Fall TV is back. I’ve bid my goodbyes to Entourage, nearly gave up on the ridiculous writing of True Blood, and I’m now anticipating the final quarter of Breaking Bad. But that was preliminary, the tiny vinaigrette appetizer before the 22-episode filet mignon. I’m ready to be tickled, pleasured and fatally abused by storylines old and shiny new – I mean, look at all those premieres. I’m not even counting mid-season entries yet. Good luck to my job search!
We’re starting off with Tuesday (US Monday!) in review, kicking the week off with sitcoms and action-dramas.
In short: Kat Dennings and Beth Behr play Brooklyn diner waitresses Max and Caroline, looking to swim out of their financial struggles straight into rolls of cash with a business idea.
Dennings fits Max like Michael Cera fits the adorable geek role, which could potentially be bad news if she doesn’t want to be typecasted. Despite that, her sarcastic delivery of snark in 2BG is spot on and I have to admit – her sassy but secretly big-hearted performance is as charming as her uniform-busting boobs. In fact, the show should be renamed “The Denning’s DDs” because it’s hard to register what’s happening when they’re onscreen. Yeowza! I don’t blame horndog Oleg for regularly harrassing her as much as he does at all. You’d be staring at Christina Hendricks Lite too.
Then there’s Caroline, blonde, pretty, and recently thrust into homelessness because of her father’s big business mishaps. She’s Hilton level of spoiled, but with a business degree twist. The pilot sets the stage for a typical mismatched duo sitcom, but what makes it special (besides the bosom) is the writing. There are a few stereotypical characters and moments used to lay the foundation and tone of Max and Caroline’s relationship, but the sharp dialogue helps to avoid what could’ve potentially been another cliche buddy borefest of slapstick and lame jokes. It’s not completely guiltless of it, but it’s off to a good start.
Bottom line: Feels a bit “chick flick” but Max’s deadpan wit (and her boobs) keeps it from being stale. Fingers crossed that they keep it up.
In short: In back-to-back episodes, Ted’s flashback to his kids of Uncle Barney’s mystery wedding is really a flashback to a worse wedding so Barney calms his jitters. News or concern about the mom is nowhere in sight, but Marshall’s Beercules history haunting him makes all the cheesy recycled bits slightly better. Of course, writers have to throw in the “Ted’s old flame” spanner to my good feelings.
I went into this without expectations. I mean, it’s season 7. We’ve only so far caught a glimpse of a leg and an umbrella. We’ve been taunted and teased with weak, vague hints and sometimes tortured with annoying, useless filler girlfriends for Ted (read: Zoey). For 7 whole years. What am I to do?
The only real way we’ll get any form of resolution is when we get news that HIMYM is finally getting cancelled. And since CBS still has another season’s contract still intact, you can bet your ass that they’ll only pull the mother card in the season 7 finale (as always). Not even Neil Patrick Harris is enough to distract from the dragging reminder of a too-long strung out arc.
Bottom line: You can probably skip a whole year of your life still wondering who the Mom is. But if you haven’t grown tired of their antics yet (possibly degrading to just predictable gross-outs now that we have to make way for pregnancy/baby jokes) and want to see Barney dance it up while acting un-Barney, then keep watching.
In short: Straight from the heels of the shocking finale, Castle thrusts us right back into the thick of the action. The conspiracy thickens as the mystery of Kate’s mum’s murder develops in the aftermath of Montgomery’s sacrifice, the shooting, and Castle’s big I Love You; angst and drama abound.
Come on, where would this show be without Beckett? Everyone knows she’s going to live. But the team did a good job on picking up the story where it left off. There’s new boss, new growth, new introductions, but it’s the same old awesome. And pile on the angst! Emotional tensions run high as Beckett tries to cope with being shot. Stana Katic has really grown into her role so well that her fingers are always on my heartstrings. She plays anguish to a tee, and best of all, there’s no lip tremble anywhere in sight.
And Nathan Fillion… There isn’t much to say. He’s consistently giving new layers to Castle and is virtually unhateable.
Bottom line: Faithful followers should just watch and be excited about the show being back. The shark is nowhere in sight. Aftermath-themed season openers tend to dampen the impact of the previous finale, but not here. New viewers should may want to pick up Season 3 so you won’t be completely lost.
In short: All you need to know about the season opener is this – it’s exciting, fast-paced, and Five-0 is back in an official canon capacity. There are some wacky chase scenes and shootouts (Kelly one-arming a shotgun? Tchyeah!) but best of all, cliffies from last season are resolved quickly, becoming part of and making way for something bigger and better to mess with our favourite rogue enforcers. Don’t forget the twists!
The episode begins somberly with Kelly at the governor’s funeral and McGarrett in jail. I’m not gonna do a recaplet, but there are a few things worth mentioning: Terry O’Quinn drops by the pen as (hopefully a regular guest star) military veteran and mentor Joe White. I have a little Lost-related squee. “It’s Jin and Locke! JIN AND LOCKE!” Masi Oka appears in the credits. Scott Caan is so much better in this show than his one-dimensional stint in Entourage. And sadly, no Kono character development. She seems to be moving closer to “convenient plot device” territory.
Bottom line: Whether you’re in it for the bromance or action (or Ho!Yay, if that rocks your boat), there’s nothing quite like hearing McGarrett order “book ’em Dano” again. Pretty much announces, “We’re back, bitches!”
In short: The jealous bunny mother, the sweet young newbie – it’s Memoirs of a Geisha with fabric ears, pushed up tatas, musical performances and a murder uh-oh in the 60’s .
In the Playboy club, everyone’s either rich or hot. They smoke cigars, drive big ol’ Lincolns, dance, and have sex in bathrooms. Gay people congregate in secret and there’s huge parties at the Mansion.
I tried my best not to think of Mad Men, but a comparison’s inevitable. The setting pretty much begs for it, and in this show, it’s a cop out. Maybe it’s the slightly unnatural teenager-ish acting, maybe it’s almost everyone being a little under on the weighing scale. When it comes to authenticity, it’s lacking somewhere that I just can’t put my finger on. The only one really hitting it out of the park is David Krumholtz as the Club’s manager Billy Rosen, but even that’s not enough to keep me from feeling as if it should’ve been on the CW instead.
Still, the Playboy Club isn’t completely terrible. Amber Heard is sweet and down-to-earth as Maureen and she’s got dreams of being a performer. She’s likeable, but not immediately. Her supposed love interest Nick Dalton (played by Eddie Cibrian) is trying a little too hard to be Don Draper suave with his Jon Hamm voice. (Cute dimples, though.) They have little romantic chemistry until they’re making out, which is pitiful, but maybe things will change as the laurels of their shoddy coverup come undone. I reckon that the best character is Billy Rosen or the world’s first chocolate bunny Brenda, but even then it would’ve been nice if she was more than just the black best friend keeping it real for Maureen.
Bottom line: The story setup isn’t something that we haven’t seen before, and if you’re looking for 60’s sexiness and level of depth, Mad Men still does it better. But if you don’t mind some coming-of-age brought on by someone’s death executed in the most One Tree Hill way possible, it can be enjoyable. The eye candy is great so far, which could turn this into one of those guilty-pleasure shows where you don’t know what’s going on but everyone is beautiful.