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“Girls” Season 6 Episode 6 Recap: Full Disclosure

Despite the surprising maturity that Hannah found in the first half of “Girls’” final season, episode six proves trying in familiar ways. Hannah gets a ridiculous idea in her head: that she has no obligation to tell Paul-Louie she is bearing his child.

Kudos to the even-handedness of the writers for including characters that think this is an extremely unfair and unreasonable decision on Hannah’s part. Thankfully, towards the end of the episode, she starts to come around and she even tries to contact him. Hopefully she follows through.

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“Girls” Season 6 Episodes 4 & 5 Recap: On Hannah’s Pregnancy

So much happened in episodes 4 and 5 that it’s hard to know where to start. I resort to a list:

  • Hannah interviews a female writer that tells her “childlessness in the natural state of the female author.”
  • Hannah finds out (via an embarrassing encounter with a previous love interest/doctor) that she is pregnant from her rendezvous with the surf camp instructor in episode one.
  • Hannah decides to keep the baby even though she has a mounting list of reasons why she probably isn’t ready.
  • Jessa and Adam decide to make a movie together about their past with Hannah. Jessa doesn’t like Adam’s representation of his previous relationship.
  • Marnie is still seeing Desi, but in therapy. And her narcissism is at peak Marnie. She declares that she has bruises all over her body from the two-hour massages that she needs in order to deal with the stress of Desi’s addiction.
  • Ray realizes that Marnie is cheating on him and he eventually breaks up with her.
  • Ray’s friend Hermie dies suddenly, leaving Ray to reevaluate his own life.
  • Elijah does not take the news of Hannah’s pregnancy very well because he’s feeling particularly left behind compared to the life achievements of his friends. He tells Hannah that she’ll be a terrible mother.
  • Hannah’s mother, Loraine, also doesn’t like the news of the pregnancy and she tells Hannah, “Every time I look at your baby, I’m going to see my own death.”

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Don’t Switch Consoles Yet

On March 3rd, Nintendo released their newest gaming console — the Switch — and it looks like it is on track to be another failure. Do not get me wrong here, I have nothing but love for Nintendo, but sometimes Nintendo irks me more than a crying baby in a movie theater.

The first problem is: March…? Seriously, why on earth would they release a gaming system in March? Especially since the Switch will be hitting shelves with only nine games available. Instead of releasing the system immediately, why doesn’t Nintendo wait until November 2017, when most gamers are in the market for new systems, and the number of games accompanying the system break double digits? The news first broke about the Switch in October, 2016, and this would offer Nintendo an additional nine months to promote and manufacture hype.

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“Girls” Season 6 Episode 3 Recap: American B***h

Continuing the “bottle episode” theme, this segment shows only Hannah in the apartment of a literary idol, Chuck Palmer (Matthew Rhys). Hannah wrote a piece for a feminist blog about Chuck’s alleged probably-not-consensual sexual encounters with college-age girls on his book tour. Seeing the article, he invites her over to his apartment so he can prove her wrong.

Where “Girls” characters sometimes amount to cartoonish impressions instead of believable humans, this episode defies expectation. We expect Chuck to be portrayed as some obviously bad person that forced himself on an innocent girl. But we quickly see, through Rhys’ charming performance, all the difficult intricacies that surround issues of consent. He is portrayed more wholistically than we might expect: a man with a deep fatherly love for his daughter, a complicated history, and what seems like the capacity for vested interest and affection in women he likes.

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“Girls” Season 6 Episode 2 Recap: Hostage Situation

As I was watching the latest episode of “Girls” I couldn’t help but assume viewers all across the country were engaged in a collective slow clap. For the first time in five years, the characters start to say what the audience is thinking. The two most poignant examples are a paramount “GROW UP!” from Jessa to Shosh, and Hannah says to Marnie, “It can be pretty hard to have observations about other people when you’re only thinking about yourself. I would know.”

The creators made a fun and effective exploration into a genre-style episode that mirrored a horror film. Hannah follows Marnie and Desi on a trip to Poughkeepsie because the ex-spouses are sleeping together but they don’t want Marnie’s steady boyfriend, Ray, to find out. Hannah tags along so Ray won’t be suspicious. Super romantic.

