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Archive for the ‘Year End Round Up’ Category

While 2021 ended up being quite similar to 2020 – sans the “stay at home” mandates – thankfully, vaccines became much more prevalent, and our way of life slowly but surely started to improve. We most likely still have a long way to go before we get to a new “normal,” but if we try to focus on the good, and what makes us happy, that will hopefully help us all weather the rocky terrain that has been 2021.

We can also attempt to strive to be a little more like some of our everyday heroes who have made a difference throughout 2021 in their own ways. They include (in no particular order):

Amanda Gorman, the 22-year old Harvard grad from Los Angeles and Poet Laureate, wowed the nation reading her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ on January 20 in Washington D.C. for President Biden’s Inauguration and reading the poem ‘Chorus of the Captains’ in honor the three honorary captains of Super Bowl 55: U.S. Marine veteran James Martin, teacher Trimaine Davis and Nurse Suzie Dorner.

Sofia Sanchez, the 12-year-old actress, model and Downs Syndrome activist, became a viral sensation as the author of the book “You Are Enough” released by Scholastic Books. She was abandoned at birth in a very small town in Ukraine, being adopted by her forever mom and dad, who loved taking pictures of her, which set her on her career path.

David Jamison, the language arts teacher at Hickory Ridge Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee, who has been nicknamed “The Dope Educator,” first went viral in 2019 and over the course of four years, has memorized and performed elaborate, individual handshake routines for 250 students. He also took on his own battle with COVID-19 this year.

Dr. La Verne Ford Wimberly, the 82-year-old retired principal from Tulsa, Oklahoma, went viral for getting dressed every week up, since the start of the pandemic, for her virtual church services, posting photos of herself on Facebook in colorful dresses and a wide array of fancy hats and elaborate necklaces.

Here is a video report on Dr. Wimberly by David Muir:

Maya S. Penn, the 21-year-old Atlanta native, graced the TED Talk stage three times before the age of 13, has been commended by President Obama and was named to Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 list of visionaries and influential leaders in 2016, is a young sustainability consultant and advocate, social entrepreneur, animator and Simon & Schusster author.

David Cabello, a 25-year-old entrepreneur who lives near Philadelphia, along with help from his twin brother Aaron, created the country’s first Black Owned food delivery service, Black and Mobile, that exclusively partners with Black-Owned restaurants to give them more exposure and customers. The business launched in February of 2019 and, of course, was of crucial assistance during the pandemic, now services not only Philadelphia but also Atlanta, Baltimore and New York.

Ms. Opal Lee, the 95-year-old retired Texas teacher, counselor and activist, known as the Grandmorther of Juneteenth, who led a decades-long fight to make the day a U.S. holiday saw it come to fruition when President Joe Biden signed Senate Bill S. 475, making Juneteenth the 11th federal holiday.

Wally Funk, the 82-year-old member of the 1960’s Mercury 13, the 13 American woman who successfully underwent the same screening tests as the astronauts selected by NASA, became the oldest non-celebrity woman to ever go into outer space. She did so with Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, marking her wait of 60 years to make this feat.

Eugene Goodman, the brave Capitol Police Officer, who stood against the January 6 rioters in Washington D.C., using himself as bait, luring the rioters away from the Senate and directly toward other police officers, received the Congressional Gold Medal.

Here is a video of Office Goodman’s brave actions:

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and I want to thank everyone who has visited my site this year. I hope you’ll come back next year!

Happy New Year!

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Much like the Faces of 2021, there are always entertainers of note to be on the look-out for in the new year or those who made great waves throughout the current year who will, undoubtedly, be big stars in the new year.

The new faces of 2022 appear below in no particular order:

Amber Ruffin – The comedian is the host of The Amber Ruffin Show – the only Black woman with a late-night show currently on the air. The late-night show airs on Peacock (the NBC streaming service) breaks away from the typical structure, focusing on topical sketches instead of guests. Additionally, she and her sister Lacey Lamar co-authored the book ‘You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism,’ which landed on the New York Times best-seller list.

Louis Partridge – Louis made waves playing Tewkesbury in the Netflix movie Enola Holmes alongside Stranger Things alum Millie Bobby Brown; and he will reprise that role in the sequel that is in post-production right now. He will play Peter Pan in the upcoming box office movie The Lost Girls; Sid Vicious in the upcoming mini-series called Pistol; and he will play Tristan in the upcoming fantasy romance film called Ferryman, adapted from the best-selling young adult trilogy by Claire McFall.

Leslie Grace – Leslie made her film debut in the Lin-Manuel Miranda box office adaptation of his Broadway play In the Heights that came out in theatres this summer; and she landed the title role, following a competitive search, of Barbara Gordon in the upcoming box office film Batgirl. She is also a three-time Latin Grammy nominee, having started her singer-songwriting career when she was 16.

Emilia Jones – The 19-year-old London born actress was part of the cast of the Nickelodeon mystery series House of Anubis back in 2011 and even appeared in an episode of Doctor Who in 2013, but it was her star-making role as the only hearing person in her deaf family in the Apple TV+ movie CODA – which also stars Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur and Daniel Durant – that turned heads. In fact, she spent 9 months learning American Sign Language, took singing lessons and learned how to operate a professional fishing trawler for the part. She is also the middle child in the Netflix series Locke & Key and will star in Cat Person, the psychological thriller box office movie.

Alex Tarrant – Alex has appeared in the New Zealand original series Filthy Rich (FOX made an American version that lasted for less than one full season in 2020); the Cook Islands-based mystery series Tatau; and the New Zealand-based medical primetime soap opera Shortland Street. He also appeared in the New Zealand-based family drama 800 Words (that aired here in the states on UPtv). He is now the new guy on the latest franchise series NCIS: Hawai’i and he is part of the ensemble cast of the upcoming Amazon series The Lord of the Rings that will be set thousand of years before the events in the J.R.R. Tolkien novels.

Xolo Maridueña – He has played Miguel Diaz for three seasons in Cobra Kai, the small screen adaptation of the original Karate Kid movies that started out on YouTube before moving over to Netflix, becoming a hit series in its own right. The 4th season of the show will debut on December 31. He completed high school and two years of credits at a city college while working on the show too. Also, a chance meeting at Sundance with director Angel Manuel Soto, led Xolo to landing the lead in Blue Beetle, DC’s first Latino superhero movie.

Danielle Deadwyler – Danielle has appeared in episodes of Greenleaf, Watchmen and P-Valley, but it was her role in the ensemble cast of the Netflix film The Harder They Fall – that featured Regina King, Idris Elba, LaKeith Steinfield, Damon Wayans, Jr., Zazie Beetz, Jonathan Majors and Edi Gathegi – that turned heads. She will next be seen in the close-to-home HBO Max series Station Eleven (about survivors of a devastating flu) and she will play Emmet Till’s mother in the upcoming film Till.

Jaden Michael – Jaden is only 18, but he has appeared in multiple roles in critically acclaimed series and films alongside a lengthy list of A-List actors like Michelle Williams, Viola Davis and Ellen Burnstryn (just to name a few). But it was when director/producer Ava DuVernay selected him to play a young Colin Kaepernick in the Netflix series Colin in Black & White that launched him into the stratosphere. He will also appear in the lead role in the Amazon pilot of Shelter based on the Harlan Coben book.

Moses Ingram – This newcomer actress earned an Emmy nomination for her role in the much-buzzed about Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit; starred as Lady Macduff in The Tragedy of Macbeth alongside Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand and will next be seen in the box office movie Ambulance that stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza Gonzalez. In addition to all of that, she is part of the cast of the upcoming Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Saniyya Sidney – The 15-year-old has an impressive resume appearing in the box office movies Hidden Figures, starring as one of the daughters of Taraji P. Henson’s Katherine Johnson; and Fences with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. She was part of the cast of the short-lived FOX drama The Passage before starring as the young Venus Williams in the box office movie King Richard and she will next be seen as Sasha Obama in the Showtime series The First Lady.

Alexis Lauder – Alexis has appeared in a handful of episodes of The Originals and HBO’s Watchmen; and she had a small role in Black Panther and was part of the cast of the box office film Harriet. This year she appeared in the Amazon sci-fi flick The Tomorrow War that starred Christ Pratt, and she starred opposite Frank Grillo and Gerard Butler in the box office movie Copshop. Next she will be seen in the Amazon series The Terminal List, once again starring alongside Chris Pratt.

Simone Ashley – Simone is a British up-and-comer who has guest starred in episodes of Broadchurch, C.B. Strike and Casualty as well as a bit part in the box office film Detective Pikachu before appearing in a recurring role in the Netflix series Sex Education. Her next role will put her on the map, as she will play a very pivotal role in the second season of the Netflix period piece drama Bridgerton.

Fabien Frankel – He made his film debut in the holiday movie Last Christmas that starred Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding. He was going to appear as Theo Sipowicz in the NYPD Blue reboot that didn’t actually happen, but then he went on to star in four episodes of the 8-episode mini-series The Serpent. He will next be seen in the highly-anticipated Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon that is set to debut on HBO Max.

Max Harwood – Among his theatre work is Rent, Point Of View, The Christmas and Spring Awakening, but it was his debut film role in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which is a film adaptation of the musical about a teenager from Sheffield, England who wants to be a drag queen that turned heads. He will next be seen in the modern fairytale box office film The Loneliest Boy in the World and the movie Magpie that will star Downton Abbey (the movie and its sequel) Tuppence Middleton.

