‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Review: M.E. Time

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has proven itself to be one of the best shows to debut this fall, and certainly one of the better comedies. But, like any new show, it’s still finding it’s footing, and this episode helped steer it in the right direction, but also fell flat in some areas

One of the highlights about this show for me is the relationships that have been established among the Brooklyn-Nine-Nine-Season-1-Episode-4-M.E.-Time-2-550x366characters. This was especially done well with Santiago and Captain Holt. It was hilarious watching the characters try and figure out what kind of mood Holt was in. Andre Braugher does deadpan so well and the writers use that to their advantage. It was also great to see Terry Crews’ character paint a picture of the captain. Using his art skills was a hilarious aspect of the episode. I loved when he asked the witness to describe his eyes, trying to find the emotion in it. But there was some good character development in the relationship between Holt and Santiago, when we find out that Santiago actually can read the captain.

I also enjoyed the relationship between Diaz and Boyle. Diaz continues to show that she actually cares about the guy and is looking out for him. While this episode didn’t do much to advance their relationship, putting Boyle as the primary and Peralta as the secondary definitely had some good laugh out loud moments.

Peralta’s storyline was actually probably my least favorite of the night. Mary Elizabeth Ellis was funny as the morgue examiner, but Samberg’s character continues to be the one I find the most annoying each episode. He hasBrooklyn-Nine-Nine-Season-1-Episode-4-M.E.-Time-9-550x366 some great lines and moments, but the writers need to do more to make him seem less childish and more human. There aren’t many moments in Brooklyn Nine-Nine where you say “awwww” when it comes to Samberg and his character’s storyline. But the scene where Ellis was asking Samberg to describe his condition as a corpse was pretty hilarious.

Overall it was a good episode, and it’s nice to see that this show continues to progress in the right direction. Brooklyn Nine-Nine could easily become a show that lasts several seasons and something I look at with the same fondness as Parks and Recreation or 30 Rock.

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‘Breaking Bad’ finale review: “I did it for me.”

It’s gone. Forever. It’s something I have to come to terms with, but cannot contain in my heart. I feel as if I’ve been in a relationship that has come to an end. But not a bad ending, the kind of ending where you both realize it’s for the best, but you just don’t want to let them go. Breaking Bad had to end, but I can’t believe it’s actually gone.

The series ended the only way that it possibly could have. The character deaths were completely satisfying and everyone had an ending. Marie may be the only character who was sort of left with nothing in the end, but without Hank she didn’t serve much of a purpose to the storyline anyway. I’m not always a person who needs closure in the end of a series (I LOVE the Lost series finale), but in this case it was needed.

breaking-bad-felina-2Breaking Bad in the course of 5 seasons was all about morality. It followed the story of a man who begins a long journey down a path of darkness, unleashing an inner evil that was always inside him. It wasn’t events that happened to Walt that made him evil. Though the cancer was a catalyst, Heisenberg always lingered in the depths of Walt’s soul. A man who was once entirely good does not watch as a woman drowns in her own vomit, or turn their best friend over to neo Nazi meth producers, or torture his wife and trap her in a marriage that has already failed.

Through the entire series, Walt led the lie that everything he was doing, he was doing for his family. Finally, in the series finale, in possibly my favorite scene of the entire series, Walt finally admits to himself that the entire time he was doing it for him. “It was for me. I enjoyed it. I was good at it,” Walt says, as he confronts Skyler one final time. Skyler gets the closure she needs from the man she once loved, and Walt hands her the coordinates to Hank’s body, thus giving her some leverage to get out of her legal situation. But, is this supposed to make us feel sympathy for all that Walt has done? I would say no. In Walt’s mind it may, but this man has ruined Skyler and Flynn’s lives. They will never be okay from the whole situation, and for that I can’t feel sorry for Walt.

The finale was all about redemption for a truly evil man. In the end though, I’m not sure he fully gained ustv-breaking-bad-s05-e16-finale-25redemption, nor should he have. We cannot discredit five years of evil doing, for one day of good deeds. But, it’s also the best Walt could do.  He helps Skyler get out from under his path of destruction, provides for Flynn’s future, gives Marie closure with Hank and relieves Jesse from captivity. Not to mention he takes care of an entire pack of Nazi maniacs in one fell swoop.  This is Walt trying to redeem himself for the life he’s led, and though we may not be able to forgive him, for Walt it was what he needed before he died.

After all, this is not our story to complete.  We don’t get to choose the ending. This is Walt’s story, and I think ends the way Walt would have wanted it to end. It was not the ending I expected. At all. But I am not the one who gets to decide Walt’s fate. This is Vince Gilligan’s piece of art, and he ended it how he saw fit. And it was beautiful.

‘The Michael J. Fox Show’ Advanced Review: Pilot

Thursday, Michael J. Fox will make his triumphant return to television in The Michael J. Fox Show. He plays a version of himself, as a man with Parkinson’s, who used to be a beloved news anchor and is considering a return to the profession. I’ve seen the first couple episodes of the series, and, after watching, all I can say about it is that it’s not bad. It’s not bad…. But it’s not great. I’m not even sure it’s good. It’s just not bad. However, I will say this show does have much more potential than some of the other series we’ve seen this fall.

images-6Parkinson’s plays a huge roll in the show and from the get-go let’s you know that disease is not off limits for humor. The problem is the Parkinson’s jokes are really not that funny. As I watched the pilot episode, I don’t think I laughed out loud a single time. The show is cute though, and there’s something to be said for that. It’s something you can watch and feel good about you. You feel invited in by this family and the touching moments in the series are heartwarming. If you’re going for LOL moments though, I’m not sure you’ll find many.

The show follows Mike Henry (Michael J. Fox), who lives with his family (wife and three kids) and for some reason his wife’s sister is always at their house. His family members are extremely bland, but that’s not to say they’re “bad” either. Betsy Brandt, who plays his wife, is just coming off an extremely successful run on Breaking Bad, and is likeable enough, but so one-dimensional. And that’s the problem with all the characters. None of them are all that fleshed out or deep. They’re static. It can be awfully boring, but again, not awful. Michael J. Fox is clearly the star of the series and what makes it tolerable. He’s charming and fairly funny and not afraid to poke jokes at himself. If only the rest of his family could get in on some of the humor.

Honestly, I got about what I expected to get from The Michael J. Fox Show. I wasn’t expecting it to be great or bad. I fox1f-4-webwatched, and that’s what I got, something that wasn’t great or bad. I can say that I will definitely tune in for more episodes, because I think it can work out some of the kinks and become a charming comedy worth watching. Right now, it’s just kind of there and something to fill time with. Only time will tell if this comedy can turn things around and become a new hit for NBC.

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Review: The Tagger

If you aren’t watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine yet, it’s about time you hopped aboard this train. Of all the new comedies this season, this is easily the best of them. I haven’t seen a more likeable cast in a long time. Andre Braugher is so great it puts many other lead actors in a comedy series to shame.

Brooklyn-Nine-Nine4Believe it or not, the second episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine was even better than the first episode (which was pretty great).  As I stated in my first review, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is in its prime when it focuses on supporting players, not just Samberg and Braugher. The writing is so sharp and on point. The lines are packing the right amount of punch and the dialogue seems effortless. You can see the same wit and charm in Brooklyn Nine-Nine as in other shows like Parks and Recreation and New Girl.

There’s a lot to be said about a show that can build instant chemistry between two characters. And that’s what we have here with Samberg’s lazy Detective Peralta and Braugher’s rule-driven Captain Holt. The two work so well together I feel like I’ve been watching a pairing that has taken a couple of seasons to build. The other characters also seem to have instant chemistry. We’re already rooting for couples to form and the underdogs to succeed. It helps that every actor gets their parts and knows just how to play up the wacky humor in the show.

The plot of Tuesday’s episode centers on a suspect who has been tagging police vehicles with drawings of male Brooklyn-Nine-Nine-1x02-The-Tagger-7genitalia. There were plenty of penis jokes, which aren’t always funny, but somehow in this episode they were fresh and written exceptionally well. With all the cop shows on TV, Brooklyn Nine-Nine finds a way to be exciting, engaging and hilarious. We’ve all seen buddy-cop series, but we’ve never seen one like this.

I’m happy to see that the success of the pilot wasn’t just a fluke. This is a series that I could see continuing for a while and only growing in popularity. It pairs well with the other shows in Fox’s comedy block, except for Dads. Don’t even get me started on what a terrible show Dads is. But, if you’ve been considering Brooklyn Nine-Nine or thought you might have any interest at all, definitely check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Be sure to check out this review and others at voiceoftv.com. Follow me there and stay up to date on the latest in the world of television. Make your voice heard.

