Lonely Souls?

Not in the conventional sense, I think. I’d say both Luther and Sherlock are singular. Sherlock actually has Watson, perhaps not an egalitarian friendship, but it does suit Sherlock.

Luther

Idris Elba (L) as Luther; Warren Brown (R) as his colleague

Nominated for 4 Emmy awards, the BBC’s Luther beckoned me from Netflix. I’ve just seen the first two episodes from season 1 and am hooked. Luther’s main character is a London detective who’s we see taunting a known pedophile cum murderer. Did John Luther allow the murder to fall to his death? His superiors, colleagues and ex wife all wonder.

Like Sherlock Holmes and Columbo, the two inspirations for the character, Luther is brilliant. He’s also troubled. His wife has moved on taking a new boyfriend, who’s a much safer, centered cardigan-wearing kind of guy. Luther’s still very much in love and his wife could be too, but she’s just done with the intensity.

Each episode takes viewers to the edge, Luther solves highly violent crimes though deduction and psychologically gets inside the heads of the criminals as no one on the force can. Yet by the end of the pilot episode the criminal, Alice, a genius who planned the perfect murder, starts stalking the cop as she becomes obsessed with Luther and his wife. The tables are turned and Alice pathologically enjoys toying with Luther throughout the series.

Bunheads: Movie Truck

Just dreadful. There isn’t much more to say. This week’s Bunheads dragged along with little of interest. The big drama took place in the background in a huge argument between Sasha’s parents. What we saw was small potatoes.

Fanny was on for a couple minutes to call Michelle to say she’ll have to teach because Fanny’s run off to a resort for a much needed vacation. Fanny’s neither fish nor fowl. When it’s convenient she’s the strict, disciplined woman, wise compared to the flighty Michelle, now she’s fled town for a vacation. Wouldn’t she just tell Michelle? Hey, I need a break. I’m going away and I insist that you help out for once. She’s not a wimp. It’s not outside Fanny’s comfort zone.

Anyway, Michelle teaches the class and that’s not a big deal though she keeps sputtering to Fanny that she can’t. It makes no sense since teaching the girls the dance for Hubble’s funeral was effortless.

The rest of the episode featured Michelle celebrating her birthday with a friend from Vegas and the nerdy woman who pined for Hubble. For some reason Michelle’s stuck with junior high social skills and allowing this nerd to come along was a sacrifice.

The other plot line involved Sasha and the girls sneaking in and out of her house to see a movie in the touring movie truck. I’ve forgotten why her parents would have objected to girls going out to see a movie on the weekend. There must have been some contrivance that attempted to support that notion. The problem that the writers needed was that the girls couldn’t get back inside since Sasha’s home alarm would go on automatically at 11 preventing them from entering without waking the parents’ who were having a knock out drag out fight earlier because Sasha’s mom discovered her husband was gay. (That would be the most dramatic thing to happen in town that week, but we just get a bit of gossip and little else about that. Neither Sasha nor her friends discuss that issue.)

The show was just so weird and so off. Who is really writing this? It’s amateurish and ABC Family Channel should really pull it. It’s a guilty displeasure at this point. The only thing worse on the air is Political Animals. I couldn’t stand more than a few minutes of that mess.

The Glee Project: Tenacity

In the teaser, everyone who’s left talks about how intense the competition has gotten.

The homework assignment is Survivor by Destiny’s Child, which the judge Amber Riley will evaluate. She proved her tenacity by showing up despite having stress fractures in both legs. Amber wanted Abraham too be less of a diva and said that Lily didn’t show the feeling that she should. Amber loved Aylin’s voice and was struck by how much Ali went for it, so she was chosen as the winner.

There was no choreography this week was

The song for the video was “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor by Abraham struggled to get the notes, while Michael had problems, again, with lyrics. Nikki said ¬†Shanna was great as was Blake, while Lily was too loud in the group recording. Aylin seemed to savor pointing that out as their rivalry heated up.

When filming the video, they had to do an intricate obstacle course in one take. If a single person screwed up, they had to redo everything. Lily, Aylin, Michael and Abraham had to do double dutch jump roping and they kept screwing up requiring more takes. Abraham sprained his ankle, but kept plugging along showing his tenacity. At the end Ali had to shoot a basket with one hand. She kept missing, which is understandable since she’s shooting from a lower position. In the end, the director had the other contestants lift her chair up closer to the basket. The whole shoot took 34 takes and exhausted the whole crew.

The video was far better than last week’s.

Lily, Abraham and Michael were selected for the bottom 3. Lily still can’t sing well in a group and Michael keeps flubbing the lyrics.

Lily belted out a song from Funny Girl with excellence. Michael was good, but I don’t remember that performance all that well. Abraham sang Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and also did a good job. In the end Ryan and Co. decided Abraham should go. While he’s not the strongest contestant, I was surprised Michael’s still around since learning the lyrics is pretty basic.

N.B. In my opinion no one has more tenacity than Nellie who put up with a lot of pressure to adopt a fake pin up girl persona. I expected Shanna now to get this pressure, but she escaped that fate.

