Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 3/15/15- 3/21/15

Anne's boobs

I have been anything but devoutly faithful about doing this article.  If anything it is probably one of the bigger regrets that I have about the site—not keeping up with this.  Well let’s see how quickly we can change that by going out and doing some writing on a weekly basis and posting things on this site again!  Woo internet things!

Good
Bob’s Burgers: Season 5, Episode 15

CHINCHILLA!

Where: Fox
When: 7:30 EST on Sundays
Why:
This episode had a chinchilla in it.  Not only did it have one, it basically revolved around the little guy.  Longtime fans of the site will not only know that I am a huge fan of the creatures, but I also own one and think he is just the best.  This episode also has a chinchilla, and while not nearly as central to the plot as it should have been, that was brought up almost entirely through the episode as the pivotal character it is almost worth letting slide– we all know it should have been 30 minute of a chin cam.  Who knows, maybe I am a little too fond of the concept of chinchillas and upset at their lack of presence in our society to fairly judge this episode.  On the other hand, no. I am not.

I love Bob’s Burgers, even when the show is bad it still manages to be just a little something for me to look forward to at the start of a week, like a smiling face beaming at me and reminding me that life isn’t always as terrible as I keep telling myself it is.  That said, this episode would have been wonderful if the show didn’t always seem so concerned about what was going on with the entire family during every single showing.  Take, say, this time; everything would have been perfectly fine if it had been mainly focused on the children/chinchilla escape escapades.  Instead we had a weird date that we got to watch Bob awkwardly screw up, and then save.  Thankfully there was a chinchilla.

Bad
The Flash: Season 1, Episode 15

Sadly this was the most interesting image I could find of the episode

Where: The CW
When: 8:00 PM EST on Tuesdays
Why:
I enjoy watching TV while I play video games.  There is a logic behind this that many people don’t really back me up on, understand, or think is “a good use of my time.”  My theory is that there are a ton of games that I like that there is nothing really but dead periods and repetitive actions over and over and over and over and over again, and while I enjoy those— in the same way that I am pretty sure that Pavlov’s dog loved getting that treat when he rang the stupid, delicious, bell—there is always the feeling that I kind of want the other half of my brain to be doing something that only ever requires less than the remaining portion.

Thankfully every show from the CW pretty much fully fits this bill, and The Flash just happens to be the most super hero, DC based, clearly marketed to the late teen early 20s demographic, one that I can stomach.  It is weird that the show will go from trying to explain away super villains and ultra science to the thin line of romance that must be walked when you are both a super hero AND painfully handsome.  It is odd that the moment that people are placed into a series of well-lit environments how they seem to lose so many of their interpersonal skills that most people developed around the same time that they were fumbling around in the dark at a party trying to make out with their middle school girlfriend.  Maybe that is why all sitcoms have people that just can’t seem to get together, they never had a dark enough area to let their pre-teen selves get all the angst out.

Good
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 2, Episode 13

Yeah, I get that

Where: ABC
When: 9:00 EST on Tuesdays
Why:
I think I know why people gamble.  The feeling and the rush that you get when you allow something really stupid to go on for entirely too long and it pays off in amazing and really undeservingly spectacular ways is rewarding.  Agents has been just that, borderline painfully terrible for a good chunk of the first season as you could watch it flounder around trying to find its weird fish/lizard legs while it learned to walk, now it is almost like a real show that you can proudly admit to your friends that you watch and pay attention to plotlines and everything—and not even do it sarcastically or because, you know, Marvel.

This season has even managed to be a double shocker as it started off twice as strong as the last season finished and continued to find ways to improve the show by following the less learned from last time of “people don’t like to watch boring things.”  They were even kind enough to, during the annoying mid-season break thing that all the cool shows are doing now, replace themselves with half a season of Agent Carter — which ended up being so much better than the show that it was emulating.  The worst part is that now that Carter is on break and we are back to watching S.H.I.E.L.D. I get to be reminded that, while still one of the better regular shows on TV, the show based in the 50s that is supposed to be the kid brother to it not only managed to get the actual stars (plural) to back to be main characters, they also managed to be way more watchable.

Bad
Workaholics: Season 5, Episode 10

Remember when I was in stuff?

Where: Comedy Central
When: 10:00 PM EST on Wednesdays
Why:
Workaholics is a show that grew on me in a way that I really wasn’t expecting.  At no point in my past can I look back and say when I started to enjoy it, mainly because I can’t ever seem to find an episode that I liked.  It is the sum of the episodes together that I found enjoyable, for some stupid “I enjoy watching bad movies,” kind of way.  It is the show that you watch and think was way funnier three days later when you are imagining it and your memory manages to insert better, funnier, handsomer actors into it.  It is basically every Jack Black movie that has ever been, which is odd because Nacho Libre himself had a part this season.

