Monday, October 20, 2014

The Affair 1.2: Time Travel!

No, there wasn't any actual time travel in last night's The Affair 1.2, but Noah was sure talking about it to Allison in a pivotal scene, and he got the multiple worlds solution to the grandfather paradox just right, kudos to the writers.  (See my 2-minute explanation of this business on Vidoyen earlier this year.)

Meanwhile, there was an important convergence of the Noah and Allison renditions of the story of their affair near the end, when, for the first time, it's clear that Allison is as attracted to Noah as he is to her.  When he tells her he's been thinking about her all week, and asks if she's been going through the same, she replies, in a sultry, vulnerable voice, "Of course."  Two crucial words in this ongoing story.

The overarching mystery of the death - not only who did the murder, if that's what it was, but who was murdered - continues to loom menacingly in the background.  I was pretty sure after the first episode that it was Cole - Allison's husband - but now I'm not so sure.  Maybe it was one of Cole's brothers - perhaps the one who was on the verge of doing something with Noah and Helen's underage daughter - but who knows.  It could also be Helen's father, played as a consummate a-hole by John Doman (his specialty, I mean that as a compliment), who clearly has a list of enemies, with Noah on the list.  Or it could be Cole after all.

But the slowly unfolding story of Noah and Allison, and their attraction to each other, remains the appealing centerpiece of this series, beautifully played and evocatively photographed, and shown at the perfect time, when the summer has just gone from North America, and with it the sand and the water and the sun all above it which is shown to such good effect on The Affair.

See also The Affair Premiere: Sneak Preview Review

Boardwalk Empire Penultimate: Taking Care of Business

Well, in its next to last episode, Boardwalk Empire served up the most powerful episode of the season - one of the most powerful of the entire series - in which all kinds of business was taken care of and closed.

First, though, I've got to say that the meeting between Nucky and Lucky, and all the guns on either side, was handled incredibly ineptly by Nucky's side.   He allowed himself to be out-argued, out-maneuvered, and out-gunned.  And the truth was that there was no reason that Lucky wouldn't have killed Nucky's nephew even after Eli led the assault and killed Maranzano.  Lucky had already demonstrated his lack of concern for bargains struck, when he declined to relinquish the nephew even after Nucky had returned Bugsy Siegel to Lucky and Meyer.

Still, it was great to see Eli and Nucky back together.   And Bugsy Siegel was given a virtuoso performance by Michael Zegen, with a verbal double fistful of Yiddishisms my own grandmother never heard.

But where does this leave Nucky?  His giving up Atlantic City and even his interests in Cuba are no surprise, given what we know of actual history.   This leaves the finale open for the wrapping up of some personal business, which we get a strong glimpse of tonight.

That business would be Gillian, whose message to Nucky, rendered in a spoken montage of overlapping phrases from her letter, has to be a highpoint in television dialogue presentation.   What we the audience of course know all too well is that Nucky killed Jimmy, Gillian's beloved son.  How there can ever be a meeting of Gillian and Nucky, based on any kind of truth, with this fact of the series hanging in the air, and surely on Nucky's mind, should in itself be worth the price of admission for the finale next week.   I'll be sad to see this series go.

See also Boardwalk Empire 5.1: Lucky Rising ... Boardwalk Empire 5.2: Joe Kennedy ... Boardwalk Empire 5.3: Veal Parmagian and Family ...Boardwalk Empire 5.4: Margaret and Nucky ... Boardwalk Empire 5.6: The Skipping Record

