Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dr. Who

I’m sure my fellow blogger may comment on this at some point as well, but I wanted to post about the newest Dr. Who.

The BBC did a great post about the new Dr. Who (Peter Capaldi) and what it means for the series as a whole, as Capaldi becomes the 12th regeneration and a time lord only gets 12 according to various references through the series. But I don’t doubt that the continued support of the series will manifest itself in some way to mean the series will continue. It is television, after all.

 

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Elementary

Photo Courtesy of CBS

 

 

This is a few days late, but I wanted to weigh in on the latest Sherlock Holmes remake. I was looking forward to seeing this, as in recent years we’ve been deluged with both movies and tv remakes.

 

 

 

I won’t discuss the movie here, but I will discuss Elementary’s main competition (though not direct) – the BBC/PBS Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch brilliantly playing Sherlock in a modern-day version set in London with Martin Freeman (star of the upcoming The Hobbit and many varied British films and shows including The Office) also great as Dr. Watson (sidenote: I was sad at the lack of Emmys for this series – It’s really just lovely and should have won, in my opinion). (Extra sidenote: if you like British tv, check out what a fellow blogger thinks of Sherlock.)

 

So the new Elementary airs on CBS on Thursday nights, is set in modern-day New York City, and stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock, Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson, and also starring Aidan Quinn as a police captain. Casting-wise, I have to say I like it. I like the fresh take of a female Dr. Watson, and Aidan Quinn is always great as a policeman (I would also check out a one-season series, Prime Suspect, in which he also starred). Jonny Lee Miller – I am a fan of some of his work, and I do like that they still have an Englishman in the role even though it’s in NYC. He does a good job playing the annoyingly observant Sherlock, and Lucy does a fair job playing opposite him. It was just the pilot (and pilots tend to differ from the rest of the season), so I’ll be checking out the next few episodes before I make a final call on this one, but I’m hoping that Jonny and Lucy can find a way to better play off each other’s characters.

 

I also hope that Lucy’s character, Dr. Watson, really gets to shine as a strong female lead to Jonny’s Sherlock. What’s the point of having a female as an influential, traditionally male literary character if you aren’t going to play up that aspect of the role? Dr. Watson is tough (had to be to put up with Sherlock and roll with whatever harebrained scheme he hatched to catch the killer), so I’d like to see Lucy showcase that more in the coming episodes. One reason why I love Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson is because he makes his character essential to the story (or maybe that’s the writing? Or a combination of the two?) – you know when you watch an episode of Sherlock, Freeman’s character will inevitably be involved in Sherlock’s scheme and the final dramatic scene. I don’t see Jonny and Lucy’s characters at that point – but, as I said, it’s only been one episode. We’ve only really seen the book cover, so let’s dig into a few chapters and see how it goes.

 

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned –

– M

 

The Mindy Project

Tis the season … the season for fresh new comedies, dramas, and the hopes and dreams of potential new stars and starlets to jump from obscurity into a life of fame of fortune (among other things). Now the Fall TV Season is upon us, I’ll (hopefully) be posting about the new shows out there, the returning favorites, and which ones I like. If anyone out there is reading, here’s hoping you enjoy a review from a random person on the internets (aka me)!

 

Today, class, I’m going to talk about The Mindy Project, which premiered last night on Fox (though those in the know could have watched the premiere through Hulu, OnDemand, or other arenas). I’ll get right to the point – I loved it. I loved that it was funny, sad, (mildly) dramatic, and basically like a romantic comedy but in tv form. Now we’ve seen shows like this before – the “will they or won’t they” shows – but this is a fresh take on it. What I loved the most about the show, however, was that it featured a female lead who’s a little bit tanner than normal (and no, I’m not talking Jersey Shore tan, but tan as the people of Southeast Asia are, and as I am). I love seeing a character I can related to on several different levels.

 

Another thing which struck me about the show, was the lovely writing. Any of us who watched Mindy Kaling on The Office, may or may not know that she also wrote for the show. She also has a book out now – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – a book which I also related to and highly recommend buying or borrowing from your local library (my local library even let me e-borrow the book for my Kindle). Watching the premiere, I felt a lot of connections to her book – as a woman, as a child of immigrants, as someone who enjoys humor, as someone who has had back luck with men, etc. So if you like the show, you’ll love the book, and vice versa.

