Amazon Pilot Season — My Picks

November 26, 2015

We’re coming up on a nice little four-day weekend here in the U.S., thanks to a buncha hungry pilgrims and some unfortunately doomed indigenous peoples, so I thought this might be a good time to hammer out a little post about Amazon Pilot Season.

Amazon just launched its new slate of pilot episodes for kid shows, comedy, and drama, and now’s the time when we get to try them out, vote for our favorites, and watch with dismay when Amazon selects the wrong one to produce (well, not always, but often enough).  I don’t always bother with Amazon pilots, but I’d read some interesting reviews of a few of them this round, and decided to check out all the grown-up options last week. In my experience, a good 90% of the pilots Amazon puts out are insanely terrible, which is why I’ve never bothered writing about them until now. But we got pretty lucky this round — this is a fairly decent crop, with only one total stinker. Now THERE’S something to be thankful for!


Here they are, and if you’ve watched these yourself, I’d be curious about your thoughts, so hit the comments! (p.s. I think everybody can watch these pilots, not just members of Prime, but correct me if I’m wrong about that.) Here’s the link where you can find the full slate:


ONEMISSOne Mississippi — Man, I wanted to like this show so badly. I’ve been a huge Tig Notaro fan since forever, and this series should’ve been complete gold.  Alas, it is not. Based on the last several years of her life in-real-life, Tig plays herself, a breast cancer survivor who, as the episode opens, is also recovering from a terrible bout of C.diff just as she lands in her hometown for her mother’s funeral. She’s got nutty brothers and a nuttier stepfather, setting us up for what should have been the perfect dark little situation comedy. Only, the writing is just. . . not good. And the acting is even worse, I’m afraid. Notaro’s stand-up style is very one-note, and it works tremendously well for what she does in that arena.  But here, it just doesn’t translate quite right. Additionally, the dialogue frequently comes out sounding like stand-up routines desperately scribbled into script format instead, which never, ever works. It’s too bad, too, because it’s a great concept. Here’s hoping she tries again soon, and with better writers (i.e., anyone but Diablo Cody).

HIGHSTONHighston — Of the two comedies, this one is definitely my pick, and not just because One Mississippi so obviously isn’t. It’s the story of a young man named Highston who suffers from a delusional disorder that manifests as celebrities popping in and out of his life, hanging out and offering him advice. In the pilot, the celebrities involved are Shaq and Flea (from Red Hot Chili Peppers), and though both were surprisingly endearing (especially Flea; who knew?), for this show to work, I think they’re probably going to have to recruit from a higher tier.  That said, the story was really engaging — in the pilot, Highston is having to choose between getting a job or committing himself to psychiatric care, as per ultimatum from his folks — and I just loved the kid himself.  Funny and sweet. I’m definitely game for more of this one.


ZELDAZ: The Beginning of Everything — All but one of the four dramas I’m about to describe were surprisingly good; I’ll be saving the worst for last.  This one was the weakest of the three I liked, but it was still entertaining, just not terribly solid in concept. It’s based on a biography about Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (here played by Christina Ricci, who appears not to be aging at all, which means I automatically hate her), and in the timeline of the series, she’s a young woman teetering in between two very incompatible worlds: Southern manners and modern feminism. She goes to parties, she drinks, she flirts with boys, she flaps (or whatever flappers do), and, just as the pilot wraps up, it looks like she’s about to meet the man who changes everything (for better or for worse; mostly for worse, I suppose you could argue): Mr. F. Scott. The problem is, despite the fact Zelda Fitzgerald is a fascinating woman, most of what is fascinating about her is distilled here into something that feels quite ordinary in the modern era.  Part of the problem is that this “drama” is weirdly only 30 minutes, like a sit-com, and so there isn’t enough time to establish her character more deeply.  I’m going to need more for this one to really pull me in. Especially since the next one I watched is about an even more interesting feminist writer. . .

GOODGIRLSGood Girls Revolt — . . . Nora Ephron.  This series, based on a non-fiction book of the same title by Lynn Povich about a sex discrimination case involving a group of female writers at Newsweek, is about the staff of the magazine News of the World in 1969. Women in this particular newsroom served as “researchers,” partnered with “reporters,” all of whom were men. As the episode opens, in walks newly hired “researcher” Nora Ephron, and along with her, a ripple of change about to roar into a tidal wave of revolution.   In the pilot, the men are battling over whether to write a story about a rock festival gone wrong (the famous riots at the Altamont Speedway concert) or keep doing cover after cover on Vietnam, while the women are working behind the scenes, doing what appears to be all the actual reporting.  When Ephron ends up rewriting one of the reporter’s pieces, only to see it published without her byline, she walks out the door — and the good girl revolt begins.  This show was really entertaining and fun (and I love Anna Camp, who plays Ephron here).  That said, it also needs to smarten up a bit for me. The dialogue is really heavy-handed and it definitely worked way too hard to cram every 1969 reference it could think of into the single 60-minute episode. Too much, ladies and gentlemen. Still, I would absolutely watch a whole season of this series, no hesitation.   EXCEPT. . .

PATRIOTPatriot — That this show is EVEN BETTER.  By far my favorite in both categories, Patriot is a weird, darkly comic story about a family of spies, with sharp writing, a serious knack for farce, and an extremely kooky sense of humor.  The main character, Michael, has been undercover for years and is taking a break in Europe when his father (also his CIA handler) contacts him to redirect him to a new job.  It’s got something to with Iran and nukes; we’ll learn more as we go. What I loved about the main character is not just the fact that he’s a spy (love me some good spyin’), it’s that, in his spare time, he vents his pent-up spy angst by composing and then singing dreadfully sincere folk songs revealing all kinds of state secrets (“I got some really bad intelligence / Shot an old mail hotel maid / Who was just making the physicist’s bed. . .”), something that’s really starting to freak out his father and brother.  The songs are hilarious, and the show is clever and smart.  Also, the main guy? Is cute as hell. My fingers are really crossed this one wins. Go check it out and vote, wouldja? I could use a little more of this kind of thing in my life.

As for that one unwatchable pilot this round? Believe it or not, it was . . .

EDGEEdge — . . . A WESTERN, of all things! Set immediately post-Civil War, of all things! You guys, those are like two of my favorite genres of anything (Westerns, Civil War stuff).  Not only that, it stars ex-Boyfriend of the Week Max Martini, albeit almost wholly unrecognizably.  Nevertheless, this is one of the worst shows I have ever tried to slog my way through, hands-down.  It’s loaded up with cliches, all the women are total throw-aways (not unusual for the classic Western, but this is 2015; could you at least try?), and the story is about as boring as they come (main character out to avenge death of brother). I’ll put up with a lot of dumb stuff for a Western — let’s face it, a good 80% of Westerns are kind of dumb (okay, okay, 85%).  But you have to at least try to do something interesting with it. Outside of keeping track of the number of variations on the angst-grimace Martini could contort his face into, there just wasn’t much here to latch onto entertainment-wise. Total disappointing dud (full disclosure: I gave up 30 minutes in and never looked back).

There you have it!  A few things definitely worth checking out this weekend, if you need a break from your crazy uncle and 19 nieces and nephews all under the age of 8. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

MOVIE: In Fear (2013)

November 8, 2015

infearI had never heard of this film, but picked it up the other day at the public library on a whim, in the mood for a good “lost in the woods”-type horror flick.  Hello, Halloween!  How are ya?

The good news is: it’s surprisingly entertaining and well-acted, and has a few very clever, very well-done scenes. Man, I love it when that happens!

The bad news is: the best moment comes about 20 minutes from the end and should have BEEN the end (oh, if only!), but instead the filmmaker goes on to totally wreck the awesomeness he had going and turn this from gold into. . . I don’t know. The opposite of gold, or something.  Man, I hate it when that happens!

The very first scene sucked me in right away, largely due to the acting chops of our hero, Tom, a young man who, as the story opens, is leaving a voice mail for a young lady (Lucy) he just met in a bar.  Nervously and very authentically awkwardly, he invites her to join him for a road trip to a music festival in a couple of weeks, something that ought to send any wise young lady who just met a young man in a bar screaming, frankly.

