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

My 5 Favorite Fictional Women in 2015 (Film & TV) Mega Post

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a late End-of-Year list ALERT.

My Five Favorite Female Characters in Film and on TV in 2015

Everyone’s done with their end of the year lists except for me because I couldn’t think of anything I hadn’t posted already. Or anything mildly interesting or even a little different.

So I decided to stick with a subject that I know something about: Women.

Jessica Jones on the Subway

Okay that’s a joke. But 2015 has been the year of the woman in movies and on TV. So I’m surprised I didn’t think of this one sooner. Here are five lists of five women in my favorite films and TV shows from the year 2015.

And because I’m an habitual rule breaker (even my own rules), I included, at the end, a list of my five favorite real people. Some women who have kicked ass in 2015.

To the lists…

and speaking of kicking ass…

Top Five Female Leads in Action and Sci-fi Movies

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Daisy Ridley as Rey in The Force AwakensDaisy Ridley as Rey

I have to start with Rey. She was resourceful. She was tough. She was strong (with the force). She was independent. She was good-hearted (saving BB-8). And she was the best character in the best film of the year.

*Star Wars side note: Everybody’s got to knock The Force Awakens now that it’s the highest grossing and best film of all-time. It’s a sickness. “Everybody likes this thing, but I don’t, so I must be better than it and them.” Oh shut up. Or the idea of just hating something because it’s popular. My least favorite is the bad guys need to find a better way of terrorizing the galaxy besides destroying an entire planet or system. That doesn’t even make any sense. They can destroy a planet. There is no better way to terrorize the entire galaxy… except maybe destroying a star… oh wait.

I also like the way Rey knows that by removing the fuse on an electric door, it opens the door automatically. That every engineer in the galaxy would make the doors open by default when the power goes out. And to have it otherwise would be a fault in design. Because no engineer would ever make a death trap for themselves…

Ex Machina

Ex MachinaAlicia Vikander as Ava

I give this movie a hard time because of the ending but, make no mistake, Alicia Vikander deserves all the awards she will surely win for her performances in Ex-Machina and other films in 2015. She is fast becoming one of my favorite actresses (female actors). And my thoughts on the film change (slightly) when I realize that she’s the lead character. That she’s the main character. And it is essentially a movie about her. She’s the one being tested by her maker. However, I still think the ending is dumb.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max Fury Road Charlize Theron and Nicholas HoultCharlize Theron as Furiosa

This movie surprised me in so many ways. But the happiest surprise was Furiosa. The movie may be called Mad Max but the lead character is Furiosa; the one-armed, truck driving, sharp-shooting, bad-ass that rules the road and the wasteland. Charlize already has an Oscar, and with very little dialogue her performance in Fury Road might be over-looked by the academy, but in my opinion it was one of the best performances of the year… in an action film. Best performances in an action film.

Sicario

Emily Blunt gun SicarioEmily Blunt as Kate

I really liked this movie. It’s dark and it’s violent but it’s also tense and suspenseful. Emily Blunt makes a fine FBI agent and the realism in Sicario, as well as her performance, makes you fear for her life from the first frame. But our hero can take care of herself.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

Mockingjay Part2

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss

If I’m allowed to drop the “Part 2” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 then it is an excellent film. The story suffers from being split into two parts. It becomes disjointed and it ruins the pacing and the symmetry with the other two films. But what is consistent throughout the series is Katniss. The lead character in The Hunger Games played by Jennifer Lawrence is a symbol, within the movie and with out. She is pure-hearted and fearless. She is compassionate and emotional and a great leader. Showing how these traits aren’t necessarily a weakness in leadership. She should be at the top of this list. And if it were an all-time squad she would be. But Katniss comes in fifth on this list because the movie that came out this year was half a movie.

Next up…

Top Five Female Leads in Comedies, Cartoons and Musicals

Amy

Amy Winehouse Healthy and HappyAmy Winehouse as Herself

I had to put Amy first because of how much respect I gained for her after watching this found footage biography. Amy is the star of the movie. We watch her grow up and we watch her ascend and we watch her fall. But I didn’t expect to like her as much I did. It is a cautionary tale. So she isn’t the strongest female character in any of these movies by a long shot. But we see her artistry. We see her stubbornness when it comes to her career. And we see her capacity for love. And her fearlessness when it comes to putting all of herself into her words and her music. And this also makes her the strongest female character in any of these movies by a long shot.

Inside/Out

Inside Out crewAmy Poehler as Joy

Speaking of movies that made me cry my eyes out. Inside/Out is a triumph of emotional honesty. A wonderful film and my pick for best animated feature. The lead character, the emotion of Joy, ironically, is one of the saddest characters in the film. While, Sadness is one of the most content. And it’s this emotional depth and maturity that makes Inside/Out one of the best films of the year… period.

Trainwreck

Amy Schumer and Bill Hader in TrainwreckAmy Schumer as Amy

What I like about the character of Amy, in the incredibly funny Trainwreck, is not only her sexual appetite, although it is a large part of who she is. And it’s not only her wit and sense of humor, even though Amy Schumer has written (and starred in) one the funniest movies of the year, portraying an amazingly witty magazine writer. But it’s how she’s such a mess otherwise. With the drugs and the alcohol and the fear of intimacy and lack of self-awareness or responsibility. But still somehow Amy makes us fall in love with her. (and by that I mean the character and the writer). 2015 was the year of Schumer.

