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Nightfly's TV Week in Review #13 (10/3/10) - Caprica, Glee, Fringe & more!

Written by Nightfly on Tuesday, October 26 2010 and posted in Features

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

Nightfly's TV Week in Review #13 (week of 10/3/10)
written by Nightfly

I must apologize to those that follow my daily updates for the number of shows that fell through the cracks this week.  Trust that to the degree the daily updates suffered, this Week in Review column benefited from the extra time spent screening additional shows as opposed to using that time writing about ones already seen.  As much as I enjoy penning my daily updates, my weekly column takes precedence.  More shows were reviewed this week, in all List categories, than any previous week I've produced this column.  Ratings winners Hawaii Five-O, and, $#*! My Dad Says finally grace my Lists while SyFy scores two of my Scripted slots, a first, thanks to Haven's mysterious finale and Caprica's explosive return.
* Potential Spoilers Below *

6. Hawaii Five-O - "Malama Ka Aina" (CBS)

This week Paul Edwards (LOST) directed the best episode of this series so far.  Continuously improving, a level was hit here that if maintained could make H5O a Week in Review regular.  Scott Caan is most responsible for this entry making my Scripted List due to the heartfelt storyline involving his daughter.  I wonder who his "ex" will be?  Guests James Russo (as Frank Salvo), Faleolo Alailima (Summerland), and, Sidney S. Liufau (Smith) contributed to this well-paced case of Samoan gangs tussling with New Jersey mobsters over legalized gambling revenue.  Dano's introduction of Grace to the unit, and McGarrett's "Five O" lore were touching elements I appreciated but did not expect.

5. Fringe - "The Plateau" (FOX)

Director Brad Anderson ('The Machinist', 'Session 9') thought provokingly focused this week on our Olivia adjusting to her new identity in Walternate's (damaged) dimension.  I feared the memories overwritten onto her consciousness were implacable, however, Peter & Walter keep appearing to her as interactive visions which gives me great hope.  Actually, the fact that her old personality subconsciously lives is the very thing that saves her in this case of a probability predicting killer who specifically tries to kill her.  Alternate Olivia's boyfriend is intriguing.  In light of our Olivia's end conversation with Peter (in vision form) I'm gonna predict she eventually makes it back to her true self.  Walternate's informing Broyles of his plans was noteworthy.  Not all fans love the dimension hopping this season but I'm okay with it - I always wished Star Trek would've done a show with parallel tracks involving the mirror universe and the normal one.
John Noble & Lance Reddick in "The Plateau"

4. Haven - "Spiral" (SyFy)

This series definitely saved the best for last - delivering the most dramatic, as well as my favorite, of its freshman episodes this week.  The revelations and new questions were all well balanced and every acting performance was exceptional.  Nathan (Lucas Bryant) not only learns of and meets his previously unimagined biological father on the same day, that father as well as the father he's grown up with (Chief Wuornos) both die that terrible day.  Chief Wuornos' final captivating loss of control was spectacular.  The talented trio of Bryant, Balfour, and Rose shared great chemistry throughout this opening season, and the addition of Michelle Monteith (as Julia Carr) made the mix even better.  Emily Rose has been a marvelous lead, and, Eric Balfour went from an actor that annoyed me (in the past) to an actor I look forward to seeing now.  If Stephen McHattie ('Watchmen') becomes a bigger character next season I'll be very happy!  Haven has been renewed so we can look forward to learning more about the real Audrey Parker next summer: will she turn our quartet into a quintet?  I want to know more about Ripley's past.

3. Glee - "Grilled Cheesus" (FOX)

I generally like when comedy shows take serious turns (something Scrubs did effortlessly), I also like when primetime shows confront issues of prejudice and religion - Glee did all that and more in this week's heartwrenching installment.  Chris Colfer takes center stage as his character's father sustains a serious heart attack that stirs the better angels of his friends natures, and prompts Kurt to take a stand against religion.  Cory Monteith (Finn) tackles the subject of prayer when the visage of Jesus Christ appears on his grilled cheese sandwich, inspiring him to make wishes he subsequently receives in immediate succession.  Colfer, Monteith, and, Amber Riley perform movingly in this unafraid episode questioning the existence, influence, and meaning of God.  I wouldn't want this series to be serious all the time, but when they do go special they do it right.  I'd imagine this epi was somewhat significant for atheists and/or members of the LGBT community.

