Tag Archives: television

Treasures From Across The Pond: The Best of British TV (Part One)

Happy New Year everybody! How did you all enjoy the holidays, did you have fun with the family or are you glad it’s over? I didn’t get to enjoy the holidays because I caught the flu and I was sick the entire time, which is a bummer. But I suppose it could be worse. At least it’s just the flu, right? 🙂

Of course being sick during the holidays is definitely not fun, mostly because it’s also winter hiatus for my favorite TV shows (in the exception of Chuck this year, but that’s only because it’s the final season and NBC is just anxious to get it out of the way, I suspect) and I have nothing to watch. At first I busy myself with the Binky International Film Festival, but then the series was over and I still had nothing to watch. So I did what I always do in times like this, I turn to the internet for research on great shows I haven’t had the chance to watch for various reasons (mostly because my TV schedule is already insane to begin with). I’m still not interested to give Game of Thrones a try (apologies, fans, but somehow I find epic tales like this hard to get into. I’m the only nerd who’s not into Lord of The Rings, after all), so instead I decided to try two British series that the internet have been raving about but I haven’t had time to try: Downton Abbey and Sherlock. And am I glad that I did, because even though Hollywood has churned out some of the best TV shows of all time – the Brits sure know how to make quality series. Their seasons are shorter, their lifespans are often shorter – mostly three or four seasons, only a few really popular ones get more than five – but they are often excellent series, and their quality usually remains consistent to the end.

Today and tomorrow, I want to talk about these two excellent British shows that I managed to watch during the Winter Hiatus, both of which have become my newest obsession. I’ll start with Downton Abbey, which will air its second season in the US this Sunday. If you haven’t seen this charming show, do catch up on its first season this weekend (it’s doable, there are only 7 episodes) so you can get right into the second season when it airs on Sunday. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

I have heard about the charms of hit British drama Downton Abbey for some time now, it has been talked about quite frequently on NY Magazine’s Vulture blog and twitter is quite chattery about this show as well (Patton Oswalt, Gillian Jacobs and Yvette Nicole Brown from Community even did a hilarious twitter reenactment once). But I already had a hard time trying to watch all the American shows I’m watching, I decided to just wait for the DVDs to come out. On the last week of December, while I was still coughing and sniveling non-stop, I decided to devour the first and second season in the space of a weekend, and now I’m jonesing for the new season to start. Why does British TV take such long breaks anyway? I’m sure there are Brits who watch TV as obsessively as I do?

The appeal of Downton Abbey is simple, it’s a period or “genre” drama, it’s set in the late Edwardian era, and it follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family, of the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their three grown daughters, as well as their servants (which includes a butler, valet — not the kind that parks cars–, housekeepers, footmen, housemaids, cook, kitchen maids, chauffer, etc). It’s a well-written, well-acted “upstairs/downstairs” soap opera, and it’s addictive as hell. Created by Gosford Park’s Julian Fellowes, this series was an instant hit on both sides of the Atlantic, averaging 10 million viewers in the UK (which is massive for UK TV standard, by the way) and a cool 6 million viewers in the US, which means this show – airing on PBS – has higher ratings than anything in the CW, including its hit shows like The Vampire Diaries or America’s Next Top Model. I mean, PBS isn’t exactly the cool kids channel. I don’t think people even watch PBS until Downton Abbey comes along, you know, except for the Ken Burns documentary.

After watching a few episodes of Season 1 (or Series 1, as the Brits would have it), I tweeted that this show is like Gossip Girl, if it were very well-written and steered clear of ridiculous plots. At the heart of it, Downton Abbey is very much a soap opera, something that even Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham, concurs – but unlike most soap operas that tend to be way too dramatic to a fault, Downton Abbey chooses to be more grounded, opting for historical accuracies instead of wildly unbelievable plots that most soaps are known for. Even their slightly unbelievable plot, the one where a Turkish diplomat dies while having sex with Lady Mary, turns out to be a true story, according to its creator and writer Julian Fellowes. A soap opera that show self-restrained in the ridiculous department is very, very rare, and that’s why Downton Abbey is as popular as it is both in the UK and US: this is what we TV viewers have been craving for all this time.

Of course another appeal of this show is that it’s also very, very entertaining. My favorite character is Lady Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by the one and only Dame Maggie Smith, naturally. Not only does she have the best lines (her infamous one is of course, “What is a weekend?”), she’s also hysterical without trying too hard. No wonder Maggie Smith nabbed the Best Supporting Actress in A Mini Series last year, she is definitely the best thing about this show that’s already full of so many wonderful things.

The second season was criticized in the UK for being too soap-y and overly dramatic but seriously, in my opinion, it’s still excellent. Don’t listen to them haters. Yes, it is a bit more dramatic and soap-y than the first season. And there are several plots that veered a little too much on the dramatic side, but so what? Even when Grey’s Anatomy was still good (first and second season), it’s way more soap-y and dramatic than this show ever could be. And the second season was worth the watch if only for the romances! From the angst-y “will you two just get together already?” entanglement of Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley to the sweet but problematic romance of Mr. Bates and Anna, there is no shortage of squee worthy moments in season two, and let’s face it, those moments are the reason why we love television in the first place, right?

UK viewers and those of us who don’t live in the UK but have gotten hold of the second season through wildly nefarious means will have to wait with bated breath for the third (and possibly final) season set to premiere some time in October (or is it November? Not sure) this year, which means we have to suffer withdrawal for at least ten months before we get our fix again. But if you live in the US, I highly recommend you turn on PBS this Sunday night and watch the second season. Better yet, follow comedian Patton Oswalt on twitter (@pattonoswalt) and watch it with him. He promises to live-tweet the episode this Sunday. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

I’ll see you back here tomorrow for my review of another delightful (and popular) British series, Sherlock. Until then!

xoxo

Binky Bee

Golden Globes Nominations: Stars In Their Eyes

The Golden Globes nominations are in, and it’s a doozy, you guys. On one hand, there are some categories that are so great, I can’t even choose my favorite. On the other, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association continues to be crazy by snubbing the greats such as Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation and Melissa McCarthy and continuing to nominate Glee (do they even watch this season, or are they stuck in season 1?) and nominating Ryan Gosling twice but neither for Drive. Not to mention, they’re continuing the tradition of what NY Magazine’s Vulture blog calls “Random Piper Perabo Nomination”, in which a random actress starring in a new USA Network show somehow gets a Best Actress Drama nod. This year the honor goes to Callie Thorne. I’m guessing Gabrielle Anwar’s agent forgot to get on that?

But despite the doozy-ness of this year’s nominations, the HFPA does assure us of two things: it’ll be an interesting red carpet what with the hottest stars in Hollywood all getting nominated (Clooney, Gosling, Pitt, Jolie, Theron, DiCaprio…) and we’ll have an even more interesting ceremony what with Ricky Gervais hosting (again!) and ready to insult and offend those glittering A-listers. So in a way, I can’t hate on them for their glaring snubs. Good job, HFPA!

Alright. Now let’s get straight to the nominees. This year, I’ll only be picking My Favorites (see the SAG Nominations post below) instead of the usual “Who I Think Will Win” and “Who I Want To Win” because the old format is just too much work. 🙂 Besides, my predictions tend to be wrong anyway. I’d make the worst psychic in the world.

Well let’s not waste any more time and dive in!

MOTION PICTURE

Best Picture, Comedy/Musical:

The Artist
Bridesmaids
Midnight in Paris

My Week with Marilyn
50/50

My Favorite: Now this is one of those categories that I mentioned above, that almost all the nominees are so great and so well deserving of the nods that I can’t choose a favorite! I haven’t seen The Artist and My Week With Marilyn (that’s a “Comedy”?) but Bridesmaids, Midnight In Paris and 50/50 were all so amazing in different ways and choosing between them is like choosing which one of my imaginary children is my favorite. It’s impossible! So I’m not going to choose, and instead just hope that The Artist isn’t going to beat them all (though it probably will).

Winner: The Artist

Best Picture, Drama:

The Help
The Descendants
Hugo
The Ides of March
Moneyball
Warhorse

My Favorite: Okay, this is hard because out of all the movies nominated, I’ve only seen The Help and The Ides of March. So I can’t really make an objective assessment. And I know a lot of people hate The Ides of March, but I actually like it. Maybe it’s the Clooney/Gosling of it all, or maybe it’s because of my lack of understanding of politics in general, but I enjoyed that movie very much. Since I’m not sure which to choose, I decided to go with the movie I haven’t seen but critics raved about and written by the Dean of my favorite fictional Community college Dean Pelton Jim Rash, The Descendants. And if it wins, Clooney will get up on stage too, so win-win, right?

