A History of Creepy Small Towns on TV, From ‘Twin Peaks’ to ‘Riverdale’ (Photos)

“Quiet town, peaceful, low maintenance. It can stay that way,” says a federal agent to the sheriff of the small town at the center of the new ABC drama “The Crossing,” airing on April 2 at 10 p.m./9 p.m. CT. Yeah, good luck with that. In TV and movies, crazy, creepy, sci-fi, monster movie junk always goes down in quaint, tiny, Middle American suburbs far more often than it does in a big city. Who has time for aliens in New York? Give me a full on invasion or nothing. Leave the odd-goings on and the mysterious, unsolved disappearances to the town folk. This list charts the history of America’s fictional creepy small towns from kind of weird to David Lynchian-grade bananas.

Collinsport, Maine – “Dark Shadows” (1966)

The classic soap “Dark Shadows” started out as just the story of a woman trying to trace down her wealthy family’s mysterious roots in the fishing town of Maine. Things only really got weird when, 10 months into the show’s run, cousin Barnabas Collins shows up and reveals he has a vampire curse.

Cabot Cove, Maine – “Murder, She Wrote” (1984)

It might not have been Cabot Cove that was so weird but that murder and mystery seemed to follow Jessica Fletcher wherever she went.

Derry, Maine – “It” (1990)

Clowns are already creepy. Evil demon clowns that eat children in sewers? I’ll visit Derry in between Pennywise’s 30-year intervals thank you very much.

Twin Peaks, Washington – “Twin Peaks” (1990)

It doesn’t get weirder than this. David Lynch’s surreal twists on melodramatic soap operas and crime procedurals have left audiences scratching their heads to this day.

Cicely, Alaska – “Northern Exposure” (1990)

Not all creepy TV towns have to be filled with murder and aliens. The perfectly eccentric weirdos of Cicely, Alaska stayed strange for six seasons and 110 episodes.

Eerie, Indiana – “Eerie, Indiana” (1991)

“Eerie, Indiana” proceeded the small-town oddities of “X-Files” and “Buffy” and was a ratings bomb. But the show was a mysterious, underrated gem about a teen who collected evidence of strange goings-on in an Indiana town where no one seemed to notice or mind.

Bellefleur, Oregon – “The X-Files” (1993)

The truth is out there – way out there in Oregon to be exact. “The X-Files” pilot established the mythology of the show in the small town of Bellefleur. As soon as Mulder and Scully show up, they encounter bizarre turbulence, an unexplained ash on the ground and a trip to a psychiatric hospital where the patients are all alien abductees.

Sunnydale, California – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1996)

Isn’t that just how it always goes? You call your town “Sunnydale” and then it winds up on the site of a demonic gateway called Hellmouth before it eventually sinks into the Earth?

Bon Temps, Louisiana – “True Blood” (2008)

Just because everyone’s a vampire doesn’t mean they can’t still all be southern gentleman and belles who like good Louisiana cooking with a bottle of Tru Blood to wash it down.

Rosewood, Pennsylvania – “Pretty Little Liars” (2010)

These teen girls just want to have a normal high school life and go to prom, and before long they’re being harassed by the sinister “A,” investigating their friend’s disappearance and even digging up graves. This show is insane, so much so that it even spun off into another small town for “Ravenswood.”

Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania – “Hemlock Grove” (2013)

Face it, if you’ve got Bill Skarsgard and his demonic smile in your town, you’re already well over your creepy quota.

Vermilion Parish, Louisiana – “True Detective” (2014)

Whatever southern charm or bayou spirit you would usually find in Louisiana is gone in the first season of “True Detective,” which grimly examined themes of philosophy, religion and more toxic forms of masculinity amid a web of occult murders.

Bemidji, Minnesota – “Fargo” (2014)

The movie “Fargo” is famously not really set in Fargo, North Dakota, and the show follows up on that tradition, with all roads leading back to the title town. The first season of the FX series takes place in Bemidji, Minnesota, known for its statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

Jupiter, Florida – “American Horror Story: Freak Show” (2014)

Jupiter, Florida was already creepy even before the freak show arrived. This season of “AHS” is set in 1952 and is complete with conjoined twins, bearded ladies and a clown going around murdering people.

Wayward Pines, Idaho – “Wayward Pines” (2015)

Word to the wise: if you’re a federal agent going to any small town, don’t be as naive to think you’ll only be there a short time, or that you’ll even make it out of there alive. “Wayward Pines” is a perfect example of this age old trope.

Hawkins, Indiana – “Stranger Things” (2016)

Hawkins is small, but clearly not small enough that anyone cares what happened to Barb!

Riverdale – “Riverdale” (2017)

It’s not explicitly stated where Riverdale is located. Though it’s filmed in Vancouver, the same as the fictional Rosewood in “Pretty Little Liars,” but it’s revealed that Riverdale is in Rockland County, which is a real place in upstate New York. Regardless of where it’s set, the new CW series has salaciously subverted the original Archie comics for some engrossing, sexy weirdness.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Riverdale’ Star Camila Mendes Calls Photoshopped Cosmo Cover ‘Personally Insulting’

‘Riverdale’ Fans Do Not Approve of That Steamy Hot Tub Scene

‘Riverdale’ Star KJ Apa Joins Rom-Com ‘The Last Summer’

‘Riverdale’ Star Cole Sprouse to Star in CBS Films’ ‘Five Feet Apart’

“Quiet town, peaceful, low maintenance. It can stay that way,” says a federal agent to the sheriff of the small town at the center of the new ABC drama “The Crossing,” airing on April 2 at 10 p.m./9 p.m. CT. Yeah, good luck with that. In TV and movies, crazy, creepy, sci-fi, monster movie junk always goes down in quaint, tiny, Middle American suburbs far more often than it does in a big city. Who has time for aliens in New York? Give me a full on invasion or nothing. Leave the odd-goings on and the mysterious, unsolved disappearances to the town folk. This list charts the history of America’s fictional creepy small towns from kind of weird to David Lynchian-grade bananas.

Collinsport, Maine – “Dark Shadows” (1966)

The classic soap “Dark Shadows” started out as just the story of a woman trying to trace down her wealthy family’s mysterious roots in the fishing town of Maine. Things only really got weird when, 10 months into the show’s run, cousin Barnabas Collins shows up and reveals he has a vampire curse.

Cabot Cove, Maine – “Murder, She Wrote” (1984)

It might not have been Cabot Cove that was so weird but that murder and mystery seemed to follow Jessica Fletcher wherever she went.

Derry, Maine – “It” (1990)

Clowns are already creepy. Evil demon clowns that eat children in sewers? I’ll visit Derry in between Pennywise’s 30-year intervals thank you very much.

Twin Peaks, Washington – “Twin Peaks” (1990)

It doesn’t get weirder than this. David Lynch’s surreal twists on melodramatic soap operas and crime procedurals have left audiences scratching their heads to this day.

Cicely, Alaska – “Northern Exposure” (1990)

Not all creepy TV towns have to be filled with murder and aliens. The perfectly eccentric weirdos of Cicely, Alaska stayed strange for six seasons and 110 episodes.

Eerie, Indiana – “Eerie, Indiana” (1991)

“Eerie, Indiana” proceeded the small-town oddities of “X-Files” and “Buffy” and was a ratings bomb. But the show was a mysterious, underrated gem about a teen who collected evidence of strange goings-on in an Indiana town where no one seemed to notice or mind.

Bellefleur, Oregon – “The X-Files” (1993)

The truth is out there – way out there in Oregon to be exact. “The X-Files” pilot established the mythology of the show in the small town of Bellefleur. As soon as Mulder and Scully show up, they encounter bizarre turbulence, an unexplained ash on the ground and a trip to a psychiatric hospital where the patients are all alien abductees.

