Tag Archives: amc

Andrew Lincoln to Leave the Walking Dead

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Sad news for “Walking Dead” fans, 3.5 readers.

My thoughts:

#1 – My initial hot take is you suck, Andrew Lincoln.  I hope this isn’t a ploy where you want more time to do movies because seriously, there is no movie that you could be in that people want to see more than a kick ass series finale to the show that made you a star.  Bryan Cranston realized that he had to juggle movies around his main bread and butter, namely sticking with “Breaking Bad” until the end.

#2 – But after calming down for a minute, maybe he doesn’t suck.  Lincoln is from England and he points out that the show has kept him from seeing his family for a long time.  AMC may be the network that a show about a meth cooking teacher built, but it is also the network that zombies kept afloat and in sticky cash.  AMC does not want to ditch those zombies any time soon.  It’s a great formula.  Hire dummies to run around the woods pretending to fight zombies.  Plot = humans need something in a place where zombies are.  Fight zombies.  Get sad a human dies.  Occasionally move to a new place that seems like it is run by nice people at first but then the people are bad.  Cut.  Print.  Repeat.

In that case, you can’t blame Andrew Lincoln for not wanting to stay FOREVER.  If AMC is going to keep the zombies coming until the end of time, then I suppose we can’t begrudge Andrew for not wanting to fight the zombies for the rest of his life.

“Law and Order” for example, found a winning formula and it has been on for decades now.  Sure, Mariska Hargitay stuck with it but that’s her choice.  Other actors haven’t stuck around.  I’m not even sure all the actors that were on it in the beginning are still alive.

I think we all have been waiting for that epic series finale that explains all but I have a feeling that AMC will keep “Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” and possible other spin offs going forever, just bands of humans fighting zombies until the end of time.

If they pull it off, more power to them.  My gut tells me they won’t and once Rick Grimes leaves, that will be it for the viewership.  Maybe not.  Maybe they’ll pull it off but that rarely happens when the main star leaves.

Examples I can think of – “That 70s Show” kept going without Topher Grace as his movie career kicked off.  I don’t blame the cast and crew for wanting to keep it going but I stopped watching after that and I think most people did because it was cancelled not long after Grace left.  Replacing him with a cousin didn’t help.

It’s not impossible to keep a show running without the main character, just unlikely.

#3 – So if Andrew doesn’t want to be Rick until the end of time and AMC wants the zombies forever, I can understand why he wants to exit but even so, we at least need a kickass ending arc to Rick’s character.  That will be like a finale for those of us who have stuck with the show from the beginning.  Maybe we’ll dump the show after Rick leaves.  Maybe we’ll stick around if the writers figure out a great Rick replacement.  But at least give us some closure with Rick.  I fear that won’t happen but we’ll see.

#4 – Andrew leaving should have been kept quiet.  We are now going into the new season with a spoiler.  We know Rick will either die or go off on his own or something.  If they could have kept Andrew’s leaving quiet, then an unexpected Rick death would have suprised the shit out of all of us.

#5 – We’ll see how it goes but I think Andrew and AMC owed us viewers a good resolution to Rick’s character and to the show itself, because I do have a hard time believing the show can carry on without Rick but we’ll see.  We viewers built your network with our support for your show, AMC.  We didn’t let you down when “Walking Dead” needed word of mouth and people hyping the show up on social media, so don’t let us down by giving us a lame ending to a show we’ve been watching nearly a decade now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TV Review – Better Call Saul (2015 – Present)

Drugs!  Crooked lawyers!  Cinnabon!

BQB here with a review of the Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul.

Once upon a time, Bob Odenkirk brought the comic relief to Breaking Bad as notorious ambulance chaser, Saul Goodman.  On that series, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) informs meth cook partner Walter White (Bryan Cranston) that they need a “criminal” lawyer, emphasis on the criminal – not just a lawyer who specializes in criminal law but one who engages in criminal activities to get his clients off.

And the rest is history.

Better Call Saul is a prequel of the life perpetually down on his luck attorney, Jimmy McGill, led, long before he took the name Saul Goodman or became Walter White’s lawyer.

You’ve probably seen shows that paint the law as a fantastic profession to be in.  TV lawyers are often portrayed as wealthy, fast talking beautiful people who drive fancy cars, eat at the best restaurants and make out with other beautiful people.

