Firefly Fans, Open Your Wallets for Con Man

Firefly stars Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion launched an Indigogo crowdfunding campaign. They are raising money for a new web series, Con Man.

They are already over their goal. (Firefly fans are nothing if not enthusiastic!) Give them some money anyway. More money equals more episodes.

Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk want to get the Firefly alums together for a web series
Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk want to get some Firefly alums together for a web series

Con Man will be about sci fi conventions and the characters in that world. Tudyk is writing and directing. He will also star as an actor playing the pilot of a spaceship. Fillion will star as a ruggedly handsome actor playing a spaceship captain. Also promised are Sean Maher, Gina Torres, James Gunn, Seth Green, Felicia Day, and Amy Acker.

Fillion and Tudyk do this because Firefly was cancelled too soon, too soon. The love lingers on and expresses itself in the con – events so amazing and beautiful they are worthy of a web series.

Go watch their video asking for money and support these crazy guys. Did I mention Gina Torres, Felicia Day and Amy Acker? And for all the tweets Alyson Hannigan gave those two blockheads, I think she deserves a part, too.

Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt caught my eye because it was created by Robert Carlock and Tina Fey. The Netflix-only series stars Ellie Kemper as the title character.

The set-up is that 4 women have been held in an underground bunker for 15 years by a crazy reverend (Jon Hamm) who told them there was an apocalypse above them and nothing was left. Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) survived her 15 years by being determinedly happy and cheerful. She was unbreakable. Now that she’s out in the world, Kimmy’s brand of sunny cheerfulness influences everyone she meets.

This is a season 1 only review. Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Brain Dump: House of Cards, Empire, The Americans, The Fosters

It’s a brain dump day. Just a little bit of one thing or another in disconnected ramblings.

House of Cards

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in House of Cards
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in House of Cards

When Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) finally has all the power in the world in his hands, he becomes a tyrant and a bigger ass than he ever was. And when Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) has a chance, she chooses to do the right thing. Unlike dear Frank.

House of Cards is more about the relationship between Frank and Claire than it is about political intrigue and power. Season 3 really brings that home, especially the final moments.

Favorite scenes: 1. When Claire shamed the Russian President on Russian TV. 2. When Frank caused Jesus to go all to pieces. 3. When Claire – aw, shucks, that’s too big of a spoiler to share.

Empire

Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard in Empire
Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard in Empire

I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying Empire. I know I’m a sucker for any show with music, but I thought this one would be different because I don’t enjoy rap. I get tired of all those male voices in rap. But the music on this show is good, with only an occasional bit of rap and with plenty of women performers in the mix.

I’m also into the characters and the drama. Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyons and Terrance Howard as Lucious Lyons show off outstanding acting chops in every episode, with the rest of the cast doing just as well. I’m happy it keeps climbing in the ratings, because that means it will probably be back for another season.

The Americans

Holly Taylor in The Americans
Holly Taylor in The Americans

In The Americans, Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) have agonized all season over when (or if) to explain to their oldest child Paige (Holly Taylor) that they are Russian spies. Phillip doesn’t want to. Elizabeth wants to but can’t bring herself to do it. It underscores everything that happens this season from what they do as spies to how they relate to each other and their daughter. It’s fascinating to watch their lives and all their assumptions kind of unravel over this issue.

The Fosters

Cierra Ramirez in The Fosters
Cierra Ramirez in The Fosters

I think we need more geeky young women on TV as role models. Well, we got one. Cierra Ramirez as Mariana on The Fosters turns out to be quite the hacker. I love Mariana the geek! More geeky girls, please.

 

33 Experts and Me Share Notable Female Characters

Bo from Lost Girl and the words 33 experts and me

I read a wonderful article called 33 Experts Share Their Notable Female Characters Of Recent Years at Bang2Write.

Bang2Write asked screenwriters, directors, literary agents and other industry pros to talk about the female characters they thought were most important in recent years.

The names they mentioned were absolute favorites of mine: Carrie from Homeland, Kalinda from The Good Wife, Lizbeth from the Millennium Trilogy, Catherine from Happy Valley, Stella from The Fall, the women from Scott & Bailey and Last Tango in Halifax, Hushpuppy from Beasts of the Southern Wild, Michonne and Carol from The Walking Dead, various clones from Orphan Black, practically everyone from Orange is the New Black.

There were many more names mentioned by these experts. I loved reading their reasons and explanations for why they picked certain characters. I loved the females they named.

