(The following should be yelled in your head in a frantic and desperate manner)
The return of Beavis & Butthead has been disappointing…
The X Factor makes American Idol look worse each week…
The Office stayed around about 2 years too long…
How I Met Your Mother is stretching this mother reveal out…
I’m overdue for a blog update….
(The following line should now be triumphantly yelled in your head)
THINGS THAT ARE UNDERSTATEMENTS OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!!!
Well, now that we’ve gotten my little $25,000 Pyramid apology out of the way, let’s get down to the business at hand. There has obviously been a lot going on across all of the TVpocalypse Top 25’s shows (shows tend to have things happen over the course of a 4 week spell), and you will see that the poll will be reflective of that. We’re also coming up to that awful time of the year (yes, the holidays) when shows end or go on sabbatical, so we’ll also need to start considering which midseason shows will be joining the poll as others fall off. So obviously we have lots to get to, so without further ado (I mean it this time), here’s this week’s TVpocalypse Top 25 poll!!
1. Sons of Anarchy (Last Week: 4)
I’m going to say two things about this show, that if you know me or anything about me, will help you understand just how great it’s been the last few weeks. First of all, this is the closest thing I have seen to The Sopranos in it’s prime (before the heart of the show got derailed by the untimely and unfortunate illness and eventual real-life death of the show’s matriarch, Livia). And to be honest, if I really think about it, it might even be better. The action, the storylines, the relationships around the club and the family are so perfectly interwoven. The show is just always pitch perfect, and these last 4 or 5 weeks have somehow been even better. And that leads me to my second point. This might very well be the best run for a show that I’ve ever seen. The only season I can recall where this much has happened was the final season of Six Feet Under. But that was the final season and they were going out guns blazing (might have very well been the best series finale ever…another topic for another time). But Sons just got renewed for another season (thank God) and they keep raising the stakes every week, and somehow finding a way to raise them even higher the following week. Are Bobby and Juice really going to be in jail? Who’s going to blow the whole thing up first…Tig or Ope? Is Gemma going to cripple Tara or is Tara going to cripple Gemma? Will Jax kill Clay? And is he going to finally take his rightful place at the gavel? I literally have NO idea on any of these questions….and I couldn’t be happier about it. I don’t know that I have ever been this excited for a season finale.
2. Homeland (Last Week: 1)
In any other season, at any other time, this show is number one. So many twists and turns with so many interesting characters. Every time you think you’ve figured out if he is or isn’t a sleeper cell, Brody goes and does something or says something or just looks a certain way that makes you question everything you thought you knew to be true. Claire Danes, Damien Lewis and Mandy Patinkin are brilliant, as is the writing. The show’s already been picked up for a second season, so if you haven’t already, now’s the time to get on board.
3. The Walking Dead (Last Week: 3)
This show just wrapped up the first half of the season and will not be returning until February. Ugh! How good has this show been lately you ask? Let’s put it this way, that stunt they pulled in the last episode with the little zombie girl emerging from the barn….I had no idea. I literally didn’t see that coming at all. And when I can say that, I am happy. And the only one happier than me would probably be Kate since when I am unable to ruin yet another plot twist in yet another TV show or movie, I would assume that improves the viewing experience for her as well.
3. Boardwalk Empire (Last Week: 2)
OK…I wimped out. It’s a tie. I can’t help it though…they’re both that good. And sadly, unlike it’s #3 brethren, this show is flat-out ending soon. But just like it’s #3 brethren, I have NO idea where we’re heading. You might be surprised to know this (or Kate might be anyway), but actually I enjoy a show or a movie so much more when I DON’T know what’s going to happen. Sadly, it just doesn’t happen all too often. I’m as curious as anyone else to see how it goes down between Nucky and the Irish versus Jimmy (who is going to be BEYOND pissed about his wife’s murder) and the Commodore. Is it Sunday night yet?
5. Modern Family (Last Week: 5)
The only reason this show is not moving up the rankings is because the shows ahead of it are literally having epic seasons. This cast reminds me of the Bluths in that it’s almost impossible to pick your favorite member of the family, and I think you all know how I feel about the Bluths.
6. Happy Endings (Last Week: 7)
Very simple. This is the best show you’re not watching. Go. Watch it. Now!