And see also Boardwalk Empire 4.1: Sneak Preview Review ... Boardwalk Empire 4.2: Sneak Preview Review ... Boardwalk Empire 4.2: J. Edgar ...Boardwalk Empire Sneak Preview Review 4.3: Honey, Sunny ...Boardwalk Empire 4.3: Nucky, Sunshine, and Heroin ... Boardwalk Empire Sneak Preview Review 4.4: Downfalls ... Boardwalk Empire 4.4: Bullies and Betrayals ... Boardwalk Empire Sneak Preview 4.5: The Gift of Rage ... Boardwalk 4.5: Two Deaths ... Boardwalk Empire Sneak Preview 4.6: Good Lovin' ... Boardwalk Empire 4.6: Sally and Margaret ... Boardwalk Empire Sneak Preview 4.7: Beds, Promotions, Surprises ... Boardwalk Empire 4.7: Family and History ... Boardwalk Empire Sneak Preview 4.8: The Blues ... Boardwalk Empire 4.8: Knives in the Back ... Boardwalk Empire 4.9: The Imbecile ...Boardwalk Empire 4.10 Sneak Preview Review: Unholy Alliances ...Boardwalk Empire 4.10: Family Treachery ... Boardwalk Empire 4.11: Nucky on the Beach

And see also Boardwalk Empire 3.1: Happy News Year 1923  ... Boardwalk Empire 3.2: Gasoline and the White Rock Girl ... Boardwalk Empire 3.3: The Showgirl and The Psycho ... Boardwalk Empire 3.5: "10 L'Chaim" ... Boardwalk Empire 3.7: Deadly Gillian ... Boardwalk Empire 3.8: Andrew Mellon ... Boardwalk Empire 3.9: Impaired Nucky

And see also Boardwalk Empire 2.1: Politics in an Age Before YouTube  ... Boardwalk Empire 2.2: The Woman Behind the Throne ... Boardwalk Empire 2.3: Frankenstein and Victrola ... Boardwalk Empire 2.4: Nearly Flagrante Delicto ... Boardwalk Empire 2.5: Richard's Story ... Boardwalk Empire 2.6: Owen and Other Bad News for Nucky ... Boardwalk Empire 2.7: Shot in the Hand  ...Boardwalk Empire 2.8: Pups with Fangs ... Boardwalk Empire 2.9: Ireland, Radio, Polio ...Boardwalk Empire 2.10: Double Shot ... Boardwalk Empire 2.11: Gillian and Jimmy  ... Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Finale: Stunner!

And see also Boardwalk Emipre on HBO ... Boardwalk Empire 1.2: Lines and Centers Power ...Boardwalk Empire 1.10: Arnold Rothstein, Media Theorist  ... Season One Finale of Boardwalk Empire

Homeland 4.4: Carrie's Counterpart

Two especially important developments in Homeland 4.4:

First, we meet Carrie's counterpart in the Pakistani Intelligence.  She's beautiful, intelligent, and clearly archly manipulative - just like Carrie, except she has a thick head of black rather than blonde hair.   We can surmise that later this season, the two will have a confrontation.  And this season will animated by their moves and countermoves.   For now, Carrie's opposite has expertly blackmailed the professor who's the American ambassador's husband.   A good opening move in the chess game.

Meanwhile, Carrie has moved into full seduction of the nephew whose uncle - the terrorist - was killed in the opening episode.  Except he wasn't killed - we'll get to that in a moment.  But, as I said last week, it's good to see Carrie so much in control of herself and at the top of her game.  It's refreshing after what we've seen in all the past seasons.  If that includes sleeping with a teenaged boy to win his trust, hey - it's for a good cause, to ultimately save American lives and make the world safer.   And the kid, if he survives, will have pretty good  bragging rights for the rest of his life.

Now about the uncle not being killed.  That's  a pretty startling revelation, the biggest we've seen so far in Season 4.  It suggests, since it's arriving so early in the season, that this will be a year a surprises on Homeland.   They actually began with the killing of the CIA operative in Islamabad and who was behind it.   Now it's moved to discovery that the apparent killing of the uncle was a set-up designed to keep him safe from his American hunters for at least a little while.

This would have been a great season of Homeland, and may still be.   And the irony is that what might bring the season down has nothing to do with what is happening on the show.  It's rather what is happening in the world.   It strains belief that we haven't heard a word so far on Homeland about ISIS or ISIL or whatever it's supposed to be called, and what we see reported almost daily about what it's now doing in Syria and Iraq.   I wonder if there's any chance that something about this real threat will be worked into the season by the end?  That would be an ultimate surprise indeed.

