Thursday, May 31, 2012


Things will be quiet around here for the next few days, as I'm headed home to Connecticut for a funeral. I'll try to catch up with some stuff on Saturday or Sunday when I return. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First Trailer: Les Miserables

I'm not even a big Les Miserables fan, but this gave me chills.

What I Watched: The LA Complex Finale, Game of Thrones, & More

Live-ish: The L.A. Complex, "Burn It Down (EP106)" - I like finales that burn everything down (usually metaphorically), so I was excited that they went for it and just called this "Burn It Down." This was a great finale capping off a really solid season, though I must admit I'm more interested in everyone else than Nick (who is really THE WORST, huh?) or Cassie. The CW still hasn't confirmed that this is coming back, but here's hoping.

Live+7: Game of Thrones, "Blackwater (EP209)" - This episode was quite good in general, but what really stood out to me was how great Peter Dinklage is. Not that that's news, but this was a great showcase for him. This one was also more limited in points of view, which I think really worked, though of course I missed Robb, Jon, etc.

Veep, "Baseball (EP106)" - I'm still adoring this show, and I really didn't expect that they would actually have Selina be pregnant. I thought they would take the whole episode to use all the jokes, and then have it all be a false alarm. So I'm really fascinated to see what they do next.

Catching Up: The Killing, "Undertow (EP109)" - Linden wore a new sweater! The teacher's wife became particularly interesting this episode. I still love Holder. Etc.

On the list... Cougar Town, because I tried to watch live but the beginning was preempted for storm coverage. Hatfields and McCoys.

Morning Coffee (5/30/12)

There have been a lot of articles on why cable puts good stuff on in the summer and the networks don't, but June Thomas's take is particularly good and has some details I didn't know.

Awesome: Amazon is creating a Never Before on DVD store.

A must-read for aspiring authors: On Establishing a Good Line of Credit with Agents

This movie sounds potentially fascinating.

The Top 10 Scariest Mogul Heirs

Take a look at what famous authors had in their libraries.

Lasagna cupcakes??

Meet the Weiner Truthers

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Morning Coffee (5/29/12)

Hope everyone had a great long weekend! I've had to remind myself that it's not Monday about 50 times already today, so it should be an interesting day.

Now that it's unofficially summer, here are 21 Teen Soaps to Stream.

You should also listen to Aaron Ginsberg and Janie Haddad's new podcast.

Viggle is kind of interesting, but I'm not sure I watch enough live TV to make it worth it.

The cast of the CBGB movie is looking incredible - Alan Rickman, Stana Katic, Joel David Moore, Rupert Grint, Julian Acosta, etc. etc.

The Hairpin's Scandals of Classic Hollywood series is fascinating. Here's Marlene Dietrich.

Queen Names Litter of Puppies After Harry Potter Characters

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What I Watched: Magic City

Catching Up: Magic City, "The Harder They Fall (EP106)" & "Who's the Rider & Who's the Horse? (EP107)" - I am finally caught up, just in time for next week's season finale! (This and many other Friday were off last night because of the long weekend.) I'm still intrigued by the show, but I'll admit I'm a little more into the mood and setting and character dynamics than the specific plot points, which can get a little confusing. It doesn't help that there are lots of moody, poorly-lit shots and several characters are the same basic physical types, so if you look away from the screen for a moment, you can look back and have no idea which body is in the pool, say. (Yes, I should just pay better attention.) But aside from that caveat, I'm loving it, and the addition of Meg the past few episodes has been great.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Music Break: Carrie Underwood & Vince Gill Do "How Great Thou Art"

This isn't new or anything, but last night Andrea Reiher and I got to chatting about our love for this song - because it was on Duets, I think, which she was watching and I was not (and boy did it sound like a confusing show) - and she pointed me to this Carrie Underwood/Vince Gill version, and it's amazing:

10 Reasons to Catch Up on Magic City

I love Magic City, and I can think of literally no one I know who watches it, and why is that? You should jump in! Really! The first season is almost over, but it's already been renewed, and Starz is replaying all seven previous episodes starting tonight in preparation for next week's season finale. So it's the perfect time to join in the retro, soapy fun. I already wrote about why I liked the pilot, and here are a quick ten reasons why you should give the show a chance:

1. Jeffrey Dean Morgan doing "morally ambiguous and kind of scary"
2. Gorgeous 1950s costumes
3. Mob drama
4. Great period music
5. Complicated family dynamics
6. A glitzy hotel setting
7. Culture clashes involving various minorities negotiating how to achieve mainstream success without losing what they value
8. References to and cameos from historical figures like Sinatra and the Kennedys
9. Historical events like the Cuban Revolution affecting people's lives
10. Delicious rugelach as an actual plot point

If I've convinced you (Rugelach! As a plot point!), you can see when each episode is playing right here.

Pilot Review: Men at Work

We're starting a new thing over at TheTelevixen where I insist I have time to review most-if-not-all pilots and everyone else humors me. First up: Men at Work. I actually watched two episodes because TBS aired them back to back, and boy was that a bad life choice.

What I Watched: Awake Finale, Men at Work Premiere, & More

Live-ish: Awake, "Turtles All the Way Down (EP113)" - I'm so, so sad that this show is over, but I think the finale was fitting, and I'm glad that it provided a form of emotional resolution but didn't give pat answers to the central mystery. Though, frankly, I'm still not sure what to make of it. But maybe that's the point.

Men at Work, "Pilot (EP101)," "Heterotextual Male (EP102)" - I watched this to review for TheTelevixen, so I'll link once that piece is up. Spoiler: This show is awful.

Live+7: White Heat, "The Dark Side of the Moon (EP103)" - I'm finding the 1970s stuff less interesting than the 1960s stuff was, and some of the interpersonal plot lines are a little hard to follow through the time jumps, but I'm still liking this enough to want to see it through.

Catching Up: Lost Girl, "Fae Day (EP109)" - I loved this episode because of all it revealed about fae culture, and because of all the good Dyson time. I liked both that Dyson started to admit his feelings and that we discovered he's keeping secrets from Bo, too. Everything will have to blow up eventually! Whee!

The Killing, "Stonewalled (EP108)" - Linden's still only on her fourth outfit for the series, not that I'm counting. And I love that we're learning more about Holder. Their dynamic is really interesting, not least because it's a break from the usual will they/won't they or even one serious/one goofy, because they're both serious, just in different ways.

Magic City, "Atonement (EP104)," "Suicide Blonde (EP105)" - This is still a lot of fun and I'm still annoyed that no one I know is watching it, so I'll have a post trying to convince you to try it up at noon.

Fairly Legal, "Shine a Light (EP204)" - My main problem with this show - and the reason why I'm so behind - is still that I'm not wild about the main character. More Lauren! More Justin! I'd rather watch a show centering on either of them than Kate.

On the list... Rookie Blue

Morning Coffee (5/25/12)


If you watched the Awake finale, you must read Alan Sepinwall's interview with creator Kyle Killen.

Whoa: Illuminated manuscript cookies.

Doctor Who fans hijack Boulder road sign

Wheee, The AV Club Classic's summer schedule is out!

In the "people being awesome to adorable little boys" category:
Marvel Comics creates superhero in honor of NH boy
When a Boy Found a Familiar Feel in a Pat of the Head of State (Wow, that's an awkward headline.)

I love the Fug Girls and I love reading about people's routines, so their What We Read was a lot of fun. And Jessica sums up my own feelings perfectly here: "I keep telling myself that I should do a cleanse and, like, take a vacation where I can't get email or read the Internet, and even in the telling of it to myself I realize that I don't really want to do that."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Music Break: Fun. covers "Call Me Maybe"

This is incredible.

"So much to do, so many boxes, letters, business"

Drop everything: The entirety of Queen Victoria's Journals is now online. All 141 volumes! But if you're outside the UK (or certain libraries), it's only fully available until July, so get reading. The site looks like it has some other good resources as well, especially this nifty timeline. They've got great links, too. I've always found Victoria fascinating, so I'm really looking forward to digging into this. It starts with a trip to Wales at age 12, meticulously detailed:
We left K.P. [Kensington Palace] at 6 minutes past 7 and went through the Lower-field gate to the right. We went on, & turned to the left by the new road to Regent's Park. The road & scenery is beautiful. 20 minutes to 9. We have just changed horses...
To get you started, check out the entries from her coronation, the Siege of Khartoum, and her Golden Jubilee. Not all of the entries have been transcribed yet, but they're working on it.

