Tag Archives: tv

Shows You Should Be Watching: #Suits

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My first order of business upon arriving back in Los Angeles was to rewatch the first 1.5 seasons of Suits (the second half of season 2 premieres January 17th on USA).

For those of you who are playing the What-Is-Burn-Notice game with Suits, let me download on ya (I have no idea why I put it that way, but it felt right): Suits is the story of one Michael Ross, a stoner with a heart of gold and a ridiculous IQ.  As Mike states in the pilot: “I like to read, and once I read something, I understand it, and once I understand it, I never forget.”

Enter Harvey Spector, the best closer in NYC.  He works at a law firm that only hires from Harvard Law, and it’s time for Harvey to pick a protégé.  But Mr. Spector is looking for something more – someone that he can take on as an associate who reminds him of, well … him.  Ego is everything in the land of lawyers.

A chance meeting finds Mike and Harvey together.  At first it’s a bit of  a “just go with this” premise because Harvey is so impressed by Mike’s law knowledge (and wit) that he offers him a job at his firm, Pearson Hardman – despite the fact that Mike not go to Harvard Law, nor did he even finish college.  And thus the tagline “Two Lawyers, One Degree” comes into play.  Mike, with the knowledge of a lawyer, begins illegally posing as one.

Suits is rounded out with one of the best casts on TV.  Patrick J. Adams and Gabriel Macht shine together as Mike and Harvey.  Their banter (and constant movie quoting) is the stuff of bromance legend.  Gina Torres as Jessica Pearson, Managing Partner of Pearson Hardman, is such a powerful presence.  She’s just … so damn regal, I can’t even.  Megan Markle plays Rachel, Mike’s love interest and the moral compass in his life (their chemistry is delicious, it makes me so jealous).  Rick Hoffman plays Louis, the thorn in Harvey’s side, who desperately wants to be respected and admired by Harvey.  Rick is truly hilarious – his line readings often have me cackling (which is a terrifying sound but you’ve been warned).  Sarah Rafferty is Harvey’s secretary, Donna – and she is without a doubt my favorite character.  Every line should be followed by “HEY-O” or “ZING” or any other kind of those expressions.  My favorite Donna line? “I’m sorry I don’t have a photographic memory, but my brain is too busy being awesome.”  If you knew her, you’d understand.

A lot of people I’ve talked to are put off by this premise because it seems so unbelievable.  But I challenge you: watch the damn show.  You’ll find sharp characters, witty writing and easily enjoyable episodes that merge procedural and serialized better than most shows on TV.  Every episode the actors are on their A-game and by the end of the pilot, I had no trouble believing that if anyone could pull off this kind of deception, it’s Mike Ross and Harvey Spector.

Suits, without a doubt, has become one of my favorite shows on TV.  I RIPPED through my rewatch and was left wanting more.  All episodes are OnDemand and I highly suggest starting right now.  RIGHT NOW, STOP READING THIS AND GO WATCH! (I’m a nerd).

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#GoldenGlobe Nominations: My Thoughts

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It continues to be my favorite time of year: Awards Season!  The Golden Globe nominations came out today; and as per usual, I was thrilled with some nominations and insanely pissed when performances got snubbed.  Below are the nominations and my thoughts on them:

Best Television Series — Drama
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Homeland
The Newsroom

I understand these nominations, I do.  But for the umpteenth time, Sons of Anarchy has been overlooked.  I’m also surprised not to see Man Men or The Game of Thrones on here.  But LOVE the love that Downton Abbey gets – it’s a deliciously good show.

Best Television Series — Comedy Or Musical
The Big Bang Theory
Episodes

Girls
Modern Family
Smash

Out of these 5 series, I only watch Smash … and I’m shocked to see it on here.  Season 1 was entertaining, but it was a hell of a mess.  And considering that they’ve switched showrunners and cut half of their original cast, I really don’t think this nomination is justified.  I think New Girl deserved their slot (or HAPPY ENDINGS!  But that’s just a pipe dream).

