Monday, November 30, 2015

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honourable Woman)
Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Freak Show)
Frances McDormand (Olive Kitteridge)
Frances O’Connor (The Missing)
Allison Tolman (Fargo)

Like last year, all I’ve seen from this race is those performers from two anthology series both in their second series. Kirsten Dunst (Fargo) is a sure thing, and Rachel McAdams (True Detective) was the best thing about her very disappointing show, so she’ll probably make the cut. Queen Latifah (Bessie) is a lock, and she may be joined by the likes of Nicole Kidman (Grace of Monaco), Angela Lansbury (Driving Miss Daisy), or Kristen Wiig (A Deadly Adoption). Felicity Huffman (American Crime) is a probable nominee, and I think that Lady Gaga (American Horror Story) would make a fun addition to this list, especially for this group.

Current predictions:
Kirsten Dunst (Fargo)
Lady Gaga (American Horror Story)
Felicity Huffman (American Crime)
Queen Latifah (Bessie)
Rachel McAdams (True Detective)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Martin Freeman (Fargo)
Woody Harrelson (True Detective)
Matthew McConaughey (True Detective)
Mark Ruffalo (The Normal Heart)
Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo)

I predicted this category last year because I had seen four of the nominees simply because they were in only two projects that are really anthology series that continue year to year. Unsurprisingly, both are eligible again here, this time with Patrick Wilson (Fargo) taking solo lead duty for his show and, Colin Farell (True Detective) and Vince Vaughn (True Detective) both representing their show’s much lampooned second season. Their toughest competition includes Oscar Isaac (Show Me a Hero), Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall), David Oyelowo (Nightingale), Timothy Hutton (American Crime), Idris Elba (Luther), and Matt Bomer (American Horror Story).

Current predictions:
Timothy Hutton (American Crime)
Oscar Isaac (Show Me a Hero)
David Oyelowo (Nightingale)
Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall)
Patrick Wilson (Fargo)

What I’m Watching: Life in Pieces

Life in Pieces: Season 1, Episode 9 “Hospital Boudoir Time-Out Namaste” (B)

I think that this is definitely the best episode this show has produced so far, and I was especially impressed with the first segment. Jen cutting her finger a moment after she said that she couldn’t trust anyone else to be safe around her baby was ironic, and a trip to the hospital was the obvious next step so that the plotline didn’t become too slapstick with her bleeding all over the place and Matt vomiting as he saw it unfold. Their time in the emergency room waiting room was a blast, with Jen pushing too hard to be seen after being rudely told that she just had to wait, and her realizing that this was the perfect opportunity for the kind of one-on-one date she and Greg hadn’t had in a very long time. The ending with the two of them celebrating not being called was extremely sweet. What Tim did to make up for laughing at Heather’s boudoir photos and not getting her a good present was silly, but it’s the commitment that counts. I’ve commented before that Sophia is a bit unbelievably precocious, but I’ll admit that having her narrate a segment from her perspective was an entertaining experiment. The closing segment with John realizing that he wants to spend time he missed with his children was less serious but enjoyable enough, and Joan diagnosing her husband as uncomplicated was an amusing final moment that helped to tie it all together and set things right again in regards to his relationship with his adult children.

What I’m Watching: Casual

Casual: Season 1, Episode 9 “Mars” (B+)

While some things, like Laura’s obsessive crush on her photography teacher, don’t move too fast on this show, others do, like the nuptials of the forever unwed parents of Valerie and Alex. It was so interesting and entertaining to see how they both went in with a certain attitude set on wreaking havoc and destroying their happiness, and instead found different ways to deal with the situation. Alex folded surprisingly quickly when Charles asked him to be his best man, and he managed to create a toast with an entirely different ending while still starting it on the same miserable note. Charles coming to him afterwards to ask him to pay for the entire wedding was an unfortunate coda since it negates all of the bonding that occurred by painting his actions as motivated by something entirely not genuine. Valerie accepting Emmy’s offer to do ecstasy did bring them closer but also ended in a very unexpected and awful place, cleverly conveyed with her inappropriate dream involving showing Alex what Emmy did and then finding her in bed naked next to a similarly naked Emmy. Betraying Laura was something she couldn’t have prevented because she didn’t know, but sleeping with Emmy is going to be much harder to atone for. Michael was quite harsh to Laura, but it seems that nothing is shaking her feelings for him and the aggressive way that she tries to encourage others to do things they shouldn’t with her just because she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

What I’m Watching: Limitless

Limitless: Season 1, Episode 10 “Arm-Ageddon” (B+)

Aside from the fact that a man murdered his wife, this was an entirely fun episode that let Brian do something really cool and get something cool in return. Starting with Boyle coming to him for help proving the innocence of a war colleague set the tone for what seemed like it might be a more somber hour, but once the hacking got started, it was clear that this would be anything but serious. Having people with the prosthetic robot arms do ridiculous things like destroy works of art in museums and punch themselves in the face was just the kind of absurd and entertaining stuff Brian loves, and having him investigate it was a lot of fun. The way that he recapped what happens during hacking was a blast, and I like that he filled viewers in on something that had happened during the montage which hadn’t been shown on screen because of his eager desire to provide entertainment rather than showcase boring coding. Involving hacktivist group Everywhere lent a certain authenticity to Brian’s endeavors, and now he has a solid connection for the future. Also valuable was his job offer and subsequent loan courtesy of Rebecca of the jetpack, which was just about the best thing ever in his mind. His father coming to Naz to tell her that he would hold her personally responsible if anything happened to Brian and his viewpoint on Brian’s situation as one of drug addiction is both interesting and worrisome, and I think he’s going to draw too much attention to everything that’s going on and put himself and Brian in harm’s way.

What I’m Watching: The Grinder


The Grinder: Season 1, Episode 8 “Giving Thanks, Getting Justice” (B+)

Leave it to this show to use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to advance its story creatively with a big reveal about why Dean left his show and the shocking news that the show-within-a-show is going to live on even without Dean. It seemed at first that Jason Alexander was going to be the guest star of the episode, playing the creator of the show who was more interested in showing Dean shirtless than preserving any artistic integrity. Having Timothy Olyphant play himself seemed like nothing more than a clever way to get Dean to make a joke referencing the fantastic “Justified,” but it turns out that Olyphant might become a much bigger part of the show now that he has been cast in “The Grinder: New Orleans.” That’s going to be an enormous blow to Dean’s ego, and it’s going to be up to his family to pick up the pieces. Dean and Stewart were relatively united in horror and disgust at the fact of their mother’s indiscretion with their neighbor five years earlier even if they wanted to go about it differently, and it was disappointing to both of them when Dean Sr. casually dismissed it and made it known that he was fully aware of his wife’s infidelity and that their arrangement was quite disturbingly fluid. I like when Dean and Stewart work together on something, and having Debbie encourage Stewart to loosen up or do something that Dean is trying to get him to do is always fun too.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

What I’m Watching: Grandfathered


Grandfathered: Season 1, Episode 8 "Gerald's Two Dads" (B+)

It’s no surprise that Jimmy isn’t someone who celebrates Thanksgiving in a typical manner, instead focusing on selfish pursuits that involve much younger women. But he’s also someone who is very prone to being influenced by others when he sees that he isn’t the center of attention, and meeting a father figure for Gerald who threatens to upstage him was just the motivation he needed to spend the requisite time with his new family. Burning the canoe the poor guy made for Gerald out of a tree full of meaning wasn’t the best way to show his affection, but he’s Jimmy, and he often has trouble finding the perfect way to show how he feels. Feeling the butterflies and realizing that he is capable of jealousy was an important step, and experiencing that same sensation when he saw Sara kiss someone else, which should lead to some fun moves on his part as he attempts to articulate his apparent desire for the woman he once loved. Vanessa pushing Sara to open herself up to a bit of romance was fun, and I like when she tries to assert herself into the storyline. Jimmy’s date getting very horribly sunburnt in just a few places was a humorous reminder that Jimmy might get distracted easily, but that doesn’t mean that the world stops moving when he loses interest. The best moment of the episode was Jimmy coldly stating that his new buddy shouldn’t call him James, prompting an apologetic and confused reaction from an all-too-gullible Gerald.

What I’m Watching: Fargo


Fargo: Season 2, Episode 7 "Did You Do This? No, You Did It!" (B+)

Now this was another loaded and intense episode, with more than a few excellent interactions between its many colorful characters. Floyd getting brought in for interrogation didn’t seem like it was going to lead anywhere productive, but it didn’t take too long for her to turn, though her understanding of what she was doing wasn’t exactly crystal clear, best evidenced by her choice quote: “What’s the point of the deal if it doesn’t include murder?” Mike was full of quotes as usual, and he also chose to make the most of an opportunity as he was ready to move on from sleeping with enemy to using her as a hostage. That was timed well with Lou’s arrival, and they had a terrific, memorable exchange. Simone may have found a way out from one precarious situation, but that didn’t save her from Angus’ somber wrath. He seems to have departed entirely from any sense of being able to interact socially, and now his brother’s fate is out of the Gerhardt family’s hands since he ignored a few calls from a mystery man who turned out, unsurprisingly, to be Ed, who chose to call Mike and offer him Dodd after he took out the Undertaker and his henchmen. It’s hard to know where allegiances will lie now, but everything is definitely complicated. Karl’s stay at Betsy’s home was a productive and informative one, and it’s great to see Nick Offerman and Cristin Milioti following up standout comedy roles with such fabulously effective turns here.

