Can you sense the desperation closing in? The grasp of holding onto a fading spotlight beginning to loosen? It’s probably because The Comeback’s comeback is almost here! After a string of small teasers, HBO have finally blessed us with a full length trailer for the eagerly anticipated second season of The Comeback.
Fans can also expect to see Seth Rogen in the new series playing Valerie’s former nemesis Paulie G (first played by Lance Barber in series one). In the original run, Paulie G was the show-runner of Room and Bored, the sitcom Valerie ‘starred’ on in a bid to make a comeback in her career, which was all documented for a reality show filled with tense moments between Paulie and Valerie.
Now, Paulie G has created a new show that chronicles his years dealing with drug addiction and his fraught relationships with his actors, including the “fictional” Mallory Church, whom Valerie will portray.
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.
“It’s kooky and it’s freaky and it’s a little bit creepy. Freak Show delivers a visual treat”
Disturbingly brilliant with a warped visual excellence…and an insane killer clown. It’s the easiest way to describe what American Horror Story: Freak Show is all about.
Set in 1950’s Jupiter, Florida, German ex-pat Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange – welcome back) has dreams of stardom. Her somewhat jaded dreams have led her to become the proprietor of a freak show attraction (which she aptly named “Fraulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities”) that is struggling to bring in the crowds and the dollars. Her troupe of oddities includes bearded lady Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates rocking a very convincing Canadian accent) and her son Jimmy (the underrated Evan Peters) who has a penchant for dressing like Marlon Brando and has deformed hands (that are also good for pleasuring bored housewives).
After discovering the existence of conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler (Sarah Paulson), Elsa sets out to convince the twins to join her troupe believing these girls will change her fortunes.
Lange from the onset owns. She just owns. AHS has been an incredible journey for her and with Elsa Mars, Lange once again gets to sink her teeth into a faded wannabe, reaching for stars that were never really in reach. A snarly beauty who blends the lines of mother and abuse of her ‘monsters’. As Elsa crows in the first episode “My monsters are the beautiful, heroic ones, they provide a laugh or a fright to people who need entertainment.” Paulson here, can finally lay claim to her co-lead status as twins Bette and Dot. The visuals for the twins are seamless and Paulson flawlessly gives both Bette and Dot identifying quirks and qualities that will have you picking a favorite of the two very quickly.
There’s also a very prominent side story which is most likely to give every viewer a new-found fear of clowns as it appears there’s a psychotic clown roaming around Jupiter who has a penchant for murder and collecting children.
AHS Creator Ryan Murphy has a knack for bringing to life the stories of outsiders which was so wonderfully created in the form of the excellent Asylum and the hit and miss Covenso the task of telling the tale of a band of circus freaks in 1950’s Florida feels like a natural step forward. With Freak Show, Murphy takes a step closer to the darkness that enveloped Asylum and steps away from the more modern and glossy Coven – which could be seen as a risky move considering Coven has been the most successful AHS series to date.
Amid all it’s over-saturated landscape, watch out for a certain scene that will delight AHS devotees – Jessica Lange clad in a powder blue suit bathed in copious amounts of blue eye shadow belting out a rendition of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”.
To be sure, there is nothing like Freak Show on TV.
American Horror Story Freak Show begins tonight, 9:30pm on Eleven.
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.
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.
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.
Bewitching – why a trashy little Lifetime show about witches turned out to be one of the best things on TV
Since Witches of East End actually “went there” and killed off Wendy in the season 2 finale, I’ve been trying to figure out how on earth I became this invested in a trashy show about witches. I’m not entirely sure, but here goes my attempt to process the loss of Wendy, and why Wendy & Joanna are fabulous television…
Two weeks ago, I stopped watching Nashville. It was a conscious decision. I’d followed Connie Britton (of Friday Night Lights) into a show that should have been incredible, and instead I found myself hating it more and more: never-ending love triangles, a constant stream of dull new characters, a fixation with turning Connie’s character into a saint who never had to deal with real-world consequences for her shitty choices, a good actress wasted in a dead-end melodrama. When the season three premiere turned up the soap factor even higher, I decided it was time to tune out. And yet, this week I found myself crying right along with the immortal witch Joanna over the death of her sister Wendy, a shape-shifting witch who had given up what remained of the last of her nine lives for someone else. From Joanna weeping over her sister’s body, the show headed on over to a pool party in hell, where Wendy was greeted by a mysterious third sister in a bright red cloak. I sat there, mouth wide open. When the credits began to roll, I may have uttered a string of expletives. I need season three NOW. What on earth has this trashy little show about witches done so right?
To explain how I started watching a show about witches when I’d never been particularly into science fiction or fantasy, you need to look at casting. I’ve been a fan of Julia Ormond’s work for many years. She’s one of those actresses who elevates almost any script, and trust me, she’s been in some clunkers. But when she’s got good material and good co-stars, she just runs with it. If you’ve seen her in Traffik, Temple Grandin or her brief guest-stint as O’Hara’s globe-trotting girlfriend on Nurse Jackie, you know what I mean. But I really didn’t have high hopes when I read on Deadline that she’d signed on for a show about witches on Lifetime. Did she have to pay the mortgage that badly?
