Month: February 2016

What to Watch: 02/29/2016

It’s Leap Day, when anything can happen, yet it’s a pretty ordinary day on the TV schedule. However, there are great programs running from charming lawyers with a sense of shade to a faux news vanguard to the return of a superhero and his huge assortment of foil villains to the wonderfully quirky CW lineup of Virgins who may not be so virginal and Crazy Exes who definitely are pretty cray.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend [CW, 8p]
Rebecca and Josh travel to sunny Los Angeles (how many hours from the beach?) AND CONFRONT THEIR LONG-BURIED FEELINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please, god, let Paula watch the whole thing, she deserves this too!

JASON’S PICK:
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee [TBS, 10:30p]
Love Trevor Noah, and not particularly disappointed, but Sam Bee is truly starting to show she is the true heir to Jon Stewart’s brand of faux news, as she gins up the anger over things we, well, should be angry about. For example, when others were obsessed with Carson and Trump’s halted entrance to a debate, she found humor in the actual f’ed-up debate. It’s too bad she’s not daily.

NAVANI’S PICK:
Mon 2/29/16 TruInside [TruTV, 10p]
Documentary series profiling  comedy’s biggest names kicks off with interviews from the cast and crew from the cult classic Airplane.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

  • Two episodes in and Better Call Saul is still the glorious array of colorful sad sacks that you root for despite knowing where they end up. On AMC.
  • It’s the return of the darkness that is the often-brilliant, often breathtakingly silly Gotham on FOX.
  • Things heated up  last week and we’ve seen two straight loftily reviewed episodes of Jane the Virgin on the CW, so no reason the 35th Chapter can’t be more of the same.
  • Angie Tribeca and ferrets, what could possibly go wrong? It does…and it’s marvelous. Kerri Kinney-Silver guests.

Happy Leap Day: Any Other Year It’d Be March Already!

Hope you are wearing your blue and yellow for your chance to do the things you normally wouldn’t, because nothing that happens on Leap Day counts. Before 2012, this day would simply be a scientific necessity or loophole clause to light opera pirate contracts; however, everything changed with 30 Rock’s brilliant sixth season episode “Leap Day,” and a quadrennial holiday was borne, with an impressively deep set of traditions:

  • Wear blue and yellow or face the consequences
  • Leap Day William rises from the Mariana Trench to give candy to crying children
  • A day to do what you normally wouldn’t, because “real life is for March.”
  • The Jim Carrey-Andie McDowell classic (and totally existent) Leap Dave Williams plays on marathon on cable

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Weekend’s Best Reviewed: The Vampire Diaries

Never thought I’d be listing The CW’s little long-running bloodsucker soap at the top of this column, but there you have it. Up is down, black is white — and speaking of the Oscars, it was a light schedule due to the Academy Awards and its surrounding events. Chris Rock went on a brilliant rant about OscarsSoWhite, with sketches that were more hit than miss, John Oliver diatribed delightfully against Donald Drumpf, and the Alexandrians learned they were not alone in the post-apocalyptic universe.

Weekend’s Best: The Vampire Diaries (9.3/10)

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Characters from spin-off The Originals circled back around to their original show and as Carrie Raisler at AV Club puts it, as long as you ignore all the illogic and plot holes, it’s “a pretty darn satisfying episode.” TV Fanatic‘s Miranda Wicker concurs, loves the crossover, and raves “they need to happen a hell of a lot more often.”

The Rest of the Night:

Sleepy Hollow – 9.0

Girls – 8.2

Togetherness – 8.0

The Walking Dead – 7.9

Vinyl – 7.3

What to Watch: 02/28/2016

It’s the most wonderful niiiiight of the year. Unfortunately, some people were dreaming too much of a white Oscars, but it’s still a wonderland for movie fans. There’s even some other programming on, apparently. Some major show from across the pond decided to end its U.S. run this same day. There’s got to be a Dowager Countess line for this. Also, check out Katherine’s wonderful, thorough Oscar coverage here if you haven’t yet!

KATHERINE’S PICK:
The 88th Academy Awards [ABC, 8p]
Chris Rock hosts a particularly controversial year, which had better award Carol like, everything.

NAVANI’S PICK:
The 88th Academy Awards [ABC, 8p]
After all the controversy over #oscarsoswhite this year the question whether to skip the awards weighed heavy on me but it turns out my loyalty to Chris Rock trumps all.

JASON’S PICK:
The Walking Dead [AMC, 9p]
Yeah, yeah, I’ll be watching the Oscars, but in that time of filler and bizarre musical numbers in between Supporting Actor/Actress and the final flurry of awards, there’s time to switch over to see the first post-Richonne day, and find out exactly what Jesus the Escape Artist has to say to them.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

  • Vinyl on HBO has been polarizing, but many have loved it. Third episode airs tonight.
  • Later on It’s Not Television, we got angst and more angst with Girls and Togetherness.
  • And then there’s the end of the line for the Grantham Family, as they celebrate Christmas 1925 and for the love of [insert higher being here], let Edith catch a break! Downton Abbey on PBS tonight, of course.

