While I was out…

Senior Television Writer
02.25.13 76 Comments


Glad to see me? I guess we’re in the next life!

Back from a fun week off with the family, that included a trip to Disney World, the conclusion of an “Avatar: The Last Airbender” marathon(*) with my daughter, airport hijinks, etc. I clocked back in last night to watch and write about Seth MacFarlane and the Oscar-cast.

(*) Down the road, I might have more to say on the subject of “Avatar,” which I found really tremendous – and which, like the best family entertainment, was just as enthralling for my 9-year-old daughter as it was for 39-year-old me – but right now I’m looking for recommendations on what to try next. Jumping ahead to the sequel series “The Legend of Korra” seems obvious, but A)there’s only one season so far, and B)I’ve heard it’s aimed at a slightly older audience than “Avatar” was. Other suggestions have included “Adventure Time” and “Gravity Falls,” but I’m also open to less current things. Available streaming of all episodes a plus, but not mandatory. Fire away, and when I have more time, maybe we can have a longer discussion on great TV for kids and parents alike.  

News-wise, it appears I picked a good week to not be around, as a lot of little things happened – mainly people being cast in pilots (most of which you will never see) – but very few big things. The most welcome news was FX’s renewal of “The Americans,” and everyone seems to love the “Game of Thrones” season 3 trailer. The only pilot casting that interests me at this early stage is Ken Jeong signing up for ABC’s “Spy.”  If NBC renews “Community,” Jeong stays with “Community,” but this is the first time anyone from that show has gone out for another pilot, suggesting – understandably – a greater fear that this will be the end than previously.

As promised, I had a handful of pre-written short episode reviews that went up throughout the week, plus two longer pieces: an interview with Mike Schur about the challenge of frequently writing “Parks and Recreation” episodes that might have to be series finales, and my review of the first season of “House of Cards.” One thing I’ll say on the latter is that, in skimming the comments, some took it as a unilateral attack on the all-at-once Netflix model, which it wasn’t. It was just pointing out that there are both pros and cons to that approach, just as there are to the traditional TV scheduling model, and I think some shows are better-suited to marathon than others. (“The Wire” and “24” are both excellent binge viewing options, for very different reasons: “The Wire” because the density of the storytelling is easier to navigate in rapid succession; “24” – and now, I suppose, “Homeland” – because you don’t have to dwell on the latest plot contrivance because you’re already absorbed in the next hour.) “House of Cards” ultimately didn’t feel like it was designed specifically to take advantage of the Netflix model (though parts of it benefited), where it sounds like the new “Arrested Development” episodes will be. As more and more series are made specifically for Netflix, Amazon, etc., I’ll be curious to see how many of them are structured differently and how many are just traditional TV shows that you can watch all at once.

I’m still catching up on shows I missed while I was away (boy, was the Feb. 17 “Good Wife” fantastic, and I remain both impressed and entertained with how “New Girl” has dealt with fallout from that kiss), which means some of this week’s writing might not be at full length. But I should be back up to speed shortly, and you’ll be getting a podcast, lots of episode reviews, etc., in short order.

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