Category Archives: Film & Television

My TV Favourites of 2012

Another year has gone by and at this time of year, “Top 10” lists abound.  Well, I do not profess to be a professional television critic, and so my lists are purely reflective of the shows that I have watched and loved over the 2012 season.  In TV land, many new shows make it to air each year, but sadly many don’t survive.  But for those shows that have and continue to be regular staples in our homes, we welcome you and look forward to many more seasons of goodness.

And so, here are some of my favorites for 2012. If you are interested in reading through some of my past TV reviews, you can find all the links to them on this site under “TV Reviews“.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@valshopaholic) and leave a comment below to share with me your favorites!

Favorite New Shows

Go On

Go On

Matthew Perry was always my favorite “friend” on the sitcom that made him famous and in the years since, he has made it clear he can master drama as well as comedy (remember his appearances in The West Wing and, more recently, The Good Wife?). Now Perry is back in the comedy world (does anyone remember Mr. Sunshine? Anyone?), playing radio sportscaster, Ryan King, who joins a community therapy group after the sudden death of his wife.  The premise may be a little predictable – from Ryan’s original dismissal of group therapy as being ridiculous and full of crazy people to his growing fondness of those crazy people – but who doesn’t need a little bit of cray-cray in their lives to make them feel more “normal”?  As with any story involving a death, I have to confess, the show brings the occasional tear to my eye as Ryan moves from denial to grief. The supporting cast is funny and quirky without being annoying, which makes a whole world of difference when it comes to whether a comedy works or not.  I, for one, am glad that NBC have decided that the show will, indeed, go on.

The Newsroom

The Newsroom

As an avid fan of The West Wing, I was excited by the return of Aaron Sorkin to the small screen (after his award-winning effort on the big screen with The Social Network in 2011).  Sorkin spent a couple of years researching life behind the making of news programs. With the trademark Sorkinesque rapid-fire dialog, we are introduced to Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), a respected TV anchor and editor of News Night as he suffers a very public breakdown.  The Newsroom uses real-life news events of the past year as a backdrop to the stories covered on air by Will and his team, led by former flame, Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) as his producer and Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) as his boss.  Throughout the season, we have seen Will face death threats, get high and confront politicians as election time neared.  The supporting cast is well deserving of every award just for being able to keep up with Sorkin’s dialog, with a special shout-out to Olivia Munn who shows off her Japanese language skills brilliantly.  It is exactly the dose of intelligent news reporting television audiences have been waiting for.

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Review: WIGS – “Jan” (Part 1)

Jan (Caitlin Gerard) is a photographer who has just scored her first job working for renowned photographer-to-the-stars, Mel Karpova (Virginia Madsen).  She may attend to her camera equipment with the skill and touch of a brain surgeon, but she is clumsy and nervous when it comes to anything that does not involve a camera.

But you can’t really blame Jan for being nervous when her first photoshoot is called “Afterglow” which involves actors Gerald Noth (Stephen Moyer) making love to his girlfriend, Andie (Jaime Murray), then photographing Andie in the immediate moments afterwards.  Mel is unimpressed by Jan’s clumsiness while Gerald is every bit the gentleman and charmer, insisting that he is the one at fault and not Jan – in a way, totally true.  How is a girl supposed to concentrate when Stephen Moyer is standing there in front of you in nothing but a towel around his waist? Continue reading

Why Matt Bomer Made Glee Worth Watching

When I first started watching GLEE nearly three years ago, it was totally out of curiosity.  I have always liked Jane Lynch in every role she’s played, whether it be comedy or drama, and her portrayal of Sue Sylvester was hilarious.  I liked the music and was excited that it introduced a whole new generation of viewers to old classics that I had grown up with.  Mind you, I know I don’t exactly fit into their target demographics but I was interested in it enough to keep tuning in every week.

These days, I still watch GLEE, usually while cooking or eating dinner, and mostly to see what they do with their roster of talented guest stars, and yes, they do rely heavily on bringing in the big guns to push up the ratings – and perhaps to attract audiences like me who would otherwise have no interest in most of the regular cast.

Before the seven-week hiatus, we saw David Karofsky (Max Adler) – former football hero/chief school bully/closeted homosexual in love with Kurt (Chris Colfer) – attempting to commit suicide after becoming a victim of bullying himself. I would have liked to have seen this storyline develop more but all we got was a brief discussion amongst the teachers about how they could have prevented this and the school principal effectively saying it’s not their fault or responsibility.  The kids had a little group discussion amongst themselves, too, but where was the school counselling?