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

TOMORROW: Closing Out 2021

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The following list highlights the actors and actresses on TV and on the big screen who really caught viewers’ attention throughout the year.

They appear in no particular order:

Top Row: Reign and Jenna; Middle Row: Sarah, Shannon and Sophia
Bottom Row: Helena, Erana and Mia

1.  The Wilds – The Wilds debuted on Amazon Prime on December 11, 2020, with all 10 episodes of the debut season airing that day. The series left off with quite a killer cliffhanger, though. There will be a second season of this compelling and complicated drama about teenage girls from radically different backgrounds, who find themselves stranded on a remote island, unaware they’ve just become the subjects of an elaborate social experiment [not to be confused with the recently introduced Showtime drama Yellowjackets, which debuted on November 14 of this year].

The 8 actresses in The Wilds include:

San Diego native Sophia Ali (Grey’s Anatomy) as Fatin Jadmani; Australian born Shannon Berry (Syfy’s Hunters) as Dot Campbell; relative newcomer and New York native Jenna Clause as Martha Blackburn; the Bold and the Beautiful alum Reign Edwards as Rachel Reid; Sydney-born newcomer Mia Healey as Shelby Goodkind; relative newcomer Helena Howard (Quibi’s Don’t Look Deeper); New Zealand native Erana James (NZ’s comedy Golden Boy) as Toni Shalifoe and American newcomer Sarah Pidgeon as Leah Rilke.

Besides season two of The Wilds coming up at some point in 2022, Sophia will appear in the Tom Holland-Mark Wahlberg box office movie Uncharted; Shannon appeared in the Australian movie Slant alongside Aussie legend Sigrid Thornton and Reign has had an ongoing recurring role in the FX drama Snowfall.

Photo Credit: Gari Askew II

2.  Thuso Mbedu – The South African actress has appeared in a handful or so dramas and soap operas in her home country, being nominated for an International Emmy. But in her international debut in the role of Cora Randall in the Amazon Prime historial limited series The Underground Railroad, which debuted in May of this year, that put her on the map. In fact, she earned a Hollywood Critics Association Award for TV Breakout Star. She will next be seen in the box office movie The Woman King alongside Viola Davis, John Boyega and Lashana Lynch, who has appeared in No Time to Die and Captain Marvel.

3.  Ariana DeBose – Ariana is having a very BIG year! She appeared in the 2020 taped version of Hamilton that aired on Disney+ and was in Netflix’s musical The Prom (alongside the likes of Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and James Corden). She then appeared in the Apple TV+ musical comedy Schmigadoon! opposite Keegan-Michael Key, Cecily Strong and Kristin Chenoweth; and is playing Anita (the role that won Rita Moreno an Oscar) in the latest adaptation of West Side Story. She got her start in So You Think You Can Dance, and appeared on the stage in Bring It On: The Musical; Motown: The Musical; Pippin; A Bronx Tale and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.

4.  Rege-Jean Page – The London native appeared in the BBC series Waterloo Road, the 2016 adaptation of Roots and the short-lived legal drama For the People before turning heads and becoming an international sensation in the Netflix period drama Brigderton where he played the Duke of Hastings. Granted the fact that he will not appear in the second season of the worldwid phenomenon, he has been cast in Paramount’s movie adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons and he will also appear in The Gray Man, Netflix’s biggest-budgeted film to date.

Abigial (Left) and Emily (Right)

5.  Abigail Barrow and Emily Bear – Speaking of Bridgerton, Abigail and Emily became social media sensations because of this streaming series. Abigail, a well-known social media singer-songwriter and performer, and Emily, a talented former child prodigy with an impressive arts-heavy resume, joined forces to create The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical. This duo has been interviewed everywhere, has garnered fans from all over the world (including a LOT of Broadway performers and cast members from the show) and they recently signed with the talent agency CAA (Creative Artists Agency).

6.  Simone Recasner – The Los Angeles native (whose father is also an actor) had the breakout role of 2021, playing single mom Gabby Lewis on the FOX reality show within a drama The Big Leap. The show has received a lot of buzz this TV season, albeit low ratings. While the FOX series is her first BIG professional gig, she has been acting since she was a kid, making her stage debut in the New York play Ain’t No Mo’ at the Public, the dream theatre where she wanted to work since walking past the building while attending school nearby.

7.  Simu Liu – The chiseled Chinese actor, who grew up in Ontario and was briefly an accountant at, of all places Deloitte & Touche, appeared in the popular CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) sitcom Kim’s Convenience as well as blink-and-you-would-miss him spots in Nikita, Warehouse 13, Beauty and the Beast, Dark Matter and Orphan Black as well as guest starring roles in Fresh Off the Boat, the TV version of Taken and The Expanse. But it was his title role in the highly-touted box office Marvel flick Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings that put him on the map. He will next appear alongside Hamilton’s Phillipa Soo in One True Loves and in Arthur the King alongside Mark Wahlberg.

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

TOMORROW: New Faces of 2022

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The following industry personalities, athletes and politicians passed away in 2021 and heartfelt condolences are extended to their families, friends and fans.

Before we get to the list, however, we need to take a moment of silence to remember all those who have been lost this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The celebrities we have lost this year (in alphabetical order):

Hank Aaron (Pro Baseball Player)
Granville Adams (Actor, Oz)
Raymond Allen (Actor, Sanford and Son)
Michael Apted (British Director, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist and Nell)
Ed Asner (Legendary Actor, Lou Grant and The Mary Tyler Moore Show)

Eve Babitz (Chronicler and Muse of the L.A. Scene)
F. Lee Bailey (Famed Lawyer to Patty Hearst and OJ Simpson)
Lisa Banes (Actress, Gone Girl and Young Guns)
Anne Beatts (Original Writer, Saturday Night Live and Creator of Square Pegs sitcom)
Ned Beatty (Veteran Actor, Deliverance and Network)
Jean-Paul Belmondo (Beloved French Actor)
Walter Bernstein (Blacklisted Writer and Oscar Nominee, The Front) [He was 101]
Biz Markie (Rapper)
Frank Bonner (Actor, WKRP in Cincinnati and Saved By the Bell)
Connie Bradley (Longtime ASCAP Nashville Head)
Harry Bring (TV Producer, Criminal Minds and The X-Files)
Eli Broad (Billionaire Philanthropist)
Allan Burns (Emmy-Winning Screenwriter and Co-Creator of The Mary Tyler Moore Show)

Jessica Campbell (Actress, Freak and Geeks and box office film Election)
Linda Carlson (Actress, Murder One and TV adaptation of Clueless)
Sonny Chiba (Martial Arts Legend and Japanese Actor, Kill Bill)
Roy Christopher (Famed Production Designer)
Beverly Cleary (Best-Selling Author, ‘Ramona the Pest’ and ‘Henry and Beezus’) [She was 104]
Michael Collins (Apollo 11 Astronaut)
Michael Constantine (Actor, My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
Alex Cord (Actor, Airwolf)
Chick Corea (Jazz Fusion Pioneer)
Johnny Crawford (Former Child Star, The Rifleman and Original Mousketeer)
Dave Creek (Lead Character Designer, Bob’s Burgers)
Irv Cross (Former NFL Player and first black TV Analyst)
J.D. Crowe (Master Banjo Player and Grammy Winner)

Arlene Dahl (Veteran Actress, One Life to Live; Cosmetics Executive)
Stuart Damon (Veteran Soap Actor, General Hospital)
Sarah Dash (Labelle Co-Founder and “Lady Marmalade” Singer)
Nick Davatzes (Cable Pioneer who launched A&E Network and the History Channel)
Martha De Laurentiis (Film and TV Producer, Hannibal and Red Dragon and Wife of late Dino De Laurentiis)
David H. DePatie (Cartoon Co-Creator and Producer, The Pink Panther)
Dustin Diamond (Actor, Saved by the Bell) [He was 44]
Eric Jerome Dickey (Best-Selling Author) [He was 59]
Joan Didion (Beloved Author and Screenwriter)
DMX (Rapper)
Bob Dole (Former Senate Majority Leader and Republican Presidential Candidate) [He was 98]
Young Dolph (Rapper, killed in Memphis shooting) [He was only 36]
Richard Donner (Director, Superman, The Goonies and Lethal Weapon)
Anne Douglas (Producer and Widow of Kirk Douglas) [She was 102]
Jerry Douglas (Veteran Actor, The Young and the Restless)
Suzzanne Douglas (Actress, The Parent ‘Hood)
Robert Downey Sr. (Director and father of Robert Downey, Jr.)
Olympia Dukakis (Oscar-Winning Actress, Moonstruck and Steel Magnolias)
Dianne Durham (First African American Senior National Gymnastic Champion) [She was 52]

Graeme Edge (Drummer and Co-Founder of the Moody Blues)
Mark Elliott (Longtime Voice of Disney Trailers)
Don Everly (Half of the Everly Brothers, best known for song “Wake Up Little Susie”)

Frances “Sissy” Farenthold (Liberal force in Texas politics, championed racial parity and women’s rights)
Siegfried Fischbacher (Magician, Siegfried & Roy)
Larry Flynt (Founder and Publisher, Hustler Magazine)
Jahmil French (Actor, Degrassi: The Next Generation) [He was 29]
Chuck Fries (Prolific TV and FIlm Producer) [He was 92]
Mira Furlan (Actress, Babylon 5 and Lost)

