FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (August 24–30)
Another year, another snub from the Emmys for FTW vs. WTF in the category of Outstanding Weekly Television Round-up on the Internet! Not only that, the whole category was left out of this year's ceremony. When is the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences going to open its eyes and give the people what they want? What are you trying to hide, ATAS? Oh well, I guess we'll just have to hang tight and wait for our People's Choice Award. In the meantime, here's what we liked and didn't like about the last seven days in TV.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes (of The Leftovers, Teen Wolf, Pretty Little Liars, True Blood etc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do.
The Colbert Report's post-Emmys title sequence
Leave it to Stephen Colbert to immortalize Gwen Stefani's "Adele Dazeem" moment—which occurred during Monday's Emmys telecast when she presented the award for Best Variety Series to "The Colbore Report"—by adding "Colbore" to his show's opening credits.
Teen Wolf's Peter Hale strikes again!
So Meredith really was the Benefactor, but "Monstrous" added a whole new later of "What?!" by revealing that it was actually comatose Peter Hale's idea to purge Beacon Hills of its supernatural population. Meredith, who shared a hospital room with Peter immediately following the fire at the Hale residence, put the plan into motion following Allison's death, believing that all monsters were, you know, pieces of sh*t who should be treated as such. And, of course, Peter remembered NONE OF IT. Oh, Teen Wolf. God bless the way you always manage to make Peter an exciting villain even when he's not aware he's the villain.
Doctor Who's new Doctor is here and he seems pretty cool, tbh
Peter Capaldi's Doctor has officially arrived, and while it took quite a long time for him to gather himself together—probably as a result of having an entirely new set of regenerations gifted to him this time—he eventually put on his big-boy pants (quite literally, as he spent a lot of time in a nightshirt) and saved the day like we knew he would. He's funny, he's a little angry, and he's got really cool eyebrows. We'll keep him.
Lexie plays Jedi Mind Tricks on Falling Skies
Aww, our little science experiment is growing up so fast. Having wised up to the fact that her Espheni sperm donor (eww) was commanded to kill her, Lexie blew him up with her brain and joined Team Humanity. Welcome aboard, girlfriend!
Pretty Little Liars killed someone people actually care(d) about
ABC Family and showrunner Marlene King wanted everyone to know that Pretty Little Liars' summer finale would involve someone shuffling off this mortal coil. But since the show's track record with death has usually been limited to people we want to see bite it (Ian) or people who we feel really ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about (Shana). But instead of killing well-intentioned chump Travis or another one of Emily's girlfriends, "Taking This One to the Grave" took out troubled-but-beloved Mona. Mona! Poor girl felt the wrath of A (or Alison, maybe both) and ended up in the trunk of a hoodie's car, with PLL making a point of showing us the body. Already there's speculation that she isn't really dead, just drugged. With her eyes open. Covered in blood. And we suppose anything's possible. But for as much as we love Mona, it'd be really disappointing if the writers backed out of this one. Thankfully, the character will make appearances in flashbacks during Season 5B, and as the ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future in the upcoming holiday special. Better keep her away from Caleb; he's into that sort of thing.
The Leftovers flashes back to "happier" times
"Happier" being a very relative term, obviously, since lots of folks was still totally f'in miserable even before millions of people poofed out of existence. The series' pre-Departure episode provided a lot of insight into why things are the way they are in the current timeline, most noticeably with the Garveys. It was particularly tragic to see a younger Jill all (metal-mouthed) smiles, knowing full well that tragedy was about to wipe that smirk off her face for good and transform her into TV's most sullen teen queen.
Jon Stewart takes the Ferguson Protest Challenge
Best take on the Ice Bucket Challenge we've seen yet!
The Strain calls in surprising reinforcements
FX's uneven (but still totally fun) vampire series introduced its most interesting characters yet at the end of Sunday's episode: a team of Special Forces vampires! Or at least that's what they appeared to be as they swooped in and saved the lives of some humans under attack. These BlackulOps are poised to take the show to an entirely new level now that the good guys might have some seriously badass new teammates.
Masters of Sex leaps forward in time, but not everything changes
The downside of telling a story that's based on real-life events and spans several decades story is that eventually, Masters of Sex has to skip around a bit. Sunday's "Asterion" brought forth a multi-year jump in just one hour, but managed to tie everything together through, what else, lovely work from the show's deep roster of actors. The episode covered a whole lot of ground—the Masters had another kid, Betty worked through a degree, and Virginia courted a few different beaus—but it reinforced the idea that no matter how much things change, they generally stay the same. Bill and Virginia are always going to find their way back to one another. Libby is always going to be frustrated and alone. And Austin is always going to want the things he can't have. Sometimes we wish Masters of Sex would slow down, but the storytelling is so compelling in episodes like this one that we're willing to forgive the fast pace.
Defiance's Season 2 finale was the show at its best and its worst
The first hour of the finale was full of terrific, character-driven goodness that really highlighted the show's strengths. Character tensions between Tommy and Nolan, Stahma and Datak, Pottinger and Amanda, and even Pilar and Rafe were all handled very well, even if Defiance hasn't always done right by them (particularly Tommy and Nolan). Sadly, the second hour mostly ignored the good character stuff in order to stop the Kaziri Arkbrain from destroying the Earth with terraforming spheres, and it was predictably boring and lacking in personal stakes. Hopefully, with smaller stories on the horizon, a potential third season may find Defiance finally hitting its stride.
Back to the drawing board, HBO (and congrats, Breaking Bad!)
The big story going into this year's Emmy awards was that HBO had opted to enter True Detective in the Drama categories, presumably to A) avoid competition with The Normal Heart in the Miniseries/TV Movie races and B) to have the opportunity to smack down Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and whomever else. And how'd that go? Right. While the risk made sense, HBO should have known better than to compete with the Emmys' first love: complacency (though it's not like Breaking Bad didn't deserve all those trophies). Now we're especially interested to see whether the network retreats in 2015 by submitting True Detective's second season in the Miniseries categories, where it'll belong.
Intruders tries to be clever, but it's mostly just confusing
If you have to watch a pilot three times to understand even the most basic elements of the show's premise, that pilot probably isn't doing its job correctly. The producers of BBC America's new drama Intruders probably thought they were being clever by withholding information and being purposefully vague about the souls who live forever by jumping from host body to host body, but the result was infuriating. Plus, John Simm's character is so dull, he makes cardboard look expressive. And Episode 2 wasn't any better.
Netflix buys the streaming rights to The Blacklist for a cool $2 million per episode
Hey, sometimes you just have to buy stuff to remind people that you can, ya know? Though at least now it'll be easier to catch up on the show before it returns for Season 2.
Tyrant goes out with a whimper
The first (and only?) season of FX's tumultuous political soap ended with a silly cliffhanger, which is only exacerbated by the fact that it's not even close to a guarantee that the network will order more episodes. However, for a series that was one big mess from start to finish, that actually sounds like the right way to go out.
We're going to be talking about this Sopranos thing until the end of time, huh?
Allegedly definitive new information about how The Sopranos ended and whether Tony is alive or dead spread around the internet like gossip in a high school hallway, to the point where David Chase had to release a statement about his supposed "confirmation" of what happened when the series finale cut to black. Collectively, let's all agree to let it go.
True Blood's series finale was awful
Half an hour on Hoyt and Jessica tying the knot? Sookie pregnant by some unseen beardo after turning Bill into vampire soup? Barely any time with Eric and Pam, AND NOT EVEN A SINGLE LINE OF DIALOGUE FOR LAFAYETTE? To not give one of the series' best characters any screen time while wrapping things up with a boring impromptu wedding and an assisted suicide is something we may never forgive.
Amazon's new pilots range from "Eh, decent" to "This was horrible, why did I watch this?"
Amazon unveiled its third set of pilots on Friday, and the overall effect is underwhelming. Red Oaks is perfect if you've been wanting a TV version of an '80s teen sex comedy film (it's not bad, but it's possible we're already starting to tire of '80s nostalgia). Really feels somewhat similar to FX's Married, but with all rich people (it's so-so, could be decent). The Cosmopolitans is probably the strongest of the comedies, but your enjoyment of it will hinge entirely on how much you like Whit Stillman's particular brand of writing. Meanwhile, the dramas are a mess. Hand of God is a laughably and then painfully bad attempt at a dark, gritty antihero cable drama, while Hysteria essentially amounts to "Our ability to see anything and everything on screens is going to kill us. Also: Mobs and teenage girls are dangerous."
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? Chelsea Handler's star-studded singalong during the series finale of Chelsea Lately? Modern Family's five-peat at the Emmys? Jimmy Kimmel's fanfic-fueled Friends reunion? The VMAs? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
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