Senior TV Columnist Nightfly recaps & reviews his favorite shows from the previous week of primetime programming.
TV Week in Review: Katy Perry Edition (week of 2/6/11)
This week more than most a good many thesps were in contention for Guest Star of the Week. My choice is perhaps arguable but I think it undeniable that (Outhouser's Co-Hottest Babe of 2010) Katy Perry's charming turn on one of tv's highest rated sitcoms, as well as her songs gracing not one, but two, landmark Glee episodes this week (and performing on the Grammys last nite) make the case this was definitely her week. The Science Channel surprised me by displacing Top Gear (proper), taking my top Reality spot for the second week in a row - a feat not nearly as great as topping TG. Unsurprisingly, NBC & CBS split the Sitcom category slots, and FOX (as it so often does) claims Scripted List dominance garnering half of my six top (6) spots. To compile this column I watched no less than 24 different hour long scripted shows, 11 sitcoms (two less than I'd planned), and 7 hour long reality shows...totalling 36.5 hours; slightly less than usual since Sunday was mostly barren for the Super Bowl. Now onto my picks...
* Potential Spoilers Below *
6. V - "Concordia" (ABC)
When I mention a director's name in my reviews it's obviously because their efforts impressed me, when I start off my review mentioning a director it's because they (at very least) hit a homerun. Here, director Jesse Warn (Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Legend of the Seeker) engrossingly helms this turning point episode richly written by series Co-Executive Producer David Rambo (CSI). For those who haven't kept up, the red rain Anna recently dosed the Earth with began a process by which all women on the planet were readied to become future V breeders. This week, framed as global urban renewal, Anna announces the construction of thousands of "Concordia" structures to be built across the world presented as centers of learning while, in fact, they're landing platforms for the V's imminent invasion force. Nicholas Lea returns as Ty's father Joe Evans, Agent Bolling (Jay Karnes) formally requests to investigate Erica, and Ryan (Morris Chestnut) initiates a plan he shockingly thwarts at the last minute (for his daughter). Oded Fehr again adds extra drama, as does newly introduced Kerry (played by Ona Grauer, Stargate Universe). The drama is very impactful in this episode. Marcus' chances of survival are slim.
Morena Baccarin as Anna in "Concordia"
5. The Cape - "Goggles and Hicks" (NBC)
Director Deran Sarafian (House, BtVS) ponders the question of whether The Cape is a superhero; or a just a circus act? Pruitt Taylor Vince (Deadwood, The Legend of 1900) and Chad Lindberg (The Last Samurai, BtVS) play Goggles and Hicks, an assassination team hired by Fleming to kill The Cape and retrieve the mystical garment. Dana (Jennifer Ferrin, Life on Mars) confronts Chief of Police Marty about ignoring Vincent's investigation, Vinnie Jones returns in the role of Scales, and Izabella Miko (as usual) steals all the scenes she's in. Additional highlights include the introduction of Trip's new friend (Gerry), the bumblebee scene, Fleming's getting a strand of the Cape, and some fond memories of the Hong Kong Phooey and Super Friends vs. the Legion of Doom cartoons. Easily one of my favorite entries from this series' freshman season.
* Rather than a standard pic from this week's epi I thought you'd prefer this newly released shot (and irresistible accompanying video) from Summer's photoshoot for Esquire. The video is aptly titled, "A Woman We Love: Summer Glau"... enjoy.
Summer Glau for Esquire
4. Glee - "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle" (FOX)
Glee's mid-season hiatus ended with a bang, returning with this (bonus) post-Super Bowl episode that earned ratings unseen for a scripted show in at least the last three years. Apropos, the football players, their championship game and its halftime show are the main focus of the story, opening with what cast called "the scariest, most dangerous, most spectacular cheerios segment ever." Songs by Destiny's Child, Lady Antebellum, The Zombies, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Katy Perry, and Michael Jackson get covered in this signature epi penned by series co-creator (& original conceiver of Glee) Ian Brennan, smashingly directed by fellow series co-creator Brad Falchuk, and featuring guest Katie Couric as herself. Fans of Sue and/or the Cheerios will not want to miss this event episode in which Sue's stars unanimously quit. Finn/Quinn shippers (such as myself) are given a huge ray of hope in this entry. Great Episode! Felix the Cat gets some love. I particularly enjoyed the Katy Perry inspired opening.
* In case you were making a snack during this commercial, here's a link to Glee's Chevy Cruze spot (via YouTube) in which Lea & the cast revamp Chevy's classic theme. Chevy is sponsoring Glee's upcoming sixteen city summer tour, so do them and yourself a favor by checking this rousing rendition out.
