I am playing catch-up a bit with some of my write-ups, so I bring you my TV Report Cards for shows that have wrapped up their seasons already. **SPOILERS BELOW**
Boardwalk Empire Season 3
Boardwalk Empire is a such a great show in theory, but those of us who have been watching can know how hit or miss the HBO drama can be. Tuning in every week has become more of an obligatory chore than an anticipated ritual, and so went this past season. Season 3 of the Prohibition problem-child of a show was its first without Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), killed off last season. With Jimmy gone the series needed a new conflict for Nucky Thompson, in the form of Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale.) Rosetti was the best and worst part of the season. Cannavale certainly had an attention-grabbing performance but the character was short-tempered and annoying, killing anyone for the slightest offense. Season 3 had some nice moments for characters like the half-faced Mr. Harrow and a short-lived romance between Margaret and Owen, but these were few and far between. Boardwalk Empire‘s third season suffered from the same problems that have been plaguing the series from the start. Increasingly senseless violence, lack of direction and general ennui squander Boardwalk’s potential.
Final Grade: C
Dexter Season 7
Poor Dexter. Any fan of the serial killer series will most likely tell you that the show peaked after its fourth season, with John Lithgow’s excellent performance as the “Trinity Killer.” Season five gave us a literal lady-killer and season six had biblical-based murders, both of which brought on many a poo-poo from viewers. Unfortunately this season wasn’t much of a step in the right direction, with an uneven balancing act of stories focused on Isaac and his Ukrainian mob, romantic interest/killer Hanna McKay and LaGuerta’s annoyingly overdue search for proof of Dexter’s killer instincts. The fact that Dexter’s sister Deborah is in love with him was a provocative twist that deserved more screen time. Season seven seemed to turn into a non-enjoyable guessing game of who would be the “big bad,” having the final confrontation with Dexter. It will be interesting to see what Miami Metro (easily the worst police department in the country) makes of a dead LaGuerta with a round from Deb’s gun stuck in her. Dexter asks himself at the finale’s end “Is this a new beginning? Or is it just the beginning of the end?” Probably the latter option, Dex. You’ve got one more season Showtime, try something new and interesting huh?
Final Grade: C+
Homeland Season 2
Homeland’s freshman season was critically praised and it even knocked Mad Men off of its Emmy thrown for the Outstanding Drama Series. Many fans were waiting in anticipation for the second season of Showtime’s new hit, wondering if the proverbial lightning could indeed strike twice. Carrie (Claire Danes) was put in a convenient state of minor amnesia at season one’s end, forgetting a vital fact that could prove Brody (Damian Lewis) was a terrorist. Instead of dragging the memory loss cliché out, the showrunners moved forward at a surprisingly quick pace with that and other plot developments. In the span of several episodes, Brody was caught, turned to double agent and once again got romantically involved with Carrie. Despite these changes, the general atmosphere of season two paled in comparison to season one. The setup for the season finale seemed dull: Abu Nazir is dead and Brody is leaving his wife to be happily ever after with Carrie, who got a promotion in the CIA. Where’s the drama? Then the other shoe dropped about 25 minutes in: a terrorist attack on US soil killing 200 people implicating Brody as the culprit. Rug = pulled out from under me. A surprise ending that redeemed a season with seemingly lower stakes.
Final Grade: B+