Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WHERE DO THEY GO FROM HERE?


The latest seasons of Showtime’s two biggest dramas—HOMELAND and DEXTER—ended on Sunday with a renewed sense of direction. One indicates that there’s a lot more coming, when the end already seemed near, while the other was terribly disturbing, but opens up doors to so much more that can happen. Read on and see if you’re thinking what I’m thinking.

DEXTER
One can undoubtedly say that this was one of the best seasons of the show yet, especially after the last season, which was rather disappointing. The season was completely focused on the central story arc—the repercussions of Deb finding out about Dexter’s secret. To make it more intense, they threw in LaGuerta looking into the ‘bay harbor butcher’ case again. The finale was a culmination of that, and the sight of Dexter being arrested and paraded through the station was something we’ve all feared right from the beginning. It was an effective way of beginning the finale, before all hell broke loose for Dexter and Deb. LaGuerta decided to start over by looking into Dexter and Debra’s involvement in the church fire, and that brought on all kinds of survival instincts in Dexter. I’m not so sure that where the writers took it from there was the best way to handle the storyline, because it messed things up completely. I’m sure there could have been another way to stop LaGuerta from digging further, rather than having Dexter make the hasty decision of taking her out with Estrada’s death as the cover story.
The last few minutes of the finale were tense as hell, making the climax even more chilling than when Deb walked in on Dexter killing Travis Marshall in the previous season’s finale. However, I wasn’t convinced with Deb’s impulsiveness when she finally pulled the trigger, because she had been standing there holding the gun for a while. It surely wasn’t a reflex action. But then, I wouldn’t know what it’d be like for someone to be in a situation as messed up as the one Deb was in, so I’ll give the writers the benefit of the doubt there. But it disturbed me to no end. To see LaGuerta dying like that was horrible. Apart from fact that I liked her as a character, she didn’t deserve it. And then the way Deb went and held her after shooting her was gut-wrenching. Dexter’s helplessness formed the perfect background in that shot.
The big question now is, where does it all go from here? An innocent person was killed. That even goes against Dexter’s code, and it’s Deb who killed her! How will she live with that? What’s it going to do to her? How will she go around catching murderers like Hannah McKay knowing that she’s a murderer herself? Answers to these questions will obviously provide the writers enough material for the next season, and it’ll be interesting to see how they handle this. Of course, an investigation into LaGuerta and Estrada’s deaths is bound to pose a problem for Dexter and Deb. And then Hannah’s also escaped, so there’s going to be more on her storyline as well. All said and done, the final season will definitely be explosive, but looking at things the way they are right now, I don’t see Dexter or Deb getting any kind of happy endings by the end of it all. I won’t be surprised if Deb eventually turns herself in or even ends her own life. I suspect Dexter will eventually get caught, or he’ll escape from Miami and disappear altogether.


HOMELAND
By the end of its first season, Homeland was already a huge success, and the second season couldn’t come soon enough. And it started with a bang. A few episodes in, Saul and Carrie and Estes had already found out the truth about Brody, and I wondered where it would go from there. They spun things around and made him a double agent, and that answered my question. The season saw a lull period, when things almost started to get boring, but when Abu Nazir showed up in the States, that turned around completely. I guess the writers are great with that, throwing in surprises every now and then to keep things interesting. Walden’s death was one of those surprises. It was an ingenious way to kill him, and I was actually happy for Brody to see him get some closure from the one thing that turned him against his own country—Isa’s wrongful death—even though I’ve always thought that the attack that killed Isa might have been orchestrated by Nazir himself, as part of a master-plan to turn Brody.
By the penultimate episode of the season, I was again surprised to see how much the writers were already doing. Nazir, who I’d always imagined as being this mighty terrorist like Bin Laden, was dead, leaving me to again think: where do we go from here? The finale started off quite slowly, and halfway through this episode that was over an hour long (with even the opening credits omitted), I was waiting for something explosive to make it season-finale worthy. And something explosive was just what I got. It was poetic to see Nazir’s body fall into the sea just as the blast in the CIA took place—like his final master-plan saw its climax just as he was being put to rest. And the blast also answered my question yet again. It opened up so many avenues to take the show forward. It was a brilliant way to end the season. The news playing the tape that Brody had made before his almost suicide attack in the previous season’s finale was shocking, especially because Jessica and the kids were watching it. No one would believe the guy who’s already cried ‘wolf’ once before; even Carrie’s immediate reaction was to suspect Brody. The next season will obviously be about Carrie proving Brody’s innocence, but given her personal involvement, there’ll obviously be a limit to her credibility.
I liked the subplot of Estes’ plan to kill Brody, keeping Saul quiet, and then how Quinn got involved. I wasn’t sad to see Estes die eventually. Among other characters, I enjoyed watching Quinn and Roya Hamad throughout the season. I hope they serve some purpose in the next season too. By the end, it was heartbreaking to see Carrie leave Brody as the fugitive he was. However, I don’t see how a fake passport or identity can get him very far, given that he’s now America’s most wanted. But let’s wait till next September and see what happens. There’s so much to look forward to from HOMELAND season 3!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

