Thursday, April 17, 2014

Episodic Review: Community - "Basic Sandwich" Airing Tonight on NBC; FX Orders 3rd Season of The Americans, Solid Start for Fargo



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 (April 17). In the episode airing tonight, "Basic Sandwich," once Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Hickey (Jonathan Banks) locate the school's blueprints, Annie (Alison Brie) and Abed (Danny Pudi) lead the search for Borchert's old computer lab, which was sealed off years ago. Meanwhile, Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) make a grown-up decision about their futures.

Because of its low-rated status, the past few season finales of Community have also meant to serve as potential series finales in case the show didn't get picked up. Season 3's finale, "Introduction to Finality", was a low-key, heartfelt outing that nicely wrapped up all of the shows' central themes into a clear and concise knot. The troubled Season 4's finale, "Advanced Introduction to Finality", took the opposite route by giving us a huge spectacle that tried to be as daring and surprising as possible but mostly just wound up feeling reductive and hollow. This years' finale, "Basic Sandwich", finds itself somewhere in the middle. There's no doubt that it's a much better effort than last years' finale, which is to be expected given the show has seen a huge creative resurgence this year, but it does lack the depth and the fearlessness that Community possesses at its very best. It's a fun adventure with a lot of great jokes, a fairly unique premise, and a lot of nice character moments, but it also feels a little worn around the edges. The story is far more basic and rudimentary than you might expect from this show, and there's sort of a sense that the show is at a bit of a loss for how to wrap up the season.



What is most disappointing about "Basic Sandwich" is the way it sort of drops the interesting questions that the preceding episode "Basic Story" posed for the show. While "Basic Story" seemed to be an episode that wrestled with the very idea of an ending, "Basic Sandwich" is little more than a fun scavenger hunt that finds the study group looking for buried treasure. The study group looking for buried treasure promises a lot of fun in and of itself, and it delivers on that front. But when Community is at its best - as it has been several times this season - there's a little more going on underneath the surface, and I'm not entirely sure that's true of this episode. Still, maybe Community has earned the right to relax a bit. This season has been the first time in a long time - perhaps ever - that the show has felt at ease with itself. And as we head into another era of uncertainty about the shows' future (though I'm staying hopeful and trusting that "six seasons and a movie" will soon be fulfilled) it's not so bad to see the show just kicking back and enjoying the ride a little. It's not a gear I want to see the show in all of the time, but just for now, there's something comforting about seeing Community relax just a bit. B


The Americans

FX has picked up its hit drama The Americans for a 13-episode third season. One of television's most critically-acclaimed series, The Americans has fast become a signature show for FX. Five episodes remain in the current season. The series airs Wednesdays at 10:00 PM E/P. In its first season, The Americans was the most critically-acclaimed new program of 2013, winning the Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding New Program. The critical acclaim for season 2 has surpassed that of its remarkable first season. On a Live+7 basis, season 2 of The Americans is averaging 3.08 million Total Viewers and 1.47 million Adults 18-49, respective declines of just -9% and -14%, due in part to the lofty performance of the series' premiere episode. Time-shifted viewing has increased significantly with season 2 averaging respective gains of +130% in Adults 18-49 and +109% in Total Viewers (Live+Same Day to Live+7, compared to +93% and +83% respectively for season 1.

Set in 1981 just after Ronald Reagan is elected president, The Americans, starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich, is a drama series about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. The series was created by and is executive produced by Joe Weisberg (Falling Skies), a former CIA agent who went on to become an accomplished author. Joel Fields and Graham Yost are also executive producers, along with Amblin Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. The Americans is produced by Fox Television Studios and FX Productions. And finally, "you betcha" the limited series Fargo is off to a good start! FX's new 10-part limited series and critical juggernaut Fargo received a warm reception among viewers, drawing 4.15 million total viewers and 1.79 million Adults 18-49 for its first installment, a very strong initial number which will amount to only a small fraction of its final tally once time-shifted viewing arrives. The premiere episode, "The Crocodile's Dilemma," which ran from 10:00-11:37 PM, and encore telecasts (11:37 PM and 1:13 AM) combined to deliver 4.1 million Total Viewers and 1.79 million Adults 18-49. Fargo's first-run episode at 10:00 PM posted 2.65 million Total Viewers and 1.02 million Adults 18-49, which were respective increases of +100% and +67% over its lead-in half hour (the broadcast premiere of the movie Contraband). The network expects a massive spike in viewership when Live+3 ratings data becomes available on Monday and inclusive of Live+7 data in approximately three weeks. Oscar(R) winner Billy Bob Thornton stars as Lorne Malvo.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, February 26

The Goldbergs - "Body Swap" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Adam is torn between following Beverly’s rules when it comes to off-campus lunch or going to the mall food court with his friends. Meanwhile, after using Barry’s college ID to get food at the dorm, Geoff goes overboard and becomes the “student” Barry wishes he could be.

The Goldbergs - "WrestleMania" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Murray decides to buy WrestleMania tickets to spend time with Barry and Adam, but he buys fake tickets so they can’t get in. Meanwhile, Beverly forms her own neighborhood watch group when the Frentas decide neighbor Jane Bales will be the Watch Captain and not her.

