Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chuck Series Finale Review- With All Of My Heart

Chuck- "I was an assignment, and then you fell in love with me. And I know that sounds crazy, and if I didn't know any better I'd say it's crazy too, but the fact remains you fell for me, Sarah."
I have praised Chuck over the past five seasons for its ability to fuse comedy, action and heart into what I have dubbed here at TV Fanatic the Chuck Triple Threat.

This two-part series finale succeeded in making us laugh, and keeping us on the edge of our seat, but it was the overwhelming number of emotional triggers both "Chuck Versus Sarah" and "Chuck Versus the Goodbye" set off that made it an extremely satisfying ending.

At the outset. it seemed as if the whole "Sarah lost her memory and was going to be a problem" issue was resolved before it even started, but they flipped that scenario right on its head. Sarah, in fact, never got all of her memory back from what the intersect and Quinn did to her, which just gave us more time to watch Chuck attempt to jog it.

Right down to the final minutes of the series, Chuck was reminding Sarah - and the audience - of what great times these two have had together over the past five years. That final scene, which our Round Table panel predicted horribly wrong, was so darn fantastic.
To read the rest of my review of last night's Chuck series finale, head over to TV Fanatic.

Chuck 512 - "Chuck vs. Sarah"

Chuck 513 - "Chuck vs. the Goodbye"

Friday, January 27, 2012

30 Rock 604 Review- The Pagemaster

Liz- "What are those?"
Jenna- "Leaches. They're good for your skin, and I've lost tons of blood weight."
Who needs whom to survive in this crazy mixed up world 30 Rock has created over the years? "The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell" answered that question in the second episode of Thursday's 30 Rock double feature.

Liz Lemon and Jenna Maroney need each other as best friends. enna needs all of the attention, which Liz steals none of. Liz, on the other hand, needs someone to vent to, and since Jenna listens to nothing but her own voice, they work perfectly.

Thankfully for the viewer, they work great on the comedy side of things as well. Jenna as a successful star is great fun, especially when she brings her besties Charlie from "Charlie Bit My Finger," some Kardashian and Mankind to her dressing room.

It also helps when she makes ridiculous statements, such as you're nobody if PETA doesn't either love you or hate you.

Kenneth needs his job as a page, and Jack needs Kenneth as said page so that he can blame all of his stupid mistakes on somebody. No matter how many random series or episodes Not Kenneth brought up when someone said anything in front of it, the computer was no Kenneth! I mean, it wasn't even a redneck!
To read the rest of my review of last night's second 30 Rock episode, head over to TV Fanatic.

30 Rock 604 - "The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell"

30 Rock 603 Review- We Have A Magical Horse

Liz- "And now he's inserting himself into this."
Criss- "Well that's what she said but..."
As the first of two 30 Rock episodes this Thursday, "Idiots Are People Three" featured a lot laughs and served as a fitting conclusion to last week's "Idiots Are People Two."

Things picked back up with Pete passed out, Tracy and his fellow idiots out for Liz's livelihood and Jack out for her relationship. The first of which led to my favorite story of the episode.

Kelsey Grammer, fresh off of his Golden Globe victory for his dramatic work on Starz's Boss, was absolutely hilarious in his role as...Kelsey Grammer. It must be awesome to play yourself, especially a much more James Bond like version of yourself who calls everyone "baby."

I'm not sure which was better, Kelsey deciding to make up a one man play about Abraham Lincoln in order to distract the people of 30 Rock, or the fact that he pulled it off and everyone in the crowd loved his performance. Either way, the "Best Friends Gang" needs to stay together forever.
To read the rest of my review of last night's first of two 30 Rock's, head over to TV Fanatic.

30 Rock 603 - "Idiots Are People Three"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

One Tree Hill 903 Review- Hey You Lies!

Mouth- "The stupid dry cleaners shrunk another shirt. What is that, three now?"
If the opening moments of the One Tree Hill season 9 premiere didn't make it clear that these characters were going to face severe consequences over the next few weeks, then the final minutes of "Love the Way You Lie" certainly did.

