Month: August 2016

What to Watch: 08/31/2016


Worst is best! Up is down! East is west! Jefferson is the antichrist! Three-out-of-three TV-lovin’ editors in a Scholar-ly room agree that Hulu’s You’re the Worst is the top choice for your viewing pleasure tonight. But it’s not the only thing. Why, you may ask? Good thing we’re in the middle of a What-to-Watch article.


You’re the Worst [Hulu, 10p]

Season three premieres tonight, and we pick up where we left off, Lindsay back in marital bliss (misery) with Paul, Edgar seeking cohabitating heaven, and Gretchen and Jimmy facing her demons and the shock of saying I Love You–to each other. And tonight someone will prove He or She is the Worst in a way that will briefly (I hope) emotionally devastate me.


You’re the Worst [Hulu, 10p]

We left off last season with Jimmy and Gretchen saying the L word so now we watch and wait.  Can they confront all their worst fears about commitment and survive or will the relationship implode? As long as there are more frittatas along the way I’m ready for either one.


You’re the Worst [Hulu, 10p]

Between CasualDifficult People, and this, the two terrible people against the world genre has blown up in the past couple years. While it’s often hard to watch, you cannot turn away. Otherwise, I have little to add.



  • YTW interrupts our usual programming choice (that of Mr. Robot), but that does not mean the USA techno-thriller is not on, nor that we don’t recommend you watch. This week, Angela, Elliot, and Darlene all try to uncover their own truth from different places and angles.
  • Viceland’s pot-themed biography anthology Weediquette returns tonight for its second go-around.
  • Will the NFL long-snapper-cum-magician survive another round of cuts on NBC’s America’s Got Talent? En-Scholar-ing minds want to know.

What to Watch: 08/30/2016

The Fonz and Captain Kirk have two options: find true love against all odds with veteran-of-such-things Katherine Heigl or get axe murdered by a camping teenager. We think we know which way they’ll go — if they dare to follow their dreams.

Better Late Than Never [NBC, 10p]
We may be a week late on this, but I believe there’s some sort of idiom that apologizes for that — teamwork makes the dream work. Anyway, NBC has sent Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw, and George Foreman on international holiday in pastel shirts, and the cameras catch their particular brands of madness.

Dead of Summer [Freeform, 9p]
It’s first season finale time and the mystery is still getting deeper. The sleeper hit of the summer continues to surprise.

The Ugly Truth [Lifetime, 8p]
Katherine Heigl stars in a typical Katherine Heigl movie, wherein she’s a TV producer who inevitably falls in love with a chauvinist, played by Gerard Butler in this romcom from 2009. Just the film to turn off your brain on a Tuesday night.



  • Apocalyptic animal insanity abounds (still) on CBS’ summer series Zoo, that’s near wrapping up its second season.
  • Like most humans — a subset of which includes computer programmers in the early-1980s — Donna and Gordon are bad at keeping their personal lives outside of their work on AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire.
  • We cannot watch TLC’s Cake Boss without hearing Paul F. Tompkins repeat those words in our head (“cake boss!“). In any case, Hoboken baker Buddy Valastro makes a cactus cake this week.
  • Morgan Freeman returns to Science Channel to teach us something like the network’s namesake on Through The Wormhole.
  • We’re not sure how quick the turnaround is on Hard Knocks, HBO’s breakthrough NFL training camp reality show, but the synopsis promises first cuts, which is scheduled to happen four hours before the show airs tonight. L.A. Rams and filmmakers, you have your work cut out for you.
  • Blue Collar Backers joins Milwaukee Blacksmith in building a Tuesday night heartland hipster block, although since they are on at the same time on different channels, Discovery and History respectively, it’s not really a block.
  • Finally, America’s Got Talent (do we, though?) narrows it down to the semi-finals tonight.

What to Watch: 08/29/2016

The mob man is mad because he can’t find Waldo, but don’t fret mob man, he’s right up there with the Cake Wars judges in our banner pic. Beyond those bakers having fun with a pre-internet meme and some VMA washover, there’s not much, but here’s some television that’s on tonight:

Cake Wars [Food, 9p]
Season three comes to a close with a series of Where’s Waldo? cakes.

The Making of the Mob: Chicago [AMC, 10p]
Between the episode title (“Last Man Standing”), the fact that it’s the season finale of a show about the mob, and that all this took place about a century ago, I wouldn’t get too attached to anyone tonight.

Fashion Police: 2016 VMAs Edition [E!, 8p]
I’m not sure how I will be able to get through this episode minus Joan, but alas I will give it a whirl in her honor and because after that Kanye speech I need something else to focus on from last night. What better distraction than the interesting choices of what people wore?



