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Kinda blowing my nerd mind right now. So word through the grapevine, Deadline, is that Felicia Day‘s company, Geek & Sundry, is teaming up with Bryan Singer‘s company, Bad Hat Harry, for a brand new television show about a team of paranormal investigators. With the popularity of Paranormal Movies and the several different version of “Reality TV” Paranormal Investigation Shows (yes quotes) there are out there now…..this makes total sense. The series will be directed by Richard Martinand written by Michael Gene Conti. The cast so far is Julian Curtis (Captured), Neil Grayston (Eureka), Ashley Johnson (The Killing), Derek Mio (Greek) and Shyloh Oostwald (In Time) and are in the picture below.
“Spooked” follows the misadventures of Paranormal Investigation Team (P.I.T.) as they struggle through investigations into alleged paranormal phenomena at reportedly haunted locations across the country. This cast is complete with the awkward but charming guy, hottie that doesn’t know she is, creepy little girl and geeks that should most likely steal the show with all the good jokes and pop culture references. (just going off the photo) Since it is set to premiere on the Geek & Sundry network in early 2014, with additional distribution most likely to come, I would expect Felicia’s team of writers and comedic friends to add a lot of humor, irreverence, and a plethora of pop culture zings that us Comic Con loving nerds will be waiting for. Plus with her list of geeky Hollywood friends I would expect some fun cameos from around the nerd culture to show up in some episodes. I think this has all the potential to be a hit and a fun show.
Best of luck to the cast, crew, Singer, and Felicia. We will be watching intensely with popcorn in the lap and a smile on our face.
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But if you think I’m gonna hang around to watch a legendary character wield a shotgun and machine gun like The Terminator or Rambo on TV. Click OFF.
Epic Fucking Fail
The banter between Tom Mison (Ichabod Crane) and Nicole Beharie (Abbie Mills) was the only thing that kept we watching this show to the end. I am not familiar with either actor but I did enjoy their performance in Sleepy Hollow and it’s nice to see Orlando Jones as a Captain. I like him as an actor and can get behind that. Too bad I can’t wrap my head around a gun happy Headless Horseman.
He was the “Capo de tutti capi”, the “Boss of Bosses.” A bear shaped, emotional ball of thunder and violence that hid a sensitive and morally conflicted soul. It will be extremely difficult for the casual fan to separate James Gandolfini from his most vivid portrayal of the seminal anti-hero, Tony Soprano. By most accounts, a humble and generous man, Gandolfini could not have been more unlike his world-renowned alter-ego. There are also many that wonder if the toll of playing such a demanding role contributed to his early death.
Born and raised in the Garden State, the three-time Emmy winner imbued Tony with Jersey’s unique flavor and cadence to the degree that he was accepted and revered despite being a part-time murderous thug. “Yeah, he’s a murderous thug, but he’s OUR murderous thug” the state seemed to say. Nobody is saying that New Jersey openly cheers for murderers but such was the life that Gandolfini brought to the role that territorial pride trumped the terrible things that Tony was capable of.
I saw him first in a TV min-series on ABC in 1997 called “Gun”. He played Walter Difideli, a security guard who had come into possession of the entitled gun and the wrong that stems from it. I’d never seen the man before but he was a presence even then. I thought it was a layered performance for such a simple story and this bear of a man was not straight out of Central Casting. Two years later when “The Soprano’s” premiered, I gravitated toward the show based on his “Gun” performance and I was floored. I lived in New Jersey from 1990 to 1994 and everything about the show looked and sounded pitch perfect.
Gandolfini was in absolute command of his portrayal. It was no surprise that the show would hit it’s stride a year later and explode into the American consciousness, taking up residence in this fictional New Jersey, all the way through the final diner scene. That scene would create a firestorm of debate about the final fate of the Soprano family, especially Tony. It is a testament to his skill as an actor that the public demanded to know the final accounting of Tony’s life. People demanded a single, correct and absolute resolution to this fictional character.
Despite not having a signature movie character to his credits, James Gandolfini is regarded as one of the finest actors of this generation and it is painfully sad that we will be denied seeing him ply his trade on any future screen. Gandolfini is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, son Mickey (13) and daughter, Liliana (8 mos). We offer our most sincere condolences to the family and friends of James Gandolfini.
follow me on Twitter @Lemzilla
Author of Dating Tips for Super-Villains
“And Now His Watch is Ended.”
*Some Spoilers Ahead*
We begin with the Kingslayer bound and astride a horse with his now detached right hanging uselessly around his neck while Brienne pleads with Locke that Jamie is in bad sorts. The party stops to parch his throat but not before offering him a bag full of horse piss that Jamie swallows most of before realizing it wasn’t water. He spots an opening and grabs a sword but he’s far too weak to put up any real fight much less with his off, no pun intended, hand. Humbled again, reminds Jamie that he has another hand to lose if he continues to resist. In King’s Landing, WELCOME BACK, LORD VARYS! The Spider takes front and center as Tyrion has come to seek proof of who planned his murder during the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Varys says he can’t prove anything with whispers and implies that trying to is futile. While doing so he tells Tyrion the story of how be came to be a eunuch and how it led him to the Small Council. It’s a revenge story and the mild mannered Varys builds it slowly and it simmers before the Spider turns down the heat and finishes with a chilling reveal. Tyrion is suitably impressed in a horrified sort of way. He’s also comfortably reassured when Varys tells him his own revenge is just a matter of patience.
North of the Wall, the surviving brothers of the Night’s Watch are shoveling shit, among other things, for the lecherous Craster as payment for his meager lodgings and horrible food. The ever complaining Rast sounds ready to desert and look out for himself while Sam is still moon-eyed over Gilly. The new mother has no time for that as she fears for her doomed son at Craster’s hand. Bran is dreaming of the three-eyed raven again and having some Mommy issues as well. That’s about all we get from the Baby Starks this week. Varys gets the lowdown from Ros on Poderick’s apparently indescribable skills in the bedroom and it’s the Spider’s turn to be impressed. Ros also points out a packing list for Littlefinger’s trip to the Lady Arryn’s keep that has the gears in Lord Varys’ head turning furiously.
King Joffrey is giving a tour of the castle to Margaery gleefully pointing out where all the dead Targaryen’s are buried while continuing to sport the Most Punchable Face in Westoros. Cersei and Lady Olenna are planning the Royal Wedding when the Queen Regent tries to inject herself into relevance with her boy King. Margaery easily deflects her attempt and continues to lead Joffrey where she wants and it ends in a place that sends chills down Cersei’s spine. Meanwhile, in the woods, Theon is being fucked with in a really serious way. I won’t spoil that fun for you. Varys is busy this episode as he turns up at Lady Olenna’s side and they walk while discussing Sansa’s near future and it’s impact on the future of King’s Landing.
Back at Craster’s, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont presides over the fiery memorial of a dead Ranger. but the seams are starting to show on the loosening moral fabric of the surviving brothers and things soon erupt into wild melee that is dramatically shifts the adventure beyond the Wall into overdrive. The Brotherhood without Banners have reached their Batcave and are led by Lord Beric Dondarrion and the trial of the Hound begins. Due to a lack of evidence, the Hound is sentenced to Trial by Combat with Lord Beric. But not before he sets the Brotherhood straight on the distinctions between himself and the Mountain and his similarity to themselves. He makes a compelling case.
We conclude in Astapor and the exchange of Daenerys dragon for the 8,000 Unsullied. Kraznys is his usual douchebag self even as he takes possession of his flying fiery charge. As Dany takes the golden whip from the slavemaster and consummates the sale, the first big reveal (for non-book readers anyway) of Season 3 takes place and it is spectacular. DANY SPEAKS VALYRIAN!!! Damn right shit gets real. I’ll just let you watch it for yourself but it’s the most satisfying part of the season when the Khaleesi gives her first orders. This just keeps getting better.
Follow me on Twitter @Lemzilla
“Walk of Punishment”
*Some spoilers ahead*
It begins with the funeral of Lord Hoster Tully, Robb’s maternal grandfather and a comical attempt at a Viking-ish memorial. Followed by a dressing down of Robb’s uncle Edmure Tully, for tactical errors that cost him a chance at putting the Mountain’s head on a spike. Quickly moving back to King’s Landing, a meeting of the re-formed Small Council presents new but unwanted opportunities for Tyrion. Jamie and Brienne are tied back to back on a horse and continue their delightful dialog. Brienne is taken aback by the Kingslayer’s advice on how to survive the gang rape he is sure to come once their captors stop to camp. She also gives a harsh review of Jamie’s lauded fighting skills.
