Monday, November 17, 2014

TV Storytime!

 

Greetings, TV Tourists!

I had a little time on my hands the other day and decided to write a story incorporating most of the current TV show titles in it as possible.  Enjoy!

ONCE UPON A TIME there were 2 BROKE GIRLS, Callie and Sally, who lived modestly - no SUITS to their name - in a little SLEEPY HOLLOW in the woods.  Life had not been easy for them; actually, it had been a veritable SHARK TANK, but rather than seek REVENGE against their misfortune - which would feel like an ARROW to their hearts - they dreamed about being happy, singing on the moon, DANCING WITH THE STARS and living in a CASTLE in the sky.

One day they decided to expand their horizons and go on an adventure.  They traveled from GOTHAM to NASHVILLE (though it was a little too HOT IN CLEVELAND for their liking).  But a STALKER following them separated them (as the actions of CRIMINAL MINDS will often do).

Callie got help from a DOCTOR WHO brought her to THE RED BAND SOCIETY, who taught her how to be a SURVIVOR.

Sally set out on a series of COVERT AFFAIRS, eventually meeting a FAMILY GUY who she married.  Alas, PARENTHOOD eluded them for years.  Not even reading GREY's ANATOMY cover to cover gave them a medical explanation.  They pursued a SUPERNATURAL method after finding a series of VAMPIRE DIARIES in an occult bookstore, but THE FLASH of dark magic they encountered - it felt like a SCORPION bite - had them reconsidering that course of action before it became a public SCANDAL.  Besides, they'd rather run through life than join THE WALKING DEAD!

So they posted a SELFIE of them content as a happy couple online.  Callie saw it and ran an AMAZING RACE to reunite with her.

When they saw each other at last, they couldn't believe how good they looked - either could be AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL!  But they came to the conclusion that would put THE BIG BANG THEORY to shame:

If they ever set out on a journey again, they would have one of MARVEL'S AGENTS OF SHIELD as an escort and have HAWAII FIVE-0 on speed dial!

(Those last two were challenging to work in. MADAM SECRETARY was too much of a stretch!)  :)

As always, Happy Viewing!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Congrats on #200 Supernatural ... and Thanks


Supernatural's 200th episode aired tonight, and, as it has been called for months, it truly was a love letter to the fans.  And it was awesome!

This show loves to go meta, and has done so numerous times with hilarious results, and tonight definitely earned its place on that mantle.


An all-girls high school produced a musical stage version based on the Supernatural books, written by Carver Edlund, as introduced in the Season 4 episode "The Monster at the End of This Book."  (For those out of the know, Chuck Shirley (the aforementioned Carver, his pen name, played by Rob Benedict), a prophet of the Lord, was the author of the Winchester chronicles - aka Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean's (Jensen Ackles) lives - which were published as a series of books which have a massive cult following - another nod to Supernatural's dedicated, passionate fan base).

Turns out the goddess Calliope is a fan of Supernatural as well, and has come to enjoy the show and, after the curtain falls, eat the author (guest star Katie Sarife).  She's the Monster of the Week, but second fiddle to all the in-jokes, easter eggs and overall nods to the long-running series.

There are some wonderful brotherly moments - reminders of why we the fans love the show - some true belly-deep LOL moments and a great jaw-dropping surprise at the end.

Thanks to the PTBs at Supernatrual for a truly terrific 200th ep.  And congrats to the cast and crew for an amazing run.  Here's to the next 200!


Supernatural airs Tuesdays at 9pm on the CW.

BTW, also celebrating 10 seasons this year are CBS' Criminal Minds and ABC's Grey's Anatomy.  2005 was a hell of a year for new TV!



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thoughts - Supernatural Season 10 So Far

 

After last season's incredible, shocking finale - Dean (Jensen Ackles) becomes a demon after he dies thanks to the Mark of Cain - I couldn't wait to see what happens this season.  It was a long summer waiting, relieved by a little sneak peak at Comic-con in July.  I was thrilled Ackles would be directing another episode, in this case the episode where Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean have a major confrontation after being initially separated at the season's start.

Brief catch-up:  Sam brought Dean's body back to their bunker and was determined to find a way to bring him back (they do it a lot, so there was no reason to doubt), starting with Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard).  But Crowley was a step ahead, talking to Dean about his new life as a demon, and our last shot is of Dean's new demon black eyes. 

