Tag Archives: Fall TV

Michael J. Fox Returns To TV With New NBC Show

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Michael J. Fox has been making a steady return with television, with a recent role on CBS‘ ‘The Good Wife,’ and now he is starring in his own show titled what else, ‘The Michael J. Fox Show.’ It takes a number of pages from the Fox’s real life, dealing with his crazy but loving family and deciding whether to return to work after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

It’s a quasi-documentary look at the life of Mike Henry, a newscaster who is driving his wife Annie (played by ‘Breaking Bad‘s Betsy Brandt) and their children–insane with scheduled apple-picking trips and hover parenting. With the help of his former boss Harris Green (Treme‘s Wendell Pierce) they get him back out into the working world, which proves to be a bit of a disaster as his segment his cut due to breaking news in Washington. I have to say, Matt Lauer does almost too good of a job of playing a douche, if he’s even really acting. Along the way we meet his normal, by sitcom standards, kids who talk about how their dad’s disease has affected all of them for daughter Eve’s (Juliette Goglia) school project. The cuts from the confessionals to the other action of the show could use some work, in fact the show would work better if it were shot like ‘Parks & Recreation.

Mike’s family is one of the huge pluses of the show. Brandt’s character fully supports her husband, and it’s nice to see a couple actually be affectionate with each other on tv again. The bawdy Aunt Leigh (Katie Finneran) seems like she belongs on another show on a different network though, as her self-obsessed whining about bangs and her age only bring a few laughs.

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Of course there is the non-issue of fox’s Parkinson’s disease. It’s right out in front, as his character uses it to accidentally drop a dinner roll onto Harris’ crotch in an attempt to get him away from a weird date, played by Fox’s real life wife Tracy Pollan in the second episode. We’re supposed to laugh with him through his struggles, but will the joke get old? That’s something the show might struggle with, along with it’s overall tone. To go from a touching moment between the siblings to Mike faking having drowned in a ball pit is a weird, but maybe the odd sense of humor can set it apart from it’s competitors.  A family sitcom is sure to have some cliche moments, but I hope they work out all of the kinks to make this one solid.

Are you going to watch?

‘The Blacklist’ Recap

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Last night was NBC‘s premiere of their new fall show ‘The Blacklist’ and things got off to a very promising start indeed! First, I just want to give an honorable mention to the most important cast member of the show, James Spader‘s epic bitch face. I’m rather confused as to why it hasn’t been recognized in the credits, it’s that incredible. Dear Bitch Face, I see you and the work you do, okay?! YOU ARE APPRECIATED.

SURRENDER

The episode starts off with master criminal Raymond “Red” Reddington (Spader) moseying on in to FBI headquarters in Washington D.C., offering himself as a sacrificial lamb after 20 years on the run. As the powers that be, specifically FBI head Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix), confirm Red’s identity, we learn he wasn’t always what we see now. Turns out he’d been well on his way to Navy admiralty when he went turncoat, simultaneously deserting his wife and daughter to start leaking US government intel to other countries. He immediately starts volunteering info the FBI didn’t know it needed, about myriad terror threats,  so as to whet their appetite. How much knowledge has Red amassed in his two decades on the “other side”? All questions would be answered only if they produced brand new profiler Elizabeth Keen. So, naturally, Harold is all, “give the man what he wants”! Not really, but really. I mean, they fetch Elizabeth via helicopter. The only thing that could have made it better would have been producing her out of a top hat.

I can’t even start talking about Elizabeth (Megan Boone) without highlighting the awfulness of her wig. I CANNOT. Or maybe it’s not that bad and I’m just picky?! Either way, I kept getting distracted by her hairline which I hate because, Liz is awesome. Megan Boone has managed to portray her perfectly; slightly sweet and innocent with the core of steel necessary for her chosen career. It just so happens that she and her husband are in the midst of trying to adopt a child which, you know, is kinda bad timing. But, as we learn a little later, Liz’s childhood was pretty shit and even she’s aware that she’s trying to fix her past by creating a specific future. Girrrrrrrrl. I have a feeling you need more therapy than you’ve had to date.

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I have to say, the first meeting between Liz and Red is hilarious, at least to me. She’s taken to the super-secret-hideout warehouse where he’s being kept and he’s basically “Magnetoed” out to her i.e. mechanically pushed out of his cage so that no one has to make physical contact. *ZOMG, HE’S SO DANGEROUS, GUYS.* Right off the bat, we get an idea of exactly why Red is so interested in a baby profiler with mainly her instincts to bring to the table. We see Elizabeth try to play it cool, to keep control of the situation, but Red hits her where it hurts, calling her “Lizzy” and referencing a somewhat shady past that completely escaped FBI vetting. HOW? That is some serious fail right there. *Side note: The aforementioned fail is never acknowledged or corrected by the end of this episode.* Soooooooooooo. Elizabeth has an absentee criminal dad and a mom who died from “shame”, leaving her to primarily raise herself. And Red deserted his wife and daughter to become a career criminal. DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? I’m sure you do.

