End of Season Report Card 2009-2010: Part I
Back in January, I wrote up two Midseason Report Card posts, checking in on the progress of all the television shows I watch, and grading them. As it has been made abundantly clear by the lack of posts lately (sorry!), I have not had time to blog about most of the shows that I watch, but now I’d like to take to time to evaluate each of the shows that I’ve watched this season. Here is Part I of my End of Season Report Card, listed in alphabetical order. I do not pretend to have the only right opinion, and my judgments are subjective and based on my own enjoyment of these shows. Spoilers for previously-aired episodes of 90210, Bones, Brothers and Sisters, Castle, Chuck, and Cougar Town follow. If you aren’t caught up on one of the shows, just skip that section.
90210 (season 2): C
Like I pointed out in January, I think that this show has shown a lot of improvement since last season. However, I really found it awful in season one, so that’s not exactly saying a lot. Unfortunately, the strides forward that it made in the first half of the season, which I praised in my last post, were quickly overcome by more ridiculousness. Veteran Beverly Hills 90210 character Kelly Taylor, has been treated pretty terribly on the new show. Since she and Brenda were the entire reason I was tuning into the reboot in the first place, and they are TV icons to me (hey, I went to middle school and high school in the 90s), I find that pretty unforgiveable. Sloppy writing, ridiculous plot-lines, and border-line character assassination … keep your hands off my childhood TV, powers that be. Sigh. However, I shouldn’t be too overdramatic, as Brenda wasn’t even in season two, and turning Dylan into a terrible father happened in season one. Season two was a fresh start … but then the show did similar things to Kelly, which annoyed. I mean, first of all they gave her barely any screen time, and then when she did have screen time she was in love with a married man? Sigh. Jennie Garth deserves better. Oh, and I almost forgot … R.I.P. Jackie Taylor.
As for the rest of the characters, Naomi and Adrianna are my favorites of the bunch. AnnaLynne McCord and Jessica Lowndes, while both extremely gorgeous, also have a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them compelling on screen. Unfortunately, this season Naomi has become increasingly unlikeable. I mean, I like a bad girl, but accusing an innocent teacher of sexual harassment? That steps over the line. Plus, the way that she was lying to Liam? Ugh. At that point, I claimed that I would stop watching the show. Oh, empty promises … I couldn’t stay away. I did stop watching regularly, however, and only caught parts of some of the episodes following that travesty. Of course, then we had the twist that said teacher was actually is a sleazy predator. Hmmmm. Turning Naomi from guilty party to victim a little too neatly. Still, regardless of Naomi’s actions, the teacher’s treatment of her in the finale was unforgiveable. It was a bit of a cliffhanger though, with the sleazy teach poised to attempt to rape Naomi, but then the episode ends. Will Naomi get away?
As for the rest? Silver has been a very inconsistent character. She swings one way, then she swings the other. She seems cool, then she seems like a total idiot. Her character makes no sense to me anymore. Dixon and Annie are still wastes of space. I still can’t believe Annie went the whole season without confessing her hit-and-run to the authorities. And Dixon … just, not interesting or appealing to me on any level. Maybe they’ll both move to Paris to study acting. Here’s hoping. As for the parents, they really have nothing interesting to do, and I am not really concerned about their marriage problems. Still, all in all, I think that I will probably continue watching the show, when convenient, as it does have some appeal. However, it will never be a beloved show for me, nor will it be the type I bother to catch up on missed episodes, or purchase the dvds.
BONES (season 5): B+
As I stated in my January post, Brennan continues to be one of my favorite characters on television, but the show as a whole is not as compelling, to me, as it used to be. This season has been a bit inconsistent overall, in terms of the continuing plot-lines, but it also featured a number of really strong episodes. Among the highlights of the season were “Harbingers in a Fountain” (the premiere, featuring Cyndi Lauper); “The Girl in the Goop” (the Christmas episode featuring Zooey Deschanel); “The Proof in the Pudding” (the JFK assassination episode); “The Parts in the Sum of the Whole” (the 100th episode, featuring the flashback to when Booth and Brennan first met); “The Death of the Queen Bee” (Brennan’s high school reunion!); and “The Predator in the Pool” (the aquarium episode, which featured some of my favorite Booth-Brennan interactions, including jokes about “extraordinary rodents”).
It was also nice to finally see Hodgins and Angela reunite. Honestly, I can’t believe that it took soooo long. When they broke things off, early on in season four, I didn’t get too upset about it. I just assumed that they would quickly reunite. I mean, they were clearly meant to be, right? Not so. It felt like their time apart lasted forever—especially since their breakup never really made much sense to begin with. So, I’m very happy to see the two reunited, even if their reunion was quite sudden and hasty (plus, poor little Wendell). Overall, I think that their relationship could have been handled much better by the writers, and I hope that their characters will get a bit more screen time next season.
A consistent source of enjoyment this season has been Sweets. Oh, Lance, you are just too adorable, sweet, and funny. And how many degrees do you have again? Hee. Poor Sweets took quite the beating this season, so to speak. His entire book rested on a false assumption. If only Brennan and Booth had told him the whole story of their first meeting before Sweets finished his tome. Sigh.
