Thursday, June 30, 2011

HAWTHORNE: Hyperdrama On The Fake

Ah, the things I do for love.  Magalie N. is my muse for this blog, and this is her special request.  She may not be happy with what I write, but if nothing else comes from this blog post (or show), it is that I have coined a new term.

TV shows, especially dramatic TV shows, are filled with melodrama (melodrama definition).  TNT's slogan is "We Know Drama".  Therefore, you would think they would know better.  The new term I have coined is "hyperdrama".  Melodrama is basically taking real life situations, and manipulating them, in order to tug at your heartstrings.  Movies are famous for doing that.  A great example of misused melodrama was in the otherwise great movie, Ghosts of Mississippi.  The emotion of the scene where Myrlie Evers (Whoopi Goldberg) is on the stand talking about what happened was great, in the written word.  The performance and words would have been plenty to tug at the audience's collective heartstrings.  It became melodramatic due to the use of the overwrought score underneath, while the scene played.  Imagine if every time you had something sad, powerful, or meaningful to say that a dramatic underscore would begin to swell underneath your words.  Perhaps that is why I loved the movie The Truman Show, so much.  It poked fun at that idea.  Melodrama, when used well, can propel you to real emotions.  Melodrama, when used poorly, will make you roll your eyes (think the movie Armageddon).  Real emotion comes from real attachment to the characters, not making them say something sad, while they're crying, and then putting a manipulative score underneath the dialog to attempt to make you cry.  The TV show, The Big C (Showtime), toes this line between real emotion and emotional manipulation perfectly (at least it did in the first season).

When a TV show takes the idea of melodrama way too far, it is often referred to as "overly melodramatic".  There are many shows that fit this bill.  It's generally a line most good shows and movies try not to cross.  It is usually crossed by directors who have no true understanding of human emotion, and just think they can make you feel something by manipulating you.  The third stage of manipulation, that is way worse than being overly melodramatic, is the new term I have coined, "hyperdrama".  Here's my definition of hyperdrama.  Hyperdrama is when realistic situations are manipulated so much that they become completely unrealistic.  It is the equivalent of the farce, in comedy.  Just like farce, in comedy, doesn't give us any realistic chance of taking the product seriously (intentionally), hyperdrama doesn't give us any realistic chance of taking the product seriously, while expecting the audience to take it seriously (unintentionally).

I haven't seen very many episodes of HawthoRNe (TNT, Tuesday nights at 10pm EDT), but I have seen at least a half a dozen.  I never would have written a blog post about it, because it is just such a head scratching show.  It's like if someone hooked you up to an IV of Coca-Cola, and then expected you to get clean in a day, once stopping the IV.  You get to the end of each episode, completely unsatisfied, but at the end of each one is a cliffhanger that makes you need to watch the next episode.  That just makes me damn mad.  So, now I'm forced to watch this show, with my wife (who typically screams at every episode), because I have to see what happened.  This show is a damn soap opera, and we all know how those things turn out.

This is the third season in the series.  I think I watched a few of the episodes last season, and just thought it was completely unbelievable.  My wife still continues to watch it, and now Magalie asked me to check it out to write a blog post about it.  I've talked about how nearly every TV show, these days, has a story arc.  Shows with a story arc are extremely hard to follow, if you start watching them after the beginning.  The viewer kind of gets an idea who each character is, but if you don't know the full story behind each one, certain characters can end up seeming like really bad caricatures.

Jada Pinkett Smith is part Cherokee, and so am I.  Everyone who knows me knows how I feel about my Native American brethren and sistren (I know that's not a real word).  Jada is very easy on the eyes, so her being on the show is not going to be something that's going to run most people away.  If nothing else, many people could watch the show JUST to look at her (in fact, I suggest that is the best way to watch the show).  I am not necessarily advocating doing this, but it does make the show more watchable, for those who just can't get into the hyperdramatic stories.  Remember this paragraph as an important point, a little later in this post.

Anything I'm going to be talking about in this post is going to be heavily generalized, because I just don't know that much about the back story of the characters, or their motivations.  I have seen some of the episodes, so I am at least a little familiar with a few of the story arcs.  Bear with me, if I don't get much right.  I'm doing the best I can.

From what I remember about the show, Christina Hawthorne (Pinkett Smith) is the Chief Nursing Officer at a private hospital.  The hospital, at some point, was in dire financial trouble.  Yet, Christina somehow managed to help dig them out of it.  She is the classic superhero character.  Christina is stubborn, and she just doesn't really seem to understand the political and practical ramifications of anything she does.  She is trying to help people, dammit, and if you can't understand that, then just get out of her way.  So, she will clearly have issues with higher ups, and this will likely play an important role in the future story arcs of the show.

Since I started watching the first episode of the third season, I will be basing this blog post on what I've seen, so far.  That means I'm only going to talk about the first episode and third episode of the season.  Do you remember what I wrote a few paragraphs ago about Jada being easy on the eyes, and that if there were no other reason to watch the show, looking at her would be a fairly decent excuse to watch?  Well, the makers of the show decided they didn't want that to be a compelling reason to watch the show, anymore.  The first episode of the new season starts out with Christina getting married to Dr. Tom Wakefield (Michael Vartan).  If I remember correctly, Christina had a very tumultuous relationship with Tom, and a main reason they ended up together was because Christina became pregnant after what was basically sympathy sex.  The wedding is marred by hyperdramatic "comedic" moments that make it clear that these two probably shouldn't really be getting together.  At some point during last season, a creepy cop played by Marc Anthony was introduced.  He clearly has major feelings for Christina, and appears to be quite jealous of Dr. Wakefield.  In this season, his behavior borders on the edge of being a malevolent stalker.

Once the wedding is over, things go back to normal, and Christina is on the phone, after leaving work for the night, with her husband.  Five minutes prior, they were practically making out in the E.R., or whatever that area is that they work in.  While she is on the phone, and about to get into her car, she is attacked, and savagely beaten.  It is so bad that when the attacker first confronts her, he bashes her head through the driver's side window, breaking it.  I sincerely hope this is not possible, in real life, but I suppose it is.  The point of this is that the makers of the show decided it was a good idea to destroy Jada's beautiful face.  What is wrong with you???

After getting taken back into the hospital, we learn her baby is fine, due to all kinds of protection from amniotic fluid, and stuff.  Of course, this turns out to be wrong.  Her husband is completely married to the problem (literally), and does not use any sound medical principles in determining the best course of action.  His only interest is in saving the baby, and Christina feels the same way.  It seems to me like both people realize the only thing that got them together was the pregnancy.  The amount of resentment the loss of this baby could cause could prove to be the ultimate demise of their relationship.  Fortunately for us, Nick Renata (Marc Anthony) is the only cop in this city.  It's even better that he has very strong feelings for Christina.  Now we have three people who can't detach themselves from the situation properly, in order to make practical decisions.  Tom and Christina care about the baby, no matter what happens to Christina, and Nick only cares about Christina.  Nick wants to get any information out of Christina he can, even though she was blitz attacked, and shouldn't have been able to see anything.  After awhile she does remember one detail, the look of a particular ring.  This ring is what will make you need to watch the second episode.  My wife can tell me the details of that episode, because I ain't gonna watch it.  I just asked her about the episode, and she tells me she can't remember the details.  She said these exact words, "It just goes in one eye, and out the other."

I'll give you a few of the hyperdramatic things I witnessed in these two shows, but this is by no means a full list.

1. There was hyperdramatic "comedy" in the marriage scene, in the form of leaf blowers/weed whackers, that is meant to make us realize that this marriage really might not be meant to be.
2. The medical judgment of Tom is extremely compromised by his attachment to his wife.  Everyone forcefully "tries" to talk him out of the case, but he will not listen.
3. Christina basically follows every piece of advice Tom gives, even while everyone around him says what he is proposing is ridiculously dangerous, and could end up causing not only her death, but the baby's death, as well.
4. For some reason, even though the baby is 20 weeks old, they find it necessary to do everything they can to save it.  Labor is coming, no matter what, and they do everything in their power to try to stop it.  It's clear the baby is going to die, just let it happen, people.  Oh, by the way, don't tell the audience that the baby will be fine, when an attack like this (her stomach was clearly kicked at least once), usually results in the baby's death, solely due to the trauma of the mother.
5. When Christina is in the hospital, the boss of the hospital (which Christina helped save) tells another Nurse that he wants her to replace Christina.  The woman agrees to do it temporarily, to which the boss tells her that it is a permanent position, and to take it or leave it.  No one basically gets fired, if they are beaten up, and land in the hospital.  Based on my limited knowledge of the show, Christina practically owns the hospital, anyway.  After the awesome lawsuit she's going to win, due to this firing, she'll probably officially own it.
6. In the latest episode, Nick's mother is in an elevator with Christina and someone else, being moved for treatment of some sort.  She "dies", and is in need of the shock of life.  Christina's been fired, but picks those paddles right up.  The guy with her tells her that she can't do that, and to put it down.  She ignores him, and does it.  After which, he says, don't do that again.  She does it again.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the guy should have taken the effing paddles out of her hands, and done it himself.  That's hyperdrama at its finest.  I guess Christina won't own the hospital, after all, when it's found out she did this.  Maybe she won't end up in jail, but I guess that will have to wait until next time.

