Saturday, September 29, 2012

What I Watched: Fringe Premiere, Haven, & More

Fringe, "Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11 (EP501)" - Well. Fringe's final season is off to quite a start, and while part of me misses the "old" show - and I'd give a lot for a season covering 2012-2015 - I'm really glad that they're getting the chance to wrap things up the way they wanted, and fascinated by this new world. I'm the first to admit that I'm pretty much over dystopic stories in general, but I was very impressed by the world-building in this episode. And, as usual, the show managed a great blend of big plot with quiet character moments, though if the Bishops aren't back together by the finale, I will probably never forgive the people who convinced me to watch this show. But regardless of that, the four Bishops and Astrid working together makes me so freaking happy. I want Nina and Broyles back, though!

Haven, "Stay (EP302)" - After the great finale and premiere, I thought this second episode was a bit of a letdown. Too much monster-of-the-week, not enough mythology and character stuff. (And I don't have a problem with monster-of-the-week on this show; I just thought the balance felt off.) And I was annoyed by the way it looked at the end as though Audrey was going to use the information from Duke to distance herself from Nathan. I've never really bought this love triangle; I think Duke and Nathan's relationship is fascinating, but the tension/flirtation between Duke and Audrey always seemed forced, and Nathan and Audrey have amazing chemistry, care deeply about each other, and are compatible in practical ways, so I'm not convinced that she'd be looking elsewhere anyway.

Also: More LA Complex. Beth is driving me nuts, but she's really young, and I'm still surprisingly sympathetic to everyone else.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Distraction: Sesame Street Musical Parodies

Unfortunately, they've disabled embedding on this, but it's absolutely worth your time: Head over to Entertainment Weekly to watch Cookie Monster and Grover do musical parodies of current pop culture including The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Doctor Who, and The Newsroom. Seriously. Grover is the Doctor. Cookie Monster is Will McAvoy. IT'S INCREDIBLE.

Music Break: "For Once in My Life"

Fringe is back tonight. That is all.

What I Watched: Elementary & Scandal Premieres & More

Elementary, "Pilot (EP101)" - My post about this will be up at TheTelevixen tonight, but a few quick thoughts: I love the casting, and the idea of having a Watson who is female and a person of color. And so far, I like the way both of those portrayals and their dynamic is playing out. I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan but not a purist, so I like the premise. I thought the case itself was not great, but I'm generally willing to let that go if I like the characters.

Scandal, "White Hats Off (EP201)" - I'm torn about this whole Quinn thing, because on the one hand, I want to know why Olivia was involved and what the rest of the story is, because there must be more, as it doesn't make any sense the way it is. On the other hand, I don't really care that much about Quinn and am much more interested in the political stories. So I'm curious to see where the season goes. I loved Fitz in this episode; I think he's one of the more believable and compelling examples of the "great but hugely flawed politician" role that seems to be cropping up on TV a lot lately.

Last Resort, "Captain (EP101)" - I posted this link before, I think, but since the pilot actually aired last night, here's my review. To sum up: I thought the pilot was great but am not convinced that the premise will work as a long-running series.

I've also been catching up on The LA Complex. It's amazing how a show can have so many of its characters make such consistently awful life choices and still have me feeling mostly sympathetic.

Why I Love Fringe

Fringe returns for its fifth and final season tonight, and if you follow me on Twitter or have talked to me much in the last month or so, you've probably noticed that I've recently caught up and am completely obsessed. And, for me, when it comes down to it it's not really about the specifics of the plot or Joshua Jackson's coats. So I thought that in celebration of the show's return, I'd tell you the three main things that make me love it so much.

1. The continuity (and foreshadowing). My God, the continuity. The plot is extremely complicated, and the writers are extremely careful. Given the way many simpler shows can't seem to keep their own details and timelines straight, the way the Fringe writers have made this all work is nothing short of astonishing. They should be teaching classes. And tiny things, sometimes things that seem to be throwaway lines, from early seasons come back in extremely meaningful ways later. I already can't wait to rewatch the whole series to catch things I didn't notice.

