On the D/L
Hello all and welcome to my first weekly roundup of all the TV I watch. As mentioned in my previous post I’ll be posting a few sentences on what I thought of the TV that I watched this week. Season finale time is fast approaching so this feature might disappear for a few weeks, though I might have things to say about other shows I get into over the summer that are a little older. Who can say?
For legal reasons I probably shouldn’t explain why this column is called On the “D/L” but I’m sure it’s easy enough to figure out. Anyway, let’s dive in. Oh and there will be spoilers, mild I hope but they will be there.
Family Guy – Season 12 – Episode 13 – “3 Acts of God”
I rarely laugh yet I still watch this show, it’s just a habit of mine I guess. That being said I have enjoyed this season more than many of the recent ones. The Brian’s death story was quite good when it lasted and generally there have been more laughs than has become normal in recent years.
This particular episode was completely average. Peter, Joe, Quagmire and a visiting Cleveland (he’ll be back full time soon enough) are all so annoyed at their football team keeps losing that they decide to go find God and ask him to improve things, they arrive at this decision because the teams that beat theirs constantly thank God for their victory. What follows is a by the numbers globetrotting “adventure” which proves fruitless until Death shows up to reap the soul of Cleveland’s spinoff show (actually pretty funny joke) and agrees to take them to God. With some work it goes their way and their team is allowed to win again.
Some of the jokes are reasonably funny, the particular highlight is a tasteless classical music joke. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it but I genuinely laughed out loud. There was the odd chuckle here and there but as said above this is an average episode.
The Tomorrow People – Season 1 Episode 16 – “Superhero”
The first episode to be aired in America following the move to Monday night for reasons I can’t seem to find out. No longer will Wednesday evenings on the CW have an Amell double act (Robbie Amell on The Tomorrow People
and Steven Amell on Arrow
I thought this episode was among the strongest of the season. It was important to the overall arc of the season in many ways. We saw John reunited with Cara and the rest of the team, some welcome character development for Russell, a reveal of why Hillary is so distant, Jedikiah finding out that Morgan is pregnant with his child and Stephen finding out more about the mysteries surrounding his father.
A lot to cram into 42ish minutes but the episode was well paced and never seemed to linger on any one issue for too long. I really liked that Russell’s compassionate side was explored when he finds out he unwittingly inspired a group of breakouts who are using their powers to help others. Naturally Russell takes center stage in this tale and Aaron Yoo is more than up to the task. He comes across as likeable as ever while revealing hidden depths that remained largely unexplored until now, we start to learn more about the sort of person that he is and how the other Tomorrow People are smothering him a little (intentionally or otherwise).
The idea of using their powers to help others beyond their own survival is something that hasn’t yet been done on this show and this episode explores it well. Many of the superhero tropes are touched on here (secret identities, cheesy names and one liners etc) and the show largely makes fun of them. While not entirely original as a concept, it is handled well here and the show manages to be fairly light hearted for a change.
The subplots play out nicely as well with John finding his place back on the team, predictably with teething problems. The Jedikiah (what a ridiculous name) subplot will likely become important in the coming episodes and the ending is potentially game changing as it shows one of Stephen’s biggest fears coming true.
How I Met Your Mother – Season 9 Episode 21 – “Gary Blauman”
With only three episodes to go we are nearing the finish line for this long running comedy. Though this translates as two more weeks as the two part finale airs on March 31st in America.
This episode was good enough. It takes the form of Ted on his first date with “The Mother” (we still don’t know her name) as he tells her about an event that happened three days prior on the day of the wedding. So technically he’s telling his kids the story about the time he went on his first date with their mother and told her the story that happened three days before that event. Confused? I know I am.
The interactions between Ted and “The Mother” are really good and it’s easy to see how they ended up together. Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti have great chemistry and play off each other naturally. The Gary Blauman plot I could take or leave, it was funny enough with lots of the show’s trademark misdirection in service of a good laugh but ultimately it was more stalling before we FINALLY get to Barney and Robin’s wedding. I for one will miss this show but damn that wedding weekend plot is dragging. It did have a sweet message about drifting apart from people as you grow older that many will find all too accurate. Another highlight was a self referential joke about the premise of the show.
Supernatural – Season 9 Episode 16 – “Blade Runners”
A plot furthering episode this one. No time is wasted in carrying on the buildup to the season finale.
I enjoyed this episode, it was well paced with some nicely written exchanges between Dean, Sam and Crowley. The dynamic between Dean and Sam is still frayed but they manage to find some way of working together and staying professional.
Crowley is as selfish as ever, only seeking help when things turn sour for him personally. Naturally the brothers go along with this as they always do. Plot machinations lead Dean to acquire the First Blade that he can use to kill Abaddon (and pretty much anyone else who might stand in his way). Naturally wielding the blade that Kaine once used has consequences that start to worry Sam. I’m interested to see how those consequences play out, maybe forcing Dean to go down a darker path – something that is normally reserved for Sam who has had to contend with this several times during the run of the 9 seasons.
