Back to TV: The Mysteries of Laura

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Well, once again it’s been awhile. I didn’t watch that many movies and the ones I watched, weill, most of them weren’t any good. I’m still waiting for Pitch Perfect 2 to come out in Germany, and while I’m waiting I’m watching a lot of TV.

Let me introduce to you The Mysteries of Laura. It’s a crime comedy and I think it is worth watching. Why? themysteriesoflaura6Well, for one thing: Debra Messing. You know her from Will & Grace, of course, and so do I. I LOVED Grace Adler and now I’m loving Laura Diamond, because with some actors you love every character they play. I do think, though, that Laura is worth all the love. She’s a wonderfully quirky, and honest, and normal person. She messes up, she wears sneakers on the job, she’s a slob, but a lovely one.

We all know those cop shows of late where the cases are not as important as the personal life of the detective (think Rizzoli & Isles and Castle). This is one of those. While the cases are interesting enough, Laura’s personal life and her relationships to her colleagues are at the center of the show. She has twin boys (Charlie and Vincent Reina) who like to stir up their own messes, her father (Robert Klein) still tries to get Laura back with her ex (Josh Lucas) who happens to be her boss, and her partner (Laz Alonso) is looking on with a themysteriesoflaura7bemused smile.

While I mostly like the chemistry between the characters (including the slightly envious detective Meredith Bose [Janina Gavankar] and the gay assistent Max Carnegie [Max Jenkins]), I really could do without Captain Manchild, as Laura coined him. Josh Lucas is certainly a fine actor and he plays Laura’s ex certainly annoying enough – or maybe too annoying. While he still ranges within the parameters of love interest for Laura, as do most male guest stars on the show, he comes across as a little too chauvinist, a little too jealous of prospective boyfriends for Laura. If this show wasn’t a comedy, I would attest him stalker tendencies. It’s really not cute.

Apart from him, I would say the show is a good watch. It’s funny, Laura is delightful and messy and just vintage Debra Messing. And then there has already been the guest appearance of someone you might recognize:

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Back to tv: The Closer

The Closer (2005-2012) created by James Duff

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As you can see, I’m only just starting on the show and have now watched the first two season. I have watched a couple of episodes on German tv (that’s how I came across it, after all) but watching stuff on German tv is tricky because it is all dubbed. For a show that relies so much on its main character and characterization in general this means: no accents. Yeah, you see where I’m going with this: watching The Closer without Brenda Leigh Johnson’s distinctive accent is kind of missing the point.

thecloser1It took me a while to even find out that Brenda had an accent and why everyone was acting the way they did around her – but I got there and decided it was time to watch the show in the original. And I’m not sorry I did. For once, I have always liked Kyra Sedgwick. I’m not sure where I saw her first (could have been Singles) but the moment I saw her I liked her and that hasn’t changed. For another, I’m partial to Jeffrey Deaver’s books and I recognized in Brenda Leigh Johnson what I like about his Kathryn Dance-series: the shrewd intelligence of a person who is good at reading people and using this to her advantage. I like people – if I’m not hating them with a passion. I like the complexity of us, the diversity and the sameness – and I like watching people concerning themselves with people. And this is what The Closer is about.

That isn’t to say that it’s all good. As you can easily see in the pictures, the show has a gender-challenge. The challenge being that of a woman in a man’s world and a lot of what is going on in the first season made me angry. The feeling of Brenda Leigh Johnson having to fight old boys club-windmills was prevalent and it irked me. Fortunately, they eased up on this in the second season. I’m thecloser3not saying that this isn’t a real issue, it is, but sometimes real issues make me so mad in real life that I don’t want to deal with them in an imaginary world, or at least not too much. The glass ceiling exists, Brenda Leigh likes to ignore it but she doesn’t have to do this in every episode for women to feel empowered, or for everyone to acknowledge that it exists.

It is difficult for me to watch a show with so many male characters, I’m not going to lie to you about this. Fortunately, most of them are if not likable then at least characterized convincingly which is due in great part to having good actors play them. I really hate Will Pope, for example, the way he strings Brenda along, the way he sometimes hangs her out to dry and always demands that she’d do her job by yesterday and then criticizes her for how she does it. And J.K Simmons is just the actor who can still make Pope annoyingly sweet. You can see why she fell for him but also why he’s bad for her and her career. And the other male characters are portrayed and cast just as well as he is.

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The show has very strong assets to convey police work. the acting, the writing, the characterization. It’s a good show, a clever cop-show while also not being a typical cop-show. Then, of course, there’s the fact that I’m a sucker for a Southern accent – and beautiful women. And although most of the characters are male, there is Kyra Sedgwick and there is also (at least so far) Gina Ravera and seeing those two walk onto a crime scene… definately worth watching.

Back to tv: Body of Proof

Dana Delany. I don’t know if you know who she is but if you don’t you should feel like you missed out on something. At the moment, I am so obsessed with her that I am actually watching bits and pieces (mostly lesbian bits and pieces) of Desperate Housewives and I was never into that show. Anyway, when I was at my parents’ I caught onto this show and I think it is great.

BoP is a crime show, nothing new there. To me, it feels like a mix between Bones and Rizzoli & Isles. It’s about Medical Examiner Dr. Megan Hunt (Delany) who was a brilliant neuro surgeon until five years ago when she had an accident, leaving her with paralysis in her right hand, which is only acting up so often but she killed a patient because she still worked on brains afterward. Her marriage came undone in the aftermath and her lawyer husband, Todd (Jeffrey Nordling), got full custody of daughter Lacey (Mary Mouser). Megan changed fields and is now an equally brilliant ME. She is making up for that one patient she killed by finding out what killed others.

You guessed it, the main appeal on this show for me is Dana Delany who plays the lead (a role that has actually been written for a woman 20 years younger than the woman playing her – which makes me really happy). But there are other factors that make this show great: two more bright, strong, and beautiful women among the main players, for once. And one of them is none other than Jeri Ryan. Yes, I have admired her since her days on Star Trek: Voyager and she was the main reason for me to tune into Boston Public. I really like her, not just because she has incredible bone structure but because she can act. Go figure.

The chemistry between the characters works great. It’s an ensemble show and the characters are all likable. They have their differences (especially with Megan) but at the end of the day they are a team.

So, is this the perfect crime show we have all been waiting for? Certainly not. There are at least two factors that get on my nerves some: while the chemistry among the characters is great, it seems to slip when these people get involved – with each other or anybody else. The premise is, of course, that Megan and her partner, Peter Dunlop (Nicholas Bishop), a medical detective, have it in for each other. But they don’t want to go there too fast or too obviously, so, mainly everybody they are dating is kinda wrong for them anyway. Still, they will probably not make it anyways because the writers seem to have made a virginal unapproachable out of Megan. She is so clever, so witty, so above it all that there’s no man good enough for her.

Pretty much the same goes for Megan’s boss, Kate Murphy (Ryan). She actually went out with Megan’s ex-husband and this relationship created a rupture between the women that I could have done without. Would I rather dig Megan and Kate together? Of course. But not just because they are both women, but because they seem to genuinely like each other, they have awesome chemistry. I know this is not gonna happen but making enemies out of these two over a man… that was some bad idea.

The other bad idea is that the powers that be seem to shuffle episodes around. Sometimes the storyline seems off, and Kate was sexting Todd before they had actually met. Weird and confusing that one. What little character development there is seems to go back and forth because of this and I don’t really see why they are doing this.

Despite these faults, the show is good. And it is so good because of the strong female characters and the affirmation of strong female characters that can totally hold their own. These women don’t play second fiddle to anybody and it’s good to see a cop show where the female count actually (almost) equals the male. Why is that so important? Because it repesents life.

Picture left shows Sonja Sohn as Sam Baker.

Back to tv: Pretty Little Liars

The “back to”-reference of the title is due to German tv showing the Back to Future-movies at the moment. And I guess, it is also because I sometimes forget how good tv shows can be. Of course, there will never be another Xena but then I thought there could never be another show like Moonlighting. Then again, was I wrong? I still love Cybill Shepherd (there was actually a time when I instinctly knew how her last name is spelled, these days seem to be over).

As a kid and young adult I watched a lot of tv. I was pretty much addicted and watched whatever was on and living with my parents I see how easy it is to fall back into that habit after not having owned a tv set for several years. But I try to distinguish and mainly watch crime shows with hot female leads…

Anywho, I was watching some tv – or rather some illegal internet sources – lately and I came across Pretty Little Liars. Okay, I read there was some girl-on-girl action going on and I was curious. Curious is over in a way but the show has intrigued me. Which should bring me to another question: why do I enjoy watching teenage shows/movies so much? I am over thirty, people… but maybe that is a better question for my faux anthropology blog.

The show is based on teenage girl books (correct me if I am wrong about the teenage girl-part of this statement) and as other people before me, I don’t want to read any spoilers in the comments, y’all. It’s about four teenage girls who have lost a friend when they were sleeping in a barn on the property of one of the girl’s parents. A year later the main character Aria comes back to town, the body is found, everybody is suspicious and suspecting. A whodunit-glamor-teenage-show in the tradition (if there is already one) of Gossip Girl.

So, history seems to repeat itself for the girls. Not only is Allison (the dead girl) again the center of their lives (as she was when she was still alive since she was the queen bee within the clique) but Aria is falling for her teacher (her dad had an affair with a student a year ago), Spencer is again snogging her sisters boyfriend/fiance (as she has already done a year ago), Emily has another girl-crush (the first one having been Allison, and now it is the girl who moved into Allison’s last home), and Hanna is trapped in some sort of limbo where she is not the queen bee anymore (which she has become after Allison died) but again the girl everybody rejects (her boyfriend, her father, but wait, maybe it is just the male characters in her life). And having the wrong kind of posse does not help either.

Needless to say that I like Emily best, not just because she’s into girls (or not, the writers didn’t seem to be clear about it yet) but because she is soooo cute. I know, teenage girls but I looked it up, the actress is actually 23.

What intrigued me most was how the relationships these four enter do not seem real because these new aquaintances are all suspicious (not the least of them being Maya, Emily’s love interest). But, of course, so are the four girls themselves. Then there is Jenna who was blinded by Allison, and her brother, who consequently took the blame because Allison had something on him. And then there is the question who is sending text messages (and other kind of creepy messages) to the four friends and calls him/herself “A.” Is it Zombie-Allison out for revenge because her friends did not safe her? Is it Jenna who may or may not be able to see? Does her brother Toby help her while he is helplessly falling for Emily and may have the potential to cheat his sister out of her petty revenge)? Is it Aril’s dad? Her new boyfriend/teacher? Her dad’s ex-student/now co-worker/ex-lover? Or someone else entirely? Will it still interest me tomorrow or am I going to be hooked on something else? Like Covert Affair?

I keep you posted.

WTF: I just watched yesterday’s episode. Please, somebody tell me that Emily is not dead… then again, don’t tell me. I have an inkling she is not but if not her… who is? And where is Maya? Suspense!!!