Meanwhile the Brotherhood without Banners prepares to turn in the Hound for what bounty he is sure to bring. Arya and Gendry are set to join when Hot Pie announces he’s staying to become a baker for the innkeeper. A surprisingly tender good by between Arya and her former tormentor ensues. One wonders if Hot Pie wouldn’t have been safer tagging along. His final piece of advice to his departing comrades is, “Don’t get stabbed.”
The Army Beyond the Wall arrives at the Fist of the First Men to find the remnants of the White Walkers encounter with the Night’s Watch. The Walkers leave the scene with a flourish unexpected of undead walking corpses. Dismembered horses are arranged in a complex pattern too precise to be random. When Ygritte notices there are no bodies from the Night’s Watch, Orell swears his eagle saw them when he last scouted the area. Mance Rayder knows what has become of them and sends Tormund Giantsbane with a squad including Jon Snow to breach the Wall and await his signal. Which will be “the biggest fire the North has ever seen.”
The surviving Crows bivouac with the monstrous Craster and are forced to accept his awful brand of hospitality, although the Lord Commander seems less inclined to be polite as before. Sam’s crush Gilly can be heard in the background screaming as Craster’s latest progeny is born. She is horrified to see that she’s given birth to a son. Back at an undisclosed location, Theon is set free (presumably but since this is GoT we can’t really be sure) by one of Yara’s men and instructed to ride east and she will meet him.
Daenerys is still conflicted about hiring a slave army and Barristan Selmy is solidly against it. Ser Jorah Mormont has a more practical take but both are stunned with the Khaleesi offers up one of her dragons to pay for the army of 8,000 Unsullied. When the men council her against it in front of Kraznys, Dany sets them straight once out of sight. The Targaryen blood is rising in her and we begin to see the Mother of Dragons ascend to a mental plane equal to her title. The lady has plans.
Littlefinger transfers the books to the new Master of Coin along with a tired joke about how to survive the position. He also suggests that Tyrion reward his squire, Podrick, for his timely service in the Battle of Blackwater Bay. The Imp has a better idea how to reward his charge and the three lovely ladies representing said reward have the young lad speechless. A quick look at the finances of the kingdom reveals that Littlefinger has King’s Landing leveraged to the hilt. A brief explanation to Bronn about how loans work concludes when Tyrion reveals what will happen when they can’t pay the loan back. The people they owe “will fund our enemies. One way or another, they will get their gold.”
Concluding in the camp of Roose Bolton’s best hunter, Locke, Jamie seems perturbed when Brienne is taken to the aforementioned rape he predicted. In an uncharacteristic turn, Jamie lies to Locke that the Lord Selwyn Tarth would pay Brienne’s weight in sapphires to get her back with her honor “unbesmirched”. Brienne is saved and Locke inquires as to what Tywin would pay for Jamie’s release. Jamie gives his usual speech about gold, lands and titles. Just when it seems that Locke is on board with dealing the Kingslayer, he takes a sudden, sharp and ruthless tack and Jamie realizes that his gambit has failed. This exchange changes Jamie’s life forever and how he deals with it in the future will be fascinating to watch.
Season 3 is building faster and moving more smoothly from one episode to another in a way the first eight episodes of Season 2 did not. It seems almost unreasonable to hope for the same impact Season 2 finished with but all signs point to much bigger things to come in the near future. This is outstanding television bordering on inimitable.
Follow me on Twitter @Lemzilla
“Dark Wings, Dark Words”
*Some spoilers ahead*
Episode 2 begins with Bran dreaming, recalling archery lessons under Ned’s watchful and his brother’s snickering eyes. When he draws down on the three-eyed raven in his dream, a boy appears and tells him tells him why he can’t kill it. More on Dream Boy later. Osha is not as eager to help Bran divine the meaning of his dreams as she’d been before. In Harrenhal, Robb’s lead bannerman, Roose Bolton, presents news from Riverrun and Winterfell. We learn that Catelyn’s father has died and Robb learns what happened to the family keep. Plans are made to march his unsatisfied army to Riverrun for the funeral and join up with more men from the House Tully side of his family. A quick peek in on a bound and hooded figure reveals Theon in a panic that turns to terror when people start poking him with things.
