BGN Podcast with the black-ish Kid Cast

This week, I had the awesome opportunity to once again join the Black Girl Nerds Podcast, whose guests for the week were the kids from ABC’s hit new sitcom black-ish. Three out of four of the kids were able to join, Miles Brown, Caila Marsai Martin, and Marcus Scribner, while Yara Shahidi was unable to join in due to travel conflicts.

It was a fun podcast. The kids are all super polite, eloquent, funny, and really self-assured. They had us adults talking and listening re-evaluating our lives! They really know their stuff and know how to inspire people (Dream Big, Inspire Many! as Miles likes to say). They have a lot of fun on set and it seems all three kids had great Christmases. I am so glad the world is theirs and they are such good kids to represent the black kids watching them on TV. They will be a great inspiration to so many young children watching black-ish, the way the Huxtable kids or the Banks kids or the  (for older viewers) the Hillman kids were for the young viewers watching them. Marcus, as the oldest, especially. He wants to go to Stanford to be a Journalist! He’s already got really academic aspirations and seems smart, and confident yet still nerdy. And humble, all three sounded extremely humble and just happy to be where they are. It was a great conversation and I feel so inspired having spoken to them. Listening to them will make me like black-ish even more because I know such great kids are behind their characters.

Listen to the podcast here. I’ll be back on the BGN Podcast next week with author Daniel Jose Older, author of a novel coming out this week titled Half-Resurrection Blues. Then I’m on a podcast hiatus for a while. Maybe.

#BGNPodcast In Case You Missed It: The Kids of #BlackishABC.

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Castle 7.08 Review: “Kill Switch”

After a bit of a broken TV, breaking news, work all day delay, my Castle review is up over on TV Overmind! Click through to check it out!

This episode was a great return to a standard episode, an episode that could be placed in any season. Though it was Espostio-centric, we also got to see a lot more Gates and Lanie (who we got to see in more than one scene over a dead body), more Tori–who some fans suspect could have had a thing with Espo had he not been so hung up over Lanie) and even Marissa, a new cop. It was a great episode to shine some light on lesser seen characters, while remaining true to the Castle formula. The mythology episodes and the romantic episodes are great, but it’s also nice when we can return to a typical case of the week and not slow things down.

I love that this episode had so many people of color as the focus, Esposito, Lanie, more Gates, and even Marissa the uniformed cop. It was great to see. More at: Castle Season 7 Episode 8 Review: “Kill Switch”.

Castle 7.07 Review: “Once Upon a Time in the West”

This week’s Castle post!

This episode was so much fun and it’s great to see that the banter, the eye rolling, the magic of Castle and Beckett has remained even in what could have been an overly schmoopy, post-wedding bliss episode. But that’s not their style. This show really knows how to give character development while realizing that there are core truths to the characters that wouldn’t change, which gives the series both development and consistency; many other shows don’t know how to strike that balance. It gives me hope that now that they’re married, the show will still have somewhere to go. But as I’ve stated before, I wouldn’t be surprised if an end game was near. I didn’t think they could pull of this Old West honeymoon, but they wove it into the plot nicely and gave us many fun lines and moments.

Read more: Castle Season 7 Episode 7 Review: “Once Upon a Time in the West”.

Castle 7.04 Review: “Child’s Play”

In this week’s episode of Castle, Castle accesses his not so inner child to find out who murdered an ice cream truck driver.

Some of my TV Overmind review focuses on what little Castle reveals about the mind of a child, giving us insight into what may have made little Ricky Rodgers become a writer…

“An experience that powerful is going to find a way to express itself and end up on the page. Even the wildest fantasies have a kernel of truth. As a master storyteller, I am able to separate the makeshift from the tell-tale details of thinly veiled facts.”

I am really loving the ways the cases of the week have been, even in small ways, tying into the larger mystery of Castle’s disappearance and his mysterious childhood encounter. I think more than any other season, it will lead to a large fluidity and connectedness between each episode, even the filler episodes. Castle hints here at whatever he experienced as a child that made him want to become a mystery writer. What powerful experience did he have as young Ricky that changed him so powerfully? What kernels of truth exist among his dozens of novels that hearken back to that night in the woods?

