TV

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Meets ‘New Girl,’ And It’s Better than Late-Night NPR

Is this going to be the year of the crossover? The Flash’s stint on Supergirl was widely regarded as a better DC vehicle than Superman vs. Batman, Alf showed up on Mr. Robot, and last night FOX brought back the long-dead sitcom crossover with New Girl meets Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Could there have been more actual crossover in this two episodes? Absolutely. But as a person who’s favorite part of LOST was watching characters cross paths in flashbacks, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Give us more!

Though it featured minimal character interaction (other than a meta, on-the-nose moment of Jake trying to commandeer Jess’ SUV and her shouting “It’s a crossover!”) the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode was, a little unsurprisingly, the stronger half-hour. We’re barely a fifth through the season and it’s already clear Brooklyn Nine-Nine has become a stronger comedy. They made the smart decision to continue picking up where they left off- here, Jake was returning to the force for the first time since getting shot in Florida, adding a cane and taking away the frosted tips (Amy: “I feel like I’m kissing Vanilla Ice.” Jake: “There’s a time you would have jumped at that chance!”). A lot has changed at the force, which the writers of “The Night Shift” handled with grace; the squad is dealing with getting used to the night shift, Jake is dealing with Boyle spending time with his adopted son Nikolaj, and Rosa is still waiting for her fiancee Agent Pimento to return from witness protection. Usually, an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine this cramped might feel thin, but even with the addition of Jess the story moves along smoothly and even has time to fit in a Twilight joke that’s still funny (Boyle thinks the movies are “an insult to the books”). Fortunately, we also got to learn a lot about Terry and Holt; Terry gets “night sassy,” Holt’s idea of a rager is hanging pieces of computer paper that just say “PARTY,” and the night shift stinks for the captain largely because “late-night NPR is garbage.” This show continues to be one of the best, and they were completely on board to up their game for the New Girl fans.

While it wasn’t as strong an episode New Girl was on board too, and I have to give them credit for crafting an episode revolving around meeting a few NYPD officers on their opposite coast. Plus, we even managed to get some fun world building! Remember way back in the Pilot, when Jess came home from a trip early to surprise her then-boyfriend Spencer, and ended up catching him cheating? Turns out, Jess came home early from a horrible trip in New York, where she fell into an open grate and witnessed a subway suicide. Just New Girl things! Despite her earlier bad Empire State experiences, Jess gets the most Brooklyn in her LA this time, running into Gina, Holt and Jake (whose dialogue and comedic beats reminded me how different these shows really are). The highlight of the three was optimistic Jess and serious Holt’s meeting, since the two are a match made in a Heaven who probably deserve a crossover episode dedicated to just the two of them. Nick and Winston running into Charles and Nikolaj was fun too, if only for the believability that Charles is super into busking, and that crowds of people would stop around two guys shouting “showtime” just to see what happens. Schmidt’s mom returned to play the quintessential Long Island mother, calling Great Neck “the real New York” and insisting that Schmidt kiss his brother, Reggie (he’s a standard poodle). The most New York moment goes to Jess’ frighteningly real experience at a packed NY Deli, but the episode ends with a huge boost from a last minute appearance by Coach. He runs into the gang on the street and scolds them for not calling him once they got to New York, and proves the point that a little Coach makes any episode better.

Overall, it was a fun hour, and a worthy experiment. I can only imagine where ABC’s family sitcoms could take this revived trope- Speechless’ Maya going toe to toe with The Real O’Neals‘s Eileen, or the black-ish gang meeting The Middle. Maybe I’m biased because I really love both New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but if you can suspend disbelief about the fact that Jess and Jake had completely different conversations when they met in each episode I think we can all acknowledge this was a pleasant way to spend a Tuesday night. Now to get a story on how Damon Wayans Jr.’s 99th precinct cop Stevie catches a perp in LA undercover as Coach. That’s a crossover I’m here for.

