Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Returning shows

Elementary and Mom are back!   And they appear to be just in time as the ABC Thursday night group is about to go on break.  I don't know but I think Scandal and Grey's will be dropping off at the same time as Murder just before Thanksgiving not to return until the new year.  When did we adopt this awful plan for our shows?  We don't all stop our routines for the holidays.

Anyway, I'll watch CBS on Thursday nights soon.  For now CBS kindly makes their shows available online after airing.  They load them up with commercials but I can manage that.

I was disappointed in Elementary that Sherlock's father didn't show up until the very end.  However, the show made me remember how much I love Johnny Miller's Sherlock and Lucy Liu's Watson.  Miller has created this wonderful eccentric character.  Wouldn't you love to be that intelligent with a complete absence of filter?

Mom brought us Ellen Burstyn and Bonnie's Mom making what now,  5 generations?  Right now there isn't an indication that she will be back.  But I'm betting she will.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Music or Politics?

If someone on Chris Stapleton's label was trying to teach country radio a lesson, it came at the great expense of several fine artists - all of his competition for Male Vocalist of the Year.

Until I checked the nominations a few days ago, I'd never heard of Stapleton. I checked him out on i-Tunes and found one album released just a few months ago.  I liked his version of Tennessee Whiskey but wasn't that excited about anything else.

I believe that the CMA's ought to have a hard and fast rule. If you are nominated for new artist (a category foolishly renamed from the catchy Horizon Award many years ago) then you should not be eligible for either of the vocalist of the year awards.  Kelsea Ballerini as another name I didn't think I'd heard of but oh, yeah, she has one charting song. And she was also nominated in one of the highest honors.

The reason is simple.  If you are just starting out, you are not yet at the level of the vocalist of the year or entertainer of the year.  Many would argue that Stapleton in his mid-30's has done his time, has written many hit songs.  Well, he isn't alone.  Lots of artists - almost all of them - spent a good 10 years playing the clubs and maybe writing for other people before having success on their own.  In fact, every one of the other contenders for male vocalist of the year built their careers that way. And they worked their way up the awards chain too.  It wasn't handed to them at other artists' expense.

The reason I think that many of us had never heard of this artist is that country radio plays the same artists over and over. I think someone on Stapleton's label (Mercury) decided they would campaign the CMA to get him awards and then country radio would have to take notice. Well, it worked.  Yet the loser in this little political game was whichever of the deserving candidates didn't take home last nights award.  All of them were more deserving of an award that should reflect a years worth of recording, performing and vocal quality.  And by the way, album of the year should have gone to Jason Aldeen, not Stapleton.

You see if the CMA wasn't so petty as to keep punishing artists for their personal lives - Aldeen last year with no nominations and Kenny Chesney losing Entertainer of the Year when he was the very clear winner the year he divorced after a brief marriage - they wouldn't need to make up for themselves.  They did that last night by feeling bad for Miranda Lambert and handing her an award she did not this year deserve.  Blake Shelton probably should probably go ahead and make other plans for next year's award night.

The female vocalist of the year has become a category where no one truly wins.  There isn't enough competition.  And if you don't have enough viable candidates you don't fill out your ballot with newbies or people who haven't recorded anything that year.  You leave those spots open. That would be the way to send a message to the record labels that they need to develop female talent.  And it would not come at anyone's expense.

The one win for the night was Little Big Town's Girl Crush.  Well written and performed, it was this year's clear winner for song and single of the year.

Today for the first time ever I heard Stapleton on the radio.  Politics often works but it always leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fall TV Season 2015

So far I've watched only 4 new fall shows - Quantico, Life in Pieces, Blood and Oil and Dr. Ken.

Of these, the only one I'm continuing is Quantico and I'm not really that invested in it.  Part of the problem is the insistence of every network to push some of their best stuff to Sunday night.  I no longer have to get up early on Monday's most weeks but really?  Don't most people have to start their week off early and don't really want to stay up late on Sunday night to watch a show that may keep them wired well past midnight.

