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NIGHTFLY'S TV WEEK IN REVIEW #9 (week of 9/5/10)

Written by Nightfly on Monday, September 13 2010 and posted in Features
w4Outhouse tvphile Nightfly reviews his favorite shows from the previous week of television.

  (week of 9/5/10)

written by Nightfly

No single network dominated this week's diversely themed List, perhaps because several programs didn't air due to the holiday, and of course, other shows have already wrapped their summer seasons.  Two noteworthy finales made my ninth Scripted List, as well as one explosively kick-ass series debut.  Premieres I'm anticipating in the next week include; Outlaw (starring Jimmy Smits), Top Chef: Just Desserts, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
* Potential Spoilers Below *

6. Rizzoli & Isles - "The Beast in Me" (TNT)

Maura finally, dismayingly, meets her biological father and half-brother (both criminals), unfortunately her previously unknown brother is already dead when she discovers their link.  Her 'father', to everyone's surprise, is Irish-mob boss Patrick Doyle (John Doman, The Wire).  Doman adroitly played the absent, though interested, dad to perfection in this penetrating, family-oriented story.  Jack Conley (Angel) also guested, in a plumbing b-story featuring Frankie's Sr. & Jr. professionally laying pipe. Ruminations on the dark source of her genius, and meditations on the twice heard truism, 'you do what you need to do to protect family' haunt Dr. Isles throughout this personally probing episode.
Don't miss R&I's freshman season finale Sept. 13th.

5. Covert Affairs - "Fool in the Rain" (USA)

I've been asking for more Dudek practically every week, well, this epi not only fulfilled my request it further put her poolside in a bikini!  This week Danielle persuades Annie to accompany her on her and Michael's anniversary (Niagara Falls, Honeymoon Suite) vacation, after Michael's forced to cancel due to work-related obligations.  While there, Annie's unexpectedly enlisted to evaluate an Iranian dissident's intel.  Danielle and Annie befriend Yahya (Mousa Kraish), sharing insightful conversations and exciting misadventures with him.  Ardous analysis & deliberation of Mercer's note bear fruit when Annie recalls seeing Jai (Sendhil Ramamurthy) repeatedly arguing with Ben, before she'd ever met him, on the romantic trip they'd shared.  Whatever complicated truth Ben asked forgiveness for, Walker burned his (formerly cherished) note, raising serious doubts whether or not she still loves him.  Catch Covert Affairs' [2hr] freshman season finale Sept. 14th.

4. White Collar - "Point Blank" (USA)

Marking its first appearance on my Scripted List, this thrilling season finale kept me glued to my seat.  Neal executes an elaborate plan to avenge Kate's death by confronting Agent Garrett Fowler regardless the cost or obstacle.  Alexandra Hunter (Gloria Votsis) aids Neal by stealing the music box for him, yet, ultimately Fowler proves not to be the killer Caffrey 'n Burke believed.  Strong writing, direction, and acting made this one of my favorite finales of the summer season.  Mozzie's shooting by Julian Larson (Paul Blackthorne, The Gates) was appropriately shocking.  Will Mozzie survive?  Will Fowler's new intel lead to the mysterious blackmailer?  Only time will tell.
White Collar
{Core} Cast of White Collar

3. Eureka - "I'll Be Seeing You" (SyFy)

The last time this series graced my Scripted List was for its season premiere.  Coincidentally, this tense mid-season finale took Grant & Carter back to the 1940s (miltary base) version of Eureka, to the same date and time the season premiere featured.  Emotionally captivating, this somber finale is my favorite (if I had to pick one) of the summer so far.  Colin Ferguson's acting was moving, as was James Callis', in reaction to Allison's accidental death and Eureka's impending doom.  Dr. Grant's departing Eureka was well played but unwanted.  This episode truly felt special, and I can't wait for Eureka's December return.
(Fourth Season) Cast of Eureka

2. Dark Blue - "Shell Game" (TNT)

Emmy winning actor & director Charles S. Dutton guested this week, portraying a local pillar of the black community who just happens to be a murderous heroin kingpin on the side.  Ty's beguiling girlfriend Eva (Rochelle Aytes, Detroit 1-8-7) was disappointingly revealed to be a courier in the heroin dealing operation.  Amidst the undercover lies 'n flying bullets, Ty handles his business [catching the kingpin via secretly taped confession] and does right by Eva and her younger brother by saving their lives.  Dutton's magnificent range, from beneficent community hero to determined ruthless killer, was a wonder to behold.  The entire ensemble nimbly contributed to this beautifully shot, standout epi from one of my favorite series.

