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11 November 2013

We Interrupt the Program: PLEASE SEND HELP TO THE PHILIPPINES

Dear World,

Our country's central islands have been ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan, which has been recorded as the strongest typhoon to hit the world ever.  There's been an estimated 10,000 dead, while millions of people are without homes. Aid from around the world are coming in and we're truly gracious for this. But we need more help, especially when another storm is brewing in the south in the coming few days, and it's threatening the same places Haiyan has destroyed.

Here's where you can send help. These all link to US centers that coordinate with their Philippine counterpart:


The pictures I see are beyond depressing that I thought I could find comfort in watching Band of Brothers, where triumph of the human spirit trumps death and destruction. How I wish making all the sadness go away would be as easy as flicking the remote button. But the reality is, we are a country struggling and in mourning.

Please help the Philippines carry through this.

Thank you.

P. S. --- For those in Manila, on Tuesday (11.12) my husband and I will be joining a group in gathering donations at Total in the Greenhills area. If you wish to drop off your donations there, please do so.  You can also send in your monetary donations through various bank accounts posted by news networks. 

08 November 2013

HAPPY ENDINGS: What's the cast up to?

So, this is finally happening! Damon Wayans, Jr. returns for what was supposed to be a quick stop on New Girl, but he won't be leaving for a while...


Wayans Jr was originally part of the cast of New Girl but since he was doing two pilots at that time, he stuck it out and chose to stay on Happy Endings. Unfortunately, despite being far superior than most comedy shows (yes, superior even to New Girl), Happy Endings was cut from TV last season.

So, what has happened to the cast of Happy Endings now?
  • On top of this New Girl gig, Damon Wayans Jr will be busy next season with a new show he is developing.  Man/Child is a comedy about single fathers who move in together and strive to balance parenting and bachelorhood.
  •  Adam Pally is currently a regular on The Mindy Project, playing an OBGYN. He was "adopted" into the cast this season.
  • Eliza Coupe has a semi-regular role on The Millers, as the ex-wife. But she is also developing and starring in a legal comedy called Benched. Slated for next season on a cable network, the show is about a corporate attorney who experiences a nervous breakdown and now works as a public defender.
  • Casey Wilson has two shows in development in two different networks for next season as well. One is a comedy about fraternal twins (Mason Twins), while the other is tentatively called DINKS (aka double income, no kids).
  • Elisha Cuthbert and Zachary Knighton are the two remaining cast members without any notable projects set so far. Cuthbert got married over the summer.

The cast of Happy Endings

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Haven't been feeling great all week. I've just recovered from flu but for some reason, I still have dizzy spells. I think it's coz of my colds, which has affected my ear & my balance (hence the vertigo). It also has limited my ability to smell. I can't even tell how stinky my dogs are, until people in the house were already pointing it out to me.

It hasn't been the best week either coz I keep receiving bad news after bad news about dear people I'm hoping will be able to surpass life's crazy challenges. 

And then there's this storm we're supposed to experience today. The biggest to hit the world this year! I can't even begin to grasp the magnitude of it! :(

Hoping for better days (happy endings?) ahead!

01 November 2013

TROPHY WIFE: Is The Joke Offensive to Filipinos?

In this week's Trophy Wife, which was their Halloween episode, there was an exchange between Pete and his ex-wife Diane that went like this:

Diane: "The truth is, anyone could have egged your house. Let it go."
Pete: "This from a woman who had her housekeeper deported because she scratched her coffee top."
Diane: "I was doing her a favor, in the Philippines she's a doctor." 

Here's a video of that scene. I took it using Instagram's features, so please excuse the quality:


Did you find the dialogue offensive?

I didn't really pay much attention while I was watching this,  despite my habit of taking note of anything Pinoy or Filipino mentioned on US programs. The truth is, I didn't like this particular scene between Pete and Diane, because I was more interested with the Bert storyline for this episode (that was more hilarious!). But someone in my Facebook timeline took note of the quip, so I checked the episode again.

I checked for Twitter reactions and found only one (1) mention about it.  I looked around at some Filipino message boards, and no one was talking about it.

