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Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 Weekly TV Recap (June 29 - July 5)


Tuesday July 1

Tyrant (FX), Episode 2 "State of Emergency"

Brief Description: There is absolutely nothing compelling about "Tyrant"- which just goes to show you what poor writing this show has considering a dude got his dick bit off and a terrorist attack happened during this young season. Tyrant should be awesome and a man's man show; I mean what guy doesn't love "The Godfather"? Yet, I went through all of "State of Emergency" searching the internet on my phone and not paying attention to the episode. I've seen a lot of posts on the internet (from some very credible critics) hating on lead Adam Raynor's acting, and I don't think he's terrible in the least, but he's certainly not doing anything to draw me in either, and he's certainly no Al Pacino as Michael Corleone. I think the real problem with the show is that there isn't a single well-developed character, and everybody is just a two-dimensional stereotype. That means you don't care about any plot points, and you certainly don't care about any political message the show tries to deliver. Tyrant is produced by Howard Gordon who also produces Homeland, and Tyrant feels like another poor, terrible extension of what Homeland is now.


The Good Wife (CBS) Episodes 1-6 of Season 5

Brief Description: A few weeks ago, I binge watched the entire first season of The Good Wife in ten days and I commented on the fact that the CBS show is not meant to be binged watched. However, things have changed in this fifth season of the show. While there's still the standard "new case of the week" seemingly happening every episode, by having Cary and Alicia break off from Lockhart Gardner and having that be the clear, central story line of this season, The Good Wife has taken a step forward both in term of quality and pure entertainment value. Episode 5's "Hitting The Fan", the episode in which Lockhart Gardner actually finds out about Florrick Agos & Partners, is one of the best episodes I've seen since Breaking Bad went off the air. Even though "Hitting The Fan" didn't even come close to the production value and stunts that the Game of Thrones' penultimate episode "The Watchers On The Wall" had, "Hitting The Fan" still matched it beat for beat in terms of what an adrenaline rush it was. So much was happening and so much needed to be done right away, that I couldn't wait to see what was next. Part of CBS' and The Good Wife's Emmy strategy is saying Breaking Bad and True Detective each aired 8 episodes this eligibility period, Mad Mad aired 7, and Game of Thrones aired 10 while The Good Wife aired 22. And between Episode 5's "Hitting The Fan" and Episode 15's "Dramatics, Your Honor" (the episode in which that thing that happens to Josh Charles happens), The Good Wife has aired at least 10 good episodes that can compete in terms of quality with anything HBO, FX, or AMC has to offer. If that's true (and based upon what I've seen so far, I have no reason to believe it's false) and The Good Wife is *this* good to start the season and to start this 10/11 episode run of greatness, then I can't wait to binge watch more of The Good Wife.


Breaking Bad (AMC), Episodes 6,7, & 8 of Season 5(b)
"Ozymandias" "Granite State" & "Felina"
Service Available to Stream: Netflix

Brief Description: I have concluded my brief run at re-watching the last episodes of Breaking Bad for both Emmy purposes as well as my own entertainment. I reviewed Episode 6's "Ozymandias" on its own because it's just that fucking good of an episode and it was the series finale in my book with "Granite State" and "Felina" being the epilogue. I love "Ozymandias" because it brings to the close Hank's story line as well as it forces Walt to truly deal with his family in terms of just what an awful human being he is. It just felt like a typical Breaking Bad episode. That's why I was never on board with the praise "Felina" received at the time, and it still gets, for being one of the best series finales ever, because "Felina" feels very un-Breaking Bad like. During the entire run of Breaking Bad, Walt's plans have backfired and backfired horribly. Yet everything Walt does in "Felina" works and goes off without a hitch including driving from New Hampshire to New Mexico unnoticed, meeting up with the Schwartz's, saying good bye to Skylar, and machine gunning down every last Nazi (except for Todd which Jesse gets to kill). Everything was neatly packaged with a pretty little bow, which was very un-Breaking Bad like and that's why it felt like a let down. I enjoyed it a lot better the second time around, but I'm still not on board with the amount of initial praise it received after it aired. And even though Vince Gilligan vehemently denies this, I chose to believe that because everything worked out so perfectly for Walt, that he actually died of cold and frostbite when he initially got into that car in New Hampshire.

Boss (Starz), Episodes 1 & 2 of Season 1
Service Available to Stream: Netflix

Brief Description: After Orange Is The New Black concluded, my wife and I needed a new show to watch, and we settled on the Kelsey Grammer political crime thriller Boss. Boss follows around Chicago mayor Tom Kane (Grammer) as he attempts to keep his power stranglehold on the city while also dealing with a debilitating neurological disorder that's slowly killing him. The pilot was directed by Oscar nominee Gus Van Sant, and his visual style is gritty, realistic, and wonderful. While I've only seen 2 episodes, I already enjoy it more than Netflix's House of Cards, as Boss is more realistic (or as realistic as a political thriller on television can be) and the characters are more well-developed. My one complaint early on that the 55+ minute actual run time of this show has forced it to create one or two non-compelling story lines- the main one of which I have a problem with involves a young Catholic preacher trying to run and save the health clinic she created. But other than that, I thoroughly enjoy this show and I can't wait to watch the last 6 episodes of Season 1.



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