This episode was based around the concept of bar trivia, and mainly its focus on the 80s.  It also has to do with the repeated attempts for one member of the group to grow up and maintain a job where they do not have to constantly run scams to consume food between paychecks, but that is quickly forgotten because no one wants to deal with issues and adult thoughts.  Not only is it impressive how every single time the trio manage to hang onto their– what I am assuming are– below minimum wage job, but how Anders (Anders Holm) continually manages to brown noise just enough to land interview after interview for better jobs.  I am sure the formulaic nature of the show will never allow him to achieve that victory, but I guess one can always dream.

Best:
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2, Episode 19

You mean ice cream trucks can be fun AND murder?!

Where: Fox
When: 8:30 EST on Sundays
Why:
You know that show that you watch and snippets just keep popping in your head throughout the week making you smile?  For me that is Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  I picked up the show because one of my wife’s friends made a stupid remark about it being the funniest and smartest show that has ever been on TV (and we all know that is Community), and for some unknown reason I felt like I needed to prove her wrong by watching the entire first season in one sitting.  I think there was both logic and more to that plan, but it kind of fell apart pretty quickly as it managed to rocket up to Community levels of amazing in the first handful of episodes.  That super worries me because everyone knows we can’t have good things for long on Network TV.

The core concept is that you take an episodic cop show and make it star the guy from the “Dick in a Box” SNL skit.  I would love to say that there is more addition involved, but it is really just as simple as basically taking talented, funny people and allow them to be morons in front of a camera with lines written by funnier, more talented people who are probably less good in front of the camera.  That said, this is a terrible episode for anyone who is not already devoted to the show to jump in on; between the random in jokes and the plot this time revolving around a story arch that has been happening for the entire season (19 episodes), this is not the one to tell people that they should start with.  That said, it is a great pay off for those of us who may have picked this up around the start of the year and have been riding high as this season continued on. Also, I have learned that the first four hours of living in an ice cream truck are nothing but glamorous, even when kidnapped.

Worst:
Community: Season 6, Episode 1 (and 2)

That does look amazingly fun

Where: Yahoo! Screen
When: 8:00 PM on Tuesdays
Why:

Not only do I love Community, and feel that it is awesome that it has come back in any form at all, but am kind of super excited that these aren’t even bad episodes that are airing.  The problem with this episode(s) is that you can basically tell that the people that are left are the ones that are never going to leave the show, regardless of how little funding it is given or how few episodes they are allowed to make per season.  Core members of the cast have been picked off one by one due to being a complete and total ass (Chevy Chase) or because they managed to make a surprising second non-serious career suddenly worth mentioning on The Today Show (Donald Glover dancing around with a Grammy Nomination placard, I assume).

I understand that the show is quickly approaching the point where it has been on forever (even though many people have attempt to make that otherwise) and that normal people do tend to leave a job after half a decade for green pastures or simply because they are getting bored of people loving them for no reason.  That doesn’t mean that any of the episodes where a new character is introduced directly after can ever feel like they are anything less than forced, and even though Community managed it slightly better than most shows could have—it still feels they just want you to stop noticing that Smithers was once black.

Double Special Secret Worst:
Top Gear: Season None, Episode Not Airing

James May, the only person with something nice to say!

Where: Inside our hearts
When: Maybe always now
Why:

I have spoken of Top Gear before, at length.  It is a British show about cars and adult men who do some of the stupidest things that they can possibly manage to do with a car at any given time.  It is estimated, via the Top Gear wiki, that the show gets around 750 million viewers.  That basically means that one in ten people on the planet are watching the show.  There are tons of other stats that you could throw out, but it is pretty much easier to say that the show is unobtainablly huge and as such one of the hosts has gotten in enough trouble (for the second time this season[but after a long series of times in his life]) to get the show cancelled; even though there are episodes that have been filmed and are ready to go.

Jeremy Clarkson does stupid things, very often.  Things come out of his mouth on such a regular basis that it is mildly amazingly that he hasn’t managed to insult enough countries to cause a war.  At the start of this season he and the entire cast almost got lynched over a license plate on a car he was driving, directly after/before (I am unclear on the exact timing of it) that he was put on –what Americans would call—a final warning for using a racist slur.  Now he has managed to get the show pulled from the air while the BBC investigates an “incident” he was involved in, and by “incident” I mean that he punched a producer in the face for their not being any hot food at the ready when they showed up at a hotel.

Keep in mind that most of the information that is known, in anyway, about what happened is so third hand at this point that it is almost worthless; but this is what appears to have happened:  After doing some kind of event that required driving across England the three stars showed up at the hotel they would be staying at rather late at night, there was no food for them at all.  Clarkson lost his collective shit and went off on the producer that was responsible, it escalated, it is rumored he punched the guy.  All that aside I am happy to report that we do know for a fact that James May was black out drunk while the entire thing was happening.

Since I started writing this the BBC has decide to not renew Clarkson’s contract, meaning he is gone.  The problem then comes in that (James) May and (Richard) Hammond have repeatedly and publicly stated that they won’t do the show without him.  The thing is, that isn’t even really a bargaining chip for them; the man literally invented the show.  Top Gear was a thing before (Jeremy) Clarkson, kind of, but he changed the format, style, and everything about it in such a way that until last year he owned all those things–at which point he sold them off to the BBC for about 75 million dollars.  Make of that what you will.

