What’s Good? (Best of Winter TV 2017… & Iron Fist)

I haven’t done one of these in a while.

I guess it’s hard to make lists of what’s good in the world of entertainment when the real world is going to hell in a hand-basket… a hand-basket made of shit.

Once again, Legion, you’ve summed up my feelings precisely.

I know we can’t read tone and inflection on the internet. And sometimes the actual meaning of what we want to say is lost in its misinterpretation. So I’m gonna need for all of you reading this to picture the next sentence with ALL the sarcasm. (ALL OF IT!!!)

“The United States is in a really good place right now.”

“Is that supposed to be some kind of a joke?” “Hey. Hey. Hey. He didn’t mean it like that.”

So instead of spending all day in fear, I have chosen to escape to the land of nod. You know what I mean. While we wait for the next embarrassment, the next offense or the next outrage, I’ll be looking for the next distraction until the revolution starts. (which will not be on TV by the way).

Personally I blame the internet for all of this, but that’s a story for another time.

“Does that mean we WON’T be needing the goat?”

The goat stays.

What follows is a list of TV shows that are freaking unbelievably good and entertaining and well-written and sexy and escapist and brilliant and words fail me. And while it is true that I have talked about most of these in the past… THEY’RE STILL AMAZING.

I think Winter is my favorite TV season.

Let me explain…

“Get on with it, Melvin.”

The Americans is back and better than ever. That show has been consistently good from day one and will go down as one of the best in history.  Bates Motel is having their best season as well. Vera Farmiga has actually turned it up a notch (give the woman an Emmy already). Girls on HBO, just a couple of weeks ago, aired the best episode in its entire series run. A brilliant stand-alone story, that featured Matthew Rhys from The Americans by coincidence, which was just a conversation between a young writer and her creepy literary idol. (Rarely do I watch a show and then watch it again right after. I’ve already watched the episode three times. I wish it were a movie). The Superheroes on the CW are kicking ass on a weekly basis (even DC Legends has gotten better now that it’s embraced its fundamental silliness and monumental nerdy-ness).

Jane the Virgin lost its virginity but did not lose its creativity or its charm. And there are lots of new bisexual characters on my favorite shows. (That list is coming soon… it’s mostly women this time. Not my fault. There’s a shortage of bi men and an abundance of bi women recently. I’m not complaining. Well, I’m kind of complaining. I’m both complaining and not complaining. It’s confusing… that’s a joke). Star Wars Rebels has been amaze-balls this season. Running almost parallel with the events of Rogue One and setting up A New Hope (I almost want to spoil it but I can’t). BEN!!! (I couldn’t help it). Black SailsHomeland the list goes on.

But I’m not talking about any of those shows here today.

“Am I wrong or did he not just talk about them?” “Here comes the part we’ve been waiting for, sire.” “Well don’t just stand there. Keep cranking that monkey.”

What follows is a list of ten absolutely fantastic (relatively new) TV shows (with one notable exception…One of these shows is actually complete and utter garbage. But we’ll get to that one later… okay it’s Iron Fist… I can’t keep a secret).

So ask me the question already…

Go ahead.

Ask me.

Not THAT question, you idiot.

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

The Expanse (SyFy)

Developed by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby

Based on The Expanse series of novels by James S. A. Corey

Starring Thomas JaneSteven StraitCas AnvarDominique TipperWes ChathamPaulo CostanzoFlorence FaivreShawn DoyleShohreh Aghdashloo & Frankie Adams

“It’s been too long since we’ve had a really kick-ass space opera.”  – George R.R. Martin

We’re in season two now, so if you don’t know The Expanse, you’re a little late to the party but there’s still time for you to catch up. There are three main factions in the 23rd century: Earth (Earthers, Inners, Tumang), all the power, all the resources, United Nations controlled, corrupt bureaucrats and corporations;

“Is that a gun in my pocket or am I just happy to see you?” “It better be a gun.”

Mars Colony (Martians, Inners, Pomang), lacking in resources but making up for it in military might, they put all their effort into building a strong military because they were tired of being Earth’s red-headed step-child;

“Unte kowlting gut, to pochuye ke?”

and The Belt (Belters, Outer Planets, Beltalowda), the workers, born in space, mining asteroids and the moons of Jupiter for water and other resources, no resources of their own, no military, but without them Mars would have no way to get water. Without them Earth corporations would have no leverage over Mars.

Kewe to pensa ere The Expanse, beratna?

There’s a war coming between Earth and Mars. I don’t know for sure because I haven’t read the books but it’s like winter in Game of Thrones; that shit is right around the corner. And yes I just compared it to Game of Thrones. The Expanse is THAT good. Great performances, great story, great direction, fantastic special effects. The Expanse is quite possibly the best thing on TV right now with a language all its own.

But while The Expanse might be the best thing on TV right now, it is not my favorite thing on TV right now. My favorite thing is…

The Magicians (SyFy)

Created by Sera Gamble & John McNamara

Based on The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Starring Jason RalphStella MaeveOlivia Taylor DudleyHale Appleman, Arjun Gupta, Summer BishilRick Worthy & Jade Tailor

“Did you bring me little cakes?” – Umber (Horned Golden Ram God of Fillory)

The Magicians is like if Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a baby and that baby grew up to be as hot as Emma Watson is right now. Oh my god, I love this show so much. Seriously.

Queen Margo and King Eliot

The Magicians is also in its second season and if you’re not watching it… I don’t know, I question your judgement. This show is sensational. And I know I’ve said this a bunch of times but I’m just going to keep right on saying it. I love everything about this show. I love the cast. I love the writing. I love the world. I love the story. And I love that it is the most bi-friendly TV show since True Blood (and you know how I love to see healthy bisexual representation on my TV).

“Is he talking about bisexuality again?” “We get it. You like guys and girls. We’re over it.”

This show has it all. Magic. Mystery. Adventure. Comedy. Time travel. Six-fingered bad guys singing show tunes. Large magical creatures wearing diapers. Hot teachers. Hot librarians. Hot students. Hot teachers and hot librarians hooking up with hot students. Little cakes. Did I mention the little cakes?

