These are the episodes of television I watched that aired this week, not including any previously aired episodes that I watched in addition: 

The Bridge: “Goliath” (2.08) - 
Extant: “Care and Feeling” (1.09) - 
Extant: “A Pack of Cards” (1.10) - 
Intruders: “Time Has Come Today” (1.02) - 
The Leftovers: “The Garveys At Their Best” (1.09) - A- 
Married: “Waffles & Pizza” (1.07) - C 
Masters of Sex: “Asterion” (2.07) - 
Ray Donovan: “Walk This Way” (2.07) - 
The Strain: “For Services Rendered” (1.07) - C 
True Blood: “Thank You” (7.10) - F 
Under the Dome: “The Red Door” (2.09) - F 
You’re the Worst: “Equally Dead Inside” (1.07) - C 

These are the episodes of television I watched that aired this week, not including any previously aired episodes that I watched in addition: 

The Bridge: “Lamia” (2.07) - 
Extant: “More in Heaven and Earth” (1.07) - 
Extant: “Incursion” (1.08) - 
The Honourable Woman: “The Paring Knife” (1.08) - 
Intruders: “She Was Provisional” (1.01) - 
The Knick: “The Busy Flea” (1.03) - 
The Leftovers: “Cairo” (1.08) - B+ 
Married: “Invisible Man” (1.06) - C- 
Masters of Sex: “Blackbird” (2.06) - 
Ray Donovan: “Viagra” (2.06) - 
Rectify: “Unhinged” (2.10) - 
The Strain: “Occultation” (1.06) - D+ 
True Blood: “Love Is To Die” (7.09) - F 
Under the Dome: “Awakening” (2.08) - F 
You’re the Worst: “PTSD” (1.06) - A- 

These are the episodes of television I watched that aired this week, not including any previously aired episodes that I watched in addition: 

The Bridge: “Harvest of Souls” (2.06) - 
Extant: “Nightmares” (1.06) - 
The Honourable Woman: “The Hollow Wall” (1.07) - 
The Knick: “Mr. Paris Shoes” (1.02) - 
The Leftovers: “Solace for Tired Feet” (1.07) - B- 
Married: “The Playdate” (1.05) - C- 
Masters of Sex: “Giants” (2.05) - 
Ray Donovan: “Irish Spring” (2.05) - 
Rectify: “Until You’re Blue” (2.09) - 
The Strain: “Runaways” (1.05) - D- 
True Blood: “Almost Home” (7.08) - F 
Under the Dome: “Going Home” (2.07) - F 
You’re the Worst: “Sunday Funday” (1.05) - B+ 

These are the episodes of television I watched that aired this week, not including any previously aired episodes that I watched in addition: 

The Bridge: “Eye of the Deep” (2.05) - 
Extant: “What on Earth is Wrong?” (1.05) - 
Halt and Catch Fire: “1984” (1.10) - 
The Honourable Woman: “The Mother Line” (1.06) - 
The Knick: “Method and Madness” (1.01) - 
The Leftovers: “Guest” (1.06) - A 
Married: “Uncool” (1.04) - C 
Masters of Sex: “Dirty Jobs” (2.04) - C+ 
Ray Donovan: “S U C K” (2.04) - 
Rectify: “The Great Destroyer” (2.08) - 
The Strain: “It’s Not for Everyone” (1.04) - D 
True Blood: “May Be The Last Time” (7.07) - F 
Under the Dome: “In the Dark” (2.06) - F 
You’re the Worst: “What Normal People Do” (1.04) - C- 

These are the episodes of television I watched that aired this week, not including any previously aired episodes that I watched in addition: 

The Bridge: “The Acorn” (2.04) - 
Extant: “Shelter” (1.04) - 
Halt and Catch Fire: “Up Helly Aa” (1.09) - 
The Honourable Woman: “The Mother Line” (1.05) - 
The Leftovers: “Gladys” (1.05) - A- 
Married: “The Getaway” (1.03) - C 
Masters of Sex: “Fight” (2.03) - A 
Ray Donovan: “Gem and Loan” (2.03) - 
Rectify: “Weird As You” (2.07) - 
The Strain: “Gone Smooth” (1.03) - C- 
True Blood: “Karma” (7.06) - F 
Under the Dome: “Reconciliation” (2.05) - F 
You’re the Worst: “Keys Open Doors” (1.03) - B 

These are the episodes of television I watched that aired this week, not including any previously aired episodes that I watched in addition: 