Best and Worst of TV [LATE AGAIN]: 9/1/13 – 9/7/13

Yeah, I know.  This keeps getting later and later.  I should really look into that.  Breaking Bad is back though.  That should give us all something to look forward to!

Good
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

Seen here, most nights in my 20's

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I think that I could probably just leave this entire section blank, maybe put in a couple good pictures, and that would be enough said on why Always Sunny made the list.  It is one of the best shows on whenever it is on.  If it is a re-run and it is up against new episodes of current good shows it is a hard call at times. What started off as a tale of a handful of friends owning a bar and doing that terribly turned into something about the exploits of the worst people who have ever walked the face of the Earth who also have a fully stocked bar for some reason.  My only theory about how the cast continues to come up with worse and worse things for the cast involves drinking, Danny Devito, and farm animals—so pretty much the cast living the life of what they do in the show.

The episode is about Dee (Kaitlin Olson) becoming so depressed, seemingly by the fact that she spends all of her time in the bar with the aforementioned group, that she is rather close to losing the will to live.  The gangs’ response to this, of course, is to back her into going after her stand-up career –because when you hit rock bottom it is always good to be pushed at your failing dreams.  Strangely she seems to succeed at the task and starts to become a rising star in the local arena.  What has always kind of confused me about some of Dee’s problems with her comedy is that some of her jokes are normally pretty good, which makes it all the weirder when she encounters any form or resistance from anyone about them (save the normal vomiting continually on stage thing, which I get why you wouldn’t want to watch).

Bad
Burn Notice

If chins could run for office I would elect it awesome

Where: USA
When:  Thursdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
I went into this episode thinking, hoping, that it was the last one.  It turns out that it wasn’t.  Instead I was treated to a steady stream of miscommunications that would have made an 80’s sitcom raise an overly hairy, unkempt, eyebrow in suspicion. The show started off many years ago explaining how to be a super-secret awesome ninja lord on a budget that consisted of less than Macgyver’s expenditure on duct tape, it has since change drastically.  Probably around the time the characters—including villains— started randomly endorsing cars for no reason, inside the active show, was the same time that they were able to afford explosives and bullets.  Seriously, one season they managed to blow up Michael’s Mother’s (Sharon Gless) house with nothing more than electricity and chemicals found in Christmas lights, the show changed when they started having ready access to thermite.

So this season has been entirely about Michael (Jeffery Donovan) being less burned and more entirely on the books and actively working as a spy again, so we could totally call this (un)Burn Notice and have been slightly more accurate.  The flow of this arch has been to show that the CIA is using ever increasingly terrible tactics to get the bad guys, sort of painting them as the bad guys to begin with.  So at the end of the last episode when Michael finally turned for the group that he was trying to destroy you, as in the audience and I, were supposed to be understanding.  The problem with that is that there was the entire part where James (John Pyper-Ferguson) shoots one of his agents in cold blood because he failed to pull a crew member out of a burning building.  The guy lives by some weird warrior code that he decides on a whim, so it is kind of hard to call him a good guy or that the right side at any point.

Good
Futurama

Thanks, now that is all I want for a bed

Where: Comedy Central
When: Wednesday at 10:00 PM
Why:
Futurama is over.  This was the last episode.  If you have a heart that means something.  This happened before, for those of you who aren’t children or just going to high school or something like that, and some of you might even remember that episode had a theme not unlike this one—focusing on Fry (Billy West) and Leela (Katey Sagal) instead of the majority of the crew and anything interesting that could be going on for the rest of the future-wonderful world out there.  Granted, that first, aforementioned episode involved Fry trading hands with the Robot Devil and becoming the master at an instrument that is too complicated for our ancient brains to understand.

If I am being truthful here, dear readers, I should point out that I am mostly convinced that most of the enjoyment I experienced from this episode was knowing that it was simply the last one.  I think that it might have something to do with the arch of the show, starting with Fry being thrown to the future and meeting a woman who has no interest in him to being one of the sweeter episodes of a TV show about two people in love that I have seen.  Oddly I don’t even know if the majority of the show was something that I would consider “funny” or if it was just decent story telling by wrapping up the plot in the way that made the correct amount of nods to the fans who had stuck with them for the last 13 years.

Bad
The League

Full Douche: As seen here

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:30PM
Why:
The League isn’t a bad show, and this wasn’t really a terrible episode in a way that could be compared to something along the lines of Dual Survival or Sister Wives.  The problem with the show is that it has slowly started to reek of something that is past its prime, something that only plays on the laughs of people that once thought that it had a chance of being one of the better life eaters on TV.  Sadly that time passed roughly around the moment that I found out it was funny and not just annoying promos that FX used to make me hate it.  I don’t know if this is just a really long winded way of saying that I was kind of hoping that the group was just going to kick Roxin (Nick Kroll) out and replace him with someone that I may find mildly acceptable instead of perpetually unneeded.

