About Me

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Hi, I'm Jenna and I'm addicted to great television. I'm on a mission to share with you what I think are the best of the best when it comes to shows and mini-series. Long format visual storytelling is my entertainment of choice. I've got a lot to say, so stay tuned..... P.S. I am under some sort of invisible legal obligation to state that I do not own any of the photos posted herein unless otherwise specified and if you see any of your images and would like me to credit you or take it down (‘cus you’re just a meanie), please contact me

Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Outnumbered" Was Underwhelming


Just checked out BBC America's newest edition to The Ministry of Laughs, "Outnumbered". The series, created by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jerkin follows the daily life of a South London family. Sue and Pete definitely have their hands full. Jake is eleven and too big for his britches. He may not be a teenager yet, but he sure acts like it. Ben is a hyperactive eight year old that also happens to be a pathological liar. Cute little Karen is a five year old with lots of uncomfortable questions. In addition to the craziness at home, Pete teaches history at an inner city public school and Sue is a part time personal assistant.

In this first episode, it's Jake's first day at a new school and he doesn't want to be late. Fat chance of that when his younger brother is searching for a show-and-tell item (items include: Dad's laptop, an old fashioned radio and a power drill). Of course he's lying that show-and-tell is today. Sue can't find her keys and Karen has head lice. Too bad there's no time for a delousing this morning. So off to school they go. Cut to evening in the Brockman home. Jake avoids all questions regarding his new school. Sue picks nits (British lice) out of Karen's hair and Ben kicks a ball around the house.

I really felt like I was supposed to like it, but the Brockman family didn't seem funnier than any other. The one thing I thought was funny was how the parents keep blaming the kid with lying problem for things he didn't do. My guess/hope is that it gets better since they are actually in their third series (that's season for us Americans) and they've won several awards. I've also read/Chris Hardwick said that there is a lot of improv incorporated into the show. Maybe the first episode was more scripted than those that follow. *Fingers crossed* I'll give it another couple of episodes, but we'll see. It didn't grab me right off. Anyone else seen it? Please tell me it gets better.

Saturdays at 11:00pm on BBC America

http://www.bbcamerica.com/content/441/index.jsp

Will You Be Attending "Friday Night Dinner"?


Last night was the BBC's Ministry of Laughs premiere of "Friday Night Dinner". Created and written by Robert Popper ("The Inbetweeners", "Peep Show", "The IT Crowd") the show is about the weekly dinners of a British family that although they are Jewish, not in the strictest sense. With "The Inbewteeners" ending last week, I was overjoyed to see Simon Bird (Will) still in the line up. He plays eldest son Adam who is a musician but pays the bills writing jingles. Adam's practical joke loving brother Jonny is played by newcomer Tom Rosenthal. Paul Ritter is Martin, the patriarch with a hearing aid and shirt phobia. I was very excited to see that Mum Jackie is played by Tamsin Greig (most recently seen in "Episodes"). To top off a great cast, neighbor Jim is none other than Mark Heap (Simon Pegg fans like moi will remember him as Brian in "Spaced").

In the first episode, Dad has a problem down his pants, Adam's first jingle is about to air on the radio and Jonny keeps sending horrifying texts to Adam from Mum's phone. I LOVED IT! If you've seen the promos over the last few weeks, you probably figured as I did that it was going to be a smash. It may be a family show, but there is a youthful, hip feel (I'm quite aware how old that statement made me sound, thank you).

I liked the opening title sequence which used some cool graphics and a dancey version what I think was Miike Snow's Animal. It was reminded me of the opening titles for "The Inbetweeners" but brighter and only slightly less catchy. This first episode was great because there were no gimmicks, it was just plain funny. Let's face it, we all have embarrassing parents, it's just a matter of how embarrassing. The Goodman boys love their Mum and Dad, but I wouldn't blame them if they didn't want to be seen in public with them, well Dad anyway. Jackie's not that bad, a typical mom. But she does have a problem giving to charity...or maybe it's because creepy neighbor Jim is doing the fundraising. Who knows.

Good job BBC America on slipping in a new show to hold off my Inbetweeners withdrawals. Not an easy task. Check out this clip and stay tuned Fridays at 11:30pm on BBC America.

Bloody Knee - Season 1 - Friday Night Dinner - Video - BBC America

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Do You Need "Web Therapy"?