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“Girls” Season 6 Episode 1 Recap: All I Ever Wanted

The sixth premiere of “Girls” started off its final season on Sunday with a special 40 minute episode and guest appearance from Riz Ahmed. The episode reaffirms exactly what we’ve known for the past five seasons: that these characters are, well, girls. This first episode focuses mostly on Hannah’s story, and a little on Marnie’s—a continuation of a stylistic change we saw last season in which the friends spend most of their time away from each other.

Hannah starts off the episode with relative professional success, a Modern Love column resulting in a paid writing assignment from a magazine. She is expected to write about a surf camp in Montauk but she Hannahs the opportunity in about half a day by immediately hating the entire experience and functionally abandoning the project to hook up with the camp counselor and “find herself.” Again.

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What is a Pilot Season and Why Should You Care?

An Amazon Prime subscription is a bit like a closet with too many clothes in it: every once in awhile you discover some new thing you forgot you paid for and are pleasantly surprised by it. Among these things is a video streaming service that features a variety of tv and movies, including some originals. There’s also a nifty thing called a pilot season. Viewers can watch a bunch of different pilots, fill out a survey, and Amazon uses the info to determine which ones will become a full series. Essentially, Amazon has turned their entire subscriber pool into a focus group, a market innovation that gives us one more thing to love about the streaming economy.

m2_001_trans_1sht_V1.inddThe concept already has a few success stories to boast, most notably Transparent, which earned Amazon 10 of its 16 Emmy nominations this year, and it won five last year. The show’s lead, Jeffrey Tambor, not only won the 2015 Emmy for Best Lead Comedy Actor, but the equivalent titles at the SAG and Critics’ Choice Awards as well. (I would argue this show shouldn’t be competing in the “comedy” categories based on its content, but I won’t waste your time with that soapbox right now.) There’s also one of my new personal favorites, Mozart in the Jungle, which won the 2016 Golden Globes for Outstanding Comedy or Musical Series and Outstanding Actor in a Comedy or Musical Series. (Transparent was also nominated in both categories).

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Sexy Panties and Prison: What Orange is the New Black Can Teach Us About The Regulatory State

Orange is the New Black

Warning: The following post contains Orange is The New Black spoilers.

If you are a fan of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, you already know that far too much of Season 3 was spent telling the tale of Piper’s Prison Panties. As a fan of the show, I was a bit sad that the screen time invested in this plotline was not spent on some of the more interesting ones. But as a libertarian, I must say that the way this story concluded in Season 4 provides a great parable for how regulation hurts people in the real world.

Let’s start with a quick recap of what happened in Season 3: The fictional intimate apparel company Whispers made a deal with Litchfield Prison that allowed them to use inmates as cheap labor. As one of the inmates selected to sew the sexy underwear together, Piper figured out that by cutting the fabric differently, she could actually make more panties than what Whispers asked of her. This inspires a new business venture: wearing the surplus underwear for a few days and then selling them to people who are into that sort of thing. By the end of Season 3, Piper has established an entire supply chain: numerous inmates wear the underwear, a naive prison guard sneaks them out, and Piper’s brother sells them on the outside.
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The Scene from HBO’s Silicon Valley that Everyone Should be Talking about

Silicon Valley’s (the place, not the show) not-so dirty little secret got its moment under the Hollywood spotlight on this past Sunday’s penultimate episode of Silicon Valley’s (the show, not the place) third season.

Silicon Valley, created by Mike Judge, is perhaps the most honest portrayal of what work and life is like in California’s digital gold mining community.  And if the antics of Richard and team’s Pied Piper start-up company  seem sometimes a little far fetched, the final scene of this episode, titled “Daily Active Users,” represents an all too honest peak behind the curtain.  Audiences are finally brought face to face with human beings in a third world country (think Bangladesh or India) who wake up each day and go to work in a large office filled with dozens if not hundreds of others who do nothing all day but click on ads, download apps, log into sites, and various other tasks that real everyday users of the internet engage in purposefully.

