Thursday, February 26, 2015

No Wonder Woman

The weather has been awful here lately, though it's certainly not as bad as how the Northeast has been snowed in. But I'll be glad when the ice and snow are gone.

I watched the Agent Carter finale and realized that I wasted 8 episodes on this show. I should never have watched it. Yes, it's more competently written than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The writers clearly had a plan here and executed it; I just disagreed with almost everything in their plan.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Tone Deaf

In Thursday's Elementary episode, Sherlock Holmes continues to be a huge hypocrite, lecturing everyone about how corporations and lawyers view people in purely financial terms. Yet he lives in the brownstone owned by his father, who is exactly the same kind of monstrous one-percenter he rails against daily. Worse is that it seems the writers are completely unaware of this contradictory shit; they act like Holmes's ranting is righteous anger. It's really discouraging to continue with a show that is so in denial about its main character. Holmes, when you forsake your trustfund and move out of the brownstone, and earn your damn living from private clients, then you can talk about the evils of capitalism without being a tone-deaf, idiot snob. You profit from that rich one-percent lifestyle every damn second of your life. And you had the nerve to despise Mycroft for having a job as a restauranteur! At least your brother earned his damn living instead of being a dependent on your father's money.

Anyway, as for Watson, she did indeed move into the brownstone, with a slight twist. They attempted to "fix" the situation by having Holmes talk about her emotional regression since Andrew's death, and Watson responding that there was nothing wrong with her seeking a safe place to call home. Then Watson decided to set up an office space for her in the basement, and she finally acknowledged that she was indeed going to take separate clients and not always be Holmes's detective buddy. I still think it's too little, and Watson didn't take back her words about how she didn't "deserve" to live a normal life. Fix this damn shit, writers.

One thing I will say about the villain of the episode, Dana Powell--I wish that was how they wrote the character of Moriarty, whether male or female. Just someone cold and calculating with a meticulous scheme, who wasn't obsessed with Holmes, and cared about money only. That's how to do old school Moriarty correctly, instead of as some Catwoman femme fatale. Moriarty should not be merged with Irene Adler at all. It's so wrong and cheapens both characters. Why should I put up with this, while the show completely drops the mystery of Holmes's father? It's just as awful as the Grantchester show being obsessed with its love triangle, to the detriment of the detective mysteries. I'm certainly never watching that show again.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Guest Host

Will Arnett got one of the open slots on The Late Late Show since Craig Ferguson left, and I recorded it last night. It was both his first and last time hosting the show, which became a running joke throughout, as Will and his guests feigned nostalgia and grief about his imminent departure. At the end, Jimmy Kimmel even sang Neil Diamond's song "Hello Again" rewritten as "Goodbye" and then they trashed the set, knocking over the couch and some guy in a ketchup costume.

Seeing Will reminded me of how I much I like seeing his face on TV, instead of just hearing his voice in Bojack Horseman or commercial voiceovers. So I hope his new Netflix series Flaked will be good, though I'm not sure about it based on the show description yet. Will did mention CBS cancelling his sitcom during his monologue, but that's just how it goes in show business. I do wish he had mentioned Arrested Development more, since David Cross was on, but I guess he didn't want to start another internet rumor about when season 5 will happen. Will also mentioned Bateman once when talking about going to the Golden Globes with Cross. I had hoped that the "sidekick" would have been a nice surprise like Bateman or Ben Stiller instead of pre-taped Will Arnett; it was an amusing parody of phoney showbiz tropes at least.

Well, I hope it won't be too long before seeing Will's crooked smile again. I was surprised that it was also the last night for Peter Lassally, mentor to many late night TV hosts including Craig Ferguson. I think the show still has more guest hosts until Corden actually takes over, but I've already seen the ones I wanted to see. Later edit: I just found out that Peter Lassally was the man who brought Will the suit in the cold open; I didn't know what Lassally looked like. Also apparently he retired that night because all the remaining guest hosts have pretaped their shows before Arnett's. Will really was the last guy.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy New Year

Well this has been a pretty good Lunar New Year, what with the first same-sex marriage in Texas. A lot of times it feels hopeless being blue in Texas, so this was good news.

I'm also very encouraged by the new diversity on TV. Fresh Off the Boat has now survived two Tuesdays in its competitive timeslot, and they had a fabulous sex talk episode this week. I certainly enjoyed Jessica teaching her son Eddie that "no means no" and "respect girls!" I hope the ratings stay steady for next week. Also Black-ish's ratings have recovered lately, so it looks like we can have multiple successes at the same time.

Even The Pinkertons has added to its cast diversity lately. This week's episode not only brought back their former Japanese client Kenji, but added a female "mystic" named Miyo who was part of Doc Sprague's travelling spiritualism show.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Had to Ruin It

Well, fuck it. They brought back Jamie Moriarty, at least in the form of a letter voiceover. I feared they would do something like this with the Kitty vs. Gruner storyline, but instead they did it with Joan's nemesis Elana March, that mob boss she sent to prison. I don't want Moriarty back for any reason at any time. I hate her. They should never have merged her with Irene Adler. Fuck. Now I go back to checking spoiler websites to warn myself if she's guest-starring in an episode, so that I can fucking not watch it.

God they had to ruin a perfectly interesting episode with Marcus Bell working a case with Holmes with this shit. And then we have Joan Watson's horrible ending speech about how she doesn't "have the right" to a separate life, and how being a detective means that she commits herself to never trying to live a normal life again. Fuck that. The dramatic music over the scene seemed to ominously hint that the writers are aware that Joan's epiphany is fucked up, but it's not pleasant to watch her basically concede that Sherlock Holmes has been right all along, and that other people getting hurt is all her fault.

Bell and Gregson are detectives too, and they're allowed to have normal lives (even if Bell is a workaholic who'll take a case during his vacation days). It's never implied that Gregson and Bell aren't allowed to have romantic relationships or family problems; it's never said that they have to live in the queer eccentric lifestyle that Holmes lives in, due to all the people they've sent to prison. Why the fuck would Joan think she has to adopt that lifestyle just because she made dangerous enemies? I hate this. Fuck. If the remaining episodes of this season don't undo this shitty mess, then I'm not coming back for next season. Fuck you, Holmes, poisoning people's minds so that they're emotionally stunted, wounded, and willing to crawl back to you saying "You were right all along. I don't need an outside life. I'll never question you again, oh wise master." Fuck!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Less soap, please

This week's Pinkertons episode was focused on "the sweet science" of pugilism, and the client was Kate's childhood friend Henry who is now a bareknuckle boxer. Unfortunately, Henry didn't reveal any interesting information about Kate's past, such as her maiden name, family, or details about her late husband. He mainly kept trying to flirt with Kate and imply that Will Pinkerton was jealous. I really don't like the show trying to force romantic hints like that, because I actually would prefer Will with Annalee, the local madam who also runs the hotel bar. I also thought the show had been trying to establish Will flirting with other women like Rebecca the preacher's daughter. I would prefer that Will and Kate just stay colleagues and friends at most. Next week's episode shows the return of Kenji, their Japanese client from earlier in the season. I hope the case will be better, and I wonder when Allan will return to Kansas City.

I saw the latest Grantchester episode, featuring secret gay affairs, blackmail, and murder. I do appreciate that the show tries to handle such delicate topics, but I still think that too much of the show is wasted on Sidney's love life. Sure, I'm glad that Sidney is getting over his broken heart, but Amanda had to act so jealous of Hildegard. You're engaged, Amanda, and you know how hard it is for him to perform your wedding! Why would you be so catty about how she'd make a good vicar's wife? Be happy for him, and act like a friend. I really do hope this Amanda gets written out of the show, because I can't take her anymore. Can we just get back to the mysteries?

