New TV season shows I can’t wait to see

The summer shows are fun and I love quite a few of them, but I’m eager for the new seasons of some old favorites. Here’s what I’m looking forward to. What about you?

Lost Girl

Season 4 can’t get here soon enough for me. It airs first in Canada on Showcase beginning in November. Then there’s an agonizing wait for the U.S. showings on SyFy. At the end of season 3, Bo was off somewhere unknown meeting her father – maybe. Dyson and Tamsin disappeared in a puff of black smoke when their truck went over a cliff. Lauren was in a science lab creating Fae from humans and nobody knew where she went after everyone else escaped. Kenzi was driving a hot car with Bruce beside her. Trick had gone to Scotland with his lady love. And where the heck was Hale? Obviously the beginning of season 4 requires explaining where everyone has been and how they all get back together.

Guest stars that have been mentioned for season 4 include George Takei (from Star Trek), Mia Kirshner (from The L Word), and Ali Liebert (from Bomb Girls). If the guest stars are any indication, things should be fun on Lost Girl.

Here’s a bit of a teaser for season 4. Lost Girl season 4 is currently filming in Toronto.

House of Cards

House of Cards was Netflix first attempt at original programming and it was superb! (I can’t wait for season 2 of Netflix’s other great series, Orange is the New Black, either.) House of Cards won’t show up until sometime in the spring of 2014, but it is definitely worth the wait if it maintains the quality it had in season 1.

This political drama felt completely real. Or if not real, at least valid and true. Stars Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Kate Mara were especially good, but the cast was large and there were many compelling performances.

Netflix released this trailer for season 2, which is currently filming in the Baltimore area.

Nashville

Nashville season 2 begins in September 25 on ABC, less than a month away. I love anything with singing (Glee, Smash, Nashville – I’ll watch ’em all.) People we don’t normally think of as musicians are leading the cast of this show and doing a really fine job as Nashville singing stars: Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, and Charles Esten in particular. Clare Bowen is my favorite in terms of singing. She plays Scarlett, a folky type who reminds me of Emmy Lou Harris.

A theme of the show has been the conflict between young and old country music, personified by Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton. They get forced together in ways they don’t want and are very different. Both have confused personal lives and troubled love lives. A troubled love life leads to the finale of season 1, which was a disastrous car wreck.

I don’t know if you were a fan of Friday Night Lights (if you weren’t, you should have been) but there is just something completely wonderful about Connie Britton. She’s fabulous. I’m so glad we get to see her in another great series – with SINGING.

Here’s a teaser for season 2.

Grey’s Anatomy

Season 10. Can you believe it? We’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy since Shonda Rhimes only had one show on TV. They announced recently that Sandra Oh is leaving the show. What will Meredith do without her person?

The new season begins in September with a 2 part opening episode. At the end of season 9, Arizona and Callie were in danger of breaking up, Richard was possibly electrocuted, Meredith was pregnant – the usual Grey’s drama. Over the years Grey’s has had its wins and losses, people have come and gone, story lines have succeeded and failed. But it’s always been engaging and I keep going back.

I couldn’t find an actual preview video for season 10, but three of the cast members do talk about season 10 in this video.

The Good Wife

I say that I want to see the new season of The Good Wife with some trepidation. Season 4 wasn’t good. They lost their way a bit. There were fabulous guest stars, but those guest stars got too much of the screen time, there were too many court room scenes, Kalinda’s (Archie Panjabi) story was just dropped, and Alicia (Julianna Margulies) can’t figure out what the holy hell she’s doing. I think Alicia is fascinating in her own guarded and self-contained way. However, the queen of self-contained and guarded is Kalinda. She is the most interesting character in The Good Wife. If we don’t see more of her in season 5, I think it’s going to be the end for me and The Good Wife.

When season 4 ended, Alicia was leaving Lockhart Gardner to start a new firm with Cary. That will add some drama to the relationships we already have going on the show. We don’t know where Kalinda will end up – I sincerely hope it’s with Alicia and Cary, but there haven’t been any clues.

The new season starts in September. Here’s a teaser. It seems to acknowledge that the show went off the rails a bit in season 4 with its claims to be back.

Scandal

Scandal, like House of Cards, has a ring of truth about politics and Washington that makes it fascinating. This Shonda Rhimes series begins in September with season 3.

I could talk about Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn and the other excellent cast members. They deserve the attention. Instead, I want to make a big fuss over Guillermo Díaz.