The Royal Family

Just watch the show.

Next… more magic.

Emerald City (NBC)

Directed by Tarsem Singh

Based on the Oz book series by L. Frank Baum

Starring Adria ArjonaOliver Jackson-CohenAna UlaruMido HamadaGerran Howell, Jordan Loughran, Joely Richardson & Vincent D’Onofrio

“Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” – Dorothy Gale

Okay Emerald City just ended its first season and I see a lot of people putting it down but I, for one, enjoyed it. You know me. I’m all in for a good re-imagining of the classics. And with Emerald City, Tarsem Singh created my favorite version of the Land of Oz. A steam punk meets Song of Ice and Fire meets Cirque du Soleil, Land of Oz with giants and warring factions and flying monkey drones and outlawed magic and witches… and guns. And witches with guns. I really liked this show.

‘I am the Wizard of Oz.” “I thought you were the Kingpin.” “Can’t a man be both?”

In fact, I loved it. And I sincerely hope it comes back for another season and I hope Tarsem directs every episode again. Because it’s so gorgeous that I wanted to watch each one again… and I probably will. If I ever find the time. There’s so much good TV.

Next… I don’t even know what to call this one. It’s not a superhero show.

Legion (FX)

Created by Noah Hawley

Based on Legion by Chris Claremont & Bill Sienkiewicz

Starring Dan StevensRachel KellerAubrey PlazaBill IrwinJeremie HarrisAmber MidthunderKatie Aselton & Jean Smart

“What is your name?”  – Jesus (from the bible)

“My name is Legion. For we are many.”  – Legion (also from the bible)

Okay. Okay. I watched the first episode of Legion, the new comic book based show from the creator of Fargo, and I was like, wow that was pretty bland. Then after the second episode I felt like I knew more what they were trying to get at and felt it was worth my time. After episode three I was seriously hooked. I loved the characters. I loved the sixties fashion. The tongue-in-cheek attitude. It’s amazingly original and fun and I was completely wrong about it. Well anyway, we’re six episodes in and it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen in my fucking life… IN MY LIFE!!! It is frightening how good this show is. Frightening. (I think I’m gonna cry… seriously)

“So tell me are we inside your mind or outside your mind right now?” “I don’t know.” “Well that’s kind of scary don’t you think?” “Scary is not the word for it.”

Legion is about a powerful mutant. The back-story is that he’s Professor X’s kid (they may or may not keep this for the show but it doesn’t matter) and he’s got reality warping powers. Basically he’s the most powerful mutant on the planet (possibly in the universe) with awesome god-like powers. Now, that would be boring for a story because basically he can do anything he wants at any time but… you see… he’s not entirely sane in his mind. Also he’s not entirely alone in there either. So most of the comic book takes place in his mind. His main bad guy is inside him. And if you’re thinking, well how the hell are they going to bring that to TV and make it enjoyable. They did it. They fucking did it. And I think I’m going to cry. It’s so good.

“What’s for dinner? Is it chaos again? Are we having utter chaos again?”

Legion is really good and done very well. Noah Hawley has done an excellent job. Fargo is one of the coolest shows on TV and Legion is right up there with it. But it still kind of frightens me because it could go so wrong so fast. I really hope it stays grounded.

And I also like seeing heroes coping with mental disorders in my fiction (almost as much as I like seeing bisexual heroes) It’s refreshing and it’s identifiable.

Oh shit.

To the list!!!

Top Ten Fictional Heroes with Mental Disorders:

10. StormX-Men – Severe Claustrophobia

9. Martin RiggsLethal Weapon – Suicidal, Manic Depressive

8. Tony Stark/Iron Man – Extreme Narcissist (comics), PTSD (movies)

7. Carrie MathesonHomeland – Manic Depressive – Borderline

6. Jason BourneThe Bourne Identity – Amnesic, Dissociate

5. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk –  Multiple Identity Disorder, (Split Personality)

4. David Haller/Legion – Schizophrenic, (see also Demonic Possession)

“That’s me. Everybody dance.”

3. Bruce Wayne/Batman – Obsessive, Compulsive, Social Phobic

2. Sherlock Holmes – Obsessive, Compulsive, Narcissistic, Sociopath

1. James Bond – Dissociate, Extreme Sociopath (Bordering on Psycho)

It was a quickly thrown together list with very likely mislabeled or misdiagnosed disorders but it was fun to compile.

But anyway. I love Legion on FX. I love the casting. I love the story. I love that it’s funny and absurd and romantic. I love that they respect the source material, making it the most original and creative television show in history. Legion is almost too good. Nope. It is literally too good. Because shows that are this good do not last for long (And just thinking about it going away makes me want to cry).

Next… Aliens

Colony (USA)

Created by Carlton Cuse

Starring Josh HollowaySarah Wayne CalliesPeter JacobsonAmanda RighettiTory KittlesAlex Neustaedter & Isabella Crovetti-Cramp

“I’m sorry if I still have a little crush on Sawyer and Carl’s mom.”  – Mel 

Colony is finishing up its second season and it was better than the first. Colony is the story of Earth after alien invasion. Humans are separated into colonies by force and into two factions; Collaborators and Resistance, by necessity.

“Sawyer?” “Yeah, Carl’s mom?” “Do you think Mel will be able to imagine us as anything other than those two characters?” “With our clothes on or off?” “Good point.”

The two lead actors are both very hot, which adds to my enjoyment of the show (sue me. I’d like to have sex with both of these people Is that so wrong? Should I keep that to myself?). Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies play Will and Katie Bowman. One works for the authority and the other runs with the resistance. But it’s not like they’re on opposite sides. They are on each other’s side. It makes for a great story. And the writing is what I like best. Colony has a good premise. And a good mystery. And Carlton Cuse doesn’t slowly drip out the answers like he’s done in the past. We start learning about the aliens early on. But there is still a lot more to learn.

“Just as long as nobody moves and nobody mentions Prison Break we’ll be fine.”

The stories are gritty and cool and suspenseful. And the action and the political drama make Colony one of the best shows on TV right now. And season two cranks up the suspense and brings the rest of the family into the story. So they’re turning into a family of bad-asses and I love that shit.

