Why I Still Go to the Movies

In the never-ending debate between film and television, there’s no question in my mind that the third season of Lost blows any movie out of the water (pun intended). But in the Netflix era we live in, its so easy to become distracted with the rest of your life scattered around your bedroom. When you press the “Play Next” button, you realize you need to use the bathroom. You sit back down. Then you’re suddenly thirsty, so you get up and get a glass of water. You sit back down. Then an iMessage pops up on your computer screen, and of course you have to answer it right away. This turns into a ten minute conversation about when you and your friend are going to go to Chipotle. You “x” out of your chat window and notice an email from your professor. You have an assignment due in an hour. The episode of that show you really love is already halfway over, you’ve only caught a glimpse of the plot arc, none of the B story, and you feel defeated.

At the movies, you leave your life. Sure, some people bring their phones or their friends who bring their phones, but I don’t. I sit on the plush throne, popcorn in hand, and pray that nobody kicks the back of my seat. When the lights dim and the previews start, your life goes away. That big project that’s due soon washes away. That fight you’re in with your friend is muted. Everything that mattered doesn’t anymore.

MV5BNzk5MjM3NDEwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDIxNjYzMjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_

The other night, I went to go see The Skeleton Twins starring SNL veterans Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig as twins who reunite after Milo (Hader) tries to kill himself. By no right is this the full-blown comedy one would expect from this pairing, but instead it was a dark, tender look at life when it doesn’t go the way you planned. Don’t get me wrong, there are some pee-your-pants funny moments going on, especially by Luke Wilson, who plays Lance, Maggie’s (Wiig) fiancé. Go for the lip sync to “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” stay for the unmatched dynamic of Hader and Wiig.

THE NEWSROOM Season 3 Trailer Hits Home

Yesterday, HBO released the trailer for the third and final season of critically-acclaimed series The Newsroomdropping hints that the subject matter will deal with the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. Without a doubt, Aaron Sorkin will be able to carefully craft this convoluted event, taking into account the various repercussions of media outlets using public tweets as facts in their developing stories.

Take a look at the trailer here:

Looking at the events that have unfolded over the past two years, its almost impossible that the series won’t cover the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which departed on March 8, 2014. While this is a rather recent event, I wonder if Sorkin and the team at HBO had enough time to fit this into the season. If they do incorporate this into their final season story arc, it would only be fitting for world-traveler and tragic-lover Maggie to board the doomed flight, after missing a phone call from star-crossed lover Jim, in which he intended to declare his love for her. Hey, Mr. Sorkin, if you’re looking for any writers for your future projects, look no further!

Can Homeland Return to Its Glory?

Tomorrow night, Showtime’s critically-acclaimed, two-time Emmy-winning drama Homeland returns for a revamped, rebranded fourth season, after its lackluster third season lost the support of fans and critics alike. This leads me to my question: Can Homeland return to its glory? Will the Brody’s being out of the picture help the show’s cause, or did the death of Emmy-winning writer Henry Bromell (“Q&A”) stunt the show’s growth at a premature peak? Claire Danes, being the multifaceted, talented actress she is, definitely has it in her to carry (Carrie) the show on her back with the death of Damien Lewis’ leading character. And don’t forget the incomparable Mandy Patinkin as television’s second favorite Saul (right behind Breaking Bad‘s and Better Call Saul‘s Saul Goodman, played by SNL alum Bob Odenkirk).

Take a look at this clip from season one, in which Carrie wires into the Brody household, tracking their every move. If this doesn’t scream stage-five clinger, I don’t know what does.

Fall 2014 Network TV

There’s quite possibly too much television to talk about nowadays and sorting through it can be quite a daunting task. But, alas, I’ll try my darnedest.

CBS has never interested me as a network, probably because I’m not in their target demographic, so there’s not much for me to discuss here.

ABC has launched a campaign to diversify their lineup. SelfieBlack-ishHow to Get Away with Murder, Cristela, and mid-season replacement Fresh Off the Boat, all feature minority leads, countering the network’s Caucasian-dominated programming.

NBC, on the other hand, seems to be adding more of the same “white-centric” sitcoms, with shows like A to Z, Bad Judge, and The Mysteries of Laura. The latter two sitcoms might have too specific of a premise to survive the year (think back to other NBC flops like Save Me and The Michael J. Fox Show). Once the kings of comedy, NBC is putting all the eggs in their Saturday Night Live basket, where they are still in a sort of generational transition. With a set of powerfully comedic women, lead by Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant, as well as strong newcomers Michael Che and 20-year-old Pete Davidson (yes, 20…like, my age), the show premiered last weekend to mixed reviews, as Guardians of the Galaxy star and NBC family member Chris Pratt hosted alongside musical guest Ariana Grande. The best bit of the night came as Pratt poked fun at the obscurity surrounding Marvel’s blockbuster hit, and the gang mocked a some of their upcoming flicks, including Marvel’s Pam 2: Winter Pam (a play on Captain America 2: Winter Soldier). Click the picture below to see the full sketch on Hulu!

AidyBryant_Marvel_Pam-690x262Last, but not least, is Fox. And I like Fox this year. Their solid Tuesday line-up of The Mindy Project and New Girl is sure to cure your mid-week blues, not to mention the sigh of relief that came with the solidification of both of their casts. Brooklyn Nine-Nine took a move to Sunday nights, along with the network’s famed Animation Domination, which includes newly-crowned Emmy winner Bob’s Burgers. While Fox seems to know their comedy, they’ve also taken a dark turn to fill the gaps in the drama department, once championed by House, M.D. and 24 (might we see yet another return of Jack Bauer??). Gotham takes a look at the world of the Batman before the Bat-Call. The heroes and villains we have come to know and love all have their own backstories, from the Riddler to Poison Ivy, Commissioner Gordon to the Penguin. Rumor has it that the Joker will be revealed at the end of the first season, so let’s hope they make it past the mid-year cuts.

In the coming weeks, the cable networks will take control of the airwaves. This Sunday, Showtime revamps Homeland sans Damien Lewis. On Wednesday, FX takes us under the tent with American Horror Story: Freak Show. And the following Sunday, AMC hunts the hunted with the Season Five Premiere of The Walking Dead. 

10 Year Lost-iversary

Ten years ago, I stayed up past my bedtime to witness the unprecedented premiere of the most provocative drama to ever grace network television. Lost, the story of strangers who are brought together by a series of traumatic, yet compellingly fated circumstances, taught me so much about life and the human condition. Sure, there were unanswered questions about polar bears and smoke monsters, time travel and immortality, but if you take the time to see past these plot points, you’ll uncover a host of thematic devices that rival anything you’ll read in your English classes.

Lost-Season-6-Poster-All-Characters-lost-8774591-500-400

In a show that’s all about constants and variables, remember this: The island is real, the island is present, and the island is there when you need it most.

Thank you, Lost. I will surely see you in another life.

Why Are The Emmys Honoring Rape Scenes?

Before reading this, please note that I am not trying to take a stance on whether rape should or should not be portrayed on television. I understand that it is a severe crime that happens all too frequently in the world, but I also understand that it has become a go-to plot line for many of today’s most popular and critically acclaimed series.

To begin, let me note that four of the six nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series play characters who are raped on the screen. Anna Gunn, as Skyler White in Breaking Bad, is raped by her husband in Season Two, as he attempts to take out his pent up rage in the couple’s kitchen. Joanne Froggatt, as Anna Bates in Downton Abbeycaused two waves of controversy – once when Season Four’s fourth episode was released in the UK and again when it aired in the US – when her character is violently raped in the servants’ quarters. It was one of those scenes that never seemed to end. Christina Hendricks, as Joan Holloway Harris in Mad Men, is raped by her husband when he drunkenly visits her in her office. Lena Headey, as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones, is raped by her brother and secret lover Jamie beside the corpse of their dead son, Joffrey.

Emmys domestic violenceStills from TV series "Mad Men"

Each of these incidents mark a powerful character arc for the women involved, who end up forever scarred by the attacks.

After the nominations were announced, many fans of Scandal took to the Internet to vent about the snub of Bellamy Young in the same category. She portrays the First Lady of the United States, Melody “Mellie” Fitzgerald, who is raped by her father-in-law in a flashback.

bellamy-young-scandal

Another show that garnered a lot of attention from the Television Academy this year was FX’s American Horror Story: Coven, raking in 17 nominations. This twelve episode mini-series includes three separate rape scenes – the victims being Madison Montgomery, Queenie, and Kyle Spencer.

american-horror-story-coven-2

Again, I do not believe I am qualified to judge whether or not these scenes should be so prevalent on our television screens, but it seems as though today’s most complex narratives are involving rape, and the actresses portraying the victims seem to be getting recognition for their work. Is it good that these women are helping to expose crimes that they are often forced to keep secret? In the example of Anna Bates, a married woman living in the 1920s, admission of being raped would mar her reputation and Lord Grantham would have no other option but to relieve her of her duties in order to avoid a scandal (something that household knows a thing or two about). On the other hand, is it becoming too normalized? Should we have expected Madison Montgomery to have been raped at the frat party?

I apologize if this post was a little heavier than usual, but I saw the trend in the nominations and thought it would be interesting to bring up.

Summer Lovin’

As the title of this post suggests, I have found love this summer. A newfound love of summer television. And I’m not just talking about summer’s #1 show – America’s Got Talent (which I non-ironically watch and non-ironically tweet about).

This summer has been a gem for television, between Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and HBO’s The Leftovers, AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire and FX’s TyrantFox’s 24: Live Another Day and the highly anticipated Netflix revival of The Killing, love is in the air(waves). Puns.

My hope is to blog about these shows before the summer is over, but, alas, my 9-5 internship can kind of put a damper on my blogging spirit, as it is so much easier to binge my DVR than it is to pause and reflect on each individual episode.

Side thought: Merritt Wever in the Nurse Jackie finale was amazing. Pulling for her to take home a second Emmy.

Side thought to the side thought: Emmy nominations will be announced on Thursday. I will surely post my thoughts on my reaction and picks for the awards (which will be held on a Monday in August because NBC doesn’t respect television…if the Oscars were held on a Monday in March, the world would go apeshit).

Be blogging soon,

Rob

A Little Song & Dance: MAD MEN Mid-Season Finale

mad-men-season-7-poster-featured

I apologize to my readers who haven’t had any posts to read over the past few months, but I’m back with a take on last night’s Mad Men mid-season finale.

The episode, entitled “Waterloo” brings us full circle with Peggy’s decision to give up her child in the first season, as she shows remorse when her neighbor/quasi-son Julio hugs her goodbye and she gives a rousing presentation to Burger Chef about families from a mother’s point of view.

Then, Bert’s death makes Don realize two things. First, that he is to Peggy as Bert was to Roger: a mentor. Second, that “the best things in life are free.” Sure the moon landing cost $35 billion (according to the Francis-Draper houseguest that Sally didn’t get with), but the feeling of togetherness that the historic moment brought to the country and its families was priceless. Everyone was watching the moon landing with their families (even Roger and Mona), but Don was alone in his hotel room calling his family from half-way across the country.

Bert’s post-mortem song and dance at the end of the episode reemphasizes how Don is spiraling into insanity and falling further from the facade he has held up all these years as Don Draper. Maybe it’s time for Dick Whitman to come back?

Now, let’s look further at what’s to come from the final episodes next Spring. Don ended things with Megan last night (or the other way around), which I believe will set us up for a tragedy next season. With his new wisdom from the ghost of Bert Cooper, I think that Don will fly to Los Angeles to surprise Megan, only to find her victim to the violently brutal Charles Manson killing spree (the signs have been adding up for multiple seasons at this point). And with Betty fighting with her new husband, maybe Don will go crawling back to his family – it’ll be like Bobby’s summer camp all over again.

Let’s not rule out big changes to the show’s other leading protagonist, Peggy. She’s sacrificed everything a woman should have for the times – a husband, children, a home. The show can go two directions. Either praise her for her independence, or lay on the societal pressures to make her leap from the windows of Sterling Cooper & Partners – a homage to the “Falling Man” from the show’s title sequence.

The first half of the season started slow, but ended with some nice, original Mad Men vibes. Let’s hope Weiner and Co. keep up the good work for the last seven episodes, slated to air Spring 2015.

