So, here comes the triumphant return.
Let me try that again… here comes *a* return of some dork who loves TV.
Site’s been dormant for two and a half years or so, but we’re gonna try to get back into it because why the hell not?
For anyone who still stumbles upon this, things might look a little different as we get moving, but we’ll figure it out as we go. Posts will probably be a little shorter, and they might not be limited to just TV, as I could feel like musing on music, movies, sports, or anything that pop culture has to offer.
Bear with me, and we’ll see how long this lasts this time.
AMC announced on Friday that it’s canceling its polarizing crime series, The Killing, after two seasons of marginal ratings and one year after a fan and TV critic revolt after the shell game that it played in its much reviled first season finale. Here now is Jeremy Likes TV’s official analysis of the cancellation news: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (takes breath) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
TV Diary | Breaking Bad – Episode 5.01 – “Live Free Or Die” – Original Airdate: 7/15/12
Episode Grade: A-
Ed. Note: Yeah… so it was my intention to shelve TV Diary, as I’d said in my last post way too long ago. And largely, it still is, except that I kind of made my bones last year on this site with my reviews of Breaking Bad so, with its return for the first half of its fifth season spanning over the next eight weeks, I felt compelled to run these shorter reviews because it’s, you know… Breaking Bad. I’m a lying liar, I know. Anyway, enjoy.
To those who are criticizing “Live Free Or Die,” Breaking Bad’s triumphant fifth season return, I have but one request. Shut up. No, seriously. Shut up. What? That’s not fair? Ah… you might be right. I apologize. Let me phrase it like this: Shut the fuck up. This is the second-to-last season opening summer premiere we’re going to get  and I’m not going to have your entitled whining ruin it for the rest of us. So just keep your mouth shut, OK? For the rest of us, “Live Free Or Die” may not have lived up to the tension-filled heights of Gus murdering Victor by SLASHING HIS THROAT WITH A GODDAMNED BOX CUTTER in last season’s season-opening “Box Cutter,” but it still had more than enough goodness to let us know that Vince Gilligan and company have slacked exactly zero percent over the past year. After the now traditional puzzling season-premiere cold open , much of “Live Free Or Die” finds Walt, Jesse, and a reluctant Mike scrambling to tie up some loose ends in the wake of Gus having half of his face blown off. Walt realizes that the security camera that Gus had trained on them every minute that they were in the superlab could theoretically have been recording footage that could now serve as the smoking gun (lab?) that could bring all of them down, so the unlikely trio hatches a scheme to destroy the laptop that contains the footage, which is now in the possession of the Albuquerque Police Department.
What results is one helluva good caper episode, with the impetus for the scheme hatching from Jesse’s brain . Suffice it to say that it involves an industrial strength magnet, an abandoned truck, and Walt and Jesse getting close enough to APD headquarters to erase the contents of Gus’s laptop via said magnet. Maybe I’m a sucker for a good caper, but watching this unholy trio put their plan into motion and execute it seemingly perfectly  was a blast. That the chaos caused in the APD evidence room allowed the police to uncover more information about Gus’s dealings that they otherwise may not have thanks to a broken picture frame caused by Walt and Jesse’s intervention was just the icing on the cake. I appreciated Gilligan’s approach in bringing the three men together because, although Mike can barely contain his disgust for Walt  at this (or any) point, the possibility that Gus may have recorded all three men in the lab at one point or another served as an organic reason for them to be forced to team up. Plus, Jonathan Banks’ performance as Mike is a treasure and I’ll take more of it any time Breaking Bad wants to give it to us. “Live Free Or Die” also served to further illustrate that Walt’s descent into pure villainy (as per Gilligan’s stated goal for the series – to show how a good man can be corrupted into an unrecognizable version of himself) is in full, glorious effect. From Walt telling Skyler, “You don’t think I rate a ‘hello,’ at least?” after she returns home following his confirmation of his involvement in Gus’s death, to answering Mike’s question about why he’s so sure that leaving the truck behind at APD wasn’t a bad idea (“Because I say so.”), to his chilling “I forgive you,” to Skyler after learning about her attempt to pay Ted Beneke off in season four and the subsequent unfortunate events that befell him, Walt is a full-on villain now. The only question left is how deep he will go, which is something I’m beyond anxious for Breaking Bad to answer over the next two months. Breaking Bad is back, everyone. And that’s for damned sure nothing to complain about.