Remember this from several years ago? Everyone had their say about it, including politicians and government leaders who demanded an apology from the American TV network ABC. Debates on this ensued for weeks. My own blog entry of it was filled with comments for more than a month.

This time, however, it seemed only a few people took notice (and took offense) of the Trophy Wife episode.

It could be because...

  • It's the holidays this week in the Philippines. Politicians (and everyone who'd normally like to have a say) are taking a long break. 
  • It's not newsworthy...definitely not worthy enough to have people delurk from their long vacation and grandstand, or  tweet, or blog, or comment about it. (Guess I'm the only one who has no life outside of my watching TV, huh? Coz here I am, blogging about it! Heh!)
  • Not everyone has heard of Trophy Wife. Especially not in the Philippines. Because the show is relatively new, debuting just six weeks ago, it's practically unheard of in this side of the world. But checking Trophy Wife's Facebook page also tells me, it isn't exactly a popular show over there, too. 
  • Filipinos residing in America haven't been watching this show. And I've deduced this from forum activity in a popular Filipino community. There was no mention at all. To be honest? I was more bothered by this because it shows why Trophy Wife isn't winning with ratings. Darn, it...no one watches this show!  Now, I worry about whether or not it's getting another season because it's one of the new shows I've come to enjoy. 
  • No one gives a damn anymore. I'd like to think that after that Desperate Housewives incident, some of us have learned a thing or two about handling offensive comments. Or why pouring energy over it is a total waste of time. 
My attitude about this is pretty much like when people defend religion ---  If you have to point out why the statement or joke is insulting, then the problem lies with how intact is your self-perception.

Surely, this joke isn't the "fact" that defines Filipino maids & doctors, right?

30 October 2013

What's French for "Good TV Show"? Thoughts on THE RETURNED

For Halloween weekend, I had planned on watching eight episodes of the first season of The Returned. This French drama series is scheduled to start airing on the Sundance Channel in the US on Oct 31st, but it has already aired and earned rave reviews in the UK a few months prior.

I had planned on checking out just the first episode today, since I've been reading a lot of praises for it on my Twitter feed.

Because the story revolves around the dead returning, I was expecting brain-munching zombies would be present, with their flesh rotting and bleeding, similar to the ones on The Walking Dead. (Only gnarling and growling in French!) I was prepared to be creeped out by this idea, which is why I took a peek of the first episode during the day.

Immediately though, it became evident that this show wasn't like the usual zombie series. There's nothing terrifying and disgusting about the undead on The Returned.

Meet Lena and Camille...

Twins Lena and Camille reunited.
Camille has been dead 4 years. When she returned, she became more terrified to find her twin sister Lena looking older than her. It wasn't easy to keep things a secret, and Camille soon learned the truth. So, she starts questioning her existence and purpose, especially when her family tries assimilating her, as if things were normal.

Soon after Camille appeared, coming home with only the memory of where she's been last before she died, other souls from different time periods also returned.

Adele and Simon. He died 10 years ago, on the day of their wedding. 

Viktor. He's been dead 30 years, I think.
I'm only up until the 3rd episode (there goes my weekend marathon plan!), so the story is still unfolding as I write this.

But so far, people in the town are starting to discover the dead coming back. And aside from that, certain events have also emerged that may answer, or open more questions and confusion to why these souls are there.

The Returned, which takes place in a small town that reminds me of Twin Peaks, is a stunning series with so much of that layered and complex French storytelling style. I'm told the story will get weirder as it goes --- part-fantasy, part-sci-fi and part-drama/mystery.

Will you be watching The Returned?

The show is going to be adapted for US production by the cable network A&E, with the people behind Lost working on it. Come to think of it, The Returned is also a lot like Lost, with these souls still finding out how to achieve peace in the after-life.


But ABC has its own version, too. Here's a preview of Resurrection, airing mid-season:


29 October 2013

My inner Monica is not happy with this FRIENDS quiz!

I took this fun Friends quiz: "Can You Guess Famous Friends Lines From Just a Freeze-Frame?on this site and I was certain I would get a perfect score (10/10).

But I only got a 7 (seven! seven! seven!), which, to losers? Might still be pretty cool. But when you know you could score higher and yet you failed? It's the worst thing ever. (Okay, it's not. Death is the worst thing ever.)

My inner Rachel's defense? "Well it's a stupid, unfair question!" Okay, no... it's not. The quiz is pretty fun.

And what score did you get?

28 October 2013

THE GOOD WIFE: When Alicia Florrick Broke Bad

This is what happened when shit hit the fan on The Good Wife:


ALICIA: "This was never meant personally." 
WILL: "I don’t give a damn." 

So, where do you stand?

Which team are you on?

I'm not even sure what team I'm on because I really, really, really (really!) adore Diane Lockhart. But I get Alicia's drive and ambition, which I know is something Diane would respect, if the situation were different or if they were fighting for the same team.

This was never going to be a pretty separation, given how Team (Alicia) Florrick and (Cary) Agos tried covering their moves and worked behind their former bosses' backs. But this was more of Cary Agos' doing and choices than Alicia's. From the beginning, Cary had the intention to deceive, while Alicia...I'd like to think, was just being careful and calculating.

Always the idealistic, she knew what their leaving would mean for Lockhart/Gardner. They would have to be smart about their decisions. So, I really believed her when she said --- it was never meant personally. She did learn from the best.

But then, this episode did turn Alicia into Judas. Under chaotic circumstances but with her head clear on the prize, she took charge. She used her power to her advantage when in the past, she would always take the good and ethical path (hence...the title, duh!). Even worse, she got her governor-husband involved in this dirty mess (what a little quickie sex can do, huh?).

This episode was Alicia breaking bad.

And never mind the ethical implications, The Good Wife just delivered one of their best episodes for the entire series!

When Breaking Bad ended on a high note, it didn't seem like any show could top that for a while. But I think, this show broke that streak.

Stuff I liked:
  • David Lee calling out, "You're fired!" like he was Santa giving away gifts.
  • Kalinda acting like a double-agent. This girl is also smart.
  • The exchange between Alicia and Will about Gracie. They were fighting one minute and cordial the next. Completely funny and sad at the same time.
  • Scenes at the Chumhum headquarters. It always amuses me how Uncle Sean (The Big C) is a big shot on The Good Wife.
The cast of The Good Wife
 “We’re coming after you. All your clients. Every single one we worked to make happy while you swept in at the last minute to take credit. We’re taking them. And then you know what you’ll have? A very nice suite of offices.”

Those are fighting words from Alicia Florrick.  This week was just the beginning. And like everyone watching, I don't know how much messier this can get. But I like all this conflict. Maybe even more when I don't even know who to root for, and there's no particular character that's inherently "good" now.

Are you siding with any firm or person on The Good Wife after today's episode?

26 October 2013

Have you heard? CHARMED is Getting a Reboot!

I guess this news makes it official: Vampires are OUT. Witches are IN.

The original power of three from Charmed:
PIPER, PRUE and PHOEBE

I posted this on the Facebook page :)



As much as possible, I try to limit discussing shows in development because next year's TV slate isn't set in stone. A lot of things can change.

I am still pretty bummed about that Beverly Hills Cop reboot that didn't pan out this season and mostly because I'm curious as to how the TV treatment will fare. Now I'll never know. Because, while that was one of the biggest news during development season last year, it was dropped at the last minute.

There's no telling how things will go for this Charmed reboot because at this point, it's still just press release. 

25 October 2013

PERSON OF INTEREST: We need to talk about Ms. Shaw

Person Of Interest has been ripping it this season. On its 3rd year, the show has undergone some cast changes, which other viewers haven't been too thrilled about. Personally, I think it has made the show fresher.

This week's episode (S3 E5 - Razgovor) was a big turning point for the show for two reasons:

First: when Agent Carter revealed to her rookie partner (Laskey) that she had always known what he was up to, spying on her for the enemy:

"You don't work for HR anymore, son. You work for me now." 
Laskey peeing in his pants.
Wheeeee!



Second: when we got treated to a backstory for Samantha Shaw (Sarah Shahi)...which makes her my person of interest for this piece.

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Introduced in the middle of the 2nd season as a cold-blooded government assassin, Ms. Shaw somehow ended up working with Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Finch (Michael Emerson).  I keep forgetting --- was Shaw asked by Mr. Finch, or did she just keep showing up? No one can figure her out.
Ms. Shaw from Person of Interest,
who probably owns stacks and stacks of black shirts.

