who takes her husband's petty jealousies in stride and keeps trying to boost his confidence. I think the main problem with the pilot is that they were trying to make the brothers too different. Yes, brothers are different but they are the same in many ways too. By spending so much time on the fracture, they made each character unsympathetic and this show needs to audience to buy into what they are selling. After all, it's not like any of this makes a lick of sense. There is not one courtroom on the planet that would let someone who is NOT a lawyer, question a witness in an actual trial. It's ridiculous that anyone is taking Dean seriously at all. In the end, I want to like this show because of the actors in it but the characters keep getting in the way. This is likely a marathon later show for me.

Grade: C
Ranking - 3-
Audience - fans of Rob Lowe and Fred Savage who can suspend disbelief

Best Reason to Watch - Rob Lowe and Fred Savage are back
Best Character - Debbie
Best Character Interaction - Debbie and Stewart
Best Scene / Best Teamwork - Stewart and Dean win an eviction case together
Biggest Overacting - Dean
Most Ridiculous - that any judge on the planet would allow someone who doesn't have law degree to question a witness
Most Annoying - Dean's tendency to talk in lawyer-ese and sound bites ALL the time
Worst Hashtag - #TeenLife. Never tell a teen what they need to hash tag. They are better at it than you.
Worst Negotiation - Dean leverages Lizzie's boyfriend into hanging with her little brother. Just butt out, buddy.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Fred Savage from the excellent The Wonder Years and loads of directing / Rob Lowe from all my favorite Brat pack movies in the 80's / William Devane from 24

Best Quotes -
1. Prosecutor: "Um, I have a question? Have you ever talked before?"
2. Dean: "Albert Krantz is not a menace to society. He's a menace to intelligence because the man's an idiot."
3. Stewart: "You think being cute's going to make me forget the side character thing?" Debbie: "Is it a little bit?" Stewart: "A little bit, it is. It is. Yes, it's working surprisingly well actually. You're very good at this."
4. Dean: "Wow, turns out you didn't need the cards. You were able to hurt me right to my face. Congratulations counselor, I accept your deal. I will leave. Tomorrow. At first light." Stewart: "First light? Just say morning."
5. Prosecutor: "Objection, Your Honor. Dean Sanderson is not an actual lawyer." Judge: "Oh please, this is why we're here, Leonard." Prosecutor: "Seriously?"

Quantico - 1.01 - Pilot

To be honest, I would probably have liked Quantico better if it had premiered last week. As it is now, I am already what? 4-5 big conspiracies into the TV season? I'm getting conspiracy-ed out. The good news is that Quantico has more potential than several of the others and has already delivered more plot twists. It is also likely to be more serialized than say Minority Report or Limitless. Unfortunately I have no more faith that these writers have a satisfying end game than the others. Plus the acting, while decent, isn't as topnotch as Blindspot. The flashforwards and flashbacks go both ways. It does make the story more convoluted but it also allows for better pacing and more action intertwined. In the end though, the show's success will be determined by how sympathetic and interesting Alex remains. She's started off slowly but will likely emerge as a kick butt female and I'm all in for those. Therefore Quantico gets 2 more episodes before I decide whether it becomes weekly TV, marathon, or off the list completely.

Grade: C+
Ranking: 3-
Audience - those who like political/spy mysteries and conspiracy theorists

Best Reason to Watch - the mystery is complex enough to have several twists
Best Character - Shelby, who was most quotable and Nimah/Raina, who are the most mysterious
Best Character Interaction - Shaw and O'Connor
Best Scene - Eric flips out and kills himself
Biggest Double Cross - O'Connor has Booth spying on Alex
Biggest Douche - Caleb
Biggest Shock - one of the recruits commits suicide
Most Likely to be Evil - O'Connor, so he's probably a red herring
Least Likely to be Evil - Shelby, so she's got to be the terrorist / Alex, which would be a fantastic twist but is never going to happen
Least Auspicious Opening - 2 of the characters lie to each other and have sex in a car
The "Say What?" Award - Alex killed her father, who was a special agent
The "Are You Kidding Me?" Award - What the heck, Simon? You don't go into a stranger's room until they invite you. Knocking and opening the door before they even tell you to come in is beyond a social gaffe.

Best Quotes -
1. Shelby: "Gender neutral uniforms. A win for equality? I'm conflicted."
2. Shelby: "So what? We do really well here, best case scenario: we end up a sexless, heartless pontificating robot." Caleb: "Worked for Hilary."
3. Shaw: "I told you to pull it together." O'Connor: "And I told you I'd try." Shaw: "Remember I'm not your partner or your girlfriend anymore, and I'm not your friend. I'm your boss." O'Connor: "Hmm. You feel a little more like a warden, which makes sense 'cause this place feels like a prison." Shaw: "You got yourself into trouble, Liam. Not me. This is the last place I wanted to see you." O'Connor: "Then why bring me here?" Shaw: "So you could keep your pension and your pride and count down the clock with some semblance of dignity."
4. Alex: "That man - if he wasn't who I knew, who was he? Was he good? Was he bad? Was he both?"
5. Caleb: "I'm not coasting on anything, Taylor Swift."

Weekly Shows 

Blindspot - 1.02 - A Stray Howl

Blindspot is filling that Burn Notice-shaped hole in my TV schedule, except that Fiona would never have flipped the car. (I miss Fiona.) No show I watched had as many explosions or as much action this week as Blindspot and for that alone it has a spot on my weekly viewing calendar. It's the first new show of the season to get there. Again I thought Jaimie Alexander was a high point and Weller is growing as a character too. I even have sympathy for Reade, whom most of the fandom hates. What can I say? My logical brain agrees with him half the time. My only concern right now about the show comes from the pacing. Surprisingly, it's going too fast. If we really do know the identity of Jane by the second episode, this show is on hyper drive. Normally I would never think a show can go too quickly with its answers but I got burned badly last year by Sleepy Hollow. That show blew through 4 seasons of plot in the first season and therefore had nothing left in the barrel for the second one. For that reason, I really hope that Jane is not Weller's childhood friend. I can last a little longer to solve that mystery. Like maybe midseason.

Grade: B+

Best Reason to Watch - non-stop action
Best Scene - car chase
Best Action - Jane vs. Musgrave
Biggest Mystery - Who is Taylor Shaw?
Biggest Awww Moment - Weller finds Emily and carries her out as she hugs him
Biggest Woo Hoo - 9 minutes in and already one explosion and then another at 14 minutes and another at 24 minutes
Biggest Shock - Weller thinks he knows who Jane is already
Biggest Blindspot (pun intended) - Weller, who can't see past his childhood friend
Most Realistic - Jane worries about finding out that she doesn't like who she was in the past
Least Competent - Even if you can't understand the words, Jane, you do know he's yelling. That means something bad and you should prepare.
The "Are You Kidding Me?" Award - Why the heck would Weller tell his theory about Jane to his sister? Talk about jumping the gun.
The "Say What?" Award - Jane shot a nun! I don't buy it. She must have been evil
The "Sorry Fandom, but He's Right" Award - Reade brings up some great points about whether they should trust Jane's tattoos or even her already

Best Quotes -
1. Zapata: "He killed 10 innocent people this morning. Good guys don't do that." Jane: "You don't think good people ever do terrible things?" Zapata: "I think terrible people do terrible things and the good people stop them."
2. Reade: "How many civilians died?" Powers: "I'm afraid that's classified." Reade: "So a lot then."
3. Reade: "Well he didn't get that Silver Star for his charm."
4. Reade: "Oh I hope you know what you're doing." Jane: "Me too."
5. Jane: "What if I was a terrible person before all of this?" Weller: "I don't think you were, Jane. Whoever you were then, that's not who you are now." Jane: "How do you know?" Weller: "Your first instinct is to help people, Jane - the battered wife in Chinatown, Reade after the explosion today. You don't hesitate. You act and you do the right thing so I don't know what it is you're remembering or what the context is. I do think you're a good person."

