Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's ConnecTV? Learn with Reign and Parks and Recreation Examples

Fun With ConnecTV

Have you seen what you can do ConnecTV? It's only available on Apple platforms right now (go to the App store!), but some examples are below. I mucked up the text on one, but that's all part of the learning process, right?? WARNING: Each plays 5 loops before stopping, so if you start a second before the first is finished, they'll play in a round! ;-)


Parks and Recreation

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hitler reacts to Arrow's Oliver & Isabel hookup.

Some people are so damn clever. Stephen Amell kindly posted this awesome video on his Facebook page. If you aren't following him, hop to it. He posts frequently and they're always worthwhile. Hitler only says what we all feel in our hearts. It's the only time I can say I've agreed with Hitler. Who knew?

Image courtesy of Diyah Pera/The CW

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

American Horror Story: Coven Snags Stevie Nicks!

You have to admit that it's pretty damn cool when an American icon who otherwise stays out of the limelight sees the significance of her role in an influential drama and is willing to step out of the shadows to bring fantasy to life.

Stevie Nicks is just such an idol.

As American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy tweeted this morning:

Character Misty Ray (Lily Rabe), who has the gift of bringing things back to life, idolizes Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. She dresses like Stevie and considers her the greatest white witch of all time. Her portrayal is eerily similar to the images I grew up with of Nicks in videos and watching the story unfold with all of her idol worship has been a real treat.

Rabe spoke with Vulture about both her and Misty's views on Stevie Nicks. "Well, I'm pretty obsessed with her, too. It’s been delicious. It’s not that Misty just wants to look like Stevie or listen to her music. She’s quite isolated and lonely, and she has this love affair with Stevie," Rabe said. "Stevie is her idol and the lyrics are her mantras that she lives by. She’s looking for someone to help her understand why she is the way she is, so in that way her soul is nourished by Stevie. It’s not a superficial obsession, it’s a deep love. And yes, you will see some shawls."

Expect to hear a lot more Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac in the weeks ahead. Do you think she'll appear in a dream or will someone conjure her up? Who cares? What an amazing get.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lotte Verbeek Cast ast Geillis Duncan in Starz "OUTLANDER"

They may be filming already, but the cast is still growing on the highly anticipated adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's Highlander from Starz and Sony Pictures. If this does well for Starz, it could very well be their Game of Thrones. Female fans the world over felt as passionately about this series of books as the former. It would be fantastic if this mesmerizing story of romance and time travel had the staying power to give Starz its first long-lasting drama and critical success.

[via press release]


From “Battlestar Galactica” Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore

Beverly Hills, Calif., October 16, 2013 – Starz in association with Sony Pictures Television has announced today that Lotte Verbeek (“The Borgias,” Left) will play the role of Geillis Duncan in the original series “Outlander.” The series, adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books by Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”), is currently filming on location in Scotland and is set to premiere on STARZ in 2014.

Lotte Verbeek.jpg

The “Outlander” series spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history, and adventure in one epic tale. It follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

The enigmatic Geillis Duncan, wife of the procurator fiscal, is an integral part of the Outlander storyline. Commonly referred to as a witch, due to her advanced knowledge of herbs and plants, Geillis is a beautiful, dark presence in the village outside Castle Leoch. Many fear her, but come to her secretly when they need assistance with medical matters that most doctors of the time would shun. Geillis has mastered the art of manipulation and uses it to bend others, including her own husband, to her will. She and Claire share an immediate connection and Geillis becomes a friend to Claire in a time and place where she is seen as an outsider.

Verbeek has most recently been seen in Showtime’s “The Borgias” as the ravishing mistress of the Pope, Guilia Farnese, opposite Jeremy Irons. In 2009, she earned a European Academy Award Best Actress nomination, for her performance in Nothing Personal opposite Stephen Rea. In addition, she was also chosen as one of Europe’s Shooting Stars and won the Best Actress Award at the International Film Festivals of Locarno and Marrakech, and nominated for the National Dutch Film Award, Golden Calf, for Best Actress. She also won the Best Actress Award at the Monte Carlo TV Film Festival for her work in Italian mini-series “The Queens of Swing.”  In 2007, she won her first leading role in a feature film, Left, in which she played five different characters. The film was awarded a Silver Melies in Sweden. She is currently working on the Fox 2000 Pictures studio feature film The Fault in our Stars as Lidewij, an assistant to a character played by Harrison Ford. She is a graduate of the Amsterdam Academy of Dramatic Arts, as well as the Amsterdam Academy of Jazz/Musical Theatre and Dance.

