Tag Archives: The Killing

Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2012 Edition: The Outcasts, Part 3

28 Jan

This is my ranking of shows that I watched in 2012 – for the rules, see the intro;  so far we’re discussing shows that made my last list but not this one.

Here are even more shows that made last year’s list that didn’t make the cut this year.

Entourage

Entourage and Ari

2011 Rank:  25

Never a great show, at times not really a good show, I still never really seriously considered stopping watching Entourage.  Maybe it’s because for the most part it was so light.  I don’t like when shows that should be heavier are needlessly light, but a show like Entourage never made any serious pretensions to reality or big issues and themes.  Of course, Entourage had two dark seasons which I still can’t decide if I liked or didn’t like, but either way, even when the show was kind of bad I never really minded spending half an hour with the gang.  I don’t think the show will be remembered particularly well, but I don’t think it will be remembered poorly either; I think it’s just likely to not be remembered much at all.  I don’t think that’s necessarily a huge shame, but I think then I’d like to get my two cents in and say, on the whole, I’m glad I watched the whole series of Entourage and I would do it again.

The Killing

Who killed this show?

2011 Rank:  23

Now here’s a show that makes me angry.  I was far too kind to it last year.  Unlike AMC failure Rubicon, which just slowly drifted apart after a promising start, The Killing spectacularly imploded at the end of its first season delivering an impressively terrible 1-2 punch of maybe having the worst final and penultimate episodes of a season of all time.  Yes, it was that bad, and the show jerked every viewer who watched around, leading to an end of season that hopefully will live on as a name of what not to do.  This on top of the fact that the main character had started violating police common sense, even by television standards, and basically after being fairly invested through most of the first season, I had basically no interest in watching the second season.  I watched the second season finale, just because, and it unsurprisingly didn’t make a ton of sense to me, but that’s fine.  I’m glad my chapter, and hopefully everyone’s, of The Killing is finished now.  I want to say it was a good run, but it wasn’t.  The best The Killing can do at this point is be responsible for launching Joel Kinnaman’s career.

White Collar

White Collar, Blue Tie

2011 Rank:  21

The last USA show!  Finally!  White Collar was a tad more serious than any of the other USA shows on this list.  It’s a nice show, and I think the two main actors do a fine job individually and together, but it’s held back, as everything is at USA, by the limitations of what dramas mean there; it’s going to follow a formula, and though there’s room in that formula for entertainment, there’s also a fairly low ceiling.  White Collar hits the ceiling sometimes but doesn’t break out of it.  I’ve also just kind of tailed off watching it as I have with my other USA shows; it’s not bad, it’s just not super compelling either.

Friday Night Lights

The early cast

2011 Ranking: 19

This is a show that I think has a chance to really grow in viewers’ appreciation after it’s already over.  A critical favorite from day 1, the show lagged in ratings, and shockingly was picked up in an unique arrangement by Direct TV for seasons four and five.  Even as the show was coming to a close it seemed like the internet was more and more excited about it.  I like the show; I think it’s a very good one, though I wasn’t nearly as upset as many that the show was leaving.  Stick this is the category of shows I like and admit are good but that I probably just don’t see eye to eye on as far as exactly how good.  The show dealt with interpersonal relationships very well, but it always felt forced and sometimes over the top; there was a lacking of subtlety of plot and dialogue it could have used.  Still, good show, always sad to see a good show go.

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The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Alan Dale

7 Dec

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Alan Dale didn’t get his start in American television until well into the ‘90s, but he has spent the last decade making a living as an older powerful rich white guy, much in the Malcolm McDowell mode.

Born in New Zealand, Dale got his start in Australian soap The Young Doctors as Dr. John Forrest, a role he played for almost four years, from 1979 to 1983.  He then graduated to the granddaddy of Australian soap operas, Neighbours, which has been the breeding ground for popular Aussies from Kylie Minogue to Natalie Imbruglia to Guy Pearce.  He played the role of Jim Robinson for eight years, from the inception of the role in 1985 until 1993, when failed contract negotiations resulted in him being off the show and his character being killed off on screen.  Jim was the powerful and wealthy (watch the theme develop) family patriarch who loves cars and his children.  He’s still best known for his Neighbours work down under and in the UK.

He then plied his trade in Australia for a couple more years, guest spotting in Janus, Frontline, and Blue Heelers and in a couple of American shows which filmed in Australia such as Time Trax and Space: Above and Beyond.  He also recurred in Aussie police show State Coroner.

United States television finally took an interest in him in the late ‘90s.  He was first in Muriel Hemingway TV movie First Daughter.  Once the new millennium hit, the roles came fast and furious.  He recurred in four episodes of ER as South African Al Patterson, which was his first big American break.  He was then in episodes of The Lone Gunmen and Philly and three of The X-Files as “Toothpick Man.”  His character was a high-ranking FBI agent who was a super soldier and also a judge in Mulder’s military trial.  He was in an episode of American Dreams and then two of The Practice, two of JAG, and two of The West Wing as Mitch Bryce, the Secretary of Commerce in the Bartlett administration.  He was in a CSI:Miami, TV movie Rent Control, and a Crossing Jordan.

