Great TV Marriages

Have you been watching The Gifted? I have. One of the things I notice each week is the great marriage between Amy Acker and Stephen Moyer as the parents of two ‘gifted’ teens in this sci fi drama. I haven’t thought much about great TV marriages since Friday Night Lights  with Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler ended. It’s time to look at a few newer marriage examples. Continue reading “Great TV Marriages”

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!

Watch This: Two More Women Led Shows Coming to TV

I keep discovering more upcoming TV series with women in leading roles. Just when I think I’ve brought them all to your attention, I find more. This is a great problem to have!

With the Madam Secretary series going into the schedule on Sunday as a lead up to The Good Wife and Shonda Rhimes new drama How to Get Away with Murder set on the Thursday (which I shall henceforth refer to as Rhimesday) night schedule, I think we can safely predict what the two biggest female-led hits will be. Don’t overlook some of the less blessed-by-scheduling offerings I’ve mentioned lately, though, because some of them look very good.

Madam Secretary

The first trailer is Madam Secretary. It looks fabulous. If it is supposed to be some kind of play off Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, that’s just fine by me, but I don’t see a lot of Hillary in the way this is played in the previews.

Téa Leoni stars as Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst turned college professor who gets recruited to fill a vacant Secretary of State job. Her husband is played by Tim Daly. Bebe Neuwirth is in the cast.

Madam Secretary was created by Barbara Hall, who has written for Homeland and Judging Amy. Morgan Freeman is one of the producers. It starts in the fall on Sundays right before The Good Wife, a piece of prime TV real estate if there ever was one.

Extant

Extant stars Halle Berry as an astronaut who returns to Earth after 13 months alone in space, inexplicably pregnant. Her husband John is played by Goran Visnjic. John is a scientist who created their robotic son. The son is played by Pierce Gagnon, who despite his young age, has had a lot of roles to his credit. Camryn Manheim, Sergio Harford, and Grace Gummer also appear. Steven Spielberg is producing.

Extant begins in July. According to one account I saw of the plot, the astronaut’s “experiences in space and home lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history.”

Extant looks very mysterious. Do you like the mysterious ones?

Tea Leoni image via CBS.com

What do you Think of the Summer Pilots?

The other day I mentioned a couple of pilots on TNT that I’m super excited about that star Jennifer Beals and Julia Stiles. The big networks – NBC, CBS, ABC, CW, and FOX – all have a full slate of summer shows lined up. You can see the full list by following the links.

I want to mention the ones that look good to me, the ones that have a female in the leading role, and the ones I think might be worth watching. I’d love to hear what you think about the summer lineup, so speak up in the comments.

There are lots of comic book spinoffs, zombies, and aliens in the schedules. Lots of comedies and a few dramas.

On NBC

A variation on the zombie craze, Babylon Fields will star Virginia Madsen, Meagan Good, Skeet Ulrich, Ritchie Coster, Yul Vazquez and Kyle Schmid.

Debra Messing will lead the cast in a police procedural called Mysteries of Laura. It’s based on a Spanish series. Messing and her husband solve crimes while dealing with their twin sons.

Odyssey has a female soldier at the helm, played by Anna Friel. The plot centers around an international mystery.

Katherine Heigl will join the CIA in State of Affairs. She’s counselor to the President. Maybe she’ll run into Olivia Pope in D.C.

NBC has a ton of new comedies. The most interesting one stars Natasha Lyonne and is called Old Soul. I’ve mentioned this one before.

Another comedy that looks promising is produced by Ellen DeGeneres. One Big Happy is about a gay woman (Elisha Cuthbert) and her straight best friend (Nick Zano), who decide to have a baby together.

On CBS

Tea Leoni will be the Secretary of State in Madam Secretary. Morgan Freeman is producing this one. Tim Daly, Geoffrey Arend, Patina Miller, Erich Bergen and Katherine Herzer will also star.

Patricia Arquette will star in an as-yet-unnamed CSI spinoff. It sounds very high tech in concept, rather like the current show Intelligence because it involves a lot of cyber security. But I don’t think any of the FBI agents in this show have chips in their brains.

Jamie Lee Curtis is a hospital administrator whose four children – quadruplets – all work at the hospital. Oh, and the children grew up on a reality show. This show doesn’t have a name yet either.

On ABC

Danish series have been adapted for American TV with great success. Jennifer Carpenter will be in Sea of Fire, another Danish adaptation. This one is an FBI story.

Warriors will be a medical drama. The cast includes Morena Baccarin, Don Hany, Courtney B. Vance, Justina Machado, Greg Grunberg, Steve Kazee, Hampton Fluker, Abbie Cobb and Eloise Mumford.

On FOX

Cabot College is a comedy produced by Tina Fey. A show can’t get much more promising than that.  Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Bonnie Dennison, Ely Henry, Asif Ali, Jack Cutmore-Scott and Brandon Jones will star.

On the CW

I don’t see anything that tempts me on this network.

Again, you can see the full lineup of summer shows here: NBC, CBS, ABC, CW, and FOX. I’d love to hear what you think about the ones I consider hopeful, or if you see something else that didn’t catch my eye that looks really good to you.