Watch of the Week: 'The Magicians' is back, it's weird, and it's better than ever

The heroes of
The heroes of “The Magicians” aren’t what they seem.
Image: Eric Milner/SYFY

When Season 3 of The Magicians ended with the memories of nearly every main character’s magical lives being wiped to create nonmagical personas (to better protect them from an unknowable Beast who had taken over the body of their friend), there was a lot riding on Season 4 to bring that totally bonkers plotline home to something resembling coherency. How is there supposed to be a show called The Magicians if none of the main crew have access to magic? 

As of the first episode of the fourth season, there still isn’t an answer as to how the Brakebills Seven will emerge from that particular conundrum, but there’s even better news: The Magicians is still an excellent show. 

The Magicians has always been about updating and lampooning the tired fantasy tropes that permeate almost every other story where magic is present, and the characters’ new personas give them the opportunity to play with another one — where the heroes don’t know who they are but are magically drawn to each other by the forces of fate. 

In this case, fate is Dean Fogg’s hilariously dumb idea to turn Kady, the craftiest of the main characters, into a highly proficient police detective and expect she won’t find her way back to magic and the rest of her similarly mind-wiped friends. It takes less than half of the episode to get mostly everyone in one room and the other half quickly reintroduces them to the concepts of magic and the world they left behind. 

Moving quickly toward important plot points hasn’t always been the show’s strong suit, but The Magicians has improved in that regard since largely abandoning (or stretching out, it’s still unclear) the story as it was written in Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy. 

That’s not to say the storylines pulled from the books were in any way worse, but comparing the first season, which struggled with pacing as it attempted to cover the first novel, to the third, which was bold enough to set a capsule episode inside a musical alternate reality that ended with the cast performing Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure,” is truly an apples and oranges situation. Weird-ass oranges. With great singing voices. 

Now in the fourth season, the cumulative weirdness that seeped in through the show’s exceptionally funky writer’s room has created something that goes beyond Grossman’s books. Plotwise, The Magicians leans in on stuff being bonkers — Alice’s imprisonment in the library sets her up to meet Santa Claus and hide a cockroach in her mouth for an uncomfortably long time; Not!Eliot murders the ice cream man for using an unfamiliar, regional term for sprinkles; and Margot’s alter ego meets a dead god playing with kittens — and it’s made the show one of the most fun and least predictable on television. 

It’s easy to catch up on The Magicians now. The first three seasons are conveniently on Netflix, and the fourth season only recently premiered and has its episodes up on SyFy’s website. If you’re not already watching and are a grown-up Harry Potter fan, or miss Buffy, or just want to see a bunch of magic hotties engage in fantasy mayhem, it’s definitely worth your time.

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New Shazam Toys Hint at Some Mighty Mortals Making Their Debut

Who doesn’t love a bit of lair shopping?
Screenshot: Warner Bros.
Morning SpoilersIf there’s news about upcoming movies and television you’re not supposed to know, you’ll find it in here.  

Ryan Reynolds wants a third Deadpool to go in a completely different direction from the prior films. Black Lightning casts another new metahuman. More Magicians is on the way. Plus, Game of Thrones runtime rumors, and what’s to come on The Gifted and The Flash. Spoilers, away!

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Shazam!

Newly released images of the film’s tie-in Funko Pop figurines (head on over to CBR to see) seem to confirm both Billy’s fellow foster kids Darla and Eugene will also receive superpowers by the end of the film, akin to the origin story Shazam had in DC Comics’ New 52 books.

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Deadpool 3

Speaking at the Chinese premiere of Deadpool 2, Ryan Reynolds revealed Deadpool 3 will “go in a completely different direction,” adding, “often, they reboot or change a character maybe like four movies too late.” [Variety]

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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

In a recent interview with Collider, director Chad Stahleski revealed Halle Berry trained her character’s attack dogs herself.

We didn’t want a trainer hiding behind a set piece or a prop or something like that. We wanted Halle—or, Sophia, our character—to be our on-screen dog trainer. So it wasn’t acting like these were her dogs, these actually were her dogs. When we cast Halle we had the big talk. Halle actually came, after all her fight rehearsals and gun rehearsals, she would go sit, and work, and play with the dogs for months on end so the dogs on-screen actually obey Halle. They’re not looking at a trainer. That was really fun.”

