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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

the-crown

Just last week, Netflix released its most expensive exclusive series to date, The Crown. The series follows the life of Princess Elizabeth as she navigates life before becoming Queen of England, and from other reports, the series is set to last six series.

In a pique of avoidance the other weekend, I watched the first series of the show in three days (not hard for a ten episode series), and if you’re at all curious about some of the finer aspects of the life of a member of the British Royal family, then the show is for you.

Even if I’m by no means British, the Royal Family has always been something that appealed to me. It’s also nearly impossible to avoid hearing about their lives, but a slightly fictionalized version is something else. Because, of course, there are scores of photographs documenting the life of Queen Elizabeth II, but as news, the details feel removed.

No one really knows The Queen, yet we all want to wish her well and watch how she goes about her duties. In The Crown, we see a young princess who becomes monarch and how she struggles. The struggles, and the frustrations are deftly portrayed by Claire Foy (her previous credits include Upstairs Downstairs, Little Dorrit and Wolf Hall) and in her scenes, there are deep fears and emotional scars from her childhood.

Foy is not the only strong role in the series, however. Matt Smith (Doctor Who) is the Duke of Exeter, Prince Philip, and he has this charmingly awful way of being in and around Elizabeth’s life that comes across as both fond and destructive. John Lithgow is an equally strong figure, starring as Winston Churchill.

What unfolds over the course of these episodes is not just a look at Queen Elizabeth, but a drama of the lives that surround her and how everyone chooses to make very public lives personal.

While we all know the way the narrative will go in the next series, there is a strong emotional journey to unfold, and one that maybe casts the life of Queen Elizabeth II in a new light for those who don’t pay as much attention.

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My Summer Prince

On August 6, the Hallmark Channel movie My Summer Prince will debut at 9 PM.

Mandy Cooper (Taylor Cole) is a young executive assistant aspiring to become a PR executive. She gets an opportunity to develop her skills in Greenbriar, Idaho. In that small town, Prince Colin of Edgemere, a handsome British monarch (Jaxon Turner) with a history of scandalous behavior, is arrested for defacing a landmark while making a public appearance. Things get complicated after Mandy sets out to repair Colin’s image, and the young publicist wonders if she can save her own reputation and still have a chance at summer love. The cast includes Lauren Holly (NCIS and Motive), Vanessa Angel (the TV series Weird Science) and Marina Sirtis (NCIS and Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Here is a trailer for My Summer Prince.

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Christmas in Palm Springs

The UP Channel movie Christmas in Palm Springs will debut on November 23 at 7 PM.

Parents separated and heading for divorce living on opposite sides of the country are brought together in Palm Springs by their kids, who are doing everything to get them back together before Christmas with a little help from a guardian angel.

The cast includes Patrick Muldoon (Starship Troopers), Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers), Ian Ziering (Sharknado and Beverly Hills 90210), Bill Cobbs (Night at the Museum), David Chokachi (Baywatch) and Erin Gray (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Silver Spoons).

Here is a trailer for Christmas in Palm Springs.

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Teens

This past weekend a new movie called Nowhere Safe aired on the Christian-themed network UP Channel that focused on the ever-growing issue of cyber-bullying especially among high school teens.

Ten years ago, the comedy flick Mean Girls opened in theatres; and while that film focused more on the “humor” of mean high school girls, it was just the tip of the iceberg. Since that time, cyber-bullying has become an epidemic with 25% of teenagers reporting they have experienced bullying via their cell phones or the internet and 335 of young people who have reported cyber-bullying incidents have received online threats with over 55% of all teens who use social media witnessing outright bullying via that medium.

[Source: Bullying Statistics]

In the made-for-TV movie Nowhere Safe – that, of course, is inspired by true events – two teen girls named Mel (Kelsi Cullimore) and Alana (Angelique Cooper) cruelly impersonate Ashley Evans (Danielle Chuchran from the TV movie Snow Beast) in a “reverse cyber bullying” plot, her reputation is ruined.

She and her mother Julie Johnson (Natasha Henstridge from The Secret Circle) – a high school teacher – are ostracized, forcing them to flee an escalating threat to their lives.

They start over at a new school located several hours from their former home with Julie becoming the new drama teacher and Ashley becoming the “quiet girl” at school, who just wants to go unnoticed. However, she meets a nice guy named Max (Jeremias Elvegaard) who becomes a good friend and encounters two popular kids and reigning “it” couple at school, Carrie (Tatum Chiniquy) and Nick (James Gaisford), who give her and Max a hard time.