Let’s move over to Netflix

Love (Netflix)

Created by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin & Paul Rust

Starring Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust & Claudia O’Doherty

“I once had sex w/ a guy whose dick was so small I thought it was a clitoris.” – Bertie Bauer

Love is the story of two broken people trying to make a relationship work. It is quirky and funny and absurd (but in a yeah that could totally happen sort of way). It stars Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust, one of the shows creators, who is not the best actor but embodies the character to a Woody Allen type level. But Gillian is the stand out here for me. She plays this fragile warrior sex addict to perfection and I just want to scoop her up and plop her on my couch. Him, not so much.

“Him not so much? What does that even mean?” “Well at least he doesn’t want to plop you on his couch. Plop me? Is that a euphemism? Is that a sex act?”

I find him more annoying than likable but it’s not a deal-breaker because it’s a very well-written show. And he is a three-dimensional character. I just sometimes wish he had cast another actor to play his part. But look at me, I’m finding fault in something I love. Blowing a little problem out of proportion. Like some kind of self-sabotage. Ignore me.

Do people still smoke? Is that like still a thing? I don’t get out much.

Love is very funny with a lot of great minor characters. The two main characters both work in entertainment, her in radio, him in TV. And the show spends a lot of time on their separate lives. On their work and on their friends. So when they come together, it’s almost like two separate shows connecting through them. It’s a brilliant structure.

“I’m not Woody Allen. I’m not even Jewish. I’m Catholic. And this… this is not Annie Hall.”

And I’m sorry I insulted it before. It’s always only been about them. I mean I like Catastrophe too. Catastrophe is a great relationship show on Amazon. But the characters aren’t as likable. Don’t get me wrong, I think Catastrophe is very funny. And it’s not like I like Amazon more than Netflix. And it’s not like me and Netflix were exclusive or anything. But look at me, talking about another show and another network in my review. I really suck at this.

“This oughta shut you up.” “You said that into my mouth.”

Let me explain. You see, I’m sort of TV addicted and it’s hard for me to commit to just one show or just one network. But I think I’m ready. Can we start over?

Travelers (Netflix)

Created by Brad Wright

Starring Eric McCormackMacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahamson, Reilly Dolman & Patrick Gilmore

“I distracted myself from the fear and terrorism by thinking about things like how the universe began and whether time travel is possible.”  – Malala Yousafzai

Here’s a show I just discovered on Netflix and was completely blown away. Travelers is a time travel drama like Continuum meets Quantum Leap meets 12 Monkeys. It is some of the tightest time travel writing around. This show is extremely well-written and intelligent and deals with Time Travel paradox in a smart and original way.

Protocol 4 – Don’t Reproduce

But, by far, the best thing about Travelers is the characters. Each of the “travelers” from the future assume the identity and take over the body of a person from our time who is about to die. Seconds before they die. So, first they have to save their own life and then they become that person. And from that moment on they have to pretend to be that person who should actually be dead, all the while knowing only what they learned about them from social media and computer databases in the future. Not the most accurate.

Protocol 1 – The Mission Comes First

The travelers have a precise list of protocols that govern their actions. This is another fantastic part of the show. Like mini prime directives (from Star Trek) that control their behavior so that they don’t do too much damage to the time-line. But if you know time-travel shows then you know that’s laughable.

Protocol 3 – Don’t Take a Life. Don’t Save a Life.

Travelers is an action and adventure show that’s good just from that perspective but it’s the drama in assuming and continuing the life of some one who would have died, that makes Travelers truly outstanding. This is some brilliant writing. With good performances. And a great cast.

Protocol 5 – In The Absence of Direction, Maintain Your Host’s Life

Travelers is fantastic and it has been renewed for a second season… THANK THE DIRECTOR. (that’s a Travelers joke. It’s very funny. Just watch the show)

Next… from Brazil…

3% (Netflix)

Created by Pedro Aguilera

Starring Bianca ComparatoJoão Miguel, Michel Gomes & Rodolfo Valente

“People who would go to an art house cinema and watch a (foreign) movie and read subtitles… it’s a small percentage.” – Steven Zaillian

The 3% is a science fiction drama from Brazil. Watch it with the subtitles people. I know that means you have to actually pay attention and you can’t look away for a few seconds to check your phones but it’s worth it for the original performances and not just the English dub. But if you need to watch it dubbed then watch it dubbed. I’ll just sit in quiet judgement. It really doesn’t matter. The story is awesome either way.

Michel Gomes as Fernando Carvalho

3% is an intriguing story about an overpopulated city in the future and a “process” they use to decide who gets to live in a Utopia just offshore. Only 3% get selected, young people, and they only get one chance to make it through the trials… the process.

Bianca Comparato as Michele Santana

Of course there are other things going on. There are machinations behind the scenes and politics and a rebellion against the process. And then of course there is a love story. And a story of survival. And redemption. And… the show is awesome. I kid you not.

3% has Tough Guys with pipes

But the main story follows several “candidates” as they go through the trials. It’s like The 100 meets The Hunger Games meets Logan’s Run. It’s very good. There are eight fantastically suspenseful episodes of the first season. But I honestly don’t know if it’s as good dubbed as it is with subtitles. I watched it with the subtitles on because I’m all like sophisticated and shit. But you can always switch back and forth, if you’re easily distracted. (I’m just kidding. I kept forgetting that there were subtitles. And I would look down to check my phone. And then realize that I didn’t actually understand what they were saying when I wasn’t looking. It was awful… the internet has destroyed us).

3% has Heartbreaking Romance

3% is a really cool Brazilian Netflix series that has been confirmed for a second season.

And then there’s…

Iron Fist (Netflix)

Iron Fist Poster Not Found. #IronFisted

Created by Scott Buck

Based on Iron Fist by Roy Thomas & Gil Kane

Starring Finn JonesJessica HenwickTom PelphreyJessica StroupRamón RodríguezSacha DhawanRosario Dawson & David Wenham

“His fist glows, he’s got a beard, he has enemies. Boom. Now let’s do the team-up thing.”  – Marvel Television

I know. I know. Let’s slam on the brakes for a second. Iron Fist is horrible. It is awful. It’s like instead of a script they had an eleven year-old kid flailing his arms and making kung-fu noises. “And then Iron Fist goes BAM. And then the bad guy is like POW. But Iron Fist’s got him in a headlock and WOOSH and then a kick and then a punch… got it? Okay? ACTION!!!” and yes the kid was also the director.