 

Need more proof of Ms. Kaling’s talent? Just ask any one of her almost 2 million fans on Twitter.

 

I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. As we tv addicts know, pilots often differ from the main season. The reason being that pilots are shot first, then picked up by the network (or not), and, if it is picked up, then a whole season is produced. I’ll be hoping the season stays as strong as the pilot. I can’t wait to see how her relationships progress (especially with the “will they or won’t they” male lead on the show, Chris Messina, and the “Mr. Right Now” lead, Ed Weeks).

 

Well, until next time – stay tuned, my friends!

 

MK

Jumping the shark

So lately I’ve been thinking about shows that have “jumped the shark.” For those who don’t know, “jumping the shark” refers to shows whose plots have strayed so far from something plausible that they have now begun a slow descent into cancellation. The phrase stems from the tv series Happy Days that starred Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Scott Baio, and others. In the show, Henry Winkler played the famous Fonzi, a leather jacket-wearing tough guy who had a soft heart underneath the tough exterior. In the show’s latter seasons, Fonzi, who followed the gang to Hawaii, water skis (or jumps) over a shark tank while wearing his leather jacket. Do I personally think it’s realistic that anyone (much less the perpetually cool Fonzi) would water ski in Hawaii while wearing a leather jacket? No. But I also take offense to the statement – I don’t think it was the downfall of the show. It had been changing for some time and, when Ron Howard left to become a director, of course the dynamic of the show changed. But all shows change as they age – just look at Bones. But today I’m going to talk about a show I believe has jumped the shark – and way too young: Raising Hope.

For those who haven’t seen Raising Hope, the show follows a poor Southern-esque family, the Chances (including Great-Grandma, Virginia & Burt and their son Jimmy), as they navigate life and raise Hope, Jimmy’s daughter with a serial killer (though he didn’t know she was a serial killer at the time they met). The show was created by the same guy who did My Name is Earl, so that should give you an idea about the type of show it is.

Now let me just say: I have been a fan of the show since it started. I love the cast and the situations they have gotten themselves into. Now in its 2nd season, the show seems to be moving away from the actual raising Hope storylines, but last night’s episode, in my opinion, totally jumped the shark. SPOILER ALERT: So the serial killer, Lucy, who was executed in the first season has come back to life. What?! And apparently Jimmy and Lucy got married while she was pregnant – What?! So not only have they invented a marriage to throw a kink in the Jimmy-Sabrina romance (which we spent all of last season rooting for in the will they-won’t they storyline and they had just gotten together a few episodes back), but they also “rearranged” most of the Jimmy-Lucy storyline they introduced in season one. Just look at the pilot episode – Hope is some months old wearing a prison jumper (having just been given to Jimmy when Lucy is executed in front of both Jimmy and Hope), Hope is just then brought home, and Virginia & Burt are just then introduced to Hope. It just doesn’t fit. One of my pet peeves is when your standard situational comedy or dramedy goes off the rails and the plot does something crazy. We expect these sorts of storylines from shows like Lost or Heroes that are meant to keep us thinking and guessing until the end. Crazy storylines are the norm on shows like those. But we wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) find those storylines in sitcoms or dramedies. Some of the best sitcoms in history – M*A*S*H, I Love Lucy, even Friends or The Big Bang Theory wouldn’t be daft enough to do that.

Will I still watch the show? Yes, though I won’t look forward to it as much as I do now. It may stay saved in my Hulu Plus queue a little longer before I watch it. I hope the storylines get better – I really like the show and hope it gets renewed for another season.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – what shows do you wish hadn’t jumped the shark?

Thanks for reading!

Big music fan, so I will definitely check out the the bands on this list I have not heard from yet.

If you’re a fan of listening to live music and doing who knows what in a city that makes you choose your own adventures, then there’s a good chance you’re a fan of SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST. After we endured a 46-hour trek from Toronto to Austin via train last Spring, the minute we landed into the home of the Longhorns and the somewhat unauthorized birthplace of independent sound, our hearts sank into our chests, and the neverending roller coaster of new music began. The weekend festival prides itself in main attractions, making SXSW the local town band, but the one you will forever love. Dusting off this year’s eclectic lineup injected with hip hop, garage rock, punk, R&B and electronica, here’s our picks – aside from favs Titus Andronicus, Santigold and Fiona Apple – for artists to tune into.