Read the rest of my review here: Castle Season 7 Episode 4 Review: “Child’s Play”.

#Castle Season 7 Clues

In writing this season’s Castle recaps for TVOvermind, I want to keep track of the clues we’re being given with regard to Castle’s disappearance, crossing them off as we get resolution. So here’s a master post of clues as we build them.

Let’s crack this mystery Castle-style!

Clues up til now:

  • Remember: “three people.” Castle was seen alone for the rest of the episode, but two people dragged him out of that car. Could Henry Jenkins have been one of those people?
  • The money Castle took out for the wedding got used for the dumpster drop to trash the car. Who knew about the money? Was that the first thing they did when they grabbed Castle? Made him get the money—where was he holding it that it wasn’t being watched by the cops or the feds?
  • Beckett tries Paris, no dice.
  • Lanie’s check-in: The 38 key sewn into the lining of his pants. Dengue fever, tropical climate. Grazed rib wound.
  • Montreal, the Bank, the suspicious bank manager.
  • Fake Henry Jenkins again— the willing amnesia, or so “Fenkins” (as Terri Edda Miller put it on Twitter) says.
  • Where did Castle get those memory cards, camera? Was he doing something else with them before making the videos? Why were the videos so quickly done, who was he expecting to interrupt?
  • Hollander’s Woods. February. 11-year-old Castle. What happened and why is it coming back to haunt him 30 years later?

Read my other Castle reviews and theories over at TVOvermind!

Castle 7.01 Review: “Driven”

Castle 7.01 Review: “Driven”

When the news broke this summer that Andrew Marlowe was stepping down as Castle showrunner, I can’t say that I was actually all that nervous. David Amann was already a Castle writer and I just had a lot of faith in the writing staff to protect Marlowe’s project, especially since 1. He’d still be around (he’s writing 7.02!) and 2. His wife still writes for the show. And after that premiere, I feel safe in my faith in the show going forward. Six plus seasons is a long time to keep things fresh—a typical procedural relies to cycling through “ripped from the headlines” cases and replacing the cast when necessary, not Castle. They somehow brought us fresh dynamics to fuel us throughout the season while keeping the characters the same.

The beginning of the episode was stunning. Kate in her beautiful dress reaching towards the flames, then getting doused in water as she waited for the confirmation that Castle wasn’t in the car. (I’ll forgive them for letting Kate stay that close to a car that could explode at any moment.) After the moment of despaired silence, the action kicks into gear as Kate does what she does best, look for clues. I loved the Sergeant who was so eager to help out, especially after Kate’s “he’s one of our own.” Castle has been granted this treatment before, but it’s always so great to hear. Esposito and Ryan are dashing detectives as they start the investigation still in their tuxes, doing whatever they can for two of their favorite people. Our team finds the SUV that ran Castle off the road, just as it’s being flattened—Beckett takes that to heart as she tackles the junkyard employee flat to the ground.


Read more at TV Overmind

ConStar’s Pilot Watch: Forever

Just look at that ridiculous pun.

I almost don’t want to talk about this show. I wasn’t interested in it to begin with (it was the show of all of the presented pilots at PaleyFest Previews that I wanted to watch the least) and it didn’t surprise me or engage me at all. In fact, I stepped out halfway through to get a snack and didn’t miss much.

We’ve done the “immortal white guy knows more than everyone around him” trope so many times and there was nothing new to his immortality–unless you count that fact that he’s NOT a vampire. And I’d had a feeling we’d seen this show before and after the panel I was reminded there was a show called New Amsterdam a few years ago that was this very same trope—he was a detective instead of an ME. I hadn’t wanted to watch that show either. And it got cancelled pretty quickly. His resurrection power seems ridiculous and half unexplained–and not in the mysterious wait until later in the season way. Things were left unexplained (like why he DISAPPEARS from his spot of death and resurrects in water; also: what happens to his clothes? What if someone sees his body disappear?), which distracted me from the story rather than pulling me in. These are things that could have been explain immediately.