Willie Garson (Actor, White Collar and Sex in the City)
Richard Gilliland (Prolific Actor, Designing Women, Thirtysomething, Operation Petticoat and Heartland)
Arlene Golonka (Veteran Character Actress, Mayberry R.F.D.)
Pedro Gomez (Veteran ESPN Sports Center Reporter) [He was 58]
Saginaw Grant (Actor, Breaking Bad and The Lone Ranger)
Alison Greenspan (TV Series Producer, For Life and 2014 movie If I Stay) [She was 48]
Nanci Griffith (Grammy-winning singer-songwriter)
Charles Grodin (Veteran Actor, Midnight Run, Beethoven and Heaven Can Wait)

Tom T. Hall (Country Music Hall of Fame legend)
James Hampton (Writer and Director, F Troop, Longest Yard and Teen Wolf with Michael J. Fox)
Sarah Harding (Actress and Singer from British girl group Girls Aloud) [She was only 39]
Al Harrington (Actor, Hawaii Five-0, original series and reboot)
Billie Hayes (Actress, H.R. Pufnstuf) [She was 96]
Monte Hellman (Director, Two-Lane Blacktop, The Shooting and Road to Nowhere) [He was 91]
Tony Hendra (British Satirist and Comic)
Gloria Henry (Actress, Dennis the Menace)
Dusty Hill (Bassist, legendary band ZZ Top)
Patricia Hitchcock (Daughter of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock) [She was 93]
Hal Holbrook (Veteran Actor, Emmy- and Tony-Winner, All the President’s Men and Lincoln)
bell hooks (Renowned Author and Social Activist
Sally Ann Howes (Actress, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) [She was 91]
Joye Hummel (First woman to write Wonder Woman) [She was 97]
Halyna Hutchins (Cinematopher who was killed on set of western movie Rust)

Ravil Isyanov (Actor, The Americans and NCIS: Los Angeles)

Anthony “A.J.” Johnson (Actor, Friday and House Party)
Geoffrey Johnson (Tony Award winning casting director of Cats and Phantom of the Opera)
Vernon Jordan (American business executive and Civil Rights Activist)
Joey Jordison (Co-founder and original drummer of the band Slipknot) [He was 46]

Irma Kalish (Prolific and Pioneering TV Comedy Writer, Maude and Gilligan’s Island)
Larry King (Legendary Interviewer and Talk Show Host)
Tommy Kirk (Disney Actor, Old Yeller and Swiss Family Robinson)
Julie E. “Tawny” Kitaen (80’s Music Video Vixen)
Yaphet Kotto (Bond Villain and Actor, Alien and Live and Let Die)

Art LaFleur (Actor, Sandlot, Field of Dreams and Santa Clause)
John Langley (Creator, Cops, the long-running TV reality series)
Tommy Lasorda (Famed Baseball Coach and Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers) [He was 93]
Cloris Leachman (Veteran TV Actress)
Gregg Leakes (Real Housewives of Atlanta star and Husband to NeNe Leakes)
G. Gordon Liddy (Convicted Watergate Operative and Talk Show Host) [He was 90]
Rush Limbaugh (Right-Wing Radio Host)
Joanne Linville (Actress, Star Trek) [She was 93]
Ernie Lively (Actor, Father of actress Blake Lively)
Norman Lloyd (Actor, Producer and Director, Hitchcock flick Saboteur and TV’s St. Elsewhere) [He was 106]
Sean Lock (British Comedian)
William Lucking (Veteran Actor, Sons of Anarchy)

Norm Macdonald (Saturday Night Live Performer and Comedian)
Ray MacDonnell (Veteran Actor, All My Children)
John Madden (NFL Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster)
Bernie Madoff (Ponzi Scheme Mastermind)
Harriet Margulies (Producer’s Assistant, JAG and Audience Liaison NCIS)
Carlos Marin (Member of the British opera-pop crossover group Il Divo)
Gerry Marsden (Frontman of Gerry and the Pacemakers)
Jackie Mason (Veteran Comedian) [He was 93]
Gavin MacLeod (Actor, Love Boat) [He was 90]
Liz McCann (Pioneer Broadway Producer, 9-Time Tony Winner)
Helen McCrory (Actress, Harry Potter franchise and Peaky Blinders, wife of actor Damian Lewis) [She was 52]
Les McKeown (Singer, Bay City Rollers)
Larry McMurtry (Oscar Winner, Brokeback Mountain and Author ‘Lonesome Dove’)
Eddie Mekka (Actor, Laverne & Shirley)
Roger Michell (Director, Notting Hill, Venus and My Cousin Rachel)
Matthew Mindler (Child Actor, Our Idiot Brother) [He was only 19]
Walter Mondale (Former Vice President)
Paul Mooney (Comedian, Actor and Writer for Richard Pryor)
Jovita Moore (Atlanta News Anchor) [She was only 53]
Captain Sir Tom Moore (British World War II Veteran who raised millions of pounds to battle COVID) [He was 100]
Trevor Moore (Comedian and Co-Founder of The Whitest Kids U Know Sketch Comedy Group)
Mark Anthony Morales (aka Prince Markie Dee, Rap Group The Fat Boys) [He was 52]
Roger Mudd (Veteran CBS and NBC News Correspondent) [He was 93]
Dr. Barbara Murphy (Kidney Transplant Expert)

Michael Nader (Actor, Dynasty and All My Children)
Mike Nesmith (Singer-Songwriter, The Monkees and Multimedia Entrepreneur)

Johnny Pacheco (Co-Founder, Salsa Label Fania Records)
Peter Palmer (Star of Li’l Abner on Broadway and the big screen)
Christopher Pennock (Actor, General Hospital and Dark Shadows)
Lee “Scratch” Perry (Jamaican Reggae Legend, Producer and Performer)
Prince Philip (Husband of Queen Elizabeth II) [He was 99, two months short of 100]
Jay Pickett (Veteran soap opera actor)
Ronald Pickup (Actor, The Crown and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Marc Pilcher (Bridgerton Makeup Designer and Emmy Winner)
Christopher Plummer (Veteran Shakespearean Actor, The Sound of Music, Departure and Beginners)
Ron Popeil (Infomercial Icon)
Markie Post (Actress, Night Court)
Anthony Powell (Three-Time Oscar-Winning Costume Designer)
Colin Powell (Former U.S. Secretary of State)
Jane Powell (Legendary Actress, Royal Wedding and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
Eddie Mekka (Actor, Laverne & Shirley)
Marion Ramsey (Broadway Actress, Film Actress, Police Academy)
John Reilly (Veteran Actor, General Hospital)
Anne Rice (Writer, ‘Interview with the Vampire’)
Jerry Remy (Former Baseball player and long-time Boston Red Sox Broadcaster)
Sonny Rhodes (Singer-Guitarist, Performed Theme Song to TV Show Firefly)
Peter Mark Richman (Stage Actor and TV Actor, Beverly Hills 90210 and Three’s Company)
Sam Riddle (Producer, Star Search and Original LA ‘Boss Radio’ DJ)
Paul Ritter (British Actor, Chernobyl and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) [He was 54]
Tanya Roberts (Actress, Charlie’s Angels and That ‘70s Show)
Charles Robinson (Actor, The Night Court)
Mick Rock (Legendary Photographer of David Bowie, Queen and Lou Reed)
Joanne Rogers (Widow of Fred Rogers aka Mister Rogers)
Max Rosenthal (Character Actor and father of series creator Phil Rosenthal) [He was 95]
Donald Rumsfeld (Former U.S. Secretary of Defense)
Richard Rush (Director, The Stunt Man) [He was 92]

Antonio Sabato Sr. (Actor, Grand Prix and Escape From the Bronx and father of actor Antonio Sabato Jr.)
Mort Sahl (Standup Comic) [He was 94]
Jay Sandrich (Emmy-winning Director, The Cosby Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show)
Herbert Schlosser (NBC Executive)
Al Schmitt (Engineer-Mixer, Winner of 20 Grammys) [He was 91]
Peter Scolari (Actor, Newhart and Bosom Buddies)
Willard Scott (Legendary Today Show Weatherman)
Sabine Schmitz (Top Gear Presenter and Famed Racing Driver) [She was 51]
Fred Segal (Icon of Los Angeles Fashion and Retail)
George Segal (Veteran Actor, The Goldsbergs, Oscar Nominee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf)
Sidharth Shukla (Beloved Bollywood Actor) [He was only 40]
Gregory Sierra (Actor, Barney Miller and Sanford and Son)
Felix Silla (Actor, Cousin Itt on The Addams Family and Twiki on Buck Rogers)
Cliff Simon (Actor, Stargate: SG-1)
Joseph Siravo (Actor, The Sopranos, Jersey Boys and American Crime Story)
Sylvain Sylvain (Co-Founder and Rhythm Guitarist, New York Dolls)
Shock G. (Bay Area rapper-producer who fueled “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground)
William Smith (Action Star/Actor, Any Which Way You Can and Rich Man, Poor Man)
Stephen Sondheim (Legendary Composer and Dominant Voice in American Musical Theatre)
Phil Spector (Legendary Studio Producer)
Michael Stanley (Cleveland Rock Hero, Michael Stanley Band)
Jim Steinman (Composer, Lyricist and Record Producer – worked with Meat Loaf, Celine Dion and Bonnie Tyler)
Dean Stockwell (Veteran Actor, Quantum Leap and countless movie since he was a child)
Una Stubbs (Veteran Actress, Sherlock)

