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Downton Abbey ends, more Chef's Table, and Frank Underwood can't make a decent PB&J.

Tuesday March 8th 2016

The Watercooler

“The thing about Carol is, nothing that happened to her felt like it was planned from the start. She’s suffered, she’s endured, she’s lost people, and her gradual transformation seems more like a happy accident than an intentional philosophy. It’s one of the few reasons I can think of to rewatch the series; even with the mess of the second season, even with the stalling and the failure of the Governor to provide a convincing threat, even with the writers’ struggle to create engaging longform narrative in a serialized context that really only ever provided a handful of convincing individual moments, Carol more or less makes sense.”

The A.V. Club gave this week’s outing a B+, which is the same as last week. (Carol however always gets more than a B+)

“Andy voices his concern that the nose is all wrong. Where Andy sees a problem, Rick sees a solution—by punching the severed zombie head in the nose until it’s crushed. “He fought back,” Rick explains matter-of-factly. Andy can only stare at him, what he’s done, and how Rick never even gave a second’s thought to how screwed up this whole thing is. “[The Saviors] are scary,” Andy says, “but those pricks got nuthin’ on you.”” Rick Grimes, still shrugging away any horrified looks.

Uproxx has 10 pressing questions they need answers to and Vox has the 5 things that made this the best episode in months.

The recappers over at The Verge are at 30% this week, which means they are 5% less likely to quit watching the show than last week.

If you’ve ever wondered how many people are still alive, and not walking around looking for brains in the world of The Walking Dead, someone ran the numbers based on statements made by Robert Kirkman. Spoiler alert, it’s not that many people.

“Meanwhile, Abraham breaks up with Rosita in quite possibly the cruelest way possible. “I thought you were the last woman in the world. You’re not.” We like the guy, but we’re kind of rooting for a bullet to the head after that line.” If you just clicked on the link above this one, you know the dating pool isn’t great for Rosita, but if your choice is being single over being with Abraham, choose being single.

Ross Marquand, who plays Aaron, is really, really good at celebrity impressions. If Kevin Spacey ever needs help with his voiceovers, he could call this guy.

I am basing this just on the poster, but it looks like everything is going to go great on Fear the Walking Dead now that they are on a boat.


Everybody gets a husband! And a castle!

“We half-expected Denker and Sprat to fall into each other’s arms passionately before the whole thing was over. In the world of Downton Abbey, there is only one kind of happy ending, and it’s the kind that has wedding vows, pregnancies, and very grand houses. For all the show’s talk about societal change over the years, in the end it was really a show about a family (not just the Crawleys but the entire “family” of people that live and work on the estate), and it ended on the concerns and triumphs all families experience, from romance to childbirth to caring for the elderly and the sick.” I am going to miss Tom and Lorenzo's exasperated recaps of Downton Abbey.

“Characters gawp over the breakneck pace of change—telephones! gramophones! gentlemen in trade!—but, like Edith’s long-overdue decision to move to London, substantive changes on the show have been as hasty as a glacier. Also like Edith’s decision, and as always on Downton Abbey, much of the planned change is undone at the episode’s end.” The A.V. Club gave the finale an A-, even though the episode, as usual, took two steps forward and one (and a half) back. 

If you want to see more of Lady Mary’s new husband, he and The American's Matthew Rhys (who I bet most of you didn’t know was Welsh) host The Wine Show, which is well, a show about wine. It looks charming.


The Business

Netflix has renewed Chef’s Table for 3 more seasons, and the second season will premiere on May 27th. I am excited about this. The first season was so good.

ABC renewed a ton of shows all at once last week, but several high profile shows were left off the list, so cross your fingers for the usual May renewals for The Muppets, Agent Carter, and American Crime. (But mostly Agent Carter.)

HBO has ordered Outpost and Hate in America With Jorge Ramos, two documentary series from Fusion.

Casting: Jimmy Kimmel will be the host of this year’s Emmy awards. Craig Robinson will play one of Eliot’s neighbors on the second season of Mr. Robot. Carla Gugino will return for the second season of Wandering PinesWilmer Valderrama will have a multi-episode arc on the current season of Grey’s Anatomy.

TV Land has ordered a pilot for The First Wives Club, based on the movie of the same name.

Pilot Casting: Geena Davis has been cast in FOX’s reboot of The ExorcistAndie MacDowell will star in ABC’s Model Women, about the Ford Modeling Agency. Retta has been cast as a co-star in ABC’S Hail Mary opposite Casey Wilson. Good cast so far! CSI’s George Eads has been cast in CBS’s MacGyver pilot, though not as MacGyver, who is now a cute 20-something. Jenna Fischer will play Matt LeBlanc’s wife on CBS’s untitled sitcom about a woman who goes back to work while her husband raises the kids at home. Jordana Brewster has joined FOX’s totally necessary Lethal Weapon show. Kevin Rahm has also joined the Lethal Weapon pilot, and will hopefully play a character more sympathetic than Ted Chaough.


