Not Bad But Not Great

#Sense8: I don’t h8 it, but it’s not gr8.

Sense8 Poster

Sense8 has been available on Netflix for more than a year. Since everyone is cord-cutting, I thought I would focus on streaming shows. Since House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have been around for years, I thought I would start with this. Let’s start with this, shall we?

Sense8 opens in a dark church, where we discover that Madison Bauer’s life has taken a turn. Long gone are the days of all she could eat fish and shrieking her name and busting out TV screens for kicks. She goes by Angelica now, and she has descended into the hell of drug addiction. Then, Sayid from Lost appears out of nowhere, presumably looking for Locke, Kate, Jack, or Sawyer. Then suddenly, she takes her tired dingy nightie on a world tour. Girl is looking rough, whilst appearing like a vision to a bunch of different people. A bespectacled silver fox appears on the other side of Annelle and he and Sayid really start jerking her around emotionally. You know when a woman gets emotional, she is going to want to eat something. This bitch reached for her piece, then she ate a bullet. Very good Annelle. Spoken like a true smar… later.

This mess is about a group of people who are telepathically linked, and how they cope with it pretty much. They come from all walks of life. The first member of the group we meet is Will Gorski, a hot as fuck cop from Chicago. Then, Riley Blue, a DJ in London whose hair is a fucking mess. Followed by Mexican movie star Lito Rodriguez, who sort of pick and chooses how much he’ll sound like Demian Bichir at any minute. But let me tell you, Lito’s body is TUH-GEH-THUH! So spicy. After Lito, we dip to South Korea to met Sun, a wannabe ballbuster who works for daddy yet is still a victim of that Asian patriarchal society. What can you do? I don’t know. Then we fly over to India and to meet Kala Dandekar, who we immediately find out is about to be married. But before we give two shits about that, we bounce over to Germany to behold Wolfgang, a crazy hot German piece that I know has a huge dick from a movie I saw him in called FreeFall. He plays a low-level thief in this. Whatever, as long as he gets naked (spolier alert, he does), that is all that matters. What doesn’t matter is this next character, in Nairobi, Capheus. He drives a bus based on Jean-Claude Van Damme, and all he wants to do is get HIV medication for his mom. Yawn. Next up, we go to San Francisco to meet Nomi Malone. Her last name isn’t Malone, but she is written just as bad so it might as well be. Nomi is a transgendered lady, with an annoying black girlfriend who has some of the worst lines in this shit show second only to Nomi Malone herself. We’ll get to that in a minute. Actually, I think that was everybody.

As everyone gets used to being in everyone’s head, they being to pair off, and start using each other strength’s to their advantages. Sun with is a bare knuckle street fighter, as is Wolfgang, which comes in handy when Capheus and Lito get in over their heads. Will and Riley start to get the feels for each other. As do Kala and Wolfie. Nomi Malone, when she is isn’t stripping and mispronouncing Versace, used to be a hacker when she was a man. When the powers that be that are trying to stop their little band of misfit toys from becoming Voltron, she decides she needs to do a little spying on them. So she reaches out to some hacker friends from her past. While doing that we find out that when she was a little boy, he was busted hacking into the Pentagon, but because he had rich parents and was a minor, all he got was community service. Um, no honey. That is not how that works. Oh, speaking of is parents, Nomi is hospitalized against her will pretty early on and it plays out in the most stereotypical way you can imagine. Nomi’s mom is there, in her Chanel-esque, probably St. John suits, looking all rich bitch, refusing to call her Nomi, only calling her Michael; the doctor ignoring everything she says; the nurse saying over and over that “this is for your own good.” It is all so trite.