Winner: The Descendants

Best Actress, Comedy:

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Kate Winslet, Carnage
Jodie Foster, Carnage

My Favorite: This category is the worst for me because I’ve only seen Bridesmaids and thus can only choose Kristen Wiig because I don’t know how good everyone else was in their respective movies. I have a feeling that it’ll go to Charlize Theron though, she’s always been a go-to choice for HFPA.

Winner: Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Best Actor, Comedy

Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love

My Favorite: The HFPA is so cruel for making me choose between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ryan Gosling. They’re my imaginary boyfriends, I love them equally! However, despite enjoying Gosling’s performance in Crazy, Stupid, Love (and that glorious, glorious abs), I was crying and laughing the whole time during 50/50, and it’s all because of Joseph Gordon Levitt’s heartbreaking performance, so I’m sorry, Gosling, but I’m going to give it to Gordon-Levitt. Hey, it rhymes! (Also, Jean Dujardin will probably best them both)

Winner: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Actress, Drama:

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

My Favorite: Well, this is easy. I’ve chosen  Viola Davis as my favorite to win the SAG Awards, so I guess now I’m going to choose Tilda Swinton. Though seeing that both are up against Merryl Streep, I’m guessing it wouldn’t matter. That woman almost never loses, the HFPA LOVES them some Streep!

Winner: Merryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Actor, Drama:

George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Michael Fassbender, Shame

My Favorite: Okay, this is also the category that leaves me torn because you know my love and devotion to both George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. I can’t choose between them. I want to be wedged between them. And add some Michael Fassbender in that sexy man-sandwich while I’m at it. No, seriously though, I heard Clooney was all shades of amazing in The Descendants, I thought Ryan Gosling was great in The Ides of March and practically every critic I know raved about Fassbender’s raw and naked (both figuratively and literally) performance in Shame. So really. How can a girl choose? I’ll be happy if it goes to either one of them. Sorry Pitt and Leo!

Winner: My perennial fantasy boyfriend George Clooney for The Descendants, of course!

Best Director:

Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
George Clooney, Ides of March
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

My Favorite: I’ve been a huge fan of Woody Allen movies since I first saw Annie Hall a million years ago so despite the incredible lineup, he’s my favorite to win. And that is all.

Winner: Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Supporting Actress:

Octavia Spencer, The Help
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

My Favorite: I really need to see The Descendants one of these days because that girl from that awfulsome ABC Family show Secret Life Of An American Teenager, Shailene Woodley, actually got nominated here and from what I read in various blogs and publications, it was well-deserved. It really makes me curious because she wasn’t at all impressive in American Teenager, but I guess it’s because the materials she had to work with weren’t all that great to begin with. Anyway! The only movie I’ve seen in this category is The Help so I guess Octavia Spencer is my favorite. Chastain was great too, but Spencer is pretty amazing!

Winner: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Supporting Actor:

Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method

My Favorite: Duh, Albert Brooks, simply because Drive is my favorite movie of 2011. And he was pretty awesome in it!

WINNER: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

TELEVISION

TV Series, Drama:

American Horror Story
Boardwalk Empire
Boss
Game of Thrones
Homeland

My Favorite: No doubt, Homeland. I love American Horror Story like Tate Langdon loves his gimp suit, but Homeland has all the makings of an award-winning show. It is so well-written and brilliantly acted, it’s the best new show this year.

Winner: Homeland

TV Series, Comedy:

Enlightened
Episodes
Glee
Modern Family
New Girl

My Favorite: Despite not loving the fact that Glee is nominated again even though they so don’t deserve it this year, I have to praise the HFPA for nominating the brilliant but highly underrated Laura Dern comedy Enlightened. It’s about time that little show gets some love! And so, even though it may probably lose to Modern Family, or even worse, Glee, it’s still my favorite to win.

Winner: Modern Family

TV Actress, Comedy:

Laura Dern, Enlightened
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

My Favorite: I’m like so in love with Amy Poehler right now and ecstatic that even though Parks and Recreation got snubbed again, she got the nomination she so rightly deserved. So yeah, Poehler FTW! However, considering the mass (but polarizing, I admit) appeal of Zooey Deschanel, she may actually take home the Globe this year!

WINNER: Laura Dern, Enlightened

TV Actress, Drama:

Claire Danes, Homeland
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Madeleine Stowe, Revenge
Callie Thorne, Necessary Roughness

My Favorite: Claire Danes, of course! She’s just phenomenal as Bipolar but brilliant CIA analyst Carrie Mathison and she deserves all the accolades she can get her hands on!

Winner: Claire Danes, Homeland

TV Actor, Drama:

Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Kelsey Grammar, Boss
Jeremy Irons, The Borgias
Damian Lewis, Homeland

My Favorite: Oooh I want to say Bryan Cranston so bad because he is amazing in Breaking Bad and the show was so unjustly snubbed, I feel like he needs to win to make it alright. However, at the end of the day my heart is with Damian Lewis, whose portrayal of Sgt. Nicholas Brody, returning POW turned terrorist, gave a whole new meaning to the word brilliant. But if either of them wins, I’m a happy camper.

Winner: Kelsey Grammar, Boss

TV Actor, Comedy

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
David Duchovny, Californication
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Thomas Jane, Hung
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

My Favorite: Matt LeBlanc. He was really funny in Episodes, his character is like Joey Tribbiani playing Matt LeBlanc. And I always love actors who are game at making fun of themselves, so I say give him the award!

Winner: Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

Best Supporting Actor, TV

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail
Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
Tim Robbins, Cinema Verite
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

My Favorite: Eric Stonestreet. It’s not like I watch the others in the list. Though seeing that Guy Pierce won the Emmys last September for Mildred Pierce, he may actually win this one.

Winner: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Best Supporting Actress, TV

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce

My Favorite: Jessica Lange, no question about it. Especially after last Wednesday night’s episode. Who knew that a Ryan Murphy horror show would actually boast some of the most incredible acting that I’ve ever seen on television? It’s not just Lange who is excellent, even the relative newcomers like Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga (who’s only ever acted in one movie prior to this show) are incredible. And that goes for the slew of guest stars too such as the incomparable Zachary Quinto, Frances Conroy, Kate Mara and Lily Rabe. Mark my words, American Horror Story will be the one to watch at next year’s Emmys!

Winner: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story

And there you have it, this year’s Golden Globes nominees. Who do you think will bring home the top honors? Whose nominations are you most excited about? Whose snubs are you most bummed about? I’ll be updating this list next month after the Awards Show telecast so check back in then!

Xoxo

Binky Bee

Pilot Watch, Week Three: The Mediocre and The Mildly Entertaining

"I'm on TV" By Patrick J. Adams

Well hello there! Welcome to another week of Pilot Watch! As you know, since September marks the start of Fall 2011 Television season, I’ve been checking out the pilots for various new shows over the last couple of weeks to see if we can find our new favorite show, or be disappointed with networks in general. So far, this year has definitely been better than last year but maybe it’s only because 2010 was the most disappointing year of television ever. The new shows of Fall 2011 may not be groundbreaking television, but they’re definitely an improvement.

This week, I am reviewing two new shows that just had their premiere a few days ago: ABC’s Pan Am and Suburgatory. Yes, Fox premiered the Spielberg-produced dino series Terra Nova last Monday too but I didn’t watch it. The reason is simple, dinosaurs are just not my thing. I’m more of a future person than past when it comes to my sci-fi television. Give me aliens and robots any day! Granted, Terra Nova is more like Jurassic Park than actual pre-historic dinosaurs but still. The thing that bugged me about Jurasic Park is that this all could’ve been avoided if we all just left the past in the past. It just makes no sense to me, bringing back dinosaurs. 🙂

So anyway, now that I’ve cleared that up let’s get straight to the reviews and see whether these two ABC shows delight or disappoint. Enjoy!

1/ Pan Am, airs on ABC, Sundays, 10/9c.