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‘Pitch’ Is An Important Show To Have Right Now

Damn. You must be some Paula Abdul level of cold-hearted snake if you don’t get chills watching Pitch. I don’t care if you’re not into baseball, were more of an AC Slater kind of girl, or hate women (actually, I care a lot about that last bit!). Every time that hyped-up string score starts to play and Ginny walks out on the field, I feel like I’m ready to pick up a Major League bat myself. It’s that good. Last night’s second episode was a huge improvement on the pilot, and a sign that this show could turn out to be really wonderful. Beyond being just entertaining, Pitch is an essential show to have on TV right now.

Ginny Baker works harder than any of her male teammates. She’s the boss, and she’s incredibly talented. But she’s also imperfect. Teammate Mike has to remind her not to give up on her fast ball, which she often turns down using during a game. She tries hard to be “one of the guys,” something everyone is reminding her she clearly isn’t. She almost goes along with doing a silly segment about dugout decorating on Jimmy Kimmel Live, even though it portrays a message she’s not willing to promote. Sometimes it’s awkward watching her find her way. Her Kimmel interview is visibly uncomfortable at times, as she decides to turn down doing the segment in the moment it’s airing, and instead takes the conversation in an unscripted and more honest route. It’s cringeworthy when her teammates start asking her about her sexuality- they want to know is she a nun, a lesbian, or does she hook up in the locker room?, which is completely expected and still totally gross. But where Ginny falters, she doesn’t fail. She stands up for herself on Kimmel, making a crucial point about rape culture and respect in the process. She puts her teammates in their place, making a core crew of friends while she does it. It’s exciting to watch because her journey feels real.

Pitch itself feels real too, especially as the 2016 Election starts to really pick up. Regardless of whether or not you’re a Hillary Clinton supporter, this election is groundbreaking and will inspire countless young girls to reach for something they thought wasn’t possible. Somebody always has to be first, but that doesn’t mean it stops with them; it just means that someone can come next. And Pitch knows that, showing us all the girls waiting for Ginny’s autograph, letting her know they’ll be joining her someday. In our current political and social landscape, it rings true. Sure, Ginny’s fans are just paid actors. But it makes you think about the girls sitting at home, throwing baseballs with their brothers and being told they have no shot. It’s a fictional story, but how many boys wanted to play baseball after watching Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriquez grow up and play for the Dodgers? What’s wrong with a little inspiration?

There’s a scene that really hit me during the Kimmel section of the episode, where Ginny’s  starting to struggle to make her point and stand up for herself on live TV. It’s intercut with a speech Mike’s giving in the locker room about cutting Ginny slack and acting like a team, instead of hating her for the attention she’s bringing them. At first, I was thrilled that someone was standing up for Ginny, and was happy for some action away from the awkward conversation she was having with Jimmy. But then she got into her groove, started making some important points, and got huge applause from the studio audience. It became clear to me that while Mike’s speech was nice, it wasn’t important. Ginny Baker can stand her own. Ginny Baker doesn’t need any help. But we need Ginny Baker.

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Fall TV Week: TGI-Thursday

We have SuperGood Thursdays and TGIT? Okay, technically last night wasn’t Shonda Rhimes’ “TGIT,” because Scandal won’t be back until 2017, but it was TGIT to me because NBC aired two fantastic comedies back to back, reviving just a little bit of the We Peacock Comedy block from the golden days. Regardless of what we’re calling it, it was a better night for TV than Wednesday.

Superstore, Thursdays at 8 on NBC
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I don’t personally know anyone who watches Superstore, which is a huge disappointment, because it is really great. It has a fantastic and real ensemble, hilarious one-liners, America Ferrara, and is a workplace comedy which is easily my favorite kind. I like that we can watch a group of people on strike an expression of discontentedness that will actually impact their lives, while they also drag down anti-rights bigots. Cast member Colton Dunn isn’t actually in a wheelchair, but this show feels important and representative, and it’s funny as hell.

