FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (March 1)
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the television capital of the world, Los Angeles, California. SoCal is currently in the midst of a weather catastrophe: pouring rain. We've heard reports that the downpour has caused the cancellation of at least seven Botox injection appointments, left the fate of four Oscar parties in limbo, and soaked the interior of one white VW Cabriolet convertible. If you'd like to donate to the cause to make L.A. dry and sunny again, send cash contributions to Tim Surette at TV.com and he'll make sure they're put to good use. Or we could all just tell L.A. to get over itself and suck it up. Also, here's what we liked and didn't like about television this week—share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
Russia closes out the Olympics with a joke
The Sochi Closing Ceremonies winked at the instantly-globally-derided Olymipic-ring malfunction from the Opening Ceremonies with a cheeky, human-powered replay. What yuksters! (However, please let us never speak of those stolen-from-a-Chuck E. Cheese mascots ever again.)
The Americans hits the ground running
Wednesday's highly-anticipated Season 2 premiere fell right back into the swing of things like a perfectly executed dead-drop, stealthily offering everything we hope for in a great episode of the '80s-set spy drama: tense missions, marital strife, wigs, old technology, a high body count, ruthless emotion, and a sex scene that shocked us just as much as it did Paige. The Jennings are that rare TV family with believably naive children, so the fact that Paige and Henry are also part of this season's collection of threats means there are fascinating, difficult times ahead. Also, John Carroll Lynch dropped by to carry out an op at an amusement park, so maybe Communism isn't all bad. Also, 69, dude!
Suburgatory joins the cult of Mae Whitman
The Arrested Development and Parenthood actress stopped by Chatswin this and brought all her "musical nomad" pals—you know, Carol, Tommy, Lonnie, Dami, Nonnie, Connie, Bahami, Mikey, Likey, Tikey, Psyche, Moop, Meep, Nimmy, Dimmy, and Luke—providing Tessa with a much-needed respite from the terrors of Senior Tanning. That is, until she realized—and Dallas hilariously confirmed—that she'd totally joined a cult. Congrats on getting out without that exit beating, girl! Also, good to see you again, Alan Tudyk!
And we thought Vikings didn't use soap
Yes, that opening battle in the Season 2 premiere was gratuitous and exactly what we want from the show, but right now our focus is on the oddly hilarious Ragnar–Lagertha–Aslaug love triangle and Ragnar's request for a polygamous relationship (it's good to be the Earl). Yeah, things getting a bit soapy, but as long as we get to see reactions like Lagertha's when she saw Aslaug's baby bump, it'll be worth it.
Portlandia is back!
The wacky sketch show's Season 4 premiere revealed just how fine-tuned the humor of Carrie, Fred, and the citizens of Portland has become. Highlights included a visit from universe regular Kumail Nanjiani as someone who checked the accuracy of facts stated conversationally between a guy and his date, as well as a bit about couple that had trouble finding parking downtown, then made the most of a rare 15-minute zone by rushing through the likes of art museums and hospital visits. Between an ad campaign by real life art photographer Alex Prager and celebrity guests including Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Goldblum, and the Portland Trailblazers, IFC's comedy show owns its earned legitimacy by remembering to be confident in its silliness every step of the way.
Hannibal sets the table for its second season
Starting with the brutal and operatic future fight scene between Jack and Hannibal, one of television's best dramas kicked off its second season with a bang and then didn't let up. Thankfully, "Kaiseki" didn't magically undo Will's incarceration by the end hour; instead, Hannibal seems committed to exploring the ramifications of Will's mental instability from last season and Dr. Lecter's masterful frame-up for all its dramatic worth. And while the episode leaned more heavily on its psychological intensity, it still delivered a knockout bit of murder art with mural of an eye made out of—what else?—human beings. CREEPY.
Helix gets back on the right vector(s)
After a two-episode arc featuring Jeri Ryan as a corporate enforcer and regular old humans as threats, "Level X" reset the action with a tense hour that brought Helix back its roots as a show about scary things with black goop pouring out of every orifice. Also, Dr. Hatake let Julia in on his biggest secret with this awesome cornball of a line: "You have your father's eyes." LOL. This show is a tasty can of cheesy puffs.
The WWE Network makes its debut
Hey, let's talk about wrestling! This week, WWE unveiled its long-anticipated online network featuring thousands of hours of archived content plus a daily schedule of live and/or new programming. So it's on demand when you're seeking something specific, but just like a normal TV channel when you're in the mood for, say, 30 minutes' worth of random suplexes and traditional notions of masculinity. Sure, the launch was plagued by its fair share of bugs, but when (not if) the network ultimately succeeds, we can look forward to seeing other content providers consider similar endeavors.
Arrow is making an effort to fix its Laurel problem
It's no secret the series has been struggling with Laurel's character all season, and some of use were this close to writing a very strongly worded letter to the good people of The CW to demand that they sort her out. This week, after blowing up at a family dinner because Oliver is boning Sara again even though she's only been been back for like five seconds, Laurel stormed out with Oliver hot on her heels. Instead of apologizing or trying to comfort her, though, he finally gave her the verbal bitchslap she needed to hear and told her to stop blaming other people for her problems. FINALLY. OLIVER, WE COULD HUG YOU.
Adam Scott's killer tango, Joffrey impression
Parks and Recreation's "Anniversaries" was strong all around, but we especially enjoyed Ben's romantic boy's day out with Larry and his ridiculous reaction upon receipt of his own Iron Throne. No one does "conservative fanboy" like Ben Wyatt! And just for the record, NBC: If you can get 'em off the radio, we would totally subscribe to a "Thought for your Thoughts" podcast co-hosted by Derry Merbles and August N'gutu Liebowitz Clementine. Bonus points if they regularly invite Ron Swanson to stop by and share some of his latest "reviews."
Grimm returned with its best episode in a while
It was serious, big stuff happened, and yet it was LOL funny at times. Adalind is finally giving birth to her monster baby, Monrosalee isn't breaking up, and Nick brandished a knife at the dinner table when the Wesen started acting up.
Probably the next Bachelorette Andi Dorfman
The brunette lawyer from Atlanta was the only finalist smart enough to realize that Juan Pablo was a pile of garbage in sheep's clothing and called him out for treating her like a contestant rather than a real person after their night in the Fantasy Suite fizzled. His words: "It was amazing." Her words: "I couldn't wait to get out of there." But the latest words are that the practicing assistant district attourney has ditched work in the middle of a murder trial to be groomed into the next Bachelorette. The person who's case she was working must be feeling a little like Andi did on The Bachelor right about now.
We don't need another Heroes
Last weekend, NBC announced that it's bringing back Tim Kring's superhero show and giving it the miniseries treatment even though it was stupider than a speeding bullet by the end of its four-season run. And dammit, we just know we're going to be powerless and unable to resist watching it.
Mixology's toxic bro-dude Bruce
There's a lot wrong with ABC's new comedy (it's not funny, it's not funny, and it's not funny) but the Bruce character is the worst. In the series premiere, the unkempt redhead played the part of horny self-proclaimed ladies' man to an intolerable degree, going on and on about "smashing out some A" and "popping off" and employing all kinds of other sex slang that the show's writers—the same scribes who wrote The Hangover–must have found hilarious as they washed the Axe Body Spray stains out of the armpits of their Ed Hardy shirts. There's room for lusty and rude characters on television, but only when they have at least a minuscule amount of charm to balance things out. Seriously, Bruce is THE WORST.
Is everyone in Mystic Falls really dense and stupid now?
We'd never accuse the people of Mystic Falls of being particularly observant (if they were, they'd have left town years ago), but now the disease that has infected the general townsfolk with obliviousness is spreading like herpes to our protagonists. Katherine has barely been pretending to keep up the Elena charade, and still no one thought it was weird when she started spouting off random historical facts like a pro. This is the same "Elena" who made it to like, four days of class during high school. It wasn't until she basically begged Stefan to kill Damon that the dimmest of light bulbs went off over his head. Come on, Stefan!
The Red Road disappoints in its debut
This one's more of a WTMeh, but still: The premiere of Sundance's second original scripted series checked off the usual storytelling boxes with little fanfare while introducing a world with lots of dramatic potential. This is the type of show that could be good depending on the focus in subsequent episodes (ideally it'll delve into the engaging world of New Jersey's Native Americans), but so far it doesn't feel distinguished within the genre. We're wishing nothing but the best for the show, but after Rectify, we definitely expected more.
Game of Arms LOL
On one hand, the debut of AMC's new reality show about competitive arm wrestlers netted the network its highest-rated weeknight unscripted premiere ever. On the other hand, it's a reality show about competitive arm wrestlers. Also, the first episode was boring. Come on, AMC, get your act together! You can do better this!
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week?
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