Sunday, November 10, 2013

This is Mary Stuart

Have you been watching Reign on the CW?   Do you like shows based in historical fact?  If so, you might want to look into this one.  This is Mary Stuart (Mary Queen of Scots) as a teenager.  The story begins with her arrival in France to secure her marriage with the king's son (and future King of France), Francis.  It turns out to be a more difficult task than she anticipated.  Scotland is feeling the pressure of England wanting to take over so she really needs an alliance in the form of marriage to Francis.  However, the king is not quite ready to throw in with Scotland.  But, he isn't ready to let the alliance go, either.  So, there is plenty of political maneuvering as both sides try to get what they feel is best for THEIR country.

What does the potential groom think?  Well, he is attracted to Mary, but reluctant to give up being a bachelor.  Plus, he, too, places the welfare of France first.  Throw in Francis' half-brother, Bash, who appears to have some romantic feelings for Mary, and things start to heat up.  The groom's mother, Queen Catherine, is opposed to the union based on the visions of Nostradamus.  The seer has predicted that Mary will bring about her son's death.  So, she is doing all she can to see that the marriage doesn't happen.

Politics and romance really don't go together, but it makes for an interesting story.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Following

Did you watch the first season of The Following on Fox last year?


Oh wow.  It was one of the scariest things I have watched in a long time.  It seems appropriate to talk about Scary Stuff given that we are coming up on Halloween.

Kevin Bacon returned to the small screen as former FBI agent Ryan Hardy.  Hardy quit the bureau after being stabbed in the heart by serial killer Joe Carroll.  Yeah, he caught Carroll, but it kinda sorta destroyed his life.  He fell in love with Carroll's wife, Claire, while solving the case, and that didn't turn out so well.  He wrote a book about Carroll that sold like crazy, but he is still in a Bad Place when the show started.  Someone on YouTube put together a five minute explanation of what happened last season to help you catch up...

At the end of that season Hardy caught up to Carroll again and it "seemed" like Carroll died in an explosion. But did he really??? And Carroll's cult is still alive and well. One of Ryan's neighbors and trusted "friends" is actually a Carroll follower. In the last few minutes she breaks into Ryan's apartment with a knife. Things were not looking good for Ryan and Claire. Can we say Cliffhanger???

So what is the buzz about Season 2?

The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he did not exist.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sleepy Hollow

"Welcome to SLEEPY HOLLOW, the thrilling new mystery-adventure drama from co-creators/executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the “Star Trek” and “Transformers” franchises, “Fringe”).

In this modern-day twist on Washington Irving's classic, ICHABOD CRANE (Tom Mison, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers. Revived alongside Ichabod is the infamous Headless Horseman who is on a murderous rampage in present-day Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod quickly realizes that stopping Headless is just the beginning, as the resurrected rider is but the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and only one of the many formidable foes that Ichabod must face to protect not only Sleepy Hollow, but the world.

As Ichabod finds himself in 2013's Sleepy Hollow, he discovers a town he no longer recognizes and grapples to understand. Teaming up with Lt. ABBIE MILLS (Nicole Beharie, “42,” “The Good Wife,” “Shame”), a young cop who has her own supernatural experiences, the two embark on a mission to stop the evil that has awoken along with Ichabod and that now is seeping into this once-sleepy town.

Clues from the past enlighten mysteries in the present, as each episode features a flashback to Ichabod's life in 1776. Ripe with untold stories from American history and cloaked in mythology, the divide between present and past becomes dangerously blurred. Lives are in the balance, including that of Ichabod's late wife, KATRINA (Katia Winter, “Dexter”), who is trapped in a mysterious netherworld. In his pursuit to save her, Ichabod uncovers secrets about her, leaving him with countless questions.

Not everyone believes Ichabod's tales of 1776 and supernatural evils, especially the new head of Abbie's police precinct, Captain FRANK IRVING (Orlando Jones, “The Chicago 8,” “Drumline”). When faced with bizarre events he can't explain, Capt. Irving reluctantly turns to Ichabod and Abbie to investigate.

Ichabod's extensive first-hand knowledge of our country's hidden history, coupled with Abbie's superior profiling and modern threat assessment skills, make them a formidable duo. The complex pasts of the pair, from Ichabod's inclusion in the powerful and secretive Freemasons Society to Abbie's childhood visions, will help them solve the intricate puzzles of Sleepy Hollow in order to protect its – and the world's – future. As history repeats itself, the oddly-linked pair will draw on the real stories and secrets this nation was founded on in their quest to stop an increasingly vicious cycle of evil."  (source)

That is the write-up of Fox's new show Sleepy Hollow on their website.  Frankly, I love the idea of taking a story that everyone knows (Ichabod Crane and The Headless Horseman) and incorporating historical events like the American Revolution for context.  Then, throw in Biblical events as described in Revelations.  Now, throw in supernatural stuff to bring those Biblical events about and you have a thrill ride.  Sleepy Hollow might be the best new show of the fall.  I am undecided, but it is in the running...

The trailer:

And one of my favorite scenes:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vampires, Zombies, Supernatural Stuff, and Superheroes

I was reading a blog on writing the other day (shocking!) and a question was raised about vampires: would they ever go out of vogue???   I commented at length over there, but I find myself still thinking about it.  I believe that the truth is many people are fascinated by the supernatural, including me.  That encompasses all sorts of phenomena, up to and including vampires.

Let's talk vamps for just a minute.  I do believe that Dracula was the first story.  I know that it has been made into a movie several times and I have seen at least one of those.  I remember being fascinated by Dark Shadows as a KID.

The Anne Rice series on vampires reignited vampire love among readers.  The movie Interview With The Vampire was one of the best book adaptations I have seen.

Joss Whedon created a successful TV series from a fairly dreadful movie (both by the same name), Buffy The Vampire Slayer that ran seven seasons.  It generated a spin-off, Angel,  that ran five seasons.

And then Twilight scored big for Stephanie Meyers.  Four books and five movies.  As usual, the books were better than the movies and struck a chord with youth (the target audience).

Some would say it was the success of Twilight that made The Vampire Diaries on the CW a success.  I am not one of those people.  I think people are fascinated by vampires and I would watch Ian Sommerhaulder, who plays Damon Salvatore, in ANYTHING.

The CW decided to spin off a show from that series this season aptly called The Originals.

Do I think people are tired of vampires?  Nope.

However, it isn't just limited to vampires.  The Walking Dead is HUGE, even though I don't watch it.  Zombies are possibly the only element of the supernatural world that has no appeal for me.  But, I am a lone voice in this wilderness.  It is so popular that I even kinda sorta know who this guy is:

Zombie Killer Badass, though I couldn't tell you his name...

Do you remember Fringe?  That show was science meets the supernatural.  Crazy good show.

And Lost?  That show contained supernatural elements.  It most certainly wasn't just a plane crash.

The show that covers everything supernatural is, of course, called Supernatural (CW).  I think this is the tenth season of Dean and Sam out there saving the world from supernatural calamity.

Most people who like supernatural stuff also like superheroes.  It is a bit supernatural, after all.  Marvel has been huge at the box office.  The Avengers was so popular that Joss Whedon is back on the small screen with Agents of SHIELD.

Other superhero TV shows currently on the air:  Arrow and The Tomorrow People.  Both on the CW.

Do I know what the next Big Thing will be?  Nope.  But, I don't see interest in the supernatural or superheroes falling by the wayside anytime soon.

Are any of those shows YOUR favorites?  What do you think about vampires and supernatural stories?  Is it flash in the pan or here to stay?  Did I miss anything supernatural or superhero currently running on TV?  If so, let me know in the comments...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jack Is Back

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Many of you might know this already, because this isn't NEW NEW news.  However, I just read about it a few days ago... JACK IS BACK.

If you just said, "Jack who?" then imagine me shaking my head and muttering under my breath.  Jack Bauer.  The wonderful, ground-breaking, amazing thrill ride of a show 24 is back for 12 episodes in the summer of 2014.

It starts on location in London with Jack as a fugitive and on the run.  When the series ended a few years ago Jack was a fugitive here in the States.  Apparently, he has been traveling the world since then.

I have no idea how they are going to work the core of the show into 12 episodes, but I don't even care.  Jack Is Back!  Will each episode be two hours so that it still encompasses 24 hours in real time?  I don't know.

I just hope that it is a blazing success for Fox and it kickstarts the series to become a part of the regular line-up again.

I have all of the previous seasons on DVD (shocking) and have written more posts about this show on this blog than any other. Can you tell that I am a fan???

Until then, I am on the edge of my seat until Summer 2014!!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

King & Maxwell

My last few posts on this blog have been highlighting some upcoming shows for the fall season.

Let's take a different path today and look at a new show that recently finished it's first "season" on TNT.  Cable shows run on a different schedule than the other networks, so that during the summer while all of that is on hiatus, cable hauls out it's best stuff.  Not a bad plan when you think about it.  Plus, it gives a person something new to watch during those summer months.  If this is all news to you, a typical "season" for a cable show is about 13 episodes.