7. Parenthood (Last Week: 10)
I can’t believe that after one episode of this show I was worried about how the story arc they chose for Alex would ruin this season, and now I can’t even remember when the last time Alex was actually on the show. As you will learn, there are no guarantees on this blog. I put predictions and theories out there. Some are right, and I will write about them and brag about them for years to come. Some are not entirely right, and I will immediately dismiss them and ignore them. What were we talking about again?
8. Up All Night (Last Week: 12)
So Christina Applegate is back. As is Ed O’Neil. And Katey Segal. So the question begs to be asked. When is it time for David Faustino to be back?! I think America is ready for full-on Bundy’s renaissance! Someone get me David Faustino’s agent….wait…someone get David Faustino an agent!
9. The X Factor (Last Week: 11)
First of all, I’m a little bit concerned that this show has effectively ruined American Idol for me. But with that being said, I am loving the format, I’m loving the contestants, I’m loving the judges’ bickering…and I’m loving the drama. A couple of weeks ago fan favorite Astro finished in the bottom two and was seemingly preparing to “perform for his life”. But instead, Astro went diva….like Whitney diva. He openly questioned if he should even be forced to do this. He then went on to essentially tell off anyone and everyone in the crowd and at home who didn’t vote for him. And then went out and put a big giant stamp on it as he mailed in his performance. The truly hysterical part about all of this was that he STILL was selected by the judges to move on over the very obviously talent-deficient Stacy. Stacy was one of the older contestants and this juxtaposition of attitudes only made her desperation that much more obvious. My question is what would Astro have had to done to have been voted off by the judges? I’ve come to the conclusion that anything short of him taking a dump on the stage would have seen him being selected over Stacy to move on (and I’m not 100% certain that him taking a dump on the stage would have made a difference either).
10. The League (Last Week: 15)
Years ago HBO came out with this abomination named The Mind of the Married Man. The show was supposed to be Sex & the City for men. It was supposed to let everyone in on what went on behind closed doors when men interacted with each other and within themselves. It was supposed to give you a peek into the “mind of the married man”…hence the name. The show failed miserably, because in short, it could not have been further removed from the truth. I’ve never actually investigated it, but if I had to guess, I would say that the show was written entirely by women. And I do not mean that in any sort of offensive way. I would never attempt to write a show or a book that pretended to perfectly capture what goes on inside the head of a woman, because I would have no idea how to do that. Obviously. But where that show failed, The League succeeds. This is one of the best expressions I have ever seen of the dynamics, the humor, the conversations, and the relationships between a group of long time guy friends. Here’s a hint ladies….don’t over think it.
11. Fringe (Last Week: 18)
OK. I admit it. I was wr…. I was wr…. I was wron…. All I’m saying is that MAYBE this show wasn’t as doomed as I made it out to be in the beginning of the season. They’ve done a nice job of staying in one universe for the most part (always a good thing in my book…in all shows), and the Peter storyline has been handled wisely thus far. I’m back on board.
12. Top Chef: Texas (Last Week: 13)
Since I last left you Top Chef: Just Desserts has ended. But fear not, for another Top Chef show was there to rise up in its’ place….like they always do. This time we’re in Texas, and this time, I’m BETTING on it! A very special thanks to my friend and fellow blogger, Erin, for bringing me into the pool of another long ago friend, Kathleen. Kathleen and her husband organize a seemingly simple pool (yet I’m sure back-ended complex) where participants select contestants and gain and lose points based on their performances in the weekly quick-fires and challenges, and of course if they move on or get asked to, “pack their knives and go home.” There’s not many things I love more than TV, but finding ways to bet on TV is probably one of those not many things.
13. Blue Bloods (Last Week: 11)
Every single crime in the city of New York is still being handled by every single member of the Reagan clan. I’m just saying.
14. Blue Mountain State (Last Week: 17)
This show just finale’d, so it will be leaving the poll after this week. With that being said, this is just a solid, mindless, frat-humor show. It even ventured into some smart satirical territory this year by mocking the NCAA and all its’ corrupt hypocrisy in a late season episode. Players are graduating this year and next, so it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. Of course it doesn’t really matter since it certainly can’t be going anywhere as I can’t even imagine the circumstances that would need to transpire for Spike to actually cancel a show.