He actually farts and was trying to play it off by beating one of her students and that makes more sense than what happens on the screen in Marvel’s Netflix’s Iron Fist.

No honestly, it’s the worse show. But look at it this way. The Defenders can only be better. There’s no way it could be any worse. Iron Fist is total garbage. Netflix had painted themselves into a corner. Daredevil was amazing. And then Jessica Jones was even better than that. So then season two of Daredevil was only pretty good and we’re like maybe they leveled off but then… Luke Cage was fucking great too. It was too much good. And they had already committed to release The Defenders. So all they had to do was put out an Iron Fist series. And you get to a point where there is just too much good. And all that’s left on the creative pile is crap. The Defenders or Iron Fist or both was going to have to be crap. It’s the nature of the universe. It’s just basic physics.

Sometimes they have to sacrifice acting for fighting ability and sometimes they have to sacrifice fighting ability for acting chops. It’s rare when they sacrifice both for naturally curly hair.

So what Iron Fist did was it took one for the team. It used up all the negative space. It sucked up all the crap. And it lowered expectations for the team-up. Iron Fist is as relatively bad as all three of the other Marvel Netflix origin seasons are good… combined. It’s that bad. It’s so bad that The Defenders is going to be Earth-shattering by comparison. You can’t get worse than Iron Fist without losing subscribers. You also can’t make something that cheesy looking and not realize it. The sets are laughable. I thought I was watching old Star Trek reruns. They show the kid being beaten by monks in what’s supposed to be a monastery in a mystical city but they look like they’re in a re-purposed janitor’s closet. It’s bad.

Why does Iron Fist have an erection? Does anyone know? And why is he on a Star Trek planet?

It’s impressively bad. The dialogue is practically offensive. It’s so awful. They used to sneak out of the monastery to have donkey meat? Where is this donkey meat cart located? Or are they killing someone else’s donkey, eating a very small part of it and leaving the rest to rot? Unless he’s talking about sucking a donkey’s dick, it makes absolutely no sense. I can’t start talking about the show critically because I’m just going to get angry.

“No questions… yes, you have a question?”

But I’m still recommending that everyone watch Iron Fist. You’ll want to turn it off after episode three but don’t. And no it doesn’t get any better. It actually gets worse. There’s no humor. There’s no romance. And the so-called bad guys are totally right. Danny Rand is an awful person. As one guy puts it. He’s the worse Iron Fist ever. But… Oh my god. There’s a scene where Iron Fist is being chased through a crowd and to blend in he picks up a mask and puts it on his face. DOESN’T CHANGE HIS CLOTHES or his jacket or anything. He isn’t facing the guy chasing him… like as if that would matter anyway. But then he loses the guy because he doesn’t see him wearing that dumb mask. There is no way they couldn’t tell what they were making was garbage. There’s no way they couldn’t tell. It had to be made shitty on purpose.

“Yes we did just fly to China on a private jet and kidnap someone and take them back to America with us on that same private jet… why do you ask? Is that hard to do?”

So now I’m convinced that Iron Fist was made bad on purpose. And I want to thank the makers. They took a bullet for the team. Pour out a little for the dead on arrival Iron Fist. I mean it is monumentally awful. Truly, truly awful. But it can only serve to make The Defenders look incredible by comparison.

And lastly one pilot from Amazon…

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Pilot)

Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino

Starring Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub, Marin Hinkle & Alex Borstein

“Women are smart and funny. Get over it.”  – Eric Cartman

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is about a 1950’s housewife who decides to become one of the first female stand-up comics. It is a fantastic period drama about comedy from the creator of Gilmore Girls. And it has that quick-witted Gilmore Girls style to the writing and the dialogue. But the best part is the marvelous Rachel Brosnahan in the title role.

“Who makes a toast at her own wedding? I do.”

Mrs. Maisel is the story of the most amazingly funny and smart and cute and remarkable woman. It is hard (really hard) not to fall in love with her. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is like Mad Men meets 30 Rock meets I don’t know Buffy? It’s the story of a pioneering female comedian in the late fifties. Maybe she’s Phyllis Diller. Maybe she’s Carol Burnett. Maybe she’s amazing.

“Yes my phone has a cord connecting it to the base. That’s how you know it’s the fifties and not the eighties or the nineties. Why do you ask? And where the hell is my microwave oven?”

She’s awesome. I love funny women and the show makes you fall in love with her almost immediately as she deals with the 50’s era and then accidentally discovers that she has a talent for making people laugh. It’s just a pilot right now but please check it out. It’s the best they have this season on Amazon. I watched them all. There’s not a lot of good there. And I hope The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel doesn’t get buried in that pile because it’s great even when compared to established shows. It’s just a thousand times better than the other pilots this season.

“Dear Diary. I can do so much better than this schmo. Love Midge. PS. I have half a mind to tell the driver to take me to Mel’s house. But it’s the fifties and he’s a negro.”

And I really really really want to see more of her… of it… I mean the show… of the show… okay I’m in love with the character. Bring her back. I have a thing for funny smart women (Fictional, Non-fictional). I always have. It’s a sickness. I find smart and funny women sexy as all hell.

Watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime Pilot Season… please.

So that’s what’s good.

Find these shows. Watch these shows. Love these shows as much as I do. And then you’ll be all caught up and ready for the return of Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Dark Matter. Just to name a few.

“Om Mani Padme… um… um… I want to say Om again but that can’t be right.”

Man. When I was a kid there was like a handful of superhero shows and a few more space adventures and a couple of sword & sorcery shows, but they were mostly all crap.

You kids have it so much better than we did.

We had to watch crappy science fiction on TV all the time.

AND YOU NEVER THANKED US!!!

