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Nightfly's TV Week in Review #10 (9/12/10) - True Blood, Terriers, Top Gear, and more!

Outhouse tvphile Nightfly reviews his favorite shows from the final week of Summer Series television.


Nightfly's TV Week in Review #10  (week of 9/12/10)
written by Nightfly

TNT layed final claim to the summer season once again by earning more Scripted slots on this week's list than any other network.  Of all the action-packed series listed, Top of the List mainstay True Blood actually offered the least 'action.'  This summer produced yet more award-worthy television and introduced me to some truly outstanding new shows.  Monday kicks off the fall deluge and it's definitely time to get your recorders out - network primetime don't offer the multiple bites at the apple that netlets do.  There've been numerous times I had up to four (or even five) chances to catch a summer show on the date it first aired, with rebroadcasts on later dates as well!  Oh well, choices will have to be made now.  But I digress,... below are the shows I dug the most this past week.

* Potential Spoilers Below *


6. Terriers - "Dog & Pony" (FX)

I've been a fan of Donal Logue's wry comedic talents for years now, which made his dramatic turn in this week's (first non-pilot) episode all the more impactful.  Tim Minear's addition to the production staff was immediately and acutely felt, and the guest stars, new and recurring, were both heartbreaking and riotious fun.  Dead set on buying his and Gretchen's former house, Hank lets nothing and no one get in the way of earning the necessary funds.  Sexy Laura Allen firmly established why we need to see lots and lots of her in every episode (please)!  Michael Raymond-James charmed, as usual - he and Laura make a cool couple.  Hank & Britt get their butts kicked by, and eventually capture, guest hulk Montell (Matthew Willig, Chuck); all three then conspire to take down Montell's dastardly half-brother played by guest Nate Mooney ("Pinky" from 'Push').  It's still so early, this series can go a number of different ways - surely its promise is now more secure with Minear (and his myriad skills) onboard.
FYI: Tim Minear returns again next epi (9/22) bringing with him fellow Dollhouse alum, the alluringly classy, Olivia Williams.

5. Rizzoli & Isles - "When The Gun Goes Bang, Bang, Bang" (TNT)

This highly successful series' freshman finale focused significantly on Rizzoli's brothers, Tommy and Frankie Jr.  Tommy, whom we've never seen, is released early from jail for good behavior.  Frankie Sr. (Chazz Palminteri) and Angela (Lorraine Bracco) unknowingly prepare for Tommy's return, while their youngest, Frankie Jr. lay dying on Dr. Isles autopsy table.  Maura heroically tries everything she can think of, including emergency surgery (sans proper instruments), to keep Frankie Jr alive but by episode's end his fate is still very unsure.  Throughout its premiere season, R&I has never shied away from gunfire or fisticuffs, this epic entry definitely delivered the former.  Special guests Erik Palladino (ER) and Sticky Fingaz (Blade: The Series) rain MP5 fire, efficiently taking over homicide headquarters, critically wounding Frankie Jr., and deceptively trapping Jane & Maura inside.  Older brother Tommy flakes out choosing not to return home just yet,... and by the time the cavalry (Frost, Korsak, & Cavanaugh) effectively arrives, Rizzoli's in a proverbial corner, racing against the clock to save her brother.  This strong, almost immediately renewed, summer series will be back next summer!!
Rizzoli & Isles
Cast of Rizzoli & Isles

4. Covert Affairs - "When The Levee Breaks" (USA)

Alan Kroeker returned to direct one of the best, most action-packed episodes of this series' freshman season.  Sent back to the scene of Annie's heartbreak, she and Mercer reunite on an emotional mission that may prove to be Ben's last.  Though Eion Bailey (as Ben Mercer) kept me guessing throughout, his feelings for Annie are obviously genuine and true.  This thrilling season ender benefited from the contributions of recurring guests Gregory Itzin (as Henry Wilcox) and Emmanuelle Vaugier (as gorgeously seductive Liza Hearn).  Matchett & Gallagher thoroughly impressed, while Piper Perabo carried the story, as she's carried the series, with courageous aplomb ('pluck').  Many unanswered questions will hopefully be answered next summer.  It's gonna be a long wait.
Covert Affairs
Cast of Covert Affairs

3. Dark Blue - "Personal Effects" (TNT)

As the epi's title intimates, this compelling story peered deeper into the personal lives of the team.  Ty's rejection by his ex-wife weighs heavy on his heart, while Jaimie and Dean & Carter and Alex both grow closer as couples.  Danny Cannon expressively directed this telling finale, featuring guests Seamus Dever (Castle), Johnny Messner (The O.C.), Navid Negahban (24), Todd Stashwick (The Riches), and sultry Michelle Borth (The Forgotten).  Alex (Helfer) decides to stay with Shaw instead of taking the Miami promotion, and learns of Carter's intent to propose by finding the engagement ring among his 'personal effects.'  Bruckheimer and the [entire] cast earned my loyal fandom with their sophomore season of this supercool actioner, I can't wait to see what they bring next summer.  Tricia Helfer joining the cast inspired my interest and I'm really pleased she'll be back next year!

