THE RIVER--"Row, Row, Row Your Boat"--Story By Zack Estrin, Written By Aron Eli Coeite & Michael Green; Directed By Gary Fiedler
The River aired for seven weeks in early 2012. Not many people watched the series. I wrote about each episode. It was the most fun I had writing reviews this series, not counting my night with Brenda Hampton's Secret Life show. The River represents something I'd like network and cable to do more: just make entertaining shows that don't obsess in grounding their narrative to avoid the audience leaving because they don't want to suspend disbelief. The River was ridiculous, silly, and fun to watch AND write about. I dug the visual style, and the various stories they told. The series finale set the story up for a cool second season that I speculated would resemble The Twilight Zone. I didn't expect the series to get renewed, though.
"Row, Row, Row Your Boat" isn't really a favorite episode of mine. I wanted to mention the whole series and chose its finale randomly. "The Experiment," which the penultimate episode of the series, is cooler and features the crazy girl from the Paranormal Activity movies. I noticed an abundance of high intensity dramas on Top Ten lists; you know, the shows that make one look good when announcing one watches a Mad Men or Breaking Bad, like a person will think, "He likes a show I like and therefore must be a good person." I stand by including this nonsense show in the best episodes series.
BEN AND KATE--"Pilot"--Written By Dana Fox; Directed By Jake Kasadan
Ben And Kate is a funny show. I loved the "Pilot" because it reminded me of my own writing. That's probably the worst reason to include a show on this list. I wrote about this episode and episode #2 before deciding to continue with Go On for the rest of the TV season. Unlike most shows I write about and then stop writing about, I still watch Ben And Kate. Nat Faxon cracks me up. It's a sweet show. The comedy's up my alley.
SHERLOCK--"The Reichenbach Fall"--Written By Steve Thompson; Directed By Toby Haynes
I'm double-dipping with Sherlock. Yesterday, I celebrated "The Hounds of Baskerville." "The Reichenbach Fall" is an amazing episode of television. I won't write much about it lest anyone reading hasn't watched Sherlock and wants to. Moriarty returns and creates chaos throughout London. Sherlock's relationship with Moriarty is fascinating. I began reading D.T. Max's DFW biography. Max includes DFW explaining the 'click' of things, like when he realized the power of literature or a difficult school subject. Sherlock series one concluded with a Moriarty episode but I didn't hear the click. I heard the click in "The Reichenbach Fall." Watch this series just for this episode.
GRIMM--"Woman In Black"--Written By Jim Kouf & David Greenwalt; Directed By Norberto Barba
Grimm's season one finale captures the best parts of Grimm. Its exciting, enlightening, surprising, and serialized. Hank's near madness from seeing Wesen turn in broad daylight. Nick fights Adalind and removes the hexenbiest from her, but she takes someone from his life--his Juliette, who treats a cat and winds up losing her memory of Nick. The scene of the episode is Nick telling Juliette about his other life in the pouring rain. Grimm got increasingly better throughout the first season, with gems few and far between. "Woman In Black" propelled the show into an explosive open to season two.
BUNHEADS--"Pilot"--Written & Directed By Amy Sherman-Palladino
Bunheads proved to be a bit much for a guy like me after the second episode. I really dug the "Pilot." Amy Sherman-Palladino's stories have charm. I was disarmed. I smiled along to the bunhead teenagers learning to dance. I watched the episode on a summer night. I considered writing about it, but "For Fanny" lost my interest. The quirky way the characters grieved perplexed me. I'm familiar with the language and voice of other notable show-runners, but Amy Sherman's Gilmore Girls didn't engage me. I just didn't relate to the show's sense of grief. The initial episode is quality television, as I'm sure the rest of the series is.
Part 5 posts tomorrow!
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK