Blogging for two

Don’t forget to tune in for True Blood Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

It’s been a busy few months for me, so forgive my absence. Never fear, I’m still watching TV and talking TV, although blogging about TV has taken a backseat to another very important adventure: Baby Rogers.

My friends and family already know what I am just now announcing on Remotely Entertaining (and to the world). I am 16 weeks pregnant with my first little one. The husband and I are super-excited.

In between eating for two, running for two, and sleeping for two; I found time over the last four months to watch The Killing, Game of Thrones and Borgias, which were all pretty great. I also caught up with the first two seasons of Sons of Anarchy, an awesome, gritty, over-the-top show that I was instantly addicted to.

Now, I’m watching Teen Wolf, Covert Affairs and Burn Notice. Most importantly, this Sunday I’ll be watching episode one of True Blood season four. Stay tuned for Monday updates, as I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say.

Aren't they cute? Scott and Allison get up close and personal in MTV’s Teen Wolf.

The big surprise for me has been Teen Wolf. If you haven’t checked it out, and you are a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I’d highly recommend you give it a whirl. I think it comes the closest to striking the Buffy chord of any show I’ve seen in recent memory – humor, supernatural elements, teen angst, good special effects and best of all, strong acting and writing.

Is anyone else loving Teen Wolf? Who’s going to watch True Blood this Sunday?

Waiting sucks

Last week was an especially lame week for TV. It seemed like just about every show on every network took a break. And while FOX can blame it all on American Idol, there is just no excuse for the other networks.

At least Big Love was on. And boy was it good. I’m not sure how the writers are going to wrap all of the drama in just a few more episodes, but I’m excited to see them try. It’s nice to know that when the other networks are off, HBO is on.

Thinking about the end of Big Love, and anticipating Game of Thrones (more on that later), makes me even more excited for True Blood in June. And to be quite honest, the shirtless Eric promo that HBO posted this week doesn’t hurt either. Very nice. You’re welcome.

The fourth book in Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire series has always been my favorite (a consensus among fans). Without spoiling anything, let me just say that everything changes. The storylines that began at the end of last year (Sookie’s troubles with Bill, witches in Bon Temps, werewolf politics, Jason’s relationship with Crystal, werepanthers in Hotshot, and more) will likely all be important plots in season four. 

The anticipation is killing me. Perhaps a True Blood seasons past marathon is in order. With HBO Go, a new service for  cable subscribers, you can watch any episode of any HBO show online. It’s not available for Time Warner yet, but if you have another cable provider, you should look into it. It sounds pretty cool. For my part, I think I’ll queue up the DVDs on Netflix old school style, and try to ease my True Blood withdrawal symptoms.

44 reasons to watch Fringe

      

It’s President’s Day. To celebrate our 44 commanders in chief, I am proud to give you 44 reasons to watch Fringe, in random order.

