Robot Television Roundup Sept 28 – Oct 4 [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.
Jacob: Doctor Who just saw the farewell of Amy and Rory, and with their departure I’m contemplating my own. It isn’t that I’m not interested in the show without them; it’s just that during this most recent series I seem to be less and less invested in the show as a whole. I watch a lot of TV every week and I can tell my favorites by how long they stay on my “To Watch” list before I get to them. Doctor Who has been slipping and slipping recently, so with these feelings in mind, and a major shift in the narrative occurring, now seems like the proper place to end my journey with the Doctor (at least for now).
Billy: I was never a big fan of Amy Pond, but combine her with Rory Williams and suddenly there was a combination of companions in the TARDIS that I kinda, sorta loved. That being said, these last five episodes with the Ponds have been less than stellar and I felt like it was really time for some fresh blood travelling with the Doctor. With this last episode, Steven Moffat has closed the book on the Girl Who Waited and the Last Centurion. It’s not that it was a bad episode, the Angels made for a suitably scary villain (aside from the silly Statue of Liberty Angel), it’s just that it was sort of predictable. I mean, come on, please tell me you didn’t theorize that Amy and Rory would be sent back in time to live happily together the second BBC announced this episode would include the Angels…
Jacob: Ever since CBS announced the pickup of Elementary, their own take on Sherlock Holmes, I’ve heard negative thoughts from all corners of the geek-o-sphere. From statements like “It’s just a rip-off of Sherlock” to “Why would they make Watson a woman?” it seems as though the mere presence of the series is a thorn in the side of TV geeks, especially those that love the BBC version. Having kept an open mind and watched the pilot all I can say is this: those people are wrong and Elementary is a perfectly solid show for CBS. For those who have some interest in Elementary you should go into the series expecting more House or Monk than Sherlock. The tone of the character and the show has many more similarities to those American incarnations of the Holmes character than the BBC series that shares his name.
Dexter: Are You…?
Jacob: Halfway through last season I swore off Dexter for good. Look how far that got me. I decided to tune in on the season premiere for two main reasons. The first was the announcement of a somewhat definitive endgame —supposedly next year — with Deb’s discovery in last year’s finale somewhat solidifying their intentions. The second was the addition of Yvonne Strahovski to this year’s cast. I loved Chuck, I love Agent Sarah Walker, and my love is strong enough to give Dexter a second chance. With all of that being said, the season seven premiere followed through with the cliffhanger setup last season and made for an interesting and pleasing episode of the series. Although the episode didn’t feature Yvonne (supposedly episode three is her first), if the quality of this one is the standard the season lives up to then I will be a happy viewer.
Jim: For the first time in years, it feels like Dexter has some creative momentum. After teasing the audience for years, Debra discovering her brother killing someone was a terrific conclusion to last season. Well, the writers couldn’t resist dragging their feet for one more episode while Deb puts the rest of the pieces together that this wasn’t a one-time occurrence. I forgive any delay for that great final scene with Deb having discovered his knives and bloodslides and hearing Dexter admit what he is. Their wonderfully messed up relationship could make this Dexter’s best season in years by rediscovering some sense of dramatic evolution.
Fringe: Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11
Jacob: Friday saw the return of Fringe for its fifth and final season. [SPOILERS] Although I was as taken by the time jump as many other viewers I found the characters a great point of reference. There is a lot of plot that happened between the finale and this premiere that we only learn through exposition, but I found the performances of the main cast to really anchor the emotions and story beats that our characters would be feeling. Sure we don’t witness the breakdown of Peter and Olivia’s marriage, but the scenes between them reveal a lot about the love and loss that is still between them. And let us not forget John Noble who, this episode, was able to show us his talent in both extreme situations—like the interrogation—and also small moments like the one that ended the episode and helped ground emotions after the intensity of the earlier work.
Ben and Kate: Bad Cop/Bad Cop
Jim:After two weeks, Ben and Kate looks to be the best new comedy by a significant margin. The jokes have landed consistently and the cast, led by Nate Faxon and Dakota Jackson, has gelled quickly with a palpable chemistry. Given how rare it is for a comedy series to start day one with a fully-formed identity, this new series has been a pleasant surprise. Creator/writer Dana Fox’s hilarious scripts drawing from her relationship with her real brother have obviously helped things start off so smoothly. They’ve even scored in the guest casting department in episode two with Alan Ruck in a couple terrific scenes as the principal at Maddie’s school.
Boardwalk Empire: Spaghetti & Coffee
Jim: While I loved watching Nucky deal with the aftershocks of murdering his surrogate son, Jimmy, last season, I really wished it wasn’t crammed into the same fevered dreams of wanting to know what’s going on with his new girlfriend, Billie Kent. And Margret’s manipulations at the hospital were fairly dull drama, albiet one with a funny payoff.
Most of the supporting cast is absent this week to give Nucky more time to duel with his latest enemy, the terrifically spychotic Gyp Rosetti. It was nice to see Jack Huston remind us how much he owns every scene Richard Harrow appears in, making sure Nucky knows who killed Manny and why he had to die.
How I Met Your Mother: The Pre-Nup
Jim: I definitely appreciated fast-forwarding through Barney and Quinn’s doomed relationship. While the episode was far funnier than the premiere (thanks Bob Odenkirk!), it still seems like Carter and Bays are more concerned with moving the chess pieces into place than telling great, hilarious stories every week like they used to. At this point the closer we move to actually meeting the Mother, the better. I think once Barney and Robin are together and the storyline can be comfortable in some lasting status quo, the quality week-to-week will improve.
Billy: Is it bad that instead of just enjoying what might be the final season of this series, I am fantasizing about a Marshall-focused spin-off series? Look, at this point HIMYM is what it is. I can enjoy the characters and the occasional funny gag. But like Jim said above, Bob Odenkirk. So, there’s that.