It's total anarchy out there! The U.S. government has shut itself down and our elected representatives are acting like toddlers in a name-calling fight! That means national monuments and national parks are closed, and several high-class escorts are out of work until this mess is over. President Obama told us that we had to turn the lights off on FTW vs. WTF too (we're subsidized by the Department of Transportation for some reason), but we kindly told B-rock to go make love to himself because we will not be held back. We will not shut down. We will not let you down. We're doing it for America. And so we present to you another edition of FTW vs. WTF, the best review of the week in television on TV.com. By the way, you each owe us $24.82.
Once Upon a Time starts Season 3 happily ever so far
The two Debbie Downers who trashed Season 2 were killed off (one of them died twice?!) and all our favorite characters have formed a motley crew to save Henry from Neverland. There are basically just a lot of great indications that the writers are correcting the course they charted in Season 2 and letting their imaginations go wild.
Hello, Hello Ladies! How you doing?
The incredibly charming Stephen Merchant can pull off being completely awkward AND making us root for him as handily as his writing partner and buddy Ricky Gervais did in Extras. His physical humor is flawless and brilliant, the kind of slapstick your smart friends will feel good laughing at. He's playing a character who's very wealthy but missing that one priceless treasure, a sweetie, which is not only a great choice of storyline, but one don't usually see with male characters. Watch this, is what we're saying.
Breaking Bad fans placed a Walter White obit in a New Mexico paper
Fictional, late meth-whiz Walter White got his own real-life write-up in the Albuquerque Journal this past Friday, citing his cause of death as "a long battle with lung cancer, and a gunshot wound." The man responsible for the submission was David Layman of the Facebook group "Unofficial Breaking Bad Fan Tour," and the remembrance has resulted in more traffic for ABQJournal.com than any other story since 2006. Kind of weird, but also kind of awesome!
The Comedy Bang! Bang! live tour
IFC's wacky talk show is currently on the road, and Tim saw them in Portland and laughed and laughed and laughed until his diaphragm left his body because it couldn't take any more. To see Paul F. Tompkins as Ice-T talking discussing his Under the Dome was to witness greatness. The Birthday Boys' half-naked humor was also a hit.
Wilfred has an end date, and answers are coming
Who cares if Walter White and Tony Soprano live or die? Also, big deal about solving the mystery of Lost's island. The next big series-finale question to look forward to is WHAT THE HELL IS WILFRED? Now that FX's man-is-possibly-dog comedy WIlfred has been renewed for a final season, showrunner David Zuckerman promises that answers are coming.
Juliette Barnes' reaction to losing the number-one slot on iTunes
The .GIF says it all.
Kristen Bell on Parks and Recreation
The woman formerly known as Veronica Mars and who taught us to respect the undying cuteness of baby sloths guest-starred on Parks and Recreation this week, and while her character Ingrid didn't get as many LOL-worthy lines as we'd hoped, Bell fit right in with the rest of the cast. With Chris and Ann packing their bags soon (for Bloomington, it sounds like!), and Pawnee absorbing Eagleton now that Eagleton's Michael Buble retainer has bankrupted the city, it's just common sense that Parks makes Bell a series regular, right?
ABC's Tuesday comedies are off to a good start
It usually takes some time for comedies to really find their footing, but both The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife seem to be far ahead of the curve after just two episodes. Trophy Wife is poised to break out as the season's best new comedy thanks to a nice mix of real heart and slapstick comedy as well as some really game performances from Malin Akerman, Bradley Whitford, and Marcia Gay Harden. The Goldbergs pilot was VERY shouty, but Episode 2 dialed that down and the pointless '80s references back to find a more comfortable rhythm. Wendi McLendon-Covey is one of the better comedic actresses we have, and it's great to see her in such a prominent role.
In the smartest move of the young season to date, Fox has awarded Sleepy Hollow the privilege of being the first show to earn a renewal for a second season (if you had it in your Dead Pool, we're very sorry). But even smarter is that the network decided not to extend Sleepy Hollow's Season 1 episode order beyond the original 13. That's not only a sign that Fox is really committed to the event-style programming it's been blustering about for months, but a wise recognition that Sleepy Hollow will probably work better in short bursts of COMPLETE INSANITY.
The Vampire Diaries returns, is still amazing
It was an especially long summer, but the time apart made our hearts grow fonder: Welcome back, The Vampire Diaries! Season 5 kicked things off with as much whirlwind plotting and emotional complication as we've come to expect from a TVD premiere: Stefan's doppelganger! A college campus conspiracy! A possible gypsy-demon three-way! But the true pleasure came in simply seeing all our favorite monsters again. Everyone's looking great and nothing about the show feels tired yet. Plus, Human Katherine. The best, right? This show.
Survivor's Jeff Probst read quitter Colton the Riot Act
It should come as no surprise that all-time worst Survivor contestant and possible human garbage Colton Cumbie did NOT do well on his return visit to the island: This week he abruptly threw a fit and quit the game for no apparent reason. But what WAS surprising—and in a good way—was how Jeff Probst handled it. First Probst outright admitted that Colton had faked his illness the FIRST time he quit Survivor, and then he went on to shame Colton for having wasted everyone's time by even getting off the couch in the first place. Even though this was sliiiightly hypocritical of Probst, seeing as he's one one of Survivor's main bosses and presumably responsible for casting Colton at all, the entire exchange was undeniably satisfying for anyone who's found Colton to be a loathsome blight on Survivor's legacy. Go away forever, you awful, unfunny bigot.
The Good Wife returned with plenty of drama
One of TV's best dramas returned with a subdued but still interesting death row case, new tests for Peter, and most important of all, the beginning of the end of Alicia, Cary, and the other fourth-year associates' time at Lockhart/Gardner. The decision to draw out their departure is a better lesson in delayed gratification than anything concocted by Tom Hiddleston and Cookie Monster.
The Masters of Sex premiere was quite, uh, stimulating
We're looking forward to seeing where this one goes.
Miley Cyrus *did* stop
Regardless of your political leanings or how you feel about Miley herself, this is a doozy. (P.S. here's the original video for "We Can't Stop," just to make sure you get the full effect.)
Breaking Bad is gone forever, but it was one hell of a ride
Not everyone L-O-V-E loved the final episode of AMC's incredible drama, but no matter your opinion, no one is saying it ruined the series. We got answers, we got a reasonably happy ending, we got closure. Oh, and some crackpot theories that Walter White died in New Hampshire after failing to start that snowed-in car. But what's important is that we're walking away from Breaking Bad completely in awe of what it accomplished, the way it was constructed, the performances its actors gave, and the way it made us feel. Thank you Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Bob Odenkirk, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks, Michelle MacLaren, Peter Gould, Sam Catlin, the entire writing staff, Michael Slovis, and everyone else involved with the series. You guys are all awesome bitches.
Sons of Anarchy's brutal bloodbath
Three pretty regular characters (and one Whodat?) got fitted for caskets in this week's gory episode, and while we love SOA's ultra-violent tendencies, it's not clear whether their passing was for story, shock, or scheduling problems. Probably a mix of all three.
New Girl's Schmidt used to be fat and now his feelings don't work
Breaking up is hard to do—especially if you've never really had to do it before. We get that. But Schmidt's rationale for dual-dating Cece and Elizabeth seemed a bit over-simplified and, well, kind of *coughbullshitcough* when he pinned his problems on his formerly fluffy physique.
Glee's Rachel is the star of EVERYTHING, and don't you ever forget it
Glee's Season 5 premiere made a surprisingly insightful and rational move in implying that Rachel Berry did NOT win the part of Fanny Brice in the Funny Girl revival. You know, because people typically don't qualify to take center stage in a huge Broadway production just because they want to and everyone has told them that they're special and special and more special since they were a mere zygote in their surrogate's baby-sack. But this week's reneged on that smart decision to remind us that reality only applies to people who aren't Rachel on Glee.
Mom is going the pregnant teenager route
The pilot was actually kind of funny! Honest! But in Episode 2, the daughter got preggers, and three emotionally damaged moms is gonna be a crowd. Also, babies tend to ruin everything (on TV, that is.)
The new comedy train wreck of fall 2013
This week saw the premieres of several new comedies that almost killed us. We're used to freshman laughers comedies being bad, but the debuts of CBS's We Are Men and The Millers, NBC's Sean Saves the World and Welcome to the Family, and ABC's Super Fun Night have made this year's comedy crop one of the worst in years. Between the five of those shows, there were maybe three laughs... if someone also happened to be tickling you at the time.
David Tennant is going to star in the Fox adaptation of Broadchurch
Apparently David Tennant really wants to make it in America. He's agreed to star in the Fox adaptation of Broadchurch, the critically lauded BBC show he headlined across the pond—and which just finished airing here in the U.S. last week—while continuing to headline the U.K. version in Season 2. That's right, Tennant will appear in TWO Broadchurches at the same time, playing very similar (but not exactly the same) characters. He's experiencing the multi-verse theory for us all.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s ratings S.I.N.K.
Ratings aren't everything, particularly when they're (non-DVR-inclusive) overnights. But ABC certainly can't be thrilled that S.H.I.E.L.D. dropped big time in its second week, particularly because the competition didn't really changed. That means a whole lot of people decided the show wasn't for them after an admittedly just-fine pilot, and also that we're probably that much closer to Chris Hemsworth showing up in a November sweeps episode. Joss Whedon's "magical" TV touch might still be intact.
Hell on Wheels ends its third season with a Mormon marriage
So Cullen Bohannon escaped the hangman's noose once again, this
time by marrying the disreputable daughter of a Mormon homesteader! And
who more appropriate to officiate the ceremony than the Swede "Bishop
Dutson" himself. "Get Behind the Mule" functioned fine as a standalone hour, but
struggled to cap off Hell on Wheels' season-long theme of "personal growth versus
ambition," and set up more threads than it resolved. Considering the show has yet to be renewed (though Anson Mount feels very good about its chances),
the finale's roll call of characters in their various new positions
left a lot to be decided. Oh yeah, also Elam might have been killed by a
grizzly. Who knows?! #cliffhangers
NCIS's Ziva barely showed up to say goodbye
Was it too much to ask for Cote de Pablo to actually appear in her last two episodes after abruptly deciding to leave the show in July? In general, Ziva's exit left us feeling underwhelmed; sure, given what the writers had to work with, it was fine, and Tiva fans got to see a steamy kiss, but we expected more.
We don't even know who The Legend of Korra is these days
Between the lousy animation and the repetitive storytelling, we're flummoxed by Korra's descent in badness. We're hopeful that things turn around—it's always darkest before the dawn, after all—but our optimism only extends so far.
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week?