Julian Baker, one of the few people in Tree Hill that we have been able to count on for stability over the past couple years, got a bit too excited about the prospect of producing a television show at his way too empty sound stage, and might be paying the ultimate price for it.

What, exactly, happened at the end there? Baby Davis was gone. Julian's car windows were smashed. There was a stretcher, cops and an ambulance at the scene. So was the baby stolen? Hurt? Worse? Whatever the case may be, this is the worst thing that Julian has ever done, and that is taking into account the embarrassing Goonies monologue he performed in front of Jamie's class hours earlier.

At this point, though, not many people that we know in Tree Hill are in good places...well, except maybe Chris Keller, who is having himself a jolly good time interviewing coeds for intern positions and taking Chase out to strip joints.
To read the rest of my review of last night's One Tree Hill, head over to TV Fanatic.

One Tree Hill 903 - "Love the Way You Lie"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Justified 302 Review- Prison Chess

Raylan- "When did ya get married?"
Goodall- "Two months before I got divorced."
Justified took its foot off the pedal a bit in "Cut Ties." But that's understandable. If you continue at the pace of the action-packed season premiere for too long, you're likely to drive off a cliff.

There was definitely a more methodical feel to the episode, but with the appearance of a woman from Raylan's past, some field action for Art Mullen, a quasi chess match between Raylan and Boyd and the introduction of Mykelti Williamson as the haunting Ellstin Limehouse, it was a fantastic second installment.

Let's start with the fabulous Carla Gugino. I've never seen Karen Sisco, but many are saying that Justified's Assistant Director Goodall could have shared that last name. She's a U.S. Marshal with ties to Miami, so it makes sense.

Goodall was a fine addition to the hour, but I didn't much see the point of bringing her in until Raylan went in for that major lip lock with Winona at the Marshal's office.
To read the rest of my review of last night's Justified, head over to TV Fanatic.

Justified 302 - "Cut Ties"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chuck 511 Review- For Canada!

Casey- "I need you. My daughter needs you. And your country needs you."
Lester- "Canada?"
Whether it be Chuck, Morgan, Sarah, or any number of others who have had the intersect inside their brain over the course of these past five years, the individual with it has always shown flashes of brilliance in the field.

Chuck could be described similarly; a series that has shown flashes of brilliance if not an all and all ingenious show.

This fifth and final season, however, has been nothing of the like, as "Chuck Versus the Bullet Train" was another fantastic hour in a long line of purposeful, poignant, funny, action packed, and heartwarming episodes.

Over the years, Chuck has been sort of hit or miss in writing for Jeff and Lester. In giving these two characters not only a specific plan of action in the final season, but an important one, they solidified a historically inconsistent pair as an interesting and fun aspect of the final run.

Ever since Awesome convinced Jeff to stop sleeping in his car - way back in "Chuck vs. the Frosted Tips" - these two have been on a journey that for all intents and purposes culminated this week by having them save the day, and finally told the truth about all of the spy stuff going on around them.
To read the rest of my review of last night's Chuck, head over to TV Fanatic.

Chuck 511 - "Chuck Versus the Bullet Train"

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Office 812 Review- Nobody Calls Me Chicken Fight

Val- "Does Daryl not swim?"
Kevin- "That's racist!"
There were bits and pieces of each story that worked in "Pool Party," but neither Robert's stroll through parties never had, nor Erin's endeavor to make Andy jealous, came together to make completely funny or interesting tales.

What we were left with was yet another decent episode of The Office in which there were a number on things to laugh at... in which one couldn't help but feel it lacked th humor and creativity of what the series used to be.

The one piece to the puzzle that worked really well was Dwight and Erin completely getting after it in their attempt to make Andy jealous. The receptionist going 110% in the final game of chicken, squeezing Dwight's neck until he became unconscious and in danger of drowning, might have been what the writers thought would be the icing on the cake.

