COCKED! DOWN DOG! MAD DOGS! MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE! THE NEW YORKER PRESENTS! POINT OF HONOR! SALEM ROGERS!
WRITER: Jason Ganzel[SPOILERS] For the most part, things seem to have settled down again in Fairview after the tragic, large-scale plane crash in "Boom Crunch". As this week's episode title alludes, we are back to observing collisions of a more private nature: relationship drama, petty squabbles, childish backbiting and mind games all feature in lashes. Not that I'm complaining, however, as "How About a Friendly Shrink?" still packed an explosive punch, fizzing with a quirky energy unique to Wisteria Lane's extrovert residents.
DIRECTOR: Lonny Price
GUEST STARS: Vince Cefula, Jane Leeves, John Rubinstein, Mackenzie Smith, Richard Gilliland, Wendy Benson-Landes, Patricia Bethune, Aedin Mincks & Candance Brown II
WRITERS: Angela Russo Otstot & John Wirth[SPOILERS] Erica (Elizabeth Mitchell) is asked "name one thing [the V's] have done that's bad?" twice in this episode, and fails to give any response. I still don't see why she can't tell her own son Tyler (Logan Huffman) about what the V's are up to, and I certainly have no idea idea why she couldn't tell a V sympathizer that they're blackmailing humans to do their dirty work, sending drone-bots to kill rebels, or injecting people with a drug that enables them to be tracked. In fact, there are still plenty of core problems with V's premise, and to keep a show like this going the writers have to keep finding ways for the rebellion to act like idiots. They should skin the corpse of a V and broadcast the tape, to at least make it known the V's are lying about their very appearance, right?
DIRECTOR: Frederick E.O Toye
GUEST CAST: Lexa Doig, Mark Hildreth & Charles Mesure
WRITERS: Josh Singer & Ethan Gross[SPOILERS] Maybe it's because the writers know their show's been renewed for another season and can think long-term again, or the simple fact we've entered a "sweeps" period in the US, but Fringe has really started to deliver the goods since it came back from hiatus. There's been some proper development of Walter's (John Noble) back-story and progression of the series' mytharc, which has all resulted in some excellent recent episodes, of which "The Man From The Other Side" was no exception...
DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Hunt
GUEST CAST: Peter Bryant, Morris Chapdelaine, Katie Findlay, Shawn Macdonald, Ryan Mcdonald, James Pizzinato, Sebastian Roché & James Tsai
WRITERS: Rafe Judkins & Lauren LeFranc (story by Allison Adler)[SPOILERS] After a short break, Chuck returns for its addendum season (six extra episodes that NBC ordered when the show returned to strong ratings), and given the big changes in "... The Other Guy" I'm sure every fan's desperate to see if the show hasn't ironically lost its mojo now Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) are an item. And to cut a long story: no, that hasn't happened. In fact, "Chuck Versus The Honeymooners" provides plenty of evidence that uniting its leads will actually take the show to new heights...
DIRECTOR: Robert Duncan McNeill
GUEST CAST: Bonita Friedericy, Carlos Lacamara, Lela Loren, Ron Provencal, Chino Binamo & Nico Cortez
WRITER & DIRECTOR: John Shiban[SPOILERS] I liked how "Sunset" was bookended by cops dealing with a problem at residences – in the teaser, a tribal cop discovered the Cousins (Daniel and Luis Moncada) have killed an old lady and moved into her home, and the final moments involved Hank (Dean Norris) finally tracing the meth-lab RV to a scrap yard and waiting patiently for Jesse (Aaron Paul) to come out from inside. There was a loose theme of people trapped, often literally, in situations beyond their control and trying to break free...
GUEST CAST: David Costabile, Jose Avila, Charles Baker, Larry Hankin, Matt Jones, Tom Kiesche, Daniel Moncada, Luis Moncada, Tina Parker & Michael Shamus Wiles
WRITERS: Laurence Andries & Bruce C. McKenna[SPOILERS] It's been a long time coming, but Part Five was a much healthier mix of human drama and gripping action. It helped that Private Sledge (Joseph Mazzello) finally joined the ranks, because despite the fact he's very underwritten it's always easier to relate to a wartime experience through naïve eyes. Plus, you can't help but feel anxious for someone's safety when they're clearly in over their heads.