Guillermo Díaz has been around a while. You may remember him from Mercy or Weeds. There are currently 78 titles on his filmography page at IMDB, so I know you’ve seen him before in more than one thing. But the job he’s doing as Huck on Scandal is phenomenally outstanding. He should have had an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor, but he didn’t get one. As a defender of justice I’m here to announce that Guillermo Díaz is doing amazing work on Scandal and he should get a million awards for acting.

Now that I’m finished with my Guillermo Díaz rant, I can get back to the bigger picture on Scandal, which is the steely and powerful Olivia Pope and her Machiavellian schemes to control situations for people in Washington who screw up, including the President. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.

This promo video is more about Kerry Washington’s Emmy nom than season 3, but it’s the only thing available right now.

I haven’t even mentioned The Walking Dead or How I Met Your Mother, which is on its last season, or Elementary, or Castle or a whole lot of other good shows. Which of your favorites are you most eager to see?

Guillermo Diaz image from The Jasmine Brand.

TV Shows for Fall 2013 that Look Good

Here are some upcoming shows for fall that look pretty good. I’m not aware of everything that’s coming up, so if you know of something good I’ve missed, give me a shout in the comments.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This Joss Whedon show will be on ABC on Tuesdays. Shows based on comic books usually don’t do much for me, but Joss Whedon is always dependable and I’ll be watching. There are not one, but two, important female stars in this one. See, that’s why I trust Joss Whedon with my time.

The Crazy Ones

This CBS comedy stars Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar as a father and daughter team of advertising execs. It looks funny and charming.

Hostages

Monday nights on CBS you can see the incomparable Toni Collette with Dylan McDermott in Hostages.

Crisis

This NBC drama features Gillian Anderson, which is just about the only thing I need to know to be watching. Dermot Mulroney, Lance Gross and Rachel Taylor are also starring. This show doesn’t start until midseason, or as Kyle Nolan, who first mentioned it to me put it – it doesn’t start until after football.

I can usually tell from a trailer if I’m going to like something or not be interested. These shows definitely look interesting to me. What’s on your watch list for fall?

Image of Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott ©CBS

The L Word Opening Credits (Season Five)

Recapping season 5 of The L Word using nothing to tell the story but the opening credits. That’s what’s happening right here. Continue reading “The L Word Opening Credits (Season Five)”

Entertainment is a gift, hating on entertainers isn’t

We have a serious problem with our entertainment. We think we own it. We think we own the stories, the characters, the actors. We think it’s ours to dictate and control. If it isn’t the way we want it to be, we get vicious.

Entertainment is a gift to us, created and conceived for our enjoyment by someone else. We don’t know or own that someone else.

It’s the Internet. It’s Twitter. It’s message boards. You can say whatever lame-brained thing you want and send it out into the world. It’s so easy, even I can do it.

That doesn’t make it right.

Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston
Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad

Actress Anna Gunn from Breaking Bad wrote this op-ed piece: Breaking Bad star Anna Gunn: I have a character issue. She made several good points in her post, including this one.

At some point on the message boards, the character of Skyler seemed to drop out of the conversation, and people transferred their negative feelings directly to me. The already harsh online comments became outright personal attacks. One such post read: “Could somebody tell me where I can find Anna Gunn so I can kill her?” Besides being frightened (and taking steps to ensure my safety), I was also astonished: how had disliking a character spiraled into homicidal rage at the actress playing her?

Before I started this blog, I was putting an occasional pop culture post on one of my other blogs. That’s where you’ll find Dear Lesbian Bloggers, Isn’t it Time to Forgive? The post is about the resentment many directed toward The L Word. In that post, I stated,

I surfed around among many lesbian writers, sampling what they had to say about The L Word. I was surprised when I discovered a plethora of complaints, vilifications, and shaming. Nobody liked Ilene Chaiken. Nobody was satisfied with the plot. The characters were all too pretty. It wasn’t realistic. Everyone was mad because Dana died. Everyone hated Jenny. And on, an on, and on.

On the blog Dorothy Surrenders the other day, I saw On Faith and Fandom. She was talking about the attacks on two actresses because of their personal beliefs.

Which leads me to the recent heated fandom debates – to put it very mildly; you should see the email folder I’ve made for all the messages – over Rachel Skarsten of “Lost Girl” and most recently Laura Prepon of “Orange Is the New Black.” Both have been tied to churches that are reportedly anti-gay.

Fans argued that it was okay to hate a character and the person who plays her because of a religious belief. Even though before they knew this one personal thing about the person, they loved the character and the actor playing her. Nothing about the show or the character changed.

