Late Spring TV Report (2014)

DISTANCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER?

So that’s what they say… I know, I am waaay overdue for TV Report. I could probably come up with a million excuses but that’s just going to take time away from doing the report. And off we go!

K-Drama

Big Man (빅맨)

The plot sounds ridiculous but what can I say? I’m blinded by my love for Kang Ji Hwan. Despite the ridiculous plot, the actors can make the drama entertaining and that is all I was expecting with this one. The revenge plot directing most of the story at this point but my favorite parts is watching Kang Ji Hwan being brazenly ridiculous. The editing so far has been very choppy. Show, you don’t have to spell out how our characters got from Point A to B necessarily because let’s face it, the drama is predictable. Don’t you think it’s worth putting some creativity in the transitive elements of the story?

Triangle (틀라이앵글)

Episode 7 was by far the worst episode I’ve seen. Did the director call in a sick day? Because the overacting in that episode (and few more following that one) had me cringing. As if Go Bok Tae’s skunk hair isn’t bad enough. I really felt the drama had a great start compared to all the new dramas that premiered around the same time. Though the drama is about corruption and revenge, I felt that the plot at least entitled us with the promise of bromance. The bromance seems to be slow coming. Moreover, it looks like we’re settling in for a predictable conclusion.  On a positive note, as much as I love to hate Im Si Won’s character, who is a complete ass, I love the change from the roles he’s usually typecasted for.

You’re All Surrounded (너희들은 포위됐다)

I’ve been watching a lot of dark and twisty dramas lately that this drama was a breath of fresh air. The plot may be predictable but I love Cha Seung Won’s over-the-top reactions and Go Ah Ra’s brusque tomboyishness. I also liked that they didn’t drag out the reveal of Lee Seung Gi’s character’s true identity. Despite the fact that the pacing was incredibly messy in the first two episodes, the drama is doing a good job of balancing the lighthearted silliness with the dark.

K-Variety

Crime Scene (크라임 씬)

So the premise of this new JTBC’s variety show is basically like Clue. There’s a crime scene. Each of the hosts take on character and you have to figure out whodunit. The cast features Super Junior M’s Henry, NS Yoon-G, Jun Hyun Moo, Hong Jin Ho, Announcer Park Ji Yoon and News Legal Analyst Im Bang Geul. The characters advance through each stage of the game to figure out who the killer is. If there are enough votes to put the killer away, the members who picked the killer walk away with the prize money. However, if the killer gets away with it, the killer walks away with the money. The first case was a bit boring but the second case was significantly more entertaining. And as we’ve seen on Real Men, Henry’s comical idiocy is on display in these episodes. However, CNBlue’s Kang Min Hyuk will be replacing him in the new episode this coming Saturday. While Clue is my favorite board game of all time, I don’t think tuning in will be a weekly ritual. The entertaining factor largely relies on the case, which are taken from actual headlines.

Superman Returns (슈퍼맨이 돌아왔다)

I didn’t really have time to watch this show when it first aired (as apparently I require sleep), but after Korea’s television hiatus due to the ferry disaster a couple weeks back, I had some time to take a peek at a random episode. The show is a bit kids do the darnest things but what I like about this show is that you often see the whole family interacting with each other. Something you don’t really get on Dad! Where Are You Going? While there was that Youtube video of that cute chubby dancing baby making the rounds recently, I looked at it and went, ‘Meh, Yahkkoong is way cuter.’ He’s one of my favorites along with Chu Sarang and Lee Hwi Jae’s twin boys.  Update:  Looks like Yahkkoong and Dad Kim Jung Tae have decided to leave the show.  (Nooo!)  Reasons for leaving the show are unclear.

Dad! Where Are You Going? (아빠! 어디가?)

