All rightie, November sweeps are over and many shows on the broadcast networks are going into midseason finales or have already.
1. Once Upon a Time (ABC Sundays) [last week: 1]
Did you catch the reveal of Peter Pan's true identity a couple of weeks ago? Wow, that was pretty awesome -- very well done in terms of the build-up and the actual reveal itself. This past episode, which appeared to resolve the Pan storyline, was quite effective as well, with the backstory providing even more depth to the Evil Queen's character. Lana Parilla really does a great job of imbuing Regina with such malevolence yet vulnerability in terms of her need to be a mother.
2. Scandal (ABC Thursdays) [last week: 2]
"Scandal" is totally insane in terms of its pacing and plotting, but it doesn't pretend to be anything that it isn't. In some ways, it's kind of like a successor to "24" in that it just throws so many ridiculous mini-arcs out there to see what sticks. The most recent episode, which showed how Mellie stuck with Fitzgerald during his initial campaigning for the California governorship, including an awful rape, was incredibly powerful.
3. Survivor: Blood vs. Water (CBS Wednesdays) [last week: 3]
The water is bloody! This has been a pretty good season, much better than I had initially thought it would be from the seemingly lackluster cast. It's not "Heroes vs. Villains," of course, but then, no season of "Survivor" has matched that one.
4. Hawaii 5-O (CBS Fridays) [last week: 4]
The Thanksgiving episode was pretty fun, especially with the guest turn by Carol Burnett. It looks like Kono (Grace Park) is getting back to Hawaii soon. I'm guessing that Grace Park had a baby over the summer, which would explain her sparse screen time coupled with strategically placed above the midsection camera shots of her.
5. Person of Interest (CBS Tuesdays) [last week: 6]
Wow, they killed Detective Joss Carter! When CBS kept teasing viewers with the someone will die promo, I figured it would be Detective Fusco, because he seemed the most expendable (and also wouldn't decrease the gender/racial diversity of the cast as much). Jim Caviezel sure managed to look deranged in the following episode! The only negative is that Amy Acker's uber-hacker Root has become ridiculously powerful in ways that don't even make sense. I mean, sure, the Machine is feeding her useful information, not just social security numbers, but how can it turn her into an elite killing machine? You could tell me where to shoot, but it doesn't mean I'm going to be super-proficient with a handgun.
6. Grimm (NBC Fridays) [last week: 5]
The last episode reminded me of "The X-Files" episode with El Chupcabra. That's not such a good thing, since even "The X-Files" realized how subpar that episode was, when it made fun of it in the episode "Bad Blood."
7. Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (ABC Tuesdays) [last week: 7]
It's still okay but my mind often wanders while watching. Not a good sign.
8. White Collar (USA Tuesdays) [last week: 8]
The formula appears to be wearing old at this point. Con artist Neal Caffrey appears to have rubbed off in a bad way on his FBI handlers, as a number of them are concealing things from one another or otherwise breaking rules/laws. Except for the upright secondary character, the inaptly named Clinton Jones.
9. The Blacklist (NBC Mondays) [last week: 9]
Kind of an interesting/stupid cliffhanger episode from last week, where the FBI demonstrates CTU-like (from "24") ineptness in letting its office be captured by terrorists. James Spader is still playing Red as an older Alan Shore, but is still entertaining. I'm not convinced about how Megan Boone's new agent/profiler has all of a sudden become Xena.
10. Almost Human (Fox Mondays) [last week: NR]
Karl Urban (who plays Dr. McCoy in the new "Star Trek" movies) is a gruff cop in the near future paired with an android named Dorian in something that looks like a cross between "Blade Runner" and the William Shatner Tekwar novels. It's really just another mismatched cop buddy show mashed with semi-dystopian sci-fi, and not must see TV, but it's handled competently.
(missing the cut), Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC Thursdays), Shark Tank (ABC Fridays), The Voice (NBC Mondays/Tuesdays), Covert Affairs (USA).
"Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" drops off the rankings. I'm still watching it, sort of, but that's because I'm stubborn about these things. "Shark Tank" and "The Voice" are fine but I guess I strongly prefer scripted dramas. (Hmm, why is "Survivor" ranked so high, then, you ask? I'm sure there's a lot of scripting going on there....) "Covert Affairs" ended its season so I guess I should drop it altogether.
Cut: Sleepy Hollow (Fox Mondays), Revolution (NBC Wednesdays), Hostages (CBS Mondays), Castle (ABC Mondays).
On the horizon: Intelligence (CBS Tuesdays starting in January), Justified (FX starting back in January).
"Intelligence" sounds a lot like "Chuck" (a show that I never got into), where a guy gets some kind of super cyber-intelligence and has a tough female agent assigned as a protector. With Josh Holloway (Sawyer on "Lost") and Meghan Ory (Ruby on "Once Upon a Time"), it's earned a chance from me. "Justified" is starting its fourth season, but I just discovered it via Amazon Prime, and I really like Timothy Olyphant's portrayal of Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. (He looks kind of like Holloway, now that I think about it.) It's weird that I read the Elmore Leonard novel "Pronto," in which Givens is introduced, but I remember nothing about it.