 Thankfully, AMC has done the right thing and has decided to split this final batch up into two bite-size chunks to be aired over the next eight weeks, with the ensuing eight episodes airing over another eight weeks this time next summer. I applaud AMC loudly for this because I wasn’t ready in any way, shape, or form for this to be the last summer of the show. I just wasn’t, and you probably weren’t either if you’re being honest with yourself.
 Here (DEEP BREATH) showing Walt with a full head of hair and a full beard wielding a fake ID from New Hampshire, celebrating his birthday in a Denny’s while conducting a business transaction with Jim Beaver’s (Deadwood) gun dealer, Lawson, for an assault rifle in the bathroom. As Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall pointed out in his review, the “52” that Walt fashions out of the bacon on his breakfast plate signifies that the rest of the episode takes place roughly a year prior to the open. Whether we’ll know how we got to the Denny’s by the end of these eight episodes remains to be seen.
 As shown in a great scene where Walt and Mike argue with one another, all the while Jesse is in the background asking a variation on, “What about a magnet?” four or five times before The Bickersons actually pay attention to him.
 Well, almost perfectly. As a friend pointed out, one of the great things about Breaking Bad is that every action on the show causes another domino to fall.
 Although he’s clearly developed an affinity for Jesse, as evidenced by the paternal disappointment in his, “Oh, Jesse,” line reading when he realizes that Jesse’s thrown his lot back in with Walt.
*One of the things that Breaking Bad does better than maybe any show except arguably The Wire is its ability to make being a criminal look like the most unglamorous thing in the world. There are always repercussions. There is stress on stress on stress. And although Walt has gotten away with almost everything to this point in the series, he’s going to go down soon. And he’s going to go down spectacularly.
*Ted ain’t dead, but he’s in a very bad way and his misfortune serves as an object lesson to Skyler on exactly who she’s in bed with at this point. Just as I’m sure that Jesse’s going to be the one to eventually put Walt down, I have a feeling that Skyler’s going to have a big hand in his demise before everything is said and done.
*I wonder how Denny’s feels with the continued product placement as the go-to diner for meth-producing megalomaniacs?
*Toasting himself in the mirror is a very Walt thing to do.
*According to Gomez, teeth do a “popcorn thing” when they get too hot. Who knew?
*The look on the APD officer’s face as he enters the evidence room and sees what’s happening is priceless.
*Very nice point made by The AV Club’s Donna Bowman in her review of “Live Free Or Die”: Walter’s “I forgive you,” to Skyler at the end of the episode is almost the inverse of her “I fucked Ted,” at the end of season three’s “I.F.T.” Gotta love a show that brings things full circle in this way.
*”Keys, scumbag. It’s the universal symbol for keys.”
*”You know how they say it’s been a pleasure? It hasn’t.”
*”If you have any brains, you’ll take that money you saved and you’ll skip town. Now. Today.”
*”What’s wrong with them, anyway? Why would anyone wanna put a metal ring through their prick?”
*”YEAH, BITCH!! MAGNETS!! OOOOHHHH!!”
*”Because I say so.”
*”You’re not Clarence Darrow. You’re a two-bit, bus bench lawyer and you work for me.”
*”We’re done when I say we’re done.”
*”I forgive you.”
Amidst rumors that NBC is in the process of replacing Ann Curry as co-host of the slumping Today, this was perhaps not the best use of chyron. But… it’s NBC. We probably shouldn’t expect anything less.
As you’ve probably noticed, the site has been a little devoid of content lately. My bad. It’s a combination of laziness and the fact that I’ve taken a new job that’s impacted the amount of time that I have available to write. I suck, and I apologize for the lack of new content of late. To that end, I’m going to be implementing a few changes over the next few weeks that I hope will fix some of these problems. First, TV Diary’s going to be going away for the time being. Unfortunately, episode-by-episode reviews are just too time-intensive and impractical right now. But… my hope is that freeing myself from the episodic review structure will allow me to provide you with some different features since, for the past few months, it’s been solely TV Diary and nothing else. It’s been far too long since the TV Power Rankings have made an appearance, there are a whole bunch of fall pilots to preview, and there are some other ideas I’ve been kicking around that I’d like to try out over the next few months. So… kindly bear with me as we work our way through the transition and, as always, constructive criticism is always welcomed. Thanks for reading.
TV Diary | Mad Men – Episode 5.08 – “Lady Lazarus” – Original Airdate: 5/6/12
Episode Grade: A
By the time this season of Mad Men is complete , I think there’s a very real chance that we view “Lady Lazarus” with the type of reverence usually reserved for episodes like “The Suitcase” and “The Wheel.” It was clearly the best installment in this fifth season of the show and deserves a place on any list of the series’ best. Also? IT ENDED WITH THE BEATLES’ “TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS” FOR CHRIST’S SAKE  !! “Lady Lazarus” was essentially bifurcated into a concentrated look on two characters, two men who the show has ostensibly compared for its entire run and who currently stand in stark contrast with one another: Don Draper and Pete Campbell.
