christinesrant, community, Cop show, corruption, Drea de Matteo, Entertainment, Family, Feminism, Jennifer Lopez, NBC, Ray Liotta, Review, Shades of Blue, Television, TV, TV-series, USA

Shades of Blue. Not Worth the Bribe?

Shades of Blue is a brand new cop show from NBC starring a Latina pop singer, one sober Drea de Matteo, a multiform support cast and haven’t-aged-a-day-since-the-80’s Ray Liotta.

First off, we are introduced to a bruised and crying Jennifer Lopez breaking down in front of her webcam.

We get that e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is falling apart too slowly to realize and too quickly to see it coming.

I must admit, Lopez is a better actress than I give her credit for.

2 weeks earlier, NYPD Deshades_of_blue_postertective Harlee Santos’ (Lopez) rookie partner Michael Loman (played by Dayo Okeniyi), straight outta the Academy, makes an epic mistake.

He kicks down the door and shoots a suspect only to find that the gunshot he heard was from a video game the perp was playing, no gun in sight.

With absolutely no time-out, Santos rearrange the crime scene and their story, so it matches a how-not-to-be-fired-on-the-second-day-script. Because the perp was a bad guy. No doubt about it.

She even shoots her poor rookie partner in the vest. Without warning him, and she is somewhat cold and eerily calm while doing all of this.

This is not her first rodeo.

When asked later why she did not warn him, she answers, “Cause you would have flinched. And I’m not that good a shot.” Okay, then. That makes it alright, I guess.

And even when she meets her teenage daughter and banters her, she still seems emotionless.

But it does not feel limited to Lopez’ acting. I actually believe she is this cold.

The first time she is even remotely emotional is when the rookie seeks her out, telling her that he wants to come clean when talking with Internal Affairs. He even suggests keeping her part out of it all.

Her reaction is to rant on how HER daughter is HIS daughter because the badge makes them family, and that she saved him today and that he need to save her tomorrow.

Her boss Lt. Wozniak (Liotta) is of course in on it all. They all are. Santos and a bunch of colleagues meets in the cold unit in a backroom somewhere, getting their dirty money. Mr. Lt. Police Boss is in charge.

Okay, so she has money problems. Her daughter’s school is too expensive. However, her boss is there for her. He is taking care of it all. Just like family should.

Enter the FBI.
And trouble.

Because corruption is still corruption. Even if it makes a good and safe family, and it has cleaned up the neighborhood.

Santos needs to choose between her family and her dirty cop family. And I am guessing this will fuel the drama and suspense of this show.

Liotta is marvelous as a loving father figure gone psychotic dirty cop. The rest is kinda meh.

I enjoy the 80’s flare and Lopez is actually not that bad. I like her character (before the FBI). Here’s hoping she keeps her cool and not fret out. Keep the suspense and less drama.

There is also something about the weird tension between Santos and FBI agent Robert Stahl (played by Warren Cole) I find musing.

I think I will give it a few more episodes.

Christine

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Adaption, christinesrant, Entertainment, Review, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, space opera, Syfy, Television, The Expanse, TV, TV-series

The Expanse. Expanding in the Right Direction.

OMFG!

I am having trouble finding words to describe exactly how excited I am about The Expanse!

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here I am. All fired up!

Alert French Bulldog running forwards

This space opera could be the next big thing since Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)!

It seems to be the answer to all my prayers. If I prayed. Which I do not. But if I did, I would pray for something like this.

I am a huge scifi fan and there has been a serious lack in the space-opera-on-TV since BG.

I love TV shows like Star Trek (any of them), Farscape (1994-2004), and Babylon 5 (1994—1998) etc. Although not space operas per se, not even these scifi shows have worthy successors.

I have been mildly interested in the deteriorating Falling Skies (2011-2015) and the more bearable Defiance (2013-2015).

I even tried Dark Matter (2015-), but it did not hook me. DM is scheduled for a season two, so I might pick it up again, but it is not likely to happen anytime soon.

I gave Killjoys (2015-) a try. A choice I do not regret. If you are into fun-loving, high-tech, guns blazing, and adventurous scifi, you will not regret watching it! Season two is already scheduled.

