Long Time, No See

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EFFF I'm terrible at updating this blog. Truth be told, if I haven't spouted off about this already, this is one of FOUR blogs I write & manage. One is actually a huge commitment that generates me money / publicity / freebies so most of my time & effort goes there. But I also have a personal, private one, and a personal, public one - both of which are about different aspects of my everyday life. This blog is basically for shits & giggles, and to keep up on the Blogger platform, should any of the client-type folks I work with use it.

Anyway. I suppose the most logical thing to do right about now is start giving my grades out to all the TV I've been consuming that's recently wrapped up...I also owe you a post on the Alias series finale versus the One Tree Hill ones. I've got thoughts. Plenty of thoughts.

Onwards!

MONDAYS
Gossip Girl - Finale is tonight...so I'll re-loop back on this one. In general, I liked Blair & Dan as a non-couple than an actual couple. Serena's shown her true bitchy stripes. Lola is great, Ivy is wretched. Bart Bass being back from the dead is atrocious and makes me wish this show would die a quick death next season. Please & thanks.

Being Erica - Should probably talk about in my 'Series Finale' post. This last season was a little up & down, and I wish she hadn't ended up with Adam, but I also get the rationale from the creator's POV: when we met Erica she was single, jobless, without direction...now she's got all 3, even if the guy isn't quite my ideal match for her. The Dr. Tom stuff SLAYED me. FINAL GRADE: A


Pretty Little Liars - Sure I'm disappointed that Mona was a part of the A-Team. But at this point, there is no one satisfying answer. It's still deliciously convoluted. I REALLY want Alison to be alive. FINAL GRADE: B+


TUESDAYS
Parenthood - A solid season altogether. It felt like Adam was more in the spotlight than usual. I'm ambivalent about Crosby & Jasmine - it felt very S6 of Sex and the City as per Miranda & Steve. I love Amber and the cute yet vaguely creepy city council candidate, although his entire campaign felt much bigger than necessary. Sarah & Mark = best ever. I wish Sarah would take a chill pill. I sincerely want the show to come back next season, if only to introduce me to more great music. FINAL GRADE: B+


New Girl - I love this show, I really do. I think all the actors & their chemistry is great although I still somewhat lament the loss of high-energy Coach next to straight man Winston. I'm surprised they didn't carry out the Nick moving out plot, at least for a cliffhanger to next season / to introduce a new roomie to the mix. They've got an even tinier cast than Friends, so they run the risk of character burnout if no new new girls / guys are added...maybe in the apartment across the hall? *Wink* FINAL GRADE: A


The Little Couple - What a heartbreaking road for Bill & Jen over the last little bit. But I'm also getting a little...not fed up but...aware of the fact they almost always seem to be basking in some sort of freebie, promotional experience. I appreciate they have a lot of challenges in their life so good for them for making the best of it, but lately their episodes are feeling more & more like infomercials with repetitive convos about their lack of babies. I imagine the producers must be getting anxious about them still not having a baby, three or four seasons in. FINAL GRADE: B (although it still seems to be 'in season')

Ringer - Kind of a f*cked up show. The last five minutes of every ep were great, but it's altogether very schmaltzy. I won't be too heartbroken if it bites it this fall, which is never a good sign. FINAL GRADE: B-


The LA Complex - Shockingly addictive and kinda good. I love playing 'spot the set' between Degrassi & this show now, and I hope it picks up a bit in the states for the sake of its cast. The last few minutes of every episode are mind-blowing - in a much better way than ringer. FINAL GRADE: B+


WEDNESDAYS
Survivor - South Pacific had a disappointing finish...it was the same way I felt about Russell / Natalie's final showdown a few seasons back. A small part of me was rooting for the underdog (Natalie / Sophie respectively) but never expecting them to snatch the crown away...especially after relatively futile arguments by them both at the end of the show. Coach deserved the win, the bitter kittens on the jury were just fail. I did like the 'characters' of last season though. It made for an interesting arc. As for One World, it was altogether a boring season, but yay for Kim winning! I liked her early on and thought she played a great game. Kudos to a respectable jury when all was said & done. FINAL GRADE: South Pacific - B+ / One World - B-


Revenge - Also not quite finished. But loved the show in general. I'm hoping it doesn't peter out / fall into campy Desperate Housewives territory in the near future. Will have to re-loop after this week's finale.

Modern Family - Not quite as glorious as the first season, but still funny and enjoyable. Not quite done yet either but it's hovering in the B+ / A- range.