When Nomi’s hacker friend shows up, he hands her something that looks like an old cable splitter that had been painted white, and she looks at it and goes, “Wow, that’s NSA-grade.” Really, girl? Then they guy says something about having a boner for the equipment, and she goes, “I know what you mean.” Groan. This whole show, especially Nomi’s storyline, feels like a student art film that was written because someone had the new-found freedom to write such material. The transgender storyline is fine, but “I’m not crying because of what she said, I am crying because no one has ever defended me before.” Give me a fucking break. But I get, it is The Wachowski’s exploring their new lives, I get it. And since they created The Matrix, there has to be some sci-fi thrown in there as well. But let me ask you this, have you seen The Matrix in a minute? Guess what? It doesn’t hold up.

The Christmas Special/Season 2 Epsiode 1 is now available on Netflix, and the rest of Season 2 will be available in May. Will I watch the Christmas thing? Yes. Will I watch the rest of Season 2? I answer a cautious yes. I am curious to where they will take the show. I will say this though. If the Wachowskis want to keep my attention, make this an erotic thriller about the telepathic adventures of a Chicago cop, a Mexican movie star, and a German thug and call it Penetr8, and I’ll be on board.

Grade: C-

 

@TheGrinderFOX

The Grinder (Tues, 8:30/7:30c, FOX) joins the other greats like The Closer, The Knick, and TNT’s The Looker as one of the great television… I’m just kidding, this is isn’t like any of those.

Ageless vampire Rob Lowe is Dean Sanderson, an actor who played a lawyer on a long-running TV drama called The Grinder. It ended it’s run and for whatever reason, he moves back home to Idaho to get perspective. Hollywood money, but let’s move home. Sure. Fred Savage is his younger brother, Stewart, who is an actual lawyer. Can you smell the workplace hijinks from where you are? Stewart is married to the Waitress from Sunny, and they have two kids. Their son Ethan is played by Connor Kalopsis, and every time I see his name in the credits, I think it says Connor Koslopis and I chuckle (shout out Handler!).

Dean thinks that, because he played a lawyer on TV, he can be a lawyer in real life. Stewart is not into this, but the town is. Every judge is mesmerized by having “The Grinder” in their courtroom. I am pretty sure that all these judges would be disbarred for allowing this actor to practice law. What imbecile would let potentially their freedom rest in the hands of an actor?! No, no, and no.

I will say that the show does have its moments, and by the way, Fred Savage is as adorable as ever. I know he has been behind the scenes directing for the last several years, but it is great to see Kevin back in front of the camera.

Grade: C+

#BadJudge

Bad Judge

THE CAST

Kate Walsh, having finally escaped her Shondaland shackles, tries her hand at comedy as Van Nuys county judge Rebecca Wright.

Tone Bell, who despite his name was not a member of Toni! Tone! Tony! or Bell Biv Devoe, plays Rebecca’s bailiff, Tedward Mulray. Yes, I said Tedward.

John Ducey is a common fixture in Rebecca’s courtroom, as he is prosecutor (I think!) Tom Barlow.

Miguel Sandoval is Rebecca’s boss who is also a judge.

Ryan Hansen is the oft-testifying expert witness/psychologist/Rebecca’s side-piece Gary Boyd. Even though he is only 33, Dick Casablancas is aging like a fine wine. He is hotter than ever.

Horatio Sanz pops his head in for a hot second, as does Dr. Spaceman, Captain Awesome, and the worst character on Enlisted Sgt. Jill Perez. Only here, she is “Jill Sanchez.” Racism or type-casting? You be the bad judge!

THE PREMISE

A hard-living, slutty sexually unapologetic chick that is a hot mess by night and a criminal court judge by day.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING

Kate Walsh.

When the pilot opens, this bitch is in her bed, face down ass up in a Kelly layering cami and a pair of sparkle panties. My first thought was “who just turned this trick OUT?!” She needs to get to work. She runs to the bathroom, fills her mouth with mouthwash, then heads for the kitchen. She spits the mouthwash out in a dirty coffee mug on her kitchen table. Classy! She then proceeds to climb into the van equivalent of the “Three Wolves One Moon” t-shirt and heads to work. She takes the bench, everybody rises, she sits and says (in sunglasses mind you), “Everyone have a seat. Please do it quietly. Can someone get me a Gatorade?” Later, she goes to a parent-teacher conference (on behalf of some kid who came through her court, this ho has no children), and rips a serious belch in front of the teacher (Sanz). She immediately apologizes by saying, “I’m sorry. I had wine and cake for breakfast.” YAS!!

