TV Thursday 10/11/12

Not a whole lot on this week, lots of shows went on mid-season hiatus, others ended, so there isn’t a whole lot to talk about.  Unfortunately, not a lot is really changing either.  The good shows, in general, continue to be good, the bad shows, in general, continue to be bad, I don’t think there have been many surprises, although there have been plenty of disappointments.  I really wish some of the shows that once were amazing, shows like Bones and Dr. Who and Fringe, would aspire to get back to the excellent entertainment value they once were.  Some, like Bones, struggle and occasionally succeed in being quality programming.  Others, like Fringe, have been on a downward slide for a while and are just trudging toward their finale, wondering what to do after their nearing cancellation.  After looking at the largely uninteresting fall season, wondering how some shows, like Elementary, can provide a decent execution over a pretty abhorrent premise, or shows like Revolution can manage to suck so badly, and ongoing shows like Alphas and Grimm just falling off my to-watch list entirely, sometimes I wonder if I’ll run out of things to watch altogether?  Luckily, I keep getting new TV DVD box-sets and a lot of the classic shows are still fun to watch, even after all these years.  I’d much rather watch a marathon of Six Million Dollar Man than suffer through even a single episode of Revolution.

Don’t like spoilers, don’t read reviews.

Bones #8×03 – “The Gunk in the Garage” – We open with a massive explosion and body parts flying everywhere.  This is why we don’t watch Bones while eating dinner.  To be honest, I didn’t find this week’s mystery all that compelling or believable.  Most of the time, they get from evidence to fact without a huge amount of hand-waving misdirection, but this time, it just didn’t work so well.  There were a lot of “facts” that they came to just by assertion.  The fact that the man had a twin, the fact that the twin had been beat up by a loan shark, the fact that every single similarity between the twins matched up perfectly, it was just too convenient.  The B-plot, where Booth had to put together a financial report to justify his costs was thin too.  It’s one thing if they wanted him to present the report, but why wouldn’t they have an actual accountant prepare it?  It made no sense, it was just an excuse for Sweets to get out in the field, which is fine, I like Sweets, and the rookie FBI agent they had assisting him was great.  In fact, since I hate Daisy with such a burning passion, I’d be happy if she’d get hit by a bus and have this agent take over as Sweets’ girlfriend.  However, I’d rather have seen them solve the case on their own instead of having to constantly call Booth for advice.  I suspect that Emily and David were busy filming another episode and therefore couldn’t be in this one as much as usual, but it really seemed like a sneaky way of reminding people they were watching Bones instead of The Lance Sweets Show.  Still, a better effort than some I’ve seen. 

Castle #5×02 – “Cloudy With a Chance of Murder” – Castle and Beckett enter that part of the relationship where they try to hide it from everyone around them and feel guilty doing it.  Sorry, it never works out well, someone finds out and they have to be sworn to secrecy, then someone else, etc.  Eventually, it’s painfully clear everyone knows and nobody is talking and it’s uncomfortable for everyone.  Not my favorite part of any show.  That said though, this was a good episode, a TV news weatherperson is found murdered and Castle and Beckett and crew have to find whodunit.  Now I will admit, it uses one of my least favorite tropes, when you get someone who is truly a nice, caring, worthwhile person, they spend half the episode either ripping them apart or talking to suspects who try to impugn their credibility.  While our weatherperson was vindicated in the end, she looked like a sleazeball for a lot of the episode.  I hate that.  It was nice to see Esposito and Ryan make up after their long-running feud, I will admit it was becoming a bit tiring.  In the real world, two detectives who supposedly hated each other as much as these two seemed to would have been reassigned. 

