The current superhero of my sitcom syndication heart is Community, which is somewhere in the throes of seasons 2-3 and continuing to astound me with how motherflippin' funny/brilliant it is and its surprising level of replay value. (although I still don't love season 1. Man this show's love triangle period was a drag. I'm so glad it realized that trope was just not gellin' with the show tone and shed it like a cicada husk.)
That said, I found this beautiful and glorious Paley Fest table read for 4x01, and it entertained me for a solid 45 minutes despite the absence of DGlover and because of the absence of Chevy Chase. (Fred Willard nails Pierce's exact tone to a spooky degree.) Who has ALL THE HEARTS for season 4, this girl.
In other news, I sacked out and officially caught up on the season of Criminal Minds so far.
I've overcome my distaste for Dr. Tara Lewis's hair feathers and I will say that she's working a lot better than Agent Callahan. Not in a way where she stands out to me in a positive way at all, she's very background-scenery, but she definitely fits the cast chemistry* to the point where it seems like she's been there forever. In fact, I didn't even realize that JJ was still out on maternity leave until she came back. (Whereas when Reid disppeared, within ten minutes I was ON IT in distress. Hopefully the actor's just out doing other awesome stuff.)
Reid springs to life like a happy puppy around JJ, and in the absence of anything else, I really crave his deeper personal connection with her. The way she scolded him for bottling things up instead of "bothering" her was very sweet. And honestly, that's the only personal stuff I've really cared about all season. Every time they do their obligatory "character X gets a personal scene" stuff at the beginning and end of each episode lately, I find myself annoyed that this mandatory time-wasting is taking precious minutes out of the action. It's starting to feel forced. I think that's a sign that I just do not connect with these characters enough.
*just learned she's officially a "recurring guest star" and not meant to be a permanent character. Huh.
The reveal that the Dirty Dozen are not people, but the twelve computers Garcia used to do some Deep Web sniffing, painting the target squarely on her back, was one of the best shockers this show has ever done. Although I'm a little surprised it's been two episodes of her living at the BAU with no apparent resolution in sight. She looks adorable doing it, though. (I WANT that sundress + cardigan she was wearing at the end of the last episode, orangeness and all, even though I could not pull it off. I feel like I do not talk enough about Garcia's fabulously unique fashion sense. She is part of an elite crowd of TV characters who really rock the wildest and brightest color palates.)
My favorite so far has been 11x04, the scary SUPER-MURDERY/RAPEY biker duo, which mirrors a case I read about online (maybe one of those Greatest Unsolved crimes? Or else Most Disturbing Serial Killer stories. I went through a phase. It was clickbait's fault). That was some classic scary CM. And yet at the same time, one of the killers was kind of likable? It was hard to remember what he'd done when he just seemed like a regular "bad boy" whose worst crimes are maybe smoking/cheating/driving 90mph. Especially after he found out he had a kid. He was actually kind of attractive, and I say that as someone who has never liked any bad boys except Sawyer on Lost.
I really dug that vibe of seeing how someone who seems not great, but not that terrible, can turn out to be a psychopath. I could see glimmers of why his ex might have hung out with him in high school, before he got all caught up in drugs and the trash that goes along with them. Plus, she was really pretty and she got out safely with her cute son while baby daddy got himself blown away by the FBI, so happy endings for all, really.
The episode with the Sex Offender Town was...not my fave, mostly because it drummed up my latent indignant feelings of "are sex offenders actually bad people?" I feel like we only ever hear about really low level offenses, like public urination and statutory rape between high school peers, to the point where when my local newspaper published a story about an actual level 3 sex offender moving into the neighborhood and how the community was scrambling to come up with an ordinance to stop him, I had a hard time wrapping my head around why anyone would care. What I'm saying is, the whole concept needs serious makeover in order to achieve its intended effect.
The next episode, though, with Rossie's Overly Investigative Daughter, was a really cool dovetailing of "established serial killer" + "random mentall ill abductor who fit the pattern" in the way they were able to catch both. I really do like her. I also liked the scrappy girl who refused to be a victim, mixing up a handy homemade pepper spray with the aid of a carbonated water bottle.
Somewhere in there was one with Ashley Fink, whom I still do not like. I thought it would have been more interesting to flip the script and make the overweight girl the one with the real relationship (with the same not-overweight guy), and have the conventionally pretty girl be jealous and convinced that the voice in her head is reality, because look at her.
I loved the ending of 11x08 -- the super depressing story of how the guy's little girl disappeared from a locked truck at a rest stop overnight and wound up dead in a field not too far away (super cute little actress, by the way), which was written off death from accidental exposure, that guy with the skull tattoo on his hand probably never even existed at all!, but then DUN DUN DUN. Us viewers get a Secret Scene showing us he does, and he is definitely responsible for her death because he's just approached another single parent with the same M.O. ...AND CREDITS.
My favorite part of this past week's episode, 11x09, was that horrifying visual of the genuine psychopath stumbling in wearing his latest victim's face and pretending to be him, giving said victim's colleague a moment of confused hope before HOLY WAUGH MOST NIGHTMARISH OF ALL THE NIGHTMARE FUELS. I was kind of surprised they showed us the skinned face, given that Penelope initially said it was too horrible to put on the big screen.
P.S. I went to go look up something for this post, and tripped across this spoilery episode description for something with Aubrey Plaza. GET HERE NOW!! Oh my god, I cannot believe it's not airing until mid-January. Being caught up with shows sucks.