Three-cap City: Game of Thrones, iZombie, and Arrow.

I did THREE recaps last week, all for my friends over at The Nerds of Color! I might be a little insane. If you watch Game of Thrones, iZombie, or Arrow, I’ve got recaps for you! (I feel like a dude with a trenchcoat on the train selling watches.)

NOC Recaps Game of Thrones: Control Your DragonNOC Recaps <i>Game of Thrones</i>: Control Your Dragon

I connect the major stories of this week’s Game of Thrones to find the common thread: everyone has lost control of their source of power and now they need to rein it in. Daenarys and her dragons, Tyrion and Jon and their compassion, and Brienne’s loyalty have gotten them this far but are now getting them into trouble they need to get out of. Clearly this is what we should expect from season five.

NOC Recaps iZombie: What About the Zombies of Color?NOC Recaps <i>iZombie</i>: What About the Zombies of Color?

Over on my iZombie recap, I care less about the case of the week and more about knowing more about Ravi. Also, I question why the zombie of color on the show don’t change when the Liv and the other caucasian zombies do. Have they just not figured it out yet?

NOC Recaps Arrow: Pulling out the Arsenal

NOC Recaps <i>Arrow</i>: Pulling Out the Arsenal

Finally, on Arrow, I predicted half of what happened and was shocked (and pleasantly surprised) by the other half. Join me in pouring out a little liquor (or sparkling grape) for our absent soldier from Team Arrow.

Soon I’ll have an Orphan Black post or two to share with you and as always, check out my TV MVPs for the week over on Just About Write!

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Maps, Dinner Parties, and Valets Herald Game of Thrones 2015 Return

Here are some Game of Thrones posts that cracked me up this week ahead of the Sunday premiere. I’ll be recapping the first episode for The Nerds of Color this Sunday, so keep an eye out for that. And be gentle with me, I haven’t read the books yet!

℘ Here are a couple of Westeros Transit Maps…! So cool when people figure out stuff like this!

Westeros Transit Map 1

Westeros Transit Map By Michael Tyznik

Westeros Subway Map 2

© 2014 F&A Printing Co. | http://www.fencingandarchery.com

 Key and Peele show us how much The Valets love Game of Thrones when they reenact all the major deaths in the last four seasons. They love Khaleesis thooo!! Khaleesis wit them dragons! They kill me. “The Dinkles is my jam, my jelly, my peanut butter and my peanuts.” Check it out here:

 Seth Meyers invited Jon Snow to a dinner party… turns out Jon is a bit of a depressing dinner guest…

ConStar Clicks

Here are some cool links I’ve come across since we last met up for these Clicks.

Ξ Who doesn’t love Ava DuVernay? Here’s the Selma director at South by Southwest giving a Keynote speech which featured many wonderful pieces of advice. Watch the whole thing but Indiewire conveniently compiled a list of some of the awesome things she said. Among my favorites:

  • “If your dream only includes you, it’s too small.”
  • the principal goal must be to serve the story.
  • the Oscars are, simply, “a room in L.A.” “It’s cool, it’s very cool,” she says of the Academy’s recognition. “But my work’s worth is not based on what happens in, around, for or about that room.”

Ξ I’m obsessed with MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) personality tests, especially when it comes to guessing TV character types. While there are tons of people who denounce it for not being science, I think it more accurately describes you based on what you are actually like more than say, a horoscope, where you may or may not match to the traits of someone born in your season or whatever. So when I saw this Myers-Briggs TV Personality Test over on Vulture, I was upset I hadn’t actually thought of it! My friend and I spent maybe 2+ hours thinking of questions they could have added (which dissolved into a ‘How Obsessed with TV Are You’ Game Show), but on the surface it’s pretty cool. I got CSMH (Comedy, Serialized, Mainstream, Highbrow), but I think I could have gotten Drama, Serialized, Cult, Highbrow as well, considering what I watch (basically comedies and superhero dramas). Take the test and find out what you are, then let’s debate if that’s actually correct.

Ξ I really like this Fiction Diversity essay by Em Liu who talks about how sitcoms can normalized family dynamics on television. Starting with I Love Lucy to Will & Grace, she discusses how these shows presented different family dynamics than the ones viewers were used to. THe article was written with regard to Selfie, but she shared on Twitter as she felt it was appropriate to the campaign to ensure Fresh Off the Boat gained a second season.

Ξ This Vulture article discusses the rampant trend of rebooting old TV series rather than coming up with new ones. It talks about how reviving an existing series creates instant buzz on social media, which can provide for higher ratings and interest when the show premieres, as opposed to many new shows that premiere to abysmal numbers. (Unless you’re Empire or Fresh Off the Boat or blackish or How to Get Away with Murder, all of which had pretty decent or juggernaut ratings—wait, could it be that we need more PoC produced series to get those premiere ratings boosts they’re talking about?! Golly gee, let’s try that!) For me, if we’re gonna do this, I like the idea of continuing where the old show left off, just years later, rather than creating it with different actors. I hope there are at least more shows by PoC producers/writers than are reboots next year. ::crosses fingers::

“This is still a business where 90 percent of it is original.” For now, at least.

Ξ Two Boston University alum, Mike DiCenzo and Arthur Meyer, are on the writing staff for the Tonight Show and they spoke to BU Today about what it’s like to write for the show. I’m no comedy/stand up writer, but I love The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. As Arthur says,

“It’s a very sincere show, a positive show,” says Meyer. “It’s not steeped in sarcasm. It celebrates more than it takes down.”

These are the things I love about the show. While being a TV writer is hard and challenging and daunting to think about, being a sketch/stand-up comedy writer sounds even more frightening.

The job requires a thick skin: Meyer estimates that while he writes about 25 or 30 jokes a week, only about one actually makes it on the air.

I’ll stick to trying to write narrative stories, thanks.

Ξ And finally:

 

This is probably true. Until next time, clickers!

NOC Recaps iZombie: Where Veronica Mars Meets Chuck Meets Pushing Daisies

I am now recapping iZombie for The Nerds of Color! (Making that 3 recaps a week, plus occasional 4ths (there may be a Game of Thrones recap in my future), plus a 5th nostalgia recap I should be doing for another blog but haven’t started yet, plus TV MVPs at the end of the week for Just About Write… Someone will hire me to do this full-time eventually right?)

