What’s Good? (Early Summer)

Early Summer Edition

This installment of What’s Good? (my top ten things I’m enjoying at the moment) is mostly summer television with a few real life stuff thrown in for good measure. (Ha – for GOOD measure – get it?. Ha ha. GET IT?)

Orson Welles

I want to apologize to the regular readers of my blog. I’ve phoned it in this summer. My head and my heart have been elsewhere. I’ve written. I added Jimi Hendrix to my book. (Can I do that? I hope I don’t get sued) It’s literally a long story (I’m on a roll) but one of the characters keeps a skull on her desk. She calls it the skull of the last musician. (It’s a post apocalyptic future) And (long story short) she gains access to an alien regeneration facility and she clones the skull. (It’s less a clone as we know it and more of a recreation of the man before he died. Again long story) But I’ve been researching his interviews and trying to get his voice right. And I’ve been a little obsessed with it. It’s not a big part of the story. It’s just something that happens still I’ve tried to get it right. It’s a mad world.

To the list…

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

The 100

The 100 is pretty good. The first season is very exciting but I really enjoyed the second season of this post apocalyptic, young adult, action-drama about the survivors of a global nuclear apocalypse who have lived for generations on an orbiting space station before falling to earth. The first season moves so fast and the changes are drastic and quick and nobody is safe. It’s crazy. But during the second season, a more down-to-earth season, The 100 settles in for lots of political intrigue and survival action and coolness. A bunch of cool characters doing a lot of cool shit. It’s not sensational but it’s loads of fun and the cast is all good-looking and the main character is a serious bad-ass. I love her.

jonathan strange and mr norell

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is weirdly good. I like to think of Strange and Norrell as a prequel to the world of Harry Potter. It is about the return of magic to Great Britain. Very interesting. Very atmospheric. Some pretty cool effects and creepy mysticism and magic. A period piece where magic is accepted by the government and the society. A very dark and funny show. Six, creatively dense and magical episodes. Creepy good.

Museum-Entrance-photo-by-American-Museum-of-Natural-History

Museum Trips are really good. My next museum trip will probably be to the Natural History Museum on the west side of the park. I really enjoyed my trip to The Cloisters and my trip to The Met. I finally got out of the house for more than a quick excursion to the movies (from my home to a dark theater and back really shouldn’t count as leaving the house). I took a lot of pictures (see I have proof that I left the house). I’m keeping my promise to spend more time outside my comfort zone this year. Wish me luck.

mets-pitchers

The Mets Pitching is astonishingly good. I can’t believe the Mets are doing as well as they are with the line-up they have but they’re solidly in the race. It’s been too long since we’ve had a good team in Queens. So long I’ve forgotten what one looks like. And make no mistake, this is not a good Mets team but the Mets pitching staff is Amazin’ (I’m talking Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman good). All of their starters can hit like sluggers as well as pitch like aces. They have a pretty decent bullpen and one of the best closers in the game. All they need to do now is pick up a veteran right-handed power hitter and these Metsies will be a force with which to be reckoned.

Let’s Go Mets!

mr-robot

Mr. Robot is sensationally good. I fucking love this show. If you haven’t seen it yet, try to catch up quick. This is pure cyberpunk. The smartest computer hacking ANYTHING, TV, movie whatever, I have ever seen. Smart, funny, cool, very fucking cool. Fantastic direction that feels like a 70’s hacker thriller about the future. Except the future is today. So everything is just state of the art but with this futuristic cyberpunk feel. I hope I’m not explaining this badly because it is incredible. There is nothing sci-fi about this show (so far). There is nothing futuristic yet the direction and camera work are retro. Making it feel like you’re watching some future shit but it’s in the present day.

Mr Robot

The story is good. The lead character has a hard time interacting with people so he hacks anyone with which he has to talk. He data-mines people’s lives and social media to understand them and gain the upper hand. The acting is good (except for Christian Slater. I’ve never liked that guy) There’s cool tech and all that good stuff. But just based on the way it is shot, this retro-future-present feel, that I’m doing a bad job of explaining, just based on that, it is my favorite thing on TV now. My absolute favorite. (with Halt and Catch Fire a close second)

The Last Ship

The Last Ship is satisfying-ly good. I loved the first season of this (yet another) post-apocalyptic drama. This one takes place after a disease outbreak that kills half the world’s population. One American battleship survives the outbreak and so the show is very Naval and military. I enjoy military shows when they’re done well. And this one is done very well. Not the best acting but a lot of great action and suspense. (It’s Michael Bay) It reminds me of Star Trek except the ship is a boat and not a star-ship. That’s how I look at it. The Last Ship is Star Trek for the ocean. And each season, so far, has had a kick-ass big bad. Last year it was a Russian destroyer. This year it’s a hijacked British submarine. If you’re not totally turned off by military or nautical adventures, The Last Ship is pretty damn good.

Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful is dark and sickly good. I love this show. I loved the second season more than the first. And I really loved the first season. I like the evolution of Billie Piper’s character a lot. If you don’t know, Penny Dreadful is the story of all the classic literary monsters in one place and at one time solving crimes or something. The show is a period piece. It’s very sexy. It’s very creepy. And dark. With Victor Frankenstein and his family (the monster, the bride), Vampires, Dorian Gray. But it ain’t hokey. It takes itself very seriously while being the story of all these campy movie monsters. And I love that.

Episode 101

But my favorite thing about it was when I realized that Josh Hartnett (minor spoiler but not really) wasn’t playing a werewolf. He’s the Wolfman. He’s the motherfucking Wolfman. That made me so happy. So please please please have Abbott and Costello show up in season three. PLEEEEEEEEEASE. Just a cameo. I’m completely serious. They are the glue that would tie it all together. Please. Pretty please. Abbott & Costello.

Marriage Equality is all kinds of good. This is old news now but finally America joined the 21st century when it comes to equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. It’s about damn time. And except for a couple of bigots in the south digging in it’s going well.

True Detective Season Two

True Detective Season Two is actually pretty good. Say what you want, I’m liking this season of True Detective better than the first season. Honestly. I like the cast better this time around. I like the story better. I like the setting better. It feels like the old L.A. detective stories and it hasn’t put me to sleep. The first season with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson was really good but I had to watch every episode twice because I would usually fall asleep somewhere in the middle. Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell are amazing. And even Vince Vaughn is growing on me. Loving it. And this last episode was off the hook. Action packed. Wow.

dark-matter-header

Dark Matter is a very good deep space drama based on a comic book. I love the sci-fi. I grew up on the sci-fi. But I can’t stand bad sci-fi. Most of the shows that embrace the genre are pretty damn bad. (More on that in a moment) But there are pleasant exceptions. I love Defiance. I still love Falling Skies. And after four episodes, I’m getting into Humans but I’m not quite sold yet. However, my favorite summer sci-fi show this year is a little show out of Canada called Dark Matter (on the SyFy channel). It’s a space adventure about six people and one android who wake up in deep space with no memory of their pasts. They assign numbers to themselves in the order they woke up. They pretty quickly identify each crew members strengths and fall into their obvious roles. Never really trusting, but needing each other to survive. It’s a nice story.

Dark Matter

And they don’t drag out the secret too long. They discover who they are pretty early on but they don’t know “those” people. Their real selves. They have no memory of them. Just strangers with their faces. So they decide to continue as One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and the android. I really like this show. Please watch it. It’s like what you’d get if Firefly and the A-team had a baby with amnesia. Check it out.

