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Gotham Scoop: Morena Baccarin Checks In as Mythic Batman Figure

Originally posted on TVLine:

The doctor is in, and she’s hot for Detective Gordon!

Homeland‘s Morena Baccarin is joining Gotham in the iconic DC Comics role of Dr. Leslie Thompkins, TVLine has learned.

[pmc-related-link href="http://tvline.com/2014/10/13/gotham-full-season-order-fox/" type="RELATED"]Fox’s Gotham Gets Full-Season Order[/pmc-related-link]

Thompkins is a gifted and dedicated physician who was a friend of the late Thomas and Martha Wayne. She is determined to use her skills to aid Gotham’s most in need, which currently means working at the newly opened Arkham Asylum’s Home for the Criminally Insane.

In addition to her medical skills, her coolness under pressure will serve her well as she finds herself drawn to Ben McKenzie’s James Gordon and into more and more dangerous waters.

[pmc-related-link href="http://tvline.com/2014/10/21/greys-anatomy-spoilers-amelia-addiction-season-11-ask-ausiello/" type="RELATED"]Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Gotham, Grey’s, Supe, NCIS, Once, Grimm, Mindy, Brooklyn, Hawaii Five-0 and More[/pmc-related-link]

Baccarin’s recurring stint kicks off in early 2015.

Thoughts on the casting? Do you think Baccarin and McKenzie…

View original 8 more words

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X Factor Australia Finale: Who Will Win?

Finalists (L-R) Dean Ray, Brothers Three and Marlisa.  Source: Provided
Finalists (L-R) Dean Ray, Brothers Three and Marlisa. Source: Provided

Rocker Dean Ray, harmonious crooners Brothers 3 and singing school girl Marlisa are all vying for first prize when X Factor Australia reveals it’s winner tonight.

Who Should Win:  I’ve been right three years running (Reece Mastin, Samantha Jade and Dami Im) and I’m hoping to add Dean Ray to the list.  The guy is total swag on stage, clearly showing he is more adept at working the audience and giving stage presence than both Brothers 3 and Marlisa combined.

Right from the go, Ray’s audition of Kim Carnes ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ made him a standout and one to watch.  Only hitting the bottom two once (I still believe it was a ploy), Dean Ray, his mesmerizing and penetrating eyes and all, deserves to win.

Who Will Win: While still hopeful of a Dean Ray Win, Brothers 3 have remained a steadfast favorite in the series, even while being booted during judges top three announcements.  Being picked by viewers to be the return wild card and placing top spot when the viewer announcements were made are clearly showing these boys have fans.

What about Marlisa: She’s surely a surprise addition to the final three considering Regan was expected to make the final.  Marlisa can sing – no doubting that, but her stage presence lacks any oomph.  Give her a few years of doing Westfield gigs and i’m sure we’d see her pop up as a more mature and stronger performer.

Who do you think will win?  Sound off in the comments below!

X-Factor Australia finale live tonight, channel 7 at 7:30pm.

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The Block Glasshouse Finale: Mega Highs and Disastrous Lows

Runners up Chris and Jenna walk away with $300,000.
The Block Glasshouse Runners up Chris and Jenna walk away with $300,000.

Surprises and disappointments as The Block Glasshouse fails to deliver on auction day for all 5 couples.

What’s the general feeling about tonight’s The Block Glasshouse finale?

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Pretty sure we just watched three of the five couples get kicked in the nuts – but that’s reality television isn’t it folks?

After catching up with the contestants, the wedding between Max and Karstan, finally seeing the reserve prices and choosing auction order, we finally got into the nitty gritty of auction time which usually results in gasps of shock and tears of joy and couples revel in new-found money.  This time however, it wasn’t a pretty result.

After a false start ( bidders refused to move off the reserve of $1.5 million) first couple off the ranks, Chris and Jenna eventually managed to sell their apartment for $1.81 million – $310,000 over reserve.  We all at home breathed a sigh of relief as the couple avoided a disaster and walked away with some mega coin in their pocket.

Next up, brothers Simon and Shannon, whose reserve of $1.565 million (that includes the $10,000 off they won) was quickly bypassed as bidding was fast and furious, eventually selling at $1.9 million – $335,000 above profit.

While these figures are no where near what we’ve been treated to the past few seasons of The Block, $300,000+ is nothing to scoff at.

It’s here when things began to go downhill and the grey in host Scott Cam’s hair began to push on through.  Couple three – Max and Karstan had the highest reserve and the other contestants, their estate agents and pretty much all of us at home were expecting big numbers – but what we expect and what actually happened are two very different scenarios.

