The fall TV season started this week and it’s time for a few short pot shots at new and returning shows. Comments will include New Amsterdam, The Gifted, and Manifest. A couple of really short comments about this and that may get tacked on, too. Continue reading “Brain Dump: New Amsterdam, The Gifted, Manifest”
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”
The fall TV season is underway, with old favorites coming back and new shows revealing their opening episodes. Time to unleash a brain dump, which is a few short takes on several shows. Continue reading “Brain Dump: The Gifted, Ten Days in the Valley, Supergirl, and Etc.”
— alyson hannigan (@alydenisof) March 11, 2015
Firefly stars Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion launched an Indigogo crowdfunding campaign. They are raising money for a new web series, Con Man.
They are already over their goal. (Firefly fans are nothing if not enthusiastic!) Give them some money anyway. More money equals more episodes.
Con Man will be about sci fi conventions and the characters in that world. Tudyk is writing and directing. He will also star as an actor playing the pilot of a spaceship. Fillion will star as a ruggedly handsome actor playing a spaceship captain. Also promised are Sean Maher, Gina Torres, James Gunn, Seth Green, Felicia Day, and Amy Acker.
Fillion and Tudyk do this because Firefly was cancelled too soon, too soon. The love lingers on and expresses itself in the con – events so amazing and beautiful they are worthy of a web series.
Go watch their video asking for money and support these crazy guys. Did I mention Gina Torres, Felicia Day and Amy Acker? And for all the tweets Alyson Hannigan gave those two blockheads, I think she deserves a part, too.
A brain dump about this and that. Join in with a comment.
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
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.
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 (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.
Cats out of the bag… http://t.co/CFeRljn94J
— Sarah Shahi (@onlysarahshahi) January 7, 2015
Extra has an interview with Sarah and the cast about her exit.
I didn’t watch in Person of Interest when it began. I think I started watching when I noticed Sarah Shahi tweeting about it. From the first glimpse I saw a very different Sarah Shahi from anything I’d ever seen before. That was intriguing.
Then I saw Amy Acker being very mysterious – almost mystically gifted – and thought to myself, “Why haven’t I been watching this show?” Sarah Shahi, Amy Acker: two long-time favorites. What’s not to like?
I started watching. To be honest, I didn’t quite understand what was going on in that first episode I watched. I still don’t. I get that it has themes around privacy and Big Brother watching our every move, and people who decide on how our lives will be lived without consulting us in the matter. However, the details are obscure, especially the little matter of how the characters can go around killing people willy nilly. Shaw and Reese (Jim Caviezel) manage to fill people with lead in every episode. No one seems to mind.
It took a long time before the two actresses had any scenes together. I’ve figured out a few things about the characters since then. Shaw (Shahi) is good with a gun, likes dogs, makes a great thief, and seems attracted to men. (More on this later.) Root (Acker) is somehow connected to ‘the machine.’ She shows up unexpectedly, seems to know everything before anyone else, and can help out with the action in a pinch.
I think the machine is something invented by Harold Finch (Michael Emerson). It sends them on the missions they undertake. Somehow. Or maybe that’s a different machine from the one Root communes with telepathically. Or somehow. Even worse: now the bad guys (AKA, the government) have a machine, too.
I keep wishing there would be an episode with only Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi doing whatever the mission of the week is. A whole episode with only the two of them. Who cares if I don’t understand what the heck is going on in this inexplicable drama when the two of them are on my screen! Couldn’t they be trapped in an elevator or held captive in a cargo ship or put in mortal peril in an underground bunker for a whole episode? Together?
Nobody in the show seems to have a private life or a sex life. Once in a while Shaw seems interested in a man she’s pursuing as part of a mission. So maybe she’s straight. Root, on the other hand, likes to come on to Shaw every chance she gets. Root seems attracted to Shaw. So maybe she’s not straight.
Shaw never says, “Hey, leave me alone, I like guys.” She just lets Root flirt and listens in her stoic manner without responding in any way. So maybe Shaw’s not so straight as she seems.
