TV Week: 5-11 May 2013

The Simpsons – “Whiskey Business” (C)
This season’s completely limping to the finish line. Like last week, a decent A-story falls prey to having too many subplots to contend with.

Modern Family – “My Hero” (A-)
A rather strong point in the season after some duds. Emmys for everyone! Read my review here.

Community – “Advanced Introduction to Finality” (B-) / season finale
Sure to be debated more than any episode in the show’s history, this finale tried hard, almost too hard to wrap things up after the obstacles they faced all season. I certainly don’t think it was terrible, but it wasn’t anything compared to the past two finales and a bit of a downgrade from the uptick it hit around the halfway mark. I think a lot of the criticisms the show has faced this season were entirely unwarranted, but this episode tried very hard and occasionally hit the mark, mostly on the emotional level. Let’s hope they get a chance to improve in season five.

Grey’s Anatomy – “Readiness is All” (C)
I didn’t hate it, but can this show calm down for one second?! There are about 18 different storylines, ranging from mildly interesting to utterly pointless. Yet the show treats them all with the same gravity. At least I don’t have to watch the overheated season finale.

Hannibal – “Sorbet” (B+)
We take a step back as Dr. Lecter virtually disappears for the first half, then plays a crucial role in the second. But I wanted more. I don’t want to just see that someone is probing Lecter’s psyche. I want the show to actually do it.

Community – “Heroic Origins” (A)
Like one of my favorite episodes, “Mixology Certification,” this episode is far more sad than funny, but reveals a lot about the characters.

Parks and Recreation – “Are You Better Off?” (B+) / season finale
Not the strongest this series can be, but this finale hit all the right notes. It’s consistently good and frequently great, so NBC better not cancel cheers to NBC for renewing this.

Hannibal – “Entrée” (A)
This show is too good for NBC, too good for network television, almost too good for TV. It’s just brilliant from top-to-bottom. It’s just a shame no one’s watching it.

Happy Endings – “Deuce Babylove 2: Electric Babydeuce,” “Brothas & Sisters” (average: A-) / season finale
The former was a typical shenanigans-filled episode (with the tennis match a big improvement over previous climaxes), but the latter was a melancholy but hilarious finale that will likely be the last time we see this show. If that’s true, we got the best finale we could have hoped for.

Maron – “Internet Troll” (B-) / airs Fridays at 9pm CDT on IFC
Though the closest comparison is Louie, this show based on Marc Maron’s life isn’t nearly as funny or sad. If the second episode improves, I’ll cover it regularly.

Saturday Night Live – “Zach Galifianakis/Of Monsters and Men” (A-)
I haven’t watched since Justin Timberlake pulled double duty, but I’m glad I decided to keep this one on the DVR. Galifianakis killed it in every sketch, even if those sketches were hit-and-miss. I particularly loved his offensive apologies to his fellow M&M’s Store employees and the payoff of “Darrell’s House” was perfect.

Firefly (Season 1) – “Our Mrs. Reynolds” (A-)
I started this last summer to keep up with coverage on The A.V. Club. Obviously, that fell by the wayside, so I’m trying to catch up before I begin my summer TV posts. More on that later. Christina Hendricks was never sexier than she was here as the seductress Saffron. You heard me: Firefly is better than Mad Men.

The Simpsons (Season 5) – “Lady Bouvier’s Lover” (A-)
Oh, Grampa. This was the rare episode that doesn’t treat Abe like a burden, and it was ridiculously sweet watching him fall in love with Marge’s mom. But I like the implications of this episode: That Mr. Burns could theoretically change his evil ways for love.

Sports Night (Season 1) – “Small Town,” “Rebecca” (average: B)
As with Firefly, I started last summer but I’m now playing catch up before Summer TV Hangout. The former proves that even though Aaron Sorkin loves old romantic comedies like His Girl Friday, incessant bickering does not endear us to characters more. It’s just downright irritating. But the latter was genuinely sweet and good-natured as Dan gets rejected for once in his life and Dana & Casey inch forward to realizing their feelings for each other.

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