Grey’s Anatomy, Thursdays at 8 on ABC
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I watched 11 seasons of Grey’s in two months. But I didn’t spend those two months watching Alex Karev’s character development to have him go to JAIL. But to jail he went, and admittedly he deserved it because he fully busted DeLuca’s pretty face. And with a courtroom scene set for next episode, I’m still waiting for Shonda to crossover her shows (Karev’s lawyer could have been Annalise! Derek could have met with President Fitz instead of Obama!). Despite the light of my life Karev being put behind bars, this episode was also a strong opener, and I’m hoping the rest of the season focuses as much on Meredith and Alex’s friendship, which stands to be one of the best parts of this show since day one, and how it will turn into a romantic relationship, which stands to be the Grey’s dream I will not give up on. I’ll also be content with this season if it gives me more cute Kepner-Avery family moments. #JaprilTheMovie lives on.

The Good Place, Thursdays at 8:30 on NBC
Can they air three episodes of this show every week? Even if it’s just for Janet’s fun facts, including how Christopher Columbus is in The Bad Place and “Fun Fact: Janet is me”? Kristen Bell is having the best time being a bad person in a good place, and I love how serialized this is becoming. Cliffhangers on a sitcom? Count me in. Now to help fellow bad person Jianyu, who I’m thrilled has finally spoken, because as we all know being a mute monk can only be funny for so long.

Pitch, Thursdays at 9 on FOX
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Pitch opens with messages from the two most powerful women in America- Hillary Rodham Clinton and… Ellen DeGeneres? Anyway, the question the show seems to want to answer is whether or not Ginny Baker will get added to that list. It might be too early to tell (how many times can Mark-Paul Gosselaar say “ass slapper” before everyone simultaneously unplugs their TV?) but with a MLB partnership this show feels realer than most. The flashbacks were a little much and I cringed at some dialogue- he said I’m an ass slapper!!- but because I’m a sucker, I also did things like get chills when Ginny sees her jersey for the first time. Plus, all those baseball-playing extras are attractive, and I can’t look at Ali Larter without thinking of Andy Bernard and Michael Scott, neither of which are bad things.

How To Get Away With Murder, Thursdays at 10 on ABC
Summer sucks when you’re terrified of being arrested as the accomplice to several murders, doesn’t it? It’s been a while since we last saw our murderous gang, and I had forgotten a good amount of details, but I have a feeling that this season will amp up the drama after the slightly confusing lull that was season 2. We were already hit with a good few mysteries: Who is Meggy, and why wasn’t I cast as Alfie Enoch’s girlfriend? Who is hanging up those “KILLER” posters of Annalise? When will Wes and Laurel hook up again? Who was that hit-man that my sister described as “an old Lin Manuel Miranda”? And oh yeah, #WhoWillDie? My odds are on Connor (he’s just too good for this world) though I kind of hope it’s Asher (sorry bro), but the stakes are high this year and I love it. Plus, our kids are real practicing lawyers now! Go get ’em, killers!

Still waiting for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Saturday Night Live to return (without Taran, tragically), but that’s my week. It’s been real!

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Fall TV Week: Peak Tuesdays

Tuesday is arguably the worst day of the week. My deep-seated hate probably goes back to Tuesdays being band practice day in grade school, but you can’t deny that it’s basically Monday without the general excuse of it being a Monday. But once it hits primetime, Tuesdays are the best. All the classics have aired on Tuesdays. American Idol! House! Glee! Law & Order SVU! The Real O’Neals! Everyone agrees these are the most iconic shows!

Tuesdays are just better than Mondays.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Tuesdays at 8 on FOX
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Damn, this show has really committed. I was fully expecting to see just a little bit of the tail-end of Greg and Larry’s Jake and Holt’s new witness protection life in Florida before packing up and shipping back to Brooklyn to meet up with the rest of the gang. I was at least expecting to drop in and check on Boyle’s new adopted baby or how Amy has been doing without Jake for 6 months. But surprisingly, we got a full episode dedicated to Jake and Holt dealing with their new lives alone, without a single check in to the precinct. And it was good! Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher have one of the funniest dynamics on the show, so a whole episode starring them was not a thing to complain about. I’m excited to catch up with the rest of the squad next episode, but this week Jake had frosted tips, Jorma from The Lonely Island had a guest spot, and Jake got to call Holt “Mr. Fart” so all in all, it was a win.

