Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
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...
Now you can talk about even more shows than I have time to cover
I obviously don't write about every interesting show on television, nor do I write about every episode of every show that I cover.(*) Not remotely enough hours in the day for that. Sometimes, my taste will overlap exactly with some of you, and other times there will be shows you love that I never write about, or even watch. On occasion on the old blog, I'd do open threads for people to discuss whatever shows they liked that I wasn't writing about, but they tended to get unwieldy, and at times turn into extensive, detailed discussions of shows I (and others) hadn't seen yet but intended to at some point. So I stopped doing them after a while.
(*) People keep asking me, for instance, when my review of this week's "How I Met Your Mother" is going up, and the answer is that it's not. I took a couple of days off post-press tour, with all but one post over the last two days (the "Cougar Town" premiere, which I wrote in 10 minutes while my son was napping next to me) being something I'd written in advance. I liked the episode well enough (it was very broad but still felt "HIMYM"-y enough to work) but I'm just going to jump ahead to reviewing the next new episode when it airs.
My favorite thing about this blog, both at the old location and this one, has been the community that developed around it. I'm not writing just to hear myself talk, but to start a conversation that you guys have kept going so smartly for so long. But that conversation is always limited to whatever it is I'm watching. (Or to the shows being covered by Fienberg, Liane and on Monkeys as Critics.) There hasn't been an avenue for this great collection of TV fans to talk about a show if it's not on my radar...
Jess throws Schmidt a party, while the Chances pull an educational caper
A good night last night for both "New Girl" and "Raising Hope," with reviews coming up just as soon as I get smart by watching NBC comedies...
Everybody has trouble giving something up
A quick review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I pretend not to be bored in exchange for ice cream...
A hobbled Raylan chases a trigger-happy killer, and Neal McDonough arrives in Kentucky
"Justified" is back for its third season. I reviewed the first four episodes in general this morning, and I have some specific thoughts on the season premiere, coming up just as soon as I name my son Jiffypop...
Cooper and Sherman adjust to new colleagues, and Lucy Liu guest stars
The TNT version of "Southland" has grown on me slowly over time, I think. The budget cuts have forced John Wells and company to streamline the cast, and it seems the focus is now much more on how the different partnerships operate, and on LAPD culture in general, which is where the show excels. (Back when there were so many detectives floating around, the show seemed to feel compelled to spend more time on generic murder cases, when the magic was just watching the cops ride around in their cars kibbitzing.)