* Because this is the Katy Perry edition of my column I decided to link to the following bonus California Gurls videos for your enjoyment. Firstly, the epi's flamboyant opening Cheerios scene. Secondly, here's the song's official video (w/ Snoop); and finally my favorite cover/homage of the tune, "Geek and Gamer Girls Song" by Team Unicorn (w/ Seth Green). And just for fun here's an extra bonus Behind the Scenes clip from the episode!
Rivera, Morris, & Agron in "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle"
3. No Ordinary Family - "No Ordinary Double Standard" (ABC)
Bridges are built and clear lines are crossed in this extraordinarily entertaining episode showcasing the long-awaited merging of both camps - the girls at the lab and the boys in their lair. Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad) guest stars as Steph's friend Lena, whose assault launches a gender rivalry in competition to solve her case. Regretfully, this epi twice demonstrates that mental powers lead to serious interpersonal violations; here, Josh unilaterally removes damning knowledge he doesn't want Katie to have, and, Daphne realizes her powers include a Jedi like power of suggestion she uses on a thief and then later on her dad. Genre director Paul Edwards (Human Target, Lost) expertly realizes this first NOF script by Sallie Patrick (Life Unexpected) featuring guest Ethan Suplee as Tom Seeley, a disgruntled former patient of Dr. King's now able to turn into mist. Another exceptionally enjoyable installment, with outstanding performances by all! This series just keeps getting better! Will Steph be able to look past her mentor to see the villain Dr. King really is?
Julie Benz as Stephanie Powell in "No Ordinary Double Standard"
2. Glee - "Silly Love Songs" (FOX)
Impressive. I can hardly praise this episode enough. If I worked off a numbered system I'd give it a 10 out of 10! The regular characters are well-served, the Warblers break out of their shell, and any episode with McCartney's "Silly Love Songs" and Michael's "P.Y.T." so marvelously performed simply can't be beat. Mercedes drops wisdom, Santana is sublime, Tina breaks down, the relationships between Finn, Quinn, Sam, Puck, Zizes, and Rachel are poignantly moved forward, and (on a personal note) Blaine just became one of my new favorite characters on the show. I hope the look between Sam & Santana turns into something. Last season I originally thought Quinn would end up with Finn because of the good-natured person he is, I still believe that, in part, but this week's episodes showed me that Quinn will choose Finn because he sees who she (really) is. As I see it, Sam's assessment of Quinn's motivations - in contrast to Finn's faith in her in the Super Bowl epi - was the beginning of the end of their relationship. Director Tate Donovan handles the character drama brilliantly while also delivering the awesome Gap Attack, Kevin & Harry's magnificent MJ homage, Jenna's funny serenade, Lea's sensational take on Katy Perry, Fink & Naya's fight, and ending with what I've always considered the world's greatest love song - dedicated to all the singles out there. Hopefully Tate will direct many more Glee epis in the future! Colfer & Criss are superb.
* Here are a few bonus clips I've found on the web. First Darren Criss' amazing version of Robin Thicke's "When I Get You Alone," second, a behind the scenes clip from the episode, and lastly Katy Perry's official video for "Firework" (a song I consider pop-music's most inspirational since Aguilera's "Beautiful").
Lea Michele as Rachel in "Silly Love Songs"
1. Human Target - "Marshall Pucci" (FOX)
Varma and Valley produce stunning performances in this second season finale, especially Indira (as Ilsa), finally learning the truth surrounding her husband's murder and that he was never less than the faithful, loving man she knew. Guerrero ruthlessly takes it to the next level to protect his son and puts his embattled Eldo to final rest with an explosive & merciless send-off. Outstanding guests Jake Weber (Medium), gorgeous Emily Foxler (Legend of the Seeker), and, Steven Brand (Mistresses) as Marshall Pucci help complete the grand puzzle and deliver extra intensity to this heartwrenching ender. I'll miss this series' high-octane action and home theater engaging heroics, but I'll miss the incredibly layered characters & talented cast that brought them to life most of all. Christopher Chance (co-created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino) instantly became one of my all-time favorite TV characters and will ever remain so. Indira Varma & Janet Montgomery were lovely additions to the cast and made the series even better in my book. I wholeheartedly wish this series gets to come back for another season.
* The Temper Trap's emotional song "Love Lost" ends the hopeful finale, see it's official pulse-pounding video here.
Mark Valley & Indira Varma in "Marshall Pucci"
Guilty Pleasure Award - Star Wars: The Clone Wars - "Ghosts of Mortis" (TOON)
As the Force-wielder Father on Mortis lays his beloved Daughter to rest, his darkside-fueled Son now seeks to steal the Jedi's ship to escape the Mortis monolith-world. Liam Neeson once more voices Qui-Gon Jinn and early Ralph McQuarrie designs are used for the lava-filled Well of the Dark Side. Shockingly, Anakin is given a glimpse into his future by the dark Son (including key moments from the film saga [animated here] as well as a powerful invocation of Vader's helmet). The Father removes the corrupting future knowledge from Ani, then selflessly ends his own life thereby eliminating the source of his Son's power. Though the anchorite Father dies heartbroken, he passes sharing Qui-Gon's belief that Ani is indeed The Chosen One destined to bring balance to The Force and the galaxy. This riveting episode officially ends the mysterious Mortis arc.