What I Watched: Revenge & Apt 23 Finales & More

Live-ish: Don't Trust the B---- in Apt 23, "Shitagi Nashi (EP107)" - This wasn't the sort of finale that obviously feels like a finale, but it was a fun episode. I like that they're giving JVDB more to do on his own, rather than always in conjunction with the girls, and I know I say this every week, but he's so good on this show. The girls ended the season as friends, which I expected, but I'm curious to see what they do next season now that a lot of that initial tension is gone.

Revenge, "Reckoning (EP122)" - Now that felt like a finale. Some of the twists were a little predictable, but some surprised me, and as a Nolan fan I am happy to see that he remains THE BESTEST. I'm curious about Emily's mother but not surprised that she's alive, and I'm completely skeptical about the plane crash. I really like that they blew up both sides of the love triangle, though I'm not thrilled that Amanda's back.

Catching Up: Lost Girl, "Vexed (EP108)" - Honestly, I'm having trouble getting to into the mystery of Bo's mother - I'm more interested in the dynamics between the main characters and the larger mythology stuff. I am also, for the record, in favor of Dyson working out shirtless. I liked that the Lauren stuff is more than it seemed, partially because, I'll admit, I'm on Team Dyson.

The Killing, "Vengeance (EP107)" - Linden's still wearing the same few sweaters. I'm still enthralled.

Rookie Blue - I like cop shows, and my beloved NYC 22 was canceled, and I like networks putting scripted stuff on in the summer, so I figured it was time to give this one a try. I'm not super-attached yet, but liking it well enough so far.

On the list... White Heat

Morning Coffee (5/24/12)

Hey, it's my brother's birthday! Happy birthday, Dave!

I'm going to have to drastically limit the amount of Olympics coverage I let myself watch, because otherwise I will try to watch everything, and OMG there's so much. Also, a good point: "British people are going to see everything happen five hours before we do and then write about it on Facebook and ruin it for us."

Here's a good primer on the Euro Zone crisis.

I don't agree with all of GQ's new rules of TV, but they're definitely worth a read.

An important read for Community fans: The Hard Truths Behind Dan Harmon’s Community Ousting

Seamus Dever + guitar + puppies. You're welcome.

Hailee Steinfeld in Why We Broke Up? Works for me, I think.

Matthew McConaughey as JFK? John Cusack as Nixon? Alan Rickman as Reagan? Is this a real thing that is happening?

The evolution of Zooey Deschanel

Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger, just hanging out with Bill Clinton. Awesome.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Trailer: The Great Gatsby

I remember that the book was incredible, of course, but my memory of the details is too hazy to know how outraged I should be by this. Guess I know what I'm reading at the beach this weekend!

On Rating YA Books

I'm not sure what to say about this article about a proposed mature content rating system for YA books, because on the one hand, I support parents having the information they need to decide what's appropriate for their kids, and there isn't necessarily an obvious reason why movies and TV should having ratings and books shouldn't. But on the other hand, everything in me is screaming NO NO NO NO NO! There's no possible way this would be accomplished in any fair way - movie ratings certainly aren't - and obviously the person who did this study, some professor at a religious university, shouldn't have any universal power to label things. But really, that's a lot of the issue: Who would be qualified to make these decisions? Probably anyone who wanted to wouldn't be people we'd want in charge of these things. And if we get beyond mere instances of a certain list of words, everything's open to interpretation. With movies or TV, at least, certain things are clear-cut: Certain body parts are on the screen or they aren't. But different books could describe the same basic things so wildly differently as to make it all but impossible to know how to categorize them. And without some fair, objective way to categorize things, there's no way this would make sense, since different parents have different standards for "appropriate" material. I won't go so far as some people who have said that all kids should have access to all books with no restrictions, because I do believe that parents have the right to make rules about what their children (and only their own children) read. But this certainly doesn't seem like the way to accomplish anything truly helpful to anyone.

What I Watched: The L.A. Complex, The Killing, & More

Live-ish: The L.A. Complex, "Home (EP105)" - This episode was almost painful to watch. THESE POOR KIDS ALL NEED HUGS. It was still incredibly good, though, and again, Jewel Staite blew me away. There's only one more episode on the CW, and I really really hope there will be some way for US viewers to see the rest.

Catching Up: Lost Girl, "ArachnoFaebia (EP107)" - Ah, the classic "everyone's secret issues with each other are heightened by spider-induced paranoia" premise! This was done well, because all the issues seemed completely organic, even if the extent to which they were bothering our heroes was exaggerated. Though I must say: I kind of just want to knock Bo and Dyson's heads together at this point.

Magic City, "Castles Made of Sand (EP103)" - This new plotline about Ike's dead wife's sister is intriguing, and I love the way this show is coming to revolve around the intersection of family, duty, and ambition. My main complaint is that I'm still having a little trouble telling all the characters apart. The scene at the end, in which Jeffrey Dean Morgan contemplatively eats rugelach, is one of my new favorite things ever.

The Killing, "A Soundless Echo (EP104)," "Super 8 (EP105)," "What You Have Left (EP106)" - It was cool and rainy yesterday, so I was in the perfect mood for this. I think my favorite thing about this show so far is the way the characters look and dress like real people. I'm enjoying the intersection of politics and the murder investigation, but am getting slightly sick of the "Linden's getting on a plane at any moment! Really!" thing.

Morning Coffee (5/23/12)

Revenge finale tonight!

How Did Women Pilot Writers Fare for 2012?

This kind of feature is always fun: The Game of Thrones cast in and out of character.

Hilarious: 15 Thought-Provoking Discussion Questions Every Book Club Should Ask Themselves

Weird headline of the day: Presidential foundation threatens legal action over Reagan blood vial auction

June Thomas on why The L.A. Complex is awesome

Trust me, you want to read this dishy story about wine fraud.

The Brave soundtrack sounds pretty awesome.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Recommendation: Saving Francesca

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta isn't new or trendy or anything, but hey, why should new books get all the attention? This is sort of a quiet novel, about a teen girl trying to deal with her mother's depression on top of all the regular high school stuff, but it completely blew me away. It felt very real, and was touching and meaningful without being sentimental or trite. It revolves around a family that isn't perfect but loves each other, which is something I'd like to see more of in YA, and it has my favorite type of YA romance as well. The setting, among Australian families of Italian descent, also adds an interesting element we don't see frequently. It's serious but not sad. I haven't read any of Marchetta's other books yet, but friends assure me that they're all great, so I look forward to giving them a try.

The new Care Bears are slightly terrifying.

Just... wow.

What I Watched: Sherlock, Magic City, & More

Live+7: Sherlock, "The Reichenbach Fall (EP203)" - This episode was well-done, and it had a few moments and scenes that I loved, but it left me realizing that I'm just not as into this show as I want to be, or as everyone else in the universe seems to be. I think it's a little too self-conscious and gimmicky for my taste - especially my taste in mysteries. I think Moffat's dedication to showing how smart he is takes away from the traditional mystery aspects, and this episode, particularly, just came across as overwrought. I'll watch the next season, of course, but I like it rather than love it.

Catching Up: Lost Girl, "Food for Thought (EP106)" - This was a fun one, and I liked the way Kenzi's involvement in the fae-of-the-week story solidified her friendship with Dyson. They have a great dynamic.

The Killing, "El Diablo (EP103)" - Still loving it. I'm sort of still waiting to turn on it the way everyone else has, but right now I feel like I could happily watch Holder sulk around smoking fake weed and Linden looking disapproving but resigned forever. How much can I watch before I become obsessed with knitting oversized sweaters?

Magic City, "Feeding Frenzy (EP102)" - I was wondering why I haven't heard anyone talking about this show, then realized that the fact that I loved the pilot but hadn't watched any more meant I was really part of the problem. So I'm catching up! I loved this almost as much as the pilot, and especially liked the bat mitzah plotline and the continued Cuba stuff.

On the list... Lost Girl

Morning Coffee (5/22/12)

In case you missed it last night, I have the first official poster for Sorkin's The Newsroom up at

WWI movies seem to be in. I am not complaining.

