Happy Thanksgiving, people who celebrate, and Happy Thursday, people who don’t! Even at the best of times, this is a fundamentally weird and kind of screwy holiday in America, and clearly, this is hell and gone from the best of times. But I do have a fondness for Turkey Day, partially because I was born on it (no happy birthday wishes, folks, it’s not actually my birthday yet) and partially because I’m just a big fan of stuffing and mashed potatoes. Also, I kind of like the idea of taking a holiday to list the stuff you’re grateful for, even if it’s just the little, supposedly insignificant stuff that helps you move forward through the day.
And with that in mind, I present a new list . . .
DISCLAIMER: Tread carefully friends, for there will be ALL kinds of SPOILERS listed for both summer and ongoing fall shows. Specifically, read at your own peril if you’re behind on The Flash, How To Get Away With Murder, Westworld, Luke Cage, The Walking Dead, and Legends of Tomorrow. Game of Thrones, too, I guess, although you’d have to be pretty far behind for my one off-the-cuff reference to shock you.
7 Things I’m Grateful For This 2016 TV Season
People, you don’t know how bummed I am that I never really had time to write out a proper 5,000+ word Luke Cage review, full of squee, profanity, and trope over-analyzation. Because–minus one villain I was wildly unimpressed with–I thought the show was pretty great, and there are a number of things about it worth being thankful for: a black superhero, an amazing cast, a great soundtrack, etc. But the thing I maybe loved the most, the thing I wasn’t expecting at all, was falling head over heels for a new ship: ShadyMariah.
I just adored Theo Rossi as Shades, like he might have been my very favorite character, and please keep in mind that this is a show chockfull of great characters, characters that include CLAIRE. Meanwhile, Alfre Woodard is badass as Mariah Dillard, and their ship is just a beautiful, twisted thing. I’m not going to lie to you guys: there’s a small portion of my evil heart that was kind of voting for them over Luke Cage. (And since I had resigned myself to one or both of them dying by the end, imagine my happiness upon the season finale! THE SHIP LIVES ON!)
2. Caitlin Snow Has An Actual Storyline
In last year’s TV Superlatives, Caitlin Snow tied with Kendra Saunders for Worst Female Character, partially because of moments where she’d randomly turn into a jerk (or, on one particularly memorable occasion, a racist jerk), but mostly because for two years her storylines have been weak bullshit that have revolved around a couple of dull love interests. (Jay, especially. Jay was the worst.) But no longer because in Season 3, Caitlin has an honest-to-God storyline, and not only that, it’s one I’ve enjoyed thus far, like, I’ve been actively looking forward to Caitlin subplots in The Flash. Do you understand how strange that is?
There was always some potential with Caitlin’s character, but the writers have never done anything interesting with it until now. I get that some people aren’t as happy about the darker turn The Flash is taking, but for the most part, I think it’s pretty interesting, and I’m so happy that Caitlin finally has actual things to DO. She’s a meta and fighting an inner battle against turning to the Dark Side, and we even get to meet her mom! (Okay, that storyline was incredibly rushed, unfortunately, but the casting was golden at least. And it’s nice to see that she has some actual kind of backstory and/or people in her life besides a man.)
I’m holding my breath with this one, because there’s still plenty of time for this storyline to go south, but right now I’m tentatively optimistic about Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost.
And speaking of the Arrowverse . . .
3. Legends of Tomorrow Has Improved SO MUCH
I was seriously one episode away from giving up on this show entirely, but the second season of Legends has been so much more fun than the first, like, it is monumentally better. With Vixen and Citizen Steel replacing the awful Hawkgirl and Hawkman, and Reverse Flash and Damien Darhk replacing the eternally boring Vandal Savage, the show has got twice as much energy and half the unnecessary and unconvincing romantic drama. Actually, there’s been almost no romantic drama of any kind, which on a CW show, is pretty obviously for the best. With that out of the way, Legends has had much more time to capitalize on its joyously silly potential, and it’s made fairly good on that promise. The Ray/Mick comedy show continues to delight, and putting Sara Lance in the captain’s chair? Excellent.
Legends was one of my least favorite shows last year (although not my absolute least favorite, since I made the grave error of checking out The X-Files), and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show that’s rebounded so well. Let’s hope this, er, sophomore skyrocket lasts too.
4. Wes Gibbins Is Dead!
Okay, so, I sorta feel bad about this one, after watching the collective weeping on Twitter, but the truth is that I’ve never particularly liked Wes–he was always far too whiny for my tastes, I’m so sorry, Grown Up Dean Thomas!!!–and there didn’t seem to be that much left to his story to tell. Wes being dead means that we should have more time to focus on the backstories of everyone else in the Keating Five (well, Four now), plus I no longer have to deal with his and Laurel’s totally boring romance. It also means that Annalise’s reaction in the premiere feels justified, like, I would have been pretty unimpressed if she’d been reacting like that over, say, Asher. I would have been pretty upset if Asher had died, but not Annalise. There’s no way.
It was also just a pretty well-executed plot twist, with the tricky time stuff that I feel like I should have seen coming but didn’t. And Wes’s murder sets up a great mystery for the second half of the season, like, I am SO ready for How To Get Away With Murder to come back. A lot of early bets seem to be on the Mahoney Family, which makes total sense logically, but for a show that prides itself on its shocking plot twists, the Mahoneys don’t seem, you know, HOLY SHIT enough. Are there any HTGAWM fans who read this blog? Please speculate in the comments! I wanna speculate!
Finally, Wes being dead means that Connor is still alive. For now, anyway. I’ve been predicting two deaths since the beginning of third season, but now I’m not so sure; after all, killing off Wes Gibbons is a bold move, like, Ned Stark style. Regardless, I’m thankful, at least, that my favorite character is still around, while my least favorite character got himself dead and then blown up.
5. I Get To Remember Glenn Like This
And you know what? I get to remember him like this too!
My interest in The Walking Dead has been teetering for a couple of seasons now, and after that hugely disappointing finale, I was about 85% sure I didn’t want to come back for Season 7, and 15% thinking, well, maybe I should at least see what happens.
However, making the cost-cutting decision to get rid of cable in favor of Roku pretty much took that choice out of my hands: there was absolutely no way to NOT get spoiled for the premiere before I’d have the chance to see it. So, I didn’t try. I found out exactly who died (sorry, Abraham, no one really cares about you; maybe be less of a dick to Rosita next time) and how it happened, and every single thing I’ve read since has convinced me that I’m so grateful I didn’t actually watch the scene in question. I still read Rob Bricken’s reviews on io9 because they crack me up, but otherwise, I haven’t gone back to The Walking Dead, and honestly? I haven’t missed it at all.
6. Westworld Has Filled The Person of Interest-Shaped Hole In My Heart
Well, not entirely, of course. I suspect nothing ever will–PoI has earned a permanent place on my ever-shifting Top Ten Favorite TV Shows Of All Time, and while I’m interested in nearly all of the characters on Westworld (especially Maeve), I’m nowhere near as invested in any of them yet, not like I was in Harold and John’s bromance or Shaw and Root’s amazing ship. I don’t love anyone truly madly deeply like I did Elias or Fusco or The Machine. And realistically, I wouldn’t expect to. We’re still first season here.
But I am having a ton of fun theorizing about timelines and who’s secretly a robot and thinking about all the inherent philosophical questions about identity that this show brings up. It’s cinematic, cerebral candy, and I look forward to watching it every week. Plus, since Jonathan Nolan and Ramin Djawadi make the best tag team ever, the show comes with a great score, liberally dosed with a healthy amount of Radiohead.
If I close my eyes, it’s almost like PoI never left.
Finally, I am thankful for Eleven. Because she is the best. What more is there really to say?
Please feel free to comment with the things YOU’RE grateful for on TV (or I guess life in general) and have a happy holiday/Random Thursday!