Archive for category Commentary
Best Cross-Over: Supergirl/TheFlash/Arrow/Legends of Tomorrow
Now this is how a crossover is done. Taking the kernel of an idea, Greg Berlanti and his team developed a four-hour (well, technically three-hour) mega-episode that gave us some incredible new team-ups and fresh interactions between characters that may never talk to one another again. Though the episode of Supergirl can’t really be considered a part of the crossover (since the part that included Barry and Cisco arriving on Earth 38(!) was only part of the last two minutes, and then repeated in The Flash), the other three episodes took the crossover idea to new heights, doing its best to include everyone while building on the mythologies of each individual show. Though it could be argued that the episode of Arrow diverged a little too far out of the crossover aspect, taking too much time inside the “fake” world and not enough time showing the team attempting to get them back, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow shined bright with action, intrigue and enough comic relief to leave you in stitches. With Cisco providing Kara a way to jump back to Earth 1 whenever she needs to, and each major character having gone through some transformation by the end of the event, we could already see what the repercussions of this major battle would take on each series moving forward, setting up not only future major crossover events, but mini one’s as well.
This season’s most noticeable trend: Movie to TV Adaptations
Television adaptations of movies is hardly a new concept. But over the last few years, it seems to have grown into a normal form of inspiration, one that will churn out half a dozen new shows based on movies every year. And just like any idea, for every adaptation that builds upon its source material in a terrific way (12 Monkeys, Bates Motel), there’s one that fails to come even close to living up to its predecessor (Rush Hour, Minority Report). Unfortunately, the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, what with there being around 35 adaptations currently in the pipeline, even though the statistics continue to hold true. Four new movie adaptations hit the small screen this fall and all three were executed with just the right amount of flair. Lethal Weapon was the leader of the pack, doing what Rush Hour couldn’t — teaming two great actors to build on the mythology set up by Shane Black. It doesn’t try to be the movie; it just borrows the best ideas and runs with them in a funnest, most emotional way it can. Frequency also took this route, using the first half of the film to set up the show, then diverting quite well into it’s own must-see mystery. The Exorcist was at first an adaptation in name only… until they revealed that Geena Davis’s character was actually Regan from the original film, which only added some great dimension to an already scary, riveting show. And on cable, Shooter showed its might by staying true to the essence of the film while providing some good action among the mystery and intrigue. Alas, on the other side of the spectrum we had Taken, a feeble attempt at giving us Brian Mills’s backstory; Training Day, where, aside from the late Bill Paxton, the acting was mediocre at best and the vibe was completely lacking in energy; Uncle Buck, which never found a stable voice; and The Mist, which yes, is also another adaptation of the Stephen King short story, but never manages to find any semblance of the claustrophobia of either the book or the much superior film.
Coming Into Her Own Award: Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong), Scorpion
Three years ago, when Scorpion first premiered, I commented that Happy Quinn was the worst character of the new year. I’m happy to say that over the last season and a half, Jadyn Wong has finally won me over. The more the show has come into its own, the more each character has found their place on the team, and the chemistry between everyone has become so easy and relaxing. But more to the point, Happy’s story arc involving her false pregnancy, her fake marriage to Walter (Elyes Gabel), and her real marriage to Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas), though somewhat contrived for drama’s sake, truly took Happy’s character in a new direction, one that helped her evolve into someone I could get behind.
Creepiest New Character: The Tooth Monster (Channel Zero: Candle Cove)
When he first appeared, I wasn’t sure what to make of the this thing. Then you realize the creature is made up of human teeth. And I thought the Candle Cove puppet show that mesmerized (hypnotized) the kids was the creepiest thing on this show. Nope. Then to find out this is how Mike’s (Paul Schneider) twin brother Eddie (Luca Villacis), who Mike killed when they were kids, is able to manifest himself in the real world until he can take over his brother’s body, the whole scenario is just one big weird and bizarre experience.
Characters in need of a spinoff: Castiel (Misha Collins) and Crowley (Mark Sheppard), Supernatural
Supernatural has tried to do the spin-off thing before without success (and will try again soon with their planned Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) spinoff). One reason being, Supernatural stems from the chemistry between Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles), so without them, it’s hard to watch another generic Supernatural copy. However, if there was any characters that could be viably spun-off into their own show, it would be Castiel and Crowley. I know it was only a few short episodes, and the ramifications of the recent season finale would keep it from happening, but their team-up to search for Satan throughout this past season has turned out some of the funniest moments on the show. It would be a hoot to watch them become the new Sam and Dean, and because they are already established favorites in their own right, fans would no doubt tune in to see what crazy, scary and ultimately obnoxious cases they would take on. Heck, I like the idea so much, I made a poster.