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‘Breaking Bad’ Review: Ozymandias

Well that’s it. I’m spent. I don’t know if I can handle two more episodes. After the emotional toll “Ozymandias” took on me, it’s going to take at least a full week to recover. If you haven’t seen Sunday’s episode yet, emotionally prepare yourself, and I mean that. I didn’t, and I was hit hard. WHAT A RIDE. If the next two episodes have the same emotional impact as “Ozymandias” or more… I am going to need to be revived from the dead.

There were so many gut-wrenching moments in Sunday’s episode that it’s hard to believe it all fit in one hour. Vince Gilligan and his team of writers must hate us all to put us through what we just experienced. Or, they’re brilliant, and put people in real situations with real emotions. Let me start of by saying if you don’t feel for Skyler or still hate her for some ungodly reason, then you might have some serious misogynistic, sexist attitudes toward women you seriously need to work through. But I’m getting ahead of myself. There were some serious plot developments that need to be discussed.

First, we must address Hank’s death. I saw it coming, and I tried preparing myself, but I still couldn’t help but let out a little scream when Uncle Jack pulled the trigger. I just wasn’t ready for that to end. The tension between Hank and Walt was built up so perfectly, and executed so well that I wasn’t ready to let that go. Watching Walt fall to the Collapse ground, I felt no sympathy for the man, though I’m not sure you’re really supposed to. It’s because of him that his brother-in-law is dead, as much as he’d like to blame Jesse. And watching Walt tell Jesse that he let Jane die was absolutely devastating. Jesse now knows that Walt is the most vile human being on Earth, with no one’s intentions but his own in mind. The gang then takes Jesse away to be tortured and killed.

But little does Walt know that after Todd has tortured Jesse, they will now hold him as a meth-cooking slave to bring up their purity and pacify Lydia. Also, where has Lydia been? That psychopath is going to pop up sometime soon and she’s just going to destroy everything. But I’m curious to see what is going to happen with Jesse. No one knows where he is, and Walt definitely doesn’t want to save him.

One thing I’d like to point out about this episode is the superb acting in the toughest moments, from every character, even the baby! The family tension was at high octane throughout the last half of the episode, and seeing Walt Jr. dive in front of his mother to save her, Walt realized he had lost the family he made himself believe ozy1he was fighting for.  So, in one final moment of desperation, Walt took Holly, thinking somehow the two of them could make a family together. And let’s take a moment to let Anna Gunn’s performance sink in a little. Watching her run down the street screaming for her baby was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to watch. Just give her the Emmy and every Emmy from here out. Anna Gunn has won acting. All others should just give up.

But Breaking Bad didn’t stop throwing the punches there. They decided to make us watch that heartbreaking phone call, where fans probably heard Walt say everything they’ve ever wanted him to say to Skyler. And watching the family fall to pieces when they realize that Hank is dead is truly demoralizing. Everything they’ve ever known has crumbled around them, and Walt is in panic mode. He’s lost control of everything, leading to acts of pure desperation. I don’t know how we’re going to get to Walt going back home for the ricin, but I suspect he’s going to use it on Uncle Jack… or maybe Lydia. Who knows? This show is crazy!

In all, “Ozymandias” was the best episode of Breaking Bad so far, and probably the best episode of television that I have ever seen. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I will be relieved when this series ends and I don’t have to experience this anxiety every week. But boy has this been one hell of a ride.

TV lovers, head to voiceoftv.com to check out my other Breaking Bad reviews and to join in on the conversation.

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Follow Drew Reeves on Twitter @drewreeves1

Brooklyn Nine-Nine delivers laughs and heart in series premier

There’s a lot to love about Fox’s new buddy-cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Don’t expect anything ground breaking from the new comedy. It’s not trying to reinvent a genre or turn heads with its originality. But, what the show does have is a wonderful script and an increasingly likeable cast. The chemistry between the two leads, Andre Braugher and Andy Samberg is great.

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Samberg (Saturday Night Live) stars in the series as Jake Peralta, an exceptionally good detective who refuses to play by the rules. Peralta loves the free-reign he has in the office under his current chief, who allows him to do what ever he wants. This all changes, however, when the new chief, Capt. Ray Holt (Braugher) arrives.  Holt does everything by the books and expects his officers to do the same. Again, nothing ground breaking in the television world, but Broklyn Nine-Nine still manages to remain fresh and entertaining.

Where Brooklyn Nine-Nine really succeeds is in its supporting cast. Peralta has a bet running with fellow detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) about who can solve the most cases. Clearly, these two are going to end up brooklyn-nine-ninetogether and we’re all just waiting for that to happen. There’s also a hilarious chemistry between the goofball in the office, Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Trugilo) and the terrifying Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz). There’s also an assortment of other characters played by strong actors that give this show its charm. It’s definitely an ensemble show and the focus on the supporting players is what makes it so great.

The pilot episode brings some strong laughs. Watching Boyle trying to pick up Diaz was the highlight of the pilot for me.  Trugilo does really well at playing a weirdo and watching a weirdo hit on women is almost always funny. There’s some other highlights, like when Samberg’s character finally realizes his new chief is gay, and the signs have been there all along. But, not everything in the pilot works.

One problem I had with the show was actually Andy Samberg. He’s a great comedic actor on SNL, but it can sometimes feel like he’s still playing an SNL character in his series. I feel like the character isn’t fully fleshed out yet, but I think he’s going to figure that out as the show goes. There is so much promise in this series that I can’t wait to see what the writers do with it.

Of all the comedy pilots I have seen so far this season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was miles ahead of the others. It appears to be the most promising new comedy for the 2013-2014 season and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. You definitely need to tune in to the premier, and follow it up by watching The Mindy Project and New Girl, which are also great.

If you’re a TV fan, be sure to check me out and join the community at voiceoftv.com! 556788_10100554399730753_1998886210_n

 

You can also follow Drew Reeves on Twitter and Get Glue @drewreeves1.

Miley Cyrus shocking (or playing) America

Working in news, there are certain stories that I cannot avoid no matter how much I want to. This week, one such story has been dominating the latest news cycle. It’s an event that happened Sunday, and it’s now Wednesday; still I’m seeing headlines about this story and people talking about it on shows like The View and Good Morning America. I am, of course, talking about Miley Cyrus and her performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards.images-4

Yes, there are far more important things to be talking about, like an impending war in Syria or an apparent increase in random acts of violence that are consuming lives across the US. But, instead we’re choosing to talk about a former Disney star and what she looked like twerking (this is a word now…) on stage. So here I am, adding to the “discussion” and overlooking more important things I could be talking about.

Let’s just start by saying the whole performance really couldn’t have been that shocking. I mean you guys have seen the video right? We knew Miley was going down a different path than her Disney life already. Here’s a refresher if you haven’t seen it….

Things have changed and Miley, for whatever reason, feels that she wants to shock America with provocative dance moves and proving she is no longer a child. But, this is not the first time we’ve seen this kind of behavior from a former Disney or Nickelodeon star. Miley may just be taking notes from Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes. But, I think there’s more to it than that.

miley_cyrus_touches_herself_mtv_vmas_blurred_lines_performance_191le0f-191le0j I’m going to bet that Miley Cyrus got EXACTLY what she wanted this week. I have a feeling the Miley is an evil genius and is playing America like a fiddle. Look at the headlines and how Miley portrays herself on stage. Her latest single “We Can’t Stop” suggests that she likes to party hard and even suggests there might be some kind of drug use. But in real life, do we see Miley falling out of cars without panties or stumbling down the street drunk and high? In fact, Miley is almost never seen in tabloids doing anything stupid, until her latest performance. Is there anyway fiancé Liam Hemsworth would put up with this kind of behavior if she lived her personal life the way she portrays it on screen? I think not.

So, it appears that Miley is getting the attention she wants. Why she wants it, I have absolutely no idea. For some reason Cyrus has decided that shocking America is more important than creating quality music or being a role model for young girls. And she’s getting exactly what she wants. Some have guessed that she might be losing fans, but I’ll bet she gained them. What she did lose was support from parents, but were they listening to her music anyways? Most likely not.

So, rather than giving Miley Cyrus the validation she’s seeking in mainstream media… can’t we focus on the important issues and get back to things that matter? Would performances like hers even exist if we didn’t react the way we do? I don’t know, but I’m going to save my Twitter account and blog for things that actually matter. Like cats… Wait….

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