Archive for the ‘News’ Category

To My Fellow Outlander Fans!!!

Droughtlander has been upon us for a few months now – the season finale of season 5 of Outlander aired on Starz on May 10 – but there is more to look forward to while we wait (what will probably be a VERY long time) for season 6 to get underway. Check out the details below!

Thanks to the folks over at Deadline and TV Line for the following:

There may not be new Outlander episodes for a while, but there’s still fresh content coming your way: A four-part thematic conversation series will launch beginning this Sunday, Aug. 23, on the Outlander Collector Facebook in advance of the upcoming Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray release.

The planned installments include “Book Corner With Diana Gabaldon and Maril Davis” (on August 23), featuring a tease about the upcoming ninth book; “A Taste of Outlander” (on August 30), in which cast members Lauren Lyle (Marsali) and John Bell (Young Ian) learn to make a historically-inspired dish of fish and chips from Outlander Kitchen author Theresa Carle-Sanders; “The Music of Outlander” (on September 6), featuring composer Bear McCreary, singer Raya Yarbrough and a performance from Maria Doyle Kennedy (Aunt Jocasta); and “Catch Up With Caitriona and Sam” (on September 13), featuring stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan.

The Facebook series will also raise funds for international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders.

Check out the video announcement below:

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Rueben’s Ramblings is celebrating its 10th Anniversary!!

In honor of that I decided to highlight some of the big events that took place during each year of the past 10 years.

Today’s salute is focused on 2019:

A couple of the more memorable shows that debuted during that year included:

* A Discovery of Witches – Based on the book by Deborah Harkness, this series starred Matthew Goode as a centuries-old vampire and Theresa Palmer as a historian (and reluctant witch) who fall in love despite the long-held distrust between witches and vampires.

* Whiskey Cavalier – This action series was a breath of fresh air and just so damn fun to watch during the spring of 2019. The chemistry between leads Scott Foley and Lauren Cohen was pretty terrific too. The most upsetting thing was the network cancelled the show after only 13 episodes, disappointing all of its fans and especially the cast.

* His Dark Materials – This HBO drama may not have pulled in the ratings as expected or even hoped – given that it took over the Game of Thrones time slot – but it certainly was grand in scope, had Lin-Manuel Miranda recurring – and a giant talking polar bear. There was much more to the show than that, but those were the stand-outs for me.

* The Witcher – The draw for this Netflix fantasy series was, of course, Henry Cavill (Superman himself), but I found myself captivated by the action, the magic and even the grunts and growls from Geralt. Despite less than positive critic response, this series became one of the most in demand original series on streaming platforms.

* Pennyworth – This EPIX series gave viewers a much different look at Alfred Pennyworth, the long-time butler to the Wayne family from Batman legend. Viewers got to see a young man looking to find his own place in the world while becoming a target for a conspiratorial group wanting to take over the British government.

* Batwoman – The most recent installment of the DC Universe was introduced in the fall of 2019, bringing Kate Kane, cousin to Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) to live in a Gotham City where the Caped Crusader has been MIA for the past three years. Sure, at the end of the debut season viewers were very surprised that Ruby Rose (series lead) left the show, making it necessary for the series to be revamped for its sophomore season.

Some of the big events that took place throughout the year included:

Jane the Virgin came to an end in 2019 and Gina Rodriguez had an impressive 7-minute monologue where she talked about her situation between the unexpected return of her late husband Michael (who had been believed to be dead for YEARS) and her relationship with Rafael. And, during the series finale of the show it was FINALLY revealed that the narrator of the series was actually a grown-up Mateo, Jane and Rafael’s son.

NOTE: Sadly the video of Jane’s monologue is not available online, but the video of the Mateo reveal is available, and you can see that below:

The final season of Game of Thrones was raked over the coals by fans for being hot-and-cold, disappointing a lot of fans; but one of the best events to take place in the final season was watching 5′ 1″ tall Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) kill the Night King, ending all of the White Walkers.

You can see that scene below (go to 4:48 in the video to see the BIG moment):

A big milestone that took place in 2019 was the 20th Anniversary of the TV series Angel with a reunion of the cast members on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

Check out the cover photo for that issue:

[Photo Credit: Entertainment Weekly]

One of the final episodes of Supernatural (sure, the very last 7 episodes will air in 2021 because of the pandemic, but…) featured the return of John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). It was an emotional episode for the cast and the fans.

You can see the family picture below:

Five years after the box office movie was released, Veronica Mars FINALLY returned for a much anticipated fourth season, and the episodes were even released early as a way to not only appease the fans but also in celebration of lead star Kristin Bell’s birthday.

That being said, though, the fourth season brought about a major controversy [Spoiler Alert if you haven’t watched] that rocked the fandom to its core. Veronica and Logan got married BUT then Logan was killed – yes, killed – in the final episode shortly after they exchanged their vows.

Needless to say, fans were in an uproar over that unnecessary and unwelcome twist and what made it even worse was the fervor over how Kristin Bell and series creator Rob Thomas handled the fans ire over Logan’s death, and the resulting efforts to stop a season 5 from ever being made without Logan.

The top movie at the box office in 2019 was Avengers: Endgame. Meanwhile some of the worst movies for the year were Stuber, Cats and the Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway film Serenity. Two movies that SHOULD have done well but turned out to be flops were Dark Phoenix and Terminator: Dark Fate.

NOTE: Regardless of how poorly those two movies performed at the box office, our photographer Dom got some great shots of cast members at Wonder Con and San Diego Comic Con.

Check out Dom’s pictures at the links below:

Dark Phoenix at Wonder Con

Terminator: Dark Fate at San Diego Comic Con

Following in the tradition, I had started a number of years earlier, I selected a group of interesting people as part of my faces of the year and new faces to be on the look out for in the new year.

Some of the people I picked for 2019 included: Cynthia Erivo, Marsai Martin, Kaitlyn Dever, Simone Missick, Andrew Scott, Samara Weaving and Beanie Feldstein.