It’s the Mentalist (no, not fun Psych, but the Mentalist) meets… a vampire detective show. Maybe a bit of Castle (partners from different fields solving crimes) and Quincy, ME (he’s an ME), but without any of the fun of any of those shows. He didn’t even really present a compelling backstory and his partner’s backstory was mediocre as well. Nothing all that interesting.

The best thing was the ending with a reveal as to how he knew a certain character. That warmed the hearts of several audience members, and it was a nice bit of character interaction, though still no real development on behalf of the main character. And the mystery introduced–someone knows his secret–wasn’t interesting at all. Just a series of phone calls, you don’t even see the face of the main antagonist. I didn’t care.

Why can’t we have an immortal protagonist who is black? Or Latino or Asian? Those stories would be so much more interesting and rich! A black immortal who escaped slavery or at least survived until emancipation, then through Jim Crow and all that which followed? A Latina (yes, why not female) who has travelled through South and Central America for centuries before landing in New York. Characters of other races would add much more flavor to these immortal stories, the things they’ve lived through, that people of color have gone through through the years tells much more harrowing tales. An immortal Japanese man who survived living in America through internment camps or perhaps, even managed to fight in WWII. There are so many stories out there that are the same ones we’re being presented, but add a person of color and it adds so much more to the narrative.

Can’t say I was disappointed in Forever, just that it met my very low expectations.

Verdict: The puns were too heavy handed, the plot wasn’t interesting, and it started off with an unnecessary bang. I’m not watching Forever.

ConStar’s Pilot Watch: Cristela

I was wonderfully surprised by Cristela. It started off rough and I felt like my low expectations were being met during the first 20 seconds: Cristela walks in the room, her mother says something that’s not funny and the laugh track kicks in. It was a bad omen. I groaned aloud. I face palmed. But once it moved past forcing the first laugh, it legitimately made me crack up.

The character dynamics are on point; Cristela lives with her sister and brother-in-law, mother, and her niece (was there a nephew as well? I can’t remember). The mother was grumpy and old country, the brother-in-law hates Cristela, the sister is sexy and loves her family (clearly since she lets both her mother and her sister live in her house). Simple character traits that will define their relationships with each other and provide nice plotting.

Cristela, herself, is ambitious, but not easily so–it’s taken her six years so far to get through law school–but she’s in there and she’s not giving up. She likes sports (go Cowboys), makes friends with the adorable, inept Jewish fellow intern, and both stands up to but makes an effort to learn from her new (racist) boss. Which I hope they deal with a little better than they have so far, but they can’t squeeze everything into the pilot and most times in the world, you have to suck up people’s racism until you have the power to put them in their place–which she definitely doesn’t have yet.

The show is funny, so hopefully they don’t rely too much on forced laugh track gags like the very first one, and I think it has heart. Obviously it’s comparable to the George Lopez show, which I can’t remember well enough to really say if that’s going to help it or hinder it. The weakest part of the show was Gabriel Iglesias’ character—who seemed forced in because he’s a famous Latino comedian and who didn’t add anything to the show but weird sexual advances towards an uninterested Cristela. Hopefully they realize they don’t need his famous face.

Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised; I’m keeping it on my fall calendar.

ConStar’s Pilot Watch: Manhattan Love Story

One of the batch of romcom/sitcoms coming this fall, I came in around the middle of Manhattan Love Story. The thing that made me enjoy this was the main character (I forget her name) got trapped in a staircase at work and had to walk all the way down out the building. She landed in a dirty alley, I set off an alarm at 30 Rock when I interned there… I related to that moment, so I was engaged lol.

It wasn’t a strong pilot, really, but not terrible. I’m not really feeling the male love interest or her best friend and the BFFs husband seemed to have been hitting on the main character? Very skeezy. Maybe I missed important exposition on their relationship, but I didn’t get a good grasp on their relationships. I think the love interest definitely needs to lose the beard, it tonally matches his face too closely, made me really dislike him. It might be a nice thread if her list of NYC places is featured in every episode, but I don’t know how far that takes us.

