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Archive for the ‘Pictures’ Category

When the 2019-2020 TV season came back from the holidays in January, the coronavirus wasn’t really on the radar here in the United States. It was a blip on the radar, a news item that barely got any attention. Unlike the man in the White House, we weren’t aware of the seriousness of the virus until the middle of March, as lockdowns began in earnest all across the country along with massive shutdowns of every single production on the planet.

It’s been a bleak year to say the least, but fortunately there have been some rays of hope throughout the year with new shows, returning favorites, some new movies and a slew of series finales.

The following are my top highlights for 2020 (in no particular order):

Highest Rated New Drama – FBI: Most Wanted (CBS)

Out of the dozen (or so) new dramas that debuted this TV season (2019-2020), the spin-off series FBI: Most Wanted ranked the highest with an average of 7.1 million viewers weekly.

Best Actress in a Drama – Yvonne Strahovki in Stateless (Netflix)

This gripping 6-part series, loosely based on the true story of Cornelia Rau, found Chuck and The Handmaid’s Tale alum Yvonne Strahovski starring as Sofie Werner, a flight attendant with an undiagnosed mental illness who joined, and escaped from, a cult-like group only to end up in a horrible Australian detention camp. This was a gritty role that left Strahovski almost unrecognizable for much of its run, and showed the depths of her acting skill beyond being just a pretty face.

Best Actor in a Drama [TIE] – Paul Mescal (Normal People on Hulu) and Jeremy Strong (Succession on HBO)

While I have not watched either drama, Paul Mescal has easily become one of the most talked about new actors on TV, who will be segwaying into films (make sure to check out my Faces of 2020 section, which will be posted in a few days for more details on him) while Jeremy Strong won an Emmy this year for Best Actor in a Drama.

Favorite New Drama – Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC)

The series debuted on January 7, running 12 episodes through May 3, becoming one of the few stand-outs during the first lockdown. The finale was extremely moving especially with Zoey imagining dancing one last time with her father, whose health had been rapidly declining since the pilot episode. This was the one feel-good show (despite the passing of Zoey’s dad) of the year.

Here is the musical number, as Zoey says goodbye to her dad (make sure you have tissues nearby):

How Could You! (The Most Disappointing Cancellations) – Project Blue Book (History Channel) and the Party of Five reboot (Freeform)

The plug was pulled on Project Blue Book by the History Channel in May after only two seasons, leaving the fans with a pretty dramatic cliffhanger that will, sadly, never get resolved. As for the Party of Five reboot, the series suffered from very low ratings, but rave reviews for its timeliness in its main storyline while still honoring the original.

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye (Shows That Came to An End This Year):

* Arrow (The CW) – finale on February 28 after 8 seasons
* The 100 (The CW) – finale on May 20 after 7 seasons
* Blindspot (NBC) – finale on July 23 after 5 seasons

NOTE: As it neared its end, Blindspot tricked us into thinking that Patterson had died; and then gave us that crazy ending of everyone together for a holiday dinner, or was it all a dream as Jane was killed at Times Square? The debate still lingers on the meaning of that ending.

* The Magicians (Syfy) – finale on April 1 after 5 seasons
* Supernatural (The CW) – finale on November 19 after 15 seasons [how many tissues did you go through watching the last half of that emotional finale?!]
* Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) – two-part finale on August 12 after 7 seasons

Most Moving Loss (Saddest Death in a Series) – Enoch on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Chronicom Enoch (beloved actor Joel Stoffer) first appeared in an episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIElD back in May of 2017, but only in silhouette. It was in December of that year that he became a regular recurring part of the long-running series set in the Marvel TV world. He quickly became a fan favorite, who developed a close connection to human genius engineer and scientist Leo Fitz. A few weeks before the show came to its final conclusion, Enoch sacrificed his “life,” giving up his Electrochron Displacement Mechanism [aka his heart] to save the Zephyr and all his friends on board the SHIELD ship. Enoch may have lived for thousand of years, but his time with the current SHIELD team really made him “feel,” and his loss made all of the fans/viewers feel too.