Here is that final scene…

 

However, these people do it simply to get paid on average, the equivalent of $1 a day. Their “work” can be worth millions to their employers and sometimes billions to the tech companies of Silicon Valley like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, What’s App, etc..  Really, any company that bases its value to investors and potential buy-out suiters on a high DAU count. That’s Daily Active Users to us laymen.  In contrast, a company like Uber may not utilize these click farms because they are providing an actual real world service – connecting people with cars and nowhere to be, to people with no cars and somewhere to be.  So it’s kind of hard to fake actual people getting rides in actual cars.  Although I do admit to a possible future where people, or AI robots, could be paid to book Uber rides around town just to boost their DAU count.

Facebook, for instance, now claims that it has a DAU count of over 1 billion. That’s one billion people everyday, logging into Facebook and engaging.  How many of them are actually using it for its intended purpose of connecting with friends and family, sharing stories, photos and life events? Well considering that over 1 billion of Facebook’s total 1.59 billion user accounts exist outside of Europe and North America, I imagine it is fair to say that a plethora of those accounts are are bogus.  Read this account published by Business Insider three years ago which details some of the fakery behind all those likes, views, and followers that social media giants rely on for their billion dollar evaluations.  Emphasis mine.

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Hollywood’s REAL Trigger Warning Problem

Trigger warning: There are actual triggers and warnings ahead.  Please proceed with extreme caution.

Driving around any major boulevard, ride any busy subway, walk through any mall and you will notice them.  Movie posters, billboards, bus and train decals promoting the latest Hollywood action movie.  Photographic collages filled up with recognizable beautiful celebrities in sharp outfits and perfect poses.  Here are some popular examples.  And pay attention, there will be a quiz afterwards.  See ya on the other side.

So other than the fact that it’s sad how boring most movie posters have become over the years (the motif of the early Bond films is a lost art form) what is the one thing all these film poster have in common?

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3 Things the Netflix Series, The Ranch Gets Right

Netflix recently debuted a brand new traditionally produced sit-com series that is sitting pretty with a 4 1/2 star rating from their subscribers. Having recently finished watching this first season’s ten episodes, here are three things the series gets right:

1. Ashton Kutcher is front and center.

Kutcher in Bed

Ashton Kutcher stars as Colt Bennett, a washed-up college football QB, who is forced to move back home to the ranch he grew up on with his never-satisfied father, Beau (the great Sam Elliot), and smart-mouthed brother “Rooster” (Kutcher’s former That 70’s Show co-star Danny Masterson.) Mom, Maggie (Debra Winger) is living in her own Airstream behind the bar she owns due to her estranged relationship to husband Beau.

Ever since he debuted on That 70’s Show in the late 90s, Ashton Kutcher has proven himself to be a natural comedic actor with leading man looks.  In television land, this is hard to come by.  He’s maintained relevancy in pop-culture ever since we were introduced to him with stints like MTV’s Punk’d, a bunch of hit (and miss) feature films, as a successful venture capitalist and angel investor (AirBnB, Foursquare), stepping back into TV and into Charlie “Tiger’s Blood” Sheen’s shoes on Two & a Half Men, and bringing it full circle with this second outing co-starring to his former 70’s Show co-star Masterson. Through it all he’s been married to Demi Moore and now is married-with-children with another former 70’s co-star, Mila Kunis, yet somehow has seemingly maintained humility and stayed true to Chris.

While Ashton is clearly the lead of the show, Masterson, Elliott, the re-emerged Winger (Urban Cowboy) as Beau’s estranged wife, and Elisha Cuthbert (Kim “Kidnapped” Bauer from 24) as Colt’s corn-fed country-girl former high school sweetheart, round a solid cast.  The first few episodes take minute for everyone to gel, but once you know everyone and it feels like they know everyone, it’s a welcome sight when any one of them pops on screen with Kutcher who brings chemistry to each interaction.  The biggest surprise comes from the amount of depth that begins to percolate as the these honest familial relationships start to surface.  Sam Elliott and Debra Winger have both had long careers filled with terrific dramatic performances, that cache helps bring balance to what could easily have been a Duck Dynasty style sitcom. (I contend Duck Dynasty masquerades more as a reality show, when in reality it’s more situation comedy without the acting talent.)

