What I Watched This Week: 31 Jan 2016

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Karen Peralta” (B+)
Katey Segal is a national treasure, and she’s great as Jake’s mom. But the episode’s emotional resonance is stunted by its adjacent subplots. Again, when a show has an ensemble as terrific as this, it’s understandable the writers want to use them all as much as possible. But occasionally the story calls for more focus, and that’s what it needed here.

The Muppets – “Swine Song” (B-)
The show shakily hits the reset button. It’s nicer now for sure, but this is a show that’s not exactly sure where it wants to go. Still, guest stars Key & Peele are a delight.

American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson – “From the Ashes of Tragedy” (A-) / series premiere
A brilliant beginning for a show that has every opportunity to go wrong and has done it all right thus far. The A- is hedging my bets a little. This is essentially a perfect pilot episode, but as FX has continually shown, this is just the beginning of greatness. I don’t want to overdo the praise.

The Wire (Season 4) – “Alliances” (A-)
The title refers to pacts both formed and broken as the cops try to get a hold of the dead witness situation they tried to hide. Getting exposed leads to Carcetti’s surge, and he seizes on the opportunity to get Watkins’ endorsement after Royce blows him off. Even though Carcetti’s not exactly a good guy, it’s hard not to root for him to weed out the corruption (and hopefully not become too tainted by it).

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