Also check out this Suicide Squad teaser trailer with Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Jared Leto. I think it looks promising.

And now… for everything there is a dark side.

WHAT’S NOT so GOOD?

Summer Sci-fi Shows are traditionally not so good. (Extant, Killjoys, Dominion, Hannibal) Honestly guys It’s not enough to have some special effects and pretty actors and to air your show on date nights (when all the nerds are home). You have to have a story to tell and not just a premise to slowly roll out. And a mystery to tease.

Halle Berry Extant

Extant was actually pretty interesting the first season but instead of expounding on that, they fired half the cast and changed the whole damn thing. Like saying, all we need is Halle Berry. The nerds will keep watching. No. No we won’t. It looks to me like they’re trying to change a sci-fi mystery show about a woman giving birth to an alien into a futuristic procedural.

Killjoys

Killjoys is a horribly cheesy premise with a mediocre cast that benefits from being sandwiched between two good Friday SyFy shows. But it sucks. Most of all the acting. And the writing. And everything else about it. It just sucks. Something about bounty hunters or contract killers. Whatever. I just hope its stench doesn’t rub off on Dark Matter. Dark Matter is really fucking good.

Dominion SyFy

With Dominion I’m trying. I really am. I sort of liked the first season but I think I liked the sexiness of the angel Michael and also the general’s daughter. She’s a hottie too. So maybe it was the hotness of the cast that got me. But the story and the acting and the accents (I love you Anthony Stewart Head but your American accent is so very bad) make me want to give up on it. I’m pretty close to giving up on this show. Pretty close.

Hannibal

And lastly Hannibal. Listen. The reason I mention these shows is because I can’t help but watch them. These shows are made for me and my ilk. And I want them to be good. I want to like them because I want the powers that be to make more shows like this. Like Hannibal. I want to like Hannibal but that show is so far up its own ass it can see what it had for dinner last night. Honestly, the food is the best part of this convoluted and pretentious piece of crap. And I know the food is suppose to creep us out because he’s a cannibal or whatever. But it just makes me hungry. It looks so good. I’ve mentioned this before but I wanted Hannibal to be the anti-hero if not the hero proper. They make him completely unlikable. And it’s because in the first book he is the bad guy. And this series is based on the first book. I wanted something else. Hannibal is not enjoyable for me but I keep watching anyway. I heard they cancelled it. I’m not too sad about that.

I keep watching these crappy sci-fi shows but I can’t just watch them in silence. Mostly I yell at the screen saying, “Oh my god. That’s horrible. That’s so bad. Why am I watching this crap? Why, Mel? Why?”

I’ll tell you why. Because…

Summer DVDs

Summer DVDs are also notoriously not so good. I have a bunch of mini reviews in a folder. So I think I’ll throw them up here soon. I haven’t seen a good movie on home video yet this summer. I was waiting for a good one to come along before posting a 5 Quick Reviews of 5 New Releases for summer (yeah I was going to bring that back) but I’m up to six with nothing good in sight. I think I’ll post that next. They might be bad movies but a few were at least interesting (Slow West, The Voices)

And that’s all I got.

Quick Note. I really like getting nominated for those blog awards but I am the absolute worst at talking about myself without something to hide behind. Some device. Some gimmick. So it’s not like I ignore them. I actually try to write something and just get frustrated. I thought about doing one with just music. Ten songs that define or describe me. I found a good ten. But that wasn’t going well. So I whittled the list down. I had a seven and a five and I still may post one of those but at one point I cut it down to one song. I’m gonna post that here.

It’s Mayonaise by Smashing Pumpkins.

Fool enough to almost be it
Cool enough to not quite see it
Doomed
Pick your pockets full of sorrow
And run away with me tomorrow, June?
We’ll try and ease the pain
But somehow we’ll feel the same.
Well, no one knows
Where our secrets go.

I send a heart to all my dearies
When your life is oh, so dreary… dream.

I’m rumored to the straight and narrow
While the harlots of my perils SCREAM.
 

And I fail.
But when I can, I will.
Try to understand
That when I can, I will.

Mother’s weep the years I’m missing
All our time can’t be given back.

Shut my mouth and strike the demons
That cursed you and your reasons.
Out of hand and out of season
Out of love and out of feeling SO BAD.
When I can, I will
Words defy the plans.
When I can, I will

Fool enough to almost be it
And cool enough to not quite see it.
And old enough to always feel this
Always old, I’ll always feel this!

No more promise no more sorrow
No longer will I follow
Can anybody hear me?
I JUST WANT TO BE me.
When I can, I will.
Try to understand
That when I can,

I will.

If I don’t say it enough,

I love you guys.

Until next time,

– Mel

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What’s Good (May 2015)

This is my second What’s Good installment. A list of ten things that I enjoyed recently from Movies, TV, Music and in my life in general. This is the May 2015 Edition.

May was a pretty good month.

You're God Damn Right

For starters, my birthday is in May. Somebody told me I was 48. I don’t believe them. I can’t be a day over 29. Unless I lost two decades somewhere along the way. I mean, look at these abs. No. Wait. Those are birthday cake crumbs resting on my beer gut. Never mind. It’s not the years, anyway, it’s the mileage.

So we got movies. We got TV. We’ve got food, family, a few farewells. And the Mets. The god damn Mets. Why can’t you be like the Yankees. Just kidding. (the Yankees suck too)

“Get on with it.”

To the list…

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

Turn

Turn: Washington’s Spies is back on AMC and it’s just as good as the first season. Love this show. They added my girl Ksenia Solo from Lost Girl and now Turn: Washington’s Spies is fast becoming one of my favorite shows. Even if the title is confusing. Are we turning Washington’s spies? Or are we turning people into spies for Washington? Or am I thinking about it too much?

Mad Men was good (also on AMC). The last eight Mad Men episodes were very very good. Still one of the best TV shows in history. From beginning to end. I was trying to list all of my favorite moments from the finale and realized they were all Peggy scenes. Peggy with Stan over the phone being the best. Peggy with Don on the phone and Peggy with Joan in the restaurant. Oh yeah and Don and Betty on the phone. The Coca Cola ending made me laugh out loud both from merriment and in a purely sardonic way. Nice work guys. And little Sally turning into Betty at the end, taking care of her sick mother (still chain smoking with lung cancer), that was the only sad thing. Everybody else ended well.

Mad Max Fury Road Tom Hardy Muzzled Blood Bag

Speaking of Madness… Mad Max: Fury Road was and still is very good. It’s okay to believe the hype. It won’t disappoint. It’s that freaking good. Best movie of the year so far and it’s going to be hard to beat.

Almond Milk!!! Having Almond Milk with my Crunchy All Natural Peanut Butter and Sugar free Grape Jam sandwiches on Whole Wheat bagels is really good. I made the switch to Almond Milk and I’m never going back. Love it in my morning coffee. Almond Milk rocks.

museum_mile

Museum Trips are good.. I’m planing a few more. Think I’ll hit every museum that interests me in Manhattan (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim, Natural History, etc) and then expand to the outer boroughs. Planning to walk down the famous Museum Mile near Central Park this week. I’ll post some pics. Promise. (If I remember to charge the battery in my camera… long story)

The Revenge Finale on ABC was really good. So satisfying. Everything I wanted from a season (series) finale. Now all we need is a Nolan Ross spin-off. That would be nice. Make it happen ABC. Keep the Revenge alive.

