New Fall TV 2015: The Darkhorses

The Bastard Executionerimgres-1

Premieres September 15th, on FX

Wilkin Brattle, played by Lee Jones, is a 14h century English soldier and under the charge of Edward the First. After the horrors of war follow him home and revenge is directed towards his loved ones, Brattle retires from being a warrior. The first season will revolve around Brattle’s forced return to the English court, as he claims the executioner title. He exchanges one blood-splattered sword for another; past burdens of guilt for new ones; and finds himself to be a different type of merciless weapon within this medieval political system.imgres

Beloved Sons of Anarchy show runner Kurt Sutter is the man behind this new period drama. He understands the early comparisons between his newest creation and HBO’s Game of Thrones. The 14th century English court system politics and Brattle’s newfound faith in the catholic religion will root this series in the history books. While characters like Annora of the Alders, played by Katey Sagal, is a mysterious healer who will entangle Brattle’s story with medieval mysticism. Much like it’s predecessor the Bastard Executioner’s first season will consist of ten episodes.

FX’s The Bastard Executioner trailer click here

Flesh & Bone

Premieres November 8th, on Starzimgres-2

An eight-episode miniseries structured as a look inside the lives of ballerinas and written in the vain of the critically acclaimed film Black Swan. The series tells the tortured tale of Claire (Sarah Hay), a talented ballerina who is running from a dark past and finds herself joining a New York City company. The trailer promises that this will be a brutally honest look at both Claire’s and her fellow ballerinas struggle for perfection. Filled with eating disorders, rigorous training schedules that result in self-mutilating practices and the self-esteem shattering competitiveness found in this chosen profession.

The most haunting image from the trailer is of a padlocked bedroom door. We don’timages see the intruder’s face from behind the door, but we hear his voice as he demands that Claire let him inside. This indicates that Claire is potentially running from an abusive childhood and was sexually assaulted by her stepfather (maybe). Therefore, Claire could possibly be suffering from PTSD as she joins this ballet company. Former Breaking Bad executive producer and writer, Moria Walley-Beckett is the series’ creator. Knowing that Walley-Beckett is directing the ship dispels my belief that the series could potentially fall more in step with the film Center Stage, than Black Swan.

Starz Flesh & Bone trailer click here

Into the Badlands

imgres-3Premieres November 15th, on AMC

Welcome to the Badlands. A six-episode series that combines the stylized-western
aesthetic of Django Unchained with, the graceful violence found in Kill Bill. This martial arts series is based on the Chinese tale Journey To The West. A fierce enslaved warrior (known as a clipper in the show) named Sunny, played by executive-producer Daniel Wu, stumbles across a young boy named M.K., played by Aramis Knight. They develop a mentor/protégé relationship as they journey together across the dangerous land run by feudal barons.

The most intriguing aspect of the series stems from the villainess named the Widow, portrayed by Emily Beecham.   We are introduced to her as the one behind images-1the attempted capture of M.K., for unknown reasons.  Throughout the Comic-Con trailer we see her deviously wonder the Badlands, as she seeks to claim power by overthrowing the mighty Badland baron, Quinn. Then in a stunning sequence we watch the petite baroness turn into a lethal weapon, as she takes on a slough of assassins in a western burlesque bar.  Much like how The Walking Dead brought new life to the zombie genre, Into the Badlands shows promise in resurrecting the Kung-Fu martial arts genre.  Plus, this maybe the closest thing we will ever have to a Quentin Tarantino television series.

AMC Into the Badlands trailer click here

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

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You’re the Worst Adult Ever

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 The FX raunchy romantic comedy series, You’re the Worst, returns on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 at 10:30pm.  The show follows a narcissist writer, Jimmy Shive-Overly’s relationship, with the cynical Gretchen Cutler.  The “worst” squad also includes their best friends Lindsay, an unsatisfied housewife, and Edgar, a PTSD Iraq war vet. With the second season premiere airing next week, I decided rexamine each character to see who is the best at being the worst adult, in season 1.

