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Jane the Virgin 2×05 “Chapter Twenty-Seven” (Insert Britney Spears Pun Here) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

I knew Michael’s winning streak wouldn’t last very long. Read my Jane the Virgin Chapter 27 recap!

What’s between snowflakes and flower petals? Maybe rain, baby tears? Whatever it is, Jane is in that in between state now. Neither Michael nor Rafael have come away with her affection, because she’s realized she should focus all of that affection on Mateo.

Click me baby, one more time: Jane the Virgin 2×05 “Chapter Twenty-Seven” (Insert Britney Spears Pun Here) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

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Jane the Virgin 2×04 “Chapter Twenty-Six” (Winter is Coming) [Contributor: Connie]

This week’s Jane the Virgin review is up over on Just About Write!

In addition to raving about the episode and the differences between Team Michael (Team Snowflakes) vs Team Rafael (Team Flower Petals), I discuss the small ways in which series creator Jennie Urman empowers women in all aspects of her show. From it being a woman-led series, to she herself being the showrunner, Urman also laces the Miami telenovela industry with powerful women. Here’s a screenshot of what I wrote:

Retweeted by Jennie Urman herself!

Retweeted by Jennie Urman herself!

It’s important for shows that proclaim powerful women or proclaim diversity also show it behind the scenes. Practice what you preach.

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Jane the Virgin 2×03 Review Chapter Twenty-Five (Let Your Faith Be Greater than Your Fear) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

Team Michael has a serious leg up right now…

My latest Jane the Virgin review is up!

How is every single episode of Jane the Virgin a delight to watch, but also heartwrenchingly emotional? This week was no exception. As usual, it ran me through the gamut of emotions, from joy that Jane got into grad school, anger over everything related to Petra, relief that Rafael is telling the truth, confusion over being Team Rafael when Michael is also so wonderful, and the buckets of tears produced at Mateo’s baptism. Let’s swim through this sea of emotions together!

Click through for excellent section titles such as

  • Time to Dance
  • Petraland Wishes to be a Russian Oligarchy and
  • Baptizing my TV with My Tears

Jane the Virgin 2×03 Review Chapter Twenty-Five (Let Your Faith Be Greater than Your Fear) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

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Jane the Virgin 2×01 “Chapter Twenty-Three” (She’s Armed, She’s Fearless) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

I reviewed the Jane the Virgin premiere over at Just About Write! The show is back and just as good as when they left us. Chapter Twenty Three is merely the next chapter in the same awesomely hilarious and emotional book. I missed this show and am so glad it’s back in my life.

Read more: Jane the Virgin 2×01 “Chapter Twenty-Three” (She’s Armed, She’s Fearless) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

My Favorite New TV Characters From the ’14-’15 Season

I fell in love with an extraordinary number of new characters this TV season. Looking back in the ones I loved or connected with the most, I decided I’d make a list of my favorite new characters from this TV season. Once I made my list, I realized that they were all people of color. This was not on purpose, but it delights me greatly.

Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) ⇒ The Flash

When Caitlin and Cisco guest starred in Arrow on season two, I didn’t care about them. I couldn’t really grasp who they were or connect with them at all. Once The Flash started, however, they quickly came into their own and Cisco proved to be one of the seasons funniest and savviest characters. I think what draws me to Cisco is the same thing that draws me to characters like Abed Nadir from Community or Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock. All of these characters are like me: pop culture savvy, people who make references to movies and TV on a daily if not hourly basis and are always looking for the hope and the humor in life. Cisco, by nature of his pop culture obsessed nature, is one of the meta characters on the show, the fact that he has recently been revealed to be a metahuman makes that even more meta. All things I love.

How do you not love him?

Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) ⇒ iZombie

iZombie’s Ravi is the most recent addition to this list, but definitely a character I want to protect at all costs. (Being that it’s a zombie show, all characters run the risk of dying, but don’t do it to Ravi!) I think what first struck me about Ravi was his loyalty. He meets Olivia Moore, this weird girl who used to be an ER doctor, and when he discovers her secret, he doesn’t tell anyone, not even her. He vows to keep her secret and help find a cure for zombieism with no personal gain. His immediate loyalty to both her and Major is extremely endearing. He’s also snarky, has fantastic hair, a great accent, and looks great in a suit. I hope season two provides for Ravi backstory and opportunities for Liv and Major (and Peyton?) to return the loyalty favor.

We’re glad you are, Ravi.

Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) ⇒ Grey’s Anatomy

It’s hard to introduce a new character when your show is 11 seasons in, but Grey’s Anatomy manages to consistently add new characters and have fans come to love them. One of the first things I loved about Maggie was her hair. As a natural black girl myself, seeing curls like hers on TV is always a delight. I was hesitant about her character, as she was introduced so soon around Cristina Yang’s exit—I feared they would try to replace Cristina in Meredith’s life, especially once you find out she is her sister. And while Maggie is slowly plugging the hole that Cristina (and now Derek) left in Meredith’s life, she isn’t trying to replace her. She is her own character who interacts with Meredith in a different way, a way that Meredith needs now that she’s lost those who were previously so close to her. Maggie brings loyalty (have I mentioned I love loyalty in fictional characters? Because I do.), a willingness to be there no matter what the question (her offer to babysit Mer’s kids), and a somewhat normal family background. She’s also awkward, nerdy (she’s an expert crossword puzzle solver—a cruciverbalist), and she’s interested in helping other people. These are all wonderful qualities and I can’t wait to get to know Maggie more.

You’re too good for this hospital, Maggie. Save yourself!

Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) ⇒ Jane the Virgin

Ask anyone who’s seen Jane the Virgin and they will extol the wondrous and many virtues of Gina Rodriguez. You’ve probably seen the think pieces, her Golden Globes speech, and her (amazing) Emmy campaign poster by now, so you know that she and her character Jane are well loved across the TV fandom. Nearly everything about Jane makes me love her (even her faults, because they are things I relate to), but the things that I might love most include the fact that she’s a writer (who is still trying to figure out her writing path), she’s loving to her mother and grandmother, she’s funny, she shops at Target, and she fearless even in her insecurites. Even if Jane is unsure, she determines to find out the answer, to become sure. She does her research, but she also listens to her heart. She allows herself to cry and still know that she is strong. She’s a great model for young female characters. I am so glad we have Jane.

I hope we get more rapping Jane in Season 2.

Diane Johnson (Caila Marsai Martin) ⇒ blackish

Kids on TV are hard to cast. Sometimes they can be seen as annoying or too sweet or unrealistic. blackish’s Diane Johnson defies these challenges. She’s cute but she’s smart, she’s fierce but she’s relatable. She’s funny but not in an annoying way. I love that Diane speaks her mind. That she’s smart and knows it and doesn’t back down or apologize for it. I love that she realistically puts down her twin brother, but won’t let anyone else mess with him. I love that she scares Charlie. Also I love her dimples and her sass and her glasses and the way her hair is different in every episode and that once they even put her in a headscarf (because Lord knows she’d need to wear her headscarf in order to keep those barretts in place at night). Diane is shaping up to be a fantastic person and I am so excited to see her grow older.

Love how semi-neatly she’s making it rain. 

Emery & Evan Huang (Forrest Wheeler & Ian Chen) ⇒ Fresh Off the Boat

I think Evan and Emery Huang come as a package deal for me. They’re both adorable and it would be easy for them to be written similarly (especially in their contrast to Eddie and especially due to their closeness in age), but the show gives them distinct personalities that still have an opportunity to shape and grow.

Emery gets all the girls and is clearly sweet to them and his family.

Evan uses his cuteness to get away with everything, including his sharp tongue, and he’s well aware that that’s what he’s doing.

Both boys are smart and funny, the actors have excellent comedic timing. I can’t wait to see who they become as characters because they’re so young that they can still change and grow depending on the writing.

Who were some of your favorite new characters this TV season? 

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?

ConStar Clicks

Really wack title (or is it?!), but being inspired by the Screenwriting Links posts I used to do over at Aspiring Screenwriter blog and by Black Girl Manifest‘s Link Brigade, I want to do weekly (or less, because I’m still learning consistency) link posts of cool TV/screenwriting/diversity/industry things I’ve read this week. Sometimes I do this when I share one link and semi-officially post on it, but sometimes links require less commentary. I like how BGM is sort of conversational, so I might take that approach.

Anyway, here are some things I’ve been reading this week, features two Gina’s and a Jennie.

gina rodriguez

I love Jane the Virgin and have been loving Gina Rodriguez as the title character. Reading this Entertainment Weekly article on her desire to smash stereotypes was really insightful. Plus, I really appreciate her show of faith and the honesty of her prayer before she got the part. A prayer I hope to pray everyday:

“If it’s mine, it is, and if it’s not, give it to the person that’s meant to have it. Take this away, and I let it go. I lay my career at your feet. Just give me the patience and understanding to accept the story you have for me.”

So great. Then read her statement on Buzzfeed at this summer’s TCAs on how she waited for Jane, because the only roles out there for Latinas shouldn’t be maids.

Jennie UrmanOh, more Jane the Virgin? This time, showrunner Jennie Urman speaks over on the AV Club on her experiences adapting Jane for The CW.

“It was in that third and final draft that I decided to put the frame on with the narrator and have a bit of a meta-telenovela happening at the same time. Once I did that, I felt like it unlocked for me, tone-wise.”

I love the insight she gives on creating a show and presenting it to the important studio people and the way she both fought for it,  but also the way it seemed to have all been meant to be. This is fantastic considering Jane was just nominated for 2 Golden Globes! There’s a lot here, on writing the pilot, casting the actors, the color scheme, music, it’s all important!

Gina Price-Bythewood I recently saw Beyond the Lights in theaters. I loved it, but what I love even more is writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s push for authentic stories for people of color.

I feel what’s discriminated against are my choices, which is to focus on people of color as real people. Those are the films that rarely get made and those are the films that take a lot more fight. But I’m up for the fight, because if we don’t fight for this we stay invisible.

She makes a statement for her film over at the Huffington Post.

Finally, for this week, after my Arrow recap (hmm, should shameless plugs also be a part of my Clicks posts?), a commenter referenced the double edged problem of casting vaguely Arabic R’as al Ghul of Batman/DC Comics lore as a white actor (again). He says, in the comment and in a longer blog post that while we may complain that characters like R’as aren’t played by people of color, he questions if we want them to be. Should the only options for PoC be to play stereotypical villains who’s purpose was to mock a culture and represented eras of fear again [Muslims, the Chinese, the Japanese, insert your allegorical villain here]? Instead of wishing R’as was played by an actor of Arab-descent, let’s include better written characters of Arab descent.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully I can keep this up and bring more links throughout the week in this way. Until next time!

Jane the Virgin: Chapter Two

Jane

When Jane was 15, she had the perfect quinceanera, until her mother danced to Milkshake and embarrassed her in front of her “superfly” date. But Jane is determined to not let things affect her plan, and this baby won’t either. I’m sorry, I meant “milkshake.”

Jane doesn’t initially want to file a lawsuit, but by the end she accepts that things are really going to change in her life and that she should charge back at the things she can control. Jane didn’t think to look up Rafael and Petra before committing to her decision, so she Googles Raf and learns about his party boy past. She can see that he’s changed now, but as I said in my last review, he’s going to continue to deal with the consequences of his former lifestyle. But he and Jane begin to spark their chemistry, unknowingly in front of the watching eyes of Detective fiancé Michael. She and Raf share a moment in the OB-GYN examination room as well as at the hotel, being open and honest with each other in ways that their actual significant others don’t seem to get. Continue reading

Jane the Virgin: Chapter One

Jane the Virgin might be my favorite new show of 2014, in addition to it’s fellow incoming sister show The Flash on the same network. Both shows know exactly what they want and aren’t afraid to give it to the audience. Jane the Virgin‘s narration is very Pushing Daisies with a telenovela twist, as I wrote in my initial pilot viewing, especially due to the “thirteen and a half years ago” and “8.2 miles away” specificity. I love the typography and the writerly feel to it (appropriate since Jane wants to be a writer when she’s ready to be brave [me too, Jane, me too]). Jane the Virgin stays true to it’s telenovela roots (based on Venezuelan shows “Juana le Virgen”) but is a fun, heartwarming, addition to network television. It’s diversity and it’s humor are two of it’s strongest assets and it displays both in the pilot episode. I think it plays well in not dumbing itself down for audiences, there are several moments where they could have telegraphed character relationships or backstories, but didn’t, in honor of believing the audience would catch up if they missed it. I think the show gets off to a great start, with strong, but believably flawed characters. I think reviews will be easiest by grouping characters together and exploring their stories in each episode.

Jane Villaneuva

Continue reading

Link: More Diversity in Prime Time: It’s Not Your Imagination – The Root

More Diversity in Prime Time: It’s Not Your Imagination – The Root

This article mostly talk about black-ish in the aftermath of it’s premiere yesterday, but it also spotlights Jane the Virgin, which I must say was probably my favorite pilot this fall. Check it out!

Also check out two more articles regarding blackish:
In ABC’s ‘Black-ish,’ everyone has racial issues [Washington Post]
Black-ish: “Pilot”: Don’t call it the black Modern Family [AV Club]

ConStar’s Pilot Watch: Jane the Virgin

My favorite pilot for this season is Jane the Virgin. I love that it’s about a Latino family, I love that the grandmother only speaks Spanish (a reality they’re allowing to shine on TV), I love the characters and their relationships and where they’re taking their secrets, I love how funny it is, and how ridiculous it is at times, but also how real and loving. Most of all, I love the tellanovella narration.

I can’t stress enough how much I loved the narration. I think it’s so fresh and original. It reminds me of Jim Dale doing the Pushing Daisies narration. It fits tonally, adds humor, and gets exposition out in an innovative way. I’ve definitely never heard a tellanovella voice over before. It’s clearly inspired by the idea of tellanovellas and their ridiculousness (possibly inspired by an actual tellanovella?), but still doesn’t feel like too much a soap opera, even with soap opera plots (and camera work at times).

I already wanted to see it, but now I am really interested. It was definitely my favorite new pilot (since I’d already seen the Flash and knew the character). I really want this show to succeed and I really think that it will.

Verdict: It’s now definitely on my fall calendar, but when I’ll have time on Monday nights? I don’t know!

Minority actors land the lead roles in fall’s diverse TV lineup | New York Post

Check out the Post’s article on the PoC led dramas coming this fall. And a few are led by women! Numbers are getting better, but no where near where they need to be.

The link and a couple of quotes below.

With “Scandal” commanding $200,970 per 30-second advertising spot, it’s a cash cow.“The color Hollywood loves the most is green,” says Wilmore. “Shonda Rhimes really showed that you can have a black lead in your thriller and you can have a great show. She broke down that wall, and Hollywood follows success.”

Hollywood definitely follows the money. Hopefully these new shows prove to be great television as well. The problem we’ve faced in the past has not always been a lack of content (well, yes, this is the problem, but) sometimes the content put out there isn’t good. There are a lot of times people of color will watch a show featuring someone of their background and that will boost ratings, but ratings will drop off if they don’t consider the show good. It’s not just about representation in numbers, but representation in quality and content. Don’t just give us a show with a black person and say it’s diversity, the content has to be good as well.

Rina Mimoun, executive producer of “Red Band Society,” says that, because of the Rhimes effect, “people will open up their casting. There’s no reason not to.”

More and more producers are realizing this, but things still aren’t where they need to be. The Emmy’s certainly showed that with the small amount of PoC nominees and smaller winners (most weren’t even televised). Hopefully, with this new crop of PoC led shows, next year’s Emmy’s will feature more PoC nominees and winners (now that Breaking Bad is finally out of the race; and maybe Emmy voters will finally be over Modern Family).

(In addition to these current shows, let’s not forget Sleepy Hollow, also led by a black female–I don’t think the article mentioned it.)

via Minority actors land the lead roles in fall’s diverse TV lineup | New York Post.