Monday, October 29, 2012


I'm dealing with some personal stuff, so blogging will be light to nonexistent for the time being. I'm not ready to talk about it yet but I didn't want to disappear and worry anyone. Thanks for understanding.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What I Watched: The Vampire Diaries, Scandal, Guys With Kids

The Vampire Diaries, "The Rager (EP403)" - This episode had a lot of clever lines and fun/cute moments - not to mention some music I really love - but it wasn't my favorite overall - it felt scattered, and for an episode with so much happening, it felt oddly slow. I'm used to glancing at the clock and suddenly realizing the hour is almost over when I feel like it's just started, and that didn't happen here. But it was all worth it for Damon's exploding kitten line, really.

Scandal, "Beltway Unbuckled (EP304)" - As soapy as this show is, I think the acting really sells it. Here's my weekly statement that I don't want to like Olivia and Fitz together, but I do. Of all the various political shows, Fitz is probably the most compelling version of the "brilliant, flawed powerful man" I can think of. And that thing at the end - wow. WOW. I literally squealed aloud when I saw who was walking into that room. I am INTRIGUED.

Guys With Kids, "Apartment Halloween (EP106)" - This is still mostly cute. It was a pretty organic-feeling Halloween episode, which was nice. I've seen people saying they think the show makes Sheila a completely one-sided villain, but it doesn't really come across that way to me. Seen from the viewpoint of her ex's friends, pretty much anyone would come across badly.

Morning Coffee (10/26/12)

Vacation day! So of course I have a list of 27 things I really need to get done. SIGH.

I basically want to make out with this new promo for The Following.

Tumblr of the day: Life in Publishing

I don't actually find the Nashville guys hard to tell apart, but this is hilarious.

This may save your Friday: Emergency Compliment Generator

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What I Watched: Arrow, Nashville, The New Normal

Arrow, "Lone Gunmen (EP103)" - Wheee, someone found out about Oliver! Delightful. I also loved that someone finally articulated the Hamlet parallels. I love the Oliver/Thea relationship - "you're barely my brother" killed me. And Oliver did seem awfully calm about Tommy and Laurel. Is he possibly just being rational about the whole "They DID think I was dead" thing? I guess that's doubtful. Hm.

Nashville, "Someday You'll Call My Name (EP103)" - THIS SHOW. ALL THE FEELINGS. I love it so much. I see a lot of people saying that the hate one or both of the main characters, which honestly I just don't get - I love that they are both very flawed but sympathetic, and the supporting characters have all sorts of interesting, complex dynamics without making the whole thing seem scattered, which is hard to pull off. And the music! The music is so good. I want to buy it all.

The New Normal, "The Godparent Trap (EP107)" - This episode actually a) made me cry and b) made me want to go to Mass, which is NOT really what I expected from this show. I thought this episode was really well done and did a shockingly good job with the religion issues.

Morning Coffee (10/25/12)

Snor'eastercane? Really?

Ooh, shiny posters for The Following. (Which premieres January 21, by the way.)

If DVRs were a network, they'd be first in the ratings.

Is the next big thing in YA Fringe readalikes? Because I'd be okay with that.

The Body on Somerton Beach

Michael Chabon on Thanksgiving

What's in Taylor Swift's fridge?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What I Watched: Apt 23, Ben & Kate, The Mentalist

Don't Trust the B---- in Apt 23, "A Reunion . . . (EP201)" - I'm SO happy this show is back, and this reunion episode was really cute, even if I haven't seen enough of Dawson's Creek to get all the jokes.

Ben and Kate, "Emergency Kit (EP105)" - THIS SHOW IS SO CUTE. Um. I know I say that every week. But it's true, and I don't necessarily have a whole lot else to say on an episode-by-episode basis. But Maddie remains one of the very few young kids on TV who have never annoyed me, so that says a lot.

The Mentalist, "Blood Feud (EP504)" - This was a nice spotlight on Rigsby, and geez, the poor guy. He and Raylan Givens should hang out and commiserate. I was also very happy to see that Ben's mom (Sarah?) seems to be out of the picture for good, because I couldn't remember exactly how that was resolved last season.

Morning Coffee (10/24/12)

Due to the sick cat (who seems to be on the mend, thanks for all the concern), my routine has been completely disrupted this week, so I don't have my usual stream of links for you. But here are two trailers I kept meaning to post.

First, Syfy's Defiance:

And Kathryn Bigelow's Osama bin Laden movie, Zero Dark Thirty:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 19th Is In Your Heart

God, I love this show.

What I Watched: Gossip Girl

Almost everything was off because of the debate last night!

Gossip Girl, "Dirty Rotten Scandals (EP603)" - Oh, this show. I don't even know what to say anymore. It continues to have its moments, but both Rufus's plot and the Serena/Nate plot are just so icky. Blair's fashion thing at least got slightly more interesting this week, but really? After everything, what we're supposed to care about in regards to Blair in the last few episodes is her mother's business? I'm just not quite buying it. At this point, my favorite character might be Nate, who, aside from the weirdness of dating his ex's boyfriend's daughter (and he's the one for whom this situation is least weird, I think), has turned out to be actually the most rational and decent among the group, I think.

Morning Coffee (10/23/12)

Romney is apparently not so big on that "not stealing intellectual property" thing, because he's now selling bracelets with the Friday Night Lights catchphrase.

Oh hey, Dagger award winners.

I would work somewhere for free house-cleaning.

Oh no, not President Bartlet: Martin Sheen and Woody Harrelson Sign Up For 9/11 Truther Movie ‘September Morn’

Ice Cream Moon Cakes!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Watch This Promo for The Following

If you haven't seen this Poe-themed promo for The Following, you absolutely must.

What I Watched: Homeland, Grimm, & More

Homeland, "New Car Smell (EP204)" - Wow. Wow. THIS SHOW. I absolutely did not expect that confrontation at the end to happen so early in the season, and it was a DELIGHTFUL surprise. This show definitely makes bolder choices than pretty much any other show on TV, and the writing and plotting almost always back this up. I'm so excited to see where they go now that they did this thing I absolutely did not think they would do yet. Also: I heartily approve of the addition of Rupert Friend, and I love that in the midst of everything else going on, the show is taking time for stuff like Dana's storyline.

Grimm, "The Other Side (EP208)" - I actually caught up on the past few episodes yesterday, and I think the show is doing a good job this season of expanding the mythology and increasing the serialized aspect while still having interesting cases of the week. And in this one, I loved the combination of science and mythology with the genetic engineering aspect.

The Good Wife, "Two Girls, One Code (EP403)" - Yes, due to football scheduling nonsense, I'm watching CBS's Sunday shows online and so wound up behind this week. Anyway. This episode was so good, except for the Kalinda nonsense, which is so bad. It's just baffling to me. But I loved the case of the week - search engine intrigue! - and all the Alicia/Peter/Will/Eli intrigue was really well done. And even though I'm completely a Will fan, the kiss at the end was quite something. I can't wait to see where they go with it.

The Mentalist, "Not One Red Cent (EP503)" - I know I was unimpressed with the first two episodes of this season, but I thought this one was a lot better, in that it got back to the traditional sort of cases this show does and didn't spend too much time trying to decode Jane's brain or doing weird things with the rest of the team's personal lives. So I guess this bodes well.

Morning Coffee (10/22/12)

A must-read: The End of Football

The Onion Endorses John Edwards for President

Wow: Amazon pulls Nazi jigsaw puzzle

Stop coddling people who behave badly

If you change a few words, Every Email You Will Ever Get from Your Boss in PR, Ever works quite well for marketing, too.

The Rebecca intrigue continues.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What I Watched: Haven, Blue Bloods, Elementary

Haven, "Double Jeopardy (EP305)" - Oh, Nathan. Nathan Nathan Nathan. I completely understand why he's doing what he's doing, and yet it's killing me at the same time. I absolutely do not trust Jordan, but their dynamic is undeniably fascinating. And I liked Duke better this week than I had in quite a while. And with Audrey - again, I understand why she's doing what she's doing, but ARGH. I thought the Trouble of the week this week was particularly good, and creepier than usual.

Blue Bloods, "Scorched Earth (EP304)" - Hey, they remembered Jamie exists! Awesome! I like this kind of plot for him - normal issues that a new cop would have to confront, but heightened because of the microscope he knows he's under. I also like when one case ends up linking the whole family like this, though at the same time, if they did that every week it would be completely unbelievable. And Frank Reagan and Kate Beckett should team up with their "get out of my city" speeches. That was awesome.

Elementary, "Child Predator (EP103)" - I keep liking this show more and more, and not just because they keep having Jonny Lee Miller be shirtless for no apparent reason. They developing dynamic between Holmes and Watson is done very well, and I like the way they make it clear that Holmes's skills are extraordinary without being gimmicky about the presentation. At the beginning of this episode, I thought I saw where the case was going, but I was wrong AND the actual solution was better than what I expected, which is basically the best thing for a case of the week to do.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What I Watched: The Vampire Diaries, Scandal, & More

The Vampire Diaries, "Memorial (EP302)" - Wow. WOW. I mean, last week's premiere was fine, but with this episode - WELCOME BACK, SHOW. This episode was SO AWESOME that I almost don't know what to say about it. I will say that I've been liking Stefan better this season than possibly ever before, but at the same time, the Damon last night, grown-up, get-things-done, taking care of the kids Damon, is my favorite Damon of all and I would like to keep him please. But MATT. And TYLER. And CAROLINE. Everyone had such great moments. And that thing at the end . . . that thing at the end. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

Scandal, "Hunting Season (EP203)" - Again/still, this show is awfully good at making me root for an adulterous relationship, and I don't know whether to love it or hate it for that. But hey, at least the show if very effective at what it's trying to do. Fitz was just killing me this episode. I also love the exploration of the way that Olivia's team is all tied to her for their own reasons, but have differing degrees of loyalty and don't necessarily trust each other. (I'm still pretty over the Quinn storyline. Can we move on?)

Chicago Fire, "Mon Amour (EP102)" - This was . . . a nice mental break between TVD and Scandal? No, really, it was fine. I can't say I care much about the actiony fire stuff, but the characters are interesting enough to make me keep watching for now.

Morning Coffee (10/19/12)

I've been too busy worrying about my sick cat to have much to post. Sorry.

But hey, this holiday music compilation looks awesome.

Munsters/Bryan Fuller fans, here's the trailer for Mockingbird Lane.

Yesterday was not a good day in the Swisher household. For multiple reasons.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What I Watched: Arrow, Nashville, & More

Arrow, "Honor Thy Father (EP102)" - This is still reminding me of Revenge. But in a good way! And with more archery! I'm enjoying this show possibly more than I'd expected so far. It is sort of making me want to read some of the source material, because I feel like I'm missing things, but maybe I'm happier not knowing what they're changing? Hm.

Guys With Kids, "Gary's Day Off (EP105)" - I liked the way, rather than continuing to make it a novelty that the fathers were caring for their kids, the show has now gone right to the point of acknowledging stay-at-home dads as the experts and giving a mother who has never spent a full day alone with her children completely understandable anxiety about how to deal with it.

Nashville, "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You) (EP102)" - This show is so delightfully twisty and soapy, but also feels very emotionally genuine, which is a great combination. I'm surprised by some of the things I've seen about people not feeling able to connect with the characters; to me, they're all complex but sympathetic in various ways. I think I'm most intrigued by the Rayna/Deacon/Teddy back story.

