FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (April 12)
Since it's spring, it's time to do some spring-cleaning. And
for television fanatics like you that means wiping the two-inch
layer of dust off the top of the television, washing your eyeballs out with
soap, and sifting through your DVR to drop some dead weight (go ahead and erase
all 14 seasons of CSI; if you haven't
watched 'em by now, you're never going to watch 'em). And while you do that, we'll clean up the week that was in television by separating the good stuff worth keeping from the bad stuff worth trashing in another edition of FTW vs. WTF!
Another new version of the Game of Thrones theme, this time sung by goats
Is it possible to get a goat version of "The Rains of Castamere," too? Help us out, internet!
Shameless shocks us with its Season 4 finale
Season 4 was a rough one for the Gallagher family: Liam got into Fiona's coke stash and Fiona went to jail, Frank faced his mortality, and Ian was looking decidedly bipolar in the worst way. However, like a bunch of lovable cockroaches weathering apocalyptic destruction, the Gallagher's weren't without their victories: Frank received a new liver, Fiona got out of a jail, and Mickey burst out of the closet and resolved to take care of Ian instead of institutionalizing him. Oh, and Jimmy isn't dead. JIMMY ISN'T DEAD! Best cockroaches ever. Also, hello Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Fiona's new boss, hello.
Cosmos offers an illuminating look at light and scientific advancement
In its strongest episode since the premiere, Cosmos showed us how light works, showcasing such luminaries as Mozi, Ibn al-Haytham, and Joseph von Fraunhofer. Neil deGrasse Tyson got a bit choked up over Fraunhofer's story, as the scientist's discovery of the gaps in the spectrum of visible light would eventually lead to the development of the process we use to measure the distance between Earth and faraway galaxies and stars, along with their composition. "Hiding the the Light" also made a point to wrap these scientific breakthroughs in a look at how science does (or does not) flourish in a free and open society, with examples of Mozi's texts being burned, al-Haytham's emphasis on knowledge-collecting and -sharing, and Fraunhofer's work at the Benediktbeuern Abbey and its state secrets.
Being Human finds its door
When news of Being Human’s cancellation broke in February, it was a shock and a surprise to everyone but the cast and crew, prompting worries about the show’s ability to wrap up all of its loose ends before shuffling off its mortal(ish) coil. Fortunately, our fears turned out to be unfounded as the Syfy drama's series finale burned the house down (literally) and delivered well-deserved happy endings for everyone. Eventually.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally fun!
Despite its low ratings, "Turn, Turn, Turn"—the first episode to air after the theatrical release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier—was a fun and exciting hour full of shocking revelations and double-crosses, with a little Blue Oyster Cult mixed in for good measure. Now that S.H.I.E.L.D. no longer exists and Hydra is out in the open, it's going to be interesting to see where the series goes from here.
Bruce Timm revisits the Dark Knight with this "Batman: Strange Days" short
This year marks the 75th anniversary of Batman's appearance in popular culture, and DC Comics has a range of special events planned to celebrate the Cape Crusader. Sadly, they don't include the return of Beware the Batman to television—but almost as good is this Bruce Timm-directed, black-and-white short of Batman fighting the evil Hugo Strange and Solomon Grundy in a decidedly 1940s comic-book style.
Game of Thrones is back! It's finally back!
Oh how we missed the happenings of Westeros. After nine months in the dark, HBO's fantasy epic returned with all the incredible production values, backroom treachery, and dysfunctional family antics that make it one of TV's best series. Though the Season 4 premiere didn't knock our faces off, it did introduce us to some scary dudes who eat people. Now please excuse us while we go shopping for a wedding present for Joffrey. We hope to find a fatal case of genital warts listed on his registry!
Conan does some clueless gaming on the granddaddy of flat screens
The redheaded late-night host may not have won the Late Show job, but he received the next best thing when he took his show to Dallas for a week: the chance to play PlayStation 4 on one of the world's largest video screens. As part of his semi-regular "Clueless Gamer" segment, Conan played Madden, Street Fighter II, and Need for Speed on the Dallas Cowboys' mammoth stadium screen.
Silicon Valley + Veep = TV's best comedy block
Mike Judge's new takedown of the tech industry is exactly the comedy HBO has been looking to match wits with Veep, and together, the two shows comprise the smartest hour of silliness you'll find in your entire cable guide. Get your fill of business satire with Silicon Valley, then watch a master course in cursing and exposing the ridiculousness of politics as Selina hits the campaign trail in Veep's third season.
The Americans' Nina Sergeevna is a triple threat
Way back in Season 1, when lowly administrator Nina Sergeevna got nabbed for illegally shipping American goods back to the Motherland, no one ever suspected she'd mature into the Cold War's most nimble triple agent. Yet,that's exactly what seems to be happening, what with her defeat of the dreaded polygraph machine in this week's "ARPANET" and subsequent bedroom antics with rich-kid supervisor Oleg. It was the first time in the history of The Americans that Nina had such a meaty story, and she more than proved she can carry her own plots. Is she Team Stan? Is she Team Oleg? She is Team Nina. And Annet Mahendru is doing some of the bravest work on television.
Parks and Recreation drops a big bombshell like it's nothing
Womb, there it is! There was lots to like about "Flu Season 2," from Ben's blue teeth and drunken adventures (and attempt to climb that fence) to April making a mockery of the sommelier competition, but obviously the biggest highlight was the news that Leslie's pregnant! Honestly, can you imagine two better parents than Ben and Leslie? Also, now that there's a mini Wyatt-Knope on the way, maybe Ann's kid and Leslie's soon-to-be kid can grow up and be best friends! Wait, did we just create a future spin-off?
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series approaches must-see TV territory
The characters of Robert Rodriguez's El Ray drama have faced their share of challenges—including demons, psychopaths with itchy trigger fingers, and man-eating serpents—but none of them have been as potentially lethal as living in the shadow of their big-screen source material. After four episodes of solid world-building, gun fights, and religion talk, it was Episode 5, "Self-Contained," that finally brought the goods. The tense stand-off between the Cartel, the Gecko Bros, the Ranger, Border Patrol, and the Fuller family at the Mexican-American border—all whilst in a smelly RV—was masterfully done. We need more now!
Suits hits the reset button... sort of
The USA drama's Season 3 finale forced Mike Ross to spend some quality time in jail, and the taste of incarceration must not've appealed to Pearson-Specter's brilliant pretend-lawyer, because rather than roll over on Harvey to keep his own law career afloat (you know, until the next crisis), Mike opted to leave the firm for an investment banking job... with a Pearson-Specter client. This means that the Mike and Harvey dream team is far from disbanded, but it's certainly going to take on a different appearance when Suits returns in June, and we're interested to see where it goes next.
Vikings has never glamorized the life of its barbaric protagonists, and this week's episode showcased one of the most gruesome rituals they participate in as Ragnar eliminated a problematic threat—the dreaded Blood Eagle. It's even worse than it sounds: A man's back is cut down the middle, his ribs are broken wide open, and his are lungs pulled out and rested on his shoulders until he dies. And we saw it! Also, congrats to Floki on his marriage!
Hannibal veers away from its sources, in a very surprising manner
Bryan Fuller's impressive drama reminded us that while it is very much inspired by all the versions of the Hannibal Lecter franchise that've come before it, it's totally willing to go big and bold when it wants to deviate from its predecessors. So color us surprised that Miriam Lass shot Chilton. Yes, Frederick Chilton. That officious and slimy jerk from the books and the movies is dead, never to escort Clarice Starling down to see Hannibal Lecter in this iteration of Hannibal's tale. We figured he was safe because of that. We figured oh-so-very wrongly. R.I.P., Dr. Frederick Chilton.
CBS's new Late Night man is Stephen Colbert!
We love Colbert and we think CBS made a gutsy call to give the former Daily Show correspondent a crack at the big big-time. He's a smart guy who isn't afraid of anything, and he's proven he can handle the daily grind of a nightly show with The Colbert Report. But Colbert has played "Stephen Colbert" for so long that we're not sure how the real Stephen Colbert will do in the chair. Will Late Show with Stephen Colbert be worth the loss of The Colbert Report? Okay, he'll probably be great, but right now the uncertainty of the situation is all we can see.
Pardon the Interruption loses Stat Boy
Tony Reali, the ESPN personality who tells Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon what they got wrong on ESPN's always-great talking-heads sports show, has earned a promotion within the ABC family and is taking a correspondent gig at Good Morning America. Unfortunately, the job requires him to move to New York, which means he'll no longer be part of Pardon the Interruption. Drats. Who's going to keep Kornheiser in line now? Thankfully, Reali will still host Around the Horn from a new set in the Big Apple, so at least we'll still get our fill of his sharp and knowledgable wit.
Bravo's new programming slate
We're living in a Golden Age of Television, but the gutters of the medium aren't doing too bad either. And their putrid stink intensified this week when Bravo ordered approximately one gazillion awful-sounding new shows. Among them, a "social experiment" that turns friends into lovers, a reality show that follows Eurotrash as they try to take over America, several Real Housewives spin-offs, and a series about divorce. You are not worth the acclaim that your name suggests, Bravo.
S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best episode to date brought its biggest flaw into focus
No, you're not crazy: S.H.I.E.L.D. appears on both our FTW and WTF lists this week, because we were so at-odds with one another that we couldn't even compromise on adding "Turn, Turn, Turn" to the ol' FTWTF combo pack. So even though the episode earned a FTW shout-out for making big moves and opening up all kinds of story potential, it also underscored a very serious problem: The reason that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been treading water for much of its freshmen season is that it was forced to impatiently tap its foot while it waited for Captain America: The Winter Soldier to blow up its titular agency. The show tried to make some hay out of Skye's origins, but could never fully commit to that arc because there was so much film tie-in business on the horizon to deal with instead. Yes, "Turn, Turn, Turn" was a fun and legitimately good episode, but the fact that we had to wait for a movie release before it could air is a little ridiculous. Such are the pitfalls when a media conglomerate (understandably) prioritizes the film narratives over their TV extensions. Now that S.H.I.E.L.D. is dismantled in the movies, we can only hope that the series will be allowed to start walking on its own accord.
Justified's fifth season goes out with a whimper
Justified's next season will be its last, and we're praying it's a fantastic one, because a good portion of Season 5 was devoted to boring filler. The Crowe clan from Florida turned out to be more of a nuisance than the big bad guys who were suppose to raise the stakes and turn Raylan into a whimpering fool. The show did too little all season, then too much in the season finale while sloppily tying up dead ends and hoping you wouldn't notice. But at least Season 6 is pegged to be Boyd Crowder vs Raylan, so there's that.
What the hell, Castellano???
We don't believe for one second that Danny and Mindy's love story is actually over, but that doesn't mean we were any less frustrated with Danny's behavior this week, up to and including the part where he put an end to their coupledom so soon after instigating it. Mindy said it best: Why'd you even kiss her in the first place, dude?
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? Pablo Schreiber's return to SVU? The Goldberg's laser-tag hijinx? Rachel's decision to drop out of school/Kurt's brutal beating on Glee? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
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