American Horror Story - I'm pretty sure this is on Wednesday nights. Wonderfully spooky, with plenty of fuck yeah twists & turns...because they can. I'm curious to see it sustain itself season-by-season. I suspect we'll always look back fondly on this one as the golden age though. FINAL GRADE: A+

America's Next Top Model - All Stars was fucking weird, and the result was ridiculous (as is the show, mind you). Angelea would've been an atrocious pick for the win, Lisa was probably best suited to the prize but on the old side for this to be considered a legit modelling competition (31?), and Allison was a poor pawn dragged along to the end to keep viewers watching. Terrible photoshoots as well...some of the worst in memory. British Invasion has been an improvement, only b/c the Brits injected some great personality into the show. I loved the final four British girls, and I hope Sophie (pal of Emma Watson) takes the cake! I liked Laura...but the last few episodes have made me dislike her as a person. She's a good model though. FINAL GRADE: All Stars - C / British Invasion - TBC?


THURSDAYS
The Office - Just. End It. Not done with the season yet but it's hovering in the C range still.

WEEKENDS
Degrassi - Too many story lines on characters I don't care about. We want more Eli! But psyched for the summer session at least, and good intro of the niners. FINAL GRADE: B


Boardwalk Empire - WTF TO KILLING JIMMY / RUINING THE CHARACTER OF MARGARET? FINAL GRADE: B


The Walking Dead - Finally someone listens to my idea of camping out in a jail. Before that? Slow. Too slow. Too many stupid decisions. The last two episodes boosted this one up though. FINAL GRADE: B+


Homeland - Fantastic show. Would recommend to anyone and still see so much potential without it getting too insane (although less of the flashback / mystery stuff). FINAL GRADE: A+


The Amazing Race - Big disappointment with last season and the snowboarders being turfed. I don't even remember the winner, sigh. This season Major Dave & Rachel deserved the win, hands down. The other two teams were horribly unlikable in the final three. FINAL GRADES: C / B-


Mad Men - Still in session. One of the best seasons ever (and I say that every season) although I'd like a little more creative with my drama please.

Girls - Ditto. Pretty much the funniest thing I've ever seen on TV, ever. Wished everyone watched...really. Sure the girls are spoiled (in real life & the show) but I can't help but connect to so much of it. Love.

The Pitch - Horrible advertising egos? Oh yes I can relate. I'm digging a glimpse into other agency's board rooms, I can say that much.

- Britt's On




Dreamcasting: The Fault In Our Stars

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I'm kind of…dreading…reading YA fiction right now. I'm just. Burnt out on it. And yet I still have a bunch of stuff stacked up to read in that department and it's all feeling a little stale (just like I burnt out on chick lit a few years ago).

Anyway in the last few weeks I've read Julianna Baggot's Pure, which was an interesting, twisty tale about life after a nuclear holocaust with rather pedestrian characters - plus their physicality was so gruesome I didn't really work hard to dreamcast the film.



I also read Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, mostly because I received the third book as a gift of sorts from another blog I write, and I figured I should read the rest of the series. It felt like a horrifically close rip-off of Twilight, which hi, we don't need, but it was sadly better written than Twilight. Angels instead of vampires. Or something. I just started the second book yesterday and I'm kind of dreading it. The one thing I will say for dreamcasting in that case is that chick from The Descendants / Secret Life of an American Teenager, Shailene Woodley, earned the main role of Nora in my head. I think her hair isn't right, but she is lean and leggy so that works. Also, in retrospect, she'd actually make a good candidate for the Jessica Darling movie that's being developed right now.

Anyway the last one I read, which was thankfully not YA Dystopian, was the amazing John Green's The Fault In Our Stars. And since I've dreamcast his last two books (that I've read) on here, it only seemed fitting to cover this one as well.


Hazel - John Green's first female protagonist, who is pretty similar to his male protagonists. I think he only felt comfortable writing her because she is somewhat asexual given her condition - a terminal cancer prognosis. Anyway she needs to be a good mix of spunky and awkward, and after some consideration I landed on Jordan Todosey of Degrassi fame. I MAY have been influenced by the fact Jordy has short hair for her role as a transgender character on Degrassi, but I honestly think she'd be good at this part. WHATTTT! I've found an (old) photo of Jordan donning pretty much Hazel's look (but with more hair). FATE!


Augustus - The star-crossed cancerous lover to Hazel's own story. He's described as athletic and with a crooked smile. I'm sure I could put more effort into casting this role, but around the time I read this I watched the premiere of that new Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) show, Awake, which featured the kid that played Young Jack in Lost / the bully in the American version of Let Me In, Dylan Minnette. Something about him just worked for me, even though he does have a kind of perma-sour look on his face.


Isaac - I pictured a really pasty, kind of chubby-looking kid for this. I don't know if that's accurate because he's all kissy kissy with Monica at the beginning, but that's what I had in my head. As for an actual actor? I couldn't really pick one. This would have to be an unknown. Or maybe the 'half' from Two & A Half Men, Angus T. Jones.