  1. It’s critically acclaimed, if you care about those things.
  2. The tough-as-nails yet still sensitive leading lady, Olivia Dunham.
  3. The father-son bond between Walter and Peter.
  4. Walter’s affinity for psychedelic drugs.
  5. Walter’s affinity for vinyl records.
  6. Nina Sharp, the one-armed wonder of Massive Dynamic.
  7. The floating location titles. I know it’s a small thing, but I like them.
  8. Agent Broyles possesses scene-stealing strength of character in both universes.
  9. The juxtaposition of old and new technologies — a manual typewriter enables communication between universes.
  10. In the alternate universe, blimps are the predominate method of air travel, something any Akronite should appreciate.
  11. Astrid. Or is it Asterisk? Either way, you’ve got to love her ability to relate to Walter.
  12. There’s a cow in the lab.
  13. “Over There: Part Two” was the ultimate season-ending cliffhanger.
  14. The show has more emotional depth than any sci-fi show I’ve ever seen, except maybe Lost.
  15. Trent Reznor remade “Zero-Sum” for a Fringe promo, arguably the best trailer for a TV show ever made. Watch it here.
  16. You’re sharp enough to suspend disbelief and have a good time.
  17. You’re suspicious enough to believe that some of this could be true.
  18. You appreciate a good milkshake.
  19. Leonard Nimoy as William Bell, the head of Massive Dynamic, a powerful global corporation specializing in Fringe science.
  20. Anna Torv as Olivia.
  21. Anna Torv a Fauxlivia.
  22. Walter Bishop is probably the best mad scientist since Dr. Frankenstein.
  23. Yet, Walter is so fragile, so deeply aware of his flaws, that you can’t help but feel for him.
  24. There is romance for the lovers of love.
  25. But not too much romance.
  26. The special effects are top of the line. No cheesy CGI here.
  27. There are new cases almost every week, so you don’t have to know the mythology to start watching.
  28. But, the mythology is really intricate and cool, so you might want to go back and watch old episodes.
  29. It’s a serious drama.
  30. But Walter makes you laugh at least once an hour.
  31. You like blondes.
  32. You like red-heads.
  33. We’ve only just begun. Three seasons in, Fringe has barely tapped into the ethical questions raised by Walter, Massive Dynamic and the alternate universe.
  34. It’s The X-Files, on steroids.
  35. What else are you going to watch on Fridays?
  36. It’s not just for nerds.
  37. But if you are a nerd, you will appreciate the glyphs and symbolism. My favorite one being the apple with the foetus inside.
  38. It comes to us from J.J. Abrams, creative genius behind Lost.
  39. But it’s not a Lost wannabe — Fringe has its own mojo.
  40. Forget everything you know about Joshua Jackson from Dawson’s Creek.
  41. Two universes are better than one.
  42. Especially when each universe has a set of fully developed characters.
  43. The Fringe “Noir” episode, “Brown Betty.”
  44. If you don’t watch this excellent show will be canceled.

For the love of…love

Ann and Chris...aww.

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The snow is melting and if we’re lucky it might reach 50 degrees by the end of the week. Love is in the air. And as you know, I love love.

Right now I’m thinking of my favorite TV couples. And I don’t mean characters I would like to see together (there are plenty of those). I mean legitimate couples on TV right now who make me sigh and say “aw.” So here we go with a Valentine’s Day list, dedicated to my own sweetie.

Roses are red. Violets are blue. Here are three TV couples from whom we can all take a cue.

  1. Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) and Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) of Parks and Recreation. She’s a cute nurse and his body is a microchip. What’s not to love here?
  2. Holly Flax (Amy Ryan) and Michael Scott (Steve Carell) from The Office. They are so right for each other that it can be painful to watch.
  3. Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks) of 30 Rock. These two Reaganites are a real power couple. And now they have a Canadian baby. But they promise to treat it as they would a normal human baby.

I just noticed that all of these couples are from NBC. What do you know? It turns out the network that couldn’t make a good sci-fi show to save its life is pretty darn good in the romance department.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lots of love for Big Love

Last season, Big Love took a few too many leaps, so many, in fact, that it came dangerously close to jumping the shark.  There was the weak subplot with Sissy Spacek, the bizarre standoff in Mexico, and Margene’s marriage to Goran. It all felt a bit crazy, and off track from the not-so-simple family dynamics that make this show great.

I’m pleased to report that a few episodes into its fifth and final season, the show is back on track and as good ever. In their own way, all of the characters are being forced to confront their core beliefs, making each hour interesting and surprising.

Barb, typically the bulwark of this family, is undergoing a heartwrenching struggle with her faith, as Margene is only just discovering her spiritual side. Nicki, on the other hand, seems to have worked out some of her issues, only to discover that raising a daughter is a lot more difficult than she expected.

As the wives are struggling, so is their priestholder, Bill. His political reputation is in shambles and his convictions have been continuously tested. Kudos to Bill Paxton for pulling off some very tough emotional scenes without over-acting.

Perhaps most intriguing of all is the new development with Lois Henrickson, Bill’s mother, played by Grace Zebriskie.  Lois has long been one of my favorite characters on Big Love, due in large part to Zebriskie’s ability to portray her as stubborn and sassy, but not contrived. Her dementia diagnosis comes as a huge surprise, and it should be fascinating to watch the family manage.

As it unfolds, I am increasingly bummed that it is the final season. Although they have gained some much-needed direction from the deadline, the quality of the new episodes is so good that I am not looking forward to the end.

Been a long time since I blog and rolled

Let me get back…the months of December and January are pretty slow in the TV world, and pretty busy in the real world. So I’m sorry for the prolonged blog absence. I’m still here, though, with a short post as I get back in the swing of things.

