FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (August 17–23)
It's Back to School time, so you know what that means: You have to make sure that you're the most popular kid in class. In order to do so, follow these simple steps: 1) Whenever your dumb parents want you to study, use the time to Facebook-stalk the cool kids and digitally integrate yourself into their cyber-circles. 2) Follow all of today's popular boy bands on Twitter so you know how much mousse to use in your hair. 3) Wear a baggy coat to Forever 21 to maximize your shoplifting carrying capacity. And for the icing on the cake? 4) Recite the following FTWs and WTFs to anyone who will listen and watch your stock rise faster than Netflix's. Just be sure to thank us during your Homecoming King/Queen acceptance speech.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes (of The Leftovers, Falling Skies, The Fosters, etc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do.
Masters of Sex's supporting cast shines in a big episode
Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan are consistently wonderful, but that hasn't stopped the Showtime drama from continuously finding new and better things for its supporting players to do. Last Sunday's "Blackbird" was a great showcase for many, as Julianne Nicholson, Annaleigh Ashford, Greg Grunberg, and Caitlin Fitzgerald all delivered their best work of the season.
Halt and Catch Fire lives to program another day
AMC's computer-revolution period piece didn't snag that many viewers this summer, but the series thankfully did just enough to convince the network to renew it for a second season. While Lee Pace's Joe is still a cipher, the characters who surround him—especially Mackenzie Davis's Cameron and Kerry Bishé's Donna—are weird and warm in the best of ways. If you logged off early in the first season, it's time to reboot and try again.
Legend of Korra wraps up Book 3 with action and excitement
Despite its weird and awful scheduling nonsense, The Legend of Korra's third season managed to bounce back from the doldrums of Book 2 by embracing a funner, Saturday-morning-cartoon adventure vibe. Book 3 may not have been as dramatically compelling a season as Book 1, but it's hard to stay too hung up on that after a thrilling finale in which Zaheer and Korra went toe-to-toe in a canyon in some of the show's best-looking episodes and action sequences since it began.
Bachelor in Paradise flaunts its mastery of mind games
It ain't Shakespeare, but ABC's replacement for Bachelor Pad has proven to be superior in every way and a must-watch for people who delight in seeing bimbos and himbos break down in the face of psychological torture and sandy illusions of romance. In every episode, tenuous relationships are put to the test when fresh meat is introduced in the form of a new pair of boobs or pecs, and the contestants' IQs are just high enough to make it all work and unfold like some slutty version of Musical Chairs. This is dumb, awful television at its best. YOPO!
FXX's full-series The Simpsons marathon
There is literally something to watch on television AT ALL TIMES right now, as FX's little sister works through the animated series' golden years as part of its 552-episode binge. Enjoy it while you can, before the marathon hits Season 13 and the show starts devolving into its current state.
Comedy Central has posted the entire first season of Broad City online
...and it is raunchy and amazing. If you missed the series the first time around and haven't wanted to pay for it in the interim, now's the time to give it a shot. And keep an eye out for Hannibal Buress's character Lincoln, because he's the best.
Suits gets LITT UP
When Mike unknowingly slipped up and offered a desperate, unemployed Louis the chance to exploit his way back to the firm, Louis the Villain returned in glorious fashion. Time to update everyone's business cards! Pearson Specter Litt is open for business.
The Big Bang Theory gets board
As if the cast raking in million-dollar deals per episode wasn't enough of a sign that CBS's sitcom is a massive hit, the show now has its own version of Monopoly. Our favorite game piece? "Sheldon's spot on the couch," though we think that should be a place on the board instead, preferably in the spot typically reserved for the high-value Boardwalk.
The Bridge feels the RUSH
FX's drama is always more fun when it lets its hair down, and it was pretty hilarious to see Daniel and his sober buddy (played by The Office's Brian Baumgartner) throw their sobriety to the wind by blowing lines and blasting some Rush—while wearing Rush T-shirts, or course. With Canada's finest classic-rock band playing its part this season, The Bridge covers all three North American countries in one show! Plus, talk about story progression, eh? "Lamia" gave us interesting developments on pretty much all fronts (poor Sonya!).
Nathan For You concludes with kids and masturbators
Comedy Central's genius reality-prank show finished its sophomore season with some hilarious child psychology and night-vision law enforcement. In order to sell a toy to youngsters, Nathan marketed it as "the only way to prove you aren't a baby," which confused the kiddos into begging their parents for the junk. Then he helped a movie theater maximize its profits on concessions by issuing a no-sharing policy and confronting anyone who broke the rule when he spotted them using night-vision goggles (and he posted their pictures on the same board as in-movie masturbators). Beware, America. Only another 40-something weeks until Nathan is back to his brilliant business plans.
Rectify will be back to drain our eyeballs
SundanceTV's stunning drama aired its Season 2 finale this week, but that doesn't mean your emotions are off the hook. The network has officially renewed the show for Season 3, ensuring that we'll be reduced to a blubbering mess at some point in 2015.
The Fosters summer finale focused on what family really means... before kind of ruining it
Family is always at the center of the ABC Family drama, obviously, but the second half of Season 1 was especially strong on that front, even though it wobbled a bit. Callie's struggles with whether or not to welcome Robert and his family into her life proved the highlight, testing whether or not the bonds of love are more than just biological—especially after the revelation that Sophia had ripped up the abandonment papers and Robert wasn't willing to sign them again. Meanwhile, Mariana and Lena both faced similar biology-versus-love dilemmas, which they helped each other resolve in a very moving fashion. However, the finale's cliffhanger for the sake of a cliffhanger—Brandon and Callie kissing—while it didn't undo any of the good, just served as a reminder that sometimes The Fosters can't help but go overboard with the soap. Here's hoping we don't have to deal with another 10 episodes of Brandon/Callie ridiculousness.
WYLIE IN SPAAAACE
The gang over at Falling Skies has apparently decided that mutant alien baby hybrids, deus ex alien allies, and the entire Hal-Maggie-Ben storyline aren't enough, because WE'RE GOING TO THE MOON, YOU GUYS. With endless space-race allusions and a liberal abuse of JFK quotes, "Til Death Do Us Part" brought the crazy that will carry us through the rest of the season and we can't help it—we're stupid excited to see what's next.
Teen Wolf finally unmasked the Benefactor
After weeks of guessing, the mysterious Benefactor was finally revealed to be Meredith, the banshee we believed to be dead. It was a surprise to viewers for the simple reason that we all thought she'd committed suicide, but is she really the Benefactor? Would Teen Wolf show its hand so early? Furthermore, even if she IS the mastermind behind the dead pool, who's to say the assassins will stop trying to murder our favorite supernatural hunks now that she's been caught? It's not like they know the money is no longer in play. We thought the Benefactor was the real threat, but maybe the true danger is just how widespread the danger actually is now.
BoJack Horseman wastes a lot of its potential, but Will Arnett saves it simply by being Will Arnett
Netflix's latest original series, an animated adult comedy about a washed-up former sitcom star who, oh yeah, also happens to be a horse, fluctuates between being awful and awesome. Its strengths lie within its visuals (Amy Sedaris's Princess Carolyn is surprisingly agile, because she's a cat) and pop-culture references, but the series is burdened by jokes that last far too long. However, Will Arnett keeps the show watchable; even when he's voicing a cartoon equine, he's so darn likable that it's hard to be too harsh BoJack Horseman.
Frankie uses a B.S. excuse to get rid of this season's most entertaining Big Brother player
There's nothing more frustrating than an annoying reality show contestant who thinks he's a hero, and Frankie currently has that role on lockdown. After escaping elimination last week through an admittedly fantastic Battle of the Block performance, Frankie used his veto win this week to oust his supposed best friend, showmance partner, and whatever else, Zach. Not only did Frankie use a cheap Team America excuse to turn the house against Zach and then backdoor him, but then he feigned inner conflict in the diary room when it was pretty clear from the live feeds that he wanted Zach gone. Frankie might be fame-adjacent and a master social manipulator, but he's not a hero. He's a villain.
Just when it should be getting good, Defiance cuts itself off at the knees
The writing may've been on the wall last week with the "Pottinger makes an Indogene replicant of Kenya to get into Amanda's pants" storyline, but this week's double header confirmed that Defiance likely isn't interested in what made the start of the season promising and exciting. The Irisa/Irzu/Votan Rapture plot eliminated the personal stakes in favor of nanotech puppetry and manufactured character drama, and a focus on Quentin and Christie has distracted from other, more compelling ideas, like a rebellion against the E-Rep and, well, anything that Stahma does. Because Stahma's pretty much the show's greatest asset.
The Leftovers loses one of its best, and for what?
ARGH!!! This show!!! It's endless drubbing on our fragile souls continued when Kevin Garvey found himself in a cabin with Guilty Remnant leader Patti tied to a chair. But the questions of Kevin's sanity were shoved aside for shock when Patti slit her own throat with a piece of broken glass. The series is trying our patience with its lack of a real plot or momentum; it's trying to tell a psychological family story against a supernatural backdrop, and that makes it hard to stay invested in. And now that Patti is dead (she's dead, right?), it's lost one of its best actors in Ann Dowd.
Lies, damn lies, and... babies?
Briggs is finally facing investigation for Badillo's disappearance and Graceland officially has a baby plotline now. May God have mercy on our souls.
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? Pretty Little Liars' penultimate episode? True Blood's penultimate episode? Celebrities doing the Ice Bucket Challenge? Under the Dome's boring DOMESPIRACY? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
P.S. We weren't able to screen Doctor Who's Season 8 finale prior to press time, so we'll weigh in on that one next next week!
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