Watch This: Trailer for Cosmos

Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a continuation of the old Carl Sagan series, COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey. The new 13-part series premieres Sunday, March 9 at 9/8c on FOX. It will also appear on the National Geographic channel.

Set your DVR. This ought to be good!

Nashville: Hayden Panettiere Evolves in a Good Way

Last night’s episode of Nashville, “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right” finally showed the very long evolution of Juliette Barnes, played by Hayden Panettiere, in a light that makes her a more likable character.

For a long while, Juliette Barnes has been the antagonist, the bad girl we love to hate. At the same time, we’ve peered into her troubled and broken life, her drug-addicted mother, her penchant for choosing the wrong men, her desire to achieve success with her music. The way she’s dealt with all those issues hasn’t always endeared her to us.

The precipitating plot that drove this evolution of Juliette Barnes went like this. She said something that was video edited to put her in a bad light. The video went viral and her fans, her label, and everyone else turned against her. Concerts were cancelled, CD sales tanked. She was maligned by bad media.

In the midst of this media storm, she is inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Her label insists that she use her moment on the stage accepting her award to apologize to everyone on the planet for being a terrible person.

Instead she writes a new song with Deacon (Charles Esten) that tells everyone on the planet they can shove it.

It’s a move that could wreck her career. As soon as she walks off the stage her label drops her. People with the power to move products decide to deny her shelf space in stores. Nevertheless, it was a great move from my point of view.

In past episodes, Juliette has struggled to be independent, to make the kind of music she wants, to direct her own life and career. She hasn’t done it well. She made a lot of bad decisions and alienated a lot of people. In all her efforts to grow up and take control of her own destiny she’s mis-stepped and manipulated in all the wrong ways.

Her statement with the song did two things. It proved her talent. It told everyone they had to take her as she is, that she had to be what she is and not something manufactured. Her refusal to cave to the demands of her label ultimately set her free. As far as picking the right man, she’s still working on that one, but a character can’t solve ALL her problems in one episode.

Her character arc can develop now in new, more positive ways.

Kudos to Hayden Panettiere for her willingness to play that character we all love to hate for two seasons. Kudos to writer Callie Khouri for the way she’s slowly moved Juliette being into a better, stronger person.

Photo by Mark Levine – © 2013 American Broadcasting Companies

TV Extends its Reach

Yesterday there was an announcement in The Hollywood Reporter that the series The Fosters has an order for a 5 part web series that will focus on the group home where the character Callie is currently living.

Lost Girl used 4 webisodes to bridge the gap between season 3 and season 4.

Defiance has a full-fledged video game to complement its TV show. Some shows have less complex games that run as apps on a smart phone rather than as multiplayer games on a gaming device.

Many networks have apps that give you exclusive information on your phone or tablet that you watch while watching the show on your TV.

Most TV shows have Facebook pages where photos and video clips are posted regularly.

The show and the actors in a show may be expected to use Twitter and Instagram to communicate with fans while a show is on the air.

Orange is the New Black quote posted on Pinterest.
Orange is the New Black quote posted on Pinterest.

Some shows, Orange is the New Black for example, make extensive use of images that can be shared on Pinterest.

From the prospective of the TV show, this is all marketing, PR, outreach: the essentials of success. From the perspective of a fan, it’s a bit overwhelming. There’s so much you have to keep track of if you want to know all about your favorite show or your favorite actor. Add to that all the Tumblr blogs, or blogs like this one, that bring you even more about your favorite shows.

How much time do you spend on a 2nd screen – your computer or tablet – exploring all the media surrounding your favorite TV shows?

And, thanks for reading. I know there’s a lot out there to choose from. I appreciate your attention.

Recap: Lost Girl, S4, E11 – End of a Line

It’s “End of a Line” on Lost Girl. Everyone but Bo thinks Rainer is evil, the line between life and death is permeable, and someone we love dies. (Say it isn’t so!)

Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) and Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten) are picking a movie to help distract them from the fact that Bo has locked them out over the Rainer situation, when Bo (Anna Silk) walks into the room. Bo likes zombie movies, too. Kenzi wants to know she isn’t brainwashed and that she still has a best friend. (Lauren suggested brainwashing in the last episode, too.)

You complete me
I like zombie movies

To prove she isn’t brainwashed, Bo makes a speech about how things weren’t perfect with Dyson and Lauren is all buddy buddy with The Morrigan, but with Rainer, Bo finally feels like she provided something to a relationship. She and Rainer want the same things. It’s bigger than love.

Is she brainwashed? I really hope so.

You complete me
You complete me

Bo picks up Jerry Maguire from the videos and tells Kenzi, you complete me. Tamsin blurts out, “Hale wants Kenzi to move in with him.” Bo can’t believe Kenzi would be leaving her. Not so much fun when it happens to her.

Bo goes downstairs to gather snacks for the movie-watching party. A zombie (oops, in the Fae world they are called revenants, not zombies) staggers into the kitchen. Bo stabs him with the ever-present kitchen sword but he keeps coming.

That's the way you do it.
That’s the way you do it.

Something slices off the revenant’s head. Who steps into the frame while resheathing her sword but Acacia (Linda Hamilton). She has a reanimated hand and an idea that the vision before her must be Bo. In a show full of awesome women, Linda Hamilton merely steps in front of the camera and the awesome goes up by about 1000%.

Tamsin shoves Acacia against a wall and says, “You’re supposed to be dead!” Seems Acacia got lucky. Massimo reattached her hand after The Wanderer’s crows cut it off. She’s a revenant hunter now. When she hears that Rainer is Bo’s “boyfriend,” she’s ready to leave but Tamsin holds her back.

We need to talk to your boy toy. Now.
We need to talk to your boy toy. Now.

Tamsin finds a Wanderer card on the revenant. Bo says Rainer left last night to go the battlefield to pay his respects to the dead. Tamsin thinks maybe he intends to reanimate them. Acacia is also skeptical. Bo finally says, “All right, get your coats,” and they head off to investigate. Tamsin tosses the revenant’s head in a plastic bag to take with them.

You wanted to talk?
You wanted to talk?

Vex (Paul Amos) enters Trick’s (Rick Howland) lair. Trick invited him for a talk. Trick said he had to use his blood because Rainer was always 10 steps ahead of him. He thinks Rainer is defiant, not evil. But there is real evil out there. Trick tells Vex that Vex’s father was a great hero, his best general. Vex doesn’t believe it.

Kenzi’s wiping up the bloody mess Bo left in the kitchen when there’s a knock at the door.

The family is here!
The family is here!

It’s Dimitri (Ian Matthews) the larcenous cousin we’ve heard Kenzi speak to on the phone so many times. And a woman (Linda Kash).

The woman is Kenzi’s mom.

Hunting for answers
Hunting for answers

Switch to a fabulous outdoor set where the cult of the dead hang out. If anyone has revenants (like Rainer) this where to find them. Sure enough, here comes a revenant, intent on doing something nasty to our 3 ladies.

Sorry I'm late
Sorry I’m late

Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) shows up, decapitates the revenant, and apologizes for being late. About time he saved someone. Everyone else has had to save him lately.

Kenzi’s family reunion involves mom cooking something, Dimitri doing something criminal on the phone, and everyone fighting and arguing about it. Normal for Kenzi’s family. Hale (K.C. Collins) comes in. Kenzi tries to chase him off.

YOU did this?
YOU did this to me?

But Hale’s not leaving. Why? Because Hale invited them!

Tamsin and Dyson team up to investigate locals. Bo and Acacia do the same. Acacia leads Bo to Harvey (Scott McCord). Harvey is a sexist ass. Just in case you didn’t pick up on that, I wanted to be sure you notice. Acacia pounds him onto a table, shows him the head in the plastic bag, and wants to know who it is. He seems to like the pain. Bo tries her succubus charms on him, which works. He’ll talk.

