Saturday, March 24, 2012

Best entertainment moments of the week (March 17, 2012)

Spring is in the air – especially in metropolitan Detroit – so a lot of people might have taken advantage of 80-degree temperatures in March and let some of their favorite television shows slide this week.

Luckily, I watched them for you.

This week’s top moments in entertainment include surprise cameo appearances, a moving forest, armless and jawless leashed zombies, vengeful ghosts and reincarnated angels. What’s not to love about that?

So, without further ado, this week’s top moments in entertainment are:

5. Alcatraz: This show is still intriguing, but it’s also frustrating. I think it would benefit by dropping the procedural aspects of the program (a new returnee every week = a new mystery to solve) – and focusing more on the overall story arcs. But, then again, I’m not in charge. The big moments from this week’s episode both revolved around Parminder Nagra’s Lucy. The first was when Diego (Jorge Garcia is always entertaining) and Rebecca discovered footage that proves that Lucy was one of the missing Alcatraz denizens – and that Emerson knew all along. The second was when Lucy finally woke up. Nagra is always intriguing as an actress, I hope she gets a little more to do next season.

4. One Tree Hill: Last week I lamented this show doesn’t live in a world that is even remotely parallel to this the real world. This week, we had a ghostly visit from a former fan favorite, and yet the show managed to mine genuine human emotions in the fantastical tale. Honestly, it surprised me, too. Tuesday’s episode revolved around Dan Scott (played by the wonderfully smarmy Paul Johansson). Through the years Dan Scott has done some despicable things – culminating with the season three cold blooded murder of his own brother. Last week, Dan took a bullet while saving his son from armed thugs. This week he died with his son looking on. Surprisingly, ‘One Tree Hill’ hit the right emotional notes as Dan and his son, Nathan, played a pick-up game (with no score) at the River Court. Sure, it was all in Dan’s mind, but it was still an emotionally poignant moment. The true emotion came, though, when Dan crossed over to the other side to see his brother Keith waiting for him. Keith, played by the warm Craig Sheffer, welcomed Dan into the afterlife by doing the one thing no one else in Dan Scott’s life could – forgive him. When Dan asked Keith where they were going, Keith told Dan not to worry, that he was his “plus one” in Heaven. It was a surprisingly touching moment on a show that has become known for being consistently heavy handed.

3. The Walking Dead: There was a lot going on in the finale. I would have probably given this show the top spot – but I had done exactly that the two weeks prior so I didn’t think that was fair. Either way, ‘The Walking Dead’ finale delivered in just about every way. There were gruesome zombie kills, a harrowing escape from the farm (can the whiners just stop now?), emotional confrontations (Lori needs to shut her mouth) and even a great final shot of the prison. The best moment, though, came from the brief introduction of Michonne – a modern samurai with armless and jawless walkers on leashes. I’ve since read that these walkers (at least in the comics) are her boyfriend and a friend and she wanders around with them because it allows her to walk more freely among the dead. I can’t wait to get a chance to get to know this character a little better. October seems like a long way away right now.

2. Switched at Birth: While the whole episode was pretty good (for a guilty pleasure on ABC Family – sue me, I like it), there were two moments that especially stood out. The first was obviously Bay’s reaction to finding out that Emmett had cheated on her while at the basketball tournament. Bay’s face showed her visceral horror at finding out that she had not only been betrayed, but by someone she loved with someone she hated. Tossing the motorcycle helmet that Emmett had given her as a gift earlier in the evening into the pond was a symbolic move. Despite everything, I hope these two can find their way back to each other – after Emmett does a whole lot of groveling. I only hope they don’t go the trite ABC Family way and make Simone pregnant. I hope this show is above that. The second was when John informed Regina (at the very end of the episode) that the best way for Angelo to stay in the country and not be deported would be to marry an American citizen (which begs the question, since he was married to Regina before, why didn’t he become a citizen then?). Regina’s face said it all – I have no doubt she’ll marry Angelo to keep him in the country – especially because she’ll look at it as being in the best interests of Bay and Daphne.

1. Justified: Raylan Givens is a total badass. There’s no getting around it. Quarles (this season’s big bad) is an intriguing character – especially given Neal McDonough’s charming portrayal of a man who isn’t quite all there. This season of ‘Justified’ has been quality television. The problem is that it followed last season’s practically perfect outing – so of course the quality is going to feel like it is slipping. I don’t know how anyone can say that after Raylan and Quarles practically threw down on one another in the bar this week. I have no doubt that particular gun battle is coming – but the tension between these two great characters was palpable. ‘Justified’ excels when writing for men and often fails when writing for women – especially the vapid Winona. The good thing is that I’m perfectly comfortable watching all these great male actors chew scenery together. At least for the foreseeable future. 

 Honorable mentions:

Being Human: We’re talking the BBC version (not the horrid SyFy rip-off here). It’s taken me awhile to warm up to the new trio in the house, but this week’s outing managed to find a little of the show’s old magic. While Annie’s vengeful attack on Kirby (anyone else think that actor James Lance looks just like Ted on ‘How I Met Your Mother’ – just in a lot of blue polyester?) was fun, it was Tom’s pronouncement that he and Hal were gay (“I’m gay and I’m straight. No, that’s not right. I’m here and I’m queer”) to a social worker checking on the baby – while wrapping his arm around an uncomfortable Hal – that was simply priceless. I still miss Mitchell and George, but Hal and Tom are starting to grow on me.

The River: I watched every episode – and I won’t miss it when it doesn’t return next season. That being said, the final shot of the forest “moving” to trap the boat in the Amazon was still pretty cool. This show’s biggest problems came with weak casting and barely there scares. I think it tried too hard to be ‘Lost’ – and, let’s face it, there’s no duplicating ‘Lost.’

America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion: This is still a guilty pleasure for me. I’m nowhere near as obsessed about watching it as I used to be, but when I stumble across an episode I still get sucked in. This week, watching Louise freak out on the judges – including having a public meltdown in the parking lot – had to be one of the funniest moments in the show’s history. If you can’t take people critiquing you honey, you’re most definitely in the wrong business. (Note: I guess this was from the prior week, but I saw it on a rerun on Monday, so I’m counting it.)

Hawaii Five-0: Ed Asner still has it. Watching his character shoot down an unarmed woman (even if she was a corrupt thief) was chilling. I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of his character. This is the last (I hope at least) that we see of Steve’s annoying sister Mary. She’s just not a good fit for the ensemble. Any episode that opens with shirtless Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan is a winner for me, though. Yes, I'm just that shallow.

Supernatural: It was great seeing Castiel again. Locking him up in an insane asylum 40 minutes later isn’t exactly the way I’d have chosen to go, though, but I’m hopeful he gets liberated soon. That being said, I don’t find the increasing isolation of Sam and Dean to be entertaining. I don’t think you need to add on needless characters just for the sake of shaking things up, but the boys really could use more Castiel and Bobby (I know there’s a way to resurrect him).

Criminal Minds: In an old school episode that (thankfully) didn’t revolve around the team’s personal lives, Morgan (Shemar Moore) makes a connection with a profoundly abused boy while the unsub’s daughter slowly realizes that she’s known for awhile just what her father is capable of. While the storyline itself was emotionally taxing, as a viewer it was just a relief not to have to worry about who Hotch is dating, if Garcia and Kevin are going to get married, whether JJ and Will’s relationship will survive or if Rossi is going to euthanize another ex-wife.

What do you think? What were the top moments in entertainment this week?


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