Raked TV Madness! The Championship!

Well, that was unexpected…

Wow. If you haven’t been impressed with the competition so far, now’s the time to pay attention. Awake, with a strong lead throughout the tournament, outwitted the witty Community, but not by that large of a margin. The newcomer won with only 58% of the vote.

But the real story here was Fringe, whose fans rushed the court, giving it a phenomenal victory over Mad Men. While this may teach us that cult followings will always beat prestige (at least in voting), it tells us much more that this championship is anyone’s game.

Take a last look at the bracket and then vote!
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Awake vs. Fringe

Which fans will lead their favorite to the top? Which will be Raked Champion?

Cast your vote by leaving a comment, sending me a tweet, or dropping me an email. The winner will be announced on Monday!

Voting has now closed for this round. Stay tuned for the winner!

One Tree Hill: The Penultimate Episode

ONE TREE HILL: 9.12 “Anyone Who Had a Heart”

One of my biggest pet peeves in TV are those shows that introduce annual “traditions” and either don’t continue them (think of any festival from Gilmore Girls) or suddenly introduce them many seasons in. So to see One Tree Hill‘s burning boat festival bugged me a bit. I could be wrong (and correct me if I am), but I don’t think this has ever been introduced in the nine years we’ve been watching the show. And with all the baggage and drama of the series, you think I’d remember.

And really, that was just the starting point. I know that we’re building up to the big, two-hour finale next week (two hours!), but this episode just felt really disappointing to me. New “traditions” that were supposedly happening year after year. Suddenly happy spouses that were forever fighting and now cooperating, in business together, and well, doing it. A random search for a co-anchor on a show that we haven’t seen in eight episodes or so (and frankly, I forgot about, let alone didn’t care about). And…a missing Nathan?

You’d think that after getting Nathan back, we’d have him for more than one episode. In fact, after his father died, you’d think we’d see him a good bit. But now, he was absent from the episode, spending quality time with Jamie that we never saw. It just felt odd for the episode before the last.

Overall, the episode just felt like it was lacking substance. Brooke’s parents and their choice to work with her in the business felt a little too happy, wrapped too easily into a tidy bow. It’s nice to see that Chase will be getting Tric from Karen (I had completely forgotten that Karen owned Tric; in fact, she was quite the entrepreneur with Tric and Karen’s Cafe — a couple more buildings and she could have her own Pottersville), but I wasn’t all that invested in Chase to begin with, and it still bothers me that people say he did the “right thing” by beating Chuck’s father to a bloody pulp with a tire iron.

The only good part about the episode was seeing that Quinn and Clay are finally engaged. I was so thrilled that I was hollering at the TV during next week’s sneak preview, “Wedding episode! Wedding episode!” (I have no idea if we’ll get it, in case you’re wondering.) But beyond that, it all just felt like fluff.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too picky. You need a filler episode here, and there to get you to the place you want to end, but it is disappointing that that filler episode was so late in the season. Hopefully, next week’s episode will make up for it.

Raked TV Madness! The Final Four!

Can you believe we’ve gotten down to the Final Four? I can’t. And honestly, I can’t believe what shows were division champs in their categories!

Pop Pop! Community faced some of the best-ranked shows on TV right now, but the fans rallied, giving the Thursday night show the Comedy crown. Needless to say, #coolcoolcool.

Perhaps the long shot at the outset — having only been on the air for a few weeks — but the no-brainer by now, the fans of Awake kept this show going to win the title of Procedural.

Fringe may be hanging by a thread on Friday nights, but it outsmarted fan favorites like Once Upon a TimeGame of Thrones, and Supernatural. Now it’s got the title of division champ for Supernatural/Fantasy shows.

Given the large numbers in its season five premiere, it should be no surprise that Mad Men prevailed to win the Drama category, having a solid lead against Parenthood.

Now, it’s time to vote for the Final Four!
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Community vs. Awake
Fringe vs. Mad Men

It’s a fan faceoff with Awake against Community. Both are passionate groups, but who will make it to the championship? And Fringe against Mad Men – two very smart shows! Who will outsmart the other to make it to the final game?