Friday, February 6, 2015

We Hardly Knew You

Well, that was unexpected. Elementary seems to be doing this lately, having some sudden crisis or twist at the end of an episode. I wonder if it's just for February sweeps or a permanent trend? Anyway, Joan's boyfriend was reintroduced, only for her to break up with him, and worse yet, get killed because somebody poisoned Joan's coffee, and he accidentally drank it. More than the abrupt death, I'm annoyed that Holmes was right about Watson feeling no passion for her boyfriend. He makes these rude judgment calls and pronouncements, and we're supposed to think he's right just because he's a detective genius. But Holmes is fallible and can be wrong. In this show, for instance, he was fooled by Moriarty as Irene back in London. In the books he severely misjudged the mystery in "The Yellow Face" and thought the woman was a bigamist and blackmail victim; in fact, he told Watson to remind him of the case by saying "Norbury" any time he got too overconfident.

Why did Holmes have to be right? He's the one who said what a perfect boyfriend Andrew was, and how the guy didn't get possessive or annoyed by her spending time with Holmes. She liked him once. The promos for next week also suggest that she'll be moving back into the brownstone, resetting the status quo. I hate that. I wanted Ms. Hudson to move in and stop being offscreen. I guess I should be glad that Holmes at least finally deigned to work for a private client, even if it did turn into homicide yet again. He should learn that interesting cases can have humble and trivial beginnings. Now if they could just take a case that doesn't turn into murder. But of course they have to solve Andrew's murder right now.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fresh Guilt

I'm so glad that Fresh Off the Boat finally premiered. I've been waiting for it so long. I was an Asian teen in the 1980s rather than the 1990s, but I relate to so much of the humor on the show. I hope it gets good ratings. It's been forever since Margaret Cho's sitcom, and I've forgotten everything about it. I had hoped that Tina Fey's Cabot College show with Margaret Cho was going to get made, but the pilot never got picked up. I guess this sitcom is better, since it stars Asian-Americans as lead characters instead of the token supporting actor roles in various police dramas. Plus Margaret Cho is on a cable talk show now. Anyway, if Fresh Off the Boat fails, then I hope we won't wait another 20 years for the next attempt at an Asian-American show.

Agent Carter's latest episode was somewhat better, though they left out Angie. I don't understand why Lyndsy Fonseca signed up for this bland, perky waitress role. Why isn't she the Russian spy/assassin? Is she trying to preemptively keep from being typecast after Nikita? At least Peggy got to go on a real mission, and Dottie didn't find the vial of blood. The Russian assassin school was creepy, though I don't get how it relates to Leviathan, and the prisoners they were keeping. (I have heard that this Red Room stuff is part of Black Widow's origins in the comic books, but they're still not tying together enough threads.) I fear that Agent Thompson's backstory was revealed to set him up as Peggy's love interest, especially at that campfire scene. I don't want that at all, nor did I like the boss Dooley saying that Thompson has a crush on Carter. So that's why he's a jerk to her and insists on calling her "Marge"? Blecch! Peggy's not going to enjoy her newly-won respect for long, since her secret's out in the next episode. I hope we'll get some explanations soon. I mean, would it kill Howard to tell his side of the story about the Battle of Finow?

Empire was good, too, though I knew right away that Cookie made a mistake about the red rose at her door. Still, Lucious should have at least left a note with the rose; at least write "Happy Anniversary" or something. Now both Cookie and Lucious are guilty of murder. We'll have to see if anyone finds out.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

In Marm's Way

The Pinkertons continues to be excellent. The latest episode reveals the origins of John Bell, the ranch hand at the farm where Kate lives; Bell turns out to secretly be the landlord that rented the farm to the Pinkerton Agency. He's tried to escape his past and start a new life, only to have it catch up to him.

The villain in this episode is based on the real Marm Mandelbaum, part of the New York criminal underworld. I first read about her in that biography of Adam Worth. Marm fenced stolen goods, financed robberies, bribed politicians and police, and even opened a school for pickpockets and burglars. As she became prosperous, she often threw society parties which openly mixed criminals with New York's elite. All this ended in 1884, when the Pinkertons investigated and had her arrested. However, she jumped bail and escaped to Canada, which had no extradition treaty with the US at that time.