And see also  Homeland on Showtime ... Homeland 1.8: Surprises ... Homeland Concludes First Season: Exceptional

#SFWApro  #SHO_Homeland

  different kind of espionage

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Cast of The Wire at the Paley Center

Here is a video of a panel that took place the other day at the Paley Center for Media in New York City.  The panel featured prominent cast members from The Wire.  At a little over an hour, this is the best panel I've ever seen - in this case, online - but also in person.

Watching this also cemented my view that The Wire is the single best show ever to have been on television.   I don't say that lightly - in their own ways, The Sopranos, 24, Breaking Bad, other shows including and even Lost in its good moments were superb.   But none quite compare to The Wire, for reasons that become clear, I think, in this panel discussion.  The only proviso is that the panel is replete with spoilers.  So, if you haven't seen The Wire - all five seasons - don't look at this panel video until after you do.

Part of the pleasure of watching this panel is thinking about how all of these stars first became known to me on The Wire, and have gone on to the other memorable roles.  But every time I see one of them, I say to my wife, hey, that guy was on The Wire ... Wendell Pierce in Treme and Ray Donovan, Michael Kenneth Williams in Boardwalk Empire, Lance Reddick (who wasn't on the panel, alas) on Fringe, Dominic West (also not on the panel) in The Affair, Chad Coleman (also not on the panel) in The Walking Dead, and Idris Elba in Luther and great movies such as Long Walk to Freedom, for which he deserved an Oscar but wasn't even nominated.   The list goes on and on - making The Wire a veritable directory of great actors in dozens of shows since then.  The Wire has seeded television with superb acting for almost a decade now.

My reviews of last season of The Wire, usually written shortly after the episodes were aired for the first time, follow ...

The Wire's Back! Review of Season 5 Episode 1 and Episode 2: The Great, Dangling Conversation ... 3. McNulty and Marlo ... 4. One Down ...5. Media Chasing Their Own Tales and Tails ... 6. Superman Omar and Tall Stories ... 7. King of Diamonds ... 8. Two Down ... 9. Cold, Killer Sweetheart ... The Wire Bows Out Gracefully: Kudos to the Cast and David Simon, the Charles Dickens of Television

See also this earlier Looking Back at the Wire

Two podcast episodes about The Wire -

    The Wire without Stringer        |   The Wire Season 4

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bones 10.4: Brennan and Angela on a Bench in the Playground

My favorite scene in Bones 10.4 is the title of this review: Brennan and Angela on a Bench in the Playground.   It was such a perfect scene that I figured I'd devote most of the review to it.

They're both in fine form, reminiscing about what they used to talk about when they were together like this, and what they talk about now.  It was sex, then - but this gives Bones a chance to pipe up about what a good time she had last night with Booth, in her charming, endearing way.

The kids are in the playground, too - of course they are, that's why Bones and Angela are there. Bones tells Christine to go a little easier on the swing, lest she throw off her "center of gravity," another nice touch.  Angela relates to  Michael in a very different, down-to-Earth way.   The age of the kids shows how far the series has progressed.   But as far as it's gone, its center of gravity is still just two old friends, so different and yet so close, sitting on a bench and talking.

There's a murder to solve, and there always is, but the scene on the bench gets to the heart of the show.  With all the mysteries and the police work, it's always been the relationship of the characters.

The other memorable scene - not as powerful as the park bench, but strong enough - is Booth and Aubrey working together, in particular keeping a puffed-up would-be attacker at bay.   Booth's rehabilitation as far as trusting people is just about complete.

It would be fun someday to see an episode pitched maybe 10 years in the future.   There'd still be a young intern in the lab.  Christine and Michael would be teenagers, and Bones and Angela would be driving them to a dance.   Hmm ... I wonder if they'd be a couple?  But as the kids left the car, Brennan and Angela would start talking ...

