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Nightfly's TV Week in Review #18 (11/7/10) - HIMYM, Fringe & more!

Written by Nightfly on Wednesday, November 24 2010 and posted in Features

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

Nightfly's TV Week in Review #18 (week of 11/7/10)
written by Nightfly

A scintillating week of programming did not make my List selection easy this time.  Just as TNT most dominates my summer review lists, I've noticed FOX does the same in the fall - not quite as dramatically but certainly as consistently.  Readers who started with me this summer know there's no Sitcom List then, though this fall comedy season has been overwhelmingly dominated by CBS or FOX as well.  The pattern holds true this week, like so many times before, with FOX claiming most of my Scripted List and CBS missing complete ownership of my Sitcom List by only one slot.
Human Target returns this Wednesday to FOX (another of my favorite shows), and tonight I'll be catching the second season finale of Bored to Death on HBO.  Also premiering tonight, for those of the Red State persuasion, is TLC's much publicised Sarah Palin's Alaska.  And now onto this week's Top Scripted Shows List...
* Potential Spoilers Below *

6. The Good Guys - "The Getaway" (FOX)
Love is in the air as Jack and Liz finally get to spend some time together away from their jobs.  Matt Shakman (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) directs possibly the best episode of this series so far, featuring Liz's all-time best line, "now go bust me some punks, baby."  Michael Weston (House, Six Feet Under) guest stars as a bed and breakfast owner that Jack (using Dan's three question rule) deduces is a punk.  Mild-mannered Derek Richardson (Men in Trees) and fiery Alicia Lagano (Believe in Me) also guest as a deadly brother and sister pair intent on killing our guys!  Luckily, Liz Traynor (smoking hot in this episode) saves Jack's and Dan's lives by the act of forgiving Jack for Dan's presence!  Dan's "alien torture music from the future" line made me laugh out loud, but I was doin' a lot of that already with this one.  If you haven't seen many or any of these epis till now, this is the one to see.  Jenny Wade is simply sublime.
Jenny Wade
Jenny Wade as A.D.A. Liz Traynor in "The Getaway"

5. Boardwalk Empire - "Hold Me in Paradise" (HBO)

While Nucky's away, Eli gets shot (shotgunned, actually).  Christopher McDonald (Deep in the Valley) guests as Nuck's liaison to Warren G. Harding in this lushly directed installment by Brian Kirk (My Boy Jack).  Enid Graham (Margot at the Wedding) gets noteworthy screentime as Rose negotiates with Nelson over artificial insemination.  Nucky asks Jimmy to come home and help defend Atlantic City as all out war prepares to break out.  Gretchen Mol shines as usual and Geoff Pierson (Dexter, Grace Under Fire) as Senator Edge is superbly intense.  The episode ends with Margaret seeing black and white evidence that Nuck is, inarguably, a criminal boss.

4. Fringe - "6955 kHz" (FOX)

The real life mystery of Numbers Stations is spotlighted in this week's chilling tale, engrossingly directed by Joe Chappelle (Phantoms).  The Bishops and Astrid are awesome and, as per usual, Torv is amazingly great!  Kevin Weisman (Alias) creepily guests as a shapeshifter working with Altlivia.  Comely voice actress Paula Lindberg (Shakugan no Shana, Mobile Suit Gundam 00), and, Clark Middleton (Sin City) also guest in an epi with plenty of Nina (Blair Brown, Altered States).  I like seeing Nina more now that Walter owns Massive Dynamic.  Walter shoves his doubts aside and eventually helps Peter tackle the universe in his own distinct way, while Altlivia undeniably learns our Peter and Walter are not the villains she'd believed.  Creation and destruction ready their dance as Olivia decides to come home.
* If you'd like to hear Numbers Station broadcasts for yourself, you can listen to four cds worth of mp3s of them here (click on The Conet Project audio files and/or read the 79 pg pdf about the phenomenon).
Anna Torv
Anna Torv in "6955 kHz"

