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RPW Can’t Miss This List 2014 – TV

Ready for 2014 Rock Paper Watchers? To celebrate the new year, we are releasing our “Can’t Miss This List” so you know our picks for upcoming shows, movies, albums, and books.  Check back tomorrow for our top 2014 movie picks!

True Detective

Airs January 12, 2014 on HBO

True Detective is a new HBO drama about Louisiana State Police Detectives Martin Hart and and Rust Cohle.  In 2012, they are brought in for separate interrogations about a murder case they solved in 1995.  As they narrate their story, each detective is pulled back into the case as questions begin to arise about the outcome of the peculiar murder.

Reasons to Watch: Reason #1 = The cast.  The detectives are portrayed by Matthew McConaughey (Cohle) and Woody Harrelson (Hart). Enough said.  Michelle Monaghan also stars as Maggie, Detective Hart’s wife.  By the looks of the trailer, they all put on riveting and gut-wrenching performances.  Reason #2 = The writing.  True Detective was written and created entirely by Nic Pizzolatto.  Pizzolatto is best known for writing two episodes of AMC’s cop-drama The Killing, including Season 1’s shock-filled finale.  The Killing is one of my favorite television shows (and one of the most underrated IMO) so I was thrilled to learn of this connection.  After conducting a little research, I discovered that Pizzolatto actually quit working for the series because he didn’t like “serving someone else’s vision.”  With True Detective being his first major solo project, I’m thrilled to see what this young and innovative writer has to offer.

Klondike

Airs January 20, 2014 on Discovery Channel

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Klondike is an upcoming historical mini-series by the Discovery Channel.  The six episode long series is the network’s first-ever scripted drama.  It follows two childhood best friends, Bill (Game of Throne‘s Richard Madden) and Epstein (Augustus Prew), in the late 1890s as they flee west in pursuit of gold.  Their journey leads to a land full of undiscovered wealth, but surrounded by unpredictable weather and dangerous characters, including greedy businessmen and native tribes witnessing the destruction of their land.

Reasons to Watch:  Richard Madden, hello!  Also, the production details of the series hint at great action scenes.  For example, over the course of 55 days, the actors faced severe conditions.  From freezing temperatures, to high altitudes; Madden and Prew literally hung off the side of a mountain for 16 hours straight for one scene.  That’s dedication.

Orphan Black  – Season 2

Airs April 19, 2014 on BBC America

Season 1 was a whirlwind.  At the season’s end, all of our favorite clones were forced to choose sides after meeting Rachel, their fellow clone and child of Neolution. Cosima discovered that the clones are property, owned by Neolution leading to Sarah’s decision to ignore Rachel’s threats in the greatest diss of all time, “Up your’s ProClone!” Cosima followed suit, but her illness will be front and center in Season 2. Allison, on the other hand, agreed to cooperate with Neolution.  What does this mean for her relationship with the other clones? Viewers can look forward to getting to know Rachel and the world of Neolution, as she takes the place of Season’s 2 “Big Bad.”  Suit’s Patrick J. Adams will be joining the cast in a very secretive guest spot, as well as Nashville’s bad boy (and the new Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones) Michiel Huisman.

Reasons to Watch: More clones!  We’ve already seen Tatiana Maslany play seven (YES, SEVEN) clones and the creators promise there will be more.  Also, I’m going through Felix withdrawals.

Penny Dreadful

Airs Spring 2014 on Showtime

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Penny Dreadful is an upcoming pyschosexual horror series that will weave together the origin of literary horror characters, including Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s monster, Dorian Gray, and Count Dracula, in Victorian London.

Reasons to Watch: Y’all, I have a confession to make. I used to be IN LOVE with Josh Hartnett. I remember seeing Pearl Harbor and The Faculty and thinking he was going to be my first kiss. Like seriously. So naturally with Hartnett cast as the lead in Penny Dreadful and perfectly positioned for a career comeback, I’m all in!

Masters of Sex – Season 2

Airs Fall 2014 on Showtime

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We know that Masters of Sex Season 1 just finished wrapping up, but we can’t help but be excited for the shows sophomore season. In the season finale, Dr. Master’s entire professional and personal life begins to unravel and the only person he wants to turn to is Virginia (Lizzy Caplan). After a few drinks, Master’s show up at Virginia’s door soaked from the rain and finally lays his feelings on the line.

“I have nothing to offer you except maybe the truth: I finally realized that there is one thing that I can’t live without — it’s you. You.”

Reasons to Watch: In its freshman season, Masters of Sex racked up 2 Golden Globe nominations. One for best drama, and the second going to Michael Sheen for Best Actor in a Drama Series category. I’m still rolling my eyes at the fact that Lizzy Caplan got shafted (ha-ha) for her portrayal of Virginia Johnson in the Best Actress in a Drama Series category. Between the story, the acting, the costumes and that ending…that ending is enough to leave us yearning for more.

