Wednesday, October 22, 2014

TV Review - Selfie vs. Manhattan Love Story

John Cho and Karen Gillan in "Selfie"
The ABC network premiered two new romantic comedies this fall. One is surprisingly lovely, sweet and funny, even though initially I thought it felt so contrived. The other is frustrating and almost painful to watch.

Selfie is a modern-day remake of the play Pygmalion, which was famously made into a film My Fair Lady (1964). At the same time, the show seeks to satirize social media. The term "selfie" is a term born out of social media, which refers to a picture that one takes of him or herself, usually with a smart phone, for the express purpose of sharing it online.

All of this sounds contrived and rather much like the lamest of gimmicks. However, the actors make it work. They sell the Hell out of it and charm the viewers so acutely. Karen Gillan stars as Eliza Dooley, the best sales representative at a pharmaceuticals company who is the best because she's focused a lot on her beauty, so much as she's become extremely superficial.

John Cho stars as Henry, a marketing and advertising executive at the same company who specializes in re-branding campaigns. When things start to go wrong for Eliza and she realizes that her Facebook friends aren't really her real friends and her obsession with social media has made her quite anti-social, she asks Henry to help "re-brand" her.

Henry's tasks include trying to make Eliza more empathetic and aware of the people around her, as well as their feelings. He wants to make her less self-involved, less focused on her smart phone and more mild-mannered. Along with that comes a desire for Eliza to be less sexual and less superficial.

Yet, Henry isn't perfect. He is very conservative, old-fashioned and all about work and no play. He's an example of Eliza's pendulum swinging totally the other way and staying there. The trick of the series is getting him to loosen up and move a little bit toward Eliza's way of thinking. Both of them have to make unlikely friendships.

Along the way, head writer Emily Kapnek and her team have created some great gags and hilarious characters that keep me coming back aside from the two great leads. At the top of which is David Harewood (Homeland) who plays Sam Saperstein, Eliza and Henry's boss at the company.

There have been several sitcoms recently that have utilized the weird or odd, African-American or black guy who is the boss of whatever work environment. FOX did it twice with Enlisted and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Harewood's Saperstein lies somewhere in between Keith David and Andre Braugher. He also seems to have a quasi-lustful interest toward Henry. Saperstein kisses Henry in the pilot and then in Episode 3 gets incredibly close to Henry, complimenting his smell.

There's so many great gags like playing Lady Gaga's Bad Romance on an ukelele, a picture of a breast-feeding baby and a flash mob of one. All of it has endeared me and made me an instant fan of the show.

Analeigh Tipton and Jake McDorman
in "Manhattan Love Story"
Manhattan Love Story isn't a remake or a satire of anything. Written by Jeff Lowell, it's supposedly an original take on single people dating in modern-day New York City. It's just unfortunate that none of the people in it are likeable in the least. Yet, the title suggests that the two leads falling in love is inevitable, which to me is so contrived and forced. I'd rather the characters separate and never interact with each other or anyone ever again.

Analeigh Tipton stars as Dana, a girl who is very much an Ally McBeal-type, except she's way dumber. It's almost offensive how dumb she is. Ally McBeal had her distractions and she was certainly clumsy, but she was never as stupid as this girl. Arguably, Ally McBeal was pathetic but not as pathetic as the girl here.

Jake McDorman co-stars as Peter, a basic horn-dog who at almost every turn proves that he doesn't give a damn about this girl. He could and would move on to the next girl without giving Dana a second thought or if he did, not much of one. At the end of the pilot episode, he does something romantic, but it's almost out of guilt. Yet, by the next episode, he's onto the next girl.

Even if I could get over this, the supporting characters are atrocious. They are annoying beyond belief. They're not even annoying in the way friends are in sitcoms. They're worse in that they're not funny. Episode 3 breaks the vicious cycle by introducing a character in Dana's world who is charming and nice. He's Tucker, played by Nico Evers-Swindell, the New Zealand actor who recently played Prince William in a TV movie.

The joke is that Dana can't tell if Tucker is just British or if he's gay. The problem is that the show doesn't play the joke for its maximum effectiveness. It's less of a question or a confusion than it perhaps could have been. First off, the show gives away the joke in the title. Therefore, the question or confusion over Tucker's sexuality is spoiled from the initial encounter, so it's never able to generate any laughs.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14-DL.
Running Time: 30 mins.
Tuesdays at 8PM on ABC.

