Kings! We are kicking off our series of looks at shows that only lasted for a season with NBC's unfathomable Kings, and we stress that this was a real show that really aired on NBC in 2009. The ambition! The wonderfully bizarre dialogue! The worldbuilding! The exposition! Ian Mc-fucking-Shane! J.'s in love already, but we'll see how long that lasts. Elsewhere, Elementary puts together a solid hour that speaks to its grand theme.
Here's a chunk that didn't make it into the final episode: a news headling about Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson spurs a brief conversation about pro wrestling labor relations and one of J.'s favorite stories about what a huge jackass Vince McMahon is.
That's the only explanation we can come up with for his apparently portraying two different nondescript background engineers on Enterprise. Maybe the big reveal's coming in the finale? In any event, we get back into our bland-ass blue jumpsuits to take on a chunk of the fourth season, and our timing is all goofy: we watch the second and third parts of a trilogy ("United" and "The Aenar") and the first half of a two-parter ("Affliction"). We talk about how Romulans remain Star Trek's lovable losers, James Avery's career as a voice actor, and the virtues of writing two whole episodes to answer a question no one asked. Elsewhere, we discuss Elementary's latest, as the writers overshoot a little bit on the whole use-one-crime-to-mask-another business. Come for the mystery, stay for J. explaining how the internet works!
Hey, we're back! Our accidental hiatus is over, and now we can finally talk about the Battlestar Galactica finale, "Daybreak." It's overwritten! It's shoddily plotted! It leans too heavily on mystical bullshit! It's exactly the finale Battlestar Galactica needed. We also talk about the new season of Elementary and a quick overview of Black Mirror (since the hiatus ate up all the time we'd be talking about the individual episodes).
Next week, we jump back into Enterprise. Oh goody.
Battlestar Galactica revs up for its finale the only way it knows how: stretching out, letting go of narrative structure, making everybody sad, and handing the camera over to Edward James Olmos. We watched "Deadlock," "Someone to Watch Over Me," and "Islanded in a Stream of Stars," and get baffled at just what is happening with the character of Ellen Tigh. Then, Mad Men wraps up its fourth season, as Peggy and Ken save the company, Betty makes another rash decision, and Don one-ups her by spinning his life in a completely new direction after a trip to "Tomorrowland."
Holy cats: Enterprise is good this week! Like, really, actually good! The gang hops down to Vulcan for the three-part extravaganza "The Forge," "Awakening," and "Kir'Shara," and, man, maybe this whole show should have taken place on Vulcan. Is it possible to pull this show out of the fire before the end? Speaking of pulling out of the fire, Mad Men continues towards the end of its fourth season, as Don gets tired of being everybody's plaything and responds by doing what he does best, "Blowing Smoke."
Battlestar Galactica has become quite a different beast in its fourth season, but it can still kick it up a notch and go when it needs to, as it proves in the two-parter "The Oath" and "Blood on the Scales." Then, everything slows back to a crawl in "No Exit," as the writers realize they have to get a ton of backstory into the show and only a very little time left to do it. Then we talk about Mad Men, as the agency goes into a panic, Roger plays dumb, Peggy gets freaky, and Don tries to break down a "Chinese Wall."
So, we watched Stranger Things, and, as promised, we have a spoilerriffic conversation about it. Surprise, surprise, one of us didn't like it as much as everybody else. After that, we talk about Enterprise, which actually put together a pretty solid two-part story arc. Unfortunately, they used three episodes to tell it. Oops. We talk about "Borderland," "Cold Station 12," and "The Augments," and marvel at how much Brent Spiner classes up the joint just by showing up. Then, Mad Men gives everybody their own personal panic attacks, as Pete Campbell laments his plight, Pryce takes a shot to the head, Roger gets blindsided, and Don lets fear of exposure drive him to his "Hands and Knees."
Well, after all their years of searching, the crew of the Battlestar Galactica finally reaches their destination, and whoops, it sucks. We talk about "Revelations," "Sometimes a Great Notion," and "A Disquiet Follows My Soul," and talk about just how awful it is for them. And then, on Mad Men, the ladies get the spotlight, as Joan gets robbed, Peggy lectured to, and Faye thinks she fails an important test in "The Beautiful Girls."