Sunnydale, California – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1996)

Isn’t that just how it always goes? You call your town “Sunnydale” and then it winds up on the site of a demonic gateway called Hellmouth before it eventually sinks into the Earth?

Bon Temps, Louisiana – “True Blood” (2008)

Just because everyone’s a vampire doesn’t mean they can’t still all be southern gentleman and belles who like good Louisiana cooking with a bottle of Tru Blood to wash it down.

Rosewood, Pennsylvania – “Pretty Little Liars” (2010)

These teen girls just want to have a normal high school life and go to prom, and before long they’re being harassed by the sinister “A,” investigating their friend’s disappearance and even digging up graves. This show is insane, so much so that it even spun off into another small town for “Ravenswood.”

Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania – “Hemlock Grove” (2013)

Face it, if you’ve got Bill Skarsgard and his demonic smile in your town, you’re already well over your creepy quota.

Vermilion Parish, Louisiana – “True Detective” (2014)

Whatever southern charm or bayou spirit you would usually find in Louisiana is gone in the first season of “True Detective,” which grimly examined themes of philosophy, religion and more toxic forms of masculinity amid a web of occult murders.

Bemidji, Minnesota – “Fargo” (2014)

The movie “Fargo” is famously not really set in Fargo, North Dakota, and the show follows up on that tradition, with all roads leading back to the title town. The first season of the FX series takes place in Bemidji, Minnesota, known for its statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

Jupiter, Florida – “American Horror Story: Freak Show” (2014)

Jupiter, Florida was already creepy even before the freak show arrived. This season of “AHS” is set in 1952 and is complete with conjoined twins, bearded ladies and a clown going around murdering people.

Wayward Pines, Idaho – “Wayward Pines” (2015)

Word to the wise: if you’re a federal agent going to any small town, don’t be as naive to think you’ll only be there a short time, or that you’ll even make it out of there alive. “Wayward Pines” is a perfect example of this age old trope.

Hawkins, Indiana – “Stranger Things” (2016)

Hawkins is small, but clearly not small enough that anyone cares what happened to Barb!

Riverdale – “Riverdale” (2017)

It’s not explicitly stated where Riverdale is located. Though it’s filmed in Vancouver, the same as the fictional Rosewood in “Pretty Little Liars,” but it’s revealed that Riverdale is in Rockland County, which is a real place in upstate New York. Regardless of where it’s set, the new CW series has salaciously subverted the original Archie comics for some engrossing, sexy weirdness.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Riverdale' Star Camila Mendes Calls Photoshopped Cosmo Cover 'Personally Insulting'

'Riverdale' Fans Do Not Approve of That Steamy Hot Tub Scene

'Riverdale' Star KJ Apa Joins Rom-Com 'The Last Summer'

'Riverdale' Star Cole Sprouse to Star in CBS Films' 'Five Feet Apart'

Critics Pick the Best TV Reboots and Revivals Ever — IndieWire Survey

With “Roseanne” back on the air, critics look to the best shows that have returned to TV in some form.

IWCriticsPick

Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Tuesday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best show currently on TV?” can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: What is the best reboot/revival of a TV show? (NOT of a movie, so no “Fargo.”)

Allison Keene (@KeeneTV), Collider

Although I’m not a fan of much rebooted or revived TV, I do absolutely love the relaunched version of “Battlestar Galactica”. In the early aughts, Ronald D. Moore reimagined Glen A. Larsen’s 1978 series as a sleek, sexy space opera for what was then known as the Sci-Fi Channel. The obsession with this series is really best described by that classic “Portlandia” sketch, as the new “Battlestar” was accessible even to those who (like myself) are not usually that into sci-fi series.

A good reboot is one that (with enough distance from its original), takes the best of what was and recontextualizes it for a new audience. It’s an exceptionally hard thing to do, and revivals have it even harder in trying to become something more than just a reunion show. But Moore’s “Battlestar” succeeded in creating a new iteration of an old title that ended up as its own unique franchise, one that became a standard bearer not just for reboots, but for all sci-fi TV. So say we all.

Liz Shannon Miller (@lizlet), IndieWire

"Queer Eye"

Queer Eye

Courtesy of Netflix

Wow, I started paging through Mike Schneider’s gallery of remakes and reboots (see above), and the pickings seemed pretty slim! That said, there were a few things I had more than fond feelings toward — specifically, the new Netflix iteration of “Queer Eye.” When we first received screeners for the show, back in late December, I watched the first episode and just felt… better. About life, about people, about the world. Nice people trying to improve the lives of others, from home to hearth to heart? It had a major impact on me, and I found myself carefully doling out each episode over the next six weeks, watching episodes only on the toughest days, when I needed the Fab Five most. I was a fan of the original, and the new version scratches all the same itches in an updated way. (Plus, it’s such a delight to get Jonathan Van Ness on screen for more than five minutes of “Gay of Thrones.”)

Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint), The Hollywood Reporter

Sigh. Terminology is exhausting. The question is hinged around “Roseanne,” which is a revival. A remake is not a reboot or a revival, so anybody saying “Battlestar Galactica” is wrong. But does a show going to a different network count as a revival? So is post-UPN “Buffy” a revival? Are seasons 3-5 of “Friday Night Lights” a half-a-revival? Does it count as a reboot or revival when the structure is built around rebooting or reviving? Like does “Doctor Who” count? And does every Doctor count as a reboot or just the post-Eccelston reboot? It doesn’t matter. I wasn’t going to answer with “Doctor Who” anyway. Does “Curb Your Enthusiasm” count or was that just a long hiatus for a show that was never really dead? It doesn’t matter. I wasn’t going to answer “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” because the last season was a huge disappointment. We were told that “Fargo” didn’t count as an overall series because it’s based on a movie and that’s fine, but is each individual season, given the shared DNA between the seasons, a reboot? I could make that argument and I love “Fargo,” so I kinda want to. Can a spinoff be a reboot if it’s like “Better Call Saul”? I guess it’s just a prequel spinoff and that’s not the same thing. I’m not going to say people who choose “The Comeback” or something are wrong, but that just wasn’t a show I loved in either incarnation. “Twin Peaks” is definitely a revival and its Showtime season was mind-bending enough that I was very grateful it existed, even if I don’t need any more “Twin Peaks” at least for another 20 years. The real answer is that the best reboot or revival is NBC’s “Coach” because they announced it, attempted to develop it and realized it wasn’t necessary and so they just moved on. More networks should do the same.

April Neale (@aprilmac), Monsters & Critics

Tikaeni Faircrest, "Twin Peaks"

Tikaeni Faircrest, “Twin Peaks”

Showtime

The “best” exception for my aversion of both reboots and revivals goes to Showtime’s run of “Twin Peaks.” This captivating show is so non-linear, visually Dali-esque and absurdist in its storytelling, almost annoyingly so… but I loved it, There are very few people of David Lynch’s artistic caliber working in the medium, and even if you hated the series, you had to admire the evocative moods and flights of terror it delivered as well as the variety of the actors in his soap opera yarn. Appreciated in the newer rebooted spectacle was that Mr. Lynch laced the new series with plenty of original classic characters, and he artfully paid homage to the ones that passed away. “Twin Peaks” is a square peg of round hole programming that is the exception to my “reboot haterade” hard and fast rules.

