Saturday, March 28, 2015

Looking - Cancelled

Yeah, it's been an interesting week. The X-Files coming back for six episodes, Downton Abbey ending during Christmas and of course, another ending in sight with HBO confirming that the end is nigh for gay drama Looking.

The series, which finished up it's second season (thoughts on that finale in a TV jumble blog next week) on Sunday (or Thursday for SkyAtlantic viewers) will not be returning for a third season, but in a bit of good-ish news, loose ends for the show will be tied up in a movie instead. Details as to when the movie will be made and aired have yet to be confirmed though.

I have to admit that while Looking wasn't exactly event television, it was a great show and one that certainly seemed to be improving for the better. Granted the second season did drag out the Patrick/Kevin drama and Richie was kind of just there at times but it was also a great season for both Dom and Doris's friendship and the Agustin/Eddie relationship was easily the best romantic pairing the show came up. It also helped that as a character, Agustin came leaps and bounds too. With ratings for the show not being particularly impressive, it was somewhat inevitable that HBO would pull the plug on the show. On the plus side, at least there's a movie to look forward to though.

Press Release:

The first two seasons of Looking have finished airing on both HBO and SkyAtlantic. I'll post more details on the movie when they become available.

American Crime Story: More Cast Members Announced

For the last few weeks I've been distracted with the final season of Glee and Ryan Murphy's other two projects, American Horror Story: Hotel and Scream Queens but it seems that more cast members have been revealed for the upcoming American Crime Story: The People V. OJ Simpson.

With Cuba Gooding Jr (who recently guest starred on Empire) playing the title role and Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark, other cast members include ....

Former Friends star himself David Scwhimmer will play Robert Kardashian. Yup, the father of Kim Kardashian herself, who was also an instrumental during the OJ Simpson trial. The miniseries will also look at the trial from the perspective of the lawyers themselves with Schwimmer's Kardashian being a confidant for Simpson.

John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction etc) will take on the role of  Attorney Robert Shapiro, a key member of O.J. Simpson’s Defense Dream Team. Travolta will also serve as a producer on the upcoming 10 part miniseries. For some reason, I was convinced it was going to be 13 episodes, but it's actually ten instead. That is probably a good thing.

Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) will play the role of Johnnie Cochran, the defence attorney who famously said during the closing arguments of the trial "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit," Vance's wife, Angela Bassett has previously worked with Ryan Murphy and company in the last two seasons of American Horror Story.

Finally (well at least for the time being until other cast announcements are made), Nashville actress, Connie Britton will take on the role of Faye Resnick. Britton who has previously worked with Murphy and company during the first season of American Horror Story was announced earlier in the week and it seems that her role in the miniseries will have no bearing on Nashville either.

So there's your cast for American Crime Story: The People V. OJ Simpson for now. While I'm looking forward to Murphy's other two shows a lot more, I do admit that the casting for this miniseries is impressive though.

Press Releases:

American Crime Story: The People V. OJ Simpson will film later in the year and air in 2016 on FX for US viewers.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The X-Files - Returning For 6 Episodes

It's not all about major television shows ending. This week also saw the announcement of one of the most iconic shows coming back - The X Files.

Early this week, Chris Carter announced that his popular show which ran for nine seasons between 1993 to 2002 as well as two movies in both 1998 and 2008 with I Want To Believe was to return to FOX with both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprising their roles as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully respectively.

The slight snag is that the series is coming back for only six episodes, which is kind of surprising considering that when FOX commissioned 24: Live Another Day, it ran for twelve episodes while NBC's Heroes: Reborn is running for 13 episodes and Showtime's third season of Twin Peaks has at least nine episodes. Now it could be to accommodate both David and Gillian's busy schedules (the latter who also has to film the third and final series of RTE1/BBC2 drama, The Fall), but it does seem a little short though.

On the plus side, while the return of this show is hardly a shocker (I'd say it's been pretty imminent for a while now) and the fact that I was more of a casual viewer than an obsessive, I am delighted that we're going to get some more episodes from the show. Even if you didn't religiously watch the show, it's influence on some many shows over the last decade has been felt. It'll be interesting to see where Carter can take his iconic creations this time.

