Archive for ‘TV Reviews’

April 18, 2011

The Killing: A Soundless Echo

He'll never quite make it to Mad Men.


So we knew the English teacher was going to be more involved. I don’t think he’s the killer. Sure I’m a little surprised to get the cliffhanger that the murdered Rosie Larsen might have been dating Bennet. But he was a little too omnipresent, a little too comforting in “The Cage” to be a bit player. Plus he was a sketch ball supreme with the favorite book nonsense to Rosie’s mom, Mitch (And he was slated for a jillion episodes on IMDb so I knew he wasn’t going to fizzle out). I also really liked how Linden and Holder came to the same conclusion in different ways. If you were paying close attention though, Holder’s way is actually Linden’s plan B. But that didn’t make the storytelling less effective. If they do try and set up a “who’s the better detective” situation though… Holder will fail.

This episode also proved the ubiquity of Alan Dale in the TV world. He is everywhere. He was first on “The OC”, then “Ugly Betty”, he popped up for a while on “Lost” and now he’s here! The man can choose a TV show. I don’t know if unique yours-truly approved projects seek him out or what, but he’s a welcome face on any show. He always brings the perfect amount of upper class charm. And he’s not only the local senator, but also Gwen’s father! It’s not really a twist at all, but it’s something I’m sure will be exploited soon.

My money is still on Jasper. There’s something off about him.

April 11, 2011

“The Killing” – 3 Episode Madness

The "Every Hour Counts" line was a kind of throw away line in the pilot... Will it return as a theme?

When I look at the scores of shows I watch, I realize that they are all comedies. So I made a vow to watch all of the good dramas that came out this year (that weren’t procedurals). This makes it 2 for 2 when it comes to AMC. After The Walking Dead turned out to be a whole mix of interesting and surprising things episode to episode, I’m really excited about The Killing.

The premise is pretty simple. It follows the case of a 17-year-old girl named Rosie who was found murdered. This remake of a Danish hit series has everything a good cop show needs: it has a great grieving family, mischievous teens, a shady politician, and of course, two mismatched cops! As there have now been three episodes in 2 weeks, things are really starting to take off. There have been so many leads to the killer I can’t keep them all straight. However, the editors never let you forget what’s important – it’s the grief, the pain, the acceptance, and the guilt. 

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February 8, 2011

Who here was “Thrilled” by Glee?

So the post Super Bowl Glee finally came. I think FOX advertised it as “the moment you’ve all been waiting for.” For me, an out and proud Glee Skeptic, I kind of was actually waiting for it. The last few episodes before the midseason hiatus were great. I’m talking “Duets”, “The Rocky Horror Glee Show”, “The Substiute“, “Furt”, “Special Education”, and “A Very Glee Christmas.” All super formidable episodes. So when Glee did end up securing the post Super Bowl spot, I was getting ready for another great episode.

Well, I might have gotten my hopes up a little too much. This episode, which might also be called “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle” focused around the big championship football game and big championship cheerleading championship. So the episode started out big… ish. After Sue correctly chides the Cheerios for a boring routine, she goes haywire and buys a cannon to launch a cheerleader out of. I’m gonna stop myself right here and say Sue was on fire this episode! I think I might have to expand my favorite quotes section just to include her from this one. Jane Lynch is pure genius.

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November 17, 2010

Glee: I wish Gwyneth Would Be My “Subsitute”

So if you haven’t already found it 7,000 places on the web, last night Gwyneth Paltrow showed up on Glee to fill in for Will Schuester. The better part? The episode was fantastic. Not flawless, but a marked improvement over the last episode.

Let’s use this episode to talk about what Glee does right or wrong.

  • Will did not rap! Instead he sang something in Matthew Morrison’s broadway wheel house, “Make ‘Em Laugh” which was a pleasure to watch. (Artie still rapped, but that’s not quite as bad)
  • They took a plot line from the previous episode and continued it! Maybe not every plot line, but they did not shy away from bringing back Kurt’s trauma with resident bully Dave, and his new friendship with the Marion Cotillard obsessed Blaine.
  • They used their guest star well. This is actually Glee’s forte. All of their big name stars have been well-used and phenomenal. From Neil Patrick Harris to John Stamos to Gwyneth Paltrow, Glee knows how to showcase a special star.
  • Every character was represented… mostly. So what that Tina, Quinn, and Sam didn’t have lines until the last 3 minutes? They had lines. That’s better than most episodes. We had a return of Terri, but no Emma. So this episode almost succeeded here.
  • Sue Sylvester is back to terrorizing Will. The hair comments were in full force and she took her antics to new levels.
  • The made fun of itself. It doesn’t do this too often, but the show at its core is kind of a dark comedy. We laugh at Brittany, not with her. The show usually ignores the absurd, but this episode embraced it and turned it back on the characters. A good example? Blaine always wears his uniform even when not at school… JUST LIKE THE CHEERIOS!

