Tag Archives: Chuck

Chuck 4×02-4×03

*spoilers for both episodes*

Chuck 4×02: Chuck vs. the Suitcase

chuck-4x02.jpg

After being somewhat disappointed with the season premiere, I wasn’t too proactive about sitting down to watch the second episode of Chuck, but after some encouragement from friends, I went ahead and did it. And it is a much stronger episode (and strangely, has nothing at all to do with the overall Mom Bartowski Search plotline, as the previous week’s preview suggested it would), and gives me a little more hope for the rest of the season, though I do still have my reservations.

It’s back to a more case-of-the-week format, this time with Sarah and Chuck going after an Eastern European spy who has some sort of chip that guides smart bullets, some pretty cool looking tech if I do say so myself. Chuck is awkward dorky cool again and flashing to do kung fu and pick safe locks, Sarah’s going mano-et-mano on a Milan fashion week catwalk, you know, the sort of thing we expect from Chuck. I’m just hoping we don’t get a full return to status quo; as I said after the premiere, I’m not cool with that. And in a way, that’s what this episode was, but it also suggested some ways it can kind of have it both ways.

For example. The BuyMore is rebuilt (return to status quo). But it’s a CIA base now (significant change). Morgan and Casey are back working undercover there (return to status quo). But as of the end of episode two, Morgan is the manager, specifically tasked to keep the BuyMore from looking too CIA-level efficient and thus suspicious (significant change). Jeff and Lester are back (return to status quo). But as the head of Morgan’s unsuspecting make-the-Buy-More-a-shambles-again initiative (significant change? Okay, maybe that’s stretching it…). I’m still not a fan of the secret-keeping about Chuck being back in the CIA, but we’ll see where it goes. And I’m still always worried about them deciding to break up Chuck and Sarah, which had me flailing at the non-suitcase-unpacking throughline of this episode, but ultimately, they proved my fears wrong and that plot tied the ep together quite well. I’m going to try to quit worrying about that for now and just trust that the writers won’t burn me on this.

Chuck 4×03 – Chuck vs. the Cubic Z

chuck.jpg

Okay, whatever goodwill Chuck had from me from the last episode mostly dissipated after this one. (I wrote the section above before having watched this one.) Here our cadre of spies are tasked with guarding two prisoners. Sounds simple, right? Well, until one of the prisoners gets Sarah rattled about her commitment issues and Chuck botches interrogating her about his mother and the other prisoner escapes and goes on a rampage.

The fact that the writers can’t make it through an episode without some huge (real or perceived) crisis in Chuck and Sarah’s relationship is frustrating me to no end – last week’s made me hope that it was more related to the difficulties of being a spy and having a relationship (which could go interesting places), but this week was almost all Sarah’s own hang-ups as exacerbated by the prisoner spy chick who knew Sarah way back when she was Jenny and thinks her life experience maps directly onto Sarah’s. This is basically just the same old will-they0won’t they wishy-washiness that they’ve been doing for at least two years. I AM TIRED OF IT. I was tired of it a year ago, but I was hoping that if they finally got together the writers would focus on something else for a while, but apparently they can’t. Because there are NO OTHER interesting stories to be had here. What about Chuck and Ellie? What about Chuck and Ellie and their mom (we’ll be getting back to that, I know)? What about Casey and his daughter? What about Morgan and Casey’s daughter? What about Morgan and the BuyMore?

Oh, right, we did get some Morgan and the BuyMore story. Which was so dull I barely remembered it. Some big game launch, shipment didn’t come, Big Mike had to step in and same the day with an eye-rolling pep talk, yada yada yada. Didn’t care.

But despite all of this ranting, I didn’t totally hate watching most of the episode. There are some decent fight scenes, and some good interaction between Sarah and prisoner Heather. But the final sequence had me seething, so let’s just talk about that for a second. Chuck and Sarah are talking through the stuff Heather brought up and were making progress, and I was going, okay, maybe we can just put this behind us AGAIN and move on in the next episode onto something more interesting than Sarah’s commitment issues. But no, because intercut with this conversation for like FIVE MINUTES are shots of the engagement ring that Big Mike lost earlier in the episode sliding down the ductwork, inevitably heading toward Chuck and Sarah down in castle. And yep, just as Chuck and Sarah are getting cutesy going through a litany of things she’s ready for vs. things she’s not, the ring falls and Chuck picks it up, kneeling in a perfect proposal pose. FOR REAL GUYS? FOR REAL? This scene was horrible on so many levels – it forces yet another episode of will-they-won’t-they about the biggest will-they-won’t-they ever, it forces the question of marriage way too soon into the series/season/relationship, it reinforces once again the writers can’t think of anything else to do other than poke at Chuck and Sarah’s relationship, and besides all that, it’s done in the most painfully obvious, hamfistedly edited, and utterly ridiculous way that I almost shut my TV off and quit watching the show (I mean the entire series) before the ring ever fell all the way down.

