Top15: 2017 Favorite TV Actresses

As always, remember the difference between “favorite” and “best.” This ain’t no Oscars or Emmys. . .

Katherine Heigl—Doubt
I don’t think anything can possibly happen that would change her from being my favorite actress. Too bad this show was so boring, and she was basically saddled with the same character she played on Grey’s.

Gillian Anderson—The X Files
Even though I’m not enjoying the reboot, I still love watching this amazing woman, and Scully will always be Scully. As much joy as she brought me during the original run, it’s her work in The Fall that is truly the highlight of her career.

Daniela Ruah—NCIS:LA
Due to the past decade or so this show has been on, I’ve run out of superlatives for this amazing actor. At first the show was more centered on her beauty and sex appeal, but since then she’s proven she has the chops to stick with the boys on this show.

Christina Valenzuela—Miraculous Ladybug
If you ever needed proof that voiceover acting can be just as compelling and amazing as on-screen work, look no further than this woman’s subtle work. From high-pitched giggles and squeals to menacing counter-threats at the show’s baddie. . . I want to say she’s so much fun to watch, but instead she’s so much fun to hear.

Melissa Benoist—Supergirl
It’s always seemed to me that playing a superhero isn’t all that hard, compared to playing the human counterpart. To put it simply, Melissa is simply better than most of the material she’s had thrown at her. Just watch her playing vulnerable human—or masquerading as human—and you’ll see what I mean.

Emily Wichersham—NCIS
I was never against Cote de Pablo, but her character got stale after a while. Emily brought a freshness and optimism that the show desperately needed, while not creating another Abby.

Kristen Bell—The Good Place
Veronica Mars was basically a good person underneath her tough façade, and always managed to do the right thing despite it. Eleanor is Veronica Mars had she grown up without that filter. Kristen makes her one of the most selfish people ever seen on TV—thankfully not all the time, she’s learning—and yet still completely loveable.

Halston Sage—The Orville
There’s a scene early on, the episode where Alara takes command, where she’s negotiating the release of the captain and first officer. Her opponent is a conceited jerk. Putting her ego aside, she lets someone else take over and, when prompted, gives the most hilarious deadpan line ever uttered. That’s all I needed to fall in love with this character, and actress.

Jaimie Alexander—Blindspot
This show had such an amazing premise but has unfortunately fallen into silly are-they-together-or-not drama that it didn’t need. But through it all Jaimie has been the bright spot, whether she’s being badass with her words or her stunts. She’s made this character almost as kickass as Lady Sif.

Abigail Spencer—Timeless
Another show that hasn’t really lived up to its premise, being too uneven in quality, but Lady Blah-Blah has been a constant rock amongst the sometimes eye-rolling writing. She had to wait a long time for this kind of leading role, but now she gets to show what she can do, and it’s a lot.

Alana De La Garza—Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
This amazing actor just can’t catch a break. With her acting potential, not to mention those cheekbones, she should be a star, on a show that lasts forever. . . no pun to her previous show. Yet in all those one-or-two year wonders she creates delicious characters that are always fondly remembered.

Kara Killmer—Chicago Fire
If this character was real I would marry her in an instant; that’s how great a job Kara has done here. Whether she’s calming down a recalcitrant patient or hiding from a friend who’s crushing on her, this innocent-looking blonde always makes me believe whatever little silly thing the writers throw at her.

Paget Brewster—Criminal Minds
Even though Prentiss is no longer the badass she was before her fake death, there’s still plenty of fire in the character, and making her the boss allows Paget to show a completely different side to her acting prowess. I like watching her be more subtle than usual, while still enjoying the vintage emotions that sometimes still come out.

AJ Cooke—Criminal Minds
Unlike her costar above, AJ—and JJ’s—journey has been the opposite. Whereas the blonde media coordinator started out meek compared to the others—sometimes it was easy to forget she was a trained FBI agent—she’s gotten to show her grit and kickass skills in taking down bad guys, even saving her family. AJ has shown JJ can be what Prentis was before.

Melissa Rauch—The Big Bang Theory
I still say she’s the best thing about this show, even with the comedic giants in the lead. Whereas she started out a bit mousy, the character has developed into the most snarky of them all, leaving Penny in the dust. This is one time when her height—or lack thereof—helps, because you don’t expect such cutting sarcasm from someone so tiny, and it’s so perfectly delivered that it’s funny rather than painful.

;o)

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Top 15: 2017 Favorite TV Shows

For once I’m gonna be smart about it and not waste my time ranking them. Yeah, that’s the new way I roll. . .

Miraculous Ladybug
I’ve already blogged about how much I love this show, and now that it’s on TV—channel 5.3 in Los Angeles at 7:30AM—and not just Netflix, I can put it on this list. For those who missed it, two teens in Paris become the superheroes Ladybug and Cat Noir whenever someone—usually one of their classmates—gets evilized. (Yes, that’s one of the words they use for it.) In addition to that storyline, there’s the unrequited love between the two, though it’s made much more complicated because of their alter egos; it’s basically a love square between two people. There’s plenty of humor, and the 3-D animation is cutting edge. One of the shows I watch over and over and even sneak peeks at the second season over on YouTube.

Supergirl
Like it turned out for a lot of people, I wasn’t thrilled with the second season—one critic mentioned it should be renamed “Supergirl’s Boyfriend”—but it’s gotten back in the groove in its third year, not the least of it due to Odette Annable, one of my faves. For me the best parts are when Kara is all too human, especially sympathetic, rather than all the action sequences. The one thing that got me into this show, when I usually don’t care for superhero fare, was an early photo of Melissa in full Supergirl gear walking with a group of Girl Scouts while carrying a puppy, and sometimes they remember why that kind of thing works so well.

Lucifer
This show manages to do something that a lot try and almost all fail at: having a character who’s such an ass but also so charming you just can’t help but be on his side. And it’s the Devil!
You’d think there wouldn’t be any more “detective and x” combos left to try on TV, but I suppose eight years of Castle proves it’s still a viable formula. It helps that the detective is so darn likeable (and looks exactly like one of my favorite musicians!). There’s also a great supporting cast of celestial beings and all-too-humans that keep things light and dramatic in turn. A particular favorite is the psychiatrist who enjoys sex with angels. . . and the gorgeous demon who does just about everyone. . .

NCIS:LA
After all these years I’m still enjoying the adventures of Kensi and the nameless guys supporting her. (What? Nah, don’t believe you.) It helps that I’ve been on the set and got my photo taken with all of them. . .
In the last ten years or so dramas have become so serialized that I’m well over it, and this show has some of those arcs as well, but I prefer the individually plotted episodes. Still wish they’d do more undercover work like at the beginning, especially when they can be as good as Sam playing financial savant.

Penn and Teller: Fool Us
Basic premise: if you can perform a magic act, and Penn and Teller can’t tell how you did it, you get to open for their show in Vegas. (Suspiciously, there’s never more than one winner per episode.)
What’s better than magic? Funny magic. Some magicians excel at that, but none have hit it big with that formula like these two incredibly different guys. In later seasons they’ve taken to doing their own trick at the end of each show, but even better are all the different acts that have passed before them. While some of the magicians are so practiced it sounds like they’re reciting their patter, for the most part they’re so excited about performing on TV and in front of their idols that it gives a fresh enthusiasm lacking in so many shows today.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Still going strong after some thirty years, if you count the British era. As much as I love watching stand-up, this is so much better. There are some skits I’ve watched thousands of times, especially the ones with guest stars like Robin Williams, Richard Simmons, and Adelaide Kane. Even model Nina Agdal rocked it. But Colin, Ryan, Wayne, and rotating fourth seat are all comic geniuses, a joy to spend an hour with. Even Laura Hall, the pianist, is wonderful, even though I recently spent an evening listening to live music next to her without recognizing her!

NCIS
Yup, this show is still on the air, and some might say better than ever. After a long time with Cote de Pablo in the female lead, the addition of Emily Wickersham has infused fresh blood, along with some other new faces to balance those who’ve been there the whole time. Gibbs isn’t nearly as much of a hardass anymore, no doubt due to his recent brush with death, and his scenes with Fornell show he does indeed have a sense of humor buried somewhere inside him. At this point the plots hardly matter; the fun is in the interactions of the team.