Instead, it served as a letdown, an unfunny ending to an otherwise hilarious pairing I never would have imagined. When Dwight puts his mind to something that is outside his normal range of actions, it's usually comical. In this case, him flirting with Erin - whether it be sexy eating, telling Andy he's gonna go crazy on her with sex, or saying to Erin "I could just bang you right now" in hopes of Andy hearing him - was easily the best part of the episode.
To read the rest of my review of last night's The Office, head over to TV Fanatic.

The Office 812 - "Pool Party"

30 Rock 602 Review- I'm In Chinatown Baby

Jenna- "Imagine what the internet would do with this. Maroney found in closet with unconscious married man and inbred virgin...again!?!?"
"Idiots Are People Two" was another funny installment of 30 Rock's sixth season, but it failed to work as well as the premiere due to a retread of the same old Liz's weird boyfriend storyline, and the confusing appearance of Kelsey Grammer.

Honestly, haven't we seen this a thousand times on 30 Rock? Liz has a boyfriend who has a bunch of strange quirks, and eventually she figures it out and drops him. Sure, The Floydster and Carol Burnett were close to normal, but those are the exceptions to the rule.

Watching Liz nitpick over her significant other's blatantly weird behavior has never really been that funny, so watching her imagine Jack's doing the same thing was less than humorous. It was just weird. I know complaining about weird on 30 Rock is unheard of, but this just didn't seem to fit.

Then there was the return of Kelsey Grammer, playing himself, which was completely out of left field. Let's cut to Kelsey at a makeshift casino where he makes strange statements with James Bond-like music!
To read the rest of my review of last night's 30 Rock, head over to TV Fanatic.

30 Rock 602 - "Idiots Are People Two!"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One Tree Hill 902 Review- Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Alex- "Don't you need some actors or maybe a writer?"
Julian- "Uh, I had both of those things and she wanted to be a musician."
One Tree Hill continued its stellar start to season nine with an episode not as epic in nature as the premiere, but just as emotional, and - thanks to the appearance of Chuck Scolnik - maybe more hilarious.

Because they use song titles for episode titles on One Tree Hill, sometimes it's a stretch to connect the dots between the single and the content. That wasn't the case with "In The Room Where You Sleep," as it became clear early on that the location of where a number of characters would be laying their heads in the near future would be a theme of the hour.

Alex and Chase, who I have loved separately and together since each arrived in Tree Hill, took some major steps forward and then, just maybe, a giant step back.

First of all, it was a ballsy move by Chase to just go ahead and move all of her stuff into his place. On the one hand, if she's down for it, it could be seen as completely romantic. On the other, if she's unsure of herself like Alex seemed to be, it could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
To read the rest of my review of last night's One Tree Hill, head over to TV Fanatic.

One Tree Hill 902 - "In The Room Where You Sleep"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Justified 301 Review- Ice Pick Your Poison

Boyd- "Raylan, if a book could only be judged by its cover, you'd be a best seller."
Competing with last year's magnificent second season - which I named the best show of 2011 - isn't going to be an easy task, but "The Gunfighter" gave Justified a great start to season three, delivering an abundance of potential for interesting stories down the road.

As great as Margo Martindale was as Mags Bennett last year, and as fun as Walton Goggins is to watch as the sometimes-a-friend/sometimes-a-foe Boyd Crowder, Timothy Olyphant is the glue that holds this cowboy masterpiece together.

Although the season premiere essentially picked up three weeks after the traumatic events of "Bloody Harlan," Raylan had yet to recover from his gunshot wound, which created a couple of new situations for the U.S. Marshal.

Sure, he was still as sarcastically charming as ever in comparing Winona decorating his place to putting lipstick on a platypus, or contemplating the idea of naming his future child Jiffy Pop or Palmolive, but Raylan couldn't run, he couldn't shoot and he was sidelined on some events he normally wouldn't be.
To read the rest of my review of the Justified season premiere, head over to TV Fanatic.

Justified 301 - "The Gunfighter"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chuck 510 Review- Bo Knows Espionage

Morgan- "I acted out physically, too, and I rocked Bo Derek's world."
There was nothing spooky about this Friday the 13th episode of Chuck. There was, however, a lot to enjoy in "Chuck Versus Bo," including my favorite song of all time, the return of the frosted tips, and the appearance of apparent actress turned super spy Bo Derek.

