Midseason Pilot Review: Growing Up Fisher

Airs: Tuesdays on NBC at 9:30 EST

Timeslot Competition: NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), Trophy Wife (ABC), Brooklyn Nine-Nine/The Mindy Project (FOX), Supernatural (CW)

Premise: The Fisher family gets closer after their parents divorce and their father gets a guide dog named Elvis

Pre-show Thoughts: The trailer and premise didn’t really grab my interest. It didn’t sound bad, necessarily, just not very interesting. NBC has had absolutely no luck with family comedies this TV season so I expect this to be similar.

Post-show Thoughts: It was alright. The mom trying to recapture her youth after a divorce wasn’t particularly original and this pilot seemed determined to get as much mileage as it could out of having the dad do things (like perfectly parallel park) that probably wouldn’t be realistic but it wasn’t bad.

It seems like  a fairly generic family comedy, complete with voiceover and an end-of-the-episode life lesson. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing and sometimes it’s just what you want to watch but I don’t expect it to be a game-changer for NBC.

I may watch this at some point when the season is over but it’s not going to be a high priority for me.

Save the Cheerleader….Again?

During the Olympics Saturday night, NBC aired this trailer for a new Heroes miniseries scheduled to premiere next year, much to the bewilderment of many on the internet. Details are extraordinarily vague with hints that some of the original cast members may pop in. Which, given the reactions of Jack Coleman, Masi Oka, and Sendhil Ramamurthy on Twitter, basically indicated to me that they really have no idea what’s going to happen yet.

Heroes was one of my first television loves and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Its first season is still one of my favorites, particularly the season finale. I’ve watched the whole series twice and the first season and second seasons more than that. I still love the cast and a cast member’s presence in a new TV show is often enough to encourage me to watch it (or move it up higher on my to-watch list if they appear in a later season).

All that being said, I don’t understand the reboot. Hasn’t Tim Kring already proven that he doesn’t know how to work within the universe he created? Is this just him finally getting his initial desire to have the show feature a different set of people every season?

Honestly, if the original cast is back, even in cameos, there is very little that will stop me from watching this. It could very easily be terrible but I still have enough affection for the show and the characters I fell in love with that it’ll be appointment TV every week, just as it was when it was on the first time. Maybe that’s what NBC is counting on – that there will be enough old fans to make this endeavor worthwhile. I don’t think they are correct about that and I don’t know that this will entice new viewers into checking the show out but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Midseason Pilot Review: About A Boy

Airs: Tuesdays on NBC at 9:00 EST

Timeslot Competition: The Goldbergs (ABC), NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), New Girl (FOX), Supernatural (CW)

Premise: Based on the novel by Nick Hornby, this show follows Will a single “man-child” and his life after single mother Fiona moves in next door with her son Marcus

Pre-show Thoughts: I love the movie About a Boy and I love Jason Katims so this was something I’ve been excited to see since May. I’m interested to see how Katims does with a comedy instead of his usual dramas.

Post-show Thoughts: I loved it. I didn’t find it overly funny but it made me smile. Benjamin Stockham made a perfect Marcus and he worked really well with Sam Walton.

I’d like to see more of Andy and Will hanging out in the future. I thought it provided a little bit of balance to Will’s character to see his friendship with someone who is his age and who has known him for a long time. The show would feel off if all we saw was Will and Marcus’s relationship.

I’m not convinced this is a show I’d like to go on indefinitely, but I think I will really enjoy the first season.

Midseason Pilot Review: Star-Crossed

Airs: Mondays on the CW at 8:00 PM EST

Timeslot Competition: The Bachelor/Dancing with the Stars (ABC), How I Met Your Mother/Two Broke Girls/Friends with Better Lives (CBS), Almost Human/Bones (FOX), The Voice (NBC)

Premise: After landing on Earth 10 years prior, a group of 7 Atrian students are integrated into a human high school and a human and an Atrian fall in love and remember a past connection.

Pre-show Thoughts: I didn’t expect much from this show. I don’t love the way that the CW puts out previews for the episode instead of a trailer because the scenes they pick never manage to intrigue me. It didn’t catch my interest, especially the way the “first glance” scene in the hallway is played. Love at first sight isn’t my favorite trope and it didn’t make me excited for the show at all.

Post-show Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised by this show! I found it intriguing from the beginning with the younger Emery helping Roman. I’m not 100% sold on the romantic aspect yet and I’m actually happy about that. I’m more interested in Atrian culture and even more interested in Emery and Julia’s friendship.