Fortunately, many of the returning shows are putting out better work than they have in years so I'm not missing much with the lackluster crop of new contenders.

Let's start with the news ones tried and rejected.

Life in Pieces follows the Big Bang Theory. It is shown in vignettes and has been widely compared unfavorably to Modern Family.  These are two very different shows with the only thing in common is that all the characters are related.  Modern Family is hardly the first or the last show to focus on a big family.  What makes Modern different is that it is truly funny - though somewhat less so in recent years.  Life in Pieces just isn't that funny particularly anything to do with the one single woman who dumps one guy for another.  It is a wonder we didn't switch it off right after their vignette.  Sex seems to be the main topic and this is always a bad sign.  If you can't find anything funny without sex, your show is empty and typically of very poor quality.  Colin Hanks deserves better.

We watched Blood and Oil because nothing else was on on the Sunday night it happened to premiere.  I didn't expect it to be as good as the first season of Revenge which is what they are setting this up to rival.  It might be as good as the subsequent seasons of Revenge but that is such a low bar that it should just be cancelled right now and move Quantico to 9 p.m.

Of course the Good Wife is supposed to come on at 9 but CBS stubbornly insists on leaving this show following football with its unpredictable end times.  Let me say this one more time - THESE ARE TWO DIFFERENT AUDIENCES!  You lose Good Wife viewers who don't want to have to keep tuning in to figure out when the show will be on.  And with all the buzz, Quantico gets, you will soon lose these loyal viewers to ABC.  Move the Good Wife to Tuesday where absolutely nothing good is on.

Why is Quantico getting so much hype?  Honestly it is because it is the best of a very, very poor crop.   Not that it is a bad show.  There is an ongoing mystery and plenty of subplots. So far I just haven't developed that much love for our heroine and possible heroes.  I get why they all have to be young to handle the physical riggers of the FBI.  What I don't get is why they all have to be so beautiful.   You could argue that every show does this but Quantico seems to have particularly done their casting from photographs of Hollywoods most beautiful.   I'm behind on watching but don't really care.  I'll catch up in the next few weeks.

Finally I tried out Dr. Ken.  It's slightly humorous.  He and particularly his wife last seen on the much missed but title-already-forgotten Matthew Perry NBC show get some good lines.   The little boy is far less annoying in this outing that when he sank ABC's Trophy Wife.   I know he got great reviews but his acting was the sole reason I stopped watching Bradley Whitford and company.  He got on my nerves.

As for returning shows, several have started off the season with the best wrting in years.  Most notably in this category are Scandal, Grey's Anatomy and the Good Wife.  Scandal has pitted many former friends against one another and it is a treat to watch every week. You would think that I and Fitz would learn what to expect from Mellie and Cyrus but they keep surprising us.  OK, I knew Fitz was going to pay for taking Olivia out on a date.  His wife told him that she wouldn't hurt him if he didn't hurt her. Did he not think parading the first mistress in public would hurt her?  Go Mellie!

Grey's has lightened the mood for many of their main characters but balanced the show with plenty of medical drama.  Meredith is truly building relationships with other women and I don't think Cristina's name has been mentioned once.  Not that she should forget her friend, but it was time to move on.  Derek is not missed at all.  Actually it is a relief to not have to wonder how they would going to sustain their marriage and keep it from being boring.  Bailey is the chief!  Yeah!  The only downside is April.  I don't believe anyone ever loved her character much and it is time to write her out.  They even have the perfect place for her to go.  Jackson needs to be on the market.

The Good Wife has set themselves up for quite a challenge this year.  They are running Peter in the democratic primary naming real contenders in their dialogue. I hope they can reshoot on a moments notice because who knows what will really happen.  Part of this challenge is election fatigue. We have plenty of other drama going on. The only issue I have is why Diane is so anti-Alicia.  I've truly forgotten what their tiff is about. I'm delighted with Alicia's new detective.  He was delicious on Grey's a few years ago and looks deliciously dangerous here.  More, please!  Eli and Grace are getting wonderful scenes too this season.  It is just a completely revitalized show.

