Jessica Jones, Supergirl and Female Superheroes

While Marvel seems to have taken over the blockbuster movie world, a common criticism is the lack of good female roles in the films (probably to do with many originating years ago in a time when most heroes were of course men!) However in 2015 a few are finally filtering through – to the TV world at least!

Netflix announced a deal for Marvel TV shows a while back and I know I was one of those who scoffed at the thought. However, Neflix’s track record for original drama has turned out to be pretty damn good. First out of the blocks was Daredevil starring Brit Charlie Cox. Showrunners Drew Goddard and Steve DeKnight were graduates of the Joss Whedon school and the show was noticeably darker and more brutal than the family friendly Marvel films. Chief villain Wilson Fisk played by Vincent D’Onofrio was terrifying but a fantastically complex and interesting character. Personally I enjoyed the show but have never found Matt Murdock a believable superhero – he can HEAR the punches?? huh?

Autumn 2015 saw the launch of Supergirl on CBS (although thanks to an internet leak, me and thousands of others saw the pilot over the summer.) Then Netflix would release Jessica Jones in November. Continue reading Jessica Jones, Supergirl and Female Superheroes

Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black is THE BEST Netflix series! The streaming service ventured into original programming with House of Cards first – a US adaptation of the British black comedy political series from the 1980s (I think) that featured Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart, whose catchphrase, ‘you may think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment’ and his devilish asides to the camera were deliciously Machiavellian. The US version stars Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood and Robin Wright as his wife Claire. Produced by David Fincher, it was the sort of high profile, prestige drama that really put Netflix on the map. Very enjoyable and well made, House of Cards was a big hit, and the first of the Netflix model of releasing an entire season on the same day that made binge-watching a real trend.

Then in the summer of 2013, the first series of Orange is the New Black arrived. Based on the book of the same name by Piper Kerman, it stars Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman, a blonde yuppie whose past with a drug running girlfriend leads to her being sentenced to 10 months in a minimum security prison. OITNB came from producer Jenji Kohan, creator of Weeds starring Mary Louise Parker (not a show I ever watched) and had a few familiar faces. Kate Mulgrew from Star Trek Voyager as Russian cook Red, Jason Biggs from the American Pie films as Piper’s fiance Larry, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning and Laura Prepon plus a lot of new faces. The show can be hard to categorise – indeed, it’s moved from drama to comedy in award show categories as it really is a dramedy! Piper’s fish out of water story is the way in to a world peopled with so many fascinating and diverse characters.

Continue reading Orange is the New Black

Glee Season 6 – One last hurrah!

Glee’s final season is about halfway through and I thought I’d add my thoughts on what is probably one of my all time favourite shows and how its final run is going.

Since the death of Cory Monteith, the show has been on a bit of a downward slide. Let’s be honest, the show really should have wound up after the original cast graduated at the end of season 3. The split between McKinley and New York in season 4 was pretty up and down partly down to the incredibly bland bunch of newbies – Jake, Marley, Ryder and Kitty were no Kurt, Rachel and Mercedes.

Continue reading Glee Season 6 – One last hurrah!

In Praise of Fargo

When it was announced there was to be a TV version of the Coen brothers movie, Fargo, not too many people were optimistic. It’s one of their most beloved and quirkiest movies, and who could possibly replace Frances McDormand as Marge, one the best movie cops ever.

Therefore it was a huge – and pleasant – surprise that it ended up being one the best shows of the year (and was voted the number 1 by TV critics overall)

The show was NOT a remake thankfully, but shared a lot of tonal similarities with the movie. Hapless dork Lester Nygaard (the fabulous Martin Freeman) is pretty similar to William H Macy’s Jerry Lundegaard in the film, but watching how conniving and selfish Lester becomes over the course of the 10 episodes was a lot of fun. Billy Bob Thornton’s bizarre wig was off putting at first, but as hitman Lorne Malvo, he was brilliantly menacing. Like The Terminator, this wasn’t someone to be trifled with.

However, the real star of the show was unknown actress Allison Tolman as dogged deputy Molly Solverson. As clever and determined as Marge Gunderson, Tolman’s Molly is a beacon of decency and intelligent level-headed¬† detective work while surrounded by knucklehead cops and FBI agents. The gentle romance between Molly and Colin Hanks single dad Gus was one of the sweetest relationships anywhere on TV this year.

Continue reading In Praise of Fargo

It’s Been a While…

 

Yeah, I know, no one but me is reading this so it really doesn’t matter how long it has been! I was interested to see the Breaking Bad mania here as I’ve had quite a few new TV obsessions since last posting. Coming soon (if I get the urge!)

