The best way to learn about someone who is different from us is to spend a day in their shoes. Though the outcome is not 100% guaranteed, the hope is that we see that person behind the stereotypes and the labels.
NBC‘s new reality show, Home Sweet Home premiered last Friday. Created by writer/producer Ava Duvernay, it is a sort of gentler version of Wife Swap. Each episode follows two families who switch lives and homes for four days. While in the other’s house, they live as that family does and meet their loved ones. At the the end of that period, they meet for a meal and get to know those who they have temporarily shared their lives with.
Though the show could border on schmaltzy or the typical overly dramatic reality television formula, it doesn’t. It has a nice balance of tension and the predictable narrative that the audience has come to expect for the genre. What I found appealing was that it spoke to the humanity in all of us. The connection between the two families was the thing that drew me in. Despite their differences, they not only got along, but they became friends. The hook that will keep me watching was a statement by the father. He realized that it is possible to raise children that are happy and successful without forcing the traditional cis gender two parent structure down our throats.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Home Sweet Home airs on NBC on Friday night at 8PM.
La Brea premiered earlier this week on NBC. On an average day in Los Angeles, a sink hole opens, swallowing everything and everyone its path. Among those that have fallen in are Eve Harris (Natalie Zea) and her son Josh (Jack Martin). On the surface, Eve’s daughter Izzy (Zyra Gorecki) and her estranged husband Gavin (Eoin Macken) are trying to figure what happened. Gavin is having visions of the fate those who have disappeared into the sinkhole, but, no one believes him.
Thousands of miles below them, Eve, Josh and the other survivors have found themselves in ancient world, populated by animals that have not been seen alive for a millennia. The first task to figure out where (and when) they are and pull through. The second is to get home. Neither will be easy.
I like this show. It reminds of both Lost and The Lost World. Among the new series of this season, it is certainly a unique concept. I like both the family dynamic and the creative twist to a narrative that we have all seen in one form or another. Though the special effects leave a little to be desired, I’ve seen worse.
As good as I think it is, the reception from both audiences and veers toward the negative. Only time will tell if the full season is released or it is cut short. Either way, it is worth at least, a chance.
When we graduate college, it is both the end of one experience and the beginning of another experience.
The new NBC series, Ordinary Joe, explores this question. Joe Kimbreau (James Wolk) has just received his BA in 2011. There are three literal and physical life paths before him. The narrative then flashes forward to 2021. Fate had led him down three different life choices. In the first, he is a rock star. In the second, he is a nurse, In the third, he is a police officer. Supporting him is his childhood best friend Charlie (Eric Payne), his college bff/secret love interest Jenny, (Elizabeth Lail) and new crush Amy (Natalie Martinez). Each narrative swirls and gets tangled up in one another until they momentarily mingle, coming together to ask the question of which life he will live.
I really like the series so far. The premise is unique and the format does not feel convoluted or complicated. One thing that I noticed was each scenario has its own color scheme and the representation of where the program could go with three physical paths seen on campus early in the first episode.
It is a pleasure to wake up to this show on Sunday morning. Geist has an every person quality to him, making it seem as if he is having a one on one conversation with the audience instead talking into a camera beaming into millions of televisions across the country.
Warning: I highly recommend that you watch the episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode that aired just before Law & Order: Organized Crime before reading this review.
Someone once said that you can’t go home. While this rule is not set in stone, it doesn’t mean that the reunion will be all sunshine and roses.
Law & Order: Organized Crime premiered Thursday on NBC. An off shoot of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, it focuses on former SVU detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni). Ten years after leaving the force and his long time partner, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Stabler has returned to New York. His new job is going after organized crime. Roped back in by personal loss, Stabler has to do his job while dealing with the repercussions of his past actions.
Stabler is back. Though it has been ten years since fans have seen him in the Law and Order universe, nothing has changed with the character. This show feels like a natural extension of where we left off in 2011. There is just enough to tie him to his professional past while allowing for more than enough room for him to grow as a police officer and a human being.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Law & Order: Organized Crime airs on Thursday Night at 10 PM.
March is Women’s History Month. This year, I would like to shine a spotlight on some of the female characters who both push against the glass ceiling and inspire us.
Behind Her Eyes (Netflix): It would have been easy to peg Adele (Eve Hewson) as the wronged wife and Louise (Simona Brown) as a modern version of Glenn Close’s character from Fatal Attraction. But both women are given the opportunity to be fully fledged characters that go well beyond the stereotypes.
Bridgerton (Netflix): For non-fans of the BPD (British Period Drama), Bridgerton would just another Jane Austen-ish historical romance/drama. But fans know that though women are second class citizens in this world, they have other abilities that are not obvious to the naked eye. My favorite characters are Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) and Lady Danbury (Adjoah Andoh). Instead of mindlessly following in her elder sister’s footsteps, Eloise would love to be free of the constrictions that women are placed under in the 19th century. For her part, Lady Danbury is a badass who knows of her place in society and uses her experiences wisely.
WandaVision (DisneyPlus): Every female character in this series is fully formed. As we learn more about this world and the women who inhabit it, their humanity is revealed in a manner that is normal and natural. They are allowed to be who they are without being pegged as certain character types and forced into boxes that can be easily checked off.
P.S. That series finale last night was nothing short of mind blowing. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am ready for season 2.
Law & Order: SVU (NBC): For a television show to last twenty plus years, it has to have a certain something about it. In a nutshell, what makes it stand out is the difficult subject the show brings to the forefront and the capable female detectives whose job it is to solve the crimes. At the head of the unit is Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Though she has been working sex crimes for decades, the job has not hardened her. She can be tough when she has to be, but she can also be compassion and humane. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) has fought against her demons and survived. That alone is worth its weight in gold. The newest and youngest member of the squad is Katriona Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder). Though she still has a lot to learn, she has the passion and the drive to bring the criminals to justice.
Readers, what other female characters inspire you? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.
From a writing perspective, one of the upshots of creating a science fiction and fantasy narrative is that the number of stories one can tell is nearly endless. However, that does not mean that the reader or viewer is entertained.
The pilot of the new NBC series, Debris, premiered last night. MI6 agent Finola Jones (Riann Steele) and CIA agent Brian Beneventi (Jonathan Tucker) have been tasked with answering questions about an alien space craft and its effects on human beings.
If I was generous, I would give this program an A for effort. The show tries to live up to the trailer and the genre. But it was nothing more than background noise. Whatever story hook the created is non-existent. Though I did finish watching the pilot, there was nothing that inspired me into continuing on with further episodes.
The premise of Young Rock is that The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson) is running for President in 2032. He sits down with an interviewer to tell his story.
On Kenan (Kenan Thompson) the title character is a television host and a recent widower living in Atlanta. Supported by his brother, Gary (Chris Redd) and his father-in-law Rick (Don Johnson), he is attempting to put his life together after his wife’s passing.
I told myself that I wanted to give both shows on a shot. Now that I have, I can move on. Young Rock is boring and Kenan is just a modern reboot of Full House.
Do I recommend them? No.
Kenan and Young Rock air consecutively at 8:00 and 8:30 on NBC on Tuesday.
World on Fire (PBS): This PBS/Masterpiece follows a group of individuals as World War II is on the horizon.
Mrs. America (F/X/Hulu): In the 1970’s, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was close to becoming the law of the land. A tug of war begins between one group of women that is for it and another that is against it.
Sanditon (PBS): Based off the unfinished book of the same name by Jane Austen, we follow Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), a young woman who leaves her family for the seaside resort town of Sanditon.
The first day on any new job is often confusing and/or head spinning.
The new medical drama Nurses aired last night on NBC. Grace (Tiera Skovbye), Natasha (Ashley Collins), Keon (Jordan Johnson-Hinds), Nazneen (Sandy Sidhu), and Wolf (Donald MacLean Jr.) are all rookie nurses. New hires at the fictional St. Mary’s hospital, the pilot follows them as they try to adapt during their first day on the job. If they expected an easy work day, their expectations immediately go out the window. And then, like all television dramas, the personal lives of the characters come into play, making work just a little more complicated.
I watched the first episode last night. So far, so good. The cast is well chosen and the narrative is compelling. Only time will tell if the series lasts. But overall, it’s not a bad way to spend an hour of our television watching time.