Welcome to this post-Comic-Con, double-wide edition of FTW vs. WTF (and apologies for not posting one last week!). We thought it was summer, and that television news was supposed to be in hibernation, slumbering until the fall. But here we are still peeling our Game of Thrones and Dog With a Blog cosplays off our bodies after returning from San Diego, to say nothing of the fact that we're right in the middle of TCAs (the Television Critics Association press tour). Plus we're watching all sorts of new pilots, catching up on old favorites before they return (did you know the second season of Breaking Bad is STILL AWESOME?), and some "boring" summer programs have all of a sudden gotten interesting again (see below). Hence this extra-large serving of FTW vs. WTF. We hope you're hungry!
The series has shown lots of improvement in Season 6, and Sunday's "Don't You Feel Me" was one of its best episodes in long, long time. Yes on Pam and Eric killing those snipers! Yes on Bill compelling a bunch of guards to shoot each other and then ripping Governor Burrell's head off! Yes on Eric and Nora and Willa's great escape from Vamp Camp with a severed hand! Combine all that with the recent Season 7 renewal and showrunner Brian Buckner's stated desire to bring the show back to its roots, and we're pretty stoked about what might lie ahead.
It's scheduled to August 12, the day after BrBa debuts its final run of episodes, and the guys will be testing whether you can dissolve a body/bathtub/floor with hydrofluoric acid, whether you can use mercury fulminate crystals to build a grenade, and more. But we share Warming Glow's primary question: Will they be addressing the the physics of pizza-tossing, too?
Kicking off the show's first—and last—appearance at Comic-Con was this teaser featuring the now obviously adult actors (Nikita's Lyndsy Fonseca and Wizards of Waverly Place's David Henrie) who played Ted's offspring in Season 1. They're foul-mouthed, they've been living on spiders, and they're tired of the long-winded stories about the "endless parade of sluts" they've been hearing for last eight seasons. Well done, HIMYM—this is one of the funniest jokes you've written in years.
Was there a point to this? Not really. But that doesn't mean it wasn't awesome.
The former Mr. Show co-stars, who are perhaps more well-known these days as "Better Call Saul" and Tobias Funke, respectively, will release Hollywood Said No!—a collection of rejected screenplays and sketches they wrote together—in September. Consider it pre-ordered.
The series' Comic-Con panel began with this In Memoriam montage that chronicled all the major character deaths of Seasons 1-3. Let it serve as a reminder that even though GoT is hella depressing sometimes, it still has a great sense of humor and is pretty effing awesome.
For a show that's always prided itself on exploring the depths of failure, the Season 5 capper provided some Hank and Dean with insight into what it means to move (or not move) past those failures. Sent off to stay with Action Man and Colonel Gentleman, they received glimpses at their respective futures of optimism/hitting on old ladies in nursing homes and being obsessed with when Salem on Sabrina the Teenage Witch was actually a cat instead of a puppet/realizing he'd likely stayed in India too long. All season, Dean had been moping about his clone origins while Hank had embraced the boy adventuring with gusto, and so Hank's response to the clone news—"That. Is. Awesome."—turned out to be just what Dean needed to hear to maybe just maybe get him out of his funk. Now can we please not have to wait two years for Season 6? PLEASE?
Sadly, the series itself has turned out to be a massive disappointment, but the halved cow from the pilot remains a highlight, and this little ditty rightfully gave the bisected bovine its due.
We have been in serious need of Legend of Korra news for months now, and the show's Comic-Con panel finally delivered. Attendees got to see the first episode of Book 2: Spirits (ALL OF THE JEALOUSY), a premiere "date" of September was announced (now we'd like something more precise, please), and it looks like this season will not only tell the story of the first Avatar, but in a beautifully different art style from the main show.
