While you could argue TV Land began as something of a trail blazer, it forged forward in a backward-facing manner — as a showcase for television’s past aimed to appeal to Baby Boomers’ penchant for lapping up nostalgia. When the fledgling network moved to add original programming, it (rather rightfully) earned a reputation for unchallenging fare — at its best, the charming-enough Betty White one-liner fest Hot in Cleveland, worst case scenario, it’s “tired sitcom” (per Newsday) Retired at 35. However, the still relatively young network has recently been aces at renovating its image with sharp, well-received series such as The Jim Gaffigan Show and Younger — both of which have been wisely renewed despite less-than-stellar ratings.
Younger is an inspired show featuring Sutton Foster as 40-something divorcee Liza who, to combat age discrimination as she re-enters the workplace, gets herself made over to pass for 26. It triumphs in last night’s critic wars with an episode where Liza and her pals face a final battle with a ruthless social media-savvy foe. Otherwise, it’s a somewhat quiet night as few shows even garner write-ups from multiple logged sites.
Wednesday, February 10th’s Best: Younger (8.7/10)
Younger juggled many plotlines this week while maintaining beaucoup drama. AV Club‘s Alexa Plane acknowledged some lack of development in the busy week, but contended the episode “has its fair share of quality laughs, character moments, and narrative propulsion.” Carissa Pavlica at TV Fanatic summed it up simply and sweetly in her 4-word opening paragraph: “Well that was fun!”
The Rest of the Night:
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – 8.0
While good ol’ Dennis Perkins at AV Club dreaded last night’s Frank-centric episode, observing that Danny DeVito’s character “is the grunting, rutting, sexist, gluttonous old bigot whose schtick works best in small doses,” he was surprised to find the episode “works.” IGN‘s Matt Fowler came from the other direction, exhorting “being inside nutso Frank Reynolds’ head for a day certainly sounds like a grand idea. Ultimately, he feels it “didn’t really land well” but he “applaud[s] the idea of changing the blueprint.”
American Crime – 7.5
A little discord between grade and review at AV Club, where a “trend of brilliant but brutal episodes” apparently only warrants a “B” grade from Pilot Viruet. Since in my mind, she’s arguably the premiere TV re-capper on the planet, I’ll take her word for it. Samantha McAllister at TV Fanatic distinctly connects with an episode where “things are really starting to heat up!”
Arrow – 7.2
After winning the night last week, taut comic-book serial Arrow falls back a bit on an episode which in many ways functions as a bridge towards the season’s end. It’s best assessment comes from TV Fanatic‘s Carissa Pavlica, who affirms “there were certainly some surprises,” but “unless we’re being fooled, it seems as though we have been given a pretty good indication of where the remainder of the season is heading” (mind you, not a bad thing). IGN’s Jesse Schedeen dipped it into its “Okay” category, but acknowledges that while the episode was “fairly uneven … it certainly set the stage for huge things to come.” In any case “certainly” seems to be the adverb of the day where Arrow is concerned.
Black-ish – 7.0
The Anthony Anderson-fronted sitcom tackles its primary subject stereotypes, in this case the focus is swimming, and the reception is not particularly bad. AV Club‘s LaToya Ferguson enjoys how “everyone goes into full Johnson mode,” while Vulture‘s Nichole Perkins had misgivings but was relieved by the “boatload of assumptions that lead to some much-needed laughs.” Both reviewers, however, agreed on playfully including buckets full of watery puns.
Supernatural – 6.7
Matt Fowler of IGN expertly referenced the episode title’s musical source(s), but was not overly impressed by much else — despite narrowly placing the episode in the “Good” category — labeling the hour “a middling-yet-apropos monster hunt that incorporated this week’s Valentine’s Day theme with a touch of It Follows.”