Watch This: Trailer for San Andreas

I don’t think I’ve ever paid  money to see a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. That may change. The upcoming disaster movie San Andreas stars Dwayne Johnson as a father and Alexandra Daddario as his daughter. It also features Archie Panjabi, Carla Gugino, Paul Giamatti, Ione Gruffudd and Kylie Minogue.

The film description: “In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his estranged daughter.”

As you can see from the trailer, the special effects in the film look awesome. Disaster flicks aren’t my usual genre, but – Archie Panjabi. I don’t think she is going to have a very big part, but it is certainly something different from her role on The Good Wife.

All my life, which is a lotta years, I’ve been hearing that the San Andreas fault was going to crack open and half of California would fall into the sea. That’s what this movie is about.

What do you think? Will you give this thriller a try?

Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Says Goodbye – Really

Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) showed up unexpectedly on The Good Wife “Wanna Partner” episode to say goodbye more properly after her mysterious disappearance a couple of weeks ago.

Ah, Kalinda, Kalinda, Kalinda

I thought a few farewell tweets from her fans (including me) would be fun to see.

 

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.

33 Experts and Me Share Notable Female Characters

Bo from Lost Girl and the words 33 experts and me

I read a wonderful article called 33 Experts Share Their Notable Female Characters Of Recent Years at Bang2Write.

Bang2Write asked screenwriters, directors, literary agents and other industry pros to talk about the female characters they thought were most important in recent years.

The names they mentioned were absolute favorites of mine: Carrie from Homeland, Kalinda from The Good Wife, Lizbeth from the Millennium Trilogy, Catherine from Happy Valley, Stella from The Fall, the women from Scott & Bailey and Last Tango in Halifax, Hushpuppy from Beasts of the Southern Wild, Michonne and Carol from The Walking Dead, various clones from Orphan Black, practically everyone from Orange is the New Black.

There were many more names mentioned by these experts. I loved reading their reasons and explanations for why they picked certain characters. I loved the females they named.

As I read each of the picks by the 33 experts I was surprised that no one mentioned Bo from Lost Girl. There are some awesome female characters on Lost Girl. Particularly Bo, who is strong and growing increasingly more powerful. She wears her power with grace and uses it with heart. She’s unaligned with either side in her world. She’s protective of those she loves. She makes mistakes – huge ones. She’s less than perfect, but she’s searching, yearning to improve.

Bo’s bisexual. As far as I know the only other female bi characters on television are Callie on Grey’s Anatomy and Kalinda on The Good Wife. Bisexual women are misunderstood and mistreated by the culture at large and even by the LGBT community. Since I’m a believer that #RepresentationMatters, I think having a bi character portrayed in a positive light is a powerful thing.

So while I agree with every single female named by the experts, I want to mention Bo as one they forgot. I’m not an expert. I’m merely a consumer of movies and television with notable female characters – I look for them every day. I seldom watch anything that does not have notable female characters. I support notable female characters with enthusiasm.

But don’t forget Bo on Lost Girl.

Brain Dump: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, The Good Wife, Covert Affairs, Person of Interest

A brain dump about this and that. Join in with a comment.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw in and action scene from  Undercovers
Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Undercovers

Why do articles about Belle or Beyond the Lights refer to Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a “newcomer?” Are people blind? Or just blind to black faces? She was the star of the TV series Undercovers in 2010. She was in Larry Crowne in 2011. She was in Touch in 2012. She has, in fact, been acting in parts on our TVs since 2005. If so many media critics and reviewers haven’t noticed her before now, maybe they should get their vision checked.

The Good Wife

Cary and Kalinda
Cary and Kalinda

Whew, Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) is putting herself in so much jeopardy to keep Cary (Matt Czuchry) out of jail. Every time Kalinda does anything I wonder if this is foreshadowing the way they plan to write her out of the show. The rate she’s going, she could end up in jail herself.