What I’m Watching: Blindspot

Blindspot: Season 1, Episode 10 “Evil Handmade Instrument” (B+)

Now this is what I’ve been waiting for – a solid episode that combines action, intrigue, and some superbly interesting developments all around. Patterson wanting to solve David’s murder was understandable, and it was impressive to see how she performed while fueled by rage and misery. It turns out that he was on to something that might actually constitute the biggest tattoo-related case yet, a few Russian spies tasked with taking out their targets immediately following the unexpected murder of an American with connections to the FBI. Jane’s fluency in Russian came in very handy, and it seems that the team has come around to her being an active part of their operation. It was great to see Jane show up and make a real human connection by kissing Kurt, something that obviously had quite an effect on him. Naturally, she got abducted in the next moment, and Carter moved quickly to water torture trying to find out things that she very much didn’t know. The man with the tree tattoo showing up and killing Carter turned the situation around very quickly, and then we got confirmation on something that we already sort of knew: Jane did this to herself. There’s still much to be discovered, but now there’s finally a sense that it’s all headed somewhere. This is the perfect note on which to end before this show, the only freshman series to have already been renewed for a second season so far, goes on hiatus for the fall before returning in 2016. Now I’m ready to commit.

What I’m Watching: Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin: Season 2, Episode 7 “Chapter Twenty-Nine” (B+)

Since becoming a mother, Jane has managed to make a few major follies, and, fortunately, everything seems to work out in the end. Courting an academic advisor turned out to be much more complicated than it should have been, and kudos to Jane for deciding that notes about making her writing sparkle didn’t constitute the sophisticated guidance that she needed to turn her into a great writer. Going to Dr. Doom instead after she accidentally e-mailed him and called him the emperor of condescension was a humorous twist, and, luckily enough, her sweetness won out there too. Finding the perfect babysitter was another challenge, and it’s good to see Xiomara and Rafael on the same side, united in trying to help get Jane back into some regular life activities. There were a lot of ups and downs for Jane and Rafael as her sniveling classmate’s exposé got published, with a handful of problematic quotes from a typically chatty Luisa, and then Jane found out thanks to her nanny cam that Rafael did in fact get Michael fired. Only Michael wasn’t really fired, but he went undercover and saw Nadine get killed when she jumped in front of him. The biggest and soapiest news of the hour is that Luisa’s mother isn’t really dead, and the late Mr. Solano was married to not one but two very evil crime lords! Rogelio downgrading his lifestyle is going to be fun to watch, and it was nice to see him embarrass himself in front of his nemesis to make sure that Xiomara didn’t suffer the consequences of his brazen actions.

What I’m Watching: Minority Report


Minority Report: Season 1, Episode 9 “Memento Mori” (B+)

This is likely the second to last episode this show will air, which is a real shame since, unlike previous future-set crime shows, this one is actually much better nine episodes in and didn’t fall apart after a strong pilot. What’s particularly compelling is that this show has become less about seeing and preventing a random murder in the near future but much more connected to an overarching storyline, one that involves the impending renewal of the precime program albeit with a more targeted and deliberate focus. The existence of Memento Meri, a creepy group with extreme anarchist aims, helped bring two major guest stars who I was pleased to see. Christopher Heyerdahl from “Hell on Wheels” appeared briefly in a previous episode and was now much more front and center as the trigger man who mortally wounded the senator to make his point. On the other side of the law, Steven Williams, who I remember from “The X-Files” twenty years, appeared in his third current show this month as Bridge. Blomfeld seems very intent on getting the precogs back into the water, and trying to confiscate Wally’s equipment was a dangerous first step followed up by the even more worrisome close call with Agatha at her home. Her vision is still clear and shows Vega making the call to put them back in, and I sincerely hope that whatever remains of this show clues us in on how things get to that point or instead offers an enthralling series of events that leads to an altogether different outcome that defies precognition.

What I’m Watching: Supergirl

Supergirl: Season 1, Episode 5 “How Does She Do It?” (B+)

After a sappy family episode, it’s good to get back down to business with this hour that did include a bit of family but in a much more productive way. The best takeaway from this episode for me is that both Kara and Cat play Settlers of Catan, though I realize there are more serious issues that were featured. Meeting Cat’s son definitely served as an effective way to humanize Cat, and it was good to see Kara score a win for once even though she neglected the kid she offered to babysit more than once in a short period of time. Whatever awkwardness and overenthusiasm Kara possesses, her good nature always shines through, and that’s what served her very well here. It’s a shame, however, that Kara can’t see that Winn is into her, and instead she’s busy interesting herself with who it was who pulled the plug on James and Lucy’s relationship. It’s good to see this show employing some recurring characters, namely Peter Facinelli’s smug millionaire scientist who appears to be more malicious than just irritating. There was no way that Alex and Hank were going to be killed by a measly bomb in the middle of this show’s fifth episode, but I like how it led to Hank telling Alex to get out of there so that he could use his glowing red eyes to diffuse the bomb and the situation quickly. Now Alex and Kara will definitely be on to him, but I think he’s much less of a villain than he’s been made out to be so far.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

What I’m Watching: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 1, Episode 7 “I’m So Happy That Josh Is So Happy!” (B+)

This show has reached a fun point where Rebecca is doing her best to move on from her obsession with Josh as Paula pushes her to continue fighting, yet she can’t overcome the way that she feels. It’s always a gamble when shows have their characters get high and do stupid things, and I’d say this worked out fine since Rebecca’s facial expressions and antics make it all more than worth it. Hallucinating Dr. Phil was fun, and running into the real thing at the end of the hour was an amusing ending. What’s great about this show is that it doesn’t stick to just Rebecca, but also follows Josh on his journey of not being sure about his relationship with Valencia for reasons completely unrelated to the woman he finds very attractive. His friends are way ahead of him in how they feel about Valencia, and I enjoyed hearing them talk about the table and the mistake of putting it together as a metaphor for Josh moving fast with a girlfriend who didn’t even stop to acknowledge all the hard work and thought they put into building the table and just asked them to take it apart right away. At least she had enough decency to invite them over for a meal at the table she and Josh pick out together, an occasion I’m sure will be uncomfortable. Paula’s near-romance with a man who bears a striking resemblance to a real-life Buzz Lightyear was a treat, and I like when Paula gets the chance to do some singing.

What I’m Watching: The Affair

The Affair: Season 2, Episode 8 (B+)

I’m glad to see that this show is sticking with its new style of barely retelling the same events but instead mostly covering separate ground with its different perspectives. We didn’t see much of Alison in this episode, and the only check-in clued us in to the fact that she and Noah seem to be doing much better in nearly every way, save for that one small fact that he almost cheated on her with his extremely annoying publicist, who felt that it was appropriate to text him that she had FOMO, prompting a hilarious scene in the bar with Helen asking the millennials what it meant. It’s good to see that Helen and Noah are getting back to a better place of coexisting, and it makes sense that she would want her divorce lawyer to defend him when he faced the threat of going to prison. They did have a great time together, and the most compelling part was when she bluntly said that this wasn’t her job anymore, and that she didn’t have to listen to and come up with a solution for his problems. Unfortunately, he was downing plenty of alcohol, and made the very unwise decision to confront the college critic who showed up to heckle him and share the news that he didn’t get the prize he so wanted. I think many viewers of this show consider Noah to be despicable, and it’s hard not to agree with that sometimes. His drunken fumble might be excusable, but his latest unapologetic foray into infidelity with a pregnant fiancée at home is not.

What I’m Watching: The Walking Dead


The Walking Dead: Season 6, Episode 7 “Heads Up” (B)

I’m finding myself growing less and less attached to this show, unimpressed by its pacing and lack of focus on certain characters for episodes at a time and cyclically proceeding through the rest. I’m not as angry about the unsurprising reveal that Glenn didn’t in fact get his guts ripped out by walkers but instead crawled, Rick-style, under something that miraculously hid him from the walkers and saved his life. It’s going to be a long journey back, I’m sure, and sending up a signal to tell Maggie that he’s still alive is undeniably romantic but also worrisome given the last time Maggie finally got reunited with a family member who got killed just before they got to see each other again. Back in Alexandria, Morgan has made it more than clear that he’s not going to kill anyone, and so it’s just a matter of time before Rick and Carol decide to kill his prisoner first or wait for him to get loose and kill an innocent, prompting Morgan to reconsider his new way of life and how well it actually works. Tara spiraling downward is an unfortunate development, and we’re getting further and further from having people who haven’t yet lost their grip on sanity (Rick and Carol both did and then made it back after becoming much more hardened people). It’s looking like Alexandria can pull together, but next week being the fall finale makes me all but convinced that something is going to go horribly wrong, and the walls literally crumbling is just going to be the start.

