Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Fall cable shows have been trinkling back all month but tonight is the start of fall television for me with the first network premiere Blindspot (okay, Dancing with… um Vanilla Ice and Rick Perry did start Monday, God help us all) after the season finale of America’s Got Talent even though next week it will be airing at an earlier time. I do wonder if these special times before regular timeslots work. But alas.
People have been talking about Peak TV for a while now, it was not until I saw there were 350 new and returning show having a premiere this fall, more than half (150) starting up in September alone. My goodness. Right now I plan on watching 28 of them which seems like a lot, 23 hours a week seems slightly more manageable but that is still over three hours per day even though some seasons will end before others begin. And I may still give try to some new show; I really have not been grabbed in by the trailers from Good Behavior, Notorious, People of Earth, This Is Us, and Search Party but may give an episode or two a try. And these numbers do not even include The Voice which I have demoted watching performances on YouTube to avoid Miley Cyrus. Maybe if I am lucky, some of these shows get canceled. But anyway. As I do every year, is my list of the most anticipated questions of the new season:
1. Who will be playing the Life Model Decoy? We got a tease at the end of the third season of Agents of SHIELD going ahead six months. We learn Daisy has gone rouge and Coulsen is no longer in charge. The more interesting tease came after the commercial break when we see the Irish doctor that the team saved earlier in the episode working on something called a “L. M. D.” which I think is safe to assume stand for Life Model Decoy, a life like android. But who did he model it on? It looked kind of feminine so is this how they bring back Mockingbird after her show did not get picked up? Not that could not end up being a dude. Electro-boy is the first person I thought of. If it ends up being Ward, I just may stop watching.
2. Where does Blindspot go in the second season? Last year I said I was going to enjoy the first season but was weary of it going on for multiple season. They almost reset the show with Jane avoiding the memory erasing serum, instead the season ended with Jane being arrested for Mayfair’s murder. So is the show going to be even more like The Blacklist with Jane as a federal prisoner helping the FBI or are we going to get something new?
3. Will Powerless get demoted to The CW next year? One of the more shocking news out of Upfronts this year was Supergirl moving from CBS to The CW giving DC Comics four straight nights on the network. Powerless was the lone network superhero show picked up this year (fear not funny book fans, there are countless new DC and Marvel properties coming to cable and streaming sites over the next year) and another DC property. If it fails on NBC, will The CW be willing to go five for five?
4. Will TNT and/or USA be the next prestige cable network? For years viewers flocked to USA for “blue skies” shows and TNT for CBS type procedurals why channels like FX and AMC racked up the awards with usually fractions of the audience (The walking Dead notwithstanding). But viewers are shrinking across the board (The Walking Dead notwithstanding). USA was first to breakout of the mold last year with Mr. Robot. Since then both channels have gone bold with little success this past summer be it Queen of the South or Animal Kingdom. Both have ambitious shows coming this fall; TNT has Good Behavior, a rare female lead anti-hero show at a time when male anti-hero shows are waning (see the previously mentioned Animal Kingdom). The USA has a weird looking show Falling Water that is about people entering other people’s dream. Mr. Robot was able to hit during a downtown in television, can these two show hit when there are so many other new shows to try?
5. Will The Good Place live up to its name? The show had me at “starring Veronica Mars and Sam Malone.” And though I laughed multiple times at the trailer, I fear for the show. Will it be too high brow comedy to those that watched NBC back when it was Must See TV around the last time Ted Danson was on the Peacock Network? Will it get crushed by the CBS comedies (and that is after NFL for the first couple weeks)? And just where does a show about a bad person in heaven go? Will Ronnie be sent to the Bad Place for the second season? If there is one?
As the great philosopher Butt-Head once pondered, how would we know if something was cool if there weren't things that sucked; here are the five least antedated questions
1. Will Premier Trump ban NBC from airing the Arnold version of The Apprentice? I fear for this country.
2. How many episodes of Miley Cyrus before I (and the rest of America) give up on The Voice? Seriously, I fear for this country.
3. Will people watch music on MTV again? It seems like every five years MTV tries to remember what the M in their name stands for and this fall they are going to give it a try once again with an Unplugged reboot which was last dusted off with an embarrassing Miley Cyrus special two years ago, but its been five years since it was an actual series. Then there is Wonderland which is being described as “first weekly live music performance series in nearly twenty years” (Um, wasn’t there a short live Pete Wentz live show that aired on Fridays a couple years ago?) which will feature three live performances and stand up acts. If these show are populated by the acts that were featured during the most recent VMA’s, or really any VMA’s in the past decade, hard pass on both shows. But to answer the question: no, people only watch music on YouTube these days.
4. Will Quantico continue to suck? I believe this was the worst show ever that I made it through a full season of. I was shocked that ABC renewed it. Now the question is will I bother to continue to watch?
5. Will The CW ruin Supergirl? No Cat Grant, a musical crossover with The Flash, not to mention a week long crossover with all the other DC show. I think we already know the answer to this.
And here is my way to big list of show I plan on watching this fall (Seriously, what happed to Tuesdays? Can we move some Monday or Sunday shows there?).
8:00 – Gotham (September 19)
8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (September 19)
8:00 – Supergirl (October 10)
9:00 – Lucifer (September 19)
9:00 – 2 Broke Girls (October 10)
9:30 – The Odd Couple (October 17)
10:00 – Timeless (October 3)
10:00 – Conviction (October 3)
8:00 – The Middle (October 11)
10:00 – Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (September 20)
8:00 – Blindspot (September 14 at 10:00; timeslot premiere September 21)
8:00 – Survivor (September 21)
8:00 – The Goldbergs (September 21)
9:00 – Modern Family (September 21)
9:30 – Black-ish (September 21)
8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (October 27)
8:00 – Superstore (September 22)
8:30 – The Good Place (two episode after the Voice September 19; timeslot premiere September 22)
10:00 – The Blacklist (September 22)
8:00 – Last Man Standing (September 23)
8:00 - Once Upon a Time (September 25)
8:00 – The Librarians (November 20)
9:00 – Fear the Walking Dead (already started)
9:00 – Shameless (October 2)
9:00 – The Walking Dead (October 23)
10:00 – The Strain (already Started)
10:00 – Masters of Sex (September 11)
10:00 – Quantico (September 25)
10:00 – The Affair (November 20)
Thursday, May 19, 2016
What a horrible week for female comic book leads, Agent Carter gets canceled, then ABC passes on the Mockingbird spinoff, and Supergirl gets demoted to The CW (and has to pick up shop and move to Vancouver from sunny LA). Last season was big for comic books, this season not so much only two will pop up and one is based on the Archie's comic and the one that will feature superheroes is a comedy that has an insurance salesman as a lead.
The other big trend from last year, movie adaptations, continued to this year despite everyone from last year failing miserable. One of the lone success stories of last year was The X-Files reboot and Fox has two more reboots, Prison Break and 24, while CBS is resurrecting MacGyver (Showtime’s reboot of Twin Peak may see the light of day next season too).
The big theme of this season is time travel; surprisingly none are a Quantum Leap reboot. Oh, and there are a crapload of comedies coming next season (fifteen by my count and emphasis on crap, seriously, there is an imaginary friend show and Kevin James is coming back to the small screen; and those two did not even my least anticipated list). CBS is going back to a two-hour block on Mondays, ABC is expanding its Tuesday lineup to two hours, and NBC is try to resurrect Must See TV on Thursdays though they still only have one lone hour devoted to comedy like last season, but this time on a school night instead of the Friday dead zone. At any rate here are the five shows that piqued my interest.
