Okay, so I was going to do separate reviews for all three shows but I just finished up writing one for Bored to Death and figured it would probably be best for me if I got all three of these reviews out in one posting — that and I didn’t think any of the reviews would be long enough to require separate posts.
Onto the reviews.
The Office, Season 6 Premiere
Is it really going on six years with this show? My how the time flies. I think with this show that if you’re not a fan by now then you probably never will — thankfully, though, it has a well enough established fan base that it should continue to do just fine. The characters of The Office are up to their usual antics and everything seems business as usual save for the fact that Pam is pregnant with Jim’s baby. The show opens and closes well enough and there are a few interesting developments that arise in the episode as well. The first, which serves as part of the main plot, is that Stanley is having an affair which Michael discovers. Of course it can’t end well. The other minor development, which is probably more promising for future episodes, is that of Andy starting to become confused with his sexuality. Great stuff.
How will this season pan out? Who really knows. I have a hunch it will be just fine. The show has long since found its stride, but I must admit that I do still sometimes yearn for the old season two and three will they/won’t they days. Seriously, go back and re-watch season two… not a single bad episode to be found!
The Office airs Thursdays at 9:00 P.M. on NBC.
Parks and Recreation, Season 2 Premiere
A show very similar to The Office yet still charming in its own way, Parks and Recreation returns with its sophomore season and I must say that it is downright hilarious. I think I loved this premiere nearly 3x as much as The Office premiere. The first season of P&R had a lot of potential — and honestly delivered on a lot of it — but given I could count all of those episodes with my hands, there was only so much it could do.
Don’t get me wrong, I was also skeptical. Besides the fact that it seemed a blatant rip-off of The Office, I was also unsure if Amy Poehler could work as a lead in a show. I was wrong, of course. The woman is brilliant and has remarkable comedic timing in this show.
The season two premiere episode was so wonderful, in fact, that I really don’t want to give much away… but I must give you something mustn’t I? How about this: Leslie Knope (Poehler) accidentally weds two male penguins which leads to a demand for her resignation because of her “support” of gay marriage. Seriously, go watch this episode, now! The cold opening alone will have you in stitches!
Parks and Recreation airs Thursdays at 8:30 P.M. on NBC.
Fringe, Season 2 Premiere
And here at last we arrive at Fringe. Last year it was FOX’s new high-concept baby. This year it seems to be on proving grounds — can it hold its ground in its new time without its House lead-in? We shall see (I have faith in JJ Abrams). Last season had its ups and downs but I can say that it definitely had far more ups. The biggest problems, I think, had to do with FOX’s remote-free TV which usually allowed for 8-10 more minutes of show than normal. Fringe is the kind of show that would benefit with a shorter running time — there were many episodes last season that, though they were still overall enjoyable, wound up feeling a little long in the tooth by the hour’s end.
The show ended its first season with a pretty ballsy closing shot (SPOILER ALERT: Olivia Dunham is transported into an alternate universe and finds herself standing in one of the top floors of one of the World Trade Center buildings).
The new season doesn’t pick up exactly where it left off, though. There’s a new mystery to be solved and when Agent Dunham does reappear it’s not to save the day, it’s through the windshield of her SUV, which strangely enough was not moving at the time. In the world of Fringe there is always some screwy business akin to this. Because of her accident the events that transpired at the end of last season are placed on hold, at least for the moment. It also seems that the FBI is considering shutting the Fringe Division down due to lack of faith (where have I seen this before?) and a new agent seems to have taken interest in it as well. Sadly, and I imagine for plotting reasons, Agent Dunham doesn’t seem to be able to remember her trip to another dimension (and darn it there was something REALLY important she was supposed to remember, too!). The episode also ends with a bittersweet cliffhanger involving one of the show’s regulars. All-in-all it was still a good episode and I’m eager to see where the season goes from here.
Fringe airs Thursdays at 9:00 P.M. on FOX.