Episode Spotlight: Chasing the Bus (CSI)

I have been terribly delinquent at supplying new content for this blog, but since it’s the start of a new fiscal year, I’m going to treat it like a second new year and a fresh start. I want to get back to writing more frequently and that means a new feature! Every week, I am going to rewatch one of my favorite episodes and celebrate all that made them good or memorable. Some of these will be widely regarded as great episodes, others will just be ones that are close to my heart. Even if you aren’t familiar with the episode featured in any given week, that doesn’t mean you can’t join in on the fun. Feel free to rewatch one of your own favorites and tell me about it in the comments or join in with the discussion question at the end. There can never be too much discussion about the shows we individually love.

To kick off this new feature, I revisited an old favorite. “Chasing the Bus” aired in March 2002 and is the first episode of CSI that I remember watching. It may not have been the very first, but it was the one that inspired me to buy the first season on DVD and a 7 year love was born. It’s also one of my most-watched episodes of the show, though it had probably been 8 years since I last saw it.

The Plot: The CSIs investigate a bus crash outside of Las Vegas.

Significance: Especially in its early seasons, CSI was an episodic procedural. A case was introduced at the beginning of the episode and a suspect was arrested by the end in the majority of cases. The show was about the science behind the crime, so even character interactions were minimal and mostly contained to work-related discussions. There are hints at character relationships or at least general affection for the others, but nothing like what viewers are used to today in the world of Bones, Castle, and Elementary.

Continue reading Episode Spotlight: Chasing the Bus (CSI)

Why You Should Start Watching The 100

It would be fair to say at this point in time that The 100 is my favorite TV show on the air right now. Since I started it back in February (and even more so since I watched episode 2×05 in May), it has excited me and reignited all of my crazy fan tendencies in a big way. It’s a long wait until season three and I would love for more people to catch up during the wait, so if post-apocalyptic sci-fi is in any way your thing or if you just love great TV, regardless of genre, here are some reasons to start The 100 (first season available on Netflix)

The first reason to watch is the existence of Clarke Griffin as a character. From the very beginning, she was a leader. Not because she needed to be in charge, but because she felt the responsibility of taking care of the other kids. It made her the boring stick-in-the-mud compared to Bellamy’s leading style of “whatever the hell we want” but it also caught the attention of some like Monty who would have followed her to the end of the earth after only knowing her for a day. She draws people to her because they recognize her desire to help them survive and her ability to get things done. She’s the kind of character that other characters and viewers alike can be inspired by and the further into the series you get, the more you feel for her as she grows and adapts and is forced to make impossible decisions.

Even if you don’t love Clarke as much as I do, it’s not a problem because there are so many other fantastic characters. My own list of favorite characters is six people deep and I’d be hard-pressed to choose between them to pick an actual favorite. If you love character growth, this is a show for you. These characters grow and change in ways that are sometimes very dramatic and sudden but always consistent with what we know about them and what they’ve been through. Their opinions and actions change because that’s what a fight for survival calls for. It’s amazing to watch and occasionally heartbreaking and continues to enhance the journey we are taking with these characters.

Continue reading Why You Should Start Watching The 100

Dream Emmy Nominees

We’re just a couple weeks away from the announcement of the 2015 Emmy nominees and I predict I will be disappointed, as usual, with the people left out. So I’m making my own list of ideal nominees and hope you’ll join me. These aren’t the people I expect to be nominated and I fully recognize that there are many people who will (and should) be nominated from shows that I don’t watch and therefore didn’t include. These are just the people and shows I would love to see recognized that I have enjoyed over the past year.

When you’re done reading, head to the comments to share your dream nominees or talk about any of my picks!