1. The Good Place (Thursdays at 8:30 on NBC): This show had me at Veronica Mars and Sam Malone. Thankfully the promo did not suck. The show even has the greatest bit of self-censorship since Battlestar Gallatica invented the word “frack.”
2. Powerless (Midseason, NBC): We hit superhero saturation a season or two ago but this different as it is the first superhero comedy (or least the first since The Tick which of course is getting rebooted on Amazon). And the lead is not actual superheroes but “insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes.” This is a DC property so hypothetically we could see cameos by so big names in tights but since Batman is a boy on Gotham and we can only see Superman from afar or in a lenses flare on Supergirl I am guessing we will see more DC deep cut like The Wonder Twins, Skeets (not even with Booster Gold), Plastic Man, Apache Chief, and, one can only hope, Black Manta stops by to pollute the local bay. Although the lack of a trailer makes me a bit weary.
3. Timeless (Mondays at 10:00 on NBC): They had me at Abigail Spencer (Sally Draper's teacher that of course Don hooked up with) and created by Shawn Ryan (Terriers) but I will stick around for lines like “I am black, there is literally no place in American history that will be awesome for me.”
4. Conviction (Mondays at 10:00 on ABC): Okay we are already starting to scrap the bottom of the barrel to get to five “anticipated” series. But hey, it does star Hayley Atwell even if it is not as Peggy Carter. But, sigh, that American accent needs work. C’mon, couldn’t have she played the Prime Minister’s daughter who moved to America for a sliver of anonymity and kept the accent? I never understood why studio execs keep on hiring actors with iffy American accents to play Yankees. Either let them keep their foreign accent or just hire an actual American.
5. Downward Dog (Midseason, ABC): Yeah, this season’s slate of shows are really bad when a talking dog show makes my most anticipated shows list, but I will admit, I laughed a couple times and will watch just to see if he ends up killing that fracking cat.
Bonus. A Few Good Men Live! (TBA, NBC): Hidden deep within NBC's press release was their first ever live adaptation of a play after three musicals of varying success. It was literally one sentence and the third to last line before listing all the returning shows and legal mambo jumbo. No casting, no director, or even a producer yet, but I am more excited for this than their announce live musical. And one of the big problems with the musicals is getting big enough names to give up three or four months of rehearsals for one performance but I am guessing a play will need less time to prepare so maybe we will get more bankable names. May I suggest Coach Taylor as Tom Cruise, Lieutenant Dan as Jack Nicholson, Dr. Dre as Kiefer Sutherland, Lyla Garrity as Demi Moore, and, well, Kevin Bacon can just reprise his role because dude just does not age.
As the great philosopher Butt-Head once pondered, how would we know if something was cool if there weren't things that sucked, here are the five shows you could not pay me to watch next fall (click on their names to watch the trailers where available; networks were pretty stingy on mid season trailers this year)).
1. Taken (Midseason, NBC), Lethal Weapon (Wednesday at 8:00 on FOX), The Exorcist (Friday at 9:00 on FOX), Training Day (Midseason, CBS), Frequency (TBA, The CW): The Muppets had a quick slide last fall, Minority Report and Rush Hour were DOA, and Uncle Buck was pushed to summer to probably die quietly, while Limitless is currently in limbo but if it returns it will likely be on channel other than CBS. Yet the networks are actually increasing the number of movie adaptations (and that does not even count Time After Time based on a book that also inspired a movie, the MacGyver reboot, or Riverdale based on the Archie's comic). But hey, at least NBC was smart enough to pass on a proposed Cruel Intentions reboot (something FOX tried a decade and a half ago with a pre-fame Amy Adams) and Taken sounds the least bad. I was actually excited with the Taken-prequil sounding Legends on TNT when it started, unfortunately that did not turn out very well.
2. Still Star Cross (Midseason, ABC) – People complain about Gotham calling it, “Batman without Batman.” But there still is young Bruce Wayne who is supposed to grow up to be Batman (though doubtful we will ever see it on the show). Sill Star Crossed features Romeo and Juliet without the star crossed lovers. Instead the story takes place after their deaths and their cousins are now forced to marry to end the Capulet and Montague feud. What the frack? Oh and it was created by Shonda Rhimes, the worst thing to happen to television since they stopped letting you fast forward On Demand. She used to make ABC’s Thursdays unwatchable, and now she is soon to make the whole network unwatchable with five shows on the All Broads Network (not to be confused with CBS who passed on Nancy Drew for being “too feminine” and touts their most diverse lineup ever despite all their new fall shows being led by a white dude).
3. Doubt (Midseason, CBS): When are television executives going to learn what the movie executives learned a long time ago: America hates Katherine Heigl. Her crappy CIA show remains the lone show ever to air most of its episodes after The Voice not to get a second season.
4. Marlon (Midseason, NBC), Lethal Weapon (Wednesday at 8:00 on FOX): The Wayans family started out great with In Living Color, but has a member of the family done anything funny since? And what ever happened to the In Living Color reboot, wasn’t that supposed to happen a year or two ago?
5. This Is Us (Tuesdays at 9:00 on NBC): This show started out good enough, welcome back Mandy Moore! From the writer and directors of Crazy Stupid Love (and The Neighbors and Galavant)!! But everything goes wrong after that. Seriously, how does the guy from Heroes still get work? He can hide behind a bad Keanu Reeves beard all he wants but he still cannot act. Same goes for the Smallville version of Green Arrow. And what is this show even about? A bunch of people are born on the same day and… what? I may still end up hate watching.
Bonus. Hairspray Live! (TBA, NBC), The Rocky Horror Show (Halloween, FOX), Dirty Dancing the Musical (TBA, ABC): We are living in a golden age of live musicals, NBC got things started and sure it was a rough state, but hey, The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!. They final figured out the formula with The Wiz Live!. Then Grease: Live showed up on FOX and raised the bar even hired. Unfortunately the musicals set for next season are based on three musicals I do not really care about and two of them are not even live. Why bother? Meh, can someone please take may idea of through copious amounts of money at Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling for Guys and Dolls Live! And is Selena Gomez and Jason Street in West Side Story Live! too obvious?
And here is what I tentatively plan on watching next season.
8:00 – Gotham (FOX)
8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
9:00 – Lucifer (FOX)
9:00 – 2 Broke Girls (CBS)
9:30 – The Odd Couple (CBS)
10:00 – Timeless (NBC)
10:00 – Conviction (ABC)
8:00 – The Middle (ABC)
10:00 – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
8:00 – Survivor (CBS)
8:00 – Blindspot (NBC)
8:00 – The Goldbergs (ABC)
9:00 – Modern Family (ABC)
9:30 – Black-ish (ABC)
8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
8:30 – The Good Place (NBC)
9:00 – Notorious (ABC)
10:00 – The Blacklist (NBC)
8:00 – Last Man Standing (ABC)
9:00 – Grimm (NBC)
8:00 – Once Upon a Time (ABC)
10:00 – Quantico (ABC)
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Tomorrow is the official start of Fall television with all four networks premiering new seasons as well as three new shows including Blindspot which tops my most anticipated list. Of course with a new season comes new questions and these are the five I am most interested in:
1. What exactly is the saturation point for comic book shows? Three years ago Arrow was the lone live action funny book on network television (and that is only if you consider The CW a network). Marvel got into the game two years with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Things exploded last year, both of those shows got a spin-off with The Flash and Agent Carter respectively along with Gotham, iZombie, and the only one that did not make it to a second season Constantine (but as a consolation prize the titular character is showing up on Arrow this season). That does not even include the five Marvel Shows that are planned to air on Netflix (Daredevil being the only one that has been released; Jessica Jones is getting released later this year). The networks have adding a couple more this season with yet another Arrow spinoff Legends of Tomorrow and not officially a spin-off but share the same showrunner so a crossover is possible Supergirl. Then on Fox they are adapting Lucifer coming mid-season.
