ConStar Clicks

The 2015-16 TV season is fast approaching, and with that comes endless articles on various trends and the state of television today. This week’s ConStar Clicks features a few of those articles and a couple of older ones. Click away!

Over on NPR: Television 2015: Five Shows They Will Never Stop Making including: The Adventures Of Mr. Superabilities And Detective Ladyskeptic and Healing Dr. Chilly. 

Another NPR piece: Television 2015: Are We Done Hating Television? which discusses how movie stars are moving to TV, which used to be a shocking thing, as TV was what movie stars did when they couldn’t get movie roles. Now things are different.

Disdain for television is so old and so powerful that HBO used to try to repurpose it into something useful, like fuel made from old French-fry grease. That’s what “It’s not TV. It’s HBO.” was.

Another great line:

Disdain for television is so old and so powerful that HBO used to try to repurpose it into something useful, like fuel made from old French-fry grease. That’s what “It’s not TV. It’s HBO.” was.

TV NOW: Are You Cheating On Your TV Shows? [Seat 42F] considers the sheer amount of television that is on the air today and the way social media and other factors force us to choose which shows to watch live and which to save for that DVR/Netflix binge

Total scripted television shows rose from 340 shows in 2013 to 371 shows in 2014 and now there will be over 400 shows at the end of 2015 — that is an increase of over 60 additional television shows in the past 2 years.

Also:

It became essential to triage which TV shows had to be watched immediately or LIVE or suffer the repercussions.

An important question is asked: Is TV Writing the Best Job Ever? [Huffington Post]

(and answered by TV writer Jane Espenson, who’s worked for some of the best SFF shows on TV, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Once Upon a Time, and Battlestar Galactica.)

This piece on the BBC America Anglophenia blog wonderfully explores how Tatiana Maslany perfects the various accents and dialects she performs so flawlessly on Orphan Black:

In playing these diverse characters, the Canadian-born actress has the Herculean task of defining each individual through speech and behavior without tripping over into Saturday Night Live-level caricature. And that’s not even accounting for the performances in which a clone pretends to be another clone. Nuances are layered on nuances.

If you’ve ever watched Orphan Black, you know those nuances are serious! Also why hasn’t Tatiana hosted SNL yet?!

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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.

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!

ConStar’s Pilot Watch: The Flash

I’d watched The Flash already (shhh), but I enjoyed it again the second time, which is a great omen. Obviously, I’ve been ranting and praising Arrow for the last two months and I really enjoyed Grant Gustin as Barry on that show, so I was pleased that the pilot held up to that portrait of him (even if they did fudge the order of events from the way they happened on Arrow). I think the characters are in solid places and it’s not too much a replica of its sister show. It’s whimsical and light and fast and fun and I really enjoy that.

I love its diversity: the Wests are black and Cisco is Hispanic and there were some other background characters of color that made me feel like I was more in the real world than most other tv shows. I love that Jesse L. Martin gets to be a cop again, but with fantastical story lines. He’s such a NY good cop icon, especially in TV land, so it really helps sell Central City as this Metropolis type place, compared to Arrow’s dark Gotham like elements.

In fact, the two shows play light and dark the same way Superman and Batman do, which I think will help make them awesome sister-shows. The way that people love Batman and Superman to interact and reference each other. If anything, if Batman is always in our mental periphery when watching Arrow, I think that Superman could be when watching Flash. Barry is clearly more readily willing to be a hero, a lighter beacon than the Arrow, so it’ll be fun to see what his hero’s journey is. I think Oliver knows how to save people, but doesn’t know how to be a hero, a symbol, just yet; while Barry knows how to be a hero, but doesn’t quite know how to save people yet. He’s got powers, but is still learning how to use them. Something deep and analytical like that. Either way, rewatching this pilot only made me more excited for it to premiere.

Verdict: Yes, yes, yes!

ConStar’s Pilot Watch: Gracepoint

I watched the Broadchurch pilot once, then never made it back for the rest of the series. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, but maybe at the time it was a bit heavy for what I wanted to watch? I have But from what I remember of it, this show is a scene by scene American recreation of most of that pilot. And of course the star is the same–with his American accent. Wasn’t sure David Tennant’s accent was working for me, but it seemed to ease itself into naturality (a word I’m making up, yes) by halfway through the episode.

I really liked that the dad of the dead boy was Hispanic and I think his performance surprised and pleased me most of all. (Oh and that the daughter’s boyfriend was black—can’t remember if that was the case on Broadchurch.) There was something about the dad, especially in the scene in the morgue, that I loved. He portrayed what it might look like for a father to lose his son really well. In fact, the silence that reigned in the theater I watched this in when Tennant and Gunn (I’m bad at character names upon a first viewing, apparently) inform the family was a true testament to the great job the actors and the director did of pulling the viewers in to such a horrifyingly sad and intimate moment in this family’s life. Anna Gunn was great and I think a perfect fit for this role.

I would like to know what happens, but I’m not sure my patience will hold up, I apparently didn’t have it for BC. I like mysteries though and this certainly reminds me of some random mystery novels I read as a kid—small beach town, murder, where everyone is a suspect. I meant to binge Broadchurch when it was done airing in the US on TV, but I never did. Maybe I’ll make the effort here. (Then watch the original, because it’s bound to be better.)