Call the Midwife, Episode 103 - Would it kill you to have episode titles, British shows? Apparently. I loved Jenny's ongoing real-world education here, and her friendship with the old soldier - and the show's blatant moralizing about that, actually. Chummy is still the best, and the scene with the nun setting up the date was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.

Morning Coffee (10/18/12)

I'm sick. The cat's sick. I'm working from home while we wait for test results from the vet. It's basically a barrel of laughs around here today.

Make sure you see today's Google Doodle. So cute. I really need to read that book.

Newsweek is going all-digital. It had definitely gone downhill recently, but it's still a little sad. The end of an era.

Showrunner Diary: A Day in the Life of Suburgatory Creator Emily Kapnek

Texas Monthly has amazing crime journalism. Here's The Innocent Man, Part One.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Morning Coffee (10/17/12)

I am home sick and feeling awful and going back to bed so this will be quick. (Hopefully I'll be asleep when you read this. Yay, scheduled posts.)

Hey, we had an EARTHQUAKE last night. Yes, I felt it.

Because All Of Shakespeare apparently isn't enough, Johnny Depp is going into publishing.

Et tu, Scott Hamilton?

I just enjoyed this headline: Fifty Shades of Grey struggles to excite in France, the home of Sade

Whenever there's a big art theft I half-expect the White Collar team to show up.

Pointlessly Genderized Item of the Week

Whoa: Omaha schoolgirl dresses as a different historical figure each day

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What I Watched: Castle, Gossip Girl, & More

HIMYM, "Who Wants to Be a Godparent (EP804)" - I actually really liked this episode, not because I thought it was funny but because I thought it was emotionally real and touching, and um, obviously I have Comedy Issues. And goodness, those children playing Marvin were ADORABLE.

Gossip Girl, "High Infidelity (EP602)" - I am completely bored by Blair's fashion storyline, but liked much of the rest of this. Georgina is delightfully evil, and I kind of love the idea that Dan has been so disillusioned that he just wants to burn everything down. The Chuck/Lily/Bart dynamic always gets me. And of COURSE Serena and Nate are dating a father and daughter. And no one sees any real problem with this. Dear Matt Camden: DO NOT TAKE PARENTING ADVICE FROM SERENA.

Castle, "Murder He Wrote (EP504)" - Castle and Beckett take a trip to the Hamptons, and this episode basically felt like fanfic, but I mean that in the best possible way, I swear. They are somehow still adorable together without being TOO perfect or the relationship being too easy/flawless. I love the way Ryan figured out about the relationship, and I can't wait to see what he does with that information.

Copper, "A Day to Give Thanks (EP109)" - It's Thanksgiving but Corcoran is NOT FEELING VERY THANKFUL because he found his wife but she's insane or drugged or something and may or may not have murdered their daughter. So that's all fun. And hey, John Wilkes Booth shows up, so that won't possibly end badly.

Morning Coffee (10/16/12)

Today at TheTelevixen: My take on Emily Owens, M.D., which premieres tonight.

Here's your Rebecca update.

North Koreans See Few Gains Below Top Tier

YALSA's 2012 Teens' Top Ten is out!

More chocolate = more Nobel prizes? Sure!

Hilarious: Texts from Little Women

Apparently there are cheese wars in Cyprus.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Check Out This Arrow NYCC Trailer

This trailer for the upcoming season of Arrow, from New York Comic-Con and via Give Me My Remote, is just . . . wow. Wow.

What I Watched: Homeland, Bomb Girls, Scandal

Homeland, "State of Independence (EP203)" - Whoa. Show. Whoa. You are Not Playing Around. I'm still bothered by some things that seem too coincidental or implausible, but it's so powerful and well-made that I'm willing to overlook that. Except, seriously, why would anyone send a famous war hero/congressman to do ANYTHING covert? But that semi-ridiculous set-up was made worth it by what Brody did in those woods. (I rewound my TiVo twice to make sure I'd actually seen what I thought I'd seen, because I was so shocked.) And the end, with Saul and Carrie . . . just wow.

Bomb Girls, "Armistice (EP105)" - I love what they're doing with Gladys and James's story. I was convinced that they would just have them implode, so I'm delighted that they're taking the more mature and less common route - at least so far - and letting them communicate and work things out - and make major changes, including with Gladys's father's company. Lorna's story has also been quite powerful, and I love the way Kate is blossoming, though I'm worried about that imploding too. Next week is the finale, and the promo looked very interesting, so yay.

Scandal, "The Other Woman (EP202)" - The "mistress of a great man" theme was a little heavy-handed, but the fact that it was so self-aware made it a little better - Olivia, Fitz, and Melly all very clearly saw the parallels, so it was less annoying than, say, some of the crazily coincidental Grey's Anatomy patients of the week. I still love Olivia and Fitz together, and hate that I love it, so, um, well done, Shonda? And most of the supporting characters and storylines are great, but I just don't care about Quinn's intrigue as much as the show wants me to.

Morning Coffee (10/15/12)

This weekend at TheTelevixen: My weekly news round-up (Coulson lives!) and recap of the most recent Castle, "Secret's Safe With Me."

I'm increasingly unconvinced that there's a way to make football acceptably safe, but standardizing concussion evaluations would be a start.


This Torah fraud case is fascinating.

If TV Shows Were Relationships

You must read Cassie Clare on cyberbullying.

Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights recognizes that it "isn't really a romance at all" and now I can't wait to see it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What I Watched: Vegas

That's... it? Huh. I guess. Weird day.

Vegas, "All That Glitters (EP104)" - For some reason - possibly because I tend to multitask - I had had a little trouble following the specifics of the mystery stories in the first few episodes, though I loved the characters and the tone. I made a point to pay more attention this time and the episode made perfect sense, so yeah, I'm saying the issue was probably mine and not theirs.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What I Watched: Fringe, Haven, Blue Bloods, & More

Fringe, "The Recordist (EP503)" - I know a lot of people were disappointed in this episode, but I really liked it, even though it was different and much quieter than we're used to. I loved the chance to see a little glimpse of how all of the huge changes in the world affected normal people who were living very different lives than our heroes. And I thought a lot of the family-related scenes were very powerful - both the Bishop family and the recordist family. The big scene between Peter and Olivia was wonderful and heartbreaking, and I'm so glad Peter articulated that he wants a second chance. (Though what the heck is up with Olivia's memory?) And they both had some great moments with Etta - Peter automatically checking her for the skin condition in a very natural dad-like way, and Etta and Olivia quietly holding hands. But I am so afraid that the father saying goodbye to his son and sacrificing himself will turn out to be foreshadowing.

Haven, "Over My Head (EP304)" - I liked this episode much more than the last one, I think. I love how Nathan isn't bothering to hide how hurt he is and is basically just being hostile to Duke and cold to Audrey, though of course he's always there when she actually needs him. And boy, is Lucas Bryant a good glarer. I'm very interested in this semi-secret society he's trying to join/infiltrate, and I may have yelled "Nooooo!" at my TV when he realized he was the only person Jordan could touch, but that was a really compelling, magnetic scene and they have good chemistry. I'm torn, because obviously I think Nathan and Audrey are meant to be, but Nathan can hardly be faulted for considering his options given that Audrey is trying so hard to push him away.

Blue Bloods, "Old Wounds (EP303)" - No, seriously, WHERE IS WILL ESTES? I think he had all of two very short lines last night. I wasn't necessarily wild about his plot last season, but at least he had one. I hope the lack of him in the first few episodes of the season means there's a Jamie-intensive plot coming up soon. Other than that, I liked this episode; it was full of Lessons but that's basically this show's thing so I don't mind. Tom Selleck and Len Cariou imparting life lessons is a pretty decent way to start the weekend, really. I did roll my eyes at Danny taking so long to consider the rape victim's brother as a suspect in the murder of the rapists, since IN THE SAME BREATH he was offering to beat up someone who hurt his sister.

The Good Wife, "And the Law Won (EP402)" - UGH. This Kalinda story. Why do her stories have to revolve around sex? Why is she suddenly incapable of remembering to do her job when her husband comes to town? Other than that, though, I liked this episode; I'm glad Will's back and I always like it when Alicia has to confront the fact that everyone knows Diane and Will don't really see her like the other associates, as much as everyone claims there's no special treatment. The way the dynamic between Alicia and Peter is developing this season is fascinating. And hey, Gilmore Girls actors together in court! That was exciting. Too bad Cary wasn't there too.

The Mentalist, "Devil's Cherry (EP502)" - These hallucination sorts of episodes are usually not my favorite, but I thought this one was done pretty well. And by all means, Jane, please listen to your imaginary daughter and MOVE ON. I did like that drugged Jane insisted that Lisbon was the only person who really knew him, and hey, that plot left them with no time to spend on Rigsby's and Cho's ridiculous, out-of-character personal crises, so hey! The case was fine but the villain seemed a bit cartoonishly evil and eager to confess.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Music Break: "If I Didn't Know Better"

Here's my other music obsession for the week - the cover of "If I Didn't Know Better" (originally by the Civil Wars) performed in the Nashville pilot. (If you like it, you can get it from iTunes.)

What I Watched: The Vampire Diaries, Beauty and the Beast, Copper

ICYMI, I wrote about the pilot of Beauty and the Beast, which premiered last night, over at TheTelevixen. The short version: BOY, is this bad. And it's not even hilariously bad, as I'd hoped.

The Vampire Diaries, "Growing Pains (EP401)" - I LOVED this premiere. I MISSED YOU, SHOW. This made me VERY hopeful about season four - I love the reset provided by Elena's transition. And the Damon that was there last night is really my favorite Damon. I was also impressed by how well Trevino did with Klaus-in-Tyler. And the Stefan/Elena stuff worked better for me than it usually does. AND SOMEONE GOT STABBED WITH A SHOTGUN. I LOVE THIS SHOW.

Copper, "Better Times Are Coming (EP108)" - This episode made me think "Yes, THIS is what I was hoping this show would be." Election Day! War stuff! And OH MY GOSH that big reveal at the end. I'm glad I hung in there, even though this show has been a bit slow at times.

New Fringe Science Channel Promo

Whoa. WHOA. Getting Julie Andrews-related feelings mixed up in my Fringe feelings is NOT PLAYING FAIRLY, promo people!

(Via my friend Faythe: The song is this version, if you're as fascinated as I am.)

Morning Coffee (10/12/12)


Sad: Mary Voulgaris, one of the best teachers I ever had, has passed away.

Huh: You can tell a lot from Parmigiano Reggiano rinds.

Neolithic discovery: why Orkney is the centre of ancient Britain

This article about Charlotte Church is fascinating.

Tomb of Maya 'snake' Queen discovered in Guatemala

Ha: Peter Gabriel’s Performance of ‘In Your Eyes’ Interrupted by John Cusack Holding a Boombox

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Music Break: "Catch My Breath"

I am completely obsessed with Kelly Clarkson's new song.

What I Watched: Drama Premieres, Guys With Kids, & More

ICYMI, my takes on last night's drama premieres: Arrow, Nashville, Chicago Fire

Guys With Kids, "The Standoff (EP104)" - It was nice to see the older boys get some screen time. This is still cute. I enjoy it. I have little to say.

Go On, "Big League Chew (EP106)" - I enjoyed the collision between Lauren's personal life and the group - the inherent power imbalance makes it perfectly natural for the group to want to learn more about Lauren, who knows so much about them, and I thought it was played very well.