Verbeek joins previously announced cast members Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall), Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), Tobias Menzies (Frank Randall/Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall), Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie), Gary Lewis (Colum MacKenzie), Duncan Lacroix (Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser), Annette Badland (Mrs. FitzGibbons) and Stephen Walters (Angus Mhor).

Verbeek is represented by Sheila Wenzel of Innovative Artists.

Diana Gabaldon’s seven-book series has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide and has graced the New York Times best-sellers list six times. The eighth installment of the “Outlander” series is slated to be released in the spring of 2014.

The first two episodes of the series will be written by executive producer Ronald D. Moore and directed by John Dahl (“Dexter,” “Breaking Bad,” “Justified”). Ronald D. Moore and Jim Kohlberg are executive producers of “Outlander,” which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Company and Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television.

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's the First Official Night of Fall TV!

SyFy snuck in on Friday the 13th with the premiere of Haven, but the official start of the fall television season will kick off tonight thanks to Fox and ABC.

Up first we'll have the season premiere of Bones. Rest assured, while the crusading duo of Bones and Booth didn't have the best ending last season, things will be looking up for them this fall and there will be a wedding.

The series premiere of Sleepy Hollow follows Bones and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Imagine a world in which nobody knew about the short story and the legend of Sleepy Hollow, toss in a heaping helping of the apocalypse, underscored by two leads with amazing chemistry and an easy banter that makes the hour slip far too fast. I'll be reviewing the show on, so meet me there after the show for a full rundown.

Finally, ABC delivers up a new cast of "celebrities" to dance the night away with the Season 17 premiere of Dancing with the Stars. The anticipation is high with such stars as Brant Daugherty, Snooki, Valerie Harper and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

While the fall season is just beginning, the summer season is coming to an end as Under the Dome attempts to wrap up a rather scattered freshman chapter by revealing the dome's purpose (really??) as well as tying up some other storylines, while setting up the series for next summer, as the series was renewed rather early in the game.

What will you be tuning in to see? Enjoy these little spurts of TV goodness, because next week you'll be beaten over the head as the premieres come hot 'n heavy and your DVR will be on overload!

Image courtesy of Fox Television

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lifetime's Witches of East End - A Video Promo I Missed

Is anybody else as excited about the upcoming series The Witches of East End on Lifetime as me? It looks like it will have all the soapy goodness we have come to expect of Lifetime original series, blended with a bit of Charmed, a dash of Practical Magic and what I would have expected if Anne Rice's The Witching Hour had come to life along with the Three Sisters Trilogy of books by Nora Roberts. Yes, that's quite an amalgamation tossed into the witches cauldron, and that's why it's so exciting to think that we'll get to watch it play out with such a talented and attractive cast.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Win a copy of ZOMBIE MASSACRE for Halloween While You Wait for The Walking Dead!!

Yes, my friends, I know nothing will truly get you through to the lazy, hazy days of zombie survival like the number one show on cable and AMC smash hit, The Walking Dead, but we have something you can have for FREE!! That’s right. Free. All you need to do is comment on this post that you want to WIN WIN WIN! Do this by August 26th and you may soon be cuddling up with someone special and covering your eyes in his chest or laughing and screaming with a crowd of your girlfriends and a bowl a popcorn. You chose the scenario, we choose the winner!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Beauty and the Beast Interviews from #SDCC #BATB

Last, but certainly not least, Kristin and Jay from Beauty and the Beast. I love being on assignment for TV Fanatic! She left me speechless and he has just gotten Emmy news that morning. Wowza!

#Star-Crossed Interviews from #SDCC

Another set of interviews I conducted while on assignment for TV Fanatic. The upcoming CW series Star-Crossed.

#Intelligence Interview from #SDCC

This was a tough room! Interviewing 3 at once is never easy The Intelligence cast while on assignment for TV Fanatic. 

#AlmostHuman Interviews from #SDCC

While working for TV Fanatic at Comic-Con this year, I got the opportunity to interview the cast and crew of the upcoming Fox series Almost Human. Can't wait for this one!