People Talking About TV

“Frank Underwood is many things. He is the president on House of Cards. He is a devious political schemer. He is a sociopath who is personally responsible for so many murders that he’s teetering on the edge of being a serial killer. And now, in the fourth season, we learned something else about him: He is just god-awful at making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” I noticed this as well, and also that Frank put the peanut butter on the bread first, and then put the peanut butter covered knife into the jelly jar. This is not acceptable. People who eat toast with jam do not want surprise chunks of peanut butter.

“Do you think the dogs are named Rust and Marty? Do you think one of the dogs is named “Woody Harrelson”? Will you ever stop thinking about this now that I brought it up? Probably not, right? How did Matthew McConaughey know from the dog’s little whimper/bark that it wanted to eat barbecue? Can Matthew McConaughey understand what his dog is saying? WAIT, CAN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY TALK TO ANIMALS?” Uproxx has so many questions about the Lincoln commercial where Matthew McConaughey talks to dogs.

“And they asked random people what they thought of the show, and this one housewife said she didn’t think the show was as good and that Bea Arthur’s character wasn’t as interesting. They mentioned her by name—Mrs. Betty Johnson, Sioux Falls, Iowa. So Bea reads this at lunch and then gets on the phone and asks information for this Betty Johnson’s number. And she calls her. And she picks up, this TV Guide woman, and Bea says, “This is Bea Arthur, and I want to talk to you about what you said in TV Guide.” The woman was horrified. She said she was misquoted. “I didn’t mean it. Is it really you? I love the show. I take it back.” And Bea goes, “That’s what I thought. OK, that’s better.”” If you are a fan, you should stop and read this great oral history of The Golden Girls.

“Other questions: How many pre-Jokers will Gotham introduce over its run? Even if there are only these two, why would anyone see the actual Joker as anything but a totally lame copycat when he finally debuts on Gotham;s supervillain scene? Is there still a chance that Barbara Kean may become one of these legion of Jokers? Oh god, could we actually have an episode with a legion of Jokers, where they all rent out a hotel conference room and discuss Joker policy? This show, guys.” I love iO9’s frequently horrified/confused recaps of Gotham. Here's the characters on the show ranked from the most accurate to the utterly insane.

“There are definitely a lot of people doing this, and more than anything, it's important to view what they're doing vis-a-vis their strengths. Noah shouldn't have to do interviews and he shouldn't have to compete with Stewart. Fallon shouldn't be forced to waste 10 minutes on political monologues if he just doesn't care. And more people should be watching Bee and Meyers.” Tim Goodman and Daniel Fienberg debate on which late night show is doing the most with this election cycle.


What To Watch

Underground starts tomorrow on WGN, and the reviews are surprisingly positive for a subject that feels like it'd be impossible to make into a show that isn't just punishing to watch every week. The A.V. Club gave it an A-, and described it as a tense thriller, and makes comparisons to heist movies or spy dramas. Alan Sepinwall calls it “Roots meets Prison Break.”I had this on my list even before I realized the two leads are Jess Merriweather and Voodoo Tatum from Friday Night Lights. The trailer is here.

It seems like iO9 would be a good start if you want to convince people to watch your remake of the Omen, but even they aren’t sold on the basic premise of A&E’s Damien. It started last night, if you want to give it a go. The A.V. Club gave it a D. Ouch.

I am enjoying House of Cards a lot more than I thought I was going to, based on the early reviews. (Vox called it an “incoherent roller coaster,” but meant it as a compliment.) I still stand by my opinion that just because you can binge watch it, it’s actually better if you don't. (It’s also unhealthy to binge watch like that) Watch it in a week, not by lunchtime on the day it was released. I also didn't realize how much the show suffered without Doug Stamper, now that he's back the show just feels right again.

Now that Downton Abbey is over, you might need to fill its Sunday night timeslot with something light and British. Perhaps a comedy? Luckily for you, here’s a list of 13 that might be suitable.


Odds and Ends

The Tonight Show got a TGIF style opening credits sequence, because oh my god, Fuller House is going to bring back everything terrible from the 1990s aren’t they?

Late Night and Stephen Colbert were nice enough to fill in astronaut Scott Kelly on all the pop culture moments he missed while he was in space.

Do you like Mythbusters? But are you really impatient? Then the 2-5 minute edits of the show are for you.

SNL’s most recent episode got pretty poor reviews, but their Trump campaign ad hit the mark. It's like it took them a few months to really get mad about having him as host.

Can you tell which version of the Oval Office is the real one, and which one you know from TV? I am sort of proud that I could pick out the ones from House of Cards and Scandal, but a little horrified that I failed to pick out the real one.

A brand new trailer for Game of Thrones just arrived, and surprise, surprise, Cersei chooses violence.

That’s it for today, but I will be back on Thursday with more, and probably quite a bit about what is going on in that trailer. As always, send any new subscribers over here. Thanks!

-Alana Cloutier

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