"Grimm": While everyone frets over the fate of Don Draper, I'm way more worried about Juliette. Last summer, at the "Grimm" panel for Comic Con, Bitsie Tulloch talked about wanting her character Juliette to join more actively in all the Wesen vs. Grimm adventures.
This season, she most certainly got her wish. "Grimm" has always done an admirable job of balancing procedural elements with epic drama in order to avoid becoming Wesen of the Week, but in the latter parts of this season, the show has hit full reset. Through machinations too complicated to explain, Juliette, long the damsel in distress, is now a raging HexenBiest and she likes it, though she's still plenty angry at those involved in the unintentional transformation.
So much so that in the last episode she -- well, no spoilers here but suffice to say virtually all the crutches upon which the show has depended are now gone. Just as "Scandal" went from meh procedural to addictive soap, "Grimm" has kept its narrative options open and now it's reaping the benefits. As we head toward the end of the season, it is genuinely impossible to know what's going to happen next. NBC, Fridays, 9 p.m.
"The Casual Vacancy": There's nothing Americans like more than a good wallow in the sylvan coziness of stories told amid the British countryside. Oh, those gentle hills dotted with ancient churches and conversation begun with the inevitable, "I'll put the kettle on."
Honestly, it's about time someone gave us a good kick in the rear, which is precisely what HBO's miniseries "The Casual Vacancy" provides.
The main attractions are the marquee names—it's an adaption of J.K. Rowling's first non-Potter book and stars, among others, her pal/Dumbledore Michael Gambon, as well as "Miss Marple's" Julia McKenzie. But "The Casual Vacancy" is more than just a sylvan showcase of fine acting. In fact it's almost the opposite.
The three-part, three-hour miniseries takes on many of our lazy assumptions about progress, development and community. Indeed, "The Casual Vacancy" is a heartbreaking, thought-provoking and more than occasionally scalding look at the destructive power of picturesque. HBO, Thursday, 8 p.m.
"Bones": Can I just give a shout-out to one of the most consistently fine and entertaining shows on television? The new and shiny come and go and "Bones" just keeps on setting the bar for clever detecting, terrific ensemble work and so-gross-they're-cool corpses.
Fan of TV though I am, it's tough to point to a lead character one might consider a role model, but "Bones" is actually full of them.
For many years, Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) was one of only a few female leads on television, and certainly the smartest and most psychologically complex. Likewise, her team was racially and gender diverse long before the rest of television got the memo. More importantly, and grisly subject matter aside, "Bones" is a show the whole family can (and should) watch. With its emphasis on science (tweaked, no doubt, here and there for dramatic purposes), truth, love and honor, it proves that a show needn't be dark and twisted to be interesting and important.