There are many, many other things that happen, throughout the series, that I could continue to list, but I will stop it there.  In wrapping up, this show is meant to be watched by women.  Husbands can be drawn in by the beauty and sex appeal of Jada, I guess.  Unfortunately for the husbands, Jada's face is pretty jacked up, right now, so that won't add any appeal to the show.  The show is very much like a soap opera, and it ties the episodes together well enough that you are forced to watch another episode.  You may scream at the absurdity of nearly every situation, in the show, but there's a good chance, if you start watching the show, that you will be back for more.  This is solely because of how hyperdramatically the makers of the show manipulate you.

The show is every possible genre rolled into one.  It's "comedic", it's "serious", it's "horrific", it's "tense", and it's "fantasy".  The show will try everything possible to try to tug at your heartstrings, but it ultimately fails solely because it's so easy to see through the hyperdramatic manipulation.  The bad news is that it won't turn you off enough to stop watching it.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Traditional Scripted TV Season Is Obsolete

One of my goals with my TV blog is to make people think about things they don't think about, in regards to scripted network and cable television.  If it is something people do think about, then my goal is to make people think about what they think about what they think, or something.  To some of you, this may come as a bombshell.  Others will say, "Duh!"  I'm here to tell you that it is true.  I'm also going to try to give some solutions about what I *wish* the networks would do in the future.  I'm not saying I'm right, but I am saying that people should start looking at the traditional television season in a different way.  If anyone from any of the networks reads this, and would like some help implementing my thoughts, I'm available, for now, and I might be cheaper than you expect. ;)

My research might end up being a long way off, but I'm doing the best I can based on the limited resources I have available (IMDB).  TV seasons have come a long way since the early days of television.  If you go back one of my all time favorite TV shows, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, you will find that all of the early seasons of that series were 39 episodes, each.  It's possible all of the seasons were 39 episodes, but many of the seasons have fewer than 39 listed.  When comparing this to Perry Mason, another one of my favorites, we also find roughly similar numbers.  However, by the mid 1960s, my guess is that most television shows were probably 30 episodes per season.  By the early 1970s, I think it's a fairly safe bet to say that the average television season was 24 episodes.  In the early 1980s, I'm pretty sure the average run was 22 episodes, which is very similar to today.  However, by the mid 1980s, the television season had been elongated back to 26 episodes.  It then went back to 24 episodes per season in the mid 1990s to mid 2000s.  Finally, by 2005, most full TV seasons had become a relatively standard 22 episodes (some full seasons still vary from this slightly).

If you look at those numbers, you begin to realize how spoiled we were, by the amount of content we were getting, as an audience, in the early days of television.  However, it doesn't take long to realize that we are still spoiled by the massive amount of programming choices available to us, on a daily basis.  The unfortunate part is that not a lot of it is very good.  There weren't many TV programs back then, and it was probably pretty hard to separate people from their cash to buy a TV.  The best incentive to get people to buy TVs was to make incredible programming, that, on a weekly basis, might be on par with some of the movies people could see in theaters, at the time.  I don't think it's a stretch to say that shows like Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Twilight Zone made people want to buy television sets.  The good news for us, the people from different generations, is that we can still continue to see these incredible shows 50 years after they originally aired.  It still strikes me as amazing that the viewers were able to see 39 episodes per year, of these classic shows.  For 9 months out of the year, you got to see great weekly television, as long as you owned a television set.  These days, the typical season lasts about five and a half months, not including hiatuses.  School lasts longer.  These days the TV season is stretched out longer and longer, but there really isn't all that much content on the networks, when you think about it.

The 26 episode season made the most logical sense, for one reason, and one reason only.  26 x 2 is 52 weeks.  You run each episode once, and then for the next 26 weeks, you rerun each episode once.  By the time you're done, it's time for a new season, and the viewers are right back in the groove with the show!  Unfortunately, that model doesn't really work today.  I see a lot of complaining about the Nielsen Ratings, but it's what the advertisers are functioning off of, and it's not likely to change significantly, for at least a few more years.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather claw my eyes out, with the softest feather, ever, than watch a scripted TV show live.  That's why DVR has become the most important resource in our household.  It allows us to skip the commercials, which probably annoys the advertisers to no end.  If you want to watch a show On Demand, well, I hope you like watching live TV, because that's basically what they're giving you.  There is no fast forward enabled, so you are stuck watching the commercials.  When I was watching Memphis Beat for my friend, Chris P., I really hated seeing those damn commercials.  I also think TNT must think the viewers of Memphis Beat are dumb, because, during one of the breaks, they recapped what had just happened.  So, it's easy to see, from just this paragraph, that technology is making the viewing habits of TV viewers change rapidly.

I don't think I was able to get a DVR from the cable company until 2005.  Up until that point, I just didn't get to watch any television, except via reruns on weekends, from 2002 on.  I worked the graveyard shift at my previous job, and I wasn't going to lose any sleep just to get to see the latest episode of Special Victims Unit.  The good news for me was that the USA Network had many of my now favorite shows running in reruns.  This allowed me to catch Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Special Victims Unit, and eventually House.  I use USA as my main point of reference, because I believe USA has been absolutely revolutionary in changing the scripted television landscape, possibly almost as much as reality television has.

A lot of people may disagree with me on this, but I think the first true impact of USA, in regards to original scripted television programming, was the show Monk.  Once they had that series going, they had figured out some form of a formula that they knew they needed to exploit.  It took them a long time to get going with this, but they eventually got it figured out with Monk.  Following in the success of Monk was the show Psych.  I haven't seen Psych, yet (I'm going to), but from the promos I've seen, it seems like a show that would be what Monk would be, if he had a "charismatic" personality, and was basically a fraud.  There are only so many shows that you can put on like that, so USA decided it had to come up with a different type of "formula".  That something different was Burn Notice.  Regardless of how much people may disagree with me, on this, Burn Notice, to me, was the final evolution of USA as a network.  The new basic formula for USA is to come up with shows that have the wit, chemistry, and convolution of Burn Notice.  They may have different characters, but when you break down most of the shows, on USA, they have a similar basic "formula" to Burn Notice.  No matter how you feel about these shows, nearly all of them are too universally "hip" for network TV.  That's a nice way of saying that none of them would make it on network TV.  I'm in no way saying most of the USA shows aren't good.  I think USA puts the most consistently solid programming on TV of any network, cable or otherwise.  To a certain extent, TNT appears to be trying to follow the same type of formula, while exploring many more demographics, with their shows.

Something most people don't know, that I can comment on, is a different reason of why a show like Burn Notice became such a success.  It's not only the traditional writing, casting, etc., but it's also the ability it had to make a solid, watchable show, from a technical standpoint, on what appeared to be a shoestring budget (at least at the beginning).  This is where my "expertise" comes in.  In the mid 1990s, a company called Liberty Livewire was formed, that basically swallowed up nearly every major Post-Production facility in Los Angeles.  Regardless of how unpopular what I'm about to say will make me (hey, I'm not even popular, anyway), I'll still say it.  This company basically had the idea that if it bought up everything, it could union bust, drive down wages, and drive up the costs of the Production Companies that were forced to use them, as there were no other alternatives for high end work.

Glen Glenn Sound is the single most important sound house in the history of television, and probably movies.  It was associated with nearly every major TV show, that is now considered a classic, and many others that aren't.  This facility was eventually bought by Todd-AO, and if I'm not mistaken, was eventually part of the Liberty Livewire buy up.  What Liberty Livewire didn't count on was that talent was what was making the Production Companies work at these facilities.  You could have a 200 trillion dollar, state of the art facility, but it didn't mean anything if the people running the gear weren't who the Production Companies wanted.  So, many of these top workers just left, got the capital to start their own companies, or helped revitalize old, and, in my opinion, dying, companies, such as Larson Sound.  Burn Notice was one of the shows that was mixed with these former superstars, who I'm guessing didn't want to be a part of the Liberty Livewire system.  This superstar ability brought to the USA Network an unheard of sound quality, for shows of this budget.

As Burn Notice became more popular, the production value went up significantly.  The popularity of Burn Notice then brought about other shows on USA, and what we have today, on that network, is, in my opinion, the direct off shoot of Burn Notice.  ALL HAIL BURN NOTICE (Thursday nights, at 9pm EDT)!

Now, you may ask me, "Chris, what does this all have to do with the traditional scripted TV season being obsolete?"  Well, I'm about to tell you.  What's unique about shows like Burn Notice is that they have short seasons.  These shows usually have 13 episode seasons.  That's just 13 weeks, a little over 3 months.  It's slightly more than a half season of other shows, but it's nowhere near the amount of episodes of a full season.  Even though nearly all of the shows that follow this amount of episodes are cable shows, I think they are instructive for how networks should start to view the "traditional TV season".  These shows are all relatively popular, although not hugely popular, but often are strong enough to compete with the lower rated NBC shows.  The reason they are popular is because they fill a hole in the schedule.  While everyone else is showing reruns of shows that everyone has already seen, these cable networks are bringing us new shows that will get us through the summertime, or the longer winter hiatuses.  They are catering to a niche of people who don't like reruns.  That "niche" is everyone.

