Tag Archives: television series

I spy a fun film

I finally saw The Man from U.N.C.L.E. today.

I’m so glad I didn’t let the critics dissuade me.

Since the stylized spy thriller opened counter to Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, critics seemed hell-bent to compare the two.  I’ve seen both; there’s really no comparison.

MI:RN was a wonderful sequel in the Mission Impossible franchise, but the storytelling and action sequences are distinctly modern. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a homage to the 1960’s television series, and the look, feel, pacing, soundtrack — you name it — are true to that era.

I also loved the very dry, British humor that director Guy Ritchie brought to the production. I’m not sure everyone in the theater today got it, but that simply made me feel smarter…and laugh all the louder.

As the trailers promised, everyone in this film is beautiful to gaze upon. Russian spy Armie Hammer is deadly gorgeous, especially in the close-ups, and American agent Henry Cavill is so chiseled, he doesn’t seem realistic. Hugh Grant has also never looked better. He should hire the hair and makeup people and keep them on staff.

I loved Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and I loved The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 

I am so complex.

How I Should Have Met Your Mother

I was horrified by the series finale of How I Met Your Mother.

If you don’t know how it ended oh so many months ago, stop reading.  But suffice it to say, the last episode was like a sledgehammer to the very foundation of the show’s premise, crumbling its emotional center, its heart and its credibility.

It was awful.

Soon after the show’s creators and CBS were inundated with bad reviews and poor comments, it was revealed that there was an alternate ending that would be included on the DVD.  It has now been leaked.

It is perfect.


Whoever got to choose the version that aired?

Bad decision.


The producers

If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey — and really, who isn’t — you’ve no doubt seen this a few times:

“Funding for Masterpiece is provided by the Masterpiece Trust, created to ensure the series future, with support from Donald and Darlene Shiley and the following…”

“The following” change episode to episode, but the Shileys remain at the top of the list.  You’ll even see their names as supporters of Masterpiece Mystery.

Which got me thinking — who are Donald and Darlene Shiley? Should I know their names already?  And can I personally thank them for ‘ensuring the future’ and very existence of Downton Abbey?

Sadly, Donald died in August of last year, but not before he made tremendous contributions as a doctor and philanthropist.  Shiley collaborated with Swedish cardiologist Dr. Viking Bjork to develop the Bjork-Shiley heart valve, which is credited with saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

He also contributed millions to research centers in San Diego which bear his name. The Shiley Eye Center at UC San Diego. The Shiley Center for Science and Technology at the University of San Diego. The Donald P. Shiley Cardiovascular Research Center at San Diego State University.

He and his wife Darlene have given millions to Alzheimers research, the Scripps Clinic, The Old Globe Theater and KPBS.  (She worked as a TV public service director and promotions manager before their marriage.)

So now, each time I sit down to enjoy another addictive episode of Downton Abbey, I’ll smile knowing an even greater love story made the whole darn thing possible.

Sunshine day

I love the new ABC comedy series Mr. Sunshine.

What’s that, you say — it doesn’t premiere until tonight?  And your point would be….?

I am already a huge fan of Mr. Sunshine.  Seriously…the writers and producers are really gonna have to drop the ball on this one to lose me as a viewer.

First and foremost, the show brings Matthew Perry and Alison Janney back to prime time television.  Just seeing their faces in the promos makes me happy.

And the promos themselves have been funny, too.  Alison is zany, and Matthew is doing his thing.  Heck, they even have Andrea Anders on board — who was on the very bad Joey with fellow Friends alum Matt LeBlanc.

If they’re willing to roll that die, the show has to be good.

Mr. Sunshine also doesn’t take place in a hospital or lawyer’s office.  There isn’t a CSI to be found anywhere near the title.  This show centers around a sporting arena, which on the surface at least, appears to be different.

I like different.  I appreciate that at least one network recognizes that not everyone wants to watch shows about medicine, cops or lawyers.  And based on the ratings from this year’s Super Bowl, a lot of folks find the idea of sports kinda enjoyable.  Stands to reason they might like a sitcom set in a sporting arena.

I think ABC thinks this show is good, too…because they gave it one of the most sought after lead-ins in television right now, Modern Family. Ya don’t want to follow the best comedy around with schlock.

And I really don’t think Mr. Sunshine is schlock.  Just look at that face.  Would Matthew Perry bring anything but the funny into your home?

Of course not.

It’s gonna be great.  I already love it.


El fin

The past week has seen its share of good-byes.

Fans of “Lost” and “24” bid tearful farewells to their beloved series.  Even “10 Things I Hate about You” got a bit of love when it exited the scene after only one season…from whomever watched it.

And there’s always a void after the season finales air — that hole in your schedule that used to be filled.

Monday nights, for example.   Now that “Dancing with the Stars” has crowned Nicole and Derek the mirror ball champions, and “Castle” has wrapped for the season, my evening is wide open.  I don’t even have any DVR to catch up on the next day now that “How I Met Your Mother” and “Big Bang Theory” have concluded their runs.


And tonight, “American Idol” announces its winner, and at the same time, sends Simon Cowell off into the great beyond.

But, let’s get real.  Simon leaving IS the end of “American Idol.”  It’s time for the producers to admit it…the fans to accept it…and really, for everyone to be happy the ride is over.

This last season was pretty lame.  If you watched the finals last night, they were more a whimper than a blaze of glory.  Lee and Crystal are both talented, but how would they have fared in last year’s final?  Would you have considered them differently in a group with an Adam Lambert or a David Cook?

I think so.

The contestants this year are a reflection, I believe, of Simon’s lack of commitment to the process.  He stepped out months ago, and let Kara and the rest of the judges drive the process.

When he steps out for good, look out.  “American Idol” becomes “American Mediocrity.”