Within four episodes, however, I quickly realised that this show was far more than a show about witches. Instead, in the capable hands of Julia, Madchen Amick and the show’s writers and producers, it became a show about family relationships, inter-generational support, power and loss. It had stupid things like an immortal historian which totally broke my brain, being an historian myself. (I’ve lost count of the number of times this idea has kept me entertained when bored at seminars and conferences. Seriously. Think about it: what if one person in every history department was immortal… but don’t think too hard in case I want to turn this idea into a book one day.) This show knew it was slightly trashy and never took itself too seriously. But mostly, in spite of all its supernatural leanings, the ‘adults’ —sorry Freya and Ingrid!— felt refreshingly human.
For all the talk about us experiencing a ‘golden age’ of television right now, there’s still a massive lack of series where the action is driven by female characters, and among the shows where it is, there still seem to be way too few three-dimensional women that seem ‘real’, for lack of a better term, especially away from HBO, Showtime and Netflix. The new CBS show Madam Secretary, while featuring a woman as an ex-CIA-turned-college-professor-turned-Secretary-of-State as its central character, is turning into yet another show about super-women who “have it all”. That’s just not engaging, especially not in this day and age where competent, successful women can still be decried for consciously choosing not to have children, and stay-at-home-mom is used as a slur. Give me Tea Leoni’s train-wreck character in Spanglish any day over Madam Secretary.
Witches of East End, however, feels almost ground-breaking— a basic-cable show where the action is entirely led by four women who don’t bicker but support each other, who all have flaws which enrich their fictional characters. Sisters Wendy and Joanna had been estranged for many years, but in the pilot episode, Wendy came to Joanna’s house because she sensed Joanna’s life was in danger and needed her help. Joanna constantly hid the truth from people close to her to protect them. Even though she’d done so with the best intentions of protecting her daughters, Joanna had been far from a perfect mother to her now grown-up daughters over the years. There were consequences for her actions, but, refreshingly, they bore none of the sadly-still-common hallmarks of teaching a flawed female character ‘a lesson’.
Because Joanna is immortal, we gradually discovered that she had a string of immortal lovers who came in and out of her life across centuries. She reconnected with them and sometimes they had sex. Sometimes Joanna left; sometimes they did. Rather than be constant sources of heartache and despair, these men and women came to help Joanna and she was better because of them. Please find me a show where female characters above the age of 40 have relationships like this without any other character judging them for it; I can count them on one hand. Wendy had many more casual dalliances across seasons one and two, but again, nobody judged her for it. Even when Joanna suggested to Wendy that her commitment phobia was no longer appropriate because she was on her last life, note that at no time did anyone imply that Wendy had been ‘easy’ or ‘promiscuous. Wendy is “the fun aunt”.
Season two of Witches of East End has featured plenty of crazy, from tentacle-porn monsters and time doors, to more bad CGI than you can shake a magic wand at, but, in spite of the crazy, Joanna and Wendy have remained grounded in reality. By taking the ballsy step of killing Wendy who is easily the show’s most popular character, the writers not only brought home Joanna’s constant cycle of burying the ones she loves to us the viewers, but they also followed through with something that’s been carefully set up this entire season. If this season had one over-arching theme it was the fracturing of family, which in Joanna’s case was mostly loss: the death of her former partner Victor, her ex-girlfriend Alex’s departure, the (temporary) death of her daughters Freya and Ingrid which resulted in Joanna’s suicide attempt, and now, finally, the death of her sister Wendy, the character we all adore. Thus, Joanna’s grief is real but it doesn’t feel gratuitous. This is not some kind of tragic heroine scenario here. Instead, I’m looking forward to season three (which there had better be) where we see Joanna develop as a character because of all that has happened to her in season two, as she deals with the negative consequences of immortality, but also exploring how grief might bring her and her daughters together as an even stronger unit and serving as an impetus for the three witches to try to bring Wendy back. Hello seances!
We also know that this show will introduce more trouble in the form of the third sister, Helena, who gathers souls in the underworld. On paper, she sounds like a villain, but I have every confidence that instead of bitch fighting between sisters, Witches of East End will use Helena* to enrich the family dynamic, elevating the established characters while simultaneously not portraying them as flawless saints. It’s what this show does best: strong female characters who support each other, fuck up, and keep on having each others’ backs between all the bad CGI effects. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I grew to love a trashy little show about witches. It might just be one of the most refreshing, feminist-ing shows on television.
*… and if you need any convincing that Melrose Place alum Daphne Zuniga just has to play Helena and could totally hold her own against the talents of Julia Ormond and Madchen Amick, please watch the episode of Nip/Tuck that she guest starred on (find episode 5×01 on Netflix). This woman is stupidly talented. She’d totally pass as a relative. It’s a no-brainer and has to happen.
This essay was written by 'Fiona Bentfield' and originally posted at Another Electric Picture Hall. Original post can be found here. Many thanks to Fiona for allowing me to re-post.
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.
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.
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.
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