Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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Washington, DC, United States
I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Sunday, February 20, 2011



Let me begin by thanking The TV Girl for this great opportunity.  There is clearly no love lost between myself and Glee and since a majority of Americans have decided to make the show and its ridiculous plot lines and daytime acting an ever present stain on the wrestling mat of life, I have no choice but to inform people of the error of their ways.

So when I heard that The TV Girl wanted me to write about this and when I heard Glee was airing an entire Justin Beiber-centric episode, I thought, “HOLY SH*&!  The world needs this now.”

A disclaimer: Please excuse some of my grammatical errors and poorly formed sentences. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything.

So what I was doing while you assailed your ears: watching The Chicago Code (CC). 

The promos for this show were weak but Fox has never been the greatest at promoting shows meant to serve as mid-season replacements.  Despite this, The Chicago Code is legit, entertaining, well-crafted and has great potential.  I’ve heard some folks compare it to The Wire but I’ll go right ahead and debunk that even though I’ve never even seen The Wire.  The CC will never be like The Wire because it airs on Fox and because it lacks the grittiness and depth that HBO shows can do and network television cannot.

The Chicago Code centers on a homicide detective, Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke), his former partner now Superintendent of Police Chief Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals), his new partner Caleb Evers (Matt Lauria) as they struggle to tackle corruption in Chicago orchestrated by a deliciously evil Alderman Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo).  The plot is relatively simple and pretty standard for a cop drama.  Colvin has recently become the first female Superintendent of Police--higher than Chief ranking although I’m still confused about that part--and has made it her goal to take down Gibbons who she rightfully suspects is the root of all corruption and violence that permeates the city.  She enlists her old partner, Jarek Wysocki, a sort of local hero for reasons unknown and a good cop, to help her with Gibbons.  Det. Wysocki is at first hesitant; he has a niece in the force and his brother was killed in the line of duty but after an attack on Colvin’s life, he changes his mind and decides to fight the good fight.

This show has great potential.  Not only does it do an excellent job of showcasing my city (yes, I am based in Chicago) but does not limit itself to long sweeping aerial views of the skyline; rather it utilizes the neighborhoods and films in them as opposed to around them.  I’ve often heard that the city is a much a character as the actors themselves and I have no doubt that Chicago will make me proud. 

The characters.  Only two episodes in and I already genuinely care about each of them. I can attribute this to one man: Shawn Ryan.  For those who don’t know, Mr. Ryan was the creator of Terriers, one of my favorite TV shows that unfortunately met an early death that I’m still not over.  If you’ve seen Terriers, you know that Mr. Ryan writes characters and relationships better than anyone.  The Chicago Code is no exception.  Jarek Wysocki is clearly going to have issues.  His father was a cop who was a legitimate hero, he is divorced and has a 27 year old fiancee but still finds time to sleep with his ex under the nose of his son, who strikes me as unruly.  Yet, you care about this hardened man who has an extreme distaste for profanity, so much so that he fires one partner early on for his repeated use of the word "hell".  His second partner, the adorable Matt Lauria is a joy to watch onscreen.   The world loves to hate a villan and Delroy Lindo plays it to absolute perfection.  You get the sense that the man really has no soul at all; even ordering his secretary to kiss him oozes evil, evil charm. 
The only slight annoyance with the show is Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals).  Perhaps it’s the whole “woman in a high position of power feels she has to get in everyones face to prove that she deserves to be there” but the act borderlines on grating when you realize that she is probably going to do that bit for the remainder of the season.  But I give props to Jennifer Beals (girl is 47. 47!), she is a good actress and perhaps she can give more depth to this character.

I worry a little about the plot.  There are only so many times the characters can exclaim in exasperation, “Oh, the corruption. It’s the Alderman,” without the rest of the world catching on, yet it allows for new characters to be thrown in the mix and multiple twists to be played out.  But then again, network cop dramas are not exactly known for their intricate plots.

I could go on and on but I don’t want to spoil it for you.  It’s exciting to see where this show will go and, so far, reception has been good but I’ve never put much faith in the (mainstream) critics.  So, enjoy The Chicago Code and think of me every time you see that magnificent skyline.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Weekend Fling: Justified, Season 1

F/X Network, you hurt so good.

Justified is the answer to a question no one before thought to ask: what do you get when you mix the Bible with meth?