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Broad City
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Looking
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Transparent

Outstanding Drama Series

  • The Americans
  • The 100
  • Masters of Sex
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Orphan Black
  • Rectify

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Jonathan Groff as Patrick (Looking)
  • Chris Messina as Danny Castellano (The Mindy Project)
  • Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)
  • Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
  • Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt (Parks and Recreation)
  • Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman (Transparent)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Ilana Glazer as Ilana Wexler (Broad City)
  • Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri (The Mindy Project)
  • Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)
  • Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva (Jane the Virgin)
  • Tracie Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson (Black-ish)
  • Constance Wu as Jessica Huang (Fresh off the Boat)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler (Penny Dreadful)
  • Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon (Empire)
  • Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser (Outlander)
  • Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings (The Americans)
  • Michael Sheen as Bill Masters (Masters of Sex)
  • Adan Young as Daniel Holden (Rectify)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Catriona Balfe as Claire Fraser (Outlander)
  • Viola Davis as Annalise Keating (How to Get Away with Murder)
  • Eva Green as Vanessa Ives (Penny Dreadful)
  • Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon (Empire)
  • Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Helena, Cosima, Alison, Rachel, and Krystal (Orphan Black)
  • Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings (The Americans)
  • Abigail Spencer as Amantha Holden (Rectify)

Continue reading Dream Emmy Nominees

Upfronts 2015: NBC

Welcome to upfronts week 2015! By now, nearly all currently airing scripted shows have been either renewed or canceled and all that’s left is for the networks to show off their new offerings and release their fall scheduling. As always, NBC starts the week and it will conclude on Thursday with The CW. Below you’ll find a summary of the renewals and cancellations along with my analysis of the season on the network, a listing of new fall shows with their trailers and my initial reactions to them, and a list of new shows that will be held for midseason or summer if the schedule fills up. It’s a fun week to be a TV fan and I hope among these new offerings, we all find a new show to fall in love with.

Current Shows

Renewed: The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Grimm, Law and Order: SVU, The Mysteries of Laura, The Night Shift, Undateable

Canceled: A to Z, Allegiance, Bad Judge

Awaiting News: A.D. American Odessey

Ended: Parks and Recreation, Parenthood

Analysis: After a couple years of improved performance with new shows, this was not a good year for NBC. Only one new show was granted a renewal (The Mysteries of Laura) and ratings for that are already nothing impressive. However, once again, NBC had ordered plenty of new shows for next season in the hopes that something sticks. Their Dick Wolf franchise of Chicago Fire/P.D. and SVU continue to be stable performers for the network, with crossovers that typically saw an increase of viewers across shows. The Backlist is down in the ratings after its move to Thursday but it still improves on the numbers for that night, giving the network some much needed stabilization on that night.

New Fall Shows



If this wasn’t a Greg Berlanti show, I would have my doubts. Like so many shows in recent years, it seems like a better fit for a movie or maybe even a mini-series. As a sustainable show for a broadcast network, I’m not entirely convinced it will work but the trailer looks interesting enough that I’ll probably be checking out the first episode or at the very least, looking forward to hearing first reactions from critics.


I don’t know what to think about this show. On the one hand, I’m a sucker for medical dramas and enjoy watching them. On the other, for reasons that have nothing to do with her skill, I have a hard time watching Melissa George in things. Apparently the Alias fan in me will forever see her as Lauren and immediately distrust any character she plays, which is probably going to be a problem with her as the lead. On the other hand, I’ve gotten over similarly strong associations before, so maybe this will be the show that does it for me. It’s a little heavy on the Grey’s Anatomy vibe but I hope that in time, it will be able to carve out its own identity.

The PlayerTrailer

This one is not catching my interest at all. There are some slight shades of Person of Interest baked into the premise but with a focus on action rather than the sci-fi aspects of this sort of technology. However, despite my lack of interest, I think it will pair well with The Blacklist and maybe those two shows can give NBC slightly improved ratings on Thursdays this fall.

Heroes Reborn

There isn’t a proper trailer for this show yet, but I’ve tentatively been in since this project was announced. Despite everything, I have a lot of love for the original show and with Jack Coleman back, it’s worth at least a couple episodes of my time. I also really like Zachary Levi and Robbie Kay and it’ll be nice to see them in another show.


