Tag Archives: FX

Winter TV Landscape Full This Month

Coming on the heels of the end of season two of Showtime’s Homeland, I’m relieved and excited that there’s so much great television commencing this month. It is a new year and winter after all, a time for hibernation and of course television watching, not that I need any other motivation than my own viewing pleasure. Still, the new and returning shows are as welcome as a rich cup of hot chocolate.

After watching episodes of season two of Downton Abbey, I’m more than ready for the beginning of seven weeks of new episodes as season three kicks off this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on PBS. There’s so many story lines to explore and there’s also the addition of Shirley MacLaine to the amazing cast of characters…a shout out to Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith.

Already enjoyed a new episode of Parenthood on New Year’s Day and ABC’s Nashville returns with new episodes on Wednesday. ABC re-aired the pilot of the show last night and CMT hosts a marathon of the drama on Sunday, January 6 at 2 p.m. ET/PT. My sense is that the show’s ratings have gone down since the pilot and I have lost a bit of my initial passion for the show but I’m going to hang in there because I love the city of Nashville and for the music and for the amazing performances of the two leads — Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere.

One of the promising new pilots, Deception, finally makes NBC’s airwaves on  Monday  and the highly anticipated drama The Following comes to Fox on January 21. Showtime’s Californication is back on January 13.

On the Case with Paula Zahn already began its new season on Discovery ID and True Crime with Aphrodite Jones begins on Monday at 10:00 p.m. The fourth season of Justified begins on FX on Tuesday, January 8. Timothy Olyphant, what more do I need to say? Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). I totally missed season three so would prefer to catch up before I tune in to the new season, which will feature Patton Oswalt and Ron Eldard.

What more could you want?






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At Home with HOMELAND

I’ve been watching the first season of Showtime’s hit series HOMELAND in one sitting and it has definitely lived up to my expectations based on watching the pilot many months ago. Then I hailed the show as one of the best of the new season along with FX’s American Horror Story, both shows went on to receive major Emmy nods. So sometimes the voters do get it right!

Claire Danes, as usual, is wonderful in the part as the disturbed CIA operative and it’s obvious that the first season will end with her meltdown. Watching each episode is as obsessive as her character Carrie’s single minded focus trying to nail Brody. Her tics work and her inappropriate behavior is all believeable. Loved it when she called Saul (Mandy Patikin) a pussy. Damian Lewis is downright creepy and compelling as Brody and it’s easy to be caught up in wondering if Carrie is right…she thinks she is and her tactics of persuasion are quite sharp. Is he a psychopath who can even decieve a Polygraph…or a war veteran suffering PSD who lives with the secret that he killed Walker, his close friend and fellow marine. He and Carrie are both scarred and wounded yet he’s being honored as a war hero with an inside track to political stardom. And Carrie is equal parts repelled and attracted to Brody and above all wants to find out what makes him tick, maybe all that surveillance of him has bonded them somehow. But then she’s devestated when she finds out that she was wrong all along, and may have just lost a real relationship. There’s delusions and deceptions all around but that keeps the tension taught in the storylines. I can’t wait until the second season begins on Sunday, September 30.

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TV Noir in Ringer and American Horror Story

Okay, I’ve been out of the loop…both physically and mentally. I didn’t go to the summer TCA for the first time in many years so there’s no binders or flash drives of publicity information…no panel discussion transcripts. There’s just me as a television viewer, who yes just happens to have covered television for many years. Let me preface this by saying that I have no premium cable — no HBO, or Showtime (although I saw the pilot for Homeland and really liked it). I’m watching the broadcast network shows I’ve always loved, like Parenthood and The Good Wife but two of my favorite new shows, or at least ones I actually tune in to watch for two or three weeks in a row, depending on their premiere the CW’s Ringer and FX’s American Horror Story.

I haven’t watched a CW show in years but I like the moody, mysterious quality of Ringer, it’s got legs and apparently the network thinks so as it has ordered a full season of the show. But it’s American Horror Story that’s the most provocative drama since..I don’t know. I’m trying to remember the last show that really kept me riveted. Part of its appeal is trying to figure out what the hell it is…part The Others, part horror flick, family drama somehow it seems to work and I’d watch Jessica Lange’s loopy performance any day.

I admit that with reality bearing down on me in a big way right now I’m seeking escapist television…but I’m staying with these two shows for a while…like their premise, like their casts and so far the writing.

Enjoyed the A Gifted Man pilot but disappointed with Prime Suspect, but having written many articles about the original in contrast to how America portrays women cops — mostly horribly– that was probably a given. I love Maria Bello but have tried to watch several episodes of the show and have fallen asleep. Every other drama we’ve tried to remake from across the pond has been very disappointing so I expected no less. I could go on and on about why that is the case…but women cops aren’t beauty queens for starters..don’t wear sexy clothes on the job at least, and here the writers have tried to make do with a hat instead of character development…



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Justified’s Second Season Begins Tonight

Opening up the DVD containing the first three episodes of Justified’s second season, which premieres on FX on Wednesday, February 9, at 10 pm ET/PT was similar to the anticipation of unwrapping a bar or box of chocolate.  Devouring the dark delight of Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens  in one sitting was definitely delicious and  the storyline between him and his ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea) is always fun, but it’s the relationship between him and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) that excites most so far this season.  

In the “Moonshine War” we’re introduced to a new clan of bad guys, led by Mags Bennet (Margo Martindale), but it’s episode three “The I of the Storm” that really kicks ass. Here we see Boyd striving to change, to live a different life even though everyone else refuses to accept that transformation. Goggins’ work is perfection here and watching he and Olyphant play off of each other is a real treat, one that doesn’t inject any calories or sugar into my system but instead tantalised my intellect and emotions. He may have made a name for himself on The Shield but he does much more than simple justice to his role here.

Based on a short story by crime novelist Elmore Leonard and developed by Graham Yost (Boomtown, The Pacific) who wrote the pilot and the first episode of the second season, the FX drama is first-rate and in a category of its own. If you haven’t watched this show yet, and given the fact that neither Olyphant or Goggins were nominated for Golden Globe or SAG Awards perhaps even people in the industry haven’t, try watching the first season over a weekend. It’s definitely worth your time.

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Golden Globes FUELED BY “Girl” Power In TV Noms

The Golden Globe nominations for Best Television Series, Drama included four of my favorite shows — The Good Wife, Dexter, Mad Men and The Walking Dead and also Boardwalk Empire.  The Big C and Nurse Jackie receiving nods in Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy was sticky sweet icing on the cake.  These two comedies along with The Good Wife feature strong female leads that are allowed to be real flesh and blood women with major flaws. And Juliana Margulies should definitely win the Golden Globe, as she should have won the Emmy.  That’s no bashing Kyra Sedgwick on The Closer or the other nominees but Margulies is doing some of the best work, if not the best, of her career on this smartly written CBS hit, one of the few shows that my mom and I both enjoy.  And Laura Linney, without a doubt, should win Best Actress for The Big C…her performance literally hit the bullseye and delivered on material that could have been less powerful in the wrong hands. The Big C is my pick for best comedy, too.

While Mad Men was a bit uneven this season, it’s still so compelling and moving and that’s due in large part to Jon Hamm’s performance. Even though Don Draper is man who I wouldn’t want to date, I still can’t take my eyes off Hamm and that’s not just because of his looks (or that we both have roots in St. Louis and the University of Missouri) but because he’s a great actor who can also dance and sing. What’s not to like? And Thomas Jane should also win for HBO’s Hung, as he gives one of the best performances with blue-collar grit of a true Midwestern man who’s sexy yet  rough around the edges. 

Idris Elba should definitely win for his work on the BBC America’s Luther but I was a bit surprised that Timothy Olyphant was shut out as I love his work on Justified, which I am eagerly awaiting the drama’s second season on FX.  Love Chris Noth so if he wins for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture for The Good Wife I’ll sleep ok, but Scott Caan is one of the best parts of Hawaii Five-O so if he wins that’s fine.

Julia Stiles is excellent on Dexter and although no one could be as provocative as John Lithgow was last season Dexter’s foil, her character has added a new and welcome layer for the drama.

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Jonesing for Justified

Ok. It’s very simple. I love Justifed. From the minute I knew that Timothy Olyphant (Damages, Deadwood) was to play the Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylen Givens and that Graham Yost (Boomtown) was producing I was expectant and the pilot delivered.  The final line in the pilot from Raylen’s ex-wife, Winona ( “that you’re the angriest man I know” was one of the best ending lines of any pilot I’ve ever seen. . . and that incidentially would number in the hundreds. 

Even though I’ve been traveling and spending time with family, I was actually sitting on the couch on Tuesday to catch the first season finale.  And it too delivered, although I wanted more about Raylen and Winona…(Natalie Zea) but I take comfort in that the show will be back for a second season and I can wait with much anticipation I might add.  The showdown between Boyd (the amazing   Walton Goggins)  ..was necessary of course but it’s those characters and subplots that draw me in every time. Olyphant, Walton and the show, the showrunner, etc.  all deserve Emmy noms. 

I’m sure I’m not alone in finding Olyphant sexy as hell and his performance here equals that of  Deadwood. It helps that the material started with Elmore Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole,” but Yost and his other writer/producers have done a great job of keeping the tone alive, and keeping Raylen mysterious, yes angry, but vulnerable and complex…who like many of us can make a mess of things even when our hearts are seemingly in the right place.

Credit goes to FX programming execs, too, because they allow writers to develop characters who people don’t always have to like or understand but are compelling and struggle with the issues that wake many of us up in the middle of the night. When Raylen asks Winona, why him (her current husband) and not me…that resonates for anyone who longs for someone, or those of us who believes you truly may have one or two great loves of your life. What is it that brings people together and why do the same traits that attract us often repel us in the end, or become the downfall of a heated, passionate relationship?

Delving into Raylen’s tormented relationship with his dad is also first rate as anyone from a family with a heavy dose of dysfunction can relate to…you can love someone and not like them very much at all. The ties that bind can be freeing or constraining or both at the same time, but Raylen had to return to the source of his frustrations and frictions to deal with them, or at least I’m pretty sure that’s what Leonard and Yost had in mind.

While I’m ready for True Blood, Entourage and Hung to begin on HBO, and the  returns of The Closer on TNT…Justified has truly been one of my top viewing pleasures and I have watched episodes not once but twice on a regular basis.

Can Raylen sustain a relationship, can you ever really go home again, can you wrong rights and right wrongs or resolve the major barries between you and your parents? I don’t know…I struggle with some of those same issues…and wrote extensively about methamphetamine’s underbelly in rural communities, due to what’s going on in my small hometown in Missouri, in my original televison pilot, Manitou Pass. A side note, I was told it was too dark…but then Breaking Bad debuted years later…and Justified.

While the other cases Raylan works on the show have been interesting, nothing matches his time spent with Boyd, Winona, his father and Ava (Joelle Carter). Gripping, potent, it stirs up my blood and both Raylen’s anger and my hours spent watching the show are ultimately well within reason (especially for someone who is passionate about television) and justified!

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