I understand the networks don't want to have a full schedule of cost, throughout the year.  There are lots of technical people in the industry who also like having a summer break, I'm sure.  I'm also pretty sure most of those people wouldn't mind working all year, if it were possible.  I can also tell you for certain, especially based on last season, that networks don't give new shows a chance to succeed.  There is only so much shelf space for new shows, and if something doesn't break out like barn busters, chances are it's not going to be around the following year.  That's just way too much pressure.  What else is causing the shelf space issue?  If you guessed reality TV, you are right.  There is too much reality TV, and it squeezes out good scripted TV all the time.  The problem is how to overcome the limited leash the networks give, and to give the networks the cost relief they desire.

So, obviously, the best thing to do is completely get rid of reality TV.  No?  You can't deal with no more American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and their hundred knockoffs?  Yeah, you're right, neither can the networks.  They're cheap, they're easy to do (relatively), and people watch them, which generates ad dollars.  So, if you can't beat reality TV, the best thing is to join them.  No, wait a minute, the best thing is to steer clear of them.  How do we do that?  Simple, the networks need to start having three distinct TV "seasons".  That way, we fill up the voracious appetites of network executives for reality TV, and don't do it at the expense of scripted TV.  The more successful reality TV you have, the more money you have to properly develop your scripted TV shows!  It's a win/win, for everyone.

Well, it's almost a win/win.  The problem with this is that scripted TV shows are pretty expensive to produce, and some are extremely expensive.  FOX is apparently going all in on cost for Terra Nova, next season, so that show better get some good ratings.

Right now, I'm going to do a quick breakdown, by network, of how much scripted TV programming each one had last season, and then I'll see if my solution can work.  I always like to present a problem I don't know the answer to, because it's just so much more fun, that way.  Before doing the analysis, I'm pretty sure I'm right, but I could be wrong.  I went to Emerson College, so it's unlikely I'll be able to interpret the numbers in any meaningful way.

Scripted TV Hours By Network (all info from TV by the Numbers):


The Whole Truth-12 hours*
My Generation-8 hours*
Detroit 1-8-7-18 hours*
No Ordinary Family-10 hours*
Off the Map-13 hours*
Happy Endings-6 hours
V-10 hours*
Brothers & Sisters-22 hours*
Better with You-11 hours*
Mr. Sunshine-6 hours*
The Middle-12 hours
Cougar Town-10.5 hours
Body of Proof-9 hours
Private Practice-22 hours
Castle-24 hours
Desperate Housewives-23 hours
Grey's Anatomy-22 hours
Modern Family-12 hours

ABC had 250.5 hours of scripted TV programming in the 2010-2011 season.

CHAOS-12 hours, 3 aired in the original run*
Flashpoint-I really have no idea how many hours this has, but I'll guess 9
The Defenders-18 hours*
Medium-13 hours*
Blue Bloods-22 hours
CSI: NY-22 hours
The Good Wife-23 hours
Mad Love-6.5 hours*
CSI: Miami-22 hours
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior-13 hours*
Rules of Engagement-12 hours
$#*! My Dad Says-9 hours*
Hawaii Five-O-24 hours
CSI-22 hours
The Mentalist-24 hours
Mike & Molly-12 hours
How I Met Your Mother-12 hours
NCIS: Los Angeles-24 hours
Criminal Minds-24 hours
Big Bang Theory-24 hours
NCIS-24 hours
Two and a Half Men-8 hours

CBS had 379.5 hours of scripted TV programming in the 2010-2011 season.

Outlaw-8 hours*
Undercovers-13 hours, but it appears only 11 hours aired*
Friday Night Lights-13 hours*
The Paul Reiser Show-2.5 hours*
Chase-18 hours*
The Event-22 hours*
Law & Order: LA-22 hours*
Perfect Couples-6 hours, it appears 5 hours aired*
Outsourced-11 hours*
Chuck-24 hours
Community-12 hours
Harry's Law-12 hours
Parenthood-22 hours
30 Rock-11 hours
Parks & Recreation-8 hours
Law & Order: SVU-24 hours
The Office-12 hours

NBC had 240.5 hours of scripted TV programming in the 2010-2011 season.

Running Wilde-6.5 hours*
The Good Guys-20 hours*
Lone Star-2 hours*
Traffic Light-6.5 hours*
Fringe-22 hours
Lie To Me-13 hours*
The Chicago Code-13 hours*
American Dad-9.5 hours
Human Target-13 hours*
Raising Hope-11 hours
Bob's Burgers-6.5 hours
The Cleveland Show-11 hours
Breaking In-3.5 hours*
The Simpsons-11 hours
Bones-23 hours
Family Guy-9 hours
House-23 hours
Glee-22 hours

FOX had 225.5 hours of scripted TV programming in the 2010-2011 season.

Three hours later I have done the research.  That was a pain in the boo-tay.  Now, let's see if we can turn this into something worth talking about.  As I've said before, most networks look at Fridays as a TV wasteland, where you send shows to die.  Saturday nights are basically used for encore performances of shows the network is trying to get noticed apart from the day it originally aired.  It may have had stiff competition, and they want to give people a chance to see it.  So, for ABC, CBS, and NBC, accounting for what I said, there are approximately 15 true primetime hours available per week.  For FOX, there are approximately 11 true primetime hours available per week, if I include the typical 3 hour Sunday block that FOX has always had on Sundays.  Also, keep in mind that NBC, during the NFL season, has a Sunday night football game, every week.  This wipes out 3 hours for them on Sunday nights for approximately 5 months.

For this list, it's important to note that many of these shows were canceled, and replaced by others during the season.  So, even though it may appear there are tons of hours of programming available, it turns out that many of the nights of programming, across every network, except CBS, include some form of reality programming.  Now that I have told you all of that, let's see how many seasons we can break all of this stuff down into, just based on the number of hours I listed.  This will not factor in Sunday Night Football or any reality shows.  We can interpret the data, as we see fit, solely based on the numbers.  Please don't expect this to be anywhere near perfect analysis.  It just is something worth thinking about, in my opinion.

Let's base this on the idea that it would still be a pretty good idea for the networks to have 3 months of no new programming, or very little new programming (think one or two series per network introduced in this dead zone).  This will allow the network to try to generate interest from the reruns of shows that weren't particularly successful, while leading both shows in with a very popular set of reruns from the top performers.  The first hour would be a popular lead in, then a new show, and then a show that maybe wasn't performing up to par.  These rerun blocks are rewards and warnings, respectively.  If you end up leading in a new show, that means that show is the top of the heap.  If you end up behind the new show, that means your show is in a lot of danger.  A key to this strategy would be to blitz audiences with promos for these under performing shows, in addition to promoting the new shows.  If these under performing shows still can't find an audience, with mass promotion, even cross network promotion, then the show can be canceled, without much thought.  It would probably be best to have this "dead zone" period be four weeks in May, five weeks in August, and four weeks in December.  The best strategy for the under performing show would be to show the Pilot (unless the Pilot isn't representative of the show), the two best episodes, and the last episode of the season.  Each one of these four week periods (five weeks in August) could be used to pump up an under performing show.  If it's successful, the show can be back.  If it's not, then it might be time for that show to go.  For the new shows, if they're super successful, the networks can consider putting the rest of the season on in one of the "wastelands" of Friday or Saturday programming.

In this new era of TV seasons I'm proposing, each series' season would only be 13 episodes.  This allows the network to determine the best course of action during each of the three "breaks".  This also allows for more programming to be aired, across the now three TV "seasons".  If a show is performing exceptionally well, more episodes can be ordered to air across the four week "break", but the maximum episode order for any season would always be 17.

Since so many shows, these days, have their hearts set on doing a story arc, it's best to do this over short seasons.  It leaves the audiences wanting more, even though their show may not be back for a year.  If too many fans (and advertisers) get restless, seasons can be moved forward, so there aren't crazy gaps in between shows that people can't live without.  The point of this new "formula" is that you keep the schedule fresh all year long.  It makes viewers want to constantly tune in to your network, as a destination of many shows, as opposed to just a few particular shows.

After writing all of this, I'm not really sure how to interpret the number of hours of TV programming.  However, this new season structure would also potentially allow for more hours of reality TV, which is what many of the networks want.  As long as the networks throw enough of a bone to those of us who don't like reality TV, by keeping shows we like around longer, with a longer leash, it's a win/win situation for everyone.

In my model, I would go back to developing shows extensively before putting them on the air.  In order to make it to air, shows really have to be the best of the best in whatever they're trying to attempt.  I am guessing it would probably take about 2 to 3 years to implement a schedule like the one I'm advocating.  For networks like CBS, that are filled with scripted TV programming, already, it would probably only take about a year to implement it.  It also probably wouldn't take that long for FOX to implement it, as they have so few hours of "prime" programming time slots available, and already like to do a lot of mid season replacements, and off season type programming.  My guess is that ABC would struggle with this idea the most, and NBC would be right behind them.

For my ideas, I would like to base it on there being 2 to 3 hours of scripted 30 minute programming, and 8 to 9 hours of scripted hour long "prime" programming, each week.  CBS, NBC, and ABC could tweak this slightly, to their desires, based on whatever programming they want or already have.  FOX relies heavily on 30 minute programs on Sunday, and a few during the week, so their numbers would be more along the lines of 4 hours of scripted 30 minute programming, and 4 hours of scripted hour long "prime" programming, each week.  FOX should also strongly consider moving the later seasons of American Idol to the Friday and Saturday wasteland, to make room for more scripted programming, and see if it can still be successful.  If this new moving of FOX reality shows, to the wasteland, happens to be successful, other networks could also strongly consider trying to get people interested in the "wasteland" programming of Friday and Saturday nights.  It would be so fun to see networks put shows like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars on Friday and Saturday nights, just to see what would happen.  Imagine leading in a wasteland show with one of these shows.  The networks might be very surprised at the success they find.

