Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blog within a blog-NCIS: Los Angeles 301&302

Spoilers--Ok truth time I didn't just start to watch NCIS:LA because it was a spin-off of NCIS (more on that series later) but the main reason was that I have been a fan of Chris O'Donnell since I was 13 and for the past 18 years have watched every movie and TV show he has been a part of. That being said I want to see if I can have a mini blog and write a little something about NCIS: LA each week.  Let me start with last week which was the season premiere and we got to see the conclusion of out wonderful team in Romania. Callen remembered another small piece of his missing life, Deeks and Kensi got to play honeymoon couple or was it brother and sister? Hetty had a nice conversation with the head of the family who is trying to kill Callen and new ops manager Hunter got to prove her loyalty. This week it was three months later and the team was back (almost intact) in L.A. to solve a case of a DOD hacker. Yes it is a “cop procedural” and yet I enjoy it as much, more then the three CSIs and The Mentalist. As I was saying this week a hacker was kidnapped and the team had to get right back to work. They broke up in their teams of two. Deeks and Kensi went undercover at the family of the victims house (Deeks looking good in the tennis teacher outfit). Poor Eric, who is this new tech Hunter, hired and I would not insult Nell if I were her. Another reason I watch is all of the L.A. locations but as far as the actually sets go as much as I love the Ops center my favorite is the secret safe house known as and is The Boathouse. Also I know when the series started all the talk was about the chemistry between LL Cool J and Chris but I have to say the scenes and little chats between Hetty and Callen are so much better, there is just something sweet yet more, something I can’t put my finger on between them. In the end the hacker tuned out to be someone they and the viewer was not expecting. And yes Callen I am with Hetty -you will figure out who you are, I just hope it’s not for many years to come.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Eulogy for All My Children

It’s weird to think that the cancellation of a long running Soap Opera can feel as bad as the death of a loved one, but to someone who has watched All My Children for the last 19 years it does.
AMC, no matter what mood I was in Mad. Glad or Sad you were always there for me and made my life a little better. You were a TV series that was there for me everyday. I fell in love with you one summer and when school started up I couldn’t wait to get off the bus to see what happened, which could be why my grades weren’t that great, but once you got me hooked I never wanted to let go. A few of those days my VCR for one reason or another let’s say “forgot “to record an episode and when I found out I missed it I was not happy and I honestly felt confused and lost.
I watched for the stories you told and the people who lived in or were just passing through Pine Valley. I’ve attended more weddings (Those that happened, interrupted or left at the alter) and funerals (those deaths that were fake and those who came back from death) then I wish to in real life and witnessed more births then I ever wanted to. With each I was right there crying with you. All the couples (on and off screen) were fun to watch. Whether they were fighting or making up, mostly it was Erica Kane with one man or another- I mean the woman had 10 weddings, seriously 10! I tuned in every single day.
So as I sat watching every character-Good, my funny and sweet Tad Martin or Evil, the man every fan loves to hate Dr. David Hayward, I knew it was time well spent.
I felt like Pine Valley PA was my home and every resident in the past 19 years one of my friends, family members, enemy and neighbor. I will miss watching every weekday at . Truth be told there were times when I disliked a storyline but I still didn’t want to miss an episode so I watched knowing that it had to get better.
 Through all the tornados, hurricanes, twins(good, evil and unknown), kidnappings, paternity tests and baby switches, the unkown to there dad or mom kids who showed up in town and made themselves known, SORAS, EXPLOSIONS, car crashes, gunshots- especially those that were heard and not seen and on a Friday so the cliffhanger made the viewer wait and wonder all weekend. Every murder that resulted in multiple suspects and a lengthy police investigation followed by crazy courtroom hijacks I was there. Heck I have to say it was a lot more interesting then what was happening in my town
I could go on and on but I guess all good things must come to an end.
I will miss everything about All My Children.
Thank you Agnes Nixon and the great casts and crews throughout the years who have been involved with this great daytime show. .

To General Hospital- I have watched you for a few years now and I may never love you as much as AMC but I do promise to be there and support you everyday you are still on the air.