I am really looking forward to seeing more of this show and I especially hope to see more of the friendship between Emery and Julia now that she seems to be healed. I am always looking for positive portrayals of female friendships on TV and this one seems like it will fit that description.

Episode of the Week: February 2nd-8th

This week in television, we learned about the existence of a Wall around the city that has never been mentioned on Almost Human, Beckett and Castle moved up on their wedding on Castle, Ted let go of Robin on How I Met Your Mother, Scott and Kira continued to be cute on Teen Wolf, Callie made some important realizations on The Fosters, Jess and Nick had an encounter with their exes on New Girl, Captain Holt had a birthday party on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Diane was overly competitive on Trophy Wife, Dallas and George saw each other for the first time since the breakup on Suburgatory, we learned more about Joan’s past on Elementary, and Randy continued to be the best character on Enlisted.

This was a great week for my sitcoms. They all had some hilarious moments, particularly Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Suburgatory. It was a tough choice between those two this week, but overall, I felt all of Brooklyn Nine-Nine was strong while the Victor and Fred story suffered a little on Suburgatory this week.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has consistently been one of the best new sitcoms of the season because of the way it understands and utilizes its characters. “The Party” took the characterizations we knew and put them in a different, non-job oriented context and did so with a lot of really funny moments and the sort of heart-warming moment that Mike Schur and Dan Goor excel at.

I am going to have to start by expressing my deep love for Terry Jeffords. He makes me laugh every single week and this week was no exception. From his comparison of the synchronous movements of the group to gazelles, to “stop eating crab wrong!”, to the freeze frame of him holding the chubby corgi in the bathroom, Terry Crews was at the top of his comedic abilities.

This episode was such a good showcase for the quirks of the department. Amy attempting to learn about Captain Holt by rummaging through his belongings was so perfectly her, as was her incredibly awkward attempts to engage him in conversation during the party. It was also the best use of Gina being Gina that we’ve seen yet on the show.

What I appreciated most about the episode was the ending. Jake has suddenly had great insights that have led to last-minute arrests, but he’s never been shown to be particularly in tune with his emotions or the emotions of those around him so it was refreshing that it was him who identified why Holt’s husband disliked them so much.

The ending with the birthday dinner that featured each member of the department utilizing their skills to arrange such a lovely dinner was perfect. It resonated because we have come to understand and care about these characters and it’s nice to see that they clearly care for each other too.

Episode of the Week: January 26th – February 1st

This week in television, we learned what the Mother has been doing all these years on How I Met Your Mother, Kelsey got jealous and told the principal that it was Marianna who sold her the pills she had been taking on The Fosters, Stiles realized he may not be in control of his actions on Teen Wolf, Ryan brought a new girlfriend home on Suburgatory, Nathan Fillion guest starred on Community, Sherlock struggled to adjust to his role as sponsor on Elementary, we said goodbye to Ann and Chris on Parks and Recreation, Derrick organized a Homecoming surprise on Enlisted, Sean Saves the World was cancelled and Bones was renewed for a 10th season.

In a decision that will shock no one, Parks and Recreation’s “Ann and Chris” is my choice for best episode of the week. This episode was a perfect episode of Parks and Rec – full of heart and lots of callbacks for loyal fans.

Leslie and Ann’s friendship has been one of my favorite parts of this show. They very clearly adore each other and their presence in each other’s lives have made both of them better people. They changed each other with their love and support for each other. This type of friendship is so rarely seen on television and that made it even more special. Too often, we hear about how great a friendship is but we never see it and I’m so grateful that Parks and Rec consciously did not go that route.

The going-away party that Leslie threw was perfect. It was over-the-top and featured so many different holidays just so she could be sure they would get to celebrate together. Her idea to break ground on Pawnee Commons was even more perfect. It was what brought them together and started this beautiful friendship and it was only fitting that it was Ann who made it possible by putting  Kathryn Pinewood in a headlock. Leslie’s taught Ann to fight for what she wants and not to let things stand in her way.

In addition to the wonder that is Leslie and Ann’s friendship, we can’t forget the fact that their partners are also best friends who had to say goodbye. For a long time, Ben and Chris were the only constants in each other’s lives as they traveled from town to town. Despite their differences, they created an unbreakable bond. They genuinely care for each other and aren’t afraid to express that, which is also rarely seen in TV depictions of male friendships.

