As I write this, I am about half way through Season 8 of Will & Grace. With the revival premiering tonight, I felt like I needed a refresher. Since the show has never been on a streaming service before it was a little difficult to watch. It's funny, because I thought I remembered everything. Turns out that I only remembered the first two seasons.
I had vague recollections of random story points that aren't in the first two seasons. But honestly, at this point? I’m not even sure how I've already sat through all of these seasons. Don't get me wrong, I still find the show entertaining, but I don't really remember any particular storyline standing out as character progression. The last three seasons have been just kind of a blob of random episodes.
Binge watching it like this presents problems in general. I've got all the episodes lined up in a queue, so unless it's a holiday episode I have no concept as to where I'm at in the series, numerically speaking. Storylines come and go seemingly forgotten. When you look at the show as a whole, it's excellent. The characters are well written and layered. The times when they forget those layers is a problem for me. Boyfriends and husbands are obtained and then barely mentioned or altogether forgotten for a few episodes. I can understand with some of the stunt casting they did, the actors they hired had other things to do and could be on the show full time. Or maybe they truly wanted to keep the main four the focus of the show.
One incredibly entertaining thing they did in season six was "hide" Debra Messing's pregnancy. Because the show constantly had the actors in motion, they did the standard hiding of the belly with baggy shirts and purses and pillows, etc. But there were times where they had her lounging and it was completely clear. Plus there were new jokes about how she never stopped eating and was too lazy to move.
I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to watch these storylines year after year and not binge them. I think I know why I stopped watching other than just my general busyness. There was an episode towards the beginning of the season where they discussed how network TV wasn't going to put two men kissing on the air. In the episode Jack and Will kiss on the Today show. Since then? I can't think of a single piece of affection that wasn't either hetero either naturally or visually. Running gags about how Will or Jack would grope or kiss or flirt with women are far more prevalent than anything related to homosexuality. They also seemed to be on a mission to take back the negative connotations of the words "fag" and "homo".
Don't get me wrong, the show helped usher in a new era of openness on TV. There were limitations then. 2004 doesn't seem all that long ago, but it really was. We've come so far with the LGBTQ rights movement in these last few short years, I am concerned that the revival won't have aged with the times. While I wouldn't want the character's main traits to have changed much I am a tad concerned that we're going to be treated to the 40/50 something year old characters acting in their 20/30 year old personalities. And that just won't do well.
I really do love this show, despite my critique. I'm looking at it with the eyes of a binge watcher after years of being away. If I hated it, I would have quit well before I got to season 7.
I am encouraged that they have already been renewed for a second season despite not even having filmed a single episode when that announcement was made. I can't wait for the stunt casting to continue and I am excited to see where these characters have been for the last decade. I really hope it doesn't suck.
Guys! The Good Place is back. I cannot tell you how excited I am. This was one of my favorite shows last season and I couldn't be happier that it's back this year.
We pick up right where we left off last year with a little reminder of where we left it things. We discovered that everyone is actually in the Bad Place and that Michael has decided to reset everything so that he can try to torture these people again. Eleanor managed to get herself a note when she and the others realized what was happening.
Once reset, we get a behind the scenes look at how the Bad Place is set up. We get to meet the "actors" who are playing the roles in our main character's lives. They are all upset because this isn't the normal way or torturing people and they want to know why they can't just go back to the old way.
Now that everything is reset, we see how the main four are set about to be tortured. Eleanor is immediately tipped off that something isn't right because of the note she left herself and Michael's plans begin to fall apart.
The whole cast is back and spectacularly on point as they were in season one. Ted Danson continues to be one of the best things about this show for me. His ability to play both the good guy and the bad guy in practically the same breath is both fun and disturbing from a plotline perspective.
If you haven't seen season one yet, I would suggest that you go back and check it out. I can't wait to see what happens next now that they've been really reset. I'm hoping that now that the wall has come down between the audience and the background players, we'll get more of that side of the world as well as the one the main characters are living in.
