A Week in TV / A Week in TV - May 2012

A Week in TV (30th April – 6th May 2012)

This is it; we’re finally in the ‘May sweeps’ period, when all of our TV shows are either renewed or cancelled but air their finales regardless of their fate. It can be a pretty traumatic time for the regular TV-obsessed fan, such as myself, so spare a thought. That being said, Fringe has already been renewed so that dark cloud has long since dissipated. I am, however, still awaiting news on the fate of Nikita and as you’ve probably seen me mention on here before, I will be gutted if it doesn’t get a third season. There are few shows on TV at the moment that are so deserving of another season so if The CW cancels it in its infancy, hearts will be broken.

Anyway, enough with the sob stories.

THE GOOD WIFE – THE DREAM TEAM 

It’s finale time on The Good Wife this week and boy did the show go out with a bang, as it loves to do come the end of the season. We had a potential bankruptcy attempt from ‘the dream team’, comprised of Louis Canning and a returning Patti Nyholm – two of the firm’s strongest and most cunning of foes ever encountered. In typical Good Wife fashion, however, what appears to be a bankruptcy attempt is unveiled to be nothing more than a distraction as the firm’s top client is snatched away from beneath them. A clever ploy, yes, but a typically devious one as well. Then again, when Martha Plimpton shows her face for another guest stint, you just know there are going to be adverse consequences.

Also this week, we are treated to two major cliffhangers to keep us begging for more until September. Alicia ends the season standing outside of Peter’s home as he enjoys the family life inside, pondering whether to leave or go inside and join them. Elsewhere, Kalinda’s husband, who we’ve heard countless things about since the show’s inception, finally makes an appearance, albeit in creepy-serial-killer-telephone-voice form. He must be bad news as Kalinda grabs her nearest gun and prepares to shoot him as he approaches her apartment door. Kalinda’s husband has been somewhat of an urban myth since the show began – a character neither seen nor heard but thought to actually exist all the same. I believe they’ve yet to cast the role but it should provide Kalinda with another story to sink her teeth into and I’m absolutely sure that Archie Panjabi will do the plot justice as she usually does.

As for Alicia having conflicted feelings over Peter, I’m sure that that’s been building for a lot of this season. She may be aware of his many past indiscretions but he is still the father of her children and he plays that role well. She was prepared to stand by his side and aid him in his attempt to win the race for governor, which he almost sacrificed when he confessed that he and Alicia are no longer together in order to save the firm from supposed bankruptcy. She can see that he still cares for her and perhaps she’ll reciprocate those feelings. Then again, I’m not convinced that the relationship between Will and Alicia is as concluded as we might think.

On the whole, season three has been extremely impressive. The first quarter, or half if you like, was a little slow with the romance between Alicia and Will not being as interesting as I was hoping for but things certainly picked up later on. There have been some truly excellent episodes, such as the one with Will’s  grand jury investigation and some slower ones but even on the show’s weakest week, it still manages to be better than most other TV shows out there. I am almost sure that come Emmy’s time in September, the show will do exceptionally well in the awards, just as it did last year. It’s not hard to see why – the cast is one of the most consistently brilliant in the industry and the quality of writing and character development on TGW goes far beyond the Call of Duty.

A fourth season has been confirmed but the downside is having to wait until September for it. I don’t know about anybody else but I’ll be chewing my fingernails in extreme anticipation for the next five months.

HOUSE – THE C-WORD

Yes, I finally caught up with the current season of House. I hadn’t watched any of it since last November so getting up to speed took a little longer than I expected. Still, this week’s episode reminded me of how good House can be if it wants to. It’s just a problem that it doesn’t happen, and won’t happen, as often as it should.

This week, the main focus (besides the obligatory ill person of the week) is the fact that Wilson has cancer. His odds for survival are relatively good at 75% but Wilson’s seen great odds work against a person in the past and doesn’t want extensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy and then die in a hospital bed at the end. Rather strangely, he would rather dose himself with insane quantities of chemotherapy and hope that it will demolish the cancer inside of him, providing he survive till the end after all. House sits by and aids him as he undergoes the treatment, showcasing a fine partnership between the two characters that has survived eight years of the show whilst other things have collapsed.

House and Wilson have always been a sight to see. House can be a cruel, manipulative and nasty man who makes all those around him turn around in disgust, but Wilson has always been there, serving as a sort of ‘anchor’ to House’s good side. I dare say that without Wilson, House would’ve been long-gone by now, whether through choice or death. It’s because of this cherished bond that seeing Wilson reduced to an absolute mess whilst House battles to keep him alive is utterly horrible. It’s one thing to have a patient fight for their life whilst being unknown to the audience and it’s another to have a face we’ve seen for eight years reduced to a bundle of near-death on the floor. As miserable as the entire episode was (even though it ended with a brilliant, slightly emotional, scene), it reminded me as to how House, as a show, shines.

It’s not the regular patient-of-the-week episodes that stand out: it’s the episodes in which there is a deviation from the stale formula. House has been extremely reluctant to move away from the dried, withered formula it has endured for eight years but when it does, it shines. Last season, which was borderline crap, the episode that took place after hours and focused on all of the characters outside of the working environment was a highlight; it was different and after watching endless episodes involving the same things repeated ad nauseam, it’s a welcome change for something out of the ordinary. I wish the show had employed the use of them more often but considering it’s impending conclusion in a few episode’s time, that won’t be happening anymore.

Season eight has been better than season seven, at least in my opinion. The tedium of House and Cuddy has gone and the show has almost gotten back to the roots from which it grew in the earlier seasons, but it’s a case of too little, too late. It’s had a healthy time on our screens but it’s time to hang up those doctor’s robes and move on to pastures new. We’ve got four remaining episodes remaining. Let’s enjoy them for what they are.

