Blog Rebrand!

Hey you, fellow TV junkie!

Now that the Fall 2014 TV season is approaching, I’m looking to do more with my blog and my tv writing career in general. I decided one way to foster that was to change the domain name here, so Constarstudiestv.wordpress.com is now ConStarWrites.TV!

Same banner, new words.

Same banner, new words.

I’m excited for the domain change because it describes both aspects of what I want this blog–and my life–to be: writing for and writing about television. I hope to continue to post links to articles and write episode reviews and discuss issues of diversity both in front of and behind the camera–and who knows what else! I’m keeping my mind open for ways to expand my online writing presence.

So enjoy the quicker URL and come chat with me about TV. Either leave a comment here, or say hi over on Twitter.

Advertisements

Rewatching TV Shows

How Many TV Rewatches Is Too Many? — Vulture.

The idea of a TV advice column seemed weird to me at first, but now that I’ve read this particular column, I get it. Also, this first question on rewatching TV makes me feel less alone (well, I know I’m not the only person I know who constantly rewatches shows, but I know quite a few people who look at me strangely when I say I’m rewatching something [that I just watched, I’m looking at you Arrow]). Emphasizing relevant portions.

How many times is too many when it comes to rewatching? I’ve seen Six Feet Under twice within eight months — and a year later, I want to watch it again. Same with Mad MenLostThe Sopranos, and a few others. I still have some TV I need to watch for the first time, but I love the familiarity of those shows that have a “more than a TV show” relation to my life. Which shows have you seen the most? How much is too much? —Collin

The show I’ve seen the most is Sports Night. (West Wing‘s a close second, but not seasons five and six, so.) Sports Night makes me happy and brings me comfort every time I watch it, whether it’s a full rewatch or just an ep here and there. You know how relationship experts say it’s important to do new activities with one’s long-term partner to keep the relationship fresh? Well … I watch Sports Night during every major emotional event in my life, good or bad, so I never feel like I’ve grown apart from it. I’ve been doing this since 2002, when the DVDs came out. Maybe I’m the wrong person to tell you how much is too much.

But you asked, so: There is not one big TV to-do list that everyone has to follow. You say you “need” to watch some shows for the first time, but says who? If you want to just watch your shows over and over, there’s no TV police who are going to stop you. TV is not just one thing in our lives. Sometimes it’s comfort. Sometimes it’s an escape. Sometimes it’s an almost academic endeavor. Sometimes it’s “mindless.” Sometimes we’re jealous of the characters, sometimes we aspire to be like them, sometimes we recoil at their behavior. One of the ways TV brings me joy is that I can count on it. I know Casey will always be missing his white shirt — he doesn’t have a favorite, but it’s his favorite — and that Jeremy will always hate eggnog and that Isaac will always survive his stroke. But another way TV dazzles me is through surprise and discovery. I watch pilots with hope in my heart, and stumbling upon a new series to welcome into my TV life always feels good, and it always ameliorates whatever disappointment lingers from having regrettably watched a crummy show. If you’re at a point in your life where you’re making lots of new discoveries and forming new bonds and developing new routines, it’s completely fine to want TV to provide stable pleasures. But should that change, and you’re looking for the thrill of discovery, in this, as in all things: TV is here for you.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who has such strong feelings about television, who recognizes that it’s an art and a comfort and a friend, because it’s been all of those things to me.

Some things I’ve rewatched a lot (or could rewatch at any time and still enjoy it):

  • Angel — it’s my favorite television series, so it’s been a LOT.  I haven’t rewatched in a while, but after watching Arrow and recognizing the strong similarities between the shows (a tormented soul seeks redemption in a city that needs saving, with a team of funny/similarly lost souls? Team Arrow is basically Angel Investigations), I am in need of a rewatch.
  • Charmed – definitely used to be a comfort show. A rewatch is certainly in order. But just my favorite episodes. Lots of season 2 and season 3 episodes. And a couple of season 5s.
  • Castle – I have a lot of season 5 episodes stored on my DVR. I’ve defintiely rewatched the season 5 premiere a lot.
  • The Cosby Show – classic rewatch comfort. This show makes m laugh every. single. time. No matter how many times I’ve seen the episodes
  • The Golden Girls – me and my grandma used to watch this when I was a kid, then when I was older, I’d watch episodes on my own.

And if I fall really hard in love with a show, like I did with Castle a few years back, Parks and Recreation Seasons 3 and on, and Arrow right now or even Doctor Who, I will watch it the first time all the way through, then immediately rewatch certain episodes, if not the whole series. Part of why I love TV is getting to spend loads and loads of time with the characters–it’s what makes TV so uniquely different from other media. In movies, you get just the hour and a half to three hours with characters, even with sequels, it’s not that much time. With books, you get a closer look at characters, but again not as much time. So when I like a show, it means I want to spend time with those characters, so when I am done and there are no more new adventures to be had, I rewatch, looking for new character interactions or moments of characterization or relationships I didn’t notice before. (Then, sometimes, when I’m really desperate, I turn to fanfiction, but we don’t need to talk about that aspect of my life.)

So, I’m clearly an advocate of rewatching TV, but if that’s not you, then fine. But when I’m down or bored, TV has always been available to me to cheer me up, take my mind off things, sometimes even teach me new things or inspire me to do new things (I totally wear lipstick now because of Felicity Smoak). Rewatching TV is my comfort activity.

