I have to admit, I have been torn between writing up Homeland and The Walking Dead for this week, as both shows are in complete overdrive, and are completely irresistible. I finally decided I had to talk about The Walking Dead and will save Homeland for next week.
Hit the title/continue reading to read more. . .
For any fans who complained that there weren’t enough zombies or, even worse, “too much character development” in the slow build of Season 2, well, Season 3 of The Walking Dead is your payoff. Not only has there been a surplus of zombie-killing joy as Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group have been clearing out the prison of its walker-infestation, but all that character development has made Season 3’s shocking twists all the more gut-wrenching and personal as The Walking Dead has continued to maintain its sense of realism. In the zombie apocalypse, you don’t live just because your name is near the top of the credits. I won’t get any more spoiler-y than that, but suffice it to say no one is safe.
Season 3 has also introduced some new characters and re-introduced some old ones. Comic-book fan favorite Michonne has been infused with tight lipped, ass-kicking intensity by Danai Gurira, and we’ve also seen the long-awaited return of Daryl’s brother Merle (Michael Rooker). Merle’s interactions with Andrea (Laurie Holden) have served as a great set up for his inevitable reunion with fan-favorite Daryl (Norman Reedus), and you can expect that Daryl will face the toughest choice he’s ever had to make when Merle calls his family loyalty against Daryl’s obligations to Rick and the group.
But clearly the most intriguing addition of Season 3 has been State of Play’s David Morrissey as The Governor. A seemingly rational, but charismatic leader, The Governor represents that always-tempting but always-dangerous trade-off: how much security do you want? How much freedom will you give up to get it? In the zombie-apocalypse, it might seem like your answer should be “a lot,” but you might want to consider that The Gov has a collection severed heads he admires when you’re not around.
David Morrissey as The Governor
The Walking Dead has successfully transitioned its lead characters realistically through the horrors of its de-civilized setting. Innocent Carl (Chandler Riggs) now blasts walkers alongside the adults. Hesitant lovers Glenn and Maggie (Steven Yuen, Lauren Cohan), now cling to one another as if they’re all that’s left (they kind of are), and once conscientious Rick who agonized over the ethics of his decision making has turned increasingly hard-edged and brutal. If Season 2 offered up too much humanity, Season 3 has its characters letting go of much of theirs, while at the same time building up the suspense for a confrontation and whole new set of conflicts further down the line. It also remains one of the best dramas on television, and has continued to add fans as it goes. If you somehow haven’t seen this show yet, for heaven’s sake catch up now. The Walking Dead will be with us for quite a while.
IT PAINS ME to say it, because there’s no bigger How I Met Your Mother fan than me, but the show is clearly winding down, and has run out of story to tell. It’s already been revealed that Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) will wind up together and that Ted (Josh Radnor) will meet “your mother” at their wedding. Knowing the when and the where of the titular question certainly removes some of the mystery from the plotline, but the show’s current stagnation is more than that.
It feels and seems like How I Met Your Mother is simply retelling stories that have already been covered. Ted is back with Victoria (Ashley Williams)?! That’s SO Season 2. Barney and Robin are ditching their current relationships as a prelude to getting together? Season 6 all over again. With three fifths of the gang reliving their recent pasts, that leaves only Lily & Marshall (Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel) covering new ground, and it’s ground they’ve been covering since the series’ inception – growing together as a couple and a family.
We know this coming. Get there already!
How I Met Your Mother hasn’t necessarily lost its comic touch, and the individual episodes frequently work as a collection of funny sitcom gags thanks to good writing and GREAT comedic acting, but the overall story is spinning its wheels, running its characters through a maze where the cheese at the end is growing increasingly stale.
Season 8 may be HIMYM’s swan song, but the possibility for a Season 9 remains open. Moreover, Season 9 could take place in the undiscovered country of what happens AFTER Ted meets his future wife. If there’s going to be another season, I certainly hope that’s how they choose to take the story. I don’t think I could stand another whole season of watching this show build toward a scene that they’ve been showing us for the last three years.