Click here for dates, partiesand a schedule for the…

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So it’s not just American television …

So lately I have been trying to catch up on some British shows I have missed in the past several years.  Doctor WhoGavin & Stacey … a whole host of them.  And I realized that it’s not just American television that cancels really good television – the British do it as well.  I realized this while watching a British series, Monday Monday, but there are other examples I could give.

For those who haven’t seen it, Monday Monday is a show set in an office environment (namely the headquarters of a supermarket chain).  It follows Sally in her quest for love and acceptance at work, and, of course, the guy she fancies works there, too. Now, given, Monday Monday isn’t the best show (on either side of the ocean) that I have ever seen, but it is slightly reminiscent of Office Space and I really loved it. It made me sad that it lasted only 1 season.  Now given my previous post about romantic tension, you might think that I wouldn’t like a series that focused on a “will they, won’t they” scenario, but actually I love them.  I loved watching the main character, Sally, try to get together with her colleague, Steven.  Sally reminded me a bit of Mary Tyler Moore. (Fun Fact for those who have seen The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Did you know that when MTM started the Mary Tyler Moore Show, her character, Mary Richards, was supposed to be a divorcee?  Instead they made her an ex-fiance because they didn’t want the audience to think she had “divorced” Rob Petrie – her television husband from The Dick Van Dyke Show.) Sally’s character is an ex-fiance at the start of the series too (something I can sadly relate to), and the show follows her as she tries to make a career and find a new guy (something I can also relate to).  You really feel yourself pulling for Sally and even for her and Steven as a couple.

But I have seen other examples of “Brilliant but Cancelled” shows (in our modern-age, think 1990+) in America as well. A list of some of my favorites: Touching Evil (Jeffrey Donovan pre-Burn Notice), Mr. Sterling (Josh Brolin as a congressman), Firefly (Nathan Fillion, pre-Dr. Horrible and Castle), My So-Called Life (Claire Danes pre-almost everything else she’s done), Accidentally on Purpose (Jenna Elfman post-Dharma & Greg) Love Monkey (Tom Cavanaugh post-Ed), Life on Mars (a remake of a British show with the same name), The Worst Week of My Life (also a British import), Keen Eddie (Sienna Miller and Mark Valley), Freaks & Geeks (too many stars in their formative years to name), Knights of Prosperity (Sofia Vergara pre-Modern Family & Donal Logue post-Grounded for Life), The Job (Denis Leary pre-Rescue Me), The Unusuals (Jeremy Renner pre-Hurt Locker and Amber Tamblyn post-Joan of Arcadia), Kings (so any great stars and brilliant dialogue) – and the list goes on and on.

And then there are the shows that made it a few seasons, but sadly no more – the top of this list is Arrested Development, one of my all time favorite series ever (although it has been recently resurrected for a new “season” to be aired on Netflix, but more on that in another post).  You can also think of Daria (and I do believe the cancellation of Daria signaled the official end of “good” MTV), Saving Grace (cancelled, no doubt, because of the cost associated with having a stellar cast), Pushing Daisies, Veronica Mars, Joan of Arcardia, Better Off Ted – and again the list goes on and on.

In British television (and this is also by no means a comprehensive list, especially as I don’t get to watch British shows on a regular basis), you’ve got Black Adder, Faulty Towers (an oldie but a goodie), Coupling (which I put here because I still would have loved a 5th “season” and did not enjoy the American remake and neither did the rest of America), Mr. Bean (because Rowan Atkinson is a comedic genius even if you couldn’t tell that from his “Americanized” movie roles), Absolutely Fabulous (aka AbFab, because any number of seasons just isn’t enough – same goes for television with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry).  And the list goes on and on here as well.

What shows do you wish would come back?  Let me know in the comments – I’d love to talk tv with you!

-Mehv

The romantic tension is … nonexistent really

So lately I have been wondering why some of my favorite television shows drag on the romantic tension between the leads.  As I watched Monday’s episode of Castle, I was once again reminded of this.  I know this type of storyline won’t go away, but that doesn’t mean I can’t put in my two cents, so here they are.

One reason I’ve heard is that us as viewers will lose interest.  That we’ll lose interest if the characters get together is ridiculous, in my opinion.  (Another, similar train of thought is that we’ll also lose interest if a character has a baby – but that’s for another blog post.) It’s true that some storylines change and tension does ebb, but not every show becomes a disaster when the leads get together.  And for us shippers out here in the land of tv viewing, we love it.  I can see how networks may take an example like Moonlighting to prove their point – but really wasn’t that more about the chemistry between Bruce and Cybill and not really the plot?  Was anyone really watching at that point anyway?  Personally, the Taming of the Shrew episode was one of the best, and it went slowly downhill from there.  But I digress.