Press Release:

Filming for The X Files begins in the summer. An airdate for the episodes has yet to be confirmed by FOX.

Downton Abbey - Series 6/Christmas 2015 To End Series

They do say that all good things come to an end and after weeks of rumours and speculation, yesterday afternoon, ITV finally confirmed that the upcoming sixth series and Christmas special will see the end of Downton Abbey. Personally, I think it's for the best but before it ends, here are a few things I'd like to see happen during the final run of episodes for the popular period drama.

Resolve Mary's Love Arc: Seriously, while a part of me is glad Mary hasn't rushed into a new relationship/marriage following Matthew's death, the final series really does need to give her someone now. We know that Tony Gillingham is out of the running, so it's probably down to either Charles Blake or Henry Talbot, who was introduced during the Christmas special. Either way, just resolve it already. Pair her up with Branson if needs be. On seconds thoughts, maybe not.

Who Killed Green: A thousand times does this story need a resolution. The one thing that Fellowes clearly did not learn from the whole 'Who Killed Vera Bates' storyline was not to drag out murder plots longer than necessary. Series 5 should've cleared this up within it's first half but chose not to, so I'm hoping the opening episode of Series 6 finally put us out of our misery and answers this one.

More Violet & Isobel: Let's face it, any scene with those two has been pure gold over the last five years, so I want another healthy quotient of Violet and Isobel firing off one liners at each other during the last series. Then again, who doesn't, right?

A Wedding: Carson and Mrs Hughes anyone? As well as whoever ends up with Mary. One as an opening episode event and the other during Christmas 2015. This show does love a good old wedding after all.

Thomas's Love Life: Or disturbing lack of one would be more apt. In five series, he's had one closeted relationship which ended in the first episode, tried it on with Jimmy with near disastrous consequences and of course, there was that conversion story line in the last series when he hasn't been scheming and pissing people off. All in all, it's time for the show to actually give the bloke a healthy relationship with someone but at the same time without diluting his personality, but also at the same time show that he's evolved as a character. In other words, pair him up with Andy please, who is coming back for the sixth series.

Edith's A Mother: Well, she has been since Christmas 2013, so can we cut out the rubbish and have everyone else become privy to the fact that Marigold is her daughter and not her ward because if even the usually not perceptive Robert can figure it out, I can't see how everyone else hasn't worked it out by now.

The Last Episode: Like Christmas 2011 and 2014, the 2015 Christmas special actually should incorporate Christmas in some capacity (beginning or end of the episode) as well as a little bit of a flashforward/update on what has or will happen to the main characters in the future (aside from death of course).

Now those are some of the things I think should happen during the last series of Downton Abbey. What do you think should happen?

Press Release:

Series 6 of Downton Abbey is currently being filmed and will air on ITV from September.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Review of Empire's 1x06: "Out, Damned Spot"

Written by Eric Haywood
Directed by Michael Engler

Cookie: "I am fighting for a comeback too, Elle. It's do or die for me too. Okay, now let's do this together but we gotta do this right. I'm all you got."

And the surprising celeb attached to Empire records turned to be Courtney Love or should I say Elle Dallas? As an appearance, it wasn't one I was expecting but it was one that worked well for the episode even if Cookie's fangirling over the somewhat fading Elle was a little OTT in places. That being said, Cookie is continuing to prove her stripes as a manager.

When she wasn't boosting things for Jamal (more on that in a bit), she was doing her best to get Elle to remain clean and use her pain to actually make a good recording session, along with getting rid of all the tacky eyelashes and stuff on her as well. I love this side to Cookie and I have to admit that Elle seemed like a slightly neutered version of Love's own wild child reputation of yesteryear as well. Character wise, I want some more scenes with Cookie and Elle.

As for Jamal - well, this was a massive episode for him, wasn't it? On one hand we had Cookie getting him tweeted by a sports star, setting up live interviews and also having the world hear two of his songs. It was actually going pretty well for Jamal, except for the fact that he closeted himself by admitting there was no special lady in his life, which did not go down well with Michael.

I've mentioned in previous episodes that I didn't feel we were getting a lot on Michael and this episode we did. As in the imminent death knell of his relationship with Jamal. We had Cookie basically forecasting their doom by going on about Jamal's rising fame and Jamal's schedule putting Fire Island on hold along with concealing his sexuality. One step forward Jamal, several ones backwards - not good mate.