What I’m Watching: The Leftovers

The Leftovers: Season 2, Episode 8 “International Assassin” (B+)

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of complete departures from the regular storyline and episodes that take place fully within a character’s imagination (or something of the sort, since who knows exactly what was really going on here). But it’s hard to deny that this episode was immeasurably compelling, with Kevin waking up as Kevin Harvey, a slightly modified version of himself, in an unknown hotel room with fancy clothes in the closet and euros in his wallet. Nearly getting killed was a ferocious start, and coming down to the lobby to find Virgil working as a concierge was a shock. Reintroducing Patti as a senator running for president was one thing, but seeing Gladys as a giddy chief of staff and Wayne as a joke-cracking bodyguard brought back much more serious characters in a more entertaining and subsequently disconcerting way. Seeing his father on the TV in his room was a trip, and there was too much about what happened to Kevin in this purgatory experience of sorts that felt like it had to be real in some way. The most impactful interaction he had was with the man who turned out to be Neil, Patti’s ex-husband, who was played by Gary Basaraba of “Boomtown” fame. Escorting a young Patti to the well and pushing her in, only to find the adult Patty sitting at the bottom, was intense and disturbing. Drowning her seems to have led to his own rising from the grave, startling Michael and leaving me and other viewers anxiously anticipating the final two episodes of this season.

Friday, November 27, 2015

What I’m Watching: The Good Wife

The Good Wife: Season 7, Episode 8 “Restraint” (B-)

I imagine that this will be the episode that Christine Baranski submits for her inevitable Emmy nomination this year, and while her performance is strong, I didn’t find the plotline quite as compelling. Having a judge admit to her expressly that his political views are biasing how he plans to rule on the case was big, and Diane was right to fight him on it. Yet agreeing to whatever case is brought to her by her one wealthy conservative client is certainly not worth losing all of her other clients, which it looks like happened quite easily. Grace did a lot of work to create the illusion of a noisy, happening office, but she also stumbled into a situation where a few high-powered people were so truly unhappy with Diane’s apparent change in character that they were eager to go with a name they had heard of and jump ship right away. It’s a good thing that Grace spoke up and pressed Alicia not to dismiss the work she had been doing, and she’s become quite the motivated employee, going so far as to demand a decent salary for her efforts. Lucca used being courted by Louis as a clever way to try to poach his clients, but I think that the conniving lawyer would have seen right through that. I said last week that I wasn’t sure how Vanessa Williams’ Courtney would fit in on this show, and having her be a romantic interest for a surprisingly speechless Eli is admittedly a puzzling development.

What I’m Watching: Homeland

Homeland: Season 5, Episode 8 “All About Allison” (C+)

This show feels like quite a mess right now, with just a few main characters all over the place with absolutely no idea where any of the others area. The background information on Allison was helpful in explaining that she wasn’t a Soviet plant all along who worked her way up from the bottom in the CIA as a knowing traitor but instead as someone who compromised herself enough to get caught and then traded information so that her career wouldn’t be over. I have to imagine that the only reason that Allison opted to save Carrie’s life and deem her not to be a threat worth killing was that she still has some of her humanity left, but that was a big mistake given that one simple screensaver was enough to unfurl her entire cover and make it entirely clear to Carrie that she is the leak she has been looking for. Saul hiding out with the Israelis makes sense to ensure that he won’t get sent to a locked prison for the restof his life, but he’s now done enough to make himself look hopelessly guilty. I don’t know what Quinn’s plan was all along since he did just about everything to look like a spy, and now he’s headed back to Berlin with a bunch of armed terrorists in a plotline that I imagine is far too reminiscent of real-life events in Europe. Now that Carrie knows Allison is bad, what can happen over the course of the next four episodes? There’s no one left to call but stubborn Dar Adal, who I don’t think will be too receptive to hearing from her.

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy/Musical

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Lena Dunham (Girls)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin)
Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black)

New contenders:
Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie)
Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)

Past nominees:
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)

It was great to see Rodriguez get nominated – and win – last year. This year, I think that both Dunham and Falco will be let go, and they’ll instead be replaced by some combination of Bloom, Kemper, and Tomlin.

Current predictions:
Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin)
Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black)
Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy/Musical

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Louis C.K. (Louie)
Ricky Gervais (Derek)
Don Cheadle (House of Lies)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)

New contenders:
Aziz Ansari (Master of None)
Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth)
Denis Leary (Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll)
Rob Lowe (The Grinder)
John Stamos (Grandfathered)
Patrick Stewart (Blunt Talk)

Past nominees:
Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

Count out Gervais since his show isn’t eligible this year. I would cautiously say that Forte will be the only one to join the field since I don’t think that any of the other nominees from last year will fall out. We’ll see – I think Ansari and Lowe have decent shots too.

Current predictions:
Louis C.K. (Louie)
Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth)
Don Cheadle (House of Lies)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Claire Danes (Homeland)
Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder)
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
Ruth Wilson (The Affair) Robin Wright (House of Cards)

Past nominees:
Claire Danes (Homeland)
Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
Kerry Washington (Scandal)

New contenders:
Jaimie Alexander (Blindspot)
Melissa Benoist (Supergirl)
Priyanka Chopra (Quantico)
Alexa Davalos (The Man in the High Castle)
Taraji P. Henson (Empire)

I don’t think this category will be too changed this year. Chopra and Henson will probably get nominated, and I think that means that Margulies will miss out and maybe Danes, though I’m not too sure. I think we’ll see more than a few surprises here.

Current predictions:
Priyanka Chopra (Quantico)
Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder)
Taraji P. Henson (Empire)
Ruth Wilson (The Affair)
Robin Wright (House of Cards)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Clive Owen (The Knick) Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan)
Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
James Spader (The Blacklist)
Dominic West (The Affair)

New contenders:
Kyle Chandler (Bloodline) Terrence Howard (Empire)
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Wagner Maura (Narcos)

Past nominees:
Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)


Globe voters can forget all about a show they loved just a year after enthusiastically endorsing it, but I don’t think that will happen to West and his show. Schreiber will also probably stick around without the support of his show, while I expect that Owen and Spader will not. With Spacey returning, it’s a question of which new faces will show up. I think that Malek and Maura stand the strongest chance, but any one of the new contenders could take their places.

Current predictions:
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
Wagner Maura (Narcos)
Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan)
Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Dominic West (The Affair)

Pilot Review: Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Premiered November 20

Marvel is taking over the world, slowly but surely, and it’s especially good to see that it doesn’t always mean the same thing. My understanding of this show is that it’s part of the larger Marvel universe and the buildup towards a show involving Daredevil and a few other darker Marvel characters. Since I don’t know anything about the comic book Jessica Jones, all I have to base anything on is this show. The best part, undoubtedly, is the casting of Krysten Ritter as the titular hero. I liked Ritter back when she first guest-starred on “Breaking Bad” and then took the lead in the short-lived “Gravity,” in which she was excellent. Her time on “Don’t Trust the B---- In Apartment 23” might be considered solid experience for this role, but I think that Starz’s black comedy about people who attempted suicide is actually far more relevant. Jessica Jones, or at least what those without any prior knowledge of her can glean from this pilot, is not your typical hero, one who rarely uses her powers but has no problem rolling her eyes and lifting up a car when it serves her needs. She’s surrounded by characters who don’t seem to be living highly social or bright lives, namely Carrie-Anne Moss’ high-powered Geri, who is cheating on her loyal significant other, and Mike Colter’s bartender Luke Cage, who I know will play a larger part in this story based on his name alone. What really caught me off guard was the grim ending of the pilot, which, after showing Jessica nearly fall apart when she realized that the same man who had ruined her life was the culprit her, the rescued girl had one last hypnosis-ordered act: to kill her own parents in the elevator. That was a tough thing to get out of my head, and I’m very intrigued to see what other dark roads this show will travel.

How will it work as a series? I have no idea. I imagine that David Tennant’s Kilgrave will figure in as the major villain of the series, but like “Daredevil,” there will be plenty of vicious threats over the course of the season for Jessica, and presumably Luke, to deal with, and reporter friend Patsy will surely be of help too. The series’ brooding tone is what most appeals, and of course Ritter in the lead.
How long will it last? Netflix has already revealed plans for this and other shows to lead up to another bigger show like Marvel’s movies all headed towards the endgame of “The Avengers.” Given positive word of mouth and the success of its previous show in this oeuvre, I can almost guarantee that this show will be back for a second season and potentially beyond.

Pilot grade: B+

Pilot Review: The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon)
Premiered January 15

I’m not sure how I missed this pilot debuting back in January, but as soon as I saw a preview a few weeks ago, I knew that I should immediately go back and check it out. Premise-wise, this show ranks as one of the most appealing projects in a long time. I’m all about alternate history, and the notion of a United States fragmented into Axis-ruled pieces with rebel forces afoot in all of them is incredibly intriguing. That second part was what I always wanted from “Revolution” and got a little of from “Jericho,” which would have had more had it not been cancelled prematurely. What this pilot offers is a cool concept, but at this point it’s a bit too dense to discern its exact direction or quality. Getting to see some of the Nazi East and the Japanese West is enlightening, and setting this show in 1962 rather than in the present enhances its impact because everything has so recently happened. I’m not sure what to make of the newsreel footage that shows events much more like the way we remember them happening in real life, but I definitely want to find out (I’m hoping it’s because the truth was repressed by propaganda rather than sent from some alternative universe, as in the one in which we live). The extreme duplicity revealed at the end of the episode is disconcerting at best, though it will surely make for an eventful road to come filled with treachery, fascism, and adventure.

