Sunday, October 30, 2011

Once Upon a Time, Episode 2

Being bad has never looked
so good!
At the end of the pilot episode for Once Upon a Time, I said I'd withhold my verdict until episode two. I was hoping the next episode would live up to the promise the pilot made. Well, after the second episode, I can say, "I'm in."

The pilot was a bit bogged down with exposition but this episode hit the ground running and left me with several good questions. What happened to make the Evil Queen so evil? Who is the sheriff's fairy tale counterpart? Does Emma have a copy of those pages she burned?

The reason those are good questions is because those are the kinds of questions you ask when a show draws you in.

I'm glad to see Jennifer Morrison (Emma) play a part so different from her character on House (likewise for Giancarlo Esposito, whose Man in the Mirror/Newspaper Editor is a far cry from the steely sociopath he played on Breaking Bad). She comes across as capable and tough enough to go  up against the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla). Speaking of Her Royal Bad-Assedness, Parrilla is delicious in her role. I loved when she attempted to hand Emma one of her 'apples'.

This is the only show I've seen so far this season that actually lives up to the hype. I now know where I'll be Sunday nights at 8:00!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Force Feeding? I’ll Pass

I watched it. I moved on. NBC
could play it eight nights in a
row and I still wouldn't watch.
NBC must really believe in Prime Suspect. The problem is that we, the viewing audience, don’t seem to. They cancel The Playboy Club after three episodes and then what do they do? In an attempt to make us believe in Prime Suspect, they put it on four times in one week. This week it’s on Monday through Thursday all week at 10:00.

It’s one thing to get behind a show but it’s another thing all together to try to make people see ‘the error of their ways.’ I watched Prime Suspect twice and for me, that was enough. I didn’t think Maria Bello was ‘a revelation’. She was good but not great. I found her a bit too gruff and I didn’t connect with her character. I also found it implausible that she’d face so much misogyny in 2011. I know the police department is an old boys' club but we are almost 25 years away from the Cagney & Lacey era.

So go ahead NBC. You could try to shovel Prime Suspect down my throat but it won’t work. I ain’t watchin’.

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, there was a cute, quirky black princess who had grown weary of kissing frogs.

Opps, sorry, Once Upon a Time wasn’t my fairy tale, but another sort of fairy tale all together (though neither theirs nor mine seems to have a happy ending!). After a summer of hype, I settled in Sunday night for a dose of fairytale magic. What I got was lots of exposition (after all it was the pilot) and lots of promise.

It all started when Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) married Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). Before they could even get in a good “Kiss the bride,” the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) swooped in with her own wedding gift … a curse. It wasn’t just any curse but the curse to end all curses. It was a curse that would end all happy endings and transport our fairy tale favorites to ‘someplace horrible.’ 

Of course, she doesn’t do it just then, she waits. Meanwhile, Snow and the Prince are expecting their first child. Consumed with anxiety, they visit Rumplestilskin to get some insight on the Queen’s plan. Things don’t look good, but there is one hope. The baby Snow is carrying will save them all once she hits her 28th birthday.

When the curse comes, baby Emma is the only one who is spared. So what was the curse? Where is this ‘horrible’ place with no happy endings? Our world, of course and they have no memory of who they really are … except for the Queen … who’s now the mayor (did anyone think she wouldn’t be in politics?). Snow is a teacher and little Emma has grown up to be a bail bonds person who meets her 10-year old son for the first time on her 28th birthday.

He’s runaway to find her and bring her back to Storybrooke Maine. He’s read a fairytale book given to him by his teacher and is convinced the stories are true and she is the only one who can help.

Being a serious fairy tale fan (Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales is one of my favorite books), it was fun to see some of my favorite characters reimagined in our world. Grandma and Red Riding Hood become a hotel owner with a goth granddaughter in a red shawl in our world. 

I think the show has a lot of promise. Ironically, the fairytales we knew and loved as kids were watered down sunny versions of the actual fairy tales that were often much more intense and gory. Cinderella’s stepsisters each cut off part of their foot to try to fit into the coveted glass slipper. One the way to the wedding, a bird came down and gouged one of their eyes out. On the way back from the wedding, the bird came back for the other eye!

I hope that Once Upon a Time can straddle a happy medium between the intensity of the original stories but still maintain a few moments of whimsy, and dare I saw humor, sprinkled in.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, Monday

Ryan Murphy has an early Christmas present for us, Gleeks. How'd you like Chord Overstreet wrapped up and under your tree (maybe in his Rocky Horror costume!). Overstreet will return to Glee in a multi-episode arc starting in December. Murphy said, “So here’s an early Christmas present for all the Gleeks — Sam is coming back to McKinley, and just in time for sectionals!” The real question is what does this mean for our girl Mercedes. She was dating Sam at the end of last season but she's moved on. Will she move back?

Here's something to talk about. Aisha Tyler is no longer a guest host on The Talk. She's now a full-time host … joining Sharon Osbourne, Julie Chen, Sheryl Underwood and Sara Gilbert. Tyler is the voice of Lana on FX's Archer and has had recurring roles on Friends and The Ghost Whisperer.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not a Lot of News

If this photo doesn't
pique your interest
I don't know what will!
Last week was hard. Work was relentless and at home I was working on getting a new book up on Kindle (It's just $1.99! Click here). I didn't have a lot of time to write and as I try to catch up, I'm not finding a lot I want to really post about.

Against my better judgment, I saw Real Steel yesterday. I let a friend pick the movie and that's what she wanted to see. I was pleasantly surprised. It was good ... kind of like a combination of Rocky and live-action Rock'em Sock'em robots with a Transformers look.

I missed one of my new favorite shows this week, American Horror Story. I will blog on this in  greater detail later in the week. I'm really enjoying this show. It's creepy and twisty and it's got a great cast: Dylan McDermott (all kinds of yummy), Connie Britton (fresh off of Friday Night Lights and still amazing), and Jessica Lange (chewing up every scene she's in). It's not too late to get involved. You can get recaps of the show on the FX site). Wednesday, 10:00 PM, FX.

I'm hurrying off the computer now because I want to check out Once Upon a Time tonight (8:00 ABC). I'll let you know what I think.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lots of News

"Goodbye Angels," we can almost hear Charlie saying it. Charlie's Angels has been a victim of the cancellation guillotine. It looks as if the show will remain on for the time being, maybe long enough to burn off the four remaining episodes. So, it's bad news for our trio-of-ass-kicking Angels, and it may soon be bad news for our quartet of sexy Sixties stewardesses (they called them that in the 60's). Pan Am ratings continued their free fall this past week. This Sunday was a ratings low for the show that follows a fledgling Desperate Housewives. It won't be long now.

Trouble in Paradise? It looks as if the blissfully quiet waters of Klaine are heading for a potential storm on Glee. According to TVLine, it's coming in the form of Sebastian, a scheming Santana-like gay Warbler, played by theater actor Grant Gustin. Apparently, he has his sights set on Blaine. Uh-oh. In other Glee news, when the show returns on November 1st, the seven-episode arc for Damian McGinty begins. The Irish lad will play an exchange student who ends up living with Brittany and family. She thinks he's a leprechaun. As my favorite from The Glee Project, I do find him magically delicious!

In other bad news, after two seasons, TNT has canceled Memphis Beat, the quirky police drama starring Jason Lee and Alfre Woodard. I enjoyed that show! A few months ago, they cancelled Men of a Certain Age ...  a show I watched once and fell asleep halfway through. Go figure.

November fifth, Saturday Night Live will be hosted by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Horrible Bosses star Charlie Day. While I like Day, the musical guest is Maroon 5 and I love me some Maroon 5! Maybe you don't ... but remember, it's my blog! Muh-ha-ha!!! (that's the evil Daffy Duck laugh).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Damn Baseball!

