Television

Garry Marshall (1934-2016)

Garry Marshall didn’t win Oscars.  He didn’t win an Emmy, although he was nominated several times.  He was also nominated for Writer’s Guild awards, but didn’t win.  In later years he received honorary awards from the Guild.  But by and large, those accolades we associate with successful writers and producers and directors eluded him.

However, it’s safe to say that his work is among the most enjoyable, fun, and crowd-pleasing that movies and TV have to offer.

68th Primetime Emmy Nominations

emmy Last week the nominations for the 68th Primetime Emmys, which honor excellence in television, were announced. Like every year, the nominations in the drama and comedy categories are a mix of familiar names and newcomers. Since the television shows nominated in these categories run for multiple seasons, it makes sense that there would be repeat nominations each year. It is refreshing, however, to see new faces and titles added to the nominations list.

Although the nominations in the drama categories remain similar to last year, there are few new additions. New favorite Mr. Robot received multiple nominations for its first season, as did The Americans, finally recognized for its stellar fourth season. Game of Thrones also did well this year, with five acting nominations for Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, and Maisie Williams.

The comedy categories also showcase a few new faces. Nominated for outstanding comedy series, black-ish and Master of None also received additional acting nominations. Additionally, new actors in shows like Veep and Transparent received nominations for their work this past season.

Below, I have listed the nominees in the drama and comedy categories for Outstanding Series, Lead Actor and Actress, and Supporting Actor and Actress. With the mix of old and new in each category, it will be interesting to see which way the votes fall at this year’s Primetime Emmys. Who would you like to see win an Emmy?

A Murder of Crime Dramas

police lightI am a huge fan of TV - particularly of procedural crime dramas. For years, my favorite TV show has been Criminal Minds and I’ve watched the series so many times that I can pretty much place any episode within the first five minutes. (I honestly don’t know whether that’s a silly skill to be proud of, or if I need to find a better use for my time.) During the regular television season, I spend most of my TV time watching the whole gamut of network crime shows: NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, Criminal Minds, Person of Interest and Elementary. But once the season finales air, I have to explore new TV options to fill the summer hiatus.

Although crime dramas are hugely popular on TV, they don’t all fit the same mold. Some are fairly formulaic, yes, but many bring something extra to the viewing experience. Sometimes it’s a plot full of twists and turns or a case that lasts the whole season; at other times it’s a unique detective or interesting setting. Last night, in my quest, I started watching Longmire, which features a Wyoming county sheriff who solves major crimes. With its rural setting, sweeping landscapes, and a sheriff reminiscent of classic Westerns, it’s a compelling show that fills the gap in my TV schedule.

If you’re looking for a new show to watch this summer, I have listed out some non-network crime dramas below. Each of these shows has multiple seasons and would make for a great summer binge session.

Partners in Crime

It should come as no surprise that I have a great fondness for mysteries and, particularly, cop shows and movies.  From lighter fare to dark thrillers, I’ve enjoyed watching the good guys take on the bad guys.  That might come from my earliest years watching Perry Mason.  Then moving on to The Streets of San Francisco, Dragnet, Adam-12, Columbo, the original Hawaii Five-O.  Of course all of those series have one big thing in common: all the crime solvers were men.

If You Can Read This...

Many years ago, there was a very popular bumper sticker that read, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.”

This is Teacher Appreciation Week.  And it’s fitting that we acknowledge those who spend their professional lives working for the benefit of children, young adults, and even older adults.  I’d be willing to bet that almost everyone has a particularly teacher they remember as a role model or mentor.  My favorite teacher is one from elementary school, though I really liked some in high school and college, too.  I have several family members who have taken on the sometimes tough, more times rewarding career in education.  My admiration for them is boundless.

A Place in the World

What do Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Jane Eyre, Anne Shirley, and Harry Potter have in common?

The answer is rather an easy one.  They are all orphans.

It’s a theme that’s been used over and over again in storytelling, from fairy tales and classic literature to fantasy and comic books.  The child whose parents have died or perhaps disappeared.  The child who often feels all alone in the world.  The child who finds friends or a calling to see him or her through the roughest of times.

After the Apocalpyse

maze runner character cardEarlier this week, I finally had the chance to watch The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the sequel to 2014’s The Maze Runner. Based on a bestselling Young Adult series by author James Dashner, these movies follow a group of teenagers with no memory of who they are as they try to navigate a post-apocalyptic world they don’t understand and stay one step ahead of the organization chasing them.

Novels like these have become increasingly popular over the past ten years, as have movies along the same theme. Some, like The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games, are based on popular YA books. Many, like Elysium and Mad Max: Fury Road, are original concepts dreamed up for the medium of film. Regardless of their origin, all movies in this genre seek to understand what compels humanity to survive and rebuild in the face of utter devastation.

If you’re in the mood for a post-apocalyptic or dystopian movie this week, check out the list below. I have also included a few TV shows that also fit the bill – just in case you’re in the mood to binge watch a series.

Patty Duke (1946-2016)

Patty Duke was a star at 12 years old, taking Broadway by storm in The Miracle Worker, playing young deafblind Helen Keller.  At age 16, she received an Oscar and a Golden Globe for that same role in

Like Mother, Like Daughter

It’s not unusual for children to follow in the footsteps of their parents.  A talent or interest for certain professions seem to run in families.  Sometimes it’s to carry on a business.  Sometimes it’s because the child grows up seeing the parent making a career and wants to do something similar.  Whether it’s farming or manufacturing or being a doctor or a teacher, parents and children will often travel along the same path. 

New Orleans

Next Tuesday is a day that means “Party!” to many people.

Mardi Gras!

And when it comes to Mardi Gras, most of us think of two place: Rio de Janeiro or New Orleans.  Of course, New Orleans is much closer and therefore more likely for a destination celebration.

While the city has been a center of commerce and tourism, it has also been a place of art, literature, and – perhaps most known -- music.  Artists over the decades have found homes there.  Numerous movies have been set or filmed there.  Writers have been inspired by the area and its history, as well as the legends of intrigue -- and maybe even magic.

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