TV SUPERLATIVES: April and May, 2019

TV Superlatives are a pain in the ass. I love coming up with them–I kind of love superlatives in general–but it’s hard to keep up when there are, at any given time, 87 different TV shows to watch, and they can start any month and be any episode length, and available all at once or only week-to-week. I tried for a couple of years and eventually gave up.

Now, I’m going to try something new, and we’ll see if it works or not, but here it is: Quarterly TV Superlatives! Or, who knows, maybe Occasional TV Superlatives! Look, it’s a work in progress. But the idea is to discuss whatever TV I’ve been watching recently (whether it’s currently airing or not) and come up with fun awards like Best Musical Number, Worst Death, or Best Reaction to a Supposedly Dead Parent Coming Back to Life.

For today’s post, we’ll be focusing on the television I’ve been watching during, say, the past two months or so. Any spoilers, as always, will be clearly marked in the very hard-to-miss Spoiler Section.

With that all said, let’s get started, shall we?


Larry singing Kelly Clarkson’s “People Like Us” – Doom Patrol

People. If you have not been watching Doom Patrol, you’ve been missing some of the wildest, weirdest shit on TV right now, and I know what a big statement that is these days.

This episode features a sentient, teleporting, genderqueer street named Danny, and I know that sounds like some asshole making a parody out of SJWs, but it’s actually really uplifting and funny without ever punching down. This scene in particular, where Matt Bomer sings his heart out on stage at the Peeping Tom’s Perpetual Cabaret, hit me right in the Feels. It’s a great character moment, joyful and moving and ultimately kind of heartbreaking, and really wasn’t at all what I expected when I started this show.


Anson Mount – Star Trek: Discovery

When CBS initially announced that Christopher Pike would be taking command of Discovery, I was pretty disappointed. For one, I’d been looking forward to seeing what Saru would be like as captain. For another, I watched TOS’s unaired pilot, and Pike was kind of a dick. Besides, the only thing I knew Anson Mount from was Inhumans, and while I didn’t actually watch the show myself, it looked . . . pretty bad. Its swift cancellation was no surprise to anyone.

But as Pike, Anson Mount is kind of a revelation. His performance is really imbued with this sort of low-key swagger, an optimistic pioneering spirit that’s reminiscent of TOS without being a parody of it. Also, he’s not an asshole this time! Honestly, Pike is charismatic and likable as hell, so much so that by the end of the season, I would happily have watched him captain the Discovery for another few years.

Honorable Mentions: Ramona Young (Legends of Tomorrow); Ethan Suplee (Santa Clarita Diet); Zehra Fazal (Young Justice); Tig Notaro (Star Trek: Discovery)


Mr. Nobody – Doom Patrol

Oh, man. There isn’t anyone on this Earth who makes me happier than Alan Tudyk on Doom Patrol. Mr. Nobody is the sarcastic, hilarious, meta supervillain I didn’t know I needed in my life. He narrates. It’s beautiful.

Honorable Mentions: Cersei (Game of Thrones); Dobrivoje Poplovic (Santa Clarita Diet); Catra (She-Ra); Entrapta (She-Ra); Scorpia (She-Ra); Tabitha (Legends of Tomorrow)


Starfire + Beast Boy – Titans

I’m definitely tempted to go with Magnus and Alec here, since I would’ve watched a Shadowhunters spinoff starring them in a heartbeat. Also, half the characters on Game of Thrones, who deserved a better final season than they got. But instead I’m picking Starfire and Beast Boy, mostly because they’re the biggest reasons this tonally inconsistent show works at all. It sure isn’t because of Dick Grayson, who is easily the weakest character in the whole thing–it’s like 11 episodes of Murder Excuses Volleyball with him, all “I’m gonna kill this dude” one episode, then “you can’t kill people!’ the next, with a heavy side of “Really, it’s fucking Batman’s fault!” ALL. THE. TIME.

Starfire and Beast Boy are pretty great, though. Starfire is absolutely nothing like her Teen Titans counterpart, of course, but she’s still a lot of fun: mysterious, badass, funny. And as the lighthearted comic relief of the show, Beast Boy is sorely needed. I really enjoy the dynamic he brings to Titans. (He also introduces us to the Doom Patrol, which I’m incredibly grateful for, because who knows if I would’ve checked the show out otherwise.)

Titans is watchable enough, like, there are definitely scenes and song selections I did enjoy . . . but in the long run, it’s also pretty forgettable, considering that DC is still trying to manage the precarious balance between “dark” and “actually entertaining.” Anna Diop and Ryan Potter are the primary reasons to check this one out, but honestly, I’d probably be happier if Starfire and Beast Boy just jumped ship and landed over on Doom Patrol in Season 2.

Honorable Mentions: Magnus & Alec (Shadowhunters); Daenerys (Game of Thrones); Cersei (Game of Thrones)


Alec vs. Magnus – Shadowhunters

All the best fight scenes, I think, get to explore the characters involved–what weapons they pick says something about them, just like how they improvise and if they prefer flirty banter or ominous silence, etc. I have recently begun to wonder if maybe sparring scenes get the best opportunity to really dive into character simply because the stakes are actually lower, like, you don’t have to worry about the fate of the world here. It’s just Person A, Person B, and whatever they’re bringing to the mat between them. I think this might be why some of my favorite fight scenes are sparring scenes, and why I love this particular one so much. That, and I’m totally Malec obsessed, of course.