And now let’s dive into the Gwyneth.

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November 15, 2010

TV Review: How I Met Your Mother “Glitters” and Sparkles!

Thank goodness! How I Met Your Mother has finally given us the final piece of the Robin Sparkles trilogy! And it delivered. As the episode does, let’s start with a brief history of Robin Sparkles. In arguably HIMYM’s best episode “Slap Bet” we discover Robin is afraid of malls. Barney and Marshall make a slap bet of whether she did porn or not. Marshall was the slap bet winner because Robins secret was that in middle school she moonlighted as a pop star named Robin Sparkles whose single was titled “Let’s Go to the Mall!”

The story of Robin Sparkles rise to fame continued in the Season 3 episode “Sand Castles in the Sand.” I believe in the Season 5 Episode “The Rough Patch” Lily tries to use Alan Thicke to break up Robin and Barney. It is here that we learned about Robin Sparkles having worked with Alan Thicke in the past and the show forced us to wait for the final piece. Well played Bays and Thomas…

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November 9, 2010

Glee: “Never Been Kissed” and Maybe Never Should Be.

I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve written about Glee. Sometime soon I’m going to gather my thoughts, have a Glee marathon, and really write something meaningful. But I’ll just focus on this last episode. I guess I should preface this by saying that I watch Glee live on television. That means something. In the modern age of internet and Hulu, that’s rare. Really rare at college. Ever since the single best pilot episode for any show ever, Glee only lets me down. Again, I watch every episode as soon as I can. I think the world of all of the actors. They are so talented. My problems are with Ryan Murphy. So Gleeks beware, this post will not be pretty: I will not praise the hilarity of Sue Sylvester, I will not laud the poppy musical numbers, and I will most certainly not give Ryan Murphy any credit for the dark comedy that has swept the nation.

“Never Been Kissed” had three main story lines. I will now list them in order of most egregious first to least, but still heinously egregious last.

Kurt’s Story

The most awful was Kurt’s. Upset from being the only out and proud person at his McKinley High, he goes to the private all boys school to “spy” on the all male a cappella group. There he meets a hunky boy, Blaine, as played by Darren Criss. After a romantic song and a peek into life without bullies, Blaine gives Kurt courage. Literally. Through a text. All it says is “Courage — Blaine.” Anyway I guess this is where I’m going to put up my SPOILER ALERT! And ask you to read on, Gleeks… if you dare.

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October 19, 2010

How I Met Your Mother: Architect of Destruction

This episode is the one where we meet her. The ONE! FINALLY THE GIRL who may or may not be the mother. I’m just about done with it. And that’s mainly because I’m positive that she’s not the mother. That’s really just cause I don’t believe that she would be Rachel Bilson’s roommate. But I digress.

This week’s episode featured Ted meeting a new love interest who wanted to protect a building he wanted to tear down. This love interest is named Zoey and played by the House famous Jennifer Morrison. Now I didn’t watch her on House, but people either love her or hate her. And based on this one ep of HIMYM, I think I hate her. She just seemed really cardboard and forced the whole time, which is something the show really doesn’t ever have. I do hope to see this plot develop a little further and maybe she will improve over time.

The side plot had Marshall worrying that Lily was talking to Robin behind his back because he heard that Robin’s boyfriend had a small penis. First of all, whenever there are plot lines like this where some one has a small penis, or is bad in bed, or is the erectile dysfunction spokesperson, I always wonder… Will they ever escape this image? From now on, a guest actor named Geoff Stults will always have a small penis. Shmeh.

This episode was really not one of the best and certainly doesn’t compare to last week’s instant classic Subway Wars, but it was definitely funny. Jason Segel’s freakout and then recovery was priceless. When he fed Lily the lines to what she had to tell Robin, his delivery was pitch perfect in the crazy and desperate and under-appreciated that Marshall always is. Well done Segel!

