Lisa Marie’s Week In Television — 10/10/21 — 10/16/21


I didn’t watch much TV this week.  I’ve kind of made the decision to hold off on a lot of shows until after October so no Dancing With The Stars or The Voice for now.

Here’s what little I did watch:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

With the Gestapo looking to arrest Rene, Rene was forced to disguise himself by wearing a putty nose.  Yes, the nose did get smashed.  Yes, Rene did try to smoke a cigar.  Yes, the nose did catch on fire.  Rene, being the bravest man in France, ripped those nose off and threw it out the cafe, where it promptly exploded.  It was an interesting episode.

Bar Rescue (Weekday Mornings, Paramount Network)

I watched two episodes on Monday morning.  Judging from all the yelling and the scowling, apparently there is no more important job in America than being a good bar owner.

Friday the 13th: The Series (Yahoo)

I’m still having fun watching and sharing this series on the Shattered Lens!

Gabby Petito: ID Special Report (Wednesday Night, ID)

This didn’t really reveal anything about the case that I didn’t already know.  John Walsh showed up to say that he thinks Brian Laundrie is still alive.  I agree but, at the same time, I’m not sure if sending Dog the Bounty Hunter after him is the best way to eventually capture him.  So many people are using the Petito case to build up or reboot their own brand that I fear that Gabby herself is getting forgotten in the rush.  My heart breaks for her and her family.

The Office (Thursday Night, Comedy Central)

It watched an episode on Thursday.  It was from the final season.  Andy got out his guitar and started singing.  It was cringe city.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Help I’m Being Held Prisoner, Granville painted on the store window.  No one came to his aid.  This is the darkest British sitcom that I’ve ever seen.

Parking Wars (Weekday Mornings, A&E)

A&E’s tribute to fascism continues to be must-viewing for anyone who wants to understand how authoritarianism took root in the United States.  I watched a few episodes on Monday morning while I was straightening up around the house.  There was one terrifying parking cop in general, who kept complaining about people making excuses but who, at the same time, seemed to feel that she was a victim just because people didn’t appreciate getting ticketed.  Giving out tickets to the guilty is one thing.  Whining because people aren’t kissing your ass in response is another.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about this week’s episode here.

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

In the past, I was often bored with The Walking Dead but charmed with Talking Dead.  This season, I’ve pretty much had the opposite reaction.  Every good episode of The Walking Dead is followed by a boring Talking Dead.  It doesn’t help that Talking Dead also has to hype up stuff like World Beyond.  It’s been a long time since that night that Chris Hardwicke shed a tear while discussing the death of Herschel.  (We miss you, Scott Wilson!)

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I wrote about this week’s episode here!

Walking Dead: World Beyond (Sunday Night, AMC)

Eh, who cares?  I set the DVR for it.  I watched it.  It didn’t interest me.  It feels too much like Walking Dead fanfic, to be honest.  I guess I’ll give it another chance next Sunday but, so far, this show just is not holding my interest at all.  It’s like the CSI: Cyber of The Walking Dead franchise.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 10/3/21 — 10/9/21


This has been a busy week.  Along with dealing with the Hole of Death, I also took my Dad to and from the chiropractor on Tuesday.  I’ve always been trying to keep up with my horrorthon commitments so I didn’t watch much TV.  That’s probably a good thing.

(“Girl, you watch too much TV!” as my friend Marty would say.)

Here’s a few thoughts on what I did watch:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Rene had to take pictures of the secret meeting.  Luckily, Michelle of the Resistance supplied him with a totally obvious hidden camera.  He had to hide it under his apron.  How would he operate the bulky camera without anyone noticing, you may be asking.  Michelle also supplied Rene with a fake arm.  Rene went through with it because, as Michelle and others often point out, Rene is the bravest man in France.

Bachelor in Paradise (Tuesday Night, ABC)

It’s now safe to return to the beach.  Bachelor in Paradise is over …. for now!  Three couples got engaged so I guess we won’t see any of them next season.  I’m joking, of course.  They’ll all probably be back next season, even more bitter than ever.

Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)

While I was cleaning around the house on Sunday, I turned the TV on and had Baywatch going in the background.  It was the pilot film, Panic at Malibu Pier.  The Hoff tried to get used to being in charge while Madchen Amick stalked a lifeguard.

Columbo (YouTube)

Peter Falk vs. Donald Pleasence!  My friend Mark suggested this episode to me after I shared a scene of Pleasence from Wake in Fight.  It’s a terrifically entertaining episode and guess what?  You can watch it here on the Shattered Lens!

Dancing With The Stars (Monday Night, ABC)

It was Britney night!  I was too busy dancing myself to pay too much attention to the dancers on the show.

Flight of the Conchords (Friday Night, HBOMax)

After “dissing” several rappers, Bret formed a gang for his own protection.  Stay cool, Murray!

Friday the 13th: The Series (YouTube)

This is an entertaining show and I’ve been having fun highlighting here on the Shattered Lens.  Yes, I totally relate to Micki.  We both have red hair and a desire to collect cursed antiques.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Tuesday Afternoon, Sundance Channel)

I took my Dad to and from the chiropractor on Tuesday.  The television in the waiting room was tuned to the Sundance Channel and while I waited for my Dad to return, I watched two episodes of Law & Order: CI.  They were obviously very early episodes, as Vincent D’Onofrio was still slightly restrained in his performance as Goren.  One of the episodes featured a killer doctor and was kind of disturbing to watch in a doctor’s office.  Choosing what to show in the waiting room of an office is an underrated skill.  I usually go with one of the retro stations.  The shows may not be challenging but they’re also designed not to cause any undue worry.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Arkwright, that old perv, finally got to go away with nurse Gladys Emmanuel for the weekend.  Nothing happened, though.  The nurse really seems to be leading Arkwright on, perhaps hoping that someone who isn’t a sociopathic shopkeeper will show an interest in her.  Meanwhile, Granville continued to listen to the voices in his head, undoubtedly imploring him to burn everything to the ground.

Parking Wars (Weekday Mornings, A&E)

Apparently, A&E shows episodes of Parking Wars of every morning.  I watched two episodes while I was working from home on Monday morning.  In the first episode, the people at the impound lot had to deal with an irate “customer.”  Apparently, we were supposed to feel bad for the poor little government quislings who were having to deal with the citizens whose lives they make miserable.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about this week’s episode of Survivor here!

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Chris Hardwicke, who has gone back to being clean-shaven, spent some time talking about Walking Dead, which was cool.  But then he spent even more time trying to get the audience hyped up for Walking Dead: World Beyond and that just felt awkward.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I wrote about this week’s episode here!

Walking Dead: World Beyond (Sunday Night, AMC)

I hate to be rude but what the Hell is this?  I guess this show started during my temporary hiatus from all things related to The Walking Dead.  According to Wikipedia, World Beyond is in its seconds season.  AMC advertises the show by saying, “And now, the final season Walking Dead: World Beyond,” as if this show is some sort of landmark event as opposed to just a rather cynical spin-off from one mighty work of pop culture.

Anyway, as far as i can tell, Walking Dead: World Beyond is like a YA version of The Walking Dead.  Instead of adults killing each other and having endless discussions about the ethics of it all, it’s teenagers.  But, from what I saw of the show, it seems like a pretty pale imitation of The Walking Dead and, unlike Fear The Walking Dead, it doesn’t really add anything new to the story.  So, I don’t know if I’ll bother to set the DVR for any more episodes of Walking Dead: World Beyond.  I imagine I will but I probably won’t be very happy about it.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 9/26/21 — 10/2/21


If it seems like I watched an excessive amount of old TV shows this week, that’s because I did.  While I was working this week, I kept the TV turned to the retro channels.  The only exception to that rule was on Friday when I watched three daytime dramas.  For the most part, these shows served as background noise while I was making plan for this year’s Horrorthon but, at the same time, I have to admit that I do kind of like occasionally watching the old TV shows.  I’m a history nerd and, at their best, those shows are like stepping into a time machine and seeing the way people used to dress, talk, and, for better or worse, think.

This week also saw the end of Big Brother, which means that I can now devote all of my time to horror films.  Yay!

With all that in mind, here’s my week in television:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

With the Germans and the Italians holding a conference to determine their plans for invading England, it falls on Rene to discover their plans to send that information to the Resistance, via the use of a homing duck.  Yes, a duck.  There’s probably worse ways to do it, to be honest.  I know that the ducks in our neighborhood are pretty resilient.  Needless to say, Rene complained quite a bit but still did what he had to do.