Homeland – Season 4

Airs Fall 2014 on Showtime

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I have a confession, my confession is I jumped onto the Homeland wagon a little late. In fact, I didn’t binge watch Season 1&2 until right before the Season 3 premiere. The worst part is, it’s literally filmed out behind my apartment. I mean, I could probably start my own “Homeland” set tour company at this point.

After binge watching of Season 1&2, my feelings towards all the characters were pretty cemented. I wanted Carrie and Brody to be together, to have that happy ending, but as Season 3 started up I realized thats not what needed to happen, this show is not about happy endings. The show is at its best when the storyline sticks to Carrie and her obsessive need for the chase with the CIA, which is what I hope Season 4 is going to set up for us. If you haven’t watched the season finale of Season 3, shame on you, I’m going to ruin it for you.

  • BRODY DIES
  • CARRIE IS MEGA PREGGO & MEGA DEPRESSED
  • SAUL IS MIA IN THE MEDITERRANEAN (NOT WITH THE CIA) EATING BAGUETTES
  • CARRIE IS MOVING TO ISTANBUL (MAYBE) WITH BRODY’S SOON TO BE GINGER BABY
  • QUINN IS STILL HOT
  • CARRIE HAS WICKED STAR DRAWING SKILLZ

Reasons to Watch: For obvious reasons, what Homeland needs in Season 4 is a Renaissance. With Carrie moving to Istanbul as a station leader, Quinn, Max and Virgil are sure to be in tow. Of course a big piece of the puzzle that will be missing in said gang will be Saul. Mandy Patinkin is a phenomenal actor and outside of Quinn (hot), my favorite part of the show. I do hope the writers find a way to incorporate him into show in a way that makes sense next year….or possibly just bring him back into the fold of the CIA. So why should we watch? No more Brody, no more complications. During the season finale, it became pretty clear that they are going back to the basics. Carrie and the gang, doing what they are good at, catching the bad guys.

Turn

Airs 2014 on AMC

“Turn” tells the story of Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell), a New York farmer who bands together with a circle of childhood friends to form The Culper Ring,  George Washington’s ring of American spies who ultimately help America defeat the British in the Revolutionary War.  The show is based on the true story told in “Washington’s Spies” by Alexander Rose.

Reasons to Watch: Since my focus in college was Colonial America, I’m thrilled about the storyline and historical content.  But I’m also intrigued to see how non-history loving audiences will receive the show.  As much as I want it to be great, Turn has potential to be a train wreck.  It doesn’t help that the story is based on a war of which the outcome is already known.  So why should you watch?  It’s on AMC.  It’s potential to be bad is just as great as it’s potential to be phenomenal, considering the channel’s recent track record (i.e. Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Hell on Wheels).  And who knows, you might even enjoy getting a fun history lesson because, let’s admit it, you don’t remember learning about The Culper Ring in elementary school.

Honorable Mentions

House of Cards Season 2, Netflix available February 14th

Orange is the New Black Season 2, Netflix available TBD

Looking Season 1, HBO airing January 19 at 10:30pm

Boardwalk Empire Season 5, HBO airing Fall 2014

Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond Season 1, BBC America premieres January 19 at 10:00pm

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‘Homeland’ React 3×9 – Best episode of the season?

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I know, I know.  I said I would be posting Homeland theories every week but I’ve been so frustrated with this season I just haven’t felt any inspiration, other than seeing Quinn (past Monday Man Candy, Rupert Friend) in the shower of course.  Why have I been so frustrated you ask, let’s recap.

In general, this season has been pretty boring with a couple of peaks surrounded by a lot of really low valleys.  First of all, I don’t care about Dana, Leo, or Jessica, and does Chris even exist anymore?  We get it Homeland, as you kindly reminded us during a moment of viewer frustration, Dana is Brody’s moral tether.  But did we really need to see her running away with Leo only to discover that he’s a sociopath responsible for his brother’s suicide?  No.  I get that it was to show Dana’s growth into a pessimistic adult and it led to her exiting the Brody home, but nobody cares!

Secondly, the pregnancy.  Can we just not?

Lastly, what many considered the highlight of the season was the jaw-dropping twist that Carrie and Saul had been working together during the first few episodes.  The plan was to make it seem like she was ousted by the CIA and available to act as a double agent to lure Iranian bad-guy, Javadi, into their grasp.  Turn’s out Saul wasn’t throwing Carrie under the bus at all, she was driving said bus.  I agree, this was an excellent twist but it kind of pissed me off.  Since the first season, we’ve had the luxury of experiencing Homeland from Carrie’s point of view; her damaged and messed up point of view.  But she’s our protagonist so no matter the incident, I’ve always been on Carrie’s side.  When the larger plan was revealed and I realized that Carrie had tricked ME, the faithful viewer, it hurt!  I felt like I couldn’t trust the show anymore.  I’ve never trusted like 90% of the characters anyway, but I always felt like I could trust Carrie.