Let’s consider another case study: Friends.  The end of the first season, Rachel finds out that Ross likes her. Their relationship went back and forth for seasons as they got together, broke up, were on a break, accidentally married each other in Vegas, divorced, had a baby, and more. By the time the series finale came around, we knew they would get together, just not how. It’s why we stuck by the show (besides all the comedy) – to see those two crazy kids get together.

Consider more modern fare, such as Bones.  Season 4 ended with essentially an hour long dream sequence in which the leads get together, but in the show’s reality did not actually get together for another 2 seasons.  That season 4 finale whet our appetites for more. And while this season’s plot lines aren’t as edgy as 4 or even 6 seasons ago, I’m okay with that.  I believe that characters in television should evolve, change, and grow as people in real life tend to.

Consider another modern favorite, The Good Wife.  A really great show, who got the characters together at the end of season 2.  Season 2, people! And the writing is still fantastic, the show’s still lovely, and we all can’t wait to see what happens next. We all know those 2 crazy kids will have their ups and downs (Alicia is still married, after all) and they may not even end up together, but we love seeing them as a couple onscreen.

The whole notion of romantic tension didn’t even really start until the late ’80s, in my opinion.  We all remember The Wonder Years, right? Will Kevin and Winnie get together? Will they break up? Will they be together? And then in the final episode, via voice over by Daniel Stern, we learn (SPOILER ALERT!) that Kevin and Winnie do not spend the rest of their lives together, as with most high school sweethearts in real life.

And why do I even care?  Because for me, who sadly cannot even afford cable anymore and suffers through the debacle that is online tv viewing, television is still my form of relaxation.  It helps me forget about my crappy, abusive boss and makes me happy or, at the very least, distracts me.  And isn’t that why we watch television anyway?

I could go on and on about this, as there are hundreds of television shows I can reference here, but the main point of this article is: speed up the romance on Castle. I’m beginning to like the books better than the show, because at least those have the leads in a relationship (with ups and downs). And when you do get those two together, please make it worth the wait …

Thanks for reading!

-MK

dvd rentals ….

So lately I have been wondering why there is a difference between the DVD you buy and the ones you rent.  Why am I denied special features simply because I’m trying beforing I’m buying?  I, like most Americans, are still spending money to be part of a rental service such as Netflix or Redbox (as opposed to those who steal illegally) – is our rental money worth less than the money I might use to purchase the movie?

With television, particularly network television, you can easily find an episode online either through Hulu or the network’s website, or even the recommendation of a friend, and see if a show is any good before buying the DVD.  But not so with movies.  With movies, it’s almost as though we are effectively being penalized because we won’t just buy a movie outright.  I don’t know about everyone, I just know about myself and I can’t afford to go see every movie in the theater – ticket prices are simply too high for that.  I rent (along with many other cash-strapped young professionals in my generation) to see which movies I really love and then I’ll buy them.

One thing I don’t think the movie industry has realized is that the conversation around the watercooler isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago.  Sure, you may discuss the latest episode of a tv show.  But for many of my fellow under-employed friends it’s also discussing a movie which may have come out over a year ago, that someone just recently rented and loved.

So, back to my original point, I don’t think I should be penalized for renting instead of buying.  I am one of those who love the extras on dvds – the commentaries, gag reels, behind-the-scenes info and more.  Sometimes it’s those extras that push me over the top when I’m deciding if I should buy the movie or just save it as a rental if I wanted to watch it again. Realistically speaking, I don’t think the movie industry would lose gobs of money over including special features in rentals and, as I have seen rentals which include special features in the past and a few rentals in the present who do the same, I have to wonder why all companies don’t include them?  I know I’d like to see the figures arguing against DVD extras, but maybe that’s just me.

Until next time …

so lately ….

So lately I have been wondering about different things in my life.  That includes heavy stuff – such as why people act the way they do and why do certain things happen – to lighter thoughts – such as why my favorite characters on tv do the things they do.  This blog will be about those musings.  If anyone out there is reading this, please let me know what you think (good or bad). I’d love to connect with you!

 

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