- Don – The show’s been telegraphing Megan’s exit from SCDP for a couple of episodes now, but I didn’t fully expect it to happen this quickly. It seemed, conventionally, like something a show would save in its back pocket for one of its final story arcs of the season, but since when has Mad Men ever done anything conventionally? I’d also speculated that Megan’s desire to leave the agency would drive a wedge between she and Don so you can imagine my surprise when she confronts him with her desire to ditch copywriting to give acting another shot and he’s… as supportive as one could possibly be in that situation. As Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall theorizes, perhaps Don’s making an attempt to learn from the mistakes he made with Betty this time around. With the former Mrs. Draper, he left her to essentially rot on her own in that house in Ossining, stifling her almost to death. Now, Betty’s a horrible person to begin with  but being essentially caged like a bird while your husband is out drinking and whoring it up in Manhattan will damage any woman. So, perhaps this time around Don’s taking a different tack with Megan by encouraging her to go for what she wants, telling her that he doesn’t want to keep her from her dreams. However, with that self-actualization comes the realization that his wife is 15 years younger than he is and that she’s part of (and comfortable in) a world that he doesn’t quite understand. Witness the final montage of the episode that’s set to the aforementioned “Tomorrow Never Knows”  – his reaction suggests that he doesn’t understand the Beatles one iota, adding more fuel to the “Megan’s world is passing him by” theory. There are also the beginnings of cracks in his work environment due to Megan’s exit as well. After gaining an in with Cool Whip on the basis of a chemistry-laden bit with Megan, Don’s instead forced to use Peggy as a surrogate during a pitch to Cool Whip execs and – in a moment of uncomfortable awkwardness – they blow it horribly. The pitch eventually devolves into a name-calling and blame-pointing scene where Don blames Peggy for Megan’s decision to leave, saying that she never made Megan feel welcome and Peggy retorting with, “You know what? You’re not mad at me so just shut up.” She – and the audience – can see that Don is projecting his frustrations that he’s unable to voice with his wife onto Peggy. Either way, despite the pretty face that they each attempt to put on the situation, Don and Megan are on a precipice and the only question left is when they are going to fall.
- Pete – One of the more intriguing things that season five has examined is how Pete has now, in many ways, morphed into the Don Draper we met back in season one. He’s in a prominent position at the firm. He has a beautiful wife. He has a child. He’s got a house in the suburbs. But, just as Don displayed a restlessness through his dalliances with both Midge and Rachel Menken, Pete finds himself in the throes  of an affair with the wife of his train buddy Howard. As an aside, it’s kind of striking to see Alexis Bledel of Gilmore Girls fame playing the wife here. I’m not used to seeing Rory Gilmore in such a grown-up situation  so it took a little recalibration to see Bledel in the way that we were supposed to view her character, Beth. And in a shift from what’s generally portrayed on television, PETE is the one who’s pushing for the affair and a deeper – sort of – relationship, while Beth is the one trying to keep him at arm’s length. After having future advances rebuffed, Pete worms his way into an invite to Howard and Beth’s home for dinner where Beth ultimately begs off by telling Howard that she’s suffering from a migraine. I’d be surprised if this was a one-off appearance for Bledel because you generally don’t cast an actress this recognizable to only use her once, and I have a  hope that eventually Beth goes batty and forces a confrontation with Trudy, which would then lead to a catfight between Bledel and Alison Brie. A guy can dream. But back to the plotline, the parallels between Don circa-season one and Pete now are striking. Now the question becomes, does Pete and Trudy’s relationship disintegrate like Don and Betty’s did? Or does Pete learn from his quasi-mentor/rival’s mistakes?
“Lady Lazarus” was easily the best episode of the fifth season to date (and likely stands among the series’ best), so it will be interesting to see if Matthew Weiner and company can sustain the momentum created by this installment and carry it forward into the season’s home stretch.
 Only five episodes to go. I has a sad.
 In all seriousness, how often are the Beatles licensed/heard on any television show?
 Seriously… does ANYONE miss her?
 Thanks to Megan gifting him with Revolver, otherwise known as THE GREATEST BEATLES ALBUM EVER.
 Or, more accurately, WANTS to find himself in the throes.