People Are TalkingTrailer

Comedy trailers are admittedly hard to judge but this one looks a little rough. Once everyone settles into their characters, it could get better, but everything feels so forced right now. I’m skeptical when the best material they could use for this trailer focuses on the idea that their hot babysitter is also a porn star and it makes me suspect this won’t be a show for me. I did appreciate the wives were unbothered and not at all jealous of having an attractive babysitter without the concerns that she’d try to steal their husbands away. I’m less impressed that the lack of jealousy was out of disbelief that their husbands would have any success with the babysitter rather than just trusting them, but I guess we can’t have it all in network comedy yet.

Currently Unscheduled New Shows

Dramas: Chicago Med, Game of Silence, Shades of Blue

Comedies: Coach, Crowded, Hot & Bothered, Superstore, You, Me and the End of the World

What are your thoughts on NBC’s renewals and cancellations? Are there any of the new shows that get your attention?

How The CW Found Its Groove

Since its creation in 2006 (and before as The WB and UPN), The CW has been in a league apart from the “Big 4” networks. It has struggled to get ratings that would be considered terrible on any other broadcast network and for many years has been dismissed as a network for teen girls. It’s the network that aired my two least favorite seasons of the Gilmore Girls and while I’ve enjoyed many of it’s (mostly failed) shows in the past, they’ve been firmly in the “guilty pleasure” box of television.

When The Carrie Diaries ended last year, I thought my viewing relationship with The CW ended with it and honestly, I was a little relieved. I often got sucked in by their new shows only to have them fall just short of what I wanted them to be and I thought it would free up more time to watch “better” shows (more on that in a coming post). I had seen and loved the trailer for The Flash but my original intention was to watch Arrow at some point before starting its spin-off.

Then fall of 2014 came around and absolutely none of my plans involving The CW happened as anticipated. I couldn’t resist the buzz surrounding The Flash and not only fell in love with that show but started s1 of Arrow as well. I checked out Jane the Virgin after some enthusiastic recommendations and once again, fell in love with it. In the beginning of March, I started The 100 after I could no longer resist the allure of any show described as “Battlestar Galactica, Jr.” and not only has it become my latest tv obsession, I got my boyfriend hooked as well. I haven’t had time to start iZombie yet but it’s on my list for the summer after more enthusiastic recommendations and a cast I already love.

In just one season, I went from having nothing to watch on The CW to it potentially becoming my most watched network on all of television (depending on FOX’s cancellations in a couple weeks). That same year brought the network its first Golden Globe and Peabody Award win thanks to the charms of Jane the Virgin and its star Gina Rodriguez. So what happened? What took this network from the land of teen drama to an award contender with a broadening demographic?

Personally, I think their biggest strength in the past couple year has been their willingness to take risks. In many cases, their small size works in their favor. They take chances because they can afford to. In order to make a splash at CBS or even NBC, you can’t afford to create shows that are only watched by slightly over a million people and only crack a 1.0 18-49 ratings share on the best days. This lets them try shows that would never have a chance at another broadcast network because there is a very real chance that they couldn’t deliver the quantity of audience required to survive.

Continue reading How The CW Found Its Groove

TV Thoughts: 3/1-3/7

I’ve had to skip the past few of these in favor of catching up on all the TV I’m currently behind on (which is still a lot but getting better!) but there were a few shows this week that I couldn’t resist talking about. I may have watched very little, but it was an extremely rewarding week between these two shows and The Americans, which I will talk about in the comments of Katie’s wonderful episode review.