Kaitlin Thomas (@thekaitling), TVGuide.com

The correct answer, if we are also including remakes (and we should be), is obviously “Battlestar Galactica.” The original series was kitschy, but the re-imagining was a deeply emotional exploration of what makes us human wrapped up in all the action and excitement of a space opera. It also gave us Kara Thrace! But I have a feeling many folks will be discussing the merits of “BSG” this week, and so I’d like to actually discuss a revival close to my heart: “Strike Back.” I admit I was skeptical when Cinemax announced it was reviving the show for its third iteration — the 2015 finale was perfect and featured Scott and Stonebridge literally riding off into the sunset together! — but the new season proves that the concept of “Strike Back” is a lasting one. The series still regularly delivers thrilling action sequences not seen anywhere else on TV, there are the beginnings of a central bromance even as the central team has expanded to include formidable women who don’t exist to merely get killed off, and although the show hasn’t yet reached the depth of its immediate predecessor, it remains one of my favorite hours of TV every week. Is it the best show on TV? No, but it also doesn’t need to be; “Strike Back” knows exactly what it is and therefore succeeds at every turn. As we approach the season finale of this latest revival, I find that I don’t even miss Scott and Stonebridge anymore, which is maybe the highest compliment I can give the show.

Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall), Uproxx

Battlestar Galactica

Reboots and revivals are two very different things. Most revivals — bringing back the original actors in the same roles they played back in the day — are bad ideas, because what made those shows great once upon a time is a product of a particular time in the lives of the characters on the show, the lives of the people making the show, and the lives of the audience watching it. Change any or all of the three, and suddenly Rory Gilmore is a 32-year-old still acting like a 16-year-old, which is awful. Reboots, depending on how you define them, are more like the core idea with a whole new set of people involved, and with greater leeway to change things as a result.

There have been some revivals I haven’t hated, and even some with moments I’ve loved, like a good chunk of “Twin Peaks: The Return” and most of the non-Chris Carter episodes of this season of “The X-Files.” But the batting average is much spottier there, whereas there’s a reboot I can easily point to as an all-time classic: the Sci Fi Channel version of “Battlestar Galactica,” where Ronald D. Moore and company took a great idea that had been used to make a bad show in the ’70s and turned it into perhaps TV’s best drama about 9/11 and the War on Terror. There were lines you could draw from one to the other, but everything was smarter, bolder, and just plain better.

(Also, if we’re choosing to define reboots as “shows set in the same continuity but with new casts,” then the answer is “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”)

Marisa Roffman (@marisaroffman), Give Me My Remote

When it comes to making a “good” reboot/revival, your mileage may vary. Do you just want a couple of good episodes that hold up to the show’s original quality? Do you need it to carry on the story in a believable fashion that also doesn’t trash the original series’ legacy? It’s hard to name a show that has managed to do both of those things.

Weirdly, I feel like “Prison Break” may have been the revival that worked the most for me. Part of that may be because I didn’t have an obsessive attachment to it; I saw the entire series, but I didn’t devote years of my life to watching it play out during its original run. That allowed me to go with the flow of the bonkers season—which, thankfully, undid Michael’s (Wentworth Miller) death – rather than get tied up in the minutiae.

Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti), Vox

"One Day at a Time"

“One Day at a Time”

Mike Yarish/Netflix

Obvious answer is obvious, but the 2000s version of “Battlestar Galactica,” even when it seemed to be disappearing down rabbit trails of its own making, was a grand and glorious thing, with a complicated, rich mythology and a surprising willingness to confront the issues of the time. I assume that 500 other people have already answered this, so I will not belabor the point. But it was good, good stuff.

Also: “One Day at a Time” is amazing, and I’m so glad it’s getting a third season. If it were still in danger of not being renewed, I might have stood up for it more fervently. But everybody reading this should go watch it now. Even if you’ve seen it.

Joyce Eng (@joyceeng61), GoldDerby

While I know my colleague Kaitlin Thomas will surely say “Strike Back,” partly due to HBAG (Hot Bearded Australian Guy), I am going with another “back”: “The Comeback.” The 2005 original was way ahead of its time and though I am not a fan of reboots, revivals and the like — let things die, people! It’s OK! — the 2014 follow-up was the second season I wanted, made peace with never getting, and one that arrived at exactly the right time. The beauty of “The Comeback” was that Valerie’s humiliation was that it never came from mere “awkward situations” like most mockumentary comedies; it was embedded in the show’s gloriously cutting and meta satire of reality TV and the narcissism of Hollywood. And in the wired, self-indulgent, Instagram-filtered world of 2014, the cringes and painful moments of Season 2 never hurt so good. Season 2 also gave Valerie the perfect ending to her story, so please do not ever bring it back again. I don’t need to see that.

Ben Travers (@BenTTravers), IndieWire

Sticking with revivals, it’s “Twin Peaks.” “Twin Peaks: The Return” may be considered by some to be separate from the original two seasons, but nothing about its continued story indicates it’s anything other than sequel season to the original ’90s series. It’s also a mind-bending, surrealist delight that refuses to bow to modern rules for televised narratives (much like those first two seasons did back in the day), but more importantly, it’s a TV show that honored its past without being beholden to it. David Lynch challenged viewers in a way we needed, refusing to regurgitate the simple delights of the past to placate our nostalgic whims. He changed everything, again, from Agent Cooper (who was trapped in Dougie’s false identity most of the season) to the very foundation of the series (Laura Palmer lives!), and he did it for the better of viewers. This is what a revival should look like: a fresh, bold story with new ideas motivating the return. Few revivals actually follow this model, and even fewer are as successful as “Twin Peaks.”

Q: What is the best show currently on TV?*

A: “Atlanta” (four votes)

Other contenders: “The Alienist,” “The Good Doctor,” “Good Girls,” “Jane the Virgin,” “The Terror,” “Trust” (one vote each)

*In the case of streaming services that release full seasons at once, only include shows that have premiered in the last month.

 

Critics Pick the Standout Song Moments on TV – IndieWire Survey

From “The Sopranos” and “Six Feet Under” finale to “Twin Peaks” and “Lost” key scenes, these are the songs that elevated those moments.

IWCriticsPick

Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Tuesday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best show currently on TV?” can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: What is the best use of a song on a TV show?**

**Non-theme songs preferred. “Best” is loosely defined: Most memorable? Most moving? Cleverest? Most unexpected? etc.

Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint), The Hollywood Reporter

I’m glad that last week I gave a short, simple and singular answer, because there’s absolutely no way to do this one without moving into a laundry list, starting with “The OC” and “Hide & Seek,” a sequence so seminal in its moment that it earned an “SNL” parody. Then you have to pick something from “The Americans,” a show that has mastered the art of building scenes around iconic ’80s hits, with the “Tusk” chase standing out as first and best among equals. Along the same lines, “Freaks and Geeks” probably had 15 perfect needle-drops and if I went with the “Americans” moment from the pilot, I’ll go with the “F&G” finale use of Grateful Dead’s “Box of Rain,” with Lindsay’s pure moment of discovery and self-discovery.

I know we were asked to stick to non-theme songs, but that last use of “Suicide is Painless” as the helicopter ascends in “M*A*S*H*” still has to be eligible. Speaking of finales, the use of “Don’t Stop Believing” in the finale of “The Sopranos” has basically overtaken any other use of a song that was pretty much ubiquitous anyway. The question didn’t specify that the song couldn’t be original, so I want to mention “Planet of the Apes: The Musical,” as my favorite musical moment from “The Simpsons.” Keeping in mind that recognition does no equal endorsement, Roger Sterling’s blackface performance of “My Old Kentucky Home,” was mortifying, magnetic and a magnificent character-driven moment. I feel like I need to mention one moment from “The Leftovers,” so I’ll go with trampolining to “Protect Ya Neck.”

Having gotten an assortment of worthy contenders out of the way, I think my actual and final answer will be some song from ‘The Singing Detective,'” which is a cheat, but you could probably pick 20 musical moments from what is possibly TV’s pinnacle. So once I’ve gotten there, my choice is the easy one for anybody who has seen the miniseries, specifically the hallucinatory doctor’s diagnostic chorus of “Dry Bones.” It’s astounding. It’s hilarious. It’s inspired. It’s completely in keeping with the show around it. It’s my last and final answer.