 

Cut to the premiere, which brings us weeks later.  Dean had taken off with new BFF Crowley for a life of drinking, karaoke and general debauchery. 


 

All he left Sam was a note telling his bro to let him go (yeah right).  Sam began a dark journey to find Dean and bring him home to cure him (yep, they learned how to cure demons at the end of season 8).  Crowley really came to Dean to establish the perfect Hell (he's the King of it) but Dean was happy just being his new freely evil self.  Crowley soon realized he couldn't contain Dean and went to give him back to Sam, who managed to capture his rogue brother, bring him home and begin the treatment.

 

Cut to last night.  The big confrontation.  It was a rather tense hour and Dean said things to Sam that may have repercussions later.  But unfortunately what I was hoping would happen when the season started - that the writers would find a way to keep Demon Dean around and have him still be the good Dean we've come to know and love - some kind of balance - didn't.  Instead Sam managed to cure Dean by the end of the hour.  Only episode 3 and we've brought everything pretty much back to normal.

It's too quick, too easy a fix for me, and too soon.  I was hoping for more.  They have hinted of future complications, being that Dean still carries the Mark, and they introduced who is to be the likely Big Bad for the season, but I just wished we could have stayed on the other path for longer.  But you know I love me some Dean-and-Sam-back-in-action-together ... action, and the season is still very young, but that's just my thoughts on last night's developments.

Supernatural airs Tuesdays at 9pm on the CW.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The New TV Season So Far

Greetings, TV Tourists!

So we are several weeks into the new TV season and most of the new shows have premiered and are at least a couple of episodes in.  I've been able to watch most of the pilots and first eps and surprisingly I'm actually sticking with a great deal of them as they continue to draw me into their onscreen families and storylines.

Stand-outs for me include:

 

Also still-worth-coming-back-to:


 

Then there's one losing ground with me:


 

Had high hopes, but when I'm writing or doing other stuff while it's on, it's never a good sign.

And I've dropped:


 

Not that it's not good, and I am a big Shonda Rhimes fan, but with all I'm watching, something had to go, and this was the first one I felt no pangs over missing.

Of course, I still have all the shows that have returned!  Just a few include:



 

And more.
Yeah.
I watch a LOT of TV.
But hey, at least I get to share it with you!

Happy continued viewing, Tourists!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Review - American Horror Story: Freak Show

 

Just in time for Halloween, the latest incarnation of FX's American Horror Story saga has premiered, and man, whoever thinks this anthology series can get any more twisted, cross any more lines of insane freakiness or just get any more f**ked up doesn't know this show's pedigree ... or penchant for addictive viewing.


THE LOWDOWN


Like its predecessors,  American Horror Story: Freak Show focuses on a specific group of people in a particular place and time (well, actually Asylum covered two time period, but some of the same characters in each, but I digress).  Here it's 1952 in the sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida.  We're taken into the world of a small time carnival, run by Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) and its assorted attraction of "curiosities", including a two-headed woman (Sarah Paulson), a three-breasted woman (Angela Bassett), a bearded lady (Kathy Bates), a strong man (Michael Chiklis, The Shield, No Ordinary Family), and others.  Their arrival in town coincides with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike, embarking them on a desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience. 


With each of the AHS series, one thing I've always loved - and envied - is that the same actors get to return each time to play entirely new characters.  It's an actors dream, like a nationally televised community theatre troupe.  And those actors are among some of the best, embracing full force whatever is thrown at them.  I mean, do you think Paulson would ever have imagined she'd play a woman with two heads?  But I have no doubt these folks are having a blast.  This season is rumored to be Lange's last, but how can she walk away from a show that allows her to be such a broad array of characters - it's seriously never the same show twice ... except in its aforementioned twisted sicky goodness.

Additionally returning for another round are AHS first string players Evan Peters, Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) and Emma Roberts, with others who could pop up unexpectedly.  

 

And joining the Freak Show cast - appropriately so - is 20-year-old Indian actress Jyoti Amge, who is the world's shortest woman, standing a mere 2'6" tall.  

From moment one Paulson's dual-headed character says it all:

"Dear Diary:  it was a Saturday, the third of September that the world as I had known was forever doomed.  The shadows that had sheltered me were banished by the blinding light of scrutiny.  I knew I was about to enter the gates of Hell, but like the inescapable pull of gravity, there was nothing I could do about it." 