Manhattan Love Story.
One Star out of Five.
Rated TV-PG-DL.
Running Time: 30 mins.
Tuesdays at 8:30PM on ABC.

TV Review - Scandal: Season 4 & Nashville: Season 3

Jeff Perry and Dan Bucatinsky in "Scandal"
Recently, an entertainment news story was reported about the negative reaction to the gay scenes being in the forefront this season on two shows on ABC, specifically two shows on Thursday night by super TV producer Shonda Rhimes. Those shows are Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. This comes on the heels of what was perceived as racism on the part of a news article about Rhimes and those two shows that have a black woman as the lead. However, the reaction to the gay scenes was something that was blatantly more bigoted and homophobic.

If you haven't been watching Scandal in Season 4, the gay scenes in question involve Cyrus, the Chief of Staff at the White House, played by Jeff Perry, and Michael, a MBA student, played by Matthew Del Negro. Cyrus is recently widowed and vulnerable in that he's lonely. Michael is a prostitute who unbeknownst to Cyrus has been employed to entrap Cyrus in a political scandal to control or neutralize him.

If you haven't been watching How to Get Away with Murder, the gay scenes in question there involve Connor, a law student competing for the approval of his law professor, and Oliver, a computer technician who can help the law professor with an actual case. Connor seduces Oliver as well as other men boldly in order to get them to do what he wants.

If I were to criticize these scenes in these shows, I wouldn't criticize them in saying it's too much gay stuff. I would criticize them in that they're not scenes of true love on any one's part. It's instead manipulation on top of manipulation.

In Scandal in particular, the main character of Olivia Pope, played by Emmy-nominee Kerry Washington, is in a bit of a love triangle. On one side is her love of the President of the United States, President Fitzgerald or Fitz, played by Tony Goldywn. On the other side is her love for Jake, played by Scott Foley.

Both Fitz and Jake have their own agendas, but it's clear both love Olivia in their own ways. In the scenes between Cyrus and Michael. It's not about love. Michael doesn't love Cyrus. Right now, it's all about sex, and setting Cyrus up for a trap. That doesn't mean that couldn't change. HBO's Oz had two male characters who fell in love have a similar starting place.

The same could be said about Connor and Oliver on How to Get Away with Murder. The only reason I'm watching is to see if love between gay men can be what translates into a full-fleshed storyline. Scandal had that previously with Cyrus' prior relationship. It's curious to see if that can be replicated.

Chris Carmack in "Nashville"
Shonda Rhimes could give lessons though to Callie Khouri and her series Nashville in Season 3. That series is centered around a woman too, a country superstar named Rayna James, played by Connie Britton. The show follows her music career, as she launches her own label and release a new album. The challenges she faces in the business like rivalries are explored, as well as her family life, which includes a divorce, and a current love triangle between two musicians, one who is more successful than the other.

There are several subplots with younger musicians. The major subplot, which is actually not sub but on par with Rayna's storyline, is Juliette Barnes, played by Hayden Panettiere. There are other younger musicians who the show follows, but the least among them is Will Lexington, played by Chris Carmack. What's notable about him is he's the show's gay character.

Unlike Rhimes, Khouri and her writers don't want to put Will in the forefront, let alone show him having sex. Purposefully, it could be because he's still in the closet and is personally trying to hide his homosexuality, but it doesn't mean he isn't having sex. The show doesn't even acknowledge real-life country artists who have come out as gay like Steve Grand, Chely Wright, Eric Himan and Matt Alber.

There are and have been so many gay musicians in other genres, but like rap music, there's almost a difference when it comes to country. Yet, the show wants to delay or draw out attacking this issue. We'll see how it goes by year's end.

Scandal: Season 4.
Three Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14-DS.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Thursdays at 9PM on ABC.

Nashville: Season 3.
Three Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-PG-LS.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Wednesdays at 10PM on ABC.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TV Review - Stalker (2014)

Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q in "Stalker"
Screenwriter Kevin Williamson created a hit show on FOX called The Following. The luxuriating in physical violence and psychopathy of that series is something he's trying to replicate here, but slightly watered-down and more in-line with the police procedural programs that are everywhere.