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland

The glaring omission of Charlie Hunnam for Sons of Anarchy truly hurts my soul.  This entire season read like his Emmy reel (so maybe I’ll hope for the Emmys).  I truly love SOA and while I might seem biased, Charlie’s performance this season was truly incredible – read the reviews, the recaps, your twitter feed; you’ll find I’m not alone in these thoughts.  I know Damian Lewis has this award on lock (and it’s deserved) but I was truly hoping to see Charlie get some recognition.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama
Connie Britton, Nashville
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Claire Danes has this one in the bag, but I’m really happy to see Connie Britton on here, especially after she was snubbed so many years for Friday Night Lights.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Kevin Costner, Hatfields and McCoys
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Toby Jones, The Girl
Clive Owen, Hemingway and Gellhorn

I didn’t see any of these – I have no feelings.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway and Gellhorn
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Sienna Miller, The Girl
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals

While Jessica Lange is an incredible actress, even she can’t save this overwrought AHS: Asylum season (for which her performance can’t even begin to compare to the one from the first season).  I think Julianne Moore is the clear winner, but I’m happy to see Sigourney Weaver nominated (Political Animals is definitely a miniseries you should check out.)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Ed Harris, Game Change
Danny Huston, Magic City
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

I would LOVE to see Max Greenfield take this.  I can’t imagine New Girl without him – there has never been an episode where his presence hasn’t made the show infinitely better.  Also thrilled for Mandy Patinkin’s nomination.  His character Saul isn’t a flashy role, but it’s the grounding force of the show.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Hayden Panettiere, Nashville
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Sarah Paulson, Game Change
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Maggie Smith.  The end.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series — Comedy Or Musical
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation

As long as Lena Dunham doesn’t win, I’m happy.  I cannot stand her.  I just don’t find her funny or overly original.  I can feel the backlash brewing already …

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series — Comedy Or Musical
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louis
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Pretty much what I expected.  I hope to see Nat Faxon from Ben&Kate on here next year.

Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television
Game Change
The Girl
Hatfields & McCoys
The Hour
Political Animals

Depending on which way the voters go, I could see a win for either Game Change or Hatfields & McCoys.

Best Motion Picture — Drama
Argo
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Zero Dark Thirty

I’m really behind on my movies (mostly because I watch too much TV).  I actually don’t know which way the voters will go.  Lincoln is all about DD-L’s exceptional performance but I didn’t think the movie itself was the best I’ve ever seen.  I really need to see Argo – I read the script a few years back and loved it; a very smart screenplay.  I was hoping that Beasts of the Southern Wild would get nominated because Quvenzhane Wallis is amazing, and because my cousin that I’ve never met directed it!  Pretty cool, right?  I have a HUGE extended family and just learned I was related to Benh Zeitlin last year.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Richard Gere, Arbitrage
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Daniel Day-Lewis IS Abraham Lincoln.  I have never been more mesmerized by an actor’s performance.  No one can argue that he doesn’t deserve it.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea

I have not seen any of these movies, but I have a huge grudge against Jessica Chastain.  She knows what she did.  But she’ll probably win.  Woof.

Best Motion Picture — Comedy Or Musical
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Miserables
Moonrise Kingdom
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Silver Linings Playbook

I think Les Mis has this one, but Silver Linings Playbook is amazing and I’m sure it will be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy Or Musical
Emily Blunt, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Maggie Smith, Quartet
Meryl Streep, Hope Springs

Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most versatile young actresses around.  Her performance in Silver Linings Playbook was raw, funny and, in my opinion, the performance to beat.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Comedy Or Musical
Jack Black, Bernie
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson
Ewan McGregor, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Even though I think Hugh Jackman will take this, I would love to see Bradley Cooper win.  In Silver Linings, he was almost unrecognizable in his turn as a bipolar man trying to turn his life around.  I saw Bradley Cooper start to become a true leading man when I saw last year’s Limitless (which I loved and hope more people watch it), and I think he will continue to take projects that will make him a serious contender for all future award seasons (with the occasional Hangover sequel I’m sure).

