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Nightfly's TV Week in Review #12 (9/26/10) - SGU, Terriers, and more

Written by Nightfly on Thursday, October 07 2010 and posted in Features

Outhouse tvphile Nightfly reviews his favorite shows from the previous week of television.

Nightfly's TV Week in Review #12 (week of 9/26/10)
written by Nightfly

First and foremost I want to correct and apologize for my mistakenly reporting in last week's column that FOX's Human Target would be premiering this past week.  FOX in particular have been re-ordering their premiere schedule lately, moving Lie to Me up, pushing Human Target back, and cancelling Lone Star after only two airings.  Shatner's new #1 sitcom, though enjoyable, ain't worth the cost of losing Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Old Christine over (even though ratings say otherwise).  The only network to hit the Scripted List twice was ABC; once for an exceptionally traumatic Grey's Anatomy and again for the spectacular premiere of No Ordinary Family. For the week starting October 3rd, I'll be looking for the premieres of Lie to Me, Steven Seagal Lawman, and Caprica!  I like to dream that if enough people watch Caprica's last episodes SyFy may bring it back. As if.
* Potential Spoilers Below *

6. Boardwalk Empire - "The Ivory Tower" (HBO)
Award winning director Tim Van Patten (The Wire, The Sopranos) kept the quality up in this series' first non-pilot entry.  Buscemi & Macdonald captivated again this week in a story introducing the lovely Gretchen Mol (as Gillian), and highlighting the tense relationship between Nucky and Arnold Rothstein (formidably played by Michael Stuhlbarg, 'A Serious Man').  Dabney Coleman was impressively repellent - even Nuck seems compassionate by comparison.

5. SGU Stargate Universe - "Intervention" (SyFy)
Hearty doses of action and drama dominated this series' second season premiere.  The Destiny's crew battles valliantly, on multiple fronts, to retake the ship, but it's the sudden (and understandable) betrayal of Alliance engineer Ginn (Julie McNiven, Supernatural) that saves the day.  Mike Dopud guests as Varro, an Alliance leader with some measure of humanity and reason - I wonder what will become of him and Ginn now?  Colonel Young's throat stike entertained, as did the epi's emotional ending.  Alaina Huffman (Smallville, Painkiller Jane) delivers her strongest performance to date in this opener that lets the audience decide for ourselves if TJ's baby lives on, or not.  Will she ever see Carmen again?  A notably bold return for this thoughtful series.
Alaina Huffman
Alaina Huffman as Lt. Tamara Johansen

4. Terriers - "Fustercluck" (FX)
This episode made my list primarily for the ferocious portrayal of Hank (on the warpath) by Donal Logue.  Working for the man they framed for Gosney's murder, Hank and Britt break some laws and make some money, eventually believing his story that he didn't do it.  Dolworth's mysterious attic squatter turns out to be his own (genius-schizo) sister Stephanie, weeks off her meds, compellingly played by Donal's actual sister Karina Logue.  This detective series seems to get better each episode ... I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

3. Fringe - "The Box" (FOX)

I think it's safe to say this episode was Mindblowing!  On the heels of last week's heartbreaking premiere, Torv keeps the pressure on in this deadly epi revolving around a horrible sonic box, needed for Walternate's doomsday device, that kills anyone who opens/hears it.  Sebastian Roché returns as Walternate's agent Thomas Newton, now working closely with alternate Olivia.  Walter tries to have the overdue talk with Peter about their past but Peter's not ready.  At William Bell's will reading, Nina gets a bell (a remembrance of intimate time they'd spent together), while Walter gets Massive Dynamic!!  Considering Walternate is the other dimension's Secretary of Defense, it's good that our Walter now has the means to fight back.  I'm starting to dream of two awesome Olivias fighting on the same side -- ours.  If our Olivia regains her memory, and alternate Olivia can be won over, imagine the fun!!

