TV Question Qorner: TV Midseason Report Card C-H
Fringe. Weird season so far. I went into last season thinking they'd have trouble making the two-universe storyline work, but they totally did. This season, I had no doubt that they'd make it work, and it's not that they haven't, exactly — the show is still good. It's just kind of treading water, waiting for Peter to come back. It's clear he's going to; it's just as clear that the stories need Joshua Jackson in order to operate at the top of their powers. I hope a fire gets lit under that soon.
A Gifted Man. Whatever you think of the premise — and I watch the show, but I don't think much of it either — the show doesn't take enough advantage of it. This is a show, like Journeyman, that I started watching solely because a member of the Bedrooms & Hallways cast is in it; Journeyman had Kevin McKidd, and a smarter attitude about its supernatural premise. A Gifted Man has Jennifer Ehle, and Patrick Wilson and Margo Martindale and a bunch of other talented folks, and if any cast can sell "hard-charging surgeon changes his attitude because the ghost of his community-minded ex-wife guilts him into it," it's this one.
The show seems embarrassed by its own log line, though, and that's a problem, because the rest of it, the un-supernatural part, we've seen a hundred times already. Asshole Doctor Becomes A Better Man Thanks To The Commoners He's Forced To Treat is a roomy acre, but it's tilled to dust at this point, and we watch television shows to get away from harangues about the fubared health-care system in the U.S., not to hear another pat lecture on it. But the writers' room wants to do a doctor show and forget the twist in "with a twist" that got the thing sold.
It's not a pointless hour of TV; Wilson takes his shirt off sometimes, Pablo Schreiber is cast correctly for once, and the rest of the players can sell whatever they're given to do. But for God's sake, give Martindale and Ehle more to do, then, and get more into the supernatural side of it — or at least have the main characters accept that it's happening, so we can get past the flat "comedy" bits where he's talking to himself. One more variation on "why didn't she just give him his asthma medication" / "because she works five jobs and still can't afford it, ivory-tower dickhead" and I quit.
The Good Wife. See my comments from a year ago. The trademark Margulies sniffy smugness has only gotten more intense since she finally paired off with Will — which, writing-wise, totally works for me, don't get me wrong, and I look forward to seeing how it goes off the rails. But now that the actual "good wife" part is sort of in the rearview…I don't know. Like, if she and Peter get divorced, I would not mind if Alicia got written off the show; every other female character on it is so much more relatable and interesting to me, not to mention is not wearing an even shittier and more blatant wig than last season's. That happens so often, though, that you stay with a show in spite of the lead and not because of him/her. Still a really smart, absorbing hour.
Hart of Dixie. I didn't realize Jason Street and D'Shaun Hardell were on it; I mean, I watched Closer to Home for Cress Williams, okay? "What-er to what now?" Exactly! So I had no excuse, and I added Hart of Dixie (hee, I just typed "Hard") to the DVR a few weeks ago on Jessica's recommendation. It's pretty dumb, but so far, the "pretty" is outweighing the "dumb," although speaking of that? We know Rachel Bilson is pretty, you guys. We will not stop knowing that if she dresses professionally at her doctor's office with a non-boobtastic neckline, a knee-length hem, and a ponytail. Maybe Vice President Hoynes would be nicer to her if she wore clogs like every other health-care professional on earth instead of five-inch Jessica Simpson pumps. Come on.
Hoarders. Still love the show, but now it's mainly because of the professionals — like Dorothy, who is my velvet-hammer favorite. (Matt Paxton is my regular-hammer favorite. Anyone read his book yet?) I really don't know if I can hack next week's installment, which is another cat hoard; I will flinch, and cry, and overcompensate for someone else's shitty pet-keeping by letting Little Joe lick salad dressing off my dinner plate, which isn't good for him but is still better than finding a 2D version of him under a stack of pizza boxes or something.
Tags: A Gifted Man Cress Williams fat cats Fringe Jennifer Ehle John Noble Joshua Jackson Journeyman Julianna Margulies Kevin McKidd manipulative use of pets in film and TV Margo Martindale Matt Paxton Pablo Schreiber Rachel Bilson Scott Porter TV