Monday, February 19, 2018
Pitch Your Show - Olympics Edition - Part D
Today's Pitch Your Show edition focuses on shows H-L and includes the third and fourth most nominated shows, Leverage and The Librarians. Since Leverage is my favorite crime procedural of all time, I wholeheartedly agree with its pitches. The character growth in it alone should make it heavily sampled. However, if crime procedurals are not your thing, there are plenty of other shows to try from heartfelt Canadian dramas to historical fiction chronicling the rise of personal computers and modern medicine to the funniest zombie romp you'll ever watch and so much more. Here's hoping something catches your imagination. To keep the articles short and readable, all pitches were edited for length (less than 300 words), clarity, and grammar. I have also limited nominations to 3 per show with a few very popular shows having 4. I am truly sorry if your nomination is not in here. Know that I appreciate your time and pitches. Making the choice of what went in was difficult. After all sections are posted, I will include a link to the original spreadsheet so you can read them all in their entirety. Also, don’t forget to add your comments below. What shows do you recommend?
Milo – This show is just too good. If you've missed Mad Men, Halt and Catch Fire is the show for you, taking place in the 1980s and following the early rise in personal computers. Its four lead characters, played by Lee Pace, Mackenzie Davis, Scoot McNairy and Kerry Bische are all absolutely fantastic in their performances. The series itself is one of those that rewards people who stick with it, perfectly bingeable with one great season after another. The character relations are great and it shines a rare spotlight on women in the tech industry, putting its two female leads front and center to great success. The soundtrack too is among the best on television, with carefully curated Spotify playlists available for each of the lead characters. The drama is consistently brilliant and it's unmissable, essential television.
LauraLoo – If gore and horror is not your thing I totally understand if you want to skip out on this show. It’s certainly not for everyone, and even I had to take my time getting through the first season. But if you can look past all of that and appreciate its beauty and aesthetics, then you will adore this show. It takes these characters that you’ve probably seen in one way before and shapes them into new beings. The chemistry between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham is palpable all throughout the series, and if you know how the show ends it makes perfect sense, even at the beginning of the show. The rest of the characters are all outstanding too. It’s a wonder how none of them ever won any Emmys. Each season is remarkably different, with later seasons scrapping that procedural format and turning full-on serialized. It seems to be widely regarded that the last two seasons were the better ones, but I really enjoyed the first season for what it was. So, if watching shows like Hannibal is your design, then you’ll simply salivate over this offering too.
Milo – Bryan Fuller is currently working on his excellent series American Gods, so what better time to discover (or revisit) the wonderfully twisted Hannibal, that ran for three seasons on NBC before finally being axed but not before delivering some of the most memorable and gory episodes of television that I've ever seen. Boasting plenty of style, the show takes the Hannibal Lecter character to new heights following a brilliant performance by Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, with Mikkelsen delivering a near iconic performance as Lecter himself. This is one of those rare shows that's best not saved for binge-watching, rather savoring a few episodes at a time, as it's just so uniquely crafted, brilliantly executed, and wonderfully made. Give it a shot. Despite being cancelled, it does have an effective ending that leaves the series open for a possible fourth season. By the end, you'll be wondering how a show as messed up as this ever ended up on NBC in the first place.
Kewana – The procedural action of the show will draw you in and keep you guessing each episode, but the great characters and relationships keep you watching and in awe. There isn't another friendship out there like the one on this show. It’s funny, loving, and entertaining. Not to mention, there are beautiful scenic shots of Hawaii, a diverse cast, and lots of fun to watch.
