Midseason Report Card 2010: Part IV
Over the past couple weeks, I have posted Parts I, II, and III of my Midseason Report Card, wherein I evaluate all the shows I have watched this season, in alphabetical order. Check out the earlier posts first, if you missed them. Reminder: I am only grading shows with seasons that premiered in Summer and Fall of 2010, and of course, only shows that I watch. I just cannot watch everything, of course. (Although, sometimes I feel like I do.) Some shows have already finished off their respective seasons, while others are about ten or eleven episodes in. In this edition of my Midseason Report Card, I cover Parenthood, Pretty Little Liars, Running Wilde, Smallville, Supernatural, The Big Bang Theory, and The Big C. I do not pretend to have the only right opinion, and my judgments are subjective and based upon my own enjoyment of these shows. Basically: I like what I like. Vague spoilers for previously-aired episodes to follow, but I have been careful not to ruin anything if you are not caught up.
The last episode I saw was “Happy Thanksgiving,” the last episode before hiatus, so I’m judging the first ten episodes here. While this is still a solid show, I’m just not crazy-in-love with it like I was at the end of last season. The first couple episodes of the season just kind of bored me, and I just don’t rush to watch it each week. Instead, I wait to catch it on Hulu weeks later. Still, it is capable of that emotional punch, and I’m sure that I have gotten a bit teary-eyed a few times this season—though the only tear-jerker moment that I can remember off the top of my head was in the Halloween episode. Also, I have enjoyed seeing Friday Night Light alums Minka Kelly (Lyla), Michael B. Jordan (Vince), and Angela Rawna (Vince’s mom, Regina) show up. Any reminder of Friday Night Lights is always a good thing in my book. Of course, I also always enjoy seeing Lauren Graham on my television (Gilmore Girls FOREVER), but Sarah Braverman is no Lorelai Gilmore. I know that it’s not really fair to compare, and Graham does a great job as Sarah, but I just don’t find Sarah, as a character, overly compelling this season. I have particularly not enjoyed her “love story” with whichever Baldwin is playing Adam’s boss. Sigh. I am, however, loving her TV-daughter, Amber (Mae Whitman). Really loving Amber. I hope that she gets a good storyline soon. I don’t know … I’ll try to watch more carefully for the rest of the season and give it a fair chance. Oh, and did you know that Bonnie Bedelia (Camille Braverman) was Bruce Willis’s wife in Die Hard? I recently re-watched that movie for the first time in years, and was floored. I hope that piece of trivia helps you in a future pub quiz or something.
Pretty Little Liars: A-
It is no secret that I am a little bit obsessed with this show. I covered the finale in my first Heroine TV Podcast , and have been impatiently waiting for the series to return. Fiiiiiiinally, it did, and I have enjoyed the two episodes that aired this month. ABC Family owns my Mondays right now. (Yay for Greek’s return too!) Yeah, Pretty Little Liars is not high art or incredibly meaningful, but it is a fun soapy show with a murder mystery. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Also: cute clothes and adorable hair. What? Is my superficial side showing? Oops.
Anyway, my favorite little liar is Hanna. Love her! I’ve been a fan of Ashley Benson since she was Abbey on Days of Our Lives, and Hanna is just the perfect character for her. I also love Emily, played by the gorgeous Shay Mitchell, and am really enjoying her coming out story. Plus, while she is ostensibly the quiet and sweet one, she also has an edge, and knows how to craft a vicious put-down. Go, Emily! Aria is gorgeous (HELLO, I mean, it is Lucy Hale!) and has fabulous hair, but I find her a bit dull. “Oh, I love Ezra so much, but it’s so complicated! I’m so worried about my parents! Woe is me.” Play another tune, Aria. Maybe get a hobby? Plus, I just don’t find statutory rape romantic—particularly when it involves a teacher and a student. Sorry. Judgment is still out on Spencer (Troian Avery Bellisario). But girl can give a good scathing glare, and knows how to roll her eyes, so she’s growing on me.
