Happy Valley S1, E4

Episode 4 of Happy Valley was directed by the series creator Sally Wainwright. In this episode the police finally learn about the kidnapping. And things get brutal. There are spoilers in every paragraph.
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Anna Silk Announces the End of Lost Girl

I love Lost Girl, you love Lost Girl. We all love Lost Girl. But Anna is right. It felt at the end of season 4 like Bo is poised to claim her place as queen of all Fae.

When she reaches that point, the story arc will basically be finished. (Except for that little issue called get Kenzi back right this second!)

Much as I hate to see this tour de force of woman power end, I know that all of us Lost Girl fans out here will rewatch and treasure every episode of all 5 seasons for a long time to come.

Happy Valley S1, E3

By the end of episode 3 of Happy Valley everyone – the police and the kidnappers alike – are hanging on by their last nerve. The stakes go way up in this episode, and our heroine Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) is coming unraveled. Far be it from writer Sally Wainwright to ever let the tension drop before the tale is told. There will be spoilers!
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Happy Valley S1, E2

Episode 2 of Happy Valley begins with police sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) chasing after an ice cream truck on foot. Run, Catherine, run! She’s not hungry: the ice cream comes complete with a bag of drugs in the bottom of the cone. The bad guys get away this time. Continue reading “Happy Valley S1, E2”

Happy Valley S1, E1

Happy Valley series 1 is a 6 episode British drama starring Sarah Lancashire as a Yorkshire police sergeant. It began airing on Netflix on August 20. I will be writing reviews of all 6 episodes over the next few days. There will be spoilers!
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More Makers Documentaries Coming on PBS

This fall the fabulous folks at Makers will air 6 new documentaries on PBS. I will watch them and hope you will, too.

Makers aired a documentary in 2013 on PBS about the women’s movement. Perhaps you saw it. These six new docs will focus on women in comedy, women in Hollywood, women in space, women in politics, women in business and women in war.

MAKERS is a digital and video storytelling platform that aims to be the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled.

In addition to creating video, there was a conference in early 2014. I haven’t seen any news about a 2015 conference.

There are interesting and inspiring videos just bursting from the Makers website. There’s no need to wait for these particular six to reach PBS to sample the good work going on there.

As an example of the type of work that Makers create, here’s a brief video from a series with actress Zooey Deschanel.

Watch This: A Thousand Times Good Night

A Thousand Times Good Night will be released in the US on October 24. It looks to be a marvelous film. Continue reading “Watch This: A Thousand Times Good Night”

Outlander Already Renewed for 2nd Season

The first episode of Outlander had such high viewership numbers that the series on Starz has already been renewed for a 13 episode second season.

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser in Outlander
Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser in Outlander

Based on a very popular series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander has material to spare. If you’ve read the novels, you know they are very long and extensive. Based on the original book, also called Outlander, season one consists of 16 episodes. Season 2 will be based on the second book in the series Dragonfly in Amber.

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser as relatively unknown names right now, but I suspect this series will make them famous.

The series is hard to categorize. It might be called sci fi because there is time travel involved. It might be called a romance because it’s very much a love story.  It might be called historical fiction, because Claire travels back in time from the 1945 to 1743 and we live through all kinds of historical events with her. To keep things complicated, she occasionally returns to modern times and her modern life. I’ve read all the books and can guarantee that the stories and the characters are compelling and always interesting.

I saw the first episode when Starz offered it free, but I don’t have Starz so I won’t be commenting on futher episodes of the series until they become available somewhere else as well. If you have Starz, I urge you to watch Outlander.

The Emmy Women’s Categories: Who I’m Rooting For

Primetime Emmy Award winners will be announced on August 25 on NBC. I’m chiefly interested in the women’s categories and thought it would be fun to talk about favorites, who I’m rooting for, and hear from you about who you are hoping to see win.

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Lena Dunham, “Girls”

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”

Julia Louis Dreyfus, “Veep”

Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly”

Amy Poehler, “Parks & Recreation”

Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is the New Black”

This is a hard one to pick because the only one of these shows I’ve seen regularly is Orange Is the New Black. (I have watched quite a few seasons of Nurse Jackie but not all of them.) So, I’m going to root for Taylor Schilling.

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series

Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”

Allison Janney, “Mom”

Kate Mulgrew, “Orange Is the New Black”

Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”

Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Same problem with this list. The only show from these that I actually feel compelled to watch is Orange Is the New Black, therefore I hope Kate Mulgrew gets the Emmy.