Next Food Network Star: Justin

It’s official. Justin was voted the Next Food Network Star and I’m disappointed. I was rooting for Yvan or maybe Martie. But the public has spoken and I can accept the verdict better because viewers voted. Justin’s kinda cool in my book and I’d like to visit his restaurant. I’d watch his show out of curiosity, the problem is I have no interest in eating his food. I’ll watch him make it, but it’s too sci-fi, other worldly for me.

As for the show itself, the review of the season was awfully tedious. It would have been better as a half hour program. Or if they somehow did a little more cooking, that would have been interesting.

The Next Food Network Star

Martie, Yvan, Michele and Justin (clockwise)

Where has the summer gone? Already it’s time to choose the Next Food Network star. I haven’t watched from week one, but I have watched for a lot of the time. I like this “reality” show as the challenges are authentic, the show is testing the contestants ability to perform and cook.

Now we’re down to four contestants and I’ll share my preferences. We’ve got Michele¬†on Bobby Flay‘s team, Yvan on Giada’s team and Justin and Martie on Alton’s team. is too tattooed and her food is too concentrated on seafood for me. I do like Yvan and would be happy to watch him week after week. He’s sweet and I’d make the dish he did on his pilot. I know my nieces and nephews would enjoy the sweet corn macaroni and cheese he made. Justin is interesting and while I’d go to his New York restaurant Do or Dine if I lived in New York, I wouldn’t make his edgy, mad scientist food. Southerner Martie is so down to earth and real. I do think I’d make her dishes and I would watch her. Though the Food Network has Paula Deen and now her son with their shows, I’m tired of the Deen’s. I always thought a week of Paula’s food would make your cholesterol and blood pressure skyrocket, while your midsection exploded. So I’d say Martie offers something new. Yet I think she’s a dark horse.

To sum up, I’m rooting for Yvan and Martie, but my guess is Justin will win. I’ve seen the polls on the website and he ranks highest.

Political Animals

I heard a review of USA Network‘s new Political Animals and thought it would be worth watching. Sigourney Weaver plays a former first lady who runs for president and loses in the primary. The new president then appoints her Secretary of State. I like The West Wing and that short lived show on ABC with Gina Davis as the first female president.

Political Animals was unwatchable, low farce. Obviously, Weaver’s playing Hillary Clinton and the philandering husband is supposed to be Bill, a dumbed down version of Bill. The jokes failed and when one of the Secretary of State’s assistants, who might have been her son, said something stupid in a meeting, Weaver hit him over the head repeatedly with a newspaper, I thought I don’t need the 2012 version of Punch and Judy. I don’t think Hillary or anyone would do this. In the 10 minutes or so that I watched, the acting was way over done. Life’s too short.

To get an idea of how bad this program is, bear in mind I’m willing to sit through Bunheads hoping for quality.

Bunheads: Money for Nothing (1.05)

The show began with Michele finding an opossum in her bed. You read right, a possum in her bed. Terrified, she calls Fanny who’s nonchalant and tells her just to get up. Who thought this would be humorous? It wasn’t.

The theme is money. Fanny pays bills twice a year. She files bills in hat boxes: will pay, might pay and if there’s money left over she’ll pay. Then somehow a door opens and all the bills get blown all over the room in an implausible pattern that defies physics. So Michelle insists that Fanny go to a real accountant.

Meanwhile Boo has gotten a job at a smelly oyster restaurant with an obnoxious supervisor that reminded me of the editor at the Yale newspaper on Gilmore Girls. As low person on the totem pole, Boo has to do all the grunt work including jumping on the garbage in the dumpsters out back. Talk about far fetched. A lot of jokes about Boo smelling follow. She smells as she brings people food. What restaurant would put up with that?

Fanny suggests Michelle teach so they could get more income, but Michelle refuses because she doesn’t teach. Michelle learns that Fanny doesn’t charge most of her students anything. It makes no sense because it’s not an impoverished town. (If some people’s parents are out of work, it really wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to quit ballet. Fanny knows that it’s a long shot for any of them to make a go of it anyway.)

At the Oyster Bar, a hot guy appears as a new bartender. It turns out his parents own the place and he’s been surfing and mountain climbing in Costa Rica. The girls are smitten, accept Boo. She seems not to notice that she’s working with this gorgeous guy. Her friends now hang out at the restaurant to drool. One time they get all dressed up to eat fries and oogle. This would never happen and worse — it’s not funny. The writers don’t seem to connect much with American society. Are they outsourcing the writing? Do people in say New Delhi who’ve only read about California write this show?

Sasha tries to flirt with the bar tender, but he’s oblivious to her charms. He is kind to Boo and tells her that jumping on garbage is not her duty. He gives her his t-shirt to replace her smelly one. Sasha is jealous of Boo’s proximity and budding friendship with the bar tender.

