The Simpsons – “Three Scenes (Plus a Tag) from a Marriage” (B+)
Another relationship ret-con episode, but one that isn’t trying to go for dramatics or pathos. It’s just a well-executed, very funny exercise in keeping things semi-fresh. Bonus points for actually getting J.K. Simmons as Marge’s J. Jonah Jameson-like editor.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “The Negotiation” (A-)
Any Doug Judy episode is going to get high marks from me anyway, but this one is exceedingly clever, even if we all know Doug Judy will always be the scorpion to Jake’s frog. Plus, there’s karaoke of 4 Non-Blondes, Hitchcock acting professional and Boyle going all Gordon Ramsey on Amy and Gina.
Silicon Valley – “Grow Fast or Die Slow” (B+) / season premiere
Deftly maneuvers into Pied Piper’s “successful period” by showing just how unprepared Richard is for it. (We already knew how good Dinesh and Guilfoyle were at wasting time.) It also finds a worthy adversary in the creator of Sliceline, who loses his awful (but funded) company in a hostile takeover by Richard.
Barry – “Make Your Mark” (A-) / series premiere
One of the better pilots in recent years. It knows exactly what it is, yet has seemingly unlimited potential to turn into something even better. Both Bill Hader (who also shows off his directing chops) and Henry Winkler are excellent.
The Americans – “Dead Hand” (A-) / season premiere
Jumps forward in time without losing much. That opening montage is one of the best things the show has ever done. Beautifully sets up the new reality we’re in while also raising the stakes pretty much immediately. Sad to see this show end.
Collateral (B+ average)
As much as I want shows to have shorter runs, this four-episode British import actually could have used two more hours to flesh out its characters more and make its many strands tie together better. And while there are no plans for a sequel, I would absolutely watch more seasons of Kip Glasby (Carey Mulligan, who should absolutely be remembered come Emmy time) solving crimes with empathy.