Since we’re now in the 2nd season of this show, we’re past the honeymoon phase when it comes to the show’s format. Certainly the success of this show lies in the children that are on it and the interaction with the dads but it’s getting so formulaic that I find myself tuning out at times. I am not okay with criticizing children but some children aren’t as natural on cameras as others. Having said that, I simply love watching Ahn Jung Hwan with his son, Li Hwan. Sure, there are kids who are easily excitable like Kim Min Yool who is certainly a natural in front of the camera. On the other hand, Li Hwan is shy and a bit of a coward and I find it interesting to watch (but not judge) Ahn Jung Hwan struggle between raising and coddling him.

Running Man (런닝맨)

I admit that I don’t love every single episode of Running Man these days the way I used to. In fact, some of friends and family have skipped the boring episodes after I mentioned that they weren’t great. However, the Running Man crew has fandom family and each Sunday night I show up in front of the TV like it’s Sunday Night Dinner.

Real Men (진짜 사나이)

I continue to laugh at Henry’s ridonculousness and marvel at Park Gun Hyung’s patience and drive. Chun Jung Myung is very quiet but I have to admit being entertained by the fact that military training officer was harsh on him (although, he’s just harsh with everyone), especially since all the training officers are his hoobaes. I’m looking forward to their upcoming Philippines deployment to see how life in the military differs when you are at an overseas base.

Our Neighborhood Variety Sports (우리동네 예체능)

The soccer edition is quite as enthralling as basketball was. At least for me. Which is funny because I love soccer more than basketball. I think the YeCheNeung team is finding this sport to be harder because the playing field is wider and they are still trying to figure out their team plays. So often you see that the players miss passes which I think is a lot more important than fancy feet work. However, Former Speed Skater Lee Kyu Hyuk always manages to put a smile on my face. How can the guy be so clumsy on grass when he’s so steady on the ice?

Kim Byung Man’s Laws of the Jungle (김병만의 정글의 법칙)

I’m a few episodes behind on this show. The crew is now in Brazil and after seeing Kim Byung Man’s amazing skills in the jungle, it’s feeling very formulaic. If you haven’t seen the show before, it’s worth taking a look but for those that have been following this show, all of the jungle starts to look the same. Plus, the Amazon has big and scary bugs and they terrify me even though they’re only on my TV.

We Got Married (우리 결혼 했어요)

It’s too early to say how I feel about WGM‘s new couple, Model turned actor Hong Jong Hyun and Girls’ Day’s Yura.  It’s too early to tell.  But boy does Hong Jong Hyun look purty.  My sister tends to find Nam Goong Min and Hong Jin Young hilarious but I can’t say that they really jive with me.  I feel like if I were friends with them I would conveniently find an excuse not to meet up for dinner or something.  As for Park Se Young and 2PM’s Woo Young, now that we are past initial jitters, I wish I had discovered something more to this couple but frankly they just seem like two people who are forced to hangout.  Don’t see much chemistry between them.  They just seem to miss each other’s signals which may be the charm for some viewers.

American TV

Fargo

I really wasn’t at all sure about this series. What more could you tell about this small Minnesota town. It’s been almost 20 years since the original movie. The show is a miniseries which explains how they got the cast of talented actors to commit. It’s a limited run project. And it starts off almost exactly the way the film started with the fictional statement saying that this is a true story that happened in 2006. The story seems familiar but with an entirely different cast. It feels like I’m watching fascinating character studies from Lester Nygaard’s (Martin Freeman) rise to an egomaniac from a chump, or Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) playing mindgames for his criminal pursuits or watching the courtship between Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) and Officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks). Another bit of good news for fans of the movie, the question of what happened to the money finally has an answer.

The Americans

The FX shows seems to be really on point with these character studies and The Americans is no different. While Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) Jennings spent most of last season trying to not get caught by FBI agent/neighbor Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) as well trying to trust each other, this season they spent most of their energy wondering if they could still put their allegiance with Mother Russia. The game is totally changing for our spy couple as now Russia wants their children to take up the cause.

Modern Family

I have spent most of this season a few episodes behind but I finally caught up during Memorial Day weekend. I don’t think many of the episodes this season were all that funny but they certainly wrapped it up with a heartwarming finish, namely Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam’s (Eric Stonestreet) wedding day. Is anyone else really liking the Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Andy (Adam DeVine) storyline? Someone please make Adam DeVine a permanent cast member.