Jamie Tarses (TV Executive, First Woman to Lead NBC Programming Division) [She was 56]
B.J. Thomas (Singer and Grammy-Winner)
Ruthie Tompson (Animation Pioneer and Disney Legend) [She was 111]
Houston Tumlin (Child Actor, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) [He was 28]
James Michael Tyler (Actor, Gunther on Friends)
Michael Tylo (Veteran Soap Actor, Guiding Light, General Hospital, The Young and the Restless)
Cicely Tyson (Emmy- and Tony-Winner, Veteran Actress

Bobby Unser (American Auto Race, 3 time Indy winner)

Melvin Van Peebles (Legendary Filmmaker and father of actor-director Mario Van Peebles)

Alma Wahlberg (Mother of Mark and Donnnie Wahlberg)
Bunny Wailer (Founding Member, Bob Marley’s Wailers and Reggae Singer)
Jeff Wald (Manager to Helen Reddy, Sylvester Stallone and Donna Summer)
Jessica Walter (Actress, Arrested Development)
Charlie Watts (Legendary Drummer, The Rolling Stones)
Jim Weatherly (Songwriter, “Midnight Train to Georgia”)
Howard Weitzman (Celebrity Attorney to Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando and Sean Combs)
Sunni Welles (Actress and Author; and one of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault accusers)
Lina Wertmüller (first woman to be nominated for Best Director Oscar) [She was 93]
Diane Weyermann (Producer, Inconvenient Truth)
Betty White (Legendary Actress)
Clarence Williams III (Actor, The Mod Squad and Purple Rain)
Michael K. Williams (Actor, The Wire and Boardwalk Empire)
Mary Wilson ( (Co-Founder of the Supremes)
Jane Withers (Former Child Star and Josephine the Plumber) [She was 95]
Samuel E. Wright (Voice of Sebastian in The Little Mermaid)

John Sacret Young (TV Series Co-Creator, China Beach)
Wanda Young (Original member of the Marvelettes, and later the group’s lead singer)

NOTE: This list, in no way, covers all the industry talent who passed away this year. Again, condolences are extended to one and all.

Out of respect, please take a moment of silence.

TOMORROW: TV Ratings

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Every year there are lots of awards shows, some important, some just fun and numerous just plain silly or nonsensical, but the list featured below – despite the continued pandemic – showcases just some of the top winners over the course of 2021.

But first, let’s salute Ruth E. Carter, the first Black costume designer who, in February, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He costuming has been featured in the box office movies Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Black Panther, Amistad, What’s Love Got To Do With It and Coming 2 America [just to name a few].

CRITICS CHOICE SUPER AWARDS (January)

Best Animated Movie – Soul (Disney+)
Best Superhero Movie – The Old Guard (Netflix)
Best Action Series – Vikings (History)
Best Actor, Action Series – Daveed Diggs, Snowpiercer (TNT)
Best Actress, Action Series – Angela Bassett, 9-1-1 (FOX)
Best Actor, Horror Series – Jensen Ackles, Supernatural (The CW)
Best Actress, Horror Series – Jurnee Smollett, Lovecraft Country (HBO)
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Series – The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Best Villain in a Series – Anthony Starr, The Boys (Amazon)

THE GOTHAM AWARDS (January)

Best Feature – Nomadland
Best Actor – Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Best Actress – Nicole Beharie, Miss Juneteenth
Breakthrough Actor – Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami…

GOLDEN GLOBES (February)

Best Actress, Motion Picture – Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Best Director, Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
Best TV Series, Drama – The Crown (Netflix)
Best Limited TV Series – The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Best Actor TV Series – Josh O’Connor, The Crown (Netflix)
Best Actress TV Series – Emma Corrin, The Crown (Netflix)
Best Actor, Supporting Role, Motion Picture – Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS (March)

Best Supporting Actress, TV Drama – Gillian Anderson, The Crown (Netflix)
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Michael K. Williams, Lovecraft Country (HBO)

Best Acting Ensemble – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Best Movie Made for TV – Hamilton (Disney+)
Best Actor – Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Best Actress – Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

GRAMMY AWARDS (March)

Record of the Year – Everything I Wanted, Billie Eilish
Album of the Year – folklore, Taylor Swift
Best New Artist – Megan Thee Stallion
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance – Rain On Me, Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande
Best Pop Solo Performance – Watermelon Sugar, Harry Styles
Best Pop Vocal Album – Future Nostalgia, Dua Lipa
Best R&B Album – Bigger Love, John Legend
Best Country Song – Crowded Table, The Highwomen
Best Musical Theater Album – Jagged Little Pill

NAACP IMAGE AWARDS (March)

Social Justice Impact – Stacey Abrams
Outstanding Actor, TV Drama – Regé-Jean Page, Bridgerton (Netflix)
Outstanding Independent Motion Picture – The Banker” (Apple TV+)
Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Motion Picture – Madalen Mills, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
Outstanding Actor, TV Comedy – Anthony Anderson, Black-ish (ABC)
Outstanding Actress, TV Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special – Octavia Spencer, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (Netflix)
Outstanding Female Artist – Beyoncé, Black Parade
Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration – Chloe x Halle, Wonder What She Thinks Of Me
Outstanding Writing, TV Comedy – Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You, Ego Death (HBO)

SAG AWARDS (April)

Outstanding Supporting Actress – Youn Yuh-Jung, Minari
Outstanding Performance, Ensemble Cast, TV Comedy – Schitt’s Creek
Outstanding Actor in TV Movie or Mini-Series – Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True

BAFTA (April)

Leading Actress – Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Leading Actor – Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Outstanding British Film – Promising Young Woman
Outstanding Screenplay – Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell

FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS (April)

Best Actor, New Scripted Series – Amit Rahav, Unorthodox
Best Actress, New Scripted Series – Shira Haas, Unorthodox
Robert Altman Award – One Night in Miami
Best Supporting Female – Yuh-jung Youn, Minari

RAZZIE AWARDS (April)

Worst Picture – Absolute Proof
Worst Actress – Kate Hudson – Music
Worst Director – Sia, Music
Worst Screenplay – 365 Days

OSCARS (April)

Best Actor – Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Best Actress – Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Best Picture – Nomadland
Best Original Song – “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah [Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas]
Best Director – Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Best Support Actor – Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Best Original Screenplay – Promising Young Woman by Emerald Fennell

MTV MUSIC AND TV AWARDS (May)

Best Show – WandaVision (Disney+)
Best Movie – To All the Boys: Always and Forever (Netflix)
Best Musical Moment – “Edge of Great” from Julie and the Phantoms (Netflix)
Best Villain – Kathryn Hahn, WandaVision (Disney+)
Best Duo – Falcon & Winter Soldier [Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan], The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+)
Breakthrough Performance – Rege-Jean Page, Bridgerton (Netflix)
Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision (Disney+)

BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS (May)

Top Artist – The Weeknd
Top Female Artist – Taylor Swift
Top Duo/Group – BTS
Top R&B Female Artist – Doja Cat
Top Country Female Artist – Gabby Barrett
Top Christian Album – Carrie Underwood, My Gift
Top Rock Song – “Bang!” by AJR

DAYTIME EMMY AWARDS (June)

Outstanding Drama Series – General Hospital (ABC)
Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)
Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Maurice Benard, General Hospital (ABC)
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Marla Adams, The Young and the Restless (CBS)
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Max Gail, General Hospital (ABC)
Younger Performer in a Drama Series – Victoria Konefal, Days of Our Lives (NBC)
Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show – The Kelly Clarkson Show (NBC)

BET AWARDS (June)

Album of the Year – “Heaux Tales” by Jazmine Sullivan
Best Female R&B / Pop Artis – H.E.R.
Best Group – Silk Sonic
Best Female Hip Hop Artist – Megan Thee Stallion
Video Director of the Year – Bruno Mars And Florent Déchard
Best Movie – Judas And The Black Messiah
Best Actress – Andra Day
Best Actor – Chadwick Boseman
Youngstars Award – Marsai Martin

HOLLYWOOD CRITICS ASSOCIATION TV AWARDS (August)

Best Broadcast Network Series, Drama – New Amsterdam (NBC)
Best Streaming Series, Drama – The Mandalorian (Disne+)
Best Cable Series, Comedy – Resident Alien (Syfy)
Best Broadcast Network or Cable Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Live-Action Television Movie – Mare of Easttown (HBO)
Best Streaming Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Live-Action Television Movie – WandaVision (Disney+)
Best Actor in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Drama – Billy Porter, Pose (FX)
Best Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama – Josh O’Connor, The Crown (Netflix)
Best Actress in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Drama – Mj Rodriguez, Pose (FX)
Best Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama – Emma Corrin, The Crown”(Netflix)
Best Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Television Movie – Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Best Supporting Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama – Rupert Grint, Servant (Apple TV+)
Best Supporting Actress in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Drama – Tatiana Maslany, Perry Mason (HBO)
Best Supporting Actress in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Comedy – Mary Steenburgen, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC)
Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Television Movie – Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown (HBO)

