“Pilot” Review | Family Ties

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Original air date: 09.22.1982
All Family Ties Reviews

How do you impart the wisdom of parenthood to your kids when you’re not sure you’re an adult yet yourself? This is the premise established by the “Pilot” episode of Family Ties, in which a father tries to steer his teenage son from becoming assimilated to a culture of exclusion.

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Category: 1980s, Comedies, Reviews | Tags:

“The Drop In” Review | The West Wing

Original air date: 01.24.2001
All The West Wing Reviews

At one point in “The Drop In,” Toby, having convinced the president to pick a fight with environmentalists during a major speech, instructs Sam to tell reporters that friends should be honest with each other. The moment is telling because it comes to symbolize the clash between idealism and cynicism within the West Wing, which this episode brings into conflict more directly than usual.

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“The Leadership Breakfast” Review | The West Wing

Original air date: 01.10.2001
All The West Wing Reviews

One of the most remarkable things about The West Wing was the way it could find relatable stories to tell about American politics. Even a lot of politically minded Americans tune out the day-to-day functions of government, yet some of the show’s most successful moments came from its dedication to the details of government that most would deliberately ignore.

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“Love Is All Around” Review | The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Original air date: 09.19.1970
All The Mary Tyler Moore Show Reviews

In 1970, many of television’s biggest comedic hits were loud, broad affairs (Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Here’s Lucy, The Carol Burnett Show). “Love Is All Around,” the premiere episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, was a very different kind of show, deliberately paced and with a script that offered a softer style of storytelling, favoring implication and reaction to shtick and catchphrases. It’s an episode that rewards viewers with a keen eye for detail and is perfectly built for rewatching. Today, it remains a classic of the form.

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“Noel” Review | The West Wing

Original air date: 12.20.2000
All The West Wing Reviews

Because The West Wing was a remarkably good show from the very beginning, it can be hard to find a particular episode where it really set itself apart as a television legend. “Noël,” however, makes one of the best candidates. Serving as a coda for some of the show’s most intense storytelling so far, the episode is remarkable for both its dramatic depth and how expertly its storytelling ties together.

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