The Good Place
Where are we again?
Eleanor is Veronica Mars had she gone bad. She dies in the most ridiculous way possible and makes it to Heaven, where she obviously doesn’t belong. Now she has to deal with keeping her secret, spending time with the geekiest soulmate ever, and trying to figure out why Heaven isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. . . and then it really gets weird.
Kristen Bell and Ted Danson are both comic geniuses, and the supporting cast is definitely not bad either. But it’s the writing that makes this show amazing, superb in both comedy and twisty plots that no one sees coming, not even the other actors, as evidenced by a video Kristen uploaded recently of them reacting to the huge twist.

The Orville
The Space adventures of Alara and her crew. . . well, at least for one episode.
Who would have thought a funnier, slightly hipper version of Star Trek: The Next Generation would be so good? Not that it started out great, and definitely has huge possibility for growth if they can cut down on the sophomoric jokes. . . well, it is Seth McFarlane.
For me it’s the women who rule this show. Penny Johnson Jerald has always brought it, and must be having fun on this show after having to be so serious on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I’ve never been a fan of Adrianne Palicki until now, but it’s Halston Sage as Alara that is a revelation, the best new face of the season. (Even more fun is how totally different she looks in real life!)

Blindspot
After what started as one of the best premises of all time, the show has settled into a kind of holding pattern; even though the overall mission—and big bad—changes, it’s still about deciphering the tattoos to foil yet another plot. Jaimie Alexander is one of the most underrated actresses on TV, and even though I get bored with the goings-on sometimes, there’s still plenty to enjoy every week, including one of the funniest and most endearing techies on any show.

Death In Paradise
Now that it’s running on PBS rather than solely Netflix, I can include what might be my fave cop show. Sure, someone always dies, but at least they did it on a Caribbean island, amid a lot of humor. I will never forget Serious Cop screaming like a girl at the rubber snake, but that was years ago. Now there’s a third chief inspector, who is so understatedly funny it sometimes takes a moment, but provides a completely different yet thoroughly entertaining crime-solving technique. The other cops are fun too, and Danny John-Jules—The Cat on Red Dwarf—plays a character named Dwayne, but his last name is not Dibbly.

Big Bang Theory
Another show where there’s nothing much left to say after being on for so many years. On the other hand, it’s fun to watch the repeats and see how much has changed: two of the original four married—one of them with kids—the last guy you’d ever expect to find a girlfriend engaged. . . and then there’s Raj. At least he changed his hair. But in my admittedly biased opinion the show has gotten better and better since the addition of Melissa Rauch as Bernadette, who could easily be a star on a spin-off had she not had to carry Howard all these years.

Dancing With the Stars
I can’t believe I’m including this one, as I’ve never watched it before—and probably never will again—but my girl Lindsey Stirling was on so I had to tune in. . . and found I still remembered a lot of my own miniscule dance training. Even worse, I found I had many of the same thoughts that were then expounded by Grumpy Judge!
I wonder if Lindsey remembers the Meet-and-Greet where we posed in tango. . .

Timeless
Time-travel change-the-future story, which I love. I don’t think there’s been anything like it on TV since Seven Days.
I’m not sure if the whole season was plotted out from the beginning, as too many things didn’t make sense, but counterfactuals are just so much fun. Doesn’t hurt that one of my unsung faves, Abigail Spencer, was the female lead. On the other hand, not nearly enough Matt Frewer!

iZombie
Medical student gets bitten by zombie, then becomes a medical examiner so she can have access to brains. Finds out eating a dead person’s brains passes some of their memories to her, which she uses to fight crime. Remember what I wrote above about Lucifer? How many more variations of cop helper can there be? Doesn’t beat the Devil, but close.
This has to be a dream job for an actor: getting to play a different role, or at least a different version of their role, every week.

Why did these shows that I watch all the time not make the top 15? Mostly because I would otherwise not watch them if it wasn’t for an actress I like. . .

Criminal Minds
Paget Brewster’s back and they’re finally done with the debacle of Reid being in jail.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
Perfect example. Alana de la Garza went right from Forever to the only Criminal Minds spinoff that made it past a season. If this show had one major problem, it was the writing, but who cares when I can spend an hour staring at those amazing cheekbones?

Chicago Fire
I’d never heard about this show until I saw a commercial featuring a wonderfully enticing innocent-looking braided blonde. That turned out to be Kara Killmer, and even though she’s amazing I actually like the show for its humor, rather than the people crazy enough to run towards fires. . .

