Here's my Opinion Five-Spot for the week ending April 17, 2011:
Breaking In - This is very much the opposite of the next two new sitcoms I'll discuss in that I find it pretty endearing (I like Bret Harrison) but generally lacking in the laughs department, especially episode two. I will say that this Jack Nicholson impression that Christian Slater's doing is way better than anything I saw out of him in his previous two returns to TV (My Own Worst Enemy and The Forgotten), and he actually seems to be an asset to the show this time around. It's yet another underwhelming-yet-not-awful midseason comedy, but I think I'll stick for a bit since it has a likable foundation.
Happy Endings - So much TV is "meh," doing nothing well yet nothing all that terribly either (see above). That makes me all the more intrigued by a show like Happy Endings, which simultaneously does something surprisingly well (generate laughs) and something atrociously (create likable characters). Oh yeah, and the storylines are pretty stupid too. But the show moves so quickly and has so many things floating around that the law of averages almost dictates that something is gonna work. In the first two, something worked, and that'll bring me back next week. But it's a tight leash.
The Paul Reiser Show - I wrote the Happy Endings thoughts down immediately after I watched that episode on Wednesday night, then realized the next evening that I felt pretty similarly about Paul Reiser. It's not as funny, and the humor is pretty broad, but I got a few chuckles. Paul himself was all right, but I hated almost the whole supporting cast. Paul's friends were completely useless, and it was really Paul himself and guest star Larry David generating the laughs. May try again next week since I've got the 8:30 DVR slot. Beyond that, ratings were so poor I'm not sure it'll even air again.
Fringe - I talked last week about Fringe has the good standalone "gear" and the great serialized "gear" and how the great gear has sort of ruined the good one. Well, I thought this Friday's Fringe was the first time since the move to Friday that the "great" gear was definitively on display. This was a great Inception-esque trip through Olivia Dunham's mind, and it was also awesome having Leonard Nimoy back. Previews seem to indicate we're gonna be heavily serialized for the rest of the season. Bring it on.
Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe - Boy, I like Bruce Campbell and I had some anticipation for this going in, but this two-hour movie was just one big walking cliche. It felt like almost everything (the allies being revealed as baddies, the death of the old guy, the love interest caving to the hero's charms) happened exactly as it was supposed to and when it was supposed to. Reminded me a lot of the 24: Redemption movie. But Bruce Campbell was enjoyable enough that it wasn't a completely lost experience. And I'm still looking forward to seeing him back on Burn Notice proper.