Overall, I am digging Pretty Little Liars, but I hope that the show gives the adults more to do. I mean, adults are people too! At least, I suspect that to be true. Laura Leighton and Holly Marie Combs deserve better. Also, I can no longer determine which guy is creepiest on the show. Yeah, they’re all cute, but they all give me the creeps. Let’s get a non-creepster male character soon, okay, show?
Running Wilde: B-
You probably didn’t watch Running Wilde. I mean, you might have tuned in for the pilot, but then you probably turned it off, horrified and saddened at what had befallen Keri Russell and Will Arnett. Well, guess what? It got better. I mean, it didn’t get great, but it really started to grow on me. I was rooting for Steve and Emmy to get together, and Puddle was pretty adorable. (Of course, my opinion may be colored by the fact that I worship at the altar of Felicity. Yeah, the classic WB shows are like crack to me.) Still, the ratings have been bad, and the critical backlash has been worse, and it is certainly not going to get a second season. So, I guess there is no point dwelling on it. But let the record stand: it is better than you might think.
I have mixed thoughts on the final season of Smallville so far. There was the epicness of “Homecoming” … but then there was “Isis.” (Seriously, Smallville, you pulled an “Isis” on us in THE FINAL SEASON?) It has been an uneven season so far, to say the least. Still, I’m enjoying it, and while it is no longer the same show that I fell in love with, “Homecoming” and “Luthor,” reminded me of the good ol’ days, which really thrilled me. I look forward to Chloe’s return in the coming episodes, and hope that her final story arc is handled well. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but the fact that Michael Rosenbaum has not agreed to return as Lex just makes me sad. Really really sad. On a happier note, this has been the season of Lois & Clark, and I have been enjoying their rapport. I like Erica Durance’s portrayal of Lois now. I mean, she’s not my Lois, but she’s one tough lady. And she and Tom really sell the love story. Reserving full judgment until I see how the rest of the season plays out. Crossing my fingers …
Supernatural is one of those shows that I’m fully invested in. Fully. I mean, I care a lot. The opening montage of the season six premiere made me sob. Sooooo, this season has been stressful, what with the boys not getting along, and Sam being a sociopath. Still, this has allowed for some great moments from both Jensen and Jared, and I am impressed. I love that the show has really allowed Dean to develop as a character. Everything that he has seen and experienced really mattered, and has shaped who he is now. Yes, I find this phenomenon of character development amazing, because it is rather rare. It is no longer as simple as going out and killing monsters for him, and that is a GOOD thing. Sam’s character has followed a much more uneven trajectory, as he has had to deal with that whole demon blood thing; there have been a lot of steps forward, and A LOT of steps back for him. Still, Jared always makes me care about Sam, and this season is no different. What is going to happen after that intense final scene in the midseason finale? Oooh, January 28th needs to hurry up its slow self. There are cliffhangers to be dealt with! I don’t want to get into any spoilery details here, but I will try to post something more detailed when I have a chance. P.S. The fairy episode was disappointing. I had such high expectations, given Ben Edlund’s stellar track record, but it lacked in muchness. It just wasn’t very very.
The Big Bang Theory: A
I don’t really want to evaluate The Big Bang Theory critically, so I won’t. I just love it. And it makes me laugh every week. Case closed. Well, almost—I should probably tell you all some of the things that I have loved this season. Well, there was Sheldon. And then there was more Sheldon. And did I mention Sheldon? Bazinga! I recently re-watched seasons one and two with my family, and just fell in love with the show all over again, so excuse my effusiveness. Also, I have really enjoyed the introduction of Blossom, um … I mean, Amy Farrah Fowler. The female Sheldon? Genius. I look forward to more geekiness to come.
The Big C: A-
I already summarized my general thoughts on The Big C back in November, so please check out that post if you missed it. I will just add here that the penultimate episode, “Everything That Rises,” was the best of the season. Just outstanding. And the last five or ten minutes of the finale had me in tears. Like, the SOBBING kind. If you watched the pilot and weren’t sure if the show was for you, I would recommend sticking with it, because Cathy’s journey was so worth watching. I’m not sure where season two will lead us, but I will definitely be tuning in.
Thoughts? Reactions? I invite you to comment below. Also, come back soon for Part V, the final edition, covering The Good Wife, The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, True Blood, and Undercovers.