Tag: the mentalist

Read Before Watching: March 16th

SPOTLIGHT: KINGS
I was prepared to dislike Kings, I really was. Usually, if a show gets universal praise and is instantly loved, especially prior to any episodes even airing, I’m resistant to giving it a chance. Call it a character flaw. So, it was with considerable reluctance that I watched the premiere episode. What did I think? Well, without an ounce of hyperbole or even the smallest amount of exaggeration, I would say Kings is the best series on television right now. Yes, after just one episode, it is that good. The story is a modern day retelling of the Biblical story of King David, yes he of David and Goliath fame. It’s probably more accurate to say “loosely based”, but all the major players are there, even if some are renamed somewhat. The setting has been updated to a contemporary alternate version of the United States. That pitch right there made me go “meh” at first, I freely admit. There’s also the problem of a very familiar story; even if you’ve never been to Sunday School, you pretty much know how it’s going to play out. That should in no way deter you from watching this extraordinary show.

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I first saw Ian McShane in an episode of Space:1999 many, many years ago, but really came to appreciate him as an actor in the highly acclaimed (and much missed) series Lovejoy. My appreciation for his work has only increased in leaps and bounds over the years. I thought that his role as Al Swearengen in Deadwood would be his crowning achievement, but his portrayal here of King Silas trumps that. He handles every scene flawlessly, even when he’s silently reacting to another character. All the other actors all bring their best to this as well, in particular, and most surprisingly, Christopher Egan as David. Egan plays David as a very naive boy who only wants to see good in the world and doesn’t yearn for nor want power. But you can see flashes of the leader he is destined to be as the story progresses and in Egan’s performance. That should be enough prompting right there to get you to watch the premiere on NBC.com and then tune in every Sunday at 8:00 PM to watch this magnificent tale unfold.

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RUNNER-UP:

Castle
This is another show I wasn’t too sure of, but knew I would be checking out just based on the fact that it stars Nathan Fillion. I’m pleased to say that it turned out way better than I expected. True, it’s another procedural show, but any series with a literary bent is ok in my book. This one airs on ABC Mondays at 10:00 PM, so it won’t interfere with you catching Chuck and Heroes, which are on a break this week anyway. Castle has been firmly added to the “watch” list.

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THE REST OF THE WEEK
The Mentalist is back after a month hiatus and is now on Tuesdays at 9:00PM on CBS. Lie To Me (when it actually is on) is now airing on Wednesdays at 8:00PM on Fox, which means it is now no longer up against the second best show, ABC’s Lost, which airs an hour later on ABC. Ok, Dollhouse definitely improved last week so, as long as it maintains at least this level of quality or better, I’m in for the rest of the season. It airs on Fox Fridays at 9:00PM, however this week you’re going to want to DVR it. Friday at 9:00PM on SCI FI (soon to be SyFy) airs the final two hours of Battlestar Galactica. I’m still saying it isn’t going to end well, but end it will. Check back next week for my wrap-up of the entire series.

That’s it for this week. See you Sunday for another look at what I’ll be watching next week.

Read Before Watching: February 15th

Ok, I’m going to go ahead and get the big question out of the way this week, that being, “How is Dollhouse?” Sadly, I must report that it isn’t very good. The much anticipated pilot episode, written and directed by Joss Whedon, debuted last Friday on Fox. The pilot was very flat in that nothing about it really excited me. Other than Eliza Dushku, the acting was not very inspired and the characters didn’t grab me at all. A lot of things felt forced and contrived and there were many story points that didn’t make sense, and not in a “ooooh, cool mystery” kind of way, but in a “that defies logical storytelling” kind of way. There was none of Whedon’s signature humor, at all. It sort of felt like a fanboy attempting to write a Joss Whedon-esque script and failing. In fact, Whedon’s name is really the only thing going for it right now. He’s the reason I’m willing to give it another couple of episodes to see if it improves. If it had been produced by anyone else I would not even have watched the entire pilot. And because Whedon’s name is all over it I’m mostly just left feeling really, really disappointed. Five years away from TV and this is what we get? I may be getting inappropriately melodramatic, but, hey, so did the Dollhouse pilot. By the way, am I the only one who saw the interior set of the titular “dollhouse” and thought, “Wow, they really spruced up Wolfram & Hart?” Tune in to Fox Friday at 9:00PM and see what you think.

Reversing gears now, I completely apologize for having ever doubted Chuck. I finally got to see the 3-D episode last week and, wow, that show is just firing on all cylinders. I am a fool for doubting and I will do so no more. Chuck is new this week after being bumped last week due to the President. Also new is Heroes. I’m still enjoying the fugitives storyline, especially Sylar getting a sidekick. I like that Sylar’s little trip on the light side has only served to make him a stronger bad guy. Daddy has a lot to answer for. NBC is the network and from 8:00-10:00PM is the time you want to block out for both of these.

The Mentalist (9:00PM CBS) and Leverage (10:00PM TNT) still make fine Tuesday viewing and both are new this week, the latter airing the first part of it’s two-part season finale. Both are still solid shows that consistently entertain week after week.

Wednesday brings my most anticipated show of the week, Lost. Last week continued to bring the mind-numbing reveals and story twists. They are really pulling out all the stops this season and it is making for some very compelling TV. If you aren’t glued to ABC at 9:00PM on Wednesday, then there is no hope for you. DVR Lie To Me at the same time on Fox, however. It is proving that it can maintain consistently good quality, but it still has some quirks that could prove detrimental in the long run. I’m nowhere near giving up on it, but we’ll see how I feel about it next season, should it get a pickup.