Most importantly, though, it ended with yet another character inheriting the intersect. In my interview with her on Tuesday, Yvonne Strahovski teased that there would be conflict between Sarah and Chuck before the end. I guess this event is what will lead to said conflict.

Could anyone in their right mind blame Sarah for the decision she made? It was either download the intersect, or allow herself and Casey to die by the guns of yet another uber-villain out to get the intersect himself. She had to do it. Her already super spy skills combined with the intersect kung fu made it a breeze to get away from the dozen henchmen with guns pointing straight at her.

The question remains, how will THIS intersect affect Sarah. They all work in different ways, so this one might not necessarily do to Sarah what the last one did to Morgan. With only three episodes remaining in the series, I don't think it's going to take her as long as it did Morgan to make a decision about it.
To read the rest of my review of last night's Chuck, head over to TV Fanatic.

Chuck 510 - "Chuck vs. Bo"

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Office 811 Review- What Is SEE-attle?

Dwight- "You're a perfectly fine toilet. I'm just an extraordinary piece of crap."
Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. In The Office's first episode of 2012, the titular storyline of the gang playing "Trivia" in Philadelphia worked really well, but the forced trio in Florida definitely did not.

That's not to say that there was nothing to laugh at, as Dwight stormed Sabre headquarters to get a managerial position with Dunder Mifflin's parent company. Mr. Schrute's jumping fist pump as he walked the hall to Robert's office was among the best moments.

Gabe comparing himself to a toilet was also one of the more clever lines of the night, but the entire situation just felt forced. We've seen Dwight act like this before... and then he always just returns to being a great salesman.

I'm not one to complain about lack of growth in a sitcom character, but if the repetitive nature of said character's actions reduces the hilarity of our beloved Dwight Schrute, it's not a good thing. Combine that tiresome activity with an individual who has yet to find his footing in Robert California, and we were left with a "B" story that didn't quite work.
To read the rest of my review of last night's The Office, head over to TV Fanatic.

The Office 611 - "Trivia"

30 Rock 601 Review- Jenna's Hangin' Out With McEnroe

Jenna- "Emma that was pretty good. You were trying to get me to commit suicide, right?"
Tracy was still acting out for attention, Jenna was still doing whatever it takes to get more rich and famous and Kenneth was still putting all of his beliefs into something bigger than himself - but the return of 30 Rock felt different than the status quo.

If I hadn't chuckled once during the half hour, "Dance Like Nobody's Watching" still would have been a great episode of television. That's not something you normally say about 30 Rock. It's there to be silly and make the viewer laugh out loud, not to simply be a interesting story about characters we enjoy.

That's what this sixth season premiere pulled off, though. It was pleasant to sit through, and interesting to watch what the characters - especially Liz - were up to.

In the past, Liz's story might have ended with her actually being a crack whore, or taking some weird drug to help her deal with Tracy. Instead, Tracy and Jack figured out that she was just enjoying her life, dancing like a weird dance team in Madison Square Garden.
To read the rest of my review of last night's return of 30 Rock, head over to TV Fanatic.

30 Rock 601 - "Dance Like Nobody's Watching"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Tree Hill 901 Review- Hell Is Empty

Brooke- "Sometimes my heart aches at how my life turned a good way."
One Tree Hill, due to its flare for the dramatic, has always been a series that gives that extra bit of effort for a finale. Showrunner Mark Schwahn and company hold nothing back at the end of the year, presumably in an effort to leave the audience blown away.

If "Know This, We've Noticed" is any indication of what's to come, we may be in for a final season of One Tree Hill that feels like the combination of each and every past finale. That is, 13 episodes of heart pounding, gut wrenching, big laughing, scary, silly, romantic, drama-filled action.

It's difficult not to think that way when the season begins with a burning building and Dan Scott cocking a loaded gun. I will leave the prognosticating of when that flash forward will take place for the end, but seeing Chase in the back of a cop car, Brooke destroying the cafe, Julian getting beaten to a pulp and Haley lifting up a sheet to reveal a dead body was certainly a great way to get our blood pumping.

