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 (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 9

Last Man Standing - "Help Wanted" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Since losing her teaching job, Vanessa has been spending her time hovering over the family, and it’s driving everyone nuts. Over at Kristin and Ryan’s house, Ryan and Kyle are wrapped-up in a zombie face-off to determine who knows the most about zombies and how to survive an apocalypse. Unable to land a new gig, Vanessa becomes discouraged, but Mike does everything he can to get her back doing what she loves.

Dr. Ken - "Ken's Apology" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Ken wants to apologize to a patient for missing an important medical detail, Pat advises against it, and the situation gets out of hand. Meanwhile, D.K. shakes things up at Dave’s parent/teacher conference.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 5)

Friday, December 9

  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Watch Olivia on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tom Papa (Come to Papa) - Tom is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones) - Sarah whips up a delicious treat on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Richard Kind (Spin City/Mad About You) - Richard is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Jennifer Aniston (Friends) - Jennifer appears on Chelsea on Netflix.