And yeah. I’m still *this close* to quitting the show all together, because that scene was pretty much the last straw that destroyed any lingering hopes that the writers have any clue what they’re doing. I’ll stick around maybe based on the probability of Summer Glau guest starring later on in the season, but unless something drastically changes, I’m done after that.

Chuck 4×01: Chuck vs. the Honeymoon

chuck.jpg

spoilers abound

The writers of Chuck have proven themselves to be quite good at reinventing the show, especially with the huge move from Chuck-the-geeky-spy-asset who needed to be saved all the time of the first couple of seasons to Chuck-the-suaver-but-still-geeky actual spy and kung fu master of Season Three. This year, Chuck starts out not being a spy, having promised his sister Ellie that he’d get out the dangerous business. However, he also found a spy lair underneath his apartment and evidence his mom was a spy and may not have simply left their family years ago as he and Ellie always thought. THE PLOT THICKENS.

So this season starts, and we’ve got a tantalizing new direction to consider – Chuck as rogue spy, following in his father’s footsteps to learn the truth behind his mother’s disappearance. What we actually get in the episode – Chuck and Morgan floundering around, ending up working the same case that Sarah and Casey are working from the CIA side, and Chuck eventually…tada…becoming an official spy again. Yes, already. no, I’m not really happy about that. I really dislike it when shows set up a big change in a season finale and then use the first couple of episodes of the new season to basically reverse it back to status quo. What was the point?

Anyway, we do get some cool things. Chuck’s mom is Linda Hamilton, which is awesome. And she seems to be awesome, potentially kidnapped by enemy spies, or potentially IN CHARGE OF the enemy spies. Who can say? It’s a bit of an Alias retread perhaps, but we’ll see how it goes. Looks like Chuck’s going to try keeping his being a spy again a secret from Ellie, but I hope that doesn’t last too long – he really ought to tell her. The show thinks it can’t survive without secrets, but I think it can. Look how much more awesome it got after Devon found out about Chuck.

Oh, and the BuyMore is a full-on CIA facility now. I kind of love that. I was wondering how they were going to continue the show with the original main location demolished, but this is definitely a cool direction to go with that. We’ll see how the CIA-ization of the show works, though, because a lot of the fun of the earlier seasons was balancing the CIA stuff with the real-life stuff. And Chuck seems less geeky/goofy this year. NEED MOAR GEEKY/GOOFY CHUCK.

So first episode, a little rocky for me, but I’m still on board. I think they’re just growing into the new situation, but they need to let it be that, a new situation, and not try to pull it back into situations we’ve already seen.

Fall TV Is Upon Us Once Again

This year I’ve decided to watch less TV. I decide this every year, and somehow end up with roughly 17-20 shows I try to watch anyway. Sure enough when I added up all the ones I want to check out this year, I ended up with seventeen. But I’m pretty serious about cutting back, even if it means leaving behind some things.

Definitely Watching – Returning Shows

These are the shows that I just can’t bring myself to give up.

Fringe

fringe.jpg

Possibly my most-anticipated returning show this year. Season Two stepped up to the place something fierce after a rocky first season, and last year’s finale had me salivating to return to the Fringe universe – or should I say universes. Fringe is probably the best sci-fi you’ll see this fall, and is starting to get enough ideas going that it may make it onto the list of my all-time favorite sci-fi shows, if it can keep up S2’s momentum.

Community

Community.jpg

I never would’ve guessed it going into last year, but freshman sitcom Community consistently out-classed its more established siblings on NBC’s Thursday line-up, offering a witty and satirical look at self-absorbed types going back to community college. There’s far more here than meets the eye, and if the writing stays half as strong this year as last, I’m totally in.

