Orange is the New Black Rewatch Binge

June 12 and the release of season 3 of Orange is the New Black is just far enough away to let me rewatch the first two seasons in a cozy binge.

This is what fascinates me: the series starts out with the main story being about Piper, the privileged white woman who ends up in prison. The regular cast members listed are Taylor Schilling, Michael Harney, Kate Mulgrew, Laura Prepon, Michelle Hurst and Jason Biggs. By the second & third episode some of the actors like Danielle Brooks, Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, and Laverne Cox begin to show up as guest stars.

Actors we’ve grown to love from the show such as Dascha Polanco, Selenis Levya and Samira Wiley were listed in the ending credits. They didn’t even show up as guest stars early in the series.

I’m struck by how much of the story of what’s happening in Litchfield Prison has moved away from the white characters and how the minor actors in the beginning like Samira Wiley have moved up to become regulars.

As viewers, we have become attached to characters that we might never have had a chance to like and respond to anywhere else but in Orange is the New Black. It’s brilliant how Jinji Kohan and the other writers let Crazy Eyes and Big Boo and Gloria and Nicky and Morello sneak their way into our hearts by bringing each to the front slowly. Not to mention Sister Ingalls (Beth Fowler) and Maritza (Diane Guerrero), Watson (Vicky Jeudy) and many others.

A scene from OITNB

After two years, the most popular characters on OITNB are played by Samira Wiley, Danielle Brooks, Lea DeLaria and Laverne Cox. We no longer have to be lead into Litchfield stories by holding hands with someone white. Because of great writing, great acting talent, great personal presence, the most “other” members of the cast have become the default stars on Orange is the New Black. The story and the characters took off like a runaway train with a momentum that has carried us far from the original story in the book by Piper Kerman on which the series was based.

There are still white people in the story. Piper and Alex are still there, Red is still around, Nicky and Morello are still there, all the correctional officers and prison bosses are still there. But Piper is no longer the chief focus. In season 2, when Vee (Lorraine Toussaint) was around, much of the focus was on her and her effect on everyone at Litchfield. We’ll see where things go in season 3, but I’m 100% behind the diversity. I’d love to see one of the Hispanic characters become more known and important.

We’ve accepted the rainbow of characters who inhabit the prison, we care about them all. It’s a act of writing and planning by Jinji Kohan that I admire and respect. Diversity on our TV screens has an effect on the culture. I can’t wait to see how OITNB brings more of it in season 3.

What I’m waiting to see is the day when a black woman or a Hispanic woman or an Asian woman can be the lead character to lead us into a drama like this one.

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Watch This: Dark Matter 1st Trailer

Are we lost in space yet? Why, yes, almost.

The first trailer for the SyFy drama Dark Matter is out. The new series will have 13-episodes on SyFy, debuting June 12th.

In the photo above, you see the cast of the spaceship. They are: Alex Mallari Jr. as “Four”, Roger Cross as “Six”, Anthony Lemke as “Three”, Melissa O’Neil as “Two”, Marc Bendavid as “One”, Jodelle Ferland as “Five” and Zoie Palmer as “The Android”.
Photo credit: Dennys Illic.

I count 3 women and 4 men – assuming the Android can be gender identified – with several more female characters coming into the show as regulars and guests. I love this habit in Canada to make TV with lots of female characters. Go, Canada!

As you can gather from the trailer, this spaceship crew awakens with no memory of where they are or why they are there.

It sounds interesting to me as a sci-fi fan and because favorite actors such as Roger Cross, Anthony Lemke and Zoie Palmer are regulars. With such a small cast, it will be interesting to see who the good guys are, who the bad guys are, and what part the android has in the story. Everyone including the creators and the cast are veterans of one or more big sci-fi hits, so they bring the chops for a genre show in spades.

I always wanted Roger Cross to be on Lost Girl, maybe as an incubus who interacts with Bo. He’s been in every other Canadian show there is, I swear, but for some reason he never showed up on Lost Girl. Now he and Zoie Palmer will be together on Dark Matter, which isn’t exactly what I wanted, but it’s close.

Recurring characters will be played by David Hewlett and Amanda Brugel with Torri Higginson and Ruby Rose showing up as guest stars.

Dark Matter is created by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, and is based on the graphic novels of the same name.

Review: My Old Lady

For some reason, the previews for My Old Lady led me to expect a comedy. Maybe with a bit of romance thrown in. Well, there was a bit of romance and a bit of comedy, but it was really a serious drama about family pain, neglect, trauma, and ultimately love. Continue reading “Review: My Old Lady”

Watch This: Me and Earl and The Dying Girl

Connie Britton seldom tweets, so this tweet from her caught my eye.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl looks exquisite and beautiful. It’s a film about dying, obviously, but it’s also a film about making films. It was a winner at Sundance. The “Me” in the story is Greg (Thomas Mann). Earl (RJ Cyler) is Greg’s buddy and filmmaking partner. The dying girl is one of Greg’s high school classmates Rachel (Olivia Cooke).

