Saturday, November 4, 2017

REVIEW: NBC's 'Great News' and 'Chicago Fire' (October 29-November 4)

Various reviews from NBC shows for October 29-November 4, 2017:

NBC's Great News - Episode 2.06 "Pool Show"
NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 6.06 "Down Is Better"

In 2017, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage of various shows, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes on NBC from October 29-November 4, 2017. Enjoy!

Great News - "Pool Show"
Jeremy invites Katie to do some "real reporting" and go on a stakeout with him. Carol is suspicious and kidnaps Greg to stake out the stakeout. The two discover that it may not be all business between Jeremy and Katie. Chuck meets Carvell, who is Portia's fiancé, and the two of them form an unlikely friendship. Written by Hayes Davenport and directed by Payman Benz

There are some familiar plot beats throughout this episode. It feels like the show has done a story about Katie lying to Carol and Carol trying to figure out what's going on before. It's basically the same dynamic they have always had. That's never going to change. It just feels like there should be more nuance at this point. Plus, it feels very familiar to introduce a new love interest for Katie after her almost romantic moment with Greg at the end of last season. It's also familiar for Greg to witness Katie and Jeremy kissing even as he's realizing he has feelings for Katie as well. It all very much feels like a sitcom plot. Of course, the execution is still amusing. I'm not sure that Katie and Jeremy make an interesting pairing either professionally or romantically. So, it would be difficult to care about their future as a couple. But it would be fascinating to see how Katie changes now that she has this somewhat meaningful connection outside of her family and the workplace. Meanwhile, the subplot where Chuck befriends Portia's fiancé is excellent. Sometimes this show is at its best when it's just focusing on some silly and absurd subplots. It's nice to see Portia thrown off her game a little bit by seeing how much Carvell and Chuck get along. Plus, it's absolutely horrifying to think that Chuck has a series of tapes where he teaches people about romance. That would immediately traumatize anyone who watches - which it ultimately does. There was never really a reason to care one way or the other regarding the future of Portia and Carvell's relationship. But Rashad Jennings was a lot of fun in this guest spot. With the two of them maintaining their engagement, I hope that he returns at some point as well. B

Chicago Fire - "Down Is Better"
After heroically saving a mother and newborn baby from a rooftop fire, Kidd receives surprising news when she discovers she is being transferred out of the firehouse. Severide and Casey believe something is off about the turn of events, prompting them to investigate the situation. Otis and Herrmann discuss the possibilities of taking over a rundown bar. Gabby's frustration with her father reaches a boiling point. Written by Derek Haas and directed by Reza Tabrizi

Hope really did turn out to be nothing more than a one-note antagonist throughout these six episodes. The show just never really allowed there to be much nuance with her. It always wanted to point out to the audience that she was purposefully manipulative and stirring up drama in the firehouse. That may have been entertaining to some. It was just too lame and boring for me. It was easy to suspect that Hope was responsible for Stella's transfer. Because the show actually followed her to her new job in PR, it seemed unlikely that she would actually stay there. It just seems incredible that Hope could actually get this crazy scheme to actually work. It seems like her whole presence was to put some tension in the female friendships at the firehouse. Of course, it's also rewarding to see everyone rally around Stella and try to help her make sense of this situation. Stella is a regular character who has been around for a little while now. And yet, the show keeps returning to the Severide romance too much with her. That can't be the only story that defines her. And yet, it mostly is. Elsewhere, I'm intrigued to see what will happen with Otis wanting to buy another bar and having a flirtatious dynamic with the previous owner's daughter. Meanwhile, the ending with Gabby's dad near death mostly feels like a cliffhanger to build up excitement over this brief hiatus. The show's next episode won't air until 2018. And so, the creative team wanted to end on a cliffhanger. It's just a little too incredulous. Gabby's father has been this big and broad character as well. It makes the audience question how anyone in his family could have put up with him for as long as they did. Him dying as a hero could be an engaging story for Gabby. She deserves to have a more personal story this season. I'm just not sure if any of this is all that effective in the end. C+