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

Tuesday, February 7

Night Court - "The Apartment" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
In desperate need of a new apartment, Abby turns to Gurgs and her unconventional real estate skills; Dan helps Olivia prepare for the biggest case of her career and a shot at redemption.

American Auto - "Celebrity" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Payne loses their spokesperson, Katherine and the team go to great lengths to woo a new celebrity -- Andy Richter -- only to have second thoughts.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 6)

Tuesday, February 7

  • Salma Hayek Pinault (30 Rock/The Sinbad Show) - Catch Salma on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. She also talks about Your Place or Mine on ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Paula Pell (Girls5eva/Mapleworth Murders/A.P. Bio) - Paula will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Good Place/Barry/Downward Dog) - Kirby appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Elon Gold (Stacked/In-Laws) - Elon is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea guest hosts Comedy Central's The Daily Show at 11pm.
  • Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch/Two and a Half Men/That '70s Show) - Ashton will be interviewed on E! News on E! at 11pm.
  • Alison Brie (GLOW/Community) - Alison is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Fortune Feimster (Kenan/Bless the Harts/Champions) - Fortune joins Tamron to chat about her Netflix comedy special Good Fortune and her new tour Live Laugh Love! on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Alan Cumming (Schmigadoon!/God, the Devil and Bob) - Alan is talking to Drew about his new show and the time he swam in Drew's pool when she wasn't home on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor/The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette will be on The Jennifer Hudson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ron Funches (Loot/Poweless/Undateable) - Ron appears on The Jennifer Hudson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew is a guest on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am. She will also be interviewed on E! News on E! at 11pm.
  • Zoe Chao (The Afterparty/Love Life) - Zoe talks about Your Place or Mine on ABC's Good Mornning America some time between 7-9am.
  • Nick Jonas (Jonas) - NBC's Today catches up with Nick in the 9am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November-February)

Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Ghosts - Season One Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Ten Growing Pains - The Complete Series

11/08 - Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/08 - Young Rock - Season Two (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/15 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Seven / The Complete Season Eight
11/22 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/29 - Ghosts - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
12/06 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Christmas Collection
12/13 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season
12/13 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/03 - Andy Richter Controls the Universe - The Complete Series (2023 Release)
01/27 - Master of None - Season Three / The Complete Series
02/21 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Nine / The Complete Season Ten
02/28 - Growing Pains - The Complete Series
More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

02/06 - Netflix Renews That '90s Show for Season 2; Remembering Charles Kimbrough of Murphy Brown
02/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 6, 2023)
02/04 - SitcomsOnline Digest: New Episodes of King of the Hill and Futurama in the Horizon; Night Court and That '90s Show Get Second Seasons
02/03 - NBC Renews Night Court for Season 2; CBS and Fox Pick Up Dramas for 2023-24
02/02 - Paramount+ Begins Production on Frasier; Blindspotting Premieres 2nd Season in April
02/01 - Hulu to Revive King of the Hill; Apple TV+ Orders Season 3 of Acapulco
01/31 - Remembering Sitcom Legend Cindy Williams of Laverne & Shirley; HBO's The Last of Us Renewed for Season 2
01/30 - Paramount+ Series Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Launches Feb. 16; Remembering Lisa Loring of The Addams Family
01/29 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 30, 2023)
01/28 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Neil Patrick Harris Reprises Character on How I Met Your Father; Rick and Morty Co-Creator Fired From Series
01/27 - NBC Celebrates Carol Burnett's 90th Birthday in April; Fox Renews The Simpsons, Family Guy and Bob's Burgers for 2 Seasons Each; Remembering Yoshio Yoda of McHale's Navy and Carole Cook of The Lucy Show
01/26 - CBS Renews Bob Hearts Abishola for Season 5; Marc Maron HBO Special Premieres February 11
01/25 - BUZZR Wigs Out for Laughs on Friday; The CW's Comedic Launches
01/24 - CBS Renews The Neighborhood for Season 6; Lifetime's New February Ripped from the Headlines Movies Starring Chrishell Stause and Samantha Mathis
01/23 - OWN Acquires Insecure Starting in February; Season 2 of Bel-Air Gets Tatyana Ali to Recur
01/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 23, 2023)
01/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court a Success for NBC; South Park Season 26 Premiere Date Set
01/20 - Amazon Freevee Orders The Pradeeps of Pittsburgh; ABC's 20th Anniversary of Jimmy Kimmel Live!
01/19 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: Apple TV+; HBO's Rain Dogs Premieres March 6
01/18 - getTV Reveals Magnum P.I. Timeslot; Onyx Collective Bringing More Programming to Hulu
01/17 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: Hulu, NBCUniversal; Antenna TV Valentine's Day Marathon
01/16 - Zoey 101 Movie Zoey 102 Coming Soon to Paramount+; Starz Picks Up Minx
01/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 16, 2023)
01/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Pair of Popular Broadcast Sitcoms Renewed for Third Season; Malcolm in the Middle Movie in the Works?
01/13 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: FX; NBC Alters Midseason 2023 Schedule
01/12 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: ABC/Freeform; Antenna TV's Designing Women Super Belle Special
01/11 - All in the Family Coming to MeTV; 80th Golden Globe Winners
01/10 - SAG Nominations Live on Instagram Live; Remembering Earl Boen of It's a Living and Adam Rich of Eight Is Enough
01/09 - Wednesday Is Netflix's Top Hit of the Year; CBS Renews Fire Country
01/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 9, 2023)
01/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Wednesday to Get Second Season at Netflix; Call Me Kat Pays Tribute to Leslie Jordan
01/06 - SNL Announces Guest Hosts, Including Aubrey Plaza; Paramount+ Orders Series Starring Nicole Kidman