Doubt
Despite some good humor and prescient side stories, this was nothing more than a run-of-the-mill courtroom drama with horny lawyers. . . except this one had Katherine Heigl, and that’s that.

Powerless
A great premise in a superhero world was basically wasted despite some great actors, particularly Danny Pudi (Go watch his movie The Tiger Hunter!). Vanessa Hudgens turned out to be surprisingly awesome as well, but how bad does the writing have to be when you turn an Alan Tudyk character into a huge disappointment?

Can’t include them:

Wynonna Earp
Because it’s on cable, and Netflix. Still, who would have thought Wynonna could become even snarkier and more awesome by being pregnant?

The X Files
How I wish I could put it on this list, but I am just as underwhelmed by this season as the previous one. The episode with the Mandala Effect was trippy, especially the Segway sound effects, but I’m hard pressed to remember any other worthwhile moment.

;o)

Book Reviews: Texas Island, Sci-fi Sex, East German Life

It’s okay that I thought “You’re a thirty thirty girl” when she told me it was her 30th birthday, but didn’t say it out loud. . . right?

Destined for Trouble
An FBI analyst—no one believes her when she says she’s not an agent and doesn’t carry a gun—goes through a breakup and decides to come home to a Texas island to rest and rethink life; good luck with that, considering her mom, an ex, and the requisite crazy girl from high school.
A local restaurateur is poisoned at her welcome-home party, but it isn’t till the reading of the will that things go crazy. The man leaves the restaurant to his favorite worker, who happens to be the main character’s bestie; the widow is furious, so motive, anyone? Not to these idiot hillbilly cops like the chief, who seems to be descended from a long line of such all the way back to Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. The deputy chief happens to be the aforementioned ex, the one cop who might be on her side, but as usual he wants her to keep her nose out of it. So of course she never tells him about the other suspects she’s uncovered. . . sheesh!
At what I thought was the ending I made a note: “Gotta say I’m a bit disappointed,” only to find there was one more twist left, which made things a little better, but it was kinda too little too late.
3/5

Star Trek Sex
Okay, that’s an intriguing enough title, especially for Trekkies. Yes, let’s enjoy an analysis of all the times Kirk, and once in a while the other crewmembers, enjoyed some happy bed time with fellow humans and/or aliens.
Sadly, that’s not close to what happens here. Instead we get a very lazy writer who figures he can sell this just from the title, which unhappily might be true.
Basically it’s a small list of episodes which feature some sort of physical coming together—and not always that—which allows him to pontificate on some tiny barely-related issue. Some of these are a stretch: mentioning that tribbles are born pregnant might fit in a very general sense, but come on.
The worst part is how uneven it is. Far too many episodes are completely ignored, the most egregious being “Shore Leave,” which was most likely the genesis of the Next Generation’s holodeck. Kirk rekindled a romance there, even if she wasn’t completely real, and McCoy was big-time flirting with a yeoman, so why isn’t this in the book? And speaking of those left out, what about Miramanee, Kirk’s only real relationship? She was pregnant when she got killed, so. . . yeah! How ‘bout the crazy Shakespearian actress?
He goes on to mention some actresses and characters from the other series, and while it took him long enough to get to Dax, he made absolutely no mention of 7 of 9. Huh?
The author must love cars; in a book entitled Star Trek Sex he includes a chapter on sexiest starships.
This was really disappointing. I would advise fans to stay away.
1/5

One More Chance
For most of the book I enjoyed both the writing and the characters, especially main heroine Ashley; I could see her as the type of girl I’d have a crush on in high school. She’s almost raped by the football hero cliché, only to be saved by the brooding musician hero cliché, who then makes a great impression on her taciturn dad until he finds out the guy’s name, at which point she is never to see him again.
By the time we get to the second half, fifteen years later, two more clichés of romance novels—misunderstandings and psycho chicks—have reared their ugly, heavily-made-up faces.
For me the best laugh was the auction scene that had the brothers discussing Disney princesses—although the whole thing started with Jessica Rabbit—but after Gabe pontificates on Elsa I felt outraged that Merida wasn’t included.
On the other hand, the worst moment came right out of the Writing Romances formula: everything is great, the happy couple is together. . . and then the writer makes circumstances that fuck everything up with another girl innocently where she shouldn’t be. WHY? WHY? Because it’s in the formula. And maybe the book wouldn’t have been long enough otherwise. That dropped my rating of a novel that features really good writing but less so on plot.
3/5

