Best and Worst of TV [LATE AGAIN]: 9/1/13 – 9/7/13

Yeah, I know.  This keeps getting later and later.  I should really look into that.  Breaking Bad is back though.  That should give us all something to look forward to!

Good
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

Seen here, most nights in my 20's

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I think that I could probably just leave this entire section blank, maybe put in a couple good pictures, and that would be enough said on why Always Sunny made the list.  It is one of the best shows on whenever it is on.  If it is a re-run and it is up against new episodes of current good shows it is a hard call at times. What started off as a tale of a handful of friends owning a bar and doing that terribly turned into something about the exploits of the worst people who have ever walked the face of the Earth who also have a fully stocked bar for some reason.  My only theory about how the cast continues to come up with worse and worse things for the cast involves drinking, Danny Devito, and farm animals—so pretty much the cast living the life of what they do in the show.

The episode is about Dee (Kaitlin Olson) becoming so depressed, seemingly by the fact that she spends all of her time in the bar with the aforementioned group, that she is rather close to losing the will to live.  The gangs’ response to this, of course, is to back her into going after her stand-up career –because when you hit rock bottom it is always good to be pushed at your failing dreams.  Strangely she seems to succeed at the task and starts to become a rising star in the local arena.  What has always kind of confused me about some of Dee’s problems with her comedy is that some of her jokes are normally pretty good, which makes it all the weirder when she encounters any form or resistance from anyone about them (save the normal vomiting continually on stage thing, which I get why you wouldn’t want to watch).

Bad
Burn Notice

If chins could run for office I would elect it awesome

Where: USA
When:  Thursdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
I went into this episode thinking, hoping, that it was the last one.  It turns out that it wasn’t.  Instead I was treated to a steady stream of miscommunications that would have made an 80’s sitcom raise an overly hairy, unkempt, eyebrow in suspicion. The show started off many years ago explaining how to be a super-secret awesome ninja lord on a budget that consisted of less than Macgyver’s expenditure on duct tape, it has since change drastically.  Probably around the time the characters—including villains— started randomly endorsing cars for no reason, inside the active show, was the same time that they were able to afford explosives and bullets.  Seriously, one season they managed to blow up Michael’s Mother’s (Sharon Gless) house with nothing more than electricity and chemicals found in Christmas lights, the show changed when they started having ready access to thermite.

So this season has been entirely about Michael (Jeffery Donovan) being less burned and more entirely on the books and actively working as a spy again, so we could totally call this (un)Burn Notice and have been slightly more accurate.  The flow of this arch has been to show that the CIA is using ever increasingly terrible tactics to get the bad guys, sort of painting them as the bad guys to begin with.  So at the end of the last episode when Michael finally turned for the group that he was trying to destroy you, as in the audience and I, were supposed to be understanding.  The problem with that is that there was the entire part where James (John Pyper-Ferguson) shoots one of his agents in cold blood because he failed to pull a crew member out of a burning building.  The guy lives by some weird warrior code that he decides on a whim, so it is kind of hard to call him a good guy or that the right side at any point.

Good
Futurama

Thanks, now that is all I want for a bed

Where: Comedy Central
When: Wednesday at 10:00 PM
Why:
Futurama is over.  This was the last episode.  If you have a heart that means something.  This happened before, for those of you who aren’t children or just going to high school or something like that, and some of you might even remember that episode had a theme not unlike this one—focusing on Fry (Billy West) and Leela (Katey Sagal) instead of the majority of the crew and anything interesting that could be going on for the rest of the future-wonderful world out there.  Granted, that first, aforementioned episode involved Fry trading hands with the Robot Devil and becoming the master at an instrument that is too complicated for our ancient brains to understand.

If I am being truthful here, dear readers, I should point out that I am mostly convinced that most of the enjoyment I experienced from this episode was knowing that it was simply the last one.  I think that it might have something to do with the arch of the show, starting with Fry being thrown to the future and meeting a woman who has no interest in him to being one of the sweeter episodes of a TV show about two people in love that I have seen.  Oddly I don’t even know if the majority of the show was something that I would consider “funny” or if it was just decent story telling by wrapping up the plot in the way that made the correct amount of nods to the fans who had stuck with them for the last 13 years.