Boyd testifies in the first case we see her handle, and she fucks him shortly thereafter in her chambers. Her bailiff, Tedward, is really sassy and is kind of the glue that holds her messy ass together. Of course, her boss, Judge Hernandez, is disapproving of her and constantly either scolding her and reining her in. Expect typical workplace hijinks I guess, involving a woman who is sexually unapologetic.

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T

I can’t really come up with a good reason as to why you shouldn’t, other than the scenarios the occur here are ludicrous. If she was a real judge, she would be, at the very least, dragged in front of a disciplinary board of some type, and at the most, dis-barred. As a sitting judge, you don’t show up to work in your 3 Wolves van in just a bra and skirt. You certainly don’t grab an ax off of a fire truck, then plunge it into some asshole’s car that is behind you… then proceed to hit on the fireman (Cpt. Awesome) that comes to reclaim their property! Finally, you don’t flip off the paparazzi (they were there because a Spears/Bynes-style celebutard was on trial) while wearing the aforementioned bra/skirt set. Because, when you do, your picture gets splashed across the tabloids along with your new nickname… Muffin-Top Judge.

THE GRADE: C+

 

#Gotham

4GothamCity-610x343

THE CAST

Ben McKenzie is Gotham Police Detective James Gordon, who sounds alot like Ryan Atwood doing his best Christian Bale impression.

Donal Logue is Jim’s partner, Harvey Bullock, and he needs to turn it down a notch.

David Mazouz is young Bruce Wayne.

Sean Pertwee is the Wayne’s butler, Alfred. Forget about the Alfred’s you know (Michael Gough, Michael Caine). This guy is a dick.

Robin Lord Taylor is freak show Oswald Cobblepot.

Erin Richards is Jim’s girlfriend Barbara Keane. She has nothing to offer other than her vagina… to other women.

Camren Bicondova is Selina Kyle (who will ransack her own place at the mere mention of new Gotham Lady perfume), and she is serving Emily Rosshirt realness!

Cory Michael Smith is Edward Nygma, and it seems he will not be bringing Jim Carrey-style buffoonery to the role.

Jada Pinkett Smith plays (created just for this) nightclub owner/gangstress Fish Mooney. As Linda James would say, she has really “grown into her features.”

THE PREMISE

Gotham is the story of Commissioner Gordon’s rise to power in the years before Batman comes on the scene. Fox seems to think that we care about a Gotham City with no Batman. What’s next? The story of Lois Lane getting her journalism degree on Metropolis?

WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING

Jada Pinkett Smith.

For two reasons. One, to see what she has done to her face, and two, to see her occasional zingers and other outrageous behavior. In one episode, she is auditioning women to become her secret weapon, and she narrows it down to two. At night, she takes them down to the docks (or some shady dock-like area) and tells them that she likes them both but can’t decide. She starts to walk away, when the chick on the left figures it out and asks Fish, “You want us to fight for it?!” Fish grins, turns around, and just shrugs as if to say, “I don’t care” or “If you say so.” Then left-side chick lunges at the other and the next thing you know, she is slamming the other girl’s head repeatedly against the ground. She stands up bloody mouthed, wipes some away and says, “When do I start?” YAS!

But then fast forward to left-side chick sitting at the bar at Fish’s place lamenting about how bored she is. She just wants some excitement, so Fish slaps her across the face and says something like, “Was that exciting?” Fish is probably going to end up being the villain to reckon with on Gotham. But…

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T

Gotham needs work. Alot of it.