Elementary #1×02 – “While You Were Sleeping” – I’ll be honest right off the bat.  This isn’t Sherlock Holmes.  It just isn’t, I don’t care what they want to pretend.  I don’t care how many elements are lifted from the original books.  To me, Sherlock Holmes will always be Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.  I’ve seen tons of different renditions done over the years, but to me, they’re separate shows using the same names.  Elementary is a good detective show though, it’s certainly worth watching, just stop pretending it’s Sherlock Holmes.  In this episode, Sherlock is called in to investigate a case of murder where apparently, the killer was waiting in the person’s apartment for him to get home.  While trying to figure out the first murder, a second one is committed and it turns out to be the lost half-sister of the first.  Sherlock and Watson try to find the killer while Watson continues to force Sherlock to attend his anti-drug meetings, the two find out more about each other.

Haven #3×03 – “The Farmer” – A jogger finds a body in the woods, next to a set of lungs.  It turns out that yet another troubled individual, whose organs were failing, has the power to extract the organs of his victims, who end up being hundreds of his own children, created through a fertility clinic.  He needs to keep hunting down his children, extracting their organs while avoiding the authorities.  A detective from Boston, Tommy, arrives in Haven after following a lead from a strange murder.  Audrey and Nathan have to hide the oddities of the troubles from Tommy while trying to discover the troubled individual.  At the end, Tommy ends up discovering the truth behind the troubles and, after someone tries to kill him off-screen, decides he’s going to stay in Haven.  I think this episode rates a “meh” for the most part, the vast majority of it wasn’t all that exciting and I never had any kind of attachment to any of the offspring-in-danger.  I think that’s mostly because the majority of Haven residents are just fodder, either to end up in body bags or to have troubles, thus causing other people to end up in body bags.  Beyond a small core cast of characters, nobody else in Haven matters.  The only interesting bit was at the end when we found, in the pile of organ-sucked victims, was a woman with her nose ripped off, killed by a bolt gun, as Roslyn Toomey had been. I still get the feeling that we’re heading toward a series-ending finale this year. 

Fringe #5×02 –  “In Absentia” – Having failed to retrieve the plan from Walter’s scattered mind, the Fringe team invades Walter’s old lab and discovers that Walter may have videotaped the plan to get rid of the Observers, then buried the camera in amber.  Then go through an elaborate plan to construct a laser capable of cutting through the amber and retrieving the camera.  In so doing, they capture a random Loyalist and torture him for information.  Etta, Peter and Olivia’s daughter, explains that he’ll have to be killed because Loyalists are evil.  When they finally get the camera out of the amber, they learn that Walter has hidden the plan on a series of video tapes that he has hidden.  Etta takes the Loyalist, presumably to the Resistance where they will torture him for every bit of information and then kill him, she really takes him to the countryside and releases him.  He claims that he has been so impressed with Olivia that he is now going to join the Resistance.  I will have to say, I’m bored silly with this whole Observer nonsense already.  I found myself playing solitaire on my tablet more than paying any attention to this episode.  There are some things that leapt out at me though.  Walter claims he left a series of video tapes but, at least from what I remember, never gave any clue where they might be hidden.  If, as he claims, whoever found and retrieved the camera from amber is “destined” to get rid of the Observers, shouldn’t he give them some idea where to look?  Besides, this whole thing comes off as ludicrous anyhow.  Originally, the renegade Observer September and Walter scrambled the plan in Walter’s brain so it could only be retrieved and reconstructed using the Transilience-Thought Unifier.  When that failed, the plan irretrievably lost in Walter’s mind, suddenly Walter made a backup copy of the plan that was so valuable and so top-secret that the Observers tried to torture Walter and almost liquified his brain to get it?  Seriously.  Damn, this show has fallen so far.

Person of Interest #2×02 – “Bad Code” – Reese and Carter travel to Texas to investigate a 21-year old disappearance that they think may be Root, the crazy loaner who kidnapped Finch.  Attacking the case from all sides, they finally catch up with Root and Finch at the train station as they are about to head out west.  Reese rescues Finch but Root escapes and promises to continue her quest to find the Machine.  One thing I was worried about was the Finch kidnapping would go on through the whole season.  It was interesting to see but I was afraid of it going on too far.  Luckily, they ended that plot with this episode and Finch and Reese could get back to their regular work, with the Root sub-plot hanging over their head.