The choreography on this, while fun, definitely isn’t going to beat out anything on, say, Netflix or HBO because Shadowhunters is a Freeform show with a Freeform shooting schedule and budget. But this is a fun, flirty scene–Magnus, clearly, is not the ominous, silent type–that really plays up those tiny character beats. My own personal favorite moments are a) Magnus playfully dance-spinning away from Alec, and b) Matthew Daddario’s low, gritted-teeth delivery of the word “competition.”

I am not going to tell you how many times I’ve rewatched this scene, but whatever number you’re guessing, it’s probably higher.

Honorable Mention: Jace vs. Simon – Shadowhunters


Santa Clarita Diet

Shadowhunters is my ridiculous jam, but I’ve been aware of its doom for a while now, and at least it got the chance to have some kind of conclusion, hurried though it was. Meanwhile, I’m so annoyed with Game of Thrones that I’m frankly just happy it’s over at this point. But Santa Clarita Diet, man. That one still hurts.

What might have initially started out as a one-joke premise really grew into something else: sure, it’s silly, gory fun with a lot of suburbia, barf, and real estate jokes, but it’s also got this really great family dynamic, a surprisingly healthy marriage to ship, and I swear to God, some of the funniest dialogue on television. Drew Barrymore really grows into her character, Liv Hewson is consistently awesome as Abby, Skylar Gisondo is equally funny as Eric, and you just haven’t truly experienced joy until you’ve watched Timothy Olyphant teetering on the edge of a never-ending series of hysterical meltdowns. He is so damn good in this show. It kills me.

Losing Santa Clarita Diet absolutely sucks. Losing it after the third season’s massive cliffhanger is a mallet to the goddamn funny bone. We will never know what happens now, and I am filled with rage.


Young Justice

Bringing back old shows has been the thing to do these last few years, but often they’re shows I don’t care about (say, Fuller House, 24, Will & Grace, etc.) or else they’re ones that come back and stumble HARD (say, Gilmore Girls or The X-Files). Young Justice, however, finally got its third season on DC Universe after its untimely cancellation back in 2013, and I think it’s just as good as it ever was.

Initially, I was a bit disappointed with the big time jump (though not surprised, considering the time jump between Seasons 1 and 2) and a little amused they didn’t just end up calling this Justice (aka, the Titans method), considering our original heroes are very much adults now. Still, we’ve got some fresh young blood, as it were, to make the title semi-accurate. More importantly, this show is still a lot of fun. Definitely a bit darker than the first two seasons: more blood, yes, and more gory–if generally temporary–deaths. But there’s also a lot of small moments of humor and funny asides throughout the season to balance that out. I also really like how the show successfully builds stuff over time: Beast Boy’s TV show, for instance, or the Goode Goggles. And oh man, that Beast Boy episode. Like, that was both funnier and hit harder than I ever expected it to. Shit, Young Justice has been so on point this season that I didn’t even mind the Vandal Savage History Lesson episode.

My only real disappointment with the show is that I wish there was a little more focus on the original members. We still get them, but not quite as much as I’d like. (Miss Martian, I think, gets the absolute least to do.) Hopefully we’ll see more of them when the show returns in July.


Malec – Shadowhunters

I mean, seriously. They are the literal reason I started watching this show. Out of mild curiosity, I checked out this fanvid (oh, and this one, too), became even more curious about these characters, and watched enough scenes on Youtube that I realized, fuck it, I’m gonna have to watch this whole show now. A romantic ship is occasionally, though very rarely, my favorite aspect of a show, but I think this might the first time any ship has actually enticed me to watch anything.

It helps that this season in particular is so jam-packed with spectacular Malec moments–and not just the scene I already mentioned above. I’d talk more about them, but then I’d have to move this whole entry into the Spoiler Section, and I’d rather not do that. But I will say for the zero people out there who are worried: after much, much angst, Magnus and Alec get a happy ending. I honestly think there might have been a small-scale revolution if they hadn’t. I’m definitely not the only one crazy about these two.

Honorable Mentions: Jake and Amy (Brooklyn Nine-Nine); Joel and Sheila (Santa Clarita Diet)

All right, that’s it for the Non-Spoiler Awards. Continue at your own peril.






Okay? Good. Onward with the peril!


Michael – Star Trek Discovery

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered from my many years of watching SF/F/H TV, it’s that dead parents are always coming back to life. But Michael’s reaction–where she wakes up and naturally assumes that Dead Mom was a near-death hallucination, only to instinctually deny the truth when she’s told otherwise, almost assuring the others (and herself) that her mother died–is such a nice bit of acting. You watch it and just want to give her a really big hug. I have so many ups-and-downs with Discovery, but I really enjoy Sonequa Martin-Green’s performance, especially in this second season.


