Monday, June 23, 2014

Last (3) Weeks in TV - Week of June 15 - The Pilot Version - Episode Awards and Reviews

Welcome back to Last Week in TV. Vacation is now over and it's time to get back to work. Because I am still not caught up on my shows, this week's column will primarily focus on all the new pilots that have come out since I left for Europe. Man was there a lot of original TV in those weeks. If I missed a pilot, please let me know. I tried to get everything that wasn't reality TV covered. I'll also be working on covering the recurring shows I've missed as I go, so please be patient with me. Summer is usually a downtime in TV but lately it has become just as busy as fall. I counted 46 new or recurring shows I watch coming out this summer. Remember when summer TV was a vast wasteland? Well friends, it is no more.

As always I have a nominated show that I watched. This time it was Penny Dreadful, which was much better than I ever expected. I've also added a section for shows that I have marathoned. I will try to talk about a different show each week in this category. Also for now, because I have seen very little of shows that actually aired last week, I have dispensed of the overall awards. As I get caught up, I will reinstate it but I feel funny saying the best show of the week is The 100 finale when it aired 12 days ago. Until next week, please nominate any show you would like me to watch or marathon and happy TV viewing.

Note - Shameless plugs here. I am getting ready to start the Buffy Roundtable back up as a podcast so if anyone wants to join and has Skype, please let me know in the comments below. Also if you watch Teen Wolf and have Twitter, check out my live tweets during the premiere tonight. We have a great time live tweeting that show. Finally, I am happy to say that I am going to bring the Character Cup back to SpoilerTV, timing to be determined soon. I've missed running a big contest this summer since it is the first time I am not doing one for Sueprnatural. Details to follow so be ready to nominate your favorite characters. It's going to be a blast.

Nominated Show:

Penny Dreadful - 1.01 - Pilot

I tried watching Penny Dreadful when it first came out but I couldn't get past the part with the spider crawling on the praying lady. I don't do spiders. But for this nomination, I soldiered on with hand firmly in front of my eyes during the opening credits and the spider scene. I am so glad I did. If their intention was to creep me out, they succeeded in the first 5 minutes. Even better, they hooked me on the mythology and made me interested in the mysterious characters. It's like watching an old pulp novel come to life, hence the name. While I could do without the bugs, full frontal nudity, and other pay cable affinities, I do like the story and that's what will have me coming back to the next episode. Finally a Showtime series I can actually enjoy.

Grade: A-
Ranking: 5

Best Scene - when Sir Malcolm, Vanessa, and Ethan confront the vampire

Most Touching Scene - surprisingly it is when Frankenstein and the man he resurrected first see each other

Best Quote - Ethan: "Just know that you have made my visit here truly memorable. I shall never forget you." Woman: "Perhaps you'd like to know my name then."

Best Reason to Watch - the well played story of a missing daughter in the land of the supernatural

The "When the Lights Flicker, It's Time to Run" Award - Seriously Sir Malcolm, you need to not go chasing after ghosts on the wind when the lights flicker. You need to run and call the Winchesters.

Coolest Character - Vanessa, who walks between while a fight progresses without so much as blinking, proceeds to walk through a bloody corpse dump with clinical detachment, and is able to stop a head vampire in its tracks

Biggest Mystery - What does Vanessa have to do with Sir Malcolm's daughter becoming a vampire?

Best Vocabulary - It's not every show that can use the words peripatetic and solipsistic in a sentence.

Least Surprising - the Egyptian Book of the Dead is involved

Best Sherlock Holmes Imitation - Vanessa, who not only deduces that Ethan is a fraud but proceeds to tear him down one article of clothing at a time

Most Interesting Take on Vampires - they are like insects with exoskeletons

Best Hair - Mr. Lyle, who looks remarkably like a munchkin from The Wizard of Oz

Biggest Hmmm - I am not clear why Ethan changed his mind and freaked out when he saw Sir Malcolm come home. What was that all about?

Most Insane - Let's face it. Any of these characters qualify, but after that science speech, Frankenstein wins

Marathoned Show:

Major Crimes

Major Crimes is one of those shows that I can watch a couple of episodes here and there and not feel like I have to see every episode. However there was always one thing watching that way that bugged me, Randy's story line. I never had a clue about where he came from or what exactly his story was. Therefore before the current season premiered, I decided to get caught up. Little did I know that I would have to go back to The Closer finale to understand. Overall I found it to be your typical police procedural with a great lead in Mary McDonnell as Captain Sharon Raydor. She is the show, although the cast members who continued on from The Closer like Provenza are equally fun to watch. It's her relationship with Rusty that sticks out and makes for the most memorable part of the series. To watch them go from antagonists to mother and son was fascinating. She has more patience in one finger than I have altogether. Of course that's a necessary quality for someone who is hired to plea bargain criminals down to save the state money. Say what? Yep, this show is all about the cops trying to get criminals a lesser sentence. No need for defense lawyers here. It actually bugs me more than I like to admit because darn it, the bad guys are supposed to have a trial and get locked up for life. Expenses be damned. Many times I find myself agreeing with Provenza, who thinks he's too old for this bargaining junk. Budget cuts shouldn't affect the bottom line when it comes to justice. The biggest problem I have though is not the shifty politics but how often they allow Rusty to see things that should be kept private. Seriously, the FBI comes in on a case that is top secret, that they've made a big deal out of how secret it is, and nobody bothers to tell the non-cop teen in the room to head somewhere else? That makes no sense whatsoever. I don't care if the case is supposed to connect to Rusty on a personal level or not. That's so unprofessional. Other than that, most of Major Crimes is a fun way to spend a few hours without having to concentrate too hard. If you like police procedurals, check it out. If you don't, skip it.

Grade: B-

Best Character - Provenza

Best Character Interaction - Sharon and Rusty

Best Reason to Watch - It's a police procedural in which you get to see the character's home lives a bit too. Plus the mother-son relationship between Sharon and Rusty is rewarding on its own.

Best Reason to Skip - It’s a police procedural in all the typical ways. If that's not for you, don't bother. There is a serialized element running throughout the entire series with Rusty's case, but there's not enough each episode to keep non-procedural types tuned in.

