A quick review of last night's "Top Chef" coming up just as soon as I ruin the integrity of the plums...
A very fun episode with a somewhat surprising elimination
Lennie James is back for an episode that feels very much like a throwback to season one
Jules tries to help Bobby get his mojo back, while Laurie and Travis get a little too close
A slightly uneven but very funny outing for the three clans
Was "The Office" one of the five best-written comedies of 2010?
A lot of unhappy endings to season three
For the final time this season (and with a boutique show like this one, you never know if a given season will be the last one), we're going to review all four episodes of "In Treatment" in one post. My thoughts on the finales coming up just as soon as I'm voted off the island...
First six episodes as strong a stretch as the show has had
A few weeks back, when NBC announced a mid-season schedule that placed "Parks and Recreation" on Thursdays at 9:30 after "The Office," I wrote that it was a wise decision because out of all the comedies on the network's schedule, "Parks and Rec" is the one that's the closest spiritual match to "The Office," and the one with the best chance of succeeding that show should the ratings dip post-Steve Carell.
At the time, I mentioned that I had seen a few of this season's new episodes, and that they were terrific. Well, now NBC has sent the season's first six episodes - the ones that were shot last spring, before Amy Poehler went on maternity leave, back when everyone assumed the show would be on the fall schedule - to critics, and I can say that they're terrific, as strong a six-episode stretch as the show had at any point in its fantastic second season. I'll have a much longer review close to the January 20 premiere date, but to whet your appetites, after the jump I'll have a few random observations about these six, as spoiler-minimal as I can be while actually saying things (but if you want to know nothing about storylines/guests/etc., don't click through):
Looking back over a strong first season and ahead to next year
"Boardwalk Empire" wrapped up its first season on Monday night in fine fashion. (You can read my review here.) The show never lived up to the image I had built in my head before the series started - Scorsese! Winter! Buscemi! Omar! Prohibition! - but frankly, I'm not sure anything could have, given the assembled talent, the setting, etc.
But if "Boardwalk Empire" had to settle for having a damn strong first season rather than instantly inserting itself into a discussion of all-time great dramas, no harm in that. ("Mad Men," from Terence Winter's old "Sopranos" colleague Matt Weiner, didn't really get into that discussion until its second season, and even "The Wire" wasn't considered Best Show Ever after its first year.
The morning after the finale, I got on the phone with Winter for an interview to bookend the one we did before the start of the series, in which we discussed the journeys of Nucky, Jimmy and Margaret, the challenge of having fictional characters interact with real ones, plans for season two and more.
An episode that resembled vintage "HIMYM" on the surface, but didn't really work
Catching up with Joe, Owen and Terry as season two begins