"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here."

Nathan recited those words to open the episode, and again to close it. Both times Dan Scott was on screen. Both times it was absolutely haunting. Paul Johansson is an extremely talented actor, and it's a shame that the show hasn't found a way to keep him on as a regular cast member the past couple of years.
To read the rest of my review of last night's One Tree Hill season premiere, head over to TV Fanatic.

One Tree Hill 901 - "Know This, We've Noticed"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chuck Exclusive- Yvonne Strahovski Teases "Edge of Your Seat" Finale

"On the edge of your seat 'til the very last minute of the series finale" is how Yvonne Strahovski described the end of Chuck to me over the phone early Tuesday afternoon.

I've been sitting that way through the entirety of this final season, of course, which is why I was extremely pleased to talk to the star that portrays Sarah Walker on our favorite NBC spy comedy, as she spent the day in New York promoting Chuck and her new ad campaign for SoBe.

"There are definitely going to be some surprises," Strahovski said of the two-part finale. "There definitely was for me when I read them. It's a little bit shocking. The storyline sort of takes a turn that is unexpected."

I was pleasantly surprised to hear of some sort of a shift in the story as we head down the final stretch of the series. With some of the emotional payoffs the writers gave the audience recently - notably in "Chuck vs. the Baby" - I was a bit worried we might be in for a slow and uneventful finish.
To read the rest of my exclusive with Chuck star Yvonne Strahovski, and to see the entire interview video with bonus SoBe photo shoot footage, head over to TV Fanatic.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekly Comedy Rankings- You're an Awesome Mate

The Weekly Comedy Rankings are back in full effect this week, as the ABC sitcoms returned. Here are which episodes I liked best over the course of this week.

1. Happy Endings
2. Angry Boys
3. Suburgatory
4. iCarly
5. Modern Family
6. Last Man Standing
7. Work It

Happy Endings continues to be great, but HBO's Angry Boys stepped up to the plate with two hilarious early episodes this past Sunday. I understand that it wouldn't be everybody's type of humor, but it works for me.

In fact, I gave Daniel, one of the Australian twin brothers, my MVP vote for the week. His mix of hatred and love for his deaf brother never ceases to be a source of humor. For best moment of the week, I think it has to be Daniel making fun of his brother. Every time he says something nice - which for him means calling Nathan and "awesome mate" - he proceeds to call him names behind a magazine so Nathan can't read his lips. Genius.

Both my LVP and worst moment go to Work It, which will be a one and done for me. As bad as it was, it is not nearly as bad as every critic in the world is making it out to be. I actually think the problems with the show are the exact opposite of what Sepinwall and Fienberg said. The writing showed promise, but it was the absolutely atrocious performances that ruined it.

It's still really bad, but I preferred this pilot to I Hate My Teenage Daughter, and maybe even to Man Up.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chuck 509 Review- The Secret Ingredient of Caring

Sarah- "Put on the banana hammock and stop whining."
In a final season that has been "chuck" full of monumental episodes, "Chuck Versus the Kept Man" didn't stray far from that pattern. Between Sarah's possible pregnancy, Jeffster stumbling upon Castle and Casey thinking about settling down with a woman, it certainly felt like there were only four hours left in the series after "The Kept Man" was finished.

Unlike a number of other episodes from this fifth season of Chuck - notably the previous two - the epic events from "The Kept Man" didn't quite equal an epic episode.

I love John Casey as much as the next guy or gal, but the main issue of the episode was his main story with Verbanski. Their little game of cat and mouse was cute, but certainly not cute enough to keep my attention buzzing for 40 minutes.

As great as those two seem like they should be together, it has all seemed a bit forced during this last stretch run. Do we need to see Casey settle down with a woman? Or can't it be enough that he is building such a great relationship with his daughter?
To read the rest of my review of last night's Chuck, head over to TV Fanatic.

Chuck 509 - "Chuck vs. the Kept Man"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The X Factor Season One- What Worked? What Didn't?

