By Alan Pergament
As the weather finally improves, the broadcast networks are having some programs give some relatively early goodbyes.
Tonight, NBC's critically-acclaimed but little watched "Parks and Recreation" with Amy Poehler has its season finale three days after Fox's "The Following" ended its run and four days after CBS' "The Good Wife" waved goodbye.
I would normally wait until all of the season finales of the shows I watch semi-regularly have aired to grade them, but I'm afraid I wouldn't remember some of them because they departed so early.
Before I give out some early grades, I should warn you there are spoilers in my summations. I waited a few days to allow you to see the finales, but I know some people wait longer.
"The Good Wife": I'm getting seriously tired of the story line concerning whether Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) chooses to return to her philandering husband Peter (Chris Noth) or her law partner Will Gardner (Josh Charles). Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.
The parallel story lines concerning whether Peter would win the governor's race in Illinois and whether Alicia would have enough of law firm politics to split the Lockhart-Gardner firm were much more interesting.
It also was a good and plausible twist to have Peter win after the votes were cooked in one district of Cook County. Will is aware of it and kept quiet, while Alicia is in the dark. The twist of having Alicia decide to leave the firm to join Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) in his new secret enterprise also should help things next year.
The big questions are: a) Does Alicia's legal choice make it more or less difficult to be with Will? I would think more difficult since she will be trying to steal some of his firm's clients.
b) Does Will tell Alicia that her husband or her husband's allies tried to steal an election he didn't need to steal? After all, we learned that he won in a landslide and didn't need to cook the books.
Those are the good things to come out of the finale.
The bad things were the David E. Kelley moments dealing with idiosyncratic judges. Kelley, who has made a living with such characters on "L.A. Law," "The Practice," and "Boston Legal," does more justice to those characters. Grade: B minus
"The Following": First off, a confession. I've missed some episodes of the Kevin Bacon series along the way, primarily because the violence got a bit much for my taste and because some story points in several episodes became too implausible for me to stomach.
But I returned for the intense finale to see that writer-creator Kevin Williamson had the guts to kill off a likable, regular character,(the FBI agent played by Annie Parisse), and have Bacon's character execute a villain in cold blood. He has more than a little Jack Bauer in him.
Williamson also appeared to kill off the series' villain, serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and ended the hour with a shocking stabbing that suggested the lives of Bacon's character Ryan Hardy and the woman he loves (Carroll's wife Claire Matthews, played by Natalie Zea) were in serious jeopardy.
The twists weren't that surprising or involving because it is hard to care about anyone in this twisted series. Joe Carroll's death was confirmed with dental records after he appeared to get burned alive in a fire. But this being TV, it wouldn't be all that shocking if somehow he came back from the dead or if one of his crazy Followers becomes next season's villain and victim.
I'm not all that sure I will be coming back for season two of Fox's most popular new drama. I am more sick of the violence than the Edgar Allan Poe references. Even Bacon's inability to find time to shave is beginning to irritate me. Grade: C plus.
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