This show gives us a look at the grimier side of the legal profession.  Jimmy McGill practices out of a literal closet in a nail salon, drives a car with mismatched doors and barely makes ends meet.

He has a love/hate relationship with his brother Chuck (Michael McKeen), one of New Mexico’s most respected lawyers.  Chuck is a rabid electro-phone, meaning that he is convinced that anything that uses electricity is sending electric waves into his body that could kill him.

Michael McKean displays some of the best acting of his career as he sits in a dark house, eats food out of a cooler full of ice instead of a fridge, forces visitors to leave their cell phones in his mail box, and covers his home and his body with tin foil space blankets.

Meanwhile, there’s an on-again/off-again romance between Jimmy and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), an attorney that actually strives to do honest work.  Sometimes she serves as Jimmy’s conscience.  Other times, she gets dragged down into Jimmy’s world of crap.

Rounding out the cast is grizzly ex-cop Mike Ehrmantraut, the fan favorite of many a Breaking Bad viewer.  We find Mike in a lowly state at the beginning of the series, working as a parking lot booth operator who regularly feuds with Jimmy over his inability to remember to obtain the required parking validation stickers.

From there, the two start going down the rabbit hole of the Mexican drug cartel world, that same world that Walter White gives a big giant enema to in Breaking Bad.

To be clear, the show is nowhere near as good as Breaking Bad.  That’s not an insult to Better Call Saul but rather, a compliment to Breaking Bad, as that show captured lightning in a bottle and is a rare commodity.

However, just as its predecessor took an unlikely concept, i.e. a terminally ill chemistry teacher who stops giving a shit and rises through the drug underworld to become a kingpin, and spin it into gold, this show does the same with an unequally unlikely idea, namely, that the comic relief of the previous show should get a show that’s all about him.

The show has heart.  Jimmy has a dream to become a great, powerful lawyer, yet there are so many obstacles in the way.  Maybe you, the viewer, never tried to become a lawyer, but you probably had some dream.  Maybe you achieved it, maybe you didn’t but either way, most people can relate to obstacles getting in the way of their dreams.

The show features Vince Gilligan’s signature storytelling style.  It’s “show, don’t tell” to the max.  The viewer is presented with a lot of mysterious, ominous stuff.  None of it is clear at first but if you keep paying attention, the mental energy you expend will not be wasted.  Everything that happens in the show means something.  There’s very little filler or fluff that can be cast aside.

I admit when I heard this show was in the works, I had my doubts.  Breaking Bad could never be topped and perhaps if this show sucked, it would taint the legacy.  But somehow, the show, while not surpassing the first show, still holds its own and is a boon to fans who still want to see that Gilligan style on the screen again.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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The Walking Dead Recap – Season 7, Episode 15

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB with a Walking Dead recap, so if you haven’t seen it…SPOILER ALERT!

So, I inadvertently broke the Internet with this tweet:

70 retweets and 266 likes as of this writing.  Holy crap, that’s a record for me.  (Still counting too as of last refresh).

That was in response to the trap Sasha laid out for Eugene, by the way.

By the way, does anyone else think that it was a dick move for Rick to hijack all those nice Oceanside ladies?

Was it a dick move for that girl to punch her granny in the face?

Anyway, if you want more gems like this one in your Twitter feed, be sure to follow me @bookshelfbattle

 

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The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 1 – “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”

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Holy crap, 3.5 readers.

Seven seasons and The Walking Dead just keeps walking.

I don’t want to spoil it but needless to say, the big question going into this season was who did Neegan kill and low and behold, we found out, in a big way, and with some twists.

Some big ole twists.

So, you know, I’ll probably hang on for another week before I go into detail just to let people process and in case anyone hasn’t gotten to see it yet and needs to catch up.

If your new to BQB’s recaps, just remember they are spoiler laden, so avoid if you haven’t watched the show yet.

What did you think, 3.5 readers?

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TV Review – Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

I am the one who reviews!

High school chemistry teacher with cancer + his former student who calls everyone “bitch” = show that most critics would agree is the best television show of the twenty first century thus far.

BQB here with a review of Breaking Bad.