Here is the video of Enoch’s final scene and goodbye:

You Have Failed the Streaming World – Quibi, the streaming service for cell phones

This short-form streaming platform with content to be viewing on our cell phones was founded in August 2018 by Jeffrey Katzenberg, the film producer and media proprietor and led by CEO Meg Whitman. It officially launched on April 6, but came to a crashing halt on October 21 when it was shut down.

Prettiest Newcomer – Adriyan Rae

The Delaware native graduated with degrees in physician assistant studies and medical laboratory science, but segwayed into acting, starring in the lead role in the short-lived 2019 Syfy series Vagrant Queen, which was, sadly, cancelled after only one season. She now plays paramedic Gianna Mackey, a new addition for this year, in the franchise drama Chicago Fire.

Hunky Newcomer [TIE] – Lucas Bravo (from Emily in Paris on Netflix) and Charlie Gillespie (from Julie and the Phantoms on Netflix)

The Netflix series Emily in Paris, which debuted on October 2, may focus on lead character Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), but it’s been newcomer Lucas Bravo [who plays Emily’s hunky next-door neighbor Gabriel] who has been turning heads.

Here is a video of Emily meeting her neighbor Gabriel for the first time (please excuse the synchronizing problem between the subtitles and the audio):

Also thanks to Netflix, the younger generation has been captivated by newcomer Charlie Gillespie, who plays guitarist-singer Luke in the Kenny Ortega-run musical series Julie and the Phantoms, which debuted on the streaming service on September 10. You can judge him for yourself by watching this scene from the series (Charlie, as Luke, is the last of the 3 “phantoms” that appear on the stage with the lead character Julie):

Julie and the Phantoms (Final Concert Scene):

Left: Jeremy Shada and Right: Drew Fuller

Left: Owen Joyner and Right: Logan Shroyer

NOTE: Eagle eye viewers of Julie and the Phantoms will (hopefully, like me) see a resemblance (eye color and freckles aside) between Reggie [actor Jeremy Shada] and actor Drew Fuller from the OG (Old Guard) Charmed. Drew played Chris Halliwell, son of Piper Halliwell and her whitelighter husband Leo. And that’s not all: Owen Joyner, who plays Alex in Julie and the Phantoms bears a striking resemblance to Logan Shroyer, who plays teenage Kevin in This Is Us. Compare the featured pictures to judge for yourself:

Most Anticipated New Show – Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (CBS All Access soon to be Paramount Plus)

The trio of Anson Mount (Captain Pike), Ethan Peck (as a young Spock) and Rebecca Romijn (as Number One) turned heads on the CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery, and that quickly led to another spin-off series of the popular franchise Star Trek: Strange New Worlds [SNW]. Due to the pandemic, however, there is no release date for SNW (reportedly filming hasn’t even begun), but the show will eventually air on CBS All Access, which in early 2021 will become known as Paramount Plus.

It Was Done So Well – Virtual episode of All Rise on May 4 (CBS)

The final episode entitled “Dancing at Los Angeles” aired on May 4, about a month and a half into the beginning of the first lockdown caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic, and was one of the first looks at how a TV show would have to handle quarantining, et al. The episode was well done in terms of storyline and filming structure, but also performed fairly well in the ratings, earning 5.1 million viewers.

Most Hated Villain – Stormfront on The Boys (Amazon)

Actress Aya Cash was introduced in season two of The Boys, easily becoming the most reviled villain not only on the show – where superheroes are anything but super or heroes – but also the most reviled villain all year. She was a horrible human being with superhuman powers, whose not-so-veiled racism just made the viewers hate her more.

You Are So Adorable – Baby Yoda (aka Grogu) on The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Season 1 of The Mandalorian may have aired from November 12 to December 27 of 2019 with the second season of the series getting underway on October 30, but it has been Baby Yoda that has really captured the hearts of Star Wars fans all over the globe. The little one may only communicate in baby sounds and a few magical waves of its little hands, but those were more than enough.

