The new season -- which, in imitation of its 19th century original, brings its hero back from what the world believed was a fatal fall -- will eventually get around to explaining that "magic trick," but not before it spins you around a few times, picks your pocket and sends you flying with a kick in the pants, in a friendly, comical way. I would have to revisit past seasons to be perfectly sure, but my impression is this is the series' jokiest year yet. And while there are crimes to solve and atrocities to prevent, much of its matter is devoted to exploring (exploiting is perhaps the better word) the asymmetrical bromance between Sherlock and his Watson, John Watson (Martin "The Hobbit" Freeman). As the current series gets underway -- after a gap of two years, both in its fictional timeline and that of the one we are living outside the television -- Watson (or John, rather) has acquired a mustache and a girlfriend, both of which will give Sherlock pause, and one of which he will shortly lose. As in other things Moffat (he's the writer in charge of
"The Powerpuff Girls Special: Dance Pantsed" (
As far as reboots go, it is no "Doctor Who," or even the post-Fleischer "Popeye." It lacks the personal touch, that would, for instance, find McCracken dropping French director and actor Jacques Tati into a crowd scene. (Tati's "Mon Oncle" also provided a model for the Girls' Mid-century Modern manse.) The script unavoidably piles on the local tropes, almost too obviously at times; there were, I believe, two references to "saving the world before bedtime," the show's old tag line, and in a moment of apparent defeat, the Professor wails, "I've lost my sugar, spice and everything nice … forever." There is nothing here as fresh or clever as Mojo Jojo (the Girls' simian super-nemesis) turning everyone into dogs, or the episode in which, stuck at home on a rainy day, the girls play at being their superheroic selves.
The present episode includes an origin story for Professor Utonium, with a payoff in the climax, and a kidnapping plot (by Mojo Jojo, naturally, exhibiting none of his famous rhetorical redundancy), whose victims include a Ringo Starr-voiced Fibonacci Sequins, a mathematician in a reflective coat, for the sake of the pun. (The coat is better developed than the character.) There is also a video-game-addiction plotline -- the titular reference is to something called Dance Pants Revolution -- which proves a mostly excellent device.
Visually, things are more interesting; instead of the full-blown 3D CGI makeover that has given other once-two-dimensional cartoon characters the look of extruded plastic, a workable and often very productive compromise has been reached, with lighting and focus effects applied to characters who remain more or less flat, in a more open, airy space. (They have also lost their heavy outlines, which is subtly disturbing at first.) The color design is beautiful, as well. Unavoidable comparisons with the perfect original aside, it's a pleasure to behold. Even if I can't quite regard it as canon, I would watch it if you were me.
Sent into the world to promote the special, the accompanying "I Wish I Was a Powerpuff Girl" is, on the other hand, recommendable without reservation, except as an example of good grammar. It's a music video essentially, with the Girls merely as guests (and inspiration). The song, in which an animated Ringo expresses his dream to "wear a ribbon in my hair / wear a dress / and save the world," drops measures to catchy effect, has a Beatle-y bounce and lilt and all in all has been well tailored to the singer's strengths and persona. A minute and 14 seconds that will do you no harm, and possibly much good.
"Kroll Show" (
Back for a second season is "Kroll Show," starring Nick Kroll, also of FX's
The new, assured-out-of-the-gate "Broad City," which has Poehler as a producer, is a televisionification of an Internet series from