When this show came out in 2008, someone close to me had just died from cancer, so I wasn’t interested at all.  I saw the previews for it and was like, “eh” then I saw the previews for Showtime’s The Big C, a show that came out around the same time about a woman trying to keep her life together while fighting cancer and I was just like, “Look Hollywood, cancer is not funny or glamorous and it is the last thing I want to see on TV when I’m looking for an escape, thank you very much.”

So the years passed and then somewhere in the early 2010s I heard people talking about this show so I gave it a chance on Netflix and was immediately hooked.  And from what I’ve heard, the invention of streaming media breathed life into this and a lot of other shows.

Because when you think about it, a show about a high school chemistry teacher dying from cancer doesn’t exactly sound like good time appointment viewing, but once it was available in a format for people to check out when they had a free moment, boy howdy did they get hooked.

And truth be told, the show isn’t so much about cancer as it is a study of a) the sadness people feel when they reach the end of their lives feeling like they never reached their full potential and b) how much the legal system keeps us all behaving like good doobies without us ever realizing it.

Remove a) the fear of dying because you are already dying and b) the fear/humiliation of ending up in prison (because you’re dying) and the nicest person you know might end up walking down an evil path.

The set-up – Walter White (Bryan Cranston) was, in his youth, a promising chemistry scholar who starts a business with friends Elliot (Adam Godley) and Gretchen (Jessica Hecht).

Walter sells his share of the company early, the company becomes huge, like Facebook huge.  Meanwhile, Walter grows old and bitter, having spent his life in mediocrity as a high school teacher with a part time job at a car wash just to make ends meet.

Somehow he manages to snag a hot wife, Sklyer (Anna Gunn) while his son, Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte) oozes happiness and gets along as a typical teenager despite a handicap.

When Walt is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his despair over his untapped potential haunts him. He’ll die without using his genius brain to make it big.

Alas, his brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris), a DEA agent, takes Walt on a ride along.  Walt catches a glimpse of just how much cash a good drug dealer rakes in and the little hamster starts rolling around the wheel in his brain.

What begins as an idea to use his chemistry know how to cook crystal meth in order to leave some extra cash behind for his family turns into a long journey into the proverbial heart of darkness, as Walt uses his smarts and fearlessness (because, hey, he’s dying anyway) to rise to the highest ranks of the criminal underworld.

He takes on Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), his former student turned junkie as his partner in crime and together, they become expert meth cooks.  As Jesse becomes like a second son to Walter, their relationship is sometimes tragic and sometimes even hilarious.

Add to the mix criminal lawyer (the show stresses you are to read this as a “lawyer who is a criminal”) Saul Goodman (veteran comedian Bob Odenkirk) who steals the show with his obnoxious TV lawyer ads.  Saul teaches the boys how to launder their money, dodge law enforcement, get out of trouble, etc. etc.

Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) is the old ex-cop/problem fixer that Walt works with. The combination of the grizzled old man who has seen and done it all and the chemistry teacher who sees things through gentrified eyes is comical.

Meanwhile, Giancarlo Esposito as crime boss Gus Fring is one of the scarier bad guys on television.

Throughout the series, Walt struggles to keep his public and private lives separate.  He continues to pose as a good dad and husband while sneaking off to cook meth and deal with criminals with Jesse.

All the while, lovable Hank, and I do mean lovable, is chasing some criminal without realizing the man he wants is his beloved brother-in-law that he spends the weekends with grilling burgers and shooting the breeze.

If anything, the Hank/Walt dynamic is what really makes the show. The show runners could have made Hank the stereotypical tough guy cop but instead they made Hank an average joe.  He loves his wife, Skyler’s sister Marie (Betsy Brandt), loves his in-laws Walt and Skyler, loves his nephew Walt Jr. and brews beer in his garage as a hobby.  He is, one might say, a true mensch.

The star of the series is Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator and man behind the scenes.  Every detail, every little thing that happens means something.  Take notes as you watch because if someone so much as sneezes it will turn out to be important later. Not letting a single second of time go wasted has become Gilligan’s signature.

So many shows take off and then descend into chaos.  The actors get too big for their britches and want to leave for bigger, better things.  Ironically, prior to this show, Bryan Cranston wasn’t that well known, his other biggest acting gig having been as the father on Malcolm in the Middle.

Like Walt, Bryan found fame and fortune late in life (albeit legally) but he never forgot the viewers and juggled all the big movie roles that came his way with Breaking Bad, keeping it all together to keep the show going.

