At the beginning of February, I posted an (UPDATE) outlining the next stage of ‘The Endless Reel’, which included new titles being added to the comic book monthly lineup and the addition of television shows to the mix of regularly-covered content. Starting in March, all comic book reviews – posts currently tagged (REVIEW) – will become (COMIC REVIEW)s to differentiate from the new (TV REVIEW) tag I’ll be using for television shows.
Of course, unlike the monthly schedule of comic book releases, television shows take breaks and hiatuses between seasons, during the winter, etc. As much as I can, I’ll be updating the TV SCHEDULE page of the site to let readers know when to expect a new review. As I don’t have cable, I won’t be viewing episodes as soon as they’re aired. For now, I’ll be posting each show’s episode review on the following day after it’s air date.
So, without further ado, here are the shows that will be coming soon to ‘The Endless Reel’s regular coverage!
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 9pm)
Based on Disney’s extensive pantheon of fantasy and storybook characters, Once Upon A Time is a Lost-style serial about an evil curse that has trapped these fairy tale characters in the real world, stuck in Storybrooke, Maine, a town cut off from time. If it sounds a little confusing, it is. Much like Lost before it, series creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have crafted a rather complex plot that weaves together events in the real world and fairy tale flashbacks that ‘reformat’ the classic stories into a rich, cohesive mythology that expands with each episode.
American Dad! (FOX, 9:30pm)
Of all the Sunday night animated shows that FOX airs, American Dad! is consistently the funniest and most overlooked. Stan Smith is a conservative CIA agent who lives with his family in fictional Langley Falls, Virginia. His wife, Francine, is the epitome of a trophy wife while his kids, Haley and Steve, leave much to be desired in Stan’s eyes. Joined by an effeminate, costume-obsessed alien named Roger and a fish with the mind of a man named Klaus, American Dad! might have been little more than a Family Guy rip-off for it’s first few seasons, but since 2008, it’s been better than Family Guy or the deplorable The Cleveland Show. I mean, they did a whole episode with My Morning Jacket.
Based on the UK series of the same name, Being Human is the story of a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost who all live in a house together. Sounds kitschy, right? Well, the vampire and werewolf work together at a hospital and they rent a house – in an effort to lead a more ‘normal’ life – that just so happens to be haunted by a ghost, so it’s not like they’ve formed some supernatural team. The first season followed it’s British forefather pretty closely, but the current second season has taken it’s own, fantastic course.
New Girl (FOX, 9pm)
Zooey Deschanel is a controversial person. Some people hate her because of her ‘twee’ attitude and acting style, while others love her for her work with M. Ward as She & Him and their subsequent albums. Or vice-versa. In New Girl, Deschanel is allowed to let her character, Jess, nearly explode with happiness and positivity, a natural exaggeration of her public persona. What makes the show great is how Jess’ quirks affect the three guys she’s come to live with. While the premise is rather flaky, the jokes are solid and the storytelling is fun.
Modern Family (ABC, 8:30pm)
I’ve yet to meet someone who’s seen Modern Family and hasn’t enjoyed it. Set up in the loose mockumentary style like that of The Office, ABC’s take on a current-day extended family is loads of fun. Starring heavyweights like Ed O’Neill (Married With Children) and Julie Bowen (Ed, Boston Legal, Weeds), Modern Family gives us a glimpse into the lives of the Pritchett Families. This minimal premise sets the stage for amazing family interactions and multi-story narratives. This show has been the favorite at the Emmy Awards two years in a row now and looks to make it a hat trick at next year’s ceremony.
Happy Endings (ABC, 9:30pm)
If you haven’t watched Happy Endings, do yourself a favor a go find a stream of it somewhere on the internet. The 2010-11 TV season was rife with shows that focused on a group of friends, all in different places relationship-wise. Only one survived the wrath of Neilsen, and it was the best one, by far. Happy Endings is a Friends-style show about six friends living in Chicago. What makes this series different from all the others is it’s rapid-fire joke style couples with increasing attention to detail and character development. Every week, it gets better and I just don’t know if there even is a plateau.
