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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in TV (368)


What Is It With Ruth Madoff and Actresses?

You've already heard that Michelle Pfeiffer is finally planning to work again for an HBO movie called Wizard of Lies. So let's give the story its proper due.

Pfeiffer in The Family / Ruth Madoff

(I included the Pfeiff News in the last link roundup but the Pfans among you didn't deem that sufficient. (I heard from a pflummoxed pfew by e-mail). Look, stop demanding my bonafides! I have been devoted to La Pfeiff since 1985 in. real. time. I've followed her long enough to take each new probject with a full brick of salt until I see footage. She is so skittish about working.)

For the moment at least she is planning to play Ruth Madoff in Wizard of Lies with Robert De Niro in the leading role of fraudulent financier Bernie Madoff. Aside from cameos and voice work this will be her first TV role since just before superstardom hit in 87/88. In her last film The Family, DeNiro (who is 72) and she had teenage children but they're aging up this time around and delicious/undervalued Alessandro Nivola (who is 43) will play their son. Frankly I'd rather see Alessandro romantically paired with Pfeiffer than playing her biological! She's closer to his age than De Niros (by one year - hee - as she's 14 years older than Nivola and 15 years younger than De Niro - but it counts! Especially since she's so foxy. And especially because Nivola is even hotter (it sounds impossible but it's totally true) when paired with actresses that are older than he is - think Frances McDormand in Laurel Canyon, Embeth Davidtz in Junebug and Emily Mortimer in real life (his wife is just one year older - but for this argument it counts ;) 

But back to the Madoffs.

It's worth noting here that Ruth Madoff has already been played by Cate Blanchett (kinda) in Blue Jasmine, and BEFORE Pfeiffer she'll be played by Blythe Danner in the ABC miniseries Madoff (currently filming) so the disgraced rich lady is really getting around among the actresses. It is kind of an instant classic dream role in the Women Who Lie To Themselves™ subgenre.

Blythe Danner and Richard Dreyfuss in Madoff, coming to ABC in 2016.

If Pfeiffer actually goes through with it, we can hope for an Emmy but won't hold our breath. Despite her fame and acclaim, she has never been an awards magnet only picking up an odd trophy here and there (the BAFTA for Dangerous Liaisons, the Silver Bear for Love Field, and several coveted prizes for Fabulous Baker Boys including the Globe, the NBR, and the holy trinity of critics prizes -- NYFCC, LAFCA, NSFC -- before losing the Oscar for that role. ARGH x ∞).

But after both Blue Jasmine (2013) and ABC's Madoff (2016) will audiences and showbiz voters still be into this story for a third round in late 2016 or 2017? 


TV @ The Movies: "Difficult People" and the Golden Globes of Hate

NEW SERIES! Since our eyes always flash and a smile spreads when a movie is referenced on a tv show we're watching, we've decided to make it a habit to share these cross-platform romances with you. Whenever we see one worth discussing, we'll share it.

Have you been watching Hulu's Difficult People? You should be watching Difficult People! Admittedly, it could be a very hard show to fall in love with if you’re not a fan of watching terrible New Yorkers act like exclusionary, entitled gits while spouting cruel insults about celebrities – but hey, that’s one of my favourite genres! What it does mean is references galore, like an audition for a remake of the 1988 body swap comedy Vice Versa in episode two, or a PBS roast in episode three that finds time for jokes about Shining Time Station (“If there’s one thing children love, it’s having Ringo Starr yell at them about trains”) and Maggie Smith’s genitals being named after Mr. Bean.

Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner star as Julie and Billy. They are less successful, but very pseudo-autobiographical versions of themselves - a mildly successful recapper of reality television and a waiter trying to be an actor respectively. They are trying to build a career in comedy while he works for Gabby Sidibe and she deals with her psychiatrist mother (Andrea Martin). Their love of pop culture knows no meta-bounds and they show has already landed in hot water over a joke in episode one about Beyonce that was the target of people who apparently know nothing of irony, criticising the show, the network, Klausner, and executive producer Amy Poehler as “disgusting”.

Sigh, right? [More...]

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Goodbye Lovely Batgirl Yvonne Craig (1937-2015)


I've probably told you this before but when I was a child and they used to show reruns of the old Batman series on tv, I would tense up during opening credits. If the image to your left did not appear I would run outside to play. That sudden Batgirl swing with a kick (who knew that kicks made a "BONG!" sound?) meant that she would appear in the episode and even if I'd seen the episode before I would always watch again.

So yesterday when I heard the news that Yvonne Craig, one of the first celebrities I ever crushed on -- before I even understood what crushes were -- had died of cancer I couldn't even write about it. I needed time to process...