The New Normal, "Bryanzilla (EP106)" - For a comedy, this show sure makes me cry a lot! This episode was thoroughly adorable AND funny AND touching, so it's getting harder and harder to keep this show at "Ryan Murphy always betrays me" arm's length.

Hex, "Pilot: The Story Begins (EP101)" - This is an older show, but BBC America just started airing it so I thought I'd give it a try. British boarding school! Sorcery! Michael Fassbender! Joseph Morgan! (Naked Joseph Morgan very early in the pilot, actually, much to my surprise.) This first episode was fine, but I mentioned the show on Twitter and everyone immediately told me that it got completely nuts and not in a good way, so... we'll see.

Morning Coffee (10/11/12)

Oh, hey, fun date.

Today at TheTelevixen: Beauty and the Beast was dreadful. Haven was good but heartbreaking.

Season four of The Vampire Diaries premieres tonight, and as usual, we've got everything you need over at

Oh hey, look, Harlequin's Christmas books are out. Now to begin my annual tradition of struggling not to BUY THEM ALL.

In theory, I want to read some stuff by the winner of the Nobel prize for literature, but has any phrase ever been such a turn-off as "hallucinatory realism"? No, no it has not.

Johnny Depp is making a TV show based on all of Shakespeare. ALL OF IT. This should be amazingly awful. I hope.

Cuteness for the day: Puppy and kitten think they're sisters.

Hobbit coins are now real. HOBBIT COINS. This has gone too far.

Ooh! The Queen is releasing her mother's diaries and letters.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I Watched: Ben & Kate, Mindy Project, & More

Ben and Kate, "The Fox Hunt (EP103)" - I loved the way this episode showed how siblings can hurt each other more than practically anyone else, since they know each other so well and care about each others' opinions so much. But they managed to keep things warm and fun despite this turn for the more serious. But. Not enough Maddie! (Also, I've seen a lot of people complain about BJ, so I must mention that I like her.)

The Mindy Project, "In the Club (EP103)" - This was . . . an improvement! It didn't really enrage me about anything new! It just made me be uncomfortable and cringe a lot! But there were actually a few funny moments. It is still ON NOTICE, but this was a definite step in the right direction. I think.

The Mob Doctor, "Change of Heart (EP104)" - This is still on the air! I still like it! Shocking. I thought this episode did a good job of showing Grace navigating her decisions, not just obeying Constantine (even if maybe he was manipulating her all along) OR following the rules.

Major Crimes, "Cheaters Never Prosper (EP109)" - I'm still way more interested in the characters, especially Rusty's story, than in the cases, but that's pretty standard for me with procedurals, so whatever. And the ending of this episode was completely heartbreaking. POOR KID. Also, Mary McDonnell is AMAZING, as usual.

Morning Coffee (10/10/12)

There are three new shows premiering tonight, and hey, I will tell you what to think about all of them before they even air. Don't say I never do anything for you. Here's Arrow, Chicago Fire, and Nashville.

Would you like to hear me speak about TV for a change? Here I am talking about Castle and White Collar and a little bit about various new shows.

Oh, hey, National Book Award finalists. I have read . . . none. Yet.

Don't know much about the new Georgian prime minister? Yeah, no one does, apparently.

Masterpiece continues being Masterpiecey and co-producing things I want to watch.

Hey look, Amazon came up with yet another way to drive authors to drink!

I won't bother trying to claim that this article about Taylor Swift-branded Walgreens store sections didn't make me immediately look up my nearest Walgreens locations.

Alyssa Rosenberg declares for team Mindy-skeptical.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Music Break: "A Soft Place to Land"

This was on Haven a few weeks ago and I love it.

What I Watched: Bones, Castle, HIMYM, Gossip Girl

HIMYM, "Nannies (EP803)" - This was a cute episode, and the nanny stuff was all funny and in character. (And I'm always happy when we get to see Marvin a lot.) And the rest of the episode did a good job of laying the groundwork for the upcoming breakups, though I'm a little concerned that we're in for another round of Robin and Ted before either of them actually make any progress.

Bones, "The Tiger in the Tale (EP804)" - This was . . . not my favorite episode. The case itself was, I don't know, fine I guess, but I didn't enjoy the rest. The stuff about Brennan running for president was just silly, and this was one of those times when they suddenly wanted us to believe that she had literally no idea how the world works. Since they kept messing with Sweets and Daisy, I'm just as happy that they went ahead and broke them up, but it wasn't done very well. And the conflict between Hodgins and Angela just seemed manufactured and out of the blue.

Gossip Girl, "Gone Maybe Gone (EP601)" - Oh, I don't know. At this point I'm trying to think about this as little as possible and just enjoy what I can from the last handful of episodes. I hate what they've done to a lot of the characters, but there were several really funny lines in this premiere. And Barry Watson was an interesting addition.

Castle, "Secret's Safe with Me (EP503)" - This was a fun episode - I liked the case, and the relationship stuff is still adorable but believable. I was happy to see Martha and Alexis back, and the scene with Alexis and Castle at the end made me cry. It was nice to see the human side of Gates, too. Overall, this felt like an episode from the early seasons, with the added bonus of Castle and Beckett being together.

Morning Coffee (10/9/12)

Canada's maple syrup: Found.

Here's your daily crazy Rebecca update.

N.H. School Board Member Proposes Football Ban. Good for him.

Important: Gender Balance in YA Award Winners since 2000

Barnes & Noble's featured mystery writer of the month is Richard Castle, and this annotated list of his favorite books is actually really cute.

This is great: Take Back Halloween!

