4 stars

Black Sails, S02E02: X.; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

Black Sails, S02E02: X.; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

The themes of the instability of circumstances and of the importance of the perception of power connect thoughtful, complex, character-driven scenes and engrossing conflicts.

The Vampire Diaries, S02E01: The Return; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

The Vampire Diaries, S02E01: The Return; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

Shocking season premiere improves upon fantastic finale of previous season.

Twin Peaks, S01E01: Pilot; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

Twin Peaks, S01E01: Pilot; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

Moody, atmospheric cult favorite opens with one of the best episodes of television of all time.

The Vampire Diaries, S01E22: Founder’s Day; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

The Vampire Diaries, S01E22: Founder’s Day; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

An exciting, engrossing end to the first season, “Founder’s Day” stands as a paragon of the serialized drama season finale.

The Vampire Diaries, S01E21: Isobel; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

The Vampire Diaries, S01E21: Isobel; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

Mia Kirshner takes center stage as Elena finally meets her birth mother, a woman so complicated that Elena would probably have needed years of therapy had Isobel not given her up for adoption as a baby.

The Vampire Diaries, S01E20: Blood Brothers; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

The Vampire Diaries, S01E20: Blood Brothers; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

Episode provides strong character development as it delves into the story of how the Salvatore brothers became vampires.

The Vampire Diaries, S01E19: Miss Mystic Falls; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

The Vampire Diaries, S01E19: Miss Mystic Falls; Review by Robin Franson Pruter

Quality execution lifts up an inauspicious premise, making this episode a winner, with good direction providing the crowning touch.