Well, shit. I regret to inform you that there hasn’t been a lot of TV this summer. For a few different reasons, but primarily because one of my cats has been very sick and TV just kinda fell by the wayside. Some shows got dropped (I’m so far behind on Legends of Tomorrow that I’ll just have to wait until the season pops up on Netflix), and others never even got started (I promise I haven’t forgotten about you, The Witch’s Diner!). Still, here’s the list of everything I’ve managed to watch over these past few months:
Legends of Tomorrow (Season 6, Episodes 1-5)
Sell Your Haunted House (Episodes 14-16)
Doom at Your Service
Star Trek (Season 2, Episodes 23-26)
Running Man/Classic Running Man (Random Episodes)
Last Week Tonight
Black Spot (Season 1)
Evil (Season 1)
Star Trek: Lower Decks (Season Two, Episodes 1-3)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Season 8, Ep. 1-6)
A quick reminder for how these work: superlatives may be bestowed upon any show I’m watching, no matter whether it’s currently airing or not. As always, I will do my best to clearly mark all awards with appropriate spoiler warnings.
Let’s get started, shall we?
“Pudsy’s Christmas” – Evil
If you’ve seen the show, you know why.
Honorable Mentions: Zari’s Song – Lord Knoxicrillion (Legends of Tomorrow); “Ever Fallen in Love” – The Buzzcocks (Legends of Tomorrow); “Ever Fallen in Love” – Tala Ashe & Matt Ryan (Legends of Tomorrow); “Timeout” – Marius Lenoir (Black Spot)
MOST FUN TO POTENTIALLY COSPLAY
Mistress of the Winter Constellations – Star Trek: Lower Decks
I thought about making this award Most Likely to Cosplay, but sadly, my cosplay skills are notoriously limited (I’m a “cobble together,” not “make myself” kind of girl), and I’m not sure I’d be up for the head-to-toe green. But if I had, like, a lot of help–and modified the shirt a bit so I’d be more comfortable in it–Pirate Tendi would be a lot of fun. That long burgundy coat with the shoulders, like. YES.
SOBBED THE HARDEST
Kwang-Soo’s Last Episode – Running Man
Running Man made me cry harder this summer than any other show on TV. Running Man. RUNNING MAN.
Like many, I was very bummed when I heard Kwang-Soo was leaving the show, as he’s my absolute favorite. (Ji-Hyo is a close second.) I felt there was a decent chance I’d get all silly and emotional about it, so Mek and I decided to postpone watching his last episode to one of my nights off. This is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Watching half the cast start crying as they tried to keep it together, reflecting on the past eleven years, like . . . God, the emotions. And when Kwang-Soo had to hand his cast member’s letter over because he couldn’t read it without crying, or when he broke down while apologizing for having to leave the show, just . . . I mean, it’s never taken a lot to make me cry, but Jesus, I was bawling. My face hurt for hours after watching this episode, and I’ve only been a fan of Running Man for, like, a year. I can’t imagine how I’d have felt if I’d grown up watching this show.
Leland – Evil
Oh, Michael Emerson is just the best. I loved him on Lost, I absolutely adored him on Person of Interest, and now I’m completely delighted by him in Evil, where he plays the villainous Leland with such glorious relish, such malicious glee. He is a hilarious, unnerving, creepy little shitstarter. He is, well, an evil sonofabitch, and I love him. Thus far, Leland has absolutely no redeeming qualities, and in my opinion, that is excellent. I look forward to more of his sinister shenanigans in Season 2.
Honorable Mentions: Frank O’Sullivan (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Isis – Star Trek
We need more cat sidekicks on Trek, I think. We do get them as pets, at least. Spot on TNG. Grudge on Discovery. But Isis isn’t Gary Seven’s pet (or Spock’s, for that matter); she’s Mr. Seven’s (mostly) feline partner in crime, and together, they’re kinda the best. (In fact, they win DYNAMIC DUO cause come on. Mysterious dude and his cat buddy save the whole planet? Who doesn’t like that? I’m still disappointed that this pilot from 20 years before I was even born wasn’t picked up.)