Lisa Kudrow returns to television with the new Showtime series "Web Therapy". This is actually season two as it started as a web series that she created with partners Dan Bucatinsky and Don Roos.

Dr. Fiona Wallice (Kudrow) has started seeing patients for three minute sessions via iChat. The typical fifty minute sessions were just a little much for her. Unfortunately for her patients, she spends most of the time talking about herself. The unhappliy married Mr. Wallice is played by the fabulous Victor Garber and we can expect some great guest stars. Oscar winner Meryl Streep did a three episode arc in the first season.

Kudrow looks terrific and I'm glad she's back doing what she does best. But if you're looking for Phoebe, don't look here. She plays Fiona with a voice slightly less annoying than Regina Phalange. It's hard for me to get into a show when the main character is unlikable. It's not for everyone. There are some funny moments, but not quite my sense of humor. I'm gonna pass on the healing for now. Anyone watch season one online?

http://www.sho.com/site/webtherapy

Tuesdays at 11pm on Showtime

Awkward. Wait, is this show about me?


I haven't watched a series on MTV since season 3 of "The Real World" (yes I realize that was about a million years ago), but just for you I gave their newest edition a shot. "Awkward." is about the trials and tribulations of high schooler Jenna Hamilton. I like her already.

Creator Lauren Iungerich penned the pilot episode in which Jenna loses her virginity to a jerk.... at camp, receives a mysterious letter on how to not be invisible anymore and then has a horrible accident in which everyone thinks she tried to kill herself. Despite all that, she follows the instructions in the letter and goes from invisible girl to that girl.

Now I know that I am not the primary demographic, but I like it. It does however make me scared to become a parent. Watching these teen shows makes me realize how different my kids' childhood is going to be from mine. It's down right terrifying. Call me a prude or conservative, whatever, To me, this is not for young teenagers, but the slightly older who can appreciate it. The writing was more sophisticated than I expected. Of course teenagers don't really talk like that, but it wasn't all Dawson's Creek-y. As an MTV show, it makes sense that music is highlighted. Artist and song title pop up at the bottom of the screen and all music info can be found on the website. All in all, it's worth a second watch.

If you missed it, there are encores for the rest of the week. Check your local listings (I've always wanted to say/write that). Full episodes are also available online.

http://www.mtv.com/shows/awkward/series.jhtml

Tuesdays at 11pm on MTV

Stay Tuned...

P.S. If you try to look this show up on IMDb, it's listed under This is Awkward and the status is post production.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Falling Skies" at OnStage@Paley


Tonight I attended OnStage@Paley featuring the creative team and cast of "Falling Skies". It's the latest TNT hit, picked up for a second season after only a couple of episodes aired. In attendance were executive producers Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey and Mark Verheiden. Cast members Moon Bloodgood, Colin Cunningham, Sarah Carter, Drew Roy and Dr. John Carter himself....Noah Wylie graced the stage.

I have to say, Noah Wylie is incredibly articulate and well spoken. All of his answers/comments were very intelligent and thoughtful. I'd love to sit down and talk about television and film with him if his insight into storytelling wasn't so intimidating.

I figured that production on the current season had wrapped up a while ago, since we've been seeing promos for what seems like forever. I was surprised to learn that the pilot was shot nearly two years ago. Falvey and Frank actually attended upfronts with FS two years in row. Well they finally made it and it's a smash.

Unfortunately, showrunner Mark Verheiden won't be returning for season two. You may have appreciated his work on "Smallville", "Battlestar Galactica" or "Heroes". He was slated to begin developing Stephen King's The Dark Tower into an NBC series, but the plugged was pulled just a few days ago. He didn't say what he'd be moving on to next, but he did say "never say never" in regards to returning to "Falling Skies".

It was revealed that we'll be introduced to yet another type of alien and that season one will leave us with a pretty big cliff hanger. Production will begin in October, so we'll probably see the second season premiere around the same time. You can't say FS doesn't make a great summer series.

This is the second Paley Center event that I've attended. If you're in NYC or LA and love film and television, do yourself a favor and check out the public programs.

www.paleycenter.org

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Walton Goggins is My Hero


Every now and then I feel the need to sing the praises of one of my favorite actors and in my opinion, one of the best to grace the small and sometimes silver screen...Walton Goggins. He just signed on for Speilberg's Lincoln, playing an Ohio Congressman. Goggins is hitting the big screen hard this year with Cowboys & Aliens soon to drop and Straw Dogs, also starring my favorite vampire Eric Northman aka Alexander Skarsgard. Oh and he was just nominated for his very first Emmy.

