FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (July 13–19)

It's been an insanely busy week here at TV.com, as our brave editorial staff has been on-site in Beverly Hills at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, getting acquainted with the fall's new shows and checking in with several returning series. We've hammered away at our keyboards, we've chatted with producers and actors, we've eaten various snacks handed out by attractive waitresses, we've spent some time at the open bar, we've spent some more time at the open bar, we've closed down the open bar, we've asked them to reopen the open bar, we've cried when they didn't reopen the open bar, we've been escorted off the premises for demanding they reopen the open bar, and of course we've... PHOTOBOMBED!

Leave it to Dominic West and Joshua Jackson (stars of Showtime's upcoming The Affair, whose pilot is better than its trailer makes it out to be!) to ruin a perfectly good snap of Tim and Jen. Oh well.

Anyway, here's what we liked and didn't like about TV this week!


SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes (of 24, The Leftoversetc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do. 



FTW:

The Leftovers gains focus... sorta!


"Two Boats and a Helicopter" stepped away from the frenetic madness of The Leftovers' first two episodes and settled into more of a frenetic steadiness when it spent an entire hour following Christopher Eccleston's Reverend Matt through a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. The result was the best episode of the series' young season, which ended with a major move from the Guilty Remnant. Now if only we had an idea of where The Leftovers is headed, we'd be all set!


FTW:

True Blood reveals Fangtasia's origin story


The HBO vamp drama continued its final-season fan service by showing us how Fangtasia came to be, when the authority sentenced Pam and Eric to running a crappy video store and then Ginger the then-burgeoning fang-banger, of all people, came up with the idea to transform the place. All of it just felt like a big hug from our TV.


FTW:

The Strain surprises by not taking itself seriously


FX has a long history of producing serious drama, but The Strain seems like it was peeled off the screen of a drive-in theater. The pilot was everything we didn't expect it to be, with fun and campy horror tropes elevating the show to the perfect popcorn accompaniment. Let's hope the horrortainment lasts. 


FTW:

Kacy Catanzaro owns American Ninja Warrior


#MightyKacy indeed! On Monday, the 24-year-old former gymnast became the first woman to ever make the finals of American Ninja Warrior, and there is nothing that's not impressive about her showing—especially considering she's only five feet tall.


FTW:

24: Live Another Day, runs out the clock with a heartbreaking death and Jack Bauer's best kill ever


It turns out the four-year vacation served Bauer and the 24 creative team well. Live Another Day wrapped up its often thrilling and sometimes emotionally brutal 12-week run with a tremendous finale that was so depressing Jack considered blowing his brains out, but instead decided to merely spend his next few years in a Russian prison. Escapist summer TV!


FTW:

The CW's Backpackers is better than we ever expected it to be


Considering the "great" history of web series that make the jump to television, we didn't have much hope for The CW's imported bro travelogue (brovelogue?) comedy Backpackers. It's not one of the more sophisticated comedies out there, but stars Dillon Casey and Noah Reid have a charming chemistry, the plots are dumb fun, and the locations are lovely enough. We'll be back for Episode 2.


FTW:

Matador scores!


El Rey's second original series, Matador premiered on Tuesday with the comfort of a Season 2 renewal already in its back pocket. This show looks to pick up where playful spy shows like Burn NoticeNikita, and Alias left off by taking a zany premise (soccer star is also a super spy) and committing 100 percent. Will Tony Bravo be able to infiltrate Alfred Molina's plan for world domination? We'll be watching to find out (though the answer is probably "yes, but not without a fair amount of difficulty and sacrifice")!


FTW:

USA tries something new with Satisfaction


Most of the discussion about USA's new marriage drama/escort origin story Satisfaction will likely center on why it doesn't fit alongside the network's typical blue-skies output—and that's too bad, because judging by the first episode, there's a lot to like about the show. While the escort storyline is very juicy, it's Satisfaction's more measured take on a damaged—but not totally broken—marriage between two people who clearly love one another but have somehow lost that proverbial spark that makes the series so, uh... enjoyable.


FTW:

Nathan Fielder's green card contains an unfortunate error


The Canadian star of Nathan For You appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, where he revealed that his green card sports a particularly unlucky typo and recalled a recent encounter with a border guard. 