  • Freeform’s hidden gem The Fosters tackles political angles as they try to get (hashtag) justice 4 Jack.
  • DIY’s House Crashers kicks off a thirteenth season of crashing houses by, what else, crashing a house.
  • Well, we’ll be: the synopsis for TNT’s Major Crimes does not even mention Rusty, so this might be the day to catch up with The Closer‘s solid, if by now well-worn, stable of character cops as they battle nazis (yup, that’s what the trailer says).

Sunday’s Best Reviewed: The Night Of

As we bring back this recap round-up feature, it’s an absolute runaway — one of the Golden State Warriors, likely 2016-17 version even. HBO’s ultra-thrilling The Night Of deserves to be thrown into the mix of shows like The Wire and Breaking Bad as best all-time crime dramas. The rest of the reviewed field falls significantly behind. BrainDead has been a mixed bag throughout its run, and the theme of the day seems to be how much people love the Mary Matalin-James Carville style romance of Laurel and Gareth. However, as Lauren Hoffman at Vulture points out, it’s a bit of “a bad sign that the most compelling moments of a show about zombies, political intrigue, and high-stakes drama come when two characters are hanging out, calmly discussing their on-again, off-again relationship?” The most prominent prequel, Fear the Walking Dead, now two episodes into the second half of its second season continues to suffer from the tension created by its parent show’s grandest cliffhanger, but it has some adherents. TV Fanatic‘s Steve Ford notes “the character development and bonding between Strand and Madison was a nice addition.”

Sunday, August 29th’s Best: The Night Of (9.5/10)


As it has throughout its rookie (lone?) season, The Night Of, earned mostly Harvard-ian grades from critics. The closest thing to a holdout for the finale is the AV Club‘s Alasdair Wilkins, who recognized the greatness in the show, but found its unevenness a bit “unsatisfying,” and chalking that up to “the necessary end result of a show that was already spinning a few too many plates. It all comes crashing down, and there’s a good chance at least some of that clatter was intentional, but probably not all of it.” Jesse Schedeen at IGN has fewer reservations, raving that the finale “alone should ensure that multiple actors will be earning Emmy nominations next year. Is it too early to start hoping for a sequel?” But it’s TV Fanatic‘s Carissa Pavlica who answers the show’s most pressing question in one of three perfect ratings, and one that plagued at least one Screen Scholar for the majority of the episode: “WHAT ABOUT KITTY?? As they continued to focus on that door, I was shedding tears as Roberta Flack continued to poke at my soft inner core, right through my crusty crab shell. I kid you not. I felt so awful for Stone, and I was a little confused, because I was SO sure he would have gone back for Kitty. Surely I wasn’t wrong! Then Kitty came strolling across the kitchen floor.” Either way would have been a tad manipulative, but our Jason (who also loved it), is certainly grateful The Night Of didn’t kill the cat.

The Rest of the Night:


BrainDead – 6.0

Fear the Walking Dead – 5.9

Ray Donovan – 5.5

Vice Principals – 4.5

Ranking the Worst of “You’re the Worst”

You’re the Worst, which is actually the best returns Wednesday. When we last saw the spoiled and petulant residents of Silver Lake they were settling into the lives they created through a series of bad choices. On a scale of 0 (the best) to 10 (the worst) where does everyone rank?


Jimmy Shive-Overly stalked his girlfriend, tried to leave her during the depths of her despair after blatantly ignoring her depression, and got wasted at a party because it was “his turn” to be taken care of. But he also convinced Gretchen to get help, and revealed his true self when he told Gretchen he loved her. Verdict: 6


Gretchen Cutler started a fake feud that turned into a real feud (and endangered the life of a chinchilla), ended the feud when she ended a violent fight in a parking lot — and managed to do her job despite her crippling depression. Gretchen had all of the great speeches this season, including a heartbreaking plea for Jimmy to leave her. It turned out Gretchen thought she was managing her depression just fine (nope) but agreed to get help in the finale. Verdict: 5


Edgar Quintero got into sketch comedy, found a girlfriend, and asked to move in with her. He’s come a long way from living in his car. Then Edgar told Dorothy he’s not ready to live with someone (mostly because making breakfast for Jimmy everyday allows him to feel safe). Edgar communicates his feelings, even though it’s hard for him, and he’s the only character who cares about anyone else. Verdict: 0 Edgar is literally the best. He’s also one of the most interesting characters on television.


