A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I can hire a Mexican elf...
Leslie tries to fix a broken department, Ann tries to nurse Ron and Ben tries to get a charitable donation
As more outlets present original programming, it becomes harder for a TV critic to keep up with it all
This used to be a pretty simple job when I first became a TV critic. There were the Big Four networks, plus the WB and UPN (and when I started in the summer of '96, they were barely worthy of notice) and the occasional HBO or PBS production that demanded a write-up. It was easy to stay current with all the new shows, and all the returning ones — to feel, even if you weren't watching every episode of every show (because that wasn't possible even in the Clinton years), like you could see the whole picture of TV, even if some parts were more in focus than others.
Then HBO got more serious about original scripted programming, and the rest of cable followed, and suddenly there were new dramas and sitcoms popping up all over the place, even as the original broadcast networks were shifting more towards reality TV. There was more to watch, and more to write about, but it was exciting to see what the medium was capable of becoming (a.ka. the subject of my book).
Every now and then, someone would ask me if I felt there was too much good TV on TV, and I would always respond that more good TV is simply more good TV. What could possibly be the downside of that?
Well, this TV season is the first time I've began to feel like there may, in fact, be too much good TV.
Cooper and Lucero are taken hostage in another amazing Michael Cudlitz showcase
The FBI closes in on Gregory as the KGB tries to get him out of the country
Leslie and Chris get a close look at one of Pawnee's worst civil services
Over the years, "Parks and Recreation" has done an outstanding job of filling in the town around the Pawnee parks department where Leslie, Ron and friends work. Pawnee now has a well-established news media (Perd, Joanne, Shauna, etc.), several restaurants and bars we know well (J.J.'s Diner, The Snakehole Lounge), troublemaking citizens (Marcia Langman) and, of course, many other members of the Pawnee city government — none of them remotely as good at their jobs as Leslie Knope is at hers.
Tomorrow night's episode, "Animal Control," puts a spotlight two of those familiar faces, as Leslie and Chris try to improve the sorry state of the eponymous department. In this exclusive clip, they pay a visit to Animal Control and its two most prominent, stoned, employees (played, as usual, by comedian Colton Dunn and veteran "Parks" writer Harris Wittels) to see how, if at all, things can get better.
"Animal Control" airs tomorrow night at 8:30 Eastern on NBC. It's a very funny episode that also features Ron Swanson battling a health crisis and the return of yet another notable Pawnee face: Jason Mantzoukas as noted perfume designer Dennis Feinstein. Enjoy.
Bachelor and bachelorette parties for Shivrang and Cece, while Mindy and friends hit the road
The gang heads to Hollywood on a mission to cheer up Jules' dad
What happens when fifth bananas get their own shows?
It was a running gag in this season's "Justified" reviews that I wanted FX to create a web series around Jere Burns' Kentucky wiseguy character in which Wynn Duffy reacted to surprising things. A few days ago, a reader named Jason McNamara actually came up with the perfect premise and title: "Wynnipeg," a shameless rip-off of the Steve Van Zandt Netflix series "Lilyhammer," in which Wynn stays in Canada and teaches the locals how we do things south of the 49th parallel.
Little did I know that a "Wynnipeg"-esque spin-off of a current great drama was potentially going to be a real thing. Today, Deadline is reporting(*) that Sony is exploring the idea of creating a "Breaking Bad" spin-off centered around Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, created by Vince Gilligan and veteran "Breaking Bad" writer Peter Gould, who wrote season 2's "Better Call Saul." The show would be a comedy, though potentially an hour-long one.
Norman gets to know Deputy Shelby, and an incriminating piece of evidence turns up
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 176: 'Mad Men,' 'Da Vinci's Demons,' 'Nurse Jackie,' 'Veep & more
Dan and Alan also break down the finales for 'Justified' & 'Shameless'
I had to rush out on the end of today's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, and yet we still wound up talking for over 90 minutes, thanks to a dense "Mad Men" premiere, a pair of notable finales and three premieres. And we didn't even talk at all about Roger Ebert, which was a giant failure on our parts, and something we can hopefully rectify in next week's podcast — though it's not clear what day that will be published on, depending on Dan's travel schedule. The lineup:
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.