Continuing with comments this season of TV premieres, here are my views on the current seasons of House MD, Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother and Brothers & Sisters...
Gossip Girl S4
(Episodes 1-6) After the shocking finale this summer, the Paris episodes that this season opened with were nice, even as I found the elements of the Blair-Serena rivalry a tad tiring. I was glad that end when they see through Juliet’s plotting to cause a rift between them. But before that, we had a new and improved Chuck Bass, as Henry, which was quite refreshing. Seeing him being a nice and humble guy for a change was good, and even though I knew it wouldn’t last too long, I feel like they should have played that out for a while longer. When he goes back to his scheming ways, after Blair drives Eva out of Manhattan, and he declares war on her, it made for some entertaining drama, what with him signing up at Columbia and all, but that too was short-lived as they called a truce at the end of episode 6. That, we all know, happened after Jenny Humphrey, of all people, opened their eyes while pointing out that they were on a path of ‘mutual destruction’. For once, after a long time, I was happy to see Jenny walk away with her head held high, especially after she made a total fool of herself by even thinking that she could compete with Serena for Nate’s affections. Now Nate and Serena might have not ended up together eventually, but that’s a whole other story.
As for Serena, I’m glad to see some stability in her life, after all that she put herself through last season, trying to find herself and her father. It’s good that she’s finally in college, but as we all probably know that the stability will not last. Her budding romance with Colin Forrester I’m sure will lead to catastrophe when we find out what his connection with Juliet is. Speaking of which, the Juliet storyline has grabbed my attention entirely this season. I’m quite sure that her seeking revenge from Serena, on behalf of Ben in prison has to do with the guy Serena killed a long time ago, when she was BBFs with Georgina Sparks, but where Colin fits in to this whole thing, I’m dying to find out! For me, the Juliet angle seems straight out of Desperate Housewives—a mysterious person coming into the characters’ lives, with some secret goal to achieve, in a way that makes them wreak havoc in the lives of the characters. While she almost had Serena expelled from Columbia, she did cause Dan and Vanessa to break up. Not that I’m shocked or depressed about that! Vanessa has always seemed like a fifth wheel among the others, and I really hope they do something more with her character to justify her presence in the show.
House MD S7
(Episodes 1-4) The devastation of the previous season catching up with House was stalled with the entrance of Cuddy, and, as it turned out, it took an absolute tragedy to make them put their egos aside, finally admit their feelings for each other. The initial repercussion of this turn of events, I felt was handled very well, where the two characters find comfort in just being with each other, away from the outside world and the reality of their daily lives. At the same time, the writers gave the other doctors a chance to figure out why Hadley was taking a leave of absence. While they managed to shed some light on where she was headed, it turned out eventually that they were wrong, and she had played along. I commend the writers for bringing about this angle of drama with Olivia Wilde’s leave of absence from the show while she’s making movies. I do miss Thirteen though, and I wish Wilde returns soon.
However, even with her gone, life is almost as usual for House’s team. The medical mysteries continue to pose a challenge, and the basic premise of the show is kept alive, with original cases, even after six years. The team has its ups and downs as well. Seeing Chase confront Foreman about his superiority complex was good material, in terms of seeing their relationship as co-workers evolve. While on Chase, I do hope he finds happiness with someone, and moves on from his whoring around with women. I think the temp, Dr Kelly Benedict might be good for him. She seems to not be a very strong person, so I think it might be just right for him to be with someone who he can fix, after being with Cameron, who lived to fix people. I think, that’s going be his path for this season—moving on from his broken marriage, and finally finding someone new. At the same time, nothing has really indicated what path Foreman and Taob will take. I’m waiting to see what it is.
Coming back to ‘Huddy’, at least in the first four episodes, the writers have done an excellent job of playing out their relationship. While it’s clear that they’re both willing to be honest about their feelings, I was impressed by how they uncovered the insecurity that they both feel, when they both agree that they’re holding back, and being cautious about the relationship. Facing hurdles like these is what can make their union a success. I’m looking forward to seeing them get deeper into an uncomfortable phase, where things aren’t so happy, and the reality of being in a committed, serious relationship sinks in further, and perhaps even the devastation of the last finale catches up with them. What I do miss is Wilson. I feel like he could have played a bigger role with House and Cuddy getting together, but he’s almost been pushed aside, as though House doesn’t require his best friend any more. I do hope they give him more of a role in the show, before his character disappears and Robert Sean Leonard decides he doesn’t want to be a part of it. Regardless of Wilson’s role, there’s a lot to look forward to the rest of this season.