Yesterday when I got home from work and settled in to watch a couple of episodes of something, I saw that Hulu had an exclusive of the new show Ghosted starring Adam Scott and Craig Robinson. Then, later in the evening the show went live on Twitter. It's the first time I've seen anything like that. The show aired on Twitter and the live tweeting occurred below the episode as it played. It was a fun and incredibly interactive way to watch the show.
I'm a huge fan of both actors so when I tell you I've been excitedly waiting for this premiere I hope that you fully understand. I've been following their careers for a while now and I think they are two of the funniest "straight men" in the business. Their dead pan delivery of logic and observations have been practically their trademark up to this point.
Ghosted follows Max, a former Professor who was kicked out of Stanford for his belief that his wife was abducted by aliens; and Leroy a former LAPD Detective who is now working as a security guard. One day when they are minding their own business, they get picked up by a secret government agency and recruited to assist in finding a missing agent. They must work together in order to solve the case with the promise that they will be able to go back to the lives they had before they were disgraced.
Scott and Robinson are so perfectly cast for these roles I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the roles were written for them in mind specifically. Both characters come across with heart and humor and while some of the dialogue was flimsy or oddly delivered, the majority of it was incredibly funny.
The show is not without its problems, however. There is one edit in the middle of the episode that even after seeing the show twice feels like a blink and you miss it moment where the transition is so harsh you wonder what the heck just happened. It also suffers from trying to cram too much into a twenty minute episode. Even if they are going to end up in a half hour (with commercials) format, the premiere could have benefited from an hour long world building episode. Because they only have twenty minutes to tell the entire background of the story there isn't a ton of world building. Max comes off as pushy when demanding multiple times that Leroy tell him what happened at the LAPD. And even after seeing it twice now I'm still not entirely certain as to what happens to the agent they went looking for in the first place.
Even with that all said, with the banter, the premise, and the soundtrack, Ghosted has the makings of a fun show ahead. As a pilot, it was just OK. But I'm hoping that others can see the potential for greatness that I do. There's a great show in there, there are just some tweaks that need to be made.
Have you watched it yet? It's on Hulu for a couple more days and then it premieres on 10/1. I highly recommend you check it out.
The only real question I have left is whether Fox will invest in the show and let it find its footing, or send it to the land of cancelled shows.
Well guys, Bloodline is done. Fin. No mas. This is incredibly disappointing because I loved this show. The first two seasons blew me away with their quiet intensity. I fell in love in the first five minutes of the first episode and it was one of the most authentically Florida shows I've ever seen. So many people see Florida through a haze of sunny days on the water or trips to Disney World. Bloodline showed you what the seedy side actually looked like. And not that glitzy Dexter version either. I've never seen a more accurate Florida Dive Bar than I've seen on this show.
That's all the dressing of course. The real meat was in the acting. Aside from a few well-known actors, the majority of the cast was relatively unknown to the US. Or at least to me anyway. By the time Danny dies at the end of season one, I was wanting to kill him myself. The bastard! This was his family for crying out loud. This isn't about the first two seasons though…
Season three premiered months ago and I jumped right away to start watching. I made it through the first five episodes in a blink. It was like I was chasing a resolution. Then, I stopped. I quit for a while because, first and foremost, I needed a break. Something as intense as this show really should be spread out and not binged. Also because it was announced that it would be ending after this season and I wanted to prolong it. I wasn't ready to say goodbye.
Pause for spoilers….and go!
Season Three picks up right where the prior season ends. Kevin has bludgeoned Marco to death and is trying to figure out what to do. John is in the wind and Meg is trying not to lose her mind. This season packed so much into such a short amount of time that I don't even know where to start. I loved that they focused more on being honest with each other this season. Mom is now in on everything as are the spouses. Despite the fact that they kept trying to leave each other, they kept being there for each other as best they could. The cracks were beginning to show towards the end and everyone started to literally lose their minds.
There were some pitfalls as well. The dynamics with the kids were lost to the main storyline with all of them more or less forgotten for the entire season. John Leguizamo's character while delightfully bad in season two, suddenly began stalking Mom for no discernible reason only to kill himself towards the end of the season. There was a weird thing where they introduced a priest that may or may not have actually existed. You could also see where they were trying to set up for next season in attempting a back story for Gilbert and Mom, but it felt forced. Belle tells Kevin she's leaving him and then is suddenly staying, which…maybe I missed something, but this made no sense.
