22 September 2011

The Watcher: 09/16/11 - 09/22/11

I was able to catch up on last weeks titles, and are reviewed below. I'm thinking I might have to change The Watcher to Saturdays in order to accommodate Thursday shows - of which there are many I watch - and would not be able to write about if I want these posts to be on time (rare that may be). So, who knows what will happen. Maybe I'll write about Thursday shows in the following weeks column. *shrug* The good news is: Supernatural premiers tomorrow night! Supernatural premiers tomorrow night! And no force on this earth will stop me from watching its awesomeness.

BREAKING BAD S04E10 - "Salud" (18 September 2011) - Wow. One beautiful word that perfectly summarizes the experience of watching this episode. Breaking Bad has always excelled at nail-biting, seat-gripping suspense/tension, and "Salud" is the show at its best. Not only in regards to the tension the series manages to hold for ten solid minutes, but also the drama that came out of a heartbreaking, rather emotional monologue from Walt to Walt, Jr. regarding his behavior over the last year. It was a truly remarkable scene for Bryan Cranston, and a wonderful turning point for Walter. Hopefully, with his realization it was he who caused a lot of the damage that has been done, Walter will go down a new path that will lead to some interesting elements of character. The real star of the episode was, of course, everything that transpired in Mexico, and Jesse's ultimate owning moment as he tells the manufacture's what's what. There's even a gleaming moment of Gus expressing something akin to pride of young Jesse Pinkman. So, those last ten minutes when Gus exacts his well timed revenge. Oh, that was gripping. Sweet, gripping, wonderful television. Giancarlo Esposito gave one of his finest performances of all time here, next to "Hermanos" (which this is a quasi-sequel to, really). With only three episodes left, I'm both excited and sad to see the series departing. As it stands, Breaking Bad has never been more...wow. Score: 10/10

CHARLIE'S ANGELS S01E01 - "Angel with a Broken Wing" (22 September 2011) - This new, up-to-date series of CHARLIE'S ANGELS is light and fluffy and doesn't have a really engaging bone in its body. I never watched an episode of the original series, but I did quite love the Drew Barrymore/Lucy Liu/Cameron Diaz film (not the sequel), and I would love nothing more than to see that on TV screens every week. This, this I don't want. There's no sense of realism to any of it, and no amount of flashy cars, yachts, or hand held camerawork will give it an edge that I want. The script definitely has no agenda other than to be a harmless, 42-minute episode of girls dressed up all pretty-like, laughing like they're the bestest friends ever, and (most likely) half hearted plots. The premiere episode has two very dramatic elements that could have been beautifully exploited - an unexpected death in the opening minutes and a revenge subplot. It's basically a PG, Disney-esque version of the Angels, and that ain't what I want. For fans of the original series, this update (re-imagining isn't the right word for this) is probably right up their alley. For me, this isn't what I was looking for. With the new addition of Eve to the Angels, there's a chance the show might be more interesting (she seems to fill the Barrymore role), but I think I'll wait to see how the show evolves before I take the plunge again. Score: 7.0/10

NEW GIRL S01E01 - "Pilot" (20 September 2011) - Frankly, I'm surprised as hell. One enjoyable Pilot that wastes absolutely no time in throwing the audience into the premise of the series. Hell, the content that would take up a normal 22-minute Pilot was over and done with by minute five. Jessica was moved into a new place, and she was already in the process of bonding with the guys. It felt more like any normal episode of the series than a premiere, but maybe that's a good thing. And also surprising is how utterly likable Zooey Deschannel as Jessica. Maybe she's just made some bad movie choices as of late, but I've found my love for her to be waning lately, so it was nice to just fall head over shoes in love with her again. But, er, can someone do something about that hair? Please? The cast has a nice chemistry, and judging from this one episode alone, I think the series can work. I'll be checking in to see how the series progresses, but overall, solid premiere. Score: 9.1/10

PERSON OF INTEREST S01E01 -"Pilot" (22 September 2011) - There wasn't one beat in the Pilot I did not like. Lo and behold, here we have the first real "I love this" show of the Fall 2011 season. This is what happens when an millionaire/billionaire (?) and a man with Batman's training combine their talents to save people, both little cases and big cases. Both men have a troubled, dark past, and both men have lost something. They are committed to saving lives and doing the right thing. With the powerful performances from Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, brilliant writing by Jonathan Nolan, and a very cinematic vibe from director David Semel, PERSONS OF INTEREST feels fresh, something that I am eager to see developed to hopefully a long run. Finally, a procedural I can get behind! And the "Pilot" gets major props for casting the absolutely gorgeous Natalie Zea as the good guy/bad guy. So, so pretty. Plenty of mystery to sustain a series. Guys fighting injustice and fine writing - I'm sold. Score: 10/10

