|PARKS AND RECAUBREY PLAZA|
Parks and Recreation has only been off the air for five years, but it's already hard not to miss Pawnee and those who lived there. Although it began in a more satirical bent, the show found its footing when it realized it wasn't a mere clone of The Office. Specifically, it got better once it realized its main hero, Middle American bureaucrat Leslie Knope Amy Poehler, was worthy of affection, not ridicule. The same went for her gaggle of weirdo co-workers, who populated the fictional Indiana town's eponymous department. Over seven seasons, from 2009 to 2015, Parks and Rec walked a fine line between batty comic invention and good vibes, able to toss off a bizarre one-liner as easily as it could find the space to pluck at the heartstrings.
Predictably, there were a lot of stand-out episodes. Quality control was consistently high for its run, making it an easy show to rewatch episodes can currently be found on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Because of this, it was tough to pick only the 20 best episodes out of a total of 125 for this list, but somehow, we managed.NBC
20. Ron and Diane Season 5, Episode 9
The Story: Ron Swanson Nick Offerman has a new girlfriend, Diane played by no less than Lucy Lawless, and he takes her to the most Ron shindig imaginable: a woodworking award show that's honoring him. Alas, lying in wait is his much-feared ex, Tammy II Megan Mulally.
Why It's On This List: Every episode featuring a Ron ex is gold, and each one is different. There's a spectacular showdown, but what makes this one special is that Tammy II is, as it turns out, a red herring. The real beef winds up being not between Diane and Tammy II but Diane and Leslie. The former isn't cool with how chummy Leslie is with her new man, and the episode questions the nature of their unusual platonic relationship. What's more, you get to see some of Jerry's home life when he throws his annual holiday party and doesn't invite some of his co-workers.NBC
19. The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show Season 7, Episode 4
The Story: It's the final episode of Andy Dwyer's Chris Pratt public access children's show, as he's following April Aubrey Plaza to D.C. That's it. That's the episode.
Why It's On This List: Parks and Rec had no problem going wacky, but until its final season it never went high-concept à la Community. That changed with its final season — an unusual one, set two years in the future and thus the perfect time to surrender an entire episode over to man-child Andy and his bizarre interpretation of television for actual children. Yes, the gimmick sags here and there, but for sheer outside-the-box chutzpah, it's a delight.NBC
18. The Treaty Season 4, Episode 7
The Story: Leslie and Ben Wyatt Adam Scott have been forced to break-up, but they still have to see each other on the regular. When both get involved in a model U.N., they take out their frustrations in public.
Why It's On This List: Leslie is maybe at her funniest when her feelings are raw, when that veil of professionalism slips and her emotions run rampant. The same with Ben. They have no interest in not being together, and watching them duke it out over childish things underlines and puts in bold and italics how much they belong together.NBC
17. Moving Up Season 6, Episodes 21 and 22
The Story: While on a trip to San Francisco, Leslie is offered a job at the National Parks Department. Elsewhere, Tom's latest business venture is, actually, both good and a success, the Unity Concert is a hit, and everyone's lives seems to be going in good places.
Why It's On This List: Parks and Rec spent much of its run on life support, always ready to be cancelled but somehow...
ertainment Weekly will be weekly no more starting in August. Meredith Corporation, the company behind magazine brands such as People, Entertainment Weekly and People en Español, has announced EW will become a monthly publication later this year. The magazine has been a weekly publication since its debut in February 1990. People magazine deputy editor JD Heyman will be the new editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine. Heyman is taking over the job from Henry Goldblatt.
“Entertainment Weekly remains one of the most trusted brands in the entertainment industry, and we plan to deepen our connection with our loyal fans,” said Meredith Entertainment Group president Bruce Gersh in a statement. “With the vision and experience to produce premium entertainment content, JD Heyman is the perfect choice as we reimagine the EW brand for accelerated growth and success.”
Added Heyman, “Entertainment Weekly is the holy grail for entertainment enthusiasts. With the transition to a new monthly frequency, readers can expect more of what they love: more access, more memorable features, more in-depth conversation about Hollywood and its brightest talent. We will continue to enhance the beloved EW covers, which are the gold standard for the entertainment community, and the new monthly cover story will be even more sought after by celebrities. We believe the entire issue will be even a more highly prized commodity and collectible item for our passionate fans.”
EW will publish its first monthly edition in August timed to Comic Con. The publication has also announced plans to “enhance its 24/7, up-to-the-minute entertainment news on its digital, social, video and experiential platforms, including its weeklong and monthly digital packages, digital-only feature reporting and in-depth guides for tentpole events.” Part of EW’s rebrand includes digital-only covers featuring A-list stars, the first of which will be live in July.
uibi continues its recent run on original programming with a series order for Centerpiece, a floral-arrangement docuseries led by floral artist Maurice Harris from executive producers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack.
Peter Kline, John Kaplan and Harris also are EPs on the show, which explores the nature of creativity through the process of flower design. Each episode will see Harris go on a creative journey with a celebrity guest exploring who they are to create a mind-blowing floral centerpiece.Jones and McCormack REX/Shutterstock
Los Angeles-based Harris - who co-created the series with Kline - is behind Bloom & Plume, a bespoke floral design studio in Echo Park. His unique point of view, sense of humor and craftsmanship has made him both one of the most sought-after floral designers in L.A. and one of the most followed florists on Instagram. His clients include some of Hollywood’s biggest names as well as such top-tier brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Nike, Gucci, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, MOCA and LACMA.
Centerpiece is produced by Alldayeveryday, Le Train Train and Plume.
Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman's Quibi launches in April. The shortform digital service has announced a flurry of projects in recent weeks including murder mystery When the Street Lights Go On, sci-fi thriller Transmission, a Carl Hiaason tale, a Varsity Blues revival, a Jed Mercurio sci-fi project, a thriller from Veena Sud, a workplace comedy called Winos from Thomas Lennon, a subversive superhero series from Doug Liman, a musical comedy from Darren Criss, a WWE wrestling show called Fight Like a Girl, a revival/revamp of The Fugitive, a Liam Hemsworth action series, a Tyra Banks-produced docu-series called Beauty, and two daily news shows from NBC News.
Narcos: Mexico, despite being as intense and violent as its predecessor and high on its own supply, is becoming masterful at setting up quietly resonant closing moments while not taking the cliffhanger route. And I can appreciate that. In the streaming era, when entire seasons drop at once, cliffhangers are almost cruel when an audience must wait over a year to find out what happened. Let's get real, too: Narcos franchise fans tend to binge hard and fast. Cliffhangers are not needed here to stoke ongoing interest. Closing a season with understated moments is also practical because the War on Drugs won't ever end. It could be exhausting to keep watching finales like the ones from the Escobar years him refusing to surrender and later going down on a rooftop that don't work well with recent history. If that pattern continued, we'd eventually see El Chapo pop into a tunnel and wave goodbye for a year. It would be beyond parody. I do hope the show sticks with reflective resolutions that suggest what's to come.
Before we dig in here, here's another reason why Narcos beats every other TV franchise when it comes to promo images. This image up there ^^^ of Scoot McNairy's mustache? Netflix used that image for months to tease this season, and it illustrated a long-awaited confrontation. When the moment arrived, the showdown didn't go as planned. There wasn't a payoff for the characters, but for the audience? Hell, yeah. It was great to see two lions mentally circle each other while conceding that they've both lost the battle.
Granted, Narcos: Mexico's second season did lead up to its final minutes with a mayhem-filled scene of revenge full of climactic adrenaline. This was both obligatory and necessary, to illuminate the truth of what was soon to be stated by Félix Gallardo. In particular, the shoe literally dropped on the remnants of Gallardo's cartel leadership when Clavel gets beaten to death in a shopping mall while a spitting Chapo witnesses.Netflix
The franchise has held a lot of moments like these, obviously. They're bread and butter and gruesome and all that, but they're almost operatic in their execution. They're also sometimes disturbingly funny, as with the bloodbath last season where Don Neto kept wearing his headphones. Yet there's a ton of value in quietly forecasting the fights to come. Moments of conversation allow the corrupted soul of the franchise to flourish. In this universe — a very real one, although dramatized by Netflix — justice can't win. There won't ever be a happy ending in this saga. To that inevitability, last year's finale made a fantastic set-up: Scoot's character, who narrated all along, finally comes into view as dogged DEA agent Walt Breslin. The assumption was that we'd get to see Scoot kick some ass this season. And he did kick some ass. One and done is how the fledgling DEA wanted to do this thing, but it's not quite that simple.
Part of that has to do with that unending reality of the War on Drugs. Also, as we learn by midseason, Walt — a composite character based upon an amalgamation of multiple DEA agents — wields a dual purpose. He's damaged, and even more than seeking revenge for Kiki Camerena's death, Walt struggles with immense guilt over not being able to save his brother from OD'ing. All season, he hunted Félix Gallardo, who screwed himself over in his eternal quest for power. He betrayed too many people and proved that he's not so indispensable in guiding Mexico's drug empire. The final scene of the season shows Félix in jail after Walt felt compelled to visit. Walt finally stares down what he's been chasing, and he expects to find closure. He wants to see some remorse materialize in Félix's face when he holds that...