Pan Am and The Playboy Club are supposed to be the Big 5 networks’ answers to Mad Men, and if you watch these shows expecting another Mad Men, well, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The Playboy Club tried really hard to be a Mad Men clone and failed miserably (though casting creeper Eddie Cibrian in a Don Draper-type role may indicate the producers don’t really want this to succeed after all), and even though new NBC Chief Bob Greenblatt is patient enough to give this flailing show a chance, expect it to die a slow death by Christmas time. While Pan Am, that just premiered last Sunday, seemed to come with a disclaimer with its pilot episode that says, “Warning: If you come here expecting Mad Men, you need to change the channel right now. But if you’re more expecting for The Love Boat in the skies, you’ve come to the right show. Welcome aboard Pan Am!”

That is not to say that I didn’t like the show, however. I actually am delighted with this one. Pan Am is the anti-Playboy Club. It doesn’t try too hard to be Mad Men, in fact, it doesn’t even try, period. Instead, it sets a more realistic goal to be, as I’ve mentioned above, The Love Boat albeit in the skies. Five minutes into the pilot, I was already thinking Love Boat (and NY Mag’s Vulture agrees with me), which actually makes me enjoy this show properly. Pan Am doesn’t try to be realistic, political, or even anything else but good soapy fun. And there’s nothing wrong with a little soap every now and then, isn’t there? 😉

Sure, some plots are laughable (like the whole CIA subplot, puh-leaze!) but if you watch this show with the same expectation as you watch Desperate Housewives (ya know, the early seasons), then these silly little ridiculous plots won’t bother you so much. Just see it as what it is: mindless escapism and sit back, relax and enjoy the flight!

Verdict: Watch It. It’s a Total Guilty Pleasure Show.

2/ Suburgatory, airs on ABC, Wednesdays, 8.30/7.30c.

Ever since Modern Family became a massive success, it’s clear that family comedy is making a comeback, and ABC tries to make it happen again this year by adding this freshman show about living in the plastic world of suburbia in its Wednesday family-friendly comedy line up. And as far as ratings go, their strategy worked. Suburgatory, while not a sensation yet, got good enough ratings to keep them in the safe zone for a while. But is it good enough to merit a “Must Watch” verdict in this review? Well, not exactly… But I have a feeling this show will improve once it has found its footings.

Suburgatory is actually pretty funny and ironic but the problem of the show is that it tries a little too hard to be ironic. The suburban satire was a little too extreme, and you gotta wonder what kind of suburban mom actually is in favor of her daughter prancing around the neighborhood in skanky mall outfits, but the jokes are quite funny, the characters are likable, especially (and I’m not just saying this because I’m a Firefly geek) Alan Tudyk, who made his glorious return to television in orange fake tan and speedos.

Sure, you kinda want to cringe when the sullen teenage daughter despises things like clean air and quiet neighborhood, but if you take a moment and realize that most teenagers despise everything their parents try to impose on them, even the good things, then you can enjoy this show for what it is, a fun tongue-in-cheek look of single parenthood and the suburban life. And really, it’s not half bad.

Verdict: Watch, But Give It Time To Find Its Bearings.

And there you go, my reviews of the two shows that premiered this past week. I’ll see you back here next week where we’ll be checking out Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story and see if the man behind Glee and Nip/Tuck can put a fun spin behind this age-old genre.

Till then!

Xoxo

Binky Bee

Binky’s 3rd Annual “Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall”

Ever since 2009, I have been posting my annual “Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall” post, a recommendation of the ten new shows that I, after an exhaustive research, think will be a hit in the coming Fall Television season. I did pretty well in my first year, only two of the shows I recommended were canceled (80% success is pretty good, you guys!) and of the eight successful show, one even won an Emmy Award (Modern Family). However, I could not repeat my success last year. My report card for 2010 was embarrassing, with Lone Star and My Generation canceled after only two (TWO!) episodes, Running Wilde and Undercovers canceled before the season was even over, No Ordinary Family, The Event and Better With You suffered the same fate at the Upfronts last May, and Nikita, even though it’s renewed for a second season, has been sent to Programming Siberia, or Friday nights, making it not quite a hit. Out of the 10 I recommended, only two were actually successful, and even so, their ratings were not spectacular (Hawaii Five-O and Raising Hope).

It is safe to say that 2010/2011 was a really bad television development year. Most Fall new shows collapsed and were canceled after one season, and even the mid-season premieres (The Cape, Mr. Sunshine, The Chicago Code, etc) didn’t do well either. It was frustrating for both the networks and us avid TV watchers. But, in times like these, there’s nowhere to go but up, right? So the networks unveiled their new pilots for the 2011/2012 development season with optimism and we all hope for the best.

This year, despite last year’s massive failure, I decided to continue the tradition of giving my recommendation on the Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall, and you decide if any of them is worth your time and energy. Just like the last two years’ posts, I haven’t actually seen all these shows, but I’ve done enough research to sort of make an assessment. Like the networks, I’m hoping for the best, and crossing my fingers that this year will be better. So here it is, for your viewing pleasure:

1/ Pan Am, airing on ABC, starting Sept 25, 10/9c.

Thanks to the success of AMC’s critically-acclaimed Emmy darling Mad Men, the 60s are back in style and the world just can’t get enough of it. This television season, both ABC and NBC have shows set in the swingin’ 60s, about the alluring worlds of Pan Am stewardesses and Playboy bunnies respectively. However, since The Playboy Club, NBC’s answer to Mad Men stars Eddie Cibrian and I can’t stand the guy, I am going to choose ABC’s Pan Am to be in this list instead. Pan Am tells the story of “the Jet Age”, when the Cold War was underway, the world was poised on the brink of a cultural revolution and everywhere change was in the air, according to the ABC website. In short, I think Pan Am would be a little like that one Mad Men episode when Don Draper hooked up with a Pan Am stewardess in season four (three? Can’t remember) but without the excessive smoking and with the addition of the always magnetic Christina Ricci. It should be a fun watch.

2/ The New Girl, airing on FOX, starting Sept 20 , 9/8c.

This new comedy got all the critics and journalists all excited when it was unveiled during last May’s Upfronts, and it’s not just because Zooey Deschanel is everyone’s favorite actress. This show pairs the always adorable Miss Deschanel with three dudes, and the result is a quirky, delightful comedy that I’m pretty sure we all will fall in love with. The New Girl tells the story of Jess Day, an offbeat and adorable girl in her late 20s who, after a bad breakup, moves in with three single guys. Unlike most female characters who are surrounded with straight guys on TV, Jess is neither tough nor overtly sexy. She’s goofy, dorky and awkward, which made her interaction with her new roommates a lot of fun to watch, and the trailer is both so adorable and hilarious I am positive you’ll fall in love with this show as much as I have.

3/ Person of Interest, airing on CBS starting Sept 22, 9/8c.

Lost fans, get ready for Michael Emerson’s return to TV! One of the most anticipated new shows to premiere this Fall, Person of Interest tells the story of a presumed dead former-CIA agent who teams up with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes by using their own brand of vigilante justice. Jim Caviezel, aka Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion of The Christ, plays the presumed dead former-CIA agent while Michael Emerson plays a software genius who invented a program that uses pattern recognition to identify people about to be involved in violent crimes. The premise sounds promising and it is one of JJ Abrams’ new projects to premiere in the 2011/2012 season (the other one is the mid-season Fox show Alcatraz), so I’m guessing this will be a hit almost right out of the gate. It is after all on CBS!

4/ Two Broke Girls, airing on CBS, starting Sept 19, 9.30/8.30c (8.30/7.30c starting Sept 26).

The man behind Sex and The City, Michael Patrick King, returns to television with this CBS comedy that promises to be more than just a SATC clone, and I hope for the sake of the always amazing Kat Dennings, it lives up to the promise. The show tells the story of two young women, street-smart, sassy Max and former Uptown trust-fund princess Caroline who are down on their luck waitressing at a greasy spoon diner who strike up an unexpected friendship in the hopes of launching a successful cupcake business. The pilot (trailer) looks promising and Kat Dennings is always fun to watch, so I hope it will be a fun addition to CBS’ Monday Night comedy. Sure, the laugh track is  little annoying but it’s CBS. It comes with the territory.

5/ Once Upon A Time, airing on ABC starting Oct 23, 8/7c.

