Justified Season 6 RayActions: Episode 5 – “Sounding”

justifiedOn January 20th, FX’s Justified began its sixth and final season. Based on several Elmore Leonard works, Justified follows Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a US Marshal who is “exiled” to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. Raylan frequently finds himself in conflict with erstwhile mining buddy, now criminal mastermind, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), as the two attempt to coexist in a world that seems a little too small for both of them.Justified highlights the local culture and explores numerous themes, such as family, religion, history and the thin line that divides the good guys from the bad.

Join Patches (of Nothing but the Rain) and me in the coming months as we honor this criminally underrated drama with a series of “RayActions” to each of Justified’s Season 6 episodes. These posts will not be particularly formal, but will give us the chance to make some observations and reflect on each episode, likely culminating in a full Season 6 Dead Season Discussion after the finale.

This week’s RayAction is focused on Justified Season 6, Episode 5 – “Sounding.” It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of Justified. Fire in the Hole! Continue reading

Justified Season 6 RayActions: Episode 4 – “The Trash and the Snake”

justifiedOn January 20th, FX’s Justified began its sixth and final season. Based on several Elmore Leonard works, Justified follows Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a US Marshal who is “exiled” to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. Raylan frequently finds himself in conflict with erstwhile mining buddy, now criminal mastermind, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), as the two attempt to coexist in a world that seems a little too small for both of them.Justified highlights the local culture and explores numerous themes, such as family, religion, history and the thin line that divides the good guys from the bad.

Join Patches (of Nothing but the Rain) and me in the coming months as we honor this criminally underrated drama with a series of “RayActions” to each of Justified’s Season 6 episodes. These posts will not be particularly formal, but will give us the chance to make some observations and reflect on each episode, likely culminating in a full Season 6 Dead Season Discussion after the finale.

This week’s RayAction is focused on Justified Season 6, Episode 4 – “The Trash and the Snake.” It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of Justified. Fire in the Hole! Continue reading

Justified Season 6 RayActions: Episode 3 – “Noblesse Oblige”

justifiedOn January 20th, FX’s Justified began its sixth and final season. Based on several Elmore Leonard works, Justified follows Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a US Marshal who is “exiled” to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. Raylan frequently finds himself in conflict with erstwhile mining buddy, now criminal mastermind, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), as the two attempt to coexist in a world that seems a little too small for both of them.Justified highlights the local culture and explores numerous themes, such as family, religion, history and the thin line that divides the good guys from the bad.

Join Patches(of Nothing but the Rain) and me in the coming months as we honor this criminally underrated drama with a series of “RayActions” to each of Justified’s Season 6 episodes. These posts will not be particularly formal, but will give us the chance to make some observations and reflect on each episode, likely culminating in a full Season 6 Dead Season Discussion after the finale.

This week’s RayAction is focused on Justified Season 6, Episode 3 – “Noblesse Oblige.” It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of Justified. Fire in the Hole! Continue reading

Justified Season 6 RayActions: Episode 2 – “Cash Game”

justifiedOn January 20th, FX’s Justified began its sixth and final season. Based on several Elmore Leonard works, Justified follows Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a US Marshal who is “exiled” to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. Raylan frequently finds himself in conflict with erstwhile mining buddy, now criminal mastermind, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), as the two attempt to coexist in a world that seems a little too small for both of them. Justified highlights the local culture and explores numerous themes, such as family, religion, history and the thin line that divides the good guys from the bad.

Join Patches (of Nothing But the Rain) and me in the coming months as we honor this criminally underrated drama with a series of “RayActions” to each of Justified’s Season 6 episodes. These posts will not be particularly formal, but will give us the chance to make some observations and reflect on each episode, likely culminating in a full Season 6 Dead Season Discussion after the finale.

This week’s RayAction is focused on Justified Season 6, Episode 2 – “Cash Game.” It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of Justified. Fire in the Hole! Continue reading

Justified Season 6 RayActions: Episode 1 – “Fate’s Right Hand”

justifiedOn January 20th, FX’s Justified began its sixth and final season. Based on several Elmore Leonard works, Justified follows Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a US Marshal who is “exiled” to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. Raylan frequently finds himself in conflict with erstwhile mining buddy, now criminal mastermind, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), as the two attempt to coexist in a world that seems a little too small for both of them. Justified highlights the local culture and explores numerous themes, such as family, religion, history and the thin line that divides the good guys from the bad.

Join Patches (of Nothing But The Rain) and me in the coming months as we honor this criminally underrated drama with a series of “RayActions” to each of Justified’s Season 6 episodes. These posts will not be particularly formal, but will give us the chance to make some observations and reflect on each episode, likely culminating in a full Season 6 Dead Season Discussion after the finale.

