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Entries in TV MVP (7)

Friday
Apr082016

Sterling K Brown: A Star is Born

As we continue celebrating actors this month, here's Murtada on a new one to cherish. He's our TV MVP this week...

Sarah Paulson brought both pathos and steeliness to spare to her portrayal of Marcia Clark. Courtney B Vance was fiery bluster, daring viewers to take their eyes off him as Johnny Cochran. John Travolta was so infinitely alien as Robert Shapiro that he proved fascinating to watch. Almost every single performance was top notch*. What an ensemble.

And yet the clear standout is Sterling K Brown as Chris Darden.

The finale cemented what everyone watching The People Vs O.J. Simpson suspected throughout the past few weeks; we have a new fantastic actor to be excited about. The calm authority he brought to Darden’s closing argument alone should earn him a lot of accolades. Yet he wasn’t finished. At the post-verdict press conference, he goes about delivering a heartfelt speech and then in a split second he realizes words don’t matter, that’s when Brown breaks our hearts. He walks towards the Goldmans with a hunched back and overcome emotions, his body clearly telling us that’s a defeated man. No that’s not all of it. He then earns more of our admiration in his final standoff with Vance. Again bringing an eerie calm to Darden’s final testament.Through him the show delivers its statement about our current world.

Then there’s his final scene scene with Paulson; clasping hands as they walk away as Nina Simone begins to sing. Throughout the series Brown displayed palpable chemistry with his co-stars. The rat-a-tat of give and take acting with both Vance and Paulson, so riveting to watch. But also more. Didn’t you swoon when he took Paulson into his arms for a dance? Their chemistry is already generating both headlines and obsessive fandom! He’s not only a great actor but perhaps a matinee idol? Those don’t come along that often. I bet a lot of us would look at Brown the way Paulson’s looking at him in the photo above if we got the chance.

We shall be seeing a lot more of Sterling K Brown, starting with the Emmys in September. Have you watched the finale?

*I would’ve said all if it wasn’t for Cuba Gooding Jr.

Thursday
Mar312016

The Sisterly Bond Between Leading Ladies of "Togetherness"

When the mood strikes, we'll be sharing our TV MVPs of the Week. Here's Daniel Crooke...

Before last week, Togetherness was simply that great show conducting the most shrewdly hysterical act of open-heart surgery on television. Of course, since then, HBO tragically axed the Duplass Brothers’ tender Northeast LA dramedy after two seasons. On Sunday’s “Geri-ina,” (replaying tonight at 11) Melanie Lynskey and Amanda Peet reminded us how their performances as sisters Michelle and Tina breathe with such a beautifully intimate got-your-backness. When Michelle needs Tina to create a diversion at a snobby fundraiser so she can snoop on her double-crossing charter school frenemy (who also happens to be the host) they exchange a lifetime of ocular shorthand as Peet shoos her along and humiliates herself for her sister’s dream: belting Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” to a roomful of upper crusters. Peet’s berserk timing and Lynskey’s deft, actualized determination belong to one another, fighting dirty in the name of justice.

Amy Jellicoe, you have two fabulous heroines heading your way in HBO Heaven.

Wednesday
Mar162016

Small Screen MVPs: ill-fitting gloves, a sapphic Miranda, and more.

We're accidentally having nearly a full television day today at our mostly movies site so this is as good a time as any to try to reboot that idea about a weekly glance at what we're loving on TV. So I asked members of the team to name a MVP of their television week and here's what they said...

MVP: "If it doesn't fit...," Scene
Show: The People Vs. OJ Simpson

This show gets better and better. In an episode chock-full of riveting moments, there was never any real doubt that THE moment would be the presentation of the iconic gloves, the gloves the prosecution was so convinced would win the case for them.  After tracing what led to the fatal error of asking Simpson to try them on—Chris Darden’s desire for a “big moment” to beat the defense at their own game, and perhaps to make up for a missed opportunity with Marcia Clark—the show builds up to the climax like a horror movie.  Once Bob Shapiro convinces the defense the gloves won’t fit, F. Lee Bailey and Johnnie Cochran cunningly spring the trap for the prosecution, playing Darden’s ego like a violin.  Then Simpson gives the performance of his life as he struggles with the gloves while the jury looks on, agog, and Darden realizes he may just have single-handedly blown the entire case.  But it’s the great Sarah Paulson's face as Marcia Clark that says it all: you can see her soul being slowly crushed during the whole demonstration, and it’s devastating. 
-Lynn Lee 

five more MVPs after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb162016

TV MVP of the Week: Younger, The Magicians, Grandfathered... 