 

HOUSE OF CARDS : Binge 2

house-of-cards-season-2.jpg?w=1000&h=563&crop=1
mediabistro.com

Francis Underwood makes Don Draper look like a loyal husband, Nicholas Brody a valiant marine, and Walter White an innocent schoolteacher. Claire Underwood makes Carrie Mathison look sane, Sister Jude kind, and Cercei Lannister just. House of Cards Season Two has raised the bar for television without ever being broadcasted on the seemingly outdated technology.

In this modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Francis Underwood, the majority whip in the House of Representatives, works with his wife to toy with the other members of government and the media to advance his political career. In Season Two, Underwood is named Vice President of the United States, a leap closer to his endgame: the Oval Office. However, with a team of budding journalists on his tail for the murder of Pennsylvania Governor candidate Peter Russo, Underwood takes, well, swift actions to wipe his slate clean.

Meanwhile, Claire Underwood, who last season built up her Clean Water Initiative to an international scale, drops the project to pursue a personal vendetta. During a CNN exclusive interview, she announces that a recently pinned general raped her in college, which leads her to push a bill for civilian oversight through the House. Her biggest obstacle? A female war veteran by the name of Jackie Sharp. Jackie is named majority whip when Francis advances to act as the Veep, but her fickle, backstabbing ways shine when she goes against Claire’s bill.

Over in civilian territory, Peter Russo’s ex-prostitute Rachel Posner is attempting to start life anew, but Underwood’s chief of staff, Doug Stamper, has developed an obsession with her. As Rachel enters into a relationship with Lisa, her friend from the church fellowship, Doug’s jealously boils and drives the two apart.

The biggest, non-death related surprise from this season involves Francis, Claire, and their Secret Service Agent Meechum, in a three-way-to-end-all-three-ways.

By the end of the season, Francis and Claire have maneuvered their way into the very office they have longed for: the Oval Office. With a swift “knock, knock” we close the season – which only took me about five days to complete. But they were a good five days.

Assuming Netflix follows the same pattern of releasing each House of Cards season in February, we’ll have to wait a full year to see what’s next for the Underwoods. Will their fate mirror the Macbeths? If so, yikes.

The Liebster Award

Hello fellow television enthusiasts!

I am pleased to announce that I have been nominated for The Liebster Award! Kind of like the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, The Flim Culb has awarded me this cool sticker to put on my blog. So that’s cool, right?!

liebsteraward

WordPress dictates that I must now nominate 11 more blogs for this shining achievement, so here they are in no particular order:

My Kind of Movie

In the Name of Li’l Sebastian

Pass the Remote

The Film Lad

My Life of Listing

Primetime Insider

Cinemadame

Watch How I Soar

Brunch for Every Meal

Films etc.

Kate Campbell

Now I get to answer some questions. This could be fun, right?

What are your favorite:

1. Character (could be in film, literature, theatre, real life…. anything you like)
Right now, Claire Underwood from House of Cards is my favorite character, but Ben Linus from Lost is a close second.

2. Meal
A TV Dinner. Get it? Funny.

3. Sport (to play or simply watch)
I’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics recently, and there’s something oddly thrilling about women’s cross country skiing…

4. Memory
Watching Lost with the fam every Wednesday night…then Thursday nights…the Tuesdays…then Sunday. They never could hold down a time slot, could they?

5. Holiday (Christmas, Easter, Halloween… you know the rest)
My birthday because I’m allowed to say “I don’t like birthdays” and then people can leave me alone for a full 24-hour period. Can’t wait for the next one.

6. Quote
“NOT PENNYS BOAT”

7. Song 
I like the concept of the song “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette

8. Place 
A nice park bench.

9. Item of Clothing
Why is this a question? I like all my clothing equally, no discrimination.

10. Animal
I used to really like foxes. By “used to” I mean when I was in elementary school. Now that memory has been ruined by “What Does the Fox Say?”

11. Website
I enjoy a good ole Buzzfeed quiz as much as the next guy.  

Just like those super fun Facebook notes that threatened your life if you failed to follow all the instructions (aka the things we all used to do in middle school), repost this on your blog and nominate 11 of your favorite bloggers for this award and have them answer the same crop of questions! If you don’t, the boogeyman will eat your family and frame you in front of a jury of your peers #justice.

I’m Back, But I Never Really Left

Hey gang,

Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. I know you all must be worried about my well-being, so I’m here to tell you this: I’m OK. Well, sort of. In the past few weeks I’ve watched a few shows here and there and nothing has really wowed me. While the Sochi Olympics are providing some quality entertainment, my regular shows have been lagging a bit. The Walking Dead returned. It was blah. But it did make me want to eat some pudding – right, Carl?!?!? Girls has been blah. No one cares about Hannah moping around. I want season one back, Lena! 

house-of-cards-season-2.jpg?w=1000&h=563&crop=1

The one beacon of hope in these dark days arrived today. Netflix released Season 2 of House of Cards this morning, and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve only seen the first episode, but wow. What a way to start the season off with a bang…or a shove, I guess. Francis Underwood went for his second kill in the season premiere, taking out budding reporter and quasi-mistress Zoe Barnes with a swift push into a train. Truly kicked off my Valentine’s Day with high hopes about the world! But, to be fair, Claire Underwood did remove the ash tray from the home – no more smoking for a Vice Presidential nominee. How loving. I’m looking forward to my binge this weekend, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

FLASHBACK: STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP

Studio60_title

During my screenwriting class last semester, our professor showed us the teaser to Aaron Sorkin’s pilot for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and I was in awe. First of all, they introduce us to flustered production assistant, scurrying around the studio moments before the broadcast of a fictional variety show – think SNL on the West Coast…and on Fridays…and on a fictional network, NBS. Anyways, this PA turns out to be none other than my favorite actress at the moment, Merritt Wever! But back in 2006, she didn’t have her Emmy.

Anyway, the show follows veteran comedy duo Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) as they are called back to the variety show that helped define their careers. Matt is somewhat hesitant to return to Studio 60 because his ex, Harriett Hayes (Sarah Paulson) is now the show’s star, alongside Simon Stiles (D.L. Hughley) and Tom Jeter (Nate Corddrey).

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

To complicate matters, NBS has just hired a new president, Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet), an attractive, young, sensible woman who doesn’t have the social wits about her. Sound like another Aaron Sorkin character to you? Sloan Sabbith, anyone? And that’s not the only Sorkin staple he throws into this show. The power outage right before airtime? The same problem plagues The Newsroom staff before News Night with Will McAvoy. The show also executes Sorkin’s famous “walk and talk” scenes, as made famous in The West Wing.

The combination of writing in acting in this show is surprisingly succinct for an NBC drama, but the lack of ratings and the promising comedy 30 Rock kept Studio 60 from being renewed for a second season. In its one season, however, Sarah Paulson was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, a well-deserved nod that put the show on the map too late in the game.

thumbs_40197-get-sarah-.jpg.660x0_q80_crop-scale_upscale

If you’re interested in watching, you’ll have a tough time finding it online. I found the complete series at Newbury Comics for nine bucks – quite the bargain compared to my subsequent Chipotle lunch.

Birthday (NEW) GIRL(S)

This week, we celebrated the birthdays of our two favorite “girls,” Jess Day of Fox’s New Girl and Hannah Horvath of HBO’s Girls. Granted the audiences of the show have little overlap, it’s no surprise that these two girls had quite different birthday parties.

2101261hannah-birthday-bitch-girls-303

Location

New Girl: Nick plans a surprise party for Jess, but forgets to take into account the many hours leading up to his seven o’clock gathering. He stalls by taking her to get a diabetes test at the drug store, and then challenges her to find the heaviest rock in the park. When she’s had enough, a teary-eyed Jess heads to the movies, where her friends give her the surprise of her life.

Girls: Marnie hosts a party for Hannah in a dive-y bar, at the expense of Mr. and Mrs. Horvath. Guests were welcomed to an open bar, using the password “banana.”

Big Surprise

New Girl: Nick puts together a touching video montage of all of Jess’ friends, co-workers, parents, and students, each saying what they like most about the quirky teacher. 

Girls: After Charlie posts Marnie’s embarrassing music video on YouTube, the absentminded friend decides to prove her singing abilities at Hannah’s party. She invites Hannah on stage for a surprise duet of “Take Me or Leave Me,” something Hannah swore to never do again. And by the look on her “Birthday Bitch” face, she’s not having it.

Unnecessary Conflict

New Girl: While I’m glad the writers have picked up on the conflict between Winston and Coach (now there isn’t a single “token black guy” on the show), I’m not sure their cake-bake-off was the best way to show their division. However, I’m glad that they’ve finally settled their differences in the name of Jess Day’s birthday.

Girls: After telling off Shoshanna for doing nothing (literally, he started the conversation), a drunk Ray gets into a shouting fight with Hannah’s editor/Edward Norton lookalike, David because the bartender changed the song during Ray’s request. Ranting about “song cues” and “what’s right,” David shoves him into a coffee table and they tussle.

Ending

New Girl: Everyone is happy in the movie theater! Yay! And then Schmidt’s epic green screen moments happen, and it gets even better.

Girls: Hannah and Adam return to their apartment to find Adam’s deranged sister, Caroline, naked and cutting herself in the bathroom. Hannah and Adam agree it would be inappropriate to have sex in this situation, so they don’t.

When I posted this, I thought it would be creative and witty and never-before-seen. Then I saw other people blogging about the same birthday parties and I felt inadequate. So, take this with a grain of salt…or two.

Bullet Points from Winter Break

After four weeks of bumming in front of the couch, with my only exercise being the mindless operation of the four clickers (that could be replaced by one universal clicker (or remote – whatever you want to call it)), I am back on campus and ready to assimilate back to society. But before I do, I figured I would post about the shows I watched over break. Think of it as a form of procrastination before I have actual commitments. And I’m being lazy so I’m just going to do bullet points:

NURSE JACKIE

nurse1

-Merritt Wever is the greatest actress on television. She demonstrates tremendous growth as Zoey Barkow, from her skittish days standing up to Dr. O’Hara after her stethoscope was stolen, to the kimono wearing, devil-may-care diva who goes home with Dr. Prentice.
-Peter Facinelli was in Twilight? And also played a doctor? That’s funny. But Coop, too, has changed a whole lot – especially after his moms file for divorce and he is subsequently stood up at the alter. The scene when he buys O’Hara two baby carriers is one of my favorite scenes.
-Eve Best needs to come back to the show. Season Five seemed difficult because Jackie didn’t have anyone to talk to – so she resorted to dead Charlie’s voicemail. Everything she says is funny in her British accent.
-Ruby Jerins is a pretty great child actor. Much better than some of her contemporaries – you go, Gracie.
-Fiona is still better than Gracie.
-When we find out that Gloria Akalitus doesn’t have Alzheimer’s – television gold
-Thor’s one-liners are perfect – and makes up for Momo leaving unexpectedly after the first season.
-Michael Buscemi is AMAZING as God – a disgruntled New Yorker who looks down upon the city screaming at pedestrians on the street.
-Best Episode: Season Four Finale, in which O’Hara goes into labor as Jackie sneaks back into the hospital after being fired by Dr. Cruz. However, Cruz catches our heroine right as his son, Charlie, is wheeled into the ER for an overdose. Cruz clears the stabilizing bay as he and Jackie attempt to unsuccessfully resuscitate Charlie. So many feels.
-Edie Falco = television goddess

ENLIGHTENED

Enlightened-TV-Show

-Laura Dern stars as Amy, a manic businesswoman who is sent a holistic healing program and returns to her job in an attempt to mend her work and home life – all while trying changing the world. She’s pretty cool and starred in Jurassic Park.
-Mike White writes and stars as Tyler in this rather poetic project. All though it only lasted two seasons, there are many universal truths unveiled through his mellow storytelling. We learn a lot about the human condition and what it means to change and just BE. Very meta shit going on, but I like it.
-These two unlikely friends attempt to take down their cosmetic company, Abbadon
-Molly Shannon guest stars as Eileen, the secretary for Abbadon’s CEO. Amy and Tyler befriend her to gain access to the CEO’s corrupting emails, but Tyler falls for her timid ways. If you watch any episode, go watch “The Ghost is Seen.” It will give you a new perspective about all the people you have ever made fun of…ever.
-Overall, the show is kind of like a poem. It can be a light, breezy watch, or you can look further into it to find the discreet symbolism and social commentary.