Love a show? Then watch it.

Is there some show you love? Breaking Bad or Orange is the New Black, perhaps. Yea! Then watch it for your entertainment pleasure. It’s a gift to you from a network and a creator and a producer and a huge crew and a lot of actors who work for months to bring you said entertainment. If the show you love has a message or a larger cultural meaning about good and evil or visibility for LGBT people or some other topic dear to your heart, good for it! You can support the show on that basis.

If the show you love has a character you like or don’t like (because every drama has to have a protagonists AND an antagonist or nothing dramatic happens) then good for the show’s creators for giving you characters that make you care.

The thing is, it’s fiction. It’s story. It’s made up. The actors are not the characters. And neither the actors or the characters belong to you. You don’t get to judge entertainment based on the actor’s personal lives. You don’t get to hate them when the characters they play don’t do exactly what you want. Just because you feel invested in a story or character, it’s still mass entertainment and not your personal possession.

Here’s how Shonda Rhimes (Gray’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal) put it on Twitter:

Advice from Uncle Bill

When I was a kid, my Uncle Bill was a theater manager. That was back in the day when Elizabeth Taylor was a huge star. She was on her 5th or 6th marriage, and I commented to Uncle Bill about not wanting to see her latest movie because she got married all the time. He said, “Look at her her acting. Look at the work. That’s all that matters.”

Look at the work. A lot of people did a lot of work to tell you a story. Watch it with pleasure or don’t watch it at all. But don’t threaten to harm the people telling you the stories.

Breaking Bad image ©AMC

Lee Daniels’ The Butler is Powerful

poster for The Butler

Lee Daniels’ The Butler is one of the most powerful films I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s like watching a newsreel of my own life. It is a newsreel of my own life. It was especially meaningful to watch it on Sunday as the nation remembered the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and the “I have a dream speech” by The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

But as a white woman living through the events in the years that Cecil Gaines served in The White House, a lot of it was “the news” to me. I wasn’t living it in the way the characters lived it. I wasn’t forced to live with two faces, I wasn’t thrown in jail for expecting to be served in a restaurant, I wasn’t sprayed with fire hoses or screamed at by men in white robes. As I write this review I’m very aware of how different life was for African Americans during this part of our history.

butler-silhouette
Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a man who hid his true self for most of his working life.

Part of the power of this story is the juxtaposition of what Cecil Gaines was going through as a butler working in the rarefied air of The White House while his oldest son was riding buses across the South as a freedom rider.

freedom riders
A bus full of freedom riders under attack.

Cecil Gaines continued to do his job, a job that looked like a miracle of good fortune when he first was hired, while his oldest son was being arrested and beaten in places like Birmingham and Selma. These two things going on simultaneously spoke volumes about the past and the future, about courage and change.

The story begins with young Cecil watching his father shot in cold blood because he dared speak to a white man after the white man raped Cecil’s mother. I don’t remember the date exactly, but I think it was in the 1920s. The story ends with the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Between those years, Cecil’s career in The White House spanned presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan. I think it was Eisenhower. Robin Williams definitely played Eisenhower. However, they showed actual TV news footage that was supposed to be Eisenhower, but I thought it was Harry Truman, so I am a bit confused about that part of the time sequence.

Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker
Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker as Gloria and Cecil Gaines looking at smoke from nearby race riots.

The cast is exemplary. Every one of the key parts of characters who get a lot of screen time is perfectly cast. Forest Whitaker as Cecil is flawless. Oprah Winfrey as his wife and mother of their two sons, David Oyelowo as the grown up Louis Gaines, Terrance Howard as a family friend, Cuba Gooding Jr. as another White House Butler – all outstanding.

Major actors and actresses took tiny parts, just to be part of this story. I think anyone who read the script must have known what a powerful film this would be and was ready to be part of it. There will be numerous awards for this film, I’m sure of that.

In addition to the civil right themes throughout there are the human dramas involving father and son relationships, family relationships, friendships, fidelity, alcoholism, pride, and respect.

Perhaps you’re too young to have lived through all of the past 60 or 70 years of U.S. history. Perhaps you will miss some of the moments of recognition as to who the various characters in government and in the civil rights movement were from having known about them first hand during those years. Even more reason to watch this movie. You’ll learn something about the U.S – its failures, and its heroes.

You’ll be moved by The Butler. I urge you to see it.

