Archive for December, 2020

Message: Happy New Year

[Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images]

Happy New Year 2021!!

With midnight only a few moments away, I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday celebrations SAFELY and that will have a great time today and throughout the first week of the New Year.

Please make sure to be cautious, following health mandates of social distancing, washing your hands, not gathering with others outside of your home and wearing your mask when you do leave home.

Enjoy the holiday safely!

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[Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images]

2020 may be behind us, but the pandemic that drove us all inside and has separated us from those we care about the most is still very much alive. 2021, unfortunately, could very well be much the same; but as I have said before, we have to look for the small things that make us happy, that put a smile on our faces and that lighten the heavy load for which we are dealing.

Despite all the bad that has happened this year, I hope that each of you have found some good things to keep you entertained, keep your mind off the world’s problems (even for a short time) and has allowed you to carry on in the face of all the odds stacked against us.

Here is to hoping that things will get back to whatever new “normal” awaits us; here is to hoping that 2021 can start to improve upon the year that was 2020; and here is to as prosperous a New Year as possible.

Thank you to everyone who has visited my site this year. I hope you’ll come back next year!

Happy New Year!

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Trying to figure out what to watch tonight? Be it new episodes of the TV season, reairs of cable series or a movie, here are some suggestions:

NOTE: There will be a marathon of episodes of Doctor Who on BBC America today. Check your local listings for airtimes and episode titles.  The final 8 episodes of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will premiere on Netflix today while a sneak peek of the new fantasy series The Watch will debut on AMC+ and the British drama Cleaning Up will debut on Sundance Now today.

5:30 PM:
National Treasure movie on Freeform
Back to the Future, Part II movie on Lifetime

5:40 PM:
Ferdinand (animated) movie on FXM

6 PM:
Christmas She Wrote movie on Hallmark Channel (Encore)
A Christmas for the Books movie on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (Reair)

7 PM:
Pennyworth on EPIX (Encore)
Die Hard movie on HBO 2
1917 movie on Showtime

7:30 PM:
Black Panther movie on TNT

7:50 PM:
Ferdinand (animated) movie on FXM

8 PM:
Pennyworth on EPIX (Encore)
Love, Lights, Hanukkah movie on Hallmark Channel (Encore)
Unlocking Christmas movie on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (Encore)
Ford v Ferrari movie on HBO
Mean Girls movie on Lifetime

8:30 PM:
National Treasure: Book of Secrets movie on Freeform

9 PM:
Pennyworth on EPIX (Encore)
Sixteen Candles movie on CMT

10 PM:
Pennyworth on EPIX (Encore)
The Angel Tree movie on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (Encore)
Picture a Perfect Christmas movie on Hallmark Channel (Reair)

10:03 PM:
Miss Congeniality movie on Lifetime

10:10 PM:
Patriot Games movie on TMC

10:30 PM:
Rampage movie on TNT


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Last night’s primetime line-up was filled with lots of repeats and some year-end specials along with the finale of one Tuesday night drama.

Here is how that lone Tuesday night drama fared in the overall ratings last week:

9 PM Show:
Tell Me a Story (The CW) [NEW – Finale] – 293,000 viewers

What did you watch on TV last night. Please share.

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The BBC original 2-hour film Elizabeth Is Missing will debut on PBS on January 3 at 9 PM.

Legendary actress Glenda Jackson (A Touch of Class) plays a woman in the grip of dementia, searching for her missing friend.

Here is a trailer for Elizabeth Is Missing:

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Much like the Faces of 2020, there are always entertainers of note to be on the look-out for in the new year or those who made great waves throughout the current year who will, undoubtedly, be big stars in the new year.

The new faces of 2021 appear below in no particular order:

NOTE: Please keep in mind the following actors will be the faces of 2022 as well since so much production planned for 2020, movie releases that were to be made in 2020, etc. were put on hold and postponed until 2021 or 2022.

Morfydd Clark – Morfydd appeared in the box office films Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, the horror film Crawl and two episodes of the Benedict Cumberbatch-led drama Patrick Melrose. Last year she appeared in four episodes of His Dark Materials as Sister Clara; and she was part of the cast of Dracula, which aired on Netflix in January. Her next role as Galadriel in the upcoming small screen adaptation of The Lord of the Rings that is anticipated to air next year on Prime Video is what will get her a great deal of attention.

