There are scores of TV shows out there, with dozens of new episodes each week, not to mention everything you can find on Hulu Plus, Netflix streaming, and HBO Go. How’s a viewer to keep up? To help you sort through all that television has to offer, Flavorwire is compiling the five best moments on TV each week. This round, Scandal hits a high point and two brand-new streaming series make for ideal weekend viewing.
Ripped-From-the-Headlines Gets Real
Shonda Rhimes’ flagship has been on a roll in its fifth season, and its fall finale constituted what Flavorwire’s Judy Berman called the show’s “most radical hour to date.” The Mellie-focused A-plot of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” follows a pro-Planned Parenthood filibuster clearly modeled on Wendy Davis’; Olivia’s subplot, meanwhile, sees her get an abortion. On primetime network television. The mere act of representing the procedure on camera is enormously powerful; the fact that it resonates with Olivia’s relationships with both Fitz and Mellie is a bonus.
Superhero TV Finally Gets Good
Krysten Ritter fronts Marvel’s Jessica Jones, the second in Netflix’s series of four Marvel shows and the second series of the fall to showcase a female superhero — compared to, uh, zero recent films. Get it together, Hollywood. We’ll let TV editor Pilot Viruet’s enthusiastic praise speak for itself: “Marvel’s Jessica Jones is the best Marvel-related television series, it is better than every single comic book adaptation on the air… and it will definitely end up on my list of the ten best shows of the year. And, if we’re being honest, I don’t believe any of these assertions to be hyperbolic in the least.” Added it to your queue yet?
Not Your Grandfather’s 1960s
Amazon goes head to head with Netflix by releasing its Philip K. Dick adaptation The Man in the High Castle, which takes place in an alternate America where the Axis powers won World War II, on the exact same day. Writes literary editor Jonathon Sturgeon in his review: “Like many adaptations of Dick’s novels, this project is ambitious yet intuitive. The alternate history premise means that the viewer’s allegiance gets twisted — she ends up rooting, at times, for the bad guys. So the viewer’s need for transgression is satisfied.” Even though the first season flags after the pilot, the bizarro-1960s show promises to land a cult following.
Kevin Crosses Over
At some point in every classical hero’s journey, he (and it’s always a he) must venture into the underworld. Kevin Garvey isn’t anyone’s idea of a conventional hero, and his “crossing over” may have simply been a successful attempt to lure a man on the brink into effectively killing himself. But the cliffhanger of “A Most Powerful Adversary” sees Kevin with his heart stopped and a “guide,” subtly enough, named Virgil. Unfortunately for Kevin, Virgil’s tossed the adrenaline that’s supposed to revive him and killed himself for good measure; as for whether Kevin survived, let alone successfully faced off with Ghost Patti in the afterlife, we’ll find out next week.
Late Night’s Meeting of the Minds
Stephen Colbert is the new kid on the talk show-hosting block; Bill Maher’s an HBO veteran. But that’s not what Maher’s referring to when he claims he and Colbert are “opposites.” What follows is a supremely uncomfortable debate about religion where neither side comes off looking good — Catholic Colbert’s condescending; atheist Maher’s dismissive — but both make for undeniably mesmerizing TV. “This guy really gets to my ****,” Maher says later on, though there’s no need to. It shows.