Category Archives: TV

RIP Judge Joe Wapner

Hey 3.5 readers.  What a sad day.  First Bill Paxton and now the news is reporting that Judge Joe Wapner has died at 97.  Millennials, Judge Joe Wapner was the first TV judge and the People’s Court was the first TV court show.  You wouldn’t have all of these TV court shows without Judge Joe Wapner, his trusty bailiff Rusty and his announcer Doug Llewelyn who would interview people on their way out of the court to see if they were happy or sad about the Judge’s decision.

Yes, I know.  It sounds like I know a lot about this topic.  That’s because when I was a kid there were like three channels and so you had to watch a certain amount of People’s Court just to get through the afternoon.

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TV Review – Homeland – Season 6 (Thus Far)

Hey 3.5 readers.

Jazz music.  Ominous beginning photo montage.  Crazy Carrie likes pills and wine.  (Not a recommended combo).

BQB here with a review of Homeland.

In case you haven’t been watching, the first few seasons of Homeland were essentially a modern reboot of The Manchurian Candidate.  Mentally disturbed CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) chases and falls in love with brainwashed returned soldier Brody (Damian Lewis).

Without getting into specifics, this is the first post Brody season.  Critics wondered if the show could last past Brody and still be interesting and thus far it has.

This season, Carrie has taken a job with a legal defense organization.  She engages in questionable tactics into getting her client Sekou off the hook on terrorism related charges  only for him to later…well. I’ve said too much.  Just watch.

The big surprise for me is that Quinn (Rupert Friend) is still alive.  I thought the show runners had made it clear last season that he died but apparently not.  It seemed lame to me that they didn’t follow through on this story line but as it turns out, he’s been interesting thus far this season and I wonder if perhaps the show might ultimately be leading to a happy ending where Carrie and Quinn run off into the sunset together.

Have you been watching the show?  What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

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Walking Dead Recap -Season 7, Episode 10 – “New Best Friends”

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Mmm.  Brains.  So delicious.  So yummy.

SPOILER ALERT

The Walking Dead continues.  Rick still seeks recruits to join his battle against the Saviors. Ezekiel says no on behalf of the Kingdom.  What’s his face I don’t remember but that douchey guy says no on behalf of the Hilltop.

However, Rick meets the trash people, a group of schmucks living in a junkyard who are totally weird and say and do weird things.

Is Rick right for taking on the Saviors?  What say you, 3.5 readers?

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SNL Burger King Drive-Thru Sketch

I love this sketch, 3.5 readers.  I don’t know, but the concept of poking fun at weirdos tickles my funny bone.

“What up?”

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BQB’s Walking Dead Recap

Hey 3.5 readers.

I’m late with my recap for the Walking Dead, but suffice to say everyone’s favorite show about zombies returned last Sunday.

SPOILER ALERT

Rick is recruiting other groups to fight with him against the Saviors.  The Hilltop and the Kingdom are against helping.

Overall, there are some parallels between world diplomacy and Walking Dead diplomacy.  Countries or in Walking Dead’s case, settlements, have to decide how much shit they want to swallow from another group before they give up and go to war.  Often, though we hate to admit it, swallowing shit is a reasonable alternative to sending thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of people to die in battle.

Anyway, will be interesting to see how this plays out but the Grimes group vs. Saviors show down is in progress.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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TV Review: American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson

Murder.  Courtroom theatrics.  A car chase involving an infamous white Ford Bronco.

VGRF here with a review of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Even after being told by all sorts of people that this series was worth a look see, I avoided it.  After all, I was alive in the 1990s and if you were too, then this case was splashed on every TV channel all day, everyday.  Though I was in high school at the time, like every other human on the planet, I gained a working knowledge of details, workings, and controversies behind the case, simply because it was impossible not to, given that the whole country was captivated by it.

In other words, I just didn’t think a new TV show about it could tell me much I didn’t already know but I was wrong.  After giving the first episode on a shot on Netflix, I was instantly hooked.

If you’re a youngster, here’s my best attempt at a quick rehash.  At one time, O.J. Simpson was a beloved American icon.  He was a football star dubbed, “The Juice,” known for his incredible speed and pulling off amazing moves on the field.  After his athletic career ended, he found a second calling in TV commercials for Hertz rental cars.  Further, he played the lovable Nordberg in The Naked Gun, taking all manner of comic abuse from incompetent Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen).

In 1994, Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were gruesomely stabbed to death.  Incredibly damning pieces of evidence against O.J. were found, ranging from O.J.’s blood being found at the crime scene to Brown’s blood being found at O.J.’s home property.