Well, the fourth (and final, thank the Prophets) season of Enterprise is here, and they start by completely screwing up the resolution to that wacky cliffhanger. But was there anywhere interesting to go, really? We talk about "Storm Front" parts one and two and just kind of shake our heads sadly, before complaining about the third episode, "Home," which does almost everything wrong but gets one subplot exactly, exactly right, and that just makes the rest of it all the more frustrating. Then, on to Mad Men, as Don Draper begins taking stock of life in the only way he knows how: pretentious voice over narration, as he contemplates his role in the universe in "The Summer Man."
You know what, no show is perfect. And Battlestar Galactica is an especially imperfect show, with its better ideals often crowded out by a tendency to wander down weird, dark rabbit holes. This week, the fourth season slows to a crawl for a bit in "Guess What's Coming to Dinner," "Sine Qua Non," and "The Hub." There's good business here, but there's also a lot of stalling, a lot of pointless Romo Lampkin, and a *lot* of the awful Quorum, which J. cannot stand. Elsewhere, Robby can't explain Cylon bathrobes, and J. gets hyped about the new season of BoJack Horseman and tries to describe the WWE's new brand split to someone who doesn't watch wrestling. It kind of works! But then we get to talk about Mad Men, and (spoiler) J.'s favorite episode. Peggy loses her boyfriend, Duck loses his shit (almost literally), and Don thinks he's lost the last important thing in "The Suitcase."
Well. Enterprise finally wraps up its third season, with "The Council," "Countdown," and "Zero Hour." Will Archer and company save Earth from certain doom at the hands of the Xindi? Of course they do, what's the matter with you. But things get...complicated from there, as you can tell from the way J. can't stop giggling while they talk about it. Elsewhere, we talk Mad Men, as Roger has a few flashbacks, Don has way too many drinks, and Peggy strips down in "Waldorf Stories."
Enterprise gets dark as we head toward the end of season three, and in "Damage," "The Forgotten," and "E^2," it actually kinda works! I mean, with conditions -- this is Enterprise, after all -- but two of these three episodes are pretty solid, and one of them is probably in the top five episodes of the entire series. (One of them is...not. But it's heart is in the right place.) Afterwards, we turn to Mad Men, as Pete gets good news, Peggy makes new friends, and Don has to duck to avoid being mauled by "The Rejected."
Season four of Battlestar Galactica begins, with the Cylon business kind of breaking down and the writers struggling to make any sense out of anything. It doesn't entirely work. We watch "He That Believeth in Me," "Six of One," and "The Ties That Bind" and try to sort everything out of the soup. Afterwards, we continue our trip through the fourth year of Mad Men, as the gang rings in the New Year by spreading out and getting kind bummed out. Lane fires his secretary, Joan looks to the future, and Don tries to handle a great big helping of "The Good News."
It's not often that we point to Voyager as a positive example of anything, but when Enterprise straight-up copies an episode of its older brother, we have to give credit where credit is due. We talk about "Doctor's Orders," "Hatchery," and "Azati Prime," all of which give us plenty to grumble about. Then, we continue our look at Mad Men's fourth season, as Don gets grabby, Glen stays creepy, Lee Garner gets whiny, and Roger Sterling is probably glad that "Christmas Comes But Once a Year."
Battlestar Galactica finally goes flying off the deep end with its WTF-errific third season finale, "Crossroads," in which Ron Moore (again) blows his show up on a whim, characters fall apart (physically, emotionally, and psychologically), the dead return to the living, Tory neglects to comb her hair, and everybody gets an old song stuck in their heads. It's pretty much crazytown. Elsewhere, for the third year in a row we turn to Mad Men to get through the summer. We kick off the fourth season with awkward divorce holidays, on-the-nose prostitutes, worked-shoot grocery store fistfights, and Don getting a tough lesson in managing his "Public Relations."
