The latest edition of the Heroine TV Podcast is a bit unusual, in that it does not deal with TV. Instead, I was joined by my friends Kyle and Colin to discuss the movies that we’ve recently seen in the theaters. With the Academy Awards coming up on February 24th, we figured it was a good time. We started off with some discussion of The Hobbit (1:14), as we are all big Tolkien fans. Then we followed up with thoughts on Lincoln (17:50), including some analysis of the relevant Oscar nominations. Next, we talked about Django Unchained (41:54), including some thoughts on violence in movies and TV.
I hope that you enjoy this experiment in film discussion, and welcome the change of pace. We had so much that we wanted to discuss, so this is only part I. We hope to talk about Les Misérables, Argo, and Zero Dark Thirty in the next edition. If you have any feedback or questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can listen to the podcast on the player below, download the mp3, or subscribe via iTunes. Thanks!
Read on for Johnni’s recap of Once Upon A Time episode 2×13, “Tiny,” aired Sunday, February 10th, 2013:
There is nothing tiny about the amount of drama in this week’s episode of Once Upon A Time. Cheesy, I know but I had to say it! This week, the giant is back–the one who lived at the top of the beanstalk that Emma climbed earlier this season. He ends up in Storybrooke and his storyline is awesome.
Last week, Rumplestiltskin cashed in his favor from Emma and told her that they were taking a trip to find his son. We pick up this week as Rumple arrives to get Emma, but she isn’t alone—in fact, she decides to bring Henry with her! Lucky break too, since Regina is on a mission to get her son back once and for all. As Rumple leaves Storybrooke, he is terrified of forgetting who he is, even though he has the talisman. He crosses without any harm and they are off.
Back in town, Charming and Snow are looking for where Cora could be hiding, so they ask the only person as dark as she is: Hook! Even with broken ribs and cuts on his face, Hook is still his hot and snarky pirate self that I have always loved. Once on board his ship, the trio (Charming, Snow, and Dreamy) discover that the giant, Anton or “Tiny,” has been shrunken down and locked in a cage. Poor guy! After they release him, he attacks Charming and threatens him, before running off. read more…
What should you be doing every Wednesday night? Watching the hit ABC show, Nashville! If you need more convincing take a look the top reasons to tune in. You won’t regret it.
Connie Britton … need I say more? Just when I thought I wasn’t going to get over the heartbreak of Friday Night Lights ending and Tami Taylor (played by Britton) leaving with it, Nashville answered my prayers. The legendary Connie Britton was back in my life! In Nashville, Connie plays the country music superstar Rayna Jaymes and she is phenomenal (as is her hair). Her badass attitude paired with her country charm makes her the perfect fit for this role.
2. The Former Flame:
Rayna James and her former lead guitarist, Deacon Claybourne (played by Charles Esten), have undeniable chemistry that keeps me coming back every week. Deacon is a sexy and rough, plaid-wearing cowboy who will never stop loving Rayna. The two were an item for years, writing dozens of love songs together. Unfortunately, after one too many trips to rehab (he is now sober), Rayna walked away and married another man, Teddy Conrad (Eric Close). Despite her husband and amazing kids (one of whom is actually Deacon’s–scandal!), she can’t stay away from him—and it is only a matter of time until she gives in!
The songwriting duo of Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Scarlett (Clare Bowen) makes it easy to fall in love with them, not to mention the show itself. The truth and honesty behind their music is part of the genius of this show. In a show full of superstars, it’s nice to also have these smaller artists, who are still struggling to make it. Plus, their budding romance is one worth rooting for.
4. The Setting:
How can you get any better than the heart of country music? You can’t! It is that simple. Filming in Nashville adds to the authenticity that fuels the show. Not only does this town show off its big stars, but it also showcases the struggling artists–just like the show. Plus, Nashville earns its name as Music City U.S.A. with all of its one-of-a-kind venues such as the famous Bluebird Cafe (a local watering hole featured throughout the season).
5. The Politics:
Not only is Rayna the most successful singer in Nashville, but she is surrounded by the playmakers in town. Her father (played by Powers Boothe) is one of the most hated yet powerful people in Nashville and her husband is now the mayor. The dirty campaigning tactics and low blows are just some of the things worth tuning in for, not to mention the rumors of infidelity and fraud.