Wall Flower
Wow, was this ever difficult to read! And not just because I’m not a Hegel fan.
According to the translator, “She presents herself as a flower on the (Berlin) Wall. . .”  So there’s your title. A woman from West Berlin finds herself on the wrong side of the wall when it goes up and has to live in the DDR. For all those readers who grew up on the west side of the world, so to speak, this is where we all say, “Damn, that sucks. Too bad.” But she doesn’t quite see it that way.
At the start she’s a kid with a huge imagination for games, learning piano without having one around while she deals with a brutal father and apathetic mother, who tricks her into being in the east sector when the wall goes up, so she can no longer be with her singer grandmother in the west. She escapes so deeply into the music she goes crazy, so her parents say. After her release from the psych ward she won’t go back to her family, so she wanders around doing odd jobs; in the GDR it was apparently illegal to be homeless or jobless. Though she works nights at a light bulb factory, and takes a job at a butcher’s because she loves meat, she makes more money by being a thief.
When the rebellion inside her peters out she manages to get into the University of Liepzig to study philosophy, where I had a good laugh to find she liked the same stuff in symbolic logic that I did. Eventually she learns to play the system: when she sees the more pages written the better, she double spaces and makes more chapters. When she notices they count how many books you borrow from the library—the more the better—she takes suitcases of books home and earns the reputation she wants. Using her low blood pressure as an excuse, she pretends to faint and gets out of military training. She even marries a gay friend for a year, which worked out well for both of them; then they got divorced, and she marries the guy she’s been living with.
More importantly, she learned how to make people leave her alone. But by the end you can see that she learned to play the game at the cost of her soul. This comes into stark relief with her third marriage, an upright citizen who comes from a famous family, though she didn’t know that—or even met them!—before the wedding. She forces herself to become the dutiful politically correct wife, but eventually she realizes, “I had tried out the cynic’s way of life and could not endure it. . . ultimately I understood that I could not outwit the circumstances, even using the cunning of reason.” Yep, that’s how she thinks, and writes.
There’s a lot of funny quotes in her descriptions of the people around her and even herself. About her third husband she says, “His political standpoint did not matter to me, so long as he did not force it on me.” Of herself she mentions, “The role of political ‘dummy’ had its advantages.” In a moment of very dark humor she calls the Stasi the “Institute for Opinion Research.” And as for the people she was forced to hang around with, “The majority of socialist intellectuals found it distasteful that East Germans desired bananas, shower gel, and cars and not the complete works of Nietzsche or Trotsky.” Also “The great majority of East German intellectuals have totally disappeared, and hardly anyone misses them.” And as for the country itself, “For me East Germany had become a place to which, in the future, I wanted to return after my trips to the West in order to write in peace.”
She does have an interesting take on the Communist collapse: after saying that artists and writers had a lot of the same privileges as the politicians, she adds that the citizens were okay with that, because they loved their artists. “Only once they demanded for themselves what the artists had long been allowed. . . that the privileges be open to everyone equally, did the GDR collapse.”
And of course there can’t be a book on the Communist world without some mention of Pablo Neruda, who is introduced to her by her lover during her third husband; yep, girl got around. Even for an autobiographical piece, this just feels so self-indulgent; when I look back, I can’t help but think I should have enjoyed this more. There were too many philosophical ramblings, and judgments she made from them, that I didn’t understand, mostly because despite all this writing I couldn’t really get inside her head. Even the translator in his intro was kinda rambling.
3/5

;o)

Top 15 Fave Actresses of 2014

Better do this before it’s time for the 2015 list. . .

Because this is only network shows, I can’t include Anna Silk, Emmanuelle Vauger, and Rachel Skarsen from Lost Girl and Rachel Nichols from Continuum, but they woulda made the list if it was so inclusive.

15 Zoe McClellan—NCIS: New Orleans
My fave character from JAG, her beauty still shines.

14 Madeline Stowe—Revenge
She must have a portrait in the attic. . .

13 Rachel Bilson—Hart of Dixie
I don’t doubt she’d be higher on the list if, like any sensible doctor, she didn’t wear five-inch heels.

