OMG! I have been watching so much tv! On top of that, everything that I have been watching as it airs along with the shows that I watch via my computer, are all coming to an end. Hence "Part 1". I'll try to have the second part out later this week...
Big Love (Season 4 & 5) - These two seasons were definitely the weakest of the entire series. The truth is, I just don't really care about Bill's political ambitions. Also, the loss of Roman Grant (Harry Dean Stanton) is a loss of a great villain. I mean, Albee is pretty despicable, but he so clearly hates himself, while Roman was full of delusions of grandeur. Nikki's daughter from her first marriage also joins the mix and creates some predictable drama of her own. Barb starts questioning the role of females in their church. Margene gets too into QVC and New Agey products...a really disappointing development for her character. Ben still struggles to keep it in his pants and is always too self-righteous to ever actually sympathize with him. Speaking of slutting it up, Rhonda is back for a bit. Nikki starts dressing normal. Bill's parents get old and even crazier. Sarah and Scott finally escape Utah. Also, not really into the new opening title sequence for these seasons. All in all, I enjoyed my time with the Hendricksons, even if I don't really like the path the show takes in the end.
Friday Night Lights (Season 5) - I always knew it would be a tearful goodbye with Coach Taylor and Dillon, Texas. I can't even claim that this season is that great. Julie is acting like an idiot in college. Tim Riggins spends most of the season in jail. Luke and Becky have some tension, but really nothing much happens to either one of them. Tammy as usual kicks ass at her job, even without support from the rest of the school. Vince learns the hard lesson that nobody really likes you when your head gets too big. For me, this show has always been it's strongest when the stories focus on Riggins or Matt Saracen. Their presence is sorely missed, but I am so thankful for a real conclusion to this show....a show that really more people should watch if they are into great dramas, small towns, or heart.
Fringe (Season 3) - Season 3 is all about the two universes, and the relationship between Olivia and Peter. Fake Olivia spends some time in our universe, while our Olivia is stuck in the alternate universe. Holes begin developing between the two places, and these provide the background for any "monster-of-the-week" episodes that even happen this season. For the most part, I love this season for how crazy and how serialized it gets. I can't imagine jumping into this show now...you need so much backstory from the past two seasons. That being said, if anyone has invested in this show so far, I can't imagine them being disappointed.
Mildred Pierce (HBO miniseries) - I loved the original Mildred Pierce film and I love Todd Haynes' visual aesthetic, so it's really no surprised that I enjoyed this 5-part retelling of this story of a woman who may be lucky in business, but maybe refuses to see how the people closest to her are the most terrible. These scenes are lush and deliberate. Kate Winslet is lovely, and Evan Rachel Wood plays a great spoiled brat Vida. It's beautiful to watch and still so scandalous to entertain.
Parks and Recreation (Seasons 1-3) - This is the first year that I have diligently been watching Parks & Rec as it airs. I had seen lots of episodes from the past two seasons, but when Netflix offered Season 1 & 2 to watch instantly, I knew it would be a good use of my time to revisit and fill in the gaps. I really like Tom and all of his sleaziness and slang, and am really glad that he got an actual love interest if only for a short time. Ron Swanson is a treat as the straight-man. Donna downing two shots at once is pretty great every time. April is a true favorite...also incredibly straight-faced and angsty and just fucking hilarious. I'm not really sure what Ann's purpose is any more on the show, but Rashida Jones' is so pretty that I don't even care. Watching Mark Brandanowitz transform from local playboy to square was an enjoyable transformation, but I have to say that his departure made way for the welcome addition of the ever upbeat Chris (Rob Lowe) and my current crush Ben (Adam Scott). Leslie is goofy and the perfect heart of this show. It's easy to recognize that this series has become the true star of NBC's Thursday night.
Party Down (Season 1 & 2) - More Adam Scott love! Failed writers, actors, musicians, and comedians unite while working for a catering company. Each episode is a different gig ranging from funerals, to Young Republican meetings, to orgies, and even Steve Guttenberg's birthday. Ron's meltdown is amazing, as are the gags about his giant cock (and the beginning of the use of "cramzi"). The dynamic between Kyle and Roman is really great - one-sided hatred (but deep down sympathy). Lizzy Caplan isn't even the worst as Casey. Just a really funny show and a shame that it couldn't last longer.
RuPaul's Drag Race (Season 3) - Finally someone not black wins! The campier version of ANTM (which is already pretty campy) brings back an all new group of drag queens. Even though I predicted win, place, and show really early in the season, I still appreciated that it wasn't too clearcut who would actually win the whole thing (last season was lacking some serious tension with a clear frontrunner). Loved having Chloe Sevigny and LaToya Jackson as judges.