Well, it’s that time of year when we all spend time with loved ones and curse the TV Gods for the fact that there’s nothing good to watch until January. But have no fear! SB and I are here to guide you through a recap of the 2011 portion of the 2011/2012 tv season (as well as those shows that have aired complete seasons since our last Wrap-Up in June) and maybe even finally guilt you into checking out that show you’ve been meaning to catch up with on Netflix or DVD (*cough* Breaking Bad *cough*) while you avoid your racist relatives and drink too much gin and red wine, or maybe that’s just me. As always, my thoughts are in purple and SB’s are in blue, and big thanks to hockeybychoice for helping us out with gifs and pics for these posts!
I think that it’s safe to say that I liked season four a lot better than seasons two and especially three, which was my least favorite of all. But I can also confidently say that my enjoyment of season four was increased by a factor of a thousand during the season finale with the elements that were introduced as a set-up for next year. So overall I liked it, but I LOVED those last few minutes and am super-pumped for season five.
First off though, kudos for ending that meth/gang rape/werepanther bullshit pretty early on (I really could have done without the scenes of young-looking sister-wives lining up to violate Jason though). It was incredibly disturbing and incredibly stupid. You can have one or the other, but not both (just look at Will Schuester on Glee for further proof of how terrible that combination is). I also liked the Jason/Hoyt/Jessica storyline a lot, but they’re my three favorite characters so that’s no surprise.
The best though was that last episode and the reveal of two amazing things: the return of Russell Edgington and also of VAMPIRE STEVE NEWLIN!!!! I have made no secret of my love for the Newlins, and I assumed that he was going to resurface because we’d been hearing little tidbits about the fact that he was missing all through season 4, but when he popped his fangs at Jason’s door, I died. Next year has to be great, right? All of that PLUS the fact that Chris Meloni is joining the show! I haven’t been this excited for a season of TB since the end of season one.
Agreed, I really can’t wait for next season. I was starting to feel like I could wait for the rest as it came out on DVD, but the return of both Steve Newlin AND Russel Edgington, the best, most badass, batshit insane villain this show has ever had? Yeah, I’m in.
This season had some real highlights for me, and several things that didn’t really work as well. I love, love, LOVED the show jumping ahead in time a year and more or less eliminating the fairy bullshit. Hoyt and Jessica’s relationship falling apart, while horribly painful to watch, was also really, really well done, and I enjoyed the Sookie and Eric triangle, particularly when Eric regained his memory. Marnie was a good Big Bad, and Lafayette kicked MAJOR ass channeling various crazy bitches. Oh, and Tommy’s death? HEARTBREAKINGLY good.
Now, for what I did not enjoy as much–pretty much everything involving Sam, up until the point Tommy died; Tara, but that’s nothing new (although her death made my life, temporarily, until I heard she’d be back); and the use of Jesus. It’s probably best that he’s dead too, because did anyone else feel like he just became the exposition fairy? Until, that is, Holly showed up as the exposition fairy, literally?
Bottom line, in typical True Blood fashion, it was both good and bad, but the entertaining parts generally won me over enough to make it worth it. True Blood seems to be on an every other season swing for me (much like Top Chef)–I liked S1, hated S2, liked S3 more, liked S4 a little less, and am looking forward to a kickass S5.
Pretty Little Liars
I still enjoy the show for the campy fun, but my patience is starting to wear thin with respect to the actual mystery. Allegedly we are going to be finding out who the frak A is in the next set of episodes (which starts January 2nd – new night alert!), so maybe that will help me to reclaim my excitement for the story instead of focusing all of my energies on how much I hate Aria and Ezra and what the hell Spencer is wearing in any given episode. But obviously, we love Hannah, and I think that Emily is generally pretty awesome, and of course we LOVE Jenna and her superfreak ways. So, yeah – I’m looking forward to January 2nd and I hope you guys are still watching along with me. If you’re just in it for the character hate, have no fear – Aria and Z aren’t going anywhere and I hear that soon Chad Lowe the Weeping Poet Dad will be in on the secret, so you know that’s going to be a total shitstorm.
Oh, this show. I basically love it, because it fills a void in my heart previously occupied by Passions. In fact, if I had one request of Pretty Little Liars, it would be to ramp up the hilarious batshit insanity. I love how campy this show is–it seems pretty self-aware and usually hits all the right notes, and it’s just a lot of fun.