Kaitlyn - Hazel's only friend left from high school, a sophisticated social butterfly that still makes time for her cancerous gal pal. Although probably not the best choice ever, I went with Pretty Little Liars' Sasha Pieterse, who plays the devilish / enigmatic Alison DiLaurentis.


Van Houten - a crazy, large, hyper-cerebral author that writes Hazel and Gus' collective favourite book. I have THE GUY in my head for this…I can see him with sort of big lips, square glasses, a beret, and a vest but I don't know if this is all in my head or if it's a real actor. For the life of me I can't remember where I (may have) seen this actor. So for the time being I'd love to see a comedic actor like Robin Williams really knock this out of the park without it coming across super campy.

So those are your characters + that's my dreamcasting!

- B

All Stars

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All-Star Seasons can generally go one of two ways. One, it's thrilling to see people who aren't super naive come back and play the 'game' right - see: every time a past Survivor player jumps in for another round. Or two, it's awkward and against the entire concept of a show for rewarding a past loser, often with a bigger prize.

The main deciding factor between which type of show you're going to get is based on the nature of the show. If it's something where the game is entirely self-contained, like Survivor, The Amazing Race, or even The Bachelor, it makes sense and actually works to bring people back. But on a show like American Idol or America's Next Top Model…it's weird. Because those shows are meant to be proving grounds / launch points for success *beyond* the show. If you haven't hacked it in the meantime, it's not really 'right' for the show to be the thing that gives you a second shot.

So Project Runway All Stars should technically fall into that second category. And in a lot of ways, it does. But both ANTM & ProjRun haven't produced a calvacade of 'stars', with a few notable exceptions (Christian Siriano anyone?). Arguably the talent level on ProjRun is also much higher, and in many cases the 'right' person doesn't always win on that show (see: the last two seasons).

But still…when I compare the results of last fall's ANTM All Stars to this season's Project Runway, it's like night & day. The photoshoots on ANTM were some of the worst ever, and the outcome was completely jacked up: the fact they actually chose Angelea (as best as the public can tell) is bad enough, that they had to reshoot a false ending weeks before it aired is even worse.

That's not to say Project Runway All Stars doesn't have its issues. It does. Namely, we already understand each designer's point-of-view, so it's hard for them to surprise us (and the judges), but it's also not the contestants' advantage to break out of their box too much. In fact that's been the big trend this season: should I stay or should I go? For the most part it's been the former. And it's kind of refreshing to see each designer's dress walk down the runway and immediately recognize whose it is. But I've also seen so many familiar silhouettes and techniques, it can get a little tiresome.

Compound that with the fact they appear to be setting up Mondo (or possibly, maybe Austin) for the win, as if this whole season was designed to appease the long-outraged fans that Gretchen was handed Mondo's win two seasons ago. I was ambiguous about Mondo until the finale on his original season, truthfully. I didn't like a lot of his designs or his sniping, or his well-timed dramatic reveals re: his HIV+ and such. The whole thing felt a little calculated, and this season he's just coming off super arrogant, and I *still* don't really like this aesthetic all that much. Too busy / cartoony for me, but I suspect the prize package here will be a launching point that could put him into the Christian-like stratosphere.

Who does that leave us with? Well Michael Costello, who conveniently has tagged along this whole time as a confidant for Mondo, and otherwise still hasn't shown much by way of fashion chops (although he's made some pretty clothes). Kenley, who I have a soft spot for and am actually pretty irritated by the judges decision to never give her a first place finish - there were a handful of times I easily thought she should have won or at least been in the Top 3. And Austin, the second-most-likely to steal the throne from Mondo, given the 'foreclosure' set-up in this week's episode and his relatively consistent performance / fan favourite status. He's such a good demonstration of how you can be good TV and not be an arrogant prick (Mondo). Plus the fact they kept him around after one or two hideous offerings shows that someone up there (as in, the Executive Producer table) likes him.

Truthfully I think Mondo and Austin are a lock for the finale…whatever that is…they've never established that the designers will be showing collections or in what context, I assume a private runway show somewhere. It's a toss-up between Michael and Kenley. On the one hand, Michael has won two challenges, and we've never officially seen him do a collection (although his decoy Fashion Week collection was pretty tragic). On the other, the show would hurt a bit to not have any females in the finale, and Kenley has performed on more of a steady-footed plateau versus Michael's zig zag performance.

