A Week in TV - October 2012

A Week in TV – No One Will Ever Love You (21st Oct 2012)

Another week, another list of television to scour through and discuss in this post. This week, we have the return of The Walking Dead to briefly talk about, as well as an excellent offering from the consistently brilliant Homeland. Also, The Vampire Diaries delivered another decent offering and Nashville makes its presence known as it continues to get into its stride despite not receiving as big an audience as it deserves.

As usual, your thoughts and opinions on any of the television mentioned here, or aired during the week, are highly welcome. Hit the comment box at the bottom should you wish to speak your mind!

 

The Walking Dead – Seed

It’s back, folks! You’ll have to forgive my overwhelming excitement but as you can tell, I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead. Even in its wonky second season it still managed to enthrall me and if the season three premiere is any indication, it’ll continue to do just that.

Seed picks up quite a bit after the season two conclusion (somebody mentions winter having passed if I remember correctly) but it really doesn’t feel like a lot of time has passed: the gang are still on the move; Carl is still annoying; Lori is still alive; and T-Dog is still getting scraps of dialogue. Regardless of the time jump, things are how they were at the end of season two, but with a new location to get accustomed to.

Changing the scenery for the third season had to happen and we all know why. Being stuck in the same dull farmhouse was one of season two’s biggest problems, at least for me, and things had to move along to improve the pacing. The sprawling prison complex is at least an interesting concept that should hold enough material to carry more than a few episodes, and then there’s also the outings of Andrea and Buffy the Undead Slayer to consider as well.

There is something about The Walking Dead that completely draws me in, even on one of its weaker weeks. It could be the zombies. It may be the fact that nobody, with the exception of Rick, is ever truly safe from being brutally slaughtered. It may even be that I’m a tad strange and enjoy seeing characters living in perpetual misery while I sit at home and wish some of them dead (Lori, obviously). Whatever it is, I’m glad that season three appears to be off to a stellar start with a season that’ll hopefully be better paced and less problematic than the last one was.

 

Homeland – State of Independance

Yes, for the third week in a row, Homeland has made its way onto this list. It enjoyed two very strong episodes in previous weeks but season two’s third offering knocked them all out of the park with easily the strongest, or at least one of the strongest, episodes of the show to date.

Homeland has been delivering the goods ever since it returned but not quite to such a staggering degree as this week’s episode. After the shoot-outs and near-fatal encounters of last week, things take a calmer turn as life resumes as normal back at home. But normal isn’t a bad thing because it gave Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and also Morenna Baccarin the chance to shine spectacularly as each put in excellent performances.

Lewis shows no difficulty in portraying a man on the edge who struggles with the morality of the mission he’s chosen to undertake and he showed that off perfectly this week. Even though Brody is doing the bidding of an infamous terrorist, killing people and lying to everybody he cares about, it’s difficult to despise the character’s actions because Brody is clearly not a man who’s entirely comfortable with killing at will, as was seen this week.

Elsewhere, Morenna Baccarin got her chance to shine as Jessica’s frustration at Brody’s lies leave her pondering whether their marriage can go further. Where I thought she was truly fantastic was during the impromptu speech that she had to do and it’s a wonder that it’s taken me this long to fully appreciate what the actress has to offer. I mean her voice was literally trembling during that scene and it was just excellent and easily her finest moment to date.

And of course we get to the always fantastic Claire Danes. After this week, it would take a celestial event for her not to get an Emmy nomination again next year. The scene in her apartment when Carrie took an overdose of medication was just sublime, with excellent acting and directing throughout. Scenes like that remind me that Homeland is an exceptional drama that continues to show its worth among the crowd.

After this week, I am still completely unsure as to where Homeland is heading. Both Saul and Carrie are now aware of Brody’s secret and if he were to be arrested, that would be the end of the show. So where next? Attempting to turn Brody’s allegiance back to where it needs to be? Will anyone actually go after the Vice President for what he was involved in? The answers remain hidden but if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that Homeland will continue to get better and better.

Nashville – I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You)

I can’t quite understand what it is about Nashville that appeals so much to me. For a show that has country music as one of its biggest points, I really shouldn’t enjoy it as much as I do. But there you have it. Two episodes in and I’m already there for the season.

I suppose that one of Nashville’s biggest attractions would be Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere at the helm of the cast. They’re both rather fantastic, including Panettiere, who I’ve never been a huge fan of in the past. One represents the breed of music that’s on its last legs nowadays while the other is what succeeds today. One’s a diva who will have someone fired for a simple mistake while the other is baffled at why the attention has been focused elsewhere. It’s such fun to watch and this is only after two episodes, which is quite the achievement considering new shows typically take around 5-6 episodes to fully get into their stride.

There’s also the music to consider, which is really a lot better than I was expecting. It’s used at the right moments, it’s not such a big part of the episode as it is in a show like Glee, and it’s not bad when it is used. I speak as someone not particularly interested in country music, too. The title of this post was the song used at the end of this week’s episode, in case you hadn’t figured that out yet and thought I was being mean to you all.

As far as this week’s episode is concerned, it continued to set the foundations for several stories that will inevitably run for some time yet. It did good on establishing that while Juliette may appear to be a diva and a bitch, it’s not as ‘black and white’ with her character as it looks. Really, the only negative thing that needs to be mentioned is the political aspect of the show, which still feels out of place and unnecessary, not to mention completely uninteresting when compared to the rest of the content.

Although Nashville enjoyed stellar ratings for its premiere last week, it didn’t enjoy the same luxury this week as it gained a problematic demographic that could spell disaster should the trend continue. I suppose Nashville isn’t the kind of show that appeals to a mass audience and that’s a shame because there’s an inherent charm embedded in there that you notice as soon as you watch it. C’mon America, give it a chance already! You’ve taken quite well to Revolution, which sucks, so don’t let me down.

 

The Vampire Diaries – Memorial

After dealing with the process of Elena undergoing the transition to vampirism last week, things are relatively back to normal in Mystic Falls this week. Well, as normal as things get anyway.

Memorial wasn’t the strongest episode the show has done but it did benefit from several things. Firstly, no Klaus or any of the other originals. I like them but they’ve been used far too much lately so a break was welcomed. There’s only so much one can take of Klaus’ smug face after all.

Secondly, Elena being a vampire seems to adding something to the show. Although she’s a little bit of a rubbish vampire, it’s rather interesting to see how she adapts to how she must now live. My only concern is that now that she’s dead, most of the cast are either vampires or have something supernatural going on with them. There is only Matt who is just a regular human as Jeremy can now see the dead, and in some ways it feels like overkill. There needs to be a human contingent in the cast as far as I’m concerned, and it’s getting smaller and smaller as time progresses.

Memorial also dealt with the absence of Alaric rather well, even emotionally. The lantern lighting scene was sweet (albeit a little sickly sweet) but Damon’s tribute afterwards was fitting of the character and made more of an impact. Plus Matt Davis’ appearance at the end made it more worthwhile.

Memorial was a decent enough episode although I did find Elena’s inability to drink anything but human blood from the vein far too convenient considering her refusal to hurt anybody. Also, the new villain introduced is a little bit lame at the moment. That being said, this week’s episode succeeded more it than failed and season four continues on a decent stride.

Oh, and while the rest of the characters were lighting lanterns in memory of those they’d lost, I was lighting one inside for Katherine, who everybody seems to have forgotten about. Sob.

 

And on that note, we come to the end of this week’s installment.

Elsewhere in the ratings news, Nashville received a demographic down on what it received last week (a 2.0 compared to last week’s 2.8), Nikita returned to a pitiful demo (0.3. Seriously) that looks terrible even for The CW, NBC’s abysmal Chicago Fire plummeted to a 1.5 and will likely continue to go down and Beauty and the Beast started on the path to cancellation by falling to a 0.7 in its second week, and deservedly so. Oh and NBC cancelled new show Animal Practice and replaced it with…Whitney. Still no sign of Community so let’s just leave it at that for all our sakes.

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