Of course if all that wasn't enough to spell the near end for Jamal and Michael, then the arrival of Olivia and Lola certainly will. It looks like Jamal is Lola's daddy with Jussie Smollett's real life BFF Raven Symone playing the role of Olivia as well. This isn't a plotline I was hoping for and I'm not sure of Olivia's motives either. She didn't exactly come across pretty well in the last scene but I'll see how this one plays out before judging too harshly.

As for the rest of the episode - what exactly are Vernon and Andre in cahoots over? Taking Empire from Lucious probably. I'm actually surprised that Vernon figured out that Lucious killed Bunky and even more surprised that he went to the lengths he did to cover for Lucious as well but it does give him a hold over things now. Assuming Andre doesn't live up to his threat that is.

As for Hakeem - he got a new song, but mainly because he spent most of his time projecting his anger onto both Cookie and Tiana into his new hit. It's great that they inspired a song for him but Hakeem seriously needs to get over himself as well though. I'm glad Jamal called him out on a few choice things this week as well.

Also in "Out, Damned Spot"

Ah, the Shakespearean quotes for episodes title are great, aren't they?

Cookie: "Oh and Anika, this is an ass."

Cookie didn't take Lucious/Anika's engagement well but she should be more worried about the latter trying to turn Porscha against her.

Cookie: "You should start preparing yourself. Fame changes people."
Michael: "What should I do?"

Jamal: "You come first, you know that."
Michael: "First and second if we're keeping score."

Maybe it's because Ilene Chaiken is an executive producer/writer for this show, but I can't be the only one to see some parallels/shades of Dana/Lara from The L Word's first season with Jamal/Michael's current story line.

Anika (re Jamal's song): "I assumed it was a demo."
Cookie: "You would cos you're a hater."

Cookie: "Ex-wife."
Elle: "Darling, don't be shy. We're all someone's ex-wife."

Elle really does seem like an odd signing for Empire Records but perhaps that's a good thing as well.

Vince Boy (to Cookie/Porscha): "I'm only doing this because you two are hilarious. What's the name of the song?"

Lucious got Anika's father to give him an experimental cocktail from Russia in order to combat his ALS as well in this episode. Not to mention that Vernon is aware of Andre's bipolar and Cookie seemed attracted to new security head, Malcolm.

Michael: "What happened to not caring about fame and money? Weren't you all about the music?"
Jamal: "You really don't get it, do you? This is about the music."

Standout music: Jamal's "I Wanna Love You", Hakeem's "Can't Trust 'Em" and Elle's "Take Me To The River", even if the latter song was intentionally ropey.

Andre (to Vernon): "One more thing. You put your hands on me and I will slit your throat."

Chronology: Not long from where "Dangerous Bonds" left off. I love that Anika made a point of mentioning that Lucious proposed to her on a Wednesday too.

My favourite episode so far. While I don't know about the Jamal having a kid plot or the imminent split with him and Michael, I do think "Out, Damned Spot" had so many great moments for the character and it was nice to see other characters like Vernon showing their hand as well in the scheme of things too.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Review of Empire's 1x05: "Dangerous Bonds"

Written by Malcolm Spellman
Directed by John Singleton

Jamal (to Hakeem): "Don't underestimate me!"

Damn you, Andre! I really want to like you but you and Rhonda played extremely dirty this week and thanks to the both of you, both Jamal and Hakeem are at loggerheads with each other. It was bad enough the pair of you decided to out Tiana and India (which also outed both Lucious and Hakeem's not surprising double standards) but putting Jamal in danger by getting Hakeem's idiot crew to attack his recording session was a new low though.

I liked that Jamal managed to hold his ground against Hakeem's crew, even if one of people did get shot during the short lived robbery but while Jamal's anger was justified, a part of me was a little disappointed that he didn't give Hakeem the benefit of the doubt though. I actually felt bad for the latter when Jamal punched him in the stomach and stormed off. I hope we don't have to wait too long before things are resolved though.