The Fosters: I was 3 episodes behind on this show but read some spoilers that made it a priority for me to catch up and I’m glad I did. This show makes me feel deeply every week and for that, it’s one of my favorite shows on TV right now. This week had three moments that particularly grabbed my heart. First was the scene where Rita comes to help Kiara leave her pimp. Rita cares for the girls in her care so much and that doesn’t end when they move out of the Girls United home. She wants to provide that safe space for them to grow up and achieve their dreams no matter how far away they seem. She cares for girls who others would pass over because of their history or attitude and that’s just a remarkable thing for me. Rosie O’Donnell is doing such a good job with this character and both scenes with Kiara were full of so much love and compassion.

Second was Callie’s final scene with Stef, where she confesses that she wanted to live with Robert because she lied to Stef and Lena and was afraid they wouldn’t want her any more. Of her two moms, Stef is the one who has the most in common with Callie. Both are so scared to let people all the way into their lives. They are naturally less open and because of that, the scenes where Stef reassures Callie of her unconditional love for her are always beautiful because Stef is one of the few people Callie would actually believe.

Continue reading TV Thoughts: 3/1-3/7

TV Thoughts: 2/8-2/14

What a week of TV! This is the kind of week that is so incredibly satisfying as a fan of good TV. There were so many great episodes this week and so many tiny character moments that filled me with pure joy (and sometimes the best kind of heartbreak). What did you love about the past week in television?


  • Looking: I can’t say that I’m disappointed to see Kevin go. Seeing Richie and Patrick talking and hanging out again reminded me that I like them together so much better, even if it’s just as friends. Patrick needs someone to call him out when he’s being an idiot, like when he’s having an affair with his already-taken boss and getting too emotionally invested in a future that wasn’t going to happen with Kevin. I’m glad it made him realize that he needed to stand up for himself and ask for what he needed out of the relationship, then leave when Kevin wasn’t capable of giving it to him. In other breakup news, I’m also proud of Dom for leaving Lynn. I liked Lynn a lot last season but he’s an awful boyfriend. Like Kevin, he wasn’t capable of giving Dom what he needed because he is still emotionally in a relationship with Brian. It’s understandable but unfair and Dom deserves better. I’m so happy that he has Doris who is so supportive and has his back 100% of the time. We all need a friend who will look into ways to Kickstarter our restaurant and help us make our dreams come true for no other reason than it is important to us. Finally, to round out the group, I cannot tell you how happy I am with the changes and growth in Augustin between s1 and s2. Eddie has been such a good influence on him and I am excited to see how he adapts to working at the shelter.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: This wasn’t a brilliant or groundbreaking episode of this show by any means, but it was so much fun to watch. I loved the more action-oriented scenes as the team took over the training and took down all the other agents. It’s easy to forget that this is a show about cops and this was a nice way to bring their jobs into focus a little more while retaining all of the great character moments I love about the show. Amy’s failure to start the Nine-Nine chant (and her subsequent excitement when it worked) was adorable and so Amy. Terry’s description of the team as “boss ass penguins” may be my favorite Terry line in a while, and Rosa opening up and explaining why she needed Saturday off was perfect. Back at the precinct, I loved Captain Holt’s apology most of all. While I’m not sure that I necessarily agree that they should have ended up with the same personality classification, it’s nice when a leader can recognize that part of leading is encouraging and accepting the strengths of those who work for you. It takes a lot to admit your failings to an employee and it made me respect Captain Holt as a character even more.