Anyway, Isis is sadly only a guest star, but she hilariously launches herself at bad guys and occasionally helpfully clambers onto her partner’s back like cats do, so yes. Isis is obviously the best.
SUPPORTING CHARACTER WHO MOST DESERVES A SHOUTOUT
Nounours – Black Spot
Teddy Bear! Yeah, Teddy Bear is great. He’s a policeman, basically our heroine’s right-hand-man (Nounours and Laurène also win for FAVORITE PLATONIC FRIENDSHIP) and is just generally awesome: he’s gay, relatively laid back, compassionate but also a big, bearded dude who could totally knock you out, etc. Teddy Bear won me over in the very first ten minutes of the show when, all quiet and casual, he’s like, “The birds are going crazy. The trees are bleeding. It’s going to be a shitty New Year.” LOVE YOU FOREVER, TEDDY BEAR.
Honorable Mentions for Supporting Character Who Most Deserves a Shoutout: Siriani (Black Spot); Ben (Evil)
Honorable Mentions for Favorite Platonic Friendship: Tak Dong-Kyung + Cha Joo-Ik (Doom At Your Service); Holt + Amy (Brooklyn Nine-Nine); Rosa + Holt (Brooklyn Nine-Nine); Kristen + Ben (Evil)
BEST SCENE STEALER – MAIN CAST
Leila, Sabine, and Hermann – Black Spot
Black Spot has a great cast of characters, and I didn’t really feel like choosing between all of them, so, tie! Leila is a matter-of-fact doctor/coroner with an amazing liquor tolerance and fantastic hair. Sabine is an enigmatic, down-to-earth, and kinda shifty bar owner/maternal figure who absolutely takes no shit. Hermann is the oldest cop on the squad, a mentor to the youngest cop on the squad, and just generally a nice, cranky man who wants to fish in peace. I very much like them all.
BEST SCENE STEALER – GUEST STAR
Kevin – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
I am always thrilled to see Marc Evan Jackson pop up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He and Andre Braugher are so good together, so effortlessly funny. In fact, Holt/Kevin is my FAVORITE CANON SHIP. The, ah, romantic scene this season where Holt describes what this one rare bird looks like to Kevin, who can’t currently see it? Words do not do it justice. I laughed so hard. I am going to miss this show, and I’m definitely going to miss Kevin’s eternally dry wit.
Honorable Mentions for Best Scene Stealer – Guest Star: Dr. Daystrom (Star Trek); Gary Seven (Star Trek); Isis (Star Trek); Roberta (Star Trek); Jung Yong-Hwa (Running Man); George (Evil); Karima (Evil); Renée (Evil); Orson LeRoux (Evil); Grace (Evil); Frank O’Sullivan (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Honorable Mentions for Favorite Canon Ship: Na Ji-Na/Cha Joo-Ik (Doom at Your Service)
FAVORITE PARENT/CHILD DYNAMIC
Kristen & Lynn, Lila, Lexis, and Laura – Evil
One of the things that surprised me most about Evil is that Kristen has four kids. That doesn’t really sound like something that should win for BEST SURPRISE, but in shows that aren’t specifically About Family, it’s incredibly rare for characters to have more than one or maybe two kids, if they even have kids at all. Kids get in the way of plot. I honestly can’t even think of another SF/F show offhand where the main character has four children, let alone four daughters.
But Kristen does, and Evil does not forget about them. They’ve been in every or almost every episode I’ve watched so far and are incredibly important to Kristen’s life, having their own adventures with all the weird, creepy shit in this show. They also act like, you know, sisters. They each have personalities, they talk over one another all the time, they aren’t written to be just a band of whiny brats whose sole purpose in life is to be shitty to each other and/or their mom, etc. I find Kristen and her daughters really refreshing, actually, and their family unit is genuinely one of my favorite things about the show.
