The Odyssey Online- Tenth Issue

13 Nights of Halloween TV

An episode-a-day guide to TV’s best Halloween specials.

The Odyssey Online

Boo! Like a ghost ninja, Halloween is almost upon us and for TV fans everywhere that can only mean one thing: the Halloween episode. Every year I look forward to seeing what twists my favorite running shows will play in tribute to this scariest of all holidays. It’s also a time to wax nostalgic on Halloween specials past. While Christmas specials get all the glory, Halloween specials are often among the most memorable episodes in many series’ runs. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Whether you’re a Halloween scrooge (yours truly), a Trick-or-Treater for life, or just around for the costumes, there is no better way to get into the Halloween spirit early than a marathon. After much careful deliberation here is my ultimate Halloween TV playlist, for all your spooky, haunted pleasure in the 13 nights ahead.
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The Odyssey Online- Fourth Issue

The 2015 Alterna-Emmy Awards

From Theme Songs to Title Cards, Here’s A Look at the Best of TV’s Most Taken For Granted Features

The Odyssey Online

While some of these categories actually do exist in the real Emmy Awards, you’ll never see their winners announced during the Live telecast on Sept. 20. In honor of those stalwart constants of every episode, here’s an unofficial award show devoted entirely to them.

Rules: While any parallel awards with the actual Emmys (like the one for theme song) were taken into consideration, the only requirement for Alterna-Emmy nominees was that they be from shows currently on the air or just ended (as in eligible for this year’s award ceremonies, regardless of whether ultimately unfairly snubbed).

Let the show begin!
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Online Submission #14

A Resurgence of Happy, Fictional Couples Means Babies Close Behind

[Warning: Spoilers]

Loco Mag

Once upon a time, in an era known as the 80s, a fresh-faced actor named Bruce Willis played a private detective alongside Cybill Shepherd on the TV show, Moonlighting. Lasting for five seasons, it would go on to create one of the most cited and worst followed excuses on television: the Moonlighting curse. Two decades have passed since its cancellation, yet the show has managed to find a second life in the interviews of actors and showrunners alike, who continually namedrop it as a viable reason for ignoring the chemistry between their leading men and ladies. The argument stands that making your stars a couple is a show killer, because that’s why Moonlighting got the ax. Never mind all of the backstage drama that was taking place on that set—clearly it got canceled because they bowed down to fans’ desire to see the crime-fighting partners together.

Moral of the Story: if you want your show to last, avoid declarations of love. Include lots of break-ups. Stall, stall, and more stall (see The Big Bang Theory, Scrubs, etc.)

Unfortunately, some shows seem to have taken this advice to heart. In an attempt to circumvent Moonlighting’s fate, happy, stable relationships have become the bane to TV’s existence. Their replacement—unresolved romantic tension—has transformed into a crutch for maintaining viewer interest. Courtships intended to captivate get dragged on past reason, actually hurting their shows by preventing them from moving past “will they or won’t they” tropes. If you’ve watched an episode of Castle lately, you know what I mean. The once delightful mystery drama about a dashing novelist and his NYPD cop muse waited until season seven to have them tie the knot. Considering it was clear from the pilot they were soul mates, that’s too much time, and after the canceled wedding day fiasco that was the show’s season six finale, season seven was really too late. The show’s final shreds of realism were already gone.

Unrequited love stories aren’t the problem. Neither are bumpy road sagas (look at how Ben and Leslie learned to balance feelings and career ambitions on Parks and Recreation, or how Axel struggled with destiny dictating his love life on the New Zealand import, Almighty Johnsons). It’s the stories that don’t recognize the need for characters to take the next step in their relationships, or ignore the need out of fear of change, that cause a show to fall apart. And while these complaints aren’t new and have been voiced before, television is finally responding with a slowly increasing willingness to experiment with their love timetables. Superstitions over the Moonlighting curse have far from disappeared but—thanks to a few pregnancy twist compromises—are beginning to lose their potency.

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Review ABC’s Castle: “Under Fire” (Season 6, Episode 11)

[Warning: Possible spoilers ahead for this episode and any episodes preceding it]

After the traditional winter hiatus Castle returned last night and it was quite the doozy of an episode. Rather than start of with a “simple murder case,” Ryan and Esposito end up trapped in a burning building by the half hour mark. They had been investigating the work of an arsonist monikered “The Phantom,” whose last targeted building housed a murdered fire inspector. According to the victim’s partner, he had been spending his vacation days looking into the Phantom’s string of suspicious fires.
 

We Will Survive

While this episode definitely paced itself well, the amazing survival of the show’s characters without any major injury to their person whatsoever is beginning to wear thin (see Sidenote). This is not to say I wanted to see any harm come to Esposito or Ryan*, only that they walked out of that near-death situation far too unscathed. Literally, they were walking away from the scene after rescuers found them unconscious from lack of oxygen, no oxygen masks on their faces or anything. This isRyan and Esposito after falling however many stories to the secret basement floor, having accidentally triggered a bomb in the arsonist’s lab.
 
* Whose wife, for added drama, is having their baby while all this is going down
 
Sure, Ryan has a heavy post of some kind fall on his leg, but once Esposito levers it off all is ok.

Sure, their smartphones have no signal, but they can rig a phone with the conveniently accessible wires on hand.

Sure, it’s a desperate situation but Laney doesn’t once get a turn during Ryan’s call with his wife to speak to Esposito? And shouldn’t Beckett have been a little quicker in telling Ryan’s wife that her husband was alive (at least for now)?

