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T.J. DeGroat

University of New York, class of '02.

Reviews

The Mindy Project

4
0

This show is... frustrating. Mindy Kaling is a good, but not great, actress. She has surrounded herself with some A+ costars, but also some serious duds (the southern siblings are the worst). There is heartfelt drama and laugh-outloud comedy, but often the two extremes are shoehorned into episodes, making them feel tonally insane. Shifts in time, cast members randomly discarded. It sometimes feels like the show reboots every so often without any explanation. Yeah, frustrating is the word.

The Last Man On Earth

4
0

Turns out Will Forte is one of the smartest, most creative folks to come out of SNL. This show somehow managed to move beyond an impossible setup and become a consistently intriguing series.

Sweet/Vicious

3
0

Sweet/Vicious takes MTV's scripted fare to the next level, finding a nuanced tone that's perfect for telling such a layered story. The series begins with sunny sorority girl Jules (Eliza Bennett) and weed-dealing hacker Ophelia (Taylor Dearden) teaming up to battle the on-campus sexual assault that is largely ignored by the administration. Both have their reasons for committing so fully to the cause. There are surprising comedic moments, mostly from Dearden (Bryan Cranston's daughter), and superhero-style action sequences, but the show really excels as an exploration of sexual assault and the culture it breeds. Watching terrible men (and a few women) get their asses kicked makes this sweetly cathartic TV.

Travelers

3
0

Hundreds of years from now, when humans have screwed up everything (#itgetsworse), survivors discover how to override the minds of their ancestors, who become an elite force trying to save humanity from itself. It's an interesting and pretty timely premise that leads down all sorts of paths as it progresses. From "Stargate SG-1" co-creator Brad Wright, this Canadian show obviously has sci-fi elements, but it's mostly a fairly grounded, semi-spy drama, so even those who are typically wary of the genre may find it intriguing.

Mozart in the Jungle

3
0

It's that show you hear about twice or thrice a year, usually around big award ceremonies. Which means it's good, right? Right! It's a wonderfully weird series with a bit of a madcap tone. The cast is superb, especially Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal, Bravo, maestro.

Amy Sherman-Palladino gave herself a very difficult task: to reclaim her show after its controversial seventh season and reroute her beloved characters in a way that led them toward her famous final four words, but many years after she intended to. All the while she had to appease fans by bringing in as many characters and callbacks as possible, but not weigh things down in such a way that locked out new viewers. It was tough, but I think she did it.

It wasn't perfect, but the original series wasn't perfect either. Looking back, it had really schlocky moments, got melodramatic at times, and sometimes was just dumb. This revival wanders off into that kind of territory at times, too. But it also hit dramatic notes that the WB/CW version didn't. Alexis Bledel is a much better actress than she was, Lauren Graham is as charming and emotional as ever, and Kelly Bishop shows off her underrated skills thanks to a sad but rich storyline.

The format (four 90-minute episodes) sometimes felt rushed and other times felt too roomy. But it was a clever way to present a year in the life of these wonderful, smart, interesting characters. Now, who's ready for part two?

High Maintenance

3
0

One of my low-key faves of the fall, this show came out of nowhere to earn my love. It's so clever and well done. Even the order of the episodes is genius. By the time you get to E3, if you're not completely smitten, there is no hope for you.

Fleabag

3
0

It only takes three minutes to learn everything you need to know about this comedy: it's quite dirty, very real, rather dry, and it obliterates the fourth wall. But most importantly, it's funny. Especially if you like your humour with the u.

My Last Days

3
0

Within seconds you'll go from tearing up to smiling like a goon as you watch real-world hero Claire talk about living with cystic fibrosis. Discussing death, she said, "We have no control over it, but what we do have control over is whether or not we are proud of our own lives."

Happy Valley

3
0

In a period with no shortage of incredible dramatic performers, we have another one in Sarah Lancashire