Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
Conan O'Brien's basic cable premiere was a very familiar, middle-of-the-pack episode of a Conan talk show
Andy Richter and Conan O'Brien, together again on "Conan."
A late night talk show is a marathon, not a sprint, and when someone begins a new show, or a newcomer takes over an old one, there's a sense that you should wait a while before forming an opinion. Jimmy Fallon, for instance, was a disaster on his "Late Night" debut, and has by now carved out an entertaining little niche for himself.
With the first episode of "Conan," Conan O'Brien's new TBS talk show, snap judgments feel more fair. Conan's been in the late night game for close to 20 years, knows what he wants to do and, after stumbling early in his "Tonight Show" stint in a futile attempt to get the Leno fans to like him, has rediscovered his rhythms. Though much of the material in the first episode of "Conan" was about his uncomfortable departure from NBC, the show itself felt not unlike an episode of "Late Night" or one of his later "Tonight Show" outings.
One week after a series low point, the "HIMYM" creators give us a vintage, sweet, funny episode
Ted (Josh Radnor), Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall enjoy a black tie night out on "How I Met Your Mother."
A review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I pelt you with my Phish bootlegs...
Rick makes some new friends but has trouble getting out of town
Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) try to blend in on "The Walking Dead."
A quick review of the second episode of "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as I'm an organ donor...
The 21st century Holmes reboot ends a very satisfying (and brief) first season
Benedict Cumberbatch in "Sherlock."
The short but sweet three-week run of "Sherlock" concluded on PBS tonight, and the Mark Gatiss-scripted conclusion was in many ways the most fun of the three chapters. The structure with the mini-mysteries suggested that Gatiss and Steven Moffat weren't sure if they'd get to tell more stories with these characters, and were therefore going to stuff as much as they could into the final 90 minutes, and yet it never felt too busy. (For the Holmes scholars out there, were any of those adapated from actual Arthur Conan Doyle stories?)
Then again, the sensational closing sequence with Holmes, Watson and Moriarty would seem to disprove my theory, because there's no way Gatiss would be so cruel as to end things that way if he didn't think he'd get to continue the story in the future, right?
I thought the middle story was a bit thin, but the opening and closing installments of "Sherlock" were just fantastic, and I'm glad they're going to be able to make more before Martin Freeman's tied up with his "Hobbit" duties.
What did everybody else think?
Nucky rubs presidential elbows in Chicago, while things get ugly back home
Agent Van Alden (Michael Shannon) disagrees with his wife on "Boardwalk Empire."
A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I besmirch the national pastime...
Is too much being made about yet another late night talk show?
Is it possible to be on Team Coco without being particularly excited about Coco's new show?
Tomorrow at 11, Conan O'Brien concludes his long, strange journey of the past year-plus, from his old "Late Night" job, to his abbreviated tenure as host of "The Tonight Show," to unemployed (but spectacularly-compensated) cult hero, to stints onstage and online, to his new "Conan" talk show on TBS.
As someone who believes Conan was thoroughly hosed by NBC's mismanagement, and by Jay Leno's refusal to keep his word and step aside when he said he would, I'm glad that he's about to be back on TV. And as I wrote back in the spring, I'm glad that he chose to avoid the headaches that would have come with taking his act to FOX and instead chose the unconventional route of basic cable, where he won't have to worry about pleasing affiliates, or shifts up and down by a tenth of a ratings point.
But as the debut of "Conan" approaches, I'm not sure how much I actually want to see it.
Olivia begins to suspect all is not right Over There
Olivia (Anna Torv) at work Over There on "Fringe."
A quick review of last night's "Fringe" coming up just as soon as I visit the Statue of Liberty gift shop...
Michael contemplates a Christian life in a spectacularly unfunny episode
Pam and Jim enjoy Cece's christening on "The Office."
A quick review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as Jesus is my caterer...
Avery forces Jack and Liz to spend time apart, which only makes them need each other more
Avery (Elizabeth Banks) has something to tell Liz and Jack on "30 Rock."
A quick review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I leave for my ironic kickball league...
Abed turns the tables on Hilary Duff, but the study group women take his powers too far
Britta and Annie enjoy Abed's newfound power on "Community."
A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I'm smuggling a lime and a coconut...