Jimmy’s Worst Episode 

EPISODE 2, Insouciance

After meeting during the first episode both Jimmy and Gretchen are continuing to pursue a casual, seximgres-2ual relationship.  So, what happens when sex is off the table? Jimmy initially assumes that they won’t see each other, until sex is back on the table.  Then Edgar steps in and arranges for Jimmy to take Gretchen out on a date.  This is probably my personal favorite episode, because of the hilarious opening, dinner, and movie date scenes.  Chris Geere brings Jimmy to life throughout the episode as his dry humor suimagespports the character’s boyish indifference to the situation.  Then there is a moment of true affection as Jimmy longingly stares at Gretchen after she says that, “Cameron’s the worst.”  Jimmy is truly a boy stuck in a man’s body; but he is willing to grow up for Gretchen.

images-4Worst Line 

“I like to yell out character inconsistencies, structural flaws,and keep a general humorous commentary, this is the only place that let’s me do that.”  Episode 8

Season 2 Needs 

In episode seven, we vaguely see the type of relationship Jimmy has with his father.  Hopefully we will actually get to see his father come to town, or Gretchen and Jimmy take a timages-2rip to London.  Also, where is Jimmy’s mom? Does he have siblings? Throughout this past season we learn that Lindsay had a crush on Jimmy, while he dated her sister.  If they do a flashback episode it would be cool to see exactly how that went down.  In addition it would be interesting to see Jimmy encounter a writer he idolizes, only to be repulsed by him/her.

Gretchen’s Worst Episode 

EPISODE 8, Finish Your Milk

 Gretchen “leaves” town to visit her parents, only she doesn’t, and Jimmy ends up interrupting images-3her family’s lunch to drop some truth bombs.  For the first time we see Gretchen masterfully lie to Jimmy’s face, who in a referential Usual Suspects scene, discovers the truth.  During Jimmy’s epic monologue to Gretchen’s parents about how they haven’t met the “real Gretchen”, viewers fully come to understand her character.  She is still a rebellious teenager, afraid to grow up, so she hides herself away from not only her parents, but froimages-2m men too.  Aya Cash’s performance, when she finds the engagement ring, is beautiful as she silently processes this possibility, and goes through a range of emotions.  Gretchen’s default setting is to run away from adulthood, so she breaks up with Jimmy.

imgres-3 Worst Line

“I shit myself earlier, and that is only the second most embarrassing thing that has happened to me today…” Episode 10

Season 2 Needs 

Gretchen should being taking more awkward steps into adulthood, outside of just being in an adult relationship.  She could attempt to get a promotion at work, but struggles timages-4o balance her job with her relationship.  Towards the end of the season begin to subtly hint at her and Jimmy having the “kid” talk. I would like to see Gretchen’s perspective on the idea of being pregnant and then raising a child.

Lindsay’s Worst Episode 

EPisode 9, Constant horror and Bone-Deep Dissatisfaction

This flashback episode to two-half years before Gretchen met Jimmy was great for all the characters, but especially Lindsay.  We see her in the midst of planning her wedding, theimgres-3n married, and still basking in the glow that she beat her older sister to the alter.  This in comparison to her present state of dissatisfaction with life as a wife.  Throughout this episode we understand her motivations for settling, low esteem, sibling rivalry, being neglected as a child, and the fear of being left behind.  These are all childish reasons to marry, as mature adults should only marry out of love.

Worst Lineimages-4

“I’m not a sidekick! I’m Beyoncé, not Kelly Rowland. If I’m on a motorcycle, I’m driving the motorcycle, not riding in that shitty little side motorcycle thingy for poor people and dogs.” Episode 7

images-6Season 2 Needs 

Next I want to see Lindsay struggle to establish herself as an independent woman.  She will be divorced, have to get a job, and find somewhere to live.  Lindsay may even need a roommate, who could conflict with Gretchen.  Even though I see her and Edgar getting back together, I don’t want to see Lindsay in a relationship during season 2.  If she beings dating then it would be an interesting role reversal between her and Gretchen, who is now in a steady relationship.

Edgar’s Worst Episode 

Episode 5, Sunday Funday

images-5Edgar planned the perfect Sunday for him and his friends.  During their brunch, he accidentally drops the secret itinerary for the day.  Richard Hendricks, guest star Thomas Middleditch, returns the misplaced list to Edgar.  Throughout the day Richard and his group of hipsters end up attending all the events that Edgar hadimgres-1 previously planned for his friends.  Including shopping cart racing and going to an open house for fresh baked cookies.  Throughout the episode we see this man suffering from PTSD and act as a child. A child who only sees the world as a playground.

imgres-2Worst Line

“My Therapist said I should be alone as little as possible on account of how I’ve been waking up holding a knife.”  Episode 6

images-2Season 2 Needs 

Now that Gretchen has moved in with Jimmy and Edgar will he begin to miss his best friend?  Throughout season 1 Edgar has supported their relationship, but the dynamics has changed in the finale.  I really want to see a roommate fight between Edgar and Gretchen that places Jimmy awkwardly in between his girlfriend and best friend.  Plus, Edgar wooing the newly single Lindsay.

