What I Watched This Week: 12 Jan 2014

The Simpsons – “Married to the Blob” (B+)
This is the second episode in a row that I have not had to drop in any caveats. This was a genuinely hilarious episode filled with some terrific animation. Even the Japanese characters, who could have easily been stereotyped, were well fleshed out for one-off roles.

True Detective – “The Long Bright Dark” (A-) / series premiere
Though Matthew McConaughey’s evolution speech felt a little too stilted, this is a terrific, atmospheric, wholly engaging detective show. It’s only hampered by airing after Hannibal.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “The Bet” (A)
How does a show continue to get better every episode? I don’t know, but I’m glad this is the new show I chose to stick with.

Modern Family – “Under Pressure” (B-)
They tried to go for Family Ties‘ “A: My Name is Alex,” which works out so perfectly. Instead, it was undercut by six other stories (yeah, a grand total of seven plot strands) that were middling to awful. Guest star Jesse Eisenberg was completely wasted. Now if they had done something risky, like have everything set at Alex’s therapy session, that would be worth an A. Instead, the show continues to be its own worst enemy.

Community – “Cooperative Polygraphy” (A)
Easily the best episode the show has done since “Pillows and Blankets” nearly two years ago. Pierce’s bequeathal sets up an unrelenting barrage of jokes, leading to the most emotionally satisfying climax this show has done, maybe ever. It also makes last week’s episode better in retrospect.

Parks and Recreation – “New Beginnings” (B)
For some reason, all three stories grated on me a little bit. It was funny, to be sure, but just rubbed me the wrong way. But Ron’s tag was priceless.

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