Tag: Downton Abbey

Weekend’s Best Reviewed: Downton Abbey

With its sorta, kinda final episode (the installment next week was a Christmas Special in the U.K.), Downton Abbey earns raves by returning to one of its most reliable fan-pleasers — vicious family strife. All appeared to be looking up for perennially unlucky Lady Edith, so of course it would have to come crashing down courtesy, as per ther ushe, of sister Mary, but did that backfire? Underrated B-movie style monster show Grimm is the weekend’s surprise runner-up as conspiracies collide, and Monroe gets his inner wolf on. A thought-provoking, but mostly transitionary episode punctuated by a stunning last few seconds leads to mixed reviews for last week’s champion, The Walking DeadVinyl continued to neither delight nor offend. While reviewers had mostly positive vibes, The Good Wife confused many, and Shameless fell further as the annals of the Gallagher clan would seem to be running on fumes.

Weekend’s Best: Downton Abbey (9.5/10)

0222yesbesdowntonWhen two different reviewers use the word “bananas” to describe the oh-so-proper PBS period drama, Downton Abbey, you know you’ve got a crazy episode. It’s the last of the “series” in British TV terms, but not the finishing point of the series in the U.S. as there is one special left for next week. But, oh, what a set-up for that final act. Jen Chaney of Vulture gives it a perfect score, while lamenting “why did you make me love you when there’s only one more episode of you left?” TV Fanatic‘s Caralynn Lippo added the “penultimate installment of the series managed to capture that early Downton charm, drama, and joy. It was outstanding.”

The Rest of the Night:

Grimm – 9.0

Togetherness – 8.5

The Walking Dead – 8.4

Girls – 8.3

The Vampire Diaries – 7.7

Vinyl – 7.7

Billions – 7.5

Sleepy Hollow – 7.0

The Good Wife – 6.9

Shameless – 6.3

What to Watch: 02/21/2016

It’s a busy night of television: we’ve got dead walkin’, cartoons folk-singin’, records spinnin’, law talking ladies and guys lawyerin’, CSI’s cyberin’, and one classic program coming back, while another fades into the annals of history — well, almost (Brits love to get cheeky with the specials). Our selections from this crowded field boast 38 seasons, mostly logged by one record-breaking family show.

Girls [HBO, 10p]
Another season of mid-twenties drama and debauchery ensues with Shoshana  in Japan finding herself, Marnie preparing for her wedding (yup, that happened), Hannah with her new boo and Jessa, wait what does Jessa do again? In any case, looking  forward to more cringe worthy, awkward moments.

Downton Abbey [PBS, 9p]
We in the U.S. finally get to see the Season 6 finale, and while there are no more seasons, there will be more intrigue between the upstairs and the downstairs next week with the “Christmas 2015 Special.” This episode promises twists and turns and a mounting intrigue between sisters Mary and Edith (#TeamEdith…Mary is just that awful).

The Simpsons [Fox, 8p]
Bart invites a homeless woman to live in his closet, and Lisa discovers that the woman is a noted folk singer. Then The Simpsons goes deep: the woman, like many homeless people, has substance-abuse issues. Will this be as emotionally scarring as the time Lisa’s beached whale died? Is it bad that I hope so?


  • Those Walking Deads dead walkers put quite the hit on Rick’s psyche last week, but the Alexandrians came together in the end, and tonight’s the aftermath and a likely very short calm between the storms. Process whatever happens for the next hour on AMC’s Talking Dead. It may not be long enough.
  • Mercy Street makes its real and complete first season exit on PBS (cuz we’re ‘Murricans!) with Lincoln visiting, while the medical intrigue builds to a climax.
  • HBO’s well-pedigreed punk rock expose Vinyl earned mostly solid reviews, but don’t ask your local rock critic friend, because it earned some bitter enemies.
  • On CBS’ The Good Wife, another show in its final season, Alicia works with the federal government, while Eli & Tascione are thrown together which is always a whole lot of eccentric (and sometimes hallucinogenic) fun.
  • Keeping Up with the Kardashians finishes up its eleventh season on E!, which hints that a lot may have happened since the O.J. days.
  • Just reading about the Food Network’s All Star Academy spanning the globe to offer ingredients from Mexico, Thailand, and Italy is making us hungry, so we’re out of here. Peace!