Rather than staying the quiet girl, though, Ashley stands up for herself (and Max), putting Nick in his place. Her words have an effect on Nick, making him question why he has been acting like such a jerk, and he begins to befriend (and fall) for Ashley.

That change of heart doesn’t go over well with Nick’s girlfriend Carrie, though, as she begins to bully Ashley. Then at a party that Nick invites Ashley to [after breaking up with Carrie], Mel and Alana show – they, of course, know Carrie; in fact one of the girls is Carrie’s cousin – and the whole truth of what happened to Ashley is revealed.

Needless to say, Ashley is put back in danger again with the “mean girl” at school, but rather than run and hide from it all, this time Ashley – with the help of Nick and Max – stand up for the truth.

Actor Jamie Kennedy (The Ghost Whisperer) also stars as eccentric history teacher Kevin Carlisle.

Unlike so many Lifetime “women-in-danger” movies this telepic was not over-acted by the cast, was not overly cheesy and sold the message very well just how much an issue cyber-bullying is to our society. And, it gives young teens the encouragement and incentive to stand up against the crime.

Nowhere Safe will reair on the UP Channel this Friday, October 17 at 9 PM, on Sunday, October 19 at 5 PM and Friday, October 31 at 11 PM (EST). Check your local listings for airtimes. Also the movie will be released on DVD on November 4 on Amazon and other retail sites.

Here is the trailer for Nowhere Safe.

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Red Widow

On March 3, the new ABC drama Red Widow will have a two-hour series premiere at 9 PM.

The series focuses on one woman’s journey into the world of organized crime after the death of her husband and how far she will go to keep her family safe.

The cast includes Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black), Goran Visnjic (ER), Jaime Ray Newman (Eureka), Clifton Collins, Jr. (The Event), Lee Tergesen (Desperate Housewives), Rade Serbedzija (The Saint), Suleka Mathew (HawthoRNe) and Sterling Beaumon (Lost) (among others).

Here is a trailer for Red Widow.

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The holiday marathons are coming, the holiday marathons are coming. Want to know about some of the cool marathons that are being planned for the upcoming Labor Day weekend?

Well, here is a short list of the scripted TV and/or movies that will be airing as marathons over the soon-to-be-here holiday weekend.

Doctor Who will air the “Best of the Doctor” marathon on BBC America from 8 AM on Friday through to Saturday at 10 PM, concluding with the season premiere of season 7 of the classic series.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer will be on Chiller from late Sunday at midnight through Tuesday at 6 AM featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar’s favorite episodes.

Longmire will air most of the episodes from its debut season on A&E from 10 AM to 5 PM on Sunday.

The Style Network will air episodes from the first season of Gossip Girl from 9 AM to 3 AM on Labor Day.

Relive all of Torchwood: Miracle Day on Labor Day from 10 AM to 8 PM on Starz in Black.

HBO Signature will reair all of season 2 of Boardwalk Empire from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight on Labor Day.

The mini-series Hatfields and McCoys will air in its entirety on A&E starting on Saturday at 6 PM through 12 midnight.

Mark your calendars!

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And so it begins, the season/series finales of a number of dramas on the major networks are airing and last night was no exception. Here is how the Friday night dramas fared in the overall ratings:

8 PM Shows:
The Finder (FOX) [SERIES Finale] – 4.2 million
Nikita (The CW) [NEW] – 1.4 million

9 PM Shows:
CSI: NY (CBS) [Season Finale] – 9 million
Grimm (NBC) [NEW] – 4.5 million
Fringe (FOX) [Season Finale] – 3.2 million
Supernatural (The CW) [NEW] – 1.7 million

10 PM Show:
Blue Bloods (CBS) [Season Finale] – 10.6 million

What did you watch last night? Please share.

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King Season 1

The Canadian police drama King will return for its second season with its premiere episode slated to air on the Showcase channel this Wednesday, February 29 at 9 PM.

King is a clever series focusing on Jessica King (actress Amy Price-Francis), a charismatic but unconventional lead investigator for Toronto’s Major Crimes Task Force. Imagine King as a cross between Kate Beckett on Castle and Brenda Leigh Johnson on The Closer. She is a tough talking cop with a penchant for designer stilettos. She and her team take on cases that seem impossible to solve; but once King is on the scene, there is no doubt that the truth will be found and those who committed the crime better watch out.