Special Honorary Awards:
Legacy Award – Cobra Kai (Netflix)
Spotlight Award – Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC)
Impact Award – New Amsterdam (NBC)
Pop Culture Icon Award – Tom Ellis, Lucifer (Netflix)

CREATIVE ARTS EMMYS (September)

Television Movie – Dolly Parton’s Christmas On The Square (Netflix)
Outstanding Stunt Performance AND Stunt Coordination – The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics – WandaVision (Disney+)
Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music – The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series – The Crown (Netflix)
Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes – WandaVision (Disney+)
Outstanding Period And/Or Character Hairstyling – Bridgerton (Netflix)

TELEVISION CRITICS ASSOCIATION (September)

Individual Achievement In Drama – Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You (HBO)
Individual Achievement In Comedy – Jean Smart, Hacks (HBO Max)
Outstanding Achievement In Youth Programming – The Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix)

EMMY AWARDS (September)

Limited Series – The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Drama Series – The Crown (Netflix)
Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie – Ewan McGregor, Halston (Netflix)
Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie – Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown (HBO)
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Tobias Menzies, The Crown (Netflix)
Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie – Julianne Nicholson, Mare Of Easttown (HBO)

TONY AWARDS (September)

Best Musical – Moulin Rouge: The Musical
Best Play – The Inheritance
Best Revival of a Play – A Soldier’s Play
Best Book of a Musical – Jagged Little Pill, Diablo Cody
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play – Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play – Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical – Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical – Adrienne Warren, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play – David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical – Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill

AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS (November)

Artist of the Year – BTX
New Artist of the Year – Olivia Rodrigo
Favorite Male Pop Artist – Ed Sheeran
Favorite Female Pop Artist – Taylor Swift
Favorite Male Country Artist – Luke Bryan
Favorite Female Country Artist – Carrie Underwood
Favorite R&B Song – “Leave The Door Open” by Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak)

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS (December)

The Movie of 2021 – Black Widow
The Comedy Movie of 2021 – Free Guy
The Action Movie of 2021 – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
The Drama Movie of 2021 – Cruella
The Female Movie Star of 2021 – Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow)
The Comedy Movie Star of 2021 – Dwayne Johnson (Jungle Cruise)
The Action Movie Star of 2021 – Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings)
The Comedy Show of 2021 – Never Have I Ever
The Male TV Star of 2021 – Tom Hiddleston (Loki)
The Drama TV Star of 2021 – Chase Stokes (Outer Banks)
The Comedy TV Star of 2021 – Selena Gomez (Only Murders in the Building)
The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show of 2021 – Lucifer
The Female Artist of 2021 – Adele
The Song of 2021 – “Butter” (BTS)
The New Artist of 2021 – Olivia Rodrigo

BLACK FILM CRITICS AWARDS (December)

Best Picture – King Richard
Actor – Will Smith (King Richard)
Actress – Tessa Thompson (Passing)
Supporting Actress – Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)
Ensemble – The Harder They Fall

Congratulations to all of the above winners (and the countless others who won awards) this year. Are any of the above your favorites? Do you think there was an actor or actress who was overlooked this year? Please share your thoughts.

TOMORROW: Condolences

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Movie fans were finally able to return to their local Cineplexes starting this past May – with COVID restrictions in place, of course, and I was able to see about a dozen movies over the past 6 months or so. Most were superhero related (Black Widow, Eternals and Shang-Chi) with a little James Bond (No Time to Die) stirred [not shaken] in too; but my favorites were Jungle Cruise, In the Heights and Free Guy (Ryan Reynolds was hysterical!)

Among the much buzzed about news items in the world of box office movies have been former Twilight leading lady Kristen Stewart get rave reviews for her portrayal of the late Princess Diana in the film Spencer; legends Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci receiving their own share of rave reviews for their roles in the indie flick Supernova. And, Chloe Zhao is now the hottest director in Hollywood, coming off her win at the Golden Globes (she’s the second woman to win Best Director in 78 years) and at the Oscars as well. She was the Director for this year’s Eternals and her next project will be the sci-fi Western spin on Dracula.

Now let’s take a look at the top 30 box office winners from this year (up through Sunday, December 19 that is):

1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – 224 million
2. Venom: Let There Be Carnage – 212 million
3. Black Widow – 184 million
4. F9: The Fast Saga – 173 million
5. Eternals – 163 million
6. No Time to Die – 161 million
7. A Quiet Place Part II – 160 million
8. Free Guy – 121.6 million
9. Spider-Man: No Way Home -121.5 million
10. Jungle Cruise – 117 million
11. Ghostbusters: Afterlife – 115 million
12. Godzilla vs. Kong – 99 million
13. Dune – 93 million
14. Halloween Kills – 92 million
15. Cruella – 86 million
16. Encanto – 77 million
17. Space Jam: A New Legacy – 67 million
18. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – 66 million
19. Candyman – 61 million
20. The Boss Baby: Family Business – 57 million
21. The Addams Family 2 – 56.4 million
22. The Suicide Squad – 55.7 million
23. Raya and the Last Dragon – 54.7 million
24. Clifford the Big Red Dog – 49 million
25. Old – 48 million
26. Tom and Jerry – 46 million
27. The Forever Purge – 45 million
28. House of Gucci – 44 million
29. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway – 40.3 million
30. PAW Patrol: The Movie – 40.1 million

NOTE: This list does not include Spider-Man: No Way Home, as the movie was released on December 17; however, this latest version of the webslinger’s tale is set to cross the $1 billion mark WORLDWIDE on Christmas Day.

On the other spectrum are the movies that were either a disappointment in the box office due to poor ticket sales or, more importantly, had a horrible trailer that made me completely uninterested in seeing them. While several of the below were in the top 30 for ticket sales, they still weren’t very good (at least to me).

They appear in alphabetical order below:

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
Don’t Breathe 2
Godzilla vs. Kong
Jackass Forever
Halloween Kills
Malignant
Music
Old
Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin
Spiral: For the Book of Saw
Separation
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The Forever Purge
The Last Duel
Venom: Let There Be Carnage

What movies did you most enjoy seeing this year? Which movies were disappointments to you? Please share your thoughts and comments.

TOMORROW: Awards of 2021

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

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Music has always been an important part of my life ever since I was a child listening to music while sitting in the middle of my big brothers’ shared bedroom on the their old 1970’s turntable then listening to my big boom box and later the Walkman I had in the 1980’s all the way through to my iPod in the 2000’s to now my Pandora and Spotify accounts.

I wake up to music every morning rather than a buzzing alarm; and then I go to bed with music on my phone [again, thank you Pandora!]. Music may not mean to everyone what it means to me, but it does play a crucial part in television, Broadway, theatres and the box office.

The following are my choices for top performers for 2021:

Female Artist of the Year: H.E.R.

H.E.R. (born Gabriella Wilson) was my choice for The Jimi Hendrix-Alicia Keyes Combo, aka Best R&B performer, last year. This time around she is the Female Artist of the Year as throughout 2021, she performed “America the Beautiful during the pre-game festivities for Super Bowl LV; she co-wrote, co-composed and co-produced the song “Fight for You” for the movie Judas and the Black Messiah, which won Best Original Song for the 2020-2021 Academy Awards; her single “Damage” topped the R&B radio charts; and her debut album ‘Back of My Mind’ was released in the summer. Additionally, she will make her feature film debut in the upcoming adaptation of The Color Purple in the role of Squeak.

Here is the video for “Fight for You”:

She is Back! (The Most Welcome Return): Adele

Adele has been a top performer since her debut studio album entitled “19” [the age she was when the album was released] came out in 2008 and garnered her Grammy Award for Best New Artist. She followed that up with a new album entitled “21” two years later; that album became the world’s best-selling album of the 21st century. Her next album “25” came four years later; and the lead single “Hello” became the first song in the US to sell over one million digital copies within a week of its release. Five years later, her new album “30” was released in November 2021. A week after her new single “Easy on Me” was released, it surged to number one on the Hot 100, becoming her 5th chart-topping single. The album has since become the biggest album debut of 2021; and she recently performed at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for the first time on American TV. And, starting in January 2022 she will have a Vegas residency at Caesar’s Palace; Weekends With Adele will find the singer performing two shows every weekend from January through April.

Here is the video for “Easy on Me”:

New Artist of the Year: Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo is a teen phenom singer-songwriter and actress, who got her start at the ripe young age of 13 in the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark for which she starred for three years. She then moved on to be part of the ensemble cast of the Disney+ mockumentary series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. She signed with Interscope and Geffen Records in 2020 and her debut single “Drivers License” was released in 2021, which quickly topped the charts. Her debut studio album ‘Sour’ received critical acclaim and has earned her 7 Grammy nominations. She had three consecutive number 1 songs, making her the first artist ever to accomplish this feat and ‘Sour’ broke Spotify’s global records for biggest opening week by a female artist ever.

Here is the video for “Driver’s License”:

Best Musical Theater Duo: Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear

Abigail Barlow, 23, and Emily Bear, 20, are the new “It girl” millennials, making waves thanks to their much-buzzed about concept album ‘The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical’ they created together. Abigail is a singer, cover artist and TikTok Star while Emily is child piano prodigy, who has gone on to become a composer, songwriter and singer.

