“You’re the Jackie O. of our time.”

Just thinking about this episode while I was preparing to write this made me giggle. That’s how good this episode was. Which is not very surprising.

The entire cast was on in this episode. I especially liked Alec Baldwin’s attempt at gay seduction. And hey! There were no jokes about how fat and/or ugly Tina Fey is. The best part of the episode was how well they were able to massage the fact that Matt Damon needs to go off and be a movie star. They managed to write him out in a way that doesn’t forclose future plot lines. Because really, who doesn’t want Liz Lemon to be happy? Only heartless bastards, I am sure.

I really don’t have much to say about this episode. It was almost too good to review and my love for this show has been stated again and again. So, there’s not much more to say.

Except that I’m not sure the whole Pete and his wife joke worked. It was kind of awful. It may have crossed a line? (It did cross a line…)

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]


old friends…

I may be the last relatively unrepentant fan of The Office. Reading much of the discourse about this show, one would think it has committed a great crime against humanity (or least humor). But in a world where Two and a Half Men is the top sitcom, The Office still ranks as a very good show. Oh, sure has the show gotten worse since its heights of the second and third season? Absolutely and certainly season six was the worst season yet. However, that does not mean that is show is a piece of shit. Take on its own terms, the show provides plenty of entertainment.

Besides, each new season is like seeing old friends again.

The season seven premiere was very good. From the cold open (which managed to be funny and tell us a bit about each character) to it’s final moments, this episode brought some of what was missing from the previous season. First of all, it was nice to see Pam actually get a featured role. Outside of the baby arc, we got very little of her last season which was a shame. It was also nice to see Dwight with a fresh storyline. It often felt like Rainn Wilson was phoning it in last season, thus it was nice to see him bring his A (or at least A- game) in this episode.

But most of all, it seems that Steve Carrell leaving the show has brought a new energy to the show. Carrell’s performance was sharper (and spanking his nephew was weirdly hilarious), the writing was more focused, and the storyline seemed to have more weight. Carrell leaving could be the best thing that’s ever happened to this show. If they play it right. (Well, they are bringing Holly back…)

Of course, I’ve been fooled by this show’s season premiere’s before (I liked last season’s). So we will just have to see if they squander the great energy of this episode. I hope not.

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]


too cool for school…

I’m going to have say, that the Community season 2 premiere left a bad taste in my mouth. Community has always been going through an identity crisis. The writers and producers seem to be trying to figure out if this show is one where you are actually supposed to care about the characters (i.e. The Office or HIMYM) or an more absurdist Family Guy show (i.e. Its Always Sunny)?  And because Community is a very meta show, this conflict takes places on a conscious level.

As of the premiere the producers seem to have decided to become a meta, network TV version of Its Always Sunny. Which is great. Always Sunny has a lot of fans (I am not among them). But really, did they have to be such a dick about it as they embraced the new direction?

At many moments the writer of this episode seemed to be laughing at the audience while chuckling, “How could you idiots become emotionally invested in these characters?” You know how, writer man? Because of storylines in your own damn show! The writers/producers are the ones who created the Britta/Jeff storyline in the previous season. They are the ones who asked the audience to become invested in their storylines. It was not some lonely person on the internet shipping away at two improbable characters but the actual writing on the show the created the connection between them. No reading between the lines required!

I have no problem with the direction Community has decided to go. They want to make more episodes like the Paintball one from last season? Great! I enjoyed that episode a lot. But they don’t need to be such a dick as they turn the page. Nothing bothers me more than when creators spit (especially so openly!) in the face of their fans.

My opinion of this episode wasn’t completely dour. I thought moments were pretty hilarious (especially the twitter account for Chevy Chase’s character or the excellent Twilight joke). But as I said in the beginning, the episode left a bad taste in my mouth.

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]


pleasant and expected…

For all of its problems (as previously noted) you have to give the producers of Chuck credit: they are not afraid to shake up the status quo. Last season saw the death of Chuck’s dad and the end of the will-they-or-won’t-they shtick between Chuck and Sarah (spoiler: they are together now). Both were big (and smart) moves. Action/adventure shows like Chuck (I’m looking at you Stargate) get stale fast since they often just dish out more of the same season after season. Chuck has (pretty much) avoided that from the get-go. Which is quite an accomplishment.Chuck Season 4

As for the season premiere, there is really nothing unexpected here. The new status quo is established, (Chuck looking for his Mom/Sarah Connor), the obsession with Yvonne Strahovski’s body continues, and Zachary Levi remains as charming as ever. Basically if you are looking for some escapism, Chuck remains a good choice.