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HMWYBS: Angels in America (2003)

What follows is a republishing of a piece I'm proud of from our very first season of Hit Me With Your Best Shot (you can see the index of all six seasons here) when I was somehow far more concise with "Best Shot" despite feeling like I was overdoing it. I've added in notes and links for contributions from other Best Shot participants and I'd like to thank Manuel heartily before we begin for his fascinating contextual work on HBO's long history of LGBT films and series this summer and for sharing this week's HBO LGBT episode with us for our redo episode of this Great Work. Read that piece before you read this. Ready? Let's begin...

Tony Kushner's extraordinary two part stage epic Angels in America centers around two overlapping young couples in the mid 80s, struggling married Mormons, pill popping Harper and her closeted husband Joe and the gay couple Louis and Prior they become connected spiritually (Harper befriends Prior... in her dreams) and physically (Joe becomes Louis's other lover). But it's also about politics, immigration, religion, identity, and evolution and encompasses multiple other characters from Louis's outspoken gay friend Belize, to Joe's mother, to the evil lawyer Roy Cohn, the dead Communist Ethel Rosenberg, and a frequently orgasmic Angel who descends on many of the players. This masterpiece was adapted for the screen in 2003 by Oscar winner Mike Nichols. Along its journey it won 7 Tonys, The Pulitzer, and later 5 Golden Globes and 11 Emmys and here's the thing: it deserved every single prize. If you haven't seen it drop everything (seriously everything) because it is unmissable. I've seen it performed on stage three times in three different states with wildly different budgets and casts and seen the miniseries a few times too... and every single time it's a fascinating prismatic living thing, like it will always be teaching you, entertaining you, and provoking you.

Rather than limit myself to one shot I'm picking one from each of its chapter. This I can manage!

Chapter 1 "Bad News"

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The Team on TV: Masters of Sex S3

Last week we kicked off a new weekly series in which we assemble a few rotating members of Team Experience to discuss various TV shows. Here's Dan, David, Deborah, and Manuel on discuss Masters of Sex - Editor

Dan: Hello everybody, welcome to our roundtable discussion on Masters Of Sex. I want to begin with a general topic: How do you all respond to time jumps in TV shows? Masters of Sex does this a lot, with several months often taking place offscreen either in between episodes or even during a single episode (S2's "Asterion" comes to mind). The second season ended in 1961, and this season began in 1966, skipping anything dealing with finding a publisher and marketing the study as a book. Did that throw you? Did you miss anything that would have been covered in the years we didn't get to see?

I was taken aback when it turned out Isabelle Fuhrman was Virginia's daughter Tessa, because last we saw Virginia had given up custody of her kids and Tessa was still a little girl. Now she's all grown and sneaking alcohol and drunkenly attempting to kiss Bill.... what happened to our sweet girl?

Deborah: Hi Dan and all!  I'm a Mad Men fanatic, so I don't mind time jumps in theory. But Masters of Sex has been clunky with it. A big time jump at the halfway point of a season (Asterion) is awkward. At the time, I wrote "Halfway through Season 2, Masters of Sex decides 'to hell with this.'" It was strange. Jumping forward between seasons is a more elegant way and it makes sense. Here's what doesn't make sense: The show clearly wanted to get to the publication of the book, because all the years of research for the book were bound to become repetitive. That being the case, now that they've brought us to the book, why put so much attention on Virginia's kids and Bill's marriage?


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'The Wiz Live!' Has Its Full Cast

Margaret here with your live TV musical update. NBC has just announced the final principal cast members for its live production of The Wiz: R&B singer Ne-Yo as the Tin Man, Elijah Kelley (aka the showstopping dreamboat from Hairspray) as the Scarecrow, and Common as the Emerald City gatekeeper. 

The full cast, then, is set:

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New DVD: The Knick, Hot Pursuit

Still annoyed that Reese Witherspoon blew her post Wild goodwill on Hot Pursuit, to be honest. Was hoping for a Legally Blonde level mainstream comedy, though that's an admittedly high bar to clear. It's too strenuously acted to be truly fun though it might well play better on cable and DVD when it will likely be seen in pieces because some of it is funny. Its part of this week's DVD/BluRay batch which includes:

But the big news this week is that The Knick's 1st Season is finally available which means that if you don't get Cinemax you can finally see what the fuss was about Steven Soderbergh's series and why TFE was so thrilled to have Cara Seymour guest blogging earlier this summer to celebrate her terrific work as a tough talking complicated nun

It's a hospital show but not, thankfully, a procedural. Instead it's about scientific advances, urban madness, and the state of public heaelth and medicine at the turn of the 20th century. Clive Owen plays a brilliant Chief of Medicine who is also a junkie. It's an uneven show all told (though the design team does a super 1900s New York, not all of the performances are eager to go for period texture so it sometimes feels out of time) but when its on it's really on. Perhaps the show aired too long ago to catch Emmy's attention or perhaps Emmy votesr just won't look at Cinemax when they're too busy with HBO and Showtime series, but it did win a Globe nod for Clive's performance and one Emmy nomination for Soderbergh's direction of the pilot. 

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