Walton Goggins established himself on television as Detective Shane Vendrell on the grittiest cop show to date, "The Shield". His performance from day one blew me away. I can't even count the number of times that he brought me to tears with his delivery of brilliant words or simply a look. Walton is definitely an intense actor which made him a great fit for another FX show, "Justified".

In this Elmore Leonard adaptation Goggins plays Boyd Crowder. Over the course of the first two seasons, his character has transformed from a white supremacist, to a peaceful religious leader to strategic criminal. As much as I love Walton as Shane, there was something special about his Boyd-as-cult-leader. It was like he slipped into this other skin, yet was still Boyd. This metamorphosis was so exciting to watch. Between "The Shield" and "Justified", I revel in each and every scene that man steps foot into.

It was nearly a decade overdue, but Goggins finally garnered the attention of the Academy that he so richly deserves. If you've been a fan of "The Shield" and "Justified", you were over the moon when the Emmy nomination FINALLY came through this past Thursday. I've been rooting for this guy for years, so it's pretty damn satisfying to see that the world/industry is now appreciating an actor that I've felt so strongly about. Honestly, if I ever bump into Walton around town (which is a dream I have) I'd probably be too excited to speak...or break out in nervous laughter. In any case, it would be severely embarrassing. I hope this gets across my love/admiration/obsession with one of the best actor's in the biz. If you haven't see his work, check it out. You won't be sorry.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0324658/

P.S. If you're a voting member of the Academy, VOTE FOR WALTON!!!!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Texas Forever


For most of us, last night was the series finale of "Friday Night Lights". Boy was it a tear-jerker (I'm a big softy). I only began watching last summer on Netflix streaming. Despite my disinterest in football, was quickly hooked. It struck me how much this was a family show, not a teen show. More than football, it was about the relationships in this small town revolving around a game.

The real showcase of the series was the marriage of Coach Eric and Tami Taylor. In my eyes, they have the perfect marriage. The Taylors have their ups and downs, but in the end, it's how they deal. They listen and compromise. I know it's a TV marriage, but I hope someday I can have something like that. They are an inspiring couple.

Creator Peter Berg brought it all back around with the return of Matt Saracen, Tim Riggins, Landy Clarke and Tyra Collette. It was comforting to see familiar faces. Honestly, I haven't been a fan of the last two seasons. I like our original crew of Panthers. The new kids just didn't grab me. Yes, the Taylors are the heart of the show, but the Riggins, the Saracens, Tyra, Landry and yes the Garritys are all extended family.

For a show about football, there was less than five of the ninety minute final spent on the field. Instead we were given the farewell we all wanted. It wasn't a surprise that this show would be wrapped up with a bow, but it was very satisfying. Matt and Julie getting engaged. Tim building a house and planting roots in the place he's loved so much. Eric and Tami moving to Philadelphia because it's her turn. Sometimes on TV (not usually on the shows I watch) it all works out how it should.

It was reported yesterday, before the airing of the finale (for all of those without DirecTV) that Peter Berg is attempting to put together a second movie starring the core cast of the television series. It will pick up where the series left off. Not so sure how interested I am in seeing that at this point. Maybe they should let a good thing lie. It's a fine line when you start to have a revolving cast. One I feel they've already crossed. But I'd be more than happy to be proven wrong.

Before all this, Friday Night Lights was a book by H.G. Bissinger which Berg turned into a movie starring Billy Bob Thornton as Coach. After the success of the film, it was developed for television. I guess it's paid off. Throughout their five season run, FNL has been nominated for over a dozen Emmy awards including four for their farewell season. Kyle Chandler for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Connie Britton for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Jason Katims for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. And for the first time, Outstanding Drama Series.

I think we'll all miss visiting Dillon, Texas. Could never live there, but I'll miss it. This show was true. It was heartfelt and it was relatable. The standard has been set for great family drama. Let's hope the rest keep up.

If you've missed a single game, you can catch up with the first four seasons on Netflix streaming. Unfortunately NBC OnDemand and NBC.com only has the last five episodes.

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't Lose.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guess Who's Never Won an Emmy ...................(But Totally Should!!!!!)