Covert Affairs

Piper Perabo in Covert Affairs

I’m sad to hear that Covert Affairs was canceled by USA. This is a great show with fantastic female parts including Piper Perabo and Kari Matchett as CIA operatives. Personally, I think their ratings fell because they kept the show on Thursday night. The number of quality shows competing for eyeballs on Thursday is through the roof. I’ve been watching 3 or 4 of them on Friday and Saturday, the slate is so full on Thursdays. If they base eyeball counts on live views and not delayed views, their numbers look bad. But that doesn’t mean the fans gave up on the show.

Sarah Shahi Leaving Person of Interest – For Now

Shaw and Root kissing
Shaw finally plants one on Root – right before she sacrifices herself.

Shaw (Sarah Shahi) and Root (Amy Acker) actually kissed on Person of Interest this week. All it took for Shaw to give Root the kiss she’s been wanting was for Shaw to: A) want to save Root, and B) need an excuse to make a grand sacrifice so she could be gone from Person of Interest.

Why be gone? Sarah Shahi is pregnant and needs to leave the show – at least for now. She’s having twins! The decision to end Sarah’s current involvement in the show in this way is explained by executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman in an EW article.

Extra has an interview with Sarah and the cast about her exit.

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?

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!

Binge Watching VS. One Hour a Week

I rewatched all of season 3 of Lost Girl on Netflix. I was surprised to see many clues to what happened in season 4 that I’d forgotten about in the months between the two seasons. Now I’m rewatching Lost Girl season 4 and having an epiphany about binge watching.

Check this out
Kenzi from Lost Girl

When I watched season 4 on a weekly basis, I spent a good part of the time bitchy and irritated because the answers weren’t coming fast enough. When I look back over my recaps of season 4, the annoyance shows through. I cared about the characters and I wanted to know what was going to happen to them – and, by damn, I wanted to know right now!

Binge watching season 4 is much less aggravating. Well, true, I know what happened. But also true, I can rewatch episodes of Lost Girl with as much enjoyment as I felt the first time through. I experience it all again. Knowing that I can play the next episode immediately, where more will be revealed about Rainer or The Wanderer or the time on the train or Bo’s strange behavior makes a huge difference. It changes how I feel about the slow reveal of the clues, the seeming detours into things like bird-women who sing opera that don’t turn out to be detours after all.

alan and celia
Alan and Celia from Last Tango in Halifax

When I have to wait a week to see the next piece of a show I love, the wait seems insurmountable. Having to wait for season 2 of Last Tango in Halifax to reach PBS sent me into an absolute tizzy. Especially when it was available on the BBC, on YouTube, on every freakin’ place but legal American TV. Geographic restrictions are another horrible annoyance.

Orange is the New Black cast

I distinctly recall the feeling I had when I reached the last episode of Orange is the New Black. I wanted 1000 more episodes and I wanted them right now! But I’d just spent 13 hours with Orange is the New Black in a big gulp. Even though I wanted more, I could wait. The binge filled me up in a way that a weekly dose of something doesn’t.

I have a friend with no TV. She comes to town for a meeting every couple of months and stays at my place. We watched Orange is the New Black during each visit, a couple of episodes at a time spread out over several months. I started noticing flaws. Flaws! It wasn’t as wonderful when there was a gap in my viewing. The binge has power.

The Fringe cast
The Fringe

I didn’t watch Fringe until it was off the air. When I’d tried watching it weekly, I lost interest. When I could binge watch, I was fascinated. When I look back at the things I binge watched the past year: Orange is the New Black, The Fall, House of Cards, Bomb Girls, Call the Midwife  – I realize that those shows are some of my favorites. Is it because they are truly great shows, or is it because I could watch them in big chunks? “Do I love you because you’re beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?”

I still love Lost Girl and The Good Wife and Scandal, Orphan Black and Covert Affairs and other shows I only get to see once a week or in dribs and drabs throughout the year. This is the way TV has always been and I’m willing to go with it. But if I could get a full season of these shows all at once, I would leap at it like a coyote on a cottontail.

Conclusions?

Binge watching is so inherently satisfying. It’s instant gratification taken to its highest level. My conclusion is that more and more shows are going to release ready to binge watch. Television is going to change because of that. Electronic storytelling, streaming storytelling, is going to change.

I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I know it’s going to happen.