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.