Stuart’s Almost Fortnight in Entertainment: May 7-18 (US Season Finales Special – Including Spoilers)

I missed last week’s ‘Week in Entertainment’ so I’m doubling up this time.

Over the past fortnight, the US Television Season has come to its conclusion, and so for this article I’ll do a quick summary of how the seasons have gone and how well they concluded.

Warning: There will be spoilers

Community

When the 16th episode – Virtual Systems Analysis – aired last month, I was genuinely worried that Community was on the decline. I wrote about it a few weeks ago, but if you didn’t read it I thought it was horrendous.

Thankfully though they turned it around again and finished on a high with three fantastic episodes aired on Thursday night.

The first of them – an episode set within an old school 16-bit SNES-likegame – was absolute genius. The attention to detail in

No, this isn’t a game, this is Thursday night’s Community. Genius, eh?

making it look like an actual game, with the music, the graphics and the way all the sprites looked and acted like the show’s characters was terrific for a child of the 80s and 90s like me to see. And the humour was tremendous as well;

It didn’t stop there though as the next episode paid homage to classic ‘heist’ movies as the Greendale 7 sneak their way back into the Chang-ruled campus to save  the Dean, while the final episode was more about providing a potential conclusion to the series, were it to be cancelled by NBC.

The good news is the show has been renewed for another 13 episode run at least, and based on the ones that just aired, the writers have plenty left in them.

Modern Family

Modern Family used to be a good show. Unlike Community, when the unfunny episodes started coming in, it wasn’t a blip.

They’ve run out of ideas and they can’t seem to get away from the same format that drives the show every week.

I’ve said it before here, but I’ll say it again. Every character seems to have exactly the same type of storyline every week. After almost 50 episodes, I think this became quite tiresome, and since the writers had no intention of mixing things up, they’ve simply run out of fresh situations to put them in.

The most recent episode I saw was the Disneyland one, and sadly I didn’t laugh once. Was I supposed to? Was it funny that Manny wasn’t interested in the theme park because he was too preoccupied with selling imaginary shares for an economics assignment? Because I didn’t. Nor did I laugh at any of the other storylines, like Phil feeling ill on Big Thunder Mountain. BTM is hardly a white knuckle ride, is it? And of course Claire was the uptight mother, Cam & Mitch had troubles with Lily, Gloria was being angry, Haley got back together with her boyfriend and Jay had a moral to the story.

So the same as every other week then.

Like all the shows I’ve watched, Modern Family has been renewed. They have a lot of work to do to rescue this show.

Parks & Recreation

Great season, great finale.

Parks & Rec maintained a high standard throughout and did what so few sitcoms actually bother to do; adapt.

The season finished with Leslie Knoppe winning her seat on the Pawnee council, while Ben takes the opportunity to work for the summer on a campaign in Washington, Anne & Tom get together and Andy looks as though he might be joining the police.

So next season will have plenty of scope for fresh storylines and new angles.

One comment on the episode from a couple of weeks ago; it was disappointing that they had Bradley Whitford in it and not have him in a scene with Rob Lowe. I only thought about that the other day too. Missed opportunity, but I loved the way they had Whitford (who has aged a lot worse than Lowe since their West Wing days) in a classic ‘Walk and Talk Scene’, straight out of the Whitehouse show.

Big Bang Theory

This show always provides me with a laugh, and I’m surprised how many people seem to be so dead against it.

The Fifth Season of BBT ended with a wedding. Awwww.

Like Parks & Rec, BBT has been consistent throughout. You always get a laugh and a good set of performances from the ensemble cast.

The finale saw Howard and Bernadette get married, and subsequently Howard was sent up in a rocket to work on a project on the International Space Station

The final shot of the rocket leaving Earth wasn’t exactly full of tension; it’s not like they are going to kill Howard off is it?

Still though, a great series and one I look forward to resuming in the autumn.

Grey’s Anatomy

Ok, here’s the one with the real spoilers in it.

Going into the finale of the always excellent medical drama, it was a commonly held belief that many of the original cast were leaving the show at the end of the season. For the last few weeks, the storylines have been preparing for it too; Meredith & Derek were leaving to work at Harvard, Karev had secured Johns Hopkins and Yang was off too.

And then the second last episode ended with a plane crash, and the previews had one character dying.

To me the safe money would have been on one of the aforementioned characters perishing in the accident – Derek being my choice.

But that’s not what happened.

Lexi Grey (highlight to see the name) was the one who died. And it was a quick death too. You expected it to be the usual US TV deal where they dragged it out to the end for maximum effect, with plenty of false finishes and a variety of potential death candidates, but that’s not what happened. She died less than 10 minutes in without too much fuss, which I thought was brave writing. And of course it was still very sad too.

I think it’s a pity that Lexi is leaving the show. She’s one of the more likeable characters and I know a few of my Grey’s Anatomy watching friends won’t be happy about it.

But what I found interesting was that as the episode developed, it became more and more apparent that the other characters weren’t getting out of that predicament by the end of the episode and that it would have to carry through into the next season. And then I read that all the characters who were supposed to leave had signed on for another two years.

So it was a swerve; and a bloody good one at that.

I keep saying it, but if you don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy, you should; it’s consistently brilliant.


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