This season has had A turning into more and more of a psychopath, which is fun (hello, that fashion show scene was HYSTERICAL), but I kind of miss the mean girl antics, like making Hannah eat six cupcakes with pig faces on them or whatever. If we actually do find out who A is this season (and I’ll believe it when I see it), I hope the next nemesis is as creative and hilarious and omnipresent as A has been.
There’s a lot that could be said about the quality of the show, and continuity, and how they’ll just completely abandon characters (Secret Boy Cave, anyone) and plotlines at random. I mean, what DID happen with the lasagna box full of cash? But I’m not even going to bother. It’s not that kind of show. Turn your brain off to watch it, enjoy the ride, and then come over here to read Nicole’s hilarious observations on bags over the head and Gently Weeping Poet Dad. (Seriously–her recaps are so funny that I almost piss myself every time I read one. They’re my favorite part of the show, and there is a LOT to enjoy about the show.)
And finally, Caleb. I love him. That is all.
I don’t know what this show is, and I won’t respond to it. Take it away SB!
Actually, I (weirdly) got into quite a bit of detail with this show while talking about The Walking Dead, so for more of my feelings on it, be sure to check that section out below.
Just a few additional thoughts, though–I love this show. It’s my current sci-fi jam, and I was so excited that it was picked up for a second season (and so bummed that I have to wait for summer for it). I love the sweet-but-not-overdone chemistry between Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood, the moments of holding onto or appreciating the things and ways that they used to have, the brotherly relationships between Noah Wyle’s kids, and actually … the interactions with the aliens. That one that they brought in and used to study, how Moon Bloodgood was so kind and compassionate toward it, figured out what she needed to know, and then killed it passionately, and her whole scene afterward talking about it? God, this show is good. Last summer had a surprising amount of really great content, and this show was in my top three. I recommend giving it a shot when it comes back if you’re any kind of sci-fi lover at all.
I grouped these together because they share a night on the same network, but really, they are extremely different entities. Both shows are great, although Louie far exceeds Wilfred in my mind, and both shows are EXTREMELY divisive. If you got ten friends to watch them, I bet that 7 would hate both of them.
Wilfred is so my sense of humor but I totally get that it’s not for everyone. When I first heard about it, I feared it would be like that old show Unhappily Ever After, which I’m sorry, but I couldn’t fucking stand. It was a Married…With Children ripoff but with a puppet. But I checked Wilfred out and after a few episodes, I loved it. It’s smart, it’s funny, Elijah Wood is great and Jason Gann is hilarious as the dog/Elijah Wood’s psyche. I just find that I laugh a lot every time I watch it, and really, what more can I ask?
But Louie is a whole different thing. I have friends who LOVE Louis CK as a stand up – they go to his live shows with me, they watch him on You Tube, but they don’t get Louie the show, and they can’t deal with it. I get that. You sit down ready to watch a ‘sitcom’, wanting half an hour of laughter and mirth, but when Louie is over, you don’t know how to feel. Sometimes it makes you laugh, but in ways that are far different than how most sitcoms make you laugh. For example, I burst into hysterics out of shock and uncomfortable memories when Louis’ aunt offered his young daughters a bowl of brazil nuts, but referred to them by the MOST offensive, un-PC slang term imaginable and I was FLOORED because my own grandparents used to call them the same thing and I had completely forgotten about it until that moment. (In a moment of horrifying solidarity, I know exactly the term you’re referring to, also because of my grandparents. You should hear what they call Chuck Taylors–it’s SO much worse.) That’s the kind of laughter you get from Louie. It’s not for everyone. And a lot of the time, the show is really melancholy or even full-on depressing. But above all else, it’s so real (with moments of surrealism strewn about) and so impressive. Who, besides Louis CK, could have humanized Dane Cook the way that he did this past season? Who else would write and direct a five minute scene where he, the lead, is chastised about his masturbation habits by an adult virgin, and have the adult virgin be the rational one in the situation? Who else would have Joan Rivers talk about the importance of not being an asshole to people just because you can, followed by Louis hitting on her in the most uncomfortable way imaginable? I mean, the guy writes, directs, produces, edits and stars in this show. He got F/X to give him a bunch of cash and also complete and total autonomy when it comes to the work he produces. Nobody else has this opportunity. It’s unprecedented. And he kills it, every week. The guy is a genius.
