Grey’s Anatomy – Season 4, Episode 3 – Let the Truth Sting

October 12, 2007

My wife was very excited to see the old guy, who’s been part of so many lunch eating scenes, wake up.  She was even happier to find out that he knew everyone and all of their issues.  Unfortunately, he won’t be joining them for any more meals.  He was a man who wanted to die and by the end of the episode he got his wish.  But not until after he told Izzy that there was no way George was leaving Callie and I think she’s starting to realize that she’s the other woman and that she’s on her own.  With George confessing at the end of the show hopefully we’re getting closer to wrapping this misguided storyline up once and for all.

I’m pleased to say that this was another good episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  Just like Prison Break which has made a comeback on my viewing schedule after a terrible season last year, so too has Grey’s.

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Grey’s Anatomy – Season 3, Episode 2 – Love/ Addiction

October 5, 2007

Now that’s the Grey’s Anatomy I remember liking.  Humor, drama, soap opera plots and an ensemble cast acting like a true ensemble.  Sure, the George and Izzy story is still alive but the word on the street is that it’s not going to end happily.

Derek and Meredith are together but not really together and it’s clear the writing is on the wall – I think Derek will be bailing on this relationship soon enough.  I even liked her a little tonight.  It’s good to see her acknowledge how screwed up she is even if it’s in the context of blowing off her sister.

The opening scene of Christina trying to trade her gifts definitely made me laugh out loud and I have to admit that McSteamy really does enhance every scene he’s in including this one where he negotiates for the cappuccino maker.   Her day gets much worse as Mrs. Burke comes back to give advice to pretty much every character and to take back her son’s stuff.  Shock of shocks, Preston’s never coming back.

The case of the week where a meth lab run by a young couple blows up and injures their neighbours, some strangers and their baby son was quite good and proved a great showcase for Alex.  It doesn’t, however, work out well for Callie who not only figures out George is cheating on her but screws up most of the day.  Bailey gets some great scenes this week between undermining Callie and showing who the real boss is and giving Alex hell for losing it on the father for running a meth lab.

I have to admit, I’m back on the Grey’s train.

Avi’s Episode Rating: A-

PS – I could still do without the voice over

Grey’s Anatomy – Season 4, Episode 1 – A Change is Gonna Come

September 28, 2007

Not a bad start to the season. Although the voiceover is still in place it’s definitely a time of change for the former interns who now have interns of their own. Or at least most of them. As you may remember from last season, George is still a resident, which has him moping around most of the episode, at least until he’s able to say to Izzie the three words we’ve been dreading. I thought the writers listened to the fans who despise the prospect of an Izzy-George hook up. Oh well, I guess Izzy could always turn him down.

Meanwhile, to the shock of no one who follows TV news, Burke isn’t coming back leaving Christina to behave to her interns pretty much as we would expect. Derek and Meridith are still broken up but that doesn’t stop them from having a quickie in the on call room and funny enough I still don’t care about either of them. In contrast, new intern Lexie Gray, Meredith’s sister actually is likable and might be a great addition to the show. Lucky for Lexie they are only 1/2 sisters which (besides this being a TV show) would explain the disparity in character.

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Private Practice – Season 1, Episode 1 – In Which We Meet Addison, a Nice Girl From Somewhere Else

September 27, 2007

Like pretty much everyone else who watched the pilot of this show last season in Grey’s Anatomy, I thought it sucked. (Check out my review if you don’t believe me.) They took the best character on Grey’s Anatomy and turned her into Meredith, one of the worst characters on TV. Taking the summer to retool, we are presented with the newly reworked real pilot episode and I’m unconvinced and even a little bored.

Unfortunately there are many things I dislike about this show. I need to be clear – It isn’t the cast who individually are great actors. Unfortunately, they just don’t seem to gel as an ensemble. The back and forth banter which is supposed to imply a relationship between the characters seems a little too scripted and not very natural. The relationship between Taye Diggs and Naomi (good recasting by the way) lacks chemistry. Although they haven’t changed Addison as drastically as they did in the previous pilot, she definitely isn’t the calm, cool professional she was on Grey’s.  That Addison, the “world class neonatal surgeon” would never have taken a job at a clinic like this with its group of disfunctional adults (and I use that word loosely) or be dancing naked in her window.

Beyond the character issues, the stories aren’t working either.  It’s way too early in the season for me to feel burned out on medical drama situations but I’m already feeling the “been there, done that” with the stories.  Was anyone surprised that the girlfriend would want the sperm after the boyfriend had died?  Not me.  Did anyone think the 17 year old girl who came to the clinic would have a smooth pregnancy?  Nope, not me either.

On the plus side, there was no Grey’s voice over but on the downside, same old Grey’s music.  I don’t think I’m done with the show yet.  Given the amazing cast I’m going to give it a few weeks but at this point I’m not feeling hopeful.

Avi’s Episode Rating: C-

What I Watched on my Summer Vacation – Part III – TV News I Missed

September 7, 2007

Although I took a hiatus from writing about TV news, I sure didn’t stop following it.  Here are some of the big TV news announcements of the summer and my thoughts on them.