Modern Family - "The Prescott" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Alex’s new company is putting her up at a new luxury apartment with full amenities and a list of high-profile residents that the family is eager to take advantage of, without her knowing. Phil is on a mission to review the restaurant’s famous sliders for his food blog, while Mitch and Cam sneak in separately to meet its most famous resident, David Beckham. Meanwhile, Luke and Manny head straight for the gym to try and pick up on older women and end up in some hot water with a few of the residents.

Single Parents - "Untz, Untz, Untz" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Angie uses Sophie as bait to get time with her crush Colin by setting up Sophie and Percy, Colin’s son, on a playdate at Angie’s house. Meanwhile, Poppy and Douglas navigate Douglas’ first night sleeping at Poppy’s house, which doesn’t go as expected; and Graham and Will go on a bro-date of their own to the pizza parlor.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 24)

Wednesday, February 26

  • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother/Undeclared) - Watch Jason on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Nick Jonas (Jonas) - Nick appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Finesse Mitchell (Outmatched/A.N.T. Farm) - Finesse stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood/The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Beth Behrs (The Neighborhood/2 Broke Girls) and Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Beth and Tichina are guests on A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Michael Rapaport (Atypical/The War at Home) - Michael stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • William Shatner ($h*! My Dad Says) - William appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) - Melissa drops by The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster/Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) - Soleil appears on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Bobby Cannavale (Angie Tribeca/Nurse Jackie) - Bobby talks about The Jesus Rolls on NBC's Today in the 9am hour and on the BUILD Series at 12pm.
  • Mark Addy (Still Standing) - Mark talks about Hangmen on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Jason Ritter (The Class) - Jason is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January/February)

Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One Martin - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series

12/03 - The Simpsons - The Nineteenth Season
12/03 - The Simpsons - Seasons 1-20: Limited Collector's Set
12/06 - 9JKL - The Complete Series
12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
12/17 - Atlanta - Season 2 - Robbin' Season
12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
12/17 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (2019 Release)
12/17 - The Other Two - Season 1
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume Two
01/14 - Veep - The Final (Seventh) Season (Blu-ray)
01/14 - Veep - The Complete Series (DVD)
01/21 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Third Season (WBShop.com)
01/21 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Fifth and Final Season
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Series
01/28 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (DVD)
02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series
02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

02/26 - HBO Comedy Betty to Premiere May 1; Molly Shannon Is a Big Deal on Showtime
02/25 - AMC Gets Alternating Single-Camera and Multi-Camera Sitcom; Bunk'd Returning for Season 5
02/24 - Friends Reunion Officially on HBO Max in May 2020; Modern Family Fan Favorite Episodes Marathon
02/23 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 24, 2020)
02/22 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Lark Voorhies Unhappy with Saved by the Bell Reboot Snub; Remembering Ja'Net DuBois
02/21 - Fri-Yay: Single Parents Quietly Becoming ABC's Best Sitcom; BET+ Gets Bigger with Comedy
02/20 - Are You Afraid of the Dark and All That Get More Episodes; Tyler Perry Gets Nick Sitcom
02/19 - Remembering Ja'Net DuBois of Good Times, Kellye Nakahara of M*A*S*H, and Others We've Recently Lost
02/18 - Family Matters Back on TBS; Caroline Rhea to Headline Showtime Comedy Special
02/17 - The Last O.G. Returns to TBS on April 7; He-Man Gets All-Star Cast on Netflix
02/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 17, 2020)
02/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CSI Limited Series for the 20th Anniversary?; ABC Orders Comedy Pilots
02/14 - Fri-Yay: Thoughts on Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens; HBO's Avenue 5 Gets 2nd Season
02/13 - The Mighty Ducks Returning as Series on Disney+; NBC Sets More Mid-Season Series
02/12 - NBC Renews Superstore for Season 6; UK Comedy Receives 2nd Season Before US Premiere
02/11 - Brockmire's Final Season Begins March 18; The Good Doctor Gets 4th Season
02/10 - Audible Gets Comedy Series with Big Stars; Fox Gets Another Guessing Music Series

02/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 10, 2020)
02/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Friends Reunion Coming to HBO Max; IMDb TV Acquires Free Streaming Rights to Lost, Malcolm in the Middle, and More
02/07 - Fri-Yay: Two Comedies Have Series Finales; House of Payne Returning and New Tyler Perry Sitcom Both Coming to BET
02/06 - NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Indebted - Premieres Tonight (Feb. 6); HBO Runs with New Comedy
02/05 - HBO Max Gets Jameela Jamil to Judge Series; ThunderCats Roar Back to TV on Cartoon Network
02/04 - ABC's Fresh Off the Boat Series Finale Details; Funny Or Die Comedy Now Streaming
02/03 - Netflix Gets Katharine McPhee Multi-Cam Sitcom; Two Daytime Soaps Renewed
02/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 3, 2020)
02/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Remembering Fred Silverman, the Man Who Shaped TV in the 70s; Pair of Soap Operas Renewed
01/31 - Fri-Yay: The Good Place Officially Ends; Starz Picks Up Comedy with Amber Stevens West
01/30 - Terry Bradshaw Gets Comedic Series The Bradshaw Bunch; ABC Moves Drama Premiere by a Week in April
01/29 - CBS Announces Midseason Comedy Premieres; Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Is a Hit
01/28 - The Good Place Finale Post Show Special; Guy Fieri Is Up for a Food Network Face-Off
01/27 - New Punk'd Gets Host; Comedic Game Show Renewed Through 2023
01/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 27, 2020)