Joy Haldar – First and foremost, you DO NOT need to watch the original to enjoy this reboot. This is an independent, strong show on its own rights by all accounts. Now in its 8th season, it's still going strong quality wise & ratings wise (one of the rare broadcast shows whose numbers went up year-to-year). The cast is a pure gem. They feel like family from get to. From the charismatic leader in Steve to his nagging, worrywart, hilarious partner Danny, who is also the best TV dad IMHO, to bada** female characters like Kono, Doris, Catherine, this show has got it all. There's also great diversity, which makes it even more special in my eyes. The thing that instantly clicked with me was the epic bromance between Steve and Danny. I am a sucker for that and this show delivered and how! It's truly on another level. Another thing I appreciate is that there's no unnecessary romance melodrama to slow down the narrative. Sure, there are cases of the week but that's not ALL this show is. The character interactions are the main focus here, not the cases they solve. They work as a team and they would walk through fire for one another if need be. They always have each other's backs. The gorgeous backdrop of Hawaii only adds to the narrative. The way the showrunner and writers incorporate this island's traditions and culture into the show is just awe-inspiring. If there was ever a perfect procedural, this is IT. It's got a lot of heart. In no time you will fall in love with the characters and for those who love action, you won't be let down either. High octane chase sequences and explosions make a deadly combo. It’s perfect Friday night entertainment.
Priscilla Starkey – It's the greatest crime show on tv with great stars like Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan.
Amberly – Heartland is a heartwarming family drama about a family that runs a ranch in Alberta, Canada. Based on a book series, the show begins with death of Amy’s mother, which leads to her older sister returning home to help run the ranch with their grandfather. One of the main functions of the ranch is working to heal troubled and/or abused horses. The show is quite feel good, never too dark or angsty, and it follows the family through their work with horses and other animals as well as changes in their personal lives (marriage, children, etc.) There are lots of good characters you connect with as well as lots of beautiful horses. The show is Canadian and has aired 10 seasons so far and was recently renewed for an eleventh. The early seasons also feature recurring roles played by Stephen Amell (Arrow) and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black).
Chelsea Para – The longest running scripted one hour show in Canada, Heartland is a family friendly drama that has good writing, interesting characters, and beautiful scenery and horses. People of every age can enjoy what the show brings to the table each week. You don't even have to be "horsey" to enjoy the show since plenty of time is spent on the human storylines as well. For those that are going to watch for the horses, this show covers many different disciplines and horsemanship techniques, all of which are fun to watch, and it's easy to get attached to all the character horses.
Folielex – Based on a comic book, this show chronicles the story of Christopher Chance, a former hit man who, plagued by a tragic and blood-soaked past, now works as a for-hire bodyguard. He protects his clients by secretly infiltrating their lives in order to draw out and eliminate threats. Running point on the missions is Winston, a former cop. Also, Guerrero, a former colleague from Chance's old life, more often than not offers his unique set of skills to help out. The second season also saw the addition of Mrs. Isla Pucci, a rich, socialite philanthropist who started out as a client and ended up footing the bill for the company, and Ames, a street smart thief who joins the team. Portrayed by the wonderful Mark Valley, Christopher Chance has all the Jason Bourne moves with all the James Bond charisma and wraps that up with a fun cowboy attitude that just make the show a joy to watch. The supporting cast of Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley is stellar, especially when it's just those two playing off each other. Their chemistry and their characters' bickering make for some of the best moments the whole series has to offer. The ladies introduced in season 2 were a welcome addition to the fully male cast and added some interesting layers and dynamics to the show. Overall this was a FUN-tastic piece of popcorn-action TV, with some great character moments peppered in there. I honestly wish there was more than just 25 episodes. On a positive note, there are no major cliffhangers, simply a "the show goes on despite the curtain call" vibe. So, feel free dive into this world and not be left hanging, just simply yearning there was more.
Ellys Cartin - An unexpected delight this TV season, Inbar Lavi plays chameleon Maddie, a con artist who works with a team in the employ of a sinister type called The Doctor. Her act is making people fall in love with and marry her. Then she takes everything they have. Imposters picks up when two of her former husbands team up to track her down. Ezra and Richard couldn't be any different, which produces quite a bit of humor as they start to form a junior con artist team of their own. As for Maddie, Lavi is a revelation, spellbinding as she switches personalities and studies her marks. The first season combines romance, road trip comedy, soapy suspense, and cat/mouse interactions to create a first-rate guilty pleasure.