After bingeing the Netflix series Bridgerton (like the millions of other viewers) at the end of 2020, Abigail knew it was meant for the stage. She wrote the beginning of two songs, put them up at TikTok and the response was astonishing, which included responses by cast members of the series and countless Broadway stars. Abigail reached out to Emily, her writing partner for the previous year and a half, and they finished those two songs and quickly began working on translating the period piece drama into a musical, prolifically composing, orchestrating and producing 15 original songs in 6 weeks, in real time, live on Instagram and sharing them on TikTok. They have since made countless appearances on TV, podcasts and even performed on the stage at the Kennedy Center at 50 alongside Glee alum Darren Criss. Their concept album has also earned them a 2022 Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album.

You can listen to all of the songs (15 in total) from “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” here [make sure to use the pull down menu to the right of the video to listen to each song]:

Top Rock Song: “Bang!” by AJR

The song “Bang!” by the American indie pop trio AJR is composed of multi-instrumentalist brothers Adam, Jack and Ryan Met may have been released in February of 2020, but it became their highest-charting song, peaking at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 by January of 2021. The trio have been nominated for Favorie Pop Duo/Group by the American Music Awards, Top Duo/Group and Top Rock Artist by the Billboard Music Awards and Alternative Rock Artist of the Year by the iHeartRadio Music Awards. The single “Bang!” won for Top Rock Song” at this year’s Billboard Music Awards.

Here is the video for “Bang!”:

Favorite (but Over-Hyped) Pop Group: BTS

The Korean pop group BTS was formed back in 2010 but they didn’t debut until 2013. They originally started as a hip hop group, but their music style has evolved over the years. The septet consists of members Jin, Suga, J-Hope RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook. They co-write and co-produce much of their own music. Their hit single “Dynamite” came out last summer, and this year’s hit summer single “Butter” became THE song of the summer.

Here is the video for “Butter”:

Music for Real Life: Nurse Lori Marie Key

The 29-year-old Michigan nurse, Lori Marie Key, who worked in a COVID unit, was captured on video during a daily huddle for a shift change belting out the somber song “Amazing Grace” on the floor of St. Mary Mercy Hospital at the height of the pandemic last April. That song brought a moment of relief and teary smiles to the faces of her co-workers; and, of course, the video went viral.

Because of that exposure, Key was invited to perform the song at a memorial, held at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool that was augmented with 400 lights to represent the (then) 4000,000 American lives lost to COVID-19, which was ahead of the Inauguration of then President-elect Joe Biden

You can see the original video of Lori Marie Key signing “Amazing Grace” at St. Mary Mercy Hospital that went viral below:

And here Key sings “Amazing Grace” at the COVID Memorial on January 19:

Favorite New R&B Duo: Silk Sonic

Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, who was Mars’s opening act in 2017, have joined together to form the new R&B Duo Silk Sonic. They released their debut single “Leave the Door Open” in March of this year and their debut album ‘An Evening with Silk Sonic’ was released in November. The duo made their TV debut at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards and performed at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards. They went on to win Best Group at the BET Awards 2021 and they won Favorite R&B Song at the American Music Awards. Their musical style is very reminiscent of 1960’s/1970’s funk-retro.

Here is the video to “Leave the Door Open”:

Top Male R&B Artist: Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste is a veteran jazz keyboardist, who is also the musical director of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, is considered a musical genius and just so happens to be a member of one of New Orleans’ legendary musical dynasties. He served as a co-composer alongside Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on the 2020 animated movie Soul, earning an Oscar as well as a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. His 5th solo studio album ‘WE ARE’ came out in March of this year on Verve Records; and his live EP ‘Live at Electric Lady’ was released exclusively to Spotify this summer. He has earned an impressive 11 nominations (more than any other artist) for the 2022 Grammy Awards; eight for ‘WE ARE’ and three for Soul.

Here is the video for his single “Freedom”:

Best Duo Performance: Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan

Country star Eric Church, who has been on the music scene since 2006, and R&B singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan, who has received 15 Grammy nominations [tying Bjork as the female artist with the most Grammy nominations without winning] ,joined forces at Super Bowl LV this past February to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” According to one review (https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/ct-ent-super-bowl-national-anthem-eric-church-review-20210208-yhjrzxtjf5cvpcj2wjnz6q35je-story.html) they “blended their vocals beautifully to create a memorable, enjoyable rendition” of the National Anthem.

Check out the video of Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan at the Super Bowl via YouTube here.

Top Country Artist: Gabby Barrett and Mickey Guyton {Tie}

Pennsylvania native Gabby Barrett competed in the 16th season of American Idol in 2018 at the age of 18, coming in third place. This led her to signing a deal with Warner Music Nashville, with her debut single “I Hope” being released in July of 2019, which came from her debut studio album ‘Goldmine.’ This single went on to become an international crossover hit for Gabby, but it took a wild two-year journey to get there. As of this summer, the single had become the biggest song of 2021, dominating country radio.

Here is the video for “I Hope”:

Texas native Mickey Guyton has been part of the music world since 2011, but has been singing since she was a little girl. She did audition for American Idol, but was cut just before the live shows for the top 24. Last year, she made an impression on the world of country music by being the first black woman to ever perform solo at the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards. Her debut studio album ‘Remember Her Name’ came out this September, and that album includes the single “All American,” which is a unifying anthem that Guyton says “embodies everything that makes America special.”

Here is the video for “All American”:

What singer or band has been your “go-to” music during the pandemic? Which singles were the stand-outs for you this year? What song did you get sick of hearing on the radio? What was the top album in your opinion? Please share your thoughts on the music of 2021 below.

TOMORROW: Box Office Standings

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The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to affect TV production, although most productions are back in place – albeit with quite a bit of protocols and preventions in place – TV viewing has been changed – and not just because of the overall proliferation of streaming services and people cutting the cord.

While last year was very bleak, TV fans have been able to, once again, enjoy their favorite shows, good bad or otherwise. There were new shows for which we became obsessed with; outstanding performances, lots of streaming shows to get hooked on, unexpected departures and much, much more.

Please join me as I focus on the top highlights for 2021 (listed in no particular order):

Highest Rated New Network Drama: FBI: International (CBS)

There have been about 10 new dramas debuting this new TV season (2021-2022); and while ratings for all shows (comedy and drama alike on the major AND cable networks) are in rapid decline, the top new drama is FBI: International, which has earned approximately 5.9 million per week.

Favorite New Drama: The Big Leap (FOX)

The reality show within a drama series is struggling in the ratings (just like every other show on the air right now), but it’s clearly the front runner for being the favorite new drama. The ensemble cast is very diverse, the personalities are over the top fun, the dancing has been entertaining and the drama as well as the comedic moments have been a delight.

Best Actress: Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision (Disney+)

It’s hard to imagine any other actress this TV season making more of an impression than Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in the Disney+ series WandaVision. Starting with the pilot episode, filmed in black and white in a salute to shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show, through all of the generational salutes to TV comedies, culminating in the showdown between Wanda and her nemesis [more on that below] and Wanda finally “dealing” with the death of her love, Vision, Olsen did a stellar job!

Best Actor: Billy Porter, Pose (FX)

The Emmy and Tony winner stood out this season in his portrayal of Pray Tell in the FX series, which came to an end in June. In what will become an iconic moment, viewers saw Pray go home where he sat in front of his vanity mirror, removing the glam from his face to reveal the man underneath before going down the hall to his bed where he was found lifeless the following morning.

Best Limited Series: Mare of Easttown (HBO)

This limited series starred Kate Winslet as a talented, but deeply flawed, police investigator in a small Pennsylvania town, dealing with a brutal murder case, a complicated family life and a difficult past. Each cast member was outstanding in their roles as well.

Why, Why, Why? (Most Disappointing Cancellation): Rebel (ABC)

This drama debuted in April, airing all of its 10 episodes and averaging 3 million viewers overall. But despite having a stellar cast that included Katey Sagal, Andy Garcia, John Corbett, Tamala Jones, James Lesure and Sam Palladio along with recurring cast members Mary McDonnell, Abigail Spencer, Adam Arkin and Sharon Lawrence – as well as a talented behind the scenes crew and captivating stories – the network pulled the plug on a show that was actually pretty good.

What a Great Way to End (Great Series Finale): Wynonna Earp (Syfy)

After 4 seasons the supernatural horror drama, based on the comic book series, came to an end with the much anticipated wedding of Waverly and Nicole (aka WayHaught) and Wynonna and Doc riding out of Purgatory heading toward Miracle, Montana to finally get their little girl Alice. Of course, the team had to deal with a haunted wedding dress and a vengeful witch, but such is life in the city of Purgatory in Ghost River County. The empty chairs at the wedding, which were dedicated to those characters that were lost, was especially touching.

Best Performance in an Episode (Part 1): Kenneth Choi in 9-1-1 (FOX)

While watching the episode entitled “Home and Away,” if your heart didn’t break for Howie “Chimney” Han as he repeatedly watched the video left by his love Maddie, and then even more so when he begged the doctor at the hospital to tell him what happened to their child. It was gut wrenching to say the least and powerfully moving.

What a Dramatic Season: Virgin River (Netflix)

Season 3 of the Netflix drama was filled with lots of twists and heart wrenching moments from Lilly’s death to Hope’s accident to the scary finale scenes of Preacher presumably being left for dead by one of Paige’s “so-called” friends; young Christopher and Connie in jeopardy when the boy’s uncle (his father’s identical twin) showing up inside the house and then Jack proposing to Mel only to have her telling him that she’s pregnant.