The puppy in the first movie, was symbolic of his wife and his loss, the dogs in Parabellum are symbolic of someone that Halle has lost. That’s our tie in. Rather than being passive like a puppy, these dogs are a little more active in the storyline.

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Dumbo

Empire has a new image from Tim Burton’s Dumbo, as the titular elephant takes flight.

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The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

Go behind-the-scenes with The LEGO Movie voice cast in a new featurette.


Game of Thrones

French entertainment magazine Première (via Watchers on the Wall) alleges that the runtimes for the final season will feature two episodes (the premiere and episode two) that run 60 minutes long, while the remaining four episodes are around 80.

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Black Lightning

Deadline reports Hosea Chanchez has been cast as the metahuman Marcus Bishop, “a secret ASA operative in league with Dr. Helga Jace, played by Jennifer Riker.” Here’s the rest of the character details:

Codenamed Shakedown, he possesses the ability to generate vibrations and frequencies at will. Irreverent, bitter and impulsively violent, this ex-Air Force officer killed his superior officer when he was passed over for promotion because of a poor performance review. At Ft. Leavenworth, he signed with Dr. Jace and embraced his role with the ASA, taking pleasure in producing a high body count on his covert missions.

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Meanwhile, Freeland is under siege in the promo for next week’s episode, “The Book of Secrets: Chapter One: Prodigal Son.”


The Magicians

Good news! The Magicians has been renewed for a fifth season at Syfy.


Creepshow

Production Weekly reports the upcoming Creepshow TV series will adapt Joe R. Lansdale’s short story, “The Companion,” concerning a 13-year old boy named Harold befriending a killer scarecrow.

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The Gifted

Lorna’s betrayal is revealed (and Blink’s in danger) in the promo for the aptly-titled episode, “calaMity,” airing in two weeks.


Deadly Class

Spoiler TV has images from episode three, “Snake Pit.” More at the link.

Marcus navigates a prank war between the Rats and Legacies, as everyone prepares for the big dance.

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The Flash

Barry and Iris venture into their own daughter’s mind in the trailer for next week’s episode, “Memorabilia.”


Project Blue Book

Hynek and Quinn investigate Nazi scientists in Huntsville, Alabama in the promo for next week’s episode, “Operation Paperclip.”


Supernatural

Finally, Sam reads up on angelology in a new clip from this week’s episode, “Damaged Goods.”


Banner art by Jim Cooke.

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Here Are the Things io9's Staff Is Personally Psyched About for 2019

There are a lot of huge genre projects coming in 2019, like Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars themed lands at Disney. But there are so many other things being released this year that, while not as big as those franchises, we’re definitely looking forward to. Check out io9’s list of major things to watch out for this year, along with our personal recommendations for a little something extra. Things you’ll want to keep on your radar—no matter how big or small.


Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel.
Photo: Disney

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Captain Marvel

Jill Pantozzi: I will care more about Avengers: Endgame after I see Captain Marvel. For now, I only have eyes for Carol Danvers. I’ve been in anticipation of her movie since Marvel first announced it way back in 2014. That’s, like, a billion years ago. Kevin Feige has said the hero “is more powerful than any character” they’ve introduced in the MCU so far, and I can’t wait to see how the mysteries around her unfold. Plus, the Skrulls are finally making their appearance—and on top of everything else, the film includes a cat. What more could you ask for? (March 8)

Hale Appleman’s Eliot takes on a new form in season four of The Magicians.
Photo: Eric Milner (Syfy)

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Personal Pick: The Magicians Season 4

Pantozzi: Sex, magic, and sing-a-longs, Syfy’s The Magicians is just the best. We’ve come a long way from the obvious Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia comparisons—plus, four seasons in, the series has also diverged quite a bit from Lev Grossman’s novels. Mostly, I look forward to more of the show this year because I want to see what trouble the characters are going to get themselves into next. They are so much fun! Okay, Quentin is still annoying as hell, but still! The Magicians involves some strong storytelling and not nearly enough of you have been watching it. Catch up! (January 23)

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The poster image for Stranger Things 3.
Image: Netflix

Stranger Things 3

Beth Elderkin: Nobody expected Netflix’s Stranger Things to do all that well, but three seasons later it’s become a global phenomenon. The series is coming back with its biggest season yet, swapping out the chilling Halloween fall for the sweet summer of 1985 as the kids tackle the biggest monster of all: adulthood. But don’t worry, I’m sure there are going to be plenty of monsters too. (July 4)