I know both Andre and Rhonda are desperate for the former to be Lucious's successor but their actions in this episode were just reckless. They nearly could've gotten Jamal killed and their outing of Tiana (via that fucking site whose name I will not mention) was just pure sleazy. I did love that Tiana held her own and that Cookie encouraged her to use being outed as an advantage as did Lucious when it came to continuing to work with Hakeem for the video as well.

I don't even know why Hakeem was so mad as well. It's not like he was being faithful to Tiana in the first place. He had absolutely no right to be annoyed that she has a girlfriend and I was beyond delighted that Tiana didn't stand for his bullshit either and told him off in front of his crew. That being said, musically they still are a great team. Hakeem just needs to get over himself though.

Moving away from the music plots, it wasn't just Andre being all reckless in this episode. Cookie got tricked into testifying against a shooter who murdered an FBI agent and spent most of the episode mistaking a present from Lucious as a sign that she was about to be killed, which then resulted in her getting an innocent bloke shot instead. Bad move there, Cookie.

When this episode wasn't focusing on Lucious and Cookie's anniversary, Lucious was then planning to marry Anika and get her father to give him a clean bill of health before Empire went public. I liked that we got to meet Anika's parents and to be fair, this hasn't been the worst thing that Lucious has done so far on the show.

Also in "Dangerous Bonds"

Cookie's blonde hair in flashbacks is something to be seen to be believed. It was also nice that we got to see Carol again.

Cookie (to Agent Carter, re Frank): "I just snitched on him in court. Dead bitch walking that's me."

Only one Cookie/Lucious scene in this episode and no Cookie/Anika interaction either. Boo Boo Kitty got rested for an episode.

Hakeem: "We're supposed to be a team. Whatever you do reflects off me. What the hell is you doing?"
Tiana: "Stop yelling at me."

When are we going to see Jamal film a video? Hakeem's already gotten ahead of him there.

Jamal (to thug): "Tell Hakeem his sissy ass brother ain't stupid and he ain't scared."

Dr Calhoun (re Anika): "I don't want her to ever know."
Lucious: "You have my word."

Both Michael and Becky were missing in this episode. I'm surprised we didn't see either of them during the last moments of Jamal's recording session.

Lucious: "Let's look at it from a mathematical perspective. Your girlfriend has a girlfriend, add that up."
Hakeem: "Two."
Lucious: "Two girlfriends. It's a mathematician's dream."

Standout music: Jamal's new and improved version of "Keep Your Money", Hakeem/Tiana's "Drip Drop" (file under guilty pleasure) and Anthony Hamilton's "The Point Of It All".

Cookie: "It's almost morning and even vampires got manners."
Lucious: "Did I wake you up from your coffin?"

Chronology: Not long from where "False Imposition" left off.

Now this was a brilliant episode. While "Dangerous Bonds" wasn't either Cookie or Andre at their best, they did cause some great moments and the back and forth between Jamal and Hakeem's musical moments was the highlight of course.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Review of Revenge's 4x17: "Loss"

Written by Joe Fazzio
Directed by Helen Hunt

Margaux (to Victoria): "Emily cornered me on the street. She said she wanted peace, she gave me her word but then she pushed me."

I was hoping this episode was going to be the last of Emily and Margaux's battle. For a slight moment, it almost looked like that was going to happen when Emily actually handed her real birth certificate over to Margaux. Then that moment happened and suddenly things became ten times worse.

Much as I've hated where Margaux has been taken as a character these last few episodes, she has my sympathy for losing her baby - Victoria too for that matter. However, grief stricken as she may be, blaming Emily (who also is blaming herself) was a pretty callous thing for her to do and it's obviously going to escalate things now.

Victoria was keeping to her side of the bargain by not going after Emily and even spent the last few episodes dissuading Margaux's revenge mission but now we've got this whole new rivalry between Victoria and Emily where the latter is genuinely innocent as well. That's going to be trying in the next few episodes.

Overall, this wasn't the greatest of episodes for Margaux, even without her tragic loss. Her attempts of going after Jack became foiled after Emily and company realised it was the judge who was in her pockets and Ben played his role nicely in the latter being forced to go in favour of Jack. On another plus side - how great was it that Stevie returned in this episode?