Best Performance in a Short Lived Series (Part 1): Abigail Spencer on Rebel (ABC)

Abigail Spencer portrayed the fast-talking Dr. Misha Nelson in the short-lived ABC drama, and she was a delight to watch in action, putting a spell on Dr. Nathaniel Flynn (series regular Kevin Zegers) while helping with the case against big pharma spearheaded by Annie “Rebel” Flynn Ray Bello (series lead Katey Sagal) and veteran attorney Julian Cruz (series regular Andy Garcia).

It Was Bound to Happen: LeRoy Jethro Gibbs left his position at NCIS (CBS)

He has been the staple of the franchise since the long-running series debuted way back in September of 2003. It was only a matter of time before Gibbs would either be (heaven forbid) killed in the line of duty or, if lucky enough, retire in a cold climate far removed from DC. Gibbs got the latter, and while die-hard fans may not like the fact that he is gone, it was bound to happen.

Best Performance in a Short Lived Series (Part 2): Luke Mitchell on The Republic of Sarah (The CW)

Luke Mitchell has been playing complex characters since he first appeared on US screens back in 2013 [although he spent five years building his resume on Australian TV prior to that]; but it was his role as Danny Copper on the short-lived CW drama The Republic of Sarah that really moved viewers especially his character dealing with his abusive past.

Can You Believe Those Numbers?: Bridgerton (Netflix)

The Regency era drama, based on the Julia Quinn novels, took the streaming world by storm last Christmas, eventually being watched by 83 million viewers and making its lead – Rege-Jean Page, who played the delectable Duke of Hastings – a household name. And, making the second season of the series one of the most anticipated upcoming events.

Best Debut Episode: Superman & Lois (The CW)

TV viewers (and film fans) have seen many variations of the story Kal-El from Krypton; be it from the perspective of a teen-aged Clark Kent in Smallville to the young man figuring out who he really is in Man of Steel. The CW jumped on the bandwagon bringing a new version of Clark Kent to the small screen; that of not only superhero but also husband and father. The pilot episode of Superman & Lois was glorious to watch, giving viewers a glimpse of a different Clark Kent – if only the rest of the season had lived up to that.

Best Rescues of the Year: Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (by Roku Channel) and Manifest (by Netflix)

After two seasons on NBC, the delightfully entertaining Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist was cancelled, leaving a void in the hearts of its devoted fans; and the network also pulled the plug on the mysteries surrounding Manifest after three seasons. But, thankfully the folks over at the Roku Channel have given Zoey’s a second chance with the upcoming holiday movie (and a potential for future episodes should that movie perform well) while Netflix has given Manifest a 4th and final season, allowing the show to, hopefully, clear up a great many cliffhangers.

Best Villain: Kathryn Hahn, WandaVision (Disney+)

Kathryn was at her fiendish best playing Agatha, the mysterious and nosy neighbor on the Disney+ streaming series WandaVision; a character who was later revealed to actually be Agatha Harkness, a very powerful witch, who wanted Wanda’s powers for herself only to be tricked by the Scarlet Witch, eventually being trapped as Agatha the nosy neighbor within her own mind forever. It should be noted that Disney+ has officially announced that a spin-off, starring Kathryn, entitled Agatha: House of Harkness, will be “coming soon.”

Thanks for the Entertainment (Best Franchise of Dramas): All of the Disney+ Marvel dramas

Shifting (but not away) from all of the box office movies to the small screen, the streaming service Disney+ has been showering fans of the Marvel universe with plenty of dramas, starting with the debut of the much-buzzed about and now critically acclaimed series WandaVision to the action and adventure of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to the trippy and unexpected Loki to the unpredictable stories of What If…? Next up we’ll have Hawkeye and later She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight and so much more. Thank you Disney+!

We’re Gonna Miss You (Most Upsetting Deaths): The most upsetting deaths this year have come from very different shows.

They include: Dr. Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) on Grey’s Anatomy; Jackson West (Titus Makin Jr.) on The Rookie; Nicolette Nevin (Emily VanCamp) on The Resident; Colin Zabel (Evan Peters) on Mare of Easttown and Gordo and Tracy Stevens (Michael Dorman and Sarah Jones) on For All Mankind.

Best Performance in an Episode (Part 2): Gina Torres in 9-1-1: Lone Star (FOX)

In the episode entitled “One Day,” new character Tommy Vega had to deal with the extremely unexpected death of her beloved husband Charles as shown to us in the final moments of the previous week’s episode. Watching as she made the 9-1-1 call with clinical brusqueness, not to mention her putting on a brave face for their twin daughters, was gut-wrenching, to say the least. She spent nearly all of the episode in denial only to break down in the end. It was a magnificently nuanced performance.

Hitting Major Milestones: Law & Order: Special Victims and Chicago Fire (NBC)

It’s a milestone for any TV show to hit its 100th episode – many shows don’t even make it to two or even three seasons. But for the NBC dramas Law & Order: Special Victims and Chicago Fire, their milestones during the 2021-2022 TV season are much bigger than that. Law & Order: Special Victims celebrated its 500th episode while Chicago Fire celebrated its 200th episode; and, ironic or not, their episodes aired back-to-back on consecutive nights in late October.

Worst TV Show: Chad (TBS)

I rarely, if ever, talk about TV comedies, as they simply are one of my least favorite genres. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good laugh, but most TV comedies just rub me the wrong way. None more so than the TBS comedy Chad, which debuted on the cable network in April. The series stars Saturday Night Live alum Nasim Pedrad, an Iranian-born actress who plays a 14-year-old Persian boy desperately trying to fit in and figuring out his cultural identity. Just seeing the trailer and clips of upcoming episodes was a turn-off. Nasim is a talented comedienne and while I understand she worked YEARS to get this comedy off the ground and onto TV, I just found it crass and quite a bit pathetic.

Prettiest Newcomer: Abigail Cowen in Fate: The Winx Saga (Netflix)

This Netflix series may be a teen drama based on a Nickelodeon animated series, but it has all the makings of shows like Shadowhunters (from Freeform), Legacies (The CW) or The Magicians (Syfy). The series is set at a magical boarding school in the Otherworld called Alfea College. There, fairies (yes, fairies) learn how to control their powers – be it light, water, earth, mind, fire (and more) – and they discover that creatures called the Burned Ones have returned to their world and threaten everyone at the college and beyond into our world.

The lead in the series is Abigail Cowen, who plays a powerful fairy named Bloom Peters, who was raised in our world, but soon learns she is a changeling, a human-like creature believed to be a fairy left in place of a human that was stolen by the fairies. This Florida native is best known for her recurring role in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but she has also appeared in Stranger Things, The Fosters and the short-lived Jeremy Piven drama Wisdom of the Crowd. She also appeared in the faith-based box office film I Still Believe and will be the lead in the January 2022 box office movie Redeeming Love based on the novel by Francine Rivers.

What a Disappointing Outcome: Jupiter’s Legacy (Netflix) and Debris (NBC)

I had such high hopes for the Netflix superhero series Jupiter’s Legacy; mainly because of its cast, which included Josh Duhamel, Leslie Bibb, Ben Daniels and Matt Lanter; and the intensity of each episode, leading to the reveal of how the first generation of superheroes attained their abilities; but behind the scenes problems (aka creative differences) and budgetary issues played key roles in the show’s demise. The one “bright spot” in the show’s cancellation is that Netflix announced a new live-action series based on the unrelated comic – but Jupiter universe related – comic titled Supercrooks will be moving forward at the streaming service.

As for the new NBC sci-fi series Debris, the show aired all of its 13 episodes from its debut season from March to May; but the ratings were lackluster to say the least despite each week’s story being “way-out there” crazy and hard to not get captivated by. Unfortunately, perhaps those were the reasons for viewers not sticking around, and worse yet, the show ended with multiple cliffhangers.

Stand Out Dialogue: “But what is grief, if not love persevering?” from WandaVision (Disney+)

These words were uttered by Vision (Paul Bettany) in the WandaVision episode entitled “Previously On,” and those words truly struck a chord with viewers all over. Vision was attempting to comfort Wanda after being forced by her nemesis Agatha to relive the pain of losing her parents, being unable to bury her lover AND losing her brother. The folks over at Junkee stated that this line of dialogue is “likely the most beautiful line ever uttered in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” but the best comment about this dialogue came from actor, writer and director Madison Hatfield (@madhat31) on Twitter: “Do you hear that sound? It’s every screenwriter in the world whispering a reverent “F*CK” under their breath.” Masterfully done Laura Donney, masterfully done! [By the way Laura was the writer of the “Previously On” episode.]

Favorite Streaming Thriller: Squid Game (Netflix)

For whatever reason, one I am still unclear of, people all over the planet have been flocking to the Netflix Korean thriller Squid Game, watching the show in droves. The disturbing series – which hit Number 1 on the streaming service – has become a breakout hit. The tagline for the show is “Hundreds of cash-strapped contestants accept an invitation to compete in children’s games for a tempting prize, but the stakes are deadly.” I have seen social media posts stating that people have binged the series; that they couldn’t get enough of the series and were just in plain awe of the thriller. Viewing Squid Game for me is a HARD pass, but I can’t deny the attention that it has garnered.