12 Aisha Tyler—Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Nothing sexier than a sense of humor.

11 Stana Katic—Castle
She’d be higher if it wasn’t for the blondage that distracts from those gorgeous eyes.

10 Katherine McPhee—Scorpion
I think she’s far more attractive when she goes for cute rather than glam.

9 A.J. Cook—Criminal Minds
Another lady who doesn’t seem to age.

8 Jill Wagner—Wipeout
She’s funny enough to be on Whose Line.

7 Amy Acker—Person of Interest
From the cuteness that was Fred to the sheer bad-girl gorgeousness that is Root.

6 Molly Quinn—Castle
Amazing to look back at the Castle pilot and see how much she’s grown.

5 Missy Peregrym—Rookie Blue
Gorgeous and goofy; a deadly combination.

4 Kaitlyn Black—Hart of Dixie
So beautiful and so funny; another deadly combination.

3 Daniela Ruah—NCIS: Los Angeles
It took two of my all-time faves returning to TV to finally knock her from the top spot. Can’t really think of anything I haven’t already said about her wonderfulness.

2 Alana De La Garza—Forever
Amazing that from the first moment I saw her so long ago she hasn’t changed a bit.

1 Katherine Heigl—State of Affairs
There are no words. . .

Had Galavant debuted one week earlier Karen David would be on this list; as it is, she’s definitely on the 2015 edition.

;o)

Top 15 Favorite TV Shows, 2014 Edition

You know the rules: network TV only, no cable or Netflix, though I will mention a few of those at the end.

15. NCIS: New Orleans
Not a Bakula fan, but love Zoe McClellan since her time on JAG. There’s an easygoing Suthin’ charm to the show, which is to be expected in N’awlins, I guess.

14. Bad Judge
It’s awesome seeing the always cool and collected Kate Walsh be such an utter goofball.

13. Hart of Dixie
This show has only gotten better with the more frequent appearances of Kaitlyn Black, by the far the best character on the show.

12. CSI
Having been rejuvenated by Shue and Danson, it almost feels like the early years, though better. Perhaps that’s due to Jorja Fox coming back.

11. Rookie Blue
As long as Missy Peregrym keeps bringing it, I’ll keep watching it.

10. Criminal Minds
Not nearly the same since Paget left, but still fascinating in its delvings into the psychopathic mind.

9. NCIS
Another show rejuvenated by a new cast member. Nothing against Ziva, but the new girl has so much more personality, and since she’s married we don’t get Tony being his usual annoying self hitting on her all the time. (Don’t worry, he’s still annoying in other ways, especially with McGee.)

8. Wipeout
There’s nothing left to say, only enjoy: the wipeouts, the snark, Jill in such tight jeans they look to be borrowed from her 12-year-old sister. . .

7. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD
Have to admit to a bit of disappointment here with the plotting and the pace, but watching Coleson and May will never not be fun. Skye isn’t as wonderful as she usta be, though. . .

6. Big Bang Theory
Another one that just keeps rolling along, doing what it does best, which is making me laugh at people even geekier than me. . .

5. NCIS:LA
Never thought I would have it this low, but ever since that horrible plot used to cover Daniela Ruah’s pregnancy–sending Kensi to Afghanistan to snipe her former fiancé–it’s been tough to get back into. Still one of the best shows around, though.

4. Forever
Even in the show they had to mention Alana DeLaGarza’s cheekbones. Beyond that, the leads have the kind of chemistry all TV pairings wish they had and only Castle has achieved lately. Though I do wonder if Henry’s killed in Brooklyn or the other side of Manhattan if he’ll be reborn in another body of water. . .

3. Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Aisha Tyler is more fun than Drew Carey. Miss some of the guys from the previous shows, but the new ones are just as good, and once in a while the celeb guests really hit it out of the park.

2. Castle
Far from going downhill with them getting married, this show just keeps chugging delightfully along. The western was my fave epi since the second season.

1. State of Affairs
You all know by now I love Katherine Heigl, but this show would be almost as spectacular without her. It’s quite obvious their consultants and writers know their stuff, and I am frequently impressed by the variety of plots they conjure up. That being said, I’ve got a few story ideas floating in the noggin, if they ever need them. . .