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A Qualified Defense of Fuller House

I intended to watch only the first episode of Fuller House, treat it as a reunion special, and stop there. But the unexpected happened—whenever one episode finished, I found myself clicking on the next one.

Why? It’s not good. Critically speaking, this Full House sequel/spinoff is a bad show. It’s cheesy and predictable, loaded with unsubtle “wink wink, nudge nudge” references to its late ‘80s/early ‘90s heyday, not loaded with any kind of original comedic style, and occasionally downright dumb. (There’s a wrestling episode whose climax is the height of ridiculous stupidity, or perhaps “nadir” is the more appropriate term.) The show’s 31 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes comes as no surprise…and yet, neither does its 81 percent audience approval rating on the same website.

fuller-house-01Despite Fuller House’s legion of faults, it’s actually kind of nice. It’s the television equivalent of catching up with old friends you haven’t seen since grade school. Sure, on the surface level, you’ve grown apart during the intervening decades, but you’re still peers with a shared history that leads to a sort of unconditional acceptance. A new show with new characters could never get away with all these flaws.

If the show chose to focus on the original adults, then this probably would have felt like nothing more than a cheap rehash, and it would have gotten old very quickly. From what we see, none of them have changed since the ‘90s. Danny’s still got a clean streak. Jesse’s still vain. And Joey’s still clinging to his man-childness.

But the focus wisely shifts to the girls who have grown up since the original series. Yes, it’s absolutely contrived that the premise is a gender-reversed version of the original show, with recent widow D.J. raising three boys with the help of sister Stephanie and best friend Kimmy, and yet it feels appropriate, even without youngest sister Michelle. (I certainly can’t blame the Olsen twins for not wanting to re-utter their old catchphrases that pre-date their memories. The show has a little too much fun picking on them about it, though.) (more…)

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Have you seen The Man in The High Castle?

Man In CastleThe beloved holidays, perfect for spending time with friends and family. So naturally, I saturate mine with all the series I failed to keep pace with during the rest of the year, among them Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle.  I caught the pilot when it premiered back in the beginning of 2015 and was anxiously awaiting November for the release of the rest of the series.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The shows premise is a simple one – imagine the Nazi’s had won the Second World War.  Interested yet?  You should be.

The show is based upon a novel with the same name by Phillip K. Dick.  Now, there are a variety of difference between the book and the show, and I am not really interested in contrasting the two mediums.  I will however add that I have found the shows creation of the character the SS Obergruppenführer John Smith (played by Rufus Sewell) is really a brilliant addition.

The show is very different from most of the other shows on television.  The show is deliberate, in its decisions to create characterization and unravel the plot, something that is a real treat in this era of ADHD inspired storytelling and contrite characterization that is modern television.  The period nature of the show, makes it different and memorable.

What I found most I enjoyed most from the show, was the not-so-subtle political dialog unfolding on the screen.  The show presents three separate interpretations of the United States as it could have been and in doing so forces the viewers to consider many of the most pressing political issues of today.  Characters find themselves living in a surveillance state, robbed of their right to bear arms, and deprived of their freedoms of speech and assembly.  Some of these themes are concepts which Dick explores in his original work; but liberty minded individuals cannot help but recognize that many of these issues are the same political issues with which libertarians currently grapple.  The show is worth a serious look (if you have seen it already it is worth watching again) as it has just been renewed for a second season.  For liberty lovers everywhere, defenders of natural rights and the rule of law, you cannot afford to miss it.

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Doctor Who Season 9 Ranked From Worst To Best

SPOILERS ahead.

My previous ranking of every modern Doctor Who episode had become out of date…until now. Series 9 wrapped up earlier this month, and this year’s Christmas special was the last new episode until probably next fall. Time for an update.

I’ve inserted the new episodes into the overall worst-to-best rankings, which debuted in four parts early this year:

I’m Sorry, I’m So Sorry

Are These Good Episodes?

These Episodes Are Cool

Fantastic!

But if you just want to focus on the newest season, I’m including the Series 9–only list below (same text I’m inserting into the full list). Note that this was a more serialized season than previous years. It featured a mix of conventional two-parters (The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, Under the Lake/Before the Flood, and The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion) and episodes that directly continued into each other while each maintaining its own flavor (The Girl Who Died/The Woman Who Lived and Face the Raven/Heaven Sent/Hell Bent). The episodes in the latter category are separately ranked because their different flavors merit individual attention.

This was an excellent season on the whole, a big improvement over the past few years, with no real clunkers in the mix. But, as always, some are better than others.

Again, SPOILERS!

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Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe from Worst to Best

The Internet clearly doesn’t have enough lists, so here’s another.

Many have attempted to rank the movies comprising the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fewer have dared to add the four complete seasons of MCU television and Netflix series into the equation. I shall somehow rise to this challenge to ensure the Internet does not experience a shortage of lists. This was not easy, Internet. I swear, the top six were all neck-and-neck, and it came down to a photo-finish.

This ranking is from worst to best, not horrible to great. I’ve enjoyed all of these to varying extents, and the “varying” is what I’m measuring. None are bad. Conversely, none are works of towering artistic genius either. But it’s all damn fine entertainment worth revisiting.

SPOILERS ahead.

So, with that warning out of the way…

Here…we…go! (more…)

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The Southern Hazzard of the Rebel Yell

In the wake of the horrific and senseless murders in Charleston, SC last week, national debate has sprung up once again about a flag.  The Civil War era Confederate Flag.  Not unlike the German Third Reich’s Nazi flag, for many, seeing the South’s Rebel Stars & Bars conjures up equally horrific memories of the vile treatment of scores of innocent human lives.  I get it.  Perhaps there are those that would seek to re-redefine the symbol of the swastika with the pre-Nazi factoid, that due to its original use as an ancient decorative symbol in eastern cultures, we shouldn’t allow the Nazis to commandeer such a worldly historical symbol.  Those that may make that argument will lose.  We will never be able to bring back those ancient glory days of when seeing a swastika was pleasing to the eye.  Unless you are a nazi sympathizer, Hitler & Co. have ruined the swastika or any incarnation or variation of it forever.  You can’t “un-see” the horrors its appearance summons, so to speak.

To many, the Battle Flag holds the same sad memories of murder, enslavement, and loss of human dignity.  However, because some Southerners (white or black) are simply proud of being from Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina or any other of the former confederate states, they like the image and feel proud to display it as prideful modern day Southerners.  This does not immediately qualify them as a racist.  Sadly, some opportunists use the flag as a political weapon to paint broad strokes on those who fly it to cause divisiveness for their own benefit.  If you make such judgements you are part of the problem, not the solution and not a very intelligent person. Outside of the personal use, if you ask me, the flag does not deserve to fly above any State building of these United States of America for the same reason we would never fly the Union Flag (or Union Jack) above a government building.  All y’all lost the war. ‘Merica!

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Party On, TCM

At the 6th annual TCM Classic Film Festival a couple months ago, my better half and I were thrilled to see plenty of old movies on the big screen.

We caught Gunga Din with an informative and humorous introduction by two special effects guys, Craig Barron and Ben Burt, who showed us video of the real-life Southern California locations that stood in for India. (The comparison of the movie’s precarious bridge over the chasm to the actual place was especially revelatory.)

We saw Too Late for Tears, a “lost” noir classic about the most cold-blooded killer you’ve ever seen (played by Lizabeth Scott). We saw Earthquake at an outdoor poolside screening introduced by one of its stars, Mr. Shaft himself, Richard Roundtree.

And we reveled in the classic screwball comedy The Philadelphia Story with a packed house at the fabled Chinese Theater — you couldn’t ask for a grander movie experience.

But our favorite moments of the festival weren’t particular screenings. They were meeting some of the more prolific members of one of Twitter’s most entertaining hashtags — #TCMparty..

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THIS is American Idol… Is it the Finale Yet?