Bachelor in Paradise (Tuesday Night, ABC)

Ivan had to leave the show because he snuck out of his room during lockdown and tried to see one of the future contestants.  This show certainly does have a lot of rules for something that is essentially just a second-rate knock-off of Paradise Hotel.

Bewitched (Weekday Afternoon, Antenna TV)

I watched two episodes of this classic sitcom while doing some work around the office on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, both episodes were from the Dick Sargent years.  (I prefer the episodes with Dick York’s hapless Darrin to the episodes that feature Dick Sargent flying into a rage every few minutes.)  The first episode features Sarena causing trouble, which was fun.  The second episode featured Endora casting a hex on Darrin, which was fun if just because Darrin was such a pain in the ass that he certainly deserved it.

Big Brother (24/7, Paramount Plus and CBS)

It’s over!  I wrote about the show and big finale over at the Big Brother Blog!

The Bold and the Beautiful (Weekday Afternoons, CBS)

Last year, when the COVID lockdowns first kicked in, I got sucked back into the world of the daytime dramas.  However, up until this week, it had been a few months since I had watched any of them.  I guess I just got bored with them.  That said, this Friday, I decided to check in with a few of them, just to see what was going on.

The Bold and the Beautiful remains my favorite, just because it’s so self-aware and intentionally over the top.  This Friday’s episode featured a lot of people having heated discussions and it was fun to watch.  The drama, the eye rollings, the flaring nostrils, the little smirks — Hell, I might have to start setting the DVR for these shows again!

CHiPs (Weekday Afternoon, Charge!)

I watched two episodes of this 70s cop show on Thursday.  The show itself was pretty bland but the California scenery was lovely and that opening theme music really gets stuck in your head.  They knew how to work a bassline in the 70s.

Cold Case (Weekday Afternoon, Start TV)

Remember this show?  Cold Case followed the adventures of Lily (Kathryn Morris), the deathly pale cold case detective who never seemed to wash her hair.  On Wednesday, I watched an episode in which Lily and the cold case squad investigated the murder of a woman who made a tape for a dating service shortly before her death.  As always, the show started off on an interesting note but then got unbearable once Lily and the gang started doing their thing.

Crossing Jordan (Weekday Afternoons, Start TV)

On this crime show, Jill Hennessy played Jordan, a coroner who investigated crimes for some reason.  This was one of those overly quirky crime shows that aired in the aughts, so naturally Jordan has a crew of odd co-workers and a potential boyfriend played by Jerry O’Connell.  Fortunately, Miguel Ferrer was also on the show, lending it all some much needed gravitas.

I watched two episodes on Wednesday.  In the first one, Jordan researched the darkest corners of the internet.  (GASP!)  It was interesting to watch, just because the episode was made before Twitter and Facebook really became things.  This was followed by an episode in which Jordan investigate the death of corporal who had gone AWOL from Afghanistan.  Crossing Jordan was always at its worst when it tried to be political.

Considering how annoying I found this show to be, both during its original run and in reruns, I’m kind of surprised I watched two episodes.  Was I just too lazy to change the channel?  It’s possible.

CSI: Miami (Weekday Mornings, Charge!)

I don’t care what anyone says.  Between David Caruso putting on the sunglasses and Emily Proctor’s Southern accent, CSI: Miami was the best of the various CSIs.  I watched two episodes on Thursday.  The first one dealt with a man who died at a race track and it was okay but kind of forgettable.  The second one dealt with the mysterious world of the internet and there’s nothing I love more than when CSI: Miami explores the dark web!  While the team explored the internet, Horatio protected his niece from a killer and did that thing where he delivered one-liners in an extremely serious voice.  It was fun!

Dennis The Menace (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

Dennis the Menace?  More like Dennis the sociopath!  I watched two episodes on Tuesday.  When Dennis wasn’t harassing Mr. Wilson, he was making everyone else’s life a living Hell.  GO AWAY, YOU LITTLE BRAT!

Friday the 13th: The Series (YouTube)

Getting to discover old shows like this is one of the truly fun things about our annual horrorthon at TSL.

General Hospital (Weekday Afternoons, ABC)

Oh my God, Sonny might still be alive!  On Friday, I watched this show for the first time in months and I was immediately reminded of why I love General Hospital, despite the fact that I find the title to be misleading.  The show features nonstop drama, much of it revolving around gangsters named Sonny who know how to fake their own death.

Ghost Whisperer (Weekday Mornings, Start TV)

As I’ve written in the past, I love Ghost Whisperer!  The episode that I watched on Wednesday featured a ghost leading Melinda to a munitions dump that was full of unexploded bombs.  I don’t believe in ghosts but, if they did exist, I would hope they would be willing to confide in me as easily as they do Melinda.

I Dream of Jeannie (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

I watched two episodes of this old show on Tuesday, while I was doing some work around the office.  The first episode featured Jeannie’s sister trying to steal away Major Nelson.  The 2nd featured a con artist (played by Milton Berle) trying to outsmart Jeannie! Oh no!  The 2nd episode took place in Hawaii, which was nice.  I loved visiting Hawaii.

Hazel (Weekday Mornings, Antenna TV)

Hazel is an old sitcom about a live-in maid who insists on trying to run everyone’s life.  On Tuesday, I had the TV in the office tuned to Antenna TV and, as a result, two episodes of Hazel served as background noise while I worked.  In one episode, Hazel’s employer was convinced that the neighbors were interfering with his TV reception.  In the second episode, Hazel came to the defense of a friend who was accused of being a corporate spy.  I felt bad for Hazel, who apparently didn’t have much of a life outside of work.

Knight Rider (Weekday Afternoons, Charge!)

I’ve often heard of this old show but Thursday was the first time that I ever watched an episode.  In fact, I watched two episodes.  Youngish David Hasselhoff driving a car that talks in the voice of Mr. Feeney?  What’s not to love!?  Actually, to be honest, it seemed like the type of show that would get pretty boring once the novelty wore off.  The car was cool, though.  The first episode featured the Hoff and the car saving a building from detonation.  The second found the Hoff driving the car in a race and protecting a journalist.  In both cases, everything turned out for the best.

McHale’s Navy (Weekday Mornings, Antenna TV)

This was an old sitcom about a bunch of sailors in the Navy.  It was obviously made at a time when America was not at war because you wouldn’t trust any of these people to be able to handle a combat situation.  Ernest Borgnine played the McHale of the title.  I had the show on for background noise while I was doing some work around the office on Tuesday.  Antenna TV aired two episodes but I didn’t pay much attention to either one.  One featured a chimpanzee.  The other featured McHale trying to run a beauty contest.  Ernest Borgnine seemed to be having fun.

Medium (Weekday Afternoon, Start TV)

Medium was the serious version of Ghost Whisperer, starring Patricia Arquette instead of Jennifer Love Hewitt.  It will always be interesting to me that Patricia basically spent the first decade of this century starring in Medium and filming Boyhood on the weekends.  Anyway, Medium was always a bit too dour for me but Patricia Arquette and Jake Weber both gave good performance every week that the show aired.  It was a show for grown-ups, one that unfortunately aired when I was anything but.

Start TV always shows Medium after Ghost Whisperer, which makes it impossible not to compare the two shows.  On Wednesday, I watched an episode in which Patricia developed a sensitivity to light.  She started wearing sunglasses but whenever she put them on, everyone that she saw would have a number on their head that states how many days they have left to live.  AGCK!  Actually, by Medium standards, this was a fun episode.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

PBS’s airing of Moone Boy came to a touching end with two final episodes on Sunday.  The first featured Dessie trying to open a Catholic book shop.  It soon became popular with people of all religions, including Scientologists!  The second episode featured the death of Martin’s grandfather and the return of his grandfather’s imaginary friend, George Gershwin (played by Paul Rudd).  It was the a very, very sweet episode, one that took an honest but humorous look at aging, maturing, and death.  The final scene brought tears to my mismatched eyes,  What a good show!  I’m glad I got to see it.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

I didn’t really pay much attention to this episode but I’m pretty sure a dog ordered Granville to go on a rampage.  I’m a little bit worried about Granville, to be honest.  He seems to let things get to him.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

You can read my thoughts on the latest episode of Survivor here!

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Talking Dead was a bit bland this week, which was a shame considering how good the latest episode of The Walking Dead was.  For the record, the guests were superfan Yvette Nicole Brown and, via satellite, Lauren Ridloff.