On cable The Walking Dead has remained the lone comic adaptation despite being the biggest show on all television (okay technically that is a graphic novel if you want to split hairs). But that is about to change too and that is not even count The Walking Dead spin-off that is not based on a print version. AMC is developing a show based on the DC property Preacher (ironically starring two Marvel vets Dominic Cooper, the younger Howard Stark and Raina from SHIELD) while TNT is getting into the game with a live action Teen Titans. While over at Syfy they have two funny books in development including a Superman prequil set on Krypton (which will likely have nothing to do with the CBS show just to make things confusing). And in addition to the Netflix series, Playstation's first scripted show Powers was already renewed for a second season. So that is ten comic book adaptations this season on television, six on streaming sites with three coming soon to cable. Even if you only watch comic books adaptations, that is a lot of television to watch.
2. What happened to Gemma Simmons? Speaking of comic books, the biggest cliff hanger to come from one last season was what became of our favorite biochem scientist? A lot happened in the season finale of Agents of SHIELD, Coulson had his hand cut off, the Inhumans mist thing got turned into fish oil pills, Ward was recruiting his own supervillian team, The Avengers came in and saved the day (okay the last one did not, and will never happen), but I want to know is what happened to Gemma after getting sucked into Kree obelisk? I doubt she is gone from the show and snce the obelisk is supposed to destroy Inhumans I am guessing she come out with a new superpower and possibly a new desire to kill
3. Will any new show be as good as Mr. Robot? The surprise hit of the summer was easily Mr. Robot who just owned the conversation on the internet. I certainly did not see it coming as I initally had no interest in another attempt at television for Christian Slater until I learned Dalia Royce was also part of the cast. Can anything premiering this fall garner as much attention? My guess is no. Blindspot will probably be the best new show by how long can a procedural that rips off Memento stay in the conversation. Maybe the best at reaching Mr. Robot type hype on network television could be Quantico which looks like it could at its best be Homeland season four. Granted worst case scenario the show devolves into Homeland season three.
4. How will Continuum end? Continuum was has been one of the quietly good shows on television for the past three years and the best time traveling show since Quantum Leap. Of course it got canceled but not before airing six final fourth season episodes (two of which already aired). Evil minions from a dark future timeline showed up in the season premiere and reeked havoc on Keira. Will she finally be able to back to her time? Is there a time for her to go back to now? It will be a fun ride to see if she does.
5. Will Ash vs. The Evil Dead be any good?: We have been inundated with Heroes Reborn promos for the last couple month leading to most people who watch the original wondering, why? The show was widely reviled with most people saying it went off the rails in the second season (I contend the first season pretty much sucked too aside from the one episode Bryan Fuller scripted). On the flip side there has been little press for a reboot that people have been hankering for decades. I remember seeing Army of Darkness in high school thinking it was the greatest thing ever (I eventually went back to watch the two horror Evil Dead movies but much preferred the campiness of the third movie). Pretty much ever since there have been talks of a fourth movie in the Evil Dead saga. The closest came about a decade ago when there was talks of an Ash vs. Freddy vs. Jason movie after the first two horror legends faced off (there have been a couple of comics and video games). There was also hope when the reboot of Evil Dead (which featured Bruce Campbell in a post credits teaser) was released two years ago with a sequel that would see the two franchises combining with both Campbell and Tessa Altman starring. Instead at Comic Con last year Sam Raimi announced there would be a television show to continue the original Evil Dead to air on Starz best known for... um, well, their aired Party Down foe two seasons a couple years ago. Will it be any good? Well it is written by the Raimi brothers (Sam is directing the first episode) and Bruce is staring. As of there there seems to be no ties to the reboot as there has been no announcement of Tessa Altman's involvement, instead Xena the Warrior Princess is in the cast. Since I do not have Starz I can hear what other people say about it and can temper my expectation whenever I get around to seeing it. But as of now I am hopeful. It certainly has to be better than the the Heroes reboot or the televised versions of Limitless or Minority Report which both look dreadful (though I am a bit hopeful the former is successful enough for someone to greenlight a televised Lucy show as that movie was significantly better than Limitless; Tyra Collett as Lucy).
As the great philosopher Butt-Head once pondered, “If it weren’t for things that sucked, how would we know if something was awesome,” so here are the five least anticipated questions of the new television season.
1. Who is going to win the worst reality show this season? No I am not talking about Dancing with the Has Beens and Never Weres or even the final season of American Karaoke but by far the worst reality show on television this season is the Republican Primaries. Four years ago we had the clown car of candidates where nut jobs like Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann each got a week a top the polls before everyone realized just how crazy they were and just ended up nomination Mitt Romney, the human robot. Things were supposed to be different this time around after the Republican conducted an autopsy realizing they need to do a better job courting minorities and women after losing to Barack Obama again. Then Donald Trump got into the race by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and mad sexist statements about Megyn Kelly after she asked if he was sexist... and then went to the top of the Republican polls. He called war hero John McCain a loser for being captured... and rose higher. Most recently he insulted the lone woman in the race, Carly Fioarino's looks in a Rolling Stone interview... and still leads. NBC had and do the biggest troll in history by replacing him on The Celebrity Apprentice with an immigrant who fathered an anchor baby.
Or course this is not to say go ahead and pencil in a Democrat for 2016 because their nomination process is in as much chaos, it is just a lot less entertaining. Seriously, is there a more boring scandal than Hilary Clinton's e-mails? It makes Chris Christie's bridge problems look like a scene out of Wolf of Wall Street in comparison. Unfortunately the only other Democrat who decided to run (so far) is Bernie Sanders who just come across as your crazy Jewish uncle. He is just basically the socialist Ron Paul. How depressing we have to root for Joe Biden to get into the race as the best way to avoid a President Trump or Clinton Part Deux and as we learned from Bush, the sequel is always significantly worse than the original.
2. What happened to Becca in the Elevator at the End of Hindsight? After failing at her second chance in the nineties, actually making a bigger mess of it then she did the first time around, Becca rushed to the elevator that flashed her back to the last great decade, Numb starts playing again... and fade to black. Surprisingly VH1 renewed the lowly rated show thus making wonder where the show would go in the second season. Would it go back to present day? Go back even further? Flash forward to the 00's? Then out of nowhere, late last month VH1 sent out a press release saying "nevermind, Hindsight is canceled." What? If they wanted to cancel it outright after the first season, fine, whatever, but you cannot renew it and then renig later. Renewed shows have gotten shortened before and Southland got canned after getting renewed but that was instantly picked up by TNT, this is the first time I remember a renewed show getting canceled outright before (greenlighted shows get canned before making it to air occasionally, most recently the NBC Coach reboot). And to add insult to injury, days after canceling Hindsight, VH1 announced Black Ink Crew: Chicago, maybe the most befuddling decision by a network since The CW dumped Veronica Mars only to announce Farmer Takes a Wife shortly after.
3. Who is dumb enough to hire Carrie Mathison? I know this is a television show and it would be a boring show if Carrie was forced to get a job at the local mall because she could not get a job in defense again but no one has failed upward more than Carrie, not even Lane Kiffin or Ben Silverman. But on the new season of Homeland, Carrie finds herself with a cushy private contractors job in Germany for some millionaire.
