Emmy nominations and other stuff…

Ron Cephas Jones of NBC’s This Is Us was nominated for an Emmy as Best Supporting Actor in a drama for his heartfelt portrayal of William Hill, the biological father of Randall played by Sterling K. Brown.  I’m also happy to see Brian Tyree Henry  nominated for his performance as William’s cousin during that pivotal “Memphis” episode.  But why didn’t OWN’s Queen Sugar get a single nomination?  Not one for Kofi Siriboe’s  Ralph Angel? Tina Lifford’s Aunt Vi definitely deserved a nod.   I was disappointed Issa Rae’s HBO series “Insecure” wasn’t nominated but not surprised.  W. Kamau Bell of CNN’s “United Shades of America” is also nominated in the same category as Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart of “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party”.  Does that make any sense to you?     Alec Baldwin is nominated in this category for ABC’s “Match Game and last year’s winner RuPaul Charles is nominated for VH1’s “Drag Race“.

I’m also not surprised that Trevor Noah‘s Daily Show wasn’t nominated.  After a shaky start, Noah finally got his sea legs and The Daily Show is just as relevant as topical as ever.  But John Oliver’sLast Week Tonight” on HBO is the one to beat”.   “SNL’s” Leslie Jones was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series but I don’t understand how.  Every time I see her she is portraying a variation of the stereotypical, loud, desperate for a man, black woman.   Jones has more range than that, I believe.  Shout out to “Orange is the New Black’s” Uzo Abuba, Samira Wiley of “The Handmaid’s Tale and Thandie Newton of “Westworld” for their nominations as well.

What kind of foolery was ABC engaged in when they decided Mike Myers would be the best choice to host “The Gong Show” as fictional character Tommy Maitland?  Why does Myers think we are interested in his tired obsession with weird British characters?  You know who would be a better host?  Radio host and reality TV star Ricky Smiley.   Smiley has been around a long time hosting shows on BET.  I never liked his comedy but he has the perfect sort of zaniness needed for The Gong Show.   Oh, and Candy Crush should not be a game show!

I’m sad that The Carmichael Show was cancelled but again, not surprised.  I knew its days were numbered because it took NBC a year to put it back on the air and the show openly discussed sensitive topics from an African American perspective.  Instead, we’re getting The Marlon Wayans show later this summer.  The promos look promising.

Also promising is TBS’sThe Guest Book“.  Created by Greg Garcia who also gave us “My Name Is Earl”.  This quirky comedy is about  the lives of employees who work at a small town hotel and the visitors who rent cottages in the area.  The promos for the show are funny.   I love a quirky, well written comedy and The Guest Book looks like it will fit the bill.    It premieres August 2nd and I will be watching.

 

 

 

Catty, Soapy, Summer TV

Have you seen Niecy Nash in the new TNT series “Claws”?  She looks fantastic. When I heard this show was going to be set in a nail salon, I thought Niecy was going to be stuck playing a stereotypical sassy black woman. Boy was I wrong. Her character, Desna is sassy but she is also calculating and ambitious. Claws flips the script and tells the story of five nail technicians who enter the traditionally male world of organized crime when they begin laundering money for a neighboring pain clinic.  I enjoyed it. The criminals she works with are so misogynistic and hedonistic that I wanted to spray myself with disinfectant whenever they were on screen. Watch the last scene of episode one and tell me Niecy Nash shouldn’t be an Emmy nominee this year.  She’s so believable in this role.  Judy Reyes formerly of Devious Maids and Scrubs blew me away with her portrayal of “Quiet Ann”, a lesbian who provides security for the salon and carries on a secret hookup with one of the regulars. The supporting cast includes Jack Kesy who is so sleazy and gross as Roller, I felt like I needed to bathe every time he appeared on screen. I recommend Claws highly.

Daytime Divas premiered on VH1 starring my shero, Vanessa Williams.  She plays Maxine, the moderator and creator of the talk show, “The Lunch Hour”.  This show is an adaptation of Star Jones’  book “Satans Sisters” about what went on behind the scenes  at “The View”.  I had such high hopes for this show. It’s supposed to be a satire but the writers clearly have no idea how to write that.  They got veteran comedic actress Tichina Arnold  co-starring as Mo, the brash, outspoken comedian, McKinley Freeman, from “Hit The Floor” as Andrew, Maxine’s son and Norm Lewis who plays the doorman at the TV station and Maxine’s husband. The pilot episode was chock full of backstabbing, illicit hookups and stilted dialog.     I thought the second episode would be better but the plot feels so over the top and  inauthentic.  There is absolutely no chemistry between Andrew and Nina, who is also a co-host on “The Lunch Hour”.  Overall, there is too much story and the writing is weak.  Hopefully it will stabilize soon.

Nashville is back for its fifth season on CMT and the new show runners have managed to ruin what was once a decent nighttime soap about the world of Country Music.  I knew Connie Britton was leaving but damn!, Did they have to kill her character Rayna? She was the heart of the show!  Now, it’s one big mess.  Scarlett is pregnant by some British dude who is so random, I’m wondering where he came from!  And, in an attempt to add some diversity to the show, Rayna’s daughter Maddie is dating Clay, a young black musician she meets while an intern at Highway 65. And surprise! he gets pulled over by the cops with her in the car and SURVIVES! *Facepalm* What have they done to my show?

I’m looking forward to watching Freeform’s “The Bold Type” which stars Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee and Meghann Fahy as young employees trying to climb the fashion magazine ladder at the fictional Scarlet magazine. The promos look interesting though I only saw 3 persons of color in the entire spot.  Well, at least that’s authentic.  “The Bold Type” premieres July 11th.

Love Connection is back!

I admit it.  I watched Love Connection with Chuck Woolery back in the 80’s.  I’d shout at the screen “naw girl,  Don’t pick him” and laughed at the cheesy banter.  Well it’s back on Fox with Andy Cohen hosting.  I gotta say, Cohen’s an excellent choice to host this show.  I don’t know if I’m going to watch this though.  I just suffered thru two episodes of that horrible Ellen DeGeneres dating show “First Dates“.

I tried to watch the new season of ABC’S The Bachelorette.  Yeah, yeah she’s black and some of the guys are cute but gaaaah!  The insipid dialog and vapid characters made me want to poke my eyes out.  Instead, I changed the channel.  Angie Tribeca is on TBS and its waaay funnier.

Jamie Foxx comes back to TV as a host of the new game show “Beat Shazam“!  Shazam is an app that can identify songs. I’m intrigued.  Contestants play against each other in a race against the clock to guess the name of popular songs.  The ones with the best time go up against the app for cash and prizes.  It’s “Name That Tune“2.0”!

The Gong Show is also coming back this summer on ABC.  I have no idea who host Tommy Maitland is but I hope he is as zany and silly as dearly departed Chuck Barris.  I loved that dude.  His energy made you feel like you were at a crazy party with weird people and having a great time.  That’s what the Gong Show is about.

The UP Network has a new show called”Date My Dad” premiering in June.  It’s a comedy starring Barry Watson from the old WB network show “7th Heaven”, with Raquel Welch as his mother. Yep. 1960’s sex symbol  Raquel Welch.   The title of this show “Date My Dad”, got me wondering…what if “The Bachelor” was a bit older, mature, physically fit and hot?  And his daughters helped him choose the women? You know they’ve all got baggage! I’d watch that!  I don’t know what kind of shennanigans you can make mature people do but it would be immensely entertaining to see.

A word about remakes..

The CW network has struck a deal to remake the classic 80’s nighttime soap, “Dynasty“.   Whyyyyyy?????  It’s not necessary!  Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels have cornered the market on cheesy nighttime soap operas. If you watch Fox’s “Empire” and OWN’s “The Haves and Have Nots” you know what I mean. The plot twists and outlandish antics that happen on those shows tell me Perry and Daniels should have been hired as writers for ABC’s “All My Children”.  That soap would still be on the air today.

