Posts Tagged Opinion

Chaos Breeds Chaos 2017 Television Awards – Part 2

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

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This Is Us — NBC

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

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Once Upon A Time — ABC

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

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Arrow — CW

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

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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

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NCIS – CBS

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

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Modern Family — ABC

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

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Supernatural — CW

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

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Bull — CBS

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

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Nashville — CMT

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)

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Chaos Breeds Chaos 2017 Television Awards – Part 1

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!

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IndieBook Review – Transmuted

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Transmuted – A Sci-Fi Mystery by Robin Praytor

Science fiction has always been a vehicle for giving a twist to other genres. Whether it’s fantasy, drama, comedy, action or horror, science fiction has elevated these genres into a different realm by infusing aliens, spaceships, advanced and future technology, and time travel into those basic genres. In other words, if you to remove the “science-fiction” element, you’d still have a story to tell. When you’ve developed strong, relateable characters, created an intriguing plot and written smooth prose that flow across the page like butter across popcorn, you become invested enough to forget you’ve been transported to a different world and accept the weird things that come along with it. With her book Transmuted, Robin Praytor does just that – transports you to a world beyond our galaxy but keeps makes it fun enough to keep it grounded in a bizarre alt-reality.

Labeled as a sci-fi mystery, Transmuted takes place in the year 2519 on Dark Landing, a space station built upon an asteroid in the Zeta Quadrant. Due to the ability to travel through the vastness of space via wormholes, it’s not clear where Zeta Quadrant is, but it’s an outpost for traders from every galaxy to hang. The chief security officer of Dark Landing is Drew Cutter, a somewhat disgruntled man who seems to be fed up with everything around him, but still does his job with fierce determination — and a laxness for those he knows get in trouble but aren’t harmful to anyone. He runs the show with all the decorum he can muster and keeps his team, including Mattie, Curtis and Doc, in check and up-to-date on everything happening under his watch.

One day, there’s a massive explosion inside one of the docking bays. Drew and his team are on it, but there are dozens of questions, the most important of which is who planted the bomb and why. At the same time, Drew meets a wayward vagrant who happens to be an attractive young lady in disguise. She claims to be Letty, the daughter of a very important person in the intergalactic community who owns the company that basically built the systems the universe uses across its outposts as well as the security teams that run them. Letty tells Drew she was sent her to Dark Landing because Drew was the only person her father said she could trust. Unable to reciprocate that trust, he locks her up until he discovers some news that requires her help in sorting out.

The relationship between Letty and Drew is strong from their first meeting to the last page. Robin sets up a brother/sister relationship that stems on incest but clearly isn’t, as their is a soft spark regardless of how both ignore and/or refuse to acknowledge it. I think Robin may go on a little too much and harp on a little too often, though, about how Drew finds Letty obsessively attractive. After the first ten times, it’s like, all right, we get it; he’s infatuated with her. At the same time, this bombardment of fixation shows just how invested he is in her and plays well toward the end of the book, even when it starts to speed up a little too much and begins to spray the book with ex machina after ex machina to wrap things up.

It comes after Drew and Letty figure out what’s happening, and have basically solved the mystery, one which I did find pretty compelling, yet not complete… it’s as if Robin sort of gave up on her own mystery in order to keep the book from getting too long. She sets up several things three quarters of the way through that are never developed the way they could have been, and by the end, these developments sort of just dissolve away due to reasons that come off a little too easy and superficial. T the same time, the speed of the the last few chapters kept me from getting super involved, wherein the emotions that should have been brought out in us as readers are subdued because the stakes don’t seem as high as they should.

However, because of the interactions of the characters and the way Robin has developed them throughout the book, this quickened pace can be in a way forgiven. I like how each of the relationships grows and evolves, bridging the events with the heart of the book, which is the mystery. Robin does a good job at pacing the reveal of the answers, sprinkling them about at just the right times and just the right moments to keep us interested in the mystery itself and what’s happening and why. Because of this, the book moves at a pretty quick clip and does exactly what science fiction should do— make you forget that hooker monks, nanobots, wormholes and lifeless alien armada’s are at the core of a mystery surrounded by plenty of fun, intense action.

My Grade: A

Robin got into writing as a way to distract herself from the barrage of deadlines and to-do lists of her corporate life creating training materials and drafting legal documents. These stories demanded to be written, and like any good writer, she headed the call. Born in Michigan, Robin now lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her patient (and long-suffering) husband, and is in the process of completing her second novel.

Check out all of Robin’s social media platforms:

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Robin Praytor

Author Blog

Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

If you are an independent author and would like your book reviewed, let me know in the comments section with a link to where I can purchase the book. If I find it intriguing, and it’s something I think I’d like, I will purchase a copy and add it to my reading list. I will be doing one independent book review per month, so not all requests will be accepted.

