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Daenerys takes care of her critics, mass cancellations and pick-ups, and is Marvel just making the world's most expensive TV show?

Tuesday May 17th 2016
 
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The Watercooler

“Tormund and Brienne? YES PLEASE. I don’t care if it’s a romantic relationship at all, I just want to see the ultra-proper Brienne and the literal Wildman Tormund to go riding together and kicking total ass like some sort of killer Westerosi Odd Couple.” Io9 has a lot to say about this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, but seriously, why can’t this be a web series? Or maybe even a bottle episode?

Tormund has a crush on Brienne and that’s the best thing ever, (that dinner GIF cracks me up) and the Stark kids reuniting was something we've been waiting seasons to see, so none of us even noticed that we didn’t get the second part of the Tower of Joy flashback. 

“Later she takes Jon’s hand, physically appealing to him. All I could think of is Cersei’s wicked queen moment when she grabs Tommen’s cheek and sweetly says, “I am your mother. You can always trust me.” Sansa’s no Cersei, but the use of a coaxing touch is the same. Best of all, Sansa doesn’t let the scene end without telling us her goals. “If we don’t take back the North, we’ll never be safe. I want you to help me. But I’ll do it myself if I have to.”” The A.V. Club’s "Experts" review earned an A-, while the “Newbies” review (above) got an A, the first of the season.

Slashfilm has the 10 most important moments, and here’s the guide to everyone who died.

Good news! The Winners outnumber the Losers this week.

Somehow Littlefinger is this week’s worst person in Westeros. I guess it can’t be Ramsay Bolton every week.

Speaking of, here’s a list of bad things the author would like to see happen to him.

The number of prophecies seems to be multiplying, so here’s a refresher on two of the biggest.

“It’s a remarkable sequence from a plot point of view, promising that things will never be the same again, but there’s something else going on here. Game of Thrones has allowed its chief female lead to reclaim female nudity. There is nothing exploitative about Emilia Clarke emerging from the flames nude. It’s not exploitative. It’s not cheap thrill. It’s a symbol of raw, feminine power. She’s not naked because she is weak or because she’s a slave or because she’s a whore – she’s naked because she is powerful. That, more than the massive story implications of the scene, is the most important thing happening here.” Everyone who is in her way in Westeros is going to be very concerned when news of this reaches them. Fusion said this scene was very “Beyoncé in Lemonade.”

“In seasons gone by, we would have seen far more of the prostitutes Tyrion presents to the Slavers as gifts. Instead, the focus is on Missandei’s disapproving frown. The message is clear: The traditions that we encountered at the start of Game of Thrones are as foul as they are flawed. The onscreen nudity is moving in a way that metaphorically reflects this overarching shift in philosophy.” Decider argues that the show might have finally wised up about how to use on-screen nudity.


“Though I doubt that the final scene was supposed to be funny, I have been wondering if it is supposed to be off-putting. We’ll have to see how the rest of the season plays out, but the bloodthirsty, casual way that Dany overthrew Vaes Dothrak is actually a rather unsettling harbinger of her particular brand of charismatic tyranny. Instead of being framed as a savior, she could just as easily be seen as a despot.” Sonia Saraiya at Salon say sure, she’s powerful, but can she be trusted with that power? Her reaction to basically everything since she got dragons has been a stone-faced "I'm thinking about killing you," so probably not?

Did you enjoy last week’s Tower of Joy sword fight? Would you enjoy it more if they were using lightsabers?

The actor who plays The Mountain got a tiny pomeranian puppy. You're welcome.


The Business

As soon as I stepped away from my computer on Thursday the networks decided to go crazy and cancel everything. So let's bid a goodbye to Castle, Nashville (maybe?), Agent Carter (this one is a bummer), The Muppets, The Grinder, Grandfathered, Bordertown, Containment, Galavant, Rush Hour, Recovery Road, Second Chance, and sorry “Copmom Momcop”, NBC has cancelled Mysteries of Laura. EW has the complete list over here.

Uproxx ranked the cancellations from the ones they will miss the most to the ones they will miss the least.

At least they all got one season, Marvel’s Most Wanted, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off wasn’t picked up by ABC. Good thing they wrote those characters off.

A new round of shows go picked-up, half of which the networks will cancel this time next year. 
ABC ordered Downward Dog, a show starring Allison Tolman and a dogand the Shondaland drama Still Star-Crossed, a sequel to Romeo and Juliet. ABC also moved Agent Carter’s Hayley Atwell over to Conviction, a lawyer drama about a former first daughter. Honestly I’d watch Hayley Atwell in anything. Time After Time, which isn’t based on the Cyndi Lauper song, but is a drama about H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper.

NBC decided The Blacklist: Redemption, the inevitable spin-off, was a no brainer. NBC also picked up Charlaine Harris’ (True Blood) supernatural drama Midnight, Texas. It was a day of good news and bad news for producer Dan Fogelman, as his show This is Us got picked up by NBC, but Grandfathered and Galavant, his other two shows got cancelled.

The CW picked up Riverdale, the show that’s "a darker take” on the Archie comics.

CBS ordered a bunch of showsthe MacGyver reboot, the Joel McHale starring The Great Indoors, a Training Day show because CBS needed to match FOX for TV shows made from movies, and Pure Genius, a medical drama from Friday Night Night’s Jason Kati's. As Buzzfeed points out, besides the Katherine Heigl (why?) and Laverne Cox starring Doubt it’s all white guys all the time over at CBS. Which is especially annoying if the Nancy Drew show really wasn’t picked up because it was considered “too female” for the network.

AMC has ordered Heroes and Villains: The History of Comic Books, a six-part documentary series.

Renewed: CBS’s Supergirl got renewed for a second season, but the show is moving to The CW, where it can hang out with Arrow and The Flash. (I approve of this move.) NBC renewed The Carmichael Show for a third season. I am surprised, but pleased, that ABC renewed the critically adored, but little-watched American Crime. Also surprising, Sleepy Hollow somehow managed to get a renewal, despite half of its fans throwing their remotes across the room in the season finale. Unsurprisingly, ABC has renewed The Catch. Last Man Standing got picked up for a 6th season. The Real O’Neal’s got a second season from ABC.

Casting: Tom Cullen, recently seen on Downton Abbey, will star in History’s Knightfall, which is produced by Jeremy Renner. Toby Jones will play the latest villain on Sherlock.

HBO will air the Looking "epilogue" on July 23rd. I am still bummed about this one's cancellation.

Of course AMC is doing an after show for Preacher. Talking Preacher will air twice this season, and is of course hosted by Chris Hardwick.

The BBC is reportedly in the early stages of creating their own Netflix or Amazon competitor, tentatively titled “Britflix.” No word on if it will be available outside the UK.

 

People Talking About TV

"Marvel's innovation, then, has been to take the basic idea of how superhero comics are structured and coat it in TV paint.The storytelling is much more TV-like, in terms of how individual films are structured like "episodes" of a TV show (with roughly similar stories, even — for a long time, you could accurately describe every Marvel film as "a fight at the beginning, a fight in the middle, a fight at the end, all linked together with snark"), and in terms of how they assume your past knowledge of the character’s exploits. Again, that's true of comics, but it's much more true of modern cable television.” I can’t see Captain America: Civil War because I haven’t seen Ant Man yet, it’s like being a season behind, so this theory that Marvel is making the most successful (and expensive) TV show makes perfect sense to me. Meanwhile DC keeps making expensive pilots nobody is all that excited about.

"But Meyer knew his audience. He wanted to make a TV movie that looked like TV, with the same familiar characters and archetypes, the better to reach into people’s living rooms and sock them in the gut. In his commentary for the film’s laserdisc, Meyer explains, “I never viewed this as a movie per se, more like a big public service announcement. I wanted it to be as crude and in your face as possible.” A few days before the broadcast, the Christian Science Monitor predicted the film was “liable to have as much effect upon the people who watch as the evening news coverage of the Vietnam war seemed to have on viewers in the 1960s and ’70s.”” It’s 1983 on The Americans, so like millions of other families, they watched ABC’s The Day After. One of my teachers in junior high decided we should all watch this in social studies, and it is actually pretty terrifying.