Now I crave something more complex with depth.

The Expanse is a serious contestant in winning me over, as the scifi slut I am.  Four episodes in, it promises a lot and I am certainly intrigued. Belly up and all.

It is bas1484233348223075652ed on a series of novels called The Expanse by James S. A. Corey. There is actually a duo hiding behind the pen name, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. The first one in the series is Leviathan Wakes from 2011, so it is relative new. They have released five novels and counting.

More delightful, the Syfy channel is responsible for this bowl of goodness.

It is about time that the channel sheds its lame, low production escapist B-movie status. The channel did give us cheesy movies like Sharktopus (2010) and Sharknado (2013). And, yet again give us pompous space opera dramas like they did with BG.

Honestly, the trailer is kinda meh. After watching the first four episodes (of 10 total), I do not feel it represents the show fairly. So I beg you, see episode one instead.

The first episodes paints a big picture with broad strokes, introducing a well of characters and plotlines with little information to go on. Characters die at a rapid rate and I am guessing blindly who will be the remaining main cast.

Three characters stands out though.

Police detective Joe Miller, played by Thomas Jane (Punisher from the movie with the same name and Ray Drecker from Hung) is on a missing woman assignment while his home world Ceres erupts into chaos.

Chrisjen Avasarala, a United Nations executive played by Shohreh Agdashloo (Stefania Vaduva Popescu from Grimm) is trying to prevent war between Earth and Mars.

Ship Officer Jim Holden, played by Steven Strait (D’Leh from 10,000 BC and the forever hunky Warren Peace in Sky High) quickly finds himself and crew sole survivors of an attack, with failing air supply and the enemy close by.

Action, drama, survival, terrorists, space travel, technobabble, mystery, political thrills, secrets, military strategies, culture clashes, tech noir, explosions, conspiracies, you name it!

A 13- episode second season is already scheduled to air early 2017.

I cannot wait!

 

Christine

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Adaption, BBC One, christinesrant, Entertainment, Literature, Mini-series, Rant, Review, Television, TV, TV-series

And Then There Were None. Above and Beyond.

We have just left Christmas celebrations behind us. A holiday full of jolly nostalgia and hard core glitter use.

I must admit, I am not that into Christmas traditions. Christmas will be upon us anyway, I say.

So without seeming too grinchy or scroogey I really do not see the appeal of watching the movie Love Actually (2003)  more than once. The rest of the TV schedule (at least in Norway) is full of crap B-, C-, and D-movies not worth your while, and the A-listers keeps running and running, staling for every channel you switch on to.

But the holidays is a perfect time to catch up on movies, TV series and shows!

I especially like to indulge in mini-series because they often fit perfectly into my holiday schedule. Short and effective stories with high production value and the best part, you do not have to wait a year for the next season!

So while everyone else was watching and talking about Making a Murderer (2015) (I was saving it for the new year’s celebrations), I was thrilled when I found the new TV adaption of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery And Then There Were None (2015). Perhaps more known as Ten Little Indians.

First class British crime and costume drama from BBC One.

Oh, Holy Night.
Jackpot!

First published in 1939, the novel is recognized as Christie’s masterwork, and has been adapted many times on screen, TV and the stage.

The story is as simple as it is meticulous.

MV5BMzRlMzU0MTgtOGYyMC00MjExLTgwN2QtNWU2M2EwOWM4Y2M0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTExNDQ2MTI@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_It is Saw set in 1939 without traps and all the gore. And without the possibility of making it out alive.

The mysterious Mr and Mrs Owen invites eight strangers to a secluded Soldier Island. Greeted by the butler and cook when arriving, it is quickly revealed neither they nor any of the guests have actually met the Owens, and that their hosts are nowhere to be seen.

Completely alone on the island, they are interrupted after eating dinner by a recording that reveals that all ten of them have been complicit in the deaths of others but has managed to escape notice and/or prosecution.

Ten artfully crafted table pieces and an American children’s rhyme (Ten little Indians) are also important pieces in the continuing story where the characters are killed off one by one. Until there are none left.

