The Simpsons – “The Saga of Carl Carlson,” “Dangers on a Train” (average: B+) / season finale
While these two episodes were a marked improvement over the last run of them, I’m cutting the former a lot of slack simply for having only one story and a score by Sigur Rós. It’s just a sad, dull episode, which makes it one of the most bizarre half-hours the show has ever done. But like I said above, credit where it’s due. I was dreading the last episode, featuring Seth Macfarlane as a married man who tries to romance Marge. We’ve seen this story plenty of times before and was wary of how his schtick would play on The Simpsons. To my surprise, it was a genuinely sweet, hilarious finale, and could have possibly served as a series finale if it needed to.
Modern Family – “Goodnight Gracie” (A) / season finale
The most touching finale the show has ever done. Read my final review of this show for The Perpetual Post here.
Hannibal – “Trou Normand” (A-)
Nearly everything comes out into the light, and it’s terrifying. I wish there was more substance to the incredible style of the killer-of-the-week stuff, but everything else remains incredibly intense.
Maron – “Marc’s Dad” (B)
It’s an improvement over the last two, but the show is so lacksidaisical, it’s practically inert. Legit may not be a great show, but at least it’s got an angle and a sweetness to it. This is just Marc Maron’s life story, which is a lot more interesting to listen to than to see onscreen. I’ve given it three episodes. I’ll give it no more.
Firefly (Season 1) – “Ariel,” “War Stories,” “Trash,” “The Message,” “Heart of Gold” (average: A-)
It’s all about relationships in these episodes, as the crew is tested physically and emotionally in heists gone bad. “The Message,” in which an old brother-in-arms of Mal and Zoey shows up not quite dead, would have to be my favorite. I’d argue it’s the series’ best episode.
Sports Night (Season 1) – “How are Things in Glocca Morra?” “The Sword of Orion,” “Eli’s Coming,” “Ordnance Tactics,” “Ten Wickets,” “Napoleon’s Battle Plan” (average: A-)
Heartbreak. That’s the word that defines this big arc that culminates in next week’s season finale. Sorkin shows a willingness to take risks that few comedies are today, particularly with the relationship between Dan and Rebecca (guest star Teri Polo). It’s devastating.
Arrested Development (Season 3) – “Development Arrested” (B+) / season finale
I hadn’t watched the one-time series finale since it aired in 2006. Despite featuring some of the best lines of the show’s entire run, this episode was far too rushed to make a serious impact, with far too many stories elbowing each other for screen time. Such is the nature of having your densely plotted show cut to 13 episodes. Can’t wait for season four!