New Girl, Tuesdays at 8:30 on FOX
Aw man, guys, New Girl is the best. Jess is still acting like a freakin’ nut around Nick even though she’s a grown ass woman and Winston is still doing things like buying a boat instead of hurting someone’s feelings, but I’m willing to overlook it all because it’s just so good. And truthfully, Nick has returned, without Regan thank God, looking like a human being who hasn’t eaten garbage off the ground recently, so I’d be reacting the same to him as our heartbroken Jess. It’s only the first episode, so am I getting ahead of myself if I say I’m optimistic that this season will be the one that brings Nick and Jess together and does it right this time? He dedicated his book to her! Even though we don’t know if the book is Z Is For Zombie, that was the sweetest. I’m a little sad that Cece and Schmidt are moving out of the Loft, but thankfully Winston will still be around, swallowing the gator teeth Nick brought back from New Orleans. Now I just need Apple to create an emoji that’s smiling and clutching its heart, because that’s the only emotion I have watching this show and I need to tweet about it.

Scream Queens, Tuesdays at 9 on FOX
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This premiere had almost all the elements of last season, and yet it is already somehow lightyears better. And that’s without an appearance by the best character of the 2015-2016 season, Chad Radwell. I mean yeah, it starts out with another ridiculous flashback (a doctor needs to party that badly that he would just dump a patient in a swamp on Halloween?), the ‘Green Maniac’ is yet again following the Color + Generic Villain naming scheme, and there’s another pregnant woman from the past that probably has ties to the present. But if you ever need a refresher on how to watch a Ryan Murphy production, just remember that Blaine Anderson once had a fever dream where he sang Queen with a group of puppets and was kind of okay with it. His shows are wild, and I’m obsessed with them. This episode was gross (RIP Cecily Strong!) and hilarious, which in the end is all I really want. Plus I can’t hate on anything that revives Taylor Lautner, who was apparently just recently released from the holding cell he’s been in since Twilight, because seriously where the hell has he been other than that weird appearance at the AMA’s that I’m convinced was a hologram. I’m going to need more of Lea Michele’s Hester and the aforementioned Chad, but for now I’m just going to sit back and thank God and Ryan Murphy for getting rid of Grace and her Dad. Amen.

This Is Us, Tuesdays at 10 on NBC
I really didn’t want to like this show. It was weird how the trailer got so many views, right? And it has the same title as the One Direction documentary, and all I thought it was about was having the same birthday as other people, which is obvious. But by the end I was,as the kids say, shook! I didn’t weep like everybody else on my timeline but this show really tugged at the heart strings and managed to pull off a pretty significant twist while creating a genuine connection to the characters, which is a lot to expect from one Pilot episode. Sterling K Brown doesn’t need me to remind everyone he’s a good actor, but he is good, and I can finally watch a show for Milo Ventimiglia instead of being a Gilmore Girls fan and only watching that episode where Luke pushes him into the lake. Mandy Moore deserves good things, and Justin Hartley and Chrissy Metz were the cutest family goals. This Is Me making the worst joke ever but admitting I made a mistake, fully enjoyed the show, and will watch again.

I’ll be making good use of my Hulu account when The Flash and The Mindy Project come back on October 4th. Tuesdays are lit y’all.

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Why Does The Mindy Project’s Cast Keep Disappearing?

Full disclosure: I’m a few episodes behind on The Mindy Project. Partially because I’m busy; mostly because Mindy and Danny are essentially finished and I’m bitter. This is the problem I had with New Girl (and I regretted it) so I know I’ll be back, but I just… need some time to get over it.

Today it was announced that Chris Messina would no longer be a series regular on the show, but instead would show up in Fall’s season 5 as a “recurring guest star,” whatever that means? As heartbreaking as this news is, I can’t help thinking why this show is dropping more characters left and right than Game of Thrones. Don’t believe me? Please tell me where any of these people are. I’m waiting.

Anna Camp as Gwen, Mindy’s Best Friend: Where you at? Other than preparing to marry Skylar Astin? Gwen’s kid should be BFF’s with Leo. Come on, that would be cute.

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Stephen Tobolowsky as Dr. Marc Shulman: Remember when they had a boss???