Between this, Marry Me, and A to Z, there seems to be an advent of meet-cute, fall in love type stories, which might wash the palate of what How I Met Your Mother could have been in its last season. Seeing how Cristin Milioti is in a meet-cute/fall in love show this season, I’ll have to watch that just to see if it makes up for how HIMYM failed me. But I’m thinking HIMYM’s success and the success of the final season (up to the finale itself) is why there are so many rom-com/sit-coms on right now. This is the new comedy trend it seems; moving away from the family or office comedy.

VERDICT: Might binge a few on Hulu after like 3 episodes, but so far I’m not really all that invested.

‘Castle’ Producer David Amann to Replace Creator Andrew Marlowe as Showrunner – TheWrap

‘Castle’ Producer David Amann to Replace Creator Andrew Marlowe as Showrunner – TheWrap

Wow! Big news for my favorite show!

Andrew Marlowe hopefully feels very strongly about this decision and the team backing Amann, but Lord knows fans will be in an uproar. Seasons past cries of “In Marlowe We Trust” are being thrown back at us as we face the fear of a new showrunner (even one whose been on the show for so long). After some fans felt disappointed by the season 6 finale (leaving Castle and Beckett pointedly NOT married), for there to be a new showrunner will certainly cause more angst and anxiety as we fans wait for season 7 this summer.

Let’s hope that Marlowe’s presence will still be “day to day” as the article says, though this probably also means no more episodes penned by Marlowe and wife, Terri Miller, which is definitely a bummer for fans of their joint episodes. Hopefully more on this as the writers get back to work in full…

 

*I guess this means I’ll have to adjust my “Andrew Marlowe” showrunner category!

Shonda Rhimes NPR Interview

Shonda Rhimes NPR Interview

Supes late on this one, but if you are too, check it out here. Only about 7 minutes long. I’m glad Scandal has a definitive end, because it’s not the type of show that can last forever, and we don’t want it to go past it’s lifespan. It’s interesting to me that she knew where Grey’s Anatomy would end but then they “kept going” so she had to sort of write past that. I wonder if a lot of showrunners face the same challenge. We sometimes blame shows moving past their expiration dates on the writers/showrunners, but the network has a large say and they’re definitely more about the money than the art or the story. Interesting piece (finally). 

ConStar Watches Scandal “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington”

The last two episodes of Scandal were explosive through and through; this one simmered more before delivering some blows. Even though Mary took up most of the screen time in today’s episode, the scene with Huck and Olivia and Mellie’s scene with Fitz carried the most emotional weight this episode, but let’s start with Mary.

Poor Mary. I had a feeling she would blow herself up if she found out her son was a terrorist. It really does suck because Liv had a choice to tell her the truth, she chose the lie, and her lie cost her. I’m surprised they didn’t give her a wardrobe change towards the end of the episode; but I suppose the soot on her light colored suit speaks for itself. I suppose she who wears the white hat must always be wary of dirt getting on it.

Olivia/Huck/Eli. There was no answer Huck could give that would save the relationship between Huck and Liv: Either Huck kills Papa Pope (I guess I’ll call him Eli now?–thanks cell phone caller ID) and Liv is destroyed or Huck doesn’t kill him and Huck is destroyed. We got treated to the latter, but I won’t be surprised if the former also happens sometime down the road. It’s a no win situation. The bond they had before is irreparably damaged. Eli is awful, but I love him for it; I love what he brings to the show and the depth he’s brung to the characters. And I love the lines they give him, so deliciously theatrical. So clearly he is going to be around for a while. it was never going to be that easy.

It’s interesting to me that Huck never met this man before, so the commands coming from Command were always faceless, yet Huck felt the man’s power over him enough to kill that man (who we’ll get to briefly later). But I guess if I met someone who I was told was God (obviously I’d have to have very good reason to believe such a claim–just go with me here), after listening to him all this time, and he told me to go do something, I suppose I’d just do it too. Out of fear, out of loyalty–there are many reasons why Huck went and did what he did. Let’s not also forget, though, that Huck loves this stuff. It’s his drug. And Eli handed him a hit on a platter. Huck kind of had no control over his actions. Poor, poor Huck. He and Liv are basically brother and sister: they suffer from the same damaging “parental” figure who they can’t escape from.

“He owns me too.”