Important: Don’t Pirate ‘Community’ to Protest Dan Harmon’s Firing. Because that's really really dumb.

Weird: Toby Keith and Kristen Bell are hosting the CMT Music Awards. Huh.

An Oscar Wilde biopic starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Emily Watson, and Tom Wilkinson? Sign me up.

Oh, Paula Deen. This should not be a shock.

I promise you want to read this Rules of Engagement renewal story even if you have no interest in the show.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Trailer: Magic Mike

As Vulture put it, this one has less whining, more stripping. Yay.

What I Watched: Game of Thrones, Veep, Girls

Live-ish:Game of Thrones, "The Prince of Winterfell (EP208)" - This episode didn't particularly strike me as a stand-out, but it was solid, and at this point in the season of any serialized show, there's usually a lot of setup for the finale. Tyrion, of course, continues to be the best, and everyone should just listen to him. I also never liked Arya until she started hanging out with Tywin, so that's . . . odd.

Veep, "Nicknames (EP105)" - I'm still loving this - it's probably my favorite of the HBO Sunday night shows - and Jonah and Dan's faux-bromance was my favorite thing last night, as they're my two favorite characters. I'm impressed with the line this show as walked between combining real-feeling moments with humor while not being so ridiculous that it's all just a joke.

Girls, "The Return (EP106)" - This was the first episode that didn't take place in New York and didn't really include the girls other than Hannah, so I was a little worried that it wouldn't be as engaging, but it more than made up for the lack of main characters with the way it handled Hannah's trip home to Michigan. It was pitch-perfect, from Hannah's instant reversion to the emotional age of 12 when she entered her parents' house to her interactions with former classmates to the ridiculous benefit event.

Catching Up: The Killing, "The Cage (EP102)" - I know I'm really late to the party, but this show is fascinating so far. I'm hoping that knowing everyone's frustration with how the first season ended - and having season 2 on the TiVo already - will mean I don't wind up hating it.

Game of Thrones - I like this but don't find it as compelling as a lot of my friends do, so I hadn't watched most of this season until I decided to catch up yesterday. I think I like it on an intellectual level but don't find it emotionally engaging. I'm not sure whether I'd feel this way no matter what or whether it has to do with having read the book already. Although I don't mean to sound so negative - I like it a lot and it's extremely well-done.

Royal Pains - I love this show but missed the third season, so I'm catching up before it comes back next month. The third season is rather darker than the earlier ones, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It also occurred to me while watching yesterday that USA shows are basically the only things that make hot weather look appealing to me. Good thing they're on almost every night this summer.

On the list... Sherlock, The Killing, The Borgias

Morning Coffee (5/21/12)

Happy Monday!

Wow: Micro-Piglet Hugs a Strawberry

I hate cruises.

A history of baby vegetables

I think if any of your friends buy an iPad typewriter, that right there is reason enough to drop them.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

This Week's TV News

Catch up on what you might have missed with my Sunday column at TheTelevixen!

What I Watched: Common Law, Girls, Scandal

Live+7: Common Law, "Ride-Along (EP102)" - So far, at least, I don't think this show is quite at the level of White Collar or Burn Notice, but this episode was thoroughly enjoyable, and after two episodes I'm definitely into it enough to keep watching. The one thing I'm worried about is that the therapy bit will get annoying and repetitive after a while. It was a good hook for the show, but I'm not necessarily sure how long they can keep it up (or keep it onscreen, at least).

Catching up: Girls - I hadn't watched this since the premiere, and while I wasn't sure whether I'd like it from that episode, I definitely like it after watching the subsequent ones. The writing is strong, and the characters all feel like slightly exaggerated versions of people I know. That said, I understand why it's certainly not for everyone. It definitely feels like it has niche appeal.

Scandal - I hadn't watched this one since the premiere either, but I watched the rest of the season yesterday and got completely addicted. It's the perfect blend of political machinations, soapy personal stuff, and a little mystery solving, and the cast is incredible, especially Josh Malina, Kate Burton, and Tony Goldwyn. And really, you can keep all the paranormal love stories and whatever - apparently President/fixer is the kind of forbidden romance I can get behind. This ended with quite a cliffhanger, though I'm not as invested in Quinn's mystery as in the political stuff, and I'm so glad it's coming back in the fall.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

ICYMI: Fall Schedules & New Show Info for All 5 Networks

Last week, I wrote a series of posts over at as each network announced its fall schedule. Here they all are:
The CW
I also have a public Google spreadsheet with premiere dates, scheduling grids, etc. Get that right here. In past years, I've gone through the schedule hour by hour to show which shows are up against each other, give some "If you like x you should try y" recommendations, etc. Is that something people are interested in seeing again this year?

What I Watched: The Mentalist Finale

Live+7: The Mentalist, "The Crimson Hat (EP424)" - Wow. WOW. I've written about my issues with this season in general, but this was one heck of a finale, and made me really excited to see where the show goes next season (in its new timeslot!). I thought this was possibly their best-executed episode ever, and they had me with their various fake-outs at least twice. It also managed to reignite the Jane/Lisbon will-they-won't-they in a way that felt perfectly believable, and I'm wondering whether we're going to have a slow-burn arc about the possibly-forgotten confession of love next year, in a way that sort of turns the Castle arc on its head. This was another finale that made me start caring about the show again after I'd mostly lost interesting, so. Well done.

Essential Reading & Quick Thoughts on the Community Situation

Rumblings had been around for a while, but news officially broke last night that creator Dan Harmon will not be running Community next season. Josef Adalian has a good writeup at Vulture of the situation. It's important to remember that both sides in this have their own motivations, and neither should be necessarily taken as gospel, but for what it's worth, here's Harmon's side. To sum up, he says that he was fired, by which he means that his contract (which ended after the just-finished third season) was up and he did not receive any communication from NBC or Sony before reading the press release that announced that his replacements (Moses Port and David Guarascio, of Aliens in America and Happy Endings) had been hired. You should read Alan Sepinwall's analysis as well.

My quick thoughts:
1. Ugh. NO ONE should hear about losing their job via press release.
2. As a Community fan, I'm extremely sad that Harmon's very distinctive voice will be gone from the show, and that the show we love will inevitably change, probably drastically.
3. As someone who follows TV news and reads Harmon's Tumblr and tweets, I have no trouble believing that he's not necessarily the easiest person to work with, especially as a manager. And while it's easy for us on the outside to say "He's such a good writer that that shouldn't matter," that's just not true. One person cannot make a TV show all alone, so managerial skills, interpersonal dynamics, etc. are completely valid concerns.
4. I know everyone's upset about this, but it's not Moses and Guarascio's fault, so please, please don't direct your vitriol at them.
5. Community as we know it is gone. That's clear. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the new Community will be bad. Just different. It's too early to say.

So, yes, I'm sad. But I'm not ready to write the show off. I'll reserve judgment, follow it to Fridays, and give it a chance. And I'll really look forward to seeing what Dan Harmon does next.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Music Break: Jonathan Groff's "Anything Goes"

This is what your Friday afternoon needs, promise.

What I Watched: Community & Missing Finales & More

Live-ish: Missing, "Rain on the Evil and on the Good (EP110)" - For about the first half of the season, I was watching this for "so bad it's good" reasons, but by the last few episodes, it actually came somewhere approximately close to good, and now I'm sad that it's gone - and with that cliffhanger! But was it a cliffhanger? I have a theory, but am curious what others think. If anyone else was watching. And I really hope Sean Bean, Cliff Curtis, and Adriano Giannini all get new shows soon.

Community, "Digital Estate Planning (EP320)," "The First Chang Dynasty (EP321)," "Introduction to Finality (EP322)" - I realize this is ridiculous to say, because I marathon shows all the time, but three episodes in one night seemed like a bit much, if only because it meant that each gimmick had less of an impact and it's all getting a little muddled in my mind already. That said, these were great, of course, especially the finale, and while I'm thrilled that the show will be coming back, that would have actually served very well as a series finale. And yes, I'm a complete sucker for Jeff's inspirational speeches.

Awake, "Two Birds (EP112)" - Ugh, this show is so great, and it keeps getting better, but it's not coming back, and that's so sad. At least Kyle Killen says he's satisfied with the way things will be left with next week's finale.