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Amanda Setton as Shauna, The Receptionist: She liked Danny, and then got fired? Maybe? Her situation seems a little unethical, though it’s not the worst thing these guys have ever done.  

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Zoe Jarman as Betsy: Literally disappeared into thin air. Can someone check on her? Send out an Amber Alert?

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Adam Pally as Peter Prentice: I mean yeah, he’s still around, but I need a real explanation why he’s no longer in the office. Thanks!

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Now we can add Danny to that list, and that’s just the series regulars! How about the Deslaurier brothers, Mindy’s brother, Danny’s mom and brother, DOT!, plus all the random celebrity cameos that filter in and out for a laugh (#neverforget that Seth Meyers has now appeared twice as two different people). This show has only been on for four seasons and yet it’s already changed its roster more than the Panther/Lion split in Dillon Texas. By the end of its run, it’ll just be Mindy & Morgan hanging out alone, wondering where everyone they used to interact with disappeared to. Actually, that wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

 

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I’m Glad I Started Watching New Girl Again

Sometime around September 2011, I became obsessed with FOX’s freshman show New Girl. And somewhere around April 2014, I gave up on it. I don’t think I’m alone in this. My mom, sister and our friends stopped watching then, too. This was season 3, around the time that token will they/won’t they pairing Nick & Jess broke up and then went on a couple’s cruise together. Coach had, seemingly weirdly, just returned. Cece and Schmidt weren’t together. Either I was just too busy with schoolwork to put in the effort, or it was just enough overload to give up all together. Season 4 came and went. I saw online that it ended with Cece and Schmidt getting engaged, but the only episode I actually watched was the last 15 minutes of “Spiderhunt” that I sort of left on as background noise before the finale of Parks & Recreation. I remember thinking they’re all just standing around making sauce. Now I know why I stopped watching this, as if I needed to justify why I forgot about the show that gave us panic moonwalking.

And then season 5 was pushed to a January premiere. I have next to no idea how the network executives arrange their schedules, but as a viewer this always feels like a bad sign. Glee‘s final season got a short January release, and so did Parks & Rec (even New Girl creator Liz Meriwether assumed they were going to get canceled). Even though this seemed like a bad omen, the premiere coincided with season 4 going up on Netflix, so out of pure boredom I figured I’d give it another shot.  If New Girl was going to get canceled and the season 5 finale would it be its goodbye, I’d try to catch up and see it get sent off. Turns out it wasn’t canceled, and I did catch up, and thank God.

Now that I’m all caught up and have seen Schmidt’s Long Island speech, I can say with certainty that New Girl isn’t a perfect show, but it feels really close.  My love of sitcoms might cloud my judgement a little bit, but New Girl takes the cliche and the weird and completely commits. It has everything you could ever want on a comedy (weird living arrangements! Two straight dudes who are in love with each other! A guy who’s best friend is a cat!) and yet somehow keeps coming up with ways to punch you in the gut and make you want to move in with a bunch of strangers. Last night’s double header “Wedding Eve”/”Landing Gear” was no exception. “Landing Gear” took the Doucebag Jar that was so perfectly and hilariously introduced way back in episode 1 and smashed it (literally- it was a Jewish wedding, after all) as Cece & Schmidt got married. “Wedding Eve” brought back both Tran, the mute old man who Nick has an inexplicable friendship with, and True American, the greatest game nobody knows how to play. Even Coach- Coach!- came back to celebrate and remind everyone that he really is the best. There was a naked Winston, more Zombie novels and an almost-rekindling of the Nick/Jess romance. There was Peter Gallagher, romantic gestures and classic mixups. It was everything you’d want from a finale in a season of television that gave it all.

And by the way, “Spiderhunt” was one of the best episodes of season 4. New Girl, I love you. Thanks for taking me back.

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine Goes Out on Top

Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s season finale “Greg And Larry” was fantastic. Actually, scratch that- B99’s season 3 final 4 was fantastic (and kind of a mouth-full). The story’s conclusion may not have been the strongest episode of the bunch, but who cares? I laughed out loud many more times than once and was genuinely stunned at the ending. Why isn’t everyone watching this show!!

