Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
What did everybody think of the new FX animated comedy?
I posted my review of FX's "Unsupervised" this morning. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think on this kinder, somewhat gentler spin on "Beavis & Butt-Head" from the "Always Sunny" guys? Did you like Gary and Joel? Did you find it funnier than I did? Do you prefer Kristen Bell's voiceover work here or on "Gossip Girl"? And given all the "Archer" love around here, are you going to stick around just because one airs after the other?
Have at it.
The '70s icon goes driving with Sterling in the third season premiere
Earlier today, I posted an interview with "Archer" co-star Judy Greer. The season premiere just finished, and I loved how it made use of Burt Reynolds. There are times when it can feel awkward when a show spends an episode sucking up to a very special guest star, but it worked here because so much of Archer's personality - and so much of the show's approach to action - feels inspired by all those movies Reynolds did in the '70s and early '80s when he was the biggest movie star in the world.
As always, my coverage of the series is going to be intermittent (I tend to watch it in chunks, often well after individual episodes have aired), but fire away with your thoughts on the premiere.
Paul Rudd becomes Leslie's political rival in a strong episode
A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as the pretender to the crown of Alsace-Lorraine gives me a dog...
Greendale is a place where dreams can weirdly come to life for a while
NBC's Thursday lineup is once again about to start without "Community," which means it's time once again for me to post a video illustrating exactly why I'm going to miss the show for as long as it takes NBC to put it back somewhere on the schedule.
One of the things I love about "Community" is that while Greendale Community College could very easily seem like a small, depressing place where our characters have landed because they didn't have better options, it's actually a wide-open canvas where anyone's dreams - or nightmares - can come true, even if only for a little while.
New Orleans music drama's first two seasons aired in spring
Dave Walker at the New Orleans Times-Picayune is the man I trust on all things "Treme," and he has a significant piece of news today: HBO has delayed the "Treme" season 3 premiere date until sometime in the fall.
The first two "Treme" seasons aired in the spring, and the show was absent from HBO's list of spring premiere dates from press tour. Given that "True Blood" owns the summer for HBO, "Treme" was either going to have to air on a different night (which has not been a boon to other HBO shows like the canceled "Bored to Death") or be delayed.
Presumably, "Boardwalk Empire" season 3 will also be on in the fall, and HBO still has to schedule Aaron Sorkin's drama about cable TV news, so "Treme" could wind up airing on a different night, after all. We'll see. David Simon has told me and Dave that ideally the show would run four seasons, but that'll be up to HBO to decide. The ratings for the first two seasons weren't particularly strong, and at the moment it's a show that exists because HBO likes it and wants to be in business with Simon. Hopefully, whenever it airs in the fall, they'll still feel that way about it.
UPDATE: HBO has asked me to clarify that the premiere hasn't technically been delayed, since they never announced a premiere date of any kind for the season. Everyone just assumed it would air in the spring, since HBO usually - but not always - airs its various shows at the same time each year.
Sneak preview of last episode before the series finale
"Chuck" has almost reached the finish line, folks. The two-hour series finale airs on Friday, January 27 at 8 p.m. on NBC, and tomorrow night gives us "Chuck vs. the Bullet Train," either the next-to-last or third-to-last episode of the series, depending on how you want to look at it. (The two hour finale is made up of two separate episodes.)
I'm going to have a whole lot of "Chuck" coverage next week, including a five-part retrospective interview I did with Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz while I was in California. But before we start looking back, here's a chance to look forward with a sneak preview clip - exclusive to HitFix for the next few hours - from early in tomorrow night's episode. If you don't want to know anything before it airs (not that the clip gives much away), don't click through.
On getting an origin story for her character and the power of 'The Descendants'
In addition to the new FX animated comedy "Unsupervised" (which I reviewed earlier
), tonight marks the return of "Archer,"
with the third season premiere (10 p.m.) guest-starring Archer's boyhood idol Burt Reynolds as himself in a wonderful, hilarious celebration of every cheesey movie Reynolds ever made and every car chase he ever got into. I've also seen the next two episodes, and they're also predictably strong. (Episode three, with Archer battling "radical Nova Scotian separatists" on a passenger train, is fantastic.)
"Archer" was one of many shows FX paneled at press tour on Sunday, and I was particularly interested in talking to Judy Greer, not only because Cheryl (recently revealed to be heiress to the Tunt fortune) may be my favorite character on the show, but because I've enjoyed her work for so long and am glad she's been getting so many kudos for her small but memorable supporting role in "The Descendants."
I asked her a couple of Cheryl-related questions in the panel, then interviewed her afterwards about "Archer," "The Descendants" (spoilers ho if you haven't seen the movie yet) and what's next for her in live-action TV comedy.
Animated series from 'Always Sunny' writers feels like a happier 'Beavis & Butt-Head'
"Beavis & Butt-Head" returned to television
a few months ago, and the boys were essentially unchanged from their '90s origins. But even as they're back on the air, there's a generation of comedy writers who grew up watching their original adventures, and — in the same way that Seth MacFarlane's "Simpsons" love gave us "Family Guy" — who have now tried crafting their own animated comedies about oblivious teenage boys.
One of those, MTV's "Good Vibes," actually aired as a companion to "Beavis & Butt-Head," and tonight at 10:30, FX debuts another: "Unsupervised." Created by "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" writers Rob Rosell, Scott Marder and David Hornsby, it's about best friends Gary (Justin Long) and Joel (Hornsby), who technically have adult guardians but have essentially had to raise themselves — and who have a fundamentally flawed understanding of the world as a result. (Joel in particular seems very Beavis-like, with his shock of yellow hair and frequent moments where he can't keep control of his emotions.)
But what's most interesting about "Unsupervised" — and what kept me watching all three episodes FX sent out for review, even though I didn't find any of them terribly funny — is that Gary and Joel's DIY upbringing hasn't turned them into slack-jawed, hateful morons. Instead, despite having no one to care about them but each other, they are the most exuberant, optimistic characters on television this side of Leslie Knope on "Parks and Rec." They have no idea what they're doing, and tend to make the worst possible choices, but all their mistakes come from a good place.
Dave, Penny, Brad and Jane all inspire major wardrobe changes
A quick review of last night's "Happy Endings" coming up just as soon as I have idea face...
Who will be stopping by Pawnee tonight?
Ads for tonight's "Parks and Recreation" - or, to be specific, ads for NBC's Thursday night comedies that include "Parks and Rec" - have hinted at, quote, "the arrival of a secret big-time movie star" whose face is not revealed and whose name is not mentioned. I've seen tonight's episode, and can say three things upfront: 1)It's extremely funny, and one of the best overall episodes so far about Leslie's campaign for city council; 2)The Secret Big-Time Movie Star in question is used very well; and 3)Knowing the identity of the Secret Big-Time Movie Star doesn't seem like something that would ordinarily be treated as a spoiler — especially not by the spoiler-loving NBC promo department — particularly since he appears on-camera within the first 5 seconds of the episode.
Still, if you want to know who it is, and get a very brief sense of who he's playing and what the episode is about, click on through. If not, we'll see you tonight at 8:30...