Southland and The Americans.
by Mike Liebner
I have to say that it is a very rich time for watching tv shows!
When I say rich I mean there have been some stellar programs delivering some of the best I’ve seen on tv in a long time. The quality level just keeps going up as more networks and channels are bringing us original programming.
Recently for example I have been digging a few really good shows, one of which just totally blew me away with perhaps the most powerful episode I have ever seen – Southland.
Oh man… the other night as I was watching Southland I was actually feeling the pain of being there as I watched 2 of the Los Angeles police officers being kidnapped, tortured and killed by crack heads.
I can’t say I have ever seen anything this gripping on tv before.
Southland has been around a few years and somehow keeps getting better. It was moved to TNT which thankfully has kept improving it and the show is a total mind blower.
It’s close to the end of it’s season I believe so we’ll soon lose it until it comes back (it better!).
Another show that is top quality and right up there with Southland as far as originality and perfection in delivery, is The Americans on FX Network.
In fact they have had some pretty hairy scenes too that have so much impact you almost jump out of your seat.
And the violence while extreme is not gratuitous. It is part of the story and makes the message have max impact.
So – that’s all for now. Just wanted to point out how there is some really great stuff on tv right now!
Watch these videos:
OK – the first season of Banshee on Cinemax just ended, so techinically it WAS the best show on tv! Banshee is a show about the sick twisted underside of things we all do our best to keep out of our lives. It’s fun to watch!
Man – I have to admit – I didn’t expect I would like this show as much as I did. I did immediately connect with it from the first episode a few months ago, and it became one of my favorites on tv.
It quickly turned into my favorite guilty pleasure.
There are not many tv shows I feel the need to watch as soon as they come out – but Banshee is certainly one of them.
It was a short season – and the season finale last night March 15th, 2o13 was a great way to end it.
Fortunately they showed a tease of it coming back in 2014.
I hope they do more episodes – but it seems like premium channel original programming in general doesn’t like to do more than a handful of episodes each “season” (more like annually).
Too bad – this show should be on at least for 2 seasons and have a good 11 episode run twice a year.
Well, that’s what we’d be doing if I were a tv executive.
So – what was so great about Banshee on Cinemax?
Well – compared to conventional network tv it thrived on the freedom to push things to the limit.
The story was always compelling and the characters were always interesting but what was especially appealing was taking action sequences and fight scenes for example to their most outrageous conclusion.
Combine that with the odd out of place contradictions like the Amish factor vs the Russian Mob and you have some pretty diverse themes going on.
The bottom line however is that the people behind producing Banshee are the reason this show worked.
It just clicked.
It clicked because they had a great vision and translated it into the best they could do.
It had flavor and substance but wasn’t afraid to be outrageous.
Too often network tv shows suffer from what feels like constraints.
The Following for example is a pretty good tv show – but after watching a show like Banshee it just doesn’t have that oomph. Watching the Following is just not as satisfying.
Yes you could say it just is not as good of a tv show – and that is true – but me – I feel like something about it is wrong or missing in The Following – and I think what is missing most is the passion that went into the making of a show like Banshee.
If you missed it – try to catch Banshee on DVD or however they release it. I realize a lot of people do not have Cinemax and it is worth having, but surely it will end up in other places.
So – if you see an opportunity to catch season one of Banshee I say go for it! If you are like me you will love it!
**** Then again – I am the guy that loved the Crank movies – so consider that…
Watch these Banshee Videos:
Banshee on Cinemax – selection of videos
Banshee Town of Secrets – featurette with David Schickler and Jonathan Tropper, the co-creators of Banshee
Ahhh… another great season of Survivor! Crazy stuff is happening!
Last night (3/13/13) we were treated to the best and worst of Survivor Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites as we watched Brandon Hantz (of the Russell Hantz bloodline) show his true colors and once again reveal his evil spirit.
Boy, there is something dark and evil dwelling in the Hantz family. This is not about the environments impact on their psychological states – but an absolute confirmation that there is something coming from inside that causes those dark angry feelings to surface so easily.
So what was the best and worst of this crazy episode of Survivor?
The best: Jeff Probst taking command of the situation with Brandon at the Immunity Challenge and massaging calmness into a volatile scene.
The worst: Brandon Hantz acting erratically and despicably leading up to an epic meltdown where he couldn’t hold back the evil.
We saw it coming, right? Brandon Hantz was shady and evil all along – past seasons and current – and we’ve seen Russell Hantz act in the same mean spirited way.
We all knew that Brandon was crazy and was someone you’d do your best to stay away from, but did anyone expect the psychological breakdown we saw as he melted down on tv?
It’s one thing to flip flop and have evil and nice thoughts bob in and out – but for the kind of evil to surface and take over his entire presence… well… that is not common nor is it to be tolerated.
It’s not safe to have people like this out there ready to explode.