  • Jane the Virgin: I fall a little more in love with this show every week. I am all-in on Jane and Rafael’s relationship (even though he is acting awfully shady at the moment) and thought their mutual concern for the health of their unborn child was so well done. I’m glad that Rafael went with his gut and planned the graduation celebration for Jane even if it was cheesy because it led to the best moment of the episode. It’s just become a fact of this show that any scene featuring the three generations of Villanueva women will be outstanding. Xo’s speech to Jane was beautiful all on it’s own but the shot of the three women sitting on Jane’s bed as she asks for the secret to being a good mother is one that will happily stay with me. No matter what is happening with Jane and the men in her life (Rogelio included), her relationship with her mother and grandmother is always stable and always a source of comfort, love, and acceptance.
  • Castle: Oh how I love the 3XK arc. It never fails to be wonderfully chilling and it brings out such good things in Nathan Fillion’s performance. Both Castle and Ryan carry so much guilt over Jerry Tyson and the murders he committed that both feel responsibility for and you could feel that guilt this week. When they found Tyson, I was not alone in thinking that maybe there was a chance they found someone who really had surgically altered their face to look like a serial killer and I loved that doubt. It wasn’t until that brilliant final interrogation scene that I felt sure they had caught Tyson only to have things go so terribly wrong when the precinct realized it was all a part of Tyson and Nieman’s plan to kidnap Beckett. That interrogation is some of the best work Nathan Fillion has done on this show. He found the story and my jaw dropped when he pulled out the pictures of Tyson’s mom and compared them to the recent victims. I have been anxiously awaiting part two of the episode and I’m so glad that tomorrow is Monday.
  • The Fosters: So many things happened in this episode, it’s almost overwhelming. The most-talked about this week was the Jude and Connor scene at the movies. However this unfolds, I am in no way prepared. I feel so incredibly protective of Jude and his happiness and I just want everything to work out for him. Regardless of what direction his relationship with Connor goes from here, it’s obvious that these two deeply care about each other. They are young and figuring out who they are and unfortunately, only one of them has the space to do so. If Connor decides he might like to move forward with a future relationship with Jude, his dad isn’t going to be supportive and it’ll just make this time that much more confusing for him. I trust this show to handle it all well but I guarantee it will make my emotions a mess. Just the small scene of them touching (and eventually hooking) pinkies tells me that there are so many good and heartbreaking things to come for them. It was full of innocence and excitement and uncertainty and everything that a first crush should be.
  • In other brief thoughts of the week, I love most of what they are doing with Mariana’s character. I love that she is enjoying STEM Club as well as her dance team. She’s one of the more unapologetically feminine characters on the show and it’s nice to see her continue to maintain that identity while excelling at a traditionally male-dominated field. I’m less excited about her wanting to go on tour with the band and would rather see her work through some of her abandonment issues, but I sometimes forget that she’s still a teenager and sometimes they don’t make the best choices. Along similar lines, Jesus could also stand to work through his own issues regarding his mother and how that’s affected him and I will look forward to seeing that happen so he will stop making such stupid decisions. Finally, Robert and Callie. I want these two to have an actual relationship that doesn’t just have Callie calling him when he’s in trouble. I think they have a lot they could offer each other and I want to see that develop. In order for that to happen though, Robert needs to realize that he can be Callie’s dad without being her guardian. As a parent, you have to think of what’s best for your child and I just don’t see how taking Callie away from the family she’s chosen for herself and her brother is going to help her, especially not at 16 when she may not have that many years left at home.

Continue reading TV Thoughts: 2/8-2/14

Galentine’s Day 2015

Happy Galentine’s Day everyone! It’s time to celebrate all of the amazing women in our lives and that includes the fictional ladies of TV. I had so much fun writing my Galentine’s Day post a couple years ago that I couldn’t resist bringing it back this year. This list is made up of just a few of the incredible female characters currently on the air right now and I know you all have plenty more that also deserve some love. So head over to the comments and lets talk about our favorite women!

Jane/Xo/Alba Villanueva (Jane the Virgin) This whole show is one that celebrates women. The showrunner is a woman, as are many of the directors and writers. If today is all about celebrating women and what they can do for each other, the cast and crew of Jane the Virgin deserve a shoutout. These three women, on their own or in any combination, are among my favorite on TV right now. I can admire Jane’s optimism and desire to work hard, Xo’s persistence in following her dreams and selflessness when it comes to Jane, and Alba’s unwavering dedication and support of her family. Jane may be the character I relate to the most, but she wouldn’t be who she is without the influence of her mom and abuela. These women support each other, no matter what, and it’s been beautiful to watch.