Gold Derby wrote an article noting the 12 actors they feel are overdue for an Emmy. Here's the link, go check it out...I'll wait......

http://www.goldderby.com/television/photos/90/12-tv-stars-shockingly-overdue-for-emmys.html

If you were too lazy to copy/paste because Blogger's hyperlink function doesn't seem to work, here's who they listed:

Steve Carell - "The Office"
Hugh Laurie - "House"
Katey Sagal - "Sons of Anarchy"
Ed O'Neill - "Modern Family"
Courteney Cox - "Cougar Town"
Kyle Chandler - "Friday Night Lights"
Lauren Graham - "Parenthood"
Michelle Forbes - "The Killing"
Khandi Alexander - "Treme"
Timothy Olyphant - "Justified"
"The Colbert Report"
The Cast of "Mad Men"

I more or less agree with them, but of course I have a few more names to add to that list.

Walton Goggins - "Justified"
No surprise here. I'm one of his biggest fans. Despite his breathtaking work on both "The Shield" and "Justified", Goggins has never even been nominated for an Emmy or a Golden Globe. If you ask me, it's a crime. His performance as the complex Boyd Crowder is more than worthy of accolades as was his work on "The Shield".

Brent Sexton - "The Killing"

Sexton is one of those quiet actors whose face you recognize because he's been acting for so long in supporting role on shows like "Deadwood" and "Life", but it was his performance in "The Killing" that really put him on the map. Sexton's portrayal of a grieving father wanting revenge infused the series with an undoubted intensity. Let's hope the folks over at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences feel the same.

Charlie Hunnam - "Sons of Anarchy"
This is the role that Hunnam has become most well known for, but I've been a fan since the days of Nicholas Nickelby, "Undeclared" and the wonderfully rebellious Green Street Hooligans. As tortured biker Jax Teller, Charlie has brought a sincere vulnerability to a character that must show strength at all times.

Amy Poehler - "Parks and Recreation"
If you don't know this woman is funny, you've been living under a rock for the last
ten years. She has been nominated for two Daytime Emmys for her work on "The Mighty B", two Primetime Emmys for "Saturday Night Live" and one for "Parks and Recreation", but she's not yet won. I'm more of a drama girl, but this lady makes me laugh.

H. John Benjamin - "Archer"
Last year Benjamin was nominated for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, but didn't win. Guess who he lost to...Anne fricken Hathaway. This man makes his living as a voice over artist and she does a guest spot on "The Simpsons" and takes home Emmy. With his unique voice and ridiculously brilliant delivery, Benjamin has my vote (useless as it may be).

"Raising Hope"
My rule of thumb is that if a show makes you laugh til your face hurts and you nearly pee yourself, it should win an Outstanding Comedy Emmy. My guess is that Hope will be nominated, but it's a shame if it's not. Garret Dillahunt also deserves his own nom. I look forward to Tuesday nights this fall and needing a spare pair of panties.

"Southland"
This show keeps getting better and better. The writing is an actor's dream to perform. If you haven't seen last season, you're missing out. Next to "The Shield", this is the best and grittiest cop show I've ever seen. It's a surprise to me that they haven't seen writing, directing and acting nominations.

"Supernatural"

You may have noticed that it's an unofficial rule to never nominate WB/CW series for major awards. Sure, "Supernatural" can dominate the science fiction awards and now and then get a technical nomination, but it has never been taken seriously in the major categories. This is one of the most well written series on the air. I'd also like to see Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins get some recognition for their outstanding performances. Unfortunately, I've resigned myself to the fact that it will never happen especially now that we are nearing the end.

Did I miss anyone? Who do you think has been deprived of an Emmy for far too long?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

True Blood Boiling


After much prodding, in the last few months I begrudgingly gave "True Blood" a try. As you might have noticed, I do love my supernatural elements, but there was something about this show that turned me off in its first three seasons. I decided to give it a shot as it is a favorite of several of my friends. Most fans seem to be obsessed and I was expecting to hate it, so it was a bit of a surprise when I found it to be so-so. Although I've kept watching, it just doesn't get my juices flowing the way it does everyone else (OK, except for when Eric is shirtless).

Tonight's episode written by creator Alan Ball, If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'? was in my opinion, the best of the series to date. Let's start out with the fact that my favorite character Eric Northman who is usually super cool and cold is an innocent little boy lost at the opening. I was downright giddy. He was so cute and childlike, a complete 180 from his badass 1,000 year old self. A nice change up, Mr. Ball.