Running with Red’s shiny new info about a possible kidnapping, Liz acts to protect said kid when all hell breaks loose. Yup, the FBI gets topped and the kidnapping is successful, so it’s good that we’ve already established their ability to suck. At least on TV. *Omg, I’m gonna be on a watch list now, aren’t I? Oh, bother, let’s get back to the ballad of Liz and Red.* Now that the Feds are screwed, Liz is left having to pander more info from Red who’s all about that tit for tat. What does he want? To know about the scar on her hand. *blink blink* He wants to see it and know how she got it and…yeah, I know this sounds pervtastic as hell but I swear it’s not. All the body language going on here is ace and it’s like Red is wearing a neon sign saying “Daddy is sorry he left you, please let me kiss your booboo and fix all the hurts I wasn’t there to, wahhhhhhhh”. Then he tells Liz that she needs to think more like a criminal to catch their guy, Zamani, as it’ll come easier than she thinks. I’m not ashamed to say I had a lot of feels here. Btw, let me note how happy I am that this isn’t going to be a romantic situation the way the promos hinted. I’m also thinking that the father-daughter connection is being made obvious so that we can squirm over how understandably clueless everyone else is. When will it come to light? Where will the show go from there? That sort of thing.

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While Red is getting his cocky mofo walk on into his favorite hotel, on the government’s dime, poor Elizabeth is coming home to find her husband, Tom (Ryan Eggold), beaten and strapped to a dining room chair. Oh, hey, there’s Zamani! He tries to make Elizabeth spill intel she doesn’t have so he stabs innocent Tom in the femoral artery and ribs. LIZ.IS.PISSED. This is where we really get to see that lovely core of steel I mentioned earlier. In confronting Red, she essentially “shows her teeth”…by jamming a pen into his neck. Red isn’t sure whether to be impressed, pleased, or scared. I’m thinking proud is somewhere in there too. But his words here, about Liz needing to know the truth about her husband, come back in a big way. Apparently, Tom is pretty sketchy himself.

You know what’s coming up now, don’t you? THE FBI FUCK UP AGAIN. Red escapes the hospital to meet up with Zamani! Where they discuss their plan for Tom’s beatdown in hopes of exposing him?! Because they’re apparently bros?! Wtf is going on here?! Just WHO is the bad guy?! We knew Red was playing both sides but damn. Of course, being as wily as he is, the FBI tracker that’d been injected into Red somehow finds its way onto Zamani and, at this point, the lines are so blurred that we don’t know if this was part of the plan as well or just Red toying with the FBI some more. You know, like you do. Agent Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) gives chase on the pseudo!Red aka Zamani while actual!Red swoops in to save the day, essentially rescuing both the kidnapped general’s daughter as well as the woman we now suspect is his own (Liz).

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By now, Zamani is dead and Red re-apprehended though we’ve learned that this doesn’t really hinder him at all. Just as Cooper is about to lock up shop and dismiss “class” for the day, Red drops the bomb. You thought Zamani was all he had for you? Au contraire, mon frere, for Mr. Reddington has a burn book full of crooks the FBI would LOVE to get their hands on! Okay, not a burn book but a “blacklist”, hence the name of the show. For whatever reasons, Red is on a mission to help take all these fugitives down alongside him, permitting his continued possession of “Lizzy” as his special handler.

Meanwhile, at Elizabeth’s apartment of horror and bloody carpets, a well-deserved cleaning session is taking place. As bright as she is, it takes awhile for Liz to realize that there’s no way in hell that much blood will succumb to a scrub-brush. Cue carpet ripping! Cue hidden floorboards! Cue a box full of unmarked bills, various passports for aliases, and firearms. Welp. Looks like Red DOES know more about Tom and his apparent illegal activities than Liz does. Awkward? Not really. Tom is still on a respirator and Liz is now ready to listen to Red’s not-so-tall tales.

My opinion based on this pilot is that NBC is knocking it out of the park again, just as suspected. I can’t wait to rewatch this ep in anticipation for next week’s. Did you watch ‘The Blacklist’? What are your thoughts?

 

Give Me All The Fall TV, Please.

Ahh, the scent of Fall in the air! Of course, with the advent of the school year comes the excitement for new network television. Who doesn’t enjoy the chance to get uber into a new show, only to get shafted at the end of the season when it’s not renewed? So, come, let me tell you which ones I’m hoping are not only good, but also manage to stick around long enough to make it through sweeps.