And see also Bones 9.1: The Sweet Misery of Love ... Bones 9.2: Bobcat, Identity Theft, and Sweets ... Bones 9.3 and NCIS 11.2: Sweets and Ziva ... Bones 9.4: Metaphysics of Death in a Television Series ... Bones 9.5: Val and Deep Blue ... Bones 9.6: The Wedding ... Bones 9.7: Watch Out, Buenos Aires ...Bones 9.8: The Bug in the Neck ... Bones 9.9: Friday Night Bones in the Courtroom ... Bones 9.10: Horse Pucky ... Bones 9.11: Angels in Equations ... Bones 9.12: Fingernails ... Bones 9.13: Meets Nashville, and Wendell ... Bones 9.14: "You Cannot Drink Your Glass Away" ... Bones 9.15: Hodgins' Brother and the Ripped Off Toe ... Bones 9.16: Lampreys, Professors, and Insurance Companies ... Bones 9.17: Spartacus in the Kitchen ... Bones 9.18: Meets Day of the Triffids ... Bones 9.19: The Cornucopic Urn ... Bones 9.20: Above the Law ... Bones 9.21: Freezing and Thawing ... Bones 9.22: Promotion ... Bones 9.23: The New Intern ... Bones Season 9 Finale: Upping the Ante

And see also Bones 8.1: Walk Like an Egyptian ... Bones 8.2 of Contention ... Bones 8.3: Not Rotting Behind a Desk  ... Bones 8.4: Slashing Tiger and Donald Trump ... Bones 8.5: Applesauce on Election Eve ... Bones 8.6: Election Day ... Bones 8.7: Dollops in the Sky with Diamonds ...Bones 8.8: The Talking Remains ... Bones 8.9: I Am A Camera ... Bones 8.10-11: Double Bones ...Bones 8.12: Face of Enigmatic Evil ... Bones 8.13: Two for the Price of One ... Bones 8.14: Real Life ... Bones 8.15: The Magic Bullet and the Be-Spontaneous Paradox ... Bones 8.16: Bitter-Sweet Sweets and Honest Finn ... Bones 8.17: "Not Time Share, Time Travel" ... Bones 8.18: Couples ... Bones 8.19: The Head in the Toilet ... Bones 8.20: On Camera ... Bones 8.21: Christine, Hot Sauce, and the Judge ... Bones 8.22: Musical-Chair Parents ... Bones 8.23: The Bluff ... Bones Season 8 Finale: Can't Buy the Last Few Minutes

And see also Bones 7.1: Almost Home Sweet Home ... Bones 7.2: The New Kid and the Fluke ...Bones 7.3: Lance Bond and Prince Charmington ... Bones 7.4: The Tush on the Xerox ... Bones 7.5: Sexy Vehicle ... Bones 7.6: The Reassembler ... Bones 7.7: Baby! ... Bones 7.8: Parents ...Bones 7.9: Tabitha's Salon ... Bones 7.10: Mobile ... Bones 7.11: Truffles and Max ... Bones 7.12: The Corpse is Hanson ... Bones Season 7 Finale: Suspect Bones

And see also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ...Bones 6.8: Melted Bones ... Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr. ... Bones 6.10: Reflections ... Bones 6.11: The End and the Beginning of a Mystery ... Bones 6.12 Meets Big Love ... Bones 6.13: The Marrying Kind ... Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability ... Bones 6.15: "Lunch for the Palin Family" ...Bones 6.16: Stuck in an Elevator, Stuck in Times ... Bones 6.17: The 8th Pair of Feet ... Bones 6.18: The Wile E. Chupacabra ... Bones 6.19 Test Runs The Finder ... Bones 6.20: This Very Statement is a Lie ... Bones 6.21: Sensitive Bones ... Bones 6.22: Phoenix Love ... Bones Season 6 Finale: Beautiful

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ...Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ...Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ... Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution


A different kind of police fiction

The Knick Sneak Preview Review 1.10: Fallibility

Continuing with my sneak preview reviews The Knick  - courtesy of an advance screener provided by Cinemax and Starpulse -  herewith a brief review of episode 1.10, certified specific-spoiler free.  As with all preview reviews, I'll discuss generalities, to give you an idea of the episode.  If you prefer not getting even an inkling of the story ahead, you probably should not read any further.