FTW:

David Rees is Going Deep on mundane matters


Rees' NatGeo show is our new favorite edutainment series. He examines the best way to do the simplest things—like make ice, dig a hole, tie your shoes, or shake hands—by talking to experts in the field, and adds plenty of "no duh" commentary for laughs. Bring on the scientific comedy!


FTW:

Walter White goes to space


We're still not exactly sure why the marketing team at tvtag launched a Breaking Bad bobblehead into space, filming its trajectory as it reached an altitude of 85,000 feet, braved temps as low as -65 degrees Fahrenheit and speeds of 95 miles per hour, traveled more than 250 miles, and fell to back down to Earth, but the resulting video is entertaining and beautiful nonetheless. 




FTWTF:

FX's new comedy block of Married and You're the Worst needs work


The indie-as-F duo tackles two very different relationship extremes; Married is about a married couple, and You're the Worst is about a prolonged one-night stand. Both shows have their ups and downs—just like relationships OMG!—though Married, with its outstanding cast of Nat Faxon, Judy Greer, Jenny Slate, John Hodgman, and Brett Gelman, is a better bet than the raunchy and thin You're the Worst. We always expect the best out of FX, but for now, it's a wait-and-see situation for these two.   


FTWTF:

The Divide wants to offer a gray look at the justice system, but isn't as subtle as it thinks it is (yet)


WEtv's first scripted drama takes on death row exoneration with an Innocence Project-esque group looking into the murder of a black family at the hands of two white men. The show's racial politics promise to be its most interesting element, and Wednesday's two-episode premiere put them front and center a number of times. However, The Divide's mostly un-nuanced characters—everyone's pretty much either a desperate "I didn't do it" criminal or a righteous crusader working toward their idea of "justice"—threaten to make the show too melodramatic and drag down an otherwise interesting premise.




WTF:

Halt and Catch Fire fizzles out with a ridiculous love scene


This incredibly stupid moment should be scrubbed from existence forever so we can all remember Lee Pace more fondly. But until that happens, this will be the dumbest thing you see on TV all year. (h/t to Warming Glow for the video!)


WTF:

VH1's Dating Naked 


As if dating shows weren't already gross enough! The series premiere of the let-it-all-hang-out reality show yielded plenty of awkwardness as couples went on their first naked dates and bared all, from their insecurities to their there terrible person-ness to their butts. 


What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? Barton's heartbreaking turn on Masters of Sex? Chris the Farmer's exit from The Bachelorette? The debut of Hulu's Hotwives of OrlandoTeen Wolf's latest Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!


Comments (104)
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Episode 7 of Halt and Catch Fire was terrible all around. They turned Donna and Cameron, two strong female characters, into submissive, weak, and in Donna's case, unfaithful women. TV writers need to stop using tired cliches to write female characters. The cheating wife trope especially. We get it, things at home are tough and you just can't take it anymore so you find comfort in the arms of another man. Everyone knows where it'll lead.
It's honestly insulting to modern audiences that we still can't get consistently strong female characters without them turning into cliches of every other female troupe out there.
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Donna certainly wasn't looking for a naughty business trip. She was even praising her husband's engineering and confiding in an old friend her worry for Gordon's mental health. Hunt's the one who gave all the signals, poured on the alcohol, then turned cold at the end. It was almost a reverse Travis moment.

I still see neither weak nor submissive: Donna spoke truth to power in a highest-level company meeting based on the findings of her own professional expertise, then took center stage and performed music masterfully in public. Cameron continues to "speak with authority and you get what you want" to con a ride from a friend with a car and crash the private exhibition to persuade her lover's former lover to win back the brilliant case design.
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I may just leave The Leftovers, cos up till now, I'm puzzled! I love The Strain cos it has a sinister streak and believe it will get even more creepy as it creeps along, pun and fangs intended. I'm a geek so I'm in it for the Comdex for Halt & Catch Fire! As for the rest, needs more brewing time.
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WTF: the hatred for Halt and Catch Fire? The show has been nothing but fantastic so far. One of the most interesting shows this year, arguably the best. The scene mentioned above barely stood out.
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The only "Halt" on the main page for weeks is this article declaring the show to have "fizzled". It makes me wonder if TV Guide is holding a grudge.