2. The acting. I won't tell you specifics, in case I'm actually convincing any of you to watch, but several of the actors have had to play different versions of their characters over the course of the series, and they've all done a really good job. There's a particular couple who plays the actual day-to-day couple stuff (which is harder to do well than the early flirting/sexual tension stuff, I think) more believably than anyone other than maybe Peter and El on White Collar. And I don't usually go around ranting about how my favorites should be rewarded at awards shows, but SERIOUSLY WHY DOESN'T JOHN NOBLE HAVE ALL THE EMMYS?

3. It makes me think and care. Too often, "smart" shows leave the viewer feeling somewhat distanced from the characters and their concerns, and shows that excel at tugging on the heartstrings aren't necessarily intellectually engaging. Most shows at their best alternate between plays for the viewer's head and heart. Fringe is the only one I can think of that melds this perfectly, so that the thought-provoking sciencey bits are also the things that very directly affect the lives and loves and fates of the characters they make us care about so much.

If I've gotten you at all interested, well, do not jump in with the fifth season premiere tonight. Start at the beginning. Trust me, it's worth it. Amazon Prime members can stream the first three seasons for free, and Netflix has the first four seasons on DVD.

Morning Coffee (9/28/12)

Recently at TheTelevixen: I have a feature with Bree Williamson about her new role on Haven (starting tonight!). And I did not like The Neighbors.

This article about a high school female quarterback is pretty heartwarming if you can avoid thinking about how football may be permanently damaging these kids.

They're making a movie of Girls Like Us (about Joni Mitchell/Carly Simon/Carole King)! With Taylor Swift! I... I'm cautiously optimistic.

This liveblog of the Vogue September issue made me actually want to buy it, so there's that. But hmm, is it off newsstands by now? Not sure.

Rebecca update: Things look promising.

June Thomas points out that decent procedurals are actually pretty brilliant.

Is this the real James Bond?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Music Break: "Begin Again"

MORE NEW TAYLOR. It's an embarrassment of riches, lately.

What I Watched: The Neighbors Premiere & More

The Neighbors, "Pilot (EP101)" - This . . . this was bad. It was relatively inoffensive, at least compared to other recent bad sitcoms, but it was bad. And I'm not just saying that because of the premise - I would totally watch a well-written comedy about aliens stranded in suburbia. But this . . . is not that. (My Pilot Perception post will be up at TheTelevixen tonight.)

Guys With Kids, "Chris' New Girlfriend (EP102)" - I don't think this is going to become my new favorite show or anything, but I continue to find it pleasant and full of adorable babies. Perfect for watching while multitasking, and frankly, I need some shows like that. And I have to admit that it made me laugh out loud again.

Revenge, "The First Chapter" - I found this recap show delightful, because a) it was narrated by and told from Nolan's point of view and b) a lot happens on this show so I didn't mind the refresher.

I also caught up on the last few episodes of Copper, which I am liking but maybe not loving. I certainly like it enough to watch, but I don't have tons to say about each episode. Although I like that they're focusing on characters from a range of backgrounds in theory, on an episode-to-episode basis it feels like they're spreading themselves too thin, and I have trouble getting invested in any of the stories.

Morning Coffee (9/27/12)

Last Resort premieres tonight, and I loved the pilot, though I'm not sure how it will work as a series.

And from late last night, my recap of the season premiere of Haven.

J.K. Rowling's new book comes out today. Lev Grossman loved it, which is enough for me.

This pan of The Words is amazing.

If you're concerned about the last season of Fringe, this should be a bit reassuring.

CBGB pictures! Lots of Stana Katic - yay - but no Bradley Whitford.

Jeffrey Eugenides should just stop talking.

Love this: The Queen bought Andy Warhol prints of herself.

Britain and Canada are sharing embassies.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Music Break: "Ronan"

Taylor Swift wrote this song about a little boy who died of cancer, and debuted it for Stand Up to Cancer recently. Honestly, I'm always skeptical of "issue" songs like this, but I was surprised by how much I liked it. And, of course, it made me cry. You can get the single on iTunes, where proceeds go to charity.

What I Watched: Vegas Premiere, Revolution, & More

Vegas, "Pilot (EP101)" - This was rough in places, but the premise (clash between the law and the mob in 1960s Vegas) and the stars (Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, Jason O'Mara) are enough to make me pretty enthusiastic and hopeful anyway. My surprise favorite character was the female ADA. You can read my pilot review at TheTelevixen.