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex”

Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”

Kerry Washington, “Scandal”

Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

I’ve seen most or all of every one of these shows, so I know a lot more about the acting in them. I’m going to back either Claire Danes or Robin Wright. Claire Danes has already won an Emmy for Homeland so maybe I’ll root hardest for Robin Wright. There’s no wrong choice in this lineup.

Supporting Actress, Drama Series

Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”

Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”

Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”

I haven’t seen Breaking Bad or Mad Men or Game of Thrones. So, between the performances I have watched I’m picking Christine Baranski as my favorite. However, props to Joanne Froggatt for her amazing work in the rape episodes on Downton Abbey.

Best Actress Miniseries or Movie

Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven”

Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Coven”

Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor”

Minnie Driver, “Return to Zero”

Kristen Wiig, “The Spoils of Babylon”

Cicely Tyson, “The Trip Bountiful”

I can’t believe I haven’t seen a single one of these. I always hope Cicely Tyson wins at anything she does, but I really don’t have a pick in this category.

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie

Frances Conroy, “American Horror Story: Coven”

Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven”

Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Coven”

Allison Tolman, “Fargo”

Ellen Burstyn, “Flowers In the Attic”

Julia Roberts, “The Normal Heart”

I tried watching Fargo because everyone said Allison Tolman was fabulous, but I just couldn’t do it. The others I haven’t seen at all, not even a bit. So again, I’m ignorant about who to pick. In terms of lifetime fangirl love, I’m very partial to Angela Bassett and Julia Roberts. Does that matter?

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series

Margo Martindale as Claudia in “The Americans”

Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell in “Game of Thrones”

Kate Mara as Zoe Barnes in “House of Cards”

Allison Janney as Margaret Scully in “Masters of Sex”

Jane Fonda as Leona Lansing in “The Newsroom”

Kate Burton as Sally Langston in “Scandal”

I have seen more of these and am confident in declaring that my favorite is Margo Martindale in The Americans.

Margo Martindale in The Americans
Margo Martindale in The Americans

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series

Natasha Lyonne as Nicky Nichols in “Orange is the New Black”

Uzo Aduba as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in “Orange is the New Black”

Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset in “Orange is the New Black”

Tina Fey as Host in “SNL”

Melissa McCarthy as Host in “SNL”

Joan Cusack as Sheila Jackson in “Shameless”

Clearly, it has to be someone from Orange is the New Black. I love them all. Since the first time I watched Orange is the New Black I’ve lobbied to give the entire supporting cast an Emmy. But for this year, I’m going to root for Laverne Cox because it would be historic and awesome to have a trans woman take home an Emmy.

What’s your opinion on who should take home the statue? Have you seen the shows I have not seen? I’d love to hear your opinion on who should win.

Margo Martindale image © Copyright 2014, FX Networks. Christine Baranski image © 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Season 2 of The Fall with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan

The BBC released a season 2 preview for The Fall without mentioning the date when it will be shown. They merely say “coming soon.”

It’s been about a year since my enthusiastic review of season 1 in “The Fall: Mystery Great from the BBC.” Both Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan will be back for the new 6 episode run.

Jamie Dornan is the serial killer Paul Spector. He’s pursued by the Dublin Police Service and Stella Gibson, a Detective Superintendent played by a spectacular Gillian Anderson. At the end of series 1, Stella Gibson had figured out who the killer was, but she hadn’t captured him.

As you can see in the preview, Paul Spector is spying on his pursuer and keeping ahead of her every move. The MO of this particular serial killer is that he studies his subjects carefully while planning a kill. Is that what he’s planning for the detective? She is hardly a gullible and weak damsel who will be easy to kill.

A face in the cast that American audiences will recognize is the motorcycle riding pathologist, played by Archie Panjabi.

As I mentioned in my review of season 1, this brilliant series is slow-paced and intellectual. The audience has known from the start who the killer was, seeing into his life, work, marriage, family and killer’s mentality. At the same time, the audience has been inside the workings of the police and the analytical mind of Stella Gibson. Gibson is as complex as the man she’s hunting. The two are both angel and devil, each in their own way.

Season 1 is available in the U.S. on Netflix. If you missed this excellent mystery I urge you to catch up on season 1 and be on the lookout for season 2. It will be on BBC Two in the U.K.