Well, I completely missed the boat on Louie, but I’ll be setting it to DVR when it comes back because I think I saw maybe two episodes–the one with the Halloween mugging, and the two-parter where Louie goes overseas to entertain the troops, and I’ve gotta say–I’m pretty sure that two-parter was one of the best episodes of TV that I watched this year, maybe even in the top two. That is major, y’all. That episode really was fucking fantastic. It was like nothing else I’ve ever seen on tv. Now Wilfred, on the other hand, I was aware of before it started and I was really excited to like it. And I DID like it! It’s always nice when something lives up to, and in this case exceeds, your expectations. The craziest part is that I figured that this show would be so goddamn weird that it would be a one season, thirteen episode thing and then be over, but lo and behold, it got picked up! Um, AWESOME.
Wilfred was really goddamn dark. And so, so funny. And a mindfuck in a way that like … Fight Club or something was a mindfuck. I really, really loved it. I don’t remember the last time I fell so hard, so fast for a show–probably The Office back in season two. I adored this show, and watching it was the highlight of my week. And good LORD, is it quotable. One of my top three summer shows.
[NO SPOILERS AHEAD] First, I have to once again thank our very own Andy for convincing me to watch this show. Over the summer, I planned on diving into either Dexter or Breaking Bad, and Andy convinced me to go with BB (along with lots of other people, but he was pretty persuasive) and OH MY GOD. It was the greatest decision I have ever made in my entire life (hyperbole aside, it was a REALLY good decision). I watched the first three seasons in probably two weeks, and then I impatiently waited for season four to start, thinking it couldn’t possibly top what I had already seen. Well, IT DID. SO much. Season four of Breaking Bad was one of those perfect seasons of television that comes around almost never. Everything from the acting, the writing, the editing, the music and the direction was goddamn flawless.
Jesse and Walt demonstrate what I looked like for a week after watching the season 4 finale.
If you only know Bryan Cranston from Malcolm in the Middle, you will be blown away by his portrayal of Walter White, and if you don’t watch this show you likely don’t know who Aaron Paul is but he is equally fantastic as Jesse Pinkman. Add Giancarlo Esposito to the list as well, who’s Gus Fring may be the best tv villain in the history of the world (and I watch Justified, so that includes Mags Bennett!). I have never watched a show that is so unpredictable and so suspenseful that it causes my heart to literally race and my jaw to literally drop. I’m not kidding – both of those things have happened on multiple occasions. At one point I had to pause the show, stand up and walk a few laps around my living room while my adrenaline levels calmed down. If you’re worried that it looks like a big ol’ downer (which was the reason I waited so long to check it out), well, don’t. I mean, obviously it’s about meth and crime with a little cancer on the side so it ain’t Sesame Street, but this show is darkly funny, and you will laugh more than you think. You will also be tempted to start speaking like a punk in your daily life (YO, give me a venti latte, BITCH!!), or maybe that’s just me.
Just watch it already. And if you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a huge favor and DON’T spoil yourself on anything. The twists are that good and if you know them in advance, the impact will be lost. The show has been renewed for sixteen more episodes, but there’s been no S5 premiere date set so you safely have until at least the summer to catch up on the first four seasons. Get on board now, so that you can really appreciate the 2012 Emmys when Breaking Bad sweeps the male acting categories, which it will (and Paul and Esposito will be duking it out in the same category…SOPHIE’S CHOICE ALERT).
I’ve never seen it! Don’t murder me, Nicole! (Or Andy, I guess.)
This show was completely unexpected for me. I had heard about it and was vaguely interested, but considering that MTV is home to the Jersey Shore and half of the teen moms in the USA, I was skeptical. Well, clearly, I was wrong – this is one of the best shows about teenagers in a long time. It’s funny, it’s real, it’s painful…all of those notes that you have to hit just right in order to truly capture the modern high school experience. I really can’t wait for it to come back, and not just because I miss Matty on my tv (but I do) – I miss EVERYONE. Sadie, Jenna, Tamara, Ming…all of them. Which is pretty impressive for a show that’s had such a short run. Although, I could do without Ricky Fitz and his full-retard hair. But hey – we all make mistakes in high school, so who am I to judge? Just bring this show back already, and this time, give it a 22 episode season please!!!
Yeah, so this past summer I’m there just loving the shit out of Wilfred, thinking there couldn’t possibly be another show to come on that I could love as much, and then there was Awkward. Oh. My. God. It’s perfect. You guys, I caught up on this show (I was about nine episodes back, I think) within two days. And every episode was perfectly dead on the sweet spot of completely hilarious and agonizingly angsty. In other words, my absolute favoirte type of show.