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The cover image for P. Craig Russell’s graphic novel adaptation of The Giver.
Image: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Personal Pick: The Giver Graphic Novel 

Elderkin: Lois Lowry’s The Giver is a timeless classic, not to mention one of my all-time favorite books. What’s perhaps most amazing about it, beyond the beautiful story and moral message, is how it’s so visually engaging that you see it in your head—even when it’s on the page. Now, after decades of waiting, The Giver has finally been turned into a graphic novel. Creator P. Craig Russell has perfectly adapted Lowry’s visual story through his eyes (as well as our own), using color and depth to bring us into Jonas’s mind as he becomes the new Receiver of Memory, and everything that entails. (February 5)

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Things are looking bleak for Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) there.
Photo: Disney

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Avengers: Endgame

Charles Pulliam-Moore: While Avengers: Endgame is literally meant to represent the end of an epic conflict within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it also serves as the ideal point to bring a number of ongoing MCU stories to a close. As much fun as it’s been to watch this group of Marvel heroes being realized on the big screen over the years, there’s a point at which the studio has to make room for new characters from the comics to join the fun—and, in theory, become the next generation of iconic characters that pull people into theaters. (April 26)

Steve Buscemi stars as God in TBS’s Miracle Workers.
Photo: TBS

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Personal Pick: Miracle Workers

Pulliam-Moore: As much as I like NBC’s The Good Place, there’s always been part of me that’s been way more interested in the idea of higher Powers That Be™ being directly involved in the lives of living people, and kinda-sorta fucking up while on the job. Fallible higher beings, as a concept, make it easier to contemplate that, even if there is an afterlife (or multiple afterlives) of some sort, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be all that good or bad—because the people in charge of running them, like so many other administrators, have off days, the way TBS’s Miracle Workers’ God (played by Steve Buscemi ) and Craig the Angel (Daniel Radcliffe) sometimes do. (February 12)

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Daenerys Targaryen is welcomed to Winterfell.
Image: HBO (YouTube)

Game of Thrones

James Whitbrook: This is everything we’ve been waiting for as Game of Thrones fans: The end of a story that’s been an age in the making. It’s where years of speculation, years of theories, years of wishes will finally culminate. Who lives, who dies, who takes the Iron Throne—and in the end, will any of it matter against either the wroth of the White Walkers or whatever George R.R. Martin will tell us really went down whenever he gets down to writing that book? It’ll take a while for that answer, but for now, we’re on the precipice of seeing if Game of Thrones can stick a landing fans have furiously debated about since the show began. Regardless of how you felt about recent seasons, that’s an exciting place to be. (April)

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Cover art for the first issue of Spider-Man: Life Story.
Image: Marvel

Personal Pick: Spider-Man: Life-Story

Whitbrook: We’ve already said that 2018 was the Year of the Spider-Man—whether it was at the box office, on video game consoles, or yes, even on comics shelves. But while we’re all still enchanted by the likes of Into the Spider-Verse, my eye is already being drawn to Life Story, a new miniseries from the phenomenal Spectacular Spider-Man writer Chip Zdarsky and superstar Spidey artist Mark Bagley.

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Completely reimagining Peter Parker’s life as we follow his career as Spider-Man across multiple continuous decades of tumultuous history (both real and fictional), this series has it all: A fantastic creative team, an excellent premise, and the potential to be one of the most fascinating Spider-Man tales this year. (March)


Rey (Daisy Ridley) learns the ways of the Force in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Photo: Disney

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Star Wars: Episode IX

Germain Lussier: It feels like just yesterday when Star Wars came back with The Force Awakens. But now, we finally get see how the story of Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe, and the rest concludes in Star Wars: Episode IX. J.J. Abrams is back co-writing and directing, but the most exciting thing about the film is that both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will return‚ with Hamill reprising the role of Luke Skywalker, and Fisher as General Organa after the actress’ passing (thanks to previously unused footage). (December 20)

Taika Waititi plays an imagery version of Adolf Hitler in JoJo Rabbit.
Photo: Taika Waititi (Instagram)

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Personal Pick: JoJo Rabbit

Germain Lussier: Fresh off the genius that was Thor: Ragnarok, writer-director Taika Waititi is back with a film that sounds, well, kind of insane. Waititi stars in this period comedy as a young boy’s imaginary friend…who just so happens to be Adolf Hitler. Scarlet Johansson, Sam Rockwell, and Rebel Wilson are along for what’s sure to be a weird ride. (2019)

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A first look image at HBO’s Watchmen.
Photo: HBO

Watchmen

Cheryl Eddy: Does the world need another adaptation of Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ groundbreaking and acclaimed DC Comics series? At first, we had some doubts. The gritty superhero book was already made into a Zack Snyder-directed film back in 2009, with decidedly mixed results. But HBO’s upcoming series, shepherded by producer-writer-genuine fan Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers), sounds like it’ll offer a promising new take on the material.

