Welcome to Super Bowl weekend! You can tell it's time for the Super Bowl because a bunch of loud, lazy people are momentarily rising from the people-shaped dents in their couches and to eat chicken wings, drink too much beer, and yell at the TV. Of course, here at TV.com, we just call that Monday; Tuesdays are for tacos (obviously), and on Wednesdays we eat pizza. Thursdays are also for tacos (when AREN'T tacos delicious?), and on Fridays we like to go all out at the Chinese buffet down the street. What we're trying to say is, we believe in upholding traditions, and what better tradition is there than coming together at the end of each week to talk about everything we loved and hated on TV? Fix yourself a plate of your favorite Saturday-night food (ours is tater tots), hit mute during Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime show, and let's begin!
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes (of The Americans, Parenthood, Helix, Banshee, etc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do.
Gotham sends Fish packing
We know it's only temporary, but there's something exciting about the prospect of a week or two of Fish-free broadcasting. Gotham has worked hard to improve its stories since its lackluster debut, and the elements that are good are REALLY good and the ones that aren't have been conspicuously absent in recent episodes—or at the very least very much reduced. *cough* BARBARA *cough* Here's hoping for a revamped Fish Mooney when she inevitably flops back into town.
FX's drama is known for its colorful country characters, and this week we met a dunce named Choo-Choo, an enormous goon whose name is meant to embody the fact that when he hits you, it comes fast and hard. But there's more to Choo-Choo's handle than his size: The guy's about as smart as a locomotive, too, so watching a frustrated Raylan try to have a conversation with him was an early season highlight.
Ezra shocks the world with newfound maturity on Pretty Little Liars
Okay, so we have to give Ezra some credit for reading the truth bombs Aria left on the page and not flying into a tantrum like a spoiled kid in a toy store, which is what we were expecting. When he had a talk with Aria about how they should break up so she could grow, our first inclination was to assume this was coming from a place of pettiness and passive-aggression. And perhaps it is a new way to torture Aria now that his peeping game had been discovered? But for now, can we give Ezra the benefit of the doubt and believe he has no other motives other than Aria's long-term happiness? Wait, nevermind. We can't buy it. There's got to be something else going on. Is A involved? We're still stunned by the idea that Ezra is taking the high road here.
Parks and Rec treats us to one more round of Treat Yo'self
From where we sit, 2017 is looking better and better. Elbow bedazzling? Sushi restaurants where all the fish were previously owned by celebrities? Hitch 2: Son of a Hitch? SIGN. US. UP. (For everything except the admittedly hilarious Gryzzl data-mining, of course.)
Sirens returns with two excellent, hilarious, dirty, and weird episodes
Between Johnny obsessing over a man he saved, Billy confusing roux for kangaroo (and dating Theresa's sister!), and Brian winning prom king, Sirens started its second season stronger than ever. Long live Superdick!
The 100 splits up, gets even better
The 100 separated its characters into several unexpected pairings in Wednesday's "Survival of the Fittest," which led to some excellent moments. But while Clarke and Lexa were fighting off a wild gorilla, Jaha was recruiting Murphy for his quest to find the City of Light, Octavia was proving herself to Indra, and Lincoln was busy breaking our hearts. First it was the story about how his father made him kill a man he'd been trying to save for three days; then, as if that wasn't bad enough, he fell back into the clutches of the Mountain Men and the red drug that turns men into reapers. The look on his face as he gave in just about crushed us.
The Americans' Season 3 premiere plays it cool
Much like an incognito agent, FX's unparalleled spy drama kept things low-key on the surface, exchanging ZOMG! occurrences for simmering table-setting and character catch-up. However, the hour still combined humor, heaviness, and "holy cow" moments, with Stan attending EST meetings, Martha pulling Clark into some Hindu lovemaking, and Elizabeth breaking the FBI's nose in a close call and learning that her mother is dying from cancer, all while struggling to connect with her own distant daughter. Elsewhere, Nina's fate is still up in the air, but we're hoping the mere mention of her means there are better days ahead for Moscow's favorite femme fatale.
"You will always be my friend": Elementary sends Kitty off in a very fine way
After bungling its more serialized arcs in Season 2, Elementary has used its third season to demonstrate what it learned learned from those mistakes. The show applied the sponsor-sponsee roles of drug recovery to Kitty and Sherlock coming to terms with their personal demons, with the former as a survivor of sexual abuse and the latter as an addict. Each one saved the other from traveling down a darker path; he prevented her from acquiring "the stain of a murderer" and she (unknowingly) stopped him from using that packet of heroin during a very low point in England. Thematically it worked wonders, but emotionally, it yielded powerhouse stuff from both Jonny Lee Miller and Ophelia Lovibond, as Sherlock talked Kitty out of killing her attacker and then Kitty made her telephoned farewell. Excellent work all around.