Best line: “Max is both his name and his level of awesomeness.” – Marshall

October 8, 2010

Community: The Psychology of Letting Go

Community! The show that everyone should be watching. Let’s face it. This show is almost too funny and here’s why:

1) The show is super referential and obviously that’s right up any TV watchers alley.

2) The supporting cast is phenomenal. Have you ever seen an interview of all of them together? They act like they have known each other for years.

3) It’s the perfect blend of every type of comedy. High, low, one-liners, puns, situations, references, absurdism, awkward humor – it’s got it all. Literally, something for everyone.


In this most recent episode, Shirley watches Annie and Britta fight over their tactics for raising money for the oil spill. It ends in… MUD WRESTLING! Win! Chang deals with a restraining order, Pierce deals with the death of his mother, and Jeff learns something about tolerance of others… typical.

The truly interesting thing about this episode is that it is the third episode this week to deal with religion. The first was Glee’s “Grilled Cheesus” which took a very sad look at everyone’s beliefs in the light of Kurt’s dad having a heart attack. Then “Modern Family” had Manny questioning God after Jay denounced church and there was an earthquake. Now “Community” deals with differing view of the afterlife in Pierce’s unconventional view of what happens to his mother’s spirit (she’s a level 5 lotus queen, or something).

This episode was great because it had Chevy Chase just being plain crazy, instead of mean crazy. It was refreshing. He is the only part of this show that makes me uncomfortable. While I love Pierce, I don’t think the show knows quite how to manage him and rarely gives him an emotional arc. It’s nice to see that he finally gets a little more to work with. And Chevy Chase will always go the extra mile to get the laugh. He gets set on fire, makes fun of himself and old people, and I think does more offensive and hurtful things than any other cast member, which is saying something.

Overall, this episode isn’t one of their modern classics, but this show has yet to disappoint. Oh, and surprise Betty White cameo?!?! Yes.

Top 5 Quotes:

“Did you guys hear about that turtle in China? 2 Packs a day.” – Jeff

“And the pelicans are covered in oil. Everyone loves pelicans. They bring babies.” – Annie

“Let’s get going. Paps aren’t going to smear themselves.” – Jackie (Patton Oswalt)

“I’m so glad [the oil spill] overshadowed Haiti. I had no ideas for that.” – Annie

“Say ‘Say ‘Bitter much?’ much?’ much?” – Annie (I only put this one on so everyone could see Annie’s meta meta sentence.)

October 7, 2010

Modern Family: Earthquake

Modern Family, this year’s Emmy winner for Outstanding Comedy, has yet to disappoint this season. In their third episode, “Earthquake,” Jay renounces church and an earthquake strikes their tiny community. Cam (Emmy winner Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) attempt to turn down their friend Pepper’s (Nathan Lane) party, but Pepper ends up coming over. Now I’m as big of a Nathan Lane fan as anyone, but in this role he seemed a little over-the-top. I loved him when I saw him on broadway in The Producers and he’s great in The Birdcage, but here he’s just a little grating.

The Jay renouncing God and going golfing with Manny seemed a little contrived, but I love them both so much it doesn’t really matter. The Dunphy family plot-line, however, was hilarious. During the earthquake, Claire was trapped in the bathroom with the plumber, and Phil decided to take his time helping her get out. Julie Bowen is always refreshing and endearing as Claire and her chemistry with Phil is hilarious. They are the true bright spot of the show.

Overall, definitely a solid episode, but not one of the best. And Julie Bowen shines again. How awesome is she?

Top 5 Quotes:

“I have been studying all weekend. No friends no phone. Just me and books. I feel like Alex”. – Haley   “You’re never alone when you have books”. – Alex

Oscar Wilde and Crazy Brunch, Studio 54th of July BBQ, Satyr-day Night Fever – Pepper’s Parties

(Grounding Haley) “Make it 4 weeks”. – Claire “Double it again and make it 10 weeks!” – Haley

“I’m probably going to have a Latino kid carry my clubs anyway. Might as well be you”. – Jay

(Sliding a baking sheet under the door) “Hey Mom. I brought you some soda, but I couldn’t find any straws, so you’ll have to drink it like cats”. – Luke