Category Archives: TV Reviews

Barry: Season 3, Episode 4 – TV Review

“All the Sauces”

  • Creator: Alec Berg and Bill Hader
  • Starring: Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, Henry Winkler, Anthony Carrigan

Grade: A

Let’s take a moment to give some praise to Sarah Goldberg for her work as Sally. She’s produced plenty of awards-worthy moments throughout her run in Barry – even receiving a Supporting Actress nomination at the Emmys after season 2 – but “all the sauces” contains one of her finest moments to date. She spends most of the episode fretting about her speech at the premiere of Joplin, worrying if she’ll come across as inauthentic and poring over every last detail. But when Natalie giddily drops the news that the show has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, she quickly drops her prepared remarks and vacillates between being too choked up to speak and trying to get the words out. She wants so badly to stay on topic and promote the show, but after everything she’s been through, professionally and personally, she can’t help but contain her excitement. It’s a remarkable moment, and Goldberg makes sure we feel every bit of it.

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Barry: Season 3, Episode 3 – TV Review

“Ben Mendelsohn”

  • Creator: Alec Berg and Bill Hader
  • Starring: Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, Henry Winkler, Anthony Carrigan

Grade: B

Even in an episode where the plot doesn’t progress significantly, Alec Berg and Bill Hader still manage to find room for some really great character development. Such is the case with “Ben Mendelsohn”, where the status quo largely remains unchanged from the beginning of the episode to the end. And that’s ok! For as exciting as it can be, not every episode needs to seismically shake up the world to feel like an authentic version of Barry

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Barry: Season 3, Episode 2 – TV Review

“limonada”

  • Creator: Alec Berg and Bill Hader
  • Starring: Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, Henry Winkler, Anthony Carrigan

Grade: A-

Old habits die hard, and this seems to be the theme not only of Barry overall but in this week’s episode in particular. The lingering question after “Forgiving Jeff” was how Barry would handle the fallout of Gene discovering his true nature. Turns out, he’s gone off the deep end in a way we haven’t seen from him before, and the results are concerning, to say the least. And Barry’s not the only one who’s reverting back to old, bad habits.

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We Own This City – Limited Series Review

We Own This City

  • Creator: David Simon and George Pelecanos
  • Starring: Jon Bernthal,
  • Six episode limited series. Six episodes watched for review.

Grade: A-

“We own this city” is often a familiar rallying cry in rap songs, used to highlight the downtrodden, the forgotten, and the rejects of the rapper’s home town. But, in the hands of David Simon and George Pelecanos, the phrase “we own this city” becomes something of an ominous threat. Simon, the maestro of The Wire, often cited as one of the greatest TV shows ever made, imbues We Own This City with a lot of similarities of the landmark series, but updates it to reflect Baltimore’s ever-changing landscape.

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Barry: Season 3, Episode 1 – TV Review

“Forgiving Jeff”

  • Creator: Alec Berg and Bill Hader
  • Starring: Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, Henry Winkler, Anthony Carrigan

Grade: A-

It’s been nearly three years to the day since the world was treated to a new episode of HBO’s dark comedy Barry. And in those three years, the world has surely changed significantly, so how much will a new season reflect those changes? The premiere episode, “Forgiving Jeff” is a clear indication that, though the show won’t be addressing the pandemic just yet, the world within the show is very much a different place.

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Halo – TV Review

Halo

  • Creator: Kyle Killen and Steven Kane
  • Starring: Pablo Schreiber, Yerin Ha, Natasha McElhone, Bokeem Woodbine, Charlie Murphy
  • Nine episode season. Two episodes watched for review.

Grade: B

A screen adaptation of Halo the video game makes perfect sense and is incredibly difficult, both at the same time. The project has been talked about, in one form or another, since not long after the ground-breaking shooting game debuted on the Xbox platform in 2001. At one point, the show had attached Stephen Spielberg as a producer and was supposed to premiere in 2015. And yet, for all its cinematic beauty, the game is fairly light on story elements, especially in characterization. Master Chief is an iconic looking video game character, but is purposefully obtuse. Not until the fleeting moments of the initial trilogy does he become anything more than a ruthless killing machine – indeed, you’re never fully sure if he’s actually a person or a robot, or both.

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The Dropout – Limited Series Review

The Dropout

  • Creator: Elizabeth Meriweather
  • Starring: Amanda Seyfreid, Naveen Andrews, William H. Macy, Laurie Metcalf, Stephen Fry, Dylan Minnette, Kurtwood Smith, Camryn Mi-Young Kim, Bashir Salahuddin, Sam Waterston
  • Eight episode mini-series. Seven episodes watched for review.

Grade: B+

You had to know that when the salacious details about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes came forward, Hollywood would come knocking sooner than later. Sure enough, at least two fictionalizations of Holmes’ life are moving forward, and potentially more to come. Adam McKay’s feature film version is in production, and will star Jennifer Lawrence as Holmes. But first comes Hulu’s miniseries, which is based on the ABC News podcast of the same name.

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Inventing Anna – Limited Series Review

Inventing Anna

  • Creator: Shonda Rhimes
  • Starring: Julia Garner, Anna Chlumsky, Arian Moayed, Anders Holm, Laverne Cox, Alexis Floyd, Anthony Edwards

Grade: C

You’ve seen Inventing Anna before. In some form or another, this story has been told many, many times already. Of course, the specifics like the people involved and the setting are unique, but everything about Shonda Rhimes’ newest Netflix series suffers from being too familiar without having anything significant or new to say. Even the show’s tagline, which punctuates every episode’s opening – “What you’re about to see is completely true. Except for the made up parts” – feels like it’s been done before. Perhaps the best analogy to Inventing Anna is Scorsese’s magnum opus of American excess The Wolf of Wall Street, but without the “can you believe this is really happening?” bugnuts details.

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Pam and Tommy – Limited Series Review

Pam and Tommy

  • Creator: Robert Siegel
  • Starring: Sebastian Stan, Lily James, Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman, Taylor Schilling

Grade: B

Color me surprised that, when browsing the full list of credits for Hulu’s new limited series, Ryan Murphy is nowhere to be found. Among his exhaustive resume as a writer, director, and producer, Murphy has become ubiquitous in the last few years, especially with his American Crime Story series, as re-investigating moments that broke through pop culture – particularly moments that painted certain people in negative lights without giving them their own platform. This recent phenomenon isn’t exclusive to Murphy, though, as podcasts (Slow Burn), documentaries (Framing Britney Spears), and more television shows (When They See Us) have made a big impact in the way we think about celebrities – in one sense of the word or another – and their often tarnished legacies. 

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The Afterparty – TV Review

The Afterparty

  • Creator: Christopher Miller
  • Starring: Sam Richardson, Tiffany Haddish, Ike Barinholtz, Ben Schwartz, Dave Franco, Ilana Glazer, Zoë Chao

Grade: B

It’s easy to compare The Afterparty, Apple TV+’s newest show, to another recent comedic-murder-mystery series, 2021’s Only Murders In The Building. Both shows deal with a shocking death in the first episode and both feature seasoned comedic actors. But whereas Only Murders In The Building sought to subvert our current true-crime obsession, The Afterparty takes a different, sillier approach to solving its mystery. The show is born from the mind of creator Christopher Miller, who directs each episode and writes a couple, as well as serving as a co-producer along with his regular partner Phil Lord. Indeed, in each episode, Miller manages to balance the zanier bits of humor along with realistic character development that his best projects are known for.

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