Parenthood leaves us with all the feels and no more tissues
You knew that Parenthood wouldn't let you skate through the series finale without bawling, and it really did a number on the ol' tear ducts, throwing in everything from more babies to the death of a patriarch to the awkward, feelings-deprived teenage boy maybe getting the/a girl. Though we'd expected for a while that Zeek would shuffle off this mortal coil, the moment when he did was still heartfelt, heartbreaking, and even heartwarming, as the Bravermans came together in a display of family chemistry we all long for. Meanwhile, the wedding was perfect, as were the glimpses into the future lives of our favorite characters. We hope everyone kept their electrolytes handy, so as not to dehydrate due to loss of water through the eyes.
Scandal returns with a draining, Olivia-focused hour
The centerpiece of ABC's #TGIT programming block delivered a wonderful first episode of the year on Thursday, as Olivia's kidnapping gave Shonda Rhimes & Co. an opportunity to try something different with the show's storytelling and direction. Kerry Washington turned in one of her best performances ever, and Jason Butler Harner did what he does best (provide an extremely unsettling, creepy presence), to help sustain Season 4's hot streak.
Fortitude goes for a unique setting to spruce up its small-town murder mystery
As police procedurals become increasingly commonplace—even MTV has one now, with Eye Candy!—location has become increasingly important with regard to differentiating one crime drama from the next. Enter the Stanley Tucci-starring Fortitude, produced by Skye Atlantic and now airing on Pivot in the U.S., which features an icy setting in a teeny tiny town that's more concerned about polar bears than it is about murders. The series takes place in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, whose isolated atmosphere, snowy landscape, and messy political status provide a range of different dangers, both physical and psychological. Even better, the show's victim isn't a woman or a child. It's startling how refreshing a dead man is, hey, at least it feels new-ish.
Helix brings back its crazy Japanese scientist
You didn't really believe Syfy's exercise in absurdity could return for Season 2 without its best character, did you? (Okay, we did.) But the writers found a way to bring Dr. Hatake back, and he's a real sight to be seen, sporting long hair and suffering hallucinations. We don't know why he's back, what he's doing alone on an island, or if he'll be around for long, but who cares? He's back!
The truth is out on Banshee
Another week, another awesome episode of Banshee. After last week's violent hour, "Real Life Is the Nightmare" made a great effort to dive into Hood's increasingly damaged psyche in the aftermath of Siobhan learning his secret. But, this being Banshee, the aptly titled episode of course ended with a bloody Proctor in a jail cell and the deadly Redbones ready to take down the entire Sheriff's Department.
Key & Peele's East/West Bowl is back!
In celebration of the Super Bowl, the Comedy Central duo filmed an hour-long pigskin-themed special, and boy was it fun... and appropriately weird, thanks to a crazy futuristic ending. But before Enos the Cleetus-esque robot became self-aware and named Allison Janney the queen of Earth, the guys treated us to another rendition of their classic East/West Bowl, featuring a new roster of made-up monikers alongside some real ones, too. Shout-out to Takittothu' Limit, Quisperny G'Dunzoid Sr., J.R. Junior Juniors Jr., Strunk Flugget, and A.A. Ron Rodgers (the latter of whom was played by the similarly named Green Bay quarterback himself)!
Galavant sails away into... a cliffhanger?!
Don't get us wrong, we thoroughly enjoyed ABC's month-long musical lark and would love to see the network renew it for a second season, but we still wish the finale had tied things up a little more cleanly.
The Bachelor's Ashley I. has a solo princess moment
The Kardashian wannabe—who happens to be a virgin, btw, in case you didn't hear her repeat it a million times—didn't get picked for a one-on-one Cinderella-themed date with lipless Chris. But she dressed up as a princess anyway and ate corn on the cob while sipping on Chardonnay and sitting alone in the living room. That's right, girl, don't let anyone take your royal heiny-ness away from you. However, you could probably learn a thing or two from the super-weird (and super-awesome) Ashley S. who was sent home this week, much to our dismay. The show won't be the same without her, but damn if that wasn't one of the best exits in the history of the Bachelor/ette franchise.
The Great Unbundling continues as Nickelodeon announces a standalone streaming service
We're still not sure what the television landscape will look like in 12 to 18 months, but we do know that more and more networks are bound to branch out from our collective cable overlords. Following in the footsteps of HBO and CBS, Nickelodeon has announced subscription-streaming plans of its own, opening up the cord-cutting potential to an important, but often less discussed market: kids.
Black Mirror might be remade for American audiences
Come on, is absolutely nothing sacred?
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? The SAG Award winners? Agent Carter? The return of Suits? Black Canary on Arrow? Terminator Barry on Archer? Reign's queenly shovel murder? Sue Sylvester's return to evil greatness on Glee? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!