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...

AN APT END FOR ‘DAMAGES’

Earlier this month, DAMAGES came to an end. The show about the rivalry and twisted relationship between two very compelling characters signed off on the best possible note. Here’s why I thought so…


When the final season of DAMAGES began, there was excitement over everything that I was looking forward to. The promos had revealed that it would revolve around the final showdown between Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons, two of the strongest female leads that I’ve seen on TV. And as the season progressed, I realized just how much the swan song of the show had lived up to the hype created by the trailers as well as my own expectations. Ryan Phillippe made a good addition to the cast, and even though he’s been known to play the arrogant, angry, young man with the right attitude, his performance was still impressive. Jenna Elfman’s role turned out to be less than I’d imagined, but she made quite an impact as well. However, unlike the previous seasons of the show, in which the main ‘villains’ were always known, this season kept us guessing as to what the truth behind this final case would be.




Let’s start at the beginning. The custody [of Katherine] battle between Patty and her son Michael, a storyline that began last season, had kept me wondering where it would lead. And I was thoroughly impressed that they carried that forward as such an integral part of the final season. While the McClaren-Walling case kept my attention away from the custody case, the sudden emergence of Patty’s father drew me right back into it, in a rather unexpected way. Speaking of which, the introduction of Kate Franklin’s character added a lot of value to all the important parts of the season. I guessed in the beginning itself that she was probably Patty’s sister, but besides that, even as Ellen’s employee, she made an impact, becoming a strong contributor to the big case of the season as well.


Ellen, of course, had a lot of baggage to take care of. Her desire for revenge against Patty consumed her in a way that did wonders for her. Patty may have been responsible for her becoming McClaren’s lawyer, but Ellen took it from there, showing us just how shrewd and ruthless she could be, just as Patty had always been. Her character’s emotional strength, which had been building up and was evident for quite some time, may have reached a point where the thirst for revenge might have become a major weakness for her, but it also showed us how a woman who was fiercely protective of her her mother, from her abusive father--a very powerful sub-plot of the season. It was good to see that a relationship with Chris was also developing, just as it was nice to see Chris Messina becoming a fixture on the show, instead of his character fading away after the drama of the previous season.

Coming back to the case, which was more ‘Hewes vs Parsons’ than ‘McClaren vs Walling’, it was intriguing throughout, more than living up to all the twists and unexpected turns that the show has shown us so much of. The ways in which Patty and Ellen crossed each other, yet coming together when they had a common goal, was nothing if not poetic. There were moments, like the time when they both ended up paying $500,000 for some information on the case, when I was rolling my eyes, but the overall brilliance in the writing this season more than made up for it. The clips from the future (the timeframe of the finale) that they kept flashing to us during the season came off as a little too gimmicky, simply because of the number of times that they were flashed at us. However, it all wound up perfectly together in the finale, with the most unexpected end to not just the McClaren-Walling case, but also to the custody battle.

The epilogue reminded me a little of how The Devil Wears Prada ended, but of course, this was way more twisted and darker than that. It saddened me to see Patty and Ellen finally going their separate ways, but I was also glad to see Ellen finally at peace with herself after having left her past behind her. Despite all her ruthless and conniving ways, I was happy to see Patty get a (somewhat) happy ending, with Katherine in her life. The two lead actresses did a phenomenal job. Rose Byrne outdid herself as she portrayed the wronged, but stronger-than-ever Ellen, and Glenn Close can obviously do no wrong. Close was exceptionally outstanding when Patty has a final confrontation with her father on his death bed. She made the lifelong pain and anger towards him for his unforgivable betrayal ever so real. The series truly ended in the best way possible. References to the past, drawing out the strong relevance of some of the most insignificant moments from seasons ago, and pulling out all the skeletons out of the season-one closet made it an apt farewell to one of the best dramas I’ve seen in the last decade. DAMAGES will be missed.


I know there aren’t that many DAMAGES fans out there, but those of you who are, please let me know what you thought of how the show ended.