Monday, September 19, 2011

And Theater, Local Theater…

I have discovered Bronte. At the MuCCC, an old small church in the city of Rochester NY, I did something I've always wanted to do, I sat in an audience and watched a one woman play with writer Charlotte Bronte as the lone storyteller. I have seen at least one other one person show on TV but this this was better. I sat in the front roll and became entranced in a story about a woman who I had only known as the author of Jane Eyre (which I have yet to but now will read) but now I am more intrigued by who she was and the life she lived.
I didn’t really know what to expect, I certainly didn’t expect to laugh, but by the end I was truly impressed by everything I witnessed. The stories of her life flowed nicely together as Charlotte told each one. From being a child and creating stories and characters with her sisters, brother and father to her love life and those she lost throughout life. Each story was as beautiful and as captivating as the next. Of those that were still alive and those that were long dead I believed that each character/person was in the house/on stage with Charlotte.
I knew I was watching a wonderful performance because the actor was actually able to make me believe that there were other “invisible” people all around her. Meredith Powell Carroll is one of those actors. As Charlotte Bronte she told us these stories through the voice of each person who was there. It wasn’t just because her accent changed from English to Irish to a little French but so did her voice as the tone of each was as unique as the last. Every character whether she was a younger vision of Charlotte, her own father or a lover- Meredith Powell Carroll made each as individual as I am sure they were in life. It must not be easy doing all that and move from stage left to stage right, dance around the table and back again all at the same time, I know I couldn’t, but it was a joy  to watch and allowed the story to feel as if all that she said was happening right there in front of us..
So there I sat, in a wooden Pugh inside an old church watching Charlotte Bronte and her life come alive.

Also The Emmys aka TVs biggest night aka Oscars little sister was on last night and of course I stayed up all night to watch. So congrats to all the winners, especially Jon Stewart, all the nominees and the great Jane Lynch ,a wonderful host.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Torchwood: Miracle Day-A full series recap and review