I absolutely loved the decision to make the finale a more serialized arc than we’re used to. A lot of sitcom audiences are definitely drawn in by the fact that they can turn on ABC during any prime-time hour and follow whatever antics a zany family is getting into without having ever seen a previous episode. But there’s something satisfying about being rewarded for never missing an episode, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine pulled it off in a really fun way. I’m not just saying that because I’m obsessed with the fact that they hid Melissa Fumero’s pregnancy by having Santiago go undercover as a pregnant prisoner, but because the mission of taking down crime boss Figgis and bringing back Detective Pimento was the perfect blend of stakes and humor. Where else would a high-speed chase set in a hospital be punctuated by Terry’s knowledge of Grey’s Anatomy? (Jake: “The one episode I watched, there was a bomb in a guy’s butt”) (sidenote: that’s the most stressful Grey’s episode) (additional sidenote: the fact that there are still pop-culture references to Grey’s Anatomy 12 seasons in really speaks to how Shonda runs everything).

Overall, let’s not forget this show comes from the creators of Parks and Recreation- the cop moments are fun, but it peaks when showing the Precinct’s genuine friendship, like Holt’s declaration that “You don’t work with Jake Peralta three years and not know what the Funky Cold Medina is.” Some might have seen it coming that Peralta and Holt would end up in witness protection in Florida (it’s planted pretty early in the episode), but I was too wrapped up in enjoying the squad’s teamwork that I ended up pleasantly surprised when the episode’s twist was revealed. It’s anyone’s guess as to how much time is spent in Florida next season, and looking at Bill Hader’s Captain’s untimely death I’d guess not much time, but I’m excited to see what happens next. Fingers crossed the whole gang are Greg/Holt and Larry/Peralta’s neighbors- after all, Charles is about to become a dad, and he doesn’t want to hang out with some stupid baby who’s never met Jake.

What Else?

  • Amy’s guess at romantic comedy careers (dress making, architecture, cupcake bakery, magazine editor) was genius
  • Jake to Holt: You called me son! No take backs!
  • Rosa’s landlord describes her as the “always smiling” Emily
  • Genuinely laughed out loud at Holt’s last request to Bob before he kills him: “When I die, please send Kevin my regards.” “What do I say?” “Regards.”
  • I’m really excited for who is going to be cast as Figgis. Also for this show to return in general
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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

With that I mean, obviously, the Fall television schedule. The leaves are changing, the temperature, and you’re sitting in a dark room watching every possible new pilot and deciding which you’ll actually stick with through the rest of the year. It’s the one time where there’s shows on TV with ridiculous concepts (see Selfie) and everything’s riding on a single Pilot episode. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

With that in mind, and the fact that so many of my old shows are gone (RIP, HIMYMParks and Recreation till the midseason, and I’m still not over The Office), I made it my mission to watch as many Pilots as I could. Here goes nothing!


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A to Z, NBC, Thursdays at 9:30pm; airs October 2

I’ve discussed how I feel about rom-coms before, so maybe the fact that A to Z was incredibly cheesy and romantic was what won me over. But I really liked this one. The characters are interesting; it’s the cliched “guy believes in fate, girl rejects it” tale at first, but our Andrew and Zelda, played by Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti, manage to evolve even a little bit over the course of the first 20 minutes. The premise, while it could get old after a while (can they have more than 26 episodes?), is at least a different spin on the typical dating comedies that have been overloading networks for the past few years. Coming back from her death as The Mother on HIMYM, I am really pulling for a good show for Milioti, and with the ultimate question of “what happens after they date for 8 months?” I’ll stick with this one for now. A to Z is, in a word, cute.