NOC is recapping iZombie! Here’s a bit of background on the show before we dive in to this week’s episode.

iZombie is The CW’s newest series. Based on the DC comic book of the same name, it tells the story of Olivia Moore (she goes by Liv. Liv Moore), a former heart surgeon, who went to a boat party that went badly. The boat was attacked by some dudes on an experimental drug and she was swiped in the arm on the way over the side of the boat. She wakes up with white hair and an intense craving for BRAAAINNS.

So far, I’ve been enjoying the show. It reminds me of three other shows:

  • Veronica Mars — Clearly this is the strongest and most obvious. Both shows were run by Rob Thomas and Liv’s pale shoulder length locks and her snarkiness are very reminiscent of Veronica Mars’ style.
  • Chuck — Liv’s Skill of the Week reminds me of the show Chuck where the lead character downloaded the Intersect 2.0 which gave him new temporary skills as the plot demanded.
  • Pushing Daisies — A supernatural detective using skills related to death to find out how someone was murdered? A live man and a dead girl can’t touch for fear of something bad happening? One brown man who knows crime fighter’s secret? Too bad Washington’s dreary rain is the opposite of Couer d’Couers.
  • (Also, fake psychic detective? Very Psych.)

Read more: NOC Recaps iZombie: Where Veronica Mars Meets Chuck Meets Pushing Daisies | thenerdsofcolor.

Recap City

I’ve been slacking on posting my most recent recaps here, so here they are! I think I’ll get back into the blogging groove soon, I feel it.

Castle

Castle Season 7 Episode 18 Review: “At Close Range”

Castle Season 7 Episode 19 Review: “Habeas Corpse”

Arrow

NOC Recaps Arrow 3.17: Couple’s Therapyar317a0153bjpg-991056_640w

NOC Recaps Arrow 3.18: Everybody KnowsNOC Recaps <i>Arrow</i>: Everybody Knows

 

ConStar Clicks

Wow, I’ve really been slacking on these haven’t I? And I’m going on vacation next week, so there likely won’t be one next Friday. But no one seems to read these so, raise your hands if you care and I’ll be more consistent.

Anyway, here are a few interesting things I’ve come across this week!

Ω I watched the below TEDxTalk on television as social conscience. I found it of course to be true (television both reflects and changes our society) and I appreciated Lauren Zalaznik’s research in investigating how people felt about the television they were watching and how that changed over time. Seeing the graphics she presents with the rise and fall of comedy vs judgement and the other comparisons she makes with the knowledge of the socio-political issues we know happened during those eras really puts things into perspective. It’s about 15 minutes, check it out if you can.

Ω I really liked this interview in Color Web Mag with writer Sanjay Shah who writes for Fresh Off the Boat. I love that show so much! I’m glad it’s getting the spotlight it deserves. And I hope it leads to more colorful families on TV and that networks aren’t satisfied with having Fresh and blackish fulfill the diversity quota that we always seem to be limited by.

Ω Lilla Zuckerman writes on the Save the Cat website on different kinds of television act breaks that you can look for when watching TV or use when writing it. I’ll definitely have to come back to this page.

Ω And just for fun: Hundreds of boxes of Twizzlers spill onto Pennsyvania highwayRostraver Central Fire Department

Quick Update: I Officially Completed My First Spec Script

This weekend I finished my first official spec script! I call it my first official script because I actually sent it out to the Nickelodeon Writing Program. It was due to be postmarked by midnight on the 28th and I arrived at the post office 45 minutes before they closed at 4pm.

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That face on the bottom right says, “Ahhhh!”

Since completing it only a few days ago, I been trying to figure out how I feel. I am definitely glad I finished a script. I have two three-quarters finished scripts (for Parks and Recreation and Scandal) and a finished Castle spec that will never again see the light of day because of how bad it is (it was my first real attempt at script writing ever). So finishing feels… good. I guess. I think I am just trying to be realistic. Cautiously optimistic, maybe? Because having just one completed script isn’t enough. I need to do so much more. Thankfully, since sending my spec in, my brain has opened up a little more with ideas for some of the other (original) projects I want to work on.

But the sense of accomplishment is muted. So here I am making a post about it so it feels more real, feels more like a joyous occasion that I should celebrate. Not many people finish things. I never thought I’d finish anything. But I am finding that once you finish one thing, you start to feel more like you can finish another, and another, and another.

So here’s to finishing the next thing.

The Happiest Shows on Earth: ‘Parks and Recreation’ and optimism on TV via #EWCommunity

Parks and RecreationI wrote the following for the #EWCommunity, to share some shows that have made me smile even half as much as Parks and Rec did. There aren’t many, but click through for some shows that celebrate optimism, love, and friendship.

Parks and Recreation was lauded for its combination of comedy and earnest sweetness. The people of Pawnee, Indiana, are “first in friendship, fourth in obesity,” and they proved the former to us for seven seasons. The characters love each other, love the work they do (even as underappreciated public servants), and taught us to celebrate Galentine’s Day, waffles, and ourselves (Treat yo’ self!).

Very few shows allow themselves as much happiness as Parks and Recreation did. So many shows are gritty and dark, or concern us with which major character is being killed off this week. Nothing is wrong with that; I love a lot of shows that raise my blood pressure in a very real and probably unhealthy way. But sometimes you need to balance it out with shows that make you smile every single time you watch an episode. Parks and Recreation was one of those shows.

Now that it’s gone, I want to reflect on other shows that celebrated friendship, love, and optimism, and were unafraid to be bright spots in a cynical and dark world. There aren’t many, but here are a few shows that exemplified a few of the qualities that made us love Parks so much:

Click through to find out the shows: The Happiest Shows on Earth: ‘Parks and Recreation’ and optimism on TV | EW Community | EW.com.

NOC Recaps Arrow: The Frustration of Justice

Well. That happened. This week’s Arrow threatens to turn the show in a whole new direction. I can’t even begin to guess where they take things next.