2. Nikita - "2.0" (CW)

Cannon helms another high caliber killride in this week's exciting (first non-pilot) thriller.  Percy & Amanda put Alex in the field early to sexually service a Slavic war criminal, but she and her Sensei have different (more deadly) plans.  Once the fighting begins Michael handles business in the manner you'd expect from Nikita's hand-to-hand trainer, while Nikita brings the thunder with her spanking new sniper rifle.  Nikita's first meetings with Alex [and her recruitment] are explored via dramatic, detoxifying flashbacks.  The cast excelled again, as expected, with Fonseca, Xander Berkeley, Shane West, and Maggie Q driving the intense action to outrageously entertaining levels!
Alex
Lyndsy Fonseca as Alex

1. True Blood - "Evil is Going On" (HBO)

Sookie hit her breaking point this finale, venomously disinviting all vampires from her life.  Lafayette struggles with lingering effects from his and Jesus' familial (V induced) spirit walk - now uncontrollably seeing what other folks want hidden - and inspiring a confession from Jesus that he, in fact,  is "a witch."  Jason sacrifices any hope of being a cop to save Crystal's helpless kin, defying the DEA in the process, while Crystal reluctantly leaves Jason to save him and her people.  Sam tells Tara, during breakfast, that he's a shifter,... a revelation that appeared to be the last straw prompting Tara to flee Bon Temps.  Arlene's fetus refuses to die, and Hoyt's mom buys a scoped rifle after her and Summer's intervention with Hoyt fails miserably.  Tommy, having stolen Sam's nest egg cash, may be lying dead now from a bullet to the back from Big Brother.  And a furious Sookie introduced Talbot's remains to Fangoria's garbage disposal, cruely laughing at Edgington's horror after having saved Russell and Eric from the burning sun.  Alcide and Sophie-Anne return for the finale, with the Queen walking into a trap by Bill intending to kill her - did he succeed?  Sook finally learns the devastating truth, from Eric, behind her and Bill's first meeting.  Eric and Bill's (temporary) resolution/victory over King Russell rang hollow, despite the triumph of Northman's devious plan.  I knew Bill and Eric were scared of Edgington, but it wasn't until they were standing over the bound, heartbroken, and charred King - Bill spewing vitriol (and concrete) *standing a safe distance away* - that I comprehended how scared they both really were.  It retroactively reinforced their bravery to've ever dared defy him, to his face, the numerous times they (seperately) did.  Among the night's innumerous children, no doubt Bill, Eric, and Russell are among the most headstrong.  I hope O'Hare (as Russell Edgington) returns next season, or perhaps gets his own HBO series ala Deadwood.  Not since Ian McShane gave voice to Al Swearengen has a HBO character so enthralled me.  The fourth season of Ball's True Blood ends with Sookie accepting Claudine's invitation to visit the spirit realm where the fairies dwell. (To reside there?)  Action fans were not well sated this outing, but lovers of language (especially foul) were served a lyrical feast that should sustain 'Truebies' till next summer.
True Blood
Cast of True Blood

Guity Pleasure Award - Stan Lee's Superhumans - "Human Crash Test Dummy" (History)

Modern Samurai was awesome!  The rest of this episode superhumanly sucked.  Don't make us True Believers doubt, Stan!?!  Heroically amaze us, don't villainously rob us of our valuable time watching bee keepers and sideshow freaks.  Spraying oneself down with bee juice is not the future of humanity.
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Guest Star of the WeekAnna Chlumsky on Covert Affairs (USA)
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Trivia Question of the Week:
Before True Blood, Carrie Preston ('Arlene') played the mother of the character her real life husband played on Abrams' mysterious LOST.
Which pivotal LOST character did her character birth?