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy

I always have a hard time trying to figure out who will win in supporting categories.  I think it will be between Anne Hathaway and Sally Field.

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Alan Arkin, Argo
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

I love seeing Leo getting nominated because I honestly don’t understand how that man doesn’t have Oscar yet (or how we haven’t met and fallen in love…) However, I am extremely disappointed that Robert De Niro didn’t get a nomination for Silver Linings Playbook.  It was honestly one of the best performances I’ve seen from him in a long time.  But I have faith that he’ll be nominated for an Oscar.

Best Director — Motion Picture
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

I would love to see Ben Affleck take this.  I love the movies he’s directed and I thought The Town deserved more awards praise than it got.  But this is a group of heavy hitters so expect surprises.

Dear #GLEE

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Dear Glee,

I know that I’m writing you a lot of letters this year … but it’s only because I want to understand. Understand what, you ask? I want to understand how an innovative, witty, fun and wonderful show has turned into a giant MESS.

To be fair, there has been some good this season. Kate Hudson is flawless as washed-up Broadway star Cassandra July. This woman can act, dance, sing and throw a zinger like nobody’s business. I also truly loved the Break-Up episode, probably because it heavily featured fan-favorites Rachel, Finn, Kurt and Blaine (and terrific song choices). I think Finn taking over the Glee club was a novel idea, mostly because now he’s dressing like Mr. Schue and it’s great.

But the good can only appease so much. You have forced upon us 4 new McKinley characters who are just caricatures of the parts played by the original cast (a cast, mind you, that played them a hell of a lot better). But worst of all is the character of Marley Rose. Some people might not understand why I say that – her character is just so nice and sweet. Marley is also dirt poor and has an obese mother who happens to be the lunch lady. Her mom makes her clothes and sews in designers’ labels. Poor, poor Marley. You know what I say? BOO EFFING HOO. I haven’t hated a character this much since the introduction of Leo in Smash.

Think about the original core characters of Glee, first and foremost Rachel Berry. Rachel started the series as an unpopular dreg – but by NO means did we feel sorry for her. She was obnoxious, bossy, a true talent with a terrible fashion sense … and that’s why we LOVED her. She wasn’t presented as a character we should feel sorry for, like Marley has been introduced. She was someone real, someone with personality flaws that we all have, someone with dreams and ambitions that wasn’t going to let anything get in her way.

Some might argue that not every character can be as strong as Rachel, and that’s true. But Marley’s character is so unappealing – nothing that happens to her is her fault. She’s poor – not her fault. People make fun of her mom – not her fault. She stops eating and passes out at sectionals – definitely not her fault because Glee member Kitty told her to do it. She doesn’t present ANY personality flaws, which is a giant flaw in itself. No one is perfect, obviously. But for some reason, you have chosen try and make Marley into a martyr and it makes me want to scream. Marley is a walking pity party, and no one pities Marley more than Marley.

Glee, I’m going to stop talking to you, and start talking about you, ok?

Besides Marley, the main problem with Glee is that it’s completely lost its roots. And I’m going to blame Ryan Murphy. Mr. Murphy does a great season 1 of television (please see: Glee Season 1, Popular Season 1, American Horror Story Season 1). And then, in the second season, it starts to go to shit (please see: the 2nd seasons of the shows above). The first season of a Ryan Murphy show is always pushing the envelope. If you have ever watched Popular, you know that show was a walking force (and a walking farce). Entertainment Weekly called it “the proto-Glee” and said it “celebrated the value of outcasts and portrayed overplayed topics – Homecoming Court, sex, and secrets – through an absurdist lens.” This is the exact strategy that Glee used in the first season … but then the show (or its showrunner) got overzealous and instead of concentrating on the storylines, Glee boasted big guest stars and even bigger musical numbers. Somewhere along the way, Glee lost itself.