This episode made me cry a lot but it also made me smile and laugh. It was a tribute to the power of friendship and a fitting goodbye for these two characters. I love that the episode didn’t just feature emotional goodbyes but I also love that it didn’t run away from them either. Each goodbye was fitting for the characters involved and it had enough moments that made me laugh out loud to momentarily forget about the sadness that came at the end.

Finale Review: The Carrie Diaries

Renewal Status: Unknown, but renewal is unlikely

Season Thoughts: I haven’t enjoyed this season quite as much as season 1, but it’s still one that I really enjoy watching. I haven’t loved the various ways that the writers tried to add tension between Carrie and Sebastian in the early part of the season when they are at their best when they are happy and exploring where their future will take them both individually and together. I feel like TCD’s Carrie started reminding me more and more of SATC’s Carrie as the season went on, which for me, wasn’t exactly a good thing. 

I did enjoy the addition of Samantha. She’s always been my favorite SATC character and she didn’t disappoint me here. I especially loved seeing her interact with Larissa and wish we would have gotten to see a little more of it.

Just as it was in the first season, however, my favorite part of the show was Walt. I have really enjoyed watching him come to terms with who is and fall in love with Bennett. He had to come to terms with the fact that his two dreams for a future relationship were incompatible at the time along with his parent’s early rejection and it was truly the best story on the show.

As the show has transitioned more to New York, the high school plots weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been. Maggie, Mouse, and Donna got left behind a little bit. Mouse’s friendship with Donna turned out to be one of the better aspects of that part of the show. Their personalities just worked well together and it was fun to watch.

Finale Thoughts: This episode would work really well as a series finale, which I’m gonna assume was intentional. It closed the high school, Interview, and Sebastian chapters of Carrie’s life while leaving us with a glimpse of a future full of potential and friendship for her.

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Season Finale Review: Sleepy Hollow

Renewal Status: Renewed

Season Thoughts: I love this show. I love the blend of prophecy and history and the world they have created. I love Orlando Jones and his enthusiasm over the show and being a fan. I love the adorable press pictures that Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie have taken. More than anything else, I love the characters and their relationships. Ichabod and Abbie’s relationship has been at the forefront of the season and it has been a joy to see how quickly their bond cemented and to watch it grow even deeper. I’ve loved seeing Abbie and Jenny reconnecting after all these years and all the secrets and hurt between them. I never grew quite as fond of the relationship between Ichabod and Katrina but learning about their past helped a little with that.

Over the course of the season, this show has made me both laugh and cry while keeping me entertained. I can’t ask for much more than that.

Finale Thoughts: This show. That was one of the more ridiculously gripping endings to a season that I’ve seen in a while. I did not see either of the twists with the Second Horseman coming at all.

This episode reaffirmed why Abbie Mills is one of my favorite characters on TV right now. Moloch has taken so much from her – he took her sister, he took her mentor, and now he’s taken her away from her sister and partner again. Yet she keeps fighting. Nicole Beharie did such a fantastic job in this episode. You could see her trying to fight off the worry that she’d be left alone again by Ichabod saving Katrina and it made my heart ache. But when she thought that they needed Katrina to prevent the Second Horseman from rising, she didn’t hesitate to sacrifice herself. She realized that she’s not alone any more and because of that, she was ready to take on Moloch. She trusted in Jenny and in Ichabod’s connection with her and even in Katrina’s promise.

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Episode of the Week: January 12th-18th

This week in television, Emily blackmailed Daniel into staying married to her on Revenge, concerns about vote rigging arose on The Good Wife, Castle learned that blood doesn’t make you family on Castle, Barney got slapped on How I Met Your Mother, the Mills sisters were awesome on Sleepy Hollow, Jude blamed himself for Callie running away and broke everyone’s heart on The Fosters, Jake and Amy went on the worst date on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jess tried to bond with Coach on New Girl, Danny called his father on The Mindy Project, Kate learns how to punish kids from Diane on Trophy Wife, Casey continued to struggle from the aftermath of his injury on Chicago Fire, Antonio’s son was brought home safely on Chicago PD, Suburgatory returned and the Altman’s decided to stay in Chatswin, Pierce wants Troy to sail around the world then inherit Pierce’s fortune on Community, Ben was horrible at pranks on Parks and Recreation, Carrie found her killer instinct and learned Sebastian didn’t have one on The Carrie Diaries, and Enlisted showed us that empathy is not a negative trait for men.