You made it this far, in something that may not have ended up making much sense.  So, I will be kind, and break it down really simply.  Here's my idea for the future of TV programming.  The idea was inspired by how USA puts its shows together.

1. TV seasons would no longer be a full season.  There would be essentially 3 TV seasons, with the "break" time between each of the 3 "seasons" being used to introduce a new show or two.  This "break" would also try to help prop up shows that are struggling, probably by utilizing different time slots than the shows originally aired.  The new shows during these "dead zones" would be shows that either are extremely promising, or don't have much promise, but could have success if it didn't have to run counter to other programming, during the normal "seasons".  These "dead zone" shows are the best candidates for filling the wasteland time slots, once their initial 4 or 5 show run is completed, provided the ratings are high enough.

2. Every series would be limited to a standard season order of 13 episodes.  If a show is dramatically exceeding ratings expectations, it could be extended to 17 episodes, to run across one of the "dead zones".

3. New shows would be extensively developed before hitting the air.  Due to this fact, it would be in each network's interest to give each show it picks up a 39 episode initial order.  If the show is a disaster, it can obviously be pulled at any time, but the idea is that shows wouldn't hit air, unless everyone feels it can last at least the 39 episodes (a three season run under the new model I am proposing).  Each network needs to have a vested interest in making every show it airs run more than one season, and should give the makers of the show an extensive leash to find an audience.  This can only happen if there isn't a ridiculous amount of pressure on the show to over perform quickly.

4. The best thing about this model is that it will encourage the makers of the show to come up with their very best work, as there are going to be 9 less episodes per year, on average.  The goal would be to have the writers still hard at work, during their production down time, to create all of the scripts for the initial 39 episode order.  This way, ideas can be jettisoned, and added while the show is not in production.  This gives the audience the best possible chance of consistently great programming.

If a network executive reads this, he or she may find it extremely laughable, but I am willing to bet there is at least one good idea in here, that every network should try to exploit.  Every new show is cheaper than a long established show.  Every new show is harder to produce than a long established show, due to the learning of curve of getting it right.  While long established shows are easier to produce, due to the familiarity of making them, they are more costly due to the rising talent costs.  So many more resources would be freed up if every series was reduced to 13 episodes.  It would also help many of these older shows remain consistently at the top of their game, as opposed to getting as stale as many of them have.

No matter how this post is received, I am one hundred percent convinced that the traditional scripted TV season is obsolete.  It's time to move to something better.  These days, new shows aren't given enough of a chance to find their footing, there's too much reality TV, and networks hold on to shows that are dying way too long.  Making any of the changes I've suggested, in my opinion, will dramatically freshen the scripted TV landscape.  I guess it's only a matter of time before we find out if any of this ever happens.  For your sake, and mine, I hope it does.  Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 24, 2011

SUITS: If Criminal Minds and Franklin & Bash Had A Baby After A Franklin & Bash Party

On Thursday nights, at 10pm EDT, is a new series called Suits (USA), that follows one of my favorite shows, Burn Notice.  Last night was the Pilot, for the show.  I'm not going to give you full major character breakdowns, as I don't feel it's necessary to do so, but I will give you a decent breakdown of the two main characters.  The premise is pretty simple, and I'm sure the end game is the ruse being exposed (if it's not known, already).

Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is a closer for a law firm.  Anytime I refer to him, I will refer to him as Balinca.  Anyone who has seen Franklin & Bash will recognize him as an amalgam of Carp, Franklin, and Bash.  He has the attitude and personality of Carp, the ethics of Franklin, and the con man mentality of Bash.  He is all these characters rolled into one.  He likes to play poker, and loves his ability to read people.  A very important thing to know about his character is that he's a bluffer.  His introduction to the show came in the form of a case falling apart.  He is called in to fix things.  In the process of attempting to do that, he arrogantly bluffs the client into signing an agreement he absolutely did not want to sign.  This results in him being promoted to Senior Partner, over the weasel, Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman).  Balinca is not above breaking ethical codes to "win" his cases.  Unlike Franklin & Bash, he doesn't want to end up in court, he wants to settle.  I'm guessing that's what his main skill is, getting people to settle.  He goes about his duties pretty sociopathically, and loves him some him.

Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) smokes pot.  He takes tests for other people.  He's a smart loser, since he's basically just using his brain to commit fraud.  However, he does have one particularly amazing skill, and that is that he remembers everything he reads.  He is what would happen if Dr. Spencer Reid, from Criminal Minds, had begun a drug habit, been a slacker, and had an interest in law, as opposed to science.  He's obviously very smart, perhaps too smart for his own good.

Ross's Grandmother is in a Nursing Home, and he is told if he does not come up with $25,000, she will be institutionalized.  He doesn't want this to happen, so he agrees to set up a large marijuana sale for his "best" friend, a covert drug dealer, just so he can get the $25,000 to keep his Grandmother from being institutionalized.  His friend finds out the buy is really a set up, but is not allowed to contact him.  Ross goes to the drug deal, but luckily for him, he realizes something is not right, and bails before going into the room where the deal is going to take place.

It is also extremely fortunate, for him, that Balinca is conducting interviews for his law firm, of Harvard Law graduates.  In the process of escaping from being busted, he ends up in the interview area, just in time for the interview of someone who didn't show up.  Balinca's Assistant had been tasked with finding someone like him, with absolutely no success.  Due to Ross's interaction with her, she decides he meets all of the traits of Balinca's desired candidate, and he is led in for an interview.  At this point, the briefcase with the marijuana flies open, and the marijuana falls out.  It is at this point that Balinca knows this guy is not there from law school.  After a series of back and forth ego throws, it is determined that Ross is a superhero type, when it comes to law knowledge, and Balinca hires him, even though he does not have a law degree.

Upon returning to the office, Balinca finds that his title of Senior Partner has been rescinded.  When he goes to find out why, he is told that the client he bluffed realized he was bluffing, and then fired them.  He is then told to toe the line, or that's it for him.  So, he goes back and tells Ross that he's fired, because he can't take a chance on it being discovered that Ross doesn't have a law degree.  Ross then uses his brain to get leverage on Balinca, which causes him to re-hire him.  Then, Balinca goes to his boss's office and uses his brain, to get leverage on her.  She gives him back the title of Senior Partner.

The comedy, if there is any, is that even though Ross has extensive law knowledge, he has no clue about how any of the details (paperwork) are done.  That's where his learning curve, and partnership with the best Paralegal in the firm comes in.  He still has the problem of what to do with the marijuana briefcase, and his screwed up friendship with his now former "best" friend to deal with, but at least he now has a home.

In the course of the first episode, we are also shown how Balinca isn't all he appears to be.  He's a very narcissistic guy, and getting below his extremely self-centered surface is part of what this show is going to be about.  Ross is him, 10 or 15 years ago, a smart scam artist, with no skills or ability to get to where he can be useful (being a lawyer).  So, to make his rise to stardom, in the law firm, Balinca had to have someone take him under his wing, who was willing to deal with his numerous character flaws.

This is a fully formed Pilot, as Pilots go, but it's not a particularly strong one.  It's watchable, yet not believable.  We have to stretch our imagination to get past the many technical issues that go along with the fraud that Ross and Balinca are committing.  I can't tell if this show is supposed to be a farce, or totally believable.  I can't tell if it's supposed to be a comedy-drama (dramedy), or a straight up drama.  There isn't enough funny to make it a comedy, but the drama isn't believable enough to take it seriously.  I'm figuring the proper adjustments in tone will be made throughout the season.  The concept isn't funny, so I'm going to watch it like it is a drama.  I could change that conclusion later.

My suggestion is to watch the Pilot, and decide if you want to continue with it.  There's enough there that I think you can get a good idea of where the show is going.  If you don't like the Pilot, I don't think there's enough potential for the show for you to continue watching.  If you do like the Pilot, then you will probably enjoy the future episodes of the show.  This Pilot was particularly exposition heavy, for a show of its type, but I can still clearly see that the show has a decent amount of potential to improve, despite its rather weak Pilot.  The color correction in the promo for the second episode is dramatically different than the look of the Pilot, so you can likely expect a big change in the look, and probably quality, from the Pilot to the second episode (likely for the worse).

The ratings for Suits, out of the box, were excellent (nearly double the average overall viewership of Franklin & Bash), and it lost very little of its lead in from Burn Notice.  Just based on the first episode, I think this show will make it, and I am going to continue watching it, even though I much prefer its smart ass brother (father?), Franklin & Bash.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

THE BIG C: Who Says Cancer Can't Be The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You?

If you were told you had 30 days to live, and it was certain you would, in fact, die after those 30 days were up, what would be your first thought?  Would you wonder about what you hadn't done, who you hadn't seen, or what you want to do with the rest of the time you have?  Would you change who you are, wish you had become something you hadn't, or wish you hadn't become something you had?  Would you wonder what happens to you when you die, and whether the time you had here was worth it?  Would you tell anyone, even if you felt those you need to tell are not equipped to deal with what you have to say?