I was thrilled!

The cast is excellent with many familiar faces such as: Toby Stephens (Captain Flint from Black Sails), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper from Torchwood and Major Hewlett from TURN), Noah Taylor (as some of you may know as Locke from Game of Thrones, but who cares about GoT right?).

Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter), Anna Maxwell Martin (Elizabeth Darcy from Death Comes to Pemberley  and Mary Shelley from the new and very promising TV series The Frankenstein Chronicles).

Aiden Turner (mostly known as Kili from The Hobbit-trilogy, but for me he will always be Mitchell from Being Human (UK)).

Douglas Booth (Pip from Great Expectations and as Mr. Bingley from the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and (at least for me) the more unknown Maeve Dermody.

And, to top this smorgasbord of, the ever-so cool Charles Dance and Sam Neill, with too much goodness on their filmographies to single out just a few.

It is beautifully crafted TV. And when I got over the cucumber castle in the intro, this three-part series is a total delight!

A must see for crime and costume fans!

Did I just birth a new term?

I can live with that.

Christine

 

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christinesrant, Discrimination, Entertainment, Feminism, gender, Prejudice, sexism, Television, TV, TV-series, Women empowerment

Covert Affairs. Not So Covertly Discrimination Against Women.

My first reaction to Covert Affairs was this:

I have now finished the 1st season and let me be clear; I am horrified!

Annie Walker, a young sexy female CIA trainee is handpicked and fast-tracked suddenly finding herself Operative.

This could have been a funny twist on the sexy female agent trope. Perhaps that was what they were going for but let me tell you why and how they fail. Miserably.

Introduced as a pretty tomboy, Annie quickly evolves into Action Junkie Barbie.

When called in by a (male) CIA/military trainee officer, she awkwardly blabbers on admitting to sleeping with her taekwondo instructor. Which btw, is not against the rules. She has already checked.

In a couple of seconds, she is transformed into a geeky-girl-next-door type who knows how to google.

The CIA clears her after interviewing her with a series of questions about her sex life. We now know her beach relationship with ex Ben Mercer ended ugly, she is fluent in six languages and she likes to wear outrageous cleavages. It is a good thing her breast barely manages an A-cup or it would be boobies all over the place!

She comes off as a man-eater as we see her flirt with Conrad, a man she just met on the steps of her new CIA home. Who, in all honesty, is flirting with her.

Her awkwardness is yet again apparent when she tries to walk through security without her passkey. Switching her from sexy confident to silly and girly.

Here lays the secret to what I hoped this show would be like.

Already we have seen Annie as confident, silly, headstrong, naïve, determined, awkward, sexual, weak, smart, emotional and strong. Not completely one-dimensional.

It gives me hope.
However, there are signs I do not like.

Her commanding officer points out that she is the best driver of any women the CIA academy (?) ever have had. WTF?!

And, Conrad is goading her to make the no-passkey mistake.

The bureau needs Annie because she can pass as a hooker. Seemingly, as the only other woman in this department, Annie’s female boss gives her this assignment. As if that makes everything all right!

Her boss is another example of the sexist craftsmanship of the writers. She cannot trust her unfaithful husband, and continues to interrupt his business meetings throughout the entire season trying to shame him in front of others. Resulting in high bitch levels herself.

Auggie, a blind agent now acting as the geeky IT guy and obviously the romantic lead in this show, he cannot judge her by her looks. He has instead perfected the skill of listening to how other men talk to women to find out if they are sexy or not.

Back to Annie.

She flirts wherever she goes. It is her secret weapon but is seriously rattled when finding that her contact guy is an ugly middle-aged man, and she frowns at the ordinary looking man her sister sets her up with. Not giving it a chance in hell.

Instead of CIA mentoring her so she slowly gets better at what she does, everybody seems to be goading her and then laughs or yells at her for not doing her job well. Her ex being the only actual reason she is there.

She screams like a girl, cannot walk in those high-heeled Louboutins as if her life depended on it, and is manipulated by everyone around her.

