“Cristela” 1×07 – Enter Singing

Grade: B+

I’ve been really enjoying the amount of comedy shows we have on the air this year. You can argue with me all you want about The McCarthys being a copy-cat of several already-existing shows, A to Z not ending up being as funny as expected (and thus getting cancelled really soon), Marry Me relying solely on Casey Wilson’s amazing talents but Cristela has been different.

Cristela Alonzo (both the character and the actress portraying her) is the heart of the show. She reminds me so much of Jane The Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez because of how delightful these two women are. Yes, they’re leading extremely different lives but I can’t help but love seeing them on my screen.

Cristela’s relationship with Felix, her brother-in-law, is another thing I find absolutely fascinating. This relationship is developed further this week in Enter Singing when she is trying to convince him to let his son to discover more about American culture, and specifically West Side Story. I love Felix’s reaction because that’s how he was raised and he’s not ready to accept “theater” just yet.

Another part of the show that is probably even better is the office where Cristela works as an intern at a law firm. Her chemistry with Josh is so spot-on, but I hope they don’t jump into a relationship soon. I would love to see them develop their dynamics a bit more. Cristela’s other co-worker, Maddie who is also the boss’s daughter, also has hilarious scenes where she delivers some cute one-liners every now and then.

My favorite part of this episode was Cristela and Maddie posing for Josh’s camera to increase the diversity image of the firm. Ah, there’s just so much chemistry on this show that I am absolutely thrilled by the news that it got a full season pick-up. Well done, ABC.

***NOTES***

-“Daniela thinks that the whites should be separate.” Loved that line! Terry Hoyos adds a lot of love to this show.

-Henry still trying to drink a beer in the end was adorable.

-Cristela making cough-sounds while opening that soda can made me really laugh. Cristela Alonzo is seriously the best thing about this show.

-I didn’t really talk much about Cristela’s boss Trent, who I really love. He’s always saying racist stuff in a way that’s hard to take as racism. Sam McMurray is doing a perfect job in this top-notch performance.

-I’ll definitely be reviewing this show until the end of the season. It’s one of my favorite new sitcoms already.

“The McCarthys” 1×04 – Supporting Jackie

Grade: B

While everyone still insists on hating this show, I still find myself surprisingly enjoying it. It’s been utterly entertaining after a very floppy Pilot, and that’s something I didn’t expect.

The McCarthys really works best when it focuses on the family dynamic and not on Ronny’s personal life. Ronny has actually proven to be the least exciting thing about this old-school sitcom. His mother Marjorie on the other hand, played by the absolutely phenomenal Laurie Metcalf, is probably the best casting decision about The McCarthys.

This fourth installment centers around Jackie, the one character who has so far been pushed to the side. While I thought there were some extremely silly moments here (the rollercoaster scene is one thing I rolled my eyes at), I did love the sentiment behind it in the end. CBS sitcoms are not usually known for such emotions, so I was pleasantly surprised.

The twin brothers (Sean and Gerard) continue to provide the laughs. They have the kind of chemistry on-screen that is absolutely beautiful to watch, and I really hope the show develops this brotherly relationship more (if they get the chance to).

I am definitely rooting for this show to stay on the air, an opinion clearly not so many people share with me. It’s one of those kick-back and relax kind of sitcoms that is very harmless and entertaining so far. I’ll say this, I certainly didn’t expect to like a comedy about a sports-crazed family with a gay character and another one knocked up, but it is Laurie’s performance that is just so captivating. She is equally hilarious when she guest-stars as Sheldon’s mother on the hit CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, and I am so glad she has the chance to further show us her comic talents.

I hope this one doesn’t get cancelled too.

“The Flash” 1×07 – Power Outage

Grade: B

The hero-loses-his-superpowers plot was bound to happen, but was it too soon to have that onto the series?

I’ll say yes, if only for the sole reason that when the episode was over, nothing felt different. There really wasn’t much at stake here no matter how bad the writers wanted us to feel like there was. We knew there was no way The Flash was going to lose his powers for too long, so that’s why that particular subplot fell flat.

