I have a confession to make. The text that follows was part of yesterday’s post My Life So Far In 2014. But the post was turning out to be close to 1000 words and I’m really trying to curb my logorrhea. Actually, logorrhea is not the correct term because it refers to extreme talking, and I’m referring to extreme writing, as in writing too much. But, well, you get the picture.
Here are my opinions on the first episodes of 2014 for the TV shows that I watch and often criticize.
–Downton Abbey is back and so are a slew of articles analyzing why we Americans like the show so much. I can tell you why I do. The acting is superb, closely followed by the writing. I was very doubtful of how much I would enjoy the show after Matthew’s death and wrote about this and other grumblings on Down On Downton Abbey exactly one year and three days ago. But I shouldn’t have worried.
While season 4’s premiere didn’t bowl me over (I had unreasonable expectations), I can see that by the end of the season it is very likely that I will be asking “Matthew who?” This will have a lot to do with Mary’s re-entry into the world of the living, including her introduction to the business world. But it will be mostly due to the richness of the script and the actors’ delivery of the same.
A particularly heartbreaking moment in the premiere was delivered by Isobel when she tells Edith, “When your only child dies, then you’re not a mother any more, you’re not anything really. That’s what I’m trying to get used to.” Those words and the pain reflected on her face just blew me away.
A minor character brought a lot of drama and comedy. Molesley, Matthew’s valet, finds himself without a job following Matthew’s death. His struggles trying to find a job range from difficult (having to work as a construction worker) to hilarious (when he is sabotaged by a fellow butler at a lunch).
The premiere also promises a lot of intrigue as Edna Braithwaite is back, this time as lady’s maid to Cora, Countess of Gratham, and teams up with Thomas who has lost his partner-in-evil Miss O’Brien. Edna had his sites on Tom Branson when she was first at Downton, and it’s very likely that she’s not done with him yet.
But Downton’s weapon of mass construction is Maggie Smith in the role of Dowager Countess of Grantham. Her lines rank among the wittiest and most spot-on in the history of television, and her delivery is impeccable. Downton Abbey is worth watching if only for her performance.
–Revenge is starting to get its groove back even though it’s shocking how much the writers underestimate our intelligence. Case in point: Daniel shot Emily because he “heard everything,” including Emily admitting to Victoria that she wasn’t pregnant. However, he didn’t hear Aidan tell Emily to “wait 2 minutes and fire” as he was putting a chloroform-dipped handkerchief over a screaming Victoria? Come on.
That said, Homecoming touched on everything that made the show so compelling in the first season. Amanda/Emily’ revenge on the Graysons is once again the main focus and everything flows from it. In addition, a much faster pace leading the characters closer to Emily’s real identity is bringing back the first season’s edge-of-the-seat watching experience. It’s enough to make me forgive the writers for insulting our intelligence.
–The Good Wife is my favorite show right now. It was always top-notch for its writing and its acting, but this season it is also a lot of fun. It is great to see Alicia and Will butting heads and wits against each other. On Goliath and David it’s a treat to see Alicia’s evolution as a lawyer and as a woman culminating in her decision to change her outfit in order to break Will’s concentration. But perhaps the best proof of Alicia’s evolution is when Will tells her, “So you decided to change,” and she answers, “Yep, into what I wore the night you banged me the first time.” What follows is a smart back-and-forth that leaves Will (and the rest of us) smiling. But that’s not the only reason I’m smiling. Their love-making flashbacks introduced in the last two episodes add a lot of sexiness to a very intelligent show. What can be better than that? More “not so good wife,” no doubt.
That’s it for now. Let me quit while I’m still under 800 words.