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TV Preview: Returning Faves

Mandy C. and Emily check in with some of the best (and bestworst) returning shows.

TV Preview: Returning Faves

Sure, starting to watch a new show can be exciting, but there’s something fulfilling about sticking with a show through multiple seasons—even the terrible ones. (You know every show that gets past two seasons has one.)

Today we’re talking TV that’s been around for at least one season. Some shows we love, some we’ve grown tired of. Regardless, they’re still kicking, for better or worse.

Do be aware: SPOILERS AHEAD.
(And, in case you missed it: Get the deets on some of this season’s new shows in TV Preview: New Friends.)

Name: New Girl

About: Taking a modern look at friendship and romance, New Girl begins its fourth season, continuing to follow a group of six friends, their somewhat interconnected romantic exploits and their often hilariously misguided attempts to find their respective places in the world.

Watch It: Tuesday, Sept. 16 on Fox

Currently Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Damon Wayans, Jr. and Hannah Simone

Upcoming Guest Stars: Jessica Biel, Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Alan Ritchson (Smallville), Julian Morris (Once Upon a Time) and Erin Hayes (Children’s Hospital)


Emily—Bang. New Girl got demoted from Marry to Bang this past season. I kept trying to stand by it, but the break-up was just rough, the characters became over the top, and even Schmidt started to be too much for me to handle. (That was a sad day.) To be honest, it really bums me out.

Mandy—Bang. I used to adore this show, particularly when it was more about the guys. I really thought Jess and Nick’s relationship wouldn’t mess with the show’s dynamics, but it really, and sadly, did. I hope this next season brings back the silly heart that I loved about it previously.

Name: The Mindy Project

About: The Mindy Project is a comedy created by and starring Emmy Award-nominated writer/producer and New York Times best-selling author (and FYA fave) Mindy Kaling. Heading into its third season, the series follows a skilled OB/GYN trying (and failing!) to navigate her romantic life with dignity and grace.

Watch It: Tuesday, Sept. 16 on Fox

Currently Stars: Mindy Kaling, Ed Weeks, Chris Messina, Ike Barinholtz and Adam Pally

Upcoming Guest Stars: Niecy Nash (Reno 911), Rhea Perlman, Tim Daly (Private Practice), Max Greenfield (New Girl) and Maria Menounos


Emily—Marry. I LOVE THIS SHOW!! It's my favorite comedy on air right now, and it just kept getting better and better this season. It took a little bit the first season for the ensemble to find their groove (and really be utilized), but since they have, I can't get enough. This past season was basically the perfect romantic comedy spread out over 22 episodes. Bonus factor: Chris Messina is adorable!

Mandy—Bang. I still haven’t really watched this show, and don’t find the bits I’ve seen all that funny, but I think Mindy Kaling is fantastic, so I’m wishing her all the best.

Name: The Blacklist

About: For decades, ex-government agent Raymond "Red" Reddington has been one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as "The Concierge of Crime." Now, he's mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch terrorists under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth "Liz" Keen, an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico.

Watch It: Monday, Sept. 22 on NBC

Currently Stars: James Spader, Megan Boone, Ryan Eggold and Harry Lennix

Upcoming Guest Stars: Krysten Ritter (Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23) and Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds)


Emily—Kill. I know audiences are super into this show, but I just don't get it. The first few episodes had me hooked, but then I found myself not able to follow the bigger arcs and not caring about the weekly ones. Started to feel like homework to watch.

Mandy—Bang. It took me a while to get into this show, and my feelings wavered over the course of the first season, but overall I thought it was pretty good. I think Red’s character is appealing, in a “you’re an awful person, but you’ve got a plan, and I want to know what it is” kind of way. Elizabeth is horribly boring, but I can’t help but ship Donald and her, so I have to see where that goes.

Name: Sleepy Hollow

About: Sleepy Hollow returns this fall with all-new mysteries and adventures, as the series' leads Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills fend off the forces of evil to save not only their town, but the world. As season two opens, Ichabod finds himself buried alive in a coffin; Abbie is trapped in purgatory; Ichabod's wife, Katrina, has been kidnapped by the Headless Horseman; Capt. Frank Irving is behind bars for a murder he did not commit; and Abbie's sister, Jenny, is among the wreckage of a horrific car crash.

Watch It: Monday, Sept. 22 on Fox

Currently Stars: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones, Katia Winter and Lyndie Greenwood

Upcoming Guest Stars: Aunjanue Ellis (The Mentalist)


Emily—Bang. I'm into this show. It just seems like a really long time since the season finale, and I'm not sure if I remember exactly what happened … or how they got there. But I found the mythology super interesting, and the week-to-week "big bad" just scary enough to make me cover my eyes, but not enough to give me nightmares. Plus, I really love Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison, some of the best on screen chemistry I've seen in awhile.

Mandy—Marry. I fell, hard, for this show last season. The ridiculousness goes to eleven nearly every episode, and so many things are mixed together that I don’t blame people for thinking it just doesn’t work. But it does! So well. I also love the cast and the chemistry they all have with each other.

Name: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

About: In the show’s first season, Agent Phil Coulson put together a small team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to investigate strange cases. In the second season, Coulson and his team look to restore trust from the government and public following S.H.I.E.L.D.'s collapse.

Watch It: Tuesday, Sept. 23 on ABC

Currently Stars: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Ian De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge

Upcoming Guest Stars: Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights), Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) and Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess)


Emily—Bang. I gave up midway through last season (Sorry, Mandy!), but I heard it got better. Maybe even good? It's a Whedon-stamped show, so I want to give it every chance I can. Now, the question is, do I have it in me to go back and watch last season, or do I just start recording the new one and hope I can catch up?

Mandy—Bang. Guys. I almost gave up on this show. (I know!) But then I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and decided to give it one more try. And it got so much better. I still heart Agent Coulson so much (even when he gets emotional and makes me a little uncomfortable), and the duo of Fitz and Simmons make me smile. The rest of the cast I could do without, but I guess I’m OK with them sticking around.

Name: Nashville

About: Set against the backdrop of the Nashville music scene, Nashville revolves around country music superstar Rayna Jaymes, whose star has begun to fade, and her forced team-up with rising star Juliette Barnes. The show’s third season will feature more live performances and a big reveal in Juliette's pregnancy mystery.

Watch It: Thursday, Sept. 25 on ABC

Currently Stars: Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, Clare Bowen, Eric Close, Charles Esten, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack, Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella

Upcoming Guest Stars: Derek Hough (Dancing with the Stars), Brette Taylor (Gotham), Alexa Vega (The Tomorrow People) and Laura Benanti (Nurse Jackie)


Emily—Bang. I get this is not a "great" show, but I still like it. Super soapy and cheesy, but the music is great, and I have just enough characters I still like to keep me coming back. That being said, it could all fall apart really easily this season, and I'm not sure I would cry if I had to let it go.

Mandy—Kill. Another show I never watched, I don’t think I ever will. When Posh—who I know can take a lot of ridic—throws in the towel, I don’t feel the need to ever give this one a go.

Name: Parenthood

About: The sixth and final season of Parenthood will continue to revolve around the lives and relationships of the members of three generations of the Braverman family.

Watch It: Thursday, Sept. 25 on NBC

Currently Stars: Bonnie Bedelia, Joy Bryant, Tyree Brown, Max Burkholder, Erika Christensen, Lauren Graham, Miles Heizer, Sam Jaeger, Peter Krause, Xolo Mariduena, Craig T. Nelson, Monica Potter, Savannah Paige Rae, Dax Shepard and Mae Whitman

Upcoming Guest Stars: Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad) and Jason Ritter (Parenthood)


Emily—Marry. I'm so sad this is the last season, I'm going to cry even more each episode knowing it's leading up to my final moments with the Bravermans. But I'm glad they're ending it while the quality is still high. This show has a permanent place in my heart and I will always have a place at my DVR dinner table for reruns.

Mandy—Bang. I haven’t seen more than a few minutes of this show, but I’ve been meaning to catch up for ages. I think the fact that the show’s coming to an end, although I’m bummed for people who love it, makes it easier for me to believe that I can start it. Knowing there’s an end makes it easier, in a way.

Name: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

About: Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an ensemble comedy about a talented-but-carefree detective, a by-the-book police captain and their precinct colleagues. Although the show is based in the precinct, it’s not really about the job—it's about the men and women behind the badge.

Watch It: Sunday, Sept. 28 on Fox

Currently Stars: Andy Samberg, Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Jo Lo Truglio, Chelsea Peretti, Andre Braugher, Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon

Upcoming Guest Stars: Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)


Emily—Bang. Sometimes you just need a good laugh, and I got one every week with this show. The ensemble is fun, and the storylines are clever. It fills The Office void, and though it will never be able to replace Parks & Rec, helps buffer the fact that I'll soon be without it, too.

Mandy—Marry. I am not typically a fan of sitcoms, but there’s something about this show that makes me excited to watch every week. The characters are fantastic, the cast has great chemistry, and the episodes are often just heartfelt enough to keep the show on the good side of the slapstick for slapstick’s sake divide. Plus, I do love when Terry Crews talks about himself in the third person.