Cut to the next scene though, and it’s Tom and Lucy in a car on their way to the festival two weeks later, talking cheerfully about how the night is their “two week anniversary” (which, Lucy informs Tom, isn’t a “thing,” given what the word “anniversary” actually means. I like Lucy already; too bad she’s about to have the worst night of her entire young life. . .).

To celebrate two weeks of young love, Tom surprises Lucy by saying he’s booked a room at a fancy hotel for their first night.  Wisely hesitant for once, Lucy hems and haws a bit before giving in.  I’d love to blame her for it, but I would’ve done the same thing, largely because Tom’s undeniably a ridiculous cutie.

What I wouldn’t have done, though, is continued to give in once Tom informed me of the next huge and completely obvious red flag — that the hotel is so far out in the boonies, they’ll be sending someone on the staff to come meet them at a local pub so that person can lead them back to the utterly befuddling and off-GPS location.

Note to young ladies:  This is a thing creepy hotel proprietors, and ONLY creepy hotel proprietors, do. The rest of them give you directions on their web site.  But before Lucy can be all, “Say what, now?” a 4-Runner pulls in and honks, and Tom pulls out to follow.

Some lengthy, indeterminate amount of time later, the 4-Runner leaves them at a gate, honking again before driving off.  Tom pulls through the gate, and the rural maze to the hotel begins. The GPS in their car cuts out immediately, and the two find themselves resigned to following a series of signs pointing them left or right at multiple forks in the road.  After about an hour of driving in circles, they begin to realize they’ve been driving in circles; tension mounts.

As the night goes on, mostly what we get at first in this thoughtful little film is exactly what you’d expect from a couple that hardly knows each other now desperately lost in the dark in the middle of nowhere, watching their fuel gauge creep closer and closer to E.  The actors both handle this perfectly, and the dialogue is solid too.  They try to be kind to each other, then they fail, then they try again, then they fail again, as the stress continues to shake loose their tenuous ties to one another.

And then, stopped on the side of the road so Lucy can get her coat from the trunk, a masked man suddenly appears out of nowhere and grabs her.  Lucy manages to break free and she and Tom take off, panicked, directionless, terrified.  Suddenly, another man appears — he’s bleeding from head and tells the couple he’s just been attacked, can they help?  Lucy and Tom don’t know what to do — is he telling the truth? Is he lying?  What the hell is going on?  But he keeps railing on in terror about a bad guy in the dark, and eventually, they let him hop in the back.  He says, “We gotta get to the hotel near here so they can call a doctor for my head!” and then offers to lead them there, saying he’s very familiar with the area.

What happens next is an engaging and unique psychological thrill ride at 25mph on some dark and twisty roads, as Tom and Lucy continue to drive around with Questionable Intent Man in the back seat of their car rambling on fairly constantly so as to avoid giving them time to reconsider their very foolish plan to let him into the car.  Without giving anything away, I found the initial culmination of this situation extremely clever and wholly unexpected, and I was all set to give this little flick a serious thumbs up. . .

UNTIL! it wrecked the whole thing by veering suddenly in the most predictable of directions, followed quickly by the least predictable of directions, which I describe as “least predictable” primarily because it made no sense whatsoever.  It didn’t correspond to the bad guy’s originally stated motivations, which I found very intriguing, if not utterly cruel, and it also made no sense in terms of our victim’s ultimate reaction. Super bummer, major letdown.

Up until the disappointing ending, however, this movie really impressed me.  It features very solid acting by the two leads, if less-solid acting by Questionable Intent Man (played by Allen Leech, by the way, better known as chauffeur Tom from Downton Abbey), and a story I don’t recall ever having been told before. It’s also a nice little study both in character drama and in small-setting storytelling (almost all of it takes place in the car). I’d encourage you to shut it off when you get to the “first” ending, but you won’t be able to, is the problem.  And besides, you should see how the filmmakers totally blow it after that, because it’s an excellent lesson in filmmakers totally blowing it too.