Season Five starts off by reminding us that Roxin is still a terrible human and refrains from doing anything that he deems beneath him.  Since the rules of the fantasy football league is to punish the person who “played” the worst the season before, and since that was him, the viewers are treated to half an hour of him basically sitting in a chair screaming, “no!” in the same manner that a five year old, or honey boo-boo’s mom, attempts to not eat her vegetables.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that the only reason most the cast is even involved at this point is so they can meet and hang out with random football stars and pretend to have an excuse to do so.

Best:
Breaking Bad

This show can make eating cereal tense

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 9:00 PM
Why:
Always Sunny made my friends and I want to buy a bar.  Weeds made my friends and I want to sell… well weeds.  At no point in time during the show does Breaking Bad make any rational person stop and say, “You know what a great idea would be?  We should cook meth in this here apartment.”  I imagine that all of my teeth would fall out and most of my hair would mange just from saying that sentence. Oddly this show probably manages to glam up the meth trade in what would favorably be called an idolized light, as the most realistic look at the production of the product is given in the first episode where they were brewing in a rented house that basically managed to lower the property value of an entire state.

My wife walked in during one of the more recent episodes after having not seen the show for the last several years, and having dropped it because it is nothing if not profusely violent in every regard, and managed to sit down and not speak for a good 10 minutes.  She had no idea what was going on, and there wasn’t really any dialog the entire time.  None of that matter, she sat quietly and watched the TV like it was showing her deep secrets that had been hidden for some time, my only hope was that they weren’t telling her how to slay me.  She only left after I kicked her out because she started asking questions that had so many layers of answers that it would be quicker for her to watch the show than for me to explain.

Worst:
Amish Mafia

Because most 12 year old looking men run mafia style gangs

Where: Discovery Channel
When: Tuesdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
When I turn to the Discovery Channel I will randomly hold out hope that I might be able to learn something before either changing to anything else or wondering why my television is connected to cable again; learning about something like about the depths of the ocean, or what time travel might do to the human body—at the very least something interesting.  What I don’t expect when I turn to the channel is that I am going to be lied to.  The first episode of this season there was a tirade by one of the “actors” about how all dolls with faces are really just vessels for demons to come, and I guess, spy on you while you sleep. That is supposedly why Amish dolls don’t have faces.  That is false. She scored a 0 on the Amish quiz today. The correct answer is, “because we are all created the same in Gods eyes,” and I think something about pride.  Granted, I am sure that the producer decide her rant was simply too good to not include due to it being equal parts sort of racist and dumb, but it seems an odd thing to include on an channel that—I assume—was founded on the belief of education through shark week.

Speaking of the racism aspect, it is really bad that most of the time the show goes out of its way to depict an entire swath of people as gullible, incapable, and refusing to change.  None of these things are true at all.  The first being that “English,” (ie you and I) take constant advantage of them and they don’t know how to read a contract at all.  Somehow this show manages to use this concept, and their lack of technology, as a way to paint them as something between taking the slowest bus to school and believing that witchcraft is not only real but attained by rubbing your feet really fast on the carpet and then touching your sibling.  If there was a through thread of the series I have yet to spot it.  I can tell you that these are “based on true stories” the same way that most alien abductions aren’t based on a weird dream from one night and not so subtle cries for help.  Also that was sarcasm.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 8/4/13-8/10/13 (late)

Not included because it made me sad

Late.  Really sorry about that.

Good
Falling Skies: Season 3, Episode 10

Sort of how the show makes you feel

Where: TNT
When: Sundays at 10:oo PM
Why:
It is kind of hard for me to talk about Falling Skies in a positive way and not make it sound like the most over-written, heavy handed, empty gestured show that is on TV at the moment.  In many ways it can kind of feel like that, but in the same instance it is impossible for this to not be a guilty pleasure of sorts.  When the rest of the networks are busy trying to have reality TV and make me notice how sexy and good looking their forgettable spies are, Falling Skies is there to remind me that it is totally cool if we just want to hang out and pretend that aliens invaded Earth for a while.  It reassures me that it would probably really suck and I am kind of lucky that I don’t have to put up with that.

This is the last episode of the season, and as such it makes a passing attempt to conclude some of the conflicts that it started, but if I am going to be honest this entire season seemed more like a show that openly renewed for a fourth season when they had only written enough content for the third.  The best part of the most recent episodes was when Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) had flashbacks of before the world ended and two of his three children looked passingly the same and the youngest, Matt (Maxim Knight), clearly was about four years older in the “flashbacks” then he was in the intro to the episode.  If I am going to be honest nothing happened this season besides a child being born with a terrible excuse for why it was suddenly seven years old—and no explanation at all for why it had Jesus like powers.

