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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Emmy Nominations 2013: AKA: The Times They Are A Changin'

Today marked a very interesting day in the world of television and entertainment. This morning, the nominations for the 2013 Emmys were announced. 

Yes, that glorious time of anticipation and excitement, that tv junkies live for, all of which took place while I was on my commute. So, I did what what any responsible person who needs to keep their job would do, I turned to social media. Once the complaints against morning television subsided, I began to notice a very interesting trend. No, I am not talking about the insanely talented Andrew Lincoln's lack of nomination, I'm talking about the increasingly dwindling number of noms for the networks. 

It's no secret that the way the average person consumes their entertainment has changed greatly over the last decade. Long gone are the days of having to wait to consume episodes of your favorite shows, well unless your a fan of Sherlock on BBC, and in which case, I deeply sorry and I share your pain. With the emergence of more and more channels, as well as DVRs, on demand, services such as Netflix, iTunes, YouTube and Hulu viewers can pretty much watch whatever they want, whenever they want.   

With the increase in original programming showing up on cable channels there was bound be a some changes to who was receiving the nods. But now in addition to channels like HBO, Showtime and AMC a whole new media has offered up new original programming. This year, Netfix, which made it's money on allowing their subscribers to view other people's movies and television shows has launched a slew of new and original programming, including House of Cards which is now nominated for nine Emmy's, including Best Drama Series.

In fact none of the shows nominated for Best Drama Series appear on the major networks.  It is interesting to note, however, that the major networks dominated in the reality show categories.  So the real question is, what does this mean for the future of the entertainment world? 

Will this be the wake up call to the networks to step it up with their original programming? Maybe challenge them to push the envelope a bit more, or will this push them further into the land of reality programming, which is cheaper to produce and where they are seemingly thriving? One things for sure, there are some serious changes ahead for the television industry.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Franklin & Bash "Good Lovin'": AKA: Adjusting to the New Season

 So this week's  episode brought the return of Coleen Bash, played by the lovely Jane Seymour. This time she was being charged with prostitution. Yup that's right Peter has to defend his mother's prostitution charge, awkward. Turns out, after her nursery failed, Coleen found a new occupation, that of a sex surrogate. She is arrested by an undercover cop, and it soon becomes clear that Coleen isn't the intended target of this malicious prosecution.

I still don't like Heather Locklear's character, she just feels flat and forced, like oh look, here's this season's bitchy hot chick. They did try to make her a bit more likable, by having her open up slightly to Coleen, however the same sex kiss that ensued sorta set her back to simple "the new hot chick" status. I will say however the kiss was worth having since Jared had a field day with it.

I did really enjoy Rhea Seehorn as DA Ellen Swatello. Her chemistry with Breckin Meyer was fantastic, and I was kind of disappointed that they seemed to wrap up her storyline. It was nice to see Franklin with a love interest, and a comical  one at that. Sure they've hooked him up with other females on the show before, but none who seemed an even match for his snark. I hope they decided to bring her back at some point during the season.

I'm a little disappointed that they don't seem to let Karp do anything this season. I mean sure he's got some screen time, but since he's been on his hardcore Judgeship hunt, he hasn't had case. I'd much rather see him interacting with someone other than Rachel, and random judges.

Watching this week's show reminded me of how much I love these characters. The interaction between Peter and Jared is brilliant, the perfect mix of ragging on each other and genuine platonic love, which is nice to see. A fabulous example of bromance at its finest, while I'm still adjusting to  the changes this season has brought about, I'm excited to see where they are headed.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DC Super Hero Movies: AKA: When Will We Get Aother Good One?

Ok, so I spend way more time thinking about comic book heroes than I should probably admit. I mean that isn't ALL I think about, but its probably, ok definitely higher in my every day thoughts than most/all people.

Ever since I saw Man of Steel, I've been trying to figure out why Marvel has been having such great success with bringing their heroes to the big screen, and DC, well lets face it, aside from Nolan's Dark Knight series, has really just been falling flat. Yup, this is the kind of stuff I think about. After much internal debate, and some fabulous conversing with The Boy, I've come to the conclusion that the super heroes being brought to us upon the big screen from DC just aren't as relateable as the Marvel characters.