The Inexplicable Finally Hooked Me on Under the Dome

I kept sticking with Under the Dome, largely because I have faith in Stephen King to tell a good story. It annoyed me for a long time, but the mysterious inexplicable happenings week after week finally started to pull me in. Now I’m hooked.

Since the show has been renewed for a second season, I can look forward to learning some of the answers to the inexplicable.

I’m getting attached to the characters, particularly Rachelle Lefevre as Julia and Mike Vogel as Barbie. These two are on a collision course and Julia doesn’t know it yet, but the viewers do.

Dean Norris is making himself a wonderful villain as Big Jim. Leon Rippy is another most excellent bad guy. Sometimes one nefarious character isn’t enough. (And to think, Leon Rippy was once an angel of God in Saving Grace. Is he now a fallen angel?)

Natalie Martinez
Natalie Martinez

Natalie Martinez as Sheriff Linda Esquivel is fantastic. I love the idea that a Latina actress has a significant part in this drama in a role that traditionally would have gone to a white good-old-boy type.

In terms of the inexplicable, the characters are as in the dark as the viewers. Everyone is struggling to make sense of the dome, and the egg. We thought two teens might have something to do with the dome, this week that circle enlarged to three and possibly a fourth. The teens, played by Mackenzie Lintz with Britt Robertson and Colin Ford as brother and sister, are the three we know about so far.

I’m glad I stuck with Under the Dome long enough to get hooked.  What has your reaction to this series been so far?

Images ©CBS TV Under the Dome

Why Annie Walker is the Best Action Hero(ine) on TV

Piper Perabo plays Annie Walker on USA Networks Covert Affairs, now in it’s 4th season. Annie Walker is a CIA operative who goes all over the world doing dangerous and exciting spy missions.

Piper Perabo
Piper Perabo in Covert Affairs

She goes undercover, she catches bad guys, she carries a gun, she dresses up as nicely as James Bond ever could, she chases people through the streets of strange cities, she drives a fast car better than Mario Andretti, she speaks about 57 languages fluently, and she kicks ass. And she does it all in high heels. If that isn’t an action hero, I don’t know what one is.

Of course, she’s just a girl, so no one has ever given her credit for being the best action hero on TV.

I’m here to correct that error.

Other CIA characters who surround our heroine Annie Walker include her handler, Augie, played by Chris Gorham. Augie is blind, but a genius at finding out anything Annie needs to know to carry out her missions. Once in a while Augie gets out in the field with Annie.

If you only know Chris Gorham as Ugly Betty’s dorky boyfriend – and took note of his amazing abs – you’ll be glad to know his abs are on display from time to time in this show, too. There’s a separate web series devoted to Augie called Sights Unseen. It features Augie’s history and story with the CIA before he went blind.

Some of the higher ups in the CIA who boss Annie around from time to time are Kari Matchett and Peter Gallagher, playing a married couple of CIA lifers. In four seasons, many characters have come and gone. There are family members, lovers, co-workers, spies, and assorted others needed to tell the spy tales in Covert Affairs.

If you’ve never seen any of the show, here’s a clip of Annie and Augie from season 3. No action hero antics going on, just a tame conversation in which our favorite man-who-is-stuck-in-the-office-because-he’s-blind plays up his male superiority to our helpless female CIA operative. (Actually, Annie is the bomb and Augie knows it.)

You can catch episodes of Covert Affairs on USA Network. There’s a Facebook page for the show. You’ll find lots of video from the show on the Covert Affairs YouTube channel.

All images ©USA Network

The L Word Opening Credits (Season Four)

This is part four of a series of posts that recap The L Word based solely on what you learn by watching the opening credits. We are ready to take on Season 4. Continue reading “The L Word Opening Credits (Season Four)”

Do the Tastee Twist with Danielle Brooks

tastee twist

You have four days to make your video and get it up on Instagram to enter this brilliant Orange is the New Black dance contest. Danielle Brooks, Tastee herself, is going to judge and pick some favorites.

Start dancing!

Images ©Netflix.

Love it or Hate it? Funny or Die

Short. Hilarious. Posted on the web. That’s Funny or Die. The site offers a little bit of crazy in many formats, but I want to concentrate on the videos by showing you some and letting you decide for yourself if this web series is for you.

Be aware that much of what follows is off-color and disgusting. Well, okay, if you want something classy, just watch the Jennifer Beals one. Otherwise, things can get gross.

When Harry Met Sally 2

Cop-Puter

Oscar Buzz

What do you think? Funny or not?