Or is it HYDRA? SPECTRE? MASK? CHAOS? COBRA? The shadowy gang of international criminals we learn about in the Elementary season finale is never actually given a name, but we make a few suggestions while discussing how everything turns out. Elsewhere, Enterprise returns to the warm bosom of mediocrity with a trio of passable-I-guess third season episodes, "Proving Ground," "Strategem," and "Harbinger." Yes, they're going to try make the Temporal Cold War business all make sense. Riiiight.
J.'s having a day of jubilee -- "Burn the Witch" is a great song -- and it can't be ruined! Though Battlestar Galactica is gonna try pretty hard, with three episodes -- "Dirty Hands," "Maelstrom," and "The Son Also Rises" -- that deal with the three constants of life: death, lawers, and labor relations. Watch Adama threaten to murder Cally as the writers kind of forget out to write characters in the rush to make a (confusing) political point! In the meantime, we talk about Elementary's latest, "The Invisible Hand," in which Moriarty is replaced by...Moriarty?
Holy hell, Enterprise actually gets one right. Like, super right. We talk about "Similitude," "Carpenter Street," and "Chosen Realm," and actually have good things to say. In fact, we have no issues declaring one of these episodes to be the best Enterprise episode to date. And one of us actually enjoyed all three episodes! (The other says that the other two were garbage, but hey.) We also talk about the plot-thickening going on on Elementary in "Turn It Upside Down," as they downshift for the season finale.
So, our new co-host explains at the top of the show, but there were so many technical problems that kept this one in the can for a month. But never fear, the show is back just in time for our outdated Super Tuesday jokes! In this episode, we were talking about Battlestar Galactica, specifically "Exodus, Pt. II," "Collaborators," and "A Measure of Salvation." Also, Elementary, probably. I'll try to make sure this never happens again.
Yeah, so: we're deep in season three of Battlestar Galactica, and these three episodes -- "Taking a Break from All Your Worries," "The Woman King," and "A Day in the Life" -- are all kind of...less than great. It turns out they were all the victim of post-production second-guessing and reshaping, which J. talks about, but the episodes are still just kind of...there. Oh, well: no one's perfect. We also talk about over-the-top flood coverage, baseball's slow start, the just-ended second season of Better Call Saul, and how Elementary stole J.'s spec script idea. (Not really. But really.)
We do a brief post-game on The People vs OJ Simpson (it was great) before moving on the Elementary doubleheader, followed by Enterprise doing its own "Isaac and Ishmael" ("The Shipment") and then completely crapping the bed ("Twilight" and "North Star"). Remember Sammy Jenkins? The Enterprise writers sure do!
Well, that's what Apollo and Starbuck are at this point (complete with Sawyer and Juliet in Anders and Dualla). We talk about a three-episode Battlerstar Galactica arc that does more things well than it does badly -- "The Passage," "The Eye of Jupiter," and "Rapture" -- though we obviously find lots to complain about. Before all of that, though, we fill the space left by the lack of a new Elementary episode by letting J. gripe about WrestleMania (it was seven hours long, you guys) and by having an in-depth discussion and comparison between Hulu's 11.22.63 (which J. has not seen) and the original novel (which Robby has not read). We have fun.
Isn't this supposed to be the good part of Enterprise? There are tiny, tiny, tiny glimmers of hope, but this week, we see it's still mostly the same old stuff: Archer and crew being fooled by an obvious scam ("Rajiin"), an episode with an evil sickness that only Phlox can magically cure ("Impulse"), and an episode that makes Hoshi look like an idiot ("Exile"). And speaking of the same-old, Elementary turns in a rather CSI: hour, which kind of brings down our enthusiasm for its newly announced fifth season.
What happens when a show makes an episode that feels geared specifically to you but you still don't like it? We talk about Battlestar Galactica this week, as the third season sort of settles into a rut with "A Measure of Salvation," "Hero," and "Unfinished Business" (Robby watched the aired cut; J. watched the extended). Also, Elementary talks about superheroes as they investigate the murder of the Midnight Ranger (not Night Ranger, which may have been a better episode).