King Season 2

King, obviously, isn’t a solo act as she is joined by Detective Sergeant Derek Spears (actor Alan Van Sprang), who in the first season had a televised meltdown that cost him the leadership role of the Task Force, making it necessary for the Chief to install King as the new leader. The new members of the Task Force include Pen Martin (actor Rossif Sutherland), who is a hot shot from the Spin Unit (basically the Canadian version of Surveillance) and Ingrid Evans (actress Karen Robinson), who is one of Organized Crime’s most experienced players.

King’s personal life is even centered on the police force, as her (third) husband Danny Sless (actor Gabriel Hogan) is a police officer (with a gambling problem that got him into some serious trouble in the first season and caused a temporary rift between him and his wife). Oh, and did I mention that they have been trying to have a baby; so much so that they even tried in-vitro with no success. But now, she is pregnant and the question is if the baby’s father is Danny or her right-hand man Det. Sgt. Spears who she had a brief affair with while she and her husband were hitting a ‘rough patch’ in their marriage. I did say she was unconventional, right?

King Season 2 Cast

To make matters worse (as if that is even possible), Danny has a new (sexy and young) partner, Officer Alessandra Taylor (actress Romina D’Ugo), which could spell trouble for the couple in addition to his compulsive gambling which he is trying to keep under control.

The story-telling in this series is straight-forward, sometimes fast-paced but brutally honest. It has a style all its own, but its segway pieces between scenes are somewhat reminiscent of 24. It is definitely worth a look.

Make sure to check out the season premiere of King on Showcase this Wednesday, February 29 at 9 PM.

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It’s that time of year again: Season Finales

Each week in May, I will provide a reminder of all the season finales that will be airing that week. Make sure to mark your calendars so you don’t miss any of the big events.

For the week of May 23, there will be several finales tonight. First there are the finales of House and The Chicago Code on FOX at 8 and 9 PM (respectively). Meanwhile, The Event will air what is assuredly its series finale on NBC at 9 PM.

NOTE (Revised) : Due to exceedingly poor ratings, The Event will most likely end even though an official cancellation has yet to be made. House was renewed for its 8th and final season while The Chicago Code has been canceled.

Tomorrow night (May 24) will see the season finale of Glee air on FOX at 9 PM.

NOTE: The musicomedy received an early fall renewal.

Lastly on Wednesday (May 25), the new drama Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior will air it finale on CBS at 10 PM.

NOTE (Revised): This new series has been canceled.

Mark your calendars!

That’s it for season finales for this month. I hope you didn’t miss out on any of your favorites.

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It’s that time of year again: Season Finales

Each week in May, I will provide a reminder of all the season finales that will be airing that week. Make sure to mark your calendars so you don’t miss any of the big events.

For the week of May 16, there are a lot of finales planned by all of the major networks starting with tonight, which features the finale of Chuck on NBC at 8 PM and the finale of Castle at 10 PM on ABC. There is also the finale of Hawaii Five-0 on CBS at 10 PM and the finales of 90210 and Gossip Girl on The CW at 8 and 9 PM (respectively).

NOTE: As is the case with each season, Chuck is “on the bubble” and could either return next fall or be canceled. Meanwhile, 90210, Gossip Girl and Castle have received early renewals from their home networks. And while an official announcement has yet to be made, Hawaii Five-0 will most likely return for another season in the sun.

Then on tap for tomorrow (May 17) are the season finales of NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles and The Good Wife all on CBS at 8, 9 and 10 PM (respectively). Meanwhile over on The CW that same night both One Tree Hill and Hellcats will air their finales at 8 and 9 PM (respectively).

NOTE: NCIS has received an early renewal for the fall and while no official announcement has been made for NCIS: Los Angles or The Good Wife it is highly probable that both shows will return. Currently both shows on The CW are “on the bubble” and it is difficult to say if either of the shows let alone both will return.

As we move into Wednesday (May 18), Criminal Minds will air its finale at 9 PM on CBS while Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will air its finale on NBC at 10 PM.

NOTE: Neither of these shows has received an early renewal from their home networks, but it is most likely they will return in the fall.

Thursday (May 19) will be another big night with The Mentalist airing a two-hour finale from 9 to 11 PM on CBS while Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice air their finales on ABC at 9 and 10 PM (respectively) and Bones has its finale at 9 PM on FOX.

NOTE: The two dramas on ABC have already received their renewal notices. Official word has not been released yet as to the fates of Bones or The Mentalist; however, it is likely both will be back in the fall.

Lastly, on Friday (May 20) the two-hour season finale – which are actually two separate episodes – of Supernatural will air at 8 and 9 PM on The CW.

NOTE: The fan favorite series received an early renewal from the network.

Mark your calendars!

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