Oscars Week: Best Picture

After a long night, a night of jokes, of tears, of tributes? from Dave Grohl, and an appearance from Sacha Baron Cohen, we arrive at the most important nominee of the night, Best Picture.

There are no more jokes, there is only the envelope.

And the nominees are:

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

So out of ten possible films they chose eight, and they couldn’t include Carol? Really? It’s hard to pick one winner from the nominees deserving to win. Controversially, I think it’s absurd that The Big Short and Bridge of Spies are nominated for anything, never mind Best Picture.

I think The Revenant was a gorgeous, harrowing film, but to paraphrase Ann Hornaday, I loved The Revenant until suddenly I didn’t. The more time elapsed between myself and the viewing the less I liked it. Liking, and loving, a film, do not make a film great. (I love Superbad, but it’s not a Best Picture.) When we finally reached the end, I felt like my journey had been pointless. Maybe I’m cut out to be a real voter, because I’m happy to award Iñárritu Best Director.

And so, I award… Brooklyn. The butt of jokes for its name and its limited viewership, Brooklyn is a quiet, stunning film about finding yourself. It is the story of America, of immigration. I felt that movie so deeply. If Carol can’t win, why can’t Brooklyn?

Ditto to Katherine’s sentiment and add on no Creed??? Or any movie featuring a person of color?? tsk tsk. – Navani Otero

Make sure to check out all of our Oscars Week picks!

 

 

What to Watch: 02/27/2016

It’s the night before the Oscars, and awards shows dominate our thoughts. Luckily, there are plenty of live performances to keep us distracted til then.

JASON’S PICK:
In Performance at the White House: Ray Charles [PBS, 8p]
Stars ranging from Demi Lovato to Sam & Dave’s Sam Moore fete the late great, with Barack Obama singing along on “What’d I Say.”

NAVANI’S PICK:
Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards [OWN, 10p]
Honoring outstanding black women behind and in front of the camera. This year’s honorees include Tracee Ellis-Ross, Debbie Allen and entertainment attorney Nina Shaw.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
American Masters [PBS, 9p]
Celebrate the life and career of Fats Domino, whose first R&B chart topper in 1950, “The Fat Man,” is also considered one of the first rock ‘n’ roll songs. A rock music pioneer, and fourth grade-drop out, Fats Domino has 59 R&B and 63 pop hits, include “Ain’t That A Shame” and “Blueberry Hill.”

Oscars Week: Best Actress

Which talented woman is destined to win tomorrow? Is it Jennifer Lawrence, the only nomination for David O. Russell’s Joy? Cate Blanchett, the Meryl Streep of her era?

And the nominees for Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role are:

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

What a difficult choice. Jennifer Lawrence was excellent in Joy, a film that was, I think, underrated. I think it would be wonderful is Brie Larson won, and Charlotte Rampling is a great actress (though if she lost, we’d enjoy a sliver of schadenfreude). Saoirse Ronan is Brooklyn. She is Eilis. But… Cate Blanchett should win.

The moment she appeared on screen I stopped breathing. I fell madly, incomprehensibly in love with Carol Aird. I knew it was Blanchett, but I was nevertheless ready to give up my life in 2015 Brooklyn for 1950s Manhattan. Carol was a beautiful, moving film. I desperately want it to win every award it’s been nominated for.

Make sure to check out all of our Oscars Week picks!

Oscars Week: Best Actor

The buzz–from everyone–is that this is finally Leo’s year. It’s almost unfair to the rest of the nominees, except they didn’t wear an enormous pelt and bite into bison liver, and Leo did.

And the nominees for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role are:

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

…So The Revenant is the only film of these five that I’ve seen. Yet, it’s the only film of Leonardo DiCaprio’s that I’ve liked. It’s the only film that I felt like he deserved a nomination, and possibly a win. To Leo’s Crowd, who demands an Oscar, this one time, I finally declare… I agree.

I totally agree with Katherine’s sentiment. I may be biased since The Revenant is also the only film of those nominated I actually saw, but boy did it leave an impact on me. Leo’s performance cannot be contested here when he exemplifies the spirit of human resilience both on and off screen in this role. The bear may be CGI but the freezing temperatures Leo endured were not, nor the majestic scenes all filmed in natural light. He faced many physical challenges during the filming of this role so if ever he earned an Oscar win now is the time. #giveleoanoscar  – Navani Otero

Make sure to check out all of our Oscars Week picks!