FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (November 18)
Let's start with some housekeeping: FTW vs. WTF will be taking next week off because we—your trusty TV.com editorial staff—will be stuffing our faces for four days in celebration of Thanksgiving. However, in it's place we'll be posting a call for submissions for our annual "Top 100 Everything" list of the best things about TV in 2012, which is basically a 365-day version of FTW minus the WTF. So keep an eye out for that.
Also, re: the you guys contributing to FTW vs. WTF idea that we asked you about last week, after the holiday we'll try posting an "open thread"-style story on Monday and linking to it in the "special features" section of the homepage, and you can post suggestions in the comments all week long and we'll see how that goes. Mmmkay?
And now let's talk about the best and worst televised happenings of the last seven days!
The first trailer for House of Cards
David Fincher brings his sleek aesthetics to Washington, D.C. in this political drama starring Kevin Spacey as a ruthless U.S. Congressman denied a top White House job. The trailer is full of scheming, bleak music and lighting, and ominous threats. We can't wait for it to hit Netflix in February.
The Mindy Project's game of gynecological chicken
Mindy and Danny's face-off over whether their existing relationship was impersonal enough that he could be her gynecologist was delightfully awkward and funny. Yeah, they're probably just heading down the same road as New Girl's Jess and Nick, but the journey not the destination or whatever. Congratulations on your victory, Beyonce Pad Thai!
Castiel's return to Supernatural
He's baaaaack. "The funniest angel in the garrison" made his formal return to Supernatural this week after spending most of Season 8 in flashback Hell... er, flashback Purgatory. He exchanged many meaningful glances with el Deano and finally ditched the gross-nasty scrubs he'd been rocking since zapping up Sam's cray cray last season. Plus, his return included added bonus Amanda Tapping. Speaking of which...
Supernatural: Now with Amanda Tapping
Stargate veteran Amanda Tapping is playing an angel named Naomi who claims to be the one behind Castiel's escape from Purgatory, and she's a total BAMF. Yeah, all we've seen her do so far is sit behind a desk and be smug, but c'mon, it's Amanda Tapping. Of COURSE she's going to be a BAMF.
Go On does multiplayer video games right
Several comedies last season portrayed dudes being dudes by playing Xbox Live. It was a fun new way to show dialogue between grown men, except it ended up being just guys staring at a TV, and it reeked of trying too hard. In this week's episode of Go On, Owen and Ryan were playing an older version of Halo, and in addition to seeing their mugs talking on headsets, we actually saw their avatars having a conversation, like those Red vs. Blue videos. It's the little things, you know?
Terrible gamer Conan O'Brien reviews the new Hitman game
The late-night host picked up the sticks and played through a few levels of the upcoming stealth, body-disposing assassination game in this very funny bit.
Overthinkingit.com's analysis of every Law & Order verdict ever
The site has plotted every outcome of every case from the show's twenty seasons in a series of charts and graphs. Check 'em out here.
Key & Peele's take on crying gangsters
The tao of New Girl's Nick Miller
Buzz all you want about Max Greenfield's work as uber-douche Schmidt, but these days, we're #TeamMiller all the way. As Nick's irrational rage and emotional stuntedness continues to develop (well, spiral out of control), New Girl keeps getting better. We didn't care for this week's detour into PMS territory—as you'll see below—but thankfully, the Miller Time thread kept things afloat (see what we did there? Because they were in a pool). His scenes with wise old Asian man Tran didn't deserve to be as funny as they were, but Jake Johnson's ability to humanize Nick while boiling over with anger and exasperation made it all work.
Rick is finally—and awesomely—losing his mind on The Walking Dead
In the past, The Walking Dead has glossed over the fact that unlike all the other characters in the main cast, Rick was tossed into the world of the zombie apocalypse—and his quasi-leadership role—very, very quickly. Presumably, the nearly instant transition from coma to ZOMBIE WASTELAND would be tough, but Rick handled it pretty well... until now. Lori's death has driven Rick right off the deep end, where he probably should've already been. Andrew Lincoln keeps improving in the role, but it's clear that he's best when he's silent and crazy. We almost don't want Rick to ever speak again.
American Horror Story's most visually stunning episode yet
While Ryan Murphy's awesome hour-long horror montage has always been executed with style, this week's episode, "I Am Anne Frank (Part 2)," was directed by frequent Murphy collaborator Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and featured some of the most virtuosic camera movement and staging we've seen on this or any show. Add to that a script that was already jam-packed with entertaining WTF-ery and we got a truly transcendent hour of television.
SNL's haunting and brilliant short film, "The Legend of Mokiki and the Sloppy Swish"
Some might call this Taran Killam-starring short off-putting or even straight-up worrisome, but if it were really those things would we STILL have this song stuck in our heads a week later? No, no we wouldn't.
The Vampire Diaries' graceful heartbreak
This week was a tough one for TVD shippers. Stefan and Elena called it quits for now, and it appears the same was true for Caroline and Tyler. But where typical teen soaps would've hinged the break-ups on a misunderstanding or a cliche transgression, both splits were handled with nuance and empathy. (Well, in the case of Caroline and Tyler, she helped kill his friend, so that was pretty major, but she had her reasons!). It's tricky portraying a break-up in which both parties remain sympathetic, so kudos to the TVD writers for breaking our hearts so gracefully.
FTW and WTF, "The Gift of Revenge" was one of the most blatant, bewildering, glossy, proud, and puzzling instances of product placement we've ever seen. It was basically a tiny nugget of fan fiction staring the actual cast of Revenge (or at least the ones who didn't have anything better to do after work). But despite the crackling commercial cynicism of the whole production, don't think I (Lily!) won't buy some lace dress JUST because it was featured on this bobo Chanel acid trip.
Stupid TV promotional posters that don't actually reveal anything
We're looking at you, Game of Thrones. Putting the previously announced Season 3 premiere date your logo font and calling it a tease was—well, we guess it was a tease, but not the good kind.
Jess vs. PMS on New Girl
Repeat after us: Ovaries do not make women crazy. Ovaries do not make women crazy. Ovaries do not make women crazy. It's a tired trope. Stop it, TV.
Glee's bad Kitty
Mean cheerleader Kitty's campaign to turn rival Marley bulimic was so skeevy and awful and un-Glee-like that Kitty has somehow managed to transcend her cartoonish villainy to become a truly terrifying monster, and we're not so sure that's a good thing.
Gossip Girl thinks you care about Dan and Serena
GG is an amazing experiment in how out-of-touch a writing staff can be with reality, logic, or just generally good storytelling. The show has always had its problems, particularly with justifying why certain characters still like one another despite all evidence to the contrary, but nothing is more egregious than the developments in this week's episode that more or less confirm that Dan and Serena, former step-siblings and basically miserable people who kind of hate each other, are an end-game couple, redefining the term "tone deaf."
LAST RESORT WAS CANCELLED?!
What's on *your* list of TV loves and hates this week?
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