Max and Karstan’s reserve of $1.67 Million (minus the $30,000 bonus) saw the couple’s auction falter from the very beginning.  An opening bid of $100,000 under reserve and no real interested bidders saw expectant smiles turn to tears as the hammer went down on a final bid of $1.71 million – $40,000 above reserve.

A general “wtf just happened” hit social media as the couple expected to win the season walk away with only $40,000 profit. While it’s not the first time such a poor result has happened on the show (All-Stars Mark and Duncan nabbed $25,000 for their efforts) I don’t think anyone saw this result happening.

Dee and Darren, couple number four, entered the auction a little more hesitant after the poor result for Max and Karstan and rightfully so.  While often judged for poor attitudes, there was no denying the finished apartment offered by the couple was nothing less than perfect.  Unfortunately, none of the bidders saw it like that.  Their reserve (equal lowest with Michael and Carlene at $1.4 million or $1.37 million minus $30,000 bonus) saw bidding halter almost immediately and finally selling for $1.38 million.

$10,000 over reserve.

By this stage, two of the four couples are walking away with over $300,000 while the other two combined make up $50,000.  Pretty safe to say, there were more than a handful of expletives shouted in almost every lounge-room tonight.

Lucky last couple Michael and Carlene (yes, I WANT that lounge/dining room) entered the auction with the lowest of expectations after the previous two results.  Just like Dee and Darren, they started with a reserve of $1.4 million which was taken down to $1.38 million after their bonus was subtracted.  Good thing is was as at one point, the discussion of passing in the apartment was talked about.

While passing in seemed like the best option (a property has not been passed in on The Block since season 4, when three of the four properties failed to sell at auction) a final bid of $1.39 million meant the couple walk away with only $10,000 profit.

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Devastated:  Michael and Carlene walk away with $10,000 in winnings.  (9News)
Devastated: Michael and Carlene walk away with $10,000 in winnings. (9News)

So what caused, as Scott Cam says “the most traumatic and bizarre auction I’ve done“.?  Could it be the reserve prices?  The fact some of the apartments had no windows and the only source on natural light came from the exposed terrace?  How is it that couple Chris and Jenna, who placed the lowest 7 times after judging, walk away with so much money compared to Michael and Carlene who topped the judges board?

There are some reports noting that over the top reserves for the location plus the lack of interested bidders played a massive part.

Sound off in the comments below!

Either way, I can’t imagine this to be great advertising for wannabe Blockheads for the next 2 series (yes, another 2 series is already in the works!) of The Block.

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The Glasshouse Auction. The Block Finale

Will Michael and Carlene take out The Block Glasshouse?  Source: Supplied
Will Michael and Carlene take out The Block Glasshouse? Source: Supplied

Spoiler Free!  While the auctions have officially taken place, no word on final standings here until after the official airing tonight!

It’s auction time!  Nine’s reality hit The Block: Glasshouse comes to a close tonight with the couples all heading to auction, hoping to take out the $100,000 top prize.

Tonight’s finale will see each couples original reserve price plus the current reserve price with prizes won over the last two weeks for work on apartment 6 subtracted off the reserve.

Max and Karstan have won $30,000 off their reserve along with Dee and Darren.  Michael and Carlene earned $20,000 off their reserve with Simon and Shannon nabbing $10,000 off while Chris and Jenna remain the underdogs going into auction with their original reserve.

So how have the couples and apartments fared up to now?  Word has it that all apartments are expected to reach around the $1.3m to $1.5m dollar mark with Ray White agent Matt White tipping Max and Karstan’s apartment to win (Matt is Michael and Carlene’s agent)

I’m hopeful of and not expecting another surprise win like last season when Steve and Chantal walked away winners from The Block: Fans Vs Faves – meaning, sorry Chris and Jenna, you guys were entertaining but I don’t see you for the win.  I’d like to see Michael and Carlene take out top prize but then again, I’m completely in love with the bookcase enclosed lounge they delivered – and therefore slightly biased.

My final tip – It’ll be a battle between couples Dee and Darren and Max and Karstan.  Both have produced the most consistent apartments with high quality finishes.  I’m not officially picking a winner – as you know, it never pans out for me!

The Block: Glasshouse auction finale airs tonight, Channel 9 from 6:30pm.

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It’s Back: Twin Peaks Returns

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Trench coats, eye patches and big hair…it’s all on Twin Peaks.

Iconic 90’s drama Twin Peaks set to make a return 25 years after it’s cancellation.