Live+7: White Heat, "Eve of Destruction (EP102)" - This continues to do a good job of showing both the way that big social and political changes affect peoples lives and the way that specific personal things affect the sides people take on these issues. I'm completely hooked.

Catching up: Grimm, "Game Ogre (EP108)" - My favorite moment: "There's coffee in the kitchen. Nick, you know where it is." Aww. Secret hidden bromance! I think the most interesting part of this show for me is the way the important people in Nick's life interact with each other (or don't) and the way he has to juggle them all in order to be himself. I'm expecting it all to blow up toward the end of the season, and I can't wait.

On the list... Scandal, The Mentalist

Morning Coffee (5/18/12)

A few of these links are a little older, but I somehow never posted them, so I'm including them in case you haven't already seen them elsewhere.

See the first trailer for USA's Political Animals!

The Epic Drama of Alan Rickman Making Tea in Super Slow-Mo

Listen to Castle writers Andrew Marlowe and Terri Edda on the Nerdist Writer's Panel podcast.

Five Top Showrunners Recount the Agony of Waiting for a Pilot Pickup

An Infographic Guide to This Summer’s Movies

Election Watch parses all the election coverage, so you don’t have to

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why I Want to Give Elementary a Chance

Yesterday CBS released the first footage of its new Sherlock Holmes adaptation, Elementary. If you haven't seen it yet, here you go:

A lot of the discussion around this has revolved around people either saying that there's no reason for this to exist because BBC's Sherlock already exists, or saying that they'll refuse to watch it on principle because of their loyalty to Sherlock. And really, everyone should do what makes them happy, but . . . I don't get it. "This sounds a lot like this other thing I like, so I don't watch it. Wouldn't want to encourage people to make things I'd like!" is not a coherent position to me. It's not like someone's asking you to pick one. You can watch both! I've seen people outright stating that their loyalty to Sherlock (aside: It's a TV show! It wants your eyeballs! It doesn't care about your loyalty!) means that they hope Elementary fails. What would that achieve, exactly? If Elementary failed, the takeaway would be "Guess audiences don't want that show" and maybe "Audiences don't want mysteries/British detectives/whatever." It would not be . . . well, I don't even know what the goal is here! What do you want CBS to say if you achieve your boycott, "Let's just acknowledge that the BBC is better and give up"? I love mystery shows, so I am in favor of mystery shows succeeding so that we get more mystery shows! It's as simple as that.

All this outrage would make more sense if Sherlock were the first Holmes adaptation ever, but it really really isn't. (It's not even my favorite adaptation, when it comes down to it.) And the complaints that Sherlock is pure and good while Elementary is just trying to make money are nonsensical - all TV shows exist to make money. Holmes purists, of course, shouldn't like any update. So that brings us to the possibility that Elementary is getting so much hate so early because Watson will be a woman. But frankly? I'm thrilled about that. It's not like there are no bromances on TV. More awesome roles for women! More women of color! More potential for interracial romance! (Note: If you're whining that a potential Sherlock/Joan romance is just so uncanonical but your Tumblr is full of Sherlock/John gifs . . . really? Saying any Holmes/Watson romance is uncanonical is a perfectly reasonable position. But Sherlock/John is not canonical.) Sarah Rees Brennan explains a lot of my reasons for being excited about a female Watson here.

And really, I don't know if I will like Elementary. Maybe it will be awful. But I'm not willing to count it out because it's similar to something else I like, because that makes no sense. (Possibly more than one something: Parts of CBS's official description sounded an awful lot like Castle.) So for now, I will be hopeful. Lucy Liu is awesome! Jonny Lee Miller is hot, and keeping his accent! I am in favor of attractive people in awesome coats being angsty while solving mysteries! So you've got me for now, Elementary. Now please be good.

What I Watched: Revenge, Apt 23, & More

Live-ish: Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23, "It's Just Sex... (EP106)" - Between this and The L.A. Complex, apparently it's sex tape week! This was another solid episode, and this may wind up being my favorite new comedy of the year. (Wait. Is it the only new comedy I still watch? Maybe.) I particularly like the way they're not obviously trying to make us pull for James to get together with either girl. And he continues to just be a delight.

Revenge, "Grief (EP121)" - Oh, NOLAN. Trying to be Emily's moral compass is a dangerous job. (Though I refuse to believe he's not okay.) This episode was clearly trying to make us think they're tending toward Emily/Jack, though I still find that love triangle to be one of the least interesting parts of the show. All the scheming is much more interesting - and especially the question of where each character will draw the line of what they will or won't do. After this episode, I am both excited and a little scared for the finale, which is, after all, what a penultimate episode is supposed to accomplish.

Catching up: Grimm, "Let Your Hair Down (EP107)" - I'm still catching up slowly and enjoying the show; still don't have a lot to say about individual episodes. I did like the twist on "raised by wolves" here.

Missing, "Measure of a Man (EP107)," "Answers (EP108)," & "Promise (EP109)" - Somewhere in the middle of these three episodes, I decided that this show actually has a lot of potential - just in time for the series finale tonight, of course. I called the (apparent) Big Bad about half an episode before the reveal, so that was satisfying, and the show has gotten steadily more enjoyable as the relationships and conspiracies get more complex. I'm especially fascinated by Dax and Giancarlo, though I'll admit that the show suffers a bit from Elena Gilbert Syndrome - everyone cares a lot about Becca, and sometimes the reasons for this don't really seem clear. But I'm really curious to see how things are wrapped up tonight, and sad that we won't get to see the fallout of the Becca/Paul/Giancarlo situation.

On the list... White Heat

Morning Coffee (5/17/12)

Last day of upfronts!

6 Ridiculous Lies You Believe About the Founding of America

USA Network is doing a bunch more "Social TV" integrations this summer.

Here's an interesting analysis of YA covers.

Joss Whedon picks favorites.

Todd VanDerWerff's schedule analyses are really fun to read. (No, really.) Here's CBS.

Barack Obama: The first everything president.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reminder: TV is a business.

Look, none of what I'm going to say here is new. I've probably said most of it before, and other people have definitely said all of it before. It's mostly just common sense. But in the past few weeks of finales and announcements and upfronts, I've seen a few of the same issues cropping up over and over, and they seem to stem from people forgetting that TV is a business and, at heart, operates like one, for better or worse.

1. Networks make decisions for business reasons. Really. Whatever decision you're questioning - why a network cancelled a show or picked up a show or moved a show or whatever - odds are, it comes down to "They didn't think their current arrangement was making enough money" and/or "They thought they could make more money by changing things." Talking about "fairness" or "justice" in what's put on the air is nonsensical. TV stations are not charities dedicated to serving Art or The Common Good or anything. Don't ask if it's fair that Awake was cancelled while Whitney was renewed, because that doesn't mean anything. I doubt anyone's saying "Let's get rid of good or complex shows just to be mean." Like every single other business out there, networks have a perfectly reasonable bias toward whatever will make them money. At the same time, though, "business reasons" does not exactly track to "ratings." Ratings (and especially ratings among certain demographics) affect what advertisers will pay for ads during a timeslot, and, for one thing, a show that's cheaper to make can get away with lower ratings and therefore lower ad revenue. It's just math. And the network's looking at the whole picture, so you can't judge things in a vacuum - factors like whether a show is on brand, whether the network thinks it helps its image, whether it pairs well with another show or launches new shows well, whether the network wants to stay in business with certain creators, etc. all affect whether a show is good for the network's overall bottom line. So to those saying that their favorite show was cancelled due to some conspiracy or personal vendetta - sure, it's possible, but it's more likely that the network just decided it would make more money showing something else.

2. You have no intrinsic right to access TV. Really. It's a commodity to be purchased, through cable service, watching ads, other subscription services, buying DVDs, whatever. That's how businesses work. You do not have the right to pirate stuff because you don't want to subscribe to HBO or because a show doesn't air where you live. Piracy is theft. Stealing because you feel entitled to whatever content you want for free does not make you a hero. You're perfectly free to think HBO's business model is dumb, say, but that does not make stealing Game of Thrones any less illegal. And you really have no right to complain about good shows getting cancelled if you're stealing them instead of actually supporting them to begin with.

3. No show or writer owes you anything. Writers have no obligation to pay any attention to fans' requests. Writers certainly have no obligation to be "fair" to factions within their fan bases by giving characters or relationships equal screentime or anything like that. Writers also have no obligation to make their stories "good" - either morally or qualitatively, now that I think about it. And really, it's their work. You have no say. Your agency begins and ends at deciding whether to consume a product. If you don't like what's happening on a show, don't send nasty messages to the writers. Just stop watching. (TV is supposed to be fun!) And if you feel a show is breaking your personal moral code, then by all means, stop giving it your time and money! We all make decisions about which commercial entities to support every day. Make this one of those decisions. But don't claim that, say, the writers of Gossip Girl or The Vampire Diaries have some sort of obligation to model healthy relationships to young girls. They are telling their story and producing their product. It's up to you to decide whether you want to buy the product. If enough people disagree with a show's direction and stop consuming the product, the show will fail. This is how businesses work. TV is not a democracy.

So take a deep breath. Try not to take things personally. Try to remember that all those names you read - writers, producers, executives, everyone - are people trying to do their jobs and keep their jobs. And try to remember that these businesses need to succeed in order for any of the shows you like to stay on the air at all.

What I Watched: Gossip Girl Finale, Cougar Town & More

Live-ish: Cougar Town, "Square One (EP312)" & "It'll All Work Out (EP313)" - The show's been doing a really good job recently of dealing with serious issues and major life changes while keeping things funny. They're being more thorough than I'd feared about the changes Jules and Grayson's marriage will bring, and I also like that they're finally dealing with Stan a bit. The second episode's cold open about not knowing if they'll be back in the fall was amazingly meta. And at this point, if they don't get Travis and Laurie together eventually I may set something on fire.

The L.A. Complex, "Other Side of the Door (EP104)" - I know I say this every week, but this show just keeps getting better, and why aren't more of you watching? The soapy stuff is fun, of course, but the characters all have a surprising amount of depth. Raquel is particularly fascinating, and Tariq and Kal's relationship is quickly becoming one of my favorites on TV. (Are there any other black gay couples on network TV? I can't think of any, offhand.) The show is much better than I expected, and if the CW doesn't pick it up beyond the first six episodes, I hope the rest at least hits Netflix eventually.

Live+7: Gossip Girl, "The Return of the Ring (EP524)" - I was dreading watching this finale because of all the outrage I'd heard about it, but . . . I was not outraged. I might even have liked it. I'm going to think about it a little more and write a separate post, but basically: even when the characters were making decisions I didn't like, I thought they were acting in character, and that's what matters to me. And they've done an interesting reset - I loved the echoes of the pilot, and especially the Campbell Apartment - and I'm curious to see how that plays out in the final season.

Catching up: Gossip Girl, "Raiders of the Lost Art (EP522)" & "The Fugitives (EP523)" - I am writing this before I watch the finale, to get my real reaction (even though my finale reaction is above this in the post). I actually mostly enjoyed these two episodes, since they revolved around a) scheming and b) Chuck's abandonment issues, which have always been my two favorite parts of the show. At the same time, though, I'm worried about Dan and Blair, because they are obviously better for each other than Chuck and Blair are. I don't know. And Bart is back! I fear that spells doom for poor Rufus. And Blair's diary... sigh.

Missing, "A Busy Solitude (EP106)" - Either this show is getting better or my expectations are dropping, and I'm honestly not sure which. Of course, the show has not been renewed beyond this 10-episode season, so the question is academic at this point. This episode got Becca and her son into almost the same place again, but what I really want is for them to find Paul, who by this point has been set up to be by far the most interesting person in the family.

Morning Coffee (5/16/12)

Upfronts and finales continue and I'm getting pretty tired, you guys. I'm glad I'm getting a little break this winter, because otherwise I fear I'll soon no longer have any idea of my opinions of anything.

(Links are upfronts-heavy today too. Sorry. It'll be over soon.)

Important: Race and Gender in Fall Television

Scarlett Johansson says important things. Really.

The guys of The New Girl make a good point.

Dan Fienberg cautions us on judging new shows by their teasers.

The Bronx Zoo Cobra has something to say about the way we only name cute animals.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Join the Castle Summer Book Club!

Last night, we announced our Castle summer book club over at TheTelevixen. We'll have discussion posts going up every Monday all summer, to help you get through Castle's summer hiatus. We'll discuss the Nikki Heat and Derrick Storm books, plus take one week off in the middle (my birthday week, actually) for a movie. Come join us!

How HIMYM Made Me Care Again

I've been watching How I Met Your Mother faithfully this season, but more out of habit and to spend time with characters who now feel like old friends than because I've actually been all that invested in the show. But last night, with two-part finale "The Magician's Code," the show did the one thing it could have done to pull me back in. But first, we had the super-sweet birth of Marvin. I'm a sucker for birth episodes, and that was a nicely executed one. And I liked that the show met the "how will they hang out at a bar with a baby?" question head-on by having Marvin's first outing be... to the bar. (It's also helpful that Marshall and Lily are now the ones who live above the bar. Running downstairs with the baby when necessary is a lot more believable than if they had to actually make plans and take a cab or something to go to MacLaren's.)

It was the second half hour that got me, though. Unlike a lot of people, I still like Ted, but I really couldn't care less who the mother is. She's an abstract concept, an unknown. What I care about is the characters we already know and love. And Barney and Robin's relationship is one of the best ideas the show has had in recent years, even if the actual execution was bungled. Barney and Robin just make sense together, and the actors have amazing chemistry. So when they teased that we would find out the identity of Barney's future wife in the finale - well, I'm not the type to say "If such-and-such happens, I'll stop watching the show," but if they had Barney marry Quinn or someone else other than Robin, I'm not sure the show would ever be the same for me. But now that we know he is marrying Robin, I'm actually really eager to watch everything play out. Well played, show!

What I Watched: Bones & HIMYM Finales & More

Live-ish: Bones, "The Past in the Present (EP713)" - WOW. I didn't have any particular expectations going into this finale, and I was blown away. The tension throughout the episode was marvelous, and almost all the characters had wonderful, heart-breaking moments. I did find myself hoping that they were going to pull a Roger Ackroyd and have Brennan actually be the killer after all, but I suppose that's unlikely. Regardless, I can't wait to see where they take things next season, and what the dynamic is like with Booth and Brennan in different places rather than directly working together (though I expect that won't last long).

How I Met Your Mother, "The Magician's Code: Part 1 & 2 (EP723-724)" - This was another finale that made me really excited for next season. I'll have a post about it up in an hour or so.

Live+7: Sherlock, "The Hounds of Baskerville (EP202)" - I didn't like this episode quite as much as the last one, but it was still a lot of fun, and Sherlock's self-awareness and comments about how he doesn't have friends - by which he meant he just had one friend - were heart-breaking. I will now start saying "I need to go to my mind palace" at every opportunity.

Catching up: Gossip Girl, "Salon of the Dead (EP520)" & "Despicable B (EP521)" - I've been fairly spoiled on the rest of the season, so catching up at this point is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. That said, I continued to enjoy the Dan/Blair stuff in these episodes (while it lasts...), but I'm worried about Rufus and Lily and wish the whole inheritance mess was just gone. Though I wouldn't necessarily mind keeping Lola, I guess.

How I Met Your Mother, "Good Crazy (EP722)" - This was a cute episode that served as a nice bridge to the finale, with everyone going a little crazy in the face of major changes. I especially liked the bits with Ted and Robin, and Ted's realization that a friendship like that is worth keeping even if it means dealing with some pain.

On the list: Gossip Girl, Lost Girl

Morning Coffee (5/15/12)

I know it's May, but 6am is VERY early for ads featuring "Back Home Again in Indiana," ESPN.

Look at this awesome Diamond Jubilee cake!

Tumblr of the day: Is This Feminist?

If you're someone who complains about HBO's business model, you should read this.

Leonard Chang (one of the writers) has an amazing post about Awake's cancellation.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bones Post-Finale Chat at TheTelevixen!

Sounds like the Bones finale is going to be a big one. Join us to discuss/emote at TheTelevixen right when it ends, at 9/8c.

