Sunday, March 31, 2013

Celebuzz 'Revenge' Recap: "Masquerade"...

Last week’s Revenge on ABC dropped a bombshell into our laps by revealing that Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) had another son that she gave up for adoption. Doing the math from her then age of sixteen or now, it seemed clear he was not someone who had been already lurking in plain sight in the Hamptons, but no doubt would soon be dragged there—most likely by the likes of Emily (Emily VanCamp).

However, even Emily needs some time to put the pieces of her plan in motion when she gets such startling new information. Thankfully the show didn’t make the audience sit around and wait while she worked in the background. Instead, “Masquerade” took a six-week time jump to skip past the typically boring procedural parts, including those within Nolan’s (Gabriel Mann) search for the missing Padma (Dilshad Vadsaria).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

From LA Examiner: FX Upfront Announcements; 'Hannibal' Advance Review; 'The Carrie Diaries' Preview; Elisha Cuthbert & Zachary Knighton Talk 'Happy Endings'...

"FX news Justified, Always Sunny, Legit, The League-- with a twist!"

FX held their annual upfront presentation earlier this morning, and they had a lot of news to share just beyond the usual pick-ups for the next television season-- though there were those, as well. First and foremost, the cable network renewed three comedy favorites, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League (for a fifth and a sixth season), Legit, and drama powerhouse Justified. But they also finalized details on splitting their programming across three channels now, instead of simply FX. And that means some moves for favorites, as well as lots more new programming coming... [MORE]

"Mid-Season 2013 Preview: NBC’s Hannibal"

If you’re even the slightest bit in tune with pop culture, you have heard the tale of Hannibal Lecter, but NBC hopes you aren’t tapped out in tellings because they have a new drama not quite centered on the infamous serial cannibal (Mads Mikkelsen)—but instead one very special FBI consultant (Hugh Dancy) who is profiling him, even without realizing he is sitting across from him. Interestingly, the pilot episode of NBC’s Hannibal actually follows this profiler, Will, much more closely than Hannibal himself, showing that the dark and disturbed come in many forms. The kind of cat-and-mouse set up by the killer and the man who doesn’t even yet realize he should chase him should be a fascinating origin story of their relationship—a relationship we didn’t even realize we wanted to see-- so used to Hannibal’s aide towards a female FBI agent... [MORE]

Step aside, glee; The CW's The Carrie Diaries has dedicated the next all-new episode of its first season to paying homage to Madonna, and though the show is not having its characters break into song, it is using the Material Girl's '80s best as a soundtrack and a theme for "A First Time For Everything"... [MORE]

One of the most talked, Tweeted, and Tumblred about moments from this third season of ABC's Happy Endings was the Usual Suspects twist at the end of "The Marry Prankster," in which it turned out that Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) had actually pranked them all. Cuthbert has never considered Alex genuinely stupid-- just overly enthusiastic in everything she does, but even she had to point to this moment as one that didn't turn Alex into some kind of secret genius... [MORE]

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

'Supernatural' Recap: "Freaks and Geeks"...

A lot of you faithful readers had more to say about my last line of last week's Supernatural recap than anything else I commented on within the episode. It was because I pointed out that the Winchesters "really are in this only together." Hunting has always been a solitary way of life, and as bleak as this makes it seem, attachments are always liabilities. "Freaks and Geeks," at the outset, seemed like it was going to make a case for a different way, but as Dean (Jensen Ackles) would say, something didn't smell right about a "hunting school" from the jump.

Dean and Sam (Jared Padalecki) caught a case of a savage death in a popular necking spot in the woods (only an old guy like Dean would call it necking, though, right?), and when they arrived in town, Dean was shocked and saddened to see little Krissy Chambers (guest star Madison McLaughlin) not quite all grown up and caught on security footage as part of a pubescent trio that took the thing down. 

The episode itself allowed the audience to only see a little bit of Krissy without the boys, to get a sense of what her life was like and not even why. I couldn't help but wonder why we didn't see her at her weird foster home for young hunters without the Winchesters on her heels. I suspect it was because if we were allowed inside those walls without them, the hair on our necks would have been standing up with no one to call for help. In getting to know how Krissy worked, though, she certainly seemed to be the future of hunting, with her Sam-would-approve tech gadgets and Dean-would-approve gun-handling. The POV camera work from her team was exactly how-- and how much-- "Bitten" should have done it earlier in the season and pretty much rendered that episode further useless. But I digress.

The Winchesters tracked Krissy to a hotel where she and her friends were preparing for their next kill. Though we caught him in a room with a young woman bound on the bed, after he bolted through a window, he actually begged for his life, rather than bared his vamp teeth at the young hunter who wanted to lob off his head for killing her entire family months earlier. It was then that it was apparent these kids were on each on a personal revenge mission, and this guy was only number two. They still had to find the vampire that killed Krissy's dad, and since she was the most skilled-- and seemingly most emotionless-- it was bound to be a doozy.

But any good Supernatural fan knows the rules about revenge kills. They are often sloppy and never fully satisfying. So when Krissy took the boys back to her new home to meet her surrogate father figure and teacher Victor (Adrian Hough), it baffled me that he was claiming revenge was exactly what would set these kids up right for a future in hunting. He was convinced that they would feel so good about getting the thing that got their families they would go on to greatness. But I couldn't wonder why they'd want to. They're not all martyrs like Dean and Sam. For most people, the act of revenge is the final act. You complete it, and you can move on with your life. Victor would lose his brood, his surrogate children, in what was sure to be just as painful (but in a different way) as losing his own children to a wendigo.

By the way, I loved the throwback references to earlier things that we saw Sam and Dean hunt down in the first seasons of the show. Wendigo was just one.

Anyway, Dean had the same funny feeling I did about Victor and his ways, and it wasn't just about wanting these kids to have regular, normal lives. He saw a suspicious hoodie-wearing man (did they end up in Starling City!?) in a blue van parked outside the hotel, and Sam ended up seeing the same thing at the house. Victor was feeding these kids lines of crap about who really killed their parents so they could hunt down easy kills and get self-esteem boosts for being so good at their new jobs they managed to take down what they perceived to be the scariest monster of them all. But Victor was working with a vampire-- the real one who had killed all of their families at his urging-- and he decided to keep playing that revenge card as much as possible. He planned to have the vamp kill Sam, and then he would spin a story about how the remainder of the nest came looking for the kids for their own revenge. It was convoluted, but that's what happens when people get emotional. They don't make much sense.