Even if it meant some of the usual Jack angst (though he showed some awareness during one scene), having Stevie both in the mix and privy to the Emily/Amanda thing actually made her even that bit more fantastic to watch. Can we keep Stevie for the remainder of the season? She even livened David up in some of his scenes, though to be honest, he was actually likeable and useful throughout the whole episode. I loved that he was able to comfort Emily at the end of the episode and give her sensible advice too. I just wish we had seen that David earlier in the season.

Also in the Jack related plots this week - we got the introduction of social worker, Tony who seemed a little put out by Jack's working/living/family stuff but as soon as Nolan championed Jack, he was a little won over - by Nolan. We've had a few teases this season of Nolan may be getting a male love interest and despite his sham marriage, it looks like he might be in there with Tony after all.

Speaking of Louise - am I glad the Lymon stuff got dealt with quickly. His body was found, Louise lied to Ben about what happened but then told Nolan the truth later in the episode. I don't know where else they can go with this Louise/Nolan sham marriage storyline but I really don't want Louise turning on Nolan though. Can the show avoid going down that road, pretty please?

Also in "Loss"

Emily having nightmares of the night she was taken away from her father was a nice tie into the Jack/Carl plot.

Emily: "This is between you and me. You leave Jack out of it."
Margaux: "Emily, you started this. Whatever happens to Jack is on your hands."

Margaux being the one to go against the Wing in Daniel's name instead of Emily was a better plot twist. Her motives were sympathetic too.

Emily: "I'm holding to our truce, Victoria. I don't want any more loss."
Victoria: "Neither do I."

Emily (re Margaux): "Take care of her or I will."
Victoria: "Spoken like a true pacifist."

The horrible thing is that Margaux's miscarriage was so heavily telegraphed in this episode in nearly every scene she appeared in.

Margaux (to Victoria): "I just want to keep my baby safe."

Emily: "I propose a truce to protect the people we have left."
Margaux: "Do you think I'm a fool?"
Emily: "Just the opposite. I believe you're a good person, Margaux who got caught up in this. We can clear Daniel's name together. You have my word."

Standout music: Ben Howard's "She Treats Me Well"

Emily (re Margaux): "It was an accident."
Victoria: "Around you, there are no accidents."

Chronology: From where "Retaliation" left off.

I loved this episode. "Loss" might have not been subtle within the slightest at hinting at what was going to happen with Margaux but between Nolan potentially getting a new love interest, Emily wanting to end the cycle of vengeance and Stevie's return, this was a brilliant episode.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, March 23, 2015

American Horror Story: Hotel - Further Cast Regulars Announced EDITED

I know this news is nearly over a week old and I should've posted it earlier but I got distracted by other things. So, American Horror Story: Hotel - thanks to Paleyfest, we know that Lady Gaga won't be the only one checking in this upcoming season.

Matt Bomer was announced as the second cast member during the event. Having already appeared as the ill fated Andy in Freak Show, Bomer will be a regular for the fifth season and while the actor didn't disclose his role or whether or not his character will have a romance with Lady Gaga, I am beyond delighted we'll be seeing him as a regular on the show.

Keeping with the returns, Wes Bentley has also been cast as a regular for Hotel. The actor who played Edward Mordrake in Freak Show also has his character for the upcoming season under wraps but given how superb he was during his guest appearance last season, I'm really glad that Ryan Murphy and company have decided to get Bentley back as a regular.

Of course, a new face to the whole franchise and cast as a regular too is Cheyenne Jackson. The actor who previously had a recurring role on the second season of Glee will be checking into the series and while we don't know who he'll be playing, it does seem to round off a list of gorgeous guys being added into the mix. Is it too much to hope that out of the three new leading men that one of them will be playing a gay character every bit as charismatic, likeable and heroic as the one Sarah Paulson played during Asylum? The last thing we need is another Dell or Stanley, right?

Editing this blog entry because it's now been revealed that Chloe Sevigny is also going to be in Hotel as a regular. Last seen as the tragic Shelley in Asylum, Sevigny who previously voiced her dissatisfaction is now the second female regular for the upcoming season, after Lady Gaga of course. Welcome back, Chloe. Here's hoping your character lasts longer than six episodes this time.