[POST-SCRIPT: Since I emailed my answer in, I’ve thought of at least 10 answers that I WANTED to go back and include, but only one that I NEEDED to go back and mention: Leland Palmer singing “Mairzy Doats” with the Horne Brothers on “Twin Peaks.” OK. Whew. It was going to haunt me if I left that one out.]

April Neale (@aprilmac), Monsters & Critics

“Westworld” Season 1’s player piano belting out a version of “Black Hole Sun” tops this for me. Giant genius show composer Ramin Djawadi (he does “Game of Thrones” too) delivers that disjointed and unsettling anachronistic feel to the faux Western theme park filled with robots, and that player piano is almost a character unto itself. The piano just springs to life with oddly jarring preprogrammed moments. We get chilling reductive versions of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” or a smashing orchestral send-up of the Stones’ “Paint It Black,” all toying with the artifice and setting of this lethal playground that has – as it appears – a mind of its own now.

Runner-up goes to Hulu’s “Hard Sun” playing the premise of that non-stop wincingly graphic Brit thriller perfectly in line with Bowie’s “Five Years” at the end of the first episode. That jam was a cut off the “Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” back in 1972. I devoured that whole album when my childhood friends were all listening to The Partridge Family. That song always stuck with me. They used it quite well to underscore the gravitas of the story.

Allison Keene (@KeeneTV), Collider

The series finale of “Six Feet Under” is usually considered one of the best ever, and part of that is likely down to Sia’s emotional “Breathe Me” that plays over those last scenes. You can’t really achieve more finality than seeing how every character on the show will die (er, spoiler: we all die), and experiencing those fates back to back to back was so emotionally overwhelming (and in one case, a little funny). The show was defined by that song as soon as I watched it play out, and the song also became defined by the show; I can’t listen to it without replaying those final moments and feelings in my head (and my heart!) It was a perfect, iconic choice.

Liz Shannon Miller (@lizlet), IndieWire

I struggled with this, because first I couldn’t think of any good options, and then I Googled around and found a few lists, and then there were TOO MANY OPTIONS.

But on a personal level, the one that truly makes me sob, the one that really gets to me at my core, has to be the use of Sia’s “Breathe Me” in the “Six Feet Under” series finale. It’s just… everything, life and death and heartbreak and love wrapped together in a crescendo of emotion, totally unforgettable and life-changing. There have been so many great moments that integrated music and television, but that’s the one which truly wrecks me, every time.

Kaitlin Thomas (@thekaitling), TVGuide.com

Assuming I’m not allowed to choose a song from a musical series like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (my answer would be “It Was a Shit Show”), I instead have to choose something from “iZombie,” a series that often surprises me with its musical choices. It all started when the show used After the Fire’s “Der Kommissar” during the climax of the Season 1 finale and my appreciation has only grown in the years since. But if I had to choose the use of one particular song over the course of the entire show, it has to be The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love” that plays over a fight about the zombie cure (see below). Is it on the nose? Yes, especially since a character sang a few bars of it prior to the scene at hand, but it’s these little choices that ultimately elevate the jokes to the next level that make the show so consistently enjoyable. It’s clear that music actually has a purpose within “iZombie,” and the series somehow manages to regularly find new and creative ways to have fun with its soundtrack. In fact, this week’s episode’s inclusion of “Space Jam” is so unexpected and funny and perfect that it has me rethinking my answer already. Basically, the rest of television should try a little harder to live up to “iZombie’s” level.

Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall), Uproxx

Best use of a song on a TV show EVER? How much time have you got?

Okay, fine, let me see if I can keep this list at under a dozen, only picking one song per show, even though certain series like “Miami Vice” and “The Americans” are well known for consistently great musical selections. In fact, let’s start with a pair of choices from their respective pilots: Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” playing as Sonny Crockett re-evaluates his entire life and career when he finds out an old partner has been lying to him, and Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” accompanying a foot chase and knife fight between Philip Jennings and a Soviet defector. All of Josh Schwartz’s shows use music well, so I’ll pick one serious and one silly choice: “Hide and Seek” from ”The O.C.” scene where Marissa shoots Trey, which was so iconic, “SNL” parodied it years after the fact with “Dear Sister,” and Jeffster’s performance of “Mr. Roboto” during Ellie and Captain Awesome’s wedding on “Chuck,” a perfect blending of nostalgia and silliness and action. “Mad Men” used tons of great songs, never better than when Don and Peggy danced to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” after making peace with their working relationship. ’60s soul and R&B classics have been overused to the point of cliche, but a couple of ’80s shows brilliantly got to the catalog before that happened: “The Wonder Years” with “When a Man Loves a Woman” accompanying Kevin and Winnie’s first kiss, and “Wiseguy” with “Nights in White Satin” as Vinnie Terranova and Sonny Steelgrave catch a breath in the midst of their final battle. In recent years, “The Leftovers” and “Fargo” have had a duel for the unofficial title of TV’s best (and/or most eclectic) soundtrack, with the former probably peaking with Kevin Garvey’s afterlife karaoke rendition of “Homeward Bound” and the latter with “War Pigs” accompanying a particularly violent stretch of action. “Twin Peaks” memorably used a lot of songs, and I initially was going to list something else here before Fienberg reminded me of Leland Palmer getting the Horne brothers to dance to “Mairzy Doats.”

But there’s a clear runner-up and a clear winner. The runner-up: “Make Your Own Kind of Music” accompanying the ”Lost” sequence that finally showed us what was inside the hatch after months of speculation. Nobody had any idea what was down there, and surely nobody thought that a Mama Cass song would be our musical guide to the place, yet the buoyant, retro quality of the song fit spectacularly.

Your winner, though, has to be “Don’t Stop Believin'” from the famous, divisive, instantly memorable final scene of “The Sopranos.” Somehow, this power ballad about a small town boy and girl moving to the big city became the most ominous choice imaginable for what should have been an innocuous scene of a family eating onion rings and a young woman struggling to parallel park. David Chase struggled to find the right song choice for every Sopranos musical moment, none more than that. The stress and worry paid off.

Tim Surette (@timsurette), TV.com

Oh gosh, I can’t even get through the opening of “Mr. Robot’s” seventh episode without having my soul ripped out as we see the flashback of Shayla — who was murdered in the previous episode — and Elliot meeting for the first time while The Cure’s “Pictures of You” plays. I would trust Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail to handle party music duties at my house, which is a big deal, and this was his best use of song for maximum emotional effect in his show yet. The Cure has about a hundred songs better than “Pictures of You” but in that moment it was the best. But the real answer here is the pairing of Mike White’s beautiful direction, Laura Dern’s energy, a giant sea turtle, and Regina Spektor’s “Human of the Year” at the end of the first episode of “Enlightened.” God that show was so fucking good.

Marisa Roffman (@marisaroffman), Give Me My Remote

The right song choice can elevate a good scene to a great one… and I am absolutely the kind of television nerd who has bought official soundtracks for shows I love. It would be very easy to cheat and mention how great the song choices on “The OC,” “Westworld,” “Scrubs,” “Cougar Town,” and “Supernatural” have been, but the question is about one song, so I’m going to go in a slightly different direction. (Okay, I definitely just cheated. They all are exceptionally excellent at incorporating music and I am very bad at choosing between favorites.)

