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TV Round-Up 2
Reviews from TV Wasteland: 11-15 to 11-21
By Mania Staff
November 22, 2010
© Bob Trate
Welcome to our second week of TV Round-Up. And in response to your initial reaction, I’d just like to say… NOT IN THE FACE!!! NOT IN THE FACE!!!
Seriously, we have heard your concerns loud and clear, and are responding immediately. Full reviews of The Walking Dead will start up again this week, with full reviews of Smallville appearing a week after Friday. (Smallville is a rerun this week because of Thanksgiving.) The remainder of the TV schedule will be covered in micro-reviews on this column. Please bear with us while we make the adjustments and get everything straightened out. (Yes: Stargate Universe and Big Bang Theory are missing this week. Working on it!) In the meantime, here’s a quick round-up of shows from the previous week.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: Panther’s Quest
Each week it seems that The Avengers focuses on introducing a new hero. After that introduction, the show also introduces new villains and often a new running story arc. This week focused on The Black Panther, who has made cameo appearances in previous episodes that led to this big confrontation with the Avengers. The story is a little odd because he fights with them, gets them to agree to help him save his country, and then explains himself to them. The script for this one felt like it needed another pass, but Black Panther is given good badass treatment and this interpretation of the villain Klaw was entertaining.
Grade: B(Stephen Lackey)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Knights of Tomorrow (Friday)
Once again proving this is not only one of the best genres shows on television, it is sadly one of the most underappreciated as well, this episode touched on so many facets that have made up the Batman legacy since 1940. First we see that solitary figure, long pointy ears and all, striking fear into criminals’ hearts, and striking vicious uppercuts and haymakers to the likes of The Riddler and Solomon Grundy. We are next treated to the development of Dick Grayson, from Boy Wonder, briefly to his Earth 2 costume, and his years as Nightwing.
Next we learn that Bruce marries Selina “Catwoman” Kyle, and it’s not hard to spot Clark Kent sitting next to Barbara Gordon at the wedding service, and subsequently at Bruce’s funeral. Bringing us to the year 2010, Bruce’s son Damian dons the Robin outfit to help Grayson’s Batman bring down both the Joker, and his “son.” A nice tip of the cowl to the 60’s show again as well. Holy brilliance!
Grade: A (Joe Oesterle)
Chuck: Chuck vs. the Fear of Death (Monday)
This episode of Chuck found our hero trying to recover from the damage done to him by his Mom’s PSP. He can’t flash but he proves on a mission that he’s a smart guy and still useful, until the fights start. Rob Riggle is brought in as a Psych agent to force the Intersect back into action. What tools did he utilize? Well, there were many but he started off with ninjas! At the same time, Jeff and Lester become acutely aware of the Greta’s that continue to mysteriously appear and disappear in the Buy More. They began an investigation aptly titled “Getta’ Greta” to solve the mystery. The two of them are ridiculously funny and they managed to be a part of inoffensive Subway product placement. This week brought us Summer Glau and Richard Chamberlain as guest stars. Now that’s eclectic casting! This episode is another near perfect installment of the series: action packed, hilarious, and a little dramatic.
Grade: A+ (Stephen Lackey)
Dexter: Teenage Wasteland (Sunday)
This installment of Dexter didn’t seem to be quite as focused as the last few installments. There are also some really off-putting soap opera style close-ups in this episode that don’t work. There were some interesting things happening with a case that Deb was working and with Dexter finding evidence that proves unequivocally that his next victim is in fact part of the group that killed a bunch of girls and stuffed them in barrels. All of this really interesting stuff was scattered throughout the episode between Dexter dealing with Astor, the daughter of his dead wife. The Astor story didn’t offer much depth other than possibly seeing Astor possibly trying to get closer to Dexter again. There’s a nice moment where Dexter’s father, or his subconscious mind, walked him through an epiphany about himself. Dexter actually passes this new knowledge on to Astor too. These were nice moments. The closing of the episode was extremely suspenseful and Julia Styles played it amazingly well.
Grade: B (Stephen Lackey)
The Event: For the Good of Our Country (Monday)
Last night found The Event buried in flashbacks again, but this time around the pace is consistent and the execution of said flashbacks didn’t cripple the story the way they did in the pilot episode. This episode leaps all the way back to the pilot and reveals more details of the “events” of that day that led to the attempted assassination of the President with a jet full of people. A new mole was revealed and a new opportunity to the President to solve the mystery of these “aliens” is made available to him. Hal Holbrook plays a new mastermind who is pulling strings with some very unclear motivations. He gets the cliffhanger of the episode and it’s a real shocker. The only slow point in the episode had to be Jason Ritter’s story and he got shot! The Event is giving up a lot of information really early in the series. Have they revealed too much too soon?
Grade: A (Stephen Lackey)
No Ordinary Family: No Ordinary Mobster
Whereas last week’s episode was comical, what with the unannounced visit of Jim’s obnoxious in-laws (guest stars Bruce McGill and Cybill Shepherd), this week’s episode was very serious. After a mobster named Luca (guest star Jon Sklaroff) gets off, Jim (Michael Chiklis) goes after him, despite George’s (Romany Malco) explicit instructions otherwise. Jim beats Luca senseless, but not before getting unmasked. Worried, Jim tells Stephanie (Julie Benz) what he did.
The DA’s office catches Luca with a quarter-million dollars’ worth of meth and links him to the attempted murder of an ADA (guest star Amy Acker, Benz’s fellow Angel alumna). Luca tells George to drop the charges or else Jim and his family won’t be safe. However, George bluffs and convinces Luca to testify against his boss in exchange for a lighter sentence. At the end, he dies thanks to the mysterious Watcher (Josh Stewart).
The ongoing storyline involving Dr. Poulson (this show’s answer to Alias’ Milo Rimbaldi) deepens as Dr. Dayton King (Stephen Collins) warns Stephanie to drop it, which she doesn’t. Eli Stone writer/co-creator Marc Guggenheim outdid himself with this episode and is to be commended for moving the show forward.
Grade: A (Kurt Anthony Krug)
Smallville: Patriot (Friday)
These writers too often have a hard time dealing with interpersonal relationships, so it should come as no surprise that they are way out of their depth to attempt to tackle political commentary. But there is Michael Hogan trying like a champ to deliver dialogue written by a 7th grader who has just watched a week of CNN, and now feels like an expert. The soon-to-be Leaguers know by now that the government is not there to be chums, but what Oliver and company couldn’t know is that certain members of the military have been infected by the Darkness.
Aquaman, Mera, Green Arrow and of course Supes… I really wanted to like this episode, but again: too much time was spent on how Clark kept secrets from Lois, and whether their relationship can possibly survive. Blech! Good thing they had A.C. and his big breasted Mer-gal to lay down the blueprint. Whoop-dee-freaking-do.
Grade C- (Joe Oesterle)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
More politics this week as Padme Amidala approaches her counterpart among the Separatists in an effort to negotiate a peace. Ahsoka accompanies her and learns some very important lessons along the way. Naturally, a few well-placed bombs quickly derail their efforts. Heroes on Both Sides suffers from heavy-handed allegories and a too-heavy message, compounded by Ahsoka’s usual ninniness. It recovers with its subtle demonstration of how Palpatine continues to stoke the fires, and the ways those beneath him cannot see the true threat. That helps the episode overcome periodic slow patches and the fact that it shows us General Grievous without letting him do anything remotely cool.
Grade: B- (Rob Vaux)
Supernatural: Clap Your Hands if You Believe (Friday)
Taking a few liberal jabs at The X-Files had to feel good for these guys. Not in a mean-spirited way, but it had to feel good nonetheless. This episode played to a different tempo than the other chapters this season, and I appreciated it. And even though there were plenty of light moments, (Sam asking Dean if he “serviced” the king of the fairies, and Dean’s homophobic-sounding rant as he was being loaded into the back seat of the police car were done with great comedic effect) there were some genuine dark moments as well, and we were left to wonder a couple things.
Are fairies and leprechauns more powerful than devils and angels, and after considerable soul-searching does Sam still want to search for his soul?
Grade: B+(Joe Oesterle)