I Like MASTERS OF SEX

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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.

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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.

Fall Line-Ups Announced

This past weekend, TV networks have been releasing their line-ups for the fall season, which include some exciting new pilots. Most of these will be cancelled after three episodes, so don’t get too attached. Here are the ones that I think you can get a little bit attached to come September.

24 – it’s a reboot miniseries with 12 episodes… so shouldn’t it be renamed 12? (Fox)

Sleepy Hollow – the legendary Ichabod Crane is resurrected after 250 years to stop the Headless Horseman with the help of modern day technology (Fox)

Almost Human – yet another J.J. Abrams production that has to do with killing and aliens and stuff (Fox)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – all of the awesomeness of Marvel, minus the superheroes (ABC)

The Family Guide – with Jason Bateman, how can this comedy go wrong…that was an Arrested Development joke, which also comes back via Netflix in two weeks! (NBC)

Late Night with Seth Meyers – with Jimmy Fallon moving on to The Tonight Show, it only seems fitting that Seth takes his chair. But what does this mean for the future of SNL’s “Weekend Update”? (NBC)

Heroes??? – a revival of the superhero phenomenon has been rumored, but will only stream via Xbox Live. (???)

Here’s what you won’t see in this fall (AKA what was cancelled):

-Barbara Walters – she announced her retirement from broadcast journalism just last night

-Randy Jackson – this “dawg” will not be returning for another season with American Idol, leaving the show without any original judges for its upcoming season 13

Go On – Matthew Perry, just stop trying please. Friends wasn’t even that good…

-Whitney1600 PennGuys With Kids, and Up All Night – NBC, get your shit together

To end on a positive note, both New Girl and The Mindy Project have been picked up for another season each, and the former has secured the coveted post-Super Bowl spot. You go New Girl, you go.

Netflix Pick: SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED

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The 2012 crop of films was epic and unlike any year before. From the historical pictures like Lincoln and Argo, to the beautiful literature adaptations like Life of Pi and The Hunger Games, the industry made its great deal of profits. However, one film stayed below the commercialized radar. For my Netflix Pick, I have decided to deviate from television for a moment to spread the word of the most amazing film of 2012: Safety Not Guaranteed. However, the majority of the actors from this film come from a strong television background, so I’m kind of staying with my theme.

The film stars Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza as the highly intelligent but highly unmotivated Darius, who works as an intern at an alternative-style Seattle magazine.

The demanding magazine editor Bridget, played by 24’s Mary Lynn Rajskub, leads an ordinary pitch meeting where staff writer Jeff, played by New Girl’s Jack Johnson, suggests investigating a classified ad, in which the author is looking for a partner to travel back in time with, noting, “Safety Not Guaranteed.” Bridget agrees to the story and Jeff picks two interns to travel with him to Ocean View, WA. Darius and Arnau, the nerdy Indian medical student, accompany Jeff and strategize a plan to find the ad’s author.

After Jeff reveals to his interns that he intends to rekindle a romance with his high school girlfriend, Darius takes it upon herself to get the story. However, when she finally meets the ad’s author, a seemingly deranged grocery store employee, Kenneth, played by The League’s Mark Duplass, she becomes close to him.

Through his quirky training sessions with her, Darius tells Kenneth that she wants to go back in time to stop herself from asking her mom to stop at a gas station for chocolate milk, because this led to an incident where she was robbed and killed at the gas station’s mini-mart. Over the next few days, Kenneth eventually becomes comfortable enough to reveal to Darius that he intends to go back in time to stop a drunk driver from crashing into his girlfriend’s living room and killing her.

This movie is really about time. Jeff wishes to go back to his high school girlfriend and badgers the sexually inert Arnau to live a little while he’s young.

Darius’s mission takes an unexpected turn when she discovers that Kenneth’s old girlfriend, Belinda, is still alive. She goes to interview her and the charming housewife, played by Veronica Mars and Heroes star Kristen Bell, tells Darius that Kenneth had never been the same after he drunkenly drove his car into a house. In a twist right out of the pages of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the truth we thought was about an unnamed driver was really about Kenneth.

And to complicate matters more, Kenneth discovers that Darius’ original intentions for seeking him out were to write a story on him for her magazine and that she was not genuinely responding to his ad.

I will not spoil the movie’s ending, but I promise that it will leave you speechless.

Apart from the witty humor and terrific acting, the beautiful cinematography of Ocean View’s coast truly captures a place where time is virtually non-existent. This aids in giving the characters the necessary time to develop together and create a genuine, lasting bond.

I recommend this film to those who enjoyed such comedies as Dan in Real Life, Lars and the Real Girl, and Silver Linings Playbook.