Thursday, February 27, 2014

The CW 2014 Season Finales, Summer News; Episodic Review: Community - "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality" Airing Tonight on NBC

Labyrinth

The CW announced its May 2014 season finale dates and the broadcast television premiere of the four-hour event miniseries Labyrinth, airing across two consecutive nights on Thursday, May 22 from 8:00-10:00pm ET and concluding Friday, May 23 from 8:00-10:00pm ET. Filmed on-location in the medieval town of Carcassonne in southwest France and Cape Town, South Africa, the historical miniseries jumps back and forth between modern and medieval France as it follows the lives of two women who are separated by centuries, but united in their search for the Holy Grail. Labyrinth features a multi-national and award-winning cast, including John Hurt, Sebastian Stan, Jessica Brown-Findlay, Vanessa Kirby and Tom Felton. The series is an adaption of Kate Mosse's New York Times best-seller and multi-million selling, international hit adventure/thriller novel of the same title. The CW's 2014 season finale dates are as follow:

Monday, May 5, 9:00pm: The Tomorrow People
Monday, May 12, 8:00pm Star-Crossed
Tuesday, May 13, 8:00pm: The Originals
Wednesday, May 14, 8:00pm: Arrow
Thursday, May 15, 8:00pm-10:00pm: The Vampire Diaries and Reign
Friday, May 16, 9:00pm: Hart of Dixie
Tuesday, May 20, 9:00pm: Supernatural
Wednesday, June 11, 9:00pm: The 100




On the next...Community (NBC, Thur 8:00pm):
By: Vincent

NBC's ensemble comedy lead by Joel McHale airs Thursdays at 8:00pm and we have just watched the next episode that airs tonight (Feb. 27). In the episode airing tonight, "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality," Professor Duncan (guest star John Oliver, The Daily Show) decides it's time to seduce Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Jeff (Joel McHale) counsels him on how to close the deal. Meanwhile, Britta runs into some old friends and realizes that they have moved on from their shared anarchist views of the past. Abed (Danny Pudi) runs afoul of Professor Hickey (Jonathan Banks) when he accidentally damages some drawings Hickey has been laboring over. When Hickey restrains Abed as punishment, the two end up spending some meaningful time together. Meanwhile, Chang (Ken Jeong) finds himself performing an impromptu one-man show for a ghostly audience.

At its heart, Community is a show about people trying to connect with each other. The show has become more known for its genre parodies and format bending over the years, but the thing that keeps it together is the strong, emotional undercurrent that focuses on how these people have been rejected from just about every other aspect of society and have to use Greendale to start themselves over. Five seasons in, it would be easy for Community to forget this undercurrent and just do a bunch of silly movie parodies every week. That's pretty much what the show did when it briefly lost its creator in Season 4, and it's the biggest reason why that season failed. But Season 5 has been a relief in that it's brought back those dark underlying in a big way. So it's nice to see the show pull off an episode like "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality," an episode that almost completely sidesteps the shows' inventive side and focuses in on its characters' emotions.



"Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality" reminded me a lot of "Mixology Certification", a season two episode that remains my favorite episode of the show. That episode centered around the study group going to be a bar and slowly tore apart each one of them, allowing us to see their vulnerabilities and weaknesses. It remains the gold standard for sitcom character development, in my mind – and although "Bondage" didn't *quite* reach those heights (mostly because it sidelines a few of its characters in favor of a silly Chang plot), it was certainly similar in its emotional honesty and its commitment to pathos. "Bondage" was also an episode that made good use of the shows' slightly altered ensemble. I was worried about the effect that Troy and Pierce's departures would have on the show, but it's done a really great job filling their void with the addition of Buzz Hickey and the re-introduction of Professor Duncan, both of whom fit quite neatly into the broken Community study group. Hickey, in particular, has been a surprisingly well-drawn and intriguing character. When a show adds a new character this late in the game, it's incredibly easy for that character to come off as a weak link, since they don't have the years of history and development like the rest of the ensemble. But Hickey has been a really rewarding addition, and the way the show has used him to sort of question each of its study group member has been fascinating. Like much of this season, "Bondage" re-highlighted what it is that makes this show work so well, while simultaneously finding new areas for its characters to explore. These kinds of episodes might not be as exciting as a paintball war of a school-wide game of Hot Lava, but they're just as rewarding, and arguably even more necessary. A-


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April)

The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five

03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, April 30

Bob's Burgers - "Like Gene for Chocolate" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Gene learns that the formula for his favorite chocolate has changed, he works with the head of the company in an attempt to remedy the situation. Meanwhile, Bob gets wrapped up in one of Teddy’s less-than-perfect plans.

Bob's Burgers - "Thelma & Louise Except Thelma Is Linda" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
After Louise gets in trouble at school, Linda is forced to meet with Mr. Frond (guest voice David Herman) and potentially could lose her hard-earned position as the Wagstaff bake sale leader. When she finds out that her daughter was actually trying to help another student, Linda is torn between following school policy or her own moral code.

The Simpsons - "Looking for Mr. Goodbart" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Bart gets in trouble on Grandparents Day at school and is forced to hang out with Skinner’s mother as punishment. After spending time with various grandmas in the neighborhood, he learns the benefits of hanging out with the elderly, but eventually recognizes the dangers of taking advantage of them. Meanwhile, Peekimon Get has taken over the town of Springfield.

Making History - "Night Cream" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
With the ever-present threat of losing tenure looming over him, Chris reaches out to John Hancock and Samuel Adams to help spice things up in the classroom in 2017. Meanwhile, Deb's dream of re-opening Chadwick's ice cream parlor is finally coming to fruition, but Dan has a few marketing ideas of his own.

Family Guy - "The Peter Principal" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Peter becomes the temporary principal at the high school, and Meg uses his new power to get even with her bullies. Meanwhile, Brian and Stewie open a bed & breakfast that quickly turns into a brothel.

The Last Man on Earth - "The Big Day" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Tandy and Gail face off in a major disagreement, on which the whole group must weigh in, and Carol is forced to choose a side. Meanwhile, Melissa, Todd and Erica each have major milestone moments.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 1)

Sunday, April 30

  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - Catch NeNe on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, May 1
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Watch Chris on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • America Ferrera (Superstore) - America drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) - Ike appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jake Johnson (New Girl) - Jake visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Hank Azaria (Brockmire/The Simpsons/Free Agents) - Hank stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Al Madrigal (About a Boy/Welcome to the Captain/Gary Unmarried) - Al appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch/Two and a Half Men/That '70s Show) - Ashton appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison teams up with Mario Batali to make a cheesy, decadent Gnocchi Al Telefono and dishes about her new Broadway show on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Charlie Hunnam (Undeclared) - Charlie will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 11:15am.
  • Nick Robinson (Melissa & Joey) - Nick talks about his new film Everything, Everything on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Hollywood Darlings/Fuller House/Full House) - Jodie is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.