I hate to say it but Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are aging and it shows.  They just aren't as funny because we know these characters. We know what they are going to do.  There aren't many surprises left. One suggested to BBT - get rid of Stewart.  They refuse to change him and so he has become stale.  Give Raj more airtime.  Also move more quickly along with Raj's girlfriend. Do we like her?  Not yet?  Should we or is she secretly a serial killer?  We just don't know and it is time to flush this out.  Modern is introducing some new characters and that helps.  I want Haley to dump Dillon and go back to the "Manny" - Joe's nanny who I think is now working for Phil who never seems to be working.  Their romance and development of their own little family would really revitalize this show.

The sophomore seasons of Madam Secretary and How To Get Away with Murder are coming along.  Good starts. We will just have to see how these go.

The one show that truly needs to go at the end of this year is Nashville.  I was pleasantly surprised when it was renewed; however, I mostly wanted it for the music and so far there hasn't been much on that front.  Please put Hayden Panitierre on stage with some new music.  I don't care for Deacon's anger at Scarlett.  He is being completely unreasonable.  Will's story which was always the most inventive has been once again dropped.  Let's wrap this one up and call it a day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

So who killed Silas?

I think it was Madeline.

It wasn't Ava.  It's too obvious and we are trying to get Ava off so Maura West can stay with us and not be in jail.  They did not go to all this trouble to bring Ava back to put her away again.

It also probably wasn't Morgan.  Again they have had a big red arrow pointing to his sulking expression for days and that means it isn't him.  I do think Carly is on to something with the idea he might be bipolar. Then again, I just think he is an arrogant idiot.

Let's move on from this story so we can get rid of Kiki.  This character should have never, ever been recast.  No one liked the character before so why on earth would they recast her and why particularly with an actress who should never have made it past the audition?  That horrid crying scene was enough to make everyone click their way to another channel.  If you are going to keep her, please someone send her to a decent colorist.  Ava's wig looks more authentic.

Also it is time to spring the very talented Michelle Stafford from all the places they keep button holing her character.  Get her out in the world interacting with more people.  She's fabulous but limited when we only see her with Franco, Rick, Madeline or essentially talking to herself at Shadybrook.

I've never liked Scott.  I do like that he is taking up for Franco but he would have done his son much better to have stayed on as DA and hired Diane to represent Franco.  First of all we would have been able to watch the fabulous Diane in action.  Secondly, she would have put on a far better defense.  She would not have alienated the jury as Scott most certainly does with his demeanor and finally, we wouldn't have to deal with Rick at all. Rick is another character who could leave anytime along with Lucy, Felicia, Jordan, and Bobby.

I will thank them for making the summer kid free.  Last summer we were subjected to the romances of 8 year olds.  Thank you for letting these kids grow up off screen.  I fully expect to see them as teenagers next summer anyway.

I can't wait for Jake to find out he is Jason so he can realize what Elizabeth has done and unleash his full fury on her.  She deserves all the grief she is going to get.  Now she knows Hayden is in danger from Nicholas - like she didn't already know this - and is still keeping quiet.  I've never liked Elizabeth or Nurse Nosy as I like to call her and I've certainly never liked her less.

The whole Dante/Valerie/Dillon/Lulu thing is boring.  How many times have we had this storyline before?

I know a lot of people don't like Olivia but I always have and am glad to see her back.

Finally we sort of know Rosalie's secret. The story of how she and Brad met actually rang true.  But we still don't know what they have on each other that makes them have to stay married.  It has got to be connected to the mob stuff.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

They have all lost their senses

It is pretty sad when the smartest person in town is Kiki.