I’ve been watching The Vampire Dairies, 30 Rock, The Office, Big Love, Bone, Fringe and Jersey Shore, all of which have been awesome as usual (more on those later).

I recently added Parks and Recreation after a weekend-long Netflix marathon in which I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt.

Watching this season of Parks and Rec with the eternally good-looking and surprisingly funny Rob Lowe has only confirmed my love for this show. I even have the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness hanging in my cubicle at work. I especially enjoy the blocks for weapons, woodworking and welfare avoidance. My favorite thing about this show is the flawed, yet lovable, Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler. Even when she’s screwing up, she always means well and she legitimately loves the bizarre cross-section of Pawneeans (Or is it Pawneeites?) who turn out for her city forums.

Does anyone else watch Parks and Rec? If not, check it out. Leslie is like a better, more likeable version of Michael Scott. In fact, the show reminds me of early episodes of The Office, when the writing was still fresh and the cast was still fun.

10 girl crushes: My favorite ladies of TV

I just love the wit and wisdom of Dr. Temperance Brennan.

                                                                         

On the way to work this morning, I was thinking about Bones. That got me thinking about Dr. Brennan, and how much I love her character, which got me thinking about some of the other cool ladies on TV right now.

My co-blogger, Mark, has said that we are in a Golden Age of TV. I tend to agree – there are so many good things to watch right now. Part of the appeal of many of the shows I watch is the strong leading lady. It used to be that such strong women on TV were few and far between. Of course, the ‘90s gave us Dana Scully and Buffy Summers, two monoliths of TV womanhood. But to my knowledge there has never been a time when so many women dominated the tube. And the great thing about these leading ladies is that they are such diverse characters – gone are the days of the token strong-willed woman trying to eke out a living among the boys. Here are some ladies of note.

  • Dr. Temperance Brennan (aka Bones, of Bones) – Leader of squints and lover of guns, she’s a highly objective scientist who blows away the stereotype of the overly emotional woman.
  • Annie Walker (of Covert Affairs) – This rookie CIA agent doesn’t need a partner to take down the bad guys in her way. She’s spunky and fresh, not your typical tough girl, and she’s a one-woman wolf pack.
  • Fiona Glenanne (of Burn Notice) – How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You build bombs. You rescue boys. You kill bad guys. You have impeccable style. You have such a sharp sense of humor.  And I love the way you say, “Shall we shoot them?”
  • Debra Morgan (of Dexter) – She’s hot mess when it comes to the opposite sex, and she’s got a mouth like a sailor. In seasons past, her vulnerability bordered on annoying, but this year she has really come into her own.
  • Liz Lemon (of 30 Rock) – LL is the funniest woman on TV, simply put. She’s a proud nerd who’s not afraid to admit to wearing a bathing suit as underwear. Need I say more?
  • Margene Heffman, Nicki Grant and Barb Henrickson (of Big Love) – Three very different women (who I am counting as one, polygamist girl crush), married to one man. In four seasons, each has shown strength of character and vulnerability. The complexities of their relationships to one another go beyond the challenges of polygamy, and delve into the differences between each one’s ideas of what it means to be a woman, wife and mother.
  • Caroline Forbes (of Vampire Diaries) – Not the obvious choice from this show (that would be the main star, Elena), but I really like Caroline. And what’s more, I think she’s a good example for young ladies. Last year, she was shallow and mean. But over time, her character grew (and changed into a vampire) into a much deeper person capable of true friendship, love and compassion. This season, she has weathered her change with grace, and even stepped up to the plate to help Tyler handle his own change. She’s a nice example of how a young woman can transcend the cliques, gossip and stereotyping of high school.
  • Olivia Dunham (of Fringe) ­ – Olivia is a smart agent who follows her instincts. She not only solves mysteries in our world, she crosses to other universes as well. She is a fascinating character, capable of great emotional depth as well as detachment.   
  • Myka Bering (of Warehouse 13) – Myka left her gig with the Warehouse at the end of last season following the debacle with H.G. Wells. But if you ask me, the empathy she showed for H.G.’s loss added a new dimension to her previously businesslike demeanor. But don’t get me wrong – I have always appreciated her focus on being the best agent she can be, and putting that before her personal feelings.
  • Pam Swynford De Beaufort (of True Blood) – Again, not the obvious choice, which would be Sookie Stackhouse. However, I just love Pam. Classy and ruthless, she is equally commanding in the pleather Fangtasia costumes as she is in her two-piece pink suits.