Getting to the episode itself, after watching it, I (and trusty Flarrow sidekick Christelle) went back to see a Facebook post Stephen Amell put up earlier in the week to describe the episode.

With this template, let’s break down the episode using the Captain’s own words.

Read the full recap here: NOC Recaps Arrow: The Frustration of Justice | thenerdsofcolor.

Castle 7.16 Review: “The Wrong Stuff”

Castle space suit

This week’s episode of Castle is a bit Alien, a bit Asimov, and a bit Agatha Christie. The theme? Enclosed spaces. While Castle and Beckett struggle with a crowded apartment, their latest case drags them into the deadly dynamics of a crowded space mission.

More of the recap here: Castle Season 7 Episode 16 Review: “The Wrong Stuff”

Also:

– “There goes my rise of the machines theory.” Looks like you were almost right, Castle! MIRA DID do it, though under heavy influence from each member of the team.

– One of the coolest Castle title cards ever!

– “Hey, Castles.” Oh Ryan, I love for you for that.

– When Rick and Kate fight, they dream of being literally as far away from each other as possible…

– “If you think that’s how I’d get pregnant, we need to talk.”

– I know some science fiction, but definitely didn’t catch all of the references made here. Anyone got a list of science fiction tropes and reference in the episode? List them below in the comments!

ConStar Clicks

I’ve been slacking on the #Clicks lately, I know. I’ve been either writing elsewhere, trying to finish my spec script, or watching Pulp Fiction for the first time. Also, haven’t found that many worthy articles. But, here are a few things, including some shameless self-promotion.

This just in! The Emmy’s have cleaned-up their category rules: comedy’s are now defined as series 30 minutes or less (blocking shows like Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin from being nom’ed in the Comedy category), but have also expanded categories selections from 5 to 7 nominees to make room for the crowding. As James Poniewozik said,

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Appreciate Emmys trying to clarify, but real issue is a lot of best TV today is neither strictly drama/comedy http://t.co/RmlLrEP8ZD

— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) February 20, 2015

There simply just needs to be a dramedy category (adding two slots per category basically gives Dramedy 4 slots if you just include Best Comedy/Drama. Instead of squeezing everyone between two, spread the love between three!), as I explain here: The Emmys Need New Categories. The article also says that “guest” stars who are in more than 50% of the series episodes are no longer eligible (which, though I love her, is how Uzo Aduba won for OitNB. Not fair to actual guest actors and not fair to her for not being allowed to submit for supporting actor!).

This LA Times article discusses how the diverse TV shows this year—and their phenomenal ratings—means that people are finally seeing that black shows (by nature of the shows presented) and diverse casts are winning this year. From Scandal beginning the wave to How to Get Away with Murder, Empire, and Black-ish all seeing increases—some record breaking—in their already high, premiere ratings, does this mean execs are finally seeing the value in diverse content? I surely hope so. And as much as I love Shonda Rhimes, I hope she is paving the way for more opportunities from other people of color and that ABC in particular aren’t just going to continue to default to her for their diverse offerings. Follow her example and find others to nurture and support and give their own platform. Though written before Fresh Off the Boat‘s premiere, I know that show also has premiered with fantastic numbers that I see increasing when competing time slot shows Parks and Recreation is over and The Flash is on hiatus for a month.

The Dangers of Binge Watching. Loved this humorous take on how addicting marathoning and bingeing can be. We’ve all been there… Binge Hangover.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ohtRFAat-WM&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

I wrote ‘In Defence of Felicitybecause of an article that boiled her arc on this season’s Arrow down to being “a woman scorned.” The author seemed upset that her writing had reduced her, but I felt that the post reduced her and didn’t see that there’s more going on in Felicity’s head than just her failed relationship with Oliver. Click through to read my thoughts and check out the original piece.

This week’s recaps by yours truly: Castle, Arrow.

Finally, I’ll be hanging out over on the Entertainment Weekly Community, where fans get to ramble about and write recaps for TV shows they love. It’s a pretty exclusive community, so I’m really excited to join in! For my first post, I wrote about the similarities between two of my favorite shows: Angel and Arrow. TV side-by-side: ‘Angel’ and ‘Arrow. I’ll also be doing Nightly Show round-ups and Angel nostalgia recaps.

NOC Recaps Arrow 3.14: No Longer My Sister’s Keeper

Check out this week’s Arrow review! It’s long but I just have so many feelings about Oliver and Thea!

What was immediately fascinating about this episode is how the flashbacks were in Starling City and the present time was on Lian Yu, a cool contrast from seasons 1-2 where it was the reverse. Especially while in the direct middle of the five-year journey. I also noticed that the present and past were a bit more even this episode, as opposed to majority present, minimal past. The focus of both sides of this episode is Oliver’s relationship with his sister. I am so glad that Oliver told Thea the truth once again. As she said, now they truly have no secrets from each other (well, Oliver always has a few up his sleeve).

More over here: NOC Recaps Arrow: No Longer My Sister’s Keeper | thenerdsofcolor.

In Defense of Felicity via The Nerds of Color

I wrote a piece defending the writing of Arrow’s Felicity Smoak this season, because I think her storyline this season has been oversimplified by viewers who think that all of her actions have had to do with Oliver’s waffling over their relationship.

Badass Digest recently wrote a piece explaining how Arrow has “failed” Felicity Smoak in its third season. It brings up a lot of great points about the ways in which her character has changed, but I think it unfairly places the blame on the Oliver/Felicity relationship, when I think things are a bit more complicated than that. Sara’s death, pieces of Felicity’s (of the admittedly little) backstory that we know, and the overall darkness of the season all help push Felicity to a darker place this season. And I think that’s okay for the show overall.

Read more over on the Nerds of Color: In Defense of Felicity.

Castle 7.15 Review: “Reckoning”

This week’s Castle explores the lengths Castle will go to in order to get Beckett back. We’ve gotten glimpses of Castle’s darkness and desperation before, but this is the furthest he’s ever gone. I think that if the show had to change its premise to Castle becoming a killer in order to save Kate, it could have been believable. But we’ll get there later.