TV Scheduling Link Round-Up

There's been tons of TV news breaking, with more sure to come today when upfronts start. If you were wisely doing something other than obsessively checking Twitter over the weekend, here's what I've published to catch you up:

Simple list of pickups/renewals/cancellations

My public Google spreadsheet of all sorts of TV info, including dates, lists, and scheduling grids.

Summer Premiere Date Calendar

NBC's 2012-13 Schedule and Clips from Their New Shows

FOX's 2012-13 Schedule and New Show Info

Yesterday's Caffeine column, with all the news that broke in the past week.

What I Watched: Veep, Blue Bloods Finale, & More

Live-ish: Veep, "Chung (EP104)" - I know this show isn't particularly realistic, but I'm still really enjoying it anyway. And I did like the cynicism of this episode: when it finally got into real issues (like immigration), I thought it was clever to avoid having Selina really take sides that would potentially alienate viewers by going all the way through that issue and having her take sides for purely political reasons, rather than having her avoid espousing positions at all. Jonah is still my favorite. "You're not even your mom's favorite Jonah, Jonah!"

Live+7: Common Law, "Pilot (EP101)" - I saw a screener of this several weeks ago, so I watched the finished version of the pilot last night to refresh my memory. I'm not sure it will ever attain the level of my favorite USA shows like Burn Notice and White Collar, but it seems like it will be solid fun, and I already like it better than Suits or Necessary Roughness. (Over at, read my feature with star Michael Ealy and our 10 reasons to watch.)

The Mentalist, "Red Rover, Red Rover (EP423)" - I usually count on this show for some mindless procedural fun, so it's always disconcerting when it goes creepy and serious as it did in this episode. That said, it was really well done, and a good reminder that Simon Baker can be more than just a pretty smirk when they actually give him something to work with. I'm still not thrilled with what they've done this season in general, but this episode definitely got me interested in seeing where they go with the finale. Oh, and I also liked the way it illustrated how Lisbon actually cares about Jane, and how that may get her in big trouble eventually.

Blue Bloods, "Mother's Day (EP222)" - This was the season finale, and gosh, I'll miss the Reagans until they come back in the fall. The "terrorist plot against the city" storylines never have all that much tension (on this show or others) because we know the good guys will actually save the day, so I liked the way they added tension with Frank's thoughts of resigning - I didn't believe they'd destroy New York, but I believed they might have him quit. I also really liked the stuff between Danny and Jamie, and I've been impressed by the way they weave in the family's grief and unresolved feelings about the mother and Joe without belaboring it or making them seem overly fixated.

On the list: Sherlock, The Borgias, The Killing, Game of Thrones, Girls

Morning Coffee (5/14/12)

Happy Monday!

Reminder: Upfronts start today. Schedule.

Dan Harmon speaks from the future.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Maurice Sendak

Dear Lord, people, give authors a break.

Fascinating and sad: Can you call a 9-year-old a psychopath?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Network TV Pickup/Renewal/Cancellation Summary

I will add a link to my spreadsheet once it's updated, but here's a quick-and-dirty summary. (So quick-and-dirty that I'm not coding in the italics for show titles, though I feel guilty about that. AND I'M NOT ALPHABETIZING. Hold me.) Let me know if you have something I missed. I'll update as more is confirmed.

Renewed: America's Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Body of Proof, Castle, Dancing with the Stars, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Grey's Anatomy, Happy Endings, Last Man Standing, The Middle, Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, Private Practice, Revenge, Scandal, Shark Tank, Suburgatory
Picked up: Malibu Country, 666 Park Avenue, How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life, Last Resort, Nashville, The Neighbors, Family Tools, Red Widow, Zero Hour, Glass House
Canceled: GCB, Missing, The River, Work It, Charlie's Angels, Desperate Housewives, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Man Up

NOTE: Cougar Town is moving to TBS.

Renewed: Blue Bloods, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Person of Interest, The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five-0, CSI, 2 Broke Girls, Mike and Molly, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Survivor, Amazing Race, Two & a Half Men, CSI: NY, Rules of Engagement
Picked up: Partners, Friend Me, Elementary, Vegas, Made in Jersey, Golden Boy
Canceled: Rob, A Gifted Man, Unforgettable, NYC 22, CSI: Miami, Flashpoint, How to Be a Gentleman

Renewed: Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl (final season announced), Supernatural, Nikita, Hart of Dixie, America's Next Top Model, 90210
Picked up: Arrow, Carrie Diaries, Beauty and the Beast, Cult, First Cut
Canceled: The Secret Circle, Ringer, One Tree Hill

Renewed: Fringe, Bones, Glee, New Girl, Touch, Family Guy, American Dad, Raising Hope, X Factor, Simpsons, Cleveland Show
Picked up: The Following, Mob Doctor, The Mindy Project, Ben & Kate, The Goodwin Games, The Choice
Canceled: Alcatraz, The Finder, Terra Nova, Breaking In, House, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, Napoleon Dynamite

Renewed: Grimm, Parenthood, 30 Rock (final season announced), Community, Parks and Recreation, Fashion Star, Law & Order: SVU, Smash, Up All Night, Whitney, The Voice, The Office
Picked up: Do No Harm, Infamous, Guys With Kids, Chicago Fire, Animal Practice, Go On, 1600 Penn, Save Me, The New Normal, Revolution, Ready for Love, Next Caller, Hannibal, Mockingbird Lane, Crossbones
Canceled: Awake, Bent, Free Agents, Harry's Law, BFF, Are You There, Chelsea?, Playboy Club, Prime Suspect, The Firm

Pilot Thoughts: White Heat

I've heard virtually no buzz about this, but British drama White Heat premiered in BBC America's Dramaville slot this week, and so far, I love it. It's about a group of college students sharing a house in the 1960s, and their present-day reunion, and it's full of soapy secrets and interesting political and cultural elements. The kids and their parents are right at that 1960s generation gap, and the pilot touched on everything from Winston Churchill to communes to the contraceptive pill to the Troubles, and made these issues personal in a variety of interesting ways. It sort of reminded me of - of all things - The L.A. Complex, except historical and British. The solid cast is full of "What have I seen them in?" British actors, and the plot and relationships are delightfully ambiguous so far. And the present-day scenes framing the flashbacks suggest that the group split up on bad terms, so unraveling that mystery will be an interesting thread to follow through the season.

Summer Premiere Date Calendar

Want a handy, no-frills list of premiere dates for summer scripted shows? Here you go.

A few people have asked about my public TV spreadsheet. I'm updating it now and will post the link when it's current!

What I Watched: Vampire Diaries & Secret Circle Finales & More

I was home sick yesterday, and after sleeping for half the day it meant I managed to catch up on some things . . .

Live-ish: The Vampire Diaries, "The Departed (EP322)" - I wasn't as blown away by this finale as I have been in previous years, but I thought it was good, and I'm THRILLED with what it set up for next season. I know a lot of people are upset about some things that happened, and I understand why, but this is definitely a time when I think my viewing experience is improved by not having a horse in the shipper race for this show. I particularly loved Jeremy and Matt in this episode, and I'm so glad that neither of them were killed off. Snarky Damon is my favorite Damon, and I can't wait to see what happens now that Elena will remember everything.

The Secret Circle, "Family (EP122)" - This finale was very strong, and led me to write the phrase "Witch Hitler Casanova" for the first time in my life, and this show has improved so much overall that I will be very sad if it doesn't come back next season. The finale set up some REALLY interesting ideas for where they could go with it.

Awake, "Say Hello to My Little Friend (EP111)" - THIS SHOW. Why is no one watching this show? I know everyone else was crying over vampires and witches, but this was the episode last night that really got to me. Jason Isaacs is astonishingly good, and I will never listen to "Bohemian Rhapsody" the same way again.

Community, "Curriculum Unavailable (EP319)" - I usually love Community's moments of darkness, but I watched this episode after the previous three shows mentioned last night, and I was perhaps a little too tired and drained for it. But still, it was very good, and I love when they "remember" things they never showed us (as in the "clip show") because the idea of characters having whole lives we don't see is one that knocks us off balance in an interesting way.

Live+7: Revenge, "Legacy (EP120)" - This flashback episode was fun, but it didn't necessarily do a whole lot to advance the plot or keep up any sort of momentum. Update: Nolan is still the bestest.