Fairy tales not only come true but are actually real this Fall on ABC, thanks to this new show that marks the return of House’s Jennifer Morrison and Big Love’s Ginnifer Goodwin to television. Once Upon A Time tells the story of bail bonds collector Emma Swan, whose 10-year-old son that she has given up for adoption years ago finds her and is in desperate need of her help. He takes her to Storybrook, a place “where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close… where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don’t remember who they once were” according to the show’s website. I’m not a big fan of fairy tales and princesses and evil witches, but this show sounds a lot of fun to watch. Besides, it’s a welcome change from all the vampires and werewolves that seem to have dominated the supernatural genre in television.

6/ Up All Night, airing on NBC starting Sept 14, 10/9c.

I think it’s safe to say that we all love Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. But with Applegate’s Samantha Who? canceled after only two 13-episodes seasons and Arnett’s Running Wilde pretty much died on arrival when it premiered last year, their return to television hasn’t exactly been smooth-sailing. However, their luck may just change with this charming new show from creator Emily Spivey (Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live) and executive producer Lorne Michaels (SNL, 30 Rock) that gives us a funny, irreverent look at parenthood through husband and wife Chris and Reagan Brinkley. With Applegate playing working mom Reagan, Arnett playing stay-at-home dad Chris and Maya Rudolf playing Regan’s ambitious, self-centered yet vulnerable boss, I think NBC may have another hit comedy on their hands, and for the sake of both Applegate and Arnett, I hope I’m right.

7/ Ringer, airing on The CW starting Sept 13, 9/8c.

Sarah Michelle Gellar hasn’t done television since Buffy The Vampire Slayer wrapped so forgive me if I’m a little excited about this show. She may have given up on the supernatural and ass-kicking slayer business, but she has definitely decided to stick with the genre she knows she’s good at: mystery. In Ringer, she stars as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin sister – only to learn that her sister’s seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to leave behind. This drama is a little grown up than most of the network’s other dramas, but it may be a good thing. In any case, I’m just happy to see SMG back on my TV, especially when she brings Ioan Grufford and Kristoffer Polaha with her.

8/ Suburgatory, airing on ABC starting Sept 28, 8.30/7.30c.

Okay, I admit, I only put this show on the list because of Alan Tudyk, and as an avid Firefly fan, I just have to get behind anything that the former cast of Firefly is in. I still watch both Castle and Suits, don’t I? 🙂 But a show that has Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto and of course Alan Tudyk can’t be that bad, can it? Suburgatory tells the story of single dad George, who decides to move from New York City to the suburbs after he finds a condom on his teenage daughter Tessa’s nightstand. Tessa is horrified at the “plastic franken-moms” and over-manicured lawns, but little by little she and George begin to find a way to survive the clean streets of the ‘burbs. If you’re still trying to adapt to suburban living like me, I think this will be a fun show to check out this Fall.

9/ Hart of Dixie, airing on The CW starting Sept 26, 9/8c.

The OC fans, get ready for the return of Summer Roberts this Fall! Sure, I’m still trying to get my head around Summer Roberts Rachel Bilson playing a doctor, but this show does reunite her with executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, both of whom were responsible for her rise of fame in the first place, so I’m definitely giving this show the benefit of the doubt. Especially since in addition to Rachel Bilson, this CW drama also stars Friday Night Lights Scott Porter, who gets to show off his acting skills while walking, dancing and running! 🙂 It’s a fish-out-of-New York story in which Zoe Hart, a brand new doctor, is transplanted from NYC to a small Southern town, and it can either be surprisingly charming or incredibly bad, but I think you should give it a watch anyway, if only because Rachel Bilson’s weekly presence on our television screen is sorely missed.

10/ Charlie’s Angels, airing on ABC starting Sept 22, 8/7c.

I know what you’re thinking. *Eyes rolling* Oh no, here comes another Charlie’s Angels reboot. Seriously? Don’t anyone in Hollywood have fresh new ideas for a TV show? And yes, most reboots of popular 70s and 80s shows sucked and have failed to garner interest. But I think we should give this show a break simply because Charlie’s Angels is always a fun watch. We did not mind the Drew Barrymore remake so much, did we? And all three angels; Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh are super hot and sizzling on screen. Add the sunny beachy Miami as primary location and I think, if done right, this could be our newest guilty pleasure show. And admit it, you want to hear mysterious Charlie to say, “Hello, Angels” one more time, don’t you?

Also worth a mention:

Enlightened, airing on HBO starting Oct 10, 9.30 PM.

HBO knows how to pick good shows, even Entourage was a fun watch back in the good ol’ days. So it’s safe to say this new Laura Dern comedy may just be a great addition to your DVR come October. Created by Mike White (School of Rock), this show tells the story of a self-destructive executive who after three-months of contemplation and meditation at a treatment center in Hawaii, returns to pick up the pieces of her old life and reshape the world she left behind. With Luke Wilson starring as her drug-addled ex-husband and Diane Ladd as her mother Helen, this comedy sounds just like what the doctor orders for all of us this Fall.

American Horror Story, airing on FX starting Oct 5, 10 PM.

After the success of Glee, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk decided to go the very non-wholesome route of icky gorefest with American Horror Story, and judging from early reviews circulating on the web, they have succeeded. American Horror Story is crazy scary, fast-paced and totally campy fun and we all want that from a Ryan Murphy vehicle, especially one that stars Mrs. Coach Tami Taylor Connie Britton and the always brooding Dylan McDermott. Critics are unsure as to how Murphy and co will be able to maintain the frenetic pace of the pilot, but it’s safe to say that this new FX show is worth checking out, especially if you love any of Murphy’s other shows, like Nip/Tuck or Glee.

What new shows are you planning to watch this Fall?

xoxo

Binky Bee

Binky’s 2nd Annual “Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall”

Around this time last year, I posted “Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall”, a post about the ten most anticipated new shows  for the Fall 2009 TV season. Out of the ten I recommended: one won an Emmy (Modern Family) for Best Comedy, one became a worldwide sensation (Glee), five became certified hits (The Good Wife, The Vampire Diaries, White Collar, Community, Cougar Town), one became a sleeper hit (Bored To Death) and two were canceled before their time (Eastwick and Flashforward). All in all, I say I didn’t do too badly. 🙂

The 2009/2010 TV season was pretty exciting, I have to say. ABC got their comedy groove back with hit comedy shows Modern Family and Cougar Town, CW ruled the supernatural-obsessed tween/teen market with the massive success of Vampire Diaries, Fox managed to redeemed itself with the worldwide phenomenon also known as Glee, even CBS managed to step out of their usual crime procedural ways with The Good Wife, a show that I did recommend but ended up giving up on after 5 episodes. Of course there are epic failures – Flashforward comes to mind – but all in all, it was a pretty good year and it gives me hope for this coming television season.

This year, I decided to continue the tradition of giving my recommendation on the Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall, and you decide if any of them is worth your time and energy. Just like last year’s post, I haven’t actually seen all these shows, but I’ve done enough research to sort of make an assessment. Considering I did pretty good with last year’s new shows, I think you won’t be disappointed. 🙂 So here it is, for your viewing pleasure:

1/ Lone Star, airing on Fox starting Sept 20, 9/8c.

Probably one of the most anticipated new shows this Fall, Lone Star, a quirky drama set against the backdrop of big Texas oil, tells the story of Robert/Bob Allen, played by newcomer James Wolk (who kinda looks like a young Kyle Chandler, aka Coach Taylor of Friday Night Lights), a charismatic and  brilliant schemer who has meticulously constructed two lives in two different parts of Texas. As “Bob”, he lives in Houston and is married to Cat, played by Friday Night Lights’ Adrianne Palicki (how ’bout that?), the beautiful daughter of Clint (John Voight), the patriarch of an ultra-wealthy Texas oil family. More than 400 miles away in the suburban west Texas town of Midland, he’s “Robert”, living a second life with his sweet naive girlfriend, Lindsay (Eloise Mumford). The drama, created by Kyle Killen and directed by (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb, focuses on Robert “Bob” Allen as he tries to keep his two separate worlds from colliding and his cons from closing in on him. Considering the fact that critics hailed this show as “the” one to watch this Fall, I think it’s a safe bet that we’re going to love it as well. And besides, Texas oil drama never fails to entertain. It’s about time for a 21st century spin on Dallas, don’t you think?

2/ No Ordinary Family, airing on ABC starting Sept 28, 8/7c.

