Saturday, January 29, 2011

Being Sick has its Advantages: Being Human

So the trend in TV continues to be "find something that works in England and then rip it off American style." This was successful with shows like the Office, and even MTV has ventured into it with the latest version of Skins. However, given the horrible state of sick I am currently in, I decided to check out Syfy's latest endeavor, Being Human.

In a time plagued with Twilight rip offs and with television saturated with vampire, ghost and werewolf dramas, I was reluctant to dive into yet another. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this tale of young twenties angst. Being Human follows the saga (and yes saga) and three "monsters", a stunningly sexy vampire, a quirky werewolf and a mopey ghost. I was shocked by the depth to these characters. Each "near human" battles their inner angst and struggles with their "monster within."

The actors are actually really good. Sam Witwer, famous for nothing really upon my research except a brief stint on Smallville, was actually shockingly impressive. He plays the vampire torn between the desire to feed and the need to be accepted by humans. In a non-Robert Pattinson fashion, he doesn't make me want to punch him in the face. Sam Huntington (the perv from Not Another Teen Movie) is our quirky comedic element. This bumbling spaz makes the perfect ironic werewolf, add to that for some reason he rocks the Star of David. Finally, Meaghan Rath (who appears to be completely unknown) is our third and final monster, constantly fretting about her once fiance (and the motley crew's landlord) can't see her and they will never be together. Personally, I disliked this character completely.

The show really isn't trying anything we haven't seen in Vampire Diaries or Trueblood. Vampires gaining power, and the struggle to remain neutral. However, the acting was good enough that I will probably check on it again. Though to be honest, I would suggest checking this one out on when you catch the miserable flu going around. I wouldn't set my tivo to record. Apparently it runs Monday's on SyFy. Though I am contemplating checking out the British version online too.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Art of Bitchface

In the past few years, bitchface has had something of a renaissance on television. Guys, girls, unaffiliated genders, everyone is shooting bitchface left and right.

Proper bitchface is not always easy to pull off; it's more than just a simple "you're kidding me" or "bitch, please." Typically, the character shooting bitchface has just been told that they are not getting their way and this is either very very normal or very very abnormal. Example: Dana Scully is used to having to go on what she considers a wild goose chase with her partner, Mulder, and thus gives bitchface; or, NOBODY should tell Santana from Glee what to do, and when someone does, bitchface is the result.

But I wanted to give a shout-out to some of the best bitchfaces, past and present.

The latest and greatest bitchfaces comes to us courtesy of two classic television actresses. In an attempt to get the cult fans excited about the new V, the show has brought back the queen from the original series, played by Jane Badler. Some people's faces are born for bitchface, and Ms. Badler is definitely one of them. On the show, she was supplanted by her daughter, Anna, and sent to live in the basement of one of the V's huge ships. She appears to have spent the last 2o years skulking about in the dark and sitting in her hammock, but her hair and makeup are still perfect. You know why? Because she is an alien queen, and don't you motherfuckers forget it.

The bitch is back, y'all.

Another great example of bitchface (from this past week) was demonstrated by Candice Bergen, aka Murphy Brown, aka awesomeness personified. On House, she played Cuddy's mother and was just....well, horrible really. She took every opportunity to put her daughter down (in front of her friends no less) and even made House speechless with her bitchery. Near the end of the episode, House walked into his office and saw her sitting at his desk, and he was defeated by her massive bitchface.

You want me to get up from your chair? I don't think so.

And now for some classic bitchface, just because I think it's fun. As I stated above, almost nobody got more opportunities for bitchface than Dana Scully. With just a crook of the eyebrow, she could lay waste to mere mortals, but somehow, Mulder always seemed immune to her powers. Which is a good thing, because she shot him bitchface almost every single episode. But so would you if you had to run off and investigate icky alien stuff every week. And don't even get me started on the genetic mutants (including that dude who ate people's livers and the fluke man) that she had to deal with.

If I so much much as twitch my eyebrow, this entire building will explode.

Yes, it's true that the ladies tend to give good bitchface. But even they must bow down to the master. For this character, bitchface is a way of life. It must be hard being the younger brother to one of the most perfect specimens of humanity, and our top bitchface-giver is constantly being harassed by his older bro. So it's no surprise that bitchface is his number one defense mechanism. That and whining. And crying.

Ladies and gentleman, the true master of all bitchface......

Sam Winchester.

Game, set, match. Bitches.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Secret Boyfriend of the Week: Native American Edition

This past week I have been watching Big Love. Non-stop. In the morning: Big Love. In the evening: Big Love.

And trust me, that's a lot of Bill Paxton. It might even be more than one person can take. But the show is just too addicting, and with the Season 5 (final season!) having just started, I needed to make sure I was caught up with the happs of Season 4. And then of course, it doesn't hurt that Season 4 includes some aaaaaawesome eye candy.

I give you Adam Beach:

You might also know him from the film Windtalkers and Law and Order: SVU. I know him from being hot.

According to IMDB, he is from Manitoba, Canada (we'll forgive him that), is a Saulteaux Indian and a member of the Ojibwa Nation. And not only is he adorable, but he also does speaking engagements all over North America with Native American and First Nation youth. See? Socially responsible. Love him.

But who really cares about all that? I mean, sure that's nice, but this is what matters.

Sadly, IMDB does not indicate that he is in Season 5 which is a damn shame.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who is the Hollywood Foreign Press anyway? Oh, wait, I don't care.

Sunday's Golden Globes held very few surprises. For the most part, all the big winners were projected in advance (The Social Network, Glee, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, etc), and there didn't seem to be a lot of fun in the evening. The big highlights for me were Tina Fey and Steve Carrel, Chris Colfer, and Jane Lynch, but other than that, meh.

