What I Watched This Week: 14 Aug 2016

The Night Of – “Samson and Delilah” (B+)
The show slides into its comfort zone as a more artful courtroom drama/prison horror show as the trial begins. And after last week letting the audience question if maybe Nas did kill Andrea, it shifts our attention to her stepdad, who might not have done it, but has all the reasons to do so. If that means more Paul Sparks, I’m all in.

Casual – “40” (B+)
Valerie is now the worst, and her ill-advised return to Drew is interrupted by her dad’s arrival at home, which should set up an interesting finale. Also, I’m impressed with how the Sebastian-Laura relationship is giving me the feels.

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore – “August 18, 2016” (B) / series finale
Mostly highlights from a show I didn’t watch, but am sorry it’s gone. As Jon Stewart indicated, Larry “started a conversation that wasn’t happening before” he started the show. I hope late-night pushes for more diversity going forward.

I Love Dick (B+)
Finally, a leading role for Kathryn Hahn. She of course rises to the occasion because she is wonderful. But this is also the best thing Kevin Bacon has done in years. He plays Dick as all mystery, bluster but supreme intelligence. No wonder she loves Dick.

Jean-Claude Van Johnson (A-)
Exceedingly clever and entertaining. The most fun of the pilots.

The Tick (B)
Didn’t make me laugh as much as the animated series or the Fox live-action series, but it has a ton of potential and some actual stakes.

The Office (Series 2)
“Party” (A-)
“Motivation” (B+)
I’ve noticed the second series of The Office is noticeably dirtier than the first (“As the actress said to the bishop”). But I’ve also noticed that it’s hard to know if Gervais and Merchant want us to laugh at or with mostly terrible characters like David and Gareth. There’s also a ton of casual sexism, but I can tell that it’s meant to be negative. Still, it’s wildly funny, and David’s motivational class is a top moment of the show for sure. Yet I can’t help shake the feeling that there’s something keeping from absolutely loving the show.

The Wire (Season 5) – “React Quotes” (B+)
Until the final 20 minutes, this is just a plot-mover. But then it gets crazy intense. Bubbles being disappointed at his HIV-negative status is heartbreaking. He still wants to be punished for his boy’s death. He might not be behind bars, but he’s still in prison. And there’s Omar’s miscalculation which might lead to his own untimely end.

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