#The100 from CW Interviews at #SDCC

I had a chance to interview the folks from the upcoming CW series The 100 while working for TV Fanatic at Comic-Con. Enjoy!

#Arrow Interviews from #SDCC

While working for TV Fanatic I had the opportunity to do Arrow interviews at Comic-Con last month. I hope you enjoy!

#Revolution Interviews from #SDCC

Working at TV Fanatic gave me the opportunity to do interviews with the Revolution cast and crew at Comic-Con. They were some of the most fun I had at the convention!

#BatesMotel Interviews from #SDCC

Working for TV Fanatic allowed me the opportunity to interview the cast and producers of Bates Motel at Comic-Con this year. Enjoy!

#Supernatural Interviews from #SDCC

As you all know, I work for TV Fanatic. I was lucky enough to do some interviews for them this year and I thought I'd share my favorites with you. All of these were great, even Jensen telling me I was full of BS! :-)

Jeremy Carver

Jensen Ackles

Jared Padalecki

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Aubrey Plaza in Daria the Movie Errrr.... The To Do List.... or Both!

Everybody's favorite deadpan cartoon heroine is taking the fictional leap to the big screen as wanted girl Aubrey Plaza stars in Daria Morgendorffer's Class Reunion, a short "trailer" style movie from

Don't miss out on Aubrey's real big screen hit when The To Do List hits theaters this coming Friday, July 26th. Check out the red band trailer below!
Featuring an all-star comedy cast including Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Donald Glover, Scott Porter, Andy Samberg, Connie Britton and Clark Gregg, THE TO DO LIST is a comedy about close friends and a special summer project, loosely inspired by the real-life adventures of first-time writer/director Maggie Carey.  Set in 1993, valedictorian Brandy Klark wants to shed her uptight image before college, so she assembles a to do list of all the “activities” she missed out on in high school.  Quickly realizing that she's way out of her depth, Brandy solicits her best friends, older sister and burnt-out boss for their help and advice.  If the group is going to complete the list by September they'll need plenty of imagination and very open minds

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Don't Die This Time Sendhil! An Odd Homage....#BaTB

Did you ever have one of those actors who seems to play roles you never warm up to? Sendhil Ramamurthy was one of those actors for me. Throughout Heroes and then in Covert Affairs, I would cringe every time he was on screen. I even had the opportunity to meet him for Covert Affairs at Comic-Con in 2011, and he was sweet as pie. It didn't matter. I still couldn't watch his character on the show. It was inexplicable.

The funny thing was, I had a friend, I'll call him Nick (because that's his name). He felt the same way. Being a member of the press, we get to see some episodes of shows ahead of time. One day I was watching an upcoming episode of Covert Affairs at work and chatting with Nick. He said something to the effect that he'd never watch the show again unless "that guy" was killed off.

Literally, as Nick was speaking that sentence, Sendhil's character, Jai, got up from a booth at a restaurant he was at with the lead character, Annie, walked to his car, got in and it exploded. It all happened in a matter of seconds - the sentence from Nick, Jai getting up from the table and disappearing from the Covert Affairs canvas.

I remember my mouth dropping open and saying, "Well, Nick, unless they're going to put him back together like a puzzle, you can watch Covert Affairs again!"

The timing was so impeccable and it was so weird that out of the blue Nick said he'd never watch until Jai was killed that we couldn't stop talking about how cool it was. It's on of my favorite "odd timing" stories to tell.

Skip forward in time and Sendhil was joining one of my favorite shows: Beauty and the Beast. I said to Nick - you aren't going to believe this. Of all the actors in the world, guess who is joining my favorite show. He said, "I'd only be pissed if it was that Heroes/Covert Affairs guy." Bingo!!

Honestly, I was filled with dread. Really, I was. I'm sorry, Sendhil. Your characters were just awful on those shows. Flash forward to Beauty and the Beast and I am so happy you are a part of the cast.

First, I got the opportunity to interview Sendhil for before I ever saw him in an episode. His enthusiasm was incredible and catching. And, just like when I met him the first time, he was sweet and funny. He's a genuinely nice guy who was strapped with horrible characters.

Now, on one of my favorite shows, his addition to the cast has actually made the show better. Imagine my surprise at that one. His character is witty, mysterious and they're building a great back story that viewers genuinely want to follow.

So, Sendhil, I have your back. I will never judge you by your characters again. I'll judge the writers for giving you poor material because I know what you're capable of giving. Your scenes are electrifying and I apologize for once being so happy to watch your character blow to pieces on that other show.