4. Will Community be back for season seven? It was only five short years ago since DirecTV started the modern trend of saving lowly rated but beloved franchises. The trend continues this fall after Hulu saved The Mindy Project. But the big news last year was Yahoo Screen was going to get into the scripted forum by saving Community even though it lost yet another castmember when Shirley went to hang out with Matthew Perry (not to mention the Pierce replacement left to costar in the Breaking Bad prequil). New episodes debuted last spring, I watched the first couple the weekend they came out but eventually forgot about it and still have two or three to watch. Yahoo Screen had said they have interest in doing another season (their two other two original comedies have yet to set the internet aflame even though the one with the AT&T girl, Other Space, is kind of, almost watchable) except star Joel McHale has pretty much said they do not have enough money to pay the cast what they expect now that their contracts expire. I am fine with this because I really could not get up watching the show on the interest, seriously Yahoo Screen, if you want to be taken seriously, at least make a Playstation app so I can watch this on my television. Really, just make a crappy Community movie and be done with it.
Did Deacon survive his surgery? The big Nashville cliffhanger left with Deacon's life hanging in the balance in the balance. Did he survive? Of course he did.
Here is everything I plan to watch this fall and when they premiere (and one bonus question: why is there so much television on Mondays and Wednesdays and basically nothing on Thursday?):
8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (September 21)
8:00 - Supergirl (premieres at 8:30 on October 26, 8:00 the following week)
8:00 - Gotham (September 21, Fox)
8:00 - Switched at Birth (already started, ABC Family)
8:00 - The Voice (September 21, NBC)
10:00 - Blindspot (September 21, NBC)
10:00 - Castle (September 21, ABC)
10:00 - Legends (November 2, TNT)
8:00 - The Muppets (September 22, ABC)
9:00 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (September 29, ABC)
10:00 - Wicked City (October 27, ABC)
8:00 - Survivor: Second Chances (September 23, CBS)
8:00 - The Middle (September 23, ABC)
8:30 - The Goldbergs (September 23, ABC)
9:00 - Modern Family (September 23, ABC)
9:30 - Blask'ish (September 23, ABC)
10:00 - Nashville (September 23, ABC)
10:00 - South Park (September 16, Comedy Central)
10:30 - You're the Worst (September 9, FXX)
9:00 - The Blacklist (October 1, NBC)
8:00 - Last Man Standing (September 25, ABC)
9:00 - Grimm (October 30, NBC)
11:00 - Continuum (Already Bac, Syfy)
8:00 - Once Upon a Time (September 27, ABC)
8:00 - The Librarians (November 1, TNT)
9:00 - Homeland (October 4, Showtime)
9:00 - The Walking Dead (October 11, AMC)
10:00 - Quantico (September 27, ABC)
10:00 - The Affair (October 4, Showtime)
Sunday, December 21, 2014
It is hard to hear the description for The Affair and not think of last year's Betrayal which was one and done on ABC. That "one" was a season, but the show could have easily been pulled after one episode because it was a bit of a bore and it did not help that the lead's American accent came and went from scene to scene. Both shows followed the extracurricular activities of two married people; one seemed to be in the perfect married, the other q bit of a messy one. There is also a murder clumsily tacked onto the plot that just reeks of network meddling which was probably the case for ABC, Showtime seems more laissez faire).
Of course that is the biggest difference is that the same type of show is much more likely to be more watchable on premium channels compared to free television because Showtime can attract better actors, writers, it is easier to tell a concise story in ten episodes compared to twenty-two, and it is doubtful ABC could get Fiona Apple to write them a theme song. The biggest difference story wise is The Affair tells the story from the narrative view of each of the adulterers. Sure, again, ABC just did that again this season with yet another one and done series Manhattan Love Story but where that show just followed the inner monologue from the two leads, The Affair give each lead their side of the story of a single day during their tryst.
Before you have Lost flashbacks where that show would annoyingly re-film a scene from a different point of view, basically seeing the same scene from different camera angle up to four different times, the adulterers Noah and Allison had different recollections of how their dalliance happened. Sometimes it would be as minor as he would remember her hair down and she would have it in a ponytail. Sometimes it would be wildly different (the biggest of which comes in tonight's season finale) and in some cases, he would remember them hooking up in a field but when she retold the story, she was not even there. Really this has to be the best writing gig in town because any pothole or errors in continuity they can just blame the characters on miss remembering.
The most interesting part of this storytelling is just how Noah and Allison view each other and themselves. According to Noah, he is this noble super-dad and husband (well aside from that whole cheating thing), while his parents-in-law are the big bads despite providing his lifestyle probably even helped him transition into a man because his father is not even worth mentioning. To Noah, Allison is a flirty local who always makes the first step.
For Allison, she is the victim, taking no culpability in her son's death; it was either bad luck or her husbands fault. Noah is the emotional support that she can no longer get from her husband because talking to him would mean having to come to term with the death of her some even if Noah come across as a little sleazy, and of course he always makes the first move. Really all the guys in her life are kind of sleazy, her bothers in laws are drug dealers (of course she is an unwilling participant again refusing to admit her involvement), and her boss is constantly trying to have sex with her again for the first time in fifteen years. And again, her mother-in-law can be seen as the enemy even though she was there for Allison when her own mother was not.
The two even have two different views on the murder that happens sometime in the future, Noah thinks he went through a messy divorce while Allison thinks he has been happily married for over two decades. Are they juxtaposition their own realities on him or is the detective telling the two what they want to hear to make him seem more reliable. In the finale we get a third extremely different possibility to the detective’s love life when neither of the two leads is around.
Alrighty, this is the part I am going to get into a bit of the spoilers from the first season now, continue reading at you own risk.
Like I mentioned earlier, it seemed like ABC meddling when Betrayal inserted a murder plotline, but that does not seem like Showtime's MO. But the murder subplot seemed to be shoehorned into most episodes, given about a minute at the beginning or end of each act of the show. The murder victim seem like it was some big mystery, but halfway through the season, the detective just causally mentioned that Allison's bother-in-law Scott was the deceased. Up until that point the other time I remembered him was trying to sneak upstairs with Noah's daughter. Which of course put Noah high on my list of suspects (okay, he was basically the only one, aside from creepy diner owner and un-scene drug traffickers). Not surprisingly Scott turned out to be Whitney's baby daddy.
As I teased, tonight's episode features what is probably the most different retelling of a scene this season which features many of the show's main players finding themselves in the same place at the time. Where I tend to believe Allison over Noah, this scene is one of the few times I believe Noah's version more, plus his version of events may be the best scene this season.
Though it seems like an after thought in the first couple episodes, we do spend more time in the still undetermined future (unless I missed if they let us in on a date). But unlike Betrayal where we got the murder mystery wrapped up in a nice neat bow before the
The Affair airs its season finale tonight at 10:00 on Showtime preceded by the season finale of Homeland at 9:00.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Sequels get a bad rap but there are plenty of good sequels out there. Good prequels on the other hand are far and few in between. Patton Oswalt has a great bit on prequels equating them to being shown a picture of Jon Voight’s man region for those who think Angelina Jolie is attractive. Yet prequels, the ultimate where do we go next when we have run out of ideas solution, are still getting made. Just last year there were television shows that served as prequels to two horror icons. Surprisingly one of them did not suck. The other featured Norman Bates listening to Taylor Swift.
The other show, Hannibal probably should not have worked. In fact the previous prequel, Hannibal Rising focusing on a teenage Hannibal in Lithuania, was a commercial and critical flop. I know I had no desire to see yet another show about a serial killer especially since I have not seen any of the movies or read the books. Plus could such a story as gruesome murders and cannibalism be told on network television? Apparently yes as NBC somehow clawed its way back to the top of the ratings charts mixing the biggest draws (Sunday Night Football, The Voice) with low rated critical darling (Hannibal, Parenthood) and the show that is both (The Blacklist).
NBC gets plenty of credit for renewing Hannibal not once but twice. So for those that do not start watching shows fearing they will be canceled, it is time to catch up. Season one is currently streaming on Amazon Instant Video which is free for Prime members and season two will probably be available with enough time to catch up before season three premieres sometime in 2015. Although I never understood not watching a show because it may be canceled. I would rather a quality show that may end after thirteen to twenty-two episodes then one that will go on for around a hundred with diminishing returns. Just image how much more fondly we would remember Lost if it got canceled after one season. But anyway.
As I stated above, I had no interest in seeing a Hannibal Lecter prequel, but I still tuned into the series premiere for one reason: Bryan Fuller. This is the guy who gave us three of the greatest television shows of this millennium: Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and Pushing Daisies. Sure those three shows ran for a total of five seasons (and a movie!) but again, would it not have been better if Homeland only lasted a season or two? Those three shows all had their whimsy even if they dealt with death and sanity. Hannibal is completely without whimsy and is set in a very real world yet Fuller’s warped eye still seeps through with the death tableaus that are the focal point of each season one episode.
Plus this Hannibal, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) subtlety chews the scenes just as much as he eats on the show. Which is quite a lot, foodies will surely enjoy the show. Well once they get over the fact that much of the meat he prepares comes from rude people. Then there is Hugh Dancy (Ella Enchanted) who seems to go through a major mental breakdown each and every episode to the point you fear for the actor’s sanity for the number of times his character goes down the preverbal rabbit hole as Hannibal toys with him.
If you are not caught up on Hannibal, this is where you should stop reading because I am about to spoil the second season; but before you go, let me just say the second season finale was one of the finest and shocking hours of television I have seen in a while.
Okay, last spoiler warning. Turn away now if you do not want to know what happened this season.
I have never seen a movie featuring Hannibal Lecter or even read the books, but I still have an idea where the show is going since he is one of the most famous antagonists in pop culture history. So it was not that shocking when Will ended up in a mental hospital for the criminally insane. Nor I was when he was eventually release considering his role in the overarching narrative of the story. But this season’s finale that was a completely different story.
Though I know that Will Graham is the one that eventually catches Hannibal, the show did a very good job making me wonder if Will was on Hannibal’s side or on Jack’s. Even at the end of the season I still question Will loyalty (but after the events of the finale, it seems clear where Will falls). Of course for weeks we have known what was about to go down. In the season premiere we saw Jack enter Hannibal’s kitchen and met with one of his knives before ending out in the wine cellar with a shard of glass in his neck.
So for weeks we had to wonder who would come to Jack’s rescue. We got that answer last week when the promo monkeys showed us Alana showing up to the Lecter estate gun in hand. Of course Hannibal took the bullets out a long time ago. Which leads us to the first big shock of the episode: Holy Abigail Hobbs sighting! I do remember giving thought to the possibility that Hannibal did not kill her, just cut her ear off and force it down Will’s throat. But that theory faded a long time ago. But I did kept looking for the missing ear which was covered by hair until her final scene where she clearly was missing it.
So Alana goes out the window just in time for Will to show up (by taxi?). Well this has to be where Will finally captures Hannibal, catching up to the books. Nope. Hannibal guts Will then, while he is helpless, slashes Abigail’s neck with Will unable to stop him much like he did Jacob Hobbes. Then, as Bryan Fuller says in an interview, Hannibal drops the mic and leaves. Jack is lifeless in the wine cellar. Will is bleeding out his abdomen while trying to stop Abigail bleeding out her neck in the kitchen. And Alana, barely still conscience, is outside in the rain, laying in glass form a two story drop. I guess it is easy to predict that the main players will eventually pull through while Will is going to be haunted with Abigail’s death.
Oh, but that is not it, we did get a tease for season three with Hannibal taking a flight… with Dr. Du Maurier. Oooo, so what happened there? Earlier in the season, Hannibal arrived at Bedelia’s house in his clear murder lab coat just after she left town. The FBI later found her. I am guessing that she knew if the FBI could find her, so could Hannibal, so she told him of the FBI’s plan as a measure of self preservation. It will make for an interesting third season, the first ever for a Bryan Fuller show. Hopefully it does not turn out like the third season of Homeland.
Hannibal 2.x gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Monday, May 13, 2013
The last and only time Survivor previously aired a Fans vs. Favorites season it became so clear just how outmatched the tribes were because where the Fans are still littered with fodder, the Favorites were some of the smartest and strongest players to have never won the game. The Favorites were so much better that they actually managed to get a Fan to give up his Immunity Necklace and then promptly voted him out.
So how do you make the second installment of Fans vs. Favorites fairer? Well you bring in some of the most incompetent and least liked Survivors of the past ten seasons. You had crazy people Brandon Hantz (who did not even need to be talked into giving up his Immunity Necklace) and Philip Sheppard, turncoat John Cochran and the emotional wreck he turned on Dawn Meehan, the first ever contestant that was voted out of their first season Francesca Hogi, and they even brought back that moron who gave up that Immunity Necklace in the first Fans vs. Favorites Erik Reichenbach.
Which sounded fair on paper except the very first Reward Challenge the Favorites ended up dominating the physical challenge to the point that even Cochran won his heat. Cochran! After losing the first Immunity Challenge, the Favorites then went on to win ever Immunity and Reward Challenges until they forfeited the final Immunity Challenge before they switched up the tribes when they dumped Brandon in the very first elimination that did not happen at Tribal Council.
The swapped tribes did not favors for the Fans as they were outnumbered on both tribes (and thanks to some sleight of hand by Probst when divvying up the new tribes one tribe was loaded with all the physical specimens left) and lost two more Fans before the merge. Luckily for Sherri and Eddie, Favorite after Favorite started overplaying their hands post merge with Corinne Kaplan, Malcolm Fresberg, and Andrea Broehlke, all went home for trying to turn on their alliance before that got rid of all the Fans while Brenda Lowe made the rookie mistake of stupidly winning the Loved Ones Challenge. Phil also when home prematurely when all three members of the Douchebag Alliance held Immunity and drew the short stick. Some people give Malcolm credit for this move, but I am under the belief if you have two Idols in your pocket and are sent home the very next Tribal, that is a massive failure.
Then the finale hits and boom, Erik is out of the season ten minutes into the episode. In a season of firsts, the latest medical evacuation may have been the most shocking. I cannot even remember anyone ever being removed post-merge off the top of my head. It was disappointed that after his removal they did not go to a final two instead opting to giving the winner of the planned Immunity Challenge a clue to the Final Challenge robbing us of one more glance of Andrea at Tribal Council, who at the previous Tribal wore the greatest F-U dress ever worn by a jury member.
In the end, one of the biggest fans ever to play the game became the second player ever to get a unanimous vote with Cochran joining Earl from Survivor: Fiji. There was still one more first at the Live Reunion show with Brenda being the first player not to show up, but apparently she was too big to go flying (how did someone who did not even show up until the final two episodes almost win Player of the Season?). Another first happened when the non-jury members were resigned to audience and completely ignored by Probst instead giving away their time to Boston Rob (please go away) and Rudy (please come back for another season, even at 85, I bet you could still outlast most twenty-somethings). I wonder if this will happen in future seasons or was just a way to keep Brandon from attacking Philip live on television.