The Faces of 2019

The New Faces of 2020

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Rueben’s Ramblings is celebrating its 10th Anniversary!!

In honor of that I decided to highlight some of the big events that took place during each year of the past 10 years.

Today’s salute is focused on 2018:

A couple of the more memorable shows that debuted during that year included:

* Altered Carbon – This cyberpunk series was created by Laeta Kalogridis based on the 2002 novel of the same name by author Richard K. Morgan. In a world where consciousness can be transferred to different bodies, Takeshi Kovacs (Will Yun Lee and Joel Kinnaman), a former soldier turned investigator, must solve a murder. Hamilton alum Renée Elise Goldsberry was also one of the cast members.

* Good Omens – From the minds of Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett, based on their 1990 novel, the mini-series aired on Amazon Prime. The series followed demon Crowley (Doctor Who alum David Tennant) and the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), longtime friends who, having grown accustomed to life on Earth as representatives of Heaven and Hell, seek to prevent the coming of the Antichrist and with it Armageddon, the final battle between Heaven and Hell.

* Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Right on time for Halloween, the first half of the first season of this much-darker look at Sabrina (the teenage witch from the creator of Riverdale) debuted on Netflix, starring Mad Men alum Kiernan Shipka in the title role.

Two shows that came to an end that year included:

*12 Monkeys – The final 11 episodes of this post-apocalyptic, time-traveling series aired on Syfy during the summer of 2018, finally connecting the mysteries and bringing the war and the virus to an end (or at least it seemed that way); and in a twist, James and Cassie were reunited.

* Nashville – The show moved from ABC where it aired for 4 seasons to CMT for its final two seasons in which Rayna James (lead star Connie Britton) died due to injuries sustained in a car accident and the show ended with Deacon (lead star Charles Esten) performing on stage then the show broke the fourth wall with every previous cast member from the show joining him on stage to sing.

Some big events that took place throughout 2018 included:

[Photo Credit: Presidential Election Historical Center]

The Me Too and Time’s Up movements were top headlines for the year.

Jodie Whitaker became the 13th Doctor on Doctor Who, the first woman to play the character in the series. She made her official debut in the 2017 Christmas special, and then began her time as Doctor Who in the latter part of 2018.

Brandon Victor Dixon performed to rave reviews in the live televised event of Jesus Christ Superstar on NBC that aired on Easter Sunday (April 1).

You can see him in action in this clip from the live special:

We all mourned the loss in November of the one and only, the legendary Stan Lee.

Actress Nicole Maines debuted on Supergirl, playing the character Nia Nal. She soon became the first transgender superhero on TV.

[Photo Credit: Dominick Dusseault]

Among the great pictures from this year that were captured by our photographer Dom included the Felicity Reunion at the ATX Festival, Johnny Depp appearing in character and a Dr. Horrible Reunion both at San Diego Comic Con.

And, our very own Roz had the fantastic opportunity to get a photo with the one and only Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura from the original Star Trek) at Wonder Con.

Nichelle Nichols and Roz

The top movie at the box office in 2018 was Black Panther and it should also be mentioned that the overnight sensation was Crazy Rich Asians. It was also this year that Shazam! and Aquaman hit the screens. Meanwhile some of the worst movies for the year were Holmes & Watson, The Happytime Murders and Gotti.

Following in the tradition, I had started a number of years earlier, I selected a group of interesting people as part of my faces of the year and new faces to be on the look out for in the new year.

Some of the people I picked for 2018 included: Noah Centineo, Letita Wright, Kelly Marie Tran, Timothee Chalamet, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Tiffany Haddish, Indya Moore, Kiki Layne and Henry Golding.

The Faces of 2018

The New Faces of 2019

COMING SOON: Salute to 2019

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Rueben’s Ramblings is celebrating its 10th Anniversary!!

In honor of that I decided to highlight some of the big events that took place during each year of the past 10 years.

Today’s salute is focused on 2015:

Some memorable shows that debuted during that year included:

* Marvel’s Agent Carter – This Marvel’s series may have only been on ABC for two seasons, but it sure was great seeing Hayley Atwell bring Peggy Carter to life (even more so than in the Captain America movies) and it was a thrill to see Enver Gjokaj as Daniel Souza;

* 12 Monkeys – Based on the box office movie, this Syfy series captivated viewers with its albeit complex storylines, time travel escapades and lots of intense action. Starring Center Stage alum Amanda Schull and Nikita alum Aaron Stanford, they took on the mantels of Dr. Cassie Rally and James Cole aplomb, making this a must-watch show for those who love sci-fi programming;

Thom Allison as Pree

* Killjoys – Speaking of sci-fi programming, this unique series about a group of bounty hunters in a world that is on the brink of an interplanetary war, thrilled with its action, kick-ass fight scenes, a talking spaceship and the one and only Pree (Canadian actor Thom Allison);

* Good Witch – The Hallmark Channel had aired 7 movies from The Good Witch franchise, leading up to the debut of the weekly TV series that was made possible as star Catherine Bell was finally available; her long-running series Army Wives came to an end. This feel-good show reflects life in the charming town of Middleton and the lives of the Merriwick women;

* Daredevil – This small screen adaptation of the Marvel character took the story in an even darker direction with Charlie Cox taking over the lead role of Matt Murdock and Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin;

* Dark Matter – Yet another Syfy series that was set in the future – this time a dystopian 27th Century – where six people wake up on a deserted spaceship with no memory of who they are or why they’re on that ship. They each take a number as their name (based on the order in which they awoke), and set out to learn the truth;

* Poldark – While many were going through Droughtlander (the over-extended time between new seasons of Outlander), this PBS series (originally aired on BBC One) helped fill the gap. It also helped that Brit hunk Aidan Turner took on the lead role of Ross Poldark, a soldier returning home after the American Revolutionary War only to find his love engaged to his cousin and his father gone;

* Supergirl – The third DC series to air on the small screen actually debuted on CBS (Arrow and The Flash were on The CW), and performed fairly well in the ratings for its first season, introducing Glee alum Melissa Benoist in the lead role of Kara Danvers (aka Supergirl), but it was pulled from CBS and moved over to The CW for its second season; and,

* Blindspot – The debut season of this unique NBC series focused on a mysterious woman, quickly monikered Jane Doe, who was found inside a large bag dumped in the heart of Times Square; her entire body was covered in tattoos and she had no memory. Every tattoo led to a major crisis within the city and around the globe.

