Wynne McLaughlin sees ‘The Kominsky Method’

NOTE FROM LB: Wynne McLaughlin is a video game rock star – what else would you call the lead writer of The Elder Scrolls Online and The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, among other things? – and one of my favorite guys to hang with here online (because he’s not exactly in my Puget Sound nabe, you know? But if he was we’d be on the beach crabbing together right now…)

You get the idea, yeah? And in this short review Wynne makes sure we get his idea, and pronto. Talk about a hell of a lede:


by Wynne McLaughlin

OMG, this new Netflix show starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method, is perfection.

Seriously, Emmy material.

Funny, touching, perfectly cast, and most remarkably, created, largely written, and very often directed by Chuck Lorre, the writer-producer of sitcoms like Two And A Half Men and Big Bang Theory.

The Kominsky Method is a single camera show with no audience or laugh track, a complete departure for Lorre, and by FAR the best work he’s ever done.

We watched three straight episodes and had to reluctantly force ourselves to stop and not binge-watch the whole season.

Watch it, right now if you can.

Trust me!


MORE FROM LB: Wynne’s response to this show struck more than a chord with me. It resonated like Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (which, as my, um intimates can tell you, is the song that plays in my head 24/7, keeping me focused on, well, living, but that’s another story).

Gwen the Beautiful and I have seen five of the eight episodes comprising the first season, and we both feel that they perfectly captured our lives at our ages.

We too had to force ourselves to take a break from watching, Gwen because she wanted to have the remaining episodes to look forward to for awhile, I because my brain was totally knotted up from  spending two and a half continuous hours laughing and crying simultaneously.

In other words, watch The Kominsky Method.

In other, other words – Trust Wynne!

munchman sees ‘Homecoming’ – Aiyee! Yikes! Oh Noooo!

Can you see Julia Roberts’ face here? Can you see what’s going on in this scene? Neither can I.

by munchman

THE STORY (direct from Wikipedia, so you know it’s accurate and not just yer friendly neighborhood munchero messing about: 

Heidi Bergman is a caseworker at Homecoming, a facility that helps soldiers transition back to civilian life. She leaves Homecoming to start a new life living with her mother and working as a small-town waitress. Years later, the Department of Defense questions why she left, which makes Heidi realize that there’s a whole other story behind the one that she’s been telling herself. Oscar winner Julia Roberts stars as Heidi in the first regular TV series role of her career. “Homecoming” is based a podcast of the same name.

THE GOOD: 

  • It’s created and written by Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail & based on a podcast by Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz
  • It stars a Big Deal Movie Star named Julia Roberts
  • It’s a potentially interesting new twist on the old evil government mind control story
  • It’s beautifully shot, possibly the best looking series in the history of TV anywhere in the world (that isn’t shot in a Scandinavian country anyway)

THE NOT SO GOOD:

  • No matter how great looking this show is it’s still the same old story with the same not really very surprising at all “surprise” ending
  • The dialog has been lauded for its “realism,” which in this case means that is boring as hell
  • If the dialog and story aren’t boring enough to put you to sleep long before you finish watching even the first episode of this overrated 10 episode season, the pacing will sure as hell do it for ya
  • Did I say it’s beautifully shot? It is, indeed, but most of the shots are so dark and shadowy that I was so irritated at not being able to understand what I was seeing that the beauty didn’t matter. I’m thinking the purpose behind the darkness wasn’t necessarily creative but rather done to disguise how old, bedraggled, and generally unpleasant Former Big Deal Movie Star Julia Roberts now looks

CONCLUSION:

A total waste of time brought to us by Amazon, the company that may have speedy delivery but sure can’t get TV (or film) production right. I know critics are raving about it, but hey, they’re critics, which means that they’re also probably wannabe TV and film writers, which in turn means that their futures are dependent on pleasing not the viewers but the production entities they hope to work for in the future.

LB sees the new ‘Magnum, P.I.’

Uh-oh…

by Larry Brody

Sorry, kids, but there’s no other way to put it: CBS’s new version of Magnum, P.I. isn’t your father’s Magnum…and it shouldn’t be yours either.

THE GOOD:

  • Hawaii’s a very good looking place. (At least it was pre the last hurricane to come close to the islands.) Just like in the original.
  • There’s a guy named Thomas Magnum in most of the scenes of the show and he lives on some other guy’s big estate and drives that other guy’s Ferrari. Just like in the original.
  • There’s a character named Higgins running the estate and keeping track of Magnum. Just like in the original.
  • Magnum’s old friends hang out with him and provide the kind of help he needs whenever he needs it. Just like in the original.
  • Lots of repartee. Just like in the original.

THE NOT SO GOOD:

  • As good looking as it is, there’s nothing special about this show’s Hawaii because not only have we seen it before on the earlier version of Magnum, we’re also seeing it now if we watch the tattered, tired, and tiring reboot of CBS’s Hawaii Five-0 reboot. In fact, CBS has proudly proclaimed that this Hawaii is in fact the same Hawaii as that one…and that we’ll be seeing  the characters of the shows interact with each other or solve crimes together – or something.
  • This Thomas Magnum isn’t played by Tom Selleck but by Jay Hernandez, who’s a fine, sturdy specimen of manhood who isn’t anywhere near as interesting, charismatic, funny, exciting as Selleck – and that isn’t necessarily his fault. The new dood just plain has nothing to work with because…
  • The writing on the new Magnum sucks. The first few episodes I saw were all about spectacular action done using very unspectacular CGI, and while, yes, they did contain quite a few exchanges of repartee (the hallmark of the original series), said repartee was as tattered, tired, and tiring as that on the no-longer-new but unfortunately still-current version of Hawaii Five-0. And that’s because…
  • This time-waster was “developed” by Peter Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim and is run by Lenkov, whose name you may know because – yes, it’s true – Peter Lenkov also developed and is showrunner of Hawaii Five-0. 
  • The character named Higgins who’s in charge of making Magnum’s life miserable is a woman. In itself, that’s admirable, for sure. But the thing is, she’s a totally unreal, stereotyped, plastically beautiful, nerd’s idea of a cool woman and nowhere near what any women I’ve ever met – and admired – and maybe even loved.
  • Even in the original, Magnum’s old buds were pretty boring. Here they appear to be even more bored than we are.

IN OTHER WORDS:

What we have here is a corporate cog of a series which appears to have been created solely for the purpose of exploiting memories of a beloved series of yore and bringing a sort of Mini-Connected-Universe ala the Marvel Movie Universe to TV in order to – well, I don’t know. Just to have such a TV universe, I think.

Ah, well. They can create as many sad ghosts of past glory as they want, you know? But they can’t make us watch ’em. And in an era with so many fascinating new TV presentations vying for viewer attention, I can promise all and sundry that are so many viable alternatives to the new Magnum, P.I that there is no reason whatsoever to think about casting even a short glance its way.

Tom used to be my neighbor. Hi, Tom!

CYLONS, DAGGITS, AND THE SEARCH FOR EARTH: REMEMBERING “BATTLESTAR GALACTICA” ON ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Whoa, this one almost got away from us. Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the original version of BattleStar Galactica, and The Digital Bits website presented a very thorough analysis and discussion of the series and its place in TV history.

The reason we know about this is that our illustrious Contributing Editor Emeritus, Herbie J Pilato, was a big part of the article…which is also one of the reasons we want to share it with you.

And with that in mind, heeere we go:

by Michael Coate

Battlestar Galactica remains in the history of pop-culture as one of the most star-studded, lavishly-produced, special-effects-laden television shows of all time.” – Classic TV historian Herbie J Pilato

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Battlestar Galactica, Glen A. Larson’s science-fiction television series about the crew of the Galactica and their ongoing battles with the Cylons and quest to locate Earth. Starring Richard Hatch as Apollo, Dirk Benedict as Starbuck, and Lorne Greene as Adama, the series is remembered for its massive production budget and state-of-the-art visual effects.

The supporting cast included Herbert Jefferson, Jr. (Boomer), John Colicos (Baltar), Maren Jensen (Athena), Noah Hathaway (Boxey), Laurette Spang (Cassiopeia), Tony Swartz (Flight Sergeant Jolly), Terry Carter (Colonel Tigh), Anne Lockhart (Lieutenant Sheba), Jane Seymour (Serina), Patrick Macnee (narrator, Count Iblis, and voice of Imperious Leader), and Jonathan Harris (voice of Lucifer). [Read on here…]

Running only a single season (but ultimately inspiring a franchise), the series premiered on television 40 years ago this month, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with a trio of sci-fi authorities and television historians who discuss the virtues, shortcomings and legacy of the series (and franchise).

