Fall 2015 Pilot Tests

When I start hearing buzz about a new fall drama or comedy, I usually wait before diving right in. It needs to reel in some great reviews and ratings first, maybe an article here and there in Entertainment Weekly. After I read up on it and watch a trailer or two, I give it the ol’ pilot test. If the pilot episode hooks me, I stay with it for a while. If it doesn’t keep me interested, I try to rough it for a few episodes, given that some shows just take longer to really get underway, which I get. And even though I usually have a full fall roster every year ready to jam up my TiVo, I still try a couple new ones, just because. So this year, here’s what’s new to my ever-growing line-up and whether or not I think I’ll keep them …

Best Time Ever
Tuesdays at 10 on NBC

Best Time EverAs mentioned in my last PSA, I’m a huge Neil Patrick Harris fan so imagine my surprise when his hugely touted variety show, new to NBC this season, appeared to flop miserably. I found myself with a puzzled look on my face throughout much of the first episode, even fast-forwarding entire segments. The second episode did not fare much better. It’s as though he’s trying to cram much too much into every second and the pressure of performing it all live puts a strain on the easy-going, natural charmer that we know NPH to be. The audience participation in the first episode leaned more toward stalking and the second—an on-air proposal—seemed odd and out of place. His celebrity guest announcers falter awkwardly and “The End of the Show Show” runs the gamut from chaotic to sloppy. The only parts worth sitting through are the pranks and the physical obstacle course, which changes from show to show. But even so, after two episodes, I removed this from my TiVo to-do list. Sorry Neil, it just didn’t live up to its name. Continue reading


2015 Summer Movie Preview, Part 2

Eh, what the heck. Here’s five more.

Poltergeist | May 22

PoltergeistI find re-boots to be really frustrating, especially when I’m already a big fan of the original. I still remember the very first time I saw the Spielberg-written and produced 1982 fright flick; I was far too young and just flipping channels at my grandparents’ house. It was already to the part where Diane goes after Carol Anne and the huge hunk of skeleton head snarls at Steve. I later watched the full film a couple years later with my dad and sis, who couldn’t have been older than six at the time. She didn’t even flinch at the scene where that guy peeled his face off, but I couldn’t sleep that night. It’s since become one of my favorite scary movies, so I’m incredibly skeptical as to what an attempted remake can do to the integrity of the original, which already has a real life spooky story to back it up. But the trailer does make it look pretty terrifying and even though I NEVER see horror movies in the theater, I feel like this will be one that I just have to bring myself to sit through.

Continue reading

72nd Golden Globe Awards: Highlights


Award season has arriiiiived! The Golden Globes are the first major award show of the season, one quarter of the Four Horsemen of Fame (and judgment), the EGOT—Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. It’s one of my favorites because it brings stars and characters from my two favorite forms of entertainment together to one big party. The small screen and the silver screen share the stage at the one dinner a year we (I) desperately wish we (I) could attend.

This year was a tricky viewing for me because I still haven’t seen many of the nominated films. “Boyhood” took home the night’s biggest honor and I hadn’t even heard of it. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” sounded vaguely like something that had already been up for an award last year or the year before. (Not sure what I’m thinking of here—was there something else with ‘hotel’ in the title?) The only thing I’ve ever seen from Best Director winner Richard Linklater was 2003’s “School of Rock.”

While I was hoping for Jake Gyllenhaal to share his sister’s success of the evening, even I had to admit competition was stiff and his performance in “Nightcrawler,” while chilling and enigmatic, couldn’t quite measure up to that of winner Eddie Redmayne for his unflinching portrayal of Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” Amy Adams and Julianne Moore both gave sweet speeches for their wins. I’m unfamiliar with “Big Eyes,” but “Still Alice” sounds like it might make my watch-list. “Foxcatcher” too.

As for TV, I gave up on “Fargo” after just a couple episodes. I was desperately hoping “Orange is the New Black” would sweep a few more wins, but no luck. (Maybe it would if it was actually in the right category!) I essentially had no basis for judgement all night for any of the categories, which made watching seem a little pointless. I better up my game for the Oscars!

Here are some highlights of the star-studded night: Continue reading

2015 Golden Globes: Best/Worst Dressed


Kate Hudson in Versace: Versace won the night with these ladies, the first of whom looked stunning in a brilliant white gown that drew the eye to curves she doesn’t technically have. I would’ve left her hair down though, as the slicked-back look brought an unflattering emphasis to her ears.

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The Americans: Best Show on Television?

I wouldn’t say that, but Hank Stuever at The Washington Post apparently would … and did. That’s not to say that I don’t think The Americans is some damn good drama, because I do (as evidenced here and here) and it is. Matthew Rhys gave me all kinds of chills last season in his emotionally raw performances as torn-between-two-lovers (family and country) Phil Jennings.

In the first official promo for season 3 (above), published today to FX’s YouTube channel, the spies next door are taking a polygraph:

“Are you committed to your country? Would you sacrifice everything for it? Even your own children?”

It’s that last that brings a loaded pause. Continue reading