Tag Archives: tv series

Here’s to Tony

Thanks to Time Warner Cable’s primetime OnDemand, I was able to watch the first episode of WeTV’s new drama The Divide before it’s premiere this Wednesday, July 16th.

the-divideI was initially drawn to the show because Tony Goldwyn, our beloved president on Scandal, is one of the executive producers and the director.  He has an impressive list of credits in the director role :  Scandal, Justified, Dexter, Private Practice, Grey’s Anatomy, and The L Word.  So I figured this new show was worth a look.

And I was right.

The story centers on a prisoner who has been on death row for almost 12 years for the murder of an entire family.  All appeals have failed, and he is scheduled to be executed in a matter of weeks when a member of the Innocence Initiative finds new evidence that may be enough for a new trial.

The cast is excellent, what I’ve seen of the writing is compelling, and Tony’s direction is top-notch.  I’ve already set my DVR to record the entire series.

Check it out!

 

Bring them home?

When the promos for the new ABC drama Resurrection began earlier this season, many people — including friends of mine — said they did not plan to watch.

resurrection abc

 

 

 

 

 

The idea of dead friends and family returning was too hard for many to think about, let alone see portrayed on network TV where they knew it would probably go really wrong.

I had similar misgivings, but couldn’t look away.

So I’ve watched the series in its entirety. Not surprisingly, the supernatural aspects are there and haven’t been explained to date. But I don’t think that’s the interesting part.

It’s how the people react to the return of their dead friends and family. How they try — or don’t try — to fit them back into their lives. You’d think they’d be celebrating, but instead they dwell on wrongs from years past that they still can’t forgive.

It’s a really interesting character study.

The frighteners

I just watched the series finale of American Horror Story: Coven.

AHS Coven

I won’t include any spoilers here — for those of you who are even farther behind than I — but I will say that Coven was my least favorite of the three AHS mini-series to date.

Here’s why:

  1. It wasn’t scary enough.  Murder House and Asylum were hide-your-eyes-put-the-kids-to-bed television events.  MH was especially chilling with its basement of horrors, leather-bound mystery man and shadows darting in front of the camera without explanation.  The only thing scary about Coven were the teaser promos; the series itself was more spectacle than horror.
  2. There weren’t enough men. It’s wonderful to see all these powerful female roles, especially for actresses of a certain age. But does that conversely mean that there’s room for so few men in the story line?  MH and Asylum had strong characters of both sexes; Coven suffered from its narrow definition of witch.
  3. The finale (no spoilers) seemed a bit…familiar. I’m pretty sure that same actress was in a very similar situation at the end of Asylum.  Would be great to mix things up (including the players) in Seasons 4 and 5.

TV critics have been quick to call Coven the best season of American Horror Story based on the higher ratings alone.  But we know how long it can take audiences to find a series.  So if you are new to AHS this season, take a swing by Netflix and watch Seasons 1 and 2.

They’re so good, it’s scary.

Not a game for all ages

My friend Beth and I were browsing the clearance items at Barnes & Noble after lunch today, when we came upon this gem:

Games of Thrones toysGame of Thrones figurines.

In the children’s section

I looked — these POP! toys are also prominently featured on the GOT website homepage.  Are the show producers really trying to encourage small children to watch this series?

I readily admit to not watching Game of Thrones.  But based on the promos, marketing materials and magazine articles I have seen, I feel I can confidently say —

This isn’t a kiddie program.

Craig Ferguson doesn’t watch it either.  But when he interviews cast members during their visits to The Late Late Show, he always shakes his head in regret saying, “There are boobies on that show!”

Which kinda makes ya think babies shouldn’t be watching…right?

Is there an echo in here?

TV insiders have NBC’s Sean Saves the World on the not-long-for-this-world list. I’ve watched the series to date, and I tend to agree.

sean-saves-the-world-tcaIt’s not like the show is short on talent.  Sean Hayes.  Linda Lavin.  The ever whackadoodle Thomas Lennon.

Unfortunately, the writing is not at the same standard.  It seems familiar and dated…and the look on Sean’s face says he knows it.

That’s too bad…especially for the supporting cast members, who are so strong and deserve to be on television.

echo kellumI especially hope that Echo Kellum [left] finds a sitcom worthy of his talents.

He was so funny on the short-lived Ben and Kate on FOX, and now adds his unique comedic timing to Sean’s office.

