<i>The Spoils of Babylon</i>: The Saviors and Spoilers of IFC’s Not-So-Epic Minsieries

It's no accident that IFC announced its rebranding as… IFC on the same day it debuted The Spoils of Babylon. After all, this star-studded spoof of old-school television miniseries (made in conjunction with Will Ferrell and his Funny or Die outfit) has next to nothing to do with the channel's original identity as the "Independent Film Channel" and everything to do with its burgeoning line-up of alt-comedy shows like Maron and Portlandia. So, going forward, IFC simply stands for IFC and if Spoils works ratings magic, you can expect to see more stunts like it in the future.

Parks & Recreation: A Second Chunce to Make a First Impression

by Angel Cohn January 10, 2014 10:52 am
<i>Parks & Recreation</I>: A Second Chunce to Make a First Impression

The show is back to its regularly scheduled timeslot without the chaos of double episodes and long hiatuses that we endured last fall. And "Second Chunce" was just about adorably perfect, with a Kristen Bell appearance, just enough Jean-Ralphio, a super romantic gesture, Tom finally getting his act together and Andy back in town. Here are the best pairings of the episode:

<i>Intelligence</I>: Like <i>Chuck</i>, But With Less Nerdiness and More Cable-Knit Sweaters

Since you are reading Television Without Pity, there's a strong likelihood that you are familiar with a little show called Chuck that we talked about obsessively for a few years. Chuck was a nerdy guy who got his life flipped upside down when his brain got filled with a high-tech government computer, and then he got a super attractive handler, a secret identity and had a lot of adventures. This new CBS procedural has a remarkably similar premise, with a little bit of Six Million Dollar Man thrown in for good measure. The main difference between Intelligence and Chuck (aside from the obviously larger budget) is that they got rid of all the nerd factor and the quirkiness and increased the hotness. Here, Gabriel (Josh Holloway of Lost fame) is all clean-cut, former military and sporting cable-knit sweaters. He's got a lovely handler (hey there, Little Red Riding Hood) and still has the computer in his brain that makes him an asset and a weapon.

The Highs and Lows of The Sound of Music Live!

by Aly Semigran December 6, 2013 9:33 am
The Highs and Lows of <i>The Sound of Music Live!</i>

If you're a fan of The Sound of Music (the film and/or the stage production) you no doubt went into last night's live recreation on NBC starring Carrie Underwood (huh?) and Stephen Moyer (huh??) with apprehension. And while it didn't quite hit train wreck proportions most of us expected, it certainly didn't do the original justice, instead making viewers desperately yearn for Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. At least, that seemed to be the consensus on Twitter, where just about everyone watched and hilariously snarked together.

<i>Kirstie</i>: A Sitcom From Another Era Starring Sitcom Stars From Another Era

It's almost too convenient that Kirstie -- which appears on a network dedicated to older shows and stars a trio of classic sitcom stars -- feels like it's out of a time warp. It feels like a broad, run-of-the mill sitcom (heck, it even announces it's taped in front of a live studio audience, if that doesn't fill you with nostalgia) that would have aired alongside the likes of Cheers or Seinfeld but no one would have watched because they were tuning in to Cheers or Seinfeld. Everything from the jokes to the aesthetics to the entire concept of the show feel like they are from another time completely. But Kirstie, which premiered last night on TV Land, doesn't feel like wistful nostalgia to reunite with old friends, rather a strange time capsule dropped into a television landscape that's moved on without it.

5 TV Characters Who Should Be in the Thanksgiving Day Parade

by Aly Semigran November 25, 2013 7:00 am
5 TV Characters Who Should Be in the Thanksgiving Day Parade

A giant Snoopy float, every conceivable high school marching band in America and, of course, Santa Claus will all once again make their way down Sixth Avenue in New York City in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day for the annual Macy's parade. While the 2013 parade already has some pretty cool new additions (Finn and Jake from Adventure Time!) from the television world, we thought there were some glaring omissions in this year's lineup. Here are five TV characters that we think deserve to strut, float, or shuffle their stuff in the famous Thanksgiving parade.

<i>Ja’mie: Private School Girl</i>: Mockumentary Satire as Vicious as a Mean Girl

It's probably for the best that Breaking Bad ended before the mockumentary comedy Ja'mie: Private School Girl debuted in America, because I'm not sure television audiences could handle the likes of Walter White and Ja'mie King in their lives at the same time. It would have been one too many sociopathic forces of evil to handle. Then again, compared to the unfathomably terrible Ja'mie King, Walter White almost seems to have some redemptive qualities.

<i>Parks & Recreation</i>: You Take the Good (“Filibuster”), You Take the Sad (“Recall Vote”)

I was beyond excited for a double dose of Parks & Rec after the long unexpected hiatus, but perhaps my hopes were too high. The "Filibuster" episode had me laughing really hysterically, much to my neighbor's chagrin, I'm sure. But "Recall Vote" fell pretty flat. "Filibuster" was filled with weird quirky sex kinks, '90s costumes, Leslie at her most earnest and had Andy and Orphan Black herself Tatiana Maslany. "Recall Vote" had a lot of Tom trying to be popular and a pretty lame Halloween theme that really felt out of place two weeks late. Here's hoping that next week's back-to-back episodes don't suffer the same fate.

MasterChef Junior: Is It TV’s Best Cooking Show?

by Angel Cohn November 7, 2013 4:48 pm
<I>MasterChef Junior</I>: Is It TV’s Best Cooking Show?

If I counted up the hours I regularly spent watching cooking shows, I'd probably give myself indigestion. And lately, even my favorite shows have been underwhelming. Hell's Kitchen is just a blur of profanity, Top Chef is insanely talented people who have all blended together in a competent James Beard Award-winning way and the Food Network stuff always tends to be quickly forgotten. I particularly thought I'd reached my limit of Gordon Ramsay programming (even though I continue tuning in to Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and MasterChef out of habit), and yet my daughter convinced me to watch MasterChef Junior with her and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did this show reinvigorate my adoration of Ramsay as a TV personality but also renewed me hope that we could see more kid-based reality shows that doesn't involve them singing or dancing on America's Got Talent or focus on their parents like Dance Moms. Here are the best things I've learned this season watching MasterChef Junior.

Five Other ’80s Events The Goldbergs Should Cover

by Ethan Alter October 24, 2013 2:56 pm
Five Other ’80s Events <i>The Goldbergs</i> Should Cover

It's taken a few episodes, but we think we've finally figured out the secret to ABC's '80s-era sitcom, The Goldbergs: the titular clan are time-travelers. How else to explain the fact that, while the pilot set the show down in 1985, subsequent episodes have jumped back and forth in time without the clan aging? The third episode, for example, found little Adam Goldberg and his grandpa Albert taking in a showing of 1982's Poltergeist under the pretense that they would be seeing 1986's The Great Mouse Detective. And while it's possible that Tobe Hooper's scary movie was in the midst of a re-release (back in the pre-DVD era when the movie studios actually did that sort of thing), that doesn't explain what happened on this week's installment, where Adam wooed a crush with his favorite Hollywood romance, Say Anything… a movie that hit theaters in 1989. Given that any chance of a linear timeline is now at the window, here are the momentous (for us, anyway) '80s pop culture events we hope the Goldbergs time-jump to over the course of the remaining episodes.

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