Dean had already intercepted the kids from killing the third planted vamp, and he told them of his suspicions, so by the time they were back in the house, there wasn't a lot of "he said/he said" trying to decide who was telling the truth. They turned on Victor pretty quickly, but the kicker really wasn't what he was really up to at all. Instead it was their response-- well, namely Krissy's-- to the remaining players. The vampire who hadn't actually killed Krissy's dad was still a vampire, and the kids wanted to kill her because they saw a black and white monster. Dean actually talked them down (perhaps drawing on his own recent partnership with a vampire for internal inspiration, even if he didn't try to explain it to them aloud) to impart the most valuable lesson a new hunter could learn: it's not about killing people; it's about saving them. 

Through Victor, they were coming at things from the wrong side of the business, focused on the blood lust and the "taking down of bad guys." They had a plan in place for saving live, human victims, like the girl they found tied up in the hotel room, but it was mechanical, robotic, more of a task to get through until they could get to the good stuff. They were getting their adrenaline off their kills. And really, that's just as bad as the monsters who get high off their own kills.

The lesson must have really stuck because faced with the truth about Victor, Krissy was content to let him crap himself thinking she was going to kill him, rather than actually kill him. She knew he wanted a family and that leaving him in his house to live alone would be worse than putting a bullet in his head. I had a brief thought of "but he'll just try again with new kids" because you know you never turn your back on the killer in the horror movie because even with gunshot or stab wounds or being lit on fire, he will get up and come after you one last time. But Victor didn't. When he reached for his gun, it was to take his own life, and I found that extremely unsatisfying. I've argued against revenge kills in this show so many times, but I didn't like that the bad guy retained control all the way to the end with this one. 

I would be lying if I said the thought I had about this episode long after it ended wasn't about Krissy and her two friends and what kind of a life they'd go onto now. They've each been through something terrible but attained amazing skills since. Victor said it himself: they are athletes and scholars. But most importantly, they're going to do the impossible and stick with each other. We haven't seen any other hunters be successful at that. They either drop out of each others' lives for such long periods of time due to being on the road and hunts that when they return, they don't even know if they'll find their former buddies alive-- or they actually do just die on each other. I would love to see some kind of web series spin-off where Krissy and Co. don't go looking for monsters, as she promised, but they find them, as they always do, and they manage to kick a little bit more ass. 

The neat and tidy wrap-up at the end of the episode, in which Dean pointed out that this episode actually does tie-into closing the gates of hell felt like a direct raspberry to anyone who would bemoan another one-off so late in the season. But he also verbalized a point we should have all been thinking with any one-off this season: the Winchesters may only be in the big picture stuff together, but it all trickles down, and everyone they've ever even encountered are affected. Some worse than others, obviously. Krissy more than most because she not only knows what's out there but has the capabilities to do something about them. They've been saving one person at a time, but soon they'll have a chance to save the entire population-- forever. One tablet is sure to beget another. And assuming Sam survives the first set of trials, maybe he and Sam will alternate on the next ones. Sure, those who have been touched by something evil already will never forget, but they will be able to truly move on. The Winchesters (hopefully and especially) included.

From LA Examiner: Alan Tudyk Talks 'Suburgatory'; 'Nashville' Gunnar & Scarlett Spoilers; 'How To Live with Your Parents' Advance Review; CBS Renews Almost Everything...

"Alan Tudyk previews single Suburgatory life & affirmative action for gingers?"
Although ABC's Suburgatory has spent ample screen time showcasing Noah's (Alan Tudyk) love for Carmen (Bunnie Rivera), from his realization that life is just too short to his attempts at wooing via a mariachi band, there is still a small part of us that can't help but wonder if he is actually in love with her or he just likes the idea of her and the way she cares for him... [MORE]

The characters of Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Scarlett (Clare Bowen) on ABC's Nashville have such crazy chemistry it was clear from the moment they sang together in the pilot episode that they were something special. But as episodes have unfolded this first season, it is not just their music where they have sparked. They developed a deep friendship turned roommate situation in which they looked out for each other and comforted each other when things weren't going well. And things are certainly not going well for Gunnar right now, having just lost his brother. But sleeping with Scarlett may not prove to be the key so many fans hope it will be to make him smile again and to kick start a romantic relationship with them... [MORE]

Having to move back in with my parents was my own personal nightmare ever since I moved out in the first place, so the idea is not something I would imagine ever getting to the point where I could laugh over it. Yet, Claudia Lonow's version of a woman having to do just that (with her young daughter by her side) is clever and chock full of very specific characters that I am actually able to sit back and enjoy the idea without projecting myself onto the situation. How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) takes what could be a very broad, schticky concept and humanizes it, finding a lot of heart within a lot of comic relief neuroses... [MORE]

"CBS renews just about everything for 2013-2014"

CBS has renewed just about everything on its current line-up for the new television season today... [MORE]

Monday, March 25, 2013

'The Following' Thoughts & Theories: "Guilt" Review...

After watching Jacob (Nico Tortorella) take his first life in last week's episode of FOX's The Following, all we wanted was for him to shame spiral out of guilt. Fitting that that's tonight's episode title, right? Killing Paul (Adan Canto) may have been a mercy killing and exactly what Paul wanted, given his dire situation, but that doesn't mean Jacob feels good about it-- especially with Paul's last words being "I love you" instead of "Thank you." We've seen Jacob struggling with tapping into an inner darkness for so long that we really should have no reason to believe that inner darkness is as black as it needs to be for murder. He's just not that guy, and that's been fine thus far, even for Joe (James Purefoy), but suddenly, faced with betrayal and his own heinous actions, it may not be enough for Jacob anymore.

I feel a little cheated that we didn't get to see the initial (what I assume to be) argument between Jacob and Emma (Valorie Curry) as Roderick (Warren Kole) brought them back together. I can't imagine Emma just bolted from the room, nor can I imagine Jacob was so exhausted from grief and travel that he collapsed into sleep instantaneously. Yet when "Guilt" started, there he was, in bed at the compound, after a night of who knows what. I want to know what! There was so much for them to say to each other, and Roderick seemed to take so much delicious pleasure in his surprise, that letting any time pass without the airing of grievances felt bizarre.

Clearly Jacob didn't get any kind of closure, though, because his dreams were filled with confusing images of Paul in which he seemed to really believe his friend was truly alive, mixed with a dead Emma. You can make the argument that his subconscious, in his dream state, was showing him what he wanted and therefore what he would have to do-- to Emma, for Paul-- but I think if that were true he wouldn't have woken up screaming at seeing her bloodied body on the shower floor. The truth is, after you lose a loved one in a horrific way, you often dream that they are still alive, but if there's someone you think is responsible for them not being so, you would wake up wanting to enact revenge. I don't want to put too much of myself in this story, but after my mother passed away, from a long, drawn out bout with cancer, I would have the most vivid dreams that she was still alive, sometimes still sick, sometimes actually getting better, and I would awake sweating, thinking that was real. There was no one to get revenge on but myself, for not mercy killing her to end the suffering sooner. Guilt messes with your head. Here, Jacob seemed more scared by losing someone else he loved than by any darkness creeping into his subconscious.

I said when we first met Roderick that it was only a matter of time before he began pushing back against Carroll and trying to do things more and more his way. I think bringing Jacob to the compound when and the way he did was a small instance of that but small enough that Carroll didn't concern himself with it. With Claire (Natalie Zea) still out there, he had bigger things to worry about, after all. But Roderick saying no to being chosen to be part of a mission sure was worrisome for Carroll, and I hope he was rethinking Roderick's motives for his commitment, not just the acts themselves. We still don't know how or why or even when Carroll decided to let Roderick in on his co-ed killings back in the day, but clearly Roderick has gotten something for himself out of his time with Carroll in a way that none of the other followers care to. For the majority of those at the compound and beyond, Emma especially, it's all about feeling a part of something bigger and proving worthy of Carroll's love and affection and own devotion as you prove yours for him. But Roderick received something very selfish years earlier when Carroll took the fall for two of his murders. Carroll certainly seems to have considered Roderick like a son, but it's time he cut his losses, realize the loose cannon his oldest may be, and focus ahead on little Joey.

Little Joey who is so bonded with Jacob he sprinted towards him when he saw him, seemingly forgetting all about the time in the farmhouse. Maybe drugged hot cocoa wipes your memory while you sleep. I suspect it's more about denial, though. Joey is in a strange place with really strange people, and Jacob is somewhat familiar and that's comforting. He'll latch onto what he can get. In a way, Jacob did the same thing. He was avoiding having to deal with Emma, so he threw his time and energy into Joey. It wasn't healthy; he couldn't fully process everything, let alone move forward, but it was also an evolution for him. He has been such a sensitive character, but this alone showed a little bit of a hardened shell (or to borrow from Once Upon A Time, a black spot on his heart) caused by recent events. Of course, it couldn't go on like this for too long. In real life a person like Jacob may have ignored and avoided for weeks, and that isn't healthy. Carroll knew that. And of course Carroll's brilliance, couple with TV time, meant Jacob and Emma had to have it out by episode's end. For that, I was waiting with baited breath.

Especially once Jacob's thoughts of Paul made him the devil on his shoulder. The thing is, we can't control what we dream, but we absolutely mold the thoughts we have when we're awake. Whether Jacob was remembering a time when Paul told him Emma was a bitch or whether he was having his own new, recent thoughts come out of an image of Paul to help himself adjust to them almost doesn't matter. It's what he chooses to do with the thoughts, especially when they come into direct conflict with each other, that does.

I didn't love that Jacob only went to talk to her because Carroll told him, too. That made him more of a sheep, the zombie-like cult follower that this show has never really depicted. But with the grief he inevitably feels over Paul, that feels oddly accurate. He's going through some motions. He doesn't have a mission now; he lost the two people he cared most about; he kind of was a zombie. But facing Emma snapped him right out of it. Did Carroll know just how much he needed to be woken up? Maybe. Or maybe he just didn't want any tension in his house of happy serial killers. 

Emma was practically pleading with Jacob when she told him she loved him, and that broke my heart as much as it did his. It certainly confused things worse for him, conflicted him worse, but it was necessary. He can't deny that he has deep feelings for her, too, but the fact that he told her he would never make the decision she did just goes to show how different they actually are in design. Thoughts of revenge may continue to pop into his head, but I don't believe he'll actually act on them. In fact, killing Paul that second time, in his mind, seemed to be his way of silencing a lot of the uncomfortable thoughts. I'm sure they'll just beget new uncomfortable thoughts and inner turmoil, but still, that stabbing should have signified another important decision-- another important choice for Jacob to make. Just as he has thought about killing years before but was never been able to pull the trigger, these will be fantasies he can't quite carry out. He's lost, and he's posturing, and he probably wants to believe that switch has been flipped to get justice for Paul, but that doesn't change who he is at his core. And honestly, I can't believe no one-- not Emma, not Carroll (though he's kind of wrapped up in awaiting his wife and constantly taunting Hardy with the obvious)-- has pointed out that his killing Paul was its own sense of justice. He literally put the guy out of his misery; he did not fail him.

It should have been just as necessary for Joey to ask his father the questions he was asking Emma-- about the people at the house but also who his father was. Now, I'm not trying to directly compare the two. I don't believe Emma was manipulating Jacob, though Carroll coaxing his son to teach him to make s'mores certainly was a bit of that. Joey was still adjusting and needed to feel more comfortable, though usually engaging a kid in a consuming task keeps them busy so you can ask them questions without them thinking too hard about the answers and therefore just being honest. If Joey had done it to his father, to find out if he was really a serial killer and why his mother wasn't there, he would have been a genius, and I would be saying that he is more like his father than I could have imagined. But instead, we got a simple, small scene in which the important stuff this time actually didn't get said. Probably because he's just a kid. But how Carroll chooses to respond to such questions-- whether he lies to his son or treats him like an equal-- says just as much about his character as all the killing does. I still think it's necessary to show that to the audience.