That Girl (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

On Tuesday afternoon, I had the TV in the office tuned to Antenna TV, largely because I had a lot of work to do and retro sitcoms are often the perfect background noise.  Among the shows that aired were two episodes of That Girl, which is a show that I had heard of but never watched before.  Marlo Thomas plays Anne Marie, an actress.  I appreciated the fact that Anne and I share a middle name.

Anyway, I didn’t really pay much attention to the two episodes that aired.  I had a lot of work to get done.  The first episode featured Anne dealing with a potential audit from the IRS and it was nice to see that people in the 70s hated the IRS as much as I hate them right now.  The second episode featured Anne Marie trying to encourage a singer who was planning on becoming a nun.  In both cases, everything worked out for the best.

Three’s Company (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

I watched two episodes of this very 70s sitcom on Tuesday.  I should admit that I only had it on for background noise while I was finishing up some work so I didn’t pay much attention to it.  I’ve seen a few episodes of this show over the year and I’ve never really seen the appeal.  I’m just like, “Just explain what really happened and get on with your life!”

Anyway, the first episode features James Cromwell — yes, that James Cromwell — as a vice cop who thought Chrissy was a prostitute so he came back to the apartment to arrest her but Jack thought he was just a jerk so he punched him and then Cromwell tried to arrest everyone but then Mr. Roper said that Jack was gay so Cromwell let him go because it would be too embarrassing to admit that he got punched out by a gay guy.  God, that was exhausting.  This was followed by an episode where everyone thought the apparently asexual Mr. Roper was having an affair because every character on the show was an idiot.

Unforgettable (Weekday Afternoon, Start TV)

On this show, Poppy Montgomery played a detective who had the ability to remember every single thing she had ever seen or heard.  It was a really interesting premise and Poppy Montgomery was a good series lead but the show was never as interesting as it should have been.  The episode I watched on Wednesday featured Poppy and Dylan Walsh transporting a witness down to Florida.  It was a pretty basic show but Poppy and Dylan had an enjoyable chemistry.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

This week’s episode was pretty good and I wrote about it here!

The Young and the Restless (Weekday Afternoons, CBS)

After having not watched the show for a month, I watched Friday’s episode.  There was a lot of talking.  Mariah and Tessa were debating whether or not start a family.  Victoria and Nick’s rivalry was threatening to ruin a wedding.  As usual, there were a lot of restless people on the show.  I enjoyed it.  I like watching attractive, rich people argue.

In conclusion …. actually, this post is already over 2,000 words long so we probably don’t need a conclusion.  It was a good week!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 9/5/21 — 9/11/21


Jeff and I have been up at Lake Texoma since Wednesday so I haven’t watched much television.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.  Sometimes, it’s important to take some time off.

Here’s a few thoughts on what I did watch this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

After being absent for a few weeks, Allo Allo is back on PBS!  Having won his freedom from the Communist Resistance, Rene finds himself still expected to marry the head of the Communists.  Meanwhile, Herr Flick continues to search for the missing painting, Edith somehow does not realize that Rene is cheating on her with literally everyone on the show, and Crabtree continues to speak very bad French.  It was a strange but entertaining episode.

Bachelor in Paradise (Monday and Tuesday Night, ABC)

This week, temporary host Lance Bass was replaced by Tituss Burgess.  Unlike the sarcastic David Spade and the overly earnest Bass, Burgess was just kind of boring, though it was fun to watch the Bachelors and the Bachelorettes all pretend to be huge Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fans.  Anyway, though I watched them, I didn’t really pay much attention to either one of this week’s episodes.  It’s a show about attractive people hanging out on the beach.  You really don’t have to pay that much attention to what’s actually going on.  Just enjoy the scenery.

Big Brother (All The Time, CBS and Paramount Plus)

It’ll be over by the end of this month!  Until then, I’m writing about it over at the Big Brother Blog.

Dragnet (Weekday Mornings, MeTV)

I finished binging Dragnet this week, watching the final three episodes of the show’s fourth season on Monday and Tuesday.  In a minute, the results of that binge.

Monday got started with an episode in which Joe and Gannon were investigating a string of robberies.  A woman called them and claimed that her ex-husband was responsible.  However, it turned out that he wasn’t responsible and that his ex was just trying to get him in trouble because she was still angry over the end of their marriage!  However, it then turned out that, even though he wasn’t responsible for the crimes his wife accused him of, he was still holding up other stores!  It was actually kind of an interesting story though, Dragnet being Dragnet, all of the action did stop for a lengthy explanation of how fingerprinting works.  This was followed by another episode in which Joe and Gannon tracked down a thief, this time a safecracker.  The safecracker was well-played by G.D. Spradlin, who later played Sen. Pat Geary in The Godfather Part II and Col. Corman in Apocalypse Now.  This episode was also memorable for featuring a crime victim named Mr. Letterman.  Needless to say, whenever his name was mentioned, I immediately pictured David Letterman looking annoyed.

On Tuesday, I set the DVR to record the final episode of the 60s revival of Dragnet.  This episode, called “The Victims,” followed Joe and Gannon over the course of one night, as they investigated a series of crimes.  They investigated a few robberies and yet another murder at a boarding house.  Throughout it all, the emphasis was placed less on the detectives and more on the traumatized victims of the crimes that they were investigating.  Throughout the show’s run, even during the campy third season, Dragnet centered around the idea that that the job of the police was to protect and serve the public and this episode emphasized that point.  With the exception of a scene where Joe (rightly) reprimanded a patrolman who didn’t show enough compassion for a robbery victim, there was no moralizing.  Instead, Joe and Gannon did their jobs as best they could and tried to help out the innocent victims of terrible crimes.  It was the perfect final episode for this series.

Now that my binge of Dragnet is over, I can say that it wasn’t a bad show at all.  Yes, it’s dated, as any show that ran from 1967 to 1970 would be.  And yes, the drug-and-hippie shows were frequently campy.  But there really weren’t as many episodes about drugs and hippies as I imagined.  Instead, for the most part, this was just a show about two men trying to do the right thing and protect their community.  Some of the episodes were undeniably silly and it’s easy to laugh at any episode in which Friday and Gannon went undercover but quite a few of the episodes hold up well as police procedurals.  If nothing else, the show is an interesting time capsule of when it was made.  As a history nerd, I enjoyed it.

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

On Monday night, there were two episodes of Hell’s Kitchen, meaning that two chefs were eliminated ahead of next week’s finale.  Steve was the first to go, with Chef Ramsay saying that Steve had talent and a good attitude but that he wasn’t vocal enough in the kitchen.  Second to go was Brynn, who Rasmsay said had the makings of a great chef but who still needed to learn how to control her emotions.  I don’t think anyone who has watched this season was surprised to see those two chefs eliminated but I did appreciate that Ramsay emphasized their positive traits and encouraged them, even as he sent them out the door.  I like the kinder, gentler Ramsay.

Three chefs remain and the finale is next week!  Personally, I’m rooting for Trenton.

Impeachment: American Crime Story (Monday Night, FX)

This is the third installment of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story series and it deals with the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

The first installment of American Crime Story dealt with the O.J. Simpson trial and it worked largely because the involvement of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski worked as a buffer against producer Ryan Murphy’s worst instincts.  The second installment, about Andrew Cunanan and Gianni Versace, started out strong but ended up getting so bogged down in its reverse chronology gimmick that it lost whatever narrative momentum it had going.  It’s too early to pass judgment on the third installment but I’ve had my doubts about it from the beginning.  In what world, I wondered, could an Arkansas hillbilly like Bill Clinton, a living caricature of everything that is wrong with American politics, somehow be played by the handsome and charming Clive Owen?  Even with Monica Lewinsky reportedly signing on as a co-producer, it was hard to imagine Ryan Murphy ever producing a show that would truly be critical of a Democrat, even one as terrible as Bill Clinton.

The first episode was uneven.  It dragged a bit, lacking a dramatic set piece like O.J. Simpson getting arrested or Versace getting shot, in broad daylight, outside of his mansion.  Instead, this episode built up to Bill Clinton calling Monica Lewisnky for phone sex but the effect was ruined by the sight of Clive Owen wearing a prosthetic nose.  The majority of the episode was taken up with Sarah Paulson, acting up a storm as yet another obnoxious character with no social skills and while Paulson did her usual good job, it all felt rather familiar.  The episode worked best during the few scenes that focused on Paula Jones, well-played by Annaleigh Ashford.  Jones was the first woman to accuse Clinton of sexual harassment and, in the days before Me Too, she was ridiculed and caricatured as being “trailer trash” by the rabidly pro-Clinton national media.  In the scenes in which Jones faced a barrage of ridicule and outrageously sexist questions from the press, Impeachment showed why this decades-old political scandal matters.

Mom (Weekday Afternoons, Paramount Plus)

On Tuesday afternoon, as I was packing to go up to the lake for the week, I had Mom playing in the background.  I think I went through about four episodes.  I didn’t pay much attention but, from what I saw, each one seemed to be more depressing than the last.  This show always reminds me of why I could never be an alcoholic because there’s no way I’d ever be able to bring myself to sit through those AA meeting with all of their rules.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

After being gone for a few weeks, Moone Boy is once again airing on PBS on Sunday Night.  This week’s episode featured Padraic running away from home and Debra trying to launch a new career as a marriage counselor.  Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned for either one of them.  It was a funny episode, as they tend to be.  I especially enjoyed it when Martin and Padraic attempted to take up shoplifting.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Open All Hours is back on PBS.  This week, Arkwright went to a funeral and left Granville alone at the store.  Though Granville seemed to enjoy having some time to himself, I’m going to guess that he probably spent most of the time wondering how he had ever ended up trapped in a go-nowhere existence, living in a run-down shop as an indentured servant to a greedy old man who cared not whether his employee lived or died.  It was a pretty dark episode.

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

It was fairly dull Talking Dead this week.  Sometimes, Talking Dead is the perfect way to recover from an intense viewing experience.  Other times, it just reminds you that it’s essentially a one-hour infomercial for The Walking Dead.  This week was a case of the latter.

The Ultimate Surfer (Monday and Tuesday Night, ABC)

Much as with Bachelor in Paradise, I have no idea what’s actually happening on this show.  I just know that it features attractive people surfing and that’s really all that matters.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

On Sunday, I rewatched the first episode of Upstart Crow, with Will working on Romeo and Juliet, Kate lobbying for a chance to play the lead role despite the law against allowing women on stage, and Will’s family wondering why his poems don’t make much sense.  I had seen it before but it all held up very well.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I (finally) reviewed this week’s episode earlier today.  You can read my thoughts by clicking here.

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

Yay!  Yes, Minister is back on PBS!  They’re reshowing the show from the beginning so I rewatched the first two episodes on Monday morning.  The first dealt with Jim Hacker learning about his new ministry and getting expertly manipulated by Sir Humphrey for the first time.  This was followed by the episode in which Jim discovered that the world’s newest dictator was an old college classmate.  Both episodes held up well to repeat viewing.  In fact, having to deal with the daily reality of a Biden presidency has led me to have a greater appreciation for this show’s satirical portrayal of shallow politicians and devious civil servants.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television — 8/29/21 — 9/4/21


I’ve been on a cleaning binge over the past week so I didn’t really watch that much. I did get hit with insomnia on Wednesday, which led to me watching a lot of true crime. It also led to me being beyond exhausted on Thursday. Anyway, here’s what I watched this week!

Bachelor In Paradise (Monday and Tuesday Night, ABC)

Lance Bass has replaced David Spade as the guest host. On Monday’s episode, he was very enthusiastic and very earnest and it felt totally wrong for this deeply silly and extremely shallow little show. As for Monday’s episode, the men are still hung up on stuff that happened during their time on the Bachelorette and it’s kind of pathetic. (“You weren’t there for the right reasons!”) As for the women, Demi is my favorite because she’s unapologetic when it comes to creating drama. She understands what this show is about. As for Tuesday’s episode …. well, I didn’t really pay attention to be honest. There was a lot of arguing on the beach. My favorite part of this show remains the totally self-aware and delightfully silly opening credits.

Big Brother (24/7, CBS and Paramount Plus)

I’m writing about the trainwreck of a show over at the Big Brother Blog.

Dead Silent (Wednesday morning, ID)

This is a true crime show about murders that occurred in isolated locations. I watched three episodes on Wednesday morning. One of them dealt with a particularly gruesome crime that occurred in my home city of Dallas. Yikes! It’s a scary world out there.

Dragnet (Weekday mornings, MeTV)

I’ve only got a few more episodes left until this binge is over.

On Monday, things got started with an episode in which Joe and Gannon investigated the case of a seemingly helpful woman who was actually conning old people. This was yet another episode where Joe and Gannon went undercover! I always enjoy the undercover episodes because it’s not like Joe and Gannon actually change their behavior in any way. They’re still obviously cops but no one ever seems to notice. This was followed by an episode in which Joe and Gannon investigated a murder at a boarding house, which was something that happened fairly frequently on Dragnet. This episode also featured a classic scene where Joe and Gannon convinced a reporter to hold back on publishing a story by appealing to sense of civic duty. That reporter would lose his job today. He probably would have lost in in 1970, too.

On Tuesday, the DVR only recorded the 1st episode. Either I forgot to set it to record both episodes or the cable could have gone down. (I was asleep, so who knows?) These things happen. Anyway, the episode that was recorded featured Gannon and Friday searching for a missing college student who, because of his drug addiction, had fallen in with a bad crowd. It wasn’t a bad episode, despite the fact that if featured the most clean-cut heroin addicts imaginable. For once, the emphasis was on helping drug addicts instead of just throwing them in jail.

On Wednesday morning, the DVR actually recorded both episodes. The first episode featured Joe and Gannon investigating a man who was manufacturing and selling amphetemines out of his home. They had to prove that the man was actually the one who did the manufacturing, which they managed to do through handwriting analysis. (It turns out that the man was foolish enough to leave his notes out where anyone could find them.) It was actually a pretty good episode, focusing more on police work than on heavy-handed moralizing. (That’s the main difference between the third and fourth seasons of Dragnet.) The second episode featured Joe and Gannon taking down a gang of criminals who would kidnap dogs and then return them to collect the reward. The best thing about this episode is that all of the dog owners were portrayed as being kind of crazy. I’m a cat person so I approved.

I forgot to set the DVR to record Thursday’s episodes. Sorry.

Friday got started with one of my favorite episodes, perhaps my second favorite after the third season episode where Joe and Gannon appeared on the talk show and debated the hippies. In this episode, Joe was taking a night class at the local community college when he noticed that one of his classmates had a baggie of weed hidden in his notebook. Joe arrested the student and, as a result, was kicked out of class by his left-wing professor. Joe asked for a chance to plead his case. Fortunately, it turned out that another classmate was an attorney who pointed out that the professor didn’t have any any right to kick Joe out in the first place. Featuring smug liberals, anti-drug hysteria, and a self-righteously indignant Joe Friday, Night School is a classic Dragnet episode. This was followed by an episode where Joe and Gannon worked in the Internal Affairs Department and cleared the names of two homicide detectives accused of stealing money from the victim of a crime. It was a good, solid episode but it could have used more hippies.

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

The black jackets were handed out and, sadly, both Emily and Antonio were sent home. I surprised myself by crying a little when Emily was eliminated but, to be honest, it wasn’t the first time that I’ve teared up this season. I’ve actually gotten quite emotionally involved with this show.

As you may have guessed, I’ve really enjoyed this season of Hell’s Kitchen. I’ve actually preferred it to Big Brother. The fact that Chef Ramsay has been a bit nicer this season than he has in previous seasons has been a surprising but also a welcome change. As much as everyone loves it when Ramsay yells and curses, he seems to be a lot more sincere when he’s actually praising a chef that he’s sending home and telling them to keep learning and not give up their dreams.

Hometown Homicide (Wednesday Morning, ID)

This is a true crime show about homicides that occur in small communities. I watched two episodes on Wednesday morning while I was working on some things. I’m not sure why, exactly, I ended up watching so much true crime on Wednesday. I guess it was just the mood I was in. Sometimes, you want confirmation that the world is as scary and dangerous as you think it is.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Sunday morning, FX)

I watched Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo, which wasn’t quite as good as the first Chardee MacDennis episode but which still featured a pretty good guest turn from Andy Buckley. This was followed by the episode where Frank fell out of a window, which is one of the few It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia episodes that I’ve never been able to make my way through. That gash on the back of Frank’s head just freaks me out too much.