But enough with Caramoan, next season is Blood vs. Water which looks like it will be the much rumored Family Edition with returning players on one tribe and a family member of theirs on another, so Family vs. Favorites would be a more appropriate title (unless it is a tribe entirely made up of family (please God, not the Hantz's) going against a tribe of strangers). If true, this is the worst idea the show ever had, even worse than Redemption Island. It just comes off like a cheap Big Brother stunt and Survivor is usually above silly stunts like this. Instead of bringing back contestant every season (if my hunch is right, that would make it six of the last eight seasons with at least two former players) they need to find casting agents that can actually find actual interesting people instead of the current casting agents who just bring in past contests and fill the rest of the cast with models from the Abercrombie catalogue. With that said, if one of the teams turns out to be Kat from One World and her bulldog cousin, I will be fully on board Blood vs. Water. Actually just thinking of that possibility is making me excited. Excuse me while I go cyber stalk Kat to see if she disappears from the internet for the next thirty-nine days.
Survivor: Caramoan gets a on my Terror Alert Scale. You can stream recent episodes over at CBS.com. You can also download Survivor: Caramoan on iTunes.
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Even before it aired I was ready to love The Americans. It was the first show Graham Yost created after Justified, the best show on television. Then you add in Keri Russell as a Russian spy which sounded like it would be Homeland: The Reagan Years but seem from the opposition. Sure we know how the story turns out (SPOILER ALERT: the Russians lose) but Yost is a master storyteller and with the premiere set against Reagan’s election, they are still eight years away from the fall of the Berlin Wall and a full decade away from the dissolution of USSR. Not that I would mind if The Americans lasted long enough to see The Jennings adjust to the end of The Cold War.
As great as the premise, the season relied on too many television tropes. Of course the guy who just moved across the street is the newest counter-intelligence agent in the CIA who routinely is investigation The Jennings activities but never actually crosses paths with them except in the finale but did not get a good look at them in their disguises. The biggest disappointment of the first season was how uninteresting Margo Martindale. Yost brought her in after she deservedly won an Emmy for her role of Mags Bennett on Justified but her character just did not add anything as the Jennings’ handler except the time she bruised Elizabeth’s fists with her face.
But these complaints really are due to unfair comparisons to Justified and Homeland, two of my favorite shows. On its own, The Americans was still an edge of your seat cat and mouse game between the Jennings and Stan as they join each other for cookouts on their time off from spying. And where I thought from the beginning that The Jennings would eventually get turned and become double agents for the CIA at some point in the series (I always go back to the offer the turncoat KGB agent they captured offered them), the most fascinating part of the finale was when Nina’s boss made it a top priority that she try and turn Stan. Now going forward it may be a question of who turns both. Of course if this were Homeland, they probably would both turn on their country and be shocked when they run into each other at a CIA or KGB meeting.
Still, it was hard not to be disappointed by the finale. In the end nothing changed. The Jennings did not get caught and Stan and the rest of the CIA are no closer to catching than they were at the beginning of the season. I thought for sure Nina would not make it out of the season alive, or at the very least be resigned to a life in Siberia, but she is still around as a double agent, her alliances just switch back. Maybe I was just conditioned by Homeland to expect one mind blowing game changer per week (for better or worse) I was expecting The Americans would have at least one in a season. With the last scene, I thought,, okay, at least the daughter will learn of her parents double lives, but even that just ended on a cliffhanger. Did she find her parent's stash? Does it even matter? Is the son more worthless and Bobby Draper and Chris Brody combined? I guess we have to wait until next season for the answers.
The Americans 1.x gets a on my Terror Alert Scale. You can download The Americans on iTunes.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
You Can't Fire Me, I Quit; You Think You Can Replace Me With Some Other Guy, Go Ahead, it Won't Be the Same
Recently it was leaked that the producers of The X-Factor are going to dump Britney Spears because they wanted crazy Britney and all they got was one word answer Britney. I could not help but thinking of this while watching the first season of Anger Management because I had to wonder if the producers of the show were disappointed they got bored and disinterested Charlie Sheen instead crazy warlock from Mars Charlie. But unlike Spears who could not even bring in more eyeballs than Jeff Probst on his Silver Anniversary of Survivor and looks to be one season and done, Sheen still managed to pull in cable breaking rating executing a clause that means we will get ninety more episodes of the show.
As for the ten episodes that have already aired and are being released on DVD and Blu-Ray this week, the most disappointing part of the show is not only is Sheen not crazy, he is actually supposed to play a crazy person. Supposable he is playing the Jack Nicholson character from the Adam Sandler movie of the same name that goes to extremes while hosting an anger management therapy. But Charlie’s character is not so much crazy as he is just a bad therapist. Really the only bizarre treatment he has in the first season is using sleep deprivation as a truth serum. It could be construed of hosting anger management classes at his house, but I take that more as him being lazy.
The catch is that not only is Charlie an anger management therapist, he also needs anger management. Are at least that is what the script tells us, again, we are getting boring Charlie, not crazy Charlie. The problem is the best therapist he knows, Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions), he is also sleeping with which could get into some therapist / patient moral quandaries. His personal life is made even more complicated by an ex-wife Shawnee Smith (The Blob) who seems as disinterested as Sheen on screen and teenage daughter Daniela Bobadilla (Awake) who may be the most adjusted person with OCD ever or the writers quickly forgot she has it (I also found it weird at how childish she acted but after a little research apparently the nineteen year old actress is supposed to be playing a thirteen. Usually this is where I wonder they did not get someone closer to that age, but I guess it is probably a good idea not to have a young teenager around Charlie Sheen).
Also expect many references to Charlie’s real life, the series even inadvertently starts with Sheen telling off his former bosses in a tongue and check scene. The show even brought in his real life ex-wife as a love interest and his dad Martin actually shows up as his father Martin. (Brett Butler also shows up as a bartender named Brett and Michael Boatman is Charlie's neighbor named Michael. I sense a theme.) And since he ends up moving to the same city near the end of the season, I would expect Martin to show up frequently in the future. Although it is odd with how much the writers like to reference Sheen’s past, even though the character was a professional baseball player (for a day) they manage to resist any Major League references.
But the thing about Anger Management is there is an entertaining show in there somewhere. Had they just stuck with the therapy session, the show would have been much more entertaining. In Sheen’s group, there is the entitled mean girl all grown up (the always hot Noreen DeWulf), the crappy old man (Barry Corbin, No Country For Old Men), the passive aggressive gay homosexual, and the guy who cannot get angry but always dates angry chicks (it took me about half the first season to figure this out and I am still not entirely sure why here is in the group). Sheen also does pro-bono work at a prison. The show is actually at its funniest whenever they get Sheen out his comfort zone like when Blair slaps him repeatedly or when he is forced to date a “slumpbuster” (a baseball slang for very unattractive lady). Of course they have nineties more episodes to get it right, starting with new episodes next Thursday on FX. Until then the DVD and Blu-Ray is out now.
Full Disclosure Notice: This Blu-Ray set was given to me by Lionsgate for review.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
After Jericho fans flooded the CBS studios with peanuts, studios have came up with a new way temper the anger of obsessive fans by floating the idea of a movie that never ever materializes be it Veronica Mars, Angel, or Party Down. Arrested Development actually started this trend by inserting a line into the series finale, after failing to get Showtime, HBO or any other cable network, about turning the fake documentary show into a movie as suggested by the show’s narrator Ron Howard.
Years of rumors got me fed up to the point I put an Arrested Development ban until I actually saw a final product. But what you know, Netflix ended up reviving the series, the fourth season has been filmed and will be dumped all at once sometime this spring (hopefully which will be followed by a DVD release because I really do not have any desire to sign up, but I could always use their two week free preview they are always e-mailing me about) ten years after the show first premiered. Everyone will be back including guest stars Henry Winkler, Liza Minnelli, and Mae Whitman (her?)