Mom is hallucinating and talking to her dead mother which was made even more odd by her moments of clarity and decisiveness. Her testimony at O'Bannon's trial had me in buckets of tears. Cissy Spacek is still one of the greatest actresses of her generation.
They played a bit with reality in episode nine with infuriating results. John nearly drowned and ended up having groundhog day-esque hallucinations that were played so real that it was hard as a viewer to understand what was happening. It had me to the point where I started questioning things all the way back to the first episode. Was Danny ever really even dead? Has everything up to this point been a lie? Are you going with some Mr. Robot-level mind-fuckery?
The ending left me wanting more even though it wasn't as dynamic as the first two seasons. It didn't make sense to me to have Franco, the guy who was trying to nail John for Danny's murder, suddenly just let it all go. Kevin's escape to Bimini was well done, I genuinely believed that he was going to get away from the DEA. Though, why he ran instead of cooperating, I don't know. I wish there was more to the saga of the Rayburns. I am glad that they saw the end coming to the point where they could resolve things somewhat instead of leaving us with a major cliffhanger. There was still a lot of uncertainty, but nothing so critical that I'll be too upset without 100% resolution.
I'll probably go back to it in a few years, but for now I'll let it digest. I can't wait to see what Kyle Chandler does next.
had to take a couple of days to process everything that I watched. The promise of seeing where these characters were 10 years later has been with me since I fell in love with the Wet Hot American Summer movie all those years ago. Where would my favorites be? What would their lives be like? Truthfully I'd follow some of those actors anywhere and through their weirdest movies and shows. I'm also moderately obsessed with New England summer camps in general so I would have likely watched this show regardless of my personal affectations for the story line. Netflix, piggy-backing off the First Day of Camp series promised us this one practically right off the bat. I was not disappointed but I wasn't thrilled either. I ended up with that delightful feeling of meh.
This is where you stop if you don't want spoilers.
The entire gang is back with new and ridiculous dialogue and situations as well as a few new characters and fun actors to help round out an already robust cast. The basic premise is that all these years later, the gang is descending on Camp Firewood to fulfill the promise they made to each other. Everyone has grown up and started (or tried to start) their adult lives. Coop is a struggling author, Katie is a beauty executive, Lindsey is a puff piece reporter trying to make it onto the hard news circuit. Andy is a deadbeat dad, Ben and McKinley are still together and have a daughter, and Gene is living in a trailer in the middle of nowhere with the love of his life…his refrigerator.
Upon their return to the camp, everyone discovers that camp director Beth is having to sell the property. The gang tries to save the day by enlisting the assistance of the group from the rival camp across the lake. In one of the weirder turns we find out that the rival team is actually working for former President Ronald Regan in an effort to buy the camp so he (Regan) can blow it up. This is where the plot gets incredibly convoluted and odd. The entire story line of the former presidents wanting to destroy the camp seemed like the only real way to tie in Lindsey's character. More on this a little later.
Meanwhile, you've got McKinley and Ben who is now played by Adam Scott. In a fun nod to his Parks and Rec roots, they managed to work a "literally" into his dialogue. Ben spends the majority of the series off screen and they explain the recasting with a nose-job. While some may think this is stupid, I would point to the recasting of the son in National Lampoon's vacation as a precursor to this. It gave me my Ben & Leslie Parks and Recreation fix briefly at the most. They've hired a babysitter Renata played by Alyssa Milano and she may or may not be a serial killer. I won't ruin that particular ending but I will say that I loved how it played out.
Susie has a relatively uninteresting storyline about her being in love with a movie star who leaves her for the limelight. Vince is finally ready to lose his virginity in a creepy three-way with Yaron and Donna. Then they introduced new characters and pretended they were there throughout the first movie…we just didn't see them. That was relatively entertaining.