Give this guy a good show, fates…and keep him around!

Boris and Natasha

Thank you America!

You made The Americans the FX Network’s most watched series debut yet.

fx_americans_keyart_p_2012And now FX Network has decided to renew the freshman series for a second year! Season 2 will also have 13 episodes, an increase from this year’s 9-episode order.

K-G-Beautiful!

Now, I’m sure many of you made the decision to watch the spy drama all by yourselves.  But for those of you who decided to give it a look-see based on my recent post

You are truly great Americans.

If you’ve missed out, check out The Americans marathon starting tomorrow night at 10pm ET on FX Network — all five episodes shown to date, back-to-back-to-back.

Get your shoe phone ready.

No beans about it

I’m watching 24 in 24Sandwich King Jeff Mauro’s new show on Food Network.

(It’s kinda like the $40 a Day series that Rachael Ray did way back when, but with less scratch.)

He’s in Cleveland in tonight’s episode, and he’s eating chili for lunch.

Now I love chili, and today’s dramatic drop in temperatures makes it sound especially good.  I don’t have any chili on me, but I am really enjoying watch him eat chicken chili from Palookaville Chili in Cleveland.

But he made a curious claim during the program.

He said chili is usually the “B-film of food.”  It’s canned stuff.  It goes on hot dogs.  It’s not the star.

I love the Sandwich King, but I consider chili to be at the top of the soup chain.  At the top of the stew chain.  At the top of Rachael Ray’s ‘stoup’ chain (combo soup/stew).

Chili is king.  And was king long before Jeff won Food Network Star.

Let’s show it a little respect.

This just in

A few of my friends — okay, really just one, but I hate to name names — have had a lot of fun on Twitter slamming Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO series The Newsroom.

To be fair, said friend slams a lot of other shows as well, but since I happen to agree with most of those observations, I don’t take issue.

But when he repeatedly tweetslaps –and retweetslaps — The Newsroom?

I cannot stand idly by.

Now, even I will admit the pilot was an explosion of exposition and classic Sorkin sermons.  But if we wrote off every series’ first episode for being exposition-heavy, the Harry Potter movies would have ended at Sorcerer’s Stone.  

You have to establish characters before you can build relationships.  That’s a given.

For those of you lucky enough to have stuck around for Sunday night’s episode of The Newsroom, your patience was rewarded.  Fewer sermons.  More focus on the relationships in the newsroom (which, if you’ve worked in one, do blow up like that from time to time).  Even some cultural references to add to the fun.  And did a few of you shed a tear at the ending?

I’ll take that bet.

And I’ll be DVRing The Newsroom this season.  And next.

No contest

Television is wimpy.

If movies and TV shows met in a dark alley, movies would kick their butts…easy.

Just take a look at the subject matter of the top movie box office for this past weekend alone:

  • a band of zombie fighters
  • a machine that turns water into food
  • the first man to ever tell a lie in the world
  • people using surrogates to live their lives
  • a roller derby league for women
  • a documentary on capitalism
  • a performing arts high school
  • an executive who turns informant
  • a motivational speaker who doesn’t practice what he preaches

Would any of those story lines ever be a TV series?  No.  (Well, maybe the last one…and that’s because it’s the worst of the lot.)

For some reason, television executives have decided that the only dramas that audiences want to see revolve around hospitals, police stations and courtrooms.  This year they got all excited and found a new angle — nurses.  Awesome…that totally changes things.

In comedy, it’s all about the non-traditional family.  Which version do you prefer?  Courtney Cox in “Cougartown?”  Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “The New Adventures of Old Christine?”  Or the male equivalent in “Gary Unmarried” or “Two and a Half Men”?

Even reality shows are just giving us the same thing over and over again.  “Dancing with the Stars”  and “So You Think You Can Dance” co-mingled with “The Biggest Loser” to begat “Dancing Your Ass Off.”  Kill me now.

Why can’t series television show a tenth of the creativity and risk-taking of movies?  Sometimes it does…in series like “Glee” and “Mad Men” and “True Blood.”  And in case the networks don’t get it — that’s why audiences have gone crazy.

Hey, look — television series about something different…a high school choral group, and an ad agency set in the 1950’s, and a New Orleans town inhabited by vampires and shape shifters.

Not a doctor or lawyer or cop in the bunch.  And we’re still watching.

Stings, doesn’t it?