TV Upfronts 2017: Underwhelmed

by Matthew Thompson

I look forward to the TV Upfronts every year. Even with so much of the best television being found on cable and a growing number of streaming options, there are usually still some gems to be found on the broadcast networks. This time last year we saw the first trailer for what is arguably the best comedy on TV after its devilishly funny freshman season in The Good Place. And eight of my top 20 series from last year (check out those lists here and here) hailed from the five major broadcast networks (and Kimmy Schmidt started as an NBC show too). Having said all that… I’m so underwhelmed by the crop of new shows that broadcast had to offer up this year. Still, I picked through what was there for the highlights and I’m going to run them down right now Continue reading

TV Catch Up: Justified

by Matthew Thompson

Based on the Elmore Leonard novella Fire in the Hole, Justified is part modern-day western, part US Marshal procedural and part prestige crime drama. Initially it didn’t seem like it’d be something I would love, but by the end of the first season I was hooked, watching it every chance I got over the past few months. Having finished up the show a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d give my thoughts on this brilliant series Continue reading

Hap and Leonard Season 2 Review

by Matthew Thompson

The titular pair in Hap and Leonard are a bit of an odd couple. Leonard – a gay, black Vietnam vet – and Hap – a white man who skipped the war as a conscientious objector – were brought together as youngsters by a mutual tragedy. Their divergent paths in the time since haven’t broken the bonds of their friendship. It is this relationship that Hap and Leonard was built upon in its first season and that continues to be the case in Season 2 despite telling a fairly different kind of story Continue reading

iZombie “Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother” Review

by Matthew Thompson

After nearly a year since the second season finale, I found myself yearning for another taste of iZombie not unlike some of the zombies seen in that last outing starving for a meal of a different kind. The Season 3 premiere delivered more of what I’ve always loved about the series and I’m here with some quick impressions of the episode Continue reading

My Top Five TV Episodes of 2017’s First Quarter

by Matthew Thompson

By the time I run down my favorite TV shows at the end of the year, I don’t typically have time to focus on specific episodes. So I have decided to remedy that throughout the year. Every three months, I will put together a list of my five favorite television episodes of the previous quarter. Here is my first go at this new feature: my top five TV episodes from the first quarter of 2017 (be warned: these descriptions contain some spoilers) Continue reading

Taboo Season 1 Review

by Matthew Thompson

When it comes to historical dramas, I prefer to head way back in time. Give me stuff like Spartacus, Rome or Vikings. Merely a century or two old? Not usually my thing. And yet, TV keeps throwing those at me and for one reason or another, I keep watching them Continue reading

Sneaky Pete Season 1 Review

by Matthew Thompson

My guilty conscience makes me a pretty terrible liar. It’s one of the reasons I love private eye fiction. Seeing all the little deceitful tricks they use to get the information they need is highly entertaining as I know I could never do it. There is a similar enjoyment in watching con-artists operate Continue reading

My Top Ten TV Dramas of 2016

by Matthew Thompson

I’m back with part two of my look at television in 2016. Earlier this week, I spotlighted the best comedies of last year and today I’m talking about some of the incredible dramas that graced the small screen in 2016. Here are my ten favorites from this past year Continue reading

My Top Ten TV Comedies of 2016

by Matthew Thompson

I wanted to talk about more shows than ten this year, but to give the part of my brain that frets over rankings a rest, I decided to do two separate lists as opposed to trying to position a bunch of shows in a long list of say 20. So this first top ten will focus on what I’m calling “comedies,” but are more specifically half-hour-long programs. And later this week, I will post one for “dramas” or hour-longs. I’m well aware that some on today’s list lean heavily on dramatic storylines at times and the reverse is true of at least one “drama” on my next list, but I think you get the general idea. Now that the explanation is out of the way, on to the list! Here are my ten favorite comedy television series of 2016 Continue reading

The Good Place Review: Heavenly Comedy

by Matthew Thompson

(Going forward, I will be reviewing a number of new shows from the Fall to let people know whether they are worth watching. I will be keeping any major spoilers to the bullets at the bottom, so the main body will be perusable for those who have not yet seen the show. Enjoy!)

I mentioned time and again prior to the premiere that what made The Good Place such a sure bet this Fall was creator Michael Schur. His track record, which includes working on The Office before co-creating both Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, is simply too good to ignore. And yet what stands out the most about The Good Place are the ways it diverges from Schur’s previous work Continue reading