The opening episode of a TV series is a make or break deal. If it’s a great episode, people come back for more. I’ll share 4 such episodes that I think are outstanding. Continue reading “4 Examples of Television’s Most Compelling First Episodes”
Killing Eve is a spy thriller unlike anything you’ve seen before. The eight episode first season had not even aired when Killing Eve was renewed for a second season. If my feeling about season 1 is any indication of how I’m going to react to future seasons, I hope it goes on for many years!
Beware, there are slight spoilers ahead.
Meditation Park is a lovely film from director Mina Shum, who also wrote the film. It’s about an older woman who learns to stand up for herself after two crises hit at the same time. Continue reading “Review: Meditation Park”
On Scandal, Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) had one good thing: his husband James (Dan Bucatinsky). James represented love, conscience, family. Cyrus is ruthless and corrupt and capable of any betrayal or nefarious power grab. James still believes in justice and good.
Cyrus’s corruption finally leads to a situation that gets James killed.
On Lost Girl, Bo Dennis (Anna Silk) has one pure relationship: her sidekick Kenzi (Ksenia Solo). Kenzi is the sister she never had, the friend she relies on, the person she loves without reservation.
A crisis prompts Kenzi to sacrifice herself to save the world. Like Buffy diving into a ball of light, Kenzi steps into the light and is taken. On BtVS, Buffy was retrieved from the netherworld by her friends. Will Kenzi be? As in BtVS, there is supposed to be a way to do this in the sci-fi world of Lost Girl.
There’s no hope for getting James back on Scandal. This drama is about real life, not science fiction, and when people die they are just gone.
On Scandal, Cyrus may come through his loss a better man. If I were Shonda Rhimes, I would write this in a way that Cyrus develops a moral compass as a result of losing James. It would certainly cause a lot of drama in the White House if Cyrus developed a conscience. After James’ murder, Olivia Pope herself (Kerry Washington) was even talking about her desire for at least one good person, one person in a white hat, in the morass of evil portrayed on Scandal.
On Lost Girl, I don’t see a way that the writers can use the loss of Kenzi to create character evolution in Bo or any other character. Kenzi is integral to everything Bo does. I cannot imagine how Bo can even continue to be Bo without Kenzi. It’s like Batman without Robin, Sherlock Holmes without Dr. Watson, Don Quixote without Sancho Panza, Buffy without Willow.
Because of that, I think Lost Girl will write Kenzi back into the story somehow. But here’s my problem. When they announced the cast returning for season 5, Ksenia Solo was not listed. This announcement makes me nervous.
Lost Girl played with the fans throughout all of season 4 using red herrings and secrecy. Is the absence of Ksenia Solo’s name in the returning cast another game, another secret, another mystery? If so, does that mean she will be back and they just want to keep it secret to drive us crazy? They certainly enjoyed driving us crazy for all of season 4. Then there’s the very important fact that no one from the show – not even Ksenia Solo herself – has said a word about Kenzi in season 5.
We usually know when people are really leaving. We know K.C. Collins really left Lost Girl. We know Sandra Oh is leaving Grey’s Anatomy. Announcements get made. There’s no official announcement about Ksenia Solo and Lost Girl parting ways.
Do you think Kenzi will be back?
A Quick Note on The Good Wife
I wrote this post before last night’s episode of The Good Wife, which took me completely by surprise and will be all over the news today. If you have any comments about how they handled Josh Charles leaving the cast of The Good Wife, feel free to include them in this discussion.
Here are a couple of articles in The Hollywood Reporter to fill you in with details on The Good Wife.
- The Good Wife’ Bids Farewell to Beloved Character in Shocking Twist
- Creators Robert and Michelle King posted a joint letter following Sunday’s episode explaining that Sunday’s death “created a new dramatic ‘hub’ for the show.”
The Josh Charles story is a little different from Dan Bucatinsky leaving Scandal and Ksenia Solo possibly being done with Lost Girl because he was one of the lead characters, not a supporting character.
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?
The summer shows are fun and I love quite a few of them, but I’m eager for the new seasons of some old favorites. Here’s what I’m looking forward to. What about you?
Season 4 can’t get here soon enough for me. It airs first in Canada on Showcase beginning in November. Then there’s an agonizing wait for the U.S. showings on SyFy. At the end of season 3, Bo was off somewhere unknown meeting her father – maybe. Dyson and Tamsin disappeared in a puff of black smoke when their truck went over a cliff. Lauren was in a science lab creating Fae from humans and nobody knew where she went after everyone else escaped. Kenzi was driving a hot car with Bruce beside her. Trick had gone to Scotland with his lady love. And where the heck was Hale? Obviously the beginning of season 4 requires explaining where everyone has been and how they all get back together.
Guest stars that have been mentioned for season 4 include George Takei (from Star Trek), Mia Kirshner (from The L Word), and Ali Liebert (from Bomb Girls). If the guest stars are any indication, things should be fun on Lost Girl.
Here’s a bit of a teaser for season 4. Lost Girl season 4 is currently filming in Toronto.
House of Cards
House of Cards was Netflix first attempt at original programming and it was superb! (I can’t wait for season 2 of Netflix’s other great series, Orange is the New Black, either.) House of Cards won’t show up until sometime in the spring of 2014, but it is definitely worth the wait if it maintains the quality it had in season 1.
This political drama felt completely real. Or if not real, at least valid and true. Stars Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Kate Mara were especially good, but the cast was large and there were many compelling performances.
Netflix released this trailer for season 2, which is currently filming in the Baltimore area.
Nashville season 2 begins in September 25 on ABC, less than a month away. I love anything with singing (Glee, Smash, Nashville – I’ll watch ’em all.) People we don’t normally think of as musicians are leading the cast of this show and doing a really fine job as Nashville singing stars: Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, and Charles Esten in particular. Clare Bowen is my favorite in terms of singing. She plays Scarlett, a folky type who reminds me of Emmy Lou Harris.
A theme of the show has been the conflict between young and old country music, personified by Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton. They get forced together in ways they don’t want and are very different. Both have confused personal lives and troubled love lives. A troubled love life leads to the finale of season 1, which was a disastrous car wreck.
I don’t know if you were a fan of Friday Night Lights (if you weren’t, you should have been) but there is just something completely wonderful about Connie Britton. She’s fabulous. I’m so glad we get to see her in another great series – with SINGING.
Here’s a teaser for season 2.
Season 10. Can you believe it? We’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy since Shonda Rhimes only had one show on TV. They announced recently that Sandra Oh is leaving the show. What will Meredith do without her person?
The new season begins in September with a 2 part opening episode. At the end of season 9, Arizona and Callie were in danger of breaking up, Richard was possibly electrocuted, Meredith was pregnant – the usual Grey’s drama. Over the years Grey’s has had its wins and losses, people have come and gone, story lines have succeeded and failed. But it’s always been engaging and I keep going back.
I couldn’t find an actual preview video for season 10, but three of the cast members do talk about season 10 in this video.
The Good Wife
I say that I want to see the new season of The Good Wife with some trepidation. Season 4 wasn’t good. They lost their way a bit. There were fabulous guest stars, but those guest stars got too much of the screen time, there were too many court room scenes, Kalinda’s (Archie Panjabi) story was just dropped, and Alicia (Julianna Margulies) can’t figure out what the holy hell she’s doing. I think Alicia is fascinating in her own guarded and self-contained way. However, the queen of self-contained and guarded is Kalinda. She is the most interesting character in The Good Wife. If we don’t see more of her in season 5, I think it’s going to be the end for me and The Good Wife.
When season 4 ended, Alicia was leaving Lockhart Gardner to start a new firm with Cary. That will add some drama to the relationships we already have going on the show. We don’t know where Kalinda will end up – I sincerely hope it’s with Alicia and Cary, but there haven’t been any clues.
The new season starts in September. Here’s a teaser. It seems to acknowledge that the show went off the rails a bit in season 4 with its claims to be back.
Scandal, like House of Cards, has a ring of truth about politics and Washington that makes it fascinating. This Shonda Rhimes series begins in September with season 3.
I could talk about Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn and the other excellent cast members. They deserve the attention. Instead, I want to make a big fuss over Guillermo Díaz.
Guillermo Díaz has been around a while. You may remember him from Mercy or Weeds. There are currently 78 titles on his filmography page at IMDB, so I know you’ve seen him before in more than one thing. But the job he’s doing as Huck on Scandal is phenomenally outstanding. He should have had an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor, but he didn’t get one. As a defender of justice I’m here to announce that Guillermo Díaz is doing amazing work on Scandal and he should get a million awards for acting.
Now that I’m finished with my Guillermo Díaz rant, I can get back to the bigger picture on Scandal, which is the steely and powerful Olivia Pope and her Machiavellian schemes to control situations for people in Washington who screw up, including the President. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.
This promo video is more about Kerry Washington’s Emmy nom than season 3, but it’s the only thing available right now.
I haven’t even mentioned The Walking Dead or How I Met Your Mother, which is on its last season, or Elementary, or Castle or a whole lot of other good shows. Which of your favorites are you most eager to see?
Guillermo Diaz image from The Jasmine Brand.