By the time you read this blog, I may have broken up with one of my TV boyfriends, The Following’s Joe Carroll. I admit that a large part of the reason I fell in love with him in the first place is because he is portrayed by the very talented and handsome James Purefoy, with whom I took a liking to all the way back in his Resident Evil days. Upon hearing that he would be playing a charismatic leader of a serial killer cult on FOX’s The Following, I couldn’t wait to see how much fun would be had watching him take on Kevin Bacon in a brutal, intellectual chess match with Edgar Allan Poe and the world as the chess board.
Unfortunately, the dance hasn’t been all that. In fact, Purefoy’s character Joe Carroll, has not only been a pretty benign serial killer he hasn’t been that sadistic leader of crazy you’d expect to inspire a following. He’s been kind of a loser in being completely absorbed in winning over his ex-wife so that they and their son can be a family again while making prank calls to the FBI when he’s not working on his book. Purefoy’s been doing the best he can with a limp character, but so far the season has been less than spectacular. The Following’s ‘Powers That Be’ have one more episode to win me over — Monday night’s season finale — to elevate Joe Carroll from a poseur to the real deal so that I’ll keep him on my DVR. He’s already got a high bar to clear: Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter on NBC’s Hannibal is nailing it as a charismatic following-inspiring serial killer. Do you want to see The Following done right with the FBI not getting completely pawned every episode? Check out Hannibal.
Another TV boyfriend finding himself on my disappointing list is Ragnar Lothbrok of Vikings, but I am more than eager to catch up with him in season two of the History Channel’s hit show come 2014. Less due to questionable writing and more from following actual historical accounts, Ragnar went from rootable savvy, ruthless, forward thinking explorer (despite leading raids that pillaged and murdered and raped) to a dirty double crossing dog in Sunday night’s finale. He turned away from his awesome wife, Lagertha, to run to the bed of a lady, Aslaug, in order to secure what every virile Viking wants — more sons! All in all this show was a treat to watch: hairy, strapping men get their Anglo-Saxon on, the Nordic religion clashes with Christianity, and Travis Fimmel finally shakse the stench of the WB’s Tarzan and comes into his own as a captivating leading man. Even if his Ragnar is a smug jerk.
Disappointing, but holding out hope for a season three turnaround, is my Dallas TV boyfriend, John Ross Ewing, III, as played by Josh Henderson. He suffered blows — losing his father, JR — as well as enjoyed highs-finding love with his equal in every scheming- daddy issue way, Pamela Rebecca Barnes. John Ross was no stranger to scheming and double crossing like his daddy, but he also seemed to have a heart searching for love, like his mother Sue Ellen. His reluctant, anguish dance with Pamela Rebecca became a huge draw for the season until the couple became an outright super couple in their own right with tributes to their ship popping up online all over the place. Over the final episodes, somehow these two became a solid pillar of the show and something to look forward to watching. That is until in the final seconds of the season two finale where John Ross was revealed to be every bit a cad as his daddy. He did not rendezvous with his new bride, Pamela Rebecca, but with the skanky, psycho daughter of his step-aunt-in-law. If you heard a collective wail of anger on April 15th at 11:01 PM EST, it was the sound of the John Ross-Rebecca fandom breaking their television sets. But the fandom is already holding out hope that those final seconds were less about John Ross being a player like his father and more of John Ross still scheming and scamming with his wife’s blessing and the audience just isn’t in on the game plan yet. Yeah, us shippers are well acquainted with denial.
The two TV boyfriends who not only didn’t disappoint but more than came out right in the end were Sterling Archer of FX’s Archer and Raylan Givens of FX’s Justified. Sterling Archer is not known for his selflessness, but in the April 11th finale that paid homage to creator Adam Reed’s Sealab 2021, selfless was Archer’s middle name. He actually took a break from being a word that cannot be published in this blog and actually put his body and soul on the line to save his fellow spy love, Lana Kane. If you haven’t checked out this zany animated spy spoof, do so (via Netflix!) because you will laugh, feel guilty for laughing, laugh again, and love it in the end.
Meanwhile, Raylan Givens takes the prize as best TV boyfriend of April for continuing to kick butt and take names while looking good — even with a shaggy haircut — and despite beginning season 4 as a hot mess. The man was messing up in all kinds of ways: hooking up with the wrong women, illegally moonlighting and getting into off-duty trouble, never leaving well enough alone when it comes to his crazy nemesis, and screwing over his colleagues and boss. He stumbled quite a bit, but came up right come season end by taking care of his baby and baby mama and dispatching his current seedy nemesis without ever firing his weapon — a rarity for Raylan and his shoot-after-your-one-and-only-warning ways.