This week, two sitcoms really stood out in my mind and I think both are deserving of the title of Episode of the Week. First, Enlisted really demonstrated how much potential this show has by the way it deals with the character of Randy. Randy loves being a soldier but he is terrible at it. He has a hard time turning his empathy off and it makes things like target practice difficult when your target has a family and backstory. I was sad when his brother Derrick broke that part of him in order to pass the marksmanship test until the show made Derrick regret what he had done. Randy is an enthusiastic, deeply caring character and the show doesn’t judge him negatively for that. His commanding officer instead commends him for that and tells Derrick that the Army needs more people like Randy to help the families left behind when someone is deployed. It was a beautiful message to send and made me really wish this show had better ratings.

This was also the week of the best Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode to date. Coming off its Golden Globe win, this episode (which would have been the last one had the episode order not been extended) provided a nice callback to Peralta and Santiago’s bet from the pilot and gave us some hilarious moments from Boyle and Captain Holt.

I love that a potential romance between Peralta and Santiago hasn’t been the focus of the series but I enjoyed seeing what that potential romance could look like if it happened in the future. The worst fake date was so detailed and I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of it because Santiago’s reactions would have been hilarious but I loved the scene on the roof that we did get even more. There’s a possibility of something interesting happening with these two characters. Their fake break-up leading to the arrest was so well done and showed how well these two characters can work together. I wouldn’t want them to date any time soon but I would like more interactions like the ones in this episode in the future.

All that being said, however, this episode was made by Captain Holt with an assist from Boyle. Holt faking a text message to get away from Sergeant Jefford’s wife was the funniest thing I saw on TV this week. It wouldn’t have worked nearly as well if Boyle hadn’t tried the same thing earlier in the episode and it just had me cracking up.

Episode of the Week: January 5th – January 11th

This week in television, Emily told the truth about her identity on Revenge, The Good Wife gave us a remarkably catchy song (complete with a cast video), Castle made everyone cry, Teen Wolf returned with nightmares for Scott, Stiles, and Allison, Holt had small dogs to give away on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Nick reminded us all to do what we love on New Girl, Bert adopted lobsters and gave them capes on Trophy Wife, Danny motivated Mindy to work out by having her imagine that she was saving celebrities on The Mindy Project, Casey returned to Firehouse 51 on Chicago Fire, Parks and Recreation celebrated their 100th episode, Community took on the serial killer genre, Marcus Bell and Sherlock made amends on Elementary, Joel and Julia made everything hurt on Parenthood, Hodgins reminded us all of his perfection on Bones, and The Carries Diaries tackled the threat of AIDS in the 80s. It also brought show premieres for Intelligence, Killer Woman, Chicago PD, and Enlisted.

This was a harder decision than I anticipated it being. This week’s episode of Castle made me sob harder than anything has since the season 4 finale of Parenthood. Seamus and Juliana Dever were so fanastically heartbreaking even though I knew Ryan and Esposito would survive. It was a wonderful reminder of how emotionally attached I am to these characters and how rewarding Castle makes those attachments.

However, this was the 100th episode of Parks and Recreation and it was a wonderful way to celebrate the show’s past and future. The theme of this episode was “dream bigger” and that’s exactly what this show makes me do. It’s a show about hope and excitement and passion and that’s why I love it.

Watching Leslie lose the recall election was hard. Watching her be so desperate for the approval of a town who rejected her was even harder. It was completely in character because City Council has been her ambition for the past season and a half but like everyone else on the show, I didn’t think it was the right move. Of course, in his role as wonderful husband, Ben got Leslie the best gift he could have possibly gotten her. He got someone to remind her that her dreams didn’t end with the City Council. And a trip to Paris, which was also very nice.

Leslie’s journey in this episode was paralleled by Tom. Since the start of the show, Tom has wanted something more than the Parks department in Pawnee. After his failed business ventures and the buy-out of Rent-a-Swag, he was looking for direction. The Shark Tank scene was fantastic and of course Jerry had a good idea that he then broke. Even though that idea failed, I love that he came up with something that fit his personality so well and that he’s excited about doing.

I loved all the townspeople we got to see in this episode from Perd Hapley to Jean-Ralphio. Pawnee has so many memorable citizens and I enjoy seeing them from time to time.

On a similar note, it was very nice to have Andy back! I loved April’s attempts to wake him up and it’s just nice to see him back with the rest of the characters.

My only complaint is that Ann and Chris have been so isolated in the past few episodes. I wouldn’t mind if they weren’t leaving, but I need more Leslie and Ann scenes. I would have liked to see Ann talking to Leslie about why running for City Council again might not be the best idea or Leslie sharing Ann’s excitement about her baby boy. I miss seeing their friendship.