I 100% agree with everything Nicole said above. It hits all the right notes and feels like a legitimately authentic teenage experience. I also figured I was too old for an MTV show about a teenager, but for someone who really grew up in the time of My So-Called Life, it’s wonderfully reminiscent of that but with a funnier tone–it’s got a very dark, very biting wit, and it’s perfect for the time. I just got the first season for my birthday, and I can’t wait to wear out the DVDs.
Also, for those of us who were obsessed with MSCL as teenagers, and who thought that there would never be a boy who could fill the Jordan Catalano space in our hearts, there is Matty McKibben. He’s THE BEST. (Plus, we ran the perv check–he’s legal in real life, so even if it’s a tiny bit creepy, it’s totally acceptable to crush on him.)
Do I even need to say it? This was the final show in my Summer Top Three (a list I apparently just officially named), along with Wilfred and Falling Skies.
The Walking Dead
I’m still into it, but maybe not as much as season one. I thought that the fall finale was excellent and set things up nicely for the rest of the year (because dog knows I couldn’t have taken another six weeks of looking for Sophia and passive-aggressive negotiations with Herschel). What’s bugging me? There’s been less zombie action this year than in season one, which is probably budgetary but it’s still missed. I hate a lot of the female characters, which angers me – why do so many shows insist on making women such whiny bitches? For the record, a lot of the men are whiny bitches too (DALE), but at least some of the guys have a little complexity, you know (NOT Dale, just fyi)? Andrea is just a flat-out bitch on wheels and Lori is someone who raises a lot of great points about life and death and quality of life, but she does it in a way that even I want to punch her out. And I often AGREE with her. So, yeah. I’m excited for season 2B and the aftermath of the Zombie Barn Shootout, but I’m hoping for some better character development when it comes back.
This season of The Walking Dead has been weird for me. Well, no, that’s not true. The internet reactions have been weird for me. But I think that’s because I feel pretty much the same way about it that I’ve always felt about it. And really, I don’t think I was as enamored with it as everyone else was from the get-go. That sounds bad. I LIKE IT, I just am not madly in love with it.
Also, if you follow my Twitter feed, you’ll know that I always magically end up eating salsa during it. My life decisions may need some examination.
Anyway, my biggest thing about it is this–Falling Skies came out first, and I feel like it is a really fucking outstanding show. The zombies on The Walking Dead aren’t really anything like the aliens on Falling Skies, but you can make the comparison because they’re both pretty much post-apocalyptic shows. Part of it is that I like where Falling Skies picked up better–it’s in the more immediate aftermath of the apocalypse, and there is still an amount of hopefulness about ultimately winning. There are goals other than survival, you know?
It’s not that The Walking Dead is unsuccessful in what it’s doing either–it’s later in the zombie apocalypse, and it is just drearier by nature. It’s definitely darker, and in a realistic way. There are, as with Falling Skies, questions of the good of the one versus the good of the many, but more than that, this season has raised much more difficult questions of whether or not it’s worth it to go on living, if you should really bring a child into the ultimate shitty situation, and whether or not the zombies are people or monsters. People are starting to go really fucking crazy, and it’s turning into a show that’s pretty thrilling psychologically (if not so much in terms of actual action).
Still, and it’s hard to quantify, but I just really enjoy Falling Skies more. I don’t know that I can even say it’s a BETTER show, but I will say that for the last several years, there has just kind of been a Battlestar Galactica-shaped void in my heart, and Falling Skies is the first show that kind of fills it. It’s definitely different, but I think there’s something about the tangible, intelligent enemy, the blend of science and military, and the sort of nomadic but confined nature of it that makes it feel similar, even if it doesn’t immediately look similar.
So I know this really turned into a diatribe about Falling Skies, but I guess what I’m saying is this. Yes, there was much less action and much less zombie guts in this new season of The Walking Dead, but I do think that they’re successfully telling the story they’ve set out to tell. I’m also ready for them to move on from Herschel’s farm, but I also don’t care all that much if they don’t. This is definitely a show where I’m along for the ride. But I guess I’m also saying that if this isn’t the sci-fi show that runs away with your heart, there might be another one out there that does.
And finally, how fucking amazing has Darryl been all season? And when Andrea almost killed him, I nearly SHIT myself. As Billy put it, it would’ve been the worst character killing the best character, and I would not have known how to live with that. Unlike Celine Dion, my heart would NOT go on. (Timely reference FTW.)
That’s it for today, but be sure to come back tomorrow when we tackle the next big bunch of shows! And be sure to shake off your Christmas hangovers and food comas long enough share your thoughts on the shows we’ve covered so far in the comments!