Brienne and Jamie continue their trek to King’s Landing, inefficiently as Jamie points out, through the mud and back roads. When they come upon a peddler also keeping off the King’s Road, pleasantries are exchanged but the Kingslayer goads Brienne that the man recognized them and he’ll tell the first guardsmen he sees. Brienne refuses to run him down and kill him but it takes her a minute longer to make that decision than comfortable really. In King’s Landing, Joffrey is being fitted by a tailor while being quizzed by Cersei as to his feelings about Margaery. The Boy King quickly turns the tables and stuns Cersei with the sudden realization that she has zero influence on her son and by extension, affairs of court. She does her best to shield the world from this but her face betrays her and we know her heart just dropped to the floor. Elsewhere in the castle, Shae is attending Sansa and following Ros advice of keeping tabs on Littlefinger in regards to the former Queen. She counsels that if he tries to touch her, she should say “No” and if he doesn’t stop to tell her. When Sansa asks what Shae would do about it, our favorite harlot simply says “I will make him stop.” No. Doubt.
But first Sansa is a guest of the Lady Olenna Redwyne, Grand Dame of the House Tyrell, and her granddaughter, Margaery. Lady Olenna is known as “The Queen of Thorns” for the loose cannon that serves as her piehole. Pleasantries are dispensed with quickly before Mrs. Peel gets down to the nitty-gritty. She wants dirt on Joffrey and Sansa is at first resistant. But when Margaery and grandma double team her, “He’s a monster” spills from Sansa’s lips and a deluge of his horrific behavior flows forth. Alarmed at what she has let slip, Olenna assures her that nothing will change and Margaery’s wedding will take place. It’s not hard to believe that armed with this knowledge, the women of House Tyrell will enter into the union suitably prepared to accept any challenge Joffrey might present. Personally, I think the kid is screwed especially if Mommy isn’t around to watch his back.
On the road to River Run, Lord Karstark vents his spleen to the King of the North and accuses Robb of losing the war when he married Talisa. Breaking a vow to Walder Frey is widely regarded as unwise. Catelyn admits to Talisa she is the worst woman ever and re-tells her horrible treatment of Jon Snow. I would normally agree that Catelyn is the worst woman ever except I’ve seen Lori Grimes in action. Lori Grimes is the worst woman ever. Period. Anyhoo. Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder and his merry band continue their southbound trek and Jon Snow is learning quickly that the tribes beyond the Wall are many and varied. So how did Mance get 90 clans, half warring with the other and that speak seven different languages, to march united behind him and head south? “I told them they’d all die here if they didn’t. And that’s the truth.”
They meet up with their advance scout, a “warg” able to see through an animals eye, in this case a raven. When Mance asks where he was and what he saw, the reply is “The Fist of the Firstmen. And dead Crows.” Jon Snow is impressively nonplussed at the news, building credibility in the Army Beyond the Wall. Meanwhile, the Crow’s that didn’t get killed by White Walkers continue to slog their way south when Samwell Tarly (shocking) falls out after being pummeled with insults about his uselessness by his nemesis, Rast. Lord Commander Jeor Mormont wants to know what all the kerfuffle is about and when informed, gives two orders:
1. “Tarly, I forbid you to die.”
2. “Rast, you’re responsible for him. Make sure he gets back alive. If he doesn’t, you don’t.”
And that’s why he’s Lord Commander.
Osha and the Baby Starks are taken by surprise by Jojen Reed (Dream Boy!) and his bodyguard sister, Meera. When Jojen walks up to Bran’s Direwolf, Summer, and isn’t immediately torn to shreds we hope that means the Reed’s are friendly. This is further burnished when Jojen informs Bran that he is a warg and that’s why he can see through the eyes of Summer. Bran begins to swell when told he also possesses sight that allows him to see past, present and future events but needs to learn how to control these gifts. Whoever the Reed’s are they’ve been looking for Bran for a long time. Finally catching up with Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie, the trio are trying to make their way to friendly territory when set upon by the Brothers without Banners. Of course, Arya gets all butch and tells them if they leave politely she’ll let them live. Thoros of Myr is unimpressed but curious. He offers that if the trio break bread with them and explain how they escaped Harrenhal, they would be free to leave after.
Tyrion returns to his upgraded quarters to find Shae and is nearly apoplectic knowing what his douchebag father would do if he knew she was there. Shae is comically dismissive of Tywin’s threat and entreats her lion to intervene on Sansa’s behalf regarding Littlefinger. It brings to light Tyrion’s previous encounters with Ros and Shae is surprisingly territorial considering her former occupation. Or she’s just pushing buttons on the Hero of Blackwater Bay and using it to her advantage. Nothing a former hooker would do right? Back to the King’s bedroom, Joffrey is showing off his new crossbow while Margaery begins weaving her web around him. The poor dumb schmuck will never see this coming, I think. Another quick peek in at Theon being tortured ends with a mysterious boy whispering that his sister sent him and that he’ll be free soon.