Verdict: In truth, I might DVR the show then never watch it, like I did with Broadchurch and that’s nothing against the show, that’s all me. But it’s not something I wouldn’t watch, I just might not watch it. Make sense? If not, ask me about it and convince me to watch it.

Constar’s Pilot Watch: Gotham

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one–it’s got so many big shoes to fill, but I enjoyed it.

Maybe it was a bit overly heavy-handed with introducing each of the villainous players, but it was nice to guess at them, right before a punny name drop, confirming who you think it is. I thought Ben MacKenzie was a nice Gordon–trying to do the right thing, but being tossed into this seedy world surrounded by awful people. His smarmy partner–played by Donal Logue who I know from the sitcom Grounded for Life (don’t ask, there was a ABC Family phase and that was in syndication) —was a great foil for MacKenzie. I think he plays his character perfectly, we’ll love to hate him.

I really like how much time Jada Pinkett-Smith gets, especially considering she’s a show original character? The fact that she’s such a boss and is helping these villains get their origins is cool. Helps that’s she’s feisty and powerful and has sexy/powerful outfits. Little Bruce Wayne was adorable and sad and I wonder where they’ll take his character, considering it’s such a long ways off from becoming anything even close to Batman. He’ll probably not appear too often, I don’t imagine they want to overload us with the one thing we can’t have from this show.

I liked the tone and the look of the show–seedy and dark and kinda greenish-gray, very 20s grimy New York, with some Art Deco feel to it too. Fish Mooney’s place was very French brothel or something. The art direction is really great; they’ve really filled it with film noir tones which kind of help with a timelessness of it. (Though, I noticed that Gordon has a flip phone—so cellphones exist, but not current ones? I think this show will probably be a bit of an anachronism stew… but that’s alright with me as long as it’s consistent.)

Verdict: Yup, I’m watching it. I got a better feel for this than I did from the Agents of SHIELD pilot, so that’s a good sign for this superhero show.

ConStar’s Pilot Watch: Red Band Society

Red Band Society was not on my list of shows to watch. I just didn’t have too much interest in it and I don’t often purposefully watch things that might be sad.  I’m not one to watch something that I know will be sad going in. I’m an action, fantasy, magical plot kind of girl; if it happens to be sad, I’ll deal and be sad too, but then it’s back to fun and magic and superpowers. And I definitely expected this to be sad–sick kids in a children’s hospital? Obviously very Fault in Our Stars. While The New Yorker TV Critic Emily Nussbaum proclaims the two aren’t the same at all—she also make a good point, the show is tailor-made for fans of that book. Emily’s opinion is that Fault is better—richer, deeper characters—but I’m giving RBS the benefit of a pilot. The Fault in Our Stars has book level character depth—given over the course of a hundreds of pages. RBS must delve out its development slower and across more characters. What might seem like “caricature” in a pilot might evolve to greater depth as we get to spend time with each character (which goes back to my giving Mulaney a second-episode chance). All this to say, I wasn’t expecting to want to watch more of this show, but I do.

I don’t have too much more to say other than I really liked the character dynamics between the kids. I loved that the black kid (I can’t remember his name right now) was SUCH a New York black kid. I love that he talks like people I’ve met, kids I’ve met. He felt real in his actions, so I hope he gets more character development along the way. Octavia Spencer was wonderful, both scary and sweet, clearly good at her job and also caring about her knucklehead patients. There’s little groundwork for arcs for all the characters, just the cheerleader and the new kid dealing with the treatment of their new diseases, but I’m excited to see where they’ll take all of this.

It was lovely and fun and teenage, presenting the same tropes as a high school sitcom in a new way, while also being a little fantastical and light-hearted as well. I’m hoping that with it’s diverse audience, that the characters of color get equal screen time, but also that maybe some actors with real life disabilities get to appear on the show. I can’t help but think of RJ Mitte, who has cerebal palsy and was awesome on Breaking Bad. And I believe there is a show on ABC Family that features a hearing-impaired character played by an actual hearing-impaired actress. I would love for this show to allow actors with disabilities to shine, especially since this is a show intended to be watched by young people and it would really allow them to see themselves in society and allow others to see them as people rather than just see them by their disability. This show could be a beacon for representation across cultures and capabilities.

Verdict: Adding to my fall schedule. I really, really enjoyed this one.

ConStar’s Pilot Watch: Mulaney

So I know this show was slated for last season’s pilot season, so maybe that contributed to how I felt about it, but I was SO disappointed. Mulaney’s acting was a bit stilted (explained, I guess, as a character trait?), Nasim Pedrad’s character was funny but unfortunately terribly written and one dimensional in the way she was obsessed with her ex-boyfriend, and the black sidekick literally couldn’t get a joke out. His character couldn’t find a punchline. It was too on the nose for how the show seems to make a splash but goes nowhere. The Seinfeldy stand up bits were okay, but not seamlessly tied in OR completely removed the way Seinfeld’s were. They felt a bit abrupt.