  • Veronica Mars Cancelled by the CW – Not a huge surprise but still a disappointment.  As much as I wasn’t crazy about season 3, especially the last few non-arc episodes, Veronica Mars was a great show.  I watched a couple of season 1 episodes this week now that it’s in syndication and all I have to say is that the first season truly was a brilliant feat in episodic storytelling and I’m going to miss it.  Of course what this paved the way for was…..
  • Kristin Bell joins the cast of Heroes – Fanboys went crazy at this news, myself included.  Veronica the superhero.  How cool is that!
  • The Sopranos ends with a black screen –  I admit I rewound the PVR a few times and swore at the TV.  At first I was disappointed with the ending but as I thought more about it I did appreciate the lack of closure as consistent with the uniqueness of the show.  Now a few months later I’m back to disappointed but still looking at the series as a whole it’s hard to be upset for long.  It will truly be remembered as one of the best shows to ever air.
  • Jericho gets renewed for a second season – After being cancelled by CBS, a network that has demonstrated little to no patience for a show that isn’t a procedural, a viewer campaign sending nuts to the network convinces the powers that be to renew the show.  I’m super happy about this.  After a very slow first half of the season (ironically, the half where the ratings were good), the second half began to kick butt with twists, turns, deaths and a compelling story that drew me in every week.  Even though it’s only been renewed for a few episodes to give it a chance this may be enough to ignore my initial bitterness and get me to watch a CBS show this year.
  • Battlestar Galactica is going to end after season 4 – I think it’s great that the show is already crafting an ending allowing it go out at the top of its game but I’m not ecstatic about the recent news that SciFi may spread the final 20 episodes over 2 years.  At this point I just want it to start.  January still seems a far way off.
  • Isaiah Washington fired from Grey’s Anatomy – Handled badly by all parties at the end of the day I just don’t care.
  • Emmy Nominations Announced – There isn’t much I can add to the confusion and outrage expressed by any one – critic, fan, etc – over the silly nominations.  No Friday Night Lights.  No The Wire.   No Lost.  No Battlestar Galactica.  Lots of Boston Legal and Two and a Half Men.  Do the nominators actually like TV?  I’m happy about the 30 Rock, Sopranos and Office nominations as well as Brothers & Sisters acting nominations.  Also not too disappointed by the absence of 24.  But what about The Shield and the brilliant Walton Goggins.  I guess this isn’t the year the Emmys become relevant.

Just a few highlights from the summer.  It’s great to be back.  My Fall Preview entries are coming next week.  Let me know your TV news highlights from the summer.

Grey’s Anatomy – Season 3, Episode 21 & 22 – The Other Side of this Life

May 8, 2007

I was all ready to echo the critics’ disappointment in this episode setting up the Addision spin-off when I read TV Gal’s column this week and decided not to reinvent the wheel.  Here’s what she had to say:

It was boring: The episode created the greatest offense of any series: it simply can’t be dull. I don’t know if it was because they were trying to introduce too many characters at once (oh look a womanizer here, a serial monogamist there) or if because we are so used to the bizarre medical story lines on “ER,” “Nip/Tuck” and “Grey’s Anatomy” that nothing can shock us (so the surrogate mother slept with three men, so what?) But I’m here to tell you it simply didn’t work. No wonder the show’s working title is “Private Practice.” A show this boring deserves a boring title.

I didn’t connect with any of the characters: How can I love so many of the actors and not like any of the characters they’ve been saddled with playing. To see Chris Lowell, who is so compelling and delightful as Piz on “Veronica Mars,” reduced to shirtless eye candy? The fabulous Amy Brenneman in such a cliched situation (Looking awful and running into my ex-boyfriend at the supermarket). It pains me to say this, but I didn’t feel the need to see any of them every again.

Not one moment was believable: That scene between Addison (or Addie as her California friends call her) and Tim Daly in the stairwell was simply preposterous. I don’t ask for utter realism but — come on — who says something like “I’m going to kiss you. I’m going to kiss you with tongue. I’m going to kiss you so you feel it.” I was actually embarrassed for both of them.

I completely agree with her.  With a great cast and great lead character I thought the show couldn’t miss but it really did. They made Addison, who was the best character on Grey’s, into Meredith, the worst character on the show.   Great, likable actors like Tim Daly and Taye Diggs who keep having their shows cancelled deserve a winner but the way this show is looking so far it isn’t going to be “Private Practice”.

On a side note, I want to give my vast TV knowledge props for remembering that Kate Walsh and Tim Daly played ex-spouses once before on Eyes, a fantastic program cancelled way before its time.

Avi’s Episode Rating: C

Grey’s Anatomy – Season 3, Episode 20 – Time after Time

April 20, 2007

After another lackluster episode I’ve come to the conclusion that I only watch this show because my wife does and I like watching TV with her.  I seem to care less and less about the characters on this show every week.  At first it was just that I hated Meredith.  Now I’m starting to hate almost all the characters.  George and Izzy – yuck.  Burke – can’t get past his offscreen self.  Alex – lost his edge.  Callie and Bailey – haven’t been around that much.  Derek – still can’t understand why he would be with Meredith.  This leaves the couple of people who I do like – Addison and McSteamy.  Not enough.

