May 05, 2014 12:00 PM

The Season of Bombshells

In an age of great storytelling, dramas and even comedies are taking huge risks to keep us rattled—and buzzing. (And, yes, there are spoilers)

THE NUCLEAR BOMBSHELL

The Good Wife

The CBS legal drama did an end-run around the media and delivered a colossal jolt. Will Gardner (Josh Charles) was murdered midseason—just like that, crisply and swiftly as you’d snap a pea. That got everyone’s attention.

THE DELICATE BOMBSHELL

How I Met Your Mother

Having revealed the identity of the mom, the CBS sitcom quietly killed her off in the finale in a matter of seconds. Mayflies get longer death scenes.

THE ANTI-BOMBSHELL

True Detective

The HBO drama, a murder mystery with Heart of Darkness ambitions, ended with a puny reveal that would have flunked out of Law & Order.

THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE BOMBSHELLS

Game of Thrones

Although George R.R. Martin’s books have already rolled out the plot in print, the HBO fantasy series pulls off one surprise after another. The latest was the death by poison of tiny, insufferable tyrant King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson)—a gift, really, to both Westeros and to viewers.

THE ENDLESS BOMBSHELL

Scandal

The ABC melodrama will do anything for a shock—the season finale offed an innocent kid—and, more importantly, will do it any given week. Gladly.

Play Ball!

As baseball season gets into full swing, veteran announcer Vin Scully says he has no plans to quit his ‘love affair with the game’

If baseball is the national pastime, then broadcaster Vin Scully is its living national treasure. In 1950, the year he started calling games for the Dodgers, the team still played in Brooklyn, with Jackie Robinson at second base. He called Sandy Koufax’s perfect game: “That ‘K’ stands out even more than the O-U-F-A-X,” he cheered in 1965; Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th homer (1974); and the game that clinched the L.A. Dodgers’ division title just last year. With this season’s Dodgers opener, Scully, 86, started his 65th year announcing the team’s ballgames on television and radio. Bored? Never. “There’s still this feeling of anticipation,” says an energetic Scully, inside the booth overlooking the stadium he calls his second home. “I can’t wait for each game to start.” Fans are eager too. “Vin just reading a commercial sounds different than everybody else,” says NBC’s Bob Costas. “He’s like Sinatra.”

Sports-obsessed from childhood, this New York City-born son of a fabric salesman and a homemaker recalls the family’s “huge radio that stood on four legs. I would crawl under there with a pillow, the loudspeaker just inches from my head. The roar of the crowd would cover my body with goose bumps.” He played baseball in college but knew he would be better watching the field than on it: “My claim to fame was playing against George Bush Sr.,” then captain of the Yale team.

Scully credits God for his long career in baseball – and baseball with getting him through the early deaths of first wife Joan and, later, son Michael at age 33 in a helicopter crash. That announcer’s booth “was a marvelous place to heal.” Married to wife Sandra since 1973, he’s now a grandfather to 16. As for retirement, Scully has a simple test: “When I can say, ‘Here come the goose bumps,’ I know I still belong.”

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED

Hallmark, Sundays, 8 p.m. ET/PT |

DRAMA

Eric Mabius, always so dashing in business attire on Ugly Betty, now heads a fustier office, a postal dead-letters department. He and his staff connect writer and intended recipient—a boy, for instance, who has lost contact with his grandmother after his family joined witness protection. Created by Martha Williamson, who executive-produced Touched by an Angel, the show is vaguely mystical, implausible and sappy, but if you’re in the right mood it’s very moving. After all, trees are sappy too, and who would say anything against trees?

PLAYING HOUSE

USA, April 29, 10 p.m. ET/PT

COMEDY

Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair are friends reunited under miserable circumstances: Parham, pregnant, breaks up with her rotten husband, and St. Clair shipwrecks her business career. I’m fine with any comedy that has a woman arriving at a baby shower and shrieking with pleasure, “Is this a hedgehog cupcake? I’m going to punch you in the face right now!” The show is light with sharp baby kicks of meanness.

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