Slight cherry aftertaste.
Slight cherry aftertaste

He pours a little blood from the head into a glass and takes a sip. Drinking blood is the only way to gain dominion over a revenant. Or to find out who currently has dominion. This taste test tells Harvey the asshole that the revenant belongs to Bo. Well, that’s surprising news.

Rip open her shirt
Rip open her shirt

Bo and Acacia start a shoving match, arguing over who is to blame for what. Asshole is filming the whole thing while shouting sexist asshole encouragement.

Three magic sisters, yep
Three magic sisters, yep

Tamsin and Dyson discuss the fact that Bo is crazy when a guy comes up talking about 3 sisters. Three magic sisters. Only one survived and she can control the dead. She is dead and alive. Tamsin considers this a lead to a woman named Laveau, so she interrupts Bo and Acacia in their rather tame cat fight. Bo smashes asshole’s camera before she goes.

Kenzi’s mom wants to make up. She gives Kenzi earrings. Mom confesses to all sorts of mistakes including not protecting Kenzi from her stepfather. Kenzi describes how much she suffered. Mom says she kicked out the evil stepfather.

I've been worried about you.
I’ve been worried about you.

Kenzi hugs her and says she was really worried. She did the right thing in kicking out the stepfather. Mom wants to celebrate.

Help me out here.
We gotta take him out.

Tamsin and Acacia walk and talk. “The Wanderer gets off the train and starts playing house?” Acacia asks. Tamsin says she may have given Rainer’s soul to the Blood King. She didn’t take him to Valhalla. She helped make him The Wanderer.

Acacia says they have to take him out, he is bad news. “Just because he’s boning sugar snatch doesn’t mean he’s going to leave you be.” Acacia says, “Rainer’s revenants are after you.” Tamsin looks determined, angry.

The four investigators reach Laveau’s (Marci T House) trailer. She introduces herself as a voodoo priestess. Love the outfit.

Hello Laveau
Hello, Laveau

Laveau knows who everyone is. She knows all about everyone. She can wake the dead. Suddenly Acacia’s reanimated hand starts waving her sword around while Laveau laughs maniacally.

Hold that hand
Hold that hand

Tamsin restrains the hand. Laveau reveals that she wants the last remaining seed from the Una Mens. She wants to fight some new evil (actually, Trick mentioned it, too, in his conversation with Vex) called something that sounds like Peerapis. Dyson gives her a knockout punch to the back of the head.

(Thanks to Drinks at the Dal for being better Googlers than I am, and figuring out the word Pyrippus, which is a bat-winged, fire-breathing hell horse.)

Hale compliments Mom’s cooking. Mom says Kenzi helped and that she’s going to make Hale a good wife. Kenzi says, “Oh, my god, mom.”

Will you marry me?
Will you marry me?

That’s when Hale gets down on his knees and asks Kenzi to marry him. Before she can answer with anything more than a shocked expression, we learn that Hale promised the evil Kenzi-abusing bastard of a stepdad money for a startup and mom didn’t actually kick him out. Being a nice guy wasn’t the right choice this time, Hale. Screwed up big time.

Get out. Now
Get out. Now

Kenzi tells mom and Dimitri it’s time to go.

Bo and Dyson deliver Laveau to Harvey. She wakes up on his table. That’s when two things happen. 1. Bo figures out that Laveau and Harvey are working together. 2. About a million revenants start crashing their way into the room. Dyson prepares to go wolfie on them, while Laveau and Harvey hold a smootchfest in the background.

Laveau is dead, but not. Dead and alive. Dead or alive she wants the Una Mens seed. No deal, Laveau. Bo figures out that Laveau’s the chief revenant and uses her trusty knife to slice off Laveau’s head. Then, ew.

oh, ick
Oh, ick

Bo drinks blood from Laveau’s severed head. Dominion, baby. She raises her arms Christ-like, says, “Be at peace,” and the ravening hoard of revenants drop placidly to the floor.