To hype up the anticipation for this show, ABC has decided to make the pilot available in the official website for the first 50,000 viewers. And thanks to that decision, I somehow managed to watch the pilot online. Don’t ask me how 🙂 Anyway, the premise for this show sounds a little like a live-action version of The Incredibles: The Powells seem like an ordinary suburban family from the outside, but after surviving a plane crash in the Amazon, they return to discover that each of them develops cool new superpower, and they must decide whether this discovery would push them together or keep them apart. Co-created by John Harmon Feldman and Greg Berlanti, and starring Michael Chiklis (The Shields) and Julie Benz (Dexter) as Jim and Stephanie Powell, No Ordinary Family is definitely a fun watch for the whole family. The pilot was not too extraordinary, but it was fun and I personally would like to see more of The Powells. Plus, the show also stars Romany Malco (Weeds) and Autumn Reeser (The OC), in endearing supporting roles, which is most definitely a plus.

3/ The Event, airing on NBC starting Sept 20, 9/8c.

Is NBC’s The Event the new “Lost”? It seems that way, but show creator Nick Wauters, to his credit, is quick to disagree, promising that the show will not be as convoluted and confusing. So what is “The Event”? Well, according to NBC it is an emotional, high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), an everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his would-be fiancée Leila (Sarah Roemer), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. Sean’s quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including newly elected U.S. President Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood); Sophia Maguire (Laura Innes), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Leila’s shadowy father (Scott Patterson). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. Sounds like fun? I think so. It is executive-produced by 24’s Evan Katz, so even though there’ll be no Jack Bauer to save the day, I think we’re in for a fun ride. And besides, how can you not love Jason Ritter? It’s impossible!

4/ Hawaii 5-0, airing on CBS, starting Sept 20, 10/9c.

I know, when I heard they’re doing another remake of a beloved classic show, I rolled my eyes too. So far, no one has managed to do a truly successful remakes; Bionic Woman and Knight Rider were a pain to watch, Melrose Place was vomit-inducing and 90210, despite its moderately successful run so far, cannot hold a candle to its original Beverly Hills, 90210. So why do I think this one will be different? I don’t. But come on, it’s Hawaii 5-o, if this means I get to hear that iconic theme song that used to be my ring tone for several years on my TV again, I’m already a happy camper. Not to mention, they’re upping the ante with casting Alex McLoughlin (Three Rivers) and Daniel Dae Kim fresh off the mythical island of Lost (guess he’s not leaving Hawaii after all). Can we stand the hotness? Oh and there’s Scott Caan too! I say give this remake a chance, it’ll probably receive huge ratings anyway. When has CBS ever gone wrong with crime procedurals?

5/ My Generation, airing on ABC starting Sept 23, 8/7c.

After being just as successful as its competitor NBC in the faux-documentary genre with Modern Family, ABC decided to give us one more faux-mentary in the form of My Generation, a show that’s essentially Breakfast Club: 10 Years Later. There’s the jocks, the geeks, the freaks, the prom queens and the 28-year-old virgin, all you need is just a documentary crew following them around and chronicling their lives. This show can either be truly awesome or an epic fail, but I think it’s worth a watch, if only for the nostalgia: Britney Spears in her prime! President Clinton’s now-infamous denial! Eminem! Plus, according to an early review by Zaptoit.com, “the series takes a brave look at the ripple effect large-scale events like September 11, 2001 and the Enron collapse had on individual lives. The show truly does tell the story of a generation through these nine kids.” – sounds like the kind of show we’d grow to eventually love, right?

6/ Raising Hope, airing on Fox starting Sept 21, 9/8c.

Fox is officially cool again! After scoring big with Glee last year, the network greenlighted more comedies for us to enjoy this season, and one of them is from My Name Is Earl’s creator Greg Garcia, about a well-meaning screw up Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff) a 23-year-old who skims pools for a living, parties every night and still lives at home with his family, that includes his Mee-Maw (Cloris Leachman), his mother Virginia (Martha Plimpton), his father Burt (Garrett Dillahunt aka the former psycho bad guys in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Burn Notice), and his cousin Mike (Skyler Stone). Jimmy’s life takes a drastic turn when a chance romantic encounter with Lucy (Bijou Phillips) goes awry once he discovers she is a wanted felon. Months later, when Jimmy pays a visit to the local prison, he discovers Lucy gave birth to their baby, who he is now charged with raising, and an unwelcome addition to his family. This show seems like a sweet dysfunctional family comedy, and I’m excited to see Dillahunt in a non-psycho villain role for once. Besides, comedies like this are Garcia’s specialty so I think it won’t disappoint.

7/ Nikita, airing on The CW starting Sept 9, 9/8c.

Another remake on this list, I guess this is the year of remakes after all. Nikita is of course the remake of La Femme Nikita, the French film that has spawned an American adaptation (The Assassin starring Bridget Fonda), and a failed TV show. A third adaptation does sound desperate, but I’d watch this show for one (kick ass) reason: Maggie Q. She’s a virtual unknown in the US, but in Asia, everyone knows her as “the female Jackie Chan”, she’s a mega star in Hong Kong and yes ladies and gentlemen, just like Chan, she does her own stunts. The Quentin Tarantino fan in me does a little dance when I found out she was going to play the titular character. Besides, some CW shows did surprise us all: Vampire Diaries turned out to be a solid show, and let’s not forget that Gossip Girl was like the best. show. ever before season 3. I have a feeling Nikita would be another one of CW’s pleasant surprise, but don’t take my word for it. The show will premiere in three days, so watch it and let me know if I’m right 🙂

8/ Running Wilde, airing on Fox starting Sept 21, 9.30/8.30c.

Are you an Arrested Development fan? I am too. Do you love Will Arnett? I do too. So you need to check out Running Wilde, aka Fox’s apology to creator Mitch Hurwitz for axing the much beloved Arrested Development way before its time. Starring GOB himself aka Will Arnett (who also co-created the show), Running Wilde tells the story of Steve Wilde (Arnett), a filthy-rich, immature playboy trying desperately to win (or buy) the heart of his childhood sweetheart, Emmy Kadubic (Keri Russell, “Waitress), the uber-liberal humanitarian who got away – all told through the perspective of a 12-year-old girl. Sure, the multiple reshoots could spell trouble for this show, but it could also just mean a lowering of expectations. In any case, I think we should hope for the best and even though it won’t be the new Arrested Development, it does bring Will Arnett back to our TV and who doesn’t love that? Fingers crossed for a Bateman cameo!

9/ Undercovers, airing on NBC starting Sept 22, 8/7c.

Alias has been canceled for years, but that doesn’t mean JJ Abrams has given up on the good-looking spy genre and Undercovers is proof of that. Partnering with Brothers and Sisters executive producer, this new Abrams show is a sexy, fun, action-packed spy drama that proves once and for all that marriage is still the world’s most dangerous partnership, or at least that’s what NBC wants us to think. What do I think? Well, Boris Koedjo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw who play retired-spies husband and wife Steven and Samantha Bloom are so extremely good-looking, it’s hard to take my eyes off them. I would watch the show simply to see two good-looking people kicking ass on screen. Also, JJ Abrams promises that Undercovers would be less Alias and more Pitt-Jolie’s Mr & Mrs Smith, with equally sexy cast. I think it’s a no-brainer. I’m watching for sure. Need I remind you how good Mr Abrams is at banter-under-fire? You want to watch this show, I know you do.

10/ Better With You, airing on ABC starting Sept 22, 8.30/7.30c.

After the Emmy-winning massive success of Modern Family, ABC is determined to bring the family comedy genre back, and Better With You (formerly Better Together) is the result of that. The comedy tells the story of three couples: Maddie and Ben, who have been in a committed relationship for 9 years, Maddie’s sister Mia and her boyfriend Casey, who have been dating for seven weeks, and their parents Vicky and Joel, who have been married for 35 years and have recently adopted a carpe diem philosophy of life. It does sound a lot like Modern Family, and a less-funny version of that too, but I’d say give this show a try. Not only is Joanna Garcia super adorable, but critics seem to dig it as well. And besides, it’s all part of ABC’s Wednesday night comedy with Modern Family and Cougar Town, so it should work!

Also worth a mention:

Boardwalk Empire, airing on HBO starting Sept 19, 9 PM. This much-anticipated collaboration of Martin Scorsese (yes, the Martin Scorsese) with Terence Winter (The Sopranos) tells the story of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), Atlantic City’s undisputed ruler who’s equal parts of politician and gangster in the prohibition era. Based on Nelson Johnson’s history, Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, this 13-episode series has all the makings of an HBO hit: strong story, amazing actors and fantastic set and costumes. Hey, it’s not TV, it’s HBO and considering who’s behind this project, I have a feeling this will be good.