GOLDEN GLOBE & SCREEN ACTORS GUILD NOMINEES 2012-13


Here’s a look at the television nominees of the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards 2013, which were announcer earlier this week…

While the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will begin voting for the nominees of the 85th Academy Awards, the grand finale of the award season, all the other awards are have been gearing up to take us right into the season for the past few weeks now. From the Critics’ Choice to the Peoples’ Choice; from the Writers’ Guild to the Screen Actors’ Guild and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association… all the nomination announcements are pouring in, the latest being the SAGs and the Globes.

Mandy Patinkin is a new entrant for his role in HOMELAND
Now in television, a few major contenders and big winners of the past few years have been pushed out of the race, the biggest being GAME OF THRONES, which has only been nominated for the SAG Stunt Ensemble award. The Golden Globes have been quite welcoming of new contenders this year, much more than last year, even eliminating shows like MAD MEN and 30 ROCK from the Best Series race. They have acknowledged the freshman season of THE NEWSROOM for Best Series and included Mandy Patinkin (HOMELAND) in the race for Supporting Actor – TV. 

Hayden Panettiere & Connie Britton are both competing,
for their roles in NASHVILLE
The Globes have also acknowledged shows that haven’t quite seen the kind of critical acclaim that would have made their inclusion in the list inevitable. SMASH for Series – Musical/Comedy, NASHVILLE’s for Actress – Drama (Connie Britton) & Supporting Actress  TV (Hayden Panettiere), and POLITICAL ANIMALS for Mini Series/TV Movie and Actress – Mini Series/TV Movie (Sigourney Weaver). The surprise from SAG is their generosity in nominating six shows for Ensemble – Comedy/Musical, while otherwise ensuring that long-time favorites like 30 ROCK, GLEE and THE OFFICE stay in the race for Acting Ensemble – Musical/Comedy.

Among the biggest snubs are Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks 
for their roles in MAD MEN
While the scope is wide in Series/Ensemble categories, for both the Globes and the SAGs, the individual acting categories for Primetime TV are very limited, as always. The Globes make drama, comedy and mini-series/TV-movie share the supporting acting categories, which makes it impossible to include everyone who deserves due credit. The most unfortunate exclusions this year are Julie Bowen & Ty Burrell (MODERN FAMILY), Jennifer Carpenter (DEXTER), Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss (MAD MEN), Jane Lynch (GLEE), Mayim Bialik (THE BIG BANG THEORY), Peter Dinklage (GAME OF THRONES), Aaron Paul (BREAKING BAD) and Neil Patrick Harris (HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER). 


Eric Stonestreet (MODERN FAMILY) faces unfair competition among 
major lead performances at the Screen Actors Guild Awards
At the SAGs, it’s even worse, with no supporting categories at all. We’re talking about Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet’s supporting performances competing with Alec Baldwin and Jim Parsons’s lead roles, or Sofia Vergara competing with awards favorite Tina Fey. Of course the number of actors and actresses snubbed in the process is shocking. I think that if a set of awards are given only for acting, there should be as many divisions of the acting categories that seem fair instead of unjustly clubbing performances of completely different calibers into one category.

Freshman THE NEWSROOM deserves is nominations for 
Series - Drama & Actor Drama (Jeff Daniels)


The biggest snubs for lead actors/actresses, by both awards, are probably Hugh Laurie, for his final outing as Dr House in HOUSE MD, and Michael C Hall, for seeing Dexter through such intense vulnerabilities in the latest season of DEXTER. That’s not to say that any of the contenders for Actor – Drama in both the Globes and SAG (the lists are identical this year) are undeserving. I’m especially happy that Jeff Daniels is among them, but given the tight competition in this category this year, the HFPA and the SAG could surely have thrown in another nominee.