Dorothy Durwood quit her sexist sketch troupe, is the voice of reason, and isn’t beat down by the selfishness of everyone around her. She’s the only character that doesn’t belittle Edgar’s PTSD. (How bad should we feel about those jokes about Qatar?) She also encouraged Edgar to leave Jimmy. Verdict: 0


Lindsay Jillian is, by the far, the unhappiest person. Impregnated through condom failure or microwaved sperm, Lindsay was last seen riding in Paul’s sidecar after he Took Her Back, Or Whatever That Was after Becca’s party. Lindsay was mean to Edgar, divorced Paul, has no real job, and fell for Coast to Coast conspiracy theories. Still, burning her vagina was punishment enough, and the smartest thing Lindsay can do is not stay with Paul and not have his child. Stop it Lindsay! You were unhappy when you were married. Strike out on your own! Verdict: 8


Paul Jillian dumped his girlfriend — who forgave him for cheating — to be with his ex-wife, who is pregnant. Who treated him like dirt, who never loved him, and only recently learned the importance of paying utility bills. He also gave Vernon $15,000. GET IT TOGETHER PAUL. Verdict: 9

Amy Cadingle savagely beat Paul when he broke up with her. Violence is bad, but I hope Amy comes back, she was irritatingly good-hearted. Verdict: 3


Becca Barbara told Paul Lindsay was pregnant. She had one job, and that was not telling her sister’s ex-husband that she was pregnant. Now Paul and Lindsay are stuck with each other. It’s like the only good decision Becca ever made was turning down Jimmy’s proposal. Becca is a miserable witch determined to drag everyone down with her. Verdict: 10 Becca is the worst.


Vernon Barbara ruined his own gender reveal party (ew) when he drank too much trash juice. Vernon gave away thousands upon thousands of dollars to a cash slave, “an extreme form of submission where you give away thousands of dollars only to be told you’re a piece of shit by a dominatrix you’ll likely never meet or actually have sex with.” He also grabbed Lindsay’s boob. Verdict: 10 Vernon is literally the worst.


Sam, Shitstain, and Honeynutz are the best characters on this show. They’re the most intelligent characters, and it’s a delight to learn more about their hobbies and interests. They recognize their flaws and are willing to apologize and make up; it takes big men to come back from diss tracks like “New Phone, Who Dis?” Sam, Honeynutz, and Shitstain are inarguably inspired by Oddfuture, and yet I want to give the fictional trio all of my money. (Maybe it’s because they wouldn’t attack a photographer.) Verdict: 1 — these guys are kind of the best.


Our Sunday Reviews

The Night Of – A

0829nightofbox.jpgAfter all of John Stone’s tactical maneuvers, Chandra’s mistrial-worthy kiss, Freddie’s DVD’d reveal of it, the reasonable doubt of the three initially known very likely alternate suspects, Box’s post-retirement sleuthing uncovering yet a fourth suspect (and almost certain culprit), it was ultimately Gordon from Sesame Street who swept the clouds of guilt away from Nazir Khan. Well, technically, it was Roscoe Orman, just recently fired by this same network as Gordo, who as an obstinate jury foreman would not back down from a deadlock and ultimately gave Naz his (semi-)unconditional freedom.


While some might find it a bit of a cop out for such a dark-edged show as The Night Of to close on a positively up beat, there was a bit of relief in the reprieve. HBO’s latest delivered on its promise as the best-written crime drama since that Wire show with a prismatic, shapeshifting episode which gave most non-killers at least a bittersweet end, with even a neatly wrapped little final scene for the cat. Chandra Kapoor is pretty well screwed; we’ll never know what she was thinking from the kiss to stupidly displaying Naz on stage after the case — did she want him to get his voice or did she sabotage him so she could bury their ill-advised affair. However, most everyone came out scathed but not broken, even Naz.
The Night Of thrived on the five fathom depth of its characters. John Turturro truly sold subway ad shyster John Stone’s descent into empathy sans sappiness, as he was forced into delivery of the defense’s final argument, and it was a stirring one, drawing emotional intensity from his true belief in the sanctity of initial innocence. Riz Ahmed continued his savage stillness as Naz was forced on the stand to confront his inner truth — he never wholly knew he was NOT capable of being the killer. Michael K. Williams is always perfect, so we won’t even go into his final turn as jailhouse philosopher Freddie. The most valuable performance of the night came from the surprise source of Jeannie Berlin, whose prosecutorial shark Helen Weiss subtly broke down as she realized mid-prosecution that Naz almost certainly was not guilty, but could not stop from going forward with her perfect case — that is until Gordon saved us by declaring his jury deadlocked. While HBO may have sinned in its dismissal of an actor who’s been in a role since before I was even born, they made some amends by finding him an unlikely landing spot.
– Jason Thurston

What to Watch: 08/24/2016

It’s Robot‘s world on Wednesdays here, and even Master Chef Getting Chewed Out By Gordon Ramsay knows he can’t convince us otherwise. And bewildered hacker, and Mr. Robot‘s titular character’s sister, Darlene certainly knows what’s up. Here’s some shows we recommend, starting with the obvious!