1. Nikita - "Pilot" (CW)

Put simply, Maggie Q KICKS ASS!!  After three years of planning, rogue superspy-assassin Nikita returns to attempt the impossible mission of destroying the covert agency that shaped and eventually betrayed her (by murdering her civilian fiance).  Shane West (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass, Hot Tub Time Machine) are Nikita's allies inside 'Division' helping to takedown the corrupt spy-for-hire shop it's become.  A winning cast, extreme intensity, and massive amounts of vengeance-fueled violence shot this pilot to the top of my Scripted List.  If the series maintains the awesome pace of the premiere, Nikita is sure to be my new favorite show (that doesn't revolve around *often naked* mythical monsters)!  Hopefully other spy shows are taking notes, cuz the production team of Silverstein (Bones), Cannon (Chuck), Johnson (Chuck, Supernatural), and McG (Chuck, Supernatural) provided a clinic on "superspy" action.  Between Human Target and now Nikita, McG has solidified his position as my favorite tv producer working today (I've dug his tv stuff since Fastlane).  For those wholly unfamiliar with the 'Le Femme Nikita' franchise and its American remake 'Point of No Return', consider this series the revenge-driven love child of Alias and Dollhouse.
Division Training
Nikita allies Michael (Shane West) and Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca)

Guilty Pleasure Award - Rookie Blue - "Takedown" (ABC)

Part Two of its freshman season finale was actually the more action-filled entry of the pair.  Even so, it illustrated the glaring flaw (as I see it) that this series needs to fix: a general lack of intensity.  Provocative situations and romance they got, what they could use more of are episodes along the lines of this suspenseful finale.  Will my suggestion be heeded? Probably not.  This ratings winning serial emphasizes the job's influence on the characters' social & internal lives, as opposed to showcasing external scenarios that would be more exciting, but perhaps less realistic & approachable.  As example, Law & Order: SVU gets the ratings (though often about child rape) that ballistic Dark Blue can only dream about; probably because it isn't as focused on pyrotechnic gun battles, but, on the internal and social effects on the victims and their cases.  Whatever... as Bai Ling said in 'The Crow', "I like the pretty lights."  Tears and/or joy just aren't as dazzling as muzzle flashes & explosions in 1080p HD.  I realize rookies rarely see the gunplay that tactical teams and detectives do, but a little more pistol action would be cool (and maybe an occasional 12 guage cameo, if that's not too much to ask).
Guest Stars of the Week: [tie]
Charles S. Dutton on Dark Blue (TNT)
Mary McDonnell on The Closer (TNT)
Trivia Question of the Week:
In which movie did Nikita star Maggie Q play a character sharing her (first) name?
Maggie Q
Maggie Q as Nikita

Curent Medal Standings:

~ Last week's answer: Nelson {Winner: Psivage}
* Reality Shows *

3. Top Chef: Washington D.C. - "Finale Part
1" (Bravo)
Chef Ed Cotton swept both challenges, displaying his wok expertise, in this first-ever internationally-based Top Chef finale.  In Singapore, replicating local cuisine, the chefs anxiously competed in an unusually long episode (75mins).  To everyone's surprise, Colorado restauranteur Kelly Liken was sent home, while self-proclaimed, "beast in the kitchen" Kevin Sbraga somehow survived again.  Ed, Angelo, and Kevin are the last remaining contestants.  I really hope Sbraga doesn't win, the Jersey-sized chip on his shoulder does not impress.  Top Chef's finale airs Sept 15th.