Anyway altogether I've enjoyed this season. The lack of drama / personal story shiftiness has been eliminated in the shortened episode length, and the weekly challenges have been mostly interesting - although a few were questionably campy. Having a fresh judging panel in place has worked well, although Erin (the host) has been kind of awkwardly cheery. I don't know if it's because of who was on the panel, or if it's because these are All Stars, but I've found the judging to be really refreshing because there are pros and cons to almost every outfit, and they discuss them openly, making it harder to discern who's going home. On the regular show, they've fallen into this pattern of just drilling home the flaws of an outfit, and I appreciate the more balanced critiques. I also love Joanna Coles as the new Tim. She's got this amazingly dry sense of humour and super blunt critiques, so much so that even her encouragement sounds like proclamations. She's got that perfect mix of droll humour and house mother guidance that Tim has taken ownership of…I like her so much more in this capacity than as a judge, although I've enjoyed the one or two times Tim has earned a spot on the judging panel. I actually think that should happen every season (ditto with Jay on ANTM).

Even though the remaining episodes feel like a forgone conclusion, and there isn't the excitement of a fashion week presence, I'm still digging that ProjRun went down this route. I'm not saying doing it often. And I do think the cast was a little lopsided (i.e. I can think of a half-dozen girls I'd have rather seen come back in the place of the ones that were cast / available). But altogether this >>>>ANTM.

Why hello there...

12:57 PM Posted In , , , , , , , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Whoops. I've definitely been absentee for some time. That's not to say I haven't been a media fiend over the last few months. Quite the opposite. And therefore busy. Anyway here are my top 10 thoughts on media happenings since I last wrote in...gulp...October.

10) Homeland and American Horror Story provided two of the most enjoyable viewing experiences I've had on television in recent memory. If only every year brought such gems to my screen. Oh and I'm still digging Revenge. SO glad I picked that one up.

9) I feel like I've lost a lot of steam for this year's Oscars race. It's probably because I saw all of the movies (except War Horse...I just can't...) as of a few weeks ago, so its been a little anti-climactic since then. I don't feel passionately about any particular film. Midnight in Paris was definitely my favourite, but I know it doesn't have a shot for much beyond best screenplay.

8) Survivor was dissatisfying. The conclusion anyway. I have this weird issue where I secretly root for people like Natalie (Samoa) and Sophie (this last season) but not really expect them to win and then when they're in a position to I regret cheering for them. Coach deserved the win in my opinion. I loved this season altogether, it definitely had some good characters and 'moments', although I'm still not a fan of Redemption and a little tired of back-to-back 'bring 'em back' seasons. I'm glad they're going in a fresh direction this season.

7) I watched both the Golden Globes and the Grammys. Not much to say on either. I thought Emma Stone was best dressed at the GG's and I'm excited she'll (likely) be at the Oscars this year. Adele is a precious flower and like the rest of the world, I'm so happy for her success.

6) New Girl continues to be my new favourite comedy. I still love Modern Family and guffaw on occasion at The Office, but I'm so intrigued by where this show is going...and can go. It just feels like a really fresh take on the 90s 'Friends'-type comedy, although I know other people are toting 'Happy Endings' in that respect.

5) I've read a sh*t ton of books in the last few months, that should come as no surprise. I meant to do some dreamcasting on here. Let's see if I can remember...I found 'The Night Circus' incredibly difficult to cast but I know it's going to be a sensational movie. I think I had someone like Olivia Wilde in there for Celia. I just read 'Before I Go To Sleep' and I thought of Kate Winslet for Christine and Jude Law for Ben.

4) On Whitney Houston: serious tragedy. She clearly needed help for a long time and it's a shame no one was able to give it to her. Between her and Amy Winehouse I hope someone somewhere finds a way to connect with these people. I can only imagine Lindsay Lohan's name showing up next...

3) The Walking Dead. Disappointing season so far, not much improved by this week's mid-season premiere. They need to GTFO the GD farm. Also the scriptwriting still feels awkwardly clunky and expositional.

2) I watched both the Swedish and American versions of 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' in the last few months. The BF was not interested in the American version at all because he felt like he'd seen it all with the serviceable Swedish adaptation. But I have to say, I thought the American version kicked ass. Rooney Mara was superlative, and in my humble opinion, deserving of an Oscar. Perhaps if they make - and sustain the quality level - of all three she'll get rewarded down the road.

1) I'm feeling Project Runway All Stars for the most part. I'll admit there is something problematic with the fact we are seeing style point-of-views that we're already well familiar with, as opposed to seeing what a new crop of designers would have brought to the table. But at the same time it's refreshing to see such ambition, talent, and commitment to said points of view.

0) Oh yes, a bonus post. I'm quite enjoying the new Canadian show The LA Complex. It's from the creators of Degrassi so this should come as no surprise, but I'm finding it surprisingly well-plotted, acted, and paced. I'm so psyched for the actors (particularly Cassie Steele) that its received a US pickup for the summer.

I PROMISE to write back after the Oscars. That is all.

- Britt's On

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