Ezio Auditore – This is a different take on the zombie genre that is fun and quirky. The series stars Medical Examiner Olivia 'Liv' Moore who is scratched and turns into a brain craving zombie the night of a yacht party. Now working as an ME for Seattle police, Liv discovers that she has the ability to gain the memories, personality and skills of the deceased person whose brain she eats, allowing her to help solve their murders. Working alongside her is her eccentric boss Ravi, and a detective, Clive. All while, Liv tries to keep the secret of zombies from her roommate lawyer Peyton and her ex-fiancée Major. As the series progresses Liv learns there are others like her and that not all of them are as friendly as she is. Also, the accident that turned her into a zombie may not have been an accident after all.
Milo – The CW's main comic adaption that isn't from a superhero source material, it offers the most unique approach on the zombie genre that I've seen and is just so much fun. Liv Moore is a M.D., who becomes a zombie after attending a party and wakes up with a thirst for brains that give her memories - and the personalities - of the deceased whose brains she has consumed. So naturally, she gets a job at the morgue and as a result, there's several new cases, each with different and often hilarious consequences. The cast have among the best chemistry that I've seen in any show, and Rose McIver's acting is excellent as she adopts a brand-new personality each week. Fans of other CW shows will find plenty to love here, and it rarely disappoints. Three seasons in and with a fourth on the way, iZombie is a rarity among zombie shows - it's actually entertaining!
Dahne – Simply put, this is the most pure fun show on The CW. While many of their shows get bogged down in angst and melodrama, iZombie is there to entertain with one of the fastest moving plots on TV. The story twists and turns, going places you never think it will, including a massive twist at the end of the third season which makes the fourth season the most anticipated yet. It’s a sci-fi, police procedural with highly serialized season-long arcs becoming more serialized as the series goes on. Best of all, it never gets boring because Liv, the main character, changes in each episode based on whatever brain she ate last. Rose McIver does an inspired job of adding the changing character elements but still keeping the heart of Liv the same. Plus, it has a great strictly platonic relationship between Liv and Ravi, her boss in the ME’s lab. The banter between the two is a lot of fun without the unnecessary “will they-won’t they” nonsense that hampers and ruins most procedurals. If you are looking for a great romp of a TV show, try this one out. Don’t let the zombie thing stop you, because this is unlike any other zombie show on TV.
Charlotte – I'll be honest, I expected very little from this comedy when I tried it out. It's made by Youtubers and is exclusively available on a minor streaming service. But oh boy, should you not judge this series by its cover. It's genuinely one of the funnier shows I've seen anywhere, bigwig networks included. Its genre of humor leans on the silly side. Think of a show led by Parks and Rec's Andy Dwyer. It's creative, fun, and easy to laugh with. What more could you ask?
Milo – Justified is far more than just your average crime show. Adapted from the work of Elmore Leonard, this six-season long series follows the adventures of US Marshall Raylan Givens, a certified bada** with a badge. The villains are among the best I've ever seen on television, with particularly standout performances by Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder as well as a spectacular role for Margo Martindale in the show's best season, its second. This show, hands down, has the best dialogue on television. Nothing else even comes close to matching its best lines. With one of the best finales ever, this crime show is a must watch, period. It's essentially a modern day western and always worth catching up on if you haven't seen it already.
Milo – Sadly cancelled after two seasons, Cinemax's The Knick is something that should not be overlooked as it is a pure gem and worth watching despite this. It's a medical show unlike any other medical show on television, taking place during the early years of medicine in early 1800’s New York. It's expertly directed and shot in a continuous way so that each scene perfectly transitions from the next, and its cinematography and direction is nothing short of superb, thanks in no small part to the involvement of the fantastic Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's Eleven) who directed every episode of Season 1. The soundtrack from Drive and Neon Demon composer Cliff Martinez is excellent, and the atmosphere is just brilliant. The cast is nothing short of exceptional too, with award-worthy performances by Clive Owen (Children of Men) and Andre Holland (Moonlight) in particular. It tackles issues such as racism, corruption and drug abuse all around the operating table, and still manages to maintain a large element of dark humor. It doesn't shy away from showing plenty of blood and guts though, so if you're squeamish, this is one to stay clear of!