Terriers, airing on FX starting Sept 8, 10 PM. FX can do no wrong these days, after hitting big with Justified, in just two days the network will premiere Terriers, a quirky, modern private-eye show about two fellows with dark pasts and shady methods. An enigmatic buddy drama set by the SoCal sea that combines quirk with gum shoe gumption, Terrier doesn’t look like it’s going to disappoint anyone. Plus, you can finally see Michael Raymond-James, aka serial killer Rene in True Blood, in a different but equally quirky role. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

What new shows are you planning to watch this Fall?

xoxo

Binky Bee

It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World

I know, it’s been a while since I blogged, even though I promised to blog more after I finished writing my book. Sorry about that. Life happens.

Anyway, now that I’m sorta-kinda back, I want to do what I happen to be good at, making lists. After being thoroughly entertained by Kick Ass (watch the movie if you haven’t already, it totally kicks ass!) and after saying goodbye to my favorite action hero in the last eight seasons, Jack Bauer (so long, Jack!), I thought it’d be appropriate to list my top 10 Alpha Males.

Why? Because it is the age of the geek and reluctant heroes now, and the alpha males of our world have been taking a backseat lately. The world is cheering for Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) – the ultimate geek, the two guys that invented Youtube (can’t remember their names for the life of me), even Hollywood is rooting for the underdog. Lee Dewyze, the nervous bumbling paint salesman won American Idol. Kick Ass – the movie about an average loner geek trying to be a superhero – actually did kick ass in the Box Office. And who can ignore the unbelievable success of Glee, a TV show about a group of talented show choir outcasts? Even Chuck, the nerd-turned-super spy dramedy got a fourth season renewal, while 24 with its alpha male Jack Bauer finally bowed out (after eight seasons of counter-terrorizing the world, but still).

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day indeed – it’s the age of the geek and the underdogs and I’m happy about it, but let’s not forget that tough, badass Alpha Males do make for a great entertainment, even if they make lousy husbands/boyfriends (hey, Jack Bauer’s love interests were all either killed or gone batshit crazy).

So, here is my list of the Top 10 Alpha Males, in honor of those ripped, muscular, gun-toting, bad guys killing machine. Without them, my “nighttime fantasy” would be a lot less interesting.

Are you ready? Here we go!

I have killed two people since midnight. I haven’t slept in 24 hours. So maybe you should be a little more afraid of me than you are now.” – Jack Bauer, 24.

1. Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in 24.

Since 24 has decided to end the series with its eighth season, I thought Jack Bauer should get the top honors in this list. And I think he truly deserves it. I mean, let’s face it, Jack Bauer is something more than human. Sure, he was truly human in the first season: he was struggling to understand his rebellious teenage daughter while trying to repair his relationship with his wife in the wake of their separation and his affair. He was also struggling to be the boss of his department at work with a looming crisis and subordinates and superiors who challenged his every decision. On top of all that, he had to stop an assassination and rescue his wife and daughter. When he said, ‘This is the longest day of my life’, we felt for him. But after the second, third and fourth season, Jack has morphed from a mere human to a real action hero/terminator. And by the eighth season, he could kill for the hell of it. Goodbye, Dana Walsh! I hope you won’t miss that ear, Pillar! And this badassness (or is it badassery?) is what makes Jack Bauer totally AWESOME. We’ll miss you, Jack, until we meet again in the big screen!

You know if I had to do it again, I’d be a fucking sniper. One shot, one kill, let me be the faceless enemy.” – Sgt. Steve Shriver, Stop-Loss.

2. Channing Tatum as Sgt. Steve Shriver in Stop Loss, Shawn McArthur in Fighting, Capt. Duke Hauser in GI Joe.

I chose this man, who I also think is God’s gift for mankind (that abs! that washboard abs! And he dances too!), as number two because he seems to love playing Alpha Male roles. Even when he was in a Nicholas Sparks tearjerker flick Dear John, he played a Special Forces guy with anger issues. And when he was in the highly popular but totally laughable dance flick Step Up, he also played an Alpha Male – a juvenile delinquent with a hidden talent for shaking his money-maker. Oh, and to further prove that I practically have seen almost every movie he’s in just so I could take a peek of his beautiful shirtless body (damn you Jenna Dewan, you get to sleep with that every night!), he played a cop in Stuart Townsend’s political drama Battle In Seattle, and another juvenile delinquent in criminally slept-on indie movie A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints. He is the ultimate Alpha Male, and that’s why he’s number two in the list.

Gentlemen, we just seized an airfield. That was pretty fucking ninja.” – Sgt. Brad Colbert, Generation Kill.

3. Alexander Skarsgard as Sgt. Brad Colbert in Generation Kill, Eric Northman in True Blood.

I know, you might scream foul for me putting this man in number 3, he deserves the top honors, that’s true. But despite being a 6’4, blonde, blue-eyed, blood-sucking viking, he’s also a sweetheart in real life, as most Scandinavians are – and he has played a transgender in a Swedish movie and  a gay male supermodel in Zoolander. So because he’s not the typical Alpha Male, he gets the number 3 spot. However, in Hollywood, someone who looks like that will have no choice but to play alpha male roles, at least in the beginning of his career. And he did play those roles well. He was pure awesomeness as Sgt. Brad Colbert in Generation Kill, and I didn’t just say that because we got a shot of his butt in a scene (one word: yum), and everyone knows just how fantastic he is as the soulless bloodsucker/bar owner Eric Northman in True Blood. He may worry about being typecast, but for now I think we’ll continue to enjoy him in his Alpha Male roles.

I know that it’s confusing. It is one thing to question the official story, and another thing entirely to make wild accusations, or insinuate that I’m a superhero.” – Tony Stark, Iron Man.

4. Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man.

Robert Downey, Jr, or RDJ as we love to call him, never really used to be the “Alpha Male”. He got an Oscar nomination playing Charlie Chaplin, for one. And after his descent into the deep dark drug-addicted bottom of the well, he reemerged as this sensitive, character actor with a sardonic side. He even put out a Jazz album! Yeah, I know, we pretty much have forgotten about that. He favored small indie movies where he either played a lovable loser (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), or a man struggling with his past (A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints) over big action hero roles, and he even did a TV stint in Allie McBeal for a brief period of time. But that all changed when he was cast as Iron Man and he truly inhabit the character Tony Stark. Not only did he get buffed for the role, he also made Tony Stark an unforgettable, fashionable, witty and charismatic Alpha Male, endearing the superhero to both men and women alike. And now with the success of Iron Man 2, does anyone even remember the drug-addled RDJ begging for forgiveness in court oh so many years ago?

30 years of karate. Combat experience on five continents. A rating with every weapon that shoots a bullet or holds an edge. Still haven’t found any defense to Mom crying into my shirt.” – Michael Westen, Burn Notice.

5. Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen in Burn Notice.

If Jerry Maguire had Renee Zellweger at “Hello”, then Jeffrey Donovan’s alter-ego in Burn Notice, Michael Westen, had me at “My name is Michael Westen. I used to be a spy, until…” The great thing about this burned spy Alpha Male is that he does have a softer side that he reluctantly shows every once in a while, but it never throws him off his game. When push comes to a shove, he easily becomes the very embodiment of Alpha Male: gun-toting, high-kicking, knife-wielding, total badass. Yes, I do use that word a lot here, but it’s necessary. But unlike Jack Bauer who with every season turned more and more into a killing machine, Michael Westen, despite being burned and chewed out by the very government he vowed to serve and protect, manages to keep his humanity intact. He doesn’t kill for the hell of it. In fact, the last time he killed a man at point blank was Tom Strickler, agent-to-the-spies, and it wasn’t because he felt like it but because Strickler was endangering the life of the woman he loves. Killing for the honor of a woman? Give me more of that, please!

Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty… For tonight, we dine in hell!” – King Leonidas, 300.