– Mel

What’s Good? (TV 2016 Edition)

Been kind of out of it these past few days. I had a significant religious experience over the holiday weekend that I won’t bore you nice people with… much.

the-exorcist

“The power of Christ compels you to talk about Buddhism!” (You know it, Padre)

I have been in what can only be described as a completely stunned state (of the incredibly pleasant variety) for a while, and I totally forgot to post to my blog in between forgetting to breathe. (Am I breathing now? How about now?)

The Good Place

“Well this is incredibly pleasant. Not spectacular but amazingly pleasant. Are you sure this is a religious experience?”

However I promise to remedy that in the next few days starting with a long overdue:

What’s Good? TV 2016 Edition… where I cover my top ten favorite new shows, and list the ones I tried but gave up on. Some other stuff.

And anyway, Buddha says hi.

people-of-earth

“Are you Buddha?” “No. Are you?” “Noooo.” “Then what the hell is he talking about?”

 

MY TOP TEN FAVORITE NEW SHOWS (of the past few months)

So many good and clever new shows this year. And as always my favorite stuff is in the Science Fiction section. All but one of my Top Ten New Shows is sci-fi and the other is pretty damn fantastic.

Let’s start with that one.

Atlanta (FX)

Atlanta FX

Created by Donald Glover

Okay, this show reminds me of another of my favorite comedies, Portlandia. Portlandia is amazing. Portlandia is a sketch comedy about the city of Portland with recurring characters played by the two leads; Carrie Brownstein (one of my favorite people) and the amazing Fred Armisen. The way Portlandia sends up the unique characteristics of Portland, Oregon, Atlanta does the same for that city in Georgia, except without the sketches, just the recurring characters. Three friends; A rapper on the verge of minor stardom, His partner in crime (literally), And his cousin who desperately wants to manage his career (played by the almost annoyingly multi-talented writer, producer, actor and musician Donald Glover [aka Childish Gambino])

atlanta-is-amazing

“Hold up. Is he trying to say he met Buddha? The ACTUAL Buddha? On Christmas?” “I think so.” “This boy’s talkin’ crazy.” “Mm hm.”

Atlanta is outstanding. Gritty and real. Poignant and touching. Hysterically funny and irreverent. Funky as all hell. Stupidly political to the point of genius. As subversive as early South Park. As well-written as the first few seasons of Modern Family. As entertaining as a German Shepherd discovering a love for snow for the first time in his dog life. And yes I couldn’t think of a show to compare it to for sheer entertainment value because there has never been a show like Atlanta. Its ten episodes are like ten choice cuts off the début album of the best new artist of the year. It’s just beautiful.

ATLANTA --  Pictured: (l-r) Brian Tyree Henry as Alfred Miles, Keith Standfield as Darius, Donald Glover as Earnest Marks. CR: Matthias Clamer/FX

ATLANTA — Pictured: (l-r) Brian Tyree Henry as Alfred Miles, Keith Standfield as Darius, Donald Glover as Earnest Marks. CR: Matthias Clamer/FX

Atlanta is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

 

The Good Place (NBC)

the-good-place

Created by Michael Schur

The second in my list of Top New Shows is the adorably quirky The Good Place. A show that takes place in one of the heavenly realms. A setting fraught with religious pitfalls but handled with class and respect and painted with deliciously delicate non-denominational brushstrokes that border on brilliance. And so fucking funny.

THE GOOD PLACE --  "Everything Is Fine" Episode 101--  Pictured: (l-r) Jameela Jamil as Tehani, Manny Jacinto as Jianyu -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

THE GOOD PLACE — “Everything Is Fine” Episode 101– Pictured: (l-r) Jameela Jamil as Tehani, Manny Jacinto as Jianyu — (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Kristen Bell’s amazingly self-centered character dies in a freakishly embarrassing accident and finds herself in heaven but… well… she’s not supposed to be there. The show is funny and sweet and sexy (like Ms. Bell herself). But at the same time deep and philosophical and… regrettably… much, much too good for TV. So watch The Good Place before the powers that be make it go away. It’s really good.

 

People of Earth (TBS)

people-of-earth-tbs

Created by David Jenkins

People of Earth is a great new comedy from Conan O’Brien and his team of funny people. It deals with the lives of the survivors of alien abduction. It is as brilliant and funny as you’d expect from Conan and crew. And as incredibly silly and insane. It is madcap and it is amazing. It’s just plain crazy.

PEOPLE OF EARTH

“Oh great. He’s hanging out with Buddha and being abducted by ALIENS is insane.” “I know. Right?” “Pot meet Kettle.” “Who are they?” “It’s just an expression.” “But I don’t know them.”

The cast is sensational and the stories and characters are cleverly written. Wyatt Cenac joins a support group in a small town where many abductions have happened. What they don’t know is that a small band of aliens has taken up residence in the town as part of a larger plan. Invasion? Sheer lunacy. Very funny. (oh shit I just realized what I just did TBS. Very Funny. I get it now).

 

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC)

dirk-gently

Created by Max Landis  Based on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams

Here’s a show that defies description. I could never do it justice. It’s like combining Agatha from Minority Report, The Doctor from Doctor Who and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants into a blender and… I don’t know… putting ’em in a Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Buckaroo Banzai mashup. Dude. I love Douglas Adams (even if I haven’t read these books. sorry I just don’t read as much with no place to go on the subway)

dirk-gentlys

Hammer don’t hurt ’em. Can’t touch this.

Dirk Gently is some funny, fun and well-written shit. Full of body swapping and time travelling and “Everything is connected.” Just watch it. Okay?

 

Black Mirror (Netflix)

black-mirror

Created by Charlie Brooker

Black Mirror is a Sci-fi anthology series in the same vein as The Twilight Zone but with a decidedly modern bent. Technology hides horrors. Amazingly dark and beautiful horrors. Do me a favor please. Do not binge this show. These stories stick to your ribs. Don’t pile them one on top of the other. Hell, I still have three more to go in the new series. I’m so glad Netflix picked this up.

blackmirror_ep3_nosedive

If you like this post, please click like… please… PLEASE… No seriously you guys. I’m begging.