Before you start arguing with me that The Avenger's fought of an entire alien race, or that the X-Men are made up of mutants, let me explain. Let's start by breaking down The Avengers. We'll start with Tony Stark. Tony Stark is basically The Marvel equivalent of DC's Bruce Wayne, except instead of a tricked out utility belt, he has a tricked out suit. Both are essentially genius, billionaire, playboys, who decide, for various reasons, to use their abilities for the good of humanity. Most importantly, they are both humans, who have used their intellect and abilities to fight crime/evil.

Black Widow, also human. Natasha Romanoff is a former Russian spy. She is trained in various forms of combat and has no "magical" abilities, thus making her a fairly "believable" character.

Hawkeye, again human. Clint Barton is a ridiculously skilled marksmen with a bow and arrow, sure he was smart enough to create some awesome trick arrows, but again no other worldly powers. He's just a really talented man.

Now we get to the more "fantastical" creatures of the Avengers line up. Let's start with Captain America. The interesting thing about Steve Rogers is, he started off human. He still has all the human emotions, he's just been altered into a super soldier. And if we really think about it, it's not so unbelievable. I mean we've seen the effects drugs can have on the human body, steroids, meth, who knows with the right cocktail who's to say our government couldn't create a super solider?

Same principle applies to The Hulk, I mean he is basically a government super solider serum gone wrong. So who's to say something like that is so far out of our grasp.
Then there is Thor. Ok Norse God of Thunder may be a little far fetched a concept. However Thor, and to some degree Loki, are just part of a larger picture. They are not the full focus of the movie, and lets face it the stand alone Thor movie was ok, but not nearly as good as the more believable heroes who had stand alones.

The Boy and I were having a discussion the other day as to why it is easier to believe in The X-Men, as opposed to Superman, and he came up with the suggestion that it has to do with believability.  It is easier to believe that there is perhaps a race of mutants that have evolved in society, because you have so many different characters to choose from, where as Superman is the only one of his kind, if we're are not counting in Super Girl or General Zod. He is pretty much an all power alien being come to Earth to basically judge us. Sure he grew up upon Earth, which makes him more inclined to side with earthlings and yet, he remains different from us, "better" than us.

So the other day while I was catching up, on my DVRed programs from the fall, I realized the next perfect DC comic book character to introduce to the big screen is, none other than Mr. Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow. Now, I know what you're thinking, Oliver Queen is just a more obscure version of Bruce Wayne. I will grant you that there are similarities between the two men. Both are spurn to their vigilantly tactics by the death of a parent, or in Bruce's case parents. Both are considered criminals by their respected cities police forces, at least for a time. Both are gorgeous, rich, billionaire playboys. Still this does not make them the same person, in fact I think it is their similarities that will help make a Green Arrow movie a success. DC's best success in recent years has definitely been The Dark Knight trilogy. Nolan took great pains to keep that universe as "real" as he possibly could.

Green Arrow, being a lesser known DC superhero would allow for a wider interpretation with less backlash. I will fully admit to the fact that having a Green Arrow movie would more likely than not allow the introduction of Black Canary, and lets face it, I would be giddy upon the introduction of a female superhero upon the big screen. I could go on and on about how ridiculous the lack of female superheroes in our current pop culture universe is, but I feel that is a rant for another post.

Until then I suppose I will just have to get my fill watching the CW's Arrow, which is not such a bad deal I suppose.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing: AKA: Joss Whedon a Man of Many Talents

So today, Joss Whedon's adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing goes nation wide. If you haven't seen it, yet go. Go NOW!

Joss' adaptation of this classic play is everything it should be. Shot in black and white and in 12 days at his own home, it is obvious that Much Ado About Nothing, was truly a labor of love for  the director.  It is like a giant Whedon-verse party, where he called up all of his friends from previous projects and was just like "Hey come be in a movie! Oh, and we need extras so everyone bring five friends with them okay?"

Aside from one small word change, they production keeps to the original text, and though it may take your brain a moment to comprehend the language, with in moments everything becomes clear. The slapstick and sight gags thrown in are not only funny but smart. In a world where scripts of tv shows, movies and even theatre are dumbing themselves down to the most basic levels, its nice to see a movie where the audience is believed to be able to understand without everything being spelled out. There's a reason why the works of William Shakespeare are considered classics, they are open to many different interpretations.

The cast is fantastic, and completely believable, never letting the complexity of the language seem awkward. While I do admit I was a bit saddened when I found out that Anthony Stewart Head was originally supposed to play Leonato, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflict with that awful pilot , Free Agents, the moment Clark Gregg appeared on screen, any thoughts of anyone else in the role immediately banished. Once again Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof have brilliant chemistry, this time as Beatrice and Benedick. Sean Maher makes for a deliciously evil Don John, and I can officially say I have never loved Reed Diamond more than as Don Pedro.

It's no secret how much I love Joss Whedon's work, I have on multiple occasions on this very blog proclaimed him as my hero. I mean we are talking about a man who after being praised for writing amazing dialogue, decides to write an episode of his popular tv show with almost no dialogue at all, just to prove he could do it. Then it went on to become the only episode of the series to be nominated for an Emmy.  So I suppose you can assume a slight bias in my liking of his work. Still though I can not stress enough, how much you should go and see this movie.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Franklin & Bash "Coffee and Cream" AND "Dead and Alive": AKA: The Return of Zack & Travis

Last night marked the season premier of everyone's favorite TNT show, Franklin & Bash, and as an extra treat, we got not one but two new episodes.

The boys are pretty much up to their old tricks except there have been some significant changes made to the show. Most notably, Hanna is gone. Now it's no secret I have never been the biggest Hannah fan. I always felt like they had no idea how to write her. She was too wishy-washy, one week she would hate Franklin and Bash for no real reason and be hell bent on destroying them, and the next week she would decide that they were really good guys at heart and help them out on a case. Sometimes she and Karp would get along, and sometimes they would hate each other over their failed romantic history, which never felt real to begin with. Hanna just never felt like a fully formed character to me. She had the potential to be such a great strong female presence on the show, and never came close to achieving it. 

To fill the void left by Hanna's departure,  the PTB* have brought in Heather Locklear to play Rachel King, a lawyer Infeld has brought on as a partner, who is basically being set up to wreak havoc upon Franklin and Bash. Major props should be given to Heather Locklear for looking so amazing. I know it is a shallow way to begin talking about her/her character, but the entertainment industry is often times a shallow/superficial world, so let's give credit when deserved. Seriously though, she looks fantastic.  That being said, I, at least this far, can't stand her character. I'm pretty sure that is the point, but she seems to have come on simply to be the bitch. Which I suppose was the original intent for Hanna's character. Still, I know we are only two episodes in, but right now it just feels like the PTBs decided "We need someone to be a bitch to the boys…Oh, I know let's get Heather Locklear, she's great at being a bitch on screen." I'm hoping that at some point during the season they'll expand her character. 

Infeld, appears to have become even more eccentric than before after an incident that occurred on his most recent trip to Africa. Giving away prized possessions, hiring Rachel and giving her a lot of power in the firm very quickly, almost marring a woman to get her her green card, all of which has given the boys and Karp reason to speculate and worry. 

Karp is still on his quest for eventual judgeship, and now Rachel has offered to help. So instead of the more familiar two case episode of season one, we got one case each episode, and Karp was left alone to deal with attending to his eventual campaign and the madcap wedding plans of his uncle. 

Pindar manages to burn down The Cave, and the gang has now moved into Infeld's beach house, Peter's aquired a new love interest, Charlie, a pretty blonde Australian physical therapist who lives next door.

Ok let's be honest, the PTB moved the boys to a beach house in an excuse to have the boys shirtless more often. No complaints on that, as Augustus Waters so perfectly put it, "I enjoy looking at beautiful people, and I decided awhile ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence." (And that was this week's gentile reminder that if you haven't yet read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, you are missing out).

All and all not a bad start to season three, and I'm curious to see how the changes made will effect the dynamics of the show.