First thing first if you told me when I was a kid in the mid 80s falling in love with TV that one of my favorite series would one day be a sci-fi, British series that first premiered 20 years before I was born I would have called you crazy.
Anyway as it happened Christopher Eccleston (#9) was my 1st Doctor  and then David Tennant (#10) came into the picture  and I’ve been a Whovian ever since. I have to start with mentioning this great series because if it wasn’t for Doctor Who (and The Doctor) there would be no Torchwood Institute or Torchwood series. Which brings me back to my title thought Torchwood: Miracle Day season/series 4 or 1 depending on who you talk to?
Since the series premiered in the U.S. on Sept 8th 2007 Torchwood has had everything I have always wanted in a TV series. Drama, Comedy, Romance, Friendship, Action, Adventure, Horror and Sci-Fi. Basically any genre you could find in a bookstore. Yes I was one of the millions around the world who cried at the events that ended Children of Earth but I mourned and got over it two years later when Miracle Day premiered.
When last we left our Torchwood team Gwen Cooper (the Brilliant Eve Myles) was pregnant and Captain Jack Harkness (the fantastic John Barrowman) disappeared -from Earth. When the new season began we were immediately introduced to three new characters--CIA Agent Rex Matheson (the great Mekhi Phifer from e.r) Computer analysis Esther Drummond (the wonderful Alexa Havins from All My Children) and death row inmate Oswald Danes (the amazing Bill Pullman). These characters were thrown into a magnificent and strange new story--A day in which no one dies. Not a new idea but Torchwood knows how to put their spin on it and even improve it. Every good series starts with a good story written by good writers like Miracle Days’ Russell T. Davies (Series Creator) and Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica) just to name two.
Now that we have an idea and writers time to put the pieces together.
One day-no one dies, the next day no one dies followed by the next and the next, days turn to weeks and weeks become months. So now what? What can the government do? What can the average person on the street do? This is a world wide event and no one knows what is happening or how long it will last. Enter Captain Jack Harkness (yea!) and new mum Gwen Cooper. Along with Oswald Danes whose death sentence wasn’t able to be carried out and Rex Matheson who was in a not so deadly as it should have been accident. Gwen is also personally affected by this so called miracle when her father gets seriously ill. Things are getting personal and when things get personal they get dangerous.
There are so many questions.  How did this happen? Who is in charge after Miracle Day? Who is behind the miracle? What do you do in a world without death? What are the laws of life and death? Who decides those laws? How do you determine who/what is means to be alive and dead? What do we do with the “dead”? Immortality is the new norm, what now? Do we really want to live forever (have you ever seen a happy vampire)? Can we stop The Miracle and what happens if we do? What do we do with the hurt and sick, let them be that way forever? Who is trying to kill Jack? What do we do about the population growth; the Earth can only subs stand a certain number of inhabitants? What, who is Torchwood? As each episode flies by we go deeper and deeper into this new, unexplainable, mystery upon mystery world.
Once we have the plot the story has to start answering these questions using the characters (new and old). In Miracle Day ALL of the characters become intertwined with each other and one is as intriguing as the next. As the story moves the relationships change and develop over time. Each actor is enjoyable to watch and because of this I found myself caring for all of the characters. To get a better idea of each lets go one by one, let me start with the
CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS (who may be my favorite character ever!)- Leader of Torchwood who was already immortal (and has lived a long life) at the start of the day. His job is to bring back Torchwood, against his better judgments, and work outside the system to fix the world and bring back death (sounds awful but what is life without death?)
GWEN COOPER- Jacks original team member, daughter of MARY and GERAINT, wife of RYS WILLIAMS (the talented Kai Owen) who has been by her side since before she joined Torchwood and mother of cute baby AWEN. Gwen has worked on these types of cases with Jack for years and Miracle Day is no different. When she sees Jack again for the first time she remembers how she misses the job and is ready to go!
REX MATHESON- An arrogant, dislikeable (at first but by the end I liked him) CIA agent who was suppose to die on Miracle Day, saved by DR. VERA JUAREZ- who also wants to help (Arlene Tur), tracks down Torchwood, brings them from the U.K. to the U.S. and reluctantly becomes part of the team much to his dislike of Jack and his tactics.
ESTHER DRUMMOND - CIS computer analysis who has never worked in the field, sister to Sarah and Aunt to her daughters. Sweet and naive, but smart and learns how to become an asset and all around my kind of girl.
OSWALD DANES- Un-killable death row, child rapist/murderer. Quickly becomes known as the face and voice of Miracle Day. A celebrity in his own rotten way. Thinks The Miracle is the best thing to happen to humanity.
JILLY  KITZINGER (the superb Lauren Ambrose) - An enigma? When we first meet her she is a PR person employed by the pharmacy company PhiCorp she is hired by them to help and watch Oswald as his celebrity rises. But there is something un-nerving about her and her goals. What does she really want out of Miracle Day? And why would she help and join THE FAMILIES?
And then there are the rest who may have only appeared in one episode but were just as good and important to the story as the above.
So cheers to Andy (“when Torchwood calls he shows up”)(played by Tom Price who rocks), Brian Friedkin (Seinfeld’s’ Newman, Wayne Knight), Lyn Peterfield (Dichen Lachman), Noah Vickers (Paul James),Charlotte Willis (Marina Benedict), Ellis Hartley Monroe (Mare Winningham), Stuart Owens (Ghostbusters Ernie Hudson), Angelo Colasanto (Daniele Favilli), Olivia, Angelos’ granddaughter (Nana Visitor), Allen Shapiro (John de Lancie),  with C. Thomas Howell and Frances Fisher. And the rest-you all were a pleasure to watch as guest stars. The actors had great chemistry together (especially when they were with JB) and again EVERY character was wonderful and believable.
Even though the story started slow, because it had to introduce new cast and characters, once it got going it didn’t stop! Once the first episode aired I knew I would love the season as much as the three before! From episode to episode, scene to scene (including 2 controversial sex scenes) I laughed, cried, cheered and sat on the edge of me seat yelling at the screen! You know you are watching a good series when just one small and subtle scene stays in your mind weeks after it airs, in this case it was Jane Espensons’ written description and John Barrowman’s acting style that makes me still want to see a Firebird in person. I could describe it here to anyone but I don’t think I could give it the justice they did. There were plenty of “cookies” for the core Torchwood fan (woodie) like the contact lenses but plenty of new stuff for those just starting the adventure.
In the end I felt as I did at the end of season two. Sad for some of what happened, but happy for the Torchwood Team and hopeful that they will move on. As I re-watch the season on my DVR I feel as excited as I did when the episode 1st aired, maybe more so now that I know what happens (then again I could watch any episode from any season over and over and never get tired of it)
That is why I love TORCHWOOD so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Russell T. Davies, WE WANT MORE!

Dedicated to David Bianculli whose TV Worth Watching I read everyday.
To every Woodie or Torchie out there for giving me the courage to chat, rant and rave and obsess over our little show.