Ellys Cartin – Before everyone decided to make military dramas again, TNT had already launched its thrilling, suspenseful The Last Ship. I love this show to pieces. It's rare for me to care about every character on a show, but these post-apocalyptic dramas always do it for me. The crew of the USS Nathan James thinks they are just on a normal off-the-grid mission, escorting a couple scientists on the side. But when they resume communications at the end of the mission, they discover the world as they knew it is gone, lost to a terrible plague and there's no time machine to fix it. There's no zombies either, though that's small comfort, especially when most of them have lost their entire families. Now they have a new mission: helping the scientists make a vaccine and then rebuilding the world from the ground up. Of course, whoever controls the vaccine will control the new world, so they face multiple enemies on land and at sea. This produces countless exciting action sequences. You don't want to miss Eric Dane as Captain Tom Chandler and Adam Baldwin as Captain Mike Slattery. I could go on and on about each character, including Special Forces team members Danny, Carlton, and, later on, Wolf. Just when you think the show can't get any better, it has its best season yet in season 3 when Bridget Regan joins the cast!
Ellys Cartin – If you had told me last year that Legends of Tomorrow would ditch all its season 1 baggage, bring in the best villain lineup ever, and become totally awesome for season 2, I would not have believed you but that's what happened. No need to watch season 1. The show brings you up to speed. Sara Lance, former deluxe assassin/recently resurrected bada** takes the captain's chair of the time ship Waverider, leading Firestorm, Atom, Vixen and historian Nate Heywood everywhere from the Jurassic Area to the Moon to Camelot to World War 1. Their mission is to work together to thwart the attempts of the Legion of Doom (so entertaining) to rewrite reality and find out where their former leader Rip Hunter has gotten to. Along the way, the show is just a ton of fun, with neat visual effects and costumes, as well as exciting action pieces. The show could only be more perfect if it had amazing character development and a strong villain....OH, WAIT, it has all that too! This is one so good you'll want to rewatch!!!
Ellys Cartin – Whether you won't watch a comic book show to save your life or your life revolves around comic book shows, Legion is not to be missed. David Haller lives in Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital, because supposedly voices in his head drove him to attempt suicide. His existence of pills and therapy sessions is disrupted by a newcomer, Syd Barrett. The quiet young woman doesn't let anyone touch her, but David is drawn to her and they become friends. Then the day comes for Syd to be released. Things go horribly wrong and those voices in David's head just might be pretty dangerous. Yes, Legion is connected to the X-Men universe. Yes, there are mutants but it doesn't follow the same old formula. Sinister backstory reveals itself to us, as David begins to understand what he's capable of, and the show uses creative, entrancing visuals to illustrate his journey. In addition to fine work from Dan Stevens as David, the supporting cast, especially Aubrey Plaza, present top-notch characters. You have to pay attention while watching Legion, but there's real payoff when you do. The whole story comes together wonderfully!
Milo – You want weird? You've got weird. Weird is pretty much the one word that most sums up Legion, the breakout new series of 2017. It's smart, clever and inventive, with nods to movies like A Clockwork Orange, and is far and away the most unique take on the X-Men universe yet. But then, given the nature of David Haller in the comics, anything less would have been a disappointment. Often confusing but always great, featuring an Emmy-worthy performances by Aubrey Plaza, Dan Stevens, and Rachel Keller, Legion is the must watch show of the year and with a great soundtrack to boot, it's one of this year's most unique shows and should not be ignored under any circumstances.
Darla – I got hooked on the show when it first aired. I have to admit, I checked it out for Christian Kane but stayed because of the whole cast. They found the perfect ensemble for Leverage without giving in to stereotypes. I enjoyed watching those loners turn into a family and how they used their criminal talents for good, helping people that nobody else would or could help. The stories were always realistic and never lost their humor despite being a con show. I still enjoy going back and regularly watching an episode, as for 40 minutes they make you believe that there are actually people out there that can make this unfair world right again for a little while. How ironic that it's a gang of thieves of all people. Yeah, sometimes the bad guys really do make the best good guys.
Emily Dickinson – Entertaining for the whole family! Amazing cast with great chemistry! Never a dull moment!