As I read each of the picks by the 33 experts I was surprised that no one mentioned Bo from Lost Girl. There are some awesome female characters on Lost Girl. Particularly Bo, who is strong and growing increasingly more powerful. She wears her power with grace and uses it with heart. She’s unaligned with either side in her world. She’s protective of those she loves. She makes mistakes – huge ones. She’s less than perfect, but she’s searching, yearning to improve.

Bo’s bisexual. As far as I know the only other female bi characters on television are Callie on Grey’s Anatomy and Kalinda on The Good Wife. Bisexual women are misunderstood and mistreated by the culture at large and even by the LGBT community. Since I’m a believer that #RepresentationMatters, I think having a bi character portrayed in a positive light is a powerful thing.

So while I agree with every single female named by the experts, I want to mention Bo as one they forgot. I’m not an expert. I’m merely a consumer of movies and television with notable female characters – I look for them every day. I seldom watch anything that does not have notable female characters. I support notable female characters with enthusiasm.

But don’t forget Bo on Lost Girl.

House of Cards: Trailers, Posters and Dates

The release date on Netflix for House of Cards is Friday, February 27. All 13 episodes of season 3 will be available then.

Poster for House of Cards

In season 3, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is the President, Claire (Robin Wright) is First Lady. I forget the exact details of how Frank Underwood manipulated himself into the Presidency. I must go back and review season 2 before Feb. 27.

Most of the season was filmed in Maryland, but the finale was filmed in northern New Mexico in the Santa Fe and Las Vegas area. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for places I recognize in the finale!

Netflix calls this preview a moving poster. It doesn’t show much of anything except the Underwoods looking Presidential.

The official season 3 trailer is much more exciting – and drum laden.

Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones Set for Netflix

Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones is a comic book come to life featuring a female character. Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios for Netflix have stepped up to the heroine based story with this upcoming series.

Here’s the story from Marvel about the female leads.

After a tragic ending to her short-lived super hero stint, Jessica Jones is rebuilding her personal life and career as a detective who gets pulled into cases involving people with extraordinary abilities in New York City. Trish is a syndicated radio talk show host, former model and child TV star known to her adoring fans as “Patsy” Walker.

The 13 part story will air in the spring on Netflix, but I don’t know an exact date.

Krysten Ritter
Krysten Ritter

Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica Jones. She’s hung up her cape and opened a detective agency.

Rachael Taylor in a scene from "Crisis."
Rachael Taylor in a scene from “Crisis.”

Her best friend Trish will be played by Rachael Taylor. According to the publicity about Trish, she helps Jessica embark on the most dangerous case of her career.

Also in the cast are Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and David Tennant as Kilgrave.

Netflix has a deal with Marvel for 4 series. Fingers crossed, they are all lead by female characters. Melissa Rosenberg is the woman behind Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones.

Most women in actual comic books are just there because their boobs are falling out of their bras. Let’s hope that Jessica Jones on television can button her blouse and be an interesting lead character in a fun heroic romp. Krysten Ritter’ getting billing ahead of David Tennant, for heaven’s sake. She better be THE BOSS. She better be something this man can let his 7 year old daughter watch.

Rachael Taylor photo from Crisis by NBC – © 2013 NBC Universal Media. Krysten Ritten photo via IMDB.

Netflix Doc: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Available later this year only on Netflix will be Liz Garbus’ documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? about the life of singer Nina Simone. Here’s the publicity blurb about the film.

Classically trained pianist, black power icon and legendary recording artist, Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius, and tortured melancholy. In the upcoming Netflix original documentary, Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus interweaves never-before-heard recordings and rare archival footage together with Nina’’s most memorable songs, creating an unforgettable portrait of one of the least understood, yet most beloved artists of our time.

There’s another film about Nina Simone in the works – a biopic starring Zoe Saldana. This Netflix documentary will show Nina singing her own songs and shouldn’t be confused with the other film.

The two films will bring the attention of young people who might not be familiar with Nina Simone into her fandom. It seems to be the moment to rediscover the wonderful talents of the singer who died at age 70 in 2003.

Here’s the first official trailer for the documentary.

Learn more about the film and about Nina Simone at ninasimone.com.

Lila: Take a Moment to Brighten Your Day

Lila is a short film by Carlos Lascano that will make you smile and will brighten your day. The actress playing Lila is Alma Garcia. The film uses magic and art and reality to tell a brief but charming tale.

Lila is the conclusion of a trilogy beginning with A Short Love Story in Stop Motion and A Shadow of Blue. (The link to A Shadow of Blue is to the trailer. There are several versions  of the film with different music, but this is the only thing I could find with the original music.)

I wish I had Lila’s eyes in my life. I’d be grinning, too.