While I was out...
Glad to see me? I guess we're in the next life!
Back from a fun week off with the family, that included a trip to Disney World, the conclusion of an "Avatar: The Last Airbender" marathon(*) with my daughter, airport hijinks, etc. I clocked back in last night to watch and write about Seth MacFarlane and the Oscar-cast.
(*) Down the road, I might have more to say on the subject of "Avatar," which I found really tremendous — and which, like the best family entertainment, was just as enthralling for my 9-year-old daughter as it was for 39-year-old me — but right now I'm looking for recommendations on what to try next. Jumping ahead to the sequel series "The Legend of Korra" seems obvious, but A)there's only one season so far, and B)I've heard it's aimed at a slightly older audience than "Avatar" was. Other suggestions have included "Adventure Time" and "Gravity Falls," but I'm also open to less current things. Available streaming of all episodes a plus, but not mandatory. Fire away, and when I have more time, maybe we can have a longer discussion on great TV for kids and parents alike.
News-wise, it appears I picked a good week to not be around, as a lot of little things happened — mainly people being cast in pilots (most of which you will never see) — but very few big things. The most welcome news was FX's renewal of "The Americans," and everyone seems to love the "Game of Thrones" season 3 trailer. The only pilot casting that interests me at this early stage is Ken Jeong signing up for ABC's "Spy." If NBC renews "Community," Jeong stays with "Community," but this is the first time anyone from that show has gone out for another pilot, suggesting — understandably — a greater fear that this will be the end than previously.
As promised, I had a handful of pre-written short episode reviews that went up throughout the week, plus two longer pieces: an interview with Mike Schur about the challenge of frequently writing "Parks and Recreation" episodes that might have to be series finales, and my review of the first season of "House of Cards." One thing I'll say on the latter is that, in skimming the comments, some took it as a unilateral attack on the all-at-once Netflix model, which it wasn't. It was just pointing out that there are both pros and cons to that approach, just as there are to the traditional TV scheduling model, and I think some shows are better-suited to marathon than others. ("The Wire" and "24" are both excellent binge viewing options, for very different reasons: "The Wire" because the density of the storytelling is easier to navigate in rapid succession; "24" — and now, I suppose, "Homeland" — because you don't have to dwell on the latest plot contrivance because you're already absorbed in the next hour.) "House of Cards" ultimately didn't feel like it was designed specifically to take advantage of the Netflix model (though parts of it benefited), where it sounds like the new "Arrested Development" episodes will be. As more and more series are made specifically for Netflix, Amazon, etc., I'll be curious to see how many of them are structured differently and how many are just traditional TV shows that you can watch all at once.
I'm still catching up on shows I missed while I was away (boy, was the Feb. 17 "Good Wife" fantastic, and I remain both impressed and entertained with how "New Girl" has dealt with fallout from that kiss), which means some of this week's writing might not be at full length. But I should be back up to speed shortly, and you'll be getting a podcast, lots of episode reviews, etc., in short order.
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
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