A Week in TV - January 2013

A Week in TV – The Face of Evil (27th January 2013)

What is this? It can’t be the first Week in TV post of 2013 could it? Well I’ll be darned. Yes, after an extended hiatus from November until now, I’m finally bringing these weekly posts back where I look on the best, or worst, episodes broadcast during the week and give my opinion on them. And with the midseason having firmly kicked in, the time couldn’t be better.

This week’s post will be a tad shorter as material was a little thin on the ground. I was considering writing about the Fringe series finale last week but the pain from that is still being felt so that wouldn’t have been a good idea! Nevertheless, here we are.

As I always say ad nauseum, I would love to hear what you think about the things I mention in these posts and anything else you have on your mind.

 

Bones – The Corpse in the Canopy

I’m beginning to realise, as the current season of Bones gradually progresses, that the decent episodes of this show are spread out rather thinly. For every episode that reminds me why I’m still watching, four more exist to test my loyalty. Last week’s double bill of bleh did nothing for me, as per usual; this week’s absolutely did.

I have stated numerous times in the past that I consider Bones to be at its absolute best when it’s concentrating on the main story arcs as opposed to another tedious case of the week. In the past, the show has proven that it can handle major stories well, such as the Gravedigger saga that spanned many of the show’s earlier seasons. This time around the story of psycho hacking extraordinaire Christopher Pelant has taken precedence, and this week’s episode was easily the strongest of the current, rather mediocre season.

bones-the-corpse-in-the-canopy-1While this week’s episode was hardly fantastic, it did succeed in many ways, from ramping up the tension to scales the show rarely sees anymore, to bringing two characters to the forefront – Angela and Hodgins – that, at this point in time, actually have more of an interesting relationship than the show’s main duo. It sometimes seems that Bones focuses so much on its two leading characters that it forgets it has others to spend time on. It’s understandable, but still frustrating.

Even though The Corpse in the Canopy did more things right than wrong (no easy achievement for Bones these days), it still had several elements that dragged it down. Not only did Hodgins losing all his money seem far too convenient given recent events but the segment at the end involving Pelant’s plan to hijack a military drone and crash it into an Afghani school felt very un-Bones-like and almost like something ripped from an episode of 24. Couple that with bad CGI and you have a sequence of events that simply didn’t have the impact that was obviously intended.

I’ve had many problems with Bones from season six onwards and they remain to this day, and its current eighth season has made me understand that its glory days are well and truly over, but episodes like this remind me what it is about the show that I once adored and still watch to see again, even if it isn’t as occasional as I would like.

 

Rating: B

 

American Horror Story – Madness Ends

After a tumultuous few weeks, American Horror Story’s second season finally came to an end this week on a very high note. Several story strands received a natural conclusion, others didn’t and the craziness that American Horror Story is famous for took a slight step back to allow a more natural finish.

american-horror-story-asylum-1Asylum has been a strong run for American Horror Story. While its first season suffered from bizarre plot developments and irritating characters (cough Dylan McDermott cough cough), Asylum has mostly kept things consistent throughout its entire run. Not only has the story been stronger, the characters infinitely better and the writing more refined but it’s just been so much more enjoyable to watch. Fortunately, that trend continued for the season finale.

The last two episodes before the finale didn’t wow me as much as I had hoped they would, and naturally it made me concerned that the finale wouldn’t match the quality I had gotten used to before the show returned in January. That wasn’t the case. At all.

Firstly, the way in which they brought Jude’s character to an end was poignant and absolutely satisfying. The message was that even though she had endured so much misery and suffering in her life, those six months she spent prior to her death were happy and worth all the pain, and I felt her unhappiness was avenged when Cardinal Howard committed suicide. Jessica Lange has been sensational throughout the whole season and she showcased once again just how incredible an actress she is during the season finale.

ahs-image-1Alongside Lange’s supreme work, Sarah Paulson also demonstrated how integral Lana was to AHS’s second season. Lana has been through some misery, from being falsely detained in a mental asylum to being kidnapped, raped and forced to give birth to a child she was vehemently against. It turned her hard, almost cold and unforgiving, and Paulson was sublime all the way through. Her presence in the show’s third season has already been confirmed and you can’t believe how thankful I am of that.

Despite having the likes of Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson giving top-knotch performances, season two absolutely belonged to Lily Rabe – the sweet, innocent nun turned deranged and possessed by the devil. Her absence during the last few episodes hit me much harder than I anticipated and was one of the strongest reasons why I didn’t think as highly of the latest episodes. Rabe was simply incredible during every scene she was in and although Jessica Lange gets all the credit and attention, which is deserved, she stole the show in every way possible this season and if she doesn’t return for season three, I will cry. A lot.

ahs-image-2Two of my biggest issues concerning American Horror Story’s finale involved the poor development and eventual conclusion (if you can call it that) of the alien storyline and Evan Peters, who played Kit Walker. The former has felt out-of-place and underdeveloped all season and the latter, despite being attractive and very popular with the Tumblr crowd, couldn’t keep up with the bars being raised by his co-stars, unfortunately.

American Horror Story: Asylum has enjoyed a mainly excellent run during its second season. It’s not always been perfect but the improved storytelling combined with an incredible cast made for a season that remained unmissable during its thirteen episode run. Wednesday nights won’t be the same again until October.

 

Rating: A-

 

And that wraps things up for this weekend. I’m particularly interested in hearing what you thought about American Horror Story’s season finale and the second season on the whole. Do you agree with me that it has been a significant improvement over the debut season or do you think it’s not succeeded as much? Please send me your thoughts below!

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