This Was Unexpected But Actually Pretty Great (Most Unexpected Couple That We Loved) – Daisy and Sousa on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)

The out-of-his-time Agent Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) and genius-level hacker Inhuman Daisy Johnson started working together in the final season of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD; and while they pretended to be a couple in an early episode of season 7, it was slow burn for their becoming a REAL couple that captured fans’ hearts [especially given the heartbreaking relationship record for Daisy, finding out Ward was a turncoat and then losing Lincoln who sacrificed himself for the team, it was really sweet to see her end up with such a great, stand-up kind of man).

Best Sidekick – Ashley Park (Mindy Chen in Emily in Paris on Netflix)

The new Darren Star dramedy debuted on Netflix on October 2 and featured Ashley in the co-starring role of Mindy Chen, the daughter of an extremely wealthy Chinese businessman, who works as a nanny for a wealthy family in Paris. It was later revealed [SPOILER ALERT!] that she competed in an American Idol-like series where she shocked while singing a song live on TV before an audience of millions. The Tony nominated actress is a powerhouse singer, who has appeared on Broadway in Mamma Mia, has appeared in The King and I and Mean Girls (based on the box office movie).

NOTE: Unfortunately, a video of Ashley singing as Mindy keeps getting pulled from YouTube so it cannot be provided here.

Can’t Wait to See the Reboot – Leverage (IMDbTV)

It is not clear when this reboot of the popular series will premiere on IMDbTV, but it is clear that cast members Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Gina Bellman are back for all of the episodes with occasional appearances by cast member Aldis Hodge and newcomer Aleyse Shannon as well as Noah Wyle, who is taking over for the disgraced Tim Hutton.

It Was a Rollercoaster Ride – Outlander Season 5 (Starz)

[SPOILER ALERT!!] The fifth season of the series started with the wedding of Brianna and Roger (series regular Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin), and later found the couple, and the people of Fraser’s Ridge, battling locust as well as current villain Stephen Bonnet. The season also included Roger nearly being hung to death and Jamie losing his beloved godfather Murtagh. The season ended with the kidnapping and horrific rape of Claire (series lead Caitriona Balfe) at the hands of Lionel Brown (and his minions) and being saved by Jamie (series lead Sam Heughan) and the men of the Ridge.

What the Hell Happened? (The Most Unexpected Season Finale) – Yellowstone (Paramount Network)

Viewers of the modern-day western series that stars film legend Kevin Costner know all too well to expect the unexpected when it comes to the Dutton family. This current season finale was a doozy with [SPOILER ALERT!] the explosion at Beth’s office; the shoot-out at Casey’s office and the not-so drive-by shooting aimed at patriarch John while he was on the side of the road helping a lady and her little son with a flat tire.

This Show Is Crazy and Its Diehard Fans Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way (Most Overrated Show/Most Dedicated Fans) – Wynonna Earp (Syfy)

Wynonna Earp returned for its much anticipated and almost didn’t happen season 4 premiere on Syfy on July 26. The show faced some major uphill financial battles last year, and its fanbase’s relentless efforts to keep the show alive were notable, especially their renting a series of billboards in Times Square, which helped the 4th season become a reality then the Coronavirus Pandemic happened. The first 6 episodes aired over the summer, and the remainder will air, hopefully, at some point in 2021 when it’s safe for the cast and crew to reconvene. Kudos to the fans for their never-ending support and to everyone involved on the show for creating such an apeshit crazy show that never disappoints.

[Source: Vanity Fair]

Oh, Man That Was Disgusting! – The whale episode of The Boys (Amazon)

The Boys, consisting of Butcher, Huglie, Mother’s Milk, Frenchie, Kimko (and her brother Kenji) were [SPOILER ALERT!] racing away in a speedboat trying to get away from not only the law but also the superhero The Deep, who was holding on tight to a 50-foot long whale as he gave chase to the wanted team. The whale beached itself so The Deep could attempt to stop the Boys, but that backfired when Butcher laid on the gas and rammed the speedboat [and all of them] right into the side of the whale, causing a bloody mess on the shore. Obviously, most of the scene was CGI, using a fake whale, but it was bloody disgusting.

