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Nightfly's TV Week in Review #3 (Week of 7/25/10)

Written by Nightfly on Sunday, August 01 2010 and posted in Features

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

Nightfly's TV Week in Review #3  (week of 7/25/10)
written by Nightfly

The word this week is Chemistry.  Of the myriad ingredients found in television storytelling chemistry, between characters, is the one I value most.  It's why shows like Psych, Top Gear, Burn Notice, The Good Guys, and Rizzoli & Isles fare well on my list.  I find it to be the great equalizer.  No matter how big the stars or expensive the budget a show without character chemistry will fail.  Conversely, a super-thin script with almost no budget can easily be saved by a winning chemistry between characters (and/or actors). Just something I thought about while writing this week's column.
Interesting bit of trivia, the USA network dominated my scripted show list to a degree I doubt will soon be surpassed, claiming fully half of my six (6) slots.  It's not exactly new news that the USA channel rules summer.
* Potential Spoilers Below *

6. Covert Affairs (USA)

Annie's donut fight in the Ferrari was tight!  Perabo thoroughly owns this role and the regular cast continue to impress, especially Kari Matchett (Joan), Christopher Gorham (Auggie) & Anne Dudek (Danielle).  Dudek's sisterly scenes are always a treat and I'd love to see more of 'em.  Of the many shows I've followed Matchett on including Wonderfalls, Invasion, & ER to name a few, this is my favorite role for her by far.    

Kari Matchett
Kari Matchett as D.P.D. Chief Joan Campbell

5. Rizzoli & Isles (TNT)
Though longtime faves Harmon & McGill were the early draws to this series for me, it's the sexy 'n sublime Sasha Alexander (M.E. Maura Isles) who has unexpectedly become my favorite character on the show.  Maura's quirky & brainy and I can't get enough of her.  I was sad to see Lt. Grant (Donnie Wahlberg) go so soon after just getting to know him but it's not hard to predict he'll be back soon.  Congrats to R&I for being the #1 rated *new* series of the summer!

Donnie Wahlberg
Duddits Wants You to watch R&I

4. The Good Guys (FOX)
Extra funny, well directed episode this week.  Dan's undercover accent was hilarious & his choice in the end was admirable.  Mike Starr's guest role, as James Lipton might put it, was a delight.  Outhousers remain divided about this series but it makes me LOL every week, multiple times, and that's not nuthin.

3. Psych (USA)
Every new episode has become my favorite of the season so far.  Freddie Prinze Jr. was brilliantly cast and I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting he and his super-fine, BSG fanatic wife, Molly (Becky O'Donohue) to show up again soon.  Next time we totally have to see his Magic Room.  Outhouser's unanimously approve of Henry as department liason, while Corbin Bernsen keeps him as acerbic as ever.  This week's numerous fanboy nods were great & namedropping SDCC was awesome!  Starfish.

Becky ODonohue
Becky O'Donohue (American Idol s.5 contestant)

2. Burn Notice (USA)
Matt Nix is officially Mr. Summertime in the field of fun action-driven tv.  This week, pitiable fools thought it wise to kidnap Fiona - tsk tsk.  It's nice that Jesse's addition to the cast hasn't meant less scenes for Mike's mom Madeline (Sharon Gless).  Lately I've got a weird feeling Jesse (Coby Bell) won't be around next season, despite rumors to the contrary.  I could be wrong.

1. True Blood (HBO)
Not exactly the [cliffhanger] resolution I hoped for but this was still an outstanding episode.  Sookie questioning the King, Lafayette & Jesus, Tara's bold escape, and Eric's interactions with Edington & Queen Sophie-Anne rocketed this epi to the top of my list.  Vamp-King Russell (Denis O'Hare), Viking Prince/Sheriff Eric (Skarsgard), and, werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello) are really running away with this season.  I must admit Bill's fate and decisions thus far have perplexed me, as has Ball's determination to keep Bill & Sookie apart for so long?!?
* Hungering for more Bon Temps action? Rip into Bluestreak's interview 'n review of First Impressions: True Blood #1 (a new comic by IDW) here:

Guilty Pleasure Award - The Gates (ABC)
Being a diehard Rhona Mitra fan assures I'll ride this borefest out, but *wow* would some action be nice!?! (And occasional choking scenes don't count.)  Rumor has it ABC intended The Gates to be Desperate Housewives-with vampires, well, explosions, lingerie, gunshots, serial killers, & car chases are all to be found on,...FAIL.  One other reason I can't quit this horribly boring show is the surprisingly talented, 16yr old, Skyler Samuels who plays pubescent succubus Andie Bates.  Every other character on this suckfest, besides Mitra (Claire), could DIAF but I'd really like to see how Andie's story develops.

Skyler Samuels
Skyler Samuels as Andie Bates

* Best Reality Shows *

3. Whale Wars (Animal Planet)
I truly believe Special Olympians could do as good a job as these stooge Sea Shepherds.  I'm routinely aghast at the staggering ineptitude of these fools.  I fully support Admiral Watson's anti-whaling efforts but it continuously amazes me how unprofessional his volunteer crews are every year.  The (PTSD suffering) Aussie crew of the (sunken) Ady Gil really didn't represent themselves well this week.  Captain Pete Bethune, presently imprisoned in Japan, encouraged his crew's disrespectfulness and putting their interests ahead of the whales and as such I'm glad Bethune is currently out of the SS organization.

2. James May's Toy Stories (BBC-America)
James linked two towns, ten miles apart, with model railroad track in an attempt to set a world record for longest model train journey.  A handful of historic replica trains took the trip.  I don't wanna spoil it, but I will share that the prototype model of Britain's current bullet train fared best.  I've only seen a couple of these shows but I've really liked each one.  James May is a fascinating dude and this show is a wonderful way for non-gearheads to discover him.

1. Top Gear: The Lost Episodes (BBC-America)
Their fifth season opener, from 2004, finally airing in America!  The Porsche 911 Carerra S, Jaguar S-Type R, Vauxhall Monaro VXR, and, Chrysler 300C were featured; all of which I've enjoyed driving/racing in various Playstation video games.  Bill Bailey, sporting a cool Yoda t-shirt, was this week's "star in the reasonably priced car."  Top Gear is always great fun and I expect it to be listed here regularly.

Last week's decision to include [delayed] BBC-America programming certainly effected my Reality Show section.  It wasn't that the competition/game shows I usually watch were suddenly so bad - it's just that the shows listed now are substantially more worthwhile food for the brain, imo.  Contributing to this section's shakeup was Project Runway's disappointing eighth season opener which I found (to be) horribly misjudged.  A girl who could actually sew, and even made a cute dress to prove it, lost to a clown who stapled a poncho onto his model backwards?!  Umm,.. no.  Lifetime's canceling Models of The Runway also stinks as it would've likely been a mainstay of this list.

Thanks for your continued interest in this column and I hope to see you again next week for my fourth installment!

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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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