STANDING IN CONTRAST to HIMYM’s mobius loop of a plot is 30 Rock, where the show is using the final season as both a celebration of everything that’s made it one of the all time great sitcoms and as a chance to have its characters move in even more outrageous directions.
The final season has shown a welcome increase in focus on Jenna Maroney (played with narcissistic abandon by the great Jane Krakowski), and every time you think Jenna can’t possibly get any more ego-centric, the show proves to you that you’re wrong. 30 Rock also threw in an expected helping of political humor dovetailing with the Presidential election (including a hilarious storyline about how Jenna Maroney would singlehandedly decide Florida and, therefore, pick the next President), but an even better theme in the final season has been the machiavellian plot by Jack (Alec Baldwin) to destroy NBC with idiotic programming decisions.
30 Rock has always found its heart in the dysfunctional but caring mentor-protege relationship between Jack and Liz (Tina Fey), and that remains a central theme which helps guide the episodes to satisfying conclusions.
Fey, Krakowswki and Baldwin
Boasting one of the all-time great comedic ensembles and writing to die for, 30 Rock has not missed a beat over the course of its seven seasons, and has however the show chooses to bring its run to an end, the ride has been well worth it.
Elementary, besides being a consistently outstanding show, is slowly starting to delve into Sherlock Holmes’ mythology. We’re going to start hearing about Irene Adler. Can Professor Moriarty be far behind?
Educational TV. Things we learned from watching TV this week: 1) There was only one show this week where you could see Wil Wheaton play with himself (The Big Bang Theory); 2) If you’re walking in a bad neighborhood, be afraid of anyone wearing a Tweetybird shirt (Key & Peele); 3) Rehab is for quitters (Chelsea Lately).
Glee Project winner Blake Jenner made his Glee debut this week, and it quickly became clear why he won. He’s a complete sound-a-like for Cory Monteith (Finn), so while he’ll fill a need in McKinley’s glee club, you have to wonder where Glee’s creative head is. First Puck’s brother shows up as the new Puck, now Blake shows up as the new Finn. How about a truly novel idea – a new character who’s not just a replacement bulb?
Observations From Geek Heaven: How much cooler did Arrow get now that John Barrowman (Dr. Who, Torchwood) will have a recurring character?
What was the most shocking Sunday night plot twist? The death of two regulars on The Walking Dead, the restaurant bombing on Boardwalk Empire that killed off Nucky’s squeeze (and almost took him and Arnold Rothstein with her) or the terrorist ambush on Homeland that wiped out the CIA forensics team? The winner? The viewers. What a terrific collection of shocking scenes on three of TV’s best dramas. And all in one night!
Want to see comedy genius? Watch this week’s episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, titled The Gang Gets Analyzed, and watch guest star Kerri Kenney-Silver’s absolutely priceless reaction shots to the It’s Always Sunny crew’s patented brand of lunacy. It’s hard to imagine, but Kenney-Silver actually stole several scenes without saying a word.
Rihanna will be the musical guest on SNL on NBC on November 10 (Anne Hathaway hosts). But will we see Andy Samberg make a guest appearance as Shy Ronnie? I vote Yes!
Wedding Band airs its series premiere on TBS on November 10.
Family Guy airs a one-hour special for its 200th episode on FOX on November 11.
Catfish, The TV Show airs its series premiere on MTV on November 12.
The 10-part miniseries Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States begins on Showtime on November 12.
Mankind: The Story of All of Us begins on The History Channel on November 13. It will apparently cover everything Oliver Stone leaves out.
Whitney airs its season premiere on November 14 on NBC and Community doesn’t. Looks like Jack Donaghy’s plan to destroy NBC is working perfectly.
Crossfire Hurricane, HBO’s Rolling Stones doc will air on HBO on November 15.
The fall finale of Grimm airs on NBC on November 16.
Real Time With Bill Maher airs its season finale on HBO on November 16.
TV’s a big place and I haven’t been to all of it yet. Got a favorite show you’d like me to comment on? Post a comment below, contact me on twitter @RobLazlo. or shoot me an email: RobNJ564@yahoo.com. I welcome your input!
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