Man With A Van (Wednesdsay Morning, ID)

Apparently, this entire series is about men who owed vans and abducted women. I had insomnia on Wednesday morning so I watched an episode. It was about a 16 year-old girl in Arkansas who got abducted by a man with a van. It was disturbing to watch and, as with most true crime shows, it was hard not to tell that the show was exploiting a real-life tragedy. Still, the message was a good one: stay away from weird men who own vans.

60 Minutes (Sunday Night, CBS)

Good God, this show is like a hundred years old and so are most of the reporters on it. I imagine the same that can be said for the people who watch it every week. Myself, I only watch it when Big Brother gets preempted by a football game and I have to impatiently wait for Scott Pelley to get off my TV.

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Josh McDermitt continually pointing out that it made no sense for Maggie to leave Gage to die was the highlight of this week’s Talking Dead. McDermitt was, in fact, so charming and funny that I found myself really hoping that he’ll find another high-profile role after The Walking Dead ends.

The Ultimate Surfer (Monday, Tuesday, and Friday Night, ABC)

I struggle to follow most of what happens on this show. Growing up, I lived in a lot of different states and I experienced a lot of different cultures but I never met any surfers so I’m at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to this show. (If it was The Ultimate Ballerina or The Ultimate Motorcycle Gang Member, I would be on more familiar ground.) But honestly, the only thing that really matters about this show is that everyone looks really good. If you’re going to make a show about surfing, be sure to populate it with people who you would actually want to see on the beach.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I reviewed the latest episode here.

Your Worst Nightmare (Wednesday Morning, ID)

This is a true crime show. I woke up at two in the morning on Wednesday and, unable to get back to sleep, I watched two episodes. Both of them were about young women being abducted by crazed stalkers. It was probably not the best thing to watch at 3 in the morning, to be honest.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Televison: 8/22/21 — 8/29/21, Part Two (From Hell’s Kitchen To Women of Grace)


Welcome to the second part of my week in television!

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

The Red Team crashed and burned in dramatic fashion this week and, as a result, poor Sam lost his dream of working for Chef Ramsay. Somehow, Antonio and Brynn survived, despite doing far worse. Still, I have to say that I appreciate that Chef Ramsay is being a bit nicer when he kicks the chefs out. He had some nice things to say to Sam before sending him out the door. Sam seemed like a nice guy so I’m glad that he left with words of encouragement instead of being told to go to Hell.

I Lived With A Killer (Friday Morning, Reelz)

The premise of this true crime show is right there in the title. The episode I saw profiled the ex-wife of Omar Mateen, the prick who was responsible for the Pulse Nightclub shooting. The show was undoubtedly exploitive but, at the same time, it really did capture a very real fear. I mean, what must it be like to discover that someone you were close to, someone who you slept beside and who you slept with, was capable of committing such an evil act?

Last Man Standing (Friday Evening, CMT)

As I think I’ve said in the past, Last Man Standing is the epitome of a good “background noise” show. It doesn’t require that you pay much attention to it and the show itself is never good nor bad enough to distract you from anything else that you have to get done. This Friday, I was cleaning around the house and I had Last Man Standing on for two hours. I’m pretty sure one of the episodes featured Tim Allen’s son-in-law getting into a fight at a baseball game while the other featured the eldest daughter worrying that she had missed out on getting an education. As I said, I’m really not sure what happened but it provided adequate background noise while I was doing some dusting and vacuuming.

Lonesome Dove (Wednesday Night, DVD)

This week, the #WestWed live tweet concluded it’s viewing of the 1990 miniseries, Lonesome Dove. The cattle drive finally reached its conclusion, sadly without Robert Duvall’s Gus McRae, who died as the result of an infected arrow wound. Tommy Lee Jones’s Woodrow F. Call did survive, though with the knowledge that he was the last of a dying breed. He brought Gus’s body back to Texas and buried him. It was a bit of a sad episode, to be honest. Still, it was a great miniseries and I’m glad to have watched it.

The Office (All Week, Comedy Central)

On Tuesday, I caught the Prison Mike episode. “I AM HERE TO SCARE YOU STRAIGHT!”

Real Life Catholic (EWTN, Thursday Night)

Chris Stefanick travels the country and talks to “real life Catholics” about their life and their faith. On Thursday’s episode, he talked to a police detective, a lobsterman, and a hermit monk who lived in a Maine lighthouse. Usually, this isn’t my type of programming but, after spending the day being bombarded with horrific images from Afghanistan, this show did provide some relief.

Reasonable Doubt (ID, Friday Night)

Reasonable Doubt is a true crime show in which families ask a detective and an attorney to look into the cases of relatives who have been convicted of murder. The families usually believe that the conviction was unjust. The detective and the attorney look at the evidence and announce whether or not they believe there’s reasonable doubt. The episode that I watched on Friday was about Tim Wright, a vet who convicted of killing a romantic rival. Tim’s sister and father are convinced that Tim is innocent. The detective and the attorney were not convinced. This inspired me to do some research of my own and I came across the Innocence 4 Tim Facebook page where Tim’s sister had some pretty harsh words for this show and the people involved. I’m not picking one side or the other but if you do watch the show, make sure to read what Tim Wright’s family has to say as well.

Silk Stalkings (ZLiving, Weekday Afternoon)

I watched two episodes of this wonderfully shallow 90s cop show on Friday afternoon. Every was very attractive, often undressed, and occasionally violent. It was a lot of fun, up until the end of the day’s first episode, when Chris (played by Rob Estes) was shot by a suspect. Fortunately, the end of the following episode, it appeared that he was on the road to recovery. Yay!

South Park (Comedy Central, all the time)

I watched one episode on Friday morning. Chef returned to South Park after spending the summer with the Super Adventure Club. Yay! Except …. oh my God, there’s something wrong with Chef! The Return of Chef has always been an interesting episode. On the one hand, it was an episode that Trey and Matt had to make after Isaac Hayes walked off the show, supposedly to protest the way the show poked fun at religion. (It’s been suggested, by both Hayes’s son and the creators of South Park, that Hayes’s resignation letter was written by some Scientologists in Hayes’s entourage while Hayes was too weakened by a stroke to really understand what was going on.) And indeed, there’s a lot of anger in this episode. Not surprisingly, there’s also a lot of sadness. One gets the feeling that Trey and Matt were deeply hurt on just a professional level but also on a personal level by what happened with Hayes.

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Chris Hardwick is a charming host and he seems to genuinely love talking about The Walking Dead. To be honest, it’s been a while since The Walking Dead has been the show that everyone’s talking about but Talking Dead is still fun to watch. If nothing else, watching it is a good way to relax when you’re wondering whether or not Maggie’s dead.

The Ultimate Surfer (Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday Night, ABC)

This is a new reality competition show that premiered after Bachelor in Paradise on Monday, in which a group of surfers compete to be the ultimate surfer. I kind of like that they didn’t try to do Surfing with Celebrities or anything stupid like that. These are real surfers and they were fun to watch and it helps that everyone on the show is extremely attractive. Shallow that may sound but it’s an ABC reality program. You don’t watch a show like this because you care about the people involved. You watch because you want to see attractive people on the beach or in the ocean.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I reviewed the 11th season premiere here.

Women of Grace (EWTN ,Thursday Night)

On this Catholic discussion show, it was debated whether or not smoking weed was a sin. I can’t really remember what conclusion they came to.

A Few Thoughts On The Walking Dead 7.1 “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” (dir by Greg Nicotero)


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Well, we can all breathe again.

Tonight saw the premiere of the seventh season of The Walking Dead.  All this summer, we’ve been wondering who Negan would end up killing with Lucille, his barbed wire-covered bat.  Glenn seemed to be the obvious candidate, particularly since he had already miraculously (and, some would say, implausibly) escaped certain death on the show and he was also Negan’s victim in the comic.

However, none of us wanted it to be Glenn.  Ever since the show began, Glenn has been one of the most popular characters.  In many ways, he served as a stand-in for the audience.  Sure, everyone loves Darryl and Michonne but Glenn …. well, there was just something special about Glenn.  Whereas both Darryl and Michonne were born warriors and Rick Grimes was a former police officer who had been trained to think quickly in a crisis, Glenn was just a pizza delivery boy.  He was the guy who, by all logic, should not have survived the first week of the zombie apocalypse.  And yet, he did survive.  For sic seasons, we watched as Glenn grew and developed as a character.  When he “married” Maggie, it was more than just a plot twist.  It was proof that, even in the worst of circumstances, love could survive.

So, a lot of us told ourselves that there was no way that Glenn would die.  We told ourselves that Glenn was too popular of a character.  We mentioned all the other times that the show had led us to believe it was going to follow the plot of the comics just to suddenly go in a totally opposite direction.