*PTB- Always stands for "Powers That Be"

Man of Steel: AKA: Superman: DC's New Attempt to Bring Us a Hero

Ok, maybe not that new, but lets be honest in the current verse of super hero movies, let's say the last thirteen years, Marvel is leading the pack. I mean sure, DC brought us Nolan's Batman trilogy, which was amazing, but they also gave us Green Lantern, Jonah Hex and Watchmen, so...yeah.

Marvel on the other hand has managed to launch a few different cinematic universes, The Avengers, the current Iron Man trilogy, Captain America, Thor, two different Spiderman incarnations, A slew of X-Men movies, as well as several other franchises. This is not to say that Marvel has not had it's commercial failures, The Fantastic Four movies, Daredevil, and Elektra come to mind. But given that they are producing more of the genre and lets face it The Avengers was an EPIC movie, I think it is safe to say they have a bit of a edge.

I'll start with admitting Superman was never one of my favorite heroes. I mean don't get me wrong I grew up watching Superman The Animated Series, Tim Daly will forever be the voice of Superman in my head, just as Kevin Conroy will forever be Batman, so I didn't dislike the character, and do have a fair bit of knowledge on his backstory but personally I've just always liked "realer" heroes, like Batman or to some extent Iron Man. I just always found them more relatable then and alien who lived among us and acquired his powers form our sun.

And here is where I'm gonna insert a mild SPOILERS WARNING before breaking it down for you.

The Good

1) They somehow managed to make Superman a more relatable character. There was a heavy focus on the fact that although he was an alien, he had grown up among us, as one of us. Although I could have done without the blatant Jesus reference, about him living on Earth for 33 years. We get it, he is a "god among men", give the audience a little more credit. 

2) The fact that Lois Lane was NOT a plot device. Lois Lane has always been a kickass female character. The most wonderful thing about her is even in the comics, even 75 years ago, she held her own. Let's face it, in the that we live in, it is VERY easy for a female character, especially in action/superhero movies, to simple play the role of damsel in distress. Man of Steel, was able to walk the line, sure Lois occasionally needed to be rescued, but so did several male characters. Also, Lois is the one who learns how to send General Zod. 

3) Giving Superman a REAL villain to fight. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Lex Luther, and was beyond happy to see a bunch of Lex-Corp logos, which we all know is strong foreshadowing that in some future movie, we will get our Lex Luther, but I have found I prefer Superman when he is battling aliens as opposed to human villains. I just feel like it is more of an even match and therefore more interesting. 

The Not So Good

1) The treatment of Johnathan Kent. One of the interesting things about Superman is that he had/has not one but two sets of loving parents. It is important because it makes him who he is. They instill him with strong morals and encourage him to use his abilities for the good of humanity. I think this is why Jonathan constantly discouraging Clark from helping others bothered me so much. I mean at one point he basically tells him flat out that he should have just let an ENTIRE BUS FULL OF CHILDREN DIE. I'm sorry, what?!? Then later on he refuses to let Clark save him from a tornado and his impending death. At which point, Clark stands by and watches him die! While I do understand why the Kents would be concerned over how and when Clark used his powers in today's world, I personally do not buy that Superman, no matter what Jonathan instructed him, would stand back and let/watch is father die. 

2) The Banishing of General Zod. Ok, so let me get this straight, your planet is dying, collapsing into itself, you World's best scientist has come to you imploring that you evacuate, he believes this so strongly that he steals your ENTIRE SPECIES genetic code and sends off world in the hopes of saving your race. Despite all this, instead of, oh I don't know evacuating, you take the time to hold a treason trial and send your worst members of society off planet. So much for intelligent life. 

3) Was it just me, or did everyone and there mother seem to know that Clark Kent was Superman? Listen, I fully appreciate the fact that Lois used her journalistic abilities to to discover her her hero's true identity. Plus it makes her seem like less of a moron because less face it between working with him everyday and being rescued on a pretty regular biases, she should be able to tell that Clark/Superman are the same person. But let's face it wasn't very difficult for her to figure out who he was so I'm pretty sure the government could figure it out pretty easy. Also the authorities showed up at the Kent's farm to get him at some point, so if they haven't figured out that he is Clark Kent I fear for our country. 
The Odds and Ends

1) The Casting. Some of it was spot on. I mean let's face it Henry Cavill was SPOT ON. I mean not to sound all superficial but swoon. Russell Crowe was AMAZING as Jor-El, a character I've never much cared for before, but was actually deeply upset when I realized we would not be seeing again in the film. He was the perfect blend of caring and calculating. Michael Shannon was born to play evil.