We’re back in an ale house with Thoros of Myr and the Three Amigos of Westeros sharing a meal with the kids still being non-specific about their escape. Arya pulls a sword to further deflect from the truth but it’s not her Needle so the display is cut short quickly. When a masked man is brought into the tavern in chains, he’s revealed to be The Hound and before that surprise if fully comprehended Clegane spots Arya and calls out to Thoros, “What in Seven Hells are you doing with the Stark bitch?” Well, that was a mood changer. To be continued. We conclude with Brienne and Jamie having to cross a very visible bridge to get past a river. Jamie is successful in grabbing Brienne’s second sword (“I’ve never understood why some knights felt the need to carry two swords.”) and engaging in the fight we’ve all wanted to see. Granted, his hands are still manacled but as the self-proclaimed greatest swordsman in the realm he expects to make quick work of Brienne the Beauty.
Not so much. After a fun little dance, Brienne takes him down but then bannermen (Roose Bolton’s bastard? I’m unclear on this) of Robb Stark arrive with the aforementioned peddler in tow. Once the Kingslayer is properly identified, Jamie makes the move he always makes at this point “My father will pay you whatever you want if you let me go.” The bannerman responds “Enough to buy me a new head?” and they move forward to march Jamie to his fate. We had a full plate in episode 2 and as always in “Game of Thrones”, some people had to sit out. This weeks DNP (Did Not Play) list includes the Targaryen’s, the Baratheon’s and Lord Varys. “Game of Thrones” continues to barrel forward using the momentum gained since the “Blackwater” episode in Season 2. Where we go in the next few weeks should inform both this and Season 4 as both are taken from the third book in George R. R. Martin’s series, “A Storm of Swords”. The show’s current pace is thrilling and leaving fans voracious for the 6 days between airings. That’s when you know you’ve got a solid gold winner, right there.
Follow me on Twitter @Lemzilla
*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD*
Season 3 kicks off beyond the Wall as Samwell Tarly scrambles to rejoin his brothers of the Nights Watch after witnessing the invasion of the White Walkers that closed out Season 2. He’s unsurprisingly clumsy in his attempt and quickly set upon by one of the previously mentioned Walkers. A welcome appearance by a fan favorite saves the day but Sam gets his ass chewed out by Lord Jeor Mormont for failing to do his only job: send ravens to the Wall with a heads up about the Walkers. This forces the Nights Watch to double-time march back to the Wall in hopes of slowing down the zombies before they bust through to southern civilization. Shifting over to Jon Snow’s part of the saga beyond the Wall, the Bastard meets Mance Rayder and rather flimsily convinces him he’s ready to ditch his black cloak, fight along side the Wildlings and maybe have sex with a girl.
Back in King’s Landing, the Queen Regent pays a visit to her overly cautious little brother to discuss what he’ll tell their father when the Hero of Blackwater Bay finally gets debriefed. When at first, reluctant to even open the door, Cersei comforts him somewhat with “If I wanted to kill you, would I let a wooden door stop me?” Some delicious banter between the siblings concludes with:
Cersei – “You’re a clever man. But not half as clever as you think you are.”
Tyrion – “That still makes me more clever than you.”
The previously summoned and newly knighted “Sir Bronn of Blackwater” arrives and negotiates new terms for his bodyguard services as Tyrion insists he spend more of his time in much closer proximity.
Meanwhile, Davos Seaworth has washed up on a rocky outcropping and is conveniently rescued by the only Not-Locked-in-a-Vault-in-Qarth-and-Presumed-Dead black character from Season 2 (RIP Xaro Xhoan Daxos). Salladhor Saan is happy to see his old smuggling buddy but is dead against Ser Davos’ plan to return to Stannis Baratheon and try to mute the influence the Red Witch, Melisandre, has on the One True King. This goes about as well as you’d expect.
Robb Stark arrives at Harrenhal, frustrated to find it abandoned and littered with corpses left by “The Mountain”, Gregor Clegane. The dead are bannermen of Catelyn Stark’s father and thus more to be tallied under Robb’s war ledger. Cat is still being treated as a prisoner despite the Lady Talisa’s admonishments.