The one ‘new’ show that SHOULD have been a hit, but crashed and burned was Heroes: Reborn – As TV viewers will recall the first season of Heroes – which debuted in 2006 – was a ratings juggernaut quickly becoming a massive hit; and 11 years later the hope was this reboot (so to speak) would repeat the success. Unfortunately, that was not the case despite all efforts made.

Among the shows that came to an end in 2015 included:

Falling Skies – After 5 seasons, the TNT thriller about the survivors of an alien attack on Earth came to a close with the remnants of civilization finally defeating the Espheni Queen (and with her death so too the death of all her minions).

Here is the final scene from Falling Skies:

There were also a couple big events that took place on the small screen including:

* Fitz and Simmons finally shared a kiss (or two) on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – In the Marvel world, Fitz and Simmons were synonymously known as FitzSimmons; best friends and dedicated work partners, who after a lot of crazy experiences and even Simmons being trapped in a alternate reality to FINALLY share a kiss.

You can watch that scene here:

* Jon Snow died on Game of Thrones – It was rather unexpected (even for a show was volatile as this one), but to see the one and only Jon Snow stabbed to death by Alliser Thorne and several men of the Night’s Watch – after being labeled a traitor – was (at least for me) VERY hard to watch.

The site’s official photographer Dom attended that year’s ATX Festival in Austin, Texas where the much anticipated reunion of the cast of Gilmore Girls took place.

Check out his some of his pictures here.

It was also in 2015 that Rueben’s Ramblings celebrated its first big milestone: its 5th Anniversary!

And the Broadway stage, and quickly the world, was overtaken by a little production from Lin-Manuel Miranda called Hamilton.

The top movie of that year was Jurassic World while some of the worst movies included Hot Pursuit, Get Hard and Mortdecai.

As I had been doing for years at this point, I would select performers of all walks of life (within the industry) to be part of my faces of the year and faces of the new year.

Some of the people I picked for 2015 included: Taron Egerton, Constance Wu, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Melissa Benoist, Scott Eastwood, Priyanka Chopra, Alex Roe, John Boyega and the cast of the then upcoming TV series Shadowhunters.

The Faces of 2015

The New Faces of 2016

COMING SOON: Salute to 2016

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Thursday morning cast members Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan along with showrunner Matthew B. Roberts chatted with Antonia Blyth, Deputy Editor of Deadline’s Awards Magazine, after a virtual screening of the season finale of Outlander‘s current, 5th season [which aired on May 10].

If you watched that gripping season finale, you will know about the horrible assault perpetuated against Claire Fraser. The way the episode played out viewers was from Claire’s perspective both in real time – as to what was happening to her in – and in an disassociated state – where she escaped to a dreamscape where her family and, most importantly, her husband Jamie were there to protect her as much as possible until she could be rescued.

With that finale clearly in mind for the interview, Cait, Sam and Matthew were asked about how they prepared for that episode with Matthew sharing that they knew from the beginning of this season how they wanted it to come to an end so they sought out expertise from their consultants. Cait shared they knew they had to be careful with how they depicted the sexual abuse, and the trigger warnings at the beginning of the episode was also helpful in warning viewers.

As for the emotional scenes they had to depict, not just in the season finale, Cait and Sam stated that it was helpful to have a safe environment to work within, giving credit to everyone in front and behind the cameras. Cait further shared that as an actor you have to learn how to separate your own life from work; to be in character and deal with the dark places that you have to go, but to leave all of that at the door at the end of the day.

In breaking down the dreamscape of Claire’s disassociation, they all had to work together, they had to pick a very specific time period, the costumes, the music, the house, the color – all of that was key to making those scenes work as well as sharing a lot of discussions with Sam and Cait. Matthew said he was proud of how the episode turned out.

They were then asked about Jon Gary Steele, the production designer (the man behind all of the elaborate sets used on the show) since the first season – who announced he was leaving the series after five season. While his will be big shoes to fill, Cait, Sam and Matthew were asked if they had a favorite set created by Steele. For Sam it was the Great Hall at Castle Leoch in season one; Cait’s choice was Master Raymond’s apothecary. Matthew shared that there were so many to choose from but the Star Chamber in season 2 was a top choice for him, but he also liked the Boston apartment, Claire and Jamie’s home in France, even the Wilmington and Paris streets. He further stated that every drawer and cupboard was filled because you never knew what would be seen during filming. They all agreed that it was his attention to detail that really made the difference.

Cait was then asked about Claire’s medical background, and how she dealt with all of that. She stated that she did a lot of research into all of that – in fact, they all joked that she is practicing now. Then getting serious with her answer she shared that she watched a lot of YouTube videos – even falling into a rabbit hole when she researched the breech birth for season 1.

Sam was asked about getting into character for Jamie with all that happened in the current season – from him having to don the redcoat, losing Murtagh and not being able to protect Claire. He said Murtagh’s storyline, of course, was not in the books, but he raved about working with Duncan Lacroix, especially in those final scenes.

Both Sam and Cait agreed that they are protective of and bonded to their characters but they are not their characters; in fact, Cait joked that she doesn’t go around saying “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.”

They also talked about new costumer Trisha Biggar, who took over for Ronald D. Moore’s wife Terry Dresbach, who was the costume designer for the first 3 seasons of the show. Specifically asking if they had a favorite outfit from this season. Cait stated it was blue riding coat, the green suit that had a nautical feel to it and the red dress from the finale. For Sam it was the return of Jamie’s kilt, the long leather jacket from the finale and even the redcoat.

When asked about what they have learned from being on the show, Cait and Sam both joked “nothing and everything,” sharing they were both “green” when they started on the show. Cait said she learned a lot of “technical terms,” but they also learned how to trust themselves and allow themselves to be surprised.

Cait was later asked about working with Sophie Skelton (who plays her daughter Brianna), and she shared that she “loves when (she) and Sophie get to work together…and be supportive (of each other).” She further stated that there was such a gulf between Claire and Brianna in season two, that now in season five it’s so great that their relationship has shifted to the point that Brianna can be there for Claire.

Lastly, Sam and Cait were asked about what it was liked becoming producers for the 5th season, and they shared it’s been “fantastic to have (that) role, getting to have more input; learning a lot (about) putting the jigsaw puzzle (together). Sam stated that their influence (as producers) could be seen in the season finale. They both agreed that it’s been great to “take on more responsibility (to) grow and learn and be of benefit to the show.”

You can watch the full video interview here:

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Rueben’s Ramblings is celebrating its 10th Anniversary!!

In honor of that I decided to highlight some of the big events that took place during each year of the past 10 years.

Today’s salute is focused on 2014:

Some memorable shows that debuted during that year included:

* Chasing Life – This drama only aired for 2 seasons on ABC Family (now Freeform), starring Italia Ricci [who later starred in Designated Survivor and is married to Robbie Amell, current star of the Amazon Prime series Upload and star of last year’s movie Code 8, alongside his cousin Stephen Amell]. Ricci played April Carver, a talented young newspaper writer with big dreams whose life is turned upside down when she is diagnosed with leukemia. In what could easily have been a downer of a show was actually a touching series filled with love, family and friendship, and made all the better by Ricci’s moving performance;

* The Last Ship – On the opposite side of the scale was the TNT apocalyptic military drama that found McSteamy – Eric Dane from Grey’s Anatomy – at the helm of the U.S.S. Nathan James, a Navy missile destroyer, fighting to save the world after a catastrophic virus wiped out 80% of the world’s population (something that would be very scary to watch in 2020 given what is currently happening in the world);

* The Flash – It wasn’t easy to follow the success (at that time) of Arrow after two seasons, but The CW made the right decision by selecting Barry Allen and The Flash as the first spin-off from what would become a juggernaut franchise on the network. And, casting likable Grant Gustin in the lead role was even better;

* Jane the Virgin – Speaking of The CW, this U.S. version of the Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, was a breath of fresh air for the network that was known for its harder-hitting action-packed and/or thriller-laced dramas. It also helped that the charming and delightful Gina Rodriguez was cast in the lead role. She made the life of Jane Gloriana Villanueva very poignant and touching, and how many people just loved listening to the narrator during every episode!;

* The Librarians – Much like the made-for-TV movies from which it was based, Noah Wyle returned as Flynn Carsen, who oversaw a group of librarians (there were more than one now) tasked with saving mysterious and ancient artifacts.  It also helped that the show featured Christian Kane (from Angel and Leverage fame), veteran actor John Laroquette and bombshell model-turned actress Rebecca Romijn as well as Canadian actress Lindy Booth and Aussie John Harlan Kim

* Outlander – Based on the popular novel by Diana Gabaldon, this series was basically 23 years in the making. Other versions were attempted, but nothing ever happened until Ronald D. Moore (the man behind the remake of Battlestar Galactica) brought the much-beloved novels – about a time-traveling World War II nurse who ends up in the 18th Century living alongside, and eventually falling in love, with hero Highlander Jamie Fraser – to the small screen, turning Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe into household names nearly overnight; and,

* The 100 – Much of the first season of this post-apocalyptic drama from The CW was very much like all the network’s other shows – a story of teenage angst – but, thankfully, it improved greatly as the debut season took hold, finding the show become a mixture of Lord of the Flies and the remake of Battlestar Galactica. The series was loosely based on the Kass Morgan novel of the same name that eventually became a gripping story of survival of the fittest.

A favorite show of mine – Warehouse 13 – came to an end in 2014. After 5 seasons on Syfy, the show about a massive, top-secret storage warehouse that held every strange artifact, mysterious relic, out-of-this-world object or supernatural souvenir ever found by the U.S. government – what was snagged, bagged and tagged by the warehouse “staff,” ended with a flashback-filled finale, showing the most important moments in each of the agents’ professional lives (scenes, in fact, we had never seen before) as well as an elaborate dance-spectacular for Claudia.

Among some of the big events that took place on TV in that year included the following:

Oliver finally kissed Felicity on Arrow – It took three seasons for Oliver to finally take the step, and while it wasn’t a happy ending – Felicity says, “I told you as soon as we talked it would be over,” and for awhile it was, but we finally got that kiss!:

Here is the video:

It was revealed that Grant Ward was actually working for HYDRA on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – At the end of the first season it was revealed that Agent Ward, who was seen as the embodiment of the loyal American SHIELD agent was actually working for the organization enemy HYDRA. It was a big turning point for the show and the characters.

Richard Castle and Kate Beckett finally got married in 6th episode of season 7 of Castle – It took a long time for Caskett to become a legitimate couple, and an even more complicated way for them to get hitched – especially given the failed big wedding that was to take place – but they made it down the aisle in a very private ceremony, but they finally become husband and wife.

Supernatural aired its 200th episode titled “Fan Fiction” in 2014, which found the brothers investigating a haunting at a theatre where a musical about their lives was staged by an all-girl production. This episode was a love letter and thank you to the long-time fans, for sure.

Check out the video of the girls singing what became the unofficial theme song of the show “Carry On Wayward Son”:

It was in this year that the long-running PaleyFest, the annual two-week event honoring TV hosted by the Paley Center for Media, was moved to its largest location yet: the Dolby Theatre right in the heart of Hollywood.

For me, 2014 was an important year as I added to my staff: my good friend Dominick Dusseault joined as my official staff photographer; and that summer I attended the world premiere of the debut episode of Outlander at the San Diego Comic Con, getting to see the cast and creative minds in person as well as being enraptured by the pilot episode, and my getting a rare picture taken with a bunch of kilt-wearing hunks.