Mary E. Brewster – Why to watch Leverage? So many reasons. The premise of the show to begin with. There’s the Robinhoodlums, five different and distinctive personalities, that come together to help those who have been wronged and can’t go against the establishment (or person) on their own. They each bring their own sets of talents to the table – mastermind, grifter, hacker, thief, and hitter. Together they help those who can't help themselves because sometimes the best good guys are the bad guys. The scripts are sometimes taken from the headlines and brought to life with creative genius. I love how at the end of the episode it shows how each of the cons were pulled off, a mini re-cap of the episode. The action is in good proportion, not too much and not too little. The actors (Christian Kane, Aldis Hodge, Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf, Timothy Hutton) fit so well with their characters and worked so well together that it came across on the screen. The sets and locations were as well chosen as the cast. The whole show came together to create a wonderful hour of fun, exciting entertainment. The chemistry of the cast though is what makes the show magnificent and still well-loved. So Leverage is my recommendation!
Telisha – They are highly trained at doing bad things - hacking, beating people up, stealing, etc. - but they decide to take on the bad guys who use legal loopholes, money and power to continue to hurt people through drug trials that kill, companies that legally steal homes, and more. They go after the people the law can't and they do it as a family. The close-knit inner family really makes the show great.
Kathy Ares – The Librarians is a great family show, full of suspense, action, and magic. Everyone will enjoy it.
Clarike - Family-fun series with a hint of history that grows on you a little more every season!
Honorat – It’s fun for the whole family and doesn't take itself too seriously. There’s lots of variety in episodes and has great characters and actors. Smart and even occasionally educational, it can also have emotional and dramatic moments. Plus, it doesn't believe in cliff hanger season finales. Mixing up the stereotypes, the guardian colonel is a woman. The Asian character is a lovable rogue, the thief with a heart of gold who can't fight and is full of snark. The cowboy bar-fighting character is the art historian and linguist who loves literature. The girl in the cute clothes is the cutthroat scientist, non-neurotypical, and bi. The head librarian is charming and scatterbrained but a genius. John Laroquette--need I say more. It's a great ensemble cast.
Karen Wampler - It's a bit of action, a bit of comedy, and a whole lot of family friendly television!
LauraLoo – If you like any of the following you will enjoy this show: a wide variety of adorable and interesting characters, a stunningly layered and complex villain, a thoroughly relatable protagonist, a crime procedural that is so much more than just that, a serialized story arc surrounding a mythology that is routed in captivating sci-fi elements, a soundtrack and score that always plays the right songs in the right moments, a set of actors, actresses, writers, directors, and other creative cast and crew members who not just perform amazingly but have fun with the material they are creating, a show that gets better each week, a show that encompasses and transcends every genre you can think of? Limitless masked itself behind "your typical CBS police procedural", but proved week after week that it had so much more to offer. NZT-48 is a drug that allows you to access the full potential inside of you, and with that comes a lot of crazy scenarios and situations. If you dropped it after the pilot in fear that it would be unoriginal and boring, it is NOT. This show cared deeply about how it presented its cases of the week. Whether it was quirky animations or Brian's crazy NZT antics, the writers knew about the inherent stigma towards this genre and always strived to create a world beyond this, despite the serialized moments being the best part of every episode. If that's not enough, the two lead characters weren't involved in some forced romance. They remained friends and that friendship was excellent. This show knew how to have fun and serious, heartfelt moments. It was cancelled too soon, but fear not, it did not end on a cliffhanger.
Ellys Cartin - Lucifer was not what I expected. I started watching with the season 2 premiere, and it took my breath away. For one thing, the cast is amazing and the strong storytelling perfectly complements their talent. The cases of the week capture your attention, the screenwriting is peppered with smart humor, and almost no other show as thoughtfully or realistically handles spiritual questions like this one does. Every episode is super entertaining. Characters grow and change, you actually don't see the twists coming, and Tricia Helfer plays Lucifer's loving but scheming Mom! I can't help but watch it live, although all episodes are available on Hulu to binge...again and again.