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What I’m Watching [IB]
Feb 17th, 2011 by Dan

Japanese TV

Been a while since I’ve talked about the tv I’m watching. Here’s a breakdown:

Justified

Based on novels and a short story by Elmore Leonard, Justified is about to enter its second season. I’m catching up on S1 and I gotta say I’m a huge fan of US Marshal Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant) and the crime landscape of Eastern Kentucky. It’s definitely worth tuning into.

Party Down

I’m tuning into this one a bit too late, but this canceled Rob Thomas show about failed actors working in a catering business is reliably funny enough for me to keep watching on Netflix instant. Rob Thomas’ other critically acclaimed canceled show, Veronica Mars, lends many guest stars to Party Down and it’s both hilarious and bizarre to see them in such different roles.

Episodes

It’s been a long while since Matt LeBlanc was on TV. Joey was a pretty short lived failure, which I’m sure contributed to Matt LeBlanc’s lack of work, but he’s back and doing remarkably excellent work on Episodes. If you watched the second season of Extras, you should be somewhat familiar with the whole “network ruining our smart show” concept, but the real beauty of this show is the way Matt LeBlanc plays, well, Matt LeBlanc. The other characters in the show initially give him very little credit, but his sneaky, behind-the-scenes machinations are actually quite intelligent and I’m eager to see how this show ends now that we’ve caught up with the media res introduction of the first episode.

Shameless

Did you know this was based on an English show? I guess it makes sense. First episode was pretty good. I don’t have much more to say on the topic, but I plan to keep watching.

Portlandia

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armison are the brains (and primary actors) behind this sketch comedy analysis of Portland, the city where the dream of the 90s lives on. Some of the sketches are miss, but most are decent hits. I’m actually chuckling a little about the cacao sketch right now. I admit that I also take a little more out of it thanks to living two years of my life in a Portland suburb. Not gonna bust your sides, but worth a watch.

Archer

H. Jon Benjamin is the super secret agent Sterling Archer. It’s about as madcap and raunchy as you’d expect cable tv animated shows to be, but it’s also just funny enough to keep me tuning in each week. I think my enjoyment stems entirely from H. Jon Benjamin’s vocal work. He just knows how to voice a character.

Bob’s Burgers

Speaking of H. Jon Benjamin vocal roles, Bob’s Burgers couldn’t be more different from Archer, but is also as good or better thanks to Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal. All three combine to make a FOX animated show that is (thankfully) not a Family Guy knockoff. Last week’s capoeira episode was hilarious.

and the usual stuff:

Community

I don’t quite know where they’re going with this mini-Chevy Chase arc, but I’m not too fond of it. I think Pierce is the weakest character in the show and they’re going out of their way to make us hate him. Character death? God, I wish it were so. The ensemble doesn’t need him.

Glee

Season 2 just hasn’t lived up to Season 1. I blame the music. Too much pop culture, perhaps, and not enough classic rock and Broadway. Every time I think I might quit watching the show they go and wow me with something fantastic. Before the break it was the “Singin In The Rain/Umbrella” mash-up. Last week, amid the awful Justin Bieberfest, we got “Take Me Or Leave Me” from Rent. Just like that I’m back in.

Parks and Recreation

If you still think this show is The Office 2.0, you’re still wrong. Parks & Recs has matured into its own fantastic show and it’s firing on all cylinders. This past week I found myself literally guffawing at the episode. I think it might be my favorite comedy on television at the moment.

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