Watch How I Met Your Mother – Big Days Online S06E01

How I Met Your Mother - Big Days
As Future Ted’s voiceover told us in the opening moments of Monday’s season premiere, there are two big days in any love story: the day you meet the girl of your dreams, and the day you marry her. And so the episode “Big Days” opened with one of those; a wedding? a little ways down the road.

This is one of the things that makes How I Met Your Mother so enjoyable– the time jump. It makes the storytelling more interesting and often elevates the comedy to a bigger place. And it certainly has helped craft this group of friends into more than just the here and now. We’ve seen Ted, Barney, Robin, Marshal and Lily as kids, in college and even old and gray. So this time jump served as a “welcome back” to viewers. Welcome back to a new year, for sure, but hopefully it’s also a welcome back to a more consistent season.

Last season was fun, but the series had lost its focus just a bit. There was no continuing arc that would lead us to meeting Ted’s future wife, only hints here and there. Robin and Barney hooked up and broke up in a series of episodes that felt ill advised. And Lily and Marshal had little to do but be Lily and Marshal. Monday’s premiere episode was quick to return focus to the series, using our familiarity with these characters, great writing and lots of laughs.

The mystery wedding at the top of the episode was a nice red herring. You almost immediately think its Ted’s due to the voiceover and his nervousness and you sort of expect the rest of the episode to start telling the tale of how we get to that moment. Instead, the end of the episode revealed that Ted is only the best man at this wedding and that this is where he will meet his own future bride. So right away, with episode one of the season, we know where Ted meets his children’s mother and we have something to move towards. And whose wedding is this? Between Barney and Robin, my money is on Robin. And let’s be clear, it can’t possibly be Barney and Robin.

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Watch Glee – Dynamic Duets Online S04E07

Glee - Dynamic Duets
With almost everything else taking a break for Thanksgiving, Glee has decided to persevere and air a brand new episode during the holiday. Maybe the turkey-induced food coma most American viewers are going through dulled the pain of ?Dynamic Duets’ but, in the cold light of an ordinary UK weekday, it’s pretty awful.

I almost changed my review simply because the last song, Fun’s ?Some Nights’, was so entertaining, but it doesn’t change the fact that the bulk of the episode threw away logic and sense with such gay abandon, it left behind a filler episode of the worst kind. This kind of thing is not unprecedented for Glee, since there have been many episodes similar to this that I disliked with equal ferocity, and I’m aware than viewers with a different temperament may have thoroughly enjoyed the hour.

We spend the entire time at McKinley, the first to do this since ?The Song You Were Born to Sing’, and the experience feels infinitely more stifling than it did in that entertaining slice of musical auditions and Grease parallels. Jake and Ryder are coming to a head over Marley, with the latter seemingly winning out for the time being, and the pair form a king of Finn/Puck-style bromance by the end. The whole thing is almost exactly the same of season one’s love square with Quinn and Rachel, and demonstrates the kind of lazy writing I was afraid would creep into the development of this new cast.

The saving grace is the individual stories for the foursome, with Ryder being diagnosed with dyslexia after Jake and Finn intervene. Ryan Murphy promised a great story for Blake when he won The Glee Project, and this doesn’t disappoint. It’s something I haven’t seen done on a prime-time drama, and they have the chance to really delve into his experiences and issues. Sadly, his new busy schedule has driven Marley, given a new burst of confidence by Kitty’s apparent friendship, into Jake’s welcoming arms, and it’s clear that this new love square will be chopping and changing for a while.

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Watch 666 Park Avenue – Diabolic Online S01E06

666 Park Avenue - Diabolic
After the nightmare inducing episode last week, Diabolic provides a much calmer, and simpler story. This is great for viewers who believed that the series was overloading them, but a disappointment for those who wish to be scared.

Only the two main stories were focused on this week, leaving most of the original cast nowhere to be found. We are just left with Gavin, Olivia, Henry and Jane. Sure some of the smaller roles have returned, but only to support these main stories.

The two big reveals were that Jane and Henry are reaching the tipping point of their relationship, and Jane is related to the little girl. Both of these I expected, but I am surprised they have happened so quickly. For the sake of keeping the story interesting, it would probably be a good idea for the writers to have them split up in the next episode or two. They already have potential interests for both of them, so why not go all the way, even if it is just a couple of episodes.

The only unexpected part of their story was the introduction a new police officer, who may have just stumbled upon the dark secret of the Drake. Will he help Jane uncover the truth, or will he just become another thorn in Gavin’s paw?

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Watch 666 Park Avenue – The Dead Don’t Stay Dead Online S01E03

666 Park Avenue - The Dead Don't Stay Dead
Temptation stories are fun because they offer us a chance to indulge in a fantasy-what would it be like to live in a fancy hotel? To write stories that come true? To get that dream job through sheer force of will?-right before bringing everything back down to Earth. You need both steps, the rise and fall, to make it work; even movies about meteoric rises to fame need to wallow in drug abuse and hedonism in order to get to a well-earned happy ending.

I’m not sure anyone in 666 Park Avenue is going to be getting a happy ending, but the show has been doing its best to show us both sides of the coin with every episode so far. Henry and Jane keep getting more and more involved with the Dorans and their alluring world of endless privilege, Brian keeps struggling against the temptation of cheating on his hot wife with her hot assistant (I guess a blonde would be a change of pace, or something), and there’s the soul of the week, this time in the form of an ambitious obituary writer who’s willing to do anything to get out of her current dead-end gig. All of them are offered a chance at something better, or at least something different. Some take the chance, while others try and resist, but the real lesson to draw so far is that this show is much better at handling the temptation part of the story than it is at giving us the payment.

First off, let’s look at Annie, the reporter. Hers is the only (apparently) self-contained plot line the episode, and while the idea is clever enough, it feels oddly out of place with the rest of the hour, as though the channel kept switching between a show about a group of sexy young people losing their souls, to a horror anthology in which every irony is painfully obvious, and every line a character says that could possibly come back to haunt them does. Annie hates writing obits, so Gavin encourages her to stretch her mind a little. She responds by inflating a nobody’s obituary (“Oscar Diebold” ha-ha) with a lot of made up facts about espionage, diplomacy, and a creepy Russian assassin named Kandinsky.

Her fiction becomes reality, somehow (magic), and this inspires Annie to start making more changes, up to and including editing her mother’s obituary to include a line about the dead lady being a beloved and successful children’s author.

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