FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (May 18–24)
Hey you out there reading this on your birthday, yeah, you know who you are! We here at TV.com just wanted to wish you an extra special super duper birthday with this extra special super duper Memorial Day Weekend edition of FTW vs. WTF that we compiled JUST FOR YOU! So from everyone here at the site:
H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y !
We all chipped in and got you a Shake Weight! Oh, and this rundown of the good and bad things about television this week. Enjoy! (No returns, sorry.)
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes and season finales (of Hannibal, Supernatural, Orphan Black, Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, etc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do.
Penny Dreadful's Frankenstein monster
The new Showtime drama's vampires are flashy and make us want hide under the covers, but it was Frankie's patchwork pal Proteus who stole our hearts in "Seance." Actor Alex Price plays the creature with all the astute attention to detail of a silent-film actor, and we can feel the character's infectious sense of wonder through the screen. It's just too bad that the good doctor's "firstborn son" returned and made Proteus explode into meat chunks. If he's gone for good, this show has really lost something special.
Game of Thrones: Littlefinger shows Lysa the Moon Door
One of the show's best deaths punctuated the end of a fantastic episode as Littlefinger made another move up the chaos ladder with good old-fashioned Westeros divorce.
Mad Men orders up a Don-and-Peggy special as it hurtles toward the half
It's bad enough that AMC is airing the final season of Mad Men over two years, but after Sunday's "The Strategy," we're going to have an extra tough time saying goodbye to the SC&P gang for another 11 months. Matthew Weiner always seems to find the perfect way to bring Mr. Draper and Ms. Olsen together after extended periods of separation or tension, but their work on the Burger Chef campaign marked the duo's best "reunion" to date.
The Good Wife ends its bold fifth season with the promise of an even bolder Season 6
Most TV shows are content to sit back and coast once they reach Season 5, but The Good Wife gamely opted NOT to just rest on its laurels and produced a season of television that shook up its roots not once but twice, and in an intensely addictive fashion. Alicia and Cary starting their own firm was enough of a high-value arc to consume much of the season, creating a professional animosity between ex-lovers Alicia and Will... only for Will to be shockingly murdered, and for the show to become a meditation on how its characters cope with loss. Few television series can point to their fifth season and call it their best season, but The Good Wife can.
24: Live Another Day hits a major high in Hour 4
The first three hours of Jack Bauer's return to the small screen were completely solid and 24-esque, but it was Monday's fourth installment that truly reminded us of the show's capacity for strong storytelling amid intense standoffs and shootouts. The episode brought together most of the early season stories in an efficient, satisfying fashion without betraying any of the typical 24 conventions. Plus, hey—any episode where a mom orders her goons to cut off her daughter's pinky is a winner in our book.
OMG! Supernatural turned Dean Winchester into a demon!
Season 9 was uneven and divisive—at times it was actually infuriating to watch—but in Tuesday's game-changing season finale, the writers went ahead and transformed the shorter Winchester into the thing he'd most like to hunt... and the impending man-angst is going to be glorious. Also: Hooray that Jensen Ackles will get to actually act again! (You know, as opposed to just brooding and growling, or stuffing his face with food.)
Fargo's bloody good blizzard shootout
Holy freakin' moly! "Buridan's Ass" was a total massacre, with an action scene for the ages that involved three hitmen and two cops in a three-way shootout where visibility was only about a nose's length. It was one of the most intense (and gory) (and shocking) scenes of television we've seen this year, and propelled the freshman drama to must-see status. And let's not forget the crafty demise of Glenn Howerton's Don, who met his maker in what may've been the most creative TV death in recent memory.
Norm MacDonald quick-auditions for The Late Late Show
The comedian has been campaigning on Twitter for Craig Ferguson's soon-to-be-vacated chair, and this week he finally had a chance to showcase his "chops" on Conan. C'mon CBS, give him a call!
The Middle went to Disney World for its Season 5 finale, but getting there was the best part
After winning a free weekend trip to Disneyland (a.k.a. the one in California), the Hecks mistakenly drove to Disney World (a.k.a. the one in Florida)—and because this is an ABC sitcom, the Most Magical Place On Earth was to accommodate the weary travelers with free park tickets and a massive hotel suite (don't try this in the real World, folks; the Disney people will just laugh at you). The second half of the two-part, synergy-friendly finale, titled "The Wonderful World of Hecks," mostly focused on the standard Disney-on-a-sitcom hijinks—but the trip to the park in the first half, "Orlando," highlighted everything that's great about The Middle: a cast that clicks with one another even when they're trapped in a prop car, writing that allows for the family to feel like a family instead of a collection of stock characters, and the show's stance that no matter how much the Hecks may scrape by and how much they may argue, there's still room for optimism and love in their lives.
The Americans believes that children are the future
Chances are, you've heard somebody shouting to the heavens about how amazing the FX spy drama's Season 2 finale was. If you're lucky enough to have seen "Echo," then you undoubtedly agree. The episode had it all: shootouts, '80s jams, steamy dreams, romantic tragedy, and one of the best murder reveals since Twin Peaks that zero percent of viewers saw coming. You guys, it was Jared who killed his own family! And now Moscow wants the Jennings to groom Paige into a spy! (Also, Stan did not steal the Echo computer program for Nina so now she's off to Moscow to be judged for treason.) It'll be hard to wait a year for what promises to be another riveting season, but we trust that series creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields and their crew will use the time to cook up another tasty batch of wigs-and-espionage stew.
Hannibal wraps another stellar season by breaking up friends
Hannibal concluded its weird and ambitious second season on a very intimate note, focusing on Will's "betrayal" of the titular doctor. It was a powerful, emotionally exhausting finale, filled with twists (ABIGAIL WAS ALIVE ALL THIS TIME!) and turns (Du Maurier left the country with Hannibal) that still managed to keep the show's emotional center firmly in place... until Hannibal sliced it open to spill out onto his kitchen floor. Not since the end of Alicia and Kalinda's relationship on The Good Wife has the conclusion of a friendship gone so poorly for everyone involved—though on Hannibal, there was FAR more bloodshed.
Ohhhh honey! Who do we talk to about a "Sarah and Helena road-trip across Canada" Orphan Black spin-off?
When the Clone Club's twin seestras set out to track down Ethan Duncan a.k.a. Swan Man a.k.a. Andrew Peckham in this week's "To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings," we never imagined their journey would be so damn delightful. Sure, the girls' adventure ultimately ended in a bar fight for Helena, but watching her sing the The Archies' "Sugar Sugar"—off-key, with the wrong lyrics, and mostly off-tempo—made us wish that the car ride had lasted the entire hour.
Warehouse 13's final goodbye
"Endless" wasn't a flawless finale and we're still grumpy about the series wasting an whole episode of its six-episode mini-season on that awful telenovela spoof, but for all its misses, Warehouse 13 managed to hit in just the right places to save its farewell tour from going down in TV history as a "bad" finale. Pete and Myka FINALLY got together. Mrs. Frederic remained as mysterious as ever. The Warehouse didn't get outsourced to China. AND CLAUDIA BECAME THE CARETAKER!!! (Eventually.)
The Pretty Little Liars show up scantily clad in the pages of GQ; haters scream "Photoshop!"
Yeah, GQ is in constant flux between "respectable magazine" and "Maxim in an overpriced suit." But with that said, there was nothing new about our Liars showing up in the pages of the June issue wearing all manner of bikinis while coquettishly winking at the camera. Just another month of filling the pages between Prada ads. However, people have been crying foul about how Photoshopped the women look. Troian Bellisario (who's spoken out about female representations in the media and eating disorders before) posted a few unaltered photos to Instagram and captioned them with some sober thoughts on understanding what a men's magazine photo shoot is—fantasy—and stated that she's proud of her body, flaws and all (as she should be). Everyone is lucky that Troian is so rational. Because we're pretty sure that Spencer would've responded by lighting someone on fire. We don't know who. But she's itching.
Gang Related is what it is
And it's not The Shield or The Departed or Sons of Anarchy. It's a diluted, blended mix of those shows, simplified for a network audience. And you know what? That's okay. It won't blow your mind, but it will entertain your brain. And if you stick with it long enough, the terrible dialogue might even add to its charm! Hey, there's nothing else on broadcast TV right now, so why not? In sum: This show is never going to be great, but it's strangely watchable.
Revolution ends without an ending
You'd think that the producers of NBC's science-fiction/alt-Revolutionary War drama would've considered the possibility that, given its ratings, their show wouldn't be returning for a third season. But if the Season 2 and series finale, "Declaration of Independence," is any indication, they expected Revolution to be on as long as The Simpsons. The episode ended with some stuff sorta resolved (Texas was gonna help expunge the Patriots) and some stuff not at all resolved (the nanotech was amassing a new army to overtake the humans), giving viewers zero closure.
Everything about I Wanna Marry Harry
Fox's reality show about a dozen American women who've been shipped across the Atlantic to vie for the heart of a man they believe is Prince Harry makes The Bachelor look like a timeless romance. It's one of the few reality competitions where the first contestants to be eliminated are actually the winners. And if we were betting people (which we are), we'd put money on the show being totally fraudulent. Proof: The hottest chick in the bunch was kicked out Night 1! What a royal load of crap.
The Bachelorette's purge of long-haired hunks
Monday ushered in a reckoning for any man whose locks touched his shoulders on the first night of Season 10. Andi systematically slaughtered the hippies one by one, and it wasn't a coincidence. Watching them squirm during the rose ceremony was AMAZING. Look at that guy's *GULP*! She's obviously a bigoted hairist. Where was the casting director on this one? Also awesome: that one dude's total breakdown at the end. Heck, we'd be all nerves too if we were a crewcut gent who got cast out with the longies.
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? Bones' arresting finish? Mitch and Cam's Modern wedding? The winners of The Amazing Race/The Voice/DWTS/American Idol/Survivor? SVU's new baby? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
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