Monday April 17, 2017

AMC has renewed Fear The Walking Dead for 4th season.

Why ratings didn't matter for HBO's Girls.

Here's a little Girls series finale post-mortem about the music selection.

And one more on the show itself I won't waste much time on this as the show wore out its welcome a long time ago.

Great to have Veep back.

And I wish John Oliver was on more than 1x per week.  Here is one of many reasons why.

Geraldo fired back at Oliver after last night's show.

Survivor's Jeff Varner has been fired from his job after outing Zeke Smith on last week's episode.

Are they already filming a 2nd season of 13 Reasons Why?

Adam Sandler's Netflix movie Sandy Wexler is unwatchable.  Do not waste your time.

Joanna Gaines = Kim Kardashian.  Get rid of em both, PLEASE.

E! has renewed Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian.  What did I just say?

A LOT of hullaballoo about Jimmy Fallon on SNL on Saturday.  I'm surprised that so many people care and still pay such homage to this show.

Do we really need more Tarek El Moussa in our lives?

And does anyone care what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has to say about The Real Housewives?

Part 3 of the three-part Vanderpump Rules reunion special airs tonight and then they'll be out of your life for a while.

NBA regular season ratings were down in 2016-17, which is surprising.

Is this the end for 2 Broke Girls?

WGN has canceled The Outsiders.

"Chris Manzo — the former Manzo’d with Children reality star — has a new gig now that his family’s Bravo show is off the air. Manzo, who once wanted to own a stripper car wash, will be hosting live FNTSY Sports Network show Foul Territory, which will focus on topical subjects. 'That’s one of the most fun parts of the show,' Manzo told us. 'We don’t even know what we will talking about most of the time … I am certainly not claiming to be an expert on anything — just a passionate fan who loves watching and talking all things competitive sports.' The show debuted Thursday."

Per Nerdist, "[t]here’s a lot we don’t know about the world. For all the power and insight science has brought to our understanding of the physical world, there are many things outside its purview that we cannot explain. What we choose to believe ultimately says a lot about us. And the power of belief has proven its mettle against even the most hard-lined, facts-based arguments out there. I, for example, believe that, if you give it a shot, American Gods will be one of your favorite new series of the year, in all its wizened weirdery.

"American Gods is a twisty opus of a tale, weaving and wiggling its way through ideas of religion, life, death, belief, power, and what it means to be American. To tell you much more about its plot would rob you of the dark-and-twisty ride you about to embark upon. It is complicated, outrageous, unbelievable, and audacious. It’s brimming with excitement, fear, and skepticism—and it is very, very dense. Don’t expect this to be your new favorite series to fold laundry to: you’re going to have to pay attention if you want to have any sort of an idea of what’s going on over the course of its 8-episode first season on Starz. If you love a thematic challenge, this is the show for you.

"On every level, the series’ should-be-confounding-beyond-comprehension puzzle pieces fit. There are flashbacks, side stories, and hidden agendas. There are gods and humans and some hybrids in between. And the running current underneath all of this is a war for the heart of America. Having the likes of Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me) and Michael Green (Logan, Heroes, Blade Runner 2049, Alien: Covenant) tackle the haunting literary mind of Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, Coraline, Neverwhere) certainly helps to streamline this: these guys know (and love) weird, and excel at bringing it to the screen in exciting and different ways. There is truly no other show on TV that looks and operates like American Gods does, and that’s a very, very good thing.

"Still, American Gods continues to up the visual and thematic game that other new series like Legion and Handmaid’s Tale have wrought on-screen this season. The show is a frenetic glitterbomb of atmosphere: its flotsam and jetsam more than mere eye candy, it’s a nod to the world wherein these old and new gods live. To juxtapose this, its pacing is tense and slow, purposefully confusing and downright tingle-inducing, further eschewing the dreamlike state the show will leave you in once its episodes are done. Consistently while watching the episodes, I found it was hard to shake a feeling akin to the confusing, sleepy haze of drug use.