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Five Scenes You Didn’t See in The Hunger Games Movie

OK. By now, you’ve heard about this movie called THE HUNGER GAMES. You may have even read the book (I hope). Like any adaptation, there is bound to be some scenes, characters, or storyline that will be cut out or merged due to time constraints. It is understandable that sacrifices must be made in order to progress a story and in this case, the adaptation is perhaps made slightly more difficult by the fact that the books were written in first person – from the point of view of our heroine, Katniss Everdeen.

But I am not here to critique the movie – there are already plenty of movie critics and film reviewers who have done this.  I thought I would just highlight a few scenes that made the book all-the-more appealing to me that did not make it into the final cut of the film, or were changed.  To those of you who have read the trilogy, you will probably notice some of these scenes/characters will become more significant in the subsequent books in the series, and so, I hope, they will be brought back into the film adaptation of those books.

Please note that I am writing this post on the assumption that you have either read the book or seen the movie or both, therefore, no detailed explanation is being given as to the overall plot or cast of characters.

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An Open Letter To Mr Jeff Eastin

Dear Mr Eastin,

Though we have never met, I feel like I have known you forever, so I’m going to dispense with the pleasantries and just call you Jeff, if I may.

Well, Jeff, I know your birthday is fast approaching (no, I am not being creepy stalkerish, it’s public information for those who already have one finger on the phone to the police), and unfortunately I am not able to give you a present as awesome as the “FBI Profile” file that a group of us gave you last year. So I hope this open letter will suffice.

FBI’s most wanted

Now, as you know, I am a big fan of yours.  There may be a small dissident group who think genuine fans are sycophants and like to diss other fans for their support – but thankfully that is just a minority. Your show, WHITE COLLAR has got me addicted to the point of unparalleled obsession.

I have lost sleep because of you and your crazy cliffhangers.  Because of you, I discovered the world of fan-fiction and it re-ignited a passion for writing that I had not experienced since high school. Because of you, I have also discovered the world of slash-fiction…let’s not go there…I can’t write it but, boy, do I admire the talented people who do!

So now let’s move on to the season 3 finale, “Judgement Day”.  Let’s start with the spelling.  We here in the commonwealth spell it with an “e” in the middle but  what’s a letter here and there between friends, right?

I know you love leaving clues and hints for fans to find, so let’s take a look at the bread crumb trail you left for us that led to where we are now.

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Web Series Review: WHOLE DAY DOWN Ep6 “The Artist Is Taking You With Him”

Have you ever wondered how terrorists got their start?  Maybe some of them had normal childhoods; but then again, they may be the spawn of arterrorists like Bob (guest star John Ales).

What’s an “arterrorist”, I hear you ask.  Well, I’m not really sure there is any definitive answer to this question, but Bob’s art involves strapping a home-made bomb to himself and becoming the central exhibit in an underground art gallery.

The way Willie (Willie Garson) explains it, the exhibit is “natural deconstructivism” which sounds like a really snobbish way of saying “f**k the world” to me, but what do I know?  (And this is why I love this show so much.)

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Web Series Review: WHOLE DAY DOWN Episode 5 “The Jeremy Flegg Show”

When I tell my friends to watch WHOLE DAY DOWN, they ask me why they should.  The conversation usually goes something like this:

Me: Hey have you checked out WDD yet?

The Other Me (TOM): Weapons of Dastardly Destruction?

Me: Whole Day Down!

TOM: What does that mean?

Me: Errr…Anyway, it’s a really funny webseries starring Patrick Breen and Willie Garson.  You know, the Broadway and TV stars? Between the two of them, they’ve been in, like, everything!

TOM: Ok…What’s it about?

Me: It’s about two guys who’ve been best friends since, like, forever, and they decide they want to share their love of art by opening their own art gallery, except they have no money because Willie is an out-of-work actor, which is totally not true in real life, and Patrick married money so he’s got nothing of his own.  Anyway, Patrick’s father-in-law, Mr G, is, like, this really mean dude who always threatens to cut people’s balls off.  Patrick’s wife, Nadine – you might know her as the gorgeous redhead Gayle from the NBC series “In Gayle We Trust”, has this relationship with her Dad that is suspiciously incestuous.  Nadine convinces her Dad to let the guys use his gallery on Mondays so the guys come up with these absolutely crazy exhibitions.

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