2. No Ordinary Family - "No Ordinary Marriage" (ABC)

David Semel deftly directed this series' first non-pilot entry, featuring the Powell's struggle to gain control of and learn more about their amazing new super-powers.  While Steph worries about the possible biophysical ramifications, Jim and George enthusiastically test the limits of Jim's power by running over him several times with an old car.  Josh Stewart (as The Watcher) gets ample screentime here, ultimately pulling the trigger on the lovely detective Cho (Christina Chang, CSI: Miami).  Benz and Chiklis shine in this setting, and the kids, Kay Panabaker & Jimmy Bennett (young Kirk in J.J.'s Star Trek) are exceptional too.  Daphne's intimate conversations with her brother and mom were sweet.  Stephanie's charming assistant Katie (Autumn Reeser, The O.C.) continues to grow on me.  This was the second consecutive week I thought this series produced the best show from the big three (four counting FOX) networks.
No Ordinary Family
Michael Chiklis & Julie Benz

1. Caprica - "Unvanquished" (SyFy)

The anxiously awaited return of Ron Moore's BSG prequel did not disappoint!  Sister Clarice travels to Gemenon to humbly ask the Athenian Blessed Mother (Meg Tilly) for permission to create a manmade heaven-domain using avatar tech,... after thwarting an assassination attempt by the conclave, she leaves with the High Mother's permission to totally control all STO cells as well.  Daniel joins forces with the Tauron mafia to take his company back from Vergis (using the avatar tech); this association provokes a prominent promotion for Joseph.  Barnabas (James Marsters) plots against Clarice with her former students, while Zoe (Alessandra Torresani) prowls New Cap City looking for its most famous 'Death Walker', Tamara Adama.  Amanda lives, and is convalescing with Clarice in a remote cabin.  Do yourself a favor and check out this riveting series - the ride promises to get wilder before it ends.
* Get the latest news from The Caprican.
Alessandra Torresani as Zoe Graystone

Guilty Pleasure Award - Top Chef: Just Desserts - "Lucent Dossier" (Bravo)

Seth Caro freaked out again, this time so bad he required an ambulance.  The producers decide to give him the boot after he walks off, faints, then expects to be allowed back in competition again.  Malika eliminates herself (supposedly) because she doesn't enjoy cooking competitively - something she should've figured out before auditioning.  Executive pastry chef Morgan Wilson wins both challenges this week, both under slightly suspect circumstances; for example his winning "Ultimate Sundae" came in the form of Oreo-sandwiches with a glass of chocolate milk!?!  From an early season of bizarre episodes, this was the most bizarre yet.  Perhaps things will get saner from here.
Guest Star of the Week: Amy Irving on House (FOX)
Trivia Question of the Week:
SyFy's Caprica stars Esai Morales as the father of Edward James Olmos' character from BSG.  On which past series did Edward James Olmos play Esai Morales' father?
Esai Morales
Esai Morales as Joseph Adama

Current Medal Standing:
~Last week's answer: Smallville  {Winner: Dragavon}
* Outstanding Sitcoms *

4. 30 Rock - "Let's Stay Together" (NBC)

Kenneth, coached by Jenna, reapplies to the competitive NBC Page program, while Congresswoman Regina Bookman (Queen Latifah) pressures Jack regarding the network's diversity standards.  Lemon creates a co-head writer position for 'Toofer' to fill, and Jack asks Tracy to develop a black sitcom.  John Amos & Rob Reiner also guested in this laugh out loud epi addressing issues of pageantry, race, and vertical integration.

3. $#*! My Dad Says - "The Truth About Dads & Moms" (CBS)

This was the week I finally got this series, or perhaps this was the series' best episode... either way this turned out to be my favorite installment from this sitcom so far.  Nicole Sullivan (and her $400 makeover) was especially humorous, and the addition of Tim Bagley as Ed's maid was utterly fabulous.  Beyond this being the funniest epi to date, learning why a pig nobly walks itself to slaughter was emotionally worthwhile and led me to finally warm up to Henry.  I'm glad he learned the truth.

2. Running Wilde - "Oil & Water" (FOX)

Fa'ad stuck in the vodka cellar cracked me up this week, and gorgeous Keri Russell was zanier than ever.  Emmy's mad transformation at Wilde Oil was shocking to behold.  Puddle's science project, aided by Paul Shaffer, made a sweet catalyst for one of the funniest shows of the week and the highest ranking Running Wilde to make my List so far (it's made my List every week since premiering).  Steve's first ever day at work was undeniably one to remember.
Running Wilde
Peter Serafinowicz as Fa'ad

