Monday, August 13, 2012

Falling Skies - "The Price of Greatness"

Season 2, Episode 9

I’ve stopped being surprised when Falling Skies reaches for the easy cliché instead of trying to build on the potential-rich archetypes that make up the core of it’s show. It’s disheartening to see the show cycle through every post-apocalyptic plot that you’ve already seen three times before, but that’s just where the level of this particular writer’s room seems to be. So when I saw the promo for this week’s episode promised an episode where “not everything is as it seems” I groaned a little, knowing just what we were in store for. So colored me surprised to find out that “The Price of Greatness” is an hour that worked in a lot of predictable stuff, yes, but used it to solid effect to raise some interesting ideas.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Wilfred - "Avoidance"/"Truth"

Season 2, Episodes 7-8

If Wilfred were a more tightly plotted show, I might be more inclined to read into the fact that there existed back to back episodes with the titles “Avoidance” and “Truth”, which would seem to indicate thematic parallels, if not an outright two-parter. That of course wasn’t the case, but it is interesting to note how these two episodes served as a dialectic of the show’s two extremes: raunchy humor and high-minded storytelling.

Futurama - "Free Will Hunting"

Season 7, Episode 9

One of the things that I love about Futurama is that, especially in its original run on FOX, the show wasn’t afraid to tackle big issues or scientific principles and to build whole episodes around them. The show knew that there was a smart audience who would be willing to watch a comedy about high-minded ideas, and the audience in kind seemed to be thankful that there existed a show willing to do such storytelling in the first place. There’s hasn’t been as much of this time of story-telling since the show’s comeback, and it’s something that I missed. But after “Free Will Hunting”, I’m not sure the show should return to intellectual territory ever again.

Breaking Bad - "Madrigal"/"Hazard Pay"/"Fifty-One"

Season 5, Episodes 2-4

“We’re just getting started. Nothing stops this train. Nothing.”

“All Hail the King” goes the ad campaign for this season of Breaking Bad (or at least this first half of this season), and indeed there has existed an obsession in these first few episodes with power, who wields it, who wants to wield it, and how that effects those who don’t. Over the past three episodes, the show has taken a very character-based approach to the idea, roughly devoting one hour each to Mike, Walt, and Skyler, and how they are navigating their lives through the new power-vacuum that exists within the meth trade world.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Falling Skies - "Molon Labe"/"Death March"

Season 2, Episodes 7-8

I’ve written before about how Falling Skies is a show divided against itself – it’s very good at providing the action and sci-fi thrills (and sometimes chills), but doesn’t have quite the same level of skill when it comes to the other elements of the show, mostly the character-building and pathos. It often seems as if the show is begrudgingly doing the latter time as a way to bide time until and save money for the former, and the filler status would probably explain why it never feels as affecting as the action set-pieces. This contrast becomes even more apparent with “Molon Labe” and “Death March”, episodes that tackle only action and character building, respectively, to disorienting effect.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Futurama - "Fun on a Bun"

Season 7, Episode 8


In my review of the season premiere, I brought up one of pet peeves with Futurama, the show’s inability (especially in the sixth season) to maintain a logical throughline to the Fry/Leela relationship. This doesn’t mean that I expected the show to always address the existence of a relationship from episode to episode, but rather to at least have it follow on a consistent line and give tacit acknowledgement when the relationship status changes. Given how many times over the seasons that the show has asked that we care about these two as a couple, it only seems right that the show treats the actual relationships with the same respect and effort that was given to the courtship. If not, then suddenly it seems as if none of it matters.