Americone Dream

My Birthday was good. I had Ice Cream. Lots and lots of Ice Cream. Ben & Jerry’s Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream. Absolutely my favorite Ice Cream flavor of all-time.

Other Space on Yahoo Screen is very good. Paul Feig’s show about a group of green astronauts lost in an unknown universe is the right amount of clever and silly. It’s like a combination of the British sci-fi shows: Doctor Who and Red Dwarf. The first season is eight very funny episodes. Check it out. It’s a fun binge watch at about three hours.

relationship balance

Relationships with other humans, though not all it’s cracked up to be, is still very very necessary and can be good… for a while. Thank you green eyes for that reintroduction to the world of other people. Like a baptism of fire. I’d kiss you on the top of your head if you were still talking to me.

And this song right here… This song is very good… A little angry but still good.

This Kendrick Lamar song right here. – The Blacker the Berry

I said they treat me like a slave cause me black
Woah we feel a whole heap of pain cause we black
And man I say, they put me in the chain cause me black
Imagine now, big gold chains full of rocks
How you no see the whip left scars on my back
But now we have a big whip parked on the block
All them say we doomed from the start cause we black
Remember this, every race starts from the black. Just remember that

I got this Kendrick Lamar album on heavy rotation. I’ve been playing this and the new Taylor Swift album back and forth. (I know it’s a weird combination. I’m a weird dude).

And now for everything there is a dark side… (AKA The Fucked-Up Five)

What’s NOT so Good?

Fed Ex Note

Fed Ex Deliveries where the driver doesn’t bother to read the note you left for him, and just leaves his ticket right next to it, are not good at all. I was home all day. You guys suck at your job. And don’t call and ask him to drive back around. That’s against the laws of nature and physics and would cause the end of the world as we know it.

Avengers: Age of Ultron was not good. I didn’t like it. But sadly I will end up owning it. And even more sadly they know this about people like me and they don’t even have to try to entertain me anymore. Just paint-by-numbers. And while I’m at it Tomorrowland wasn’t good either. A big blockbuster needs to be more than just a few action pieces, bad jokes and high-priced actors… DISNEY. I’m looking at you Disney. God, I hope they don’t screw up Star Wars.

Robin Williams David Letterman

David Letterman saying goodbye was not good. I grew up with him. High School. College. An American television institution. I feel old. Well older. It was my birthday. Sad. I’ll miss him and I’ll miss Paul Shaffer and the band and the way he never took shit from nobody. But on a lighter note: James Corden is doing a good job and he is infinitely likable & fun, and I have high hopes for Stephen Colbert (and his delicious Ice Cream flavor) when he takes over in September.

Game of Thrones on HBO is straight starting to piss me off. Perhaps killing off all of our favorite characters works for a book series but it does not work for a TV series. Sorry George. Not cool, man. Not good. Also this year is nowhere near as entertaining as last season. By this time we had major battles and they had also introduced one of the best characters of the series. But this year… it’s just annoyingly slow. They broke Anya. Sansa’s getting rape fucked by her new husband. And Tyrion. Only little Tyrion is still doing work. (Talking the Slavers into taking them to the fighting pits was genius). He never disappoints. But four / five episodes in, I expected more.

david-wright

The Mets are not looking good. My Mets had a great April and then proceeded to lose almost every game in May. same ole Mets. They must be snake-bit because now their best player, David Wright, may be gone for the rest of the seasons (all of them). So sad. He has some spinal thing that may end his career. He’s too young and too cute to retire this early. David Wright retiring is not good at all. Arrghhh.

But since I can’t end this post on a bad note, here’s something: Between the time I wrote this and the time I posted it, me and green eyes made up. I know that means nothing to you people but it makes me happy.

So that’s good, right?

Yeah. Whatever. Here’s some more music…

Speaking of Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift. This nearly caused my head to explode.

I love the way Taylor just basically gives the song to Kendrick. She’s becoming one of my favorite artists (and I’m not ashamed to admit it). The video is stupid but the new song with the Kendrick verses is really good.

Coming Soon to What’s Good: True Detective Season Two (the trailers look awesome and the cast is amazing), Taking my bike out to central park (because I own a nice bike that I never use) and Writing and writing and writing and writing.

Coming Soon to What’s NOT so Good: June Blockbusters (nothing looks particularly promising… maybe Jurassic World but I’m not overly excited). More of the same from my Mets (Unless they make a trade) and The final season of Lost Girl without Ksenia Solo as Kenzi (maybe she’ll make a few guest appearances).

Until next time,

– Mel

Top Ten TV Mega Post Part 9/10 Premium Dramas (First and Last)

Top Ten TV Mega Post Part Nine: Premium Cable Dramas (The first and the last)

Mozart

“Finally, Mel. We’ve been waiting forever.”

For this, the penultimate installment of my Top Ten TV Mega Post in Ten Parts, I am finally covering the Premium Dramas (because I finally watched them all). The shows that you have to pay a monthly service charge to have access to (Or wait for the DVD).

Werewolf

“Wait for the DVD? What is this the 90’s?”

But this is a subject I’ve covered a lot on this blog. If you didn’t know already I love Homeland, House of Cards, Masters of Sex, Ray Donovan, and I have no interest in running over the same old ground.

Crossdressers

“Oh that’s wonderful. He doesn’t want to repeat himself. IT’S A LITTLE LATE DEARY.”

So instead, I will talk about the shows in 2014 that were in their first season or in their last season. New comers and departing faves from some of the American premium services: Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax…

Charle Vane, Anne Bonny and Jack Rackam

“…and Starz.”

And Starz.

Here are ten shows; Three of my favorites that said goodbye last year and seven that will replace them… if not succeed them.

To the list…

First up…

THE NEWCOMERS:

The Affair (Showtime)

The Affair

Created by Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi

Starring Dominic WestRuth WilsonMaura Tierney & Joshua Jackson

The Affair frightens me. It made me very anxious. It is the story of an extramarital affair (obviously). But the hook is that you see their story from both sides. Both genders. Complete with gender biases, blind spots and egos. They don’t know each other. So, their image of the other is completely skewed by their own preconceptions.

The Affair

“Are you banging the waitress?” “We just walked in here.”

The first episode is incredible. Once I realized they were showing the same story from two different vantage points I was in. But I kept getting anxious about the differences in the two characters’ views of the same events. And yes there were drastic differences but it’s the subtle differences that make this show so good and also makes me cringe so much.

Ruth Wilson

The way he sees her. (That far away from the fire she probably was wearing her sweater)

It is a very good show with an amazing cast. (I have loved Ruth Wilson since Luther on the BBC). But I was trying to binge watch the whole thing and had to stop. I only watched three episodes and had to stop. This show just made me so uncomfortable. That’s a good thing in my book but I didn’t expect to not be able to take it. The difference in the way he sees her and the way she sees herself, and the way she sees him and the way he sees himself, tied my stomach into knots. Aaaargh.

Ruth Wilson and Dominic West

“Whatcha thinkin’ bout?” “How men and women have very little in common.”

I feel like such a pussy. It could have been a horror film the way it made me so tense. So, I still don’t know who gets it more right or if they are both completely freaking delusional. I still have seven episodes to watch and I’ll probably get to it this weekend but at this point, the point when I bailed on it, the point when I chickened-out and turned it off, it is one of the best and most stressful things I’ve seen in a long while.

