Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

True Detective:
Part mismatched buddy movie and part serial killer hunt, this HBO show follows a murder investigation in Louisiana over the span of 20 years. The aging of the characters is done incredibly effectively, and the story makes no narrative missteps. Best of all, the 8 hour span has a definite story arc with complete resolution, and the ending is allowed the chance to breath without needlessly ending on an action shot or setting up a cliffhanger.

Final Grade: A

Fall to Grace by Paloma Faith:
Paloma's second album is good enough, but missing some features that made Do You Want the Truth... so much better. The orchestrations feel a little sparser, and her voice isn't as effective without a lush pad to support it. There are a few nondescript songs on the album that are forgettable enough that you don't notice them playing until a few minutes in, and then you're already tired of them -- Ingrid Michaelson has several of these types of songs across her albums.

Final Grade: C

Jericho, Season Two:
Although this season is only 7 episodes long, it at least had the chance to wrap up the main storyline before cancellation. Supporting characters fade into the background as mere plot progression ciphers, but that actually helps the flow of the narrative -- we already know the characters so we don't need to give them any LOST flashbacks. A few questionable plot points (like a townie being granted access to a Top Secret documents room) break the spell, but otherwise this season was great. I had to watch the last three episodes back-to-back because of the suspenseful writing. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

Community, Season Five:
The fourth season of this show was so horrible without the fired show creator that NBC actually rehired him to steer the fifth season. Although it's only 13 episodes long, this turned out to be a very funny season, with a good balance between smart one-lines and parodies of other shows (which often fell flat in the earlier seasons by being too heavy-handed). Though Chevy Chase and Don Glover left the show, they're barely missed because of the return of John Oliver and the guest starring of Jonathan Banks (Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad). The latter fully embraces the ridiculous nature of the show and makes it twice as interesting because of it. My order of favorite seasons would probably go 1, 2/5, 3, 4.

Final Grade: B

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