Thursday, May 9, 2013

Catching Up As the TV Season Winds Down

We came back from our Hilton Head vacation last week to a DVR that was almost, but not quite, 100% full, so much of our free time since then has been spent catching up on these recorded episodes of our must see TV shows.  

Here's a recap.  As usual, no spoilers.

The Americans.   I have not written about this FX series, because I discovered it almost by accident.  The show takes place in Washington DC in 1981.  It is the first year of the Reagan Administration, and the USSR, while they may not realize it, is on the verge of extinction.  It revolves around Philip and Elizabeth, a seemingly normal suburban American couple with two kids and their own small business.  However, they are really Soviet spies who have been embedded in America in order to spy for Mother Russia.  Now, I have read that there were such people (and probably still are), that the USSR - and the USA - planted such spies in normal everyday society.  I also have read that such people often led fairly mundane lives as far as the spying business goes.  Not Philip and Elizabeth, though.  They are incredibly busy spying for the motherland, and often with very violent and deadly results.  The star is Keri Russell, the sweet-young-thing star of the series "Felicity" back in the late '90s.  Well, sweet she ain't in this show.  She is ruthless, cold-blooded, and completely without conscience as she does her duty for the KGB.   Some jaw-dropping violent scenes from Ms. Russell.  Also, since FX is a cable network, the show also offers at least one steamy, albeit gratuitous, sex scene in each episode.  To that end, I nominate actress Annet Mahendru, who plays Soviet spy, Nina, as one of the, and I hate to use the word because it sounds so juvenile but I can't come up with a better one, hottest young ladies on TV.

Anyway, we like the show, which concluded it's first season this week with the requisite cliff-hanger ending.

Mad Men.  We are now four episodes into this season of Mad Men.  Don Draper has reverted to his hound dog ways, a complete and total cad, to use an old fashioned word.  This season takes place in the year 1968, a remarkable year in our history, and those events, the Martin Luther King assassination, for example, are being woven into the plot lines.  I suspect that the Robert Kennedy killing will be in an upcoming episode, perhaps as early as this week.  To me, the show is at its best when it is taking place in the SDCP offices.  Don is still the smartest guy in the room, Pete Campbell is still loathsome, Christina Hendricks is still spectacular to look at, and Roger Sterling still gets the best lines in the show.

Person of Interest.  This show is coming perilously close to jumping the shark for us.  Each week the stories involving the Machine (who built it, who is controlling it, who is trying to control it) become more convoluted and the whole thing just screams of writers making crap up as they go along.  Same for which cops are crooked and which cops are not.  Were it not for the charisma of star Jim Caviezel, I think we would have bailed on this one earlier in the season.  As it is, we will stick it out for tonight's Season Finale, and make a decision over the summer as to whether we want to resume with it in the Fall, although we probably will.

Elementary.  This reworking of the Sherlock Holmes story, which places Holmes in present day New York City and gives him a female Watson is one of our two favorite new shows of this past network TV season.  Johnny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson are very good in their roles and play off of each other well.  Season Finale is tonight, and we are definitely on board for next year.

Vegas.  This is the other show that we both really like.  The story takes place in Las Vegas in 1960 as the Mob comes in to take control of the casino business.  Dennis Quaid as the Vegas rancher reluctantly turned sheriff, and Michael Chiklis as the Mob Guy from Chicago are both really good.  The bad news is that while this show has been well received by the critics and does OK in the ratings, it seems that it is not being watched by the coveted 18-34 year old demographic, and it appears that CBS will probably cancel the show.  Too bad, because, we really like this one, but I guess our "demo" is just not what the CBS Bigdomes
want.  Season finale is tomorrow night, and I hope that someone miracle will occur to let this series see another season.

I will also mention two shows that I do not watch, but which are favorites of Marilyn's, The Good Wife and Grey's Anatomy.  Mrs. Grandstander reports that The Good Wife remains a solid show, and that while Grey's has held up over this season, if a certain event hinted at in the previews takes place in tonight's Season Finale, she may just possibly be done with this one.

And on the lighter side, I see where ABC is bring back Wipeout for the summer.  Now that, my friends, is quality television!

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