Great TV Marriages

Have you been watching The Gifted? I have. One of the things I notice each week is the great marriage between Amy Acker and Stephen Moyer as the parents of two ‘gifted’ teens in this sci fi drama. I haven’t thought much about great TV marriages since Friday Night Lights  with Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler ended. It’s time to look at a few newer marriage examples. Continue reading “Great TV Marriages”

Brain Dump: Supergirl & The Flash, American Crime, Taken, Shots Fired

This and that about a few TV shows: a brain dump. This week I’m thinking about musical crossovers, hidden slavery in America, the ratio of Beals to violence, and the criminal justice system. Continue reading “Brain Dump: Supergirl & The Flash, American Crime, Taken, Shots Fired”

Lost Girl: S5 E6 Clear Eyes, Fae Hearts

Lost Girl episode 6 of season 5 is “Clear Eyes, Fae Hearts.” The title is a tribute to a beloved favorite, Friday Night Lights. Look out, college football, here come Tamsin and Bo!

Spoilers ahead.

Zoie Palmer smiling
Bo’s dream girl

Bo (Anna Silk) dreams about the jack-in-the-box. Lauren (Zoie Palmer) cranks the handle slowly. She turns and smiles. Bo jerks awake.

Tamsin and Bo in Bo's bed.
The blonde in the bed isn’t who she thought.

There’s a blonde in Bo’s bed but it isn’t Lauren. The blonde is Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten). Tamsin give Bo an unsolicited good morning kiss. Bo goes off to make breakfast just the way Tamsin likes it because “that’s what roomies are for.”

The case of the week begins when Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) is sent to a crime scene at a football stadium. Mark (Luke Bilyk) is with him. The only thing you need to know about Mark in this episode is that he makes a juvenile, sexist, stupid, asshole remark every time he has a line.

blood forms a triple spiral
Interesting blood spatter. Wonder what Dexter would make of it?

Blood next to the dead football player makes the triple spiral Dyson’s been chasing around lately. He wipes it up and it reforms.

Tamsin and Bo
Are you the cheerleader type?

Dyson meets Lauren, Tamsin and Bo at the Dal. He tells them he thinks the murder is tied in with the Fae cult he’s tracking. Tamsin and Bo decide to go undercover as cheerleaders. Dyson says Tamsin doesn’t exactly scream perky. Lauren makes an award-winning, hilarious face at the idea of a perky Tamsin, which she wipes off when Tamsin gives her a look.

Tamsin and Bo don cheerleader costumes and strut across the football field in their little outfits. They’re supposed to be leading tryouts. About halfway there, Tamsin trips. Pratfalls are not beyond us, apparently.

Anna Hopkins as Brinkley
With a name like Brinkley, she has to be head cheerleader

Tamsin immediately has a run in with cheerleading team captain Brinkley White (Anna Hopkins). To show her stuff, Tamsin does a series of handsprings and tucks. When Brinkley’s ready for her turn to demo her tumbling skills, Tamsin throws the whammy on her. Girl doesn’t play fair in dance competitions, either. Bo nods sadly: Tamsin fails at perky.

Aren Buchholz as Derek
Derek has ideas about who did it.

Bo talks to a male cheerleader, Derek (Aren Buchholz), who is there representing tired, gay stereotypes. Bo gets a few ideas from him about who the murderer could be. Hint, her initials are B.W. He says the murdered guy was a bully, especially to the quarterback, Clay (Dwain Murphy). Just then Clay gets smacked to the ground on the field. Everyone thinks he’s out cold but he hops back up. Not human? Tamsin will check him out.

Tamsin talks to Clay
Clay tries to brush off Tamsin.

Clay wants to know why Tamsin thinks he would hurt his best receiver. He doesn’t tell her much.

Lauren and Cassie, whose eyes are bandaged.
Tell me everything from the beginning of time.

Cassie (Vanessa Matsui) wakes up muttering about rain and floods and coming storms. I didn’t get a screen grab of him, but Lauren’s new assistant is played by Gabe Gray, who was the doctor in Bomb Girls. A tidbit of irrelevant info because I’m pretty sure Lost Girl fan are also Bomb Girls fans.

Bo on the phone
You don’t need to call Lauren, do you?