Moving on, you've got Sam flirting with a much missed Tara (big surprise). Their "relationship" used to bother me, but now I like them together. Too bad Tara doesn't like boys anymore. Jason is still tied to a bed and having very bad things done to him by crazy panther people. Sookie visits Alcide (it's getting a little hot in here). Tommy is attempting to con his way through Bon Temps, Bill rejects advances by his lawyer, Lafayette gets himself kidnapped (AGAIN!) and Jess comes clean with Hoyt. That's one jam packed episode. I usually start to get a little bored at some point, but not tonight. I truly hope that we get to see much more of memory free Eric. It makes me very happy.

My roommate/fellow couch critic warned me that each season/book is better than the last. I disagree with that, but this has been the best episode so far. Let's hope this is the best season to date.

Who is your favorite character?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Title Sequences Are So Much More Than Names

If you've read some of my reviews, you might have noticed that I am harsh when it comes to sucky opening credits. If you're going to do it, which most shows do, do it right. Be creative. Be original. The cast montage credits went out with the '90's. Therefore, I have great appreciation for those with great title sequences paired with fantastic music. You might see some familiar faces if you read my favorite theme songs post a couple weeks back. Plus, while researching for this post I found an awesome new website called The Art of the Title Sequence (http://www.artofthetitle.com. Here we go!

"Dexter" - Showtime

As it should have, these opening credits won an Emmy for Best Main Title Design in 2007. Between Eric S. Anderson's creative direction and Rolfe Kent's main theme it was destined to be a home run. When the series first aired, you at least knew that this was a show about a serial killer. So as we watch all these mundane morning rituals, they make your mind go to a dark place. He's just making breakfast! See, any one of us could have a dark passenger. Just another way the brilliant minds at "Dexter" get us to sympathize with a murderer.




"Chuck" - NBC


These main titles are so fun. I've watched them over and over during marathons and it never gets old. Cake's Short Skirt Long Jacket was a superb choice and the animation is terrific. It's light hearted (for spies) and super fun. I love the little man with the briefcase.



"Luther" - BBC

This sequence struck me the very first time I saw it. Often times, I am multitasking in front of the television, but this one stopped me in my tracks. The gorgeous and haunting music of Massive Attack's Paradise Cirus coupled with deep red graphics, bleeding into one another. You can tell right off that London will play a major role in the series and that it's titular character is very intense.



"Weeds" (Original Opening Titles) - Showtime


Way before Nancy and the clan went on the run, they lived in Agrestic, California. It was the epitome of suburbia. They great title sequence is set to the perfect song that criticizes the conformity of suburban America, "Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds. Main title designers Thomas Cobb and Robert Bradley were nominated for an Emmy for their work. Take a look and see how everything in Agrestic all looks just the same.



"The Borgias" - Showtime

These titles are not only beautiful, they are very indicative of the show to follow. Live action shots are mixed in, but it's mostly Renaissance paintings depicting the cruelty of the time. One image bleeds into another. Depictions of murder, sex and conspiracy are all present and set to the suspenseful score of Trevor Morris (please correct me if I'm wrong, I couldn't confirm this). It's too early for awards season, but good luck to the creative team which includes Christina Black and Garry Waller.



Check this out!
http://www.artofthetitle.com/2011/06/29/the-borgias/

"The Inbetweeners" - BBC

It's a show about four friends who aren't quite as cool as they wish they were. Well, these titles are super cool in my book. They are short and sweet set to a very catchy song and the graphics are rad. Yes...I said rad.



There is something great about a long opening title sequence that tells a story in itself, but I tend to fast forward through it after a couple of watches. It's the short and sweet ones, like "The Inbetweeners" that I'm compulsive about sitting through each time.

Honorable Mentions:

"Archer" (which would have been included if I could have found the video)
"Carnivale"
"Mad Men"
"Six Feet Under"
"Huff"
"House"
"Bored to Death"
"Game of Thrones"
"How to Make it in America"
"Sons of Anarchy"
"Nip/Tuck"

"True Blood" isn't on my list because it creeps me out so much that I can't sit throught it, but it totally sets the tone.

Can you tell which networks take the most pride in quality all around? Tell me what shows you'd like added to list.