Every one of us is going to die.  Some of us will die young, some will die very old, but there's no avoiding it, we are all going to die.  In my opinion, everyone's goal in life should be to be ready to go when that time comes.  If it comes tomorrow, make sure you don't have any regrets of things you wish you had done, that you hadn't.  If it comes 80 years from now, I hope you don't have to work until you die.  Since we can all die in a heart beat, it is probably best for us to try not to think about it.  However, sometimes, you don't have a choice.  You may be diagnosed with an incurable disease that has a rough time frame of mortality, you could be getting up there in years, or you could have a dangerous lifestyle or occupation.  I don't think it's false to say that what you did with the time you were given will often be what you're remembered for, rightly or wrongly.  Remember, we only live once (as far as we know).

With The Big C (Showtime, Monday nights 10:30pm EDT), we are given the opportunity to go on a voyage of self discovery with Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney).  Cathy is clearly not happy with who she is (or who she's become), in life, but, as the story begins, she has been diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma.  This form of cancer has a relatively low survival rate, with proper treatment.  However, she doesn't want the treatment, she just wants it to run its course (she says that she doesn't want to lose her hair).  She is not given how long she has to live, but it's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 months (perfect for three seasons of television).  Once Cathy is diagnosed, her basic strategy is to avoid telling anyone, because she thinks everyone she knows is incapable of handling this news.  I'll now break down each of the "important" characters, give a little bit of story, and wrap up with my initial thoughts about the show, after having seen the first three episodes.  I'll be watching the rest over the next week or so.

The Characters (all from IMDB):

Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney)
Paul Jamison (Oliver Platt)
Adam Jamison (Gabriel Basso)
Sean Tolkey (John Benjamin Hickey)
Marlene (Phyllis Somerville)
Dr. Todd Mauer (Reid Scott)
Andrea Jackson (Gabourey Sidibe)

Cathy Jamison is a teacher.  My guess is that she teaches American History, due to the classroom scene where she uses The Patriot (Mel Gibson) as a "teaching" tool.  Even though we are not told too much about her, it's very obvious that, before her diagnosis, she was pretty uptight, and possibly suffered from some form of OCD (she mentions that a habit can be broken in 28 days).  Maybe, when she was a child, she once was fun, but up until her diagnosis, she had ceased to be fun, at least since starting a family.  After learning how close she now is to death, she wants to be fun, again, no matter what it takes.  Since she refuses to tell her family about her diagnosis, everything she's doing is thought to be extremely strange.  Much of it is met with derision, and on the outside looking in, it appears she might be having a mid-life crisis, or is losing her s**t.  The audience knows what brought this on, but no one in the show has the faintest clue why she is acting this way, all of a sudden.

Paul Jamison is Cathy's husband.  Cathy has thrown him out of the house (happened before the series began), and he is currently living with his sister, sleeping on her couch.  Paul still acts like a child.  He is very juvenile with many of his antics.  He doesn't want to grow up.  As was intimated, in the third episode, he likes to do "thoughtful" things, without thinking of the aftermath.  An example of this is bringing a bunch of sand into the living room of their house, to set up a beach scene that would be reminiscent of the day he proposed to Cathy.  It's a great idea, but someone has to clean it up, and this is something that never occurs to Paul.  He's the guy who makes messes that someone else has to clean up, no matter how fun it was to create the messes.

Adam Jamison is Cathy and Paul's son.  Adam is not well adjusted.  He constantly talks back to his mother, and does a lot of very mean spirited practical jokes, in the Pilot.  Most of his temperament likely comes from his father.  He has all the makings of being someone who will not be able to adjust into the life of a grown up.  Upon stopping up a toilet, he doesn't plunge it, he just leaves it there.  Cathy discovers this, and tells him to plunge it.  His retort is to tell her to do it.  He is given quite an attitude adjustment, at the end of the Pilot, but it still doesn't change how much he is revolted by nearly all of his mother's actions.

Sean Tolkey is Cathy's brother.  He is completely irresponsible, while trying to act like everything he does is to help the environment.  We gather that he is homeless.  He spends his days harassing people about their wasteful practices.  He's basically an a-hole, and clearly has not grown up, at all, since his childhood.  Cathy used to be embarrassed by him, but after her diagnosis, she wants to get involved in his life, again.  He was the first person she was going to tell, but his personality defects did not allow her to get it out.  It just didn't seem right for her to do so.

Marlene is the Jamisons' across the street neighbor.  In the five years the Jamisons have lived in their house, they have never learned her name.  She is a grumpy, private person.  If it hadn't been for Cathy's life changing events, it's unlikely Cathy would have ever learned her name.  Marlene is clearly going to be Cathy's eventual confidant.  She may even be what Cathy would have become, had it not been for her cancer.

Dr. Todd Mauer is Cathy's Doctor.  She is his first cancer patient, or at least the first one he has had to tell they are going to die.  Cathy, normally not a very talkative person, cannot stop speaking when she is around him.  He is prone to saying inappropriate things, either in front of Cathy, or through the thin walls of the doctor's office.  It's clear that he will eventually be her main coping mechanism.

Andrea Jackson is one of the students in Cathy's Summer School class.  She is overweight, and has a mean spirit behind her.  Cathy tells her that she "cannot be fat, and mean".  While Andrea is smoking, at a doorway in the school, Cathy performs cartwheels past her, each thinking they have caught the other in an embarrassing act.  She then has a conversation with Andrea that ends with Cathy offering to pay her $100 for every pound she loses, and that if she catches her with another cigarette, the deal is off.  Andrea is clearly going to become a very important part of Cathy's life, and Cathy is going to become an important part of Andrea's life.

As explained above, the show is a journey of self discovery, when given news you didn't expect, and are likely not ready to accept.  The Big C is ultimately a character study.  It's not only of how she views herself, but how she views others, and how others view her.  Her life is going to change, there's no doubt about that.  She is going to change, there's no doubt about that.  In one of the posters on the wall at the support group she attended, was the quote "Passport To Life".  That's what this show is about, but it doesn't mean it in the way the poster intended it.  Her passport to life is going to come from this forcing her to live on her own terms, as opposed to what she believes society expects out of everyone.  She's going to die, but she's going to try to live as much as possible in the time she has left.  There isn't really much back story to tell, we just have to go on Cathy's journey, with her, no matter how painful it may be for her, and us.  As such, you basically have to watch the show from the beginning.  All of the episodes are available on the Standard Definition version of Showtime On Demand.  Season 2 begins next Monday, June 27.

I watched the show, because my friend Daina E. reminded me about it, after we talked a little about Nurse Jackie.  I thought the show might be good, based on some promos I saw during Nurse Jackie, last year, but never got around to checking it out.  I had the opportunity yesterday, and it left an extremely strong impression on me.  The hardest thing about Pilots is that you have to tell everyone who the characters are, which often leads to very boring first episodes.  In the case of this show, they didn't tell us anything, about anyone, they just showed us how they are as people, and we could clearly understand everything we needed to know about the characters.  What I found most amazing about the show was how quickly I became involved with the characters.  This is not something that normally happens, for me.  I generally have be tugged into stories, over a period of time, but, for some reason, I ended up empathizing with Cathy, by the end of the first episode.  What I mean by that is that I felt some kind of emotional attachment to her, already.  That is what good TV is all about.

This show could not have hit a bigger home run with the casting.  It has the great Laura Linney, the great Oliver Platt, and the great John Benjamin Hickey.  This show must be something special, to get all of these relatively established MOVIE actors to be in the show, which would likely take them away from other work for at least a few years.  This might be better than any movie they will be in for a long time.  It's a worthy project of their talents, and their acting ability absolutely makes this show.  Linney is always great, in everything she's in, and this is no exception.  It's nice seeing Oliver Platt play someone so goofy, with just absolutely amazing pieces of business he throws into every scene he's in.  I have never seen John Benjamin Hickey play anything but the straight man, in anything I've seen him in, but it's now completely clear, to me, that he has incredible comedic timing.  He also plays, overall, a completely disgusting character.  If you tune into this show for nothing other than these actors being in it, you won't be disappointed.

Overall, the pace of the show is good, though it does tend to drag a little, at points, in nearly every episode.  This show absolutely would not work as an hour long show, so it's a good thing it's only 30 minutes.  The writing is excellent, the stories are good, and the acting is top notch.  The weakest links in the show are the Doctor and Adam, but, overall, they're fine, too.  If you like shows about people, with excellent characters (acted sensationally), and can deal with the inevitable of where this show is going (Cathy's death), then you absolutely must start watching this show.  This show should have several EMMY nominations this year, and they will be well deserved.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NURSE JACKIE: Enable Me This, Enable Me That, Some Day I'm Going To Hit You Upside The Head With A Baseball Bat

I've been thinking about doing a post about Nurse Jackie (Showtime) for quite some time.  I delayed writing one, because I wanted to see where this season would go.  Monday was the season finale, and it was an interesting season.

If you don't know anything about the show, I'll give you a real breakdown.  I'll list cast members, along with actor names.  Hardly anyone watches this show, the season finale had 611k viewers with a 0.2 in the 18-49 demo.  So, it's likely I might be introducing you to a show you haven't watched, that you might like.  If you don't have Showtime, it hurts your chances of seeing it, but if you do have Showtime, I think the show is well worth your time, especially if you like the messed up characters of shows like House.

I'll start this by giving you the main character breakdowns, and then I'll talk a bit about what I think is one of the most messed up shows/characters on TV, today.  I think I mean that in a good way, but this show always leaves you conflicted about how you feel about the various characters. 