Kiki wisely thinks that Sonny is a poor choice to raise Avery. She's right.  Her mother wouldn't have been a great choice either but two wrongs don't make a right.  Alexis made several good points that she can argue for Kiki's case and I guess this is why they are keeping the character around.  If we have to put up with this character, at least we have a good storyline to go forward.  Someone is finally suing Sonny for custody of one of his children, probably in court.  I look forward to it.  And I expect Michael to be one of Kiki's witnesses.  He may not like her at the moment but she is preferable to Sonny in his opinion.  Although I side with Julian.  Michael is awfully ungrateful to the man who saved his life.

It is hard to decide who is the stupidest person in town.  Is it Maxie who helped Johnny escape and somehow doesn't see that that might jeopardize her recently acquired visitation rights with her daughter?

More likely it is Tracy and Lulu who have once again latched onto the first theory they came to about Luke.  Helena brainwashed him.  Maybe she did or more likely she didn't.  They should come up with more evidence before springing grandmother Cassadine.

Or is it Nicholas who thinks that he can actually believe Helena?  He never gets the upperhand with her.  Why does he think this time will be different?

Or maybe it is Carly who isn't really stupid just an incredibly bad friend?  She tried playing the 'I have a new man in my life' card with Sonny before admitting that Jake was in jail and she basically doesn't care or ever plan to see him again.  Well, he is Jason after all. Jason was there for her every time she needed him and she did basically nothing for Jason. Carly is a taker. No wonder that Carly and Sonny together never lasts.

Olivia isn't ringing up any intelligence points for thinking she might have the 'flu.'  Sure, right.  I'd say she is about 6 weeks along now.  Ned knows he has lost Alexis to Julian but he isn't quite ready to admit it yet.

Elizabeth just saw the light with Rick.  But then she did it for Jake who as far as she knows is well, a gun for hire.  Even if Helena is brainwashing him, she knows nothing more about the guy.  We know he is Jason but she doesn't.  And Rick was a complete idiot for telling Elizabeth - bragging no less - that it was his idea for Jake to move out.  That really earned him some points.

Sam gets points for figuring out it was Jake all along but loses them for thinking that he is in jail - problem solved. Who actually stays at the PCPD?

Nathan should get points for solving so many crimes (it's clearly a station record) but then he bought Carlos' story about forcing Sabrina to help him.  Can he go back and interrogate and arrest Sabrina?  With Carlos in jail and her with no job or ties to anyone else, surely, surely they will get rid of this character.

And finally Franco thought it was a good idea to inject himself with LSD to stay with Nina.  Maybe he is crazy after all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rumor has it

that there are going to be some cast cuts at GH.

It's about time.  This is nothing personal to the actors.  Although that is a ridiculous statement as it means someone's job and a character they probably love to play.  So it is very personal.  My opinions though are not based on the actor's performance.

I believe the GH canvas is overcrowded and has been since the 50th anniversary when so many characters were brought back and never really left.  More have returned or been added with too few leaving. So we have more people than there is time to properly give them stories.  So I think saying goodbye to a few characters is necessary for the storytelling.  And I'm assuming it is necessary for the budget as well.

Here are my picks as characters that really don't add anything to the current storylines.

Kiki - I know this one is staying - the character, not the actress.  Why oh why did they recast?  It was the perfect opportunity to write out a character no one likes and who has little to do.  She is raising Avery but there are plenty of people in Port Charles who would gladly take on Avery or she could have gone away with Kiki only to return in a few years all grown up.

Morgan - I have grown to like Morgan but he, too, has no job and is just a third wheel.

Lucy - Lucy is my most disliked character. I've been wanting rid of her since she hit town. She is just plain annoying and contributes nothing.

Bobbi - After the Fluke storyline wraps, Bobbi Spencer will probably fade into the background again so the character might as well make an exit.  Watching her and Lucy fight over Scott makes me scratch my head and wonder what either of them sees in him. Scott isn't on the list only because he is the DA, Franco's father and occasionally gives us a good scene.