15. How I Met Your Mother (Last Week: 14)
FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, IT’S THE NAME OF YOUR GODDAMN SHOW!!!! HOW LONG!!!!! HOW LONG ARE WE GOING TO DRAW THIS OUT!!!! DON’T BE AFRAID…YOU CAN HAVE MORE EPISODES AFTER WE FIND OUT WHO “YOUR MOTHER” IS!!!! AND I KNOW YOU’RE JUST GOING TO START TEASING IT AGAIN 2 OR 3 EPISODES BEFORE THIS SEASON’S FINALE TO DRAW THIS WHOLE THING OUT FOR YET ANOTHER YEAR…BUT I MEAN….COME ON!!!!! OK, I will now release the caps lock. I feel better. Sorry and thank you.
16. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior (Last Week: 21)
In case you were wondering, Junior was the talent at OCC. I’m sure there are only 2 of you (maybe 3) who actually watch this show, but I’m just saying…Junior is the talent on this show.
17. Hung (Last Week: 25)
I have finally caught up with this show (for the most part anyway, I think I’m one episode behind right now), and I have to say….it’s not bad. Although I’ve never actually “liked” this show and have really just watched it by accident for a couple of seasons (I’m not even sure if this is season 2 or 3), it seems to have found its’ way for the time being. I’m digging the “Ray being replaced by a younger dude” (and shockingly enough, I actually knew Ray’s name off the top of my head), and I’m loving the pimp wars with the newly featured role for Charlie (OK….I had to look that one up on IMDB). In a weak poll at a weak time of year, this show should be fine until it wraps its’ season up. Damn HBO and their short seasons!
18. Whitney (Last Week: 24)
I’ve come to the conclusion that this show has about a one in three hit rate. For a couple of weeks the show will be average at best, and then that third show will be genuinely funny. The key for this show is that it’s only a half hour and it’s really never painfully bad. And apparently in this week’s poll, all of those things add up to a spot at number 18. How much longer until the midseason replacements?
19. Dexter (Last Week: 8 )
I don’t want to be the one to say I told you so….aw hell, who are we kidding? Of course I want to be the one to say I told you so! I TOLD YOU SO!!!! Welcome to the world of way-to-early spoilers with Scott! OF COURSE that Edward James Olmos looking dude was dead and not there! Come on people…I NEVER get these things wrong! The bigger issue of course is that he was dead and not there and in the show. As is Harry. And as is Rudy. There are just too many dead people walking around and conversing, and what’s more, there are simply too many serial killers that happen into Dexter’s life. I care less and less about this show every week.
20. The Office (Last Week: 16)
How many episodes can we find a reason for Andy to sing? If you answered EVERY episode, congratulations…you WIN! But really, we all lose for having this show live 2 or 3 years too long. Every week just makes me miss Michael Scott more and more. And what’s more, every week last season made me miss Michael Scott more and more…and he was actually still on the show then.
21. House (Last Week: 19)
Speaking of shows that should have probably ended a couple of years ago.
22. American Horror Story (Last Week: 20)
How many murders can occur in one house? Better yet, how many different murders can occur in clichéd different eras in the same house but yet by different killers every single time? You can all thank Kate for making me watch this show by osmosis. And by osmosis I mean I am generally in the room as she desperately hopes against hope for this show to find its’ footing. And by in the room, I mean I am present and half watching…or maybe even a third…or probably closer to like a sixth. I don’t like the notion that people could move into this house without knowing about its’ history. For Christ’s sake there’s been an annual murder spree there for seemingly the last 90 years! And the fact that a school assassin could have been killed in this house and no one would know about that or even the fact that a school murder spree happened in that town is simply too much for me to accept. If I told you were moving into Columbine, CO…exactly.
23. Beavis & Butthead (Last Week: 6)
Meet the TVpocalypse Top 25’s biggest faller. 17 spots to be exact. When last we discussed this show I explained to you that I was supremely disappointed in the first show, and that I hadn’t yet brought myself to watching the second show for fear that I would realize that I’ve somehow left adolescent Scott and his sense of humor behind. Well, fast forward 4 weeks and I haven’t yet brought myself to watching episode 3…or episode 4…or episode 5. Fare thee well fart jokes.