Overall, the series was scattered. It's hard to write about anything too specific because there was a lot going on for so few episodes.
Finally one thing I loved was the true ending with Michael Showalter pitching the ending to his novel to his editor. She's read the story of the last days of camp and asked if it all really happened. He asks her what would she rather read; what he gave her, or a small story about getting together with old friends and reminiscing. He has a point and I think it sums up the series nicely. They made this for the fans because we asked for it. We begged for it. Would we have rather watched this insane and fantastical crazy mess? Or did we really want just a bunch of people talking about the good 'ol days. I loved that they never did tell us where McKinley needed to be at 11.
Overall I enjoyed it. While there were plenty of things that fell flat for me, there was enough to keep me interested. I'm glad they made this, not sure I'll need anything else.
Ctrl+C reviewed the movie-Take a listen
Lately I've been indulging in an old friend. I was in my early 20's when Everwood came around the first time. I don't remember if I saw it all the way through when it was on the air, but it stayed with me for multiple reasons. When Chris Pratt showed up on Parks and Recreation and Emily VanCamp showed up on Revenge, I was reminded of this forgotten gem.
Everwood ran for four seasons on the CW/WB in the early 2000s and centered around the lives of the people in a small Colorado town. After the death of his wife, a world-renowned neurosurgeon uproots his family and leaves surgery behind to open a small family practice in Everwood. The next four seasons center around the lives of the doctor and his children and their lives as they settle in and learn to live in a new world.
Recently I saw that the CW Seed app (and of course website) had the entire series available to watch. I've been searching for the series online for a while now and I wasn't quite obsessed enough to spend the money to buy the DVDs. I was close though. The resell value of that sort of thing is so small that I couldn't justify it.
I started with Season 1 and as soon as the theme music came on I started remembering more than I thought I did. It's funny, I had loved this show so much…I shouldn't have been surprised to see Greg Berlanti's name plastered across it. Berlanti is responsible for a metric ton of my favorite TV shows over the last ten years. This includes all the current CW superhero shows (Arrow, Legends, Flash, Supergirl, and the upcoming Black Lightening) as well as my current favorite Riverdale. Not to mention Dawson's Creek, Brothers and Sisters, Eli Stone…the list goes on and on. The man knows how to write drama
As I write this I am finishing Season 3 and gearing up to start Season 4. From what I've seen so far it holds up relatively well. Sure, there's the occasional flip phone or pager. There are VHS tapes to be watched and rewound. Otherwise it's relatively the same as any other family drama. As I've been watching, I noticed that it's basically the premise for Hart of Dixie (which I also loved), but I don't even mind the repetition.
While I love watching a family grow closer and a town accepting of the new people little by little, I have been growing frustrated with the idea that everyone continually lies to each other in order to "protect" each other. It's difficult to watch people who love each other make the same kinds of mistakes over and over again. The characters are beautifully written and incredibly layered. Even the characters that would typically be one note shine with depth of thought and feeling. Even if it does take a while.
The only trouble with the show is the same issues that you sometimes face with such a large cast. Sometimes you don't see someone who would be considered a main character for an episode or two in order to allow for storylines to evolve or resolve themselves. No one is ever forgotten for long and they eventually come back to the forefront.
I have to say that I have not enjoyed Season 3 as much as the first two seasons. Season 1 gave us the world building. Season 2 gave us the aftermath of the death of a main character. Season 3 seems to have become the season of rebuilding. This unfortuantely has resulted in forbidden affairs and secret pregnancies. Both of which felt a bit cheap. Plus, the casting of Anne Heche as a guest star bugged me. I just don't care for her acting style.
I've still got the finale of Season 3 and all of Season 4 to go and I'll update this post when I do. I do love shows that give me such a great sense of nostalgia. What should I watch after Everwood?
After putting this piece in my queue, the cast had an emotional reunion. Here's a link for more. Long live Everwood!
Yesterday while half of nerdom was getting excited about the Game of Thrones season premiere, the other half was freaking out about the announcement of the thirteenth Doctor for Doctor Who. I’ve included the teaser for it below if you’re so inclined.
