Fall is officially upon us; change is in the air and on the streets and in our gutters! The leaves are changing, we're changing out of our bike shorts and mesh tank tops and putting on sweatpants and sweaters, and we're also changing the channels on our television more often as we try to find some regular programs to watch. Our nightly adventures of discovery mean we're working with an abnormally broad selection of shows to choose from, and that means a wider range of fodder for FTW vs. WTF, our weekend recap of what was good and bad on television in the previous week. So we hope you'll enjoy our whining about stinky comedies while you can, because soon they'll either be canceled or collecting dust inside our DVRs. And with that said, let's talk about what was super and fun this week, and what was Super Fun Night.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia celebrated its 100th episode with a convenient-store robbery that kicked off a series of glimpses into the gang's fractured psyches. All of them were bizarre, and some of them were truly terrifying. But the show saved the best for last with Charlie's animated adventure, a simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking tale of a waitress, a janitor, lots of rats, and lots of babies living happily ever after in the house from Up. Jen may have cried a little.
Please let this become a regular thing.
The small-screen adaptation of the Coen Brothers' classic is stealing all the good actors. Just check out the list of who's already involved: Billy Bob Thornton, Sherlock's Martin Freeman, Oliver Platt, Private Practice's Kate Walsh, Colin Hanks, Breaking Bad's Bob Odenkirk, It's Always Sunny's Glenn Howerton, and The Unusual's Adam Goldberg. Great cast? You betcha.
The newest promo for FX's animated comedy has finally delivered the mashup we've been waiting for since the beginning: the boozy superspy and friends in a Top Gun homage.
The in-depth look at the NFL's concussion controversy was ditched by ESPN because it would've ruined the long-term relationship between the sports network the most powerful sport in America, but PBS intercepted it because PBS is gangsta and doesn't care about anything but the truth. And the truth was scary and eye-opening. Bravo to Frontline for not being afraid of the megalomaniacal NFL. (Bonus: If you missed it, you can view the full episode online.)
Maybe the sharkgeist reached its height with the overblown Sharknado, but as a culture, we've enjoyed watching CGI sharks eat people since Deep Blue Sea, and it never gets old. Get over yourself, haters! Next up on Syfy's list of crimes against movies, this gem.
Ryan Murphy's most brilliant nightmare machine revved up again this week and it was even more gloriously insane than we'd hoped. Weird and beautiful and thrilling and outrageous and disgusting and hilarious. Missed u, show.
The company's clever new ad smartly acknowledges the *real* inventor of its high-tech wristwear: television.
This week's episode, "We Are Everyone," featured a not-so-thinly veiled Edward Snowden/NSA plot that was—for the most part—not about a homicide, but about tracking down the show's Snowden stand-in, and in quite an entertaining fashion, too. But while the case was good, the character development was better, as Joan's decision that she needs some "real-world time" (read: romance) led to some great discussions between her and Sherlock about the value of a life devoted to solving crime versus the value of one that enjoys romance. The button of the episode, with Sherlock reading a letter from his imprisoned beloved, gave the final scene a delightfully melancholy note.
The only thing that could possibly make Ron Swanson more of the platonic male ideal is if he had the voice of Sam Elliott. But Ron Dunn ("Is that your last name, or are you telling me you're finished talking?" "Both.") is no latter-day cowboy, and watching Ron Swanson grow increasingly frustrated and disgusted by the mere presence of the swaggering freegan vegan was awesome. Also: Ann told Leslie she's planning on leaving Pawnee. Blah blah blah. They never really figured out what to do with her anyway. And we're in Season 6. She should've died on the Titanic with her sorority sisters.
We've had three pickups/renewals and two cancellations so far this season, and dammit, we're proud of everyone involved. NBC's silly but watchable The Blacklist, ABC's heavily punctuated Joss Whedon drama Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Fox's super-fun Sleepy Hollow have both been granted more life, and ABC's lowly Lucky 7 and CBS's awful comedy We Are Men have both been hit with an axe. You, the American viewer, had just as much to do with these verdicts as the networks that issued them based on ratings, so go ahead and pat yourself on the back.