6. Gerard Butler as King Leonidas in 300.

Sure, he’s gone soft now and chooses to play romantic leading men in various rom-coms like The Ugly Truth with Katherine Heigl and The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston, but deep down, he’ll always be the Alpha Male that is King Leonidas in 300, the role that made the man a household name. After all, aren’t his characters in The Ugly Truth and even Bounty Hunter for that matter (I am ashamed to admit I’ve seen them both) at the very core alpha males? But, there’s no denying King Leonidas is the king of all Alpha Males, not just because of that magnificently CGI-ed abs, but also because he’s a Spartan, dude. We all know Spartans were raised to be Alpha Males, whether they liked it or not. And anyone who can make lines such as, “Give them nothing! But take from them everything!” or “This… is… SPARTA!” in raspy growling screams sound downright sexy deserves to be in this list. Plus, let’s not forget, it was King Leonidas who taught the world the importance of a good hearty breakfast!

Here’s a third option, we just get to it right here and you die in the car. Any takers? OK, then.” – Raylan Givins, Justified.

7. Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givins in Justified.

I admit, I only checked out Justified at first because of Timothy Olyphant, I have loved him since he played a gay photographer in The Broken Hearts Club oh so many years ago. But as it turns out, Justified is more than just Timothy Olyphant being the handsome little devil that he always is, it’s actually a really good show, with solid writing and interesting characters. And it reignited love for the TV Alpha Male when Burn Notice was on a break. Raylan Givins is that kind of Alpha Male I love; charming, soft-spoken, a true Southern gentleman, but he sure can kill bad guys (with that heartbreaking smile plastered on his face, no less). Not to mention, he loves his cowboy hat. As a self-professed Mad Hatter myself, I do have a soft spot for hat-wearing gentleman. Now that the first season is coming to an end, I think it’s about damn time to honor him with a spot in this list, don’t you?

I know you are all expecting to regroup with the fleet, but I’m ordering a pursuit course of the enemy ship to Earth. I want all departments at battle stations and ready in ten minutes. Either we’re going down… or they are. Kirk out.” – Capt. James T. Kirk, Star Trek.

8. Chris Pine as Capt. James T. Kirk in Star Trek (2009).

Let me just say first and foremost that I am not a Trekkie. I am a Star Wars fan, and I tried liking the original Star Trek, as well as the Next Generation series, but I couldn’t. After Wil Wheaton left the show, I stopped watching, to be honest. But I was one of those who were excited when JJ Abrams, the man behind Lost, Alias, Felicity and Fringe, decided to restart the franchise. And I went to see the movie and loved it. Mostly because, with all due respect to William Shatner, Chris Pine is way hotter as Capt Kirk than he ever was. I mean, look at those dreamy eyes, and those lips, so kissable, so sexy… aah. Not to mention, he was funny, rebellious and did I mention those dreamy eyes? Never mind. He also rocked that skin-tight uniform way better than Shatner ever did in his prime. Die-hard Trekkies (like my dad) might disagree with me, but when it comes to the ultimate Capt. Kirk, Chris Pine is it. And yes, that’s why he’s in this list.

Guess what? Everyone hates me. But you can’t deny: we were bad ass!” – Damon Salvatore, The Vampire Diaries.

9. Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries.

When I heard there was going to be another vampire show in the wake of all the vampire-craze and it was going to be on the teen channel The CW, I groaned and rolled my eyes. “Great. Another show about stupid whiny sparkly vampires a la Twilight.” But boy, was I wrong about this show! First of all, it’s nothing like Twilight, in the sense that, yes, there’s that forever 17 self-loathing teen vampire who doesn’t drink human blood and is no fun in general, but there’s also his brother, who’s older, wiser and way more violent and therefore, more awesome than any of the Cullen clan in Twilight. And his name is Damon Salvatore, played to perfection by the oh so sexy Ian Somerhalder. Damon is a true vampire: he’s diabolical, devoid of human conscience and has no qualms about killing people. Oh and yes, he is also very very very sexy, and he’s shirtless a lot too, tho not as much as the vamps in True Blood. This is still The CW after all. Sure, he’s gained a bit of humanity by the end of the season, but there’s still enough evil in him to send Edward crying to his mommy. Now this is one nocturnal creature I wish would visit me in the dead of night.

I don’t hit women! I would never hit a woman! I’d hit a woman who was trying to hit me with a bottle! That’s different. That’s self-defense, isn’t it? Or a woman who could do Karate. I’d never hit a woman generally, Chloe. Don’t think that.” – Ray, In Bruges.

10. Colin Farrell as Ray in In Bruges.

There was a time when Colin Farrell’s name was synonymous with Alpha Male. Not only was he in so many action films (The Recruit, SWAT, to name a few), he was also Hollywood’s bad boy, who drank, smoked and cursed on set, during interviews, on the red carpet, and everywhere else you could think of. But then his career took a hit after the bomb that was Alexander, he found out his son had life-threatening disease, and he changed his life. He took on more sensitive roles, starred in art-house flicks, avoided getting drunk and swearing too much in public and soon after, he was no longer Hollywood’s bad boy and beloved Alpha Male. However, he regained his Alpha Male status when he took on the role of an assassin on holiday in Belgium in the indie In Bruges, and he got a Golden Globes for it. Let’s face it, he’s way more believable as a foul-mouthed, fight-picking, drug-addled, trigger-happy Irish assassin anyway! And even though he followed up this funny and extremely violent role with a sensitive one (as a country crooner in Crazy Heart), he still remains an Alpha Male in my book and thus, he’s the man I chose to round off this list.

So there you go. As Quinn Fabray sang in last Tuesday’s episode of Glee, this is a man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl, especially one who would objectify these gorgeous alpha males in a list like this one.

Until next time!

xoxo

Binky Bee

Going For The Gold

The Golden Globes nominations were just announced yesterday morning (Tuesday, Dec 15) and as an avid movie and TV fan, of course I was watching to see if the Hollywood Foreign Press Association agrees with me when it comes to who deserves the honor. And I have to say, this year it’s not such a disappointment. Although they still snubbed some of my favorite actors, actresses, movies and TV shows, they showed some love to a lot of them. So, while the nominees are still celebrating, I thought I’d share the HPFA’s picks for the 2010 Golden Globes Award (airing January 17, 2010 on NBC) as well as my predictions and who I actually wish would win.

Note: Who I Think Will Win means who I think members of HPFA would vote for, and Who I Want To Win means well, who I want to win. 🙂

Also, not in this list: Best Foreign Language Film (because I have not seen any of them), Best Original Score & Song (because I’d have no idea how to judge), Best Mini-Series/Motion Picture Made For Television as well as the actress and actor because again, I have only seen about one or two of them. For the complete list, check it out here.

Okay, let’s begin!

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Avatar

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Precious: Based On The Novel Push by Sapphire

Up In The Air

Who I Think Will Win: Precious: Based On The Novel Push by Sapphire. (The movie was powerful, and it’s the type of movie that HFPA usually goes for)

Who I Want To Win: Inglourious Basterds. (My favorite film of 2009, enough said)

Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Drama

Emily Blunt – The Young Victoria

Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

Helen Mirren – The Last Station

Carey Mulligan – An Education

Gabourey Sidibe – Precious: Based On The Novel Push by Sapphire

Who I Think Will Win: Gabourey Sidibe (she was truly amazing in this breakout role)

Who I Want To Win: Sandra Bullock (it’s just nice to see Sandra in a role that is different than what she’s usually in)

Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Drama

Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart

George Clooney – Up In The Air

Colin Firth – A Single Man

Morgan Freeman – Invictus

Tobey Maguire – Brothers

Who I Think Will Win: Morgan Freeman (he plays Nelson Mandela, that says it all)

Who I Want To Win: George Clooney (I love him. He’s my ex-future husband. Yep.)

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

(500) Days Of Summer

The Hangover

It’s Complicated

Julie & Julia

Nine

Who I Think Will Win: Nine (Haven’t seen it yet, but it’s an all-star musical in the style of Moulin Rouge, we all know HFPA loves that)

Who I Want To Win: (500) Days Of Summer (It’s such a cute, quirky, non-romantic romantic comedy with a fresh take on love. My favorite movie of the genre ever)

Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Sandra Bullock – The Proposal

Marion Cotillard – Nine

Julia Roberts – Duplicity

Meryl Streep – It’s Complicated

Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia

Who I Think Will Win: Meryl Streep (She’s a double nominee in this category, the odds are in her favor)

Who I Want To Win: Marion Cotillard (I actually don’t know how she was in Nine, since I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve loved her since Love Me If You Dare/Jeux D’enfants so I’m going to have to pick her. Besides, Streep has enough Golden Globes and Oscars to last her a lifetime)

Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Matt Damon – The Informant!