See the picture below, which is very atypical for me given my haphephobia (phobia over being touched):

The #1 movie in the world for 2014 was Guardians of the Galaxy while Veronica Mars – the box office movie – came out on March 14 (if only we knew what was set to happen next, right, fellow Marshmellows?!) while some of the worst movies that year included Transcendence, Tammy and A Million Ways to Die in the West.

Even a Firefly fan film was released that year; you can check out the video (fair warning it’s a little over 14 minutes long), below for “The Verse”:

It became a tradition for every year, when putting together my year-end round-ups, that I would select interesting people who were the faces of that year and those faces that people should be on the look-out for in the coming year.

Some of the people I picked for 2014 included: Caitriona Balfe, Margot Robbie, Ansel Elgort, Manish Dayal, Gina Rodriguez, Robin Lord Taylor, Ryan Guzman, Grant Gustin, Matt Ryan and Gal Gadot.

The Faces of 2014

The New Faces of 2015

COMING SOON: Salute to 2015

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Rueben’s Ramblings is celebrating its 10th Anniversary!!

In honor of that I decided to highlight some of the big events that took place during each year of the past 10 years.

Today’s salute is focused on 2013:

Some memorable shows that debuted during that year included:

* The Americans – This FX drama hit the small screen in May, starring former Felicity star Keri Russell and Brothers & Sisters alum Matthew Rhys as an average American couple with kids who were anything but. They were actually embedded Russian agents at the height of the Cold War. The show was heralded by critics for its writing, characters and acting, but it didn’t win any Emmys until its last season on the air while receiving two Peabody Awards, which is a rarity.

* Orphan Black – This innovative series debuted on BBC America in March, and featured talented actress Tatiana Maslany not only in the lead role of Sarah Manning, but during the show’s five season run, she appeared in at least 13 different versions of herself: same face, but different name, different upbringing, different life. It was a ground-breaking show that will never be replicated.

* Sleepy Hollow – The FOX drama debuted in September with the most outlandish tagline: Ichabod Crane is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers. The show shouldn’t have worked (and after season one, it really didn’t), but its debut season made the most implausible story work, and had people looking forward to hearing Ichabod call Abbie Mills – leftenant.

* Orange Is the New Black – The comedy-drama debuted in the summer of 2013, becoming the most watched series on Netflix and won three Emmy Awards for its first season. The show was widely acclaimed by critics and fans alike and was praised for “humanizing prisoners and for its depiction of race, sexuality and gender and body types.

Some of the shows that came to an end in 2013 were:

* Nikita – The CW remake came to an end in December of that year after four seasons on the air; and the leads, Nikita and Michael, even got to have a happy ending: they ended up married (they eloped), spending their life together on an island, but going on one last mission as you can see in this video clip:

You can also read my salute to the show.

* Burn Notice – After 7 seasons on the USA Network, this action drama came to an end in September with one very big series finale. Mama Bear Maddie sacrificed herself to save Michael; Michael and Fiona’s deaths were faked with Jesse and Sam seemingly prepared to take on the mantel held by Michael and his team previously while Michael and Fi were in a cabin safe and sound with Michael’s nephew.

* The Glades – This was the little cop show on A&E that should have been renewed, especially given it was in its fourth season and the final episode was to include the much anticipated wedding of leads Jim and Callie; but instead of getting to the church on time, Jim was shot by an unknown assailant, bleeding out in his home with no one the wiser as the finale came to an end. This was the worst kind of cliffhanger to leave for fans, but made all the more worse because the network cancelled the show AFTER this finale aired.

Among the top TV moments that year included the following:

Tony and Ziva finally kiss on NCIS. It only took 8 seasons of will they/won’t they and did they/didn’t they on the long-running CBS crime series for all that bottled up chemistry to finally lead to a kiss.

You can watch that scene below:

Richard Castle proposed to Kate Beckett on Castle. It may have taken five years for it to happen, but for fans of the show and of the TV couple, it was a moment long worth waiting for.

Here is the video of both the proposal that aired in the season finale in May of that year followed by Kate’s (albeit awkward) answer in the season premiere that fall:

Also in 2013, Castle celebrated its 100th episode – a big milestone for any show; and the same thing happened for the USA Network series Psych.

Another milestone in TV history, Doctor Who celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Make sure to check out the video below of when 11 meet 10:

Before the massacre happened

Another big moment on TV was the Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones otherwise known as “The Rains of Castamere.” For those countless viewers who (like me) were unaware of this story from the book, watching this massacre play out was literally and figuratively gut-wrenching, especially given the relentless amount of death depicted all throughout this show’s run.

Also for the fans of the long-running thriller Supernatural, it was so much fun to see fan favorite Felicia Day show up as Charlie Bradbury, who would play an important role in the lives of the brothers Winchester.

A big announcement was made on March 13 by Veronica Mars series creator Rob Thomas. A Kickstarter campaign took place with the goal of raising 2 million dollars to create a box office film that would continue the cult classic/fan favorite TV series. The devoted fans rallied together that culminated in 5.7 million dollars to make the film a reality.

In movie news, the #1 box office film was Iron Man 3, but it was the animated movie Frozen that took the world by storm. One movie that might not have been a box office hit – it only earned 5.3 million – but Joss Whedon (the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and the director of Marvel’s The Avengers) released a modern-day take of William Shakespeare’s classic tale of Much Ado About Nothing. Two of the worst movies, however, were Grown Ups and R.I.P.D.

Just as in years past, I selected an interesting group of people who were the faces of that year and those faces that people should be on the look-out for in the coming year.

Among those I selected in 2013 included: Aaron Tveit, Luke Mitchell, Emily Bett Rickards, Tom Mison, Lupita Nyong’o, Sam Heughan, Lily James and Alicia Vikander.

