NEW SHOWS & SPECIALS
Jerry Before Seinfeld (A-)
It’s all material we’ve heard before, but Seinfeld’s delivery is so effortless that it doesn’t feel old hat. I could have easily watched another hour.
The Mindy Project – “A Romantical Decouplement” (B+)
A major improvement on the premiere in a joke-packed episode that finds no fewer than five characters realizing what they really want. Mindy isn’t growing, and that’s frustrating, but at least she’s not hurting Ben anymore. (What am I even saying? How did I get emotionally invested in this stupid show?)
The Good Place – “Everything Is Great!” (A-) / season premiere
The show resets (and then resets again) in an hour-long episode that can’t quite manage to be as engaging as that brilliant pilot, but still packs in a ton of jokes, some of which work because we know what makes the four tortured souls tick, and some because they reveal that Bad Place employees care just as much about a fun workplace and fulfilling roles as anyone else.
The Sinner – “Part VIII” (A-) / season finale
The show reaches is its end and finds about as much resolution as it can. Cora finally remembers what happened on that fateful night, and the horrifying months after. That mystery had a satisfying reveal. But as good as Bill Pullman was in this show, all his dark sexual proclivities and broken marriage still never cohered, so that all fell like filler. That means this won’t be a show that makes my top 10 this year.
Black Mirror (Season 3) – “San Junipero” (A)
I still haven’t gotten around to all of Black Mirror, but I decided it was high time to watch the most acclaimed episode, which shocked everyone by winning the Emmy for Best Made-for-TV Movie. (Is this a made-for-TV movie? Absolutely not. But it was still better than the competition.) Yes, it is as good as everyone says it is and the rare example of an episode of this show that’s not quite a cautionary tale and one with a rare hopeful ending.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Season 10) – “Charlie Work” (A)
A brilliant, madcap gem from one of the recent seasons I never got around to. I’ve long believed that Charlie Day is giving the best performance on the show, and this is yet another showcase for his laser-focused insanity.