1. Eastbound & Down - "Chapter 8" (HBO)

Stevie joins the fun after cracking Kenny's Da Vinci code, and Kenny takes to the field in this uproarious chapter of Powers' hispanic adventure.  Sebastian Cisneros (Michael Peña, 'Observe and Report') is introduced as the Charros team owner, and, the bond between Kenny and his new coach is humorously expanded.  As if burning through thousands of his dollars weren't bad enough, Kenny shoots Stevie in the leg and puts him on a truck back to America before finally accepting him into 'the resistance.'  Powers' performance on the mound may not've garnered the adulation of the mexican crowd he wanted, but it surely impressed me.  Can Vida's curves help Kenny forget April?  Will the Charros' crowd ever cheer him?  Anyone not watching this hilarious half hour comedy is really missing out.
* Reality Shows*

3. Project Runway - "A Look in the Line" (Lifetime)

Heidi Klum posed as Client this week, picking a look for inclusion among her signature line [sold on].  Heidi-centric episodes, rare as they are, always rock the boat and this instance proved the rule.  The six remaining designers were tasked with creating three garments each, with everyone getting a recently eliminated designer as their assistant for the last two looks.  Ivy, serving as Christopher Collins' assistant, created her signature drama by accusing Michael C. of cheating in a past challenge.  I was susprised how well the judges responded to April's designs this week and I was astonished that all three of Andy's looks are being produced by Heidi instead of just one.  Among the many points I differed with the judges on was Mondo's geometric headbands, though I was not displeased by Chris Collins' ejection.  For all their flaws, and in various ways, I've grown fond of the five remaining designers; Gretchen, Andy, April, Mondo, and Michael C.  One grey area of judging I'd like to see addressed is the wildcard of 'styling.'  I'd love if this show would just hire a couple in-house stylists so that the already overworked designers aren't so often eliminated (for well sewn outfits) based on what color makeup their model wore or which belt they pulled off the Piperlime wall.

2. American Chopper: Sr. vs. Jr. - "Lawless Drag Bike Pt.2/PJD Bike Pt.4/Geico Bike Pt.3" (TLC)

What a wild ride it's been.  Racing against time, Paul Jr. Designs successfully completes Anti-Venom and PJD's first client bike in time for celebrated unveils at Sturgis.  OCC unveils the Lawless Electric Drag Bike on a relatively deserted Sturgis track, on which they again fail to break the speed record they aimed for.  Mikey gives a touching introduction to Jr. for the Geico Bike unveil before a screaming Mötley Crüe loving crowd!  I'd rather not see "Sr. vs. Jr." get another season - I'd prefer focusing on PJD's creative team that once made American Chopper the toy selling, t-shirt selling hit it once was.  This season ender briefly glimpsed Junior leaving for marriage classes as his nuptials to Rachael Biester loomed; indeed on August 20th Paul Jr. & Rachael wed on a private island estate in front of over 130 guests.  Paul Sr. did not attend - I assume he was invited.  Family and friends enjoyed a six-tier pink velvet cake, nearly $30k in floral arrangements, and a post-ceremony release of butterflies to the tune of 'Here Comes the Sun' on strings.  Rachael's dress (seen on TLC's Say Yes To The Dress) was by Pnina Tornai from Kleinfeld, and Paul's custom-fit suit was from Kleinfeld as well.  Paul's wedding gift to Rachael was a new go anywhere Mercedes G-Wagon.  Several more wedding pics can be found here.
Rachael Biester & Paul Teutul Jr.

1. Top Gear (BBC-America)

Uncut thrills were had this week as the U.K.'s tradition of Track Day racing was charmingly highlighted, with each host given five thousand pounds with which to purchase a 4-door sedan for a series of challenges to take place in Berlin.  James May bought a Mercedes 190 Cosworth.  Hammond bought a BMW M3 (Series 2), and, Jeremy purchased a 20yr old Ford Sierra Cosworth.  Points were awarded for each mile over 130 mph attained on a no-limits causeway, for commodiousness (as determined by an Oompah Band), number of YouTube hits, and for a thorough (German) safety inspection.  The boys also each rode with Stig's Teutonic cousin once around a track in their chosen sedans; points were awarded for purchase price savings, and in the end Capt. Slow (a.k.a. May) reigned victorious.  Back in U.K., the Stig rolls another Reliant Robin, May profiles two new Porsches [including his beloved Boxster Spyder], and former communications director Alastair Campbell talks politics with Clarkson as this week's "star in a reasonably priced car."

Bones, Boardwalk Empire, Nikita, and, The Glades were all (tentatively) on my List at various times this week.  With American Chopper departing from the schedule I wonder what will take its place?  The second season premiere of Steven Seagal: Lawman was crashtastic!  I gave the second season premiere of Mantracker a try, but it seemed too lopsided against the hunted to be fair.

Thanks a ton for your continued interest in this weekly column (updated daily).  Come back next week for my 14th entry and consider voting in this week's corresponding poll here.

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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