This week’s RayAction covers Justified’s Season 6 premiere, “Fate’s Right Hand.” It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of Justified. Fire in the Hole! Continue reading

“AWK” for “Awkward”: A Dead Season Discussion of Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Season One Superlatives

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Created by Dan Goor (Parks and Recreation) and Michael Schur (The Office, Parks and Recreation), Brooklyn Nine-Nine debuted on September 17, 2013 on Fox. Initially conceived as a vehicle for Andy Samberg in his first post-SNL role, a top-notch supporting cast turned Brooklyn Nine-Nine into one of the best comedies of the year, winning Golden Globe awards for Best Comedy Series and Best Actor in a comedy (Samberg), and earning Andre Braugher an Emmy nomination for Supporting Actor in a Comedy along the way.

In case you missed it, Patches and I took a quick look back at Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s first season. It wouldn’t be a Dead Season Discussion without some superlatives, even if we had to look extra hard for negatives.

As usual, SPOILERS abound. Also, possibly penis graffiti… Continue reading

“AWK” for “Awkward”: A Dead Season Discussion of Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Season One

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Created by Dan Goor (Parks and Recreation) and Michael Schur (The Office, Parks and Recreation), Brooklyn Nine-Nine debuted on September 17, 2013 on Fox. Initially conceived as a vehicle for Andy Samberg in his first post-SNL role, a top-notch supporting cast turned Brooklyn Nine-Nine into one of the best comedies of the year, winning Golden Globe awards for Best Comedy Series and Best Actor in a comedy (Samberg), and earning Andre Braugher an Emmy nomination for Supporting Actor in a Comedy along the way.

To celebrate the show’s Season 2 premiere, Patches (of Nothing But the Rain) and I break down Season One of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

As usual, SPOILERS abound. Also, possibly penis graffiti… Continue reading

Embrace the Anarchy: Sons of Anarchy – Season 1

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As the final season of Sons of Anarchy airs, I’m watching an episode a day to catch up in time for the series finale in December. I will be sharing some thoughts as I finish each season. This isn’t meant to be any great analysis, nor is it really on par with any Dead Series Discussions you may have seen here. These are just my brief observations on the cast, story, ups and downs of the series as it goes.

This installment covers season one of Sons of Anarchy, which aired in the fall of 2008.

Spoilers for the entire first season follow. Continue reading

Gotham: Season 1, Episode 1 – “Pilot”

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I just watched the first episode of Fox’s new series Gotham–or Batman Minus Batman as I like to call it–and I can see why it’s been called the best pilot of the fall season. I definitely recommend it, particularly to anyone who likes cop shows, Ben McKenzie or Donal Logue. It has a few things going for it, but the pilot also raises several questions about what the show is and what it might become.

[No spoilers below, other than what promotional material might already have given away]

One thing the show has going for it is good to great performances. McKenzie is a solid leading man, basically starting all over again as a rookie detective (just like when he was a rookie cop on Southland). Logue is perfect as his grizzled, corrupt veteran partner, keeping the humor, but losing the virtue that Hank Dolworth had in Terriers. Robin Lord Taylor is the standout as Oswald Cobblepot, who is clearly a nut but, initially at least, elicits just the slightest sympathy. Jada Pinkett Smith chews the scenery as the role requires and Sean Pertwee as a tough, shouting Alfred suggests good things to come. Familiar faces Richard Kind and The Wire alum John Doman (along with fellow resident of Bal’mer, Michael Kostroff in a small role) also show up.

Tell Gordon to prove his loyalty by taking the guy as far away from you as possible and killing him. No, I don't need to see a body, and neither do you. I'm the most trusting crime boss on TV!

Tell Gordon to prove his loyalty by taking the guy as far away from you as possible and killing him. No, I don’t need to see a body, and neither do you. I’m the most trusting crime boss on TV!

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Levy, you scumbag

The show also has all kinds of atmosphere. Gotham City has always been portrayed with style and personality (well at least since 1989’s Batman), and the pilot of Gotham is no slouch. The few city shots look great, and the entire episode feels like it’s not quite a real-world location. It’s quite cinematic, which is something I’d expect from a pilot episode, but is something I worry that the show may not be able to sustain over a full season. Still, I’ll take shots like these while I can get them.