Fresh Off the Boat - 2.02 - Boy II Man

One thing I really like about this season of Fresh Off the Boat is that Honey seems to have a bigger part. This is smart because as a foil for Jessica, it allows the series to showcase both perspectives. In turn, each character can smooth the other's rough edges. I thought that spotlighting the troubles of being not strict enough and being too strict was a great way to explore each character. It also lead to the best scene of the night, in which Jessica tries to comfort Eddie on his failed crush. What didn't work for me was everything else. There was far too much focus on Eddie here and his love life is the single least interesting thing about him. I find Nicole equally annoying so watching him moon over her is dead weight for me. Louis was also less interesting this time. It felt like they added this wanting a daughter subplot just so he had screen time. He's much better than that. I think their time would have been better served by allowing him to be a sounding board for Jessica's angst at losing control. That would have cut out the younger boys' lame scenes too. Plus the flashbacks, music videos, and dream sequences felt more like filler than a cohesive part of the story. The premiere was far more satisfying than this one but it was raised from a C simply because the Jessica and Honey scenes were so great. Let's see more of these.

Grade: B-

Best Reason to Watch - both Honey and Jessica grow as mothers and each have advice to offer the other
Best Scene / Best Awww Moment - Jessica talks to Eddie about her own broken heart
Best Character Interaction - Jessica and Honey
Best Dichotomy - the difference between how Jessica and Honey parent
Biggest Meta - Eddie stars in his own Boyz II Men video, complete with tormented chair sitting
Biggest Ouch - Louis' kids think they are too old for hugs
Most Bizarre - Mr. Fisher, who keeps bringing up his Asian wife for no reason
Most Spontaneous - Louis and the boys start singing End of the Road by Boyz II Men at the table
Most in Need of a Spanking - Nicole's dad for letting her rule the house like this. Be a parent, man!
Weirdest Filler - Louis' dreams of what it would be like to have a girl
Worst Alarm Clock - your mom pinching your nose so you can't breathe
Worst Reason Ever - because I said so
Saddest Statement on Society - even in the 90's they knew teaching didn't pay enough
The "Oh Jessica" Award - I'm not sure anyone else would think of Advanced Chess Strategy as a parenting book
The "I'm with You" Award - I find many of Geddes' kid flower/vegetable pictures disturbing

Best Quotes -
1. Jessica: "Why are Americans so obsessed with being friends with their children? I have no children friends." Honey: "Okay, sure but…" Jessica: "Look, your job isn't to be buddy-buddy. It's to do what's best for Nicole even if she doesn't like it."
2. Jessica: "Do you know what baby girls turn into? Teenage girls and Louis, trust me. Neither of us want that."
3. Jessica: "You know, I once had my heart broken too. When Oscar Cho dumped me in college, I was devastated. I thought I would never feel happy again. I lost weight; my grades suffered; I cut my hair. It was the worst 20 minutes of my life." Eddie: "How did you get over it?" Jessica: "I realized that life is a lot like chess. You can't win every game, but you also can't give up when you lose. You know if Oscar Cho hadn't dumped me, I never would have met your father." Eddie: "And I wouldn't be here." Jessica: "Exactly and that would be tragic. Like the 2,000 marching band scholarships that go unclaimed every year."
4. Jessica: "Children are never too old to be controlled. It's just like chess. Children are the pawns and you are the Queen, and as the Queen you control all the other pieces on the board. Then the King just stands around and takes credit for your work."
5. Jessica: "I thought you might like this alarm clock better. The lazy dog tells you when to get up."

How to Get Away with Murder - 1.02 - She's Dying

Another episode of H2GAwM and another power performance from Viola Davis. I swear the woman gets better every time. The saving grace of this episode was how many powerful scenes they put her in. It was hard to choose her best. In the end, I chose the scene where she tells Bonnie that she didn't save her. She poisoned her. I love that both Bonnie and Annalise alternate in being strong and that it gives hints as to why Bonnie is so subservient to Annalise. I hope they pursue Bonnie's background because it fascinates me. What made Bonnie damaged goods and how did Annalise come to know her? In many ways, this employer-employee bond reminds me of Scandal. I do need Bonnie to grow a backbone though because it is painful to see the way Annalise treats her in the previous scenes. Another great scene was seeing a vulnerable Annalise when she asks why Eve made the cross-examination personal. They did a good job with all the court scenes, especially setting up the prosecutor as Annalise's antagonist. I didn't expect to see a dead prosecutor in the final scene, that's for sure. Sadly Annalise couldn't be the whole show and the rest just dragged things down for me. I'm still not interested in anyone's sex life and I find Connor annoying instead of adorable like everyone else. Just shut up, Connor. Oliver is growing on me though. Not so much Rebecca's friend who is now stalking Michaela. He is as shady as they come.

Grade: B

Best Reason to Watch - Viola Davis power punching all the emotional scenes
Best Scene - Annalise tells Bonnie that Bonnie and interns all need to be saved FROM her
Best Character Interaction - Annalise and the prosecutor
Biggest Huh? - the prosecutor just lost one high profile case so they give her lead for an even bigger case?
Biggest Blabbermouth - Connor, who needs to learn when it isn't his secret to tell
Biggest Douche - Annalise
Biggest Mystery - Forget tabloid murder. I want to know why young John Winchester is hooking up with Michaela and how much he knows about Rebecca's "disappearance".
Most Righteous Anger - Nate, who keeps getting screwed over in this show
Most in Need of Shutting Up - Wes when he's rude to the landlord / Annalise with Bonnie
The "Say What?" Award - How is Oliver having unprotected rebound sex actually Connor's fault? Connor is a royal douche, yes, but Oliver makes his own choices too. I'm with Oliver on this one.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Matt Cohen aka young John Winchester on Supernatural

Best Quotes -
1. Annalise: "Now go home and don't kill anyone."
2. Annalise: "The point of this hearing was to present evidence against Mr. Lahey, not me. If that's not the case, then please charge me with my husband's murder. Though I'm guessing that hasn't happened due to lack of evidence. Instead your strategy has been to attack me with accusations and insinuations, making it very clear that this is not a preliminary hearing but a witch hunt and I did not put my hand on this court's Bible to be burnt at the stake. And especially by a petty, foolish, amateur prosecutor who doesn't deserve mine or anyone else in this court's respect."
3. Connor: "Good God, Waitlist. Just because there's no evidence that she killed the aunt doesn't make her dating material."
4. Oliver: "Hey buddy, you're not allowed to talk right now. Consider it practice for keeping your mouth shut."
5. Annalise: "You screw up again, you're gonna be the next dead body in this house."
6. Connor: "You want us, the real murderers, to go to the fake murderer's trial?" Wes: "Annalise would kill us." Laurel: "I'd kill you." Asher: "Why are we killing each other?"

Limitless - 1.02 - Badge! Gun!

Last week my biggest complaint about Limitless was that it was bent too much towards exposition at the expense of action. I still think that is a very real problem. There are far too many voiceovers trying to catch everyone up on Brian's breakthroughs and that very much slows down the pace. I realize that Limitless focuses on the cerebral but would it hurt them to add a chase scene every now and then? Even Perception had some action. Still it's good to see that the two FBI agents aren't checking their brains at the door so Brian can be the sole plot device. I like how they figured out the bomb chip in the bumper sticker on their own before Brian called them. It's part of what makes Harris the most watchable character so far. Brian sadly remains that obnoxious type of man-child, which I detest. If he doesn't start maturing soon, I will send this show to the "to be watched" pile, most likely never to be seen again. Currently I find him utterly without charm.