Three shows that you simply must watch

  1. Dexter, Showtime, 9 p.m.
  2. Boardwalk Empire, HBO, 9 p.m.
  3. The Walking Dead, AMC, 10 p.m.

I’ve blogged of my admiration for Dexter and Boardwalk Empire before, so I won’t belabor the point with a long review of each one, but if you aren’t already, you should definitely be watching. And yes, I realize that they are on premium channels (not a recession-proof commodity, to be sure) but I would argue that they are well worth the money. One way to look at it – for about the price of two movie tickets, you can get a month of both Showtime and HBO, and hours of excellent original programming, documentaries and blockbuster movies. This is starting to sound like a commercial.

Rick, played by Andrew Lincoln, is a true hero. While anti-heroes abound on other networks, he’s a breath of fresh, honest-to-goodness air.

I haven’t devoted any blog space to AMC’s The Walking Dead. Trust me it’s not for lack of interest. The show is completely amazing. I think I’ve mentioned before that the husband and I are avid horror fans, so I was prepared for disappointment. What I got was quite surprise. Here are some reasons why I like The Walking Dead.

  • The zombies are slow. Thank the gods – in recent years zombies have been fast and fierce, with super strength, and people have had little to no chance of escape. Boring rubbish if you ask me. These zombies are dead, rotting, walking corpses – slow and dumb but deadly in packs. Just like I like them.
  • Andrew Lincoln, who plays the lead character, Rick Grimes. What’s not to love in this protagonist? If you’re tired of anti-heroes, look no further for a bona-fide good guy. Rick is a nice guy, family man, good cop – you get the picture. He’s the type of guy you want to mow your lawn and then come in the house for a nice, cool lemonade.
  • It’s not all CGI. Kudos to the make-up team. The zombies look better than most of those that have graced the silver screen in the last decade.
  • It’s gory. Human entrails? Check. Horse guts? Check. Splattered brains? Check.  Even on the premium channels, you won’t find a gorier show.
  • The tragedy hits home. This is what I like the most about the show, and it’s really a culmination of all the preceding points. Zombie films of recent years lost this sense of deep melancholy in their hurried edits, metal soundtracks and CGI effects. Because of the slow pace, the superior effects, the excellent characters and stark realism, this show does something remarkable – it makes you feel.

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about

                    Last night I made no-bake cookies, grabbed a tall glass of cold milk, and sat down to watch Dexter. It was a great moment, because the no-bakes were perfect, and Showtime was 100 percent back on its game with Dexter.

All at once, the major plotlines have blossomed like drops of blood on a slide – Dexter stalked and killed Cole, Lumen finally saw the real Dexter, LaGuerta revealed herself to be the back-stabbing ice queen we all knew her to be, Dexter zeroed in on Jordan Chase and Stan Liddy came this close to catching Dexter and Lumen in the act of disposing a body.

If you haven’t already watched last night’s episode, don’t wait. In spite of the season’s slow start, it was an excellent hour of TV. Go ahead – take it.

Eastbound and Down season two mini-review

Katy Mixon, who plays April, had big news: Kenny Powers is about to be a dad.

                                                                                      The season finale of Eastbound and Down aired on Sunday evening, but I just got around to watching it yesterday. If you hearken back to the premiere two months ago, I was unsure of how this season would go. I guess I couldn’t picture the show without the season one cast.

Although I had my doubts, and I’ve read some critical reviews, I thought it was a pretty hilarious season overall. After Stevie joined Kenny in Mexico in episode two, some notable guest stars (Don Johnson as Alberto Sanchez and Matthew McConaughey as Pat Anderson’s scout were particularly hilarious) rounded the new cast members off nicely.

The season finale, in which Kenny comes back to Shelby, North Carolina to make up with April,  was a welcome return to the familiar faces from season one, including Kenny’s family, his drug addict friends at the bar and the staff at La Escuela (The School).

By now, fans of the show should know that Kenny got a big surprise from April, who has a Powers bun in the oven. This is an interesting and completely unexpected plot twist, and it definitely has me intrigued for season three.

My favorite quote from this season: “Just trust me…It’s better to be strangled by a necklace of Mexicans, than to be strangled by no one at all…”