Maggie Q stars as Lt. Beth Davis, the head of the Threat Assessment Unit or TAU who is hardened and sporadically rude. Dylan McDermott co-stars as Jack Larsen, a detective for nine years in the NYPD who comes to Los Angeles to be Beth's right hand in the TAU. Their cases focus specifically on incidents of stalking.

While this might seem like a limited concept, Beth announces in the pilot episode that over six million people are stalked in the United States per year. Celebrity stalking is only 10 % of all cases. One in six are women and one in nineteen are men. All of those statistics are on the rise, thanks to social media. This means there are a wealth of cases to explore here, but Williamson shoots himself in the foot by making this show an odd relative of The Following where it's just week after week of crazy or really creepy people who always escalate to deadly violence.

The MTV series Catfish: The TV Show did a better job of exploring stalking in the digital age than this show has thus far and probably ever will. That MTV series does a better job of digging into or discussing psychology or sociology, whereas this show just throws out outrageous horror set-pieces. The pilot episode opens with a scene that mimics the opening to Scream (1996), which Williamson wrote. Children being thrown in car trunks and lesbian brides being shot in the head comprise the depravity Williamson's show discharges in next episodes. It's trash.

The pilot episode though does something really egregious and does a storyline that could have been interesting, yet Williamson totally ruins it. Beth investigates a case involving Perry Whitley, played by Erik Stocklin, who gets assaulted by his roommate Eric, played by Daren Kagasoff. Eric accuses Perry of stalking him, but more specifically, Eric thinks Perry secretly recorded him having sex and then posted that sex video online.

This storyline mirrors a famous gay bullying case at Rutgers University where Tyler Clementi was secretly videotaped having sex with his boyfriend by his roommate Dharun Ravi. As a result of cyberbullying from Ravi, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Here, Williamson turns it around and makes the gay student the bully. Perry is the bully, but Williamson tries to couch such criticism by saying Perry isn't gay.

Yet, to take this story of gay bullying and twist it this way is a bit offensive. It's more a waste of opportunity. Williamson had a golden opportunity to tell a gay bullying story, but instead he completely drops the ball. He doesn't just drop it. He takes a butcher knife and stabs into it, totally deflating the ball.

There are other characters played by Mariana Klaveno, Victor Rasuk and Elisbeth Rohm, but nothing this show does make me care about any of them.

One Star out of Five.
Rated TV-14-DSV.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Wednesdays at 10PM on CBS.

TV Review - Chicago Fire: Season 3

Monica Raymund and Jesse Spencer
play firefighters in love in "Chicago Fire"
The series picks up where Season 2 ended. Its cliffhanger of the building explosion, which trapped all of our main characters, except one, is resolved. The repercussions of which reverberate throughout the season for a while. The biggest repercussions is that a character died. Another character was insidiously injured.

What is worrisome is that the character who died was Leslie Shay, played by Lauren German, and she was the only gay character or the only LGBT character on the show. With her gone, the show lost that inclusive element. It's a little less diverse, even though the cast is very wide-ranging. There's still a lack of Asian characters, but this season by its fourth episode has seen a lot of shuffling of jobs and new characters introduced, so maybe there will be a return of a gay character.

Shay was a paramedic. She wasn't technically a firefighter, which this show is mainly about. With her gone, hopefully the head writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas will open that door and have a full-on gay firefighter, and broach that issue in a way that it's rather skirted until now.

I almost thought in Episode 3 the writers were going to do it. Kenny Johnson started to reoccur on the series last season as Tommy Welch, a firefighter at a rival firehouse. He has the opportunity to take on a female firefighter into his company, but he denies it. His behavior would lead you into thinking that he's simply a misogynist. Yet, it's so over-the-top with him that you suspect that something else is happening underneath. I started to form an opinion about it in Episode 3.

In Episode 3, titled "Just Drive the Truck," Welch and his team get into a horrible accident. The main firefighters of this show, including Matthew Casey, played by Jesse Spencer, and, Kelly Severide, played by Taylor Kinney, have to save Welch and his men. One of which is the driver of the truck, a guy named Jason Molina, played by Glenn Stanton.

