20 Questions About the 2012-2013 TV Season (Part 4)

At long last, we’ve come to the end of the the 20 question series. With so many things left to address (and one thing to revisit), there is no time to waste on fancy introductions. If you’re looking for the rest of the series, look here, here, and here. To the questions.

Alright, now who’s The Worst?

'Girls' (HBO) Pilot Episode 1

First off, I think it’s important to consider what makes you The Worst. Consider our previous title holder, Catelyn Stark. Catelyn added virtually zero to the overall mission of the characters she was with and often times was a hindrance (particularly to her son’s Little Wolf). In addition, she had this preternatural ability to bum everybody out. It’s never fun when The Worst is around.

It’s in Catelyn Stark’s image (minus the blood gushing from her neck) that I searched long and hard for the rightful heir to her title. I believe we have found a worthy successor in Marnie Michaels of Girls fame. She has no discernible skills, is generally self-obsessed to the point of pathology, and does things that make everybody squeamish and bummed out. Congratulations to our new title holder. Wear it with pride, Marnie.

Do we get anti-hero fatigue?

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 10 A Tale of Two Cities (9)

Ever since The Sopranos made anti-heroes the cool thing in 1999, networks have been trying (and coming close on occasion) to recreate that potent mixture. However, shows featuring even the most charismatic of anti-heroes have been known to create fatigue among its viewers. With everything in entertainment being cyclical, I can’t help but wonder if we’re nearing the end of this particular cycle.

Quick personal note: I’ve been rewatching the first season of Lost with a few friends this summer. What’s really striking about the series is the ever-present undercurrent of hope. The show definitely has its dark moments, but ultimately its a show about hope, redemption, and finding purpose in life. It’s wondrous and beautiful storytelling, but something that wouldn’t fit in today’s era of the dark and grim prestige drama. At the same time, there is a bit of fatigue in the air when people discuss shows like Mad Men, Homeland, or even a new show like Showtime’s Ray Donovan. It’s all suddenly starting to feel a bit too familiar. People will always turn out for well-made television, but there’s a definite void that someone with a well-crafted show can exploit.

What show made The Leap?

In its first season, New Girl was at times a pretty funny comedy based around a solid ensemble. After originally appearing to be a star vehicle for Zooey Deschanel, the show quickly showed us some other capable comedic players in Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield. Greenfield was the real high mark of the show, and he earned an Emmy for his troubles. The show itself was successful in fits and starts, but when the first season finale didn’t really land the mark, the show came off as being occasionally uneven.

That being said, the second season of the show is as consistent as you can get in 22 episodes of television. Deschanel remained very capable, Johnson took such a leap forward he’s getting Emmy buzz, and Greenfield continued his delightfully ridiculous work. Even Lamorne Morris got to have some funny moments despite his character continuing to be woefully underserved at this point. The show even effectively pulled off the Nick-Jess situation. It’s a storyline that could have gone wrong in 187 different ways, but they handled it so well it even enhanced the show. You could make an argument New Girl was the best comedy on television this season. I wouldn’t agree, but I wouldn’t argue with you either.

What freshman show has the greatest potential?

Speaking of fits and starts, The Mindy Project embodied the phrase in its freshman season. Casting changes and tonal shifts kept the show from really finding its groove. That being said, the show is really strong at the center with Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina. Late in the season, the show finally figured out exactly what it was. The show will continue revolve around the love life of Mindy, and her friendship with Messina. There was a lot of hype surrounding the show coming into the season. Maybe it was just a year early.

What’s the best SCENE of television this year?

Homeland Season 2 Episode 8 I'll Fly Away (4)

I know Homeland had its rough patches this year, but it’s still one of the best shows on television when it has its fastball. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the show produced the best moment of the television season. In “Q & A”, Brody is finally questioned by Carrie regarding his involvement with Abu Nazir’s terrorist organization. What results is a masterclass in acting. Claire Danes is her usual incredible self. She’s seductive, conniving, and intense. Damian Lewis plays the scene beautifully as we watch the facade come down. It’s an incredible 15 minutes that showcases the show at its absolute peak. It may have destroyed some of its goodwill over the course of the season, but sometimes it’s important to remember just how good Homeland can be.

That’s it for 20 questions. If you still have some questions you want answered, submit them to the next edition of the TV Equals Mailbag.