Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quick reviews while I'm still awake

Fortunately, the summer schedule is about as laconic as I am, so I'm going to bust out some quick thoughts. Leverage gets short-sheeted, sadly, but I'll make it up to you later. Mmm...Leverage...

So yes, another two-episode Sunday night, before they take the 4th of July off and then come back with regular weekly episodes for the rest of the run (including the return of Wil Wheaton). First episode was an interesting look at the concept of family, as Parker's "dad" (the guy who taught her to be a thief), meets her new family and gets a lesson on what actual family is. Parker on the run had a lot of excitement, Hardison and Sophie's "Steed and Peel" cover identities made me giggle, and the wheat subplot...was a thing. The super security system was a good villain though, and the final gotcha moment was well done. Hardison as a violin prodigy was interesting, moreso because I read John Rogers' blog (, of course), and his answers to Leverage questions. Specifically of note was the upcoming relationship between Nate and Hardison as mentor and protege. Look for this to recur. We also touch base with the meta-plot as The Italian comes back to point the team in Damien's direction. This episode has one great moment above all others though, the single tear running down Parker's cheek during Hardison's violin solo. I was definitely waiting for the reveal on that, and it didn't disappoint. It'll be a long week and a half until the next new episode.

Summer means summer shows, and so I delve more into reality/game show type stuff:

Top Shot remains interesting from a technical standpoint, and bless the poor editors who have to wring some drama out of the otherwise bland contestants. They seem like good people, but this would probably be better served as a faster-paced skills competition, rather than regularly paced reality fare. I'd rather see more marksmanship competitions than have to overhear minor squabbles in the house to pad out the hour.

Top Chef is rolling right along, and they have a good mix of drama and skills on display. Angelo is the new perfect villain for the season, and how did he not get cast by now? This guy is arrogant with a capital A, and his simmering feud with Kenny is going to get good. Amanda and Kelly both have potential for drama down the line too, and the challenges have been decent to this point. The pie challenge, that got ugly there. Good thing Top Chef: Just Desserts is around the corner, eh?

Downfall isn't bad either, as it's an interestingly done quiz show, Chris Jericho is a great host, and the visual appeal of stuff falling off a building is always a good time. I just wish the damn show would go faster. Then again, that's my problem with most game shows. Except Jeopardy. All hail Jeopardy.

The Good Guys is just barely hanging on for dear life. The show has promise, and no episode (of the three I've seen) has been a total waste of my time, but bits of the formula are starting to wear on me. The flashbacks aren't altogether terrible, although most of them are bits we could have figured out on our own. Also, the "chamber spinning/gunshot" sound effect that accompanies them is getting on my nerves. Bradley Whitford is trying so hard, and if the show makes it to season 2, it will be all him. However, there aren't any compelling supporting characters, and neither of the two leads is making up for it. I don't hate it, but I don't love it, and with Psych, Warehouse 13, and Eureka knocking on the door, the sands are running out of that hourglass.

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