Only three shows had enough reviews to qualify, but one of the trio was a huge one: the return of one of the most popular and enduring sitcoms of the 1990s, and while it wasn’t triumphant, and there was certainly an (orange) elephant to talk about in their iconic living room, the write-ups for Roseanne were mostly reservedly positive. It found itself solidly in the middle of tepidly reviewed singing show Rise and critically acclaimed Black Lightning, which leaped and bounded to the top of the pack yet again.
Tuesday, March 27th’s Best Reviewed: Black Lightning (7.9/10)
This episode of The CW’s most universally praised superhero drama, the emphasis is more on the drama than the superhero, although the reviewer who gave it its highest rating, TV Fanatic‘s Paul Dailly, had my favorite quip of the night and it was about action: “It looks like everyone is going to throw a microwave at him to try and get some of the reward for capturing him.” Kyle Fowle of AV Club notes the show’s reverence of its own universe’s history (and its parallels to reality): “The show’s patient approach to storytelling, taking its time to fill in the backstories of characters before forging ahead with the season’s larger plot, is a big part of that feeling of history as inescapable presence.”
The Rest of the Week:
Roseanne – 7.3
Arguably, outside of Seinfeld and The Simpsons, no sitcom defined the 1990s (while like both other examples, it began in the ’80s) or built quite the rabid following as Roseanne. After over 20 years, it’s returned to television and for the most part, the reviews are good. As Amy Amatangelo at Paste puts it “You know when you have lunch with an old friend and pick up right where you left off? The weeks, months, even years since you last talked slip away. “It’s like we saw each other yesterday,” you marvel.” Now about that big ol’ rampaging, bellowing, Muslim-banning, immigrant-hating orange elephant in the room… Antangelo saves it for the end and almost dismisses it entirely: “It’s easy to make fun of a Trump voter. It’s not as easy to portray them as thoughtful people who believed they were making the right choice.” Vulture‘s Kimberly Potts acknowledges the difficulty for fans, but feels while “Roseanne explains her choice in a way that almost certainly won’t change anyone’s mind, but nevertheless lays down a point: You can choose to get past it, or at least to keep talking, no matter how much you continue to disagree.” Indiewire‘s Ben Travers, the night’s one dissenting review, feels the politics weren’t the problem, but that overall the revival is a “flailing mess.” He suggests the show is just no longer original or fresh: “Jokes are handled with a … ‘sure, why not?’ indifference. They’re quick, broad, and many of them feel far too familiar”
Rise – 6.0
Musical drama Rise through three episodes has not found much to elevate it above comparisons to Glee (and not favorable ones). Probably, the less said about it the better.