Grey’s Anatomy

This is another series which has overstayed its welcome but I really enjoyed the closure of Cristina’s departure. I’m pretty loyal to the show so it may be hard for me to say goodbye just yet but I haven’t seen many outstanding episodes lately.

Scandal

The major issues with the stories this past season may have been due to Kerry Washington’s pregnancy, which honestly couldn’t be helped. It shifted the focus from Olivia Pope to some of the other characters on the show and they certainly can’t take the lead the way Olivia does. As disturbing as Huck (Guillermo Diaz) / Quinn (Katie Lowes) storyline was, it wasn’t enough to fill the entire season. Though the show created a backstory involving Harrison (Columbus Short), there was nothing significant about his character which warranted the actor to stay on for another season despite the fact that incidents in his personal life lead to him being dismissed.

The Vampire Diaries

I’m not really sure if I’m going to come back for another season of this. TVD is on an endless cycle of the same characters who are killed off but miraculously make a comeback. Plus, I can only take so much of Elena’s whining.

The Originals

Similar to TVD, while the stories endlessly feature loophole after loophole, I enjoy watching these fresh batch of characters. Like Elijah, I’m always waiting for Klaus (Joseph Morgan) to find his humanity and I was moved by his performance in the season finale with Rebekah (Claire Holt). Plus, I’d like to know where Hayley’s (Phoebe) new undead status leaves things with Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Camille (Leah Pipes) can open up Klaus’ heart further.

Reign

Knowing the historical reference, I’m eager to find out when Francis (Tony Regbo) will die and where that leaves Mary (Adelaide Kane) and her kingdom. Not to mention watching who is bedding whom. It’s a scandalous and soapy but oooh they make teenage royalty look so much fun.  Not much substance but still very entertaining.

Hannibal

With now our 2nd course of Hannibal under our belts, it feels as if the pacing of the show has slowed down a bit. Despite the action-filled start, I spent most of the season waiting for the Hannibal (Mads Mikkelson)/ Jack (Laurence Fishburne) showdown. There’s a creepy filled complacency that the season lulls you into but I have to admit that that finale is incredibly satisfying. More on this when I finally post my review.

Grimm

While I had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Adalind’s baby, I can’t say that this season was overwhelming fantastic as the previous seasons.  I was happy to see Rosalee (Bree Turner) and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) get married but the twist we got at the end of season with Nick (David Giuntoli) and the introduction of a new Grimm was just okay.  Grimm has been stringing us along the whole season, not giving us much plot development.  If the payoff has been bigger, then it would have been more satisfying.

Warehouse 13

On the one hand, Warehouse 13 can be incredibly nerdy. But on the other hand, I love the pop culture references. The Scooby Doo gang of treasure hunters has proved to be informative as well as entertaining but in the last two years, they’ve been trying to up the ante with its apocalyptic storylines which is a far cry from the lighthearted show that I fell in love with 5 years ago. The show does wrap things up in a neat bow and does pay fan service but it feels rushed and without much care to the finer details.

Elementary

Eccentric characters aside, I’m still finding the mysteries formulaic and predictable. The thing that breathes new life into the show are the characters’ backstories and one of the best episodes this season is the one which Lucy Liu directs herself. Not to mention, it’s the one where Dr. Watson is kidnapped. It changes the dynamic between Watson, Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Mycroft (Rhys Ifan) and leads the way to revealing Mycroft’s real reason for showing up in New York. I still think Rhys Ifan is an ill-fit for this character.

The Good Wife

I wasn’t really sure what to make of Florrick, Agos & Associates until I saw the episode that had everybody talking. I couldn’t really understand Will’s (Josh Charles) unwillingness to forgive Alicia (Julianna Marguiles) even after some time had passed. To the point, where it started grating on my nerves. And then it all came together. It was in a beautiful piece of storytelling that came in the episodes after the incident which had Alicia struggling with how she felt about her marriage, her work and everything else around her. I wish FA&A had gotten off the ground a bit more before the finale showdown between Alicia and Cary (Matt Czuchry). Clearly, they are not really Diane (Christine Baranski) and Will but the team I’m looking forward to the most is Diane and Alicia. Not sure if that will happen though judging by the finale. As for Peter (Chris Noth), old habits die hard, eh?

