August 20, 2014

What I Watched Over Summer Vacation

As you may have noticed, Rabbit Ear Reviews has been on a bit of a hiatus for the summer. The Network TV options were a total bust the past few months. Even Under The Dome, which I reviewed multiple times last year, failed to draw me in with its second season. That, combined with its rather inconvenient airtime, made it an easy show to give up.  But, never fear! Though my Rabbit Ears have taken a break, I've been busy doing a lot of TV watching via the internet, and I thought I would update you on some of my summer favorites.

Coincidentally, these shows all air(ed) on one of the networks I tune into least often - FOX. Looks like that won't be the case for long… 

The Mindy Project

Rabbit Ear Reviews loves The Mindy Project, which returns to Fox Tuesdays this September!
Why I didn't watch this show from the moment it premiered is anyone's guess. This gem of a sitcom comes from The Office's Mindy Kaling, and brings the audience real laughs as it warms our hearts. Mindy plays a gynecologist also named Mindy who rather awkwardly navigates a love life that makes me feel a whole lot better about my own.

A friend of mine rightly noted that The Mindy Project "does the will-they-or-won't-they better than most." I'd argue that's because they don't try to hide it. From the pilot, Mindy has been blatantly expository in her desires for a classic story of true love, and the show openly plays homage to the greatest romantic comedy films - chiefly When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. That said, though, Mindy's life never turns out like the rom-coms she adores. Her relationships - even the good ones - are thoroughly flawed and follow uncertain, sometimes unhappy paths. But that doesn't mean they aren't funny.

Chris Messina's Danny is charming in all the most atypical ways. He's an unlikely leading man, a curmudgeon without any particular charisma, which makes him all the more believable among this larger-than-life cast of characters. Whether they are friendly, flirty, or fighting, Danny and Mindy are magnificent together. Add to that a world full of supporting actors who can hold their own beside Kaling, and you've got TV casting at its finest. If you are a fan of The Office, you'll also see some familiar faces guest starring (and co-starring) throughout the first and second seasons.

It's got heart and a sense of humor. A comedy that's more than just romantic. Simply put, The Mindy Project is a show you can't miss.

Where to watch: Catch up on Hulu Plus or, and check it out when it returns for a third season on Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine was one of Rabbit Ear Reviews' summer faves! It returns to Fox Sundays this fall.
I caught this show mid-season and already have reviewed it once here on Rabbit Ear Reviews. This summer, I found time to catch  up on the first half of Season 1, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. This workplace comedy hints back to executive producer Michael Schur's past endeavors (The Office, Parks and Rec), but doesn't follow those shows' documentary format; it has its own unique feel. This is probably because of star Andy Samberg. The SNL alum plays a lovable winner who loses just often enough to keep him humble.

With a supporting cast of comedically talented performers, Brooklyn Nine-Nine delivers. Unlike The Mindy Project, BNN's setting - NYC's 99th precinct - is often key in the story. Most episodes follow traditional police procedural plot lines, but with a humor more reminiscent of Chuck than Law and Order. For fans of both Mindy and Brooklyn, here's some exciting news: according to Mindy Kaling's Facebook page, we may be in for a crossover episode this season.

Before it returns, consider catching up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine's debut season online. This Golden-Globe winning show is worth your time, and I have nothing but high hopes and higher expectations for its sophomore year.

Where to watch: Hulu Plus hosts Season 1, and rotating episodes are also on

The X-Files

One of Rabbit Ear Reviews' favorite classics? The X-Files! A great summer binge-watch.
When this classic FOX sic-fi drama first aired, I was outside its target demographic by like, a generation. The glimpses of it I caught as a kid both intrigued and frightened me. And I'll be the first to admit that, even as an adult, there are episodes that have given me nightmares. But this show is great enough that none of that matters. It's timeless in a way that nineties TV rarely seems to be, despite the frequent use of landlines and the frequent wearing of trench coats with shoulder pads.

I'm about halfway through its nine season run, and can say that The X-Files gives its viewers both horror and humor. One episode I recall being particularly suspenseful is Season 1, episode 11, "Eve." In it, danger takes the guise of innocence, and while the characters remain oblivious to the threat, the audience has an awareness advantage. But some of my favorite episodes have been the funny ones: "Jose Chung's from Outer Space" is a commentary on the unreliability of witness testimony, and lets the viewer know that The X-Files is as much in on the sci-fi joke as it is the target of it. "Bad Blood," an episode that centers on vampirism, hilariously contrasts the personalities and perspectives of Mulder and Scully. In addition to giving us this fantastic moment, the episode guest stars a very young Luke Wilson.

And Wilson's not the only one. Just about any actor who's anyone or became anyone guest starred on the show. Not that this detracts from the leads. I can pretty much guarantee that any viewer will fall in love with one of the two main characters before too long. It's clear that this show lasted so long because it deserved to. In the era before ensemble casts, The X-Files really relied only on Duchovny and Anderson to keep it moving, and these two unbelievably talented actors made that look effortless. 

Where to watch: Find the complete series on Amazon Prime Instant and Netflix.