The acting on the show is fine. The writing, however, is not. It is atrocious. Bullock seems to be a kind of dirty cop. He is lazy as fuck and would rather be drinking than doing his job (wouldn’t you?). Gordon gives in to bouts of deep Christian Bale-style growling. I know at some point, he is going to yell at Bullock about how he just shit in the cop car. Alfred, the Wayne’s beloved butler, is the opposite of that here. He is an asshole. He treats Bruce like that kid isn’t his boss. He yells and rants. The kid just lost his parents! And now has more money than he knows what to do with! Cut him slack and find him a cave to play in.

There is also a timeline issue. Bruce Wayne’s parents have just been murdered, making him very young. Selina Kyle is a street urchin, but also around the same age… somewhere between 9 & 12. But Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot (who is giving me Stefon’s older brother about 4 years into a meth addiction) are both grown-ass men. By the time Batman hits the scene, they’ll both be card-carrying members of AARP. How is that going to work out? I get that this can’t be like Muppet Babies with all the Batman villains existing as children too. I mean, seeing Joker as a kid could be fun, and it certainly couldn’t hurt the show. But you know when they finally cast the Joker, they’re going straight to Bethenny Frankel.

THE GRADE: C-

#MadamSecretary

Madam-Secretary

THE CAST

Tea Leoni plays a former CIA analyst who is tapped by the President to be the Secretary of State. She looks incredible, by the way.

Geoffrey Arend plays one of her underlings. You might recognize him from award season red carpet events. He always escorts a ginger goddess with giant, basketball-sized titties while playing Ann Veal to her George-Michael. I wish someone on the red carpet would dare to ask her where those chest balloons were back when she was on Firefly.

Tim Daly plays her husband, and much like his Wings co-star Steven Webber, Tim Daly is aging beautifully.

Zeljko Ivanek is here as the President’s Chief of Staff… playing a slimy, devious government official as usual.

Bebe Neuwirth, who must have blown through all of her Chicago money, is here as another underling of the Secretary. And of course, like Lillith Crane, she is all business.

Keith Carradine plays FBI Agent Frank Lundy President Conrad Dalton, and is doing so very dependably.

THE PREMISE

A extra-special glimpse into the life of a Secretary of State as she juggles… you guessed it, her job and her family! They’ve broken the mold! Anyone remember Commander-in-Chief?!

SHOULD YOU BE WATCHING?

I’m not sure. After watching the pilot, my first thought was this is the TV equivalent of vanilla ice cream on white fucking bread… and I mean bucket vanilla ice cream.

It’s a sterile, inoffensive, unexciting,¬† Ambien-like quasi-well acted yet quasi-poorly written hour-long drama on CBS. You know who loves this? Your grandmother, and probably your mom. My guess would be that the last one to two minutes of every episode have the highest ratings… because people have flipped on CBS to get ready for The Good Wife, which is a powerful, explosive, stimulating, thought-provoking, very well written, and exquisitely acted hour-long dream come fucking true on CBS.

I don’t hate Madam Secretary though. I am still watching, and by still watching, I mean I haven’t deleted the two episodes that are sitting on my DVR. I fully intend to watch them, but you know the finale of Project Runway is this week (followed by the Christian Siriano-hosted dilution of the brand spin-off Project Runway: Threads) so I am BOOKED! Madam Secretary is one of those shows that you can have on in the background while you are stalking someone browsing on Facebook, or rapid texting with a friend you have to talk off the ledge every night. Occasionally something interesting will happen that will make you look up from your phone, and you will enjoy what you are seeing, then go right back to your phone. It is too bad Nielsen can’t measure how many people are looking at their phone during a show. Nothing would make me happier than to read that the second episode (which is the last one I watched) was watched by 12.66 million viewers while another 27.4 million people stared at their phones while Madam Secretary was on.

THE GRADE: C.

#MysteriesofLaura

mysteries of laura

THE CAST

Debra Messing is playing Stacey, Grace, and Laura. Ol’ girl has no range, but I love her. Plus every time I see her, I think of the story she told on Ellen about seeing Barbra Streisand in concert. “DEBRA??! DEBRA MESSING ARE YOU HERE????”