THE NEWSROOM

news1

-Aaron Sorkin is a master storyteller – but I didn’t have to tell you that.
-I only knew Jeff Daniels from Dumb and Dumber, and my god how people can change. He is compelling as controversial news anchor Will McAvoy, who vows, under the guidance of his executive producer and one time lover Mackenzie McHale, to bring unbiased news to the voting public.
-Allison Pill as Maggie and John Gallagher Jr. as Jim are the new “Jim and Pam;” let’s hope season three has something more in store for this duo.
-The way Sorkin handled the Gabrielle Giffords shooting was impeccable. It shows how our divided nation came together to support one of our Congresswomen. And Coldplay’s “Fix You” didn’t hurt either.
-Dev Patel finally shakes his stereotypical Indian character. He literally bears none of the stereotypes in these two seasons. We need more of this.
-Sloan Sabbith is the greatest name in television, and Olivia Munn plays her perfectly – nerdy, socially uncomfortable, etc. And she arcs thanks to Don – who we all hated up until we found out he bought her book at the auction, right?
-Jane Fonda as Leona Lansing = A+, with a bonus for being high as a kite
-Speaking of being high as a kite… “We caught Obama” – McAvoy
-“Unintended Consequences” (the episode of flashbacks to Maggie’s trip to Uganda and subsequent hair cutting) got the best of me.

The Zoe/Zoey/Zooey’s of TV

Zoe or Zoey or Zooey is a pretty unique name. And it’s no wonder why all the most compelling characters on television today bear this name. Let’s take a look:

Zoey Barkow

1343788380_Wever
Show: Nurse Jackie
Actress: Merritt Wever
Occupation: ER Nurse
Description: This fun-loving, colorful scrub-wearing ball of fun scored an Emmy this past year for taking her character to a new emotional level. When taken home by Dr. Ike Prentiss, she confesses that she’s “not the nurse that goes home with the doctor.” But we’re cheering for you, Zoey. We’ll watch the edited-for-television version of Dirty Dancing with you and attend your Nurse’s Appreciation basement bash. And maybe we’ll throw in a driving lesson if you promise to wear your kimono to work.

Zoe Barnes

hocq
Show: House of Cards
Actress: Kate Mara
Occupation: Journalist
Description: She’ll blackmail you until the day you die, but she won’t kill you – so that’s a plus! With the nation’s most prominent media outlets at her fingertips, she will do whatever it takes to make a name for herself. And she’s not above sleeping with members of Congress – I’m looking at you this time, Francis Underwood.

Zoe Benson

87583-zoe-benson-taissa-farmiga-meme-k5yM
Show: American Horror Story: Coven
Actress: Taissa Farmiga
Occupation: Witch/Student
Description: With a vagina that kills, this is one witch you do not want to mess with. I didn’t mean for that to sound crass, but Zoe Benson’s super power in this horror thriller is to take the life of any man she has sex with. Tragic, yet she works it. When she’s not out protecting the coven, she can be found having a three-way with her undead boyfriend and undead classmate. If they’re already dead, she can’t kill ‘em!

Zoey Brooks

zoe_l
Show: Zoey 101
Actress: Jamie-Lynn Spears
Occupation: Boarding School Student
Description: By joining the first ever class of women at Pacific Coast Academy, it’s not an overstatement to say that Zoey Brooks is truly a pioneer. From the spacious dorm rooms straight out of a PB Teen catalog, to the mouthwatering dining hall food, she made us all want to go to boarding school. Until she got pregnant and ruined everything!

And because I couldn’t resist:

Zooey Deschenel

New-Girl
Show: New Girl
Character: Jess Day
Occupation: Teacher
Description: Quirky.

Top Ten Shows of 2013

It is a great time to be an audience member right now, as network television starts to fight back against the domineering cable powerhouses like AMC, FX, HBO, Showtime, and, now, Netflix. And because we live in 2013, I decided to make a list about it. So here you go, Internet. Here’s a look at my top ten picks for the past year in television:

10. The Mindy Project

vlcsnap-2013-12-05-15h53m11s180-622x404

In her quest to take over Hollywood, writer/producer/actress Mindy Kaling and crew step up their game big time in the sophomore season of The Mindy Project. With the addition of Adam Palley (Happy Endings), the cast finally seems complete and grounds some of Mindy’s pop culture rants. While most people have written off this show as a mind-numbing sitcom, Kaling brings a hint of her Dartmouth intelligence to the mix, crafting the lovable Nurse Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) and the bromance to end all bromances between Dr. Castellano (Chris Messina) and Dr. Reed (Ed Weeks). Mindy’s biggest problem is that she only appeals to the Generation Y – my mom doesn’t get half the jokes.

9. American Horror Story: Coven

AHS_2_9_12_13

There is a house in New Orleans…and shit hits the fan. Ryan Murphy’s latest installment of the horror series follows the struggle between the witches and voodoos in the great Mardi Gras city, all while juggling massive themes of racism and acceptance. Sarah Paulson, who shined in Asylum, takes a back seat in this chapter, letting veteran Jessica Lange battle it out against industry staples Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett. With an eclectic group of supporting characters like mind-reader Nan, human voodoo doll Queenie, Fleetwood Mac-inspired Misty, and vagina-killer Zoey, the women of AHS take a stand, once and for all.

8. Top of the Lake

TOP OF THE LAKE

Speaking of women taking a stand, let’s take a moment to talk about Elisabeth Moss, who killed 2013. Like, the reason 2013 is coming to a close is because she killed it. Moss stars in this surreal Sundance drama as a Detective Robin Griffin, who looks into the disappearance of a twelve-year-old pregnant girl, and uncovers the dark underworld dealings of rural New Zealand. Better yet, Holly Hunter delivers the performance of her career in the best side-story of the year as GJ, the psychedelic con artist who leads troubled women into the plains of Paradise. With a supporting cast comprised of Peter Mullan, Thomas Wright, and David Wenham (Lord of the Rings). In a sort, Elisabeth Moss’ Robin Griffin was everything that Claire Danes’ Carrie Matheson wasn’t this year… I still love you, Claire.

7. Modern Family

ModernFamily_Season5_Episode5_3b

We’re keeping it in the family this year with yet another amazing season of ABC’s Modern Family. While their Emmy days are starting to fade (even though they won Best Comedy for the fourth year in a row), the show remains strong as ever. As always, Phil and Claire Dunphy (Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen) bring the show to a whole new height, with the sadly realistic mix-ups that occur daily in households across America. Even Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) has stepped up her A-game. If you disagree with me, go rewatch “ClosetCon” and then we’ll talk.

6. Please Like Me

r1071969_12660827

“The Best Show That You’ve Never Heard Of” award for 2013 goes to the Australian comedy Please Like Me. While most Americans knowledge of Australian television extends as far as Chris Lilley’s HBO partnerships like Summer Heights High and the recent (flop) Ja’mie: Private School Girl, this is one show you should add to your list. It stars Josh Thomas as a twenty-something who realizes he is gay when his girlfriend dumps him over a seventeen-dollar sundae. It’s the intricacies like the seventeen-dollar sundae that make this show so great! Josh goes to stay with his depression-stricken mother, as his father lands himself with a young Thai woman. With the help of his best friend Tom and his new ex-girlfriend Clare, Josh attempts to navigate the world as a gay man – and he’s very bad at it. You can find Please Like Me on the new Pivot channel – check your local listings and whatnot. This is one show that’s too smart to miss.

5. Game of Thrones

hoo

Red Wedding. While this episode of Game of Thrones was truly a masterpiece, I now forget what happened in the rest of the season. I’m sure it was good, but then again I do recall a lot of Jon Snow/Ygritte whining, awkward Brienne/Kingslayer conversations, and general Joffrey bitchiness. Eh, it still deserves a spot on my top ten, I suppose.

4. House of Cards

o-HOUSE-OF-CARDS-NETFLIX-facebook

House of Cards made history by winning Netflix’s first ever Primetime Emmy Award, which went to David Fincher for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series. That aside, Kevin Spacy and Robin Wright are cruelly captivating as Congressman Francis Underwood and wife Claire. This dynamic duo brings a new spin on the anti-hero, since the majority of the spouses of today’s most complex anti-heroes are not in on their secret vices (think Don Draper, Walter White, Nurse Jackie, Nicholas Brody, etc.). This show exposes the underworld-like dealings that occur in our nation’s Capital. With the addition of budding reporter Zoe Barnes, played by Kate Mara (not Anna Kendrick), we see how the media influences political dealings and ultimately lead to national cover-ups. With the convenient “Play Next” button, it’s hard to resist watching the first season in one sitting.

3. Veep

AIOtuH6

My favorite comedy of the year goes to another story of political intrigue, Veep. Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as the manic Vice President of the United States in the second season of this HBO comedy about the day-to-day dealings with her political team. This year, Tony Hale was the breakout-star (even though his work in Arrested Development has already been universally appreciated), earning him an Emmy in September. Dreyfus also took home an Emmy this year, as her character strived to appear sane in the public eye through a slew of scandals from the ill-timed pig roast to “the song” to the tit grab. Assisted by Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, and Matt Walsh, the show’s fast pace has become its saving grace because there’s never a dull moment. Looking ahead at 2014 – Selina’s running for president, and I can’t wait.

2. Breaking Bad

breaking-bad-finale-walt-skyler-house

We bid a tearful farewell to many shows this year (30 Rock, The Office, Dexter), but none of were able to live up to American audiences’ expectations quite like Breaking Bad. In its final stretch, the AMC drama heated up as Walter White ping-ponged with his own destiny, coming full arc to admit to his wife that everything he has ever done has been for himself and not for his family, as he reiterated time and time again throughout the series. His sidekick Jesse, receives redemption of sorts – but at what cost? Two girlfriends, countless bystanders, and his own sobriety. All the while, Anna Gunn brilliantly embodies the hollow shell of Skylar White, the overtired wife of America’s most wanted criminal. Farewell Walter White; we’ll see you in Godzilla.

1. Orange is the New Black

orange

At number one comes the most groundbreaking television series in some time: Orange is the New Black. Debuting on Netflix early this summer, social media exploded with glowing reviews and raves about the dramedy, which tells the real life story of Piper Chapman, an inmate at an all-female correctional facility. This show encompasses the ultimate “stranger in a strange land” mantra audiences have come to love over the years, but at the same time makes this prison and its eclectic group of inmates somewhat familiar. We see the human side of these women, as we delve into flashbacks of their lives pre-orange jumpsuit. Taylor Schilling just received a Golden Globe nod for Best Actress, and there’s no doubt America will be rooting for her all the way to SHU with her bloody, tooth-marked knuckles.

Some honorable mentions that didn’t have great seasons, but great episodes:

The Office – “Finale”

Homeland – “The Star”

The Middle – “The Jump”

Downton Abbey: Series 4 – “Episode 4″

Girls – “One Man’s Trash”

Mad Men – “In Care Of”

HOMELAND: “The Star”

804_3_0_prm-keyartb_1024x640

The time has come to say goodbye to the greatest magician in the game. In Homeland’s third season finale, Sargent Nicolas Brody finally met his demise – arcing full circle to serving his country one last time. But Carrie didn’t cry as much as I expected/hoped she would.

The episode, entitled “The Star,” picks up as Brody is stashing the dead body of Iranian dictator Akbari, an action that should place Javadi – Carrie and Saul’s ultimate pawn – in power. Brody reaches out to Carrie, who frantically escorts him to a safe house, where they await the arrival of an extraction team.

Back in the CIA headquarters, people are skeptical of Saul’s master plan and begin to toy with the idea of having Javadi capture Brody to gain his nation’s confidence. Bad news for Saul – the president approved this new plan and he’s sent packing with eleven hours left as commissioner.

homeland3__131022194355-275x205

In a scene worthy of a Golden Globe nomination *ahem ahem* Carrie and Brody discuss their allegiances to their country, to themselves, and to each other, leading to the bombshell baby announcement. Right when we think these lovers will fly off in the Middle Eastern sunset, Javadi’s men come and take Brody prisoner, leaving Carrie alone with her feelings.

Soon, word is released that Brody stood before an Iranian military tribunal and was sentenced to death by hanging in the public square. With that in mind, us (the audience) thinks of a million and one different ways our hero can make it out unscathed. But that’s when it hits us – is Brody our hero? Has he ever been our hero? Or has he just been dragged along to test Carrie – tangling her allegiances to herself and to her nation. Once we understand these facts, it’s too late. Brody is being hoisted up on a noose by a crane, his body twitching as his lungs search for the air that just won’t go in. In his final moments, he sees Carrie climbing the fence, wailing his name, “Brody! Brody!.” She said she would be there, and she was.