No drama would be complete without a healthy dose of rivalry. Enter Juliette Barnes, played by the gorgeous Hayden Panettiere. Juliette is the up-and-coming, pop/country singer who comes from a troubled past and will do anything to stay on top. She and Rayna take an almost instant disliking to each other; Juliette thinks the older singer is entitled and past her prime, while Rayna thinks the young star is an untalented flash in the pan. Juliette’s music, which is catchy, has been outselling Rayna’s, causing some problems for the queen of country. The record label only seems to care about the numbers, not the quality of her work. If that wasn’t enough, the old and new stars are forced to work together, and they even share a love interest (Deacon). They are now all on tour together and the fun is just getting started.
7. The Music:
Last but not least, the glue that holds the show together: the music! There is original, creative work being performed by fantastic actors who can actually sing. In addition to the performers on screen, this show is giving the best of the best songwriters (known and unknown) a chance to show what they’ve got. Each song is unique and complements the storyline perfectly. The art of finding the right song in a sea of raw talent is what makes this show so special. Plus, you can buy almost all the music that is featured on the show and learn more about your favorite artists over at the ABC Music Lounge. It is the best combination of worlds: great television and great music. Really, what more could you want in one place?!
Photo Credit: ABC.
Last Wednesday marked the premiere of FX’s new Cold War era spy drama, The Americans. If you have yet to watch it, you can view the pilot on FX’s site or Hulu. I love a good period drama, and The Americans promises to be just that. Set in the 1981, and complete with 1960s flashbacks to boot, the pilot had a distinctive look and feel. This 1981 was not the bubbly 80s of popular culture memory (although Keri Russell was rocking some high-waisted Guess jeans). No, this was the Cold War 80s, filled with paranoia and profound ideological conflict. The stark coloring and lighting contributed to a gritty and depressing tone, which was interestingly counterbalanced with poppy music like Quarterflash’s “Harden My Heart” and Phil Collins’s “In the Air Tonight.” Similarly, the high-stakes spy mission at the center of the pilot was counterbalanced by the surrounding American suburban “normalcy.”
At the same time, The Americans is far more than window dressing. The pilot was disturbing and intriguing, featuring conflicted characters and complex relationships. This is no predictable spy drama, and aside from Keri Russell’s opening wig, it avoids campiness. It is not a slick drama. There were no fancy surveillance toys, and the job feels more dirty and exhausting than glamorous. This is not a spy show that makes you want to be a spy. (This is quite a feat, since “spy” is my number 3 dream job, after “vampire slayer” and “professional wine and pie taster.”) Fair warning: this is an adult show, and it earns its “MA” warning. I will reiterate that it is disturbing, and many of the scenes left me shocked, saddened, and/or disgusted. At the same time, I was entertained, and there were certainly lighter and more charming moments, which I will discuss further on. I’m not sure if The Americans will develop into a great show, but it certainly starts out from an incredibly fascinating place.
At the center of the drama is married couple Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings, played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, respectively. Both lead actors are incredible here and have a lot to do. The central conceit is that they are Soviet agents, brought together by the KGB to pose as married Americans and spy on the U.S. government from inside D.C. suburbia. In 1962, “Elizabeth” and “Phillip” were given new identities by their Russian superiors, and instructed to reveal nothing about their past lives to each other. A major theme of the pilot was the state of this constructed marriage. How real is it? After being paired off together for 19 years, including 16 in the U.S., and raising 2 children together, how connected are Elizabeth and Phillip? Keep reading only if you’ve seen the episode, as spoilers follow. read more…
In vain have I struggled, but you must permit me to tell you how ardently I admire and love The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Thanks to my Twitter friends’ excellent taste (you are all wonderful), I decided to check out the web series, which is a modern adaption of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice. Fifteen episodes into the series, and I am already hooked. I can assure you that it is more than tolerable, and provides greater pleasure than a pair of fine eyes. And most importantly, it is hilarious. It seems that everything I watch these days features zombies and serial killers, so Lizzie has been a welcome comedic respite.
Developed by Hank Green and Bernie Su, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is the modern girl’s video blog answer to Pride and Prejudice. It is sharp and witty, with just the right tone. The cast is completely charming, and I join the rest of the internet in coveting the Bennet sisters’ hair. The official website is LizzieBennet.com, which provides background on the project, along with details on the larger social media universe that is available to fans. The official website also directs you to the Tumblr page and YouTube channel where you can watch the episodes. The series is already 83 episodes in (egads!), but don’t despair. The videos are short, and there are easily accessible playlists so that you can watch from the beginning. In fact, I’ve embedded the playlist above. Enjoy!
Here it is, the end of Parenthood’s fourth season. A very strong one indeed, this season featured character development for most of the Bravermans. In this season finale, the majority of the threads were wrapped up in pretty bows. It could almost do as a series finale, as I smiled all the way through and everyone ended up in a positive situation. But there’s that “almost,” as well as the fact that I never want this show to end, so let’s hope that this isn’t the last recap I write!
Ready to celebrate their wedding anniversary, Crosby surprised Jasmine with a romantic night out on the town. They wanted to ask Renée to babysit, but she announced that she’s moving out. At dinner is where we realized that the struggle Crosby has had to accept Renée in their home is very one-sided. To him, she’s the “annoying” and over-zealous stepmother trying to wiggle her way into their lives. Not once did he stop to think that, as Jasmine reminds him, Renée was the “second parent” when Crosby wasn’t around for Jabbar’s first five years of life. I think Jasmine coming clean to Crosby about her reasons for not being annoyed at Renée’s presence really opened Crosby’s eyes; when Jasmine announced that she’s pregnant, he put his thoughts into action by announcing it to Renée first, thereby legitimately recognizing her as an integral part of the family. Also, there’s another little Braverman coming to the family! Squee! I loved the scene where Jabbar went to the ultrasound with his parents. It was a great way of including him in this new phase in their lives as a family. read more…
“In the Name of the Brother” picks up with Rumple holding Belle in his arms at the town line. She doesn’t know who she is, let alone who he is. Rumple heals her wound using magic and then leaves her with Snow, who has arrived at the scene along with Charming and Emma. Rumple goes straight for Hook but before he can hurt him, Snow convinces him to spare the pirate’s life; that is what Belle would want him to do.
The whole group then switches their focus to the man who drove the car into Storybrooke (the first time anyone from the outside world has come in). They quickly rush him to the hospital to get medical attention. As they arrive, we see Dr. Whale, or Dr. Frankenstein as he is known in the old world, drinking alone in the hospital. Looks like this unknown man may not make it out alive, especially with a drunk doctor—yikes!
Flash back to Dr. Frankenstein, in his family home with his brother Gerhardt and his father. It is clear from the moment he comes on screen that his father doesn’t like him as much as he likes Gerhardt, but Dr. Frankenstein, whose first name is actually Victor, pretends that it doesn’t bother him. Gerhardt is then given their mother’s watch as a gift from their father, who is very proud of him for being a soldier; while Victor is told that his gift is that he gets to be in the army now, as his father is ashamed of his scientific work. Although he is upset, Victor leaves to pack up his laboratory. As all of this takes place, Rumple watches in the shadows. read more…
In which RYAN COMES BACK!
Zeek, Camille, Ryan and Amber
I cannot say how much I love that Ryan decided to take the path of “getting himself better” as opposed to the path of “oh no Amber left me I don’t know what to do – PILLS AND ANGUISH.” Though, like Camille said, he still has a lot to work through, the fact that he wants to help himself is very commendable. It was particularly sweet this week to watch Zeek and Ryan, then Camille and Amber, connect. The two pairs have gone through/are going through something pretty unique, and having the wiser couple help the youngest one along is a nice bit of symmetry.
I could tell, when Amber visited Ryan at his apartment to tell him how proud she is that he apologized to Joel, that her heart was battling with her head. The words she was saying (“I can’t” and “I have to go”) did not match her body language at all. I wanted to scream at her: HUG HIM! But I really respect that she’s taking her time. About Ryan’s job situation, there is something I really like in the relationship between him and Joel. I think they are pretty similar, as people (they have high standards, strong values and are the quiet types), and watching them interact creates a mixture of awkwardness and sweetness. I especially liked that Ryan played Joel with sweets and kindness, although I really don’t think he expected that it would give him his job back. It was a nice moment, to see him so excited. read more…
This week was jam-packed and full of surprises, so let’s not waste any time and get right to it! “The Outsider” begins with Mr. Gold driving out to the red line that divides Storybrooke and the outside world, with Mr. Smee in his trunk. Once at the line, he sprinkles a potion on Mr. Smee’s red hat and pushes him over the line. Luckily for Mr. Smee, the potion that Gold created makes it so that he can remember exactly who he is, unlike before when someone would cross the line and then forget everything about their identity. Very exciting!
The next day is the funeral of Dr. Hopper (Jiminy Cricket), which is a sad moment for everyone who participates–especially Geppetto, who puts an umbrella on the grave and talks to his absent friend. While the town is mourning the death of Hopper, Hook is questioning the real Dr. Hopper about Rumple’s weaknesses.
As Rumple (Gold) returns to his shop, he can’t contain his excitement about finding a way to cross the line and retain his memory. He explains to Belle how the potion works: by pouring the potion on the thing that one loves most, it acts as a talisman, allowing one to cross unharmed. Rumple then takes out a shawl that was his son Baelfire’s, which he plans to use as his talisman. read more…