The Jennings Go Viral
I am, it seems, the only TV critic alive whom The Americans leaves colder than a Siberian tundra (it’s not you, show — it’s me!). But that doesn’t change the FX Soviet spy drama’s status as possibly the most acclaimed show currently airing, making its fourth season premiere this week a welcome event in a month generally short on big-name series. “Glanders” is named for the vial of the virus, specially engineered to target humans, that the Jennings currently have stashed in their suburban garage, even as their own daughter deals with the fallout of learning her parents are spies. All in a week’s work for deep cover Cold Warriors!
Annalise Goes Home
Season two of How to Get Away with Murder hasn’t gotten as much buzz — or even more than about two-thirds the ratings — as the first. But last night’s season finale, in which Viola Davis’s Annalise Keating returns to Memphis, Tennessee to seek refuge with her mother (the legendary Cicely Tyson, also seen on this season of House of Cards), was a remarkable shift in tone for the show, including knockout and sometimes near-wordless performances from Davis and Tyson both. Shondaland’s still got it.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Bill Cosby
As Variety’ s Maureen Ryan argued earlier this week, scripted comedy is the best thing going on TV right now, and there’s no better example of that than The Carmichael Show. In only its second episode of the season — and its eighth episode ever — the Norman Lear-inspired, topic-of-the-week fueled sitcom dove straight into the Bill Cosby allegations, allowing each member of the Carmichael family a distinct perspective, from unilateral condemnation to guilt to hesitation, without demonizing or endorsing any of them. It’s deft, it’s exciting to watch, and it’s really, really funny.
Ariana Grande Busts Out Her Impressions
As a tween-favorite pop star whose acting experience has largely been limited to getting murdered-while-texting on Scream Queens, Ariana Grande wasn’t necessarily at the top of any “dream SNL hosts” shortlist. But there is one thing she does, and does very well, that qualified her to be both musical guest and MC this weekend: her impressions of other pop stars. Hence this sketch, which is shamelessly designed around giving Grande the chance to do her best Britney, Shakira, and Rihanna. I’m sure she and Jay Pharoah got along famously.