It's good to see DOWNTON ABBEY 
competing with regular primetime series


On the other hand, it’s good to see DOWNTON ABBEY competing with other regular series, as opposed to mini-series or TV movies. THE NEWSROOM deserves its Globe nomination for Series –Drama, and the SAG was right in nominating MAD MEN for Acting Ensemble – Drama in place of THE NEWSROOM (barring which, even that list is identical for both the Globes and SAGs).

All in all, despite the numerous snubs, the competition is tight, and it looks like there could be quite a few surprise winners, given the newcomers in the lists and the results of the recent Primetime Emmy Awards, if they’re anything to go by.


Watch this space closer to the awards dates, for a list of predictions. In the mean time, share your views on the nominee lists here. 

Saturday, December 01, 2012

COMING SOON – SHOWS TO LOOK OUT FOR

tvTALKsnips

As the winter finales have begun to leave everyone with much less television to watch during the holidays, there’s a lot of good TV coming up in the New Year—a few returning shows, and a few brand new ones. Some new shows have premiere dates as early as in January, while others are still being developed and/or are in production. Here are a few of them that I’m going to be looking out for…



THE FOLLOWING | FOX | Premiere: January 21, 2013
If you think there’s been enough crime on scripted television, think again. THE FOLLOWING, from EP Kevin Williamson (THE VAMPIRE DIARIES) gives us a view of serial killers, like never seen before. Kevin Bacon plays a retired FBI Agent, Ryan Hardy, who is called in to hunt down Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), a serial killer who escapes from prison, out to show the world a ‘sequel’ of his earlier killings. As he goes about creating a cult of murderers, Hardy gets consumed by his search for Carroll—a feat he’d pulled off about eight years ago, for which he’d sacrificed everything. The premise might not make as much of an impact as the trailer will (see below). Once you’ve seen it, you sure will want to know more about Joe Carroll and his end game. This show is bound to put a whole new spin on the cat-and-mouse genre, and give procedural drama a new meaning. This show seems to be the ideal ground for Kevin Bacon’s return to television. I suspect it’ll garner popular appeal as well as critical acclaim.



MONDAY MORNINGS | TNT | Premiere: February 4, 2013
It’s been a while since a new medical drama hit the tube (and stayed on the air). With HOUSE MD over, PRIVATE PRACTICE ending and EMILY OWENS MD canceled, MONDAY MORNINGS comes at just the right time. From David E Kelley (DOOGIE HOWSER MD, PICKET FENCES, CHICAGO HOPE, LA LAW, ALLY McBEAL, THE PRACTICE, BOSTON PUBLIC, BOSTON LEGAL, HARRY’S LAW) comes this medical drama that follows five surgeons’ careers, with their weekly morbidity and mortality conference as the backdrop. The surgeons of Chelsea General Hospital in Portland, Oregon, come together on Monday Mornings for a confidential review of complications and errors in patient care. Starring Alfred Molina, Ving Rhames, Jamie Bamber and Jennifer Finnigan, the series is based on a book by Dr Sanjay Gupta, who is also an EP for the show. The premise of the show is rather simple, but a medical conference as the setting could make it quite intense and gripping, which I say based on all the conference-based episodes of GREY’S ANATOMY that I’ve watched. Good actors among the cast are bound to make it worth watching for more than one reason.


THE AMERICANS | FX | Premieres January 2013

Production for this series began recently, and we already know that it’s going to premiere in January. Starring Matthew Rhys (BROTHERS AND SISTERS) and Keri Russell (FELICITY), this is a spy drama set in the eighties. Phillip (Rhys) and Elizabeth (Russell) are KGB spies, living undercover as a married couple in Washington DC. Their relationship becomes more intense through the Cold War, and also because of the presence of an FBI Agent who lives next door. From Joe Weisberg (FALLING SKIES) and Graham Yost (JUSTIFIED), this ambitious project has an intriguing premise, but with little known about what their story is, one can only wait and watch. It stars good actors and who doesn’t like a good spy drama!