I enjoyed the re-boot of Dallas on TNT.   I never watched the original, but knew the story well enough to follow Larry Hagman’s J.R. Ewing as he passed the evil and conniving torch down to his son, John Ross.  It lasted four seasons and held up to the tradition of debauchery and outright craziness.   We got to see Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray get some work and were introduced to the gorgeousness of  Josh Henderson, currently starring in E’s “The Arrangement“.

Did you know Blair Underwood starred in a remake of  1967’s “Ironside“?  I barely remembered either.   It only lasted 3 episodes.  Some things should be left alone.

If NBC can re-boot “Will and Grace” and ABC is re-doing “Roseanne“, why can’t we get a re-boot of “Girlfriends” or “Living Single?”  Mara Brock Akil and her husband have a production deal with Warner Brothers Television.    They could make this happen.

CBS’sThe Odd Couple” returned to TV last year starring  Matthew Perry, Thomas Lennon, Wendell Pierce and one of my favorite actresses, Yvette Nicole Brown.   The show wasn’t bad  but there was nothing that made it stand out.  I knew it would be canceled soon after creator and comedy genius Garry Marshall passed away.   By the way, how does Perry keep getting sitcoms when every show since “Friends” he has been cast as a lead gets canceled?

Fuller House” on Netflix is a continuation of the ABC sitcom “Full House” starring the kids from that show (not the Olsen twins) except now they are grown, widowed and have kids to raise.  *sigh*  There are better shows airing on “The Disney Channel”.

There are successful remakes out there.  “Hawaii 50” is doing very well Friday nights on CBS.   Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan look good running around catching bad guys.;  but it’s the witty comedic banter and supporting cast featuring Chi McBride and Daniel  Dae Kim that keeps things popping.  “MacGyver” is doing so well it was renewed for a second season.

One Day at a Time” premiered in 1975 and starred Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli.  The show, about a divorced woman raising two teenage daughters mirrored my reality in some ways and comforted me in others.  The re-make, on Netflix focuses on a Cuban-American family and stars Justina Machado as a divorced military mom and legend Rita Moreno, who plays the old school grandmother.  The plot revolves around how they cope with issues connected to her time serving in the Army.     This show resonates with a lot of people and was renewed for a second season as well.

As with every show, plot, character development and writing counts.  So I don’t mind re-makes of old shows as long as they are done well.

 

Shows I like but scare me.

When I was a kid the theme song to the CBS soap opera “The Secret Storm”  scared me so much that I would run out of the room crying.  ABC’S  “Dark Shadows” was scary too but only because of the creepy character “Barnabas”.  He looked like a vampire and hung out in the fictional town, Collinsport.  I didn’t understand why people weren’t trying to capture him.  The ABC Movie “Trilogy of Terror” scared me away from Tiki dolls forever.  That doll chased actress Karen Black’s character thru her apartment, trying to stab her and even though she tried to drown it, and burn it in the oven, it STILL took over her soul.  The final scene of her stabbing the floor while baring the teeth of that doll is seared in my memory forever.

In the 90’s, I watched CBS’s “American Gothic“.  I thought it was gonna be a nice wholesome show because 70’s teen heart-throb Shawn Cassidy created it.  Gary Cole starred as a corrupt sherrif of a small town who uses sinister supernatural powers to control a young boy he fathered thru rape.  GAH!!! Who knew Shawn Cassidy was dark and twisted? Why couldn’t this be a simple cop show?

Oxygen’s “Snapped” sends chills down my spine.  There are some diabolical, sick women portrayed on this show.  It’s not just that they kill the man in their life, but HOW they kill them.  One woman killed her son, chopped him up, put his body parts in several bags and threw him out of her car window as she drove along the highway.  And the neighbors say “oh, she was the sweetest, nicest person ever.”  WTF????    I can’t watch this show during the DAY, let alone night.

