Here’s a look back at the best and worst of TV in the past week (March 27-April 2), and a peek at what’s coming up.
1. “Breaking Bad” (AMC). Featuring the return of Tio! Wow, it’s amazing how this series has turned a seemingly harmless service bell into the most ominous, fearsome sound ever. Ting! Ting! Ting! Kinda reminds me of the firecrackers in “Boogie Nights” – keeps you totally on edge. Something dawned on me this episode, after Walt’s close call with The Cousins: I’ve always thought Walt had the worst luck in the world. But when you look at it closely, he’s been amazingly lucky, and has never even realized it. He’s survived (for now, at least) terminal cancer, he has (err, had) a family who loved and supported him completely, he hasn’t gotten caught cooking meth (despite his best efforts), and he’s dodged death on more than one occasion. Yet he’s spent so long being bitter and resentful about everything that hasn’t gone his way that he can’t even see the blessings in his life. I don’t think he will anytime soon either, it looks like things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.
2. “Fringe” (Fox). I’m not a regular watcher, but this week’s episode was pretty great, with the parallel universe and Walter’s heartbreaking decision to play God to save his son. Verrrry interesting. I might have to start watching more. Loved the retro opening credits too.
3. “Chuck” (NBC). This series has been up and down all season, but this week hit an up note, and it hooked me in. You knew Shaw had to become bad at some point, and I actually bought the reason why when it was unveiled. I kinda wish NBC had some more money to spend on special effects (the B2 bombing the warehouse was less-than-whelming), but the story zipped right along. I like how this season has introduced a little more darkness and seriousness into the spy goofiness. Though this episode’s goofiness with the stalking was good too.
Honorable mention: “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (NBC). Really, for the performance by Drive-By Truckers. They’re one of my favorite bands, and their appearance flew under my radar. I just happened to be flipping channels when they came on and played a kick-ass song. Here it is:
Gotta hand it to Fallon: He’s much less annoying than he used to be, his special segments are often bizarrely hilarious and he gets the coolest musical acts in late-night TV.
1. Countdown to “V” (ABC). The onscreen countdown during “Lost” was totally distracting and super annoying. Not cool. Of course, this came from the same geniuses who aired “V” four times in the fall then waited four months before showing another new episode. Even though they know the best way to show serialized dramas is all in a row, uninterrupted, like they’ve been doing with “Lost” for the past three seasons. Just baffling.
2. “Survivor” (CBS). Noooooooooooooo! With the one likable Survivor ousted, why bother watching any more?
3. “Amazing Race” (CBS). Too many stupid mistakes, especially this deep into the race. My favorite team, Jet & Cord, fell a notch in my eyes with their series of forehead-slapping blunders.
Dishonorable mention: “Gossip Girl” (The CW). Wait, so Elizabeth was Chuck’s mother after all? Wow, there were about 14 too many twists in that plotline. Jenny, meanwhile, was making even stupider decisions than usual. But it was nice to see a scheming Blair back in action, and to see Serena subtly undermine Vanessa’s relationship with Dan. Yeah, they were really in a rut after two dates (cue eyeroll). And once again, Nate was the hero and voice of reason. How is that happening?!?
Looking forward to . . .
1. “Lost” (9 p.m. Tuesday, ABC). Desmond’s back. And so are Charlie, Daniel Farraday and Eloise Hawking. This week’s episode plodded along, but this next one should be goooood. A game-changer even?
2. Sports Day. Monday should be a national holiday. It’s the best sports day of the year, with the NCAA basketball championship and opening day of baseball. ESPN has a full day of baseball starting at 10 a.m., the Giants are on at 4 p.m., basketball starts at 6, and the A’s are at 7. Days like this are what picture-in-picture was made for.
3. “Top Chef Masters” (11 p.m., Wednesday, Bravo). The new season kicks off. Last season was a nice break from the doldrums of summer. But I wonder if the series has enough substance and drama to be a player when it’s facing better competition from a fuller schedule in the spring. We shall see.