Name: Once Upon a Time

About: Emma Swan, Snow White, Prince Charming, The Evil Queen, Hook and all the other resident fairytale characters prepare to defend themselves against a magical force from the past that’s too unpredictable even for Rumplestiltskin: Elsa, the Ice Queen from Arendelle. And now that Emma has brought back Robin Hood’s wife, Marian, and possibly sparked the end of Regina’s relationship with him, will Regina return to her old, evil ways and do everything in her power to get even? And newlyweds Belle and Rumplestiltskin continue to be deeply in love with each other. But Rumple is hiding a secret from Belle—one that, if found out, could destroy their happiness—he continues to be the master of the dagger that calls upon him to be the Dark One.

Watch It: Sunday, Sept. 28 on ABC

Currently Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore, Robert Carlyle, Emilie de Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue, Meghan Ory, Raphael Sbarge, Lee Arenberg and Beverly Elliott

Upcoming Guest Stars: Tyler Jacob Moore (Shameless), John Rhys-Davies, Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), Georgina Haig (Fringe), Elizabeth Lail, Scott Michael Foster (Greek)


Emily—Bang. They totally got me with the Frozen addition. I stopped watching OUAT a few episodes into the first season, but I totally want to see what they do with Elsa and Ana. So, yes, Disney, you won. You are brilliant, and I hate and love you for it.

Mandy—Bang. I go back and forth with OUAT. Sometimes I love it, sometimes it annoys the ever living crap out of me. *cough*Henry*cough* Even though I think he deserves way better, I enjoy the chemistry between Hook and Emma, and I felt SO BAD for Regina at the end of last season. I’m also looking forward to the introduction of the Frozen kids.

Name: Revenge

About: By all appearances, Emily Thorne is a friendly and sophisticated "girl next door." But the exclusive world she has immersed herself in is tied to a dark family history, and Emily has quickly proven that she is anything but what she seems. She’s vowed to avenge her wronged father, but she also has to face the consequences of her actions and the havoc she has wreaked on those around her.

Watch It: Sunday, Sept. 28 on ABC

Currently Stars: Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Josh Bowman, Nick Wechsler, Henry Czerny, Gabriel Mann, Christa B. Allen and Barry Sloane

Upcoming Guest Stars: Nestor Serrano (Graceland), Victoria Grayson (The Simpsons), Elena Satine (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Brian Hallisay (Privileged)


Emily—Bang. Last season was not good, I know that, but I just can't seem to quit watching. This show was so great at the beginning, and I keep hoping that it will go back to its roots. Bring back the red sharpie!

Mandy—Kill. I’m sure, if I were to give this show a change, I’d probably get sucked into it almost immediately. But then again, I’d likely get bored of it just as quickly. (I’m fickle like that.)

Name: Castle

About: Famous crime novelist Richard Castle will continue his shadowing of (and meddling with) Detective Kate Beckett and the cases of the NYPD’s 12 Precinct in the show’s seventh season … we assume. After that car crash, and Castle missing his wedding, everything’s up in the air.

Watch It: Monday, Sept. 29 on ABC

Currently Stars: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Seamus Dever, Jon Huertas, Molly C. Quinn, Susan Sullivan, Tamala Jones and Penny Johnson Jerald

Upcoming Guest Stars: Matt Letscher (Scandal) and Gina Ravera (The Closer)


Emily—Bang. I actually don't watch Castle, so I feel bad saying to kill it when I know other people love it. It looks like a fun show, and I love Nathan Fillion, but I just can't get on the procedural bandwagon. But I could see myself watching random reruns in the background.

Mandy—Marry. I love this show. The cast, the chemistry, the (often way too obvious) storylines. Even when this show gets not so great, I still enjoy watching Nathan Fillion and the rest of the gang solve crimes. Plus, that season finale was killer! But I hope not literally ...

Name: Reign

About: Over the course of the stormy first season, Mary, Queen of Scots, struggled to balance her many roles—as Queen of Scotland, as royal fiancée, and later as young wife to the future King of France, and as faithful friend to her ladies in waiting. By the end of the season, the shocking death of King Henry made Francis and Mary the new King and Queen of France. But before their new crowns could be placed on their heads, Francis had placed himself on the wrong side of the quarantined castle’s gates, rushing to help Lola give birth to his first and possibly only child.