 Although Rory did totally sleep with Dean when he was married on Gilmore Girls in one of the show’s better later-season plotlines.
 Not entirely appropriate.
*One of the only blemishes on “Lady Lazarus”? Needs more Alison Brie. I literally booed the television when her name did not appear in the opening credits.
*It bears repeating: The final montage that was set to “Tomorrow Never Knows” was really excellent.
*The scene where Megan informs her team that she’s leaving the firm is nicely played by all parties, showing that Peggy has some of the strongest clout at SCDP and Ginsburg and Stan, with their odd reactions to the news, are very true to their characters.
*And really… Pete and Howard are a couple of fucking morons for cheating on wives who look like Brie and Bledel. I mean… Jesus.
*Roger mentions Mona yet again. Are we setting the stage for a reconciliation?
* Mr. Belding! Saved By The Bell’s Dennis Haskins has now guested on Mad Men. Maybe the Mayans were right about 2012.
*Whoa… Ginsburg dropped a (bleeped) F-bomb.
*Roger Sterling Line Of The Week: “I sure as hell didn’t get to do what I wanted to do. My father told me.”
*”You know what a new tie means? It means I have a new side piece in the city. Strawberry blonde with huge tits.”
*”Usually, you have to go to one of your finer men’s rooms to find a guy like Rick.”
*”Do they explode or something?”
*”Head of desserts? Please tell me he’s 200 pounds.”
*”I don’t know where she is. Do you know where Abe is?”
*”I was raised in the thirties. My dream was indoor plumbing.”
*”Sweetheart, sometimes we don’t get to choose where our talents lay.”
*”I’ve had men paying attention to me before it was appropriate, and they didn’t care what I said.”
*”You work your butt off for months for what? Heinz. Baked. Beans.”
*”Have you seen those pictures of Earth from space? Do they make you feel small and insignificant?” “No. Jennifer does that. And I’m not small, Pete. Don’t know if you ever heard that about me.” “Save it for your convention whores.”
*”Do you think the actors can remember to say, ‘Just taste it’?”
TV Diary | Game Of Thrones – Episode 2.07 – “A Man Without Honor” – Original Airdate: 5/13/12
Episode Grade: B
As much as it pains me to say this, at essentially the three-quarter pole mark of Game Of Thrones’ second season it might be time to face the fact that this sophomore set of episodes has been a bit of a disappointment. After the zeitgeist-grabbing nature of its offseason where it essentially became the face of HBO and was front-and-center with HBO’s efforts to brand its HBO GO service as a Netflix competitor, it probably hasn’t reached my (and I’m sure some other viewers’) expectations. Sure, it’s still better than most of what’s on television or has been on television in 2012. But unless it pulls out something mind-blowing in its final three episodes of the season, it’s gonna fall short of what I know it’s capable of. And that’s the mark of a disappointment, even if a slight one. The season has been progressing along in fits and starts, something evidenced by its last three episodes. “The Ghost Of Harrenhal,” as I’ve said, was the worst episode in the show’s run yet, but then it bounced back with “The Old Gods And The New.” That’s why it’s disheartening to see it follow up a relatively strong installment like that with “A Man Without Honor.” Let’s dive a little deeper into why this one left me a little cold:
- Qarth. Probably my number one problem with this second set of ten episodes is whatever the hell is going on in Daenerys’ orbit this season, and this Qarth nonsense is literally the worst. I care about none of it. Zero. It’s officially become pee-break time whenever this crap comes on screen. It makes no sense whatsoever. It’s so far removed from everything else this season that it’s utterly unclear what purpose it serves in the overall narrative of the show. One of Daenerys’ servants is killed. Whatever. The character wasn’t developed at all so I don’t care at all. Daenerys is broken up over leading her people to slaughter, saying, “I led my people out of the red waste and into the slaughterhouse.” Again, I don’t care about any of these people so I don’t care about their fates. She also upbraids Jorah for being “too familiar” but then enlists his help when one (of the many) Qarthian weirdoes kidnaps her dragons. Oh… and there’s some weird lady with a tiled face painting a naked guy  who hints at some kind of betrayal by Jorah. Seriously – whatever. I don’t care about any of this in the slightest and it’s a complete drain on the season. Any time spent on this storyline is wasted. It’s really as simple as that.