It’s time for you to vote! Let me know your picks in the comments below, send me a tweet, or email me! And spread the word! Help your favorite shows move on!

I’ll be announcing the final matchup — the CHAMPIONSHIP — on Friday, so make your votes count and get them in fast! The winner of the tournament will be chosen on Monday!

Voting for this round is now closed.

Castle: Explosions and slow burns

CASTLE:  4.19 “47 Seconds”

KT can’t come up with the right fire pun for this line.

In the best tradition of plotting by juxtaposition, this week’s plot is driven by an explosion—but it also helps to further the slow burn of Castle and Beckett’s relationship.  Which, to be fair, has gone way past “will they/won’t they” and into “will they/OH FOR CARP’S SAKE WILL THEY ALREADY?!”

But I digress.

Castle’s urge to seize the day after the senseless deaths of the protesters feels natural. Between his work and his research habits, he may be somewhat desensitized to murder, but he can certainly still be shocked.  High time he made a move, I thought. And in the best tradition of TV romance, he is just. so. close.

Beckett’s decision early this season—to pretend she couldn’t remember the moments after she was shot—has been an open plot point long enough that I’d almost forgotten about it. I liked the way it came up again—using the experience to intimidate a suspect with both her first-hand knowledge and her general badass-ery.

It’s a good thing that Alexis is around to give Castle some scenes in which he can be sensible, perhaps even wise—because he annoyingly reacts to the news about Beckett’s memory in about the worst way possible.  It hits him squarely in the ego, to the point where he recoils without giving Beckett a chance to explain. He feels wounded now, but I think he’s not quite remembering the severity of her trauma at the beginning of the season. Admittedly, though, it doesn’t help that she’s throwing the information around with a suspect—someone who’s a stranger at best, and possible a cold-blooded killer—when she hasn’t confided in him.

What I’m wondering now is whether Kate will figure out what Castle heard her say.  She certainly noticed that he was in a twist over something, and since she found the coffee, she knows he was in the building.  Surely she’ll get it—she’s a deductive kind of girl.  The real question is, how long will Castle waste on blonde bimbos like the one in the preview before something happens to smack him over the head?

Smash: The Betrayal

SMASH: 1.08 “The Coup”

It was an experiment. It was a betrayal. According to the episode title, it was a coup. But what did you think?

Personally, I think that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Ok, yes, Derek went behind Tom and Julia’s back to produce a new song for the musical as an experiment for a new direction. But Eileen knew all about it. So really, was it really a betrayal?

To me, it felt like a lot of reaction to something that shouldn’t have been a problem. If I were Tom and Julia, yes, I’d be miffed, but I’d hope that I could see the bigger picture (maybe I wouldn’t). It was really the advertisement of secrecy that made the stunt a big deal. And all that lies in the hands of Ellis.

Uggh, Ellis. I think it’s pretty fair that no one is really the biggest fan of Ellis (if you are, please tell me why). He was continuously spreading rumors about what Derek was doing with Karen, telling Tom and Ivy as little as possible to make them suspicious. And then he showed up and took control of the room after all hell broke loose, basically making him seem in control (I was sure Eileen was going to fire him once he randomly showed up).

I just don’t know what his plan is. He first just loved showbiz, which is why he was with Tom in the first place. But then he just became conniving and underhanded. Now he wants to be a producer? Not if he keeps burning bridges.

What’s next forMarilyn, though? Michael’s been fired, though he claims he would have quit anyway because of his family (which he was conveniently forgetting about while stalking Julia for the last couple episodes). Ivy’s been demoted to ensemble. That should be interesting, given her encounters with Karen in the past. But otherwise, it sure looks like we’re flying blind.

A few other things:

  • I’m caring little about Julia’s family business and her son’s wrongdoings. Plus, if Julia spoke out like that, how did they eventually get him off?
  • “Touch Me” didn’t thrill me. In fact, the only part that I liked about it was that she ended up dead on the bed in the final note, which was the only part that made me connect it with Marilyn. I know it’s supposed to point the show toward more Rock of Ages than Bye Bye Birdie, but it was just too poppy for me. (Though it is damn catchy and is still in my head.)
  • And down with the bowling alley scene! That was just way too Glee for me. And I think they only did it to have them dance down the alley (see photo below). I’m pretty sure any bowling alley attendee would have kicked their asses out.

That’s all I’ve got. What about you?

Mad Men: A Little Kiss

MAD MEN: 5.01 + 5.02 “A Little Kiss”

Mad Men returned last night, and this year at Raked, we’re going to review it; or, talk about it in our rambling, long winded way.

I think one of the most interesting things about this long episode (or two episodes if you want to get technical) is the view we get of Don. The legendary Don Draper seems, for once, completely uninterested in work. He comes in late, his calendar is clear, he’s got no problem leaving the office early, and worst of all, he folds to a client. Last season, his personal life may have been a wreck, but at least he seemed like he had some bit of professional mojo. So far this year, it seems like he doesn’t care.

His marriage with Megan is in an odd place as well. The surprise party, and Megan’s song and dance routine confirm to me that both these people still really don’t know who the other one is. Megan can’t understand why Don didn’t like the party, and Don can’t understand why Megan would violate their home by bringing all these work people into their personal space. If Megan doesn’t fully understand Don, though, she at least knows how to manipulate him in a way to provoke a response, as her attempt to “clean the apartment” in her underwear led to a more amorous encounter on the Draper’s infamous white carpet. There have been a lot of versions of Don Draper in this show, and I don’t think that we’ve seen this variation yet. I’m curious to see how long it will last.

The episode ended in a really interesting way, when the office was crowded by black job seekers attracted by the prank ad Roger published in the New York Times. The pace of change has been speeding up, and although the folks at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce might not realize it yet, it’s going to catch up with them eventually.

A couple of other thoughts:

  • Funny how embarrassed Don was by Megan’s provocative dance in front of his co-workers. Apparently, his promiscuity does not imply sexual liberation; for him, it must happen behind closed doors only.
  • Not exactly sure what was going on with Pryce here, but man was he acting creepy. He’s going to start stealing people’s underwear next.
  • Some good physical comedy centered around Pete in this episode. Tripping into the support column in his office and busting his nose made me laugh out loud. Forcing the four partners to scrunch in together on his small couch was almost as funny.
  • We’re relatively new to Mad Men here at Raked. We only just caught up with the series on Netflix last year. We’re starting to realize, though, that this show has moments of singular weirdness that are perfectly captured in one of the internet’s most brilliant mediums: the animated GIF. Presented with some comment, here are a few of my favorites, from Gifulmination:

Lane Pryce, cutting a rug.

Roger being "coquettish"

Goddamn that support column!

 

Raked TV Madness! The Elite Eight!

Wow. I’m pleased to say that we got some new blood in the competition, with brand-new voters jumping in with their picks both in the comments and on Twitter. Let’s keep that momentum going into the next round — The Elite Eight!

There were some definite surprises in the last round. Awake fans rallied once again to beat out Justified  by a large margin (they’re currently the ones to beat, folks), but Castle overtook Bones with a similar large number of votes. In a closer race, Community took out its 8:00 competitor Big Bang Theory, and with a mere one vote lead, Happy Endings overpowered Emmy-winning Modern Family.

Once Upon a Time easily beat Supernatural, and I was pleased to see that, while in close competition, Fringe took the lead against The Walking Dead and is moving on to the next round. Mad Men easily grabbed the attention of viewers over Boardwalk Empire, but probably the biggest surprise in the competition was Parenthood‘s defeat of Downton Abbey.

Now it’s time to choose the sole survivor for each division. On to the Elite Eight!
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For those of you who don’t have expert vision or magnifying glasses, here’s the breakdown.

Comedies:
Happy Endings vs. Community

Procedurals:
Castle vs. Awake

Supernatural/Fantasy:
Once Upon a Time vs. Fringe

Dramas:
Parenthood vs. Mad Men

We’re almost to the Final Four! Which one of these shows will move on to the next round? Who will be the division winner? Let me know your votes in the comments, send me an email, or drop me a line on Twitter. And spread the word. If we’ve learned anything from these winners, those with the most fans voting are the ones that move on!

You’ve only got two days to vote! The Final Four will be up on Wednesday!

This round has now ended. Vote for the Final Four!