I might be able to get over the detestable characters if they had good storylines but Christina’s mentor, Izzy’s daughter, the search for Chief, Alex’s patient who doesn’t remember who she is.  I’m surprised I stayed awake long enough to write this entry.

I’m still going to watch the rest of the season but next year I think I’m going to be dropping this show in favour of its spin off.  Taye Diggs, Tim Daly, Paul Adelstein and Addison who is the best character on this show.  I’m in.  As for Grey’s Anatomy I think my wife and I are going to have to find another program to share.

Avi’s Episode Rating – C-

Grey’s Anatomy – Season 3, Episode 17 – Some Kind of Miracle

February 23, 2007

Did that episode ever suck!  I mean seriously, did anyone actually think that Meridith was going to die.  I wasn’t even surprised that her mother died instead.  I sort of called it 2 weeks ago when I wrote that I hoped Meridth was going to die and that her mother would replace her in the voiceover so they didn’t have to change the name of the show.  Since that wasn’t realistic then the opposite was more likely.

The whole Meridith near death experience kind of bored me as it reeked with the same level of self indulgence and self centeredness as every one of her voiceovers or monologues.   Sure we got Denny and even better my favourite TV Coach and the girl from Dawson’s Creek/ Undeclared.  Still, borrrrrrring.

And what’s with Izzy.  I get that she’s protective of George but this is ridiculous.  She’s really turned into a bitch.  I think I’m going to start calling her Meridith 2.

That’s it.  Nothing else happened.  End of review.

Avi’s episode rating: C-

Grey’s Anatomy – Season 3, Episode 15 – Walk on Water

February 9, 2007

This was a good TV night for watching with my wife. First we watched last night’s awesome Friday Night Lights and we followed it up with tonight’s Grey’s. The episode started pretty promising with the hope that they might kill off Meridith by letting her drown in the tub and despite my initial disappointment that Sheppard saved her, it concluded with a similar promise.  I don’t know about you but my favourite part was the absence of a voice over at the end.

I’m going to give you my wife’s insight on this episode – “way too ERish, not what she looks for from Grey’s Anatomy”. Although ER has always had lots of soapy elements, the characters have always tended to be defined by the traumas that flow through the ER with the odd sweeps “in the field” disaster. Grey’s is pretty much the opposite with the medical cases taking a backseat to the soapy elements. No wonder my wife’s reaction to the ferry disaster was that it seemed a bit out of place for this show.

There were still plenty of soapy storylines – the chief’s dyed hair, Christina and Burke’s engagement flowing through the hospital grapevine and Callie and George going back to work as a married couple.

Personally, I liked parts of the episode (particularly the Alex storyline) but actually got kind of bored in the middle.  I guess after the last few excellent episodes the show was kind of due for a bit of a clunker.  It’s too bad this was probably the most expensive episode it’s ever filmed.

Avi and Nicole’s Episode Rating: B-

TV Review: Friday Night Lights – Episode 3 or “Why I’m no longer watching The Amazing Race”

October 20, 2006

I had a realization this Tuesday evening – I waste way too much time watching shows I don’t really enjoy. I had just watched Sunday’s The Amazing Race and couldn’t remember anything about it 10 seconds after it ended. There I was 10 minutes into Friday Night Lights, a show that is fast becoming my favourite new show of the season, and it hit me. There are a lot of shows that are truly excellent and I don’t need to watch shows just become they’re a habit. It was that minute I decided The Amazing Race was off my list. (See my earlier post on the topic to see why.)

Enough about shows I no longer watch. I’m here to write about a show that in only 3 episodes has become appointment TV for me. I wrote in an earlier article about the amazing actors in this show who I have no doubt will become big stars. I want to particularly single out the actor who plays Jason Street – his scene where he told his doting girlfriend to wake up and realize that he will never again be who they thought he would be was heartbreaking and real. This is what I love about this show. It’s clear this isn’t going to have a soap opera ending, where he miraculously gets out of bed and goes back to playing football. His life is different and he conveys his grief and bravery in every scene.

This week focused on the impact of losing at football in Dillon. In a heartbeat, the town, the players, the other coaches all turned on Kyle Chandler’s character and the inexperienced quarterback Matt Saracen. The coach demonstrated what a true leader is transforming his players back into a team with a little midnight run. At the same time we saw Tim breaking down from the guilt of not doing enough to protect his best friend and that even with a pep talk from the coach, this is not going to be an easy 1 episode journey from guilt to reconciliation.

I’m already looking forward to next week to see how the new “Katrina refugee” quarterback that they recruited is going to shake things up. If you haven’t been watching, go to NBC’s site and catch up fast. Ratings are going up but you need to jump on fast. You won’t be sorry.

Avi’s Episode Rating: A