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WEEKLY ROUNDUP: March 21-26

Every week, The Signal will be offering up a Weekly Roundup: a collection of mini-reviews, TV news, interesting links and varying television-related thoughts that weren’t big enough to merit a full post on their own. R. Lackie takes point for this week’s roundup…


Reviews, Thoughts and Other
Ruminations

Fringe 3.18: A great episode that showcases how strong of a character ‘Fauxlivia’ has developed into, and how dynamic Anna Torv is when she’s allowed to let a character emote. Early on in the show’s history, the show was criticised because she was read as a poor actress, when truly it was just that Olivia was so utterly restrained that she came off as distant. Fauxlivia, meanwhile, at first seemed all swagger, but as we get more of her, we begin to see the soft side underneath. This Olivia didn’t love her mother in a traumatic event, but did suffer through losing her sister in childbirth, and that pain does show on her shoulders. She has distinct relationships here with her mother, Linc and Snarky Charlie, just as Blue Olivia has Peter and her sister. If anything, this episode was a love letter to Fauxlivia, redeeming her for her early arc as an undercover seductress. But this episode doesn’t just look good on Torv. I’ve long liked Seth Gabel, but he usually plays characters that irritate me; his overly-mannered suitor to an immature teenage girl on last season’s United States of Tara, or his messy, immature playboy wannabe on Dirty Sexy Money. Linc, though childish, is exactly the character Gabel belongs with: someone who you think you’ll look down on because he always feels like your little brother tagging along, but someone who has been shown to have real strengths: leadership, compassion, smarts and the ability to really love someone, never better than during the birth scene here. He and Fauxlivia have twice the chemistry Olivia and Peter have, and is yet another reminder that I secretly hope the Red Universe wins the war of the worlds.

Parks and Recreation 3.08: The show is at its strongest when it respects Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) while letting her neuroses flourish, and no better playground for that than here: struggling to come up with an idea to top the Harvest Festival, Leslie drags the entire department on a mandatory camping trip in the hopes of inspiring them. After Tom’s ‘fancy camping’ selfishness grounds their vehicles, they are forced to stay in a Bed and Breakfast… where Ron forces Leslie to stop depriving her of sleep, and take a rest. The way it spins out is a testament to Leslie’s endless dedication and creativity while allowing her to be ridiculous enough that we can laugh. The show has also built the Ron/Leslie relationship so strongly that they’ve established that, even though he disagrees with Leslie on all their ideas of government, he really appreciates her hard work and drive to help Pawnee, and knows that she’s no one-hit-wonder. This strong emotional core, partnered with many great laughs (Andy’s camping trek alone worth price of admission) made this yet another in the strong run kicking off season three.

Chuck 4.19: Not a big fan of this one, I’m afraid. Sometimes the show can turn Chuck into a bit of a caricature, and here, with him trying on the more grating elements of a new project leader, he crossed the line once or twice. That, alongside a plot that hardly enthralled me and guests who weren’t exactly awesome, left me a bit cold. That said, I’m heartened by the movement with Ellie. Where most shows would use a baby as a chance to sideline a lady character, Chuck actually uses that time to bring her to her full potential by bringing her back around to her father’s mysterious computer. Interest to see where this New Intersect plot is going, how it ties in with the wedding, Sarah’s family, and Ellie’s new destiny plotlines by end of season.

NEWS AND NOTABLE LINKS

 

Fringe Renewed!: The fantastic sci-fi drama has been renewed for a fourth season of 22 episodes, coming off a season where it saw an immense creative upswing and very reasonable ratings after a shift to Fridays. (Deadline, 24/03/2011.)

Lights Are Out at FX: FX has cancelled first-year drama Lights Out, another ratings-challenged newcomer with plenty of fans within the critics’ circle. (Deadline, 24/03/2011.)

The Bright Second Future of Futurama: After its untimely demise in 2003, Futurama was resurrected by the Comedy Central in 2008, and has been going strong since. Now, the show will air through 2013, with a 26-episode pick-up for two runs of 13. (Deadline, 24/03/2011)

More Southland and Some Perception Too: TNT has picked up Southland for a fourth season, after its first post-NBC-produced run went well. It’s also picked up Perception, starring Eric McCormack. (Deadline, 22/03/2011)

TV Land Pickups: TV Land has greenlit a second season of Retired at 35, as well as new series Happily Divorced and The Exes.  (Deadline, 21/03/2011)

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