Harrison Wells, on the other hand, continues to add the kind of intrigue and deception that makes the show much, much better. I loved that the villain-of-the-week was out to hunt him this time, and their final conversation about the people who were lost due to the particle accelerator, and Harrison naming every person who died because of him (including Ronnie) was a perfect scene. That moment where he looks at Caitlin in the eye just as he’s about to mention Ronnie’s name gave me the chills. I love this guy.

I wish I can say the more about Iris though. A part of me knew she was going to make it, but seriously wouldn’t it have been a better move to kill her off right there at that moment? Sounds a bit cruel, true, but I find her so annoying that I feel like her dying could finally add something interesting to this storyline. Or maybe even Eddie dying. But the fact that all the hostages came out of that situation completely fine and undamaged is proof again why this episode had no real impact on the show. By episode’s end, the show completely reset itself and nothing had changed in terms of its status quo, and that’s something unfortunate. I hate when writers are so scared of taking risks and creating game-changing tactics that really up the stakes.

The same could be said about releasing Tony from the prison that the gang had him locked up in. I was thrilled by the idea that Harrison was offering this man a trade, but I found myself disappointed that it had no real payoff in the end. He slowed down Farooq for a little while, but then the two of them just died. And there I thought Tony was actually one of the interesting metahuman prisoners if only because he knew that Barry was The Flash.

This was still an entertaining hour. The show has developed its characters well enough to make me care about all of them (Iris excluded), but this episode sadly felt like a random unimportant one regardless of how big its subplots seemed to be. Harrison and his Gideon buddy was the only thing that truly surprised me. But then again, that’s saying much considering how much Arrow stumbled in its first season, and just look at how it’s doing now: oh wait, it’s been stumbling again.

Regardless of the mediocre episodes we’ve gotten this week from The Flash and the past couple of weeks from Arrow, how excited are we all for the crossover?

Speedy Bits

-Robert Knepper (the Clock King) is always terrific at being creepy. However, his role here isn’t as nearly as groundbreaking as it was on Prison Break or his appearance last year on Arrow in the “Time of Death” episode.

-The STAR labs gang discovering a way to up-start Barry’s powers again but it meant putting him in danger (which Caitlin warned him about) felt repetitive.

-Really loved Barry walking into the precinct and seeing all the damage that’s been done. If only that scene didn’t end with Iris being alive. Seriously, she should be tired of being the damsel in distress week after week.

-I actually prefer the power outage scene that was done on Arrow in its horrendous Felicity-centric episode. That scene was much more intense.

-The Mist is now lonely in that prison down there. Sad.

-Eddie on painkillers was hilarious.

-Still trying to figure out how many secrets Harrison is keeping, and why no one has noticed him walking around the labs yet.

“Marry Me” 1×06 – Bruges Me

Grade: B-

Marry Me has been mostly about Casey Wilson’s Annie and how to get her way. This week saw the show shift focus and give Jake the A-plot. Did it work though?

Well, yes and no. Yes because I actually thought it was going to completely flop and die. The idea that Annie won’t be center-focus sent chills down my spine because Jake hasn’t been the most developed character on this show so far. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by his subplot involving Annie’s two dads.

If you let the little things slide, like how ridiculous it is that both her dads are called Kevin, then you can truly enjoy this episode. There was a truly nice sentiment in the end that didn’t for once include Annie, and it actually worked.

Surprisingly, it was Annie’s subplot that I found lacking. I’ve made my feelings about Gil pretty clear before, and this week didn’t help his character. I still feel he comes off too strong and too forced, and these are very annoying qualities in a TV character. The writers definitely need to work on his “wacky” side because it isn’t at all amusing.

I do feel like they’re trying to go down the Gina path as in Brooklyn Nine-Nine with Gil, but it’s just not working here. He needs better writing ASAP or just completely drop this character off the show.

If the show continues to develop its cast week after week while working on a few flaws and fixing the writing a bit, this could become a hit by the end of the season. So far, it’s been “mediocre” and that’s a waste of Casey Wilson’s talents. Just sayin’.

***NOTES***

-“I wish we were just allowed to say white Kevin and black Kevin. Are we?” “No.”

-“You have to try the pancakes. You will be blown away by how terrible they are.”

-“We had a little bit of inbreeding going on.” “Why are you proud of that?” “Well, it’s nice to have a family that gets along.”