Myself, I believe that Negan would kill Abraham.  Abraham seemed like the obvious choice, popular enough that his death would mean something but, at the same time, not so popular that the show would risk losing any viewers by killing him.

I was so confident in my prediction that I ever decided to make it official:

And I was right.

But I was also very wrong.

It took about 25 minutes for tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead to get around to showing us who Negan killed.  The episode really pulled out the suspense and I have to admit that I was worried they were going to go the entire hour without letting us know for sure.  (I remember Lost used to do that and it would drive me crazy.)  And when we saw Negan beat Abraham to death, I think a lot of people said, “Poor Abraham but at least it wasn’t Glenn…”

And then, a few minutes later, Darryl charged Negan and, after Darryl was subdued, Negan responded by beating Glenn to death.

(As Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who was so chillingly good as Negan, pointed out on The Talking Dead, Glenn would not have died if not for Darryl’s actions.)

It was hard to watch.  You can say that it’s just a TV show and that there are bigger things to worry about than the fate of a fictional character but, at that moment, it felt as if I was watching an old friend die.  For seven years, Glenn has been one of the show’s constants.  He’s been one of the few stable elements of The Walking Dead.  He’s always been there.

And now, he’s not.

While we were all still trying to recover from the deaths of both Glenn and Abraham, Negan was busy breaking Rick.  Rick has always been the leader.  He’s always been the guy who you can count on to ultimately do whatever needed to be done to protect the group.  Rick was the one who stepped up to shoot Sophia when she came out of that barn.  Rick was the one who, no matter how bad things got, everyone felt they could depend on.  In a world where it was often hard to find meaning or morality, Rick has always stood for something more than just ruthless survival.  And yet, last night, we saw a totally defeated Rick.  Not only did Rick watch helplessly as two of his people were brutally murdered but he was also nearly forced to chop off Carl’s hand.

(I know that a lot of viewers — myself included — were expecting Negan to chop off Rick’s hand in the RV.)

As I watched that scene with Rick and Carl, I couldn’t help but think about the biblical tale of Abraham and Isaac, a story that I have always hated.  God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son and he waited until Abraham raised the knife to say, “Stop, it was just a test of your faith.”  (Abraham is so overjoyed that he never stops to ask, “What type of God would ask me to do something so terrible in the first place?”)  When Negan ordered Rick to chop off Carl’s hand and then stopped him only after he raised the hatchet, it was Negan’s way of saying that, for all intents and purposes, he is God.

Again, it wasn’t easy to watch.  But at least Maggie doesn’t appear to be ready to surrender.  Rick may have been broken.  Darryl may now be a hostage.  But Maggie is going to keep fighting.

Finally, I have to say that, after watching all of this, I am so incredibly thankful for Chris Hardwick and Talking Dead.  When Chris opened the show by promising that we were going to talk through what we had just witnessed, he wasn’t kidding.  Tonight’s episode of Talking Dead felt like a televised group therapy session.  It helped to see Steven Yeun and Michael Cudlitz on that stage with the rest of the cast.  After we just watched, we needed to see them all together.  We needed to see them laughing and joking and crying and hugging.  We needed that catharsis.

Talking Dead served as a reminder that it was just a TV show and nobody had really died.

So, why do so many of us still feel like we just said goodbye to a member of our family?

One final thought:

RIP, Abraham and Glenn

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glenn

Review: The Walking Dead S5E16 “Conquer”


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“Simply put, there is a vast ocean of shit that you people don’t know shit about.” — Sgt. Abraham Ford

[spoilers within]

The Walking Dead has been derided as badly-written (early seasons definitely had it’s story issues) with recycled themes and subplots with characters that barely rise above one-dimensional. Only the most ardent fan would take those criticisms of the show and dismiss them outright. The series has had it’s many flaws and the three mentioned have been ones earned through the show’s first three seasons of revolving door showrunners.

There was the show’s original creator, Frank Darabont, who injected a cinematic quality to a tv show that could easily have gone campy (Z Nation), but whose need to control every aspect of the show made him lose the support of the very studio that helped him get the show up and running. It didn’t help that his first half of season 2 where the group searched endlessly for Sophia almost sunk the show.

With Darabont given his walking papers the show turned to series writer and producer Glen Mazzara to right the ship after a listless first half of season 2. Things definitely turned for the better with Mazzara in charge and for the first half of season 3 it looked like Mazzara might have finally figured out what sort of show The Walking Dead should be. In the end, he too ran out of steam as season 3 limped into an underwhelming season finale.

Scott M. Gimple took the reins and things for the show has been improving at a steady rate since season 4 and finally culminates in a season 5 finale that was both full of suspense, action and melodrama in equal amounts that has been the mark of his current tenure as series showrunner. If the show has an award for series MVP it should be handed gladly over to Scott M. Gimple.

“Conquer” starts with a cold opening that already signals that great things are afoot for the rest of the season finale’s extended 90-minutes. We find Morgan asleep (quite peacefully) inside a derelict car in the middle of the woods. We see him wake up and go about what’s probably a daily ritual for him when his breakfast gets interrupted by a stranger who happens to be sporting a “W” mark on his forehead (with dirt instead of carved into). He’s the first person we meet who seems to be affiliated with the very Wolves this second half of the season has been working up as the next Big Bad to threaten Rick and his people. It’s a sequence that gives us a clue as to the sort of bad guys these “Wolves” are going to be for Rick and Company. With some fancy staff fighting and a zen quality to his actions, Morgan more than holds off the two “Wolves” looking to steal his gear and add them to their collection of “W” marked zombies.

The rest of the episode takes on three different storylines involving Rick, Father Gabriel and Glenn.

With Glenn we see him follow Nicholas seen climbing over the walls of Alexandria. While not the most smart thing he has done of late, Glenn has a right to be suspicious of Nicholas who has done nothing but get people (both his own and Rick’s) killed while pumping himself out to be a strong protector when Glenn and the audience know that he’s far from it. It’s a sort of chase sequence as Glenn and Nicholas end up going at it mano-y-mano with Nicholas starting it off with a failed ambush that only wounds Glenn, but does hurt him enough that at times during the episode there was a great chance it was going to be him that would be the significant death to mark the season finale.

The writers (Scott M. Gimple and Seth Hoffman) don’t do the obvious and kill Glenn off, but does make him teeter on the brink of doing what many in the audience hope would happen and that was kill Nicholas once he finally had him beaten down. Instead, Glenn shows that despite his extended time out in the savage wilds outside the walls of Alexandria, he still has some compassion (misguided it might well turn out to be) and the need to see justice done. While Glenn might not have died in this finale his growing role as the voice of reason and compassion in a group that’s become fractured emotionally and mentally means his days on the series could very well be numbered.

Father Gabriel was the more frustrating segment of tonight’s finale. His time with the group has found him to be both naively stupid of the new world around him and mentally unstable because of what he had to do to survive. Yet, we find him talking a walk outside the walls in a bright, clean white shirt like he has cleansed himself prior to make sure he dies with a clean conscience. Instead, the instance a zombie was about to do what he seems to want he finally decides to want to live. But then does another 180 degrees and decides to leave the compound’s gate unsecured knowing it means zombies will definitely wander in.

The writers don’t seem to know what to do with Father Gabriel. From the moment he was introduced they seem to be flailing in the dark with so many ideas on how to treat an unstable man whose faith has been shattered by this new world where the dead don’t remain dead and those who survive must turn to their darker instincts (him included). One moment he’s trying to poison the minds of Deanna about Rick and his people while not confessing to the dark deeds he has done. Next he’s trying to atone for those very sins only to turn around and do something that would add more sins to his ledger.

It’s a shame that Father Gabriel has become such an albatross this season for the show since Seth Gilliam is such a great actor (as his time on HBO’s The Wire has shown). There’s still a glimmer of hope for the fallen priest as we saw when Maggie arrives just in time to keep Sasha from killing Father Gabriel. Will Maggie’s own Hershel-like act of mercy be enough to finally turn Father Gabriel towards something more concrete (whether as a good guy or a bad guy) would have to wait for season 6 this coming October.

We finally come to Rick who is in a sort of timeout after his total breakdown in the previous episode. He finally understands that he might have gone a bit Shane-like and overboard with his behavior, but he also still believes that Alexandria’s best chance of surviving beyond the luck they’ve had before their arrival was for them to stay and takeover. Whether they take over by the examples of their words and deeds or through force if the Alexandrians try to kick them out would depend on the very people who don’t seem to understand what’s truly at stake.