The Little Prince

The Young Girl from The Little PrinceMackenzie Foy as Young Girl

In the little prince we see a young girl with her life mapped out in front of her. She is already an adult at a young age. Already responsible and organized, with no room for fun or imagination. It reminds me of the little women around the world who never get to be children for… reasons. But here we have a young girl who, first chance she gets, grabs adventure by the short hairs and runs with it.

Pitch Perfect 2

Anna Kendrick in Pitch PerfectAnna Kendrick as Beca

I put this here because I couldn’t think of a fifth one. And I liked this movie. I liked the songs and the singing and Elizabeth Banks does a great job directing. And I like Anna Kendrick. But to be pitch perfectly honest, it’s because I couldn’t think of anything else.

Next up… Television

Five Favorite Female Leads in Science Fiction/ Superhero TV

Jessica Jones (Netflix)

Jessica Jones and Kilgrave

Krysten Ritter as Jessica

There was no contest. Jessica Jones is the best. All five of these TV super heroines kick much ass, and take many names, but Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones is the sexiest, most kick-ass, most bad-mouthiest, most likable, most enjoyable hero on TV… man or woman.

Supergirl (CBS)

Supergirl

Melissa Benoist as Kara

Am I the only one that loves this show? Because I love this show and I don’t see enough people raving about it. It reminds me, appropriately enough, of the show Smallville, and I loved that show too. In that one, the hero was trying to find his place in the world before becoming Superman. In Supergirl, she’s already… Supergirl, but she too is trying to find where she fits in the larger scheme.

She struggles to find a balance between being a sister, a daughter, a friend, a hero, a savior, an alien, a human… an administrative assistant? She struggles to find a balance between work and home and saving the day and saving the world. A balance between her emotional strength and her physical strength. Her emotional shortcomings and her physical ones. And I love it.

While Melissa Benoist plays the invulnerable pretending to be vulnerable, it’s quickly turned on its side when she puts the cape on. It’s the other way around when she’s Supergirl. It’s then when she pretends that nothing hurts her.

But maybe I’m the only one who loves this show.

iZombie (CW)

iZombie

Rose McIver as Liv

iZombie is fun and funny and cute and crazy. Our hero Liv takes on the personality of the person whose brain she eats. Oh yeah, she’s a zombie who’s also a medical examiner. And as long as she eats brains she doesn’t lose her own personality to the zombie inside her but she also inherits the personality traits of the dead person for a while.

izombie brain noodles

But my favorite part of the show is when she cooks up the brains each week. I’ve always loved cooking, and they make the food look so good. It’s a different recipe every week and I don’t know if there’s any significance to how she prepares it. But it always looks incredible and makes me want to eat some brains.

Spicy Brain arial w soup iZombie

Okay that last part is a joke but the food looks amazing. They make brains look so good.

Agent Carter (ABC)

Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter

Hayley Atwell as Peggy

Agent Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, is a little too efficient at times but what impresses me about the super agent is the sheer amount of sexism she has to overcome. And the way she does it. So it’s incredibly satisfying when she proves not only is she as good as the male agents but better. And then of course it’s frustrating because there’s always another way they marginalize her. In a weird way it reminds me of Mad Men. Early Mad Men reminded us of the sexist attitudes of the fifties. Allowed us to see how much things have changed and forced us to realize how much things haven’t changed… from Agent Carter’s time period to Mad Men… (in the seventies this entire TV list would be Wonder Woman, Bionic Woman and Charlie’s Angels and that’s it) until today where there are many more women superheroes to choose from.

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon)

man in the high castle

Alexa Davalos as Juliana

I’m obsessed with this show. The story is so good. The lead character played by Alexa Davalos is an Aikido Instructor who gets caught up in an underground film smuggling ring. The films? Nothing too racy. Just old news reels about World War II. She gets caught up in this illegal trafficking years after the war ended. Years after Germany and Japan won the war against the allied forces and occupied the United States. Dividing the country into a German state in the east and a Japanese state in the west with a lawless zone somewhere between. But what makes these illegal films so special? Well, they don’t show the war quite right. They show the allied forces winning the second world war and America dropping bombs on Japan. And… well… that’s just not the way it happened.

Next up…

Top Five Female Leads in a Drama on TV

Empire (FOX)

Empire

Taraji P. Henson as Cookie

Has anyone else noticed that while Empire started off as one thing, it quickly became the Cookie Lyon show. Although they’ve softened her a bit (she’s been out of prison for a while now), she’s still a tough Cookie (and yes I did just type that). Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon tops my list for female leads in a Drama on TV because she not only stole the show but she stole the show. Long live the queen.

Fargo (FX)

kirsten-dunst-fargo

Kirsten Dunst as Peggy

People might argue that Kirsten Dunst isn’t the lead character on Fargo but I beg to differ. Peggy is the pivotal character. She is the reason for it all, and every thing runs through her. It would be a crime if she didn’t get the Emmy. But who knows about these things?

I do. I know about these things. She is amazing. In a show full of great performances, I would sit there week after week waiting for her to come back on the screen. She was just so enjoyable to watch. Truly an amazing performance. Give her an Emmy.

