What have you been watching this week (w/e November 26)?

Cougar Town

It’s "What have you been watching this week?", your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched this week.

It’s been Thanksgiving this week in the US, so not as many shows as normal. I’ve also given up Boardwalk Empire, because good as it is, I’m not exactly enjoying it. I’m also a wee bit behind on In Treatment, Being Erica, The Trip, and Life Unexpected and I haven’t seen last night’s Misfits yet or any of the Glory of Greece/Ancient Peoples seasons on BBC4 and BBC2. So much to watch – not enough time!

But… after the jump, The Apprentice, Chuck, Cougar Town, Dexter, Hellcats, House, In Treatment, Modern Family, No Ordinary Family, Smallville, Stargate Universe, and The Walking Dead.

  • The Apprentice: Argh! Okay, so at least they were trying to speak the language, but the two teams’ attempts to speak German were excruciating, like fingernails down a blackboard. We were literally cringing. Probably the wrong guy got the can this week. Have to agree with Kelvin McKenzie for once, though: practically every ad sales team I’ve met has had a Stuart in it.
  • Chuck: Cop out ending with a magic reset button and, really, Sarah being able to kick the butt of a professional Thai kickboxer? Now there’s escapism. But the Awesome/Nerd Herd strand was the highlight for me, since it actually made the Nerd Herd crowd useful for a change.
  • Cougar Town: Another really funny episode, from the now-traditional alternate title through the "celebrity voice cameo" to Bobby’s incomprehensibility. Definitely one of the must-watch comedies of the week now, even if it never hits the heights of either Modern Family, Community or 30 Rock.
  • Dexter: Definitely the highlight of the week. This time, we largely took time out from the ongoing plot to deal with family issues, but it was a strong episode, again giving Dexter some characteristics that the audience can genuinely root for. I’m not sure I can take the tension with Lumen though and it does feel a little like the change in showrunner has taken Dexter and the other characters in directions that weren’t necessarily the most likely avenues of development. Good to see that they haven’t forgotten that a certain character was somewhat crap and incompetent in the first season, too.
  • Hellcats: Debbie Allen of Fame fame directed this one, which is why we got a daft dance routine at the beginning and the middle as well. Largely forgettable, though.
  • House: Can anyone explain why Sam left Wilson. We have literally no idea. And what’s up with Chase? When did he turn into such a bird-dog?
  • In Treatment: Realising the reason why this season isn’t working quite as well. Seasons 1-2 largely were therapy crossed with drama. This season’s largely therapy: there are no real issues in the same way as before, so we’re just exploring the psyches of some not especially interesting people. Sunil and Adele I like, but Jesse is still a git and Frances’s issues aren’t readily generalisable and don’t touch on any higher problems.
  • Modern Family: Now that’s better. Much funnier than the last two weeks – surprisingly, not a Thanksgiving episode, too. Gloria’s attitude to health was especially entertaining.
  • No Ordinary Family: A definite improvement in quality, but still too ‘family’ to have much of an edge. Bizarre to see nerdy brother from Kyle XY as top boyfriend material, though. Needs a bit more crime-fighting and super-powers used for more than just housework/relationship issues, though.
  • Smallville: Ridiculously over the top, but nice to see the return of Aquaman.
  • Stargate Universe: Not an episode that made a whole lot of sense, but glad to see that now the writers have removed the ambiguity from the episode, Faith, and looked like they were going to back "God and his holy works", they’ve now taken the traditional SGU route and given everyone a crap time instead. But what was that? Was that the first vestigial signs of humour being injected into the show? Awesome.
  • The Walking Dead: What started off as a bit dull this week quickly turned into an exercise in suspicion and horror. Great ending.

But what have you been watching?

As always, no spoilers unless you’re going to use the <spoiler> </spoiler> tags, please. If you’ve reviewed something on your blog, you can put a link to it here rather than repeat yourself (although too many links and you might get killed by the spam filter).

  • Mark Carroll

    House: my guess of why Sam left Wilson was that she hadn’t been messing with radiation dosages, perhaps somebody else had and found intolerable the idea that Wilson readily accepted the idea that she wasn’t being honest with him.
    I did finish Dead Like Me. It at least sustained its quality and ended comfortably. I’m happy to leave it at the end the second season, rather than pursuing the later to-DVD film.
    Modern Family, I’m finding just a bit too implausible and neatly cliched, but my family like it.
    Netflix are raising their prices so I might start watching less.

  • Mark Carroll

    House: now I’m wondering if it was a casualty of editing. Sometimes when something’s confusing or oddly-motivated in a film, I find the answers in the deleted scenes.

  • Only two programs of note (which isn’t surprising considering the dearth caused by the holiday over here)
    One was the finale of ‘Luther’ which aired last weekend. My DVR cut it off right after that big moment, so I watched it again on the DVD once it arrived via Netflix (which I had already ordered because of that missing Munch mention in the previous episode). As it turned out, I preferred the shot of Luther, Alice, and Mark standing silhouetted against the train stations great glass walls rather than the question which served as their cliffhanger.
    I hope that was vague enough.
    The other program was a special celebration recorded at Lincoln Center for Sondheim’s 80th birthday. No stupide speeches, David Hyde Pierce kept it moving swiftly as the moderator; just wonderful singers with beautiful songs.
    Otherwise, there was ‘Boardwalk Empire’, ‘Human Target’, ‘Lennon Naked’ (which I haven’t watched yet), ‘Modern Family’, ‘Raising Hope’, and ‘Cougar Town’. I recorded ‘Glory Daze’ but I’m only listening to that while I’m in the other room on the computer – basicallly just for the 1980s soundtrack.

  • MediumRob

    @Mark: We got that it was about the radiation tests. We’re just not sure why Wilson doubting her would be enough to cause her to leave
    @Toby: I took a look at the Glory Daze trailer, but it looked so horrific and derivative (ooh, a show set in the 80s at college where everyone joins a frat house, misbehaves and maltreats/objectifies women. That’s new and interesting!) that I decided not to bother.