Firstly, let me apologize for taking a break last week. But honestly, the show was too boring to spend much energy on.  As it is, this show is becoming a little too stretched out for 2 hours of programming.  We could easily fit everything into an hour, and it would be so much more enjoyable.  I’m basically falling asleep by the end of the 2 hours… at this point, I’m reconsidering my commitment to watching this season in real time.  What I would give to fast forward through commercials and all the unnecessary mishegoss.

Quentin went home, which was expected, and Rayvon won the fan save, yet again…

Harry Idol XIVSo here we are this week, with our Top 5 being dwindled to the Top 4 (without the fan save this week).  Before we get into the contestants, let’s discuss our favorite judges.  First, let’s talk about J Lo’s outfit.  It’s a little rough with the glittery leopard print – but if anyone can do it, she can.  That is all.

The themes for this week are 1) songs from the Judges’ home state (even though this show is not about the judges) and 2) the contestant’s “soul” songs – or, as Harry likes to put it – their “gravy” song.

So, we have New York for J Lo, New Orleans for Harry, and, naturally, Nashville for Keith… really?  Don’t you think we should be bringing in some classic Australian anthems here?

Lastly, Harry performed this evening (yummm… so dreamy.)

Now for the AI go getters…

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THIS is American Idol…Down to 6

“The American Classics”

We’re back for another riveting American Idol this week – not only do we have the (now standard) “Idol fan save,” but each contestant sings 2 songs!  Yikes!

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She started off the show with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.” I thought this was a killer song choice for her, and a great one to open the show, even though Keith questioned if America wanted to hear this song.  She sang it with such ease and grace.  As much as she wants to be a singing star, if she can act, I totally see her on Broadway.  She has the type of voice that makes one walk out of a theater singing show tunes for the next week.

For the second round she busted out some CCR with “Proud Mary,” and she definitely nailed it.  Her voice with her sparkly outfit was definitely a wow factor for everyone.

AI14_Clark-Beckham_MB0004Clark began his first of two performances with a little Stevie Wonder – jammin his guitar and killer vocals with the band to “Superstition, and lookin damn good while at it.  Overall a great start, as he received zero negative critiques from the judges (although Keith Urban did suggest how he could become a tad sexier, a la a pretty australian country singer we all know too well, by letting the guitar hang a little bit lower on his body) and he practically got a standing ovation from all the girls (and some guys) in the room.

He came back with a little Frank Sinatra’s “Moon River,” ditching his guitar for a spot at the piano.  But, I feel I almost don’t need to spend too much time here, because there is no doubt he is running away with this competition.

And then Keith comes back with a call back to round one… and it was pretty funny. With his only suggestion being to have the piano dropped a little lower and closer to the ground.

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Every Modern Doctor Who Episode Ranked From Worst To Best, Part 4: “Fantastic!”

[Updated with Season 9 episodes]

And here we are at last—the top episodes of modern Doctor Who. If you missed the earlier installments, you can start at the bottom with “I’m Sorry, I’m So Sorry,” then progress up through “Are These Good Episodes?” and “These Episodes Are Cool.” Or, if you want to focus on the positive, see below.

Remember: Spoilers!

Without further ado, Geronimo!

“Fantastic!”

DoctorWho_AmysChoice#28 Amy’s Choice: A dream-based episode where the stakes feel real. The set-up is intriguing with the characters not knowing which of the two realities is the dream, and it’s all grounded by a strong emotional core. I’m not sure how Amy fell in love with Rory back in these pre–Hitler-punching days, and that does mar the episode just a tad, but great stuff otherwise.

#27 Last Christmas: Another dreamy episode, but a totally different one: Doctor Who does Inception, guest starring Santa Claus. It’s one of those ideas that could easily have gone so wrong and yet somehow finds the sweet intersection of Christmas and sci-fi.

#26 Midnight: I wouldn’t want every episode to be like this, but this is a wonderfully tense change of pace, and one of very, very few Doctor Who episodes that could conceivably be staged as a play. All that repetition is unsettling, but it’s a good unsettling. (more…)

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Trailer Tuesday: “Scream: The TV Series”

What’s your favorite scary movie? Well, in this case, TV show?