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

My 10 Favorite TV Shows of 2014

One of the fun things about our Scene N Nerd podcast is we get to discuss our favorite TV shows and films on an “almost” weekly basis. We cram as much opinion and content about a few shows as we can in a short time frame. It’s not easy and if you heard our season finale episode, we did our best to talk more TV and give you what we thought were our favorite shows from the past year. Again, in a short time frame. So, I decided to do something about that. Something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Give my own list of my favorite TV shows of 2014.

I titled this with, “My FAVORITE TV shows of 2014”, quite frankly, because I can’t watch every single TV show out there. Believe me, I wish I could. I truly feel that we’re living in a “Golden Age of Television” with so many great shows available. Streaming has become so huge with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu all providing you with the newest and most popular TV shows, even producing content of their own. No longer are we channel surfing and being stuck with limited options of awful scripted reality TV shows and another rerun of FRIENDS (Editor’s Note: There’s always time for another rerun of FRIENDS, just saying).

With that said, let’s get this party started……

EDITIORS NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD

10. The Flash – CW

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As I said earlier, I don’t get to watch all TV shows. Especially, the rookie ones. I really have to pick and choose with them. With that said, The Flash has been nothing short of amazing during the first half of its inaugural season, from bringing in characters from the scarlet speedsters rouge gallery and teaming up with the Arrow a couple times. Every episode has been exciting, hilarious and wonderfully entertaining from start to finish. This show continues to show promise and I look forward to see what the second half of the season holds especially after the winter finale cliffhanger.

9. Veep – HBO

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I’ve really enjoyed Veep each season. It’s always funny and entertaining. I’ve thought of it as “The Office” but with cussing. Which makes it that much funnier. Not because of the foul language but because it’s well-written. The writers aren’t just throwing “shit” and “damn” in the dialogue for shock value. It works well with how discombobulated the cast can get. This past season of Veep was my absolute favorite. Watching Selina Meyer become president, her staff scramble as usual and evade hilarious scandalous rumors about her professional relationship with her “personal trainer”. Now, with Selina Meyer becoming President you have to wonder how much crazier the show will get. With her staff operating out of the West Wing, I can only imagine things will get funnier.

8. Silicon Valley – HBO

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Another rookie show makes my top 10 list and it can be argued it deserves a higher ranking. Silicon Valley hit the ground running with its pilot and never looked back. It’s smart, funny and filled with hilariously interesting and crazy characters. I’d have no problems sitting down and stating the case that T.J. Miller’s character, Erlich steals almost every scene he is in. If you want to gauge the comedy of this show I would recommend watching the season finale titled “Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency” where you’ll watch one of the funniest dick jokes ever made played out in a mathematical equation. Trust me.

7. Game of Thrones – HBO

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I felt Game of Thrones really had a good bounce back season. Show runners said before the season began that every episode would have a season finale feeling to it. I don’t think that necessarily rang true for the most part but there were a few episodes that did leave that feeling. For example, in “The Lion and the Rose” we saw one of the craziest and most unexpected endings of the series, the death of King Joffrey. I remember sitting there and thinking “I’m not prepared for this, I’m not prepared for this.” Believe me, I wanted Joffrey dead just as much as everybody else did, I just didn’t expect it to happen in the SECOND episode of ANY season. But, hey, that’s why we love this show. I look forward to more of this next season, hopefully. Especially, with the way things were left.

6. Homeland – SHOWTIME

Homeland Season 4- Poster

This was not a show I expected to have this high on my list. Hell, I didn’t expect to even have it on my list let alone even watch it after last season. I’ll be honest, I got really sick of the Carrie/Brodie storyline to the point of where I sleepwalking through the third season. Seriously, I remember waking up during the season finale, saw Brodie hanging and went back to sleep. It was all “meh” to me. But, I wondered where the show would go from here? How would they move on since their key story revolved around a character who was now dead? Well, I’ll give it to you guys over at the writer’s room, Homeland. You got me. This season has been like an energy shot straight to the arm and never letting up. The characters were great, the intensity and suspense was rock freaking solid and the overall story arc for this season was AMAZING! This show is back to being great again. However, I will say that the season finale was a bit anticlimactic. But, that’s ok. It wasn’t terrible, it just left us with a few cliffhangers that they can certainly build on for next season.