Bow Johnson (Black-ish) It’s never easy to be the fictional character in a relationship with another character who has a big personality. If not played or written right, this sort of character could easily fade into the background but I’m so glad that Bow hasn’t. Yes, she may end up reacting a lot to something Dre is doing (though that can often work to the show’s advantage, like her attempted prank on Dre with the kids) but occasionally she’ll get her own rant that will just crack me up and remind me of how much I adore her. She’s talented in her own right and is proud of her successes as a doctor. She’s not afraid to say, that yes, she is in fact pretty great if no one else is going to step up and recognize her and that’s a trait I really admire.

Amy Santiago/Rosa Diaz/Gina Linetti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) I’ve spent the past few days trying to choose just one of these wonderful ladies for this list but I haven’t succeeded so I’m picking them all. Each has found their place in the world and they are very comfortable in it. Amy has found security in rules and organization. They help her make sense of things and she’s very relatable to me in that aspect. Rosa finds security in her tough exterior. It’s partly emotional protection for her and partly her innate tendency to tell it like it is and she can have trouble when others don’t do the same. Like so many of the other women who present a prickly exterior to the world, she does care and she’ll always have your back. She’s not going to pretend she likes you when she doesn’t but if she likes you, she’ll be a loyal friend for life. Gina just exists on her own plane of existence. Like Rosa, she’ll tell you exactly what she’s thinking (which is something about herself more often than not). She’s self-absorbed and a bit intense for a lot of people, but there is something so amazing about the fact that she’s as likeable as she is. What makes these three women great is that they exist simultaneously on the same show. It’s not a show with a token woman with the same basic strengths and weaknesses as the characters on other shows. All are different and all are celebrated for who they are. They are never pitted against each other and are allowed to simply be.

Linda Belcher (Bob’s Burgers) I know that Tina and Louise are internet favorites but Linda has always been my favorite of the Belcher women. She may get stuck on crazy ideas and take them too far (like every other member of the family) but when it comes down to it, she’s an enthusiastic and passionate woman who loves her husband and children. She’ll fight for them and be their champion when others doubt them because she accepts them just as they are.

Continue reading Galentine’s Day 2015

TV Thoughts: 2/1-2/7

It must be sweeps because so many of my shows had big episodes this week. We learned the identity of Sin Rostro, Katrina took her first steps toward being evil, Mindy found out that she is pregnant, Donna got married, Fresh Off the Boat premiered and Nashville returned just as crazy as the last 10 minutes of the midseason finale suggested it would. I really enjoyed many of the episodes this week and I hope you all did too.


