Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Supernatural Watching (part four)

by Rachael Nisenkier

Despite the fact that there technically exists another season of the show, the end of season five of Supernatural certainly feels like The End. And that’s as it should be. When showrunner/creator Eric Kripke first started writing the tale of two brothers fighting the forces of darkness, he mapped out the first five seasons of the show, culminating in a climactic battle of Satan versus the Archangel Michael. In fact, Kripke left the show for its sixth season.

First, a little look at the season that led us here. Supernatural has been a show from the very beginning in which things just continually get worse. Evil is never really defeated. Just look at our previous season finales. The first year saw our heroes plus their long lost father laying immobile after a car crash. It turns out that car crash killed one of our leads, and the only way to get him back was to trade Daddy’s soul for Dean’s life. Then Season Two ends with Sammy dying, and Dean giving up HIS soul for Sam’s. Season Three has Dean being sucked into hell despite the best of heroics by Sam and Bobby. And Season Four, despite the appearance of Angels and a missing God to the mix, saw our heroes setting off the apocalypse. And Season Five, for most of its run, pretty much just showed our heroes failing to stop the apocalypse while also failing to trust each other.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Glee Project

It's no secret that I have have a very love/hate relationship with Glee. What I don't have a love/hate relationship with is The Glee Project- I just flat out love it. I'm a sucker for summer reality TV, throw in an eclectic group of singing and dancing kids, the people who make Glee great (choreographers, music directors, supporting actors guesting as mentors) and minimize the importance of lunatic creator Ryan Murphy (only in the final 10 minutes of each episode) and you've got a winning combination. Every week those kids are given some sort of ridiculous "assignment" made out of a word that doesn't exist ("Pairability"? Really?) and they have to make music videos, some give a "last chance" performance and one "isn't called back" for the chance at a 7-episode guest stint on season 3 of Glee- it's ridiculous. And great. It's ridiculously great.

Here's the deal with the kids who are left and what they would bring to the show:

Thank You Constantine

My Dearest Constantine,

A few weeks back, when I made my bachelor scale, you ranked in the top 3 even though you'd had almost no screen time. But the scale is a measure of MY favourites, not who should be with Ashley (as evidenced by Ben being quite far down the list when he was actually most suited to Ashley). What I said about you, in particular, was that you were completely wrong for her and definitely wrong for the show but what set you apart was the way you seemed to exist in an honest and genuine way, instead of a reality TV way.

So this week I would like to extend to you my thanks and appreciation for the way you left The Bachelorette. You weren't mean, glib or hurtful at all, but you knew you weren't right for Ashley so you left instead of staying out of misconstrued duty, to try and become the next Bachelor, to see how far you could make it, to gain a little more fame, or to get her into the fantasy suite. The right to leave isn't one that very many people in the history of this series have ever exercised, and certainly none of them have done it with the respect and grace with which you did.

That, sir, was a standup move. Thank you for being the guy I thought you were.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Supernatural Watching (part three)

by Rachael Nisenkier
Don’t you love it when a show you already love basically sends you a love letter right back? The fifth season of Supernatural has had two majorly fantastic episodes that feel just like that. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them Supernatural’s “Once More With Feeling” (the famous Buffy musical episode, for the uninitiated), except that maybe I would.

Dear Sweet Sweet Jordan,

This was YOUR Head of Household. Not Jeff's, certainly not Brendan's or Rachel's, YOURS. So who ends up on the block? The last people you wanted to nominated. I understand that Bruno Mars Dominic using the veto put you in an awkward spot (I didn't want him to leave though, so I'm sort of glad he won) but you had two viable options and you went with neither of them. A great player would have put up Brendan and Rachel and kicked her annoying competition-winning butt to the curb (they're going to be hell to get out down the road). A much less brave but still competent player would have used this week to show her aliance that she can't be bullied and put up Lawon and Kalia, it wouldn't have been a big eviction but it would have strengthened your position in your alliance and prevented the eviction of a major potential ally (aka Cassie aka the person you SHOULD be playing this game with). Dani's not really in this right now and Jeff was cool with any of the options, so what you just did was tantamount to handing Rachel the HOH. You put up someone who had your back because Rachel doesn't like having a prettier girl in the house! I swear, if Cassie goes tomorrow you will absolutely regret it. Do NOT vote with "your alliance", they certainly wouldn't vote with you if the roles were reversed.