24. Gossip Girl (Last Week: 23)
I keep waiting for the mood to strike me where I’m going to want to power through my DVR stockpile on this show. I’m still waiting. Every time I catch a glimpse of the show it scares me. I’ve seen Elizabeth Hurley. And she’s talking to Nate. And I’m pretty sure they’ve hooked up/are hooking up/will hook up. And I’m pretty sure I don’t like how that makes me feel as she is old enough to be his grandmother.
25. Pan Am (Last Week: 22)
It’s been 4 weeks, and there’s still talk that this show might get cancelled. So much so that one of the stars of the show (go ahead, I dare you to be able to name one of the “stars” of this show) tweeted that she was told that they wouldn’t be returning after the holidays. ABC has since denied this report, but really, who cares? I’ll tell you when this show lost me (probably for good). There was an episode when we delve into Ted’s past and how it landed him in the co-pilot’s seat (Before you say anything, you should know that I had to IMDB Ted’s name. And before you go saying anything else you should know that, yes, I have made IMDB a verb.). There was a supposed high drama flashback scene where Ted is standing in front of a military court defending his actions in an accident involving his aircraft. What came out of these proceedings is really unimportant. What is important is that it reminded me of two things. The first was the scene from Top Gun where Maverick is standing in front of a similar Navy tribunal for his role in poor Goose’s death. And the second was the military courtroom scenes involving Ted Striker in Airplane 2. I don’t know that either would really strike the dramatic chord I’m sure the writers were looking for, but the similarities were downright uncanny. “Over Macho Grande? No…I’m afraid I’ll never be over Macho Grande.”
And that my friends is 3,124 words of pent-up TV blogging.
Welcome to the inaugural edition of “I Have a Theory On…”. This is meant to be a recurring theme for some of my posts here on TVpocalypse (in theory anyway). Basically, every so often, while watching one of the seemingly 54 TV shows I watch, I’ll come upon a “theory” as to why the show is good…or why it’s bad…or why I can’t stop watching it…or why I can’t bear to watch another second…or maybe even why I love writing in ellipses so much. It’s generally not very well thought out, and it is almost certainly never deals in anything of great importance or substance. So, in essence, it’s a microcosm of this entire blog. So, with all of that out of the way, I present to you I Have a Theory On…American Horror Story.
So after 3 episodes of American Horror Story, I have a theory (hence the name) on why I’m not all too excited about this show. Actually, let me preface my rant with a warning. I am not a horror film buff. I used to love them as a kid (think Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween…typical 12 year old boy stuff), but as I have gotten older I have found myself somewhat disinterested by the genre. Call me old fashioned, but when I sit down to watch a horror flick (or show), I like to be scared. You can scare me by startling me, or you can scare me by making me believe my house is haunted, or maybe you can even scare me into believing the guy next door is a sociopathic axe murderer. The point is, you’re supposed to scare me, and at no point during this show’s first three episodes have I been genuinely scared.
To me, the problem is that it’s WAY too over-the-top. Every week we learn of a new murder that has occurred in this house. We’re three episodes in, and I’m pretty sure they’ve exposed 6 different murder scenes over the course of the last 80 years. Well, guess what? OF COURSE THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED! THEY HAVE MURDERS THERE SEMI-ANNUALLY!!! How am I supposed to watch this and think that maybe my house is haunted in any kind of similar way?! MAYBE there was some murder that occurred in my building that I was unaware of. Or MAYBE the building was built on the site of some ancient Native American cemetery. MAYBE I wouldn’t know anything about these things moving into my place, and thus MAYBE I could be scared that this same sequence of events could happen to me. MAYBE. But, while I didn’t due a ton of due diligence before I moved into my building, I’m fairly certain I would have heard something if 487 different murders occurred there.
I would actually argue that the writing on this show is extremely lazy. They’re using the genre as an excuse to do anything and everything they want to. LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! A creepy burn victim! LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! Scary kids who were murdered! LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! Dylan McDermott doesn’t have a shirt on again! (I don’t even know that the genre offers any sort of rational reason for this). My point is that the writers seem to go over-the-top in every minute of this show without much concern for things making sense in the context of a larger story, all the while hiding behind the excuse of “it’s a horror show”.
This is becoming frustratingly reminiscent of a show that had a similar amount of potential to be great, True Blood. Mind you, I still watch True Blood, but every season I find myself becoming more and more annoyed by the ridiculousness of the writing on that show. In True Blood, there seems to be 11 human beings left in the entire world. Everyone else is a vampire. Or a werewolf. Or a fairy. Or a sprite. Or some other mystical creature that I haven’t heard of because I didn’t lock myself in a room and play D&D for hours on end as a child. So in this world, there is no problem that can’t be written around. Killed a main character? No problem…they’ll just drink vampire blood and be good as new! Miss a character that somehow died and stayed that way? No problem…we can go visit them in the fairy world and see what they’ve been up to! Hell, they just killed Tara in last season’s finale and I didn’t even flinch since I know she’ll be back in some way, shape or form come episode 2 of the next season.
And this seems to be much the same in American Horror Story. How could he kill his ex-girlfriend and bury her under a gazebo he just built?! Why are the wife and teen daughter seemingly unaffected by the fact that they MURDERED 3 people in their house yesterday!? And what the hell is the deal with the Shallow Hal affect on Ruth Fisher (Six Feet Under reference, for those not in the know) where only men get to see her as a hot little chippy!? And of course, the lazy answer to all of those questions is “because it’s horror.” Well, if this is their interpretation of what “horror” is, I’m not sure how much I like it. And at 850+ words I don’t know that this is a theory as much as it is a theorem.
5. X Factor (Seemingly Every Day @ 8pm on FOX)
A note for my readers: While this show has aired, I have barely watched a minute of it yet, and while I still am confident I will be on board, let’s just say the bits and pieces of feedback I have received from those who have watched it are not entirely encouraging. I will be knocking out the 12 hours of X Factor shows (or maybe it just seemed that way) this evening with my 9 year-old daughter. At least she’s very excited still. I have a bad feeling this could be taking a nosedive.
Although I am a bit worried that this format is getting a bit tired (see The Voice), I trust Simon when he says that this show will be entirely different. Two years ago (Simon’s last year) Idol was hard to watch. I’ll chalk that up to him being checked out and already being consumed with X Factor (that and the fact that he seemed to like Ellen about as much as Paula likes doing the show straight). And last year, Idol was an unmitigated disaster. To call it unwatchable would be kind.
Apparently, there was so much talent in last year’s show that no one was bad…or ever made a mistake…or was poorly dressed….or botched a performance…at least according to last year’s “judges”. And I use quotes around “judges” only because that would somehow insinuate that there was actual judging happening at some point during last season.
I have always enjoyed Simon, and I actually like to hear his take on things, and last year’s Idol only made me want for more of Simon (only in the way where I’m NOT a 19 year Hollywood starlet looking for her meal ticket). The fact that a sloshed Paula is along for the ride is merely icing on the cake….or a Vicodin on top of an Oxycontin cocktail in Paula’s world.
4. Dexter (Sundays @ 9pm on SHO)
Six Feet Under is on my all-time pantheon of must-watch, great TV shows. So just like Will Arnett will always bring me in to any show moving forward because of his work on Arrested Devlopment, much of the cast from Six Feet Under has the same pull over me. Peter Krause brought me in to Parenthood, and Michael C. Hall has done the same for me with Dexter.
With that being said, this show has been great….for the most part. I would argue that season 1 was possibly one of the best seasons of television any show has ever produced. That, my friends, is a blessing and a curse.
The following two seasons, while very good, never really captured the brilliant storytelling established in it’s opening season. But that was quickly quelled in season 4 when John Lithgow’s on-screen dueling with Michael C. Hall made the show as great as it ever was, which of course made for a tough act to follow…again. But while last season was a bit slow at times, it did seem to find it’s footing by mid-season and finished strong…setting up high hopes for this season. Fingers crossed.
On a completely side note, the show has brought on Colin Hanks for a prominent role this season. Let me begin by saying, the work of his that I’ve seen, I like. But he kind of creeps me out. He looks just enough like his dad (Tom Hanks…duh) to make you take a double take, but just different enough to make it odd somehow. He and Jason Ritter are very similar that way. It’s almost as if they are CGI representations of what their famous fathers (John Ritter…duh) would look like if they were younger, but only we know what they looked like when they were younger, and it wasn’t like that. (Cue the crickets). Maybe it’s just me.