And sometimes writers run out of gas, but Vince and company keep viewers on the edge of their seats to the very end.

In fact, if you’re a wannabe writer, I highly suggest checking out this show. (At present, all five seasons are available on Netflix.)

And catch the prequel, Better Call Saul on AMC. It doesn’t have a lot to do with Breaking Bad but you get to learn how Saul and Mike worked together before Walt came along.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Robert Kirkman vs. George RR Martin

Happy Friday 3.5 Readers.

Robert Kirkman of Walking Dead fame recently said in an interview that he would not allow a network to take control of his show the way George RR Martin has.

My two cents:

a) GRRM is almost 70 years old.  Though I’m sure he is enjoying all the attention his life’s work is getting, it did come at the end, not exactly at a time when he could enjoy all the accompanying fame and fortune.  He needs to balance the need to get his last novels in the series done with not wearing himself out to the point where he keels over.

b) HBO has done a great job.  Currently, we’re in the first season in which the show begins to diverge from Martin’s books (the show has progressed farther past the point where GRRM has written) and the consensus is that it has been the most riveting season yet.  That’s to trash Martin.  He has been advising HBO on what he intends to do next and they are carrying it out.

I don’t know. I don’t mean to knock Kirkman either as the Walking Dead is also pretty great.

I just think GRRM and Kirkman are in two different places. Kirkman is young enough he can still run the show whereas Martin needs extra naps.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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The Walking Dead – Season 6 Finale – The Last Day On Earth

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

DON’T READ AHEAD IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS.

I’ll try not to ruin it too much anyway.  But still, spoilers afoot.

I think the thing that grabbed me the most was how much fear was expressed on all of the actors’ faces, Rick in particular.  We never see Rick afraid after all.  And that took some guts to show him that way.  Hollywood never wants to show the hero afraid.  Sheer hopelessness.  Stuck.  No way out.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan was scary as Neegan.  Apparently in the comic book, Neegan’s thing is to swear every other word but hey, it’s AMC, so he did his best to be scary without naughty language.

Apparently, all manner of violence is ok but a potty mouth is where the censors draw the line.

Steven Ogg was great as Neegan’s sidekick.  If you’ve played Grand Theft Auto 5, then you know Ogg as Trevor.

I’m not sure I understood the part with Eugene.  I thought he was going to sacrifice himself or something.  Oh well.

Another great season.  Looking forward to the next.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Tonight’s Walking Dead

Wow.  What an episode.

SPOILERS!!!

Dr. Denise.  Gone.  Arrow through the eye.  So sad.  We were just getting to know her.

Whenever the viewer gets to learn a bit more about a character, that character is probably going to buy the farm.  That’s the writers way of making you miss the character.

Eugene bit a dick.  Out of self defense of course but still.  I’d of just let myself get killed but that’s me.

Carol flew the coop.  Seems out of character.  She never runs from anything.

That chick that plays Rosita is on Talking Dead and has ginormous cannons.  Not that I noticed.

There’s an English Teacher on Talking Dead who won a spot on the couch as part of some kind of a contest.  Good for him that’s awesome.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

 

 

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Tonight’s Walking Dead

Hey 3.5 Readers.

SPOILERS!!!!!!

What an episode.  Very woman-centric.  Lots of chicks young and old fighting, scheming and being evil and shit.

I like Alicia Witt.  She was Paula last episode and this one.  She was on a season of Justified.  She just seems very smart and fun and like her last name, witty.

Carol, as usual, is adept at tricking everyone into thinking she’s just a harmless old lady and then she straight up takes everyone down like a gangsta.

There was a suggestion this group might have been good.  What do you think?  Could there have been info that Rick’s group didn’t know?

Maggie was a badass.  Anyone know what accent the lady who plays her has?

 

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The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 9 – “No Way Out”

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Hey 3.5 Readers.

The Walking Dead is back!

SPOILER ALERT!

Wow.  The general consensus is this is one of the best episodes of the series, perhaps the most emotional one.

We lost some recurring characters.  Jessie, Ron, Sam – the whole porch dick family is gone.

Rick’s Valentine’s Day was ruined.  He really wanted some Jessie action.

Carl’s eye is gone.  Poor Carl.

Father Gabriel had a redemption moment.

The Alexandrians had their stand.

Dale has replaced his crossbow with a rocket launcher.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

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