Daniel Day-Lewis – Nine

Robert Downey Jr. – Sherlock Holmes

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – (500) Days Of Summer

Michael Stuhlbarg – A Serious Man

Who I Think Will Win: Matt Damon (He was pretty amazing in the movie, and I applaud his commitment to the role)

Who I Want To Win: Robert Downey Jr. (He’s RDJ. He’s awesome in everything. And yes, I mean EVERYTHING.)

Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture

Penelope Cruz – Nine

Vera Farmiga – Up In The Air

Anna Kendrick – Up In The Air

Mo’Nique – Precious: Based On The Novel Push by Sapphire

Julianne Moore – A Single Man

Who I Think Will Win: Mo’Nique

Who I Want To Win: Mo’Nique (Let’s face it: Mo’Nique was phenomenal in the movie, it’s not easy to play an abusive mother that we can all still feel sorry for)

Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture

Matt Damon – Invictus

Woody Harrelson – The Messenger

Christopher Plummer – The Last Station

Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Who I Think Will Win: Christoph Waltz

Who I Want To Win: Christoph Waltz (If he doesn’t win, I will be VERY upset. I’m not the only one who think Christoph Waltz was beyond amazing as Hans Landa – everyone, from my friends to renowned movie critics, even fellow actors have spoken publicly about the awesomeness of Mr. Waltz in Inglourious Basterds)

Best Animated Feature Film

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

Coraline

Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Princess and The Frog

Up

Who I Think Will Win: Up

Who I Want To Win: Up (By far, the best Disney/Pixar animation flick since Finding Nemo. And as much as I love Gaiman’s Coraline, I nearly cried when watching Up, which is the second time a freakin’ cartoon has ever made me so emotional – the first time was Finding Nemo, of course)

Best Director – Motion Picture

Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker

James Cameron – Avatar

Clint Eastwood – Invictus

Jason Reitman – Up In The Air

Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds

Who I Think Will Win: Clint Eastwood (It’s been a while since he’s won one of these, and I know HFPA loves him)

Who I Want To Win: Quentin Tarantino (He’s my favorite director, and let’s face it, no one else can make a WW II flick like Inglourious Basterds)

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

District 9: Written by Neil Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell

The Hurt Locker: Written by Mark Boal

Inglourious Basterds: Written by Quentin Tarantino

It’s Complicated: Written by Nancy Meyers

Up In The Air: Written by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Who I Think Will Win: The Hurt Locker, written by Mark Boal (It’s a small, independent movie on the Iraq war. Just the kind of movie HFPA usually goes for)

Who I Want To Win: District Nine, written by Neil Blomkamp and Terry Tatchell (There’s just nothing like it. It’s different, and it’s mind-blowingly good)

Best Television Series – Drama

Big Love (HBO)

Dexter (Showtime)

House (Fox)

Mad Men (AMC)

True Blood (HBO)

Who I Think Will Win: Mad Men (Let’s face it, it’s a critic and audience favorite. And the story is always solid from episode to episode)

Who I Want To Win: True Blood (Truth to tell, I just want to see Alexander Skarsgard go up on stage in all his 6 foot 4 inches tall blondness)

Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series – Drama

Glenn Close – Damages

January Jones – Mad Men

Julianne Marguiles – The Good Wife

Anna Paquin – True Blood

Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer

Who I Think Will Win: Glenn Close (Damages didn’t really have a strong second season, but she still carried the show on her back and gave a phenomenal performance)

Who I Want To Win: January Jones (Betty Draper is such a complex character, and she plays her with such subtlety and tackles some really difficult scenes with ease last season. I say she deserves the love)

Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series – Drama

Simon Baker – The Mentalist

Michael C. Hall – Dexter

Jon Hamm – Mad Men

Hugh Laurie – House

Bill Paxton – Big Love

Who I Think Will Win: Jon Hamm (Mad Men won big in the Emmys last year, but he lost the Best Actor Emmy to Bryan Cranston. Seeing that HFPA snubbed Cranston and Breaking Bad, I think he’s a sure win)

Who I Want To Win: Michael C. Hall (He’s been nominated almost every year for Dexter but hasn’t taken home the Globes yet. I think he deserves to win, especially since it’s a next-to-impossible task to make us love a serial killer the way we love Dexter. I’m just saying)

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

30 Rock (NBC)

Entourage (HBO)

Glee (Fox)

Modern Family (Fox)

The Office (NBC)

Who I Think Will Win: Glee

Who I Want To Win: Glee (Let’s face it: Glee is fresh, hilarious and surprisingly different than anything else on TV. I think HFPA will agree with me on this one)

Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Toni Collette – United States of Tara

Courteney Cox – Cougar Town

Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie

Tina Fey – 30 Rock

Lea Michele – Glee

Who I Think Will Win: Toni Collette

Who I Want To Win: Toni Collette (Each and every single woman in this category did a fantastic job, but Toni Collette deserves the win since she essentially played four very different characters in the show. Not to mention, she’s Australian. So not only does she have to don an American accent, she has to play four people – sort of.)

Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock

Steve Carell – The Office

David Duchovny – Californication

Thomas Jane – Hung

Matthew Morrison – Glee

Who I Think Will Win: Alec Baldwin

Who I Want To Win: Alec Baldwin (Of course I could be wrong and Thomas Jane ends up taking the Globes home, since HFPA usually has a soft spot for controversial freshman show, but I just don’t think any of the nominees really gave the kind of performance Alec Baldwin did.)

Best Performance by An Actress In A Supporting Role in A Series, Mini Series or Motion Picture Made For Television

Jane Adams – Hung

Rose Byrne – Damages

Jane Lynch – Glee

Janet McTeer – Into The Storm

Chloe Sevigny – Big Love

Who I Think Will Win: Jane Lynch

Who I Want To Win: Jane Lynch (Hands down, Ms Lynch is a definite scene-stealer in Glee. She delivers the funniest lines and has the perfect comedic timing, not to mention she manages to portray both the evil and the sweet side of Sue Sylvester with such ease. As much as I love Chloe Sevigny, she just can’t compare to Jane Lynch this time)

Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Series, Mini Series or Motion Picture Made For Television

Michael Emerson – Lost

Neil Patrick Harris – How I Met Your Mother

William Hurt – Damages

John Lithgow – Dexter

Jeremy Piven – Entourage

Who I Think Will Win: Michael Emerson (I don’t watch Lost – I know, shocker! – but I have heard enough about how amazing he was in it from everyone else and from every TV blog I’ve read to know that he will probably win this one, plus he did just win an Emmy)

Who I Want To Win: Neil Patrick Harris (I love NPH. He’s my “imaginary gay husband” and I think he’s solely responsible for the awesomeness of Barney Stinson. In Short, NPH is legen-wait for it, and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the last syllable is-dary!)

Now before I go, here are the people/shows/movies that were snubbed that I thought should’ve gotten some love:

  • Zooey Deschanel for (500) Days of Summer (If you nominate Joseph Gordon-Levitt, you should nominate his co-star too, since she truly shines in the movie)
  • Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory (Sheldon Cooper is the only thing that consistently stays funny, fresh and interesting in the show, and it’s all because of Jim Parsons’ fantastic acting)
  • Alexander Skarsgard for True Blood (Not only is he a Swedish sex god, I thought he did a really great job playing Eric Northman last season. The scene when he was crying over Godric, that was some great acting right there!)
  • Jeffrey Donovan for Burn Notice (why no love for USA Network, HFPA? I get that you chose The Mentalist over Psych, but burning Michael Westen? Seriously?)
  • Katherine Heigl for Grey’s Anatomy (I thought the fact that she portrayed cancer-stricken Dr. Izzie Stevens would surely get her a nomination. Maybe HFPA is afraid she’ll reject the nod?)
  • Adam Sandler for Funny People (They nominated James Franco for Pineapple Express last year yet they snubbed Sandler’s amazing performance in Funny People? What were HFPA members smoking?)
  • Maria Bello for The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (I even said in my last post that I predicted a Golden Globes nomination for her role as Suky Sarkisian. She was amazing! I don’t get it…)
  • Coco Avant Chanel for Best Foreign Language Film (I know I didn’t list the category here and I haven’t seen a lot of Foreign films lately, but this biopic is pretty spectacular, I thought it would get nominated)

What do you think? Who do you predict will take home the Globes? Who do you think deserve to be nominated? Will you be watching the telecast in January? Who are you rooting for?

Sound off below.

xoxo

Binky Bee