With Scott Foley’s track record on Shonda Rhimes shows, I have to wonder if he’s her new Katherine Heigl. Or is it that there’s just something so satisfying about killing off characters that seem so inherently good, despite being an assassin?
For the second time on one of Rhimes’s show, Foley — who also played Henry, a terminal patient who fell in love with his doctor, on Grey’s Anatomy — was offed by Rowan (via Olivia’s new boy-toy), to what I imagine will be the dismay of fans. It’s hard to hate a good guy, even if he isn’t so good. Jake Ballard’s death was not the right thing to do. And so, “I’m Just A Bill” spent the other subplots holding on tightly to those white hats, so much so that it came at a detriment to the episode. (Though real talk: Susan Ross insisting to critique the implementation strategy of a 1400-page bill before signing it made me feel good about the American legislative system for a second, which pretty much never happens on Scandal.) … Read More
For a show about a stand-up comic, and with frequent inserts of its protagonist doing that job, Louie doesn’t often delve deep into stand-up comedy itself; as on Seinfeld, comedy is our title character’s job, and the particulars of that job are of only a passing interest, as in any workplace sitcom. But occasionally, Louie goes into the weeds: on the first-season “Heckler” episode (see title), in last year’s “Model” (where our hero badly bungles opening for, wouldn’t ya know it, Jerry Seinfeld at a charity function), and on last night’s “A la Carte,” an episode easily read as Louie’s take on the current vogue of “confessional comedy.” … Read More
For years, Matthew Weiner has been hearing two different reactions to the casual workplace sexism depicted on Mad Men — with men saying it was unrealistic and women saying it nailed their experience, he told Larry King this week. The gendered split remained just as pronounced after this month’s mid-season premiere, “Severance,” which featured an excruciating scene in which Peggy and especially Joan are the targets of blatant sexual harassment. After it aired, Weiner said, the reaction was as expected: “As usual, a bunch of men get on and say, ‘This is outrageous. You went too far, it’s too unbelievable,’ and all the women are [saying], ‘You’re nuts. It’s still like this. You have no idea.’” … Read More
During the current 2014-15 television season, ABC successfully bet huge on diversity with three new sitcoms about multicultural families. Black-ish, about a well-off black family assimilating into the very white suburbs while struggling to maintain their cultural identity, and Fresh Off the Boat, about an Asian-American family trying to fit in when they move from DC to Orlando in 1995, have both received plenty of well-deserved praise and attention. The third, Cristela, about a multigenerational Mexican-American family living under one roof in Dallas, may not have received the same amount of buzz as its peers, but it’s no less deserving. In fact, while viewers were looking elsewhere, Cristela has stealthily become one of the smartest and funniest comedies on television, as well as one that deftly tackles race and gender. … Read More
The Messengers arrives on The CW at an unfortunate time: when the network is actually doing well. Had the science-fiction drama premiered two or three years ago, it may have passed as a serviceable Heroes ripoff floating around on a confused network (or just gone ignored). Recently, however, The CW found its magical and playful niche with a roster of surprisingly great shows. Just this year, The Flash debuted as the most fun comic book adaptation on television, Jane the Virgin surprised everyone by taking an absurd premise and elevating it into something charming and sublime, and iZombie is shaping up to be a weird little drama that manages to do the impossible: reinvigorate the zombie genre. Put these all side-by-side with The Messengers, premiering Friday, and the latter is downright disappointing and uninspired. … Read More
When the Tribeca Film Festival announced this year’s opening night selection was Live From New York!, a documentary about the history and impact of Saturday Night Live, your correspondent felt a mixture of excitement and concern — the former as a longtime fan and aficionado of the show, the latter as someone who, as a longtime fan and aficionado of the show, wonders what the hell’s left to say about it. We are, after all, celebrating (and, it seems, celebrating and celebrating and celebrating) the 40th year of its existence, and between the anniversary pieces and books and that ragtag mess of an SNL 40 special, we’re flirting with a serious case of burnout, and the anniversary itself is still several months away. So it’s a relief to report that Live From New York!, which kicked off the fest last night with a raucous screening at New York’s Beacon Theatre, isn’t just a rehash of the same old stories and clips. It’s a stylish and entertaining examination of why it’s still on the air, 40 years on — and why we’re still talking about it. … Read More
In 2006, Planet Earth debuted on the BBC, and it was a revelation: people cared about the earth again. The series,… Read More