On Netflix
Warehouse 13
This is what happens when creative people make a show where anything goes; they frequently go anywhere and everywhere, in a good way.

Continuum
Always liked Rachel Nichols, but this shows just how well she can act. At times the story is fascinating, at others tough to follow–changing to a different timeline, for example–she grounds the story with her fish-out-of-water attempt to get back to her time and family.

Lost Girl
Possibly the first nice succubus in history. The snark flies at full speed between her, wolf boy, 2 female humans, a no-longer king, and various other powerful creatures, now including a gorgeous blonde Valkyrie. . . but aren’t they all blonde?

Hinterland
Mostly gritty, sometimes weird, detective show set in Wales. The main character could be a little more. . . human, and I’m so tired of seeing damaged cops on TV–and hope to never see them in person–but some of the stuff here is as fascinating as Criminal Minds.

Mythbusters
Where else can you go to get your myths busted? Even the narrator is hilarious as they take the experiments to their logical conclusions. . . and then well beyond. Hope Grant’s leg has healed from when the karma hammer smacked him. . .

The Wall
As hard as it is to watch Gillian Anderson as anyone but Scully–the blonde hair helps–she’s amazing as an incredibly cold-hearted detective on the hunt for a serial killer in Northern Ireland, played by the guy who’s gonna be the lead in 50 Shades, I’m told. . .

;o)

Shield at Paley

Don’t remember if I mentioned it on the previous Paley Fest blog, but the Ariel Pez doesn’t look much like her, except for the red hair. The pink dress is just too jarring; find a way to give her a clam bra or a tail, dammit. Merida, on the other hand, is uncannily realistic, especially the long red curls; she already has a place of honor in my pocket. . . and no, that’s neither a euphemism nor a “That’s what she said!”
Mel’s again for another orange freeze, the place is much more full this time. Worked it so I wouldn’t be so early arriving at the Dolby, and found my ticket changed from balcony to the back of the floor, still far away but seemingly much closer. Cheesed my way to an empty row instead of seated in the middle and stepping over everyone, so I was feeling really good as the screen starts up with a scene from Sex in the City, with “Coleson” lying about being a doctor after sleeping with the redhead. . . and if you thought I knew their names, you have not been paying attention to this blog.
Finally one of the executive producers–not Joss Whedon–comes out to introduce what’s going on, getting all fan boy about “This is where they do the Oscars! That selfie was right down there!” Finally he remembered to tell us not to spoil–“that’s Latin for bad milk”–what we were about to see, which was the next episode, the one airing on, appropriately, April first. “You all now have level 7 clearance,” so act like it.
Approximately 40 minutes later:
Holy shit, I wanna tell everyone who the Clairvoyant is!