As mom walks out the door Kenzi mentions all the horrible things she did to her. Mom says, “I wouldn’t have done them if you hadn’t been so defiant.” She sounds like Trick. She tries to slap Kenzi, but Kenzi blocks it and tells her goodbye. Dimitri tells her that Hale is a good guy before he goes.

Family can be a bummer
Family: a bummer

Kenzi leans against the closed door, hurt and saddened all over again by her family.

Dyson’s pouring shots as fast as his wolf arm will move, alone at the Dal. Bo sits beside him, asks him if he wants to talk about it. He says no one knows anything about Rainer. He may be after Trick. Bo tells him he has a right to be hurt.

What are we now?
What are we now?

Dyson says, I’ll always be there for you, but if this Rainer turns out to be a bad guy, I can’t help you with that. Bo doesn’t believe him. “You and I were always more than just lovers.”

“And what are we now?” Dyson asks.

Bo says she doesn’t understand the whole thing either, but she swears she wasn’t kidnapped. She says, “You can’t always choose your path.” (This from the woman who says once a week, “I will live the life I choose.”) She leaves him there drinking.

Trick and Vex are now laughing over a story about Vex’s dad and what a great guy he was. Trick’s books mysteriously straighten themselves on the shelf. Rainer’s being written back into history.

I'm late, I'm late, I'm late
I’m late, I’m late, I’m late

Vex prepares to leave but Trick calls after him, asking about the Una Mens seed. He thinks Vex has it.

We both know dead doesn't always mean dead
We both know dead doesn’t always mean dead

Tamsin and Acacia are walking and talking again. Tamsin says Acacia’s been lying, she really showed up to sic Tamsin on Rainer, not to chase revenants. Tamsin says if it’s really The Wanderer she will do it right this time. Acacia warns her that Massimo is up to something big.

Bo paces the floor in the clubhouse as Tamsin arrives. Bo says she has questions but she can’t ignore how she feels.

That's not my boss
That’s not my boss

A book opens to reveal a drawing of Rainer. Tamsin says, “hello” in a sexy ain’t-he-a-hunk kind of voice. Bo says, “What do you mean? It’s Rainer. It’s your boss.” Nope, that’s not Tamsin’s boss. Not any Rainer she knows.

Put those away
Put those away

Kenzi enters her bedroom, complimenting Hale on the bling he picked out. She sees his abs and says, “Put those away, sir.” She wants to slow things down a bit because they have so much time. All the time in the world. She climbs into the bed beside him and starts kissing him. The abs worked, after all.

I haven't said yes, yet
I haven’t said yes, yet

Bo is downstairs, staring at the drawing of not-Rainer when Kenzi runs down the stairs, squeals, and shows Bo the ring. Bo congratulates Kenzi, wants to go upstairs and congratulate Hale, when Kenzi says, “No. No pants, no pants.”

Bo gets the funniest embarrassed expression on her face. Anna Silk really should get to be funny more often. Instead of talking to Hale she offers to go buy food and wine – and candy – for a celebration.

Tamsin finds Dyson still downing shots at the Dal. She talks about the day they met at the boxing ring and what he did to her mouth. She straddles him on his bar stool. He tries to discourage her, but she starts kissing him.

Please, please, please
Please, please, please

She begs, “Oh, come on. Come on,” until he finally does.

Somebody ‘splain the point of this to me. What does a Tamsin and Dyson hookup have to do with anything that’s going on?

Kenzi’s in the kitchen in her undies when Massimo (Tim Rozon) appears. She screams for Hale. Massimo grabs her.