Veep, "Catherine (EP103)" - I'm enjoying this show more with each episode, and I thought newcomer Sarah Sutherland did an amazing job as the sort of uber-Ellie Bartlet. I hope she's back in future episodes, and I hope her interesting chemistry with Jonah is explored.

White Heat, "The Past Is a Foreign Country (EP101)" - Loved it. Quick Pilot Thoughts post will be up later today.

Catching up: Gossip Girl, "It Girl, Interrupted (EP519)" - I'm not sure how I got so far behind on this show, given that I think Dan and Blair is the best thing to happen to it in a long time. And I loved Nate actually scheming semi-successfully in this episode. Nate Archibald: Serious Businessman is such a thoroughly delightful surprise this season.

How I Met Your Mother, "Now We Are Even (EP721)" - I know exactly how I got behind on this one - Bones moved into its timeslot. Anyway, I liked this episode and especially the way it handled the Ted/Robin friction, but I am becoming ever more worried that on Monday we will discover that Barney is marrying someone other than Robin, and that is UNACCEPTABLE.

On the list: Scandal, Missing

Morning Coffee (5/11/12)

Oh, hey, it's finally Friday!

Ryan McGee says good, important things about TV criticism.

Amazing: Prince Charles plays weatherman.

Ugh, the Game of Thrones comics covers do not bode well.

Burn Notice fans! Go vote on which opening they should use this season. I love the all new version REALLY A LOT and will be sad if it doesn't win.

And here's a nice article about USA Network's summer shows.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Castle Recap + Recommended Reading

It took longer than I'd hoped to get my Castle recap up at TheTelevixen, but it's really long, so . . . maybe that makes up for it? Ha. Anyway, here it is! Warning: I digress into Latin conjugations and the meaning of truth and stuff. Also, make sure you read the comments - the first one makes an especially good point.

Then make sure you watch this awesome deleted scene:

And read some good postmortems with showrunner Andrew Marlowe:
Give Me My Remote: CASTLE Season Finale: Andrew Marlowe on the Castle and Beckett ‘Always’ Fallout
EW: 'Castle' season finale: The inside story on THAT moment
Zap2it: 'Castle' Season 4 finale: Castle and Beckett finally get together - Andrew Marlowe dishes on the hookup
TV Guide: Castle Boss: "I Have No Intention of Pulling the Rug Out From the Audience"

You can also read the first chapters of the fourth Nikki Heat book, Frozen Heat, and the new Derrick Storm novella, A Brewing Storm. Enjoy!

I am SO EXCITED about The Newsroom...

..and over at TheTelevixen I explain why, and also embed a few promos for your viewing pleasure!

What I Watched: Don't Trust the B---- in Apt 23

Sorry for the lack of Morning Coffee - I woke up feeling awful and promptly fell back asleep. I wasn't quite feeling myself last night either, so all I managed to watch was...

Live-ish: Last night's Apt 23 wasn't as good as last week's phenomenal wedding episode, but "Making Rent (EP105)" was still a lot of fun. I keep being surprised by just how much I like this show and just how much of a sense of humor JVDB seems to have about himself.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Michael Ealy on Common Law

USA Network's Common Law premieres on Friday, and over at TheTelevixen I have a feature with star Michael Ealy in which he talks a bit about his character and the show. I really enjoyed this pilot, so I definitely recommend you check it out!

What I Watched: Cougar Town, L.A. Complex, & Missing

Live-ish: Cougar Town, "Down South (EP311):" ABC seems very devoted to playing with my emotions this week. I really like the Laurie/Travis idea, and if the show doesn't manage to actually go there this season, I really hope they get another season and the chance to go there eventually. I also thought the bit with catch phrases was a fun way to show Grayson's angst about how maturing and settling down with Jules would affect other aspects of his life, including his career, and I loved his honest bar-closing speech at the end. This show is great every single week, and ugh, just renew it already, ABC!

The L.A. Complex, "It's All About Who You Know (EP103):" This remains fun and soapy and addictive, but I've been impressed with the way it's actually dealing with real, serious issues as well, and has genuine moments between the characters - not always in the combinations you'd expect. The whole cast is solid but Jewel Staite, of course, remains the standout; her "I would've TORE UP Sharktopus" was one of the best lines and delivery I've heard in a while. Why is no one watching this show? Why?

Catching up: Missing, "The Three Bears (EP105):" This is really pretty terrible, but it's a fun kind of terrible, and I like spies, and Ashley Judd's husband is my favorite hot race car driver, and . . . oh, I don't know. I'm behind, obviously, but since there are only ten episodes I'm fairly committed to seeing it through. This one was actually pretty good, as these things go, and the bank robbery was actually pulled off in a way that didn't have me yelling for Michael Westen to just come fix things, so, you know, good job, show!

Morning Coffee (5/9/12)

It's . . . Wednesday? Yeah. This week may actually kill me.

Ugh. North Carolina.

Pulitzer entries != Pulitzer nominations, Jonah Goldberg.

Sherlock personality quiz! I'm Sherlock, apparently. Huh.

Alex and Maia Shibutani attend a state dinner, remain adorable.

Lena Dunham Responds to Why HBO’s ‘Girls’ Is So White. That's . . . a pretty good response, really.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Music break: "In My Veins"

Yes, I'm basically all Castle all the time today.

First teaser: Copper

Welcome to your new summer addiction.

What I Watched: Castle Finale, Sherlock, & More

Live-ish: OH MY GOSH, THE CASTLE FINALE. That was . . . that was pretty close to a perfect hour of TV. I think "Always (EP423)" was the most satisfying finale I've seen since maybe the first season of The Vampire Diaries. I'll have my full recap up tomorrow, and I want to think about it more (and watch it again) before making any pronouncements, but I generally thought Marlowe and company did a really impressive job of giving fans exactly what they wanted while keeping the whole thing organic and in character. And I'm really excited to see where they go next season, on several fronts.

"The Suit on the Set (EP712)" was a fun episode of Bones, though I'm not sure I have that much to say about it. The movie trailer was hilarious and made me want to see a Heat Wave trailer. I enjoyed the continuing negotiations involved in Booth and Brennan becoming a family, though I missed seeing Christine. And the actual case was . . . fine, I think? Obviously it didn't make a big impact. I don't tend to be a fan of "field trip" episodes, but this one was pretty well done and not too disruptive.

Live+7: So yeah, speaking of field trip episodes, I wasn't wild about "Revelation (EP110)," the season finale of GCB. The show usually has a strong sense of place, so I wasn't thrilled with that being abandoned in favor of wacky desert hijinks. There were some good character moments, though, and I kind of like the idea of Amanda and John together, though I REALLY wish ABC hadn't outright spoiled that last moment in the promos.

I also finally watched Sherlock's "A Scandal in Belgravia (EP201)," which aired in the U.S. on Sunday. I'm not quite as gaga over this series as a lot of people are, but I do enjoy it quite a lot, and I thought this episode was especially strong. I liked what they did with The Woman - I'd been wondering how they would play that character - and the tension between her, Sherlock, and John was fascinating on every side. Talk about chemistry. And the holiday scenes, and scenes with Mycroft in general, did a good job of illustrating what Sherlock is like on a day-to-day functional basis.

Catching up: I got way behind on Grimm, so I've been catching up over breakfast, and yesterday's episode was "The Three Bad Wolves (EP106)." I'm really enjoying the development of the bromance, of course, and I like the way alliances between the supernatural characters shift, rather than everything being neatly two-sided.

On the list: Gossip Girl, Lost Girl

Morning Coffee (5/8/12)

I was up way too late talking about Castle, so this morning has been slow and sleepy and this will be quick.

Speaking of Castle, here's the scene you want to be watching on repeat and Marisa Roffman's great postmortem with Andrew Marlowe.