Orange is the New Black (Netflix) – probably the best new show in years, prison dramady with a brilliant diverse cast

Transparent (Amazon) – the on demand revolution produces a groundbreaking comedy/drama classic

Once Upon a Time – since I discovered SwanQueen fan fiction, my Once interest has been reawakened.

Pretty Little Liars – another show I’ve been a casual fan of for a while but got more and more into

Orphan Black – fantastic sci-fi drama featuring a standout performance from Tatiana Maslaney as a bunch of clones

I’m also into:

Jane the Virgin, Major Crimes, Elementary, Haven, Game of Thrones, Covert Affairs, The Leftovers, Fargo, The Good Wife, Revenge, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, The Honourble Woman, Homeland, Borgen, Happy Valley, Line of Duty, Scott & Bailey, Broadchurch, Gracepoint, Faking It, Ugly Betty, Star Trek Voyager, Rizzoli & Isles, American Horror Story, Stalker, Arrow, Doctor Who and probably a whole lot more I can’t think of.

Continue reading It’s Been a While…

Breaking Bad – the Final Eight!

So the final eight episodes aired and I have to say, Breaking Bad did an amazing job of being THE show to talk about! These final eight episodes weren’t perfect, but they got to the action really quickly, with Hank confronting Walt by the end of the first episode back. After 5 seasons of Walt sneaking around the truth with his family, things came out – and went bad – very, very fast. Some painful family scenes as Marie finds out and confronts Skyler, and then Walt too at the craziest Mexican family meal out ever!

Continue reading Breaking Bad – the Final Eight!

Up to date with Breaking Bad and …

Yes, my Breaking Bad 5 day marathon is complete. 54 episodes watched – and I actually took my time a bit, slipping in a bit of reading, a game of badminton and a cinema trip yesterday too. So am I glad I caught up with a show many people rate so highly? Hell YES! I love it, although I didn’t enjoy the latest season – the 8 episodes making up the first half of season 5 – as much as the previous two. Season 5 definitely misses Gus Fring played by the superb Giancarlo Esposito. His exit in the final episode of season 4 was extremely memorable – that Terminator-like gruesome image of him above and the way it unfolded was just brilliant.

Continue reading Up to date with Breaking Bad and …

More Breaking Bad

OK, another day, another 11 episodes of Breaking Bad, and forget all that about not loving the show, I am addicted, hooked, will be needing Breaking Bad-Anonymous by the time I get to the end of the available episodes! I have two episodes left in the fourth season to watch and then the eight from season 5 and I just love the drama! The stakes are ramped up time and time again. You would think Walter being in danger of elimination by Gus would get tired after a while or that another Walt/Jesse argument would get old but it doesn’t!

Continue reading More Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad

You know there are some TV shows that are acclaimed, that people say you should watch but you just don’t get around to or don’t get into them? I tried with season 1 of The Wire and barely made it through one episode. One of these days I must try again… Friday Night Lights passed me by (American Football? No thanks!) I’ve only seen a few episodes of The Sopranos, I gave up after about 3 or 4 years of The West Wing. Never liked The Shield, Oz or Seinfeld. Watched about 6 episodes of Arrested Development and couldn’t see what the fuss was about.

After some hesitance, I did watch Deadwood, and enjoyed it but like Breaking Bad, the bleak situation and the repellant actions of the characters made it a show I admire more than love, and I have season 3 to watch still.

Well, this week I decided to have a go with Netflix and I think I definitely have had my ¬£5.99 worth for this month already! In the last 3 days I’ve watched the first three seasons of Breaking Bad – plus episode one of season 4. That’s a lot of meth cooking and deaths!

Continue reading Breaking Bad

OMG Nashville!!

The Nashville finale aired this week and oh my gosh, was there (slightly over the top) drama! Hayden Panetierre solidified her MVP status with a bruised and wounded performance mourning the death of her mother Jolene. Lots of sadness for Juliette, but Panetierre (and her make-up team!) showed the ranges of anger, guilt, grief and sadness really well. If there is any justice, she should be getting some mentions in the TV awards season.
The truth came out about Maddie’s parentage leading to Deacon falling off the wagon and going on a bender and showing what a nasty drunk he is. Getting to see what boozy Deacon was like helps you to understand why Rayna would have married Teddy and left him all those years ago.
The show ended on a typical TV cliffhanger, Rayna and Deacon’s car smashing into and intersection and tumbling to a standstill. We know they won’t die, but a dramatic conclusion to a great season!