CASTLE – UNDEAD AGAIN

Zombies plus Castle? You’d be forgiven for thinking that the shark had indeed been jumped but don’t fear. The episode may have a zombie theme but these aren’t real, walking undead. As per Castle’s standards, there is an entirely logical explanation behind zombies walking the streets, even if it is ridiculous at the same time. 

Again, we’re back to the concept of zombies. You’ve got to understand that whilst Castle may be a show about detectives solving crimes, it’s never taken itself as seriously as other police procedurals. For example, you’re unlikely to have an episode of CSI or Law and Order featuring people walking the streets dressed as zombies. Castle has always employed a more ‘fun’ element to its stories, and it’s that what is usually so attractive about the show. There are 100% serious episodes every now and then of course but sometimes it’s fun to sit back and watch something less serious and more light-hearted, even if senseless murder is involved.

Now, back to the episode. The whole ‘undead’ theme was done well this week, with an enjoyable balance of serious mixed with comical. Beckett’s bewilderment at having a seemingly dead corpse sit up in front of her and walk off was hilarious (Stana Katic can sure pull off comedy when she’s required to ) and Castle’s child-like fun at having a case involving zombies was a nice break from reality as well. Although, you may be forgiven for being puzzled as to why we’re dealing with a case like this when the next episode is the season finale. Comedic escapades are usually reserved for earlier in the season, not the penultimate episode. From looking at the promos for the finale, we’re in for a serious ride through-and-through so I’m glad they saw fit to give us something more lightweight before next week.

Once again, I see myself craving for the relationship between Castle and Beckett to commence. Not to spoil anything but the promos for next week certainly indicate a significant move in that journey and if it progresses as I’d like to believe it will, I’ll be ecstatic. I don’t often ‘ship’ TV couples but I have taken an exception for these two. They already work brilliantly together, both in character and outside of the show, so having them actually ‘together’ would be fantastic. As long as the show doesn’t suffer like it did with House, I will support it every step of the way.

To conclude: this week’s episode was not what you might expect from Castle but it was extremely fun nevertheless, offering a medicinal dose of laughs before the inevitable tear-jerker of the finale. Season four has been a mixed bag for the most part but I have every confidence that the finale will be of a viciously-high quality.

FRINGE – BRAVE NEW WORLD – PART 1

Here we are at the first part of the season four finale. After having the two universes be threatened with extinction last week, where can things possibly go next? Well, it’s quite simple – anywhere. Fringe holds back nothing as it moves into the two-part season finale and if this first installment is anything to go by, next week will be exceptional.

There’s so much to talk about this week that it’s a struggle to figure out where to begin. We’ll start with the surprise return of Leonard Nimoy as William Bell. After proclaiming his retirement from TV, I would imagine that many of us never expected to see him appear on this show again. Besides voice-over work and Olivia’s possession of him last season, Nimoy’s last facial appearance in Fringe was the season two finale, or two weeks ago if you count him encased in amber in 2036. Now he’s back and the ultimate villain for the Fringe team to contend with. David Robert Jones was merely a pawn in Bell’s game and now that he’s gone, Bell is the one for the team to fight against. Or is he? We know that the observers are poised to invade the planet in the future. Perhaps he is working to fight against that future outcome, albeit with flawed methods? Things are rarely black and white on this show so expect anything where Bell is concerned.

Elsewhere this week, we’re treated to plentiful moments between Olivia and Peter but also to kick-ass Astrid. Where have they been hiding this girl since the beginning? She was shooting people, knocking guys down and generally being anything but the Astrid we’ve come to know. It’s just so sad that the minute she happens to start showing off some muscle, she receives a bullet. We’re led to believe she’s dead at the end of the episode but given the fact she’s in the presence of the two greatest scientists in the world, not to mention the regenerative properties of Cortexiphan (as showed earlier in the episode), I am sure she’ll be alive next week. Besides, she’s alive and well in 2036 so she has to survive this in order to get there.

Jasika Nicole gets a lot of praise for her role as Astrid but she always deserves more regardless of that. Astrid started off as a secondary character, almost bordering on an extra, and has developed into being a critical member of the team. I used to imagine the show continuing without her and I wouldn’t have cared much but now, I can’t imagine it without her. The two versions of Astrid coming together earlier in the season still remains one of my highlights from this season and it’s because of her that this is the case.

As we head into next week’s conclusion, it’s hard to estimate where things are going to go. Bell looks to be the evil mastermind behind this entire season’s events but is he as evil as we’re led to believe? Will Astrid survive? Will the season end with the entire team encased in amber, ready to be brought out in 2036 and for season five to begin? There are too many possibilities to envision any one of them coming into fruition. I’m just glad that season five has already been announced because watching this finale with that noxious cloud floating above would’ve been torturous.

Oh, and seeing as how we were given another appearance by a former Lost actor this week, as well as one two weeks ago, could we have more of these more often? I always like Lost actors appearing elsewhere. You know, just because.

And that, ladies and gentlemen (look at me being all formal), is a wrap for this week’s post. As usual, your thoughts and opinions are encouraged in the comment box as I enjoy reading your opinions all the time. Anyway, we’re moving rapidly into the May sweeps period now so it may not be out of the realm of possibility to see more than one of these posts a week as season finales inevitably provide more material to write about than regular weekly outings. Still, this month will be a busy one for sure.

Also, I should finish watching season four of True Blood next week and should have my post up about it in due course. I know it’s been a little delayed.

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