3. Hawaii Five-0 - "Mana'o" (CBS)

Dano's emotionally supercharged when his former partner's body is burned and displayed as a message.  Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse) touchingly guests as the ex-partner's widow, seeking Danny's help to free her husband's memory of corruption charges.  Detective Kaleo (Jason Scott Lee, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) framed her husband so thoroughly he wouldn't even get a police funeral (in full dress).  Bronson Pinchot (True Romance), Will Yun Lee (Die Another Day), Homaika'i Brown (50 First Dates), and Jon Seda (Close to Home) contribute to the action in this exciting and dramatic episode penned by Lost scribes Zbyszewski & Galasso.  Caan is at his most impressive - the tie finally comes off - and Lachman's tearful scenes moved me deeply.  Excellent entry, definitely not to be missed.
Scott Caan
Scott Caan as Dano

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

Steph's not-so-kind parents drop by for a surprise visit in this week's insightfully directed episode by David Paymer (The American President).  Cybill Shepherd (Cybill) and Bruce McGill (Rizzoli & Isles) passive-aggressively guest star just as a gang of home invaders is terrorizing local residents.  Jim tries to spend 48hrs "off the clock and crime free" but can't desist when one of Daphne's schoolmates is victimized at gunpoint.  Daphne's mind reading powers expand to include psychometry, J.J. wins her gramps' car, and by the end of the epi a new sense of freedom and joy inspire the girls to dance!!  Sensational!  A warmly spirited, painfully familiar, entry most certainly among this series' best!  And yes, Autumn Reeser's irresistibly sweet, as always.
No Ordinary Visitors
No Ordinary Family on ABC

1. SGU: Stargate Universe - "The Greater Good" (SyFy)

"A mystery rooted in the foundation of reality, a puzzle with pieces scattered across the length and breadth of the universe itself", the pursuit of which drives Destiny's ancient-and-ongoing mission.  Kathleen Munroe (Survival of the Dead) returns as Dr. Amanda Perry whose presence ultimately leads the crew to discovering the bridge.  Robert Knepper (Heroes) and beautiful Julie McNiven (Carlito's Way: Rise to Power) raise the bar with their uncomfortably grim exchanges.  The truth comes out that Rush has full control of Destiny's systems and has known the ship's mission for some time.  Young and Rush collide over the greater imperative; getting home as soon as possible, or getting to where Destiny's been taking them thus far?  Irregardless, the trust level increases between them.  The astonishing episode ends with Simeon (Knepper) entering Ginn's room uninvited, menacing Amanda who's still in Ginn's body.  If he does what some shows would have him do, there's an airlock waiting with his name on it.

Guilty Pleasure Award
- Terriers - "Asunder" (FX)

Umm,.. I have to admit I don't get it.  Most "tear in my beer" country songs are more cheerful than this series.  It makes me crave the lightheartedness of Six Feet Under.  I've referenced The Walking Dead's sluggish pace not matching Bored to Death's... well I also fear Terriers is less optimistic than TWD!  Katie comes clean about her one-night stand this week in a less than sensitive manner, blaming Britt for the mistake she made (iirc for being "too happy").  Britt appears to break up with her but I wouldn't bet on this series being that kind.  Hank saves journalist Laura Ross (Alison Elliot, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) from Zeitlin (Michael Gaston, Jericho, Rubicon) as her and Hank's cases cross paths.  Being a loyal viewer of this series, haven't missed an episode, who doesn't get early screeners I can only guess at what nightmares await these characters next.  An STD could be interesting, or they could pull that ol' *car crashes into drivers side out of the blue* gag!  Whatever awaits them, I'm sure it won't be happy.
Guest Star of the Week: Cary Elwes on Psych (USA)

Trivia Question of the Week:
Jon Seda and Michael Shannon appear on my Scripted List this week for their respective roles on Hawaii Five-0 & Boardwalk Empire.
Name the film in which both share acting credits with (director) Michael Bay?
Michael Shannon & Jon Seda
Michael Shannon & Jon Seda