Baseball? If I want to watch
a bunch of chewing and
spitting, I'll babysit a
newborn! Really!!!
Okay, I'm going to say something that would make my dearly departed grandfather (and die-hard Indians fan) roll over twice in his grave: I hate baseball. It's boring, it has the least number of hot guys (next to golf), and I swear, every time I turn past a baseball game, they're always showing some guy in the dugout chewing and spitting (tobacco, gum, sunflower seeds). So it was with a mixture of anger and disgust (watching grown men spitting, really???), that I tuned in to The X-Factor only to find baseball!

Baseball!!!! Ugh!!

Apparently, there was a rain delay that caused the game to start over two hours later. So here's what you want to know. Last night's episode of The X-Factor will air tonight. Tonight's episode will air Sunday unless it is bumped by a Game 7 in whatever inane baseball series is still going on.

Next week, there is only one evening of X-Factor and that will be Tuesday. You know what is airing Wednesday and Thursday (Grrrrrrr!)

Baseball. Ugh!

Pick Ups and Put Downs

Whitney's been picked up for the entire
season. Who'd of thunk it? I didn't.
 Whitney (NBC), Up All Night (NBC), The New Girl (Fox), 2 Broke Girls (CBS) and Ringer (CW) have all been picked up for a full season. I might have to watch an episode or two of Whitney and Up All Night. I have watched The New Girl and it's okay, although I can see why it got picked up. As one broke girl, I haven't watched 2 Broke Girls (I'm kinda living that) Ringer, with Sarah Michelle Gellar, might merit a look or two. It's about a twin who takes over her estranged sister's wonderful life only to find it's a lot more complicated than she anticipated.

Joining The Playboy Club on the Cancellation Trash Heap is Hank Azaria's Free Agents. H8R, the CW series where 'fans' could confront the reality star they loathe the most has also been axed. My bets on the next shows to be strewn atop the cancellation trash heap would be Pan Am (ABC) and possibly Charlie's Angels (ABC).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pan Am Taking a Nose Dive

Call Air Traffic Control! This show is losing altitude! After last night's third episode, the ratings are not looking good. Pan Am dropped 27% from last week down to a piddly 1.6 ratings share. You'd think having Desperate Housewives as a lead-in would help except that DH managed a 2.7 rating (8.46 million viewers) which is an all-time low for the series.

Seeing as The Playboy Club was cancelled after a dismal 1.2 ratings share, I'd say our faithful crew of plucky flight attendents better release the oxygen masks and prepare to use their seat cushions as floatation devices because this baby is about to crash!

Sparkle Gets More Shine

Here's some of the original artwork.
This time it will be Jordin Sparks and
not Irene Cara belting out a tune.
The production of the remake of Sparkle is gaining momentum. Jordin Sparks will play the title role while Whitney Houston will play her mother. Now we learn that Cee-lo Green has been added to the cast and R. Kelly will oversee the music.

Two unknown (well at least unknown to me) actresses will play Sparkle’s sisters and the other two member of their trio. Those actresses are Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter. Rounding out the cast are Derek Luke, Mike Epps and Omari Hardwick.

Straight Outta Where??

Why we need a biopic about gangsta rap group N.W.A, I’ll never know … but one is in the works, Straight Outta Compton. Original N.W.A. member turned actor Ice Cube is co-producing. It looked as if Boyz in the Hood director John Singleton would be at the helm but then again, maybe not. According to several sources, producers are looking at three other directors: Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan, the upcoming Footloose), F. Gary Gray (Set It Off, The Italian Job, Friday) and Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Hancock, The Kingdom). I'll keep you posted because I'm sure you're sitting on the edge of your seat ...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Movie Review: The Ides of March

George Clooney and his writing/producing partner Grant Heslov are back with The Ides of March, an adaptation of the play Farragut North. For those who aren't familiar, Farragut North is a stop on the Red Line for the DC Metro. It lets you off near K Street where all of the political consulting firms are.

Clooney and Heslov renamed it The Ides of March, which is part of the line from Shakespeare's Julius Cesar. The emperor is told to "Beware the Ides of March" because that is when he will be assassinated by those closes to him.