“Gotham” 1×10 – Lovecraft

Grade: A-

Perhaps Gotham’s biggest mistake was giving it 22 episodes in its first season. It made it harder for the writers to stretch the stories and develop a good season arc because the show has mostly been a hit-and-miss.

Apparently, many people didn’t like this fall finale, but I for one thought it didn’t disappoint at all. It seems like the show is on the right track because it’s developing Bruce in a way that is making me truly love him so much. Everything Bruce, Selina and Alfred-related was entertaining and it’s exactly what this show needed.

I’m really enjoying Bruce and Selina together. They had such a powerful opening scene, and watching them run off like that created some amazing character development (jumping off a roof is one example). I was even more delighted by Alfred. The man is a badass, and some cool fighting sequences were exactly what this show was missing. He is by far my favorite character on Gotham right now. He’s smarter than everyone, he was worried shitless about Bruce’s disappearance, and he always has the best one-liners ever. Fish, Harvey and even Gordon should take note.

Those three characters really got on my nerve in this fall finale. I’m usually fond of Jim, but his scenes all felt forced here especially any interaction he had with Dent. I’m totally not digging this guy either and was annoyed with the whole Lovecraft subplot as a whole; glad that’s over. And Fish was her usual annoying self, not adding anything to the episode. I hope Falcone has started to doubt her and is on his way to bring her down because I can’t stand this woman.

Everything else flowed perfectly. The league of assassins going after Bruce and Selina was effective because it brought everyone on the show together in one major arc and it was intense and pulse-pounding enough to keep me interested.

I didn’t think Jim being assigned to the Arkham Asylum was as big of a development as intended, but it should be interesting where they decide to take this character when the show returns. That’s the best thing about Gotham right now. There’s no telling what’s coming at us in January, and this sort of intrigue and darkness is what this show should have been about all along.

Bat Bats

-Was the “Falcone Mansion” caption necessary during the scene where Oswald was being interrogated by him? It was pretty obvious where they were. You know, considering Falcone was there and everything.

-Loved Bruce jumping from roof to roof. Turning into Batman could have easily been a forced and cringe-worthy part of this show, but young Bruce Wayne has been nailing these training scenes. Outstanding.

-So who are these assassins? And why so creepy?

-Harvey Bullock is being so awfully written, it just makes me sad. I wrote once about how I love the character development he’s been given but right now, I hate everything that comes out of his mouth. He’s not even funny either.

-Seriously, Alfred is amazing. Let’s give this guy a big round of applause for giving me more reasons to watch this show.

-Ivy was as underwhelming and irritating as I could have possibly imagined.

-Selina and Bruce kissed! And it wasn’t a terrible moment.

-No Barbara this week so you can understand why the episode earns a high grade.

Also posted on NadsReviews

“The Affair” 1×07 – Episode 7

Grade: A

There’s really nothing like The Affair on TV right now. Sometimes I feel like the full 60 minutes per episode we get isn’t even enough, and that’s amazing considering how a 40-minute network show can sometimes be a drag to finish.

I’m shocked the writers ended the affair so soon. I’m even more shocked that Helen and Cole found out about it, and while one can argue the reveal wasn’t this bombshell we were expecting, it did lead to some outstanding performances by everyone involved. Dominic West and Maura Tierney’s scenes at the hospital and in the bedroom were terrific. I am loving the psychological effects of this short-lived affair on Noah and Alison’s marriages because it really looks like their marriages are more intriguing than the affair itself.

Alison’s side was so compelling to watch, I felt like it was a movie. I can’t believe this show is now taking place in New York too; is this not the most risk-taking, game-changing TV show ever? Because I wouldn’t have possibly imagined loving Alison in New York, but the look on her face as she arrived and the smile she gave felt so natural. As was her truly heart-breaking scene with Cole on the streets. Cole has always come off as a bit cold, so it was fascinating to watch him finally break down like that and not have it all together for once. It was a really tough scene to watch, especially when he talks about the pain of losing their son.

As always, the two versions of this story colliding is captivating to watch. It sometimes feels like a game of Spot The Differences, the main one here being Helen and how different she looks in each of the two perspectives (I’m digging the nerdy glasses and hilarious overalls, by the way). I still can’t tell if Alison is really happy now with Cole after he’s decided to sell the ranch (take that, mother) and have a baby again or if she still thinks Noah is the man she needs in her life. Either way, the show is not making us want Noah and Alison be together especially during Helen and Noah’s fight when she told him he’s the one who puts all this pressure on himself. This woman is really as perfect as her daughter said.