"These moments are especially visceral when employed to introduce its weirder characters. This is one of the most well-cast shows in recent memory. Every actor truly embodies their character. Ricky Whittle’s Shadow Moon is exactly what my mind envisioned the character to be, and Ian McShane’s Mr. Wednesday is as bombastic as you’d want him (his introduction to the series is a true highlight). Gillian Anderson and Yetide Badaki (as Media and Bilquis, respectively) command the screen whenever they’re on it, and Jonathan Tucker and Crispin Glover—as Low Key Lyesmith and Mr. World, respectively—menace and confound as much as they delight. Cloris Leachman, Peter Stormare, Omid Abtahi, Orlando Jones, Demore Barnes, Kristin Chenoweth, and even Dane freakin’ Cook are simply perfect in their parts, with Bruce Langley’s embodiment of the internet somehow a more punchable Technical Boy than I ever thought possible. (This is a compliment.)

"The breakout star of all the god and non-gods alike, though, is Pablo Schreiber’s Mad Sweeney. The expanded role of the series’ leprechaun is a masterclass in physical comedy and pure ego. A scene involving coin tricks will certainly need repeat viewing, and his chemistry with Shadow Moon and Mr. Wednesday is the stuff of TV legend.

"And we’d be deeply remiss if we didn’t mention the expanded characterization of Laura Moon (Emily Browning), Shadow’s wife he left at home when he was sent to jail. Here, the already gargantuan story truly benefits from a bit of fleshing out. In the books, Laura and her machinations are highly unmoored and without any sort of reasoning that rang true. In the TV iteration of her tale, Laura Moon is considered more thoughtfully than on the page, and to that end, the show gains an even more incisive look into what drives all of us.

"Which is not to say the series is perfect: indeed, its weakest episode (of the four screened for journalists) is arguably the pilot, an oddly paced and overstuffed-in-weird-ways hour of TV that felt much longer given the sheer magnitude of its visualizations. I wanted to love it, but was ultimately frustrated (and I’ve read the book). Book fans will likely enjoy how fairly literal the first episode’s adaptation of the text is, but it may prove a hindrance to recruiting uninitiated viewers. The pilot is a feat of Fuller-ian excess—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing for those who’ve read the source material, but it does make for some at-times distracting imagery and play that may alienate the lay-viewer—this story is incredibly tough to synthesize, y’all. The pilot feels very Hannibal season 3 in tone and tenor, and if that’s not your bag (it wasn’t my favorite, though I am ride-or-die for Hannibal/Bryan Fuller), it may read as overdone. But for every moment of overdone-ness, there are at least 3 instances of stunning imagery and sweeping atmosphere perfection.

"And to anyone who feels dissuaded after the pilot to continue, I will simply say this: keep going. Stick with it. Episodes three and four are particular highlights in terms of storytelling strength, and—we promise—ultimately inform the understanding of just what in the heck happened in the episodes prior. Plus: it just gets fun. American Gods, like America, is still in its infancy in the grand scheme of things. It is wholly worth your worship this TV season. We don’t want to try and predict the future, but it’s sure to be one of the best of 2017."

American Gods premieres on Sunday, April 30th at 9:00 PM.

Per Salon, "'[p]eople forget I was the first female president,' an unmoored Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) declares early in the new season of HBO’s Veep in a statement that has a fresh sting in 2017. It’s one year after the humiliating flameout of her brief stint as commander in chief, and while her female successor Laura Montez is charming the electorate and picking up Nobel Peace Prizes, Meyer has been reduced to grimacing gamely as she constructs her new, post-elected-office life. And what’s the only thing more reckless and bungling than Selina Meyer in the halls of power? Selina Meyer outside them.

"When Veep premiered in 2012, Barack Obama was well on his way to his second popular and largely scandal-free term. And in much the same way that The West Wing seemed a fittingly idealistic companion piece to the Bush years, Veep spent its first five seasons filling the role of the cynical, alternate reality Obama era. But now the conceit of callous incompetence masquerading as leadership just doesn’t seem as funny as it once did. When the real world offers daily doses of political surrealism, ignorance and hubris, it would not have been surprising if Veep now suddenly seems about as funny as an Orwell or Atwood novel. Even the very name of the show has long been as outmoded as that of New Girl. But miraculously, in its sixth season, “Veep” remains very much on its game. And if it’s becoming predictable to enthuse about the sustained brilliance of Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her co-stars, who would want to be novel?

"Without an entire nation to mismanage, Meyer and her inner circle have now largely been scattered to the winds. Gary (the exceptional Tony Hale) and Richard (Sam Richardson) are still close at hand, but Mike (Matt Walsh) is now an overwhelmed stay-at-home dad, Amy (Anna Chlumsky) is running her fiancé Buddy Calhoun’s bid for governor of Nevada, congressman Jonah (Timothy C. Simons) is still playing the cancer card, and Dan (Reid Scott) is in morning-news show hell with a co-anchor (an acidic Margaret Colin), who makes Selina look like she deserves to be sipping out of a World’s Greatest Boss mug. In other words, this seems like a perfect time to bring the gang back together.

"Throughout the first three episodes made available to the press, the various characters of Veep keep crossing paths, giving them ample opportunity to be as competitive, petty and verbally abusive as ever, still snarling cracks about 'frat house gang rape,' transgender 'bearded ladies' and inbreeding, but amid new power dynamics. (They also get to deliciously play off a crackerjack array of guest stars, including Amy Brenneman and Stephen Fry.) At the heart of the action, there’s Selina, barely shambling through her status as the widely disliked, former short-term president. Her base of operations is now the South Bronx, for the 'optics' but also the cheap real estate, in a space she declares 'the worst place they’ve ever stuffed an ex-president, and I’m including JFK’s coffin.'

"Twelve months into rebuilding her life after her loss, she’s promising to launch some vague charitable endeavor involving adult literacy but also maybe AIDS, griping about her memoir advance and speaking engagement fees, angling for the presidential library she feels she deserves, getting left out of photo ops, and of course, soon enough, cozying up to despots. 'The poisoning and the torture and the death squads aside, I think he’s good people,' she observes of a potential new ally, with a pragmatism that feels suddenly completely authentic for our times. As ever, everything Meyer touches rapidly escalates to a social faux pas with far-reaching ramifications, but now her actions are heightened by her newly rudderless desperation. They’re also ample opportunity for Louis-Dreyfus and her cast to show off their reliable genius at physical comedy — you may come to Veep for the elaborately constructed, rapid-fire obscenities, but you stay for the meticulously choreographed pratfalls.

"Much of this new season of Veep was well underway before Nov. 8. Yet the ways in which what Meyer calls the “horror show” of democracy play out in America feel almost painfully real. There’s also something undeniably cathartic, this peculiar moment in America, about watching a fictional female politician stew over what 'this cocksuck of a country did to me.' And if in their utter humiliation, defeat and chaos, Selina and her crew are still scrapping and still finding reasons to laugh, that makes Veep more timely, more perfect than ever."

I'm not agreeing, but here's an argument that Better Call Saul is as good as Breaking Bad: "Being a fan of Better Call Saul, AMC's amazing Breaking Bad prequel/spin-off, can be occasionally frustrating, especially when trying to talk to people who don't watch the show.

"But here's the thing -- it really is just as good as Breaking Bad; sometimes I think it's even better than Breaking Bad, because it's not as stringently shackled to its crime genre roots. Instead, it's something like a legal drama but also a crime thriller but also a story about family. In some ways it's more ambitious, more interesting, and more esoteric than the series from which it sprang. But even if you're not willing to go that far, you need to understand that this show is just as good as Breaking Bad.

"Here are six reasons why Better Call Saul (which just started its third season on AMC) is just as good as Breaking Bad:

1. Bob Odenkirk Gives a Commanding Performance

Nobody could shut up about how good Bryan Cranston was in Breaking Bad. That's because Bryan Cranston was really good in Breaking Bad. But you know who is just as good? Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul. It's a different kind of performance. In the main series, Saul Goodman, the trickster lawyer who advises science-teacher-turned-drug-kingpin Walter White and assists him in some of his more nefarious enterprises (like laundering money), was mostly used as comic relief. Like everything in the series, the character took on a grimmer pallor in later seasons, but for the most part he was there for zingy one-liners and was more of a caricature than character. Even his name, a phonetic approximation of "it's all good, man," had a cartoony dimension. But here, he's fully realized. He's Jimmy McGill, an Albuquerque lawyer who stands in the shadow of his superstar brother (played by the great Michael McKean) and who has the hots for a talented colleague (Rhea Seehorn). He hasn't become the huckster we know and love from Breaking Bad. Instead he's damaged, fragile, and volatile. You can see the man he'll become in the man he is here now, and that is fascinating to see unfold, bit by bit, as the series progresses.

2. The Cadence Is Different

The rhythm of Breaking Bad was all its own. There would be action-packed hours followed by smaller, contained "bottle" episodes like Fly, which had the two main characters trapped in a lab and bickering for the entire duration. Better Call Saul is even odder. Sometimes entire cases can take up a season (or more), other times they'll be over and done with even though they seem important. Bit players from the previous show will pop up and threads from earlier episodes will weave, unexpectedly, down the line. The season premiere, for example, was striking for how silent it was. There were large passages of the episode where nobody spoke at all, instead the visuals did all the talking. In a television landscape so cluttered that shows will do anything they can to stand out from the crowd, "Better Call Saul" is defiantly idiosyncratic. And that's amazing.

3. It's Not a Connect-Every-Dot Show

Some thought that this would be a very literal prequel to Breaking Bad, aligning perfectly like the end of Rogue One with the beginning of the very first Star Wars. But this isn't that kind of show. It's its own thing. So just know that going in. Yes, characters from the previous show will pop up here (this season is set to feature a certain drug titan and fast food chicken entrepreneur) but it doesn't follow a linear path to Breaking Bad. Nor should it. Instead, this gets lost in the tangential narrative paths that occurred before Walter White started cooking that sweet blue crystal. The fact that it doesn't adhere to what came before it makes it infinitely more enjoyable (especially if you know that going in; sometimes the shock of discovering this can weigh down the experience).

4. It Takes Its Time

One of the things that made this season's premiere episode (co-written and directed by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan) is how slow it unfolded. Not in a bad, check-your-watch way. But in a way that felt more novelistic than most things on television. A good half of the episode was Jonathan Banks's Mike Ehrmantraut, here a former police officer and parking attendant (not yet the No. 2 man in a vast criminal empire), looking for a tracking device and devising his own plan to figure out who planted it. Literally he dismantles his own car for ten minutes. And it's amazing. This is just a micro example of the bigger thrill of the show taking its time in terms of catching up to Breaking BadBetter Call Saul seems to be in no rush to actually align with that show. Its indifference is glorious and it's easy to see this show lasting just as long as Breaking Bad, if not longer. Trust me when I say that you won't want it to end (or to catch up) either.

5. It's Also Something of a Sequel

While it's not written about as much, Better Call Saul is bookended with sequences set after the events of Breaking Bad. Jimmy (nee Saul) is now Gene, a hardworking employee of a Cinnabon outpost in some godforsaken mall somewhere. Clearly he's in hiding and is beaten down by the events of Breaking Bad. If he squirreled away any of his drug money from Walter White, it isn't apparent now. He's a hangdog, lonely and dejected. He makes the pastries, interacts with his younger coworkers, eats his lunch alone with a dog-eared paperback crime novel. In this latest episode, fascinatingly, he breaks his low profile for a moment. After ratting out a kid for stealing DVDs (or maybe video games), the kid is being hauled away by mall security. As he starts to shuffle away, Jimmy stands up and yells, "Get yourself a lawyer!" It's a rare moment when his old self shines through and just as quickly as Jimmy (or Saul) appears, he's back, hiding inside Gene. It's my guess that in future episodes (and seasons), the specifics of Jimmy's new life will be detailed. Until then it makes for an incredibly and deeply haunting juxtaposition to his early days in the legal profession.