The Weekend’s Best Reviewed: Downton Abbey

Regularly scheduled TV ground nearly to a halt as the Super Bowl sucked most of the air out of the room, but a few popular shows aired new episodes, all of which to positive reception. While the vaunted Downton Abbey won by a nose, it’s the oft-maligned and shopworn SNL that stole all hearts this weekend with Larry David’s consistently funny return, to go along with the cameo of his presidential candidate doppelganger Bernie Sanders, and it probably would have snatched the crown, if critics grades matched their write-ups

Weekend of February 7th’s Best Reviewed: Downton Abbey (8.5/10)


As we barrel ahead towards Downton oblivion, it’s unsurprising that the quality would peak in the antepenultimate episode. AV Club loves the recent “more vigorous, more self-aware” Abbey. Jen Chaney of Vulture wins my heart by comparing the visiting hoi polloi of the surrounding villages as “all the Whos in Whoville” while declaring “Hell hath no fury like a Dame Maggie Smith scorned.” TV Fanatic‘s Caralynn Lippo welcomed the drama’s “hilarious as expected” comedic touch as the clueless aristocrats attempted to explain the history of their abode and lifestyle to the locals, not all of whom slack-jawed yokels.

The Rest of the Night:

Saturday Night Live – 8.5

Based on the disconnect between the imperfect grades and glowing prose, I sense that a lifetime of lukewarm SNL has hardened reviewers from giving the show a perfect grade. The AV Club‘s excellent Dennis Perkins stretched to find a worst sketch on a “uniformly solid show,” but then poured praise on said sketch. Gillian Healey of Vulture called Larry David’s turn “A banner episode not soon to be forgotten,” which seems to warrant more than 4 out of 5 stars, but maybe that’s just me. If you want the true measure of this episode against the canvas of years of mediocrity, check the comments section of AV as they are usually pretty brutal on the long-running program, but tonight you had to dig deep to find even one #CancelJost.

Shameless – 8.5

The Gallagher family’s bidding adieu to their abode made for moving television as Myles McNutt of AV Club called it “easily the most emotional Shameless has made [him] in a long time.” At TV Fanatic, Paul Dailly raves in a 5/5 review that “plenty more stories to tell before this one shows any signs of age.”

Billions – 8.0

Even the uneven Billions earned high praise, Vulture labeling its fourth offering a “high-paced, crackerjack episode.”

Sunday’s Best Reviewed: Galavant

This new feature will scour the internet for reviews of the previous night’s programs to see what shows we might first want to catch up on our DVR’s or favored streaming site. Or just have our suspicions confirmed that, yes, last night’s episode of Blah Blah Blah was no-good, awful, piece of trash. In any case, we’ve taken the ratings, put them through our hackily derived, pointless formula and here ya go…

Sunday, January 24’s Best: Galavant (8.6/10)


Dan Fogelman’s little medieval musical comedy that could beat out the return of Mulder & Scully, the Gallagher family’s continued depravity, and good ol’ reliable Downton to fairly easily capture the top-reviewed show of last night. The AV Club avers that the program has “earned its darkness,” and showed “balls” of which its pilot could never have dreamed. IGN was a bit less glowing, liking the double episode overall, but adding that the “second half-hour didn’t quite hold the momentum of the first installment.”

The Rest of the Night:

Shameless – 8.5 

Frank’s debauched affairs got nice write-ups where they did, but I could only find two reviews. AV Club gave it a solid B+ and dubbed it “a definite improvement over last week’s outing,” but lamented the catch-22 in its need to reinvent itself — as they do, the situations become more contrivance.

Downton Abbey – 7.7

The soft-spoken Brits earned solid reviews for this mostly transitionary episode where Thomas the Evil Footman learned it’s hard out there for a butler (particularly when he’s a jerkface) and the hapless Daisy went about saving her one time father-in-law.

Billions – 7.5

AV Club calls the second episode of this Showtime Paul Giamatti/Damian Lewis drama about Wall St. hijinks (but serious ones) “much improved” from its disappointing debut.

The X-Files – 6.7

Everybody wanted so much to believe in this reboot (well, technically a very late arrival of Season 10 of the original) of one of the best shows of the 1990s, featuring the original cast, but reviews of its opening episode have been tepid to say the least. We’ll let you hunt down the reviews, but here’s hoping tonight’s episode brings back the quirky sci-fi, shady characters, and snappy interplay between the leads which made The X-Files legend.