Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Best TV of 2013

2013...we hardly knew thee.

I will begin my annual list explaining what shows you will find on most other critic's lists, but not mine.

Orange Is The New Black (NETFLIX)

I saw four episodes. They were funny. But I didn't go back for more. When I do, perhaps it will make the list. Hey, I was dead wrong about Louie, so I CAN change my mind.

Scandal (ABC)

I don't mind smart sap, but this show is overrated. It's fine...for an ABC drama. But not Top Ten.

Enlightened (HBO)

I'm not.


Top of the Lake (SUNDANCE)

Broadchurch (BBC AMERICA)

American Horror Story (FX)

Still haven't watched it. Still seems weird for the sake of being weird. I'll get there.


The Americans (FX)

Really picked up steam towards the end of the season. And I'll watch anything with Margo Martindale in it (including The Millers).

Masters Of Sex (SHOWTIME)

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan are great, but Beau Bridges and Alison Janney are even better. The show is dry in spite of the subject matter, but still well worth watching.


Modern Family (ABC)

Still makes me laugh, and I always find it touching. It's good, and can be great at times, but needs to get back to its Season One brilliance. And I still don't like the new Lilly. 

The Newsroom (HBO)

I'm a sucker for Sorkin. And Olivia Munn.

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Maybe I'm growing immune to the zombies and too many regulars are disappearing. I still like it, but it wasn't Top Ten for me this year.

Sons of Anarchy (FX)

Kurt Sutter knows how to start and end a season, but this just misses making my Top Ten this year. Mayhem will ensue.

Parks and Recreation (NBC)

I still love this comedy and its ensemble, but this past season was missing something. Hoping that shaking up the cast will lead to more laughs. 


10.  Rectify (SUNDANCE)

This moody gem profiling a prisoner leaving death row is a keeper. Heavy drama with some top notch acting...and you'll find out where that teacher Don Draper was banging ended up after all.

9.  Veep (HBO)

Julia and crew hit their stride this season. Consistently funny satire that uses its cast to its full advantage.

8.  Justified (FX)

This show continues to stay under the radar. Olyphant and Goggins lead the excellent acting ensemble. The hunt for Shelby was okay, but everything around it was very entertaining.

7.  House of Cards (NETFLIX)

How can Kevin Spacey in THAT role and David Fincher's direction miss? It didn't. I didn't love Frank talking to the camera so much, but the story picked up speed and careened towards a satisfying ending. Looking forward to season two.

6.  Orphan Black (BBC AMERICA)

Want to see the best performance by a TV actress last year? Tatiana Maslany awaits more ways than one.

5.  The Good Wife (CBS)

They shook things up at Lockhart/Gardner, and it paid major dividends. The best show on network TV got even better. Now all they need is a good storyline for Kalinda.

4.  Mad Men (AMC)

This season was an improvement over last, and that shot of Don looking up at the house on the hill gets you primed for the next season.

3.  Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Got off to a great start and ended a little too softly, but an excellent season all around. Bonus points for hardly any Margaret! Buscemi doesn't get enough credit for his performance.

2.  Game of Thrones (HBO)

Season three hit the ground running and really didn't stop. The Red Wedding shows how gruesome this show can be. Beautifully shot, extremely well acted, and I can't wait to get back to Westeros. Winter is coming.

1.  Breaking Bad (AMC)

My expectations for the final 8 were sky high. They weren't met...they were exceeded. Breaking Bad is one for the ages. Can't wait to call Saul.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscar Pix

For a long time now, the Oscars haven't been about the glamour, the stars, the host or even the films for me. The Oscars are all about the picks...and getting more of them right than anyone else. Maybe that's just my gambling side talking.

I don't care who's wearing what. I don't care about the dance numbers or Hollywood jokes. I care about the winners and losers.

So, without further adieu, here are my 2013 Oscar picks.


There are WAY too many nominees this year. Let's have the Academy do some work and narrow it down to five, please.

The only two films I didn't see were Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild. They aren't going to win anyway.

Silver Linings Playbook is the most overrated movie of the year. Good performances, but a horrible final 30 minutes of a movie. I sat through all of Les Miserables where Anne Hathaway shines but the English accented singing in France bored me. Django was a lot of fun, but it's twenty minutes too long and not a Best Pic. Life of Pi was gorgeous to look at and a poignant tale, but not the best movie I saw this year.

That leaves Argo, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty. I liked Lincoln. A lot. But it's bloated and feels way to Spielbergy at times. It WANTS to be Best Picture, but it's not.

Argo is a very good movie. Affleck got screwed by not being nominated, and any film that hails Hollywood as a hero should be a Best Picture lock. And this one would be, if Zero Dark Thirty didn't come out in the same year.

Zero Dark Thirty was the best movie I saw in 2012. Great acting and directing, fantastic drama, and it never slows down. The performances across the board were excellent. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Killing Osama gets my vote.

My Pick: Zero Dark Thirty


Oscar should be ashamed not nominating Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow. I didn't see Amour or Beasts of the Southern Wild. Silver Linings should not be nominated here either. If Spielberg hadn't already won one, he'd be a lock. But he did, and Life of Pi shows what a visionary director can really do these days. Richard Parker would have gotten a Best Supporting Actor nomination if those previous Oscar winners performances weren't so good.

My Pick: Ang Lee, Life of Pi


He won it when the poster came out. And he deserves it.  He's a "Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher" lock. The rest of the field doesn't matter.

My Pick:  Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln


Toughest call of the bunch. I've heard that Emmanuelle Riva is fantastic in Amour, but those roles win Supporting Actress statues, not this one. Same goes for Quvenzhane Wallis who is a nice story, but she's not winning. Naomi Watts is incredible in The Impossible, but nobody saw it other than me and my wife.  

That leaves Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain. Both were excellent in their roles. Jessica will get her Oscar someday. This year, my vote goes to Katniss.

My Pick: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook 


There's only one choice for me here, and it's Christoph Waltz. He owns Django (literally and figuratively). Of all of these accomplished actors who were nominated, his performance was simply the best. 

And I might be in the minority here, but I felt Deniro was average in Silver Linings Playbook. As a dad, he's fine. But as a bookie, come on. Didn't ring true at all. I love Deniro, but not in this movie. 

My Pick: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained


Helen Hunt is very good in The Sessions (John Hawkes should have been nominated for Best Actor). Jackie Weaver is barely in Silver Linings overrated. Amy Adams is always good, but never breaks through for some reason. Sally Field's performance in Lincoln reminds me of Deniro's in you-know-what, it's okay but nowhere near where an Oscar winner should be. 

If you never see Les Miserables, you should watch the scene where Anne Hathaway sings "I Dreamed a Dream" in a tight close up. I didn't like the movie, but Princess Mia belting that one out is Oscar worthy. Added bonus - her speech will be fun to watch.

My Pick: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

My pick six: Zero Dark Thirty, Ang Lee, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz and Anne Hathaway. 

Care to wager?

Friday, January 25, 2013

For What Its Worth

The Hollywood Reporter says it, so it must be true.

Gary Dell'Abate and I are heading to VH1 Classic to host our new show "For What It's Worth".

Our first ep will air on Thursday, February 21 at 10pm. 

More details to follow...