Covering Beauty and the Beast was a total fluke this season, just as it was that Sendhil ended up joining the show I was reviewing. For both, I am grateful. The whole package makes my week and I cannot wait until season two. SEASON TWO!!! Meet me over at later tonight for a rundown of a Sendhil laden episode.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

All My Children Makes Return via Hulu

I was one of the poor suckers who moved from Guiding Light when it was cancelled to All My Children only to see it struck down just as I got into it. Well, thanks to Hulu, AMC returned this week. Granted, it's barely recognizable, but I'll be watching.

In the meantime I've become hooked on the Brit soap Hollyoaks and have learned to live with only a few characters on the screen at one time. There are worse things that could happen. Do I wish more stars had signed on to the new version of AMC? Sure I do. But I have no idea what kind of money they're making or what their contracts bring to them. Just seeing them on the screen makes me smile.

So far, we know we're five years ahead in time. David Hayward killed someone in the Chandler mansion on the last episode on TV and spent that time in prison. He's visited their grave, apparently. Or, the person in the hospital bed who seems to be comatose and headless may be the person who was shot. They're definitely holding those cards close to the vest while they bring in viewers. 

Jesse's daughter, Cassandra, was kidnapped in the first hour. I never gave a hoot about her in the first place, so it's a little difficult to care that she's been taken by one of Zach's casino thugs. Zach is on (hot!), and he's mentioned Kendall and the kids once, but we have no idea where they are. Biance is in town with two teenage daughters. Main characters, all. At one point, Miranda started to mention that things haven't been the same since..... 

My guesses on the grave and the coma are tied between Erica Kane and Tad Martin, based upon Dixie's constant rubbing of his photo. It may be a long time before we discover who it is depending upon who signs on with the show first. From what I know, neither of them have done so at this point. 

Opal is the matriarch, Adam proposed to Brooke and I guess they'll be the new power couple. What the hell, at least I know their family lines. Will you tune in? Have you already? With David Hayward out of prison, how long before he and Cara are the lovers to root for? 

Let me know what you think!! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Copper Returns to BBC America June 23rd!

The premiere announcements just keep on coming today! First, HBO's True Blood was announced for June 6th, then AMC's The Killing for June 2nd and now one of my favorites of last year, BBC America's Copper for June 23rd. 

Joining the already stellar cast of Tom Weston-Jones, Kyle Schmid, Anastasia Griffith, Ato Essandoh, Franke Potente, Kevin Ryan and Kiara Glasco will be Donal Logue, and OZ costars EamonnWalker (currently starring on Chicago Fire on NBC) and Lee Tergesen (seen on ABC's Red Widow). A mini OZ reunion!

The first teaser trailer about Det. Corcoran (Weston-Jones) seeking justice for those living in the Five Points area of New York City in 1865 will air during tomorrow's premiere of Doctor Who on BBC America, so be sure to tune in. 

According to the BBC America website, "The trailer features an Iron and Wine cover of the 1854 song "Hard Times Come Again No More," which you can hear exclusively at NOW!"

Here's a refresher from my first review about Copper (Click the link for the full text):

I was really looking forward to the premiere of Copper, and I wasn't disappointed. It's not often that one episode can provide such insight into so many characters, but that's what we got with "Surviving Death."

Because the case hit so close to home for Detective Kevin Corcoran, there was very little time wasted in discovering to what lengths he would got to solve a case, what his friends and colleagues thought of him and what  his determined and moral investigative techniques inspired in those he met along the way.

Corcoran is a man, above everything. Needing the comfort of a woman, he isn't above seeking it at the local brothel. He chooses a brothel run by a smart business woman who doesn't exploit the situation for her own gain and remains true to that one woman, Eva. His partner and friend, Francis Macguire also frequents the establishment but Molly doesn't have the same soft spot for him that Eva has for Corcoran. She's always leaning in for a kiss in the hopes of engaging Corcoran and speaking of him and his missing wife while laying with Francis. It would do her good to be happy with what she has, as Macguire doesn't take well to people talking about Corcoran and his misfortunes. More of that loyalty Corcoran inspires.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lindsay Lohan -- Still Drinking, Despite Rehab Sentence |

TMZ won't let me comment on their to hell with them. I'll comment on my own site. This girl is in a bad place, but not so bad that I haven't been there already. Anyone who hasn't been 28 and thought the world wasn't at their feet is lying, and add millions (even if it's on bank statements only) is a nut. So, here's what I was trying to say to TMZ when they decided my comment was just too much to take. Give me a damned break.