Oh, crap.
Oh, crap

He throws her on the floor, kicks her, talks about how she and the stupid bitch succubus just couldn’t leave it alone. He’s covered with scars or blood or something from being burned alive. (Maybe Massimo’s bloody hand was the one reaching for the Una Mens seed in the last episode.) Kenzi reaches for the sword but he gets it first. She screams for Hale again as Massimo kicks her and puts his foot on her throat. He mocks her fake fae sparkle.

Hale grabs Massimo and punches and kicks him a few times before unleashing a super-sized siren whistle on him that kills him. The whistling made Hale weak. His ears bleed. He goes deaf. He doesn’t hear Kenzi warn him.

Massimo did it
Massimo did it

Massimo gets up and runs a sword through Hale. Massimo brags about having the sacred twig of Zamora which bestows immortality. The twig Hale gave to Kenzi to protect her. Massimo says, “Consider us paid in full,” and leaves.

No. No. No
No. No. No.

Kenzi’s on the floor with Hale, crying, scared. Hale whispers, “I love you,” and dies. Kenzi screams and cries. The camera moves up above them in one of those shots that suggest a soul ascending to heaven. Finally we see them from ceiling height. Much as I hate the idea of Hale dying, it’s a beautiful shot.

When Bo gets back Kenzi is lying on top of Hale. Kenzi says, “Massimo did this and it’s all my fault. The twig. . . . I gave it to Massimo for my powers. My stupid, stupid powers.”

Bring him back
Bring him back

“Bo, you can bring him back. The chi thing.” Bo says there isn’t enough chi. Bo takes Kenzi’s chi but it isn’t enough.

Before there was you and Trick and Lauren and Stella.
Before there was you and Trick and Lauren and Stella.

To take enough chi to bring Hale back would kill Kenzi. Bo won’t do it. Kenzi is furious – flailing – when Bo chooses her over Hale. Kenzi’s hysterical – can you blame her? To calm her down, Bo socks her with enough succubus charm to knock her out. Kenzi crumples over Hale into Bo’s lap.

I'm so sorry
I’m so sorry

Then Bo breaks into tears.

Personal Thoughts

  • It’s so easy to get caught up in wishful thinking as a fan of this show, but I’m sure wishing that Hale will somehow be restored. Maybe enough people will show up that Bo can do the chi thing. Come on, Hale can’t die! It gives me hope that K.C. Collins was very active on Twitter during the broadcast of this episode and didn’t act like someone who was leaving.
  • Bo is cray-cray on the topic of Rainer.
  • Only two episodes left to find out what Lauren’s been up to with the Evony DNA she stole with a kiss.
  • Only two episodes left to learn something about The Wanderer. Or Rainer. Or if they are one in the same.
  • Are they going to be renewed for a 5th season? Please. Come on. Come on. Come on.

Winners and Losers

Four new TV shows caught my eye. After checking them out for two or three episodes, I’ve picked the winners I want to keep watching and the losers that will disappear from my viewing schedule.

The Winners

The two shows I find the best are Intelligence and Killer Women. Sheer dazzle makes Intelligence interesting. Josh Holloway is excellent as the cyber-brained lead character with whiz-bang computer skills embedded in his brain. His supporting team, Meghan Ory and Marg Helgenberger are both doing a terrific job in their roles. Plus the show includes some particular favorite actors of mine such as John Billingsley and Lance Reddick.

Intelligence is sci fi done right: engaging characters, plots that work, fascinating tech.

Killer Women is also a hit with me. Tricia Helfer, who’s worked in a long list of things we’ve all seen, never came to the front of my attention before the way she does with her leading role in this drama. She’s doing a terrific job as a tough Texas Ranger. Remember how awesome Gina Torres looked in Firefly with that gun strapped to her hip? That’s the vibe Tricia Helfer is giving off in Killer Women. One helluva woman.

I know Killer Women has suffered some negative reviews – by men – but the women reviewing this show have spoken positively about it. So as a representative of the female TV viewing audience, I cast my vote for a renewal of this show!

