Monday, October 27, 2014

Elsbeth Tascioni on 'The Good Wife' -- Too Much or Not Enough? Twitter Reacts...

The Good Wife Elsbeth Tascioni Old Spice Season Six Episode Six Carrie Preston photos pics

Fans of "The Good Wife" wait excitedly every season for a guest appearance by the quirky, whip-smart, and lovable Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston). With her bright red hair, frenetic approach, and hilarious non sequiturs, Elsbeth grabs your attention in every scene. What has always been the thread of her appearances on the show is that she is clever, sneaky, and the best secret weapon Alicia and her friends and colleagues have ever known.

Season Six of "The Good Wife" has taken a slightly different approach with Elsbeth. We got a peek at all the swirling thoughts and wallpaper clowns residing in her mind, a revealing if perhaps overly comedic view of her unusual intelligence. She appeared across the aisle from Alicia for a case, and we saw that subtle distraction tactics can work to diffuse her brilliance. And her biggest distraction of all came in the form of AUSA Josh Perotti (Kyle MacLachlan), who continued to ramp up his aggressive wooing tactics.

AUSA Josh Perotti Kyle MacLachlan The Good Wife Old Spice episode photos pics screencaps images

In Episode Six, "Old Spice," Alicia and Elsbeth join forces against Josh, and so begins the delightfully crazy dance of business and pleasure between the AUSA and his ginger love. Josh and Elsbeth's flirtation on the street, which included sniffing each other for their signature scents of baby lotion and Old Spice, Elsbeth jamming to "Call Me Maybe," and the duo's passionate office sex had Twitter buzzing over this whacky and wonderful couple.

"The Good Wife" has forayed into the absurd before, something which gives the show part of its enticing charm, and a lot of the tweets scrolling for Josh and Elsbeth this week were positive:

Many were feeling the love so much, they wanted more:

The Good Wife Josh Elsbeth romance sniffing Old Spice and baby lotion

But not everyone was as impressed with the over-the-top portrayal of an iconic "Good Wife" character. Part of Elsbeth's greatness came from her mysterious genius, a feeling that you never knew whether you'd get the daffodil or the demon, or if her mind was even there at all. While there has always been an element of comedy to Elsbeth, "The Good Wife" has definitely pushed the envelope this year:

And those dreaded three words of condemnation...

My biggest concern was they were de-fanging our dear Elsbeth, but thank goodness there was a light at the end of the tunnel of love...or, erm, something like that.

Thankfully, the dalliance with Josh didn't make Elsbeth lose her edge after all. She had us terrified that she'd fallen for the same trick again, but no, she was as sneaky as ever. And her battle-winning mystique at least continues with Alicia, who stared at Elsbeth in wonder when the AUSA suddenly dropped the case.

Another thing that had me still believing in Elsbeth's magic was that she made me really feel the painful absence of Will, something that hadn't yet happened for me this season.

Diane Will Elsbeth The Good Wife screencap

The joy of Elsbeth was that despite her slightly cray personality, everyone that worked with her came to love her. Alicia had worried how Will in particular would mesh with Elsbeth when she first recommended the unorthodox lawyer to defend him. How he both admired and was amused by Elsbeth created some of the best Will moments on "The Good Wife."

One can't help wondering if that was the writers' plan all along, because we were already feelin' it when Alicia had that incredible moment taking over Will's old office. This is probably the right moment for the hashtag #AllTheFeels.

What do you think, "Good Wife" fans? Has this just been a fun romp with Elsbeth and her integrity is preserved? Or was it all a bit too much of a good thing?


Saturday, October 25, 2014

'Constantine' -- Don't Judge a Show By Its Pilot?

Constantine pilot reviews Matt Ryan photos trench coat pics

While there are shows that knock it out of the park with their very first episode, there are plenty of series with absolutely sucky pilots that still turned into must-see TV once they hit their stride. While it's generally wise not to judge a show solely on a so-so premiere, in the case of "Constantine," it's impossible to make that judgement call.

That's because the pilot of "Constantine" centers on a young woman, Liv (Lucy Griffiths), who producers then decided to eliminate from the series. Ordinarily a revamp of this magnitude after a single episode would seem worrisome, but in this case, it gives me a lot greater hope for the future of the show.

Constantine spends most of the show trying to recruit Liv, a normal gal who doesn't realize she had a dad with supernatural abilities that he passed on to her. Liv is a weird sort of normal, who stands and stares dumbly at a giant earthquake-level crack rumbling towards her in a parking garage, and then seems oddly unfazed after she's seen a crater open up in the ground with mile-high flames shooting out of it.

Liv Constantine fireball fire pit crater Lucy Griffiths
Ain't no big thang...

With Liv intermittently screaming like a ninny over some supernatural events and then going, "Like omg, blood and demons and stuff!" in a childlike voice over other terrors, it's no wonder the producers looked at their pricey pilot and rewrote her out of the ending. But this 180 turn of "really important girl" to "ah never mind" didn't help an already muddled pilot.

No one seems to be interested in the slow burn anymore. It can be tough to sustain mystery without irritating people, but you can spread the mythology out over a few episodes rather than trying to cram 40 pages of exposition into two minutes of screen time. Though criticized for not being so faithful to the comic, the movie version of "Constantine" at least had weight to it...there was an ominous mood and a real feeling of fear and agony and imminent doom.

So far "Constantine" the TV show is a bit hollow...the title character is supposed to be tortured emotionally and really dangerous...but right now it's all just words and nothing we actually feel from the character. That could come with time, and hopefully some dialogue that doesn't require rambling off a bunch of mumbo-jumbo lore that feels like a "required element" that is reluctantly added in a half-hearted attempt to add narrative to all the REALLY COOL SPECIAL EFFECTS AND PEOPLE WITH BLOOD DRIPPING OUT OF THEIR EYES!!

Constantine John in the rain trenchcoat blond hair pilot reviews premiere episode

And I couldn't help feeling like all those "mates" were added to the dialogue to ram home the "oh cool accent!" for #Mericans, so much so that I looked up actor Matt Ryan to make sure he wasn't an American faking a Brit accent. Turns out the Welsh Ryan is legitimately from Across the Pond, but it can't be a good thing if we're suspicious of his authenticity.

Clearly the pilot was not a convincing start to the series, but one hopes a few more episodes will give us some more to sink our teeth into. While #Constantine fans are legitimately annoyed at misinformed "'Supernatural' was first!" tweets about the show, there is something the new series can learn from the CW staple. The dialogue matters. The relationships matter. All the intricate lore matters. Awesome special effects are icing on the cake, but it's not what makes an audience fall in love with a show.

What did you think of "Constantine"? The show airs on NBC, Fridays at 10/9c.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

'Sleepy Hollow' -- Are Writers Paving the Way for an Abbie/Ichabod Romance?

Sleepy Hollow Weeping Lady Season Two Episode Five Abbie Mills Ichabod Crane Nicole Beharie Tom Mison

Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and Ichabod (Tom Mison) are Witnesses in the lore of "Sleepy Hollow," connected on a much higher level than a mere romance, where every choice they make together has repercussions toward, yah know, minor stuff like the Apocalypse. As Beharie herself says, impending doom tends to be a bit of a “mood killer” when it comes to flirtations between these two characters.

Still, despite the dire circumstances, most fans of a show like this can't help wanting their favorite duo to get together. So the writers gave Ichabod a witchy wife, and that's not just metaphorical. This is a woman Ichabod digs up graves for demon heads and takes possibly one-way trips into Purgatory for, so that instantly put the kibosh on any sort of romantic feelings for Abbie from the man-from-the-past.

