FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (August 4)

Without light there can be no dark. Neither good nor evil cannot exist without the other. For every yin there is a yang. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Breaking Bad and, er, Under the Dome. The rules of the universe apply to the boob tube, too, and every Sunday we like to wrap up the good and the bad of the preceding seven days in television with a little ditty we like to call FTW vs. WTF. You know, just to keep our world from falling apart. Though with all that said, we hope you like gray areas, because we've got a record number (three!) of combo FTWTFs this week. Here we go.




Sundance Channel's The Writers' Room

Debuting with an episode featuring the Breaking Bad creative team didn't hurt—Vince Gilligan and his staff certainly are a charming, super-smart bunch, and Bryan Cranston even showed off his new BrBa tattoo!—but we can't wait to see more of insightful, how-the-sausage-is-made series (hosted by Community's Jim Rash!), which also plans to visit with the scribes of Parks and Recreation, Dexter, and more.



Fox ADHD's Axe Cop

Nick Offerman. Ken Marino. Stories originally conceived by a five-year-old kid. What more do you need?



More Whose Line Is It Anyway? on The CW

The return of Whose Line Is It Anyway? has been a welcome respite from the doldrums of summer TV, and so there was much rejoicing at TV.com HQ when The CW picked it up for an expanded second season of 24 episodes. Just one tip: Lose the celebrity guests next season. Random people from the audience are way more fun to watch.



FX's plan for The Strain

The network's upcoming adaptation of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hagan's trilogy of vampire novels is already pretty highly anticipated around these parts: Lost and Bates Motel showrunner Carlton Cuse is working with del Toro to bring it to the airwaves, and House of Cards' Corey Stoll is starring. But at FX's TCA executive session, network head honcho (and all-around smart guy) John Landgraf announced that they already have episode and season limits (39-65 and 3-5, respectively) in mind for the show. Pre-planning doesn't always work, but knowing end dates early, especially for high-concept series, is a really good idea.



FX and Showtime declare the end of anti-heroes

In another nugget coming out of the TCAs this week, the aforementioned John Landgraf agreed with Showtime's David Nevins that TV has perhaps reached the end of the anti-hero era that spawned Dexter Morgan, Tony Soprano, Nucky Thompson, and SAMCRO. The network bosses cited Breaking Bad's Walter White as the be-all, end-all, most ultimate darkest main character-guy ever... times infinity. Is this the real deal, or just a sneaky ploy to scare people away from writing more anti-heroes, leaving FX and Showtime free to rule the "compelling bad dude" roost?  



Billy Bob Thornton is gonna star in FX's Fargo miniseries

Yep, in the Coen brothers' TV adaptation of their 1996 film, Bad Santa himself will portray Lorne Malvo a "rootless, manipulative man who" according to the Hollywood Reporter, "meets a small-town insurance salesman and sets him on a path of destruction." According to Thornton's IMDB page, he hasn't spent this much regular time on the small screen since his roles in 1992's Hearts Afire, and 1990's The Outsiders.



Bryan Cranston got a Breaking Bad tattoo

Bryan Cranstons Breaking Bad logo tattoo

To commemorate all the melted bathtubs, Aztec murders, wheelchair explosions, bean-meth, and straight-up madness beneath the floorboards, the Walter White portrayer had the show's logo tattooed on himself by a member of the art department who also does that kind of thing. What a goof!



Adult Swim's secret ad buy during Fox's ADHD debut

Through some sneaky maneuvering, the genius interstitial writers at Adult Swim crashed the premiere of Fox's new Saturday-evening cartoons with the following message: "The preceding content has been a work of fiction. Any resemblance to networks, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Pay close attention to the label. Many suitcases look alike. You may find yourself at a beautiful network, with a beautiful suitcase. You may ask yourself, How did I get here?" Translation: Respect your elders, Fox!



Nike's new ad featuring dunkmeister Blake Griffin

This gem, which harkens back to the days of Michael Jordan and Mars Blackmon, hasn't hit televisions yet (or at least we haven't seen it), but it has debuted on the internet and it's a thing of beauty. Just like the Clippers forward's aerial acrobatics.





The trailer for Fox's MasterChef Junior

Assistant producer: "Should we, you know, lower the shelves so kids can reach plates and spices and stuff?" Executive producer: "You're fired." We're probably not supposed to be looking forward to this show, but we so totally are. 