Josh Lucas is here inexplicably. Are Stealth 2, Sweet Home Alabama 2, and Poseidon 2 not happening?

Max Jenkins I do not recall seeing in anything. Turns out he has 11 credits, one of which is (sassy gay I am sure) Receptionist on 30 Rock.

Laz Alonso has 55 credits. I couldn’t name one, but I’d guess one of the Fast and Furious movies.

Enrico Colantoni, fresh off his turn as Gianni Versace in the Lifetime masterpiece House of Versace, plays the Captain.

THE PREMISE

A lady cop juggles her job and her two hellions.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING

Because it’s watchable.

Grace is pretending to be Laura Diamond, who despite her name is not a stripper. She is a NYC homicide detective with two rambunctious twin boys, and an ex-husband (Lucas) who won’t sign the divorce papers. The ex-husband is also a cop, and very quickly becomes Laura’s boss. Laura is a fucking slob. Her Volvo wagon is full of trash. Her kids are hellions, but they bring a few LOLs. At one point, Grace is standing in a room on the phone wearing a bra and some Spanx, and one son says, “Mommy, are you Batman or Superman?” Trust, it’s funny. In the second episode, a little Asian kid tells her what the fuck is up. She is in a park eating a pretzel, she drops it, picks it back up and continues to eat it. The little Asian kid yells “GROSS!” and she’s all, “5 second rule.” That is fucking gross.

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T

Because it’s just watchable.

If Grace had ever pulled a gun on Will (or Karen), wouldn’t you have just rolled your eyes and changed the channel? Exactly. In the pilot, Laura is chasing some suspect, and she pulls her gun and shoots the guy. First of all, she is pointing the gun at the same angle as Audrina’s eyes when she’s looking at the ceiling. She isn’t hitting shit at that angle. Secondly, why is it cop shows always have the one cop that can get away with all kinds of shit? Do you think that Melissa McCarthy’s character in The Heat would be able to keep her job considering the way she treats her damn boss? Hell no. Laura is one of those. But like I said, the shit is surprisingly watchable. I may not finish the whole season, but I am watching. While I watch, I will be daydreaming about a new vehicle for Megan Mullally. How about a talk show called¬†Karen?! It can come on right after Pam.

THE GRADE: C+

 

 

#MarriedFX

Married-FX

THE CAST

Nat Faxon plays pretty much the same character Nat always plays.

Judy Greer is a delight, if you are watching Arrested Development. Here she is dependable, and just ok.

Brett Gelman is everywhere these days… also playing pretty much the same type of bearded crazy.

Jenny Slate so far can do no wrong in my eyes.

Paul Reiser is now a silver fox.

THE PREMISE

Russ and Lina Bowman (Faxon, Greer) are married with 3 kids and renting in Los Angeles. He works at a copy store (sort of) and she doesn’t work. They both go to extraordinary lengths to keep their marriage afloat.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING

If you are die-hard fans of either Nat Faxon or Judy Greer, then by all means.

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T

The show is fine, but it is just that. Fine. They aren’t really breaking any ground here. If you’re a couple with kids, you’ll be staring into the future so I hope there’s booze in your house! They are mostly miserable, they’re drinking and drugging whenever they can, and living day-to-day just trying to make it through. It really isn’t funny, it is passably enjoyable. The only comedy occurs when Jess (Slate) is onscreen. She is married to Shep (Reiser) but swears she’s not a gold-digger. She loves damaged men, not that Shep is damaged though. When AJ (Gelman) goes to rehab, she visits him everyday. Not because she gives a shit about AJ (which she does), but she is more interested in making connections with the addicts there then making the whole experience about herself. She is a dream, but she is underutilized in such a way that does not lend itself to you watching an entire season of this. Nor do I see this being able to sustain itself over multiple seasons. If I were Russ, I would turn to Lina, look her in the eye and tell her so earnestly to get her shit, get her kids, and get out.

The show that comes on after this is far superior. It’s called You’re the Worst.

THE GRADE: C.