Now, obviously, because Molina is hurt pretty bad, Welch is going to be upset, but his being upset gets to a point where it seemed a little too intense. It was so intense that you'd almost assume that Welch was in love with Molina, not just in the typical, firefighter-brother way but in a deep-rooted, homosexual way. By the end, it's clear that Molina has a wife and family. Welch backs off, but having him be gay would have been a good angle to go.

So far, the characters are dealing with a lot of the same issues with which they've dealt before. A firefighter deals with a physical injury that makes him not able to be a firefighter. Another firefighter deals with the death of someone close, which sends him on a downward spiral. The other firefighters deal with starting a business outside the firehouse and the difficulties with that. All these things are veritable rehashes, but the actors are so good that they all make it work, even when some are playing the same beats. However, having a gay firefighter, especially one like Welch, would have definitely shaken things up.

What helps is that the series has integrated some storylines that are diferent or innovative that keeps things refreshing. One of which is Peter Mills, played by Charlie Barnett, confronting his father's racist family. Another storyline is Casey's newest candidate being his fiancee and former paramedic Gabriella Dawson, played by Monica Raymund.

The series, which is actually shot in Chicago, continues to stage great action scenes and great disaster-rescue scenes. In a way that's more organic than the way NCIS does it, the series weaves in cameos from its spin-off show better as well. The brief appearances from Sophia Bush and Brian Geraghty from Chicago P.D. have been great in that they felt totally natural and not underscored. Even Shay's replacement Sylvie, played by Kara Killmer, is integrated so seamlessly.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14-LV.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Tuesdays at 10PM on NBC.

TV Review - Agents of Shield: Season 2

Ming-Na Wen (left) and Clark Gregg
in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
The first season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started rather weak. With the exception of Angel, which was a spin-off, this series began very much like all other Joss Whedon TV shows. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was aided from the beginning with more engaging and interesting characters who were engaging and interesting from day one. Because of the nature of it being a spy series, the show set a trap for itself of which took a while for it to dig itself out.

In Season 1, the show only kicked off in the episode, which played after the theatrical release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Marvel Studios planned for the plot of the TV show to be affected by the plot of the movie. It was brilliant, but it dragged the show for half a season. For this second season, the show continues to use the movie as a springboard.

In the Season 2 premiere, Agent Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, leads a mission against Hydra, the evil Nazi-like organization that S.H.I.E.L.D. is trying to fight. Her mission is set in Austria 1945. She's assisted by Dugan, played by Neal McDonough, and Morita, played by Kenneth Choi. All of whom are from Captain America: The First Avenger. This Agent Carter mission serves two purposes. The first is to set up the spin-off simply called Agent Carter and the other purpose is to establish the macguffin for this season or at least for the initial run of fall episodes.

In addition to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the plot of this show was also affected last year by the plot of the film Thor: The Dark World. The character of Thor and related characters are technically alien beings, and last year alien artifacts or alien technology were revealed to have been deposited on Earth. The artifact in question for this run of episodes is the Obelisk. The Obelisk has a lot of power. Some of it is deadly, which makes it desirable to bad guys like those from Hydra, including Dr. Daniel Whitehall, played by Reed Diamond.

Clark Gregg reprises his role as Agent Phil Coulson who since the presumed death of Nick Fury has become the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., but also since Hydra invaded S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson hasn't had much of an organization to direct. He's spent the intervening time trying to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D., which includes recruiting new members or agents.

Ming-Na Wen plays Agent Melinda May, his right hand and highly-trained, martial artist. Chloe Bennet plays Skye, a computer hacker-turned-field agent. Iain De Caestecker plays Leo Fitz, a brilliant researcher and inventor. Elizabeth Henstridge plays Jemma Simmons, a scientist-turned-field agent.

May is trying to keep an eye on Coulson who since his return from Tahiti has been exhibiting strange signs, possibly deleterious signs. Skye has to face her complicated relationship with Grant Ward, played by Brett Dalton. Ward went from field agent to prisoner for betraying S.H.I.E.L.D. for Hydra. Meanwhile, Fitz is suffering from brain damage as a result of an attack by Ward. He's also suffering from heart-break having Simmons gone from his life.

Among the new recruits include Antoine Triplett, played by B.J. Britt, a field agent who partners with Skye on occasion. There's also Mac, played by Henry Simmons, a mechanic who normally doesn't go out on missions. He repairs and doles out equipment and vehicles. Finally, Lance Hunter, played by Nick Blood, also joins the team as a British, former mercenary who used to work only for money.

Coulson and his agents are trying to find the Obelisk and other alien artifacts before Hydra, so Hydra can't use those artifacts to dominate or take-over the world, which is what they always want. Hydra has money, power and technology to help them combat anything, but sometimes Hydra has supernatural beings on its side. Last season, Hydra had Mike Peterson aka Deathlok. This season, it has a round robin of villains from various Marvel comics.

The first of which was Carl Creel, played by Brian Patrick Wade. Creel is in actuality the Absorbing Man from the Thor comics. In Episode 3, there was Donnie, played by Dylan Minnett. Donnie aka Blizzard is a villain or is from the rogues gallery from the Iron Man comics. In the example of Donnie, he's brainwashed by Hydra.

The show has become a very good adventure series. The action scenes are surprisingly well done. Episode 4 featured a lengthy and well-choreographed fight scene between May and a Hydra agent in disguise, which is just as good as her fight scene last season with Ward. This follows a pretty wicked car crash in the Season 2 premiere as well as some pretty cool, special effects in Episode 2 with Creel and in Episode 3 with Donnie.

The series also has fun with Adrian Pasdar who plays General Talbot. His scenes with Coulson are a delight. It's really in these scenes when head writers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharden can really provide the witty dialogue in its most tongue-in-cheek form, but the series is fun now all around.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-PG-LV.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Tuesdays at 9PM on ABC.

Monday, October 20, 2014

TV Review - How to Get Away With Murder

Set in Philadelphia, this series is about a strong, black, female defense-attorney and law professor who uses her students to help her in cases, which often time are people charged with murder. The initial episodes involve a case-of-the-week structure that pivots around two, over-arching mysteries. The first mystery is happening concurrently with the present narrative. The other mystery is happening in the future and each episode briefly flashes-forward to reveal more and more pieces of that future.

Viola Davis stars as Annalise Keating. She teaches at Middleton University. She also runs her own private practice that mainly consists of just her as the attorney and two assistants. Bonnie, played by Liza Weil, is the ice queen who is all about the work and nothing else. Weil is doing similar things as her character in Gilmore Girls. Frank, played by Charlie Weber (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 90210), doesn't like stupid questions. He's almost an ice king, but his heart does warm to one Annalise's students.

Alfred Enoch (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II) co-stars as Wesley Gibbins, a transfer student on his first day of law school who stumbles but is able to come up with a clever, self-defense argument for one of Keating's cases, which impresses her.

Aja Naomi King (Emily Owens, M.D.) plays Michaela Pratt, the only other black female among the five students who comes to work for Annalise's practice. She's engaged to be married to a guy named Aiden. She's a bit of a snob, uptight and highly superficial.

Jack Falahee and Conrad Ricamora
in "How to Get Away With Murder"
Jack Falahee (Twisted) plays Connor Walsh, a ruthless and somewhat bitchy, gay student who seduces another gay man because he can provide important information for Annalise's case. Connor, however, ends up falling for that Asian guy named Oliver, played by Conrad Ricamora, despite the fact that he continues to be manipulative.

Karla Souza (Verano de amor) plays Laurel Castillo. She's like the female equivalent to Wesley, only she doesn't have his idealistic heart. She's not manipulative, ruthless or stuck-up. She just wants to work hard and it's her who's caught Frank's eye and vice-versa.

Matt McGorry (Orange is the New Black) plays Asher Millstone. He seems to be somewhere between Michaela and Connor in terms of personality. He's a total bro. He seems like he's a fraternity douche-bag. In fact, he's nickname in Episode 2 becomes "douche-face."

Going back to the two, over-arching mysteries, the one happening concurrently with the present narrative involves the death of a fellow student but a female student who wasn't a law major. The other mystery happening in the future involves the death of that female student's professor who also happens to be Annalise's husband Sam, played by Tom Verica.

The reason that the second mystery is that much more mysterious is because the flash-forward scenes reveal Sam's murder through the contrivance that Wesley, Michaela, Connor and Laurel are secretly covering up that murder. There's no clue as to who killed Sam and why these four students are covering it up.

The first mystery has its suspects, but misdirection and red herrings are all over the place, so learning whodunnit is the hook to pull us along. The characters aren't certainly the hook. With the exception of Wesley, none of the characters are likeable or interesting beyond a single note.

I echo Dan Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall on their podcast when they concluded that Viola Davis is the draw, but the show marginalizes her in a weird way. It's not like The Good Wife that firmly established its lead first and centered it around her for half the season and then slowly expanded and delved into the other characters, making it a great ensemble. This show perhaps bombards us with too much all at once.

It was nice to see a beautiful, black woman like Davis get cunnilingus from a beautiful, black man, in this instance a cop named Nate, played by Billy Brown (Sons of Anarchy and Dexter).

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14-DSV.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Thursdays at 10PM on ABC.

TV Review - The Good Wife: Season 6

Julianna Margulies (right) won an Emmy this year
for her work dealing with loss in "The Good Wife"
After what was a fantastic Season 5, the series returns still just as strong and no sign of slowing down. Unequivocably, this is the best TV show on broadcast television, and I am leaning on making the argument that this series is the best on all of television this year. The writing, the acting and the direction are all just so superb, so excellent, so exciting and so engaging that it truly is currently the only show that no matter what I have to watch and preferably do so live on Sunday nights. The Good Wife is just so damn good!

Season 6 picks up right where Season 5 left off, as most of the seasons have done. This year's Emmy-winner Julianna Margulies stars as Alicia Florrick who has been approached by Eli Gold, played by Alan Cumming, who is the Chief of Staff and former campaign manager for her husband, the Governor of Illinois, played by Chris Noth. Eli approaches Alicia to get her to run for her very first political office, to become the State's Attorney, her husband's old job. Alicia resists but pieces on the chessboard of her life begin to move, pushing her to run. Yet, she does make the decision herself in Episode 3 and when she does, it is a total knockout moment.

Meanwhile, Alicia's newly formed law firm comes under attack, as it also undergoes some changes. It all kicks off in Episode 1 when Matt Czuchry who plays Cary Agos, the other named partner of Alicia's firm, finds himself in serious trouble. Czuchry's performance in those first three episodes, piggybacking off his fire at the end of Season 5, positions him more as a leading male in this show. It's also deserving of him to get an Emmy nomination, which based on this he should absolutely get.

The supporting actors or guest stars are always great. Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart is just elegant and graceful yet strong as always. Matthew Goode as Finn Polmar as a possible love interest is "goode." Forgive the pun! Taye Diggs as Dean Wilkins is a great foil to Alicia as well as associate lawyer who plays off her lack of religion.

Michael Cerveris as SA James Castro makes for a good villain in a long line of good villains on this show, including those played by Michael J. Fox, Zach Grenier, Mike Colter and Dylan Baker. Probably one of the best reoccurring roles has been Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni who has done over a dozen episodes since she first appeared in Season 1. She won an Emmy last year and continues to be a source of joy and comedy, even during serious cases. She's just a delight. Even actors like Linda Lavin who plays Joy Grubick, a pretrial service officer, and Robert Sean Leonard who plays Del Paul, a Christian arbitrator, are all spectacular in their brief, and sometimes one-episode roles.

I have to also point out that Robert Sean Leonard worked with Josh Charles who left the show last season. If Leonard had guest starred last year, this show could have had a slight Dead Poets Society reunion.

Episode 4 titled "Oppo Research" is perfect. It's simple. It's mainly three people in a room for the whole hour talking to each other, and somehow it's the most riveting and most shocking thing ever. It had me on the edge of my seat. Episode 5 of last year titled "Hitting the Fan" was so explosive that it was doubtful that the writers could have topped it this year, but Episode 5 of this year titled "Shiny Objects" did something probably better. It had a full circle moment that paid proper due and homage to the show's pilot and premise that rarely a show in its sixth year can do and this show did, which is why it continues to work so well.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14-LVS.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Sundays at 9PM on CBS.