The Losers

They looked good, the previews and trailers looked good, but two of the new shows failed to engage me.

I like Billy Campbell, I enjoy sci fi, and I had high hopes for Helix. It should be good. Good cast, great sets, strong premise, diverse characters. But it bores me. The 3rd episode, which will be the last one I devote my time to, left me yawning and wishing it would hurry up and end. It has devoted followers, if tweets in my Twitter stream are any indication, but I’m not one of them.

The other show that leaves me flat is Bitten. It’s rare that I can’t get into a show with a female lead character. Laura Vandervoort does a perfectly fine job as the lead in this werewolf story, so it isn’t her.  Bitten feels opaque. Too many undefined characters, not enough clarity about the stakes involved. Not one thing in this series has made me care.

Do you have winners and losers from the new TV season? What are they?

PBS Announces Dates for Season 2 of Last Tango in Halifax and I’m Not Happy – Updated

PBS announced that the second season of Last Tango in Halifax will air on PBS beginning Sunday June 29, 2014.

You read that right: June 29. Five months from now.

As far as I’m concerned here at Old Ain’t Dead, that’s a unacceptable delay and wait.

Blimey

Okay, I am pretty upset with PBS. And I was trying to stage a revolt against the 5 month wait on my  little blog. Then I heard from Tony Gardner, who plays John on Last Tango in Halifax.

So here’s the thing. Last Tango in Halifax

  1. is pretty much the best show on earth
  2. is home to great actors and I don’t want to stuff any of them

So I’ve decided not to encourage you to violate any intellectual property laws in an effort to override the inertia of PBS. I’ve also decided to wait to publish my recaps until PBS actually airs the show in June.

I Hate This

I hate the fact that in an Internet-connected world where there is no place, no geography, any longer,  we are bound by geographic restrictions on content.

I hate PBS taking its sweet time to air something that is out in the ether in a million other ways. Why are they so slow? What’s the purpose of the delay? Why not simulcast it like Doctor Who? Why not show it shortly after the British version has shown like Downton Abbey?

Is it about money? Doesn’t the show have good enough ratings?

Yes, I’ve seen season 2 on the BBC. It isn’t that I’m dying of curiosity because I haven’t seen it yet. But – and this is a big but, I will watch the whole series AGAIN when it comes out on PBS. It isn’t that knowing season 2 is going to prevent me from seeing it on PBS. I’ll watch it on PBS. Whatever I contribute to PBS in ratings when the show airs is still coming their way.

Here’s the real point for me: PBS is taking too freaking long to bring the show to America. Too freaking long.

I may rant about this until June.

 

Watch This: Trailer for the Short Film One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising is an event organized by Eve Ensler of The Vagina Monologues. The film is a short about the event in 2013. Another event is planned for Valentine’s Day 2014.

Amy Poehler and Natasha Lyonne and Old People: I’m Excited

The news is that Amy Poehler received the go ahead for a new comedy on NBC, tentatively called Old Soul. The series will star Orange is the New Black sensation Natasha Lyonne as a young woman working as an aide to a group of old people.

According to this report in Deadline,

 “This show, hopefully, will blow up some of the cliches we think about old people,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said.

I don’t want this show to take Natasha Lyonne away from OITNB, because she’s wonderful there and needed there. Please let the scheduling gods be with her on this so that she can do both.

Lyonne’s droll brand of melancholy seems perfect for a story about a younger woman dealing with an opinionated bunch of wise-ass elders.

Image @Rob Kim/Getty Images North America
Image @Rob Kim/Getty Images North America

Anything Amy Poehler touches will be funny – you know that in advance. But the really important thing about this whole project to me is that I think the elders in this series will be treated with respect. I’m hoping it will be like Golden Girls or Hot in Cleveland, where elders are funny but not made fun of. For that reason alone, I’m excited about the potential of Old Soul, or whatever it ends up being called.

Amy Poehler image: Jason Merritt/WireImage