End of Season Report Card 2009-2010: Part IV
As you may know, I have been going through all the television shows that I watched during the 2009/ 2010 season, alphabetically, and grading and reviewing each season as a whole. If you want to read my reports for shows from 90210 through Cougar Town, check out End of Season Report Card: Part I. To read my thoughts on shows from Dollhouse to How I Met Your Mother, check out End of Season Report Card: Part II, and for Life Unexpected through Parenthood, read End of Season Report Card: Part III. Otherwise, read on for my evaluation of Smallville, Supernatural, The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, The Vampire Diaries, and V. If you are wondering why True Blood isn’t on this list, that’s because the season had already ended when I wrote up my Midseason Report Card: Part II back in January. Keep in mind, these reports do contain some key plot details from the past season, so if you aren’t caught up on one of the shows, just skip that section. Also, I make no claims to having the only right opinion, and my reviews are subjective and based solely on my own enjoyment of these shows.
This has been a disappointing season for me. I did enjoy the chemistry between Lois and Clark at the start of the season, but their relationship quickly began to annoy. The interpretation of Lois on Smallville has never been my favorite, and Erica Durance has never been my Lois Lane, but over the last couple years I have started to warm to her. Still, I don’t find her compelling enough to warrant all the screen time she had this season. Chloe, on the other hand, had far less screen time than her character warranted. And the storylines that she was involved in were frustrating and disappointing at times. At the beginning of the season, I was intrigued by her role in Watchtower, and her work with Dr. Emil Hamilton (Geta!), but Watchtower never quite lived up to its potential. Also, Chloe’s relationship to Clark seemed distant, and the two seemed to view one another with distrust. I am so sick of all the secret keeping on this show, and really wish the writers could just come up with another plot device. Or if they insist on keeping the show all about secrets, they could at least make the reasons why people are keeping them make sense.
My biggest complaint about the season is probably the Kandorians. Callum Blue is a great actor, with a fabulous voice, but even he could not make Zod 2.0 interesting. Kryptonians from the future, Kryptonian clones, Kryptonians from a genie bottle … it actually sounds like fun TV on paper, but as executed? Snoooooooze. Plus, confused headache. And then, I just didn’t care. This show has overused the evil alien apocalypse storyline too many times. Next!
I still love Oliver (okay, maybe I just love Justin Hartley), and he had a dramatic arc this season. At the beginning of the season he was ready to give up on his superhero calling, but then Chloe showed him that he is still a hero. Which reminds me … Chlollie! Chloe and Oliver have some CHEMISTRY. Love them! Their relationship was definitely a highlight of the season for me.
Chloe also has great chemistry with Tess, in a different sense. Allison Mack and Cassidy Freeman are awesome together, and deserve far better material than they are getting. Smallville has never really done girl-power well, and I wish that the writers would avoid the clichés of the nagging, complaining, or devious woman. Sigh.
Another highlight was the two part Justice Society of America episode: “Absolute Justice.” It felt very Watchmen-esque. I would not have imagined that I would ever say that about a Superman storyline. I have always enjoyed when Smallville introduced other superheroes onto the show, and this was no exception, but the JSA characters were less developed than our old friends in “Justice.” Stargirl was particularly disappointing. Sigh. I want a Wonder Woman spin-off already!
But back to Smallville, I just didn’t love this season. Clark was just so uninteresting and I did not feel compelled by his journey, despite Tom Welling’s swoon-worthiness. The show has been renewed for a tenth, and, hopefully, final season, and I hope that it can go out with a bang. It is pretty remarkable that this little show that started on the WB nine years ago is still on the air. I just hope that it doesn’t completely undo its legacy by the time that it ends. The key to that will be the return of Lex Luthor. He was always the lynchpin of the series for me, and the end won’t seem like the end without him. The little glimpse into the future that we got, at the beginning of the season finale, showed us that Lex Luthor would be running for president in 2013. Tease! Michael Rosenbaum has repeatedly denied any rumors about his return to the show, and seems opposed to the idea in every interview that I’ve read, but I haven’t given up hope.
Oh, and one more thing: Clark better be back in primary colors next season! Black is just so NOT Clark Kent. So NOT Superman. Who does he think he is? A brooding vampire? Or a brooding billionaire with an affinity for bats? No. Just no.