These few seconds of flirting, of sexual tension, are the only really clear parts of each episode. Nobody is shooting anyone or doing crazy action scenes on rooftops. Just two people standing in front of each other and one of them is hoping for a connection. Hey, the characters run around and do crazy stuff and have machines in their heads, but they’re really just regular folks. See, they have sexual sizzle between them.
Person of Interest isn’t the kind of show where we are suddenly going to go off into the personal lives of the characters. They don’t have any personal lives, they are merely extensions of the machine. I don’t know whether to thank Person of Interest for these few seconds of sizzle between Shaw and Root, or scream bloody hell because it’s driving me crazy.
Is the tease from Root really just teasing the audience? Throw in the lesbian question to keep the audience coming back? Or is this little subplot heading somewhere? If we are going to get subplots peeking into the personal lives of the characters, why aren’t Reese and Finch and everyone else getting these little subplotty moments?
What do you think is going on between Shaw and Root?
UPDATE: January 2015. Shaw and Root have their first kiss, and possibly their last.
Random thoughts and observations on this and that as seen on my teevee.
The Walking Dead
Did you see the episode of The Walking Dead called “The Grove?” Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kenedy as the two young girls were fantastic. Brighton, in particular, was 100% convincing. Very impressed to see such outstanding acting from two young actors.
I’m loving what they’ve done with The Walking Dead this season: splitting everyone up and charting their journeys to find each other again. (Assuming that they will be reunited at Terminus.) It’s given them a way to let characters develop with full episodes devoted almost exclusively to just one or two characters.
What about this kiss in the episode “100” of Glee. Glee has never been about grown up sex. Yes, there have been relationships but they are immature high school kinds of things. Even the teachers have immature relationships on Glee.
But in the episode called “100” (as in the 100th episode) we see a grown up Brittany, (Heather Morris) dragged into adulthood by numbers and a failure of joy.
Brittany evolved. Who’d a thunk that?
Couple that with a sort-of-grown-up Santana (Naya Rivera). I say sort of grown up because Santana still has a mouth on her that needs to embrace tolerance and forgiveness – mature ideas she hasn’t mastered yet. Nevertheless, Brittany and Santana exchange a kiss that is the first grown up, adult looking kiss I’ve seen on Glee.
Person of Interest
A whole episode of Person of Interest was built around Root (Amy Acker). The episode was called “Root Path.” Most of the time, Root is only on the screen for a few seconds. Even then she’s the most interesting thing in the show – mysterious, powerful, illusive. You know what would make me really happy? An episode that featured only Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker together for a whole show.
Is Castle getting better this season? It seems like the writing has improved. The stories are flat out good. Last year Castle frequently put me to sleep, but there is none of that this year.
The crazy adjustable bed that Stef’s mom gave Stef and Lena as a wedding gift on The Fosters is keeping them apart. I say we start a Kickstarter campaign to get Stef and Lena a new bed. A nice flat one. Or, as they put it on OITNB,
— Orange Is the New… (@OITNB) November 15, 2013
This show gets more fascinating each week with all kinds of complicated loyalty questions and emotional issues. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys impress me in a new way in every episode. Keri Russell’s character slamming that guy’s arm over and over again with a trunk lid was really intense and surely will make her face the fact that she’s cracking. Plus Margo Martindale was back this week, which is guaranteed to make me happy.
Still ahead this week are Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Must dump brain before then!
What is burning in your brain from this week’s TV?
All the season openers for the week have aired now. Let’s talk about how they did.
The two that I thought did the best job starting the new season off with a bang were Castle and Bones.
Castle jumped right out of the gate with action, conflict and new situations. Beckett is busy in Washington D.C. in a new job and the newly engaged couple are missing each other. Castle can’t keep from meddling in her cases and trying to keep their relationship exactly like it was before. Alexis comes home with a boyfriend in tow – a boyfriend who makes a mess in the kitchen cooking vegan steaks out of hunks of papaya. The episode was fast, fun, and gave us a glimpse into where the season is headed with Beckett in D.C. and Castle in NYC.
Yes, Bones can be formulaic. However, this week was hilarious, with Bones and Booth going undercover as a couple of Jersey shore types to solve a murder at a couples retreat. In other storylines, Angela wants to quit working at the Jeffersonian, and Sweets is having a crisis of his own about his career path. Camille has been targeted by a recurring bad guy who is messing with her identity, credit, and finances. We had a fun plot line to get us going and ongoing problems for future episodes. Perfection.
And the Others Are . . .
Much as I love Nashville, it got off to a slow start, mainly because Rayna spent the majority of the episode in a coma. Connie Britton is the soul of this show, and we simply cannot have her lying in a bed doing nothing. Juliette released a new album while pretending to be concerned about Rayna’s condition, Scarlett quit her job as a waitress at the BlueBird to go record an album on Rayna’s new record label, Gunnar might be growing up a bit, Teddy’s girlfriend is lying to him about being pregnant, and Deacon is blaming himself for every bad thing that ever happened on the face of the earth. Deacon is caught in one of the most grandiose shame spirals ever – much credit to Charles Esten for playing it so powerfully. Rayna finally woke up at the end of the episode which means I’m really looking forward to next week.
Chicago Fire was a bit same-old, same-old. The plot mainly revolved around Taylor Kinney’s character Severide. An arsonist is out to get Severide with personal attacks. Renée is home from Paris, pregnant and wanting Severide to be her baby daddy. Good grief, why does everyone want Severide for their baby daddy? Shay, who hasn’t managed to get pregnant yet herself, points out to Severide that the math on Renée’s due date doesn’t add up. Man, what a week Severide is having. I know Severide had high hopes for Renée – heaven knows they were sexy together – but I think being busy shooting people with a rifle on a rooftop in Person of Interest puts her in the she’s just not that into you category. The question is, what reason will the writers dream up for him to use to dump her. Arithmetic?
Speaking of Person of Interest, the dream pairing Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker didn’t have any scenes together this week. Sarah Shahi was shooting people from a rooftop and not interested in finding a baby daddy. Amy Acker was being mysterious while having conversations with a shrink. I’m looking forward to seeing where her story arc takes us.
The Grey’s Marathon
Grey’s Anatomy charged into its 10th season with a two-hour opener. My first thought was how cute Tina Majorino looked with her short hair. She’s my favorite of the new doctors, along with Gaius Charles, who always reminds me of Friday Night Lights, which always makes me happy. All that cute and happy screeched to a halt when Shane sent Heather to look for Richard who’s been lying electrocuted in a puddle of water ever since the end of last season. Yep, Heather steps in the water and gets electrocuted. Even Derek and his magical brain surgery skills cannot save her. The rest of the first-year interns bond over Heather’s death and their daunting assignment to tell her mother stories about what a great person she was. Tina, I’m gonna miss you.
Yang and Bailey manage to save Richard while arguing about how to do it for 2 hours.
In other parts of the Grey’s universe, Callie is hurt and angry at Arizona. They fight and cry for 2 hours. One light moment in the Callie and Arizona crisis comes when Karev advises Arizona to apologize to Callie by saying, “Sorry I’m such a slut.”
Christina and Owen break up again, but they keep having sex because they want to create a perfect last-time-we-ever-had-sex to remember.
Meredith has a new baby named Bailey and some further medical complication which keeps her in her bed. Her hospital room is the calm eye of the storm where everyone goes from time to time to hold the baby and have a quiet moment.
Lots of other stuff happened: Kepner decides who she actually loves this week, Karev remains a chick magnet, and lots of people need heroic medical help. Hang on, Grey’s is underway for a 10th year.
The other day Sarah Shahi tweeted a pic of her and Amy Acker working together on Person of Interest.
— Sarah Shahi (@onlysarahshahi) September 12, 2013
Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker: I think that’s an interesting combination of stars. Two people that you might not ever expect to see work together and there they are, working together. Look at some of the combinations we are accustomed to seeing – Samira Wiley and Danielle Brooks, Anna Silk and Ksenia Solo, Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, Ellen Pompeo and Sandra Oh – once we get to know the characters the choices seem inevitable. But up until the moment they were cast and the contracts were signed, all the choices were open.
It made me think about dream actress pairings.
Let’s play casting director!
If you could pair up any two actresses to star in a new movie (or TV show) who would you pick? For our movie let’s say the two are not related but instead are friends or coworkers – or lovers. They are strong, smart, and the lead actors in whatever drama we imagine for them.
I’m picking Ashley Judd and Jennifer Beals. Here are my reasons.
- As far as I know they’ve never appeared together. Teaming up with someone new is the point.
- They are both in their 40s, so the movie doesn’t have to be a “let’s find true love and mate for life” kind of romantic comedy.
- They are both in their 40s, but that doesn’t rule out love stories if the movie needs to include that kind of story. It just shouldn’t be the only thing going on.
- They are both kick ass. Ashley proved she can do the action stuff in her TV series Missing. Jennifer kicked butt in her TV series Chicago Code. So if the movie is about catching bad guys, these two can handle it.
- They are both smart. I’d like to see a story where two leading women characters get to do something smart and clever. If it was a political drama or courtroom drama they could be smart and savvy and make long lines of dialog sound meaningful.
- They are both terrific actors who are under appreciated in the awards department.
- I like them both and will watch anything they do.
I could go on naming combinations of actresses I’d like to see work together as lead characters, but I want to hear your ideas. Who do you think would be an interesting pair-up?
I’m a Dollhouse fan, so this tweet from @HostilePoet_17 caught my eye.
— Dara (@HostilePoet_17) September 12, 2013
The tweet lead me to this story in TIME Magazine : Memories Can Now Be Created — And Erased — in a Lab. In TIME, the writer talked about the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but I’m with Dara, the story makes me think about the series Dollhouse.
Created by Joss Whedon, Dollhouse was on the air for 2 seasons from 2009-2010. The premise was that the residents of the dollhouse, who were captives, could be remade over and over into new people with new skills as needed for new jobs. Their memories were constantly being erased and rebuilt, depending on what the puppet masters needed them to do. Sit them in a special chair, zap their brains, and suddenly they were skilled surgeons or soldiers or equestrians.
Like Orphan Black allows for virtuoso performances from Tatiana Maslany, Dollhouse allowed the lead characters, particularly Eliza Dushku who played Echo, to be a completely different personality every week. All the actors who played “dolls” had the dream job of demonstrating their chops by inhabiting an ever changing array of personalities and characters.
If you are a Whedon fan, you know that Eliza Dushku also worked with Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Other Whedon regulars who appeared in Dollhouse include Fran Kranz as Topher, the mad scientist who rewired everyone’s brain with aplomb, Amy Acker as (mostly) a doctor who helped take care of the dolls, Alexis Denisof as a Senator, Summer Glau as one of the dolls, and Alan Tudyk as a scary character named Alpha.
Harry Lennix, Tahmoh Penikett, and Olivia Williams were in the cast as characters who ran The House and the dolls. Most of the time these characters would be considered “the bad guys” but that was a bit fuzzy on this show. In addition to Echo, other dolls included Enver Gjokaj as Victor and Dichen Lachman as Sierra.
The conflict and struggle in Dollhouse partly came from the fact that the memory wiping and imprinting process was never quite perfect. For example, Echo always had vague ideas about who she really was and struggled to hold on to that. Victor and Sierra were in love. No matter what personality they had to take on, that basic emotion always seemed to creep back in. The struggle to recall who they really were led the dolls to attempt subterfuge and misdirection in an attempt to save their own memories and to escape from the dollhouse.
Mixed in with that overall story arc of the dolls attempting to get back to who they really were, there were the weekly stories centering around whatever action or job needed to be done by the dolls that week.
You could wipe my brain and make me forget that I’d ever heard of Joss Whedon, but I’d only have to watch one episode of Buffy kicking vampire butt or Echo fighting to retain her true self or or Gina Torres decked out in leather and guns aboard The Serenity to fall in love with his fictional females all over again.
If you missed Dollhouse the first time around, I suggest you watch it now. And if you’ve already seen it, binge watching a second time is a perfect way to spend a weekend.
You can watch both seasons of Dollhouse on Netflix, Amazon or Hulu.
Like many Whedon creations, Dollhouse inspired an obsessive fandom to create a Wiki for the show. If you feel like getting into the details, the Wiki is your happy place.
Images ©20th Century Fox Television