DEVIOUS MAIDS | Lifetime | In Production
From Marc Cherry (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES), DEVIOUS MAIDS was rejected by ABC, and then Lifetime ordered it to series. The show is based loosely on the Mexican telenovela THE DISORDERLY MAIDS OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD, and is about four ambitious housekeepers, who work in a rich neighborhood in Beverly Hills. Based on the promo of the show (see below), it seems like the pilot will feature a mysterious death, in true Marc Cherry style. The murder is bound to throw up several questions about the characters—the wealthy Beverly Hills residents and the maids. A premise like this has potential, but I sure hope Marc Cherry brings something fresh to the table, instead of revamping DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES-esque story ideas. The cast, comprising Ana Ortiz (UGLY BETTY), Judy Reyes (SCRUBS), Dania Ramirez (HEROES, ENTOURAGE) and Roselyn Sanchez (WITHOUT A TRACE), is impressive. I really hope this show doesn’t disappoint, especially after HOUSEWIVES’ successful eight-year run.




THE GILDED AGE | NBC | In Development
Julian Fellowes, the creator of critically acclaimed British series DOWNTON ABBEY, is developing this period drama for NBC. Being called ‘America’s very own DOWNTON ABBEY’, THE GILDED AGE will be set in a time, not far behind DOWNTON ABBEY. The show will be about the millionaires of the late 19th century New York City. Fellowes himself says, “This was a vivid time, with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king.” NBC describes it as “an epic tale of the princes of the American Renaissance, and the vast fortunes they made – and spent.” Period dramas sure have become a big trend in the last decade, with shows like MAD MEN, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, ABBEY, etc making a strong mark, and this one is definitely going to be one to watch out for. Incidentally, a show with a similar concept, called THE GILDED LILYS, from creator Shonda Rhimes—about the opening of New York’s first luxury hotel in the 1890s—was rejected by ABC earlier this year.

PAPER 
| HBO | In Development
Another intense subject like those covered by THE FOLLOWING and THE AMERICANS, PAPER will be about a former cocaine dealer and gangster, from Buffalo, NY, who decides to change his life by getting into business as a professional debt collector. As expected, his new job becomes as dangerous as his old one. The show, being executive produced by Wells Tower, is being developed by HBO, with Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B. At a very nascent stage, not much has been revealed about the project except that the series is based on an article about a drug-dealer-turned-debt-collector from Buffalo, where debt collection agencies and employees are in big numbers. The premise seems a little odd to me, but maybe that’s simply because I don’t know about debt-collection. But still, since it’s HBO at the helm, I look forward to learning more about the project and discovering its potential.


Which shows out of these are you most looking forward to? Do share your thoughts on these new projects below...

Monday, November 05, 2012

'ELEMENTARY' & 'CHICAGO FIRE': MYSTERY AND DISASTER MAKE FOR GOOD TV

So far this season, I’ve only gotten around to watching two new dramas—ELEMENTARY and CHICAGO FIRE. Expectations for both were high, for different reasons, and I have to say that I was far from disappointed by either. Here’s why…

ELEMENTARY

One doesn’t necessarily have to read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, or be an ardent fan to know about Sherlock Holmes. Everyone, who’s aware of popular culture, is familiar with the world’s most famous detective. Many have read the books and have followed the phenomenon through various interpretations over the years, in film and television. I am not among them. The only significant association I have with Sherlock Holmes is that with the latest movie interpretations, starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, and the BBC series SHERLOCK. I wasn’t particularly excited when I read about ELEMENTARY months ago, because the idea of yet another interpretation didn’t sound like a great idea. What did catch my attention was the fact that Dr Watson would be a woman in this one, and that it would be set in New York City.

If there was a time to change things around while interpreting the character and the phenomenon, it was now. SHERLOCK did bring Holmes into modern times, which was refreshing, but barring the infusion of modern technology into the plots, it wasn’t very different from what Sherlock Holmes was about. Some might prefer that, but given that I’m not an ardent fan, I am happy with the complete spin that ELEMENTARY has given to Sherlock Holmes. For one, I very much like the idea of a female Watson. It introduces a different dynamic into the Holmes-Watson relationship. And one has to admit that the chemistry between a man and woman, romantic or not, is different and I find it interestingly refreshing for Sherlock Holmes. The banter between the two, the unspoken mutual admiration and respect is at a new level, I feel. Moreover, the focus on the premise of their association—him as a recovering substance abuser and her being his companion as he recovers—has added a whole different sense of understanding and sensitivity between the two. And the writers have achieved that without making their relationship overtly expressive or mushy by any standard. Holmes is still arrogant and childish, but I think ELEMENTARY’s Watson is a little more aggressive than we’ve seen before, and I like it. She doesn’t fear being firm with Holmes when he’s out of line, and when she can, and I think ELEMENTARY’s Holmes respects that more than previous interpretations have him do so.