Transparent (Amazon Prime)

Transparent

Created by Jill Soloway

Starring Jeffrey TamborGaby HoffmannJay DuplassAmy Landecker & Judith Light

Transparent was the best show of 2014 with the best performance from this year by Jeffrey Tambor. The trans story is just the hook. A very well-played hook but just a hook. This is actually a dysfunctional family drama that is superb in every way.

Transparent Family

“Pass the peas to Elijah.”

Transparent is billed as a trans positive story. And it is… somewhat. But it doesn’t preach or propagandize. Because it is so much more than that. It is the story of a family; a collection of characters that are dynamic and creative and sexy and funny and so messed up. At one point I realized that the father, who is coming out as trans, late in life, is perhaps the only even slightly self-aware character on the show. It’s amazing.

Jeffrey Tambor and Amy Landecker

“Grandma what a big Adam’s apple you have.” “The better to creep you with my dear.”

This is quality TV of the highest order. Great writing. Great performances. Great directing. Phenomenal in every way. And while at the core there is the transition, the transformation… the trans-parent. It is so much more than that. It is a beautifully well-made family drama that I hope doesn’t scare anyone away with its trans hook.

Judith Light, Jeffrey Tambor, Jay Duplass and Amy Landecker

Family redefined… again.

So to recap… The cast is phenomenal and sexy. The writing and directing are top-notch. This is a huge win for Amazon. And I hope they can keep up this level for a few more seasons. Best TV show I saw all of last year. I kid you not.

Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon Prime)

Mozart in the Jungle

Developed by Roman CoppolaJason Schwartzman and Alex Timbers

Starring Gael García BernalLola KirkeSaffron Burrows. Hannah Dunne. Malcolm McDowell & Bernadette Peters

This Amazon series about a new conductor at the New York Philharmonic is delightful. With funny situations and a sexy cast, this show is refreshingly original. I loved the music themes and the inside look at the labor, financing and management problems of running the orchestra. Mozart in the Jungle is extremely enjoyable.

Gael Garcia Bernal

“I’m not Mozart. Not really, anyway.”

However, there are times in the series where the quality drops substantially. Where it seems stiff, where it seems the acting and writing are not quite right, but if you hold on, wait a couple of minutes it returns to being brilliant. It is hard to explain these lapses.

Mozart in the Jungle Amazon

“You know what they say about violinists?” “Their fingering’s excellent?” “You do know.”

I think the best way I can describe them is to compare the show to its executive producer; Jason Schwartzman. Jason is brilliant for small stretches, just like Mozart in the Jungle. But as the audience, we have to muddle past the parts, where he’s just a little off and not at all funny, to get to another incredibly brilliant thing he says or does.

Mozart in the Jungle 2

“Mel likes us everyone. We get a second season.”

Mozart in the Jungle is not Wes Anderson good but it is TV good. It is at times zany. Always funny. Very sexy and creative. I really enjoyed the first season of Mozart in the Jungle and hope to see more. Bernadette Peters, Malcolm McDowell, Gael Garcia Bernal, Jason Schwartzman himself and John Hodgman all give great performances. By the end of the first season I did not want it to end. I want more of this.

Black Sails (Starz)

Black Sails

Created by Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine

Starring Toby StephensHannah NewLuke ArnoldJessica Parker KennedyTom HopperZach McGowanToby SchmitzClara PagetMark RyanHakeem Kae-KazimSean Michael & Louise Barnes

Black Sails, described as a prequel to Treasure Island, was a slow burn in its first season but it was well worth the ride. It has the proper mix of violence, political intrigue, romance, piracy and sex. I also think the costumes are cool.

Black Sails Hannah New

“You feel that?” “Your Heart?” “No that’s my nipple. My hearts inside my chest.”

This show makes a fine replacement for the amazing Spartacus. With that combination of graphic violence and graphic sex and a good-looking cast but it doesn’t get mired in that. Its stories and characters and politics and situations are deeper and more complicated than just sexy eye candy and well-dressed violence.

Black Sails

“Do you think the pirate theme is our hook?” Get it? Hook?”

But don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of cool characters. A lot of cool costumes. Sword fighting. Gun play. Cannons to the left of me. Real life pirates from history. Cannons to the right of me. And bad-ass, kick-ass, fine ass ladies.

Anne Bonny

“You call me a lady again and I’ll gut ya.”

Black Sails takes a while to set up all the characters. All of the rogues and rapscallions living together in this pirates cove on New Providence Island. But I eventually fell in love with this show. And I can’t wait for it to come back and hope it comes back strong.

The Knick (Cinemax)

The Knick

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Written by Jack Amiel, Michael Begler and Steven Katz

Starring Clive OwenAndre HollandJeremy BobbJuliet RylanceEve HewsonMichael AngaranoChris SullivanCara SeymourEric Johnson, David Fierro, Maya Kazan, Leon Addison Brown, Grainger Hines & Matt Frewer

Steven Soderbergh directs ten mini-movies about a failing New York hospital at the turn of the 20th century. The Knick shows the inner workings of the healthcare system, the underground abortion providers, the segregationist hospital system, the experimentation with drugs and surgery and, way too often, the inner workings of the human body.

The Knickerbocker Hospital Surgery Room

“Okay we’ve opened up his chest. How are you doing Mr. Johnson? Want more cocaine?”

Clive Owen is good, if not great. The writing is good but not great. The themes and subject are uneven. Sometimes interesting and sometimes boring and/or cringe inducing. But the directing on this show is sensational. Each episode is like a mini-movie. A mini-well-made movie. Steven Soderbergh is what makes this show great.

Clive Owen

“It’s common knowledge that the human nose is useless. So I removed yours.”

My favorite parts of the series are the glimpses of New York during that time period. And the barbarism of what they were calling modern medicine at the time. I had to laugh every time these butchers cut someone open or prescribe dangerous drugs to their patients and themselves. There is so much to cringe at in The Knick. Almost too much.

Doctors

“What do you call a black surgeon?” “I’ve heard this one.” “Ni-” “I’VE HEARD IT.”

Then the show sort of gets bogged down in the racism of the time. On how even a black person in dire need of medical attention would be turned away at so-called white hospitals. Or how they thought blood was different between the races and how some white patients would rather die than have a black doctor save their life. More cringing.

The Doctor Will See You Now

“A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The medicine go down. The…”

The show is very good because Soderbergh takes all of this. All of the cringe worthy things. All of the well-trodden territory. All of the madness and completely unlikable characters. And he makes it real. It feels so real. Soderbergh is a freaking genius.

Outlander (Starz)

Outlander

Developed by Ronald D. Moore

Based on  Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

Starring Caitriona BalfeSam HeughanTobias MenziesGary LewisGraham McTavishLotte VerbeekBill Paterson, Duncan Lacroix, Grant O’Rourke & Stephen Walters

I have to admit to being confused at first when I started watching the show Outlander. For some reason, I thought it was going to be more like the movie Highlander. I heard Scotland and Time-Travel and I expected ritual beheading and shouts of “There can be only one.” Anyway, it is not… that.

“Take off my clothes.” “But I’ve only got three hours.”

But I stayed anyway and I liked this show about a married woman from the 1940’s travelling back in time to the 1700’s. I liked it a lot. Outlander has just the right amount of suspense, romance, politics, drama, and the supernatural.

Outlander 2

“Oh you ARE ticklish. Aren’t you?”

