TV Week: 27 Jan-2 Feb 2013

The Simpsons – “Changing of the Guardians” (B+)
One of two episodes this season I genuinely enjoyed without qualification. Its biggest asset is the lack of a B-plot, focusing on Homer and Marge’s quest to find legal guardians for their kids. Rashida Jones gets the episode’s best line about not having kids: “You’re leaving a void in our lives that can only be filled with foreign travel, sleeping late and gourmet food.”

Girls – “Bad Friend” (C+)
Have I really stopped caring about this show already? Read my review here.

The Following – “Chapter Two” (B)
A little bit of a step up from the pilot, but still suffers from some of the same problems, namely that everyone assigned to this case is a complete moron. Just like last week, twice(!) a follower gained access to a secure location without being detected. But here are the improvements: Annie Parisse from Law & Order is a huge improvement over whoever the lady agent was in the pilot. I also dug getting into the personal lives of the followers and that Joe’s masterplan is eroding. Still hooked, but this show needs to shore up its writing and acting. Unfortunately, given its ratings success, the creative team likely thinks there’s nothing wrong.

The Americans – Pilot episode (A-) / airs Wednesdays at 9pm CST on FX
Easily the best pilot I’ve seen all season. It’s tense, superbly acted and the direction and editing are terrific. I just hope they can sustain it all.

House of Cards – “Chapter One” (B+) / entire season available on Netflix
Kevin Spacey is magnificent in Netflix’s first entirely original series. The journalism side of the story needs some work, but I am absolutely loving the dark soap opera elements of backstabbing on the Hill. I probably not watch this every week, but will binge when I can, which is kind of what Netflix is counting on?

Lost to the timing, to get caught up on in a marathon: Happy Endings, Legit

The Simpsons (Season 5) – “The Last Temptation of Homer” (A-)
A genuinely lovely episode that takes a rather surprising look at infidelity and its ramifications. Plus, the classiest nudity joke the show has ever done, featuring Mindy (guest star Michelle Pfeiffer) in a Botticelli fantasy. “What’s wrong, Homer? Ain’t ya never seen a naked chick ridin’ a clam before?”

Breaking Bad (Season 4) – “Cornered” (B+)
Everyone tells me this is the last time I’ll get to relax before the season really gets rolling. Bring it on.

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