 

blackish-101Black-ish, ABC, Wednesdays at 9:30pm

I am an incredibly privileged person. As a straight, white, middle-class, girl I have seen people like me on TV for my entire life. It was never a question for me of, “why aren’t people like our family on TV?” because since the 90s network TV has been incredibly whitewashed. So I was really excited to see Anthony Anderson’s Black-ish on the ABC line up this year. And after watching, I really enjoyed it. It’s sad that a show like this has to be praised for being “different” in the year 2014, but it deserves the praise because it is different. Some people have found offense in the many stereotypical jokes, while others felt that it was a good representation of what it is like to live in a predominantly white society (a coworker of Anderson’s Andre asks him in a whisper “How would a black person say ‘good morning’?” prompting Andre to respond “Just like that.”) I thought Black-ish balanced social commentary well with comedy, and I look forward to seeing more of the Johnson family next week.


 

gotham Gotham, FOX, Mondays at 8pm

If there’s two things I love, it’s Batman and The OC. So when news first broke about FOX’s new show Gotham earlier this year, I was thrilled to see Ben McKenzie back on my TV and a new twist on the story we’re pretty much all familiar with at this point. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous considering the success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (as most were) because how could they really tell this story in a way that might be more interesting? But so far, so good. The first episode of Gotham was a lot of setups and introductions, considering they have a lot of future villains and heroes to feature, but it was also incredibly entertaining (Jada Pinkett Smith is going to be the next big evil TV mastermind). In the end, it might be just another NYC cop show with a young Bruce Wayne running around and maybe McKenzie is just playing off his role as a cop in Southland and his role punching people in The OC but this is a show that lived up to it’s hype so far.


how-to-get-away-with-murder-posterHow to Get Away with Murder, ABC, Thursdays at 10pm

I’ve never watched a Shonda Rhimes show. I know. You hate me already. Scandal has been on my watchlist for probably two years now and my friends have been begging me to start Grey’s Anatomy for at least six, so I was determined to get started with How to Get Away with Murder, especially considering Aflie Enoch (aka Dean Thomas) was starring. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. This show was awesome: a little cheesy, at-times unbelievable, and so full of plot twists it felt like it had been on for weeks. Viola Davis was fantastic as the tough-as-nails law professor who’s also having an affair and also may have killed her husband. The pilot read like a feature film, and I already have a list of guesses for what might happen in future episodes. If you watch just one show this season, it should probably be this one.

 


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Red Band Society, FOX, Wednesdays at 9pm

Red Band Society has already gotten a lot of heat from people who actually work in hospitals; the kids are given way too much freedom, their bedrooms and clothing are too casual, they’re all simply too strong and healthy for the majority of their screen time. And yeah, people who don’t know what it’s like to be a teenager with cancer may look at this show and think, “Hey! Those sick kids said the hospital is ‘like boarding school.’ Must not be that bad.” However, I also think that it’s important to get a look, even an exaggerated and airbrushed look, at kids who are experiencing real issues. My 15 year old sister tunes into this show, and just maybe it’ll spark an interest in helping kids like these extremely fictional characters. At the very least, it’s a primetime network show that screams “sick teenagers are people too!” It’s campy and not infinitely accurate, but I recommend it all the same.


I’ve barely scratched the surface of which new shows are actually worth watching, and I’m still waiting till October to start Marry Me (NBC), Mulaney (FOX), and The Flash (CW). But if you’ve watched any of the above shows, or recommend any I’ve missed, comment below!

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It’s Time to Marathon Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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If you haven’t watched a single episode of FOX’s new hit show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I can’t really say I’m surprised. Its two wins at this years Golden Globes (one for Best Comedy and a Best Actor award for star Andy Samberg) shocked a lot of people, most of whom were expecting a win for The Big Bang Theory or hoping for Parks and Recreation. Personally, I was ecstatic when it got nominated, but never expected it to beat Modern Family. Regardless of the circumstances, the show’s win got a lot of people talking, but not as many watching; up until this week’s finale the show had been up against NBC’s The Voice, which wins in the ratings nearly every week. Brooklyn Nine-Nine may not have finished off its first season with a top audience, but it’s about to, so trust me when I tell you to put this show on your watch list.

