The fall TV season is underway, with old favorites coming back and new shows revealing their opening episodes. Time to unleash a brain dump, which is a few short takes on several shows. Continue reading “Brain Dump: The Gifted, Ten Days in the Valley, Supergirl, and Etc.”
I haven’t done a brain dump in a while. My definition of a brain dump is sharing a few thoughts about several things at once. This time it’s Thursday night on ABC with Grey’s Anatomy, Notorious and How to Get Away with Murder on my mind. Continue reading “Brain Dump: Thursday Nights on ABC”
The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives. This year the major nominations feature many women led films and series with either lesbian or female transgender characters helming the lead roles. Continue reading “Women Led Media Dominate the GLAAD Awards Nominations”
A brain dump is a series of short thoughts on a variety of subjects. Today’s topic is the women of the new TV series for fall 2015.
I’m happy to see a short hair cut on Chyler Leigh in Supergirl. The trend toward super long hair like Melissa Benoist is wearing in the show has gone on too long. Let’s cut that hair, ladies. I know, this has nothing to do with the show, but I’m sick of long hair.
First, Melissa Benoist is fabulous as our newest super hero. She’s fresh and enthusiastic and naive and so damn cute. Super heroes are not supposed to be cute, but I’m voting to let this one be cute while she’s growing into her powers. She can be serious and adult later.
Secondly, Laura Benanti who is playing both Kara’s kind mother and evil aunt is killing it!
Finally, I was fearful from the previews that Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) would be a horrible, overwrought caricature. Refreshingly, Flockhart is playing her as a close to normal human.
Jaimie Alexander is starring in Blindspot and doing a fantastic job at it. However Ashley Johnson as the geeky Patterson has stolen my attention because of her relationship with her boyfriend David (Joe Dinicol). Patterson took home photos of all of Jane Doe’s tattoos and worked to decode the meaning of them with David’s help. It’s a huge security violation for her to do this and implies she might not be as smart as she should be when it comes to real life. I also worry that David is just with her because he’s a spy who is only there to see the tattoos.
This week her security lapse was discovered by the boss, Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). Patterson wasn’t fired, but she broke up with David. We’ll see how that works out in future episodes.
Who needs another medical show, right? Code Black turns out to be pulse pounding, crisis mode emergency room medicine. Everything is urgent and frantic. Amid all this chaos is Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Leanne Rorish who is calm and kind and dedicated to teaching her charges how to save lives. She’s the eye of a hurricane. She’s grieving the loss of her family while guiding the life savers she’s training.
Dr. Rorish is one of the most powerful and vulnerable characters to come along in a while. And she is flanked by several other interesting female characters. I’m digging Code Black.
At first it looked like Quantico was mainly a vehicle for Priyanka Chopra, but it’s turned out to be a true ensemble show with moments for many female characters including those played by Johanna Braddy, Yasmine Al Massri (who plays twins Orphan Black style), and Aunjanue Ellis. The male characters on the show are equally well done. The plot of this series is as complicated as How to Get Away with Murder. There are plenty of twists and turns and surprises to egg you along.
What are your thoughts about the women of the new fall TV shows?
Kerry Washington received a Vanguard Award at the 2015 GLAAD Media Awards ceremony over the weekend. She gave a powerful speech that tells the truth in eloquent and inspiring terms.
Everyone should memorize this speech and repeat it to everyone they know. I’m working on that very thing by playing it over and over.
Other GLAAD Media Award winners for 2015 included The Imitation Game, How to Get Away with Murder, Transparent plus several more winners.
It’s time for another brain dump. These are quick hits on this and that.
The Good Wife
Linda Lavin has been on The Good Wife lately. Her character is part of the plot line to put Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) in jail. Lavin created a most particular character. She uses exacting quirks to make her character stand out in a show filled with peculiar and unusual characters. Kudos to Linda Lavin on her performance! It’s masterful.
Speaking of unusual characters, Carrie Preston’s marvelous character Elsbeth Tascioni is involved in a sex scene in the “Old Spice” episode of season 6. Elsbeth and Josh Perotti (Kyle MacLachlan) have sex on the desk in Elsbeth’s office. It’s a true bodice ripper in the trashy romance novel style. Delightful!