How will it work as a series? Defining the main characters and enabling them to exist in their present situations is going to be paramount, and I’m ready to be sold on the specifics of the show in addition to the already alluring overarching world. I’m excited to see where it goes – I have high hopes!
How long will it last? I read that this was Amazon’s most-watched pilot to date, which all but assures it a long life. The network hasn’t found a surefire hit as solid as “Transparent” just yet, and I think this may well be it.

Pilot grade: B

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Take Three: Master of None

Master of None: Season 1, Episode 3 “Hot Ticket” (B)

There are parts of this show that I’m still not too fond of, and I think that some characters may be much better than the overall ensemble and premise. Without his parents to figure into the mix, Dev was fully wrapped up in who he was going to bring to a secret show. My initial feelings about Arnold definitely hold true, and Denise and Brian are much better by comparison but not all that much. The casting of H. Jon Benjamin, recently seen on “Wet Hot American Summer” before his transformation into a talking can, as his costar Benjamin in his new movie role, is fun, and he definitely delivers a certain drollness that makes Dev’s obsessive nature stand out all the more. I like the clips from “The Sickening,” which is a truly ridiculous movie. After much back and forth, bringing Alice to the show seemed like a great idea until she went a little crazy doing impressions and then stole a jacket, resulting in a fight that she fully encouraged by trying to deny that it wasn’t hers. The whole episode perked up in a big way when Dev ran into Rachel, who immediately was infinitely cooler and more down to earth than Alice. I really am a big fan of Noel Wells, and I love that Rachel’s first point of conversation was the twins she gave birth to as a result of their actions in the pilot episode. Dev’s reaction to the news that she is trying to work things out with her boyfriend was great, and something tells me she made enough of an impression for him not to give up hope.

What I’m Watching: Life in Pieces

Life in Pieces: Season 1, Episode 8 “Godparent Maze Mexican Farts” (C+)

This was a good episode for parenting, starting with the search for the ideal replacement parents in the unfortunate event of an untimely demise of the existing ones and leading to two paternal moments with young, impressionable children and grandchildren. Jen and Greg’s storylines tend to be the most fun, and crossing off both their parents (I can only imagine who will play Jen’s parents when the time comes) seemed like a no-brainer. Though we got a chance to see some of Tim’s skills put to use in the second segment, his nonchalant, lackadaisical attitude combined with Heather’s narrow focus on the task at hand resulted in them not paying enough attention to their own children running outside to play with deadly objects. The eventual selection of Matt, who was brought to tears by being chosen, was nice, and I’m sure kids will someday be on the table when he eventually proposes to Colleen. John bonding with Samantha when she used him to be able to have her first kiss in the maze was sweet, and he doesn’t often get to do too much of use. Tim taking Sophia to the Mexican market was relatively silly, especially since she somehow knew enough basic Spanish to be able to serve as translator for him. The final segment was the least sophisticated, and you would think that Colleen would warn the dinner guests that they might all have uncontrollable gas after eating her cauliflower rice. Martin Short’s grieving widower felt a bit out of place, merely a device to show the entire family breaking bread and cracking up together.

What I’m Watching: Heroes Reborn

Heroes Reborn: Season 1, Episode 10 “11:53 to Odessa” (D)

What a mess this show has become. It’s reached the point where I’m not even displeased with the way the story is going, but I’ve almost entirely lost any sense of where the show is possibly headed. The opening of some time bridge between present-day Odessa and a time thousands of years in the future is rife with plotholes, and to think that Malina could stop it with just one forceful use of her powers is about as unbelievable as Phoebe being able to dampen the abilities of hundreds of evos just by using her own. It’s also not a shock that Quentin is being portrayed as a relatively good person even in spite of his recent betrayal, still a beacon of light compared to his sister, who has been totally taken over by the darkness inside of her. Matt being motivated to do what he’s doing only so that he and his family can end up being taken to the future seems shortsighted, and now Carlos and Farah are on the way towards escape and maybe helping to save humanity, provided they can outrun a handful of Harrises. Miko finally has some sense of her greater purpose thanks to a direct conversation with her father, and I’m sure that will end up being somehow very relevant, especially now that she’s teamed up with Tommy. This show won’t be back for its final three episodes until January – I know I really should give up now, but after all this time I feel like I have to know if it all ends up being somehow compelling or coherent (almost certainly not both).

What I’m Watching: You’re the Worst


You’re the Worst: Season 2, Episode 11 “A Rapidly Mutating Virus” (B+)

I’m concerned about Gretchen – she spends most of her time sitting around looking like a zombie, and then bursts into action only for a moment before retracting and retreating back to her powered-down mode. No one is helping her, and the only one who seems to be remotely tuned in to the fact that there’s something seriously wrong is Sam of all people, who managed to reunite with his former bandmates after the big fight. Gretchen pulling a gun on the women who came to beat Sam and all his pals up was a dark development, and unfortunately no one expressed to Gretchen just how much trouble she seems to be in. Instead, Jimmy was off flirting with Nina, who does seem like the perfect girl and a great fit for the new Jimmy who is obviously more interested in a romantic relationship with someone than being absolutely horrible twenty-four hours a day. Jimmy tried to be his version of a good guy after she showed up to watch his other-region DVD, but it all led to the two of them making out like crazy. The worst possible result of all this will be that Gretchen doesn’t care at all, sending her spiraling down even further. Vernon’s money slave problem was odd but entertaining, and Becca is becoming more of a monster to those around her, especially her sister. Edgar made a big mistake trying to fit in with Dorothy’s friends, but fortunately she was cool enough to recognize why he did it and for them to move forward on an even better note.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What I’m Watching: Modern Family

Modern Family: Season 7, Episode 7 “Phil’s Sexy, Sexy House” (C)

To enjoy this episode, and most episodes of this series over the past few years, you have to get past an obnoxious choreography and the suspension of much disbelief when it comes to characters not being self-aware or able to perceive things around them. Everyone coming to the house Phil was trying to sell for some alone time was the episode’s big premise, and them all showing up at exactly the same time was the gimmick that didn’t work as well. Some of it was forced, while other things, like Mitchell’s pole-dancing, were just random and felt out of character. Phil and Claire misreading their marital moments was among the more disappointing and unfulfilling plotlines, whereas Luke’s defense for showing up with his friends and a lot of alcohol was simpler and funnier. I did like Haley and Andy running into each other, being the only ones not to get caught, and then separating for a moment before Haley ran back in and jumped up into Andy’s arms, totally ready for a major makeout. I’m excited to see where that goes. Gloria’s family coming to visit after she spent the entire episode pickpocketing her family members to get their driver’s licenses is a less positive twist, and just goes to show that surprises aren’t always the best thing, especially when it comes to bringing all members of a large family to a foreign country with only one or a few people being fully aware of the plan ahead of time. I would have much preferred to see the whole family go down to Colombia (I think).

What I’m Watching: Casual

Casual: Season 1, Episode 8 “Bottles” (A-)

Usually, Thanksgiving episodes tend to be pretty gimmicky, and are rarely the strongest offerings of a particular show. I’d argue that this episode was actually the best one this show has produced yet, taking a break from its characters’ dating lives and slowing things down for one hell of an awkward Thanksgiving dinner that was initially supposed to be just four people and ended up being double that. Laura’s response to finding her mother having sex with the teacher she had her eye on was to engage in vicious revenge, inviting Drew’s new girlfriend and Valerie’s mother to Thanksgiving to ensure that it was as miserable as possible. Though Mae-Yi, and Drew, for that matter, should have known better than to accept the invitation, it was Dawn bringing her boyfriend, who just happens to be Valerie and Alex’s father, that really made things awful. Fred Melamed was inspired casting, and the excitement with which Charles and Dawn told horrific excerpts from Alex’s childhood was truly appalling. It was nice that Emmy was there for Alex, but the fact that she’s otherwise connected and nearly as unstable as any of his parents’ relationships growing up makes her presence all the troubling rather than comforting. Before things got bad, Dawn casually spilling Alex’s macaroni and cheese all over the floor and then replacing it in the oven with something she brought was a strong moment of terrible parenting and something that explains why Valerie and Alex have such a difficult time committing given the environment in which they grew up.

What I’m Watching: Limitless

Limitless: Season 1, Episode 9 “Headquarters!” (B+)

It’s nice to have a solid fun hour like this after some more serious deviations over the course of the past few episodes. Brian’s obsession with getting a room to call his own with the word “Headquarters!” emblazoned on it was absurd but very typical for him, and naturally he would casually leverage the fact that he, working with a capable team, could apprehend the FBI’s entire Top 10 Most Wanted list was both entertaining and awesome. Boyle was most annoyed with the team’s name, the Bruntouchables, but he got to track down a cop killer with Casey. James nearly drinking the kool-aid in his hunt for a cult leader was fun to watch, and I liked how much Mike enjoyed his clothing-optional vacation assignment and how little Ike liked being in Greenland for his mission. Rebecca’s reactions to Brian’s antics were, of course, most entertaining, and they even got to help prove that one of the most wanted men, Isiah Whitlock Jr.’s Lawrence Drake, was actually innocent. Naturally, Brian would suggest something as crazy as giving a man who broke out of prison an NZT tablet so that he could prove himself innocent, but it’s hard to argue with results. The montage of imagined Bruntouchables sequels was simply fantastic. With no sign of Senator Morra or Mr. Sands, it was a perfectly calm time for Brian to decide to let down his guard and tell his father what he’s really doing with the FBI. Let’s hope that doesn’t backfire or lead to a sudden and irreversible decline in his father’s health.