Sadly, the only parts that felt completely out of place were the flash-forward scenes involving the detective. Usually, the show is clever in adding these bits but this time they were dropped into the episode at complete random moments where they meant no sense at all. It wasn’t Noah or Alison’s version in any of them; these were just events that were happening to remind us that we should care a bit about who killed Scotty. My guess: Whitney.

The show has been moving very quickly these past two episodes, and this speed has been in favor of this show. Really, I can’t stress enough how beautifully engaging The Affair is at this point. What a remarkable masterpiece.

Unfaithful Flings & Bits

-The detective isn’t very smart, is he? I was expecting he wouldn’t find any records on Noah staying at The End. I might be mistaken, but they might have stayed under Alison’s name in a previous episode.

-Cole’s mother, Cherry, is amazing. Except when she’s encouraging her sons to be drug-dealers, of course, or confronting her daughter-in-law about her affair.

-Who is this Leon person Helen “almost” had an affair with? And am I the only one who thinks she and Max really had a thing on the side?

-We all need a friend as good as Max, willing to write a check for ten thousand dollars so quickly. Again, is it because he feels guilty for possibly sleeping with Helen?

-Whatever happened to texting? Why leave a note, Noah? Why?

-Loving the different locations on this show. It’s so much better than being locked to one single place.

-More Spot The Differences: Noah just smiling when Cole says Martin needs attention as opposed to Alison’s version of Noah getting offensive and telling Cole “you get back to me when you have a teenage son”. Says so much about how Alison idolizes Noah as this great father. Or moody, angry person.

-Brilliant touch: Alison’s story starting with her painting the porch and Cole telling her that painting it only makes it look painted rather than better, so the whole thing needs to be replaced. It felt more like that porch railing resembles their marriage rather than it just being a porch.

Also posted on NadsReviews

“How To Get Away With Murder” 1×09 – Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me

Grade: B-

I think at this point I am hate-watching this show. It brings up a very dark and angry side of me that I never want to see—but before we get to that, credit where credit is due: I was very impressed by that shocking twist in the end.

It wasn’t that the twist itself was so great, but the execution of it that I’m baffled by. Viola Davis, sitting at her desk blandly, staring at her dead husband on the floor, in complete and utter silence, and telling Wes that he shouldn’t be sorry for the murder: PHENOMENAL. She deserves the kind of slow-clapping applause that is never-ending, just for that scene itself, and I probably say this kind of thing every time Davis shocks our very existence with insane performances like this—but this episode was her very best yet.

She played all the sides of her that I’ve come to enjoy: strong, weak and mysterious. I am so happy to find out that her apology phone-call to Sam was a fake (I can’t believe I didn’t see that coming) because while that was an exceptionally produced montage (finally the flashbacks are all put together in one single episode), Annalise had the kind of character development that is cheer-worthy. Sure, Sam had absolutely zero depth but I can’t say I’ll miss him. And surprisingly, it seemed like we discovered Wes wasn’t the mastermind behind this whole cover-up. Annalise was the one helping him get rid of the body (again, so it seems so far). That, I loved.

Now that the good stuff is all laid out, let’s get to the bad stuff: everything and everyone else. It was expected that the winter midseason finale would deliver a shocking #WhoKilledSam reveal, but I still didn’t feel much invested in the idea that it was Wes. The scene of the actual murder (done twice thanks to a resurrected Sam) was not good, guys. I didn’t feel the kind of tension and suspense I should have felt about a moment we’ve waited months for. All I kept thinking was, why are these people so freaking stupid?

If you let yourself go down that road, you will consume yourself with more hate towards this show than entertainment. But I can’t wrap myself around the idiotic things that the Keating Five did here, the first of them being why in the world they would be protecting Rebecca (even just writing about her makes me angry). And for once, I was actually loving Michaela but that’s a feeling none of the other “murderers” shared. Instead, she was scorned at for being the only rational person here and asking why they were doing this, and that she had nothing to do with it. I’m trying to find a “human” aspect behind this and let myself believe that when a man as villainous as Sam is choking someone in front of you, you would want to help. But there are other ways to help, no? And then you realize that the entire episode was basically just a collection of repetitive scenes that we’d already seen before—did we really need to see them fighting over what to do with the body? Don’t we know that already?

