Monday June 23, 2014

Orphan Black drew season 2 to a close on Saturday and did so in pretty dramatic fashion.  I thought the season as a whole was ok and not as strong as season 1.  However, the end of this weekend's finale was pretty out of left field to me (although many speculated this new storyline).  TVLine interviewed creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett who had this to say about the "twist" [SPOILER ALERT]: "MANSON | Well, that’s something yet to be determined, what the full impact of that actually is. At the moment, it’s a part of the puzzle. It’s a clue, and obviously a very big one. It opens up a lot of possibilities for the direction of Season 3.
FAWCETT | But at the moment, it seems that the Project Leda, that created female clones, and the Project Castor that created male clones are competing projects with no idea about one another. Paul has infiltrated Leda, so now Castor knows much more about Leda than Leda does about Castor."  I'd recommend reading the entire interview as it's pretty candid and insightful.

Here's another interview Manson and Fawcett did with The Hollywood Reporter.

Tatiana Maslnay gives her take on the finale and what's ahead.

Seven important revelations from the season finale.

One more pretty interesting take on the series as a whole: "As a show chiefly concerned with the ways women’s bodies are commodified and controlled, Orphan Black is careful not to view its female characters with that same hungry eye. This is a triumph: On so many shows, the camera works at cross-purposes to the high-minded themes. Game of Thrones depicts women and girls straining against a world that abuses and sexualizes their bodies—then it glamorizes and fetishizes that abuse. True Detective criticizes men who violate girls, then lovingly reduces women to bouncing breasts or artfully posed corpses. Even works that embrace a you-go-girl ethos too often use a soft-core aesthetic. In J.J. Abram’s Alias, which Orphan Black often echoes in storytelling and style, Jennifer Garner’s bikini-clad body was practically a special effect. But here, the men’s bodies are the only ones on display. Women are tied up, tied down, held captive, inseminated, their mouths sewn silent. On another show, these images might be filmed as torture porn. One of Orphan Black”s singular virtues is the way it avoids this voyeuristic lens."

I watched ABC's new singing competition Rising Star last night and even went so far as to download the voting app just so I could be a part of that experience.  A few observations: (1) Josh Groban is a HORRIBLE host, he's not funny, hip or cool and tries to be all 3; (2) the voting app is pretty dumb, didn't work on my iphone and required me to download it on my ipad; (3) the judges are pretty useless; and (4) this show should be off the air by mid-July.

Here's what our friends at EW had to say: "Groban, hosting his first major live event admirably like the most popular kid in your high school drama club, is awkward in his delivery, but he seems to be the only person genuinely excited to be on the show—and he’s the only expert actually mentoring the contestants and working with them on their songs and performances. Fellow experts Ludacris and [Brad] Paisley seem a little more comfortable with the live element, but neither demonstrates enough enthusiasm or even speaks long enough to convince you that they’re here for more than just a paycheck.

"That leaves the hope of Rising Star in the hands of the show’s actual singing talent—and truthfully that’s the most important part, right? Sadly, nobody from the two-hour opener showed much promise for giving Rising Star a coveted slot on your Sunday night DVR. Is it worth mentioning the forgettable Lisa Punch or Maneepat Molloy, who made it past their audition despite performances that never would have turned a chair on The Voice? Or is it worth acknowledging the acts that didn’t raise the wall, like the perhaps deserving Colin Huntley, or the manic, less-deserving Alex & Sierra knock-off Daniel & Olivia, or the boy band Beyond 5, whose smooth ’90s dance moves reeked of Dream Street cliché and One Direction ambition? Don’t even get me started on Macy Kate, the camera-ready Kesha lookalike who was supposedly plucked from the audience by total surprise after her Instagram audition video landed her a seat in the audience in the first place.

"Just like the voting, the fate of Rising Star rests solely in the hands of average Americans like you. Sadly, it’s a joyless experiment in reality innovation that, despite best efforts from about 20 percent of the talent involved, never manages to make you want to swipe right."