The participants are (in alphabetical order)…

Read it all at TheDigitalBits.Com

And, because it’s a fun thing for us to do, here’s what the site has to say about Herbie J:

Herbie J Pilato is the founder of the Classic TV Preservation Society nonprofit and the host of the upcoming classic TV talk show Then Again with Herbie J Pilato. He is the author of several acclaimed books on pop culture, including Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2012), Dashing, Daring, and Debonair: TV’s Top Male Icons from the 50s, 60s, and 70s(Taylor Trade Publishing, 2016), Glamour, Gidgets, and the Girl Next Door: Television’s Iconic Women from the 50s, 60s, and 70s (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2014), The Bionic Book: The Six Million Dollar Man & the Bionic Woman Reconstructed (Bear Manor Media, 2007), and Mary, a soon-to-be-published new biography of Mary Tyler Moore. He presides over his own production company, Television, Ink, which produces family-oriented TV shows and was a consulting producer on the DVD season sets of BewitchedCHiPsKung Fu and The Six Million Dollar Man. His website is: www.herbiejpilatio.com.

Yay, Herbie j!

Everything You Need to Know About the Best Show on TV this Season

This article from New Yorker perfectly encapsulates the wonder that is The Good Fight. You’re gonna love ’em both!

The Incendiary Verve of “The Good Fight”
by Emily Nussbaum

A few weeks ago, on “The Good Fight,” some Chicago litigators found the pee tape. Initially, they suspected that it was a hoax—entrapment by Project Veritas, perhaps, designed to embarrass the D.N.C. Their firm investigated, and in the process they discovered an entire genre of pee-tape fakes. The F.B.I. weighed in. There was a granular comparison of bathrobe screen grabs. (“Enhance!”) Finally, they had confirmation: it was the real thing.

And then they buried it—all of them, conspiring together, with varying motives. Releasing a video of Russian prostitutes peeing on a bed that the Obamas slept in, the group understood, would lead to nothing but another shockeroo news cycle. There would be outrage, then distraction, and on to the next round. To survive in an era of numb unreality, they needed a better strategy.

“The Good Fight,” like “The Good Wife,” its predecessor, is a cockeyed love letter to just this kind of strategic life, as lived by a set of educated, hypercompetent professionals: a liberal élite, if you will. It’s a dark comedy about the limits of savvy, about whether it’s possible to maintain detachment and pragmatism, not to mention respect for the law, in the face of chaos—including internal chaos. Both shows were co-created by Robert and Michelle King, married showrunners who have learned, during their years of making network television, to camouflage their freak flag as a pocket square. (Their brand might be summarized as “Looks like ‘L.A. Law,’ tastes like ‘The Wire.’ ”) But the sequel, whose opening scenes take place on Inauguration Day, is an angrier product than the original. It features an unforgettable credits sequence, in which fancy purses blow up like Molotov cocktails, punctuated by shots of Putin fishing and of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. Sometimes I watch those credits twice.

With their French Revolutionary air, they’re a nifty metaphor for the show’s incendiary mind-set, as exemplified by its heroine, the litigator Diane Lockhart, an emily’s List Democrat whose plans to retire with her hot Republican gun-expert husband dissolved when, in a triple whammy, her man cheated on her, she lost her money to a Madoff-like grifter, and Wisconsin swung red. Lockhart joined a new firm, though she held on to her statement necklaces and her air of hauteur. But, alone in her spacious office, she’s losing her cool, watching cable news, gawking at clips that feel maybe ten per cent removed from the real thing: “When asked about the tweet, White House officials insisted that the President was joking, saying, ‘Mermaids do not exist, therefore Trump’s reference to talking with one—’ ” Lockhart now owns a gun; she has a fling with an Antifa activist. When, in the second season, she starts to microdose hallucinogens, it seems less like a breakdown than like an attempt to match her insides to her outsides….

Read it all at newyorker.com