Paragraph Reviews 12/21/10

Music, Movies, Television, etc. Pop culture reviews for the short-attention-span Internet age.

Boardwalk Empire – Season 1

Since major plot points are more or less developed thanks to American history, the real joy of Boardwalk Empire is subtle character development.  Buscemi leads a stellar supporting cast throughout 1920’s Atlantic City, at the beginning of the passage of Prohibition and the dawn of woman suffrage.  The slow transformation of Nucky Thompson from a shady politician to a full-on killer is made slowly and surely, just as Jimmy predicted in the pilot it would.  Meanwhile, characters like Agent Van Alden and Margaret Schroeder and their subtle mutations into insanity and independence, respectively, make this show evenly paced and yet captivating week by week.  And the violence is pretty awesome too.

Rating: 8

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – Season 6

The Gang might be the best they’ve ever been.  Working Sweet Dee’s real-life pregnancy into a hilarious plot point, as well as getting the crew stranded in the middle of nowhere launching Mac into a tirade against gay marriage based on his own sexual insecurities is absurd, yes, but always hilarious.  It has been proven Danny DeVito will do anything these guys make him do, which always makes for great gags.  But by far the best episode of the season revolves around the Gang buying a boat and accidentally setting it on fire.  “This was a bad investment,” Charlie asserts, watching the boat, engulfed in flames, sink to the bottom of the sea.  Coming back to “Sunny” never is.

Rating: 8

Dexter – Season 5

Unless the writers start to shake up this show, I fear I may have to abandon it.  A standard season of Dexter involves a guest star either teaming up with the protagonist or going after him.  The guest is gone by the end of the season, and no overlap, with the exception of maybe two finales, is to be found in this show.  And that makes for pretty formulaic television watching.  Major developments from previous seasons are abandoned (Dexter’s psyche, Deb’s discovery of Dexter’s past, and it’s likely Quinn will completely forget what he knows from Liddy about Dexter), and the plot holes and small details become unbearably hard to ignore.  Still, Michael C. Hall’s acting is phenomenal, and this season, Julia Stiles delivered a solid performance as Lumen, an accomplice/lover.  And when the show doesn’t delve into tedious, boring subplots (I’m looking at you, Laguerta/Batista telenovela) and sticks to what’s going on with who the show is named after, it can be pretty suspenseful.  Still, a major overhaul is needed if audiences are to be kept – the finale this year was easily predicted five episodes prior.

Rating: 5

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