Grade: C+

Best Reason to Watch - Harris
Best Scene - Brian's dad tells him off for lying
Best Twist - the nurse that stitched up Brian's gunshot wound is treating his dad
Best Intuition - Harris with her car knowledge
Best Snark - Boyle
Biggest Loophole - Harris tells Brian to hire his dad as his lawyer so he can stop lying
Dumbest Plan Possibly Ever - First real day on the job and Brian demolishes a wall to escape. What. An. Idiot. Someone that smart should be able to figure out a plan that doesn't include destruction of public property.
Most Meta - Charlie Brown teacher voice
Most Annoying - all the voiceovers
Nicest Threat Ever - only Harris can talk about shooting Brian in one sentence and offer him bagels in the next
The "You're Not the Only Smarty Pants in the Room" Award - Just because Brian is on NZT doesn't mean that the others are dummies. Harris and Boyle already found the evidence Brian calls about.
The "Oh Heck No" Award - don't lie to your daddy, Brian

Best Quotes -
1. Amos: "Genghis Khan was not a good guy but I think it's a little late in the game for revenge, don't you think?"
2. Brian: "Listen you guys, it might have come to your attention that you work for a douche."
3. Dad: "There is something that you're not telling me and that's your prerogative because you're an adult but so am I and I am not going to play along when you're lying to me. You understand that?"
4. Naz: "He can do incredible things on NZT but he defines himself in opposition to institutions. I know the mindset. I raised teenagers and in the context of this department, it's dangerous."
5. Dad: "Listen Brian, are you sure this is what you want for yourself?" Brian: "It felt like an opportunity that…uh, I had no choice but to take." Dad: "That's very lawyerly of you."
6. Brian: "Wow man, you've got a morale issue. What's up, dude? Remember when you weren't going to jail 5 minutes ago. That was dope."

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, The 100, Grimm, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts The 100 "Red-Shirted", Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
Recent Reviews (All Reviews)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

How to Get Away with Murder - 1.02 - She's Dying - Best Scene Poll

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, The 100, Grimm, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts The 100 "Red-Shirted", Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
Recent Reviews (All Reviews)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Last Week in TV - Week of Sept. 20 - Pilot Edition - Reviews, Wish Lists, and Episode Awards

As fall TV returns, so does Last Week in TV. It's good to be back to discuss TV with you again. If you are new to the column, the gist is that each Monday I publish a short review of the shows I have watched complete with episode awards. I also review one show nominated by the readers. If you have an episode you'd like me to review, please fill out the short 2-question form below. I chose one episode per week via a random number generator. Feel free to nominate as many different shows as you want, but I only review a nominated show once per season unless it becomes part of my weekly schedule. That allows me to cover as many shows as possible.

One big change to the column is that this year, we will also have guest reviewers. (Thanks Sandi for the suggestion.) Last season I tried to review 15-20 shows a week, which became overwhelming so I've decided to cut back. Usually I will review to 10-12 but because this is premiere week and I try to review every pilot, this article is slightly longer. Still I would love to have a wide variety of shows covered so we're introducing Guest Reviewers. This week Blue Star has been generous enough to be our guinea pig and cover Dominion. Thanks so much, Blue Star! If you are interested in being a Guest Reviewer, simply fill out the form below and I will send you some more information. I'd love to include some shows not usually covered.

Episode of the Week:

Blindspot - 1.01 - Pilot

Thus far this is my favorite pilot. Jaimie Alexander sells the story of a woman with drug-induced amnesia who wakes up in Times Square covered in tattoos. Although I am not a fan of amnesia storylines, this one works because no one knows who she is and it becomes the central mystery for the show. It also helps that she is a kickbutt woman as shown when she takes down the abusive landlord and his armed lackey. Mostly though, I like how we got some answers even in the pilot. We know that Jane Doe was special forces, likely a Navy Seal, and that she gave her consent to remove her memories. If the show can continue to give out answers instead of just piling on questions, then I'll keep watching. It does run the risk of dragging the mysteries out too long though so it remains to be seen if this is a watch weekly or marathon type show. As for the pilot, the pacing was just right. There was no exposition overload, largely because no one knows what's going on, and the action was scattered throughout. The biggest kudos remain for the cast though. Jaimie Alexander was stunning especially. She has come a long way from Kyle XY.

Grade: A-

Ranking - 5
Audience - fans of The Blacklist or Memento and shows that have a center conspiracy to unravel

Best Reason to Watch - Jaimie Alexander's acting
Best Character - Jane Doe
Best Character Interaction - Jane Doe and Weller
Best Scene - Jane breaks down
Best Action - Jane takes down the abusive superintendent
Best Use of a Historic Landmark - fight in the Statue of Liberty
Biggest Mystery - Obviously the whole show is one big mystery and who Jane Doe is may be the biggest. Still my biggest question is who is the watcher guy who trained her.
Best Surprise - Jane agreed to having her memory erased
Least Surprising - once Jane asked them to take the suspect alive, it was guaranteed that he'd be dead by the episode's conclusion before he could give any useful intel
Smartest Plan - Jane shoots Chao in the arm instead of killing him
The "Say What?" Award - Why does the investigation into Jane Doe lead directly back to the FBI boss? What is in that redacted file?
The "Maybe There IS a Cone of Silence" Award - The FBI are right upstairs but they don't hear the massive fight Jane Doe is having below them, complete with window breaking. Either the FBI agents are selectively deaf or these tenement slum apartments have some awesome sound proofing.
The "Give It Up Already" Award - Weller keeps trying to get Jane to wait away from the action. It's not going to happen, buddy. Just deal.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Jaimie Alexander of Kyle XY and the Marvel universe, Sullivan Stapleton from Strike Back, Marianne Jean- Baptiste from Without a Trace and Broadchurch, Ukweli Roach from The Royals, and Rob Brown from Finding Forrester and Coach Carter

Best Quotes -
1. Dr. Borden: "You're not helpless. We're defined by our choices. You just don't remember yours. So keep trying new things. See what your body remembers or make new choices. The more you make the less helpless you'll feel. Even if nothing ever comes back, you can still find yourself."
2. Jane: "How did you know that I could make that shot?" Weller: "I didn't know. I took a chance on you."
3. Mayfair: "And she'll never get her memory back?" Doctor: "Honestly we have never had a case like this before and when I say 'we' I mean the entirety of medical science."
4. Weller: "Zapata, can you get us onto that computer?" Zapata: "I'm not gonna lie. I'm a bit hurt you had to ask me that."
5. Chao: "Everything happened the way it was supposed to." Watcher: "No, you were supposed to die. You for your sister, that was the deal."
6. Zapata: "Do you ever get tired of being right?" Weller: "No."

Best Cliffhanger:

How to Get Away with Murder - 2.01 - It's Time to Move On

Normally I review H2GAwM on a weekly basis but this week I hit a glitch and had to watch it on the very annoying ABC player. Therefore I planned to bypass the review altogether until I saw the last 2 minutes of the episode. I wasn't feeling most of the premiere and for once thought the pacing was too fast, but the ending blew me away. In typical H2G form, they saved the best for last. Watching Wes run away from their clients of the season's house after hearing a gunshot was exciting enough. Then they panned in on Annalise bleeding out and they hooked me again. I want to know who has the cojones to take down someone as powerful and dynamic as Viola Davis…er, Annalise Keating. I don't give a jot about the sex lives of these characters and I was heartbroken when it was revealed that Bonnie, the only decent person on the show, is actually a killer, but you better believe I'm here for Annalise getting taken down because there's going to be hell to pay when she pulls through.

Grade: B

Wish List:
1. Don't bite off more than the writers can chew
2. Keep allowing Viola Davis to work her magic
3. Try to make at least one character sympathetic (mostly for my own peace of mind)
4. Tone down Asher A LOT

Best Quotes -
1. Annalise: "Acting out in class doesn't make him a killer, Frank." Frank: "Where are you going?" Annalise: "To get us a murder case that didn't happen in this house."
2. Michaela: "You do realize I'm not scared to hit a b**." Laurel: "Or just throw me down the stairs. You did a pretty good job with Sam."
3. Michaela: "Where the hell is she taking us?" Laurel: "I think the point is that we don't know." Connor: "Or she's just about to off us." Annalise: "You'd get no warning if I was going to off you, Mr. Walsh. You've all been through hell. So have I. It's a miracle we're still standing. Tonight we're going to forget about all of that."
4. Frank: "It's freaking Lord of the Flies out there."
5. Frank: "Come on. Just go to the motel. Prove to me you're not a psycho killer."