The Bridge: “Sorrowsworn” (2.03) - 
Extant: “Wish You Were Here” (1.03) - 
Halt and Catch Fire: “The 214s” (1.08) - 
The Honourable Woman: “The Ribbon Cutter” (1.04) - 
The Leftovers: “B.J. and the A.C.” (1.04) - B- 
Married: “The Shower” (1.02) - C 
Masters of Sex: “Kyrie Eleison” (2.02) - B+ 
Ray Donovan: “Uber Ray” (2.02) - 
Rectify: “MazelTov” (2.06) - 
The Strain: “The Box” (1.02) - C- 
True Blood: “Lost Cause” (7.05) - F 
Under the Dome: “Revelation” (2.04) - F 
You’re the Worst: “Insouciance” (1.02) - B

These are the episodes of television I watched that aired this week, not including any previously aired episodes that I watched in addition: 

24: Live Another Day: “Day 9: 10:00pm - 11:00am” (9.12) - C+ 
The Bridge: “Ghost of a Flea” (2.02) - Will update later. 
Extant: “Extinct” (1.02) - Will update later. 
Halt and Catch Fire: “Giant” (1.07) - Will update later. 
The Honourable Woman: “The Killing Call” (1.03) - Will update later. 
The Leftovers: “Two Boats and a Helicopter” (1.03) - A 
Married: “Pilot” (1.01) - D+ 
Masters of Sex: “Parallax” (2.01) - B- 
Ray Donovan: “Yo Soy Captain” (2.01) - Will update later. 
Rectify: “Act As If” (2.05) - Will update later. 
The Strain: “Night Zero” (1.01) - C 
True Blood: “Death is Not the End” (7.04) - D 
Under the Dome: “Force Majeure” (2.03) - F 
You’re the Worst: “Pilot” (1.01) - B 

24's much-hyped revival had me very excited for the return of Jack Bauer, one of my all-time favorite television characters. Seeing Bauer himself back on screen definitely didn't disappoint as he came with all of his badass ways fully in tact, starting with a shirtless interrogation where he doesn't break a sweat and ending with him chopping off a man's head with a samurai sword. 24: Live Another Day gave the promise that 24 would be returning somewhat new after its four year hiatus, giving us a truncated 12-episode season spanning the traditional 24 hours each season takes, but at the end of the day I can’t help feeling slightly cheated by how similar it felt to any other season of the program. 

I’m a big fan of 24 and despite its inconsistencies I still hold it in high regard, but there’s no doubt that even in the finer moments of the later years there was a lack of genuine excitement given how recycled everything had felt at that point. They could change the location, add in new characters, bring back old ones, whatever they wanted to do but there was still a mole, still a needless filler plot or two and still a bad guy switcharoo all while Jack beats the hell out of people with no regard for his safety and no need for it because he’s indestructible. Live Another Daygave hope of a newly energized 24 but while it maintained the solid performance of the show’s last two seasons it also maintained their lack of any genuine surprise or suspense. Yes, main characters were killed off but there came a point in 24's run where they played so fast and loose with the supporting cast that I became desensitized to anything of the sort and once the Season 5 deaths happened there was no one on the show's roster that I really cared about other than Jack. 

Live Another Day added some nice new faces, particularly Yvonne Strahovski’s Kate Morgan as the requisite female Jack sidekick who unfortunately was made to look a little inept at her job a few too many times, but ultimately all I was here for was Jack. Great moments from him came in spades, along with a stellar albeit one-note villainous turn from Michelle Fairley but 24's return also delivered all the warts that one had come to expect from the series. Barely explained mole? Check. Awkward, cheesy subplots to fill time? Check. Big cliffhanger moments quickly revealed at the beginning of the next episode to be fabricated? Check. Fakeout villain switcharoo at the end of the second act? Check followed by another check. I enjoyed Live Another Day for what it was and will never complain about seeing Jack Bauer on my screen, I just wish they had done something different than giving us more of the same with less filler. 

C+ 

Episode Highlights: 
01. "Day 9: 7:00pm - 8:00pm" (9.09) 
02. "Day 9: 2:00pm - 3:00pm" (9.04) 
03. "Day 9: 3:00pm - 4:00pm" (9.05) 
04. "Day 9: 11:00am - 12:00pm" (9.01) 
05. "Day 9: 9:00pm - 10:00pm" (9.11) 

These are the episodes of television I watched that aired this week, not including any previously aired episodes that I watched in addition: 

