What I Watched This Week: 9 Oct 2016

The Mindy Project – “Nurses’ Strike” (B+)
Even though it introduces a new love interest, which I’m kind of dreading, this is another consistently funny episode. Mindy is MVP of her own show again, with killer lines about donating to the Trump campaign and avoiding SeaWorld.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “The Night Shift” (B-)
A surprisingly weak episode, with lots of forced humor, and that’s even before we get to Zooey Deschanel’s brief cameo. The cast is game, but this is a weird step down from its brilliant three-part opener.

New Girl – “Homecoming” (C)
Now I remember why I don’t watch this show. Disciples claimed the strength is its ensemble, but most of that’s broken up for a majority of the episode. And the scenes with the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine are filler cameos that go nowhere.

This Is Us – “Kyle” (B+)
I didn’t see either of the first two episodes, but I watched this one with my wife and this is exactly the kind of nakedly emotional but well-acted show that Jason Katims used to excel at. The cast is uniformly great and the dialogue is much better than most network dramas. I’m in.

Designated Survivor – “The Enemy” (B+)
The best episode yet as Kirkman finally acts decisively, kicking the foxes out of the henhouse. It may not be subtle, but I love that some viewers are probably expecting some action and get an Islamophobic Republican governor and overeager general as the bad guys.

Designated Survivor – “The Confession” (B-)
Nothing much happens, though now there’s another enemy: Virginia Madsen. But the big “betrayal” means nothing: Why would the president’s son, who hates his dad’s guts, want to honor the final thing he did as president? But it’s not actively awful, and the plot keeps moving along. Hoping for some big reveals soon. And the sooner Kirkman’s awful son gets killed off/shipped to boarding school, the better.

O.J.: Made in America – “Part 5” (A)
Explores the sad aftermath of the acquittal. He may not have been in prison, but he found himself shunned from the Brentwood elite he cozied up to at the expense of the African-American community and got deeper and deeper into weirder, crazier stuff, partly because his ego was so big, he would spend time with anyone who liked him, no matter how shady those people were. It culminated in an absurd 33-year prison sentence for an armed robbery that should really have been a couple years at most. But if it was worth his acquittal to send a message to the world, so is his current jail time.

Saturday Night Live – “Lin-Manuel Miranda/Twenty One Pilots” (B)
Still a bit uneven, but the sketches never go on too long and when they sing, they really sing (no pun intended). Lin-Manuel Miranda is certainly the most game, most clever host the show has had in a very long time. And the short “Diego Calls His Mom” is the most wonderfully melancholy short the show has done since “Love Is a Dream.”

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