We quickly forgot about that as the moderator was introduced: Felicia Freakin’ Day! And things only got better when she squealed, “Happy Saturday. . . why is everyone laughing at that?”
Um, it’s Sunday. . .
She waves it off. “You don’t want to know what I did last night. . .”
As the cast is introduced, I’m a little horrified by that blue thing Chloe’s wearing {Holy shit, am I going to talk about fashion?} Chloe, look at Min-Na! That’s how you dress sexy!
The first thing that was said, and then said over and over, was that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opens April 4, and a new episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs April 8–though the guy called it the seventh a few times–and it might be good for you to watch both, in that order. Gotcha, though I’d be a lot more interested if Lady Sif made an appearance. . .
But as usual I digress. There was a fun part early on when Ming-Na and Chloe complained about how the writers never tell them anything, so of course Jed Whedon had to act out the cookiest sneaking around pantomime you’d ever want to see about the actors trying to sneak into the writer’s room.
The best moment, or moments, were about who were Skye’s parents. Ming-Na, who is a helluva lot funnier than May, said she wanted Skye to be the love child of May and Thor, with flashbacks to those scenes.” In case you didn’t know it, she has a huge crush on Helmsworth. Then Clark Gregg nailed it with, “I was gonna say Coulson and Sif.”
In case you haven’t figured it out, I love Sif. . .
Even better were the audience questions, with a lot of people dressed up–one kid was Coulson Jr.–and others sporting “Coulson lives!” shirts. One guy was sporting a shirt that screamed “Coulson Is My Homeboy,” and he pointed out that for a secret group S.H.I.E.L.D. had a lot of stuff with the logo, leading his homeboy to explain, “The organization is not a secret. What they do is.” Nicely put, though even the plane has an espresso machine with the logo. “And Fitz can give you a latte where the foam is the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo.”
Always loved Coulson, but Clark Gregg is cool as himself too. He even hopped off the stage to hug fans, and joked about how he came up with 11,000 Twitter aliases for the #coulsonlives thing.
One thing that I’m glad they got out of the way was the possibility of a romance for FitzSimmons. Thankfully the guy who plays Fitz says they’re too much like brother and sister for that. Elizabeth–Simmons–when asked which Marvel character she’d like to have a scene with, chose a cup of tea with Loki, leading “Coulson” to grunt, “I’ve been in a scene with Loki.” Since everyone there knew Loki had killed Coulson in Avengers 1, it got a big laugh.
Someone asked if Felicia might appear on the show, which most likely got the biggest applause. And of course the spunky redhead had to mention that the 10% was in the mail for the person who asked.
There was the requisite mention of Chloe’s past as a teen pop singer in China; I thought she’d be more embarrassed to have that pop up, especially when Felicia, who wasn’t aware of that, asked her to explain, but she seemed more resigned about it.
When it ended it seemed like everyone rushed up to the stage, even beating Security to it. Stayed a while, but figured it would take way too long if ever to get a couple of autographs and headed our for lunch, since I doubted either Ming-Na or Chloe would be joining me. . .

And now some Ladies of Paley. . .

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;o)

 

Top 15 outings of 2013

Was talking to a violinist who told me the last time he’d played Summer from the Four Seasons, he’d been going so hard he lost control of the bow and hit a percussionist twenty feet behind him right between the eyes.
“There there,” his wife soothed. “It was just a percussionist. . .”

15        Oct 5   Burning Man Decompression
Woulda been higher if not for the allergy attack, but awesome because I finally—yes, finally!—got to shoot my buddy Christiane in conditions that didn’t cover her face or had the sun behind her or anything.

14        Apr 3   UCLA Beach Volleyball
Never cared much for my favorite sport on the sand—with just two players—but seeing ladies I’ve been rooting for made it a whole lot better.

13        Mar 14 2 Broke Girls at Paley
Getting to see the upcoming episode a few days early was cool, but finding out how witty Kat—well, the entire cast, really—was had to be the highlight.

12        Aug 27            Caprice/Missy Peregrym
I love Caprice Crane’s books enough to put up with her idiosyncrasies at her signings, but every time has been with the faint hope that her buddy Missy—who plays Andi on rookie Blue—might show up, and she finally did. . .

11        Oct 12 NCIS: LA convention
Well, not exactly a convention, but certainly a get-together of fans flying in all the way from Germany, with plenty of people from the show and even officially recognized by the network, with their PR people in attendance. One of the actors even showed up. . .

10        May 4  UCLA Archaeology open house
Even without Dr. Cooney giving the lecture—she had to give way for a British lord—it was mostly, though not thoroughly, fun herding Christiane’s kids around.

9          Feb 10 What is art? Paulina Logan and Vixen
Loved Vixen’s fire act and Paulina’s Lovely so much I went twice. . . though the second time was also to take photos, and included a UCLA gymnastics meet beforehand. {Two links}

8          Sept 21 Marina V house concert
A house concert at the musician’s house—that’s new, right?

7          Dec 24 Stomp
The Percussionist’s Wet Dream

6          May 16 Natalie Gelman at Hotel Café
(Bonus for being on the same blog: June 5 Before Midnight/Riddle the Sphinx at Molly Malone’s)

5          Sept 18 Los Angeles County Fair
“I went to the LA County Fair and all I got was this Jeri Ryan poster. . .”  (and the next 5 blogs after the one linked)

4          June 22 Molly Quinn in Kindertransport
I keep tellin’ ya, everything’s better with redheads. . .

3          July 9   Catalina
Birthday trip.

2          Oct 26 Mark Knopfler at the Wiltern
Happy to finally take the Telegraph Road in person. . .

1          May 12 Daniela Ruah in Proof
Getting a hug from your favorite actress is too awesome for mere words. . .

;o)