In a sort of epilogue to the events of the first three seasons, we find a retired Saul vacationing in Greece with his now loving wife (I still don’t really get their relationship, but whatever). Carrie, now eight months pregnant, has been appointed to oversee operations in Istanbul. But she doesn’t want the baby. After a talk with her family, her father decides that he will take the child – who Carrie sees as both a burden and a painful reminder of the life she could never have with Brody.

At a commemorative ceremony honoring the brave men and women who lost their lives protecting the country they love, Carrie looks on with disgust, knowing that Brody has done more for this country than anyone would ever dare give him credit for. In a tearful final moment, she walks up to the wall of stars and discretely draws an additional star, honoring the man who opened Iran’s clenched fist and was betrayed by the CIA operatives who swore to protect him.

610-homeland-the-star

While I understand Homeland is a money-making operation for Showtime, I really would have liked to see Carrie be executed alongside Brody. To be honest, I don’t think she has much left to live for. She has compromised so much about herself to be with Brody, that the epilogue didn’t really do her character justice. Another thing that has been irritating me about this season is the complete lack of jazz music, which was a staple theme throughout the first and second seasons. As trivial as it sounds, Carrie’s music taste truly defined her character from the start and played into her solitary lifestyle.

Also, where was the Brody clan in last night’s episode? Didn’t we need to see Dana’s reaction to her father’s death to make her season long drama worth sharing?! I think I am the only one on the face of the planet who appreciated Morgan Saylor’s portrayal of the disturbed teen who faced public scrutiny by her father’s actions. I’m glad to see reports that both her and Morena Baccarin will be returning for the fourth season, even if their roles are downsized. Part of what made Homeland so intriguing was the added aspect of the Brody’s home. Hurt hits on all fronts, people.

Here’s to Damian Lewis, who crafted such a compelling character that we despised, yet cared for; vehemently hated, now mourn for. Rest in peace, Sargent Nicolas Brody. A U.S. prisoner of war has turned. And now, he has fallen.

My Open Letter to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden-Globes1-540x360

Dear Hollywood Foreign Press Association,

Did you watch this season of Homeland? Like, actually, did you watch it? Even past the first seven episodes? It got better, you know. How about Game of Thrones? Does the phase “Rains of Castamere” not sing “Golden Globe nomination” to you? Oh, here’s another one: Did you watch Mad Men this season? It was a lot darker than usual, so maybe you turned it off because you got a little scared. The Hershey Pitch? Anyone? 

On the other hand, did you per chance watch Downton Abbey? Maybe you were just watching Joanne Froggatt’s heartbreaking performance in episodes 4-8. Because other than that, the season was shit (no offense, Downton, I still love you). And Masters of Sex? I know you like to give experimental shows a chance, but not this year. Not when the three most talked about dramas are left out in the cold. Just throw a nod at Lizzy Caplan and call it a day. Just kidding, you didn’t do that either. How about Anna Gunn? Wasn’t she great on this season of Breaking Bad? It’s like she was SO GOOD she won an Emmy for it, or something. I see you gave some love to Taylor Schilling for Orange is the New Black, but, as the also-snubbed cast of Arrested Development would say, “Her?” Really? You had an entire ensemble of amazing breakout artists (Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, etc.) and you only shed light on Schilling? Shame on you. Shame. On. You.

You’re lucky Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are hosting, because their comedic gold will make me forget about all the wrongdoings you have done this holiday season.

Best,

Rob Zappulla

 

Top Ten Entertainment Moments of 2013

The year was 2013 and madness ensued. Here’s yet another meaningless top ten countdown, where someone will bitch about how I didn’t include HBO’s “Enlightened” being cancelled.

 10. The Rise of the Mini-Series

american-horror-story-coven-2

To start off the countdown, I’d like to take a moment to recognize a phenomenon that has captivated audiences in 2013: the mini-series. Unlike any year before, these productions have combined the high production value of films with the periodic elements of a television show. Most notably is FX’s American Horror Story: Coven, the third installment to Ryan Murphy’s anthology series, which follows the struggle between the witches and voodoos in New Orleans. Another popular mini-series this year was BBC’s Top of the Lake, starring Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss as a detective who uncovers the disappearance of a twelve-year-old pregnant girl. The story unfolds with strong cultural ties to the New Zealand landscape. BBC’s other masterpiece this year was Parade’s End, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a conservative aristocrat who falls in love with a progressive suffragette. So do yourself a favor and watch a mini-series! It’ll be worth your time.

 

9. North West

bound-2-5-things

 

At number nine is the baby of the year – and we’re not talking about the future heir to the English throne – we’re talking about North West. On June 15th, reality star Kim Kardashian gave birth to a baby boy, who, along with boyfriend and rapper Kanye West, named North West. As a nation, we gasped, thinking of this kid’s first day of Kindergarten as a confused schoolteacher takes attendance and calls out a compass direction, rather than a name. This was also a big year for Kimye as a couple. From Kanye’s music video for “Bound 2” was parodied by James Franco and Seth Rogan, to his public fight with Jimmy Kimmel, to his record smashing CD release of Yeezus, tabloids have been stocked with juicy stories about Hollywood’s newest power couple.

 

8. Lorde releases “Pure Heroine” 

Lorde_0135final-11-e1370628162874

At number eight comes a young girl from down under – New Zealand to be exact. In the midst of the Royal Baby craze, she reminded us that, “We’ll never be royal.” This girl’s name is Lorde and her album, “Pure Heroine” hit shelves September 27 to critical raves and a whopping four Grammy nominations.

 

7. Jennifer Lawrence wins Oscar, trips

gty_jennifer_lawrence_fall_thg_130224_wblog

 

Moving on to number seven, we take a trip back to February’s Academy Awards, where America’s budding sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence took a trip of own. On her way up to the stage to accept her award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in Silver Linings Playbook, Lawrence stumbled up the steps – but still managed to make it look like a Chanel ad. The Girl on Fire has had a full year, starring in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the upcoming David O’Russell flick American Hustle, where another Oscar could be in store for Lawrence.

 

6. Deaths of James Gandolfini and Cory Monteith

rs_560x415-130916130636-1024.JamesGandolfiniCoryMonteith.RIP.9.15.13.JMD

 

For number six, we take a somber moment to remember two great men gone too soon. In June, news broke that Sopranos front man James Gandolfini had died of a heart attack. Gandolfini had just wrapped up filming of a recently released film Enough Said alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus, which has gained a lot of critical attention. Then in July, we learned the passing of Glee star Cory Monteith. The show postponed the start of their fifth season in order to properly pay tribute to Monteith’s legacy in an episode entitled “The Quarterback.” At the 2013 Emmy Awards held in September, Edie Falco and Jane Lynch paid tribute for their respective co-stars in a tearful in memoriam.

 

5. Sandra Bullock Brings The Heat and is Suspended in Gravity

GRAVITY

 

Number four on our countdown goes to Sandra Bullock, whose films this year brought audiences to tears of laughter and desolation. First, in her summer blockbuster, The Heat, Bullock stars as a ridged, by the books FBI agent from Manhattan, who is tasked to work with a Boston cop, played by Melissa McCarthy, to take down the nation’s most notorious drug dealer. Then in October, Bullock captivated audiences as Dr. Ryan Stone in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. Bullock’s character goes through a range of emotions in the ultimate “stranger in a strange land” film. The only thing in the way of Bullock’s second Oscar is Cate Blanchette in Blue Jasmine, but my vote’s for the lonely astronaut.

 

4. “Rains of Castamere”

hoo

Have you heard someone say “Spoiler Alert!” at all during the past year? If so, chances are pretty good that that someone was about to talk about Game of Throne’s “Rains of Castamere” – which comes in at number three on our countdown. In one of the bloodiest hours in the history of television, the HBO fantasy drama unexpectedly killed off a slew of protagonists, as jaws dropped around the globe. Like clockwork, fans took to the Internet to vent their concerns, leading to dozens of viral “reaction” videos to the episode’s infamous moment, now known as “The Red Wedding.” Basically, if you haven’t started watching television’s most expensive drama, you should probably make that your New Year’s Resolution.

 

3. Miley Twerks at the VMAs

1377483237000-mileytonguebetter

 

She’s still just being Miley. At number two on our countdown comes Disney star turned provocative twerk-er. In August, Miley Cyrus performed a rendition of “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke, and proceeded to do the “Twerk Seen Round the World.” Was it a publicity stunt? Probably. Did it work? Definitely. Before the year was up, Miley had hosted SNL, performed a head-scratching rendition of “Wrecking Balls” at the AMA’s, and released a relatively successful album, Bangerz, all while sporting her now iconic short hair-do. Say what you will, but she’s just being Miley.

 

2. Breaking Bad Finale

breaking bad 660 reuters emmy

At number five, America said goodbye to its favorite meth cook – Walter Hartwell White. AMC wrapped up the fifth and final season of Breaking Bad on September 29th, as audiences packed auditoriums and movie theaters around the nation to view the shocking conclusion to one of the greatest television dramas of all time. To honor the show’s legacy, the Emmy’s awarded Anna Gunn with Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, and the Outstanding Drama award went to the cast and crew of Breaking Bad.

 

1. Netflix Produces Original Content

photo

For my number one moment in entertainment for the 2013 year, I log onto my Netflix account to view their new, original content. Racking up an impressive fourteen Emmy nominations and one win, the online streaming site has become a television network in its own capacity. From reviving fan-favorite Arrested Development, to the political drama House of Cards, Netflix is doing everything right. Over the summer, Netflix added yet another outstanding show, Orange is the New Black, which has demolished all notions and prejudices America has had about female correctional facilities. At $8.99 a month, Netflix is more than just entertainment – it’s an experience.

Do you agree with my top ten? Let me know in the comment section. Be civilized, people.

I Finally Start NURSE JACKIE

nurse1

After years of seeing nominations for Nurse Jackie at various award ceremonies – and Merritt Wever’s now infamously hilarious acceptance speech for winning the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy – I finally sat down to watch the comedy…or drama…or dramedy. And I love it.

1987e064aefc4821_tumblr_mtjyi9n93u1qz581wo2_r1_500.xxxlarge

Edie Falco (The Sopranos) shines as a cynical ER nurse, whose addiction to pain killers toggles with her own morality – all while leading a double life with a loving husband and two daughters. Jackie’s good cop/bad cop style of nursing allows the writers to add a host of compelling trauma patients to come through the doors of the bustling New York City hospital.

In the pilot, Jackie is tasked with mentoring a skittish nursing student, Zoey (Wever), who learns right off the bat to barf away from the severed human ear. The hospital has the most prestigious staff in the city, with the adorkable, Dr. Cooper (Peter Facinelli) – Coop for short – and the egocentric diva, Dr. O’Hara (Eve Best).

Something I love about the editing. Most shows fade to black during transitions, but in Nurse Jackie we fade to white. There’s something very lucid about this – mixing Jackie’s immoral addiction to pain killers with the very real sense of mortality in the hospital. In a very powerful moment in the first season, Zoey loses her first patient, and the quick-to-judge Jackie stands down for a moment to acknowledge the many dark horrors that come with working in the medical profession.

If you haven’t starting watching Nurse Jackie yet, don’t fret! It’s not too late! Well, I guess it’ll never be too late, unless, well…we all die eventually.

THE WALKING DEAD Mid-Season Finale

the-walking-dead-season-4-poster-comic-con

Are you still feeling the adrenaline kick from last night’s midseason finale of The Walking Dead? I know I am! (Dramatic pause). Sure, this season’s antagonist was just the zombies, then the flu, then we think the zombies might have had the flu, but really it was the rats/pigs that had the flu…regardless of what seemed like the longest season of The Walking Dead since the Sophie played hide-and-go-seek in the barn, the climactic showdown between Rick and the Governor was worth the wait. And little kids got guns; that was cool!

After the writers pushed the envelope with two whole episodes dedicated to the Governor and his newly converted minions, the one-eyed tyrant led a march on the prison, taking Hershel and Michonne hostage to tease Rick into a bloodless overthrow. However, Rick pleaded to the Governor that both groups could live in complete harmony in the separate cellblocks. Meanwhile, seasons 1-3 Rick turned his cheek the other way, mumbling, “I’m not with this guy.” The Governor wasn’t convinced, so naturally he took to Michonne’s sword and offed Hershel’s grinning head.

Then, war.