Revolution, "Chained Heat (EP102)" - Ehhh. As I said on Twitter last night, I think there are probably some very interesting stories happening in the world of this show. I'm just not convinced they're actually going to let us see them. The young lead tends to be... the opposite of compelling. I'm way more interested in the political and technological issues than in her search for her brother. That said, I could watch Long-Suffering Billy Burke Deals With Annoying Teenagers forever. And, of course, the reveal at the end of the episode was rather intriguing. So I'm still not sold on this, but I'm still watching.

Go On, "Bench-Clearing Bawl (EP104)" - Julie White's Anne was definitely the breakout of this episode, and I hope we see more of her. I almost said "I sort of wish she were the lead," but let's face it: I find Matt Perry's standard mix of narcissism and vulnerability to be infinitely charming.

The New Normal, "Obama Mama (EP104)" - It's becoming clear that, as suspected, this show is one long Very Special Episode, and we're going to be hit over the head with Important Lessons every week, but . . . I still like it. For now. We'll see.

Bomb Girls, "How You Trust (EP103)" - This episode brought various of the girls' personal problems and conflicts front and center, while never losing the historical grounding or the sharpness of the ethnicity/class conflicts. I'm glad that Gladys, Kate, and Betty are getting to be friends, and this was the first episode that made me really feel I wanted to spend more time with them as characters rather than symbols or examples. And Marco (and his mother)! Oh, Marco.

So, about that Fringe promo.

First, dear Lord, look at this thing. It looks like a movie. And has made me both really excited and really concerned about this season.

But second, I'm not the only one seeing echoes of LBJ at the beginning here, right?

And not to co-opt actual history for the purposes of television or anything, but the words work, too: "These are the stakes! To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die." And that, of course, conjures Auden's "September 1, 1939" (and I doubt the Nazi-like uniforms are a coincidence):
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
Just saying: I think we're in for a lot this season.

A word about spoilers

The fall season is getting going, which means that spoiler alert madness is again out of control. (Yesterday a friend was yelled at for spoiling something that happened in a previous season of a show.) My basic philosophy is Read at Your Own Risk; I think if we start trying to bend over backwards to keep hidden anything anyone might not have seen, it gets very ridiculous very quickly. But I also think that not spoiling things until they've at least aired on the west coast is just basic decency. Yes, I'm looking at you, people who were running around spoiling Sons of Anarchy last night.

So, just so this is clear: On Twitter, I won't mention spoilers until at least the next day. (I may mention non-spoilering things, of course, but in general I try to avoid livetweeting shows.) In my What I Watched posts here, most regular plot is fair game, but I'll put a spoiler alert for big things (major character death, etc.). In any other posts, assume anything that has already aired is fair game, and I'll try to remember to mention any shows that will come up at the top of the post so you aren't surprised by thinking you're reading about one show you're current on and then coming across something about about a different show.

That all seem fair?

Morning Coffee (9/26/12)

More pilot reviews: I liked Vegas. I did not like Partners.

Make sure you read Price Peterson's Emmy recap.

This is . . . quite a headline: Marriage Survives a Decapitation

1,000-year-old village found in Philippines

Interesting: New York Public Library Shifts Plan for 5th Ave. Building

Huh! A restaurant in the Magic Kingdom will serve alcohol for the first time.

Oh, Wales.

Edwin P. Wilson was fascinating.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What I Watched: HIMYM & Castle Premieres & More

How I Met Your Mother, "Farhampton (EP801)" - Can I tell you how much I do not care about Quinn OR Victoria? So I'm not so invested in . . . a good deal of this, I guess. THAT SAID, I am very invested in Robin and Barney, and now that we have confirmation that they will get married, I'm willing to be patient to see how it plays out. And I still love Marshall and Lily, and would like to see more of adorable baby Marvin, please. I no longer care much about stupid Ted and the stupid mother, but yay for progress on that front, anyway. Oh, and Barney's 60-second summary of the whole plot was the best thing ever. As was his storage unit.

Castle, "After the Storm (EP501)" - I loved this premiere, especially how adorable Castle and Beckett were together and how honest they were with each other. I'm very excited about this season going forward. My full recap will be up soon at TheTelevixen.