I think reviewers hate it, not on its merits, but because it's nigh impossible to review. The show is a bit brazen in that characters mirror life, not standard TV where motivations and personalities are laid bare for the viewer. The context for understanding events and behaviors comes sometimes in the tiniest of details after the fact, sometimes several episodes in the future.
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The problem with Satisfaction isn't that USA can't do dark. It's that when you try to dark you end up with unlikable people whining. He doesn't like his job? Nobody likes their job. Either take the money and suck it up or find a new job. You can't discuss some universal theme about middle class despair and then pretend that only one guy is awake enough to realize the desperation. At least the wife's attempt to re-enter the workforce was a justified reason for waking up and realizing that she wasn't where she wanted to be. I like Matt Passmore, but he wasn't likable and I kept thinking in several instances that if they'd just made a funny, charming show about male escorts and business dealings it would have been a lot more enjoyable. LIke the whole zen master stopover. The jokes were there.

It isn't that they stepped away from the formula. It's that show would have been better with blue skies and funny pretty people. As is, it is boring and uncompelling and that's really hard with Matt Passmore and Blair Redford on the screen.
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not avlbl in my village!
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I don't think this episode of Halt and Catch Fire was as bad as many of you are saying it was... I have found it surprising that anybody actually paid any attention to that electricity scene. So this is the silliest you have seen on tv this week, hum? So that's why you guys are going to stop watching? So nothing to do with bisexuality signs? :) OK, OK, of course I believe you. Why wouldn't I. I personally loved the Cabbage Patch Kids part :-)
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It was the weakest episode so far because it focused too much on Joe, and to me he is the least interesting character. The rest of the episode, especially the wifes trip to Lubbock was great. Though you cant tell me the (sorry forgot his name) boss guy was not trying to get his shag on in the elevator.
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The thing with the boss was weird, yes, they made us believe he was into her and then they took it away. I suppose they wanted to give us her point of view in this situation. About Joe, can't tell, for me there is always a focus on him somehow, didn't find it any different this time. Maybe he'll manage to be more interesting at some point :-)
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Strain, Matador - FTW. And yeah Graceland too was really good this week.
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WTF!! The passing of legendary actor James Garner.
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He was 86 and in poor health. FTW because his pain and struggle is over. Well done, Maverick!
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Even at 86,it's still a shock to see a great actor pass away.But like you said,his pain and struggle is over.Glad he had a full and successful life.Let's hope we all can live a full and long life too.
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TV.com and I guess many critics are still giving The Leftover a chance because it is on HBO and its made by Lindelof. If it was on another lesser known network with a lesser know show runner, it will be lambasted by everyone.

For those who have not watch The Strain, please do not be mistaken that it is campy like From Dusk Til Dawn. The first hour played out like a serious sci-fi show. Tim likes to call it campy.

And why all the hate with Halt and Catch Fire? It is good.
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This site has had nothing but crappy things to say about that show. It has become white noise to me - they have been biased against it ever since they weren't given screeners.
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Referring to HaCF. I still haven't been able to get into The Leftovers and I wasn't really nuts about The Strain. My expectations may have been too high
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Just watched the second episode of the strain and I am liking it.
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Personally, I give The Leftovers a chance because its really spooky (in a "going to the party is the real punishment" kind of way)