Bow’s parents accept he’s not a historian – She-Ra and The Princesses of Power

Ugh. Bow’s dads are the worst, and by the worst, I mean they’re fucking adorable and totally made me tear up, even though I’m supposed to be a cold-hearted bastard who, like Loki, is unmoved by sentiment, much less a damn children’s cartoon. But when Bow confesses that he can’t keep lying to them anymore, and George tells him, “What’s breaking our hearts is the fact that you thought you had to lie about who you are,” followed by a tearful Lance, all, “We thought we were being supportive, but really we were being terrible!” Just, blarg, with the emotions.

Stupid show. Stupid feelings.


Arya kills The Night King – Game of Thrones

Season 8 of GoT is a hot fucking mess, but there were a few good things about it, and Arya taking out the Night King is one of them. This scene was AWESOME, and seriously, anyone calling Arya a Mary Sue at this point, after she’s spent literal seasons becoming a face-changing killing machine, is just so . . . ugh. They are not worthy of my articulation.

If we could just pretend Season 8 only consisted of Episode 2 and Episode 3, I feel like we’d all be a lot happier.

Honorable Mentions: Sansa telling Edmure to sit down (Game of Thrones); Starfire kicks some assholes’ asses in a diner (Titans); Magnus faces off with Lilith (Shadowhunters)


The Revenge of Admiral Whiskers – Doom Patrol

(Fair warning: clip includes the sudden, bloody demise of Mommy Mouse. Also, profanity.)

I mean, Doom Patrol itself is one long, continuous series of WTF moments, so it’s really hard to pick just one. Do you go with any of the various times Mr. Nobody breaks the fourth wall, up to and including wearing a ton of Doom Patrol merchandise? Do you go with the guy who accidentally flexes the wrong psychic muscle and makes everyone orgasm? Do you go with Cliff getting swallowed by a giant rat, climbing back up the rat’s throat, and jumping into a giant cockroach’s mouth as said rat and cockroach begin making out? (I mean, do I even really need to explain why Doom Patrol is winning for both FAVORITE NEW SHOW and FAVORITE SUPERHERO SHOW?)

Obviously, you could go with any of these. I, however, am choosing to pick The Revenge of Admiral Whiskers, because Mr. Nobody also does some impressive fourth-wall breaking here, and more importantly, I don’t think anything has made me laugh harder all year. “But I’m a woodland creature!” HA! This moment alone was worth the DC Universe subscription.

Honorable Mentions for Best WTF Moment: Literally everything I mentioned in the first paragraph, plus whatever else happened that I’m currently forgetting (Doom Patrol); Mr. Ball Legs crawls into Joel’s ear (Santa Clarita Diet); The Legends + Ghost Hank resurrect Nate by singing “Sweet Baby James” (Legends of Tomorrow)

Honorable Mentions for Favorite Superhero Show: Legends of Tomorrow; Young Justice


Tim Meadows – Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I don’t know, man. There’s just something about Caleb, the super friendly cannibal killer, that cracks me up, particularly his and Jake’s easy rapport and, of course, Boyle’s obvious jealousy. (“Charles, he’s serving three life sentences. No need to flex.” HA.) Dude’s just so delightful. I would happily watch Jake come down for serial killer insight at least once a season.

Also, yes, of course, the “chatroom for people who like to talk about eating human beings but definitely won’t act on it” is hosted on Reddit.

Honorable Mentions: Kyra Sedgwick (Brooklyn Nine-Nine); Ken Marino (Brooklyn Nine-Nine); Dean Winters (Brooklyn Nine-Nine); Maggie Lawson (Santa Clarita Diet); Casper Crump (Legends of Tomorrow)


Bran becomes King – Game of Thrones

Honest to God. No disrespect intended to Peter Dinklage, but almost everything Tyrion says in this episode is such a prime example of Shut Up, Writers, and seriously, SHUT UP, WRITERS. Bran’s story could have been epic; instead, he has one of the weakest narratives in the entire show. It is absurdly easy to write Bran out of the story without anything being impacted. Bran reveals that Jon is the true heir? Who gives a shit, Sam and Gilly figured that out, too. The Night King wants to kill Bran because he knows everything in the past, present, and future? Cool, but Bran never really uses that knowledge against the Night King in any meaningful way. Bran has been more plot device than character for seasons, and he’s not even a particularly good plot device. Besides, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I’d want my king to be some spooky ass dude who occasionally says something weird and vague before going away to, I don’t know, stare blankly in a corner. Like, meh? Maybe not leadership material?

Also, come on. Bran the Broken? Jesus, you all are assholes.


Lyanna Mormont – Game of Thrones

I mean, I hated it because goddamn it, I wanted Lyanna to LIVE. That being said, she went out like a BOSS, killing a goddamn giant. It was a death worthy of her character and didn’t feel cheap or rushed, unlike almost literally everyone else in this fucking show.