After some time to rest, and some time to reflect on the first season of The X Factor, let's now analyze what worked and what didn't work for FOX's new reality singing competition.

Join me as we look back at the highs of Josh Krajcik's "Wild Horses" and Astro's near elimination, as well as the lows of L.A. Reid's judging style and Marcus Canty's hundreds of backup dancers.


Finding Favorites: As is the case for any reality competition, The X Factor was a platform for fans to pick a favorite and cheer for said favorite to win the $5 million recording contract. There is a reason why so many of these types of shows perform well in the ratings, and it is mostly because of the rooting interesting involved for the audience. I picked Drew and Chris Rene as a couple of my favorites early on, and even when I knew they didn't perform so well, I still wanted them to make it to the next round. That makes the viewing experience exciting, and it is a main reason why The X Factor will stick around.

Quick To The Finish: The fall season is much shorter than the spring. Where American Idol is able to have weeks and weeks of audition episodes, Hollywood weeks, and semifinals, before getting rid of one contestant per week during the live performances, The X Factor was not. Thank You! Simon and company chopped off a slew of finalists at the beginning of the live shows, and as the holiday season came quickly, the judges began cutting two at a time on the regular. The annoying judging table, the overproduced performances, and the statue that was Steve Jones would have become more and more difficult to watch the longer it went on. Short and sweet is advantage for The X Factor.
To read the rest of my commentary on the first season of The X Factor, head over to TV Fanatic.

Bi-Monthly Power Rankings- Top Ten

I recently finished listing all of my favorite shows of the year, but what about now? What shows that are still on the air are the series you all should be watching? Well that's what the Quiet Pool Bi-Monthly Power Rankings are for. In the first rankings of 2012, we will recognize the shows that have been succeeding as of late, and some that will be returning to our screens for the first time in a while this winter. Next up are spots 10 through one on my list.
Rank. Show (Last Time) green=moving up, red=moving down

10. Chuck (10) Fridays on NBC
After a hilarious start to the finale season with Intersect Morgan stealing the show, Chuck has had a couple of episodes of late that have been less funny but epic in scale. The most recent chapter with Sarah and her mom was one of my favorite, emotionally, of the series. If they continue to hit on all of these cylinders down the stretch, we should be in for a nice ride.

9. Mad Men (7) Sundays on AMC
Is this show ever going to come back? The longer the hiatus, the further and further down the power rankings it goes. Mad Men needs to be on the air to hang on to its elite status for me. It doesn't leave the same last impression that something like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad does.

8. Sons of Anarchy (5) Tuesdays on FX
Sons drops a few spots after leaving such a sour taste in my mouth with that season finale. As good as the entire season was, they almost ruined it all at the end. All of the action, the turmoil, and the consequences the characters were facing leading up to the finale seemed to mean nothing as the final reveal wiped the slate clean. It didn't feel organic at all. Combining the facts that Clay lived, Jax stayed put, and Juice got out of trouble, made it all feel contrived.

7. It's Always Sunny (8) Thursdays on FX
It was a truly fantastic season for Always Sunny this year. Like Seinfeld before it, these characters have been on a momentous transformation from strange to effing out of their minds. The more I watched the season finale (which is now in the double digits), the more I laughed at almost every single line of dialogue.

6. Community (6) Thursdays on NBC
Community has hit on so many of its risks as of late that it's almost too easy to forget how risky some of those decisions are. Will people find this multiple timeline episode funny? Who cares? We're doing it because it's funny to us. And it was to me as well. One of the funniest episodes on television this year.

5. Breaking Bad (4) Sundays on AMC
As great as Breaking Bad is - see me ranking it at number five here - it is still frustratingly slow at times. The first half of this past season was excruciatingly so at times. The end was great though, and as we are all usually prisoners of the moment, Breaking Bad remains at the top of everyone's list.

4. Homeland (16) Sundays on Showtime
This is a gigantic leap, but Homeland was my second favorite show for all of 2011, so I have to give it some love up at the top. Through 12 episodes I have complete faith in the writers to keep telling good story, while there is no doubt that Claire Danes and Damian Lewis will make sure that there is something interesting on screen during almost every second of air time.

3. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2) Sundays on HBO
This past year wasn't one of Curb's finer seasons, but its track record allows the show to stay up near the top for the time being. If it has another less than stellar sample next time around, and Always Sunny brings the heat again, we may have a change at the top of the comedy hierarchy.

2. Game of Thrones (3) Sundays on HBO
Winter is coming back, but we still don't have a premiere date. Game of Thrones should return in April, and I am as excited as can be. If Justified had my favorite season of 2011, Game of Thrones is my most anticipated season of 2012. I can't wait to see where this story goes.

1. Justified (1) Tuesdays on FX
Returning in just a couple of weeks, Justified has topped a number of my lists as of late. I'm hoping that the show can match the magical season two it put forth last year, unlike its FX partner Sons of Anarchy, which followed a fantastic season two with a horrid third installment.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bi-Monthly Power Rankings- 20 Through 11

I recently finished listing all of my favorite shows of the year, but what about now? What shows that are still on the air are the series you all should be watching? Well that's what the Quiet Pool Bi-Monthly Power Rankings are for. In the first rankings of 2012, we will recognize the shows that have been succeeding as of late, and some that will be returning to our screens for the first time in a while this winter. Next up are spots 20 through 11 on my list.
Rank. Show (Last Time) green=moving up, red=moving down

20. The Walking Dead (11) Sundays on AMC
I had a difficult time keeping The Walking Dead inside the Top 20 after its horrendous fall run. They aired seven episodes of action that easily could have been done in three. This, of course, led to an extremely slow pace, and not a lot of interesting material. Also, I still haven't found a character that I enjoy.

19. The Office (12) Thursdays on NBC
The Office has not been good in its first season without Steve Carell, but it also hasn't been all that bad. Even though most write it off as awful while touting the much worse Parks and Recreation, it has been much better than expected this year. If they can figure out how to work Ed Helms out of the starring role, The Office has a chance to stay in the Top 20.

18. Revenge (HM) Wednesdays on ABC
It's so very soapy, but Revenge has been extremely fun to start the year. It's refreshing not seeing Emily Van Camp complaining every second after those last few years on Brothers and Sisters. The back half of this first season is going to have to go somewhere interesting to keep Revenge in the running for a top spot.

17. Dexter (9) Sundays on Showtime
I don't know what was worse, the terrible imaginary killer story line in which the imaginary character did non-imaginary things, the terrible Deb story line in which she seemingly fell in love with her brother, or the terrible moment to end the season when they wasted an epic moment in the series with an absolutely non-dramatic scene. I have faith that next season will be interesting though.

16. Wilfred (18) Thursdays on FX
Since June, very few have recorded comedic acting performances like Jason Gann had over the first 12 episodes of Wilfred. As long as series like The Office and Modern Family keep heading in the wrong direction, Wilfred's first season looks more and more like one of the best comedies of the year.

15. Survivor (20) Wednesdays on CBS
This move up in the rankings is more of a reflection on its competitors than on Survivor itself. This season was very good, but so many series (Dexter, Walking Dead) took nose dives that this reality giant moves up by default. With any luck the next season of Survivor will not feature Redemption Island, and will not feature a Hantz showdown.

14. Boardwalk Empire (17) Sundays on HBO
As slow-moving as the second season was for a majority of the time, it did feature one of my favorite episodes of the year. The season finale was so rewarding that it made up for some lackluster moments early on. They really went for it, and the story they decided to tell in year two was brilliant.

13. Parenthood (15) Tuesdays on NBC
The family drama never stops for the Bravermans. At this point I'm really curious what they're going to do with some of these child actors as they begin to grow up. It is already becoming glaringly obvious that Jabar is ridiculously obnoxious. He was fine as a tiny kid, but as an older one, he's brutal. Less screen time for him would be preferable.

12. The Vampire Diaries (13) Thursdays on The CW
Nobody does the cliff hanger like Vampire Diaries. Well nobody does it as often. After marathon-ing my way through the first two seasons, the third has gotten off to a quality start with Joseph Morgan stealing the show thus far.