Seemed like an open and shut case of a jealous ex-husband seeking the ultimate revenge against his ex-wife and a man she was either seeing or was just unlucky to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Perhaps people with better memories can remind me but as far as I recall, it sounded like Nicole and Ron were considered to be an item largely due to the fact that he was at Nicole’s home to return a pair of sunglasses left at the restaurant he worked at and restaurant workers are unlikely to do that sort of thing without some kind of romantic intentions.

Alas, the case didn’t turn out that easy.  DNA evidence was relatively new at the time.  People were having a hard time grasping the concept that science could be used to match blood to the person who bled it.  Prior to DNA evidence, blood found at a crime scene could have belonged to anyone as far as the police knew.

On top of that, LA had been devastated by massive, widespread riots over the result of the Rodney King beating case verdict, i.e. police officers were caught on top beating a suspect, were let off the hook, and the community was none too pleased, to say the least.

Against that backdrop, the O.J. case became a microcosm of varying points of view against the different groups that comprised America:

  • Many African Americans saw the case as an example of a poor black man who pulled himself up, found fame and fortune, and was being railroaded by a system that didn’t want to see black people get ahead.
  • Others saw the case of celebrity status run amuck.  To paraphrase comedian Chris Rock’s take on the case, had O.J. been a bus driver, he’d of been “Orenthal the bus driving murderer.”  In other words, had O.J. not possessed the star power needed to dazzle the public along with the financial resources to dole out a fortune to a “Dream Team” of the country’s most famous attorneys, he most likely would have been found guilty.  Thus, many didn’t see this as a racial case so much as a case of how the rich and famous are able to game the system and get away with crimes the poor and obscure never could.
  • Some even saw it as an example of the struggles of battered women.  There had been a long history of Nicole being beaten by OJ running up to the murders yet nothing happened.
  • Ultimately, the case was the first courtroom battle to be broadcast round the clock on twenty four hour news stations.  It was sensationalized to the max, and everyone and their uncle came out of the woodwork to cash in on the O.J. case.

Anyway, enough of the backstory.  What captivated me about this series is that I was treated to something I didn’t see in the 1990s, i.e. what happened behind the scenes.  That turmoil is best expressed via the individual experiences of the key players:

  • Robert Kardashian (David Schwimmer) – O.J.’s best friend who serves as an attorney on the Dream Team.  This is some of the best acting I’ve seen coming out of Schwimmer, as he makes me believe that he truly loves O.J. and that love keeps him blind to the possibility that O.J. could have been behind these murders.  Also, he was the father of the Kardashian clan, aka Kim Kardashian, as well as Khloe, Kourtney, and Rob, not to mention ex-husband of Kris.  There’s a scene where Robert lectures his young children that values like friendship, loyalty, hard work and so on are much more important than fame and glamour, but something tells me the kids weren’t listening.
  • Robert Shapiro (John Travolta) – Also some of the best acting I’ve seen out of Travolta, who portrays Shapiro as a sleaze who is overly concerned with his reputation and what the public thinks about him.  Known as a celebrity plea bargainer, i.e. an attorney who helps celebrity defendants get the best possible deal rather than taking the cases to trial.
  • Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) – Tough lead prosecutor who starts out thinking the case is a slam dunk only to have it consume her life when it becomes more than she bargained for.  Hard as nails as she wants to see justice done for the victims.  Victim of a sexist media that routinely comments on her physical appearance, clothes, and hair style.  Her family life suffers as she has to hire babysitters to watch her kids all the time, leaving her ex-husband to challenge custody.  Vastly outnumbered against O.J.’s team of the best lawyers money can buy.
  • Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance) – Was often parodied as a flashy charlatan at the time of trial as he wore loud suits and spoke in rhyme (“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”)  This series gives his reputation gets a bit of an upgrade as we see Cochran’s past work in representing African American defendants and families of victims of alleged police brutality.
  • Chris Darden (Sterling K. Brown) – In a widespread, star studded cast, probably has the most compelling story.  He is a co-prosecutor on the case, yet family and friends from his old neighborhood view him as a sellout because they feel O.J. has been falsely accused and is being railroaded by the man.  Ironically, having worked in a dead end position in the LA DA’s office in which he investigates allegations against police officers that never go anywhere due to a system that prevents this from happening, he is aware that the LAPD is not without its share of problems.  Yet, he also believes what’s right is right, what’s wrong is wrong and in this particular case, feels strongly in O.J.’s guilt and that letting a murderer go free isn’t the way to fix a broken system.

Last but not least, Cuba Gooding Jr. reminds us why he won an Oscar in his portrayal of Simpson.  This had to have been a difficult character to play.  Even behind the scenes, Cuba as O.J. maintains his innocence.  At no time are you given a proverbial smoking gun, so if you think he’s guilty, you are free to interpret O.J.’s actions/outbursts/odd activities as those of a guilty man, or if you think he’s innocent, you are free to chalk it all up to the stress of a falsely accused man being railroad.

