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Friday, 23 of April of 2021

Archives from author » noel

The Good Wife – “I Fought the Law”

“This isn’t about the ’50s, and it’s not about women. It’s about me.”

The Good Wife Title Card s3I don’t know that many dramas do better season premieres than The Good Wife.

It’s not that “I Fought the Law” is necessarily a crazy episode but that it is, now in its fourth season, can effortlessly do these sorts of establishing episodes with not only aplomb but with enough little touches that it didn’t miss a step over the break.

But there’s also a lot of promise in this premiere. It’s par for the course for the series, one that likes to juggle lots of different elements. These elements don’t always pay off (Remember how excited I was about Lisa Edelstein last year?!), but it’s a sign of the show’s ever-increasing ambition that it actively pursues these elements. And I think the plots points presented here, the law firm troubles, Peter’s campaign, Kristen Chenoweth’s reporter, and another new Kalinda subplot, all show promise. Read more »

Young Justice – “Satisfaction”

“What is it you really want? Revenge, or satisfaction?”

YJInvasionTitleCardYoung Justice is back. Yaaaay?

I kid. Sort of. I actually rather enjoyed “Satisfaction” (some issues aside). At this point in the season, and thanks in large part to the hiatus, I’ve managed to internalize and (somewhat) accept the time skip and the myriad of problems it ended up creating for the series. Read more »

Last Resort – “Captain”

“We didn’t ignore anything. We questioned.”

Last Resort is probably the only new drama I’ve been looking forward to this fall. I mean, sure, I’m interested in Elementary, Arrow, and 666 Park Avenue, but if those shows never happened, I wouldn’t have been too disappointed. If Last Resort hadn’t happened, I would’ve been disappointed.

Thankfully, the pilot for Last Resort instills some confidence, even as the premise can seem a little short-lived. But then again, I think we all thought the same thing about Revenge last year, and that show managed to pivot nicely from a “revenge procedural” to a sudsy primetime drama in the vein of The Vampire Diaries in its narrative burn. I don’t mean to suggest that Last Resort will go that way, but I do think there’s likely more than a season in this show (though a well-executed, single season would be perfectly cool with me, too).

But since it’s the pilot, we should take everything with a grain of salt. Adjustments get made, shows find themselves, and given all the balls in the air (or is that missiles?), Last Resort may need some time to get everything properly fleshed out. Read more »

Breaking Bad – “Say My Name”

“This whole thing could’ve been avoided.”

Breaking Bad title cardI was a little underwhelmed by “Say My Name.”  It’s unlikely that Breaking Bad can be legitimately bad — it’s too well-oiled at this stage — so it just settles with tiny missteps, whether it be the train heist (for some, not for me) or the end of this particular episode. For me, there was just something lacking, even while internally, I can justify the actual act the episode ends with.

It’s one of the problems of writing about television, or even thinking fairly critically about it. You burrow into the series, understand its ins and outs, and while it may still has the ability to surprise you, as Breaking Bad does for me, you also may see a crack or something askew, but decide that, hey, it’s supposed to be that way. This could just be, in large part, because you want the series that you’ve invested time and effort and labor (and unpaid blogging is labor, in a sense) to still make sense, otherwise what’s the point?

So, yes, I could say that I don’t feel the episode completely earns its ending, even though intellectually I can argue for it, make it feel consistent within momentum of the series. But it sits there, in my gut, wanting to be validated, like Hank’s obsession with the Fring case.

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Breaking Bad – “Buyout”

“It’s like you’re eating a scab.”

Breaking Bad title card“Buyout” is not an exciting episode, but you don’t always need excitement. I’ve long maintained, across many posts here, that pacing is important, and episodes don’t always need to be white-knuckled, everything and the kitchen sink of whatever a series’s particular genre is. Breaking Bad often plays that, setting up intricate chess games between Walter and antagonistic forces, but it also knows when to take a step back and breathe, and “Buyout” is all about breathing a bit. Once you use an electrical cord to burn through your restraints, I mean.

And when Breaking Bad breathes, you tend to get episodes like this, as characters try to deal with the fallout of a particularly harrowing experience. I like that the show does this on a regular basis, and after Todd kills a kid in an effort to make sure there are no witnesses and to try and break out of his hum-drum life of robbery and killing insects, it’s kind of needed. But “Buyout” also makes gestures to answer some lingering motivational questions as Walter’s desire to keep the operation going comes under a sort of scrutiny.