Of course the big talk of the night is host Ricky Gervais and whether he went "too far". While watching the recorded awards with my Mom last night (she had already watched it Sunday but rewatched it with me because she "enjoys hearing [my] colorful commentary."), I was initially a bit taken aback that Gervais was "going there." You know what I mean; making jokes about the nominated movies just being bad (The Tourist), closeted Scientologists (clearly Tom Cruise directed), and helping the aging President of the HFPA off the toilet before the show. My Mom found him "disgusting"and "rude," but I had to admit that I laughed at most of the jokes. Well, first I gasped but then laughed.

The HFPA issued a statement on Monday to Entertainment Weekly, basically saying that they hired Ricky Gervais because they knew he would push the envelope. While my Mom is convinced that he will never be asked to host the show again...come on. The Globes won their time slot and the demo of younger viewers, and the networks and HFPA ain't no fools--most of the time. People are talking about their award show. Not the actual awards, of course, but they want people watching that show and Ricky Gervais is going to deliver.

Not that I think he was a particularly good host. Sure, some of his lines were shocking and kinda funny, but he didn't really do a lot to move the show along and keep the audience warmed up. Whenever he came out, it was more of a "oh God, here we go again" feeling rather than "hurray, jokes!" I read a CNN article where they said he was rude but honest and I think that's pretty accurate. The things he said may have been true, but it's usually not the kind of things one says in polite company. But not that I feel sorry for the people Gervais was targeting. These are the wealthiest and best looking people in the world. Just because most people don't have the balls to call them on their crazy shit doesn't mean they don't deserve it. So basically, everyone should stop clutching their diamonds (pearls are so old fashioned) and try to be good sports.

Besides, everyone is just watching to see all the pretty dresses. My pick for best dressed? Anne Hathaway:

And worst dressed: Christina Aguilera. Get your shit TOGETHER, girl. You look like an old tramp and you are still in your 20s. Also? Try wearing a dress that actually fits your boobs.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Watch Dead People

Netflix (aka the all-seeing-eye of your television and movie preferences) has been recommending I watch Dead Like Me for several months now. "Huh," I thought as I gave Pushing Daisies a five-star rating and added Gross Pointe Blank to my queue, "Netflix thinks I am morbid and creepy." Finally, I caved and started watching this long-dead (see what I did there?) Showtime series. Besides, Mandy Patinkin!

Suddenly, a wild Mandy Patinkin appears!
Sri uses Resist. It's not very effective.

The story begins on the day that Geogria "George" Lass (played by Ellen Muth), our protagonist/narrator, dies. She becomes an undead "grim reaper," tasked with removing people's souls a few moments before death, sparing them the trauma/pain. She is assigned to the Accidental Death Division, which gives the writers free license to kill people in the most Rube-Goldbergian, ironic, and/or amusing ways possible.

Guess which main character was a dancer
who was strangled with a leg warmer. Go on, guess.

George, being a surly teenager in life, continues as a surly teenager in death and, at first, refuses the responsibility. But under the stern guidance of her supervisor, Rube (let's see how many times I can write 'Mandy Patinkin' in a single blog post), she eventually comes around. As she assumes the role of a reaper, she explores various aspects of death - of the deaths she witnesses, as well as her own.

The show was nominated for a number of awards, including two minor Emmy's. TV execs (how we hate/love/envy them) claimed that the show didn't have the ratings for a third season, and cancelled it. A direct-to-DVD movie, Dead Like Me: Life After Death came out in 2009, but no one optioned the TV series. Sad panda.

Or, you know. Terrifying panda.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Gingers II: The Revenging

Seth Green

Gillian Anderson isn't the only television ginger with the ability to call up a rabidly excitable fan-base at a moment's notice. Noted ginger Seth Green is easily as accomplished as Ms. Anderson, even if his career choices have been more along the lines of body humor and melodrama to her English drawing rooms and corsets. Sidebar: Seth Green actually once guest starred on a very early episode of The X-Files, cementing the linkage between these two actors in a Kevin Bacon kind of way. You can see a shot of him in all his early 90s glory illustrating how the UFO his character saw resembled a hamburger here.

Green is probably most known for his role as Oz, the ironically calm werewolf on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, although savvy television watchers in the know will also recognize him as the voice of Chris Griffin on Family Guy. As Oz, Green got to play to every musically-inclined nerd-girl's fantasy as the guitar player for cool, hip in-show band Dingoes Ate My Baby who just also happens to be a werewolf and dates a witch. He's considerably less accomplished as Chris Griffin, and yet the character still somehow manages to come off more respectable than his sister, Meg.

Approximately 93% of all Seth Green's time is spent being this cool.

Where he really earned our love, however, is in his work on the terminally awesome shows Greg the Bunny and Robot Chicken. The former was sort of an adult version of the muppet show – Greg, the titular bunny, was a struggling entertainer who also happened to be a puppet. In the show, puppets were treated as though they were real, although second-class minority citizens. The show moved back and forth between being truly edgy (Greg loses his virginity as a result of prison sex after mistakenly being arrested for being a pedophile) and trying to maintain a network television audience without paying a bajillion dollars in FCC fines. Robot Chicken, likewise, is an unorthodox attempt to mix stop-motion animation with sketch comedy. And a lot of Star Wars jokes. Further proving his dominance over television and nerd-life, Robot Chicken was for a long while the highest rated show on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim and the second-highest for the network in general. The only show that was ranked higher? Family Guy.

The really creepity thing about Seth Green, though, is how much he comes off as a cool guy. As unabashed in his nerdiness as he is about his small stature, he easily fits the mold of that friend that would just be cool to hang with. And probably watch a lot of TV together.

Seriously. He's wee. That's his wife and that image isn't photoshopped.