Honorable Mentions: Nora (The Flash)


Cersei – Game of Thrones

It’s not just the rocks. Admittedly, the rocks are lame and I hate them, but it’s mostly that Cersei, one of the most badass, manipulative TV villains I have ever seen, didn’t do anything prior to her death other than stare out a window and cry. And like, look, I’m all on board with the idea that Cersei would be in denial about her defeat, that she’d be almost deliriously overconfident until the last possible minute. But that Cersei wouldn’t have any other backup plans, even if they didn’t work, that she wouldn’t try to use the wildfire to her advantage somehow or surrender herself in a botched assassination attempt or pretty much do anything but stand around like the World’s Biggest Target, like, dudes, no. Cersei deserved better than this. Her and Daenerys both, really. As has already been mentioned on Twitter, “The Bells” is supposed to be a battle between two powerful goddamn queens, and one barely gets dialogue, while the other is reduced to a powerless, weepy mess. Fuck that shit. (If you were wondering, “The Bells” also wins for WORST EPISODE because damn, it’s been a minute since I’ve hated something so much.)

There are so many character deaths that frustrated me this season, deaths that might have worked on paper if the show had spent, you know, the next two years building to them, but I don’t know if anything disappointed me quite so much as watching Cersei stand around, crying, before almost literally getting a bridge dropped on her.

Honorable Mentions: Daenerys (Game of Thrones); Missandei (Game of Thrones); Varys (Game of Thrones); Jaime (Game of Thrones); Melisandre (Game of Thrones); Admiral Cornwell (Star Trek: Discovery)


Daenerys – Game of Thrones

Yes, as I wrap up these TV Superlatives, it’s perhaps becoming clear to you that I was one of the many people who hated how Game of Thrones ended. I did consider characters from other shows–Cisco from The Flash was a possibility here, considering how forced I found his character exit to be–but really, despite Emilia Clarke’s impressive commitment to the material, no one’s arc got more demolished than Daenerys’ this season.

There are, I’m sure, at least a hundred pieces on the internet complaining why Dany’s “Mad Queen” turn didn’t work and a hundred more complaining that everything was foreshadowed and anyone who didn’t see it coming is a loser. I’m a little too burnt out at this point to write my own 5,000-word essay, so let me just say this: I came into Season 8 hoping Daenerys would become a villain. I wanted her to discover either Jon or Gendry’s true parentage (or both) and try to kill either (or both) characters. Actually, I was hoping she’d succeed in doing so; I definitely wanted her to murder Jon, not unlike the way he murdered her–and not because she was a Mad Queen, indiscriminately murdering hundreds of thousands of civilians under the self-deluded guise of liberation–but because she felt entitled to the throne, had spent too many years working and sacrificing and killing to be pushed out of the way for some random dude.

Over several seasons, Dany has proven to be capable of brutal acts of violence; those acts, however, have always had a pretty clear reason behind them, if not necessarily just cause. Turning her into some bad-in-the-blood Mad Queen in a mere couple of episodes, one who unnecessarily murdered everyone in King’s Landing even though she had clearly already won, just because the people didn’t love her enough and, like, cause her nephew refused to make out with her, just . . . ugh. I can’t. I can’t. I know you’re gonna come at me with Missandei, but no. Her death was totally cheap. Basically everything that happened to Daenerys this season was cheap. I do not buy any of this.

Because–as plenty of people have already said–there is a difference between foreshadow and character development. And just because I could see this coming doesn’t mean I buy how we got here.

Honorable Mentions: Jaime (Game of Thrones); Cisco (The Flash)

Okay, that’s it for today! Comment to agree! Comment to argue! Comment and give me some of your own Best Of/Worst Of recent TV moments! (Preferably marking spoilers, please!) Hopefully I’ll see you back here in a few months for some more TV superlatives.

15 thoughts on “TV SUPERLATIVES: April and May, 2019

  1. Fine, I will check out Doom Patrol, once I get the chance to, and find out what happened to Admiral Whiskers.

    SPOILERS for The Terror, and Season 3 of Riverdale.

    I was thinking of giving “Best Villain,” to Griffins & Gargoyles from Riverdale, the Dungeons & Dragons stand-in that was apparently based on all the fears parents had about D&D back during the Satanic Panic. As someone who plays board games regularly, this tickled me greatly. But I’m not sure if I can count a non-sentient inanimate object as a villain, even if the game IS specially designed to turn the players into drug-addicted cultists worshipping the game’s Big Bad and performing ritualistic murders and suicides.

    So instead, I’m giving Best Villain to Penelope Blossom, who turned out to be the evil D&D mastermind, and whose final evil plan involved hunting teenagers for sport (I got the impression this was reviving an ancient Blossom family tradition, but that might be wrong) while also forcing them to LARP, in fancy dress, with a bunch of expensive-looking props she must’ve had made special for this occasion, and there is nothing about this that isn’t hilarious. Also amazing – her earlier offhand reveal that she wrote love letters to Jeffrey Dahmer in her teen years, and her angrily berating her No. 2 for being “a terrible serial killer,” after he failed again to kill the main cast.

    Best Death goes to the doctor and all his victims from The Terror, which also picks up “Favourite New Show.” With the entire cast facing an extremely drawn-out death from various combinations of starvation, cold, disease, lead poisoning, and scurvy, the doctor – one of the few men made aware of just how dire their odds of survival are – snaps and decides to mercy kill the entire cast and himself via arson. The resulting setpiece was masterful and horrifying, with everyone gradually realising what was happening, then desperately crowding against the least-fiery corner of the tent structure they were trapped in, trying to escape, while one man gets trampled beneath the crowd and another gets accidentally stabbed by the guy trying to cut everyone free. And I can’t even say that he (the doctor) was particularly wrong to do it, based on what’s coming.

    Worst Episode goes to the Season 3 Wynonna Earp finale, which I think can be best summed up as “A series of mostly poorly executed ideas that never came together into an emotionally cohesive story.” Which was kinda my issue with the season as a whole, albeit to a much lesser extent, and that’s why Wynonna Earp isn’t getting “Most Painful Cancellation.” (I mean, it’s also not cancelled, exactly – but it ran into funding issues which seem unlikely to be resolved, so same difference.)

    • Fine, I will check out Doom Patrol, once I get the chance to, and find out what happened to Admiral Whiskers.

      Ha ha! My fiendish plan has worked!

      I’m afraid I had to HEAVILY skim your comment, not having watched Season 3 (or most of Season 2) of Riverdale or any of The Terror. The latter, I’m pretty sure I’ll get to. The former, I ought to try again because, obviously, I adore the ridiculous, and there isn’t much more ridiculous than Riverdale. Everything I hear about that show, I’m like “Wait, WHAT?” But the uneven quality of the show did sometimes drove me up the wall, plus, well, Archie, and it feels like a bigger time commitment than I want to give lately. Still, I’m conflicted. D&D and Satanic Panic alone makes me feel like I’m seriously missing out.

      I actually haven’t gotten to Season 3 of Wynonna Earp, either. I finished Season 2, and then almost immediately got spoiled about the major character death early on in Season 3, which bummed me out. What did you think about that? Do you think it was handled well? I would like to keep watching, especially if Season 3 really is its last season, but at this point, I think I’m going to wait until it’s on Netflix, rather than pay for it. Especially if the finale is a Worst Episode.

      • Yeah, over the last couple of seasons Riverdale has gotten so very, very weird and horror-y, it’s great. The board game cult isn’t even the only cult this season, and parts of the other cult storyline were equally fun – though nothing can consistently match the nerdy delights of eeeeevil D&D for me.

        Generally speaking, I still think Archie and Veronica’s storylines are less enjoyable than Betty & Jughead’s teen detective agency weirdness. (They’re the ones investigating both cults.) That being said, the show seems to have leaned into Archie being a well-meaning dumbass and Veronica being an inexperienced kid playing at being a very sophisticated and grown up master manipulator, which improved my experience of them a lot.

        I do recommend watching with your sister, if possible, because I think Riverdale is best enjoyed if you can joke around about it with other people who appreciate its ridiculousness.

        The Terror is a terrific watch, albeit a grim one – the entire show can be summed up as “…And then things got worse.” It’s also interesting reading about the real-world expedition this was based on and seeing just how much of the show they drew from real life.

        On Wynonna Earp: I thought the death by itself was okay – neither good nor bad. But the next episode, which dealt with the emotional fallout, had a couple of individually great scenes but was generally one of the weakest of the season. Then the rest of the season barely touched on it, which was disappointing. I read that they did it not because they wanted to, but because the actor wanted to leave so he could take other career opportunities. Which is understandable, but yeah, the death itself was a bummer.

        I might be being slightly overly harsh on the finale giving it the Worst Episode award – though it really WAS pretty bad, and I stand by my previous description of its flaws. But I’m also biased because previously, the last few episodes of Seasons 1 and 2 were where things really came together for me. They even turned elements I’d previously been unsure about (Willa’s return, Wynonna’s pregnancy that the writers were forced to shoehorn in) or outright disliked (the Earps’ tragic family backstory, Ward being secretly in cahoots with Bobo) into some of my favourite parts of the show. And during the back end of Season 3 I was thinking “Well, it’s not that this is bad, but I’m largely failing to see what this season is all about, like what the thematic or emotional arc is. And most of the stuff in the last several episodes has totally failed to hit me in the feels the way the first two seasons did. But I’ll reserve judgement until I see where this is going.”

        So I was really hoping that in the finale it would all fall into place for me. Not only was it a total disappointment on that front, it also just kinda sucked.

        • I’ll have to gauge Mek’s interest in checking out Riverdale again. Maybe the board game cult will sell it. 🙂

          Yeah, that’s disappointing about Wynonna Earp, both the lack of emotional fallout and the show’s inability to wrap the season threads together. I’ll still probably check it out when it comes to Netflix . . . well, maybe. There are so many things to watch, and I have been known to give up on shows in their final season before. Orphan Black, for instance, is still judging me.

          • I’m up to the final season of Orphan Black also, and I haven’t given up, but I just haven’t gotten around to finishing it.

            Minor, vague SPOILERS for The Terror

            Having finished The Terror, it is retaining it’s “Favourite New Show,” title, but I’m also giving it “Worst Villain,” because I’m really disappointed they had a villain at all; at least one so OTT and unsympathetic. The men being pushed into doing shitty things out of fear, or to survive just a little longer? That I’m super onboard with – and hey, I’m onboard with parts of what our Worst Villain does, when it has practical, survival-driven motivations, or seems like actions a person might take when put in a horrible situation.

            My issue is that he A) goes beyond that into sabotaging the heroes even when there’s no fucking point, B) is revealed to have been eeeeevil for the entire duration of the show, and C) seems completely fearless and untouched by the situation even while everyone else grows increasingly haggard, afraid, and desperate, maintaining his shit-eating grin and relaxed demeanor even when facing immediate death.

            On a show that mostly took great pains to be realistic and historically accurate to what we knew about the failed Northwest Passage expedition, this guy stood out as neither to an extent even the bear monster couldn’t match. Also, his mustache-twirling villainy was just so fucking boring compared to like, every other character who did horrible, selfish, or cowardly things while remaining at least pitiable.

            • Let me know what you think of Orphan Black when you get around to finishing it. I really need to, but my interest level is just so low.

              There are times when a mustache-twirling EEEEVIL villain is just a lot of fun, like, sometimes, I’m not interested in “every villain is the hero of his own story” nonsense. I just want 100% dedicated VILLAINY. But clearly, that type of bad guy doesn’t work for every story, and from everything I’ve heard about The Terror, yeah, it sounds like a pretty big misstep. (And agreed, that whole completely fearless and untouched demeanor thing is super irritating. Like, come on. I get you’re a bad guy and all, but you can still have basic human emotions when death is looking at you in the face.)

              • Will do!

                Yeah, like for example Neal McDonough from the Arrowverse is a delight being gleefully evil, and I certainly wouldn’t want him to be toned down or changed to be more realistic, human, or sympathetic. But Arrow and especially Legends Of Tomorrow are going for a pretty different vibe to The Terror, and what works for them doesn’t work here.

                It seemed like a really weird choice given the show’s general tone and complete empathy for the other antagonist characters, and even given the Worst Villain’s characterization in the first half of the season – or his apparent characterization, since he turned out to be Eeeeevil all along. Similarly, the whole feeling-no-fear thing was clearly deliberate, but I have no idea why they decided to go in that direction.

                I want to read the book but haven’t yet, and I understand he’s similarly villainous in that – which, for all I know, works for him there. So I’m thinking maybe what happened is they changed the tone of the show but kept him similar to the book’s tone when they shouldn’t have. Or maybe he sucked in the book too, who knows.

                I am pretty psyched for Season 2 though. It’s going to be set in a Japanese-American internment camp during WWII, and the only other show or movie I know that’s even mentioned that particular part of US history is Teen Wolf. A season-long horror show about that with a higher budget and less cheese sounds delightful.

                Oh, also my friend put on Shadowhunters when I was at his house recently, on the basis that it the kind of trashy guilty pleasure I would probably be into. Based on the first two episodes, he’s right. I don’t really know how I feel about Clary yet, and not having seen the movie or read the books, I still have little idea of what’s going on and what the politics between these different supernatural factions are.

                But it’s fun, and I like Izzy a lot – specifically that her costuming and attitude in the first half-hour set her up to be a villain, anti-villain, maybe a defrosting ice-queen rival towards our nice protagonist… And then Clary and Simon up and she’s entirely nice and friendly – at least, as much as anyone is, and even if she’s clearly only nice to Simon because he’s attractive.

                Also, it amuses me greatly the way that the Shadowhunter trio all regard Muggle Simon as like, a particularly stupid dog that their new friend brought over.

                • Neal McDonough is one of my favorite villains of all time. He had a little bit of that energy in Justified, too, but it was much darker, more violent, in line with the show’s tone. (Heh. I just had to rewatch this clip b/c it was one of Damien Darhk’s earlier appearances in the Arrowverse, and I still think of it fondly to this day.)

                  I’m interested in Season 2 of The Terror also, although I feel like I should watch Season 1 first, even though I know it’s an anthology and I shouldn’t need to. (I’m also hard pressed to come up with any TV shows that talk about internment, other than Teen Wolf.) I’m just worried there will be like Easter eggs or something I’ll miss. The Terror, Season 1, is still on my to-watch list, but right now Mek and I are doing a different trade-off: I’m watching her historical Korean zombie show, and she’s watching my superhero cartoon.

                  I am, of course, delighted to hear that you’re watching Shadowhunters. If you continue, please tell me your thoughts! I have so few people who I can talk to about this! I have not read the books myself, and my personal opinion of Clary isn’t high, although she does have moments, eventually. I do like Izzy, although I’m a bit torn on her early wardrobe, myself: I’m 100% in agreement that it’s cool to see a “coded as a villain” wardrobe on a heroine, but I also was often left with the impression that they were trying so hard to show her as “sexy, sexy all the time, so sexy,” that was like, “People, I have eyes? She is obviously gorgeous. You don’t have to sell me this hard.” Mostly, I think I was initially worried that “sexiness” would be the only personality trait they allowed Izzy to have. (One thing I did love about her right from the start, though, is that there’s never any trumped up animosity between her and Clary. They’re friends pretty much immediately. I was hugely on board with that.)

                  I did watch a couple fanvids and several scenes before really watching the show proper, but I’d say the things that primarily intrigued me in the first couple of episodes: Grumpy Cat Shadowhunter Alec (his delivery of the word “platinum” killed me), the whole idea of the angelic rune magic, and, well, Magnus. Also, yeah, how the Shadowhunters treat Simon. It took me a bit to warm up to Simon (the love triangle was not my thing), so that especially brought me a lot of personal joy.

    • I’m relplying here so my comment won’t be annoyingly narrow.

      Ooooh, historical Korean zombie show. I googled that phrase and came up with “Kingdom,” which I assume is what you’re referring to? Is it good?

      Yeah. The show in general seems to be trying pretty hard for “sexy, sexy all the time, so sexy.” But yes, the lack of animosity between her and Clary was exactly what I was talking about before. When Clary shows up at the headquarters after messing up their Shadowhunter mission, I assumed Izzy would be unnecessarily snooty and catty – and then she just wasn’t.

      I am not into the love triangle or Simon’s rivalry with Jace – okay, apart from the bit where Simon started having high school flashbacks and yelling for Jace to “do [his] own homework.” Especially, Simon claiming that Clary should leave Shadowhunter HQ and come stay at her best friend’s house with no protection is clearly a terrible idea driven by jealousy, given every supernatural faction with their eyes on the Cup is hunting her down. It would be the first place anyone who’s learned anything about her muggle life would look, and then she’d be royally fucked.

      I wasn’t a fan of Simon’s post-kidnapping maybe-vampirism either; it went on forever, and literally the whole thing could’ve been cleared up in two seconds if he’d just asked the Shadowhunter trio (or gotten Clary to ask them) how the creation of new vampires works in this universe. But I am much more intrigued by his storyline now that he is a vampire, which was the ending of the last episode I saw.

      Magnus is a lot of fun though, and I warmed up to Alec a lot once he had something to do other than be the responsible, suspicious one in every scene. Still not as sold on Clary or Jace – although, okay, their fake breakup scene in the police station was entertaining.

      I’ve continued watching it with the friend who got me into it – we chat online while it’s on – and he’s now more invested in it than I am. Given how he’s laughed at my love of Teen Wolf and Riverdale, I am very smug about him falling for some supernatural teen show trash.

      I finally got around to watching Santa Clarita Diet right after the cancellation. Now I am, alas, at the series finale, and will miss it dearly. Also, apparently now Wynonna Earp IS going ahead for Season 4 after all, and I don’t know how I feel about this.

      • Ha, the narrow thing IS annoying. I forget because I respond to comments on my WordPress dashboard, where the text just looks normal.

        Yes, I was referring to Kingdom, and so far, I’m enjoying it. There’s only one season so far (unlike most kdramas, it’s set up to be a multi-season show, presumably b/c of Netflix). Six episodes long, so it’s not a huge time commitment. Some politics, lots of zombie action, occasionally brutal. There’s a turn at one point that I don’t think is fully supported, but it doesn’t break the show for me or anything. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in Season 2.

        Ugh, I just wanted to shake Simon for the longest time. When he stormed out of the Institute, I was like BYEE. I agree it takes way too long for him to become a vampire, although I forgave it purely because it gave him a storyline that wasn’t solely about Clary. (Plus, I kind of like the idea of more nerdy vampires.) I generally like Simon more when Clary isn’t in the picture. Jace, too: I find him at his most interesting when paired with Alec, partially because I like Alec and partially because I’m a huge sucker for a soul bond. (There’s an episode in second season that I’m thinking of especially.) Jace, in my opinion, pulls off heartbreak and woobie face a lot better than he pulls off RAGE, which is unfortunate b/c for a while the latter is kind of his thing. Clary, sadly, has far more chemistry with Izzy than she has with either of her actual love interests. She has moments here or there, but I won’t lie: Clary’s pretty much always my least favorite character in this show.

        LOL, I’m glad your friend finally got sucked into a supernatural soap after laughing about yours. VICTORY.

        I also heard that Wynonna Earp got the Season 4 go-ahead. At this point, I still haven’t seen Season 3, even though it’s on Netflix. I’m not sure what the next show we’ll be: Mek and I are currently catching up on Young Justice (she liked it even more than I expected, so I’m also feeling smug today), and we go on vacation in a couple of weeks, so probably not a lot of TV then. Veronica Mars, Season 4 maybe. Need to get back to the final season of Elementary. I know Glow, Season 3, is coming back soon. Killjoys just came back too, although I have to buy that on Amazon. And The Boys is about to start up, and I have cautious interest. Ugh, TOO MANY THINGS.

        • Hm. I will add Kingdom to my watchlist.

          Yeah, Simon was kind of like Syndrome in The Incredibles’ prologue. Always insisting on following Clary & friends around so he can impress her, only to cause more issues or just be useless ’cause he didn’t have the skills everyone else did. Shit, BabySyndrome was at least good at inventing gadgets – Simon had nothing to bring to the table.

          I may not have enjoyed his maybe-a-vampire storyline, but I am liking his scenes more now that he is definitely vamped.

          The last episode I saw was the alternate dimension one. I liked Alec and Izzy’s storyline a lot, especially the last scene, and it was fun seeing the entire cast as these blissfully happy, preppy nerds. But unless this dimension shows up again later, I’m pretty sure Jace and Clary just wiped their doppelgangers from existence? They took over the doppelgangers’ bodies when they entered the Preppyverse – but when they used the portal back to the Shadowhuntersverse, their bodies in the Preppyverse went poof.

          I assume the writers just didn’t think about it enough to realise what that implied, but I find it funny. It kinda makes Clary seem like the evil invading felt-goatee wearing doppelganger from some dark alternate universe that you see in Star Trek, Community, the Arrowverse, ect. She came to the happy shiny Preppyverse, bodysnatched her alternate selves and took over her happy shiny self’s life, and then when she had what she wanted, went back to her own fucked up universe, destroying her doppelganger’s body in the process. Jace is somewhat harder to headcanon as Evil Goateed Jace, since he went through the portal to save the Preppyverse from a demon.

          I do not trust Jace’s dad. Although his anecdote about his father killing the falcon he’d trained was meant to be about the value of disipline or something like that, the main lesson I took from it is that his father is terrible.

          I still have to get back to Elementary, Glow, and Killjoys myself.

          • My friend and I finished Season 1 of Shadowhunters. Many, many incest jokes were made. Also jokes about how anyone over the age of 40 is eeeeeeevil.

            It tickled me a lot that Clary took the exact same lesson from the falcon story that I did.

            I read half of The Terror before giving up, and um. The good news is I didn’t have the same problems with the villain being OTT evil, if only because he was that way from the start of the book and a lot of the characters were more dickish than their show’s counterparts anyway.

            That being said, I now have a newfound appreciation for the show for all the things they changed from the book. Apparently they read it and were like “Well this is a cool horror story and we’d love to adapt it, but for fuck’s sake can we change the way it portrays women, the Inuit, and homosexuals? Let’s start by giving our only major female character and POC character some goddamn clothes to wear, since this is meant to be the MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING ARCTIC. Make her an adult, for good measure, and if we’re gonna do a love interest storyline, it should be age appropriate. Then how about we rewrite this other female character whose characterization was apparently crowdsourced from The Red Pill subreddit, and make her more nuanced. Now, the villain, it’s okay that he’s gay, but let’s make his evil-ness not tied to his sexuality, maybe? Like we could have his relationship with his boyfriend be a bit more equal, instead of him seducing a severely mentally disabled man because he realised he’d make a more useful minion than the children he’d previously preyed on. Actually, just remove all the shit about him and child-molestation – most especially the bit about how all sailors who engaged in sodomy were that exact same kind of predatory pedophile unless they took a vow of celibacy while at sea.”

            …Yeah. Author Dan Simmons is a bigoted creep who apparently wrote all of Lady Silence’s scenes with his penis.

            • I think in Season 2 you might start getting people 40+ that aren’t evil. Besides Luke, that is. Well, maybe. Maybe 1 person? LOL.

              I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly what Clary took from the falcon story. Was it just “wow, your dad sucks?” Because that seems fair.

              Wow. I’ve never read The Terror or anything else by Dan Simmons and am now not terribly inclined to start. Thanks for the warning!

              • Yeah, I pointed out Luke, and my friend suggested he’s clearly just under the cut-off.

                Clary’s initial reaction to the anecdote was just “That’s the worst story I’ve ever heard.” Then after they found Jace’s dad-in-disguise she spoke to Jace privately and was like “Something feels off here. You know that falcon story about how your dad was a giant dick? Well, why’s he now seem so loving and gentle?” And Jace was like “…But that wasn’t the point of that story at all!”

                I ended up ruining Simmons for a friend of mine. Right after I read that passage about Navy sodomites (which I think was meant to actually be a cover against accusations of homophobia, since it was saying that queer men *could* be okay as long as they went celibate when at sea and didn’t brag about their sexuality, and the purpose of the chapter was to introduce such an example of a “good,” homosexual) I was ranting to him about all the shit I hated in the book. We both googled Simmons and found out he’s known as a bit of an Islamophobic right-wing nutjob. Then my friend sadly revealed he’d actually been a big fan of some of Simmons’ books back in the 90s.

                • Right! “That’s the worst story I’ve ever heard” pretty much sums it up. And while I never really loved Clary, I was very happy that she was pretty much immediately suspicious of Jace’s dad. That was a pleasant surprise for me.

                  Ugh, it sucks when your beloved authors (or other idols/inspirations/etc) turn out to be absolute garbage people. So far, I think I’ve mostly been lucky in that regard when it comes to writers, but it’s probably only a matter of time. (Actors, OTOH, have been a total shitshow. So many awful, awful people!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.