FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (May 11-17)
Well, we've survived the Upfronts and all that came with 'em: boatloads of renewals and cancellations, series pickups and passes, elaborate PowerPoint presentations and network executives spouting terrible jokes that couldn't make a stoned hyena laugh. And while we were compiling this week's FTWs and WTFs, we were mostly wondering WTH when it it all going to end? Especially because this week also brought the season finales of many shows, and it seemed like the madness would go on forever. But now it's the weekend, and we can finally catch a breath. *breathes* Okay, back to television. Here's what we liked and didn't like about the last seven days in small-screen shenanigans; check out our list, then share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
SPOILER WARNING: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes (of Hannibal, S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, etc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do.
Game of Thrones ended "The Laws of God and Men" with a lengthy scene that put Tyrion Lannister on trial for the murder of Joffrey Baratheon, and as the proceedings devolved into a witch hunt and a guilty verdict seemed more and more likely, Tyrion became more and more exasperated. But when Shae came out to testify against him, Tyrion lost it—and actor Peter Dinklage cranked up the intensity with a rousing, angry performance that saw him wishing death on all of King's Landing. If Dinklage gets an Emmy nod this year, it'll be this clip that voters will watch.
O.M.G. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ripped a dude's rib out and stabbed him with it
The first season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was not without (plenty of) faults, but the final six episodes were exciting and fun as the series found its footing in the wake of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The season finale didn't answer many questions, choosing to leave many of its mysteries unresolved until next season, but it did provide us with one of our new favorite ways to kill someone! Garrett, after being injected with GH325, ripped out a guy's rib and then stabbed him with it. How disgusting and cool is that?
Hannibal's (hilarious) de-facing of Mason Verger
Speaking of disgusting... lotta gross stuff went down this week, eh? But none were as simultaneously funny and stomach-churning as Michael Pitt slicing off most of his face and feeding it to some dogs, then surgically removing and eating his own nose before declaring, "I'm full of myself!"
Nashville is the soapy gift that keeps on giving
In Wednesday's Season 2 finale, Will admitted to Layla that he was gay while a hidden reality-show camera recorded the confession; Juliette vomited on her own hair after getting wasted and struggling to deal with her guilt over cheating on Avery; Gunnar sang Scarlett the song he wrote for her and told her she should stay in Nashville; and Rayna was proposed to not once, but twice. The first request for her hand came from Luke, who got down on one knee after a concert and asked her to marry him in front of a huge audience, and then the second was delivered by Deacon, who showed up late at night and recited a touching speech about how he's finally become the man Rayna's always deserved. What is it with that woman? She got beer-flavored nipples or something?
The 100 proves that everything is relative
Clarke met with the leader of the Grounders (Dichen Lachman!) this week to arrange a truce before the first ship full of soldiers arrived from the Ark, and as is becoming its wont, The 100 flipped what we thought we knew on its head. The show had been treating the Hundred as the victims of Grounder violence, but "Unity Day" suggested that the Grounders were the real victims, and suddenly we don't know which way is up and which way is down. Well played, writers.
NBC finally does the right thing and kills its legacy comedy block
NBC's Thursday-night laugh fest
is was a cultural touchstone, but it's been rapidly dying for half a decade. Thankfully, after a strong performance elsewhere this season, NBC finally—FINALLY—chose to blow up its Thursday schedule for 2014-2015. The 47th edition of The Biggest Loser isn't a great solution, but moving massive hit The Blacklist to Thursdays at 9pm in February gives the Peacock a chance to compete on the most important night of the week. It might be the move that truly brings the network back.
The Originals ends its first season with plenty of Hope for the future
The freshman Vampire Diaries spin-off brought back a familiar face for its finale, as the dearly departed Rebekah returned to take custody of Klaus's newborn daughter. It wasn't so much a surprise twist as it was a cathartic, impossibly moving moment that crystallized everything we love about this show. Yes, The Originals will survive without Rebekah, but bringing her back for this explicit purpose both honored her and permanently enmeshed her presence into the series, even though we might not see her again for a very long time.
Sarah Baker's heavy conversation with Louie
The actress you may remember from NBC's short-lived Go On stopped by the FX series this week and proved Louis C.K.'s penchant for arranging great guest visits as Vanessa, a woman who persistently asked Louie out with scads of charm and humor. In the stirring scene above, the pair discussed what it's like to be overweight in the dating world; with its incredible acting, camerawork, and dialogue, it's one of the best moments you'll see on TV all year.
Person of Interest wraps up another season with plenty of uncertainty and paranoia
The CBS drama is getting pretty damned good at this finale thing, with the Season 3 ender completing the penultimate episode's kangaroo court session, killing a couple bad guys we loved to hate, dismantling our team of heroes, and leaving us looking over our shoulder in fear of who—or what—is watching us. Samaritan is online, and now it's in charge. This is television's most prescient show, hands down.
ABC goes full Shonda on Thursdays
Just in case you forgot that Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, almost singlehandedly keeps the lights on at ABC, the network made the big—and smart—decision to go all Shonda shows, all the time on Thursdays for the 2014-2015 season. Moving both Grey's Anatomy and Scandal up an hour is going to be interesting. Will the shows have to tone down their stories at all? Can they serve as a solid counterprogramming to CBS's NFL coverage? Regardless, the shift means that Shonda's new show, How to Get Away with Murder, will have every chance to succeed, and almost certainly will. By 2016, ABC will probably be considering a second Shonda Rhimes programming block.
Alex Trebeck and some white dudes talk '90s hip-hop
OMG we could watch this all day.
Zachary Levi and Sesame Street sweetly remind us that our television screens can't provide us with Vitamin D
BRB gonna go take a walk.
Revenge finally made good on its revengeda, but at a cost
We're not mourning the loss of Aiden, no way, but we ARE traumatized by the reappearance of David Clarke. Not only is Emily's father still alive (and a free man, now that he's been cleared of bombing Flight 187), but he orchestrated Conrad's escape from prison only to knife him on a secluded road where no one is likely to find him for awhile. Say it ain't so! Revenge won't be the same without Conrad... but at least we still have Victoria, we guess?
The collapsing other side brings back [SPOILER] on The Vampire Diaries, continues to subvert the emotional impact of death
It's hard to talk about anything else that happened in Thursday's finale because Alaric is back (!!!!), but after five years of this show, all the deaths, revivals, and not-deaths are wearing pretty thin. Season 5 closed strong and the final episode spent quite a bit of time trying to convince us that Bonnie and Damon's inability to make it back to the land of the living REALLY MATTERED, but we've been down this road a couple hundred times before.
How did it take this long for Don to have a threesome on Mad Men? Also: The instantly infamous "nip snip"
Megan Draper's totally reasonable jealousy took her to irrational places this week but it left us wondering how 10 years have transpired in the world of Mad Men before Don was able to charm the underpants off two girls at once.
Also, the mental health of the SC&P ranks is perhaps in need of attention, no? It hasn't been all that long since Lane Pryce died, and now the show is making cute of the fact that one of Ginsberg went crazy and CUT OFF HIS OWN NIPPLE? Parts of "The Runaways" was entertaining, to be sure, but, uh, where's the show going with some of this stuff?
Arrow's Season 2 finale wrapped up two seasons' worth of story and (cruelly) toyed with Olicity shippers' hearts
"Unthinkable" featured fisticuffs, snapped necks, and momentous decisions that will likely propel Arrow to new narrative heights next season with Oliver more resolved to be a hero than ever, the flashbacks shifting away from the island, and Thea joining Malcolm (played by the freshly-promoted-to-series-regular John Barrowman) for who knows what sort of bizarre father-daughter bonding experiences. The finale also lifted up Olicity shippers' hopes as Oliver confessed his love for Felicity, only to crush them by revealing that his affection was as a ploy to get Felicity close enough to Slade to bring him down from his mirakuru high. There's no need for that kind of trolling, show!
ABC puts zero promotion behind Trophy Wife, it fails, is canceled; Last Man Standing is renewed
How dare you, ABC. We'll miss you, Bert.
Does Fox really have to go through with a sixth season for Glee?
Once a foundation of the network's schedule, the high-school musical is now rubble. This week's Season 5 finale hit a series low in the ratings, drawing 1.87 million viewers and a 0.6 rating among adults 18 to 49. That's way down from last season's finale, which drew almost 6 million viewers. Not only was "The Untitled Rachel Berry Project" the hottest of messes, it couldn't even beat The CW's The Originals, which notched a 0.8 in the important demo and almost surpassed Glee in total viewers with 1.76. And with a much better episode, too. But Glee still has another season left? Ugh.
Castle's big wedding goes down in flames
Gee, there's nothing like a "cliffhanger" that pretends a show's namesake might actually die. We're not even that upset that we didn't get didn't get to see Castle and Beckett say their vows; what really has us burning mad is that the Season 6 finale's fiery ending seemed a bit sloppy and slapdash, don't you think? We expected better.
Key & Peele discuss ending Key & Peele
In an interview with LA Weekly, Jordan Peele said, "If our show if to have any kind of legacy, it should be that it didn't go on too long." While we understand the desire to go out on top and the creative exhaustion that can set in quickly with a sketch show, Key & Peele is too good to say goodbye just yet. Don't pull a Chappelle on us yet, you two!
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? Sandra Oh's exit from Grey's Anatomy? Jeanne Tripplehorn's exit from Criminal Minds? Once Upon a Time's unwillingness to let the Disney synergy go? Grimm's Season 3 finale? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
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