*insert shudder here* 

I really liked the original AHS, didn't care for the second, Asylum, and my favorite was the last, Coven.  I both know what and what not to expect from the series, and so far I'm intrigued by Freak Show, especially watching the actors embrace their respective oddities, which so far are created masterfully by both make-up and CGI.   The cinematography is very Kubrick-esque, which definitely works for the genre.  I particularly like how a split-screen is used to differentiate which Paulson sister we're focusing on, and Paulson's brilliance at making them so distinct in their differing personalities (but it looks like it was rather uncomfortable for her, having to slant her head to the side much to accommodate the addition of a second head ... even writing that is so WTF!)  

As always, you can count on the opening title sequence to be unsettling, and this gets that job done in spades.  The score is equally chilling and includes a lot of maddening, taunting versions of carnival music.  And naturally you have to have a killer clown.  A creepy, dirty, horrifying, disturbing, frightening, did I mention creepy? clown.  I hate clowns, and now I really, REALLY hate them.  This guy is terrifying and I am so very very glad he's not chasing me (though he might be tonight in my nightmares).

*insert really big shudder here*

I'm not going to say more ... this show definitely can speak for itself and frankly, I don't have the words.  All I can say is, it's wicked creepy good viewing - with the lights completely on!

BOTTOM LINEBe afraid, be very afraid ... of missing this show!


 American Horror Story: Freak Show airs Wednesdays at 10pm on FX.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review - The Flash

 

The CW's The Flash is one of the new shows I have been anticipating the most.  The Flash is my favorite DC character (Must See:  the animated show Justice League, with Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum perfectly voicing the character).  Plus this particular Flash was cleverly and well introduced last season in an episode of Arrow, another great CW show which begins its third season tomorrow.  And its been getting great buzz.  So does it live up to the hype?

THE LOWDOWN



The Flash tells the story of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin, Glee, 90210), a brilliant but awkward CSI investigator in Central City who while on a visit to S.T.A.R. Labs gets struck by lightning while standing next to a particle accelerator.  The result:  he is endowed with super speed.   His life is saved by S.T.A.R. Labs scientists Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker, Justified, Necessary Roughness), Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and lab boss Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh, Trust Me, Eli Stone, Ed).  Together they help Barry begin his rise to becoming his city's masked guardian/protector.

Unlike his green hooded neighbor, Barry doesn't become a brooding vigilante, but rather embraces his new powers with enthusiasm and joy and has hope that he can make a positive difference (he and Batman would so not hang out together socially). 

Of course, this is a superhero origin story, so there almost always has to be some element of tragedy, and so goes it here - Barry's mother was murdered when he was a boy and his father Henry (clever casting:  John Wesley Shipp, who played The Flash on TV in the early 90s) has been falsely accused and imprisoned for the crime.  


Barry was raised by his foster father, Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin, Smash, Law & Order) and foster sister Iris (Candice Patton, The Game).  Interesting fact:  there are two main Flashes in the DC universe, Barry Allen and Wally West.  To see Barry's foster family is named West makes me wonder if Wally will be worked in somewhere down the line (Wally was the Flash featured in the animated Justice League).


The Flash still has the snazzy red suit, though it more resembles Daredevil's in color.  Alas, another voiceover narrative - just gonna be a given with most shows now, huh? - but I do appreciate Gustin's gusto (heh) in telling his character's story.  I kind of see Barry as the Peter Parker of the DC world, a nerdy, awkward, super smart science geek misfit, least likely to become a superhero, but does, and an awesome one at that.  I love the pacing of the banter, delivered so naturally by the cast.  Gustin is adorable and immediately likeable and credible in the lead role.  The fact that he has a crush on his foster sister could be creepy if done wrong, but here it's done right because Iris senses it but doesn't call him on it or make him feel bad, she just supports him and treats him with sisterly love and respect.

The pilot reshows Barry's accident that we watched on Arrow last season early on, then immediately and seamlessly jumping ahead nine months to the moment he wakes from his coma.  Again, the pacing here is excellent as Barry is quickly filled in on what happened to him and others around him (the storm cloud that struck Barry also struck others, hence - like the meteor shower on Smallville (another great CW show ... man, I've loved so many of the net's programs!) - leading to the creation of other superbeings, many of which will become Barry's future nemeses. 

