Wilfred: Season 4, Episode 9&10
When: Over, forever
Wilfred is the story of what happens when Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) decides that his life is just, just awful and that he should kill himself. Sadly he borks the entire thing up and instead of dying just starts to see his neighbor’s dog as a man in a dog suit (Jason Gann). From that point forward the series is a constant back and forth with Ryan’s (Frodo Baggins) belief in Wilfred, the dog, is really only an animal or something more. It is also one of the few examples of an episodic show that truly needs to be watched in order to have even the remotest idea of what is going on at any given time. Did I mention that it was possibly one of the funniest show on TV? It is.
I love this show, and half of these two episodes would have made one amazingly wonderful ending to a fantastic show, the other half is kind of this middling attempt at explanation of some of the greater mysteries that found their way in with the most mundane and boring ways possible. The problem with the ending boils down to the show runners trying to leave things open to interoperation on just what Wilfred is or is not, but that premise doesn’t ever work when you lead someone by the noise to one of the destinations, point at it, tell them what it is, and say the choice is yours. It might feel like a stupid complaint, but yes, after four years I do kind of want what Wilfred is spelled out for me with as little mystery involved as possible.
Falling Skies: Season 4, Episode 8
When: Sundays at 10:00 PM
Falling Skies had one really good season when it first started. It has now proceeded for three more seasons, each season attempting to distance itself ever further from those that came before it—it has now gotten to the point where it impressive that characters still have the same name, let alone remember interaction that took place more than 10 minutes before. It is like every character in the show is the guy from Memento, but with aliens and the guy from ER. Seemingly at the end of every season the resistance (humans) find a way to beat back the invading aliens in such a manner that they are sure to win with one final, well placed pushed—hopefully taking place during the next series. Then the next season starts and three throw away sentences are used to explain why that thing they had only ever worked that one time. This is just like SeaQuest all over again, down to the fact that Stephen Spielberg was involved until halfway through he managed to make it through a script and put an end to that.
This episode was about… something. I think the entire point was that you would normally file this under character building, but for a show that is normally so based on the action with the more plotting scenes being done when they aren’t fighting for their lives—although sometimes during—it seems out of place the more slow paced episodes they have; this season has been full of those. It is weird because the episode before this almost felt like a return to form as a handful of main characters died in a deceive battle, and now everyone has promptly forgotten that they were cast on the show at all. If you wanted to watch of people pretending to be dirty in a torn down city that is totally a set this is the episode for you. I would try to recount what happened, but I remember about three things and every single one of them seems to be more boring than the last one.
Adventure Time: Season 6, Episode 16
Where: Cartoon Network
When: Thursday at 7:00 PM
For the last, seemingly, couple of months the series has been pretty Jake and Finn light. Normally that is fine, but that is also normally when they only do one episode at a time without the main characters. I won’t even go so far as to call this an entire season’s worth of that kind of episode, as we eclipsed that some time ago. Sadly it feels like it has been roughly half the season since I have seen something only centered around the boys and their much better adventures. I understand that the show itself has grown well beyond the scope of how it originally started, but in the same breath that also doesn’t mean that I am going to enjoy Treetrunks regardless of how many times they try and make seem super interesting.
That all being said, Joshua is the man. If they decided that entire arches of the show were just going to be devoted to him being awesome and basically a Don Draper Dog that fights demons I would be more alright with that than another episode like the week’s before “Princess Day”. Every time people even casually reference Finn and Jake’s parents most of the “baddies” in the area just slowly walk away like they just remember they left the stove on in an enclosed area near a child. It isn’t even the normal “more interesting stuff probably happened in the past” level like Billy, most of the time you get full on Joshua flashback of him casually returning demons to hell while he records a memento for his kids. This episode is pretty much no different, but instead focuses on the odd series of events that led up to Jake’s birth.
The Last Ship: Season 1, Episode 8
When: Sunday at 9:00 PM
The last ship is a show about a Navy vessel sent out days before the true start of the worst plague ever. Personally I would have liked it if the show had stopped there and just forced the crew to rebuild humanity with the limited means and resources left on the boat—bonus points awarded for them knowing almost nothing about the virus and figuring it out as crew members die, adding tension to the show. Instead they have a doctor hitching a ride from the word go attempting to create either a cure or vaccine and ruining the pace of an otherwise wonderful, and potentially riveting, end of the world experience. Did I mention that there are also Russians, and for some reason it appears that the only training videos they ever saw were Rocky IV and the original Red Dawn edited with the Americans dialog either cut out or replaced with a snarling animal.
This episode takes every ounce of tension that has built up since episode one, with Russia V. America, and finally makes everything come to literal blows. The problem is that instead of feeling like some kind of well thought out Tom Clancy thriller it feels more like middle a schooler’s reenactment, although they only managed to stay awake during the exciting parts of a cable edited version of the movie. Also all main characters seem to be immune to death and bullets. The moment that a new member works their way into a speaking part it is a safe, if not assured, bet that they will die in a couple of episodes; if not that one they first acquired a name. The worst part is that they try to make me, in particular, feel bad about this random person’s death. Truth be told about a quarter of the way through most episodes I start check my mail on my phone and only look up every couple of minutes. I guess if it was intended to be the show you watch while you catch up on Facebook or play a handheld game it succeeds fabulously.
Storage Wars: Season 5, Episode 20
When: Tuesday at 9:00 PM
Storage Wars is one of the few reality shows on Television that I have yet to decide how fake it is. Don’t get me wrong, I know that some things that happen in it are faked, trumped up, or randomly staged so that something will happen during the episode—the problem is that I can’t really decide how much of it is a setup is up. All of that said they do a pretty good job of hiding the production crew during the filming and kind of make you feel like a voyeur. I have seen almost every episode, and since I have little to do to make my life interesting, I have watched to see if I could find a boom mic or random person with an ear piece in the audience or randomly stepping into show upon, oddly you almost never see it. The one exception to this is when Barry showed up late, walked through the production crew to craft services where several were actively eating, and then grabbed an intern to help him bid his. This was also the exact moment that Barry became, and will forever stay, the best member of the show.
This one episode managed to not only shows almost every single member of the crew, but also make me repeatedly question my stance on the realness of the show.
Dave (Hester) has been off of the show for about two years, or seemingly 500 episodes if you follow how often A&E seems to put new ones out there, after he basically decided that it would be a good idea to start spouting out accusations directed at the show that paid him, and then promptly sue the show for “wrongful” termination. Needless to say he was taken off the cast list faster than a cheetah on Adderall trying to get out of a bad relationship. That made him suddenly appearing back on the show less shocking and closer to appalling. This is the man that went out to the media and said everyone he worked with was not only a liar and a cheat, but that the women on the show had fake breasts, breasts bought by the producers to get better ratings. Even if the show dropped the charges and I was actively getting beers with the husband of the woman I said fake boobie things about, I don’t know if I could show up to work with them with that dumb smile on my face. This is also only the drama from previous shows, he later started a screaming match with the auctioneer—something that is akin to telling a referee of a boxing match that his mother gives better blowjobs than his wife, but his sister is the real pro. Even if he lets the match continue the other guy is getting away with stabbing you.
Not only was the screaming match awkward and possibly the least scripted thing ever produced on the show, but you could tell that it had been going on longer and longer as more and more people with ear pieces started making their way actively into the shot. At one point the camera starts to shake and the boom falls into view and you can just tell that they are asking if they should really be shooting this or just calling the cops before actual violence breaks out. It was wonderful and terrible and I kind of think everyone I know should totally watch this.