- Theon’s gambit at the end of the episode was a little flat. I mean, we’re supposed to feel the impact of Theon’s decision to use Bran and Rickon’s deaths as a warning sign to the rest of Winterfell… only it’s blatantly obvious that it’s not them. We never saw the deaths happen and the bodies are burned beyond recognition, so TV 101 tells us that there’s absolutely no way that those sadly dead kids are the youngest Starks. It’s kind of similar when other shows  put one of their lead characters in danger. You know there’s no way that the show’s actually going to off them, so the tension is false. Same applies here. I mean, I dig the work that Alfie Allen is doing as Theon this year because he’s doing a great job of conveying just how over his head Theon is, as well as playing the internal conflict that Theon feels in siding with his biological family over his surrogate one. But this supposed impact of the Starks’ “deaths” just didn’t have the heft that I think the show was hoping for.
- Talisa’s still hanging around Robb and, while I generally like what both Oona Castilla and Richard Madden are doing with their material here, move things ahead already. We know where this is going. Just get there.
- No Tyrion on screen until 46 minutes into the episode. Unacceptable.
- “A Man Without Honor” was also the first time that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has been used since the season premiere. Almost as unacceptable.
This may seem to be a bit of unfair criticism because – as I’ll address in the Miscellany – there was still plenty to like in “A Man Without Honor.” It’s just that with a show whose potential is as limitless as GoT is, it’s frustrating to see the show coast at times, while also continuing to waste screentime on things that aren’t working. Three episodes left to right things and prove that season two isn’t going to stand as a disappointment.
 Really. This is some American Horror Story-level bullshit.
 I’m excepting GoT somewhat from this upcoming example because… “Baelor.”
*As I mentioned, this is the first time we’ve seen Jaime Lannister since the first episode of the season, “The North Remembers.” And Coster-Waldau shows just how underutilized he is with almost every moment he’s on screen. He uses one of his cousins – a man who hero-worships Jaime in no small measure – as a distraction in order to escape from the Stark camp, killing both the cousin and one of Robb’s soldiers in the process. He’s almost immediately recaptured, but still gets some shots in on Catelyn after she accuses him of being “a man without honor,” while seemingly confirming to her his less-than-toward relationship with his sister, Cersei: “You know, I’ve never been with any woman but Cersei so, in my own way, I have more honor than poor old dead Ned.” Seriously, GIVE THIS MAN MORE TO DO ALREADY.
*While I’ve bashed almost anything involving Daenerys almost all season, I’ve been equally as harsh to anything involving Jon Snow and his compatriots in the Night’s Watch. That’s why it’s nice to see the forward movement in that story thread, and a lot of that has to do with the introduction of Rose Leslie as Ygritte, the wildling woman who Jon’s obviously going to be ending up with in short order. She escapes his capture while giving him crap about the fact that he’s never, er… known a woman in the biblical sense, only to lead him directly into a trap where about a dozen of her compatriots are waiting. While still tethered to Jon and prior to the ambush, she seems to be hinting that she’s hoping to turn him against his brothers in the Watch, especially after he mentions that he’s Ned’s son and that the blood of her people runs through him. “So, why are you fighting us?” she questions. The chemistry between Leslie and Kit Harrington is well-played and this potentially flipping of Jon gives the character more shading than we’ve seen at any point this season. Almost gives me hope for the Dany/Qarth thread. Nah… it really doesn’t.
*Any and all scenes between Tywin and Arya continue to be season’s highlights.
*The Hound tells Sansa that he did what he did in “The Old Gods And The New” simply because he likes killing. So… there’s that.
*Some good stuff going on in King’s Landing as well with Sansa experiencing a seminal moment in her path towards womanhood, while simultaneously fearing that this may now mean that producing an heir for the execrable Joffrey could be on the near horizon. Cersei shows the first hint that she understands what a monster her son is by advising Sansa that the way to deal with Joffrey is to just focus all of her love on her children, as Cersei implies she did during her marriage to Robert Baratheon.
*Also? Shae’s a goddamn badass.
*”Oh, well that’s alright then. You let a half-wit escape with a cripple.”
*”Did you pull a knife on me in the night?”
*”I want the wounded men to be treated well. ALL the wounded men.”
*”There are no women of the Night’s Watch.” “So the lads just do it with each other, then?”
*”You’re too smart for your own good. Has anyone told you that?”
*”Brave? A dog doesn’t need courage to scare off rats.”
*”The more people you love, the weaker you are.”
*”Shouldn’t I love Joffrey, Your Grace?” “You can try.”
*”It’s hard to put a leash on a dog, once you put a crown on its head.”
*”Sometimes I wonder if this is the price for what we’ve done, for our sins.”
*”I don’t need trust any longer. I don’t want it and I don’t have any room for it.”