One of TNT's new shows this summer, King & Maxwell, starring Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn, features two former Secret Service Agents, now private detectives in the D.C. area.  In the pilot, the case involved finding an autistic savant, Edgar, who was suspected of being a serial killer.  King & Maxwell disproved that theory and offered Edgar a job.  He becomes an integral part of their case-solving process due to his skill with hacking, as well as his ability to recognize the clue in numerical patterns and sequences.  The team also seeks help on a regular basis from Benni, one of Sean King's C.I.'s.  Her specialties range from forgery to knowing all the dirt on the criminal activity in the city.  King & Maxwell also "interact" with the FBI nearly every episode.  Agents Rigby and Butler have been tasked to any scene that involves these two.  It is a love/hate relationship, with the emphasis more on the hate.

This series is based on David Baldacci's novels.  Here is what he has to say about the show:

After watching that you probably have a better sense of the characters. Michelle Maxwell is the first one to manage the "take-down" of a suspect.  Sean usually doesn't have his gun.  Does it drive her crazy?  Yes.  Does he care?  No.

One of the things that I really liked in terms of the writing for this show is how they managed the story arc for the first season.  Edgar found an anomaly watching the video of the assassination of Sean's protectee (that led to his not being in the Secret Service any longer).  That thread gets pulled a little bit each show while these two solve all other crimes or mysteries each episode, with the season finale finally unraveling who was really responsible for the assassination.  I LOVE a story arc that umbrellas an entire season with the payoff coming at the end.  I hope that they find a way to do that every season.  We shall see...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

CBS: Not The Crazy Ones

Do you remember when NBC reigned on Thursday nights?  Thursday night was the night of the sitcom.  For years, Cheers nailed it down with other (good) sitcoms actually making Thursday nights funny.  When Cheers was cancelled Seinfeld and Friends took over.  For twenty years, people associated Thursday nights with LAUGHTER.

Well, the sitcom has pretty well gone the way of the highway.  There aren't many left.  And those that are here do not live up to the legacy of Cheers or Seinfeld.  Ergo, Thursday night turned into the primetime drama.  Grey's Anatomy and Scandal have stuck Thursday nights.  We went from laughing on Thursdays to sitting on the edges of our seats (at least sometimes).  ABC isn't changing anything.  They have added Once Upon A Time In Wonderland (new show, to view trailer click on previous blog) to kick things off at 8pm, followed by Grey's Anatomy at 9pm, and then Scandal at 10pm.  And I have no idea what NBC is doing because I gave up on that network years ago.  Revolution brought me back last year, but that is the ONLY thing I watch on The Peacock.

So, who's shaking things up?  CBS.  They have returned the sitcom(s) to Thursday nights.  At 8pm The Big Bang Theory anchors the evening.  A new show called The Millers is slated for 8:30pm.  At 9:00 The Crazy Ones comes on and the night rounds out at 9:30 with Two and a Half Men.

Let's talk about the new show airing at 9:00.  It is the most promising sitcom to hit television since Seinfeld decided to take a hike.  Robin Williams is back on the small screen with Sarah Michelle Gellar playing father and daughter as partners in an ad firm.  The world of advertising is crazy all by itself.  Throw in Robin Williams and you have hilarity.  I have watched several things about this show and they pretty much just let him ad lib the whole time.  And it's catching.  These actors have a basic script, sure, but are they ever on it????  I don't know.  What I do know is that it is some funny stuff.  Here is the trailer:

Thursday nights. Finally something to laugh about. Again. Thank you CBS!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fall 2013: The Year of the Spin-off

The Fall Season is rapidly approaching.  Have you noticed the trend this fall for spin-offs?  I don't think I have seen so many spin-offs in a very long time.  Let's break it down, shall we?

First, let's tackle the spin-off from the Blockbuster movie, The Avengers.  You didn't know that?  Well, buckle in.  Joss Whedon has returned to the small screen with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I predict that this will be a Big Win for Whedon and ABC.  I would watch anything that Joss Whedon wrote, but that is just me.  After Firefly went down in flames I wasn't convinced that any television executive had any sense.  I am hoping that this show restores my faith.  Here is the trailer if you aren't up to speed (turn off the music box at the bottom of the page before watching):

Fairy tales are thriving in books and on the television. The Brothers Grimm and Once Upon A Time are both huge hits. Once Upon A Time first aired on ABC in 2011, so it will be entering it's third season this fall. That show focuses around Snow White, Prince Charming, and the Evil Queen, though no fairy tale character is off limits. They all live in Once Upon A Time after all. This fall a new show is spinning off called Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. If you are thinking, "I bet the main character is Alice." You would be right. Given how well fairy tales have done, it has a fairly good shot at succeeding.

The Vampire Diaries, on the CW, immediately became a wild success when it debuted in 2009. Can I say that Stephanie Meyer cleared the way for all things vampire amongst the teen set? Some of us were already there. I loved Anne Rice's vampire series, written back in the 80s. I also watched Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. In truth, both are/were far better shows than The Vampire Diaries, but I still tuned in for Ian Sommerholder, who plays Damon Salvatore. The rest of the cast is pretty much a snorefest of teen angst. Well, that was true until 2011 when the plot took a turn and the five original vampires showed up in Mystic Falls. Yep. The five original siblings that turned every other vampire. Yes, that did get interesting. Of course, some were more interesting than others. They are the three that are still alive. Ha! And they will be getting their own show on the CW next season called... The Originals. I predict it will be a raging success.

Welcome to Fall 2013, the year of the spin-off. Did I miss any???

Sunday, August 18, 2013


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I admit it.  I love a prime time soap.  I grew up in the 80s when Dallas, Dynasty, Knot's Landing, and Falcon Crest were all on top.  I remember the summer that "Who Shot Jr?" paraphernalia littered every venue.  T-shirts, coffee mugs, key chains, beach towels - and more - all were monogrammed with the popular question.  Who Shot Jr????  And everyone wanted to know the answer.  Dallas finished on a cliffhanger with JR having been shot in the spring of 1980, and that entire summer, and into the fall, due to a strike by the Screen Actor's Guild,  everyone waited with baited breath to get the answer.  Does anyone even remember?  Not so much.  It wasn't a main character who fired the shot.  However, I will help you out here.  It was his sister-in-law and mistress who pulled the trigger.  I had to look up her name because I couldn't remember it: Kristin Shepard (played by Mary Crosby).  The question turned out to be far more intriguing than the answer.  Ah well.

Back to my original statement: I love a prime time soap.  After Dallas,  Dynasty, and the rest swerved into cancellation, the 90s brought out a new breed of prime time soap.  Technically, anything that carries over from week to week is a soap, for the curious.  We call most of that programming now a prime time drama.  Some sitcoms have managed to avoid becoming soapy, but not many.  Most of the time, full understanding of the current episode relies on having seen the previous ones.  And that makes it a soap.

With daytime soaps running down the drain in the last few years, prime time is getting soapier than ever.  And that brings us to the point of this here blog: Nashville.  ABC aired the show last fall.  Finally, we have a full-blown soap again in prime time that rivals Dallas and Dynasty on the Big Three (ABC, CBS, and NBC).  Yes, I know that cable brought back Dallas; as I said, the public demand for prime time soap has risen in accordance with the failure of daytime soap.

Nashville has everything a prime time soap fan adores plus stellar music.  ABC went all out with the headliners, Rayna James and Juliette Barnes(played by Connie Britton and Hayden Panatierre), and they are dynamite, but it is the rest of the cast that nails this show so thoroughly.  Let's take a look at the trailer for those of who are scratching your heads because you missed this one...

So, Nashville has all of the soapy elements covered. Plus, everyone is rich and the drama is big and splashy (echoes of Dynasty and Dallas...). The cast is amazing and they all can SING. The music in this show knocks it out of the park.

Scarlett (played by Clare Bowen) is one of the best singers on the show. This is her with Gunnar (played by Sam Palladio).

The strength of the music is that everyone is so darn talented. Here is Avery Bartlett (played by Jonathan Jackson) at the Bluebird:

Two of the most talented singers on the show are the youngest. They are the Stella Sisters. They play Rayna James' daughters. They have been singing together for years, prior to their debut on Nashville, and they are AMAZING.

I can't finish out this blog bit without including something from the stars. Here are Rayna James and Juliette Barnes... yes, together. Even rivals come together for the good of the label...

Season 2 will crank up this fall on ABC. I have no doubt it will be as full of surprises as the first season. So, if you are looking for your prime time soap fix PLUS excellent music, Nashville is the right place.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

All Roads Lead to J.J. Abrams

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I haven't posted anything on this blog in FOREVER.

I am going to try and be better about that.  There were some excellent shows that were cancelled this season.  For instance, FRINGE took an exit and deserves a write-up and fond farewell.  PRIVATE PRACTICE exited due to really poor writing.  Apparently Shonda Rimes can only keep two shows in the air at once.  There is a lesson here.  I hope that she learns it.  Moving on...

And there were a few really good new shows that came out this season.  My personal favorite was REVOLUTION.  It is on NBC.  Now... you must keep in mind that I began a boycott of NBC several years ago due to terrible programming.  Every now and then they would come up with something GREAT and immediately cancel it.  I got SO SICK of this that I gave up on the network altogether.  I would have continued my boycott except that J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke collaborated on REVOLUTION.... and I was back in.  I was also enthralled.  Other best new shows include ABC's NASHVILLE and CBS's VEGAS and ELEMENTARY.

Yesterday, I received a notice that J.J. Abrams has a new show coming out on Fox (probably in the fall) and it looks AMAZING.  Here is the trailer.  Don't forget to turn off the music at the bottom of the page.

What do you think?