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Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Groove Tube #43: My Week with The Walking Dead

Welcome to The Groove Tube, a weekly recap of the highlights (and lowlights) of some of the scripted TV shows I'm watching (in order of preference):

TV Series of the Week: The Walking Dead
"Seed" (Episode 20/October 14, 2012)

Second Impression: When AMC's hit horror series, The Walking Dead, debuted two years ago, I watched - and liked - the first episode, which introduced us to Rick Grimes, a sheriff's deputy who discovers that a zombie apocalypse has occurred while he was in a coma. However, due to other TV and life commitments in my pre-DVR world, I never got around to watching the series again. So when I heard that AMC was having a Walking Dead marathon last weekend before the show's third season premiere, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity to catch up on the drama. So I set my DVR and then spent a tension-filled week with The Walking Dead. And below are my 10 favorite moments from the first two seasons that turned me into a fan (in chronological order):

1) Episode 4, Season 1: Amy's shocking death during a zombie attack made me realize how much I was beginning to care about the characters.

2) Episode 5, Season 1: Andrea shooting her beloved sister Amy when she became a zombie was heartbreaking to watch. I liked their relationship, and from then on I was on the edge of my seat wondering who would be killed next.

3) Episode 6, Season 1: Crazy Dr. Jenner in the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) reminded me of Desmond in the hatch on TV's LOST. I enjoyed the emotional first season finale as Jacqui and Jenner died in the CDC explosion - and I was quite relieved when Andrea survived.

4) Episode 7, Season 2: Rick's son Carl is shot while admiring a deer in the woods - a great cliffhanger.

5) Episode 9, Season 2: 36-year-old actor Jon Bernthal, who played Rick's best friend Shane, is one hot hunk - and I was sad to see his character slowly embrace his dark side. The ending of this episode with a shirtless Shane shaving his head as we learn that he shot Otis was quite surprising. But if Shane hadn't committed this horrific act, he, Otis and Carl all would've died. That's one of the things that I like most about this series - it's often difficult to judge most of the characters and their actions, especially when you try to put yourself in their shoes.

6) Episode 11, Season 2: One of the show's best cliffhangers as Glenn discovers all the walkers locked up in the barn.

7) Episode 13, Season 2: The most devastating scene of the entire series so far - Carol's missing daughter Sophia, whom everyone has been searching for, is revealed to be one of the zombies in the barn. And then Rick is forced to shoot her. This episode made me wonder what the hell is wrong with the Emmys because none of the show's amazing actors, writers or directors have been nominated for an award.

8) Episode 16, Season 2: Although I enjoyed the increasingly uncomfortable bar scene between Rick and the two assholes in Episode 14, I have to go with Rick and Shane's fight in this episode, which ended with Rick saving Shane's life when he was trapped in a school bus by zombies.

9) Episode 18, Season 2: I was sorry to see Shane completely flip out and try to kill Rick - but the ending with Carl shooting Shane, who had become a zombie, and then seeing all the walkers approach the farm were exhilarating moments.

10) Episode 19, Season 2: The great zombie invasion of the farm was, of course, fun to watch, but Rick's shocking revelation is what made this episode for me. He finally tells everyone what Dr. Jenner whispered to him before the CDC explosion in the Season 1 Finale - that they are all infected with the walker virus, which means you automatically become a zombie after you die.

And now here are a few random thoughts about the Season 3 premiere episode:

Best Shot of the Week: Carl has become quite the accomplished gunslinger since the end of Season 2.

Oddest Pets of the Week: New character Michonne, who is taking care of an ill Andrea, keeps two walkers on leashes.

Most Gruesome Moment of the Week: Rick chopping off Hershel's leg with a hatchet after he was bit by a walker in the prison.

Best Cliffhanger of the Week: Rick and his group discover that there are other survivors in the prison.

Grade: A (a gory good time - but I do miss Shane)

2) Nashville
"Pilot" (Episode 1/October 10, 2012)

First Impression: Created by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise), Nashville is an entertaining soap opera with an excellent cast, including Connie Britton as country-western star Rayna James, Eric Close as Rayna's husband, a cute Sam Palladio as an aspiring musician, and a scenery-chewing Powers Boothe as Rayna's Big Daddy. I've been a fan of Ms. Britton since Friday Night Lights, and she continues to be one of TV's best actresses (her singing voice is pretty good, too). I will definitely keep tuning in.

