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One-Sentence Reviews of 30 New Television Episodes From Last Week

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | March 18, 2014 | Comments ()


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All things considered, there are very few jobs better than pop-culture writer. You work from home, you write about things you love, and occasionally we can dig deeper into a television show or movie for more meaning. The only real downside to the job is the amount of time many of us feel obligated to devote to television consumption. Watching 25-35 TV shows a week sounds great on paper, but on a weekly basis, it can feel overwhelming, even if you attempt to limit your consumption to only quality television shows.

There’s a lot of great television out there right now.

Last week (Monday to Sunday) was one of the more torturous because I needed not only to watch 30 new episodes of television, but catch up on about 15-20 episodes that I missed the week before while in SXSW. It was one of those rare weeks where the act of watching television actually felt like a job.

Of course, even watching 30 episodes a week, we still end up writing about the same 8-10 shows that people care about, plus a few others that our audience doesn’t show that much interest in. Nothing is more frustrating than the fact that pieces on Justified, The Americans, Hannibal and Enlisted barely register. We understand that there are passionate fans of those shows, like ourselves, but the numbers are so small that we write those reviews not to appeal to the tiny, existing audience, but in the hopes that we can somehow broaden it.

Anyway, after watching that much television this week, I thought it’d be a waste if I didn’t at least convert it into some kind of post, thus justifying the time commitment. Therefore, I give you one-sentence reviews on each of the episodes I saw this week. There were only 30 this week, because there were no new episodes of two shows in my regular rotation, The Blacklist and Saturday Night Live, and I still haven’t caught up on last week’s Parenthood, Archer, or Bob’s Burgers (all three of which I often prefer to watch in multi-episode chunks, usually in rerun heavy weeks.

1. How I Met Your Mother — Pregnancy plotlines, even those that are telegraphed well in advance, never fail to elicit strong emotional feelings from me.

2. About a Boy — The third episode of this series was better than the awful second episode, but despite a good cast and Jason Katims as showrunner, About a Boy is strikingly mediocre.

3. The Goldbergs — I don’t really care about this last week’s episode, but the one before it revolved around Goonies, and it was brilliant.

4. New Girl — The show is struggling to make use of Damon Wayans, and I’m not so sure that making Coach the coach at Jess’ school is the best use of him, unless they plan to feature him yelling at his kids every week.

5. Brooklyn Nine NineNine-Nine may be the most consistently funny and pleasant sitcom of the season, and I am crushing hard on Melissa Fumero (that said, I’m a little tired of the Marilu Henner storyline).

6. Growing Up Fisher — The J.K. Simmons comedy had an excellent pilot, but it hasn’t really lived up its promise, although it’s a moderately amusing sitcom in the way that weaker episodes of The Goldbergs are.

7. Justified — The more Justin Rappaport is in an episode, the worse that episode seems to be, and last week had a lot of Rappaport; it’s been an aimless second half of the season, so far.

8. Trophy WifeBrooklyn Nine-Nine may be the funniest sitcom on TV right now, but Trophy Wife is consistently the cutest, and this episode — in which the two leads renewed their vows — did not disappoint.

9. Marvel: Agents of Shield — After a couple of episodes in which the series began to show signs of improvement, I thought this one was a complete waste of Lady Sif and overall, kind of dumb.

10. The Americans — Next to Shameless, The Americans is probably my favorite show at the moment and it only continues to get better in its second season.

11. Modern Family — I honestly don’t know why I continue to watch Modern Family, except that it’s pleasant enough background noise while I’m folding laundry.

12. Suburgatory — Love the show, but each week I’m more and more shocked to realize that these two people are the same.

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13. Scandal — I very nearly quit Scandal this week because I just can’t anymore, but the cliffhanger in the end assured I’d be back for at least one more episode (damn you Shonda Rhimes).

14. Vikings — The lack of screentime for Lagertha this season has soured me on the series, but I’m sticking around because of the promise that she’ll have a major role later.

15. Parks and Recreation — After showing some signs of fatigue earlier this season, Parks and Rec seems to have found some renewed comic energy, some of which is thanks to Ron Swanson and his new son.

16. Community — Jim Rash should get some kind of Emmy for outstanding musical performance for that amazing, mind-blowing rap.

17. Hannibal — Not one of my favorite episodes of Hannibal, since it’s not a show particularly well designed for the courtroom, but the staging of that gruesome murder scene was outstanding.

18. Enlisted — Kevin Biegel brought some of that whiplash poignancy from Scrubs over to this episode, which may have been the best of an already outstanding season.

19. Raising Hope — Since its cancellation was announced last week, basically every episode from here on out is a gift.

20. Resurrection — The acting is not particularly good, the writing is clunky, and I don’t care about any of the characters, but the mystery is compelling enough that I’m going to stick with it, knowing that I’m setting myself up for a disappointing conclusion.

21.From Dusk til Dawn — It’s basically the movie stretched out into 10 hours with inferior talent, and you’re not likely to find the El Rey network on your cable box, anyway.

22. Shameless — My favorite show currently on air, and this week saw an actual touching moment out of Frank.

23. Good Wife — Loved the diner scene between Will and Alicia, but Jill Hennessy kind of took the edge off of the thrill of seeing Elsbeth Tascioni.

