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Series Premiere Review – Better Call Saul

10 Feb
© AMC

© AMC

This weekend marked the long-awaited (at least by me!) premiere of Better Call Saul, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s Breaking Bad prequel focused on Saul Goodman. I’d been excited about the show since it was first announced, and thankfully the two-night premiere did not disappoint.

I was sold on the show from the beginning of the first episode, which offered us a quick glimpse into Saul Goodman’s post-Walter White future. It was, as you might expect, pretty bleak. As he predicted, Saul (now going by Gene) wound up working as a manager at a Cinnabon in Nebraska. He goes home at night, drinks, and watches his old ‘Better call Saul!’ TV commercials. The entire sequence was done beautifully – no dialogue until Saul hit play on the VHS tape, and shot in black in white. I felt fairly confident when the credits rolled that we were in for something good.

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Series Finale Review – Parenthood

1 Feb
© NBC

© NBC

After 6 seasons of life, laugh and lots and lots of tears, Thursday night was the finale of Parenthood. We’ve gone through a lot with the Bravermans over the years – Max’s asperger’s diagnosis, various romantic relationships for many family members, Kristina’s cancer battle, the rise and near-fall of the Luncheonette, Zeek’s health crisis – and I could not have asked for a more perfect finale.

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Episode Review: Parks and Recreation 7.04 “Leslie and Ron”

21 Jan
© NBC

© NBC

By the time most shows hit their seventh seasons, they’re past their prime. They might still be funny, and even have great moments, but I hardly expect series-best quality episodes that late in the run of a show.

Parks and Recreation is not most shows.

Last night’s second episode “Leslie and Ron” instantly made it on my list of favorite episodes of the show, right up there with “Flu Season”, “Andy and April’s Fancy Party”, “Win, Lose, or Draw”, and “Leslie and Ben”. It was the perfect blend of funny and emotional that this show has always done so well.

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Premiere Review – Agent Carter

8 Jan
© ABC

© ABC

Tuesday night was the long-awaited (at least by me!) premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter. Thankfully, it did not disappoint. I was thoroughly entertained by Peggy Carter’s adventures in these first two episodes and look forward to seeing what the show has in store for us in its remaining six weeks.

The two-episode premiere (more on that in a moment) re-introduced us to Peggy Carter a year after we last saw her in Captain America: The First Avenger. She’s working for the Strategic Scientific Reserve and, despite her qualifications as an agent, being treated as a glorified secretary by the majority of the men in the office.

Enter Howard Stark. After some of his more dangerous inventions fall into the wrong hands, Howard is being pursued by the SSR as a traitor. Stark, of course, claims all of his MacGuffins items were stolen – and he wants Peggy’s help to track them down and clear his name. That, essentially, is the framework for the series. In this week’s episodes, Peggy is chasing down a dangerous implosive chemical that Howard fears (correctly) has been weaponized.

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Pilot Review – A to Z

2 Oct
© NBC

© NBC

Tonight was the premiere of NBC’s new sitcom A to Z, starting Ben Feldman and Christina Milioti. I didn’t love the pilot, but it is very sweet and there’s a lot to like in the performances of Feldman and Milioti.

This is yet another show with a concept I’m not sure can sustain itself. We’re introduced to Andrew (Feldman) and Zelda (Milioti) on the day they meet, and are told via voiceover (provided by the wonderful Katey Sagal) that this show will document their entire relationship – all eight months and change of it. It’s left open to interpretation whether that means they get engaged at that point or break up – I’m sure that’s intentional – but I just don’t know what this show looks like if it succeeds and it’s locked into that timeframe. Seems like it’s falling into the same trap How I Met Your Mother did.

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Pilot Review – Gotham

24 Sep
© FOX

© FOX

Fall TV season is here at last, and along with it my attempts to write more frequently. I’m hoping to have semi-regular reviews of various shows and other random pieces up here during the season in addition to my weekly wrap-ups and my vlogs. We’ll see how much time I have to actually pull it off.

To start things off, I wanted to write a little bit about Monday’s premiere of Gotham. This was, by far, the most hyped new show of the season – and I felt it delivered pretty solidly on its lofty expectations. The story was set up nicely, the acting was good, and the atmosphere was terrific. It was a little heavy-handed with the Batman references and exposition in spots, but otherwise, it was a very well-done pilot, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the show goes from here.

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Episode Review: Agents of SHIELD 1.17 “Turn, Turn, Turn”

9 Apr
© ABC

© ABC

Spoilers ahead for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it).

After seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier this weekend, I was unbelievably excited to see what would happen next in Agents of SHIELD. There were so many possibilities for what might happen next. Were some of the members of Coulson’s team going to be revealed as members of Hydra? How does a show called Agents of SHIELD continue to exist when SHIELD itself was effectively disbanded at the end of the movie? “Turn, Turn, Turn” addressed many of these questions and was a terrific outing for the show – probably the best of the series so far.

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Episode Review: How I Met Your Mother 9.23 “Last Forever”

31 Mar
© CBS

© CBS

Well, at least it’s finally over.

I wish my sentiment were a little different, but after several sub par seasons, my overwhelming feeling about How I Met Your Mother is that I’m glad they’ve finally reached the end. There were many weeks I wondered why on earth I continued to watch this show. I stopped really loving these characters a long time ago. But, out of my own strange need to complete this thing after already putting so many years in, I was determined to get to the end.

Now, here we are.

Everything I feared most happened in the finale. The mother (who we found out is named Tracy McConnell) had gotten sick and died six years before Ted starting telling this story to his kids. After finishing the story, the kids basically called him out for wanting to date ‘Aunt Robin’ and told him he should ask her out. So, in what I will admit was at least a nice callback, Ted showed up at Robin’s apartment with the blue French horn. And, I assume, they lived happily ever after.

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Episode Review: Fringe 5.09 “Black Blotter”

15 Dec

fringe-blackblotter

Episodes like last night’s new Fringe remind me why I love this show so much, and why I’m going to miss it when it ends in a few weeks. We’re starting to run out of new episodes, guys. The show wrapped production yesterday (here’s a great picture of Joshua Jackson and John Noble after they wrapped, courtesy of Joel Wyman’s twitter), and after last night’s episode we’re down to the final four hours of the show. I’m not ready!

As far as “Black Blotter”, it was clearly meant to be the shortened season equivalent of their traditional super-trippy episode 19. It wasn’t my favorite episode of the season, but it definitely made some progress toward figuring out the ultimate plan to defeat the Observers. Plus we got to watch Walter tripping on acid for an hour, which I will never, ever complain about.

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Episode Review: Parenthood 4.11 “What To My Wondering Eyes”

13 Dec

parenthood-whattomywonderingeyes
This week brought us Christmas with the Bravermans on Parenthood! Despite a promo that had me concerned for Kristina’s survival (and my ability not to spend the entire hour sobbing), the episode was another really great installment in what is by far my favorite season of the show yet. The holiday spirit was alive and well with Braverman family.

As usual, I’ll take it one group of Bravermans at a time!
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