Supernatural probably had one of my favorite premieres this season, with Sam and Dean mysteriously transported onto that plane, watching Yosemite Sam. What? The revelation that Lucifer has now been freed, and that he was Jacob from Lost was also startling. Oh, what would the season bring? I was on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, the payoff was disappointing at the end of the season, what with EXACTLY WHAT THE BROTHERS AND BOBBY TRIED TO STOP FROM HAPPENING actually happening, but in a far less exciting way than I imagined. Sigh. But the journey to the end of the season was full of some of the best moments of the entire television season.
First up: episode 8, “Changing Channels.” The Trickster returned! And he amused better than ever! The boys got stuck in a montage of TV show parodies and it was glorious. This show is just soooooo well-written, and this particular episode really highlighted that. Sitcom-Supernatural , Dr. Sexy M.D., the genital herpes commercial, the Japanese game show, the spoof of C.S.I. Miami, and the parody of Knight Rider … hilarious. And then, of course, things got serious, with the reveal that the Trickster was actually the archangel Gabriel. One of the biggest jaw-dropping moments of the series for me.
Another highlight was episode 13, “The Song Remains the Same.” This was another time traveling episode, to follow up with young John and Mary’s story from the season 4 episode, “In the Beginning.” Anna (red-headed angel—remember her?) goes back in time to kill John and Mary Winchester, in order to prevent Sam’s birth, à la The Terminator. In fact, the entire episode, and really, the entire show is pretty Terminator-esque. Mary Winchester = Sarah Connor. Sam Winchester = John Connor. Angels = SkyNet. Anna = Arnold Schwarzenegger. (But Anna is far prettier.) Except that in the Supernatural version, our heroes are actually being targeted by Heaven, not evil robots. Why do the angels want to kill young Sammy? To prevent him from freeing Lucifer and becoming his vessel, of course. Seems like Heaven could come up with a better plan. Alas. It all worked out in the end though, sort of, after some rather awkward moments featuring Sam STARING TRANSFIXED at his mother, who didn’t even know who he was. Extremely awkward.
And probably my favorite episode of the season was episode 16, “Dark Side of the Moon.” Love love loved it. At the beginning of the episode, Sam and Dean were killed, as they often are (what’s the kill count on those boys these days?). The end up in Heaven, where they meet an angel named Joshua, Heaven’s gardener, who is the only one to whom God speaks. When ambushed by hunters aware of their angelic situation, Sam and Dean are shot and killed. Joshua basically tells them the most depressing news ever—God has left the building. He no longer communicates with the world he created. All the apocalypse-ing is going on without his help or hindrance. Sam and Dean are kind of heart-broken. However, this revelation also makes it okay for them to basically declare war on the angels, as they aren’t even working for God anymore. But none of that was even why I loved the episode. I loved the first 10 minutes or so, featuring Sam and Dean’s personal heavens. Little Dean and Little Sam watching fireworks together? Saddest thing I watched all year. And then grown-up Dean realizes that he isn’t even part of Sam’s heaven? Tragic!
In other news, I’m still mourning the deaths of Ellen and Jo. Damn you, Supernatural! (But I still love you.) The lesson: sucks to be a woman on Supernatural. You either end up dead OR evil and then dead. At least Bobby and Castiel survived the season.
THE BIG BANG THEORY: A-
I continue to love this show. I especially adore any scene that Penny and Sheldon share. For example, in “The Adhesive Duck Deficiency,” Penny fell in the tub, and had to be rescued by Sheldon. Hilarious. “Sorry. As I told you, the hero always peeks.” Hee. More, please! Leonard and Penny, on the other hand, are dull. In fact, I don’t really care for Leonard at all, though I guess he provides a good foil for Sheldon. As I stated at midseason, Sheldon is definitely one of my favorite characters on television. He’s just a joy.
My favorite episode of the season was probably “The Maternal Congruence.” Christine Baranski can do no wrong, and she is just perfection as Leonard’s mother. Her interplay with Sheldon was hilarious on her last visit, and the awesomeness continued. This time, she also shared some fun moments with Penny, and it was nice to see a new dynamic on the show.