Bad
The League

Full Douche: As seen here

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:30PM
Why:
The League isn’t a bad show, and this wasn’t really a terrible episode in a way that could be compared to something along the lines of Dual Survival or Sister Wives.  The problem with the show is that it has slowly started to reek of something that is past its prime, something that only plays on the laughs of people that once thought that it had a chance of being one of the better life eaters on TV.  Sadly that time passed roughly around the moment that I found out it was funny and not just annoying promos that FX used to make me hate it.  I don’t know if this is just a really long winded way of saying that I was kind of hoping that the group was just going to kick Roxin (Nick Kroll) out and replace him with someone that I may find mildly acceptable instead of perpetually unneeded.

Season Five starts off by reminding us that Roxin is still a terrible human and refrains from doing anything that he deems beneath him.  Since the rules of the fantasy football league is to punish the person who “played” the worst the season before, and since that was him, the viewers are treated to half an hour of him basically sitting in a chair screaming, “no!” in the same manner that a five year old, or honey boo-boo’s mom, attempts to not eat her vegetables.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that the only reason most the cast is even involved at this point is so they can meet and hang out with random football stars and pretend to have an excuse to do so.

Best:
Breaking Bad

This show can make eating cereal tense

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 9:00 PM
Why:
Always Sunny made my friends and I want to buy a bar.  Weeds made my friends and I want to sell… well weeds.  At no point in time during the show does Breaking Bad make any rational person stop and say, “You know what a great idea would be?  We should cook meth in this here apartment.”  I imagine that all of my teeth would fall out and most of my hair would mange just from saying that sentence. Oddly this show probably manages to glam up the meth trade in what would favorably be called an idolized light, as the most realistic look at the production of the product is given in the first episode where they were brewing in a rented house that basically managed to lower the property value of an entire state.

My wife walked in during one of the more recent episodes after having not seen the show for the last several years, and having dropped it because it is nothing if not profusely violent in every regard, and managed to sit down and not speak for a good 10 minutes.  She had no idea what was going on, and there wasn’t really any dialog the entire time.  None of that matter, she sat quietly and watched the TV like it was showing her deep secrets that had been hidden for some time, my only hope was that they weren’t telling her how to slay me.  She only left after I kicked her out because she started asking questions that had so many layers of answers that it would be quicker for her to watch the show than for me to explain.

Worst:
Amish Mafia

Because most 12 year old looking men run mafia style gangs

Where: Discovery Channel
When: Tuesdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
When I turn to the Discovery Channel I will randomly hold out hope that I might be able to learn something before either changing to anything else or wondering why my television is connected to cable again; learning about something like about the depths of the ocean, or what time travel might do to the human body—at the very least something interesting.  What I don’t expect when I turn to the channel is that I am going to be lied to.  The first episode of this season there was a tirade by one of the “actors” about how all dolls with faces are really just vessels for demons to come, and I guess, spy on you while you sleep. That is supposedly why Amish dolls don’t have faces.  That is false. She scored a 0 on the Amish quiz today. The correct answer is, “because we are all created the same in Gods eyes,” and I think something about pride.  Granted, I am sure that the producer decide her rant was simply too good to not include due to it being equal parts sort of racist and dumb, but it seems an odd thing to include on an channel that—I assume—was founded on the belief of education through shark week.

Speaking of the racism aspect, it is really bad that most of the time the show goes out of its way to depict an entire swath of people as gullible, incapable, and refusing to change.  None of these things are true at all.  The first being that “English,” (ie you and I) take constant advantage of them and they don’t know how to read a contract at all.  Somehow this show manages to use this concept, and their lack of technology, as a way to paint them as something between taking the slowest bus to school and believing that witchcraft is not only real but attained by rubbing your feet really fast on the carpet and then touching your sibling.  If there was a through thread of the series I have yet to spot it.  I can tell you that these are “based on true stories” the same way that most alien abductions aren’t based on a weird dream from one night and not so subtle cries for help.  Also that was sarcasm.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 8/4/13-8/10/13 (late)

Not included because it made me sad

Late.  Really sorry about that.

Good
Falling Skies: Season 3, Episode 10

Sort of how the show makes you feel

Where: TNT
When: Sundays at 10:oo PM
Why:
It is kind of hard for me to talk about Falling Skies in a positive way and not make it sound like the most over-written, heavy handed, empty gestured show that is on TV at the moment.  In many ways it can kind of feel like that, but in the same instance it is impossible for this to not be a guilty pleasure of sorts.  When the rest of the networks are busy trying to have reality TV and make me notice how sexy and good looking their forgettable spies are, Falling Skies is there to remind me that it is totally cool if we just want to hang out and pretend that aliens invaded Earth for a while.  It reassures me that it would probably really suck and I am kind of lucky that I don’t have to put up with that.

This is the last episode of the season, and as such it makes a passing attempt to conclude some of the conflicts that it started, but if I am going to be honest this entire season seemed more like a show that openly renewed for a fourth season when they had only written enough content for the third.  The best part of the most recent episodes was when Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) had flashbacks of before the world ended and two of his three children looked passingly the same and the youngest, Matt (Maxim Knight), clearly was about four years older in the “flashbacks” then he was in the intro to the episode.  If I am going to be honest nothing happened this season besides a child being born with a terrible excuse for why it was suddenly seven years old—and no explanation at all for why it had Jesus like powers.

Bad
Pawn Stars: Season 7, Episode 18

This isn't even Top Gear

Where: History Channel
When: Thursdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
I have, honestly, spent the last couple of months trying to explain to friends why I think that this show is a good “get” for the History Channel. It is hard to make 1920’s fly fishing equipment interesting for any length of time outside of five minutes, and that is allowing for someone who is attempting to sell it for a price that is double its worth while two over weight men try not to laugh in his face.  Instead we are given the acting talent that would fit in with an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo while each one of the employees at the show tries to out character act each other, also that character appears to have the emotional range of the blob from The Blob.  At this point I am only happen when they call in an expert because those people normally seem like the ones that are least interested in reading off of a script and more about promoting both the business they run and how much they know about antique arms and armor.

There was a small story arch that occurred between a couple of episodes, with Rick picking up a car from one of his heroes (Steve McQueen) and then being forced to sell it.  It was kind of interesting as I watched both of those episodes back to back, even though I am pretty sure they were originally aired a week apart, and in one of them there was the forced acting that I hated when the “Old Man” (Richard Harrison 1st) kept acting like he cared either way if his son kept or sold the car.  The highlight, and pretty much best thing that has happened on the show in years, occurred when they went to the auction to sell the car and both Rick and Corey (the son) sort of ended up losing their minds at some of the amazing classic cars just kicking around—no acting, just awkward interactions with people who sweat too much and fidget a ton when they haven’t delivered the same line ten times in a row to a camera.

Good
Impractical Jokers: Season 2, Episode 17

Granted, that is my answer when anyone tries to hug me

Where: TruTV
When: Thursdays at 10:00PM
Why:
The concept is a hidden camera show with four people who are, in reality, friends trying to get one of the other guys to do the most insane and embarrassing thing in public.  Basically Candid Camera, but instead of trying to have random people react poorly to having a tank drive over their car they are trying to get their friend to ask a stranger if he would hug him in forgiveness for eating four pounds of pork while staring at his face.  It is basically like someone had given a bunch of college guys money to continue goofing on each other in lieu of never becoming functioning members of the tax base.  It is great that the cast really does know each other so well, as the pranks are starting to become kind of deeply personal and uncomfortable for the “jokers” to do, randomly involving close family members, which just makes it that much more amazing to watch.

Truth be told I only ever started watching the show because one of the actors (Brian Quinn) is on a podcast that I really like and kept going on about how the comedy troupe he was part of had gotten their own TV show.  I didn’t even know that he did standup comedy, let alone that anyone thought he was funny enough to be allowed near a camera; I am glad that I started watching though as the show is quickly becoming about revenge from pranks that were pulled on episodes years ago and they are nothing if not well thought out and amazing.  They are the kind of thing that you would only be able to really know to do to someone if you spent vast amounts of free time hanging out with them.

Bad
Burn Notice: Season 7, Episode 9

Oh! You have never done this before! Yeah, you are totally in charge

Where: USA
When:  Thursdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
Mike Weston (Jeffery Donovan) used to be a spy until there was a burn notice on him and he was black listed.  It is hard to hate a show that starts with a line that manages to resonate with fans stronger than almost anything that was said in any of the Star Wars movies, yet after seven years of continuously being on the air Burn Notice has managed to make those words feel more like someone being introduced to the Price is Right than Darth Vader relieving the parentage that would rock a generation to the core.  While writing this I kind of came to terms with the fact that, if, the viewers had a child when this show started airing that child would be more concerned with how badly they were going to be bullied in high school then they would clearly remember their first day in school ever again.