“I’ll see you again in 25 years”…it’s one of the final lines uttered by murdered schoolgirl Laura Palmer in the final scenes of 90’s drama Twin Peaks and in true Hollywood style, Laura looks set to make true on her words, with the show returning to our screens..

Returning as a limited series, a deal has been set that will see the return of the show screen on cable network Showtime with nine, one hour long episodes of the cult series which is being brought back to life by David Lynch and Mark Frost.  And to be clear, this is not a reboot or re-imagining of the series but a continuation of the story-line 25 years later on.

“What more can I say — Twin Peaks with David Lynch and Mark Frost on Showtime in 2016!” said David Nevins, president of Showtime Networks. “To quote Agent Cooper, ‘I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.’”

Any talk of original cast members including Kyle MacLachlan, Sherilyn Fenn or Michael Ontkean have been halted while work on the script and production for a 2015 filming schedule begins.

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The original siring of Twin Peaks followed an investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer in the small eerie town of Twin Peaks.  What made the show so iconic was not only the mystery of “Who killed Laura Palmer” but also director Lynch’s telling of small town folk living double lives, exposing the seedier and darker under-layers of the community.

Personally, while I was too young to watch the show when it originally aired, I did have the chance to scope out a few episodes a couple of years back, but was too distracted by seeing what Lara Flynn Boyle used to actually look like.

You can check out more on what Mark Frost has to say about the return here.

Debra Messing leads the new series The Mysteries of Laura

Headed Our Way: Red Band Society, Gotham and More

Jada Pinkett-Smith as nightclub owner Fish Mooney in 9's Gotham
Jada Pinkett-Smith as nightclub owner Fish Mooney in 9’s Gotham

Ten scored a nice ratings boost with Tea’ Leoni led drama Madam Secretary last Thursday night (Oct 2nd) and now, other networks are looking set to grab viewers with a mass of new shows that are starting to show up on FTA networks.

Channel 10:

Madam Secretary airing Thursday nights

Scorpion airing Sunday nights

Reckless: TBA

Channel 9:

Gotham: Starts after The Block finale

Forever: TBA

The Mysteries of Laura: TBA

Channel 7:

How to get Away with Murder: TBA

Black-ish: TBA

The Whispers: TBA

Red Band Society: TBA

TBA

Selfie, Scorpion & State of Affairs.

While I talked about the lack of “fast-tracked” shows this season recently, by the time these shows actually begin to start airing, good chance, we’ll be almost half a season behind the US.

Keep an eye on this post for updated info as it’s released!

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Pilot Review: Madam Secretary

Tea' Leoni stars as Elizabeth McCord in new Madam Secretary.  Source: Provided
Tea’ Leoni stars as Elizabeth McCord in new Madam Secretary. Source: Provided

I for one, love being able to say the words “starring Tea’ Leoni” when writing a review for a new show.  It’s been far far too long since Leoni last graced our screens, especially with me having recently come off a massive ‘The Naked Truth‘ binge watch last month (Leoni starred in the sitcom The Naked Truth).

That said, Leoni’s return to prime time TV is in a very different project that what some may be used to seeing her star in with Madam Secretary (premiering Thursday Oct 2nd on Channel 10).

Here’s the basic run-down of Madam Secretary… “Madam Secretary follows Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst now working as a history professor who, after the Secretary of Defense’s plane goes down over the Atlantic Ocean, is tasked by the President of the United States to take his place. Two months later, while still trying to learn the job she’s accepted, McCord must deal with an international incident that sees two American teenagers taken into custody by the Syrian government, and are on the verge of possible execution by their captors.”

I’m just going to put it out there…..my experience with political themed shows goes as far as Veep so I entered Madam Secretary with some trepidation of being incredibly bored and unable to really follow what’s going on, but with Madam Secretary, instead of being bombarded with political jargon (it’s in there still), we’re given an insight into the rigors of Elizabeth McCord’s sudden and not-so-tender foray into the choppy waters of of the presidents cabinet.

Between being leashed by the president, dealing with an over eager stylist, remembering the names of all 7 wives of the King of Swaziland and maintaining a normal home and family life, Elizabeth has a lot on her political plate.

Having already mentioned Leoni above, what I can add is that while Madam Secretary is leaps and bounds away from the screwball comedienne we were first introduced to in the late 90’s, Leoni’s perfect comedic timing and natural energy allows her to bring some light to otherwise dull scenes.  Her on-screen husband played by Tim Daly is just as good as Henry McCord.  As a religion and ethics professor, Henry is sort of the show’s moral center and from what I’ve seen, there to fill the gender flip role we’re normally used to see being played by a female actress.  As per the norm with Daly, his on-screen chemistry with his leading ladies is second to none. From Laura Leighton in EYES to Kate Walsh in Private Practice and now Tea’ Leoni in Madam Secretary, Daly offers a flawless love-ability and strong companionship that plays well, especially with Leoni’s Elizabeth McCord.