Clooney grew up in Covington, Kentucky (a suburb of Cincinnati on the other side of the Ohio River), and The Ides of March is set right in Clooney's backyard in the week before the big Ohio primary. Although he is featured as Governor Mike Morris, who is vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, the film's star is Ryan Gosling. As Morris's press secretary, Steven Myers, he's a 30-year old veteran, who's viewed as a bit of a wunderkind by his colleagues. He's jaded but still manages to be idealistic believing that Morris is the candidate, the only candidate, who can really make a difference. Sharing in his cynicism but not his optimism is his boss, Paul Zara (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) the head of media for Morris's rival, and Ida Horowicz (Marisa Tomei) a political reporter.

Myers makes two mistakes. First, he takes a meeting, behind Zara's back, with Duffy who wants to recruit him for his team. He also starts an affair with a young intern (Evan Rachel Wood) that has some nasty repercussions. There is also a sizable subplot about both teams courting the delegates of one Ohio senator Thompson (Jeffrey Wright) because both sides know whoever takes Ohio, takes the nomination.

The actors in Ides are first-rate and they deliver first-rate performances. Watching Clooney, Gosling, Hoffman, and even in lesser roles, Giamatti, Wright, Tomei and Wood, was enjoyable. That alone was worth the price of admission.

At first, I had trouble believing that Myers could be so naive as to pin on his hopes on one guy. In fact, I found it hard to believe that he would have hopes at all. However, by the end of the film, I'd come to believe that it was this particular chain of events that killed whatever hope that Morris had initially ignited in him.

Ides of March is a political and cerebral thriller. The machinations and betrayals come more through words than actions so if you go into it expecting an action thriller, you will be disappointed. There is a lot of talking and posturing. It works for this film and I enjoyed it.

Also, I have a friend, K, who is a rabid conservative Republican. If you share K's views, do not, I repeat, do not see this movie. There are several speeches that reveal Morris's left-leaning Democrat tendencies (yes on gay marriage, free college after two years of public service, ...) if that is going to tick you off, don't go. The older couple seated in front of me left after one key speech and I think that's why ... but it was George Clooney so what did they really expect?

Anyway, politics aside, I enjoyed the Ides of March and if you like strong performances with a little politics thrown in on the side, I think you will too.

Asian F Gets an A in My Book!

Yes, the episode is called Asian F, so
technically, I guess Mike Chang's pic
should be here but Mercedes has a
man and that's what I'm going with.
My blog, my rules, damnit!
So I get back from my vacay, and get hit with some weird bug that kept me completely fatigued for practically a week. I went days without even going upstairs and turning on the PC. I'm feeling better now but man was that weird! I did get to watch most of my shows though (thank goodness the TV is downstairs). You know, I wouldn't have missed Glee (even if I had to prop my eyes open a la Clockwork Orange).

A lot of Gleeks gave up on Season 2. They said the writing was uneven. They didn't like some of the song choices. Many felt it had become the Kurt (and sometimes Rachel) show. It seems as if Ryan Murphy was listening and the first few few episodes of this season have been great, with this past Tuesday's episode Asian F being the best of all.

The focus was on Mike Chang who's father came to McKinely out of concern when Mike received an A minus (an Asian F) in Chemistry. His father felt his focus on the Glee club and dance were at the crux of his problem. Plus, we finally got to hear him sing (and he's pretty good). Meanwhile Mercedes and Rachel continued to battle for the lead, Maria, in Westside Story. We got to see a little more of Mercedes boyfriend, who was actually encouraging and supportive (though his insistence that she couldn't be friends with Rachel was a bit much). Finally, Rachel considered throwing her hat into the presidential ring along with Kurt and Brittany.

In the adult Glee wold, Schue thought that Emma was too embarrassed of him to introduce him to her parents. When we met her parents, we found that nothing could have been further from the truth. We also got to see the origins of some of Emma's issues (and with parents like that, who could blame her). With songs from Westside Story, Dreamgirls, Coldplay and Beyonce, Glee is back!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oh Boy, Playboy!

Do you want to see Brian Williams
in a towel? I don't.
The first casualty of the Fall TV season … The Playboy Club. Last night's third episode was its last. I for one was beginning to get into the story lines and saw some potential in the show. I guess I was one of the only ones. Last night's episode only averaged 3 million viewers. The show will be replaced by Prime Suspect until October 31st when yet another news magazine show premieres, Rock Center with Brian Williams.

While I like Williams as an anchor, I'd rather watch Cibrian, who looks good in a suit, but even better in a towel. I doubt we'll get that kind of eye candy from Williams (not that I'd really want that kind of eye candy from a news anchor)!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Yes, I'm Back ...

I'd love to say that I thought about my
blogs while I was away, but I didn't!
It was a vacation, it wasn't work!
 And you didn't even know I was gone. I meant to do a quick blog announcing I was going out on vacation, but I came down with a bad case of vacationitis and didn't get around to it. I had a nice, relaxing time on Edisto Island - reading, journaling, taking photos, walking on the beach and just enjoying not having to do anything. Since there was no night life on the island, each night I got to cozy up with my favorite shows. So I'll do a quick recap of the second week of the new TV season.

The Sing-Off: Still loving this show and waiting for Sara Barellis to find her rhythm. I think she is getting over her nerves now and tomorrow night should be better. I still think this show has the best talent of all of the current shows.

The Playboy Club: I'm enjoying this show. I really am. It has enough of an ongoing plot to keep my interest as well as episodic plots that are wrapped up in the hour.

Castle: I'm a fan and these first two shows have this shaping up to be the best season yet. Penny Johnson Jerald brings a new energy to the Captain's role (call me 'Sir' not 'Maam'). Plus, there is the whole Beckett heard Castle's declaration of love but he doesn't know it undercurrent. The search for a superhero in the second episode was pure Castle.

Glee: I've enjoyed the first two episodes but I'm not sure I am really enjoying the focus on Broadway songs. The return of Shelby Corcoran is a good thing but two glee clubs at the same school? The verdict is out on that one. Quinn going after full custody of Beth seems a little short-sighted, I hope that doesn't develop into a full fledged storyline.

The New Girl: The second episode featured a new boy. I still need the boys to be three boys and not just three variants of the same guy (I still get that feel from them). Yet, the second episode was funny and sweet.

Raising Hope: Episode two was more sweet than funny, and I always expect more funny from this show.

The X-Factor: Like the first week, the audition episodes still feel very American Idol, entertaining but not original. I'm looking forward to this week so I can start to see what this show really has to offer.

Law & Order SVU: Danny Pino joined the cast. I loved this episode featuring Mehcad Brooks. I like it when the focus is on the case with more of a human element and less of a 'creep-me-out' factor.

Charlie's Angels: Loving the sexy Bosley, he's like a male angel. This week the dialogue was a touch better. I hate to say this but when Isaiah Mustafa is fully-clothed (i.e. not the Old Spice Guy), he loses a bit of his sexy.

Grey's Anatomy: Okay, Meredith is definitely getting on my nerves. I don't think we have seen much emotional growth from her character ... and it's been eight years. I'm hanging in there but so far, I need to see something new.

Prime Suspect: I want to like this show. After the first episode, I wasn't sure that I could. After the second, I feel like I might be able to like it. I need Bello to show us some different sides of Jane Timoney. The great Helen Mirren originated this show in Britain and Bello has a lot to live up to. I get it, she's a tough-as-nails-takes-no-BS female cop in an all-male environment, I need to see more (and a little less of the pork pie hat).

Fringe: I need Peter back and I'm interested in seeing how that happens. I'm also intrigued by how both universes are working together. John Noble is still the man.

Harry's Law: I was wondering how long Harry could make the quirky law firm inside of a shoe store work. In season two, the storefront and lawyer for the neighborhood storylines are gone. Harry is in charge of a large firm with major cases including a man (Alfred Molino) accused of beating his wife to death and not sure whether or  not he did it. Kathy Bates hopefully has a better cast to play off of.