I would love to enjoy this show as much as I did even two years ago, but it less trying to show me what happens to James Bond when he retires and more trying to show me what he does when he wants to drag all of his normal life friends into his insane spy life; thanks, I am pretty sure that the Borne movies have that pretty well wrapped up.  The group is forcefully introduced to a new player Ben (David Meunier) who from the onset is described as this “being his first live field assignment”.  I don’t know about the rest of the world, but if someone asks me to castrate a dog I am probably going to freak out and do it poorly and wrong.  Sure, I am aware of the basics of how that works but I don’t really know that I would trust me with the moment to moment operational supervision of blood in that situation.

Best:
Top Gear: Season 20, Episode 6

I guess... Spoiler?

Where: BBC
When: Sundays at 20:00 GMT
Why:
Regardless of what people think I pretty much write this article every week, it just never gets done on time or gets half done before work starts to get busy leading up to the weekend/I start drinking a ton at night. All of those lost articles, that I still have somewhere, contain mention of this season of Top Gear.  It wasn’t just a pretty good run of episodes, it was one of the best that I have seen.  Most series they straddle the line between being a hardcore automotive show and irrelevant show about blowing stuff up and making things that work so poorly it is a wonder that man ever climbed down from the trees with their hands attached.  Years ago it seemed that you would either get all adventure/invention or all “look at the new voxel beetle airfoil!” with very little overlap.  This season mixed the two in a manner that feels like people who have achieved the mastery of their art, and I sort of hate them for that.

There really wasn’t anything that special about this episode, for most of it.  There was even this heartwarming part at the end where the three guys Richard (Hammond), Jeremy (Clarkson), and James (May) went around England showing off all the things that the country makes and why it is still and industrial powerhouse.  It was hockey and probably the kind of thing that if I lived in that country I would have either loved twice as much or hated thirty times as much.  There were some funny parts in the section/skit, but in truth the best came from Richard.  When they were driving to the meet-up where everyone who makes someone in Britain was to gather and show up the product, he turned the corner to the street and all expression left it, “There are quite a bit more than I thought” was all he said.  It was an honest moment, and it was hysterical.  It pretty much said everything that needed to be said in that one moment.

Worst:
Paranormal Witness: Season 3, Episode 9

BTW, they admit this part never happened

Where: SYFY
When: Wednesdays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I watch this show because it is about all of the “Scary” that my wife can handle in her day to day; which is to say not at all.  Normally watching this show consists of my wife listening to people talk about how they saw three weird things happen in their house, assumed it was a ghost, then allowed a producer and special effects artist change their –once probably easily explained—story and turn it into 23 minutes of lies with commercials bookending it.  This episode was literally about a family that was held captive inside their own comfortable house by, maybe, rabid dogs for the latter part of one night.  They later tried to claim they were werewolves.

At the very least most of the episodes of the show involve people who seem like they might have been legitimately scared by some of the things that were happening around them, I was kind of hoping for the death of every single person in this episode.  The events that transpired took place over the course of a single night and was resolved by the family going to bed.  There was seriously a member of the family that slept through the entire thing, if that can be said about an event it really can’t have been that major or impactful. That isn’t a crisis that is a child who is having abandonment issues.  Sure, the creatures prevented the father from getting to his car to drive away and… I don’t know, get milk or something at midnight.  If they are going to start doing shows on mild inconveniences I am sure they could do a season on me not wanting to stand up and get myself another beer, it is kind of just as intimidating.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 7/7/13 – 7/13/13

Free Runner Vs. Trial Bike. Thanks Top Gear

For some reason not that many shows decided to return last week.  I don’t know if we are in a weird summer period in which people are afraid to put things on TV because they think that the horrible shut ins that watch will care that it is nice outside?  Do people watch TV live anymore?  Someone had to remind me the other day that mine still got channels and did things besides hook up to my computer.

Good
Warehouse 13: Season 4, Episode 20

Don't judge them. They have... stun guns?

Where: SYFY
When: Mondays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I have spoken of this show before, and if I am honest this wasn’t the half season that I wanted.  If I am going to speak freely about the series I don’t even know what the hell anyone involved was thinking when about 90% of it happened.  I know for a fact that the timing basically implies that it only ever came back to push DVD sales; something that was released the day after the season concluded.  There was this interesting story arch that seemed developing this time ‘round, with a chunk of the cast of Buffy, but at several times devolved quickly into “I don’t know, magic” which while a viable excuse for the series still seems super lazy when the cast just shrugs and goes with it.

