Well, the regular television season is over, and the summer season (Leverage, Eureka and Burn Notice) is soon to begin.
Here’s my report card on the season finales of the shows I regularly watch. Plus a comment on Lost, even though I was only a sporadic viewer.
Bones – B
The mystery in the season finale wasn’t that compelling and apparently main characters Booth and Brennan agreed, as they spent far more time discussing their sabbatical plans and avoiding the looming elephant in the room, their relationship, than actually investigating anything. Subplot with Hodgins and Angela’s father (Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top) was amusing and wrapped up a storyline begun the first time Hodgins and Angela planned to marry.
Hopefully, when the series returns in the Fall, the show will skip ahead the year and get back to solving crimes.
And seriously, why are shows so afraid of the so-called “Moonlighting” curse? Moonlighting went downhill because the principal actors Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd didn’t much like each other, not because it isn’t possible to let the leads get horizontal and still keep the stories fresh. In fact, two examples from my current viewing list are Chuck and Burn Notice, both of which manage to use external factors plus the normal tensions in ALL relationships to inject a little strife without destroying the couple.
Castle - B+
I’ll admit I was a bit distracted while watching the Castle finale. It was the night before a job interview out-of-town, I was trying to edit a chapter of my book, with one eye on the TV in my hotel room and the other on my netbook, and I’d had a great dinner (and a few margaritas) with a good friend. Like Bones, relationship storyline trumped crime storyline, which means I couldn’t even remember what the crime was after little more than a week without double checking the website. Not good. I love the banter and the flirting between Castle and Beckett, and as noted above, I reject the notion that you can’t have horizontally ever after without screwing up (pun intended) the couple. It’s just not as easy as Unresolved Sexual Tension. Actress Stana Katic gets top marks for the last scene. Too little too late perhaps but her heartbreak was evident. To us, but not to Castle. Well done.
Chuck – A/A-
The two hour season finale and the ep the week before leading up to it were Awesome. This show just keeps getting better and better. It would be so easy for the characters to remain the cartoon stereotypes they started as, and the show would probably still be decent. Instead, the writers and the actors have evolved the major characters, giving them a humanity and likability that can’t extend to pure stereotpyes, without diminishing the essential components of the character. Casey is still a hard-ass, by the book Marine, but we see his human side. And we know he is willing to throw away the book when necessary. Morgan is still nerdy and a little trollish, but he’s matured to a point where he can actually relate to people in distress (Devon and Alex) on a human level.
The A- part of the grade is related to the character of Ellie, Chuck’s sister. She’s still mostly a stereotype. I don’t have too much of a problem with her forgetting that Casey was at her wedding with her father and thus, could have performed the nefarious deeds that the CIA/Ring double agent said he was planning a year ago. It was in the script.
I hated hated the guilt trip she put on her brother, asking Chuck to stop being a spy because she promised her father she would protect him. When they were little kids. Hello: your brother is a big boy now. You can’t live his life, and what is that crap about we’re all that’s left. What about your husband? Yeah, I know it’s in the script, and perhaps the Ellie character will get a grip and start her maturation process next season. Let’s hope so. Because it looks like Chuck is far from out of the spy game.
One last thing — What really rocks about the 3-ep arc that wrapped up the season is that it resolved the current major storylines. Yes, there is a huge tease at the end that sets up a whole new storyline, but nothing old was left hanging. Had the show not been renewed, there was solid resolution for the fans. This show loves its fans, and it shows.
Fringe – A
I loved this show when it first started, but sort of lost interest after the first season. I was in Africa when the season began last Fall and I never got back into watching. But I’ve been recording it and periodically watching an ep when jogging on the treadmill, and decided to watch the two-ep season finale. All I can say is WOW!
One of the hallmarks of a truly good serial is that the episodes can also stand alone. Watching this two-parter, it would help to have the back story (which BTW they give you on the website if you want to catch up), but they gave you enough in these episodes that even if you had never watched an episode, I think you could enjoy the storyline.
And the ending –while I saw it coming — still rocked. Plus, Leonard Nimoy and John Noble together. Better than ANY of the romances.
But yeah, they threw the fans a bone on that score too.
The Mentalist – No grade
Honestly, I wasn’t paying too much attention when my son was watching The Mentalist finale, and I hadn’t seen the previous episode either. The book again. When I catch up, I’ll do a better review. For now, I’ll just say that what I saw looked pretty good, probably an A-.
As for Lost, I watched the first season religiously but lost the plot, literally, after that. My husband was still watching, so I’d see an episode from time to time but I wasn’t “into” Lost. But I joined the rest of the world in watching the finale.
My first reaction — the ending was a Bobby in the shower moment. But upon reflection, no matter what they did, it would have been a disappointment for some and perfect for others. The best choice for the producers: split the difference and do what you like.
It was a pretty good couple of hours of TV. That’s really all I want — to feel like I haven’t wasted my time.
And you know, Hurley. You just can’t lose with Hurley.
If you haven’t seen them, here are the alternate endings from the Jimmy Kimmel show. You gotta love actors willing to spoof themselves.