Nobody should be surprised that Crowley took the blade out of mistrust, Sam and Dean have no real reason not to use it on him at this point. It’ll be interesting to see what happens once Dean gets it back and what happens to him after he uses it.
Arrow – Season 2 Episode 16 – “Suicide Squad”
This week Diggle gets to carry the episode with his own story independent of Oliver. He is drafted by Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S (Advanced Research Group United Support) to steal a nerve agent and stop a warlord he knew from his time in Afghanistan. He immediately regrets his decision when he finds out that his team will include Deadshot, Shrapnel and Bronze Tiger, naturally having extra reservations about Deadshot.
The plot moves along at a very swift pace and Diggle’s character is used well here, he follows orders even when he doesn’t agree with them like a soldier should. This is something that his time with Oliver will hopefully get rid of since following those orders have forced him to compromise his principles on more than one occasion.
The flashback portion of the episode centers on Diggle’s experience in Afghanistan, specifically the one that caused him to meet the warlord in question. It’s good to get a little break from the island and learn a bit more about Diggle’s past. It’s also interesting to see his innate professionalism as he’s forced to work with people he can’t stand. This provides some interesting insight into the character of Deadshot who does seem to have his own code of ethics, he’s using his skills to make sure his daughter has a good upbringing and he’s staying out of her life because he feels that the only chance she has for a good life is if he isn’t in it. I wasn’t expecting to sympathise with him before watching this episode but I was impressed by the attempt, hopefully we’ll see a lot more of Deadshot in season 3.
Oliver is relegated to the secondary plot in this episode, haunted by his experience on the island that is all the rawer now that Slade Wilson is back on the scene. He does notice that Deadshot is so far ahead of him and that he can’t anticipate what’ll happen next as well as learning to accept Sara’s help instead of trying to protect her all on his own. I predict something tragic is due to happen to Sara but we shall see.
I really enjoyed this episode, it was an interesting introduction to the DC Comics team The Suicide Squad and continues to build towards the season finale. Really liked the blink and you’ll miss it potential Harley Quinn cameo as well.
The 100 – Season 1 Episode 1 – Pilot
A new show debuted on The CW this week called The 100. Being a sci fi show it piqued my interest and I decided to give it a go. The setting is a dystopian future where the Earth has been irradiated so the human race is forced to live on orbiting space stations until Earth becomes habitable again (luckily all the major nations had their own before this happens). Resources on these space stations are strained so extreme measures are employed to keep the people in line, among those measures is the death penalty for even the smallest crimes. The exception to this being if you happen to be under 18, in which case you are locked up until you turn 18 and then you’re executed. Sounds peachy doesn’t it?
The main protagonist for the purposes of the pilot is Clarke Griffin played by former Neighbours actress Eliza Taylor. She’s smart, resourceful and artistic as well as exhibiting natural leadership skills so a good enough character for us to focus on. It is through her that we learn that there’s a plan to send all of the imprisoned children to the surface to ascertain if the Earth is becoming habitable again – in effect the canaries being sent down the mine. They will all be monitored by special bracelets that read their vital signs and send them back to the space station.
Naturally on the way down something goes wrong and they crash land mostly intact (there’s a few fatalities but I’m not sure we even meet any of them). After this they start to behave as you might expect a bunch of teenagers stuck together, they argue and fight over who should be in charge. Clarke takes a small group to head towards the place they were supposed to land. On the way they’re attacked by some kind of CGI mutant sea creature and they become aware that they’re not alone on the planet. There’s also a subplot where some of the others ceremonially remove their bracelets in an act of teenage rebellion. Oh and it turns out there’s some engineering problems on the space station and they all only have a few months of oxygen left if they can’t fix them.
All in all the show is entirely predictable with some stupidity in the execution of the premise (can’t they use Geiger counters to determine the radiation levels instead of teenagers?) but strangely enough it’s not terrible. I found it to be above average and it’s certainly good enough for me to watch the next episode to see what happens. The cast are strong enough with some familiar TV faces like Isiah Washington and Kelly Hu. I’ll check it out next week and see how it’s faring.
No Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D this week but there was a documentary on the Marvel Cinematic Universe up to this point called Assembling a Universe, it doesn’t tell you anything that isn’t easy to get elsewhere and it is seriously missing input from Stan “The Man” Lee but otherwise it’s worth a watch. There was Also no The Big Bang Theory.
That’s it for my first TV roundup. Feedback is more than welcomed, is it too long? Too short? Were there things that I missed? Are there shows I should get into and add to the roster? Let me know and we can chat about stuff.