Lashana Lynch – Lashana is a British actress who appeared in the much maligned and short-lived drama Still Star-Crossed and British crime drama Bulletproof before landing the role of Maria Rambeau in the box office movie Captain Marvel. Her next role as Nomi in the long-awaited 007 film No Time to Die, which is anticipated to be released in April 2021, is what will catch the eye of viewers.

Rachel Zegler – The New Jersey raised singer and songwriter was selected out of 30,000 auditions to play the lead role of Maria in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of the classic film West Side Story, starring alongside Ansel Elgort as Tony. Also her video singing “Shallow” from A Star is Born got 11 million views on Twitter in 2020.

Melissa Barrera – The talented Mexico-born actress appeared in a number of telenovelas over the course of 6 years before landing one of the lead roles in the critically acclaimed drama Vida, which aired for 3 seasons on Starz. During the pandemic she also appeared in a live Zoom reading of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, playing the lead role of Elizabeth Bennet. But it will be her upcoming film roles, set for next year, that will cement her fame. She will appear in the box office adaptation of the Broadway hit In the Heights, set for this summer; Scream 5, the new installment of the horror franchise that is anticipated for release in early 2022 as well as the lead role in a modern-day reimagining of one of the world’s most celebrated operas: Carmen.

Brittany O’Grady – The talented multi-hypenate actress, singer and dancer has been performing professionally since she was 4. She appeared in the short-lived series The Messengers before being cast in the acclaimed drama Star, which aired on FOX for 3 seasons. She then took on the lead role of Bess in Apple TV’s half-hour drama Little Voice, which was co-created by Waitress composer and award winning singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. Her next project is the satirical HBO limited series The White Lotus, set at an exclusive tropical resort, that will include among its cast Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Lacy and Steve Zahn.

Dominique Fishback – The talented New York City actress has appeared in episodes of The Knick, The Affair, The Americans, Blue Bloods and Royal Pains before landed a recurring role in The Deuce. Two years ago she appeared in the box office movie The Hate U Give and this year she appeared alongside Jamiee Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the Netflix film Project Power. She will be seen in next year’s Judas and the Black Messiah that will star Get Out and Black Panther actor Daniel Kaluuya.

Michael Cimino – The relative newcomer appeared in the horror film Annabelle Comes Home before taking on the lead role of Victor Salazar in the Hulu drama Love, Victor, which was inspired by and set in the same world as the 2018 film Love, Simon. Love, Victor was renewed for a second season; and Michael has three other projects in the works: the drama Centurion XII; the sci-fi podcast Black Box and the drama Heartlight.

Shira Haas – The twentysomething Israeli actress wowed audiences with her performance in the Netflix mini-series Unorthodox for which she not only completed piano and singing lessons but also studied Yiddish [which was primarily spoken in the series] as well as being required to shave her head as part of the storyline. She’s not a newcomer to film work, though, as she appeared in A Tale of Love and Darkness, Natalie Portman’s directorial debut, and starred alongside Jessica Chastain in The Zookeeper’s Wife. Her latest project is the Israeli film Asia, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Paul Mescal – The Irish actor turned heads in his starring role in the Hulu series Normal People, based on the 2018 novel of the same name; and he will be seen in the box office movie The Lost Daughter, which is to star Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson and Peter Sarsgaard. He will also star alongside Melissa Barrera (she is listed above) in the reimaging of Carmen, replacing Jamie Dornan.

Robin Thede – The talent, multi-hypenate writer, comedian and actress has a long resume of acting and writing, but it was her turn in the HBO sketch comedy series A Black Lady Sketch Show – which was created, run, written and acted almost exclusively by black women – that has turned heads. She also appeared in the horror comedy Bad Hair and the latest season of HBO’s Insecure. Robin is currently writing the feature Fashionably Black and has signed a development deal with Warner Bros. She was also the creator, EP, showrunner, writer and star of the BET late-night talk show The Rundown with Robin Thede.