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In a social media post last May, Lindelof revealed that his Watchmen would be more of a “remix” than a standard adaptation or sequel, still set in the world created by Moore and Gibbons, but “[asking] new questions and [exploring] the world through a new lens.” With a cast that includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, and Louis Gossett Jr., we’re more than intrigued to see how HBO’s first superhero show unfolds. (2019)

Iconic imagery from The Twilight Zone, now getting a remake from Jordan Peele.
Image: CBS All Access (YouTube)

Personal Pick: The Twilight Zone

Eddy: After Get Out (and Key & Peele, and, hell, even that first Us trailer), we’re prepared to follow Jordan Peele wherever he goes…and that very much includes the weirdest dimensions of time and space. Not only is Peele the creative mind behind CBS All Access’ Rod Serling reboot, he’ll also be its Serling-esque host, and though we don’t know for certain, it appears that the new series will feature new twisted tales as well as fresh takes on classic episodes. And much like the original series, the cast will be outstanding, with the likes of Adam Scott, Sanaa Lathan, John Cho, Steven Yeun, Greg Kinnear, Kumail Nanjiani, Allison Tolman, and many others signing on to learn some hard life lessons and scare the bejesus out of us. (2019)

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The Best and Worst Television Moments of 2018

Year In ReviewWe look back at the best, worst, and most significant moments of the year, and look forward to next year.   

Every year we think there couldn’t be any more television, and again we are surprised. Before we reveal our best and worst shows of the year (those’ll come in a separate list), we want to take some time to honor the unique moments that made TV great, interesting, or baffling—and sometimes a bit unpleasant. Get ready for io9’s best and worst TV moments of 2018.

Keep in mind, this list contains spoilers for the following shows: Star Wars Rebels, Steven Universe, Iron Fist, Westworld, The Haunting of Hill House, Star Trek: Discovery, The Walking Dead, and The Handmaid’s Tale. Also, be sure to check out our video profiling our top five worst television moments of 2018—reenacted with puppets, the way they ought to be!

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Best Television Moments

Chidi’s surprise, The Good Place

The Good Place is a genius show for so many reasons that it’s hard to pick one favorite moment of the year: the big resets in season two and the still-in-progress season three? Michael’s “Zack Pizazz” persona? The sight of Tahani as a centaur? All winners, but we simply gotta go with that big payoff to what seemed like just an offhanded joke in season one, when Eleanor remarked that philosophy geek Chidi was “surprisingly jacked.” In season three, when Chidi was having a bit of nervous breakdown, he stripped off his sweater vest and plaid shirt and revealed he does, in fact, have a shockingly rockin’ bod, suggesting that even though he’s usually incapable of making decisions, he’s somehow settled on a gym routine that gets real results.

Kanan’s death, Star Wars Rebels

Since the first episode of Star Wars Rebels, we’ve all wondered, “Where’s Kanan now?” That’s the problem with prequels. We know what happens after, and Jedi Kanan Jarrus was too important to not be helping the Rebels during the movies. So, what happened?

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We finally found out this year when Kanan gave his life to save his friends as they attempted to escape Lothal. He used the Force to hold off the flames so his friends could fly away and continue the Rebellion. That would have been sad enough, but the incident came right after he and Hera finally shared their first kiss—and, in his final moments, Kanan appeared to reacquire his eyesight, allowing him to see his love one last time.

The Fight in “Blindsided,” Daredevil 

Daredevil’s reputation for having remarkably shot action was established with that iconic hallway fight scene in season one. While season three’s take on the one-shot brawl might not quite reach the giddy highs of that original battle, the moment Matt Murdock realizes he’s going to have to battle his way out of prison after a recon mission against Fisk goes very wrong was one of the most exhilarating sequences we’ve seen on TV in a while. It was Daredevil embodied in a single, exhaustive, fight: brutal, bloody, exhausting. It’s a moment that shows off the superhuman endurance that makes Matt Murdock the kind of hero that can’t just deliver a beating, but take one, and keep getting back up again and again.

