Casual – “The Magpie” (B-)
Despite some stylish presentation (thanks to director Lynn Shelton), the aftermath of Sarah and Jordan’s break-up isn’t making as much of an impact as it thinks it is. “I’m going to destroy you” might have made sense if Vincent Kartheiser said it on Mad Men, but on a show with this kind of a flippant tone, it doesn’t work.
Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule – “Music” (B)
Steve trying to play the trumpet is hilarious, but the rest feels perfunctory.
The Night Of – “The Beach” (A) / series premiere
One of the best pilots I’ve ever seen, filled to the brim with incredible “that guys.” This is a show that takes its time, and it’ll be interesting to see how it sustains the tension of this premiere throughout the rest of the series.
The Office (Series 1)
“Work Experience” (A)
My first time going through this show completely, three years after I said I would. I’d seen the premiere before, and it’s a brilliant template for 2000s cringe comedy. It sets up the show without feeling like a drag. But the second episode may be even better, as we see how little control David has over the office. There’s a lot of blatant sexism, but it feels like all of it is intentionally displayed for the purposes of calling it out.
The Wire (Season 5) – “More with Less” (A-)
Even though a good chunk of time has passed since the events of Season Four, this show never lets us forget that even if a decision was made for the right reasons or with good intentions, it will still come back to bite you in the ass. Mayor Carcetti refused money from the governor for the public schools because it would have made him look weak and incompetent. But now he’s got a police force he can’t pay overtime for, and tensions are flaring. This means the Major Crimes Unit is up a creek again because there’s no money to keep it running. And the Sun is on the verge of buyouts and layoffs, but still doing the noble work of the Fourth Estate.