Felicia - Another one I've wanted rid of since the first time I saw her.  She abandoned her child and as far as I can tell really never did anything with her life and now they are trying to make her mayor?  She's a ditz.

Mac - I like Mac, I really do but either give him something meaningful to do or write him out.

I'll pause here to say that it is sad that an entire generation isn't working out. This is partly plotlines but it is also characters.  We need fresh characters for this generation.  On the other hand, Tracy, Luke, Heather, Helena work very well. Well, a small dose of Heather at a time does. Sometimes Anna works out and sometimes she doesn't. Her character is good; it just depends on the writing.

Duke - I've never warmed to Duke. I don't dislike him; I just don't get very interested in any scenes he is in.

Sabrina - She is really at the top of my list.  I've never liked the character. She as no ties at all, no job, no reason at all to be in Port Charles.

TJ - Why didn't they send him away to school and have him return on holidays since that is about all we see of him? It is time for him and Molly to break up as there is no story here. I miss Molly.

Jordan and Silas are characters I have mixed feelings about.  I wouldn't miss them if they were gone but I think there is plenty of story material.

The only reason Sloan isn't on my list is because he is being recast with the fabulous Grayson McCouch who played the smoldering Dusty Donovan on ATWT. I can't wait to have him back and hopefully add some dimension to this character.

Characters I can't imagine going anywhere are Sonny, Carly, Jake (Jason), Sam, Patrick, Luke, Tracy, Julian (because fans like me adore him with Alexis), Alexis, Maxie, Nicholas, Dante, Lulu, and Michael who is truly the linchpin of the show and finally they are putting this character back to that pivotal position.

Characters I adore and don't want them to leave are:  Nathan (because of Maxie), Ava, Nutty Nina, Ned, Epiphany, Liesl, Lucas, and Olivia.  Several of these are new and are already much adored by fans.  My biggest fear is they are going to write out Ava.  They have really backed her into a corner.  She has already said goodbye to her daughter.  I don't think they will kill her off (not permanently) but I wouldn't be surprised if she is cut.  Not everyone can get a get out of jail free card.

One character I haven't mentioned is Elizabeth. They tried to get rid of her before and fan swell kept her around.  Personally I'm not a big Liz fan.  I call her Nurse Nosy.  I'm not looking to get rid of her; just don't care much one way or another.  Another I haven't mentioned is Franco.  I have mixed feelings on this character.

I'm most disappointed that Felix has been dropped to recurring. There was so much story potential and the actor was fantastic.  I'm already assuming Johnny is temporary.  I would put the old Johnny in the adore category but this version is hard to love.

It will be interesting to see who and how they make cuts.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Best and Worst of GH

I've read a couple of the Best and Worst lists for the year for GH and various other shows.  This is my take. I'm mixing them together throughout the post because worst sometimes brings out the best and vice versa.

Best Actor - Tony Geary, hands down.  It is really amazing to think that we have only seen Luke for less than half the year yet his performance has captivated viewers.  I'm always looking for little breaks in the veneer to see who is hiding beneath the surface as he portrays Luke and the imposters. Any little crack seems intentional to show that he is mostly playing a fake Luke.  The whole storyline has led to lots of speculation and I don't think anyone has nailed who Luke really is.  My current bet is on Trevor Lansing.

And this leads us to our first well, not worst, but let's say 'could be better' and that is the dragging out of this storyline.  I'm not too bothered in that it is a good mystery, has drawn in most of the cast, and showcases Tony Geary.  Of course I thought it was solved at Thanksgiving for about a day until we knew that Luke wasn't Luke and we were back to the beginning.  It makes sense that Geary would not want to return from what was probably a challenging recovery from surgery to fade to the background as 'uncle Luke' usually does.  No, he earned this opportunity.

So the only real issue is the time from August to November when they talked about Fluke incessantly and went on the Euro trek to try to find Luke.  All that was unnecessary build up imo.