Your fans at My TV
(we really do love you, we just worry about you sometimes)

PS: I fully expect you to vote with your alliance. See ya Cassie, you could have been a truly great player!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"You Just Killed My Fairy Godmother"

by Rachael Nisenkier

... and the True Blood gifts just keep giving!

I gotta say, I am really enjoying the play out with the Eric amnesia thing, mainly the almost sadistically innocent way that Alexander Skarsgaard grins out Eric’s nigh-constant “sorry”s to Sookie. On top of that, is it just me or is Bill way cooler this season? Mr. Compton has always been more fun when separate from his beloved Sookie, but seeing him take on His Majesty’s duties and have random sex with lots of people has brought him to new heights. And it’s not as though he’s entirely “dark Bill” now. I really liked his Dad monologue scenes with Jessica, even if his advice wasn’t exactly followed to the letter.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Supernatural Watching (part two)

by Rachael Nisenkier

I’ve been trying to think of a way to explain the way that Supernatural changes in season 4. I’ve already explained in detail the appeal that the show has to me, but there’s been a profound change in the show’s fourth season that has somehow fundamentally altered my opinion of the show.

That’s pretty neutral language up there. Standing, as I am, in about the middle of the fourth season, I’m not quite ready yet to pass judgment on the change, but I think it’s an interesting one none the less. When Season Three (SPOILER ALERT) saw Dean make his way to hell, I expected that to have ramifications. Id even been tipped off to the idea that the universe was about to get a heavenly dose of interference. But what I didn’t expect was for both the consequences and the seemingly dues ex machina usage of the angels to spring Dean from the pit to lead to such thematically rich and intriguing territory.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think that I knew that Supernatural was capable of all this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cinematic Baggage and the Television Star

by Rachael Nisenkier 
(a joint article with My Cinema)

Sometimes it’s fun when your favorite TV star pops up in a movie (I know I got a little thrill every time I heard the erst-while Chuck’s voice coming out of Flynn Ryder's mouth in last year’s Disney offering Tangled). And sometimes you find yourself wondering, “Why is McDreamy being so mean to Shia LaBeouf?” Between Serena VanderWoodsen in The Green Lantern, McDreamy in Transformers, Charlie Kelly in Horrible Bosses, and Don Draper in Bridesmaids, I’ve spent more time than I am comfortable with this summer being incapable of keeping my TV world and my cinematic world separate.

Sometimes I forget about the actors' other roles (I certainly wasn’t thinking about Rachel Green while watching Jennifer Aniston prance around half naked in Horrible Bosses) and sometimes it adds to the experience (see also Charlie Day’s legal-speak rant). But sometimes it just makes me way harder on the characters and the actors than I would otherwise be.

I say all this in preparation for Cowboys and Aliens, where the erstwhile 13 and Marissa’s lesbian lover will be joining with James Bond to fight alongside Han Solo. To what extent are we capable of dropping off our cinematic baggage when we take on a new venture? And is it our fault, as the viewer, for being incapable of forgetting about roles both iconic and annoying, or the actor’s for not making us forget them? What performances have you found marred by what you’ve already seen of an actor or actress?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cute Boys+Banter+Good Genre Writing= A Perfect Summer TV Cocktail

by Rachael Nisenkier

Ahh summer time. A time to lounge around a glistening pool, soaking up rays, swimming laps, drinking margaritas. Oh wait, no. I’m a pale-skinned nerd whose entire epidermis turns lobster red the moment I step outside. Summer is a time where I find myself drawn to the DVD player way more than I am to the great outdoors. It’s a time to dive back into series I’ve forgotten about or discover brand new offerings.

This summer’s winner of the “new series starring hot guys that will allow me to while away the 100+ degree days” is Supernatural.