The Characters (from IMDB):

Nurse Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco)
Dr. Eleanor O'Hara (Eve Best)
Zoey Barkow (Merritt Wever)
Eddie Walzer (Paul Schulze)
Dr. Fitch Cooper (Peter Facinelli)
Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith)
Thor Lundgren (Stephen Wallem)
Sam (Arjun Gupta)
Kelly Slater (Gbenga Akinnagbe)
Lenny (Lenny Jacobson)
Kevin Peyton (Dominic Fumusa)
Grace Peyton (Ruby Jerins)
Fiona Peyton (Mackenzie Aladjem)

These are the "important" characters, and as you can see, there are many of them.  In writing this, I'm not going to go into all the intimate details of the history of the show, I will just focus on season 3.  I'll also try not to give too many spoilers for the season finale, but if it happens, and you're a regular viewer of the show, I can't imagine why you wouldn't have watched the season finale, already.

Since the beginning of the series, we have been introduced to the many weird character affects of the main characters.  There isn't a single person on this show who isn't abnormal (outside societal norms), in some way.  While Shameless tries as hard as it can to be as dysfunctional as possible, this show is filled with completely dysfunctional characters, who are all somehow functional.

Nurse Jackie mostly takes place in an Emergency Room, in New York City, at All Saints Hospital.  As you can expect, there are always big things happening, in the Emergency Room, and weird things happening in the ER waiting room.  The hospital is kind of a MacGuffin, it's just what brings all of the characters together for their collective insanity.  Normally, this type of show would just be a "day in the life" type show, but because of the complex nature of most of the characters, it becomes a character study.  Due to that, it's kind of important that you watch the show from the beginning, or at the very least, from the beginning of the third season.  You can still enjoy the show from any starting point, but you will feel much more involved if you begin at some kind of major series break (like the beginning of a season).  All of the episodes for Season 3 are available on Showtime On Demand.

Nurse Jackie, for lack of a better word, is a junkie.  She is a completely functioning junkie, but she is still a junkie.  She will do anything to get her fix.  Fortunately for her, she is apparently blessed by the Man upstairs, to have every possible good break go her way, which always seems to allow her to avoid any true penalties for her actions.  Her family enables her, her friends enable her, and even her boss enables her.  Every time she is nearly caught doing something wrong, there is a miraculous thing that happens, or some way for her to explain her way out of it.  Her family loves her, while she doesn't do anything to make it seem like she really loves them.  Her friends like and respect her, though I'm fairly sure she would likely throw them under the bus, if they stood between her and her next fix.  Her boss thinks she's a good worker, and doesn't want to lose her, even though she is coming apart at the seams.  The problem I think Jackie has is that she's likely a sociopath.  She has real expressions, and sometimes will show proper emotion, but for the most part, the only thing she cares about is herself.  She knows (maybe she doesn't) that everything she does in her life is wrong, yet she absolutely does not appear to care one bit about it.  Four low moments for her in the series are: 

1. She stole the drug stash of a man who had an epileptic seizure (he turns out to be a drug dealer).
2. She stole heavy duty pain killer patches, while assuming a run upstairs from another character, who was on his first day on the job.
3. She had the drug dealer, from point number one, become her "sponsor", who then supplied all of her fixes, while she "acted" like she was getting clean.  When she was going to meet him one night, for her fix, he was hit and killed by a truck.  She did not call anyone (remember, she's a Nurse), she just walked away, like nothing happened.
4. She took her daughter's "child dose" medication to use as her drug of choice, when she could no longer get high on over the counter medicines, following her drug dealer's death.

As you can see, Jackie doesn't have much of a moral compass.  I would argue that she has no moral compass, at all.  She doesn't seem to care that her actions affect others, in any way.  When she does notice that her actions affect others, negatively, she gets mad that they talk about it.  She's clearly a serial killer, without the killing.

Surely that's the only messed up character in the show, right?  That's too much for one show, right?  Nope, we're just getting started.  The next character on the list is Dr. O'Hara.  She is Jackie's best friend, whatever that means to Jackie.  O'Hara is Wilson, like Jackie is House.  At some point, O'Hara decides that she won't, or can't, enable Jackie anymore.  We get the idea that someone in her family also dealt with substance abuse.  So, for the vast majority of the third season, we see O'Hara trying to avoid Jackie in all personal situations.  She eventually becomes friends with Jackie, again, and it should come as absolutely no surprise that she begins enabling her again (with A LOT of guilt).

Then, we have the curious Zoey Barkow.  If you have not seen Merritt Wever act, you would just think this is a weird and quirky character.  She was in many episodes of the L&O franchise, but is particularly memorable as a very messed up girl, who killed a family for very bizarre reasons.  I believe the Zoey character shows the "normal" affect of that same person she played in Criminal Intent.  Zoey is a Nurse who is very strange.  She is sunny, on a cloudy day, but the way she acts is just not quite right.  Her affect is wrong for the situations she's in, and how people react to the way she acts.  When people get mad at her, it doesn't put her off her game.  She is a people pleaser, or at least thinks she is.  Everything she does is a complete counter point to how everyone else goes about their jobs.  They all hate the people in the ER, and apparently their jobs, but Zoey, she loves her job.

Eddie Walzer is the Pharmacist.  Eddie is as close to a male version of Jackie as there is on the show.  Eddie, to me, seems like a sociopath, but later in the series has appeared to develop a conscience.  As part of his character arc, he had an affair with Jackie.  However, he doesn't know that Jackie is married.  Once he discovers this fact, he decides to befriend Jackie's husband, and basically throws their affair into her face, at every opportunity.  That is really messed up.  For lack of a better word, he is an a-hole.

Dr. Fitch Cooper (Coop) is up next.  Outside of Jackie, I am pretty sure this is the most messed up and confused character, on the show.  He's like a drug addict, without the drugs.  He's just addicted to himself.  He is completely delusional about everything he does, and is basically an idiot.  He's probably what the most popular guy in high school would have become, if he never stopped having a high school mentality.  In the first season, he had an issue that would make him spontaneously grab women's breasts.  In this season, his character is having to deal with the break up of his two moms, and he has decided to marry a woman that he knew from high school.  He decided this before even sending a friend request to her on facebook.  If that's not enough to show you how messed up this guy is, then I suggest you watch the show.

I'm pretty sure Gloria Akalitus is the hospital administrator.  She's fairly normal, and was portrayed as a major hard ass in the first season of the show.  Her touch has softened dramatically over the years, and her arc this season was to try to get Michelle Obama to come visit the hospital via a making kids eat healthy program.  She loves Michelle Obama.  Her other storyline, appealing to the harder side of herself, is that the Catholic Diocese has decided they want the statues back from the hospital chapel.  This makes her very angry, and she spends much of the season trying to figure out how to get them back.  Of course, Coop will save the day, due to his "wedding" plans.  Her fatal character flaw is that she seems to believe everybody, about everything.  This also makes her an enabler, and she is also one of the biggest enablers of Jackie, in the show, as she actually has the power to fire her for her actions.

Thor Lundgren is a male Nurse, who is gay.  He is, by far, the most normal character in the show.

Sam is a male Nurse, who was once a drug addict or alcoholic.  He hates Coop, because Coop slept with his girlfriend, if I remember correctly.  He is frequently on probation, and at one time broke Coop's nose.

Kelly Slater is a surfer.  Just kidding, Kelly Slater is a male Nurse, who we are completely unsure of what he's about, who was introduced in third season.  He talks about a ton of things he's done in his life, including going to Haiti to help after the earthquake, but is mainly known as a freelance Nurse.  He is a job hopper.  Upon his initial introduction, I remember telling my wife that this guy is a drug dealer or addict, or something, because he was carrying himself very strangely.  His stories are too over the top, and he is constantly muscling in on people to try to get glory.  He has an interesting story arc, in the season, and we get a slight payoff, in the next to last episode of the season, about who he really is.

Lenny is a Paramedic.  He has a crush on Zoey.  They start a relationship.  Lenny is dumb, and obtuse.  His feelings are stronger for Zoey than hers are for him, usually because of his insensitivity to who she is, or just his dumb actions.  He's an interesting diversion that is only used when people are brought into the ER.

Kevin Peyton is Jackie's husband.  Kevin is an idiot, and a complete enabler.  He wants to believe the best in Jackie, even though she lets him down, constantly.  He owns a bar, and there are hints that either him or someone in his family was an addict of some kind.  Owning a bar is a really good decision for that, I think.  Kevin is duped daily by Jackie, duped by Eddie, and just doesn't realize what a fool he is, on all counts.  Throughout this season, it appears he is starting to see what Jackie is up to, as he also did toward the end of last season.  By the next to last episode, he brings Eddie to a batting cage, and appears to know what was really up with Eddie and Jackie, and Jackie, in general.  All of this will be resolved in the season finale.

Grace is Jackie's older daughter.  Grace is very messed up, likely from witnessing this completely dysfunctional family, on a daily basis.  Towards the end of the season, she says that she hears voices in her head, and she just wants them to stop.  So, she goes to a Doctor, who prescribes a child version of an anti-depressant.  I can't remember which one, but it's one that's used a lot.

Fiona is Jackie's younger daughter.  Fiona is very messed up, likely from having the sociopathy gene passed from Jackie.  It's clear that this child is going to end up in jail, one day.  She will also probably kill one or multiple people.

