The Simpsons – “Warrin’ Priests, Part 1” (B+)
Pete Holmes arrives as writer and guest star in this two-parter about a more tolerant minister who comes to Springfield and wins the souls of many of its inhabitants, forcing Rev. Lovejoy out. It’s one of the smartest and sweetest episodes the show has done in a long time.
Parks and Recreation – “A Parks and Recreation Special” (B-)
Part of me wants to give it a free pass because it was so warm and thoughtful. But right now I’m pretty cynical, and I have to admit much of the first “phone tree” segment caused only the occasional chuckle. Even grading on a curve for the technology element, a lot of it felt extremely forced. The middle segments, which give us an update on Pawnee’s minor and awful and residents, felt the strongest. Everything else seemed designed to push you to do a rewatch on Peacock (which was advertised a lot).
The Sopranos – Season 6, Part 2 (A average)
These last nine episodes comprise the very best stretch of the show, as each hour is marked by at least one death, leading to that terrific final shot. Whether Tony dies at that moment is irrelevant. What the show has taught us is that he either “won’t hear it coming,” or will die in a cell (literally like Johnny Sack or figuratively like Uncle Junior), and won’t truly appreciate what he has either way.
Tiger King (A- average)
A four-alarm dumpster fire. It’s hillbilly hilarity until the ugliness of the kingdom shows itself and the feud between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin turns tragic. By the end of the first episode, it’s clear none of these people (nor anyone in the world) should own big cats as pets. By the end of the series, it’s clear none of these people are good.
Community – Season 4 (B average)
In many ways, it’s a lot better than I gave it credit for. Still, it’s got two of the show’s worst episodes (“Conventions of Space and Time” and that godawful finale) and its biggest swing-and-a-miss (“Intro to Felt Surrogacy”). This was the only season thus far that hasn’t been a total joy to revisit.