The only reason I wanted to love this show in the first place is because I wanted this murder reveal to be more than just about self-defense. I needed the characters to be smart and not kill someone for the very predictable reason that he was trying to kill one of them first. I’m expecting too much, I guess, from a show that is very poorly written, with characters still extremely unlikable, and instead relies on shock value to lure audiences in week after week. I just don’t know how long people are going to fall for that.

Sneaky Courtroom Bits

-What’s the deal with Bonnie? This character has gone on such a weird rollercoaster, at times being interesting then other times being just creepy.

-Michaela should have called the police instead of Wes when Sam was running after Rebecca (ugh) in the house. But then if that happened, the show would have relied on actual logic and realism.

-The gang sure had a heck lot of time on their hands after they killed Sam. Taking a shower, making out after the shower, going out to the woods for a little walk then returning again for the body, etc.

-Annalise and Nate had sex again. One of them has a cheater possibly-murderer husband; the other, a sick wife. The characters on this show make very good decisions, huh?

-I felt bad for Laurel and Connor who really had NOTHING to do with the murder.

-Sam’s speech to Annalise in the beginning about why he’s with her and why he even slept with her the first time was kinda epic. The guy is amazing at saying shitty things to his wife.

-The writers should take note from The Affair. This episode should have been a psychological study of these characters and what they’re going through having committed this crime. Instead, it relied on shocking viewers with a cliffhanger after a 40-minute ride of exhaustion.

-The show returns January 29th! Hopefully with more likable characters.

Also posted on NadsReviews

“Jane The Virgin” 1×07 – Chapter Seven

Grade: A-

I am fascinated by this show. It’s so addictive and fun to watch, and it never has a dull moment.

Rogelio has turned into my favorite character ever. His delivery of the lines “though we all can’t be international superstars, we all must make a living, right?” and “I’m going to tweet to my 6.3 million followers with a hashtag #PLEASEFINDJANE” prove just how utterly amazing this character is. Pure gold.

But it is still Gina Rodriguez’s incredible performance that is driving this show. The montage of Jane and Rafael as they spent the night at his place, talking about their feelings and asking each other burning questions, was absolutely mesmerizing. It’s the kind of romance that is so compelling to watch—finally, I think I might be rooting for these two instead of Michael.

And yet, the brilliant thing about Jane The Virgin is how its characters are not one-dimensional. Michael actually has feelings, and Jane knows and respects that. It’s rare for a TV show to depict the break-up of a relationship in such a real, heart-breaking way. I couldn’t help but feel absolutely stung when Michael was on the phone with Jane’s mom, and he told her to call Rafael because they were on a date the night before. Gut-wrenching indeed.

The narrator remains one of the funniest things about Jane The Virgin. His use of the emoji icons to depict the struggles Jane is facing about stepping into a relationship with Rafael were hilarious, especially when Rafael started to burst those emoji one after the other, ultimately giving Jane reasons to give this new romance a chance.

It was Petra’s subplot that somehow felt underwhelming and slow this time around. I wasn’t enjoying her scheming with her mother so much because they felt powerless here, and I prefer seeing her as this villainous bitch who has a plan. Luckily, that’s the side we saw of her in the cliffhanger as she stared at Rafael in the eye when he was getting fired by his own father. I can’t wait to see what Rafael is off to do in Mexico.

***NOTES***

-“O-M-G. It’s him, it’s him!” The narrator is a comic genius.

-Oh I almost forgot about Michael having sex with his co-worker because he was too upset about Jane moving on. Nothing interesting to see here, folks.

-“Jane The Pregnant Virgin” was a surprisingly funny subplot as well. Glad to see Jane use her magical hugs to avoid getting fired.

-“1,454 retweets in three seconds. Don’t worry, Xiomara. My fans are on the hunt for Jane.”

-Can’t decide which is more compelling: jealous Rogelio or drunk Rogelio.

