Brain Dump: The Good Wife, Madam Secretary, How to Get Away with Murder, The Walking Dead

It’s time for another brain dump. These are quick hits on this and that.

The Good Wife

Linda Lavin
Linda Lavin

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!

Archie Panjabi
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma

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

Madam Secretary

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.

Viola Davis in How To Get Away with Murder
Viola Davis in How To Get Away with Murder

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.

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?

Brain Dump: Short Thoughts on Movies and TV

Brain Dump_ Short Thoughts on Movies and

I’ve had many pop culture thoughts that I’ve neglected to actually write down in the last few weeks. It’s time for a brain dump.

Movies

I absolutely loved Peace, Love and Misunderstanding! This 2011 indie film was directed by Bruce Beresford. It starred Jane Fonda as an aging, free-spirited hippie and Catherine Keener as her daughter. Also featured are Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff, Chace Crawford, Kyle MacLachlan, and Rosanna Arquette. It was filmed in the town of Woodstock, New York, where the movie is set.

It was a feel good story about family and love and acceptance. I completely recommend it. If you see it wander past in your Netflix new releases, click play.

I also loved The Immigrant, although it was not a fun romp in any way. This grim slice of reality starred Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner, all of whom gave outstanding performances.

The Immigrant poster

Joaquin Phoenix was particularly powerful as a man who preyed on helpless and desperate immigrant women, tricking them into prostitution for his own gain. I won’t explain the twists in the plot in this tale – there are several – except to say that it brought out some amazing acting from the 3 stars. Again, watch it if you see it in your streaming choices.

TV: The Winners

Hally Berry in Extant
Halle Berry in Extant

I haven’t given an opinion about Extant, starring Halle Berry yet. I’m enjoying this sci-fi drama about astronaut Molly Woods who returns pregnant from a 13 month mission alone in space. The sci-fi aspects of the show are a bit iffy, but the cast is giving it their all. Goran Visnjic plays her husband. Pierce Gagnon plays their son, who happens to be a robot. Grace Gummer and Camryn Manheim also have significant parts in the drama. I hope this one makes it to a second season.

Murder in the First is a a full season story arc involving one crime. It stars Teye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson as cops and Tom Felton as the billionaire murderer they struggle to convict. The characters are particularly well drawn, considering this is just the first season. Again, I hope this one makes it to a second season.

The BBC’s Lark Rise to Candleford has me hooked. I’m most of the way through the first season. There are 4 seasons. It’s a period drama with many great female characters. It’s only available on streaming services, since it’s been off the air for a while now.

Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa on Defiance
Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa on Defiance

The women of Defiance, oh my. The character Irisa on Defiance, played by Stephanie Leonidas, is becoming more and more layered. She’s taken on some kind of supernatural power – perhaps alien power would be a more accurate term. It’s given her interesting abilities and she’s attracting followers. She’s starting to remind me of the kind of strong leader that we have in Bo in Lost Girl or Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Defiance has allowed Stahma Tarr, played by Jaime Murray, to evolve into a powerful woman. Julie Benz’s character of Amanda Rosewater is turning out to be full of twists and intricacies. Julie Benz really shines in this role, in ways that are new for her.

TV: The Losers

I gave up on Under the Dome. The story makes no sense in sci-fi terms, no sense in religious terms. None of the characters really grab me. Enough.

I watched one, and only one, episode of Seed and thought it was too stupid to ever watch again. I wanted to watch it because of Amanda Brugel. Zoie Palmer likes Amanda Brugel, so I wanted to watch something with Amanda Brugel in it because – well, I like Zoie Palmer. Sorry, Zoie, this isn’t the place where I’m going to become a fan of Amanda Brugel. I’ll give her another chance some other time.