Tyrion’s sit-down with Tywin turns into another glaring example of how Tywin Lannister is a horrible person. A cruel and spiteful rundown of the Lannister patriarch’s true feelings toward his youngest son is a painful thing to watch and listen to. Each verbal discharge lands its mark as Peter Dinklage soaks them up and sells the beating like the best WWE jobber. That would be this man, by the way. Tyrion shuffles off to an uncertain future in the opening stanza of Season 3.
A brief visit with Sansa and Shae is a stage for a Littlefinger intervention, where the Conniving One promises a way out of King’s Landing. The caveat is that Sansa must be ready to leave at a moments notice. Ros, Littlefinger’s madame, knowingly counsels Shae that Littlefinger is to be watched and not trusted where Sansa is concerned. Shae reassures Ros that her vigilance is constant.
King Joffrey leads a litter-borne caravan through the streets of Flea Bottom when his new Queen-to-be, Margaery, suddenly stops to walk the streets. From safely inside his guarded litter, Joffrey observes his future wife trod through human waste to some unknown location. Turns out Margaery is doing some heavy PR work for her betrothed and supporting an orphanage made up of children who’s fathers perished in the Battle of Blackwater Bay. This immediately raises the Queen Mother’s BS detector at dinner and when Joffrey supports Margaery’s efforts, Cersei’s disdain is barely hidden.
We catch up with Daenerys Targaryen and the loyal Jorah Mormont at sea and her dragons are the size of Labradors now instead of house cats. They also have an entertaining way of feeding themselves in the ocean. Let’s just say, dragons aren’t big on sushi. But they are still too small to use as effective weapons so she has anchored her seasick Dothraki horde in Slaver’s Bay and disembarks in Astapor to inspect prospective soldiers for her army. She is less than thrilled that the soldiers are all slaves but “The Unsullied” are legendary fighters and make Spartans look like undisciplined Girl Scouts. After brutal training that begins at age five, a slave’s final entry exam to become “Unsullied” is killing a baby while still in its mother’s arms. Daenerys is quietly appalled that her army came at a cost of more than 8,000 infant children. An assassination attempt by an adorable little street urchin quickly snaps her out of it as another blast from the past steps in to save the Khaleesi. Reunited with the Captain of her father’s guard, Daenerys seems to recognize the closer she gets to the Iron Throne, the more perilous life will become and she needs to step up her game if she is to survive long enough to sit in it.
And just like that, “Valar Dohaeris” was over. Season 3 smoothly connects the dangling threads of Season 2 and the weaving plotlines are beginning to form patterns without giving away the whole tapestry. Case in point: As much ground as was covered in “Valar Dohaeris”, we have no idea and fewer hints as to where Arya, Gendry, Hotpie, Brienne, Jamie or Theon, Osha, Hodor and the Baby Starks are. Maybe not even the gods can know what the inscrutable Lord Varys is up to.
“Game of Thrones” continues to be HBO’s 800lb Gorilla that can sit anywhere it wants to, eat your Cheetos and wipe its hands all over your couch. And you will continue to like it.
Follow me on Twitter @Lemzilla
Oh Netflix. You so crazy. Premiering David Fincher’s “House of Cards“, and making all 13 episodes of Season 1 available for binge-viewing right out of the gate? This is a bold gauntlet thrown down by The Little Red Envelope That Ate Streaming Video. By acknowledging the emerging preference for series viewing, Netflix has positioned itself as the go-to-service for the impatient content consumer. I’m not sure what release plans are for Season 2 but if this moves the subscriber needle in any significant way, Netflix may be showing us the future. It bears close watching.
Outbidding HBO, Showtime and the rest for “House of Cards” cost Netflix an estimated $100 million or more. 26 episodes of Kevin Spacey don’t come cheap. But putting out the money for original programming coupled with a daring release strategy could spur Netflix to new and unknown heights in viewership. Especially if the quality of programming meet or exceed the standard set by “House of Cards”. It begins with an accident and a mercy killing by a Fourth-Wall breaking Kevin Spacey as Congressional Majority Whip, Frank Underwood (D) South Carolina.
It serves as a quick tutorial in Frank’s pragmatic ruthlessness and the extremity to which it can be applied. Once informed, the audience is witness to his betrayal by the newly elected White House as the administration reneges on a promise to install Frank as the new Secretary of State. The President-elect has decided that Frank’s political capital is far better spent in Congress than earning Hillary-esque frequent flyer miles as SecState. The look Spacey adorns Frank’s face with upon processing this news is eerie cool and malevolent simultaneously. And with that, “House of Cards”, sinks deep roots in the viewers mind as thoughts of unholy retribution administered by Kevin Spacey begin to form.
Frank is aided and abetted in his endeavors by his proto-DC Housewife, Claire. A sharp and elegant Robin Wright portrays Claire Underwood as a stylish and connected player in the halls of power and far, far more than mere arm candy for Frank. She has her charitable foundation to fill her days and is Frank’s most stalwart supporter the rest of the time. Scenes between Wright and Spacey that involve nothing more than sitting on a window sill smoking are natural and evoke a long-standing couple completely at ease with each other. They also have a downside in that these scenes make smoking look really cool again. The easily influenced might want to look away.
The rest of the cast ( featuring Kate Mara, Michael Kelly, Sakina Jaffrey, Constance Zimmer and an outstanding Corey Stoll) are solid players in what is clearly Spacey’s sandbox but carry their water smartly and efficiently as Frank begins to pave the road to his redemption. “House of Cards” keeps a lot of balls in the air while riding a unicycle over a tightrope at times but the looming specter of Spacey creates the gravity that holds it all coherently together. Netflix’s decision to stream all of Season 1 also colors the viewing experience. You don’t necessarily view each episode purely on it’s own merits but as part of the larger picture you have instant access to. It’s like collecting comic book story arcs in a trade paperback. The immediacy of the story is accented by the fact you didn’t have to wait months between issues.
Another plus learned over 13 episodes: No Gratuitous Nudity. I’m not a prude and I like looking at nude women. But HBO and Showtime’s habit of bodice ripping, boob floppery for the flimsiest of reasons got old really fast. 13 episodes in and “House of Cards” gives you one shot of Kate Mara’s butt, a little side boob and one perfect-in-context shot of nipples (the character was a stripper in a strip club). Honestly, I thought for sure “House of Cards” would play the “We’re a Pay Service So We Can Show Boobs Whenever” card. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong.
Overall, I found “House of Cards” to be a smart, sexy and compelling show with a few awkward moments (Claire Underwood gives the most inappropriate handjob ever) and lots of great dialog recited by the American treasure that is Kevin Spacey. The man delivers more punch in a sideways glance than lesser actors can with full Mamet script behind them. “House of Cards” Season 1 was an enjoyable romp with a great actor, supported by a large cast of very good ones and a sharp script. I eagerly await the announcement for Season 2 and how it will be delivered. I’m all for the binge release format again.
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This year was co-hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Pohler. I love them both. They are so funny and it’s great to see them reunited in this way. They set the time of The Golden Globes with the very opening and you know this is going to be a funny night not to be taken too seriously.
During the Women in a Comedy segment, as they cut from awesome actress to the next, Amy played nonchalant to the camera and completely ignoring the award ceremony while sitting on George Clooney‘s lap with convincing flirtations going back and forth. Had me rolling. Clooney is a good sport and hammed it up for the camera.
Sasha Baron Cohen takes the stage, with drink in hand, to make his nomination presentation in only the way he can…..and things get carried away after that. “Four months of voice lessons on Russell Crowe was money well spent.” he pokes at the fellow actor from Les Miserables.
Tina and Amy return to hosting with drinks now permanently in hand. “Sasha started it” was there attitude and they announce that it’s not just them,”Look how drunk Meryl Streep is!” The TV cuts to her with her eyes crossed, tongue out, and bobbing her head all over the place like she was Stevie Wonder. That’s funny.
Why was Taylor Swift there? Who knows. It’s Hollywood! Oh she was up for a song. That’s why this is such a cool and unusual Hollywood gathering.
Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr., takes the stage and announces that, “This award says just as much about the recipient as it does the presenter.” ha ha thats too funny. I was already warned by a Hollywood Insider that he was going to steal the show with his presentation. He had the crew dying of laughter the day before in his red sweat jump suit during rehearsals. He has amazing comedic timing. I think anyway.
The Cecil B DeMille Award is a very high honor to receive in the industry and this years recipient was the awesome Jodi Foster. She joins other legendary artists like: Cecil B. DeMille, Walt Disney, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Bob Hope, James Stewart, Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, and Sidney Poitier to name a few of my favorites. Her body of work should speak for it’s self and as they rolled the tape I was taken on a ride through film. What a bunch of great movies and roles she has played. I’m gonna have to go back and watch some of those again, but what everyone seems to want to talk about has nothing to do with her career. So what if you didn’t like her acceptance speech?? She didn’t say all that for your overly critical ass. Yeah yeah your just doing your job as a reporter and a blogger. Did you miss the part about Privacy??? That was kind of the point. Not coming out of the closet, “I did that years ago.” she said. Being an adult in the public eye is not always a privilege and comes with lots of negative ramifications. Now imagine having dealt with that since you were 3 years old? Most of you can’t. I can not. Her speech was perfectly filled with humor, wit, and compassion. She was speaking for herself, her kids, her family, her lover, and I think she was speaking out for every celebrity out there. We glorify them and idolize them, but to what cost to ourselves and them?
I thought The Golden Globes were a lot of fun, but I am especially proud of Jodi Foster for speaking her mind and looking great doing it at age 50. She is an inspiring professional and someone that I personally look up to.
See ya next year.
Tell us at Down the Road Show what you thought of this years Golden Globes?
Hi…I need a hug. My name is Carl. I just had to shoot my dead mother in the face and help cut her open to deliver my sister….not a zombie so far.
Really Rick? That’s the best you’ve got? In these overly dramatic dead days….. All you can say to your son is “Take care of them.” WTF?
Where is the love? Where is the humanity?
One of the things I argue, with my friends about The Walking Dead, is that they are missing the human story in this show. They complain about too much dialogue or not enough Walker violence. I look for the survival story and the line that might be crossed between staying a sane human verses becoming a heartless killing machine. It’s a fine line in a world of Walkers.
So where is the love? I would think that in an Apocalyptic Society you would relish every chance to tell your loved ones, still alive and not a walking corpse, that you love them. No yelling when that could be your last conversation, but I’m not Rick.
Hey, kid sorry you shot yer ma! …..well that just doesn’t cut it. Rick and Lori talked a good game about preserving humanity for their children, but somewhere they dropped the severed bleeding head. They do have a lot on their brains. Lori is a Walker Lunchables and Rick has a short leash on his sanity….very short leash. Carl may be the only hope for this family.
No I did not expect to say that either. I was fully part of the “Lori and Carl must Die!” band wagon too. Now…….Chandler Riggs owns that show!
I love you, Carl. Tough kid. Now go kick some Walker Butt!
I was fortunate to work with Chandler Riggs, Anthony Guajardo, and Britt Griffith at Wizard World Austin 2011 (video above) and am proud of the growth that Chandler has gone through as a character on The Walking Dead. He has a very nice family and Down the Road Show wishes him the best in his career.
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It is rare in life that greatness flows smoothly down bloodlines from one generation to the next. But in the Sabol family, it can be said that a father’s passion and genius was well and truly instilled and in some ways surpassed by his son. Steve Sabol died Tuesday, September 18 at the age of 69 from brain cancer. The son of Ed Sabol, they co-founded NFL Films, which revolutionized the way football, sports and almost every other live event known to humanity is documented. It is sadly ironic that after campaigning tirelessly for Ed’s long overdue enshrinement in the Football Hall of Fame, one month after Ed’s induction in February of 2011 Steve would be diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.
NFL Films has won more than 100 Emmy’s and Steve Sabol is responsible for more than 30 of them with writer, producer and director credits among them. He also wrote “The Autumn Wind“, and that coupled with slow-motion footage of the Oakland Raiders, Sam Spence’s cinematic score and read with the commanding baritone of John Facenda is quintessential NFL Films. Football gloriously shot from angles (“Tight on the spiral“) fans had no way of seeing, signature music and narrated by what you would almost swear God sounds like. Steve was Ed’s partner up until Dad retired from day to day operations in 1995. Steve has been the face of NFL Films ever since.
Back in the Stone Age before sports was a 24 hour cycle, the weekly NFL Films packages were the only way to know anything about pro football. It’s why I know Bears, Packers and Giants history as well or better than some of the newer fans. NFL Films made that information indelible with the artistry and poetry they applied to presenting pro football. Steve Sabol was a driving creative force for one of the most recognized film brands in the world for over 50 years. We will probably always view our live entertainment through the looking glass that Steve helped create. He will be greatly missed. Steve Sabol is survived by his wife Penny and son Casey, sister Blair and his parents, Ed and Audry Sabol.
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