PODCAST: “THE GOOD WIFE” FINALE SPOILER: IT’S NOT A ROMCOM!!

 

 

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Are You Ready to Say Goodbye to “The Good Wife”?

  
After tonight’s incredible episode of “THE GOOD WIFE” there are only three episodes left until the May 8th series finale. 

Tonight’s episode left us with a lot of questions:  will Peter go to jail? What does Jason want from Alicia? Will there be more repercussions from Alicia finding out that her phone calls are being monitored by the NSA? What has Cary been up to since he walked away from the law firm? Will Josh Charles really return as Will Gardner?

So many questions with so few episodes left. At a Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival, Variety wasn’t able to get many spoilers from “GOOD WIFE” creators Michelle and Robert King, but series star Julianna Margulies did say call the script for the series finale “brilliant.”

Are you ready to say goodbye to the best drama on broadcast tv?

Click here for the full story in Variety. 

CBS Should Cast O’Shea Jackson as the Young Lead in TRAINING DAY!

 

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Showbiz 411 is reporting that the CBS pilot for TRAINING DAY, based on the movie that earned Denzel Washington his Academy Award for Best Actor will not be casting an African American man as the rogue detective with a questionable moral compass.  Instead the network is looking to cast a white actor in the role.  This would have been a meaty role for for a black actor in his 40s.  My shortlist for this role included Shemar Moore (CRIMINAL MINDS), Cuba Gooding Jr., and Malcolm Jamal Warner.  Shows like EMPIRE, SCANDAL and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER have proven that audiences love and are accepting of black actors portraying multi-layered, sometimes messy characters. But, my guess is that the network wants to remain in its comfort zone of having a procedural drama with an older caucasian man as the leading man.

According to Showbiz 411 in the new version, Frank Rourke is the “wolf, a rogue cop, and a man who lives by the law of the jungle.” His protege is Kyle Craig, a young naive black trainee who will try and take Frank down. That would be the Ethan Hawke part from the movie.

So, if this is truly the case, CBS should cast O’Shea Jackson (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON) in the role of the young cop paired with veteran cop.  Jackson gave an amazing performance as STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON portraying his father Ice Cube during his time as part of the rap phenom N.W.A.  In his first movie role, he showed a great amount of range inhabiting all of the rage and frustration felt by young black men living in Los Angeles during the late 1980s/early 90’s. O’Shea was also very charming in the scenes where he got show the softer edges of Ice Cube.  Hollywood was buzzing about Jackson’s performance in the film, his first movie role.  Many were surprised when he didn’t land on the list of Oscar nominees in the Best Supporting Actor category.

By casting O’Shea Jackson in TRAINING DAY, CBS has the opportunity to appeal to a younger audience that’s probably not very familiar with their other shows.  He’s young, handsome, and can act!  And maybe his famous father would take time out of his hit movie making schedule for a cameo or two if the show goes to series. This would be a smart casting move by CBS that would get a lot of notice.

PODCAST: MR. ROBOT on USA is a MUST SEE!

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I binged all 10 episodes of USA’s dark drama MR. ROBOT and it deserves all the accolades it’s been receiving.  Check out my thoughts in the podcast below. Just push play!

5 TV SHOWS to WATCH as an ALTERNATIVE TO THE SUPER BOWL!

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If you’re not excited about the showdown between the Broncos and the Panthers in the Super Bowl tonight, here are a few alternate viewing options.  But, you’ll probably want to press pause and check out the half time show to see what surprises Beyonce has in store when she joins Coldplay on stage.

In the meantime check out episodes of these shows where available On-Demand, Netflix, Hulu or their network website:

AMERICAN CRIME (ABC):

AMERICAN CRIME is probably the most daring drama on broadcast television right now.  Season 2 is tackling the subject of male-on-male rape, what it means and peoples perceptions if it being an actual possibility.  Regina King is a stand out among a stellar cast.  Listen to my podcast for more of my thoughts on the show.

SHAMELESS (SHOWTIME):

SHAMELESS is having an interesting season. The Gallagher family has gone through so much over the  years, I was hoping this season would be a little lighter and more fun. But, this is SHAMELESS we’re talking about and the show is cleverly tackling teen pregnancy, abortion, and guns in school.  The show continues to explore the journey of Ian’s struggle with bipolar disorder and how he’s got to figure out how to move on with his life and not keep feeling sorry for himself.  SHAMELESS sets a high bar with this storyline.  Don’t worry the show still finds time to be sexy, messy and funny.

VEEP (HBO):

Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is brilliant as VP of the United States fighter her way to the presidency.   While we might cringe at moments during our current presidential race, the faux pas of Selina and her staff will make you laugh out loud.

BEING MARY JANE (BET):

Gabrielle Union is a stunner in BEING MARY JANE. She plays Mary Jane’s sexiness, and messiness as deftly as any lead actress on more buzzed about shows like EMPIRE, HOMELAND and SCANDAL.  As single woman trying to navigate her career and troubled love life, she also has her often needy family to contend with. BEING MARY JANE has set a new bar for the scripted programming on BET and it deserves more notice in the mainstream press than it gets.