Bad
Pawn Stars: Season 7, Episode 18

This isn't even Top Gear

Where: History Channel
When: Thursdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
I have, honestly, spent the last couple of months trying to explain to friends why I think that this show is a good “get” for the History Channel. It is hard to make 1920’s fly fishing equipment interesting for any length of time outside of five minutes, and that is allowing for someone who is attempting to sell it for a price that is double its worth while two over weight men try not to laugh in his face.  Instead we are given the acting talent that would fit in with an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo while each one of the employees at the show tries to out character act each other, also that character appears to have the emotional range of the blob from The Blob.  At this point I am only happen when they call in an expert because those people normally seem like the ones that are least interested in reading off of a script and more about promoting both the business they run and how much they know about antique arms and armor.

There was a small story arch that occurred between a couple of episodes, with Rick picking up a car from one of his heroes (Steve McQueen) and then being forced to sell it.  It was kind of interesting as I watched both of those episodes back to back, even though I am pretty sure they were originally aired a week apart, and in one of them there was the forced acting that I hated when the “Old Man” (Richard Harrison 1st) kept acting like he cared either way if his son kept or sold the car.  The highlight, and pretty much best thing that has happened on the show in years, occurred when they went to the auction to sell the car and both Rick and Corey (the son) sort of ended up losing their minds at some of the amazing classic cars just kicking around—no acting, just awkward interactions with people who sweat too much and fidget a ton when they haven’t delivered the same line ten times in a row to a camera.

Good
Impractical Jokers: Season 2, Episode 17

Granted, that is my answer when anyone tries to hug me

Where: TruTV
When: Thursdays at 10:00PM
Why:
The concept is a hidden camera show with four people who are, in reality, friends trying to get one of the other guys to do the most insane and embarrassing thing in public.  Basically Candid Camera, but instead of trying to have random people react poorly to having a tank drive over their car they are trying to get their friend to ask a stranger if he would hug him in forgiveness for eating four pounds of pork while staring at his face.  It is basically like someone had given a bunch of college guys money to continue goofing on each other in lieu of never becoming functioning members of the tax base.  It is great that the cast really does know each other so well, as the pranks are starting to become kind of deeply personal and uncomfortable for the “jokers” to do, randomly involving close family members, which just makes it that much more amazing to watch.

Truth be told I only ever started watching the show because one of the actors (Brian Quinn) is on a podcast that I really like and kept going on about how the comedy troupe he was part of had gotten their own TV show.  I didn’t even know that he did standup comedy, let alone that anyone thought he was funny enough to be allowed near a camera; I am glad that I started watching though as the show is quickly becoming about revenge from pranks that were pulled on episodes years ago and they are nothing if not well thought out and amazing.  They are the kind of thing that you would only be able to really know to do to someone if you spent vast amounts of free time hanging out with them.

Bad
Burn Notice: Season 7, Episode 9

Oh! You have never done this before! Yeah, you are totally in charge

Where: USA
When:  Thursdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
Mike Weston (Jeffery Donovan) used to be a spy until there was a burn notice on him and he was black listed.  It is hard to hate a show that starts with a line that manages to resonate with fans stronger than almost anything that was said in any of the Star Wars movies, yet after seven years of continuously being on the air Burn Notice has managed to make those words feel more like someone being introduced to the Price is Right than Darth Vader relieving the parentage that would rock a generation to the core.  While writing this I kind of came to terms with the fact that, if, the viewers had a child when this show started airing that child would be more concerned with how badly they were going to be bullied in high school then they would clearly remember their first day in school ever again.

I would love to enjoy this show as much as I did even two years ago, but it less trying to show me what happens to James Bond when he retires and more trying to show me what he does when he wants to drag all of his normal life friends into his insane spy life; thanks, I am pretty sure that the Borne movies have that pretty well wrapped up.  The group is forcefully introduced to a new player Ben (David Meunier) who from the onset is described as this “being his first live field assignment”.  I don’t know about the rest of the world, but if someone asks me to castrate a dog I am probably going to freak out and do it poorly and wrong.  Sure, I am aware of the basics of how that works but I don’t really know that I would trust me with the moment to moment operational supervision of blood in that situation.

Best:
Top Gear: Season 20, Episode 6

I guess... Spoiler?

Where: BBC
When: Sundays at 20:00 GMT
Why:
Regardless of what people think I pretty much write this article every week, it just never gets done on time or gets half done before work starts to get busy leading up to the weekend/I start drinking a ton at night. All of those lost articles, that I still have somewhere, contain mention of this season of Top Gear.  It wasn’t just a pretty good run of episodes, it was one of the best that I have seen.  Most series they straddle the line between being a hardcore automotive show and irrelevant show about blowing stuff up and making things that work so poorly it is a wonder that man ever climbed down from the trees with their hands attached.  Years ago it seemed that you would either get all adventure/invention or all “look at the new voxel beetle airfoil!” with very little overlap.  This season mixed the two in a manner that feels like people who have achieved the mastery of their art, and I sort of hate them for that.

