Midseason Report Card 2010: Part V
In December and January I posted a series of report cards evaluating the television that I have been watching this season. Then I got busy. So, I am finally playing catch-up and writing up the last part of my Midseason Report Card 2010 series. Reminder: I am only grading shows with seasons that premiered in Summer or Fall of 2010, and of course, only shows that I watch. Some shows have already finished off their respective seasons (and even series, in the case of Undercovers). With 28 shows already covered, there are only 5 left: The Good Wife, The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, True Blood, and Undercovers. I do not pretend to have the only right opinion, and my judgments are subjective and based upon my own enjoyment of these shows. Vague spoilers for previously-aired episodes to follow, but I have been careful not to ruin anything if you are not caught up.
The Good Wife: A
How good is this show? I mean, it is ridiculously good. I have never been one for legal dramas, but The Good Wife is so much more. With an array of complicated characters, and subtle attention to the details of human interactions, this CBS drama has consistently surpassed my expectations. Last season, I wasn’t so sure about Alicia’s character, but over the past four months I have really connected with her and her journey. Kalinda continues to be mysterious and badass, and the introduction of Scott Porter’s character as her foil, Blake, has only stepped up her game. Who knew that the guy who played Jason Street, the football player whose hardships brought us to tears countless times, and who faced the rough hand life dealt him with inspiring integrity, could play such a complete bastard with such delicious confidence? That is talent. Hire Porter for ALL THE THINGS, Hollywood. The dynamic between Diane and Will has also been a treat to watch, as they deal with the future of the firm. There have been times that those two are on screen together that I literally clap and cheer. A lot of times, actually. The love triangle angle, with Alicia and Will being drawn together and then pulled apart, has also been a big draw, and the obstacles continue to pile up. Plus, the introduction of Alicia’s brother, Owen, has been perfection. Fun times! Then there’s Peter’s campaign, and all the drama that ensues. Keep Alan Cumming on the show FOREVER, please. Thanks.
P.S. Will wearing aviators, a leather jacket, and driving a convertible, makes my life. Let’s hope that happens more often.
The Vampire Diaries: A
This is the only show that I consistently recap, and if you’ve read any of those long posts, you know why I don’t have time to write much else. Brevity is not my strength. Plus, I’m obsessed. If you’ve missed any of my recaps for season two, you can find them here: TVD Season 2 Recaps. I also take part in a TVD Podcast over at TheTelevixen.com, where I chat about the show with some really awesome friends. So, I think my thoughts on this season have been well covered. Still, I will add that overall I have found season 2 to be a huge success, and the intensity has definitely been turned up a few notches.
The writers have shocked and entertained us at every turn, and the actors’ performances have revealed depth and complexity that was previously unexplored. For the viewers this has meant laughter, tears, screams, jaws on the floor, etc. Oh, and there has been lots of Katherine: my new favorite villain OF ALL TIME. (Sorry, previous title holders: Lex Luthor, Julian Sark, Darla, Wolfram & Hart, and Humanity-Destroying-Cylons.) Of course, there have also been some missteps: fuzzy logic, problematic timelines, Bonnie’s awkwardly handled character arc, Rose, the continual overbearing stupidity of so many characters, and everyone treating Elena like she’s a porcelain doll with no say in her own frakking life. Happily, however, Elena doesn’t listen to Team-Keep-Elena-Sheltered-and-in-the-Dark. (Thank you, writers!) Ultimately, this fast-paced drama never fails to entertain, and it delivered some of the best moments on television last year.
With so much television to be watched, and AMC choosing not to post The Walking Dead episodes online post-pilot (EVERYTHING should be on Hulu … sigh), I never got around to catching-up with this series. Still, I did like what I saw in the pilot, and want to marathon it soon—there are only six episodes total in the first season, so it should be easy. I read a lot of stuff about how gory it was before tuning in, but shrugged it off. I mean, I watch Supernatural, Bones, and Fringe, so I could handle some dead bodies walking around, right? Well, I was actually pretty shocked by how scary and gross this show managed to make their zombies—very impressive. Luckily, I have eyelids that close, and the ability to look away from the screen, so I survived my viewing experience. Still, I was intrigued by the story, and I have to know what happens next … eventually. Will Rick Grimes survive being trapped in Zombie city? Will he reunite with his wife (OMG, she’s played by Michael Scofield’s girlfriend from Prison Break!) and son? How will the love triangle sort itself out? Also, I loved the casting of Lennie James (see photo) as the guy on the run with his son, because he was just so awesome on Jericho and Human Target. That guy has major charisma. Don’t you think he’d be good going up against an actor like Michael Emerson or Terry O’Quinn? Hmmm … why was James never on Lost? He would have made a great Other. Anyway, back to the show at hand … I’ve heard mixed reviews about the rest of season, but hope to add my own two cents once I’ve finished the brief first season offering. To be continued …
True Blood: C+
Oh, True Blood … sigh. This show was kind of a disaster this season. But I guess you just have to accept the show for what it is, and what it offers: blood, sex, and crazy. I’ve loved all things Pam, Eric, Hoyt-Jessica, and vampire-politics-related, but everything else served to get on my nerves. My primary problem is Sookie. I’m a big fan of the books, but nowhere in Anna Paquin’s performance do I see the Sookie Sackhouse that I know and love. Paquin’s best performance on the show so far has been her imitation of Bill saying her name:
Too harsh? I know that television and literature are two different mediums, but TVSookie just isn’t a very interesting or compelling character, even when putting aside expectations. This is really a shame, because she has the potential to be a great TV heroine, demonstrating real strength amidst disastrous circumstances.
Also, the werewolf storyline just did not work. Other than Alcide, all the werewolves were one-dimensional red-neck crazies. Where was the complexity? And then there was Jason’s story line; I just wanted to push fast forward when anything Crystal/ Hotshot related happened. Same goes for Sam and his shifter-family storyline. Ugh. Oh, and then poor Tara … sigh. She has just become hard to watch. So much just seems to have gone off the rails.
In case you’re interested in more detail, Francesca and I covered some of our thoughts on True Blood in two podcasts over the summer: “Glamping, Women in the Sixties, Edith Wharton, Vampires, and More” and “Pears, Chrysanthemums, Fairies, and Vampire Politics.” Despite its flaws, I’m not ready to quit the show—I’m too connected to the story because of the books. But I hope that things improve next season. On a positive note, I can’t wait to see what happens with Eric, Pam, Jessica, and Hoyt. Potential awesomeness ahead, amidst the disaster.
This was one of the biggest disappointments of the Fall 2010 season for me. As a huge Alias fan, I had such high hopes when I heard that J.J. Abrams was developing another spy drama, but it fell flat. Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe starred as Samantha and Steven Bloom, a married couple with secrets: they’re both former spies! In the pilot, they both get pulled back into the world of covert operations, but sadly, that was as exciting as it got. Despite the gorgeous leads (I mean, seriously beautiful people, right?), there was just nothing to keep me interested. I made it through five episodes before calling it quits, but all I really remember is that the Blooms owned a catering company, and there was a guy working for them with a hero-crush on Steven. It was all pretty forgettable. The show was officially canceled back in November, so I guess I wasn’t alone in not digging it. However, I hope that the casting of Undercovers is indicative of a larger trend. More diversity among the leads of high-profile TV projects, please.
Thoughts? Reactions? Say your piece below. I’ll follow up with end-of-season report cards after the Spring finales.