I’m looking forward to being creeped-out to the point of not being able to sleep for years to come. Don’t binge it. Let it marinate.

 

Westworld (HBO)

westworld

Created by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy  Based on Westworld by Michael Crichton

Yes I know everyone has theories. Everyone has opinions. And everyone loves Westworld. Why? Because it fucking rocks. The acting. The writing. The story. The Buddhism. Yeah that’s right I said it.

westworld-is-the-best

“Wait. Am I Buddha?” “No, hon. It’s me.”

It’s about a wild west themed resort populated by robots. If you don’t know the premise, I’m going to have to ask where you been.

“These violent delights have violent ends.”

 

The Exorcist (FOX)

the-exorcist-tv-series

Created by Jeremy Slater  Based on The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

This was done so well. The Exorcist TV series first season was a joy to watch. The first few episodes of the run are sensational. Great cast. Great story. Scary and cool like the original movie (the only good one). Priests versus Demons. The way it should be.

the-boy

Who you calling boy?

You know the story. Little girl gets possessed. Says the darnedest things to a young priest and an old priest while doing TV friendly things on a bed. Where have you been?

“Time to give the people what they want, Padre.”

 

Supergirl on the CW (CW)

supergirl_tv_series

Created by Greg BerlantiAli Adler & Andrew Kreisberg  Based on Characters by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

Okay, I know this isn’t new but it sure feels new. I loved the first season of Supergirl but the show had to do a massive reboot in its second season because they moved the production to a new city when they moved to a new network. And everybody knows what the show lost but what it gained is immeasurable. Crossover appeal baby.

supergirl-crossover

If I had to decide between dating Felicity or Supergirl, I don’t know who I’d pick. They are both so awesomely hot. (Throw Oliver in the mix and I’m totally confused)

They added her cousin Superman as a recurring character. My girl Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor. As well as letting Melissa Benoist shine in the title role. I love the move. Yes I miss Calista but seeing Kara interact with Felicity and Barry and Oliver more than makes up for it.

Supergirl -- "Worlds Finest" -- Image: SPG118_2740 -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Grant Gustin as Barry/The Flash -- Credit: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2016 WBEI. All rights reserved.

Supergirl — “Worlds Finest” — Image: SPG118_2740 — Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Grant Gustin as Barry/The Flash — Credit: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2016 WBEI. All rights reserved.

And they’re just getting started. They gave her an easy crossover button. So psyched.

 

No Tomorrow and Frequency (CW)

These are two new CW shows with promising premises and good casting.

no-tomorrow

Developed by Corinne Brinkerhoff  Based on the Brazilian series Como Aproveitar o Fim do Mundo

No Tomorrow is a romantic comedy based on a Brazilian series called How to Enjoy the End of the World. It’s about a very pretty man who thinks the world is going to end and the woman he meets who thinks he’s just too good-looking and charming to not look past that. It’s very funny and cute.

frequency

Developed by Jeremy Carver  Based on Frequency by Toby Emmerich

Frequency is a time-bending procedural based on the movie of the same name. A clever story about a police officer communicating with his daughter (also an officer) in the future. Or is that the other way around. It’s great the way they help each other solve cases in their respective eras. It’s very cool.

no-tomorrow

“Sure he claims the world is ending but at least he doesn’t say that he hung out with the Buddha in the Pure Lands on Jesus birthday. Now THAT would be a red flag. Am I right, girls?”

What can I say I’ve become a huge CW fan. I pretty much rock their entire line-up now. The superhero shows. Flash, Arrow. The relationship shows. Crazy Ex, Jane. I love it all. They’ve got a formula that really works. Hot actors and good writing. Who knew?

frequency1

“You don’t have to be from the future to know that he’s going to say that he knew.”

I knew. That’s who. I did. Good writing. Pretty people. And if there’s room left in the budget dress them all up real nice. Wardrobe is key. Surefire hit.

And those are my favorite new TV shows.

dirk-gently-episode-3-1

“Wow! He completely left off my favorite new show.” “I know. And he missed that other one.” “Right. It must be all that meditating.” “Probably wrecked his brain.”

I Tried These But Didn’t Like:

Lethal Weapon (too dumb)

Son of Zorn (too silly and dumb)

MacGuyver (too outrageously improbable)

Timeless (too timey whimey and not in a good way)

Conviction (too serious but still great casting) &

Designated Survivor (too cliché… horribly cliché, more great casting)

I didn’t stick around long enough to see if they ever got their shit together.

donald-glover

“Too busy hanging out in other realms, I guess. Huh?”

That’s it for TV

Loving The New Seasons of:

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Jane The Virgin
Luke Cage
Lucifer
Humans
Star Wars Rebels
Life in Pieces
Man in the High Castle
Sense 8
Mozart in the Jungle

dirk-gently-bart-curlish-fiona-dourif

“If he mentions that fucking monk one more time. I’m gonna shoot myself in the head thus killing everyone including him.” “That’s deep.” “NO. IT’S NOT.”

Not Liking The New Seasons of:

The Last Man on Earth (stopped being funny)
Legends of Tomorrow (bad writing bad acting still watching)
AHS My Roanoke Nightmare (couple of really cool things mostly crap)
The Walking Dead (enough with Negan already why doesn’t the show just marry him)

NOW I’m done with TV.

I’ve got a bunch of movie posts coming up so… I’ll be back… I promise.

Stay Tuned

– Mel

Sense 8 Christmas Special (god bless us… every one)

So yeah I didn’t know this was happening. It’s like a Christmas miracle.

You guys know how much I loved Sense 8… well

Check this shit out.

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMFG

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMFG

It looks like it’s gonna be sappy… but like in a really good way.

I know what I’m doing the week between Christmas and New Years (AKA the year’s taint, AKA the dead zone, AKA the darkest week of the darkest year of the darkest timeline)

Watching This…

then The Doctor Who Christmas Special

And then this again and then Doctor Who again

And then…

– Mel

Star Wars Rebels Season Three Trailer

I love the recent Star Wars animated shows. The Clone Wars got better each season and Rebels picked up where that one left off. These are some really good Star wars stories.

Here’s the new season three trailer for Rebels.