I liked watching Barry's reaction to his new powers - he freaks out at first, takes a quick run, then simply says "Awesome."  He's okay letting his new lab friends right in on the news and enlists them to help him find out just what he can do.  It's refreshing ... the hero having a support time right off the bat instead of the drawn out who's-gonna-discover-the-secret-first? scenario.  The effects are done really well, opting to use slow-motion as the way to show us Barry's point of view (everything slows down for him, even though he's moving hundreds of miles per second).  And did I mention Gustin's adorable? There's also a very "cool" cameo by Arrow's Stephen Amell ...

I don't want to give away too much more, because I think you should check this fun, funny, action-packed series for yourself.  Yes, I know, there are a lot of comic hero shows on right now, but this is a great addition to that, and I think the CW was smart not to overload one night with both this and Arrow, but rather makes The Flash the new lead-in for Supernatural, leaving The Originals to lead in to Arrow on Wednesdays, again not overloading like shows on the same night, but keeping the other vampire show, The Vampire Diaries, on Thursday.  What can I say ... I think the CW gets it right a lot. 

BOTTOM LINE:  New episodes of The Flash can't air fast enough for me!




The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8pm on the CW.

Monday, October 6, 2014

It's Almost Here ... Supernatural Season 10!

 

You should know that as I write this, I have a very big smile on my face.  To think that my most favorite show is going into its tenth season ... squee!  Plus I'm watching an awesome retrospective/recap special - aptly titled A Very Special Supernatural Special - on the CW. 

QUICK LOWDOWN

Supernatural was born a horror story and has become so much more.  Ultimately it's about the Winchester brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki, Gilmore Girls) and Dean (Jensen Ackles, Dawson's Creek, Smallville), and their never-ending battle against evil.  Over the years they have fought demons, angels, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, a lot of urban legends, and even each other.  They've both died and come back countless times, they've been to heaven, hell, and purgatory.  It's been equally scary, dramatic ... and hysterical.  Supernatural has some truly funny episodes, especially the meta ones (where real-life stuff is worked in, like the Supernatural conventions that take place around the world, or when Sam and Dean are sent to an alternate universe where they are seen by everyone as the actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles). 


All of these elements wouldn't be as amazing as they are without those guys, who have fantastic bro chemistry on and off screen (they're both Texas boys).  Throw in a fantastic roster of characters played by gem actors like regulars Jim Beaver, Misha Collins and Mark A. Sheppard and guests like Felicia Day, Richard Speight, Jr., Osric Chau, Rob Benedict, Chad Lindberg, Marc Pelligrino, Sebastian Roche, James Patrick Stuart, Lauren Cohan, Alaina Huffman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Curtis Armstrong, Kim Rhodes, Kurt Fuller, Mitch Pileggi, Alona Tal, Julian Richinsgs, DJ Qualls, Fredric Lehne, Travis Wester, A.J. Buckley, Steven Williams, Alaina Huffman, Katie Cassidy and Genevieve Padalecki (yep, true love - and later two boys - was born behind the scenes of the show), and you've got a formula for greatness.

Let's not forget one more very important character: 

  Dean's 1967 Chevy Impala.

I have been with show since day one.  After I saw a terrific pre-series teaser on the KTLA Morning News, I knew it was a show I had to give a look at.  I liked it for the first few episodes, but it was a little episode called "Home" that made me a bonafide fan - and forever Dean Girl (more on that in a minute).

Those first few season renewals were nerve-wracking.  Sometimes it wouldn't be renewed until the very last minute, and it was agonizing.  But the WB and later the CW kept it alive, and THANK YOU for that.  Then there was regular talk that creator Eric Kripke had a five-year plan for the show and was likely leaving after that fifth season.  So whether the show would continue on beyond him was, again, sweat-inducing.  But it did continue.

What followed were a few seasons with some very strong storylines and episodes but also quite a few not-so-much.  The show got to be very angel heavy, the Winchesters were fighting and defeating some incredibly big bads a little too easily, and I, a true fan, began to waiver ... and hated myself for it.  But I stayed loyal and true and had faith that my beloved show would find its way again.

And I think it has, if last season's finale is any indication.

Two words:  Demon Dean.


I've watched a few sneak peeks and promos and the Supernatural panel at this year's Comic-Con gave us a full exclusive clip of an advanced episode (directed by Ackles, who has directed three previous episodes), and all of it has made me so friggin excited for the new season.  It's looking to completely reinvigorate the series and take us on an awesome - and knuckle-clenching - new ride. 

I'm so psyched!!  Is it tomorrow yet??

Supernatural Season 10 premieres tomorrow in its regular time slot, Tuesdays at 9pm on the CW.

And, a little postscript ...