Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 5/15/20

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CREDIT: The CW/YouTube Screenshot

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

TV
-Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 (May 16 on Various Networks)
DC’s Stargirl Series Premiere (May 18 on DC Universe and May 19 on The CW) – Starring Brec Bassinger as Stargirl; Luke Wilson and Joel McHale also appear.
Community Cast Reunion Table Read and Q+A (May 18 on YouTube)
Celebrity Escape Room (May 21 on NBC) – A Red Nose Day celeb goof-off hosted by Jack Black
Holey Moley II: The Sequel Premiere (May 21 on ABC) – Mini-golf is so hot right now.
To Tell the Truth Season Premiere (May 21 on ABC)

Music
-Charli XCX, How I’m Feeling Now
-Moby, All Visible Objects

Best TV Episodes of the 2010s

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

In assembling my picks for the best TV episodes of the past decade, I noticed that I was leaning heavily on the comedy side. This was unsurprising, as I tend to watch more sitcoms than dramas. But the difference was even more pronounced than usual. I think that makes sense, because on average, comedies tend to be specifically designed on an episodic basis moreso than dramas.

I should also note that I did not limit shows to any prescribed maximum. You’ll notice that certain programs keep popping up, like Community and Nathan for You. They deserve it, as they’re the types of shows that revolutionized themselves on the regular.

So here are the television morsels from the 2010s that shine within the context of their full works and also stand brilliantly on their own.

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 4/3/20

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

TV
Community on Netflix (Started streaming on April 1) – The greatest show of the 2010s is finally streaming on the biggest streamer around.
Jeopardy! College Championship (April 6-17, Check local listings)
The Last O.G. Season 3 Premiere (April 7 on TBS)
Modern Family Series Finale (April 8 on ABC)
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Revival Premiere (April 8 on ABC) – Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel!
The Good Fight Season 4 Premiere (April 9 on CBS All Access) – I’m still a few seasons behind, though.

Best TV Shows of the 2010s

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

As a voracious consumer of Peak TV, I could have easily filled my list of the Best TV Shows of the 2010s with hundreds of entries. But instead, I chose to zero in on a golden set of 25 that I am absolutely sure I love and will continue to love for years to come. These are the shows that affected me profoundly when I first watched them and that continued to linger in my brain and my soul as the decade marched on.

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The 4 Types of TV-to-Film Adaptations

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CREDIT: NBC

Adapting TV shows into feature-length films is one of the many regular ways that the cinema industry keeps the reboot process alive. As a devoted Human Being, I am particularly invested in the possibility of a Community adaptation to complete the #sixseasonsandamovie prophecy. This has led me to consider two important quandaries: 1) what different types of tv-to-film adaptations exist, and 2) which ones are most likely to result in box office and/or critical success? Over the course of pondering this topic, I have come up with the following taxonomy:

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Community’s Ten Best Episodes: Ten-Year Anniversary Edition

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CREDIT: NBC

Community, my favorite TV show of all time, premiered on NBC ten years ago, September 17, 2009. So it’s a pretty good time to do some episode rankings. Below, I have selected the ten best outings in the show’s six-season run. I would like to rank all 110 episodes at some point in the future, but that is quite a project. For now, ten will do. (But stay tuned.)

1. “Remedial Chaos Theory” – Knowledge of timelines deepens friendship.
2. “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” – The future looks cyclical, in a comforting way.
3 “Cooperative Calligraphy” – A bottle episode at breakneck wit and speed.
4. “Virtual Systems Analysis” – Experimentalism at full emotional depth.
5. “Paradigms of Human Memory” – The ultimate in expense-adding clip shows.
6. “Critical Film Studies” – As fulfilling as two ants getting down to brass tacks.
7. “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design” – The reveals spill out with equal parts full logic and full nonsense.
8. “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” – The meaning of Community episodes is that we find meaning in them.
9. “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” – The power of the mind is truly remarkable.
10. “Debate 109” – Character dynamics calcify and influence so much of what is to come.

‘A.P. Bio’ Has a Striking Amount of ‘Community’ DNA

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CREDIT: NBC

Over the past few months, the delightful high school-set sitcom A.P. Bio has become one of my favorite shows on the air, but then NBC went a little cuckoo and cancelled it. There’s been some effort on the part of the cast, crew, and fans to find the show a new home, but unless that happens, we will have to be satisfied with two short-but-sweet seasons.

One of the reasons I love A.P. Bio so much is because it shares a lot of DNA with my favorite show of all time, which would be Community, another former NBC sitcom that was constantly on the brink of cancellation (though unlike A.P. Bio, it kept beating the renewal odds). Their premises and central characters are strikingly similar. In Community, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) is a high-powered lawyer who gets disbarred and must enroll at a community college. Meanwhile, A.P. Bio stars Glenn Howerton as Jack Griffin, a disgraced Harvard philosophy professor who is forced to take a lowly part-time teaching job at a high school in Toledo, Ohio.

As I watched and grew to love A.P. Bio, I kept noticing more and more Community similarities, to the point that I could detect analogues for all the major characters. So I’ve assembled below a side-by-side comparison of the Greendale Human Beings and their corresponding Whitlock Rams. Enjoy, and let me know if you need help reacting to riding that ram.

(Thank you to my fellow commenters at the AV Club and Disqus for helping me out with these comparisons!)

Jack (Glenn Howerton) = Jeff (Joel McHale)

CREDIT: YouTube

The protagonists who try to act above it all but eventually embrace the crazy scholastic ecosystems they’ve become an integral part of.

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Links to Dan Harmon’s Season 6 Communitary

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I still haven’t re-watched every Community Season 6 episode with the addition of Dan Harmon’s commentary tracks, so I decided to make a post with some handy-dandy links for easy access.

1. “Ladders
2. “Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care
3. “Basic Crisis Room Decorum
4. “Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing
5. “Laws of Robotics and Party Rights
6. “Basic Email Security
7. “Advanced Safety Features
8. “Intro to Recycled Cinema
9. “Grifting 101
10. “Basic RV Repair and Palmistry
11. “Modern Espionage
12. “Wedding Videography
13. “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television

My Favorite TV Ships of All Time

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Inspired by the latest AV Club Q&A and the upcoming Cupid Day, here are my favorite TV ships of all time. Generally, I only ship characters who legitimately could get together in-universe. Also, I prefer couplings that are actually healthy for the couples; pairings of folks who are wrong for each other can be entertaining, but rooting for them is something different than shipping (at least the kind that I practice). Organized by category, here are my top choices.

PROBABLY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN
-Barry-Caitlin, The Flash

Snowbarry

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The Best TV Episodes of 2015

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12AngryMenInsideAmy

If you binge through this list, you will get a good sense of the televisual excellence of 2015. These selections lean heavily toward comedy, for two reasons: I watch more comedies than dramas, and comedies naturally distill their greatness more readily into individual episodes while dramas do so more naturally in multi-episode arcs. The top 5 are ranked below, while the rest are unranked and organized alphabetically by show.

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