It looks really good. I don’t know a lot about the Expanded Universe. I pretty much stuck to the movies, the video games, the comics and a few novels. Most of that has been thrown out but they kept the animated shows.

But a lot of EU fans are excited about the way they have dropped in characters from the books into the main story.

That’s cool. I don’t even know who Thrawn is. He looks bad-ass though.

I’m going to re-watch the first two seasons before Rogue One opens.

  • Mel

Top Ten Bisexual TV Characters ALL NEW 2016 (Mega Post)

I haven’t done one of these in a while. And I’m sorry.

Anne Bonny Fuck You

BY THE WAY YOU CAN SKIP THESE NEXT FIVE PARAGRAPHS AND…

I think pointing out Bisexual TV characters is important because it is so easy for a writer to erase a character’s bisexuality by making them confused or insane or they’ve just been gay the whole time and in denial or in the closet or they’ve just been straight the whole time and undercover or whatever. The goddamn character is bisexual. Stop trying to take it back. It’s so annoying. Have some guts.

"I don't know what he's talking about." "He's talking about us."

“I don’t even know what he’s talking about.” “He’s talking about us, sweetie.”

I lived in a sexually binary world. Gender was always one thing or the other to me. And I understand that people are allowed to define themselves in any way they choose. But before we get bogged down in what you would like yourself to be called, once upon a time there were two genders. Scientifically and naturally. Bisexuality was a sexual attraction to both. It encompassed everyone. Male and female meant everyone. I realize that’s not true anymore and in fact it never was true.

Lucifer Morningstar

“Congratulations. You may fuck me now.”

We realized that sexuality was a spectrum. And that gender was a spectrum. And there were more genders than stars in the sky. And Bisexuality became an archaic term before it was ever universally accepted (to my liking). I’ve called myself Bisexual for decades (all my life) and now it’s become a bone of contention in a community that always seemed to be trying to erase us, or deny us, to begin with. Because of a myriad of gender identities, Bisexuality is almost an insult or at least a misnomer. But the only truly accurate moniker for anyone’s sexuality is to put that person’s full name in front of the suffix “sexual” and just leave it at that.

Shannara Chronicles

“Woah. That’s so deep.”

Bisexuality means you can be attracted to the masculine and to the feminine and to all points in between. But really it’s about the gender being less important than the person. So yeah, Bi can mean two. And by definition it would seem to be stating that there are only two genders. And we know that’s not true. But by the same token, Hetero means different. And as long as you are attracted to someone whose gender identity is not the same as your own then you are technically Heterosexual. And we know that’s not always true. It’s not an accurate translation. Neither is Transsexual. It is the term that we use. It is not an insult or a reduction or an erasure. It is just the word that we use.

Sara Lance isn't Lesbian she's Bi

So here when I say a character is Bisexual, I mean at some point in the show they were dating, fucking or stating an attraction to a man, and to a woman at one point. It is as simple as that. And I know that it isn’t always as simple as that. But in a quest for individuality, we’ve made things less inclusive and maybe even less accepting. When I can look at a list of the hundreds of words used to define gender identity and sexual identity and check off forty or fifty of them that apply to me and not feel unique but just feel alone, there’s something wrong with this system. While what is more accurate is the less defined fact that I am attracted to people. I find male parts attractive. I find female parts attractive. But I find hearts and minds even more so. I belong to that group. That all-inclusive, hugely accepting group that thinks human beings are sexy. My generation called them Bisexual, called us Bisexual… And you know what? I still like the name.

Riley on New Girl

…AND YOU CAN JUST START FROM RIGHT HERE

Here are ten Bisexual TV characters that I did not mention in the previous lists. Here, and the other one; Here. Because they are brand spanking new.

As always the rules are:

1. I have to like the show they’re on.

2. I have to find them attractive, sexy etc.

And

3. They have to be arguably Bisexual on the show.

And if you don’t know what I mean by Bisexual then you must have skipped the previous five paragraphs (I don’t blame you).

SPOILERS ALERT: There will be minor sexual spoilers throughout. Nothing big. But if I’m going to call the character bisexual then I have to explain the context by which I give them that label. It’s not always black and white.

Empire Season 2  Episode 9

“…and IIII will tryyyy to fix you.” “Please don’t.”

To the list…

Number 10.

Darryl Whitefeather (The Boss) from Crazy Ex Girlfriend (CW)

Darryl and White Josh

Portrayed by Pete Gardner

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a musical comedy that is among my favorite new shows but the way they handled this character’s coming out story was damn near perfect. He kisses a boy and he likes it after being married to a woman for years and after his divorce. And he is confused for a couple of days then at a yoga class he is glancing back and forth from a man’s tight ass to a woman’s and he goes back and forth and back and forth until finally realizing. “Wait a minute… I’m Bisexual.”

Darryl Whitefeather Bisexual Man

The character is cute but the way they handle his self-discovery, and the way the character handles it, puts him on this list. It was just perfect. And of course there was a funny song to go with it.

Number 9.

Elijah Krantz (The Gay Best Friend) from Girls (HBO)

Elijah Krantz

Portrayed by Andrew Rannells

Before people get up in arms, Elijah is a perfect example of a character who defines himself as gay but is also (somewhat) attracted to women. At one point he claims that he may not be 100% gay but a little Bisexual… and he’s cute, so he made the list.

Elijah and Marnie on the couch

And HBO’s Girls is still one of the funniest and cringe-worthy comedies on TV.

Number 8.

Eretria (The Thief) from The Shannara Chronicles (MTV)

Eretria

Portrayed by Ivana Baquero

This little hottie is a human raised by a band of roving thieves. She is hot, sexy, cunning. She has relations with men, women, elves and half elves and did I mention that she’s hot?

Eretria and Wil

The Shannara Chronicles has been renewed for a second season and I’m pleased. I like the show. I like the world. I like the cast. And I want them to live up to their potential.

Eretria and Amberle

I also want to see more of this Bisexual character putting moves on the Elven-folk.

Number 7.

