8 Things

8 Bye Bye Birdie Dream Castings…

NBC announced last October that they were going to do a live production of one of my all-time favorite musicals, Bye Bye Birdie, with Jennifor Lopez producing and playing Rose Alvarez. Nobody else has been cast yet, so these are some of my dream casting choices for the main singing roles. A few of them may be completely unrealistic, but I am still putting them out into the universe just in case.

1. Zachary Levi as Albert F. Peterson
As soon as I saw him in She Loves Me last summer, I knew that he would be perfect for this role. I grew up watching Dick Van Dyke, and I think that Levi has a lot of that same earnestness and heart.



2. Selena Gomez as Kim McAfee
Not only does Gomez have a great voice, but she has that sweet, innocent quality that embodies Kim. She also has the ability to be a little edgier for Kim’s night out on the town with Conrad.



3. Jeremy Jordan as Conrad Birdie
For Conrad, the hip twitch is very important. I mean, he makes women faint with his hips. For the life of me, I could not find a good clip of Jordan dancing, but he has done plenty of Broadway shows, so I think he can pull it off. If nothing else, he definitely has the sincere bad boy thing down, and an incredible voice. I mean…



4. Grant Gustin as Hugo Peabody
He has that sweet, slightly nerdy quality that Hugo possesses. I am hoping that, for this production, they use the film version of ‘A Lot of Livin’ to Do,’ because Hugo does not sing in the Broadway version of the song.

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8 Returning Summer Shows…

I know you have all been waiting anxiously for this list, so here are the returning shows that I am mostly looking forward to watching this summer.

1. Animal Kingdom, season two premieres May 30th on TNT, stars Scott Speedman, Finn Cole, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, Molly Gordon, Aamya Deva Keroles, and Ellen Barkin. The Cody family dynamic has flipped in this second season, as the boys start to turn on their mother after a heist goes wrong. Baz, Pope, Craig, and Deran each begin to plan their next moves, while J is stuck in the middle, still trying to figure out where he belongs. I was not sure if I would like this show when it started last summer, but it is dark and gritty, with some humor weaved throughout. It is a fun summer drama.



2. Kingdom, season three premieres May 31st on Audience, stars Matt Lauria, Jonathan Tucker, Nick Jonas, Kiele Sanchez, Joanna Going, Natalie Martinez, Talia Shire, Kirk Acevedo, and Frank Grillo. Alvey and Lisa are still dealing with the loss of their son, while also trying to keep their gym afloat. Nate has finally admitted that he is gay, but is not entirely comfortable in his new relationship. And, as always, Ryan and Jay are sorting through their own demons, with a potential rematch still on the horizon. This show is so fantastic, and I am disappointed that more people are not watching it. The entire cast have continued to blow me away with their performances from episode to episode. As this is, sadly, the final season, I fully expect them to knock us on our asses, and I cannot wait.



3. Orphan Black, season five premieres June 10th on BBC America, stars Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Kristian Bruun, Kevin Hanchard, Ari Millen, Evelyne Brochu, Josh Vokey, Skyler Wexler, and Maria Doyle Kennedy. Another one of my favorite shows is coming to an end this summer, and I am not okay with it. I have been rewatching the entire series to prepare for this final trip, and it gets better and better with each viewing. I continue to be amazed by the cast and, after four seasons, still need to remind myself that Tatiana Maslany plays half of the major roles. I cannot wait to see how they wrap up the story of these sestras, but will be sad to see it go.



4. The Great British Baking Show, season four premieres June 16th on PBS, stars Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, and Mel Giedroyc. I have to admit, I was skeptical of this baking show when I first watched it with my mother while home for Christmas a few years ago, but I was hooked after the very first episode. This aired in the United Kingdom last Fall and is the final season with the original hosts. Bring on the crazy technical challenges and baking puns!

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8 New Summer Shows…

I do not get any screeners ahead of time, and I know that not all of these new series will be winners, but I am interested enough to at least watch the first episode of each.

1. Still Star-Crossed, premieres May 29th on ABC, stars Grant Bowler, Wade Briggs, Torrance Coombs, Dan Hildebrand, Lashana Lynch, Ebonee Noel, Medalion Rahimi, Zuleikha Robinson, Sterling Sulieman, Susan Wooldridge, and Anthony Head. In the wake of Romeo and Juliet’s tragic deaths, the Montague and Capulet rivalry escalates. This has not gotten great reviews, and I have kind of given up on Shondaland shows in general, but I am going to give it a chance.



2. I’m Dying Up Here, premieres June 4th on Showtime, stars Melissa Leo, Ari Graynor, Al Madrigal, Clark Duke, Michael Angarano, RJ Cyler, Andrew Santino, and Erik Griffin. Based on William Knoedelseder’s book of the same name and set in the ’70s, this show is a behind-the-scenes look at a fictional group of stand-up comedians in Los Angeles. It looks fantastic, and I adore Ari Graynor, so I have been waiting for this since it was announced. Let’s hope it lives up to expectations.



3. GLOW, premieres June 23rd on Netflix, stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Ellen Wong, Britt Baron, Kimmy Gatewood, Rebekka Johnson, Sunita Mani, Laurie Francene Kinzer, Sydelle Noel, Gayle Rankin, Kia Stevens, Jackie Tohn, Britney Young, and Chris Lowell. Gorgeous. Ladies. Of. Wrestling. Enough said. I am all in.



4. Snowfall, premieres July 5th on FX, stars Damson Idris, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Carter Hudson, and Emily Rios. A look at the early days of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles during the beginning of the 1980s. I do not know much about this cast, or about the show, but I trust the quality of FX Networks shows, and have been intrigued by the promos.

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8 Musical Moments…

I am very excited for the upcoming Supergirl/The Flash musical crossover, and am especially hoping for a Jeremy Jordan/Jesse L. Martin duet of some kind. In preparation for this episode, I started thinking about some of my other favorite musical television moments.

1. Smash – Don’t Forget Me
There were a lot of great performances in this series, but this one still gives me chills. While I do feel that ultimately Ivy made the better Marilyn, I was rooting for Karen when this finale episode aired and this performance, in particular, really moved me.



2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Going Through the Motions??
This is not necessarily my favorite number from this episode, but it is the one that set the tone. A musical demon is making everyone sing their feelings, and sometimes those feelings are things people have been keeping hidden from everyone else. Since Buffy was brought back from the dead, she has been ‘going through the motions’ and she’s finally admitting it out loud.



3. One Tree Hill – Brooklyn
This was really the first show that made music into one of its characters instead of just something to set the mood in certain scenes. Grubbs only stuck around for one season as the bartender at Tric, and was played by Wakey Wakey’s Mike Grubbs. For some reason, his acoustic performance of Brooklyn has always stuck with me. I could not find a clip of the actual scene, but here is another performance of this great song.



4. Eli Stone – Faith
Eli is a San Francisco lawyer and he begins to have visions that encourage him to choose more virtuous cases. In this first episode, he believes that God is speaking to him through George Michael. It was a brilliant, but short-lived, series.

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8 More Mid-Season Shows…

Several more premiere dates have been announced since I made my original lists, and I needed to include some of my favorite shows, as well as a few new shows that I am excited to check out.

1. The Americans, season 5 premieres March 7th on FX, stars Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich, Holly Taylor, Keidrich Sellati, Costa Ronin, Frank Langella, and Margo Martindale. The idea of Russian spies operating within the United States hits a little too close to home these days, but this show is set in the ’80s, so we can still pretend it is mostly fiction, right? This is one of the best shows on television right now, and each season it continues to get better.



2. Hand of God, season 2 will be available March 10th on Amazon, stars Ron Perlman, Andre Royo, Alona Tal, Julian Morris, Garret Dillahunt, Dana Delany, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Cleavon McClendon, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Johnny Ferro, and Maximiliano Hernández. Judge Pernell Harris is facing trial for the murder of a cop. His visions are exposing a conspiracy that is bigger than he could have imagined, but his wife is still not on board. Is God speaking through him? Or is he losing his mind? I really enjoyed the first season of this show. It was not perfect, but it was intriguing, and I am interested to see where it goes.



3. Tangled, the movie Tangled Before Ever After will air March 10th on Disney Channel, Tangled: The Series will premiere March 24th, stars Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Clancy Brown, Julie Bowen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Diedrich Bader, Jonathan Banks, M.C. Gainey, Sean Hayes, Jeremy Jordan, James Monroe Iglehart, Richard Kind, Peter MacNicol, Jeffrey Ross, Jeffrey Tambor, Eden Espinosa, and Paul F. Tompkins. The truth is, I probably will not regularly watch this, because it is on the Disney Channel, and I am not really their target demographic. However, I love that this has been turned into a television show, and I will definitely make sure that my niece watches it, because she already loves the movie.



4. Shots Fired, the series premiere is March 22nd on Fox, stars Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Stephen Meyers, Will Patton, Mack Wilds, Aisha Hinds, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Conor Leslie, Dewanda Wise, Richard Dreyfuss, Helen Hunt, and Jill Hennessy. This 10-episode event series takes a look at our criminal justice system and centers around two fatal shootings in a small Southern town. This is extremely topical, and I have been reading some good reviews, so I am interested to see what they do.



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8 Muslim Characters…

This was, unfortunately, a much harder list to put together than my lists of Jewish and Christian characters. While we have started to slowly move away from the stereotype of Muslim characters only being depicted as terrorists, there still are not very many who are lead or recurring characters on mainstream television shows. I will preface this by saying I do not watch all of these shows, so I apologize if my descriptions of any of the characters is wrong.

1. Nasir Khan – The Night Of, played by Riz Ahmed
Nasir is Pakistani-American college student, born and raised in Queens, NY, who is accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side. He is denied bail when the District Attorney uses his Pakistani background to claim that he is a “flight risk.”

2. Nimah and Raina Amin – Quantico, played by Yasmine Al Massri
Arab-American twin sisters from Michigan who begin training for the FBI as one person to see if they could do the same while undercover in the field. Raina is the more conservative of the two, and the one that wears a hijab.

3. Arastoo Vaziri – Bones, played by Pej Vahdat
One of the Squinterns working at the Jeffersonian, he is originally from Iran but was exiled for his political views. His family still resides in the country, and Arastoo is allowed to visit Tehran when his brother is diagnosed with a brain tumor.

4. Aliyah Shadeed – American Crime, played by Regina King
The sister of drug addict Carter Nix, who has been accused of murder, she is relentless in trying to prove her brother’s innocence. She is American-born and a convert to Islam.

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8 New Mid-Season Shows…

Earlier in the week, I posted my list of the returning shows I am excited about, so here are some new shows to check out.

1. One Day at a Time, the first season was released today, January 6th, on Netflix, stars Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, Todd Grinnell, and Stephen Tobolowsky. A newly single Latina mother struggles to raise her teenage children with the help of her mother. It is a re-imagining of the 70s show of the same name, from Executive Producer Norman Lear. I have heard great things about this series and have already watched the first episode, which was really funny but also had a lot of heart. Once I finish writing this post, I plan to watch the rest of the episodes.



2. Taboo, premieres January 10th on FX Networks, stars Tom Hardy, Jessie Buckley, Oona Chaplin, David Hayman, Jonathan Pryce, Franka Potente, Jason Watkins, Jefferson Hall, Ed Hogg, Michael Kelly, Mark Gatiss, Nicholas Woodeson, Stephen Graham, and Tom Hollander. Set in 1814, Taboo follows James Keziah Delaney, a man who was believed to be long dead, but he returns home to London from Africa to inherit what is left of his father’s shipping empire and rebuild a life for himself. His father’s legacy has been ruined, and James must protect himself from enemies while discovering his family’s dark secrets. Even after reading that description, I do not really know what the show is about, but it stars Tom Hardy, so I am in.



3. Victoria, premieres January 15th on PBS, stars Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Nell Hudson, Peter Bowles, Catherine Flemming, Daniela Holtz, Ferdinand Kingsley, Tommy Knight, Nigel Lindsay, Eve Myles, David Oakes, Adrian Schiller, Peter Firth, Alex Jennings, and Rufus Sewell. This series is a look at the early life of Britain’s Queen Victoria, from her accession to the throne at eighteen through to her marriage to Prince Albert. I loved the movie The Young Victoria with Emily Blunt, so I am not sure how I will feel about Jenna Coleman in the role, but I will give it a try. As I have said before, and will surely say again, I just find the history of the British monarchy fascinating, and will pretty much watch anything involving them.



4. SIX, premieres on History, stars Walton Goggins, Barry Sloane, Kyle Schmid, Juan Pablo Raba, Edwin Hodge, Dominic Adams, Brianne Davis, Nadine Velazquez, Jaylen Moore, Donny Boaz, and Nondumiso Tembe. This series is inspired by the real missions of Navy SEAL Team Six. Each season will be about a different mission, with the first season focusing on a 2014 mission to eliminate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan that goes awry when they uncover a U.S. citizen working with the terrorists. This was originally supposed to be released last summer, but it got delayed. I wrote about it then, and am still really excited about it. The cast is awesome, and I hope it will be a fantastic series.

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8 Returning Mid-Season Shows…

I know you have all been waiting for this, so here is my list of returning shows that I am most looking forward to in 2017. Sometimes, I look back at these lists and mourn the shows we have lost too soon or found their natural end. Hopefully, there are not too many of them this year.

1. BONES, season 12 premieres January 3rd on Fox, Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin, T.J. Thyne, Tamara Taylor, John Boyd, Patricia Belcher, Michael Grant Terry, Eugene Byrd, Carla Gallo, Pej Vahdat, Ryan O’Neal, Joel David Moore, Ignacio Serricchio, Laura Spencer, and Eric Milligan. In this final season premiere, Dr. Brennan has been kidnapped by former squintern Zack Addy. No one knows what Zack is up to, but Agents Booth and Aubrey, with the help of the Jeffersonian team, must find her and bring her home safely. This has never been one of my “must-watch” shows, but it has been consistently well-written, and the chemistry among the entire cast is always excellent. I am interested to see how they bring this series to a close.



2. HOMELAND, season 6 premieres January 15th on Showtime, stars Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, F. Murray Abraham, Sebastian Koch, and Elizabeth Marvel. Carrie is back in the United States with Franny, and is working as an advocate for Muslim Americans. Saul and the CIA have a new President-Elect to brief, and she is not necessarily on their side. Quinn is awake, and dealing with the reality of his health situation. It all sounds like it might hit a little too close to home for our country right now, which means it should definitely be an interesting season.



3. MERCY STREET, season 2 premieres January 22nd on PBS, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, AnnaSophia Robb, McKinley Belcher III, Patina Miller, Hannah James, Norbert Leo Butz, Josh Radnor, Lyne Renée, Tara Summers, Bryce Pinkham, L. Scott Caldwell, Brían F. O’Byrne, Luke Macfarlane, Jack Falahee, Donna Murphy, Brad Koed, Gary Cole, Suzanne Bertish, Shalita Grant, and Peter Gerety. I did not watch the first season as it aired, but once I realized what a fantastic cast it had, I decided I need to give it a try. Set during the Civil War, this show takes places at a hospital in Virginia, where both Union and Confederate soldiers are treated. The nurses, doctors, and the freed slaves that work at the hospital all have differing views about what it means to do good during this time of conflict. The second season picks up in June of 1862 and everyone is realizing that things in the country are going to get much worse before they get better.



4. OUTSIDERS, season 2 premieres January 24th on WGN America, stars David Morse, Ryan Hurst, Kyle Gallner, Thomas M. Wright, Gillian Alexy, Joe Anderson, and Christina Jackson. The first season ended with a stand-off on the mountain between the Farrells and the local law enforcement and, from the trailer, it looks like there will be a pretty epic fight in the first episode back. The coal company and the town are still looking for a way to contain the Farrells, which causes some fighting within the clan. I loved the first season, and this second one looks even more action-packed, so I am very excited to see what happens next.

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8 Episodes from 2016…

My list of favorite episodes each year is usually a combination of things that made me think, and things that just made me really happy. I always like to preface my list with the recognition that these are simply *my* favorite episodes, and not necessarily the best episodes, because I know that there is way too much good TV to make that statement, and that other people have different tastes than me. So, here we go…

1. Game of Thrones “The Winds of Winter”
The previous episode “The Battle of the Bastards” was also fantastic, but this is my favorite because everything starts to come together in the season finale. Cersei refuses to stand trial, and instead blows up the High Sparrow, the Faith Militant, and most of the Tyrell family. Tommen then kills himself, and Cersei takes the Iron Throne. Aria exacts vengeance on House Frey for the Red Wedding. Bran has become the Three-Eyed Raven and learns that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. Jon and Sansa have reclaimed Winterfell for the Starks, and Jon is named the King of the North by the rest of the Northern families, with a little help from Lyanna Mormont. Daenerys makes Tyrion the Hand of the Queen and begins sailing across the Summer Sea with her dragons and her army, aligned with Dorne, Highgarden, and House Greyjoy. Everything seems to have fallen into place, and it set-up what will hopefully be a eventful season seven. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

2. Black Sails “XXVIII”
I had not read a lot about the show before starting to watch, and have never read Treasure Island, so I actually did not know that the show is a prequel to the book until the end of the most recent season. I mostly just like pirates and decided to finally catch up on the whole series this year. In this season finale, there is an epic battle between Flint’s and Rackham’s crews, the Maroons and the British. After the British are handily defeated, with help from Blackbeard, the pirate captains sit down together and begin to figure out a plan to take back Nassau. Meanwhile, Billy Bones and a few select others have been instilling fear in the people of the island, and Silver is finally given the name ‘Long John Silver.’ Lines have been drawn in Nassau, and if you are not with the pirates, you are against them.

3. 12 Monkeys “Blood Washed Away”
For me, this is the best science fiction show on television right now. Every season I think they cannot possibly blow my mind any more, and then they do, over and over again throughout the season. Cole and Cassie are stuck together in 1958, with no way back to the future unless they stop the primary from causing another paradox. When they fail, they FINALLY admit to each other that they are both in love, and they face those feelings head on. Back in 2044, everyone else is searching for Titan so that they can kill The Witness. This is not the season finale, but it ends in such a way that you have no idea how they could possibly go on from here, and yet they do somehow, and it is excellent.

4. Lovesick “Frankie”
This show makes me laugh a lot. This episode in particular made me cry with laughter. The reason this episode has made my list is because of one specific scene where Angus has eaten hallucinogenic mushrooms and somehow manages to get into the freezer at a grocery store. He is enjoying the cold temperature, and tells Dylan that it’s like being in Narnia. When the grocery store employee tells him to get out, he tries to hide by putting a bag of frozen peas over his face. Later, after Dylan’s car gets a flat tire, Angus is afraid that they are being watched so he runs into the woods and climbs a tree. I chuckle just thinking about it.

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8 Things For Which I Am Thankful…

These are the mostly television related things that I am most thankful for this year. It has been another year of ups and downs and this is what helps get me through it all.

1. No Tomorrow
I wrote an entire post about why I think you should be watching this awesome new CW show, but mostly it just makes me laugh a lot. It is genuine and uplifting, and it is the show that I currently look forward to the most each week. I have actually decided that I am most like Kareema, only she says things out loud and I just think them, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Either way, it has been a great escape these last few months, and I appreciate that more than ever.



2. Lin-Manuel Miranda
Not only do I pretty much have the Hamilton Soundtrack, the Hamilton Mixtape, and the Moana Soundtrack all on repeat right now, but following Lin-Manuel on social media is the best decision I have ever made. Every day, he posts a ‘good morning’ and a ‘good night’ message, and they are always hopeful and encouraging. He is genuine, thoughtful, and supportive, and I just appreciate him. This awesome song from Moana was written by Miranda and sung by Dwayne Johnson:



3. Alfred James Band
When I lived in Philadelphia, I became friends with the Alfred James Band, and even though we have lost touch a bit since I moved to Texas, I was ridiculously excited when they released their second album recently. I had missed hearing these songs, and the album was everything I hoped it would be. I was especially surprised and touched after learning that one of the songs was written for me, and it reminded me that no matter where you go in life, a part of everyone you’ve ever met stays with you forever. You can listen to and download ‘Forgotten,’ as well as the rest of the album here:

4. Gilmore Girls
I probably will not have a chance to watch all four parts of the revival this weekend, but I am so excited!! A part of me is actually a little sad about it, only because I know that once I watch them, then it’s really over. The four words will have been spoken, and there will be no more. But I know that it will be amazing to be back in Stars Hollow with these characters and, for that, I am grateful.

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