Outhouse tvphile Nightfly highlights some of his favorite shows from the previous week of television.
Nightfly's TV Week in Review #4 (week of 8/1/10)
written by Nightfly
August ushered in my most action-packed list to date. Every (scripted & reality) show made my home theater roar! TNT matched the USA channel's previous dominance by this week claiming half my six (6) scripted slots - with shows that'd not previously graced my list. The fact that Leverage, a most beloved series, has only just made my column bespeaks how lush this summer season has been. Virtually every week new series debut. This upcoming Thurs (8/12) TLC's American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior premieres, but that's still a few days away.
I added a new feature to my column, "Guest Star of the Week." Honorees will not be restricted to review listed shows.
* Potential Spoilers Below *
5 & 6. Dark Blue - "Urban Garden" / "Liar's Poker" (TNT)
My new favorite *balls out* cop show. Bruckheimer does The Shield (but with attractive people) and I love it. Though Tricia Helfer's savvy addition hooked me it was the well-written, high quality production overall that reeled me in. The two episodes comprising the premiere were right up my alley. "Urban Garden" introduced Helfer's FBI character, and in the afterglow of sleeping together, "Liar's Poker" revealed she'll be McDermott's [joint task force] boss from here out. Jordana Brewster's guest role was a sweet surprise. In all honesty, I was shocked at how good this premiere was. I can't wait to catch up on the season I (foolishly) missed.
Dylan McDermott & Tricia Helfer
4. Covert Affairs - "No Quarter" (USA)
Piper & Oded's fun pairing made this explosive episode "must see." Allan Kroeker is one of my favorite tv directors and together with James Parriott, a favorite producer, delivered the coolest episode yet. I've asked for more Dudek throughout, now, I'll add a request for Emmanuelle Vaugier's role to be enlarged too. And not to belabor the point but I simply can't imagine anyone but Kari Matchett in her role.
3. Burn Notice - "Center of the Storm" (USA)
One of the strongest epis this season. Every cast member shined, the meta-arc (Jesse's story) advanced, a talented guest star (Jon Seda) contributed dramatic authenticity, and the main action revolved around Michael putting himself between rival hitmen. Seda's role was engrossing and I hope to see 'Cole' again, perhaps in Antigua. Simon looms.
2. Leverage - "The Boost Job" (TNT)
The spectacular ladies of Leverage (Gina Bellman & Beth Riesgraf) boosted this episode onto my list. Nate's nitro-burnin', EMP armed track race was greatly entertaining for a gearhead like me. My favorite 'jobs' involve a focus on gadgets and an emphasis on the ladies (particularly Parker), and this one brought ample amounts of both to the party. Guest stars Bill Engvall & Malese Jow ("Shorty") were engaging.
1. True Blood - "Hitting The Ground" (HBO)
Delicious, indeed. It's funny how similar Melissa Rauch's (cute as a button) 'Summer' is to her role on The Big Bang Theory - oh, would I like to eat her biscuits. While Lorena's death was overdue I will honestly miss her dark passion & tawdry vices. As a Brit Morgan fan I was happy her character was spared. Tara's fierce protectiveness of Sookie has been nothing short of heroic lately - as has Sam's defense of his younger brother. The royal wedding was romantic, not... though Evan Rachel Wood continues to captivate. Of course Sookie was the inarguable star of the episode. The power of her love, strength, and dedication to Bill was fully on display, but she sure paid a bloody price for it. Is our sassy southern belle some kind of wood nymph? Was it just a dream? The mystery deepens.
Guilty Pleasure Award - Work of Art/The Next Great Artist - "Natural Talents" (Bravo)
Though glad to see Jaclyn go, I never expected Nicole to get the boot. If this series gets another season I'd really prefer new judges. I certainly would've never picked Peregrine, Abdi, and Miles to be the final three?!? This weekly "award" is supposedly for shows "I can't quit", however, I'm thinking I can probably quit on these uninspiring finalists. I just can't imagine mustering enough mental energy to care what kind of artistically empty box Miles nails together to win, since I do predict he'll win it all (cuz the judges are entirely that whack). My devotion to China Chow will surely be the only thing that keeps me around.
* New Feature *
Guest Star of the Week: Allison Scagliotti on Eureka (SyFy)
~ Retroactive Guest Star Honorees;
Week 3: Freddie Prinze Jr. on Psych (USA) [week of 7/25]
Week 2: Brian Dennehy on Rizzoli & Isles (TNT) [week of 7/18]
Week 1: Melissa George on Lie To Me (FOX) [week of 7/11]
* Reality Shows *
3. Whale Wars - "A Bloody Trail" (Animal Planet)
This week, more than any other, this series lived up to its name. It appears to be all about ramming each other now. And with crazy Pete Bethune preppin' to parachute onto the factory ship, play time is definately over. The Bob Barker's Captain and crew really showed bravery and skill pushing through that nightmarish storm. Its cameras captured some stupendous storm footage as it fell, between waves, from heights of approx. 15-20 feet. As oafish as the Sea Shepherds get sometimes, this week they really came through for the whales and demonstrated the effectiveness that keeps the whalers annually increasing their aggressiveness. I can't wait till next week when Watson and the Steve Irwin, complete with air support, join the fight!
2. James May's Toy Stories - "Model Airplane" (BBC-America)
James' Toy Stories are nothing if not ambitious. This time his goal was to build a 1:1 Supermarine Spitfire fighter airplane using the same molds (though enlarged) as the first assembled model kit of his youth. Employing the help of school kids, as well as his dad, James succeeds in bringing the Airfix Spitfire to full scale life! I don't know why, and not that it really matters, but episodes are being shown out of order here. This toy story was the series' premiere when it debuted in Great Britain.
1. Top Gear: The Lost Episodes (BBC-America)
This thrilling episode was a Ferrari lovers dream! Clarkson showcased the Ferrari that Stig drove to his fastest (pre-Veyron) laptime, a Ltd. Edition Ferrari Enzo F60 named after Ferrari's founder, and owned by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason. Later Jeremy conducted a (subjective) comparitive study between supercars from Tony Blair's era vs. ones from Margaret Thatcher's. The Jaguar XJ220, McLaren F1, and Jeremy's all-time favorite Ferrari, the F40 were Mrs. Thatcher's champions, while a Pagani Zonda, Porsche Carrera GT, and, Ferrari F60 were Mr. Blair's. Primarily due to computer chip "interference" Thatcher's supercars "won" Clarkson's experiment.
Geri Halliwell was this week's "star in a reasonably priced car", and told a humorous story about her dog urinating in Tony Blair's office.
Ltd. Edition Ferrari Enzo F60
Lists as select as mine unfortunately leave numerous quality shows, for various reasons, routinely unmentioned. Two such shows very worthy of recognition debuted this past week; Stan Lee's Superhumans on The History Channel & Rubicon (an analytical spy thriller) on AMC. Do yourself a favor and check 'em out.
Speaking of shows not officially on my list,... I guess I picked the right week to finally give Rookie Blue a try. Andy (Missy Peregrym) McNally killed her first bad guy, with multiple point blank rounds to the chest, and Missy's poignant acting post-incident ensured my viewership henceforth.
My new "Guest Star of the Week" feature is yet another attempt to more fully give credit where credit is due - as most shows cast exceptional guests on a regular basis (especially during sweeps) and I want a way to honor those appearances even if a given episode might miss my list (in total).
Sincere thanks for your continued interest in this column and I hope to see you again next week for my fifth installment!