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

Thursday, December 12

Young Sheldon - "Teenager Soup and a Little Ball of Fib" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon fakes being sick to avoid a swim test at school. Also, Dr. Sturgis spies on Meemaw’s new boyfriend.

The Unicorn - "Anna and the Unicorn" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Wade is giddy, his daughters are amused and his friends are excited when he has his first crush since becoming single again. Also, Grace and Natalie take advantage of their dad going on dates by having friends over and it starts to get out of hand.

Mom - "Higgledy-Piggledy and a Cat Show" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie is forced to relive painful Christmas memories when Christy recounts tales from her childhood to Bonnie’s sponsee, Patty (Kate Micucci).

Carol's Second Act - "Merry December 19th" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Carol excitedly plans an early Christmas celebration for Jenny, but Jenny’s preoccupied with her secret first date with Daniel. Also, the doctors investigate a case of food poisoning at an office holiday party.

Superstore - "Negotiations" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jonah and Sandra represent the Cloud 9 employees at union contract negotiations with corporate. Worried about the union’s fate, Amy, Dina and Cheyenne distract themselves by looking for the perfect Christmas tree. Mateo, Garrett and Glenn compete to see who can sell an unsellable item.

Perfect Harmony - "Merry Jaxmas" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Reverend Jax is visited by his charismatic parents, Arthur helps him overcome his lifelong feelings of living in their shadow, and encourages him to embrace his way of ministering in time for their Christmas performance. Meanwhile, Ginny and Wayne decide to have a secret fling.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 9)

Thursday, December 12

  • Ryan Reynolds (Two Guys and a Girl) - Catch Ryan on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. He also talks about 6 Underground on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Keri Russell (Running Wilde) - Keri stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Sam Rockwell (F Is for Family) - Sam visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub (Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy/How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet) - Mary Lynn is a panelist on Lights Out with David Spade at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
  • John Lithgow (Trial and Error/Twenty Good Years/3rd Rock from the Sun) - John drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • The Cast of The Brady Bunch - The Cast of The Brady Bunch are guests on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Kathy Bates (Disjointed) - Kathy appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace stops by The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Patricia Heaton (Carol's Second Act/The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - The Heaton is on – Patricia is back and Rach has a surprise in store for her on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Guys with Kids/Entourage) - Jamie-Lynn talks about Mob Town on NBC's Today in the 9am hour, on the BUILD Series at 1pm and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Madison Iseman (Still the King) - Madison talks about Jumanji: The Next Level on People Now at 12pm and on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana performs on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November/December)

Life with Lucy - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season

10/08 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series
10/08 - Life with Lucy - The Complete Series
10/15 - Mom - The Complete Sixth Season
10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 1
10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 2
11/05 - The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang - The Complete Animated Series
11/05 - Laverne & Shirley in the Army (Animated Series) - The DVD Edition
11/05 - Letterkenny - Seasons 1 & 2
11/05 - Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season (Blu-ray)
11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Series (Blu-ray Limited Edition)
11/18 - The Guest Book - Season Two
11/19 - The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/19 - The Kominsky Method - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
12/03 - The Simpsons - The Nineteenth Season
12/03 - The Simpsons - Seasons 1-20: Limited Collector's Set
12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

12/12 - All in the Family Cast Announced for Next Live in Front of a Studio Audience; Curb Returns Jan. 19
12/11 - Reno 911 Returning with New Episodes; Remembering Philip McKeon of Alice
12/10 - 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominees; Hugh Laurie HBO Comedy Set for January
12/09 - Remembering René Auberjonois of Benson; Brady Bunch Star to Give Tour of White House on HGTV
12/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 9, 2019)
12/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: New Sitcom from Chuck Lorre Under Development at CBS; Remembering Legendary TV Producer Leonard Goldberg
12/06 - Fri-Yay: The Good Place Nearing the End; TBS Orders More Misery Index
12/05 - Antenna TV's News Year's Day with NewsRadio Marathon; American Housewife Star Gets Netflix Comedy Specials
12/04 - ABC's Schooled Gets Full Sophomore Year; Pop TV Rings in the New Year with Schitt's Creek
12/03 - Special Guest Hosts on Late Late Show; A Very COZI Christmas Marathon on COZI TV
12/02 - Roseanne Coming to COZI TV in January; Comedy Central Brings Back 31 Days of Holiday Survival
12/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 2, 2019)
11/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: A Look at the Party of Five Reboot; The Simpsons Not Ending Soon, Says Producer
11/29 - Dove Channel Brings Out Holiday Classics; CW Gets DC Universe Series with Sitcom Star
11/28 - 2019 Thanksgiving TV Marathons on TV This Holiday Weekend
11/27 - CBS Slates I Love Lucy Christmas Special on Dec. 20; Is 2020 the Year of the Rabbit?
11/26 - New Ted Danson NBC Comedy Gets Holly Hunter; Mel Brooks Gets New HBO Comedy Special
11/25 - TV One Gets Family Matters and Schedules Holiday Stunts; Disney Channel Sitcom Gets Season 3
11/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 25, 2019)
11/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Price is Right and Jeopardy Primetime Specials in the Horizon; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Coming to DVD and Blu-ray
11/22 - Fri-Yay: Rick and Morty Season 4; ABC Midseason 2020 Schedule
11/21 - Miracle Workers Returns to TBS; ABC's Summer Fun & Games Lineup Renewed for 2020
11/20 - Lifetime's Winter Ripped from the Headlines; PIX11 Holiday Lineup
11/19 - Showtime Gets Vanessa Bayer Comedy Pilot; Jeopardy! Sees Who's the GOAT on ABC Primetime
11/18 - Viacom's Comedy Central Renews The Office & Parks and Recreation; E! Gets New Jason Kennedy Series
11/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 18, 2019)
11/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: One Day at a Time Season Premiere Date Set; Brooklyn Nine-Nine Renewed
11/15 - Fri-Yay: Disney+ Launches; NBC Orders 8th Season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine
11/14 - Antenna TV's Classic Christmas Collection and Christmas Through the Years; TBS Orders a Fifth Season of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
11/13 - 2019 A Very Merry MeTV Lineup; Ricky Gervais Returns to Host Golden Globe Awards
11/12 - CBS Midseason 2020 Plans Include FBI Spin-off; E! Brings Back The Soup