Ms. Shaw appeared to be devoid of any emotion, which makes her great at what she does (killing people). But for someone who's obviously pretty, she has the charisma, the manners, and the grooming habits of a boulder. Which is to say that all of that's nonexistent (thus, killing her social life).

Her odd behavior was only briefly mentioned in one episode as an "Axis II disorder". Which could be anything, really.

Her backstory this week revealed that she was always detached and emotionless, even as a young child. To me that says she isn't "damaged" because of any painful experience. Her disorder could be inborn, and most likely? Without any cure.

While Ms. Shaw sounds like an intimidating terminator bad-ass, it's pretty clear that the writers and the actress playing her are having fun with this character.  Because now, with Shaw (hopelessly) trying to assimilate herself as a team-player with Reese, Finch and Carter, her participation provides some of the amusing bits to a series that is, otherwise, dark and serious.

She's so odd and socially-inept that when asked to do the normal stuff with the others, she ends up doing it in the most awkward manner. I actually like it when Mr. Finch reminds her to behave like civilized person sometimes. Her addition makes the show so much more interesting because she's an unlikely comic relief. And even with that little backstory, there's still so many to be discovered about her (like, why is she really there?).

I didn't use to enjoy Person of Interest in the earlier seasons that much.  But this year, something has really picked up... enough for me to say that next to The Good Wife, the show is probably one of the better drama series I watch on broadcast TV right now.

Ms. Shaw demonstrates how duct tape
 really works with everything!!! 
Actress Sarah Shahi (Ms. Shaw) with real-life husband Steve Howey
If he does do a guest spot, my only request is that I get to kill him.”

Do you watch this show and are you enjoying Ms. Shaw's contribution?

24 October 2013

Connecting with THE GOLDBERGS

Although The Goldbergs is set at a time when I was growing up --- and thus, brings a sense of nostalgia for me (a lot of its elements are soooo familiar!!!) --- there are a few reasons why I wasn't immediately taken with the show:

  • It couldn't be as charming as The Wonder Years, a series it's being compared to the closest. 
  • The kids, especially Adam, who is the central character, have little likeable qualities. 
  • Save for the hair, the clothes, and the occasional 80's pop culture references, it didn't feel authentic enough. I still get the sense that this show is so staged. Sidenote: Well, of course it is! It's a TV *production*! But I hope you get what I'm driving at. I could relate, but I can't connect. (Does that make sense?)

But I didn't want to nitpick, and instead gave The Goldbergs some time to simmer and settle. So I kept watching. The truth is, it's far from being a bad show. There are things about it I like:

  • The character of the mother, Beverly, is portrayed so well by Wendi McLendon-Cove. She is overbearing, but she is the funniest on the show.   
  • Somehow, the series reminds me a bit of The Middle...if The Middle were also about an 80's family.

This week, however, my lukewarm appreciation for the show turned to...well, TRUE LOVE. And all it took was this magic trick they pulled. Straight from the 80's!

They did a throwback to "Say Anything"...which is only my favorite romantic movie ever.

Here's part of how the episode went down...
Adam's voice-over: While my parents were calmly working out their problems, I found a solution to my problems with Dana.
ADAM: "Let's do this, Lloyd!" (talking to this poster)
 There's Lloyd on the poster... with Diane Court!
Adam's voice-over: I'd use my favorite romantic movie,"Say Anything" to win Dana's heart. (Cue music: "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel, the soundtrack from "Say Anything")
Adam Goldberg
Lloyd Dobler (played by John Cusack)

Only Adam's plan didn't turn out well, coz this is what happened:

Busted by Dana's brother and father!
“I serenaded her brother, I broke my boom box, and worst of all, I soaked my Lloyd Dobler trench coat.” 
 
The scene already won me over. Got me by the hook, line and sinker.  I was grinning while watching, delighted by everything that transpired.

But it wasn't over for The Goldbergs because in the final minutes of the episode, this is what they pulled:

video

By then, I was already in tears.

Because it summed up a number of things for me. Like how I saw love as a growing teen in the past, through my favorite romantic movie. And how I see this now, in the present, with the realities I face everyday.