Best Actress - a tie between Maura West and Michelle Stafford.  As I was mentally running through the cast, it took me awhile to get to their characters and then instantly I though, of course!  Though they have been on the show a short time, I can't imagine the show without them.  Both actresses have shown us depths of their personalities in just a year or less that we often don't see in 5 years time of other performers.  So somehow we have to spring Ava from jail and Nina from wherever they sent her and get them back on screen regularly.  I don't think Sonny's is the father of Ava's baby. There is definitely more to that story.

Best storyline - AJ's murder and the coverup.  I cheered when Franco was sharing what he knew of AJ's murder with Michael.  The aftermath was also a wonderful chance for Chad Duell who has been sorely underused the last 2 years to shine and he did.  I never cared for AJ.  He didn't deserve to be murdered but I certainly won't miss him.

Worst storyline - Cryton Clark which I've misspelled and I don't care.  Everything to do with that place was ridiculous which brings us to the biggest problem of the year...

Resurrecting everyone - Helena, Stavros, Jason, Levi's father, and how many more?  Faison wasn't really dead this time.  It has become just too much.

Worst character - Levi.  Never has a character been so universally disliked as this one.  I never read a single nice thing about this character.  He had no redeeming qualities and we all just wanted him gone!  Tying him to some past character that apparently even long time viewers don't or barely remember didn't help at all.

Best Villian - Liesl though this is a very tough category.  There are so many.  Liesl though is a delight to watch no matter what she is doing. I knew she was responsible for Maxi getting visitation again.  Today we found out how - blackmail.  No surprise there just delighted it happened because another bad story was the judge who would not allow Maxi to see her child.  Could Spinelli not let her see Maxi since he clearly wanted to?  If I had been Maxi, I would have moved to Portland last year instead of going on a Eat Pray Love mission and that would have forced the court to transfer the case.  It would have also shown them how much she wanted to be with her daughter.  Good for us though that she has remained in Port Charles.  No matter what Maxi does, I love her.  She is one of my favorite characters.  And I look forward to the day when she and Liesl tangle over Nathan's affections.

Best Romance - tie between Maxie and Nathan or Julian and Alexis.  Fantastic chemistry for both couples.  I've lost track of why Julian is back in the business again.  One thing that is getting repetitive is how many times Alexis and Julian can have the same scene where she tells him she can't accept what he is doing.  Maxie and Nathan are really just getting started.  I'm curious where this New Year's Eve story will end up.  I knew he was calling his Mutter to help Maxie out.  It was a good move on his part and the explanatory scenes helped us understand why Judge Walters had it in for Maxi.

Worst Romance - Ava and Sonny if you could call it a romance which I suppose you would not.  If not, let's go with Kiki and Michael because they were incredibly boring together.

Most annoying character - Lucy Coe.  Last year, this year and probably next year unless my prayers are answered and she is gone.  When she volunteered to go with Levi as his hostage, I screamed at the TV "take her, take her."

Most useless character - Sabrina.  Why oh why did they bring her back from maternity leave?  I never, ever liked her and with her and Patrick's child gone and their romance - if you could call it that - over, she had no ties at all to Port Charles.  Now she has lost her job so she really has no reason to stay.

Most wasted talent - Felix.  This character is fantastic and he is off the show?  It makes no sense.  Plus GH has no idea what to do with African American characters.  Shawn and Jordan are constantly screwing up at their jobs. Felix was just everyone's friend and never had a good story of his own.  The idea that he thought he could 'turn' Milo was silly and disrespectful to the gay community.

Best twist - Sending Sonny to jail to meet up with Johnny. You always expect Sonny to find a way out and he will but this is giving his character a whole new dimension.  I don't enjoy prison scenes but these work so far.  Plus he now has Franco in with him.

With Maurice Bernard renewing his contract, Sonny will not be forgotten behind bars.  Let's just hope he gets out before things get too dismal.

Happy New Year!