Castle

castle.jpg

Usually I start each year with several crime procedurals, because they make me happy. Generally, they fall off my schedule fairly quickly as my time runs short, though. Castle is one that hasn’t, because its combination of mystery/procedural, comedy, and character development hits that sweet spot that most procedurals can only manage for a few episodes at a time before it gets old. Thanks to the actors and snappy writing, so far Castle has stayed fresh, and I look forward to seeing much more Nathan Fillion on my TV.

Chuck

Chuck.jpg

I very nearly threw Chuck over when it spend way too long waffling on the will-they-won’t-they of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. Now it seems they’ve firmly moved on from that and tied it up in a very satisfying way without letting it get boring, plus the setup for this season, with Chuck probably going rogue, looks to take the show in a whole new direction. This is one show that manages to reinvent itself almost every season and make it work. But if they do start waffling on Chuck and Sarah again? I’m probably out.

Sanctuary

Sanctuary.jpg

Syfy shows have been doing right by me lately, and I’ve just about caught up S2 so I can start right in on S3 when it starts (S1 and S2 are on Netflix Instant Watch). It’s not a great show, but it’s fun, geeky, B-movie-like, Nicolas Tesla and Jack the Ripper are characters, and with Warehouse 13 finishing up its season next week, I’m going to want something in this wheelhouse around.

(Also Parks & Recreation is a definitely watch when it returns in spring. I’m still a little miffed at NBC for delaying it.)

Trying Out – New Shows

The Walking Dead

walking-dead.jpg

AMC does zombies? Based on a graphic novel series? Seems a little outside their wheelhouse, but so far every original AMC show has been 100% awesome, plus I gotta check out what they do with the zombies. The trailers released so far look pretty darn good.

Undercovers

undercovers.jpg

J.J. Abrams + spies = I will at least give it a try. It may be nothing more than Alias-lite, and it’s not like we haven’t seen the married spy angle in countless other shows and movies, but from the clips I’ve seen, looks like there’s a nice mix of action and humor here, with good chemistry between the leads. We’ll see how it goes, but I can’t skip a J.J. show.

Nikita

Nikita.jpg

This one has already started, and I have the episodes recorded but haven’t watched them yet. Not an auspicious beginning of keeping up with TV this year. But so far reactions from people who like TV I like are quite positive, and have increased my interest. I love spy shows, and I don’t have any nostalgic connection to the earlier series (no one seems to be mentioning the Luc Besson film, which I have seen, but didn’t love), so I’ll be coming into it fairly unbiased, aside from my general bias against CW shows.

No Ordinary Family

No-Ordinary-Family.jpg

Looks like a live-action The Incredibles, with a family suddenly getting superpowers and having to figure out what to do with them. This could really go either way, but with Julie Benz and Michael Chiklis as the parents, it definitely seems worth a shot. The really REALLY bland marketing so far is not encouraging me, though.

Boardwalk Empire

boardwalk-empire.jpg

Martin Scorsese producing an HBO show sounds like a winner right out of the gate, and the period Atlantic City setting is attractive to me, too. Of course, I don’t get HBO, so I may not actually be watching this right away, but if I did, I would be.

On Notice – Returning Shows

These are shows I’m going to probably start watching, but whether I keep watching them will depend greatly on how much time I have and how compelling they end up being for me this year.

Caprica

Caprica.jpg

We thought this was going to be a mid-season return, but turns out Syfy is starting it later this fall after all. Good thing, because hopefully it can get enough legs this way that they’ll renew it. And hopefully it will deserve renewing. It has been a pretty slow burn, but there’s so much percolating in there that I love that I really hope it comes into its own this year.

Stargate: Universe

SGU.jpg

I enjoy SGU quite a bit and it filled a space-travel-sci-fi-shaped hole last year pretty well, but I’m not going to be too upset if I can’t make time for it this year. I’m going to try, but no promises, unless the writing turns really compelling. It had a couple of really good episodes last year, but tended to meander and backtrack a bit overmuch.

Survivor: Nicaragua

Survivor_Nicaragua.jpg

I’ve had a soft spot for Survivor the last few years, even though I didn’t watch it for the first several seasons. Last season was really good, with the two all-star teams, but I’m afraid it can’t really come up to that again. Survivior is my go-to “I’m too drained to watch anything else tonight” show, but there’s so much on Instant Watch now that I’m likely not to need it for that.