Honorable Mention for Best Surprise: How Jake’s story resolves in “The Set-Up” (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Tak Dong-Kyung & Na Ji-Na – Doom At Your Service
Oh, I like these two a lot. Dong-Kyung is the quiet, sensible friend, whereas Ji-Na is the much louder, more outrageous friend, and they balance each other out nicely. The actresses have great platonic chemistry, and I love all the moments where they gently tease one another, support one another, just hang out and talk, etc. Some scenes I especially like: Dong-Kyung obliquely threatens one of Ji-Na’s crappy love interests (he is very confused about it), Ji-Na finds out Dong-Kyung is sick, the flashback scene to when these two first met, etc. I had some problems with this show, but I really enjoyed most of the core characters. Speaking of . . .
Honorable Mentions: Mariner + Tendi (Star Trek: Lower Decks)
CHARACTER(S) WHO MOST DESERVE A BETTER SHOW
Tak Dong-Kyung, Myeol Mang, Cha Joo-Ik, and Na Ji-Na – Doom At Your Service
Doom At Your Service had a fun concept and a great cast, but I feel like the show suffered from some serious pacing problems. I love Park Bo-Young as our lead heroine, Dong-Kyung. The emotional journey she goes on after getting diagnosed with a fatal disease features fantastic acting and some really great moments, but the story itself is uneven and repetitive, particularly her relationship with Doom himself, Seo In-Guk. These two actually have really decent chemistry, but somehow their relationship manages to feel both too fast and too slow, and I felt like I watched the same scene between them, like, 27 times.
Meanwhile, I like Joo-Ik and Ji-Na a lot, too, and the actors also have very decent chemistry. But their whole relationship feels so unconnected to the main plot, and the love triangle with Hyun-Gyu is incredibly stretched out. (Plus, their romance gets a bit more iffy for me in the second half, which is unfortunate because I really did like them, and not just because Lee Soo-Hyuk, who I’ve liked since White Christmas, looks like this . . . although I can’t deny that’s also a factor.) At any rate, I enjoy all of these characters, and I kinda wish I could watch another story with them that wasn’t this story.
MOST WELCOME RETURN
Star Trek: Lower Decks
I procrastinated watching the first season of this show, but when I finally got around to it, I enjoyed it so much more than I was expecting. I really love all the little nods, homages, and inside jokes to the earlier Trek shows (particularly to TNG), and I’m so happy it’s come back during these ever-darkening times. I need my geek humor right now, please and thank you.
Honorable Mention: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
FAVORITE NEW SHOW
My friend Cory recommended Black Spot to me, and I’m really glad he did because I fell in love with it pretty much immediately. It’s this French, supernatural, weird-shit-happens-at-this-village-by-the-woods murder mystery show on Netflix, and obviously, that’s absolutely my jam. There’s some great ominous shit in there (the birds, the scarecrow, Laurène’s mysterious past, etc.) and a cast of characters I enjoy very much. (I definitely have a soft spot for DA Franck Siriani who hates dust and the outdoors and is allergic to basically everything. I feel you, man.) There’s a Big Twist moment that I think is handled spectacularly well, and Season 1 ends on some definite holy shit developments. Looking forward to starting Season 2 shortly!
But I also finally decided to give Evil a go, and now I’m just annoyed I waited so long. (The initial trailer didn’t do much for me, despite the amazing cast–I think I thought there’d be a lot more court stuff involved?) It’s weird and creepy and surprisingly funny at times, and also just . . . . surprising in general? Like subplots don’t always end where I expected, characters make bold fucking decisions I was not prepared for, etc. I’m obsessed with Michael Emerson, obviously (you’ll hear even more about that in the Spoiler Section, apologies in advance), but also Katja Herbers is a fantastic lead, and I really enjoy Mike Colter and Aasif Mandvi a great deal, too. (More Ben in Season 2, please!) Again, I am very much looking forward to seeing how Season 2 follows up on some of the holy shit developments at the end of Season 1.