If this wasn’t a TV show and Jeff Probst wasn’t there to calm Brandon down – this really could have resulted in some violent criminal behavior.
I can’t say it was enjoyable to watch, but I can say it was mesmerizing.
That doesn’t make it good. It showed how one person can cause so much pain to others without any apparent solution other than to exorcise the demons out of the camp.
It also showed how much intelligence Jeff Probst had at his disposal as we saw him difuse the situation as best as it could have possibly turned out.
As I watched I just kept hoping that Brandon would not eliminate himself and that we would see a VOTE boot him out of Survivor. I guess Jeff was correct in holding the tribal council right then and there at the immunity challenge instead of letting them all go back to camp.
Brandon would never have made it without hurting someone. So while it did ruin the game for us watching on tv – it was probably the safest and smartest thing to do to insure the game wasn’t ruined for everyone.
So – interesting tv and it did make me get out my pen and write – but geez – there is no excuse for people acting like that. Mean spirited behavior like that we saw on Survivor with Brandon last night is just not human.
I will say this though – they did a great job casting this season, wouldn’t you agree?
More on Survivor Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites
Brandon Hantz tells the truth about Russell Hantz - in this personal video Brandon says Russell Hantz is worth 2 million on Google and 200 in real life (lives in a trailer).
Survivor CBS site - you can watch the latest full episode of Survivor if you missed it!
What commercials that ran in the past year or so motivated you to buy something?
The best commercials are the ones that get people to take action!
Adweek sites the best commercials of 2012 according to the most entertaining and pwoerful spots.
What are the best commercials?
Watch the best tv commercials – there are many that will make you smile or laugh or even cry!
Hey, where are they now?
Project Runway Season 5 Winner Leanne Marshall
Bravo TV Project Runway finalists videos: Project Runway Leanne Marshall
With the all female finalist, Project Runway had its first ever woman winner for the fashion design oriented show. The winner was decided upon by the four most important person of the show, the judges, Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and Tim Gunn (who replaced Jennifer Lopez).
OK – so I may be a little late on the scene – but I just binge watched the HBO mini series Girls and got all caught up in 3 nights!
Does that qualify as binge watching?
In any event, I watched 3 episodes each of Girls on the 1st 2 nights and finished off the last 4 episodes on the 3rd night.
Unfortunately there were only 10 episodes of Girls on HBO.
When you consider that each episode was around 26 minutes that made for a whopping 260 minutes or 3 hours and 20 minutes.
I want more! Yes I know a 2nd season is coming soon, but geez – I hope it is for more than a wimpy 10 episodes!
So – I really did enjoy this series but I have so many questions. BUT for some of them I need to remind myself this is a make believe tv show.
It may be based on real life characters and experiences, but these guys are great writers weaving an original story for each show - so why ask something like “Why would Shoshana do ___”?.
It’s not real life…. but who is this Lena?
Lena Dunham on Chelsea Lately TV Show – gain insight.
Obviously it was a good call because Girls on HBO is original and unique and lots of fun to watch.
It amazed me how Lena’s character Hannah was such a frumpy out of shape girl and went so against the grain of typical sex in the city type shows where the stars are so perfect and beautiful.
But it did work.
It also was hard to not shout at the screen on a few occasions where she was acting so irrationally and did such stupid things. Especially in the last few episodes. I was not wanting things to fall apart the way they did – but then again – that tension made for some good dramatic tv.
The cast was really good. Cute girls. Quirky. Fun. Real.
They were all stars on the screen and the relationships building and crumbling were fun to watch.
However when it came to the end I must say it was a disappointment to have the last frame of the 10th episode be a shot of Lena eating wedding cake in the sand.
She fell asleep on the subway and apparently had her purse stolen and she was just totally out of it. I find it hard to believe someone could be that lost mentally – but hey – it’s not tv – it’s HBO!
I guess that’s just the direction her writing took. Blame that on Judd Apatow maybe, like the shower scene with Hannah’s parents (the old people and sexy in the shower nudity still haunts me!).
But all in all I must say Girls really delivered and I can’t wait for the next season on HBO.
Girls Season 2 Preview – what’s coming up in the 2nd season of Girls
Sunday was a big tv night for me as 2 of my favorite tv shows were showing the final episodes of the season.
Homeland was ending the season with a 1 hour episode on Showtime and Survivor Philippines was dropping 3 hours total for the final episode and “Survivor Reunion Show”.
Fortunately because of DVR’s I could watch the whole 4 hours in one night – thanks in part to being able to fast forward through commercials on CBS.
Well, Homeland was great, but I’ll write about the elsewhere and I am pleased to say that Survivor Philippines and the reunion show was a great tv experience!
I enjoyed the final episode of Survivor Philippines as I watched Malcomn Freberg fall apart and lose the most important immunity challenge of them all, and get voted out at the final tribal council.