Guest Review by Blue Star

Dominion - 2.12 - Day of Wrath

What a cliffhanger! This episode was very busy, lots going on, and some very interesting reveals. Loved the action in this episode. The darkness’ after effects on everyone was interesting to watch, and I love that Arika has become a better person for it. While not one of my favorite episodes of the season, it was a good set up for the season finale.  (Blue Star)

Grade: B

Best Scene: Michael and Gabriel fight (okay, it’s a series of scenes, sue me)
Best Reason to Watch: Gabriel’s gift from God and Noma’s betrayal are revealed
Most Dramatic: David has to kill William
Most In Need Of Family Therapy: The Archangel Family
Most Whump: Michael keeps getting beat up this season…and here we go again
Most In Need Of A Vacation: Everyone in Vega
Most Frustrating/Awkward: Alex, being in the middle of a love triangle makes you look bad; just choose already
Worst Secret Passage: The 8 balls find the passage to Vega under the bus way too easily
Worst Day On The Job: The bartender overhearing Michael and Gabriel talk is one of the first humans to get possessed
The “You Just Didn’t Have To Start The Apocalypse” Award: Gabriel’s angry at Michael for not sticking by his side during the Extermination War
The “Go Your Own Way” Award: Safe to say, Legion is officially no longer canon in Dominion verse (not sure how I feel about that yet)

Best Quotes -
1. David: "May we be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows we're dead."
2. Claire: "Why am I not surprised the cockroach survived in the dark?"
3. Gabriel: "The universe is rather vast. I've searched but never found its end. It's a magnificent thing but daunting in its breadth. And yet, never once have I felt alone...until now."
4. David: "I always loved you." William: "No, you didn't."

New Shows:

Heroes Reborn - 1.01 - Pilot

First things first - I have never seen one episode of the original Heroes series so my point-of-view will likely be different from fans of the original show, especially since my overall reaction was "huh?" This is NOT a show you can just jump into without background knowledge. Basically X-Men mutants called evos have developed throughout the world. Some are good (think Xavier) and some are evil (think first movie Magneto). The humans and the evos try to get along but on the day of unity someone levels a town and some rogue evo gets blamed. All goes poorly for both sides after that and then some chick literally gets pulled into a video game, leaving me hopelessly confused. What?!?! Yeah, this is too bizarre for me. I think Heroes Reborn suffers for newbies in having too much story to tell. While it ups the pace nicely, there are so many pieces on screen at the same time that it's very difficult to care about most of them or even see how they connect. Anti-Chuck flat out kills people with his psycho wife. Peter Pan just wants to be a normal boy. Not-Nice Mia kidnaps someone important…I think. I have no clue what her role actually is or whether she's working for the human or evo side. In the end, I strongly suggest watching the first 4 seasons before tackling this but based on the video game hoodoo plot here, I don't see that happening for me. Sorry Heroes. Hope you save the missing cheerleader….er, the world.

Grade: C+

Ranking - 2
Audience - people who already saw Heroes seasons 1-4 and really wanted a season 5

Best Reason to Watch - the pacing jumps quickly
Best Character - Dead Oscar with Quentin next in line
Worst Character - Joanne, crazy for crazy's sake is interesting for about 5 minutes and then I'm done
Best Action - everything Miko
Best Dilemma - take out Douche Jock's abusive stepdad or risk being ratted out as an evo
Best Twist - the hero's brother is actually the real hero
Best Power - turning metal to gold
Biggest Deal that Completely Went Over My Head - someone killed the Haitian, whomever that is
Resident Nice Girl Next Door - Emily aka sweetest girl on Earth, who of course dates the local jock douche
The "Say What?" Award - Wait a minute. Zachary Levi is a bad guy here? Chuck would be so disappointed.
Most Cliché - the guy with the answers dies before they get any answers
Best Spy Trick - hidden compartment found by pulling out specific books on a shelf
Most Bizarre - some chick pulls out a sword and is suddenly in a video game? Um, huh? I don't get it.
Strangest Collection - the guy with the briefcase full of pennies
Biggest Whoa - opening with the mass terrorist implosion of an entire town is huge
Worst Role Model - motivational speaker getting drunk while telling students that they can be a hero too
The "X-Files" Award - I think "It's Coming" is the new "The Truth is Out There."
The "Welcome Back" Award - Zachary Levi of Chuck, Henry Zebrowski from A to Z, Eve Harlow from The 100

Best Quotes -
1. Luke: "Well that is one superior brand of dry wall." Joanne: "Just our bloody luck. Kid was a teleporter."
2. Noah: "I think it's a scarecrow to keep people out." Quentin: "You think? Shouldn't we be certain where deadly toxins are concerned?"
3. Mystery Woman: "Unless you earn it, money always comes with strings attached."
4. Luke: "Maybe we're in hell." Joanne: "Is that where you think we belong?"
5. Quentin: "Who the hell are you? James Bond?"

Life in Pieces - 1.01 - Pilot

The format of this comedy, where it tells 4 separate stories and then ties them in at the end has its pros and cons. The pros are that nothing is long enough to get old and it will be easy to fast forward through any couple you don't like. The con is that you never get to know anyone. 22 minutes with a comedy A and B story is barely enough so halving that again means it feels more like a webisode. That may be exactly what they are going for but I prefer more connection to my characters. Or at least plotlines that don't all revolve around sex. It's only the first episode so I am going to give this show 2 more to make me care about any of the characters. That's the least I can do for a cast this talented and they are talented. I particularly enjoyed seeing Colin Hanks in a comedic role. You can see traces of his dad in his facial expressions. I also loved having Dianne Wiest on my screen again.

Grade: B-

Ranking - 3+
Audience - anyone who thinks today's comedies are just too long / fans of the cast

Best Reason to Watch - the four segments make none of them long enough to become boring
Best Character - Greg, but that's likely to change if Tyler remains this snarky
Best Scene / Biggest Laugh - rolling the dad casket to the Jiffy Lube
Biggest Overachievers - the Von Trapp family funeral singers
Biggest Facepalm - new dad driving
Most Likely to Die - dearest grandpa for announcing to everyone that his granddaughter just got her period while she was there
Most Embarrassing - police interrupting your sex life because no one has a place of their own / Tyler's mom on his college visit
Worst Plan - throwing your own funeral as your birthday party
Worst Dating Situation Ever / Possible New Hallmark Movie - living with your ex-fiancé when you bring home your date
The "You Tell Him" Award - I am on Team Dianne here. Making your wife throw you a fake funeral is a terrible idea.
The "I Totally Get It" Award - I feel like I've got a decent grasp on technology but multiple TV remotes screw with me too
The "Educational Consultant Available Right Here" Award - that was unlike any college visit I have ever seen
The "Welcome Back" Award - Angelique Cabral from my much missed Enlisted, Colin Hanks aka Alex on Roswell, Betsy Brandt from the Michael J. Fox Show, and James Brolin and Dianne Wiest from everything

Best Quotes -
1. Colleen: "Okay, looks like I've got wine or wine and I also have wine." Matt: "Okay, beer sounds good." Colleen: "Wine it is."
2. Tyler: "Oh, I don't think I want to hear this story."
3. Joan: "Oh honey, no. We still have plenty of time left. 70 is the new 80."
4. Tim: "I don't know if we should be having another kid when we're hiding from the ones we already have."
5. Tyler: "You lost your virginity to a couch?"

Limitless - 1.01 - Pilot

Pilots are tricky. You have to whet the audience's taste for your show and set up the basics. Sometimes though shows go overboard on one side as is the case here. Limitless may be the most exposition-heavy pilot I have seen in years. Every time something starts to happen there's either a voiceover or a character explaining something to someone else. In the end, the pilot left me with great knowledge of what I missed by not seeing the movie but it was so exposition dense that I didn't care anymore. I liked the actors and the characters will likely grow on me but the pacing needs to improve rapidly. I do see potential so Limitless has 2 more episodes to show me what it can do before it gets dropped into my TV Wasteland, likely never to be heard from again.

Grade: C

Ranking - 3
Audience - anyone who liked the movie or who is into sci-fi and can suspend disbelief

Best Reason to Watch - the premise is interesting and the characters have potential
Best Character - Brian's dad and dead Eli
Best Character Interaction - Brian and Harris
Best Scene - Brian visits his dad in the hospital before his transplant
Best Feature - the action
Worst Feature - a whole lot of exposition / voiceovers
Best Guest/Recurring Character - Senator Morra
Dumbest Question - Boyle asks why Harris didn't shoot an unarmed man on a subway platform while a train was coming. I can think of several answers already, even without NZT 48.
Best Plan - Harris realizes that Brian is a resource to use, not a lab rat to study
Best/Worst Friend - depending on whether you would take the red pill or the blue pill, Eli's offer is awesome or the worst thing that could have happened
Best Use of YouTube - learning how to pick a lock
Biggest Stretch - increasing your intelligence makes you good at everything instantly or makes you capable of doing physical things even faster (Ex. becoming smarter still shouldn't allow you to file papers in over 22,000 files in two hours, especially if you stop to read each file)
Biggest Trend - starting the episode in the middle and then flashing back to how they got there
Least Surprising - Harris has a family tie to the whole NZT thing
Least Likely to Hold Up in Court - everything from Brian's bank robbery info
Most Psychic - Harris, who knows that Brian is shot in the leg even though he never tells her that
The "Welcome Back" Award - Blair Brown who was the fabulous Nina Sharp on Fringe, Jake McDorman of Greek and Manhattan Love Story, Jennifer Carpenter from Dexter, Hill Harper from Covert Affairs, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, most recently as Mama Grimm (miss you already)

Best Quotes -
1. Harris: "You think I'm impressed that you can stomp around in my life? You're not smart. You're high."
2. Eli: "Yeah I know. Twenty year old me would punch 28 year old me in the face."
3. Harris: "If you hand me my gun right now I probably won't shoot you."
4. Boyle: "Is it me or did the whole world just change?"
5. Brian: "Why? I'm nobody. Everybody says you're gonna be president soon." Morra: "I haven't officially announced that yet but between me and you, I don't even know if I'm gonna run. Do you know how much time we get off in the Senate? It's shocking really. I don't know if I can give it up."
6. Brian: "They…they train you guys, right, to…to patch up bullet wounds like in case of emergencies or something." Harris: "They tell us to get to a hospital."
7. Brian: "Sorry for stealing your coat, Tanner Evans, but to be honest you seem like a little bit of a douche."
8. Brian: "Hi. My name is Brian Finch and the first thing you should know about me is I didn't do anything wrong. Well not the kind of wrong that leads to having a gun in your face anyway."

Minority Report - 1.01 - Pilot

Much like Rosewood, which also debuted last week, Minority Report is a typical crime procedural. Partners of opposite gender, check. One partner has a specialty and isn't a police detective, check. This partner also has trouble with basic human interaction, check. The other partner is a kick butt police officer who doesn't always follow rules - check, check, and triple check. One of the cop's family members was murdered, big old check. The only thing that distinguishes Minority Report is its technology and its overarching storyline is likely to be bigger than the others. After all, we've got a precognitive mystery hanging overhead. The question then becomes whether the tech is enough. For me it isn't. All it does is remind me that the superior Almost Human was cancelled. Almost Human had better chemistry between the leads and the case, while technologically interesting, did not make me excited for the next episode. I think this one is stuck in the marathon later pile for me…if it lasts that long.

Grade: C

Ranking - 2
Audience - those who thought Almost Human was not enough of a typical police procedural but who still like the future elements

Best Reason to Watch - the futuristic setting
Best Character - Vega, although Akeela will probably be later
Best Scene - Vega and team find the first murderer and he kills himself via a plank
Best Perk - all that technology
Best Meta - Simpsons season 75
Biggest Douche - Blake
Biggest Mystery - Agatha's vision and Dash's role in it
Most Likely to Misconstrue Simple Human Interaction - Dash
Worst Plan - leaning out the open window where the victim fell to her death
Most Scary - the future use of all that technology to keep tabs on people
Most Sucky Power - to see people die and not be able to stop it
The "Welcome Back" Award - Meagan Good from Deception, Wilmer Valderrama from That 70's Show

Best Quotes -
1. Blake: "I would have closed him differently but okay."
2. Vega: "Are you familiar with the concept of a whisper?"
3. Arthur: "You brought a friend. Maybe I underestimated my little brother." Vega: "Little? I thought you were twins." Dash: "Older by 7 minutes." Arthur: "Dash was afraid to come out." Dash: "I finally had some peace and quiet."
4. Vega: "I'm a homicide cop using an illegal psychic to stop a murder. I'd say we're all off-road already."
5. Akeela: "Okay, next karaoke night you're gonna have to tell me what happened between you two."

The Muppets - 1.01 - Pilot

From the get-go this was not going to be a show for me. Even as a kid, I wasn't into The Muppet Show. Plus I hate mockumentaries. I have zero interest watching real people or comedians talk about their co-workers in fake interviews so watching puppet interviews was not going to cut it. Still I try to watch the pilot of every new show in the season. It was worse than I expected. The Rainbow Connection Kermit is gone. In his place is yet another world-weary office drudge trying to please a megalomaniac boss. In this case, she happens to be his ex too. It is exactly as much fun as spending your lunch hour with those annoying co-workers who complain about everything non-stop. 10 minutes in and I was checking to see how much time I had left. Worst yet, I didn't laugh at all. Thus far, this is the worst pilot of the bunch for me.

Grade: D
Ranking - 1
Audience - people who like The Office but felt it wasn't world-weary enough / people without fond memories of The Muppets that still like puppets

Best Reason to Watch - Chances are you probably liked one of the Muppets as a kid. This is also the #1 reason why NOT to watch if you want your childhood memories to stay intact.
Best Character - Sam the Eagle
Best Character Interaction -
Best Guests - Imagine Dragons
Best Scene - Imagine Dragons snippet at the end
Best Product Placement - Costco
Biggest Shock - I'm on Miss Piggy's side about the breakup. Kermit knew what he was signing up for when he started dating a star.
Least Funny - Fozzie
Most Annoying Character (Possibly on TV) - Miss Piggy
Most Likely to Have Brain Damage From Excessive Drug Use - Zoot
Most Likely to Pass the SAT by Sheer Guessing - Dr. Teeth
The "I'm with You" Award - interview Gonzo talks about hating the now overused faux documentary style
The "Pass the Brain Bleach Please" Award - I never, ever needed to hear reference to a puppet's sex life. Even in innuendo. Nope. Just no.

Best Quotes -
1. Kermit: "My life is a bacon-wrapped hell on earth." Sam: "Can't say hell."
2. Piggy: "And the lilacs in my dressing room…" Kermit: "Yeah." Piggy: "Don't smell lilac-y enough." Kermit: "Alright talk to God about lilacs."
3. Kermit: "You know when Piggy and I were a couple, I found her unpredictable and spontaneous and quirky, and that was kind of sexy. But if you take dating out of the equation, she's just a lunatic."
4. Piggy: "I have an excellent reason. I hate her stupid face." Kermit: "That is not an excellent reason. That's a preschool reason."
5. Banks: "Did you even read the script?" Piggy: "What's to read? Hunger Games. It's all in the title." Banks: "Okay, I'm already in the movie right? I can…I can go."

The Player - 1.01 - Pilot

The Player revolves around a group of people so rich that they are bored with life. They've hacked into every technology imaginableto steal data about everyone but instead of helping the world through this violation of privacy, they use it to bet on crime. Yep instead of helping to stop crime before it happens, they gamble on whether the criminal will be successful or not. Basically the whole premise is morally repugnant. Enter an ex-FBI assassin turned security consultant. They want him to be the Player of the organization, taking on the world's most ruthless criminals. For some reason they feel that by having another assassin kills his wife (maybe), he will get sucked up into the shady world of high stakes crime betting. Implausibly it works. He becomes a one-man crime fighting machine, no super powers included but he does have access to that nifty tech. As the evil rich overlords take bets on how long he will last, I'm putting my money on Nielsen to take him out and rather quickly I suspect. As for me, if I stay it will only be for the action, which is indeed a high point. Story wise, this appears to be another crime of the week where the bad guys always win because the real bad guys are the people placing the bets.

Grade: C

Ranking - 2
Audience - people who like action and moral ambiguity

Best Reason to Watch - pretty much guaranteed action every week
Best Character - Kane
Best Scene - Kane realizes that it is not Ginny's body
Best Action - Kane vs. kidnappers
Best Death - impaled by roulette wheel
Biggest Mysteries - Who is dead if that wasn't Ginny and where then is Ginnny?
Biggest Bull - trying to spin this gambling as an altruistic thing is nuts
Biggest Kick-Butt Character - Medina Raqib. You don't mess with a mama or her young. Not if you want to live.
Best Music - Tick Tick Boom by The Hives
The "When in Doubt…" Award - go low-tech
The "Say What?" Award - People are betting on murder? That's sick.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Wesley Snipes from the 90's

Best Quotes -

1. Security: "Mr. Raqiv has better protection than the President of the United States." Kane: "Well that would be a comfort except they shot 6 presidents."
2. Cal: "If you had any sense you'd make it work with Ginny." Kane: "If I had any sense I wouldn't be jumping off buildings."
3. Ginny: "We are what we do. Do good; we are good." Kane: "You pulled me out of that life, Ginny. You call me anytime for anything because we're still not even."
4. Kane: "Yeah, I'm officially terrified of what you can do."
5. Kane: "I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it for Shada and Ginny. When I'm done, I'm gonna come back here and throw you through that window."

Rosewood - 1.01 - Pilot

You've probably seen this one before. A non-cop with specialized skills teams up with a police detective to solve crimes and eventually hook up. You know, it's that show - the one you already love/hate/dropped a few seasons ago/can't get enough of. Focusing on a brilliant pathologist, Rosewood uses Morris Chestnut's charm and good looks to sell a story we've already heard and to an extent it succeeds. Rosewood comes off more impressive than arrogant, more personable than obnoxious. Still it toes the line pretty closely and if the character ever crosses to the douche side, the series will collapse under the weight of all the other shows that came before it. There's really nothing to distinguish Rosewood from a thousand others and in a fall season packed with new material, viewers might pass on it altogether. Coming after Empire, it opened to big numbers but I'm not sure Chestnut's abs and smile will be enough to keep them paired together. Rosewood needs to find something to separate it from the pack to survive.

Grade: C+

Ranking - 3
Audience - shippers who don't mind procedurals and a decent dose of eye candy
TV Formula - Castle's setup + Bones' science/tech + House's genius + actual people skills = Rosewood

Best Reason to Watch - Chestnut oozes charm and there are some humorous parts
Best Character - Villa
Best Character Interaction - Rosewood and his mentor
Best Scene - Villa interrogates Juju
Least Surprising - Villa's husband is dead
Least Likely to Hold Up in Court - everything on the boat since there's nothing legal about what she was doing
MVP - the music is awesome
Best Eye Candy - Morris Chestnut running shirtless, scar or not
Biggest Cliché - yet another non-cop solving crimes with a police detective, most likely to hook up by season one's finale because there's no way they let a male and female partnership remain platonic
Most Original - cocaine vinyl records
The "It's a Fine Line" Award - between charming and smugly overbearing. Rosewood walks that line pretty tightly in the pilot but he's one toe away from becoming the arrogant, obnoxious genius that I hate in similar shows.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Clancy Brown (the beloved Corbin on Sleepy Hollow), Morris Chestnut (originally from Boyz in the Hood and recently from Legends, Nurse Jackie, American Horror Story, and V)

Best Quotes -
1. Juju: "You need help from a pro." Villa: "Say amen. Don't disrespect the Lord." Juju: "Amen. Okay, amen." Villa: "Now you're gonna tell me everything you know. Otherwise I'm gonna drag you back to the Jacuzzi and baptize your shifty a** in a very un-Christian sort of way. Now you want to start talking."
2. Rosewood: "Detective Willard, long time no see. How's the wife and kids?" Willard: "They hate me and I hate you."
3. Rosewood: "So yes, I have a unique relationship with death but it has never been my obsession. My obsession is with every breath I take."
4. Pippy: "How do we feel about a 9 year old working the grill?" Rosewood: "I feel great. Better her than me."
5. Rosewood: "Be honest. Did you kill Juju?" Villa: "No but we bonded in a meaningful way." Rosewood: "I don't want to know what that means…"
6. TMI: "Hair and nail growth after death is normal. Color change after death is super weird."

Scream Queens - 1.01/1.02 - Pilot/Hell Week

There's nothing quite like Scream Queens on TV. I'm just not sure yet whether that is a good thing or bad. Scream Queens plays itself off as a farce but there's only so many stupid people I can take in one episode, especially when they really are not funny. On the other hand, the second episode was far better than the pilot, mostly because of the introduction of Denise. She's as dumb as the rest of them but she had me chortling. I loved when she freaked out and pushed her friend's dead body out of the car and raced away. Yep, that was the funniest part of the whole 2 hours. The mystery itself is pretty good too. There's no shortage of suspects and since this is going to be a tag team killer at the least, no one can be ruled out as a suspect. Not even the dead. I love how the murders are tied to a death from 1995 as well. It not only heightens the suspense but it lends Scream Queens a sweet sound track from the 80's and 90's. I mean if you are going to let your "sister" die in a bathtub from neglect, it might as well be to TLC's Waterfalls. The biggest mystery of course is whether FOX can hold together the plot for another 13 episodes.

Grade: C+ / B

Ranking - 4- (for now)
Audience - people who laugh during horror movies and snark through the worst of them

Best Reason to Watch - it's unique in the TV landscape
Best Character - Hester, who puts her creepy out in the open instead of hiding it
Best Character Interaction - Grace and her dad
Best Scene - the ending
Best Twist - Munsch knew about the dead baby mamma from 20 years ago / Boone surprise
Best Advice - don't get attached to anyone because they're going to die or be in league with Satan
Biggest Laugh / Best Moment - Twitter before death. You can't expire until you hit the Tweet button.
Biggest Awww Moment - 3 second silent hug with no eye contact
Biggest Douche - technically everyone in this show counts but Chad and Chanel tie by a conceited hair
Biggest Huh - texting someone to say you're going to kill them
Biggest Red Herring - the freaky psycho music playing when Grace leaves Pete
The "Say What?" Award - Your friend comes downstairs with blood all over her hands and the first thing you think is her period? Are you kidding? (Hermoine voice) What. An. Idiot.
Most Brutal - death by lawnmower
Most Terrifying - surprisingly it's not the Red Devil killing everyone but Hester, who could kill you and destroy all the evidence
Most Literal - dancing with the devil means something totally different here
Best Throwback - Waterfalls by TLC
Worst Throwback - Twilight and Team Edward
Worst Mascot Ever - if your school chooses Satan as their mascot, you can't be surprised when a serial killer moves in too
Worst Timing - Munsch hits on Grace's dad while talking about serial killing cannibals
Worst in a Crisis - Denise, who pushes her dead friend out of the car and drives away
The "Brave Little Toaster / Total Idiot" Award - Grace goes into the creepy basement for suds when the lights don't work
The "Welcome Back" Award - Emma Roberts who will always be Nancy Drew to me and Jamie Lee Curtis, Queen of the Scream and current yogurt peddler
Best Music - If You Were Here by The Thompson Twins aka theme from the ending of 16 Candles

1. Gigi: "We can make it fun, huh? Like a Friends episode…but someone's…you know, trying to murder all the friends."
2. Wes: "Please don't join a sorority." Grace: "Dad, we've already talked about this." Wes: "The girls are vicious. Okay honey, I know you think sororities are some kind of like magical sisterhoods but it's actually Game of Thrones once you pull back the veneer."
3. Chad: "I'm gonna call you." Munsch: "Because I can't destroy every phone on earth that'll remain a possibility."
4. Chanel: "Sisters and pledges of Kappa Kappa Tau, you now all share something so very precious to me." Grace: "A felony." Chanel: "A secret and secrets are the glue that bind sorority sisters together."
5. Munsch: "After Dean Reynolds' unfortunate passing over the summer, I was promoted to her position." Chanel: "Well that sure sounds suspicious." Munsch: "Yes, I snuck into the home of my 80 year old colleague of 20 years and dropped a transistor radio in her bathtub so I could get a 5% raise."
6. Chanel #2: "I love a creepy collage."
7. Munsch: "You see out in the real world people just don't talk that way to other people. It's not normal."
8. Chanel: "I would not get personal with me, sweetheart. I don't fight fair."
9. Chanel: "Okay, so you all want to be Kappa's, is that right? Well you're about to learn what being a Kappa is all about. It's about kicking the living cr** out of someone when they disrespect you."
10. Chanel: "No one forced that goat to get as drunk as he got. That's on him."

Returning Shows:

TBBT - 9.01 - The Matrimonial Momentum

Last year, The Big Bang Theory made significant strides in character development especially with Sheldon. It felt like the show had renewed itself. That's why I am leery about them breaking up Sheldon and Amy. I do think Amy needs her own storyline and I am 100% NOT a shipper, but I also don't want Sheldon to devolve back into the first 7 seasons of very little growth. For me, this plot twist will be judged on whether I can stand Sheldon in it or not. I was also surprised that Penny and Leonard went through with the marriage, given how negative they were leading up to it. That's not the way to start a new life together so I wish they had waited on this too. Married but separated isn't very interesting. In the end, it is Mary Cooper's appearance that raises the grade from a C for me. She is probably my favorite character on the show and she's the only time I laughed in the premiere, even though the dialogue was snappier than usual. Every year, TBBT goes in my wait and see pile. Every year, I do end up watching weekly instead of in marathon. Sheldon will be the determining factor to see if the tradition continues in season 9.

Grade: B-

Wish List:
1. Allow Sheldon to grow as a character
2. Give the women more to do and better plotlines
3. More of their parents
4. Energize the tired jokes
5. Mix up the screen time and who's interacting with whom

Best Reason to Watch - Mary Cooper
Best Character - Bernadette
Best Guest - Mary Cooper, who steals every scene she's in like always
Best Way to Deal with Sheldon - close the curtains on him
Best Gesture - Sheldon brings Penny tea so they can commiserate together
Most Bizarre - Toy Story lyrics as vows
Most Beautiful - Leonard's vows
Most Annoying - Sheldon by a landslide…and he was getting so much better last season
Most Surprising - Leonard and Penny actually DID get married
Worst Plan - if you are not happy with eloping, don't
Best Plan - Howard says to just write that it was a beautiful wedding when everyone else misses it
Worst Comment to a Recent Ex - talking about their biological clock won't help you win Amy back, Sheldon
The "Sign of the Ages" Award - watching a wedding via the internet
The "Well That got Creepy Fast" Award - Stuart goes from conciliatory to stalker in 3 seconds flat
The "It's About Time" Award - Amy tells Sheldon off and then breaks up with him
The "Way to Know Your Partner" Award - Penny says the exact right thing to make Leonard happy cry
The "Just Chill" Award - Stuart who is inappropriate with Amy and then gets too excited that a married Penny is in a fight with Leonard

Best Quotes -
1. Sheldon: "When last we spoke, you said you needed time." Amy: "It's only been 11 hours." Sheldon: "The Lord of the Rings trilogy was nearly 11 hours. I made you watch that. You said it was an eternity."
2. Howard: "I'm not saying anything bad. Just that she was in love with her captor and somehow managed to escape from his dark and crazy dungeon."
3. Sheldon: "It's over for me. I'm done with women. Like when I swore off Pop Rocks. They both hurt you on purpose."
4. Sheldon: "She plays the harp and her car is paid for. How much happier can she be?"
5. Mary: "When your idiot brother redeems mankind, he can date whomever he wants."
6. Sheldon: "Some important new information has come to light. Women are the worst. I thought it was paper cuts but I was wrong. No piece of paper ever cut me this deep."
7. Sheldon: "That last one was Madam Curie." Leonard: "I figured that out." Sheldon: "You know what? She was kind of an honorary man. She had a penis made of science."
8. Sheldon: "Raj, you're probably wondering why Amy and I aren't showing any affection to one another." Raj: "Didn't even crack the top 10."

Fresh Off the Boat - 2.01 - Family Business Trip

Fresh Off the Boat was the surprise comedy of the year for me last year. It had that great Goldbergs' mixture of heart and laughs that I love so well. In a season of disappointing new comedies, it is the only one I stuck with that didn't get cancelled (miss you Benched). That's why I am glad that they are not messing with the formula in this premiere. I loved how Louis teaches Jessica to relax but at the same time he confirms that Jessica's role in keeping the family in order is important. Here is a couple that can fight and yet very plainly show that they love and respect each other. It's a refreshing change. There's still too much focus on Eddie but I was glad to see that Emery and Evan are starting to get distinct personalities since last season I pretty much called them Kid 1 and Kid 2. All in all, this was a superb return to form and I look forward to seeing what Jessica is up to next…and the rest of the Huang family.

Grade: B+

Wish List:
1. Less Eddie
2. More Jessica
3. Make the 2 youngest distinguishable from each other instead of background kid wallpaper (CHECK)
4. Keep up with the heart mixed in with the laughs (CHECK)

Best Reason to Watch - laughs + heart
Best Character - Jessica as always
Best Character Interaction - Jessica and Louis
Best Scene - Louis shows Jessica how to relax
Best Marketing - the rollercoaster
Biggest Awww Moment - Louis tells Jessica that she allows him to him
Most In Charge - Jessica when taking down Gator Carol
Most Likely to Incur Vandalism Charges - Jessica in her hunt to not have to pay for a single item more
Most Popular - Emery, who has a rock star lineup of girls wanting him to sign his yearbook
Most Busted - Louis, whose business trip includes a lot of play time
Most Anachronistic - Who was talking about identity theft in the 90's?
Worst Trend - being a couch potato is admirable
Worst Tooth Fairy Ever - instead of leaving money, she leaves chores
Worst to Vacation With - Jessica who puts the pinch in money pincher
Least Likely to be Asked to Sign Yearbooks - Evan, who takes up all the pages to write his memoirs in some poor kid's book
The "Say What?" Award - Bring a cat to feed to the gators and get a discount? PETA must be picketing.
The "Duck and Cover" Move - all the men at the convention center hide when they think their wife is the one calling them out for goofing off

Best Quotes -
1. Eddie: "These guys aren't rappers." Jessica: "They were the gangsters of the sales bin."
2. Louis: "Your job is a vacation…from poverty."
3. Louis: "You're watching out for us so I don't have to. I can be me 'cause I have you."
4. Arielle: "What do you do for joy, Jessica?" Jessica: "I micromanage my family."
5. Louis: "All the franchise power players are going to be there. I need to make a good impression. Which one's Louis Huang? Oh he's the steakhouse owner in the sharkskin suit." Jessica: "Or he's the Chinese guy."
6. Jessica: "We will be using God's towel, the sun."

The Goldbergs - 3.01 - A Kick-A** Risky Business Party

I didn't realize how much I missed The Goldbergs until tonight. No one does heart and laughs better than this show. No one. This episode had me laughing so hard during Beverly's Tom Cruise impersonation that I literally had to pause the episode to catch my breath. Sometimes having the most embarrassing mom on the planet comes in handy. I also loved the moment between Erica and Beverly when Erica realizes that she does appreciate her mother and even though they aren't going to be buddies right now, they may in the future. It was wiser than her years and completely on point. Normally Beverly going this over-the-top bugs me but it was played well for laughs in this case, partly mitigated by Lainey's absolute appreciation for having a mom in her life. I liked that combo and hope we see more of it. It gives Lainey some needed depth if she's going to be staying around and it allows Beverly to seem more sympathetic even at her worst. As always Murray was a high point too, but I wish they would stop having him capitulate to his kids all the time. It would be a great change to see them finally appreciate him and understand why they have the rules they do. Even at 10 minutes, a long-distance call to Seattle every night in the 80's would break the bank. At least make it a once a week thing. Really the only person who comes off poorly in this premiere is Barry. I refuse to think that Beverly would have a stupid child with all the emphasis she put on Lainey's education here, so perhaps letting him be smart sometimes would be a good thing.

Grade: A-

Wish List:
1. Tone Beverly down
2. More Murray with his kids
3. More Pops
4. Let Barry be smart in his own way
5. Keep the heart and laugh mixture coming (Check)

Best Reason to Watch / Best Scene - Beverly doing her Tom Cruise impersonation
Best Character - Beverly
Best Return - Mirsky
Biggest Awww Moment - Erica and Beverly while they are cleaning up after the party
Biggest Rookie Mistake - Erica goes in with a lie about a boyfriend without having any details ready
Most Obnoxious - Beverly tapping on the window
Most Manipulative - Lainey
Most in Need of a Hug - Mr. Glascott
Worst Teen tradition - the "you hang up" game
The "I'm With You" Award - long-distance calling was insanely expensive in the 80's, even to call a few towns away
The "If At First You Don't Succeed…" Award - Stop. Just stop. Barry's attempt to be Tom Cruise is painful to watch.

Best Quotes -
1. Erica: "Thank you for staying. It was pretty cool of you." Beverly: "Look, I know I got carried away with Lainey. It's just I loved having someone who was willing to listen. Someone who's not always pushing me away." Erica: "And I know you love us more than anything and we appreciate it. We really do." Beverly: "So maybe you won't push me away as much." Erica: "It depends on if you won't get carried away so much." Beverly: "Yeah, both aren't gonna happen." Erica: "For now."
2. Murray: "I'm sorry, Adam. I can't afford your love. It's too pricey."
3. Beverly: "What did I tell you about Tom Cruise-ing the floor? It's incredibly risky."
4. Beverly: "The good news is, Lainey, your dad agreed to let you stay with us until he gets back. That means I have 6 days to fix your entire life." Erica: "No way, you have already ruined our lives with your insane love. You are not ruining Lainey's too." Beverly: "Please. She's hot rodding, failing her classes, spending time with shady friends…" Erica: "Hey." Beverly: "Showing questionable taste in boys." Barry: "That's fair."
5. Erica: "No, our mom is just poisoning your mind with her endless well of love and support." Lainey: "Yeah, I'm not seeing how that's a bad thing."
6. Barry: "Sweet Rebecca De Mornay, it's happening. We're gonna throw a real life kick a** Risky Business party."

Scorpion - 2.01 - Satellite of Love

This episode is a win for shippers. It's a distraction in many places for everyone else. Without the constant breaks for shipping, this episode would be an A for me and the best episode of the week. It had tons of snarky fun and great action. Sure it was implausible but not near as much as the pilot so that was a bonus as well. Not to mention Walter got a sense of humor in rehab, making him far less of a douche and a whole lot more fun too. Talk about a positive change! The new Director of Homeland Security is a big plus as well. Where Merrick was cranky and irritating, Molina is frank and applause-worthy. She's also a pure politician who hogs all the credit and can't be trusted so it should be fun watching the crew work with her. The problem then (and why the grade fell) was the pacing. This episode would just hit its stride when the momentum came to a huge, screeching halt for one of the two star-crossed sets of lovers to declare their feelings, or not declare their feelings, or somewhat declare their feelings, or refuse to declare their feelings, or… get the picture. Ugh! That's way too much action-crushing emoangsting for one show, especially one that's thrives on pure adrenaline and humor. Whoever is messing with this show, please stop now.

Grade: B

Wish List:
1. Kill the Walter and Paige romance
2. More time for other main characters and less of a laser focus on Walter
3. Ralph does NOT save anyone and is shuffled off to the back corner only to be referenced occasionally
4. Fix Walter and Cabe's relationship (CHECK)
5. Keep the fun (CHECK)

Best Reason to Watch - all the humor
Best Character - Molina, who is a sensational addition to the show
Best Scene - Molina tells off the President
Best Cameo - Gene Simmons from KISS
Best Reaction - Cabe, Toby, and Happy to Walter's parachute falling down beside them
Best Change - Merrick is out and Molina is in
Best Asset - Happy speaks Japanese
Best Taking Charge - tie - Molina gives the President what for / Happy pulls out all the telephone wires
Biggest Oops - definitely turn off the intercom before having a private tête-a-tête
Biggest Eye Roll - A computer virus gotten to please shippers stops the plan to save the world? Shipping kills the world.
Least Surprising - Walter's vertigo comes back at the wrong time
Most Awkward - Paige and Walter
Most Adorable - Sylvester hugs Walter (a little too tight)
Most Bizarre - Cabe working for Hollywood
Most Worthless Cliffhanger - Paige can't remember the command left to right because of altitude sickness
The "It Does Exist" Award - Walter has a sense of humor and uses it to save everyone from Chopsticks
The "Oh Why Not?" Award - Paige grabs the rabbit's foot for extra luck
The "We Interrupt This World Saving Crisis To…" Award - …talk about our feelings. Again. Shoot me now.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Alana De La Garza from my dearly departed Forever. I miss that show so much.

Best Quotes -
1. Molina: "Respectfully the people in my room are smarter than the people in your room and they say that it should have worked so either a roomful of geniuses are suddenly dumb or a roomful of politicians are lying to protect their own hide. I know which one I would bet on." Toby: "Is she talking to the President like that?" Cabe: "I believe she is." Toby: "I'm getting audited."
2. Molina: "Further you have intimate knowledge of Russian aerospace engineering." Happy: "No, we don't." Molina: "I am looking directly at an illegally obtained Cold War era rocket." Happy: "Oh, that thing."
3. Toby: "You know Adriana, I was wondering if Homeland told you about our Saving the World bonus. It's for when we save the world." Molina: "No but I was made aware of money you owe the IRS in undeclared gambling winnings." Toby: "Maybe we should table the bonus talk right now."
4. Walter: "Oh no, no, no. I'm resting." Cabe: "That's wise and the next time you hold out on me in regards to your health, we're gonna have an issue." Walter: "Paige told you?" Cabe: "No, I just know you kid."
5. Happy: "It was a toy. Now it's a weapon." Toby: "Very mature. Warfare sprinkled with arts and crafts."
6. PT: "Alright, well you need to avoid stress at all costs. This isn't a joke, Mr. O'Brien." Walter: "I'm a tech geek. How stressful can it be?"

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, The 100, Grimm, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts The 100 "Red-Shirted", Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
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