Most Talked About Comedy: Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

Again, as I mentioned before, I rarely talk about comedies, but the Apple TV+ comedy Ted Lasso has garnered a LOT of attention – and its fair share of awards – including 7 Emmy Awards – and accolades. I won’t ever be watching the series – just not my kind of show – but I have to give credit where credit is due.

Hunky Newcomer: Liam Hall in Wicked (Passionflix)

Passionflix may not be a household name in the world of streaming services, but it certainly provides movies to a niche market: woman who want fantasy, romance and lots and lots of love and sex. Co-founded by Tosca Musk – yes, the sister of billionaire Elon Musk and daughter of 70-year old supermodel Maye Musk – this streaming service debuted the small screen adaptation of the Jennifer L. Armentrout sci-fi book Wicked in May of this year.

The movie featured Liam Hall in the lead role of Ren Owens, a hunter of the Fae (think of them like Buffy, the Vampire Slayer except its Fae they seek). This handsome Australian has appeared in episodes of Lucifer, Once Upon a Time, Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and the box office movie Before I Fall. TV viewers may also recognize him as Joseph Wilson (aka Kane Wolfman) in episodes of The CW’s Arrow.

NOTE: The books in the trilogy by Armentrout have been optioned by Passionflix and the folks at the streaming service are actively looking at schedules to film the remaining two books.

So Glad You’ll Be Back: Sanditon (PBS)

Sanditon was a hit with U.S. viewers back in 2020 (while it aired in the U.K. in 2019); and when the realization that only 8 episodes were created and filmed with no plans for a season two, viewers were up-in-arms (to say the least). There were petitions created and a social media movement began. Thankfully the powers that be eventually came to their senses and are giving the fans what they want: more Sanditon. In fact, there will be seasons 2 AND 3; although hunky Theo James will not be returning to the series in the role of Sidney Parker. Sigh!! Mark your calendars for March 20, 2022.

Most Anticipated New, Upcoming Drama: The Sandman (Netflix)

Netflix will be releasing a live-action adaptation of the popular Neil Gaiman comic book series The Sandman, which originally ran for 75 issues way back in January 1989 through March 1996, sometime in 2022. The story is a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy, following the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King (Tom Sturridge), as he mends the cosmic and human mistakes he’s made during his vast existence. The ensemble cast will include Game of Thrones alums Gwendoline Christie and Charles Dance; Doctor Who alum Jenna Coleman; Harry Potter alum David Thewlis and the one and only Stephen Fry (along with an array of other talent).

Best Looking Cast on a New Drama: Our Kind of People (FOX)

The FOX drama set in the real-life town of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts is a sprawling story of a strong-willed, single mother who sets out to reclaim her family’s name while making an impact with her revolutionary hair care line and learning the truth about who she really is. While the show may not be breaking ratings records – it’s averaging about 1.5 million viewers each week, and is currently on a short hiatus due to the World Series – this new series probably has the best looking cast (and don’t get me started on those incredible hairstyles and the clothes and the shoes – and that’s coming from someone whose idea of dressing up is wearing jeans, a comfy t-shirt and sneakers). Check out the picture to judge for yourself.

A Moving TV Moment: “Birth Mother” episode of This Is Us (NBC)

After several seasons of build-up, and many years of wondering on the part of Randall Pearson, the truth behind the life of his biological mother Laurel DuBois was revealed to him in this episode that aired in January. Shown mostly in flashbacks through stories told to Randall and his wife Beth by Hai, a Vietnamese refugee, who became Laurel’s secret lover during her young adult life, Randall finally got the answers he sought. But it wasn’t until he waded out into the water located on the edge of the lakefront property that he was gifted by Hai, who had been acting as caretaker for many years, screaming out his pain and anger – much like what his own mother did many times herself – that he came to terms with his past.

Just a Little Too Much in Common: Queens (ABC) and Girls5Eva (Peacock)

While these two shows have nearly identical storylines – members of former 90’s girl groups reunite after a hit song of each group is sampled by a current music star and each girl group is given the chance to perform at a big music event – they couldn’t be more different. Girls5Eva is a farcical comedy while Queens is a hip-hop drama. There is no question that both groups – Girls5Eva and Nasty Bitches (aka Queens) – include extremely talented performers [hello, Eve, Brandy, Sara Bareilles and Hamilton’s own Renee Elise Goldsberry!], but Queens is much more showy and theatrical while Girls5Eva has laugh your pants off scenes and, undeniably, horrible song lyrics.

It Was Worth the Wait: Leverage: Redemption (IMDbTV)

The last episode of the 5-seasons long series Leverage aired on Christmas Day back in 2012; and viewers of the series thought that would be it. Jump to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic (April 2020) when it was announced that a revival of the show had been ordered. Leverage: Redemption debuted the first 8 episodes of its new season during the summer of this year with the back half airing in October. The series brought back the original team Sophie (Gina Bellman), Elliot (Christian Kane), Parker (Beth Riesgraf) and Hardison (Aldis Hodge) and introduced Aleyse Shannon as Breanne, Hardison’s “little sister” and adding Noah Wyle as Harry Wilson; and gifted the fandom with 16 delightfully different and entertaining episodes. There is no word yet if there will be a second season, but it sure would be great to hear some good news soon.

Great Girl Power: Gunpowder Milkshake (Netflix)

This Netflix original had all the earmarks of a Quentin Tarentino film: blood, guts, and even sword fighting; but, thankfully, it was filled with powerful, kick-ass women: Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino and Michelle Yeoh. Gillan played a dangerous assassin named Sam, who set out to protect an 8-year old girl (whose father Sam was contracted to kill); and in the course of providing this protection, Sam was reunited with her assassin mother Scarlet (Headey) and a team of lethal associates Madeline (Gugino), Florence (Yeoh) and Anna May (Bassett) in order to take down a ruthless crime syndicate and its army of henchmen. It was a bloody battle that found all but one of the team of ladies making it out, setting out on the road trip of a lifetime. Here’s to hoping they make a sequel.

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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After everything that took place in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic, everyone was hoping for a better year in 2021. To a certain degree things have gotten a tiny bit better. Vaccines have been rolling out, booster shots are available; people are getting back to work; the entertainment industry is getting back into production; but – sadly – too many people in the United States are balking at getting the vaccines and still creating problems over wearing masks as well as balking at following health mandates that are there for good and valid reasons. And the nation has been rocked by a lot of tragedies, school shootings, unprecedented weather patterns and political quagmires. We are also currently concerned with the latest Omicron variant that has been cropping up across the globe.

It all started on January 6 when the orange-faced baboon incited the riots that took place in Washington, D.C., culminating in the insurrection at the Capitol Building. What a horrible display of human behavior that was; and what’s worse, not enough people have been prosecuted for those vial acts of treason against our country.

Only a few weeks later, the United States marked one year since the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Washington State with a death toll of 650,000 people as of February [sadly, that number continues to grow]. And then the second impeachment of the orange-faced baboon was announced without an indictment being handed down – yet again!

Then there were the Andrew Cuomo and Matt Gaetz scandals; the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, and the Russian hackers – known as Darkside – causing a massive fuel shortage across the East Coast because of their attack on the Colonial Pipeline. There were vaccine protests throughout the country and a criminal investigation lodged against the Trump Organization; and the missile strikes between Israel and Palestine.

By the summer, it was announced that 4 million worldwide deaths were on record due to the COVID pandemic. As summer began to fade, the United States finally withdrew from Afghanistan only to have the Taliban take over that country in about a week’s time, not to mention the devastating bombing that took place at the airport there as people were desperately trying to evacuate.

And then there was the Facebook whistleblower who testified on Capitol Hill; the Navy engineer and his wife who were arrested for espionage; the French Catholic Church scandal; the recent Astroworld Festival tragedy; the extremely disappointing results of the Kyle Rittenhouse case, finding him not guilty on all counts (so very, very wrong!) while the three men in the Ahmaud Arbery case were rightfully found guilty on all counts.

Turning to weather tragedies: there were earthquakes in Indonesia and Haiti; a deadly Nor’easter that hit Texas; countless tornadoes and hurricanes throughout the South and Northeast; massive floods in Germany and Belgium as well as many parts of the U.S. South; volcanic eruptions on the Island of St. Vincent and on the Canary Islands in Spain and countless wildfires in the Pacific West.

Throughout the year it seemed like every state reported shootings at schools or malls; places of business; on military bases; at the Capitol; at a FedEx hub in Indiana and countless more. There was the horrific collapse of that condo building in Surfside, Florida; the train derailment in Montana and the horrible oil spill in Huntington Beach, California.

There were triumphs in 2021, however, including the Perseverance Rover successfully landing on Mars; President Biden signing into law making Juneteenth (June 19) a federal holiday; the medal success of all the athletes at the Summer Olympics in Japan (which were delayed one year because of the pandemic) and Matt Amodio becoming the 3rd highest regular season earner ever on Jeopardy.

Let’s all hold onto the small glimmers of hope and joy that we have been able to find throughout the year; and hold out for more good things to happen in 2022.

I hope that you will join me through the end of this year, as I focus on the best and the worst of 2021 in the worlds of TV and movies, TV ratings and so much more.

NOTE: I apologize in advance for any omissions, spelling errors or oversights I might have made, but I definitely don’t apologize for any choices I made.

TOMORROW: TV Highlights

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[Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images]

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year!

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