15 September 2011

The Watcher: 09/09/10 - 09/15/11

Two shows end end this week, which is kinda sad. There were two new shots that premiered this week that I wasn't able to watch this week, but will hopefully be viewed and reviewed by next. Fall is upon us, and with it, the return of many shows I hold dear. I won't be reviewing all of them (like COMMUNITY or BIG BANG THEORY), but I think there's maybe seven shows I'll still be following, if not more. So for those who care, The Watcher will be reviewing SUPERNATURAL, FRINGE, NIKITA, CHUCK, DEXTER, WALKING DEAD, and probably a few others I forgot. Anyone else excited? Or too bummed from the departure of TRUE BLOOD? Still got a few more BREAKING BAD episodes to go, so be happiez!

BREAKING BAD S04E09 - "Bug" (11 September 2011) - Not up to par with last weeks, but damn, if that wasn't a brutal - but honest - fight between Jesse and Walter. But frankly, about damn time. Walter has no ability to talk to people, always coming off as an ass, so good for Jesse to finally give up and just beat Walter. The scene involving the shootout at Gus' place was also particularly awesome, as Gus walks out into the stream of bullets, arm raised, mocking the shooters. A pretty intense scene, riveting both in performance and screenwriting. Excited to see where this season is heading (I feel like I say that every week, but it's true, man!) Score: 8.0/10

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY S04E10 - "The Blood Line" (09 September 2011) - So here we are, the end of the line. TORCHWOOD is over for the foreseeable future. The ratings were fine, but I don't know if they were impressive enough to warrant a season renewal by Starz, or if Davies would be interested enough to shop the series to another network. Point is, for right now, this is the end of TORCHWOOD, and although 'The Blood Line" is fine entertainment on its own, the whole MIRACLE DAY series rather blew. Not the series at its brightest moment. Although I said it was enjoyable, "The Blood Line" still is far from satisfactory, not offering nearly enough information and tying the whole shebang up far too quickly after spending nine episodes building this new world. Since this is the last TORCHWOOD review for a while, I'm going to spend my time on it.

The first two episodes of MIRACLE DAY started well enough. Set up of characters, dilemma, tone, etc. Fine, loved it. Then episode three came around, and things just sucked until episode seven. Although the characters moved around a lot, and this Category One/Two/Three thing was introduced, those episodes felt like nothing happened. No forward momentum. And y'know, now that the entire series is out to see, those episodes didn't amount to anything. What was accomplished in four episodes could have been condensed into one solid, gripping hour and left a whole lot of mythology and action and backstory to come up to the front. Primarily, episodes three-seven are just frustrating. Missed opportunities, lazy writing of what could have been a thrilling narrative, and a general lack of direction. And when we get to the finale, and a large chunk of stuff is unexplained and no one has any answers for it (including Jack), it feels like Davies and his crew went into this without a full story, which I know isn't his style, so what gives?

So instead of complaining about what didn't work with MIRACLE DAY, what did work? Well, Jack was well written, and Gwen shined this series brighter than ever before. She was truly a force to be reckoned with. I appreciated where Oswald Danes ended up, and even though it was a bit of a tease and feels a bit like a cop out, the revelation at the end of "The Blood Line" of Miracle Day being just one part of a much larger plan - yeah, that was pretty cool. Some of the actions scenes were pretty nice, and as time went on, I really dug Rex and, to an extent, Esther. The only thing these characters needed was more opportunities that would allow them to shine. Truthfully, there were some nice twists along the way; I enjoyed seeing some more Jack backstory, including the scene in "Immortal Sins" that I always wanted to see [Jack being endlessly killed over and over by pesky people].

But still: why did Jack turn mortal when everyone else become immortal? It comes across as more of a plot device than a logical consequence of The Blessing. And yes, here I am talking logic about a sci-fi series. Why did Jack's blood do anything anyhow? As Jack said multiple times in the course of the series, it's not his blood that makes him special. Bloody hell! And after spending episodes setting up this frakked up world where Category Ones were burnt to 'death', "The Blood Line" doesn't address how the world is coping with suddenly being mortal again, or if there are any legal proceedings going on concerning what just happened the last three months, etc. The whole world changed, and it's not even addressed.

All this said, "The Blood Line" was still pretty cool. I loved the twist involving the blood transfusion, and I LOVED when Gwen killed Jack. BRILLIANT. And Gwen's voice over monologue is just as chillingly brilliant as Eve Myles' acting. So freakin' cool. Oswald's fate was nice, too, and I loved Chapiro's reaction to finding out who the mole was (I hope he survived the blast).

In the end, TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY will be looked at as a series with missed opportunities, and I don't foresee me revisiting the episodes often. I might rewatch the episodes in one big sweep, just to see if seeing them in order one after another in quick succession will change my mind. Until this, Torchwood, it was great having you back. I hope this isn't the end. See you soon. Score: 7.5/10 | Season Score: 6.7/10

TRUE BLOOD S04E12 - "And When I Die" (11 September 2011) - Here endith the series' most cohesive, competent, entertaining season to date. With lots of deaths. But judging from the theme of this episode, I'm guessing not a lot of dead people are going to stay peacefully dead in Bon Temps. As for "And When I Die", it was a pretty entertaining and satisfying conclusion to the Season of the Witch (as showrunner Alan Ball likes to call it) storyline. First, guess it's worth mentioning all the deaths. We have Jesus, killed by Marnie-as-Lafayette. It sucks that Lafayette has something he loves taken away from him, but on the plus side, he did have, what, two seasons worth of Jesus' affections? That's longer than most characters get on this show. And then, of course, Tara getting a part of her head blown off. Pretty gruesome, but cool simultaneously. Of course we know she's coming back, but the how should be pretty interesting. I did love that Sookie was so full of rage she killed Alcide's ex with the shotgun. Any opportunities to darken her character or make her character tougher, I'm all for. With regards to cliffhanger endings, what exactly is going on with Sam and that wolf thingy? Why of all the cliffhangers they could have given the character, they went with that? Felt sorta...anticlimatic. But at least he had a nice funeral scene over Tommy's grave with his new romantic interest (who I hope returns next season).

Sookie tells both Eric and Bill that she loves both of them loads, but she can't be involved with either of them. Sadness. But good for her. She needs to get out of this supernatural world - although we know it will pull her back in - but any forward momentum in regards to character growth is a major plus. Bill and Eric also get some blood on their hands in an tense and graphic scene where they kill the 400-year old vampire chick who was pulling Bill's strings for the earlier part of the season. That was pretty cool, and also was nice to see the two vamps work together. Jessica and Jason have a none-relationship relationship filled with sex, so although Jason wants something more, he's still getting a pretty good deal. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but what happened with the faerie stuff from last week? Did that have any momentum? I wished Alan Ball concluded these storylines before moving onto the next thing, sometimes.

So all in all, an pretty damn good season with great performances, sometimes awesome story beats and sometimes godawful WTF? worthy plots. But it's definitely TRUE BLOOD at its strongest, and the characters show a clear progression which I'm finding quite interesting to watch. Onto next year...which already seems so far away. Yet, also feels like season 3 just ended, and then season 4 was already upon us, and now that just ended. Yikes. Time flies. See ya next year. Score: 9.2/10 | Season Score: 8.7/10

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