24. The Walking Dead — An absolutely devastating episode, the best of the season, so far.

25. Girls — Just when I thought Hannah couldn’t get anymore insufferable, she sabotages her job, because of course she does.

26. Broad City — It took some doing, but this show is really grown on me, and I absolutely love Hannibal Buress.

27. SuitsSuits is back, and it’s kind of struggling without the power grab plotline at the top.

28. Elementary — A reliably good series, but rarely memorable, the mystery in this particular episode was fairly obvious early on (once we learned that one of the suspect’s husband’s was a plastic surgeon).

29. Cougar Town — On TBS, Cougar Town has become decidedly mediocre, but I continue to watch it out of loyalty to Bill Lawrence, who isn’t even the showrunner anymore.

30. Crisis — This new Gillian Anderson series had a promising pilot (for a network show), but I don’t see how it can remain compelling even as long as its limited run., but I’ll stick with it until it wears out its welcome.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Morgan_LaFai

    This was seriously great. Thank you so much. And I love that this sight reviews seldom seen shows. It is the way I have found most of my favorite tv shows.

  • Ricky, Bubbles & Julian

    Rapaport in Justified is atrocious. Worst casting ever. What the hell were they thinking? A New Yorker faking a hillbilly accent??? He must have pictures of some big timer at FX

  • Samantha Schltr

    If it helps any, I decided to give Hannibal and Justified a go because you guys kept talking about them. I now look forward to Hannibal. And I might just give Felicity's show a chance. Of course I have too many shows on my list to watch every week and I don't get paid for it (I wish).

  • jollies

    Michael, not Justin, right? Or are their two Rapaports?

  • Boothy K

    Thank you! It was driving me nuts wondering "Who's Justin Rappaport? " He is awful. I hope he dies soon.

  • Enarra

    I want this post every week.

  • HelloLongBeach

    Shameless is becoming a little too painful to watch. The whole Fiona mirroring Frank plot line is crushing. I don't want to reconcile Fiona's personal responsibility in her adult life and the fucked up circumstances of Frank's life.

  • loo shag brolley

    TOO... MANY... SHOWS... MUST... TYPE... LIKE THIS...

  • John W

    Jim Rash is kind of the unsung hero of Community. He usually steals every scene he's in.

  • Mrs. Julien

    We've pretty much forgotten that Parks and Rec exists. It's not that we decide not to watch it, it's that it no longer occurs to us to do so.

  • Joey.blowey

    17. Hannibal — Here come da Judge!

  • stella

    25-35 tv shows a week sounds exhausting to me.

  • logan

    Justified - the problem is Rappaport's character is the least interesting member of the Crowe family. Also they are making Raylan look bad on the kid situation. Was a bad move making him a dad.
    Modern Family - Rarely hits the high notes anymore but better than most sitcoms.
    Elementary - I really started liking this show but it needs more Moriarty, a BF for Joan and better mysteries.
    Vikings - I think its excellent. Very true to the times IMO. He found a woman that can give him sons. Kings always need/want sons.
    The Walking Dead - may be best season yet. Think about it.
    Agents of Shield - Should be cancelled. It completely misses the mark.

  • JustOP

    Honestly, I feel a little bit fatigued after watching one or two hour long episodes of something. Dunno how I could muster the energy to still stay focused on 10 or 20 without just finding something else to do, unless it was a generally 'storyless' sitcom like It's Always Sunny.

    Also I'm sure the three people who still watch Marvels Agents enjoyed the cameo of Lady Sif. But everyone else still isn't interested.

  • Blake

    No Rick and Morty or Archer* or Bob's Burgers* or Adventure Time ( *Time constraints noted)?

    LIST = FAIL.

    *You need to reprioritize and also add Sirens to your rotation.

  • pajiba

    Oh, I also binge watched the entire first six episodes of Rick & Morty last week (and loved the sh*t out of it) but I don't really know where it is on the season at the moment, so it wasn't included.

  • Blake

    Monday's at 10:30 on [as]! The last episode aired yesterday (#8).

  • logan

    Yeah why no love for Archer here?

  • Joey.blowey

    Monday Nights, 9:30 (central time)

  • Joey.blowey

    Seriously. This list is a big bag of FAIL! without Rick and Morty
    No Bob's Burgers either

  • pajiba

    GUH. I said in the intro that I watch Archer and Bob's Burgers both in chunks of three or four (I appreciate both more that way).

  • Joey.blowey

    Both are required watching as they air. I myself couldn't postpone watching either at a later time.

  • Finance_Nerd

    While Marvel: Agents of Shield has been a disappointment, Jaimie Alexander has not. Lady Sif? More like Lady Makes-Me Stif.

  • loo shag brolley

    Good God Of Thunder!

  • cruzzercruz

    I never really thought of her as hot. Thank you for righting my wrong.

  • Uriah_Creep

    I sense that you need more evidence.

  • cruzzercruz

    I think I'll have to do some independent study on this subject.

  • BWeaves

    Well, thank Gotopus she covered her elbows.

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