Monday, May 20, 2013

Another Season Down

So, all of my TV shows (well, most of them) had their finales last week. Here are my thoughts:

(This will get spoilery. If you haven't seen the finales of Castle, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, or The Office yet, and are planning to, you should probably just leave now.)


Castle hasn't been quite as good lately as it was in the earlier seasons. Pat says it's because Castle and Beckett have finally gotten together. That might be part of it, but personally I just don't think the cases-of-the-week are as good as they used to be. The couple episodes this season that I've REALLY enjoyed (including the mid-season two-parter) have been outside the box.

For the finale, the case was fine, nothing special. The real kicker is that Becket has been offered a chance to interview for a job in Washington. It's a chance of a lifetime for her, and the main obstacle is her relationship with Castle, and what the move would mean for them. It ends on a cliffhanger, with Castle proposing to her. It . . . didn't really work for me, honestly. It didn't feel real. I don't know, maybe I am losing interest in the Castle-Beckett dynamic. Plus the whole Castle-as-mystery-novelist aspect of the show, which I really liked, has been pushed more to the background in recent years (I wrote about that on my other blog recently).

Anyway, I'm curious to see how this will be resolved (keeping in mind that, if Beckett were to take a job in DC, the entire dynamic of the show would change, so I kinda don't see them going that route). But I'm not as excited about this show as I was a couple years ago.

How I Met Your Mother

Okay, let me say first off, this is not the finale I was expecting. I was expecting the season to end with Barney and Robin's wedding and Ted meeting the mother. Instead, the episode is a bunch of lead-up to the wedding, and WE get to see the mother (!!!) but Ted is still as in the dark as ever.

He's also feeling a bit hopeless. He can't seem to shake his feelings for Robin, and he's made plans to move to Chicago. In fact, he's leaving right after the wedding. It's already been established that he meets the mother (maybe not for the first time, maybe they interact at the wedding itself -- she's playing in the band at the reception -- but clearly it's a significant meeting) waiting for the train back to the city. Meaning, if Ted hadn't essentially given up on finding his wife here in NYC, he might have missed his chance with her. That's the sort of "right place, right time" thing that this show has thrived on for eight years, and I love it. Whether you call it fate or destiny or just a series of coincidences, the fact is there are a million little things that make up a life, or even a day. And who knows how much of your life would be different if any of those little things had or hadn't happened?

Anyway, the reveal of the mother, while not at all what I expected, was perfect. They nailed it. It was so simple, but just charged with an excitement for the season to come. And even though I had my doubts when they announced they were extending the show for another season, the ending of this episode makes me really excited to give it a shot.

The Big Bang Theory

Of all the shows, this was the one that felt the least like a finale and more just an ordinary show. There were two main plots. The first one is that Leonard is leaving for a few months on a research opportunity (they don't really make a big thing out of it, it's more just to acknowledge that the show's on break till the fall . . . they did a similar thing between the second and third seasons, with the whole group going on an Arctic expedition). The second is Raj screwing things up with the girl he's been seeing.

It's really funny because early on in the episode, Raj comes into the apartment where everyone is hanging out, and for the first time in a long while, has to whisper to Howard because he can't talk in front of the girls. For so long they've avoided his selective mutism by just having him drink (which cures him of the effects . . . a total placebo as it once worked even with non-alcoholic beer). Then, at the end of the episode, he's talking to Penny about his breakup, and apparently so distracted by his broken heart that he doesn't realize he hadn't had a drink since last night. And suddenly they both realize what that means -- apparently Raj is cured. Probably not of his condition entirely, but he's at least able to speak in front of Penny and, as we see in the final scene, Bernadette and Amy. I'm sort of torn on this. On the one hand it's an interesting bit of character development. On the other hand, they probably just wrote it in so they wouldn't have to deal with his condition anymore, but without the need to have him constantly drinking when he has scenes with the women of the main cast.

Verdict on this one . . . decent episode, but nothing super exciting. This show seems to have stopped evolving, for the most part. I'm curious what next season will throw at us, if anything.

The Office

The one series finale in the bunch. I started watching The Office later than most people. When I first started watching it on Netflix, I had to sort of power through the first season, thinking all the while, "THIS is what everyone thinks is so great? Really?" But it did get better. I didn't want to punch Michael Scott in the face quite as much. The group becomes more like a dysfunctional family than just co-workers. I know part of the brilliance of the earlier show is the fact that everyone is so disgruntled, and afraid of losing their jobs (during the time they thought the branch was closing), and dealing with a boss they can't stand but who for some reason thinks he's their best friend . . . it all felt so real, so relatable (well, maybe not the boss thing). I heard some criticism as the show got away from that darker feel and more towards the wacky shenanigans of later seasons. But, wacky or no, it was more enjoyable to watch, for the most part.

That said, I do feel like the show peaked a while ago. There've been some good episodes the past few years, but there's also been a lot that didn't work as well.

I thought the finale was a good one. Really, the previous episode could have been a great finale on its own, but it obviously (purposely) left some loose strings to be tied up in the "one year later" episode, which was a clever way to provide a denouement while still using the premise of filming a documentary.

(Speaking of which, I loved in the episode where Michael leaves, how he says, "Will you guys let me know if this ever airs?" acknowledging how ridiculous it is that this documentary crew has been following them around for seven years.)

So . . . that's it. With the exception of Psych, there are no other current shows I'm watching, and even that is only on for a couple more weeks (although USA doesn't put them on the website until a month after they air, so I'll be watching those through June). Not that I watch a ton of TV anyway, but maybe now I'll have more time to catch up on other shows on Netflix.

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