The characterization was so lacking. Neither of the sidekick characters had anything other than that episode’s schtick; no real jobs (the black sidekick is also a comedian) or goals or backstory. Only Mulaney’s character, in his job working for Martin Short (who didn’t really grab my attention), had any kind of arc given to him. Nasim worked really hard with what she got, I enjoyed her performance, though not the ridiculous caricature of a character.

Also, there’s a random Ice-T voice over at the beginning explaining “This is filmed in front of a live studio audience.” Very 90s, which might’ve been the point, but also feels different than any other modern comedy on TV and not in a good way.

I’m hoping that because this show is two years old, it means that Mulaney and the writers were able to tweak the things that aren’t working in the pilot. Maybe it will still have the 90s multi-cam feel to it, but perhaps it will be smarter and have better characterization. Maybe Mulaney will be more relaxed as an actor. It’d be nice to see this do well, if just for the fact that it was stuck in development for so long, but I’m not sure on this one.

Verdict: I might watch episode two to see if the writing has changed, but I’m not sure this is gonna remain in my line up. Here’s hoping episode 2 is two years improved.

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: Black-ish

I’m not sure how I feel about Black-ish. There are parts I really enjoyed and I think it had the humor it needed. I think Tracee Ellis Ross was fantastic and funny, and the kids on the show are super adorable. Plus, it’s a pilot, so there’s always room to grow and get stronger, but I’m not sure what I am supposed to take away from it. I think, and hope, that they’re building a show where the dad tries to make his family act stereotypically “black” but then realizes his family is black no matter how they act. They don’t have to conform to some stereotypical ideal of what black means. Because some of the “black” things he tried to make his son do were ridiculous and weren’t things that were even apart of his own culture, something I suppose they will touch on as well (the differences between being black and being African).

I do enjoy that there is a struggle and an uncomfortableness, because I struggle with the idea of being called “white” by my black family/friends or being called an “oreo.” I think it’s about people either adapting or sticking out and trying to find that balance and I think the show will explore that. I like the idea of the main character being in the wrong: every episode will deal with him trying to impose some sort of ideal on his family, then being forced to realize that they can balance the new aspects of themselves they like (field hockey for instance) with the things of “classic” black culture (there are Adidas track suits at the end of the episode that are literally in my cousin’s closet).

There were really funny moments, though I’m not sure how I feel about the voice over done by Anthony Anderson’s character. I suppose it flowed once the story picked up steam, but I wasn’t expecting it. Again, Tracee Ellis Ross was really great; I haven’t watched Girlfriends yet, so I’ve never seen her act in anything. I enjoyed her and the kids are cute and precocious, though only the oldest gets real character development.

There’s a lot of pressure on this show. It’s the only network black sitcom and if it fails, there might not be a call for more. And of course it has to follow in the footsteps of black family comedies like The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince, and Family Matters. There’s totally room to grow; but let’s not get over-ambitious and call it the Cosby Show of this millennium. I’m not ready to give it that high honor yet. Just in terms of character and writing, what I remember of the Cosby Show defined all the kids’ characterization and their relationships in a stronger way than this did; and no one will ever forget the “I brought you in this world, and I will take you out” line that, while stemming from Cosby’s stand-up, really made an impression on the series’ tone and potential.

Verdict:  I will watch it regularly unless it disappoints. ::please don’t disappoint::

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.

PaleyFest Previews

Me at the Paley Center in front of their fun step-and-repeat.

Me at the Paley Center in front of their fun step-and-repeat.

The Paley Center for Media “leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms.” There are two locations, in Los Angeles and in New York, the two entertainment capitals of the world. The New York Center has archives of classic TV shows, historical videos only found there, and has events and screenings dedicated to television and media. I’ve been there before for an airing of the Lost pilot that they did right before the series finale, and I think I went to a pilot previews event before as well. I think it’s a great institution to have, focusing on keeping records of media that can sometimes be transient—they have one of kind footage of early TV shows as a part of their collection and mission. The PaleyFest pilot previews are a great event to host, to get fans of television (if you know about the Paley Center and don’t work in the industry, you’re probably a big fan of television) to watch the upcoming season’s show; they also hand out surveys for feedback–not sure where they go, but it made me feel a bit like my voice was counted.

It’s always really fun to see shows with an audience and to see and build off their reactions. I did so once for a screening of Scandal and it remains to be a fantastic way to watch TV occasionally. There’s something different about watching TV than watching a movie—obviously people will shush you during both if you’re too loud, but it’s still more of a vocal atmosphere, even during dramas, probably a cultural sense memory of all television being live (that’s my crack theory anyway). I think it heightens the viewing experience, but could also skew the way I see a show, in that I laugh when others laugh, sometimes when something isn’t necessarily funny. But today, I think I was able to see those moments and grasp whether or not I’d laugh at home alone when there are other distractions available to me. There were some great shows though and I’ll go through the ones I saw (I missed Selfie and most of Manhattan Love Story, but I caught the end of that one) in various posts and some of my thoughts!

Links to each show are below as I post them through the day:

Some common things I noticed among the shows are a reliance on voice overs (done most cleverly by Jane the Virgin and most dryly by Forever) and I noticed there were a lot of fistbumps.

My top choice among the ten I watched? Jane the Virgin

My least favorite? Forever

Biggest Surprise? Cristela

Biggest Disappointment: Mulaney

Check each individual post to find out what I thought and tell me if they’re on your Fall Schedule or not! If you’ve watched any early (some are available on Hulu or their network website), what do you think? Am I right or wrong?

Let’s discuss!

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.

Diverse Shows We’re Looking Forward to This Fall:

Check out Lee and Low’s list of Diverse TV Shows coming this fall, both new and returning. Many of these shows are on my list (https://constarstudiestv.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/fall-2014-tv-schedule/) and I think The Flash should be considered an honorable mention due to it’s racebending Iris and Joe West (Barry Allen’s main love interest and her detective father). The show also feature Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon, a comic character himself.

I absolutely love that there is enough shows on TV this season to make such a list. I hope next year’s lists are even longer.

the open book

This year’s Emmys had an unfortunate lack of diversity. But, never fear! Fall 2014’s TV season is about to start and there are some amazing diverse offerings on the horizon.

Returning:

Grey’s Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes’s medical drama returns for its eleventh season.

Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as a modern day Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson, returns.

Sleepy HollowSleepy Hollow normalizes POC characters as leads in a fantasy-world setting, in which their POC-ness isn’t an “issue” but definitely a part of who they are as characters. It tackles historical issues like slavery head-on (for example, Ichabod’s reaction to Abbie being a cop), and it centers Abbie’s experience as the hero of this tale.

Ultimately, it’s epic and funny and fascinating—it tells a good story.

Scandal, Shonda Rhimes’s political thriller, returns with Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope.

Premiering:

Fresh off the Boat is the first sitcom starring…

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The Emmys Need New Categories

The Emmys were over a week ago, but as the fall season approaches, I can’t help but continue to think about the shows that weren’t and won’t ever (it seems) be nominated for the most prestigious TV award out there.

There are so many more shows on the air than when the Emmys first began. There have been new categories added in the years since, with an entire separate ceremony for the “Creative Arts” Emmy’s, but with the evolution of television has come the evolution of genres. Shows are not simply drama or comedy anymore. Single camera comedies (which moved comedies from being mutli-cam only to a two method shooting process) and programs like Orange is the New Black (which views like a drama (and is an hour long) but submitted an Emmy nom in the comedy category) show that maybe the Emmys need an update regarding genre.

I believe there are so many shows out there where the actors, writers, producers, and crew work just as hard on their show as the staff of the Breaking Bads and Modern Familys out there, but they’re not recognized because their genre is properly represented. There are three genres that I think could use an Emmy boost, if just so that the people working on them can get the recognition they deserve. Dramedy, Procedural, and Science Fiction Fantasy.

Dramedy

Emmys Outstanding Dramedy

Dramedies are a relatively new designation we’ve been giving comedies that have serious moments and dramas that aren’t dark and heavy. A lot of the shows airing this fall 2014 seem to fit either drama, comedy (or the other two categories I’ll talk about later), but aren’t really straight up dramedies. I think shows like Castle and Bones are both drama and comedy, but would go in my proposed Procedural category. Pushing Daisies was also a hearty mixture of both comedy and drama, but again, could also fit either Procedural or even Science Fiction. That’s the hybrid nature of these kinds of shows and I think that they should be rewarded for touching both sides of the spectrum–it’s not easy to make your audience both laugh and cry without creating jarring moments of mood whiplash.

Shows that I think would (have) benefit(ed) from a separate Dramedy category include:

  • Pushing Daisies
  • Chuck
  • Ugly Betty (an hour long drama that submitted in the Comedy category, and won at least one that I know of [Best Actress in a Comedy to America Fererra])
  • The Carrie Diaries (a Drama based on Best Comedy winner Sex and the City )
  • Psych
  • Glee – (Dare I include this) I believe they’ve submitted under Comedy before, despite tackling serious issues and being properly considered an hour long Drama.
  • Up All Night – the short-lived Christina Applegate/Will Armett show reminds me of a network comedy that probably could have done better if it had not been trying so hard to be funny. I think the show had an understated humor to it that works for dramedies more than straight up comedies and if Dramedy were an accepted genre of television, then people would have understood it more.
  • Orange is the New Black – might have won the awards it submitted for (though I do recognize Uzo Aduba for winning, though I wouldn’t call her a “guest” actress on her show).

Procedural

Emmys Outstanding Procedural

There are dozens of procedurals on TV these days. From the umpteen CSIs and the prevailing Law and Orders, there’s no lack of cop/investigative shows out there. And due to the overwhelming number of shows in the Procedural genre, rarely do they get recognized for the work they do. I watch the quirky procedurals; Castle, (I’m an ex-Bones fan), Psych, could we consider Veronica Mars a procedural? Those shows often could fit under Dramedy as well, but I think a Procedural category would give shows like this more attention. These shows last long–the production staff, crew, and actors work long hours for many years trying to make fresh stories in a sea of other shows just like them. That’s not an easy feat. Several of these shows do the “ripped from the headlines” stories and some do them better than others. The guest casts can make us laugh or cry or feel fear as the murderer stalks someone down a dark alley. These shows may be “easy” or formulaic, but the shows that upend or subvert the formula should be recognized, but because there’s not that much room in the drama category, they often go unnoticed.

Shows that I think would (have) benefit(ed) from a separate Procedural category include:

  • Castle
  • Bones – not sure I’m confident it would win any, I’ve got problems with the way the writers progress then unravel character development constantly, but I think some of it’s early seasons warranted recognition for twisting procedural tropes.
  • Psych – though I think it’s stronger in the Dramedy category
  • Pushing Daisies – never forget this was a procedural. They solved crimes every episode.
  • Veronica Mars – strong, witty writing; strong female lead; great fun stories with sometimes great, sometimes faulty twists. Worthy of recognition for season 1 at the least.
  • Person of Interest – I don’t watch this show, but many people who do love it and think it’s amazing.
  • Elementary – Again, a show I don’t watch, but people who do love. It also inverts many Sherlock Holmes/Buddy cop tropes that deserves more praise, even from a non-viewer.
  • Lie to Me – I miss Lie to Me every season it’s not on the air. I think the idea was brilliant and it was a really smart show. Tim Roth’s a great actor and the characters were lovely. I would have given it all the awards.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Emmys Outstanding SFF

Lastly is the Sci-Fi Fantasy (SFF) Category that I’d fight the strongest for, not only because most of the shows I watch are in this category (and therefore never win any major Emmys), but because the extra level of suspension of disbelief that the show must give their audience–transporting them to another world or time–is extra work that a show must put in. If a show like Buffy puts in seven years of making audiences believe these fantastical things could happen and that these characters could react in the way they do–often with the actors acting against green screen or with ridiculous set decoration–then that deserves recognition. It would also help shows like Game of Thrones–which has quite a few Emmy nominations (DINKLAGE!), actually win the awards. (If there was a SFF category, Game of Thrones would be the Breaking Bad or Modern Family of it’s category; it would win every year I am sure.)

Shows I think would (have) benefit(ted) from this category:

  • Angel – mostly just because it’s my favorite show ever, but also because the writing was often very strong and engaging.
  • Game of Thrones – obviously. It’s *this* close to winning all the awards now, much less if it had a separate category.
  • Pushing Daisies
  • Smallville – I never watched the show and I’ve heard mixed things about it, but you want to tell me that it went 10 seasons and there weren’t any award worthy moments? I think if there was a category for it’s genre, it could have warranted some nominations.
  • The X-Files – Another show I’ve never seen, but it’s such a cult classic that I think it must have some award worthy episodes or acting moments in it’s episode catalogue
  • Orphan Black – This category would be the saving grace to finally get Tatiana Maslany the Emmy she so well deserves.
  • Fringe – a cult classic show I haven’t watched yet, but from the word of it’s fans, it seems like there could be some Emmy moments in writing in it’s repertoire of episodes.

There are plenty of shows in each category that I am missing (or adding simply because I like the show and maybe it doesn’t have Emmy worthy writing or performances; I admit this is possible), but that’s where you come in. If these Emmy categories existed, what shows would you submit? Any particular episodes? I know some of the shows I listed above are very adaptable to more than one category, but if OITNB can submit for Best Comedy, and Uzo Aduba can submit for Best Guest Actress (rather than supporting), then submission guidelines can be pretty subjective.

How do we get the Emmy committee to considering adding even just one new category that expands the list of shows able to be seen and nominated? With the advent of reality television, there began an entire reality genre section to the award ceremony itself (was there a year where five reality hosts “hosted” the Emmys? Am I making that up or did that nightmare of an idea actually happen?), so we know the committee is capable of adapting to the times. I most strongly desire SFF, but Dramedy is much needed category as well.

Current Emmy (and Creative Arts Emmy’s) Categories

(P.S.

As much as I want a Dramedy category, it’d be really hard to take anyone serious when saying the word on television. I am trying to imagine the President of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences saying the word, and it’s just fuzzy. But we’d find a way to work around it.)

Related Emmy Posts:

Is TV getting more diverse? Not by the look of this year’s Emmys via Lee and Low

Who Are the Emmy Voters?

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.

Is TV getting more diverse? Not by the look of this year’s Emmys via Lee and Low

Lee and Low Books put together this article and infographic regarding diversity at the Emmy’s. There were few nominations and even fewer people of color who actually won in their category. I love that Kerry Washington was nominated, but there was little hope in my mind that she would win the award (even if Breaking Bad wasn’t there to sweep all the major drama categories).

And I really, truly dislike the fact that the “Creative Arts” Emmys are a separate ceremony (where they give out the rest of the Emmy’s that don’t fit in the telecast) and aren’t televised. There, Uzo Aduba AND Joe Morton (from Scandal) won awards. I was deprived two very important Emmy acceptance speeches. And we were all deprived of seeing two fantastic black actors take home well-deserved awards. The Emmy’s certainly need to do better diversity-wise.

the open book

This is a post by our literacy and sales assistant, Veronica Schneider.

It was no major surprise who the big winners were on Monday evening’s 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, with Breaking Bad totaling five awards and Modern Family winning Best Comedy Series for the fifth consecutive year.

Cary Fukunaga accepts his Emmy Cary Fukunaga accepts his Emmy

More importantly, the 2014 Emmy Awards really shocked us all by showing how progressive and diversified television has become.

Kidding.

We need to look beyond the fashionable red carpet looks and the Hollywood glam and instead discuss what is plainly missing: diversity. Diverse television may pull in viewers with hit shows like Sleepy Hollow, Orange is the New Black, and Scandal, but it isn’t necessarily being rewarded. In an interview with KCPP Radio,Darell Hunt, Director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, said, “So far we haven’t seen a translation…

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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?

A writers’ room of N.Y.’s own – Times Union

A writers’ room of N.Y.’s own – Times Union
Check out this brief article on the lack of NYC writers’ rooms, despite more shows being shot here. I definitely wish there were more opportunities for tv writers in NYC, as that’s where I live. Hopefully we can get more here. Until I can write and produce my own NYC based (and set, because not enough NY set shows are actually shot in NY–those alleys, those fake trains…smh) hit TV series.

But it may spur more studios to at least consider locating their writers’ rooms here, and to hire a more diverse staff—writers who look and sound like New York, and like America.

 

“A Different World” Cast Still Hangs Out Over 25 Years Later

imageCree Summer (@iamcreesummer) tweeted this photo of herself, Kadeem Hardison, Darryl Bell and Jasmine Guy hanging out. If only this meant everyone’s long felt desires if a reunion were happening. But this is good too! It’s wonderful to know that some casts become friends and keep in touch like this. I love it!

Also check out the Black Girl Nerds Podcast where we talk with Cree about her time on A Different World and her voice acting career! Love her!

Pilot Season Diversity: Various Network Pilots

For the last few days, I’ve been showcasing some pilots being worked on this season with diverse casting. Here are some more that might be coming to our screens in the fall, but maybe I am less invested in. I found them by checking the TVLine descriptions and seeing which actors/producers are PoCs. If a show coming up with PoCs is being made but not on this list, I just didn’t notice. Definitely not an extensive list, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more along the way.

Descriptions are from TVLine

Fresh Off the Boat (Comedy)
EPs | Nahnatchka Kahn (Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23), Jake Kasdan, and Melvin Mar
It’s the 90’s and hip hop loving Eddie is growing up in suburban Orlando, raised by an immigrant father who is obsessed with all things American and an immigrant mother who is often bewildered by white culture. With his father owning and operating an All-American Steakhouse chain, this loving family of FOB (“fresh off the boat”) Taiwanese Americans try to live the American dream while still maintaining their cultural identity and sense of family. [ABC]

I hope this makes it just because its an ethnicity we don’t get to see much of on television. The specifics of Asian culture is often grossly glossed over. I went to school with Asian students with families from all over the continent, so I got a chance to learn about different aspects of Asian life and how each nationality differs from each other, but most Americans don’t know Asian from being specifically Chinese or Japanese. Just because TV is entertainment, doesn’t mean you should never learn anything about different people.

How to Get Away With Murder (Drama)
EPs | Peter Nowalk (Grey’s Anatomy), Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers
A sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller about a group of ambitious law students and their brilliant, mysterious criminal defense professor who become entangled in a murder plot that will rock the entire university and change the course of their lives. [ABC]

No guarantees on who the casting will be for this one, but as a Shonda Rhimes show, it is sure to have color-blind casting.

Untitled Kevin Hart Project (Comedy)
EPs | Kevin Hart, Dave Becky, Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan (Community)
Based on Kevin Hart’s life and stand-up, it takes a candid look at the post-divorce life of a couple trying to forge a friendship for the sake of their kids, despite differences. [ABC]

Kevin Hart has been everywhere. He has like 4 movies out, 3 shows in development, and who knows what else. I don’t know if that over-saturation is stifling his true funniness (some people have said his stand-up special wasn’t as good as the previous ones), but hopefully this turns out good. Kevin Hart is funny and we have zero black sitcoms on network TV. If this AND Blackish get greenlit, that would make a grand total of 2. #sigh

The Flash (Drama)
EPs | Greg Berlanti (Arrow), Andrew Kreisberg, Geoff Johns, David Nutter, Melissa Kellner Berman
DIRECTOR | David Nutter (Arrow)
CAST | Grant Gustin (Glee), Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order), Danielle Panabaker (Shark) and Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries)
The Arrow spin-off follows Barry Allen, a Central City assistant police forensics investigator with a tragic past.

Jesse L. Martin is all I have to say. I bit token-esque, but I’ll let it go lol.

Cabot College (Comedy)
EPs | Matt Hubbard, Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, Pam Fryman, David Miner
DIRECTOR | Pam Fryman (How I Met Your Mother)
CAST | Bonnie Dennison (Third Watch), Jack Cutmore-Scott, Brandon Jones, Margaret Cho (Drop Dead Diva)
A women’s college begins accepting men for the first time in its history.

While I’ll give any new show from Tina a chance, it featuring Margaret Cho is a plus in the diversity factor. Also Pam Fryman from HIMYM fame is a plus for me.

Empire (Drama)
EPs | Danny Strong (The Butler), Lee Daniels (The Butler), Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo
DIRECTOR | Lee Daniels (The Butler)
A unique family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire [FOX]

I probably wouldn’t watch this, but it could be a great black drama, which are even harder to name than black comedies…

Mr. Robinson (Comedy) — ORDERED TO SERIES
EPs | Mark Cullen and Rob Cullen (Back in the Game), Howard Klein, Mark Schulman
CAST | Craig Robinson (The Office), Larenz Tate (House of Lies), Amanda Lund, Jean Smart (Harry’s Law, Hawaii Five-0)
A talented musician adjusts to his new life as a middle school music teacher, where he maneuvers precocious kids, teacher politics, and the temptations of single moms. [NBC]

This one’s already been ordered to series and stars Office alum Craig Robinson. So there will be at least one new black sitcom coming in fall. It sounds very similar to the Steve Harvey Show, so I’ll have to check it out to see how it’s different/updated for the new millennium.

It surprises me not one bit that none of these shows are for CBS… I don’t remember any for the CW either (and with it’s WB/UPN  strong PoC cast roots, this is sad to say).

IO’m excited for all of these shows featuring people of color. It’s about time we got some new faces on our TV screens. Hopefully these survive pilot season and we get to at least give them a test run in September.

for more, check TVLine’s Pilot Scoop

 

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‘Veronica Mars’ will grace us with her presence on March 14th!! (via Inside Movies | EW.com)

‘Veronica Mars’ movie gets a release date | Inside Movies | EW.com.

I AM SO EXCITED!! Three months is a long time and I cannot wait! Soon we’ll be back with Veronica Mars and the gang in Neptune. It’s a fan of a cancelled show’s dream come true. Now I just need the movie to give me some good Veronica/Logan and I’ll be a happy camper!

Click the link to watch a clip!!

Get excited Marshmallows!!!!!

ConStar Watches Scandal “Icarus”

“You get to ask me one question”

We’re gonna need more than one question to make it through this week’s episode of Scandal, but I’ll start with one from each major plot point and go from there. No guarantees about the amount of questions I ask. Please don’t kill my friends or try to recruit them for your evil, secret government agency, thanks.

This week’s episode went through these major storylines:

Liv and Operation Remington: Why does Fitz refuse to acknowledge Operation Remington to even Olivia—even after finding out it was her mother?

I had a feeling that Fitz didn’t know about Olivia’s mother being on the plane, but it concerns me to no end that he refuses to acknowledge his part even after he knows about her mother. Liv already knows the worst of it. She knows more than HE did, seeing as how he didn’t know about Mama Pope (Maya Lewis is her name). And yet, despite his claims of how much he loves her and they know each other, and it could be how it was before, yadda yadda, he doesn’t admit to the operation and he doesn’t even say sorry or console her. There must be more to his side of the story.

This Remington storyline is a clear mirror of the Defiance storyline with Liv at the center: everyone is plotting around her to keep her from knowing some awful truth about how she got where she is today. But Fitz needs to learn that he can’t throw that in her face anytime he wants; not anymore. This is about her mother. Who he shot down in the sky. He may not want to talk about it or the circumstances, but if he wants Liv to ever speak to him again, he’s going to need to come clean about Operation Remington once and for all.

But turning to Papa Pope for a moment: I truly believe those were real tears he shed when he was watching the news of the plane crash. What I want to know is: was he in charge of B6-13 then? He says he didn’t order the plane down. I believe him (not just because I believe in his love of Olivia, and I hope to extend that to Maya, but because of Joe Morton’s acting choice of shaking his head no before he verbally responded to Olivia’s question over the phone (homegirl needs to just chug that wine from the bottle—saves time on washing wine glasses)). The “no” was a visceral response to the question, probably not even conscious. But he can’t talk about the rest: What did he know when it was being planned? Could he have stopped it? Did he try? Knowing they killed his wife—and subsequently destroyed his relationship with his daughter—why did he accept command of the organization (or continue as leader if he was already in charge). Side note: I was DONE after seeing Joe Morton in that hairpiece and moustache! Especially knowing that he didn’t look that way back on A Different World. lol

12-year-old Olivia’s love of Fruit Loops makes me wonder if she can ever eat them again, all things considered. It might be a nice moment, to see Olivia have a box of Fruit Loops in her cabinet (but no milk in the fridge…).

Baby Huck/Charlie: What is Rowan’s plan for Quinn?

Quinn is spiraling out of control! Huck gave her the taste for darkness and she’s grasping at it. It’s interesting to me that Rowan/Charlie think they’ve “planted a seed” in Quinn that they must watch bloom, when this has been growing in her this whole time with no one tending to it but Quinn herself. They didn’t introduce the gun to her, she bought it on her own. Rowan told Olivia he wouldn’t kill her friends, but he didn’t say nothing about turning another one into B6-13! (I think fans, and possibly Olivia, won’t mind as much about this one. Baby Huck has been getting on everyone’s nerves since she arrived… I’m surprised the whole office doesn’t groan whenever she speaks.

I wonder if she will be trained to replace Jake’s would be assassin. Maybe B6-13 operates with a Token Female…

Actually, I would LOVE for Quinn to join B6-13, because then she’d be able to destroy it from the inside (not because she’s awesome, but because it would just implode due to her presence, annoyance, and incompetence).

Harrison/Cy: Will Cyrus’ threat spur Harrison into action against Olivia?

Finally some Harrison backstory! It’s been a long time coming that we find anything about Harrison Wright. What I understand so far is: Harrison was a used car salesman. Then he was involved in insider trading. This man, Saliff, is out of the country and if he is allowed (?) to return, he will kill Harrison. I suppose Harrison sold this man out to save himself. We know that Olivia “fixed” it for him. If he allows Cyrus’ threat to move him against Liv, Liv won’t fix him twice. But I think there must be more to it—they waited so long to give us a Harrison storyline, and Olivia trusts him with her company but then snubs him every time he asks her a question. I wonder what the whole story could be. I do know that Cyrus wildly underestimated Harrison’s loyalty to Olivia, but I don’t know how much more of Olivia’s dismissals Harrison will take.

The Election: How does Mellie plan to use the wandering First Vice Husband against Sally’s betrayal?

This part of the storyline was mostly set up for future chess pieces moving around. Josie Marcus’ bits were great, I know her interview with James will go viral on tumblr, due to the strength and truth of her comments. But the Sally/Mellie/Cyrus parts of the game were just pawns being moved into place. Mr Vice First Husband (Heroes’ own Horned Rimmed Glasses!) is making eyes at Mellie; but if he doesn’t know already, he is going to learn that Mellie will do whatever it takes to keep Fitz in office (including “rolling up your whore and unrolling her at your feet” !!). Whatever Mellie’s plan is, it is going to be devious.

Other thoughts:

Icarus is an interesting title choice. Obviously it involves flying and something crashing down to the ground, but it is also about parent/child relationships, escaping imprisonment (feelings of being trapped), and a tragic downfall. These themes apply to many characters. Fitz is trapped with Mellie (and kind of trapped in the White House by Mellie and Cyrus and the ghost of his father’s influence on him. Liv is trapped in the situation with her father, she doesn’t want anything to do with him, but he keeps appearing in her life and if she doesn’t stick with him, he may kill her friends. Obviously the plane crash is the prime example of the myth in action; did Maya get too excited about something for her own good and it led to the plane “needing” to be shot down by B6-13? Did someone ignore the warnings they were given to not fly too close to the sun? Is the sun B6-13 or something else?

I suppose they’ll start covering Kerry Washington’s baby bump with large coats, because I highly doubt Olivia will get pregnant and they’ve already established her wardrobe as a symbolic device.

They took all episode to get to Fitz learning that he killed Olivia’s mother. His eyebrows tell me he clearly didn’t know, but he schooled his expression real quick and continued to not acknowledge Olivia’s question. What does this mean for the coming weeks? Let the torturous wait til next Thursday begin!

Please , please, please check out my (condensed) version of this post on UnderScoopFire.com: Scandal ‘Icarus’ Discussion: “You Get One Question”

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ConStar Studies Series Endings

Next season, we say goodbye to Ted, Marshall, Lily, Barney and Robin. See here for the official announcement:

I love How I Met Your Mother. It is the only comedy on CBS I watch. It is the only multicamera show that I watch. I think it’s funny and clever and has great characters. It is ending next season and yet, despite my love for it, I am ready for it to end. 

Many shows we love end before their time. Some notable examples that immediately come to mind are Firefly, Pushing Daisies and Veronica Mars (which has been on the brain today for some reason). It’s not even the crime of ending a show too soon in its first season because of low ratings (when it’s the networks fault, I’m looking at you FOX), but it’s ending a show into their third, like Veronica Mars, and not giving the writers enough time to come up with a solid ending. Instead, we’re left with a cliffhanger that never gets resolved, or sometimes even worse, the last episode is just a normal episode where nothing spectacular happened. 

So it’s nice that some shows get a warning. Lost had a warning. 30 Rock and The Office have been given at least half a season’s worth of episode to wrap up their characters. And now the HIMYM gang gets to end with closure. It’s the end of an era for many TV shows it seems, with 30 Rock, The Office and now HIMYM ending, when they all seemed to pop up around the same mid-oughts era. And while it is sad to see them go (especially because I am not sure how I feel about some of the shows replacing them), it is time for some of them to end. I am ready. I am sad, but prepared to watch the last episode, even if I will be a glass case of emotion for hours afterward.

Because while I love HIMYM and it’s characters, it is time for us to meet the Mother. It is time for Barney and Robin to get married and be awesome together. It is time for Marshall and Lily and Marvin to cuddle up together. It is time for Ted to stop being an idiot. I need the season finale to be where Ted meets the Mother and the last season can focus on how they got together and probably end with a proposal and maybe a montage of happy moments between then and the kids being born. And some jokes from the kids about how he sped up the story right at the end or something. It’s just time. I hate when a show ends too early but it can be draining if a show goes on too long. Thankfully, while there have been slow patches of HIMYM, when watched in a marathon session, it’s still funny and watchable. Other shows who go on too long do not have that grace. 

The end is nigh for HIMYM. Let’s hope they have saved their absolute best ideas for the final stretch so it can go out with a bang bang bangity bang. 

[also this means Cobie Smulders can go be a bamf on SHIELD which will hopefully be in it’s second season by then. she’s got pretty good job security for the next couple of years should that show make it off the ground]