Possibly the best xkcd ever: Every Major's Terrible

Tiny Kitten Develops the Cutest Case of Hiccups Ever

Pentagon Quit The Avengers Because of Its ‘Unreality’

The 6 Best Pages of Henry Blodget’s 6-Page Article About Zuckerberg (UPDATE: Real Time Arguments From Nick Denton)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Managing Castle Expectations

Castle's season four finale, "Always," airs tonight, and I'm a little worried. But I'm not worried about the show itself - I'm worried about the fan reaction. I'm not sure I've ever seen such intense, specific speculation about an episode, and ABC (and CTV) certainly hasn't helped prevent this by releasing so many spoilery promos and clips. (For showrunner Andrew Marlowe's take on this promotion issue, read Marisa Roffman's interview with him.) People are "predicting" whole scenes of the episode in detail, and so I'm concerned that even if the episode is great, hardcore fans will be disappointed, because there's literally no way the show on the screen will match the show in people's heads. That's always a risk, of course, but the more build-up there is, the more likely it is that fans will wind up upset. And that's particularly sad for a show like Castle, because it's not like the endgame is uncertain.

So I urge you - relax! Stop stressing! Stop trying to figure out exactly which order all the frames from the promos go in or what exactly the lyrics to a song might imply. Don't make a point-by-point checklist you need the finale to fulfill. The writers have a plan. If certain things don't happen this episode, that doesn't mean they'll never happen. So let's all take a deep breath, trust the writers, and enjoy the story as it unfolds.

What I Watched: Blue Bloods, The Mentalist, NYC-22, & GCB

Live-ish: NYC 22 still strikes me as the perfect way to end my Sundays. "Lost and Found (EP104)" involved a nice variety of storylines, and I'm still impressed by the way they resist the urge to nicely tie everything together. I'm still liking all the main characters well enough, but they're definitely spending more time on Kenny's family issues than on the others' personal stuff, and while I like Kenny, I hope that evens out somewhat as the show continues.

Live+7: I've been iffy on The Mentalist, this season, but "So Long, and Thanks for All the Red Snapper (EP422)" was one of the better recent episodes. Peeks into Lisbon's past are always interesting, and I'm glad the Summer situation is finally starting to blow up the way we always knew it would. Those scenes were painful and heartbreaking and very well-acted by both Tim Kang and Samaire Armstrong. I love that Rigsby loves his son so much, but I'm still not at all convinced by his relationship, and I can't help but hope that he and Van Pelt will find their way back together eventually.

Friday's Blue Bloods, "Collateral Damage (EP221)," was a little uneven - there wasn't enough Erin, and I'll admit I had trouble following exactly what was going on in Danny's plotline, though I did like that he went to the doctor with Jackie. (Some have speculated that the show is setting up an affair between those two, and I really don't want that to happen.) But the resolution of Jamie's undercover story was strong, and a great showcase for Will Estes. That plot was interesting, but I'm glad they're not dragging it out too long.

Catching up: GCB, "Adam & Eve's Rib (EP109):" This wasn't my favorite episode, but it had some good moments, and the feminist storyline was nice if heavy-handed. On the other hand, I was annoyed at having to yell "No means no, dude!" at the TV at the end. I do like the way the show deals with the submission issue, and I can't wait to find out whether Ripp is just lying to Carlene about hearing God's voice in order to manipulate her, or whether he's sincere.

On the list: GCB, Sherlock, Game of Thrones, Veep, Girls, The Borgias, The Killing. Oh, Sundays.

Morning Coffee (5/7/12)

Happy Castle finale day! Immediately after the east coast airing, head over to's chat to tell me what you thought!

Looking for an upfronts schedule? Here you go.

And in case you missed it, here's my TV news column from yesterday.

An appreciation of Robin Scherbatsky.

Of course someone is analyzing the D&D alignments of Game of Thrones characters.

I'm not completely convinced by Booktrack, but I'm intrigued and may give it a try.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New feature: What I Watched

Starting tomorrow, we'll have a new daily feature around here: each morning, I'll have a post with some quick thoughts on all the TV I watched the day before. (Some of you may remember this from when I did it on my old blog a few years ago.) I'm going to try this again for a few reasons - because I always want to write about more shows than I have time for, because people sometimes ask for my thoughts on shows I don't routinely write about, and because I'm all for people who write about TV being more transparent about what they actually watch, so I might as well practice what I preach and hold myself accountable.

I'll divide things into these categories:

Live-ish: Shows that I watched the night they aired, even if not exactly live.

Live+7: Anything that aired within the last week.

Catching up: Older episodes I finally got around to watching.

On the list: Shows that aired but I didn't manage to watch yet.

Hope you enjoy!

About that In Plain Sight finale...

The In Plain Sight series finale aired Friday night, and I actually watched it the previous Friday, and honestly, I still don't know what to think. Or, really, my thoughts and feelings have changed dozens of times in the last week. It wasn't bad, and there were some moments I really loved. But at the same time, it didn't seem right. First, you should read Marisa Roffman's review, because I agree with literally everything she says in it, and won't bother to repeat it all. But I wanted to highlight this issue:
Maybe it was the feeling of a band-aid covering the bullet wound because Marshall asked Mary to stop leaning on him since he would come every single time she called. How does that make his relationship with Abigail the right thing to stick with? If this was the best thing for them (and if they weren’t going to inevitably fall back into this pattern six months, a year, or ten years from now), why would he not say something like, “I can’t be that for you.” Take some responsibility, man! Say what you need and take the steps to make sure it is followed through. Instead, it felt like, “I will always be there for you and come every single time you call, so if you want to take responsibility for my relationship falling apart, continue to call and act as you are.”
Exactly, exactly, exactly. You cannot say "My behavior makes my fiancee uncomfortable, so you need to change your behavior or everything is your fault." I mean, you can say that, but Marshall has never been written as the kind of thoughtless, self-absorbed person who would. So while Fred Weller's acting in that scene was really impressive, the scene as a whole did a disservice to the character.

I didn't even necessarily need Mary and Marshall to end up together, but I would have much preferred an ambiguous ending. One of the main themes of In Plain Sight has always been that life is messy and complicated and ambiguous, and that fairy tale happy endings aren't real. By wrapping everything up so neatly, the writers in a way betrayed their own show. So the fact that there was a false-feeling happy ending that was directly contradictory to the unrealistic happy ending that 99% of fans seem to have wanted just seems like adding insult to injury. If any show called for a conclusion that was ambiguous and left at least some things unresolved, it was this one. If for whatever reason it was decided that the ending couldn't be left that way, I honestly can't figure out why the writers thought that the ending they settled on would be satisfying to viewers.

And even all of that would be easier to let go if the network had marketed the finale differently. Promos are always misleading to some extent, but cutting these promos to show Marshall saying "I love you" was just a slap in the face to loyal fans. And the promos ran so constantly that even my mother, who doesn't watch the show, said "Oh, yeah, that's the show that's ending but they're going to finally get together, right?" Across several platforms, including Twitter, the network marketed this finale heavily and emphasized that fans would be happy and satisfied with the way things ended. It's possible that whoever runs the show's official Twitter account didn't actually know how things would end, but regardless, it was irresponsible. USA Network is usually my favorite channel, but the way they've handled this has left me with negative feelings about them right as they're starting their promotional run-up to their hit summer shows. And that's really not a good way for them to help themselves, never mind be fair to anyone else.

My biggest fear going into this finale was that it would color my perception of the show as a whole - I didn't want to be left with bad feelings about one of the shows I've loved most for the past few years. And it's too early to tell, really, but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to feel the same way about In Plain Sight again. I'm hoping that if I give it a little time, I'll be able to rewatch earlier episodes without dwelling on the way it all ended. I hope. I'm already sad about the show ending in the first place; it will be even sadder if a clumsy finale and misleading marketing permanently sour fans' memories of a great show.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The In Plain Sight finale is tomorrow...

...and I have SO MANY FEELINGS about this show. I can't say too much yet because I don't want to spoil anyone, but I celebrate/mourn a bit at TheTelevixen: Raise a Glass to In Plain Sight.

Morning Coffee (5/3/12)

Three hours of sleep was not enough last night. If you were wondering.

Important, from Alyssa Rosenberg: ‘Glee’ Is an Immoral Television Show and It’s Time to Stop Watching It

Don't listen to the nonsense about the President's "fabricated" girlfriend. Dave Weigel explains why.

Um. Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe (playing the same character at different ages) in a British miniseries about Russian doctors after WWI? BE STILL MY HEART.

Elijah Wood Will Star in 'Speed at a Piano. SPEED AT A PIANO, people.

Ooh: Word-by-Word Pictures of the History of English

Harvard and M.I.T. Team Up to Offer Free Online Courses. Wheeeeeee!