30 Rock

30-rock.jpg

Oh, 30 Rock. I love you, but the last year or two have been a little lackluster. Both of the two newcomer shows to NBC’s Thursday night outshone even you, and I can’t promise that I’ll keep you if you don’t step it up.

How I Met Your Mother

himym.jpg

This is a comfort show for me. I love the characters, but the storylines haven’t really been grabbing me for a couple of years. These are the kind of cuts that are hard to make, but especially since this isn’t available on hulu, I’m likely to leave it behind.

Family Guy

family-guy.jpg

Family Guy is one of the few shows that I don’t care about watching in order, or if I miss an episode. So I’ll probably keep it in my hulu queue just for those times when I have 20 minutes and need some quick laughs, but it isn’t something I’ll feel the need to watch every week.

The Office

office.jpg

*sigh* This one’s hard, but I haven’t really been enjoying it for a couple of years. It’s time to cut the cord. Unless Amy Ryan comes back, which it seems like may happen from last season’s finale. Those episodes I might watch, even though it seems like a rather desperate attempt to recover the one thing that was good about the show the last couple of seasons.

The Amazing Race

The_Amazing_Race.jpg

I get a kick out of the whole traveling-around-the-world aspect of the show, but the last couple of years the format has been getting really stale for me, and the contestants more and more annoying. Not really worth it anymore.

Tentatively Checking Out – New Shows

Checking these out, but I’m not totally convinced they’re going to stay on my schedule.

The Event

event.jpg

Heh, yeah, so this is the only one that ended up down here. I will probably check out an episode or two of this, but the marketing is sooooo earnest and sooooo “this is the next big show” that I’m pretty dubious. My guess is it’ll turn out exactly like FlashForward did last year. In other words, not good.

The Season So Far…

Now that most shows have had a few weeks to get going, let’s see how the must-watch lists are playing out. Spoilers for all aired episodes are likely.

Obsessing/Loving

These are the shows that a) get watched almost immediately, b) I anticipate every week, c) I whole-heartedly love every episode whether it deserves it or not.

Chuck
I am pretty much loving Chuck more than anything else right now. It’s one of the few shows I MUST WATCH the night it airs. I’m enjoying the slow progress in Chuck and Sarah’s relationship; sure, they’re stalling it with the whole “agent-asset no-dating” policy, but it’s working for me. They’re also making good use of Morgan this season – last year he got incredibly annoying for me, but this year they’ve got him on enough to bring the extra funny but not enough to be overkill. (I think giving him a girlfriend was the key.) And can we just talk about Casey? I’ve been an Adam Baldwin fan since Firefly, but he’s nearly as awesome here. Everything is awesome. Although, the Sarah vs. Nicole Richie fight in the last episode? Cool on one level, but in the locker room? With the showers on? Obviously written by men. ;)

How I Met Your Mother
The last episode made me really happy. Not that I have anything against Stella; I like her a lot. But any time I can grab any hope of Robin and Ted getting back together, even temporarily, raises my spirits. They’re my ‘ship, y’all. You can’t compete with that. Ooh, and Alyson Hannigan is apparently expecting a child with hubby Alexis Denisof – wonder if they’ll write that into the show?

Grey’s Anatomy
I know, I know. Grey’s was on probation at the beginning of the season. And would I say it’s really gotten a ton better? Some, maybe, but not a ton. But when I started watching the first episode this year, I went a little melty inside. Because they’re my people. And they are acting more in character than they have for a couple of years, so I’ll give them that. And Callie isn’t messing with George any more. (I was never a fan of that relationship, let’s just be frank. I don’t much care about her or Erica, so they can go do whatever and I can just largely ignore them. Keep them both away from my core group.) I can’t explain the comfort I feel just having Meredith, George, Izzie and Cristina on my screen, because it isn’t rational. That, more than any other reason, is why the show’s in the “obsessing” category.

30 Rock
In case you didn’t catch it, the premiere’s up on hulu now. Yay! It’s hard to say much about the season only one episode in, but Megan Mulally as a guest star is a great start. And the writing remains typically high quality, and Fey and Baldwin continue to play off each other perfectly (and if you didn’t see the cold open on SNL last week with Sarah Palin, and Fey and Baldwin, you should look that up on hulu too). Oh, I’ve missed you, 30 Rock! Please don’t stay away so long again.

Pushing Daisies
I’m still a little worried about how they’re going to continue the coy Ned-Chuck relationship, but when the show started up this season, I just fell in love with it all over again. The clown episode was pretty weak, but the others have all been interesting and well-balanced between monster-of-the-week and relationshippy stuff. So I’m glad I don’t write for it, but I’m more than willing to go along for the ride and go “aw” every ten minutes.

Enjoying

These are the shows that I consistently enjoy watching, often love, but for whatever reason aren’t grabbing me as much as the shows in the above category. Roughly in “most enjoying” to “least enjoying” order, but I’ve moved them around so many times I can’t guarantee that.

Ugly Betty
Betty‘s coming along nicely this year, I think. I like moving her down to the city (though her totally hot, guitar-playing next-door neighbor needs to make another appearance, stat), I like the arc with Daniel’s son (though I guess that’s over now), it’s good to see Gio back, and I even liked the stint at the other magazine. Not that I would’ve wanted Daniel and Betty to stay there, but it was a nice contrast to Mode. Bummer that I guess Alexis is out for a while (I suppose this is how they’re dealing with Rebecca Romijn-Stamos’s pregnancy). Suggestion – do more with Mark and Amanda!

The Office
I miss Pam. :( I mean, I know she’s around, but the lack of Jim-Pam interaction is getting me a little down. On the other hand, Michael + Holly? FULL OF WIN. Every time I see Holly, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s the same Amy Ryan that played the neglectful low-class mother in Gone Baby Gone. Maybe I should reevaluate my meh impression of her performance in the film. Anyway. I’m a little bored with the Dwight-Angela-Andy triangle, so I wish they’d finish that arc out somehow. And bring Pam back.

The Mentalist
I wasn’t even fully planning to watch this show, but I did, and it’s one of my favorite new ones of the season. It’s a procedural, and the main character has powers of observation and mental deduction that border on psychic power. But aren’t. Anyway, he’s also a really likeable character, and his partner is played by the girl who played Veronica on Prison Break (who I really liked before I stopped watching it). So it’s kinda like Psych, but less goofy, and doesn’t make me want to hit the main character half the time.

Crusoe
Honestly, I expected Crusoe to crash and burn (a primetime network series set in the 18th century?), but I just watched the 2-hour pilot and was really impressed. It’s like Swiss Family Robinson meets Pirates of the Caribbean, and I enjoyed pretty much every second – especially those seconds that had Friday in them, because Friday is awesome. If they can keep the interest level as high in future episodes as it was in the pilot, and figure out how to get people to watch a period piece, even a swashbuckling one, on Friday nights, I’m in for a while.

Survivor
I need help, people. I’ve been railing against reality TV, led by Survivor, for years. And I decided I’d never actually watched Survivor and I should, just to say I had. And now I can’t stop. Reality TV is like a contagious disease, and now I’m infected with Survivor, The Amazing Race, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway, Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, Last Comic Standing, etc. HELP ME. Or don’t. Just let me go.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles
I’m actually a few weeks behind on this, because it’s up against Chuck and How I Met Your Mother (see above) and I haven’t been keeping up online as quickly as I should. But every episode I do watch I really enjoy. I think it’s found a good stride, I’m fascinated by the things going on with Cameron, and I like John’s newly found rebellious streak. Thankfully it did get picked up for the rest of the season; now if I can just sit myself down long enough to catch up.

House
Oh, House. It’s getting in a bit of a rut – it feels like they’re starting plot points that just sort of peter out or get unsatisfying resolutions. I’m not sure exactly what to do to really fix it, but the good news is that it’s not all the way broken, because it somehow remains enjoyable. I want them to make something good of the Thirteen storyline, but they need to give her more depth as a character. I’m kind of done with the House-Wilson feud, but I think maybe they are, too. Anyway, it’s not appointment TV anymore, but it’s still good next-day DVR viewing.

The Amazing Race
See above re: Survivor. Although I actually feel less bad about liking The Amazing Race because, hello, traveling around the world. I’d like to be ON The Amazing Race. It’s lower on the list this year, though, because honestly, the people racing this year are pretty boring. I like the mom and son team (they’re nice and know that being nice to other people tends to result in good karma for them) and the brother and sister team (um, because they’re pretty? And a strong team). I want the divorcees gone now, because they annoy me. Frat boys ditto. But really, the biggest drama these people can come up with is “OMG, she pushed my sports bra off the ledge!” Where’s Rob and Amber when you need them?

The Unit
I’ve never watched The Unit before; only started because my pastor keeps mentioning it (it’s filmed near where he lives). So I’m still jumping into learning about the characters and what all they’re doing. Honestly, right now, the sections dealing with the unit wives interests me more than the shenanigans the unit itself gets into. However, I do find all the characters interesting, and I expect once I’ve spent more time with them I’ll be a lot more into the show, which is pretty solid.

Dirty Sexy Money
I’m not sure where they’re going with this season (and I miss Juliet like whoa; she needs to come back stat), but then you pretty much watch Dirty Sexy Money just to go along for the ride. Narrative arc? What? :) It’s kind of like I don’t feel a driving need to start watching each episode (I do because my DVR fills up otherwise), but once I start, I always enjoy watching, just to see what crazy things will happen. And I really like pretty much all of the characters. I tell you what though, if Nick doesn’t start treating Lisa better, I’m going to smack him. Plus, I don’t know how much longer they can drag out the Lisa-vs-the-Darlings tension (which has been going on since the beginning of S1) before it gets REALLY OLD.

Desperate Housewives
Jumping ahead by five years actually seems to be working out. I’m enjoying Lynette’s dealing with her now-teenage twins, Bree’s new business, and Susan’s new boyfriend (yeah, I liked Mike a lot, but new guy is pretty hot, too). Not loving Gaby’s storyline, but neither is she, so maybe that works out. The big season mystery could turn out pretty interesting too – certainly Edie’s new husband is an intriguing character. It’s not first off the DVR anymore, but I’m still into it.

Bones
I’m not disliking this season, but I’m not hugely in love with it, either. It’s not even the lack of Zack that’s got me down. It’s nothing, really, except that I’m probably watching too many shows and the procedurals, as much as I enjoy them, are taking the worst of it. Plus it’s been on hiatus for the past few weeks (baseball? I don’t know) and so it’s not fresh in my head as I write this.

Watching

These are the shows I’m continuing to watch, but I’m not heavily invested in. I probably won’t cut any of them, but they’re weekend filler.

Numb3rs
Numb3rs is usually weekend filler, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I like Numb3rs a lot, but if I missed an episode, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to acquire it before the next week.

NCIS
NCIS is another one, like Numb3rs, that is good weekend show. My enjoyment of the episodes largely depends on how much Abby there is (and Ziva, and their interactions with Tony and McGee). Looks like next week’s is going to be an Abby-in-danger episode, which pretty much guarantees I’ll be watching it sooner than usual.

Criminal Minds
I just started watching this after people told me I couldn’t claim to like procedurals and not watch Criminal Minds. And yes, it is good. I’d like to see some of the earlier seasons sometime. But having just started, I’m not invested in the characters enough yet, and two or three of the plots so far this year seem rather derivative of other things I’ve seen. (I can’t remember which other show did a polygamous cult episode a while back, but there was one, and the latest episode seemed pretty much like Vacancy or [insert other backwoods hotel torture-porn horror film here].)

Family Guy
As I said in my TV preview post, Family Guy is highly enjoyable filler. I don’t have to watch every episode and there’s no overall arc to get into, which is why it’s down here so low. Doesn’t mean I don’t LOL a lot while I watch it. (I’m also watching The Simpsons and King of the Hill this year, because hey, why not, but I’d pretty much say the same exact thing about them as I did about Family Guy, so I didn’t separate them out.)

Without a Trace
I watched the first season of Without a Trace on DVD and LOVED IT. Then the rest of the seasons took forever to come out on DVD, and I decided this year I’d just start where it was and see if I could catch up. It’s a good show, but I’m seriously thinking of dropping it and picking up with the DVDs again. I haven’t gotten the thread of the characters back yet. Plus I gotta say, looking at all these procedurals down here is mostly just making me want to finish watching The Shield (I’ve seen about half of the first season, but need to get back into it).

Fringe
I’m “this close” to dropping Fringe. It’s trying to be X-Files, but not quite making it. The backstory isn’t clear (probably purposefully, but it’s unclear in such a way as to be offputting rather than intriguing), the characters aren’t that likable (except for Walter, and crazy old man likable can only go so far), and it just doesn’t hang together that well. But I somehow keep hoping it will get better. And I like seeing Joshua Jackson, because he is pretty.

Quitting

Heroes
This was hard. It is so hard for me to give up on a show, especially after two years of persevering with it. See Grey’s Anatomy as an example. But I gave Heroes plenty of time to stop sucking and it didn’t come through. Instead, it brought in even more characters for me to not care about and added even further plot complications for me to not untangle. And really, when you have two characters who can do ANYTHING? (And I hear now one character who can stop anyone from doing anything…) You have multiple deus ex machinas running around, which just makes the whole thing pointless.

Private Practice
I never really started watching Private Practice this year, so it doesn’t really count as “quitting.” Its time-slot is overcrowded, and I don’t care enough about it to seek it out online. Bye, Addison. Come back and guest on Grey’s when you get the chance.

Knight Rider
Honestly, I didn’t hate the pilot of this, as I think most other people did (at least, people who write blogs about TV shows seem to universally hate it), and if it weren’t up against Pushing Daisies and Bones, I might’ve kept watching it. But obviously I didn’t like it enough, because even though I initially meant to, I never went and watched it online. Oh well.

Kath and Kim
I made it through fifteen minutes of the pilot. Pretty much up to the point where Molly Shannon’s boyfriend showed up and annoyed the heck out of me within ten seconds. Before that, I thought there might be some potential in Shannon and Blair, but not enough for me to put up with the show as a whole.

This Week on DVD: September 16

Let’s see if I can revive the DVD New Release posts. Now that I’ve had time to actually catch up on what’s being released.

New Release Picks

Speed RacerSpeed Racer
Okay, so I didn’t actually see this in theatres. And it got trounced by most critics. On the other hand, I’ve seen a few glowing reviews from bloggers I trust, so I went ahead and popped it to the top of my Netflix queue this week. Even if I don’t end up liking it, I’m pretty sure it’s going to look awesome, and sometimes that’s worth it in and of itself.

The Rape of EuropaThe Rape of Europa
The interest in Nazi Germany continues with this documentary about Allied attempts to save Europe’s artistic masterworks from the all-consuming hand of Hitler. Again, I haven’t seen it, but it takes a lot to make me want to watch a documentary (a bias I’m trying to overcome), and I’m quite excited about this one.

Also releasing: Young@Heart, Snow Angels, Made of Honor, 88 Minutes, The Love Guru

Classic Picks

The Earrings of Madame de… / La Ronde / Le Plaisir
The Earrings of Madame de...La RondeLe Plaisir
And Region 1 cinephiles hyperventilate. Yay, Criterion! These three Max Ophuls films have never been released on DVD in the United States to my knowledge, which is a cinematic travesty. [Correction: La Ronde has.] I haven’t seen Le Plaisir, but I guarantee the other two are among the most exquisite, sophisticated films ever. I’m looking forward to seeing them again so much. David Hudson gathers some quotes on the set from around the web over at GreenCine Daily.

An American in Paris / Gigi
New 2-disc special editions of two great Vincente Minnelli musicals. Not as exciting as the Ophuls set, but still.

Also releasing: J’Accuse (Abel Gance); special editions of Beetlejuice, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, and Risky Business; box sets: Busby Berkeley Collection 2, British Cinema Classic B Film Collection, Charlie Chan Collection 5

Television Picks

Pushing Daisies S1Pushing Daisies Season One
Best new show last year. No question. It’s quirky, it’s endearing, it’s adorable, it’s gorgeous. What more do you need? Not to mention the ever-looming possibility of supporting cast member (and Broadway star) Kristin Chenoweth randomly bursting into song. The new season starts on October 1st, so you’ve got a few weeks to catch up.

Chuck S1Chuck Season One
Possibly the second best new show last year. Geek Squad employee Chuck gets a staggering amount of national secrets downloaded into his brain, making him essential to the CIA, NSA, and who knows who else. Geeks + espionage. It’s like giving Alias‘s Marshall his own show. :)

Torchwood S2Torchwood Season Two
Torchwood is the spin-off of Britain’s new Doctor Who series, following the exploits of an off-grid government agency (Torchwood) investigating alien activity on Earth. I actually think it’s better than Who in several ways. For one thing, it’s set in Cardiff, which opens up a whole wealth of underused Welsh accents. But start with Season One.

Also releasing: Dirty Sexy Money Season One, Criminal Minds Season Three, Private Practice Season One, Will & Grace Season Eight