Legends of Tomorrow: The Ex-Factor
Sell Your Haunted House: Episode 14
Doom At Your Service: Episode 7
Running Man/Classic Running Man: Find the Best Price Doll: Strict Doll Appraiser
Last Week Tonight: Episode 223
Black Spot: The End is Only the Beginning
Evil: Genesis 1
Star Trek: Below Decks: Strange Energies
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Set-Up
Honorable Mentions: The Satanist’s Apprentice (Legends of Tomorrow); Episodes 2, 4, 10 (Doom At Your Service); Seoul Central Post Office; SBS Broadcasting Center Times Square, N Seoul Tower, Gwangmyeong Station, Seoul Metro Subway Yard, Three Meals Jae-Suk, Choose the Fate From Your Own Hands: The First Filial Piety Shooting Operation (Running Man/Classic Running Man); Episodes 231, 224 (Last Week Tonight); What Do Wolves Dream About, In the Abyss, The End of the Road (Black Spot); 177 Minutes, 3 Stars, Exorcism Part 2, 7 Swans a Singin’ (Evil); Blue Flu; The Lake House (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
All right, time to get into the Big Secret Stuff!
Last chance to look away!
BEST BADASS MOMENT
Kristen cuts open Leland’s neck – Evil
A thing to know about Kristen: she doesn’t fuck around. After finding Leland at home playing with her daughters, she doesn’t even hesitate before she all but shoves him into her office, holding a butcher’s knife to his throat–and then actually slices his neck open. I mean, carefully, not enough to kill him outright, but certainly enough to get his (and the audience’s) attention. Like, whew! Is it a risky escalation? Maybe, but still, I highly approve of this kind of decisive action.
Honorable Mentions: Hong Ji-Ah vengefully imprisons Big Bad’s ghost, rather than exorcising it (Sell Your Haunted House); Old Lady takes out two bad guys with her shotgun before they can kill Laurène (Black Spot)
BEST HOLY SHIT MOMENT
Oh In-Beom gets possessed by the egg ghost – Sell Your Haunted House
Sebastian accidentally blows the back of his head off – Evil
It probably shouldn’t be so surprising that Oh In-Beom gets possessed, just like he did when he was a kid, but it works really well here because that’s not where your attention is. Or anyway, it’s not where mine was. See, In-Beom is following a woman into a building that’s about to blow up a little, and even knowing that egg ghosts are formed by multiple sudden deaths, my focus was more on, like, “Oh, no, is In-Beom gonna get hurt in the explosion?” or “Shit, what if the bomber attacks him?” But then Ji-Ah arrives, and you see Possessed In-Beom turn around, and it’s like, “Oh, shit,” because the potential ramifications here are HUGE. The cliffhanger gets resolved way too fast for my liking, but still, it was an excellent cliffhanger.
Meanwhile, Sebastian, a deeply annoying and worthless piece of shit, is all hurt and angry because women don’t like him. Over the course of a few episodes, Leland successfully manages to manipulate Sebastian into shooting up David’s prayer circle–or agreeing to do so, anyway. As he’s getting ready for the Big Day, though, Sebastian is playing around with his guns, rehearsing what he’s going to say in the mirror, generally acting like the dangerous, pathetic loser that he is, etc. And as soon as I said, “Watch him accidentally shoot his fucking face off,” he did. (I mean, technically, his face remained fine. But he was very, very dead.) I didn’t actually think they were just gonna kill this guy after a three-episode buildup, but holy shit, they did it, and HA! You dumb incel motherfucker. Obviously, this also wins for BEST DEATH.
Honorable Mentions for Best Holy Shit Moment: Kristen cuts open Leland’s neck (Evil); A bunch of schoolgirls spontaneously stab themselves in the ear (Evil)
Honorable Mentions for Best Death: Camille (Black Spot); Spartacus (Legends of Tomorrow)
YOU’RE KILLING ME, SMALLS
“The Omega Glory” – Star Trek
Yup, I’m giving this one to a whole ass episode because, seriously, what in the racist shit. The Enterprise encounters a planet that evolved almost exactly like Earth, only in this one, the Kohms (or Communists, or brown people) won this big war, while the freedom-loving Yangs (the white people/Yankees with their actual Pledge of Allegiance and American fucking flag) were defeated and forced into the wild to live like “savages” . . . ugh, God, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, it is the absolute worst, what even is this?