I don’t know the books but I liked the story. A clever mix of history and romance and magic. I appreciated that it wasn’t someone from the present day going back to Scotland in the 1700’s (because frankly she would have been burned as a witch immediately). And because of this we notice our difference to her society and can more understand her differences to their society. It’s good writing. (better than the previous sentence)

Claire and Jamie

“I can’t. I’m married to a man whose great great grand father has not been born yet.”

Outlander is a really good story. Not a lot of action. It’s mostly drama and romance and political intrigue but the situation is an interesting one and by the time we meet the major baddie (no spoilers), it gets really really good.

Penny Dreadful (Showtime)

Penny Dreadful

Created & Written by John Logan

Starring Reeve CarneyTimothy DaltonEva GreenRory KinnearBillie PiperDanny SapaniHarry TreadawayJosh HartnettSimon Russell Beale & Helen McCrory

Penny Dreadful is a fascinating and fantastically well-produced monster mash series with an incredible cast of famous characters and monsters from literature and fabulous character actors lead by the amazing Eva Green and Timothy Dalton.

Timothy Dalton

“I can pretend to read with the best of them.”

Like the underrated Netflix show Hemlock Grove, (I just started watching that but they’re on their second season, so it didn’t make this list) it throws together classic monsters and pits them one against the other. But this one takes itself a lot more seriously than the younger and hipper Hemlock Grove and Penny Dreadful’s 19th century time period paves the way for gorgeous sets and even more gorgeous costumes.

Eva Green

“What did you call this again? A spliff? I like it.”

However it’s the great performances and the great stories that make this one of my favorite new shows from last year. Eva Green. Eva Green. Eva Green is amazing and scary and gorgeous. Also the Frankenstein story line is heartbreaking and painful. There is action and horror and the supernatural. Penny Dreadful is a good show.

“Oh my god. I’m Stan from Southpark. And you killed Kenny. You bastard.”

There are vampires and werewolves and animated corpses and all manner of spirits. And usually when you throw so many cool things into one show, it gets muddy and unfocused. But each classic character has its own agenda and its own story. And they overlap in the prettiest ways. So that it doesn’t feel like a stew but like a ten course meal.

Penny Dreadful 2

“That’s amazing!” “What is it?” “You look amazing in that overcoat.” “Oh. That.”

If you take away one thing from reading this list, take away the fact that Penny Dreadful is a great show that you should really be watching. I kid you not.

And lastly…

DEPARTING FAVES

Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Boardwalk Empire

Created by Terence Winter

Based on Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City
by Nelson Johnson

Starring Steve BuscemiMichael PittKelly MacdonaldMichael ShannonShea WhighamAleksa PalladinoMichael StuhlbargStephen GrahamVincent PiazzaPaz de la HuertaMichael Kenneth WilliamsAnthony LaciuraPaul SparksDabney ColemanJack HustonGretchen MolCharlie CoxBobby CannavaleRon LivingstonJeffrey Wright & Ben Rosenfield

5 Seasons

Nucky Thompson

“Now hold on a minute everybody. Five great seasons is more than enough for this to be one of the best shows of all-time. More than enough.”

Boardwalk Empire was one of my favorite shows for its five season run. Another Premium Drama that felt like a mini movie every episode. With famous and not-so famous gangsters fighting it out for control of the illegal alcohol trade during the 1920’s and 30’s from New York to Cuba to Chicago to the Boardwalk of Atlantic City New Jersey.

Al Capone

“Did you say Chicago? Did he say Chicago? Don’t let me find out you didn’t say Chicago.”

I even loved the ending. And because it surprised me and because it was perfect, I’m not going to talk about it. And accidentally spoil it. It was cool though and wrapped up the show nicely. Everybody got what they deserved.

Michael Shannon

“You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

I especially loved the episode that wrapped up the stories of two of my favorite characters on the show; Chalky White, played by the amazing Michael Kenneth Williams, and Van Alden, played by Michael Shannon, it is one of the best episodes of the series.

Gillian... so tragic

Gretchen Mol’s pained smile is now my favorite part of the series.

But what I loved most about this season was finally finding out why Nucky and Gillian had such a screwed up relationship. I always wondered why she was there. For five seasons it was like Nucky couldn’t look her in the eyes. And when we finally find out why, it made me want to watch the whole series again from episode one.

Richard Harrow

“I thought I was your favorite character.”

Boardwalk Empire is most definitely on my top 100 television shows of all time.

The Newsroom (HBO)

The Newsroom

Created by Aaron Sorkin

Starring Jeff DanielsEmily MortimerJohn Gallagher, Jr.Alison PillThomas SadoskiDev PatelOlivia Munn & Sam Waterston

3 Seasons

The Newsroom Cast

“He’s not really playing that keyboard. It’s fake.” “Nuh uh.”

I wanted a lot more from the last season of this great Aaron Sorkin show about the inner workings of a prime-time cable news program. During its first two seasons, I sometimes felt The Newsroom was trying too hard to impart lessons in responsible journalism but that was never to the detriment of its impossibly witty characters and their insanely fun and fast dialogue. But in this last season, I felt like the show was talking down to me.

Allison Pill

“He’s a virtuoso keyboardist. Years before his time.”

I didn’t like the ending. Well, I didn’t like that the show was ending first of all. But I also felt like it was rushed. Love this cast. Love this writer. Love the theme and the premise. I just felt the show never found a way to truly hook (there’s that word again) a large premium cable audience… I’m talking about sex, alright. There was not enough sex.

Olivia Munn and Dev Patel

“Where do you stand on the keyboard controversy?” “Well I’ve alwa-” “I really don’t care.”

Sorry Mr. Sorkin. We just weren’t ready for a cerebral, political dramedy without at least one gratuitous sex scene per episode (a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down). But for the first two seasons and on occasion in this last season, the show made me happy. It was smart and it was funny. It was timely but not preachy. It was pretty but it was never sexy and because of that last fact, it was never popular.

Will McAvoy

“Amazing cat plays keyboard. Film at eleven.”

Goodbye Newsroom (News Night). You go on to join Sports Night in the pantheon of short-lived, extremely well-written shows about the media. I will miss you.

But speaking of at least one gratuitous sex scene per episode…

True Blood (HBO)

True Blood

Created by Alan Ball

Starring Anna PaquinStephen MoyerSam TrammellRyan KwantenRutina WesleyAlexander SkarsgårdNelsan EllisCarrie PrestonChris BauerKristin Bauer van StratenJoe Manganiello & Deborah Ann Woll

7 Seasons

I’ve made no secret of my love (lust) for True Blood. So sexy and scary and gory and just all sorts of awesome. But the show did not end well. One or two seasons too many I think. But for a while there it was one of my favorite shows. The perfect combination of scary and very very sexy.

Eric, Bill and Sookie on the Table

“I get the feeling this post is about to get NSFW in a big way.”

In honor of the end of True Blood, I present my Top Ten Hottest True Blood hook-ups (fantasy or dream) sex scenes of the series. Because True Blood was very sexy.

To the list… (in no particular order)

Sookie and Eric

Sookie and Eric in the woods

Jessica and Jason in the Truck

Jessica and Jason in the back of the pick-up truck

Eric and Ginger

Ginger and Eric on the Throne

Alcide

Alcide and the wolf girl three-way

Eric, Sookie and Bill

Sookie and Eric and Bill

Jason and Eric

Jason and Eric

Witches Orgy

Tara and Eggs at the witches orgy

Jason and Sarah Newlin

Jason and Sarah Newlin

Jessica and Jason

Jessica and Jason on the bed

Arlene on the pool table

Arlene and Keith (the vampire) on the pool table

Goodbye HBO’s True Blood. You hung around two seasons too long but when you were good, you were really really really good. And now… cold shower.