It was all there in that video.

And with that, I finally connected with the show.

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Are you watching The Goldbergs? Have you seen this week's episode (S1 E5 - The Ring)?

Video is not my property, and my be deleted without warning. 

23 October 2013

Figuring out THE MINDY PROJECT

Learning that The Mindy Project is now the lowest-rated, under performing show on Fox worries me because there's a good chance it may not last another season. Since its return for its second year last September, viewership dropped to 3.1 Million average (from 3.8 Million), with its demographics also down by 20%.
The Mindy Project Cast on Glamour Magazine

I was getting bummed out about this news, so over the weekend, I decided to watch all of the show's episodes again. If only my watching would somehow help push the show's ratings up.

Well, of course it didn't.

For very obvious reasons... like, I'm not a Nielsen viewer.

Packaged as a rom-com show, The Mindy Project (TMP) has all the elements and tropes of what you would expect from a chick flick. In my world, it's already a hit because I am its right audience (read: female). So, is this part of the reason why it's failing to gain viewers? Because it only appeals to women?

Interestingly enough, I asked a girl friend's opinion about the series, and despite us liking basically the same things, it turns out, she isn't a fan of TMP. She cites that Mindy is a shallow and narcissistic person. She says she's annoying and probably wouldn't be friends with her in real life. Could her description of the lead character be the other reason why viewers can't seem to warm up to the show?

I used to wonder what the "project" meant in the title. I thought it was all about Mindy finding her ever-after, with the "project" being finding the right man to marry and grow old with.

But over the course of the first season, it became apparent that the central theme of The Mindy Project is all about Mindy growing up, with the "project" being her personal growth and maturity.

In other words, she is supposed to have all these annoying qualities. Because the show is about Mindy figuring out what kind of an adult she should become.

Mindy Kaling, the series' lead writer and creator, is one of the brightest comedy writers on TV today. I like that she writes a lot of contradictions for her character, Mindy Lahiri --- e.g.  she's a successful at her career, but she's a hot mess as a person; she's self-centered, but she's also compassionate; she's self-deprecating, but she would like to be seen as a confident person; she's loads insecure, but she acknowledges all of her imperfections. All these show Mindy as a multi-faceted character... and nothing about that is shallow, is it?

But The Mindy Project also works well because she is surrounded by all these misfits:

Schulman and Associates: Dr. Castellano, Betsy the Receptionist, Dr. Lahiri,
 Dr. Reed,  Beverly, Morgan the Nurse
The new members of the practice, with the addition of Dr. Prentice and Tamra  

One thing that makes TMP seem like it's all over the place is because the writers try to squeeze all of these characters into the storyline, even when they should really just be people Mindy sees at work everyday.

But they aren't.

They're with her everywhere, even when she's out socializing with her boyfriend, or supporting her brother's passion, or her friend's cause.  She has these people as her own support group that it wasn't necessary to keep her other group of girls anymore (Mindy's BFF's were cut from the series).

As a result, it's hard to distinguish whether this show wants to be a workplace comedy, or a show about friends who goof around and hangout together, or a romantic comedy. 

And to me, this is why it's vital to give this show a chance to grow beyond the second season.  To give it more room to figure itself out (just like the lead character). Or perhaps to establish that, maybe, it's all of the above.

Plus, there's that obvious romantic friction (sexual tension?) between Mindy and Danny that really needs time to develop...which I will discuss for another entry.

Someday, these two...
are gonna have... 
to get a room!!!

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On a slightly different note, I applaud the show for being able to is able to enlist some of the best male guests ever, all good-looking and talented in their own right. 

I suppose Mindy Kaling's connection in Hollywood has a lot to do with it. But as an avid viewer, this list of male guests is one of the reasons why I look forward to new episodes.

      

From left to right: Bill Hader, Ed Helms, Andrew Holm, Seth Rogen, BJ Novak, Ben Feldman, Glen Howertorn, James Franco and the Duplass Brothers.  (She has also enlisted Tim Olyphant in an upcoming episode.)

So, what do you like about The Mindy Project?

What do you think would help keep this show for another season?