-I can’t believe we’re only 7 episodes into the first season, and so much has happened already. What a fascinating show.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” 2×08 – USPIS

Grade: C+

This wasn’t one of my favorite episodes, but it was still a solid half-hour of a show that’s constantly surprising me with how consistently funny it’s been for its second season in a row. Brooklyn 99 premiered with an outstanding debut season last year, and it’s been pretty good in its sophomore season.

The reason I wasn’t so crazy about USPIS wasn’t just because of the weird casting decision (never thought I’d see Ed Helms on this show)–although I wasn’t exactly a big fan of that. I wasn’t very much into the whole drug task force storyline because it felt a bit old-school for me. That’s something I almost never say about Brooklyn 99.

The other subplot involving Captain Holt, Gina, Amy and Terry suffered through the same problem. Helping another character to quit smoking feels a bit too Friends for me, even if the episode featured hilarious one-liners from Gina (who is still one of my absolute favorite characters on this show).

The past few weeks have been outstanding, so I was a bit disappointed by how “mediocre” this felt. I’ve come to expect much more from this show–and maybe that’s the show’s curse and blessing at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, this is still one of the funniest sitcoms on the air right now with characters so original and interesting (yes, looking at you Gina, again) that is rarely found on other shows. I hope next week’s better, though.

***NOTES***

– The opening sequence about Hitchcock and Skully’s “birthday” gag was absolutely hilarious. These two were the highlight of the episode for me.

-I didn’t really buy Amy being a heavy smoker like that. Have we seen that side of her before?

-Fat Terry was epic. More of that, please.

-Gina: “Her mind finally snapped…like a stale breadstick.” Oh Gina, I love your mind.

“Gotham” 1×09 – Harvey Dent

Grade: B-

It seems like Gotham is set on bringing on every big-name character early on into the show. This week, it was Nicholas D’Agosto in the role of Harvey Dent. Now, like I’ve said many times before, I’m not familiar with the comics and yet it was clear that the writers were intent on shoving this character into our faces. It was a huge “look, guys, we brought Harvey Dent! Rejoice!”

But I couldn’t rejoice because the weekly format is starting to annoy me. The sick prisoner was an extremely predictable subplot that had me bored out of my mind. And I’m starting to get worried about the show because of how young Bruce Wayne is. I know it’s silly to expect Batman here now (or possibly even ever) but having Harvey Dent join the team felt useless and seemed like just another one of Gotham’s attempt to lure the comic-book fans into what turned out to be a weak introduction of this character.

Bruce’s subplot remains my favorite part of the show. His training scenes with Alfred continue to shine, and seeing him force himself to stay underwater to develop skills and willpower that will later help him turn into Batman was sincerely amazing. I didn’t even mind Selina Kyle’s presence here at all. It actually felt like they redeemed her character the minute they decide to pair her with Bruce (non-romantically so far) because while you can argue the food-brawl scene they had was a bit goofy and ridiculous, it felt truly sincere to these characters and innocent in a way that Gotham hasn’t been ever since it started.

Oswald, who is usually the standout on the show, didn’t have the best material going for him but I thoroughly enjoyed his sneaking into Liza’s room and scaring the crap out of her. I still don’t care about this character as she seems extremely one-dimensional and dull so far. She needs to start interacting more with Falcone, or send her away like Barbara.

Who, by the way, provided a very underwhelming cliffhanger. I was starting to hope that we wouldn’t see her again, but the reveal that she was in bed with Montoya was not what I expected (nor what I cared for). This is about to turn into the dullest love triangle ever. All these supporting characters who don’t contribute much (or any) to the main story need better things to do. And much, much better writing.

 

Bat Bits

-Bruce talks about starting his own home-school curriculum. So I guess we won’t be seeing him punch more classmates any time soon. How disappointing.

-When Bruce and Selina are meeting for the first time, I cheered when she didn’t introduce herself as Cat. And then seconds later she told him that people call her Cat. And I cringed.

-How stupid are the cops in Gotham, from a scale of 1 to 10?

-The Riddler had a few amusing scenes, like his guessing the correct answers to a radio quiz show. This was surprisingly an entertaining moment for me.

-The show seems to be building to an Arkham storyline, and I hope to god they don’t ruin this too. We should be expecting more from this show.

-Fish Mooney was boring again. But I do like how badly she wants Falcone down, and I can’t wait to see him squish her down like a bug.

Also posted on NadsReviews