Having a strong teaser trailer is a great way for a TV show to convince viewers to tune in. The Enemy Within had an extremely strong teaser. It opened with Jennifer Carpenter’s character receiving a phone call from a terrorist demanding the names of the intelligence agents tracking him in exchange for the safety of her daughter. The terrorist starts counting down and, eventually, Carpenter gives the terrorist the names of the agents and the teaser ends. It’s effective. It draws you into what’s going on and makes you really want to see the show where she has to betray her country to save her daughter. The problem is, The Enemy Within isn’t actually that show. That entire teaser trailer is just a flashback at the end of the pilot. The real show is, essentially, a Blacklist clone where an already convicted Erica Shepherd (Jennifer Carpenter) being recruited by FBI agent Will Keaton (Morris Chestnut) to track down the terrorist who is the reason for her imprisonment. It’s a way less interesting show than one that followed her as she committed treason.
In this character-based psychological thriller, Erica Shepherd (Jennifer Carpenter) is a brilliant former CIA operative, now known as one of the most notorious traitors in recent American history serving life in a Supermax prison. Against every fiber of his being but with nowhere else to turn, FBI Agent Will Keaton (Morris Chestnut) enlists Shepherd to help track down a fiercely dangerous and elusive criminal she knows all too well. While Shepherd and Keaton have different motivations for bringing the enemy to justice, they both know that to catch a spy… they must think like one.
The cast includes Jennifer Carpenter, Morris Chestnut, Raza Jaffrey, Kelli Garner, Cassandra Freeman and Noah Mills.
“The Enemy Within” was created by Ken Woodruff, who executive produces alongside Matt Corman, Chris Ord and Charles Beeson. Mark Pellington directs and executive produces the pilot. Vernon Sanders also executive produces the pilot. “The Enemy Within” is produced by Universal Television.
Nailing a series finale isn’t an easy task. Especially when you were prematurely canceled after your second season finale featured a cliffhanger so big it couldn’t possibly be satisfyingly resolved in a 90-minute film. But that’s exactly what the cast and crew of NBC’s Timeless have managed to do with their 90-minute series finale The Miracle of Christmas. This movie-length finale manages to deliver most of the answers fans are craving while also providing an extremely entertaining and well-written two-hours of television. (Note: This review will be SPOILER-FREE!)
Episodes 211 and 212: The Miracle of Christmas (Part 1 written by Lauren Greer, Part 2 written by Arika Lisanne Mittman; directed by John F. Showalter)
As Christmas arrives in the Bunker, the Time Team is inspired by a visit from their future selves to find a way to try to save Rufus (Malcolm Barrett). But when the Mothership jumps to 1848 California, they’re forced to put those plans on hold and chase Rittenhouse back to the Gold Rush, where they encounter one of the era’s most dangerous villains. Then chasing the Mothership to Korea in the winter of 1950, our team helps a stranded, pregnant refugee attempt to escape a tragic fate. Stuck with no way out, our team faces its toughest challenge yet, and in the process, come to terms with their feelings for each other. Also starring Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Goran Višnjic, Sakina Jaffrey, Paterson Joseph and Claudia Doumit.
Defying all kinds of odds, Timeless is returning to TV screens on December 20th with a two-part series finale, greenlit only after massive amounts of fan support, wanting the show to have some kind of real conclusion that could wrap up the plotlines left unresolved at the end of the second season. Ever since the show started, I have a bit of a mixed relationship with Timeless. For most of its first season, I felt its premise was more interesting than its execution; the idea of someone (or, as it would turn out, some evil organization) wanted to go back in time to change events in order to create a future that would be more favorable to them is an interesting one, but the show often got a bit too caught up in the various romps through time and lost sight of the overarching storyline for my liking. Much of this was fixed with season two, thanks to its shortened episode-count and the grander scope of its overarching storyline. By the end of the season, I was genuinely onboard with what the show was doing. I wanted to know why Rittenhouse was doing what they were doing and I wanted to see how the Time Team would ultimately stop them. And then, the show was canceled on an unholy cliffhanger: Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) was killed by a Rittenhouse agent and the rest of the Time Team had to leave him behind in order to escape. After getting back to the present day, they are greeted by future versions of Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) who ask if they want to save Rufus. The idea that the show would end with that cliffhanger was an awful one, so thankfully NBC is bringing it back for a two-hour series finale, The Miracle of Christmas. After the break, I will talk about what my hopes for the finale are. (Note: I have NOT seen the finale so all of this is speculation/wants and not teasers or spoilers.)
Honestly, I really wondered how the writers of The Good Place will be able to top the previous episode, which felt like a great midseason finale episode, but then, lo-and-behold, they give us Janet(s), an episode that’s both insane and brilliant. This episode is not only the best episode of the season, but it might be my new favorite episode of the entire series, that’s how good it is.
Episode 309: Janet(s) (written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan and directed by Morgan Sackett)
With Janet’s help, Michael hatches a plan.
In my last review, I mentioned that I wasn’t in love with the past few episodes of The Good Place. I felt like having all our characters trapped on Earth with no connection to the afterlife had resulted in the show losing a big part of what made it feel special and, subsequently, had started to feel like any other network sitcom. I’m happy to report that both The Worst Possible Use of Free Will and Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By make great strides towards rectifying that problem. Both of these episodes feel like classic episodes of The Good Place. The humor is on point, there’s some good character development, and most of all, there’s the return of a bunch of fantastical elements! (This review features full spoilers for episodes 7 and 8 of season 3: The Worst Possible Use of Free Will and Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By!)
Episode 307: The Worst Possible Use of Free Will (written by Cord Jefferson and directed by Claire Scanlon) Eleanor (Kristen Bell) recalls some forgotten events from her past.
Episode 308: Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By (written by Andrew Law and directed by Dean Holland)
Michael (Ted Danson) and Janet (D’Arcy Carden) take an important journey. Eleanor ponders whether she should share a secret.
When The Good Place first premiered on our TV screens, we were introduced to a whole cast of characters who were dead and had awoken in the titular Good Place, an afterlife loosely based on the concept of heaven. As the series progressed, we found out that only four of them had ever been humans and they were actually in the Bad Place, being tortured for all eternity by demons, led by Michael (Ted Danson). From there, things only got stranger until the show decided to resurrect our main cast and give them a new chance at life. And this is where things started to go wrong. While giving your main characters a second shot at life as a way for them to actually earn their place in the Good Place isn’t a bad idea, it’s not one that can really be sustained for a long period of time when a huge part of your show has built itself on the whimsical weirdness of the afterlife. Take out a lot of that whimsical weirdness and you just have… any other comedic show with a cast of likable characters trying to do good things. That’s the problem The Good Place has found itself in these last few episodes and it’s one the show and its writers are gonna have to fix asap before the show stops feeling as special as it is. (This review/editorial covers episodes 4-6 of season 3: Jeremey Bearimy, The Ballad of Donkey Doug, and A Fractured Inheritance)
Episode 304: Jeremy Bearimy (written by Megan Amram and directed by Trent O’Donnell)
The group explores the three main branches of ethical thought.
Episode 305: The Ballad of Donkey Doug (written by Matt Murray and directed by Rebecca Asher)
Jason (Manny Jacinto) visits with some people from his past while Chidi (William Jackson Harper) gets help in resolving a problem.
Episode 306: A Fractured Inheritance (written by Kassia Miller and directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller)
Eleanor (Kristen Bell) makes a startling discovery that tests her resolve, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) looks to make amends and Janet (D’Arcy Carden) does some bonding.
I really love how the writers of The Good Place don’t dawdle with this series. They never drag their feet when it comes to moving the story along. Last season featured Michael rebooting the neighborhood over 800 times in a single episode. Tonight’s episode featured a similar thing as more than a year passes within a single 22-minute episode, rapidly advancing the plotline of the season while also showing the continuing evolution of our favorite awful humans.
