"You and me sit down and we talk about who dies" -- Al Capone.
Sunday nights. If you want to be in on TV conversations Monday morning, it's a good idea to not have plans on Sunday nights. There's just too much. Homeland, Boardwalk Empire, Revenge, The Walking Dead...
Well, maybe not Revenge. Not this season, anyway.
But the other three...good or bad, they are fun to discuss the next day.
Homeland and Boardwalk are both coming to the end of their seasons. And they seem to be going in opposite directions. Homeland had an amazing first season that it hasn't yet recovered from. Boardwalk Empire, on the other hand, had a promising first season, a little better 2nd season, and is now killing it (oftentimes literally) in its 3rd.
Homeland's struggle, and Boardwalk's success, are the result of the same thing:
The difficulty, and splendor, of having to do a lot of episodes.
The thrill of Boardwalk Empire this season is watching everything come together to form a complete whole. Little things setup in the beginning of the season are coming back to matter in the end. And though it can be laborious to watch at times, it's pretty darn rewarding to see stuff pay off.
They've successfully used the straight up longness of a TV season to its advantage.
Boardwalk Empire has always been a little frustrating for me. I want to love it so badly. Why? Because there's so much cool shit there! And yet they seem to take all of these cool elements and do uncool things with them. You got Chalky White, man! Use him! Have him kill some motherfuckers. And Richard?! One of the best characters on TV and you give him nothing? How dare you. There's so much God Damn restraint on that show. It's obnoxious.
Stop letting stupid Gyp Rosetti get angry all the time and actually use the awesome characters you've already established. They can get angry too!
But finally, as this season has gone on, they've found their coolness and used it. It's fun to watch all that potential become realized. The finale is next week. And shit will go down.
And then there's Homeland.
The classic example of a TV show that only thought it would be on for one season. Call it the "Prison Break" conundrum. You almost wish there was room for TV to do one off seasons of shows like these. Or they should at least have the balls to blow things up and start over. I don't watch American Horror story, but I respect that they completely redid things for season 2.
Homeland is sputtering for the exact same reason that Boardwalk is flourishing, because they have to keep making more episodes. It should've ended at season 1. Brody should've died. Brody needed to die. But he didn't. He couldn't. Because a successful show must go on. And a lead actor must keep breathing.
I thought they did some cool things at the beginning of this season. But then the daughter/hit and run storyline happened to all of us. And yikes.
That had all the look and feel of a classic stall. They needed a diversion before they got to what we're really interested in, and this just wasn't good enough. The daughter sucks. As cool as Richard is on Boardwalk, the daughter is lame. It would be like Happy Days deciding to ignore Fonzi for awhile and put Potsie front and center. No one wants to see that.
Now, it could be that this whole hit and run thing will come into play in the end. Maybe Abu Nazir is going to (hopefully) blow up the daughter, or at the very least put her through a rigorous driver's training course. But even if that happens, which I doubt, it just wasn't something any of us could care about.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still on board. It just feels like I'm watching a show that didn't know it was gonna have to stick around. I'm hopeful they had a plan all along and things will ratchet up in the last 3 episodes.
But regardless, the show has had it's Landry/Tyra murder moment, and it's yet to be seen if, like Friday Night Lights, it can recover from it. I hope it does, because I'm enjoying these Sunday nights.