I want to take a moment to talk to the characters individually to critique their performance in the epic showdown.

Hershel: I’m glad you went with a big smile on your face. We were all crying just like Beth & Maggie, machine guns included.

Beth & Maggie: I was moved by your powerless shrieks when your father was beheaded. That being said, you didn’t have to waste all your ammo with your emotions. Slow it down next time.

Michonne: I’m not sure how you rolled your way to safety without any of the Governor’s men (or the Governor himself) noticing. Good for you for using that trailer hitch to free your hands from that super strong rope.

Rick: You really lost a fistfight to the Governor? We just saw two whole episodes where this guy was literally emaciated and was contemplating suicide. I feel like your farming should have prepared you – both physically and mentally – to beat the crap out of him. SMH (Shaking My Head – even though I just learned this wasn’t an acronym for “So Much Hate”).

Tyreese: I’m not sure how you stumbled upon those brutally mutilated rats – slash the battle was an easy way for us to forget about the plot of a potential psychopath living amongst the survivors – but you are really bad at shooting. You had to be saved by four little kids with pistols; never forget.

Lizzie and Her Band of Badass Munchkins: Carol taught you a thing or two, I see. Best moment of the season – by far – slaying Alisha, whose lesbian plot line didn’t really amount to anything, but probably appeased the LGBT community.

Miranda: Since when are you against using guns? I’m very confused. Your character arc makes no sense to me. And your lover was killed by an eight-year-old. Maybe it’s time to rethink your life?

Lilly: I don’t get you. You’re just a less cool, less attractive version of Andrea, minus the gun skills and the personality, plus the daughter (then minus the daughter when she dies, so you even out with her there!).

Daryl: You’re way too cool for all these people. I hope you ditch the group and go find Carol in Season Five and live happily ever after.

Sasha: You were barely able to walk at the start of this episode, then all of the sudden you’re shooting down the Governor’s army and walkers left and right? You were totally faking the flu.

Glenn: You very much still had the flu. You need to heighten your immune system somehow. Maybe some tea? Tea should help.

Carl: YOU HAD ONE JOB! WHERE IS LIL ASSKICKER NOW? HUH? JUDITH’S CAR SEAT WAS PRETTY BLOODY, SO IT DOESN’T LOOK GOOD, CARL. IT. DOESN’T. LOOK. GOOD. Ugh.

After the smoke cleared, the good guys really only lost Hershel, maybe Judith, and their home. They did a pretty good job, considering how our heroes were outgunned by the Governor’s mini-army. And they also had a tank, which forced me to suspend my disbelief a little – were the keys just sitting in the tank? Did someone hotwire the tank? Was there that much ammo still left in the tank? So many questions, so little time.

Now we all must brave the cold without our favorite cold-blooded friends (get it!), as The Walking Dead returns in February to cap off their fourth season. Fingers crossed that there’s an episode dedicated to Carol driving down the coast all the way to Disney World. A guy can dream, damn it!

My Quest to “Get that Reference”

image

I’ve been on a quest for some time now – a quest to, “Get that Reference.” Everyday, people everywhere have conversations and in those conversations people make references. From here, there are three branches in which a conversation can deviate. In the first world, the reciprocator understands the reference and retorts with yet another reference, leading to a spiral of references. In the second, the reciprocator pretends to understand the reference; they nod, smile, giggle, twitch a little, then excuse themselves for the bathroom. The third scenario – the bane of my existence – occurs when the reciprocator asks what the reference was about then immediately blocks their ears screaming, “SPOILERS!” And because I don’t like to be “that guy” mentioned in the third scenario, I’ve made it my quest to “Get that Reference.”

This past year, I managed to watch the entirety of the Emmy nominated dramas – Breaking BadDownton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, and Mad Men. That makes me cool, right? I know all those references now! But, alas, my quest continues. 

This weekend, I reviewed my Netflix Instant Queue (now called “My List,” but I don’t like that name) to see what shows I should pick up. I tried three episodes of the critically-acclaimed comedy Louie and I elicited no reaction…aside from cringing at the unnecessary sex scenes. Thinking it was just a fluke, I moved on to the first two episodes of the cult comedy Freaks and Geeks. Again, no reaction. “This can’t be, I should try watching The IT Crowd,” thought Rob. Nope. Nothing. What is going on? How am I supposed to understand the constant references to these shows? I guess I’ll have to resort to the uncomfortable giggling, twitching, and frantic fits to the bathroom.

Check out this amazingly accurate Portlandia sketch about spoilers:

A Word On AMERICAN (HORROR) STORY: COVEN

american-horror-story-coven-2

Don’t get me wrong: American Horror Story: Coven is a great show and it has truly expanded Ryan Murphy’s repertoire as a producer and an artist. But there’s something about this season that has been a bit…off.

In the anthology’s first two chapters, we were introduced to a world with haunted houses and demonic spirits. We were genuinely shocked to learn of Violet’s death – almost three episodes after she had actually died! We were concerned about Sister Jude’s deteriorating state as a patient at Briarcliff. We felt for the characters. However, in this season I’m not sure I can say the same. And it all comes down to one character: Misty Day.

American-Horror-Story5

Misty Day, who is played by AHS vet Lily Rabe, is both the best and worst part of Coven. As the regenerative witch with a thing for Stevie Nicks, Rabe is a scene-stealer whenever she pops up. However, her ability to bring characters back to life (the list tallying Kyle, Madison, Myrtle, and herself) makes everyone virtually invincible – so there are no real stakes anymore. We are no longer shocked by a death like television audiences have proved to be (Red Wedding, anyone?).

On a slightly better note, I’m glad that Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett have stepped out of their hyped spotlight to let the former AHS stars take the helm of the show. And again, I’m not saying this season is bad, it’s just not what I would have wanted from the third installment of the horror anthology.

TV Haikus

Two weeks gone, and to what avail? So I’ve decided to write haikus to make up for my lack of television blogging. This is cool, right?

NEW GIRL

Coach is back, thank God!

But Schmidt moved out, Cece’s sad.

Nick and Jess? In love.

“Temple Grandin” jokes,

A lot of diversity

For a show on Fox.

THE MINDY PROJECT

Mindy rebounds and

Makes a bro club for her friends.

Appreciated.

Josh Peck guest stars, what?

Doc Reed’s dad? Charles Widmore.

Danny in the nude.

MODERN FAMILY

Cam and Mitch engaged,

Extravagance? No Pepper.

Prostitute downstairs.

Manny vs. Manny

Can they both win? But, of course!

Lily makes me laugh.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY

Nan and Christian boy,

Fiona kills new supreme,

Where’s your tongue, Spaulding?

Zombies attack house,

Who blinds Delia? Burn her!

Misty Day revives.

DOWNTON ABBEY

Edith’s pregnant. Yikes!

Mary rolls in the mud. Yikes!

Violet’s sick, then not.

Robert takes the states.

Bates learns truths about Anna,

Baxter’s the new spy.

HOMELAND

Carrie pees on stick.

Plus? Whose? Saul goes duck hunting.

Random people die.

Dana changes name.

Moves out of the house, abrupt!

Where is Brody? Huh?

THE WALKING DEAD

Who burned the bodies?

Carol. Sorrowful goodbye,

Alcohol poisons.

Flu plagues the prison;

Beth – no tears in this new world.

Carl should die soon.

Well, that was a fun segment, right? Let’s just look at this picture and laugh:

tumblr_mufpveoLMC1s76wa4o1_500

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/challenge-haiku/

THE NEWSROOM’s Michael Gunn

news1

Boston University alum Michael Gunn held a showing of The Newsroom season two premiere tonight at the College of Communication and I was lucky enough to attend. Gunn, who networked his way into becoming a production assistant for the show’s pilot back in 2011, has since been promoted to staff writer, and is credited for his work in the show’s second season.

Although I had never seen The Newsroom – or Aaron Sorkin’s other masterpiece, The West Wing – I was amazed by how carefully each scene of the hour long drama was crafted in order to promote active watching. A sitcom like Modern Family will throw a joke at you and you’ll be expected to get it. Sorkin, however, likes to weed out his audience by making them think, and I was amazed to see that this drama was actually hysterical.

And so, I set off on my Sorkin quest. I’ll start with the easy, two seasons of The Newsroom. What will be difficult is the seven seasons of The West Wing – each with a network television drama count of 20+ episodes per season. I’ll keep you posted on my progress, friends. Oh yeah, and midterms are coming… I feel like there should be an HBO related meme for that to close this post:

h8EAE2047

Sunday Funday

As a college student, Sunday’s are just too busy to cram into 24 hours. And to make matters worse, the television industry loves to put all my favorite dramas on the same night – adding up to three hours  (four if I choose to watch Masters of Sex).

That being said, I can’t possibly devote three to four hours to television on the day when I do a week’s worth of work, so I have to spread them out – all while avoiding spoilers around every corner of every social media outlet. And the only thing worse than a spoiler is a false spoiler. Example? Someone Instagrammed a picture of a grieving Michonne holding baby Judith. My initial thought? They killed off Rick! Needless to say, I had an extensive and intensive panic attack during the first thirty minutes of Sunday night’s episode, until I learned that Michonne was just really emotional about babies and the flu. Tangent aside, let’s take a closer look at Sunday’s dramas.

the-walking-dead-season-4-poster-comic-con

On The Walking Dead, a deadly flu is sweeping through the prison – but its not as deadly as the zombies it produces. Cell Block D has quite the night of feasting, to say the least. While the group focus its efforts on putting down the walkers within the walls of the prison, a herd amasses outside the western wall, and the wire fence begins to give. In a game time decision, Rick chooses to lure the walkers away from the prison fences with his precious pigs, sacrificing them with a slight slit of their hamstrings.

Meanwhile, Carol is continuing to be the most well-thought out, developed character on the show, worthy of “cool aunt” status. After losing her own daughter in season two, she has made it her agenda to teach the youngsters how to defends themselves.

In other news, the writers are poking fun at themselves by having Michonne poke fun at Carl for taking his stupid sheriff’s hat off.

804_3_0_prm-keyartb_1024x640

On Homeland, Carrie is released from the mental facility and we get one last glimpse from her supervisor Abby, who is arguably the greatest guest star Homeland has ever had. There’s a lot of CIA jargon thrown around that all boils down to Carrie collapsing into the arms of a weeping Saul. In a 24-inspired twist, we learn that the two pals have been working together all along to make Carrie a double agent for the Venezuelan-Iranian terrorism operation. More stuff happened with Dana, but none worth mentioning after I thought her story was supposed to be over after coming to terms with her mother.

downton-abbey_series-4

Across the pond, Downton Abbey is on its game. Trouble is brewing downstairs with the addition of the new Lady’s Maid, Baxter, who serves as a new con buddy for the low-lying Thomas. Meanwhile, Daisy is forced to help Alfred for his cooking exam – a feat that strains on her heart strings, knowing that she will be helping him leave. However, her efforts come to fruition when he fails the test at the London Ritz – a scene that’s masterfully shot – and he comes crawling back to her. Mr. Bates seeks answers from Anna, but goes straight to the gossip ringleader herself, Mrs. Hughes, who sets things straight and reunites the battered couple.

Upstairs, it’s all business. Mary learns that Lord Gillingham has proposed to another woman, and it a moment of solitude she cracks –knowing that he was her last chance at happiness in a world without Matthew. The world is ending for Edith because Michael hasn’t written to her in a week. Like, honestly Edith – no one cares about you. Meanwhile, Rose is being a bimbo and jumps at the thought of Robert’s birthday party, where something bad is bound to happen. Either Robert himself will drop dead or his elderly mother, Violet the Countess Dowager, will suffer a heart attack during a loving toast to her son and the estate. While Dame Maggie Smith is truly the corner stone of this period drama and makes us laugh week after week, it is pivotal that we see a member of the old generation finally bid farewell, as the youths have suffered so much in this time – starting with Downton’s heir dying on the Titanic, to World War I taking the lives of men from all walks of life (including Daisy’s betrothed William), and ending with Sybil and Matthew passing long before their time.

Because I didn’t want this post to end on a sad note, here’s the best Dowager meme to grace the Internet:

main-qimg-700365fcc6ed518964642e09d864bfe9

dowager-meme-generator-what-is-a-weekend-7cbc86

3t4jos

A Word on Last Week’s HOMELAND

804_3_0_prm-keyartb_1024x640

In a few hours, Homeland‘s fourth episode of the season will premiere on Showtime. However, the show has been receiving a lot of negative critical feedback as of late. While I understand that focusing on Dana for two whole episodes was unnecessary, the critics who wrote that the season’s third episode was painfully boring are gravely mistaken.

