There are no major spoilers in these reviews.
Fringe, Season 1:
This X-Files-esque show from J.J. Abrams leaves something to be desired. As a set of standalone episodes with a new gory conundrum of the week, it's entertaining with a solid cast of supporting characters (even if the main one is very dull). The overarching story moves far too slowly though, and doesn't really give much incentive to "get to the next episode". There were a few brief sparkles of plot motion around episode nine where it looked like things were going to get interesting, but the show quickly reverted back to Law and Order with more disfigured bodies until the decent season finale. I would watch the next season if there was nothing else to watch, but would not choose it over any marginally better show.
Final Grade: C+
Dollhouse, Season 2:
This thirteen episode collection is the second and final season of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, and after three forgettable throwaway episodes, the story cranks into overdrive and doesn't stop. The twists and turns keep piling on top of each other, obviously abetted by the fear of (and then the realization of) cancellation. The ending is satisfying in much the same way that the movie, Serenity culminates the watching of Firefly. My only complaint was that character development moved a little too fast by the end, so some of the emotional milestones didn't have as much impact as they might have with four or five more episodes. Also, any TV episode with an extended dream sequence is probably retarded -- this is the primary negative impact that The Sopranos has had on TV culture.
Final Grade: A-
How I Met Your Mother, Season 5:
This season is at least twice as good as the previous, since the number of fake teasers for who the mother will be and the number of episodes with stories told out of temporal order for cleverness' sake are at a minimum. It's a pleasant throwaway show that'll make you laugh any time you fire it up.
Final Grade: B+
Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions
Giant Noah's Ark bound for Kentucky
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