Uh, wow: Reasons Why You Cannot Be a Bridesmaid

Ooh, Buckingham Palace is having a fashion show.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Watch I Watched: Fringe, Homeland & More

I wound up having a busier-than-expected weekend with no time to post, so hey, here's everything from Friday through Sunday . . .

Fringe, "In Absentia (EP502)" - SIMON. Sob. I'm still loving the way the Bishops are finding their way and getting to know each other again as a reunited family - and doing really well at working together - even though it's heartbreaking at times. I thought the interplay between Olivia and Etta on the torture issue was quite well done. But SIMON.

Haven, "The Farmer (EP303)" - SPEAKING OF HEARTBREAKING. I'm less annoyed with Audrey now that I know her reasons for pushing Nathan away, BUT STILL. DON'T DO THAT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW, YOUNG LADY. I'm glad she's talking to Claire, and the case of the week was interesting, and overall I liked this better than the second episode.

Call the Midwife, Episodes 1 & 2 - I finally had the chance to catch up on this, and I'm loving it. Babies! Historical setting! Constant reminders of how awesome the NHS is! And new character Chummy (starting in the second episode) definitely adds a lot.

Homeland, "Beirut Is Back (EP202)" - This was another fascinating, intense episode, but I too was concerned by the plausibility issues that Willa Paskin outlines. But we'll have to see how the payoff is. Saul and Carrie's relationship remains my favorite part of the show.

Vegas, "Money Plays (EP102)" - I'm continuing to enjoy this, but find myself with oddly little to say about it. It's good! I think! It's just not leaving much of an impression so far.

Bomb Girls, "Bringing Up Bombshell (EP104)" - I like the way this show is getting progressively more serious with the issues in the women's lives (in addition to the obviously serious war-related plots) but retaining the focus on their friendships and goals. I just realized there are only two episodes left this season and now I'm sad. The propaganda issues this week were explored well, and for some reason I'm kind of rooting for Gladys and James to make it.

Made in Jersey, "Cacti (EP102)" - I still kind of like this? I KNOW. I'm not saying it's brilliant or ground-breaking, but it would make nice comfort TV if it stuck around. Which it won't. I mean, Fringe beat it in the demo, for goodness' sake.

Blue Bloods, "Domestic Disturbance (EP302)" - This episode, with its really interesting case and high-pressure family stuff involving Linda going back to work, was actually better than the premiere, I think. But NOT ENOUGH WILL ESTES. I mean, never enough, but he was particularly lacking here, was he not?

Morning Coffee (10/8/12)

This weekend at TheTelevixen: Castle recap and news roundup.

Castle coffee. In grocery stores. November 1.

Take a look at these Revenge photos.

This state map puzzle game thing was tons of fun. (I got a 92.)

Fascinating read: I Entered My Baby in a Beauty Pageant and Lost My Mind

Did you know Stanley Tucci wrote a cookbook?

This essay about sherry is hilarious.

I don't know anything about Grizzly Bear, but this is still a good read about art and commerce.

Friday, October 5, 2012

What I Watched: The Good Wife Premiere, Elementary & More

Elementary, "While You Were Sleeping (EP102)" - I thought this was a strong second episode, though again, the actual case was fine but not particularly memorable. (And this was at least the second procedural to involve twins this week, though that's not an issue, really.) But where it really shone was the character dynamics and the further development of Holmes and Watson. And the violin scene at the end just slayed me.

Guys With Kids, "Marny Wants a Girl (EP103)" - Well, this show is now 3/3 for making me laugh out loud. And I'm glad to see they've abandoned the "Isn't it crazy that these guys are taking care of their kids?" thing - now it's just presented matter-of-factedly as their regular lives. Also: CUTE BABIES.

Major Crimes, "Dismissed with Prejudice (EP108)" - This was a weird episode - going back to look at a case in the past because of new evidence - but it definitely gave some more insight into the characters, which was nice. And Rusty's story continues to be heartbreaking. I love how the whole team is now so invested and involved in his life.

The Good Wife, "I Fought the Law (EP401)" - You know the week is not going well when it takes me four days to watch the season premiere of one of my favorite shows. BUT ANYWAY. I'm so glad this show is back. I'm unsure about the storyline with Kalinda's husband, but I loved everything else. There were some great moments between Will and Diane, especially, and I love Peter when he gets angry and authoritative. "No. I'm threatening you."

Morning Coffee (10/5/12)

I took a last-minute vacation day today. I'm pretty excited. Maybe I'll make you a photo essay of what I do.

A Little House feature film? Written by ABI MORGAN? Interesting.

Dinosaur news! Kind of judgmental-sounding dinosaur news, at that.

Uh-oh: The weather means wine prices are rising.

Robinson Crusoe: Life on the real island

This issue of art repatriation is so complicated and interesting.

New Beatles footage!

Lured by Promises of Wealth, F.B.I. Agent Was Drawn Into Fraud Scheme, Prosecutors Say

Ikea has admitted to photoshopping women out of its Saudi Arabian catalog.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Music Break: Katie Stevens Covers Taylor Swift

I actually knew Katie when she was a little girl - we're from the same town and our brothers are the same age and played Little League together - and, well, we all know how I feel about Taylor Swift. And this is actually an interesting take on the song. Enjoy!

Morning Coffee (10/4/12)

No What I Watched today, because What I Watched was just baseball.

Useful single-use website:

Here's your daily Rebecca update. This is fascinating.

After reading the book and seeing two movies I'm not sure I actually need to read a Girl with the Dragon Tattoo graphic novel, but this sneak peek is intriguing.

Here are all the Cougar Town title cards. Man, I miss this show.

Pop Warner team pays 10-year-olds to hurt other kids. Unfortunately, I can't say I'm surprised.

This take on Mumford & Sons is worth a read.

A Father-Daughter Dance Revives Charges of Discrimination

Here's a fascinating profile of a Spanish man who was identified as a Buddhist lama as a toddler.