Did you see the announcement that Archie Panjabi will be leaving The Good Wife at the end of season 6? Kalinda Sharma is my favorite part of The Good Wife. I’m sad about the announcement. On the other hand, Kalinda has never been used enough. My hope is Archie Panjabi will find her way to a show where she plays the lead! #GiveArchieHerOwnShow
Téa Leoni as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord is wonderful. Leoni plays her as unflappably calm, grounded, brilliant, bold, funny, and a great reader of character. All the players around her are outstanding as well, particularly Bebe Neuwirth.
Much as I love Elizabeth McCord as a character, the stories aren’t always believably realistic. Like Buffy, McCord saves the world in every episode. She does it by defying the advice of all her advisers and the POTUS. As an American who feels the system is broken, it’s nice to root for someone who does everything outside the system. Rah, rah, Elizabeth McCord! It’s great TV, but if the Secretary of State could save the world all by herself, Hillary Clinton would have done it already.
I like how much Tim Daly gets to do in Madam Secretary. If this show had a male lead, the pretty wife would be tucked away in the background and used occasionally to show that the hero is straight. But Tim Daly as the husband isn’t tucked in the background, nor are McCord’s 3 children. Daly gets real plot lines of his own. Each child has an individual personality, too, they aren’t merely bodies crunching cereal around the breakfast table in the morning. This may be because of Tim Daly’s pull as a big name, or it may be because the chief writer on the show is a woman – Barbara Hall.
How to Get Away with Murder
I’m struggling with the non-linear style of storytelling on How to Get Away with Murder. It’s meant to build suspense – it is. It’s meant to keep you coming back – but at least in my case, it’s just irritating me. I’m still watching, so obviously I’m not irritated beyond the point of hanging around. But still.
I do want to mention how much I loved the scene in which Viola Davis removes her wig and all her make up. Then she turns to her husband and says, “Why is your penis on a dead girls phone?” BAM! BAM! What a pair of moments.
The Walking Dead
A tweet from Kate Moennig caught my eye. I think she’s referring to the cannibalism scenes.
Well, The Walking Dead finally made me lose my appetite
— kate moennig (@katemoennig) October 28, 2014
I agree with Kate Moennig, the cannibals were extra gross. Actually, The Walking Dead is gross as a standard thing. In the same episode with the cannibals, “Four Walls and a Roof,” there was also a cowardly priest (Seth Gilliam). The priest locked himself in his church with a big supply of food and listened as his parishioners clawed at the door when the zombies came for dinner.
Between the cannibals and cowardly priest, I find more metaphoric fodder in the priest. Everything about The Walking Dead is a metaphor, of course. This one priest could stand in for every kind of horror and evil ever perpetrated in the name of religion. The Crusades, the notion that there’s no God but God, the Westboro Baptist Church, or dozens of other examples of evil done by religious leaders – pick your metaphor and make it work. Will Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang leave him alive when they move on?
We’ve seen 2 episodes of How to Get Away with Murder now. How are we feeling about it? I’ll share my reactions and I hope you’ll leave a comment to share what you think.
First, I want Viola Davis as Annalise Keating to carry this show to the top. I want another show with an African American lead actress to make it! Big time. Viola Davis is completely awesome – talented, brilliant, and way overdue to become a household favorite.
Second, I got attached to Aja Naomi King on Emily Owens, M.D. I loved seeing her again in Black Box and I’m still delighted by her in How to Get Away with Murder. She has the potential to be the lead on her own show one of these days, and I’m happily watching her progress until then.
Third, Matt McGorry managed to make his character on Orange is the New Black moderately likeable in a show where most of the men are assholes. I’m delighted to be watching him in something else as a different character.
Those are my fangirl reasons for liking How to Get Away with Murder. I do like other things about it.
I like the classroom scenes where Annalise Keating is a leader, in charge. I also like that we’ve seen her vulnerable and crying. I loved the vulnerability in episode 1. She was having a sexy extra-marital affair with a handsome hunk, so she’s not perfect.
On the other hand, in episode 2 I thought her vulnerability made her seem weak. She was jealous of her husband, then laid claim to him as a sexual conquest. At the same time she was clingy and whiny with the boyfriend. Her character seems wobbly and all over the place.
I like the diverse cast, both among the students and the other characters. There is gender balance and racial diversity. I like that one of the characters is gay – Conner (Jack Falahee). The way Annalise’s assistant Bonnie (Liza Wein) looks at her is a bit of mystery right now. She might be in love with Annalise or she might be in love with Annalise’s husband (Tom Verica). Either way, it’s interesting.
Unfortunately, there are some things I’m having trouble with.
I’m having trouble with the non-linear storytelling. The flash forward to the favorite 4 law students disposing of a body that seems to be Annalise’s husband. What the students are doing with the body is so illogical it seems like a game. The flash backs seem out of order themselves. When was Annalise whining outside the boyfriend’s house? When was Wes’ upstairs neighbor arrested? Where did the murdered girl found in the water tank fit in? I hope it all starts to make sense because right now I’m confused.
There’s confused in a good way. Why do all these women on Orphan Black look alike? I’m dying to know. Then there’s confused in a bad way. Under the Dome makes to sci-fi or religious sense. Why am I still watching?
I don’t want this show to lose me because I can’t follow the story line and get disgusted and quit. I really want this show to make it. I’m rooting for it. I’ll be there for episode 3 with my fingers crossed in hopes it begins to make more sense and I can begin to understand Annalise more clearly.
What have you thought of How to Get Away with Murder?
All photos: © 2014 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
Let me count the ways that Thursday nights, AKA Rhimesday nights, are going to be amazing when the fall TV season begins.
- Shonda Rhimes
- Ellen Pompeo and Chandra Wilson and Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew and more
- Kerry Washington
- Viola Davis
That’s 3 solid hours of women lead drama from Shondaland productions. That’s a night for television, my friends. May I celebrate the fact that two of those leading actresses are women of color? Yes!
What Shondaland will Cause on Rhimesday Nights
On Thursday nights real life will stop. The only things operating in the void will be televisions tuned to ABC and eleventy million tweets about every move on ABC for 3 solid hours.
Those fat cat white male dudes who run ABC and Twitter should be bowing before Shonda Rhimes. Bowing.
Here’s a little preview from Shondaland of where we might be going with Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder.
New TV series in the works with women in the lead or co-lead roles look very good. Some start as soon as summer, some are scheduled for fall.
Starting in June on TNT is Murder in the First, which stars Teye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson. Kathleen Robertson may not continue throughout the series as lead, because she’s only in 7 of the 9 episodes that comprise the first season, but it’s worth checking out. Murder in the First is a Steven Bochco production. Bochco has a long string of successful police dramas behind him, including NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, and LA Law.
Also coming to TNT, but not until fall or possibly 2015 is the new Jennifer Beals supernatural medical drama Proof. Proof also stars Matthew Modine and Joe Morton. The series is produced by Kyra Sedgwick. Of everything that’s coming, and a lot of it looks really good, I’m very excited about seeing Jennifer Beals back on my TV every week.
Jennifer seems excited about working with Matthew Modine.
— Jennifer Beals (@jenniferbeals) March 26, 2014
TNT announced casting Julia Stiles in a legal drama called Guilt by Association but I haven’t seen any follow up news about the pilot being picked up.
Red Band Society is a remake of a Spanish series. Octavia Spencer leads the cast of this tale about teenagers living in a pediatric wing of a hospital. It will be on Fox.
Fox also scheduled Empire starring Taraji P. Hanson and Terrance Howard. This series is about a family who runs a hip hop empire. The music is supposed to be excellent, if you’re a hip hop fan. The show is by Lee Daniels and features many well-known African American actors including Gabourey Sidibe.
Another new show with a woman of color in the lead is Shonda Rhimes new drama, How to Get Away with Murder. Viola Davis will star in this legal thriller as a criminal defense professor who gets tangled up in a murder plot. Anything Shonda Rhimes does is going to make a big impression. This one should be a hit for ABC for sure.
NBC brings us State of Affairs starring Katherine Heigl as a CIA Agent who reports to the U.S. President. The President is Alfre Woodard, who is one of my all-time favorites. These two should be fabulous together.
Another political drama on NBC is Odyssey. It stars Anna Friel as a soldier. Odyssey is described as a sprawling international conspiracy that ties together three very different characters – a female soldier, a corporate lawyer and a young political activist. The other two characters in this threesome are played by Peter Facinelli and Jake Robinson.
TV is where women are making a mark these days, and these upcoming shows are part of that trend. Do any of these shows look especially interesting to you? What are you planning to watch? Did I miss anything new with a female lead?