.And I'm giving The Strain a chance precisely because it isn't spooky.
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Too true on the Leftovers.
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to be fair, Backpackers TV series and webseries are basically the same at the moment, just consolidated a few webisodes into one TV episode to fit the runtime... we'll see how the new content pans out.
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Matador is a hilarious concept, and I enjoyed the first episode. But despite that, I won't continue watching it. It's not worth my time.
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Wait.. what?
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I take full responsibility for writing an incoherent comment. What I tried to say, but didn't have the time to earlier, is that the plot of Matador (a DEA agent undercover as a football player) is so ridiculous that it's actually good fun to watch. I liked the first episode because it was pure entertainment which doesn't take itself seriously. However, despite this, it is still a show about a DEA agent who goes undercover as a football player, which is reason enough for me to not spend an hour every week watching it. Just because a show amuses me doesn't mean it is good enough for me to watch it. Maybe if I have a quiet weekend at some point I might binge watch Matador. Does this answer your "what"?
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FX really needs to stick to drama because both of their new "comedies" are horrific!!! I recorded both and made it for barely 10 minutes for each of them.
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I enjoyed you are the worst.
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Me too. Much better than the Backpackers. I live in Europe, travelledacross the whole continent and met a lot of guys like those. No fun in real life.
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The Leftovers is one of the worst shows! Killing dogs for any reason make it unwatchable for me!
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They better not have been real dogs.
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You can kill men. women, and children in increasingly horrible ways but shoot a dog and I am out. Is that what you are saying? I never got that argument.
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Yeah that's right!! Well not children! Killing pets is wrong on so many levels! When you watch this in a show it takes your breath away it hit you right in the hart. When they kill random people you see it coming you know it's not real you see it all the time sometimes even funny scenes.
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Yup. That's right.
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I'm not sold on the show myself. But it's not like killing of the dogs was seen as a heroic action. It was horrific and seen as such.
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Not to mention, the dogs were horrific as hell, literally.

But then again, so were the doves and the deer when I think about it
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The first dog was not at all! He was cute!
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It was daytime, he would only turn into a hellhound just like every dog on the planet come nighttime.

Those are not dogs anymore, even that suicidal deer knew that much.
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awful episode of Halt and Catch Fire, rest of the series has been excellent. Well I take that back, the episode was not necessarily awful, just all of the scenes with Joe.
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Ftw definitely for True Blood. It was a great episode, switching seamlessly between the tension filled scenes of the present and the comedic flashbacks to the Fangtasia origin story.
Ftw to Salem as well, the finale was great, as was the whole season. Very much looking forward to seeing what happens next season.
Woukd like to see a little more love for Witches of East End on this site, it is a great summer show, just good fun!
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Hahahaha!
Bringing a dating show with naked people as the "big twist" but then blurring the nudity. Only America with his hangups about nudity and the human body can do such a ridiculous thing! ^^
Way to make something stupid even more stupid...
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- I was really disappointed by The Strain, don't even know if I'll give it even one more episode
- Audrey dying on 24 made this entire season rubbish
- I however liked The Divide enough to keep watching
- Pleasantly surprised by Rush
- And in two days I've see season 1 and caught up on season 2 of Rectify and I frickin love it!!!
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FTW: The opening shot of the Mexican cop on The Bridge from above the oscillating fan; "I trained Agent Techa myself; we're on the same bowling team."

WTF: The passing of James Garner; the news media's preoccupation with whether any Americans were on board the Malaysian passenger plane that was shot down (as if the loss of non-American life is somehow less tragic); the apparent similarity of the plot of The Bridge season 2 to the Drew storyline from Justified season 4 (although maybe it's too soon to tell).
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No, non-American loss of life is completely tragic, but the discussion of whether Americans were killed is relevant because it plays into how much of an economic and military response the US should provide. The US has a greater responsibility to protect its citizens than to protect the citizens of the world. That shouldn't be an inflammatory statement, just a recognition that American loss of life requires a greater response from our government, and thus is a valid topic for the media.
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OMG Halt and Catch Fire I don't know what to think of you. But yeah that was the dumbest thing ive seen in a while. I think im happy I quit watching
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My FTW goes to The Strain (really loved the pilot, very entertaining - let's see if that continues in the next eps or if goes silly) and to Teen Wolf that was back in true form esp. with Argent back

WTF: happened to USA? - I used to watch several USA shows and somehow over the past couple of years it's all gone horribly wrong. The last new show that premiered to even mild success was Suits like 4 years ago and since then it's been failure after failure whether trying something new (this week's premieres got very disappointing ratings and lukewarm to awful reviews) or trying to reproduce their blue sky formula eg Common Law, Fairly Legal... even Graceland is doing so-so... Covert Affairs has terrible ratings and White Collar is ending soon so they really need to do something about the original programming because repeats and syndicated content is doing better by far.
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Went to check numbers and in 2011 Suits premiered to 4.6 million viewers 1.6 in the demo and was the 3rd best in cable (after 2nd place Burn Notice). This week Satisfaction and Rush got both ca. 1.7 million viewers and in the demo 0.5 and 0.4 respectively (I guess Rush skews older). They are not even in the top 20 cable shows. Earlier in the week Covert Affairs didn't make it to the top 100 cable shows
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We loved "Covert Affairs" and "Suits" (and "White Collar" for the first year or two). We've now removed all USA shows from the DVR. The shows have all jumped the shark and the network is so preachy we can't bear it. Nothing new coming that we'd even give a glance at.
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FTW: Nice photobomb!
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Definitely the 24 season finale, and definitely DEFINITELY The Leftovers.
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"Halt and Catch Fire fizzles out with a ridiculous love scene...this will be the dumbest thing you see on TV all year."

I agree that the scene was bad, but it's not going to be in the top 100 dumbest things on TV this year. The 100, The tomorrow people, and Under the dome must have had at least 10 dumber things each already, and Under the dome has only aired 3 episodes of 13 at this point. I'm definitely not going to watch Hemlock Grove this year, since it's the worst show of all time, but I'd be very surprised if it doesn't contain 10 dumber things. And I'm sure you can find at least a few dumber things in every sci-fi and superhero show on TV, including 24.
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Good to see American Ninja Warrior making the list.
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I reported the decapitation in 24 to the FBI. They really shouldn't murder real people just for the sake of "entertainment". And yeah, you are a fucking asshole if you think the senseless killing of an actor is 'cool', so don't bother with the notifications, I don't read notifications anyway.

(I hope anybody gets the reference...)
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Staff
As a prize for your cleverness, you win a .GIF of a pigeon being run over by a motorcycle.
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This weeks Switched and Birth should've been mentioned.
Audrey dying in this 24-season finale was a bit meaningless in my opinion. We already saw that in season 1 with his wife, and in season 8 with René. It just became a little predictable.
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I enjoyed the first ep of Satisfaction. Hope it gets a good season run. The leftovers is not even on my radar. I was surprised that I liked the strain & matador. Will be checking 2nd ep definately
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I disagree about Backpackers, I thought that it looked potentially funny, but it's first episode was horrid!
A definite FTW for me is this week's episode of Taxi Brooklyn, which both had a very good amount of jokes and a very serious and intense last ten minutes.
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Is there a TV show that Judy Greer hasn't been in at some point?
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Teen Wolf FTW they did an excellent job with introducing Liam to the supernatural world & the producers get major props for FINALLY bringing Mr.Argent back.
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Remember how, in any other show, a character would die and the audience would be left wondering about those loose ends like her kids, his father, the ex, etc, to the point it ruined the whole story?

Well, my FTW goes to True Blood's phone call to Alcide's father, Sam taking a moment to tell Rosie how her Kevin died, a frustrated Jason taking a moment to comfort Hoyt - all the while knowing he was glamoured not to remember they were buddies - and that sentimental nod to the late Ginger at Fangtasia's origin story.

These are the details that make a solid storylineand turn even the smallest role into a powerful piece of the final puzzle.
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FTW: True Blood. A certain commenter said True Blood would remain WTF the whole season, which I agreed with, but it finally managed to have a really good episode in what's been a weak season. Most of that comes from the fact that the humor and fun were there this time, with most of it coming from Eric and Pam.