The Faces of 2013

The New Faces of 2014

COMING SOON: Salute to 2014

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Rueben’s Ramblings is celebrating its 10th Anniversary!!

In honor of that I decided to highlight some of the big events that took place during each year of the past 10 years.

Today’s salute is focused on 2012:

Some memorable shows that debuted during that year included:

* Smash – The NBC musical drama focused on all the people involved in bringing a Broadway play, based on the life of iconic actress Marilyn Monroe, to life, including the rivalry for the lead role between a beautiful novice and a stage veteran, the tenacious producer, the songwriting duo, the director and all the other players. Among the cast was Debra Messing, theatre veteran Christian Borle, Broadway star Megan Hilty, American Idol alum Katharine McPhee, box office veteran Anjelica Huston, Pirates of the Caribbean actor Jack Davenport and future Hamilton star Leslie Odom, Jr. [among countless others];

* Scandal – The Shonda Rhimes drama that made Kerry Washington a household name started out focusing on Olivia Pope, a former White House Communications Director who starts her own crisis management firm only to realize her clients are not the only ones with secrets. The show became a juggernaut, and its storylines were crazier each year than the previous;

* Longmire – Based on the popular book series by Craig Johnson, the A&E series centered on Walt Longmire (Australian actor Robert Taylor), a sheriff in fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming. The show became the highest rated original drama series on the network, later moving to Netflix for its final three seasons. The show featured Battlestar Galactica alum Katee Sackhoff and Lou Diamond Phillips [among others];

* Arrow – The show that started it all for The CW. The founding father (if you will) of the Arrowverse that led to the following shows all airing on the network: The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, Batwoman and, most recently, Stargirl. Canadian actor Stephen Amell landed the coveted lead role of Oliver Queen (aka Green Arrow) that would make him a household name all over the world in a show that would also introduce viewers to Emily Bett Rickards, who quickly became a fan favorite;

* Nashville – The ABC drama – or more to the point night-time soap opera – followed the lives and tragedies of rising and fading country music stars that featured Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, first as rivals and later as friends, that had viewers flocking to iTunes (and other online music outlets) to download the new shows that were featured nearly every week; and,

* The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – The online streaming series was a modern-day retelling of the characters in the classic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice told in “vlog-style” by Lizzie Bennet (Ashley Clements), who narrated the trials and tribulations of her family life with the help of her best friend (and aspiring filmmaker) Charlotte. The regular cast of characters were there including Mr. Darcy and his best friend Bing Lee and Lizzie’s sisters Jane and Lydia.

I should also make note that one of my favorite shows that year that seemed to be lacking in viewers was The CW remake of Nikita that starred Maggie Q in the title role and Shane West as Michael. The show consistently created unique and interesting stories for our lead character and plenty of kiss-ass moments. It definitely filled the Alias-sized hole in my heart.

On the opposite side of things the following shows came to an end during 2012:

* Eureka – The endearing Syfy series came to an end in July of that year, and here is the article that I wrote about the series five year run.

* Chuck – The fan favorite NBC series about an unlikely nerd turned spy that became a cult classic and was saved by fans (with a big assist from Subway), came to an end in January of 2012; and just like Eureka, I had to pay tribute to the show here.

* Leverage – The show came to an end on Christmas Day of that year, mainly due to low ratings, but not because fans didn’t love the show. In fact a couple weeks later, Leverage won the Favorite Cable TV Drama at the 39th Annual People’s Choice Awards.

Among some of the big TV moments that took place during 2012 included:

* The introduction of Kevin Tran (the adorable Osric Chau) as a prophet in Supernatural, who became a fan favorite character in the long-running thriller;

* The Vampire Diaries was in its 3rd season and was still a big hit during 2012; and the heat between human Elena and vampire Damon was pretty intense, culminating in Elena finally kissing Damon. Let the following video show you:

* Amy and Rory dying in the October episode of Doctor Who entitled “The Angels Take Manhattan,” where the couple sacrificed themselves to the Weeping Angels only to wake up in a graveyard in New York. Just as they thought they had won, a surviving weeping angel displaced Rory and a crying Amy said goodbye to her and Rory’s grown daughter Melody (aka River Song) and her raggedy man – the Doctor. You can see that final scene below:

Speaking of Doctor Who, the long-running series won the 3rd Fan Favorite cover of TV Guide Magazine in 2012. Check out the cover below:

In the summer of 2012, the first ever ATX Television Festival was held in Austin, Texas, celebrating and showcasing the past, present and future of the TV industry with screenings, Q&As, cast reunions and industry panel discussions that was described by its organizers as having “the functionality of a traditional film festival, and a blending of industry and fan events.”

On a more personal note, it was on Leap Day of 2012 that the world learned that singer-actor Davy Jones, a member of the 1960’s band The Monkees, had passed away. I had been (and continue to be) a fan of The Monkees – and especially Davy – since I was 8 years old when their TV show was reaired on Saturday mornings, along with my favorite cartoons, and I was hooked because of how fun and silly the show was; and I really enjoyed the music.

Later that year, the remaining members of the group – the late Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith – went on tour for the first time in over 15 years as a tribute to Davy. I went to one of those shows with two dear friends of mine, who were big fans of the group just like me.

[Left to right: Peter, Davy and MIcky]

As for the top box office movie, that honor went to Marvel’s The Avengers while the sleeper hit of 2012 was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Whereas, two of the worst movies of the year were John Carter and That’s My Boy.

I began making it a tradition in my year-end round-ups to highlight the faces of the year as well as faces to be on the look-out for in the year to come.

The following are just some of the faces that I picked for 2012 and 2013: Chadwick Boseman, Tatiana Maslany, Theo James, Alden Ehrenreich, Stephen Amell, Jenna-Louse Coleman and Sutton Foster.

The pictures didn’t come through on that year’s posts, like the previous two years (sorry!), so I apologize for that, but I’m pretty pleased with some of my selections:

The Faces of 2012

Faces to Watch in 2013

COMING SOON: Salute to 2013

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A couple days ago, Rueben’s Ramblings celebrated its 10th Anniversary, and it’s my plan to highlight just some of the big events that took place during each year of the past 10 years.

