Series of Tubes: Thursday Roundup (Bones, Fringe, 30 Rock)

Thursday is usually one of my busiest TV nights, but last night was a little lighter due to the fact that "FlashForward" and "The Vampire Diaries" are still on hiatus. Even so, with new episodes of "Bones" and "Fringe" and a double-shot of "30 Rock" -- all before the Cavs game at 10:30 pm -- it was a full night. Let's jump right in.

Bones - The X in the File
I have to say I wasn't impressed with this episode. It seemed like there was a lot less forensic detail than most episodes, the characters were incredibly one-dimensional and the plot itself was lame (and mostly an excuse to make a bunch of X-Files-esque alien references).

As the B-plot to this episode, we got more advancement in the relationship between Angela and one of the Jeffersonian interns. I'd actually completely forgotten that they'd even hooked up, thanks to the show's insistence on rotating through a group of 4-5 interns on a weekly basis (and also taking a month off between episodes). This was literally the first time we'd seen Wendell as a character since Nov. 5, 2009. It's hard to care about a relationship between one character we see every week and another we see once every two months.

I did think it was kind of neat to actually use the X-Files theme music as the cell phone ringtone in the pre-credits scene, but otherwise, the episode fell flat.

Fringe - Johari Window
Technically this was the second "new" episode of "Fringe" this week, but the first one was actually a runoff of an unused episode from Season 1. That may have colored my opinion of last night's episode, but it ended up feeling a lot like a Season 1 episode. It was another one of those "Walter's old experiments gone bad" episodes that we got a lot of last season, and less of this year.

The one thing that set this episode apart from last year's (aside from the lack of Charlie, who was "resurrected" for Monday's old episode) was Walter's increased development. I'm particularly liking his relationship with Agent Farnsworth, mostly because it's rare to see a TV that has two characters who care so much about each other without making it sexual.

On the whole, this was a solid, but not great, episode. I am, however, incredibly intrigued by the promo for next week's episode, which looks much better.

30 Rock - Klaus and Greta/Black Light Attack!
Two episodes of "30 Rock" on the same night? What did I do to deserve this great gift?!

There was so much going in each episode that it'd be hard for me to summarize it here. From the first episode, my favorite part had to be the James Franco storyline, which saw Jenna in a fake relationship with the "Spider-Man" star to cover up his weird sexual habits. But as always, "30 Rock" is less about the plot than it is the random jokes. My favorite from the first episode:
Liz [walking into an elevator, where Tracy is waiting]: Hey, Tracy.
Tracy: Finally! Over the break I forgot what floor I worked on.
Liz: Six, Tracy.
Tracy: Six! I knew it was a character from Blossom, but I couldn't find a Joey Russo button.
So random, yet so funny.

The same could be said of the second episode, which featured Liz and new castmember "Danny" (who is actually named Jack, but was re-named by Jack Donaghy so there wouldn't be two Jacks) having a relationship, which was interfering with Jack's "bromine" with Danny.

I laughed out loud multiple times during the episode, but rather than heap praise on "30 Rock" continually (it is, in my opinion, the funniest show on TV), let me point out where the writers missed the boat.

The character of "Danny" is Canadian. And in one scene, he and Jack were at a hockey game. However, not only was Danny pictured wearing a New York Rangers hat, he wasn't even that into the game -- and ended up leaving to go hook up with Liz. I couldn't believe they put a Canadian character at a hockey game and didn't even make one stereotypical joke (they wasted a "hoser" joke with Jack and Danny at a Knicks game). I expect my Canadians and hockey to be depicted like Robin on "How I Met Your Mother". C'mon "30 Rock" writers. You're better than that.

Still, you redeemed yourself by continually making fun of Lutz. Sure, it's easy, and appeals to the lowest-common denominator, but it's still funny as all hell.