However, if there is one thing the producers need to learn is that the Buy More is played out. Constantly returning to that damn Best Buy knock off does not keep the show grounded, instead it keeps the show repetitive.  Besides as of this season the original shtick of the Buy More (i.e. will Chuck keep his job despite his spying?!?) is completely gone. What the producers should know by now is that it is not the “grounded”  nature of the show that makes Chuck work but Zachary Levi’s chemistry with the rest of the cast. Oh, and Adam Baldwin. (For a differing opinion, see Charlie Jane Anders’ review at io9)

But that aside, Chuck remains the same as ever. Which is (mostly) a good thing.

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]


quoting one’s self…

In December of 2009, I wrote the following:

I will be the first to admit that this show is bad. Awful, really. It is also the poor man’sBones. Plus it is a crime show and my days of obsessively watching Law & Order are long past. But I am, it must be said, a Nathan Fillion fanboy. I will watch him in pretty much anything no matter how stupid it is – and after watching “Vampire Weekend” you must admit that Castle is a stupid, stupid show. Here’s how Castle works: when Fillion is talking or doing something the show is interesting but whenever another character is doing anything the show gets bogged down in its own stupidity. At the end of every episode I wish that the two supporting detectives would just go away. But sadly, they don’t. The fact that the plotting on this show is god awful should go without saying. Really, I shouldn’t admit to watching this show but I have to disclose it – for honesty’s sake.

As of the premiere of the 3rd season of Castle, the above is still true. Nathan Fillion remains charming and the rest of the show (oh god, the awful plotting!) is terrible.

Nothing more to see here.

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]


stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

The Event

The following things are found in the premiere of the The Event and the first season of Lost:

  • A plane
  • People being tossed around in said plane
  • A beach
  • The ocean
  • Lingering shots of women in bikinis (or some form of undress)
  • Flashbacks
  • Someone drowning
  • Fake deep philosophical conversations
  • A weird “let’s have a threesome vibe!” among several characters (Kate, Sawyer, and Jack in Lost; Blonde girl, Brown hair girl, and dumb looking guy in The Event)
  • Mysteries!

The following things are found in the premiere of the The Event and not the first season of Lost:

  • Semi-Evil/Conflicted Luke Danes!

It is actually unfair to compare this show to Lost. The Event is more like the bastard child of Heroes and V.

The one thing that all of the various shows that have tried to cash-in on Lost’s success have never learned is subtlety. It is easy to forget that Lost began as a slow-burn show. In the first two seasons Lost learned the right to go bat-shit crazy in seasons 4 and 5 (time travel!) because it had firmly established the characters and made you care about them. Oh sure, those early seasons had their crazy elements but the scope and scale was kept very narrow in the early years.

And really, I don’t need another show where people sit in a dark room and vaguely discuss something bad that will happen. Or that has aliens with ‘Left Behind’ style powers.

Or mutants. Please don’t let it be mutants.

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]


“Dibs”…

As I’ve said before, my enjoyment of How I Met Your Mother has (and always will be) contingent and last season broke whatever pleasure I gained from the show. Thus, the question facing the season premiere of HIMYM was: can I be brought back into the fold?

As of right now, the answer is a tentative yes. The forward momentum has returned to the show – a feature that has been conspicuously missing since (at least) season two. They seem to have remembered that this show is actually supposed to be about the character journey of Ted (see: series title) and not the relationship joke (and/or vaguely sexist meme) of the week. They have decided to move Lily and Marshall out of their arrested development and onto the next logical step for their characters. And Robin’s mourning period for her relationship with Don was hilarious.

HIMYM was always at its best when playing with the sitcom/dramedy form. Reveling that Robin and Ted were not meant to be together in the very first episode (and actually following through with that in later seasons) was a great move and very smart writing (especially considering that HIMYM airs on CBS). I’m actually interested to see where this wedding plot will take Ted’s character, a first in many seasons.

How I Met Your Mother Season Six

Of course, even the fourth and, dreadful, fifth seasons had their highlights (how could they not with Jason Segal and NPH in the cast?), so my enjoyment of this show could be temporary. The show still has yet to shed its many flaws (the sexism, the laugh track, etc. etc.) so my pleasure in HIMYM’s new direction is still contingent.

The girlfriend and I were debating if the final moments of the episode (read: hawt lesbian kisses) were a play just to have two girls kissing or if they were an actual character moment. We came to no final conclusion (I have very little faith in the writers of this show that it wasn’t the former) but several hours removed from viewing this episode I think I have the answer: it was both.

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]