Here is that scene (Viewer Discretion Advised):

A Welcome Transfer – Cobra Kai going from YouTube to Netflix

The first two seasons of The Karate Kid continuation – in the form of small screen series Cobra Kai – aired on YouTube, but Netflix realized how overlooked this series was being available only at YouTube so they acquired the series, making it available to a much bigger audience in August. The first two seasons did so well on the streaming service that a third season will get started on Netflix on January 8, 2021.

Add These to Your Streaming List (If You Haven’t Watched Them Already) – Virgin River and Sweet Magnolias (both on Netflix)

If you are looking for some great rom-coms that aren’t really just rom-coms (and believe me these shows are SO much more than just rom-coms), you should check out Virgin River and Sweet Magnolias; both are available on Netflix. They are great chicks shows with layers and complicated relationships. In fact, the second season of Virgin River got underway on November 27 with the second season of Sweet Magnolias planned, but probably won’t be available until either 2021 or 2022. Then

It Was a Treat Watching – Enola Holmes (Netflix)

This was a box office film that ended up on the streaming service, starring Stranger Things alum Millie Bobby Brown in the title role and Superman himself Henry Cavill. The movie routinely broke the 4th wall when Enola (Brown) would address the audience throughout the movie, which was actually pretty darn entertaining.

Do Not Miss This Show (Streaming Series You Need to Watch) – The Wilds (Amazon)

The new streaming series The Wilds debuted on Amazon on December 11 and is about a group of teenage girls whose plane crashes, leaving them stranded on a deserted island. This show has been heralded as a combination of Lord of the Flies and Lost; and that is true to form (I got a chance to watch all 10 episodes before Thanksgiving and can vouch for the angst and survival aspect). Much of the cast are newcomers (but talented newcomers each and everyone) as well as Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters) and Sophia Ali (Grey’s Anatomy).

Best Documentaries – I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (HBO) and Seduced: Inside the Nxivm Cult (Starz)

The 6-part documentary, based on the extensive research conducted by the late true crime author Michelle McNamara (Patton Oswalt’s late wife), which was an exploration of the case of the Golden State Killer who terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s, committing 50 sexual assaults and 10 murders, was a much-buzzed about event over the summer.

That was followed closely by the 4-part documentary Seduced: Inside the Nxivm Cult, which aired this fall on Starz, focusing on 29-year old India Oxenberg, the daughter of actress Catherine Oxenburg, who – at the age of 20 – got involved in NXIVM, an “American multi-level marketing company” that was later exposed as a sex cult where she spent 7 years, finally being able to escape; and helping – along with other victims – to bring down the “ringleader” (or more to the point cult leader) Keith Raniere.

Oh ,What a Night!! – Saturday, November 7, 2020

It was 4 days after Election Night when the major networks announced that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris became President-Elect and Vice President-Elect respectively. Now let’s hope that our country can get back on track after four tumultuous years under the “rule” of a narcissistic, draft dodging, uncaring baboon who doesn’t give a damn about anyone else but himself. Most important of all is getting a handle on the virus and getting the vaccines out to as many people as possible as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Movies That Made Waves (in a Good Way) – The Old Guard (Netflix), Black Is King (Disney+); To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (Netflix) and Mulan on September 4 (Disney+)

With all of us spending a lot more time at home, it only made sense that a lot of us were watching WAY more TV than ever before, and especially a lot of movies on the plethora of streaming services.

Some of the top movies that people were raving about included To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, which debuted on Netflix on February 12; The Old Guard which hit Netflix on July 10; Black Is King, which landed on Disney+ on July 31 and Mulan which became available on Disney+ on September 4.

Stand-Out Character in an Ensemble Cast – Klaus in The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)

It’s not always that easy to stand-out when part of an ensemble cast in any production (TV or otherwise), but when you are part of the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, based on the popular comic book series, it’s doubly hard because all of the characters are complex and, yes, a bit twisted. Klaus Hargreeves (as portrayed by talented Irish actor Robert Sheehan) has been a stand-out since the show debuted back in February of 2019, but it was his turn in season two as a time-traveling channeler of the dead turned unintended cult leader with a heart of gold (but a mind drenched in drug use) that really turned the season on its head and charmed viewers.

