Robot Television Roundup November 9th-15th [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.
Sons of Anarchy – Crucifixed
Jacob: Oh how the mighty have fallen. It is a bad feeling when you are constantly wondering “why continue” while watching a show. This feeling is even worse when the show used to be so great. Whether it is the Otto/Tara masturbation scenes, Jax ordering the murder of Opie’s killer when all reason pointed to letting him live, the continuation of the tangled Clay plots, or any of the dozen other terrible plots, I can hardly watch the show for a few minutes without laughing and wondering—sometimes aloud—“why?”
While talking with my brother about this season, I’ve come to the conclusion that the show I loved never really existed. Whereas I thought and hoped that season two marked the normal upward progression of great scripted dramas, it seems that it was simply an aberration. Remove season two and you’ll find a fairly steady downward progression for the series, as the show drew heavier and heavier on intricate and nonsensical plot mechanics for drama and away from the deep character study that season one promised and season two began to deliver. The only question the current season is bringing up is how much longer I can hang on.
Billy: Like Jacob, I’m pretty disappointed in the direction Sons has taken. It’s always bad when you can see the strings that the writers are pulling to get characters in or out of specific situations. With almost every move that happens on this show, you can see the Sons writer’s room all over the place. I shouldn’t be thinking that these characters are constructs created by a team of writers, I should think that these are real people who act like real people. They do not. And it’s getting super frustrating. Nearly every moment that Tara or Gemma are the focus is excruciatingly bad. I know that this show is based on Hamlet and that Tara is based on Ophelia, so her descent into madness is not exactly coming out of left field, but damn is this stuff bad. I’m not giving up on the series any time soon, but I’m certainly not enjoying it any longer.
Homeland – The Clearing
Jacob: This week’s Homeland helped reinforce to me how different the show is than many of its network competitors. The plot thread that had been giving me the most trouble so far is the inclusion of a vehicular manslaughter subplot including Dana and the vice president’s son and the cover-up that seemed to emerge. What the show decided to do, and what I respect about the choice, is that they used this soapy plot in order to drive an actual wedge between the family and delve deeper into the character motivations. Dana, guilt-ridden and naïve, wants to turn herself in but she and Brody come up against the very real consequences of those actions. Although she cannot know the true reason behind Brody’s reversal—she knows it has to do with the election but not about the CIA involvement—she can still be hurt and turned world-weary by her father’s seeming selfishness and spinelessness getting in the way of her confession. In order for the show to keep me hooked, they need to make sure that they keep the plot reveals grounded in character (and keep Mike’s idiot detective plot to a minimum).
Parenthood – Together
Jacob: This week’s Parenthood marks yet another great episode in what has been one of the best runs in the series to date. The focus of the entire season so far has been the cancer plotline that, if there is any justice in the world, will lead to Emmy nominations for both Monica Potter and Peter Krause. With the season focusing so closely on their story, we end up seeing most of the other characters as satellites to this small subset of the Braverman family. Although this has meant less time with the rest of the cast, the strength of the core story has led to some great moments with the rest of the ensemble. This episode in particular left more room for a B story where we take a closer look at the adorable budding relationship between Amber and Ryan that also includes several scenes that alone are worth more discussion than I’ll be giving the entire episode in this write-up. I could go on and on about the show and how much I look forward to it every week, but I’ll stop here. Parenthood airs Tuesdays at 10:00PM in the same timeslot as Sons of Anarchy and Vegas. Let sanity prevail and tune into Parenthood every week.
Supernatural – A Little Piece of Kevin
Billy: I’ve gotta say, this season of Supernatural has mostly been a pleasure. Aside from a couple of lame episodes, the new show runner, Jeremy Carver, is knocking it out of the park. This week brings us back to the main storyline after a (pretty excellent in its own right) detour to last week’s visit with DJ Qualls’ Garth. We’re back to Kevin Tran, and more importantly, we’re back with Misha Collins as Castiel. I worried when Cas was just back on Earth with no explanation, but the late episode revelation that he’s now a heavenly sleeper-agent for some shady sect of Angels is pretty cool. My hope is that the current show runner breaks Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble’s rule to not explain the whereabouts of God, and that’s who’s running this new group. It was also awesome to see Stargate SG-1′s Amanda Tapping as the face of these new angels. Good stuff, and I’m very glad that Supernatural is back in prime form.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Billy: This is a bit of a cheat since it’s a web video, but as a big fan of the Halo video game series I was mightily impressed with this series. Released as a series of shorts that last approximately 15 minutes apiece, it’s effectively the closest thing we’re going to get to a Halo movie. Filmed in Vancouver, fans of Stargate and Battlestar Galactica will recognize many actors and locations from those series. Forward Unto Dawn is not only a great bit of background for a particular character introduced in Halo 4, but also a pretty great series on its own. Decent special effects, acting, and storytelling make this definitely worth seeing, especially if you care at all about Halo. I love how they handle the Master Chief in this series. He’s not the focus, but rather we follow several UNSC recruits at the Corbulo Academy. This allows us to have some character growth, while still seeing the Chief kick Covie ass. Really well done. The series will be coming to DVD/Bluray on December 4th.