Monday, February 1, 2016

Outsiders is WGN America's Most Watched Original Series!

In case you missed it, there is always still time to watch Outsiders on WGN America. The series debuted last Tuesday, and the network just announced the numbers were stellar, making it the most watched original series in network history.

Photo Courtesy of WGN America
That's terrific news for an amazing series. And you know what? It only gets better folks. While WGN America is still new to the scripted market, they're taking chances on series with unique stories, incredible quality and endless storytelling potential. Outsiders fits that description perfectly.

"We felt that 'Outsiders' was exceptional, but there is no greater validation than this kind of viewer response." said Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager, WGN America and Tribune Studios. "We’re grateful for the stellar cast and creative team, Peter Mattei, Peter Tolan and Paul Giamatti, and our producing partners at Sony Pictures Television, and we thank the fans, who continue to inspire us to deliver one-of-a-kind storytelling at WGN America."

The next episode will air on February 2 on WGN America.

If you missed the interviews I did with the cast and producers for TV Fanatic, you can watch them here.

Gillian Alexy (G'Winveer) and Ryan Hurst (Lil Foster)

Kyle Gallner (Hasil) and Christina Jackson (Sally-Ann)

Thomas M. Wright (Sheriff Wade Houghton) and David Morse (Big Foster)

Peter Mattei (Creater and EP) and Peter Tolan (Executive Producer)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Time to Resurface!

It's kind of hard to believe it's been almost two years since I've written on my own blog, but there you have it. Writing for TV Fanatic is a full time gig, you know? I am usually trying to think of what I could be providing over there, or coaching people on the content they're creating, etc.

Unfortunately, the way my mind works doesn't always make a great post for TV Fanatic. I know, I know. It's hard to believe there's not a massive audience for idle chit chat about watching Dynasty again after 30 some odd years.

Yet thanks to Amazon Prime, that's exactly what I'm up to lately. See that photo above? That has to be about the second season, when Heather Locklear's Sammy Jo joined, and it's right about where I'm sitting, Dynasty Season 2 Episode 11. Fallon couldn't go through with her abortion.

The topics on this series and the language used have amazed me so far. Times have changed, there is no doubt. A love story between an older man and an older woman, soon flourishing into somewhat of a later middle aged triangle would be a hard sell. But Blake Carrington? He's a dick.

The words out of Blake's mouth early in the series as he talks about his gay son Steven are downright frightening. The word "faggotry" is actually used. No kidding. I wish I could say Blake marrying his secretary, Krystal, wasn't a terrible cliche, but even though she was older, the relationship wasn't helped by the fact Linda Evans was a terrible actress.

Honestly, I could go on and on. And I might as well, right?

But it won't only be about shows like Dynasty, but also my binge watches. I should have thought of it sooner. I watched the entire runs of Louie and Inside Amy Schumer that might have made for some fun times.

Anything past or present we should chat about? Let me know. What else do I do but watch and talk TV?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

#TheBlackList has a weak link and it's Megan Boone

Every week I watch The Blacklist and every week I shake my head wondering how in the hell Megan Boone was cast opposite James Spader. The only answer I can come up with is that she lets Spader shine brighter than any other Christmas bulb in the box.

I'm sure Ms. Boone has done a lot of good work elsewhere, but when she's acting opposite someone who can emote as well as Spader she simply looks, well, simple. 

Whether she's upset at the developments with her husband (whom all we know about despite Red's most earnest attempts to warn her is that he's a hired gun; she's still oblivious) or angry at Red, her face is stuck in "don't mind me I'm about to dose off" mode.

It's entirely possible you haven't noticed that the photo above is of Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Surprise! It turns out there's an easy fix for the sleepy-eyed Agent Keen dilemma. Replace her with Winstead and get an actress who can show an entire range of emotions. Perhaps it will make her marriage a more interesting story, as well as taking a bit of the burden off of Spader. 

As it stands, when he's offscreen it's effectively dead air.

Image is not mine, and I'll credit appropriately as soon as I'm off my useless iPad. Screw you Steve Jobs.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Over at TV Fanatic: #YnR recap ~ Is Paul Dylan's daddy??

Image courtesy of CBS

All things considered, this week was more evenly paced than most on The Young and the Restless and yet we still had bombshells dropped in the last moments of Friday's episode.