Thursdays still have nothing for me, which makes it a good night for me to catch up on things. I had hope for Fridays, but Dollhouse may have spoiled that. However, last week’s Battlestar Galactica (SCI FI 10:00PM) proved to be one of the show’s best episodes as we got lots of information and reasons why. Five more weeks and then that one is done and I’m starting to feel the first twinges of missing it. In light of the new revelations, I am even more intrigued by how this will all play out and how they will give us a satisfying answer to it all in just five more hours.

That’s it for this week. Again, let me know if I am missing anything compelling on Thursday. Next week, I’ll do a little recap of what’s happened on Lost this season so far. In two weeks, I will be taking a look at a British show making it’s American debut on BBC America. Stay tuned!

Read Before Watching: February 8th

First, let me apologize for the delay in this edition of my fledgling column. I’m still tweaking the format of it. I had thought to have it be every Wednesday to have something new for you in the middle of the week. However, in rethinking things, maybe having this be at the beginning of the week and looking ahead to what’s coming on will be a little better. I’m still uncertain. Read Before Watching gets a good amount of traffic, so I know you’re reading it. Please leave me some feedback with what you’d like to see as far as format and coverage. Now, then, let’s take a look at what I’m looking forward to this week on the small screen. Note, you will need a DVR this week in order to play along at home.

Monday
Chuck (8:00PM, NBC)
Is it just me or is the shine beginning to wear off of Chuck? It could just be me, but I’m just not as excited as I used to be about this show. It’s still funny, it still delivers, but I don’t think about this show until it’s time to watch it. It still beats, say, Survivor or doing laundry and I’m not dropping it by any means. I just hope they do something new sometime soon.

Heroes (9:00PM, NBC)
Heroes got a lot of flack for a convoluted Volume Three, but not from me. I’m not saying it was perfect, but it sure tried. I’m still digging this show quite a bit. I do think there are some things here and there that could be changed and, admittedly, it may be time for some characters to go, but this new storyline has me intrigued enough to give the show as a whole a spot on my must-see list. This week I think we finally get to meet the man who fathered Sylar.

Tuesday
The Mentalist (9:00PM, CBS)
This is probably my second favorite show right now. Everything is perfect, from the scripts to the characters to the acting. The chemistry between the main characters is just spectacular and the twists and turns each week never get old and always surprised. I can see Patrick Jane becoming one of my all-time favorite TV characters. The Mentalist has been on break for a couple of weeks, but it’s seemed too long and I will be happily tuning in on Monday.

Fringe (9:00PM, Fox)
Told you that a DVR would be required! Fringe had me at “created by J. J. Abrams,” but I’m no longer sure that will be enough to keep me watching through the rest of the season. As a whole, the episodes so far have been uneven in quality. Walter remembering an experiment he once did being similar to each week’s gory death and the sometimes half-baked resolutions are beginning to verge into annoying territory. The next two or three episodes will bring me down off the fence. I really do hope it’s on the side of “keep watching.”

Leverage (10:00PM, TNT)
Leverage is just a consistently fun show to watch. Without a doubt, you will be entertained and feel the hour go by all too quickly. After this week, we get the two-part season finale and then a long wait until season two. This is a great show and you should be watching it.

Wednesday
Lost (9:00PM, ABC)
Now in it’s fifth season, Lost has gone from one of the most frustratingly fun shows to the pinnacle of greatness. This, my friends, is what TV was invented for. This is the show that keeps me awake not just contemplating it’s mysteries, but the implications of the answers it gives to those mysteries. Drama, humor, great acting and time travel done right.

Lie To Me (9:00PM, Fox)
Another one to DVR. Three episodes in and I’m still on the fence about this one too. The things that could be annoying about this show, as I outlined in my review of the first episode, are still there. The twists of each week’s investigations are already deducible prior to the reveal as well. Still watching for now, we’ll see how I feel about this one next week.

Thursday
Wow, there isn’t a single thing on Thursdays I’m interested in watching. That’s very odd as Thursday nights use to be the night for viewing. If anyone has a favorite that airs Thursdays, please leave a comment or email me to enlighten me.

Friday
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (8:00PM, Fox)
I think I might be done with this one. It’s been on a long break, so I’ll watch this week, but unless there has been some huge, fundamental shift, I’m done. The main characters continue to make slasher-film-esque poor decisions and only seem to survive them through a badly written final act. Wile E. Coyote seems a more adept choice at saving the world on a weekly basis at this point.

Dollhouse (9:00PM, Fox)
Joss is boss, so, yeah, this one’s a no-brainer. I’m in for however many episodes it takes for Fox to cancel this one. Yes, I’m still bitter about Firefly. But, hey, there’s supposedly a new regime at Fox that appreciates that some shows take time to build an audience. I hope they mean longer than episode three. Anyway, this one debuts Friday, so please watch it live to show the network the audience is already there.

Honorable Mention: I feel compelled to mention Battlestar Galactica again as, after this week, there are only five episodes left. However, to follow up my last view of it, I officially don’t like any of the characters, except for the two that spent last week bleeding from the head. I am ready for the end.

That’s it for this week. If someone can recommend some shows I should be watching on Thursdays, Saturday and Sunday I will check them out. And Desperate Housewives should be excluded as I gave up on that one a while back.