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Spinning wheels on Game of Thrones, Supernatural's top 10 deaths, and comedies "in theory."

Wednesday June 15th 2016

The Watercooler

"I choose violence."

For an episode with that as the key line, this was kind of an uneventful episode of Game of Thrones. I know we got a big reveal last week, but after three episodes in a row of moving people around and setting things up, viewers are getting awfully antsy. However, the preview for next week’s episode looks insane, so that should make people happy.

““No One” is a weird episode in this way, as its climaxes are inherently anti-climactic. Arya defeating the Waif was predictable, Riverrun was undone by a quiet betrayal (with the Blackfish’s death off-screen), the Masters’ attack on Meereen felt both inevitable and oddly motivated (given we have only seen the Masters the once, and they don’t even appear on the ships to tie the attack to any specific characters), and anyone who didn’t expect Daenerys to come flying back to her city’s rescue has never watched a television show before.” This week The A.V. Club “experts” recap gave the episode a B-, while the “newbies” handed out a B. Normally I'd say the Blackfish's off-screen death might mean we haven't seen the last of him, but this season seems dead set on getting people excited about things and then deciding not to do them.

“Hey, Arya? I’m pretty sure the Faceless Men have to do something to the faces before they put them on the wall. They don’t stick them on while they’re still bleeding, because that’s messy as hell. Of course, you might have learned that if you hadn’t dropped out of Face-Changing Assassin School.” Io9 recaps an episode where nothing crazy happened, though they point out that two people still lost their heads, because after all this is still an episode of Game of Thrones.

/film has this week’s 10 most important moments.

The A.V. Club has the guide to who died this week.

It’s been a couple of seasons since we’ve seen them, so Vulture has a primer on the Brotherhood Without Banners.

"Now, if Tommen were to die without children as well, a succession crisis might emerge between Tommen's sister Myrcella and his uncle Stannis. That's a bit of a moot point for us, since both of them are dead, as is Robert's other brother, Renly." Since nobody is safe, this article lays out what would happen if Tommen dies without an heir.

Nicolaj Coster-Waldau talks about how all the Lannister’s have the same haircut now, and how he also ships Brienne and Jaime.

Speaking of, this is the season where everyone on the show has finally figured out that Brienne is a total babe.

So there’s this speech in the books that got cut from last week’s episode, and some people were super disappointed. So to make this all more random, someone reached out to David Milch, the creator of Deadwood, who read it instead.

Confused about the show’s version of time travel? This video might help, or at least might help explain the different theories about time travel.

I love that Joffrey’s death is on this list of the show’s genuinely happy moments.

Speaking of terrible people's eagerly anticipated deaths, here are some suggestions for who would be the most satisfying character to kill Ramsay Bolton.

If you want to do the Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik, this is what it’s like.

The world didn’t need 30 Casterly Rock, the Lannister version of the 30 Rock intro, but here it is, and it’s actually kind of perfect.

I did shockingly well on Buzzfeed's latest Game of Thrones quiz. So if you can tell which sex scenes are from Spartacus (or other premium cable costume dramas) and which are from GoTs, this is the quiz for you.


The Business

Well that didn’t take long to sort out. Nashville is officially a go at CMT, after ABC declined to renew it.

HBO and Larry David have announced that Curb Your Enthusiasm will return for a ninth season.

Rob Lowe is the next person to submit themselves to a Comedy Central Roast, and unless they’ve read his books, some of his past is going to be interesting news to younger viewers.

Casting: Nicole Kidman has joined the second season of Top of the Lake. Jeff Garlin will direct and star in Netflix’s Handsome, about a “Columbo style” detective. Jeff Daniels and Merritt Wever will star in Godless, Netflix’s upcoming western. Hulu’s Dimension 404 has added Joel McHale and Sarah Hyland to the cast. Nick Kroll, and basically every comedian you can think of, will voice characters on Netflix’s Big Mouth, an animated comedy about puberty. Alan Ruck has been bumped up into a series regular on FOX’s adaptation of The Exorcist. Kate Walsh and Derek Luke have joined the cast of Netflix’s 12 Reasons Why. Justin Hires has jumped from CBS’s cancelled Rush Hour reboot straight into CBS’s MacGyver reboot.

Renewals: TV Land ordered a fourth season of Younger. Comedy Central has ordered a second season of Idiotsitter.

Syfy has declined to renew Ghost Hunters, probably because after 200 episodes they still didn’t locate any actual ghosts.

If you missed the remake of Roots, you will have many more chances to catch it when it arrives on Hulu in the fall.

Kevin Smith says that Mallrats is going to be a TV show. No mention of where or when it’s going to air.