First World War soldiers' bodies found in Dolomites

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Grilled Cheese for a Rough Day

I've had a slightly rough few days, and I got home tonight feeling fragile and like I needed to make something to ground myself, something more real than the canned vegetable soup or Annie's mac and cheese I too-often fall back on on busy worknights. But it had to be easy, because I wasn't up for much effort. And it had to use stuff I had in the house, because I absolutely wasn't about to face the grocery store. And it had to be comfort food. So. Slightly fancy grilled cheese it is!

This isn't even a recipe, but here are my instructions for Grilled Cheese for Inner Peace:

Thinly spread some decent wholegrain mustard on your sandwich bread of choice. (I happened to have Hannaford's organic oat nut in the house - it's not mindblowing or anything, but it's decent and affordable.)

Then layer whatever melting-appropriate cheese you have (this is provolone and swiss; cheddar would be even better) with thinly sliced plum tomato, avocado, and fire roasted peppers.

Melt some butter in a small frying pan over medium heat, add the sandwich, and let it cook. (I've taken to just putting the butter in the pan instead of spreading it on the bread because it's easier and works fine.) Make sure you press the sandwich down periodically as it cooks.

Once one side is as golden brown as you like it, remove the sandwich from the pan, melt more butter, and repeat with the other side down.

Consume with a glass of milk or your favorite beer, depending on just how rough your day was.

Castle Opening, Firefly Style

Nathan Fillion tweeted this last night, and it's pretty incredible.

Dear Mindy, Abuse is not funny.

After two episodes of The Mindy Project, I've started wondering if this show is specifically designed to push all my buttons because Mindy Kaling has some personal vendetta against me that I don't know about. Halfway through last night's episode, "Hiring and Firing," I was planning to write a semi-joking post along those lines. (The bookstore stuff was what got me at the beginning.) But then, at the end of the episode, something so objectionable happened that I can't turn this post into a joke anymore.

Mindy is punched in the face by a nurse she has to fire, but as she rides the subway home with a coworker, she apparently thinks it would be funny to tell this group of strangers that her coworker is in fact her husband and that he caused her visible injuries. THIS IS NOT FUNNY ON ANY LEVEL. It wouldn't be funny or acceptable coming from anyone, but SHE IS AN OB/GYN. She should be especially sensitive to these issues. She should be watching for warning signs so that she can help her patients, not turning something very serious into a cheap punchline that a) isn't even found to be funny by anyone around her and b) risks serious consequences for an innocent man WHO IS ALSO AN OB/GYN. I can't think of any way in which her behavior could be seen as funny or acceptable or even endearingly flawed. She should absolutely know better, so I can only assume that she is in fact a horrible person, so self-centered and clueless as to have no idea how to behave as an adult in public, never mind how to help and treat her patients in any competent manner.

Now, I will be the first to argue that we don't have to like everything the characters do in order to like a show. And I'm a strong proponent of keeping in mind that the views expressed by characters (or the things characters think are funny) do not necessarily track to their writers, even if the character has the same name as and is played by the writer. But in this case, the show seems designed around the idea that we will empathize with Mindy, or at least root for her. At this point, I don't think she should be allowed near patients and can't imagine why anyone would be friends with her, which is not the best way to keep me invested in the show.

What I Watched: Homeland Premiere, Tuesday Night Comedies, & More

Homeland, "The Smile (EP201)" - THIS SHOW. Oh, this show. It's just as amazing as everyone says, and I'm so glad I'm finally caught up. I thought the time-jump from the finale to the premiere was well-executed, and all of the threads are still holding together nicely. Even though Brody's less of a cipher now, we still aren't sure exactly what he'll be willing to do, and his relationship with his daughter remains one of my favorites in the show. The other is probably Carrie's with Saul, and there was some great stuff there in this episode too.

Ben and Kate, "Bad Cop/Bad Cop (EP102)" - I feel compelled to say THIS SHOW again, though in a completely different way from above. This was just so adorable, and honestly, I had a rough day yesterday and saved this episode for right before bed and it was perfect. Aside from the ridiculously cute and non-annoying kid, I think my favorite thing is the character dynamics: Stories about messed up people genuinely trying to help each other are my Kryptonite.

The Mindy Project, "Hiring and Firing (EP102)" - I'm going to write a separate post about this, because she show managed to enrage me again, but in completely different ways! But basically, there were a few moments I liked, and I thought it was a little more coherent than the pilot, but I'm still stuck on the fact that Mindy is an awful person but the show doesn't necessarily know that.

Go On, "Do You Believe in Ghosts . . . Yes! (EP105)" - I was skeptical of the "ghost episode" going in, but I thought it was done pretty well, and this show is continuing to walk the line of being really funny and genuinely touching all at once. I was less into the storyline about Ryan trying to help Steven get girls, but I loved the stuff about Ryan having to learn to take care of himself.

The New Normal, "Nanagasm (EP105)" - I'm still wary, because Ryan Murphy, but I'm also still enjoying much of this show. It definitely has its problematic elements, but it also has the heart, coherence, and continuity that Glee lost after its first half-season. (Am I expecting this to go completely off the rails in January? Possibly.) And I just really like David, Bryan, Goldie, and Shania, and want to spend more time with them. (Also, turning to a waiter and saying "I'm going to be needing dessert for dinner. Thank you." is AMAZING.)

Bones, "The Gunk in the Garage (EP803)" - This was one of the "bonus" episodes they filmed last season and never aired. I have mixed feelings: The case itself was interesting, if a bit far-fetched, and I loved the interaction between Booth and Brennan and the way they actually faced some of their issues. But I didn't like the Sweets stuff. Is he serious about Daisy or not? Unless fidelity issues are SUPPOSED to be part of his character, why does he keep cheating? Make up your mind, writers!

