Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for March 27th, 2012

Odds and Ends, TV-show style

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Folks, the last week I’ve been dealing with something unusual: I have a writing and editing job where I’ve been hired to “pinch hit” and fix someone else’s manuscript.  The book is non-fiction and is well-sourced and well-researched; what I’m doing my best to do is get it ready for publication.  It’s going to take me at least two and a half more weeks, possibly three full weeks, to get this done; this will take me away from everyday blogging, but what’s to do?  (This is a paying job, while blogging isn’t.  :sigh:)

That being said, I have wanted to write about many things, but only have the time to touch on them briefly.  So here we go.

First, if you’re not watching NBC’s “Smash” yet, you should.  The singing by Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty is superb; the writing otherwise is good and holds my interest.  (“Smash,” if you haven’t heard about it or seen it yet, is about a whole bunch of people trying to ready a musical based on Marilyn Monroe’s life and bring it to Broadway.  Hilty is a buxom blonde who looks more like Marilyn, while McPhee has more of Marilyn’s vulnerability.)  This is one of the better TV shows I’ve ever seen about the artist’s life from nearly every perspective (including the writers of the show, the lyricist, the singers, actors, dancers, and producers), and for the most part “Smash” rings true to life.

As for other shows I’m watching (mostly “on demand” as my schedule permits), I’m enjoying the police procedural “Awake.”  This is about a detective (played by Jason Isaacs) who lost part of his family in a car crash; in one reality, his wife lived and his son died, while in the other, his son lived and his wife died.  The detective slips between realities whenever he goes to sleep, and to say the least, he’s confused — he’s actually seeing two psychiatrists (one in each reality).  This is an interesting show that I haven’t yet figured out, but I love the SFnal concepts (the parallel worlds issues).

Of course, I’m keeping an eye on “Dancing with the Stars,” especially as Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, 37, is among the cast (dancing with Peta Murgatroyd); last night, head judge Len Goodman actually admitted that he’d “undermarked” Driver during the first week’s performance, something Goodman has never said before on DWTS.  Here’s a nice article from Yahoo about Driver, in case you’re interested:

As for how Driver did last night?  He danced a quickstep; he was light on his feet and his “frame” (how he stands and holds his partner) was much better than most of the other football players who’ve competed on DWTS before, at least when we’re talking about the second week.  (Everyone improves at different rates, but Driver’s starting out well.)  I enjoyed his performance and felt it was one of the better ones of the entire evening.

My prediction for tonight?  Driver will be safe.

My guess at the bottom two?  Mostly likely it’ll be Melissa Gilbert and her partner, Maksim Chmerikovskiy (those two were a tad undermarked last night as their dance was probably the most difficult of the entire evening, but the difficulty also made it much harder for Gilbert to interact with the audience, which is part of the reason for the lower marks) and Martina Navritalova and her partner, Tony Dovolani, with Navritalova going home.  (The Chicago Tribune has a good, but short, analysis of what happened with Navritalova last evening; take a gander here.)

Finally, the other show I’ve been watching since it debuted is the ABC fantasy “Once Upon a Time.”  Here, an evil queen has banished every storybook character known to man to our world — and to the town of Storybrooke, Maine.  Only a few people know what happened, including Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison, late of “House”), Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle, perhaps this show’s “breakout star”), Storybrooke’s mayor Regina (Lana Parilla), who is none other than the evil queen herself, and Regina’s adopted son, Henry (Jared Gilmore) — Emma’s natural child, given up for adoption at birth —  who has a storybook that gives enigmatic hints as to who these people really are.  But Emma doesn’t wholly believe, partly because the people Henry says are her parents are the same age she is, and partly because she wasn’t raised in Storybrooke at all — she was found along the side of a road.

The pluses to “Once” are that there’s some really great acting — particularly by Carlyle as Mr. Gold, who keeps everyone guessing as to whether he’s a good guy, a bad guy, or simply in it for himself — and some interesting storytelling.  The minuses mostly have to do with the fact that the storytelling is not linear; episodes jump back and forth in time, and we get hints weeks before things actually happen in our “real” world that something is drastically wrong with whatever character is featured this week.

But this seeming weakness has been turned into a strength, mostly because of how Carlyle lights up the screen as the amoral “Mr. Gold.”  Due to his uncertain loyalties, viewers get to see him nearly every week; he’s a constant source of mischief, humor, and oddly enough, genuine pathos.  Very few actors would be able to do what Carlyle is doing, and I seriously hope when the next time the Emmys come around, he gets serious consideration as best supporting actor.

Other than that, I’m mostly awaiting the second season of “Game of Thrones,” same as most SF fans.  (Isn’t everyone?)

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm