Amazon Originals: Red Oaks Reviewed

David (Craig Roberts) with girlfriend Karen (Gage Golightly)
David (Craig Roberts) with girlfriend Karen (Gage Golightly)

Of the four pilots I’ve watched so far from Amazon Original’s pilot season, Red Oaks sits out among the front of the pack for it’s witty coming-of-age story-telling set in the 1980’s.

Clark Gregg pretty much got it right when he said on twitter “If Dirty Dancing and Caddyshack had a baby, it’d be the awesome Red Oaks” Of course he’s got a bit more invested in the series than most with his wife Jennifer Grey, she of Dirty Dancing fame, being one of the stars.

So we have 20 year old David (Craig Roberts) who is spending his summer vacation avoiding having to work with his dad Sam (Richard Kind) who also happens to want David to one day become an accountant like him. The opening scene between father and son set up the coming-of-age story-line nicely when Sam has a near fatal heart attack and lets slip some hard truths about his unhappy marriage to Davids mother Judy (Jennifer Grey) leaving David unsure about what path he wants to take in life.

Working as an assistant tennis pro under the guidance of Nash (Ennis Esmer) David quickly learns that what he has now may not be want he wants later on in life.  His girlfriend Karen (Gage Golightly) is edging for them to move in together, his best friend Wheeler (Oliver Cooper) is a pop-culture obsessed stoner who valets at the same country club.

There’s some great character set-up to be explored if this pilot is moved to series by Amazon especially that of Country Club owner Getty, played by Paul Reiser who may or may not turn out to be the father figure David may need in this stage of his life.

Red Oaks is a little bit Wonder Years and a little bit The Goldbergs yet Red Oaks has enough potential to stand on it’s own two feet. Created by Joe Gangemi (Stonehearst Asylum) and Gregory Jacobs (Criminal), Red Oaks boasts Academy Award-winning Steven Soderbergh as an executive producer and David Gordon Green (George Washington, Pineapple Express) as the pilot’s director.

Watch Red Oaks pilot episode here and if you like it, make sure you vote to have this moved to series!

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Jimmy Kimmels FRIENDS Fan Fiction Reunion

Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston join Jimmy Kimmel on Stage
Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston join Jimmy Kimmel on Stage

When Jennifer Aniston appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! the last thing i’m sure she expected was to find herself back in the kitchen made famous in 90’s sitcom Friends acting out a scene with her former co-stars.

And that’s just what happened when Kimmel surprised Aniston with his own Friends fan fiction script and an exact replica of Monica’s kitchen from the hit show.

Kimmel, playing Ross, sets out the scene (in which Kimmel wrote) about why he and Rachel have not made love in months.  Add in a push button laugh track and a surprise appearence from Courteney Cox as Monica Geller-Bing and Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay and suddenly, we’ve got ourselves a mini Friends reunion!

And no matter what, Jennifer was not going to wear that Rachel wig!

Check out the scene below:

This mini reunion comes just in time for Friends 20th anniversary this September and to mark the occasion, Warner Bros and Eight O’Clock Coffee have joined forces to bring fans the chance to experience the famous Central Perk coffee house as it’s well known.

A pop up shop in Soho which mimic’s Central Perk will be operating at 199 Lafayette Street in Downtown Manhattan from Sept 17th to Oct 18th offering free coffee, Friends merchandise and appearances from James Michael Taylor who played the lovable yet unlucky in his adoration towards Rachel, Gunther.

AHS Freak Show Cast Art Revealed

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How fantastic!  Hollywood Reporter released the first exclusive look at the cast art for AHS Freak Show and it looks incredible!  Jessica Lange as Elsa Mars front a centre, Sarah Paulson Bette and Dot Tattler, Michael Chiklis as The Strong Man Wendell Del Toredo, Kathy Bates as The Bearded Woman Effil Darling with Angela Bassett and Francis Conroy both featured as well!

AHS Freak Show begins October 8th, 10pm on FX

Full House Reboot Could Happen

The cast of the 80's sitcom Full House
The cast of the 80’s sitcom Full House

“Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, there’s a heart, (there’s a heart), a hand to hold on to….”  We all know the lyrics and we may actually be hearing them again very soon as Warner Bros TV are eyeing off a reboot of 80’s sitcom Full House.

TVGUIDE are reporting that the original series which ran from 1987 to 1995 is in the works for a revival of the series, continuing on the story of the Tanner family that would include familiar faces from the original show.

Leading the charge for a revival is John Stamos (who played rocker Uncle Jesse) who has an ownership stake in the show while original executive producer Bob Boyett and creator Jeff Franklin (who’s writing the new version) are also actively involved.  Cast wise, TVGUIDE are noting that Candice Cameron-Bauer (D.J), Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie) and Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibbler) have raised their hands to take part while Bob Saget (Danny) and Jeff Coulier (Uncle Joey) may be involved in some aspect.

No word on whether the Olsen Twins – Ashley and Mary-Kate who shared the role of Michelle will take part.

While there’s been a mass of possible re-boots (Charmed and Murder She Wrote) that have fallen flat before making it to filming, with the success of the Boy Meets World revival (Girls Meets World on Disney Channel) there’s some hope that a return for the Tanner’s may actually come through.

So while we wait for anymore news, i’ll leave you with the following clip so it gets stuck in your head for the next three hours…

Emmy Awards 2014

Host Seth Meyers
Host Seth Meyers

Well I don’t know about you, but by the time the final awards were announced, my Emmy’s 2014 score card was looking pretty dire.  Of the main categories this year, Breaking Bad and Modern Family went home winners claiming 9 trophies between the two shows. Breaking Bad deservedly with it’s incredible final season while a few were surprised with Modern Family’s continued award show strength even after 5 seasons…

While Breaking Bad, Modern Family, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jim Parsons have become expected winners, there were a few surprise names called out with BBC series Sherlock and it’s stars Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch taking out the top awards for mini-series and 5 time previous winner Alison Janney winning best supporting actress for the very horrible comedy Mom 

https://twitter.com/mickfinney/status/504106252570353665

Check out the list of winners below along with my disastrous score card!

Comedy | Supporting Actor |  My Pick: Tony Hale (VEEP)  /  Winner: Ty Burrel (Modern Family)

Comedy | Supporting Actress | My Pick: Kate Mulgrew (Orange is the New Black)  /  Winner: Alison Janney (Mom)

Comedy | Lead Actor | My Pick: Matt Le Blanc (Episodes)  /  Winner: Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

Comedy | Lead Actress | My Pick: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (VEEP)  / Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (VEEP)

Comedy Series | My Pick | Orange is the New Black  /  Winner: Modern Family

Drama | Supporting Actor | My Pick: Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) / Winner: Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)

Drama | Supporting Actress | My Pick: Lena Headley (Game of Thrones)  /  Winner: Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)

Drama | Lead Actor | My Pick: Brian Cranston (Breaking Bad) / Winner: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

Drama | Lead Actress | My Pick: Claire Danes (Homeland) / Winner: Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)

Drama Series | My Pick: Breaking Bad / Winner: Breaking Bad

As you can see, I hang my head low claiming only four correct picks!  Will be interesting to see how the drama category stacks up with this being Breaking Bad’s final year.

For a full list of winners, click here

 

Reviewed: Karen Gillan’s ‘Selfie’

Karen Gillan in ABC's 'Selfie'
Karen Gillan in ABC’s ‘Selfie’

To be honest, when the networks announced the long lists of new shows they picked up for the upcoming Fall season, ABC’s comedy titled ‘Selfie’ and staring Karen Gillan did not even ping on my radar. I knew of it, but the premise and the early release trailer did nothing for me.  To me, it was being touted as a social media savvy and utterly vapid valley girl has humiliating moment and tries to go humble.

Well, that pretty much sums up what Selfie is all about, but after watching the pilot episode, I think i’m going to be a bit more nicer about the show than other reviews have been.

Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) is a pharmaceutical sales rep who relies more on what her online followers are doing, hash-tagging and liking via vine, instagram, twitter, Facebook etc etc etc than dealing with the actual real life people around her.  Attached to her phone like a drunk to a bottle of whiskey, she’s what I imagine Clueless’s Cher Horowitz to be like had she been created in this technologically advanced era.

Sashaying down the isle of an airplane, we’re first introduced to Eliza where every meme, lol, yolo, hashtag and Valencia filter is thrown at us to ensure that we know Eliza is a ‘millennial’ and that we shouldn’t really like her, plus she’s snagged herself an upgrade and she’s messing around with her co-worker – whom she finds out is married. It’s then the plot is switched up and we’re manipulated to feel sorry for her when she ends up covered in her own vomit (it’s a slow motion liquid mess of a scene that almost had me dry retching) and it’s captured on multiple cameras and subsequently uploaded to every form of social media available – including Google +.

Searching for help from her online cheer-squad, Eliza quickly learns that she doesn’t actually have any real friends.

Thankfully, there’s the non-sexual and non-threatening  co-worker and anti-any-form-of-technology Henry Higgings (John Cho) just around the corner willing to fix her and turn her into a respectable lady capable of migrating into society without the need to constantly take a selfie.  If you hadn’t worked it out by now, Selfie is an attempt at taking the classic My Fair Lady and throwing a Mayfair filter over it to make it accessible to a younger audience – sort of what Clueless did with Jane Austen’s Emma – but no where near as effective.

Not that Selfie is really that bad.  Sure, there were a mass of quotes spewed out of Eliza’s mouth (including and not restricted to  “BF BS. Got played like Flappy Bird. Mortified.com.” and “make like Elsa and let it go”) that were enough to make me a) glad I’m in my mid 30’s and will never have to speak like that and b) wonder how someone who actually talks like that finds themselves employed, but there were a few moments I let out a very hearty laugh – Henry Higgins “What makes you confused?” Eliza Dooley “Plus sized skinny jeans, I mean what the?!”

Check out a clip below

Selfie premiere’s on Sept 30th on ABC.

A Storm is Coming: Big Brother Australia 2014

Big Brother is back on 9 for 2014
Big Brother is back on 9 for 2014

 

Thursday saw channel 9 drop the new promo for Big Brother Australia 2014 and it’s got a lot of people talking about what to expect for the new season with a theme of Noah’s Ark and a massive storm used for this years advertising push.

Check out the new promo below:

As you can see, host Sonia Kruger is playing Noah while she directs the housemates (are they couples?) into the ark and just like the biblical story, they arrive, two by two, offering shelter and safety from the impending storm where, Sonia then explains: “A storm is brewing… on the inside,” and to top it off, last years winner Tim Dormer make an appearance right at the end of the clip, dressed in his trademark skeleton onesie.

Fans of the reality series are noting that this year, the series is starting much later than normal and how will it play into the networks lineup with The Block Glasshouse still airing.  It has been revealed that Channel 9 are planning on using the strong numbers for The Block as a lead in to this new series of Big Brother which will see the show pushed back to an 8:30pm timeslot while The Block is still airing (once The Block Glasshouse finishes, Big Brother is expected to move back to a 6:30pm/7:30pm timeslot)

This season will also see Big Brother have a  fully digital and integrated platform, allowing viewers more engagement and interaction than ever before. “Australia, this year it is power to the people. Your first chance to control what happens in my House starts before night one. You decide more than just who stays and who goes.”  Sonia Kruger says of the new series – “This is without a doubt going to be the most exciting series we’ve ever seen. From night one, Housemates will have to make immediate judgments which will have far reaching consequences into their Big Brother experience.

 “In this day and age, with the prevalence of social media, people are forced to make snap judgments on other people based on tiny bits of information. Our Housemates are going to have to make quick decisions based on first impressions. “I also hear our 2014 Housemates are the most opinionated and most controversial ever, and buttons will be pushed.”

The Daily Mail UK have revealed extensive renovations to the Big Brother compound with a larger pool, a new elevated living area, a tree house and possibly a second secluded pool while BehindBigBrother.com has revealed that the series will be the shortest in Australian Big Brother history – running only for 80 days and nights.

Big Brother Australia 2014 is scheduled to begin with a double night ‘housemate entry’ special on Monday September 8th on channel 9

Winners and Losers Says Goodbye To…..

Rear Katherine Hicks as Sam, Virginia Gay as Frances Front Melissa Bergland as Jenny, Zoe Tuckwell-Smith as Bec, Melanie Vallejo as Sophie
Rear Katherine Hicks as Sam, Virginia Gay as Frances Front Melissa Bergland as Jenny, Zoe Tuckwell-Smith as Bec, Melanie Vallejo as Sophie.  Source: Provided

The massive cast changes in Winners and Losers that took place at the season three finale is about to add another name to the list of those who have left with Tuesday night’s episode seeing a main character joining those who have moved onto greener pastures.

The season three finale saw characters including Patrick (Jack Pearson), Jasmine (Pia-Grace Moon), Flynn (Tom Hobbs) and Jonathan (Damien Bodie) all exit the series along with Trish Gross (Denise Scott) taking an extended break in Switzerland and Bec (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith) moving to Singapore to be with Ryan (but let’s face it, she hasn’t really gone anywhere with the amount of time she’s spending back home in Melbourne!) is about to see a favorite cast member say goodbye.

Speaking with The Daily Edition yesterday, cast member Melanie Vallejo (Sophie) revealed that yes, a main cast member will be leaving the show!  So who is it that’s leaving?  I know….but i’m keeping quiet on this one, instead offering up some suggestions as to who it could be.

Is it Francis?:  Francis has had a tough time of late between Zach leaving, her surprise pregnancy and the departure of business partner Flynn and co-dependent Jonathan, Francis has found herself relying on the slightly airy Bridget, not only for emotional support but professional support too.  Has it all become too much for Francis to handle with her only option to be with Zach in Abu Dhabi?

Is it Jen?: While things haven’t been as tough for Jen as they have been for Francis, Jen’s still been on a very up and down ride that could see her throw it all in and leave for good.  With all her winnings now gone, Jen has had a tough time readjusting to life before money that included returning to her old job and suffering through a string of bad relationships.  Will new boyfriend Gabe be enough to keep Jen from leaving?

Is it Sophie?:  One could say “poor Sophie” if it wasn’t for all the naked fun she was having with Sam’s brother Luke.  While her ex Doug has moved on and married Carla and her struggles with revealing what happened to her while in Africa played heavily in the past few seasons, it’s her relationship with Luke that has really started to haunt Sophie.  Trying to deny she wants more from him that she currently has is a typical Sophie move, but can she deal with having her heart broken all over again?

Is it Bec?:  We’ve seen some very ‘out-of-character’ behavior from our widowed Bec of late. There was the hook up with bikie Jason (who was also dealing dope on the side) then becoming romantically involved with her therapist Ryan (who subsequently lost his job) which then led to her moving to Singapore to continue to be with Ryan and finally back into Jason’s arms, cheating on Ryan.  It’s all been very un-Bec like…could this behavior lead to her saying goodbye to it all and leaving?

Is it Sam?:  Just like the others, Sam has found herself in a situation she never thought she’d ever be in.  One day your working as a nurse, the next you’re marrying a patient dying from cancer and suddenly, you’ve inherited your dead husband’s son he abandoned years ago while his mother is off in Bangers living large with the payout from her ex’s death.  Sam somehow managed to get the raw end of the deal here and has found herself single and the legal guardian of a moody 14 year old.  How long can she deal with this?

So who leaves?  Find out tonight on an all new Winners and Losers, 8:30pm on Channel 7

Wentworth Season 2 Finale

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Danielle Cormack as Bea Smith. Source: Provided

The conclusion to this fantastic second season of Aussie prison drama Wentworth hits our screens on Tuesday night.  Check out the season 2 finale preview below:

Will Bea find her target in Brayden Holt?  Will the Governor be able to keep her cool knowing her self-made prison top dog is now on the loose?  Will Frankie try and reclaim her head honcho status with Bea gone?

Find out Tuesday night, 8:30pm on SoHo/Foxtel!

Less Girls and More Accessible, Please Like Me Season 2

Josh Thomas is back for a second round of Please Like Me. Source: Provided
Josh Thomas is back for a second round of Please Like Me. Source: PivotTV/ABCTV

I wonder how many reviews of Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me will use the phrase “yes Josh, we really do like you”?  In fairness, after watching the first two episodes from season two that were available for preview, the saying is more than warranted.

Unlike Please Like Me‘s first outing, which saw too much crammed into the meager six episodes offered up, we’re brought back into Josh’s hectic and awkward world but this time, the feeling is much more paced and easy with familiar faces including Tom (Thomas Ward), Claire (Caitlin Stacey) Niamh (Nikita Leigh-Pritchard) and mum Rose (Debra Lawrence) already fleshed out enough for us to willingly allow new characters like new housemate Patrick (Charles Cottier) and potential love interest for Tom, Jenny (Charlotte Nicado) to enter this frenetic world we’ve been waiting to come back to.

This frenetic world that Josh has created is filled with house parties, unrequited love, adventures in baby sitting, self depreciation, mental illness, awkward conversations with parents, discussions of penis size, unexpected visitors and probably the most uncomfortable “saddest recount of losing your virginity” competition that has ever existed – and this is just in the first two episodes.

Thomas, just as he did in season one, manages to mix his quirky awkwardness with that of a young man we’ve come to root for with an effortless flair and is now taking the foot off the “i’m not good enough” pedal just enough that the feeling of self sorrow that surrounded Josh in season one is lessened in this second outing.

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Josh isn’t the only character to have undergone some personal development between seasons. Best friend Tom has a new-found confidence with women, probably his way of dealing with the departure of girlfriend Claire to Germany, that see’s Tom more confident in his approach and confident of achieving his goal.  Even Niamh has undergone a change  – gone are her nagging and manipulating ways now replaced with a girl who’s less assured and assertive.

The standout so far, without a doubt, is Debra Lawrence as mum Rose.  The erratic and unstable episodes caused by her bipolar disorder are spot-on and as Rose struggles to deal with doing what she’s told and doing what she wants is a battle that will affect those closest to her. The first time we see Rose this season is a scene that lets us all in on just how far downhill she has gone since the death of Aunt Peg.

In it’s first season, Please Like Me found itself being compared to Lena Dunham’s self penned series Girls – a comparison that was likely and to a point correct, but now, Please Like Me feels a bit more real and accessible than Girls ever was.  A scene that see’s both of Josh’s housemates preoccupied with hookups while Josh is stuck babysitting in the lounge room is a scenario that many currently in or have lived in shared accommodation can identify with.

It’s been a long awaited and very much welcome return for Please Like Me and Josh Thomas to our screens, and yes Josh, we do like you!  Anyone that can bring Denise Drysdale back to our screens and uttering obscenities is someone I will always like!

Please Like Me – Season Two begins Friday August 8th on Pivot and Tuesday August 12th on ABC2.