Let's start out with the laugh out loud moment of the week because it's the featured photo and includes an important player and a headliner -- Paul. The two ran into each other in a spinning door and had this funny exchange:

Michael: Yes, I'm fine, but how could a door be such a hazard? I could have been knocked unconscious, just lying there, spinning for hours!

Paul: No, no, we would have discovered your drying carcass and I would have had you removed in five, ten minutes flat, easy.

Am I the only one who lives for the lighthearted moments like this that remind us how well the characters know and like each other? Before we get to the speculation about Paul and Dylan, let's hit the other highlights of the week.

Neil and Leslie broke up. It wasn't a surprise when they wanted such different things, but it was still heartbreaking to watch. There are obviously some issues Leslie needs to deal with regarding marriage. Neil threw her a bone and even offered that they go to counseling together so they could try to find out what's going on, but she's as steadfast in her views as he is in his.

Neil believes if you love someone you want to show your commitment and leave a lasting legacy through marriage. His talking points about what the gay community has been fighting for didn't move Leslie in the slightest. Time will tell if there is more to this story.

I really liked the spark between Devon and Hilary this week. Right after Neil gave Devon a pep talk about keeping his hands on GCAC and not giving up, the two talked a bit about Devon's "girlfriend," before that gal pulled him away with Devon making a backward glance and the lady who really caught his eye. This needs to be explored.

Thanks to Victor, Chelsea got a swift resolution to Connor's kidnapping. Chloe and Kevin even returned home on the Newman jet to Genoa City. Chloe was arrested on federal charges despite the fact Chelsea decided against pressing charges (there's no stopping the feds!) and everybody was happy. Except Jack.

Jack knows Victor far to well to believe there isn't an ulterior motive behind helping Chelsea. So what does he want? Connor. Does he merely want access or is he going to try to gaslight her like he's doing to Sharon? Chelsea received a phone call that she thought was from Adam, so anything is possible.

Things were not going too well for Billy and Victoria and no matter how hard Billy tried to assure Vickie that he only slept with Kelly once out of a morbid connection through grief, it did nothing to temper the situation. It really doesn't help that Billy and Kelly can't seem to stay away from each other, either.

We're still not entirely sure who Kelly is or what her connection is to Stitch. Are they related? Ex lovers or spouses? In any event, their circle got a little more whacked out when Vickie leaned into Stitch at the gym for a kiss. If it had been out of passion and not desperation, that might have been something to look forward to.

And, finally, everyone caught on to the trouble Summer was in with Ian Ward within about the same period of time. Nikki found Summer's photo with Ian and Faith blurted out to Dylan and Nick that she recognized his alias as the Summer's new friend.

Nikki had gotten to Ian first and rescued Summer, who ran to Paul. Nikki was making a deal to pay off Ian to go away and in the meantime Dylan and Nick were on the way. It all ended with Dylan, Ian and Paul in the room together with a bag of money in a lady's bag. I loved that -- Paul asking if the flowery pattern was Ian's choice.

Ian was being his snarky self and made a comment about Paul and Nikki in the past, saying about Paul, "You should have seen him Dylan, blond hair, blue eyes, oh and the muscles." WTF? A bit odd, right? Dylan was about ready to kill Ian with his bare fists when Ian blurted if he did he'd never know his secret.

Read the remainder of the review and take the poll over at TV Fanatic!!

Over at TV Fanatic: #Parenthood review ~ Dance Fever!!!

Image courtesy of NBC

The season has finally broken free from its cycle of doom and gloom - and on Parenthood Season 5 Episode 15 the focus seemed to be on the Bravermans moving forward.

Some of the best episodes of Parenthood feature the adult Braverman siblings and we were treated to a healthy dose of Adam, Crosby and Sarah reaching out to their kid sister Julia as she weathered her first weekend without Sydney and Victor.

Elsewhere, Crosby learned about the homestead being on the market, Drew talked Amy into confiding in her parents, Sarah struggled working with Hank - but was complimented by Carl - and Adam and Kristina got some much needed time away.

Amber's advice about the difficulty of letting go of someone you love helped him have a talk with Amy about her future. Drew started to wonder if she had ever really dealt with the enormity of what they went through with her pregnancy and abortion and shared how much it meant to him to talk to Sarah about it.

Although we never did find out how that conversation went down, hearing about in those terms worked. It also gave Drew a baseline with which to work so Amy could feel comfortable when she speaks with her own parents. She's pretty troubled and she needed Drew to give her that push to get some help.