The last half of this season, or if we are being honest “mini-season”, involved the crew at the artifact hunting emporium getting caught up in the middle of a bunch of immortals and the petty feuds.  This, of course, all managed to tie back to the older versions of other Warehouses and deep secrets that no one disclosed for… I am going to say plot reasons alone.  For a show about mystical items being able to do whatever for any reason with minimal explanation they do seem to have an entire host of reasons that it is acceptable to use them some times but not others.  If memory severs me correctly at one point I believe that they even hunted artifacts with other artifacts. Pretty much the only reason they get away with it is because after four season they have managed to convince me this is a live action comic book, and I am ok with this leave of stupidity for some awesome reason.

Bad
Pawn Stars: Season 7, Episode 12

Beard = Expert

Where: History Channel
When: Thursdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
It is really hard to hate the concept of the show.  People bring in the most random things that they can find—possibly from a culvert or neighbors potter’s field— and try and get money from them, basically confirming my long held suspicion that all pawn shops are half junkyard and half of the worst department store ever. The good part of the show is when you get people talking about something that they know about, explaining why it is either worth money or not, and then watching the person get disappointed.  I throw that last part in there because the moment that anyone on the show finds out that what they have is worth a good amount of money they instantly become more entitled than a teenager that suddenly became a reality TV star.

Pawn Stars is wonderful background noise, at best.  It is the best kind of disposable media; when it is done well you walk away feeling like you learned about how much a four hundred year old shovel is worth when it has no historical value and how people used to dig holes before we invented child labor and the third world.  The problem becomes that the programmers think that they can have plot lines so the viewers start to know the people behind the counter through a series of zany events.  That would be great if they either really happened or the people there could act at any point beyond a level of a middle school drama class.  The recent episode was flush with examples of this, mainly of trying to get Chum-lee to be less lazy by sending him on several fools’ errands.   All this taught me was that I guess I can buy dry ice at a custard place, and that I hate old people when they think they are being funny.

Best:
Top Gear: Season 20, Episode 2

It does not end well for the limo

Where: BBC
When: Sunday at 20:00 GMT 
Why:
Top Gear is a show about people who have a deep and caring understanding for how cars work, lasting ideals on what empowers some to rise to the top over others, and the all-important notion of value.  All of those things are true in much the same way that the Today Show is a hard hitting news organization that covers topics that really matter and can polarize the world.  Sort of like a variety show based around automobiles and dry British humor. Several series ago they raced to the North Pole between a car and a dog sled, because no one had done it before and they thought it would be fun.  At one point they wanted to see if they could make a space shuttle out of a terrible car, simply to make space travel cheap and cost effective.  It should also be noted that most of these projects end up failing in much the same way that Chris Brown fails to understand women’s rights.

This episode, aside from the standard vehicle reviews, contained a competition to see what nation had the best taxi in the world.  Entries ranged from buses to limos to the standard New York City yellow cabs and somehow became less about the best time around the track and more and more about how close they could make the event into a destruction derby without having to change their insurance paperwork.  The show is basically what happens when you give teenage boys free reign to pretty much do whatever they want, they crash copious amounts of cars into it.  I have to say that after all of the years that the show has been on the air there really isn’t much out there that does this better, and it ends up being the highlight of my week pretty much every time it is on.

Worst:
Shipping Wars: Season 4, Episode 9

So... Where the women at?

Where: A&E
When: Tuesday at 9:00 PM
Why:
Some days I am pretty convinced that my wife hates me, and because she is married to me she knows that the formal ways of showing her disdain—such as poisoning or clown attack—are simply too good or ineffective.  I am pretty sure that is why we watch Shipping Wars now.  It is the story of how people took every single human beings least favorite task, moving something from one place on the planet and placing it at another, and made a living off of it.  Sure, they are more the stories about shipping oddities like statues of horses with working genitals than some guys house, it is still a show about people who decided that they wanted to make the least enjoyable task man has ever known their career.