* Unsurprisingly, the SW:Clone Wars Episode Guide pages are among the best offered on the web. Take a look at this week's here.
Son and Ani in "Ghosts of Mortis"
Guest Star of the Week: Katy Perry on How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
NPH & Katy Perry in HIMYM
Trivia Question of the Week: For which family sitcom did Katy Perry last grace Nightfly's WiR column? [answered]
Current Medal Standing:
~ Last week's answer: Psych (Winner: misac)
* Outstanding Sitcoms *
4. Two and a Half Men - "Three Hookers and a Philly Cheesesteak" (CBS)
If you've ever wondered how a Ponzi scheme works, Co-Executive Producer Eddie Gorodetsky & Supervising Producer Jim Patterson write the how-to to watch. James Widdoes (The Bill Engvall Show, 8 Simple Rules) directs this highly transformational epi delivering ample screentime for Gordon the pizza guy (J.D. Walsh, Dharma & Greg) who figures out Rose's secret regarding Manny, and Alan who unintentionally begins a Ponzi scheme from the investment loans given him by family and friends. Epis with Rose will always be among my favorites and this one conforms to that norm. Herb's now sleeping in Judith's guest room so (perhaps) seeds are being laid for the show continuing around he and Alan. Alan undeniably undergoes a change in this entry, whether or not it sticks is a question that remains to be seen.
J.D. Walsh & Melanie Lynskey in "Three Hookers and a Philly Cheesesteak"
3. 30 Rock - "Double-Edged Sword" (NBC)
The double-edged sword of similarity is explored via the relationships of Jack & Avery and Liz & Carol, while Tracy faces the different but equally dangerous double-edged sword of success. Jack and Avery find themselves trapped in Canada, trying to flee with Avery deeply in labor, hoping to make it to America in time for the birth. L.L. & Carol face a desperate collision of roles when Carol's plane is trapped for numerous hours on the tarmac, and Tracy feels trapped by the social demands EGOT level stars must endure. Damon, Banks, and John Cho are remarkably funny and humorous shout-outs are given to Denzel in Crimson Tide, Shatner's airplane episode of The Twilight Zone, and Zack Snyder's Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (which I own on dvd). FTR, sans the ironic theme, I'd be a fan of "Gals on the Town" based on the three lady leads (Aisha Tyler, Teri Polo, and Lindsay Price) all of whom I love. I happily recommend this hilarious episode!
Elizabeth Banks as Avery in "Double-Edged Sword"
2. Parks and Recreation - "Ron & Tammy: Part Two" (NBC)
Easily one of my favorite entries ever from this series, and undoubtedly the kraziest show of the week (if not season). Megan Mullally reprises her role as Swanson's ex-wife Tammy (a.k.a. the devil), just checking in to make sure Ron's life is made miserable. Legendary Tucker Gates directs this uproarious outing in which Chris invites April to work for him in Indianapolis, Wendy & Ron breakup, and Tom's romantic vendetta against Ron unleashes Mullally's "manipulative, psychotic, library-book-pedaling, sex-crazed, she-demon" who eventually upturns Ron's mind and beats Tom down quite severely. Offerman fans must-see this episode, Ron Swanson has never been funnier, I laughed out loud repeatedly. On any other week, not fated to be Katy Perry's, Mullally would've earned my Guest Star of the Week for this riotous performance. You should see it.
* Lionel Richie's gravity-defying "Dancing On The Ceiling" will forever be remembered by me now as the tune Ron danced with the devil to. Enjoy its dancetastic video, guest starring Cheech Marin & Rodney Dangerfield (in a Felix the Cat cap), here.
Megan Mullally & Nick Offerman in "Ron & Tammy: Pt.2"
1. How I Met Your Mother - "Oh Honey" (CBS)
The Eriksen family has had its share of sadness recently, but this week they joyously helped an epic relationship bloom. Though I may be jumping the gun, I did call Zoey (as) 'the one' after her very first appearance. If Jennifer Morrison isn't 'the one', at this point, I think it'd be a very wrong move for the series. Pin-up pop star Katy Perry guests as sweet yet gullible Honey, immediately convincing me she (like Morrison) could lead her own sitcom if she wanted to. This entry is a real showcase for Morrison as Zoey's emotions and personal upheaval are touchingly brought to the surface. Most series would be blessed to have a Valentine's Day epi half as glorious as this one, but this was only their preamble -- the real Valentine's story is still to come. In a roundabout way Katy Perry served as a kind of (early) cupid, her appearance acting as the arrow that finally sealed their union. If, like me, you've been watching & waiting to meet the Mother and to see how Ted ever Met her, this entry is not to be missed. Jennifer Morrison.