The John Barrowman Award (Best Scene-Stealer) – Alex Newell as Mo on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC)

Alex is an extremely talented singer and made a big impression from the very first scene in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, playing Zoey’s next door neighbor, pseudo friend and confidante. With powerhouse vocals, heartfelt vulnerability and a gorgeous smile, Mo wormed their way into our hearts, and we all cannot wait to see what comes next in season two.

Here is just one of Alex’s performances from Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist:

It’s Not Inconceivable (Reunion of the Year) – The Princess Bride virtual reunion, reading the script (all thanks to the Wisconsin Democrats)

Back on October 9, 1987, a little movie called The Princess Bride, adapted from the 1973 book of the same name by William Goldman, was released in the theatres. While the movie received critical acclaim, it was a moderate hit at the box office; but over the years it has become a timeless classic, evoking countless pop culture references [such as “Inconceivable!,” “Have fun stormin’ the castle!” and “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”]

So, when it was announced that the remaining cast (and a few additional players like Whoppi Goldberg and Josh Gad) would be gathering on a Zoom-like “call” – thanks to the Wisconsin Democrats – to read the script on September 13, well, to say the least none of the worldwide fans was shouting “inconceivable,” more like they were saying, “Sign me up!”

It was a fantastic virtual production, albeit with some glitches here and there, with great performances by the main cast – and even including some original props [thank you Mandy Patinkin for having Inigo’s sword]. It was a night to remember for everyone who tuned in and thanks to everyone who made that virtual event possible.

What have been the stand-out moments on the small screen (networks or streaming) for you? Who was your favorite actor for the year? What series, special or TV event disappointed you the most? Please share your thoughts on TV from this year below.

TOMORROW: Music

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Today is the final day of panels for Comic Con @Home, which will include panels for the Freeform fantasy series Motherland: Fort Salem, the upcoming FOX drama nExt and the final season of The CW’s post-apocalyptic series The 100 as well as a panels focusing on Who’s the Best Doctor Who, the Psychology of Pop Culture and Christmas and A Conversation with (the one and only) Nathan Fillion [among many other panels].

You can see the full, daily schedule below:

Sunday, July 26 Comic Con @Home

The first panels start at 10 AM and the final panels start at 4 PM.

For many years now, Supernatural has been a part of the Sunday line-up in Hall H, and it only feels right to include pictures – taken by our own Dominick Dusseault – from last year, which was the show’s final appearance at Comic Con since it is coming to an end after 15 seasons on The CW.

Supernatural:

It also seemed like the right time to include pictures – also from Dominick Dusseault – from last year’s panels for The Witcher and Game of Thrones:

The Witcher:

Game of Thrones:

Here’s to next year’s event (that will hopefully be held in person).

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Today is the third full day of panels for Comic Con @Home, which will feature panels for TV shows For All Mankind, the new Peacock series Brave New World, Netflix’s The Order, the new HBO thriller Lovecraft Country, ABC’s Stumptown, the fan favorite Wynonna Earp, the AMC thriller NOS4A2 and a salute to the popular sci-fi series Farscape as well as a reunion/salute to the original box office movie Constantine – that is expected to include Keanu Reeves, who is also expected to show up for the panel focusing on the new Bill & Ted movie and An Evening with Kevin Smith [among many other panels].

You can see the full, daily schedule below:

Saturday, July 25 Comic Con @Home

The first panels start at 10 AM and the final panels start at 6 PM.