When it comes to the mysteries, the show isn’t exceptional as compared to other crime dramas on TV. It’s clearly a regular crime procedural in a lot of ways, but all the above advantages make it more interesting and unique. I like how they bring about a twist towards the end of every episode, where Holmes discovers that the solved crime is still a bit of a mystery, and uncovers the real truth. However, the writers will have to play around with that and have different ways to present such twists, lest it becomes too predictable. I also like the new level of friction between Holmes and the NYPD—definitely a notch above Holmes’ working relationship with Scotland Yard, as we’ve seen before. The minor levels of conflict between the characters thereof only add value to the show. Of course, the performances also make a big difference. I thought I’d be comparing Johnny Lee Miller’s Holmes to Benedict Cumberbatch’s, but I found that Lee Miller is quite exceptional in his own way. He portrays the arrogance and annoying childishness of Holmes extremely well and yet his interpretation is endearing. Lucy Liu does a fine job. Her subtlety works perfectly in bringing to life this all new interpretation of Dr J Watson.

Now most people would compare ELEMENTARY to other more conventional interpretations of Sherlock Holmes and judge it for not matching up to their idea of what Sherlock Holmes should be. I have a slight advantage in that area, given that I’m not a big fan of the phenomenon. However, it’s only fair to judge the show in isolation from other versions and see it for what it is and not for what it isn’t.





CHICAGO FIRE
Let me start by saying that I love disaster episodes in TV shows. Whether it’s a tornado ravaging a suburban cul-de-sac, a crazy gunman shooting people in a hospital, a car crash on the streets that changes people’s lives, a terrorist on a suicide bombing mission… It gives us the peak of action and conflict in a TV series, it throws us into intense, high-voltage drama, it makes for excitement and complete involvement, and it shows us how characters behave in the face of adversity. Witnessing the disasters and how thoroughly they’re executed by TV crews—creative people and technicians—behind the scenes is thrilling to say the least. And then, to explore the emotional impact of the disasters on the people involved, and to see how they contribute to characters’ evolutions, definitely makes for compelling and engaging storytelling. And here, it’s a story about the people in a fire department that we’re talking about. There was no way I was going to skip this show. I had high expectations from it, with the trailer making it look like one of the more promising shows of this season, and I was very impressed with what I eventually saw.

CHICAGO FIRE is a procedural, but it’s not like any other on the air right now. A fire department might seem like an obvious choice for basing a procedural on, but I can’t recall any other shows that shared the premise. And I think that in itself makes it unique. The intensity of firemen going about their jobs is quite unlike anything else one could watch on TV. However, beyond that, there’s a lot more to CHICAGO FIRE.

The cases that the firemen and paramedics deal with are varied, from car crashes and construction site accidents to massive fires and evacuation operations. The production value is high as they seem to leave no stone unturned to portray even large-scale disasters, which make for gripping sequences. After the rescuing, when the paramedics administer emergency medical treatment on the victims, it always reminds me of the medical dramas I have watched, getting a view of how patients in the hospitals in those shows end up in there to begin with. So there’s a bit of medical drama also in the show, which makes it even better for me.

The characters are intriguing and the subtle messages that we get from their interaction about their back stories and underlying tension gives us insight into how their characters will evolve. Having the two lieutenants of the department as the protagonists works well for the show. Both have very significant storylines and in complete isolation from each other. And then there are the supporting characters, who are bound to grow on you even if you can’t relate to them initially. The storytelling itself is quite effective. The usual aspects—the firemen and paramedic’s personal lives, the general working of the fire department—are also interesting to watch. What seems to be contributing significantly to the longer story arcs is how the characters deal with matters that go wrong for them. A storyline like the ongoing issue that Casey has with the police detective is one that can go on to become a major part of the season. I think that if the writers keep up with such stories, it would have viewers coming back to watch the show every week. For instance, I really want to know what Severide will do about his injury and how long he’ll try to bear the pain before it causes him long-term damage. To take forward these stories, the actors are doing quite a good job, especially Jesse Spencer, who does the American accent rather well.

Besides all of the above, what really appeals to me is the portrayal of the characters as a team—how they work together as colleagues, companions and friends who’ll stick up for each other, show their loyalty and have a sense of mutual respect. Aspects like the integrity with which Casey and the Chief dealt with the situations that they were presented with in the latest episode was really impressive. And of course, firemen are considered to be the quintessential American heroes. Now who doesn’t like a story about heroes!


What's your take on Holmes in New York and a female Watson? And how do you feel the firemen are doing? Do share your views below...


Sunday, October 07, 2012

LAST SUNDAY’S PREMIERES: ‘DEXTER’, ‘HOMELAND’ & ‘THE GOOD WIFE’


Before tonight’s primetime fare, I’m taking a look back on some of the Sunday night shows that premiered last week…

DEXTER S7E1
Most DEXTER fans I meet say that the season they liked least was season three, but for me, it was season six, not just because of the central storyline of the season, but also because Deb went all psychologically incestuous and all. However, the best thing about the last season was the last few seconds, when Deb walks in on Dex stabbing Travis. What really impressed me about the season seven premiere was the fact that they followed through with that and didn’t just find a way to let is pass or save it for the end of the season or show. Of course anyone who’s seen the trailers, or read interviews of the cast or showrunners, would know that they would be following through with Deb’s discovery. The conflict of the Deb the lieutenant and Deb, the killer’s sister was played out extremely well, with her freaking out about what she’d seen, but doing what she could to help Dexter, albeit reluctantly. And while Dexter was planning an impromptu escape, what blew my mind was Deb’s recollection of being on a table like she’d seen Travis on, wrapped up in plastic, just like Dexter had done to Travis. Flashes of her memory from the ‘ice-truck killer’ season finale just made me think that it was just what she needed to stop trusting her brother blindly. Her finding out the whole truth may not necessarily be something that I want, but at this point, us waiting for that is the most interesting part of the show. An evolution of the show was long overdue and this is the right thing to happen.
Apart from that, I’m intrigued to find out more about the main case of the season, the Ukrainian hot-shot whose man was killed by Dexter in the airport, and the involvement of the strip-club owner. It was an excellent way to begin the story. Also, Louis being skeptical of Dexter, and canceling his credit cards and accounts is probably going to go somewhere big. But while we wait for that, I have to say that the way the premiere was oddly poetic. The previous season ended with Dexter saying ‘oh god!’ when Deb walks in on him, and this season premiere ended with him saying ‘yes’ when she asked him if he’d killed all those people whose blood was on the glass slides that she found. Strangely, it feels like the beginning of the end of the show; yet, there’s another season after this one. We’ll just have to wait and watch how they play the end out till then. For now, let’s just look forward to episode two tonight.

HOMELAND S2E1
It’s the show of the hour, and the show of the year! Showtime’s first ever Outstanding Series win at the Emmys, as well as Emmys for both the lead stars makes HOMELAND quite a critically-acclaimed as well as popular favorite. And the season two premiere did not disappoint either. I was sad to see Carrie leading a life away from the CIA in the beginning of the episode, but the way she gets thrown back into the action on being sent to Lebanon was thoroughly exciting. I was most impressed with the evolution of the purpose of Brody’s character, from being a terrorist with a suicide-attack mission to being a politician having the opportunity to influence international and military policy. It was a great transition, with even bigger things in store for us, as he might be headed for the Vice President’s office, by probably the end of this season.
Yet, Abu Nazir sent him a mission to obtain something from the CIA Deputy Director’s office. At first, I thought he might not agree, sticking by his position on the new nature of his work for Nazir, but as soon as the journalist mentioned the kid that died when Brody was looking after him, I knew that he would carry out the mission. And while that was executed well, what really moved me in the premiere was the father-daughter connection between Brody and Dana. Their strong bond was shown to us last season when he told her about how he’d adopted Islam, kind of breaking the ice between them, after he was away for eight years. Then, he aborted his suicide-attack mission, which was then his only purpose, because his daughter made him promise that he’d return that night. In the premiere, he stood up for her when she was in trouble in school and with her mom, and I thought that the scene where she helps him bury the Quran was really beautiful. Moments like these really make the show so much more effective. And now, as the season continues, with the show evolving, I look forward to seeing how Carrie will find her way back to working with or for the CIA full-time.

THE GOOD WIFE S4E1
“Looks like we’re headed for an even odder [year],” said Diane Lockhart to Will when they were toasting to his suspension from the law ending. It was probably an indication of how the season would be. We know that Peter’s campaign as he runs for Governor of Illinois will probably form the backdrop of the season, with new media obstacles headed their way, in the form of Peggy Bryne. Two important guest stars of the season made their appearance in the premiere, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of their characters. THE GOOD WIFE has always been so thorough with the development of even guest actors’ characters, and that’s what makes big stars heading to the show very exciting. The highlight of the premiere was the Alicia representing her son in court. It was ideal for the opening of the season that will mark the Will’s return to court, the progression of Peter’s campaign, Lockhart-Gardener trying to get out of trouble, and Kalinda dealing with her husband, with all these matters being delved into right in the beginning. It was personal and effective, and it brought out some good mother-son moments. I could almost imagine Zach as a lawyer some day, working with his mother.
                Of course, it began with Kalinda in that chair, the way the last season ended, and I thought she kicked some serious ass in the opening scene. I really liked the scenes featuring Will and Diane. I’m always happy to see their friendship and how good they are together as partners, looking out for each other, and keeping things transparent for each other. Alicia being interviewed, Peter confronting the Madison County State’s Attorney and David Lee being shown his place by Clarke Hayden were some of the other scenes that made it a good premiere. I always have high expectations from this show, and with all that’s in store for us, the expectations are even higher. 


What are you looking forward to most in the current seasons of DEXTER, HOMELAND and THE GOOD WIFE? Do share your thoughts below...

Monday, October 01, 2012

SEASON OPENINGS OF ‘REVENGE’, ‘GREY’S ANATOMY’, ‘PRIVATE PRACTICE’, ‘SCANDAL’, ‘PARENTHOOD’, ‘BONES’, ‘CASTLE’ AND ‘BLUE BLOODS’


While there’s still quite a bit to catch up on, with new episodes of all the shows pouring in one after the other, I’m just putting down my thoughts on how some of the new seasons have begun…

REVENGE S2
I was horrified to her Charlotte speak of Victoria’s funeral, and I watched the credits in total dismay when I didn’t see Madeleine Stowe’s name there. I couldn’t believe they had actually killed her off. I could see the show going in a completely different direction, where the Graysons would not feature except as minor complications now and then. With Emily having found out that her mother was still alive and Conrad revealing that there was a bigger power involved in the framing of David Clark, I thought they’d done away with the original premise of Emily vs Victoria and the Graysons, and I was losing hope of the alternative. But all that changed thirty minutes into the episode. Victoria was alive! And by the end of the premiere, I knew that while the show was indeed going to go in a slightly different direction, the essence would still be the same. I’m glad I stayed off spoilers. The premiere came as a pleasant surprise to me.

GREY’S ANATOMY S9
I don’t think Seattle Grace-Mercy West has ever been so depressing, not even after the shootout. No key characters had died back then, and while there was PTSD then as well, this was different. Sloan was on his deathbed, Arizona’s fate wasn’t known, the new attendings were all over the place, Derek and Callie were down in the dumps, and Bailey was acting like an idiot. I know they probably threw in the Bailey comedy to try and make things lighter, but it just annoyed me. Christina’s big fancy fellowship turned out to be in some (seemingly) small-town hospital in Minnesota, where she’s working with a bunch of backward people, which I did not buy. Despite that, I thought that her and Meredith’s PTSD was shown really well. I thought Hunt going out of his way to offer Kepner her job back was a bit much, and totally inconsistent with how he’d fired her without giving it a second thought. The changes in Meredith are fine, but I hope they delve into how she became Medusa, because it feel like something is missing. However, there were positives as well; how Sloan died for instance. It was very sweet to have Callie and Derek by his bedside, with Avery having updated him on their cases before that. Alex Karev was completely endearing, reminding me of why I love his character and the twisted ways in which he shows how much he really cares. I was horrified beyond belief to see Arizona’s state in the end. But I’m sure that things will come a full circle, with Callie going into some high-tech prosthetics research to get her a leg, especially since she blames Callie. Even though things look really messed up, I didn’t hate the premiere. There’s a lot of healing to happen, and it’s a work in progress. We just have to be patient.

PRIVATE PRACTICE S6
The narrative of the episode was very interesting, especially because of how they kept the suspense, of who Addison chose, alive through it. I was thrilled to see that it was Jake. I just hope she doesn’t mess it up and gets married to Sam by the end of the season. Pete’s death was no surprise (Shonda Rhimes loves killing characters), but the undignified way in which they ended his story was a major disappointment, and I’m sure it was a major let-down for Tim Daly. I was shocked when Charlotte finds out she’s pregnant with triplets. That’s quite insane and I don’t like it. Amelia’s story was nice and positive, and Sam’s new romance with the maternity nurse was also quite refreshing. I like how the episode was written, with all their stories coinciding but truly coming together for us only towards the end, revealing details that had kept the suspense going. The season’s going to be a shorter one. I just hope they do some good writing to redeem themselves for how they killed off Pete.

SCANDAL S2
If ‘Gladiators in suits’ was the punchline for season one, I think this season’s punchline was ‘Who is Quinn Perkins?’ It annoyed me that that had become the focal point of the previous season’s cliffhanger, because Quinn was a supporting character, whom I didn’t really feel attached to after just seven episodes, so the punchline didn’t’ work for me. However, they made that better by making Quinn’s past so much more interesting, and (yet unknown how) relevant to Olivia. I thought they did a good job of carrying forward the story of the torn lovers, Fitz and Olivia, with The First Lady’s interference in presidential politics adding a good dose of subplot conflict to the episode. And I even liked how they played out the congressman’s sex tape controversy. However, I thought the end of Quinn’s case and her acquittal was very abrupt, leaving me completely unsatisfied. I really wish they follow through well with the secret that Olivia is keeping, because as of now, I’m still not excited about it enough to be waiting at the edge of my seat to know what happens. The premiere did leave me wanting more, not necessarily in a good way and I hope the season picks up pace soon.

PARENTHOOD S4
I’m three episodes into this one already, and I like what I see. It’s heartbreaking to see Kristina go through cancer, but I’m loving her and Adam’s relationship even more with this development, after Haddie’s departure put a strain on them. I like Sarah’s new job storyline and I enjoyed seeing a glimpse of Colonial Street, Universal Studios (Wisteria Lane, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES), during Sarah’s first assignment with Hank. I like their chemistry and their awkward, but genuine relationship. I love Mark and Mark and Sarah together, but a part of me really wants to see how Sarah and Hank would be as a couple. I think they’re doing a good job of Julia and Joel’s addition to the family. Moments like when she says that she’s waiting to fall in love with her son, and when she waits for him in the school parking lot, were so real and beautifully done. I like seeing Crosby and Jasmine married as well… The thing is: I’ve rarely had any complaints against this show, and I’m glad that this season is not changing that for me.

BONES S8 and CASTLE S5
I’ve put these two shows together because I have pretty much the same thing to say about them, after they both had pretty intense finales last season. All that I have to say is that I’m very glad that they followed through with the intensity of how they left things last season, keeping that excitement going. Booth and Brennan grabbed the Pelant case by the horns, but it only ended in a whole new mystery, which they may not have followed through with in the second episode, but that’s alright. As long as the suspense element is strong enough, even if they play it out through the season, it’s good. 


Castle and Beckett found out who was responsible for her mother’s death, and encountered another huge obstacle. Beckett’s journey and life-long purpose carries on, as the premiere did not divert from that. Both the shows have exciting central storylines going for them, and that’s what makes their respective current seasons look so promising.




BLUE BLOODS S3
The Reagans were back with a bang! The cases were compelling because of how personal it became. I loved how they ran both stories in a parallel way, both very intense. I was moved by Frank Reagan’s approach towards the accidental shooting; how he dealt with the victim’s mother, as well as the shooter’s guilt. Danny’s predicament made me think of how apt this case was for a season opener. Although, I do think that if they had prolonged the case, added complexities, and kept the final confrontation for a later episode, it could have been a good idea for a longer story arc, lasting for about half a season. However, at the end, I was happy to see the family back around the dinner table, all together again.


What are the premieres that you've been catching up on? Do share your views on the new TV season 2012-13 below...