However in some less great but expected news, Jessica Lange has confirmed that she will not be a part of the upcoming season at all. Though given that Hotel is being mooted as a reboot for the franchise, she might not be the only old face not returning but maybe that's not a bad thing. I do hope that we might get Lily Rabe or Kathy Bates/Angela Bassett back but an entire new cast could be a great way of pushing the franchise forward.

What do you think of the casting so far? Who would you like to see check in Hotel this year?

AHS: Hotel Spoilers:

American Horror Story: Hotel will begin filming later in the year and air in October on FX for US viewers.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Glee - 2009/Dreams Come True (Series Finale Review)

See the world not as it is but as it should be.

The day has finally come and Glee is officially done and dusted and it's final two episodes - the flashback of 2009 and the flash forwarding of Dreams Come True merited their own blog. Here we go.

Six Years Ago: Pulling off a flashback episode that would hark back to and fill in the gaps of the Pilot episode was never going to be a simple task. Aside from the absence of Cory Monteith and the fact our cast have grown a lot since 2009, there's also the thing of not being able to recapture the magic of former days but the penultimate episode certainly took a joyous stab at it as Finn was poignantly alluded to at the right moments and we got to see how Rachel, Kurt, Artie, Mercedes and Tina all came to join Will's Glee club once again with a reprise of their audition music (as well as an unseen duet with Rachel/Kurt with Popular) and of course, another showing of Don't Stop Believing with Finn from the actual pilot episode. That was one of several moments in this two-parter that made me want to cry.

Hey Sugar: Of course re-exploring the opening episode did have some other mixed results. I had forgotten how condescending Rachel was towards Mercedes's talents, how manipulative Terri had been during her marriage to Will or that Burt wasn't always the most open minded during some of his early scenes with Kurt, not to mention how horrible both Karofsky and Puck were to Kurt at times too (as well as their horrid mocking of Tina's fake stuttering). However what I did find a little humorous was that Mercedes actually met Blaine and neither character actually remembered the encounter (granted how many times do you remember someone asking you for sugar?). It was a nice way of sliding Blaine into the events of the show's very beginning too.

Enemies/Friends/Enemies/Friends: The ongoing love/hate story between Will Schuester and Sue Sylvester came to it's natural conclusion in both episodes. I laughed when it was revealed that they were basketball buddies originally before they embarked on a six year love/hate campaign with each other. Watching both of them grow through the final two episodes was perfect. I'm not surprised that Will became principal of McKinley and had several different glee clubs and Sam as his second in command while Sue and Becky's reunion and the former becoming Vice President was the very thing I bought the show doing. Also, the more said about Will and Sue's duet of The Winner Takes It All, the absolute better. Oh and poor Brad.

Having It All: At it's heart, this show has always been feel good so learning that by 2020, most of our gang are successes is more than fine with me. Kurt and Blaine as influences on the future LGBTQ youth was wonderful as was Rachel carrying their future offspring, bagging a Tony Award and marrying Jesse while Artie and Tina made a movie together and got back together while Mercedes had a successful career. Speaking of Rachel - I really liked hearing This Time as well as Mercedes's Someday We'll Be Together and Will's Teach Your Children. Musically, both parts certainly hit it out of the ballpark for me.

They Lived: However the best part of this episode was the final five minutes. Literally seeing every character (except Marley but she's Supergirl nowadays) who has ever been in New Directions/Troubletones etc singing out One Republic's I Lived was a fist to the air moment of triumph following Sue's beautiful speech about the Glee club (see top quote) and spotting the various characters past and present was a joy to watch as well (though Terri being there was a little strange). I also love that the show dedicated the Auditorium to Finn as a parting shot to the series. Six seasons, over 700 musical numbers and 121 episodes, the show has finally come to an end. It hasn't always been the easiest of rides but it's hard to deny the impact the show has had on television (can you imagine both Nashville and Empire being on television without this show getting there first?) but as Rachel put it herself “Being a part of something special does not make you special, something is special because you are a part of it.” This show has definitely gone down in television for the iconic piece it was and these final two episodes gave the series the send off it deserved and that we as viewers deserved as well.

Don't Stop Believing:
I Lived:

It's been an interesting six years, Glee but you went out in style.