I got into Brooklyn Nine-Nine solely for Andy Samberg. Some people complain about his ridiculous comedic style (including Seth Meyers), but ever since I watched my first episode of Saturday Night Live and saw Samberg rapping “Lazy Sunday,” I’ve been a fan. Though I truthfully wasn’t a fan of the “cop show comedy” genre and wondered how episodes and plot lines would really be structured, I figured if Samberg was starring it would have to be good. (Sidenote: Major thanks to FOX for giving Andy Samberg and Mindy Kaling their own shows after they left their respective roles at NBC. I really appreciate it.) The first episode probably won’t be on any of my future lists of outstanding Pilots, but once I stuck with it, the comedy absolutely became my favorite new show of the Fall 2013 season.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine manages to balance the interoffice relationships and cop plots excellently. Each episode is devoted to strengthening character friendships while giving a relatively substantial look at humorous cases presented to a NYPD squad. If you’re into cop shows, the 99 Precinct is thankfully not full of a bunch of bumbling idiots; there are always a couple of ridiculous secondary characters (specifically Detectives Scully and Hitchcock), but overall there aren’t too many cringe-worthy professional moments reminiscent of The Office‘s Michael Scott. And the show makes me laugh out loud each episode, with subtle in-jokes, recurring gags and absurd one-liners. The cast is awesome, from the serious Captain played by Andre Braugher to Chelsea Peretti’s confident and weird office administrator Gina, and I’m almost in awe at how the ensemble nails it week after week.

The most refreshing thing about Brooklyn Nine-Nine is its diversity, as well as an almost complete avoidance of classic TV tropes. From the get-go, you’re assuming Samberg’s obnoxious Jake Peralta and Melissa Fumero’s overachieving Amy Santiago are going to be the next Jim and Pam (I can’t be the only one who watches a Pilot and picks out the characters who will have romantic plot lines later on), but we actually get to see them grow as friends before any sort of romance is brought up. The “nice guy gets the girl” role is crushed when Stephanie Beatriz’s Rosa refuses to date Jo Lo Truglio’s pining Charles, and Amy, Rosa and Gina are actually friends, and aren’t in constant petty competition with each other. Terry Crews plays the classic tough, African American sergeant, but with a sweet side for his family and colleagues. And the serious Captain Ray Holt gets a thoughtful background as an African American gay man who experienced prejudice for his sexuality and race in his early years and worked his way to the top of the NYPD. You don’t see characters like these in your everyday sitcom, and the acting and writing that brings them to the screen is fantastic.

I can’t bring an entire season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine justice. With a new season starting in September and 22 hilarious episodes just waiting for you to watch them online, take this time to binge-watch your way through TV’s freshest and funniest new show. You’ll be creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur’s biggest fans in a week.

 

 

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I’m Already Obsessed with The Mindy Project

Let me start by saying Mindy Kaling is the BEST. Her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) , is one of my absolute favorites. She’s quick and witty, and completely relatable in the way that makes me want her to be my bestfriend. And while I absolutely love the annoying diva Kelly Kapoor on The Office,I’m pumped that Mindy is able to now head FOX’s The Mindy Project. And the fact that BJ Novak (aka Ryan Howard on The Office) is an executive producer on Mindy’s pilot is just perfect to me.

If you missed it, the trailer covers a lot of ground, but I was still psyched to watch it on TV. Appearances from Bill Hader and Ed Helms, two of my favorites, didn’t hurt either. It really is a great pilot, just what I would expect from Mindy. Basically, Kaling plays Mindy Lahiri, a OB/GYN with a love for romcoms and a slight weakness for her British coworker. After a run-in with the police for disorderly conduct after her ex’s wedding, Mindy decides she needs to turn her life around, but has a bit of a shaky start. Mindy is hilarious, and though the pilot isn’t non-stop laugh-out-loud funny, I don’t think thats what it really needs; I think that the entire cast gets their point across without overacting or looking for cheap laughs. Just from reading her book I can tell that the pop-culture references come straight from Mindy’s pen, which gives the show a personal touch. Mindy’s character is the type of girl who I think everyone can relate to: self-absorbed but a little self-conscious too, just trying to find the perfect man and be successful at the same time. And while we’ve only seen a little bit of Mindy Lahiri, I have high hopes for being able to relate to her while getting a good laugh.

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