People Talking About TV

“I’ve often urged people to watch series along the lines of You’re the Worst only to have them grouse later that it upset them: “You call that a comedy?” one asked. CIT is admittedly not an inviting acronym — it sounds like you’re describing a failure rather than a show that achieves precisely what it sets out to do — but what else can we call such odd ducks? All this innovating has been hell for the Emmys, where shows like Orange have actually switched categories; Louis C.K. has reportedly submitted Horace and Pete as a drama. We may be headed toward a future where the labels “comedy” and “drama” and “hour” and “half-hour” no longer tell us anything useful about a show, and we’ll have to think about them, live with them, in order to figure out what they are. No joke.” Matt Zoller Seitz talks about the “Comedy in Theory,” and how comedy might be the defining genre of our time.

“Still, the true originality of Call the Midwife might be in those repeated scenes of labor, which punctuate the show in the way that violence or sex does on other cable series. Childbirth is Call the Midwife’s version of a torture scene on FX, or a torrid three-way on Showtime, or a beheading on HBO. It’s the raw, relentless physical scenario that makes the viewer cringe; but, also, it’s what fans look forward to, because it’s cathartic to see—breaking a taboo, showing you something uncontrolled that you are not ordinarily allowed to observe.” From the New Yorker, the sneaky radicalism of Call the Midwife. For someone who doesn’t want to have kids, I’ve sure watched a lot of episodes of this show.

“Even Kim Wexler on Better Call Saul, one of the best characters on TV, is occasionally reduced to telling Jimmy not to do something. (Not for nothing are most of the best female characters on TV in comedies.) In this light, it’s refreshing to see a hand-wringing, anxious man—embodying many traits coded as feminine—pressured toward the fun stuff by his ex-girlfriend, who possesses a level of personal (and narrative) clarity that Jesse lacks.” Preacher’s Tulip O’Hare would feel right at home with the men of Breaking Bad or The Sopranos.


What To Watch

Animal Kingdom premiered on TNT last night, but is the Southern Californian set remake of the little-seen Australian drama any good? Maureen Ryan’s review made me think of Sons of Anarchy, as the praise for Ellen Barkin's matriarch reminded me of Katey Sagal’s character. If you like judging shows just on the trailer, here ya go.

New episodes of Orange Is the New Black arrive on Netflix on Friday, and things look tense at Litchfield this season. EW gave it a B, and lamented that the success of so many of the actors means we get less time with the characters we already know, but Tim Goodman thinks if things continue the way they seem to, it might be one of the few shows that managed to still be great in its later seasons. 

Lifetime decided the 1990s movie of the week “classic” Mother May I Sleep With Danger was due for a remake, so they decided to let James Franco take a crack at it. It seems like it will be just as campy as the original, but with a lesbian vampire twist. Here’s the trailer.

Another Period returns to Comedy Central tonight, and even though I think it’s funny, it’s just too close to the shows it’s making fun of for me to watch it. 

Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee returns tomorrow on Crackle, and I am really looking forward to the John Oliver episode. 
If you watched either the Danish/Swedish or the American/Mexican version of The Bridge, then The Tunnel, which arrives on PBS on Sunday, will seem very familiar. This time the body is across the border in the Channel Tunnel. Here's the trailer.

Other TV this week: ABC decided we needed a TV remake of Uncle Buck, and The A.V. Club claims that it’s so bad that maybe it will kill the networks mania for reboots.The surprisingly excellent teen drama (with lots of teen drama) The Fosters returns on Freeform on Monday. Did you miss Beyoncé's Lemonade the first time around? Because it’s back on HBO for one night this Saturday.

Roadies doesn’t start until the end of the month, but if you have Hulu you can watch it for free right now.

If you are bummed that Prince Harry is no longer talking photos with randoms while naked in Vegas hotel rooms, then E!’s The Royals might just be the perfect summer binge watch.


Odds and Ends
If a ranking of the Winchester brothers top 10 deaths isn’t a sign that Supernatural has been on TV for too long, I don’t know what is. (My favorite was Dean getting killed by basically everything in “Mystery Spot,” including death by golden retriever.)

Half the cast of AMC’s Preacher are British, so this ranking of the best American accents on TV is timely. (I still make fun of Charlie Hunnam’s Californian accent on Sons of Anarchy, because he slipped in and out of it constantly.) Hugh Dancy does a great job on Hannibal and The Path.

Here’s Obama slow jamming the news on The Tonight Show last week.

Maya and Marty, which is actually pretty good, had John Cena play Hulk Hogan, and man is it an accurate impression.

Here’s the Hamilton part of Sunday night’s Tony awards, which seems like a nice way to end this week’s newsletter.

Nope, I changed my mind. The best way to wrap this up is with a guy in a T-rex costume running the American Ninja Warrior course. (I watched it with the sound off, like all Ninja Warrior clips.) The tiny arms! So good.


That’s a wrap for me this week, as I will be spending the rest of the week eating Carolina BBQ and complaining that it’s too hot outside. (Californians can’t deal with real weather.) I will be back on a regular schedule next Tuesday. Thanks for reading!

-Alana Cloutier

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