MICHAEL JACKSON’S JOURNEY FROM MOTOWN FROM OFF THE WALL (SHOWTIME):

While this is actually a documentary, I highly recommend it to all music or just pop culture lovers. The documentary is filled with interviews with those who worked with Michael Jackson while he was still a member of The Jacksons to his evolution as a solo artist.  The doc also features interviews with Michael, reminding us of what a genius he really was.

 

THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE is the MOST RELEVANT DRAMA on TV!

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It’s hard to talk about the AMAZON original series “THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE” without spoiling plot points for those who haven’t finished or worst yet, started the series. If you haven’t guessed, I think you should WATCH THIS SHOW! “THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE” is based on a book of the same name, poses the question “what would the world be like if the Nazis had won World War II?” Well, in this series, the United States would be a much different place.  The east coast and a good portion of the midwest would be under Nazi rule, while the west coast would be reigned by Japan. Between the two would be a “neutral zone” reminiscent of the lawless wild wild west.

The show is a political thriller, domestic drama and character study. It often exceeds expectations from one episode to the next.  Our heroine Juliana Crain (a great tv character name) is a strong, vulnerable, and flawed woman. Her boyfriend Frank just wants a quiet life with her in San Francisco, but when Juliana’s sister pays her a visit one night, it sets off a chain of events for the couple that will change them forever. Meanwhile, a young man in New York named Joe is on a collision course with the couple that will make him question everything he’s ever known. Set in 1962, the U.S. looks quite different than how we know it. Anyone can be pulled from their home if only suspected of being Jewish or part of the underground resistance group trying  to undo the Nazis and Japanese governments. There are no freedoms and very few liberties. Police, military or anyone from the two governments can ask to see a citizen’s papers at any moment without cause. There is very little joy in anyone’s life and what joy we see is mostly on the surface for the benefit of others. That’s all the synopsis I’ll give so not to spoil the story for you.

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE” has been renewed for a second season. The show delivered a fantastic season finale with a high stakes final sequence that ended with a jaw-dropping ending.  The mostly unknown cast sells every moment of the show. I’m hoping season two will make clear where Blacks, Latinos and immigrants fall within this society’s food chain.  While we see a few people of color as extras and a Black character features prominently in the season one story, it’s not clear what happened to these groups in this alternate version of history. My guess is it’s not good.

Given the current Presidential election cycle “THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE” is probably the most relevant show airing.  It’s as if the author had a crystal ball for the 2016 political environment. It’s compelling, engaging and more than just entertainment.  You won’t regret the time spent watching this show.

Have you watched “THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”? What did you think? Comment below.

Here’s a look at the show:

 

Jennifer Lopez’s SHADES OF BLUE needs a SCRIPT DOCTOR, STAT!

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Full disclosure:  I was hesitant to watch the new Jennifer Lopez drama “SHADES OF BLUE” because the title sounds like a cancelled series.  But, I decided to watch the first three episodes and when I finished I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. Strong performances from Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta peaked my interest in an otherwise just “ok” show.

The framework of “SHADES OF BLUE” is strong.  Detective Harlee Santos (Lopez) is a dirty cop who works for her mentor Matt Wozniak (Ray Liotta) who is also dirty. When Harlee is busted by the FBI the single mom (of course) is forced to choose between going to jail or turning on Matt. She of course agrees to help gather evidence against Matt.  Of course Matt finds out that there’s an FBI informant on his team and is hell bent on rooting out the “rat” as he calls them.  This begins a cat and mouse chase between Matt and Harlee setting up the central conflict of the series.

My biggest issue with “SHADES OF BLUE” is the dialogue.  Throughout the three episodes I kept rolling my eyes when I’d hear a line of dialogue like when Harlee tells and perp “you have the right to shut the hell up.”  It seems the writers found of box of scripts of 80’s cop movies and felt inspired to pepper “SHADES OF BLUE” with lines like “you can’t take back a bullet.”  Yikes!  I’m guessing that NBC thinks of the show as its version of a gritty cable cop.  It’s not.  It’s a broadcast drama promising high stakes but rarely delivering on that promise.  What makes the show watchable are the performances by Lopez and Liotta.

Lopez fails to make Harlee Santos a breakout tv character like Cookie Lyons on “EMPIRE”, Annalise Keating on “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” or Carrie Mathieson on “HOMELAND.”  I liked Harlee because I like Jennifer Lopez. Well, I don’t hate Jennifer Lopez and she plays sexy and tough effortlessly. Ray Liotta is no stranger to playing a bad cop. The 1992 film “UNLAWFUL ENTRY” came to mind as I was watching the show. He gives the strongest performance among the ensemble. Former “THE SOPRANOS” and “SONS OF ANARCHY” star Drea de Matteo co-stars as another not-so-clean detective and her talent is mostly wasted in the role. Hopefully the writers will further develop her character and drop some of the dead weight of the other supporting detective characters on their team. The series does get points for diversity, but again, instead of characterization they write the Black drug dealer like any black drug dealer you’ve seen in a myriad of movies and tv shows.

Anyone looking for a high stakes, intelligent and thoughtful drama, this isn’t it. “SHADES OF BLUE” is definitely watchable as long as you have reasonable expectations and remember you’re watching an NBC drama.

UPDATE:  NBC HAS RENEWED SHADES OF BLUE FOR A SECOND SEASON

What do you think? Are you team “BLUE?” Leave your comments below.

Check out some of the riveting dialogue from “SHADES OF BLUE” below: