Midseason Report Card 2009: Part I
I haven’t been able to make time to blog about every show I watch, but I wanted to check in midseason and share my reactions so far. Here is Part I of my midseason report card, listed in alphabetical order. Quick rules: I do not pretend to have the only right opinion, and my judgments are subjective and based purely on my own enjoyment of these shows. Also, I am only grading seasons that premiered in Summer and Fall of 2009, and of course, only shows that I watch. I can’t watch everything, and I don’t try to. Vague spoilers for previously-aired episodes of 90210, Bones, Brothers and Sisters, Castle, Dexter, Dollhouse, Eastwick, Glee, and Greek follow.
I think that this show has shown a lot of improvement since last season. While it is not among my favorite shows by any means, I have no interest in giving up on it. It is a definite guilty pleasure, and I have enjoyed most of the twists and turns this season. Liam’s growth as a character has been a definite highlight, and I am really pulling for him. I loved seeing Papa Kent as his step-dad, and look forward to more family moments. I also really enjoyed Naomi, as usual, and her evil sis Jen was great entertainment as well. The truth FINALLY coming out about Jen’s machinations was probably my favorite moment of the season so far. Adrianna is one of my favorite characters, so her arc has been pretty disappointing for me. I hope she has more to do in 2010. I really miss the fabulous grandmother, and hope to see Jessica Walter return ASAP. I’m pretty meh about Mr. Matthews, Dixon, the Wilson parents, Silver, and Navid. I detest Annie and Teddy and the new thirty-year-old surfer chick.
The season has been great so far, but I’m not in a rush to watch it on Thursday nights. I usually save it for Hulu viewing on the weekend. Booth has begun to get on my nerves since last season. I was actually discussing that with my sister, and we agreed that he needs to calm down. I felt that Brennan was underused last season, so I’m happy to see that being rectified somewhat. In fact this season is a big improvement on last season, and has gone a long way toward making that awful season finale palatable, and even make good sense. Brennan continues to be one of my favorite characters on television, but the rest of the show is not as compelling as it used to be. The highlight of the season, for me, was the Christmas episode, “The Goop on the Girl,” which featured some Booth and Brennan hilarity, and the charming guest appearance of Zooey Deschanel
BROTHERS AND SISTERS: B+
Oh, the drama! Secrets, and lies, and pregnancy, and cancer—it never ends. I have been rather annoyed with the recent melodrama on the show, which explains its lower grade. Let’s hope that the New Year brings some improvements. Still, I find it quite amusing, and continue to care about the Walkers and their struggles, so it must be doing something right. Nora and Kevin Walker are my favorites. Their expressions just kill me. Also, Ryan needs to go.
I would watch Nathan Fillion read the phonebook. I would also watch him in a crime-solving procedural … but not at 10pm on a Monday. It’s just too much at the end of a long night of TV, so while I adore Fillion, I’m saving this one for DVD. Plus, I find the show a little boring. Sorry, don’t hate me. Rick Castle is utterly charming, and I adore the moments with his family, but the rest of the show does not grab me. I have fallen asleep watching it several times. Of course, I did catch the epic Halloween episode. Seriously, that Halloween episode was a love letter to Browncoats, and I loved it. In fact, I should go watch it right now.
The last few episodes were hold-your-breath-edge-of-your-seat intense, and kept me glued. The finale caused me to weep. Trinity was the creepiest serial killer on the show to date, and caused me to shudder. I liked that Angel finally found some happiness, and that it was with Lt. Laguerda. However, the bulk of the season was rather slow and dull, and I pretty much forgot to watch it every week, unless someone on Twitter reminded me. I may also harbor ill-feelings that Rita is gone from the show, and now Julie Benz will be on Desperate Housewives. Even my beloved Darla will not make me go back to watching that drama.
How do I love thee, Dollhouse? Let me count the ways. I must admit that I was critical of the first two episodes of the second season—particularly “Instinct” and Echo’s imprinted mammary glands—but after that the show really took off. Of particular note is Amy Acker as Whiskey/ Dr. Saunders in the first episode. She just blew me away in her scenes with Topher. I cannot wait for her return. Additionally, Topher has really grown as a character—from someone I despised to someone for whom I have great affection and compassion. He finally feels like a real human being, and has made surprisingly compassionate choices. Olivia Williams continues to rock the role of Adelle beyond all comprehension. Through all the twists and turns that her character has taken, I have always believed that she has more going on in that head of hers than she lets on. I have never seen her as the villain in the story, and I am glad to be proven right.
Sierra and Victor’s love continues to be très adorable, and I am dreading the moment when they break things off (alluded to in “Epitaph One”). The back-stories for both were a long time coming, but well-worth the wait, and “Belonging” and “Stop Loss” are among my favorite episodes of the series. Enver Gjokaj wows me in every episode, but I was mouth-agape when I saw him playing Topher in “The Public Eye” and “The Left Hand.” Bravo! I continue to adore Boyd, and I’ve gradually stopped disliking Paul. Echo has also really grown as a character, and finally seems to justify all the time spent on her. Echo is a hard core bad ass guys, for real. Oh, I could go on forever about this show, but I need to move on.
I was really excited for this show about three witches when I first heard about it. Alas, it did not meet my expectations. It’s not a bad show, but it just wasn’t compelling enough to keep me interested. I watched the first few episodes, and I quite enjoyed the Joanna character, played by gorgeous and talented Lindsay Price. Jaime Ray Newman’s Kat was also charming, but I could not stand Rebecca Romijn’s Roxie, or the mysterious Darryl Van Horne. It was a little too Desperate Housewives-y for me, and the plot dragged, in my opinion. For the fans of the show, I’m sorry that it was canceled, but I won’t miss it.
I was not sold on Glee right away, but it has slowly won my heart. It made Wednesday a night of TV to look forward to, and always left me feeling good. It is not a perfect show, but it has a lot of heart, and the songs make me happy. I hope that it continues for a long time, despite the fact that I feel compelled to buy every song on iTunes—I need to stop doing that, but the music is addictive. The highlight for me is Jane Lynch, whom I consider the awesomest of awesome. I could listen to her yell at people all episode. I also really loved the Puck/ Rachel storyline; sadly, it does not seem that they are meant to be, but that episode which featured them together was my favorite.
GOSSIP GIRL: B-
This used to be the show I looked forward to most each week—it was such fun! Sadly, this season has been a major disappointment. I feel like I’m watching it lately because I’m committed to it, rather than enjoying it. Blair Waldorf is one of my favorite television characters of all time, but she has not had much to do this season. The college transition has been a bit awkward, but I hope that the show can get beyond it. Of particular note is the fact that Chuck has become the moral compass on the show—we are clearly in crazy land. While Chuck continues to amuse, Nate and Dan continue to bore. I find Vanessa a snooze as well, which is the saddest thing since I adored her character in the books. If she shaved her head, wore combat boots, and was snarky rather than whiny, I would like her so much more. Oh well. As for Serena, I’m just hoping to see her written off the show. Maybe she can go to Europe to be with her dad or something. I will continue watching it, but I really hope for some awesome soon.
This show ranks among the surprisingly good. I never would have thought that a show about sororities and fraternities would be so sweet and entertaining, but it really is. Every regular character on the show is compelling and likable, which is very rare. For the record, I love both Cappie and Evan. I even loved Frannie, and miss her. I think Ashleigh is the character I most relate to, and I adore her style. I hope that she gets more to do beyond Casey soon. I also enjoy the pop culture references, which were really on a roll this season–from Alias, to Batman, to Twilight, to Terminator. I love it. I’m definitely looking forward to watching what happens next.
Part II is forthcoming, featuring reviews of Heroes through V. I welcome your comments below.