Actor who’s better than the show: Barry Watson, Date My Dad
You know an actor is good when they leave a show and the quality sharply declines. For example, when Barry Watson left 7th Heaven, the show became so much soapier, it was immediately apparent he was the glue that help the sacchrine in place. After battling — and beating — Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I’ve wanted him to make a great comeback in a show worth his talents. Alas, when Watson returned to television, he’s strandled with a show that’s so over the top and pathetically lazy that you can’t help but feel for him. Whenever he’s on screen, there’s a quiet energy and lightness about him and his surroundings; whenever he’s not, everything feels forced and hits with the thud of an anvil on Wyle E. Coyote. The overall writing and acting isn’t much better, cramming messages down our throats with labored performances and setting up situations even Lifetime wouldn’t touch. Barry Watson deserves so much more.
Best Halloween Episode: Last Man Standing
Holiday episodes can either come off extremely cheesy are become instant classics, especially on a sitcom. Usually, holiday episodes for a long-running show start to get tired (see Roseanne), as all of the best jokes are utilized early in the runs and the writers don’t quite seem to know where to go with them after a time. However, in its sixth season, Tim Allen and his team of writers came up with a Halloween idea that could have went horribly wrong, but was ended up being executed perfectly. As each member of the Baxter family dressed up as someone else in the family, it was clever to see each of the characters portray another in a cool meta sort of way, giving a fresh perspective on the characters while not overdoing the parody.
Most Surprising Death: Heather Pinkney (Jillian Murray), Code Black
Aside from The Walking Dead, most shows refrain from killing off their major characters unless their a sci-fi show where no character death matters because they always bring them back to life (and why Alice’s death, though surprising, isn’t at the top of the list). So it was very surprising to see one of the main doctors on Code Black succumb to a major outbreak at Angels Memorial. In a show like this, you tend to believe that any main character will be miraculously saved by a last minute realization of a cure. but Heather Pinkney became a major casualty when the virus took her before a cure could be found. Completely shocking, yet so in tune with the overall vibe of the show. RIP Dr. Pinkney. You will be missed.
Oddest threesome: Eliot (Hale Appleman), his Fillory wife (Brittany Curran) and a one-night stand, The Magicians
It may not sound odd on paper when Fillory’s newest high King, Eliot has a threesome with both his arranged wife and some new hookup he met when returning back to Breakbill’s. Here’s the rub: Eliot can’t physically leave Fillory now that he’s high king, so his fiendish friend, Margo (Summer Bishil) helps create a doppelgänger for Eliot that can travel back to the real world, one in which Eliot can control, but only when his other body is asleep. So, when he decides to hookup with some random guy at a party at his dorm in the real world, his Fillory wife decides to have some fun at the same time. As Eliot’s consciousness jumps back and forth between bodies, the man enjoys a threesome that the other two participants are unaware of. Yeah. That just happened.
And with that, we close out the 2016-2017 season. Come back next year for more chaotic television awards.
You’ve seen some of the more prominent awards (read Part 1), now let’s move onto some of the specialty awards.
Best Twist: This Is Us
This Is Us spent the summer months advertising a new drama that revolved around four people who happened to share the same birthday. How these characters would be connected, if at all, was still unknown. As the premiered episode progressed, and we grew more invested in each character’s emotional baggage, we learned Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) were twins and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) was adopted. That in and of itself would probably have been enough to keep you interested for at least a few more episodes as the character’s grew. But it wasn’t until that last five minutes, when a firefighter joins Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), who earlier lost one of his triplets, at the baby viewing window in the hospital saying he brought in an abandoned baby, and then they cut to some random dud hangin’ out in seventies clothes and smoking inside the hospital that everything came into focus with a twist this side of Lost, — Jack and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) are everyone’s parents!! — sealing the deal that this show was going to be must-see TV.
Best Non-Series Finale: Once Upon A Time
In what probably should have been the series finale of Once Upon A Time, everyone got their happily ever after: Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) are happily married, Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas) have a happy family, Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) finally finds happiness with Belle (Emilie De Ravin)…. heck, even the evil queen (Lana Parrilla) gets to run off with Robin (Sean Maguire). The end was also a nice nod to the opening scene of the series when the little girl (Alison Fernandez) who’s been tasked by her father to protect the storybook finds her way to now older Henry’s (Andrew J. West) apartment, claiming to be his daughter and saying his family needs his help. It’s a terrific close to the loop of a fantastical series. But no, even with six main departures, the show will continue with this new story line. Where it goes, how they explain why Belle and Emma aren’t around even though Hook and Rumple are still regulars, I’m not sure. But my guess is, it would have been a much happier ending the show where they started instead of trying to milk some final cash out this waning property.
