A Week in TV - October 2012

A Week in TV – And We’re Back! (Oct 7th 2012)

The hiatus is over! Yes, over! Actually it was over a few weeks ago but you get my point. The television season has returned in its entirety, bringing with it new seasons of familiar favourites and premieres of brand new shows, whether good or otherwise.

Returning alongside the season are my weekly posts summarising a selection of episodes aired during the week that I have something I’d like to say about, whether that be of the positive or negative variety. It’s been quite a while since the last post of this kind so let’s just get into it without further ado!

 

Homeland – The Smile

It’s back guys. IT’S BACK! You’ll have to forgive me for being so excited about Homeland returning to our screens because it’s been a long time coming and I’ve been excited ever since it finished. And it was quite the return, too.

‘The Smile’, in some ways, felt like an entirely new chapter of the same book. Brody’s busy manoeuvring the political minefield and doing dirty work for Abu Nazir, the CIA is still on the defense against an attack and Carrie is functioning well outside of the agency. Until she’s dragged back in, of course, and finds herself somewhat pleased to be back in the midst of the action, hence the title of the episode.

One thing that Homeland is good at is ratcheting the tension up to a staggering level when it’s most required. Such examples from ‘The Smile’ would be when Brody was breaking into Estes’ safe and when Carrie was evading pursuit from an unknown assailant. It’s these elements that sometimes remind me of 24 and that is definitely not a bad thing.

I was also glad to see that Carrie’s mental state wasn’t just brushed under the carpet after how much it was used to conclude the first season. No matter what she does or what therapy she endures, it’s always going to be with her and I’m glad that it’s still that way, also because it gives Claire Danes more opportunities to be amazing at acting crazy.

‘The Smile’ was a good return to form and a continuation of the same quality the first season concluded with. It’s not immediately clear where things will head this season but wherever that is, it’ll be dark and bloody if the promo for the next few weeks is anything to go by.

Oh, and did anyone else feel like Jessica was acting like a complete cow to Brody upon discovering he was a Muslim? It’s not difficult to understand how eight years imprisoned with the closest religion being Islam could affect you and yet she was acting like a woman possessed. If only she knew what he was really getting up to, huh?

 

Dexter – Are You….?

Now Dexter, THIS is what I want to see from you. After a disappointing and frankly mediocre sixth season, the season seven premiere felt like a true return to form and hopefully it’s indicative of how the rest of Dexter’s seventh season will play out.

As we all know, the cat is out of the bag concerning Dexter’s extra-curricular gruesome activities. Deb knows he’s capable of murder and after seeing how easily he is accustomed to lying and covering his tracks, it doesn’t take her long to realise that her brother killing Travis was merely one kill out of hundreds, which was the cliffhanger used to conclude the season premiere.

I was worried that Deb discovering Dexter’s secret life would be underwhelming after waiting years for it to arrive but fortunately it wasn’t the case. It initially seemed as though she was going to fall for all of Dexter’s blatant lies and ruin the moment but as the episode progressed, it became clear that she wasn’t. And that is exactly the way it needed to be because Debra is not an idiot, as we’ve seen over the years, and to have her believe obvious bullshine would’ve made her seem that way.

I don’t know where Dexter will be heading this season but I have a horrible feeling that it might not be a good one for Debra. She knows everything now and I doubt she’ll have an easy time accepting it, therefore creating an obstacle for her brother to want to remove. I hope it doesn’t happen but we’ll see.

Turning the relationship between Dexter and Debra on its head for the seventh season was a good way to run things because their bond is at the heart of the show in a way. She was always going to find out eventually and I’m looking forward to exploring the fallout from that over the course of the next few months. Just keep the ridiculous romance plot hidden away and forgotten about and I’ll be happy.

The season seven premiere was particularly strong, especially when compared to last season, even if it made Dexter look like he was being ridiculously careless. Leaving the blood slide behind like that so easily? Killing a guy in the middle of an airport luggage facility? Then again, we’ve seen him make mistakes numerous times over the years so one could say his carelessness is true to his character, though it still felt like he was being especially clumsy.

Regardless of any flaws the episode had, such as Batista and Quinn still looking like morons, the season seven premiere felt like what Dexter should be. It was dark, game-changing, intense and most of all, exciting to watch. I sincerely hope the rest of the season continues with this theme.

 

The Good Wife – I Fought the Law

April 29th 2012. That was the last new episode of The Good Wife and now, five months later, we’re finally at the starting point of season four. If you haven’t watched the premiere yet, stop reading, eating or even breathing and just do it already because it was just too good to miss.