Since there are a few panels dedicated to the world of Marvel – included a scientific salute to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – it felt only right to take a look back, courtesy of photos taken by our very own Dominick Dusseault, – to the plethora of Marvel cast members who appeared at a huge Marvel event last year:

Black Widow:

Blade:

Mahershala Ali

Doctor Strange:

Benedict Cumberbatch

The Eternals:

Falcon and Winter Soldier:

Hawkeye:

Jeremy Renner

Loki:

Tom Hiddleston

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:

Simu Liu

Thor: Love and Thunder:

WandaVision:

What If:

Jeffrey Wright

And, since this year’s event features a panel dedicated to Kevin Smith, it only seemed fitting to include pictures – courtesy of Dominick Dusseault – from last year’s panel that featured Kevin along with a few of his co-stars from the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot movie:

More coming soon…

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Today is the second full day of panels for Comic Con @Home, which will feature panels for TV shows such as Vikings, Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead, the new spin-off series The Walking Dead: World Beyond, the new drama The Capture from Peacock, The CW’s Pandora and the upcoming Quibi thriller Don’t Look Deeper as well as the annual Brave Warriors panel sponsored by Entertainment Weekly, the annual Fan Favorites panel hosted by TV Guide Magazine, a salute to the work of actress Charlize Theron and A Zoom with Joss Whedon [among lots of other panels].

You can see the full, daily schedule below:

Friday, July 24 Comic Con @Home

The first panels start at 10 AM and the final panels start at 6 PM with the 32nd Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards getting underway at 7 PM, which rounds out the night.

Since there are three panels dedicated to the world of The Walking Dead included among the panels for this events at-home event, let’s take a visit back to last year’s Comic Con – courtesy of photos taken by our very own Dominick Dusseault – when actors from Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead appeared at the 2019 event:

Fear the Walking Dead:

The Walking Dead:

Last year also found some of the cast of The CW sci-fi series Pandora taking to the stage, and this year’s event will find some of the panel participating in a video panel. Let’s take a look at some of the pictures that Dominick Dusseault took from last year’s Pandora in-person panel:

And, as a way to honor both of this year’s TV Guide Magazine and Entertainment Weekly annual events, let’s look back at the ladies who participated in the Women Who Kick Ass panel as well as the cast of Westworld; all taken by Dominick Dusseault:

Women Who Kick Ass:

Westworld:

More coming soon…

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Today is the first full day of panels for Comic Con @Home, which will feature panels for TV shows such as the rebooted Star Trek universe, His Dark Materials, Utopia, Upload and The Boys (all three Amazon dramas) and Van Helsing as well as a salute to LGBTQ Characters on TV and Building a Better Heroine, among many other panels.

You can see the full, daily schedule below:

Thursday, July 23 Comic Con @Home

The first panels start at 10 AM and the final panels start at 6 PM.

There is one panel today focusing on the Marvel franchise, so let’s take a visit back to last year’s Comic Con – courtesy of photos taken by our very own Dominick Dusseault – when some of the creative minds behind the franchise made an appearance at the 2019 event:

Since Star Trek was also included in one of the panels today, let’s take a look at pictures also taken by Dominick Dusseault for the same panel at Comic Con 2019:

Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Lower Decks (the animated series)

More coming tomorrow…

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For the first time in its 50 year history, San Diego Comic Con will not be held – at least not in person.

Due to the global pandemic, the annual fete that has become the mega entertainment event of the year for pop culture geeks and nerds alike will be conducted online through You Tube. There is a separate link for every panel scheduled throughout Comic Con @Home.

While this year’s schedule isn’t as voluminous as in years past, there are still plenty of interesting panels scheduled throughout each day of this year’s at home event.

You can see the full, daily schedule below:

Wednesday, July 22 Comic Con @ Home

The first panels start at 3 PM and the final panels start at 6 PM.

Among the highlights for today’s panels are comic books, graphic novels, books, GeekEd and more.

To tie in with this year’s event, and today’s focus on comic books, let’s take a visit back to last year’s Comic Con – courtesy of photos taken by our very own Dominick Dusseault – when the leads of Riverdale made an appearance at the 2019 event:

More coming tomorrow…

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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 2017:

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

* The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – In the late 1950s Miriam “Midge” Maisel has everything she has ever wanted: the perfect husband, two kids and an elegant apartment on New York’s Upper West Side. Her seemingly idyllic life takes a surprising turn when she discovers a hidden talent she didn’t previously know she had — stand-up comedy. This revelation changes her life forever as she begins a journey that takes her from her comfortable life on the Upper West Side through the cafes and nightclubs of Greenwich Village as she makes her way through the city’s comedy industry on a path that could ultimately lead her to a spot on the “Tonight Show” couch.

* The Handmaid’s Tale – Based on the 1985 novel, the streaming series is set in a dystopian future, where a woman (Elizabeth Moss) is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship. The first season won 8 Emmy Awards among countless others.

It was in 2017 that the end came for the following drama:

* Grimm – This fairytale drama came to an end after 6 seasons on NBC with a very twisty series finale that found Nick literally losing everyone he cares about because of the final season’s big bad: Zerstorer. But in the end, Nick – with a little unexpected help – he is able to defeat this devil; but then he’s swept through a vortex back to moment before the final war with Zerstorer was waged without the devil coming with them. In the final scene, it’s 20 years later with the second generation – little Diana all grown up, baby Kelly grown up and looking much like his dad and the triplets of Monroe and Rosalee – working together with their parents to continue the work of the grimm.

There were also a couple of disappointments that year as well:

* Marvel’s Inhumans – Given all the success of the Marvel films, ABC was determined to get a successful series on the air – other than the mediocre success of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [primarily in terms of ratings] – and you would think that the new 2017 series Marvel’s Inhumans would have done just that given how famous these characters are in the comic book world. Unfortunately, the show was disappointing, a ratings failure and for many it was dull.

* Prison Break: Resurrection – When Prison Break debuted in 2005 it was a breakout (no pun intended) hit; but the same cannot be said for this limited event series that took place 8 years after the series finale in 2009.

There were a couple big TV events that took place in 2017:

Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak AND Barry Allen and Iris West got married in a joint impromptu ceremony with John Diggle preceding. This event took place during the big crossover episode of all the DC Comics-based shows that were airing on The CW at the time entitled ‘Crisis on Earth-X.’

Here is the video of that ceremony:

Fans of Downton Abbey and the character Matthew Crawley saw a VERY different side of actor Dan Stevens when he starred in the new FX series Legion where he played David Haller, the mutant son of Professor Charles Xavier (of the Marvel franchise X-Men) and Gabrielle Haller. David was a troubled young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, but after a strange encounter, he discovered special powers that would change his life forever.

The remarkably moving albeit short-lived series Underground featured amazing performances by actress Amirah Vann, who portrayed Ernestine and Aisha Hinds, who portrayed Harriet Tubman.

Hinds was so moving, in fact, she was chosen by the folks at TV Line as the Performer of the Week.

Another big event to take place in 2017 was the resurrection of the NBC series Timeless that was cancelled by NBC but then three days later the network changed course, giving the show 10 more episodes. This kind of rescue is extremely rare, but the cast, creative minds and fans were very happy about the additional episodes.

Our photographer Dom was in attendance, once again, at that year’s ATX Festival in Austin, snapping pictures of the reunion of Battlestar Galactica.

You can see his pictures from that panel here.

It was also in 2017 that I attended – for the last time for quite some time – both Wonder Con in Anaheim, California and San Diego Comic Con. I have to admit it was hard to give up attending the events after going to them every year for so very long, but the expense was just getting to be too much. However, I quickly learned how much easier it is to cover the events right from home thanks to all the outlets that are covering the two events, as well as coverage from Roz and Dom who have helped out with pictures and stories from both cons.

The top movie at the box office in 2017 was Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens while Wonder Woman thrilled audiences all over the globe. Meanwhile two of the worst movies for the year were CHiPs and Father Figures.

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 2017 included: Florence Pugh, Keala Settle, Zoey Deutch, Dafne Keen, McKenna Grace, Kathryn Newton and Kumail Nanjiani.

The Faces of 2017

The New Faces of 2018

COMING SOON: Salute to 2018

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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 2016:

Some memorable shows that debuted during that year included:

* The Magicians – The Syfy fantasy series debuted in December of the year, following a group of students at a secretive academy (think Harry Potter but on acid) where they learn that the magic they read in a book series is not only very real but also extremely dangerous.

* Stranger Things – This Netflix thriller captured viewers interest with its cast of pre-teen characters, a mom and a police chief who had to battle terrifying supernatural forces to get a missing boy back.

* This Is Us – This gripping multi-layered, decade-jumping drama about a unique set of triplets, their ups and downs and their wonderful parents consistently had viewers crying every week with its heartwarming and gut-wrenching stories. It also didn’t hurt that the show garnered impressive ratings, averaging over 14 million viewers (when all viewing options were added in) every week.

* Timeless – This NBC time-traveling series eventually ended up being the little show that could, but during its debut season it had a rocky road in the ratings, but a very loyal and rapid following. The series followed an unlikely trio who travel through time to battle unknown criminals and protect history. It was like getting a history lesson while travel around in a dome-like time machine.

* The Crown – The series depicted the life inside the Royal family, following Queen Elizabeth II, as she got married, took over the throne and the early days of her rule. For the most part the series has been commended for its depiction of events, but it has also been criticized for excessive dramatization as well as depicting some events that bear no relation to historical evidence.

A few of the shows that came to an end that year were:

* Person of Interest – The CBS crime drama about an ex-CIA agent and a wealthy programmer who saved lives via an extremely advanced surveillance AI that sent them the identities of civilians involved in impending crimes came to an end in June. The team was up against Samaritan, and in the end they defeated the evil AI, but lost Root and Reese along the way. It was a gut-wrenching finale, but in the end Shaw (who became the new owner of Bear) are out for a walk where a pay phone began to ring; and when she answered it, she smiled. Looked like the missions weren’t ending after all.

* Downton Abbey – After 6 seasons of very tumultuous stories for both the residents of the upstairs and the downstairs of the regal home Downton Abbey, the final episode of the long-running and acclaimed international hit aired in March with a two-hour Christmas-themed story that gave a happy ending to, well, pretty much everyone: Edith finally got to be happy and married, Mary was remarried and pregnant, Anna and Bates welcomed their child and even Barrow got to redeem himself.

* Castle – After 8 seasons of crime-fighting and solving, the ABC drama came to an end, but not without its problems. It had long been known (although never outright publicly confirmed) that the show’s two leads did not get along with each and due to financial constraints [too long of a story to haggle about here and now] both series lead Stana Katic and long-running co-star Tamala Jones were – for all intents and purposes – fired from the show in the spring – a move that caused a lot of controversy – but only a few weeks later it was decided by the network to simply pull the plug on the show altogether, giving viewers a patched up, and somewhat disappointing series finale with a flash-forward to the couple still together, and raising three children.

One of the fun experiences at San Diego Comic Con that year was watching The Flash stars Grant Gustin and Jesse L. Martin tap dance during their moderated panel. Check out the following video:

It was also in this year that extremely talented actress Tatiana Maslany FINALLY won an Emmy for multi-roles in the BBC America drama Orphan Black. That season of the show wasn’t it’s best, but the Emmy voters finally paid attention to her talent.

2016 also marked the year that I was proud to announce a new member of the Rueben’s Ramblings staff: my good friend Roz, who is also on the staff with me at NiceGirlsTV.

One of Roz’s articles that year was the salute to the late Carrie Fisher and her mother, legendary Debbie Reynolds, who passed away within a day and a half of each other

It was also in 2016 that actress Meghan Markle and Prince Harry began dating, and we all know how that later turned out.

The top movie at the box office in 2016 was the animated film Finding Dory while some of the worst movies included Why Him?, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and The Brothers Grimsby.

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 2016 included: Brie Larson, Felicity Jones, Haley Bennett, Mahershala Ali, Bridget Regan, Auli’l Cravalho, Tom Holland and Millie Bobby Brown.

The Faces of 2016

The New Faces of 2017

COMING SOON: Salute to 2017

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