The Mob Doctor, "Protect and Serve (EP103)" - Honestly, I'm watching this one at a bit of an emotional distance, since I'm expecting it to be cancelled at any moment so I don't want to get too attached. But I'm enjoying it! Most of the medical stuff is pretty forgettable, but the family stuff is deliciously psychologically complex. And Zach Gilford's scene with the child athlete was great (not least because of FNL associations, even though it was a different sport).

Morning Coffee (10/3/12)

Rebecca on Broadway: Cancelled again. Stop messing with my mind, Mrs. Danvers.

A children's clothing line called Flowers in the Attic? THIS IS SUCH A POOR IDEA.

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are releasing a Christmas album. Yes, this seems to be a real thing, and this is INCREDIBLE news.

Which candidate is better for crossword writers?

You know you want to read Glenn Beck's open letter to Matt Bellamy.

Look at these pretty costumes for The Tempest.

The potential winter storms have quite some names this year.

I know this isn't a final cast or anything, but WOW, this Into the Woods screenplay reading. Wow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What I Watched: 666 Park Avenue & Revenge Premieres & More

(I realized that I completely left the premiere of The Mentalist off yesterday's post. It was . . . fine. I have very mixed feelings about that show at this point. The cases of the week are fine, but they've sort of lost me with the Red John stuff.)

666 Park Avenue, "Pilot (EP101)" - This wasn't great, but it was pleasantly creepy and very pretty. You can read my take at TheTelevixen.

Revenge, "Destiny (EP201)" - This was a solid premiere and I'm so glad the show is back. I love Nolan living with Emily, because he's my favorite. The Charlotte stuff is all quite interesting, though I didn't think it was exactly a surprise that a certain person wasn't really dead. But they played it well, anyway, and set up enough intrigue that I think they'll be able to get through another year of Emily's revengenda without rehashing much.

Copper, "The Hudson River School (EP107)" - The dynamic between Corcoran and Annie is probably the most interesting part of this show, so I was thrilled that this episode focused on it so much. And I love that Corcoran isn't going the obvious route of thinking Elizabeth can do no wrong.

How I Met Your Mother, "The Pre-Nup (EP802)" - There was an unattractive patina of misogyny over all this, of course, but that's sort of Barney's schtick, so I'm not really expecting it to change now. And hey, there was actual plot progress, and an adorable Barney/Robin moment, so I won't complain too much.

Castle, "Cloudy with a Change of Murder (EP502)" - This was our first "normal" episode since Castle and Beckett got together, and I thought they played the relationship stuff perfectly. It reassured me a lot about the season's tone and trajectory. My full recap will be up at TheTelevixen soon.

Homeland, "Marine One (EP112)" - Wow. This was an intense, amazing finale. I knew one outcome given that I was watching it knowing whether certain people were in season two, but that didn't really detract from seeing how they got there. And the phone scene between Brody and Dana was just astonishingly good.

Watch Aurora Survivor Stephen Barton's Gun Control Ad

Via Alyssa Rosenberg:

On a personal note, I've actually known Steve for years - he and my brother are good friends from high school - and I'm so glad and proud to see that he's trying to make something positive happen from this awful experience.

Morning Coffee (10/2/12)

At TheTelevixen: I don't think 666 Park Avenue will be my new favorite show, but I quite enjoyed it.

How to Make the Perfect Fried Egg

This profile of HBO's new chief executive is fascinating.

9 Historical Figures Who May Have Predicted Our Future

These micro-apartments are very appealing, but I cannot imagine having so little space for stuff. (Yarn! Books! How do these people handle it?)

A must-read: Women, Men And Fiction: Notes On How Not To Answer Hard Questions

Starbucks is finally entering India.

This postbox wasn't emptied for 23 years. Wow.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What I Watched: Made in Jersey & Blue Bloods Premieres & More

I didn't have time to post this yesterday, so hey, let's combine Saturday and Sunday!

Made in Jersey, "Pilot (EP101)" - Meh. It wasn't good, but I didn't hate it, and I liked the family stuff, so I'll probably hang in until they cancel it in a few weeks anyway. You can read what I said about it at TheTelevixen here.

Blue Bloods, "Family Business (EP301)" - I thought this was fine, but - presumably because it was a premiere - there was more action stuff and less character stuff than in most episodes, and I didn't think it was an improvement. There wasn't enough family interaction for me. Also, I didn't think the tension was as tense as they'd intended, since we knew Danny wouldn't actually die. It would have been better if they'd left Jackie as the hostage throughout, as they could kill her off. But regardless, I'm very glad the show is back.

Grimm, "The Good Shepherd (EP205)" - This was a really solid episode. I loved finding out more about the Wesen social institutions, and I'm always delighted when Jonathan Scarfe turns up. Monroe going undercover was tons of fun, though I missed Rosalee. And I'm intrigued to see how the Juliette situation is resolved. (And hey, I was thinking "they should have a glossary of the Wesen terms," and they do!)

I spent much of Sunday trying to catch up on Homeland for the premiere, and I didn't quite make it - I still have to watch last season's finale. But wow. Yes, this show is as good as everyone says it is, and I only regret I didn't watch it sooner.

Morning Coffee (10/1/12)

October! How did that happen?

Over the weekend at TheTelevixen: my Made in Jersey pilot review, Castle premiere recap, and weekly TV news roundup.

Downton. Abbey. Prequel.

I love this sort of thing: Chinese families pose with their possessions.

3000-year-old jigsaw skeletons? Huh.

Interesting: Taxes Threaten an Island Culture in Georgia

Why was this poor dolphin stranded in Queens?

No, Bill Clinton couldn't be President of France.

Buddhist statue discovered by Nazis is made of meteorite