I have to admit I was also holding my breath waiting for the moment that Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and Claire were reunited, though I want to smack the Marshall upside the head for not really checking to ensure it was Hardy and Hardy alone at the door-- or for not using a code word for Claire. With all that has gone on, you'd think that he'd take every possible precaution, but you know, big gun, big stick mentality makes you cocky. If I were Claire, I wouldn't feel too safe in his care. And that's not just because he looks skeevier than any of Carroll's followers. 

Claire spoke for the audience in many cases tonight by asking aloud how it has been possible that a compound of serial killers has gone unfound. But when you think about it, you don't have to be a college graduate to be a cop. In some jurisdictions, you actually only need an eighth grade education. Yet, many of these criminals, ex armed forces and trained with special weapons or not, have extremely high IQs. They also have the benefit of not having to follow laws to track people down. These days all you need is to be a scholar of crime shows, and you'll be a couple of steps ahead of your local cops. Sure, the rules are different with the FBI, but the FBI works off of tips and often leads from the local precincts so... it's a vicious cycle that tonight ended up in a confrontation in the hotel parking lot that once again proved just how powerless the low-level followers actually are but also finally allowed Claire to fight back.

Also, I'm just really glad Hardy didn't actually take Claire to Brooklyn. It proved how smart he was thinking by not falling onto obvious behaviors or patterns, but it also introduced us to someone from Hardy's past who knew more about him-- more about the way the world works-- than I expected. Thus far, Hardy has been smart, but he has always been behind Carroll. His guy Tyson (David Zayas), at least in flashbacks, seemed to know so much more than Hardy explicitly told him-- to the point where I was convinced "Molly" was just a code name for Claire-- that Hardy told him about the relationship without telling him everything, so as to protect her-- and probably him, too, a bit. When the show actually flashed back to show a flesh and blood woman there, though-- one that Tyson seemed to be getting a little territorial with, I might add-- things complicated. He no longer seemed the intuitive best friend but instead a suspicious studier. It seemed imminent that he would end up hurting Hardy, most likely by betrayal, but possibly also by untimely death. What can I say? I don't trust new people on this show, and neither should anyone else. Obviously.

On that note, everyone assumes that at the end of the first season we'll learn someone on the FBI side has been a follower all along. I don't think a show this twisty (and twisted) would be so easily reductive, but if we're going to learn someone isn't who they say in the next few episodes, my money is on Nick (Mike Colter). The hack into the database seemed a bit convenient, but also, he's just the only important one we don't already know really well. Or at all, really.

Anyway, if The Following was a one-off horror movie, the shoot-out at the cabin would have gone very differently. Molly would have just be an inconsequential, ending-in-heartbreak story from the past. But it isn't, and she wasn't, though I have to admit I was much more hoping Tyson would have been the one to secretly show up at the compound, having been wearing a vest or something during the shootout. Another woman in Carroll's life is just bound to complicate things when Claire eventually gets there. Because Claire isn't your typical young, single girl being stalked by a psycho, either. She has something greater at stake than her own life, and call her crazy or naive, she's willing to risk it all to get in a car with a masked stranger who has proven he has no qualms about killing just for the chance to see her son and make sure he's all right. She might even think, after the adrenaline rush of the past few hours, she might be able to escape with Joey. But somehow I doubt such emancipation is on her mind right now. Preservation is first.

There has been a lot written on other websites, in other reviews, about The Following's integration of Edgar Allan Poe and how true serial killers don't copy others' works-- be it real murders or ones in art. I find that to be inherently true, but I don't see that as a flaw within The Following because I don't believe the show is making a statement that Carroll is modeling anything after Poe. Sure, he was inspired by him in his writing, and absolutely his followers have taken that a bit farther. But his followers have misunderstood some of the writing, and that the show is letting that hang out there is what is so fascinating. Charlie especially seemed desperate to make personal connections and draw lines between Carroll and Poe and specifically The Raven. I don't claim to be a Poe scholar, but The Raven is about mourning, and to a different extent, a deep belief in love and spirituality in its own way. The latter is certainly what Charlie was getting from his time as part of Carroll's "cult," wasn't it? He may have put more importance on the poem than most, tying it directly to images of murder, but with any work of art, we project much of what we want and need to see in the piece onto it, independently of what the artist intended. Any critic, myself especially included, would be in denial if he or she didn't admit he or she does the same thing when reviewing a show-- any show-- from any angle that isn't purely technical. All I would hope is that people would be inspired to pick up Poe after watching The Following and judge for themselves what all the fuss is about. 

PS where is this secret website in which I should enter my name and email and someone from Carroll's following will get back to me? Because I want to. But that's probably a given by now.

From LA Examiner: 'Revolution' Return Advance Review; 'The Following Photos; TBS Renews 'Cougar Town'; New 'Arrow' Photos...

When NBC's Revolution returns for the remainder of its freshman season, the separation between Miles (Billy Burke) and Monroe (David Lyons) is even greater than it was before, and everyone in the middle is forced to really prove allegiance. As we saw in the winter finale, Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) helped Monroe turn the power back on, which set up a very different show going forward. After all, the premise was once that these people had no power for fifteen years and had adapted to that way of life, but now kids like Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Danny (Graham Rogers) are being handed guns, asked to go up against a small army that has access to helicopters, tanks, machine guns, and knowledge of the world "before." The ramp up to the beginning of the end of this first season of Revolution is much more focused on bringing the title of the show to life as those we have come to know struggle for some metaphorical power amidst a world that glows again... [MORE]

"Hello, Emma." It was the eerily calm, almost calculating, easiest two words heard around the television as FOX's The Following finally reunited the scorned (and newly vengeful) Jacob (Nico Tortorella) with his girlfriend Emma (Valorie Curry), who had left him for dead after escaping the farmhouse with little Joey (Kyle Catlett)... [MORE]

"TBS renews Cougar Town for 2014"


TBS announced today that they are renewing Cougar Town for another season. It will be the show's second on the Turner Network, but fifth over all, having spent its first three years on ABC... [MORE]

I was so excited to see Seth Gabel was coming to The CW's Arrow earlier this season, but then he was there and gone oh, so quickly! Thankfully, though, the show producers understand the genre cred this particular guest star has and found a way to bring him back. Though his The Count was carted off to the loony bin after being given an overdose of his own drug, he is still the authority on all things Vertigo. And that means he may be very important in learning more about the death of a young woman who was partying at Oliver's (Stephen Amell) club... [MORE]

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Celebuzz 'Revenge' Recap: "Victory"...

