Friday, October 12, 2012

Top entertainment moments of the week – Oct. 7, 2012

Between the presidential election and awards season, television fans haven’t gotten a “normal” week yet.

This week was no exception – as the vice-presidential debate bumped Thursday programming.

One thing has become abundantly clear to me, though, my Wednesdays are entirely too packed.

My DVR only allows for recording two shows at the same time. That has forced me to cut ‘Law and Order: SVU’ and ‘Modern Family’ loose (until reruns) in favor of ‘Supernatural’ and ‘Criminal Minds.’ I had to make a decision – and ultimately I went with the beefcake.

As it stands right now, my Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays are packed – and my Tuesdays and Thursdays are almost vacant.

I guess what I’m saying is that I wish the television executives would take my personal needs into account and rearrange their schedules to accommodate me.

This week’s top entertainment moments are:

5. Nashville – There was a lot of information packed into the one-hour debut but the show is essentially a winner. The two leads – Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere – are charismatic and believable. It’s the supporting cast, though, that really sells the show – especially Charles Esten, Jonathan Jackson, Eric Close and Powers Boothe. While I’m not a huge fan of country music (Christian Kane notwithstanding), the music isn’t over-powering (like ‘Glee’). My only quibble with the first episode is how sexually aggressive they make Panettiere’s Juliette. You need to make the character conflicted – not hateful. By painting Britton’s Rayna as an angel and Juliette as the devil – the show runners are essentially setting up a dichotomy that is going to blow up in their faces. Just soften Juliette up a little bit and you’ll have a real winner on your hands.

4. Revolution – This show gets better every week. Not only do we see perennially whiny Charlie grow up a bit this week and embrace the woman – Maggie – that helped raised her, but we also see that Rachel is being periodically tortured for information she might have about the blackout. I’m still unsure why Rachel turned herself in to Miles (via flashback) at the end of the episode instead of her husband, but I’m really starting to like Miles and the conflicted mess his life had become. While I never emotionally connected with Maggie – I finally did with Charlie this week when she begged Maggie not to die on her because everyone leaves her. When Miles embraced Charlie and promised not to leave her, ‘Revolution’ finally did the one thing it has struggled to do from the beginning – make an emotional connection with the audience.

3. Parenthood – This show is more emotionally manipulative than a Kardashian – and yet I fall for it every time. This week, the family is at a restaurant celebrating after Victor’s baseball game when Haddie suddenly appears. The family seems randomly excited to see her – until they see her tearfully embrace her mother. As realization dawns on everyone’s faces, Kristina announces that she loves them all – but there’s something she has to tell them. Even though there are no words, the shock and fear that resonates on everyone’s faces as Kristina announces she has breast cancer is heartbreaking. Special kudos in the episode go to Erika Christensen – as Julia’s panic attack when she realizes she can’t balance her job and motherhood right now feels disturbingly real – and Mae Whitman’s Amber (who finally looks like she’s getting a love interest with rooting value).

2. Gossip Girl – I was sad that Blair and Chuck weren’t back together after their – um – raucous reunion. Still, I was happy to see they were both jealous about what the other had been doing over their summer vacation. I also wanted to laugh when Dan asked Blair why she would dump a guy that “loved her unconditionally” for the idea of another guy. Well, Dan, because that other guy is Chuck Bass and he has an actual personality – and a haircut from this decade. While I enjoyed Blair interrupting “Sabrina’s wedding,” I was not thrilled with Serena cutting Blair loose. These girls have both done terrible things to each other – but they always find a way back to each other. In reality, they’re the true super couple of ‘Gossip Girl.’ With only nine episodes left, I want Blair and Serena to make up just as much as I want Chuck and Blair to get revenge on his father together. The ewww moment of the night goes to Rufus and Ivy getting it on, while the awww moment of the night goes to Chuck pulling out the engagement ring he bought for Blair several years ago (from a chain hidden under her shirt) and promising that they will be together soon.

1. Sons of Anarchy – Walton Goggins is one of those actors that I would watch read the telephone book. That’s how charismatic he is. Even when he’s cast in schlock – like ‘Predators’ – he still steals the show. That’s why his surprise cameo on this week’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ was such a hoot. ‘Sons of Anarchy’ is one of those shows that waxes and wanes as far as quality goes. This season has been pretty good so far. Not great, but better than last year (in my opinion). Even I was shocked when Venus Van Damme, a transgendered escort, hit the screen. Goggins’ portrayal (not to mention his breasts) were fantastic and scene-stealing. The good news is, it looks like Venus will be returning for more scenes. The bad news? I’m not sure I’ll look at Boyd Crowder the same way again.

Honorable mentions go to:

Supernatural: The show rediscovered the funny when Kevin’s mom not only joined the gang – but got tatted up in the process. I’m still not sure how I feel about this season, but the final scene of the episode – a flashback that saw Dean letting go of Castiel’s hand in Purgatory – leads me to believe that my initial belief that Dean had to sacrifice Castiel to escape Purgatory was spot-on.

Partners: I can’t decide if I like this show or not. I love David Krumholtz and Sophia Bush – but I think they’re above the material. Still, the manic Celebrity game did have me laughing out loud. I guess it’s a start.

Switched at Birth: Both Daphne and Bay are floundering right now. I understand these are two teenage girls that are searching for their identities – but I don’t think they’re going to find them if they only share one minute of screen time together a week. The show needs to cut back on the extemporaneous story lines and go back to the core family group.

Hawaii Five-0: The episode itself was just so-so – but Danny’s railing at Steve about ‘Shark Week’ was worth the price of admission alone. The constant bickering between these two is really the best thing about this show. Plus, him explaining to Steve that you're supposed to hit a shark in the face was hilarious.

2 Broke Girls: Caroline’s (ridiculously long) response to being robbed is crass (but funny). Still, I like it when Max points out that they’re the type of people that almost always put themselves ahead of everyone else. I like it when characters are self-aware.

The Big Bang Theory: This show has lost something. There’s no rooting value in Penny and Leonard’s relationship anymore because Penny has become so unlikeable. Plus, having Howard in space for so long has upended the show’s chemistry. Still, I did like Howard’s paranoia with the other astronauts – and the way he, um, got off on watching pencils drops because he missed gravity so much. It will be a relief when he returns to Earth, though.

What do you think? What were the top entertainment moments of the week?


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