He appeared in eight episodes of 24 as Vice President James Prescott.  In the second season, Prescott believed the president should authorize an attack on a Middle Eastern nation he thought responsible for a failed nuclear strike in Los Angeles.  Prescott and Mike Novick conspired to get the 25th amendment invoked to take Presidnet Palmer out of power, and Prescott takes control, only to give it up when he learns the evidence about the failed nuclear strike was fabricated.  He took power again when the President was injured in an assassination attempt.

Next, he was a main cast member in The O.C.  He played Caleb Nichol during the first and second seasons.  Nichol was a wealthy and powerful businessman who owned real estate company The Newport Group.  He was known for unethical business practices and treated his daughter Kristen harshly even though he appeared to have genuine affection for her.  He married Julie Cooper, discovered an illegitimate daughter and eventually died of a heart attack.  Later he was found to have been bankrupt.

He appeared in seven episodes of NCIS as NCIS director Tom Morrow, reprising his role from JAG.  He left within the show to become Deputy Director of Homeland Security.  He was in three episodes of E-Ring.  He was a main cast member of Ugly Betty for the first two seasons.  He portrayed Bradford Meade, the rich and powerful publishing titan behind the fashion magazine at which Betty works, MODE.  He puts his son in charge of the magazine after the previous editor died, and hires Betty.  Apparently Ugly Betty is a far far more insane show than I had realized, and I can’t even begin to sum out Bradford’s role in just two seasons except that he learned that at least two people he thought were dead were alive, including his son who was now his daughter, and he was seduced, using his foot fetish, into only marrying someone who wanted him for control of the magazine.  He died of a heart attack eventually (reading about his character, I’ve read more about Ugly Betty than I have in my life and I want to repeat that I can’t believe how insane it is).

He was in episodes of British shows Torchwood and Midnight Man and six of Aussie show Sea Patrol.  In Lost, he played the important recurring role of Charles Widmore as a wealthy and powerful businessman who was a former Other and was Penny’s father.  He is Ben Linus’s key rival, and was leader of the Others before him.  Eventually exiled from the island, he desperately wants back and eventually finds the island and sends a team to investigate and take it back.  Ben shoots and kills him after he gives information to the Man in Black.  Yeah, I don’t really understand the last season of Lost either.

He appeared in Flight of the Conchords as the Australian ambassador (ironically, as Dale is a kiwi) and mocks Murray continuously.  In five episodes of Entourage, Dale plays Warner Bros. studio head John Ellis.  Ellis offers Ari Gold the job of studio head once, which he turns down but recommends Dana Gordon for, and later offers Ari the job of succeeding him when he retires.  He was in single episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Important Things with Demetri Martin, Burn Notice and Californication.  He was three episodes of Undercovers.  He appeared in two of The Killing as mayoral candidate aide Gwen Eaton’s (previous Ivanek honoree Kristin Lehman) father Senator Eaton.  Most recently he appeared in a Person of Interest and as King George in an episode of Once Upon a Time.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Kristin Lehman

19 Oct

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Like Kari Matchett, who we profiled earlier, Kristin Lehman is a Canadian actress who grew up on some of the same Canadian TV shows before breaking into the American scene.  Her TV career began with an episode of Michael Chiklis series The Commish in 1995.  She appeared in four episodes of Canadian vampire drama Forever Knight next, and in single episodes of Canadian crime drama Due South and Canadian series F/X: The Series, based on the ‘80s movie of the same name.  She then showed up in six episodes of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, a sequel to ‘70s show Kung Fu, both starring David Carradine.

She acted in two separate episodes of The Outer Limits, and would go on to do two more later, and then in one episode of Canadian science fiction series PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal (we’re leaning a lot about Canadian TV today – isn’t it cute that they have their own shows?).  After one Earth: Final Conflict and one Once A Thief, she moved onto American TV with a guest spot in fifth season X-Files episode “Kill Switch.”  In the episode, Lehman portrayed Esther Nain, a hacker with the alias of Invisigoth.  She works with Mulder and Scully to help stop an evil Artificial Intelligence which uses electronic devices everywhere to destroy its targets.  Lehman’s character is killed at the end, possibly helping to take out the evil AI in the process.

Lehman next co-starred in Canadian horror series Poltergeist: The Legaacy.  She appeared in two seasons.  She then co-starred in short-lived series Strange World, airing on ABC and created by Heroes creator Tim Kring and X-Files producer Howard Gordon about a military investigation into science and technology gone wrong.  She appeared in four Felicitys and co-starred in the extremely short-lived NBC series Go Fish starring Kieran Culkin as a high school student; Lehman played an English teacher.  She was in one UC: Undercover before getting a major recurring role on Judging Amy.  She was in 20 episodes as Dr. Lily Reddicker, a no-nonsense hospital chief of staff who takes a chance hiring Amy’s cousin.  She appeared in TV movie Verdict in Blood and an episode of the new Twilight Zone before getting another chance to star in TVTDOTN favorite Century City.  She played Lee May Bristol, a lawyer who was also part of a special project to allow certain genetically engineered humans, of which she was one, out into society.  She was in two episodes of Andromeda and one episode each of UPN Taye Diggs show Kevin Hill and Canadian comedy Puppets Who Kill.

She next co-starred in the nine episodes of one season ESPN original series Tilt, about the world of high-stakes poker playing.  She plays a woman known as “Miami” whose real name is Ellen and who is one of many in the show trying to take down big-time poker player and criminal Don “The Matador” Everest played by Michael Madsen.  The same year she played Francesca in G-Spot, a Canadian comedy series which aired on E! in the states.  She next co-starred in one season Fox drama Killer Instinct as Detective Danielle Carter, partner to Johnny Messner’s Detective Jack Hale who worked together to solve unusual crimes in San Francisco.  She was also in four TV movies around this time, Playing House, Burnt Toast, Damages and Rapid Fire, and then appeared in two Prison Break episodes in 2006.

She co-starred again in the short-lived Nathan Fillion Fox series Drive as Corina Wiles, partner to Fillion’s Alex Tully.  She appeared in Lifetime miniseries The Gathering with Peter Fonda, Peter Gallagher and Jamie Lynn Sigler.  She then took a couple of years off before showing up in one episode of Human Target and in her current role, co-starring in The Killing as Gwen Eaton, who is a close campaign advisor for Seattle mayoral candidate Darren Richmond and is sleeping with him at the same time leading to tension over the course of the campaign and the season.  She’ll be back in the role next season, though who knows if anyone will be watching after the last few episodes of The Killing’s first season.

Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 23: The Killing

13 Sep

The Killing and Game of Thrones started around the same time, and Sundays became a day of excitement.  I started off liking them both the same, but that changed dramatically over time as Game of Thrones went up and up and The Killing went a little bit downward each episode.

The Killing is about a detective trying to solve the murder of a teenage girl in Washington.  For this short description, it drew instant comparisons to Twin Peaks, and though embarrassingly, I haven’t seen all that much of Twin Peaks, I think the differences don’t stop there, but they certainly slow.  There’s no absurdity or essential weirdness that is at the heart of most David Lynch works.  It’s played fairly real, and coupled with a plot about a mayoral candidate that may or may not be somehow involved in the murder, and a plot about the mourning parents and family that can be deeply difficult to watch at times, which is both a tribute to the writers and actors, and something that sometimes I don’t actually want to see.  The show’s city of Seattle provides a suitably dreary, ominous, and rainy mood, which fits the show like a glove (and not one of those ill-fitting one-size fits all gloves).

I must say I’m in a particularly sore mood, because, as I write this, I have most recently seen the third to last episode (though I’ll done with the first season by the time you read this) and it was truly one of the worst this-close-to-end-of-season episodes of a serial show I have ever seen.   Basically, the whole episode was devoted to the random disappearance of her son, who had never been an important part of the plot, and the other two, albeit less interesting over the course of the series, character sets – the grieving family of dead teen Rosie Larson and the mayoral campaign of high-minded candidate Darren Richmond weren’t even shown.  Instead of actually doing their jobs working on the murder case, the two main detectives search around town for her son. Um, there’s a teenage girl’s murder to be solved?  One in which the victim, maybe, didn’t do anything to cause it?  Oh, and POINTLESS SPOILER ALERT (I’m going to make an effort to use this again – spoilers that are so irrelevant that ruining them is not only pointless but makes your realize how stupid the spoilers were) – her son was with his dad the whole time (the first time I typed dad, I accidentally typed ‘dead” – coincidence?  Ominous)!  Oh, the same dad who has maybe been mentioned once offhand in passing in the entire fucking show.  Wow, that was ridiculous.

But yeah, that’s harsh.  The show has probably done more good things than bad, and I enjoy Billy Campbell as the candidate as well as the Swedish guy as the cop with an undecipherable American accent that comes from no real locale.

MEGASPOILER ALERT

I wrote most of this before the last episode of the show – but boy, after watching that finale, what the FUCK?  Holder’s evil?  So it’s the councilman, but it’s not, it’s a framejob by some mysterious person who we may or may not have ever met?  This show just changed entirely what type of show it is, and not for the better I think.  It was a slow, plodding, dark, dreary police investigation slowly leading to a hopefully tense and climactic solution.  What it is now is hard to say, but at the least, it’s no longer a police investigation – it’s a massive conspiracy that no longer allows us to even believe this could be something real.  It’s more into Rubicon territory. I’m not saying that this type of show has to be bad by any means, but I feel lied to and betrayed a bit.

MEGASPOILER OVER

Why it’s this high:  The show has a great feel, and when it’s at its best, the same deliberate pace, which I will decry in the next part, feels natural instead of slow

Why it’s not higher:  Sense of pacing is awful, the plot sort of got out of hand, and yeah, the last episode kind of changed entirely the type of show it is

Best episode of the most recent season:  “Pilot” – it might tell you something about a show when one picks the pilot as the best episode, and if it does say something, it says it here – everything was set up beautifully – a great beginning just to unravel slowly over the course of the season