Horror on television has famously become more and more popular with the rise in quality of TV in general.  Shows like “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story” have seen huge success, which obviously leads to producers thinking that they can make ANYTHING work.  Well, I hope that’s true!
The latest company to join the bandwagon is MTV, with its’ reboot of the “Scream” franchise…in TV form.

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Every Modern Doctor Who Episode Ranked From Worst To Best, Part 3: “These Episodes Are Cool”

[Updated with Season 9 episodes]

Now we’re getting into the good stuff, and we still have the best stuff to look forward to. How lovely. For anyone just tuning in, I started this worst-to-best ranking of modern Doctor Who two weeks ago with the weakest episodes in “I’m Sorry. I’m So Sorry,” continued with the middling ones in “Are These Good Episodes?” and here we are now in the penultimate entry:

(Spoilers!)

“These Episodes Are Cool”

Doctor Who 42#56 42: What should’ve been a wonderfully tense, 24-style thriller winds up being merely pretty good. Trivia as security questions? What?

#55 Tooth and Claw: A decent romp with a werewolf, ninja monks, and Queen Elizabeth. Not an all-time classic, but kind of fun.

#54 The Vampires of Venice: One that falls squarely in the “good dumb fun” category. The plot about fish aliens wanting to repopulate their species (while coincidentally resembling vampires) is kind of so-so, but the episode’s high on adventure and the Doctor makes a memorable entrance at Rory’s bachelor party.

#53 Deep Breath: Victorian society is awfully nonchalant about the sudden appearance of a dinosaur, isn’t it? Honestly, I’m getting tired of the Paternoster Gang by this point. The Sontaran is just too dense. But Peter Capaldi has some great scenes that save what’s otherwise the weakest introduction of a modern Doctor to date. And Clara starts to evolve into an actual character, thank goodness.

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AI featured

THIS is American Idol…and then there were 7

Here we are! Our Top 8 performing this week, with one going home, revealing the top 7.  After Daniel Seavey’s departure last week (thank the Lord), things were lookin up on our favorite singing competition show!  However, with the “Idol Fan Save” back again this week, I’m not convinced that unless a contestant has a vocal mishap or wardrobe malfunction that America can be trusted with these important decisions… though I hope so.

AI top 8

The Idol Fan Save (more like the East Coast Fan Save) puts me in a difficult position being in Los Angeles, and watching this “live”, because there is really no live involved, and this live fan vote already happened 3 hours ago!  So, I feel completely helpless sitting on my couch behind the screen of my laptop.  America: Please represent!

With two co-mentors this week (one country and one hip hop), the contestants were broken up into teams to work on their individual performances.  But in addition to the contestant performances, we have a lot of pros guest starring here as well… I’m predicting that as the contestant pool dwindles, the show will become more about over produced guest performances. So let’s get to it:

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AI featured

THIS is American Idol… Down to 8.

I missed last week! I mean, I didn’t miss the show, I just missed my post.  So sorry to ALL my fans and followers…

boy george 2 So before I get into the nitty gritty of this week (or the overall of this and last week), I have to take a  moment for my one true love, and the highlight that was last week’s episode – Boy George.  For anyone who doesn’t know, he was the guest mentor on last weeks episode, stepping in oh-so appropriately for 80’s night.  While I’m fully prepared to skip the contestant review of last week and jump straight to this week, I cannot let Mr. George go unrecognized.

My love for Boy George can best be summed up this way: you know you’ve met your future boy-george-back-whenhusband/soul mate when you learn that you have both dressed up as Boy George for halloween.  (To this day, it was one of my best costumes).  Boy George is the one who triggered my love for beautiful androgyny, with his sparkling eyes, delicate features, and perfectly primped and made-up face.  There was a time that Culture Club was my day in and day out soundtrack, and hearing any culture club song now is a totally fun trip down memory lane.  Needless to say, Boy George as the guest mentor on Idol was the greatest perk of the week!  And even with his short hair and frumpier body, he is still as striking and attractive as ever.

The scariest part was that some of these kids (Maddy Walker, mainly) had never even heard of him! Eeeeek!

On to this week… the week of Kelly Clarkson.

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