Catching up with the Renners: Adventures in TV Land

This morning, while my cat was surreptitiously strewing hair into my breakfast jam to get me to share my ham with her, I noticed something as I skimmed through a cooking magazine: an ad for California walnuts. Now, don’t get me wrong, you all know that I’m, well, partial to the Golden state. And yet, this makes me just a tad angry. There is nothing wrong with all those majestic walnut trees in Germany, except that the daggone Germans won’t take care of them, nor actually collect and use the nuts. Instead, they -masters of recycle and, as we now know, avid shoppers of bio foods- import nuts from thousands of miles away! These people are crazy!!

What does that have to do with a review of tv episodes starring Mr Renner? Not a thing, I admit it. I was just mad. Oh, and thank you very much for blowing that lovely early morning sunshine our way. And now for something completely different…

In chronological order, here are JR’s early ventures into tv, as they’ve recently been brought to my attention:

Somnambulist, Angel, Season 1
I never got into Angel the way I did into Buffy, but since it ended, I’ve caught it on DVD and find it rather underrated. In season 1, it still shows some of the early-series shakiness that characterizes many shows and for which, sadly, the networks don’t tend to make allowances anymore these days (see the soon to come review of The Unusuals).

In Somnambulist, a serial killer is offing people using Angelus’ signature markings, and Angel begins to suspect he may be murdering these victims without knowing (hence, somnambulist = sleep walker). However, it soon becomes clear that instead, one of Angelus’ early offspring has returned. Angel must now track and stop his former protege (ours truly) before he can do damage to the people Angel loves.

Favorite Renner moment: that whole cocky in-your-face strut Penn performs in Angel’s office during which he is nearly fried by a quick-thinking Cordelia. I also have a least favorite Renner thing about this: that godawful British accent. Don’t know why it works when British actors do American accents, but not the other way around. Sorry. Oh yeah, that hair is dreadful, too.

Alter Boys, CSI, Season 2

A state trooper finds a young man digging a grave in the desert. The CSI team has doubts about his actual involvement in the murder, even after more bodies are found. Soon, the prime suspect is the young man’s older brother (that would be JR). Unfortunately, no evidence can be tied to him.

Favorite Renner moment: no, not really, sorry. You CANNOT be serious. Roger Jennings is a complete and utter expletive deleted, and Mr Renner does look appropriately shady. Anyway, the character is soooo unlikeable that you can’t make me try and pick something good out of this. Forget it.

Games, House M.D., Season 4

Finally, here’s Mr Renner as a punk rocker with a desperate air who harbors a mystery illness as well as a secret from his past.

Favorite Renner moment: since you didn’t get one from CSI, I’ll give you two, deal? Funny: Dr Cameron points out “It’s a miracle that he got to 38 at all.” Jimmy Quidd: “I’m 28!” I know guys like that… the moment that works best for me, though, is the last scene between Jimmy and Amber. It’s just touching and sad and everything’s just right, from the dialogue to the chemistry.

If you’ve read this far and you want to know how I would rank these appearances, I’d have to say House was my favorite (I may be biased, though, since I do love the show), closely followed by CSI, where pure evil just shines. The writing etc. in Angel was great, but the dated goofiness of the episode makes it my least favorite.


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