Regardless, I’m hopeful we get a season 1 & 4 Dexter, and not a season 2 & 3.
3. Sons of Anarchy (Tuesdays @ 9pm on FX)
This is my first year watching this show. This was the show that my friends would harass me about. “You watch every show on TV…you HAVE to watch Sons…you’ll LOVE it!” This of course makes me resist even further (because I’m stubborn and a general pain in the ass like that).
Finally, one day this summer I was playing with my Netflix on Apple TV and I figured, “What the hell? I’ll give it a try.” Three weeks and three full seasons later, I was fully up to speed and fully on board. It’s just a great show, and season 4 is off to a flying start.
With that being said, I have one complaint….of course. Charlie Hunnam is too goddamn pretty. Don’t get me wrong, I love the character of Jax and his performance as the morally-torn would be king of the Sons is pitch perfect. But, if you look at him in the context of what you think the biker gang scene should be…and in the context of the other actors and actresses they’ve cast for the rest of Sons and their rival gangs….it’s a LITTLE hard to accept.
How would such a pretty boy be born of such hard looking people? And if he was that pretty, how would he not have his ass kicked up and down by every newbie punk who was looking to make a name for himself in the gang? I guess the argument would be that BECAUSE he was a pretty boy, Jax needed to learn to protect himself better than anyone else. I would argue that it probably would have been easier to simply cast a banged up actor. Can’t Hollywood go and find the next Jackie Earle Haley?
2. Boardwalk Empire (Sundays @ 9pm on HBO)
Not only was season one tremendous in every respect (storylines, character development, production value…and on and on and on), but it set the stage for what could be an even better season two. I know I like a show when I watch the trailer for the coming season and get goose bumps resembling the ones I get when Rocky is able to somehow get up and leave Creed on the mat. I have but one concern for this show, and that is cost. And before you go asking why the hell I would concern myself about HBO’s production costs, allow me to explain.
Let’s be honest, this show must cost a bloody fortune to make. Period clothes. Period cars. Insanely detailed sets. A-list talent. Massive amounts of CGI to recreate Prohibition era Atlantic City. Oh, and some guy name Scorcese producing the whole thing. You see, I’ve been burned by HBO on this sort of thing before. I loved Rome…and then they went and cancelled it because it cost as much as creating a Hollywood blockbuster every week.
It’s difficult to complain about the product that HBO puts out there, but you must admit, it is a bit troubling when a show like Rome gets canned after two years, while Arli$$ was on the air for what seemed like an eternity.
From a straight TV-viewing standpoint, this show is incomparable. You could watch pretty much any other drama on TV and think, “Wow, this is great!” and then watch Boardwalk Empire after it and be made immediately aware of how not-great that other show is. You see, this show is basically a different species. It’s not a TV show. It’s an Oscar-worthy, 12-hour movie that airs an hour at a time over the span of 3 months. It’s that great.
1. Modern Family (Wednesdays @ 9pm on ABC)
This show is just plain funny. There are so many great characters that it’s hard to pick your favorite. In that way, and because of the fact that it’s such a great ensemble of players, I ALMOST want to compare it to Arrested Development….but then sense returns and I think better of it.
With that being said, it’s still one of the most consistent shows out there, and even its’ “bad” days aren’t all too bad. Couple that with what was an off-the-charts hysterical season premiere taking place at a Dude Ranch and I have high hopes for another strong season from this year’s Emmys darling. (Thank God the “take the cast to Jackson Hole” boondoggle wasn’t The Brady’s go to Hawaii or worse yet, The Keaton’s go to London…because it very easily could have been.
On a completely side note…again (I can’t really help it, my mind works in non-sequiturs), what the hell was up with the boy who gave Alex her first kiss? I would argue that while he didn’t set Italian-Americans back as far as Buddy from Cake Boss, he was definitely worse than the Jerseylicious crew. What was the point? Does everything have to be Jersey-fied now? Because by hinting that he lived some 2400 miles away leads me to believe that he’s from Jersey…and by the looks of him, probably Garfield. The joke was too easy, and I guess I expect more from these writers.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out part 1 , part 2 , part 3, and part 4 of the TVpocalypse Pre-Season Top 25 poll!
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