FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (August 3–9)

Yoohoo! It's August, which means we've reached those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer that Nat King Cole—or Gilmore Girls, depending on your personal preferences—sang about that one time. But that doesn't mean there's not still a ton of TV to talk about. In fact, quite a bit happened on the boob tube this week, so while you now attempt to get that song out of your head (YOU'RE WELCOME), why not also check out the things we loved and hated from the week in television?


SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes (of The Leftovers, Outlander, Teen Wolf, etc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do. 



FTW:

The Knick updates the period drama

Cinemax's turn-of-the-century medical drama upended everything we knew about period pieces and medical dramas. With Steven Soderbergh's masterful direction and Cliff Martinez's modern score, The Knick transcends the confinements of its temporal backdrop. And thanks to its story of a visionary venturing into the unknown, the series almost feels like alternate-universe science fiction. 


FTW:

Bachelor in Paradise talks to nature


ABC's new twist on its roman-chise is a game of dating musical chairs that doubles as psychological torture for its beefcake and babe contestants. What's more, the guys in the editing room are the real geniuses. When Clare was upset by some early drama, they cut together some video to make it look like she was venting to a curious raccoon. It was brilliant... although now that little critter needs to get checked for an STD. 


FTW:

The Strain plays doctor and performs an autopsy!

This is why we never went to medical school in Transylvania! FX's vampire drama showed us the inner workings of its bloodsuckers, and it was super disgusting and incredibly cool. Fecal matter sprayed everywhere, there were teeth in the creature's throat, and Eph yanked out a feeding tube that was at least six feet long. Plus, the scientific angle makes The Strain a refreshing take on one of pop culture's favorite monsters. Where was the scientific answer for Edward's sparkle?


FTW:

Halt and Catch Fire's Donna says YOLO


After a whole season of being the overworked and underappreciated career woman/mom-of-the-year to two little girls and a little boy of a husband, Donna got herself fired and spent the entire finale getting stoned and eating Oreos. Good for her. 


FTW:

The West Wing visits Manhattan and it's awesome

The second episode of WGN America's new atomic bomb drama allowed the series to breathe as Frank attempted to prove himself and his team worthy. Things didn't end well for him—or for Sid, who ended up with a bullet in his brain as he tried to escape the Hill instead of joining the army—but let's focus on what really matters here: The West Wing's Richard Schiff played a secret government agency-type! We can't think of more perfect casting, so here's hoping he visits Los Alamos again soon.


FTW:

Outlander probably shouldn't work, but it does

A well-balanced mix of genres, Starz's new time-traveling period drama is probably the prettiest thing on TV right now, with plenty of scenery porn, a score from Battlestar Galactica's Bear McCreary that's as important to the look and feel of the series as the actors themselves, and oh yeah, guys in kilts. It's one part sci-fi, one part romance, and two parts enthralling.


FTW:

Nathan For You stumbles into one of the greatest few seconds of TV this year


Big ups to last week's "Dumb Starbucks" episode of Nathan For You, which absolutely lived up to the hype. But in this week's affair presented us with an even better moment, mostly because it happened completely out of the blue. During Nathan's spying on Cameron—a seemingly normal girl on a blind date with the service Nathan was trying to improve—she suddenly started explaining to her clueless comapanion how the 9/11 attacks could have been an inside job. That's right, she was a 9/11 truther. The snippet lasted less than 10 seconds (fast forward to 4:50 to watch it go down), but it was a hilarious reminder that anyone can be roped into nutty conspiracies. 


FTW:

Big Brother's double eviction episode doesn't disappoint 

Big Brother has been a bit sleepy this summer, but Thursday's double eviction cleared that up pretty quickly. There's nothing like burning through an entire week's worth of gameplay in less than 40 minutes to force people to make some hard choices, and this one was no different. Now that Hayden has been eliminated and the battle lines have been drawn, things should heat up in the Big Brother house.


FTW:

Another singularly focused episode of The Leftovers pays dividends

The Leftovers is still kind of a big mess, but when the show narrows its scope down to just a few characters, it becomes something special. This week it was Nora's turn to take the spotlight, as the three-time "legacy" attended a weird Departure conference full of insurance representatives, double-speaking healers, and handsome men hawking lifelike replicas of those who disappeared. It was a whirlwind hour that gave us some cool insights into the world outside the small corner of New York we've seen thus far, and Carrie Coon was absolutely wonderful in portraying Nora's difficult and damaged emotional state. 


FTW:

The inmates of Litchfield visit Conan


The cast of Orange Is the New Black spent an evening with the redhead this week and it was perfect from start to finish as the host got his hair did, learned Crazy Eyes' secrets, and more.


FTW:

Black Jesus is awesome

Combining the forces of The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder with Trailer Park Boys creator Mike Clattenburg is a match made in heaven. Black Jesus debuted fully formed, with the messiah portrayed with three-dimensional verve by GTA V's Gerald "Slink" Johnson. Perhaps the best part is that the titular savior only sometimes uses his miracles, like when he made some liquor appear during a barbecue, then was reluctant to share it. Good stuff!


FTW:

The League gets majestic

Best promotional poster ever or BEST promotional poster ever?




FTWTF:

Bill switches hospitals yet again on Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex remains the best TV show you're not watching, but this week's episode was powered by yet another dust-up between Bill and a hospital over his sex study. We understand that the series wants to illustrate just how controversial the research is, but pinballing Bill (and Virginia) to a third location right after establishing some of the characters at the second one seems a little silly. 




WTF:

True Detective's creator is accused of plagiarism

Critics and fans alike spent eight weeks praising HBO's newest drama and quoting Matthew McConaughey's Rust Cohle and his weird philosophical outlook about time and flat circles. And the Emmy voters even nominated it for five awards! But now allegations have surfaced that accuse series creator Nic Pizzolatto of lifting many of Cohle's lines and ideas from horror novelist Thomas Ligotti. HBO and Pizzolatto have dismissed the claims, but it'd still probably be ill-advised to ask, "What Would Rust Cohle Do Say?" in this situation, right? 

And as if that wasn't bad enough, even Morrissey thinks Pizzolatto needs to cheer up after this Hollywood Reporter photo shoot in the world's only German Expressionist bowling alley.


WTF:

Teen Wolf solves its latest problem by getting high on tea, basically

It's not often that you'll find Teen Wolf and "WTF" sharing TV.com real estate, but this week's deus ex machina involved Scott, Kira, and Malia dying from a version of canine distemper in the Hale vault under the high school... only to discover that the magical cure was a tea made from mushrooms that just so happened to be stored in the vault. Perhaps even worse was that they didn't even have to drink the tea, as Scott just smashed the jar on the floor and they all breathed it in like some weird contact high.


WTF:

Cullen uses religious fervor to escape the Mormon compound on Hell on Wheels

It seems like it's been forever since our hero's seen the outside of Fort Smith, and it was high time he escaped. But the way he did was bit questionable. By riling up the faux-Bishop Dutson via a false confession, Cullen was able to slip in the truth about how the Swede came to arrive at the fort under false pretenses. By the time the Swede came to, Cullen was on his way and out the gates. While we're thankful he's out, this felt a little too convenient for the situation. 


WTF:

Lifetime's upcoming Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story


It won't air until September 1, but the first footage from the made-for-TV movie—which supposedly aims to tell the "real" story of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the '90s sitcom Saved By the Bell—is so bad it makes us want to cry. The actor who plays Mark-Paul Gosselaar constantly looks constipated in his fake blonde wig (seriously, what was the budget on this, like $10?), and are we supposed to believe that Mario Lopez just did push-ups all the time? Nevermind, don't answer that.

What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? Dominion's season finale? Marco's non-fatal eye assault on Tate on The Bridge? The reveal that Wilfred is *gasp* dying? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!


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