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 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.
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."
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!
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?
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.”
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!
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.”
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.
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."
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.
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!”
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.
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?"
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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?"
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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?"
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.
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."