Since the TMZ staff member who wrote this article is afraid to report under their own name, maybe they'd like to talk about their drinking at the age of 26, or 25 when this was all taking place. I'll be happy to tell you where I was. Drunk. Every night. Caught and paid the price. But, lucky me, I wasn't an actress. And, apparently, neither are you. If TMZ wants a real reporter willing to report about the realities of people the age of Lindsay and her peers, give me a call. Otherwise, shut the hell up. She makes a lot of mistakes, but rarely are they life threatening. Just frigging stupid. She needs friends, not court. How often do you hear about a dude in the similar situation? Do you seriously think there ISN'T a dude in the same situation? Damn.

Lindsay Lohan -- Still Drinking, Despite Rehab Sentence |

'via Blog this'

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Notes from the Nashville Paleyfest Panel

Seriously people, I'm talking notes jotted as the panel played on. Enjoy...or not!

Callie Khouri

She's on an incredibly steep learning curve whether she wants it to go on or not.

Regarding Connie, “I had no idea if she could sing, but I knew she had the hair.”

Charles Easton

“I loved the singing, I've always wanted to do that. Without the singing, I don't think I would have gotten a role this good.”

Hayden had her head pressed outside the door while he auditioned, and he knew the cheerleader who had saved the world and all that. That's nothing more that an actor would like to hear than Hayden Panettiere saying “that was so good!” while clapping.

Connie Britton

Was she intimidated by the singing? “Um...yeah.” That was also what was really exciting, being able to dive into that challenge as an actor.

She thought, If I'm ever going to sing, I should probably do it with T-Bone. “And the rhinestones. I really like the outfits.”

Hayden Panettiere

Hayden grew up in New York and everybody thought she was crazy to be a country music fan. Callie said it's the biggest country music market in the world.

“To run across a role that combines the two, there are no words that can describe the two. I thought, something's going to go wrong here.”

Hayden has incredible stage fright. To play a character who's songs really do tell her character arc as well, and taking control of it.

Sam Palladio

“My gran used to bring me to singing lessons and tap lessons. I don't know why I just said that. That was embarrassing. The things you'll say in front of two thousand people.”

“To combine my two loves in a character who has such a great such a dream.”

Sam jumped the whole casting process and never met Clare before they first sang together. The first sang “If I Didn't Know Better” and it just kind of worked.

They expected they would have to rearrange the song because Sam wouldn't be able to hit the high notes, but he pulled it off without any changes.

Clare Bowen

She's a classically trained singer, and T-Bone told her not to second-guess herself.

“I read Scarlett and I just absolutely fell in love with this beautifully written creature.”

Jonathan Jackson

“When I got the script, I immediately fell in love with the whole show. I don't even care what character I'm looking at, I just love the whole thing.”

Hayden was impressed with his audition and said “you're totally getting this role.”

He has been singing and writing music since he was 11. (Something you'd never have known watching him grow up on General Hospital as Lucky!)

“Everything he touches has a presence in it that is just powerful, beautiful and amazing.” of T-Bone

Other bits:

What's going to happen with Deacon and Rayna?

Charles Easton says “We have this deep abiding love and she's the one for me.” Throughout it all, the mess, the trouble and the turmoil, where we just sit there we can feel it again. It's always right there.”

“It's a very grown up relationship. It's people who have a lifetime and a history together. As actors it's so fun to play because it has depth and dimension together.” “There's always just this foundation between the two of them.”

When the moderator mentioned there's also a deep dark secret there, with Maddie's father? Connie screamed, “He's right here! He's right here! What is WRONG with you??”

Callie: “That's the one thing about being really behind on our scripts.” Not knowing what's going to happen next.

Charles: “I love not knowing. I have no ability to play ahead on what's going to be happening.” “Also what you want to know is going to relieve that tension for why you're going to watch again. Will you please relieve that tension? No.”

Connie said she overheard Hayden saying for an upcoming episode, “What costume do I have to wear in this episode? You know I'm naked the whole time.”