In case you hadn’t noticed by my avatar, I’m a Doctor Who fangirl. I can’t help it. Back in 2010, when I was really struggling financially, I refused to let myself leave the house. Every time I left the house, I’d spend money. I couldn’t afford cable but I managed to maintain my Netflix account. Netflix, in its infinite wisdom kept recommending the show to me despite my constant avoidance of it. I finally gave in, watching the 9th Doctor, Christopher Eccelston. I enjoyed it well enough. It was just, OK. I figured I’d give it another go and started watching the 10th Doctor, David Tennant. From there I was hooked. I loved his bravado and his silliness. I loved the storylines and the action. I just fell in love. I cried like a baby when he left. Then came Matt Smith. Oof. Matt Smith brought with him a ton of emotional depth and range that constantly floored me. His are the episodes that I tend to go back to more often than anyone else. Then came Capaldi. After Tennant and Smith, Capaldi was a bit of a letdown for me. He was definitely the Doctor, but I felt like I lost a little something when he came around.
Every time the Doctor regenerates, fans all over the world start thinking about what they would want to see in their next iteration of their favorite character. For a while now there has been a call for the Doctor to become a woman, or literally any other ethnicity than Anglo-Saxon. I’ve never given much thought to what the Doctor looked like so much as I always just wanted the right actor for the role. It’s a daunting task to cast a character that has been in the public mind for 50+ years.
When the announcement was made yesterday that Jodie Whittaker would be taking over the role of the Doctor I was overjoyed. It didn’t even register that they were switching the Doctor’s gender at first. I was just excited because I love Jody Whittaker. Having followed her on Broadchurch the last few years, I have already seen what she’s capable of. She’s going to be Dynamic as the Doctor. Her gender has nothing to do with it for me.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of people online who were pissed that they changed the gender of the Doctor. Fans everywhere started the hate immediately. Many felt the gender swap was against cannon. Many felt that the show runners were kowtowing to political correctness and inclusion. Many were just blatantly rude and misogynistic about how much they hated the idea of a female Doctor. There was no assuaging these naysayers. These people would not have been happy with anyone chosen. Perhaps some of their points are valid. It’s all going to depend on the writing and production that accompany the new Doctor. It always seems to go like this though. One of the arguments I saw along the way is that they were upset that the show runners opened up the cannon to allow for more than the standard number of regenerations. I guarantee you that had they kept the original number and let the show end, they would have been more upset. Some times there's just no winning with people. i genuinely don't understand why there's an issue with the gender switch. I'm actually happy they did it. By casting a woman and changing the gender of the character, even if only temporarily, it opens an entirely new dynamic to a character and universe that is already rich and nuanced. The new layers will only add to the series.
I for one, am incredibly excited. I feel great about the choice, not because she’s a woman, but because I believe her to be the best actor for the job. What do you think fellow Whovians? Are you as excited as I am or are you upset with the choice?
On Friday Netflix released Glow. A short comedy series revolving around the creation of and the lives of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The series is set in the 1980's and the production goes all out in order to ensure that you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. To start with, I love the bingeable quality of Netflix’s business model. I sat down on Friday night, intending just to check it out. I ended up flying through the first four episodes.
The series starts centered around Ruth, a down on her luck actress who does a despicable thing in a moment of weakness. She ends up auditioning for a director who is putting together GLOW. Allison Brie is magnetic in this role. The decision to have her film sans makeup makes her feel entirely more real than any other show I’ve seen. She looks haunted, gaunt, and downright plain. This look is perfect for the role of Ruth who is all of these things.
The show is practically a case study on female relationships. Each woman is inherently unique and trying to muddle through her own personal expectations of self as well as society’s expectations of her. Even though this is mentioned very directly in the dialogue, we’re not brow beat with it. Everyone is allowed to evolve and grow as the show progresses.
The cast itself is stellar. The role of the director as played by Marc Maron plays as though it was written for him specifically. The women in the cast shine with the roles they play. There are times in large ensemble shows where some characters tend to fade into the background. Glow is different in that they do their best to at least show everyone in at least one scene throughout each episode. With such a large cast and only thirty minutes per episode it risks become cumbersome and overstuffed. This is not the case with Glow, however, and everyone seems to have their place.