Sleepy Hollow Weeping Lady

This week, however, *SPOILER ALERT* the marital bliss between Ichabod and Katrina took a major hit. Considering Mrs. Crane's been living with and batting her eyelashes at the Headless Horseman for some time now, that's saying something. In the episode "Weeping Lady," a former betrothed of Ichabod's turns up as a vengeful spirit, thanks to some black magic from Henry.

The spirit goes on a rampage of attempting to kill every woman that is close to Crane, and only when he and Abbie work together to save Katrina is the full truth of the Weeping Lady revealed. Ichabod had thought that the fiancee he'd ended things with had gone back home to England. Now he finds out that she died, albeit accidentally, and Katrina hid the death from him with a fake letter--all to avoid him taking off back to England to console with her family--thus abandoning his mission--and Katrina.

Not surprisingly, Ichabod is a bit stunned and miffed at this revelation. When he tallies up all of Katrina's deceptions, it's a pretty striking list. She does get points for immediately saving him from the Headless Horseman's wrath, though.

Detective Abbie Mills Nicole Beharie photos pictures screencaps Sleepy Hollow images Weeping Lady episode 2014

With all that she's done now laid out for us, Katrina is looking pretty manipulative and more devoted to "the cause" than to Ichabod himself. As this compelling wedge is driven between the couple, we can't help wondering if this will open the door to a single Ichabod and a chance of him seeing Abbie as more than just a fellow Witness and friend.

As fun a couple as they make, do we really want the romance? As Vulture points out, Abbie is no mere sidekick or comic foil on "Sleepy Hollow." She's one tough woman, and she's strong and focused and not wasting time making googly eyes at her Apocalypse-fighting companion. While there's potential for it to be an awesome additional bond between the pair, there's also the potential that Abbie might be diminished somehow, relegated to emotional support as many cool female characters before her have been.

It is also pretty stellar to have a TV relationship with a man and a woman that have a deep love and affection for one another that has no sexual component. Men and women CAN be friends, and fight the Four Horseman without stopping to snog between battles! What could be more noble than that?

What do you think, "Sleepy Hollow" fans? Are we heading towards an Ichabod/Abbie romance? Do we want them to be together now, later, or never?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Matthew Goode of 'The Good Wife' -- Wait, I Know That Actor From...

One of the best parts of "The Good Wife" is its extraordinary range of interesting, complex characters that you love to watch interact. We first met Finn Polmar, played by Matthew Goode, in THAT episode of Season 5, when he shared a bloody courtroom with Will. Out of this tragic circumstance, Finn and Alicia have formed a friendship, a warm relationship that has just the tiniest but deliciously intriguing hint of flirtation.

The interaction between these two is a joy to watch, as they playfully banter with intelligence, challenging each other whether they're on the same side or not. And no matter how tense the situation, they are always a wry smile away from laughing at the absurdity of everything around them.

Finn also has fun duking it out with Diane...

As Goode has gradually gained more screen time on "The Good Wife," you may have wondered where you'd seen this man with the hypnotically soulful eyes and impish smile before. One of his best-known roles is on the big screen, in the 2009 film "Watchmen".

His purple-costumed Ozymandias was gorgeous, powerful, and more than a little morally ambiguous. "Watchmen" was no fluffy comic film, and Goode's performance was as mesmerizing as his molded abs. In the following vid you can hear him discuss taking on such an iconic role, and get a glimpse of the intellect, charm and humor that inform his current character on "The Good Wife":

Colin Firth was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his role in "A Single Man," though surely it wasn't too difficult for him to appear to be so in love with Matthew Goode's delectable Jim:

Though lesser known, Goode's film "Leap Year" is an adorable romantic romp with the lovely Amy Adams that's definitely worth a watch (or rewatch). This time Goode's character has an Irish accent and gives Adams' stuck-on-the-wrong-guy Anna a really hard time, but let's just talk about how steamy the couple is--even when they're just pretending to be married:

What else do you know Matthew Goode from? You can see his whole credits list over at IMDB.


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