Honestly I don’t know if this show is actively trying to get me to want to hire people to move my crap by making it look worse on a weekly basis, or if they are trying to make me understand that everyone that I would hire to do it is just such a failure at life that I should probably just suck it up and keep buying beer and pizza for my friends.  The “highlights” of this week involved a cake traveling up the east coast and cat caskets.  The only interesting thing about the cake delivery was the fact that the guy doing it basically seemed to go out of his way to do anything other than drive the thing he was being paid hundreds of dollars to drop off.  The cat casket thing was fun because it basically started and ended with everyone being as insane and creepy as you would expect when the words “cat casket” are used.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 6/23/13 – 6/29/13 (Late)

Although cigar jerk is kind of a funny name

Because of last week’s holiday causing a lack of new shows and my general attempt to drink through most of the week there was no article.  I will talk about the shows from the week before, because I feel like I should start doing this article again and that this is a dead time to fill with TV talk.

Good
Venture Brothers: Season 5: Episode 4

When was the last time you saw him smile, ever

Where: Adult Swim/Cartoon Network
When: Sundays at Midnight
Why:
Sometimes years go by without an episode of The Venture Brothers seeing the light of day, those are dark times for man.  2013, despite what the Mayans seemed to have thought, has proven to be a good time for everyone due to the return of the series.  The main theme of the show is failure, and in many ways it is hard to argue.  I love the flash backs to Rusty’s (James Urbaniak) old days as a child when everything was supposed to be perfect and work out to be wonderfully for an older him, only to end up being pretty much the same only more dilapidated and less adventure heavy.  It is almost like the show wants to always remind us that it isn’t just us that failed, the world failed us as well—which is good because I do like blaming others.

Speaking of the aforementioned younger Rusty, this episode took place on a Greek island where he was once treated to Spanakopita—not the pie food thing but instead a local festival that serves to both rob tourists of their money and distract young people from the fact that they were accidentally kidnapped.  Considering that the finer points of describing a Venture Brothers plot is more like talking about a fever dream than it is writing something up I will forgo pretty much the rest here.  For serious though, go out of your way and watch this entire series up until this point.  It is amazing.

Bad
Futurama: Season 7: Episode 16

Because it is poop in his mouth, get it?!?

Where: Comedy Central
When: Wednesdays at 10 PM
Why:
This is the last season of a cult classic.  That announcement was made about a month before this season started airing, they promoted this season as such. They did everything besides directly saying that every stop would be pulled out, thrown away, forgotten about, and higher scores of people for some of the best script writing that mankind has ever seen.  This should have made, “Into the Wild Green Yonder” look like a pile of vomit that vomits Kardashians.  If there was ever a season that you make people regret a show ending it the one that is announced months before hand that it is over, the one that you take all of the scripts that you never used for various reasons that make better and put on the air.  So far this seasons high points have been math jokes.

Lrrr (Maurice LaMarche) takes his child on a trip to take over Earth to earn a merit badge, because I guess that is a thing that happens in 1000 years.  This, of course results in the TV being cut off from the planet and Fry (Billy West) being stranded there.  I could sum this entire episode up perfectly when I say that the best joke involves Fry being unable to stop eating rainbow colored poop; because it isn’t a Mad Lib quality episode of this show without Fry being unable to stop eating something disgusting.  It isn’t even like I am angry at Futurama, I am just really all kinds of disappointed.

Good
Falling Skies: Season 3: Episode 4

Something exciting.  I don't know.  This show is hard to talk about

Where: TNT
When: Sundays at 10 PM
Why:
There really aren’t that many good science fiction television shows out there anymore.  Sure, you could come up with a list as long as my arm of shows that certain terribly named channels will try and run from time to time—some with even a mild degree of success.  The problem is that most of those shows end up not being that wonderful, were only ever thought of as a mini-series, or were put together by less than experienced show runners that simply don’t know how to hold the connective tissue together.  Falling Skies has thus far managed to avoid all of these pit falls, even if there are random pacing issues towards the middle of most seasons.

You know when a new season of a very plot driven show starts and you feel like you missed a couple huge pivotal points of information; that is basically what is happening this season.  There is rumors going around about a mole inside of the human resistance fighters, and it is looking more and more like it is Hal (Drew Roy) being controlled by the alien invaders.  My problem with that is that he is sort of aware that this kind of thing might happen, with most other people, so instead of turning himself in and dealing with it in a timely and effective manner he decides to just let it go to such a point that he clearly loses control over it.  That is like someone being too busy eating ice cream to get a heart transplant due to excessive ice cream eating.

Bad
Burn Notice: Season 7: Episode 4

He used to be a spy, until....

