Review: A Price Above Rubies

A Price Above Rubies from 1998 stars Renée Zellweger as Sonia Horowitz, a Jewish woman who is stifled by her marriage and gives up everything to be free. It’s a history lesson in where the women’s movement came from and how it was viewed almost 20 years ago.

Julianna Margulies played a supporting role, with Kim Hunter, Edie Falco and Kathleen Chalfant in small parts. Glenn Fitzgerald is Mendel, Sonia’s husband. Christopher Eccleston is her brother-in-law – Rachel’s (Margulies) husband. Allen Payne plays Ramon, an artist. Shelton Dane plays Yossi, Sonia’s brother who died at age 10. Continue reading “Review: A Price Above Rubies”

And Kalinda Just . . . Disappears

When I wrote about what I wanted for the way Kalinda would exit The Good Wife, I knew it would be miles from whatever the writers dreamed up, and it was.

But it was perfect.

Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma

Kalinda Sharma, played by the wonderful Archie Panjabi, personifies mysterious. She keeps everything carefully guarded and holds her secrets close. That’s the way she departed.

She just left.

No explanations. No obvious goodbyes.

It was perfectly Kalinda.

Well, she may have told Alicia (Julianna Margulies) goodbye. The reason Alicia burst into tears after reading a note from Kalinda at the end of the episode was not clear. Alicia breaking down into tears is extraordinary. I cannot wait to find out what the note said.

Well done writers Michelle King and Robert King!

And, damn it all, I’m really going to miss Kalinda.

I hope any new show Archie Panjabi has lined up is a huge hit and makes us all glad she gave up Kalinda to take the new role.

A Newsy Footnote

Entertainment Weekly says Kalinda will make one final appearance on the show in the season 6 finale, but doesn’t explain if it will be a return visit or what. Much as I’d like to see her hug it out with Alicia, I actually hope for a series of flashbacks. Grey’s Anatomy just used a series of flashbacks to honor Patrick Dempsey’s years on that show. I don’t want The Good Wife to feel like an imitation of that. Yet, while everyone is discussing what happened to Kalinda and why she disappeared, it seems like a perfect time for a series of flashbacks of Kalinda’s prime moments.

3 Reasons Archie Panjabi’s Unforgettable Kalinda Sharma Deserves a Great Send Off

Archie Panjabi sounds ready to hang it up in this tweet.

If I were Archie Panjabi, I’d have mixed emotions about leaving The Good Wife. Archie’s had a landmark role on a great show. Her character Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife was a cultural pioneer in many ways. Yet Archie Panjabi is making news because she’s leaving The Good Wife before its run is finished.

Lately Kalinda has been stuck away in a minor plot line where she plays a terrified baby sitter for Lamond Bishop (Mike Colter). If she’s left in this powerless spot, she will just fade away. Kalinda can’t just fade away.

Here are my 3 top reasons why she deserves a great send off when she leaves the show at the end of season 6.

1. Kalinda brings the diversity

Kalinda in her leather jacket

Before everyone was trying to score diversity points by having a woman of color in their cast, Archie Panjabi was bringing diversity to The Good Wife. This award winning actress wasn’t stereotyped as some ridiculous ethnic character, she was the investigator for a law firm, a multi-layered, complex woman.

Before Shonda Rhimes had 3 shows, before Orange is the New Black brought a rainbow of characters into stardom, Kalinda was there.

2. Kalinda is bisexual

Kalinda looks at the camera

Kalinda was one of very few bisexual characters on TV for a time, and it was no big deal. It was simply Kalinda. She broke ground for other bi characters to follow.

3. Kalinda is THE MOST BADASS

Kalinda and Alicia have a drink

In a cast full of amazing women including her bosses, one of whom was Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), Kalinda takes the badass prize every time.

Diane and Kalinda in an office

Kalinda can out-badass her other badass boss, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski).

Kalinda can find any answer, solve any problem, crack any case in the service of her lawyer bosses. She is brilliant at badass.

And then there’s her badass wardrobe. The leather, the boots. Kalinda Sharma in leather is the iconic badass look. Before Bo (Anna Silk) took leather to sexy heights in Lost Girl, there was Kalinda looking professionally dangerous in leather. Kalinda could stand beside Alicia or Diane in their couture suits and dresses and look like she belonged in an office. She belonged in the office, but she was different: sexier, more dangerous, mysterious. Archie Panjabi owned that leather with her posture, her attitude, her dark-eyed stare.

The Send Off

Creators Michelle King and Robert King have written brilliantly on The Good Wife with an array of complicated characters and pointed plots. I’m hoping they’ve figured out a fantastic way for us to say goodbye to Kalinda – a way that makes us happy she’s leaving and lets the cast give her a lot of love along the way. I hope she has a show or two to take the lead, drive the plot, and finally take her leave for a logical reason.

Lately the names Mulder and Scully have been in the news. Nobody has to explain those names. Everyone knows them. We know who Buffy Summers is. We know who Bette Porter is. We know who Thelma and Louise are. Through some magic of writing and casting, some characters become icons. Archie Panjabi created Kalinda Sharma with such power that she’s reached iconic. Kalinda Sharma is loved by many, and valued by many as a symbol. Kalinda Sharma will not be forgotten.

Many thanks to Michelle and Robert King for writing her to be the badass we love, and many millions of thanks to Archie Panjabi for bringing her to life as an unforgettable character.

She will be missed.

New Rules for the Emmys

I’m more interested in the Emmys than the Oscars. After 3 hours of watching the Oscars last night, there were 2 awards given to women. Big whoop. The Television Academy has more female writers, directors, cinematographers and such to choose from. So changes in the Emmy rules may be significant.

The Television Academy announced several new rules for the Emmy Awards. This brings up issues about how favorite shows or actors might be affected by the new rules.

The change getting the most attention says that henceforth, one hour shows will be considered dramas, and half hour shows will be considered comedies.

Shows can petition the Academy to be assigned to a different category, but as things stand that means shows such as Orange is the New Black, which formerly competed in the comedy category, will be going up against dramas like The Good Wife. On the other hand, shows like Nurse Jackie will be in the comedy category.

The number of nominees in best drama and comedy series categories increased from 6 to 7. This is in acknowledgement of the fact that television has proliferated and there are more shows than there were before. Even though some shows will be in a different category than they were before, there’s one more chance at making it into the nominations.

The TV Academy also took on the question of what is a series and what is a limited series. If a show has “an ongoing storyline, theme and main characters” from season to season it’s a series. If a drama tells one self-contained story over a season, it’s a limited series.

To be nominated as a guest star, the actor cannot have appeared in more than 50% of the shows in the series. This cuts out people who appear in almost every episode but are listed as guest stars in the credits. That rule, were in place before now, would have affected winners such as Desperate Housewives’ Kathryn Joosten,  Orange Is The New Black’s Uzo Aduba, and Scandals Joe Morton.

The variety category is being split into variety talk show and variety sketch show.

There will be more voters in the final round than before. Everyone eligible to vote in the nomination round may also vote in the final round. There’s a caveat for voting in the final round: voters must watch the required submitted material online and attest to no specific conflicts of interest with the nominees.

The 2015 Emmy Awards will be announced on Sept. 20, 2015.

CBS Sunday: Madam Secretary & The Good Wife

Madam Secretary promises to be good. What it does not seem to be is some kind of pre election exploration, either good or bad, of Hillary Clinton. It’s more of an underdog story.

Téa Leoni in Madam Secretary
Téa Leoni in Madam Secretary

Téa Leoni as Elizabeth McCord is not a politician. She comes from a background in the CIA. The President (Keith Carradine) came from a background in the CIA himself. When the current Secretary of State dies under mysterious circumstances, the POTUS asks Elizabeth McCord to take over. She does. If the first episode is any indication, she’s a rule breaker who finds ways to do what she knows is right whether the political machine – in the person of the President’s Chief of Staff (Zeljko Ivanek) – likes it or not.

She comes to Washington from a bucolic life on a horse farm. With her are a husband (Tim Daly) and her two teenaged kids (Kathrine Herzer and Evan Roe). The relationship between Elizabeth and Henry McCord seems solid. The family dynamics seem solid. Son Jason has declared himself an anarchist, yet seems awfully interested in politics. We didn’t see much of the daughter in the first episode.

The series is a great concept. We’ve had several female Secretaries of State. It’s not such a shocking idea as a female president. It’s a good place to put a smart woman who can exercise power and write stories around what she does with it.

The Good Wife

Returning for a 6th season, The Good Wife gets off to a rip-roaring start.

Julianna Margulies and Christine Baranski in The Good Wife
Julianna Margulies and Christine Baranski in The Good Wife
  • Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) is tossed in jail on trumped up charges and the police and the judge seem out to get him
  • Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) decides to join Florrick and Agos
  • Alicia Florrick ( Julianna Margulies) gets pestered to run for State’s Attorney while trying to raise Cary’s bail and bring Diane Lockhart into the firm
  • Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) misses a date with Cary, but gets hit on by Sophia (Kelli Giddish), who hasn’t been around for two years and whom Kalinda no longer trusts

The fast paced, multiplexed stories go on with this series. I do hope we get to see more of Kalinda. Diane made it a condition of her coming in with Florrick and Agos that Kalinda come too. Much as I love Alicia and Diane, Kalinda is so much more interesting. The possibility of Kelli Giddish coming back is exciting. Kalinda and Sophia were good together and more fun than Kalinda and Cary’s current romance. Having said that, Sophia’s contact with Kalinda in this episode was 100% hidden motivation, so there’s a lot to process before it could happen.

There’s potentially a very interesting turn on The Good Wife because Taye Diggs is joining the cast in the next episode. If he stays around all season I have my fingers crossed that he and Alicia will make sparks. Not sparks. Fireworks. Will is gone. Alicia has stopped boffing her hubby and kicked him out again. Bring on Mr. Diggs!

5 Reasons Why We Need Kalinda Sharma, P.I.

I tweeted this. I meant it as a joke, but after I thought about it a while, I had a real idea. No joke.

What The Good Wife‘s Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) really needs is a spin-off all her own. It could be named “Kalinda Sharma, P.I.” and would put Kalinda at the center of her own show where she could be fully used.

Even though everyone loves her on The Good Wife, she’s relegated to minor errand running and the occasional spy-bang. With so much woman power on The Good Wife in the form of the show’s actual lead Alicia Florrik (Julianna Margulies) and the powerhouse Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), there just isn’t time to give Kalinda a lot to do.

The awesome Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma

5 Reasons Why

  1. Everyone loves Kalinda. She’d bring an audience with her.
  2. Kalinda is bisexual. She would be the only lead character on network TV who is, a worthy and important milestone to bring to TV. (I hear all you Bo Dennis fans shouting that Lost Girl pioneered this with a bisexual character played by Anna Silk, but I’m talking network TV.)
  3. Archie Panjabi is perfection in this part: secretive, mysterious, powerful, brave, sexy, bold, smart, and awesome with a baseball bat.
  4. Archie Panjabi is not the standard-issue white woman who represents female as the default white. We need diversity and Kalinda brings it.
  5. Archie Panjabi has impeccable acting chops. She’s been in East Is East, Bend It Like Beckham, The Constant Gardener,  A Mighty Heart, Yasmin and much more. All that light needs to shine in a starring role.

Terms and Conditions

There must be some conditions on this proposed spin-off.

  • Kalinda must have the same costume designer who dresses her on The Good Wife. The leather and the boots have to stay.
  • What we already know about the mysterious Kalinda must remain her basic personality.

So, what do you think? Am I right?

[Note: This post was syndicated on BlogHer.com.]

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.