There really wasn’t anything that special about this episode, for most of it.  There was even this heartwarming part at the end where the three guys Richard (Hammond), Jeremy (Clarkson), and James (May) went around England showing off all the things that the country makes and why it is still and industrial powerhouse.  It was hockey and probably the kind of thing that if I lived in that country I would have either loved twice as much or hated thirty times as much.  There were some funny parts in the section/skit, but in truth the best came from Richard.  When they were driving to the meet-up where everyone who makes someone in Britain was to gather and show up the product, he turned the corner to the street and all expression left it, “There are quite a bit more than I thought” was all he said.  It was an honest moment, and it was hysterical.  It pretty much said everything that needed to be said in that one moment.

Worst:
Paranormal Witness: Season 3, Episode 9

BTW, they admit this part never happened

Where: SYFY
When: Wednesdays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I watch this show because it is about all of the “Scary” that my wife can handle in her day to day; which is to say not at all.  Normally watching this show consists of my wife listening to people talk about how they saw three weird things happen in their house, assumed it was a ghost, then allowed a producer and special effects artist change their –once probably easily explained—story and turn it into 23 minutes of lies with commercials bookending it.  This episode was literally about a family that was held captive inside their own comfortable house by, maybe, rabid dogs for the latter part of one night.  They later tried to claim they were werewolves.

At the very least most of the episodes of the show involve people who seem like they might have been legitimately scared by some of the things that were happening around them, I was kind of hoping for the death of every single person in this episode.  The events that transpired took place over the course of a single night and was resolved by the family going to bed.  There was seriously a member of the family that slept through the entire thing, if that can be said about an event it really can’t have been that major or impactful. That isn’t a crisis that is a child who is having abandonment issues.  Sure, the creatures prevented the father from getting to his car to drive away and… I don’t know, get milk or something at midnight.  If they are going to start doing shows on mild inconveniences I am sure they could do a season on me not wanting to stand up and get myself another beer, it is kind of just as intimidating.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 6/23/13 – 6/29/13 (Late)

Although cigar jerk is kind of a funny name

Because of last week’s holiday causing a lack of new shows and my general attempt to drink through most of the week there was no article.  I will talk about the shows from the week before, because I feel like I should start doing this article again and that this is a dead time to fill with TV talk.

Good
Venture Brothers: Season 5: Episode 4

When was the last time you saw him smile, ever

Where: Adult Swim/Cartoon Network
When: Sundays at Midnight
Why:
Sometimes years go by without an episode of The Venture Brothers seeing the light of day, those are dark times for man.  2013, despite what the Mayans seemed to have thought, has proven to be a good time for everyone due to the return of the series.  The main theme of the show is failure, and in many ways it is hard to argue.  I love the flash backs to Rusty’s (James Urbaniak) old days as a child when everything was supposed to be perfect and work out to be wonderfully for an older him, only to end up being pretty much the same only more dilapidated and less adventure heavy.  It is almost like the show wants to always remind us that it isn’t just us that failed, the world failed us as well—which is good because I do like blaming others.

Speaking of the aforementioned younger Rusty, this episode took place on a Greek island where he was once treated to Spanakopita—not the pie food thing but instead a local festival that serves to both rob tourists of their money and distract young people from the fact that they were accidentally kidnapped.  Considering that the finer points of describing a Venture Brothers plot is more like talking about a fever dream than it is writing something up I will forgo pretty much the rest here.  For serious though, go out of your way and watch this entire series up until this point.  It is amazing.

Bad
Futurama: Season 7: Episode 16

Because it is poop in his mouth, get it?!?

Where: Comedy Central
When: Wednesdays at 10 PM
Why:
This is the last season of a cult classic.  That announcement was made about a month before this season started airing, they promoted this season as such. They did everything besides directly saying that every stop would be pulled out, thrown away, forgotten about, and higher scores of people for some of the best script writing that mankind has ever seen.  This should have made, “Into the Wild Green Yonder” look like a pile of vomit that vomits Kardashians.  If there was ever a season that you make people regret a show ending it the one that is announced months before hand that it is over, the one that you take all of the scripts that you never used for various reasons that make better and put on the air.  So far this seasons high points have been math jokes.

Lrrr (Maurice LaMarche) takes his child on a trip to take over Earth to earn a merit badge, because I guess that is a thing that happens in 1000 years.  This, of course results in the TV being cut off from the planet and Fry (Billy West) being stranded there.  I could sum this entire episode up perfectly when I say that the best joke involves Fry being unable to stop eating rainbow colored poop; because it isn’t a Mad Lib quality episode of this show without Fry being unable to stop eating something disgusting.  It isn’t even like I am angry at Futurama, I am just really all kinds of disappointed.

Good
Falling Skies: Season 3: Episode 4

Something exciting.  I don't know.  This show is hard to talk about

Where: TNT
When: Sundays at 10 PM
Why:
There really aren’t that many good science fiction television shows out there anymore.  Sure, you could come up with a list as long as my arm of shows that certain terribly named channels will try and run from time to time—some with even a mild degree of success.  The problem is that most of those shows end up not being that wonderful, were only ever thought of as a mini-series, or were put together by less than experienced show runners that simply don’t know how to hold the connective tissue together.  Falling Skies has thus far managed to avoid all of these pit falls, even if there are random pacing issues towards the middle of most seasons.