Cheating aside, what stands out to me when I think about music on television is “Grey’s Anatomy”; Season 2, in particular, overflowed with memorable music moments. But when I think about “Breathe (2 AM)”? Ohhhh boy. The song played in the second (non-Super Bowl) part of the bomb-in-the-body-cavity arc, as Meredith (whose hand was on a live explosive), tried to work up the nerve to move the device. It’s the emotional climax of the episode (decade-plus spoiler alert: things only partially work out, see below), and the music/lyrics fit so beautifully with Meredith’s mindset as she faced possible death. (At one point the song’s beat syncs up with the patient’s heart monitor. It sounds cheesy, but it is fantastic.) The song and scene are intertwined in my mind, and, frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti), Vox

I could list oh so many, right up to the tremendously fun and inventive use of “Under Pressure” on my beloved “The Magicians” a week ago. But I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up a choice I’m relatively sure nobody will mention: the use of Patti Smith’s “Horses” in the season two finale of “Millennium,” some of the most enjoyably mind-bending TV I’ve ever seen. In the Season 2 finale, the show, figuring it was going to be canceled, literally ended the world, and it did so via a long haze of strange imagery, told from the point of view of a woman slowly losing her mind as she confronted what she had been party to (namely the release of a deadly virus). The show then was renewed for a season three and had to walk back the apocalypse. Oops. (You can watch a version of the 10-minute sequence slowed down to a full hour here.)

Ben Travers (@BenTTravers), IndieWire

With all due respect to Jeff Buckley’s “Hide and Seek” in “The O.C.,” “Noel” in “The West Wing,” and all the Springsteen songs in “Show Me a Hero,” Justin Theroux’s rendition of “Homeward Bound” holds a very special place in my heart, and you can read all about it in the oral history of Season 2’s iconic finale. The HBO drama has a ton of under-appreciated music moments, so, for kicks and giggles, I’ll also highlight the amazing use of Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines” throughout the penultimate episode of Season 2 and Kevin and Nora’s dance number, “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember” by Otis Redding.

Q: What is the best show currently on TV?*

A: “Atlanta” (fives votes)

Other contenders: “The Alienist,” “Counterpart,” “iZombie,” “The Magicians” and “Superstore” (one vote each)

*In the case of streaming services that release full seasons at once, only include shows that have premiered in the last month.

The Best Series Finales of the 21st Century, Ranked

They may not have always come from the greatest shows, but these farewell episodes left us with plenty to remember.

Series finales are fickle things. Some of them have the power to redeem an entire show, to reframe the audience’s perceptions of what came before. Those massive twists rarely land, so more often than not, TV shows end not with a bang, but with a melancholy whimper.

And then there are the other times when a big series finale swing goes so awry that it can undo many seasons’ worth of goodwill. Recency bias rears its ugly head and some lifelong fans use these last episodes as a reason to sour on a particular show.

That’s why that the best finales don’t always come from the best shows. “Battlestar Galactica,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Dexter,” and more often reached brilliance over the course of their runs, but rang less true with their final notes. Some of IndieWire’s choices below come from shows that wouldn’t normally rate as highly on lists of Great TV Dramas/Comedies.

But each of these picks left viewers with something meaningful that went above the rest of the show that came before it, all to make something worth remembering. The IndieWire picks for the best TV closing episodes of the century are below.

(It goes without saying that the reasons for our choices get well into spoiler territory, so consider yourself warned.)

24. “Spartacus: War of the Damned”

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Starz Media/Starz Productions/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (5886044b)Liam McIntyreSpartacus - War Of The Damned - 2012-13Starz Media/Starz ProductionsUSATelevisionTv Classics

“Spartacus” had a fairly rocky start, but by the time the first season wrapped up with the stunning “Kill Them All,” it was evident that the series had found its groove. With just a fraction of the budget of the major networks, the series carved out its own visual style and consistently delivered battle sequences on an epic scale. It saved one of its best battles for last, pitting Spartacus and his remaining rebels against the Marcus Crassus-led Romans. The battle was beautifully choreographed and filmed, but it succeeded on such a scale because it was driven by raw emotion. Even though history dictated the outcome of the battle, we couldn’t help but hold our breaths, hoping Spartacus would somehow defeat Crassus even as it became clearer and clearer that he wouldn’t. However, the series still ended on a moment of quiet celebration, assuring us that Spartacus’ legacy would never fade.

23. “Person of Interest”

"Return 0" -- The team must embark on one last suicide mission to prevent Samaritan from destroying The Machine and cementing its hold over mankind, on the series finale of PERSON OF INTEREST, Tuesday, June 21 (10:00 -- 11:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Michael Emerson as Harold Finch, Kevin Chapman as Lionel Fusco, and Jim Caviezel as John Reese Photo: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. ©2016 WBEI. All rights reserved.

“Person of Interest” began as a typical crime procedural, but it ended as a complex, serialized science fiction show that found the humanity within technology. Though the finale had no shortage of action, it tied up the series so well because it focused on the reflective moments in between. The Machine’s ruminations on death and legacy took center stage, highlighting the connections that were forged and people who were saved over the show’s run. Reese’s sacrifice on that rooftop was a fervent expression of the very essence of the series: the impossibility of severing the human from the machine. It wasn’t just about The Machine or Samaritan. It was about the humanity that endured, even if the physical bodies were no longer with us. Who wouldn’t want Amy Acker around forever, anyway?

22. “Sex and the City”

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (1620766a) Sex And The City , Chris Noth, Sarah Jessica Parker Film and Television

Is a finale still a finale when it’s followed up by two movies (one great, the next awful)? In short, yes: Just like any series finale could suddenly become just another season finale if the Revival Fairy comes a-callin’, the O.G. “SATC” ending is still the best. After making audiences believe Carrie’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) fate was tied to turbulent Russian artist Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov), the two-part finale sets up a romantic wooing that’s trickier than it seems after the first half-hour. Yes, Big (Chris Noth) is on his way to Paris to win back the woman of his dreams, but how can a seven-year on-and-off romance be resolved in less than an episode? How can Carrie be ready for a man the audience couldn’t agree she even wanted? Then there’s the slap, which not only crosses a whole bunch of lines, but wakes Carrie up to the reality of her situation. She’s not meant to be with Petrovsky and just as importantly, she’s not meant to be in Paris. “Sex and the City” made Big even bigger in its final episode, as he came to represent the city of New York and all of Carrie’s deepest loves. It resonates, and so does the finale — even after that second movie.

21. “Justified”

Justified Series Finale

“The Promise” didn’t strive for a huge, climactic finale. It worked because it stayed true to the series, which made a name for itself by tackling big questions in a suave, laidback manner. A chief question of the final hour was whether or not Raylan Givens would be able to leave Harlan alive, literally and figuratively. The answer to both? Yes. The series concluded his story by allowing him to unshackle himself from his past, moving beyond Arlo’s shadow and away from Boyd’s life of crime. The real gem of the finale was seeing Raylan and Boyd reunite four years down the road, smiling at each other from opposite sides of a prison glass window. After all, they were always meant to be. In a series that prided itself on its dialogue, the line that resonated the most was the one that brought it all full circle: “We dug coal together.”

20. “Dollhouse”

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by 20th Century Fox TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (5878815c)Harry Lennix, Topher Brink, Eliza DushkuDollhouse - 200920th Century Fox TVUSATelevision

“Dollhouse”

Fox TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

While the Joss Whedon series began with a problematic tone — framing the “doll” operatives as if they were some idealistic super spies or fantasy wish fulfillment — once the show shifted to take a stance against such human trafficking and abuse, it started to get good and explore deeper themes about identity and humanity. Some of the series’ most emotionally honest episodes occurred in Season 2 (see Dichen Lachman’s turn in “Belonging”), when the show began to widen the scope of its storytelling. Which is why it’s a shame that this was its last season.

In “Epitaph Two: Return,” the show flashes forward to the bleak future seen in the first season’s unaired episode “Epitaph One,” in which the city is a war zone in ruins. Battles ensue, sacrifices are made, and even a secret love child is revealed. What saves this from dystopian soap — dysoapian? — are the technologically satisfying endings: one that reverts each doll to their original personas, and a bittersweet one that pre-dates “Black Mirror’s” concept of taking on a loved one’s persona into oneself, never to be parted. “Dollhouse” may have had its issues, but it proved right through to the end that it was a fertile playground for strange and innovative ideas.