Bones, "The Partners in the Divorce (EP802)" - And on the flip side of what I just said about Castle, I loved that everything WASN'T happy and adorable on Bones. Booth and Brennan are actually fighting and confronting their problems and I love it. I've always liked this show, and them, but I've been feeling way less invested in it recently, and these first two episodes of the season have gotten me back on board.

Partners, "Pilot (EP101)" - My goodness, this was AWFUL. I don't think I smiled once. I know I didn't laugh. Review up tonight or tomorrow at TheTelevixen.

The Mob Doctor, "Family Secrets (EP102)" - I'm actually really enjoying this one, not that that's going to do me any good, since it will presumably be cancelled at any moment.

Major Crimes, "The Shame Game (EP107)" - I started watching this show purely because I love Mary McDonnell, but it's become very solid. I can't say I tend to care very much about the cases of the week, and this episode was no exception there, but the team dynamic is fascinating and I love the Rusty story.

Morning Coffee (9/25/12)

My reviews of tonight's FOX comedy premieres: Ben and Kate (which I liked) and The Mindy Project (which I did not).

Did blowing into Nintendo cartridges actually work?

Philip Pullman is publishing a Grimm retelling. Interesting.

Collision of interests alert: Matt Bomer was cast in the adaptation of A Winter's Tale (the book wee Olivia was reading in "Subject 13") from Fringe writer/producer Akiva Goldsman.

Emmy winners say the darndest things. Make sure you get to the Damian Lewis slide.

Remember Forest Boy? He disappeared.

Oooh, a missing Turner was found.

Court order via Twitter? Interesting.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cabin in the Woods Gag Reel

This suffers from a distinct lack of Bradley Whitford, but is otherwise fun.

The Cabin in the Woods Behind the Scenes Exclusive Blu-ray Clip

TrailerParkToo | Myspace Video

Midsomer Murders Adds Asian Characters

Last year, the creator of British crime show Midsomer Murders was forced to resign after he said he would never cast people of color or other minorities on the show because that wouldn't be "British" enough. So now, a promising update: they're adding characters who are a father and daughter of Asian descent. Progress! (I still haven't actually watched this show, but from what I've heard, it's enjoyable, so I'm happy to hear this.)

What I Watched Returns: Emmys!

Well, today's the big day: premieres have been trickling in for a while now, but today is the official start of the fall TV season. And so, by semi-popular demand, my What I Watched feature is back. I felt like it was getting repetitive last time, so this go-round I will concentrate on saying a few things about the most interesting/current things I watched the night before, and just very quick takes on other things. Hopefully that will keep it from getting monotonous.

Last night, though, I just watched the Emmy awards; you can read my liveblog here. The show (and fashion) was fine but fairly underwhelming. Modern Family won everything, again, of course. But, you know, yay Maggie Smith? And now I'm even more excited about catching up on Homeland.

Morning Coffee (9/24/12)

Castle and HIMYM both come back tonight! Whee! Last night was the Emmys and you can read my liveblog here.

Oooh: Breaking Amish scandal!

I hope the Rebecca Broadway show actually happens, because I want to see it.

All 32 NFL Quarterbacks & Their Muppet Doppelgangers

Putin’s Russia Hits the ‘Clear’ Button on the Medvedev Era

Helen Mirren is playing the Queen again.

Found in Germany after 70 years: the lost Lancaster Bomber crew

Greenland is pretty

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Emmy Awards Liveblog!

For those of you who have enjoyed my awards show blogs in the past: This year I'm live-blogging over at, so please come join me!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Trailer: You May Not Kiss the Bride

Well, okay, this looks pretty dumb and ridiculous. But . . . I kind of want to see it? I may have Dave Annable issues. (It actually looks like it would make a non-awful Burn Notice case of the week. But, alas, it's a . . . romantic comedy? I guess?)

Trailer: Greetings from Tim Buckley

He . . . he might actually pull this off. Wow.

Incredible West Wing Reunion Video

I'm feeling pretty clever, because when word of the West Wing cast getting together to film a PSA leaked a while ago, my immediate response was "I bet it's for Mary McCormack's sister!" And yup! It's an incredible ad for remembering to vote in non-partisan races in general and for Bridget Mary McCormack in particular.