You know when a new season of a very plot driven show starts and you feel like you missed a couple huge pivotal points of information; that is basically what is happening this season.  There is rumors going around about a mole inside of the human resistance fighters, and it is looking more and more like it is Hal (Drew Roy) being controlled by the alien invaders.  My problem with that is that he is sort of aware that this kind of thing might happen, with most other people, so instead of turning himself in and dealing with it in a timely and effective manner he decides to just let it go to such a point that he clearly loses control over it.  That is like someone being too busy eating ice cream to get a heart transplant due to excessive ice cream eating.

Bad
Burn Notice: Season 7: Episode 4

He used to be a spy, until....

Where: USA
When: Thursdays at 9 PM
Why:
Burn Notice is the story of James Bond having all of his special toys taken away and being forced to out MacGyver MacGyver.  The show is on basic cable so Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) has a problem killing people and a heart plated in some kind of magical spy gold; it also has been running for seven years and is very quickly starting to run out of ideas of what to do to push things forward regarding plot.  The show is called Burn Notice but I am pretty sure that the cast of characters has already gone through the process of either killing for destroying every organization responsible, as well as the businesses backing them, for Michael’s burning, and several other secret-er spy type networks backing  everything to begin with.   It has gotten to the point that I really don’t have any idea why anyone is mad at anyone anymore aside from I guess everyone being an active spy again, so… kind of nothing has happened.

This season started with Michael going in for a “deep cover” operation and has proceeded to be the slowest and possibly least interesting series of four episodes I have seen since the show started.  I get that the entire theory for this arch is to take the crew and place them out of their comfort zone while working with people who make that discomfort look like they were getting a Hand Jibber from super models at the beach.  That was a great idea, for two episode that wrapped up quickly at the start of the third.  This is now approaching a fifth with both no end in sight and a promise of even more to be boringly revealed at a leisurely pace that seems like this could have been a special “movie” episode instead of an entire last season.  If it wasn’t for Bruce Campbell (playing Sam Axe) I don’t even know why I would be watching, aside from the fact that I have this thing in my head that tells me I need to finish TV series.

Best:
Mad Men: Season 6: Episode 13

Don Draper rule #80, always leave everyone in the board room confused and angry

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 10 PM
Why:
I was thinking about doing an article on this season Mad Men, and truth be told I still might.  I think that as a whole it might have been one of the most well-constructed examples of writing that has hit the small screen in a really long time.  I don’t know if I can really stress enough just how wonderful it feels to come home from work and go into a fictional land where every single person is as completely and utterly screwed up as a real human, and I can forget about all the failures of life and just judge other people for being completely terrible while I don’t blame myself because I am totally not cheating on my wife at all.

The season has kind of been leading to this road of destruction as Don (Jon Hamm) has taken his agency down a road of success but pretty much driven his personal life into a ditch, lit it on fire, then walked away in slow motion while continuing to have affairs with other people’s wives. Honestly, if half the stuff he did wasn’t so completely slimy and terribly I would want to start a slow clap for him getting away with it for so long.  The season pretty much ended with Don’s very public, very messed up, very terrible and awful break down in front of a rather huge client.  The only complaint about this episode that could really be leveled against it is that the show has been running for six years and I am pretty sure that people were just expecting this to happen roughly eight years ago.

Worst:
Paranormal Witness: Season 3: Episode 4

Not sure if lying or wrong subs

Where: SYFY
When: Wednesdays at 10 PM
Why:
Every single sane person in the world has a ghost story.  Half of them are things that could probably have been easily explained if the person hadn’t been scared to death, half asleep, or both at the time of the event.  Of the remaining half most of them aren’t worth telling.  That leaves you with a handful of tales that are legitimately spooky when told correctly.  Most of those happened in the first season.  At this point the show has just started taking the spooky stories and hoping that people can’t read between the lines too much.  One episode this season a woman claimed that the devil appeared in front of her.  Not a devil, The Devil.  That is a lie.  This show also doesn’t have very good special effects. It was hysterical.

This week’s episode quickly fell from “that is kind of weird and spooky,” to “that just didn’t happen”, basically meaning that while it was one of the better episodes it was still the worst episode of the week.  It was about a haunted restaurant with scores of employees, most of whom did not natively speak English.  Now I am not saying that the people from Mexico lied about the sightings or anything, but the owners of the establishment seemed to have much more believable sightings and “oddities” than the Spanish speakers who claimed to have a poltergeist repeatedly try to kill them.  I am not saying that the staff members made that stuff up, but since I don’t understand a word that the people they are interviewing are saying and the resolution of the problem came down to using a “local psychic” I am going to learn more towards attempt at odd local ghost attraction and the producers lying.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: March 17th – March 23rd

I recently started a new job, which means that I have a lot less free time to spend on doing things like updating the site and watching terrible shows that I kind of don’t have any interest in anymore.  That said, besides not watching the newest episodes of Once or The Walking Dead my viewing habits haven’t really changed that much.  Oh well, onto talking about this week in TV:

Bad:

Dual Survival: Season 3, Episode 11
Where:
Discovery Channel
When: Friday at 10 PM
Why:
I feel like doing that every time I watch this show.