And on a slightly unrelated note, any time Michael Kelly is cast in anything, I am a happy gal.

As much as I love Amy Adams, I wasn't overly thrilled with her Lois. I can't really pinpoint why, and it wasn't that I thought she was bad, I just wasn't feeling it. I also wasn't thrilled with Kevin Costner's Jonathan Kent. He just felt a little too harsh to me.

2) The Fights. Ok, so some of  the action scenes were fabulous, but somewhere near the umpteenth encounter with General Zod, they began to feel a little long. We get it Zod and Superman are both super strong and can destroy stuff. Let's keep it moving.

3) The Satellite. It said Wayne Enterprises. So does this mean we are finally gearing toward a team up in the DC Universe? Can we get a few more individual movies then a Justice League film ala The Avengers? We we get some Black Canary, some Green Arrow, some John Stewart Green Lantern?  Can someone FINALLY make a decent Wonder Woman film? Joss Whedon wrote one...can we get that made? And before everyone starts yelling at me that he's contracted with Marvel now, JJ Abrams is working on Star Wars AND Star Trek, so anything is possible. 

All and all Man of Steel was a pretty decent film, but let's be honest here, if DC truly wants to compete with Marvel, they're gonna need to step it up a bit. 

Matt Smith To Leave Doctor Who: AKA: My Ideas About The New Doctor on the Horizon

Ok, so I'm pretty sure I never fully expressed my Who love here, so I'll try to make that clear first. Doctor Who is my own personal brand of heroine, (yup there's a sorta Twilight quote for you). I am addicted, completely. I love the show for so many reasons, but mostly I love that it is so intelligent and well thought out. There are parts of the story arcs that have been in place FOR YEARS, and to me, that is amazing. I love the fact that it causes you to theorize and remember , and I even love the fact that it makes me, unlike most shows, an emotional wreck.

That being said, emotional upheaval is bound to be included when cast members change. I was saddened when Nine left and became Ten and then devastated when he became Eleven. Although Matt Smith's Doctor was not my favorite, I still loved him and will of course be sad to see him go.

Which brings me to the issue at hand, who will become the next Doctor. Since the announcement of Matt Smith's eminent departure, all anyone seems to talk about is who will be the next doctor? There have been several wish lists circulating the interwebs, with dreams of everyone from Bill Nighy to Rupert Grint.  People have even begun to call for a female doctor, something that has never occurred in the Doctor's previous incarnations.

Now, I have recently noticed I tend toward the feminist side of things as of late, and as much as I would love the world to have another strong female character on my tv, something just doesn't feel right to me about having a female play The Doctor. I'm sure many of you will disagree with me, but hear me out.

The way I see it, or at least my own personal understanding, is that Time Lords, are a lot like humans. I mean of course there are differences, they are more advanced, the two hearts, the regenerations, but as far as we have been lead to believe they are human in appearance. They are both male and female Time Lords, as we have been shown, and they appear to have family relationships, after all The Doctor originally traveled with his grand daughter. All of this makes it a little hard for me to believe that they have the ability to randomly switch genders, especially so far into their lives.

Some fans will point out that during the 10 to 11 regeneration, after feeling his now longer hair, The Doctor remarks "I'm a woman?" as proof that it is possible for Time Lords to switch genders. While it is possible that that may have been the case, I would argue it was more so something uttered while The Doctor was out of sorts. After all he did forget he was crashing, and we've seen that after regeneration his mind seems to be spinning a mile a minute.

I'm sure there are plenty of women who would make fantastic Time Lords, just not THE DOCTOR. I realize this may not be the most popular of opinions and if a female does end up being cast as the next Doctor I will, of course continue watching, but that is how I feel. What do you think?