How I Met Your Mother S6
(Episodes 1-2) The beginning of the new season of How I Met Your Mother has had nothing really engrossing to offer that is different from what we’ve seen so far. The premiere started with another gimmick—something that the writers have gotten really good at. However, as much as we would like to know whose wedding it was at where Ted is nervous about his speech, is that really something that’s supposed to hold our attention? I’m not holding my breath! They kept us thinking what the goat was about for almost four whole seasons, so I’m guessing this might just go on even till the end.
Meanwhile, the show goes on as usual. The entertainment factor is still alive. However, I’m not so excited by Lily and Marshall trying to have a baby as being their story for the season. And I’ve almost made peace with the fact that Barney Stinson will never evolve as a character, and will remain a caricature. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Neil Patrick Harris, and I still like seeing him do his job on the show, but if legendary characters like Joey Tribianni and Chandler Bing (Friends) could evolve from being two goofy guys sharing an apartment, I think Barney Stinson needs that too. Even his relationship with Robin did nothing for his character, becoming one of the most pointless storylines of the show. I like seeing his sensitive side at times, like in the episode when he really wants to look up to his half-brother’s father as being his own, but such moments are few and infrequent.
All said and done, I’m still waiting for the magic of ‘Act 3’ of HIMYM take over this season, as Carter Bays’ indicated earlier this year. A lot of people say that they don’t like the show any more because it’s not as good as it used to be, but I feel that if it’s losing its charm, it’s because it’s just like it used to be. I’m dying to see it evolve a bit, as a whole. I hope it does, so that it can be the legendary show that everyone thought it was going to be.
Brothers & Sisters S5
(Episodes 1-4) Whether they did justice to showing the car crash, in last season’s finale or not, or whether the one-year time leap was a strategised move or not, I see the sense that it all makes now, having seen the first few episode of Brother & Sisters S5. All the characters have been affected by the crash in ways that are defining their stories this season, and I’m all for evolution, so I’m loving it! Rob Lowe’s departure from the show is sad, and it was heart-wrenching to see Kitty having to say goodbye to Robert, but even that has been turned around to being something else on the table. Kitty’s desire to find herself, resolving to move on and survive is nice to see, and even though her budding romance with the handyman/carpenter/plumber seems right out of Desperate Housewives (a la Susan and Mike in S1), it’s still interesting.
On the other hand, Kevin seems a little better this season. He seems more mature and a little more willing to confront situations and dealing with problems as opposed to sulking about them. His sense of loss with Robert’s death was moving, and seeing him and Scotty trying to move on from their failed attempt at parenthood is nice. Whether his loss will prevent him from ever wanting to be a parent is something we’re still to find out. I’m still waiting to see what happens with his client who he saved from being sent off to juvenile prison. Scotty and Kevin are also trying to help Saul deal with being HIV+ in their own way, and even though I wanted Saul to die soon, I don’t mind seeing him through this phase for a while before they kill him.
What was truly heartbreaking was the end of Justin and Rebecca’s marriage, even though they were getting tiring as a couple. I love the maturity that he grew into, through his stint in Afghanistan, and I think the writers did a fabulous job of giving their split some kind of closure, with Rebecca wanting to get away from everything just the way he needed to while going back to war. Part of Rebecca’s desire to get away was because of her mother’s inability to recognise and love her, after her loss of memory. It’s really sad to see a strong character like Holly Harper sink into this condition, which actually reminds me a lot of Ellis Grey’s Alzheimer’s in Grey’s Anatomy, especially when she talks to Nora as though they’re still young and she’s still William Walker’s mistress. I’m waiting to see what they do with that storyline. Moving on, one of the strong positives in the Walkers’ lives is Sarah’s story; seeing her and Luc having grown into a mature and serious relationship is nice. I look forward to a wedding soon, among all the other things that I want to see happen this season. I hope they keep up the good progress!
COMING SOON: Thoughts on the Ugly Betty series finale