Michelle offers to track down the deadbeats and that’s a disaster. She gets everyone’s attention, makes some wisecracks that no one laughs at and there’s dead silence. Next we see Michelle calling to apologize to the parents and cajole them into letting their children continue their free dance classes. This way Fanny doesn’t have to cancel the dance at the Flower Show. Fanny suggests that Michelle start teaching and Michelle just balks at this. Fanny’s right to point out that Michelle does nothing, which isn’t a plan.

Cut to the dance. The advanced class performs an original and rather good ballet, Paper or Plastic. The crowd loves it and it’s pretty fun so Michelle’s impressed and seems to warm up to the idea of teaching.

I was never convinced that Fanny’s money management would be so horrid, that she’d be afraid to insist people pay. Hubbell would have had or gotten life insurance. He’d have had a savings. Michelle should have a couple thousand by her age.

This episode felt like it was written to meet a deadline by sophomores who’d frittered away all their lead time.

Most esoteric reference: Pina Bausch

The Glee Project: Theatricality

This week begins with Michael saying something I’ve forgotten. Why is someone so forgettable still around? Then Aylin mentioned how it’s quiet without Charlie. She soon suggests that without Charlie on set, being around Lily would be more of a problem. I expected some sparks to fly between Lily and Aylin as the competition narrows. No big explosion this week, possibly next.

Robert introduced the week’s mentor with a promising, “This is someone I’m sure you all know . . . ” then in walks they guy who plays the Warbler who taunts Kurt and wants Blaine, a character who’s not worth learning his name.

In season one of The Glee Project they didn’t have to dig into the ranks of the characters that don’t matter, why do we get this guy?

The contestants sang “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line and their performance was okay, much better than the number in the video. Ali won the homework competition and got some bland advice from an actor who isn’t featured that much in the series.

The video this week took place in a grocery store and the contestants played bored employees with overt disdain for their work. (I can think of a lot of jobs that are worse and around me few high school kids get or take those jobs so it was actually implausible.) Then they all start daydreaming about being an iconic rock star dancing around the grocery store. I really don’t imagine that Madonna’s stepped inside a grocery store in 25 – 30 years. She probably would be stunned to see how far they’ve come in the interim.

Anyway, everyone was assigned a different iconic rock star as follows:

Poor Nellie. Britney Spears? For real? Why should a beautiful, intelligent woman which a more interesting sexuality have to play the vapid Spears? Come on. Pick on Shanna or Ali for a while. Or try this – respect the performers and negotiate the sexuality issues more. I know that’s not common in Hollywood, but I know a lot of people don’t watch Glee because it goes too far with sexuality.

How I wish Nellie had just walked out after telling off the judges. Blow them away by showing how authentic and assertive you can be and direct it at them.

She did politely, almost humorously, protest asking “Why do you always do this to me?” She’s on the money. There’s a masochistic desire for the mentors to goad Nellie into getting “sexier.” I wish she had seen how they’re not going to rest till she’s off the show almost. It’s bizarre how they’ve focused on her in this respect. If she had walked off, she could have gotten more air time on her terms.

It could work for her as she’s got a beautiful voice. I think Cameron’s leaving last year was brilliant. People learned who he was and I bet he grew his following when he stood up for what he believed. People do respect that.

Nikki put Abraham on the spot by asking him if he thought he was androgynous. He got very emotional about this and I have no idea why she asked except whether it was to throw him off.

The video shoot went as these things tend to do. I missed Charlie’s antics which spiced things up by riling up the judges.

The video itself wasn’t great because the song wasn’t. These things are hit or miss.

Bottom Three:

  • Lily, didn’t get into the persona of Lauper as she so much prefers her own
  • Abraham, who just didn’t perform as well as the others
  • Nellie, whom the judges enjoy needlessly pushing in a direction that’s stupid.

Michael should have been there since he blows the lyrics in the studio, but he did well as Elvis.

K-Pop Group: Super Junior

Abraham got very weepy when Ryan asked him about the androgynous label and shared how he’d been bullied. Ryan and the others are quite impressed with Abraham as a shape shifter. In reality he looks like any K-pop star I’ve seen. He could fill in for any missing member of Super Junior. Crying works with the judges here. Sad to say.

The judges told Lily that she just didn’t pull off a character at all, while everyone else did. I think she got mad. She started by blaming Zach saying the direction was unclear, but that came to haunt her because he would have nothing of that. Lily’s shrewd enough to figure that crying is the way to go. Boy did she turn on the water works. She begged to stay on the show and claimed that she could act her way out of a paper bag. Hmm if I were a judge, I’d be skeptical since other than the week when she was a bully, which was not a stretch, she hasn’t shown any acting ability.

I watched this on Tuesday and am writing on Thursday and the only performance I remember, the one who’s voice still replays in my head is Nellie. She was sent home. Unbelievable. Then not really. I wish her well and would buy her music. Same with Dani.

Not sure who I want to win now.

I do think Abraham will stay in till the end as Alex did last year. I’d think Michael won’t and soon Blake may be in danger. He’s so bland. Aylin has a good chance to stay. I’m not sure about Lily or Shanna. Now that Nellie’s gone Shanna may be the one who’s pressured to strut her stuff.