Can the cast catch lightning in a bottle seven years after being off the air? Hopefully Mitch Hurwitz post Arrested Development endevores is not an indication (Sit Down Shut Up, Running Wilde) even if they featured numerous Arrested Development alumni. But during its original three season run, Arrested Development, this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame, was absurdist comedy at its most hilarious.
The show followed the Bluth family, who run a shady and inept real estate business that the lone good guy in family is trying to turn around. Making it even harder is his criminal father out of touch mother, the older brother who has way more confidence than he should, a younger brother with none, his superficial sister and probably gay husband. And do not forget the voice of God provided by Ron Howard. There is no joke the show could not pass up like having Fonzie literally jumping over a shark. I am not sure if the new episodes (or potential movie) will be any good but at the very least it makes for a good reason to dust off the DVD’s of the first season, or add them to your collection if they are not already there.
Now if only someone would pick up Veronica Mars: The CIA Years. Netflix? Amazon? DirecTV? Hey, it is not like The CW currently has anything better on their current schedule, maybe they can right their wrong and become an actual credible network for the first time since unceremoniously dumping Veronica Mars for something called Farmer Takes a Wife.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The first season of Homeland was quality entertainment. And the crazier that Carrie got, the more entertaining the show got. Then the episode where Carrie went off her meds was one of the most entertaining hours of television ever. But here is the thing about the first season, as crazy as Carrie was, and even though Saturday Night Live made a sketch where Fake Saul said “When has Carrie ever let me down except for every time?” she was right every time. Brody was turned; he was going to blow up the Vice President and the Director of the CIA.
Then in the second season, Carrie stayed on her meds and was relatively sane the whole season aside from the weird smile she had after kicking a Syrian in the man region and disobeying orders to storm Brody’s room to call him a disgrace to his country. She was also very wrong every time this season. And maybe it was because she was a different kind of crazy this season: crazy in love. C’mon, she gleefully arrests the guy early in the season and is quick to believe a known terrorist who killed the president (and already tried to kill Estes once already) when he said he had nothing to do with his car exploding.
And it is really hard to believe Brody. How does he not realize that forty pounds of C4 were in his back seat? Who, if not Brody put it there? And who moved his car? Galvez? It is about as believable as cold hearted assassin Quinn deciding to defy his orders (and why did Estes just give up, if I were him, I would just hire another black ops guy to kill Quinn then get rid of Brody). Unless Quinn and F. Murray Abraham wanted something happen to press their own agenda. And you know there has to be something more to Abraham than some dude who eats breakfast at the same place every day for decades.
Of course season two is just a small part of the entire season and the writers have proven to be smarter than us before. Remember everyone scoffing when Chris Brody was watching the Wizards beating the Heat as the most unbelievable storyline among a sea of unbelievable storylines. And do know what happened in real life weeks later: Wizards 105-Heat 101. But I have to say I am less excited for season three than I was for season two.
Homeland 2.x gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Monday, December 17, 2012
I really hate when Survivor brings back two or three returning players. It gives the players a huge advantage because they have already played the game and it is an extreme advantage to keep around the guy (kind of sexist that it is always guys) who knows how to make a fire, camp and the ins and outs of the game. Of all the players they have brought back all but two has made it to the merge. And one of them was Russell Hantz so of course they got rid of the snake as soon as they could and even sabotaged their own tribe to get him out.
With that said I did not mind who they brought back for Survivor: Philippines. In fact when they first announced Redemption Island I thought the people they should have brought back were those that had to be removed from the game medically. If anyone deserved redemption it would be those players. Why exactly did Russell and Boston Rob need redemption? Michael Skupin, needed some redemption after falling into the fire. And finally after a decade, he gets some. And we got to see that him falling into the fire was not a freak accident, the guy is a legitimate klutz.
Also brought back was Jonathan Penner who had to leave the game the second time he played (his claim to fame from the first time was when he stupidly Mutinied and was promptly voted off). Then there was the other Russell from Samoa who’s near death experience was one of the many freak occurrences that allowed Hantz to take control of the game, and for that I will never forgive him for almost dying. Russell did not have much luck this time around because he was put with maybe the most inept ever (the hillbilly smoker, the paranoid chick, the airhead pageant queen)
But maybe it was not Russell that was cursed because right after getting voted out, his tribemate Denise got shipped off to another tribe who then lost two straight challenges (and a third went home due to, of course, medical reasons; see you in ten years Dana). Amazingly Denise survived both tribes, made it the merge, went to every tribal council (the first time ever) and still ended up winning by a landslide. It may take time to digest the season as a whole, but eventually she is in the discussion of greatest Survivor ever.
The season was also notable for have two “celebrities” on it. Celebrities in that that had a certain amount of fame, but Blair Warner pretty much has not been heard from since leaving The Facts of Life while Jeff Kent played baseball in a time when a whole generation decided not to watch. The guy played last decade and only one person recognized him (or at least told the cameras). Surprisingly the former teen star outlasted the baseball all-star. But the star of the season was the volatile Brazilian Abi-Maria who had to be the center of attention so much that after Malcolm announced he had an Immunity Idol and Probst asked if anyone else wanted to reveal theirs, she went ahead and whipped hers out in the single most memorable Tribal Council ever. I really how some wise television producers recruits Abi and Camilla from The Challenge for some sort of hot headed Brazilian reality show. I know I would watch.
Survivor: Philippines gets a on my Terror Alert Scale. You can stream recent episodes over at CBS.com. You can also download Survivor: Philippines on iTunes.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The last season of Switched at Birth ended with everybody learn that Emmitt and Simone had some extracurricular activities after a basketball game. It was made more awkward that each of them were dating a brother and sister combo. Naturally that blew up the current season, Toby moved on while Simone turned to alcohol. While Emmitt tried to get Bay back even though she did everything to reject him short of blaring Taylor Swift songs at him.
Granted there may still be hope for Emmitt because Bay did not run into the arms of another guy (aside from a brief tryst on a vacation), instead she ran into the arms of Ben Linus’s daughter of all people. It was the latest in a string of Bay acting act by joining a street art collective, which, like every of Bay’s adventures, ended badly. But at least it ended badly in a hilarious way especially dudes in Michael Myers masks. Although when the saga was all over, it looked like Bay mat not be playing We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together much longer.
At one point Daphne was ready to fight Bay for Emmitt but ended up with Wilke, but with him off in military school (how dare you Corbin Bernsen) she moved on to her douchebag of her boss. And just when you think it could not get any creepier, it turns out he previously dated Emmitt’s mother. Ewww. And then the season finale started out with Daphne getting birth control. Double ewww. It did lead to an Oh snap moment where mother and daughter went after each other in the bathroom where Daphne did the old tried and true I “leaned it from watching from you” defense, but instead of drugs, it was dating inappropriate men. Awesome. But not as awesome as Angelo punching Chef Jeff which may have been the weakest fake punch in the history of television.
Then the big shocker came at then end, both parents won their court case, but the Kennishs only got a dollar while Angelo got five million dollar. Wow, someone please switch my kid. Which made me wonder of Regina and Angelo would be staying at the Kennishs next season. If so, the rent will be going way up. Oh wait there was one more twist; a very pregnant woman gave looking for Angelo right after the verdict. Now I am not saying this woman is a golddigger, but…
Switched at Birth vol. 3 gets a on my Terror Alert Scale. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Switched At Birth on iTunes..