Hottest Hunk of the Week: 47-year-old Charles Esten as sexy songwriter Deacon Clayborne (I remember him from his role as the prosecutor who became involved with Nicki on HBO's Big Love).

Best Bitch of the Week: Hayden Panettiere as the nasty but talented Juliette Barnes.

Best Couple of the Week: Rayna and Deacon have a nice chemistry - and they continue to work together after being romantically involved many years ago.

Worst Couple of the Week: Juliette succeeded in seducing Deacon.

Best Line: "You can kiss my decision as it walks out the door" - Rayna to the new head of her record label

Grade: A (it's my new Wednesday night addiction)

3) Revenge
"Confidence" (Episode 25/October 14, 2012)

Worst Storyline: Declan's new breaking-and-entering friendship with bad boy Trey just doesn't ring true. He's a smarter character than the way he is currently being written.

Best Press Conference of the Week: I loved watching Victoria publicly reveal Charlotte's true parentage and welcome a pregnant Amanda into the family.

Best Break-Up of the Week: Jack dumped Amanda for going behind his back to see the Graysons.

Best Plot Twist of the Week: Emily's mother Kara, who runs a motel, was in love with Gordon, the recently deceased white-haired man.

SPOILER: Adrienne Barbeau is joining the cast as Victoria's mother, Sheila Harper. The actress, who played Bea Arthur's daughter on TV's Maude, has also appeared in many films, including The Fog, Escape from New York and Swamp Thing.

Grade: A

4) Modern Family
"Schooled" (Episode 74/October 10, 2012)
"Snip" (Episode 75/October 10, 2012)

Best Guest Star of the Week: Reno 911!'s Wendi McLendon-Covey was hilarious as Pam, one of the lesbian mothers of Lily's kindergarten classmate.

Grade: A (both were good episodes. I especially liked the emotional and realistic drama of Phil and Claire having to say goodbye to Haley, whom they dropped off at college. And the best comedy moments were between Cam and Pam as well as Claire's hair-shaving of Alex's goth friend.

5) Once Upon a Time
"Lady of the Lake" (Episode 25/October 14, 2012)

Best New Character of the Week: The handsome Sinqua Walls as Sir Lancelot, Snow White's old friend.

Best Bitch of the Week Runner-Up: Barbara Hershey as Cora, Regina's evil mother.

Best Fight of the Week: Prince Charming won his battle against all of the king's men.

Best Shot of the Week Runner-Up: Snow/Mary Margaret fatally shot the ogre in the eye with an arrow.

Best Wedding of the Week: Snow White and Prince Charming were married by Sir Lancelot.

Saddest Death of the Week: Prince Charming's mother Ruth was shot with a poisoned arrow and later died.

Best Line: "I'm pretty sure I've dated a few" - Emma after being asked if she's ever seen an ogre.

Grade: B+ (good episode but not enough Regina)

6) The New Normal
"Bryanzilla" (Episode 6/October 9, 2012)

Best Couple of the Week Runner-Up: Shania and Wilbur - even though he was revealed to be quite the ladies' man during their pretend wedding.

Best Wedding Dress of the Week: Shania's autumn leaf gown

Best Kiss of the Week: David and Bryan shared a passionate kiss after David's marriage proposal.

SPOILER: The gorgeous Matt Bomer will guest star as Bryan's ex-boyfriend on an upcoming episode!

Grade: B+

7) 666 Park Avenue
"The Dead Don't Stay Dead" (Episode 3/October 14, 2012)

Last Words: The Walking Dead scares me. 666 Park Avenue does not. I just had to roll my eyes and sigh when bland heroine Jane saw a door in the basement dripping with blood. I also have a problem with the boring storylines - especially the Brian/Alexis affair (there's very little onscreen chemistry between actors Robert Buckley and Helena Mattsson) and Gavin's shady but dull business dealings. And introducing us each week to a brand new character whom I don't care about (Annie the reporter) is a bad idea. The only person whom I do like is Vanessa Williams' Olivia, but she's not enough to keep me tuning in. So I'm breaking my lease with 666 Park Avenue and moving out.

Overall Grade: C (hey, ABC, bring back those good Christian bitches!)

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