Set in Lexington Kentucky and the surrounding rural area, Justified follows the idiosyncratic Deputy US Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), transfered back to his home state after he shoots a drug cartel's hit-man in a restaurant.  Home is a complicated place, both personally and professionally, for our protagonist: what with his hard-drinking, baseball bat wielding, petty criminal father Arlo (Raymond J. Barry); his ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea) who is still obviously in love with him despite being married to seemingly nice-guy Gary (William Ragsdale); the local girl who could-have-been-if-he'd-stayed-in-town Eva Crowder (Joelle Carter) who has just shot her abusive husband and is now in the shit with his unsavory (in the hillbilly-mafia type way) family; one member of which is Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), an old friend/nemesis with a taste for robbing banks, ideological tenacity, explosions, and sister-in-law Eva.  Raylan's history with the residents, in addition to his tendency to shoot people, makes for an eternal headache for his boss Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) and co-workers Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) and Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts), but considering all the drug manufacturers, tax evaders and bail jumpers in the area, their job kinda sucked anyway, though they all seem fulfilled by it.

The more that I've talked to people about this show, the more I've realized just how hooked on it I am.  This is the first show in quite a while that I want to own so that I can loan it to friends and make them watch too.

The basis for Justified is an Elmore Leonard short story titles "Fire in the Hole" (which is also the title of the pilot, and what Boyd yells right before he blows something up), and tonally the show remains consistent with Leonard.  This is the kind of show that F/X really excels at (and that  I enjoy a great deal): a show that is dark and serious, while at the same time amiable and funny.

There is nothing lighthearted about the subject matter here.  In the context of slightly-less-than-abject poverty, minimal education, long memories and a feudal clan system, plots probing loyalty, moral responsibility, and family descend upon the viewer like pebbles into an avalanche; from seemingly isolated bad choices (on the part of people who arguably may not know any better) the inevitable, but unconsidered, consequences relentlessly unfold, though the conclusion is not forgone.  There is equal opportunity to choose the right thing as there is freedom to choose the wrong, but no one is exempt from the fall-out.  Eva might not be prosecuted for murdering her husband, but she is more than punished; Art wants a dedicated and competent Marshall in his field office, so he accepts the paperwork and ulcer that accompany having a peculiar employee; Raylan abhors his father's choices, yet isn't confused or offended by the hostility he receives for this attitude.

But as grim as I've made this sound, I promise, it isn't.  What makes the viewer able to genuinely enjoy Justified (instead of just endure along) is a wry and self-aware humor, both on the part of the characters and the general perspective of the show.  All of the principle characters are compelling and (to varying degrees) charming, able to objectively comment on their own and others' failings and ironic circumstances, and for those characters incapable of such understanding, events will demonstrate their absurdity, and sometimes they get the joke.

One of this show's great strengths is the actors' performances.  In one aspect or another each of the characters has an extremity within his/her personality, and it would be all too easy to portray these extremes extravagantly, thereby rendering stereotypes (the religious fanatic, the stoic, the abused woman) instead of people.  But the cast is appropriately restrained and artful.

My one major complaint about this show is so minor that it seems petty to even mention it, but what the hell, here it is: the opening credits.  I should be a better person than to complain about 30 seconds of a lame song in the midst of 42 minutes of wonderful show, but I'm not.  Oh well, nothing my complaints will do about it, just be prepared.

Since this network has a tendency to capture my heart and then stomp all over it, I'm terrified of writing this post, convinced that saying anything will break the spell and the executive powers who seem determined to make me upset will send out a c-word missive.  But since S2 has already started, I'm going to risk it.

The TV Girl

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fringe: Mr. Abrams, You Do Not Disappoint Me (This Time)

3.13 "Immortality"

Even though I haven't posted on this season yet (because I'm LAZY, which I have to keep saying to the universe so maybe I change my ways), I have been genuinely happy with it so far.  I love the alternate universe, have really enjoyed the back and forth between cases over here and over there, the dance scene in "Marionette" was one of the creepiest things ever on TV, and watching week by week as Olivia's misery breaks through her stoicism is heart-wrenching.

So I say this not out of any snarkiness: even though we knew from the off that Fauxlivia was going to get pregnant with Peter's universe-defining baby, I still lept up off my couch when her delicate condition was revealed in Friday's episode.

In short: Walter is trying to make himself smarter to combat Walternate, the universe that will survive depends on which Peter picks to spare, Peter may or may not be in his right mind but is at least conflicted about his alliances, Fauxlivia is pregnant and while Walternate insisted that he will not experiment on children in order to "save" his world, his terrifying smile when he said "grandchild" to Fauxlivia shows that he fully intends on using her and her child to get Peter back over there.

And who will end up paying for all of this? Olivia of course.

Well, I don't know that for sure, but history indicates that even though Olivia was the one who got kidnapped, cheated on, brainwashed, and experimented on, she is going to be the one who has to suck it up and save everyone else.

Good thing she's resourceful and determined!

The TV Girl