Hawaii Five-O

I’m a little bummed to see Catherine (Michelle Borth) go though there is always the possibility for her to return. I’m even more bummed that Kono’s (Grace Park) storyline this season left a lot to be desired. I don’t think I can really ask for much with this procedural. As long as they keep the beautiful Hawaiian scenery and the Oscar/Felix type of bromance alive between Steve (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan). They’ve now upped Lou (Chi McBride) to series regular but since he also has that Oscar/Felix bromance with Steve, wondering if three will be a crowd.

Mad Men

Oh AMC and trying to repeat the success of Breaking Bad. I don’t think we got enough in this first half of the final season to warrant waiting until next year. But you know I will. Sigh. While Don (Jon Hamm) does return to SC&P, I’m not exactly pleased about that. Though I can’t stand Lou, it’s not like Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) has stepped up to the plate. Though Don does keep his head down to try and focus on the work, he’s not going to be pushed out lightly. And frankly SC&P does need, especially now that Bert has passed on.

New Girl

I’ll admit that I approached the Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) with a lot of enthusiasm. However, I don’t feel like we had enough time with them as a couple to make me feel satisfied with the breakup. Perhaps that’s the whole point as many shows keep a couple together to the point where I’m sick and tired of them. The break up made a lot of sense for the series, plus the episode following the break up was hilarious. Pinot Meowr and all. However, there was nothing else to step in and fill that Jess and Nick void. Glad to see that Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) has now been upped to series regular. And if you can’t wait til the Fall for new episode, you can check out Nick and Coach in the movie Let’s Be Cops.

Suits

I feel like I just finished watching Suits and now I’m being told to expect more episodes this summer, even though this summer will be an entirely new season. The problem with this show is that now that people are starting to discover that Mike (Patrick J. Adams) doesn’t have a law degree, there’s really nowhere for the show to go. Mike almost found his way out and like his girlfriend, Rachel (Meghan Markle), I do not like the fact that he chose to stay. In fact, it’s really annoying because the logical choice would be for Mike to take the better paying job and perhaps try to get a law degree, for reals. No, instead he chooses to whine about not being recognized for being the “lawyer” that he is. Not cool dude. Not cool.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The show owes a lot to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Much of the interesting storyline in the latter half of the season is due to the introduction of Hydra within this franchise. The show feels like it got its footing though I’m not sure if it is enough to have me come back for a 2nd season. We’ll just have to see if I’m able to keep up with the fall lineup and if not, this one will bite the dust.

True Detective

I’m not usually a fan of Westerns but the story was paced so well with the incredible performances by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. It’s a gritty, noir but there’s something about this miniseries that feels decidedly Western. There’s the small town backdrop as well as the clearly defined roles of the good and evil. I think this and some of the other shows I raved above are reasons why it’s better to stay in than to go to the movie theater.

*As Halt and Catch Fire and Penny Dreadful are fairly new series, I’m going to wait for another TV Report or First Impression review before commenting on them.

British TV

Mr. Selfridge: Series 2

There were many stories I liked this year.  I loved to watch Harry (Jeremy Piven) and Rose (Frances O’Connor) reconciling.  I also even liked Lady Mae (Katherine Kelly) overcoming her wicked, sniveling husband.  I enjoyed watching Ms. Mardle (Amanda Abbington) stick it to Mr. Grove (Tom Goodman-Hill) by showing him what he lost.  Plus, her new love interest was positively delicious.  Then I finally got to see a relationship bloom between Victor (Trystan Gravelle) and Agnes (Aisling Loftus) only to discover that she wasn’t over Henri Leclair (Grégory Fitoussi).  I was really disappointed by that last one.  I didn’t dislike Series 1 but wasn’t blown away by it either.  Whereas Series 2 felt like an improvement.

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