Today’s salute is focused on 2011:

Some memorable shows that debuted in 2011 included:

* Revenge – The complex ABC drama debuted in the fall, starring Emily Van Camp (formerly of Everwood) as Emily Thorne (nee Amanda Clarke), a troubled young woman who descended upon the Hamptons to exact revenge against the people who wronged her father. Die-hard Roswell (the original show) fans were SO excited to see Nick Wechsler back on their small screens and Gabriel Mann as the one and only Nolan Ross;

* Teen Wolf – Unlike the comedy box office film of the same name that starred Back to the Future and Family Ties favorite Michael J. Fox, this MTV small screen thriller was not what viewers were expecting, but it certainly packed a bunch. Starring relative unknowns in every role (except the adults), this series made stars out of its lead cast Tyler Posey, Tyler Hoechlin (Clark Kent in Supergirl) and especially Dylan O’Brien;

* Once Upon a Time – In a time when people did not expect to be taken with fairytales, this ABC series took everyone by surprise, making the lives of Snow White, Prince Charming, Rumplestiltskin, The Evil Queen and so many other classic fairytales come to live; and the costumes were quite something to behold as well. Fans of the first season will also remember Jamie Dornan (who went on to become Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades franchise) as the Sheriff (aka The Huntsman);

* Grimm – NBC wasn’t going to let ABC have all the “fun” with fairytales, as they also introduced the world to the world of make-believe by introducing the world to Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoil, who has gone on to star in ABC’s A Million Little Things), a homicide detective who could see the true faces of fairytale creatures, who were hiding in plain sight;

* Downton Abbey – The international hit was just getting its start on the small screen in January of 2011 with an incredible ensemble of characters (and actors), portraying the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 20th century;

* Game of Thrones – Also not to be undone was the HBO adaptation of the George R.R. Martin book series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ that brought the world Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Jason Momoa, Sophia Turner, Richard Madden, Maisie Williams, Gwendoline Christie, Nathalie Emmanuel and countless others; and,

* Suits – In the summer of 2011, the USA Network debuted this legal drama about brilliant college dropout Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) who found himself working alongside one of the best New York City lawyers, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht). What viewers didn’t know at the time was that one of the cast members – a certain actress named Meghan Markle – would later go on to become the Duchess of Sussex by marrying Prince Harry himself.

(Photo Credit: Rueben)

The fuzzy picture was taken by me at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills in 2013 when the cast of Suits appeared for a moderated panel. I remember Meghan joking during the panel that it was surreal for her, as she used to work at Paper Source, a high-end paper and greeting card store right in the heart of Beverly Hills, which was located only a couple blocks from the Paley Center.

(Photo Credit: Dominick Dusseault)

The other picture was taken by our very own Dominick Dusseault in Austin, Texas in 2015 at that year’s ATX Festival.

Before the world was introduced to Gal Gadot as Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman, David E. Kelley, the prolific writer/creator behind TV shows such as The Practice, Boston Public and Boston Law [just to name a few], decided to take on the impossible: a new small screen version of Wonder Woman.

Taking on the insurmountable task (at the time) of playing the title character was Adrianne Palicki, who at the time was best known for her role of Tyra Collette in Friday Night Lights and also as Sam’s doomed girlfriend Jessica in Supernatural.

Here is a trailer for that much-maligned failed pilot (and check out who was to be in the cast too!):

That same year, another big production was just getting underway: the casting of Clark Kent aka Superman for the 2013 movie Man of Steel. The actor cast in the lead role was Henry Cavill, who at the time was best known for his recurring role in the TV series The Tudors and was the lead in that year’s movie Immortals. Eagle eye viewers would also recognize him as Albert Mondego, the teen son of Edmond Dantes and his lover Mercedès Iguanada in the 2002 remake of The Count of Monte Cristo. It was only a few months later that the casting of Lois Lane was made with Amy Adams landing that plum role.

In casting news for the small screen on The Vampire Diaries, the role of Klaus – the legendary vampire within that world who put fear into the dead hearts of all vampires – was also announced. British actor Joseph Morgan landed that crucial role, and while he was relatively unknown to American viewers – except those who might have watched the supernatural series Hex or had seen him in the British TV film Mansfield Park.

Actor Nathan Fillion had been a Geek God to sci-fi fans since he landed the lead role of Malcolm Reynolds aka Captain Tightpants in the short-lived but much-beloved series Firefly that aired during the 2002-2003 TV season. In 2011, he had been the lead in the ABC TV drama Castle for two seasons; and it was in March of that year that [finally] Nathan graced the cover of Entertainment Weekly as the Geek God we all knew and loved.

For convention goers – or more specifically those who attended San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) – the inaugural event of Nerd HQ – the organization masterminded by Chuck star Zachary Levi – took place alongside SDCC that year. That year’s event was small in comparison to its proceeding events, which eventually came to an end (unfortunately) in 2017.

(Photo Credit: Rueben)

On a more personal level, I had some of my first convention interview experiences in 2011, starting with an almost one-on-one interview (it was only me and one other reporter at our press table) with actress Anna Silk who played Bo in the Canadian series Lost Girl at San Diego Comic Con.

(Photo Credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

And a few months earlier, I had the incredible experience of sitting at the same press table at Wonder Con with actor Henry Cavill (who had just recently been announced as the new Superman) and his Immortals co-stars Luke Evans (who has since been Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and the TV series The Alienist, among others) and Isabel Lucas (the Home and Away star who recurred for one season in the MacGyver reboot).

Here is my article from that interview: Venture Into the World of Immortals

In movie news for 2011, the #1 box office movie was Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, which marked the end of that long-running and popular movie franchise. In fact, I wrote an article about The End of Harry Potter.

On the other spectrum, two of the worst movies for that year were Jack & Jill and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.