I don’t watch shows like “Game of Thrones” or “The Walking Dead“.   I don’t need to see heads being chopped off and blood dripping everywhere.  I need to sleep at night. I thought I could watch “Criminal Minds” because…well, Shemar Moore is on it and he’s yummy eye candy. But after a 3 episode binge one Sunday night, I was fearfully peeking around corners, freaking out over shadows on the wall and wondering about my seemingly normal neighbors.

John Walsh of “America’s Most Wanted and most recently of CNN’s “The Hunt” has been scaring the crap out of me for years.  The way he tells you about some criminal out there on the lam and looks at you thru the TV like you know where they are… made me think maybe, yes they COULD be in my neighborhood.  In 1984, they found serial killer Alton Coleman in a park a block away from my house!  (true story)

Basic cable channels air the most frightening commercials late at night.  Look at the 1 800 Lawyers ad.   Does that man’s face scare you?  It reminds me of one of the villains from the 1980’s Superman movie.   The commercial about Shingles freaks me out.  The voiceover says “if you’ve had chicken pox, the Shingles virus is already inside you”.  They might as well add an evil laugh…Muhahahahaha.

I may start watching scary shows one day, but I doubt it. My imagination is too vivid and I need to sleep at night.

 

 

Basic Cable Jollies…

Sometimes when network TV is in reruns or just plain bad, I flip through basic cable to see what’s out there.  One weekend, I sipped my coffee and watched several shows.  Some I’ve never seen before and some I just think are cool.

Aspire TV’s round table talk show “Exhale”  is simply good TV.  Host and moderator Renee Syler (former host of CBS’s This morning), along with actress Malinda Williams,  Journalist Angela Burt Murray, Comedian Erin Jackson and Writer/Executive Producer of HBO’s Insecure, Issa Rae discuss a variety of topics honestly and intelligently.  It was so cool to see Dr. Randall Pinkett (winner of Season 4 of The Apprentice) discuss what he’s been doing and how he continually serves the community.  What I love most is how familiar and caring these ladies are when they discuss the hard topics.  No yelling, just smart conversation.

I’ve only seen OWN TV’s “Iyanla’s Fix my life” once and it was the episode that featured Olympic figure skater, Debi Thomas.  I loved Debi Thomas. She went to Northwestern University at the same time I was in college doing a radio show on that campus.  She looked like me and was representing black excellence.  I was so proud.  Then I watched Iyanla try and fix her admittedly messy life.  I was heartbroken by what I saw, but felt creepy for peeking in at something that wasn’t my business.  Which is basically how I feel about this show.  Who am I to judge how somebody runs their life?  I know people will say, “but it could help others in the same situation.”  I don’t know.  I have yet to see anybody say in an interview “after I went on Iyanla, my life was fixed!”

I saw the ads all over the NYC subway for TruTV’s “Upscale with Prentice Penny” and decided to binge watch the first 3 episodes.  What a fun show and engaging host!  Penny is a writer whose work you may have enjoyed on Fox’s  “Brooklyn Nine Nine” and HBO’sInsecure“.  On Upscale, Penny explains he” thought the good things in life were out of his reach” and demonstrates how you can take ordinary situations and take them to the next level.  Like how to get a custom made suit and spend slightly more than what you might have paid at retail, or how to upscale a romantic night for two all the way down to choosing sheets and pajamas.  It’s a great show to watch on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Rashida Jones stars in ‘”Angie Tribeca” and it’s and back on TBS!  If you liked Leslie Nielsen or those absurdly silly Airplane and Naked Gun movies, this show is for you.   Try not to laugh at the sharp wit and broad humor with an a old-fashioned comic sensibility involving rat-a-tat sight gags and flat-out absurdity.  Deon Cole of “Blackish” co-stars as detective DJ Tanner and he fits right in to the ridiculousness.