Current Medal Standing:
Dragavon: superman

~ Last week's answer: Comanche Moon  {Winner: Dragavon}
* Outstanding Sitcoms *

4. Eastbound & Down - "Chapter 13" (HBO)
Jody Hill hit a homerun with his second brilliantly directed season finale, bringing sassy Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly) back as April.  Finding April pregnant & seemingly with a new partner sends Kenny into a tailspin of depression as Stevie simultaneously realizes his marriage to Maria may not prove as blissful as he'd dreamed.  The emotional range of this goofy series has always been impressive and here it drives the action whole hog.  John Hawkes (Deadwood), Jennifer Irwin (Still Standing), and Andrew Daly (Life as We Know It) reprise their Shelby roles and, of course, 'The Panty Dropper' makes some waves.  Considering Kenny's rollercoaster ride of emotions this epi, much less this whole turbulent season, it closes on a very hopeful note.  The entire ensemble shines here, particularly Mixon and McBride.

3. $#*! My Dad Says - "The Manly Thing to Do" (CBS)

Veteran screen actor John Mahoney (Frasier, Striking Distance) compellingly guests as Ed's beloved old Navy pal Wally.  After making fast friends with Tim, Wally becomes sharply intolerant when he learns that Tim is gay.  Ed's failure to rebuke his old friend causes Tim to immediately quit and walk out.  Shatner and Bagley anchor the laughs in this commanding and heartfelt example of what real men [should] do.  Sam Pancake (Barry Munday) brings light to the mix as Ed chooses to break up with his lover 'silence'.  Don't fear a soapbox 'cause there are no villains here... just a reminder that friends are expected to stick up for each other, even if it's against other friends.
* I've been meaning to retract a previous statement for a couple weeks, and after this epi I believe I really must... suffice it to say, I'd no longer trade this series back for Old Christine.
The Manly Thing to Do
Bill Shatner, John Mahoney, Jonathan Sadowski, & Tim Bagley

2. Rules of Engagement - "Les-bro" (CBS)

The rubicon is crossed for both Russell and the Bingham's this week signaling major life changes for them all.  Timmy meddles with Russell's Mother-Son bond with financially tragic results.  To help him grow up, Bunny (Joan Collins, Dynasty) cuts Russell off from his trust fund wealth and free apartment pretty much all 'cause he wanted a hug - due to Timmy's influence.  Casey Sander (Mad Men, Grace Under Fire) elevates the humor guesting in Adam's "big guy's nite", while lovely Sara Rue (Less Than Perfect) offers the gift of surrogacy to Audrey and Jeff.  I'm a big fan of Rue's and am very happy she's joining this show I already love so much.  My only complaint about this fantastic epi is that it was seriously lacking Bianca Kajlich.  I will not be happy if the addition of Brenda (Rue) leads to less Jen - she's too cool a character to be so often underused.

1. How I Met Your Mother - "Natural History" (CBS)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it's certainly a significant moment in time when Lily reaccesses her future with Marshall.  A cab ride conversation combined with a new GNB contract prompt a confession from Marshall to having different dreams than he had in college.  No longer longing to join the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), he asks Lily to adjust to this new reality and to forgive him for maintaining the lie for so long (two and a half years).  Barney & Robin have fun touching everything in the Natural History Museum until their hijinx uncover the history of Barney's real dad.  I'm glad Robin was the one there with him for such a staggering revelation.  Jennifer Morrison movingly returns as Zoey with Kyle MacLachlan (Desperate Housewives, Twin Peaks) guest starring as her husband 'The Captain'.  Thanks to an architectural design, 'Galactic President Superstar McAwesomeville' (a.k.a. Ted) proves he really is a "good guy" earning the respect of Zoey in the process.  The conundrum between 'Corporate' or 'College' Marshall is resolved when Lily realizes all versions give her their all.  Marshall's off-handed question, "can you imagine if our college selves saw us like this?" leads to one of the best installments of this series ever.  Epic acting by all. Legendary.
Josh Radnor, Alyson Hannigan, & Jason Segel in "Natural History"