The Mentalist #5×02 – “Devil’s Cherry” – While investigating the gruesome murder of a diamond cutter, Jane ingests poison and hallucinates his dead daughter Charlotte who helps him through the case.  It’s certainly not an original concept, it’s been done many times before, most recently in the fantastic series Perception and before that, in the short-lived series Raines.  Having someone that only one character can see or interact with, acting as a sounding board really is a useful tool if not over-used and I think it was done wonderfully here.  We’ve seen Jane suffer for seasons over the murders of his wife and daughter and to see him have a chance, even if it is a poison-induced hallucination, to deal with his daughter and get some closure from her murder is a great thing.  He’s spent years chasing Red John and to hear that, no matter what he does, he can never bring them back, might just get him to lighten up a little.  The case itself was a bit of fluff and the conclusion, where the murderer thinks she’s been poisoned and is hallucinating, is completely contrived.  Having Jane and Lisbon sitting around speaking German was a bit out there, but as the case was really just a wrapper for the story of Jane and his daughter, I can overlook it. 

Toy Hunter #1×06 – “Mississippi Menace” – Since I was light this week, I decided to throw in the latest episode of Toy Hunter.  It’s a half-hour show on Travel Channel that I’ve had sitting around for a while and never got around to watching this last episode.  This time, Jordan goes to Mississippi to check out massive toy collections.  It’s not a bad show, it’s certainly better than Collection Intervention, the problem is, it’s too damn short.  It needs to be an hour long.  Personally, I wish he’d spend more time showing off people’s figures than “let me buy this from you”.  I really want to see collections in detail, I want to see the rare stuff that people have, I really don’t care what some guy buys pieces for.  There’s not much of a time commitment here, so it’s something I can keep watching without feeling bad about it.

Warehouse 13 #4×10 – “We All Fall Down” – I really hate Syfy’s mid-season breaks, they always end on an absurd cliffhanger that, by the time the next episode airs sometime in the spring, nobody will remember.  In this episode, Artie pretty much tries to kill everyone.  As we saw last episode, he did manage to kill Leena, although Pete keeps seeing her as a spirit.  I suspect that she’ll hang around until the Astrolabe plotline is finished, then fade into history.  Artie, meanwhile, explains to everyone that he’s seeking to free himself (in the third person) from the Warehouse and all of the agents, who, he claims, he’s always hated.  Because H.G. Wells has taken off with the Astrolabe for frontiers unknown, Artie seeks out and steals the Chinese Orchid, an incredibly dangerous artifact that was left hidden in Warehouse 8, which releases a deadly disease for which there is no cure.  It was sealed in an unbreakable bubble that looks very similar to amber (see Fringe).  He also steals the dagger which H.G. had brought him research on in a previous episode, the same dagger that he saw in a vision that Claudia would stab him with.  The dagger’s properties allow him to open the bubble and release the Orchid.  As he threatens to release the Orchid’s plague, Claudia seizes the dagger and plunges it into Artie’s chest, but the plague is released anyhow and now, the lives of millions of people hang in the balance.  I absolutely enjoyed the episode, I’m interested to see where it goes, even with the long wait, but seriously, I think the angst is just a bit over the line.  You have Artie, who granted, may not be in control of himself, who has murdered a co-worker and friend in cold blood, has attempted to kill pretty much everyone else, and now is about to set off a Black Death-style incurable plague that will kill a huge number of people and everyone is busy angsting that they won’t give up on Artie.  Um… guys… just shoot him.  Seriously.  You’re trained government agents, you know what hangs in the balance, you know what you need to do, just blow his head off.  But of course, that won’t happen.  It wouldn’t be good for the longevity of the show. 

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