ABC’s Revenge took a bit of a detour tonight as Emily (Emily VanCamp) and her newly re-surfaced foster brother Eli (Collins Pennie) decided to take action against their former foster mother who milked the state out of chunks of cash for taking in these waywards, only to abuse them and steal from them. Honestly, I’m not sure why this is the first we’re hearing of her. Maybe Emily felt like she got enough personal revenge by setting this woman’s house on fire as a kid, but considering she went on to foster dozens more—and that the house wasn’t even burnt enough to be unfixable-- her sense of right and wrong and justice and all that jazz should have had this woman’s name on a list alongside the Graysons and Mason Treadwell and the like. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

From LA Examiner: Jessica Lucas Talks 'Cult' Twist; 'Orphan Black' Advance Review...

As if Cult wasn’t twisty and convoluted enough, it is soon diving into a hallucinatory dream world of sorts in order to allow Skye (Jessica Lucas) to confront her past. In “The Kiss,” Skye and Jeff (Matt Davis) dress up like the fans of the show within the show, “Cult”—with Jeff as Billy Grimm—and head to a party to get even more answers. There something is slipped in Skye’s drink—a special something that is just like a drug Billy uses on the show. She begins to freak out, and her troubles don’t stop there. In fact, she collapses the morning after the fan party in the following episode, “The Good Fight,” and slips into an unconscious state where she sees herself trapped at Billy’s compound, with faces from her past haunting her. She even runs into her dear old (possibly departed) dad (guest star Obba Babatunde)... [MORE]

When we first heard the concept of Orphan Black on BBC America, we Tweeted that it reminded us of a science fiction version of Ringer. In the opening of the pilot, a young woman with a troubled past, Sarah (Tatiana Maslany), watches a woman with her face commit suicide in front of a train and then steal her belongings to ultimately steal her life. Suddenly former foster child Sarah becomes Beth Childs, a woman with a modern apartment, gorgeous boyfriend, comfortable savings account, and high profile police job. But comparing Orphan Black to Ringer was a short-sighted mistake. After that initial simple similarity of one woman slipping into another woman's life, Orphan Black diverges into a much more mature and complex tale of murder, suspicion, and genetic engineering. Orphan Black is a riveting piece of original storytelling that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats throughout each episode and salivating for the next piece of story as soon as the current one comes to a close... [MORE]

Thursday, March 21, 2013

From LA Examiner: 'Newsreaders' Season Finale Advance Review; TNT Summer 2013 Premiere Dates; Seamus Dever Talks 'Castle'; ABC Summer Premiere Dates...

Earlier this season we brought you an interview with Mather Zickel about the new Adult Swim short series Newsreaders, evolved from an episode of Childrens Hospital into its own faux news program. In it Zickel teased the "hard-hitting" journalism his Louis La Fonda would be tackling this season, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that the season finale of the series has La Fonda sitting down with an accused serial killer (Bob Clendenin). La Fonda thinks so highly of himself and his journalism skills, he is a bit self-righteous in declaring the legal system "unfair" to the man who has to represent himself because no lawyer wants to take the case of a serial killer (who just happens to be accused of killing over a dozen lawyers)... [MORE]

"TNT announces summer 2013 premieres for Falling Skies, Franklin & Bash, more"

TNT has announced its Summer 2013 schedule today, and on it are returning favorites like Falling Skies and Franklin and Bash, as well as some new, surprise pick-ups.... [MORE

"Castle's Seamus Dever talks surprises & marital strife when Ryan is undercover"

ABC’s Castle has had a lot of fun of late with some comedic beats for Detective Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever). The situation of trying to have a baby itself isn’t funny, but the reactions by those with whom he shares a precinct have been. Castle is known for infusing such ribbing and banter wherever and whenever it can, to lighten up an otherwise serious, scary situation, and what we have seen thus far this season for Ryan may just be a way to ease into a very intense episode, “The Wild Rover"... [MORE]

"ABC announces Summer 2013 premieres for Mistresses, Motive, Rookie Blue"

ABC announces its Summer 2013 line up today, featuring the returns of reality series like Celebrity Wife Swap, The Bachelortte, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, and Wipeout, as well as a new season for Rookie Blue, and the premieres of Whodunnit? and Motive... [MORE]

Report from the Set: The Surreal Life of 'Southland'...

I have been covering TNT's Southland for the past two seasons, invited each year out to visit the set by its studio Warner Brothers. Something that has always struck me about Southland-- but which I never really gave much thought until the actors I interviewed from the show, namely Michael Cudlitz, pointed it out was just how little we would get to know the various suspects and victims of any given episode. Since the show shoots documentary/reality style, following the days and the lives of these LAPD officers on the job, we go with them as they respond to calls-- everything from traffic accidents to noise complains to canine and domestic issues to homicides. With the exception of Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) and now her partner Ruben (Dorian Missick), we don't follow a case from beginning to end because uniform officers-- especially first responders-- don't have that responsibility. They check out scenes, take statements, and wait for detectives to arrive if it's particularly bad. What this amounts to is a whole lot of adrenaline to chase down a bad guy, to just walk away from him. Oddly, despite the training procedurals have given television audiences, it doesn't frustrate me when we don't hear a confession or even learn what was really going on at a particular scene on Southland. Sure, I have questions, but the next scene of the show thrusts me into something else, and I have to let it roll off my back, trusting that someone out there is handling it. It's an intense and extremely truthful look at being a real cop on this city's streets.

Standing around on a film or television set is always a bit weird: people wander around, take cell phone calls, eat, and crack jokes in full costume and make-up-- which can be anything from nuns to zombies to royalty. Standing around on a film or television set that is utilizing a real location is where the surreality creeps in. You expect a hodgepodge of characters when on a studio lot, but in the "real world," most actors stay in trailers until first team is called. Not on Southland. Perhaps partially due to the quick turnarounds and set ups in between shoots, these actors are happy to stand on street corners and chat with crew and extras while they wait for action to be called again. Standing tall in their LAPD blues, everyone driving down the street slows a bit, assuming they are real cops until they see the camera rigs. They command attention and authority; they blend in seamlessly with the city's backdrop.

"Bleed Out" was the episode this fifth season for which I was on set, and despite everything running as smoothly as usual on set of Southland that day, I couldn't help but look around and feel like it was a bit surreal to be standing there. See, the particular day I was on set at two separate real house locations to investigate a guy stabbing himself and a homicide of a baby, the city-wide manhunt for Christopher Dorner was underway. Many people probably look at the officers tasked with acting as security for film sets and wish they had such cushy jobs-- especially on a day like that-- but I was told repeatedly from the show's producer, AD, and LAPD consultant that they were actually antsy to get back to regular duty, to stand with their brothers and sisters in the real fight and bring down a real bad guy. 

Now, Dorner, as we all know, was specifically targeting people within the LAPD he felt had wronged him and were corrupt, but I never felt unsafe standing surrounded by a group of officers-- some real and some just acting. I marveled more at the positive image Southland was pushing forward at a time when one man was doing a lot to set the LAPD back. I'm not going to argue whether I think his corruption claims were unfounded; I read his manifesto, and it didn't sound nearly as rambling or "crazy" as one might expect from a spree killer. Anyone who knows me also knows I don't have the best appreciation of the "big gun, big stick" mentality and have seen and heard about enough police corruption to question who would show up at my door if I ever needed help. But the kind of police work Southland portrays is the kind I want to believe is prevalent in every city, big or small. There will always be a rotten apple in the bunch, but that one doesn't have to spoil the whole bushel.

I have to admit, I did feel a little pang of remorse that we didn't get to know more about the guy who was stabbing himself in his backyard that Cooper (Cudlitz) and Lucero (Anthony Ruivivar) attended to. In fact, I wonder how many people realized he was stabbing himself-- and the why behind it-- or if they even cared, if he was just another crazy on the streets of L.A. that these good cops put themselves in harm's way to protect and serve.

The scene where Cooper and Lucero showed up at the guy's house, only to be followed by a little neighbor kid on a bike, was the first scene I saw being shot that day. After Cooper carried the kid away, there was another scene in which he and his new partner watched the guy be put in an ambulance and talked. I was across the street, being utilized as an extra while watching filming, so I couldn't hear what they were talking about. I suspect it might have been something expositional to explain the situation. Originally, per the actors, the sequence was supposed to go earlier in the episode, before they got to the bus accident. It was an escalation of terrible for Cooper, who only capped off his day by learning his old mentor was completely broken down and suicidal. After one of his toughest emotional days, getting increasingly emotionally involved with people as he usually doesn't do, he got a hard look into a potential future.

We have gotten to know the cops on Southland so well after the last few years that we understand their motivations and behaviors, even when they make a mistake or a bad day causes them to snap or lash out. There were moments in "Bleed Out" that made me realize how one-sided that can be. Not everyone the officers come into contact with on Southland is a bad guy, yet they often all get lumped that way in treatment and memory, simply because they're a dime a dozen.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

'Supernatural' Recap: "Goodbye Stranger"...

Supernatural scribe Robbie Thompson is certainly a fan of his own show. This was proven in tonight's "Goodbye Stranger" with countless little nods to the fandom-- from "Megstiel," to the pizza delivery reference, to Dean (Jensen Ackles) finding vintage Asian porn in his bunker, to the "Team" reference in regards to the brothers, to Meg (Rachel Miner) calling it "lame" that Sam (Jared Padalecki) shacked up with a girl for the last year. Perhaps it is because Thompson knows the show so well, then, that this episode was as full of as much heartbreak as it was humor.

All of the buzz around "Goodbye Stranger" was about Castiel's (Misha Collins) return, but honestly, it was Meg (Rachel Miner) who took me by surprise this time around. It's never really been a secret that there was no love lost for me with that character, but tonight I realized how much her dry, jaded female perspective (demon or not) was missed. Whether she was rolling her eyes at the boys over the fact that even after all this time, they still were surprised to learn she lies so easily or jabbing at Sam and his unicorn, she breathed a new life into an otherwise very tense situation. It figures, though; just as you get attached, this show rips the rug out from under you. And the women, especially, never last.

"Goodbye Stranger" started out with something we haven't seen in awhile: a straight demon possession case. Dean and Sam investigated a woman's death only to learn that she had been possessed and was doing Crowley's (Mark Sheppard) bidding, digging around town, looking for one of Lucifer's crypts in order to find the angel tablet. But very quickly the premise exploded because Castiel had completed his training with Naomi (Amanda Tapping) and was sent back down to Earth to find that tablet himself. After all, in the demons' hands, it would spell certain death-- well, maybe that's the wrong word, but it would mean the end of heaven as they know it. If the demon tablet closes the gates of hell, wouldn't the angel tablet close the gates of heaven? Naomi can't have that, and she has trained Castiel to kill anyone who stands in his way-- including and especially Dean.

Though Castiel was certainly a leaner, cleaner, "bad cop" killing machine, he would often pop into Naomi's office to ask for her guidance when dealing with the Winchesters, each of whom didn't know what to make of his sudden and sketchy return. And he found that killing Dean, even when Dean literally stood in his way, clutching the angel tablet and declaring his plan to deliver it to Kevin (Osric Chau), wasn't easy. The bond they had formed was real, and Castiel was not a robot. He was, however, a bit brainwashed, all in the name of being "fixed" after doing so much harm to heaven.

Of course it was absolutely terrible to watch Castiel wail on Dean, whether it was "really him" or not. Dean has had so many moments of taunting the bad guys in the past, but his telling Castiel here to kill him if he wanted the tablet didn't seem like a challenge or even a man on a suicide mission but instead a way to trigger his old friend. It didn't work-- not right away-- it was barely even the "We're family; I need you" plea that seemed to do the trick. But Naomi telling Castiel to make a choice did. I suspect Castiel has always felt he hasn't had many choices in life. But here's the thing: by not killing Dean, he ultimately chose "them," so shouldn't that mean turning his back on the angels marked him in some way? A little part of me thought maybe he'd be human now (I don't know how far smiting goes), but obviously he was able to heal Dean, so that's not true. It feels a bit repetitive: he's a wanted man in heaven, having chosen others, and his recent actions make it hard for the Winchesters to completely trust him. He's not quite unwanted but still a bit of a third wheel at times, but even going off to be alone is something we have seen him do time and again. While it's nice that it's true to his character, something's got to give.

Meanwhile, Naomi claimed Castiel was doing what he was supposed to in protecting the tablet, but it appeared she was trying to save a bit of face in front of Crowley. Regardless, they have a history that surely means a new deal to be struck, and I can't even imagine what it would look like if the King of Hell and the Queen of Heaven teamed up. Shouldn't the world explode or something? Working together or not, I have a really hard time they can't find what they need almost instantaneously. 

Additional Remarks: It was nice to finally get verbal confirmation that Naomi was the one who gripped Castiel tight and raised him from purgatory, but what I really loved about this episode were the brief brother moments. We saw from Dean's prayer to Castiel that he knew Sam was hurting from the first trial, but tonight we saw just how much he knew when he found the bloody consumption rag. We didn't get much in the way of them talking about Castiel (at least on-screen), but the brief "why were you praying to him?" said so much. And Castiel's response about being celestial and therefore able to hear both of them made it even better. Then, of course, Dean's "I'll carry you"-- LOTR quote or not-- was a big step and leap of confidence to instill in Sam. This episode may have brought back a number of characters from the extended Supernatural family, but all it really did was prove just how much the Winchesters really are in this only together.

From LA Examiner: 'CSI' Renewed; Jeremy Sisto on 'Suburgatory' Relationship; 'Raising Hope' Musical Photos + Advance Review...

"CBS renews CSI for 2013-2014 TV season"

CBS announced today a contract extension for Ted Danson, current star of C.S.I., and what that means is C.S.I is moving forward for a fourteenth season... [MORE]

We all know opposites often attract in relationships, but when it comes to George (Jeremy Sisto) and Dallas (Cheryl Hines) on ABC's Suburgatory, it has recently begun to seem as if opposites may attract but may not be meant to be. This second season has seen a lot of ups and downs for the characters as they struggle with getting on the same page-- and then staying there. And Sisto said that things will not be smooth sailing any time soon. Sure, that's where some of the comedy comes from, especially as he gears up to serenade her with her favorite R. Kelly number, but it's also where some of the heart of the show comes in... [MORE]

"First Look: Raising Hope celebrates Judaism with an original TV musical"

Season finales of FOX's Raising Hope usually come with a revelation about Lucy (Bijou Phillips)-- and usually that revelation is that she's not actually dead after all. But season three put all that behind the show, and now, the finale revelation is hitting much closer to home for the Chance family. With a visit from Burt's parents (guest stars Shirley Jones and Lee Majors), he learns he is part Jewish. And since that "part" is on his mother's side, tradition says that makes him Jewish, too. Immediately his mother lays on the guilt for him to embrace that side of himself and have a Bar Mitzvah, which leads into the best penultimate episode of a season this show has ever delivered, but-- dare we say it?-- it may also be the best episode in general. "Burt Mitzvah" is a musical extravaganza (featuring all original tunes) to celebrate family, tradition, and of course pop culture-- as is the Chance way... [MORE]

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

From LA Examiner: Jeremy Sisto Talks 'Suburgatory' + Saucy New Photos; Colin Donnell Talks 'Arrow' Changes; Win a Trip to 'Nashville'...

If you thought Parker Young was the only Suburgatory cast member to rip off his shirt when he was excited or sad or angry-- well, you haven't been paying much attention to the show, have you? Fred (Chris Parnell) is also inclined to wander around naked-- albeit mostly in the steam room of the country club. Who says it's all about genetics? Like father, like adopted son in this case! But soon that exhibitionism is going to spread-- in a very special episode entitled "Decemberfold." And yes, that is exactly what you think it is... [MORE]

Way back when we were on set for CW's Arrow last year, Colin Donnell was really pleading his case for "Team Tommy", and wouldn't you know it? It worked! A good number of fans felt pretty much from the beginning that his relationship with Laurel (Katie Cassidy) was the one they wanted to root for, and they eagerly awaited seeing him get more involved in the action as his childhood BFF ran around Starling City saving (and sometimes killing) people. It took just over half a season, but Tommy learned Oliver's (Stephen Amell) secret and came thisclose to learning his father's secret, as well. But perhaps ignorance really is bliss, because having the knowledge is about to send Tommy-- and all his relationships-- spiraling... [MORE]

"Win a chance to meet Connie Britton on the set of Nashville"

Attention, fans of ABC's Nashville! Are you just salivating at the thought that there might be a tour someday? Well, series executive producer Callie Khouri said that she was considering it when the she and her cast took the stage at PaleyFest 2013 in Los Angeles earlier this month, but she noted that their show was their first priority. So you may have to just play your soundtrack into the ground instead. Unless you are the lucky winner of a very special set visit, that is... [MORE]

Danielle's Dish: 'Archer', 'Awkward', 'The Good Wife', 'Happy Endings', and 'Suburgatory'...

"Danielle’s Dish" is back this week with all-new scoop on all-new shows. As always, you can feel free to submit your requests for shows featured here—or specific questions and wonderings—on Twitter. And remember: SPOILERS AHEAD!


Monday, March 18, 2013

'The Following' Thoughts & Theories: "Love Hurts" Review...