Where: USA
When: Thursdays at 9 PM
Why:
Burn Notice is the story of James Bond having all of his special toys taken away and being forced to out MacGyver MacGyver.  The show is on basic cable so Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) has a problem killing people and a heart plated in some kind of magical spy gold; it also has been running for seven years and is very quickly starting to run out of ideas of what to do to push things forward regarding plot.  The show is called Burn Notice but I am pretty sure that the cast of characters has already gone through the process of either killing for destroying every organization responsible, as well as the businesses backing them, for Michael’s burning, and several other secret-er spy type networks backing  everything to begin with.   It has gotten to the point that I really don’t have any idea why anyone is mad at anyone anymore aside from I guess everyone being an active spy again, so… kind of nothing has happened.

This season started with Michael going in for a “deep cover” operation and has proceeded to be the slowest and possibly least interesting series of four episodes I have seen since the show started.  I get that the entire theory for this arch is to take the crew and place them out of their comfort zone while working with people who make that discomfort look like they were getting a Hand Jibber from super models at the beach.  That was a great idea, for two episode that wrapped up quickly at the start of the third.  This is now approaching a fifth with both no end in sight and a promise of even more to be boringly revealed at a leisurely pace that seems like this could have been a special “movie” episode instead of an entire last season.  If it wasn’t for Bruce Campbell (playing Sam Axe) I don’t even know why I would be watching, aside from the fact that I have this thing in my head that tells me I need to finish TV series.

Best:
Mad Men: Season 6: Episode 13

Don Draper rule #80, always leave everyone in the board room confused and angry

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 10 PM
Why:
I was thinking about doing an article on this season Mad Men, and truth be told I still might.  I think that as a whole it might have been one of the most well-constructed examples of writing that has hit the small screen in a really long time.  I don’t know if I can really stress enough just how wonderful it feels to come home from work and go into a fictional land where every single person is as completely and utterly screwed up as a real human, and I can forget about all the failures of life and just judge other people for being completely terrible while I don’t blame myself because I am totally not cheating on my wife at all.

The season has kind of been leading to this road of destruction as Don (Jon Hamm) has taken his agency down a road of success but pretty much driven his personal life into a ditch, lit it on fire, then walked away in slow motion while continuing to have affairs with other people’s wives. Honestly, if half the stuff he did wasn’t so completely slimy and terribly I would want to start a slow clap for him getting away with it for so long.  The season pretty much ended with Don’s very public, very messed up, very terrible and awful break down in front of a rather huge client.  The only complaint about this episode that could really be leveled against it is that the show has been running for six years and I am pretty sure that people were just expecting this to happen roughly eight years ago.

Worst:
Paranormal Witness: Season 3: Episode 4

Not sure if lying or wrong subs

Where: SYFY
When: Wednesdays at 10 PM
Why:
Every single sane person in the world has a ghost story.  Half of them are things that could probably have been easily explained if the person hadn’t been scared to death, half asleep, or both at the time of the event.  Of the remaining half most of them aren’t worth telling.  That leaves you with a handful of tales that are legitimately spooky when told correctly.  Most of those happened in the first season.  At this point the show has just started taking the spooky stories and hoping that people can’t read between the lines too much.  One episode this season a woman claimed that the devil appeared in front of her.  Not a devil, The Devil.  That is a lie.  This show also doesn’t have very good special effects. It was hysterical.

This week’s episode quickly fell from “that is kind of weird and spooky,” to “that just didn’t happen”, basically meaning that while it was one of the better episodes it was still the worst episode of the week.  It was about a haunted restaurant with scores of employees, most of whom did not natively speak English.  Now I am not saying that the people from Mexico lied about the sightings or anything, but the owners of the establishment seemed to have much more believable sightings and “oddities” than the Spanish speakers who claimed to have a poltergeist repeatedly try to kill them.  I am not saying that the staff members made that stuff up, but since I don’t understand a word that the people they are interviewing are saying and the resolution of the problem came down to using a “local psychic” I am going to learn more towards attempt at odd local ghost attraction and the producers lying.

The Name of The Doctor: Almost Weekly TV Thing

Even in kind of black and white she is hot

For those who were looking for The Name of The Doctor (Matt Smith) to be relieved during the season finale will be disappointed; it was only ever spoken by what could be argued to be an imaginary friend. It can’t really be called a letdown, though, because whatever they could have named him would have been dumb, overly complex, retconned in two seasons, or possibly all three; it seems that the only real purpose of the episode was to set things up for the 50th anniversary that is due to air this November. It did manage to answer the questions about the impossible girl, but only in the most convoluted and almost passive aggressive way.