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Chaos Breeds Chaos 2016 Television Awards – Part 3

You’ve read Part 1 and Part 2, so why stop there? Below are my final awards for the 2015-2016 television season.


Best end to a long-gestating story arc: Haven

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Haven — SyFy

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

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Chaos Breeds Chaos 2016 Television Awards – Part 2

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

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Girl Meets World — Disney Channel

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

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Chaos Breeds Chaos 2016 Television Awards – Part 1

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

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Star Wars: The Anticipation Awakens

At one point in my 2012 film, Secrets of the Desert Nymph, one of the characters encourages his best friend to go after the girl of his dreams before it’s too late. When his friend finally agrees, he’s boggled by the idea that he do it right that minute.

The exchange:

“You mean now?”

“No. When episode seven hits theaters.”

Of course, this was when it was a well-known fact that George Lucas wasn’t ever going to release another Star Wars film. The joke was meant to mean if he didn’t do it right that minute, he never would.

Cut to one year later and the announcement that Disney bought Lucasfilm and its entire film library for $4 billion dollars. Disney’s second announcement — Episode 7 was coming, and it was coming fast. And even though it makes the joke in a three-year-old movie seem as dated as the fight over Beta and VHS, I couldn’t be more excited. Find Out More

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Improv To Improve: How to Fix Saturday Night Live

Last night’s Saturday Night Live episode with host Donald Trump was the nail in the coffin of an NBC staple. For an episode that was clearly being used as nothing more than a grab for ratings, it did a piss-poor job of attempting to secure those fresh, new eyeballs for future episodes. The show as a whole was stale, boring and insipid — even the pre-taped bits felt labored and uninspired. When the only genuine laughs of the night come from Drunk Uncle, there’s clearly something wrong. And I’m not blaming Trump for this fiasco either; the show has been on life-support for several years now, without showing any signs of returning to what made it great in the first place.

But there’s hope. If Lorne Michaels truly wants to bring people back to Saturday Night Live without looking like some corporate shill who’s lost touch with anything that doesn’t highlight the dollar signs in his eyes, he needs to throw the political correctness rulebook out the window and follow these three simple steps that will go a long way in fixing the show’s current problems. Fix SNL!

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Chaos Breeds Chaos 2015 Television Awards – Part 3

We’ve finally made it to the end. Here are the final awards for this past season of great (and some very awful) television. (See Part 2 here.)


Most Annoying Trend – Character Voice-overs
I’m not exactly sure what the appeal was, but for some reason, everyone seemed to want to jump on the voice-over bandwagon this season, and did so in a variety of ways. Here’s the rundown: it started with Red Band Society‘s coma patient explaining the meaning of the episode (and sometimes the interlude’s within) a la Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) on Grey’s Anatomy; Black-ish used the voice-over for no other reason than to add inane one-liners and comment on what just happened; Selfie spent a lot of its time exploring the inner workings of the lead character’s insufferable neurosis; Manhattan Love Story dove into the thoughts of the lovers, finding a way to tell a second story of what the characters are really thinking in any given situation; A to Z used an omniscient narrator (Katey Segal) to tell the story of the protagonist’s budding love; in The Affair, the main characters discussed how they were feeling throughout their specific segments as they retold the events as they remember them to a cop in an interrogation room; Jane the Virgin had an annoying narrator give us the play-by-play in a homage to the telenovela; Fresh Off the Boat tried to match wits with The Wonder Years, but the main character’s voice-over failed to capture the same magic; and finally, The Slap used Victor Garber to try and add context to the events that were happening, but ended up being simply superfluous. See More Awards

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Chaos Breeds Chaos 2015 Television Awards – Part 2

Now that the “Main” categories are out of the way (read Part 1 here), it’s on to some specialty awards.


Best development of a character: Dr. Schetany (Ben Shankman), Royal Pains
Character development can go one of two ways: either it feels natural and highlights a character’s flaws, fears, hopes and dreams, or it feels forced and goes completely against the character’s past and what he stands for. In Royal Pains, Ben Shankman has created a very uptight, neurotic character in Dr. Schetany, but as he continues to attempt to become a better person, he has had to step way out of his comfort zone to mature into a much more well-rounded person. Beginning with the kindness of taking Dyvia and her baby into his very clean home, Dr. Schetany learns how to break from his routine, which leads to helping a girl he has feelings for, all of which led to him falling in love and find heartbreak, betrayal and forgiveness. The scene where he sits at a new place and tries to banter with the waitress the same way he did with the girl he liked, and realizing, “It’s just not the same,” was heartbreaking and gives Dr. Schetany a depth that not a lot of characters embody. See More Awards

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