So why I am still watching? There are a few reasons. First, I love TV (if you hadn’t guessed). I’ve invested so much time (and FEELINGS) into Glee and it feels weird to think of just not watching it anymore. Second, I still really enjoy Lea Michele. She is insanely talented and her character’s journey has been the benchmark of Glee since episode 1. But the main reason I still watch Glee is that sometimes I can still see a glimpse of the show I was in love with, the show that got me excited about living in LA, the show that made me miss (and feel so proud of) my musical theater past, the show that dominated my iTunes playlists because I had to have every damn song they sang.

Despite my rants, I guess I’m not quite ready to give up on Glee. I hold onto the hope that they can turn the show around … but realistically, I’m pretty sure the Glee I loved isn’t coming back.

Sunday Night TV: #OUAT Rant

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I was a bit disenchanted (see what I did there?) with tonight’s fall finale of Once Upon a Time.  We’re reminded every episode that “good always wins over evil” … but I think that’s getting old, fast.  I know that this is a family show rooted in fairy tales; but as most of us know, fairy tales are much darker than Disney led us to believe (did you know that Ariel attempted to kill her beloved prince in the original Little Mermaid? And then she was so ashamed that she turned herself into sea foam, which is basically Mermaid suicide?  I KNOW, RIGHT?)  And yes, I’m aware OUAT is an ABC show, which means it’s a Disney show, which makes my point completely moot.

I guess my thinking is that OUAT is the brainchild of two Lost writers, so I expect magic (see what I did there?) every episode.  Season 1 was innovative, and pretty ballsy when the writers killed off a series regular in the 7th episode.  Very Lost-esque (RIP Boone) and appreciated for it’s shock value; and the twist worked so well because within those 7 episodes, the audience grew attached to the character and was saddened by his death (at least that seemed to be the general consensus).  But this season, the old characters are treading on thin storylines, and the new characters… well, between their wooden performances (I’m looking at you, Jamie Chung / Mulan) and the zero necessity of even BEING on the show (I’m looking at you, Sarah Bolger / Aurora), I find myself missing last season more with each passing week.  The only way to redeem wasting episode time with “Mulora” (I saw it on twitter) is to go OC Season 2 and finally have them act on their underlying lesbian attraction (do the writers think I can’t see it?  BECAUSE I CAN.  Family show my ass).  If they forgo the OC-style, I hope Mulan and Aroura get trapped under an avalanche so I NEVER HAVE TO SEE THESE CHARACTERS AGAIN.

I do have good things to say about OUAT, but this is a rant so there’s no place for those feelings here.  Off to watch Homeland, the show that never disappoints me.

Wednesday TV: #Arrow + tangent

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I’m surprised by how much I like Arrow, a story of a masked vigilante trying to fight injustice in his hometown.  But I’m going to be honest, a huge part of my enjoyment comes from the shirtless Stephen Amell working out in every single episode.  Although, the reason why they show his character’s fitness regimen is to try and make the idea that one can turn themselves into a superhero/vigilante more plausible.  Funny thing: this is not the part I find most unbelievable.  My issue is that I simply cannot get over that the story takes place in a made-up city.  It may sound ridiculous, but this has been a cause of concern for me since I first saw Batman, Forever in 1995.  As a child, I considered myself somewhat of a geography connoisseur (I studied my US Capitals place-mat daily) and I remember asking my mom where Gotham City was located.  When she told me it wasn’t a really place, I was aghast.  Not only was this movie asking me to believe in a masked superhero with a fear of bats, it was asking me to believe that this was taking place in an American City in an unnamed state.  Obviously asking way too much of me, my imagination couldn’t grasp this concept.  And it’s been that way ever since.
But back to Arrow: the characters live in the fictional Starling City, a place overrun by crime (remind you of Gotham? It should).  But for the show’s establishing shots, they take turns using an aerial view of Liberty Place (as Queen’s Headquarters) and the NYC Skyline for the bulk of Starling City.  Each time I see those shots, I’m taken out of the lovely TV-induced haze I sit in and am reminded that this is fiction.  I think the greatest part of watching TV is the escape (and ‘shipping couples, please see my post below) – when a show doesn’t allow for that (or when my mind doesn’t allow for that),  I will never enjoy my experience quite as much as I could.  But, despite the show’s locale and my weird aversion to it, I’m enjoying the episodes as each dives further into the mythology of how “Arrow” came to be.  I’m also impressed thus far with the show’s use of flashbacks (which Lost perfected so I judge other shows harshly) and the B storyline of Oliver’s best friend, Tommy, who I can only assume will eventually become Arrow’s greatest enemy (in the spirit of Spiderman, of course).

TV Thoughts on 11/27/12

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It’s Tuesday!  Meaning it’s my favorite night of television.  In fact, I like so many shows on Tuesday that I can’t even DVR them all.  And not even all of my shows were on tonight!

On a given Tuesday, here is the breakdown of what I watch: The Voice Results Show, Ben and Kate, Emily Owens MD, Happy Endings, Sons of Anarchy.  I now watch The New Normal and New Girl on Hulu – I can wait a day for those two (and New Girl has been noticeably inconsistent this season, I’m a bit ashamed).

And now, show by show, I will collect my TV thoughts:

The Voice Results:  I am going to be SO angry when Cassadee Pope makes it into the top 4.  But I will get over it as long as Nicholas Davis, Amanda Brown and Trevin Hunte are in there with her.  The results show is insanely boring and I fast forward everything except the actual results.

Ben and Kate: This show is so adorable – it’s sweet and simple and doesn’t try too hard.  I do wish they’d utilize Maggie Elizabeth Jones (the precocious 6-year-old) a bit more because she’s awesome. And can I please vote Leslie Grossman in as a series regular?  I think her character could be perfect for Ben … just a thought, Mary Cherry FOREVER!

Emily Owens, MD: I am completely enamored with Mamie Gummer.  It may not be the greatest show writing-wise (no quick wit like in Vampire Diaries or in the ghost of Gossip Girls past), but Emily Owens is a character the majority of us can relate to.  In fact, to me she is Lizzie McGuire all grown up – but instead of having an animated inner-self, she has an inner monologue voiceover.  And I KNOW the people related to Lizzie McGuire (when Lizzie got a bra, I got a bra.  It was a deep connection that has never been broken).

No Happy Endings tonight, but it is without a doubt my favorite comedy on television.  And the show deserves MAJOR credit for bringing itself out of obscurity and becoming a recognizable force of comedy.  Also the banter between Damon Wayans Jr and Eliza Coup alone is enough reason to watch/adore this show.

Sons of Anarchy: Wow. Just … wow.  Every damn week it’s wow.  I started watching this show from the beginning a few months before season 4 aired.  I had heard about it but wasn’t sure if I would like it … oh how wrong I was.  Kurt Sutter has created one of the most dynamic serialized shows I have ever seen.  A Hamlet-esque story set in the world of a motorcycle club called Sons of Anarchy or SAMCRO, the show doesn’t shy away from taking a conventional storyline and blowing it up with more twists and turns than even an episode of Grey’s Anatomy season 2 could muster.  This week was the penultimate episode of Season 5 and one test after another was thrown at our hero, Jax, now president of the club since he pushed out Clay, the man who killed his father and married his mother (like I said, Hamlet).  We see Jax, a man who headed up the presidency with promises of bringing SAMCRO back to its glory days before Clay, slowly turning into the former president he despises.  It will all come to a head next week in the season finale, and I for one cannot WAIT.  If you’re reading this and have never seen the show, check it out on Netflix.  One of the best TV decisions I’ve ever made.