Watch It: Thursday, Oct. 2 on The CW

Currently Stars: Adelaide Kane, Toby Regbo, Torrance Coombs, Megan Follows, Celina Sinden, Caitlin Stasey, Anna Popplewell, Jonathan Keltz and Sean Teal

Upcoming Guest Stars: Craig Parker (Spartacus: War of the Damned)


Emily—Bang. Oh, yes. There is so much wrong with this show, but once you let that go (especially the accents) there is so much badness to love. The male leads aren't your typical definition of sexy, yet, at the same time, this show has some HOT moments. Maybe it's the simple fact I can completely turn my brain off while watching, but it's one of the few I actually look forward to week to week.

Mandy—Bang. I really didn’t want to, but I couldn’t resist watching this show every week. It’s a total guilty pleasure. And I actually really love the juxtapositions of “history” and modern. So what if they threw accuracy out of the window? The girls’ gowns are stunning.

Name: The Vampire Diaries

About: Months after the devastating tragedy at the end of season five, everyone is dealing with the loss of their loved ones in different ways, some more destructively than others. What happened to Bonnie and Damon, and if they can even be saved, remains a mystery. Mystic Falls continues to be a magic-free zone, protected by a mysterious new community watch program. If there’s any hope of salvaging their former lives, our heroes must find a way to push through their grief and band together.

Watch It: Thursday, Oct. 2 on The CW

Currently Stars: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Steven R. McQueen, Kat Graham, Candice Accola, Zach Roerig, Michael Trevino, Matt Davis and Michael Malarkey

Upcoming Guest Stars: Marco James (The Client List), Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Jodi Lyn O'Keefe (She’s All That), Chris Wood (The Carrie Diaries), Jayson Warner Smith (Rectify) and Emily C. Chang (Days of Our Lives)


Emily—Kill. Sorry, world. Midway through last season I just had to quit. You can't make up mythology as you go! Did we not learn anything from Lost? And love triangles, even though we are obsessed with them, can only take us so far. For characters I had loved so much and for so long, it's really hard to just not care anymore, but when that happens, you have to let it go.

Mandy—Kill. I said adios to TVD several seasons ago, and I have no interest in watching them rehash the same plot lines over and over again. Plus, I think I’d be totally lost with all the doppleganger business were I to try to catch up.

Name: The Originals

About: Season two finds our heroes adjusting to a new status quo, with the very newly empowered werewolves controlling the city. Klaus struggles to adjust to new weaknesses, and Elijah is desperate to save Hayley, now a hybrid, from a vicious spiral of self-destruction.

Watch It: Monday, Oct. 6 on The CW

Currently Stars: Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Phoebe Tonkin, Charles Michael Davis, Leah Pipes and Danielle Campbell

Upcoming Guest Stars: Colin Woodell (Devious Maids) and Nathaniel Buzolic (The Originals)


Emily—Kill. TVD started losing me when The Originals became so much the center of it, and so following them to their own show never interested me. I gave it a shot the first half of the season, but again just couldn't make myself care. I hate to think I'm over vampires … but I might be.

Mandy—Kill. I didn’t watch this show last season, mostly because I was so behind on TVD. Nothing against it, but I’m just not interested.

Name: Supernatural

About: The end of Supernatural’s ninth season saw Metatron fatally stab Dean with a knife … only Dean didn’t stay dead; instead, he came back to life as a demon. Sam will soon find out that his heartfelt farewell was only temporary, and will spend the start of the 10th season by frantically searching for his missing, black-eyed brother, who is reportedly “gone without a trace.”

Watch It: Tuesday, Oct. 7 on the CW

Currently Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins and Mark A. Sheppard

Upcoming Guest Stars: Kim Rhodes (Supernatural) and Brianna Buckmaster (Supernatural)


Emily—Bang. I don't watch this on a week to week basis, but it's a fun show. Not sure how long The CW can keep it going, but as long as the audience keeps showing up, good for them! Plus, with those male leads, how could it be anything other than bang?

Mandy—Marry. This show, you guys. We’ve been through a lot together. Certain seasons weren’t so great—I’m looking at you, first half of season 8—but during last season, the show really picked up again. I can’t wait to see what horrible thing(s) will befall the Winchester brothers, and Castiel and Crowley, again this season. Also, I’ve heard rumors about a musical episode. I can’t wait!

Name: Arrow

About: In the aftermath of victory, season three opens with the Arrow now a hero to the citizens of Starling City. Crime is down, people feel safer, and Captain Lance even calls off the Anti-Vigilante Task Force. Basking in his success, Oliver believes he can finally have a private life and asks Felicity out on a date.* But the second Oliver takes his eye off the ball, a deadly villain reappears in Starling, forcing Oliver to realize that he can never be Oliver Queen—not as long as the city needs the Arrow.