The season three finale left us with Kalinda facing an unknown threat outside her apartment door (who promptly had his behind handed to him by Ms Sharma), Alicia contemplating her future and with whom that involves and the firm facing financial troubles after their problems last time around. All three were particular focal points used to conclude the last season and all three were picked up again promptly to begin season four.

I don’t know how they managed to do it but somehow, by some miracle, they managed to make Kalinda even more of an excellent character in ‘I Fought the Law’. We’ve seen how she is and how she’s usually afraid of nobody and nothing, and we’ve seen how the mere mention of her husband has made a visible impact on her steely exterior. Now we’ve been able to see how the return of her creepy and mysterious other half has affected one of the show’s finest creations and it didn’t disappoint. Their relationship is bizarre and would likely be a bottomless penny jar for a therapist but it’s also intriguing and I’m looking forward to seeing where that heads over the course of the season. Right now it’s a little too new and unfamiliar for me but that won’t remain like that forever.

Also, let’s get on to the topic of Zach, Alicia’s son. Little has been seen of him for a while now but I think I love him even more after that episode. He clearly has a wise head on his shoulders and he’s played finely by Graham Philips. Points have to be deducted for the character’s horrendous musical preferences but hopefully they’ll use him more often during this season.

On top of that, we also had quite a few Will/Diane moments which didn’t go unnoticed. Their relationship is such fun to watch, especially when they’re protecting each other, and their absolute refusal to kick the other out of the firm was rather sweet indeed. With Will’s suspension finally lifted (hurrah!), more of these little moments should be on the cards.

‘I Fought the Law’ wasn’t one of the strongest episodes the show has ever done but it still wasn’t weak either. It did good on picking up immediately where the previous season left off and laying the foundations for plots that will continue for some time but above all, it just feels so good to have The Good Wife back on a weekly basis.

 

Fringe – In Absentia

Last week was John Noble’s turn to shine (again) in the premiere for Fringe’s fifth and final season. This week was the turn of Anna Torv and Georgina Haig to give the episode’s best moments in an episode that continued the strong stride started last week.

I wasn’t sure about Peter, Olivia and Etta as a family unit after the premiere last week simply because it was strange seeing Etta refer to them as her parents when she doesn’t look much younger than them. It’s still bizarre but I’m beginning to appreciate it more after this week. Both Torv, Haig and Joshua Jackson work very well together and it’s because of them that their family unit, no matter how uniquely weird it may be, is still somewhat believable. I also think that Etta has fit in seamlessly with the rest of the cast, and the show, and seeing Olivia realise how hardened her daughter had become in her absence was one of my highlights from this week’s outing.

‘In Absentia’ continued the quality set by last week’s premiere in a way that will hopefully be indicative of how the rest of season five will play out. Things are incredibly dark, miserable and devoid of hope or happiness and it’s very intense to watch. The Observers are naturally mysterious and creepy villains that make the constant threat as domineering as it needs to be and in some ways, the battle to overthrow them feels like a natural step for Fringe. It’s hugely different to the previous four seasons, and that was immediately noticeable last week, but change is not always a bad thing.

As usual, the ratings for Fringe continue to depress but the difference between now and previous years is that they really mean nothing. Season five only exists as a gift for the fans and as a way to properly conclude the show without rushing an ending and whether that achieves magnificent ratings or horrific ones matters not one bit. Being able to watch the show without worrying that its dismal ratings will spell the end for it later down the line is refreshing and very welcome indeed.

If the first two episodes of the season are anything to go by, Fringe will be bowing out gracefully come next February, and it feels good.

Oh, and I think we should no longer be hoping for Henry Ian Cusick’s character to make a reappearance. They certainly put an end to that possibility this week. Gosh.

 

 

And that’s it for this week. There were a few shows not mentioned in this post that were rather strong as well, such as Revenge (Emily Thorne, in that red dress…phwoar) and Once Upon a Time. ABC’s new supernatural strange-a-thon 666 Park Avenue also premiered earlier this week to a mixed response, especially from me. On one hand, it was somewhat interesting and on the other, bizarre to the point of feeling like I was watching something attempting to be as weird as American Horror Story and not even coming close. Still, Terry O’Quinn being creepy and Vanessa Williams being Vanessa Williams are enough to keep me going for now.

Next week sees the premieres of shows such as Arrow on The CW, Chicago Fire on NBC (I’m there for the shirtless men obviously), and the return of The Vampire Diaries and season three of The Walking Dead. I know what I’ll be doing and it won’t be productive!

Finally, if you have anything to say regarding what I’ve said in this post, feel free to say it in the comment box below!

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