Yes, girl, even that wine you’re drinking is a product of his influence on you. Huck is back in the hole and Eli is trying to drag Liv in too. She says “Nobody walks away from him,” not realizing that both Huck and Jake are alive because of his love for her (which I still believe must be the one genuine, non evil thing about him). If Liv liked every member of B6-13, I don’t wonder if he wouldn’t shut it down.

[Anyone else catch Eli’s eye twitch when Huck’s gun was in his face? I think he stood his ground, but thinks that Huck is a real threat to him. He’s just aware of his power over him and knows he’s able to make use of it. But I don’t think Eli underestimates Huck. I think he might be very afraid. Let’s not forget that Huck, while possibly unaware–and possibly unwilling to use this tactic–has Olivia. Huck could threaten Olivia in some way and Papa Pope might change his whole perspective on things. Just something to think about.]

Fitz/Liv: I bet that 4th fellow in the office when Fitz was telling Liv about Mary’s son was like “Oh, Miss Pope is about to lose her job or something for hanging up on the president,” not knowing he’s her boo. Also Fitz had to tell Liv that guy was on the phone very clearly so she didn’t slip and say something he wasn’t supposed to hear.

Let’s talk about the quiet, but powerful scene Mellie had. It’s the most imperfect we’ve seen her, if I’m remembering correctly. Her hair is loose, she has little make up on, and she was so relaxed. Drunk!Mellie might be my favorite Mellie. Even a bit of an accent popped out there, especially as she talked about her Daddy’s “hootch.” Homegirl knows what’s up. She knows that if Olivia Pope died, she’d have nothing. Fitz wouldn’t have the time or the energy for her; it would all go in to grief and trying to champion some sort of monument to “Saint Olivia Pope.”

I am spectacular but I cannot compete with religious fervor.

Mellie knows how to run what’s given to her, but a curveball like that would take things out of her hands. As she said,

“As long as she’s still alive she’s your flaw. your achilles heel. She’s the string I’ll pull to make my puppet husband dance.”

Mellie y’all! They both, but she especially, are done playing. They are even over playing for the public; Cyrus was going to have a coronary trying to get them to go to Camp David together. Poor Teddy, he’s going to have some deep emotional scars from them yelling at each other in his face like that. Mellie intends to play the Olivia card to get what she wants; I wonder what she has planned…

Remington UpdateLet’s see: The man Huck murdered wanted to speak to the president about Remington. He though he was the only honorable person involved. Does Jake’s release have anything to do with all the Remington stuff coming out? Why did that man not try before to speak to the president? What prompted him to want to do it now?

I don’t like David and Cy in the same room together. They’re more than opposite sides of the coin, that implies shared traits. I worry Cy will corrupt David, but David shocked me (and twitter) tonight when he showed up and OUT against Cy. I was proud of him. I wonder what this might mean for their interactions in the future. Cyrus is always trying to blackmail or guilt or extort something out of somebody; David isn’t letting that happen. You go, David!

This week and (it seems) next week are sort of back to the case of the week format, but so far it hasn’t lost the serial edge that it seemed to last season after the Defiance arc ended. Is it next Thursday yet?

Quotes

“I’m all killed out today.”
“Wrap it in plastic and put it in a dumpster so it never bothers you again.”
Ok Dexter…

One last thing: Liv’s phone blowing was UP tonight… oh wait, too soon? 😉

New UCLA Study Finds That TV Shows w/ Ethnically Diverse Casts & Crew Have Higher Ratings | Shadow and Act

I recently half-joked about how instrumental the additions of Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe to the cast of this season of American Horror Story were, in helping its premiere episode become the most-watched telecast ever

But really! What this article (kind of surprisingly) forgot to mention was shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, whose diverse casts skyrocketed them both to being ABC’s #1 dramas. I think even Glee got it’s popularity boost when it came out because it had a diverse cast (though many have problems with the way that diversity is presented on the show, but that’s another issue). ER and Lost are also shows with that I’ve recently been reminded had diverse casts and hit  #1 status in their day. They are the hot Thursday shows. And recent addition Sleepy Hollow has been doing extremely well (probably even better than the network or anyone thought) and I believe that is in large part to its diverse cast.

It’s kind of unbelievable that networks haven’t caught on to the fact that this is working. ABC is clearly trying to copy some form of the Scandal formula with it’s show Betrayal. Sexy secrets and affairs, a “scandalous” name– but these aren’t the things that make Scandal a hit, so ABC going with some blandly all white cast and a hot name and some racy storylines isn’t going to drive it to be the hit that Scandal is. Scandal is successful because of its black lead and showrunner, who see that diversity in storytelling is what makes a hit show even more popular.

via New UCLA Study Finds That TV Shows w/ Ethnically Diverse Casts & Crew Have Higher Ratings | Shadow and Act.

ConStar Watches Castle “Number One Fan”

I love the morning in bed scene. Last episode Castle said it was crowded. Boy did he mean it. But there were so many little gems in the scene.

“Does that make me your sugar daddy?”

UGHHH PI! but “Mrs. C-to-be” !! #squee! I love how Beckett doesn’t like Martha’s coffee at all. Great background detail.

“Well, if there’s one thing you excel at Castle, it’s talking.”

“Cheeseburgers”

I’ve wanted a good cheeseburger all week and this just cements that desire.

“I’m kind of looking forward to spending the rest of my life with you so don’t do anything stupid okay?”

Also the way she helps him put on his vest and then smooths it over and then straightens his collar. I love their love.

“What? What do you want, Emma?”

“You! I just want you!”

Anyone else notice the “Always” reference?

I loved the detail of Beckett playing with her ring when watching Castle go inside. I didn’t notice it until tumblr pointed it out, but of course she gets to wear it when not working. I wonder if it’ll be a fun detail to spot now that she’s back: when she’s in civilian clothes/without (w/her style sometimes it’s hard to tell) and whether or not there will be moments when we’ll notice her take it off before doing something important/police related or back on after a long day at work.

Castle & Beckett kind of have matching bullet marks now. I know there’s been no reference to Beckett’s (I know getting w/Castle basically erased her scar/PTSD) but it’s still a subtle parallel. They could have made more of the moment, but I think they’re choosing to let fans insert the PTSD background. I think I’m okay with it, because I do understand that they can’t drag that on forever. Subtle references allow the viewers to feel intelligent; not banging it on our heads (“remember when Beckett got shot?!? Remember, remember?!” — that would get old probably).

“You are aware that you don’t work here.”

Loved those scenes. She can’t help herself and they can’t help but listen. I wonder if this means Sully is getting the shaft or if we’re getting a couple more episodes with him in it. They’ve gotta resolve the desk issue.

I love Gates sticking up for the boys, Beckett offering the back her up and Castle’s offer to– not– totally let them handle it. I bet Beckett and Gates will get more scenes together.

Why didn’t the guys see the footage of the Lawyer at the victims place before? Is that a plot hole? Or did they just not get to it yet?

Im glad Emma’s dad wasn’t the killer. Girl’s been through enough. though that actress must have cried in every one of her scenes. That’s a lot of emotion…

This post on tumblr refers to the fact that so far the cases have had to do with couples getting engaged/married. Doesn’t seem like the next one is about that, but we won’t know until next week. Interesting theme; I wonder if it’s building to anything or just a fun detail.

Beckett is back! But I wonder what the emotional arc for the next few episode might be. She’s kind of going backwards here and Sully is around and the boys have been doing things all summer without her. Will she have a hard time inserting herself back into precinct life? She had an easy time of it when she wasn’t officially back, but in the every day routine of things, will things get a bit awkward in the next episode? There will now be 5 people to the 12th Precinct Dream Team…

Also I’m really glad they’re letting us have our kisses. Before they were preventing them from ever kissing– and I get it; it was a move to maintain some of the tension between them. But I prefer when we get to see their kisses and I know other fans do too.

Can’t wait for next week! Joshua Gomez!

 

ConStar Watches S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Asset”

I still can’t tell how I feel about this show. I believe it will pick up, but waiting for it to pick up in the way that I want is rough. But I can tell they’re laying some foundations and working out relationships so I’m giving it more time. And it has both the money and the audience to actually give us time to watch it grow. Unlike every other Whedon show. I remember not being sure how I felt about Dollhouse and then episode 6 came along and I was in for the ride.

Why can’t Skye have a tech S.O.? lol I suppose Ward does tech stuff as he showed when he cut off her offer to do some techy bits.

i enjoyed Fitz/Simmons’ outfits. 

I think I’m not alone when I say I’m not a fan of Skye’s double agent act (though most people, from what I gather, are not fans of Skye herself. I don’t quite like her too much either).  I think her cockiness is what i dislike about her. And she’s selfish? Though, perhaps, maybe that’s just in the context of SHIELD. She doesn’t really know or care about these people yet and the show hasn’t given her an opportunity to yet. Maybe she cares about other people on a larger scale? but her cockiness is annoying. I did enjoy her “Nope!” though. Skye’s cockiness drops quick when there are like 5 dudes after her!

Whats wrong with Coulson’s muscle memory? There’s definitely more to this than we know (what happened in Tahiti? Did he actually ever go to Tahiti? What did SHIELD do to him to bring him back?). What are they foreshadowing to be wrong with him? I really want more Coulson. And more Melinda May! She’s definitely my second favorite character and I want to know more about her and her backstory (and why she didn’t want to join in–what happened in her last mission– and does that have to do with not liking being called The Cavalry). More Melinda and Coulson being Agent Bros, please!

Hmm, I don’t know why I wasn’t feeling Skye’s emotional turn around at the end. Her life was threatened in the two episodes before, why was this one so much more traumatic for her? Half of the time she was threatened in the episode, she was being her normal, cocky self. I get that it’s a defense mechanism, given when we could assume about her even before she revealed her backstory, but I don’t feel like we earned that story based on what she went through in the episode. I could get some introspection, but not a full out reveal to Ward about her past. I don’t get if she’s suddenly on their side or if she’s playing the “hide deception in honesty” card as she did with Quinn in the episode. I just don’t think we earned her confession.

I liked the tag more than the episode as a whole. As a non-comic book reader, I didn’t quite understand what was happening, but tweets sort of made me pull it together at the end. I think my problem with this episode is that it’s exposition for Graviton the Villain and exposition can be the most boring part (even in a great story). It’s why I’m giving SHIELD so much of a chance (that’s a lie. It’s because it’s Joss. and because it’s not bad, it just hasn’t really found it’s footing yet, but I know it’s coming), all of these beginning episodes are exposition for something greater to come. I don’t think Disney/Marvel would have greenlit it yet if they weren’t shown a larger, fuller story trajectory that we’re not seeing yet.

I’m interested in seeing how the Graviton arc plays out (as I think that’s what this show really needs, to start showing us it’s arcs. A comic book story, a Whedon story doesn’t work story of the week; those stories are best told in arcs. We’re just getting the seeds right now.

Quote: SNEAK PEEK at Shonda Rhimes – Black Bloggers Connect™ Official Blog

MG Media: How much pride do you take in the fact that your casts are much more racially diverse than most other shows?

Shonda: I don’t take pride in it at all. I think it’s sad, and weird, and strange that it’s still a thing, nine years after we did “Grey’s,” that it’s still a thing. It’s creepy to me that it’s still an issue, that there aren’t enough people of color on television. Why is that still happening? It’s 2013. Somebody else needs to get their act together. And oh, by the way it works. Ratings-wise, it works. People like to see it. I don’t understand why people don’t understand that the world of TV should look like the world outside of TV.

via SNEAK PEEK at Shonda Rhimes – Black Bloggers Connect™ Official Blog.

No seriously. It’s 2013. Why is it a thing to have a racially diverse show and why is Shonda the only really doing it? Other shows that seem like they have diverse casts kind of still have the token minority who support the lead. They don’t really have leading qualities or episodes of their own. And Shonda is right, her shows are super hits for ABC, and yet no one else has thought that perhaps her casting has helped her get her shows where they are. It’s not everything, but it certainly helps widen your audience.

ConStar Studies Scandal (And Season Pacing)

Tonight’s Scandal was a little lot crazy. And reading TV Line’s post episode Q&A (don’t even look at the URL if you haven’t seen the episode. Seriously.) with creator Shonda Rhimes got me thinking about season pace.

So tonight’s episode of Scandal was episode 13, which tends to be a biggie since a lot of shows initially get a 13 episode order for the season (and if it goes well, the ‘back 9’ are added on), so it’s often big; often acts like a possible season finale, and usually crops up right in time for February Sweeps. Perfect ratings combination.

Without spoiling too much of the episode (either you don’t care or I hate spoiling things for people), know that a major story arc is, well, not concluded, but is partially resolved. But only in the sense that there is more crap to come later on. LOL. Reading the TV Line article, Shonda Rhimes says the next episode comes with a time jump (harking back to episode 13 as a season finale, 14 is maybe Season 2 part 2). In the TV Line article, she says:

When we got the 22-episode order [for Season 2], I was like, “We’re not going to slow the show down,” because that would change what the show is.

A lot of praise goes to British television shows because of how well they construct stories and spread them out over the season (and other reasons, destroying the hearts of their fans is another thing) but usually they only get 13 episodes per season (British Brevity). So the stories are more compact. American TV, on the other hand, spreads things out over 22 episodes. Which is great for having more story and more time with your favorite characters, but sometimes slows down the momentum of a story arc and we’re stuck complaining about filler episodes.

So it’s a little refreshing to see a showrunner decide not to have those filler episodes (though the next few are naturally filler-esque after the heavily serialized episodes we’ve been treated to on Scandal) and to jump straight into the next story arc. More shows could learn from not spreading their intended story out, but instead compressing it into a few episodes and moving on. What you move on to could be unrelated, but that might feel jarring, or you can just complicate the first arc and have the new one feed off of that one. (Something I think the show Angel always did very well.)

Obviously, I have to watch the next few episodes of Scandal to see how the time jump and the switch to a new story arc are handled and how they feel coming from the same season, but I just couldn’t help but think about the way a season progresses after reading that TV Line article.

ConStar Studies (Boy&) Girl Meets World

What network a show will be on can be very important to the tone and feel and message of a show. The shows that the big networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX) air are very different than what FX or HBO or even The CW air. As it is pilot season, knowing the network a show will air on really tells you a lot about what kind of drama or humor may be on the program.

So, with that said, I’d like to briefly discuss the upcoming Girl Meets World pilot that is currently in pre-production. (Go here for the recent casting choice for said Girl. Cory and Topanga will indeed be back!) Any child of the 90s who watched Boy Meets World is super excited that this show will exist, with Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel on board–and hopefully some other familiar faces, and hopes it will be good. But part of what made BMW so good was its network. It aired on ABC during the unforgettable TGIFriday block along with other great shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Full House, Family Matters and many other funny, family oriented shows. They could be super cheesy, but were exactly what kids of the 90s stayed home and watched before they became teenagers who partied on Friday nights (I never became one of those people). But the shows that aired during that block on ABC are not the same kinds of show that aired on Disney Channel, even in what I’d consider its height (I’m talking the Famous Jett Jackson, Lizzie McGuire era). BMW followed Cory and the gang from 6th grade through college (all in 7 seasons, life speeds by!) and hit some major milestones on the way. Shawn joined a cult once, Mr Turner’s unresolved motorcycle accident, Cory and Topanga’s various relationship issues including cheating, the Pittsburg problem, and the light evolution of their sex life eventually. Those are areas Disney Channel shows now don’t touch.

If Girl Meets World is to be as good as Boy Meets World, I’d like a 2013 update of some of those same problems but with the same feel. So I am concerned about the show being on Disney Channel and not on ABC (though it’d be harder to find a place for it since I’m not sure ABC has the same kind of TGIFriday block) since what made the original show so good were the stories they could tell on ABC that they don’t on Disney Channel. Hopefully the show is great and my expectations (which I am forcing to be lowered) are met and exceeded. I just needed to get these concerns out and also post on my new blog!

I didn’t quite expect this post to be so long, but I ramble when I write and am trying to cut down (as any screenwriter must learn to do). So I’m ending it here.

Any thoughts (related to this or not) on Girl Meets World? Production begins in February.