Mr. Robot [USA, 10p]
Insert the emoji where your head explodes. Oh there isn’t one yet? Okay, so I’ll try to explain then. We got the first BIG reveal of the season last week when Elliott admitted and showed us that he is indeed in prison right now. Cue gasp! As the flashbacks replay and you put it all together and your brain implodes we are still left with one over arching question — Where the heck is Tyrell?? Did Elliott kill him?? Or is Elliott him?? Ok, that was more than one, even more reason to watch tonight. We need answers!

Mr. Robot [USA, 10p]
Based on promo shots available, this week’s installment of FSociety chaos-encased-in-madness portends to focus on Darlene, which could actually be some much needed narrative respite.

MasterChef [Fox, 8p]
Tonight’s episode is a two-hour combo. First season 7 winner Kevin is the guest judge, and is bound to stress out the contestants by cooking with them as they create a dish with “premium ingredients.” (Caviar or just really expensive fruit?) Someone will get eliminated before the Top 8 try to survive a three-part skill test with potatoes.



  • As you can discern from the still above (if you haven’t kept up), USA’s Suits stars are not just concerned with suits of the three-piece variety (and, yes, we catch the legalese double-meaning in the title … sigh, we always have). Then again, Neal McDonough is on this show and he’s a national treasure!
  • We’re not ones to generally promote improv-on-one-sound-stage faux game show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, but when Marty McFly’s mom is on, all bets are off.
  • We’re also not ones to go out of our way for Uber-E! shows like Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry, but Lil Jon bustin’ ghosts … we are so definitely there!
  • We’re not … wait, we are one to overdo a bit, but Pawn Stars is highlighting actor Harry Carey’s autograph collection (and we’re always delighted that there were Harry Careys that were neither Cub fans or Bud men … ok, so he also had a different spelling). Also, if the overwhelming tide of clickbait is any indication, Chumlee is now a hottie (but was he ever a nottie?).
  • If MasterChef does not sate your appetite for cooking and anger, there’s the first of a five part arc of Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.


What to Watch: 08/23/2016

Michaela Watkins and Kerry Bishé bring brilliant, conflicted women to life in two different eras, but neither setbacks nor generational setting differences between their shows can stop them from sharing a laugh in today’s Screen Scholars image. Here’s some words about those shows, and other options to watch tonight.

Halt and Catch Fire [AMC, 9p]
If you missed the season three finale on Sunday, here’s your chance to catch up and mini-binge on Mutiny and its many mutinies among the early computer startup community. Hey, Chris Hardwick, where’s their Talking show, and would it be Talking Halt or Talking Fire. Or … or … wait for it, Talk and Catch Fire.

Casual [Hulu]
Valerie was such a brat at her surprise bday party last week she actually walked out and threatened to go back to her ex-husband, who she has been secretly sleeping with all season. But after experiencing Jack’s BBQ skills how can she continue with this outrageous idea?



  • Michael Rosen, founder of Current TV (remember that), opined on HuffPo today that Trump will win, and that it’s related to why the History Channel shows Swamp People instead of staid documentary (basically, we can’t have good stuff, because most of us don’t want good stuff). Anyway, Screen Scholars hopes he’s wrong. On an unrelated note, the History Channel debuts Milwaukee Blacksmith tonight, starring that bearded fella pictured above. That’s history right … blacksmith? {cowers shaking in cupboard}
  • Over on CBS, James Patterson’s Zoo wraps up a second season. Oh yeah, Rosen calls CBS out also.
  • This generation of MadTV on The CW hasn’t raised societal discourse yet, but let’s hope a visit from original run cast standouts Mo Collins and Nicole Sullivan gives the fourth offering a boost.
  • Counselors perform an exorcism tonight on Freeform’s spryly-written cult hit Dead of Summer. We’ll see how that works out, but since that would also exorcise the show’s whole premise, we’re not holding out hope for 100% evil destruction.
  • Tonight’s Pretty Little Liars episode is titled “The Wrath of Kahn” which is a cute play on the Trekkie movie title and perhaps a hint at the identity of Uber A. At least one of the ladies thinks so. Also on The FF.
  • If promos are to be believed (and that belief is kinda our credo), there’s a fun tough-guys-on-rollercoasters scenes on this week’s Hard Knocks, as HBO’s coolest sports series follows the L.A. Rams.
  • It may not portend the knock-down fights of an Andy Cohen special, but Twenty Years of The View should show off its own brand of drama with a twist of sweetness.