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Superman & Lois (2021) s01e04 – Haywire

Okay, the show’s getting to the family part of the family drama—not to mention real Superman action (James Bamford does a good job with it, despite the costume colors being too muted and Metropolis being a little too on the cheap)—and it’s the best episode. “Superman & Lois” is on the precipice of being genuinely (with qualifications) interesting. The catalyst ends up being Dylan Walsh, who drops in unannounced to spend a weekend with the […]

What We Do in the Shadows (2019) s03e04 – The Casino

One of the things about “What We Do in the Shadows,” back in the first season, was the high number of standout episodes. Thanks to the lack of overarching narrative, week after week, the show could deliver these great done-in-ones. This episode is the first (and hopefully not only) great done-in-one for Season Three. It’s the first episode credited to Sarah Naftalis, whose been in the room since Season Two; Yana Gorskaya directs; she’s done […]

Frasier (1993) s06e21 – When a Man Loves Two Women

Credited writers Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck wrote the shittiest episode of “Frasier” ever (thus far) earlier this season, and so I was dreading this one. Especially since the logline seems primed for a bad episode—Kelsey Grammer hooks up with not one but two women (consecutively, not concurrently) and has to pick the one he wants to pursue a relationship with. It stands out because the women are returning guest stars—Virginia Madsen and Amy Brenneman—and […]

What If…? (2021) s01e06 – What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?

What is it with this show’s abject inability to land the foreboding epilogue? This episode is another series highlight—not just in terms of voice acting, but also budget (they don’t skimp on any of it, including a big battle scene in Wakanda)—but they somehow miss the most obvious ramifications of the change. The episode’s all about Michael B. Jordan’s Black Panther villain inserting himself into Iron Man 1 to take his revenge on Wakanda and […]

Frasier (1993) s06e20 – Dr. Nora

There’s a lot of hilarious stuff in this episode and some great performances from the regular cast, especially the guests, but wow, it does not age well. Christine Baranski guest stars as a Dr. Laura analog who calls women sinners and sluts, with a set of conservative values people like John Mahoney have been missing. The episode—script credit to Joe Keenan—assumes everyone watching the show will be white, secular, and at least middle class; they’ve […]

What If…? (2021) s01e05 – What If… Zombies?!

Even with the trite, albeit genre-appropriate conclusion, this episode of “What If…?” is definitely the series high. And not just because Jeffrey Wright barely has any lines. It’s an actually good script—credited to Matthew Chauncey—with good action set pieces, better voice acting, and some good twists and turns. However, after a strong start with Mark Ruffalo, it turns out—once again—the secret to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Even if […]

My Life Is Murder (2019) s02e05 – Crushed Dreams

While COVID doesn’t exist in “My Life Is Murder”—seriously, how long does it have to go on before someone might think they should address it even for reruns; we had to deal with flag pins for a decade—Zoom has still become a thing. Unclear how Zoom became ubiquitous in a world without lockdown, but since one of the show’s central conceits is Lucy Lawless’s four loaves of sourdough bread are all Joe Naufahu ever needs […]

My Life Is Murder (2019) s02e04 – Look Don’t Touch

It may just be the museum setting or Lucy Lawless making fun of a woman with a dog in a stroller at the beginning of the episode, but I’m really on board with this season of “My Life is Murder.” The actual big difference—besides giving Lawless some backstory to drive her character and the move to New Zealand—is turning Lawless and sidekick Ebony Vagulans into roomies. They can’t avoid one another (more precisely, Lawless can’t […]

Evil (2019) s02e09 – U Is for U.F.O.

Remember last season when the “Evil” team discovered a fertility clinic in Manhattan infusing babies with concentrated evil—no doubt imported from the Prince of Darkness church—including one of star Katja Herbers’s daughters? It was a big deal plot then. This season it’s been barely acknowledged, then this whole episode is about getting the show back towards that big deal. See, Mike Colter’s only got four more weeks until he becomes a Catholic priest and will […]

My Life Is Murder (2019) s02e03 – All That Glitters

“My Life is Murder” has seven more episodes this season, and it’s entirely unclear how much more they can reveal about Lucy Lawless’s character by the end. In this episode, we find out not only does she have a brother (Martin Henderson), he’s a con man (a professional one like their dad), he’s in prison, and she moved from Australia to New Zealand to be some kind of a support system for him. All that […]

What We Do in the Shadows (2019) s03e03 – Gail

I’m feeling a lot better about this season. Or, more accurately, I feel like I don’t have to worry about this season. Given the significant changes—filming during Rona, Jemaine Clement leaving the writers room—I’d forgotten the standard season-to-season change. They’ve been away for a while, the momentum’s slowed, the energy’s changed. But they’re doing just fine. No small thanks to the script, credited to Marika Sawyer, which does an excellent parsing out of the cast […]

What If…? (2021) s01e04 – What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?