Greg is forced by his mom (Connie Britton) to try to cheer up the dying girl.

The film is an adaptation of a book by Jesse Andrews. Andrews also did the adaptation for the film. The director is Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.

The official description:

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is the uniquely funny, moving story of Greg (Thomas Mann), a high school senior who is trying to blend in anonymously, avoiding deeper relationships as a survival strategy for navigating the social minefield that is teenage life.  He even describes his constant companion Earl (RJ Cyler), with whom he makes short film parodies of classic movies, as more of a ‘co-worker’ than a best friend. But when Greg’s mom (Connie Britton) insists he spend time with Rachel (Olivia Cooke) – a girl in his class who has just been diagnosed with cancer – he slowly discovers how worthwhile the true bonds of friendship can be.

The release date is June 12 for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

Watch This: Kyra Sedgwick Talks about Casting Jennifer Beals in Proof + Trailers

The new TNT series Proof will begin this summer, on the schedule right after Rizzoli and Isles. Series producer Kyra Sedgwick recently talked about casting Jennifer Beals as a thorasic surgeon, the lead character in Proof.

A couple of trailers for Proof have been released, which I didn’t post here yet. This seems like a perfect time to make up for that omission.

Joe Morton and Matthew Modine are other well-known actors in this series.

The following one you may want to click off at the end so further video from Yahoo doesn’t keep playing.

Grace and Frankie Coming in May – UPDATED

Grace and Frankie will release on Netflix on May 8. The new series stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston. With such a great cast, I feel free to expect great things. Continue reading “Grace and Frankie Coming in May – UPDATED”

Tribute to Lost Girl

@Mahler5th created a lovely Lost Girl video. It’s a tribute to the actors, fans, crew, writers, directors and everyone who made Lost Girl a success. Even though we still have a bit of season 5 to get through, this video feels like it includes everyone and everything that made the show a hit.

We see flashes of scenes, guests, writers, producers, fans, fan art, supporters, jokes. It’s all here.

Thanks to Mahlers5th for such a beautiful video for us to enjoy. Made me smile all the way through.

My Tribute

My tribute uses words, not images. This is a fairly young blog. At the time I started it, it seemed crazy to want to begin writing about entertainment at my age. Lost Girl is one of the things that inspired me to want to write about pop culture. The first post I wrote on Old Ain’t Dead was about Lost Girl.

Now, I’m happy each week to be writing this blog, and grateful to Lost Girl for providing so much inspiration and laughter and general awesomeness to make me type my thoughts again and again.

Lois Smith in The Americans and in Ruth & Erica

Last week in the “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep” episode of The Americans, Lois Smith was a guest star. It was an important episode of The Americans because it showed the Russian spy, Elizabeth (Keri Russell) as she begins to grasp the horror of what she does as a spy. Continue reading “Lois Smith in The Americans and in Ruth & Erica”

5 Sources for Free Movies and TV

Free – or almost free – sources for streaming movies and TV is what I’m sharing today. These are things you can watch anywhere you can get an Internet connection without shelling out big bucks to the cable company or the phone company. The free services generally have ads, but you are bombarded with ads on the TV you pay to have piped into your home by the cable company anyway.

Vudu

Vudu home page

Vudu is not a free service, but it has some great deals. If you click on the Deals tab and go to the bottom of the page, you can find some $2 for 2 nights deals, which is not much more than renting a movie from Red Box.

TVland

TVland home page

TVland offers full episodes of its current lineup of original shows like Hot in Cleveland and Younger. TVland shares a few old episodes of shows like I Love Lucy, The Golden Girls and Roseanne. You can’t binge watch a whole series, but you can get a good laugh from somewhere on the nights when you need one. Completely free.

Shout Factory TV

Shout Factory TV home page

Shout Factory TV offers lots of horror and sci fi movies, some TV series, and the occasional really interesting collection, such as the complete collection of Werner Herzog films. The TV series are oldies such as The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. This month they are featuring Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Completely free.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive home page

Internet Archive has pretty much the whole world in its hands. In the feature film archive you’ll find such diverse films as House on Haunted Hill, Charlie Chaplin and The Three Stooges films, The Birth of a Nation and more. There are over 770,000 items in the television archive alone. There’s a very handy search feature on this site. Completely free.

Crackle

Crackle home page

Crackle is worth knowing about because it has all of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. If you need more reason than that to go check it out, it also has original programming, movies and series such as Damages and The Shield. Completely free.

These are legitimate sites, not places sharing pirated shows. If you know other such trustworthy sources of free or almost free programming, please speak up in the comments.

Ali Wentworth image from Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Review: Frankie and Alice

Frankie and Alice was panned by the critics, often for reasons that had nothing to do with the film itself. One critic panned it because it was finished in 2010 but not released until 2014. <sarcasm>Well, that sure seems like a good reason to hate a film to me. </sarcasm>

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Frankie and Alice”