17 June, 2013

Top 10 Penultimate TV Episodes

Many shows can’t pull off a solid finale. However, when it comes to penultimate episodes, as in the episode that precedes the finale, there have been some superb ones.

Here are my top 10 penultimate episodes (of about the past ten years, because I'm not going to try to remember the 90s).

10. LOST – Episode 3.21, Greatest Hits: This was all about confronting realities and accepting the inevitable. It was done to perfection, allowing characters to shine above the plot. Deeply emotional on all levels. Technically this was the third to last episode but the season finale was shown as a 2-hour event.

9. GAME OF THRONES – Episode 2.09, Blackwater: This show will probably go down as delivering the most epic penultimate episodes. This one gave us the drama and action of a big budget movie. Originally I put this higher on my list but then I watched the other episodes and realized it belonged right here.

8. MAD MEN – Episode 5.12, Commissions and Fees: Many people have argued and will likely argue for many more years about the quality of the fifth season but there is no denying that its penultimate episode was one of the show’s best.

7. COMMUNITY – Episode 2.23, A Fistful of Paintballs: The first part of a fun finale set. It was thematically different from the second part and arguably better than the finale.

6. FRINGE – Episode 2.22, Over There (part 1): This episode started a frantic ball rolling that would lead the show headfirst into its third (and my favorite) season.

5. CHUCK – Episode 2.21, Chuck vs. the Colonel: Not just a great episode but arguably the best episode the show ever pulled off in its 5-season run. It has everything that made this show beloved: heart, romance, action, family, drama, and comedy.

4. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA – Episode 1.12, Kobol's Last Gleaming (part 1): This show had some amazing episodes but only one penultimate makes this list. Part 2 would probably make a top 10 list of finale episodes.

3. GAME OF THRONES – Episode 1.09, Baelor: For those who hadn’t read the books, this sent shock-waves throughout the galaxy. It was one of the most surprising turn of events in television history. That is until…

1. GAME OF THRONES – Episode 3.09, The Rains of Castamere: I am going out cheap and declaring a tie for first. Book fans knew what was coming. Non-book fans did not. Both were equally blown away. After 20 episodes of waiting, we finally received the payoff to "Baelor". And yes, this show gets 3 episodes on the list... by earning it!

1. THE WIRE – Episode 5.09, Late Editions: One of the show’s best with various plot points reaching their emotional apex. If Emmy voters had actually bothered to watch this show while it was on the air, this episode would have resulted in a clean sweep of the awards. The Emmy’s need a new category: shows we were too stupid to realize were incredible until off the air.

Don't like my list? Make your own in the comments section below.


11 June, 2013

Best in TV: 2012-2013 Season

To make this list, a show had to premiere between 1 June, 2012 and 31 May, 2013.

Top 10 Shows
1. "Game of Thrones" - HBO
2. "Orphan Black" – BBC America
3. "The Americans" - FX
4. "Justified" - FX
5. "Mad Men" – AMC
6. "House of Cards" – Netflix
7. "Veep" - HBO
8. "New Girl" - FOX
9. "Parks and Recreation" - NBC
10. "30 Rock" - NBC

I thought about making this a top 20 list because I could have easily picked another 10 shows I loved this season, but I cut myself off at 10 (originally, this was supposed to be a top 5 list). Also, the top 6 are all hour-long dramas while the rest are all half-hour comedies. Coincidence? Or am I saying that dramas are more meaningful?

Top 10 Performances
1. Tatiana Maslany: Sarah, Alison, Cosima, et al. – "Orphan Black"
2. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Jaime Lannister - "Game of Thrones"
3. Jennifer Carpenter: Debra Morgan - "Dexter"
4. Matthew Rhys: Philip Jennings - "The Americans"
5. Maisie Williams: Arya Stark – "Game of Thrones"
6. Peter Dinklage: Tyrion Lannister – "Game of Thrones"
7. Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Selina Meyer – "Veep"
8. Clarke Peters: Albert Lambreaux - "Treme"
9. Charles Dance: Tywin Lannister – "Game of Thrones"
10. Bryan Cranston: Walter White – "Breaking Bad"

Honorable Mentions
Diana Rigg: Olenna Tyrell – "Game of Thrones"
Keri Russell: Elizabeth Jennings – "The Americans"

I realize there are a lot of GAME OF THRONES actors on this list. What can I say? The show has terrific performances that I consider better than most shows. I did try to not include that many from one show but I couldn't in good conscience do it and keep the list genuine.

Also, before someone asks why I didn't break the list up between men and women, it's because they are all actors. Why separate acting categories by sexes? That's ridiculous. This isn't athletics.

Top 5 New Shows
1. "Orphan Black" – BBC America
2. "The Americans" - FX
3. "House of Cards" - Netflix
4. "Elementary" - CBS
5. "Copper" – BBC America

There weren't that many new shows I thought should be on this list that I actually watched. The CW's ARROW could have made this list but I'm not finished watching it. Consider it an honorable mention.

And the Top Talent Award of the 2012-2013 Season goes to:

Tatiana Maslany – "Orphan Black"
This young Canadian actor bested highly respected veterans in a TV season with many excellent performances. If you aren’t watching her on ORPHAN BLACK, then I cannot emphasize enough that it would benefit your life to do so as soon as possible.

The From Best-to-Worst Award goes to:

"Community" - NBC
Created by Dan Harmon and killed by Dan Harmon’s firing. The new show runners tried very hard to deliver on the fruitful Harmon garden but only managed to peel back some skin without squeezing out an ounce of juice (minus one episode by Oscar winning writer Jim Rash). Thankfully Harmon has been hired back for next season.

*The choices are personal and not meant to be definitive. Make your own and post it in the comments section.


04 June, 2013

CFBWMR 5 - GAME OF THRONES 3.09 or RW means "Robb Wins"

In this live-recorded episode (meaning no edits), VladyGG and HGF discuss GAME OF THRONES episode 3.09; plus fan, actor, and critic reactions, YouTube, death, and even comparisons to WALKING DEAD. This is obviously a spoiler filled podcast, if you haven't watched the show DO NOT LISTEN! There are also theories tossed about related to the book material. While this could be spoilery, it is ONLY THEORIES that have never been confirmed by anyone, therefor they are not actual spoilers.

We also discuss the future of the show and hint at some things to come (but again, we do our best to avoid any spoilers).

No times noted because it is all about the show.

Press play below:

Or you can RIGHT CLICK AND DOWNLOAD HERE to grab the MP3 version.

"Red Wedding" reactions article.

Maisie reacts as Arya.

Compilation of fans reacting to the "Red Wedding".