6. It's Just As Exciting

Just because Better Call Saul isn't as straightforward a crime series as Breaking Bad doesn't mean that it lacks that series' requisite thrills. This is more of a quirky character drama, like a new Alexander Payne movie delivered to your home each week, but it can also be quite exciting. Some of the excitement comes from knowing where these characters are headed and how they'll end up. (There's also the underlying suspense of what happened to turn Jimmy into Saul; that question permeates the entire series like some eerie fog.) But there are also nifty suspense set pieces, mostly centered around Mike and his underworld dealings but also the incredibly tense relationship Jimmy has with his brother. It's all very uncomfortable and unnerving, in a different way than Breaking Bad, but just as powerful."

"Apparently being the daughter of a multimillionaire media tycoon isn’t enough to save you from financial dire straits.

"Page Six has learned that the IRS has emptied bank accounts belonging to late TV mogul Aaron Spelling’s daughter Tori Spelling and her husband, Dean McDermott.

"In July 2016, it was reported that the couple — who had their fifth child in March — were slammed with a federal tax lien for $707,487.30 in unpaid federal taxes for their 2014 bill alone.

"Meanwhile, Page Six reported that McDermott’s ex-wife, Mary Jo Eustace, is threatening him with jail over unpaid child support for their 18-year-old son, Jack. During a court hearing over the child support in March, McDermott told a judge that he had 'fallen on hard times.'

"And their struggles don’t stop there. In November 2016, Entertainment Tonight reported that the couple were also being sued by American Express over an unpaid credit-card balance of $87,595.55 and had been sued by the same company earlier in the year over a $37,981.97 bill.

"We also reported back in November that Tori — who shot to fame in the ’90s when she starred on dad Aaron’s Beverly Hills 90210 and has since forged a career as a reality star and author — hoped to parlay her latest pregnancy into another reality series that would frame her as a Martha Stewart-like domestic goddess. And that she hoped she could 'make some real money going forward.'

"Last year, Tori dismissed reports of financial woes to People, saying rumors of money problems began after she wrote her 2013 book, Spelling It Like It Is. 'It was one chapter. I thought I was being relatable, talking about how celebrities go through financial struggles, too.'

"In the book she wrote, 'It’s no mystery why I have money problems. I grew up rich beyond anyone’s dreams. Even when I try to embrace a simpler lifestyle, I can’t seem to let go of my ­expensive tastes.'”

"As two studios battle for her next feature slot, Gina Rodriguez has signed on to voice Carmen Sandiego in a new animated series that’s in the works at Netflix, the Tracking Board has exclusively learned. The deal comes as the Golden Globe-winning actress negotiates for the lead role in Sony’s remake of Miss Bala and 20th Century Fox’s comedy Fire Me — though she may have to choose between them.

"Miss Bala follows a beauty pageant contestant who witnesses a gang shooting and is subsequently kidnapped and forced to work for the gang in the drug trade. Gerardo Naranjo directed the original film, which received a foreign language Oscar nomination.

"Fire Me marks the feature directorial debut of Ryan Case, the Emmy-winning editor and director of Modern Family. Ben Still’s Red Hour Films is producing the movie, which is inspired by the Libby Malin novel, and is said to be similar in tone to the 1980 comedy 9 to 5.

"Sources say that the two projects are scheduled to shoot around the same time, so it would be difficult for Rodriguez to do both, though Sony sees Miss Bala as a potential franchise starter, which could give it an edge.

"In any event, the star of the hit CW series Jane the Virgin is making time in her busy schedule to voice Carmen Sandiego, which is based on the iconic video game series Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and the subsequent TV show of the same name, which starred Lynne Thigpen as 'The Chief.'

"Insiders say that Netflix has ordered 20 episodes of the series, which aims to be as educational as it is entertaining, given the title character’s globetrotting adventures.

"Interestingly enough, the two studios duking it out for Rodriguez’s next live-action feature slot both have animated films coming out later this year that feature the actress. She voices Mary in Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, which will light up theaters in November, and she voices Una in Twentieth Century Fox Animation’s Ferdinand, which gallops into theaters the following month.

"Rodriguez recently starred opposite Mark Wahlberg in Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon, and she’ll next be seen alongside Natalie Portman in Alex Garland’s sci-fi movie Annihilation, which debuted footage at CinemaCon that looked absolutely incredible. With a fall release planned, you shouldn’t have to wait too much longer for Paramount to unveil that trailer."