As for the overall show, it's basically just like watching a train wreck.  In the case of House, the train wreck was watching a great show become pretty bad.  In the case of Nurse Jackie, we are witnessing the downward spiral of a junkie.  The show is actually very good.  I believe this show would fail if it were the typical hour given to shows of this type, but it works exceptionally well as a half hour show.  At the end, we the viewer, are left to say, "that's it??", every week.  I imagine that's exactly how a downward spiraling junkie would feel, as each high gets shorter and shorter.

We're watching and waiting for Jackie to hit rock bottom, but that will probably only come when this show is ready to be canceled.  She keeps getting saved, and we don't know why.  She's never overdosed, but she absolutely cannot get clean.  Every time she could be caught, someone does something to help her avoid it.  When she's at her apparently darkest hour, something happens to lighten things up again.  Her character arc is surely going to lead to death, but it could be a long time until she gets there.  The season finale set things up for next season in a very interesting way, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.  Nothing has been resolved, but everything has been set up for resolution.

If you noticed, this blog post ended up talking about the characters more than anything else.  Like I said above, the show is a "day in the life" show, that is essentially a character study.  The characters are what make me watch this show.  I have tried Shameless and The United States of Tara, but something about them struck me as not real enough.  Even though Nurse Jackie seems thoroughly unbelievable on the surface, through time, we are led to believe that the characters, and the characters' actions are totally believable.  That's why you should be watching this show.  The stories aren't great, but the characters are worth the ride, on the vicious downward spiral they're taking us.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FALLING SKIES: You Were Warned

I wasn't going to write a blog post about Falling Skies (TNT, Sunday nights at 10pm EDT), but I'm reminded of that passage from Ezekiel in The Bible, and I feel I must.  The reason I wasn't going to write about this show is that I just feel like it isn't worth my time, at all.  The show wasn't exciting enough, or good enough, to warrant a post.  It also wasn't bad enough to rip it to shreds.  It just was, and that wasn't enough to write a post.  I'm not going to bore you with character/actor names, you can find that everywhere.  I will give you a brief rundown of why you should be careful, if you have plans to watch this show.  My prediction is it will not end well for you, and I want you to be able to save yourself from the inevitable.  If you still want to watch it, and even ENJOY the first episode, I have washed my hands, I warned you.

One of the most curious things about this show is the way it apparently was sent to critics.  I found two reviews of it through, and both reviewers were supplied the entire first season.  If that's not enough of an indictment of this show, I don't know what is.  It appears TNT told these reviewers that, yeah, if you watch the first episode, you probably will just compare it to every been there done that show in the sci-fi/zombie genre, and rip it to shreds for your readers.  So, they decided it would be best to send the whole thing, in hopes that it wouldn't polarize the reviewers.  However, they weren't nice enough to do the same for the viewing audience, the vast majority of which probably contemplated poking out their eyeballs with a nerf football.

This show emulates a whole bunch of shows I haven't seen, and probably a bunch of shows I have seen.  Unlike most other shows of this genre, we are just plopped right into the story.  There is no explanation, and there is no reason to identify with the characters, or even who the hero is (it must be Noah Wyle, as he is the only "star" in the show).  The one thing this show got right was having Dale Dye be involved with it.  Yeah, I think that's the only thing it got right.

If you don't know anything about the show, here's the basic premise.  It has been six months since aliens invaded, and basically destroyed just about every human being.  What's left are rag tag groups of people, and our "heroes" have organized into what could be best described as a somewhat organized militia.  On the surface, the aliens seem absolutely unbeatable, but we all know that's not the case.  Like every other show in this genre, the series will evolve and devolve into a basic battle of good vs. evil.  It's just how these things go.  Sometimes we get the inevitable pair ups of bad guys joining good guys, and good guys joining bad guys, but the story remains the same.  There is a solitary goal, and it is to kill the aliens, and not be killed in the process.  Of course, there will be lots of manhood shaking along the way, but everyone will eventually get on board the same train.  Once we make the hero a knowledgeable underdog, with no practical experience, the stage is set for our adventures.

Maybe I would consider Falling Skies to be a better show if it had not been for the airing of the great show, in my opinion, The Walking Dead.  Truth be told, at the most basic level, this show is The Walking Dead, with aliens instead of zombies.  While Falling Skies may have a better overall ensemble cast, The Walking Dead is filled with excellent actors (I don't particularly like the two sheriff's deputy leads) that make you empathize and get on board with their stories.  I just don't see that, at all, in Falling Skies.  I just don't care about any of the characters, and certainly don't identify with, or particularly care for the hero.  You don't even despise the worst bad guy in the show.  It's just bland, and I can't see it getting much better.

When doing a show like this, tension has to be on the surface at all times, because people have been reduced to their most base survival instincts.  The Walking Dead was an extremely uncomfortable show to watch, not only for the zombie violence, but also because no one on the show really got along with each other (on the surface, maybe, but below that, not a chance).  They're all people who wouldn't have associated with each other, had it not been for the common cause of survival.  Because of that, we are always nervous that an interaction will not end well, which happened many times in The Walking Dead.  That is situational tension, and without it, you are not telling an accurate or realistic story.  Falling Skies gave us the inkling that the characters didn't like what they were being told to do, but it generally just manifested itself with mean looks as the person giving the order walked away.

Typically, in shows like these, we have a back story, then an attack, and then the aftermath.  In this one, it's almost like a "day in the life" type of movie or show.  We just see these people as being screwed, and trying to deal with things one day at a time.  We don't know why the aliens attacked, whether there was a ramp up to the attacks, or what the aliens' purpose is/was.  In other words, the show is basically what War of the Worlds would have been like six months after the fact, with no characters to identify with.  We just have to pick that stuff up on our own.  To say it plainly, you are required to invest a lot of effort to get into this show.  It doesn't make you want to watch it, you have to make yourself want to watch it.

Many of you reading this have been here before.  We were tricked into watching The Event.  We thought the first couple of episodes were pretty good, but then they dropped the bombshell.  These "people" were aliens.  The lucky ones tuned out.  Those of us who were unlucky enough to continue, got to see the show build into a spectacle we couldn't turn away from.  We didn't like the show, we had just invested too much time to stop watching.  I can't go through that again, so soon, and that is the main reason why I am not going to continue watching this show.

That's also why I'm encouraging you not to watch this show.  Who knows, maybe it will turn out to be something decent, but the simple reality is that it likely will not.  Generally, on shows like this, it is crucial to get out of the gate quickly.  The Walking Dead moved somewhat slowly out of the gate, but it was filled with tension that made up for the lack of speed.  The first episode of Falling Skies was painfully slow, and it doesn't look like there's any end in sight to the lack of excitement.  One interesting thing to note is that the show was broken into a Part 1 and a Part 2, in the credits.  That means the Pilot was not a 2 hour show, it was a 1 hour show.  When the TNT execs saw the first episode, they probably flipped out, saying something to the effect of "WTF is that????"  If the first episode ended with Part 1, instead of extending it into a 2 part episode, I find it hard to believe it would have had any viewers left.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you Falling Skies is S-L-O-W.  I love movies with a slow pace, and I don't mind TV shows with a somewhat slow pace, but this show was ridiculous.  There are long stretches, in the show, where NOTHING happens (think M. Night Shyamalan's, The Village).  We aren't even given character development in these slow patches, the characters are just given things to do.  The reason we aren't given character back story is because there are so many characters, and there just isn't time to talk about how everyone got to be where they are, and why they decided to be there.  This is a major problem.

When things go bad, human beings do interesting things.  In real life, if we had all of our water turned off for six weeks straight, it would likely devolve us into something we don't recognize.  We won't get along with anyone.  We would be mad.  We don't accept this kind of thing happening, in our age of technology, so there's just no way the vast majority of us would be able to deal with an apocalypse.  Things would be really ugly, and it would feel much more like how the characters acted on The Walking Dead, than the ones in Falling Skies.  It would have been nice to see one battle, or something, as opposed to a giant matte painting/Viz FX sequence, and the occasional cheaply done creature or alien robot special effect.  If you're not going to show the bad that happened, to get us here, it is your duty to tell us how all these people came to play nice with each other.  I just don't buy it.

To wrap up, I tried to use this post as a warning for you not to invest your time and energy in this show.  I'm not saying it won't end up being decent, but the precedent is set (with the weak first episode) for it to be bad.  Sending out the whole first season to critics tells me that the network is trying to make sure reviewers get the big picture, as opposed to the meandering snail, stuck in molasses, we, the viewers, were forced to see.  It should also be a giant red flag that this show is on TNT, as opposed to a network.  Spielberg got a couple of "epic" TV shows on the air next season, and if this one didn't get there, too, there's probably a reason why. 

I'll give my prediction of where the show is going, and if you continue to watch it (I won't), you can tell me if I'm right.  My guess is the series will be an allegory for terrorism.  It will turn out that the alien technologies, or aliens, were created by humans.  We basically helped them destroy us.  At one time, we trained the U.S.'s boogeyman to defeat the Russians.  That boogeyman ended up turning on the U.S., and ended up causing one of the country's most enduring tragedies.  The message of the show will be, be careful what you do, it may turn back on you.  That's my guess, and maybe, at the end of the first season, you can tell me if I'm right.  If I am right, it will turn out that you will have wasted 8 hours of your life.  My feeling about this show is that you are better off seeing the movie Anaconda.  It was one of the worst movies I've ever seen, but as opposed to Falling Skies, it was only 90 minutes.  You have been warned.  Thanks for reading.