 

So to recap… we said goodbye to Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom and True Blood in 2014 but said hello to many great shows (Penny Dreadful) to take their place.

And thus concludes My Top Ten TV Mega Post in Ten Parts.

 

“But wait, Mel… there were only NINE parts. What gives?”

That’s correct, Dear Reader. I still owe you my updated top ten TV shows of all-time list. But I’ve decided, since I enjoyed doing this series so much, to split the tenth installment into ten installments of its own. Thus I am announcing my new series:

My Top Ten Television Shows of All-Time (in ten parts)

This way I can break each show down into seasons and talk about what I thought worked well and what I thought worked REALLY well on each show.

So I haven’t discarded the “Mega Post” format all together. I just think that each of the ten shows on my list deserves its very own, personal, in-depth mega post.

First up… Number Ten (hint… it’s The IT Crowd)

But until then

I’ll see you on the couch,

– Mel

Best of the Blog 2014

2014 was a very good year for movies, a very good year for TV, and a very good year for me (writing and health wise. I finished my first draft and started my second). To recap this past year on the blog, I will post links to my favorite posts from my favorite blogger… ME.

Yep. That’s right. It’s a clip show. Everybody’s doing them, so why shouldn’t I.

Henry V

“Honoring yourself, my lord, it’s like watching you masturbate.”

When I started this blog, back in 2011, all the experts said that I should streamline it down to one specific theme. Find my audience, so to speak.They also said to post on a set schedule. But as always I said screw all that and did whatever the hell I wanted to do.

I can’t live by your rules, man!

Instead Mel Rook & the 7 Deadly Sins has become a place to post whatever I like when I like. And if that’s not what the experts like. Screw them. They don’t read my blog.

I promise to give you guys more of what YOU like.

The Flash

“And what exactly is THAT?”

Maybe you want more poetry and more short stories. I promise those will return in the new year. I plan to post the first chapter of my book online but only for the people who want to read it. (Soon as I figure out how to password protect it and then I’ll just give out the password to anyone who wants to read it)

Maybe you want more photos from around the block. I promise to get outside more in 2015, possibly even out of my neighborhood (I haven’t been to Brooklyn in a while). More photos in 2015. (I know I said that last year but this year I mean it)

Some people like my autobiographical musings, the more personal stuff. And you should know I will always find ways to reveal too much information about myself in the most fun ways possible. But only if it’s creatively interesting. This isn’t a diary.

But rest assured, there will be tons of TV reviews and loads of movie reviews and ton-loads of DVD reviews …and music …and trailers …and surprises and all of that. So…

EVERYBODY WINS!!!

(Or at least that’s the plan)

Points

But here are my top five favorite posts by me from 2014. with my top ten personal faves marked… so it’s a top five in each category and a top ten at the same time. (So yes. Once again, I’m trying to please everyone)

I hope you enjoy it.

To the list…

First up…

The Movies:

"Yes!"

“Yes!”

2014 was a fantastic year for movies but I didn’t get out to the theater as much as I wanted. The experts say, (those guys again) that if I want to review movies, I should do them one at a time and include a plot synopsis and all that stuff. But again I said screw that. I’ll do them 5…6…7 at a time and make them quick and painless. You want to know the plot, rent the movie… go to Wikipedia.

I can’t live by your rules, man!

Best Picture 2013 Part 1 (PERSONAL FAVE)

American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave, Her

6 Quick Reviews of 6 DVD Releases in June

The Machine, Non-Stop, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The LEGO Movie, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

5 Quick Reviews of 5 DVD in July (and One Rant) (PERSONAL FAVE)

A Million Ways to Die in the West, Winter’s Tale, Bad Words, The Raid 2, Transcendence, Jodorowsky’s Dune

5 Quick Reviews in September (The Return of the Quick Review) 

Godzilla, The Fault in Our Stars, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Neighbors, The Signal, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Snowpiercer

5 Quick Reviews of 5 New DVD Releases for December 2014 (PERSONAL FAVE)

Frank, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Maze Runner, This is Where I Leave You, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Next up…

Television Shows:

Bob Odenkirk and Alison Tolman

“This whole thing is just a little self-indulgent. Dontcha know.”

At the start of 2014 I took on a monumental task; to list 100 worthy TV shows in ten categories. I called it My Top Ten TV Mega Post in Ten Parts. It’s still going on. And once again I found it hard to stick to the rules (even the ones I set for myself).

And here I couldn’t just pick five. So I listed them all.

I can’t live by my own rules, man… um… Mel

TV Mega Post Part 1 (New Shows)

This was the first one. Not the best list but a bunch of these shows turned out to be amazing. I’m proud of it.

TV Mega Post Part 2 (Imports)

TV Mega Post Part 3 (Cable Comedies & Cartoons)

TV Mega Post Part 4 (Premium Comedies)

TV Mega Post Part 5 (What The Hell Happened to the Sitcom?) (PERSONAL FAVE)

This became a rant about TV sitcoms when three of my favorites were cancelled right before I posted it.

TV Mega Post Part 6 (Variety Shows)

I posted this a few days before Joan Rivers died and didn’t have the heart to edit it.

TV Mega Post Part 7 (Broadcast Dramas) (PERSONAL FAVE)

TV Mega Post Part 8 (Cable Dramas)

The last two installments are coming soon. I promise.

Next…

Poetry, Personal and Miscellaneous:

Typewriter

I really need to update my computer.

Again those experts are fond of saying that I should not reveal too much about myself and about my personal life. That somehow I should be ashamed. Well of course I’m ashamed. I’m a shameful dude. I’m embarrassed by how often I use the word dude. But sitting quietly in my shame does no one any good. So, if posting about my life makes just one person feel better while making five thousand other people embarrassed for me… it was all worth it. And I can do my happy dance. So once again I say to the experts…

I can’t live by your rules, man!

The Littlest Psychopath (PERSONAL FAVE)

I like this story. It’s a condensed, somewhat fictionalized version of the author’s childhood. I cry every time I read it. I can’t wait for the sequel.

7 Times a Movie Saved My Life (PERSONAL FAVE)

I really like movies and when I realized that there was a movie at the center of most of my major life decisions, changes and memories. I had to share them.

The Wind and The Water (for Maya)

A poem for Maya Angelou

What She Said

A poem for a former friend

Top Ten Bisexual TV Characters (PERSONAL FAVE)

Not really a TV post but a fun list of my favorite Bisexual TV characters. But since I posted it, early this year, the list has grown. I smell a sequel.

And lastly…

Photos from Around the Block:

Simpson's Clouds The Siiimpsonnnns

Simpson’s Clouds
The Siiimpsonnnns

Looking at these dates, it seems like Photos from Around the Block is a summer job. I didn’t get out of the house much this year. I did a lot of writing. I moved my treadmill into the living room. So I still did a lot of walking. I just didn’t go anywhere. But if I made New Year’s resolutions (I don’t), mine would be to get out of the house at least once a week in 2015. I know that doesn’t sound like much but I can go months without seeing the sun.

I declare 2015 will be the year of the sun.

The Return of the Photos from Around the Block May 4

Down at the Park

Down at the Park

 

Return TWO May 17 (PERSONAL FAVE)

This one was my personal favorite from today

This was my favorite from this year.

 

Slight Return July 20

This sign doesn't work at all.

This sign doesn’t work at all.

 

The Walking Returns August 6

Harlem

Harlem

 

The Return of the More August 19 (PERSONAL FAVE)

Reflections 1

Reflections

And that my friends is the best of the blog for 2014.

It has been a pleasure to share the things in my head and my heart with all of you.

Have a happy and prosperous new year everyone.

– Mel

The Hidden Gems of 2013 (Year-End Review Mega Post)

Everyone has their own year-end review posts. I do them too. It’s a good way to put the previous year in perspective. And prepare for the new one.

Breaking Bad

In 2013 there were some good movies (award season is upon us) and some great TV finales. Some of them ended well (Breaking Bad). some ended not so well (I’m looking at you Dexter). Some ended too soon (Nikita). While some waited a season too long (Burn Notice). But everybody talks about those shows. Let’s talk about the shows nobody talks about. Let’s talk about the movies that aren’t up for Awards or Box Office Records. Let’s talk about the stuff nobody talks about.

Nikita

I call 2013 the year of the over-discussed and the under-exposed.

Michonne from The Walking Dead

Yes, The Walking Dead was good (not as good as before but it’s hard to keep up that level of intensity) and the Marvel Movies this year were awesome (yawn). Big budget films like The Lone Ranger & After Earth were two of the worst movies ever made (Tell me something I don’t know). While Breaking Bad cemented its place as the best show in television history (That’s right I said it again. Go to your room The Wire and think about what you could have been). And we can’t forget about how Game of Thrones stabbed us in the heart again and again. (Had me seeing red)

Agents of SHIELD

While Marvel’s Agents of Shield needs more time to discover what it wants to be when it grows up, Doctor Who was spectacular once again. And Jay-Z released the best collection of songs in his storied career. Even Lady Gaga finally got her shit together and released a good album. Yes, The Affordable Care Act‘s Healthcare.gov website (affectionately known as Obamacare) couldn’t handle all the traffic at first (who knew people without healthcare would want some?) but got it together in time for the holidays and Congress reached a new low in obstruction and not doing the job they were elected to do… (speaking of jobs. Where are the jobs?) Until Harry Reid got serious and said, “No more.”

Taylor Schilling

Oh yeah and House of Cards & Orange is the New Black changed the way we look at TV. Netflix ruled 2013 even Hemlock Grove was good. (Let’s see how they fuck it up in 2014).

Kevin Spacey

… but everybody knows that. We lived through it. We talked about it ad nauseam. I will attempt with my year-end list to rank the things… OTHER than those things. Stuff that nobody talked about (or very few talked about… and me). The hidden gems of 2013. The underexposed movies that I loved. The TV shows that are going strong without their own after shows and blog recaps. This is my year-end list.

So… Here’s the other stuff…

Movies That Didn’t Get The Respect They Deserved

10. Warm Bodies

Warm BodiesA beautiful love story in a clever and original package.

9. Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About NothingJoss Whedon and Will Shakespeare… need I say more.

8. Jack The Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer Poster

A fun movie, a great love story, with a excellent cast.

7. Before Midnight

Before MidnightJulie Delpy. Julie Delpy. Julie Delpy. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder why we never became lovers. (Oh that’s right. I don’t know her)

6. The Iceman

The IcemanThe Iceman is no joke. Iceman is intense

5. The Grandmaster

The Grandmaster

A dance. A meditation. A heartbreak. A cinematic masterpiece.

4. Europa Report

Europa ReportThe heroism and dangers of space exploration done right. Done so right.

3. Stand Up Guys

Stand Up Guys

Three masters. Two guns. One awesome movie.

2. Oblivion

oblivion-main_1It seems like I enjoyed this movie more than everyone else. This is good Sci-Fi. I loved this movie.

1. The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring PosterDesigner nails on a limited edition chalkboard. Sofia Coppola does great work.

Bling Ring EmmaAnd so does Emma Watson.

There were more popular movies. There were better movies, but these ten films, in my opinion, were over-looked and under-exposed. And that’s a travesty because they were very good.

Television Shows That Are Still On The Air

These are the great shows that I think don’t get enough press. Don’t get enough love. So not Sleepy Hollow or Agents of SHIELD or The Blacklist or Almost Human (though I love them all) Go watch them before some executive pulls the plug.

In alphabetical order (because you can’t rank no TV shows), here are the ones I never hear people talking about.

2 Broke Girls (CBS)

2.Broke.GirlsLove this show. It gets funnier and funnier. They’ve added a bunch of new awesome people to the cast including the very funny Mary Lynn Rajskub & Eric Andre,

American Horror Story: Coven (FX)

American Horror Story CovenThis show amazes me. Each year they change the theme and the characters and the locations (they only keep the fantastic cast) and it is awesome every season. Lily Rabe is wonderful every year and Jessica Lange… wow.

Banshee (Cinemax)

BansheeThis is a fun action show with a sexy cast.

Banshee 2Great fight scenes and shootouts. A cool premise and an interesting story.

Banshee CinemaxAnd of course some sexy sexiness… it IS Cinemax. Banshee is a very cool and kick ass action drama.

Beware The Batman (Cartoon Network)

Beware the batmanI never hear anyone talking about this show. I love it. Good story. Cool animation style.

Beware the Batman KatanaSure, it’s a departure for the Batman but at this point who wants to rehash the same old bat. Beware the Batman is a very good animated series. (Just not for the Bat-man purest)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)

brooklyn-nine-nineBest new sitcom in quite some time. Funny as hell and I’ll tell you why… casting. Every single person on this show is hysterical.

Childrens Hospital (Adult Swim)

childrens-hospital-castThis show is wild and wacky but they do good work every episode with different film styles and joke formats. Childrens Hospital (no apostrophe… it’s not a children’s hospital) is so fucking funny. It’s 11 minutes of unadulterated awesome.

Continuum (SyFy)

Continuum

Still going strong. Geat story. Good continuity even with the time paradoxes. Exciting Sci-Fi action thriller with a very cool premise.

Defiance (SyFy)

Defiance-tvIt took me a few episodes but I eventually fell in love with this show. Great cast. Good stories. Post-apocalyptic political intrigue. Defiance, Continuum and Falling Skies, for me, fill the hole left by Battlestar Galactica.

Falling Skies (TNT)

falling-skiesFalling Skies reminds me the most of Battlestar Galactica in so many ways. It’s about a rag tag fugitive group of humans on the run from aliens and robots. Falling Skies is really good. If you haven’t watched it, hop on it. It gets better every year.

Hell on Wheels (AMC)

Hell on WheelsThese next two shows are kick ass westerns. Very cool. Sometimes brutally violent. With two flawed heroes. Both are gunfighters with a code of honor.

Hell-on-WheelsHell on Wheels takes place just after the Civil War and tells the story of one hapless company trying to build a railroad to the west… and all the bodies (white, brown, black, yellow, red) buried along the way.

Justified (FX)

JustifiedJustified is still good. Still amazingly cool. This is the modern-day western. The story of U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens; quick on the draw but always true to his word. Justified & Hell on Wheels are two of the coolest TV westerns since The Rifleman.

Mom (CBS)

Mom 2Allison Janney, Allison Janney, Allison Janney.

MomJust give Allison Janney another Emmy already. She makes Mom good. She makes it really good. This is a funny funny show.

Motive (ABC)

Motive

ABC picked up this great Canadian show that gives away the murderer in the first scene but makes you have to figure out why, putting the viewer ahead of the detectives. It is a welcome change to the common police procedural where the actor playing the killer has to try to fool the audience as well..

Person of Interest (CBS)

Person of InterestPerson of Interest has been a good show but in 2013 it got so much better.

Amy Acker & Sarah ShahiThe show, about the machine that can predict violent crime, added Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker, playing two of the baddest women on TV. If you’re not watching it, you’re missing out on one of the best shows on the air.

Reign (CW)

ReignI’m so sorry guys. I like this show. I tried not to like it. It’s fluff. It’s pure fluff. But it’s good fluff. It’s not historically accurate or even historically close to being accurate.

Reign 2It’s just good. I like it. I like the cast. I like the premise. I like the drama. I love the sets and the costumes. They’re probably not authentic but they look so good. It’s a guilty pleasure. And now I feel dirty. Moving on…

The Americans (FX)

the-americansThis was one of the best new shows from last year. Two deep cover Russian agents toward the end of the Cold War.

the americans 2Some of the best acting and suspense on TV. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are simply amazing as they try to both have a family and stay true to their mission.

the americansI can’t wait until it comes back. So good.

Vikings (History Channel)

VikingsOkay, let’s be honest. Most of what the History Channel puts out is crap. They find a couple of so-called experts to agree with a historical premise that they happily feed to their ignorant audience of moronic misanthropes who think that watching this channel is a substitute for an actual education. For goodness sake, why don’t you do another show about the Nazis for your core audience of old racists or another piece of bullshit bible inspired claptrap for the History Channel’s pseudo-christian demographic. But the Vikings is a good show even if it is just more white supremacist programming from the most overtly racist channel on cable besides FOX news. Don’t give these people your money. Steal it. Pirate it. Fuck them. NEXT

Witches of East End (Lifetime)

Witches-of-East-EndAnother of my guilty pleasures. It’s not American Horror Story: Coven. Not even close. But it’s a nice bit of whimsy with a hot cast. Whimsy that I enjoy. I don’t have to justify my viewing habits to you.

Those are what I call good shows. Not the best but the most underrated in my opinion. And here are the bad ones…

Five Bad Shows (that need a complete reboot)

Dracula (NBC)

DraculaGreat casting is the only good thing I can say about it. But because I like the cast so much, I hope they retool it and come back stronger. It suffers from not being on a premium channel. Vampires without gratuitous sex and violence is just wrong.

Family Tree (HBO)

Family-TreeI waited for this to take off. I love Christopher Guest and his style of comedy. This had so much potential but it was maddeningly unfocused. And I really love this cast. So I’m hoping it comes back and just (I don’t know) focuses itself a little more.

Hello Ladies (HBO)

Hello Ladies

I hated this show and I kept watching, hoping that these horrible characters would learn something but they never did. It was like Eastbound and Down but without the funny.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC)

Once-Upon-a-Time-in-WonderlandI wanted to like this show so much because I love the original Once Upon A Time (still good) but I don’t like this cast and I don’t like the Alice character… (yet?). But just like everything else on this list, I’m still watching, hoping it gets better. Because I love Alice in Wonderland.

Red Queen

And because I can’t live in a world where this woman here is not on my TV each week…

2013 Disney|ABC TCA Summer Press Tour Red Carpet Event

Emma Rigby as the Red Queen.

Emma Rigby 2

She’s too hot not to build a better show around. Get on that Disney.

The Tomorrow People (CW)

the tomorrow peopleI am so close to saying goodbye to this show. I don’t like the lead (everyone else is great) and the powers are inconsistent and the magic system is flawed and stupid. And it’s so racist. I know that’s the point. Their “species” is being hunted. But the way they talk about themselves and humans, it just makes me uncomfortable.

And now for something completely different…

News & Politics

First I have to acknowledge one of my personal heroes even though we spent a good three weeks eulogizing him here in the states…

Nelson Mandela

Nelson MandelaRest In Peace Madiba.

Minimum Drug Sentencing

U.S. Prison PopulationDrug Policies… no not Legal Marijuana in some states but a strong push from the executive to eliminate mandatory minimums and to set non-violent drug offenders, who had been sentenced to extraordinarily long prison sentences (for offenses that are in no way offensive), free… at last.

Obama & HolderPresidential pardons have now led the way for Governors following suit in some states. Releasing some of our nation’s political prisoners in this endless and hopelessly misguided war on drugs.

Leticia Van de Putte for Lieutenant Governor

Van de PutteWendy Davis stole the headlines but it was her partner and candidate for Lieutenant Governor in Texas, Leticia Van de Putte, that made us all applaud. I have never cheered alone in my room to a live feed on the internet from a senate session in another state… in my life. But when she said what she said, I stood up raised my arms to the sky and yelled “Fuck Yeah!” And then I applauded.

At what point...They couldn’t hear me through the internet but I cheered and applauded along with the gallery in support of Wendy’s filibuster. Cheered for what I hope is the next Governor of Texas. I would move back to Austin and vote for her, if that didn’t involve moving back to Texas.

Marissa Alexander Out on Bond

Marissa Alexander out-of-jailThe Zimmerman Trial… no not the fact that George got away with murder because we all know he will be punished. It is inevitable. But Marissa Alexander who was in prison for 25 years for firing a warning shot. And how the trial brought light to her sentencing and her trial and got her released. Fat boy may not have done any jail time (his conscience would disagree) but it had an effect on the Stand Your Ground controversy and helped to get Marissa Alexander a new trial… and inspired one of the best South Park episodes of this past season.

Healthcare

Medicaid Expansion MapHealthcare… no not the website or the governors who refuse to expand Medicaid to the poor (who would rather see them die than give them Health Insurance at no cost to the state) but the millions of people with pre-existing conditions and college age kids on their parents plans and the garbage policies that had to be cancelled and better policies offered. Yeah, the corporate media is sponsored by drug companies and the medical industry, so we won’t hear much about it but Obamacare is working extremely well and saving lives.

Pope Francis

Pope FrancisThe Pope… not just for the statements he makes & things he says but for the way he has forced conservatives to admit that they aren’t as pious as they pretend. Watching them scramble for ways to justify their greed and callous disregard for the needy is almost fun. As they argue with the Pope. As they argue against feeding the poor. As they argue for the idolatry of wealth. As they argue against income and wealth equality. While claiming to be Christian. You don’t worship Christ. You worship money. You hear people on the left say “If Jesus himself told them they wouldn’t listen.” He did. And they still don’t.

Mars Rover Curiosity

Mars Rover CuriosityThe Mars Rovers… I’m horribly guilty of the personification of objects, especially technology (I apologize to my chair if I bump into it). Mars Rover Curiosity is one of my personal heroes. Sending beautiful pictures from the surface of Mars. Never to return home. If I could, I would nominate Curiosity for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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There were a lot of good things in 2013 but make no mistake, I hated the year. Mostly for personal reasons: I tried to write a book but failed miserably. I lost a friend without being able to tell her she was my friend. And I spent more time fucking around than improving anyone’s life, including my own.

2014 will be NO different. 2014 will be the same “suckage” as ’13.

But 2015… that’ll be my year.

That’s gonna be my jam.

Have a Happy New Year everybody.

– Mel