Best Milestone Episode: Arrow
Arrow‘s 100th episode had a goliath task: not only did it have to appease fans of the series by delivering the right amount of nostalgia and call backs to what made the show so good from the start, but it also had to bring in elements from the super CW-Arrowverse crossover. In writing the episode so that the team members that were all originally from Arrow (including Oliver (Stephen Amell), Thea (Willa Holland), Diggle (David Ramsey), Sara (Caity Lotz) and Ray (Brandon Routh)) were abducted by the Dominators, the team behind Arrow was able to accomplish both quite nicely — although it could be argued that in relation to the crossover, the episode felt more like a distraction. For fans of Arrow, it was great seeing all of the characters from the past in what amounts to Oliver’s own Flashpoint, in which he got to see life as it would have been had he and his father were never shipwrecked. It gave us all enough callbacks to the first few seasons with quick flashes from different characters as they learned they were being manipulated, and moved the show forward at the same time it settled into the crossover and pushed toward the conclusion in Legends of Tomorrow.
Most Insane Producer: Max Landis
If you have ever seen Max Landis in an interview, no explanation is needed for the ideas that seem to generate in the man’s head. With being a co-creator and occasional writer on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and a producer on Channel Zero: Candle Cove, Max Landis brought the weirdest, creepiest, most bizarre characters to life this season — and it was mesmerizing to watch. He may seem like an odd duck, but his imagination is one magnificent, original hell. I can’t wait to see what genius he has in store for the future.
Most Sentimental Moment: Gibbs (Mark Harmon) hugging Palmer (Brian Dietzen), NCIS
Leroy Jethro Gibbs has never been the sentimental type. Yes he has shown his affection in different ways, such as kissing Abby (Pauley Perrette) on the cheek like a daughter or slapping DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) upside the head like a son, but he’s never shown true, loving affection. This revelation came out during the episode titled, “Keep Going”, which focused on lovable Medical Assistant Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen). When Palmer attempts to talk a kid who just lost his father from jumping off the ledge of a building, insights into how Jimmy sees all of his co-workers, including the harder than nails Gibbs, come to light. Palmer even goes so far as to talk about Gibbs’s wife and child, still a sore subject for Gibbs even after all this time. At one point he mentions that Gibbs has never hugged anyone, even when they sort of expected or needed one. But that’s Gibbs. So what a powerful moment it was when Palmer tries desperately to apologize for some of what he said, and Gibbs in true Gibbs fashion doesn’t say a word; he just pulls Jimmy in for one of the most sentimental hugs on television.
Best Homage: Joe (Jeremy Maguire) Modern Family
In an episode that saw little Joe trying to prove he’s just like his dad, Jay (Ed O’Niell), we also get a very subtle, blink and you miss it homage to another long-running Ed O’Neill sitcom. Sitting on the couch, watching television with his hand in his pants, little Joe just may have some Al Bundy in his blood as well.
Best Cameo Appearance: Lucille, Supernatural
Fans of Supernatural have been clambering for the return of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s John Winchester ever since his final passing in season 2. Fans got a small taste this season as the actors payed homage to not only the character but the actor this season when a very special guest showed up for a quick scene. Ever since Morgan took the reigns of Negan on The Walking Dead, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padelecki and the producers of Supernatural ribbed Morgan by claiming that Big Daddy Winchester has used Negan’s most prized possession — his barbed-wire-laced bat, Lucille. On episode 15 of season 12, Lucille made her first appearance on the show, where Dean (Ackles) and Sam (Padelecki) come home after a battle carrying the bat. “Dad would have loved this thing,” Dean says. Ah, the metaness of it all. If we can’t have Morgan back on the show, this little wink was a nice surprise.
Too Soon Award: Michael Weatherly, Bull
Michael Weatherly’s departure from the still hit show, NCIS, hit a lot of fans hard. After all, what’s Gibbs without DiNozzo? I understand that actor’s sometimes need to move on. Just like any ordinary job, spending over a dozen years on the same show can become rather stale, and if you’re starting to phone in a performance, it might be best to move on. But to know that Weatherly already had a new show lined up even before the dust could settle on DiNozzo’s story was a little jarring. Had he taken a year off to revitalize his energy, I could see it; jumping right back into a hour-long procedural seems a little excessive, and didn’t allow viewers to properly say goodbye to such a beloved character. Because of this, although his new show was another winner for CBS, it was hard to distinguish Weatherly’s Bull from Weatherly’s DiNozzo, and that may have done more harm to the show than good.
Most Devastating Tribute: Nashville
If the death of Rayna James (Connie Britton) wasn’t enough, Nashville took her mourning to a whole new level. After frenemy Juliet Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) passes her tribute song over to Rayna’s daughter Maddie (Lennon Stella), the young rising star breaks down after seeing pictures of her and her mom on stage. Rayna’s husband Deacon (Charles Esten) and youngest daughter Daphne (Maisy Stella) run to her aid and immediately begin singing the rest of the haunting “Sanctuary” to a standing ovation by the hundreds of fans, relatives and friends in the audience. If you weren’t crying, you have no heart.