21 October 2013

MASTERS OF SEX Title Sequence: How Dirty Was My Mind? [With Video]

I asked this question on Twitter early today because I was reminded of the opening sequence for Masters of Sex. I caught the short segment while watching the third episode, which aired last week.

The first time I saw the title sequence, I honestly couldn't say if it made me appreciate the creativity behind it, or it made me wanna laugh... to feign the awkwardness I felt. Crazy enough, I was watching by myself, without any minors in the room and so, I  had no reason to feel awkward about it. But there I was, laughing nervously.  It brought back feelings I've only felt in high school. Like at any minute, nuns would be calling me into their office to berate me for watching what the sisters would qualify as "dirty".

Guilty!

A 45-second clip turned me into a mess!

It took some time for me to gather my bearings and assure myself that...well, I'm actually an adult in a 17-year relationship. Who's had a child. Nothing in the clip should've rocked my core so!

Now, you would probably understand all this if you've seen the opening, too.

So, can you watch the video below and let me know I'm not the only one who was conflicted about what I've just seen?
 


Are you done?

So, was I overreacting or was I entitled to have such reactions?

Should I send my congratulations to the people behind this genius concept, or should I bathe in holy water now?

To the show's credit, there really is nothing smutty about Masters of Sex and I've said the same thing quite a number of times to anyone who would ask about it.

I find that they treat the subject of sex and the science behind it with a fragment of class and sophistication. And it's not just about the physiology of it, there's also the psychology behind the characters.

However, after watching all four episodes so far, I find that the show is actually a slow-starter and to some extent, a bit dragging, I must admit. Then again,  Mad Men, which they say is a lot like this showwas also a drag early on, only to become engaging in the later seasons.

The first four episodes of Masters of Sex have been playing along these storylines and not much is moving forward yet:
  • Masters isn't getting good results from his study, which has been on and off quite a few times in the series.
  • Masters treats his wife (Libby) and his assistant (Ginny Johnson) like they are beneath him.
  • Masters has control issues.
  • Masters has no people skills, but is a great doctor and surgeon.
  • Masters has daddy issues and pent-up feelings.
  • Johnson is a "progressive" person who isn't ashamed about her sexuality.
  • Johnson is not in control and has no direction in her life.
  • Johnson is no doctor, but she has a way of charming the patients and their study subject, which is why many of them agree to be on it in the first place.
  • There's an obvious sexual tension between Masters and Johnson, but I don't wanna know if this will lead somewhere. So, I'm staying away from reading spoilers or accounts on the life of the real Masters and Johnson until after the first season. 
But here's hoping its narrative will build up in the coming episodes, just like Mad Men, and live up to its promise of being the best new drama show to come out this season.

I didn't notice how the E in "sex" actually looks like a crotch. Clever!
From the 3rd episode of Masters of Sex

From the 3rd episode of Masters of Sex
All photos are not mine. They're from different Tumblr account reblogs.

19 October 2013

Disappointment TV: 4 Buzzed About New TV Shows That Aren't That Great [Fall 2013]

Much buzzed about before the season started, these shows have become big disappointments...an insult to one's viewing pleasure. Don't believe the hype. They are not especially great to watch.  I'm still on the fence about keeping some of them on my weekly schedule of shows to watch. You've been warned.

1. Agents of the Shield
Aired episodes so far: 4
Network: ABC

The pilot episode for Agents of the Shield was, no doubt, exceptional and promising. It delivered what was expected from it, setting the bar for what's coming next. And I guess, that became part of the problem. For all the high expectations for this show, the episodes following the pilot struggled and fell flat. Where did the magic go? This series gave us something good, only to follow it up with a bunch of crappy episodes.

What's lacking from this show? There's too many to pinpoint: The absence of ass-kicking superheroes. The format --- a boring procedural. The lack of character development, as in how much do we know about all of them so far? What do these agents actually do?

The show is taking such a sweet time with giving the viewers a story to hold on to, that I can't help but compare it with The Tomorrow People, which isn't great TV but it had a more interesting flow of the story (2 episodes in on The CW).

The cast of Agents of SHIELD


2. The Blacklist
Aired episodes so far: 4
Network: NBC

Not even a big star like James Spader can sustain the quality level of this show. Much like Agents of the Shield above, Blacklist also suffers with its format. It's too structured and routine to come out with a substantial plot viewers can take from.

