I still love TV . . .

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Image Credit: October Jones

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, maybe it’s because I moved away from LA where not only my job, but seemingly everyone else’s job, revolved around TV and being a part of that conversation, maybe it’s because I’ve been participating in more offline conversations about TV than online – for whatever reason, I’ve let this blog fall dormant for the past year or so. I’m so sorry. I love this blog. I want to write more on it. I’m going to be making a few design changes coming up in order to inject some excitement into my goal of making this blog a bit more of a priority. I still love TV and I want to express that love where it will be appreciated.

American Horror Story might just win me back

My sporadic webiste postings notwithstanding, I’m still devouring TV on a regular basis and very much looking forward to the new fall season.  I have been particularly intrigued by the promos and artwork for American Horror Story: Coven.  I was beyond uninterested in last year’s Asylum and didn’t even make it through the first episode, but for some reason, everything that FX is putting out to promote the new chapter has me kind of excited.  Below is the latest teaser.

American Horror Story: Coven premieres Wednesday October 9th at 10pm on FX

TV Discovery: Orphan Black

Tatiana Maslany as Sara just at the moment that everything changes for her in the pilot.

Tatiana Maslany as Sara just at the moment that everything changes for her in the pilot.

There are far too many channels on TV for me to keep up with all of the new shows as well as the ones that I have been watching for years, so sometimes I get a bit behind (I still haven’t watched the new season of Arrested Development!).  Luckily, we live in an age where re-runs aren’t always a bad thing.  That is how I came to know, and passionately love, Orphan Black. The BBC America show is very clearly filmed in Toronto (standing in for New York) which always sort of irks me, but it is good you guys.  Like sit-on-the-couch-for-10-hours-straight good.  The season 1 finale aired on Saturday and BBCA did a re-run of the entire season beforehand.  I am blown away.   Continue reading

The Big C: Hereafter – Ruminations on the truth & consequences of death

the-big-c-hereafter-3The Big C is a tough show.  It’s always been a tough show.  It is a show about a woman with cancer learning to live her life through that lens.  People die on this show.  Not because of something supernatural or even un-natural (such as murder), but because they get sick and they die.  That is heavy, heavy stuff.  That the show was able to explore all of this heavy stuff with a sense of humor (gallows humor most of the time, but still) is miraculous and beautiful.  But this latest installment, The Big C: Hereafter – what Showtime is calling a “limited series event” – is something else entirely.  Because it’s not about a woman living with cancer, it is about a woman actively dying of cancer.  And it is sad.  And it is stunning.  And it is compassionate.  And I believe that it is some of the most revolutionary television I’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Ugh! Last Night’s Glee

glee12n-5-webLast night’s episode of Glee is pretty much the reason why I’m so ambivalent about this show.  There were 10 minutes in there that were actually pretty good and moving and affecting.  But it was 10 minutes that didn’t really belong to the show.  It felt like 10 minutes that could have been plucked out and put into another, better show about teenagers and worked.  But Glee has lost all good will with me, so instead of being affected or moved, I was just annoyed that the show was trying so hard.

maxresdefault891If Glee weren’t made up of a bunch of caricatures who were more concerned with their racist cats than their boyfriends; If the show didn’t have an “issue of the week” mentality; If the earnestness felt earned and true rather than cloying; If the writers hadn’t worked so hard to create an admirable portrayal of a teenager with Down Syndrome only to pull the rug out from under that portrayal for no real reason except shock value; If Glee was a better, different show, they could have made this episode mean something.  As it stands, they basically shoehorned a “shocking” event in the middle of more ridiculousness and the whole thing failed in my opinion.  This doesn’t even take into consideration the WTF of Bieste suddenly wanting to get with Will and the stupid “catfishing” of Ryder plot.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this show should stop with the earnest, cloying, “lesson of the week” structure and just focus on being about wild, well-rounded characters who burst through stereotypes and cliches to feel real.  Except that this show will never be that.  That would make too much sense.

Must Read: HuffPost Article on the State of the Network Comedy

Happy-Endings_320This article by Maureen Ryan has been passed around by every TV lover I know today and is a definite must read.  I find the changing TV landscape to be one of the most fascinating things going on in the business world these days.  If I could go back to school, I would study the television business model and how it’s changed and adapted (or not) over time.  Happy Endings is definitely one of my favorite comedies on TV right now and I would be bereft if it disappeared because it’s not well suited to ABC (which is just the truth) so I’m very hopeful that if ABC decides to get rid of it, a cable network will pick it up.  Its worked for Cougartown (another one of my favs that ABC threw away).