Come back tomorrow for the last of the 2017 television awards, including the creepiest character, the most noticeable trend and the oddest threesome. (Check out Part 3)
It’s that time again! The Emmy’s are right around the corner, so herewith are the best of the best of the 2016-2017 television season. Remember, these are NOT picks for who should win the Emmy’s — that show is so biased, I can’t watch! These are awards I give for the best and worst moments of the television season from the shows I actually watch (so no Game of Thrones or Empire moments; sorry). So please, leave your comments and choices in the comments section at your leisure. (For more fun, check out 2015-1016, 2014-2015, 2013-2014 and 2012-2013 awards.) Check out the full list of awards!
When I started this writing journey, I was naive to the complexities of it all. I guess in it’s most basic state, writing is just me and the words on the screen or paper. It’s when I started sharing those words that things changed. Here are ten things I learned since I started (in no […]
“What are we gonna do, man? What are we gonna do?!?”
I’m going to say something possibly unpopular and perhaps a bit strange. I hate the children’s book The Giving Tree, even though oddly, it was my favorite book. I remember being five and reading the story and just weeping for the tree, feeling devastated. Understanding what she was feeling. I recall hating the boy and the self-centered […]
Best end to a long-gestating story arc: Haven
A few seasons ago, Haven started an arc that a guardsman was going to kill Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour). It was the ignition to a full season, in which Nathan (Lucas Bryant) went undercover to find out who it might be and stop them. The arc led to several other story lines, but in the end, Duke’s mysterious killer was never found and the arc seemingly slipped through the cracks. That is, until the season finale, when Nathan was forced to kill Duke to keep Croatoan (William Shatner) from collecting all of the troubles he’d trapped inside him. It was a fitting end to a long forgotten story arc, proving to fans that the creators of Haven were doing everything they could to wrap every loose end in a nice little bow before signing off for good. Read More Awards
You’ve seen some of the more prominent awards (read Part 1), now let’s move onto some of the specialty awards.
Coming Into Its Own Award: Girl Meets World
As the second season of the continuation of a beloved 90s sitcom continued, Girl Meets World started to find its voice without the old cast getting in the way. Like Farkle (Corey Fogelmanis), who matured into something better as he grew older, so too has the show started to mature along with its cast. Though I still feel that a lot of the writing is forced — that is to say, the lessons aren’t as organic as they were on the original show — as Girl Meets World grows, its finding its way a lot more, culminating in a three-part episode that showed it wasn’t afraid to reach deep for emotions. As Riley (Rowan Blanchard) and Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) started exploring their feelings for each other as well as for their shared love of Lucas (Peyton Meyer), the show wasn’t afraid to stop mining for laughs and develop the drama in a creative, more realistic way. If its true that the show will continue to evolve into more dramatic fare and “real issues” that look to capture those strong moments while still being funny and sweet, then I’m excited to see what they’ll continue to do as season 3 progresses. See More Awards
The Emmy’s are back and with it, the Chaos Breeds Chaos Television Awards. For those unfamiliar with these awards (see also the 2014-2015, 2013-2014 and 2012-2013 awards), I’ve spent the entire calendar year (mid-September 2015 to mid-September 2016) watching as much television as my brain (and tastes) would allow, compiling a list of all the ups and downs of the 2015-2016 season. (The biggest surprise? The CW didn’t take home the prize for Best New Show!) This list of course only covers those shows I watched, so if you’ve seen something over the course of the season that you believe should be on the list, it may be missing simply because I don’t watch that particular show. Then again, it just may be omitted because I didn’t think it awesome enough (or cringe-worthy enough) to include. So please, leave your comments and choices in the comments section at your leisure. Now, without further adieu, here are the best, worst and most bizarre of this year’s TV offerings according to me, your avid TV watcher. Winners (and Losers) Revealed
Back in the height of American Idol‘s success, I used to try to predict the outcomes of each season. Once the finalists got down to the top ten, I’d list each one in the order of how I felt they’d be ousted, based not only by what I thought, but by what everyone else was saying. And I have to say, barring any surprise Sanjaya’s, I didn’t do a terrible job at it. In season 6, when Jordan Sparks won, I had the top 4 picked perfectly; and in season 7, I had David Cook over David Archuleta the whole time. But over the last few years, aside from Philip Phillips, I just haven’t been all that excited by many of the contestants (if any), so I stopped trying to predict the outcomes. Well, now that Idol is in its last and farewell season, I thought I’d take one last spin through the prediction whirlwind and see if my prognostication skills are still in tune with the general public’s. Read My Predicitions