Even though Zeek seemed set in his decision to sell the house as he explained to Crosby that he realized he loved Camille more than he loved the house, when he was with his wife and grandchildren roasting marshmallows at their fire pit, I'm pretty sure I saw some hesitation. That's a decision that is far from over.

Sarah's photos with the taco truck were amazing. They had so much personality and it was her vision. Did anyone else notice that Carl specifically mentioned how impressed he was with her shots that included the truck? Hank's decision to go ahead and delete it made the photographs look much like he wanted to create in the studio.

Hank is a great photographer, but perhaps not a great artist. Sometimes a job calls for a little of both and a client is willing to forfeit the craft for the artistic merit. That's what they did with Sarah. Hank changed her work because she went on a date with Carl. It was a petty counter attack that he tried to make up for with some fancy lip service later on.

I'm not on board with Sarah revisiting a relationship with Hank. Seeing Sarah with someone like Carl feels so much better, but I know it won't happen. Did you see the look on her face after he said this amazing thing?

I like that you, I don't know, think about your family here. Think about your sister. And that you have no idea how beautiful you are or how funny. Oh my gosh. I sound like I may be falling for you. I guess that's why we're here. Beer anybody? ~ Carl

She looked like a deer caught in the headlights. I don't think Sarah can do normal, which is a shame. Carl is a real catch. I only hope Parenthood proves me wrong.

The only thing that topped seeing Kristina and Adam on a mountain getaway gettin' it on in a hot tub and soaking in mud baths was Adam's continued concern for his little sister. Popping out of the hot tub with his hot wife to check on Julia was so adorable. Who wouldn't want to be married to Adam?

Joel is set up in an apartment and lets the kids know their weekends will be with him from now on. I've never understood that. Mom gets to take them to school, do the homework and be the responsible parent and dad gets all the play time on weekends? Please tell me that won't last.

It is good, however, that the attempt to try to save the dead relationship seems to be over. Joel barely looked at Julia when he picked up the kids. He's not a likable man. It's rare that the death of a marriage is explored on television in any detail and Parenthood should be able to make this a really special journey.

Left to her own devices, Julia did very well. She slept in Sydney's bedroom but she didn't break down and cry or dip into the wine while she was alone. She binge watched Orange is the New Black and went jogging -- very healthy activities for a woman on her own for a first time in ages.

Read the remainder of the review at TV Fanatic!!

Over at TV Fanatic: #TheRedRoad review ~ Shades of Gray

Image courtesy of SundanceTV

There was a veritable information dump on The Red Road Season 1 Episode 1 with blink-and-you-miss-it scenes and cough-and-you-miss-them lines.

If you want to be certain you caught all of the information revealed, you can either watch it more than once or you can see if I noted something you might have missed my recap, linked to above.

It seems so cliche to use the term Romeo and Juliet story, but there was a bit of that in the premiere, as a white girl named Rachel and an American Indian boy named Junior continued a dalliance despite the greatest wishes of Rachel's mother.

Harold Jensen is former high school and college football star who broke his back and became a policeman. I'm calling him Jensen because he doesn't look like a Harold. Jensen married Jean whose brother drowned when an Indian (a story she told her girls) got him messed up on drugs, forced him to swim and just watched him die.

Jean's a recovering alcoholic with what appear to be mental issues tied to the death of her brother, meaning she's been on the edge a long time. Maybe the drinking helped taper her illness. Anyone who can stand in the yard and using a leaf rake get a foot deep hole is holding back some issues.

Not that Jean's holding anything back. She knows her daughter, Rachel, is seeing Junior and she starts threatening his mother and goes so far as to brandish her husband's police handgun at the house trying to find Rachel. She's a little out of it. In her quest to find the girl, she may have hit an Indian boy on an ATV and carried on her merry way. She never looked back to see what she it.

Phillip Kopus (we're calling him Kopus) went to high school with Jensen and Jean and had something with Jean back in the day. "They" said he may have had a hand in her brother's death. Kopus is an ex-con and a wild card. He's Junior's big brother, but they are strangers. Junior and Rachel think he's cool. He is cool, but he's also a bit dangerous.

He takes a man he knows to be a killer, Mike, with Junior and Rachel out into the woods, gets them drunk and they all go for a swim. Did he know at the time that's where Mike dumped the body and they were all swimming with the dead man at their feet? Who knows? It was a chilling scene nonetheless.