Writer Ross Jones of the British paper The Telegraph, had this to say:

“If nothing else, this season of Homeland will be remembered as a highly effective piece of immersive television. The two lead characters, Brody (Damien Lewis) and Carrie (Claire Danes), are now stuck staring at the same scenery with no obvious way out, devoid of hope and anaesthetised against their will – feelings all too familiar to anybody who made it through this episode.” (full article)

He hit all the points of why this episode, entitled “Tower of David,” is a masterpiece, only to rip it to shreds and write it off as boring.

I equate this episode to Breaking Bad‘s episode entitled “The Fly,” in which Walter attempts to kill a fly in his meth lab to ensure the purity of the product. Both episodes showcase a snapshot of the main characters’ lives, which so happens to be a low point for all of the characters in both shows. Even though Brody and Carrie don’t interact in this episode, we feel their bond become stronger and stronger as they both descend towards their rock bottom. Similarly, the character study in “The Fly” teaches Jesse the value of purity and we get a glimpse at Walter’s blooming obsession (almost addiction) with meth – something confirmed in the final moments of the series.

Episode-10-Walt-6-760623x439

Critics, however, loved what Vince Gilligan and the team did in “The Fly.” Time‘s writer James Poniewozik compared this episode to an episode of The Sopranos:

“After I watched the screener of “The Fly,” I tweeted that the episode was like “Breaking Bad’s ‘Pine Barrens,’ plus.” The “Pine Barrens” comparison, while a little facile, meant this: like The Sopranos’ classic, this was a set piece involving two characters in isolation, on a quest/hunt together. It was, first, incredibly well-directed for maximum tension. And the object of the hunt, like it was for Paulie and Christopher with The Russian, was not just important in itself but as a device to bring them into extremis and place their relationship under stress.” (full article)

So, by transitive property, “Tower of David” is Homelands “Pine Barrens,” right?

Enter the COVEN

american-horror-story-coven-2

It’s witching hour, my friends. But stow away your brooms, return your wands, and hide your Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, because American Horror Story: Coven leaves all the fun-loved, preconceived notions of witchcraft at the gates.
In the third installment of Ryan Murphy’s twisted anthology series, our favorite actors return to modern day – ditching the dreadful Massachusetts insane asylum for the bustling streets of New Orleans.
This story opens on Taissa Farmiga as Zoe – just your average, sexually deprived teenage girl, whose kiss kills her boyfriend. In a flash, she’s sent on a train to a boarding school for witches – and don’t worry, they saved themselves by making a Harry Potter joke. Cordilia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) resides over the school and teaches the girls how to channel and control their powers.

cordelia
Zoe’s classmates provide some much needed comic relief to this dark drama. Emma Roberts essentially plays herself, an actress whose telekinetic super powers have been too grand for the limelight. Her cover story is that she’s in rehab for a heroine addiction – believable. Precious herself, Gabourey Sidibe, plays Queenie, the human voodoo doll. This smack-talking, street-smart girl wound up at the school after she plunged her arm into a frialator, burning her obscenely rude customer to blisters. The last houseguest is AHS alum Jamie Brewer, who played the sweet-loving Addie in season one. This season, the actress plays a clairvoyant child, who knows too much for her own good.

Jessica-Lange-as-Fiona-Goode
The queen herself, Jessica Lange, has traded her nun garb for some more traditional clothes. Her name is Fiona Goode (a reference to Salem, no doubt) and she is “The Supreme.” On her quest for eternal life, Fiona decides to dig up the corpse of Madame LaLaurie, played by the terrifyingly wicked Kathy Bates. It seems like Lange has finally met her match. But the power struggle continues, and her name is Angela Bassett, who plays the voodoo, Marie Laveau. Much like Queenie, we learn that Laveau is a direct descendent of Tituba, the slave from Barbados who was one of the first accused witches in Salem.

Angela-Bassett
And then there’s Lily Rabe. As last season’s fan favorite, Sister Mary Eunice, the shy, obedient nun turned kinky, Devil-possessed entity, Rabe has gained quite the cult following. In this season, her character is no saner. Misty Day is a witch with the power of resurrection. After being burnt at the stake, Misty rises and makes it her first mission to bring back some alligators to kill their hunters. She derives her inspiration from Stevie Nicks, who she calls “the white witch.” I really would have loved to be a fly on the wall during Ryan Murphy’s chat with the singer’s manger…
Also returning this season is Evan Peters, who, along with Lange, has appeared in the most episodes of the anthology series. Instead of being the outcast he played in season one, he plays a frat brother named Kyle Spencer (who he probably would have gunned down as Tate). Kyle and Zoe meet at a party, as if Tate and Violet are meeting in another life, just as Kyle’s frat brothers are graphically raping Madison. Kyle breaks up the horrific scene and the brothers scramble back onto their bus, but not before Madison regains consciousness and uses her power to flip their bus, instantly killing seven of the nine passengers, including one of the star-crossed lovers, Kyle.

AHS1-e1381190745541
Cue the episode entitled “Boy Parts,” in which the girls attach the best limbs to Kyle’s head, just as Misty comes along to turn Kyle into a monster worthy of Dr. Frankenstein.
Meanwhile, the seemingly innocent Cordilia Foxx learns that her hormones are not helping her fertility, so her husband urges her to turn to magic. In a steamy sex rite, involving black powder, multiple herbs, fire, and hatching snake eggs, the two attempt to conceive a baby. Will it work? Probably. Will there be consequences because they used magic? Definitely.

lalaurie
While this season has planted some strong roots, I’m a little disappointed that the show has moved on to incorporate big names like Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, and Emma Roberts. Part of what has made AHS the show it has become is the no name actors making a niche for themselves. Where are Naomi Grossman and Chloë Sevigny, who played fan favorites Pepper and Shelley in Asylum? How about James Cromwell? His performance as Dr. Arthur Arden won him an Emmy and definitely should have won him a spot in Murphy’s script. Other notably absent series regulars are Zachary Quinto and Dylan McDermott, but Quinto’s run on Broadway and McDermott’s new role on CBS’s Hostages probably negated any hopes of their return to AHS. But with the set up this show has, there’s no reason why they can’t come back for the show’s fourth season. Or fifth. Or eleventh – it’s possible, right?

PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL Trailer Released

jamie-trailer-lilley-hbo

Exciting news, very exciting news. ABC1 has released the first trailer for Chris Lilley’s Private School Girl, a mini-series following Australia’s favorite daughter, Ja’mie King, as she ventures through her last months of high school at Hillford Grammar School. While this season will ditch the other Summer Heights High characters, Mr. G and Jonah, I’m sure Lilley will not disappoint. 

In honor of the trailer, here are some of my favorite Ja’mie moments from We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High.

tumblr_lr7mjvzEuB1qkl1lc

tumblr_lejgih9jus1qazkdco1_500

tumblr_lgr7rn5HNb1qcz72no1_500

tumblr_m1ezkhMyv31r2fq6so1_500

tumblr_m3458qMeeZ1qfyv4zo1_500

tumblr_mjhpyjj6Wg1qdojzho1_500

Long live the King… Ja’mie King. You can watch the trailer for Private School Girl here.

The Lies in HOMELAND and the Rape at DOWNTON ABBEY

Sunday night was chalk full of great television with Showtime’s Homeland returning to its prime and the UK’s Downton Abbey giving me the chills.

homeland_sezonul_1_season_1_wallpaper-t2

First up is Homeland. While the plot still lingers around Dana, this season’s second episode created a sort of closure to the Brody family saga while Sargent Brody is off the map. Dana sneaks back into the loony house to see Leo, played by Sam Underwood, who had a brief stint on Showtime’s now-ended drama Dexter, as a serial killer much like the title character was in his youth. Anyway, Dana’s mother begins to scold her daughter when she comes home, but Morgan Saylor delivers a powerful monologue about how she has chosen life because of Leo and other declarative statements that makes Jessica Brody look at her life and look at her choices – most regrettably, her husband. Now that we know Dana is no longer suicidal, we can abandon the household and focus solely on the terrorist father, who has been absent for the first two episodes of the season.

Meanwhile, Carrie is out for blood. After being pinned as the CIA officer who had an affair with Sargent Brody and for knowing about the Langley bombing, Carrie seeks to crush the CIA from the inside-out by going straight to the media. However, Saul sends in the feds who detain her in a psychiatric correctional facility.

Peter Quinn witnesses Carrie’s trial and knows that what Saul is doing is wrong. While his character has been sketchy from his introduction last season, he has become my favorite character this season. He has to live with knowing he killed an innocent nine-year-old on his covert operation and he calls Saul out for not taking responsibility for his own mistake – Carrie.

Nazanin Boniadi joined the cast as the young, burka-wearing CIA analyst Fara Sherazi, who you may remember as Nora from How I Met Your Mother. Boniadi is terrific so far, as she takes on a group of corrupt bankers who lent money to the Iranian terrorist group responsible for the Langley Bombing. But it’s Peter Quinn who gets the last laugh, taunting one of the bankers as he exits a dinner party.

At the end of the episode, Carrie is being injected with a tranquilizer as Dana discovers her father prayer rug and assumes the position – even though she has no clue what she’s doing.

I’m looking forward to next weeks episode when we finally meet up with Brody and find out why he’s bald!

downton-abbey_series-4

This episode of Downton Abbey left me with a terrible taste in my mouth because of Joanne Froggatt’s heartbreaking performance – but that comes at the end.

Dozens of guests gather in Downton for a much needed house party to lift the family’s spirits. Among them is Lord Gillingham, a childhood acquaintance of Mary’s, who brings along his valet, Mr. Green, whose happy-go-lucky personality clicks with that of Anna’s, but Mr. Bates isn’t too keen on her flirtatious manner. Gillingham is played by Tom Cullen, a star of the independent film business.

Edith brings her man, publisher Michael Gregson, but her father doesn’t give him the time of day – that is, not until Gregson is able to win back a large sum of money Lord Grantham lost to the scheming Sampson in various poker games through his stay.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Mrs. Padmore can’t keep up with the meal preparations, leading to an acute heart attack. Thankfully, Alfred, the aspiring cook he has eluded to be, is there to whip up the sauces for the lot of dinner guests.

At the same time, cousin Isabelle has fallen into a slump of depression, so the Dowager feels it her duty to occupy her time to comfort her and get her mind off her dead son, much like she feels the need to pair her granddaughter Mary up with the “glorified pirate,” Lord Gillingham.

While most of this is the wishy-washy drama we have come to love from Downton, we were all caught off guard by the violent beating scene that left the lovely Anna Bates a victim of rape by Lord Gillingham’s valet, Mr. Green. There has a great deal of backlash from the audience about the controversial scene being aired on British television, especially since the episode peaked at 9.9 million viewers. My stomach nearly flipped as the Grantham family and their servants enjoyed the vocal stylings of a famous Australian singer, drowning the screams of the Lady’s Maid.

So before you go to bed tonight, say a prayer for Anna Bates. And then, ask the Devil to take Mr. Green far, far away.

I Like MASTERS OF SEX

0CB13731-ED93-B493-34614FFAAD33DA95

I feel uncomfortable saying this, but I watched Masters of Sex and I ilked it. The new Showtime drama (really a dramedy, but who’s counting) follows the true story of Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and his assistant Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) as they embark on a scientific escapade to discover what happens to the body during sex.

The duo truly shine in terms of acting, but the supporting cast is very hit or miss. Caitlin Fitzgerald plays Libby Masters, Dr. Masters wife, who blames herself for not providing her husband with a child. Fitzgerald’s performance is reminiscent of January Jones’ portrayal of Betty Draper in the first few episodes of Mad Men, so hopefully we can see her become a more dynamic character. The biggest casting mistake for this show is Nicholas D’Agosto playing Ethan Haas, a resident under Dr. Masters and the unrequited romantic interest of Virginia. Signing an actor whose film credits peak at Final Destination 5, Fired Up, and a reoccurring role on Heroes (where his very essential character disappeared from the plot) probably wasn’t the best decision. Thankfully Lizzy Caplan is able to counter some of his inexperience – especially in the powerful “slap” scene.