FTW: The Strain. Another vampire show. I really enjoyed this pilot. It wasn't scary, but like the article said, it worked because it doesn't take itself too seriously. One of my favorite scenes of the year is the over kill of Mikhail from Lost. I mentioned that I may not come back for more because it could go south quickly, but I'll stick with it for awhile.
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Ha ha ha... yep, I said that... so I guess I was wrong (nothing new there...) though I haven't watched more TB...
I really enjoyed The Strain pilot too but then, I did love the Hellboy movies and this felt very much in that vein. I hope it doesn't become silly which is a risk since some of the plot elements could (the nazi conspiracy in particular)
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Yup, Halt truly deserves a WTF for those 43 seconds. Maybe two. Happily the other 43 minutes were fantastic.
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Halt and Catch Fire is an excellent show, but this website keeps trying to find reasons to trash it.
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They had been doing it three weeks in a row and some viewers who have not seen yet is not starting because of those comments.
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I don't agree with the high amounts of trashing the show gets on this website (on other sites this show gets tuns of praise) but you gotta admit there are a lot of stupid things that happen.
I personally just find it hard to root for Joe (cause I find him boring and creepy). Idk if his character gets better (ive only watched the first 5 episodes) but that was the reason why I quite
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I said this above but it bears repeating. TV.com isn't alone in this - but they are just as guilty. The show refused to give out screeners of the 1st block of eps. Many sites, but especially this one, had a hissy fit and just trashed it saying things like "it doesn't know where it is going". The truth was - THEY didn't know where it was going because they didn't get a sneak peek. They had to watch it like the rest of us - and have been unforgiving about that "slight".

But as I said - this site wasn't alone in letting this slight influence their opinion.
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I doubt that is the reason why it is getting bashed. I for one went into the show really trying to like it but found that the majority of the characters were not interesting and were not well fleshed out.
Btw my optioned wasn't because of what this site said b.c there aren't any published reviews (aside from the pilot). So if I felt that way coming out of it they I think other people could too. Not everyone has to like a show
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I don't find him boring and I like creepy characters. To me a character must be complex and sometimes mysterious, so he fits my criteria to be interesting. As for "stupid" things, Lee Pace usually plays characters that have a weird sexual life and in a way some of that can be considered stupid, but I don't mind. And I'm fascinated with old computers, since I remember that time very well. Anyway, I admit the show isn't for everybody, but then what show is?
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Yep - shame on you TV.com for singling out that stupid scene (I agree it was cringeworthy) when the rest of the episode was excellent. In fact most of the recent few eps has been pretty good
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i wanted to watch the show but due to reviews here i didn't give it a try i guess i should give it a try.
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Read JenMo73 reviews on the show, they are great.
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:) thanks!
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Give it try! I think the reason it has been given some bad reviews here is because it's not the next Mad Men or breaking bad. Also if you go to the community for HaCF a few of is have been discussing it.
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I tried to watch Mad Men twice, but found it too boring. But I loved Breaking Bad. Well, I still might give Mad Men a third try.
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The first 2 or 3 eps were wobbly but if you get past that (I didn't find it such a chore), it has plenty to go for it. It may go off the rails later but at present is one of my favourite shows on TV. Agreed not much competition...
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Just like The Newsroom.
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I'm more interested in old computers than grandstanding about American news issues, especially because I'm not American. I don't care if "America isn't what it used to be" or whatever. However, computers are not limited to country borders.
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Agreed! It is a good show!
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I was glad to hear the ratings for a show about a married couple cheating on each other were way lower than the repeats that aired earlier that night on the same network.
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You're welcome for the GIF, guys! I have a couple hundred others doing nothing now if you are interested! LOL
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Still the best GIF of the season IMHO:


Stabbing a guy in the neck and then walking him back as a human shield is the Jackinator at his finest.

Runner up:


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LOOOL. Jacks highlight reel of kills is 2nd to none.
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You are the king of GIF's!
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Certainly had practice!
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FTW TEEN WOLF................
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"FX has a long history of producing serious drama,"

In fairness, no one watching American Horror Story would think this... It may be many things, but "serious drama"? Uh, no.

In fact, The Strain seems like exactly the kind of horror show you'd see on a channel that brings you AHS.
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Thank you! I couldn't agree more. FX has plenty of WTF ridiculousness across multiple shows.
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I didn't even know that AHS was on FX. Then there's no excuse for the lack of boobs on that show. But that's not why I hit the reply button. What I wanted to say is that when I hear FX, I'm thinking Justified, The Americans, Sons of Anarchy and Tyrant. Nothing really silly popped into my mind.
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There's also Archer in the "silly" category.
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WTF - Picture from Rush with a write up of Satisfaction?

FTW - Teen Wolf - particularly Derek taking just a little bit too much pleasure in burning the wolfsbane from Peter's chest.
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FTW: 24 with Samurai Jack
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