When: Sundays 9 p.m. on Showtime
Current Season: Seventh
Overview: Just past the mid-season mark, “Dexter” has surpassed most people’s expectations for the show. The past few years, “Dexter” began a descent into the dreaded television graveyard; the show just wasn’t what it used to be. This year, “Dexter” still isn’t what it used to be – it’s just different and refreshing. This season didn’t necessarily bring back the old Dexter, which is somewhat of a positive thing because he needed to change. The intriguing story and improved writing this season helped move that change into a good territory. Everyone’s favorite serial killer has made a comfortable return to television greatness.
Strongest Episode: This season has several strong episodes, but the fourth episode “Run” was strong because the situation between Dexter and his sister, Debra, was handled so well. It was arguably the first episode that Dexter and Debra were on the same level, and viewers got to see her character finally transcend her girlish, profanity-using self.
Grade: This season gets an “A”.
When: Tuesdays10 p.m. on NBC
Current Season: One
Availability: Seasons one through three on Netflix, free episodes on NBC’s website.
Overview: With just seven episodes under its belt in the fourth season, “Parenthood” is looking to have another successful season. It’s rare for a show to pick up steam so far along in its running, but “Parenthood” is finally getting some of the recognition it deserves. It is a feel-good, sometimes gimmicky kind of show, but it also has decent acting, a solid story and a lot of heart to back up any flaws. Need a break from gratuitously dramatic shows with zombie apocalypses? “Parenthood” could be the cure.
Strongest Episode: This season’s episode five “There’s Something I Need to Tell You . . .” is one of the strongest as several of the characters go through their first emotional transitions of the season.
Grade: This season gets a “B+”.
When: Sundays 10 p.m. on Showtime
Current Season: Second
Overview: Another worthy Showtime flick to catch this fall is the 2nd season of “Homeland.” Also, just past the mid-season mark, “Homeland” is full steam ahead with its “Bipolar CIA Agent vs. Mid-east Terrorist vs. Former POW Double Agent” plot triangle. Although not up to par with the first season, it still packs a punch with every episode and is a must see for anyone who enjoys a drama with slight political intrigue and a twisted romantic tale.
Strongest Episode: “Q&A” is episode five of this season. The story takes a turn different from viewers’ expectations. The big theme of season one is seemingly squashed, leaving a gaping hole to fill with a new story. So far, the strategy has worked.
“Once Upon a Time”
When: Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC
Current Season: Second
Availability: Season one on Netflix, free episode on ABC’s website.
Overview: “Once Upon a Time” relies on the audience’s nostalgia and fascination with the magic from stories of our childhood. In season one, most new episodes would introduce a fairytale character, often times from the Grimm collection. That character would complete his quest by the end of the episode. This season has been a bit different, with each episode spending time between two worlds, the real and the fairytale, and concentrating on one cluster of characters or another. So far, the change has made this season suffer. The simple, magical appeal from season one has been replaced with an over-cooked plot and too many minor characters.
Strongest Episode:“Tallahassee,” episode six of this season was a strong one. It took a look back at the history of one of the main characters, finally giving depth and sympathy to a previously stony demeanor.