Arlene
Carrie Preston as Arlene

Current Medal Standing:

Bluestreak:
Dragavon:
misac:
Psivage:
~ Last week's answer: Balls of Fury  {Winner: BlueStreak}
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* Reality Shows *

3. Project Runway - "A Rough Day On The Runway" (Lifetime)

'Jackie O' served as muse this week as the designers were tasked to create modern contributions to classic American sportswear.  The designers were later surprised to discover they also had to create an outerwear piece to go with it.  January Jones (Emma Frost in the upcoming period flick, 'X-Men: First Class') guest judged and had a lot to say in this retro-inspired outing that saw Mondo named winner;  I completely agreed with his victory, his look was fantastic.  St. Louis native Michael Drummond got the axe for a bit of a hot mess (though with the right model I think his look might've worked), while Andy and Michael C. escaped elimination for what I thought were fairly atrocious pairings.  April's style and wit continued to beguile, however her little black dress did seem a tad Gothy,... and I thought it'd been firmly established that a) Jackie wouldn't wear goth, and b) Jackie would never show cameltoe (hehe).  That said, April's dress along with Chris Collins', Gretchen's, and Mondo's were my favorites.  It's odd, but, I have noticed the phenomenon where a design that looked one way on the runway can look entirely different when photographed, especially from certain angles.

2. American Chopper: Sr. vs. Jr. - "PJD Bike Part 1" (TLC)

With raised spirits, the team at Paul Jr. Designs finally got the power fully on and earnestly began building the answer to all other spider-themed bikes, "Anti-Venom."  Additional positivity flowed Junior's way as Geico (the nation's third largest insurance company) took the bold step of commissioning the first corporate themed bike from PJD.  Vinnie and Mikey spent some quality time out 'n about spider shopping and being interviewed on a local (Montgomery) radio show.  The "Nubster" returned to the band, ready to push the creative envelope with old friends.  Senior and his OCC family continued forwarding their agenda of belittling and demeaning Paul Jr. Designs (and its crew) at every opportunity, relentlessly.  I wonder if TLC will keep this format next season, or split the series into two seperate shows?  I vote for the latter - I'd never have to spend time with OCC again that way.  As promised, here's an early look at the spectacular first showbike crafted & designed by the reunited trio of Teutul, DiMartino, & Nub Grafix!!
Anti-Venom
"Anti-Venom" by PJD

1. Top Gear: The Lost Episodes (BBC-America)

One could say this week's epi was a test of the old vs. the new.  The older, conventional means of travel (trains, plane, bus, coach) are first pitted against Jeremy's new ('04) Ferrari 612 Scaglietti four-seater in a race across Switzerland.  "That Ferrari magic" kicks in, and joyously brings Jeremy the win (over the old).  Reaching farther back in the old sack, Hammond next matches sled vs. (Mitsubishi EVO) rally car... the bobsled wins!  Music from The Matrix Reloaded cameoed, and, 'Trinity' was mentioned by comedic guest Eddie Izzard, this week's "star in a reasonably priced car."  The highlight of the episode for me was the final old vs. new faceoff between racing versions of older cars versus their street legal '04 equivalents.  First up, a Ford Focus RS (Rally Sport) handily beat its 1974 elder in the form of a rally racing Ford Escort.  Next, a Noble M400 got narrowly beat by a 1969 Ford GT40, by 6/10 of a second,... but still.  Lastly, a race-modified 1983 Audi Quattro got schooled by a Mitsubishi EVO 8.  Just for giggles, the Stig drove the current Renault racing F1 'round the Top Gear track facetiously beating the top times of [street legal] supercar champs Enzo and Carrera.


Summer Season, officially over.  Some favorites will be back in November and December but some others are a full nine months away.  True Blood obviously enjoyed one incredibly popular season.  It's been fun watching it own the Top Spot on my Scripted List.  I wonder which series, or series, will replace it.  Counted among the shows producing epis almost on my (last summer) list were, The Glades, Lie to Me, The Closer, Warehouse 13, Dark Blue*, Covert Affairs*, and even Hellcats!  The upcoming finale for Warehouse 13 looks absolutely "must-see"!


Thanks a lot for your continued interest in this weekly column.  I usually add daily updates so check back for my reviews of shows that don't make the Top Scipted List Review column.  Discussion and recommendations are encouraged, and please consider voting in the poll that corresponds to this article (in The Asylum).  Speaking of The Asylum, there's an informative thread there listing all the new shows premiering this week and for the rest of the month.  I invite you to check it out so you don't miss the return of your favorite series.  See ya next time.


Written or Contributed by: Nightfly
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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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