Someone at The Hollywood Reporter disagrees?  "For fans who get withdrawals from the annual American Idol and The Voice hiatus,Rising Star's a solid substitute that combines the 'experts' aspect of Idol with the chair-turning and sudden-death duet fun of The Voice. The instant gratification of audience voting is upped a notch from The Voice's Twitter Save, which asks viewers to tweet the name of which contestant to save from elimination during a five-minute window of the live broadcast, yet only broadcasts the show live in one time zone (to many viewers' dismay). And Idol's recently added Facebook wall in the studio (and expanded voting window to the top of the show, instead of afterward) is front and center on Rising Star, but actually dictates a contestant's fate instead of just serving as an odd encouragement to performers on the chopping block."

The latest from Pearl Jam this past weekend:

Here's your first look at The Voice with Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams (also glad to see blond Adam Levine is gone):

Spike TV debuted Frankenfood last night and it's interesting and somewhat entertaining.  Here's what the New York Times had to say: "[i]t’s a competition series in which amateur cooks offer a panel of judges the culinary equivalent of the hybrid monstrosities that turn up in Syfy movies (Piranhaconda, Sharktopus). In one of the two episodes on Sunday, a hopeful describes her creation as “90 percent candy and probably 10 percent burger.”

"The chef Josh Capon, one of the judges and the main voice of the show, sums up another dish as 'spaghetti and peanut butter sauce, in a meatball, topped with some grape jelly.'

"The restaurateur Tony Luke Jr. is Mr. Capon’s spirited sidekick and fellow judge. The show travels from city to city, and the third judge is from each episode’s host restaurant, which gives the winning offering a spot on its menu.

"After the three judges pick two finalists, restaurant patrons help choose the victor, who receives $10,000."

Variety picks 10 comics to watch.  "The 10 Comics are: Cristela AlonzoPete DavidsonFortune FeimsterNathan FielderRon FunchesHarvard Sailing Team (a nine-person sketch troupe comprising of Jen Curran, Rebecca Delgado Smith, Clayton Early, Faryn Einhorn, Katie Larsen, Adam Lustick, Billy Scafuri, Chris Smith and Sara Taylor), Grace HelbigThe Lucas BrothersGreg Poehler, Lena Waithe."  We're all on notice.

Per Reality Blurred, "[a] Big Brother 16 cast member’s use of bigoted, racist, homophobic language has emerged just days after the cast was revealed. A comment by Caleb Reynolds contains racist, homophobic, Islamophobic words, while a video, now deleted, showed him beating a live pig to death. Its caption said: 'Caleb had to swim across the river to get a hog and forgot his knife!! But no worries he used a stick instead.'

"Almost two years ago, Caleb posted to his Instagram account, which was made inaccessible earlier today, a grammatically incorrect, an anti-Barack Obama statement. But that was just a political opinion and innocuous, especially compared to what was written in a comment replying to someone responding to his post. Caleb wrote, in part:

'You agree with fags? I guess so but I don’t agree with murdering A innocent baby which he clearly doesn’t mind. […] Your just a democrat that wants the Muslim monkey in office.'"

Per Deadline, "[d]ays aftergreenlighting its first comedy pilot for 2014 – Cameron Crowe’s Roadies, executive produced by J.J. Abrams – Showtime has greenlighted a second half-hour from well-.known filmmakers: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, from feature writer Aline Brosh McKenna, with The Amazing Spider-Man helmer Marc Webb set to direct.

"The half-hour comedy features musical elements, a first for Showtime. 'This pilot is an exciting change of pace for us,' said Showtime president David Nevins. Co-created, written and executive produced by Brosh McKenna and writer/actress/comedian Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend stars Bloom as Rebecca, a successful, driven, and possibly crazy young woman who impulsively gives up everything – her partnership at a prestigious law firm and her upscale apartment in Manhattan – in a desperate attempt to find love and happiness in that exotic hotbed of romance and adventure: West Covina, CA."  Color me interested.

Next Food Network Star still really stinks this season.  Don't waste your time.

Cee Lo Green's The Good Life premieres tonight on TBS.  In case you forgot what this one is about, "[w]atch Goodie Mob attempt to navigate the perks and temptations of being at the top of the music game while keeping their friendship intact."  Gross.

HGTV's latest fixer-upper series premieres Thursday, August 7 at 11p. My Big Family Renovation features mommy blogger Jen Hatmaker tackling a redo of a 105-year-old farmhouse with her pastor husband and five kids.