A Week in TV - October 2012

A Week in TV – Happy 300th! (28th Oct 2012)

Is it that time again? It appears so. Making an appearance on this week’s summary of television is Homeland for the fourth time (because it’s just that good), Once Upon a Time’s first dud episode of the season, SVU’s 300th episode milestone and a certain Sherlock Holmes show on CBS.

While they did not make this list, The Walking Dead and Dexter enjoyed great episodes that continue to improve on poorer efforts last season, Sons of Anarchy delivered yet another episode that makes it incredible that Katey Sagal has never won an Emmy, Scandal continued to be amazing and Fringe made a return after a week-long hiatus with another excellent offering for its final season.


Homeland – New Car Smell

We’re merely four episodes into Homeland’s second season and the game has been changed not once, not even twice, but three times. First we had Saul discovering Brody’s suicide confession. Then he showed it to Carrie last week. Now Brody has been outed as a terrorist and arrested. And this is four episodes in.

What has been particularly noticeable about the current season of Homeland, up until and including this week, is that they’re not afraid to take risks. Having something like Brody being arrested could’ve been dragged out over multiple episodes, even seasons, but it was done so early on into the show’s second season. It was a giant risk and the fact they took it anyway is rather impressive to me.

Honestly, I have absolutely no idea where Homeland will head next. As soon as I think I have a general idea, they go and surprise me with another game-changing development. Regardless, it seems as though Jessica and Mike may rekindle their romance while Brody is absent with the latter possibly attempting to besmirch Brody’s name in order to recapture his wife’s interest.

Outside of that, I doubt that Dana and the VP’s son are heading anywhere positive. Elsewhere, in a regards to the main event, my expectation is that Carrie et al will attempt to switch Brody back to their side and use him as a weapon against Abu Nazir. But of course, assuming something will happen on Homeland is dangerous but usually the opposite is what occurs.

There’s little doubt that Homeland may occupy a position on these lists till it comes to an end this season. And that’s good, because it continues to be a truly exceptional drama written, acted and performed to an equally good standard. There’s little doubt that Homeland will win the best drama Emmy next year and based on the four episodes of season two already aired, it will be well deserved.


Once Upon a Time – The Crocodile

ABC’S fairytale drama has enjoyed a somewhat decent-ish run since it returned for its second season a few weeks ago. Until now. While The Crocodile wasn’t a terrible episode by any definition, it wasn’t a particularly good one either. At least not for me.

There’s one reason why The Crocodile didn’t do much for me and that’s because it chose to concentrate mostly on Belle’s story with bits of Rumplestiltskin interspersed here and there. As hard as I try, I just don’t find Belle an interesting or compelling character. I don’t care if she gets kidnapped, whether she approves of Rumple’s actions or anything to do with her. Therefore she could have been vapourised or turned into a mince pie this week and I wouldn’t have cared.

While I don’t care much for Belle, I do somewhat enjoy her and Rumple together, who was on fine form again this week. Robert Carlyle is truly fantastic at portraying the character, whether he’s dark, maniacal or in love, and it’s a shame that my enjoyment of the character can be diminished during weeks like this.

The Crocodile also didn’t show anything of Regina or Emma and Mary Margaret. At all. I understand that there are plenty of other characters to focus on every once in a while but I mostly want to see what’s happening to them, not witnessing the worst kidnap in history.

Once Upon a Time wasn’t all bad this week. It did introduce Captain Hook to the story, who looks to be an excellent addition to keep an eye on, but it wasn’t especially strong, either.


Law and Order: SVU – Manhattan Vigil

Happy 300th episode, SVU! After thirteen years, fourteen seasons and an incredible 300 episodes, it’s still remarkable that SVU is capable of providing compelling television, as was the case this week.

When done correctly, child abduction storylines can be fantastic on SVU. That was the case this time around with an abduction in the present day being linked to one from 1999, therefore providing a link to the show’s very first episode (along with everybody looking wonderfully young during flashback segments and Munch having brown hair!). Connecting the present with the past was a nice touch to celebrate an anniversary such as this and it played out well on screen, even if I couldn’t remember any of the links to the first episode.

Reaching a milestone such as this doesn’t happen often, for SVU or any other shows. It’s even more remarkable given how raw and harsh SVU’s subject material can be compared to other police procedurals out there. But there’s always been something about the show that necessitates you going back for more. Maybe it’s the cast, or the stories, or a combination of both. Whatever it is, it’s still there, even after 300 episodes.

Even though some will still try to convince you that SVU is on its last legs after Chris Meloni departed last year, rest be assured that it isn’t. Not one bit. If anything it’s enjoying the strongest era it’s had since the earlier days, with a refreshed cast and much stronger writing going for it. Anybody that says otherwise is frankly incorrect and you should just pretend they’re not there.

On a side-note, I think there should be some form of an Elite Member’s Club for those that have watched all 300 episodes, a lot of them twice over. And I should be in it. Agreed?


Elementary – The Rat Race

This is the first time I’ve written about Elementary and let’s just get one thing out there and done with: this show does not even remotely compare to the excellence of the BBC’s version. Not even close. The comparisons are valid and inevitable but beyond having the same names for the two lead characters, that’s where the similarities end.

Now, The Rat Race was Elementary’s fourth outing this season and it was arguably the second best next to the pilot. It was a tad predictable in parts (who really didn’t have an idea the secretary was involved? Anyone?) and the case of the week was a little dull compared to last week but overall, it was a strong enough outing. What it didn’t need was the pointless plot in the middle regarding Joan’s troublesome date above anything else.

As for the show itself, it’s a strange one. As I said earlier, comparisons to the other modern day Sherlock show on the BBC are inevitable and justified but if you head into the show thinking of nothing but that, you’ll be severely disappointed.

Elementary is a run-of-the-mill CBS cop show with an eccentric character solving crimes every week. Basically, House without the hospital. If you watch it as that and nothing else, it’s enjoyable for the most part. But that’s all it is. It’s not fantastic and it’s not rubbish. It’s just…average. It’s CBS doing what CBS specialises in, and it’s sometimes a success and sometimes not. Elementary hovers between the two, slightly veering in either direction on different weeks before restoring itself between them again.

One of the show’s strongest elements comes from the pairing of Jonny Lee Miller (who plays Sherlock as well as can be expected) and Lucy Liu. I was initially sceptical of the decision to make Watson a woman but Liu is a terrific and very attractive actress that carries the role off well. It’s just unfortunate that Watson doesn’t seem to be as integrated into the weekly cases as much as I’d like. At the moment she still feels like someone merely tagging along rather than someone with something to actually contribute. Hopefully that will change in the future, however.

Elementary has had four episodes to convince us that it’s not just another CBS cop show and it’s failed to do that so far. However, it’s still watchable, it’s still enjoyable and it’s still got my attention for the time being. For now…



To finish off this week’s post, let’s take a look at some of the memorable ratings of the week.

Firstly, while the fantastic Nashville didn’t get the ratings it deserved once again, it also didn’t decrease any further and remained at a 2.0 demographic. Keep it that way folks or you’ll make me angry. Seriously.

Elsewhere, The Walking Dead continued to decimate the competition as it does on a weekly basis and Fringe returned to a pitiful 0.9 rating. But let’s not fret too much because the ratings really mean nothing this season. The show’s ending anyway so whether they’re bad or not, they’ll do.

However, in the most miserable ratings news since forever, Nikita got a disgustingly low 0.2 rating on Friday night. Yes, you read that right. Quite why the denizens of America are choosing not to watch the show despite it being utterly magnificent is beyond me. Frankly, it hurts. Whether or not it makes it to a fourth season is debatable (although the syndication deal improves its chances dramatically) but I don’t know how much longer I can take these kinds of ratings every week before I’m committed to an asylum for the deranged. It’s like Fringe all over again, but worse. Much worse.

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