When I last wrote about the TV season, it was the end of 2011 season and I was surprised at how a couple of shows had wrapped their season. Now, well into the next season, I thought it was time for another look at Chuck, Hawaii Five-O, Nikita, The Office, and The Good Wife.
First up: Chuck. The show continues to deliver the entertainment. I’m both laughing and always engaged in an episode of Chuck. Which is why the following statement is so sad: The last episode is on tomorrow night. It’s the series finale! I would have liked the show to just go on and on but clearly there aren’t enough people who agree with me. The season started with Morgan as the Intersect which seemed like a good premise but I think the writers got to the same place I did as a viewer a little later which is there’s only so much dopey stuff Morgan can do as the Intersect without it feeling repetitive. I guess the writers probably had the sense that they were writing for the final season either before the season began or shortly after because the plots seemed to shift toward Chuck and Sarah figuring out what comes next. Their seeming eventual series conclusion will be with Chuck and Sarah starting a family while being cyberspy fighters – a logical step for the characters that probably wouldn’t be very interesting for us viewers. But in the penultimate cliffhanger, now Sarah has the Intersect to save Chuck and Casey. I’m looking forward to tuning in tomorrow night to see what happens and how things end. So sad.
I’m really frustrated about Hawaii Five-O. Granted, I’m still mostly watching for the scenery. (Get your mind out of the gutter; I’m talking about the island!) But it’d be nice if I didn’t feel mental whiplash by the plots. So in the first episode of the second season, most of the intricate stuff that went down in the first season finale is suddenly resolved including a new governor and a new team member. And in the early episodes we learned that the nice agent who had been helping McGarrett track Wo Fat turned out to be working with Wo Fat? That’s utter bullshit. First the previous season’s governor and now one of their own team? They are just pulling fast ones here. Next up, McGarrett is actually chasing himself as a clone!? And then the nice father figure they introduce this season turns out to be doing secret stuff behind the scenes too? C’mon. The season plot seems to be like a malfunctioning car where it can only go too fast or too slow. And episode plots are also inconsistent – I liked the episode where there was a busload of kids held hostage because it seemed somewhat realistic about how the cops slowly found their way to the kids. But other episodes have seemed contrived and just one happenstance after another. I know – why keep watching? I still like the scenery. (shut up.)
Nikita is a totally different story – literally. I’d almost given up on it last season but it got really smart suddenly and each episode really feels like something new. There’s lots of interesting info continually being divulged. You could say it’s the opposite of Lost in this way where you don’t feel constantly confused. You feel like you are constantly catching on but at the same time, you realize there’s more to the story. Division is now fractured from the politicians that run it, the megalomaniacal nut that used to manage it, and the new megalomaniacal nut running it now, the rogue agent and her friends, the other rogue agent, and the Russian crazy people. It really has become enjoyable to watch. Sure there’s absurdity about how a team of 3 (or 4) can manage to simultaneously ruin things for the ultra-powerful government rogue agency, the ulta-powerful Russian industrial monopoly, and the ulta-powerful corrupt politicians. And the three main leads aren’t the best thespians around. But I’m sticking around for the story. Oh and for Birkhoff’s bon mots too.
The Office is still humming along with Dilbert-esque corporate absurdity and the familiar cast of nuts. I was a little concerned about what James Spader would do to the dynamic and it is a little worse for his inclusion. But having Andy replace Michael has been fine and the episode when Andy got a tattoo was a highlight of the season. It’s a fun show but I can’t say I am anxious for the next episode like I am with, say, Modern Family. (Which isn’t reviewed here but is still damned funny.)
Way too much has been made of Alicia’s bangs. Damn, people, women change their hair styles all the time so who cares if there are bangs this season. Looking past the bangs, I’m glad to say that they seem to have let the Alicia and Will thing run its course. Now, after the writers allowed them to be together, they can do a Sam and Diane thing where there is the post relationship tension instead of the will-they-or-won’t-they. I still wasn’t sure where things were going with Kalinda last season so it’s good to see a sort of response to that in the form of the ADA Dana Lodge. And any time either Peter, Eli, or Michael J. Fox’s character get screen time is good time. Although Eli’s character has lost a little punch since he moved “in house” with Lockhart Gardner. Overall, though, at this point in the season, I don’t think we are far enough along to offer much opinion. I feel like there’s been a lot of set up for what’s to come. Looking forward to it.
Ratings: (out of 10)
Chuck season so far: 9
Nikita season so far: 8
Hawaii Five-O season so far: 4
The Office season so far: 6
The Good Wife season so far: 7