Jensen finds Rachel with that gang and scoops her up and returns home but is summoned back out by Kopus. He knows what Jean did and he wants to talk to him before he talks to anybody else about it.

Jensen shows up sporting a rifle over his shoulder, which is a clear indication of what he feels about Kopus. Kopus' easy going demeanor allows him to reminisce about old times before he reveals himself as an unlikely ally in the shitstorm that's about to his the Jensen family.

There were witnesses that saw a car matching Jean's description hit the boy and drive off, but Kopus' past with her makes him feel protective. He's willing to make sure the statements given are in her best interests. Jensen merely nods but before he leaves Kopus gives him his handgun. Where was that?

Clearly we have barely scratched the surface in the opening hour what connects these families and what makes them tick. Julianne Nicholson gives a frenetic performance as Jean. She doesn't know whether she's coming or going and it's painful to watch.

There don't seem to be any delineated good guys or bad guys right off the bat, but a lot of people who seem clueless to what's going on around them. They'll need to take their blinders off and see things for what they really are or they'll fall to the side of bad simply for not paying attention.

You have to wonder why so many of these things are only surfacing now. Was Jean repeating the story about her brother to her daughters because Rachel is dating Junior or did it really take her this long to share it with them in the first place? What are the details of her alcoholism and supposed mental illness?

Read the rest of the review at TV Fanatic

Over at TV Fanatic: Being Mary Jane Season 1 review (#BMJ)

Image courtesy of BET

In hindsight, the Being Mary Jane Season 1 was too short.

At the time I was watching (via the BET marathon yesterday -- whatever took me so long??), it felt just right.

The amazing thing about Being Mary Jane Season 1 Episode 8 was how it wrapped up both of her love interests on an emotional level without further compromising Mary Jane's innate moral compass.

Being Mary Jane airs on BET and features a predominately African American cast. It plays brilliantly to its strengths and represents the AA community without wavering.

In one story, Mary Jane, a popular host on a daytime news program, found herself forced to reveal details about a friend and colleague who was investigating racial injustice in the prison system.

The juicy flash news had no bearing on the work he was trying so desperately to get before the public and in desperation he committed suicide. Mary Jane's network, SNC ran the story and she flt responsible for the death of her friend. Their advice was to say little.

Mary Jane went out on a limb, defended his work, apologized for her part in his death and promised to carry on his fight.

She received a standing ovation from her coworkers in the studio and viewers got a better glimpse into what makes Mary Jane tick.

Mary Jane's friends and family are important aspects in her life and it's interesting how they continue to influence each other no matter their role in her life. Her niece, Niecy, is a teenager with self-esteem issues preparing to give birth to her second child out of wedlock.

Mary Jane is aghast at her decision to have a tubal ligation so early in life but the conversations between them show neither has achieved any sort of ideal regardless of their age difference.

Mary Jane's two great loves are David -- the one who got away -- and Andre, the married man who eventually leaves his wife for her. Mary Jane's an emotional roller coaster with both men. She does all of the things that if you (as a woman) haven't done, you've damn well thought about doing.

She makes you clap out loud and cringe in despair as you await her next move.

For a while, Mary Jane is so madly in love with Andre it's to the point of obsession. It's so much fun to see so much of yourself in her crazy antics. She texts Andre over and over again without response, falling asleep with the phone at her side and the first thing she does upon waking is look at her phone. Nothing. She did what every rational woman does and deleted his contact.

The next thing she did was also what every rational woman does. She panicked, called her cell provider and asked how in the hell she could get that contact info back on her phone! Mary Jane is every woman.

A close encounter with David made her realize she couldn't get into the right head space with Andre so close, so after he left his wife for her, she sent him packing. Her pleas to David made him think she was crazier than ever and, frankly, he was right.

But it really hurt to hear him say he thought she was the cute kind of crazy, but didn't anymore.

Mary Jane's friends had her back. They rode around with her as she tried to come to terms with what these two men meant to her and as she visited Andre's wife to tell her to take him back (and how to have great sex with him) and to make one more try to get David back.

In the end, she lets both men go. She has her friends, family and career to keep her busy. She's successful and vivacious. There will be other men for her to obsess over and excite her and treat her right. But something tells me David will be back. Mary Jane was right to call his girlfriend a placeholder.

Once you get a taste of Mary Jane, she's irresistible.

Read more at TV Fanatic...