It's almost like TV never took any time off for the holidays—all of a sudden our DVRs are packed again. So let's talk about some of it, shall we? Here's what we thought was awesome and less so on the boob tube this week...
We'll buy knives from Will Ferrell and Ryan Gosling any day.
In honor of Downton Abbey's return to the States, a simple yet effective way of bringing the lulz to the Crawley estate.
Soaps on American daytime TV are a dying breed, but a few rays of sunlight peeked through the dark clouds this week: NBC renewed Days Of Our Lives through 2014, and the series aired its 12,000th (!) episode on Jan. 11. Elsewhere, the studio Prospect Park managed to reach an agreement with various unions to revive canceled sudsers All My Children and One Live to Live. They'll air on the forthcoming web-only Online Network, and production on both shows will begin in February.
In this week's excellent episode of Person of Interest, Detective Fusco made the most out of a few minutes of screen time scattered throughout the busy hour as he became a hero to real-life supermodel Karolina Kurkova. We only checked in on Fusco when Finch called him because he needed something, but every time that phone rang, Fusco was either getting maced, shot at, or kissed on the lips by the damsel he'd just saved. Person of Interest may be known as an action procedural, but it can be damn funny too.
The running gag of B.J. lying to her mother (Jane Seymour) about all her career accomplishments was funny enough, but then we got to SEE a fake news broadcast she'd made in her garage to pull off a particularly egregious lie... and it was pretty amazing. From B.J's bad anchorwoman hair to Ben's terrible weatherman routine, we would DEFINITELY watch an entire episode of just that.
For a promo includes nary a second of new footage, this "their world comes to ours" clip is admirable for at least doing something original—you know, instead of just recycling old scenes and adding "just wait 'til you see what happens next!" in the voiceover. Plus we're always happy to hear The National's rendition "The Rains of Castamere." Now go eat some pigeons, three-eyed raven!
Last year they sang the theme song to the HBO hit on the Season 1 DVD set; this year they're freestyling and beat-boxing over it. Frickin' adorable. Someone please invent a pill that keeps these kids the same age forever.
The series has always been stylish and polished, but in particular this week's stellar episode was streets ahead artistically. Swooping camera movements, outrageous angles, gorgeous compositions—it was almost enough to distract us from how satisfyingly (and surprisingly) the storylines have started to wrap up.
This announcement just seemed like a no-brainer to us: TVD has too many characters, and many of them are too excellent to kill off. And now boom! Klaus, his siblings, and Phoebe Tonkin get their own show! We couldn't be more excited about this, but we'll admit to a bit of anxiety... will TVD be hurt by a lack of Joseph Morgan? Either way, this is good news for fans of insanely entertaining television.
There's nothing like a weak return after a hiatus to make you realize how good a show used to be. "Lice" certainly had its moments, but a whole cold open about Jim biting his lip? Darryl wanting to break up with Val after fighting so hard for her? Seeing the bug bomb joke TWICE—and after NBC gave it away in episode promos, no less? It's the last season; we just want the show to go out on a
high decent note, you know? Oh well, at least Meredith looks kinda good as a bald lady...
The Penny-and-the-girls-discover-comic-books storyline wasn't as bad as it initially sounded, but really? Really? They're women, not space aliens. Just one extra with ladyparts hanging around the back stacks of Stu's shop would have been nice. Just one.
In the wonderful pilot of ABC's country music drama, the primary tension was the probability of a tour that would bring together the show's two main characters, the fading star Rayna James (Connie Britton) and the up-and-comer Juliet Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). The women certainly didn't want to spend time together in the same small dressing room, let alone the same big arenas. And yet, even though the pilot suggested this big conflict, and ABC marketed the hell out of said conflict, it was only this week, at the end of Episode 9, that the show got around to putting the ladies on those tour buses. While the writers have managed to get solid material out of delaying the inevitable, they've still been delaying the inevitable; here's hoping the back-half of Season 1 can consistently reach the quality the pilot promised.
This one's actually a WTFRIP: Huell Howser, host of the PBS show California's Gold who in the past has been "honored" by standup comics and The Simpsons, passed away this week. Howser was a totally unaffected television personality whose enthusiasm for learning everything about the California landmarks he visited, no matter how trivial, made for enriching television. His programs were full of accidental comedy and information, and whether viewers made fun of him or took him seriously, everyone respected his sincerity. We'll miss you, Huell.
On one hand, we're all for getting to see two episodes of Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 each week. On the other, we're super annoyed that ABC is not only probably burning them off, but airing them out of order. Don't Trust the B----'s sequence was especially bad this week, what with June's job switch and Mark seemingly time-traveling to the past.