Fall TV 2014: How Packed is Your Primetime Schedule?

I’m trying to blog more, I really am. But work-life and attempting to write scripty things has taken away my energy. Also my obsession with the show Arrow. BUT Fall is approaching and I wanted to take a look at the shows I’ll be watching this season.

Here’s TV Line’s full Fall Schedule.

And here’s mine! [Sept 13 edit, after I’ve watched several of these pilots, check out how and read reviews here.]

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 2.31.27 PM

What should I be watching that’s not on here?

I’m most excited for The Flash, Arrow S3, and Brooklyn 99 S2, but of course my other returning shows bring me much joy as well. I’m watching the Nolan Batman trilogy as I type this–Batman Begins at the moment–so I’ll check out Gotham (hopefully it goes more the way of Arrow and less the way of Agents of SHIELD in maintaining my interest). I’m gonna check out Cristela (even though it’s a multi-cam comedy) because diversity needs a shot on television. black-ish also gets my views for that reason, but also just missing the existence of a black sitcom, and having a TV that might speak to my experiences as a black nerd (hopefully).

How to Get Away with Murder should be very interesting. Shondaland Thursdays are in full effect–if only I still felt like watching Grey’s Anatomy. Sleepy Hollow and Castle are my Monday mainstays–hopefully I’ll still be able to blog about them come fall. New Girl and Mindy help BK99 fill the void of Parks not coming back till mid-season, but only just barely. Finally, I’ll check out Mulaney and Jane the Virgin, but those could go either way for me.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 10.50.20 PM

On September 6th, I’ll be at the Paley Center here in NY watching the FOX, ABC, and CW pilots, so I’ll have a bit of an early preview regarding those, with an audience no less! Should be fun! I’ll try to blog about the experience. I know some pilots are available already, but like I said, other concerns have taken precedence. I’m working on getting back to blogging as fall approaches, hopefully I can start posting more. [Edit: Full post with links to episode reviews here.]

If you’re following along, what fall shows are you most looking forward to watching? So far my schedule is 14 shows deep! That’s not including Key&Peele, Whose Line, The Tonight Show, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report…! Phew! I hope my DVR can handle it all!

How packed is your primetime schedule?

Comedy Central Stepped Up to the Diversity Challenge – Welcoming Larry Wilmore to Late Night

A Successor to ‘Colbert’ Is Named – NYTimes.com.

I like watching both the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. I know I’m not supposed to admit it, but it’s where I get my news (them and Twitter). But in the course of the Late Night Wars, with our calls for women and minorities to be able to get in on the action, I hadn’t thought about Comedy Central being the first to fill the gap.

When David Letterman announced his retirement (unable to compete with Jimmy Fallon for the younger demographic he attracts but also just getting up there in age), people were hopeful that someone would allow a PoC or a woman (both would be too much wouldn’t it, Whoopi?) take the reigns. I’m not mad at them picking Stephen Colbert (who I love) and I think he’ll do a great job (well, I’m a little sad we won’t get to see his satirical brilliance anymore), but of course it was a missed opportunity for diversity. But with his spot open, that left the diversity challenge in Comedy Central’s hands and they actually delivered!

Welcome Larry Wilmore to the Late Night bunch! I’ll definitely be watching his show, The Minority Report–a cliched but perfect title for both what it is and before what’s it’s replacing.With Larry Wilmore’s role as “Senior Black Correspondent” on the Daily Show, we already have an idea of what the show will entail, but it also means (hopefully) more black late night writers and more discussions of black issues that the Daily Show doesn’t cover.

The idea for “The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore,” as the show will be known, came from Mr. Stewart himself, who proposed that the 11:30 p.m. time period behind his nightly “Daily Show” was the ideal place for a new format, one that would “provide an opportunity for the underrepresented voices out there,” as Michele Ganeless, the president of Comedy Central said in an interview.

Late night isn’t quite as fickle as prime time and definitely cable isn’t as quick to axe as network, so I think it’ll be around for a while, but I still hope it does well and shatters expectations so that more shows that focus on the black voice will be present in all formats and time-slots of television.

Next up, who will take Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show spot? Will CBS match or exceed Comedy Central’s ante? Or fall back to business as usual?

The Minority Report will premiere in January on Comedy Central (presumably at 11:30 Mon-Thurs).

Enhanced by Zemanta

Upfronts 2014: FOX, NBC what are you doing?

Let’s start network-wide. Fox and NBC swapped for me in the past year, NBC going from a favorite, most watched network, to me having one show next season (the mid-season, finale season Parks debacle…). While FOX went from me abandoning several of it’s shows due to reordering episodes and demanding stasis in characters that achieved character development to the network I have the most shows I am interested in this fall. And FOX pulled me in with the commitment and success in diversity. So let’s talk about what they’re doing this fall.

NBC– honey, what are you doing? They’ve cancelled most of their comedies, leaving Parks and Recreation, their current longest running sitcom as a mid-season replacement in it’s finale season. According to the schedule listed in the link on Vulture, there are only 4 comedies on the schedule, split between Tuesday and Thursday 9-10 comedy hours. What? Has NBC given up on reclaiming it’s must-see-tv fame? I suppose it wasn’t working, but it kills me that not one of the four comedies is Parks. What a way to alienate your little comedy fanbase. Why not use Parks and the final season momentum to pull your existing fans over to new shows? You now have to do the work to get non-NBC comedy watchers (those who didn’t watch 30 Rock and Community and Parks in the hey-day of low-rated but cult favorite comedies). I suppose they no longer want those fans. They want new ones entirely. Or they’re trying to sustain the network on the Voice, Dick Wolf, and the Blacklist until they figure out something that works. But, to me, it doesn’t seem like they’ve found the formula yet. I’ll see you mid-season, NBC, when you put Parks and Recreation back on the schedule. (Let’s face it, it’s a cancelled-new-show replacement. As soon as one of the new comedies fail, they’ll stick Parks in the 9pm comedy spot until the rest of the season is done. More on Parks later.

 

 

FOX, homie, you’re doing a lot of things right, but one thing feels very wrong. I will be watching seven FOX shows this fall. That’s more than any other network and more than I’ve ever watched FOX. They’ve been getting some good, diversely cast comedies in these past couple of seasons. New Girl confirmed Damon Wayans Jr as the 6th member of the cast, rounding them out to Friends proportions, The Mindy Project had a strong finale with lots of possibility, and Brooklyn 99 came out of the gate with comedy, diversity, and heart. So why are they sending Brooklyn 99 to the Sunday animation slot?! It seems ridiculous to me. Vulture says,

There’s logic behind this year’s changes: Family Guy is pretty much a multi-camera sitcom that happens to be animatedand Mulaney is multi-cam; Brooklyn is sophisticated single-cam that could mesh with the sensibility of The Simpsons. And once Fox picked up both Brooklyn and The Mindy Project, it was obvious one would either move or wait until midseason: Fox simply doesn’t have the comedy strength to support a two-hour sitcom block on Tuesdays.

But that seems absurd. I definitely think they could sustain it. But even if it can’t, splitting the comedies into the animation block disturbs something that’s been working on FOX for years now. Animation fans won’t necessarily hold up these fresh comedies and when was the last time comedies aired on a Sunday night?! This makes me nervous for both BK99 and Mulaney (which I may watch), because they’re basically hiding it in the schedule. No one looks for comedies on Sunday nights. That’s typically a Feature film, Sports, Drama night. FOX made success with animation as alternative programming to this trend, but this upcoming change might break both the animation block and the comedies they want to succeed. Sigh. There are few shows I want to succeed more than Brooklyn 99. I hope they just suck it up and block the comedies together.

Schedules change, often by November sweeps when networks figure out what’s working and what’s getting cancelled. So we’ll see if this remains the schedule for the fall. But both networks are boggling my mind.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pilot Season/Upfronts 2014

It’s that time of the year, Upfronts (also here for another way to look at what Upfronts actually are), when networks present their pilot season shows and lineups to advertisers and the general public. I’ve been a bit busy or lethargic the last month or so, so I haven’t been posting (though I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the views I’ve still managed to get) but get ready for a deluge as I look at shows coming this summer, fall, and beyond, and discuss current shows’ trajectories (I’m a bit mad about NBC’s treatment of Parks and Recreation. We’ll get there).

I’ll write a bunch and try to spread them out over the week as to not spam. Also, I’ll post my current fall tv chart–it’s looking as busy as usual as I find out about all these new shows!

Let the Upfront madness begin!

Enhanced by Zemanta

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.

ConStar Watches Parks and Recreation “The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip off Classic”

“Knope out!”

Glad to see Kristen Bell on my TV! This Pawnee/Eagleton merger will bring more. She’s more the straight man, as her only humor is in how rich Eagleton is, so maybe more humor will come from Eagletonians being fish out of water in Pawnee situations. I think I like that there is a clear arc for this season; I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be last episode. This gives it a clear arc beyond just a recall election.

Ron moved in with Diane!! I figured he’d build them a house, but maybe he hasn’t decided to do that yet. He needs to get off the grid first. It’s so sweet that he’s got the girls on his old phone. The Tom&Donna bit with social media has great. I’ve known so many snapchat-ers who’ve done exactly that scene. I really missed Donna last week, so I was glad her lines were so great this week.

“I live for the grid. It’s where I meet 40% of my jump offs.”

Aww, Ann practicing her mothering skills on April as well as the spark for her and Chris leaving. Where is Ann from? I wonder if leaving Pawnee is easier for her bc she was born elsewhere? Her parents don’t seem to be in town, so I’m not sure how deep her Pawnee ties are besides Leslie and the gang. I didn’t think they’d introduce this thread so early, but ‘m glad it’s not all introduced in the same episode, of course. Though this may hurt if they decide to tell Leslie early and then we’d see Leslie slowly breaking down over the episodes as she anticipates her best friend leaving her. But watch, April is gonna react the hardest. She’s gonna act out and then be the most upset.

I love how Ben makes Leslie an even better person. They are an amazing pair.

Finally; hold up: how does Leslie have the power/authority to just merge the towns. Is there no one else on city council or the mayor or anyone else who has anything to do with this decision? Lol. Seems a bit of a big decision for just Leslie to announce. I’m anticipating to see where they take this arc.

WELCOME TO PAWNEE!

What I Watched Today – Castle “Dreamworld”

I actually watched this yesterday. Thanks Canada! But rewatching. 

 

All in all, this episode was more boring than the premiere for me, because I don’t really care about case stuff. But because I was looking for every little Castle/Beckett interaction, I was paying super close attention. This case heavy episode was better than some other relationship light episodes, but obviously, considering the threat to Castle’s life, I would have liked more than just the ending between Castle and Beckett. 

It’s really interesting how in character these guys are but how frustrating who they are makes us fans. Castle and Beckett are dealing with this crazy situation and neither of them really talks to the other about it. They joke about it at the end, but no serious discussion of “hey, if you die” or anything. Also, it happens that Beckett is kind of busy trying to save his life, so not a lot of time to swoon over his illness. She’s at work, she’s trying to hold it together as it is, and if they take the moment to talk about it, neither of them would be very useful in solving the problem in time. So they don’t talk about it. They give each other looks and hold it together so the other person has time to do what they need to do. I would be mad about it if it weren’t completely both of their characters. Castle seems like he’s the open one, but he shuts down just as much as Beckett does. He keeps so much close to the chest and hides his serious feelings in jokes and innuendo. I’m sure they discuss these things together later, but sadly, we don’t get to see it. 

I do like the ways in which we could see Beckett crack under the pressure. When they visit Reed, the cracks in her walls appear. And then her going to his house. She keeps her cool surprisingly well, but if something had gone wrong, she totally could have abandoned the badge if it meant saving Castle. 

Something someone posted on tumblr made a lot of sense to me. Pi, Alexis’ new boyfriend, is super annoying. I’m sure no one likes him but Alexis; Martha and Castle certainly don’t. But as was pointed out here, he’s Castle! He comes in, takes over, makes jokes, “has a guy” for everything, and introduces new, weird things to an already established family. Which seems like an odd pairing for by-the-books Alexis. But clearly she likes him and when you think about it, it’s totally Castle and Beckett’s relationship. I’m interested to see what this means for Alexis and Castle’s relationship, Alexis and her relationship with Beckett, and Castle’s observations about his own relationship with Beckett through the eyes of Pi&Alexis. 

Lastly, I can see where the thread of her time at the AG’s Office is going to unravel. When McCord tells her about the “gray areas,” you can basically see her heart break. She’s so used to things not necessarily being black and white (I think Castle helped her be less black and white about things) but used to people getting the justice they deserve. Or at least going to trial. Now that she knows that’s not a staple of the AG’s Office, I think there will be more and more moments where her desire to actually be a federal agent is tested. I don’t know how long this arc in DC will last, though I believe next week we’ll be back at the 12th with both the boys and the feds working together. But soon enough, I believe she will be back at the 12th. Though what that might mean for the future, I don’t know. Beckett regressing back to the 12th might mean other changes in order to keep the show fresh. I can’t wait to see! 

Man this show gives me a lot of feelings and a lot of words. 

“Sometimes the hardest things in life are the things most worth doing. Just because we haven’t figured it out yet, doesn’t mean we won’t.”

What I Watched Today – Sleepy Hollow “For The Triumph of Evil”

So there’s both the Icabod recap AND a “last time on…”? AND a full theme? That seems like a lot and/or a time filler to fill the episode length? I’m sure soon enough little by little, each of those (except maybe the “last time on…” will dwindle. As most shows grow, they need the time, so themes get cut to a blip and a title card.

“A really weird dream” “Ah really? What was I doing?” #hahah #shipping

Wow that eye pop was, ooh! *shivers* Really great job at the eyes popping, great effect. The sound really helped sell it. They’re doing a great job with the creepy factor.

“You had a prophetic dream” “…captial W Witness” Yeah, more like capital W Witch? I thought Icabod was the other Witness, but it’s probably actually Jenny.

What happened to the girls’ parents? Is Mills their original last name? Or a foster parent name? I have so many questions about this part of their backstory right now.

I also wonder about Morales, Abbie’s exboyfriend. Is he apart of the thick of things? I can’t believe he is just the exboyfriend who has nothing to do with her wanting to leave for Quantico and get out of there? And the Captain’s interest in him and their relationship…

LOL at Orlando Jones calling for and tweeting fanfiction requests and now every time something happens between them, people will be thinking of the fanfic possibilities. Like that scene where they wake up half-dressed and alive on life. Haha.

This show is really shaping up! I enjoyed this episode and am excited to see where they are going to take it. Currently they’ve got a case of the week deal going on (as is typical of FOX) but hopefully, an arc will continue to develop. If the writers do it smartly, they can have an arc and follow FOX’s villain-of-the-week rule.

I’m staying tuned!

What I Watched Today – Sleepy Hollow

Hmm I hope that introduction narration/recap thing isn’t always like that. Maybe it’ll work with some retooling, but it was awkward and kind of jumpy…? Yeah, the tape may say he did that himself, but uhm is no one concerned that IT ISN’T POSSIBLE!?

In this episode, they “revealed” that Icabod has an eidetic memory. Ugh. I’m liking this show, but either the writers or the network forced that line in the excuse away things they want Icabod to automatically know or remember (but watch him “forget” something later that would have been useful. Watch them forget they gave him this character trait. OR overstate it). I would have preferred if they showed us his eidetic memory for several episodes before stating it as a fact; here it was forced exposition. Or just have him have an eidetic memory and not mention it. Viewers aren’t as dumb as writers/networks think they are. (Well, maybe they are. But I wish they weren’t. Raise the LCD, don’t dumb down towards it. Hopefully now that they see this show has a pretty big and wide, varied audience, they can realize that we are enjoying it without thinking we won’t get everything.

Black TV 2013: Fall and Winter Preview | Old School 94.5

Black TV 2013: Fall and Winter Preview | Old School 94.5.

Check out this article, which discusses some of the [network tv] shows airing this fall that feature black characters. It’s sad we still need articles like this to point the shows out, but it’s useful. Especially since when I last looked at NBC’s Thursday Comedy Lineup, I did not spy not one black person on the posters (as much as I looove love Parks and Rec, it doesn’t add much for NBC’s lead/co-star diversity).

I am about to watch Sleepy Hollow tonight and as yesterday’s post said, I watched Brooklyn 99 and was pleased by a diverse cast. I am also interested in Almost Human and I already watch Scandal. Glad to see that there is some color on network TV, but it’s a shame that most of these shows the black character is a co-star or supporting, not the main actor/lead character. Kerry and Blair Underwood (Ironside) are leads. The Originals seems to star the black lead, while Sleepy Hollow, Almost Human, and Brooklyn 99 seem to be a dual lead deal thing going on.)

Hopefully, if there are midseason replacement shows, we can get some more diversity on network television (or some break out supporting minority characters who get increased storylines), because it feels like an all-time low right now. (Is Brooklyn 99 the only network sitcom starring a black person right now? With Mindy making 2 shows with minority leads? If there are others, let me know…)

What I Watched Today

Today I finished Orange is the New Black, after starting the season yesterday midday during a sick day at home. Interesting show, great supporting characters, I’ve grown to dislike Piper more and more as the show progressed. Daya, Taystee, Poussey, and Black Cindy are some of my favorites characters. The pre-prison flashbacks were such a small taste of these characters and I really want more of how a lot of them got to prison and their normal lives.

I also watched:

Whose Line is it Anyway?

Brooklyn 99 – Hmm. Amusing new show. Enjoying the diversity (2 black people AND 2 hispanic characters). Mike Shur is a plus, as a big #Parks fan. I’ll keep this on my DVR.

New Girl – So glad it’s back! It was sooo good and I LOVE Nick and Jess! and Winston was FANTASTIC and oh Schmidt. But the show has not lost it’s greatness over the summer.

The Mindy Project – Well. There were some good moments, but as usual, you can’t air Mindy after New Girl, it’s not as funny and for me, constantly fails in comparison. Sorry Mindy. Also, I’m bored with James Franco. *rolls eyes* But welcome back, Mindy.

The Daily Show

The Colbert Report

The Queen Latifah Show – I might check this out regularly. I don’t watch a lot of talk shows, but today’s interview with Will was funny of course and the segment with Will and Alex Trebek was inventive and fun. I still need to watch the rest of the episode though…

A Different World – expect this to go on my daily list a lot, since I love it and it’s right there on my DVR.

[New segment I will do to help me write everyday/more often. As the Fall 2013 TV comes along, I will try to at the very least, post what I watched each day. If I’m feeling write-y, I will add opinions and such. Though it may only be: “I’m so excited for this episode!” (if written before) or “this episode was fantastic!” (when written after). Hope I can keep up and keep going with this blogging thing. =)]

Shows to look out for: “Almost Human” coming November to FOX

Shows to look out for: “Almost Human” coming November to FOX

JJ Abrams? Sci-Fi co-starring a black actor (Michael Ealy)? I shall have to check this out in Nov. (Uh oh, it’s on FOX. Uh oh, the last time JJ tried a show with a black lead it sadly failed [anyone remember Undercovers?? Hopefully it goes well this time])

 

Hopefully I’ll be more in a posting mood as the fall tv season approaches. 

Click through to check out a sort of preview. 

ConStar Studies the 12th Doctor

As an avid Doctor Who watcher, I was shocked when Matt Smith announced that Christmas would be his last episode. I wasn’t quite ready to get used to a new Doctor. I started watch in 2011 via Netflix (starting from “Rose”) and sorry Nine, but Ten might always be MY Doctor as they say but I have spent more time with Eleven than any other Doctor. So I am sad to see him go (especially since he and Karen Gillan haven’t announced their marriage yet. But I still have hope). 

Sunday they announced Peter Capaldi as Twelve. As with any new actor coming on to a show you love, you worry. And with the Doctor there will always be backlash and concern but I must say, just from his picture alone I can kind of tell Peter will be good. I haven’t seen him in anything (except that episode of Who he was already in–gotta go back and watch that one–and gifs on tumblr of things he was in before) and I kinda of want to keep it that way I think. If I can, I think I will approach him as Twelve with as clean a slate as I had with the others (as much as the internet will let me anyway).

I think this could be good. A new direction to go in (as I have personally felt a slump since season 5–which is my favorite season) and I think aging him back up will be interesting for the Doctor’s inner story: He’s aging and might be running out of regenerations if they hold up with the 13 regenerations rule. And Matt’s Doctor has been feeling the weight of his age recently. But also I can sort of see that Capaldi could have the vibrancy of the Doctor as well. So I’m actually looking forward to this. [Insert Twelve’s new catchphrase]

ConStar Studies Orphan Black (And Dollhouse)

If you haven’t already, you should watch BBC America’s Orphan Black. I should probably post something about the writing (this being a lot of the point of this blog and all) but like most Orphan Black watchers, you should watch for it’s lead (and supporting and secondary and guest) actress Tatiana Maslany. She is nothing short of amazing in the way she portrays up to maybe 8 (i honestly have lost track) different characters and makes them each their own person.

Yes, the point of acting is to be able to embody different characters with ease and believability but Tatiana does it for the same production often in the same scene as as the picture above details (this gifset on tumblr is better), she portrays a character pretending to be a different character, which basically creates a new character. 

I’m a big Joss Whedon fan (have you caught on to that yet? No? It’ll become more evident I’m sure) and while I loved his short-lived show Dollhouse, I wasn’t a big fan of Eliza Dushku playing the lead role. [For those who dont know: Dollhouse had the idea that a human body could be “rented” out to other people, companies, etcwith the original owner’s mental personality removed. The “doll” became a blank slate and the Dollhouse could “imprint” a new personality as requested by the client. So it required being able to embody many different personality types, sometimes with amazing quick changes.] And she didn’t really exceed my expectations during the show’s two seasons. There were maybe a couple of moments where I was impressed. People like Eliza because she’s “hot” and is a “tough action girl” type character, but her acting isn’t all that impressive. Not for the purpose of that show especially. And her mediocre skills stood out in stark comparison to her co-stars (especially Enver Gjokaj who really could switch from one character to another and really make me believe that they were completely different people. 

So watching Orphan Black with Tatiana Maslany makes me wish she’d been discovered years ago and was the lead of that other show about one actress playing multiple characters. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so. It’s got a great beginning story-wise (should lead to some interesting philosophical places) and great acting (most of it done by Tatiana Maslany).

Let me know if you watch!

26 Minority Screenwriters to Inspire You

26 Minority Screenwriters to Inspire You

Just linking here on wordpress a post I wrote for Amanda’s Aspiring TV Writer and Screenwriter Blog. Minority screenwriters of both TV and Film. Check it out here! Let me know of writers I may have missed!

ConStar Studies 90s Black Sit-Coms

I just finished watching A Different World. Despite being such a huge fan of The Cosby Show, I’d never watched the spin-off. I finally have made my way through most of the episodes (thanks to YouTube, since only season 1 is on DVD right now). And I loved it. It was well-written, fun, funny, had great character development, and tackled the issues of the day without losing the above. All in all, it was just very real

It wasn’t perfect; the season 1 to 2 cast/production staff shake-ups in cast were definitely a game changer, some other characters went in and out, Jaleesa married Col Taylor (which I was not a fan of), and then completely disappeared, and there are a few really weird/corny dream sequence, cast-talent show episodes that I kind of skipped through. Granted, I spent most of my marathon pining for Whitley/Dwayne scenes anyway, but even that was handled pretty well for a will-they/won’t-they arc. The lead up to their involvement wasn’t rushed or forced (unlike most of Ron’s cast love interests)–it helps that even when Dwayne was supposed to be hung up over Denise in season 1 and they were on a date, he still had globs of chemistry with date-crasher Whitley–and when they got to together, they actually stayed together for several episodes, across a season finale, before the inevitable split up. And when they got back together, they were together for good (one break up is fantastic numbers for a WT/WntT. A good amount of tugging at our hearts (though I’m sure over 6 real-time years it may not have felt good) without overdoing it like some shows (the Ross/Rachel effect I guess).

A Different World had a diverse African-American cast (meaning diverse amongst the black community; there isn’t just the token, cool, black best friend), good writing, and actors with great chemistry with one another. And it raised issues of black history, racism (on both sides of the divide as well as within the black community), classism, war, politics, date rape, AIDS, and other issues that were (and unfortunately still are) plaguing the black community. There’s nothing else like it. Which leads me to wonder, where are the shows like this today?

We had a really good run of quality, family friendly, uplifting black television in the early 90s. The Cosby Show, A Different World, Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I could be missing some, but these 4 are the pinnacle. Of course there was also Living Single, Martin, The Wayans Brothers, The Jamie Foxx Show, and a few other shows towards the late 90s, but these shows were more silly, general sit-coms. They were escapist and pure fun. That’s not bad, it’s just not my point. [I’ll add ABC’s My Wife and Kids to this list, though it started in 2001, as somewhere between the classic sitcom nature of a show like Martin and the life-lessons of The Cosby Show. It did try to have life lessons but really did err on the side of silly a lot.] They also aired on UPN and The WB, which is again, not bad, but the other 4 aired on 2 of the 3 major networks of the time, in a day when FOX/UPN/WB were just starting out and there weren’t cable networks dedicated to black television

And this is part my problem, my concern, really. Those shows (which were a part of NBC’s juggernaut Must-See-TV line up and ABC’s super-popular TGIF block) were hits of their day and were reached by millions of audience of all colors. Now, we have several channels dedicated to black television (both old and new, reality and scripted) and I can’t say that any one has created a show like the 4 I’ve been mentioning. And there aren’t any black sitcoms on network (the big four) television at all right now (if I am missing one, please inform me)(and someone tell me what’s on my9 and CW, they’ve been focusing on white teenage supernatural shows, no?). We have all this television space (and, increasingly, YouTube and Netflix and Hulu space) and still no one has created shows like these. Well-written, focusing on educated black people who want to know their history and raise the lowest common denominator of entertainment? That’s seems absurd. I had a Facebook status with the question of why shows like ADW don’t exist today, and someone said because I hadn’t written it yet, and while I appreciate the challenge and hope to someday do so, where are all the other people like me who miss these shows and want people to watch more than Love and Hip Hop (which I am disappointed to see is not at all like the movie Brown Sugar)?

Elizabeth Meriwether’s (New Girl) tweeted this the other day and I think the answer is related to my question.

Image

Some of the responses were that we started being honest with ourselves and that 9/11 happened. These things could be true. I also read somewhere (I can’t cite the source right now, sorry) that especially in this post-9/11 world, we went from utopian fiction and ideas of the future to dystopias and world collapse. Probably why zombies are at an all-time high of popularity right now. These things are probably related to why we don’t have uplifting black sitcoms on right now.

Maybe I’m just a family friendly (but not corny) kind of girl. But shows like Cosby, ADW, Fresh Prince, and Family Matters showed the world and young kids (both of other races and blacks ourselves) that we are more than just the stereotype. And while a lot of people say that the things those shows presented aren’t reality, if we don’t see them exist anywhere, how can we make them a reality? ADW made kids not only want to go to college, but Historically Black Colleges. Cosby showed kids that we could be families of doctors and lawyers or even get our PhD in Education while being an actor/comedian. We can grow up in Philadelphia and become the fresh prince and then the number one movie star in the world (as a black lead in several sci-fi films at that, something no other black actor or actress has pulled off (well, Sam Jackson and Zoe Saldana too. My interest in black sci-fi is another blog post). Black kids are nerds too (though Urkel style has been adapted by hipsters now) and we can accept that and be happy with it. Despite them not being reality, they can lead us to a new reality. This is why we need shows like these on today. The other stuff isn’t bad (a lot of the reality is bad, #scriptedtelevisionforlife) but it doesn’t challenge us or teach us anything. These shows did. And I want more like it.

But I suppose, as they say (paraphrasing): The [television show] you want to [watch] doesn’t exist? Create it.

Related post: Why Are Black Sitcoms Less Available to Us?

A Brief Return to Blogging via an Article of Black TV Writers

Well it seems that I’ve accidentally abandoned this blog for a bit, mostly because I am sort of focusing on other aspects of figuring out my life (photography whee!), and working, and being the lazy bones that I am when NOT working. And I’m not really back. (Maybe I am though?)

Anyway, I just saw this slideshow article on MadameNoire about African-American TV Writers, in a brief moment of “there were others like me once, how do I become like them?” The article is here. The list is (unfortunately) short and just the fact that the list names writers who worked in the 60s and 70s (who of course paved the way) means that there need to be more names on the list for current writers (why aren’t there more black tv writers these days?!). Though I must say, Yvette Lee Bowser (who exec produced Living Single) is not on this list, so clearly there are other names missing. =/

But it’s still interesting to see the names of well-known and lesser-known black tv writers; whose ranks I would love to someday join–should I ever get my life together.

Bye for now!

How to successfully use the internet to revive a show: The Veronica Mars story

“Thanks to the internet, the life span of a TV show no longer ends when it is canceled but it can live on and discover new fans as long as people are willing to talk about it. While the circumstances under which they are being made are different, this is the same phenomenon that prompted Netflix to revive Arrested Development.”

I’m super excited about this (the Kickstarter received its $2mil goal) but am too tired to properly write about it, so here is TVExamined. But this is something I think we’ll see more of in the future. Zac Levi of Chuck fame tweeted about this method being a way to get a Chuck movie. Thankfully we got our Firefly movie and Arrested Development fans are getting another season, but there are so many shows with so many devoted fans who just want some completion. For a way to get back to one of their favorite TV hometowns and hang out with their friends one last time. I for one can’t wait until this is made, I binge watched Veronica Mars are few years ago and loved it. All shows with massive cult followings are fluttering to their own kickstarter pages as we speak (can I get some Pushing Daisies producers/stars to start one? Because I need more of that in my life ASAP.)

TVexamined

This morning, Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell announced that a Veronica Mars movie was finally ready to move forward. There was one catch, however. Warner Brothers wasn’t convinced that the movie would actually be profitable for them. To raise money for production, Rob and Kristen turned to Kickstarter to raise the $2 million needed. It is the highest goal of any Kickstarter campaign in history, and at the time of writing, they have raised just over $1 million.

It isn’t uncommon for sites like Kickstarer and Indiegogo to be used to make movies or web series. Jane Espenson and Brad Bell successfully raised $60,000 to film the second season of their webseries Husbands. Eoin Mackin (Gwaine from the BBC series Merlin) used Indiegogo to fund his movie Cold. Crowdsourcing is a very effective way to get things funded by the people who are most likely to watch the final…

View original post 371 more words

ConStar Studies Myers Briggs TV Types

I am still notoriously bad at this, BUT if my anyone happens to be interested, my friend started a tumblr where she Myers Briggs Personality Types TV characters. So far 30 Rock, New Girl and Parks and Recreation characters have been typed according to the MBTI and more shows are on the way. It’s just for fun and as I’ve been obsessed with Myers Briggs recently and it relates to TV, I thought I’d share (so I feel less guilty for never posting). Anyway, check it out: tvtypes.tumblr.com.

Looking at character Myers Briggs types can be helpful when creating a character or working with an established character. You learn more about what makes them tick and you can learn the ways you can put different types against each other and what the common problems are. Two types may have chronic miscommunication because they just think differently. Or they may have a similar chemistry because they see the world the same way. It’s a cool way to learn more about (both fictional and real life) characters and why they operate the way they do. Then you can really understand why those two characters are in love or get along or why in spite of their differences, they are together. It could be a great way to discover conflicts between the characters, something I find myself struggling with (because my type, INFJ, hates conflict with the heat of 1000 suns).

tvtypes.tumblr.com

ConStar Studies Television (a sort of general thought, but a bit about Community too)

I kind of suck at blogging. But I love TV so much, that I will continue to pursue blogging here even if it means what I am about to do, which is post a quote I saw today about TV and leave you with that. The quote says what I think a lot of us feel about our love of TV and speaks from experiences we have had as avid fans of television as we watch our favorite shows grow and change before our eyes.

“To love a TV show is to know one of two things: Either it will eventually leave you, or you will eventually leave it. There’s no middle ground for the committed. Once you’re in, you’re in, and you’re going to be in until the thing is canceled or until you lose interest because you’ve either figured out all of the show’s tricks or it’s just not the same anymore. That show you loved more than anything? It will eventually feel sort of old and pointless to you after a while, and you’ll have moved on to some new thing that feels fresher but will inevitably disappoint you somewhere down the line. And so it goes. You’ll someday remember that show you loved with such intensity—it will probably be off the air by this point—and you’ll wonder idly why they don’t make ’em like that anymore. The answer is because you’re not who you were anymore, and you can’t fall for a show like that because you’re no longer the same person.”

Todd VanDerWerff (The A.V. Club)

The quote is from the AV Club article (which you can find by clicking on the source name), regarding the return of Community. I think a lot of what is said in the article is true about Community’s return, minus creator Dan Harmon, though I might have given the episode a higher “grade” for the effort–it wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t absurdly different from the show we’ve grown to love. Read the quote above and if you feel up to it, respond with your Community thoughts in the comments (which will make me reply to them which is already being a better blogger, yay!)

Though I will say that it was pointed out to me that some shows you feel like you can watch forever and never be tired of them. This can be true. For me, most of my favorite shows that I can watch the whole thing of have that one arc I never cared much for or those dumb filler episodes you always skip or the weaker episodes in the beginning (Doctor Who‘s Fear Her. Most of Angel season 4. Parks pre-Ben’s arrival Parks). But then they hit their stride (or find it again) and it’s something you’ll never stop watching.

Man, I just really love TV.

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.

Random Series Finale Thought

In the 30 Rock finale, they mention all knowing each other for 7 years because that’s the length of time the show lasted, but didn’t The Girlie Show already exist for at least one season before that? (I feel like it was 3?) This is nitpicky and I don’t really care but I just notice how season finales go with the number season you’re watching and not nec how long the characters have known each other. I’m not complaining or anything, I get why it happens, but it also happened on the West Wing, where the characters say 7 years because it was the 7th season but it was really 8 because two terms in office, and then another 2ish for the campaign… Those are the two series finales I watched most recently but it makes me think of other finales where they kind of skip over the fact that they knew each other before the show started. Just a funny observation.

BYE.

ConStar Tries to Study 30 Rock but Can’t Because There Are Too Many Emotions Involved

I just have no words. 30 Rock is over. What will I do without Liz and Kenneth and Jack and Tracy and Jenna and everyone? Most people who love TV like I do love Tina Fey and all that she has done for funny since forever ago. And now Queen Tina of TV (as I’ve been calling her all day) is (currently) no longer filling our Thursday nights with the wise words of her daughter Alice. (I want to go to there.)

It’s pilot season and we know Tina has a deal with Robert Carlock (her fellow 30 Rock co-producer) and NBC so hopefully whatever is already in the works hits our screens by this fall. But for now, we mourn the loss of so many wonderful turns of phrase, outrageously hilarious moments, and fantastic meta moments (like the Lorne Michaels title plate coming up in the middle of the hour-long episode right when the first 1/2 hr was over–one of my favorite jokes of the night). 30 Rock was brilliant and while Nielsen America may want The Big Bang Theory, there are plenty of people who want the 30 Rocks and the Communitys and the Parks and Recreations–shows that actually make the watcher think and laugh at the same time. Shows that understand how we love television and how invested we get.  Shows done by people who clearly love what they do and don’t do it just for the paycheck. I hope that more shows like 30 Rock come to our TVs, because they are done by people who love TV for people who love TV.

Goodbye 30 Rock. I’ll miss you. I miss you already.

Lemon out.