11. Happy Endings (14) Wednesdays on ABC
This ABC comedy has become a must watch on Wednesday nights. This gang has gelled in ways that not many casts do. Adam Pally is excellent, and it has three funny females, a feat almost never achieved. Who would have thought that The Girl Next Door would be one of the funniest women on tv?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bi-Monthly Power Rankings- Honorable Mentions

I recently finished listing all of my favorite shows of the year, but what about now? What shows that are still on the air are the series you all should be watching? Well that's what the Quiet Pool Bi-Monthly Power Rankings are for. In the first rankings of 2012, we will recognize the shows that have been succeeding as of late, and some that will be returning to our screens for the first time in a while this winter. First up are the honorable mentions, which are not necessarily ranked 21-30 on my list.
Show (Last Time) red=moving down, green=moving up

American Horror Story (HM) Wednesdays on FX
I wasn't the biggest fan of the first season of American Horror Story, but it was definitely interesting, and I can't complain about what they decided to do in the future. I said throughout the first season that there was really nowhere this story could go following the events that were occurring. Making it an anthology, almost a la The Twilight Zone, gives it enough legs to stay on the air for a number of seasons. It was surprising, though, that they didn't try to keep stars McDermott and Britton on for the entire ride.

Boss (-) Fridays on Starz
Kelsey Grammer was fantastic in the leading role of Boss. The series was extremely well made, but lacked a bit in holding my interest overall. It did help that there were only eight episodes in the first season. Also, I will watch anything with Kathleen Robertson.

Fringe (-) Fridays on FOX
I don't even want to say much here, because I am speeding through this series so quickly at this point. Starting with the pilot about 11 days ago, I am now midway through the second season. If given time, I hope to write an entire post about how much I am loving Fringe. I highly recommend catching up on this sci-fi series if you have yet to watch it.

The Good Wife (-) Sundays on CBS
After watching five episodes of the last season before the Emmys, I was impressed by The Good Wife. Now that I've seen the first half of this season, I'm much less impressed. At times I have been bored out of my mind, and there haven't been nearly enough highs to make up for those lows.

Hell on Wheels (-) Sundays on AMC
This AMC series hasn't yet turned the corner of must watch television, but Hell on Wheels has definitely been one of the better new shows of the fall. Cullen Bohannon is a fun lead character, and Common has been a surprisingly strong number two as Elam the slave.

The League (HM) Thursdays on FX
It's had its moments this season, but there is no arguing that The League was a major step down from season two this fall. It came on strong down the stretch, mostly thanks to Kevin going insane over his need to win a championship, but most of the time it missed on a lot of jokes. Sometimes it just became to crude for its own good.

Modern Family (19) Wednesdays on ABC
This is the first time Modern Family has been out of the Top 20 since November of 2009. It has been on a long and slow journey downhill since bursting onto the scene. This year has just been extremely lackluster, and I can't help but not laugh while watching it these days. Phil continues to be the highlight, but other than him and the one sentence Luke gets each week, Modern Family just isn't all that funny.

New Girl (HM) Tuesdays on FOX
Zooey Deschanel has been terrific as Jess on the New Girl, and the show is worth it just to watch her light up the screen, but the rest of the cast is really dragging it down. Schmidt is off and on, Winston has given nothing, and Nick is just the absolute worst. Just make it all Jess all the time.

Once Upon a Time (HM) Sundays on ABC
If you can look past the absolutely awful special effects, Once Upon a Time has a great start to its first season. The story telling is fun. The characters are likable. Most importantly, I can't wait to figure out the inner workings of this universe. That's something that can make a show work so well.

Next Iron Chef (-) Sundays on Food Network
If you enjoy Top Chef, you really should start watching this cooking competition. On this most recent season, the contestants were all ridiculously talented and famous. You don't get all of the terrible food that some of the awful cooks on Top Chef put on the plate, but instead, you get fantastic food by fantastic chefs that you know. And as a bonus, the winner becomes an Iron Chef and joins the pantheon of greats in America.