I somehow kept a straight face until "Is this apocalypse now?" and "Read the message boards."

Morning Coffee (9/21/12)


Before tonight's Haven premiere, read my feature with the cast: Haven Stars Talk Troubles, Timeslots & Triangles

The new release date for The Great Gatsby is May 10.

Interesting: For Young Jews, a Service Says, ‘Please, Do Text’

Real ale revival sees most breweries in Britain since the war

Stop killing reindeer while you're snow-kiting (??). Santa is displeased.

Ooh, new Demotic Egyptian dictionary!

Massive Luftwaffe plane wreck 'found off Sardinian coast'

I need to try making refrigerator jam.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Music Break: Hanson Covers Taylor Swift


More Revolution Skepticism

As I wrote over at TheTelevixen, I found the pilot of Revolution moderately enjoyable, but have serious concerns about the basic premise and whether there will be any satisfying payoff. And now the show's creator, Eric Kripke, is saying things in interviews that I do not find reassuring: How important is finding out why the power went off?
Eric: It's a potentially controversial thing for me to say, but it's not that important. It's not that I'm not interested, but there are other things that are way more interesting. It was 15 years ago, and I don't know how much you're sweating what happened in 1987, but I'm not obsessed with it. While I know the answer, why the lights went out isn't nearly as important to me as to how they turn the power back on.
Um. NO. Not acceptable. No one I've talked to, or whose reviews I've read, has come up with any coherent theory as to what made the power go out - and especially why a) things like steam engines are also not working and b) people can't take books and previous knowledge and reinvent things. That makes me assume that there was some sort of change in the laws of physics, rather than an event that disabled all devices . . . but then, that doesn't allow for the fact that some people can apparently secretly use a little electricity. And yes, I want to know why this is all happening. If I thought the showrunners had a solid plan to unravel this mystery slowly for narrative reasons, that would be one thing, and I'd be more willing to give them some time. But instead, it feels like Kripke came up with this nonsense universe in which he wanted to set things, without putting much effort into the causes of his effects, and is asking us to just accept his lack of coherent world-building on faith. And the show will have to get very good very quickly in order for me to make that leap.

Trailer: A Late Quartet

String quartet drama! String quartet drama.

Trailer: Beautiful Creatures


Morning Coffee (9/20/12)

I don't necessarily agree with every word here, but it's a must-read: The Internet, Fan Culture, and Creators: A Blessing We Shouldn't Turn Into a Curse. Specifically, I don't think Moffat is the best example, because he does deliberately say things to get fans riled up. I'm personally more concerned about the showrunners who are consistently nice and thoughtful toward fans and still get death threats.

TV Show Titles by Gender: 1982 vs. 2012

Today in controversial restorations/makeovers: Macy's.

I want this to be a plot on Borgen, especially given Kasper's decision at the end of season two: Danish nurseries offer free childcare so parents can make more babies.

Ooh, fascinating: Stasi files: The world's biggest jigsaw puzzle

To go along with all the recent Richard III news, the BBC gives us a rundown of missing kings. And Oliver Cromwell, who probably would not be thrilled to be on that list.

Defying Parents, Some Pakistani Women Risk All to Marry Whom They Choose

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bones Premiere Music Break: "Ho Hey"

A few people have asked me about the song playing over the closing montage of the Bones season premiere, so! After extensive research that consisted entirely of IMing "Hey, what was that song?" to my friend Marisa, I can completely non-exclusively tell you that the song is "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers, from their eponymous album released earlier this year. Here it is.

Trailer: Song for Marion

I feel like we've pretty much reached our quota of "adorable elderly choir" movies in the past several years - or maybe there have only been one or two and I just feel like there are a lot - but the cast of this one makes it worth a look: Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Eccleston, Gemma Arterton.

First Look at Graceland

USA Network released an extended look at new show Graceland yesterday, and WOW. I cannot wait. It's from Jeff Eastin, the creator/showrunner of White Collar, though it's supposed to be slightly darker and more adult than that show. It's about undercover agents from a bunch of different federal agencies living together in a house in California. And the stars include Aaron Tveit (Trip van der Bilt!) and Daniel Sunjata (Ranger!). SO EXCITED.