Best Episode (Serialized) - Return to Sender, both parts. This wraps up the Philip Stroh storyline that started in The Closer and finally ends Rusty's role as a trial witness.

Best Episode (One-Off) - Dismissed with Prejudice, in which Tao re-examines an old case

Most Fun Episode - I, Witness, in which a brain dead witness becomes a suspect in a murder case right before having to testify

The "If You Only Watch One Episode…" Award / Best Guest Cast - There's No Place Like Home, which guest starred Tim Conway. Paul Dooley, Ron Glass, Doris Roberts, and Marion Ross. What a fun group!

New Shows:

Halt and Catch Fire - 1.01 - Pilot

Surprisingly, the corporate politics of pre-Silicon Valley are pretty gripping. I'm not sure how long that can last because there were plenty of dry spells in the pilot, but once they started figuring out how the IBM processor worked and Joe showed his hand to IBM, the episode picked up. They are going to have to make the main characters a bit more sympathetic to keep my interest, given that Donna is the only one I actually like, but they have a great start. If the summer was mostly dry spell like previous years, this would get 3 episodes from me to see if it keeps momentum. However with the plethora of new shows out this summer, I'm playing the waiting game with this one to see if there's room on my TV schedule after I test the other pilots.

Grade: B
Ranking: 3

Best Scene - Gordon and Joe reverse engineer the processor

Best Awww Moment - Donna tells Gordon to build the machine he's dreaming of but to stay connected to his family

Best Quote - Cardiff: "Listen to me boy. You listen to me. I admire your tenacity, but I draw the line at you claiming that you did me a favor. Don't screw this up 'cause in Texas, you put a man's livelihood on the line and you don't follow through, there's not going to be another new job 'cause ain't nobody's going to be able to find where you're buried."

Best Reason to Watch - looking in-depth at how the pieces of the computer work together

Welcome Back Award - Lee Pace, who is a long way from Ned of Pushing Daisies

Most Manipulative - Joe McMillan

The "Eeewww" Award - The drunk drops his bagel on the road and then eats it. Nothing's that good, buddy.

The "Something's Never Change" Award - It was just as difficult to get to the inner working of toys in the 80's as they are now. Christmas is one long disassembly line at my house.

Worst Spouse - Gordon, whose own self-interest and lack of confidence, makes him the ultimate schlub

Worst Plan - Playing baseball inside your new apartment

Least Effective Interview - When the guy asking the questions is shaking his head no to coach you on what the answers are, the legitimacy of the interview is severely in quesiton.

Most Nostalgic - the huge, book sized floppy disk. I remember our first computer had those.

The "You Know You're Screwed When…" Award - You find your former schlub of a husband making dinner and playing with the kids. Just wait for the other shoe to drop.

Murder in the First - 1.01 - Pilot

There's not much to distinguish Murder in the First from half a dozen other crime shows, with the exceptions of the actors, the serial nature of the show, and the fact that the lead detective's wife died of cancer and not foul play. I'm intrigued by the actors but not enough to make this weekly viewing in an increasingly busy summer lineup. The wife dying actually backfired as a plot device for me. I am guessing they wanted us to feel instantly connected to Terry's character but I found his still being at work suspect, no matter what his wife told him. It makes me less sympathetic to him and smacks of emotional manipulation on the writers' part. My guess is that since they have done such a superb job of making Erich look sociopathic that he's being framed, which lessens the mystery as well. Instead of wondering who would want to frame him, I'm stuck asking who would not?

Grade: C-
Ranking: 1

Best Scene - Erich vs. Jeremy

Biggest Aww Scene - Terry tells his wife he is scared of her dying

Best Quote - David: "Junkies with iPads and we're still using Palm Pilots." / Jim: "How many bird tattoos?" Hildy: 215." Navarro: "It's a freaking Audubon Society out there."

Best Reason to Watch - the actors

Best Character Quirk - Terry has a fear of roller coasters

Most Likely to be Murdered (in the first) - If my ex-husband woke me up in the morning, he wouldn't have to worry about anything else again. Ever.

The "Well Welcome to My TV" Award - Tom Delton of Draco Malfoy fame . This show has just gotten more interesting now that you're here. And hey, look. You've brought along Richard Schiff from The West Wing. Yep, definitely more interesting.

The "Did Someone Really Write This?" Award - Erich: "Yeah well if I wasn't crazy I think I'd go insane." Careful writers, you're pushing Black Box levels here.

Best reaction - Erich looks at a paper copy of the e-mail like it's a foreign object.

Biggest Douche - It's hard to top Erich here. Second place would be harder to define.

The "Are You Kidding Me?" Award - the two lead detectives threaten 2 elementary school kids with San Quentin and say they kill kids there. Are you kidding me? You don't have to threaten their lives to get kids to talk. You two suck even more. Jerks!

Most Pointless Declaration - David stands up to announce he's on the cleanse. Seriously buddy, no one cares.

Weirdest Cliffhanger - The lead cop's wife died (I presume), but we haven't had enough time to care about this character for it to really register. I figured she would die about 3 episodes later to establish his character better.

Best Laugh - After Erich threatens to kill Jeremy and storms off, his lawyer asks Jeremy's lawyer if they validate parking

Night Shift - 1.01 - Pilot

No lie. I am the biggest wuss when it comes to watching medical procedures. I also hate most medical shows because all of the doctors are neurotic and the shows seem to spend more time on how messed up the doctors are than on any actual hospital storyline. Plus they hop in and out of each others' beds like horny rabbits. TV medical drama these days is basically just nighttime soap in a hospital setting. Talking to you, Grey's Anatomy. Therefore I came into this pilot with a rather ho hum attitude. In the end, I liked it much better than I thought I would simply because of all the added humor. This is the sort of show that needs to not take itself too seriously and they managed to find that fine line between quirky and incompetent. If they can continue to make that work, then they have a shot at decent summer TV fare. Sadly it did fall into several pitfalls that most medical dramas do including that the main character is a walking disaster that probably should be under psychiatric care instead of wielding a scalpel. Plus the bed hopping is already starting. Still this one was decent enough to earn a 3 episode watch from me.

Grade: B+
Ranking: 4

Best Scene - the little boy wakes up and moves his fingers

Biggest Awww Scene - Landry tells a kid that the accident that hurt his little brother is not his fault

Best Quote -

Best Reason to Watch - the show so far doesn't take itself too seriously and the added bits of humor make this one of the more watchable hospital drama pilots thus far

Biggest Shock - Ragosa comes in with the medical knowledge to keep the kid from being paralyzed

The Nuttiest Plot - This show is wild on the wacky, but the craziest thing would have to be the intern going on a date with the plastic surgeon so he will give free lipo to the technician so that an uninsured girl can get a scan done. Huh? I'm confused even after typing that out.

Most Intriguing Opening - I'm not sure I would make my crash pad a jail cell. It doesn't sound comfortable.

The "Welcome Back to My TV" Award - Brendan Fehr, who played my favorite character on Roswell, and Jill Flint, formerly from Royal Pains.

Saddest Statement on Health Care - the hospital janitor does not have health insurance for his kid

Best Entrance / Best Save - Dr. Drew puts a choke hold on a bully and puts him completely out

Biggest Schmuck / Best Twist - Ragosa, who is portrayed like your stereotypical, power driven, non-sympathetic bureaucrat who hampers the rules-thwarting doctors who care too much. Then they do a 180 and suddenly he's a full-fledged character as well. Bravo. I'm interested in his imminent blindness storyline and intrigued by his medical background.

The "Say What?" Award - What ambulance doesn't carry equipment to stabilize someone's head? This should not be a MacGyver moment.

Least Surprising - the body in the hearse is still alive. Called it the second they said it.

The "Gross but Somehow Sweet" Award - the scene in which Kara practices gagging to stay in the hospital at Kenny's suggestion made me a bit uncomfortable but I love how they thwart the rules

Facepalm Award - defibrillating the dead guy for practice

Most Awkward Meeting in a Mens' Room - Ragosa punches out TC and I cheer

Chasing Life - 1.01 - Pilot

Chasing Life started out great. April is charming, quirky, and has a refreshing sense of confidence about her without being too over the top or manipulative. The best friend is direct and wacky without being overbearing. In fact the only character that is irksome right now is the sister Brenna, who comes off as the worst of the teen brat clich├ęs. I don't watch a lot of ABC Family so I don't know if that is typical or not. However the episode comes to a screeching halt the second April learns she has cancer. Wavering back and forth about telling her family and blowing off her uncle's insistence of tests made the episode feel about 3 times as long as it was. If they draw everything out like this, it won't matter how great a main character they have. Then they throw in melodramatic plot device #2 (right after love triangle) with the possibility of a heretofore unknown daughter. Urgh! That was completely not necessary unless this girl is going to become a donor of some kind. Given the strength of the beginning, I'm giving Chasing Life one more episode to see which way it is going to go. Let's hope it is more like the first half of the pilot than the latter.

Grade: B-
Ranking: 3+

Best Scene - Uncle George tells April she has cancer / April helps her mother get ready for her date

Best Quote - April: "Are you saying you'd blow off your dead grandmother for a story?" Danny: "Hell yeah."

Best Reason to Watch - April is an engaging character and most of her family dynamics work well

Most Manipulative - April, who tries to scam her way into an interview in multiple ways

Worst Date - taking a girl to a bar where the entertainment is someone playing a mangled version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on the ukulele is probably not the way to get to a second date. And if it does, you may want to question that second date.

Best Reunion - Emma, the grandma, and George, the uncle, both starred on the 90's show, Wings

Saddest Quote - Danny: "My career's like my life." Oh buddy, then you need to get one.

Biggest Brat - Brenna. Yeah, I'm supposed to feel sorry for her because her dad died, but all I really want to do is smack her. She needs to become tolerable fast or else she may become the deal breaker that keeps me from watching this show.

Biggest Face Palm - April keeps putting off getting the tests done, which only makes things worse.

Biggest Cliff Hanger - some stranger brings April's dad's tombstone flowers and says it's her dad.

Crossbones - 1.01 - Devil's Dominion

With 7 minutes less of commercials, this is the longest pilot of the bunch. Yet I am still not sure what to make of it. I'm intrigued by the set-up of a spy being placed in the midst of a legendary pirate's grasp for more power. The performances ranged from mesmerizing to over the top, sometimes from the same actor. In many ways this reminds me of The Blacklist, a show precipitated on a single actor whose character goes from civil to lethal in a blink, even though I inevitably find something else more interesting about the episode. In this case it is the character of Lowe. Not only does Richard Coyle go toe to toe with John Malkovich, but he oft times comes out on top. It helps that his character is more fully formed and less of a caricature so far. I expect that will change as we learn more about Blackbeard's motives. Who is this dead woman he keeps seeing? What is his background? Is there something more to Jagger's past with him? What exactly is the relationship between Selima and him? Speaking of, I am not sure if Selima's motives are true. Is she a traitor to his cause? It definitely seems that she's keeping her new alliance from him, which makes her even more suspect. In some pilots, not knowing where the show is going is a reason for alarm, but here it makes me curious. Curious enough to stick through at least 3 episodes to see.

Grade: B+
Ranking: 4

Best Scene - Lowe and Blackbeard first meet. While each time they meet is dynamic, the first time is the most chilling because we get our first glimpse of how evil Blackbeard can be.

Best Quote - Blackbeard: "Not all those unflattering legends about me are untrue." / Charlie: "You believe there's a remedy for this man's condition." Lowe: "I do." Charlie: "Then I bow to your optimism."

Best Reason to Watch - questions about the alliance with Spain and Lowe's character

Best Plan - Instead of poisoning the drink, which he had to know would be risky, Lowe poisons the pages of the cipher book. Brilliant.

Most Intriguing - Lowe is by far more interesting to me right now that Blackbeard, even with his dead wife haunting him. I like Lowe's spy bit as it makes his job more complicated and his personality harder to judge.

The "Saved by the Shady Political Alliance" Award - Blackbeard owes his life to the envoy from Spain's dead of night shenanigans. Lucky fellow.

Best Alias - ship's doctor. If you can stomach all the nasty involved, it does make a great cover. All ships needed a medic, even pirates. He had a most useful job, so would less likely to be killed.

Best Summary - the opening voice over sets up the entire story concisely, cutting back on exposition and starting the story quickly. I'm not usually a fan of voice overs, but this one worked nicely.

The "You're Way Too Happy" Award - The doctor is way, way too happy about a pirate attack. I guess it's because he wants to join them. No, it's because he wants to prevent them from getting the device. Or maybe…yeah, I have no idea why he's so excited.

The "Well That's One Way to Cauterize a Wound" Award - Blackbeard's introduction is to slit a man's throat. Using gun powder and sparking it to stop the bleeding is a questionable way to ace your job interview.

Biggest Hmmm - I didn't know they had wheelchairs in Blackbeard's day. It shouldn't surprise me, but it kind of does.

The "At This Time, I'd Start Praying" Award - The guy's dead and your best hope for defense is Fletch. I'd say your position is quite precarious, Mr. Lowe.

Least Guarded Prison - If he's really that important, don't you think more than a padlock should keep him in. That's some pretty shoddy pirate work, Blackbeard, unless you think your reputation is supposed to stop him.

The "So You're Going as Pinhead" Award - I have to laugh at Blackbeard doing his best Halloween Pinhead interpretation. Acupuncture makes for a delightful screencap.

Faking It - 1.01 - Pilot

I think I'm too old for Faking It. I find Karma to be a complete brat and a self-absorbed jerk. I'm not sure why anyone is friends with her, much less wants to date her. In fact, the entire premise comes off as mocking to me and it makes me uncomfortable much in the same way that Johnny Knoxville will never, ever be funny. I'm also really sick and tired of Republicans as the enemy in every show. I'm not even a Republican and I'm tired of that stereotype. While there was some great referential dialogue and I find Amy's character to be intriguing, that doesn't outweigh the Karma and Shane Douche Duo 1-2 punch. Skipping this one.

Grade: D+
Ranking: 1

Best Scene - the one that happens next episode according to the previews. Seriously though, Amy telling Karma off in the locker room was the highlight.

Best Quote - Karma: "I'm just trying to get us into Shane Harvey's party tomorrow." Amy: "Why? We hate high school during the day. I doubt we'd like it better at night after it's been drinking." / Amy: "Thank God the voting age is 18. Teenagers are idiots."

Best Reason to Watch - Amy

Best Reason to Fast Forward - Karma, which is a problem because she's generally with Amy

Biggest Social Affliction - I thought the Raj not being able to talk to girls without alcohol in the early years of The Big Bang Theory was bad. Actually vomiting when a person of the opposite sex talks to you is far, far worse.

The "Say What?" Award - I wasn't aware that it was possible to come to the end of your Netflix queue. I thought it went on forever and 3 days after you died, someone would find your body by following the sounds of gunshots, laugh tracks, and weird sci fi beeps.

Most Awkward Exposition - Karma: "So, we live in Austin, a blue oasis in the red sea of Texas." Amy: "Yep, haven't forgotten." Karma: "And our high school's so tolerant and accepting, the outcasts are the in crowd." Did one character just tell another where they both live and what their high school is like? Is the second character suffering from amnesia? Ugh!

Biggest Douche - Shane, who edges out Lauren (the biggest witch). It is no one's right to "out" anyone. People come out when they are ready. Forcing someone to reveal a very personal part of themselves when they are not ready is the height of douchery, even in a comedy as vapid as this one.

Wil Wheaton Project - 1.01 - Pilot

I don't watch a lot of night time talk shows and even less sketch comedy, so this is a little out of my wheelhouse (plus SpoilerTV doesn't cover it). Mainly I tried this show out because I like Wil Wheaton. In a similar vein as Saturday Night Live, some sketches are here were internet-worthy and others needed the fast forward button. While I did laugh out loud several times, which is more than most comedies these days, most of the show felt like Wheaton was trying too hard. If he tones it down a bit and trusts that the audience will follow his joke, I think this could be a great comedy. I especially liked the bits about TV and even if you're not watching a particular show, the comedy for it is broad enough to spark laughs. If your into all things science fiction, fantasy, and horror, check it out and tell me what you think.

Grade: B-
Ranking: 3

Best Scene - John Malkovich being totally underwhelmed when promoting Crossbones

Best Quote - Wil: "Here at the Wil Wheaton Project we are going to bring you everything science fiction, fantasy, and horror from this past week, and I do mean everything…because who's going to stop us? Our network? They're too busy trying to figure out how to combine a shark and an earthquake. So let's get started before they realize what they've done."

Best Reason to Watch - The Walking Dead spoof title card and other TV jokes

Best Trailer - Wheaton's juiced up Gotham ad which mentions all the things it comes before

Best Moment - Wil Wheaton doing Frozen for Shawn Ashmore

Most Spot On - Billy Corrigan and Frankenstein's monster pictures

The "I Know They're Joking, But…" Award - The guy from Talking the Dead comes in to do a mid-episode recap show, which sounds ridiculous until you think about it. With all the recapitations they put into actual episodes these days, they might as well do a halfway through recap for the truly brain dead.

Most Disgusting - The Walking Dead title card sequence a la the 70's theme songs

Best Running Gag - Shawn Ashmore video clips throughout

The "It Baffles My Mind Too…" Award - Wil: "How do you screw up Dracula?" My theory is that the writers and showrunner were drinking the coolant.

Best Tag Line - WGN for people who don't know about the internet.

Most Incongruous - The bom-chicka-bow-wow music during a clip from Vikings

The "Yes, I Loved Star-Crossed, but That was Funny" Award - The clip where the guy gets on the walkie-talkie to talk to the person right next to him makes me giggle to.

The "Some Warning Please" Award - if you're going to show stupid human tricks and other gross stuff, please flash a warning first

Jennifer Falls - 1.01 - Pilot

I require two things out of my comedies - heart and laughs. Jennifer Falling has the heart down pat and they have the requisite quirky characters. The problem is that I didn't laugh much at all. I enjoyed it but there wasn't a whole lot to make it stick out from the crowd. I thought the acting was great and amazing beyond belief, Gretchen is no spoiled brat who makes me want to reach in the screen to slap her. More TV teens should be portrayed that way. Still, simply put, I don't have time in my TV schedule this summer although I might try this one again in the winter hiatus.

Grade: C+
Ranking: 3

Best Scene - sliding beers across the bar

Best Awww Scene - Gretchen and Jennifer on the couch right before her mom interrupts

Best Quote - Gretchen: "So we have nothing." Jennifer: "Oh no, we still have mountains of debt."

Best Reason to Watch - Jennifer comes off as self-absorbed but still appealing and for what she's going through, she's taking it with pretty good grace

Best Reason to Move Back Home - Bacon waffles. How awesome is that?

Most Awkward - Car pooling with your boss the day that he fires you

Most Inappropriate - Maggie, who throws a party complete with mariachi band to welcome her fired and broke daughter back to live with her

Worst Comfort - Anything out of Wayne and Stef's mouths

Best Reunion - Jeffrey Tambor (Jennifer's boss) and Jessica Walter (her mother) both starred on Arrested Development.

The "Yeah, I don't Think That's Ethical" Award - Maggie offers to be her daughter's shrink. Somehow even ethics aside, I'm pretty sure that won't work. Besides that's what phone calls and coffee are for.

Most Athletic - Jennifer jumps on a car window and climbs through the sun roof. If the car had been moving, she'd make a good action shot.

Best Advice - Hey she may be a giant tool, but Stef is right about not spending more than you make. Live and die by the budget, man. It makes everything easier.

Undateable - 1.01 - Pilot

This was not the worst comedy pilot I've seen this year. That award still firmly goes to Mixology. This wasn't particularly offensive with zero good characters, but it was brain numbingly dumb and all the characters felt like they came from a pile of props. When there is far more bad than good, it's time to chuck it.

Grade: D-
Ranking: 1

Best Scene - Danny comforts Leslie after Justin does not sleep with her

Best Quote - Leslie: "This was acceptable when you were 20, but you're pushing 30 and it's getting creepy. And creepy sticks. It's like herpes. It's for life."

Best Reason to Watch - chances are that a good bromance will develop between Justin and Danny

Least Surprising - Justin hooks up with Danny's sister

Worst Moment - Danny pretends to be throwing up his vast knowledge to feed Justin like a bird. No, it doesn't make any more sense in the actual episode.

Biggest Hmmm - I'm not sure if bragging that you were the first male Annie at choral camp is what you want to lead with when trying to get someone to take you on as a roommate.

Worst British Accent Ever - Danny. Even I could do better than that.

Worst Running Joke - the "ping, ping, ping, no negative thoughts" routine

Dominion - 1.01 - Pilot

Dominion has an interesting story, even if I am sick to death of evil angels. However this pilot tended to stretch out too long without much of anything happening. They set up the characters and the story but for the most part it dragged so that the extended pilot felt a lot more like 3 hours than 66 minutes. The little action there was ended quickly in short bursts. For instance, they cut out of the Michael vs. Furiad fight so we can watch Alex and Claire decide to stay in the city. I would much rather watch sword fighting. Then Michael hesitates instead of killing Furiad outright. What's up with that? It did lead to a nice moment with Alex trying to come to Michael's rescue though, which shows that he cares more about his commanding officer than he let on. I expect we'll see that relationship deepen as the series progresses and it will probably be the cornerstone of the series. That's the good news. The bad is yet again we have a love triangle, even if this is built more on power than anything else. Overall, I like the concept of Dominion better than the execution so far, which means I will give it 2 more episodes before dropping it. Here's hoping the pacing improves drastically.

Grade: C+
Ranking: 4

Best Scene - Jeep's dies and the tattoos are transferred to Alex

Biggest Aww Scene - Jeep gives Alex a picture of his mother

Best Quote - Michael: "You have faith." Wheele: "Oh that died a long time ago archangel, when your kind laid waste to my planet."

Best Reason to Watch - the overall mythology

Best Character Interaction - Alex and Bixby

Coolest Moment - Forget the flying angels, I love how the tattoo moves to tell Alex to beware. Super cool.

Best Reason to Fast Forward - there are long stretches in the pilot without any action. There's a lot of setting and character building, which is expected in a pilot, but in an extended pilot I expect more action than this

Best Voice Over - the cold open, which told us the setting in less than 2 minutes. Without this, you'd be hopelessly lost as I was the first time I saw it, joining in at the 10 minute mark.

Best Call - Alex chooses to rescue Bixby instead of Claire. Absolutely the right call given that Bixby is on her own and everybody and their cousin are trying to protect Claire. / Claire says they cannot leave the city in a war and that they will have to go some other time.

Most Disgusting - angel tongue

Most Disturbing - co-ed showers

Least Surprising - Alec is the Chosen One / life in the future sucks, with its caste system, beatings, and little food

Best Twist - William is already fighting on the side of angels as an acolyte and is not going to be pushed into it by an annoying love triangle

Biggest Douche - Jeep, who re-introduces himself to his son by attacking him. There's got to be Winchester in this bloodline.

Biggest Idiot - Steele, who brings an angel into the city in order to shock himself into power. Like that wasn't going to backfire. The second you said, "We are in complete control," the whole thing was headed to Hades.

Best Spin - Wheele can't stand to see all his plans evaporate before him, so he fights Alex as the Chosen One with everything he has. Including saying that the angel in the city was a good idea. Say what?

The "Are You Kidding Me?" Award - Claire finds out she's to be wed to William in a city-wide announcement. Is this the Middle Ages? What about the future means women are second class citizens again with no control over their own future?

Weirdest Moment - Michael bows to Alex before going back to the task at hand

Power - 1.01 - Pilot

This is not my type of show. The "f bombs" every other minute and the gratuitous nudity make it your typical pay cable show, which is a shame because the story itself and especially the character of James could make for a great show. Unlike Penny Dreadful, there isn't enough here for me to overlook the issues I have. However if those things don't bother you, check it out. There's a good story hidden deep within.

Grade: C
Ranking: 2

Best Scene - James and Tommy take care of Miguel

Best Quote - Tommy: "No, you already saw how she turned out. Anything else is just you trying to heal wounds from childhood." James: "You've got to stop watching that Dr. Phil sh**." Tommy: "That man knows what he's talking about."

Best Reason to Watch - James "Ghost" St. Patrick is the kind of complicated character that lends itself to multiple storylines and great drama

Best Character Interaction - James and Tommy

Best Juxtaposition - The bullets and lipstick mixing in the opening credits

Best Guest Star - Manny Montana, who plays Johnny on Graceland, shows up as someone who ripped off a drug kingpin

The "You Learn Something New Every Day" Award - I didn't know Louboutin made shoes for men. Not that I know anything about Louboutin except for the red soles.

The "Hey, You're Back" award - Sinqua Walls, Boyd from Teen Wolf appears in a few episodes. My guess from the way he was looking at James' wife, he bites it before the show ends. You just don't lust after a drug pin's wife. Also Enrique Murciano, Danny from Without a Trace, plays their supplier.

The "Big Tough Gangster Say What?" Award - Tommy actually said, "my bad." Really? When will that phrase die out?

Most Likely to Turn Out to be Playing Him - Angela. When an old friend shows up after 18 years and you're a criminal, it's best to get more information before letting them back into your life. She might not know that he is the one she's looking for but there's a reason why she came back into James' life.

The "Say What?" Award - Tasha sees her husband get a girl's number and so in revenge she strips for the driver. Unless there are more problems in their marriage than hinted at, that's overkill. Actually no matter what, that's overkill.

Best Reference - Time to make the doughnuts. That's what I say to myself when I don't want to get out of bed and go to work. Who knew gangsters used it too?

Weekly Shows:

~Please bear with me as I catch up on all the shows I normally review. I'll do a special focus on all the shows that ended while I was gone next week.

Graceland - 2.1 - The Line

The Graceland season 2 premiere starts with a time jump of a few months, which really works well because the characters all find themselves in a different place emotionally. It's nice to see that there were consequences and fall out for each of them after such an intense first season. The biggest change was of course Birggs, who is now far less impulsive and quite honestly fun. Still he remains the most fascinating character. Mike is less so, as he comes off mostly as a douche in this episode. So much so that I wanted to smack him. Otherwise, the premiere did a great job of setting up the new season's mytharc and the characters are just as intriguing as ever.

Grade: B

Best Scene - Paige and Mike talk by the campfire about why he's being such a douche

Best Quote - Mike: "We still going to be surfing by noon?" Briggs: "Probably not."

Best Twist - how everyone is reunited

Best Reason to Watch- seeing how all the Graceland residents have changed in the fallout

Smartest Plan - newbie kidnappers, who didn't just surprise me. Mixing a kidnapping with the dog fighting raid is brilliant.

Most Accurate Contact List - Leon lists the assassins under Kill Boys. At least it's clear.

Biggest Promotion - Mike, who went from rookie to Special Assistant to the Director to Graceland lead in a few short months. Kind of stretches credibility.

Best Return to TV - Mike's new girlfriend, Jessica, is Audrey on Haven

Best Gesture - Briggs does a sarcastic salute to the criminal that blew his plan. I didn't even know sarcastic salute existed.

Motto - Find the Line, proving that Mike's hunch was right

Most Brutal - dry boarding interrogation

The "What the Heck?" Award - When Leon pulls a gun on Briggs, Mike looks incredibly nonchalant about it. If he were a real arms dealer, he would have brought out a gun immediately and asked what's going on. Waiting so long should be highly suspicious to Leon.

Best Foreshadowing - Charlie watches over Juan Badillo's family and is obviously not done with the case

Best Reaction - everyone's lack of enthusiasm for the final announcement

Most Interesting Sub-Story - Jakes buys a house so he can be with his son

Most Likely to Go South Quickly - Charlie and Briggs' relationship, which is based partly on lies and guilt

Graceland - 2.02 - Connects

I liked this episode less than the premiere, mostly because it was concentrated more on character development than plot. Still there were some excellent scenes with both Charlie and Jakes. Watching Jakes realize that he might never see his son and that all the work he put into making a home for him was for naught was particularly heartbreaking. Charlie and Briggs' car scene as well. I do wish that Paige had gotten something more to do though. It seems like her character is always the one shafted and turning her into mere eye candy this episode was a real disservice. On the plus side, it looks like Johnny is going to have a more direct role in the overall mytharc so that's a wish lsit item checked. In the end, this episode felt more like a bridge to the following episodes but it set up some nice subplots, including one with Briggs and Kelly, the widow of the man he shot. I am very interested in hearing how that turns out.

Grade: B-

Best Scene - Briggs's conversation with the Caza leader / Jakes destroys the room he made for his son

Best Quote - Johnny: "You want a hug?"

Best Reason to Watch - character development

Biggest Shock - Charlie walks out on the sting

Least Shocking - Jakes arrested for violating a restraining order

Best Character Interaction - Johnny and Jakes

Biggest Risk - Briggs goes to meet with the Caza cartel leadership by himself to get answers about the hit on Mike. I know Briggs thinks he's invincible but this is not a good plan.

Best Death Stare - Charlie, who wields it liberally this episode.

Weirdest Line Possibly in the History of TV - Briggs: "Now I'm frisking goats." What?

Most Angsty - Charlie's breakdown and subsequent inability to do her job

Biggest Douche - Mike. Still.

Biggest Screw You - Jakes to Briggs

Biggest Disappointment / Most Likely to be Labeled Eye Candy - Paige. They have her undressed several times this episode and we still get no character motivation or growth for her. Right now she's as useless as Zeke and this was her big episode.

Least Sympathetic - Charlie: "You're fine. You've been stabbed 5 times. You'll live. Sonya, give this man a tampon and uh, I don't know…hold his hand."

Worst Subplot - the freaking tape. Until it becomes an issue for Briggs, I don't care what's going on with it.

Most Surprising Subplot - Kelly, who could be great character growth for Briggs or a predictable plot device

The "Oh Poor Baby" Award - Jakes> Man do I feel for his character.

Best New Character - Caza cartel boss

Most Disgusting - Gum sharing. Yuck!

The 100 - 1.11 - The Calm

For an episode called The Calm, things sure did happen in this episode. For me, the far superior storyline was the Ark again as we got answers, all the key players were found, and Kane became the biggest hero of the night. I like this character growth on him and it evolved in a quick, but natural way so it feels genuine. I hope we continue to see the Ark build itself back up and try to signal the earth. It's on the ground that the story falters. Clarke's assent into hand-to-hand killer was slightly shocking and yet completely in tune with the tone of the series. I expected it to come in the season finale to be honest. They needed to go there to keep the realism and because it's where Clarke has been heading since the Charlotte episode. Still I do not look forward to her emoangsting about it for the next some odd episodes. A least she would have a reason to emoangst though. Raven's character is no better now than it was when she was in the freaking love triangle. This is not acceptable. The character that was so freaking awesome on the Ark deserves the chance to show her talents on the ground. Having her pine away and throw fits is doing irreparable damage to her character and the writers need to fix it. She should be a slight foil for Clarke but right now all I want her to do is die. Speaking of, Finn had better not die. He's the only person with common sense and long-term perspective in the entire 100 camp.

Grade: A- / B-

Best Scene - Kane rescues Jaha

Best Quote - Raven: "So what's your plan? Sit here until you run out of bullets." Bellamy: "Yeah, or until you come up with something better. Come on, Raven. You came down here in a pod you rebuilt yourself. You made a bomb out of a tin can. What else you got in that head of yours?"

Best Reason to Watch - We're finally back to the ark to get some answers.

Best Reason to Fast Forward - Raven

Best Return - The Grounder Queen, who I want to see a lot more of

Best Reason to Cover Your Eyes - Clarke's emergency surgery and any other primitive doctoring

Biggest Disappointment - I was hoping that once they dropped the Clarke - Finn - Raven triangle both Raven and Finn would get a better storyline and Raven would stop being all about Finn. She's a strong character who deserves much better.

Most Improved / Best Determination - Kane, who rocks as a man on a mission to save everyone

The "What an Idiot?" Award - No way. No freaking way a trained soldier gives away vital information to an enemy combatant. This grounder warrior tells Clarke where he's vulnerable? Are you kidding me?

The "Are You Sure This isn't a Horror Show?" Award - The flickering lights, abandoned Ark passageways, the echoing noises…sure looks like a horror show to me and it gives me the wiggins equally

Best Teamwork - Trying to get the Chancellor out

Biggest Hypocrite - Clarke, who rails on the Grounder Queen for continued bloodshed, when she herself is actively part of the reason why they are at war. Shut up, Clarke!

The "So Do You Feel Better Now?" Award - Raven, I don't think sex with Bellamy is the answer. Why not use your great brain and be useful?

The "Say What?" Award - Why doesn't Kane take something to cover up when he heads into the maintenance shaft. Shouldn't he have a blanket or something to prevent him from second degree burns while crawling over the hot pipes?

The 100 - 1.12 - We are Grounders, Part 1

I admit that most penultimate episodes do nothing for me. Usually they play with all the emotional loose ends so that the finale can be full of action. This one did a great job of keeping the pacing and the mytharc alive. I love that Lincoln came back and hope beyond hope that he makes it out safely. Since this is the CW, there's a great chance that he did. I also love the dueling politics that once again has Clarke and Bellamy on opposite sides. It works best when they disagree because then we see all sides of the situation. I hope they continue to run in these lines in season 2, because it makes both characters far more interesting as their speech scene proves. Things on the Ark continue to be golden TV with superb acting. Abby breaking down over the dead patient is the highlight but everyone reacting to their certain death was fascinating. I wish they would have played with this more instead of all the Murphy drama, which was at best a distraction and at worst, filler. While it did lead to some great Bellamy character growth, it probably should have come earlier in the series since so much is going on right now. Basically this episode would get an A from me if it had shifted priorities a bit and of course if they had dumped the freaking shipping moment that seems to have to be in EVERY SINGLE episode. It had zero place here and is trying my patience to the utmost.

Grade: A / B+

Best Scene - Jaha outlines the Ark coming to earth / Bellamy and Clarke's rival speeches

Most Intense Scene - Abby breaks down over a dead patient

Best Quote - Clarke: "Bellamy's right. If we leave, we may never find a place as safe as this, and God knows, in this world we could be faced with something even worse tomorrow, but that doesn’t change the simple fact that if we stay here, we will die tonight."

Best Reason to Watch - the Ark is on the way down and the war on the ground is heating up. Everything is in play for a great finale.

Most CW / Best Reason to Fast Forward - Finn and Clarke are on their way to get valuable, lifesaving info to the 100 but we have to stop for Finn to declare his love for Clarke. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? You don't have time for this and this is the exact kind of nonsense that threatens my viewership. Knock it off, CW. Now! And none of this Bellamy and Clarke junk either. They all need to survive. I swear they are going to ruin another great show with this teenage romantic emoangsting mess. I'm too old for this.

Best Reason to Hold on to Those Old Home Movies - Sometimes they hold the key to everyone's survival. How very plot device of them to have Jaha watch the exact moment when his kids are talking about the solution. The kids are really cute though.

Most Grace Under Fire - Jaha's speech about the Ark dying

Best Dichotomy - Speeches - from the contrast in tone between Jaha's speech and Bellamy's opening speeches to the contrast between Bellamy and Clarke's plan to save the 100 . This is one of the reasons why The 100 needs to shed its CW-esque teen romance junk. The politics of life on the Ark and on the ground have plenty of drama and heart without being distracted by love geometry hijinks. To see the difference in leadership styles and to watch Bellamy grow into the kind of leader that can save them all would be fascinating. Stick to that storytelling, writers.

The "Saved by the…Signal Fire" Award - Clarke has the most lucky timing of anyone. Just as soon as she's about to die again, something happens to interrupt her would be assassin's plan.

Least Surprising - It is Lincoln who saved Finn and Clarke. As soon as the masked guy nodded instead of spoke, I knew it was Lincoln. I'm also glad because he is the most fascinating character on the show. Glad he's back.

Most Surprising - the bodies in the carts are alive / Finn kills someone by bashing in his head. This is far more surprising than Clarke but still bound to happen. I foresee much emoangsting in our future.

Best New Mytharc - The reapers. I love learning more about the grounders and the struggle to survive on earth. To learn about previous enemies is a great leap forward in the mytharc.

Most in Need of Disposal - Murphy, who is sticking around for another day. Could we please never hear from him again? That would be nice. He's all crazy and no brains, which makes for a tiresome villain.

Worst Played - Murphy goes serial killer when anyone can walk in and they did.

Best Played - Jasper uses the radio to alert Bellamy to the fact that Monty is trying to kill him

The "Shut Up Everyone" Award - Listen. If your choice is go through the tunnel or get Lincoln killed, stop talking and go through the freaking tunnel. NOW! Idiots!

Most Dramatic - the pan up to the noose. We already knew that's what Bellamy was making.

The "I Knew You're Insane, but…" Award - Murphy of all the bat guano crazy junk you have ever said and done, the most insane is thinking that the 100 wouldn't put a bullet in your brain the second you showed your face. You have no time to win support or wait people out and no one but the equally crazy would trust you.

Best Awww Moment - Jasper hugs Bellamy and thanks him

The 100 - 1.13 - We are Grounders, Part 2

This episode had something for everything in it and was an excellent way to end the season. In fact, it is hard to pick a favorite scene when there are so many great ones. I'm so happy The 100 was renewed. In particular, I loved all of the Ark scenes from Jaha's breakthrough to his quietly contemplating his own death while drinking scotch. Another poignant scene that hasn't been duly recognized in the fandom was where Kane stands up to volunteer to stay behind and manually disconnect the pods from the Ark. To watch his slow walk towards the door with everyone grasping his hand was incredibly emotional even if Jaha beat him to the punch. I also love how Bellamy and Octavia finally reconcile and how he lets her leave with Licoln, finally realizing that this grounder has done a lot to protect his little sister. Probably the best part though is how well they set up for season 2. Finn and Bellamy are missing. Octavia and Lincoln has run off. The Ark members in Abby's pod have landed, but the 100 have been kidnapped on Mount Weather. Don't tell me you aren't excited to see where this leads next year.

Grade: A

Best Scene - Bellamy voluntarily allows Lincoln to take Octavia to safety and the siblings say their goodbyes

Most Poignant Scene - Abby describes earth to Jaha and he opens a bottle of old scotch and looks at earth from the Ark, while Exit Music (for a Film) by Radiohead plays in the background

Best Moment - After Finn runs to rescue Bellamy, he gives Clarke a head nod to show that she should close the doors even though he and Bellamy are still outside

Best Quote - Jaha: "God speed, my friends. God speed." Abby: "Thelonious, where are you?" Jaha: "Right where I'm supposed to be. Hold on tight, Abby. You'll see your daughter soon….and I'll see my son."

Best Reason to Watch - There is no 1 reason. This was an excellent season finale.

Best Reason to Fast Forward - Raven's "pick me first" speech

Best Action - Grounders vs. Reapers

Best Cliffhanger - I debated back and forth on this one but in the end, Clarke waking in the quarantine ward loses out to whether or not Finn and Bellamy made it out and how they are going to reunite with the others

Biggest Shock - the mountain men gas the 100 when they step out of the drop ship

Most Fierce - the Grounder Queen who jumps into the drop ship right before the door closes

Most Anticlimactic - Sinclair does the separation countdown only to have it fail / Jasper flips the switch for the rockets and nothing happens

The "Are You Kidding Me?" Award - I think The 100 needs a space consultant on board. 52 hours have certainly not gone by. Not even close. The international space station orbits the earth over 15 times PER day. Even if it were not orbiting earth, the Ark would at most need 24 hours to get back to the exact same place it currently is. I am a fan of countdown drama at times, but not when it makes ZERO sense.

The "Oh Boo Hoo" Award - Raven, stop emoangsting and get to work. If I am going to lose you before you regain the awesome status you had before you came to earth, at least don't make me hate you for wasting episode minutes.

Most Disgusting - Drew getting a blade right through the head. You really don't need to show me that. My imagination can fill in the blanks nicely.

The "We Are All Screwed…" Award - No offense, but all you Ark members who are not in the compartment with BOTH Kane and Abby are just done. You stack 2 main characters in one place and that's the part that gets out alive. I knew Jaha wasn't making it even before he martyred himself, which was the….

Best Save - Chancellor Wells, who gives up his life to save his people. You are a good man, sir. I will miss you. Just like I have missed your son since his death.

Best Almost Save - Kane offers to give up his life, but Jaha already did it. I love this scene because you see his willingness to sacrifice for his people. The character development for Kane has been one of the best parts of the series.

Biggest Hypocrite - Clarke again. She says they are not grounders but they started this particular war.

Smartest - Surprisingly it is Jasper. He figures out the grounders are trying to make them run out of bullets.

Most Dramatic Entrance - I would say the grounder hordes, but this one definitely goes to the Ark.

Worst News - Sinclair explains the process of going to earth, of which the best news is that someone might survive but most won't

The "Well Hello, Warrior Princess" Award - Octavia continues to be one of the best characters on this show. Add her new ninja skills and she could become the missing female kick butt warrior The 100 needs.

Best Return - Lincoln made it out. Now can we turn this into a "Lincoln tells us all about the grounders and leads us to other parts of the earth" show. Because that would be freaking awesome.

The "Say What?" Award - Why did they dump Drew's dead body right in the middle of the camp? That won't do anything for morale.

Biggest Hmmm - Why is Starry Night hanging in a hospital ward? That seems mighty out of place.

Best Music - The Other Side by Woodkid

Screencaps by

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 creates polls for Sleepy Hollow, Arrow, White Collar, Grimm, Teen Wolf, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts the Warehouse 13 "Endless Wonder", 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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