Rick gets a sort of visit from all the differing voices within his group. There’s Glenn and Michonne who wonder if Rick never wanted for their stay in Alexandria to work. Then there’s Carol and, to a certain extent Abraham, who has seen enough of how Alexandria operates to know that these people are like children who have had the luxury of never having been confronted with a no-win situation to wake them up from their fantasy of trying to rebuild civilization. It’s the sort of angel and devil on the shoulder bit that could’ve gone terribly cheesy, but ended up being natural and poignant to the episode’s narrative. A narrative that showed how both Rick and Deanna have been both wrong and right in their stances of how Alexandria should be led.

It would take a death to someone Deanna holds dear for her to finally understand what Rick and his people have bee trying to tell her and the rest of the Alexandrians. Abraham (who has become the show’s go-to-guy for memorable one-liners) said it best himself during the night meeting to decide Rick’s fate. In the only way Abraham knows how he says, “Simply put, there is a vast ocean of shit that you people don’t know shit about.”

In the end, Abraham was correct in that the Alexandrians just do not understand the world they’re living in. They might have the strong walls (not so strong that people can’t climb over them) to keep the zombies out. They have power and running water and some luxuries of the life long past dead. Yet, they’re naive and delusional to think that they won’t have to get their hands dirty to keep their way of life going. These people need people like Rick Grimes and his band of survivors. They might not be the best examples of how society and civilization was before the zombie apocalypse fell on everyone, but they were the ones who best adapted to it and still kept a semblance of their humanity in some way.

So, season 5 ended with not just Rick using a brand of reasoning and a recent example of how things could easily go from good to bad to make his point, but with Daryl and Aaron bringing Morgan back to Alexandria for a reunion between the first two characters we met on this show. Last time we saw Rick and Morgan together was in season 3’s “Clear” and Morgan was definitely not in his right mind while Rick was still holding onto his pre-apocalypse principles. with their latest reunion it looks like things have reversed with Rick looking more and more like the Morgan of “Clear” while Morgan has recovered from his crisis of conscience to come out the other side clear of mind.

We already know that there will be a season 6 and a season after that (AMC knows a goldmine when they see it and this show is literally printing them cash). The questions left unanswered by tonight’s finale looks to be the driving force for the next season. The Wolves now have an idea that Alexandria exists (from the knapsack full of pictures Aaron dropped at the canned food warehouse depot) and will probably try to visit them soon. Then there’s the question of how will Glenn finally expose Nicholas’ cowardice and duplicity to the Alexandrians and whether Nicholas will remain a problem for Glenn moving forward. The biggest question remains on whether these Wolves will involve Negan of the comics in some capacity or just the tip of a bigger danger.

The season closes with a very appropriate scene before fading to black. A car in the canned food depot marked in stark white spray paint with the words: “Wolves Not Far.”

Notes

  • Tonight’s season finale was directed by series exec. producer Greg Nicotero and written by showrunner Scott M. Gimple and series writer Seth Hoffman.
  • The Wolves seem to be a new group made just for the show. They don’t seem to correspond to any past group that the comic book has had Rick encounter and/or fight against.
  • The trailers trap full of zombies with the “W” marks on their foreheads was reminiscent of a similar scene and trap from Resident Evil: Extinction.
  • Aaron had his own moment during the escape out of the car that was straight out of the original Dawn of the Dead. machetezombie
  • Kill of the season has to be when Daryl took the chain, whipped it around his head to take the top of the heads of three zombies with precision. that’s kill of the week stuff that even Zombieland would be proud of.
  • When Father Gabriel fails to secure the main gate and then his subsequent behavior and confession to Maggie at the chapel was also reminiscent of a character from a George A. Romero zombie film: Day of The Dead. When Pvt. Salazar decides to commit suicide by letting in zombies into the secured compound.
  • Lennie James was trained to use a walking/fighting stick by the original Donatello from the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • The scene at the meeting where Pete accidentally kills Reg and the aftermath was straight out of the comic book frame for frame.
  • Talking Dead guests tonight are Morgan, Carol and Daryl (Lennie James, Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus) from The Walking Dead.

Season 5

Review: The Walking Dead S5E15 “Try”


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“It’s their world, we’re just living in it.” — Enid

[spoilers within]

Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead marks the penultimate one for the show’s fifth season. It has been a season that’s seen the series remain on a consistent high. It still had some episodes which fell a bit flat, but overall season 5 has been the show’s best and delivered on showrunner Scott M. Gimple’s promise to keep the story moving forward.

The episode begins with a cold opening that shows the aftermath of the deadly supply run to the solar factory warehouse in the previous episode. We have to stories being told. There’s Glenn still haunted by having to witness Noah’s death by zombies very up close and personal. We see him tell Rick about how he and the others made a mistake and how it led to the deaths of Aidan and Noah. He feels responsible and hopes that it doesn’t ruin their chance in making the Alexandria experiment work. He still believes in the concept that is the ASZ (Alexandria Safe-Zone) and even Noah’s death doesn’t budge him from that belief. Rick, on the other hand, only sees danger and trouble when it comes to the ineptitude of the Alexandrians. His fears and doubts about whether the Alexandrians can pull their weight when it comes to keeping everyone safe has been confirmed.

Deanna, on the other hand, hears a different tale from Nicholas. It’s a tale of how it was he who tried to save Aidan and not leave him behind. It was Glenn who distracted and caused the death of Aidan and whose bloodthirsty attitude got Noah killed. Nicholas spoke about how he would never leave Aidan, his friend, behind and even included newcomer Tara as someone he tried to save. There’s some hints that Deanna has a sense that Nicholas wasn’t telling her the truth of what happened, but we don’t get to hear her voice out these doubts.

“Try” is a very appropriate title for tonight’s episode. We see several characters attempt to try and find a way to make the combination of Rick’s people and the Alexandrians co-exists together peacefully. Glenn, despite what some of these Alexandrians have done, still believes that they need to make Alexandria work. It’s their last chance to go beyond just existing and surviving but actually living life. He’s become the show’s moral compass (hopefully not a death sentence) now that Hershel and Tyreese are gone. Yet, unlike the previous moral compasses in the show, Glenn does understand that sometimes pragmatism must rule the day above all else. He just believes that Alexandria needs a chance to survive the growing pains of their group’s arrival.

Another of Rick’s people trying to make it work is Michonne. She’s had her time in exile in the wilds of this new and dangerous world. Her survival to this point has been in part due to those solitary months on her own with only herself to keep safe. Yet, she has also found out that being alone was a detriment to her psyche’s well-being and finding Rick and his people was what ultimately saved her not just from the zombies but from her own self-destructive ways.

She sees what’s happening with Sasha. A friend and fellow survivor deep in the midst of PTSD who has lost so much in such a short period of time that she hasn’t had the chance to take in and accept those losses let alone mourn them. Michonne understands what Sasha is going through but also realizes that they need her for what’s to come. Michonne wants to make Alexandria work and instability brought on by Sasha’s death wish and Rick’s inability to trust the Alexandrians will only make that prospect harder to achieve.

It is no surprise that the episode ends with Michonne taking control of a situation brought on by Rick’s blunt force behavior in trying to convince the Alexandrians that the way they were doing things were not going to work going forward. Michonne’s belief in the Alexandrians’ survival skills might mirror Rick’s own thoughts on the matter, but where Rick wants a confrontation to be the catalyst of change she seems more than willing to lead by example.

On the other side of things are Rick and Deanna looking to be at loggerheads about what’s truly best of Alexandria. It’s easy to take Rick’s side that the way Deanna and the rest of the Alexandrians have been doing things were just not going to cut it in this new world. It’s a world that Rick and his people have experienced first-hand and lost people along the way, but in the end have survived all it has thrown at them. Deanna, on the other hand, still believes in the rule of law and order, civilization over anarchy. She doesn’t believe in killing those who could be a danger to the ASZ (like Peter who also happens to be the lone physician and surgeon), but instead would rather exile them out into the wilds.

It’s a way of doing things that Rick sees as another way of putting the ASZ in danger. Deanna doesn’t think so and this clashing of philosophies on how things should be done looks to be one that’s heading into a confrontation that puts everyone in danger. Neither side seem willing to try and compromise and find a way to make the two groups con-exist. No attempt to allow the Alexandrians to learn from what Rick and his people could teach them to be better survivors. No attempt from Rick and those who believe him to adjust to this new life. A life that they see as a danger in itself. They see Alexandria’s walls as something that could make them soft and distract them from surviving.

So, we have the extended season finale next week and the question of whether Rick is too far gone to stay in Alexandria will be one of the questions that need answering. Will the group have to suffer through another loss of one of their own for the Alexandrians to finally realize that their survival before Rick and his people arrived have been through blind luck not through the civilizing rule of Deanna? Will Rick and the others just leave Alexandria or will the group finally splinter-off from those wanting to try and make it work and those unable to?

Then there are those zombies with the “W” cut into their foreheads looking to crash the party.

Notes

  • Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Try”, was directed by Michael E. Satrazemis and written by series veteran Angela Kang.
  • “Keep walking” has become Rick’s version of Carol’s “look at the flowers”. Pete should’ve been sprinting away the moment Rick uttered those wordsa at him with those Rick dead-eyes.
  • Nine Inch Nails’ “Somewhat Damaged” plays during the episodes cold opening and was a nice reminder that both groupsm Rick’s and the Alexandrians, have been damaged in some fashion since the start of the zombie apocalypse.
  • Still wondering how Nicholas knew about the Glock Rick hid in the blender out in the woods (Nicholas was in the ASZ when Rick and the group arrived). Is there someone outside the walls that told Nicholas of the hidden pistol?
  • Talking Dead guests tonight are Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), series executive producer Gale Anne Hurd and Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes of The Walking Dead)

Season 5

 

2014 In Review: 20 Good Things That Lisa Saw On TV In 2014


So, I’m sitting here and I’m trying to make out my annual list of good things that I saw on TV over the previous year and I’ve just realized something.

I did not watch as much TV as usual last year.

It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part.  Up until this very moment, I was actually thinking that I watched too much TV last year.  But, honestly, 2014 was a busy year for me.  Between work and dance and family and romance and writing and seeing movies and shopping and being sick and getting well and the manic states and the depressive states, I just didn’t have as much time as usual to devote to television.

In fact, the only shows that I always made it a point to watch were two reality shows and that was mostly because I write about them over at the Big Brother Blog and the Survivor Blog.

That takes me by surprise because I love television.  I’ve never made any secret of that fact and I’ve never felt guilty about it.  When I’m writing, I find it helps to have the TV on in the background.  As well, knowing that a certain show is always going to be on at a certain time tends to help me deal with my Obsessive Compulsive tendencies.  I’ve always felt that, in a perfect world, I would have my own TV network.  It would be called the Lisa Marie Network (LMN) and I would be in charge of programming every single minute.

But, for whatever reason, in 2014, I didn’t watch as much as usual.  So, don’t consider the list below to be a comprehensive list of everything that was good on television last year.  Instead, consider it to just be 20 good things that I was lucky enough to see.

So, here’s the list!

1) Too Many Cooks on Adult Swim

You knew that I’d have to start out with this one, especially considering that I still find myself randomly singing the theme song.  “When it comes to the future, you can never have too many cooks!”

2) Figure Skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

I actually enjoyed watching most of the 2014 Winter Olympics.  (Except, of course, when Bob Costas was there with his fucked up eye.)  But what I especially loved was watching the figure skating.  How couldn’t you love the chemistry between Charlie White and Meryl Davis or the amazing grace of Yulia Lipnitskaya or Ashley Wagner’s refusal to hide her disgust with the judges?

Figure Skating - Winter Olympics Day 1

3) Veep

Without a doubt, the funniest show on television.  Anyone who idolizes a politician should be forced to watch it.

4) Community ended its network run on a decent note

After a rough fourth season, Community made a comeback of sort during the fifth season.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep NBC from canceling the show but still, it was good to see a few more decent episodes of Community before the show moved over to Yahoo.

5) True Detective

True Detective has been praised so much that I really don’t have much more to say about it, beyond the fact that I found it to be endlessly fascinating.

6) Sharknado 2!

So, I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of the first Sharknado.  (I was even less of a fan of the way the media seemed to believe that Mia Farrow was the first person to ever live tweet a movie, especially considering how lame most of Mia’s Sharknado tweets were.)  But I loved Sharknado 2!  Sharknado 2 was everything that the first Sharknado was supposed to be and more!

IZ in Sharknado 2

7) The Old People TV Networks

This is the year that I really made an effort to explore all of the channels that I have available to me.  What I discovered is that there are a lot of stations that are apparently dedicated to exclusively showing shows that were made long before I was even born!  For a history nerd like me, coming across these networks is a bit like accidentally digging up a time capsule.  Add to that, I’ve discovered that old TV shows make for perfect background noise.  I call these networks the Old People TV networks but I do so with affection.

8) Seeing my friend and fellow movie blogging Irish gal Kellee Pratt in the audience whenever TCM rebroadcasts that interview with Maureen O’Hara.

9) Opposite Worlds on SyFy

Opposite Worlds was a reality show that was broadcast on the SyFy Network.  Contestants were divided into two tribes.  One tribe lived in the luxurious future, complete with a fully automated house.  The other tribe lived in the past, which basically meant wearing furs and staying in a cave.  The two tribes competed every week.  Many contestants were seriously injured.  I was hoping that Samm would win, mostly because I share her struggle.  But I was okay with Frank eventually winning.  He turned out to be a nice guy.

(By the way, SyFy, I’m still waiting for a second season…)

10) Bates Motel

Bates Motel got better and better during its second season.  I still think Olivia Cooke needs a spin-off where she solves crimes.

bates-motel-season-2-freddie-highmore-600x412

11) True Blood ended before it totally went the way of Dexter.

To be honest, True Blood was definitely showing signs of its age.  I wasn’t really happy with the final season but I was relieved to see that it still ended on a better note than Dexter did.

12) Flowers in the Attic

2014 got off to a great start with Flowers in the Attic, one of the best movies to ever show up on Lifetime.

13) Lizzie Borden Took An Axe

In fact, the only that kept Flowers in the Attic from being the best Lifetime movie was the fact that Lizzie Borden premiered a week later.

Lizzie

14) The Way The Saved By The Bell and Aaliyah Movies Brought Us Together As A Nation

For two nights, our often troubled country was united by the power of mass snarkiness.

15) Coverage Of The Fact That Paul Rosalie Was Not Eaten Alive

There was something greatly satisfying about how, after spending weeks promising that he would be, Paul Rosalie failed to be eaten alive by an anaconda.  I think one reason I especially enjoyed this fact that I didn’t actually watch the special.  I thought the whole thing sounded stupid and crass.  That made the subsequent ridicule all the more satisfying.

16) Key and Peele

Without a doubt, the funniest sketch comedy program on TV today.

17) Talking Dead

To be honest, the only reason I watch The Walking Dead is so I’ll be able to understand what they’re talking about on The Talking Dead.

18) Daft Punk At The Grammys

It was great to see the Robots enjoying themselves.

Pharrell Williams, Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers

19) Weather On The Local News

“Folks, we’ve got a storm system approaching but don’t worry.  Channel 4 will keep your 4warned…”  Some things never change.  I’ve reached the point where I can find the humor in watching our local meteorologists panic every time that it starts to rain.  This past year, whenever I was stuck inside while a light drizzle fell outside, I knew that Pete Delkus, Larry Mowery, and David Finfrock would be there to amuse me with their dire warnings of a weather apocalypse.

"A storm's coming!"

“A storm’s coming!”

20) Degrassi!

Degrassi endures.  And we’re all the better for it.

Degrassi_Season_13_title_card

On one final note: GetGlue, R.I.P.  For five years, I enjoyed checking into tvs, movies, books, and emotions on GetGlue.  Sadly, GetGlue (or TV Tag as it came to be known) went offline on January 1st.  Goodbye, GetGlue.  It was fun while it lasted and I’ll always remember that week when me and that guy from Indonesia were violently fighting over who would get to be the guru of pepper spray. (GGers will understand.)

Tomorrow, my look back at 2014 continues with my ten favorite novels of the year!

Previous Entries In The TSL’s Look Back At 2014:

  1. Things Senor Geekus Dug In 2014 Off The Top Of His Head
  2. 2014 In Review: The Best of Lifetime and SyFy
  3. 2014 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For the 16 Worst Films of 2014
  4. 2014 In Review: 14 of Lisa’s Favorite Songs of 2014
  5. 2014 in Review: Necromoonyeti’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2014