Morning Coffee (9/19/12)

This is a little old, but I came across it yesterday and it's so true: Guilty Pleasure Confession: I Love Nora Roberts

Fascinating: Restoring the Walls, and the History, at Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair

Are TV Time Slots Now Completely Irrelevant? Um, I WISH, because then I'd spend a lot less time constructing my DVR's schedule.

Dark energy camera snaps first images ahead of survey

Obviously accidents are bad, but this made me giggle: Distracted motorists have most accidents passing Stonehenge

Heh: State school pupils turned off Oxbridge by dramas such as Morse and The History Boys

The new Mumford & Sons album has a song with a line from Wolf Hall, as though I didn't like them enough already.

Spain's Economy Sends City Residents Back to the Country

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trailer: Dorothy of Oz

I . . . huh. I'm not sure how to feel about this. It actually looks better than I expected, and some of those voice actors are really quite good. Also, kudos to them for coming up with a SHORT official hashtag. (#DOZ)

White Collar Summer Finale Tonight!

I've seen it, and it's awesome. Here's why. Really, you don't want to miss this one.
1. I don’t want to get into hyperbole here, but the final twist really will change Neal’s life forever. As Jeff Eastin told reporters last week (more from that conversation soon!), he prefers to end on still, quiet notes that nevertheless pack an emotional wallop, and he definitely achieves that here.

TV Recommendation: Bomb Girls

Canadian show Bomb Girls quietly premiered on Reelz Channel last week, and I highly recommend that fans of historical drama check it out. It follows the lives of women working in a munitions factory during World War II, and like almost all good historical fiction, it takes place at a time of great social change and illuminates the way big historical events affected people's everyday lives. The war itself provides overarching tension - the women all have sons and brothers and husbands over there - and it looks like the show will take an interesting look at issues of class and ethnicity in addition to the individual personal dramas. Some of the writing in the pilot was a bit heavy-handed, but overall, I enjoyed it a lot and am looking forward to more.

Bomb Girls | Movie Trailer | Review

Reelz is rerunning the pilot at nine tonight before the second episode airs at ten. Give it a try!

Morning Coffee (9/18/12)

Confession: I didn't hate The Mob Doctor.

This very honest interview with Penn Badgley is incredible.

Delightful: The 25 Magic Words of American Television. I may have mentally written most of a pilot for Mob Cupcake after reading that.

Searching Scotland for the Ultimate Barrel of Whisky

In which Rupert Everett is infuriatingly horrible about gay parents.

Interesting read: Angela Merkel's austerity postergirl, the thrifty Swabian housewife

A must-read about the conservative search for voter fraud

Huh, it turns out the Cutty Sark restoration is controversial.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Trailer: The Oranges

This cast. Oh my God, THIS CAST. I cannot wait.

Trailer: Wuthering Heights

I had entirely forgotten this movie was evening happening, and while my Bronte preferences come down on the Jane Eyre side of things (and - confession - I've never actually made it the whole way through Wuthering Heights), I am very interested in the choice to finally use actors of color to play Heathcliff, breaking with the whitewashing tradition of (quite fine! not their fault!) actors like Tom Hardy and Ralph Fiennes and Peter Davison and Laurence Olivier. Brava, Andrea Arnold. Maybe I'll even manage to read the book.

Morning Coffee (9/17/12)

Revolution premieres tonight. My feelings are mixed.

Bones also comes back tonight, which means I have to face the fact that the fall TV season is starting and I am ALREADY SO BEHIND.

Star Trek cookie cutters! Want.

Renoir found at flea market

Your Monday needs some prize-winning giant vegetables, right? Right.

Via my friend Caitlin, these vintage ads for libraries and reading are amazing.

Formula One safety pioneer Sid Watkins has died.

Rahm would like you to know that he does not actually like Nickelback.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tonight: The Crimson Petal and the White

Encore is airing their miniseries The Crimson Petal and the White tonight, and I know Sunday nights are busy TV nights, but fans of historical drama may want to check this out. It's based on the very popular novel about Victorian England, which I've actually never read, so I was going into this more or less blind. (Though now I certainly want to read the book.) A warning: It's well-made, but it's not . . . fun. It's a fascinating, thoroughly depressing look at Victorian sex, power (financial, psychological, etc.), madness, abuse, and the often desperate ways women found to deal with their severely limited world and options. The cast is phenomenal: Romola Garai, Chris O'Dowd, Amanda Hale, Shirley Henderson, Gillian Anderson, Mark Gatiss, and more. Again - this is no light costume drama, at all, but it's worth a watch.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Morning Coffee (9/14/12)

IT'S FINALLY FRIDAY. I don't have a ton for you today, because gosh, it's been . . . a week. But what I do have is awesome. Ready?