Watch It: Wednesday, Oct. 8 on The CW

Currently Stars: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Colton Haynes, John Barrowman, Katie Cassidy and Paul Blackthorne

Upcoming Guest Stars: Austin Butler (The Carrie Diaries), Matt Nable (Riddick), Nolan Funk (Awkward), Rila Fukushima (The Wolverine), Matt Ward (Hellcats), David Cubitt (Medium), Charlotte Ross (NYPD Blue), J.R. Ramirez (Emily Owens M.D.), Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Peter Stormare (Prison Break), Devon Aoki (Sin City) and Karl Yune


Emily—Marry. The first season started to lose me towards the end, but for some reason I started watching Season 2 and was immediately hooked! I love the Oliver, Felicity, Diggle trio. When a show can make me gasp, laugh, swoon, and cringe, I'm in! This does all the above and balances so well the superhero aspect, with complicated family relationships, and even more so the romantic ones. I'm such a fan.

Mandy—Marry. I’m still not over the dick move Oliver pulled with Felicity at the end of the second season, so *he better be playing nice and sincere in the third or we’re going to have words. I’m super invested in this show on the whole, and the end of last season was an absolute whirlwind. I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Name: About A Boy

About: After writing a hit song, Will Freeman was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. He's single, unemployed and loving it. So imagine his surprise when Fiona, a needy single mom and her oddly charming 11-year-old son, Marcus, move in next door and disrupt his perfect world. When Marcus begins dropping by his home unannounced, Will's not so sure about being a kid's new best friend, until, of course, Will discovers that women find single dads irresistible. But before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy the visits and even finds himself looking out for the kid.

Watch It: Tuesday, Oct. 14 on NBC

Currently Stars: David Walton, Minnie Driver, Benjamin Stockham and Al Madrigal

Upcoming Guest Stars: Jacob Hopkins (The Amazing World of Gumball)


Emily—Marry. The relationship between Will and Marcus (and even Fiona) is one of my favorites. It's complicated and sweet and really funny. There's heart to this show that seems to be lacking in other comedies right now (maybe it's the Jason Katims' touch), and I want to live in this world.

Mandy—Kill. I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy this show the few episodes I watched last season. Perhaps, had I continued watching, I would have grown to like it, but there’s too much else on to bother with things that I’m merely meh about.

Name: The 100

About: Season one of The 100 saw the human race return, after a 97-year exile in space, to a wildly transformed Earth … only to discover that the human race had never truly left. The second season picks up with the group still scattered and desperate to be reunited. As members of the 100 and new arrivals from the Ark stake out their place in a dangerous and beautiful new world, they are confronted with the physical peril and moral dilemmas that come with reforging society.

Watch It: Wednesday, Oct. 22 on The CW

Currently Stars: Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco, Thomas McDonell, Bob Morley, Marie Avgeropoulos, Devon Bostick, Lindsey Morgan, Ricky Whittle, Christopher Larkin, Isaiah Washington and Henry Ian Cusick

Upcoming Guest Stars: Raymond J. Barry (Justified)


Emily—Bang. I stopped watching midway through last season, but I've been told it got better. Much better. I was excited about the initial concept, and didn't completely hate what I was watching, it just didn't make the priority list. So, I'm going to try again.

Mandy—Marry. I was fully prepared to hatewatch this show for all of the first season, but somewhere in the middle I realized I was actually loving it. (I think it had something to do with Lincoln …) I can’t wait to find out what’s happened to the 100 since we left them—and where they’re going next!

Name: Elementary

About: Elementary’s second season came to a close with Sherlock Holmes throwing his lot in in with MI6, Joan Watson moving out on her own and Mycroft Holmes vanishing in order to escape the potential wrath of the French terrorist group Le Mileu. The third season finds Sherlock in London and Joan in New York … and how they’re going to come back together remains to be seen.

Watch It: Thursday, Oct. 30 on CBS

Currently Stars: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn and Jon Michael Hall

Upcoming Guest Stars: Mamie Gummer (The Good Wife), Rich Sommer (Mad Men), Ophelia Lovibond (Mr. Sloane) and Raza Jaffrey (Smash)


Emily—Bang. This is not a must-watch week-to-week for me, but whenever I find myself cleaning off my DVR and put a few episodes on, I remember how much I like it. I can't seem to get invested in procedurals, but I really enjoy watching Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu's chemistry. This is a really solid show.

Mandy—Bang. I enjoy this show quite a bit. I don’t find myself watching it religiously every week, but it’s great to catch up with every few weeks. And after that season finale, there are a lot of changes in store for the crew, but I’m sure they’ll work themselves out in a good way.

So, what say you? Are you looking forward to these shows coming back on? Did we miss any of your favorites?

We’ll be back later in the season with our thoughts on some of the planned midseason shows!

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.