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?

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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!
(Click for a larger image.)

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!

The 2011 Awards: Part 3

As we come upon the final day of 2011, it’s our last chance to share some more award winners! And I’m glad we are. We had some other last-minute nominations, and as always, these reader nominees are marked with an asterisk (*).

If you haven’t already, check out Parts 1 and 2. And then read below to find out our final winners!

The 2011 Awards

The Finally Forgiven Award: Jennifer Morrison. After being the girlfriend we hated in How I Met Your Mother and single-handedly bringing the series down, it was hard to give Morrison a second chance. But we’re hooked on Once Upon a Time. It’s a role we can be pleased to watch. Morrison, you’re forgiven.

*Best Overseas Adaption: Wilfred. Having not seen the Australian version, this show is still very well put together. It’s dark and funny, and the way Jason Gann acted in the dog suit can’t be beat!

Best Show Based on a Book: Game of Thrones. I don’t think I even have to defend this.

Worst Show Based on a Book: The Secret Circle. The plotlines are a little blah, and the acting overall could use a lot of work. Overall, I wish they would have just stuck with a similar storyline to the books and then spun off into the new and different (a la The Vampire Diaries), instead of whatever I’ve been watching.

Star-Cross Lovers Award: Emily/Amanda and Jack, Revenge. Can’t these crazy kids just get together already? Can’t Amanda (the real one) just give up her vengeful plan and fall into the arms of her childhood sweetheart? Can’t Jack finally look her in the eyes and see who she really is? Doesn’t the dog’s unconditional love mean anything?!

Favorite Couple Award: Leslie and Ben, Parks and Rec. They just make me so happy! Seeing them together then torn apart (with a crying Batman to boot) was so hard. And now we have them happily together again. The final episode this year was just so heartwarming and happy. Love them.

*Most Promise, Least Results: Terra Nova and The Killing. It’s a tie! Actually, this category was suggested to me with a winner (Terra Nova), but I couldn’t let it go without tossing in another lament about The Killing finale. First, Terra Nova. The premise definitely had promise — going back in time to build a new society — but instead of spending time developing the rebuilding, we got another monster-of-the-week/separatist show with little character development. The Robinson Caruso aspect was missing. As for The Killing, well, from the best episode this year to the worst. Red herrings distracted us. There were too many characters. And we spent too much time with a political campaign that no one cared about. And do we need to spend more time discussing that finale?

*Worst Running Gag: Sandwiches, How I Met Your Mother. It was funny the first time. Real funny. But as the years have gone on, the occasional reference to “sandwiches” has become less and less of a recurring joke and more and more of a recurring reference to a joke someone told once. Not to mention that as adult Ted tells his kids more and more inappropriate stories about people hooking up and/or getting really drunk, the idea that he would be hiding any mention of marijuana (especially someone else’s use of it) seems more and more odd.

Best Competition Show: The Amazing Race. This might be one of the few times I agree with Emmy winners, but it’s sure fun to watch. I was laughing out loud a few weeks ago, seeing these teams dress up and do muscle man poses. Even the grandparents looked good!

Best Food Competition Show: Chopped. A new favorite. Just creative and interesting to watch. Plus, it’s nice to see a rotating group of contestants for a change.

Worst Food Competition Show: Top Chef. It’s past its prime and just needs to go.

Favorite Glee Musical Number: The Adele Mashup. I don’t watch Glee regularly, but they cast has always been talented in their musical numbers. Their 300th performance was no exception, and I’m impressed that they can even make an overplayed artist sound fresh and new.

Most Unbelievable Glam Job: Kate Beckett, Castle. I don’t watch the show, though I hear I should. There are two reasons: 1) The first couple episodes weren’t great, and 2) hard-as-nails Kate has now been glammed up as a supermodel. Somehow, I just can’t take her seriously anymore, even if it did increase a fan base.

Biggest Scheduling Faux-Pas: NBC’s Treatment of Community. Once again, something I don’t need to justify. You can just read my post here.