The rest of the cast is filled with familiar faced actors including Bebe Neuwirth (Frasier) and Zeljko Ivanek (True Blood) who all help move the story along without too much fuss.

The pilot episode of Madam Secretary sets up what looks set to be a rather intriguing season-long arc (I won’t reveal what) with the mystery playing along-side weekly crisis that pop up for McCord to deal with.  If done right and Leoni’s given enough room to do what she does best, Madam Secretary could have the chops to be the next West Wing meets The Good Wife.

Madam Secretary premiere’s Thursday October 2nd, 9pm on Channel 10

7 star

Jada Pinkett-Smith as nightclub owner Fish Mooney in 9's Gotham

Pilot Review: Can Gotham Survive Without It’s Batman?

GOTHAM: Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot.   ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
GOTHAM: Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX

Batman prequel series, Gotham premiered last week in America to strong audience of over 8 million viewers, but how many will stick around in a Gotham that doesn’t have it’s Batman?

As it is with pretty much every re-telling of the Batman origin, Gotham starts off with a scene most familiar to fans of the DC comics hero – Martha and Thomas Wayne brutally gunned down in a dark alley by a man in a ski mask, sparing the life of a young Bruce Wayne.  It’s been done many times over though Gotham offers us  a slight twist on the traditional story with a young Selina Kyle, perched high on a ledge on the buildings above, to witness the tragic event.

One could be forgiven for thinking that following this start, the rest of the show will just go with motions, being utterly predictable and boring but thankfully, this is pretty much where the ‘what we know’ ends and we’re opened up to a new representation of Gotham, this time, living life before Batman.

The city itself in Gotham is dark and moody and filled with an assortment of unsavories, much like the Gotham seen in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film though thankfully, it’s not as kitschy. Those familiar with the world of Batman will delight in seeing nods to known characters including Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), Ivy/Poison Ivy (Clare Foley), Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Edward Nygma/The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) and of course Bruce Wayne/Batman (David Mazouz)

There’s also possible winks to future characters including Batwoman (James Gordon’s fiancee Barbra Kean, played by Erin Richards) and even the Joker, but to-date, it’s only speculation.

A young James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), recently new to Gotham, is finding out the hard way that his idealistic views of crime and punishment are no where to be seen in a police force that’s filled with corruption. He’s taken to solve the Wayne murder with drunkard partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) who happens to have connections to the underworld and local mob members who may have information that may help solve the murders.

As Gordon, Ben McKenzie starts off solidly with his woe-is-me eyes as he struggles to maintain his morality in a city that has none.  Logue’s Harvey Bullock is a weary and dreary detective, too caught up in the darkness that has enveloped Gotham.  Bicondova and Mazouz don’t really have much to do in the pilot – there’s some tears, some climbing, some ‘let’s feed stolen milk to some stray cats so you know i’m future Catwoman’ – it’s meager stuff – at the moment.

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In this image released by Fox, Robin Lord Taylor, left, and Ben McKenzie, are shown in a scene from “Gotham” (Jessica Miglio / AP)

The ones to watch however is Jada Pinkett-Smith as Fish Mooney and Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot aka the future Penguin.  As power crazy night club owner Fish Mooney (Mooney is a character created for the show and not from the Batman world), Pinkett-Smith shines in pretty much every scene she’s in, chewing through lines and swinging baseball bats all whilst still maintaining perfect nails and harsh one liners.  While Gotham, it seems, is  trying to eke out the camp factor, Pinkett-Smith’s Mooney is the perfect playoff, possibly channeling a 60’s-Batman era Eartha Kitt.

Lord Taylor’s Oswald Cobblepot is just downright deranged.  The first moment you see him you can tell he’s got more than a few screws loose up top as he takes pleasure in being offered the chance to take a baseball bat to a thief.

Gotham is aiming high, hoping to lure in those new to the world whilst trying to keep dedicated Batman fans happy.  It doesn’t seem like an easy task..asking Batman fans to watch a show that’s about Batman but doesn’t star Batman…asking viewers to tune into another comic-come-TV-series…yet as a whole, Gotham actually works as a dark and slightly erratic drama about one man’s mission to rid his city of corruption and crime while peppering the scenery and story lines with weird and unusual characters.

Gotham premiere’s soon on Channel 9.

8/10

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