2. Project Runway - "What's Mine Is Yours" (Lifetime)

They hate Grandmothers!  Life of the party Casanova got the boot this time, losing for looking too matronly, in this week's *partners* resortwear challenge.  Designers designs were executed by fellow designers randomly pulled from the dreaded golden-roped, velvet bag.  Michael Kors oversaw the challenge and offered one-on-one critiques in the design room. After Peach's loss I expressed concern for April, however her absence was just what the doctor ordered, as April excelled this outing.  Moving into the Fantastic Four's room was good luck for her as well, since her resortwear for 'vacationing at an asylum' garnered Johnston her first win. This darkly inspired, asylum promoting, charmer has to be all Outhousers' favorite girl.  Beloved fashionista & Saturn Award winner Kristen Bell adorably guest judged and originated the adjectives quoted beneath April's pic (below).  The Michael's (Drummond & Costello) lack of formal training met the microscope this epi and both emerged stronger for it.  My favorite designs came from Andy and April (I probably woulda gave the win to Andy, I really loved his design and color choices).  I also thought Michael C.'s and Chris Collins' garments were attractive too.  Sending Casanova home was justifiable, but I probably woulda showed Ivy the door, mostly for her attitude.
April Johnston
"Superpunk, Edgy, Babydoll" Winner April Johnston

Enter to win a signed copy of Tim Gunn's new book below:


1. Top Gear: The Lost Episodes  (BBC-America)
Did you know a (2004) turbo-charged Mitsubishi EVO 8 4-door, 2-liter 'saloon car', was as fast (with better handling) as a Lambo Murcielago of that year?  Tester Jeremy Clarkson didn't.  Bit of a surprise, really, since a Murcielago (then and now) cost 3x more and sports about 3x more engine under the hood.  Clarkson also examined the "Greenest Car Ever Made" (at that time), the Toyota Prius - he was not won over.  Nearly everything about the Prius, including the poor-gripping eco-friendly tires irritated him: he did like its quietness though.  If interested, JC recommended the '04 VW Lupo as a "better, greener" choice.  Richard Hammond eagerly took the 'honor restoring' Ford Mustang GT for a ride down Britain's longest stretch of straight road, yet his final evaluation was decidedly mixed.  Its ultra-basic suspension was lamented, but the pricepoint for such an iconic "muscle" car was deemed "a good value."  I previously didn't know Ford's original Mustang set & still holds the American record for 'fastest selling car of all-time.'  The Who's Roger Daltry drove well 'round the Top Gear track as this week's, "star in a reasonably priced car",... but the clear highlight of the nite (for me) was the annual Best & Worst of the Year Awards ceremony.  Listed below are the (previously 'lost') 2004 'winners';
Comedy Handling (for poor cornering): Smart CityCar
Positive Surprise: Vauxhall Monaro

Best Sounding Car (for engine roar): Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale
Worst Car: Hyundai Accent (diesel version)
Best Car
(all around): VW Golf GTI

Favorite Car: Aston Martin DB9 [declared, "utterly fabulous" by Jeremy Clarkson who happens to own one]
Cock of the Year (for worst Hosted segment): Jeremy Clarkson

This week ranks as one of the toughest for my Scripted List selection.  Of all the recent finales, the two featured here (Eureka & White Collar) were surprising inclusions, but they were honestly that good.  The Glades, Leverage, Warehouse 13, The Closer, Psych, Dark Blue*, Rookie Blue*, Haven, and even The Gates all offered praiseworthy epis that legitmately could've made this week's List.  Also worth noting were the series premieres of Terriers and Hellcats, both of which made positive first impressions.

Thanks for your continued interest in this review column.  Come back next week for my tenth installment!

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About the Author - Nightfly

A proud member of NBCUniversal's and A+E Television Networks’ Digital Media Teams, Nightfly routinely interviews producers, creators and stars of various network programs and films with a concentrated emphasis on the Syfy channel. Formally educated in Communications, Computer Science and Music, his résumé reflects more than a decade broadcasting in the fields of television and radio. With pieces routinely published at ScreenFad and Press Pass L.A., his primary areas of interest include TV, film, music, web series, comic books, fashion, pen 'n paper RPG gaming as well as various other pop-culture topics. An avid Twitter user, Nightfly supports the arts, the entertainment community, numerous charities and crowdfunding projects through his journalistic netizenship and non-partisan, multicultural-centric activism.

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