Community – Premier TBA

Probably should have posted this last week, but oh well.

October 19. It’s a state of mind.

Go On – “Any Given Birthday” – 3.5 out of 5

Were at the point where Go On has aired enough episodes that both we and the show have a pretty good idea of what it is, and I think this episode more or less encompassed that. It’s going to be a little campy, at times a hair ridiculous, and it’ll frequently stretch believability all for the sake of comedy, but it also has a deep commitment to some moments of high emotional depth amidst all that. That’s not a judgment as to whether that’s a winning recipe or not, that’s just what the show is. And while Go On hasn’t hit the cohesive stride of some of the best shows on the airwaves just yet, it is very good in terms of execution. Which means you have to decide whether it’s the sort of thing you’ll buy or not.

For me, I buy it – mostly. As I’ve said several times, I think Matthew Perry is great. I’m worried about his sarcasm getting old after a while (in Friends, for instance, other characters took the burden of the leading role from him more than they do in Go On), but I nonetheless revel in his sarcastic humor. As ought to be clear from my show selection and reviews, it’s almost essential to me that sitcoms, much less shows in general, not be empty humor. Character development, emotional progression, and relationships to the characters are what keep us coming back to a show every week. So check there as well.

My only real gripe with Go On (other than it’s insistence on swearing once an episode – it happened again, and it’s completely unnecessary) is it’s reliance at times on a campy, full-commitment-to-realism-be-damned style of supporting humor. It’s not a full break from reality, but it definitely makes leaps that aren’t always warranted. Personally, I think it undercuts the characters, and while it’s a convenient way to bring story arcs around quickly, I think it’s also just a little bit lazy. Look, I can’t exactly fault the show for doing it. It’s a style that they’ve chosen, and so far they’ve stuck to it. It’s not a deal breaker for me, it’s just not my favorite way of doing things.

If you’re still on the fence about Go On, watch this episode. This is a show that asks you to commit to taking a particular journey with it, and this is a great place to decide if you think that journey might be for you.

Not that I won’t keep asking that question myself. I’m a reviewer, dammit. That’s my job.

How I Met Your Mother – Next Episode Airs 10/29

No new episode this week due to the presidential debate.

Mockingbird Lane – 4 out of 5

I had no idea what I was getting into when it came to this show. I didn’t know what the show was about and had very few expectations going in. So while I can’t say I was expecting the Munsters, I did have a good time watching this inaugural episode of Mockingbird Lane. I loved the visual style of the show. This show obviously relies on a lot of special effects, but the sets have been built with amazing care, and the sort of over-the-top aesthetic works well both with the quirky Munster theme and to hide some of the CGI. A TV show isn’t going to have the time or budget of a big movie, which is why its so important that the visual style of everything real looks at once real and fantastical. It’s a little hard to describe. But I think the show nailed it.

In terms of the characters, there seems to be place for a lot of growth without relying too heavily on obvious fish-out-of-water situations. This family knows how to blend in, they just more frequently choose not to. Easily my favorite of the lot was Eddie, the kid. It’s good that there’s a strong cast around him, as he certainly wouldn’t be able to carry the show, but he provides a lot of the grounding that’s needed for an exploration of the abundant weirdness that is the Munster family.

Neither the writing nor the acting were stellar throughout, but they never got in the way either. This was an enjoyable show, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.

Modern Family – “Open House of Horrors” – 4 out of 5

Modern Family has had some great Halloween episodes in the past, and this one is no slouch. It exudes charm from every pore. Claire was the best part of the episode. I don’t want to spoil it, but watch the episode and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

On the other hand, Cam, Mitch, and Lily continue to be the least satisfying bit of the show for me. An essential part of Cam’s character to this point in the show has been his vanity, but the act is wearing a bit thin for me. Eventually he’s go to learn something from all the spats he and Mitchell get into. The other part of why I’m not a huge fan of this trio is that Cam and Mitch persist going beyond comedy to pure stupidity with Lily. It’s inconceivable to me that when a child asks very direct questions about her mother that her loving father wouldn’t wake up enough to explain it in a very straightforward and truthful manner. Sorry, I guess that’s a little spoiler-ish. All of the characters make sacrifices in pure believability for the sake of comedy, but in Cam and Mitch’s case, it seems to be going too far in that direction as often as not. They’re still fun to watch, but when so much of the show is working, the parts that have flaws really stick out.

I would have liked to see a little more of Alex this episode, but as is always the case with a cast this large, some characters must make sacrifices. I’m sure we’ll get to see more of her in the near future.

The Office – Airs 10/24

Promise I’ll catch up on this one soon, although it may not be tomorrow.

Revolution – Next Episode Airs 10/29

No new episode this week due to the presidential debate.

Survivor – 3 out of 5

What a crazy episode. I never thought I’d see a tribe quit on a challenge like that. Granted, the challenge wasn’t particularly well-designed, but the outcome was very interesting. Hardly anyone seemed to like this deal, but no one was willing to speak out at the time.

I guess  that’s part of Survivor, though. Penner was very brave in putting himself out there and saying he would provide fish for the tribe. He very nearly paid the price for that hubris. I’ll be very surprised if the red tribe is able to do anything close to running the table in immunity challenges until the merge, but that’s not going to stop the drama brewing in the yellow tribe from spewing forth eventually. With the exception of Malcom, no one from that tribe has had to face tribal council yet. There’s a lot of maneuvering going on, and a lot of ill will, but there hasn’t been an arena for all that to spill to the surface quite yet.

I shudder to think about when it does. But I also can’t wait to see it. How’s that for a paradox to close things out?