As we bring back this recap round-up feature, it’s an absolute runaway — one of the Golden State Warriors, likely 2016-17 version even. HBO’s ultra-thrilling The Night Of deserves to be thrown into the mix of shows like The Wire and Breaking Bad as best all-time crime dramas. The rest of the reviewed field falls significantly behind. BrainDead has been a mixed bag throughout its run, and the theme of the day seems to be how much people love the Mary Matalin-James Carville style romance of Laurel and Gareth. However, as Lauren Hoffman at Vulture points out, it’s a bit of “a bad sign that the most compelling moments of a show about zombies, political intrigue, and high-stakes drama come when two characters are hanging out, calmly discussing their on-again, off-again relationship?” The most prominent prequel, Fear the Walking Dead, now two episodes into the second half of its second season continues to suffer from the tension created by its parent show’s grandest cliffhanger, but it has some adherents. TV Fanatic‘s Steve Ford notes “the character development and bonding between Strand and Madison was a nice addition.”
Sunday, August 29th’s Best: The Night Of (9.5/10)
As it has throughout its rookie (lone?) season, The Night Of, earned mostly Harvard-ian grades from critics. The closest thing to a holdout for the finale is the AV Club‘s Alasdair Wilkins, who recognized the greatness in the show, but found its unevenness a bit “unsatisfying,” and chalking that up to “the necessary end result of a show that was already spinning a few too many plates. It all comes crashing down, and there’s a good chance at least some of that clatter was intentional, but probably not all of it.” Jesse Schedeen at IGN has fewer reservations, raving that the finale “alone should ensure that multiple actors will be earning Emmy nominations next year. Is it too early to start hoping for a sequel?” But it’s TV Fanatic‘s Carissa Pavlica who answers the show’s most pressing question in one of three perfect ratings, and one that plagued at least one Screen Scholar for the majority of the episode: “WHAT ABOUT KITTY?? As they continued to focus on that door, I was shedding tears as Roberta Flack continued to poke at my soft inner core, right through my crusty crab shell. I kid you not. I felt so awful for Stone, and I was a little confused, because I was SO sure he would have gone back for Kitty. Surely I wasn’t wrong! Then Kitty came strolling across the kitchen floor.” Either way would have been a tad manipulative, but our Jason (who also loved it), is certainly grateful The Night Of didn’t kill the cat.
The Rest of the Night:
BrainDead – 6.0
Fear the Walking Dead – 5.9
Ray Donovan – 5.5
Vice Principals – 4.5