Honorable Mentions: Laurène keeps defending Bertrand (Black Spot)
Mayor Bertrand Steiner – Black Spot
Ugh. This fucking guy. Where do I even begin with him? He tries to protect his liar rapist friend. He doesn’t tell the police about important evidence in his daughter’s missing person investigation. He announces a policy change at a teenager’s funeral. He’s possessive with Laurène, jealously telling her not to hook up with random people, even though he, himself, is married. (The fact that Laurène actually likes this tool was a constant source of emotional pain for me.) And, of course, he leaves his grieving wife all alone so he can go lie to the whole town about toxic waste.
Obviously, Bertrand wins for CHARACTER WHO REALLY NEEDS TO JUST DIE ALREADY. Season One let me down in this regard, but since I haven’t gotten to Season Two yet, it’s okay. There’s still hope.
Honorable Mentions for Chief Asshat: Roman (Black Spot); Bertrand’s Dad (Black Spot); Hyun-Gyu (Doom At Your Service); Sheryl (Evil)
Honorable Mentions for Character Who Really Needs to Just Die Already: Roman (Black Spot)
Sheryl – Evil
Wow, Sheryl sucks. Which is kind of a bummer, actually, because I liked her in the beginning, but like, once she hears proof that her boyfriend, Leland, is actually a ridiculously terrible person, you know, not just the kind of asshole who sabotages her daughter’s work, but also the kind of irredeemable fucker who gloats about the possibility of a Black teenager getting A) tried as an adult, and B) sexually assaulted while in jail? Yeah, that’s when you dump the guy and take a long shower to wash the stench of oh my God, I was fucking an actual monster off of you.
And yet Sheryl decides to stick with Leland, presumably of her own free will. I mean, this is a show about literal demons, so I guess there’s a possibility of evil brainwashing sex magic or something, but at this point, it seems more like Sheryl just makes terrible asshole decisions because, secretly, she’s a terrible asshole. Influenced by Leland, sure, but her choices seem to be her own, and her choices wholeheartedly suck. I’m frankly relieved Kristen slammed the door in her face at the end of the season. WTF, Sheryl?
Honorable Mention: The Mayor’s Dad (Black Spot)
Camille killed Marion – Black Spot
I regret to say that I didn’t call this one at all. Once it became clear there was a leak at the police station, Mek and I figured it had to be Camille, but neither of us jumped to Secret Killer. And while I did consider there might be something up with those birds, I guess I was thinking more, like, ominous foreshadow? Maybe a bleak end for Camille, but not that they were actually tormenting her ass. (Which, in retrospect, annoys me cause damn it, we had like a whole season of Nature’s Violent Vengeance Against Shitty People, and why didn’t I put the clues together, why?!) Anyway, it’s kind of a bummer because I liked Camille? But it’s also a surprising and well-supported twist.
BEST WTF MOMENT
Leland meets with his actual demon therapist – Evil
We’ve seen Leland play the role of therapist before, most notably with Sebastian, but after Kristen cuts off Leland’s gloating/monologue of threats by, well, basically cutting off his balls and feeding them to him, verbally–oh, it’s fucking glorious–Leland goes to his own therapist/Presumed Big Bad. Who is, like. An actual demon, just sitting in a chair with a notebook and pen in full furry, gigantic, horned CGI glory. We’ve seen a lot, a LOT, of weird shit up to this point, but nothing quite like this, not outside nightmares and visions and drug-induced hallucinations. Not a literal demon saying shit like, “We’ll eat her heart, together. Now tell me about your dreams.” It is straight-up amazing.
Also amazing: Leland’s plaintively complaining, “Why do people make fun of marching bands? That’s a worthy entertainment.” HA. I liked that almost as much as I enjoyed his hilarious temper tantrum after Sebastian’s death. Christ, I love the humor on this dark and weird little show.
Honorable Mentions: Astra, the Legends, and the house go animated – Legends of Tomorrow
That’s about all I’ve got, today. We’ll see what autumn TV brings. Until next time!