Thursday, June 05, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

West Wing, Season Three:
This season had the unenviable position of being released right after 9/11, and the writers obviously felt like they had to work terrorism into the storyline. Some episodes are overly preachy and self-righteous, while others feel like the weakest political scenes from 24. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C

West Wing, Season Four:
Season four regains some composure, and features an overarching storyline that culminates nicely with the guest appearance of John Goodman. The pleasant camaraderie of the main group of characters is hurt by Rob Lowe's departure midseason, but overall it's an improvement over the third season. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theater:
This was my first introduction to Louis CK's standup, having previously only seen him guest star on Parks and Rec. I found his jokes to be pretty funny, but his delivery was flawed by the constant "aw shucks I'm funny" smile after each one. I probably would have enjoyed it much more as an audio CD. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Derek, Season One:
When you hear that the creator of The Office has written, directed, and starred in a sitcom about a simpleton who works in a nursing home, you wouldn't be blamed for expecting the worst in uncomfortable, cringeworthy humour at the expense of old people and simpletons. However, Derek completely subverts expectations by keeping all of the humour at the "laugh with them" level, and by being unexpectedly human and heartwarming. Watching this show is a good way to temporarily reduce your cynicism about the human race, although it is just British enough to occasionally require subtitles. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A

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