Although, let’s be honest, holy shit, O.J. was totally guilty.  I’m not sure if there was ever any kind of poll but as far as I know, everyone thinks he did it and the evidence is pretty undeniable, even though the jury denied it at the time.  The family of Ronald Goldman was able to win a civil judgment against the Juice.  What clinches it for me (among many things that clinched it) was that years later, OJ released a disturbing If I Did It book, explaining how he would have done it – not exactly something that a person “falsely accused” of murdering an ex-wife he claimed to love would do, IMO.

Ironically, years later, O.J. ended up going to jail after a failed burglary meant to steal pieces of his sports memorabilia.  One would think that a man who so miraculously beat a murder rap would have kept his nose clean from then on, oh that wacky O.J.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Binge watch it on Netflix today.

 

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RIP Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica

Hey 3.5 readers.

VGRF here with some sad news.  Richard Hatch, the actor who played Starbuck in the original 1970s Battlestar Galactica and Tom Zarek in the updated 2000s version has died.

His cast member in the updated version, Edward James Olmos, who played Admiral Adama, tweeted this:

So say we all, indeed.

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Where Can I Watch the Lady Gaga Half Time Super Bowl Performance?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Video Game Rack Fighter here.  Did you miss Lady Gaga’s Halftime show at the Super Bowl?

Don’t worry.  The fine folks at Pepsi have posted the entire thing on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

My thoughts:

She did a great job.  I can’t imagine all the time, money and effort that goes along with putting on a show that has that moving parts.  I mean, literally, there are so many moving parts.  The crew had to assemble a stage and break it down all in time for the Super Bowl to continue.

I give her applause, applause, applause (get it?) for being willing to leap off of the stadium and then fly down to the platform using wires.  I’m not sure I’d trust those wires myself.  I worry a little that all these pop stars are being put in danger for our visual pleasure.  I mean, they had Katy Perry riding some kind of giant animal contraption at the 2015 Super Bowl.

Good on Gaga, I don’t think I’m even in good enough shape to be transported by wires.  I’d be too heavy for the wires and they’d snap and I’d land on a dancer and crush him/her.

The best part was that I didn’t have to watch it with BQB and be interrupted by his various gaseous emissions.

What say you, 3.5?

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Stranger Things Season 2 Trailer

Hey 3.5 readers.

Video Game Rack Fighter here.  BQB continues to live a life in exile at the Random Motel.

Did you miss the Stranger Things 2 trailer during the Super Bowl?  Here it is.  Good news?  Eggos and Ghostbusters.  Bad news?  It’s not back until October!

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TV Review – Santa Clarita Diet

Zombies!  Murder!  Mayhem!  Sitcom stupidity.

Video Game Rack Fighter here with a review of Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet.  Meanwhile, enjoy your BQB free diet because that nerd will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever write on this blog ever again, ever.

So, Netflix has taken the iZombie idea of a zombie who can still basically function as a human who speaks normally and Dexter, where the protagonist murders bad people, except here she does it for food.

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star as suburban California realtors Joel and Sheila Hammond, just another boring couple living a quiet life with daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) on an idyllic cul-de-sac where all the houses look the same.

In the first episode, Sheila inexplicably dies and yet, does not die.  SPOILER ALERT: there’s a lot of vomit involved.

Sheila’s heart beat stops, she can be injured without being hurt, she loses control of her base desires and just wants to have sex with her previously sex deprived husband all the time.  Clearly, there’s been a big change.

Rather than, you know, consult a doctor, the family brings in a nerd, creepy next-door neighbor kid Eric (Skyler Gisondo).  He diagnoses Sheila as a zombie because, you know, he reads comic books and shit so apparently he’s an expert.  It’s all presented tongue in cheek and the audience is winked at to just go with it.

There are parts that are funny and parts that are just gross.  I feel sad for Timothy Olyphant.  I got so used to watching him play the tough cowboy in Justified that it seems depressing to watch him become the stereotypical pussy sitcom dad, completely impotent and unable to get any respect from his wife or kid and left to write sternly worded letters to the company that failed to design his toaster oven properly.

The main rule that all good writers must follow is, “Show, don’t tell.”  Viewers prefer to see things happen rather than be told that things happened and yet, at least in the first episode, we are told that things happened rather than shown that things happened.

I almost wondered if that might be a result of the episodes only being a half hour long.  With only a half hour, the show comes across as a zany sitcom.  With an hour, the characters could be developed more without the characters just blurting out the details of scenes we missed.

The verdict is still out on this show.  The first episode had its ups and downs but it was interesting enough to get me to come back for more.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, and I hope BQB enjoys spooning with Leo McCoy in the Randomtown Motel because he will never be allowed to Netflix and chill with me in BQB HQ ever again.

Also, as a grammar issue, I think the show should be called, “The Santa Clarita Diet.”

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