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The show also has that whole Batman hook to make sure people tune in, at least for a week, anyway. There’s no doubt that the simple relation to the Batman mythology is going to draw a lot of people to this show. However, I wonder if the show’s biggest selling point will also be its biggest hindrance. With any new series, time will tell, but the great pilot leaves me with some questions

1. Who is this series about?

After the pilot episode, all I need is Jim Gordon. Young Bruce Wayne is in about 4 scenes of the pilot, and the rest is about Gordon. I worry that Gotham could be hurt by trying to shoehorn Bruce into the show. I don’t want to watch a season of Bruce making friends with a young Selina Kyle, learning not to be afraid and digging caves under the house. That’s not really the series that this pilot suggests we’ll get, with its focus on Gordon. Still, for a series with “Gotham before Batman” as a gimmick, and with David Mazouz (as Bruce) in a regular role, Bruce has to fit in there somewhere, right? Plus, Camren Bicondova’s Selina Kyle poses awkwardly on every ledge, tombstone and fence in the pilot, suggesting that she’ll have a much bigger role to play. The show should tread carefully as viewers tuning in to see the Heat/The Dark Knight-esque crime stories might not be interested in the trials of adolescent heroes and villains.

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Wait. You’re telling me she grows up to be CATWOMAN? I don’t buy it.

2. Who are the villains?

Apart from the mobsters Falcone and Mooney, the pilot introduces no fewer than four of the standard Batman rogues gallery: Catwoman, the Riddler, the Penguin and Poison Ivy. They even give us a standup comic, though he doesn’t get the clunky “hey look, it’s that villain!” treatment that the others do, so either the show is more subtle than I give it credit for or this isn’t our Clown Prince of Crime. Knowing that, in other versions of the Batman story anyway, these character will be foils for a grown-up Batman, I wonder who exactly Jim Gordon is going to be able to defeat on Gotham. Sure, Penguin, Riddler and the mobsters are all adults, but if Jim Gordon does anything more than put them in jail, Batman won’t have anyone left to fight. If he does anything less than stop them forever–if all of the bad guys “live to fight another day as they did in the 1960s–there will be no sense of satisfaction for the viewer.

Even if we eventually get to the point where an “all growed up” Poison Ivy takes on Gotham, what will the show do in the meantime? Will giving Gordon brand new villains to take down be as interesting as the tried-and-true baddies? Will it feel like a cheat of the Batman connection? Can making Gotham simply a stylized crime show be enough, and if so, why hang on to Bruce at all? Which makes me wonder…

3. How long will this show run?

I already feel like a 22-episode season could be a killer for this series in terms of style and story. If they whittle it down to a Gordon-centric crime show, they might be able to put in some procedural elements and stretch things out a bit, but does that really allow the show to live up to its premise? Also, considering Bruce’s age, if we’re “building to Batman,” it’s probably going to take a while, and I’m not sure (yet) if this show has legs to carry it that far. If we’re not concerned with ending the show on Batman, then we’re okay, but still how long can “Batman Minus Batman” be engaging?

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It’s easy to ask these questions and difficult to make predictions after only one episode. At this point, I’d follow Gordon and Bullock around the back alleys and mean streets of Gotham for a full season. However, the show also seems interested in tracking the growth of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle too, an interest I don’t share quite so strongly given that Bruce and Selina are children (and child actors–well, they’re both 15, but still). We’ll see if the show manages to make him interesting as a regular or if they keep him in the backseat of the Gordon-mobile.

 

 

24: The Longest Dead Series Discussion of Our Lives – Live Another Day

“PRESIDENT HELLER FORGOT TO PUT A TITLE HERE”

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24 is a groundbreaking and important television series. Beyond the thrills, kills, twists and tragedies is a show that reached a new level of serialized storytelling and set the bar for action and suspense on network television. Lasting for 8 full seasons and one “limited series”–204 Episodes plus a TV movie–24 is one of the longest-running shows of the past 15 years. Others, like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Smallville, all three CSIs and two Law & Orders, may have run longer, but the argument can be made that none of those shows are equally as worthy of contributing to the debatably labeled and vaguely-defined “Third Golden Age of Television Drama” that began with The Sopranos in 1999 and is now fading with the end of Breaking Bad and the impending finale of Mad Men. Perhaps 24 doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights of those shows, or others like The Wire and Deadwood, or even The Shield, Lost or Battlestar Galactica, but it was always a strong awards and ratings contender and it was just so addicting and fun to watch.

From September through May, we—Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix—looked back at 24, discussing one season per month until the premiere of the 12-episode miniseries 24: Live Another Day, which we subsequently discussed in a series of “ReJacktions.”

This month’s discussion is focused on Season 9 of 24, AKA Live Another Day, which concluded July 14 after premiering in May of 2014.

It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time. Continue reading