19. “30 Rock”

30 Rock Series Finale

There’s so much packed into this last installment, which manages to establish emotional denouement for nearly every character of the show’s ensemble. But there are two reasons it had to make this list. One is the slightly silly but also profound final scene, which pays off years of joking about Kenneth the Page’s immortality while also bringing things around full circle in a deeply satisfying way. But more importantly, there’s the final confrontation between Liz (Tina Fey) and Tracy (Tracy Morgan) at the strip club they visited during the pilot, which is a scene that lingers in the memory, as a beautiful and honest acknowledgment about how adult relationships work, especially at the workplace.

“We were forced to be friends because of work. And we’re probably not gonna hang out after this, all right? You’ll say that you’re gonna invite me to your house, and it’s never gonna happen,” she says. “Tracy, you frustrated me, and you wore me out. But because the human heart is not properly connected to the human brain, I love you, and I’m gonna miss you.” With those words, Fey reminded us that the ending of things, whether it be shows or relationships, doesn’t diminish them, and that the real tragedy would be in refusing to let something go.

18. “Man Seeking Woman”

MAN SEEKING WOMAN -- "Blood" -- Season 3, Episode 10 (Airs March 8, 10:30 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Katie Findlay as Lucy, Jay Baruchel as Josh. CR: Michael Gibson/FXX

A show that already had a specific brand of melancholy romantic foibles made the leap in its third and final season when the adventures of Josh gave way to the adventures of Josh And Lucy. Both Jay Baruchel and Katie Findlay sent off their characters in style in a wedding episode that captured all of the anxieties of commitment and family and the future all at once. It may not be the best episode of the season (that honor goes to the proposal episode “Bagel,” which made IndieWire’s list of the Best Episodes of 2017). But this farewell gave such a grounded acknowledgment that even life in a fantasy world, the real value comes in who’s fighting those battles alongside you. After a series run that found some of the best ways to stick some real human moments in the absurd, the series’ final moment, of the two kissing in a bright ray of sunshine in the middle of a rainstorm, is a beautiful little allegory to end with.

17. “Life on Mars” (U.S./UK)

life on mars

We’re lumping the British series and its American spin-off together on this list, but to be clear: They’ve each earned this mention for very different reasons. The original series, which ran for just two seasons, was the perfect length and ended with a perfectly executed finale; after 16 episodes, the show had revealed the true reason why Sam Tyler (John Simm) had been sucked back in time to 1973, and also made it very plausible as to why (and how) he might wish to return to that era. It’s both dark and hopeful, a happy ending that represents a fascinating level of bleakness, and also still features plenty of Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) being the magnificent bastard we came to love.

Meanwhile, the U.S. version premiered after the end of the UK series, and though American audiences might not have been familiar with the original version, the writers certainly were — and clearly felt the pressure to do something different when it became clear the show would not be returning for a second season. And holy crap, did that series finale take a different approach. Honestly, it’s something you literally have to see in order to believe. Just know that as bonkers as you might predict it to be, the American “Life on Mars” finale will exceed those expectations. And we admire the hell out of it for trying.

Critics Pick the Best Superheroes on TV – IndieWire Survey

Whether it’s cape or cowl, brains or brawn, it takes special skills to stand out as a TV superhero these days.

IWCriticsPick

Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Tuesday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best show currently on TV?” can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: Who is the best superhero on TV?

(The character must have at least appeared on TV sometime within the last two years, and their show has not been canceled yet.)

Allison Keene (@KeeneTV), Collider

As someone who watches every superhero show on TV, there are certainly a few different ways to define “best.” Best character work? “Jessica Jones.” Best powers? Barry Allen (“The Flash”). Best at failing this city? Oliver Queen (“Arrow”). Best visual mindboggle? David Haller (“Legion”). Best dad/hero/community leader? Jefferson Pierce (“Black Lightning”). Best humor? “The Tick.” Best hodgepodge of insanity that’s also incredibly charming? “Legends of Tomorrow.”

But the superhero who really embodies everything that a superhero should is Kara Danvers, a.k.a. Supergirl. She lives by a strict moral code, has a life outside of her powers that really matters, and isn’t afraid of personal sacrifice in the service of a greater good. It’s why her cousin Superman has endured as such a beloved comic character — he’s a true hero, and so is she.

Though “Supergirl” has struggled at times (particularly in its first season) with leaning too heavily into the “inspiration” aspect with schmaltz (for a better example of how to do it well, watch “Black Lightning”), and wanting to make a statements, the show is at its best when Kara just gets to be a hero. She’s the true embodiment of living a life committed to good, which is really the essence of what being the “best” superhero should be.

"Supergirl"

Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall), Uproxx

How are we defining “best” this week? If it’s the most powerful and/or competent superhero, the answer’s probably “Supergirl.” If it’s the main character on the best current superhero show, it’d be David Haller from “Legion.” But if it’s the character who’s most compelling, regardless of power level, actual skill at saving people, and overall quality of the show, it’d be Jessica Jones, whose return to Netflix on Thursday no doubt prompted this question. The show is kind of a mess, particularly in this new season, and suffers from a lot of the issues of all the Marvel Netflix shows most notably having too many episodes and not enough story with which to interestingly fill them. And Jessica herself is even more of a trainwreck — drinking too much, retreating from the world, unable to let go of the rage and self-loathing that’s come from the terrible things that have happened to her. Even when she’s actively trying to be a hero, she stumbles into victory more often than not. But that’s what makes her so interesting to watch — and what makes the periodic sluggishness of her show’s pacing mostly worth sitting through. Krysten Ritter’s performance, the dialogue, and the characterization all make Jessica the best current hero, in terms of someone whose story I want to keep following.

Marisa Roffman (@marisaroffman), Give Me My Remote

Peak TV has brought us Peak TV Superheroes. At this point, there are more than a dozen traditional superhero shows — be it “Gotham,” “Arrow,” or “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” — and when you start factoring in the nontraditional shows (like “iZombie”), the number easily doubles.

It’s probably not a surprise that I watch most of these shows; I’m a nerd! But I’ve also always been most drawn to human superheroes, who are just trying to do their best in extraordinary circumstances. That leads me to “The X-Files”‘s Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, "The X-Files"

Sure, she doesn’t have traditional superpowers. But she’s saved the world (and may save it again if her Season 10 finale premonitions come true), on both the larger and smaller scale. Scully is a medical doctor, FBI agent, and an all-around badass. She’s faced unspeakable horrors and, somehow, keeps moving forward, trying to make a difference. And perhaps, most importantly, a recent study (by 21st Century Fox, partnered with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media, showed that nearly two-thirds of the women surveyed who work in STEM cited Scully as a role model. What’s more powerful than having an off-screen legacy like that?

Liz Shannon Miller (@lizlet), IndieWire

Look, I love so many great superheroes despite the fact that their shows aren’t great, but this question basically demands that I pick Jessica Jones, and given that I’ve been a fan since the original comics, selecting her isn’t a trial. That said, I’m writing this a few days before the full release of Season 2, and I wasn’t blown away by the first five episodes, so I’m worried to some degree. But I feel good about that being silly on this level, at least.

Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint), The Hollywood Reporter

Sam Fox on “Better Things,” because in these chaotic times, mothers are the true superheroes.

Damian Holbrook (@damianholbrook), TV Guide Magazine

Since I cover so many of the superhero shows for TV Guide Magazine, this is a total Sophie’s Choice situation. I love all of my costumed children! So instead of picking one of the shows over any of the others, my vote goes to Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman on “Supergirl.” Because of the many incarnations we’ve already seen of the guy, this has got to be one of the toughest characters to pull off – he has to be optimistic but imposing; nerdy as Clark yet heroic as Kal-El; approachable but handsome as hell because, you know, it’s Superman; and he has to make us believe in truth, justice and the American way, while pulling off one of the most iconic outfits on the (daily) planet! For my comic-book money, Hoechlin nails it every time he suits up for a guest appearance. It helps that he shares a tremendous amount of familial chemistry with supercousin Kara (the perpetually delightful Melissa Benoist) and has a keen sense of what makes Krypton’s favorite son a true hero. There is a reason why the Twitterverse immediately called for a Superman series after seeing this guy in action.

Tyler Hoechlin and Melissa Benoist, "Supergirl"

Kaitlin Thomas (@thekaitling), TVGuide.com

Allow me to pull a Brodie Bruce here: What do I gauge my response on? Do I choose the person who I think is legitimately the best at being a superhero? Or is it the person whose show is the best superhero show? To be honest, I’ve checked out of every superhero show on The CW at this point, I never got around to “The Gifted,” and I ignored both “Iron Fist” and “The Defenders” for obvious reasons. Jessica Jones doesn’t want to be a hero even though she sometimes does heroic things, and the Punisher is a violent antihero who destroyed Ben Barnes’ face.

So, I guess I’m just going to go with David Haller of “Legion” and the teens of “Marvel’s Runaways.” Are they great superheroes? Not even close. But that is to be expected given where they all are in their respective stories. Also that’s what makes their characters and their shows so exciting to watch. They’re all coming into their own and attempting to discover who they are in a pretty screwed-up environment, and that’s more interesting to me than watching someone like Supergirl save the world from another alien threat. Honestly, I have no idea if I’ve answered the question. Also, Liv Moore on “iZombie.”

Hulu

Eric Deggans (@deggans), NPR

This feels like a trick question. Because it can be answered two ways: by looking at the best superhero CHARACTER on TV, or the best superhero SERIES (this is how a comic book nerd’s brain works, folks). The character question is easier and a bit simpler. There’s lots of great superhero characters on TV, but I’d name two right now: Mr. Spock and Batman. Spock is the superhero of “Star Trek,” always ready with perfect calculations and logic, gifted with great strength, psychic powers and a great heart that he deftly hid from his teammates. Batman tops my list because the character has remained compelling across decades of reinvention, from the classic, campy ‘60s show, to the more somber guy in the animated series on Fox Kids.

But the best superhero TV SERIES, for my money, is “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” on Netflix. I love the way this show combines a straight-up superhero yarn – super strong woman tackles her perfect villain, a man who can make anyone do anything he says – with a story that has larger resonance. Jessica is a damaged woman, suffering from PTSD, who faces the ultimate abusive ex-partner in David Tennant’s Kilgrave. In one show, we have a deeply perceptive allegory about surviving rape and confronting abusers. But we also have a compelling story about a character who faces the quintessential superhero’s dilemma; damaged as she is, as much as she wants to crawl into a bottle and stay there, she can’t. Because something in her drives her to be heroic, despite all reason. And that’s the essence of a great superhero.

Krysten Ritter and David Tennant, "Marvel's Jessica Jones"

Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti), Vox

It feels rather like TV is going through a dry spell of great superheroes. I loved “Jessica Jones” season 1, but season 2’s a tougher nut. The same goes for just about every CW superhero. (I haven’t watched “Legends of Tomorrow,” which I am assured is bonkers fun. But can we really call those kids “superheroes”?) I could answer somebody from “Legion,” maybe, but that show doesn’t feel particularly devoted to straightforward superhero moments in a way that makes it both a good show and not a great answer to this question.

So I’m going to say “Twin Peaks’” Freddie Sykes, who gained superhuman strength from wearing a green gardening glove. I would watch an entire series about the kid. Greenlight it, Showtime!

Jake Wardle, "Twin Peaks"

April Neale (@aprilmac), Monsters & Critics

The Punisher! I’m going with Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle, a well-trained force of nature we met in “Daredevil‘s” second season. Motivated by the murders of his wife and two children, Castle was a great energetic foil to Charlie Cox‘s more subtle Daredevil. Played with a soulful humanity, Bernthal is one of the best actors around, case closed baby! Even if you dislike the superhero genre, “The Punisher,” like “Daredevil,” were both watchable and gripping yarns. I got lost in the action, acting and story and forgot I was watching comic book sourced material.

Marvel's The Punisher Jon Bernthal Season 1 Netflix

Ben Travers (@BenTTravers), IndieWire

If I adhered to the spirit of the question, my answer would likely be David Haller (“Legion”), Jessica Jones (“Marvel’s Jessica Jones”), or even James Gordon (“Gotham”), but I typically like to look beyond the various comic book universes for my superheroes, so I’m going with Michael (Ted Danson) in “The Good Place.” I know what you’re thinking: “He’s a demon! How can he be a hero?” Well, let’s look at the facts. His power is nearly unlimited. His uniform is a snappy suit with an even snappier bow tie. And, after a couple of reversals, he’s permanently made it his mission to protect human beings. Not only can the demon-in-crisis change anything and everything with the snap of his fingers — from transporting people onto a deadly trolley to erasing their memories more than 800 times — but to get Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and her friends into The Good Place, he was willing to “die” (or, to get technical, be “retired” by the Eternal Shriek). Michael proved his pure intentions, new perspective, and ultimate heroism by sacrificing himself for the good of others. That’s a superhero if I’ve ever seen one. If only he could snap his fingers so Season 3 can start right… now!

Q: What is the best show currently on TV?*

A: “Atlanta” (three votes)

Other contenders: “The Magicians” (two votes), “The Alienist,” “Counterpart,” “iZombie,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Seven Seconds,” and “Superstore” (one vote each)

*In the case of streaming services that release full seasons at once, only include shows that have premiered in the last month.

Emmy Predictions 2018: Outstanding Limited Series

Multiple networks are competing against themselves in a crowded category unlikely to be dominated by the usual suspects.

Last Year’s Winner: “Big Little Lies”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: Over the past five years, HBO and FX have alternated wins in this category. Since HBO’s “Big Little Lies” won in 2017, it’s FX’s “turn” in 2018.
Fun Fact: The “American Horror Story” franchise has been nominated five times in this category, one short of the record held by “Prime Suspect” — except the PBS series had won three times by this point, and “American Horror Story” has never won.

Five networks (at least) have two legitimate contenders in this category, and no limited series has yet to emerge as a sure thing. FX, which consistently makes a strong showing here, will have “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” and “American Horror Story: Cult.” Both projects are produced by Ryan Murphy, and both franchises have stellar track records with the TV Academy (with “American Crime Story” the more dominant of late). But “Versace” has slipped a bit in terms of critical adoration and cultural impact, while “Cult” faced some particularly scathing reviews.

Perhaps two Netflix offerings can take one (or both) of their slots. “Godless” was a low-key hit for the streaming giant, and it’s also got the critics’ pick, “Alias Grace.” The latter could ride a wave of Margaret Atwood adoration, especially after the author’s adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale” did so well in 2017.

But let’s not forget the premium networks: Starz has a couple of notable miniseries in “The Girlfriend Experience” Season 2, the acclaimed anthology series, and Kenneth Lonnergan’s adaptation of “Howard’s End.” Meanwhile, Showtime is hoping the “Twin Peaks” love from last summer can last into this one, and, if not, Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Patrick Melrose” will catch fire in the here and now. And AMC is offering up “McMafia” as its next glossy, globe-trotting miniseries (a la “The Night Manager”), as well as Ridley Scott’s “The Terror.”

Finally, following the success of “Mr. Robot” at the Emmys, USA Network is pushing two limited series for gold: “The Sinner” and “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.” The former was Jessica Biel’s buzzy summer hit, and the latter is a not-so-subtle attempt to capitalize off all the “American Crime Story” love with USA’s own true crime show.