Following the cliffhanger from last week, Castle, Ryan, Esposito, and the police head to Beckett’s last known location before she went missing. It’s the street where Amy Barrett called her; her car is still there and a note’s been written in the car dust: “Help Her.” With ‘Michael Boudreaux’/Jerry Tyson and Dr. Kelly Nieman at the precinct, the cops can’t pin Beckett’s disappearance on them in any kind of tangible way. Ryan has to prevent Castle from jumping on Boudreaux in his apartment, knowing that Castle’s anger isn’t helpful to them finding any answers.

Read the straight up recap here: Castle Season 7 Episode 15 Review: “Reckoning”.

This was a fantastic two-parter, and I loved the tension from Nieman’s ability to make anyone look like anyone else, how convincing Tyson was as Boudreaux, and Nathan Fillion’s anger, deadly nature, and grief when he thought it was Kate who was shot. Usually at least one episode of a two-parter is a bit of a let-down compared to the other, but this is my favorite two-parter since Season 3. With the end of the 3XK arc, as I’ve said before, it seems like the show is tying up loose ends. Will we get more mysteries to go along with the disappearance arc or are they preparing to wrap things up for good? We’ll know by May, I suppose.

Also:

– So now we officially know that 3XK had nothing to do with Castle’s disappearance. I suppose that leaves his father as our number 1 already established suspect.

– Castle’s back at the 12th! Will he continue his private investigation business or will he drop it to work with Kate again? I could see another couple of stories pulled from the PI storyline, but I’m glad Castle will be able to sit in his chair at Kate’s desk again.

– What would have happened to Castle if he’d gone through with killing Boudreaux? His confidence in it being Tyson doesn’t take away from our tension that it might not be and our concern of what would happen had things gone another way. What would Beckett think about all of this? Him killing a possibly innocent man for her.

– The Harry Potter nerd in me yelled for Castle to not “split his soul,” but then I immediately wondered what he’d choose as a horcrux.

– What if the show had decided to change its premise from a typical police procedural to a revenge show where Castle went around killing people responsible for Kate’s death (Taken-style probably), while Ryan and Esposito “looked for him” while covering up his crimes? This episode could have been the start of that very AMC/FX turn.

– I wondered why Castle pulled the same gun move on Jerry when we know Tyson would anticipate something like that, but knowing Esposito was listening and that they needed enough evidence to prove he was really Tyson before killing him explains the repeat move and the slow reaction time.

– I’m glad it was Tyson in the end and not Boudreaux, because typing Boudreaux repeated is like a typing-tongue-twister. I spelled it wrong on the first try every time. I started to copy it to my clipboard just so I wouldn’t have to type it anymore. You’d have gotten a lot of accidental ‘Boudreauz.”

– There’s a Nieman/Marcus joke to be made somewhere…

NOC Recaps Arrow 3.13: The One Where Everybody Finds Out | thenerdsofcolor

This Thursday is apparently Recap Central. Here’s my Recap of this week’s Arrow, where I get to make a Friends reference and a Grey’s Anatomy reference and I feel awesome about it.

Well, almost. But two of the biggest season reveals finally happened in this week’s Arrow: Thea found out Oliver is the Arrow and Captain Lance FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY found out about Sara. There are a few things each character is a bit, ahem, fuzzy on… (how long has Sara been dead? Who killed Sara?), but it will finally be nice to get past btoh of these distracting omissions. Now, besides the circumstances of Sara’s death, we just need Lance to know Oliver is the Arrow and most of our major secrets will be out in the open!

More more more here: NOC Recaps Arrow: The One Where Everybody Finds Out | thenerdsofcolor.

Castle 7.14 Review: “Resurrection”

This week’s Castle post over at TV Overmind discusses the first part of the 3XK two-part saga. Is the man before them really Jerry Tyson? That question causes great suspense in a good but flashback heavy episode.

This week’s Castle is mostly exposition/flashback. I think what was a one and a half episode story needed a few extra minutes so they dumped in a lot of flashbacks to extend the story time. Aside from being a little too flashback heavy for my taste, I really enjoyed this episode and the tension that was spun from the 5th installation of the 3XK storyline.

Click through for more Castle Season 7 Episode 14 Review: “Resurrection”.

NOC Recaps Arrow 3.12: The Magician and the Monster

The end of this week’s Arrow gutted me (and Oliver) more than the literally torso-piercing mid-season finale did. As I write this I am still in shock and can’t really move. We’ll get to that later though.

More here: NOC Recaps Arrow: The Magician and the Monster | thenerdsofcolor, but here are my thoughts on Malcolm, as the main character of the episode:

With regard to the title and the Malcolm-ness of the episode: I mostly just liked the alliteration of the recap subtitle, but both epithets were used for Malcolm in the episode and I think it represents the two parts of him. The Magician is the man he was before the League. He was flawed and scared but he cared about his family and still chose to show Nyssa his trick even when he saw that she was a tweenage bad-ass. The Monster is who he became. The League didn’t erase his anger or despair, it suppressed it until it drove him insane. Insane enough to think that destroying the Glades was helping the city (I am still thrown by all of the logic-adjacent support he got from Thea and Roy in this episode).

Malcolm has to rectify both sides of himself, as does Team Arrow. I agree with Felicity that he is a monster, but in contrast, he listened to Oliver and didn’t kill Brick. Hedoesseem to care about Thea (well, to a certain extent; he did still put her inthe crosshairs of Ra’s al Ghul). And if redemption and changing your ways is a theme of the series (which is what Oliver’s character development has been about so far), then Oliver is the person who can best help Malcolm redeem himself. Just like Canary was the name for Sara that she felt was beautiful but didn’t really represent who the League turned her into, Malcolm struggles with the same with his own name. Maseo also became someone else when he joined the League. This season is about identity and all of these characters must reconcile the different parts of themselves, including the different names they go by. Malcolm must stop being the Monster and return to being the Magician.

Check out the rest for my Olicity thoughts, because of course I have some.

Castle 7.13 Review: “I, Witness”

This week’s Castle was a bit of a miss for me. Not because of the PI storyline, but maybe it relied too heavily on a sort of Lifetime movie meets Hitchcock kind of thing. Too many twists and back and forths.

Check out the straight up recap here: Castle Season 7 Episode 13 Review: “I, Witness”, but here are some of my thoughts as usual:

Little Things

– The scene with Castle at Whitfield’s house doesn’t make sense considering the end. Cole says “You’ll never prove a thing” but it turns out he wasn’t involved at all. What was his reasoning for saying such a thing, then? He was truly innocent and had no reason to further antagonize Castle in such a way. This is one reason why I felt there were too many twists and turns that even the writing couldn’t keep up with.

– In the side story, Ryan, Jenny and Espo were supposed to go on a trip together, but since Espo isn’t with Lanie anymore, they now need a 4th person to go with Espo. Ryan and Jenny set Espo up with someone on match.com, creating a profile for him, which upsets Espo who says he can find his own dates.

– I did enjoy the amount of time spent in the kitchenette. Since they weren’t working on an official case, they kept a lot of their investigations before it was an official murder to the more social areas of the precinct, even in Gates’ absence.

– Kate was very wonderfully affectionate towards Castle this episode, lots of snuggling. He was going through a lot so it was nice to see her be so supportive. Not that she isn’t typically, but it was more noticeable here.

– The actress who plays the lawyer, Haskins, also plays a recurring character on the show Arrow. Her character on that show works with a special division called the Suicide Squad. Looks like her character on Castle was also looking for suicide squad recruits.

Read more at http://www.tvovermind.com/reviews/castle-season-7-episode-13-review-witness/#pzhdXh2CXU2D52Sd.99 

ConStar Clicks

Welcome to this week’s (slightly delayed) clicks! Let me know which articles you’ve been reading. And if you have any suggestions for links to share, leave a comment or shoot me a tweet! Let’s jump right in!

Belafonte and Clarke Interracial Touching TV

This was a controversy in 1968. For context, it happens a month before MLK is assassinated.

This Huffington Post article goes through a few major landmarks in black television. From Amos and Andy‘s outrageous stereotypes to the present day where a black woman is a president on TV (for however long State of Affairs manages to sustain itself). That in and of itself is cool for those who didn’t know about these shows and their legacies, but this quote really stood out to me:

Such a torrid romance [re: Scandal’s Fitz/Olivia] marks a head-spinning change from 1968, when, during the taping of a duet for her NBC special, British pop singer Petula Clark clasped the arm of Harry Belafonte, the beloved calypso star and social activist. It was a gesture that spurred the sponsor, Chrysler, to demand this instance of “interracial touching” be edited out.

The emphasis is mine, because wow! I know that there were such strict rules on television back then (I mean, Lucy couldn’t even say she was pregnant with a baby she got by sleeping in the bed next to her husbands!), but for the sponsor to want an arm touch edited out…! Seems so silly. “Interracial touching.” Tch!

Also:

In a few cases, in the weeks following the incident, as at CBS, there were directives from on high to writers, producers, directors, and studio programing heads instructing them “to intensify immediately the portrayal and use and actual number of Negroes in entertainment programs.” [x]

Uhm, can we get CBS to have a similar “intensification?”

♥ I shared a piece by this author, Eric Haywood, last week about banning the word “aspiring” from your vocabulary as a writer. This time, I’ve found another bit of searing Haywood advice: “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” The article is about having work ready to show someone always, at a moment’s notice. I am still working on having one thing finished, much less a constant flow of work-in-progresses, but it’s still important advice that I need to let marinate. Because as a writer, I should never be done writing. There are times when I am “finished” and something is ready to go off into the world (again, still working on that part), but then I should already be on the next thing. As it is, I do have a backlog of ideas for certain things, they’re just, unfortunately, not all TV shows, aka the medium I want to work in. “But that means you should already have a current piece of submission-ready material available at a moment’s notice.” As a chronic procrastinator who often needs deadlines to work, I need to work on “staying ready” more than “I can do it later if you tell me when it’s due.” Writer!Connie still has a lot of work to do.

Also this was great advice for all of us writers, no matter the field:

“In the age of smartphones and cloud computing, there is absolutely no reason for you to ever leave home without a PDF of your latest writing sample just a few thumb-clicks away. Not ever. Period. Let me repeat that being prepared is no automatic guarantee of success.”

♥ I was going to share this article on the end of TV shows we love, and I technically still am, but once I read this line, I immediately disliked it: “It can be argued that a show like Friends never jumped the shark, but I would argue that happened some time between when Ross and Rachel first broke up to when Monica and Chandler got together.” NOPE. The Monica/Chandler arc was the best thing to happen to Friends. You can’t jump the shark then UN-jump it, unless this author just thinks that everything that happened after season 2 was awful? Which is utterly ridiculous. Aside from overuse of the phrase “jumping the shark,” I do agree that shows end for a reason and sometimes it is before we want them to, but that’s just so they don’t end after we hate them. Ugh, that Friends blasphemy just riled me up! (Blasphemy, another word I think I should probably stop overusing…)

♥ This article, “What is a Universal Story Anyway,” is fantastic with regard to discussing what “universal” means and how it silences so many stories. I’ve plucked out some great quotes. Please check out the entire piece because I never thought about the term “universal” in such a way.  My favorite quote, “It’s not our job to cater to the lowest common denominator. It’s our job to raise,” (from The West Wing) definitely fits in with the jist of this piece.

“It’s hard to tell your own story to a broad audience, when you have been deemed “other” from birth.”

“[T]his new shift offers a glimpse into what media might look like if it had always been this way, if “universal” were defined in someone else’s favor.”

“The definition of “universal” is owned by those whose stories have already been told—and told with complexity. Writers who lie outside of this boundary are pressured to adopt the same stories, the same language, used and approved by others. Readers who have never seen themselves reflected back are expected to continue not existing. Using “universal” to enforce only makes our stories narrower, but using it as an opportunity to explore the lives of others, so unlike our own, takes back the term and gives it the meaning it’s meant to have.”

♥ As January passes us by, February into spring means the peak of pilot season! Shows are being picked up for pilots, names are being attached to projects, and soon enough, production will begin on the slate of offerings for the 2015-2016 season (already!?!). Between the midseason premieres, summer limited series, and the onslaught of Netflix/Hulu/Amazon shows we’re expecting, this is a list of a few nerd-friendly TV shows that are coming this year so far.

What are you looking forward to watching?

Nerds of Color Triple Shot: The Flash 1.11, Arrow 3.11 & Supergirl

I banged out three pieces for the Nerds of Color yesterday, because I am obsessed with the Super Flarrow universe Greg Berlanti and team are creating.

NOC RECAPS THE FLASH:  SELFIES, SECRETS, AND SONIC WAVES

Team Flash (this photo will be important later, I can feel it)

First up, I did this week’s The Flash recap, where Barry and Team Flash encounter the Pied Piper and some of the cracks in Dr. Wells’ secrets chamber begin to splinter.

BLERD BOOST FOR SUPERGIRL: MEHCAD BROOKS CAST AS JIMMY OLSEN

Jimmy and Kara might getting a little swirly…

Then I wrote about the exciting news that Jimmy Olsen is now black! This gives the upcoming Supergirl series some serious blerd cred. I’m so glad they “thought outside the box” as the actor, Mehcad Brooks, stated on Twitter.

NOC RECAPS ARROW: WEEKEND AT OLLIE’S

They need to fix the way the mask sits on her face, it’s bothering me.

Finally, I did this week’s Arrow recap as well, where the remains of Team Flash act more like teenagers whose parents went out of town and had a big party where everything gets broken rather than adults who know when to quit. Thankfully, Mama Felicity saves the day. But she can’t save Laurel from the creepiest Weekend at Bernie’s stunt she’s pulled on Captain Lance since Sara died. Sara MUST be coming back since they’ve refused to tell him this long.

Thanks for playing!

ConStar Clicks

100 things to do before high school nickelodeon diversity

100 Things to Do Before High School Look at that beautiful kidsitcom diversity!

♣ Confession: I have another blog — that needs resurrecting — called Childish Things. Based on a C.S. Lewis quote, it’s about ridding yourself of the fear of so-called “childish things.” For a long time, I hid my interest in cartoons or refused to read children’s/YA lit because I thought I wasn’t supposed to. So I created a blog to discuss that. It’s been dormant for a while, but posts like this one in the NY Times make me want to bring it back. It discusses the changing Nickelodeon live action format and from what it sounds like, I’d love to be apart of that new wave of children’s television. I want more sophisticated programming for kids — for kids like me who read books all the time or watched grown up TV with their parents/guardians. The two programs mentioned most, Bella and the Bulldogs and 100 Things to Do Before High School, sounds really interesting — shows I definitely want to check out. And they’re also presenting diverse stories for people of color and children who don’t conform to gender stereotypes. Nickelodeon used to be the place to go to alternative kids programming, especially in the 90s, hopefully they are returning to that lack of formula. Maybe you’ll see something about this on that other blog I’ve got.

♣ Confidence is a big issue with me. I am not one of those people who wants attention and proudly proclaims their accomplishments. I am trying, social media helps make it a bit easier (shameless plugs abound in the #Clicks), but I’ve still got a long way to go. This piece in Script Magazine tells me what I already know, I’ve got to stop using the word “aspiring.” I’ve removed it from certain social media profile descriptions and am trying to keep it out of my personal vocabulary. It helps that I’ve been writing more, opening Final Draft more. But I still need to work on my writing mindset. These words from the article help:

Stop aspiring.

I mean it. If you’ve developed the habit of referring to yourself as an “aspiring writer,” cut it out. Do yourself a huge favor and take the word “aspiring” out of your vocabulary. It’s not helping you. In fact, it might even be hurting you.

Why? Because you’re not an aspiring writer. You’re a writer, period. Full stop. End of sentence.

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t sold a script or been staffed yet. To the contrary, that’s the very reason why you shouldn’t call yourself “aspiring.” Just as you wouldn’t welcome an “aspiring plumber” into your home to tear up your pipes, or trust an “aspiring doctor” to operate on you, why would anyone want to hire an “aspiring” writer? And the simple answer is, they don’t. People just hire writers. Start branding yourself as simply a writer, and it’ll have a direct impact on how you’re perceived by the people you meet.

So if you struggle with the word “aspiring,” click through and maybe Eric Haywood’s words will inspire you too.

♣ Speaking of writing, a reminder for me as a writer (also doubles as my weekly Jane the Virgin reference)

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As long as characters want different things, there is conflict, there is story. #JaneTheVirgin #TCA15

— Danielle Turchiano (@danielletbd) January 13, 2015

♣ Fresh of the Boat’s publicity tour is making me so nervous. Check out the awkward panels that have happened since they’ve started doing press. I hope the show does well and provides more opportunities for Asian actors, but this doesn’t feel like a great start. Conversely, drama provides interest and clicks — maybe its a way to get more publicity so people tune in? Entertainment Weekly and Audrey Magazine each have pieces on the drama.

♣ @xcerteras on Twitter has a list of sci-fi/fantasy shows that need to step up their diversity game. If you love charts,click through:

♣ Lastly, have you been watching The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore? I think it’s been knocking it out of the park in this, its first week. Already he’s covered things that other shows refuse to cover, like protests, Cosby, Cuba, and this week’s State of the Union. He’s had diverse panelists (like, real diversity, not blonde/blonde/brunette diversity), but also hasn’t been afraid to have a guest with a contrary opinion to the rest of the group.  It’s been great and I’m excited to get to see it live next week! The Writers Guild of America shared this article on Wilmore, exploring his past screenwriting accomplishments, including a show called The PJs, which was going to be the title of a project I’m working on, until I found out someone used it already.

Note the part where Wilmore writes that the acting style will be naturalistic, and the show will be shot in cinéma vérité style. Almost like a documentary. Hmmm… is there another show like that? One that began production after BERNIE MAC had been on the air for four seasons? And that eventually procured Wilmore as a writer?

Hmm, this, like the Living Single/Friends thing (look it up), is so very interesting in the ways black television does something first, but something more.. ahem, “mainstream”… later codifies the tropes and becomes the household name for the formatting innovation. Anyway, check out The Nightly Show and click the link to see some pages from his scripts.

♣ Oh wait! Last night, I wrote my first post on Buzzfeed! Check it out, I posit names for Ben and Leslie’s children on Parks and Recreation. Because we all know Leslie would totally want to name her kids Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

♣ And finally, this time for real, for real:

So if you haven’t already, now’s the time to go ahead and make that resolution. Resolve to stop aspiring. Take that dirty word out of your everyday conversation once and for all, and by all means, please take it out of your Twitter bio – yes, YOU. You know who you are. — Eric Haywood.

NOC Recaps Arrow 3.10: “Left Behind” — Pulled Apart, Brick by Brick | thenerdsofcolor

My NOC recaps are back! Arrow was my favorite show to binge this summer, so recapping it for The Nerds of Color has been awesome. I can write and write and write about this show for pages. It’s also fun teaming up with fellow NOC writer Christelle, who writes the Flash recaps.

Arrow returns with a resurrection, and while the episode featured a lot of the appropriate resurrection keywords and images: a “three days” mention, Oliver lying stretched out kinda Christ-like as Maseo brought him down the mountain, I guess Tatsu is kinda Mary Magdalene? Not really, that’s a stretch, but the point was to say that Oliver’s story is a bit more The Lion King than anything else. Click through to get a bit more context on that…

Somehow, Oliver is Simba. Just go with it.

I’ve cast in this year’s Starling City Stages production of: The Lion King. Oliver is Simba, Robert = Mufasa, Scar is totally Malcolm, Felicity is Nala, I think Diggle has to be Zazu. Who is Oliver’s Rafiki? Tastu and Maseo aren’t exactly Timon and Pumbaa, but just go with it.

Where do I even begin? There’s the remains of Team Arrow (or whatever it may become without the Arrow to guide them — oh, haha, get it?); the future of both the A.T.O.M and the Canary; Malcolm, Thea, and everyone’s inability to disclose important deaths; the whitewashing of Brick; and of course: the revival! I think I’ll just go in that approximate order, and throw some flashback plot in there too (sorry, for now, they’re not my favorite thing).

We start with a car chase. Read the rest here: NOC Recaps Arrow: Pulled Apart, Brick by Brick | thenerdsofcolor.

Castle 7.12 Review: “Private Eye Caramba!”

Castle Season 7 Episode 12 Review:

This week’s Castle takes a telenovela twist (just minutes after I watched Jane the Virgin, no less!). A telenovela star is murdered and it’s up to Kate to find the killer and Castle to find… the purse?

Click through for the full recap, but here are some things I loved from the episode:

– Another nice moment between Kate and Martha, but once again no Alexis in sight…

– Castle’s pencil dropping from the ceiling at just the right time.

– “I thought you were a writer. What happened?” “Nothing happened. I’m just expanding my brand if that’s alright with you.”

– Castle learns that the number one skill a private investigator has is dropping $20s for information.

– Esposito’s frustration and Beckett’s amusement with Ryan’s “Castling” makes me laugh every time. Oh Baby Castle.

– I loved the detail of Castle being unable to get Beckett’s top button undone.

– I figured I’d be the only review to not mention the “private dick” line, since it was all over the commercials anyway, but here’s an obligatory mention.

– I loved Castle using Ryan’s badge number to get info from the DMV. Ryan’s the least likely to kick Castle’s butt if he finds out.

– I was glad for Kate’s concern when they find Castle with Mathis: “We would have had no way of finding you.” Obviously, it’s because they’re married, but also his disappearance is still weighing on her mind, and it shows here right beneath the surface. I hope that storyline is returning soon.

– “So you’re saying I solved my case, and your case, and I apprehended the killer… Hm.” “Yeah. You disarmed a 110lb woman. Must’ve been a tense moment.”

– Javier speaking Spanish. ::heart eyes emoji::

Full recap here: Castle Season 7 Episode 12 Review: “Private Eye Carumba!”

ConStar Clicks

gina rodriguez golden globes speech

Preach it, Gina!

Award season is here and after last Sunday’s Golden Globes and this week’s Oscar nominations, a lot of the articles going around have to do with the severe lack of diversity in Hollywood. Here are just a few (from before Oscar noms were announced — they didn’t change the conversation much anyway) articles on the diversity deficit.

This USA Today article talks a lot about the lack of diversity in Into the Woods and other fictional pieces, but also delves into the excuses made when diverse actors aren’t considered for roles and how even with a PoC director on a film or showrunner on a TV show, it’s still hard to achieve the diversity needed to match the actual demographics of this country.

♠ Here’s an interview with Selma cinematographer Bradford Young in the Huffington Post on how the lack of diversity in the industry spreads beyond even the top roles we normally think about, the above the line players (actors, producers, directors, etc). Here he points out that the lack of diversity exists below the line too — he’s speaking primarily as a cinematographer, but it counts for editing and sound design and costumes and all the rest of the crew. Most of the Selma crew was not people of color. Hollywood sets and Hollywood Academy voters, neither represent the diversity of America.

♠But it’s not all bleak, the Golden Globes honored my most recent fave Gina Rodriguez with a best actress in a comedy win — I literally screamed when they said her name. Her speech was amazing (see top photo and the one below for quotes).

gina rodgriguez i can and i will

Gina is full of inspiring quotes! Click the photo for the full video.

If only other people in power were more like those at CBS/CW and Jane showrunner Jennie Urman who took a chance on Jane. See what it gets you? A new hit show and award nominations! The CW is on the map now, all because they went with a person of color. Others networks could benefit from the same choice.

♠ Shameless self promotion of the week: After the Globes, I felt my post on New Emmy Categories was especially relevant. Let’s be honest, there were some weird category combinations — shows like Jane the Virgin, Orange is the New Black, and Transparent all in the comedy category? Jane is pretty funny, OITNB has some humor, but I’ve never, ever gotten the impression that Transparent was a comedy/musical. (Chelsea Peretti tweeted something about how even comedy and musical aren’t even similar — though it was in true Chelsea Peretti fashion) Ads always lean towards serious. And these shows submit for comedy categories because the drama categories are over-saturated and straight comedies have no room! All of this would be resolved with a Dramedy category. More shows get more recognition. No? We don’t want that?

I love this article on Hitfix on how it’s a Golden Era for geeky TV shows because I watch a lot of these shows. As I explained last week when I talked about the “mid-reputable” TV shows article, a lot of the shows I watch tend to be sci-fi/fantasy/mystery (most of whom are never Emmy/Golden Globe contenders), so it’s great that there are more and more “mid-reputable” shows that happen to be SFF/mystery on network television. If I have to deal with a continuing lack of diversity, at least part of my geek soul is being fulfilled.

♠ In that same vein, here’s an article in Ad Week about The Flash and the other DC Comics shows on The CW (and mentions of Supergirl coming to CBS) and the way they are bringing life to television. The article goes through a bit of Marvel vs DC in terms of their known strengths: Marvel excels at movies, while DC excels at TV. This, to me, has always been true. I don’t know a lot about the comics themselves, but each creator has shown their live-action/animated strengths known since the 90s. Marvel had massive success with the Blade movies, the Spiderman movies, even the X-Men movies even before the current MCU revitalized the superhero blockbuster. In the TV-verse, DC was always better: besides the X-Men cartoon series, Marvel didn’t really have any standout cartoons in the 90s; compare to the different Batman and the Justice League cartoons and their incarnations. In live-action, I was always partial to Lois and Clark, the New Adventures of Superman, whose 90s cheese was absolutely perfect the era. And of course there was Smallville. It’s great that each company, Marvel and DC, are succeeding somewhere specifically. It just means everyone has somewhere to go to get their superhero fix.

And for a random take away from that same article: “Under Time Warner, DC is tied to a broadcaster (the CW), cable networks (Adult Swim, Cartoon, TBS, TNT) and, of course, the movie studio.” Just a random fact for when thinking of your favorite DC comics and what networks you could match them with (don’t forget CBS, as they own The CW). Remember, of course, that Marvel is owned by Disney, so when mentally pitching Marvel TV shows, stick to Disney owned nets (though now there’s Netflix getting in on the Marvel game).

♠ Finally, how do I combine the two main themes above, diversity and geekdom? Easy, with this article by Daniel Jose Older in The Guardian on the lack of people of color in fantasy fiction. “And while “urban” has become publishing industry code for books by and for black people, throw the word fantasy on the end and suddenly the characters and authors are very white.” The work of achieving diversity is still being labored at in all media.

Oof, these Clicks are long. Should they be shorter?

On Forgiving “Writer’s Guilt” & Paying Your Rent – Daniel Jose Older on the #BGNPodcast

Daniel Jose Older NYCC14

Here’s Daniel at a Geeks of Color Go Pro Panel at NYCC this past autumn

I did another podcast this week with Black Girl Nerds, this time featuring author Daniel Jose Older, whose book, Half Resurrection Blues came out last week. He was very insightful and open about his writing process — offering many great pieces of advice — which I found very encouraging as a writer.

On finding your writing process:

“A lot of what being a writer is, is finding out what your process is and not doing somebody else’s.” He says that even when you’ve found your process, it can still change, depending on your life at the time and what’s necessary for you.

On the realities of being a writer:

“I believe really strongly in taking days off, even when you’re deep in the throes of trying to finish a project. You have to live. You have to be alive. And you have to pay your rent.”

On the advice to “write every day”:

“I’m a big advocate of not feeling like you have to write every day. If that’s your process, then awesome. But that’s not everybody’s. And what really happens with that advice is that people start feeling guilty, shameful, and they don’t write every day and they feel bad about it so they have a really unhealthy relationship to the blank page or the project or whatever. You can’t sit down at the writing desk feeling guilty already! You have to forgive yourself before you begin writing otherwise you’ll be cramped. You’ll just be mad at yourself — that’s not a good place to write from.”

You check out the full podcast here, where Daniel gives more amazing advice on being a writer, the ways in which we should and can use sci-fi/fantasy to discuss power and control especially with regard to racial and economic injustice, and the books and cultures that inspire his writing, but these two quotes above especially stuck with me.

Maybe it’s because I am a chronic procrastinator (most writers are — but I feel like I really take the cake), but I don’t think writing every day is my process. I certainly need to write more, and I need to overcome at least a basic level of sitting down and writing for more than an hour or so at a time (also, I need to make writing more than chronic outlining, though outlining definitely is my process), but it’s encouraging to know that writing every single day doesn’t have to be my process. Because there is a level of guilt or reluctance to sit down. And when you’re in that mindset that you’re “forcing” yourself to write, that often makes the words come harder, because you’re so distracted or you don’t want to be sitting in that chair (even if it’s a bungee chair from Target).

I have this one.

I need to write more, but if I don’t every single day, I’m not failing as a writer. It’s just not my process. I think I am getting closer to what my process is (it involves my shiny new iPad Mini), but it’s good to hear again (because I’ve of course heard it before) that your process doesn’t have to match what the books say or what anyone else’s process is. In the end, as long as you get the work done — and being reasonably happy and healthy during the process might also be nice — then that should be what matters. Your writing process just has to be for what you need, as a person, as a writer, for your genre. So I’m going to keep finding my process, but if I don’t work on my spec script today (I totally did, so HA!), I shouldn’t be harder on myself or feel guilty. That, as Daniel said, develops an unhealthy relationship with the blank page. Writing is hard enough and full of negative emotions based on how inferior you’re feeling, how your words aren’t flowing together, how plotting is SO HARD. When you are able to sit down and write, you shouldn’t be worried about if you didn’t write yesterday. You had other things to do (like pay rent, or get some much needed rest). And as they say, write forward. Work on bettering your writing and your process so that you WILL want to write everyday — no guilt necessary.

I’ll stop blathering, I feel like I’ve stopped making sense. Listen to the podcast, read Daniel’s book, ask me if I’m writing, but don’t expect guilt if I haven’t been. (You might get a little guilt.)(And I should’ve been writing recently at least.)

(Ok, I’m really done now.)

Happy writing!