Brain Dump: The Collection, Shots Fired, Switched at Birth

Time for a brain dump: scattered thoughts about random TV shows. These things made an impression lately. I was bored by high fashion, impressed by a gritty look at American policing, and sad to see an old favorite say goodbye. Continue reading “Brain Dump: The Collection, Shots Fired, Switched at Birth”

Brain Dump: Stalker, State of Affairs, Madam Secretary, The Fosters, Switched at Birth

A brain dump is little bits of this and that. Excess baggage from my brain. If you have thoughts on anything I mention, please feel free to dump your brain in the comments.

Stalker

Maggie Q in Stalker
Maggie Q in Stalker

I’m happy to see that Stalker continues to mix it up between male and female stalkers and male and female victims. Beth Davis (Maggie Q) is finally going to open up about her own stalker and her own past. This aspect of the show gives Maggie Q a chance to show off some expanded acting skills, too.

State of Affairs and Madam Secretary

Katherine Heigl in State of Affairs and Téa Leoni in Madam Secretary
Katherine Heigl in State of Affairs and Téa Leoni in Madam Secretary

Wow! These two women – Charleston Tucker (Katherine Heigl) and Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) – can work miracles. They can do anything that needs doing anywhere in the world. What I’m saying is the plot lines in these shows are a little grandiose. Come on writers, you know plausibility is a virtue in a plot. However, I’m loving the characters. I’m still waiting for Alfre Woodard to get her name dropped during the promos, but I’m happy her role puts her in so many scenes.

What I’m liking about the female characters in Stalker, State of Affairs and Madam Secretary is that they are strong and powerful, but also completely female.

The Fosters Christmas Special

Sherri Saum as Lena Adams in The Fosters
Sherri Saum as Lena Adams in The Fosters

The Fosters Christmas special is available early if you watch using the ABC Family app instead of waiting for the show to air on network TV. I have to say it made a complete mess of me because I cried all the way through. I cried because Lena (Sherri Saum) and Stef (Teri Polo) were fighting, I cried about the wonderful way that Lena talked to Jude (Hayden Byerly) about being a half sibling. I cried when Stef got so mad at her mom (Annie Potts). I cried when Stef’s mom gave the kids college money for Christmas. All that crying made me very happy. Everything about The Fosters makes me happy. “Thank you for the tears I’ve cried.”

Switched at Birth Christmas Special

Katie Leclerc and Vanessa Marano in Switched at Birth
Katie Leclerc and Vanessa Marano in Switched at Birth

This show is also available early using the ABC Family app.

Switched at Birth pulled a Christmas miracle switch. Bay (Vanessa Marano) and Daphne (Katie Leclerc) were switched back to their right parents. Everything was different and wrong and a mess, but Bay and Daphne knew it. Of course, they switch it back to being with the wrong parents. A tired plot, but I love this show. Switching characters gives everyone a chance to make their persona completely different, which is entertaining for me. It reminds me that these people are acting.

No matter how much we love a character, it’s good to be reminded that the person playing the character is acting. Oh shit! That means Jennifer Beals isn’t really Bette Porter and Anna Silk isn’t really Bo Dennis. Damn!

Monday Night Madness

Now that the new TV season brings back some of my favorite shows, there are so many shows on Monday night I want to see that it took me two days to watch them all. Here are some quick reactions to what I watched.

Join in with a comment if you have a different Monday night favorite.

Switched at Birth

I love this show, I love the silent moments where there is only sign language, I love the characters. The first episode of the new season was a solid one, building on where we left off last season. New students at the school will be interesting. Kathryn (Lea Thompson) is having some sort of personal crisis. Lots of new things going on while the old plot lines advance.

The Fosters

The honeymoon lasted all of one morning for newlywed moms Sherri Saum and Terri Polo. That’s when they figured out that the foster daughter they were all set to adopt (Maia Mitchell) had run away. The rest of the episode was the hunt for her and a look at how her absence affected other members of the family. Annie Potts was still hanging around post-wedding and anytime you get to see Annie Potts is a good time. This is such a good show. I hope you are watching it.

Castle

Here we are in season 6 of Castle and, WOW!, one of the best episodes ever of this show pops up. James Brolin guest starred as Castle’s father. There was just the right mix of crime solving, character, suspense, emotion, and great storytelling in this episode. It was electrifying.

Bitten

I haven’t made up my mind on this one yet. It’s a werewolf story, which is okay. No problem with the scifi stuff. I’m not crazy about the ratio of male to female characters. Too many males, not enough females. Too many characters, period. Who are all these people? I had a problem with the one leading female character (Laura Vandervoort). I’m not really attached to her yet. And if I’m not hooked in the first episode, I may not ever take the bait. I’ll try again next week and see what happens. What did you think of it?

Lost Girl

This show is a complete favorite of mine. You know that if you’ve read any of my Lost Girl recaps from season 4. This show does have a great male to female ratio and the women are not just there for decoration. Bo (Anna Silk) wasn’t around much in episode 1 of the new season, but it gave us a chance to see Ksenia Solo take a turn in the lead and do an outstanding job at it.

Intelligence

Episode 2 was even better than episode 1, in my opinion. Josh Holloway is doing a great job as Mr. Cyborg of America while remaining entirely human in his performance. Meghan Ory and Marg Helgenberger’s interactions with him are perfect. The tech is fascinating.

I know a lot of people like Sleepy Hollow and Almost Human but I can’t build up any enthusiasm for either of them. What was your Monday night schedule?

Must Watch Show: Switched at Birth Renewed for a 3rd Season

Switched at Birth on ABC Family is a terrific series. The announcement came this week that it’s renewed for a 3rd season. I originally watched because I’m a Marlee Matlin fan and like shows that feature sign language, but I quickly got caught up in the story and interested in the characters.

Daphne Toby Emmett Bay

The story involves Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano) who should have been a Vasquez, and Daphne Vasquez (Katie Leclerc) who should have been a Kennish. Instead they got switched at birth and went home from the hospital with the wrong families. The story begins when the two girls are in high school and the truth is revealed to the families and the world at large because Bay does a science project involving DNA.

The Kennish family is wealthy and privileged.  D.W. Moffett plays John Kennish, the father. Lea Thompson is Kathryn Kennish, the mother. Lea Thompson and Katie Leclerc could be biologically related – they look that much alike. Lucas Grabeel is Toby Kennish, who is Daphne’s biological brother but regards Bay as his sister.

Constance Marie plays Regina Vasquez, who raised Daphne as a single mom. An alcoholic single mom. Single because Daphne’s father, Angelo, who we don’t meet into well into the series, took off. He’s played by Gilles Marini. He may have taken off because Daphne got sick and went deaf or because of issues around Regina’s drinking. Anyway, he was an absent father.

Associated with these characters from the start are Emmett (Sean Berdy) a deaf friend of Regina and Daphne’s and Emmett’s mother Melody (Marlee Matlin) who is also deaf.

A recurring conflict in the series is what happens when the deaf community comes up against the hearing community. When the Kennish family meet Daphne, they all learn some sign language. But there are conflicts around this culture clash in many episodes. In one episode the deaf students at the school that both Bay and Daphne attend stage a strike to try to keep the school from going 50% hearing / 50% deaf. Since Bay is hearing, this adds to the many conflicts between Bay and Daphne.

Incidentally, the school strike episode was almost completely done in sign, a first for any TV series.

Bay and Daphne face conflicts over boyfriends and schools. There are jealousies over access to parents and acceptance by parents both biological and by upbringing. The girls face their identity crises in completely different ways.

Everyone in both families consider the parents who raised each girl to be the parents. The parents with the last word, so to speak. The newly discovered birth parents are referred to as “biological” parents. Soon enough, however, both girls effectively have two sets of parents because they all live together in the Kennish compound, which includes a guest house.

Another recurring storyline of conflict involves who knew what and when. Turns out Regina knew early on that the babies had been switched and had been keeping an eye on Bay all along. Boy, was John Kennish mad when he found out that secret.

ABC Family put together a couple of videos that will help you see a little of this in action.

Beginners Guide to Switched at Birth, Part 1

Beginners Guide to Switched at Birth, Part 2

ABC Family can add this to its list of other series that look at the question of what makes a family, most notably The Fosters. In both The Fosters and Switched at Birth, there are themes around whether family is biology, or love, or some other combination of factors that mix with biology and love.

If you aren’t already a fan of Switched at Birth, I hope you’ll give your consideration. It’s worth it.