2. Grey's Anatomy - "Shock to the System" (ABC)

This week Ellen Pompeo and Sandra Oh brought their dramatic A-game to the screen both delivering incredibly excellent performances.  Camille Chen (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) guests as the object of desire for a flag-football team simultaneously struck by lightning.  Cristina suffers a severe panic attack during a particularly delicate heart surgery.  And Grey finally confesses to the pregnancy and the miscarriage.  In the face of all this drama, not to mention Bailey's persuading Alex to remove his bullet, and Yang & Owen's marriage trouble,... this episode still managed to make me laugh a few times.  Unsurprisingly, it also provided a couple jawdropping moments of astonishment.  A superlative installment from one of my all-time favorite shows.
the confession
Ellen Pompeo & Patrick Dempsey

1. No Ordinary Family - "Pilot" (ABC)

The creators behind Eli Stone, Reunion & Tru Calling knocked this series pilot out of the park!  Brilliantly cast and entertainingly written, I loved this premiere within the first five minutes.  Besides the great special effects and direction (by Buffy vet David Semel), the element I liked most was how each family member got precisely the power they needed to make their life more manageable and complete.  The positive potential for this show is off the charts and I'm very eager to watch it develop.  Chiklis & Benz were wonderful.  Instantly one of my favorite shows on tv.

Guilty Pleasure Award - Top Chef: Just Desserts - "Glee Club" (Bravo)

This week's dessert wasn't bad, although Seth's behavior often is, it's just that I profoundly realized this week that as little as I know about the (simple protein based) meals concocted on Top Chef proper, I'm even less versed on the exotic 'n eccentric desserts that inspire this series.  My realization came from the cheftestants having to make traditional bake sale fare - sweet treats I actually recognized - for a fundraising competition between a high school Pep Squad and Glee Club.  Since God doesn't play dice with the universe, naturally, the cheerleaders prevailed! (wink, wink)  Curvaceous Gail Simmons will keep me watching regardless how ignorant I am of the subject matter.  Erika Davis handily won the Wedding Cake Quickfire Challenge, Heather Hurlbert got eliminated, and Eric Wolitzky won this week's Elimination Challenge.  The highlight of this delectable episode was Danielle's shredding of Seth in the waiting room. (Hahaha) He deserved it.
Gail Simmons
Gail Simmons

Guest Star of the Week: Jennifer Love Hewitt on Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Trivia Question of the Week:
Alaina Huffman & Mike Dopud both co-starred in Stargate SGU's sophomore season premiere this week.  What other series did they once appear on together?

Current Medal Standing:
BlueStreak: mvpmvp
Dragavon: mvpmvp
Fintan: mvp
misac: mvp
Psivage: mvp
Punchy: mvp
~Last week's answer: Olivia Wilde  {Winner: Fintan}
* Outstanding Sitcoms *

4. Running Wilde - "Into the Wilde" (FOX)
Keri Russell in a bubble bath... need I say more?  David Cross covered in garbage fighting with Arnett.  I laughed just now typing that sentence.  Wilde explores the meaning of "worth" in this super-funny attempt to take the girls camping, absurdly thwarted by (fiancé) Andy.  Direct from the jungle, via garbage scow, Andy assumes Emmy's there to sabotage Wilde Oil and falsely befriends Steven to kidnap him [for ransom].  This epi showed the tree house Emmy and Puddle are living in... I hope they move into the big house soon.  As heartwarming as the pilot was, this episode was even more sentimental.

3. The Big Bang Theory - "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification" (CBS)

Between Wolowitz's robotic arm last week and Sheldon's virtual presence device this week, I'm beginning to see a pattern.  Parsons displayed the comedic mastery that won him his Emmy, Steve Wozniak guested, and Kaley (Penny) closed the story with a tender serenade of "Soft Kitty" - is it any wonder this made my Top 4 List?!!  Much funnier than its season premiere, this episode made me laugh out loud repeatedly!  The Knight Rider reference was appreciated.  This is one of my favorite sitcoms so expect to see it on my lists a lot.

2. 30 Rock - "When It Rains, It Pours" (NBC)

Elizabeth Banks and Sherri Shepherd effervescently reprise their roles in this hysterical entry featuring guest Paul Giamatti (as a Civil War recreationist / role playing slave owner), and, Tracy trapped in Ben Bailey's Cash Cab on the way to the birth of his baby.  Jack's videos, Lemon's cowboy lid, and Kenneth were adorable.  Jenna's reference to Mickey Rourke's sword as well as Jack's frozen katana tip were funny non sequiturs.  Morgan was in top form this week.
Tracy Morgan, Tina Fey & Jane Krakowski