DIRECTOR: Carl Franklin
WRITER & DIRECTOR: Ryan Murphy[SPOILERS] In the first of many pop star tie-ins (a "sequel" to this episode is already planned), "The Power Of Madonna" saw an entire hour dedicated to the Material Girl's back catalogue. You can be cynical about Glee for being such an unashamed money-making venture (the iTunes money, the bestselling albums, and now this mutually-beneficial "special" where Madonna's records were even pimped in the ad-breaks), but there's really no point. TV is a business. The skill is in hiding the crassness that can sometimes leak out, while providing audiences with what they're after. And, let's face it, Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) doing "Vogue"? We all need that in our lives.
GUEST CAST: Jenna Ushkowitz, Jonathan Groff, Iqbal Theba, Naya Rivera, Josh Sussman, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Dijon Talton & Lauren Potter
WRITER: David Fury[SPOILERS] We're given a sense of where 24's headed in its eight remaining episodes here, but it remains to be seen if the writers manage to make it all work. Unpredictability is a valuable commodity in 24, so it's at least nice to be engaged with a story because it doesn't feel so slotted on rails.
DIRECTOR: Milan Cheylov
GUEST CAST: Gregory Itzin, John Boyd, Bob Gunton, Nazneen Contractor, Reed Diamond, Mido Hamada, Frank John Hughes, Graham McTavish, Necar Zadegan, Joel Bissonnette, Navid Negahban & Sarah Hollis
WRITER: Steven Moffat[SPOILERS] Any concerns about Steven Moffat's creative direction that's arisen these past few weeks (thanks to two post-premiere episodes of middling quality), were swiftly erased by Moffat's own "The Time Of Angels", a suitably adrenalized sequel to his superb, award-winning episode "Blink".
DIRECTOR: Adam Smith
GUEST CAST: Alex Kingston, Iain Glen, Simon Dutton, Mark Springer, Troy Glasgow, David Atkins, Mark Monero, Darren Morfitt, George Russo & Mike Skinner
WRITER: Jack Lothian[SPOILERS] We're at the halfway point of the final series already, so it was a relief to see a much stronger episode to mark the occasion. And despite the fact I tend to find the sci-fi trimmings more interesting than the show's cop show formula, this episode (written by Jack Lothian) was a great example of Ashes To Ashes getting its balance exactly right. The emphasis was on a down-to-earth plot that was well-told and contained some twists that really worked, while the sci-fi stuff was scaled back and all the better for that.
DIRECTOR: Alrick Riley
GUEST CAST: Zoe Telford, Peter Guinness, Bryan Dick, Paul Moriarty, Paul Moriarty, Joseph Long, Geff Francis, Ryan Pope & Charlie Roe
WRITERS: Paul Zbyszewski & Graham Roland[SPOILERS] It's funny, now the flashsideways have been given a sense of direction and we're assured of their relevance, the prime storyline has now started to flap in the breeze. Lost often struggles to juggle its many characters, but "The Last Recruit" proved particularly annoying because you could feel the writers simply moving people around into position. Characters decided to follow one person, then either had second thoughts, or were led by the nose somewhere else. I appreciate the problems, but what ruined this episode for me was the sense that characters are flip-flopping...
DIRECTOR: Stephen Semel
GUEST CAST: Dylan Minnette, Teresa Huang, Andrea Gabriel, Zuleikha Robinson, Sheila Kelley, Kimberley Joseph & Christopher Amitrano
WRITER: Joe Keenan[SPOILERS] You would be forgiven for thinking we were still in last week's hypothetical parallel reality given how far credibility is stretched during the reading of Karl Mayer's last will and testament at the opening of "You Gotta Get A Gimmick". Even Susan Delfino (Teri Hatcher) makes a flippant fourth-wall-teasing aside to the heavens when it is revealed that the deceased lawyer has left his ex-wife his half of a business he was co-owner of -- without anybody knowing: "At least you'll finally get some rest."
DIRECTOR: David Grossman
GUEST CAST: Orson Bean, Ben Lemon, Dakin Matthews, John Rubinstein, Josh Zuckerman, Brent Biscoe, Brianne Davis & Kevin Scott Allen