Geraldine Viswanathan – The Australian actress was referred to as the breakout star of the 2018 box office film Blockers; and then she went on to appear in HBO’s Bad Education and the TBS comedy anthology Miracle Workers. But it was her turn in the rom-com movie The Broken Hearts Gallery (which included singer Selena Gomez as one of its executive producers) that has turned heads. She will next be in the animated film Rumble, providing her voice to the character of Winnie.

Tilda Cobham-Hervey – Tilda has been acting since 2013, appearing in the box office movies Hotel Mumbai and Burn; but it was her recent turn as the late, great Helen Reddy in the box office movie I Am Woman (which can be seen on Netflix) that garnered her attention. She will next be seen in the Australian film Lone Wolf opposite Hugo Weaving and the Australian 6-part black comedy Alantown that is slated to star Jacqueline McKenzie and Guy Pearce.

Are there any actors or actresses who you think are the faces to watch in 2021? Please share.

TOMORROW: Closing Out 2020

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Trying to figure out what to watch tonight? Be it new episodes of the TV season, reairs of cable series or a movie, here are some suggestions:

NOTE: There will be a marathon of episodes of Doctor Who on BBC America today. Check your local listings for airtimes and episode titles.  The final 10 episodes of Vikings will air on Amazon Prime today.

5:30 PM:
Deadpool movie on FX
The Accountant movie on TNT

6 PM:
The Christmas Club movie on Hallmark Channel (Reair)
Christmas on My Mind movie on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (Reair)
The Day After Tomorrow movie on Syfy

7 PM:
His Dark Materials on HBO (Encore)
Shrek (animated) movie on Freeform
Divergent movie on POP

8 PM:
His Dark Materials on HBO (Encore)
Five Star Christmas movie on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (Encore)
A Gift to Remember movie on Hallmark Channel (Reair)
Deadpool 2 movie on FX
Dances With Wolves movie on ThisTV

8:30 PM:
San Andreas movie on Syfy

9 PM:
9-1-1 on FOX (Reair)
Burlesque movie on E!
Rio 2 (animated) movie on Freeform

10 PM:
Christmas Comes Twice movie on Hallmark Channel (Encore)
Project Christmas Wish movie on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (Encore)
Insurgent movie on POP
Legally Blonde movie on Showtime 2

10:30 PM:
X-Men: Apocalypse movie on FX


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It was a full night of programming on the major networks last night with football, repeats and a holiday special taking over most of the primetime line-up and there was only one Monday night drama airing a new episode.

Here is how that lone Monday night drama fared in the overall ratings last week:

9 PM Show:
L.A.’s Finest (FOX) [NEW] – 1.5 million viewers

What did you watch on TV last night. Please share.

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On January 2, the Hallmark Channel movie Taking a Shot at Love will debut at 9 PM.

Former professional ballet dancer Jenna (Alexa PenaVega) works with NHL star Ryan Cooper (Luke Macfarlane) to help him recover from an injury using ballet as therapy, and as they grow close, he helps her mend her injured heart. But when it’s time for Ryan to return to the ice and leave Jenna and her small, Connecticut town, they both must consider the paths they want to take and just maybe, love will find its way.

Here is a trailer for Taking a Shot at Love:

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The following list highlights the actors and actresses on TV and on the big screen who really caught viewers’ attention throughout the year. There are also some outstanding people who garnered attention during the pandemic who deserve a nod as well.

They appear in no particular order:

1. Ana de Armas – The Cuban-Spanish actress starred in the 2006 romantic drama Una rosa de Francia and then starred in the Madrid teen drama El Internado for 6 seasons. She then appeared in the US films Knock Knock, War Dogs and Blade Runner 2049; but it was her turn in the mystery film Knives Out that turned heads. At some point, she will be seen in Deep Water alongside Ben Affleck (to whom she is now romantically linked) as well as the latest 007 film No Time to Die and the Netflix bio-pic Blonde, based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates.

2. Izabela Rose – The young newcomer, who loves acting and singing, landed the lead role in the Disney movie Upside-Down Magic, based on the Scholastic book series about 8 kids in a world of people with magic. She was also personally selected by Steven Spielberg for her role of Olivia in the reimagining of the classic anthology series Amazing Stories on Apple TV+.