Just like in 2010, I chose actors who stood out in 2011 as well as actors to be on the look out for in 2012. Among those choices were Michael Fassbender, Sam Claflin, Hayley Atwell, Henry Cavill, Dylan O’Brien, Elizabeth Olson, Felicity Jones, Wilson Bethel, Lily Collins, Nicholas Hoult and Brit Marling.

Once again, I apologize for their pictures not appearing in the following links, but just like the previous year, I feel I was “spot on” in my choices:

The Faces of 2011

Faces to Watch in 2012

COMING SOON: Salute to 2012

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Back on June 10, 2010, I posted my very first article at Rueben’s Ramblings, welcoming readers from NiceGirlsTV where – at the time – I had been writing a weekly column for the previous year.

My goal with Rueben’s Ramblings was (and continues to be) my way of providing entertainment news, covering television, movies, music and books to those readers who love these mediums as much as I do.

Given that my site will celebrate 10 years TODAY, I wanted to salute just some of the top things that took place, or to be more specific, the TV and film events and people that I spotlighted throughout each year.

I’ll start with 2010 today, and then roll out the salutes for the remaining years as often as possible over the course of the next couple weeks.

I hope you will check out each year’s salute, and share what were the stand-out moments and/or events for you for each year.

2010 Highlights:

Some memorable shows that debuted in 2010 included:

* The Walking Dead, that starred relatively unknown British actor Andrew Lincoln, who most US viewers only knew from the 2003 movie Love Actually (that is if you actually saw that movie), in the zombie-laced apocalyptic AMC series;

* Haven, the Syfy fantasy-thriller loosely based on the Stephen King novel ‘The Colorado Kid’;

* Lost Girl, the Canadian supernatural series [which didn’t technically premiere in the U.S. until 2012], broke ground on Showcase (the Canadian specialty channel);

NOTE: I found a way to watch Lost Girl online each week shortly after it aired in Canada; but it wasn’t always easy to track it down.

* Sherlock – The very first 3-part mini-series debuted on PBS that summer, introducing a then unknown Benedict Cumberbatch as the master detective himself and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit franchise, Black Panther and Love Actually) as Dr. John Watson; and,

* Life Unexpected, the drama about a reunited family (in short: a very independent teen brings her birth parents together) debuted on The CW, in January; and while it only lasted for two seasons, the show garnered a very loyal following (that still exists today), and made life-long friendships for the cast and creative mind behind the series, which included Shiri Appleby (Roswell and UnReal), Kristoffer Polaha (Ringer, Condor and the Mystery 101 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries movie franchise), Britt Robertson (the box office film The Longest Ride and the TV shows Under the Dome and GirlBoss), Austin Basis (Ghostfacers and the reboot of Beauty and the Beast), Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl, TURN: Washington’s Spies, Orphan Black and Project Blue Book) and Kerr Smith (Dawson’s Creek, The Fosters and Riverdale) as well as Executive Producer/Creator Liz Tigelaar (Nashville and Little Fires Everywhere).

Here is the opening credits for Life Unexpected:

Additionally, there were two shows that were in their second seasons in 2010 that meant a lot to me personally, including:

* Being Erica – This Canadian import aired on the defunct SOAPnet, focusing on Erica Strange (the delightful Erin Karpluk), who thanks to her “magical” therapist helped her go back in time to repair regrets from her past [eagle eye viewers will recognize Orphan Black lead Tatiana Maslany in a few episodes of this show as well); and,

* Drop Dead Diva – This Lifetime dramedy delved into the world of plus-sized lawyer Jane Bingum (the charming and musically-adept Brooke Elliott) whose body was inhabited by the soul of vapid aspiring fashion model Deb Dobkins (a then unknown Brooke D’Orsay) that was really taught a lesson about not judging a book by its cover (and if you’re a fan of Superstore, you’ll recognize Ben Feldman as Jane’s guardian angel).

Another big moment on TV was the episode of Doctor Who entitled “Vincent and the Doctor,” which featured talented actor Tony Curran [who folks should remember from his work in movies like Outlaw King and Underworld: Evolution and TV shows like Defiance, SEAL Team and Ray Donovan among countless others] as the one and only Vincent Van Gogh. Watching Tony’s face in the guise of tormented artist Vincent as he listened to modern day art historian Dr. Black (the unforgettable veteran actor Bill Nighy from Love Actually) expound on what a gift Van Gogh’s work was on the world was beyond moving.

Judge that moment for yourselves:

Also in 2010, for the first time in 57 years, TV Guide let the fans decide what show would grace the cover of the long-running magazine. After 5 1/2 million votes, who was the winner? None other than the little horror show that could: Supernatural.

It should be noted that the competitors were Bones, Castle, Chuck, How I Met Your Mother, Smallville and Supernatural. The voting lasted for two weeks with the final votes coming down to the wire with only about 20,000 votes separating #1 and #2. It should also be noted that, at the time, Supernatural was in its 6th season in 2010.

Here is a video of then Editor in Chief Debra Birnbaum making the big reveal on CBS’s The Early Show:

In the movie world, the #1 box office film for 2010 (in terms of most money earned) was Toy Story 3. It was the year that movie goers got to see the first real rom-com in ages in the form of Letters to Juliet and actress Emma Stone had her first big lead role in a film in Easy A. On the other end of the spectrum, two of the worst movies for 2010 were The Last Airbender and Grown Ups.

It was then at the end of the year that I pointed out some of the new faces of 2010 and faces to look for in 2011, as I believed they were going places.

Those actors included Maggie Q, Isaiah Mustafa, Jennifer Lawrence, the aforementioned Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruth Wilson, Jessica Chastain, Rami Malek, Jason Momoa and Sarah Shahi. I’d like to think that I was right about these choices, which I made in December of 2010!

You can see the posts below, and I apologize that the pictures I used in the original posts no longer work, but the predictions (for those mentioned above as well as a few others) were still “spot on”:

New Faces of 2010

Faces to Watch in 2011

COMING SOON: Salute to 2011

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