After a couple of less-than-stellar installments, The Killing came roaring back with the hunt for Pastor Mike and then Linden's uncomfortable car ride with said pastor in "Reckoning," which culminated with Linden and Holder finally getting a bead on Joe Mills. Even though it seemed that the detectives had their man (we still think it was hella convenient that Reddick happened to find the box with the rings in it), there was massive loss. Bullet was killed (NOOOOOOOOOOO), sending Holder into a tailspin of self-doubt, and Linden finally got to see Anthony Seward, only to have the boy identify Mills as his mom's killer and Joe Mills happened to be in Alaska at the time of the murder. It was a raw episode of cathartic pain and suffering, highlighted by tight, melancholy close-ups of Mireille Enos's face and an almost-kiss between Linden and Holder. We're not sure we're prepared for what's next.
Yeehaw, buckaroos! Gather 'round the campfire and have a plate of beans and some hot coffee, because the third excursion with the characters of the Union Pacific promises to be the best season of Hell on Wheels yet. Now Cullen Bohannon is calling the shots, and the story will be built around "Cullen versus Durant for control of the railroad." From what we can tell, Lily Bell is seriously out of the picture and Durant's in jail, but a bunch more characters will be introduced with the rivalry of the Central Pacific line building out from Ol' Californy. Here's hoping somewhere in this batch of strangers is America's first rail-riding hobo, "Shiney LaReoux." And for you conspiracy theorists, it's been implied that the Swede may have survived that bridge plunge after all (wink wink), which everyone kind of hoped would happen anyway.
While the summer anime season is offering up some real treats—including Free!, Silver Spoon, and Genshiken: Second Season—the updated Gatchaman (localized as Battle of the Planets in the U.S.) in Gatchaman Crowds may be its most ambitious series. Perfectly accessible with no prior knowledge of the decades-old franchise, Crowds seems primed to both embrace and have fun with the sentai genre while offering some timely commentary on the power of social networks. Even the "mismatched partners" trope—perky, optimistic, and outside-the-box-thinking Hajime paired with duty-and-order centric Sugane—feels fresh and interesting. We just hope it doesn't fizzle out like spring's at first gonzo and then just offensively bad Valvrave. You can catch it on Crunchyroll.
Okay, maybe not popular to everyone, but dammit, we LOVED [SPOILER] and will miss [SPOILER]'s luscious blonde hair and go-get-'em attitude. More importantly, though, "Intuition" was a return to what makes Wilfred great: dark comedy mixed with mind-melting questions of Ryan's sanity.
We have officially reached "so bad it's good" territory, people. The plot holes—and the leaps of logic required to traverse them—are roughly the size of the Grand Canyon, but for some twisted reason, we're still entertained. Watching dumb people do dump things is a good time, regardless of genre.
We knew our favorite show about a psychological game of cat and mouse between a cannibal and an unstable profiler was never going to break into the "big" categories (Acting, Writing, Best Drama, etc), but to not even get nominated in a single technical category is just plain ridiculous.
Another great actor gone before we were ready to say goodbye.
Accolades that in any other year might've gone to FX's much stronger and more engaging The Americans were awarded to the ploddingly cold House of Cards. We might be less bitter if Corey Stoll had earned a nod—he's was House of Cards' brightest spot—the Emmy voters love their household names, and we think that's the only reason they flocked to Netflix's fine-but-not-award-worthy drama.
From its prized prattling to its stunning silences to its dazzling dance sequences, Bunheads was an increasingly rare addition to the American television landscape: a show with seemingly low stakes about living and growing up that were, for the characters, the highest of high stakes. For those who bemoan the glut of violence and serial killers and male anti-heroes on TV, we're not exactly sure why you weren't watching Bunheads, but if the reason is that it was about a bunch of teenage ballerinas, we may have to accidentally pepper spray you. We'll swear we thought it was hairspray!
We've detailed the, uh, hyperbolic things that Netflix exec Ted Sarandos has said about the success of the platform's original series, but head honcho Reed Hastings is apparently out to top that. In a recent conference call with reporters, Hastings noted that he hopes House of Cards will grow into "a Harry Potter-esque global massive phenomenon." Even if you disassociate that comment from the various MASSIVE differences in genre, audience, and quality between House of Cards and the Harry Potter franchise, Hastings' comment is pretty nuts, albeit ballsy. There's nothing wrong with aiming high, but Netflix seems dead-set on making one ridiculous claim after another.
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week?