Apparently, at some point, if you’ve been a superhero long enough—in this case, Benedict Cumberbatch, who’s five years in—you eventually end up in a junkyard having a Superman III fight; wait, so was Christopher Reeve. Anyway, in this universe, Rachel McAdams is not a disposable girlfriend character in Doctor Strange; she’s the all-powerful girlfriend in a refrigerator. And after she dies instead of Cumberbatch losing the use of his hands, he becomes obsessed with going […]

Frasier (1993) s06e19 – IQ

What I can’t figure out with episode director David Lee, whose name I’ve come to dread this season, is the obviously uneven enthusiasm. This episode’s got a couple literal set pieces—there’s an auction scene and a restaurant scene (in addition to the apartment)—and there’s a lot of detail during those sequences but the blandest three-camera sitcom. Maybe the answer’s simple, and the unbilled extras in the episode had more imagination than Lee, but this episode’s […]

Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s06e15 – The Fungus Amongus

“Legends” ends this season with a cast change-up—ten main characters were too many, so they’re reducing to eight. One of the goodbyes is more surprising than the other, though only one of them gets anywhere near the attention it deserves. The other receives a rush job. Can’t really get into details without spoiling. There’s also a little bit of next season set-up, but barely any. Certainly not like coming back to find you broke time […]

Evil (2019) s02e08 – B Is for Brain

“Evil” has definitely hit the part of the production run when they knew they were streaming only. The F-bombs come in dialogue and not in voiceover or inserts. And Katja Herbers’s journey to wherever gets to be a lot more intense. Well, maybe. I don’t know; would CBS have let them do cross-shaped burns on her belly she likes rubbed to pain during gagged, animal mask sex? When the season was still in its obviously […]

What We Do in the Shadows (2019) s03e02 – The Cloak of Duplication

The episode opens with a lengthy, hilarious bit of Harvey Guillén mocking Kayvan Novak’s lack of self-awareness. It’s terrific. And then there’s immediately another strong punchline bit when the cast returns to the Vampiric Council building to get a grand tour. Kristen Schaal’s around for the tour and that second strong punchline—as well as a C plot set up involving the world’s oldest vampire, presumably even older than the world’s oldest vampire who was in […]

What We Do in the Shadows (2019) s03e01 – The Prisoner

I wasn’t apprehensive about this season of “What We Do in the Shadows,” but there are a couple changes to this season I couldn’t help but think about as this episode kicked off. First, show creator and original movie co-creator Jemaine Clement isn’t involved in a writing capacity this season, which may take a while to show itself to be a problem (or just never be one). Oh, and I think they filmed during Covid […]

Superman & Lois (2021) s01e03 – The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower

I feel like they’ve got to know the muscle suit is unimpressive because they’re going out of their way not to dwell on it or to cut straight from long shot to close-up. And this episode’s director, Gregory Smith, definitely seems to have the Superman imagery in mind, as the episode opens with a nod to the flapping red cape of Superman: The Movie. It’ll be the majority of the Super-action in the episode until […]

My Life Is Murder (2019) s02e02 – Oceans Apart

On the one hand, the previous episode spent a lot of time reuniting Lucy Lawless and sidekick Ebony Vagulans to break them up here; this episode, Vagulans has hurt her leg while at a water park trying to stay cool because Lawless won’t get an air conditioner. So Vauglans is in the apartment for all her scenes, including a great one with copper Rawiri Jobe, while Lawless is out investigating the possible murder of a […]

Superman & Lois (2021) s01e02 – Heritage

I’ll just admit I’m sort of rooting for “Superman & Lois.” Nothing outrageous like making my wife sit through it, but I’d like it to go well enough I can keep watching it. I’ve liked Elizabeth Tulloch’s Lois Lane, I’ve been OK with Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman. Now, they’re the only things with any continuity to the “Supergirl” show at this point, as I realized Adam Rayner’s villain is an Adrian Pasdar recast. Now, Pasdar quit […]

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