Image: NBCUniversal

Colour me surprised — Brooklyn Nine-Nine is returning.

After the abrupt and unconventional cancellation of Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience, I really didn’t think there was anything left that couldn’t be cancelled under any circumstances. So, with ratings and critic scores dwindling, production stalled due to COVID-19 and the added baggage of extra scrutiny on cop shows and propaganda, I truly did think they would simply call it quits with B99. Lo and behold, it’s returning for a very short final season this August.

Although post-Floyd the defense of B99 has been less fervent, it still tends to be shielded from…


This Is Us, Season 5, Episode 15

“Jerry 2.0”

Wri. Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger

Dir. Milo Ventimiglia

This season of This Is Us has been a real mixed bag, but it’s thus far been one of my favourites. In part, it’s because a bad season of This Is Us still has amazing episodes, but the bad ones are really bad — the Pearsons come across as universally unsympathetic and the supporting players are all-but erased in order to merely act as supports for their selfish co-stars.

This season hasn’t been that thus far — we’ve gotten to flesh out minor characters like Madison and Miguel and turn them into real people with real motivations and backstories. In…


This Is Us, Season 5, episode 14

“The Music And The Mirror”

Dir. Jonny Gomez

Wri. Jessica Yu

I’ve been begging since pre-pandemic for This Is Us to remember that Beth owns a dance studio.

Even before COVID-19 relegated the better half of a year’s worth of dance instruction to Zoom-land (although many studios have resumed in-person learning in the U.S., most of us Canadian dancers are still Zooming away), Beth’s studio seemed to never put the amount of stress on the family, financially or otherwise, that one would associate with a first-year dance studio. Like, why is Beth seemingly able to be home for every family dinner and weekend excursion? Why isn’t she exhausted all the time?


This Is Us, Season 5, episode 13

“Brotherly Love”

Dir. Kay Onyegun

Wri. Jon Dorsey

There’s an unspoken truth about This Is Us — about the series as a whole, about the diegesis that we see before us, about the inciting incident that kicked off all of this action, that pulled us viewers in in the first place: that it all started with William Hill.

Sure, there are aspects of the show’s universe that predate Randall Pearson, that predate his abandonment at a fire station, that predate even William Hill. …


This Is Us: “Both Things Can Be True”

Dir. Chris Koch

Wri. Danielle Bauman

6.9/10

Every now and then, This Is Us has an episode that is perhaps not the most emotionally driven episode or one that is all that essential to the plot, but is a crucial part of keeping the plot moving, bringing us back to the present after too many meandering flashbacks and answering key questions. This is especially true for this season, when key questions include things like “Will Rebecca and Miguel ever be allowed to be in the same room as their kids again?”

This was one of those episodes — and it also delivered on a few much-needed emotional…


This Is Us: “I’ve Got This”

Dir. Yasu Tanida

Wri. Lauren Kenar

8.9/10

Let the Griffin Dunne Emmy watch begin.

Last week I was relieved that This Is Us brought back characters — and character dynamics — we’ve been missing all season. This week brought us not only a character who has been conspicuously absent from the action this year, but also a story we’ve been anticipating for more than two years now.

We have always known just enough about Nicky — we’ve known about the protective relationship Jack has had of him their whole lives. We’ve known about how the trauma of war broke him as a young man. But trauma is…


This Is Us: “I’ve Got This”

Dir. Ken Olin

Wri. Casey Johnson & David Winsor

8.3/10

I’ve gone from lukewarm to all-in on this season of This Is Us, and this episode really solidified that. I can’t help but credit stalwart director Ken Olin and writers Casey Johnson and David Windsor for both a well-paced episode and a tight script that packs so much in.

In such a truncated season, we spent the first few episodes with things not really happening, then sent the Big Three out on their own for a bit, then seemingly had to spend several episodes re-centering everything in order to even remind people who they’re watching. This episode managed to do…


This Is Us

“The Ride”

Dir. John Huertas

Wri. Julia Brownell

6.8/10

Author’s note: I’ve struggled with photo uploading on Medium today, so today’s recap will be a visually unappealing wall of text! Apologies!

I don’t want to beat this dead horse too much — This Is Us has been hampered by a lot this season. The COVID-accommodating rewrites can be damaging enough to the kind of show that relies on intricate plots that converge at a central point. …


This Is Us

“In The Room”

Dir. Ken Olin

Wri. Vera Herbert

8.5/10

This Is Us has been accused of being a toothless show — of taking the most obvious, cowardly non-swerves under the guise of real-stakes drama. It occasionally parades as a specialty cable show of the HBO/AMC variety with a prestige cast and nuanced, ambiguous morals. But it is ultimately a 9 p.m. Tuesday night ABC (or in my case, CTV) drama meant to be easily digestible. Even when it’s tackling issues like infant death, the Vietnam war or, believe it or not, COVID-19, This Is Us is careful not to alienate.

Yet I was still a little bit surprised that…


This Is Us

“There”

Dir. Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Wri. Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger

7.2/10

I give This Is Us credit for a lot of things, but one thing I don’t know if I’ve acknowledged before — or even realized — is its ability to play classic family dramedy/sitcom tropes straight while still adding a few elements of subversion on the side.

Here we have a classic scenario — a young father-to-be, desperate to prove to his partner that he will be the man he promised to be, is forced to walk through fire to be there for the birth, with every curveball possible thrown his way. We knew that this was coming — not…

Bree Rody, professional hate-watcher

I have a lot of feelings about movies and TV shows that would be embarrassing if it weren’t 2020.

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