5. The Walking Dead – AMC

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So many great things this season, so many. I could devote an entire article to this season, but I’ll keep this short and sweet. Terminus was handled very well. Bringing in the cannibals storyline was a great way to start the season. It built up to a crescendo in the third episode with a showdown that didn’t let anyone down. Rick doesn’t care anymore, he just kills when he needs to and doesn’t give his foe a second chance. I don’t know about you guys, but I love it. The guy is doing what is necessary for the group to survive and if it means being stone cold and killing then so be it. Hey, we’re talking about the zombie apocalypse here. Now, if you don’t mind, let’s take a moment for Beth………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Okay, I wanted to let that out. What a sad death that I didn’t see coming. Did you?! Yea, well, you’re freaking psychic then. Cause, I didn’t think it was something that people saw coming or had any inkling of happening until that moment when she stabbed Dawn. Then all bets were off. Even Dawn’s reaction to blowing Beth’s head off was crazy, she looked shocked beyond words. But, it happened and then Daryl took absolutely no time in offing Dawn for retribution. It was justice, but it didn’t make anyone feel better. We ALL lost Beth, a character who had grown into a strong young women. Such a stark contrast to the young girl we met in season 2. It was great character development and someone the show will truly miss. To put it simply, as said on twitter, “When Daryl cries the world cries”. Yup.

4. The Newsroom – HBO

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I’ve enjoyed the few seasons that The Newsroom has been on. It’s had me from day one and never let go. Season 1 was super intense, taking you into the lives of a news room and how crazy it can be to deliver not only the right story but the FACTUAL story. Season 2 stuck to one storyline, a lawsuit played out over an entire season. It was a good follow up. Then, it was announced that season 3 would be the final one. Then it was announced that the final season would run for only six episodes. SIX.EPISODES. Such a bummer especially with how they ended the series. It was a tremendous send off for the series delivering one strong episode after another leading up to the shows series finale. If you didn’t catch feels I’m not sure what to tell you. The dialogue was amazing and Charlie’s funeral brought about even more amazing dialogue from the characters as they reminisced about their former boss. When Charlie’s wife tells Don not blame himself for Charlie’s death, I mean, how could you not get emotional during that scene. I’ll admit it, tears were building up. I’m going to miss this show, it was truly one of the greats that in its short time frame delivered every time it hit the screen.

3. Ray Donovan – SHOWTIME

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This is one of my personal favorites. This is a show I was looking forward to when it premiered last year and it fully delivered. So, I wondered, after such a strong start would it maintain its strong presence or fall into a sophomore slump of boring yet staying afloat stories? As it turns out, neither! It was even better than the first season. The characters were all amazing again. Jon Voight was still great as Mickey Donovan, a father who does nothing but think about himself and leaves everyone around him in the dust, even if they’re his own sons. While I enjoyed Voight’s performance again I believe it was Liev Schreiber who truly shined. As he should seeing that he is the main character. He was good during the first season and it lead to many award nominations. But, in season 2 he got even better. Continuing to battle his personal demons, fight through his marriage, fend off a feisty reporter and be a father. The story arcs for each character in the show were handled well and all intertwined in some way that paid off at the end. This show continues to grow in the right ways and can only get better going into season three.

2. House of Cards – NETFLIX

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When Walter White went out in grand fashion last year I wondered who would take the mantle as the TV anti-hero you found yourself actually rooting for. Without hesitation Frank Underwood stood up and said “I got this” (he didn’t actually say this). Season 2 of the hit Netflix series provided plenty of bang for your buck as Frank single handedly went to work destroying anyone and everyone in his path as he looked to claim the Presidency. Kevin Spacey once again turned in another amazing performance as Frank Underwood. A man so hell bent on revenge that he’d even go as far as ruining the credibility of The President just to get what he wants. He’ll go toe to toe with the toughest business men and even kill a person to make sure none of the skeletons in his closet make it out into the open. Poor Zoe. With Frank now taking over as The President we can only imagine what he’ll do as the most powerful man in the world. One things certain, if you question him he’ll make it known that you don’t do it again. I don’t know about you guys but I can’t wait till next February.

1. True Detective – HBO

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You can’t end a list like this without including the best show on television of 2014. This show was outstanding in every aspect. The acting was stellar (see what I did there), the story was great, the dialogue was sharp and the characters were excellent. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are great as two detectives who are drawn back into a homicide case they originally thought they solved. While the story overall was great, I found the interaction between the two characters equally interesting. From the outset you could see how the two men could work together and use their own tactics to complement each other but at the same time rub each other the wrong way. Often putting the two at odds. This along with back stories of the men were a nice balance that didn’t overtake the key storyline going on throughout the series. By the end I found myself wishing that we were getting more than one season out of these characters. But, if True Detective can find the magic that made it successful this season with its new cast then I think we’re all in store for some more amazing television.

Honorable Mention: Justified (FX), The Mindy Project (FOX), Red Band Society (FOX)

Thanks for reading the list and look for our podcast to return in 2015! Happy New Years everyone!

PacingPete