FOX's The Following has shown us a lot of really ruthless, cold, and at times socially cut off followers, but tonight for the first time it showed us a downright fan girl in Amanda (Marin Ireland). I have to admit I was surprised it took this long to portray the wide-eyed groupie devotion. In a crowd of a two dozen (give or take), you're bound to get one or two who are not like the others. At first I assumed with her physical similarities to Claire (Natalie Zea) she'd want to replace Joe Carroll's (James Purefoy) wife, so to see her plan for how to give him-- and her chapter-- a happy ending was a welcome treat, even if her part of the story seemed a bit more episodic than usual.

Amanda killing women with the same name as Carroll's wife and Carroll's taunting call to Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) all seemed very traditional when it comes to horror and thriller tropes. In fact, the spear-gun murder (the method of which, admittedly, was completely unique and extremely cool) motive was something out of a Scream sequel. When it was followed up by tossing a woman out of a window, I had to stop and wonder just what Amanda really hoped to accomplish and how she thought this would provide a happy ending. Maybe her giggling, child-like nature wasn't actually the stuff of nerves but insanity instead. Maybe she really wasn't like the others; maybe her chemical imbalance was a bit more severe. Maybe Carroll let her carry on that way because he realized just what kind of a liability she could be and therefore figured he should let the police hunt her and get him out of his hair.

"Love Hurts" indeed. Look what true devotion gets you, right?

Amanda was bat-shit. There's just no other way to put it. Between her sloppy metaphors, and her instance that cheaters don't get happy endings (but um, sweetie, Hardy wasn't a cheater; Claire and Carroll weren't together anymore-- but if you insist on that kind of logic, then Carroll's a cheater, too, now), and her stab-happy tendencies for anyone who even loosely fit the them and got in the way, she seemed much more like someone who experienced a psychotic break and escaped a mental institution. I mean, there was even a glimmer in her eye that seemed to consider killing Hardy, even though we all know she can't do that because that's not part of Carroll's plan. I don't know how she survived this long to even attempt to play out her chapter; if I had been living at that compound, I would have taken her out for being so annoying pretty much on day two.

But Amanda was a casualty that Carroll could afford because it got him what he really wanted: his Claire, the real Claire. Roderick (Warren Kole) managed to decrypt phone signals to find her location. Carroll better make him pick her up himself because no one else can get the job done. As much of a loose cannon I thought Roderick had the potential to be after seeing his discomfort in adjusting to a number two position with Carroll in the house, he really is proving himself to be highly intelligent and intuitive about everything important. And the sick pleasure he took in pulling the few strings he had left proved just how wickedly fun things would be with him around for the long-haul.

There was not one character tonight-- on either side of things-- that didn't fall victim to this theme. Mercury being in retrograde and all that, it makes sense that they'd have kind of a crappy day, but seeing it all happen at once was like watching a house of cards come crumbling down. Emma (Valorie Curry), so eager and willing to give herself completely to Carroll finally got him in the way she wanted him, only to be rebuffed and rejected. Having sex with her was a way to satisfy an urge after a particularly intense situation. It was surely part excitement and part comfort after killing Charlie (Tom Lipinski), but she was clearly hoping it would lead to more. She wasn't consciously trying to go for a power grab, but certainly being with him should have elevated her to number two, in her mind. When she was off on her own, she could believe there were only a handful of others vying for Carroll's attention, but now, she was swimming in a sea, just struggling to keep her head above water to stay in Carroll's eye-line. Her chapter was over after all. Joey (Kyle Catlett) was safely delivered to the compound, and presumably he hasn't even tried to escape (though we haven't seen him in awhile...), so now she had to find a new place, a new role, a new mission. To see that in doing that, she still had to take a backseat to Claire-- and Roderick-- was devastating, made even worse by the fact that Jacob (Nico Tortorella) kept reaching out but her initial "leaving him for dead" was a rejection from which she couldn't figure out how to recover.

For the better part of this season I accepted Emma and Jacob's love for each other as being put together by Carroll, but by seeing a glimpse into Jacob's life-- surprisingly not through flashbacks but instead his very much real, present day mother standing in front of him in what was far too sleek and modern to be someone's summer cabin-- it was clear just how alike they actually are and therefore just how perfect they may be for each other. Jacob clearly has daddy issues; the sneer on his face when his mother mentioned that reporters were following the man to work was not one of satisfaction at the inconvenience but anger that after everything he had been through, it was his impact on his father that seemed to matter more. To her credit, his mother didn't immediately kick him out or turn him in, instead embracing him when he showed her just how lost he was, but in the end, she still chose his father over him, and that stung him just as badly as Emma's rejection had.

Paul (Adan Canto) was really the only one who ever truly had his back, kept his secrets, and loved him unconditionally, knowing who and what he was-- I especially loved the flashback to Jacob and Paul's first mission together to show that at least someone here was worried that he might be set up. I've danced around the topic before-- even earlier in this episode when I considered Carroll was just letting Amanda go wild to get herself caught-- but I'm glad the show considered it, too, even briefly. Like with whether or not you can train someone to kill, I think this is a fascinating topic. There's no honor among thieves, so why is there some among greater sociopaths? And just where is that honor's breaking point?-- Anyway, in turn, Jacob's love for him grew. But now that love was being tested because if you truly love someone, you're supposed to be selfless and put their needs first, yet in this case Paul's physical need (to go to the hospital and get a blood transfusion) and his emotional need (to not be turned into the police) were in direct conflict with each other. Anyway you look at it, Jacob, the boy who could not kill anyone, would be killing Paul here. Sending him to the hospital would kill his future, as he would be taken into custody, but leaving him at the house meant he would literally die of his gunshot wound.

But both would have been completely passive. From before Paul's "you owe me"-- from the moment we got a glimpse at just how white his face was and how he was hallucinating, slipping in and out of memories without even realizing it, I was hoping Jacob would finally take his first life and that life would be Paul's. It was a mercy killing, an assisted suicide of sorts, a death with dignity, and a perfect mirror of Carroll and Charlie from the last episode. Jacob became a man. How that will affect his response to taking orders or even seeing Emma again at the compound is one of the most exciting parts about this new chapter.

Also, did anyone notice Hardy's tie has finally been tied neatly again, and he looked like he got a haircut? Suddenly my theory that Carroll has re-energized him and brought him back to the living isn't so crazy, huh?