Wednesday, January 9, 2008

2007 Recap: Travis Yanan's Favorite Episodes (20-11)

20. Pushing Daisies, "Pie-lette" (originally aired October 3, 2007). Whimsy. Fairytale romance. Bright colors. Kristen Chenoweth. Bake all these things together in a pie and you get Pushing Daisies, yet another example of why Bryan Fuller is the most imaginative person creating television shows that with concepts better suited to features than weekly series. This series never lived up to its pilot, but gosh darn it if this isn’t magical regardless.

19. Bones, "The Santa in the Slush" (originally aired December 11, 2007). While this episode had nothing to do with the intriguing Gormogon mystery, it was an example of why Bones is the best crime procedural on television (and the only one I allow myself to watch… yes, I’ve tried the various flavors out there). A fun mystery (a murdered Santa Claus whose name was Kris Kringle) with a touching side plot involving Brennan’s family and the idea of Christmas miracles. Plus, even if it was only a peck… Booth and Brennan kissed. Gotta love the sexual tension that the show just refuses to become an extant relationship. The final image with Brennan, her jailed father, her fugitive brother, sick niece, and her brothers’ girlfriend in the conjugal visit trailer watching Booth light a Christmas tree with his son just outside the penitentiary premises was just touching in all the warm, fuzzy ways I’ve been led to believe televised holiday magic is supposed to be.

18. Lost, "One of Us" (originally aired April 11, 2007). The ongoing mystery of who Dr. Juliet Burke is, and where her allegiance lies, is front and center in this episode, Juliet’s second flashback. Elizabeth Mitchell was a gift to this ensemble cast, and you can see the conflict on her fact, even as she tries to keep it cool and intrude the Lostaway society, winning some tiny bit of trust in a long con that not even Sawyer could see through. The interplay between the flashback sequences and the current events are used to great affect to keep us, the viewers, guessing even as our hearts go out to Juliet for the sacrifice she has made to come to, and stay on, the Island. Even though Ben’s taped message tells Juliet that he’ll see her in a week, the episode has shown cracks in her fa├žade now that she is out of his grasp.

17. Battlestar Galactica, "Crossroads" (originally aired March 18, 2007 and March 25, 2007). Baltar’s trial was more talk-y than I like in this show, but the public reveal of Roslin’s returning cancer. Mark Sheppard is a lot of fun, why doesn’t he show up on my television more often? And Baltar’s acquittal? Thank the gods, right? I’ll be damned, but that final CGI sequence taking us from the Ionian nebula to Earth was some feature-worthy stuff (far better than the opening credits of Superman Returns, for instance). All along the watchtower… can’t wait for Battlestar’s return. Hopefully knowing they only have 20 episode to wrap things up means we won’t face the midcycle doldrums we were subjected to in the third season (i.e. “The Passage” and “A Day in the Life”), and I definitely can’t wait to find out how the show explains its reveal of four of the Final Five Cylon. Starbuck’s (inevitable) return, the path to Earth, and a massive opening space battle awaits.

16. Ugly Betty, "I'm Coming Out" (originally aired February 1, 2007). If Ugly Betty hadn’t been able to pull off a Fashion Week episode with its early first-season pizzazz… well, you might as well have written the show off for dead. Mixing fanciful, silly moments with genuine emotion and over-the-top soap opera antics is what the show is about and this episode pretty much defines that (and has guest stars like Tim Gunn). As you might expect from the title, this was Alexis Meade’s debut, or her coming out party. Alexis is, of course, Alex Meade post-sex change operation and no matter what you think of her acting skills, Rebecca Romijn is stunning (in fact I’m unsure if she or Famke Janssen is the hottest TV transsexual). Alexis’ first meeting with Daniel, before he knows her real identity, is a hoot. “And by the way? Hitting on your dead brother’s old girlfriend? Classy.” Meanwhile, Betty’s plotline cleverly has her fighting with her own sister, Hilda, and them both coming to a mutual appreciation of the other one. Also, Wilhelmina falls victim to a duck fat injection as an alternative to botox and needs to use Marc as her “seeing eye gay.”

15. 30 Rock, "Hardball" (originally aired February 22, 2007). Jack teaches Liz about negotiating. Could he please step in and fix the writers’ strike? Gotta love the visual gags of this show, like Jack’s negotiation furniture (the opposition’s cushions sink low so Jack and his team look down on theme). Jenna’s photoshoot as one of America’s funniest women was hilarious, as she can’t pose on a couch after getting lathered in grease. Jenna winds up being misquoted as insulting army troupes in the magazine so she goes onto the political talk circuit to defend herself and winds up mistaking Obama’s name for Osama.

14. Lost, "The Man Behind the Curtain" (originally aired May 9, 2007). Answers! Sweet, delicious answers! And more questions! Infuriating, unanswered questions! The Henry Gale / Ben Linus flashback episode was so very necessary, and so very rewarding. Although Ben doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who shoots someone and leaves them in a ditch for dead without making sure that they are, y’know, dead. Who, or what, is Jacob? How will the show explain Richard, apparently an Island native, looking around the same age now as he did when Ben looking a bit like Harry Potter (just one of the reasons to root against CBS's Cane)?

13. Grey's Anatomy, "Six Days" (originally aired January 11, 2007 and January 18, 2007). George’s dad died. I don’t want to talk about it. Remember when Grey’s Anatomy had the power to make you feel that way? Also, and this totally just occurred to me because I haven’t gone back to rewatch/recap Grey’s episodes for a while, how about the revelation that Addison aborted Mark Sloan’s baby and her later discover of her being infertile-for-all-intents-and-purposes? That kinda salts the wounds, don’t it?

12. Brothers & Sisters, "Domestic Issues" (originally aired October 28, 2007). Sarah Whedon can be a tad priggish, but if your heart doesn’t bleed for her as her (suddenly moustache-twirling villain of an) ex-husband takes the kids away from her because she’s a working mother (which suddenly trumps philandering, stay-at-home musician in primary custody hearings)… you’re inhuman. Watching the so-very-strong Sarah collapse into her mother for support was another tearjerker. Should the Emmys go on this year, Rachel Griffiths will surely repeat her nomination, and if she submits the episode, she’s a shoe-in to win. In addition, this episode was a Walker Family Halloween, and dealt with the disturbing development of Tommy’s affair. Sins of the family, etc. Also Kitty is pregnant, which could throw McCallister’s campaign for a loop. Honestly, Kitty is the reason Robert is going to lose the election. She almost has to be after this season of blunders on her part.

11. How I Met Your Mother, "Slapsgiving" (originally aired November 19, 2007). How I Met Your Mother has, apparently, established that it will never be able to top “Slap Bet”. So it tries to dip into that magic vat for laughs while it can, but never in the same formula as the last time. After Jason Segal and NPH sing Les Miz on Megan Mullaly a while back, I was waiting for the day that they’d sing us a tune on the show. “You Just Got Slapped” didn’t have the campy wonder of “Let’s Go To The Mall” (and what will?) but with Barney moaning in harmony… you can’t ask for much more. The machinations the episode put us through, the will-he-or-won’t-he of the third slap, was a great way to deal with the Slap Countdown and watching NPH’s Barney mentally unravel on screen was more than worth the price of admission.

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