3. Alex Newell – Alex was first runner-up in the reality show The Glee Project back in 2011; and then he joined the cast of Glee over the next few seasons. He later toured with Adam Lambert and performed at numerous festivals, making his Broadway debut in 2017 in the revival of Once on This Island. It has been his role as Mo, the genderfluid next-door neighbor on the NBC drama Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, which will return for its second season on January 5, 2021, that has endeared him to viewers.

4. Hunter Schafer – In her first role EVER, Hunter starred in the HBO teen drama Euphoria, playing Rue, a 17-year-old trans-girl recovering from a drug addiction who befriends Jules Vaughn (lead actress and Emmy winner Zendaya). But, Hunter has been turning heads as one of the most popular models in the fashion industry; and made headlines as the plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit against the bathroom bill in North Carolina.

5. Joshua Caleb Johnson – This young actor appeared in a couple of episodes of Black-ish playing the boyfriend of Diane (series regular Marsai Martin), and in a few episodes of Animal Kingdom; but it’s been his role of Henry Shackleford – aka Onion – in the Showtime period piece The Good Lord Bird, starring alongside Ethan Hawke.

6. Sarah Cooper – The talented author and comedian got noticed this year thanks to her TikTok videos – that went viral everywhere – mocking Donald Trump’s stupidity-laced comments, which culminated in her October Netflix special Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine. She is currently producing a comedy show for CBS based on her book “How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings.”

7. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan – The Canadian newcomer starred this summer in the Netflix drama Never Have I Ever, from creator Mindy Kaling, playing lead character Devi Vishwakumar, an Indian American high school student dealing with the death of her father. The show has been renewed for a much-anticipated second season.

8. Michaela Coel – The talented multi-hyphenate screenwriter, producer, director, singer and actress really made it big this year in the provocative HBO/BBC drama I May Destroy You, but it was her work in Chewing Gum – based on her graduation project from theatre school – that won her a BAFTA Award for Best Female Comedy Performance. Viewers will also recognize her from the thriller Black Earth Rising.

The next group of faces are people who made the most of the pandemic, creating entertaining videos that went viral, or making a difference to help other people:

9. The Holderness Family – Penn and Kim Holderness – as well as their kids Lola and Penn Charles – live in Raleigh, North Carolina, formerly New York residents, whose parody videos became “the thing” to watch on social media. They have been doing this for quite some time prior to the pandemic, but their videos became extremely popular during the lockdown, and have continued to entertain all year.

You can visit their YouTube channel here.

Parents Penn and Kim also have a separate podcast here, and they are also authors of the book “Everybody Fights: So Why Not Be Good at It.”

10. TwinsthenewTrend – This duo is comprised of 21 year old twin brothers Tim and Fred Williams, who live in Gary, Indiana. Their YouTube channel – where they listen to songs for the first time – garnered worldwide attention in 2020 especially when they listened to “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. That video of them listening to this song for the first time got 6 million views in three weeks. Some of the reviews of their channel has attracted the attention of the original singers.

You can see their reactions to songs at their YouTube page here.

11. Orion Jean – In September, the 9-year-old won the 2020 National Kindness Speech contest and was featured on Good Morning America. He won $500 in that contest, and he paid it forward by using that money to donate toys to Children’s Health in Dallas. That, of course, inspired others to get involved with the North Texas 5th grader starting the “Race to Kindness” campaign, which you can find at Race to Kindness.

You can see his well-spoken and smile-filled GMA interview below:

12. Anika Chebrolu – This 14-year-old Texan won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her discovery that could provide therapy to COVID-19. In Anika’s own words, she “developed a potential antiviral for covid-19 infection. I found the molecule from a database of millions of compounds that can bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and change its shape. And by changing the shape of the spike protein by attaching the molecule to it, it can stop the virus from infecting human cells, and basically stop the infectivity of the virus in human cells. [Source]

Who are some of the faces from this year who caught your attention either on television, in music or in film? Please share.

TOMORROW: Faces of 2021

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