 

~ SIDENOTE ~

This isn’t the first time a character has come close to dying on Castle (the dangers are divvyed out pretty fairly amongst the whole cast). And, granted, it is a network show, not meant to have characters be as disposable as those on cable (where even the most fan-loved can be offed). Yet despite all the almost-dying the only person that’s ever been truly killed is Captain Montgomery. Even 3XK is probably still alive, as hinted at earlier this season (“Disciple”). At this point there should at least be some broken bones or burns to show for all this mayhem. This isn’t even the first “fire set off by a bomb”. In season two’s admittedly great two-parter (“Tick, Tick, Tick…” and “Boom!”), Beckett survived the destruction of her apartment by jumping into a bathtub.

 

All this being said…

Ryan's MacGyver-eque Constructed Phone

…it was interesting to see Beckett in a situation where she herself recognizes there’s nothing she can do but physically be there for her friends and colleagues. Also, Ryan’s tearful good-bye was a great showcase for a character (and actor in Seamus Dever) I’ve always liked but who hasn’t always gotten the screentime. His line of wanting to name the baby Javier if a boy, followed by Esposito’s response of, “You’re going to name a white, Irish kid, Javier?” was truly the sweetest moment of the episode.
 
 
 
So what did you think? Was their surviving a fire with only some ashy clothes and a few cuts a little too lucky, or are the post-viewing feelings simply that of relief for them being ok? Share your thoughts (and/or skepticism) in the comments below.
 

Castle screencaps from here

 

My Dream Emmy Ballot 2013: Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Drama

UPDATE:

I have a chance of picking a winner for lead actress in a drama! Vera Farmiga has been nominated (and, considering Bate’s Motel only started this spring, that’s some pretty fast recognition). Now, I imagine name exposure from her role in the film, Up in the Air may have helped. The show’s origin work also happens to be a Hollywood classic. Still, a prequel to Hitchcock’s Psycho is exciting in concept but very easily botched. Attempting to bring to life a character who only ever existed as an unseen damaging influence over cinema’s infamous serial killer, Norman Bates- a bit tricky. Farmiga deserves all the attention she gets for the multiple layers she provides Norma: her version of maternal paranoia makes all the crazy situations she falls into not outrageous but great TV. Freddie Highmore may be giving a fantastic performance as well, making a new name for himself after years of successful parts as a child actor, but Norma is the Bates to watch.
 
Connie Britton also snags a nomination for a first season show. Maybe it takes revealing a powerful singing voice to bring Mrs. Coach the award she’s had coming to her for since Friday Night Lights. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose?
 
I have enjoyed Khandi Alexander’s work since ER, so am disappointed that her, and Treme in general, have been ignored.
 
Then again, Rectify, the best show of 2013, has received no attention either, so what do I know? It seems Netflix and not Sundance is going to be spotlighted for newly starting to have original content, and as a person who likes her shows on a television, not a computer, I think this is a mistake (admittedly have never seen House of Lies; simply remain on the fence about its distributor and that trepidation has, fairly or unfairly, biased me against the program at present).
 
Here is the official nominations list.
 

***

 
Here is what the “Lead Actor” and “Lead Actress in a Drama Series” category would look like if I was in charge of the Emmys (unfortunately, you can only pick six people, so even my honorable mentions section is missing worthy individuals).
 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

– Bryan Cranston (Walter White, Breaking Bad)

ADEN YOUNG (Daniel Holden, Rectify)

Aden Young as "Daniel Holden"

– Nathan Fillion (Richard Castle, Castle)

– Jon Hamm (Don Draper, Mad Men)

– Wendell Pierce (Antoine Baptiste, Treme)

– Matthew Rhys (Philip Jennings, The Americans)

 
 

Runner Ups:
David Boreanaz (Seeley Booth, Bones)
Charlie Hunnam (Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller, Sons of Anarchy)
Timothy Hutton (Nathan Ford, Leverage)
Timothy Olyphant (Raylan Givens, Justified)
Damian Lewis (Nicholas Brody, Homeland)

 
 
 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

– Khandi Alexander (LaDonna Baptiste-Williams, Treme)

– Connie Britton (Rayna James, Nashville)

– Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey)

VERA FARMIGA (Norma Bates, Bates Motel)

Vera Farmiga as "Norma Bates"

– Elizabeth Moss (Peggy Olson, Mad Men)

– Katey Sagal (Gemma Teller Morrow, Sons of Anarchy)

 
 

Runner Ups:
Glenn Close (Patty Hewes, Damages)
Julianna Margulies (Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife)
Keri Russell (Elizabeth Jennings, The Americans)
Tatiana Maslany (Sarah, Beth, and others, Orphan Black)
Radha Mitchell (Marta Walraven, Red Widow)

 

Honorable Mentions: Emily Deschanel (Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, Bones), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White/Mary Margaret, Once Upon a Time), Joanne Kelly (Myka Bering, Warehouse 13), Stana Katic (Kate Beckett, Castle), Jessica Raine (Jenny Lee, Call the Midwife)

 
And let the debates begin! Do you agree with my choices? Voice your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to organize your own nominee list using the official Emmy ballot

(P.S. It doesn’t matter if your choices are long shots (certainly many of mine are) but it’s nice to pretend they have a chance anyway.)
 

-Aden Young screencap credited Sundance, Vera Farmiga screencap from here