Hayden on Juliette: “I really do believe she's got it in her heart to do the right things. She just goes about it in the wrong way and is so mean.” Juliette's role will be looking at rekindling her relationship with her mother and taking her career into her own hands. And, some clothes might come off in the meantime.

Gunnar and Scarlett: Says Sam, “Gunnar is in a really emotional place right now and Scarlett is being that emotional bedrock for him right now.” Clare, “I think most of it was done on the couch.”

Clare also said, “One of the wonderful things about the way they are being written is the layers and the way they are folding over. They have grief right now. When that happens it puts in front of you someone who you might lose and how much you care about that person.”

Just thought I'd share with you some of the things I thought were interesting from the panel discussion. Thanks to Paleyfest and for bringing it to us live!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

TV Fanatic Applauds Switched at Birth for its All ASL Episode

If you read The Huffington Post, you might have seen their piece on the all ASL episode of Switched at Birth titled "Uprising" on one of their TV Replay segments.

In the piece they noted that TV Fanatic applauded Switched at Birth for reaching outside its -- and viewers' -- comfort zones with its all ASL, and virtually silent, episode.

It was a difficult hour to review and so cleverly done that it was well worth the effort put into it.

The compelling ABC Family hit drama about two girls switched at birth and the challenges they face as they tackle all of the complexities that come with blending their two families swept the key targets in all demos in Monday's cable ratings.

Full coverage of the show and virtually all other TV related content can be found at TV Fanatic. Follow everything else I have to offer TV Fanatic by clicking HERE.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Zero Hour Could Have Been A Great Show....

When I first saw the pilot for Zero Hour last summer, I loved it. The combination of mystery, thrills, historical facts, fiction and conspiracy theories really excited me. It was a pilot episode so the possibilities were endless.

At the end of that pilot episode, Anthony Edward's character, Hank, comes across his doppelganger  dead in a plane from World War II in a frozen wasteland in full Nazi dress before the credits roll. Really, how wrong could things go after that? I was left breathless. Sure, I'm a geek. I like history and the idea that we can relive it through ridiculous plot lines and the lives of the people thrust into the middle of them. Sue me.

Red flags were raised pretty quickly upon watching the second episode of Zero Hour. The biggest was the tedious reminder that Hank's wife was kidnapped. Yeah, we got that right away due to his constant screaming "my wife!" at, to and in front of various people and for varying reasons. At no point did voicing the fact make it any more relevant to viewers. Viewers were given nothing to go on before she was missing, so buying their love was a stretch. 

Finding out Hank was a reincarnation or relative or someone during WWII, who also happened to be a Nazi (with a tremendously horrible German accent) didn't add to the intrigue, but instead made it more comical. If he had been a nasty Nazi, at least it would have been believable. I could have bought Hank somehow fighting against himself decades after the fact, but that wasn't the case.

Otherwise - the Nazi ties, the Einstein and Catholic tidbits - could have made for an interesting puzzle for everyone to solve. Just seeing Einstein film footage on television was kind of cool. Incorporating it into a television show was fun. Too bad we didn't have some footage of the Apostles to fill in the gaps....

Anyway, the missing link was characterization. The characters were weak. Not just weak but completely blank. Without background or reference of any kind to engage us or make us give a flying shit that they were even struggling with life and death situations, we couldn't care if Hank found his wife, and that was his motivating factor Without a deep and integral connection, any series is dead in the water. 

So, Zero Hour will be replaced with episodes of reality series like Wife Swap and some other crap I've never watched. I can guarantee those losers do anything they can to tug at your heart strings and drag you into their pathetic lives. 

That's the clincher. No matter how disgusting it might be or how low a reality show might go, if they drag you down with them at least they have you on the hook. Zero Hour tossed the hook in the water without any bait. 

If viewers don't care what happens to the characters, they won't tune in no matter how interesting and compelling the story surrounding them might be. 

PS - I've seen the fourth episode and the story, while not the characters, would have taken a deliciously exciting turn at that point. Damned shame the people weren't better written into it to make y'all want to watch!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Americans on FX: First Thoughts

Like millions of other people, I tuned into the new FX series The Americans last night. They had me at Cold War, Keri Russell, the 80s and Michael Rhys, but it was completely different experience than I expected.

In the last week, the United States lifted the ban on women on the front lines in the military. While the series doesn't exactly compare the two situations, the focus on Kerri Russell's character, Elizabeth (her American name), and her love of country versus Michael Rhys' character, Phillip and his love of family made the conversation a bit more interesting.

The usual rule is women and family, men and country. Instead, in Elizabeth we saw a young girl clearly betrayed by her country as a cadet at a very early age, yet still willing to lay everything aside for her love of and allegiance to the Soviet Union. Her family, at least until the pilot, was secondary.

Phillip, on the other hand, had found a soft spot for his adopted country. The food wasn't so bad, after all. He had raised his children as Americans. They had been living as Americans for 20 years. It was becoming difficult for him to see the benefit of being a spy when all that he loved was in the house he shared with Elizabeth and his two children.

It especially hit home when Phillip took his son to see the astronaut. His son was waving an American flag and proud of the accomplishments of America, not the Soviet Union. It's easy to see how confusing it would be to be fighting a war from within. He and Elizabeth vowed never to bring their kids into their world. How will they ever reconcile the truth with them? Will they forever be separated by the false lives they have created?

Would it really have taken 20 years for Elizabeth to see the love Phillip had for her? She needed the man who raped her to come back into her life and remind her of who she once was to bring back a flood of memories and for Phillip to put her first to understand how deeply engaged he was in them, not just the assignment they had set out to play. Twenty years is an extraordinarily long time to live with someone and never share your past, your real name, your history. I'm not sure I bought it, but I'll play along for the sake of beginning the series at a perfect point for historical reference.

As an added bonus, the Jennings family will now have to fight not only the Americans, but their own neighbors. With the heightened Cold War initiative and Stan, the counter intelligence FBI man moving in down the street, things are about to get even worse.

After the setup of the premiere, what I'm most excited to watch is the struggle between Elizabeth and Phillip as they marry up their American lives with their Soviet agenda. Given the first hour, I wonder how they've managed to do it so long without breaking. Elizabeth made several calls bringing Phillips loyalty into question, so they're on the Soviet's radar. How close with they become and toward what country will their fealty lean? Will they each be able to make a choice between country and family and which will it be?

The Americans was one of the most engaging pilots I've watched this year and Keri Russell's best since Felicity. I'll be tuning in every week.

PS - If any of what was written was based off of the experiences of real women, I think the United States need not fear the tenacity of women in a combat situation. While they may lose in hand to hand missions, they'll go the distance with their heart and minds.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

BBC America's Ripper Street. Worth A Watch?

Spending the holidays in England and away from my beloved US television winter finales and/or premieres did have a couple advantages. I saw Doctor Who HOURS before you lot and I was two episodes ahead on Ripper Street by the time my feet hit US soil again. What can you expect from the new series other than superb production, as always?

Did you watch Copper? As I watched Ripper Street, I was struck that it does for London's Victorian Whitechapel what Copper did, and will continue doing, for New York City's 1860s Five Points area. There are a lot of similarities between the two programs, and frankly it makes me hesitant to fully recommend it.

I was wondering why one of the lower numbered BBC stations hadn't decided to air Copper considering some of the sheer crap they do air, but after seeing the second episode of Ripper Street, I realized the two might be just too damn similar to comfortably air. 

The protagonists of both series have undergone severe changes due to cataclysmic events in their lives. Both are male and suffer from stress due the loss of a young daughter. Their marriages are in peril and their future in question and their most relied upon companions are people who have been there for them during those times when all seemed lost. They come from all walks of life and might seem otherwise odd choices for men of the law, if we didn't know how deeply they trusted them and why. There is also a madam of prominence in both series, and they are using the dawn of forensics to solve crimes when it was not the common way to do things.

If you're one of those people who don't mind watching a lot of similar shows and have already watched Copper, then definitely tune in. Or, perhaps you're more interested in Victorian London. There are many reasons to watch, including superb acting. It took me a few minutes to peg him, but Jerome Flynn who plays Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake is Bronn on Game of Thrones!  

If you're expecting a show that will revolve around Jack the Ripper, please look elsewhere. This show is devoted to what's left in the wake of his aftermath, not the murders or the killer. Just as Copper focuses a lot on the aftermath of the Civil War. Another similarity.

Can I recommend it? Yes. Would I recommend it over Copper, similarly themed? No. But, some of you don't get to make the choice of whether or not to watch both. We in the United States just happened to get lucky this time since BBC America took a risk to deliver us both.