  • Jane the Virgin: This week was great for me and Jane the Virgin for two reasons. First, how great was that episode? I love the Sin Rostro reveal and once again, the post-production work on this show has been stellar with the drop of blood falling out of Sin Rostro’s name in the narration. It also featured Jaime Camil’s best work of the season. That death scene was perfect and it led to Jane calling him “Dad” for the first time, which completely warmed my heart. These two have come so incredibly far in a short amount of time and I have really enjoyed watching their relationship grow and continue to deepen. Finally, this episode also was the perfect example of why Jane means so much to me. Her conversation with Rafael about choosing to see the best in people was everything I want more of in television. I want more genuinely good people who want to see the good in others. I want to see people believe in others and support them even if others think they are foolish. I want more people who will sit down and listen to a woman who has caused nothing but problems for them and offer support. I am so grateful that that is the philosophy this show chooses to promote.
  • This show also meant a lot to be this week because I was able to visit the set of the show, thanks to a very generous friend. We got a tour of the various sets, meet a few of the cast members, and watch a scene film from an upcoming episode. My lips are sealed about future occurrences on the show but what I do want to say about this incredible experience is that the people involved with this show on every level are so kind and enthusiastic about what this show sets out to do. They genuinely love it and the people they work with. It was an honor to meet the cast, who is in fact as lovely as they appear to be, and a true pleasure to have this opportunity. If you like watching good things happen to good characters on TV, then please tune in and support this show. Not only is it a great show on it’s own merits but I want these incredible people to get to work on this show for a long time to come.
  • Sleepy Hollow: I am all for an evil Katrina. It adds something to her character that has been lacking and even if it’s a disaster, at least it’s something for her to do. It’s also a way to reintroduce Henry to the group as a whole as an antagonist. Henry’s clearly there but Team Witness is crippled so long as Katrina continues to fight for him. Now if she’s fighting with him, not only would it make that mother-son relationship more interesting but it will also provide the catalyst needed for Katina and Ichabod to officially realize that their marriage isn’t going to work in the modern world. No matter what they were like it in the past, they haven’t been on the same page since they brought Katrina from Purgatory and they need to recognize that and put them and the audience out of their misery.
  • The Fosters: Now that Parenthood has ended, I appreciate The Fosters even more. I need my weekly dose of family drama full of characters I love. It’s the little moments with this family that make episodes worth it to me. It’s scenes like Stef enthusiastically embracing twerking once Lena demonstrated what it was. It’s scenes like the ending and everyone having fun as a family together in the lake. The plots of the episode are not the interesting parts to me (though I’m not sorry to see Haylee go), it’s these characters and the love they have for each other.

Continue reading TV Thoughts: 2/1-2/7

Pilot Review: Fresh Off the Boat

After skipping my review of Backstrom due to time constraints, I managed to squeeze in the first episode of Fresh Off the Boat this weekend as I was really excited to check it out. Like I’ve done with previous shows that aired multiple episodes on their first night, this is just a review of the first and I’ll add on anything I have to say about the second in my weekly TV Thoughts post.

When It Airs: Tuesdays on ABC at 8:00 pm EST

Summary: Loosely based on Eddie Huang’s memoir, Fresh Off the Boat follows the Taiwanese Huang family as they move from Washington, DC to Orlando, FL after his father opens a steak restaurant.

My Impressions: I was really looking forward to this show. I am half-Japanese and always looking for more Asian-American representation on TV and this show seemed like an excellent opportunity for that. It’s not quite the show I was hoping to get but I think a large part of that is that I still don’t feel like it quite speaks to my experiences, which isn’t the show’s fault at all.

Much of the early praise for the show has centered around Constance Wu and Randall Park, who are quite good in their roles. Wu in particular has some excellent comedic timing and reactions and she brought me the most laughs in the pilot.

Unfortunately, a lot of the episode fell pretty flat for me. I wasn’t laughing a lot, nor was I particularly connecting to the characters. I think I laughed the most about Emory fitting in so easily and his mom’s confusion over it because it was truly not what I expected.

I was ready to decide that this just wasn’t going to be a show for me, no matter how much I wanted to support it. Then we got the ending which gave me so much more of what I was looking for and made me want to watch episode two at least. Eddie got in a fight after a classmate called him a “chink” and his mother defended him for it. On a content level, she was 100% right. That other child and his parents needed to be having a discussion with the principal because Eddie wasn’t the only one in the wrong in this situation. On a humorous level, Jessica and Louis deciding that they would sue since that’s the American Way cracked me up. Both Wu and Park were fantastic in the scene and have some great facial reactions. It was a scene that managed to still be funny while critiquing a serious subject and that’s when this show finally worked for me.

Eddie’s final voiceover about needing to embrace what makes you different and own those differences also stuck with me. It was the moment that resonated the most with my personal history but that’s because it was also the most universal. Regardless of what it is that sets you apart, it’s not easy being different from your peers especially when that difference is a very visible one. So the solution is to embrace what makes you different. Not only will it give you the most peace within yourself but that’s the only way to let people know that you’re confident in who you are, which in my experience, people are most drawn to.