Pilot Review: Chicago Med

Chicago Med (NBC)
Premiered November 17 at 9pm

There are more and more TV franchises that seem to be popping up these days, and some of them aren’t even from the first franchise a particular TV mogul has created. After launching the first “Law and Order” series in 1990 and continuing to see one of its offshoots, “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” begin its seventeenth season this fall, creator Dick Wolf has moved on to a new city and a new concept. “Chicago Fire” was first in 2012, “Chicago P.D.” the year after, and now comes “Chicago Med,” the latest show ripe for a megacrossover event on NBC. I gave the first pilot a C and the second a C-, and this show pretty much fits that same standard. For me, a medical show is probably least interesting out of those three setups, and what I mainly do when a watch a new show like this is wait to recognize actors from other roles and see how they figure into a new series I probably won’t ever watch again. It didn’t take long for me to recognize Colin Donnell from “The Affair,” who I now realize also played Tommy on “Arrow,” as the new surgery fellow. I’m always fond of Oliver Platt, but I think that his talents are better used elsewhere, and it makes perfect sense that S. Epatha Merkerson, who got her big start on the original “Law and Order,” would have a major role here. The show is about as engaging as CBS’ freshman offering “Code Black,” and I don’t have any interest in watching either.

How will it work as a series? There are some obvious adjustments for everyone to make with the new arrivals and the dynamic of the hospital, but it seems to be just like any other medical show, full of soapy romances, high-stakes emergencies, and all that drama. Episode one already featured a cast member from “Chicago Fire,” and I think the show’s greater universe will occupy a lot of its attention, as will its host city, which lent Rahm Emanuel for the opening scene.
How long will it last? Like Wolf’s first franchise, it looks like this one will have three very successful series running at the same time. The ratings for the pilot were very strong, and NBC is eager to embrace its successes, so I expect this to be commissioned along with its two partner series for another season very soon.

Pilot grade: C

Monday, November 23, 2015

What I’m Watching: iZombie

iZombie: Season 2, Episode 7 “Abra Cadaver” (B+)

A magician getting murdered was a great way to get Liv into the spirit of things, and to see the very contradictory ways in which Ravi and Clive reacted to the institution of magic. I like that Liv got into the tricks, as is always the case when she eats brains, and that she ended up doing a masterful reveal, complete with mustache-ripping and a spectacular finish, when she pieced together the elements of the case and discovered who the true culprit was. I knew I recognized Houdina, the sarcastic magician with nothing positive to say about her deceased colleague or the art of magic in general, but I couldn’t immediately peg her as Fiona Gubelmann from “Wilfred” since he was so uncharacteristically negative. Blaine stopping by to enlist Liv’s help in investigating the murder of zombies in the area created an interesting partnership, and I’m very worried about their ever-approaching discovery that Major is the one killing them. Him walking out when he saw Liv engaged in reading the Ouija board was not a good sign, since it doesn’t exactly speak to his promise to always be there for her. Peyton is definitely paranoid, and she has good reason to be after the threatening visit she received last week and the fact that her only ally is the psychotic Blaine. Ravi kissing her after he ended things with Steph because she was too gung-ho about his cultural heritage was a minor mistake, and I think they can still be friends. She’s definitely headed for trouble pretty soon though, and I think he’ll be the first to try to help get her out of it.

What I’m Watching: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Season 3, Episode 8 “Many Heads, One Tale” (B)

This was a busy episode, putting all of the characters to work and having them discover a few things that led to one big, unsettling reveal. Powers Boothe’s Gideon Malick is at the center of it all, starting the episode out by trying to have Ward killed and then promoting his new lieutenant to help him find this apparent inhuman who represents Hydra and bring him back from the portal like S.H.I.E.L.D. did with Simmons. Coulson selling his team on the fact that Rosalind trusts him and that he’d like to feel the same way seemed genuine, but he was pretty harsh when he cornered her and told her that he didn’t believe anything she was saying. It’s good to know that she can actually be trusted, and that she had no idea what nefarious things Gideon was doing with the inhumans that she had captured and claimed to be trying to cure. Gideon and Ward using Andrew/Lash to help them get what they want is going to make May very mad, and at the moment all she’s doing is mentoring Lincoln, who has suddenly become a top-level agent and not just an inhuman on the run. Hunter posing as a hacker with Daisy feeding him lines was a real treat, and I enjoyed his escape plan, though it wasn’t as neat as Bobbi’s new baton trick. Fitz kissing Simmons was a great moment, and I’m glad that they’re finally going to have something to talk about that may well be awkward but was also quite wonderful, and a hell of a long time in the making.

What I’m Watching: The Grinder


The Grinder: Season 1, Episode 7 “Buckingham Malice” (B+)

This was a very fun episode, one that best exemplified the way in which Dean says absolutely nothing with his big speeches. Realizing that he gets special treatment shocked Dean but came as no surprise to anyone else, and I like that it made him push for completely absurd things, like getting a ticket thrown out even though he demanded it be written and going back into a jail cell to spend his due time even though Stewart had successfully talked him out of staying behind bars. Nathan Fieldler from “Nathan for You,” a show I can’t stand, was an interesting guest star to play the cop, and I was also pleased to see Jonny Coyne from the fantastic short-lived “Alcatraz” as Farouk, whose assurances about car repair timing were far from reliable. It turned out that using Dean proved very helpful to get the car fixed, giving Stewart the transportation he very much needed for his sex vacation with Debbie, who also deserved it in a big way. I love that Debbie got her very first plotline just about her, with the hilarious and unfortunate situation of her ending up in the position of getting her assistant coffee, unable to delegate any of the work that she should have been doing. It was gratifying to see her moment of triumph in which she mocked her assistant’s obnoxious tone of voice and got to tell her that she was being fired. As usual, the Sanderson family interactions on the couch provided some good life lessons, like the concept of getting up after saying something to make it seem like a good point.

What I’m Watching: Grandfathered


Grandfathered: Season 1, Episode 7 “Sexy Guardian Angel” (B+)

I liked this episode mostly because it used all of its characters very well, and also opened up a bigger storyline without feeling the need to close and contain it within just one episode. Gerald has never been the smoothest dater, and of course he would go into a one-night stand and come out of it right away in a relationship. Jimmy’s distraction tactic, which involved Noureen Dewulf’s Priya (I recognized her from “West Bank Story”), led to him meddling after he found out that Frankie had a bad reputation for sleeping around. What I loved most was that Sara got on board with Jimmy’s plan to expose Frankie father after she bossed Gerald around, which of course resulted in her and Gerald both getting offended at their accusations. I like Lyndsy Fonseca from “Nikita,” and it seems like she’ll be sticking around for a bit, especially since Jimmy is footing the bill for everything Gerald is treating her to. Vanessa coming in with some truly awful pitches was only the start of a fabulous new relationship between her and Annelise, the highlights of which were Vanessa thinking she was the mentor rather than the mentee and the two of them taking off their blazers to start physically fighting. Vanessa actually helping Annelise, who is really not a good singer, was a nice ending. This was the best way that Annelise has been featured yet, and it’s also great to see Vanessa with her big preposterous dreams and attitude that shows that she doesn’t care if other people don’t believe in her. Even Ravi was less annoying than usual, appearing for only a few well-placed moments.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What I’m Watching: The Flash

The Flash: Season 2, Episode 6 “Gorilla Warfare” (B)

I’m not too fond of Grodd as a villain for this show, and therefore this episode could only be so enticing. Fortunately, the other elements of the episode worked very well, and it’s all in the service of the show’s greater mythology. Caitlin being kind to Grodd helped ensure her survival, and our new friend Harry offering to don the Reverse-Flash’s costume to make his son feel loyal to him was a solid plan. It didn’t work too well, mainly because Wells asked for Grodd to do something rather than aggressively telling him, but they were ultimately able to get him through the portal to what I’ve seen referenced as Gorilla City, an Earth-Two place that apparently has quite a lot of enhanced apes. Barry’s father returning to help him get back on his feet, literally, was helpful, but seeing what he thought was the other Wells also gave him an important push to gain back his speed. Joe contradicting Barry’s lie about liking canned soup could have soured his budding romance, but it seems that it actually served to enhance their connection, leading to a formidable reunion and promising developments for their future. Cisco’s date went excellently, too, despite an initial disquieting vision that, when expanded upon the second time they kissed, showed Cisco a much more reassuring and awesome truth: his new girlfriend Kendra is going to become a superhero, Hawkgirl. To the famed metahuman namer, dating a metahuman he finds attractive and cool is just about the best thing in the universe.

What I’m Watching: The Muppets

The Muppets: Season 1, Episode 8 “Too Hot to Handler” (B+)

This episode deviated from the ones before it because it barely featured Miss Piggy, save for the opening segment which introduced the main guest star, Chelsea Handler. There was still plenty of relationship drama without the infamously egotistical pig. Scooter falling head over heels for Chelsea and then realizing that she was looking for a good-natured sweetheart of a guy just like him was fun, and I like that the reason it didn’t work out was that she was moving much too fast for him, constantly trying to kiss him and push the relationship forward. This was a fun PG-rated opportunity for Chelsea to send up her raunchy persona. Another human girlfriend, Becky, threatened to pose some major problems when Fozzie told Kermit that he was going to ask her to move in with him. Kermit trying to get to prod Becky for information backfired as he discovered Denise’s horrendously low credit score, and he did even worse when he tried to test Becky’s trivia knowledge in the hallway after catching her apparently cheating on her phone. Confronting her with the accusation went poorly, but fortunately Fozzie realized on his own that twelve weeks isn’t nearly enough time to make such a big decision. Getting the tassels of his hat caught in a fan immediately after demonstrated just how right Kermit was to look out for his best friend. The multiple references to Kermit venting to other people when they thought he was just talking to the camera were amusing and an amusing nod to the show’s mockumentary format.

What I’m Watching: Fargo


Fargo: Season 2, Episode 6 “Rhinoceros” (B+)

There’s a lot going on right now, and almost all of it involves murders and other people narrowly escaping certain death. All the major characters made it out alive, but it was very close for a handful of them. Mike showing up to riddle the Gerhardt home with bullets while only Simone and Floyd were inside shows that they’re done talking, and that they’re ready to go after the members of the family much more willing to negotiate and even the one sleeping with the enemy. Peggy was one of the most fascinating characters of the episode, so hopelessly in denial about her situation, which prompted a hilariously accurate reading of her from Hank. She did very well managing to get the upper hand and shock Dodd, who nearly beat his own adult brother with a belt just to make a point. I’m worried about what Peggy might do and say with Dodd, and she may get herself into more trouble. Ed was relatively stonefaced, and running from Lou and Hank with Ohanzee following him isn’t going to lead him anywhere good. Both Lou and Hank handled themselves extremely well under pressure, and it’s a good thing considering the threat posed to both of them by the vicious Gerhardt brothers. The MVP of the episode was undoubtedly a superb Nick Offerman as Carl Weathers, who showed up drunk spewing a speech and managed to save the day and a whole station full of sheriffs with a very blunt and compelling appeal to an angry concerned father.

What I’m Watching: Blindspot

Blindspot: Season 1, Episode 9 “Authentic Flirt” (B-)

I suppose it was only a matter of time before Kurt and Jane went on a mission together and pretended to be a couple. They really went in without knowing much, dressed to the nines and utterly unprepared for the craziness of the man they were about to meet. Rich Dotcom was quite the character, expressing no qualms about soliciting the two members of a couple he believed to be assassins and then eagerly ordering their execution as soon as he realized that they couldn’t be trusted. Kurt and Jane nearly lost a two-on-one fight with the other buyer, and even though it didn’t work so well, they did manage to sell the lie that he was a spy long enough to buy them some time. It was a convenient episode for a past girlfriend of Kurt’s to show up, and what a treat that it was in the form of Trieste Kelly Dunn, formerly of “Banshee,” though I wish that she’d been given a much bigger part. As more of her connection to Carter is revealed, Bethany is looking more and more like one of the good guys. Guerrero being stabbed definitely covers the tracks of those behind Daylight, but it’s not the much simpler solution of creating paperwork to back up their story. The most devastating development was that, after watching David tail a woman so that he could impress Patterson and win her back, he got killed. I liked him a whole lot, and I’m sure Patterson is going to be very upset and have a hard time recovering from the news.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

What I’m Watching: Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin: Season 2, Episode 6 “Chapter Twenty-Eight” (B+)

This episode covered a lot of time, jumping ahead one month repeatedly throughout the course of the hour, and measuring milestones was a clever way of helping the time pass so quickly. Jane’s new writing class took a toll on her ability to multitask, as she initially spent too little time focused on her writing but also neglected Mateo’s position, resulting in him having to wear a corrective helmet, which didn’t help with nursing and pumping. It was good to see her slowly come to terms with her situation and ease into both worlds, and through it all, Rafael was always doing the right thing, which was great (#teamrafael). Rafael’s charm seems to have worked, and now Jane is ready to go on a date with him. Unfortunately, it does appear that Jane’s new best friend from her class is writing a biting exposé called “The Curse of the Solanos,” which is sure to cause trouble for the multimillionaire. I enjoyed Jane picturing different versions of young Mateo, including Oliver Twist Mateo and a charitable Mateo who really had to pee. Michael working with Nadine to bring down Sin Rostro is interesting, and I’m sure we’ll get filled in on all that in due time. Magda getting out of prison presented more problems than solutions, at first expelling Milos away but then blowing off her eye and hand, and ultimately leading to Ivan’s murder because of some secret Madga was keeping from Petra. My favorite part of the episode was Rogelio’s pitch for “Los Hombres Locos,” a version of “Mad Men” hilariously dubbed a “fasterpiece,” with him playing the part of Don Juan Draper. That it ended up being a roaring success, albeit dubbed a comedy, was great and almost as funny as the fact that it all fell apart due to the small problem of copyright infringement.

Friday, November 20, 2015

What I’m Watching: Minority Report


Minority Report: Season 1, Episode 8 “The American Dream” (B)

This episode was a more involved hour for Will, who often stands on the sidelines and shows up to make a snide mark to Lara or to cast suspicion on Dash’s credentials. In this case, he was fully committed to a case that meant a lot to him, and he was far more perceptive than anyone else gave him credit for. It’s interesting to see how this show approaches the concept of precrime and other legal advancements which set people up for a lifetime of hopelessness based on something that either was supposed to happen or was simply number-based. Identifying Will as a “14” who came back up from a damning sentence of diminished rights and who thought that the precrime police were there to arrest him for the future murder of his abusive stepfather helped to humanize him quite a bit. It didn’t take him long to figure out who Dash was and to confirm his suspicions when Dash knew exactly how many robbers there were and even told him to move to avoid a bullet at just the right moment. Meeting Arthur and painting him as the source of all the intelligence that Lara and Dash had gathered was an intriguing interaction, and it certainly seems like Arthur isn’t going to let some pesky detective ruin his livelihood. Let’s hope that it’s not too late for him to stop whatever aggressive action he’s planning that could tip Will over the edge and lead to this inevitable vision of precrime being reinstituted that Agatha has seen over and over becoming a reality.

What I’m Watching: Supergirl

Supergirl: Season 1, Episode 4 “Livewire” (B)

Apparently, this episode, originally slated to air next week, was swapped in to replace an hour that has much more to do with some instance of terrorism that CBS felt would be too reminiscent of the horrendous events in France last week. What that results in is a sappy, sentimental installment weakened slightly by the emphasis on how Kara’s foster mother cartoonishly chastises her older daughter for not being good enough and taking good enough care of her sister while effervescently praising her adoptive daughter for everything she does. It took a while for that to lead to Alex’s confession about working for the DEO, and in turn for their mother to tell them that their father worked with the DEO prior to his death, and that Hank Henshaw is a hell of a lot older and more conniving than he looks. I wouldn’t trust Kara to be subtle for too long, and her “yes, sir” attitude is going to tip him off to the fact that something is afoot. It’s a shame that Kara can’t notice Winn, and that she’s instead hung up on a guy who, despite being romantically attached to another woman, hasn’t toned down the flirtation just yet. Kara did have a good opportunity to bond with another strong woman in her life, one who nearly sacrificed herself to ensure that one monster she created didn’t wreak too much destruction on the world. A vicious radio host turning into a lightning-fueled villain was a very on-the-money featured plot.

What I’m Watching: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 1, Episode 5 “!” (B+)

Rebecca is unquestionably the zaniest person on this show, but I love that Paula is almost as dedicated to her cause as she is, pushing her to get with Josh and spending her entire Thanksgiving watching her friend’s misadventures live-streamed on her phone. Introducing Rebecca to Josh’s mom was a solid plan, and Rebecca was just the girl for Josh to bring home to meet his adoring parents, who were far from impressed with Valencia’s efforts to make conversation about a book she read, which was basically just a blank journal. I loved Rebecca’s song about making parents want to have sex with her, and the best line was “DTF – Dazzling the Family.” The fact that Rebecca showing up led to the blowup fight which ultimately prompted Josh and Valencia to decide to move in together was a melancholy development, but the intensity with which Valencia switched into hyperactive mode when she knew she had to look for a new home seemed to frazzle an admittedly dim-witted Josh, who just wants to sit near the turkey because he likes the skin. Rebecca didn’t do so badly, as a kindhearted but unlucky Greg couldn’t conquer his dreams and actually ended up at the bottom of the totem pole in his miserable workplace but then decided to stop by and cheer up a very ill Rebecca. Paula’s frustration at Rebecca and Greg appearing to couple up was amusing, but it is nice to see that these two are getting alone so well, and my only concern is that Josh might end up running away from Valencia and towards Rebecca, and I suspect that she’ll really hurt Greg by leaping into his very attractive arms.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What I’m Watching: Quantico

Quantico: Season 1, Episode 8 “Over” (C+)

This show deviated from its usual format in one big way in this episode – it didn’t introduce a new prime suspect. That’s probably because just about everyone has been covered already, with Elias out of the picture, everyone else cleared, and even Shelby and Caleb doubting their allegiance to the top brass and considering the fact that Alex might be innocent. Deputy Director Clayton pushing Caleb to scrub his e-mails and insisting that one which all but confirms Alex having been framed simply because it was sent from a hotel room while he was with Shelby is either highly stupid or immensely suspicious, and I don’t think that deleting e-mails from both the sender and the recipient actually certifies that they will never be recovered, especially if both are on a phone. Putting the recruits out in the field and giving them the chance to be real people is helpful, though naturally that leads immediately to breaking into FBI records while superiors are lurking in the shadows to ensure that classified files aren’t taken where they shouldn’t be. It’s hard to believe that Liam would be so honest in confessing his sins with Alex and then not trust her so intensely just a few months later, but that’s the nature of this soapy show. Alex turning herself in is a game-changer, and let’s hope that someone, not Clayton or Liam obviously, is smart enough to listen to the woman ranting about another bomb and look beyond their firm beliefs that she is the one who planted it.

What I’m Watching: The Affair


The Affair: Season 2, Episode 7 (B+)

A lot of time has passed since last we saw these characters, but as I mentioned last week, not having the perspectives overlap but instead cover different events is enabling the show to tell much more of a story. Starting with Alison showed just how much of a background player she is in Noah’s success story. Talking to a gossip columnist about the fact that Noah isn’t actually divorced was an unfortunate mistake, and Noah not being furious about it was about the one good thing he did this entire episode. Getting ready to fly on Thanksgiving and inviting his publicist to spend the holiday with them after he showed up late and forgot to pick up the turkey were hardly kind gestures, and his willingness to go along with the rumors that the book is based on her was especially upsetting to her. The way that they remembered events differently is a superb way of bringing the show’s different perspectives up and emphasizing the power of how a situation is perceived. Even though their night ended bitterly, Alison and Noah’s Thanksgiving did result in one quick coupling and wasn’t as vicious as the Lockhart dinner. Cole got very angry about the book, and his mother’s confirmation of their brutal family history was a miserable revelation. Going to see Luisa in the city was a high point, and they’ve obviously come a long way from her dating Scotty. The future bombshell that Cole and Luisa have a baby together is big news, and at the rate this show is going, I suspect we’ll learn much more about that very soon.

What I’m Watching: The Walking Dead


The Walking Dead: Season 6, Episode 6 “Always Accountable” (B)

There are only two episodes left until this show goes on its annual hiatus until February, and I feel like we haven’t gotten very far with all these splintered episodes, only following a few characters at a time. Since this show insists on always scattering all of its players, it made sense that, in the wake of a vicious attack on Alexandria, those leading the walkers away would find themselves in danger and off the path that they were following. Getting shot at as soon as they made the turn away from the hordes was a bad start, and they were fortunate to be able to slip their assailants and get away. Daryl listened to his captors and didn’t try too hard to explain to them that he wasn’t part of the group hunting them. Sadly, that wasn’t enough to get them to trust him, since even after he came back and saved their lives for entirely selfless reasons, they still took his bike and left him to fend for himself. I was just thinking about the three questions and their impact when Daryl decided to ask them, and I think the answers were telling. Abraham is definitely demonstrating some violent tendencies, smoking a cigar while watching a walker get torn apart, and his delight at finding new clothes was intriguing. Daryl’s charitable efforts did lead to a great find in the woods, and having a big truck should prove useful for whatever the next step Rick and the people of Alexandria decide to take.

What I’m Watching: The Leftovers

The Leftovers: Season 2, Episode 7 “A Most Powerful Adversary” (B+)

Did this show really just kill off its main character? It’s hard to be sure, but Michael arrived long enough after Kevin took the poison that him being resurrected seems unlikely, unless it was all part of Virgil’s plan to have his grandson come in, discover him dead, and act fast enough to save Kevin’s life. It would be a crazy thing if Kevin really did die and stay dead, and I’m not sure what I would make of that. As usual, what was most compelling about this hour was the way that lost time works. Kevin’s experience closely mirrors that of his father, and for him to find out from Michael that he shared the details about seeing Patti with Virgil once again stirred up the same disbelief that Kevin has expressed every time he realizes that he lives half of his life while he’s sleeping. I’m disappointed that Nora left, and I hope that, if Kevin’s still alive, she comes back, and if not, that she doesn’t blame herself for his suicide. Laurie showing up when Kevin was frantically searching for Nora was a shock, and I like just how honest she was with Kevin about what he’s currently going through and what’s real and what’s not. Jill was a standout of this episode, swearing her ass off in church and then reacting furiously to her mother’s arrival. Whether Kevin is still alive or not, his fingerprint coming back as a positive match will not be a good thing at all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What I’m Watching: The Good Wife

The Good Wife: Season 7, Episode 7 “Driven” (B)

This show does get too caught up in politics very often, and by that I mean that it focuses on its political subplots. There have been many new political players introduced recently, and now we have another: Vanessa Williams’ new potential ally for Eli. I liked Williams on “Ugly Betty” and “Desperate Housewives,” and I’m not sure that she’ll fit in as well in a serious context on this show, since all she did thus far was sit back and watch and then say a few surprising things to Eli. Alicia casually inviting Peter into the bedroom for a quick rendezvous was interesting, and she’s definitely come to a good place in terms of her relationship with the personal and professional people in her legal life. The politics, of course, are another matter, and now she’s caught in between two people who are both trying to influence her in a way that she doesn’t want. Jackie and Howard’s engagement is an amusing development, and I do hope that the wedding is featured soon – I especially want to know who’s going to be asked to join the bridal party. The featured case of the week was definitely involving, featuring self-driving cars and the possibility of artificial intelligence taking over. Having Louis sit next to Alicia and Lucca opposite Cary and Diane was fun, but the best part of the whole thing was Joey Slotnick’s appearance as a very angry advocate of the inevitability of artificial intelligence deciding that it no longer needs its creators.

What I’m Watching: Homeland


Homeland: Season 5, Episode 7 “Oriole” (C)

I feel that this show is headed nowhere in a lot of ways, and I can’t imagine that the payoff will be worth it. What could possibly be in those files that would make Carrie faking her own death and Saul facing a lifetime in prison worth wasting half this season on? Carrie did a great job of getting her one ally in Amsterdam killed, and now she’s responsible for the death of yet another person who trusted her. Fortunately, Otto is extremely supportive, but naturally Laura was concerned only with immediately leaking all the documents before she did anything to help Carrie. Gabehcoud’s willingness to show his face and speak openly with a former CIA agent was surprising, and once again Carrie’s bedside manner won out, as she decided that bluntly telling a man she just met that his best friend was assuredly dead was the best way to start a new friendship. Saul’s decision to trust Alison with the top secret news that Carrie is still alive was a boneheaded one, and I can’t comprehend why he wouldn’t go to the man who he seemed to be so in league with last season, Dar. It’s lucky that he has his Israeli connections, and hopefully they can help him figure out that Alison is the last person he should be trusting. If only Carrie hadn’t made the same mistake as Saul and called Alison herself. Let’s hope her proclivity for spotting traitors comes in handy and she figures a way out of danger quickly.

Round Two: Master of None

Master of None: Season 1, Episode 2 “Parents” (B-)

This is one of those times where I feel like watching this show one episode at a time rather than marathoning it all in one setting is putting me or the show, if not both, at a disadvantage. That said, if an episode can’t subsist on its own and needs to fall back on the quality of other installments or the sum of all the parts, that means it’s not as strong as a series that airs a new episode once a week. I’m surprised this episode, which I saw Aziz Ansari post something about regarding his real-life father taking his only vacation time from work to come guest star on the show. Having Ansari’s own parents play his parents on the show is a fun idea, though I’m not sure exactly what that accomplished. The primary problem is that we don’t know Dev as a character enough yet, and to meet his parents and understand that he and Brian should appreciate their roots so soon gives too much of the wrong value, especially since they realized on their own that they needed to spend time with them instead of encountering some situation that later proved it. The jokes about them texting each other and including the wrong Brian were funny, but the whole doesn’t feel as complete. Dev doing his audition in a coffee shop because that’s where he could get good wi-fi also felt a bit ridiculous, one of those moments that has to seem absurd and inevitable on TV but could have easily been avoided in real life.

What I’m Watching: Elementary

Elementary: Season 4, Episode 2 “Evidence of Things Not Seen” (B-)

I’ve said it before, and I mean it this time. This show isn’t bad, but I don’t think that I really need to be watching it. Though the arrival of Sherlock’s father was supposed to be this big event many years in the making, and while John Noble is certainly good, I don’t find myself caring much about it. This feels like the perfect time to break free from the show and not feel as if I’ve abandoned it or given up because it’s gotten bad, and there’s so much else I’m watching that I could use the end of the week to catch up on everything from the first half. It seems impossible that Sherlock and Watson wouldn’t have ended up back working with the NYPD because, unlike the other above-average procedurals I watch on CBS, “Person of Interest” and “The Good Wife,” this show is not all about reinventing and redefining itself each season – it was content to do that with its premise of modern-day Holmes and sober companion Watson. The case itself was actually a more interesting one, and I liked that the suspect was framed after the fact because of the information released that made it easier to make him look like the culprit. Watson’s conversation with Sherlock’s father was inarguably an intriguing one, and she’s definitely looking out for her friend whom she would never have known without his having set their relationship up. They’ve come a long way, and regardless of where they’ve ended up professionally, they’ve formed an incredible bond.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What I’m Watching: Life in Pieces

Life in Pieces: Season 1, Episode 7 “Nanny Tent Earrings Cheeto” (B-)

This episode was among the more charming installments this show has aired so far, though it still hasn’t reached a level of true quality just yet. The first vignette was fun because it took the notion of babysitter interviewing a bit further than usual, moving past the nanny flirting with the husband, or at least him thinking that she was, to Jen running a background check on her only to discover that the nanny ran her own background check on the onetime flasher. The wink that the nanny gave Greg at the end was a perfectly quick and fleeting finish to the vignette. The boys camping out together and dealing with the nightmarish tent divers was amusing if nothing more, and it’s fun to see Tim be such a child, existing in his own universe and making Matt and Greg look like the mature ones. Heather bubbling up and calling Matt out on his suspected offense of using the money she gave him to buy Colleen new earrings was a decent usage of Betsy Brandt, whose choice of this show as a follow-up to “Breaking Bad” still intrigues me a lot (I respect it and I think it was a good one; it’s just such a different role and show). John’s wooden puppet was horrifying and disturbing, but the fun that his children and grandchildren had scaring each other by putting it places was truly entertaining, particularly when John himself got in on the joke and succeeded in startling his wife.

What I’m Watching: Heroes Reborn

Heroes Reborn: Season 1, Episode 9 “Sundae, Bloody Sundae” (C-)

I’m at a loss trying to comprehend these major character shifts. I won’t even address Quentin, who actually did an okay job carrying out his part of his nefarious plan to assist Erica in destroying the world, or at least ridding it of evos, though it’s presented as something far less sinister. An even less believable transformation is that of Matt Parkman, who was the world’s nicest guy and has now gone from monetizing his power to controlling all of the captured evos to help them find imagined serenity or pull the trigger, depending on his mood of the moment. If everyone really is so happy, then what’s the problem? Why go to all the trouble of abducting the evos in the first place if they’re just going to end up in a state of tranquility in which they’re essentially allowed to roam free? The diner moment was useful for only one real reason, which was to let Tommy discover the powers he inherited from Hiro, permitting him to stop time, save his girlfriend from certain death, but not prevent his own capture. Joanne has obviously gone down a dark path, and I don’t think Luke will have an easy time getting her back from it. In addition to the Haitian’s apparent reincarnation, I don’t know what to make of Miko somehow materializing 7,957 years in the future. This show only has a few episodes left, and it truly does not merit a renewal, so how can any of this possibly be wrapped up in just that short a time?

What I’m Watching: Longmire (Season Finale)

Longmire: Season 4, Episode 10 “What Happens on the Rez…” (B+)

It’s very nice to know right now that this show will be back next year, though I never would have assumed that its original network would have ended up cancelling its most successful show following season three. This finale was an important hour that served to wrap up a lot of the storylines that have been front and center this season, most importantly Henry taking up Hector’s mantle. Cady repeatedly telling Walt that she saw Gab alone was deliberate and specific enough in its omission that Walt realized something was afoot when Henry told him that Cady had seen him, and there was no way for that truth to stay hidden after that. Mathias being the one to arrest him is appropriate, and his future looks bleak at the moment, which is a shame considering his previous stint in prison and the way he was able to bounce back from that. The logistics of what’s allowed and illegal on the reservation are so interesting, and it seems that Callum Keith Rennie’s Walker Browning would have done whatever he wanted no matter what the legal implications were. Jacob Nighthorse’s reaction to accusations about Malachi appeared to be genuine, and I like that he isn’t clearly a bad guy. Zach getting fired for his violent tendencies and Monte revealing himself to be an investigator acting as part of a lawsuit against the department were both miserable developments that will cause major trouble for Walt in the future. Vic’s reaction to Walt saying “oh” to the news about her and Eamonn was very emphatic, and turning down the ideal job offer for her new boyfriend was an unfortunate move. This season has been a solid exploration of these characters and their Wyoming world, and a firm testament to the enduring quality of this show.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry

What I’m Watching: You’re the Worst


You’re the Worst: Season 2, Episode 10 “A Right Proper Story” (B)

Gretchen is in a rut that she won’t easily be able to dig herself out of, and that makes it an interesting time for Jimmy’s family to visit as a result of Gretchen not listening to what Jimmy asked her, which was expressly not to mail what he gave her unless he didn’t find his writing on time. I would have liked to see a more animated Gretchen bond with his family and ultimately defend him under other circumstances, but this show’s more serious focus has her hopelessly trapped in her state, with Jimmy not even close to realizing that he’s doing all the wrong things. Jimmy, however, did look like a saint compared to his family members, excepting the one sister who seems to actually be a good person. His other two sisters, on other hand, are horrible people, and their trip to the supermarket was entirely absurd, with them doing things that even Jimmy wouldn’t dare to do. His father expressing mild support for his life, even just for a moment, was nice, but I think it’s good that this nightmare visit only lasted a few days. I’m not sure why Colleen was nowhere to be found as Edgar gave an attractive young woman a tour of the city, and I preferred Lindsay’s activities, which involved helping Sam with some truly excellent lyrics and partnering with him on his latest track. The two of them should have found each other sooner – they have a lot in common and can do some good ridiculous work together.

Monday, November 16, 2015

What I’m Watching: Modern Family

Modern Family: Season 7, Episode 6 “The More You Ignore Me” (C+)

This was one of those episodes where I noticed the interviews with all of the characters more and felt that they were guiding the storyline more than it was guiding itself, which I don’t consider to be a good thing. It appears that, even with two weeks off, we haven’t lost this ducks plotline, and so that continues to be there in the background. What we get along with it is Luke being arrested and his car impounded, which led to Phil spending a long time on an automated call trying to get the car back and Luke feeling that the universe has turned against him since everyone in the world is finding luck with the ladies and he is not. It’s no surprise that his arrest record ultimately landed him just the attention he wanted. I didn’t expect to see Dylan preempt Haley and realize that she was breaking up with him because of his lack of sophistication and the fact that he’s not Andy, but I’m not sure where that leaves them. The other developments – Alex being spotted coming home under a few confusing circumstances, Jay trying to record his spot, Gloria remembering her recipe because of violent outbursts reminiscent of her childhood, and Mitchell considering whether or not to take a job offer with people he didn’t like – were all less than exciting, and nothing really landed. The end of this episode provided one of the more sentimental wrap-ups, trying to tie everything together and put a nice little educational family dynamic bow on it.

What I’m Watching: Casual

Casual: Season 1, Episode 7 “Home” (B+)

It’s so interesting to see Alex in his current predicament since I’d imagine that, in any other case, he would be beyond thrilled to go hunting for another woman to partake in a threesome with him and his very attractive girlfriend. The problem is that he wants Emmy all to himself, and she’s not budging at all on her connection to Jake even though she knows how much it bothers him. I do love that Alex brought Emmy and their new friend to Leo’s house, giving him the night of his life while Alex found himself feeling useless as a fourth wheel. Valerie’s date with Michael actually went pretty well, though the news that Laura was the star of a sex tape sent her gunning for the clueless Emil, who was ultimately smart enough to figure out that Laura was the one who recorded it. Laura was so hung up on Michael and the fact that he wasn’t responding to her text that she couldn’t do anything else with her friends, and that was the unfortunate development that led to her ill-advised decision to go to Michael’s house and then walk in when he didn’t answer the door. Shouting at Michael that he was supposed to sleep with her instead was intense, and he responded exactly as he should have, though there were definitely indicators that he was behaving as he knew he probably shouldn’t be. It’s going to be very tough for Valerie and Laura to get back to a good place, and I suspect that Valerie is going to be more apologetic even though she couldn’t have known that Laura was interested in her teacher and wouldn’t have approved of it even if she had.

Pilot Review: Donny

Donny (USA)
Premiered November 10 at 10:30pm

I’ve seen this show advertised a lot over the past few months on buses and signs all around New York City. The tagline “Love thy selfie” didn’t inspire much confidence, and this show is about what I expected. I have no interest in watching talk shows of any kind, particularly the soapier and vainer ones, and as a result this mockery of such things isn’t too appealing. Having a protagonist who does a whole show on how someone sending a partially nude photo of herself ruined her life and then does the same thing himself has a certain entertainment value, but it’s just ultimately not that funny. There’s more to this show than I might have expected, like the fact that Donny has two children who he ferries to school on a regular basis even though they don’t speak to him. Having three assistants is also a superb sign of self-involvedness, and he seems to behave in a rather subservient way to all the women in his life. I’m not familiar with the real Donny Deutsch, and maybe if I knew him that might make me more interested in this show. I do give USA credit for offering the most diverse range of programming on television right now, since this doesn’t feel like any of the network’s other comedies, past or present. That said, I don’t think it’s a particularly good thing in this case, since this is an equally harmless and missable show that just doesn’t feel all that original.

How will it work as a series? Donny nearly tanked his entire career in episode one, and so I can only imagine how much more trouble he’ll get himself into in future episodes. Most of it should be relatively predictable, and some of it might even be funny.
How long will it last? I haven’t been able to find much of anything in the way of how the show performed in the ratings, but every review I can find is not favorable. I think USA has found some success with other shows it’s recently debuted and continued to air, and therefore I think this one will complete its initial order and then fade into obscurity.

Pilot grade: C-