After last week's star-studded opener with Amy Poehler, Justin Timberlake, Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon, first time host Bryan Cranston was given the unenviable task of trying to match that level of surprise and intensity this week. How would the Emmy-winning star of "Breaking Bad" hold up?
In last week’s season premiere of “Fringe,” the show spent much of its time in the alternate universe. But, as I tried to stress last week, the word “alternate” should be used as little as possible when discussing the show at this point, because so much of Season 3 concerns two sets of people that views the other as the alternate to their own “correct” universe. The person we call the Walternate appears from our perspective a hideous, evil monster, perhaps even the Big Bad of the show. Over there, more than one person considers him to be the hero of this particular tale. History is written by the victors, to be sure. But currently, both sides look more like victims.
[Full recap of Thursday's (Sept. 30) "Fringe" after the break...]
The promos for this week’s episode of “The Vampire Diaries” featured a big, saliva-inducing tease: the much anticipated first meeting of human Elena and her vampire doppelganger Katherine. The image alone raised expectations for a classic showdown akin to the fight between Olivia and alt-universe Bolivia on the last season of “Fringe,” or all of the highly entertaining shenanigans featured between Willow and Vamp Willow in the fun “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episode “Dopplegangland.” Instead of the knock-down drag-out girlfights of our dreams, however, this episode delivered a conversation. A short one. Perhaps my own externally raised expectations are at fault, but color me disappointed.
[Full recap of Thursday's (Sept. 30) "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]
Confession: I haven’t seen an episode of “ANTM” since Jaslene took the crown in Cycle 8, so I was sort of shocked to get caught up with this season and learn it was already in Cycle 15. That’s six whole winners who have posed their way into modeling obscurity since I last laid eyes on Ms. Tyra and the gang. Lucky for me, it appears absolutely nothing about the show has changed: the girls still bring the drama while competing for a somewhat irrelevant prize, the producers still give them ridiculously ugly makeovers, and Tyra still thinks she’s Oprah. It may sound like I am putting down the show, but honestly there is something comforting about how little things have evolved over the years. I mean, there needs to be somewhere in this vast wasteland of reality television where a girl can catwalk her way to $100,000, right?
[Full recap of Wednesday's "America's Next Top Model" after the break...]
I finally figured out the perfect way to describe the maddening inconsistency that is “Glee”. Basically, it’s like the weather in New England: wait a few minutes, and whatever is onscreen will inevitably change. Notice that I don’t assign a value, good or bad, to what’s onscreen at the time. Just know that whatever it currently is, it will soon morph into something completely unrecognizable before long. Many found last week’s season premiere a refreshingly restrained effort (by the show’s standards, at least). As for me, I watched, I “meh”ed, and I closed up the storm windows for the Britney Spears Storm on the horizon.
That storm hit tonight in the form of “Britney/Brittany,” an episode that no doubt sent a certain segment of the show into a state of bliss. It also undoubtedly sent another segment of the show’s fan base into a complete rage. Now: if you loved this episode, don’t think I don’t respect ya. I just completely and utterly disagree. “Britney/Brittany” wasn’t so much aired as inflicted, making last season’s Madonna episode seem like “The Constant” from “Lost” or “Shut the Door, Have a Seat” from “Mad Men.” It indulged in every type of excess possible, transforming what should have been an episode of television into something with as much dramatic heft, emotional weight, and narrative thrust of an episode of “Solid Gold.”
[Full recap of Tuesday's (Sept. 28) "Glee" after the break...]
This past week it’s felt like the actual show “The Event” is merely a necessary byproduct of NBC’s hype-building advertising campaign for the series. That’s not a statement on the ubiquity of the ads, but rather on how effectively they boil down everything the show itself seems to want to express; so far the episodes have felt largely superfluous. For last week’s pilot the ads let us know that some terribly mysterious people were involved in some sort of terribly mysterious “event,” while for this week’s episode, “To Keep Us Safe,” they let us know that a plane disappeared, and now we’re going to find out what happened to it. When the ads for week three inevitably reveal that answer (“aliens did it”), you’ll be more-or-less caught up.
[Full recap of Monday's (Sept 28) "The Event" after the break...]