Brooks takes a dump on The Bachelorette


Holy hell, Monday night's episode was one long, horrifying, crying jag, and we still do not envy Desiree one bit. But we kind of have to hand it to Brooks for exploding the show's very premise by thoughtfully considering the notion that a TV show might not be the straightest path to true love, and being honest about his uncertainty over whether Miss Hartsock is really THE ONE.



You get a baby! You get a baby! YOU get a baby! Babies for everyone!

The popular Pakistani show Amaan Ramzan did some good for its ratings by handing out abandoned infants to couples who could not have their own kids. We're happy these children will have homes, but is this display of altruism anything but a publicity stunt? "We were already top of the ratings before we gave away a baby," said the show's host, in response to such an accusation. So, uh, how long until NBC greenlights The Big Baby Giveaway?





Fox is planning its own Broadchurch

The critically acclaimed, David Tennant-starring British crime drama Broadchurch hits the states next week on BBC America and is already planning a second season, but that hasn't stopped Fox from developing its own adaptation. We know that American networks love lifting crime series ideas from far-away places, but this seems a little soon—and kind of odd, since Broadchurch will probably still be airing new episodes on BBCA when Fox's version debuts.



Arrow might become the vehicle for a fast-tracked The Flash series


We totally get that superheroes are big money-makers, and that Arrow was among the very few network hits last season, so it makes sense to want another superhero show on your schedule. We just think it's a little odd to spin out a show for The Flash, no matter what kind of "extraordinary event" the writers might have planned to suddenly justify superpowers in Arrow's universe.



Network and cable provider spats

This time the sparring parties are CBS and Time Warner Cable, and the latter has dropped the former in HUGE markets—including New York and Los Angeles—over increased licensing fees. How will Hollywood watch Under the Dome!?!?!? If cable companies are going to act like monopolies, can they at least be decent monopolies?



No more Ann and Chris on Parks and Rec



Even though they've been largely marginalized lately (especially Chris), it still feels kind of weird to know they'll be peace-ing out in the middle of the season. We don't like it.


What's on  YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week?

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For next week's FTW section, ahead of Breaking Bad's epic return: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53j4vQ8Un0k&feature=youtu.be
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I'd move that remark about the "end of anti-heroes" to the WTF section. Heroes are boring. It's the bad guys that we care about.
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I feel deja vu thinking about the Fargo series with Billy Bob Thornton. But maybe that's just because I watched A Simple Plan.
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One additional WTF: The bellyaching from Stephanie Miller and Chris Matthews among others over the length of Ariel Castro's statement. The man's spending the rest of his life in prison; he's already been sentenced. Victims can make statements (even though criminal offenses are technically crimes against society, so that's a waste of time and resources), but a criminal sentenced to an almost comical term of life plus 1,000 years being allowed 16 minutes to speak is such a hardship, they had to play clips from it and complain about how disgusting it was. Nice to see people who make their living from the First Amendment being so protective of it for everyone.
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Sorry do not agree about Flash, we want it!! Also no mention of the exceptional Teen Wolf ep of last Monday?
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Oh yes, and this - starring the ever more talented and awesome Ryan Kwanteen from True Blood - should definitely have made it onto the FTW section: http://youtu.be/7YDYL6oECjU
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Biggest WTF of the week: Not being allowed to watch The Writer's Room on account of being across the pond from all you American-type people. No fair!
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FTW: The Killing is the best murder mystery you aren't watching. I swear this episode made me feel like I was having a panic attack for an entire hour.

WTF: Dexter - too many issues with the "Piggy" to get into them here, but pretty much began with Deb trying to kill Dex and herself and then totally J/K! it straight away.

FTW: Crossing Lines - Hickman shoots a gun out of a suspects hand after being called the crippled John Wayne through a bank robbery, then claims he was aiming for the guy's head.

WTF: The Newsroom - Nina Howard shows us all what having no self-esteem and self-worth look like. It's kind of sad and icky at the same time.

FTW: Major Crimes - How freakin' sad was that video? Thanks for highlighting what a terrible job lawmakers and the judicial system are doing for victims of child sexual abuse. The statue of limitations on these crimes should not exist and the scene of the squad room filled with 2 decades worth of victims most of which will not receive justice was very powerful and moving.

WTF: Suits - This season is a lame mess and looks like the law firm does "Mean Girls". Fix it, quick.

FTW: Perception - This show makes me really sad but in a good way. Thanks again for the always sensitive portrayal of mental illness and making me want to read something this summer other than the equivalent of Skittles for my brain.

FTW: Necessary Roughness - For that kiss, finally, happening again. Love me some S-Nico!