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Breaking Bad – “Dead Freight”

“Give me a break. You guys were going to murder me. I thought you guys were professionals.”

Breaking Bad title cardAfter Lydia mentioned the train tanker of methylamine, my first thought was, “AMC must’ve wanted a train episode to coincide with the premiere of Hell On Wheels.”

My second thought was, “There was a train whistle at the end of the cold open. I wonder if that’s connected. Man, I really hope the kid stays away.”

Dammit. Read more »

Breaking Bad – “Fifty-One”

“Life is good, Skyler.

Breaking Bad title cardIt’s really not. But that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?

I have to imagine that this week was flush with blog posts re-considering long held prejudices and grudges against Skyler and/or Anna Gunn. Or at least I hope they are. I admit that I’d be writing one myself, but I kind of want to interrogate why I’ve come around on Skyler, and the reason why frankly has me irritated with myself for being an asshole.

But we’ll get to that. I think “Fifty-One” may be one of my favorite episodes of the series so far because it shows the real threat that Breaking Bad‘s, as a friend of mine, Maria, called it on Facebook, “unchecked masculinity” has on the world. There are women trying to escape (not just get away from but actually escape), and the men simply will not let them. And if we weren’t sure about this, the cold open is Walter and his son pointlessly revving the engines of leased sports cars.

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Breaking Bad – “Madrigal”

“There’s no better reason than family.”

Breaking Bad title cardWhen it comes to Breaking Bad, I’m always changing who I root for. I’ve steadily stopped rooting for Walt (and as this season has progressed, IN ONLY 2 EPISODES, I find him truly despicable); I’ve never liked-liked Jesse, seeing him as more a victim (which this season has only intensified so far); the rest of the White family is a bit of hit of miss (I’ve come around on Skyler, but poor Walter, Jr. just loves breakfast). Gus is likeable due to sheer performance chops, Hank is perhaps the most insanely human character on the series, and Saul is a wonderful study of a guy in over his head.

So if there’s still a character I’m actively rooting for, that I actively get a un-guilty thrill from (which is what I get from Walt now), it’s Mike. And through this episode, I was wanting him to get out of this life. I want him to relax, drink beer and Ensure, and play Hungry Hungry Hippos with his granddaughter. Even though the man is the hardest of hard-boiled assassins and P.I.s, he’s a tired and beaten down man who wishes the world would just wise the hell up and leave him alone. Read more »

Natsuyuki Rendezvous – Episode 3

“I’m number one even if I can’t touch her!”

Rokka, Shimao, and HazukiI don’t post a lot about anime on here because I often don’t get to watch it in a timely manner during the American television season, and Japanese television has four television seasons each year (going with the calendar seasons) in which new series premiere and some show continue, which means there’s always so much new stuff to watch that it just gets out of hand.

But the summer affords a chance to catch up a bit, and while I haven’t had the chance to catch up on everything I’ve wanted to, I wanted to make a quick recommendation, especially for non-anime watchers, for the summer series Natsuyuki Rendezvous. It’s a romantic dramedy of sort, and it reminds me just a bit of one of my favorite movies: Truly Madly Deeply.
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Political Animals – “Pilot”

[In Russian] “I will f— your shit up.”

After Dallas squandered my interest by becoming oh-so-very boring (the worst possible thing that can happen to any show, but I feel it’s especially deadly to soapy series), I was pleased that Political Animals stepped up and said, “Oh, you’re unhappy with the other guy? Well, why not vote for us?”

Cast of Political Animals

Who are the Ewings…?

Happily, I will strain this political metaphor to a breaking point: Political Animals isn’t as pitch-perfect as I was hoping, but I’m not disillusioned, and nor do I think it’s an empty suit. It’s not the Tim Pawlenty of my summer TV season (that would probably be  Perception), but if I could liken it to any candidate in recent memory, it’s likely Howard Dean. It’s big, loud, charming, prone to mistakes but not backing off from them, and is likely not to get very far (ratings weren’t great).

But I don’t care, because I really like it.  Read more »