When Bo calls Lauren to run tests on the players, Tamsin gets jealous. She doesn’t want Bo calling Lauren. Bo looks at Tamsin like what is up with you? Then Tamsin kisses Bo, a lip lock that Bo doesn’t actually return.

Amanda Walsh as Elizabeth Helm
I’ll have a coquetel, please

Into the Dal walks Elizabeth Helm (Amanda Walsh). She orders an old cocktail that Trick (Rick Howland) hasn’t mixed in 1000 years.

Rick Howland as Trick
I’d have you sign in, if I could find my ledger

Trick tries to chat her up, find out who she is. He tells her the ancients call this drink the drink of prophecy. She says she thinks he’ll find the ledger because ancient things have a way of turning up.

The man's bare behind
Not that interesting, fella.

Lauren shows up wanting either urine samples or blood samples from the football players under the guise of drug testing. If it’s urine, she has to watch the person pee. One player suggests she likes to watch and gives her a view of both his front and back. Lauren shrugs and says, “You really got the wrong girl.”

Dyson and Mark are at the gym, where Dyson has constructed a murder board. He pins up the image of the triskelion of blood.

Lisa Marcos as Alyssha Wells
I saw my dead husband.

A woman comes in with a request for Dyson. Her name is Alyssha (Lisa Marcos). She says she saw her dead husband walking in the street. He didn’t even recognize her.

Noam Jenkins as Heratio
It’s Dead Man Dating!

She shows Dyson a photo. It’s Heratio (Noam Jenkins). Note the Capital Sports logo behind him. Dyson says he’ll check it out.

Lauren and Bo in the lab.
Want a good laugh? Ask Bo to look in a microscope.

Lauren shows Bo test tubes full of science stuff. First she ogles Bo’s outfit, proving she’s human first and a scientist second. From Trick on speaker phone, we learn one of the guys appears to be a Heraclid. Heraclids are descendants of Hercules, the son of Zeus. Human but strong, fast and resilient. Also listening to this conversation at the Dal is Elizabeth Helm. Oh, oh.

Dyson talks to Clay, the quarterback. Clay doesn’t know what the triple curve shape is or what a Heraclid is. But he does have a secret.

Bo and Dyson talk
Dyson sniffs out some evidence.

Bo and Dyson talk about Clay not knowing who he is. Bo lets it slip that she’d be better off not knowing who her father is. When Dyson picks up on that, she deflects, changes the subject. They decide to chat with the gossipy cheerleader, Derek. While they are talking with him, Dyson smells blood. In Derek’s locker is the bloody jersey of the dead guy. Dyson takes Derek to the station.

Shanice Banton as Iris
Gonna go boom!

Iris (Shanice Banton) shows up at the gym. She checks out the murder board and draws a triple curve on Mark’s arm using his sweat. Her fingers make rainbows in the sweat. Iris says something bad is going to happen at the football game.

Cheryl Hickey
Cheryl Hickey from Entertainment Tonight Canada played a reporter.

At a press conference, Tamsin decides Brinkley ought to be considered a suspect. Clay sits down at the mic. The questions turn to the murder.

Clay
The quarterback comes out

Clay says that Derek couldn’t be the murderer because he was home in bed with him the night of the murder. Oops, the quarterback came out.

Bo and Derek
Bo knows what it’s like to live with a secret.

Derek takes Bo to see Clay. Clay says his PR Reps, Capital Sports, told him he couldn’t come out.

Tamsin and Bo at the Dal
Capital Sports, did you say?

At the Dal, Bo tells Dyson about Capital Sports. Dyson connects the dots to Kevin Brown from the elevator and Heratio55 who dated Cassie and Bo. They decide to go to the game.

Tamsin applies dap to her cheeks
This is her disguise?

Tamsin suits up and heads for the field. Get outta her way.

Elizabeth, Iris, Heratio
Aren’t they chummy?

Bo goes to the press box and finds the 3 elevator people together. A regular family. They call Iris their daughter and seem to take great pleasure in stroking her arms. Elizabeth also says Clay is like family. The more success Clay has, the better for the family. They admit to the murder of the football player.

Bo zapped by a thunderbolt
Ouch!

Bo realizes they are feeding off the crowd and threatens to throw the game. Elizabeth zaps her with a thunderbolt to get her out of the press box. Yep, a thunderbolt came right out of her hand. Hmm, Zeus could throw thunderbolts. Zeus was married to Hera. We’ve got Heraclids and Heratios running around in this episode. What the Hera?

Tamsin in a football uniform
Hail Mary, she does it.

Tamsin makes a touchdown in the last seconds of the game by catching a 40 yard pass.

Elizabeth glows
Touchdown!

Elizabeth glows with delight.

Bo
Girlfriend? Oh, no.

In the clubhouse, Bo examines a scar on her shoulder from the lightning bolt. Bo says she’s never felt anything like it. Tamsin can’t heal it.

Bo wants to go see Trick. Tamsin wants to run her a bath first because that’s what girlfriends are for. Bo watches Tamsin walk away and sighs. She realizes she has to do something about the girlfriend thing. She does not feel that way and has to break it to Tamsin.

Everyone is at the Dal
The Let’s Clear Up the Dangling Details Club Meeting

Everyone is at the Dal. Trick talks about an ancient order that channeled their children’s energy to gain power, like proud parents. They talk about Zeus, the father of Hercules. Trick says the ancients have many names. Bo says, “What if they’re back?”

Heratio and Elizabeth
Just the family at home.

The Fae family of the week looks at the signature by Bo Dennis in Trick’s ledger and say, “So she’s the one.” Elizabeth says they have to act fast. Then they create a thunderstorm, which they enjoy watching together.

Some Thoughts

Zeus is the Father of All the Gods, god of the sky and ruler of Mount Olympus. Hades is King of the Underworld. Both are the children of Cronus and Rhea – in other words, brothers (or in the Lost Girl universe, brother and sister). The plot seems to be inching toward some sort of showdown between these two with Bo right in the middle of it.

Except for clearing up some details about the arrival of the ancients on the scene, this episode didn’t move the plot forward very much.

There is the clear statement that Valkubus isn’t going to be a thing. Much as Tamsin wants it, Bo does not.

Did I overlook any other big developments in this episode?

Remembering Picket Fences

There are actors you always associate with a certain show, like Sarah Michelle Gellar always making you think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I got to thinking about Picket Fences the other day because of a mention of Tom Skerritt, and I realized that Picket Fences was one of those iconic moments in TV history for me.

Picket Fences was on the air for 4 seasons from 1992 to 1996 according to IMDB.

Tom Skerritt and Costas Mandylor in Picket Fences
Tom Skerritt and Costas Mandylor in Picket Fences

Picket Fences was one of those shows that came along at the right time in my life, caught me at the right moment, and resonated in deep ways. When I realized that I always think of Picket Fences whenever I see Tom Skerritt in anything I started thinking about other things I remember about Picket Fences.

Lauren Holly in Picket Fences
Lauren Holly in Picket Fences

I always associate Kathy Baker, Lauren Holly and Kelly Connell with the series, no matter what else I see them in. There were so many memorable characters on the series. In fact, the odd and bizarre characters on the show, as well as the strange and bizarre plots, really appealed to me.

At the time I took note that the reason for all that off-the-wall thinking was David E. Kelley. I’ve followed his career via many more shows that I thoroughly enjoyed because of his ability to make the strange and weird apply to real life. David E. Kelley is behind The Crazy Ones, Harry’s Law, Boston Legal, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Doogie Howser, M.D. and more.

Once an actor has worked with David E. Kelley, he or she is liable to show up over and over again in things Kelley writes and produces, especially the lesser known character actors.

Costas Mandylor and Lauren Holly in Picket Fences
Costas Mandylor and Lauren Holly in Picket Fences

Even 20 years later, I remember scenes from Picket Fences. Human beings who undergo spontaneous combustion. I remember a sex scene between Lauren Holly and Costas Mandylor on the floor of her apartment. They looked directly into each others eyes during the whole scene. I remember thinking it was breathtakingly sexy and also that it must be hard as hell to actually look at someone in such a way in a moment like that. I remember the great relationship Tom Skerritt and Kathy Baker had as a married couple. (This was long before Friday Night Lights and its married couple in a good relationship.)

Scrolling through the photos at IMDB (where these photos came from) brings back the wonderful characters and moments from the show for me. There are two full episodes of the show available on IMDB, if you’ve never seen it and would like to get a taste of what it was like.

Are you old enough to remember this show? What did you think of it?

Two Stories About Love: Is Dorfman the Warmest Color?

This weekend I watched two movies about love. Both dealt with young women in search of themselves, young women in search of love, young women who had to struggle with loss and with being misunderstood.

One of the films got great reviews and won prestigious awards. One of the films was a bit of a flop.

Now, I know I’m not a film critic, or a critic of any kind. I’m just a person who has been watching movies and TV for a lot of decades. Even though one of the letters on my Myers-Briggs is a J for judging, I am not a judgmental, critical minded person. I’m easy to please where entertainment is concerned.

So when I see two films that are very alike in theme and subject matter, it makes me wonder what sets them apart. Is the quality of the acting? The skill of the director? The originality of the script? I want to come back to this, but first let me explain the two stories I’m talking about.

The two films are Blue is the Warmest Color and Dorfman in Love. If you pay attention to film news, you know that Blue is the Warmest Color is the one that got the great reviews and won awards.

Blue is the Warmest Color

Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color

Blue is the Warmest Color is a French film about a young woman, Adèle, played by Adèle Exarchopoulos. It’s three hours long and covers years of Adèle’s life. She falls in love with Emma, played by Léa Seydoux. Emma is older, artistic, and out. When they meet Adèle is still in high school and not clear about her own sexuality. As the years pass, the two women live together for a while but it isn’t a successful long-term arrangement. For years after they part Adèle continues to long for Emma until she finally comes to terms with their parting and walks away from her past. There are long scenes of explicit sex.

Dorfman in Love

Sarah Rue in Dorfman in Love
Sarah Rue in Dorfman in Love

Dorfman in Love stars Sarah Rue as Deb Dorfman. She is a grown woman who lives with her dad (Elliot Gould) and works in her brother’s (Jonathan Chase) accounting firm. She has a fantasy love attachment to a friend of her brother’s played by Johann Urb. Deb takes care of everyone in her life, especially the three aforementioned men, who do not appreciate anything she does. Then she meets Cookie, played by Haaz Sleiman. With Cookie’s help, she begins to understand who she is and what her true worth is. She is able to leave her past behind. There is no sex in the film but there are a couple of straight kisses.

Who and How Do We Decide on Great?

In terms of acting, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux both do a fantastic job. Especially Adèle Exarchopoulos, who has to age from a naive teen to a responsible adult before our eyes. But the acting in Dorfman in Love was perfectly adequate. The actors weren’t called on to do anything especially intense the way the actors in Blue is the Warmest Color were, but does that mean they didn’t act as well as the two French women in the parts they were given?

The approach of the directors in these two films was very different. Blue is the Warmest Color was full of close-ups, often focused on the two women in minute detail. Dorfman in Love took a much more expansive approach. I found the directing styles suited to the material – they certainly wouldn’t have worked in reverse – but they were perfect for the stories they were telling. One film was a serious examination of a young woman’s maturation and growth, while the other was firmly in the romantic comedy camp of maturation and growth. Is one genre more worthy of success than the other?

Does the intensity of the subject matter, the intensity of the emotion portrayed make one film better than another? Is it the seriousness of the approach vs. the comedic approach? Is it the closed-in focus of one film that makes it better than the more open look of the other – is that somehow more artistic? Does all the daring sex in one make it more weighty?

What I’m getting at here is that secret something that makes one film an international hit and topic of conversation around the globe while the other feels passed over. Somewhere there is a magical line between good and really, really good that these two films exemplify perfectly. But who decides where that magic line is? Critics? Ticket buyers? Award givers? The folks on the living room couch?

And what does that mean to someone who might love Dorfman in Love but finds Blue is the Warmest Color long and tedious? Is that person wrong or someone whose tastes don’t count?

I can’t tell you how many people have told me I should watch Breaking Bad because it’s really, really good. But I cannot bring myself to watch a story about a teacher who sells meth. And I’ve told others they should watch Friday Night Lights because it’s really, really good only to realize they won’t watch a series about football. Is there a right and wrong in this?

I’d really like to know the answers to these questions. I really would.

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.