The final episode of this first season is chocked full of surprises for just about every major character including -

  • a very surprising abortionist
  • a treatment for a mental ailment that's like pulling teeth - literally
  • Thackery is dead wrong about a major treatment - and misses the true treatment, in the words of another character, "by a mile"
  • there's a flat out and satisfying murder for hire
  • a major character gets a brutal beat down
  • there's a new medication - a cure - which is worse than the illness
As you might surmise from the above, the theme of this last episode of the season is fallibility - of both the major characters and the state of medical knowledge at the time.  This is the flip side of the coin in which we're amazed and pleased by how accurate the medical treatments - certainly many of Thackery's - were in the age of The Knick.  But it was a medical age vastly more primitive than ours, and it's good to be reminded of that.

Don't know if I'll have any advance screeners of this fine series next season, but I'll back here with reviews in any case.  Enjoy the winter!

See also The Knick: Paean to Scientific Method ... The Knick Sneak Preview Review 1.8: Good Loving, the Fix, and Typhoid Mary ... The Knick Sneak Preview Review 1.9: Sacrifice

deeper history


Monday, October 13, 2014

The Good Wife 6.4: Run-Up to Running

Hey, I've been really enjoying The Good Wife this season - the sixth - but haven't had a chance to review it, because I've been busy lamenting problems in other series, like Boardwalk Empire.  But last night's Good Wife 6.4 was so good, I just had to say a few words.

First, it's great to see how much Alicia has come into her own and progressed this season - in the first part as a tough lawyer, in this episode and the last as a candidate for State's Attorney.  She's mastered all of her previous issues and insecurities.  In at least two cases - the current State Attorney threatening her, and the potent opposition research presented to her - Alicia's response is to step up and move closer to her candidacy.   She's never looked, spoken, and behaved better.

The other characters have been in fine form, too.   Bishop's having a sensational season as a highly intelligent criminal wheeler and dealer - in many ways, he's the most danger to Alicia's interests, as we saw at the end of the hour last night - and he's also got to be the best dressed man on television.   I'd be happy to wear any of his excellent ties.

Diane is also having a strong season so far.   Her leaving the descendants of Lockhart Gardner to join Alicia and Cary's firm was an compelling move, and I especially like the way she jumped in to support of Cary in court and Alicia on the the verge of running for office.

The Cary story has been a tiny bit over the top - I find it a little hard to believe that a State's Attorney would go as far as Castro in wanting to destroy Cary, just as a way of getting at Alicia, or nabbing Bishop, or whatever his deepest motives, if he believed that Cary wasn't really guilty.  On the same topic, it's also not clear why Polmar has been prosecuting that same case against Cary so vehemently, given the close to cosy relationship he has with Alicia.  For that matter, I don't why she isn't angrier with him.  Possibly her being stopped by a cop for DWI - which happened right after she had a glass of wine with Polmar - could sour their relationship, especially if she finds out that Polmar was responsible for the cop who stopped Alicia, which I think he well may be.

In any case, I'm hoping nothing comes up which prevents Alicia from running for office - because, so far, she and show are doing the run-up to the running just perfectly.

See also I Dreamt I Called Will Gardner Last Night

And The Good Wife 5.1: Capital Punishment and Politicians' Daughters ... The Good Wife 5.5: The Villain in this Story ... The Good Wife 5.9: Reddit, Crowd Sourcing, and the First Amendment on Trial ... The Good Wife 5.11: Bowling Bowls and Bogdanovich ... The Good Wife 5.13: NSA on Television ... The Good Wife: 5.15: Stunner! ... The Good Wife 5.19: Tying Up Loose Ends ... The Good Wife Season 5 Finale: Musical Chairs


                                   the Sierra Waters trilogy