Sadly there were more than a few moments that felt like a teenager trying to write a time travel script after watching Primer, it seems like they just put everything neat they could without really diagraming or proof reading it. The real problem comes from the fact that we all know that Doctor Who is, when at best, more like Back to the Future 2– non-caring about how time travel really works and just more interested in showing off zany aliens who barter with memories instead of money. It isn’t all bad, mainly because it almost felt like Moffat was beholden to resolving the plot than anything– although there were moments that the show seemed to steal neat ideas from episodes past.

You know, because... Dreams

Opening with the current active group of Doctor friends, like Scooby-Doo but with more fake ghosts, doing something along the lines of a Google meet-up or hang-out, I forget what they have rebranded the Gmail chat now, for time travelers. The urge to call complete and total bullshit on the entire thing at this point is kind of strong due to the fact that I can think of a dozen or so times that lighting a candle to have a chat with someone would solve a dozen issues, but if we stop here we will never get anywhere. Among those called are the female lizard Sherlock Holmes (Neve McIntosh), her lesbian slave girl (Catrin Stewart), the mongoloid body guard (Dan Starkey [I know, right?!?]), current assistant(Jenna Coleman), and River Song(Alex Kingston).  The entire thing seems pointless because the only thing that is accomplished is getting information to The Doctor, which could easily have been done by mailing it to him through Clara instead of drugging her to attend the most useless business meeting outside of any network board room (cancel Arrested Development now Fox!)

Seen here, this episodes best idea

So everyone basically heads to The Doctor’s grave and the TARDIS attempts to go to a possibly more interesting episode instead. Like I said before, most of the neat touches are stolen from previous episodes as this was taken from when Captain Jack grabbed a ride to the end of time. I will, though, give props to the best idea I have seen in a while; when a TARDIS dies it becomes the size it should be, which is touches very close to being inspired if I am honest.

This is, also, where the plot starts not really making much sense. The new groups of baddies –the silent men– chase everyone to the spot of Doctor’s death. Now, is it just me or does Moffat seems to have a habit of inventing additional and amazing bad guys when he still has a stable of old ones that he could attempt to salvage? The weeping angels were amazing, until they proved to be popular and managed to be driven into a Statue of Liberty sized hole in the ground. So Instead of trying to use, say, The Silence (personal favorite) he created something almost identical and put it in the wrapper of the supreme intelligence (Richard E. Grant) taking the shape of Dr. Simeon–so that is nice and confusing too. If you don’t know who that is, don’t worry as I didn’t either.

"I am sorry, who are you?"

So this is the bad guy from the Christmas special that everyone forgot about; aside from whatever the amazing and wonderful Clara was doing that is. It was entirely forgettable. Snowmen attacked the population of Victorian London, controlled by what was a personality in a jar that closely resembled the snow globes terrible relatives would give you as a present. I love Doctor Who  but that information either was gone from my head and replaced with a terrible Harlem Shake Porn Parody or was placed in the same area that I keep the calorie count info on a Big Mac, under useless and not to be consulted ever. It turns out that this guy has appeared several times before (I have learned via Wikipedia), although is seemingly only known for using robotic yetis as body guards. I am glad that Moffat is digging into the back catalog to try and make the time lines seems fluid.

Here is another major issue, all the Supreme Intelligence had to do to kill the Doctor was not jump into his time line and screw with him. If the story is to be believed Clara saves him even when he wasn’t being attacked or messed with, he would have died in the Christmas special and the asylum of the darleks without her– all he did was make her a thing. Also The Doctor clearly has a bad memory as Clara has always been there but it is only when he encounters her three times in a very close proximity that he figured something was up. That sort of has to make you wonder what one needs to do to make a lasting impression on the guy, and why robotic yetis count–insanity factor?

If you were wondering, yes, I took most of the pictures based entirely on Clara

As stated before the impossible girl angle was handed… acceptably. I understand that the special coming up this winter is one of the more important things that has happened to the series in twenty years, but the last ten minutes played more like an Internet teaser trailer for what was about to come than it was the conclusion of a plot line. If more of the episodes followed this logic it would be five minutes of either cases or witty dialog followed by a to be continued bumper with a date.