Ironside

Photo: nbc.com

First up is ‘Ironside’! Starring Blair Underwood, Spencer Grammer, and Kenneth Choi. If it sounds a tad familiar, ‘Ironside’ is a remake of a show from the 60’s/70’s by the same name. The main difference between the two is that the new version takes place in New York City vs. the old San Francisco location. Underwood plays the title role of Robert Ironside, a seasoned NYC detective who plays by his own rules and who’s good enough at what he does to get away with it. So what if he’s confined to a wheelchair?! The fact is that a character driven, police procedural featuring badass cops is frequently a good thing and basically the reason I still lose entire weekends to marathons of ‘Law and Order: SVU’. Speaking of badasses, I have a strong sense that Ironside is going to be the real life embodiment of a “deal with it” gif.  Most comforting though, is how this show’s premise has plenty of potential to avoid the end of season question of whether or not the plot can continue past the Winter thaw; there will always be crime and there will always be the gut reactions of characters to dissect.

Premiere date: October 2nd at 10pm on NBC

Dracula

At the risk of being somewhat redundant, I felt this list wouldn’t be complete without my mentioning ‘Dracula’. Yes, I’ve gushed about it before, blah blah blah. Clearly, I have good reason. This time we have the father of all vampires (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) as an American outsider in Victorian London, on the hunt to punish those who cursed him to an eternity of night. As it goes, a run in with his reincarnated love throws somewhat of a wrench in things. Jesus, why am I even running this down, people? It’s DRACULA! This is right up there with ‘Beauty and the Beast’: a tale as old as time and all that. One could even argue that they’re different forms of the same tale…both dear to my heart…for probably the same reasons. Omg, I need to go and reevaluate EVERYTHING about my life now, don’t I? Whatever.

It goes without saying that every time the idea is redone, I’m 100% game to see how they pulled it off, even if it ends up a complete shit-show. Plus? Is it EVER a bad idea to have JRM on one’s screen?! Nope. No. Non.

Premiere date: October 25 at 10pm on NBC

 

SHIELD

Okay, can all my fellow nerds gather ‘round for this, please? After an emotional blow dealt by ‘The Avengers’ i.e. Coulson’s death (do NOT bitch about spoilers unless you’ve lived on Mars since May 2012 or something), the rabid distress of fans was something that Marvel couldn’t avoid responding to. Not to mention that many of us felt we were on the receiving end of a most nefarious gaslamp anyway. I mean, even though “Son of Coul” was not the quintessential superhero, he held a special place in our hearts and we mourned his death accordingly; they couldn’t just get rid of him! Enter Agent Phil Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) illustrious return in ABC’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’! Co-starring Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge, the show promises to bring us more of a behind the scenes look at the other agents that make the organization work when there ISN’T a worldwide catastrophe requiring the presence of the Avengers. As something to fill both the entertainment and knowledge gap, between major franchise films, this show makes the utmost sense and I am oh-so looking forward to it!

Premiere date: September 24th at 8pm on ABC

 

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The entertainment industry loves to beat a dead horse, don’t they? In this case, it’s a dead, and headless, HORSEMAN in Fall’s ‘Sleepy Hollow’. And it looks like the beating and updating of the old story may have worked! Here we’re getting a resurrected Ichabod Crane (guess we’ll find out HOW and WHY in the pilot) who’s tasked with, once again, trying to stop the aforementioned Headless Horseman of lore. As a plot point, they were simultaneously brought back since, otherwise, a show about the Washington Irving tale wouldn’t make much sense. Along with trying to adjust to present day Sleepy Hollow and fighting off the impending apocalypse, Ichabod finds himself trying to make sense of the jacked up past he left behind. Starring Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie, this show is slated to be a history-laced Gothic mystery for the masses. And we’ll get to say the name “Ichabod” in everyday conversation. Win-win! Bring on the costume porn!

Premiere date: September 16th at 9pm on FOX

 

Blacklist

*drumroll* Finally, there’s ‘The Blacklist’. Ohhhhh, man, am I salivating for this one! I mean, outside of it having James Spader as the main protagonist (Raymond “Red” Reddington) sporting the only l’air de douchebag. This go around, he’s playing a top notch criminal who thinks it’s about time he starts HELPING the FBI on his tail, if only to start gunning for fellow criminals on his own personal “blacklist”. Smartly, the FBI takes his offer while still trying to keep him on something of a leash. Elizabeth Keen, played by Megan Boone, is a rookie profiler yet the only person Red will work directly with. Why? No one really knows and Red certainly isn’t revealing his end game. What we CAN fathom, at least from the trailers, is that there’s more to Elizabeth that she’s either not telling or isn’t aware of and Red is fixated on her because of it. Or he could just be fucking with her head because, you know, THAT’S HOW HE ROLLS. Either way, he won’t be entirely “free” in this equation, but he’ll still be holding most of the cards and thinks it’s worth it. Wow. I am SUCH a sucker for this sort of setup! Good job, NBC.

Premiere date: September 23rd at 10pm on NBC