P.S.  Here's a stupid piece of business the show had, that kind of sums it up for me.  The aliens have these crazy lasers that will kill you (painfully, I might add).  You would think the aliens would just aim those lasers wherever and do max damage, like a 12 year old with a machine gun.  But, no, these aliens have to carefully aim their beams, let it sit there for a second, and then fire.  This actually gives you time to get out of the way.  That's just dumb, to me.  Those lasers should be live all the time, and if you're touched, you're dead.

Friday, June 17, 2011

THE GOOD GUYS: If These Posts Won't Make You Watch An Episode Of This Show, Nothing Will

Here is the moment you've all been waiting for.  Okay, you probably haven't been waiting for it.  You might not even know anything about this show, even though I pumped it up many times in facebook statuses.  However, if you were looking for a reason to check out the unique entry into FOX's 2010 summer line up, The Good Guys, these blog posts should make you run over to The Good Guys at, and check it out.  Even if you never have heard of the show, or never had any interest in checking the show out, I hope this post will make you change your mind.  Of the four episodes still available at the link above, the best one, in my opinion, is Episode 19, "Cop Killer".  It has a crazy title, but the title doesn't, at all, mean what you thought it did.

The Good Guys appeared in the summer of 2010, following original episodes of Lie To Me.  I would routinely see the beginning of the show at the end of our DVR recordings of Lie To Me, and thought the show, at first glance, seemed over the top stupid.  FOX ran the show during the summer to try to build an audience for its fall run.  The summer run didn't go as successfully as FOX had hoped, and FOX ended up ending it a little early, to save up episodes for the fall.  The show also went through a fairly minor re-tooling during the summer to fall hiatus.  It never ended up picking up a bigger audience in the fall, and was ultimately canceled after the 20 episodes had run.  It was pushed into the Friday night wasteland, and was originally supposed to run with Human Target, which would have worked fine for me.  Except, with the failure of Lone Star, that never happened.  The Good Guys was orphaned, and it had no success in picking up an audience, and probably only held the people who watched it during the summer, and loved it.

I'm not even sure this show will ever become a cult classic, but I hope these blog posts will at least make a few people think about seeing the show.  If you're looking for a bit of escapist entertainment, you can't go wrong with this show.  I had to do a tremendous amount of pre-production work to make these blog posts happen, so I hope you appreciate what I went through.  The main focus of these blog posts is video clips.  I figure the best way to make you want to watch a show you haven't seen before, or possibly didn't like, is to show you the essence of it in bits and pieces.  I don't own the rights to the clips I am posting, but I do own the episodes.  I hope no one will ask me to take them down, as I am doing this solely in hopes of promoting the show, to the point that it attracts more fans.  I am not profiting, in any way, from this blog, or these posts.  I am just doing it out of my love for one of the more unique entries I have seen on TV, in the last several years.  If you do decide you want to watch the show, after these blog posts, it's available for purchase on iTunes, and you can't go wrong purchasing it, as nearly every show is solid.

Right now, I'll give a little background on the show, and its typical "formula", and then we'll get to the fun.  The Good Guys was created by Matt Nix, the guy who brought us Burn Notice.  If you like his sense of humor, and the texture he brings to the characters he develops, then this show should be a no-brainer for you to check out.  Just because you like Burn Notice doesn't mean you will like The Good Guys, but it will give you a much greater chance of enjoying the show, if you know the spirit of that show.  I think it was a mistake for FOX not to let people know the show was from Matt Nix, as it might have brought over a wider audience.

Here's the basic premise of The Good Guys, and I may get some of it slightly incorrect, but this should be very close.  Following this description, I will give each of the important characters a little bio video, to give you insight to each character, with a written description, as well.   Our heroes are Detective Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford) and Detective Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks).  They are the bane of just about everyone's existence, in the Dallas Police Department.  Dan Stark shot to fame for his heroism in rescuing the Governor's son from a kidnapping, with his partner Frank Savage.  Dan Stark is still reveling in his heroism, and the TV movie that came out of it, even though it all happened 25 years ago.  He dresses in the same clothes, has a ridiculous mustache, drives a car from the era, has no clue about modern technology, drinks a ton, and doesn't listen to any modern music.  Those were the best days of his life, and he continues to live his life in those days.  He's an 80s reject, everyone says so, but he just doesn't care.  Not caring about much of anything is also one of Stark's flaws.  He's reckless, and absolutely will do whatever it takes to bring down the bad guys, even if he's not supposed to be anywhere near the case.  He's also a hopeless womanizer, so if you'd like to combine him as two characters in TV and movies, his name would be "Dirty Larry" (a combination of Clint Eastwood, and the guy who played Larry on Three's Company).  Detective Jack Bailey is an ambitious young cop.  He's Felix to Stark's Oscar.  Similar to Stark, he bugs the crap out of his superiors.  He could have a bright future, if he would stop pissing everyone off.  These guys are the butt of everyone's jokes in the Property Crimes Division.

The formula of the show is not that unlike an Inspector Gadget cartoon.  In those cartoons, Inspector Gadget would get lots of help from Penny and Brain to solve the crimes he was supposed to solve himself.  Inspector Gadget wasn't any good at that stuff, so he would just typically stumble into a way that helped him solve the crime, and catch the criminal.  There's no one helping Stark and Bailey, and they're usually hurting themselves.  Property crimes are supposed to be the lamest, most boring crimes in the Police Department, yet somehow, through circumstance, or through Stark doing something wrong, the crime ends up leading into a much larger plot.  The initial minor property crime is basically a MacGuffin (MacGuffin Definition) that gets each episode started on its path to destruction.  These guys find and solve huge crimes purely by accident.  If there's one thing Stark knows, it's to listen to his gut, and his gut often takes them on wild goose chases that just so happen to turn into something big.  Of course, everything they do in the pursuit of solving the crimes would get them suspended in a real Police Department, but we'll give them a pass, until the episode they actually get suspended in.  The name of that episode is "Vacation", which is how Stark views his suspension.

If you're into classic rock, there's a lot of it, in the show.  The music licensing rights for this show must have been ridiculous, as they liked to use so much of that type of music.  Maybe that hurt the show financially.  For people who don't like that kind of music, it probably hurts the show for them, too.  I don't like that type of music, but it was very easy to get past it.

When you view the show, you have to look at it as a farce.  It's basically one big joke, I think.  It's a parody of 70s and 80s cop shows, but the only person who's like those shows is Stark.  Every other sensibility is modern.  Stark will often dominate the show, and gross you out, too, but the show works in spite of his character.  Some people thought his character was way over the top.  I agree with that, but there is so much other good stuff there, that his character is more someone you laugh at, not with.  Yet, he always seems to get the job done.

The thing that is most unique about the show is that the bad guys are more than one dimensional.  They all have quirky issues that make them fun to watch.  We know how every episode will end, but the bad guys make it fun to get there.

That's the basic premise and background of the show.  Now it's time for the video presentations.  I will give little character bio video clips for most of the main characters.  You'll see the character A.D.A. Liz Traynor (Jenny Wade) in the clips for the episode "The Getaway", but I thought this character was a major downer for the show, so I won't be giving her an actual character bio video.  Wade was fine in her part, it was just, by far, the weakest character in the series.  Her character is almost a MacGuffin as an in to the D.A.'s office for our heroes, as Bailey used to be in a relationship with her.  So, other than her, and Frank Savage (Stark's original partner), I have put together character clips for you to enjoy.  I left out Savage because I think his character is pointless, and would have been better off not being shown.  He appears in two episodes, and I prefer the idea of his character not being around, as him not being around feeds more into the delusions of grandeur Stark has about his previous exploits. 

Posting the video part of this has proven to be traumatic, and enormously time consuming.  First, there will be video clips of the basic main and supporting characters, broken into three parts.  The first one will be for our two heroes, the second one for the supporting heroes, and the last one is dedicated to my favorite character and actor in the series Julius Grant (RonReaco Lee).  All the rest of the video clips are to let you get a glimpse into the bad guy characters for each individual episode.  All of the bad guys have somewhat humorous character affects and back stories.  If I did it right, the "full" blog post will comprise of 24 posts.  Sorry it's done this way, but the difficulty of uploading the stuff made me need to break it up this way.  As I said earlier in this blog post, please support this show, by buying it, if you enjoy what I have put together.  A tremendous amount of effort went into it, and I only hope it will be allowed to stay up.  Only time will tell.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy reading and watching this stuff as much as I enjoyed making it (DVD Commentary joke). 

The way you should look at each post is by going straight down the list of clips.  That will give you proper context, and everything is clearly numbered to be able to see which way it should be done.  I had to build this whole thing, in reverse order, so it certainly wasn't fun to do.


Here's the consolidation of all the links in one post, if you don't want to just go down the pages to hit play on the clips.

Heroes Video Clips

The Supporting Heroes Video Clips

Julius Grant, Criminal Informant Character Bio and Video Clip

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 1

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 2

The Bad Guy Video Clip Episode 3

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 4

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 5

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 6

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 7

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 8

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 9  

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 10

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 11

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 12

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 13

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 14

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 15

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 16

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 17

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 18

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 19

The Bad Guys Video Clip Episode 20
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