Which brings me to my last point … Booth and Brennan. Oh, the will-they-won’t-they of it all … it’s getting old. We have finished season FIVE, and still they are not together? Yeah, we did get a Booth and Brennan kiss this season, but that was a flashback. And when present day Booth professed his love for Brennan, in “The Parts in the Sum of the Whole,” she shot him down. On the one hand, I understand where her character is coming from. But at the same time, she has had healthy relationships in the past—for example, Sully, whom I LOVED. And ultimately, what broke them up, was that Brennan was so tied to Booth. She clearly loves Booth, yet that was the reaction we got when he professed his love? It just did not sit right with me. And then, there was that disappointing airport goodbye scene in the finale (and I’m not even including Booth’s terrible hair in my disappointment). The two say goodbye, and plan to meet in exactly one year, at the reflecting pool. There was all this build-up, and everyone was watching, and then … NOTHING. Some hand holding and one longing look? That’s it? Not even ONE steamboat? Hmph.
So where does this season leave our characters.? To recap, Brennan and Daisy are going to Indonesia, for very important research of some sort—something big enough for Brennan to suffer Daisy for an entire year. Booth is going to Afghanistan, to train military. It’s nice to have a television show acknowledge the fact that we are still at war, despite the lack of media coverage in general. And Hodgins and Angela are off to Paris. I have to say, I really look forward to seeing the gang reunited next season, and finding out what changes may come (plus, there better be lots and lots of steamboats).
BROTHERS AND SISTERS (season 4): B+
So, having now seen the entire season (and oh, what a long season it was), I have upped my grade slightly. There was certainly a lot of wasted melodrama, but there was a lot going on. First of all, this was the season of Luc (whom you may remember as Samantha’s hot neighbor in the first Sex and the City movie), Sarah’s new love interest. He’s not exactly hard to look at. They had a rocky start, including issues of deportation and citizenship, but eventually they were reunited, and happy together. Luc seems very sweet and good for Sarah, so I approve. Meanwhile, Kevin and Scotty planned to have a baby, via a surrogate (played by Roxy Olin, a recurring character on The City, and real life daughter to Patricia Wettig and Ken Olin). Yay! Early in the season, Justin and Rebecca were set to get married, but various circumstances conspired to prevent them from saying “I do.” Also, before they tied the knot, Rebecca realized that she was pregnant, but Justin made it clear that that was not something he was ready for, so she kept it from him, at first. When he eventually found out, he was a total jerk about it, and not supportive at all. Poor Rebecca. Then the tension between the couple was exacerbated when Rebecca had a miscarriage. Tragic. Eventually, however, the young couple overcame their issues, and got married in the two-part episode “Time After Time” (more on that fabulous episode later) … only to possibly be separated while they both pursue their dreams separately. Will they make it? We’ll have to wait for next season. Meanwhile, Kitty was battling cancer for the first half of the season, but she was able to fight it, and was declared cancer-free after her “first look check-up.” Hurrah. Saul, however, was not so lucky, and it seems that his one and only experience with homosexual intercourse, years and years ago, left him with HIV. Although, I guess he really should count himself lucky, since he’s been living symptom free for decades.
However, it was not all about love, pregnancy, cancer, and AIDs, this season. The show had a major turning point with the closing of Ojai Foods. Yep, the Walker family business went out of business. Sadness. Another big continuing plot line over the season was the mystery of “Narrow Lake.” After about 20 episodes of badly drawn out mystery, and sleazy Dennis York, we finally learned the truth in the finale. It turns out that William Walker wasn’t a total monster after all, and he was planning on building Nora a house. But, more importantly, the drills on the property hit water. Apparently that is like gold in California. The Walkers are the modern-day green equivalent of the Clampetts.
The real highlight for me, however, was the two-parter “Time After Time.” Flashbacks? Oh, you know I’m in. It was pretty remarkable how well-cast the young Walkers were. They had their older counterparts’ mannerisms down pat. The kid who played Tommy, especially, was spot on. I am pretty sure Balthazar Getty time-traveled to play himself as a teenager. And the reveal about Kevin putting that kid in a wheelchair? Tragic. I was in tears—the streaming down your face kind. All in all, I enjoyed this season, and will definitely tune in for season five.
CASTLE (season 2): B
As I have mentioned many times, I would watch Nathan Fillion read the phonebook. However, this crime-solving procedural did not really hold my interest this season, and I stopped watching for months. However, when everything else was on hiatus, I did check back in with the show on Hulu, and was pleasantly surprised. I was able to catch up with most of the episodes I missed, however, I was not able to find the Alyssa Milano eps online (though I’m sure I could, if I really tried). Sigh. Something to look forward to when the show goes on dvd. The storyline about Beckett’s mother’s murder was kicked up a notch, and became quite compelling (though it does also increase the similarities between this procedural and another one featuring a crime-solving duo *cough* Bones *cough*). Still, I feeling like I’m finally getting to know who Beckett is and starting to appreciate her character. Fillion’s Castle, of course, is absolutely charming, and a joy to watch on screen. I especially love his relationships with his mother and daughter. All the scenes of that family together are gold. Oh, and one more thing: Anders! It was nice to see him on my TV screen again. Really nice. But I did find myself nodding off a bit during a lot of the cases. And the supporting characters at the precinct are not very developed. Of course, that is probably more of a statement of my own tastes, rather than the quality of the show. I prefer more character-centric arcs, that draw me in—for example, the two-part episodes, “Tick Tick Tick…” and “Boom.” Ultimately, I kind of wish that I had given the show more of a chance, and had followed it more regularly, as it has really turned out to be pretty good TV. I look forward to next season.