"What most distinguishes the televised wine, though, is that it is most commonly used as a symbol of the stress that the woman who is drinking it is experiencing. There’s a notable darkness to the Pinots, be they blanc or noir, that Olivia and Alicia and Skyler and their fellow women—Jules included—down so voraciously: Theirs is not, for the most part, social wine or with-dinner wine. It is coping wine. It is medicative wine. It is wine that is often consumed alone.” The Atlantic talks about Scandal, The Good Wife, and Friday Night Lights, and the wine drinking habits of the female characters on those shows.

 

What To Watch

Since I am traveling this week, and there’s no newsletter on Thursday, here’s everything you should watch for the next 7 days.

Preacher arrives this Sunday on AMC, and if you had your doubts, Alan Sepinwall, who is a big fan of the comics, said he “enjoyed the hell out of the first 4 episodes.” Here’s the trailer. I am definitely on board for this one.

Doctor Thorne, Julian Fellows’ follow-up to Downton Abbey arrives on Amazon Prime on Friday. Lots of pretty people in pretty costumes, as you’d expect. Here’s the trailer.

All the Way, the HBO film starring Bryan Cranston as LBJ arrives on HBO on Saturday. He makes a very convincing LBJ.

Maria Bamford’s Lady Dynamite arrives on Netflix on Friday, and this review makes comparisons to Louie, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the work of Charlie Kaufman. I like her, and the premise sounds weird enough that I will give this one a try.

The SNL season finale is this week, and former cast member Fred Armisen will host with musical guest Courtney Barnett.

Orphan Black is currently airing new episodes, and if you got lost last season, never fear, Uproxx assures me that this season is the best one since the first.

Indie Wire has their list of the 13 limited series (or TV movies) they are looking forward to this summer. O.J.: Made in America sounds like it’ll make it into The Watercooler.

If you were somehow afraid that you were going to run out of shows to watch, Indie Wire also has a list of the 19 summer dramas they are looking forward to. I am going to watch at least the pilot of 14 of these, god help me.

Uproxx has the 13 best sci-fi shows available right now on streaming. Will someone else please watch Quantum Leap for me and tell me if it holds up?

Or you could watch one of the 8 best travel shows on Netflix. I love Long Way Round, but Parts Unknown (Which is currently airing new episodes.) really should have been in the top spot.

I feel like it’s been a while since I pointed out all the weird stuff that you can watch for free at Shout Factory. I mean, where also can you jump between episodes of The Practice, Ultraman, and Father Knows Best?

 

Odds and Ends

The Tonight Show and The Lonely Island, with help from The Roots, used classroom instruments to perform “I’m On a Boat.” You have that stuck in your head now, don't you?

I refuse to watch any of The Bachelorette/The Bachelor, but you might enjoy Salon’s article on the 7 reasons why this season’s terrible crop of male contestants are going to be a glorious disaster.

Trailers: There’s probably several tiny spoilers in the season two trailer for Mr. Robot, so watch out. Can’t wait. NBC’s time travel drama Timeless has a good cast, but looks pretty ridiculousThe Good Place, the comedy starring Kristen Bell about an afterlife related mix-up looks...good? Could be funny, could be just an OK trailer. FOX released trailers for The Pitch, Empire adjacent Star, and Adam Pally’s time travel (clearly a theme for next season) Making History, which I am definitely watching. E!'s The Arrangement is basically just an imagined version of the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes marriage, with Michael Vartan playing the David Miscavige part. I am definitely watching at least the pilot for this one.

 

As I mentioned above, I am traveling this week, so that’s all for me. But don’t worry, I will be back on Tuesday with all the details on the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Thanks for reading!

-Alana Cloutier

 

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