Regardless of my gripes and complaints, it seems the series is finally finding its footing in this season’s last act.  Arguably the best episode aired Sunday night; let’s discuss what made it great:

1.  Brody and Carrie

As much as I would like for it to happen for storytelling purposes, this week’s episode proved that it would be impossible for Homeland to kill off Brody.  Every episode prior felt slow and uneventful.  The second Carrie and Brody appeared on-screen together, in which was a full minute of painful silence, the tension and chemistry catapulted the show into another atmosphere.  These two sizzle on-screen together and I can’t help but wonder if the earlier episodes felt so agonizing because of the lack of Carrie/Brody time. 

2.  We learn Saul’s full plan

As previously stated, Carrie and Saul worked together to turn Javadi, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard by proving he had committed treason.  Now he’s back in Iran, supposedly acting as a double agent.  Saul wants to use Brody to take out Javadi’s boss or “the single greatest impediment of peace,” says Saul.  The idea is that Brody will be welcomed into Iran for his actions against the United States.  He will be treated as a war hero (sound familiar?) and invited into boss-man’s inner circle.  He’ll use this invitation to kill boss-man and then be extracted by a four-member team in a small city outside Tehran.  From there, Javadi will climb the ranks and take boss-man’s place, allowing for Iran-United States relations to finally lead to peace negotiations instead of war.

The plan is a little too “make peace not war” for me.  It’s too idealistic.  It puts too much faith in Javadi who we saw murder his ex-wife with a bottleneck a few weeks ago.  I agree with Carrie, it’s reaching, but at least we’re in the loop now.

3.  Brody is back-back

Not only is Brody back, he’s back-back.  After hitting what was surely rock bottom earlier this season, he’s now in probably the best shape we’ve ever seen him.  As a key part of Saul’s plan, it is important for Brody to be drug free and in excellent condition.  After a drug-induced detox, he begins training with a special ops team and after sixteen days, he’s in his best physical and mental state.  It was great seeing such a tortured and scattered character actually motivated and focused.

Saul so easily looped Brody into his master plan, fellow Rock Paper Watch writer Ashley Foster brought an interesting theory to my attention:  Is it possible that Brody has been manipulated by Saul since the very beginning?  Like back to his days as a Marine, was he intentionally a POW to get in with Abu Nazir?  I don’t think Saul would have condoned the death of the Vice President but its still interesting to consider.  I call this the Homeland-complex, trust no one.

4.  A few season one shout outs

During Brody’s detox-induced hallucinations, Tom Walker and Abu Nazir made special appearances.  Did anyone else feel like this was Homeland saying, “Hey guys, remember these characters? Back with the show was really good?”  It made me sentimental for season one and reminded me of everything Brody’s been through, making me feel protective of his character for the rest of the episode and probably the rest of the season. 

5.  Max and Virgil doing Max and Virgil things

Y’all, I love Max and Virgil.  They’re like the Batman and Robin of Homeland.  Maybe, Black Widow and Hawkeye from The Avengers is a better comparison since they’re more sideline characters, but whatever.  Virgil is definitely Black Widow.  Whenever Carrie or Saul has a plan, they are always available for the dirty work.  Even though Virgil often questions Carrie’s motives, they usually follow her blindly and there’s something very sweet about that.  This week, they were at Saul’s beck and call, sweeping Saul and Dar Adal’s homes for bugs.  Max discovers the fishy computer mouse planted by Alan Bernard, Mira’s former lover—leading to our next point.

6.  Saul is gonna make Lockhart his bitch

Alan Bernard, turns out, is an Israeli intelligence officer and is currently working for the great Senator Lockhart!  With evidence in-hand, Saul goes after Lockhart requesting more time so he can finish this mission in return for not releasing the images and ending Lockhart’s career.  Lockhart agrees to the terms after asking Saul why not release the images and permanently keep his position as the head of the CIA.  Saul’s response, “Because it would humiliate my wife, Senator, and because it would damage the agency.”  That’s the big difference between these two men.  Lockhart doesn’t understand that they agency needs protecting; he sees this job as a simple change of power.  Something tells me this blackmail isn’t over, is it possible that Lockhart will act as a puppet at the head of the CIA and Saul will continue to pull the strings?

7. Brody’s sidekicks

How awesome is Brody’s special ops team?  Their patience during training, and relentlessness during his detox warmed my heart.  And how adorable was it when the doctor one quizzed Brody on his relationship with Carrie?  I don’t know, camaraderie always gives me warm and fuzzies.  I hope we see a lot more of them in the upcoming episodes.

But what about Quinn?

Everyone’s favorite black-ops agent was pretty much missing this episode.  He had one scene with Saul, Dal Adal, Max, and Virgil when they were discussing how to deal with Alan Bernard and Senator Lockhart.  He had one line, “what would you like me to do?” Hold your horses Quinn, no need to shoot anyone in the arm.  His little screen time in the episode proved to me that the showrunners don’t quite now how he fits the story with Brody back.  I hope this doesn’t continue moving forward, he’s been the best part of Homeland lately.

What do you think of Homeland this season?  Are you sick of any storylines?  What are your predictions for Saul’s plan?  Did you miss Brody?  Should we write a petition for more Quinn shower scenes?