Inside TV and Pop Culture with Liane Bonin Starr
Josie Marcus takes a bite out of gender stereotypes
You know it's really hit the fan when Olivia drunk dials her dad. Yeah, that happened.
While buying into Operation Remington is a bridge too far for me (for some reason I can accept the idea that the President once shot down a plane, but I find the idea that he ended up dating the daughter of a woman killed on that plane a little much -- I know, picky picky picky), I love that this conspiracy is unraveling at the worst possible time -- as Fitz is gearing up for re-election. Seeing the chess pieces move in this episode was like watching professional ballroom dancers or ice skaters glide through a routine. If backstabbing was a dance, it would be a tango.
Another doppelganger joins the fun
Credit: The CW
I hope Nina Dobrev
negotiated a pay raise for this reason. It seems "The Vampire Diaries
" is ripping a page from "Orphan Black" and working the show's lead actress seemingly half to death with a small fleet of characters (same goes for Paul Wesley
, too). This week, we meet Amara (also known as Crazy Pants), bringing the character total for Dobrev thus far to three. Not only is Amara an entirely distinct animal from both Katherine and Elena, Dobrev is in almost every scene. Seriously, I hope she got a bump for all this work.
Lee Harvey Oswald is a hugger?
Dinner with Lee Harvey Oswald (Will Rothhaar)
Credit: Nat Geo
Last month I had the opportunity to not only watch Nat Geo's new movie "Killing Kennedy" (Sun. Nov. 10 at 8:00 p.m), but watch it in the theater where suspected shooter Lee Harvely Oswald was arrested. To make it all thoroughly meta, I was watching along with Will Rothhar, who plays Lee Harvey Oswald in the movie. Did I mention we all went to Lee Harvey Oswald's grave with Rothhaar on Oswald's birthday, too? It was the capper to a visit to Dallas that was chock full of such moments. Conversations segued seamlessly from conspiracy theories to debates about favorite movies, history intersected with fiction more often than anyone expected, and "known facts" were thrown into question by both the people who were players in both this tragic historical event and the movie about it. Let's just say it was a memorable weekend.
It's another misguided product placement episode
This season of "Top Chef" hasn't been very spicy. Yes, there has been literal spice (this is New Orleans, after all), but we've lacked chefs who are as colorful and creative as commentators as they are in the kitchen. When NIna grumbles of the recently eliminated Michael, "Boo Boo, you're a douche," it wasn't especially witty (and definitely wasn't nice), but at least someone got fired up about something other than andouille sausage.
Can Zoe save the witches from a deadly enemy?
"American Horror Story: Coven"
This week's episode of "American Horror Story: Coven" took a step in the right direction by reminding us that Zoe, for all her faults, can be proactive. She knows how to use a chainsaw. More importantly, she knows how to use her natural talents as a witch even more effectively than a chain saw (when your chainsaw runs out of gas, might as well toss it). Alas, she's been too busy saving lives and chopping up zombies to chase down Kyle, who's probably beating his head against a wall or eating someone, but all is forgiven… at least until next week.
The clock is ticking after a powerful witch hatches an evil plan
Credit: The CW
Spin-offs of hit television shows are rarely good things. Too often the lightning in the bottle that made the first show worthy of a second property can't be captured; ideas are diluted and repeated. There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Some shows not only thrive once characters leave the mothership, the new show explores fresh emotional terrain, digging more deeply into ideas that had only been skimmed in the original property. When they really get it right, spin-offs leave their old shows better than they used to be, giving the characters left behind room to stretch.
Rutledge puts the pedal to the metal in an electric car
"Top Gear" is getting a new time slot this week (Tues. Nov. 5 at 10:00 p.m. on History), and to kick things off the show is putting electric cars to the test. The show hosts drive three of the best sellers through Michigan to see which one elevates electric beyond just being a so-called green option into actual coolness. In this exclusive clip, Rutledge discovers what it's like to be able to access all of a car's power the second you hit the "gas." Turns out you can go pretty fast.
Mashed up with 'Vanderpump Rules,' it's a two-hour divapalooza
"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"
I'm conflicted about the crass mash-up of the season premieres of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and "Vanderpump Rules." On the one hand, it's annoying that the shows are stitched together in such a way that not only does the Sur gang bleed into a considerable portion of the lead-in, the formal intro to "Vanderpump Rules" doesn't come until eight minutes into the second hour, presumably long enough for viewers to be sucked into the drama of Stassi and company. Whether or not you intended to watch both shows, no one likes to feel like they're being conned into doing it.
So what happened when Sherlock Holmes jumped off the roof?
Credit: BBC One
While we here in the States won't find out what happened when Sherlock Holmes jumped off that roof until January 19, at least we can get a quick glimpse from series three in this official image posted on BBC One's Facebook page.
The music icon takes over for Len and performs, too
Cher! Cher! Yay! Cher! As excited as I am that Cher is on "Dancing with the Stars," I'm going to withhold any comments on her actual performance until I'm able to watch a second time on something other than a tiny computer. I think, though I will not commit to this, her singing was off. Possibly way off. But let's not go there. I want to blame my computer as long as I possibly can. And did I mention Cher is 67? Yes, she's a miracle of modern science and possibly more plastic than human at this point, but who cares? She looks great!
Also, during her performance, she doesn't move much, which seems like an odd choice for "Dancing with the Stars." Oh, wait, an obnoxious uber fan has informed me she's having foot surgery soon. She she walked down the stairs. Oh, and she's wiggling a leg. That's a relief. Anyway, let's get on with the actual dancing! As you'd expect, the stars are dancing to Cher's greatest hits. Expect a sales bump tomorrow, Cher!