The TV Obsessed Week In Review: Pan Am, The Good Wife, The Mentalist

This week’s Shameless was a relationship episode, and as relationships in Shameless are generally dysfunctional, there was lots of diversity and weirdness to go around. There’s Karen and Jody who are over, Jasmine and Fiona which took a wrong turn, Lip and Ian who finally get back on the same page, Kevin, Veronica and Ethel 1/2, and of course Frank and Peggy. The only thing that was too far out there was Karen, who is always crazy.

Pan Am ended the season (and series, unless a genuine miracle happens) on a hopeful note, moving into 1964 and putting all worries aside. There would surely be more drama ahead, as Amanda revealed she was pregnant, but for this moment the characters were together and happy. With that, it made me feel bad that we won’t be able to see what happens next. So what went wrong? It started with 11 million viewers and a 3.1 18-19 rating, falling to 3.88 million and 1.2 last night, not to mention the even lower 2.57 million and measly 0.7 the week before. The main thing I’d point to would be the lack of ambition in tackling relevant storylines to the time period. The look the show nailed down, but there was never really a sense of the times. In the end after the amazing pilot, the show slipped into a comfortable position which was charming but never that interesting. Do these faults deserve the low ratings it eventually got? Looking at Once Upon a Time, not really. Maybe if Pan Am pretended it was grander than it actually was, more people would have hung on.

The Good Wife is in another transition period with the firm not under investigation and Will temporarily out the door. What this bodes for Alicia isn’t clear yet, and the episode didn’t really give us indication of what’s up next, whether the plots of the episode are about tying up loose ends or if they will have more traction in the future.

Spartacus and complex aren’t exactly two words that go together, but the show did a nice job mirroring what happened over the course of a night. Spartacus and his small band hid out in the woods, trying to evade Roman soldiers while shorting through their own problems. On the other side, we see Lucretia and Illythia scheming against each other, against other people, and gaining allies.

With waning ratings, it’s great to see Nikita pushing the story from all fronts with Carla and Alex, in what may be its final episodes ever.

It was cool to see Supernatural return to the past with a bit more grit and craziness than the later seasons have been. There were no long-term implications, but I was a welcome change of pace.

Without a cool plot and setting like in the previous episode, Fringe seemed to be back on that shaky ground where things are happening but the audience has no clue why. Again, it’s probably because the writers make things up as they go along.

The Office characters going to Florida sounded like a good idea but apparently it actually isn’t. The episode started off well with a couple laughs, before diving off in Dwight-land, where he’s making a fool out of himself. Maybe Jim should have been in charge of the team so that we wouldn’t have to suffer through Dwight being an idiot. It’s one thing when all the characters are being silly, but it’s too much when one character is making a mess while the others are being normal.

The Secret Circle has been building up to the point where Blackwell, Cassie’s supposedly dead father, returns. We’ve heard how powerful and how evil he was, and even saw him set things on fire in the flashback. Seeing him for the first time was actually boring. He’s kind of just standing there, talking about how he wants the medallion and wants to protect Cassie. It’s all standard stuff.

In the previous episode, The Vampire Diaries had set it up so that Esther was preparing to kill her offspring. That’s good, since Klaus has been terrorizing Mystic Falls for over a season now. But what do the writers do? Immediately put her plan into motion, initiating the ritual in the very next episode. The plan fails and we’re back to square one. So what was the point of that? After all these foiled plots to kill Klaus, it’s getting really tedious.

Holy crap was Morena Baccarin good on last week’s Mentalist.

Revenge finally reached the moment which began the series, Daniel seemingly being shot. It’s something I’ve never really been keen on, as a straight reveal of Daniel being shot in this episode would be shocking in its own right. Perhaps fewer people would have talked about the show up to that point, but making big decisions out of insecurity is a bad move, in my opinion. In any case, it was handled well with rising tension until the reveal–that it was actually Tyler and not Daniel who was shot. Now, with everything torn asunder only 15 episodes into a 22 episode season, Revenge has a chance to reinvent itself.

Royal Pains is such a leisurely show that I hadn’t realized it was close to the end of the season until Jack died. I’m guessing that’s what’s going to keep Jill in town. Other than that, the Boris stuff was a wash. Does anyone care about his family drama? I don’t.

Southland had a really strong episode with Cooper and Tang, as usual, with some funny Dewey and Sherman behind it. Michael Cudlitz was on fire in the episode.

Justified: Timothy Olyphant got a breather these past few weeks, as there’s been focus on previous background characters like Devil and Dewey. In the end, Dewey doesn’t actually die and we got to see him bumbling around, thinking his kidneys had been taken. Also, it was cool to see Maggie Lawson in something other than Psych.

In the first two episodes of The River, there were at least attempts to find clues and move ahead in the jungle. In the third episode, however, it’s basically a stand alone horror story–jungle natives poisoning them and then trying to find the cure. It’s a little scary, but pointless on the season as a whole.

The way Hawaii Five-0 handled Lori was nothing short of laughable. They randomly insert her on the team, give her nothing interesting to do, a generic personality, and then drop her midway through the season. She was kind of just there, not intrusive but otherwise not important.

The first part of Castle’s two-parter was not the super-serious episode we’ve come to expect. It had the tone of a typical episode except a more juiced up plot and Jennifer Beals. I’ll have to go back and check, but I think Castle only does serious episodes when it relates to Beckett’s mother.

Smash had a lot of dumb moments in its second, but none more dumb than when the teenage son asked about his potential sister in China and asked, “What is going to happen to her if we don’t go get her?” What the fuck is that supposed to mean? I made more comments on Twitter about this if anyone’s interested.

I liked that Alcatraz tried to make things a little more dangerous, but the show is still bland from the characters to plot.

House at long last did a Chase episode. It wasn’t anything special, but I liked it.

How I Met Your Mother: After all the back and forth Ted and Robin have done over the years, why again? What hasn’t been covered already?

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