Ryan and Yaz discuss racism, Doctor Who

Rosa,” one of the frankest episodes of Doctor Who ever made, tackles race and civil rights issues with a bluntness never seen in the show’s 50-plus-year history, as the Doctor and her new friends find themselves in ‘50s Alabama on the eve of one of the most famous protests of the civil rights movement. And “Rosa” excels even beyond its depiction of the titular Mrs. Parks; it doesn’t try to treat its heady subject matter as purely a thing of the past, since racial prejudice is something two of Who’s latest companions, Ryan and Yaz, face on a daily basis in 2018. The fact that the episode takes a moment between the two of them to address that head-on is an important one.

Beebo vs. Mallus, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

Having fully embraced its status as the id of the Arrowverse, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is a show that’s too good to take itself seriously. Nowhere has the series more perfectly embodied its own absurdity than with the season three finale. In order to defeat the demon Mallus, five of the Legends came together to become a supreme being of goodness and light. That, of course, meant a giant fluffy Tickle Me Elmo knock-off called Beebo. The fight scene, which included Matrix puns, demands for hugs, and a giant cloud of death in the shape of a heart, was one of the wildest things we’ve ever seen on television. Nothing may ever compare. All glory to Beebo.

Pink/White Diamond reveals, Steven Universe

From the moment that Steven Universe first hinted at the existence of the Diamond Authority, the fandom worked itself into a frenzy trying to suss out the heavily-hinted at possibility that Rose Quartz and Steven by existence might in some way be directly connected to the gem matriarchs. Surprisingly, the Rose Quartz-as-Pink Diamond theory ended up being right on the money and, as if that wasn’t quite enough, the series upped the ante by finally introducing White Diamond in all of her haunting, glittering glory.

Birthing scene, The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale’s sophomore season may not have been perfect, but it did give us one perfect gift: the gift of life itself. The episode “Holly” presented the birth of June’s daughter in an honest and visceral way, foregoing the usual trappings of a Hollywood birthing scene in favor of something that really focused on the human experience. It wasn’t pretty, but it was pretty powerful.

Murder House reunion, American Horror Story: Apocalypse

American Horror Story isn’t usually a show where things end well for its characters, which is what made the Harmon family’s return during Apocalypse so interesting. In crossing paths with the witches who are trying to stop the Antichrist’s plan to end the world, the Harmons, along with Tate and Moira, were able to find a degree of peace in the afterlife that they all rightfully deserved, considering everything they went through before dying.

Dance battle, Legion

As impressive a telepath as Charles Xavier was, nothing we’ve ever seen him do holds a candle to the truly inspired psychic dance battle his son David had with the Shadow King in the most recent season of FX’s Legion. Special effects are great and all, but it’s clever, thoughtful ideas like this that really make Legion one of the most fascinating X-Men adaptations in the franchise’s history.

“A Life in the Day,” The Magicians

Our deputy editor Jill Pantozzi called this The Magicians episode “its version of Star Trek: The Next Generation’sThe Inner Light.’” And she’s absolutely right. “A Life in the Day” is one of the most beautiful TV episodes of 2018, and is worth watching even if you’re not a fan of The Magicians. The somewhat bottleneck episode takes us through decades of friendship, heartbreak, and love between Quentin and Eliot, as they live an entire lifetime together in pursuit of a quest key. It was a beautifully emotional episode that also explored queer relationships and male companionship in a way we rarely see on television. In short: It destroyed us.

Colleen becomes Iron Fist, Iron Fist

Iron Fist’s second season was a vast improvement over the first, and one way it did that was giving a much meatier storyline to Colleen Wing. Even better, it culminated with a shocking twist that fans thought they could only dream of. After Davos steals the power of the Iron Fist from Danny, the quest to retrieve it ends with a new wielder of K’un Lun’s immortal weapon in the form of none other than Colleen herself.

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Thanks to the show’s surprise cancellation, we’ll never see just where Colleen would’ve gone as the show’s new superhero, but at least we’ll forever have that one glorious shot of her imbuing her katana with the power of the Immortal Iron Fist.

The Rocinante enters the Ring, The Expanse

While the most triumphant Expanse-related moment of 2018 was definitely Amazon swooping in to rescue the show after it was cancelled by Syfy, the series’ third season itself was still full of shining moments. A mid-season story arc saw the scaled-down Rocinante crew framed for interstellar sabotage as ships from Earth, Mars, and the Belt gathered around the mysterious deep-space formation known as “the Ring.”

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With a missile hot on their tail—and the sudden apparition of presumed-dead character Miller advising Roci captain Holden to find “a door that wasn’t there before”—they do the only thing they can do: pass through the Ring into completely uncharted, alien-constructed space. It was a breathless, incredibly tense, and well-constructed episode that pushed the story forward in the most thrilling way possible.

Charlotte becomes Dolores, Westworld

We can’t possibly sum up everything that happened on Westworld’s second season finale in a few sentences, but we can single out the moment when the host uprising found a gruesomely clever way to extend its fight beyond the borders of Delos’ theme park: the reveal that Charlotte Hale has become Dolores. That is to say, that Bernard was able to transfer Dolores’ consciousness into a replica Charlotte body (after which “Halores” shot Charlotte, tying up that loose end). “Halores” then killed Bernard, since—as Ford explained—the hosts can never escape Westworld looking like themselves, and smuggles his brain sphere out of the park. There, a safe house awaits, stocked with a 3D printer to make fresh, new bodies for everyone and who knows what else ahead of season three. Viva la révolution!

Bent Neck Lady reveal, Haunting of Hill House

One of the (many) excellent things about The Haunting of Hill House was how, along with the Crain family, the ghosts become vivid characters too. Early on, the Bent Neck Lady became a standout; the spirit with a broken neck terrorized young Nell Crain from the moment she and her family moved into Hill House. As the audience, we’re desperate to know why this one ghost is haunting this one child more than the most. Then, finally, we find out: It’s because it is Nell. Nell from the future, after fatally “bending” her neck at the end of a rope, and then becoming detached from time. The reveal was shocking, scary, and also completely fascinating.

“Dream Warriors,” Riverdale

Riverdale has always had a musical component. Archie wants to play music, Josie has her Pussycats, Veronica sings from time to time. But in “The Midnight Club,” the long-awaited flashback episode where audiences finally got to see the parents as teens, things got even more meta and musical than usual.

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The Fred Heads, Fred Andrews’ band (which basically is just everyone he knows), sing “Dream Warriors” by Dokken while tripping out on Pop Rocks. It’s a song most of the people who watch Riverdale probably don’t know—and if not, it’s just a kind of cheesy ‘80s track. It was actually written for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors about, obviously, a killer named Freddy. There’s some nostalgia there, maybe a little subtext, and we’re here for all of it.


Worst Television Moments

What goes up, must come down. Here’s our list of the worst television moments of 2018. We’ve reenacted them with puppets too, because it’s 2018 and why not have some fun! Be sure to check out the video above to watch them in style.

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Offred stays in Gilead, The Handmaid’s Tale

Look, we understand why June stayed. She didn’t want to abandon her older daughter, Hannah. But also…we don’t get it at all. If she’d gone to Canada with her newborn daughter, she would’ve been able to reunite with her husband and procure the legal resources needed to fight for Hannah. And if that didn’t work, she could nab a bunch of military supplies, sneak back into the country, and take the girl by force. Would that lead to a war between Gilead and Canada? Maybe. But it’s a war that Gilead would not win. All we’re saying is that maybe being a fugitive who stole one of Gilead’s most-prized possessions—a baby—isn’t going to leave you with a lot of options. The moment they catch her, they will kill her.

Cigarette Smoking Man baby reveal, The X-Files

The X-Files season 11 finale was also the series finale, since star Gillian Anderson made it crystal clear that she would never again play Agent Dana Scully. After we saw the episode, we knew why. Scully and Mulder spent most of the season tracking down “their” son, William (now a high school-aged mutant who’s also a tiresome drip), only to learn along the way that William had actually been engineered by the Cigarette Smoking Man.

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In the finale, Scully suddenly decided she doesn’t really care what happens to the kid, since “I was never a mother to him”—a complete about-face that feels empty and false, since we’ve been repeatedly assured how much being a mother meant to her. The final knife twist, though, comes in the final seconds of the finale, when Scully reveals to Mulder that she’s (however implausibly) pregnant again—and this time, Mulder really is the father. It’s corny, it’s regressive, and it nailed The X-Files closed forever. We’re still furious.

The hanging of Prudence, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

While it makes sense that a show about Satan-worshipping witches would at some point involve a hanging of some sort, it also stands to reason that a show as progressive as The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina would understand that you can’t really just feature the hanging of a black woman (witch or not) without evoking some pretty awful racist ideas. While it’s doubtful whether the show’s creators and writers really meant for that to be the case, that’s exactly what that scene managed to do.

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“Make the Empire Glorious Again,” Star Trek: Discovery

It was a twist many fans saw coming—pretty much from the moment they likewise rapidly guessed that Discovery would dabble in the facial-hair-loving, evil alternate reality known as the Mirror Universe. But still, finally getting confirmation that Captain Lorca wasn’t actually a hard-edged, war-harrowed Starfleet Captain but a rogue operative from the evil Terran Empire looking to overthrow its Emperor and make Terran dominance “glorious again”—yes, they went there—was a horrible moment for the series.

The first half of Discovery asked difficult questions of just what Starfleet was willing to sacrifice in terms of its dearest ideals in the face of war and hard choices, and did so many times through Lorca. To then immediately sidestep any ramifications of those moments by taking the easy way out, and making Lorca simply an evil asshole from an evil universe, cheapened Discovery’s once-promising jolt to Star Trek’s most sacred establishment.

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Luke’s awful dab, Luke Cage

Listen: Luke Cage is a good person who only ever wanted to do the right thing and be a force for good in the world, but the man’s corniness is something that the show could never keep hidden all that long. As consistently bad as Luke’s pickup lines were over the course of the series, they all paled in comparison to that awful, awful dab that made the hero for hire come across as a much older, out of touch person than he actually was. May we never have to witness something like that again.

Shiro and Adam, Voltron: Legendary Defender

Going into Voltron’s penultimate seventh season, producers wowed fans at San Diego Comic-Con by revealing that the show would be bringing a same-sex relationship into the story for the first time—featuring one of the most beloved characters on the show, former Black Lion Paladin Shiro. Fans went through the roof at the thought of Voltron adding LGBTQ representation to the main cast, and just what the mysterious Adam, Shiro’s partner, would turn out to be like.

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And then they got to meet Adam for all of around five minutes, as the show revealed via flashback that he and Shiro were on rocky terms before the latter left Earth to be part of the Voltron coalition, and then Adam himself perished during the Galra invasion of Earth. The long-awaited representation fans wanted surmounted to a handful of scenes in which the two characters barely interacted, let alone shared any intimacy. And fans were not pleased.

Rick dies but then doesn’t, The Walking Dead

There were rumblings before San Diego Comic-Con, and then, at the event, it was made official: Andrew Lincoln’s lead character on The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes, would be leaving the long-running series. AMC used the spoiler to its advantage, teasing audiences with all kinds of promotions about the character’s exit. Would he die? Would he be shunned? After all that hype, once the episode finally arrived, it was a huge letdown.

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The show made it seem like Rick had died, really trying to tug at the audience’s heartstrings. But, ahoy! He was alive! He had been saved and helicoptered to safety. He wasn’t helicoptered to his friends, though—he was sent away for a new trilogy of movies. It was a fake-out that divided fans (as well as io9’s staff), and ultimately felt like a cop-out for a show that’s supposed to have real life consequences.


For more, make sure you’re following us on our new Instagram @io9dotcom. 

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In the First Trailer for The Magicians Season 4, a Revolution Is Rising

Eliot (Hale Appleman) isn’t feeling himself right now.
Photo: Eric Milner (Syfy)

Do you hear the people sing? Oh wait, that was two seasons ago. Still, much like that time our beloved heroes sang “One Day More” from Les Misérables, The Magicians are getting ready for war over the future of magic.

The first trailer is here for season four of The Magicians, and a battle is on the horizon. After the Librarians seized control of all magical forces at the end of last season, they’ve turned magic into a bureaucracy—complete with lots of forms, filled in triplicate…and a huge crackdown on Hedge Witches or anyone else using magic without their express permission. That doesn’t sit well with our magicians, and the trailer shows them getting ready to start a revolution against the Librarians to free magic everywhere.

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In the meantime, we’ve still got that whole Eliot (Hale Appleman) situation. You remember how he was possessed by a mysterious monster, some sort of “thing that wants,” at the end of last season? Well, it’s still in there, and it didn’t come to play. We’ve also got the return of original Penny, a surprise make-out session between Margot and Josh, and Alice stuck in prison where she’s being tempted with powers beyond her wildest dreams. Just a normal day at Brakebills!

The Magicians returns January 23.

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