Of course, the highlight of the season, for me, was the epic Halloween episode, entitled “Vampire Weekend.” The episode really seemed to be a love letter to Browncoats, and I loved it. Here’s a fun clip, featuring Castle in his “space cowboy” costume. Hee.
Video via Alien Collective’s YouTube channel. And that is only one of the many many many Firefly references that Fillion has worked in on Castle this season. There are hidden easter eggs in almost every episode it seems, which is a fun exercise.
CHUCK (season 3): B+
This season had a rough start, in my opinion. I was really not enjoying Chuck as a character, and he was acting like a complete idiot. However, after a stellar Casey-centric episode, I was back in. Oh, Casey, you are my favorite, always. Still, I wasn’t so hooked that I had to watch the show live. Hey, Monday nights were busy this season, people. Also, by the time that Chuck came back from its long hiatus, I was enrolled in a Monday night seminar, barring me from watching primetime live. *Gasp* It was hard times, but I persevered. But finally (just this morning, actually) I got around to finishing the season. It was fun, but not necessarily my favorite thing ever. I see this show in the solid B+ range. I really really like it … but I don’t love it. Still, I’m interested to see where they go next, in the Alias-esque plotline involving Chuck’s mother (who should totally be played by Geena Davis, by the way!).
Chuck has featured a lot of fun guest-stars, and this season was no exception. It was great to see the return of Chuck’s dad (whom I fondly remember as Sam). Also, the lovely Kristin Kreuk (best known for her work as Lana Lang on Smallville) had a four episode arc, as Hannah, a love-interest for Chuck. I thought she did well, though the character wasn’t exactly complex. I look forward to seeing Kreuk on TV again soon (although, preferably not Smallville, as she has both been there and done that). And then there was another Superman connection, with Superman himself, Brandon Routh, coming on as Chuck’s nemesis, Daniel Shaw. While Routh is certainly swoon-worthy, in that tall-dark-and-handsome way, his character was a bit too arch for me, and he seemed to just miss the mark. Still, ooooh so pretty. Also, the older spy couple in “Chuck Versus the Role Models,” played by Swoozie Kurtz and Fred Willard were absolutely fabulous.
COUGAR TOWN (season 1): A
… Okay, I’m back. I just had to stop writing for a bit to drink an extremely large glass of wine. I had to get myself in the right mind set to write this post, after all. I was a late comer to Cougar Town, but I’m sooooo glad that I finally started watching. I have my twitter friends @ITveee and @ThisJessicaRae to thank for encouraging me to give it a try, and @MediaObsessed to thank for showing me that Ellie is who I want to be when I grow up. I mean, I love love love the show. Probably way more than I should, but there is just something about the characters and their silly ways that I just connect to. I love crazy Jules and her overflowing glasses of wine. I love sexy Grayson and his songs—he’s a heartthrob, but a quirky one. And I love adorable Andy, and his man-crush on Bobby. Andy, of course, is played by the fabulous Ian Gomez, who brought Javier to life on Felicity. I still can’t believe that the man has such range. Bravo. I even love skinny-armed Travis, and his slightly damaged personality, smothered by this loving mother. But most of all, I love Ellie and Laurie. I mean, what can I say about Christa Miller and Busy Phillips that has not already been said? They just inhabit their roles so perfectly, and I love that the two have begun to become friends (just a little bit), though they’ll never admit it. Signature Ellie quote: “If a conversation goes on too long without it being about me … I’m out.” Signature Laurie quote: “If Matt Damon weren’t married and if he weren’t a movie star and if he lived in this town, I really think we would date.” See what I mean? Love them.
One of the things that I really appreciate about the show is that they totally went there with Jules and Grayson. I’m so tired of the will-they-won’t-they of TV relationships, and it’s nice to just see these two people who are attracted to each other go for it. It may not work out, but enough with the angst already!
Also, I love that the characters are so quirky and borderline insane. I mean, these are not really “healthy” people, and they do not have “healthy” relationships, but they love each other, and that makes me love them. I find their exchanges hilarious. However, humor is very subjective, so I totally get why some don’t like the show. It is not for everyone. But it is most definitely absolutely positively for me. More, please! But, fair warning: Make sure to buy the wine ahead of time. You will need a giant glass to keep up with the Cul-de-sac crew.
So, that’s it for Part I of my End of Season Report Card. Come back soon for Part II tomorrow–covering Dollhouse, Glee, Gossip Girl, Greek, Heroes, and How I Met Your Mother.