Jennifer Morrison, Katy Perry, & Josh Radnor in "Oh Honey"
* Reality Shows *
3. American Chopper: Sr. vs. Jr. - "Fired" (DSC)
Yet another show ending without assured renewal (a definite pattern among my favorites), though at least this one went out on a ratings high. Apparently high schools in the area now habitually schedule both shops for tours and this time Paul Sr. gives student Alicia Cawley a photo of just he and Paulie to give to Junior. Naturally, Jr. doesn't have a sane context in which to interpret the gesture, but ideally it's a sign Senior's thinking about his son outside of his legal efforts to destroy him. Odie mouths off one too many times resulting in Junior firing him, to which Vinnie says "I'm surprised it took so long." Before their triumphant double-unveil at Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company, the PJD family enjoys some much needed vacation time swimming with dolphins. Considering their finale got ratings unseen since 2004 it's hard to believe the series won't be back in some form again for another season - as a fan from the beginning I'll be keeping my fingers crossed. Enjoy another look at this season's PJD creations here.
(Top) Giveaway Bike, (Below) Rachael on Corp. Theme Bike
2. Top Gear (BBC-America)
The one and only *proper* Top Gear returned this week with its sixteenth season, debuting a brand new Stig fresh from the Stig Farm. None other than Capt. Slow launches the first segment of the season assessing the superfast $160k Ariel Atom 500 V8. The new (34 day old) Stig drives the Atom 'round the TG track earning the fastest time on the Power Lap board, besting even the Bugatti Veyron. Jeremy spotlights the Czech Škoda Yeti, a decidedly different breed of "super" car, with beautiful Sienna Miller (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) popping by and a helicopter landing on its roof just 'cause it can. The Jaguar C-X75 is discussed in the News segment, and Hammond concludes the season opener with a highly unconventional race against a VW Beetle traveling at 125 mph versus a new Porsche 911. Comedian John Bishop guests as this week's Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.
(Top) Rare off-season look at the Stig Farm, (Bottom) Ariel Atom 500 V8
1. An Idiot Abroad - "Mexico" (SCI)
I'll admit it, I just can't get enough of watching Karl Pilkington stuck in exotic locales, forced to experience foreign cultures, saying the hilarious things he says. In this trip to Mexico to see the Mayan 'pyramid' site known as Chichen Itza he relentlessly quests for the elusive Mexican Jumping Bean, chokes down a tequila worm, dodges dangerous fireworks, gets teased by some Charros (Cowboys) and dances across the sacrificial Chichen Itza site singing the praises of Depeche Mode & The Human League. For all his amusing misery, Karl does enjoy his visit to Mexico and even claims its a place he could happily live (for a bit). Surely any freedom loving westerner can appreciate Karl's description(s) of Mexicans, "they do what they wanna do", and celebrating their free-spirited lifestyle, "they live the life they want to live." This epi had so many highlights, but I particularly loved the masked wrestling lesson and when he shared his food with the lizard. The Village People and Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain also gain mention. Below is a pic of Karl's uplifting U.K. brand of chips/crisps, they can be ordered (internationally) here.
* Aside from, or perhaps because of, the humorous context in which it was featured in the show I thought it only fair to offer you the official video of "Just Can't Get Enough" apart from the messy subject of torturous human sacrifice 'n such. Check out its video here.
Karl's spirit-lifting brand of crisps (Monster Munch)
This column was published notably later than usual and for that I apologize. Before getting to my Honorable Mentions I want to encourage my left coast readers to give tonight's Valentine's Day premiere of Mad Love a look, it'd be great if its winning cast scored a sweet debut rating.
Cast of Mad Love (CBS)
The dramas coming closest to making my Top 6 List were; Hellcats, Primeval, Fringe, Bones, H50, and Private Practice. Viewers who've followed Charlotte King's tortured storyline this season really don't want to miss the PP episode I've linked to. The sitcoms almost making it included $#*! My Dad Says, Rules of Engagement, Episodes, and the series premiere of Mr. Sunshine. Lastly, almost making my Reality Shows List were the season two premiere of Top Shot, a NASA-centric installment of What Not to Wear, and Face Off with legendary guest Michael Westmore (most known for creating two decades worth of aliens for Star Trek).
Thanks to all the readers who've been with me since the early columns and a warm welcome to new readers who may now just be finding me. :) This past week brought some very good television and I'm predicting this week will do the same. Be Well & Happy Viewing. Hope to see you again here next week and please consider retweeting my WiR to friends.
Written or Contributed by: Nightfly