I’m playing a lot of Smashing Pumpkins these days. I apologize for nothing.
“How to Get Away with Murder” | Season 1, Episode 6: “Freakin’ Whack-a-Mole”
| Date: Oct. 30, 2014
- “How to Get Away with Murder” is the best primetime soap opera since the genre’s peak in the mid-1980s with “Dallas” and “Dynasty.”
“The Big Bang Theory” | Season 8, Episode 7: “The Misinterpretation Agitation”
| Date: Oct. 30, 2014
- The message of “The Misinterpretation Agitation” seems to be that without the love their respective partners, the guys in this show would turn out to be like poor sad Dr. Lorvis (Billy Bob Thornton), who, while lonely, has a basement full of treasures, is rich and largely able to take care of himself; how tragic that would be.
“The Flash” | Season 1, Episode 4: “Going Rogue” | Date: Oct. 28, 2014
- I’m not a scholar of Flash comic books, so this is the CW’s “The Flash” is one of the few comic translations to a new medium that allows me to discover a hero.
- This week’s episode introduced a villain named Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), a guy with a gun that shoots a freezing ray.
- This is rather silly, but somehow cool at the same time, which is the essence of reading and loving comic books.
- And, as I’ve said before, “The Flash” best simulates the silly, senseless joy of reading comic books.
- Flash comics, like most literature, are tinged with tragedy and melodrama, but there is no show I am enjoying more each week than this one.
“Black-ish” | Season 1, Episode 5: “The Prank King” | Date: Oct. 29, 2014
- Halloween episodes usually make my eyes roll.
- The holiday is nearly as overdone as Christmas and the best specials about both holidays were already done by Charlie Brown and Snoopy and the “Black-ish” freshman entry into the tedious tradition of Halloween sitcom episodes was largely unimpressive.
- Dre (Anthony Anderson) plays pranks on his family and even when it seems like he’s been got, he really hasn’t.
- I did, however, appreciate some of the throwaway jokes, such as the boss at Dre’s office saying it’s always funny to put stuff in people’s yogurt and Anderson’s riff on white people assuming all black people know each other that ended with his fellow black employee saying Dionne Warwick is a “generous lover.”
- “Black-ish” is at its best when it peppers in some of these jokes for grown ups along with the traditional family sitcom tropes and it’s a formula that works surprising well on me, someone who generally doesn’t like sitcoms and especially family sitcoms.
“Scorpion” | Season 1, Episode 7: “True Colors” | Date: Oct. 27, 2014
- I felt warm and fuzzy after this week’s episode of “Scorpion.”
- I don’t remember the plot.
- I’m sure that it had something to do with Homeland Security Agent T1000 (Robert Patrick) being grumpy with the oddball geniuses for making a mess of things yet saving the day in the end and a crossover with equally weird boss from “CSI: Los Angeles” named Heady (Linda Hunt).
- All I remember is emotionless Walter (Elyes Gabel) awkwardly dancing with former waitress Paige (Katharine McPhee), who looked lovely in a backless black evening gown during an art heist scene.
- I know this makes me hopelessly shallow, but slow dancing with a beautiful woman does make me swoon, even if it is in a simplistic, mediocre police procedural show.
Darling, I’m a nightmare dressed as a daydream.
— Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” | Season 2, Episode 6: “A Fractured House” | Date: Oct. 28, 2014
- What a dull, plodding and sloppy show like “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” needs is cheap soap opera romantic melodrama.
- Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) used to be married to Lance (Nick Blood) and now that they’re reunited as outlaw S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, they use every opportunity to squabble as if the field mission is such a wonderful place for former spouses to work out the differences.
- Then there is the whole Clarice-Dr. Lecter relationship between Skye (Chloe Bennet) and traitor, Grant (Brett Dalton) and — watch out! — great is loose and more dangerous than ever.
- And finally we have the tortuous science nerd longing between Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), that’s gone on so long I can’t imagine anyone cares whether they get together or not.
- The real news this week was the trailer for “Avengers 2: Age of Ultron” was released during the commercials, which, when you think about it, is perfect for “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” a series that is essentially a 22-hour trailer for Marvel movies.
“Sleepy Hollow” | Season 2, Episode 6: “And the Abyss Gazes Back”
| Date: Oct. 27, 2014
- Memphis Paul, co-founder of General Tso’s Revenge, were teleconferencing during the Monday Night Football Game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Racists when my TV autotuned to “Sleepy Hollow.”
- “You’re still watching ‘Sleepy Hollow’?’ Memphis Paul asked incredulously.
- I was, I said, but I could not offer a good reason why.
- I watched the first few minutes of what appeared to be Crane (Tom Mison) and Mills (Nicole Beharie) doing yoga.
- I was momentarily transfixed by multiple gratuitous shots of Beharie’s cleavage, but when the scene passed I went back to watching the football game, during which I promptly fell asleep.
“The Blacklist” | Season 2, Episode 6: “The Mombasa Cartel” | Date: Oct. 27, 2014
- NBC wants you to believe the big reveal in this week’s episode of “The Blacklist” was that Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), the worst FBI agent ever, kept her amoral former husband Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) locked in a room for an untold period of time.
- Except that anyone paying attention already knew Tom was in that closet and if you didn’t, you are as stupid as the writers think you are.
- This show is in marked decline in quality.
- The biggest problem is not enough James Spader, whose performance as Red is the only reason to watch the series — and even that is quickly being diminished to scenes of him taking his hat on and off.
- The next biggest problem is they mysteries have obvious answers or aren’t good enough to be compelling and thus must be let out with an eyedropper over 22 episodes instead of getting on with the story.
“Gotham” | Season 1, Episode 6: “Spirit of the Goat” | Date: Oct. 27, 2014
- “Spirit of the Goat” was the best episode of “Gotham” to date, by which I mean it was actually good against five previous mediocre-to-poor episodes.
- I am convinced this episode was better largely because there was less Jada Pinkett Smith, who plays mobster Fish Mooney, and is very bad in the role.
- Without Pinkett Smith’s Fish stinking up the place, I appreciated the dynamic between Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) and the subtleties of the performance of Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot.
- Heck, I was even interested in Carol Kane playing Cobblepot’s creepy, smothering mother, who watches her adult son bathe.
- So the way forward for “Gotham” is clear: Kill Fish Mooney and let the other characters, and the audience, breathe.