Here’s a (spoiler-free!) look back at the best and worst of TV in the past week (April 3-9), and a peek at what’s coming up.
1. “Breaking Bad” (AMC). So, so great. If Anna Gunn wins an Emmy this year, last Sunday’s episode will be the reason why. All the major players hit bottom in this episode — Walt, Jesse, Skyler and Hank — and each acted out in their own jaw-dropping way to regain some semblance of control in their lives. All that, plus Tio and the Cousins. Ting! Ting! Ting! Ting!
2. “Chuck” (NBC). Best episode of the season? Yeah, I’d say so. In what was originally planned as the season finale (it had its run extended by six episodes), comedy and action were deftly balanced, along with high stakes and high emotions that paid off in a satisfying ending. Makes me glad I bought a Subway sandwich or two over the past year.
3. “Amazing Race” (CBS). From top to bottom, the order of teams was shuffled more dramatically than in any other episode that I can remember. There were some great challenges (interesting how the two teams fared so completely differently at the flag task), some great scenery, and a healthy dose of killer fatigue and bad taxi drivers. It all added up to one terrific episode.
Honorable mention: “Damages” (FX). Wow, I did not see that ending coming. But I loved it. Also loved how Marilyn’s big decision paralleled Frobisher’s, so he was almost playing the Greek chorus, explaining why she was doing what she was doing. And as for pure comedy, the actors playing Frobisher and Patty were awesome. Wow, that’ll be an awful movie.
1. “Gossip Girl” (The CW). Worst . . . . episode . . . . EVER. I don’t know what was worse, the game of Assassin or Chuck’s scheme. No wait, I do: Assassin was just stupid; Chuck’s scheme was appalling and showed an utter disregard for how his character has developed. By the end, I wasn’t just disappointed, I was a little angry. Oh, and I hated Jenny a little bit more.
2. “Top Chef Masters” (Bravo). Kinda bland. I really didn’t like the pairings (isn’t the whole point to find the best individual chef?) and the chefs themselves didn’t do much for me. They were pretty full of themselves and pissy about criticism. It wasn’t an enjoyable hour, and based on the season previews (especially Rick Moonen and Ludo Lefebvre’s antics), I might not be back for more.
3. “Justified” (FX). It’s weird how suddenly this has become a USA-type series, more “Burn Notice” than “The Shield.” It’s not bad by any means, but it’s apparently not the gritty, dark, character-driven series I was led to believe by the premiere episode. Huh.
Looking forward to . . .
1. “Treme” (10 p.m. Sunday, HBO). The new series from the creators of “The Wire” is finally here, following New Orleans resident in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But here’s a shocker to “Wire” fans: This one apparently strikes a deep note of hope and optimism. Should be good.
2. “Glee” (9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Fox). The musical hit returns from its long winter hiatus. Think Sue Sylvester will still be mad? Yeah, I’m thinking she can hold a grudge for four months.
3. “Lost” (9 p.m. Tuesday, ABC). It’ll be a Hurley-centric episode, and based on the previews, it looks like we’ll get a little more island action that we did last week.