Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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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Giving Good Hollywood by Chris Culler

About a month ago a good friend sent me a book that was self-published by a friend of hers because she thought I would like it. How RIGHT she was! The book is entitled “Giving Good Hollywood” and it was written by Chris Culler, who works as a story analyst for a major film studio.

Now just based on the title alone one would have to wonder just what the book is about. But, with a quick read of the back cover you discover it is a fictional look at how movies are made in Hollywood. It is also about how some of the folks working in Hollywood still want to make “good” movies. The basic premise of the book is about “having the courage of your ambition” without “inevitably losing your soul.”

Here is a brief synopsis of the book:

Natalie Saladay is back in Hollywood, and now she wants it all: The power to make good movies. The love of a good man. And she’ll risk just about anything in order to “give good Hollywood.”

The descriptors at Amazon and Shopping.com (where the book can be purchased) also reveal this about “Giving Good Hollywood”:

In this satirical romance novel of Hollywood, unabashedly ambitious, recently divorced Natalie Saladay is a studio “reader” whose job is to cull through scripts and books in search of that perfect movie. Natalie knows that the “show” and “business” of filmmaking are synonymous, but her boss, the beautiful, ruthless and equally ambitious executive Mona Pearl, dismisses Natalie’s preference for character-driven screenplays as “movies for nobody.” Soon studio intrigue and a tragic film location accident galvanize Natalie into rekindling a hot romance with charismatic producer Benny Gallo, the man she swore she never wanted to see again. Conflicted about the powerful producer and big-time heartbreaker, Natalie nonetheless persuades Benny into producing a soulful “little independent-that-could” film set in Central Coast wine country. Mona, on the other hand, is staking her reputation on the studio’s big budget special effects-action “tentpole” picture. The entire film business appears in upheaval, but Benny Gallo urges Natalie to trust her own ambition, even as he serves to benefit from her “giving good Hollywood.” Is he the devil bargaining for her soul? Her Svengali? Or is he “the man who got away?” As the glitz and glamour of awards season approaches along with the release dates for both radically different movies, as the rivalry between the two women reaches a fever pitch, Natalie realizes she may indeed be risking her soul and even the love of the man she’s always wanted — all for giving good Hollywood.

From the moment I opened the book and began reading the first few pages I was transported into a world that, for me, is merely “down the street” [since I live in Los Angeles] and I chuckled at the descriptions of the characters (as they resemble people I have met or seen in the City of Angels since I arrived here in 2000).

As I moved through chapter after chapter, I was captivated by author Chris Culler’s style of writing and the ease with which she tells a story. Whether you are familiar with how the business of making movies is done or simply want to have a fun book to read “Giving Good Hollywood” is certainly worth the cover charge.

You can find “Giving Good Hollywoodhere and here.

Thankfully, Chris has another book called “101 Ways Your Mother Said You Could Die,” which is a “liar’s memoir” coming out soon. And, I for one can’t wait to read it!

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Last night I attended the kick-off night of the Sixth Annual Fall TV Preview Party held at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills – primarily sponsored by TV Guide (as well as a number of other sponsors).

The night was dedicated to NBC and featured a screening of their new fall comedy Outsourced as well as panel that included the cast (most notably Diedrich Bader, Australian actress Pippa Black, who is known for her work in the popular Aussie soap Neighbours and newcomer Ben Rappaport).

Once that screening, panel and Q&A was complete, the rest of the night was dedicated to screenings of three of the network’s new dramas: The Event, Chase and Undercovers.

First up was The Event, which I had already seen at Comic Con this past July. It was interesting to view it with the typical audience at the Paley Center and compare it to the audience at Comic Con. Two VERY different types of viewers, I must say. Whereas the Paley Center audience was quiet during the screening and only whispers could be heard, the Comic Con audience was more reactive, commenting about what they liked and, in some instances, disliked about the pilot. Without giving much away from the story, the series delves into very divergent storylines that do not seem to be inter-related until near the end of the hour when the paths of the various characters start to intersect. What exactly “the event” really ends up being is anyone’s guess; but as long as the show can maintain a clear path toward answering questions and not get bogged down in too many layered stories, it may have a chance. Judge for yourself when The Event debuts on NBC on September 20 at 9 PM.

Then there is the new drama Chase from Jerry Bruckheimer, which is a cop show that’s not quite a cop show. A team of US marshals track down dangerous fugitives with a heavy dose of cunning, skill and determination. Going into this screening I wasn’t sure what to expect from this pilot, but I came out of it being surprised by how much better it was than I anticipated. The show has a lot of action – which will make the male viewers happy – a strong female lead – which will not only interest men but also inspire women to watch – and a cast of characters who actually work well as a team. And, as soon as I saw the name David Nutter appear on the screen, I knew the pilot would be solid. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, David Nutter is a legend in the industry as a very good director; he just does quality work. In this instance, Nutter is actually one of the executive producers on this series. In my opinion, as long as they can keep the pace of this show like they did in the pilot episode, they will have a shot at seeing more than just a handful of episodes air. You can check out Chase when it debuts on September 20 at 10 PM on NBC.

Lastly, the new spy drama Undercovers from J.J. Abrams (the man behind Lost and Alias) was screened. At this point, the Paley Center audience had thinned out considerably; but those of us who remained were entertained with a show that is a little bit of Alias and a whole lot of Chuck. It is not your typical serious spy series; it’s interlaced with humor, a bit of slapstick and a whole lot of love between the lead characters. I mean, after all, they are a happily married couple – who run a small catering company – who are brought back into their old spy lives to help find a former friend and fellow spy who has gone missing. Everything might not be what it seems in terms of their being called back into action, but the pilot was entertaining, at times a little ‘roll your eyes’ silly; but overly not a bad new addition to the network’s line up. You can see the debut of Undercovers on September 22 at 8 PM on NBC.

What NBC shows are you looking forward to seeing in the coming weeks? Please share.

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