So far, I am impressed with the pilot. It has a very Mad Men feel to it, except instead of being ad men, they’re sex doctors. The second episode is entitled “Race to Space,” which indicates that the writers might try to intertwine the historical events that shaped the ‘50s and ‘60s, much like Mad Men played on JFK, MLK, and the like.

You can watch the full pilot of Masters of Sex for free here.

Fall Television So Far…

Now that the first few weeks of fall television are under our belts and we’ve bid adieu to Breaking Bad and Dexter (on gravely different terms…spoiler pun intended) it’s time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not working with my line up.

What’s working:

New Girl

new-girl

I’ve gone “all in” with the third season of New Girl, and the cast has never been stronger. Between Jess and Nick’s honeymoon phase, Schmidt’s juggling of CeCe and Elizabeth (played by the hilarious Emmy winner Merritt Wever), and Winston’s obscenities, the laughs keep coming. The latest episode hit home with a broad range of emotions, when Schmidt is finally caught in his double life. Both Max Greenfield and Hannah Simone change the tone of the quirky show in a tear-inducing break-up, but Merritt Wever perks us up again with her devil-may-care attitude, giving Schmidt a pie to the face. Now, he vows to split up the seemingly innocent couple, Jess and Nick. Will he succeed? Will Winston be able to take care of Ferguson the cat? So many questions!

The Mindy Project

515SKro57XL._SX500_

The OB/GYNs are back for a take two, after Fox barely renewed the show for its second season. Mindy is back with a host of guest stars like James Franco and Beth Grant. So far, the season is fast paced, well-written, and generally funny. However, the plot line of Dr. Reed being fat just isn’t working out and Mindy Kaling needs to pen in some more lines for Betsy Putch, the more naïve version of Pam Beasley.

Modern Family

LOGO_ModernFamily-color

What’s there to say about Modern Family? As much as I ragged on them for winning their fourth consecutive Emmy just last month, the first few episodes of this season have reminded me why it is one of the greatest shows on television. It’s managed to stay topical, tackling the legalization of gay marriage by having Mitch and Cam get engaged – but not before a comedy of errors. Elsewhere, Gloria is convinced that Fulgencio is possessed by the Devil and Phil has found a new niche of real estate customers – divorced wives.

Parks and Recreation

parks_and_rec_logo

Pawnee’s Parks Department crossed the pond in the season opener of Parks and Recreation to accept Leslie’s award for women’s achievement in government. With the town still against her, Leslie learns to come to terms with her constituent’s ignorance with the help of April. Meanwhile, Tom has a new competitor in the clothing rental business: Jean-Ralphio’s father. Retta is still doing her thing (thang?) in the office, as Chris and Ann Perkins break the news to their co-workers about their pregnancy. I’m expecting big things from this season of Parks and Rec, even though Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones are slated to bow out halfway through the season.

Downton Abbey

downton-abbey_series-4

Over in the UK, the upstairs/downstairs drama Downton Abbey is back in full swing, but the mourning of Mister Matthew has put a damper on their lives in the past six months. Also, O’Brien skipped town in the middle of the night (little explanation here), making Anna the head Lady’s Maid for Cora. Edith is off gallivanting in London with the publisher, while Mary mourns in her room, until Carson and the Dowager pushes her to her brink and she choses life – for her and her child. I’m loving the introduction of the electric mixer in the kitchen, finally giving Daisy something she’s good at. However, when Valentine’s Day rolls around, she’s left with a fake letter from Mrs. Patmore, while Olive gets one from Alfred, but she thinks it’s from Jimmy. It’s so middle school and I love it. All the while, Thomas has had a slight change of heart, and wants to be more of a part of baby George’s and baby Sybil’s life – much like Carson was a part of Sybil, Mary, and Edith’s life. I have a feeling the first two episodes were catch-up/set-up episodes, and hopefully they keep the drama coming.

What’s not working:

Homeland

homeland_sezonul_1_season_1_wallpaper-t2

What was going on with the Homeland premiere? I understand that Brody’s confession must have destroyed his household, but by seeing the season three premiere, you’d think Dana is our main character. And don’t get me wrong, I think Dana is a very interesting, dynamic character, played by the very talented, Morgan Saylor. We saw very little of Claire Danes freaking out, which upset me, and too much of her having sex, which also upset me. Also, I know Brody is supposed to be MIA, but at least let us know what he’s up to, right? And Saul’s wife is back? Why? That part didn’t make sense. Let’s pray that this was just a bad set-up episode and that Carrie Mathison will go ham on some terrorists.

The Middle

The_Middle_logo

Just make a Sue Heck spin-off and I’ll be happy.

Goodbye, Walter White

Walter White

Sunday night, we bid farewell to Walter White, a beloved husband, father, brother-in-law, teacher, mentor, defamed drug lord, and archetype-shattering anti-hero. Over the course of the show’s five seasons, we have seen one man’s descent into the tantalizing void of greed, leaving no victims unscathed. In the Season Three finale, we see the magnitude of Walt’s decisions, as two commercial airlines crash over his home because Jane’s father, an air traffic controller, couldn’t focus on his job after learning of his daughter’s overdose – something Walt witnessed and could have stopped.

While some are sad to see the drug lord’s story laid to rest, others are happy that the show ended on top, snagging the Best Drama Emmy last week. Some notable shows that audiences agree ran their course far before their finales are Lost, Heroes, Dexter, and, currently, Mad Men.

Fans were also pleasantly surprised at the amount of loose ends Executive Producer Vince Gilligan was able to tie up in the final two episodes, especially the well-deserved bow-out for the druggie fan favorites Badger and Skinny Pete.

Breaking Bad played with our emotions during the hour-long finale, replaying clips from Season One as Walt’s conscious becomes flooded with guilt. For once in his life, Walt confesses to Skyler that everything he did was for him – not the family. “I liked it,” he manages to say. “I was good at it.” If that doesn’t scream character arc, then maybe his selflessness in the show’s final moments will make you change your mind. I’ll leave you there without spoiling too much of the tale.

As for the legacy of Breaking Bad? It will become a textbook example in all categories – writing, directing, cinematography, and, of course, acting. Without Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, and the rest of the amazing cast, the show wouldn’t be the success it is. They made the strange place of Albuquerque, New Mexico feel like home. They made us apart of the White family. Heck, they made cooking meth into an art, let alone feasible by your favorite chemistry teacher and his dead-beat student.

So here’s to you, the great Heisenberg. And to many A-1 Days to come.

Goodbye, Dexter Morgan

Dexter-final-season-key-art

What’s there to say about the series finale of Dexter? It just wasn’t good. The whole season just wasn’t good, for that matter. DISCLAIMER: If you want to skip the part where I rant about the final season and talk about how great the show was as a whole, skip to the end of this article.

I feel as though the writers had good intentions of bringing everyone’s favorite serial killing back to his roots with the introduction of Dr. Evelyn Vogel, a psychologist who worked with Harry Morgan to develop “The Code” for his deranged son. However, Dr. Vogel’s character just made the conflict center on the relationship between her and her former patients and previously presumed dead son, Oliver Saxon, who was dubbed the Brain Surgeon.

Meanwhile, the writers put the various side characters into pathetically boring side-stories, like Masuka’s biological daughter becoming an intern at Miami Metro and Jamie being a complete bimbo with Quinn. Instead of Miami Metro tracking the Dexter/Hannah/Brain Surgeon saga, the writers tasked new characters (a private investigator and a state marshal) with the job. Like, there’s no drama there. First of all, I don’t know either of these “bad guys.” And second of all, both of them seem like they came out of a lame, ‘90s surfer flick.

In the end, Dexter was once again torn between his love for his sister and his love for Hannah (and his son, who he ends up abandoning just like his mother did to him…but that’s a discussion for another time). Dexter, showing a character arch, decides that neither of them deserves his wrecking-ball of a lifestyle. Cue a random flashback of Deb and Dexter holding Harrison for the first time and then snap back to reality with Dexter pulling the switch (or presses the button) on Deb’s life support, because taking a turn for the worst after a successful surgery is totally a feasible plot line for the Showtime hit.

dexter-deb-series-finale-remember-the-monsters

Dressed in his iconic kill outfit, Dexter sneaks Deb’s body out of the hospital and onto his trusty boat, “Slice of Life,” and sails into the eye of the very poorly CGI-animated storm. Regardless, Michael C. Hall’s performance in the final moments of the show are breathtaking, as he tosses his sister’s lifeless body into Bay Harbor – she is just another victim, no different than any of his other kills. In a cathartic act, Dexter continues on into the storm.

After the storm passes, Hannah reads of Dexter’s death, as she sits in an Argentinian café with the innocent Harrison.

But after a brief blackout, we are introduced to a lumberyard and follow a strange, bearded man into his small, dank home. He lurks in the shadows into the final moments when he sits down and stares at the camera – it’s Dexter Morgan. But the Dexter Morgan we know is dead – and so is his dark passenger (both Harry’s ghost and Dexter’s narration are void from this scene).

dexter_812_4352r

While I criticize the show’s eighth season, let’s not forget what a cultural revolution this show sparked in terms of premium cable television. Dexter used to be the epitome of the office water cooler – from discovering the true identity of the Ice Truck Killer, to Trinity’s final kill. Dexter, the character, is a loveable serial killer – the first of many anti-heroes to grace the small screen in this golden age of television, paving the way for the other anti-heroes to follow him, like Don Draper, Walter White, and Sargent Nicholas Brody.

Nick_Brody_5 Walter White don-draper-2

So, cheers to you, Dexter Morgan. Doughnuts on you?

Dexter_donut_guy

My Favorite Moments from The 2013 Emmys

There’s a 60% chance you watched the Emmys last night, a 40% chance that you watched Breaking Bad and a 6% chance you watched Dexter. Regardless of these irrelevant statistics, television was packed with groundbreaking water cooler moments.

neil-patrick-harris-emmys-2013

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, honoring the best in television over the past year. Coming into the night, American Horror Story: Asylum led the night with 17 nods and Netflix made history by becoming the first non-television network to be nominated for an Emmy with their shows Arrested Development and House of Cards.
Here were my highlights:

-Amy Poehler and Tina Fey heckled Neil from the audience and proceed to crawl up the stage to present the award for Best Supporting Actress.

a_560x0-1

-Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie – but you know her as Caroline from New Girl) won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and delivered the shortest – and probably best – acceptance speech ever. “Thanks so much, thanks so much,” the actress said. “Umm…I gotta go.”

1987e064aefc4821_tumblr_mtjyi9n93u1qz581wo2_r1_500.xxxlarge
-Tony Hale joined co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as she collected her second award for Veep. Hale, who won for Best Supporting Actor earlier in the night, acted as the bumbling bagman for Louis-Drefyus’ character, Selina, the Vice President of the United States.

julia-tony
-Claire Danes won again for her work on Homeland and honored the late writer Henry Bromell, whose wife later accepted the award for Best Writing for a Drama Series for the episode “Q&A.” While it was no “Rains of Castamere,” it was an honorable mention to one of the industry’s greatest talents. On the red carpet, Danes caught up with her unlikely BFF Lena Dunham. And it was pretty great.

danes24f-5-web

-Kevin Spacy turned into Congressman Underwood.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-25198-1379945350-6
-Will Ferrell brought his kids with him on stage to present because Dame Maggie Smith cancelled her babysitting gig.
-James Cromwell took the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series over co-star Zachary Quinto. Sarah Paulson was snubbed for Supporting Actress and Twitter had this to say.

tumblr_mqnlflBYTf1qeyisvo1_500
-Modern Family won its fourth Emmy, which peeved me, but Breaking Bad finally won the award for Outstanding Drama Series.

breaking bad 660 reuters emmy

Looking Forward with BREAKING BAD

Breaking-Bad-season-5-poster

What more can I say about Sunday night’s antepenultimate (fancy word meaning third to last; sports fans may know this as the quarter finals) episode?
Between Hank’s death and Walter’s now infamously misconstrued phone call to his wife, the episode exceeded my expectations and has been attracting a lot of attention. Since the episode aired, employees at AMC’s headquarters have been stuck in a continuous Sue Heck dance-loop.
tumblr_llk9x5SYtT1qbo2rt
While other blogs have given you a play-by-play of the full forty-two minute masterpiece, I thought I’d spend this time contemplating a few matters at hand as we prepare ourselves for the final two episodes of this great series.
Before I make a prediction of the White family’s fate, let me lay out what we know:

1. Walter White skipped town, presumably with the help of Saul’s vacuum repairman, after knowingly victimizing his wife and family with his police-tapped phone.
2. Jesse Pinkman is being held prisoner by Todd and his Nazi-branded uncle. Using the picture of his ex-girlfriend Andrea and her son Brock, they blackmail Jesse into cooking meth again. We assume that he will be forced to continue as a part of Lydia’s global meth operation.
3. In the Season Five Part 1 premiere, we saw a flash-forward of Walt returning to Albuquerque. By the way he places the bacon on his plate at the local Denny’s, we know that it is his birthday – one of Skyler’s tradition we see in the episode “51.” In the same scene, he has a full head of hair, a New Hampshire license plate, and a pretty hefty gun.
4. In the Season Five Part 2 premiere, we see Walter drive from the Denny’s to his now-abandoned and dilapidated home. The living room appears charred and “Heisenberg” is spray painted on the wall. Walter goes into his room to retrieve the ricin, which has been stored in his handy-dandy wall outlet.
5. On his way out, his neighbor Carol appears petrified. It is obvious that the world now knows the truth about Walter White.