FTW: The Bridge - For making me realize I'm not as nice a person as I wanted to think (I have a prejudice against creepy men), and that I'm ok that I'm probably not going to do anything about it.
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Wait, Master Chef kids?! I'm totally in! Don't judge me.

FTW:
-America's Next Top Model. I didn't think it was possible, I really didn't, but I'd be damned if it isn't starting off,.interesting. They should have brought the boys in sooner. I'm actually going to enjoy watching it this season and I haven't enjoyed watching it in quite some time.

-The Fosters. Surprisingly great show. Kudos to ABC Family for really killing it with their original programming. It has been one of those quiet shows that have done wonders with actually tackling controversial topics in a realistic way w/o really stepping on toes. Brava.

-Teen Wolf. This season has been the best season. It really has. We finally figured out what Lydia is. Everyone on the show has a purpose (including the parents..when does that ever happen?) Drama, intrigue, high stakes...the last episode just had everything.

-True Blood. Can someone just give Alexander Skarasgard an Emmy already? I mean damn! How many times does he have to weep fruit punch before he gets some recognition? Did I like Nora's character? Nah. But watching one of your favorite characters lose someone they love is always devastating. We got glimpses of the Pam that we love. Jessica and James are my new favorite thing. (To be fair, James would have had any girl at hello with those Calvin Klein looks but the moment he refused to, well, rape her, and continued to come across as this kind soul...unmentionables across the world may have hit the floor.) Lafayette had some zingy lines, and drunk Arlene was fifty kinds of awesome.

WTF

-Twisted. The problem with casting actors who are notorious for playing certain kinds of roles, is everyone pretty much knows what is going to happen before it happens. Thus, they cast Chris Zylka a.k.a "the bad boy" as Tyler and we were supposed to be surprised that he ended up being bad? Eh. Plus Danny's mother made an unexpected confession, and by unexpected I mean expected. Not even Danny's hair could distract me from the lackluster episode.

-Under the Dome. So you mean to tell me weeks in, they just decided to show the people flipping out thhe way they should have weeks ago? C'mon! Also, how were they worried about the water supply when it was established in the pilot that water could in fact seep in somehow? Don't even get me started on the waste of Britt Robertson with the Junior/Angie nonsense. And of course Barbie and Julia are a thing now. The best way to get over somebody is to get under somebody else.

-Big Brother. For all the reasons.

-Switched at Birth. Daphne is pretty much insufferale at this point and ugh, the redeployment of Ty.
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How could the end of anti-heroes possibly be a good thing?
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If it's a new rule of thumb for TV execs, then out goes most possible sci-fi and/or fantasy series with an intersting lead
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Come Sunday, I've always forgotten what happened on TV during the week. Maybe if I didn't watch so much TV, my memory would work better. So this week I actually wrote down a few things along the week so I wouldn't forget the main points.
FTW:
1) Wilfred - Lance Reddick guest starring as a psychiatrist. Not only is Lance a cool name, but that man himself is also cool.
2) The Killing - Powerful prison centred episode. Was it maybe a (not so) subtle critique of the death penalty?
3) True Blood - Eric breaking down and whining over Nora's death. Not even Godric's death made him that hysteric.
WTF:
4) Renewal of Under the Dome. Not because it's a show of questionable quality, but because it's clearly not a show meant for several seasons. What are they planning? A show that goes on for potentially, say, five seasons? Now I know what people felt like when the first season of The Killing ended without answers, only to have the story continue in season two.
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FTW: 'BANSHEE' is out of DVD and Blu Ray!!!

FTW: 'Copper' for getting Corcoran and McGuire back together as partners. This site seems to completely ignore this not 'Orphan Black' original from BBC America but damn its good having a Tom Fontana/Barry Levinson production on television. Its better than the still boring 'The Newsroom', 'Falling Skies', and 'Ray Donovan' in a competitive Sunday time slot.

FTW: 'Magic City' has been really good this season. Its too bad they only did 8 episodes again this season and its over already next week.
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BANSHEEE!!!!! Copper!!!!!
(disagree about Ray Donovan thought)
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'Ray Donovan' should be better than it is with its cast. Why doesn't Paula Malcomson pull a reverse of what Gabrielle Anwar did on 'Burn Notice' and drop the bad Boston accent and just use her native Irish accent?
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I listen to a lot of podcasts and panels and interviews with writers/creators/actors so The Writers' Room was interesting for me, even though most of it was stuff I had already heard before.

