New Girl – B+
This one has a bunch of elements that should make for a great NG episode, sharp opening banter, sleepy Schmidt freakouts, classic Winstonisms, misunderstandings, Nasim Pedrad in prime exasperated wisdom-cracking form as Winston’s partner, lessons learned, and a sweet reunion between Schmidt and his dad, played to affable cad perfection by Peter Gallagher, and Jess awkwardly rockin’ a camera-helmet crown. It’s imperfectly tied together and a wee bit mawkish at some times, and it’s got the feel of a marking-time episode, but it’s still a fun treasure trove for people who love the show. And it has Peter Gallagher sheepishly professing a love of weed, and Nick and Winston earnestly observing Hollywood and television need to look into creating shows about police life.
– Jason Thurston
iZombie – B+
One of the greatest charms of Rob Thomas’ undead show is that its snappy banter and cheeky references augment a program that’s an absolute labyrinth of intricately and artfully connected storylines — of the short arc and series theme variety…and that’s along with the frequent monster (well, brain) of the week stories. Unfortunately, “He Blinded Me…With Science” sags a bit under all its moving parts’ weight a bit, but there’s still stunning twists and moving turns. Liv eats the brain of a scientist (who turns out to be more involved in the greater story than at first glance) and uses her careful method to examine the dateworthiness of Drake. Unfortunately, she observes him escorting Mr. Boss, and since she does not know what we know about her hunky lug’s good deeds, that’s curtains for him — even more so when he winds up on Major’s list. Then we have Blaine drifting back and forth from good to evil as the recidivist zombie ponders his mortality. Oh, and there’s Steven Weber’s Vaughn du Clark — whose morality has no such nuance as he abandons daughter Rita to a zombie Max Rager-ing out at 28 Days Later speed. So, it’s a lot. But there’s the usual quick wit, and a neat, and not-at-all-too-cute, thread of Muzak versions of 1980s hits.
– Jason Thurston