Archive for television series

Oscar-nominated Actor James Garner Dies at 86

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Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

Everyone has a favorite era of James Garner, surely … whether it was from his origins in oldies like "Maverick" or more classic tv years like "The Rockford Files" and a late-life reemergence with comedy in the series that witnessed the loss of John Ritter, "Simple Rules …" .

From the Los Angeles Times.

Actor James Garner, whose whimsical style in the 1950s TV Western “Maverick” led to a stellar career in TV and films such as “The Rockford Files” and his Oscar-nominated “Murphy's Romance,” has died, police said. He was 86.

There was no immediate word on a more specific cause of death. Garner had suffered a stroke in May 2008, just weeks after his 80th birthday.

Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

His quick-witted avoidance of conflict provided a refreshingly new take on the American hero, contrasting with the steely heroics of John Wayne and the fast trigger of Clint Eastwood.

Now this I remember as a terrific film, but wouldn't have thought most non-feminist or women's movement-ey folks would have nailed it right away as a James Garner role: the ultimate straight man in  Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" - post film-writer.  {Would love to hear anyone else's take on the differences between Hellman's words and the screenwriter's message …  but would they have made the flick at all now? A bit hilarious that the L.A. Times stayed with 'lesbian drama', below. Like 'The L Word' but with Audrey Hepburn?}

Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

His first film after “Maverick” established him as a movie actor. It was “The Children's Hour,” William Wyler's remake of Lillian Hellman's lesbian drama that co-starred Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.

The Youtubes obliged, here he is with Miss Hepburn:

One of the most remarkable facts to be found in Garner's obit was near the end. He had married his wife, television actress Lois Clark,  in 1957, and despite stormy weather, they remained wed. That's 56 or 57 years, by my math.

A life well lived, and well loved.

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New Year's Day marathons 2014

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newyeartv

Via.

Happy Endings (VH1, Starting at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 12 a.m. on January 2)

The Walking Dead (AMC, From New Year’s Eve until January 2)

The Tudors (BBC, 10 a.m. through next day)

Watch What Happens: Live (Bravo, 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.)

Rehab Addict (DIY, 7 a.m. through next day)

Deadly Women (ID, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Dance Moms (Lifetime, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.)

Best Ink (Oxygen, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beverly Hills Pawn (Reelz, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

The Twilight Zone (Syfy, 8 a.m. through next day)

NCIS (USA, 6 a.m. through next day)

Law & Order (WE, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. next day)

Burn Notice (ION, 2 p.m. through next day)

Home Improvement (Hallmark, 4 p.m. through next day)

Duck Dynasty (A&E, 7 p.m. through next day)

Tosh.0 (Comedy Central, 6 p.m. through next day)

Restaurant: Impossible (Food Network, 4 p.m. through next day)

 

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Video Mid Day Distraction- Wife recreates TV show intros tailored for husband to celebrate his birthday

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Why We Are Not Following The Following

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Guest post by skippy the bush kangaroo (@skippybkroo)

nobody likes good tv as much as we do, and nobody is as thrilled with the evolution of long-form story-telling on television as we are. add that to the fact that mrs. skippy loves kevin bacon, and we were incredibly excited to see the new fox tv series starring mr. bacon, known as "the following."

 photo following.jpg

"the following" which airs on mondays nights on fox-tv, tells the tale of an imprisoned serial killer played by james purefoy, who manages to communicate with his cultish acolytes on the outside to manipulate them into gruesome, bloody and shocking murders at his behest, like some sort of cross between charles manson and hannibal lecter. bacon plays the fbi agent who originally caught purefoy's character, and is now back on the case to try to figure out...wait for it..."the following."

now, we have no problem with explicit violence in service of a good scary or interesting story. we think breaking bad is one of the greatest piece of popular entertainment of all time, and we are big fans of dexter, justified, and the walking dead as well. but the difference between those afore-mentioned shows, the following, is simply this: "the following" sucks.

and it sucks in a big, big way. firstly, all the cops are really, really stupid. secondly, all the bad guys are really, really smart, and really, really evil. and that's about it. what other, little characterization there is seems to be lifted wholesale from a thousand previous police procedurals (bacon's character is world-weary! and alcoholic! purefoy's character is charismatic! and handsome! the black guy gets killed! almost right away!).

but wait! there's explicit violence, just like on those cable shows! stabbings! immolations! eye-gouging! and all in the name of edgar allen poe, who is supposedly the inspiration for all these killings, in the worst mis-reading of the works of american literary giant since disney animated the legend of sleepy hollow.

the problem with all this gore-nography, as we call it, is that there's nothing else very interesting in the show to hang it on. breaking bad isn't about drug dealers killing each other; it's an intricate study of the moral breakdown of a man already being beaten by the system. dexter isn't about slicing people up, it's a complicated analysis of the definitions of good and evil within each of us, asking if the indulgence of one can serve the other. and walking dead has zombies, so...

we expected so much more from kevin williamson, the creator and executive producer of the following. williamson wrote the scream films, which happily played with the tropes of horror movies even as they worked as a horror movies themselves. but in the following, williamson doesn't do anything with horror/serial killer tropes, other than steal them from thomas harris and criminal minds. even ryan murphy at least has fun juggling horror tropes around in american horror story. williamson seems to be writing this crap in his sleep, or else farming it out to some junior high creative writing class somewhere.

last week's episode was a prime example: the fbi followed (no pun intended) the clues to a specific individual's house. he wasn't home, but his wife was. the fbi interrogated her and decided she didn't know anything about the murderous cult her husband was involved with. now, at this point, we literally shouted at the tv "yeah, sure she doesn't! like paterno didn't know about sundusky!" but the fbi let her go back to her house, and sent one agent (the afore-mentioned one black guy in the cast) to guard her. even worse, he felt really safe turning his back on her in the kitchen where they keep all those knives and cutting implements. well, if you couldn't see his extremely bloody death coming a mile away, then we've got an original story about killing a man and hiding his still-beating heart under the floorboards to sell you.

there is something to be said for the subplot of two straight (bad) guys who pretended to be gay to get close to the ex-wife of purefoy's character in order to kidnap her son, only to later realize that maybe they liked being gay, but there's an evil girl involved who doesn't like them being gay, so she stabs one guy, who goes out and kidnaps an innocent lady and beats her up and keeps her in the basement. well, ok, there's really nothing to be said for that subplot, now that we write it out and look at it.

we are sorrier than you know to say this show is a turkey. we like to think that television has entered a second golden, or at least a silver, age of story-telling, with shows that demand actual attention paid by its audience, and multiple views of every episode to suss out the nuance and layers of human interaction. lost, the sopranos, fringe, as well as the shows mentioned above, are great examples of complex, substantive examinations of human folly.

"the following" is just a pale imitation, a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing. if you ask us if we are going to keep watching it, we'd quote poe's raven.

nevermore.

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The people have spoken. Now it's Bill Maher's turn.

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bill maher returns Jan 18 2013

A little birdie at Real Time just sent me this heads up. Set your DVRs.

Agree with him or disagree, Friday television isn't the same without Maher. Welcome back!

Now do me a teeny tiny favor Real Timers, and stop having Ann Coulter, Christine O'Donnell, and Darrell Issa on.

Oh, but I kid...

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Video Mid Day Distraction- TV Characters Dressed For Halloween

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Seemed appropriate for our cloudy, chilly, rainy day. Via.

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Video- First Trailer for HBO's "Newsroom"

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Damn, looks good. Interesting write up over at NPR, Aaron Sorkin's 'The Newsroom': The Ten Most Sorkin Things In The Trailer. Via Media Bistro.

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