The potty-mouthed 'toon is always better when it rips from the headlines, and this week it took on the mania surrounding the George Zimmerman case that dominated the news several months ago (with some help from World War Z). Biting, controversial, and daring, the satirical look at racial prejudice, America's obsession with courtroom drama, and Florida's Stand Your Ground laws was exactly the kind of South Park we love.
Showing a surprising amount of restraint, the gang at Fox's often-ridiculous musical managed to create what was actually an insightful and rather beautiful send-off for its fallen star. "The Quarterback" certainly wasn't perfect, but overall, it hit us right in the feels.
The Winchester Bros. are back! Yay! And while "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" revisited a lot of stuff we'd already seen in the show's first bazillion seasons, it was INTENSE about it. So, gold star. Also, human Castiel actually didn't suck, which was a pleasant surprise. And the show cast Battlestar Galactica's Tahmoh Penikett as the angel Ezekial! However: We were all super-duper excited about Penikett's new role because who doesn't love Helo, right? But then Ezekial possessed Sam in order to heal him from within or something, and now all we're left with is Jared Padalecki playing another character. Is it too much to ask that someone give Penikett a substantial, regular gig on an awesome series? Please?
Thought "Breaking Bad" was hot last Sunday? @FOX29philly See who's breakin' bad in SW Philly leavin' 6 people SHOT - Tonite at Ten!— Joyce Evans (@JoyceEvansFox29) October 7, 2013
Holy hell, Joyce Evans of Fox 29 in Philly, you missed all the points.
Every episode begins with Kimmie (Rebel Wilson) invading our TV screen via a vlog—a vlog! There are a few terrible attempts at jokes, and then there's an awful intro sequence with singing. ENOUGH WITH THE VLOGGING! ENOUGH WITH THE SINGING! ENOUGH WITH THIS SHOW!
The eldest and most suicidal Brody child on Homeland is dealing with her daddy issues by breaking INTO rehab to have sex with the cute kid she met there; okay, whatever, fine. We've all done that. But her chosen coitus site—atop a pile of freshly washed sheets on the floor of the laundry room—was a big no-no! And totally gross! Plus, now the staff has to wash those all over again. Show some respect, Dana.
Discovery Networks and the BBC have co-produced some excellent nature docs in their day—including Planet Earth, Life, and Frozen Planet—but now their partnership has ended, and despite a press release saying the split was mutual, we're laying the blame on Discovery. The network has been focusing all its attention on character-driven reality shows and outright lies like that special on mermaids and that Shark Week "documentary" about Megalodons. So basically the only way we'll get BBC's cool nature shows in the future is through other channels. But hey, if it means more David Attenborough and less Oprah Winfrey, it's a half-victory.
This week, Special Agent Keen straight-up made a deal with Red to reveal the truth about why he chose her as the agent he wanted to work with. She did her part, and when she demanded some answers, he said, "Because of your father." And then spewed some nonsense about how the question was just as difficult as the answer. This is TV mystery avoidance at its most pathetic.
The Vampire Diaries' leading lady has psychic dreams that alert her when there's a disturbance in the Stefan Force, but she doesn't recognize Silas when he's barely even bothering to pretend to be Stefan? On the one hand, that sucks for Stefan, but come on, E, after everything you've been through, you really should be an expert at this crap by now.
At the end of Season 2, Zoe left Bluebell to go to New York for three months, but when the series picked up again after five months, she was still in the Big Apple, she'd broken up with all of her friends in Alabama via e-mail, and she was claiming that Bluebell had only been a rest stop on the road to reality. Sure, she returned to town to tie up a few loose ends and ended up staying because it's where she belongs, but wasting an entire episode pretending as if nothing of substance had happened in the first two seasons to make Zoe want to stay down South was a bit harsh. Also, she broke Wade's heart when she told him she wasn't coming back, and then had the audacity to ask her new boyfriend to shack up with her in Bluebell. And that's not cool. Team Wade.
P.S. LOL at all the different ways the producers are trying to hide Jaime King's baby bump.
LOL. Can you imagine if AMC had told Vince Gilligan he couldn't off W.W.? Network intervention at its worst.
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week?