Episode 304: The Snowplow (Written by Joe Mande and Directed by Beth McCarthy Miller) After the shocking events of last week’s episode, Michael and Janet are, essentially, trapped on Earth as they continue to supervise Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Jason (Manny Jacinto) as the four of them continue to try and improve upon themselves. As a year goes by, Chidi’s thesis project comes to a close and Tahani gets engaged to Larry Hemsworth, Michael and Janet start to fear that all their work has come to naught and frantically try to keep the group from going their separate ways.
After last week’s excellent cliffhanger featuring the return of everyone’s favorite demon, Trevor (Adam Scott), I was really excited to see just what would happen next and how it would live up to the season premiere. As expected, The Brainy Bunch continues to push this season into new, exciting, and hilarious situations. Plus, it’s always fun to get to see Adam Scott interact with this cast again.
Episode 303: The Brainy Bunch (Written by Dan Schofield and Directed by Jude Weng)
After Trevor (Adam Scott), a demon sent by Shawn to infiltrate and break up Chidi’s new study group in order to ensure their return to the Bad Place, joins the study group, Michael (Ted Danson) and Janet (D’Arcy Carden) must figure out a way to get him to leave before he can tear the group apart and ruin the experiment.
After a lengthy hiatus, my favorite comedy on TV is finally back! After a pretty stunning season 2 finale that featured our four humans being given a second shot at living a decent life, aided by their guardian demon, Michael (Ted Danson), The Good Place has returned even better than before! With lots of new jokes, lots of emotional scenes, and lots of really fun surprises, this premiere episode of the show is as good as you could hope for!
Episode 301-302: Everything is Bonzer! (Written by Michael Schur and Jen Statsky and directed by Dean Holland) After the surprising events of the season 2 finale, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) finds herself returned to Earth, no memories of her time in the Bad Place, given a new chance to live a good life. Realizing she’s gonna need some help in order to be a good person, Eleanor travels to Australia in order to meet Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), a professor of ethics at a local university, in order to convince him to teach her how to be a good person. Nudged along by Michael and Janet (D’Arcy Carden), elegant Pakistani-British socialite Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) and dance-obsessed Floridian Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto) also make their way to Australia in order to join a new study, headed by Chidi, in which he studies the brains of people who have survived near-death experiences.
Unbenknowst to them, Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson), a demon from the Bad Place, is hellbent on hacking into the Judge’s (Maya Rudolph) computer in order to find out where Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason are so that he can get them back to the Bad Place.
Can Michael and Janet help the humans lead better lives and get into the Good Place, or will all of them fail?
Last season of The Good Place turned that show into one of my absolute favorite shows currently airing on TV. It had brilliant world-building, superb characters, and genuinely funny situations. Not to mention a whole lot of genuine emotions. It’s such a well-written show that it’s always a little worrying to think about how the cast and crew could possibly live up to, or even top, all that had already happened. Would this third season be a bit of a disappointment after how last season’s finale ended? The short answer is: Nope! The longer answer requires a bit more time to get into. I’m gonna try and keep this preview/review as spoiler-free as possible, restricting any potential spoilers to things that have already been revealed (the clip of the first three minutes of the premiere revealed by NBC a few weeks ago, the official sneak peek of season three released about a week and a half ago, the Entertainment Weekly first look images, or any other public information from Comic-Con or other interviews).
From creator Michael Schur comes a unique comedy about what makes a good person. The show follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), an ordinary woman who enters the afterlife, and thanks to some kind of error, is sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place (which is definitely where she belongs). While hiding in plain sight from Good Place Architect Michael (Ted Danson), she’s determined to shed her old way of living and earn her spot.
The first two seasons featured surprise after surprise and twist after twist, including a world-upending season one finale that threw everything up in the air. At the end of season two, Michael appeared in front of the Judge (Maya Rudolph) to argue that the humans may have been judged unfairly, and deserve a second chance. With a snap of her fingers, the Judge sent the humans back to Earth, in a new timeline where they never died.
Also seeking redemption, along with Eleanor, are Senegalese philosopher Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), who is tortured by decision-making; elegant Pakistani-British socialite Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) and dance-obsessed Floridian Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto). Michael is aided by Janet (D’Arcy Carden), a human-esque repository for all of the knowledge in the universe.