1. Eastbound & Down - "Chapter 7" (HBO)
Jody Hill ('Observe and Report') directed the second season premiere of this ridonkulously over-the-top series produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.  This chapter picks up with Kenny down Mexico way fighting cocks and boss of a two-man gang guest starring Deep Roy (as rapacious Aaron).  Danny McBride was outrageously irreverent, as always, and new recurring castmates Efren Ramirez ('Napolean Dynomite') & Ana de la Reguera ('Nacho Libre') were introduced.  No sitcom made me laugh as often or as hard  as this one - I can't wait till Powers hits the field next episode!
* Reality Shows*

3. Stan Lee's Superhumans - "Jaw Breaker" (History)

What I believe to be the freshman season finale didn't disappoint.  My love-hate relationship with this endeavor ended on a loving note with four sufficiently impressive subjects.  Stunt pilot Greg Poe (a.k.a. G-Force) pulls dangerously high G-forces without a flight suit.  Unconnected to jaw issues at all, Salim Haini - dubbed by Stan, Jaws of Steel -  eats lightbulbs, nails, wood, you name it.  Salim's superheroically large colon fuels his fantastic power.  Chicago Sensei Tom Cameron, Human Stun Gun, shockingly fails to impress Daniel Browning Smith with his touchless attacks - the first 'superhuman' apparently debunked?!?  Stan & Dan think its suggestive, but I think Tom was just poorly tested (either that or he's a [totally entertaining] fraud). And US Memory Champion Ron White, Super Memory, demonstrably uses 35% more of his brain than normal folks do.  Beyond simply eidetic, Ron's memory is amazingly Superhuman.

2. Project Runway - "There's a Pattern Here" (Lifetime)

Mondo's repeat victory as well as Valerie's second subpar showing are the patterns the title references.  Designer Rachel Roy guest judges in this highly revealing and tearful episode in which standout designer Mondo admits to being HIV positive.  Having hidden his condition for over a decade from family & friends, Mondo bravely shares the origin of his print with the judges (and the whole world now).  I liked Valerie a lot, as Gunn put it, her "qualities of character are extraordinary."  Her individual goodbyes to the fellow designers were classy and obviously sincere - I'll miss her charming outlook and humor.  Mondo's win was well deserved.  Although Andy & Michael C. were condemned by the judges, I thought both of their garments were attractive.  Heidi and Rachel Roy favored April's print (which was interesting), but my favorites were Michael Costello's and Mondo's.  Down to the final six (6) now.
Project Runway
Valerie Mayen & Mondo Guerra

1. Top Gear (BBC-America)
Promoting a more serious tone is the order of the day on the fifteenth season premiere - now airing uncut in its original form.  Jeremy Clarkson spotlights a new Bentley Continental and closes the show with an uproariously funny segment about a recent law change concerning three-wheeled vehicles. The new law change prompts Jeremy to take a 1970s era Reliant Robin for a hysterically dangerous fourteen mile drive.  James May drives a weathered 2010 Toyota Hilux, his most favorite offroad vehicle, up to the edge of an actively spewing volcano to grab a red hot lava rock.  In a news segment James declares the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder his favorite car driven during hiatus; Richard proclaims the Lambo Gallardo Superleggera as his favorite new car; and Jeremy names the '11 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG as his favorite hiatus test drive.  The Chevy Lacetti that'd dutifully served as the show's "reasonably priced car" - driven by literally hundreds of stars - majestically met its end demolished under an English smokestack.  Assorted British celebrities broke-in the new "reasonably priced" Kia at a decisively wet BBQ outing.  According to fellow Outhouser Amoebas, this 80min premiere was one of only six (6) epis produced for their 15th season?!  Assuming that's true I hope more entries run long.
The Reliant Robin

Thanks to (fellow Outhouser) garcoyle reminding me about Hulu, I was able to add more shows than ever to my reviewing schedule.  Some episodes from this past week nearly making my list were; Glee, Dexter, The Glades, House, and Hawaii Five-O.  Sitcoms nearly making it were HIMYM, Bored to Death, Better With You, and Two and a Half Men  I'd hoped to see Nikita via Hulu but it still isn't up there yet. D'Oh!.  By now readers surely realize my lists change week to week, rarely featuring the same shows, much less in the same positions week after week (True Blood being the rare exception).  Just because one of your favorite shows doesn't make my Week in Review one week doesn't mean it won't be there the next.

Thanks for your continued interest in this weekly column (updated daily).  Come back next week for my 13th entry and consider voting in this week's corresponding poll.

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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