Robot Television Roundup Sept 20-27 [SPOILERS]
Welcome to the Robot Television Roundup. Sometimes there’s just too much television to cover, but the Robot Television Roundup is here to help. Inside you’ll find quick thoughts about episodes of our favorite television series that we just weren’t able to review, and maybe some quick news.
Sons of Anarchy — Laying Pipe
Jim: Farewell, dear Opie. While it was nice to see this very violent show feature some realistic consequences for a character we care about (after chickening out with both Clay and Juice’s survival last season), why did it have to be my favorite character? First Jimmy McNulty, now Opie? Cramming the demand for one more death and Opie’s actual death into a single episode compressed things more than I would have liked. This wasn’t some child of Tig’s we didn’t really care about. This was a core character of the last four seasons. Hopefully, having one less character doesn’t mean we’ll spend more time with the insufferable Gemma-Clay storyline.
Jacob: Sons is a show that I’ve had a troubled history with. This week’s episode is no exception. About half way through the episode I realized what was going to happen. Opie had to die. Even knowing that, though, I couldn’t believe it. I knew that creator Kurt Sutter wouldn’t kill him, couldn’t kill him. Sons as a series has been an example of a show with bark but no bite. The show almost refused to kill off characters of importance,which has been its main folly. A violent drama with no stakes is just boring. When the end came and Opie was hit, and killed, by that pipe I was shocked, upset, and curious. Curious because I don’t know what the blow means to the series as a whole. I think I’ll be spending most of the next week trying to contextualize that scene and what the fallout will mean to the show.
Parks and Recreation— Ms. Knope Goes To Washington
Jacob: Parks and Recreation is one of the more pleasant shows to watch and it’s great to have it back. This season’s premiere episode saw us bring a little perspective to Pawnee by sending Leslie to Washington, D.C. on a trip to visit Ben. During the trip Leslie loses her mojo a bit when she realizes what a small fish she is in D.C.’s big pond. In great Parks and Rec fashion though she is able to rebound from the hit and bring everything back to helping better the town. A lot of comedies throw out laughs, but Parks and Rec doesn’t just bring the funny, it brings the heart.
Billy: Why do I love Parks and Rec? One example might be its perfect use of guest casting. Only a show as brilliant as Parks and Rec would book a stunt guest like Senator John McCain in the way that they did. McCain politely asking Leslie if she was okay, only to be rebuffed by Leslie who was completely unaware of the identity of the person talking to her. Outside of the guest casting (and there was quite a bit) it was just great fun getting back to Pawnee.
Jacob: Do you like music? Do you enjoy watching excellent actors play off of each other? Are you watching Treme? If you answered in the affirmative to questions one and two, then a “yes” to question three should follow. The problem is that I’ve found it hardly ever does. Doubly irritating is the fact that it has been nearly impossible for me to get people to even tune in. The overall viewership for the show reflects this. Sunday saw the return of the show for its third and penultimate season (it will return for a shortened fourth season) and it proves again to be an enjoyable, if meandering, series. So I’m asking you to do me a simple favor: if you already pay for HBO hop on HBOgo or set your DVR for Treme and give it a shot.
How I Met Your Mother — Farhampton
Billy: Maybe it’s the absurdity of the HIMYM time-jumping story telling finally catching up to me (Check this: Old Ted is telling his kids a story about present-day Ted. And Maybe a slightly future Ted? Or maybe that Ted is telling the story of present day Ted. Whatever, there’s like three Teds), but I just wan’t invested in this episode. Sure, Thomas Lennon was pretty funny as Victoria’s fiancé, but Ted’s doomed relationship with Victoria is not a story I’m particularly invested in.
Alphas—The Devil Will Drag You Under
Jacob: I love it when a show I respect changes the game. That is what happened this week on Alphas. The Syfy show whose praises I’ve been trying to shout to the rooftops raised the bar this week as it… raised the stakes for both the series as a whole and for the characters themselves when Dr. Rosen’s daughter Danielle met her end at the hands of Stanton Parish. When the episode began I thought I knew exactly how it would end. Oh, how wrong I was. When the end finally came it had me re-contextualizing the series I’ve come to so greatly enjoy. Hopefully this means more no holds barred stories to come. Not to mention this episode guest starred Dualla herself from Syfy’sBattlestar Galactica.
Revolution — Chained Heat
Jim: While Myles continues to kill bad guys most impressively, the entire first act is dragged along thanks to the writers having Charlie act like the typical stupid sci-fi show teenager again to control the plot. As the flashbacks showed, she should have learned the necessity of killing the bad guys post-apocalypse 15 years ago. Her performance in the final fight offers some hope for future episodes. If Tracy Spiradakos can improve her performance, Revolution becomes a much more enjoyable show.
The overall mythology of the series didn’t advance too much. We know Monroe is gathering weapons (including helicopters apparently) and is holding Charlie’s mom in some type of comfortable captivity. But overall, the return of the technology plotline isn’t given enough time to have much of an opinion on yet. The pieces are still moving into place story-wise.
Jacob: Awards are important, or at least we seem to place a certain amount of importance on them. Sure “it’s an honor to just be nominated” but at the end of the day people and companies put millions of dollars, hours of time, and an extreme amount of effort towards winning. Those of us who watched the Emmys last weekend, and in weekends past, realize the most important factor to keep in mind: awards, including the Emmys, are extremely subjective. Awards at their best help spotlight art. My suggestion is to look through the winners of the Emmys, the nominees, and the predictions Jim did here at GFBRobot to pick a few shows to sample. Homeland, arguably the biggest winner of the night, would be my suggestion to you.
Vegas — Pilot
Jim: Yeah, it’s a CBS crime procedural (usually that’s when I change the channel), but it’s one starring Michael Chiklis and Dennis Quaid! After seven awesome years on The Shield, I was going to check this series out for a few months for Chiklis’ latest villainous turn alone. With Quaid sliding perfectly into the cowboy/sheriff role of Don Lamb, this looks like one of the rare procedural series (like House and Castle) where the performances overcome my distaste for the predictable steps each episode takes to solve the crime of the week. While most people are impressed with your dad’s favorite film star in his first ongoing television role, Chiklis’ could steal the show as gangster Vincent Savino. A beautifully shot pilot handled by director James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma) helps as well.