I must say I was rooting for Malcolm, but it was just as fun to see Denise outwit him and end up in the final three!
And it was really fun to watch the jury grill Denise Stapley, Michael Skupin and Lisa Whelchel.
Man – it was intense. So many bitter castaways!
I don’t think there was any doubt in my mind it would be Denise who won in the end and it was a nice experience.
I did expect Malcolm to win the fan favorite though and was surprised to see Lisa win the 100,000 bucks.
Speaking of Lisa, boy she cleans up real good and looked much better with makeup! She looked pretty ragged in the show but was quite attractive in the reunion show!
So – as a season of Survivor comes to a close it’s off to celebrate the holidays. Soon enough though we’ll have a brand new Survivor in 2013.
One of the notable things is that the crazy Brazillian girl Abi still doesn’t get it how evil and mean she is. She says she learned something but I got the feeling she was just trying to save her image a little by pretending she would change. I feel sorry for any guy that ends up marrying that crazed woman! It won’t be a fun marraige for sure!
Oh well – who am I to give relationship advice – that should be left to Denise, the winner of Survivor!
|Survivor Philippines The Surprise Kiss|
Jeff Probst got a surprise kiss from Dawson!
One of my favorite tv shows, Survivor keeps delivering the goods and keeps it fun to watch reality tv!
More on Survivor at the official CBS Survivor page
The absolute best site to read about Survivor is Sir Linksalot Survivor Philippines Links
Well, another season of Survivor is coming to an end. The season finale for Survivor Philippines is on tonight, Dec. 16, 2012, and someone will become the next million dollar winner of this hit reality tv show!
|Survivor: Philippines – Meet the Cast|
So who are the 4 contestants still in the running for the big prizes (1st place million – 2nd place gets some good cash too)?
It’s a pretty good final 4 compared to seasons past. I like them all pretty much.
Malcolm Freberg – the one everybody expects to win. He’s been a nice guy and has been a good competitor but no one wants him to be next to them in the end. Could there be a jury backlash in favor of someone more deserving than Malcolm?
Lisa Whelchel – She was Blaire from the Facts of Life TV Show back in the day. She is now an older more mature woman and is god fearing and afraid to be a real player. I doubt anyone would give her the million. She was also wishy washy in my opinion.
Denise Stapley – fit and lean this woman has been playing areally good game. I could see her getting the million, possibly even if she sits next to Malcolm.
Michael Skupin – a past Survivor player who miraculously managed to make it to the end despite having a big target on his back. I don’t think anyone would vote for him regardless of who was sitting next to him.
Personally I think it will be either Malcolm or Denise that will win the million.
Here is a video with host Jeff Probst assessing the cast of Survivor Philippines.
|Survivor: Philippines – Survivor: Philippines – Cast Assessment|
Here are some links to videos you may find interesting.
Malcolm Freeberg – incorrect spelling with ee
More on Survivor at the official CBS Survivor page
And the best site to read Survivor articles is Sir Linksalot Survivor Philippines Links
Big Brother 14 on CBS has been really good this season!
Despite the fact they are so low budget they haven’t yet upgraded to showing us an HD show, CBS has gotten lucky and the cast has made it a fun and exciting season.
Sure – it feels like the stone age watching a show that is NOT broadcast in HIGH DEFINITION like EVERY other network tv show, but hey – it’s still Big Brother and it’s good tv.
Now, while I am griping I do have to say the TITLES are also LOW BUDGET with a bad remix of the theme. Also the pixelation on that purple edit reworking is a disgrace for a network tv show.
I understand times are tough but to skimp on opening credits and show a pixelated opening that isn’t even HD??? Oh boy.
So – if you are like me and have bene having fun you’ll want to know more about what has been going on.
The Big Brother on Tumblr blog has lots of great pics and info to help you enjoy BB14.
More also at the CBS BB site.
The reset button has changed the game and Big Brother 14 is a whole new adventure!
|Big Brother is a lot of fun to watch and talk about with friends!|
We’re only a little over 3 weeks into this summer’s season of Big Brother 14 on CBS and they’ve already thrown us a major game changer.
The 4 coaches who were leading Big Brother teams and NOT playing in the game are NOW players.
I guess that’s ok – but I am sure the houseguests don’t like it much.
Coaches Janelle, Britney, Boogie and Dan are no longer just leading their teams but now they’re playing against them. No more teams!
From the standpoint of adding twists and new angles, this could add some tension and fun moments watching the anger impact the game play.
America voted and brought them back in. If they didn’t come back it sounded like they were ready to bring back evicted players. Makes sense as the cast this year was smaller (not including the coaches).
All in all it’s a fun summer so far on Big Brother 14 – but there are a few negatives and I’ll go into those later. For now let’s just focus on having a summer good time with BB14!
See the houseguests uncut on Big Brother After Dark on Showtime. It’s been fun this year!
More on Big Brother at the CBS site.