Yay, more Whose Line. I agree with everyone and anyone who says the constant guest stars sucks. Once every however many episodes is okay, but every episode? Bleh. If you must do it, just make them the fourth improv cast member. Oh, but uh, I'm already kinda getting tired of Aisha Tyler's monotone voice though. She yells everything but it all comes out monotonically.

FX and Showtime saying that anti-heroes are likely done is a bit odd. Yes, Walter White is awesome and it would be extremely difficult to create a bigger and better anti-hero. But Breaking Bad as a whole is so awesome -- should other networks stop making dramas because it'd be difficult to create one better? No, they shouldn't stop. That said, anti-heroes don't need to be the darkest and most terrible protagonists. I think Orphan Black is an example of having a pretty decent anti-hero. Sarah isn't a terrible person, but she is a con-artist.

For the first time in the series' run, I think The Killing could be a FTW this past week. As others have already mentioned, the episode was pretty gripping overall and the final scene was great.
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That's a good idea on Whose Line. It would be loads of fun to see actors with backgrounds in improv (Joel McHale, Tina Fey, etc.) as the 4th cast member each week.
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OH FINALLY! the two most boring characters of P&R are leaving!!!!
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"Including New York and Los Angeles"? Only three markets were affected, guys. What, is Dallas just fly-over country to you coastal asswipes?
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Cbs was dropped down here in tampa also. At least for brighthouse.
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I will second your WTF on Fox greenlighting a Americanized Broadchurch adaptation and the Time Warner/CBS spat and raise you BBC's announcing who the new Doctor will be. For me, the next season of Doctor Who will be like the episodes leading up to the departure of the Ponds and the death of the 10th Doctor: a deathwatch rather than a relative surprise. Let the impatient mongrels search out spoilers if they want and stop pandering to them, I say. Also, the Detroit mayoral debate being broadcast on a really small (i.e., non-network affiliated) station less than a week before the primary and after early voting has already begun and MSNBC's celebration of Andrea Mitchell's 38 years with NBC. That was something that could have been done off-camera in the company commissary. There's enough going on in the world without wasting my time with self-congratulation. Let's see if MSNBC even mentions John Palmer's passing. FTW: (tentatively, based the writing and directing) Peter Capaldi chosen as the 12th Doctor. At least the 12th Doctor won't be a teenage r(guess it would be too much to hope the next season of Doctor Who will be anything along the lines of Torchwood: Children of Earth though); Greg Ferguson rant on the audience gasping at his Kardassian joke.
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Very good point about the Detroit Mayoral debate.

Networks have cut back on local debates because they are expensive and have low ad revenue. But it really deprives the voting public.
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What??? No more anti-heroes? Why is that FTW and why no more anti-heroes? The best shows involve anti-heroes (The Shield, Breaking Bad, SoA, and the list goes on)...
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the list also includes Sesame street, My little pony, America's next top model...
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well Tim wrote this article and we all know how he likes to exaggerate and get things wrong! BANSHEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black Orphan Black
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I don't see the Flash backdoor-pilot / spinoff as a WTF

Arrow takes place in a DC universe... it's only a matter of time before he'd meet an actual meta human or an alien.

I'm not saying it should become a gimicky show of Oliver vs Freak-of-the-Weak but it's not bad if even the "concept" of metas gets created. I mean heck, none of Barry's main-rogues-gallery were Metas back in the day; even though he'd still face the random meta or hyper-evolved-ape.
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I definitely think that the Flash spin-off doesn't belong in the WTF section, there are a lot more awful things that deserve to be in the WTF than that (Honey Boo Boo for example). I'm actually kinda looking forward to it but I think that introducing the Flash in Arrow's second season is a little too soon. Would've preferred it if they proposed the spin-off idea in the third or fourth season. Also, what's up with spin-offs this season? Is there a trend that I'm not aware of? TVD, PLL, OUAT, SPN and now Arrow?
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No Teen Wolf in FTW? best episode so far imo.
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TV.com geniuses Time Warner Cable isn't the monopoly. CBS is the monopoly. There's only one CBS, Showtime, & TMC that they control. They use that control to keep jacking up the price of their content in a time where cable is losing subscribers to alternative media like Netflix, Hulu, buying whole seasons of shows on blu-ray, etc. So let's kind of spread the blame around, because there's enough for both parties.
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FTW to Suits' Donna going all one-name on the new guy, and cutting Katrina down to bite-sized chunks.

WTF to Comedy Central for shortening John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show from an hour to 30 minutes? That's not enough comics and not enough time with John Oliver per episode! "Comedy Central, where our motto is: ha ha, ok, not really."