All in all, recommended, is what I’m saying. I mean, sort of.  Sort of recommended, is what I’m saying. Definitely worth checking out. I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts about the ending, so if you do give it a gander, be sure to report back!

[DVD at Netflix | Watch online at Amazon]

Genre: Horror
Cast: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech

Fall TV Week Four! (Fargo Edition)

October 13, 2015

walkingdeadThe Walking Dead returned last night, as I’m sure many of you are aware. I haven’t watched it yet and can’t say I’m looking forward to it either, but, as is so often my way, I am stuck with this one, for better or for (more often) worse, so I’ll be getting around to it eventually. Still mad about Beth. Still battling a fierce girl-crush on Carol. That’s about all I’ve got to say. Here’s hoping they don’t just do the same ol’, same ‘ol again this year. (Why I would hold out hope against all evidence to the contrary, I cannot explain. See above re: as is so often my way.)

Also coming up this week:

Monday, 10/12

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin – CW – 8pm, 8:30pm – The first one is new, but is described as a “musical comedy,” so I’m automatically out.  And the second one got some fairly decent reviews but, oh god, I’m tired of talking about the CW.

fargoFargo – FX – 10pm –  I don’t know how other people felt about season one of this crazy show, but I absolutely loved it.  It was exactly what I wanted it to be: close enough to the original film to make it okay by me they used the same name, but not so close I got annoyed at the ways in which it failed hit the right notes.  It was funny and weird, and it worked. This season takes us back to when Keith Carradine’s character was young, I have read. It also brings Ted Danson back to us, post-CSI (I’m ignoring the fact he’s also now on CSI:Cyber, because NO, TED!), which is good news for everybody. Can’t wait!

Tuesday, 10/13

Chicago Fire – NBC – 10pm – Once you go Rescue Me, you never go back.

Friday, 10/16

Truth Be Told – NBC – 8:30pm – Sit-com with Mark-Paul Gosselaar about “two diverse couples for whom no topic is off-limits.” Is one of the topics Saved by the Bell? No? Well, then.

satisfactionSatisfaction – USA – 10pm. Apparently, this is season two, which means there was a season one — at least, I think that’s how the math works. Also apparently: it’s about a dude who finds out his wife has been seeing a male escort, so he decides to become a male escort.  To . . . save their marriage? We couldn’t just try, you know, communicating? Counseling? I confess I don’t quite follow dude’s logic, there, but so it goes with dudes sometimes, especially when you missed season one.  I was all set to write this one off (again?), but then I read this review and, well, damned if it doesn’t sound kind of intriguing.  God help me, I might dig into the pilot at some point and see what happens.


Fall TV Week Three: Cyber iZombie Top Model Horror Story (I’d So Watch That Show)

October 7, 2015

Not a ton coming through this week, so let’s wipe it all out with one blow.  My recap on keepers and losers coming soon, by the way!

10/4 Sunday

Madam Secretary – CBS – 8pm –  I hear this is really good, but I didn’t watch it and now it’s just too late. IT’S TOO LATE, I’M SORRY! I CANNOT HELP YOU!

goodwifeThe Good Wife – CBS –  9pm – I’m a relatively new Good Wife convert; I binge-watched my way into season 6 the summer of 2014 and haven’t missed an episode since. This is a damn good show. Even when it’s kind of dumb, it’s still incredibly entertaining.  And it doesn’t hurt that Chris Noth still has a very delicious nose, I tell you what. (Old timers here will remember that time an interviewer for Mademoiselle read my Boyfriend write-up about Chris Noth TO Chris Noth, and be pleased to learn he’s still as sexy as ever. I used to have a copy of that article somewhere. I should dig that out.)

CSI:Cyber – CBS – 1opm – It’s back!  I don’t know why! Can somebody explain why? ANYBODY? Kthx.

10/6 Tuesday

The Flash – CW – 8pm – Nope.

izombieiZombie – CW – I enjoyed season one of this show — it’s not brilliant, but it’s sort of weirdly sweet for a series about a girl who eats brains. I like all the characters, and the idea is a clever pairing of two steadfast TV genres (zombie drama, medical examiner mystery). I admit I got a little tired of it toward the end, but reviews for season 2 are strong.  I’m game.

10/7 Wed

Arrow – CW – 8pm – Nope.

Supernatural – CW – 9pm – I can’t come back until there is no more talk of angels. Has that happened yet?

ahshotelAmerican Horror Story: Hotel – FX – 10pm – This series has been really hit-or-miss for me.  Misses: Murder House (S1), Coven (S3). Hits: Asylum (S2), Freak Show (S4).  Where will Hotel fit in?  Pattern suggests miss, since it’s an even-numbered season.  But Lady Gaga, on the other hand, suggests hit. So does the fact it’s similar to Asylum in root concept — taking a location pretty famous in the horror genre world and using it as a springboard for something new.  Plus, I’m a sucker for stories set in contained spaces or contained communities (prep schools, isolated British estates, nuns, army).  All signs point to yes.  We’ll see what happens.

10/8 Thursday

The Vampire Diaries – CW – 8pm – Nope.

The Originals – CW – 9pm – Nope.

10/9 Fri

Undateable – NBC – 8pm. Nope.

Reign – CW – Nope. (This isn’t very helpful, is it.)


America’s Next Top Model – CW – I used to watch this show every year, for many, many years.  And then I got sort of disenchanted with it.  I should’ve hated it from the start, because it’s all about the commodification of women, of course.  But there was something about the women early on that was intriguing to me.  I cannot explain just what. Partly, it’s because I was younger and dumber back then and I’m more sensitive about these things now that I’m a full-on grown up (somewhere, my mother is laughing at that sentence). But it also seemed to get dumber and meaner with every passing season and I had to quit.  I see they’ve now added male models, which might be interesting in terms of being able to compare of how they’re seen and treated by the same people (photographers, designers). But I only have just so much tolerance these days for incessant bickering, which is mostly what this show is about. That was a long way of saying, “Nope.”

10/10 Sat

lastkingThe Last Kingdom – BBCAmerica – 10pm. This series, based on the Saxon Stories novels by Bernard Cornwell, looks like the BBC’s attempt to capitalize on the success of Game of Thrones, which is certainly goin’ around these days. The upside is the cast, which features Alexander Dreymon from American Horror Story, Emily Cox, Matthew Macfadyen, and, hello, Rutger Hauer. It’s probably going to end up being too “heroic epic” for me, but I’m definitely game for episode one.


Fall TV Week 2: Thursday and Friday Snooze

October 2, 2015

tvsetSo, before I report on how boring tonight and tomorrow night will be in terms of new/returning TV, I wanted to note three things:

1) I am madly in love with Scream Queens and can’t wait for the next episode.

2) The Daily Show with Trevor Noah needs some work, but it’s not terrible.  The one thing I will say, though, is that while Noah is adorable, the second we were introduced to new correspondent Roy Wood, Jr., all I could think about was how much better the show would’ve been if they’d hired HIM as the host instead. Noah will probably improve with practice and he definitely has cute dimples, but otherwise, not much to him so far.  Wood’s delivery, on the other hand, is just so great, and, obviously, he shares a last name with all my favorite people in the world, so, you know. Points.

3) The Grinder was terrible, wasn’t it?  Too bad, too, because I really enjoyed the cast.  That dialogue, though — argh!  And the premise is pretty weak (guy who played lawyer on TV plays lawyer in real life; as if that would work anywhere ever). Not going back for episode 2, I’m afraid. Sit-coms: so infernally hard to do well.

Tonight and tomorrow updates: borrrrrrring.  Here we go:

Thursday, 10/1

Bones – Fox – I got tired of this one a few seasons back. Nothing against it; just moved on to something else.

Sleepy Hollow – Fox – Never got around to watching season 2, though I mean to at some point. Or maybe I don’t. I don’t know. Should I?

Friday, 10/2

drkenDr. Ken – ABC – 8:30pm – Did you know that Ken Jeong was a physician before he was an actor? Isn’t that not at ALL what you were expecting? I like this guy; he’s wacky.  But this show doesn’t interest me at all, and it’s gotten nothing but the harshest words from all the critics too. Pass.

See what I mean? Dead. Zone. (Ooh, there’s a show I miss!)

Fall TV Week 2: Tuesday & Wednesday – Hour of the 80s Vet

September 29, 2015

screamqueensI forgot to mention yesterday that I finally managed to watch Scream Queens this weekend, after a few DVR snafus finally drove me to Amazon for the pilot (free, by the way), and DANG, DID I EVER LOVE IT. This is officially the only new show of the season I can’t wait to see more of.  A little uneven, but a few truly great lines (security guard saying, “Eh, nothing ever happens in a Best Buy parking lot anyway” was just about the best thing ever), and Jamie Lee Curtis is a total blast.  I’m sold. And I cannot wait to watch that mean girl get stabbed. <– Wait, did I just say that out loud? It’s pretend, you guys! *ahem*

Here’s what’s coming the next two days:

9/29 Tuesday

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – ABC – 8pm — I’m still disappointed. I don’t want to talk about it. Shhhp, zip it.

grandfatheredGrandfathered – Fox –  8pm – The first half of Fox’s Tuesday night “Hour of the 80s Vet,” this one stars John Stamos having a mid-life crisis when the son he didn’t know he had shows up with the grandson he definitely didn’t know he had. Hilarity (theoretically) ensues.  Well.  We’ll just see about that, won’t we.

grinderThe Grinder – Fox – 8:30pm – The second half of Fox’s Tuesday night “Hour of the 80s Vet,,” this one stars Rob Lowe having a mid-life crisis when the TV series he’d been the star of for years finally gets canceled. Of these two, The Grinder is the one getting stronger reviews, and the one I’m going to record to give a shot. I love Rob Lowe, I admit, not to mention good ol’ Fred Savage, and the premise is a little more interesting to me. But we’ll see what happens. I’m not 100% sold on Rob Lowe’s hair, for one thing.  That just . . . I don’t know. I don’t know what. Is what.

beyondtankBeyond the Tank – ABC –  10pm – I was really excited when I first heard there was going to be a reality show called Shark Tank, because I never get tired of watching hapless dum-dums swim for their lives in a tank full of sharks.  Why do you think I’ve watched Open Water six times? Alas, the sharks were a metaphor, DANG!, and the show was actually about business crap and corporate greed, or somesuch. This follow-up series features updates on the hapless dum-dums who made it out of the shark tank and into the rat race. I could not be less interested.

9/30 Wednesday

criminalmindsCriminal Minds – CBS  9pm – I still dip into this show periodically, but not regularly. It’s just too heavy on the lady-punishing for me to watch every week.  I do like some of the characters, and sometimes the stories are intriguing.  But it’s not a favorite and it’s one I usually only make time for when nothing else is on. It has long kind of amused-slash-bummed-me-out that this series is on at the same time as SVU; 9pm on Wednesday: Misogyny-See TV.

codeblackCode Black – CBS – 10pm – Oh man, DOES THIS EVER LOOK TERRIBLE.  What the hell are you doing, Marcia Gay Harden?  I couldn’t even watch the whole trailer for this show, which is a shame because the documentary it’s based on is really good. The series, on the other hand, appears to be riddled with lines like this:  “People come here for one reason and one reason only, to get one last miracle.”  I don’t even care that that line is delivered by Luis Guzmán, a man I adore, because that’s just A. TERRIBLE. LINE. “Code Black” refers to an influx of more patients than the staff in the ER can handle, meaning somebody’s bound to die, and the original documentary is highly political, with a whoooole lot to say about the health care crisis in this country and the damage to real humans that comes when politicians too focused on votes and money leave millions of people struggling for care. I don’t get the feeling the TV version of this is going to be nearly as passionate or intelligent about the subject. Instead, it looks like a lot of really bad acting and a steaming dump of thoughtless trauma entertainment. I’ll try the pilot for you guys, but when I go in, I’ll be going in with dread. Abandon all hope, ye who enter CBS at 10pm on Wednesday.

Chicago PD – NBC – 10pm – Is this show any good?  Did I ever watch this one?  Should I?

What did you guys think of Scream Queens, by the way?

Fall TV Week 2: Sunday and Monday

September 28, 2015

tvset1I missed posting yesterday, but you didn’t miss too much.  Once Upon a Time is back, if you watch that one (I stopped after season 1), and so are The Simpsons and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, neither of which I watch anymore either (nothing against B99; I just got kind of burned out on it).

The Last Man on Earth also returned, and while I watched the first half of season 1 and loved it, my DVR failed to record the second half (must’ve been a conflict) and I haven’t gotten around to catching up. Man, I really need to get the flu this year.

csiCSI also had its final episode last night, a two-parter.  I haven’t watched yet, but, for the record, CSI has been a favorite of mine since it started, and I haven’t missed an episode. Even when it wasn’t that great, I still loved it.  Ted Danson totally killed it on that show, pun intended, and I’m going to miss him the most.  LUCKILY, he leaves CSI just in time to appear in Fargo (October 12), which I’m pretty excited about. Season 1 of Fargo was crazy fun. Emphasis on crazy.

Last night was the launch of Quantico, which I watched this morning.  It’s about what I was expecting — lots of pretty young people being pretty and young but not doing a whole lot else yet.  I like the idea of setting a series at the FBI Academy, but what I wanted was, like, gritty Silence of the Lambs stuff, and that’s definitely not what we’re going to get. Since the FBI program is only 20 weeks long in the first place, I suspect the academy parts won’t last the season and that we’ll soon be doing ye olde “new agent/seasoned agent” full-time instead of just in the flash-forwards.  Too bad.  Also, it appears to be focused on terrorism, which, frankly, doesn’t excite me either. The “Welcome to the FBI Academy” speech to the students was all about how unsafe America is, and man, if I want to listen to that kind of paranoid nonsense, I’ll switch over to Donald Trump on 60 Minutes. I’ll be back for more, at least for now, but I’m hoping it picks up fast.

tv_trevorAll we’ve got tonight that’s new is The Daily Show with Trevor Noah; I’m withholding comments on that one until I see it. Fingers crossed!  More tomorrow!

MOVIE: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

September 26, 2015

This movie, based on the TV series from the 1960s, is about impossibly handsome men wearing impossibly well-fitting suits and doing . . . some stuff. Uh. Most of the impossibly handsome men were spies and there was something about a nuclear bomb. I think. Honestly, I had trouble focusing on the plot due to, shall we say, the cut of Superman and the Winklevi’s respective jibs. Also their biceps.  My goodness.

Plus, frankly, I’m 99% sure the plot was 100% dumb anyway.

You know what we should do instead of talking about this movie anymore? We should just do this:


That man . . . can wear a suit. Hot damn.

color button down

I don’t even know what to say, the colors of everything were so perfect.


Also, the eyebrows. OF EVERYTHING.

come on

Now you know what I meant about the biceps. You should see what happens when he raises his arms. It’s worth $12 for the big screen version, I assure you.

dark blue

Good golly. Incidentally, his accent did not suck.




The only people who can successfully wear this hat are Armie Hammer and my dad, and that’s a fact.


This poster makes it look like a publication named “The Intelligence” wrote a review of the film that just read “HUGH GRANT.” I’m all for it.


There’s a reason why clothes were a big part of this movie.


This is the reason why.

dark gray

Oomph. Is what. Right down to the shoes. I regret nothing.

Fall TV Week 1, What Day Is It Again?

September 25, 2015

Coming later today, humina humina.

It’s the end of week 1. And luckily, there’s nothing on, so we have a night to catch up on Scream Queens, which we still haven’t had time to watch yet.  I keep saying “we,” when I mean “I.” Listen, it’s been a long week.


Last Man Standing – ABC – I have no idea what this is. What is this? Wait, this has been on for four years? Whoops.

The Amazing Race – CBS – I feel like no TV series should ever go longer than 26 seasons. 27 is definitely 1 too many.


Shark Tank – ABC – Why? Don’t answer that.

Hawaii Five-O – CBS – Question: is that an O (oh) or a 0 (zero)? Don’t answer that.


Blue Bloods – CBS – Nope.

Fall TV Week 1, Thursday: Why Are We Reborning Heroes, Again?

September 24, 2015

I was out at the movies last night so I haven’t seen anything from yesterday yet.  Review of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. soon, though!  Here’s what’s coming up tonight (p.s. Spoiler alert for Grey’s Anatomy below, so skip that one if you aren’t caught up):


heroesHeroes Reborn – NBC – Because it did so well the first time around, so why not?


The very fact this show exists — with the same original characters in it, no less! — totally bums me out. We’re so out of fresh ideas we’re rebooting shows that dropped like bombs after their first season?  What’s next? 666 Park Avenue Reborn? (Don’t get any funny ideas, ABC.) Needless to say, this isn’t going in the DVR line-up.

greysGrey’s Anatomy – ABC – I wasn’t at all surprised when McDreamy got bumped off last season; he’d been in the news here in Seattle weeks before the episode aired on what definitely had the feel of a farewell tour.  I’m still bummed, though, because his crinkly-cheeked smile was one of the things about this show that kept me tuning in. Despite the repeated losses of many of my favorite characters (still mad about George), I can’t give up on this one for the same reason I couldn’t give up on ER.  Even though [insert rant about dropping helicopter on Romano], I got invested in the characters, and I wanted to know what happened to them, even while what was happening to them was patently stupid. I don’t know why, I just did.  That said, if they kill Kevin McKidd off next, I’m not only out, I’m taking all of you with me. OWEN GOES DOWN, WE ALL GO DOWN.  (FYI, same for Carol on The Walking Dead. Watch yourself, AMC.)


Scandal – ABC – I don’t watch this one. I hear it’s great, but I’ve tried season 1 twice and couldn’t get into it.  Win some, lose some, Shonda.

blacklistThe Blacklist – NBC – Few female actors on television irritate me the way Megan Boone irritates me, which is why I didn’t last 3 episodes into this one.  Admittedly, she got off on a seriously wrong foot with me in the pilot, when her character suggested her husband take his grade school students to the zoo on their field trip, instead of the air and space museum, because the zoo is “gender neutral.”  I mean, wow, in this day and age, to suggest that little boys wouldn’t be interested in engineering, math, and science is just inexcusab. . . wait, she meant the boys, right?  Because surely no professional woman in 2013 would think little GIRLS wouldn’t be interested in engineering, math, and science?  Uh huh. Shut up, Megan Boone.




The Player – NBC – When I heard the title of this one, I got a little excited, thinking it might be a series about Hollywood studio executives and muuuurder. And who could blame me? I’ve certainly heard worse ideas for a show (see next sentence). Alas, according to what I’ve read, it’s actually just another in a long line of rip-offs of CBS’s Person of Interest, which is a copycat epidemic I don’t fully understand, since that show is terrible. I’ll probably watch the pilot just in case (I don’t mind Wesley Snipes), but it doesn’t sound like this is going to end up being a keeper.  Is ANYTHING this year going to end up being a keeper?  Sheesh.

murderHow to Get Away with Murder – ABC – I wanted to like this series, and I watched all of season one, much as I kept wanting to bail, on the off chance it might be able to save itself by the end. What a mess, though, frankly. This is a series that would’ve been SO GOOD if it had been a 8-episode limited run. Instead, stretched out to twice that, it ended up needing way too much “case of the week” filler, none of which was remotely intriguing or even tenuously relevant. It was just got in the way of the more interesting story, which, ultimately, also ceased to be very interesting. Additionally, while Viola Davis started out as a delightful powerhouse in this thing, by the halfway mark, her perpetual lip-quivering and eye-bawlings-out were starting to get on my nerves.  Much as I admire her and the fact this is a series starring a 50 year-old woman who is strong, smart, AND sexy (trifecta of great female casting!), I’m not that excited about season 2 and probably won’t stick with it long.

Incidentally, Davis just won an Emmy for this, and her speech was incredible.  If you haven’t seen it yetyou should go watch it right now.

Oh hey, that’s it. Whew!