American Horror Story: Hotel (FX)

American Horror Story Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga as The Countess Elizabeth

Speaking of truly amazing performances. Lady Gaga. Honestly, who knew she was this good. With one more episode to go, this season of American Horror Story has been my favorite, purely because of Lady Gaga. Like really, Jessica who? She has made me forget how great Jessica Lange was every year. The Countess is so many things at once and it shows on her face and it’s a sensational performance.

Scandal (ABC)

Scandal 2

Kerry Washington as Olivia

Okay. I like Scandal. I never liked Olivia Pope. This season, however, my opinion is changing. Seeing her out of her element. In power but powerless. It’s made me feel sorry for her. Before I was always sorry for everyone around her. The people she used. The people she hurt. The little people she trampled upon. Kerry Washington is doing a great job bringing more depth to a character that frankly I considered to be a bit of an asshole… and kind of a spoiled brat. I’m still Team Mellie (#TeamMellie) all the way but now that Olivia has walked a while in Mellie’s shoes, she’s not so smug.

Scream Queens (FOX)

Emma Roberts in Scream Queens

Emma Roberts as Chanel

The character is awful. She’s an awful person. Self-centered and vindictive. Not to mention homicidal and disloyal and… she’s just awful okay? But she’s so funny. Along with the other girls that she named after herself because why would she learn anyone else’s name, she made me laugh my ass off. And the nicknames she gives to other people are offensive and hysterical and because she has such a big personality, soon that becomes their name on the show. Scream Queens is very funny. I know I put it with the dramas but that’s because it’s an hour-long and people die. It’s pure madcap though because it’s silly as fuck. And the dialogue is so good.

And Billie Lourd (Carrie Fisher’s daughter) who plays Chanel #3 comes in a close second for funniest and best deadpan delivery. Great show.

*another Star Wars side note: I noticed while watching Force Awakens again (this time in IMAX) that nearly every time you see General Organa, almost every shot of her, there’s her daughter in the background.

Billie Lourd in The Force Awakens

In this shot we see General Organa’s back and her daughter in the background. When they show the general from the front, her daughter is still in the background. She’s in nearly every shot.

I don’t know if she plays her Administrative Assistant or something but it just struck me as funny. There’s always Leia and right behind her mini Leia. No matter the angle of the camera. Leia from the left side, there’s her daughter behind her. Leia from the right side, there’s her daughter again. Leia from the back, her daughters in front of her.

She’s always in the shot.

Next up…

Top Five Trans Women on TV

I want to make a special case for the wonderful leaps forward we have made with trans characters on TV. Only the first two are played by trans actresses (female actors), however (they just happen to be my favorite two).

Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

Sophia from Orange is the New Black

Laverne Cox as Sophia

This season there was only one Sophia-centric episode because they spent more time this year fleshing-out the other characters. Telling the back story of other women in the prison. But there was still a lot of Sophia to go around. I like the character enough but Laverne Cox is one of my favorite people.

Sense 8 (Netflix)

Nomi from Sense 8

Jamie Clayton as Nomi

Sense 8 is one of the best new shows from 2015. And Nomi was one of my favorite parts. The bad-ass hacker chick we know from all the shows. But with a gorgeous girlfriend and horrible relationship with her mother. Not to mention being a part of a cluster of unique people able to share their experiences and talents over great distances. And being a trans woman. She was very cool.

Impatiently waiting for Sense 8 to return.

Transparent (Amazon)

Maura from Transparent

Jeffrey Tambor as Maura

Amazon Prime is the new kid on the streaming block but comes into the market with a lot of cash and some talented writers. I already mentioned how much I love The Man in the High Castle. Transparent was their first major success. Award winning performances all around especially from Jeffrey Tambor who plays a trans woman who finds the courage to be her true self later in life. It is a very funny show with no shortage of LGBT representation but even as that’s what the show is about, it really isn’t what the show is about. It’s about family. Fantastic show.

American Horror Story: Hotel (FX)

Liz from American Horror Story Hotel

Denis O’Hare as Liz

There are two bad-ass bitches on AHS: Hotel. We’ve already talked about The Countess but there’s also Liz Taylor who is such an amazing character. A bartender at the murder hotel, if this season had a protagonist, and it’s hard to find one each year, I’d say it was Liz. The sweetest, the kindest, the most identifiable character on the show. And yes she’s a trans bartender who works for a vampire in a hotel full of murderous ghosts but, that’s about as identifiable as this show will ever get.

Penny Dreadful (Showtime)

Angelique from Penny Dreadful

Jonny Beauchamp as Angelique

Jonny Beauchamp’s Angelique is heartbreakingly innocent in a show full of monsters. Like Liz before her I suppose. I love a good monster mash. A bunch of my favorite shows are just a collection of monsters. From Hemlock Grove to True Blood to American Horror Story to Penny Dreadful. I love a good monsters team-up. But always there’s this flower that grows in the desolate wasteland of horrors. And always it’s heartbreaking. Penny Dreadful is a great show by the way.

and Lastly… Real People

My Top Five Female “Characters” in American Culture

Hillary Clinton: The Politician. The next president.

