Assessing the Contenders: Drama Series Catchup (Dexter, FNL, Grey’s, House)

So, last week I was all set to really dig into all of the various submissions that the panels saw in both Comedy and Drama a few weeks ago now, but then life got in the way and I’ve been distracted. It also didn’t help that I had actually seen most of the episode, so I had already formulated opinions and therefore didn’t feel an urgency to write about them (Something I do have when I’m seeing something for the first time). So, I figure I’ll provide some short-form reviews of at least some of the remaining episodes over the next few days, and then offer a more comprehensive overview next week leading up to the nominations themselves. First, a view into the drama contenders.

Drama Series

Dexter – “The Dark Defender”

Synopsis: Dexter, with the help of his similarly crazy friend Lila, confronts his mother’s murderer in an emotional attempt to achieve closure.

My Thoughts: I hate Lila with a fiery passion, and found the character ultimately disruptive, but her role as Dexter’s kindred spirit of sorts was strong. Michael C. Hall is great in the episode, and it displays the show’s usual great use of violence and gore to serve story purposes.

Panel Potential: Unfortunately, its use of blood and gore has been what has held it back, as pretty well all awards potential goes out the window when older voters can’t stomach the show’s bloody reality. So, all signs point to a rough panel performance.

Friday Night Lights – “Leave No Man Behind”

Synopsis: Tension between coach and quarterback reaches its climax, and love triangles and parental strife round out the episode.

My Thoughts: The best episode of the show’s second season, it is most importantly a view into where football and life intersect as opposed to simply the lives of these characters. For the scene where Eric Taylor throws Matt Saracen into a cold shower to wake him up from his depressive state alone, this one’s a winner.

Panel Potential: There’s a lot of strong elements here, from performance to relativity to the standard lives of panelists, so it should have a decent performance (but likely not enough to make up for its poor Popular vote showing).

Grey’s Anatomy – “Freedom, Part One”

Synopsis: In the first part of the show’s fourth season finale, Meredith and Derek finally have a successful trial case and a teenager encased in concrete proves an important case for all of the show’s cast.

My Thoughts: Showing only a single hour is a really odd decision, but even as a whole the finale was a bit uneven. I enjoyed certain parts of it, but the show just didn’t have a good showcase year (Unlike say the Trainwreck episode, or the Bomb episode). It was a decent finale, especially compared to the rest of the season, but upper echelon of television it is not.

Panel Potential: And it certainly isn’t when we consider that the voters don’t even get to see the episode’s resolution, robbed of its second part. I don’t understand that decision, and it will hurt them – too bad the show’s reputation will probably keep it from sinking too low on the ballots.

House – “Frozen”

Synopsis: House is consulted on a medical mystery thousands of miles away in Antarctica, as guest star Mira Sorvino proves a particularly charming doctor whose near death situation is one of House’s biggest challenges yet.

My Thoughts: Airing after the Super Bowl made this episode feel special by default, but it’s a strong episode that features some great indirect work by both Sorvino and Hugh Laurie. It’s a very strong episode in terms of some great set pieces between two great performers, the type of simple yet compelling case study that House doesn’t do very often.

Panel Potential: It’s an episode featuring strong performances, a completely standalone storyline, and a gimmick that doesn’t feel like a gimmick. Considering that it likely ranked at least moderately high in the popular vote, I think this episode gets it a nomination.

Next Up: On the Drama side of things, I want to finally spend some considerable time talking about and reviewing “The Constant,” my favourite submission of the year.

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