Biggest Overuse of the Word “Event”: ABC Family Channel. ABC Family Channel doesn’t have TV shows. Or episodes. Nope. They have events. Every day. Every week. Every commercial.

Biggest “Spoiler”: Sheriff Graham’s Death, Once Upon a Time. Dear E!, next time you want to write an article about a potential death in a series weeks in advance, don’t title it, Once Upon a Time Spoiler Game: Whose Big Death Won’t You See Coming?” After reading this headline alone, I watched every episode with the expectation that someone will die (and guessing, in each episode, who I thought it’d be). Therefore, there was no surprise in the sheriff’s death. Plus, once you suspected a death was coming, the foreshadowing in the episode itself was more obvious than ever.

Worst Blind Spot: Ben Harmon, American Horror Story. Ok, seriously. He saw Hayden get hit in the face with a shovel and buried her body. Then built a gazebo on top. And yet he still thinks she’s alive and it was all a plot against him? Seriously?

One to Keep Your Eye On: Vanessa Marano. From humble beginnings in Gilmore Girls (where, frankly, I couldn’t stand her) to a short part in the best season of Dexter, Marano is making a name for herself. And in a show I thought had little promise until I watched it, she shines as Bay in Switched at Birth. She’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

Longest Living Animal: Sammy, Revenge. I’m not the only one who’s noticed that a dog that was given to Amanda as a child is still alive, well, and active 17 years later. In fact, JC noticed it in episode one. Either way, I still love him.

Best Old Stand-bys: The Team from Leverage. Not sure what to watch? Go to Leverage. It’s a strong, entertaining show that’s always a good stand-by. Every character on the show is fantastic, and if that’s not enough, the adorable relationship between Parker and Hardison is probably one of the best on TV right now.

2010 Awards, Part 2

Alright. So you saw the first set, now let’s move on to more! More awards and more reader picks. Once again, if the award has an asterisk, it’s a Reader Pick, with or without my explanation. If they added one, it’s there! If they didn’t, well, that just leaves me to give a reason <malicious laugh>.

So here we go!

The 2010 Awards!
Part 2

Best Guy in a Suit: Neal Caffrey, White Collar. Step aside, Barney. There’s someone else suiting up now, and damn, he looks good.

Best Woman in Heels: Maura Isles, Rizzoli & Isles. This woman sure gets a lot done in four-inch heels and a pressed dress, even when dealing with dead bodies.

* Most Wasted Potential: Glee. It’s true. For a show with a huge fanbase and mad props for creating a new TV genre, they lost their way by focusing on huge guest stars and a big production instead of a cohesive storyline.

Least Necessary Procedural: Law & Order: CSI edition. Oh, is that not a real show? I thought it was. It’s on every night for two hours at least, right? And it airs on every network? Wait, these aren’t all the same show?

Most Ridiculous Premise for a Procedural: Castle. Ok, I know you fans out there must like it, but the idea that a successful novelist gets to spend his time on all these huge cases as a partner of a detective is rather incredible.

Worst Show We’re All Watching: The Office. Where did the funny go? It’s run its course, but we all still watch it. And most of us don’t know why.

Didn’t I Used to Be an Important Character? Award: Alaric, The Vampire Diaries. Well, it’s true, right? Now he’s arm candy, and occasionally says something smart from a book.

Best Vampire Teeth: The Vampire Diaries. With the eyes and the subtle teeth, yes, the vamps in TVD certainly get the prize.

Worst Vampire Teeth: True Blood. I haven’t tried to watch this series, solely because these teeth are so bad and look so fake. Plus, I hear they make a sound when they come out.

Read more after the jump! Continue reading

Good news, genre fans!

image courtesy ABC

Call it coincidence if you like, but my theory is that the stars have aligned for sci-fi and fantasy to return to the airwaves.  After long hiatuses, we’re about to see the return of V, Merlin, and Doctor Who.

V, off the air since November, returns under the direction of a new showrunner.  Maureen Ryan has had great coverage the last few days, so let me just point you over to her.  I shared her reservations about the show’s first four episodes last fall (here are my posts if you want to relive the snark), but she actually has me excited for V‘s return tonight.  Cool!

Merlin‘s first season aired on NBC last summer, but since the peacock network seems incapable of recognizing anything good these days, they’ve given it up — season two begins this Friday on SyFy.  The show is hardly the Arthurian legend you grew up with, but I think it’s good fun and I’m definitely ready for more.

Doctor Who returns this Saturday if you’re in the UK (or, you know, use bit torrent).  In the US, the TARDIS will arrive two weeks later: April 17 on BBC America.  Expect new stars and new writers, but the same old lovably insane alien time traveler.  After the generally disappointing specials we got last year instead of a regular season, this has me very excited.

Honorable mention (shows for nerds, shows about nerds — it fits, right?):  Glee comes back April 13!  I don’t love that both Glee and V have moved to Tuesday nights, but there we are.  I’ve heard all sorts of exciting hints about what’s to come — an all Madonna episode, Idina Menzel guest starring, Neil Patrick Harris guest starring, Joss Whedon directing — so I’m hoping that this show has shed the Baby Drama and is ready to shoot for the stars.

And a last note, genre fans:  I don’t cover Castle because it would turn into this big list of “hey, that bit was funny, and this thing was really clever” (um, sort of the way my How I Met Your Mother posts do) but I do love a good mystery from time to time.  Last night’s solution to the cliffhanger was great… but did you catch the Firefly reference near the end?

New Renewals and Poll Results

What a busy Friday night we had! First, of course, we heard that Dollhouse has been renewed, though the formal announcement won’t be until Monday. Joss Whedon has commented on the renewal, and it’s true! This was a really big long-shot here, and I’m very surprised that they said yes, but I’m happy!

Not only that, but Castle was renewed. Plus, Amy Acker’s new pilot Happy Town has been picked up. It’s been a very nice weekend for the Whedonverse.

The only downside to me is that Scrubs was also renewed. I really wanted this show to rest in peace after its fantastic finale. Others aren’t quite as disappointed as I am–at least it’s a funny show–but I just think such a great finale as only a season finale (especially since Sarah Chalke and Zach Braff will be around for six episodes) is just a waste, and I’m afraid that the following season will just bring it down from such a high note.

Anyway…at least people aren’t out of jobs.

So what about my poll? I figure I should post my results now, seeing as some of our “bubble shows” have just been renewed. Keep in mind, these aren’t very representative or true to life. Forcing people to choose only one show when so many people are worried about bubble shows makes one tend to vote for their favorite shows on the bubble. Plus, with grabbing only my readers, my readers on Twitter, and my personal friends on Facebook, you don’t get exactly a perfect sampling of the populate. But it was still fun.

So let’s look first at the complete list of shows suggested for coming back in the fall (click on each graph to see a larger version):

All Shows AnsweredAs you can see, Dollhouse and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles were the top two, followed by Chuck. I think that’s not a huge surprise–especially since so many people I’m connected to are in the Whedonverse.

What surprised me is that next up are some shows that have been long gone. I mean, multiple votes for All in the Family? Seriously? But it’s good to know that Castle and How I Met Your Mother are up there, too (again, shows from the ‘verse).

But let’s look at this more realistically. I’m going to take out the shows that have been long gone and cancelled. Here we go:

A Better LookSo, now you see that our Whedonverse shows really are on top. And then come some good favorites. Honestly, I’m surprised that Lost didn’t get more votes, but like I said, I think people were more worried about the bubble shows. I did get a lot of people saying that they chose one show to save but would choose How I Met Your Mother overall. That’s nice.

It’s good to see The Unusuals on there, too, but I’m disappointed that more people didn’t say Kings. Kings on Twitter are really trying as hard as they can to spread the word about renewal. I wish it was a little stronger!

Show TypesFinally, just to prove I’m not crazy, here’s how it breaks down with shows that were on the bubble at the time of the poll, shows that were safe or already renewed, and the long gone.

All that purple means that people really care about their bubble shows. But then again, there were a lot this year. I mean, even Bones was on the bubble (has that been renewed yet?Update: Just got renewed!).

Anyway, the poll was fun. Let me know if there are any other poll suggestions you have. Next year, this should be even more fun. Who knows what shows will be on the air then? And maybe more people will be on Twitter or reading this blog so I can get a better sampling!

And thanks to everyone who participated!

UPDATE: Just heard via Twitter that The Unusuals was not renewed. I’m heartbroken. 😦 Why, ABC, why?

It’s a brand-new May

[To the tune of Dr. Horrible’s “Brand-new Day”]

It’s a brand-new May
And the sun is high
All networks are singing
That they’re gonna die
Go a head an laugh
Hey, I’m a funny guy…
Tell everyone good-bye…
It’s a brand-new May…
[STOMP]

Yes, yes. It’s the time for season and series finales. Honestly, why is it that I don’t know yet which shows are having series finales? Oh, maybe it’s because it’s all up to cancellation announcements (no, we haven’t heard about Dollhouse yet).

Anyway, it’s the time of year–May and, well, the week before it–where finales rule and characters die. Who’s spouting springtime deaths?

Heroes, for one, unless they already did the damage they were planning with Elle and Daphne. Personally, I’m hoping for more.

Then there’s Smallville, which is killing off two to three characters. It’s questionable as to whether the third character will be in body or mind, but there will certainly be some carnage.

For a while there, we thought there’d be some death in Grey’s Anatomy. I guess we still don’t know anymore about that one.

And then there’s One Tree Hill, which is constantly trying to kill off Dan (though I hear he’s not going anywhere…yet), and there is the question of Peyton and the baby. And have they signed her or Lucas on for another season? I haven’t heard a yes or no yet. All speculation, though.

I’ve also heard that not everyone is in the clear on Desperate Housewives. But then again, that’s always the case.

House already greeted us with our death for the season. I can’t say anyone was expecting the Kutner surprise.

And then there’s Dollhouse. I know nothing about whether anyone will live or die, but it is Joss Whedon, so that’s always the chance. Plus, you hear the name “Alpha,” and you automatically get scared. I’d say there is a good chance for some terror and death–again, all speculation.

Anyway, it’s pretty clear that we’ve got some big episodes coming up on our favorite shows, and those are just the ones I’m willing to share info about or speculate on (and trust me, Dollhouse is complete speculation; I won’t share my opinions about who I think could kick it, though if you want to know my thoughts, just ask).

My point in all this is to not let your favorite finales pass you by. Somehow they’re sneaking up on me, so I don’t want you all to miss out! I mean, Heroes is tomorrow, people!

So here is a list of some of the shows I cover (and a few other popular ones that I know the kids are watching), so you’ll be sure to catch your favorites as they sign off (hopefully) for the summer. A complete list can be found here.

Monday, April 27: Chuck and Heroes
Wednesday, April 29: Better Off Ted
Thursday, April 30: Samantha Who?
Wednesday,  May 6: Scrubs and The Unusuals
Friday, May 8: Dollhouse
Sunday, May 10: Brothers & Sisters
Monday, May 11: The Big Bang Theory, House, and Castle
Tuesday,  May 12: Fringe
Thursday, May 14: Smallville, Parks and Recreation, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, and 30 Rock
Friday,  May 15: Ghost Whisperer and Prison Break
Sunday, May 17: Desperate Housewives
Monday,  May 18: Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, and One Tree Hill
Tuesday,  May 19: 90210
Wednesday, May 20: America‘s Next Top Model
Thursday,  May 21: Ugly Betty and Southland
Tuesday, May 26: Reaper and My Boys

So keep those eyes glued to the TV, people. It’s a brand-new May…