The Oscars (B+)
After all the debacles, this hostless show made for pretty good television, moving along briskly with no segments that leave you thinking, “When is this going to be over?” (Well, except for that excruciating speech by the hair and make-up team from Vice.) Shame about the Best Picture winner, though.
Crashing – “The Viewing Party” (B)
Like Atlanta‘s “Helen” last year, this is a deeply uncomfortable relationship-in-crisis episode that still has some strong moments. Emo Philips showed up for a set, and it was glorious, but he’s the only delightful part of the show, as things are awkward to a degree that’s unsettling.
True Detective – “Now Am Found” (B+) / season finale
About as satisfying as it could be, though there’s no big takedown of the bad guys. Everyone’s dead or too old to prosecute. My wife called the main twist, but the second one no one saw coming. (Although now I’m questioning if that was even real.) We’ll have to live knowing that we as the audience knows the truth, but that its characters never will.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – “February 25, 2019” (A)
Even though I don’t have automatic seething rage at the mere mention of his name, even I’ll admit his shtick has worn thin. So imagine my surprise that Fallon used the occasion of his fifth anniversary hosting the show to turn in a brilliant, self-deprecating homage to The Larry Sanders Show. Every other late-night host (except maybe James Corden) is more daring night-to-night, but this one-off is one of the boldest things among the wide open sea of shows in a long time.
Documentary Now! – “Original Cast Album: Co-op” (A)
The rare piece of art that lives up to the breathless hype that’s surrounded it for months. John Mulaney is absolutely incredible as a Stephen Sondheim stand-in in this Company parody. The original doc is all but impossible to see, but this reverent and uproarious spoof might be the show’s lasting legacy.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “He Said, She Said” (A-)
This show doesn’t do issue episodes unless it knows it can pull it off. They succeed again with this episode about a tough case – headed up by Peralta and Santiago – in which they have to bring down a serial sexual harasser and attempted rapist without any physical evidence in the boys’ club of Wall Street. It’s extremely well-done, even if laughs have to take a backseat.