TVOne presents a lot of independent movies from African American writers and directors. Easter Sunday I watched “For The Love Of Ruth“.  It stars Loretta Devine, Denise Boutte and Gary Dourdan.  It was basically a Lifetime movie without the violence and sleaze.  Perfect for lounging and snacking on the couch while flipping through Facebook.

The best thing about basic cable are the As Seen On TV Commercials.  Do you really think you can inflate your car’s tires with the Air Hawk?  Doesn’t that Turbo Scrub look kinda small?  I’m seriously thinking about getting the Swing Weights, oh and that Red Copper skillet too.

 

Midseason TV Follies

Did you watch CBS’s Doubt?  No?  Me neither.  I saw the promos and got excited when I saw Dule Hill and Laverne Cox as cast members.  But then I saw Katherine Heigl as the star and I said…nah.  I can’t stand her and will never forget her shennanigans when she was on Grey’s Anatomy.  Good thing CBS pulled it after only 2 episodes due to poor ratings.  Heigl can go right back to hawking kitty litter.

Have you been watching “Superior Donuts” airing on CBS Monday nights?  It stars comedian Jermaine Fowler as Franco, an enterprising young man who talks his way into a job working at a old fashioned neighborhood donut shop.  Judd Hirsch co-stars as Arthur,  a widower who owns the shop but has lost customers.  The premise centers around gentrification as Arthur needs to update his donut shop and Franco helps him to embrace change and attract new customers.  The dialog crackles and the chemistry between Fowler and Hirsch is fantastic. Fowler’s charisma energizes every scene he’s in. It was just renewed for next season. I love the show.

I keep seeing promos for ABC’s Imaginary Mary starring Jenna Elfman and the voice of Rachel Dratch and I wonder…is having an imaginary friend a thing?   For a grown woman?   Where are her human friends?  Is dating a divorced guy with kids a catalyst for mental issues?  I’m willing to suspend reality for 30 minutes and give this show a try.  It’s from the people who gave us  ” The Goldbergs“.   People watched Alf, I loved Salem the talking cat on Sabrina the Teenage Witch .  I suppose I could make room for Mary, The Imaginary Friend.  Then I watched the sneak preview.  It was time I’ll never get back.

Can I confess how much I love Constance Wu on ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat?  The show is supposed to focus on 12 year old Eddie Huang and his family trying to fit in after moving to the suburbs of Orlando, Florida.  I couldn’t care less about the kid.  Wu’s facial expressions and the way she delivers her lines crack me up.

How do you feel about a female Shaft?  That’s how director and executive producer John Singleton describes his new drama,  Rebel on BET.  I watched the 2 hour premiere and although Rebel is a black private detective, she isn’t a sex machine to all the dudes.  She is strong, fierce and takes no mess.   I didn’t think I would like it because frankly, I’m sick of cop shows with stories ripped from the headlines.  (side-eying Fox’s Shots Fired)  Danielle Mone Truitt stars and her energy commands the screen.  Giancarlo Esposito co stars as Rebel’s police captain and Mykelti Williamson had me cracking up as her Dad.   The storytelling is well executed.  I especially like the friendship between Rebel and Cheena played convincingly by Angela Ko.  BET will air the pilot several times so if you have 2 hours to veg on the couch, watch Rebel.

I like Sherri Shepard as an actress so I sat down to watch NBC’s new comedy, Trial and Error. Or rather I tried to.  I kept getting distracted.  This happened when the show premiered a few weeks ago and I decided to watch because John Lithgow is funny right?   I couldn’t get through the first 15 minutes.  Determined, I sat and watched 3 episodes back to back.  The only scene I liked was Marla Gibbs’ cameo as the neighbor who gives them all the stink face.  I feel the same way.  There is no funny in watching this bunch of eccentrics try to solve a murder case.   I tried to watch it and it was an error on my part. Maybe I missed something.  I’m glad Sherri got a job though.