Cougar Town is coming back on January 8, and you really want to watch this amazing music video the cast made to celebrate its return.

I took part in this fun roundtable interview about The Vampire Diaries and the upcoming season.

And what your Friday really needs: Can you get through this post without squealing?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bunheads Season One Recaps

After a slight delay (sorry!), my full set of Bunheads season one recaps is up at This was such a weird show, but I think I like it, but . . . gosh, I just don't know. I keep trying to start writing some sort of end-of-season evaluation, but I still can't decide how I feel about it overall. Hmmm.

Morning Coffee (9/12/12)

Hey Castle fans, check out some pictures from the season premiere.

Lionsgate will distribute Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing.

Here's Taylor Swift's new song, for Stand Up to Cancer.

The Weatherman Is Not a Moron

The saga of Hollande's personal life is pretty fascinating.

CBS will be shifting its Sunday schedule to accommodate football.

A Civil War shipwreck washed up in Alabama.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Recommendation: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

One of my favorite books of the year - one of my favorite books in general, really - is finally out today: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. I liked it so much that I reviewed it on GoodReads, which is something I basically never do. Here's what I said:
This book was completely delightful. I laughed, I cried, I sent the author irrational emails in the middle of the night calling her horrible names . . . but in a good way! Because she created these characters and made me care about them so much and then messed up their lives in such deviously brilliant, awful, perfect ways . . .

Well, let me back up. In case you have not heard, Unspoken is the first in the Lynburn Legacy series about an awesome girl reporter, her imaginary friend who just might be a real boy, and their friends(...ish), banding together to figure out what they heck is happening in their sleepy little British village and how they and their families are involved in it. There's mystery and suspense and magic and romance and family secrets and friendship and a Gothic manor and creepy woods and a no-nonsense heroine and a hero with All The Feelings and basically everything you could want in a book.
You should read it. You really really should. Yes, you. Want to win a copy? Check out this Tumblr contest. Already bought a copy? Check out this Tumblr contest.

Morning Coffee (9/11/12)

Hey look, the Booker shortlist.

Libraries in pay phones?

There is a Sarah Lund jumper pattern coming. I would totally buy a book of patterns based on the American The Killing, too.

Aww: Mars rover captures self-portrait

Ralph Lauren is making Downton Abbey ads.

Mayim Bialik liveblogs her Emmy dress fitting

Laptop designer William Moggridge has died.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Morning Coffee (9/10/12)

New show The New Normal starts tonight, and I really didn't want to like it, but I did.

Here's my TV news roundup for the week.

West Wing fans should check out Richard Schiff's new political web series Chasing the Hill.

Barack Obama and Bill Clinton's Quasi-Friendship

The Longform Guide to Football in Crisis

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Movie Trailer: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

This looks hilarrible. I cannot wait.

Morning Coffee (9/5/12)

This week is very confusing. I have no idea what day it is.

Interesting read: Obama did not change Washington. Was there a way around united Republican opposition?

This interactive graphic of how the Cameron cabinet reshuffle affects the direction of the British government is pretty nifty.

Wondering exactly how the party platforms differ? Here you go.

Here's part one of a series in which Maureen Johnson says important things about publishing and the Internet.

Bones fans: Here are some intriguing pictures from the premiere.

Roussillon: New Frontier in French Winemaking

Take a look at an early D&D prototype.

Ooh, new stuff coming to Amazon Prime streaming.

I had no idea elephant poaching was such a huge problem right now.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Here, listen to some Hal David.

Songwriter Hal David passed away over the weekend; if you don't know much about him, here's his New York Times obituary. But it would probably be more meaningful to listen to some of his music, especially his collaborations with Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick:

I saw the Promises, Promises revival on Broadway a few years ago, and Chenoweth and Hayes were quite good: