Tag Archives: The Unit

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.

New on DVD: October 14

Pick of the Week

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
There’s absolutely no question about which DVD to highlight this week. Of all the movies from last year, this is the one that blew me away the most. I raved about it then, and my opinion hasn’t changed. Filmmaker Cristian Munjiu has managed to make a minimalist thriller about illegal abortions that will likely remain one of the best films of its or any other year. It’s harsh, it’s heart-rending, it’s sympathetic, it’s unrelenting, and I promise you, whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice (and it’s not a particularly political film anyway), you won’t be able to watch it and remain unchanged by it. Whether you choose to rent it or buy it may depend on how much you want to study Munjiu’s ability to make a film in which there’s so little action so riveting; but please, do one or the other.

Movie Releases

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Of course, this is the big blockbuster release of the week. I enjoyed the film, but then I’m a sucker for anything Indiana Jones. Certainly it’s nowhere near as good as the original trilogy (except maybe Temple of Doom – I really hate that one), but Spielberg and Ford have enough tricks up their sleeve to keep it entertaining. For the most part. Okay, really, the chase scene through the jungle was the best. The aliens? And the atomic-bomb-proof-refrigerator? Not so much. But I digress. If you want to complete your Indy collection, buy it. If you just want a fun, escapist couple of hours, rent it. If you don’t like Indy, it’s got nothing else on offer, so don’t bother. (Also available in a box set with the original trilogy, in a single-disc edition, and on Blu-ray)

Also releasing: Mongol (also Blu-ray), War, Inc. (also Blu-ray), Still Life, XXY, Stuck (also Blu-ray), and Standard Operating Procedure (also Blu-ray).

Classics and New Editions

Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection
Another set of Hitchcock rereleases this week, this time from his British and Selznick years. This box set includes: The Lodger (said to be the first time made a cameo in his films), Sabotage (an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent; not to be confused with Hitchcock’s The Secret Agent, which is not), Young and Innocent (a solid entry into his British canon), Rebecca (his first Hollywood film), Lifeboat (Tallulah Bankhead and others, yes, stranded in a lifeboat), Spellbound (psychiatrist Ingrid Bergman, patient Gregory Peck, and dream sequence by Salvador Dali), Notorious (not only one of Hitch’s best, but one of the best spy films ever made), The Paradine Case (again Gregory Peck, in one of only about five post-Hollywood Hitchcock films I haven’t seen). Only Rebecca, Spellbound, and Notorious are available individually (and are the clear winners in the set), but I’d put in a plug for Sabotage and Young and Innocent as well (which are available individually from previous releases, just not in Premiere Editions).

The New World: Extended Cut
Now, Terrence Malick’s The New World is one of those films I expected to find dull and silly; instead, I found it one of the most beautiful pieces of visual poetry ever put on film, and it now resides very close to the top of my Best Of 2006 list. That said, I’m not sure it needs to be any longer, and this release will add some 30 minutes to the original 135 minute running time. It seemed pretty perfect to me in the theatrical cut, which always makes me wary of potentially indulgent director’s cuts. Still, I do highly recommend the film overall, and now you have extra viewing options.

TV on DVD

The Unit Season 3
Nothing I’m hugely excited about this week, but I just started watching The Unit this season and quite enjoying it. (I started watching it the first season it was on, but the time slot ended up conflicting with something else within a few weeks and I dropped it.) It’s about half covert ops army stuff, following Dennis Haysbert, Robert Patrick, and Scott Foley (and now Nicole Steinwedell) around on missions, and half army wives as this year, their wives get new identities and covers to stay safe from threats against the soldiers’ families. I might go back at some point and watch the earlier seasons. But it wasn’t hard to jump into in the middle, so I might not.

Also releasing: CSI Season 8, Back to You Season 1, Rules of Engagement Season 2, The Sarah Silverman Program Season 2, Vol. 1, and The Partridge Family Season 3.