At one point, her ex and her new loverboy bickers about how to best keep her safe, while she is there. Doing nothing.

Every episode ends with her being rescued by a man. She tries to fight but is defeated every fucking time.

In the second episode, just to be certain we get how womanly weak she is, she is equipped with a panic/rape alarm and pepper spray. Emphasizing her (gender) as a victim.

When Annie’s only female to look up to, her boss, gets the career opportunity of taking her husband’s job, making her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the CIA and do an amazing job at it.

In spite of all her confrontations with her husband, she turns the offer down willing to fight with him (instead of against) keeping their marriage true.

Is this actually an accurate portrait of a working woman in the patriarchy? Especially working in a male-oriented workplace?

Because when ex Mercer romantically asks Annie to change her ticket the next day, all I hear is, “Please sacrifice everything for me! As a man I cannot, but you are only a woman. You can.”

Christine

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Adaptation, christinesrant, Entertainment, Fantasy, Feminism, sexism, TV, TV-series, Werewolf, Women empowerment

Bitten. A Showdog Through and Through.

Bitten is a crap show. I am surprised by the news of a second season, starting January 2015.

The werewolf setup is simple.

Elena is bitten by a big dog when visiting her fiancé Clayton Danvers (her former boss at the University) at his home estate. Alas, it was not a dog.

Against all odds (!), she survives which means she is the only female werewolf in the world. ‘Cause girly were-pooches cannot handle the change. They die.

They (writers and production) try hard to make her the hero. Molested as a child, she has this whole rape-revenge thing going on. Unfortunately, she is an uninteresting character played by Laura Vandervoort, a non-awe-inspiring actress.

Sure, she is a surviving bitch who does her own fighting and demands a lot of sex but she does not come out of it empowered. The rest of the time, she just comes off as lame. Very sexual, but still lame.

To no-ones’ surprise, werewolves are either born or bitten. Organized in one Pack with a Pack Master and a set of rules spread around the world. Secrecy the number one rule.

Individual wolves (Mutts) live outside the Pack either by choice, lack of knowledge or by Packs decision, and are therefore the sworn enemy of the Pack.

Born werewolves (males only) always has a pooch for a father and a human mother. They usually grow into their hairiness during early puberty. However, if bitten the change is immediately.

When a baby boy is born, Fido is supposed to kidnap the baby and raise it within the pack, which means raising it among men only. Now, this I find refreshing!

The pack members’ masculinity is quite, eh, feminine. They really are just soft cuddly puppies really.

And stereotypical.
Strong, muscular, healthy, protective and brutal when necessary.

Men of integrity.

There is a lot of hugs, kisses and different displays of physical affection, even love, between them. They ugly-cry when Antonio dies, snot and all.

They are comfortable with their own, and each other’s nudity.

They always gather around the kitchen table for huge meals. A table also used when members are wounded/dying, so it is constantly covered with either food or blood.

Clayton is the irrational one. Acting out every emotions whether it is love, happiness, anger or destruction in a pair of jeans and flannels. He is their best fighter (with a mean streak), introverted, moody, scruffy, pushy and protective. He craves Elena. Going against everything, just because he wants her. Willing to sacrifice himself. A typical male hero, that is. But he is smart too. He is a professor at the Department of Anthropology.

Clayton tears up on multiple occasions, after interrupted moments with Elena, when begging Elena to come back and save him from his rampaging. And, ultimately when Elena puts their former engagement ring back on his finger comforting him that there will be no more sacrifices.

Jeremy is the conflicted father figure. His own father threw him in a lake as a puppy with a rock around his neck. He is the law, love and soul of the pack. He has saved/adopted/taken responsibility for everyone in the Pack at one point. He is artistic too. His paintings displayed around the house.

Antonio and Nick, actual father and son (i.e. kidnapper and victim) are business types dressed in suits. They have a loving relationship. Nick is comfortable with both sexes in bed, sometimes together. He is Elena’s favorite shopping stand-in and generally a metrosexual man.

Logan is the outsider in the pack. Raised by his mother he had a painful upbringing. So much that he became a psychologist. Or, is it that he is the only African-American member in the pack? Complete with an African-American girlfriend. Now an expectant father, he decides to run and hide his family from the Pack.