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Ah season five of Mad Men: Zoo Be Zoo, Betty gets fat, Don murders someone, Roger drops acid, Megan eats sherbet, Rory Gilmore gets naked, the triumphant return of Paul Kinsey, Sally becomes a woman, Joan becomes less of one, Peggy watched dogs having sex, and Lane punches Pete Campbell in the face. With the long hiatus, speculation abounds as to how the fifth season of the show would start off, but who would have guessed the show would return on a happy note? Don was basking in marital bliss while Sterling Cooper Draper Price continued to thrive.
Of course Matthew Weiner lulled us into a false sense of security because as the season drug on, the shine wore off and it because pretty clear to me that the theme of season five was getting old sucks. Don could no longer keep up with his young bride which he may or may not have realized while listening to The Beatles, Peggy had to leave her mentor, Pete was exiled to the suburbs as his hairline went further back, Betty got fat, Sally got bloody, Joan had to give up herself, and Lane could not start his Jaguar. Really the only person that got out untouched was Rodger and he needed a new drug to get by. Although, depended on how you took the look Don made in the final frame, he may have made it through to the other side.
And then there was the most shocking moment of the year: Don managed to stay with one woman the whole season. Yes, Dawn was his only secretary this season despite the weirdness of sharing the same name. But we will have to wait until next season to see if he finally gets around to bedding her, because as Allison taught us, if you stick around long enough, you get to have sex with Don Draper as a Christmas bonus. I will not go much further on the individual episodes, if you want to read my thought you can hit the Mad Men tag to see my thoughts.
Of course all thirteen season five episodes are included in the three disks Blu-Ray (surprising Megan and Joan are pictured along with Don) though the two hour premiere is presented here as one episode. Like previous Mad Men seasons, there are bonus features aplenty (this is a review of the Blu-Ray, but the press release say these are also on the DVD release with four disks but I have to wonder who gets a picture on the fourth disk: Peggy? Pete? Roger?). There is Mad Men Say the Darndest Things where the writers on the show talk about some of their favorite one-liners. The take a deeper look at artist Giorgio de Century whose work inspired the Blu-Ray cover with What Shall I Love If Not the Enigma? None of the Mad Men got invited to Truman Capote’s Black and White Masquerade Ball (who knows what Roger would have done in the back room) but it is talked about in The Party of the Century. We also get to go into the studio with Scoring Mad Men: Inside a Session where composer David Carbonarra, orchestrator Geoff Stadling, and sound engineer explain the sound of the show. There is also a pictorial time line about The Uniform Time Act of 1966 which is not as boring as it sounds. I knew Daylight Saving Time was instituted during World War II, but did not know that it got revoked afterwards until 1966. Hopefully it gets abolished again. There is also Newsweek Magazine Digital Gallery that looks at some of the top stories of 1996.
The Blu-Ray also features twenty-four audio commentaries. Yes, each episode gets not one, but two separate audio commentaries. Usually one commentary is Matt Weiner and other behind the scenes people like writers, directors, costume designers, while the actors are resigned to the other but sometimes they mix it up. So if you wonder what Megan Draper thought about her dance sequence or what Lane Price thought about the penultimate episode, give the commentaries a listen. And it is not just castmembers, commentaries also feature guest stars Rory Gilmore, Julia Ormond (but not for the episode where Sally learns that grown up life is dirty), and Paul Kinsey who gets to watch his episode with Harry Crane who nails his onscreen girlfriend and explains why he had to shave his head twice for the show. The is so much content here that there should be plenty extras to hold you over until season six air even if the show goes on another eighteen month hiatus.
Full Disclosure Notice: This Blu-Ray set was given to me by Lionsgate for the purpose of review.
Saturday, September 01, 2012
These days when looking for new shows to watch, I tend to look for actors I like or show creators whose previous work I enjoyed. As a kid I was much simpler, when I saw commercials for Sledge Hammer! I thought to myself, I enjoy the Peter Gabriel song, maybe I should watch this show. And thank goodness for Peter Gabriel because Sledge Hammer! turned out to be one of the funniest half hours ever forged for television which it is why it is this month's induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame.
The show followed Inspector Sledge Hammer of the San Francesco Police Department, who would typically solve cases violently without compassion, and usually by accident. Basically a dumber version of Dirty Harry who carried a .44 Smith & Wesson around with him at all times, even in the shower. Of course when you have amassed as many enemies as Hammer, on both sides of the law, you would be armed at all times too. His straight-(wo)man partner Detective Dori Doreau, was basically everything Sledge was not. Of course their Captain Trunk was your typically uptight boss who sole kelp Pepto-Bismol in business to help him deal with his inept inspector.
Sledge Hammer! was absurdist at its best. And the show saved the best for last. When the show looked like it was going to be canceled, the show decided to blow San Francisco up with a nuclear bomb, accidentally set off by Hammer when he tried to disarm it of course, and then still ended the episode with, “To Be Continued… Next Season?” Surprisingly the show actually did get renewed and the show took place “5 years before” despite numerous contiguity inconstancies which only enhanced the absurdist nature of the show. To this day it still weird to see David Rasche in new endeavors like Burn After Reading or most recently as a mysterious figure on Rubicon because whenever I see him I think to myself, why is Sledge Hammer acting serious? Then I have to go watch an episode or two of the funniest things ever to air.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I came to the realization during this batch of Pretty Little Liars episodes that the show definitely has deep ebbs and flows. The show started on a high with the guiltiest guilty pleasure of four girls being tormented by a mad texter that may or may not have been tied to their friend who was brutally murdered. But after a season, things started to drag on until the second half of season two when they finally were building up to the big reveal of who “A” was. But when the show came back for the current third season it seemed to drag along once again even when they tried to force some manufactured drama with the “BetrAyal”.
Of course these episodes drug on for the same reason most episodes of the show drag on: the writers continue to think that Erza and Aria have some grand love affair, not a creepy, statutory relationship they do. And even though Ezra has been blacklisted from getting any job in the greater Rosewood area because his extra-curricular activities with a student, he has not only stuck around, but the writers doubled down on the creepiness by making him a father. But for some reason, despite the crazy family that has enough money to make you disappear overnight and a baby mama (hello Alex Mack), Aria for some reason has stayed by her man even though it cannot be that hard for her to find someone better than Ezra. At this point even Hermy the Hermaphrodite would be an upgrade.
As for the BetrAyal that the promo monkeys had been pushing for the past month, all signs leading up to this episode pointed to Paige which meant there was no way she would be the betrAyer. By the end of the finale it looked like Nate, or whatever his name is, was going to BetrAy Emily. So dude killed Maya, was annoyed that she love Emily so he returned to Rosewood to get back at Emily by poising as Maya’s cousin, tried to hook up with Jenna even though she may or may not have seen him with Maya, then tried to make out with Emily, and then when all else failed decided to just kill Paige instead while Emily watched. Wait, what? And did he also dig up Allison? I think I missed something. It does not help that I did not care about Nate from the beginning and his evil turn was so bad it looked like he watched Leighton Meester in The Roommate for inspiration (should have gone old school and went with Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female instead).
Speaking of painfully bad acting, just when you thought Nate was going to the BetrAyer, it turns out Toby also has a stash of black hoodies. Except I could not stop laughing at his turn at the camera at the end followed by some sort of weird mad dash around corner. And I thought nothing was going to be more awkward than the least sexy sex scene ever put to film. What is worse is that he makes no sense as a member of The A Team which I always assumed included Jenna (along with Hermy). So I guess if Toby is in and Jenna is out.. But even though the summer finale went out with a resounding whimper (alright the staging in the lighthouse looked cool), I have to say the Halloween special looks pretty coo. And keep in mind the last Halloween special is when the show found its footing again, so hopefully this year’s episode will put it on an ebb upwards again.
Pretty Little Liars 3.x (Summer) gets a on my Terror Alert Scale. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.