24: Live Another Day: “Day 9: 9:00pm - 10:00pm” (9.11) - B 
The Bridge: “Yankee” (2.01) - D+
Extant: “Re-Entry” (1.01) - Will update later. 
Halt and Catch Fire: “Landfall” (1.06) - D 
The Honourable Woman: “The Faithful Husband” (1.02) - Will update later. 
The Leftovers: “Penguin One, Us Zero” (1.02) - B 
Rectify: “Donald the Normal” (2.04) - Will update later. 
True Blood: “Fire in the Hole” (7.03) - D- 
Under the Dome: “Infestation” (2.02) - F 

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The second Showtime series in as many years where I was very excited for it leading up to its premiere, found the first episode to have a lot of potential and then a few more in I was so bored and frustrated with the characters that I gave up on it completely until returning after the season was over, falling in love with the fifth episode and sticking with the rest of the season. Penny Dreadful didn’t live up to the promise of that game-changing fifth episode the way that Masters of Sex did, but at least its second half presented a far more engaging and far less needlessly vague experience through to the end. The finale was disappointingly anti-climatic with reveals that are positioned to make the audience jump up in surprise yet everyone watching knew things were heading in that direction by the end of the second episode, but the series overall began to flesh itself out and come into its own by the end of the eight-episode season, presenting a promise for what’s to come next year. 

This was certainly a messy season, perhaps overstuffed with characters who vary drastically on their level of interest for this viewer (give me all the Vanessa you can muster but go ahead and keep Dorian Gray and Frankenstein’s Caliban as far away from me as possible) and very bizarrely structured for something with such a brief run. A lot of the first season of Penny Dreadful had trouble building momentum, which isn’t really something they ever fixed, so taking only eight episodes and having one dedicated entirely to a flashback followed two weeks later by a bottle episode that keeps all of the characters confined to one location was a troubling move and yet they were ironically far and away the best episodes of the season. 

A lot of this has to do with the best thing that Penny Dreadful had going for it from start to finish — the bravura, fully committed and violently physical performance of the incomparable Eva Green. Green is the kind of actress who does her best to elevate whatever material she’s working with and barring that she’ll just go ahead and be the only good thing in it (I can’t imagine anyone else pulling off the only redeemable aspect of Dark Shadows the way she did), but Dreadful gives her a kind of showcase that she has seemingly been searching for this past decade at least. Utilizing every strength Green has at her disposable and even uncovering ones that hadn’t been exposed before, she turns Vanessa into a screen-devouring creature of indefinable, endlessly fascinating proportion. She’ll certainly be ignored for next year’s Emmys but she shouldn’t be — it’s another display of a great actress given an ample opportunity to give a caliber of performance that she was so rarely afforded in film and another name on the list of tremendous Leading Actress performances on television right now. It’s almost a fault with the show really because any scene with Green only further illuminates how much the series can struggle to make some of the lesser characters remotely interesting. 

An earlier episode that centers almost entirely on a flashback with Frankenstein’s creature, who gave himself the name Caliban, almost put me into a coma due to its tediousness and unengaging character — not to mention the dire later attempt to give us an eleventh hour sympathy that was lost on me — and almost single-handedly gave me the motivation to quit watching the show. It was a genuine shame that his second creation, played spectacularly by Alex Price, was taken so soon as he had more emotional resonance in two episodes than Caliban managed in the remainder of the season. Penny Dreadful sets itself up as a kind of League of Extraordinary Gentleman thrill ride, but it’s far more interesting when its giving texture to these characters and the relationships between them. There’s a reason why that bottle episode grabbed me in a way that no repetitive battle with a den of vampires possibly could — these characters, for the most part, are actually interesting if you give them room to show it. 

The narrative arc of Dreadful's first season was more or less the least interesting thing in it, with a daughter who was practically a glorified MacGuffin (aside from that astonishing fifth episode that explored the relationship between her and Vanessa) and a resolution that felt bizarrely flat, but the real gem of the season is in opening up these characters, all of these lost monsters, and trying to find the humanity in them. As we uncover new layers of each them there are things that shock and sometimes disgust (Sir Malcolm became more loathsome with each new piece of backstory we received) but they also add as texture that I didn't feel we really began to see until that fifth episode. Hopefully the second season centers in on the finer points of this confounding, sporadically engaging first year — it's one of the rare cases where I honestly have no idea where they are going to go given how they left things off at the end of the finale. Just give me a healthy dose of Eva Green, Timothy Dalton saying “chicanery” and some Wolfman Josh Hartnett and you'll have a permanent place on my DVR. 

C+ 

Episode Highlights: 
01. "Closer Than Sisters" (1.05) 
02. "Possession" (1.07) 
03. "What Death Can Join Together" (1.06)