Atlanta, Legends of Tomorrow, and House of Cards
I love watching television. It started with Batman: The Animated Series, progressed into my teenage years spent watching Homicide: Life on The Streets, and has coalesced now into me now having no shortage of quality programming to choose from, in between my writing.
I’m a firm believer in the saying that we’re currently living a golden age of television. A time where whatever your tastes are, you’ll find at least a couple of television programs that will fill your palate.
Netflix. Hulu. Amazon. Crackle. Heck even You Tube. All of these streaming providers, and more offer a great staple of original programming. Add to that such cable networks as Starz, USA, FX, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and you’ve got an infinite amount of things to watch.
So with everyone doing their own “Top TV List of 2016” list, combined with my television watching enjoyment, I thought I’d put together a short list of some stand out moments from TV land. These are the moments that held the most impact for me, ranging from mouth open in an “ohmigoddidthatjusthappen” reaction, to getting a little choked up at a particular moment.
And can I say as a writer, I also enjoyed the superb craftsmanship that was on display with each of the below moments. This guy was taken to class in a few instances, while also enjoying the work as a fan.
ALSO BE WARNED:
My “Laughed Out Loud Throughout The Entire Episode Like A Madman” Moment:
Atlanta/ FX/ Season 1, Episode 7, B.A.N
I’m going to start by saying this: WATCH THIS SHOW.
Next to Stranger Things, this series was my favorite new series of the year, and every episode is solid.
Basic premise: two cousins try to make their way up in the Atlanta rap scene and hilarity ensues. Believe me when I say, my weak description does nothing in the way to prepare you for how solid Atlanta is.
The writing on this series is sharp as hell, the satire is extremely on point, and just watching Earn (Donald Glover), Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Heny), and Darius (Keith Stanfield) just trying to make it within the Atlanta music scene is great to watch.
One particular episode that stood out for me for how against the grain that this show is would be episode 7 titled “B.A.N.”. Paper Boi appears on an Atlanta talk show called Montague, and finds himself subjected to an interview that’s going nowhere fast.
What works extremely well about this in addition to Paper Boi’s deadpan reaction to all of the ridiculousness that’s taking place around him via the host and other guest, is how the episode is formatted.
As you’re watching B.A.N there are fake commercials mixed in with the actual Montague episode, creating this weird cross section of fake narrative and real life. Mixed into the talk show are some really creative news spots (the Trans-Racial segment deserves an Emmy nod on its own) that are hilarious and had me rolling.
My “No Honey, I’m Not Crying. There’s Something In My Eye Excuse” Moment
Game Of Thrones/ HBO/ Season 6, Episode 5, Door
In a season of Game of Thrones that had no shortage of great moments, this one stole the show for me.
In the most heart-wrenching, gut punch, kick in the nether region way possible.
Hodor (Kristian Nairn) has been the Bran Stark’s lovable big guy protector for all 6 seasons that we’ve watched Game of Thrones, and to see him taken out by the White Walkers was hard to watch.
When the famous catch phrase “Hodor” was explained, as a fan I was hit pretty hard. As a writer/ creator I silently stood up and did a slow clap for the creators of this show.
Masterful and impactful storytelling at its best.
My “I Was Smiling and Feeling All Types of Hyped” Moment
Legends of Tomorrow/ CW/ Season 2, Episode 7, Invasion
The CW Arrow-verse (Supergirl, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash) is like getting a fanboy Christmas every Monday through Thursday night.
You get a great helping of all of the DC characters that you know and love, and its not just pandering special effects laden theatrics being presented. Sure there have been some weak episodes and seasons for a few of the shows, but speaking from the perspective of a guy whose watched this universe grow from the earliest days of Arrow, these shows are fun and deserve to be checked out.
In the seasons before we’ve had small crossovers involving the crews from Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tommorrow. With this being the first year of having Supergirl at its proper home on the CW network, the creators of the universe decided that an ultimate crossover was in order.
If you’re a fan of comic books crossovers are a regular thing. Its nothing to see Spidey web-slinging across the Manhattan skyline with Iron Man skyrocketing pass him, or to see Batman doing his ole’ scowly face routine as he, Wonder Woman, and Superman team up to take on a world destroying despot.
For casual fans of the recent glut of super hero movies/ television shows, crossovers such as these are something new, as presented in the growing cinematic universes of Marvel Studios and DC Comics/ Warner Bros.
The same applies for the Arrow-verse. So after a 4 night crossover event, for casual and long time fans of these DC properties, seeing the rooftop battle against the DC heroes and the invading alien Dominators was awesome to watch.
Some folks are definitely right to draw comparisons between this and the epic airport battle in this years Captain America: Civil War, but it was still fun to watch nonetheless. And I’ll also admit the Dominators were kind of on the cannon-fodder status for the heroes.
But dammit, what we got was an epic/fun scene of kick butt action, with a little bit of saving the day thrown in.
My “WTF. Did That Just Happen?” Moment
House of Cards/ Netflix/ Season 4, Episode 13, Chapter 52
The Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright) are probably some of the worst people on Earth. They lie, they cheat, they manipulate, and they kill to get what the want.
And like Vic Mackie (Michael Chiklis) in The Shield and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in Breaking Bad, the audience loves to root for them. In Mackie’s case I wanted him to get caught for the entirety of the series, but watching him duck and dodge the system was fun to watch, in a twisted sort of way.
In the final few minutes of Chapter 52 the Underwoods have taken their viciousness to a new level, having found themselves backed into a corner where there is no escape.
As result they decide to use their power as President and First Lady to set the country on a path of “fighting terror” in a total war type of fashion to deflect attention away from their troubles. The fact that it begins with a “sacrificial lamb” moment, with the death of an unfortunate character makes it all the more worse.
I don’t want to give away the whole story here of how things have led to this point, because the season deserves to be watched. This moment stands out as this year’s WTF moment for me.