*Reality Shows *

3. The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection - "Iman's Career in Fashion" (Bravo)
Supermodel Iman (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) launched this season of Isaac Mizrahi's designer-runway show with herself as the designer's inspiration.  Twelve contestants followed an introductory fashion show by being split into one of two fashion house teams.  While House of Nami (Iman spelled backwards) takes a modern sophisticated approach, House of Emerald Syx was awash in color.  Team E-Syx initially wanted to name themselves after the number six for the number of teammates at hand, ironically, team member Calvin Tran shoots that idea down by correctly predicting they'd lose a member that nite - which they did.  Designers and business partners Golnessa and Cindy entertained, as did By Francine owner and lead designer Francine Simmons.  Laura Brown and Rachel Roy guest judge and ultimately send Francine home; somebody's gotta be the first.  I'm sure we'll see Simmons on the show again, one way or another, before season's end.  The egos of some of these designers is outlandish, almost purposefully extreme for affect.  The first season of this series was fun, I expect this one will be fun too!
Rachel Roy, Isaac Mizrahi, Iman, & Laura Brown

2. Top Chef: Just Desserts - "Ben and Sylvia's 61st" (Bravo)

Cherished memories in chocolate and four cakes celebrating love liberated this series from my Guilty Pleasure slot it's so long called its home.  Godiva chocolate fuels the Quickfire Challenge pledging to sell the winner's 4-piece set of confections.  The challenge is is to tell their life stories, including their most cherished moment, in four pieces of Godiva-based chocolate.  François Payard guest judges [coincidentally] awarding that prize to his former student Morgan.  The Elimination Challenge required the final four to each bake a cake for Sylvia Weinstock's sixty-first wedding anniversary.  Though Morgan came very close, Danielle most pleased the famous Cake Queen earning an extra fifteen-thousand dollars as a bonus!  Zac was sent home for a somewhat garish effort that he himself called  a "cake-wreck."
* Morgan's Godiva chocolates Gift Box is available for purchase here.

1. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team 5 (CMT)

Showgroup auditions, beauty makeovers, elimination! Oh, my!  Two new members earn spots on the prestigious Showgroup traveling team; Rookie Mia Greenhouse earns a full-fledged spot on the team while camp candidate Olivia Stevanovski earns placement as an alternate.  Lovely-haired Stevanovski's singled out as Kelli's makeover hazing victim this season, jokingly told she'd look best in a bowl cut. (hehe)  Makeovers consist of hair, makeup, teeth, and spray tan attention.  Liz Reuter, Paula Tabares, and classy Rachel Buckmaster are called back into Kelli's office; Liz (whose hair was drastically darkened) is again told to lose weight, Tabares is told to work harder, and sadly Buckmaster doesn't make the cut.  Rachel's not even invited to try back again next year.  Composed, as always, Rachel's almost moved to tears by Finglass' obvious emotion but she departs without crying or melodrama.  Bringing the drama next episode will be Kitty Carter who's well known for not mincing words.

Dramas very nearly making this week's Scripted List included; Private Practice, Dexter, Grey's Anatomy, Nikita, The Good Wife, and House.  Sitcoms most close to being honored were 30 Rock, Running Wilde, Bored to Death, and Two and a Half MenThe Walking Dead didn't come close to making my list this week but I've not given up on it yet.  My PBS station isn't airing Moffat's Sherlock tonight, so I'm afraid that won't be reviewed this week either (as it wasn't reviewed last week as well).

Great thanks once again to folks following me on twitter and reading my columns here, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.  Today starts just my nineteenth week writing these reviews and I can tell I've learned a lot along the way.  Your being with me on this ride has made it entirely more enjoyable!  I couldn't do it without your support.  See you next week (or tomorrow with another Daily Update)!


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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