I can’t wait for next season, with the introduction of the She-Sheldon at the end of the finale. I still fondly remember Mayim Bialik as Blossom. Oh, those hats! I must admit to owning a few flower trimmed hats in the very early 90s. Le sigh.
THE GOOD WIFE: A-
Like I mentioned in January, I was a late-comer to The Good Wife. I’d never been a Julia Marguiles fan (I never watched E.R.), and it didn’t sound like a show for me, but I was wrong. Such a lovely surprise! The show has really done a phenomenal job with casting—regulars AND guest stars. Oh so many good regular characters guest stars … where do I start? Kalinda is probably my favorite member of the regular cast. She’s just so snarky and mysterious. I look forward to learning more about her as the series continues. I also love the partners, Diane Lockhart and Will Gardner. As I stated in my review of The Big Bang Theory, above, Christine Baranski can do no wrong. She is perfection as Diane, and I always enjoy her scenes. Josh Charles is just smoldering as Will. I don’t know what it is that makes him so hot, but yikes! I hope Alicia chooses him … though I keep getting worried that Will will be revealed to be a bad guy. Fingers crossed!
I don’t really feel like I know Alicia. I sort of care about her, but only really in relation to the other characters. I want to love her though, so maybe I will, eventually. Cary is pretty meh to me. No offense to Matt Czuchry, but I am just not a fan. Still, the ongoing tension between the new associates finally paid off during the finale, when Alicia and Cary found themselves on opposite sides of a high profile case. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
The addition of Alan Cumming as Eli Gold has really been a treat. The intrigue surrounding Peter Florick was starting to get a bit stale, but Cumming just lifts up every scene that he’s in. I probably shouldn’t have been so amused by his complete annihilation of that teenage girl who was dating Zach Florick, but I SO was. The scene where he chews her up and spits her out was probably my favorite of the series so far … well, at least my favorite scene that didn’t include Will/Alicia longing.
Another fun guest star was Carrie Preston. Perhaps now best known for her role as Arlene on True Blood, Preston has always been able to completely transform in her roles. No one who saw her as Sister Katrina in Wonderfalls would ever imagine that the same actress plays Arlene. Her character on The Good Wife, Elsbeth Tascioni, is no exception, and she is just such quirky fun. More, please!
Overall, this has been a pretty great first season, and I will keep watching. I was going to give the show a B+, but then all my praise made me raise it to an A-. I convinced myself. No how do I harness my powers for world domination?
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: A
I’m not going to say too much about The Vampire Diaries here, as I have written IN DEPTH (translation: pages and pages and pages) on each episode. To check out my recaps for the season, start here: Posts tagged “The Vampire Diaries.” There is a recap for each episode, though some of my early ones are a bit embarrassing. My blog is a work in progress … or some such excuse. Also, I spent hours discussing the goings on in Mystic Falls with fellow fans on The Televixen’s Vampire Diaries Podcast. If you love The Vampire Diaries, which I know you do (probably), you should take a listen, beginning with the first episode, Operation Suspenders. Some of our predictions even came to pass.
The Vampire Diaries is not a perfect show (what is?), but it continues to exceed expectations. It is definitely the hour of television that I looked forward to most this season, and each episode got better and better. My viewing experience was also enhanced by reading others’ thoughts, and discussing the characters and mythology on Twitter, etc. Bring on season 2! (And lots and lots of Katherine!)
V had a lot of potential. All the ingredients were there, but it never quite mixed together like it should. With the premise and cast, I had high expectations, but found the show to be disappointing. It’s not terrible, but it’s not very good either. Perhaps the show suffered from scheduling, shifts behind the scenes, lack of money (a lack of funds, at least, might explain the horrible CGI effects). Still, Morena Baccarin is positively delicious as the evil alien queen, Anna. If you have not yet watched it, I recommend that you marathon it. I caught the last 8 episodes of the season in the span of a few days, and it was definitely more fun that way. Also, I really liked where we left off at the end of the season, with Lisa primed to be the leader of the resistance. She’s like Princess Leia, but with less complicated hair. It has been renewed, so there is a lot of room for improvement next season, but also a good basis of mythology established. I’ll keep on watching, though I will probably catch it on Hulu, weeks later.