I keep trying to get Team Experience to tell you what they're watching but they're weirdly shy about the small screen. But with the lines continually more blurred between screens we're trying to give television more room here. Nevertheless most of us do watch TV when we can squeeze it in between movies. 

Here's a few of our favorite things from the past week's viewing...

Patricia Field & Jacqueline Demetrio, Costume Design of Younger
Not since the glory days of Sex and the City has a show relied so beautifully on costumes (OK maybe Gossip Girl is up there, too) but in Younger they serve a purpose beyond aesthetics. Take for example the warrior-like costumes Miriam Shor's character wears, glittery armors, oversized jewelry and in one case a McQueen scarf that seemed to have the skulls of all her victims. That the very scarf was used by another character to reveal her weaknesses was pure brilliance.
-Jose Solis 

Gillian Anderson in The X-Files
We may quibble with the overall quality of this protracted sequel season of The X-Files but we should never complain about having more Gillian Anderson in our lives. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov172015

Small Screen MVPs: The Leftovers, Transparent, Black-ish and more...

Each week or so we're asking member of Team Experience to share the MVP of whatever they've been watching on TV lately. The MVP may be a prop, a theme, a person, or a collective. In past episodes we've talked The Flash and Bob's Burgers, The Walking Dead and The Knick and a handful of others. Now five more shows hit our collective eyeballs. Maybe you're watching them?

The Leftovers' Showrunners
The first season of The Leftovers made for difficult but extremely rewarding viewing. But nothing could have prepared us for the show's second season, which has been more daring, more ambitious, and yes, even more difficult than the first. Take the season premiere, which spent its first nine minutes telling a prehistoric tale of a cavewoman and her infant child, before shifting to present-day Jarden, TX - thousands of miles away from the show's previous setting of Mapleton, NY. When characters we finally knew appeared, they were treated as supporting characters. And it wasn't until the fourth episode of the season that we finally came back to the opening scene's lake in the aftermath of the premiere-ending earthquake during which that entire lake and at least three girls disappeared. 

The sixth episode "Lens" was a killer dual showcase for the Emmy-worthy Carrie Coon and Regina King... More plus Transparent, The Mindy Project, and Black-ish after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov032015

Small Screen MVPs: Damaged Surgeons, Haunted Houses, Coming Out

Who or what was your MVP of this past week on your tv screens?

A couple of weeks ago we polled Team Experience to share their MVPs from shows they were currently watching. You liked it so we'll attempt to do it weekly or at least bi-weekly. In this new world of infinite screens and schedules, whether you're bingeing, right up-to-date, or on demand surfing, we're all probably on different time tables so please do share yours as well.

If you watch these shows would you pick the same most valuable player?

MVPs of the Week

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Director
It's taken this show a while to get to a place where it feels confidence in taking artistic risks, but last week’s episode, ‘4,722 Hours’, saw the once meek show taking its most audacious move yet under the helm of director Jesse Bochco. When Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) was snatched by the Monolith in season two’s brutal stinger, I never expected that the show would tackle the aftermath in such sober, thoughtful form. Bochco even dares to omit the regular title card, using a simpler, more elegant logo atop a vista of the deep blue planet.

Immediately, then, Bochco marks ‘4,722 Hours’ as a singular artistic endeavour, a quite remarkable thing in a Marvel Studios empire that has continually driven away individualist directors. Alright, so the episode still fits within the show’s larger template and is constructed with tropes familiar from many lone survivor sci-fi tales, but it feels full of personality, submerged in the midnight blue light of eternal night, allowing Henstridge to dig into Simmons’ psychological trauma that the show had presented to us in the previous episodes. It’s an episode full of confidence and trust in both character and audience. Let's hope it’s one that signals an even brighter future for a series going from strength to strength. - David Upton

The Walking Dead's Executive Producer
Thank you, Robert Kirkman, for backing the hell off. [More...]

Click to read more ...