FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (June 8-14)
Have your hands stopped working altogether? Are black and white panels growing on your forehead? Do you fall to the ground clutching your ankle in response to the slightest gust of wind? Then you may have... World Cup Fever!
The world's largest tournament in the world's most popular sport kicked (hahahaha) off this week, so this edition of FTW vs. WTF goes out to futbol fans and haters all over the globe (sorry, dads!). Thus, let's take a look back at the last seven days in television and talk about what was a 44' header GOAAAALLLLLLLLL and what was Spain's defense.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes (of Game of Thrones, Veep, Fargo, Orphan Black, etc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do.
Cosmos concludes by reminding us that we reside on a pale blue dot
While Cosmos was occasionally hit-or-miss, there's no denying the educational, entertaining, and scientific pleasures involved in tuning in each week. Whether it was learning about light, dark matter, climate change, or the crusade against leaded chemicals, Cosmos always highlighted our privileged and perilous position as seekers of knowledge and inhabitants of Earth. And with its final episode, Cosmos asked a seemingly easy question, but one that's fraught with controversy and differences of opinion (as the episode openly acknowledged): Surely, the species that has managed to send a spacecraft beyond its solar system can save the planet it calls home?
The Masaaki Yuasa-directed episode of Adventure Time was more deliriously delightful than expected
We'd been looking forward to "Food Chain" since the moment it was announced, and it didn't disappoint. During a science fair at the Candy Kingdom, Magic Man transformed Finn and Jake into birds in a bit of his trademark mischievousness, and the experience allowed Finn to better appreciate the circle of life, so to speak. Finn and Jake went from birds to cells eating dead animals to plants to caterpillars back to humans, taking us on a trippy and cheekily educational ride with the kind of verve we've come to expect from the show's more experimental episodes. There were even a few musical numbers! Here's hoping Adventure Time becomes a playground for all sorts of directors, a development we'd be more than happy with. And if you liked the episode, you should definitely check out Yuasa's current anime series Ping Pong on Hulu. Quality, quality stuff. (.GIF via somehummingbirds)
A giant bow and arrow on Game of Thrones
There was plenty to like about "The Watchers on the Wall," an orgy of orchestrated violence and impressive special effects. But after one Mance Rayder's giants stepped out with a friggin' massive bow and arrow and shot a guy through the chest—catapulting him through the roof of an outlook and sending him over the wall to the other side—everything else was playing for second place. Ultimately the plot of the episode could be relayed in one sentence, but Neil Marshall's artful direction and the sheer scale of the battle at the Wall made for some of the best action we've seen on TV this year.
Metastasis breaks good
The Spanish-language adaptation of Breaking Bad debuted on Univision on Sunday, and it's basically a shot-for-shot recreation of AMC's best series, with a few changes: The RV is a school bus, there was a mariachi band at Walter's surprise birthday party, and the White family's swimming pool is a fountain. Otherwise, it's almost exactly the same, and that's the way you adapt this masterpiece: You leave it alone.
Veep closes out its third season with a double shot of schadenfreude
The great thing about Veep is that you absolutely know that Selena and her team are going to screw "it" up, whatever it is, and yet you're always blindsided by how things take a turn for the worse. For most of this season, the it has been Selena's flailing presidential campaign, but in the last couple of episodes, the show hot-shotted the VP into the Oval Office. Unsurprisingly, Selena's tenure as president almost immediately went south, from the squeaky shoes provided by Gary to Mike's clumsiness in blundering the initial oath of office. The two-episode Season 3 finale showcased the powers of this series and this cast; their powers; there is Veep, and then there's every other comedy on TV.
Aces! Billy Bob Thornton gets creepier, somehow, on Fargo
Fargo's recent time jump marked an interesting risk for the show to take, but in this week's penultimate episode, the characters had a little more time to breathe, giving us a better understanding of what's been going on since the nasty shootouts up north. As amazing and disturbing as Billy Bob Thornton's Lorne Malvo has been throughout the series, his turn as a fun-loving, almost cheesy dentist was probably the most stirring. Dude just has a creepy smile, ya know? From deadpan murder spree in the elevator to the cheery-yet-malicious conversation with Keith Carradine's Lou and the family that purchased Lester's old house, this episode was Peak Thornton.
Netflix reboots The Magic School Bus, '90s kids rejoice
Forget saving current crap like Revolution, Netflix has finally wised up and given the world what it wants—nay, what it needs—more Ms. Frizzle-chaperoned adventures!
Neil Patrick Harris rocked the Tony Awards (again)
NPH never won an Emmy for his portrayal of Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, but he's taken home several for hosting the Tonys—and even though this year's MC-ing duties belonged to Wolverine, the former Doogie Howser still managed to steal the show. The actor got one step closer to an EGOT, winning Best Leading Actor in a Musical for Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and his acceptance speech was insightful and heartwarming and everything we expected it to be. But it was his performance of "Sugar Daddy" from Hedwig (embedded above) that was truly legendary.
The 100's season finale proves that The CW is home to more than sissy love triangles and vampires who make terrible decisions
When the sci-fi series debuted in March, many people wrote it off as the network's latest piece of worse-than-mediocre teenage drivel. But as Season 1 progressed, it became clear that The 100 is more than just a youth-oriented drama populated by underwear models. The show never shied away from tackling adult themes, choosing instead to portray the harsh and brutal reality of a post-apocalyptic society and how people must adapt to survive within it. Wednesday's finale ended in a ring of fire, with several lives left hanging in the balance, proving once again that The 100 is willing to go the distance. And please don't even get us started on that mysterious quarantine at Mount Weather that has us foaming at the mouth to find out what happens next.
Eva Green went to far-off places on Penny Dreadful
Showtime's supernatural smash-up has had its good times and bad times, but the show's Vanessa-centric fifth episode was a devastatingly raw hour full of suffering and pain. The burden of its most uncomfortable scenes fell on series star Eva Green, and she acted her ass off in the face of all-nude demon sex and mental-ward cruelty; thanks to her powerhouse performance, "Closer Than Sisters" was Penny Dreadful's best episode to date. The actress was completely out-of-body during the episode's wackadoodle moments (just thinking of her asylum experience makes our skin crawl), and evocatively vulnerable during its more heart-wrenching scenes. Brava!
Young Louie gets blazed and confused
At 90 minutes long, "In the Woods" wasn't your typical episode of FX's unique dramedy. After catching his own daughter smoking the pot, Louie recalled the first time he rode the ganja train by taking us on a cinematic journey via a classic coming-of-age story told almost entirely through flashback. As much as Louie wanted to be mad at Lilly for getting baked (and it looked like she had the munchies), all he could do was remember the pain he'd caused his mom and teacher when by doing the same thing, and he closed the episode with some poignant parental wisdom: "Just, I love you and I'm here. That's all I got." Extra credit for Devin Druid's excellent performance as 13-year-old Louie and Jeremy Renner as a drug dealer who hugged his cat.
The Daily Show takes on Glass-holes
The always excellent Jason Jones set out to explore Google's Google Glass Explorers program, and the results were equal parts depressing and hilarious.
Graceland is back, baby!
The damning evidence tape is still floating around. Charlie is gonna shank a roommate. Briggs has bad ideas. Mike is a friggin' Boy Scout. It's not bikini season on USA without a side of beach-party angst.
Orphan Black's Donnie grows some balls
Mr. Hendrix is a strange fellow. He originally came off as a bumbling idiot who was little more than a whipping boy for Alison. Then there was that period of time where we thought he was a threat because of his role as Alison's monitor. Then we circled back around to thinking he was a bumbling idiot who simply didn't know the truth about the clones. And then that bumbling idiot accidentally killed Dr. Leekie and was horribly inept at disposing of Leekie's rotting corpse. But when the time came to stand up and defend his family against Angela and Vic, the dude found his balls and it was AWESOME. #TeamDonniesBalls!
The Walking Dead already knows what Seasons 11 and 12 will look like
WHOA! Getting a bit ahead of yourself, aren't you, Walking Dead producer David Alpert? At a producers' panel held last weekend, Alpert revealed that the AMC drama's creative team knows what the benchmark moments of Seasons 11 and 12 will be... even though they're currently working on Season 5. Sure, the series is based on a comic that's way ahead of the show, but thinking seven seasons ahead is a stretch, isn't it? Ahhh, who are we kidding, this show will live until Season 12 and beyond.
No, seriously, WTF is Halt and Catch Fire wanting to do?
Because we're not entirely sure. AMC's computer drama debuted with a pilot that was equal parts hopeful and worrisome, and the series' second episode, "FUD," confirmed the latter, unfortunately. IBM raiding Cardiff's clients was realistic and genuinely sort of nail-biting, but it also made Cardiff a very short-lived site of employment, as the episode pointed out. And it seems like the show may be less interested in exploring the computing and business scene of the 1980s than it is in maintaining a "mysterious" backstory for Joe, with his $2 million IBM tantrum, botched event dates, stolen speeches, and scarred torso. "Tell me you have a plan, Joe!" indeed.
Nikke Finke's new website
Hollywood's queen of muckraking and self-congratulatory TOLDJAs launched her new site on Thursday after seven months of non-compete hibernation, and her first post is quintessential Finke. Filled with expletives, name-calling, and a promise to be "your cruel and quirky alternative to Deadlame and Valiety and The Hollywood Unreported and TheCrap." We missed you, Nikki. (Should we be upset that she doesn't have a pun for TV.com?)
This kid claiming he finished Orange Is the New Black Season 2 in six hours
The race to binge-watch all 13 hours of the Netflix drama's second season ended just six-and-a-half hours after it was released, according to one James Rush from the U.K. But as he told The Observer, "The main reason I made it through so quick was I was not at all intrigued by some of the sequences focusing away from Piper. As the show headed towards the finale of the season I began skipping some scenes for general lack of interest.” UMMM THAT DOESN'T COUNT.
Pretty Little Liars tries to pull one over on us
The Season 5 premiere wasn't all that bad. In fact, some parts of it were pretty exciting, some parts were touching (like the Liars remembering life before A), and we even got a glimpse of the complicated mess that will come with reintegrating a very-alive Alison into the clique. But Shana being propped up as A (even "an A") had better be subterfuge. Having her want justice for Jenna is one thing; insinuating that a fringe character with basically no familiarity with the Liars is their seasons-long nemesis feels downright preposterous. She can maybe be a hoodie. But she's not allowed to be the heir to Mona's throne as the one who "raised the game." Here's hoping the Liars believing that A is behind them in the wake of Shana's death is a trick on them and not a trick on us.
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? The debut of Murder in the First on TNT? The Season 4 premiere of Suits? 24's drone attack? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
- Comments (94)