Hillary Clinton

For taking the constant attacks from the Right and from the media and from Congress this year. (And the attacks from Bernie Sanders). And coming through it all looking presidential and clearly more qualified than anyone else for the job. #ImWithHer

Serena Williams: The Athlete. The greatest of all-time.

Serena Williams Sports Illustrated Sportsperson-of-the-year

For being the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson (athlete) of the year and the best woman’s tennis player of all-time. And honestly they wanted them to give it to a horse. WTF

Misty Copeland: The Dancer. The trailblazing ballerina.

Misty Copeland ABT

For becoming the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater and for being a fantastic athlete as well as an amazing artist.

Michelle Obama: The First Lady. (my boo)

Hillary Clinton And Michelle Obama Host Int'l Women of Courage Awards

For her continuous grace and strength under constant attacks from the right-wing media, even when they get personal and nasty and wholly disrespectful. And because she would be on this list every year for the last seven years.

And The Role Models:

The last entry is for the actresses who have changed the definition of Hollywood starlet to supreme bad-ass. Every generation has their young stars and up until now it’s been mostly a collection of boozers and party-ers and bad girls and really the worse of Hollywood’s spoiled brats.

Emma Watson (25) For already being a young feminist icon.

Jennifer Lawrence (24) For standing up for equal pay in an industry that some people think is already over-paid (but that’s not the fucking point).

Amandla Stenberg (17) writer, activist, all-around bad-ass. At 17. Good god slow down. You’re making the rest of us look bad.

For all three (and others.. Lena, Taylor, Kristen) for being a fearless and refreshing call to change and for actually being role models without really trying to be.

And that’s my year-end list… Women

I hope you enjoyed it.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

– Mel

What’s Good? Fall TV Mega Post 2015

Okay guys. I’ve watched so much TV lately this is gonna be a big one. There is so much good TV now, I’m a little overwhelmed. TV is so good now and getting better all the time. Netflix, Amazon. I had to sample everything. All the comedies. All the dramas. Well not everything but everything that looked like it was aimed at my demographic. You know… the cool people like you and me… and maybe this guy.

limitless meditation

you are a blogger “I am a blogger.” you will complete what you start “I am a blogger.”

I got seriously overwhelmed and stopped working on this post because the list just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. A while back I did a TV Mega Post in ten parts with more than 100 shows. I could seriously do another series and it would look completely different after just two years. So I just gave up for a while and let the bad guys win.

The-Man-in-The-High-Castle

Not those bad guys. I’m talking about laziness, frustration and doubt. Not Nazis.

But I’m back now. So a few times on the list I mention seasons and episode numbers but that was back when I started this list. I made some cursory updates but even that was overwhelming. THERE’S JUST SO MUCH GOOD NEW TELEVISION.

Luke Cage and Jessica Jones

“Cheer up, Luke. I think he’s talking about us.” “You wanna have sex?” “Again?”

And then of course there were all of my returning favorites, my court case and my Mets, not only making the playoffs but going all the way to the World Series. Woo hoo.

LET’S GO METS!!! (oh yeah, they lost long before I posted this)

Supergirl-pilot

“So you won’t be needing a cheerleader then. How embarrassing… Back to fighting crime.”

But first…

Before we get this epic party started, my girl, Nicki Minaj has a question for Miley Cyrus.

Go ‘head Nicki.

Miley What's Good

“What’s good?”

No fighting on my blog, ladies. At least not before we’ve poured the jello into the kiddie pool and listed all the great new shows. But if you were to ask me what’s good, Nicki. Now that I’ve finally compiled this list of new shows, I could tell you.

So go ahead.

Ask me.

No really. Ask me…

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

New Fall Shows are very very good. And there are so many of them.

THE INCREDIBLE NEW FALL SHOWS

There are a lot of new shows that have quickly become must see TV. It’s difficult to list them all. But I gave it a try. Starting with the enjoyable…

Limitless

Limitless (CBS) Limitless is a very funny show. I watched the movie to prepare for the series but you really don’t have to. Bradley Cooper has a cameo and the main character is sort of doing a Bradley Cooper impression but he’s extremely likable and funny. I also like that the pills don’t give him super powers but just better memory and concentration and yet I still think Sherlock Holmes would beat him in a mental powers of deduction battle.

Life in Pieces

Life in Pieces (CBS) This is a new turn on the sitcom. It’s more like a family sketch comedy with four short stories each episode from four families within the same extended family. Don’t look for the stories to connect much. They rarely do. There is more connection between episodes than within one. The cast is superb and the characters are fleshed out and three-dimensional. You know these people well within the first half hour. The acting and the writing of the sketches make this one of my favorite new shows.

Quantico

Quantico (ABC) I have to admit that part of my enjoyment of this show is how hot the cast is. It sports a collection of very hot FBI trainees. (The FBI wishes it were this hot) But the story is interesting and the characters, although cliché at times, are designed to throw us off the scent of who is the real villain, as our lovely hero searches for the traitor who blew up Grand Central Terminal. The traitor from her graduating class at Quantico.

quantico-abc

It’s a flashback show where we jump back and forth from her time as a trainee and her life on the run, after being framed for the bombing. But really it’s just eye candy. They’re all so pretty. The main girl is gorgeous. Even their instructors are hot. Also they make good music choices on the show. But my favorite is all the jumping in and out of bed with each other. Quantico could have easily been called Young FBI Agents in Love.

Minority Report-FOX

Minority Report (FOX) I’m still enjoying this show. (It just ended) I liked the leaked pilot a lot. But the official pilot changed the ending completely and included more interaction between the other two pre-cogs (Good changes). Sometimes Meagan Good’s body is a little distracting because she’s just pow pow pow (damn) and every time Wilmer Valderama is on-screen I have to question myself because he’s actually pretty good in this and that’s confusing. But I like Minority Report because I like the world and the original story (by Philip K Dick. More from him later) and the original movie is one of my favorite films. And I hope FOX gives it a fair chance. I’d love to see a season two. (Probably won’t)

The Muppets

The Muppets (ABC) The Muppets is good. The Muppets would be a good show if it starred live actors. But these are puppets. Puppets we know. Puppets we love. Puppets with attitude. I love this show because it isn’t silly. It could have so easily been silly. It plays real with authentic emotions and relationships and I fucking love it. The whole thing with Kermit and Piggy being exes is sensational. And I get why it makes people uncomfortable. Muppets in adult situations. But I love this show.

Muppets with Cell Phones

I was not the biggest fan of the original Muppet Show (but I remember it, I watched it) This is something else entirely. Truly I can’t explain how genius this show is. I even teared up during an episode. I care about these characters. And not because I know them from the movies or Sesame Street but because of the show’s emotional honesty and realism. They’re not just puppets they’re *sniff* they’re family.

The-Grinder

The Grinder (FOX) Jake Kasdan is making good TV. He knocked New Girl out of the park and now he has another hit on his hands. Grinder is sensational. First and foremost the cast is amazing. Rob Lowe plays an actor who is famous for playing a lawyer on TV, the wonder years guy plays his brother; an actual lawyer, the waitress from It’s Always Sunny is the lawyer’s wife, The best friend from Eastbound and Down is his partner. What a great collection of TV actors (Of course I don’t know any of their names). The writing is good. It’s a family workplace hybrid. Very very funny. But it’s the cast that does it for me. Just perfect casting. Jake Kasdan does it again.

The Last Kingdom (BBCA) This is a decent show. Reminds me a lot of Vikings from The History Channel. Except that this one’s in England before it was one thing. A lot of great violence and drama. The Last Kingdom season one was fantastic. And now I can’t stop yelling “Arse-ling!” at everybody.

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones (Netflix) Probably one of the best things you’ll see this year. Netflix’s new Marvel hero for hire is bloody fucking awesome. I knew I would like it. I just didn’t know how much. Here is a show that was made for me. With one of the most frightening villains on TV. David Tennant and Krysten Ritter do amazing jobs. I’ve watched the entire series twice and plan to watch it again. Fantastic in every way. Jessica Jones is a superhero show for adults. Even more than Daredevil. It certainly gets sexier than Daredevil.

Jessica Getting Busy

And much more brutal than Daredevil. And scary as fuck. I love Daredevil, don’t get me wrong. But after watching both series twice, I’m thinking Jessica Jones is a little better. (Jessica is definitely better the second time around because I spent the entire first viewing in sheer terror. It is some scary shit, people).

Jessica Jones and Kilgrave

I can’t wait for Power Man and Iron Fist. And I don’t expect any crossover episodes on any of the Netflix Marvel shows because Netflix is planning a separate crossover series called The Defenders. Which just going by how well it’s going so far, is going to be freaking fantastic. Netflix is re-writing the rules and doing a really great job.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW) One of my favorite new musical comedy shows. I am slowly falling in love with the crazy ex-girlfriend. She is amazingly wacky and relate able. Like a cross between Lucille Ball and Lilith from Frazier with a lot of musical theater thrown in. And the songs are outstanding. They are so funny.

Crazy ExGirlfriend

My favorite joke on the show has a rap star finding out what women go through everyday and saying to himself, “I gotta apologize to some bitches.” And it’s just a throwaway line but it’s so fucking funny. I love this show.

Scream Queens

Scream Queens (FOX) Emma Roberts is sensational in Scream Queens. The show is very funny. Extremely silly. It’s like that Agatha Christie comedy Murder By Death except updated for the 21st century. I love that somebody dies in every episode and the fact that it seems unsustainable because there’s hardly anyone left anymore. I wonder, if there is a season two, if they’ll pull an American Horror Story (same guys) and bring back the same actors in a different location, playing different parts. I hope so. The cast is the best part. And the writing. Cast and writing. The dialogue has me on the floor every episode.

Supergirl

Supergirl (CBS) Fantastic superhero drama. Just as good if not better than The Flash and Arrow. Love the cast. Love the emotional themes of each episode. Loving the superhero learning curve and the way that everyone in her life knows her secret. There’s no, barely believable and convenient, thing where her best friends don’t recognize her without glasses on. I mean there’s still a little of that but at least it’s not the people closes to her. Just her boss who never really looks at her anyway. A very good show.

Speaking of really good shows…

The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Prime) This fucking show is gonna win sooooo many Emmys. I’m not kidding. Just for costume and production design alone. But also for writing and acting and directing. High Castle is truly an epic TV show. Based on the story by Philip K Dick, The Man in the High Castle is the tale of a world where the Nazis and the Japanese won the second world war…

Aikido Class

…or did they? Maybe it just looks that way. Maybe some other kinds of shenanigans are going on. What a fantastic concept. And what a great execution of a fantastic concept. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. This is some serious drama (with hints of science fiction… little hints). Watch this fucking show. That is an order.

The Man in the High Castle US Map

And now to the old favorites that are still going strong.

THE STRONG RETURNING SHOWS

Homeland

Homeland (SHO) I still love the show. Mostly because Clare Danes is still amazeballs as Carey Matheson, CIA agent extraordinaire. Though when I learned about the graffiti artists writing anti-Homeland graffiti in Arabic on the walls in the background of scenes and the show not having anyone on staff that could read it. I have to agree with the artists. Homeland is racist. If just for the fact that it’s set in and has characters speaking the language but had no one on staff that could tell them that the words on the walls were insulting the show to the Arabic speaking world. Sorry. That alone means you’re racist. Either no one on staff told you or no one on staff could read it. Both are bad.

Homeland Poster

Homeland is still a great show though. Does that make me a horrible hypocrite?

Gotham-season-2

Gotham (FOX) This show gets a lot of shit for being crazy and whacky but it’s just trying to be all things to all Batman fans at once. 60’s Batman (TV show). 80’s Batman (Burton, Schumaker), ’00s Christopher Nolan Batman. And the millions of comics and cartoons. It is the prequel to all the Batmans. All of them at once.

Gotham Season Two

And I love the look of it so much. The 50s clothing. The 70s cars. The 90s tech. I love the cast. I love this show like crazy even as it gets crazier and crazier. It is the prequel to all the Batmans. All of them. ALL of them.

Prequel All The Batmans Meme

Prequel All The Batmans!!!

Green Arrow

Arrow (CW) Loving this season though it might just be that I didn’t like the last season very much. However, I am aware that all they’ve done so far this season is setting up the new Legends of Tomorrow series. It’s still good though. And Felicity and Oliver together is pretty cool. They’re handling the relationship beautifully.

The Walking Dead (AMC) Yes you can tell that the show has a different person in charge and I, for one, think this is the best the show has ever been after just three episode. Three amazing episodes. (ah five weeks ago. How my views have changed) TWD had a flat Fall finale. But I remember how excited I was at the beginning of the season. It just didn’t maintain that level and I was disappointed. (What a difference five weeks make) Hope they get that magic back in the second half of the season. I was so disappointed.

The Leftovers

The Leftovers (HBO) Wow what a nice shift. This show is awesome now. It was okay last season but now it’s one of the best things on TV. I’m blown away after four episodes. Each one completely different than the next. Just wow. (Ah five weeks ago…

the-leftovers-season-2-texas

but since then it has only gotten better) Maybe the best thing on TV right now. Still good. Still very good. Still fucking good. Still fantastic actually.

iZombie cast

iZombie (CW) Also still good and fun and nerdy and my girl is doing great work with all the new personalities each week. My favorite line of the series was earlier this season when Liv is trying to explain her former roommate to her current roommate and she says “A long time ago we used to be friends.” I actually squealed in delight. It was embarrassing. The show is still fun and funny and cool. iZombie is cool as all hell. I love it.

Empire (FOX) It occurred to me that after five or six seasons they won’t have to write any more new songs and they can just have the characters play the hits for the remaining seasons. The music is great. The music is the best part. Timbaland is doing work.

Agents of SHIELD

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC) The best I’ve seen this show so far. I knew all we had to do was to trust Joss and company and it would get better and better. The characters are all fully formed and I care about them and the stories are interesting. SHIELD is a great television show. Maybe one of the best.

Previously on Fitz and Simmons

But the Fitz and Simmons love story is heartbreaking. (We shipped them. They heard us. And now they are crushing our hearts) This is good stuff people. If you gave up on the series you’re missing out. It’s gotten seriously good.

Fitz Simmons Feeeeeels

Oh dear god, the feeeeeels.

Fitzsimmonsgif

Reign (CW) Reign is just as sexy as ever and with a few new hotties in the mix. The costumes are still gorgeous and I still love it. Reign is still a good show.

Speaking of good shows.

Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars: Rebels (Disney) Another great season of Star Wars Rebels. I love this show and I love that it’s canon. It fills the space between the prequels and the original series. The Clones Wars series covered from Attack of the Clones through Revenge of the Sith. This one picks up a few years after that with many of the same characters. It’s good.

The Blacklist (NBC) The Blacklist gets better every episode and it’s as good now as it has ever been. James Spader is awesome. That is all.

once-upon-a-time-season-5

Once Upon a Time (ABC) I’ve always loved this show and the way it reinvents fairy tales and Disney princesses and movies. But most of all, I love the way it reinvents itself. There are two themes per season, one in the first half and one in the second. The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Frozen, Robin Hood, Brave. They put our heroes and those well-known characters through their paces and explore them and dissect them and flip them on their heads. But this season has been my favorite. Dark Swan in Camelot is the best.

American Horror Story Lady Gaga

American Horror Story: Hotel (FX) In my opinion this is the best season of American Horror Story so far. I thought I’d miss Jessica Lange but Lady Gaga has more than made up for her absence. I’m loving the music choices as well (Bela Lugosi’s Dead). And Mare Winningham is sensational. She makes me laugh so hard with that voice she uses. It’s so fucking funny. (“Sheed do anything forah dollah.”) This season is a nice change from Freak Show. I didn’t like Freak Show very much. Hotel is so sexy and so bloody and so funny. But you might as well just call it American Horror Story: Lady Gaga. The woman is riveting. Her screen presence is immense.

Fargo TV Poster

Fargo (FX) This season of Fargo is fast becoming my new favorite current show. Anthology series rock. This one is hysterical. And the performances are incredibly good. Kirsten Dunst is amazing. I smell an Emmy in her future.

kirsten-dunst-fargo

“Oh stop it, you.”

And Jeffrey Donovan and the whole cast, everyone is fantastic. I loved the first season of Fargo but the second season makes the first one look like public access cable.

Fargo

Extremely well done. The direction. The little Coen Brothers touches. How every song is from another Coens movie. Or the fantastic way that it feels like some of the scenes are lifted directly from their films.

Fargo Cabin Fever

I love love love Fargo. So much fun and so funny. But also very brutal and very violent. And very cool. Some of the coolest dialogue on TV.

Fargo-season-2-Waffle-Hut

Okay. There are even more shows. I just can’t list them all. So I’ve got to stop somewhere or this could go on forever. I need to move on.

The Knick (Cinemax), Nashville (ABC), Scandal (ABC) I need to move on.

Elementary (CBS)… Stop it!!!

Let’s move on.

To the real world…

Mets Winning

The Mets Win The Pennant!!! I was excited for my Mets but they weren’t ready for the big dance. They’re much too young. Too many rookies. First time in the playoffs. But I can still be happy that, in their first years, we made it all the way to the World Series.

Mets Celebrate

And with the pitching staff being as good as it is, my Mets will be in the race for years to come (at least five). But if you think about that World Series, (and I hate to think about that series) we were ahead in the ninth inning with at least one out in four of the five games. Our manager and our closer and then our hitters weren’t ready for the pressures of a late game comeback. Much like the Royals experienced last year.

The Mets Pitching Staff

We’ll be back next year. Mark my words. These pitchers are too good. It’s almost unfair.

My Court Case is Over My court case is over and I don’t have to pay the launder a dime. He lied in his deposition. Perjured himself for absolutely no reason. He had me dead to rights but he wanted more. He wanted revenge. He more than doubled his repair costs. I broke two window panels. He wanted me to buy him new doors. And he told the police he saw me do it personally. That he was an eye witness. When he didn’t. He wasn’t. He lied. He’s an idiot. He loses. I win. Game over.

And finally… What’s Good?

This song right here.

I love this song. I know it’s been out for a while but I’m really loving the Munster’s theme song sample. One of my favorite TV theme songs and they use it so well.

Fall Out Boy – Uma Thurman

“I slept in last night’s clothes and tomorrow’s dream but they’re not quite what they seem.”

And now for everything there is a dark side…

WHAT’S NOT so GOOD?

…or some shit that sucked.

THE BAD NEW SHOWS

I don’t have time for these shows. I tried them out. They were bad. Especially Heroes Reborn. Heroes Reborn is the worst big budget broadcast drama in television history.

Rosewood (FOX) Rosewood is a boring procedural. If I don’t like the characters, I can’t get into the show. He’s a pathologist with an incurable disease and she’s a hard-nosed cop with anger and trust issues. Will they make it work? I don’t really care.

Moonbeam City

Moonbeam City (Comedy) Bad animation art (Duran Duran?) and a twisted sense of humor. Some people will like this. I did not. I couldn’t watch more than one episode.

Heroes-Reborn

Heroes Reborn (NBC) I could dissect this show for all the things wrong with it. Logic, Writing, Continuity, Oh my god the Acting is so bad. Story, Music, The Special Effects are awful. Everything about Heroes Reborn is bad. It is so annoyingly bad.

Okay. No more TV shows. I can’t talk about TV any more. So on the lighter side…

The Eiffel Tower

The Paris Attacks First of all Daesh can kiss the crack of my shiny metal ass. I’ve never been to Paris. Though many of my friends have and I dream about going (I probably won’t. Just being honest). My good thoughts and well wishes go out to the city and to the people and to anyone who is living less of a life because of these attacks. To anyone who’s more afraid because of it, and anyone who feels like they have to keep their compassion in check to keep from being hurt again, know I love you. I hope you can find a way through the pain and the fear and into the sun and into the joy and into the light again. Because that’s what hurts the terrorists the most. That’s what hurts ISIS or Al Quiada or Christian Radicals or Misogynist Assholes. More than bombs and guns and angry words and fiery speeches and sanctions and no-fly zones, It’s Love… and Life and Liberty and Laughter… and Light. Vive la France. Vive la Paris.

Christmas Tree for One

The Holiday Season (or The Christmas Tree for One) Long time readers of my blog may know that this is my least favorite time of year. I’m sorry to all the Christmas lovers out there. But being alone for the holidays is the worst. Not because you’re alone mind you, but because the season constantly reminds you that you’re alone. I don’t mind being alone. Truly I don’t. But this season relentlessly hammers against the skulls of the solitary that they are the only lonely people in the world. That something must be wrong with them to be alone at Christmas. It’s annoying. And it gets to the point where you have to convince others (and even yourself) that you’re okay with it. That you’re okay alone. I’m okay alone. But people don’t believe it. You can see it in their pitiful eyes and their pained smiles. And it’s because every ad, every show, every song, every post, every little reminder of Christmas cheer screams at every reveler and every little Christmas elf to pity the lonely, to pity them to the point where you start to pity yourself. Merry Christmas.

Oh shit… Don’t look now. There are more TV shows coming up.

TOO SOON TO TELL FALL SHOWS

These are the shows on my personal bubble.

Blindspot

Blindspot (NBC) I was ready to hate this show after a few episodes but I love Ashley Johnson so much and I love her character. And they came with a couple of Ashley-centric episodes and I was hooked. So I’m still watching. Waiting for more Ashley.

Blindspot Ashley Johnson

The tattoo premise is played-out. The fact that they solve a tattoo minutes before an attack is too convenient to happen so often. But I’m going to keep watching. There are two new shows that feature the former kick-ass stars of the great Cinemax show, Strike Back (Now done). They’re both on the bubble. There’s Blindspot and also…

The Player NBC

The Player (NBC) The Player is getting better with each episode. I’m a big Wesley Snipes fan and I’m glad he gets to kick much ass in this. There’s a techie here too. You may notice that I have a thing for the techie character in shows (especially when it’s a hot girl). Here we have a hot British computer genius and she keeps me coming back. Also the fight choreography is very good and there’s an interesting premise.

The Player - Season Pilot

Just like the tattoo thing from Blindspot, it’s a played-out premise as well; a secret society of wealthy international crime bosses. But here they enjoy betting on crimes and that’s pretty cool. Plus, like I said, the fight choreography is great. And Snipes is a badass.

THE SHOWS WE LOST (GONE TOO SOON)

Continuum-The-Final-Season

Dominion (Syfy) 2 seasons

Defiance (Syfy) 3 seasons

Continuum (Syfy) 4 seasons

Lost Girl (Syfy) 5 seasons

May they rest in peace in rerun heaven.

All of the good science fiction shows are dying early deaths because they never have a big enough audience to justify their special effects budgets. Continuum ended well. Very satisfying. It was good to the last moment. In the end Lost Girl was a shadow of its former self but at least my girl Kensi came back. And she came back strong.

Defiance Syfy

Defiance was good until the end and I’m going to miss those characters a lot. But Dominion was just too biblical for its own good. However, the cast was very hot. All four shows are gone but not forgotten. And at least we still have Dark Matter. We do still have Dark Matter don’t we? Don’t cancel Dark Matter.

But so as not to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. Here’s more Fall Out Boy. This song is from 2005. Didn’t know I was a Fall Out Boy fan did you. Well I am.

This here is one of my favorite songs of all time.

Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance

“I’m two quarters of a heart down. And I don’t want to forget how your voice sounds. These words are all I have so I write them. So you need them just to get by.”

“This is the way they’d love if they knew how misery loved me.”

Coming Soon to What’s Good: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Agent Carter, 2016: AKA My Fucking Best Year Ever, The first chapter of my book online (coming soon I swear), a long snowy winter (fingers crossed), Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Getting Back to My New York Museum Tour and The Expanse on Syfy.

Coming Soon to What’s Not so Good: A short brutally cold winter (because of global warming [more deadly than all the terrorists in the world combined]), Christmas, New Year’s and all the stuff that they bring. In particular, Heavy Drinking.

Told ya it was going to be a long one. (That’s what he said) Now here’s a little more Ashley for you guys. My girl is gorgeous.

Ashley Johnson

Until next time,

– Mel

Netflix’s Marvel’s Jessica Jones is Coming (and so am I)

The latest Jessica Jones trailer is two and half minutes of Jessica Jones / Krysten Ritter goodness to get you all excited for the November 20th through November 22nd binge watching marathon. (hint* don’t watch it all on the same day)

She fights. She drinks. She loves. She poses all bad-ass and shit.

Just watch the trailer. You know you want to.

My favorite part is after she saves the guy from the subway train and she’s still on the track and the train is coming… she gives the approaching train a look that is absolute Krysten Ritter fantastic.

She’s annoyed at the train barreling down at her. But she’s also thinking that she might be able to take it. She might just kick that fucking train’s ass. But in the same look there’s a little exasperation and a little of “Really? This now?” ending in a “Maybe that’s not a good idea.” before she jumps away. Awesome.

I’m so excited. I might be a little too excited for this one. One more week to go.

– Mel

Netfilx’s Marvel’s Jessica Jones Trailer

Okay this new Jessica Jones Trailer looks good and dark and scary. I was already in love with Krysten Ritter from… everything she’s ever done. Plus Netflix has been on a roll of recent. So I’m really psyched.

David Tennant as a scary bad guy is all kinds of awesome. Though I hear there will be a bit more of a comedy element to it, it’s good to know that it’s going to be dark as well.

Really fucking dark.

And Krysten Ritter…

Jessica Jones on the Subway

I love you.

– Mel