But that’s not all: In the peak TV age, there’s always more contenders, and Hulu has a big one of its own. “The Looming Tower” stars an Emmy winner (Jeff Daniels, repping his second show in the category) and comes from an Oscar winner (Alex Gibney), two-time nominee (Dan Futterman), and a Pulitzer Prize-winner (Lawrence Wright). Toss in a stellar cast, strong reviews, and a significant premise, and Hulu could have another original program competing for the top slot (you know, besides that little Elisabeth Moss show).

Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Limited Series (listed in alphabetical order), which will be updated throughout the season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2018 race, and read predictions for the rest of the categories, as well.

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
  2. “Genius: Picasso”
  3. “Godless”
  4. “Howards End”
  5. “The Looming Tower”
  6. “Twin Peaks”

Spoilers: “Alias Grace,” “American Horror Story: Cult,” “McMafia,” “Patrick Melrose,” “The Sinner,” “The Terror,” “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.”

In a Perfect World: “The Girlfriend Experience”

‘Twin Peaks’ Finale: That Last Scene Gave Us a Major Callback and Clue About the World

As “Twin Peaks: The Return” came to a close, we got some endings — and more questions — for a lot of the characters. However, in the final moments of Part 18, we were introduced to one more new character.

In the final installment, Agent Cooper and Carrie Page (played by Sheryl Lee and apparently having no connection with Laura Palmer) drive to Twin Peaks, Washington, and to the old Palmer home. However, instead of Sarah Palmer answering the door, they encounter somebody named Alice Tremond — who says she bought the house from a family called the Chalfonts.

This might seem like another character addition, but the name means a lot to “Twin Peaks” fans and the callback adds credence to one interpretation of the show’s ending.

Also Read: ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ Review: David Lynch Shows That it Was Never About Answers

The original Mrs. Tremond and her grandson — who you’ll remember from season 2 of the original series as well as from “Fire Walk With Me” — were Black Lodge spirits, or at least had some connection with the otherworldly plane. She was an elderly woman, played by Frances Bay, who at one point is seen sitting in the convenience store with BOB and a number of other characters.

Originally though, she was just a woman living in Twin Peaks with her grandson, who goes unnamed but wears a tuxedo. In the original series, Donna Hayward makes a Meals on Wheels delivery to her (it used to be Laura’s route before her murder).

In a memorable scene that only makes more sense the more you learn about the lore of the Black Lodge, her meal comes with creamed corn, which she didn’t ask for. Her grandson snaps his fingers and it appears in his hands. She’s also the one who tells Donna to visit Harold Smith, which then reveals Laura’s secret diary.

Fire Walk With Me

However, she also lived in the Fat Trout Trailer Park with her grandson, as seen in “Fire Walk With Me,” but here they went by the last name Chalfont — the same name as the family who Alice Tremond says sold the Palmer house to her family in Part 18. After the murder of Teresa Banks, Agent Chet Desmond finds an Owl Cave ring. In the film, she’s also the one that gives Laura the painting of the open door, which plays a role later. She tells her that it’ll “look good on a wall.”

Also Read: ‘Twin Peaks’ Finale: Yes, That Probably Was the End of the ‘Twin Peaks’ Story

We’re not sure what this means yet, since the actress playing Alice Tremond in Part 18 is Mary Reber and as far as we’re show, she doesn’t have a grandson. She doesn’t have the last name Chalfont but tells Cooper that she and her husband bought the home from somebody with that name.

We theorize that it has to do with this alternate reality that Agent Cooper finds himself in. In this world, Laura Palmer isn’t Laura but somebody named Carrie Page. The Tremonds aren’t living in a trailer park but are living in the Palmer home, or at least what was the Palmer home.

Since we haven’t had time to take a deep dive to look for clues about what happened in Part 18 yet, we’re mostly stuck making wild guesses. Perhaps Alice could be married to the grown up grandson of Mrs. Tremond — while she’s talking to Cooper we see her consulting with an unseen person about the history of the house, and it feels meaningful whoever it was wasn’t shown. Cooper’s last line (“What year is it?”) is probably another clue: this whole situation could be happening well before or after the present as we know it.

We’ll keep digging, but for now it’s safe to assume that David Lynch tossing out the names Tremond and Chalfont in the closing moments of “Twin Peaks: The Return” is something more than just an easter egg.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Has ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ Been Worth It?

‘Twin Peaks’: Matthew Lillard Dishes on His ‘Animalistic, Weird, Crazy’ Scene

‘Twin Peaks’: David Lynch Has Made the Perfect TV Episode for the Internet

As “Twin Peaks: The Return” came to a close, we got some endings — and more questions — for a lot of the characters. However, in the final moments of Part 18, we were introduced to one more new character.

In the final installment, Agent Cooper and Carrie Page (played by Sheryl Lee and apparently having no connection with Laura Palmer) drive to Twin Peaks, Washington, and to the old Palmer home. However, instead of Sarah Palmer answering the door, they encounter somebody named Alice Tremond — who says she bought the house from a family called the Chalfonts.

This might seem like another character addition, but the name means a lot to “Twin Peaks” fans and the callback adds credence to one interpretation of the show’s ending.

The original Mrs. Tremond and her grandson — who you’ll remember from season 2 of the original series as well as from “Fire Walk With Me” — were Black Lodge spirits, or at least had some connection with the otherworldly plane. She was an elderly woman, played by Frances Bay, who at one point is seen sitting in the convenience store with BOB and a number of other characters.

Originally though, she was just a woman living in Twin Peaks with her grandson, who goes unnamed but wears a tuxedo. In the original series, Donna Hayward makes a Meals on Wheels delivery to her (it used to be Laura’s route before her murder).

In a memorable scene that only makes more sense the more you learn about the lore of the Black Lodge, her meal comes with creamed corn, which she didn’t ask for. Her grandson snaps his fingers and it appears in his hands. She’s also the one who tells Donna to visit Harold Smith, which then reveals Laura’s secret diary.

Fire Walk With Me

However, she also lived in the Fat Trout Trailer Park with her grandson, as seen in “Fire Walk With Me,” but here they went by the last name Chalfont — the same name as the family who Alice Tremond says sold the Palmer house to her family in Part 18. After the murder of Teresa Banks, Agent Chet Desmond finds an Owl Cave ring. In the film, she’s also the one that gives Laura the painting of the open door, which plays a role later. She tells her that it’ll “look good on a wall.”

We’re not sure what this means yet, since the actress playing Alice Tremond in Part 18 is Mary Reber and as far as we’re show, she doesn’t have a grandson. She doesn’t have the last name Chalfont but tells Cooper that she and her husband bought the home from somebody with that name.

We theorize that it has to do with this alternate reality that Agent Cooper finds himself in. In this world, Laura Palmer isn’t Laura but somebody named Carrie Page. The Tremonds aren’t living in a trailer park but are living in the Palmer home, or at least what was the Palmer home.

Since we haven’t had time to take a deep dive to look for clues about what happened in Part 18 yet, we’re mostly stuck making wild guesses. Perhaps Alice could be married to the grown up grandson of Mrs. Tremond — while she’s talking to Cooper we see her consulting with an unseen person about the history of the house, and it feels meaningful whoever it was wasn’t shown. Cooper’s last line (“What year is it?”) is probably another clue: this whole situation could be happening well before or after the present as we know it.

We’ll keep digging, but for now it’s safe to assume that David Lynch tossing out the names Tremond and Chalfont in the closing moments of “Twin Peaks: The Return” is something more than just an easter egg.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Has 'Twin Peaks: The Return' Been Worth It?

'Twin Peaks': Matthew Lillard Dishes on His 'Animalistic, Weird, Crazy' Scene

'Twin Peaks': David Lynch Has Made the Perfect TV Episode for the Internet