So what does this all mean? Here’s what I think/hope is going to happen.

1. Skyler, Flynn, Holly, and Marie will be put under Witness Protection. Walter will never see them again.
2. Walter will return to Albuquerque to kill Todd and his uncle’s crew, thereby liberating Jesse of servitude. This is what the gun is for.
3. Walt will then give the ricin back to Jesse – this will be a symbolic gesture, as if he is giving Jesse the power to kill him, just as Walter had the power to kill Jesse many times before.
4. Walter and Jesse will drive through downtown Albuquerque and pick up Wendy for old time’s sake.

So these are my (edited) predictions for the final two episodes of Breaking Bad, which will forever be one of the most realistic, dramatic, eye-opening, genre-shattering, mind-bending show on television. In addition to its amazing writing, the cast is brilliant – especially noting the often hated on Anna Gunn. Let me just say, her New York Times article perfectly narrates her life’s struggle over the course of the show’s production. Let’s just say I got chills when this happened.

bb514-580
While I will be watching the Emmy Awards next Sunday night, I expect ratings to dip a bit for Breaking Bad‘s upcoming episode, but the finale on September 29th should hit record numbers. Maybe surpass The Walking Dead? One can dream.

DowntonZombie

September: The Television Enthusiasts Purgatory

Now that September’s here and I’m back at school “studying,” I face a sort of “atheist’s dilemma,” only you have to replace “atheist” with “television enthusiast” and it kind of makes sense. While I am super grateful that Breaking Bad has been delivering Sunday after Sunday (and while Dexter has become a chore to watch), I am not fulling satisfied. I need everything back.

tumblr_mg7ef1WiPC1rh2uuxo1_500

I need Homeland and Modern Family.

640_modern_family_homeland_emmys

I need Downton Abbey and The Walking Dead.

DowntonZombie

If I pray hard enough, maybe this fall will see new seasons of Mad Men and Game of Thrones. Or maybe that would be pushing the envelope a tad.

tumblr_m5be88glCN1qi5fayo2_1280

Be on the look out for posts on these shows and more (including, but not limited to, Parks and Recreation, The MiddleCommunityNew GirlThe Mindy Project, American Horror Story: Coven, and Girls. I might try to get into some new shows, but they all just look so bad this season. The ones I’ll test are The Masters of SexSleepy HollowAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Dads. If you have any suggestions, let me know ASAP. Well, not, like, super ASAP, just whenever you feel like it. Cool. Good talk.

And shout out to tumblr for having these TV cross-over images. I’m glad to know my Internet folk are keeping busy and paying their bills.

BREAKING BAD vs. the Decay of Pop Culture (VMAs)

Breaking-Bad-season-5-poster

Sunday night is usually my favorite part of the week. I get to make some popcorn, put my feet up, dim the lights just right, tune into AMC, and watch Breaking Bad in the company of my Twitter friends. But last night, something disturbed my peace and focus. Millions upon millions of Americans reverted to their pre-pubescent girl mindsets as Miley Cyrus twerked her way across stage, followed by the quiver-inducing reunion of N*Sync. Needless to say, I couldn’t find my usually Twitter friends in the muck that littered my feed. Anyway, for those so-called “adults” who were busy watching the decay of pop culture in America, I hope you see this and I spoil last night’s episode of Breaking Bad for you. You kind of deserve it and you kind of know that.

The episode opens with a somewhat humorous encounter between Adam and two of Lydia’s henchmen at a diner, where Walter’s former apprentice relays the story of their great train heist. The crew rolls out with a tank full of methylamine as a cheerful tune plays from the stereo.

Over at the White household, Walter stops Flynn from going to his Aunt Marie’s by sweet-talking him and revealing to his son that his cancer is back. Flynn, being the oblivious sucker that he is, takes the bait as Marie waits anxiously for her nephew to come over – thinking that she can protect him from the drug lord and his many burnt bridges.

Later, Walt, Skyler, Hank, and Marie meet at a restaurant, where the conniving duo ask that their children be left alone. Before they even order appetizers, Walt and Skyler leave, placing a CD on the table as they go.

Standing speechless in their living room, Hank and Marie play the video: a twisted confession from Walt that recounts the entire past year from his perspective as Hank’s coerced sidekick in the meth empire. Walt sites the $177,000 that he was “forced” to give to Hank to pay for his treatment and physical therapy after the shooting.

Meanwhile, Walt advises Jesse to leave town. After some tears and a weird Voldemort hug, Saul sets the young apprentice up with a new identity and a ride to Alaska, but not before Jesse realizes that his ricin-filled cigarette is missing.

Jesse misses his ride and goes ape-shit in the office of Saul Goodman, Attorney at Law, and ultimately snags a pistol off the conman, who reveals that Walt has the ricin. For those who don’t remember, this is troubling to Jesse because he now has proof that Walt was responsible for poisoning Brock at the end of Season 4, even though the ricin was never used (he used the berries from the plant in his backyard). But still, Jesse’s rage continues as he barges into the seemingly empty White household and dumps a can of gasoline in the living room – which we know will be burnt from Episode 8’s flash forward.

Then it goes to black. Is anyone home? Flynn? Holly? Will the fire take anyone’s life? Will anyone actually die in this show? With only five episodes left, I expect each and every one of you to never take a Sunday night for granted ever again – looking at you, Miley.

BREAKING BAD and DEXTER Bring Their A-Games

Sunday night had a spring in its step as both Breaking Bad and Dexter wowed me with jaw-dropper after jaw-dropper and various other physical signs of amazement, like convulsions and gasps. (That was a weird sentence, but I thought it was kinda funny, so I won’t backspace it).

Breaking-Bad-season-5-poster

First, on AMC, the word is out. And Hank and Marie are not happy about it. The writers and actors must have had a serious heart-to-heart before shooting the intense and delicate scenes because the show has seriously never been better. The chilling silence between Hank and Skyler in the diner brilliantly escalated to a Claire Danes caliber freak out on Anna Gunn’s part, who is, at this point, begging for that sweet Emmy. A few short moments after she’s asking Hank, “Am I under arrest?!” Marie decides to join the mix by taking Holly away from her sister – and she’s not a happy camper. The chemistry between the sisters has never been better as their shouting match, juxtaposed to a crying baby, erupts in the house.

Walter also had quite the episode, burying his money in the desert – but not after Huele lives his fantasy by lying on the enormous pile of tender bills.

Meanwhile, Lidia’s back and nastier than ever. With the help of Adam, she is able to wipeout her new, uncooperative meth cooking team, but the emotion hits home as she refuses to look at the dead bodies. The camera angle is perfect as we see her high-heels stumbling through the barren wasteland, sullen with the blood and guts of the dead.

Dexter-final-season-key-art

Over on Showtime, Hannah McKay is back – without a vengeance? After drugging Dexter and Deb, she fails to follow through and kill off the only people who know the truth to her years of crime and homicide.

After getting back with Hannah, Dexter decides to take her along on a trip to the Keys to catch Zach Hamilton, another one of Dr. Vogel’s experiments, in the act of murder. However, private investigator Deb is on the trail, leading to the most uncomfortable walk-in since the kids of Modern Family catch their parents in the act. Deb walks in on Dexter, Hannah, and Zach in a kill room. With some comic relief, Deb immediately leaves, but it also speaks volumes to where she is mentally as a character. She is beyond broken and staying would have only made her mix of depression, guilt, and anxiety worse.

While I was blown away by this episode, I was not wild about the ending when Dexter finds Zach dead in his home, killed by none other than the Brain Surgeon. I thought that teaching Zach “the Code” would have made for an interesting storyline, but at the same point it could have taken the limelight away from the title character.

Hopefully both these shows can keep it up in their final stretches, or else I’m gonna have to send someone to Belize.

Rambles on HOMELAND Season 3 Trailer

homeland_sezonul_1_season_1_wallpaper-t2

You can watch the Homeland Season 3 Trailer here. Watch along with my rambles:

Brody/Carrie leaving

Carrie sad, Saul sad

Brody making a bomb

Carrie going nuts again

Dana digging

Brody’s bald

Dana and Chris hugs – no one likes him

Senate hearing?

Carrie’s gunna lie because the truth so help her god is not true

Quinn has a gun

Media all over Dana and family

Lots of Brody/Carrie screaming

Dana sexting and converts to Islam – is she allowed to do both?

Shotguns in the jungle

Carrie back to the hospital

Quinn’s a sniper

The wife still sucks

“I am so sorry” – Saul

I am so excited.

BREAKING BAD Returns with “Bloody Money”

Breaking-Bad-season-5-poster

After months of anxious anticipation, Breaking Bad is back – with quite the vengeance. The episode, entitled “Bloody Money,” marks the beginning of the end for the second half of the fifth and final season of the AMC drama.

We start out with a glimpse into Walt’s future, where he breaks into his own abandoned and dilapidated house (which is still in better condition than Don Draper’s childhood whorehouse). The now full-haired Walt, who we saw in an earlier episode leaving a diner with his New Hampshire licensed car, marches straight to his trusty electrical outlet to retrieve the still-unused capsule of ricin. As he leaves the house, his neighbor stares in a trembling trance and drops her groceries as Walt mutters, “Hello, Carol.”

Flash back to Hank on the toilet in modern times. Like the emotionally unstable Hank we have come to know and kind of love, he becomes very disoriented (and the lack of camera focus doesn’t let you forget how distraught he is about discovering Walt’s dirty little secret). He stashes Walt’s copy of Leaves of Grass, with Gale’s note printed inside, in his bag and bolts with his wife. After a relatively unnecessary car crash and a classic Marie freak out, Hank is out on leave from work…again.

Soon, we come to learn that Skyler and Walt’s carwash has become a financial success – just not successful enough to launder the thousands of dollars from Walt’s meth days. Lydia, the international meth transporter extraordinaire, pays the carwash a visit and offers Walt an opportunity to come back for a big money deal. But Skyler goes into full maternal mode and tells her off like only a mother could.

Over at the Pinkman residence, Jesse and his trusty pals Skinny Pete and Badger, the latter goes on a mindless, drugged-up rant about Star Trek. I wonder who had more fun: the writers writing the scene or Matt Jones performing it?

Again, Jesse is feeling conflicted about all the money he has accumulated, so he goes to Saul to sort out his “debts,” but Walt thinks that leaving large sums of money to Mike’s granddaughter and the missing boy’s parents will only stir more police investigation. So Jesse, in a scene where Aaron Paul was clearly determined to win another Emmy, throws wads of the “bloody money” out of his car in the slums of Albuquerque.

In a chemo-induced vomiting fit, Walt discovers that his bathroom copy of Leaves of Grass is missing, which leads him to find Hank’s GPS tracker under the frame of his car. In the episode’s climax (a moment we have been waiting months for), Walt confronts Hank and they brawl. Hank comes out on top physically, but Walt pulls the “I’m dying” card and assures his brother-in-law that he will never see the inside of a jail cell.

One thing I didn’t like about the episode’s ending was the writers’ feeble attempt to make yet another badass Walter White quote: “Tread lightly.” We’ve already heard the man utter the words, “Say my name,” “I’m in the empire business,” and, “I am the one who knocks,” so I just feel like, “Tread lightly,” pushes the envelope a little bit.

All in all, I was happy with the return of Breaking Bad. Nothing crazy happened – everything went according to prediction. But what will happen in the future timeline and how will the two timelines converge? Let’s just hope Marie doesn’t have any more shoplifting urges and the show can go out with a bang.