Clayton is not the only one craving Elena. He is getting competition from the Mutts, now organized.

Since she is the only bitch that can give them beautiful and true puppies, her status is skyrocketing.

The Mutts worship her as The Mother/The Goddess/The Bitch. An archaic patriarchal enjoyment of women. As a baby making machine.

The Pack equally needs Elena but recognized as Clayton’s (somewhat unwilling) partner, it is a non-issue.

It is however clear that Packmaster Jeremy is weak (as a man and as a leader) because he is not using her full potential when he chooses not to rape her.

Am I going to watch season two?

Nope.

Christine

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, TV, TV-series

The Importance of Being Pregnant.

Stories have a correlation to the world we are living in. They are man-made. There is nothing natural about stories.

Shortly after 9/11 a bunch of mainstream Hollywood movies best described as revenge movies came on the scene. No one explicitly taking on the subject of course, it was too early to do that.

We have struggled for a long time now with an enormous amount of post-apocalyptic movies and TV-shows. It does not seem to fade away.

Not so strange when crisis after crisis has had the world in turmoil this last decade. Economic collapses, political and environmental disasters. You name it!

Post-apocalyptic themes and zombies usually follows vampires, a leech that not so strangely correlates with economic changes in society.

I am not kidding. You can google it.

What comes after the post- apocalypse?

Babies, is the right answer!

We need something stabilizing. We need society to move one. We need the family to stay together and we need hope. Nothing says hope like a baby.

I do hope this fad is short-lived.

The last time we had a wave of pregnancies was during the mid-90 to mid-2000 and every drama/comedy in mainstream cinema had at least one pregnant woman or unprepared parents in it.

TV science fiction is now picking up the torch, expecting and bursting with babies.

Extant combines pregnancy with alien intrusion. As if it was not hard enough, Halle Berry need to struggle with aliens, a husband on a mission and Roboboy too.

This show tries hard at many things. Thankfully, they have money enough for visual effects, good actors and a solid production.

Perhaps it would be a better show if they had not done both the ‘alien pregnancy conspiracy’ plot at the same time as the ‘Roboboy is just like human boys’ plot.

The Lottery  is seriously taking the subject of pregnancy, or the lack of, straight on. This show has potential.

I know. It is just another way to say they fucked it up.

It was supposed to be Children of Men  for TV but perhaps they got too afraid it would look like a copycat? Children of Men was good on as many levels as this show is bad.

Okay, you had a beautiful baby. Can we please move on now?

Christine

 

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christinesrant, Doctor Who, Entertainment, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, TV-series

Doctor Who. An Apple a Day.

This is a difficult rant to write but the necessity has become alarming.

My Whovian affinity began with me accidentally watching part of an episode at a friends’ house. Tennant was the Doctor. I admit, I remember it as a bit embarrassing.

However, one thing was clear.

The Doctor might be in almost every scene but the show is not about him.

Awkward, there was still something there. Enough for me to want to check out more.

I wanted to part-take. I liked the whole space and time concept, although wibbly wobbly timey wimey.

Before I jumped on the new series bandwagon, I decided to watch the old stuff first.

It took me a year to go through it all.
From 1963 up until 89, including the movie from 1996.

I was hooked.

Early on, my theory about the Doctor was confirmed.

His part in the story became clearer through each regeneration. The Doctor is as much a character as the Tardis is. The story was not about him.

The new instalment changed this.

Doctor Who needed to follow the New Golden Era Formula for TV series. Which means an emphasis on character driven plots (hooks) at the expense of story driven ones.

He became the main character.
He became a man.

He is not.
He is an alien.

We needed him to fulfill the (epic) hero role. Complete with romance and everything. With the ugly and embarrassing affair of Rose and the 10th Doctor as the result.

The Doctor is not supposed to be a romantic hero.

He is a tool. A device.

I do not want to figure him out, or know more about him because there is no unresolved mystery there.

He is simply the Doctor.

Doctor Who?

Exactly.

Christine

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