Oh, it does give away a few hints now and then --- the story behind Liz's father or Red's daughter, the husband's real identity, why Red chose Keen --- but dangling clues only leave viewers like me frustrated. Because nothing is really happening there. I guess they will save the big reveals when the season ends (in the 22nd episode or so). But you know what...by then, who cares?

The show clearly establishes Reddington as the central character so much that everyone else pales in comparison. The FBI is inept, the other villains and criminals on the list aren't fascinating enough. God forbid they would overshadow Reddington's intimidating presence! Baaah. I've been saying this since the beginning: the show needs to balance out Spader's star power.

James Spader and Megan Boone in The Blacklist

3. Super Fun Night
Aired episodes so far: 3
Network: ABC

It's not the worse in the bunch (Dads is), but it's terribly unfunny. I think Super Fun Night's biggest problem is that it's trying too hard to become something it's not. Like... lose the romantic angle and just let the girls be, alright?

The cast is actually great. I love everyone of 'em. I'm not too familiar with the girl playing Marika, but I love her here. But because the show's writing is weak, it comes off to me as if the actors are just putting up with something just to be funny (and get paid for it...yeah, that too!). What that does is give viewers characters who...well, I'm not even convinced are really having a super fun night.

I'm well aware Rebel Wilson has written all the 3 episodes so far, and she's also the brains behind this show, with Conan O'Brien as her boss (producer). She's taking on too many tasks --- acting, writing, developing the series --- to really excel in one crucial area: making us laugh.

I've just about given up on this show and won't be planning on watching anymore.

The rare moment Super Fun Night made me laugh

4. The Crazy Ones
Aired episodes so far: 4
Network: CBS

It hurts to diss this show because I'm in love with James Wolk. Hehe.

I find some things working here and the show still makes me laugh, which is why I will continue to watch it. But it's not as fun as it was in the pilot episode. The show could be great, but it seems like they're fitting everything all at once, it's coming from all directions. It's messy crazy, but not much fun.

The father/daughter dynamics between Simon and Sydney is touching. But the characters are either too zany or too serious. I think they need to play and blend off each other better, so as not to become off-putting. They're the two leads of the show and they're the ones most likely to turn away viewers. That's not good.

James Wolk (Zach) is the eye candy, but it's Hamish Linklater (Andrew) who makes me laugh the most. He's the show's brightest spot.

Andrew is The Crazy One's most valuable character 

Cray Cray Crazy Ones

All photos are not mine. They're from different Tumblr account reblogs.

18 October 2013

Appointment TV: 5 New TV Shows You Should Be Watching [Fall 2013]

And so, after watching at least three to five episodes of TV shows that premiered in the last month, here are some solid picks of shows you should consider following and keeping in your schedule:

Broadcast TV

1. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Aired episodes so far: 5
Network: Fox

A friend asked if the show hasn't lost its touch since the season premiere last September and I honestly couldn't come up with one gripe or criticism about it. I'm sure there are, but it's easy to overlook the show's faults when I find myself laughing and enjoying it every week.

Plus points: No character can be disregarded, because you can count on anyone of them for the laughs. Although there's this underlying fear that Andy Samberg would come off too cartoonish or over-the-top, or the girls would come out awkward or constrained...nothing like that is happening.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine delivers. And what's more, I'm closely seeing how it could be the successor to Parks & Recreation. There are plenty of similarities. They even have a "Jerry" in Hitchcock!

A sample of Brooklyn Nine-Nine's brand of comedy


2. Sleepy Hollow
Aired episodes so far: 5
Network: FOX

From the very beginning, I've already enjoyed Sleepy Hollow. The concept is utterly outrageous, but who cares? The more ridiculous it is, the better it seems to be because, as this article puts it, it's not afraid to embrace what it is.

Plus points: Ultimately what works for me is the chemistry between the two leads, when I thought they would be mismatched in the beginning. Giving this show a shorter season sounds a lot like a good idea, too. Because this way, it won't lose its direction or reach its saturation point faster.

Sleepy Hollow is the first new show to get a second season renewal. It's making the network happy, the way 24 did during its run.

Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie from Sleepy Hollow


3. Trophy Wife
Aired episodes so far: 4
Network: ABC

My first impression of this show wasn't great because the pilot had its problems and I was still trying to get a sense of what it's about.

I first thought it was a Modern Family clone. But a few weeks after, with obvious tweaks here and there, Trophy Wife found its bearing. While I think the show isn't completely without its little issues ---- one being that the Trophy Wife is actually the weakest character (right?) --- it is slowly becoming a show I look forward to watching every week.

Plus points: The Asian kid. Where did they find this guy? It doesn't seem like he's in the show to work as a child actor. He's so natural!

Trophy Wife's Bert is a joy to watch! 

Cable TV

4. Masters of Sex
Aired episodes so far: 3
Network: Showtime

I've programmed my brain to love this series no matter what because I think it's a show that embraces feminism (girl power!). And also because it has Lizzy Caplan, whom I've been wanting to see star in a TV series again.

Plus points: Fortunately for me, it is a well-written series, with the right mix of science and drama...and of course, nudity and sex. I also enjoy how the story builds up slowly but surely, much like a good foreplay. Hah!

Sex can be a racy topic, but this series does it so tastefully, with a roster of capable actors on board.

Just a regular day at work on Masters Of Sex


5. Hello Ladies
Aired episodes so far: 3
Network: HBO

Hello Ladies' concept isn't original. There's too much of squirm TV and loser dorks wooing women going around in the small screen ever since. Admittedly, this type of series isn't gonna be on everyone's list. But I'm still recommending it because Stephen Merchant is a talented genius.

Plus points: You know what I really, really love about Hello Ladies? Its opening sequence. I think it perfectly sums up what it's about and shows how creatively superior it is. In case you're curious to see it, there's a bad copy of it on Youtube. Critics, for the most part, are unimpressed by Hello Ladies, but I have had so many laugh-out-loud moments watching all of its episodes so far. I'm really enjoying those little surprises.

Hello Ladies is also presented with that dry humor Brits like Merchant are famous for. The show is actually based on his previous stand-up act.

Stephen Merchant can't win with women in Hello Ladies

Next stop: I'll be writing about Disappointment TV.

All photos are not mine. They're from different Tumblr account reblogs.

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30 September 2013

BREAKING BAD Series Finale Musings

WARNING: Mild spoilers below...

Somewhere around the fourth season of Breaking Bad, I was already convinced Walter White wouldn't be able to turn things around and redeem himself. By then, it was clear to me that greed (and perhaps even pride) were at the core of his motivation for doing the things he kept doing.


Calling him "evil", or "sociopath", or "evil sociopath" --- just for conviction and emphasis that he was that baaaaaad! --- was still putting it mildly. He was beyond all that, if that's even possible.

And yet, unlike other TV characters I've developed seething hate for (such as this guy), all I felt for Walter White after he... well, broke bad... was fascination. How oddly complex did his character grow?  However, not once did I feel any sympathy.

Until the series finale.

And all of a sudden, I was on board Team Walt. And crying for him 15 minutes into watching the last episode.

I was in tears partly because I was sentimental about the show ending. But also hugely because I've come to realize how awfully sad, sad, sad this character was.

That moment with Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz was a pivotal one for me. I admit I've forgotten about the Schwartzes, what with everything that's happened on the show. But here, their presence was a glaring reminder, defining where it all actually started. Or where Walter would've been, if his fate had been different. (But we wouldn't have Breaking Bad then, would we?)


Grudge, rejection, falsehood, betrayal, charity case, pride, ego, millions. I could see the striking contrasts of all of that in the scene.

And that made me really sad for Walter White.

(I can't break down the scenes so much because I would want you to watch it, and especially feel it --- FEEEEL!!! --- without getting spoiled!)


In the end, how it came together was befitting.


Walter White did right by the people he hurt. He went the way he thought he should, and somehow, this was his redemption. And despite all the tragic circumstances he got himself and his family into, he was, in the end, a fulfilled man.

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Thank you to the writers and cast for this wonderfully bitchin' ride!!! Congratulations, Bryan Cranston... for blowing us away, playing a character with so many layers so, so well!