Thursday, February 14, 2008

Capsule Review Day: TV Shows (Part I of II)

there are no major spoilers in these reviews

In a format blatantly stolen from the Sunday Source, you can find my thoughts on every full season of TV show I own or have watched. Use this if you're looking for something new to watch in these cold winter months, and let me know if you want to borrow something! Have another show to recommend? Use the Comments section!

24 (Thriller):
Counter-terrorist agent, Jack Bauer, saves the world in a continuous twenty-four hour span. High in intensity and mindless entertainment if you can stomach a few horrible actors and more inter-office backstabbing than a high school girls' clique. I've watched five of the six available seasons.

SeasonPro'sCon'sGrade
1Jack Bauer is a bad-ass and always one step ahead in his attempts to save the President from assassination.Kim Bauer is annoying as sin. Watching all the episodes at once makes you realize that they didn't really know how to resolve certain plots until the end.B
2Having a nuclear bomb in the city raises the tension.Kim does not get eaten by a mountain lion. Jack's love interest is weak.B-
3Jack goes undercover to reinfiltrate a drug cartel while also being a heroin addict.You'll start to get frustrated at how rarely people realize that Jack is usually right.B+
4The writers start to learn that you can have a suspenseful show without cheap cliffhangers and eight million plot twists.Not much to hate.A-
5The story formula is perfected.Not much to hate here except that Kim gets to be in a few episodes.A

4400 (Sci-Fi):
4400 humans vanish into thin air at various points in the twentieth century and they all suddenly reappear in the present day. Cheesy effects are counterbalanced by smart writing and interesting characters. Fourth season recently aired on TV.

SeasonPro'sCon'sGrade
1Trying to figure out what the heck is going on.The first couple episodes feel rather sophomoric. Only six episodes in the season.A-
2The foreshadowing across the season really shows off how tightly written the plot is.The Lily storylines get old.A
3The storytelling is amazingly strong.Isabelle's an annoying character.A

Alias (Spy Thriller / Character Drama):
Sydney Bristow thinks she's working for the CIA but discovers she works for the enemy, as does her father. The two try to take down the enemy from the inside while its criminal mastermind works to solve the mystery of Milo Rambaldi, an ancient prophet who may have discovered the secrets of immortality. Ended after five seasons.

SeasonPro'sCon'sGrade
1The most Byzantine plot to ever appear on a TV show.Sydney cries every four minutes.A-
2The plot with Sloane's wife culminating in the famous Super Bowl episodeFrancie gets annoying.A+
3A few incredible episodes.Writers had no idea where they were going. Melissa George guest stars and her eyebrows are a different colour than her hair.C+
4Mia Maestro is hot. Episodes are fun the way they were in the first two seasons.Episodes are more standalone. Strength of finale is undercut by a weak cliffhanger.B+
5A different tone, but a few interesting episodes. The series finale is perfect.Feels too much like a spin-off. New characters aren't particularly compelling.B+

Arrested Development (Mockumentary):
A narrated comedy about a rich, dysfunctional family. One episode alone will not turn you -- but the laughs reach a critical mass as you realize that every episode's inside jokes builds upon previous ones. Cancelled.

SeasonPro'sCon'sGrade
1The lack of a laugh track makes the smart jokes even better.Recaps tend to be overused.A-
2Another great season.Not much to dislike here.A
3Realizing that the show was going to be cancelled, the writers went crazy.Realizing that the show was going to be cancelled, the writers went crazy.B+

Boston Public (School Drama):
This show never made it to DVD, but I really wish it would. Tells the stories of public high school life from the perspective of the teachers. The first two seasons were excellent. The later seasons featured Mini-Me hiding in a locker to give students test answers and were not so hot. Cancelled after four seasons.

Dexter (Crime / Character Drama):
A blood-spatter specialist on the police force is also a serial killer, albeit one with a social conscience.

SeasonPro'sCon'sGrade
1Different, intriguing, and very sharply written.Though there's surprisingly little gore, there's copious amounts of blood.A

Firefly (Sci-Fi / Western):
Captain Reynolds and his crew fly through the "Wild West" of space, taking odd jobs and staying one step ahead of law and order. Cancelled during the first season

SeasonPro'sCon'sGrade
1Great characters. Watching the season makes the movie Serenity twenty times better.You'll get frustrated by the fact that it was cancelled so abruptly.A+

Freaks and Geeks (Sitcom / Drama):
High school stories of the geeks and weirdos.

SeasonPro'sCon'sGrade
1Hearing Bill prank calling his gym teacher (Biff from Back to the Future) to call him a butt-sniffer.Drags occasionally.B+

Friends (Sitcom):
Twenty-somethings living in New York City. Obvious brain-dead comedy, which is sometimes exactly what you want.

SeasonPro'sCon'sGrade
1Feels fresh.Shows with pet monkeys are generally running low on ideas. Hasn't quite gotten the "Friends" tone down pat yet.B
2The season where Ross finally gets together with Rachel and Monica dates Tom Selleck. B
3The introduction of Frank Jr.Ross and Rachel bicker all season long.B+
4The season where Ross marries Emily and Phoebe has her brothers' children. B+
5The season where Monica and Chandler are secretly dating.Ross is crazy all season long, and mostly annoying.B
6The season where Monica and Chandler get engaged.Ross is still crazy and annoying.B-
7The season where Monica and Chandler get married. Most episodes are Super Sized.Some of the clips episodes are horrible.A
8The season where Rachel has a baby. B+
9The introduction of Paul Rudd as Phoebe's boyfriend.Shows with new babies are generally running low on ideas. Chandler is in Tulsa (a.k.a. Rehab)B
10The season where Monica and Chandler move away.Rachel and Ross are so 1996.B+

To be continued next week...(Heroes through Veronica Mars)

Ohm sweet ohm
The connection between the softball and the parties and the corruption and the beatings was greatly intertwined.
Meet the world's smallest bodybuilder

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