Ryan’s article makes some great points about why a show like Happy Endings is flailing – time slot changes, the way that ratings are reported, the fast-paced pop culture references – but I really think that it comes down to the whole Network vs Cable debate.  There are just too many channels producing original material and so much of it is actually worth watching that shows that are even a little less than mainstream tend to just get sucked into the ether of the big 4 networks.  I’ve become more and more picky about the shows that I devote my time to and this is the biggest reason why.  Happy Endings would be great on cable where it can push the limits creatively a little bit and may not have to deal with the spotlight of being on a big network.  When a show isn’t required to “save” a network, it tends to feel more comfortable in its own skin.

First Impressions: “Hannibal”

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I was a bit reluctant to add Hannibal to my DVR this season. For some reason it felt like so many other failed shows that we’ve seen come and go – Supposedly prestigious, but not long for this world. The tone and look of the previews made me think a lot of Awake for some reason. I loved Awake and thought it was an amazingly inventive show for network television and was pretty disappointed when NBC didn’t follow through on that gamble by letting it grow a little bit. I am worried because here we are again with an elegant, intelligent, thoughtful, inventive show on NBC – shall we place bets on when they screw it up?

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And We’re Back!

After a super long hiatus caused by my lack of technical skill and some really mean hackers, my site is back online – just in time for upfronts next month!  I haven’t stopped watching TV, but I have definitely pulled back a bit which has been kind of interesting.  I’ve had to really cut out the fat and I’m left with a crop of shows that are the best of the best (in my opinion).  I’ll be posting more very soon!

Homeland: Proof that risky story telling pays off

Carrie (Claire Danes) and Brody (Damian Lewis) meet up for a drink before everything gets blown to smithereens (metaphorically this time)

I liked the first season of Homeland.  It was a tense thriller with a strong (meaning well-defined) female character at its center starring one of my favorite actresses – what’s not to like?  It definitely had moments of surprise, but for the most part, the plot seemed to sort of chug along to inevitable conclusions – No one believed Carrie about hero Brody’s involvement with a terrorist, Brody does not go through with the bombing of the Vice President et al, Brody still looks like a hero and Carrie gets locked away in the loony bin.  These endings felt set up from the beginning.  But all of that left me wondering where the show was going to go during its second season.  I find that character based shows can often go on indefinitely because you can always put your character in new situations to react to.  But Homeland, while it has great characters, wasn’t really a character based story in its first season.  It was the story of a C.I.A. Agent trying to take down a spy and capture a terrorist.  From the outside, it appeared to be plot driven – but don’t tell the Homeland writers that.

Carrie with her new surveillance partner Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend). Is he going to stick around now that there’s no one to secretly surveil?

Last night, Homeland basically blew up its main plot!  After finally being proven right about Brody’s nefarious intentions, Carrie and Saul set up a new surveillance (welcome back Virgil & Max!) to see if they could ferret out his handler and build a case against Nazir.  However, after “bumping into” Brody and then having one drink with him, Carrie brazenly called him out as being a spy and took him into custody.  WHAT!?!?  I don’t think I was ever necessarily bored with Homeland, but I certainly had become complacent to its awesomeness and the end of last night’s episode ripped me right out of my comfort zone.  Homeland just threw the rule book out of the window.  It proved that taking risks and subverting an audiences expectations just draws them in even more.  I cannot wait to see how the writers get themselves out of the corner they’ve painted themselves into.  For the first time in a long time, I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what’s going to happen next.

Finn (Timothee Chalamet) and Dana (Morgan Saylor) adorably try to stop being adorable.

P.S. What’s going on with Brody’s daughter Dana and the Vice President’s son, Finn?  I mean, I know what’s going on – they’re being totally adorable and teenagery and awesome – but in the grand scheme of things, how will it fit in?  One of my absolute favorite relationships on this show is the one between Brody and Dana.  They have a great connection and a great honesty between them that is really refreshing.  But she trusts her dad a little too much and is bound for some great big hurt and that makes me really sad.  It also makes me think that her relationship with Finn is more than just a cute aside.  Am I being too conspiracy theorist?