Lucifer Morningstar (The Devil) from Lucifer (FOX)

Lucifer FOX

Portrayed by Tom Ellis

Lucifer likes sex. He has sex with lots of women and… lots of men. He has orgies and three-ways and he’s very hot. He’s the best thing about the show Lucifer.

Lucifer Threeway

I guess he’s not really Bisexual. He’s just the devil and the devil likes to fuck but… He’s still very very hot. I really like this show.

Number 6.

White Canary – Sara Lance (The Assassin) from DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (CW)

Sara Lance

Portrayed by Caity Lotz

I, absent-mindedly, left Ms. Lance off my previous list before her character was killed on Arrow but she’s back. (Ooh Spoiler Alert) She’s still hot and she still qualifies for the list.

Sara and Talia

She dated Oliver Queen and then she dated Talia Al Ghul (Ras Al Ghul’s daughter) on Arrow. She continues breaking hearts on Legends. Legends isn’t the best but some of the characters from Flash and from Arrow are still fun to watch. Especially Sara.

Number 5.

Amos Burton (The Engineer) from The Expanse (Syfy)

The-Expanse-Wes-Chatham-as-Amos-Burton

Portrayed by Wes Chatham

Amos Burton is one of the great characters from the sensational Syfy show The Expanse. We learn more and more about him as the season progresses and we learn a little about his sexuality. It is my belief that he’s a Bisexual character. The clues are there. Plus he’s hot. He’s very hot. I’ve never read the books but I’m pretty sure the character is Bi. I could be wrong. It could just be wishful thinking.

Amos Burton The Expanse

But I’m still very sure the character is hot.

Number 4.

Riley (The New Girl) from New Girl (FOX)

Megan Fox as Riley on New Girl

Portrayed by Megan Fox

This woman, who was barely on the show, is this high on the list because she is played by a Bisexual actor (which is always a plus) and it’s Megan Fox and she’s so cool and she’s smoking hot. But the character herself is awesome even if she was only around for a few episodes. She was a force of nature.

New Girl renewed for season 6 with Megan Fox set to return

Riley represented a very positive portrayal of a Bisexual woman. And she was fun and funny. And I kind of miss her. She will be back I hear. But really they should give her a spin-off. FOX we want a New Girl spin-off starring Riley.

Megan Fox on New Girl

Don’t listen to her. Just make it happen.

Number 3.

Anne Bonny (The Pirate) from Black Sails (Starz)

Anne Bonny

Portrayed by Clara Paget

Black Sails is one of the best shows on television. The character of Anne Bonny is under-used but she’s a bad-ass and she’s gorgeous. Played by British model Clara Paget, she discovers her Bisexuality during the series and has a complicated relationship with her longtime male partner, Jack Rackham and her female love interest (I can’t think of her character’s name now but honestly she’s the worse thing about the show. Her acting and her accent are horrible).

Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham

Anne Bonny is a historical figure as well as Jack Rackham and their partner Mary Read. Anne was a pirate and she was a wife and she was a mom. And she was a bad-ass.

Black Sails

Her sexual exploits are not recorded. The writers of Black Sails have just spiced her story up a bit. But as a female pirate,  I’m sure there were rumors.

Number 2.

Jamal Lyon (The Songwriter) from Empire (FOX)

Jamal Lyon

Portrayed by Jussie Smollett

This is like spotting a rare species of flightless bird. The Bisexual Black Male Character. Even as the writers try their best to take it back. I bet they got letters.

Jamal on Empire

The beautiful Jamal Lyon shines through their horrible attempts to erase his Bisexuality. The character is Bi and I wish they would let him just be Bi. Because he’s fucking gorgeous and he makes a wonderful addition to this list.

Jamal Lyon and Alisha Keys

He’s a songwriter and a musician and his family doesn’t approves of his lifestyle. (someone’s been reading my e-mails) He’s a fantastic character. If only the writers would stop fucking with his sexual identity and have some guts. I’m looking at you, Danny.

Number 1.

Clarke Griffin (Wanheda) from The 100 (CW)

Clarke Griffin The 100

Portrayed by Eliza Taylor

Who didn’t see this one coming. Clarke is the most bad-ass character on a show full of bad-asses. A beautifully Bisexual character with no apologies and no explanations. She’s with a guy. She’s with a girl. She’s very passionate. She’s very cool. And she is forever doomed. I love the character and I love the show.

The 100 Clarke and Finn

Recently she had another relationship… um disaster and the internet got all mad about it. But I’m like, how could you not know that was going to happen. My girl leaves destruction in her wake. Her body count is greater than anyone else’s on the show… by a lot.

Clarke and Lexa

Any relationship she gets into is doomed, man or woman. The name they gave her, Wanheda means Commander of the Dead. Deal with it internet.

The 100 Clarke and Lexa

Oh my god. The Feeeeeeeeeeeels !!!

And that’s my Sexy Bisexual TV Characters Top Ten list for 2016.

But wait. There’s more. Clarke Griffin might be number one on this year’s list but the true number one is an entire show. The Winner for Top Bisexual TV Character is..

The Magicians (The Magicians) from The Magicians (Syfy)

The-Magicians

Portrayed by Jason Ralph, Stella Maeve, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Arjun Gupta, Hale Appleman & Summer Bishil

The Magicians cast

The Magicians is a very sexy show on the Syfy network about a secret school of magic. Not like Hogwarts. This one is for adults. Imagine if Hogwarts was a college.

The Magicians

In my opinion, The Magicians is a very Bi-sexy show. Not all the characters have come out as Bi but any one of them could. There are seven main characters and I ship them all. In every combination.

Julia and Quentin

I love these guys so much. And they are all so very hot and sexually open because magic and sex are closely related on the show. So if this were a list of Bi-friendly shows, The Magicians would top the list. The way True Blood used to.

The Magicians - Season 1

Syfy is not HBO so it’s not as sexy as True Blood but season one just ended and it ended well. And I can’t wait for season two. Honestly, I’ve already watched season one twice.

————————————————

I’m gonna end this post now but I will leave you with this:

For me it’s not straight OR gay. It’s not man OR woman. It’s not binary.

It’s not binary… but it is Bisexual.

This was fun.

Later,

– Mel