They get lost like four times and neither one of them really said anything about it.  Also I think that they have been working together long enough that they have built some form of trust, which entirely defeats why I started watching this show in the first place.  At one point they were entirely unable to light a fire and had to stay awake all night to not freeze to death, in the first season that would have resulted in a two hour fight and then the rest of the show each of them taking turns and telling the camera passive aggressive things about the other person like a middle aged unhappily married couple.  If they aren’t going to make an effort to slowly pick apart why they hate the other person and only learn to work together I don’t even know why I am watching this anymore. If I wanted to watch someone boringly make their way out of danger with no resources I go on YouTube and watch dialog only slightly more forced than anything here.

Although this episode was not without its share of amazing moments: when they finally did find “rescue” in the form of finding their way to a major road the first people that they met flipped them off and sped away.  Granted they were not run over, even though that is clearly the only reason that anyone should ever drive a truck with tires like that (that or destroying smaller, weaker cars), but it was amazing enough for this to not hit this week’s worst spot.

Good:

Shameless: Season 3, Episode 9
Where:
Showtime
When:
Sundays at 9 PM
Why:
Yeah, he gets a BJ from a Drag Queen.  That happens

Shameless seems to be based off the worst family in the worst section of the United States, which is kind of funny because it is also based off a British made award winning show to begin with.  At times it is hard to watch due to the insane brutality of just plain terrible situations, although it seems to make up for that with the copious amounts of nudity spread throughout most episodes.    It doesn’t really matter though, because in all honesty it makes me feel way better about my upbringing.  Oddly all my parents seemed to have to do is not be highly addicted to drugs and alcohol while attempting to use me to extort money from, well, everyone.

Frank (William H. Macy) decides that since he is leeching off of someone, instead of getting a job and earning his own way in life, he is entitled to domestic partnership because I think that he believes that is what constitutes a healthy, normal, relationship.  After being denied because, you know, he doesn’t have any proof for anything that he is claiming besides an increasing angry yell he stumbles through a political rally and manages to berate the future mayor enough to become a YouTube celebrity, which might be the first time that someone did something stupid and became famous without the help of auto-tuning.  His rambling is so ambiguous and, strangely, well-spoken that he becomes a hero in the Gay community.  Keep in mind this is the same person that tried to get an autographed football to sell for drugs by telling the make a wish people that his son was dying of cancer; also he convinced his kid of this too just to make sure it was believable.

Best:

Workaholics: Season 3, Episode 20
Where: Comedy Central
When:  Wednesday at 10 PM
Why:
A spike maced thing comes out of his but.  I thought I would spare you all from that.

Tom Green.  I am always impressed when I find out that he isn’t dead.  I don’t know why I thought that he wasn’t living anymore but I guess there is just this thing in my head that goes off when someone who was once stupidly famous (or famous for stupid reasons) drops out of the spotlight enough that you have to search to see what they are up to and just assumes that they are dead or a zombie. It is almost like this show took that into consideration with their use of him as you only hear his voice for the majority of the episode, and when he does appear it is as a soulless robot not in control of himself, also he has laser arm swords.

The episode is about robots becoming entirely too smart and finally taking over, something that anyone who reads the site will know that Stark and I worry about constantly.  This episode takes place in the future where robots are allowed to make all telemarketing calls and only require humans to close sales out when a customer is resistant.  The odd thing is that reading that sentence over kind of makes me feel like this is already happening because I have robots calling me constantly about my student loans.  Wait, did we fight the war, lose, and become forced to forget about our freedom?

Damn You Skynet!

Worst:

Family Guy: Season 11, Episode 15
Where:  Fox
When:  Sunday’s at 9 PM
Why: Take your worst, most racist thought at this moemnt.  This episode was 10 times worse.

I don’t know that Family Guy has ever been in your face entirely offensively racist before, but this episode takes away my right to ever say that again.  Remember a couple of years ago when 24 was being singled out for having every bad guy in the series be middle-eastern?  I guess that since they were forced to clean up their act Fox thought that at the very least one of the shows on needed to make everyone aware that they still blamed an entire people for all acts of terrorism everywhere, always.

Peter becomes Islamic because someone tells his wife to do something and she doesn’t argue.  Ignoring the fact that Louis is not also converting, that this is probably one of the more offensive stories they have ever done, and also the fact that they clearly did 0 research while writing this episode it seems that this story was going to happen anyway. The best part is that this joke, and plot device, is instantly forgotten about the moment that it is made.  Claiming that this was 23 minutes of stereotypes would be giving it credit because that would almost seem like they attempted to tie things together instead of just lump a bunch of hate speech hidden behind diarrhea jokes.  One minute Peter is establishing himself in the community, the next he is planning on blowing up a bridge.  Also there is never any reason given for the terrorist plot besides, “because”.