Read on after the jump

Friday, July 08, 2011

Playing Catchup on Rookie Blue

I always meant to watch Rookie Blue. I've been making a concentrated effort to watch more Canadian TV and Rookie Blue's Toronto setting makes it a prime candidate. I also knew it marked Gregory Smith's highly-anticipated return to TV after Everwood's sad departure in 2006. But I wasn't sure about leading lady Missy Peregrym (whom I only remembered from the ill-fated Life As We Know It) and cop shows fall low on my priority list, so I never got round to it. Then a text message informing me that an old high school acquaintance made an appearance on the show somehow got me thinking about it again, so I bumped Rookie Blue up the list. It only took 15 minutes of the pilot episode to sell me and I sped through the entire first season in 2 days. Now, fully caught up, I'm enjoying it more and more as season two unfolds on Thursdays at 10pm on Global (ABC in the States).

Read on after the jump

Damnit Big Brother

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

I Love A Good Cliche

True Blood is not a show built on sophisticated plotting. It is a show built on charisma (I'm looking at you, Eric), audacity (I'm looking at you, crazy Marianne-inspired orgies), and romance. The plots themselves rarely make perfect sense, and often seem to be just crazy plot twist built upon crazy plot twist, merely for the sake of plot twisting. They play with cliches in a way that is not at all subversive, but merely serves to make the stories feel strangely familiar despite their naked orgy aesthetics.

The Best of SYTYCD So Far

This is already an excellent year on the So You Think You Can Dance stage. I adore Sasha, Alexander, Chris, Ryan and Tadd. Ashley and Jess are growing on me every week. And there have already been a couple tough eliminations (I was so sad to see Nick go!). But there is also already one couple who's completely running away with the competition. The best 2 dancers also have the best partnering chemistry and a knack for pulling the best choreographers and routines of the hat. If Melanie or Marko doesn't win this thing I'll be floored. My vote's with Melanie. To prove my point, here's my favourite routine of the year so far. It's a gorgeous story set to a great Leona Lewis song, danced perfectly by my beloved M&M and choreographed by the infinitely adorable (and buck) couple Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo. It's just damn good. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Melancholy Joy of "Love Bites"

NBC may be burning the episodes off in the summer instead of giving the anthology show a proper chance (hence, the melancholy), but over the last few weeks I've come to really enjoy the web of interconnected personal tales its been weaving. With longstanding My TV favourites Becki Newton, Greg Grunberg and Constance Zimmer as its recurring tentpoles, Love Bites features a rotation of wonderful guest stars from Donald Faison to Frances Conroy to Drop Dead Diva's adorable Ben Feldman in well-written and engaging vignettes about love, life and other stuff. The cross-over references are a ton of fun and the throughlines of the three central characters that weave, however subtly, through the other stories are wonderfully engaging (I'm particularly enjoying watching Becki Newton's Annie fall very very slowly in love with Matt Long). It's a really clever show, if you bother watch it. Really watch it, none of this pilot episode screener stuff. Otherwise you might miss little gems like Ben Feldman asking his ex-girlfriend how she could sleep with his (baseball player) hero: "who's next, the Green Lantern? Bono?". That said, I don't think I've ever seen a stupider promo poster.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The End of Tara

As the heartfelt and offbeat Showtimes series United States of Tara closed out its final season, the fate of its central figure was in the hands on an unknown Boston doctor recommended by the wonderful and too-soon-gone Dr. Hattarras. Tara's final independent struggle for sanity before moving to Boston for help put her family through some of their darkest times yet (in the most terrifying of ways). Sympathetic son Marshall left his mother, unable and unwilling to suffer at her hands while coping with the loss of his best friend/boyfriend/only real friend (most palpably in the truly wrenching funeral episode). Quick witted daughter Kate, the most-improved character of the series, finally grew up in her final season, getting to a place where she could take care of Marshall and face the future as the most level-headed family member. Tara's sister Charmaine, pathetic by normal standards and superheroic for her sanity in the face of their childhood, set about the task of raising her daughter better than she was raised, the loving schlub Neil right at her side- making her breakfast, kissing her goodnight and naming their daughter "Wheels". And, finally, dutiful husband Max (my beloved John Corbett, who will be greatly missed now that this show's over) broke down, spoke his piece, and stuck around anyway- because he's that guy. It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful, if oft-criticized show. Kate's final plea that the doctor not get rid of her mother's "good parts" set the tone for exactly how I'll remember this show: for all it's good parts.