Community (NBC, 8pm)
Rejoice! After a cancellation scare followed by a three-month waiting game, NBC finally announced the return of Community for Thursday, March 15. Seriously one of the best shows on TV right now, Community tells the continuing tales of a study group at a community college in fictional Greendale, Colorado. It’s never really been about college, though. The show itself is a metacommentary on the television medium, ranging from sitcom satire to full-on theme episodes and alternate timelines. It’s never received the ratings it deserves, but critics and fans alike know it’s the smartest, wittiest, most metafictional show on TV, possibly in history. Watch it. It’s on Hulu Plus and the discs are available from Netflix. Seriously, check it out.
Parks and Recreation (NBC, 8:30pm)
Originally derided as a fairly lackluster The Office copy, Parks and Recreation hit it’s stride in Season 2 and hasn’t stopped. Amy Poehler’s mockumentary about Pawnee, Indiana’s Parks and Rec. department gets better every season. Similar to The Simpsons, show producers and writers have created a whole world in Pawnee, one populated by some of the weirdest, dullest, most proud, normal citizens in the country. It’s so much fun to have your favorite minor character that only pops up every ten episodes or so with a one-liner that’s just too funny to handle. Also starring funny man Aziz Ansari (30 Seconds or Less), Rashida Jones (The Muppets, The Office), and Aubrey Plaza (Funny People).
The Office (NBC, 9pm)
Though it meandered somewhat through the first half of this eight season, The Office is starting (finally) to get back on track after Steve Carrell’s exit last May. With James Spader and Ed Helms now – somewhat – filling the hole that the ever-needy Michael Scott left, producers and writers have been finding it difficult to balance the show’s other characters and feature them more prominently. While still a great show, it hasn’t hit the highs we saw with Michael.
Grimm (NBC, 9pm)
Along with Once Upon A Time, NBC’s Grimm attempts to bring fairy tales into the modern world of storytelling. But while OUaT takes the serial approach, telling one massive story over the course of a season, Grimm is told in the procedural format with each episode’s story coming to completion before the 43 minute mark. In Portland, Oregon, Detective Nick Burkhardt is told by his aunt that he is a Grimm, a descendant of the Brothers Grimm who wrote the seminal ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’. Now able to see the monsters around them for who they truly are, Nick must balance his work as a detective against his clandestine title as a Grimm.
Portlandia (IFC, 10pm)
Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) and Carrie Brownstein (of Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag) have an interesting take on America’s chillest of cities. To them, Portland is a unique place, populated by the hippies, the bourgeoisie, and the yuppies. With skits that connect and characters that don’t become overbearing or annoying, Portlandia is one of the freshest and most addictive sketch comedy shows in some time.
(Cartoon Network, 10:30am)
Last year, Cartoon Network started airing Young Justice, then put it on break for six months before brining it back for a few episodes then putting it on hiatus again. Without even a full first season finished, Young Justice will start airing new episodes as part of CN’s “DC Nation” block of programming. Based (really) on an incarnation of the Teen Titans, this show’s Young Justice team is comprised of Robin (Dick Grayson), Kid Flash (Wally West), Superboy (Conner Kent), Miss Martian, and Artemis (Artemis Crock) with Red Tornado as their liaison to the Justice League. Excellent animation style and a solid writing staff make this a series any DC Comics fan should watch.
Green Lantern: The Animated Series
(Cartoon Network, 10am)
Back in November, Cartoon Network previewed Green Lantern: TAS for their “DC Nation” block of shows that would start in January 2012. Obviously, CN missed the original mark, but Green Lantern: TAS is indeed coming back on Saturday, March 3. With Bruce Timm (Batman: TAS, Superman: TAS, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited) as Executive Producer, old-school DC Animated Universe fans should look forward to a similar art style (albeit in CGI) and narrative flow.
I hope you all like the choices I’ve made for coverage and I look forward to reading your comments!