REVENGE S01E01 - "Pilot" (21 September 2011) - Any casual comers to the Minnesota Geek recognize that I love revenge films. So when ABC announced a new series hitting Fall 2011 called, what else?, Revenge, naturally I was sold. And the utterly gorgeous Emily VanCamp (Everwood) in the leading role? Double sold! Luckily, the opening episode was pretty entertaining. There are some 'ugh' points, but overall, the positives definitely outweighed the negatives. The good news is, the series can definitely sustain at least one season. There's plenty of room for Emily's character, Emily/Amanda to wibble and wobble through for 22 episodes, but I don't know if the series can really last being a...y'know, series. So I'll look at Revenge as an extended miniseries. Ms. VanCamp perfects the line of sweet, innocent Emily Thorn to the world around her, and the dark, ass-kicking nature of Amanda. Because every show needs some sort of romantic subplot, there's something involving an old guy friend of Amanda's that might lead to something [there was a wonderful scene involving the man's dog that recognized her, while he did not]. Emily's target is a rich family that framed her father and destroyed his life. From the looks of things, she's going to integrate herself into their lives and stir up mischief. I can deal with that. My only 'ugh' is that we're following the rich - a group of folks I'm not particularly fond of watching. But right now I'm intrigued, and Revenge will be on my weekly list of shows to see. Solid pilot. Score: 9.1/10

RINGER S01E01 "Pilot" (13 September 2011) - Like many folks, I'm excited at the prospect of Sarah Michelle Geller coming back to television. Hell, I'm just happy she's acting in some capacity that isn't a Scooby Doo sequel. So here we have Ringer, a series that definitely benefits from Geller's wide range of talents as she's assigned the task of playing two characters, one of them trying to pass off as the other while the other is supposedly dead. It sounds complicated, but it isn't, and the ending minutes twist wasn't all that twsity. Yes, this is a solid vehicle for Geller to start in, and with her and co-star Nestor Carbonell, I have faith this might be a decent, entertaining show. That said, I am a bit lost (hehe, see what I did there?) on how Ringer expects to have any sort of longevity, ratings-aside. This is a story that can't hold on for more than two or three seasons, max. If they want the series to continue, the premise will need to change quickly and the whole show dynamic will end up being something entirely different by, say, halfway through season two if not sooner. Strong performances and solid writing aside, I do have a problem with the cinematography of the "Pilot." Too many mirrors shots. There is subtlety, and there is blatancy. This is nothing like the beautiful use of mirrors in Black Swan; this is just obnoxious. Overall, the Ringer "Pilot" was well crafted and will prompt me to check out further episodes, but I think this might be the (beginning and) end of me reviewing it, unless the next two episodes really grip me. Good luck, Mrs. Geller. Score: 7.8/10

THE SECRET CIRCLE S01E01 - "Pilot" (15 September 2011) - A lot happened in 42 minutes, inevitably giving it a bit of a rushed feeling, but hell, I really dug the Secret Circle pilot, and I will definitely be coming back for more. And no, it's not just because I have a newfound crush on Britt Robertson (Scream 4), but because - and trust me, this is a surprise - I find the story to be genuinely compelling. Yes, there are some tried and true stereotypes here: the bad girl who wears provocative yet sorta harsh clothing and isn't a fan of Cassie, the bad guy dressed all in black and has great supernatural power, etc. But y'know, I can deal. I want to see what happens to Cassie, and to further surprise matters, I'm now vouching for a Cassie/Adam (Thomas Dekker, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) romance [after all, it's written "in the stars", apparently]. It wasn't an amazing pilot, and some of the actors (and the theme song) has already gotten on my nerves, but I was impressed. I didn't expect to like it, let alone want to continue checking it out, but lo and behold. So until I become bored or the series does something astronomically stupid, which is quite possible, expect The Secret Circle to be a part of The Watcher. Score: 8.7/10

Favorite Episode of the Week: "Salud", Breaking Bad
Standout Performance: Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Best Premiere: Persons of Interest

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