Showcasing so many women of differing ethnicities and body types is something that Netflix does well. Other than Orange is the New Black, I struggle to think of any other show that allows for such diversity.
This show is so unabashedly 80's that I couldn't help but love it. Between the big hair, the fashion, and the visual world they created, I felt like I had gone back in time.
Glow is certainly one of the most unique shows I've seen in a while and I can't recommend it highly enough. Have you had a chance to watch? What did you think?
Let me start by saying that I am a sucker for a murder mystery. Last year when Netflix released Making a Murderer I inhaled it. I couldn’t watch it fast enough. So with the Keepers, I was putting it off until I had finished the eighteen other things I was trying to watch. This past weekend instead of doing that, I finally dug in to the Keepers.
The premise of the documentary is the story of the unsolved murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik who was murdered in the late 60’s. Her body was found nearly two months after she disappeared and the case has yet to be solved. The first couple of episodes consist entirely of world building. It’s a slow burn. By the end of the second episode it’s like a bomb went off. Think S-Town level bombshell. Suddenly you’re flung into what is nearly an entirely new story that is horrifying to listen to. As they say in the show, the story isn’t the murder itself; it’s everything that came to light after the murder that’s the story.
Every episode is painful to watch and yet you can’t look away. The detailed accounts of women who suffered through a horrific time will chill you to the core. It’s hard to write this without giving too much away, but suffice to say that this is one of the more compelling documentary series I’ve ever seen. Making a Murderer left me not long after I watched it. I don’t think the Keepers is going to allow me to let go for a while.
I cannot imagine living through the things that these people have had to live through. The show leaves you with as many questions as you have answers, which is a little frustrating. Unfortunately, that’s kind of what you get with a documentary of this kind. If this genre is your thing, then I think you’ll enjoy this show. The first couple of episodes are a slow burn, but once it ramps up, I found it riveting.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
There's a paradox that exists in my life. It honestly just occurred to me today. I have a general disdain for Seinfeld. I never found it funny and I couldn't stand any of the characters. I do, however, have an unending affection for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Therein lies the paradox.
These two shows are basically the same damn show. They are shows about nothing. Character studies in which the characters show little to no growth at all. Shows about jerks being jerks to each other and to other people. They both find themselves in ridiculous situations because of their jackassery. So why can't I stand Seinfeld but love Sunny?
Part of it likely has to do with my age. Seinfeld started when I was eight years old and ran until I was seventeen. Not only would I not have been allowed to watch it for most of that time, I was too busy being out in the world being a teenager. Sunny started in 2005 when I was twenty-four and it's over the top humor and grossness was basically targeted for me and the rest of my demographic.
Another part of it for me is that I never found any of the Seinfeld characters lovable. They only ever exuded selfishness to me. On Sunny I found that I had soft spots for basically everyone except for Dennis and Frank. Mac and his naivety, Dee and her bad luck, and Charlie with his ignorance; never fail to make me laugh. The only character on Seinfeld that I didn't mind seeing was Kramer who was definitely weird but seemed to be the only one with half a heart.
It's certainly also the type of humor and the delivery. Seinfeld is known for sarcasm and while I utilize sarcasm often, an entire show about it became annoying. With Sunny though, it's a lot of fast talking and in your face humor. There's definitely sarcasm but they don't use it as a crutch. I'm not saying Sunny is perfect. Honestly, I can't binge it for too long or it frustrates me. There are times when the constant yelling over each other can get abrasive. Also, while Danny DeVito is likely a lovely human being, his portrayal of Frank makes me incredibly uncomfortable in a gross kind of way.
Maybe I need to give Seinfeld another chance as an adult. Maybe that's the problem. I was too young to appreciate it then. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll just stick with Sunny and watch the smorgasbord of new and excellent programming that's available to me now. If you've never seen Sunny I recommend you start from the beginning and don't try and pop in midway.
I'm off to contemplate how I could have missed the similarities before.