It’s been another week filled with finales, TV fans! From your favorite reality series to the darkest dark dramas to those happy place comedies, this week has seen the end come along for a lot of small screen series. There’ve also been some other noteworthy news items and show developments, so here we’ll dole out some prizes, for better and for worse, to those shows and stories that most got our attention.
The depressing internet fail: For those of us who were barely born late enough to qualify as a millennial, this reaction to Stranger Things 3 that went viral this week will really give you a case of the facepalms.
*crumbles further into dust* pic.twitter.com/VRYFCdm6xE
— badly drawn bee 🐝 (@soapachu) July 26, 2019
The undeserved happy ending: HBO’s pseudo-dystopian drama Years and Years has offered a terrifying vision of the immediate future if/when global calamities like climate change, disinformation, apathy, extremism, dehumanization of foreigners, and trade wars continue unabated. The limited series is a thorny rebuke of human apathy as we carry on from one disaster to the next, from governmental collapses to a full-on nuclear bomb detonation. The series is rough and seemed destined for an ending filled with the same strife, famine, and, ultimately, extinction. As unforgiving as the show has been, though, Sunday’s finale seemed hellbent on tidying things up with a way-too-optimistic ending. Instead of leaning into the possibility that there will be no recovery from these misgivings, people suddenly decide to care about the treatment of refugees and work together to topple an oppressive regime, even bringing the callous Big Bad to justice. In so doing, the show seemed to forget its own purpose, its very appeal, which is to terrify the daylights out of anyone watching about the true trajectory we’re on. Instead, the message we’re left with is to weather the storm, and everything will eventually resolve itself. Go back to zoning out on your phone and ignore all the noise. What a choice.
Lamest proposal: Quite a season of The Bachelorette, eh? Look, it’s no secret that Hannah Brown won the hearts of many, including the intensely devoted Bachelor Nation experts here at TV Guide. But the end was a disaster of Bachelor Mansion-sized proportions. Throughout the season, Tyler pretty much turned every show fan in the country into a walking, talking heart-eyes emoji, so seeing him get rejected after he definitely picked the best engagement ring was a massive letdown. Worse, Jed, whom she chose for the final rose, decided to bring a guitar along for his proposal session, and it was … um … let’s say cringeworthy to put it nicely, especially since we later learned that he’d only come onto the show to promote his music career and, oh yeah, had a girlfriend he never told her about. Oof. The only spot of good news is that Tyler and Hannah are probably going to go out for a drink and see if there’s anything left, or, if not, Hannah still realizes that she doesn’t need a man at all, if the right one doesn’t come along.
Cutest twist: Jane the Virgin‘s series finale deserves all the happy feels it has earned because the feel-good telenovela managed to stick the landing and offer each of its deserving characters a fitting end — especially little Mateo. Fans definitely saw it coming that Jane (Gina Rodriguez) and Rafael’s (Justin Baldoni) wedding ceremony would be as lovely as it was, and even the sunny futures for Michael (Brett Dier), Petra (Yael Grobglas), Xo (Andrea Navedo), and Rogelio (Jaime Camil) weren’t terribly surprising. But the show still pulled one more trick out of its sleeve by revealing that not only was the show’s narrator a grown-up version of Mateo himself, but that the series itself was based upon Jane’s book that she just made a bundle on. Ta-da!
Most satisfying comeuppance: Finally. This season of The Handmaid’s Tale has been even more bleak and upsetting than usual, with characters who seemed like they were finally ready to take a stand against Gilead backsliding into selfish oppression tactics once again (lookin’ at you, Serena Joy). But this week’s episode finally offered fans two slivers of satisfaction. Not only did we get to see June (Elisabeth Moss) give Commander Winslow (Christopher Meloni) what he deserved at Jezebels — with the Martha she once rescued coming in to happily clean up the mess — but we also got to see our mysterious Canadian envoy friend lead Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) into a trap, wherein he was quickly detained and charged with war crimes for his many abuses in the land that used to be America. We’re not dim enough to believe it’s gonna be all sunshine and roses from here, but at least we’ve got the image of Fred in cuffs to carry us through whatever horrors remain ahead as the show barrels towards its sure-to-be-shocking Season 3 finale (and onto, groan, Season 4).
Meanest mic drop: If Jeff Goldblum‘s very name isn’t enough to make you stop everything to watch, perhaps this will do the trick. The actor appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden Monday and during a rap battle segment, he absolutely wrecked the host over his appearance in that godawful Cats trailer. A sampling of his lyrical annihilation: “I saw the Cats trailer and quickly noticed you/ You were the weirdest part of it, and that’s hard to do/ Seeing you as a cat was completely unnerving/ But how you look in real life is so much more disturbing/ Is there any chance we can send him back to the Brits/ Why did we trade Meghan Markle for something like this?” That heat you’re feeling right now is the transference of a very sick burn. And that wasn’t the only quality Cats content on late night, either. Idris Elba went on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and was prompted to explain Cats‘ plot. Spoiler: He failed spectacularly, and the clip is worth your time just to see him squirm.
The perkiest news: The 25 year anniversary of Friends‘ premiere is quickly approaching, so we’ve seen all kinds of new merchandising drives pop up around the show lately. Ikea, for example, offered customers a chance to recreate Monica’s (Courteney Cox) living room, and Pottery Barn is now cashing in on its status as Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) favorite shopping spot. There’s even a Central Perk coffee line now. And for those who want an even more interactive celebratory experience, Warner Bros. has now announced it’ll open a Friends pop-up experience in New York City, featuring re-creations of the show’s sets, games, costumes, merchandise, and more. The exhibit will be open from Saturday, Sept. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 6. Tickets are now on sale at Friends25popup.com. [In very Monica voice] Woo woo!