FTW to Top Gear for making it around the Top Gear Test Track in an electric car!

FTWTF to Top Gear for their silly fake hovervan antics.
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Damn you, Sundance Channel, for being in a package that costs slightly more than I want to pay for cable!

Axe Cop is a WTF on my list, just painfully trying too hard.

I keep meaning to watch the new Whose Line. The random celeb guests always ruined the ABC version for me as well, but coming into it from the UK original set the bar very high.

Love that ADHD / Adult Swim buy, didn't see or hear about that, it's brilliant!!!

Fox, did you really need to tell us that the next contestants are kids? Did you not think our eyes would say that? This looks so much the same thing, but I don't see ratings following kids into this and I suspect people will get turned off when the kids get fumed at by Joe, so I bet this is a 1 and done. Certainly wasn't expecting the set to be THE SAME SET AND LIGHTING AND EVERYTHING though.

Ha ha, you can't even really give Fox a WTF for trying to steal something else and put it on their network, Broadchurch is just them stabbing in the dark hoping to land another "House, MD" since they haven't got any development skills of their own.

Agreed, Arrow is not the vehicle to bring The Flash back to the screen.

Yeah, suck my bung, CBS and Time Warner Cable, you're both hateful asshats and you each made billions in revenue in the last QUARTER off viewers, so get this crap back on track because at the moment I'm not a viewer and I'm not a happy cable customer either. Also, this is making me jump through hoops to watch Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and you don't want to mess with a man's Craig.

*- a "bung" is like a large cork for a barrel.
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ANN PERKINS! this is LITERALLY not the best news i;ve heard today
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I don't think Arrow needs to justify anything... It's their universe and they can do whatever they want with it.
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I have high hopes for The Strain and also for TV Fargo so hopefully at least one of the two will be good...

Definitely THE KILLING's last episode was some of the best TV I've seen in weeks (though not easy to watch so not for everyone I guess). Def the best episode of the series which has gotten much better this season. Fingers crossed for a 4th one....
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Sorry, I know this is a CBS-owned site, but FTW Time-Warner Cable. It's offensive that all network broadcasters double dip for their OTA channels - air waves they get for free from the government (they're already getting the money from the ad buys). It's doubly offensive that CBS asks for a 200% mark up based on their number one spot in the ratings, when everyone knows the ratings don't capture the complete viewing picture. Also, CBS shows - with the exception of just a few - suck ass. Why any cable or satellite system should pay more for programs targeted at seniors and the lowest common denominator of the demographic viewers is insupportable.
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Good points, well made.
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Whose Line Is It Anyway and Axe Cop are making my week this summer, there is not much to watch this year (Suits is great too)

Fox better back the f&@k off, Broadchurch is one of the best English show's I've seen in years.

I hope The Flash bombs on The CW, I am a huge fan of the character and The CW is not the network for it.

It's a shame to hear about Ann & Chris on Parks & Rec. They haven't had a decent story in quiet some time though.
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FTW: Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Tatiana Maslany winning in the 2013 TCA Awards
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FTW: The episode of Teen Wolf
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No more Ann and Chris on Parks and Rec - I will miss Ann more then Chris
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why does everything have to be a contest?
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FTW: Courney Love on Craig Ferguson. Ive never been a fan, but it was pretty ackward/funny.

The Mill - because nobody else will mention it

WTF: Americas Got Talent. It just gets worse and worse.

FTW: The X-Factor Australia talent. Actual talent on a talent competition? Who would have imagined?

Ray Donovan: Its getting better and better

FTW: SYTYCD. I dont think Cat Deeley has ever looked so good. Oh yeah, and shes a great host. Wheres her damn Emmy.
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I thought that you were also gonna add Big Brother: AU since everyone that I know is watching it and obsessing over it.
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never been a big brother fan at all. It kind of creeps me out. Australia does do the talent competitions far better than America though. MasterChef Australia is light years ahead of its american counterpart.
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FTW: A powerful hour of The Killing, whose final minutes won't be soon forgotten.
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I came here like an addict the day after it aired waiting to talk about it with everybody in the review comments. Gotta wait until season finale. Oh and who cried a little bit?? I did...
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Its a pity no community was opened for it, we could of had our own discussions there.
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Always "could have," never "could of."
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I had a few good man tears at the window scene with the son, that entire episode is rough to even think about. And then I decided to watch the movie Dark Water, which I had never seen. Oh yeah, depression city.
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Yep.
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Agree
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I second that.
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