SoHo Teases With A Wentworth Season 3 Promo

Nicole Da Silva, Danielle Cormack and Aaron Jeffrey
Nicole Da Silva, Danielle Cormack and Aaron Jeffrey

While it may not be much, SoHo dropped a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it promo for the highly anticipated third season of the excellent Wentworth back on Christmas Day.

Fans of the Wentworth Facebook page were treated to the Christmas gift in the form of a 20 second clip that reveals Bea (Cormack) taking her stand against Governor Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) with the words “You don’t run this prison….I do”.

Watch the clip here at Wentworth’s Facebook Page

The teaser clip comes off the back of the show becoming available to American audiences with seasons one and two now available on streaming service Netflix.  Along with the new audience, positive critical reviews are starting to stream out, praising the show, the writing and comparing it (somewhat) to the other women’s prison drama Orange is the New Black.

Wentworth returns for Season 3 in 2015 on SoHo.

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Best TV Characters of 2014

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Zombie killers, jaded actresses, prison wardens, freaks, loud mouth-know-it-all’s, CIA agents, lawyers, mothers, detectives, therapists…whatever the ‘profession’, the range and scale of characters scattered throughout the television year has been wide and varied.

To celebrate the year that was, here’s my list of the 23 best television characters of 2014

23: Beth Davis – “Stalker”

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A stalking victim turned head of the stalker unit with the L.A.P.D turned stalking victim.  It’s no wonder Beth Davis (Maggie Q) keeps her cards close to her chest.  There’s something mysterious about Beth, but that’s probably because we’re only just starting to unravel the trauma she suffered many many years ago.

22: Ellie Torres – “Cougar Town”

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Ellie (Krista Miller) is the best friend you want to have but probably couldn’t deal with her in-your-face bluntness.  And while she’s begun to warm up-to others around her, you just know Ellie always does what’s best for Ellie.

21: Will – “Friends With Better Lives”

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Will was the externally confident but internally, was incredibly insecure.  The single guy in his group of loved-up friends, no romantic challenge was off limits, even if it included an almost three-way with one of his friends.

20: Gina Spinks – “Web Therapy”

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Gina, Gina, Gina.  The only woman in the world to take horrible advice from her therapist and turn it into a positive…with that positive being becoming a sex toy party host.  The great thing about Gina is, she literally does not see the mean coming from those around her.

19: Dr. Betty Rogers – “Motive”

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Handling dead bodies never looked so sexy!  Betty’s (Lauren Holly) take-no-prisoners attitude towards her job isn’t even covering some deep seeded need to be taken seriously, it’s just Betty.  Plus the fact she’ll rock up-to a crime scene in full nightclub attire without any explanation as to why or where she’s been just shows Betty is deadly serious about her work.

18: Haley Duphy – “Modern Family”

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Being one of three Dunphy children makes it hard for one to stand out, but this year saw Haley (Sarah Hyland) bump herself up with some incredibly funny scenes involving her finally taking a leap forward with her career post community college drop out.  Gone is the self obsessed, younger sister dissing ditz, replaced with the self obsessed, younger sister dissing career woman.

17: Bedelia Du Maurier – “Hannibal”

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Has Bedelia (Gillian Anderson) fooled us all along?  Her almost whispered tones confessing her beliefs of Hannibal’s guilt this year made us all believe not only does she believe Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper, but she’s also quite fearful of her life…that was until that final scene of season two.

16: Connor Walsh – “How To Get Away With Murder”

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Connor (Jack Falahee) proves it’s not always the girls who can use sex as a way to get what they want as he bed-hopped his way around obtaining key pieces of evidence and information to ensure he stays in favor with his mentor.  His bitchy, snarky and manipulative demeanor is a perfect throwback to the days of Melrose Place and Amanda Woodward.

15: Peter Quinn – “Homeland”

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Quinn (Rupert Friend) sure is a damaged and broken man.  He’s hell bent on trying to make right (still living with the demons he pick-up after accidentally killing a young boy) while also dealing with emerging romantic feelings for his boss.  Copious amounts of booze and random acts of sex with his landlord didn’t seem to help, nor his attempt to express his feelings for said boss.

14: Laura Diamond – “The Mysteries of Laura”

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Sure Laura (Debra Messing) really displaced me on our first meeting but over time, Detective Diamond has proven herself to be a head-strong and smart woman who happens to not give two hoots about she presents herself to the world.  She’s a mother first and a career woman first too who also happens to carry around a bag akin to that of Mary Poppins.

13: Nicky Nichols – “Orange is the New Black”

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It was rather interesting getting to see a second side to Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) this year that didn’t involve sex with other inmates.  While it was there and is part of the Nicky we love, her battle with overcoming her heroin addiction and also dealing with the fall from grace of her mother-figure Red (Kate Mulgrew) showed that there is a mature and responsible woman underneath all that red hair.

12: Shoshanna Shapiro – “Girls”

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Part of the reason why Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is on this list is purely down to her awesome “go fuck yourself” speech she spewed out to Hannah (Lena Dunham) while in the ‘fake Hamptons’.  It’s a fantastic piece of dialogue that is what all Girls viewers have been wanting to say to Hannah since day one.  “I’m talking about the fact that you’re a fucking narcissist.  Seriously, I’ve never met anyone else who thinks their own life is so fucking fascinating.  I wanted to fall asleep in my own vomit all day listening to you talk about how you bruise more easily than other people.”

11: Beverly Goldberg – “The Goldbergs”

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There’s no smother (smothering mother) like her!  Whether Beverly (Wendy McLendon-Covey) is trying to stay hip and relevant with her daughter or ego stroke her wannabe rapper-come-kickboxer-come-basketball superstar son, Beverly is there.  Actually, she’s there watching them sleep, eat, at school…she’s everywhere.

10: Annalise Keating – “How to get Away With Murder”

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You get confronted with this ballsy and upfront woman right from the go.  Annalise (Viola Davis) is all business and for the most part – keeps up a good front but this woman also struggling with a cheating husband, a dead cheerleader and a whole bunch of lies and betrayal so it’s no wonder that underneath the wig, the makeup and the power suits, there’s a very uncertain and sad woman trying to decipher what’s personal and what’s business.

9: Bette and Dot Tattler – “American Horror Story Freak Show”

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Looking at Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson) it’s hard to tell the two apart but when you get up close and personal, the conjoined twins could not be more identifiable.  We love that Bette takes what’s in front of her as black and white.  She dreams of stardom and seeing the world for what it has to offer while Dot, the complete opposite.  She knows the world has an extending shade of grey area not to be trusted and yearns for a life that doesn’t involve her sister attached to her 24-7.

8: Alison Hendrix – “Orphan Black”

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She’s a mom who drinks, kills, has numerous clone sisters and enjoys time performing in local stage productions.  Clearly Alison (Tatiana Maslany) has her priorities right, but has trouble keeping them all in check.  One of the more colorful clones, we’ve seen Alison grow from a suburban stepford wife to an ass-kicking alcoholic while still managing to have dinner on the table for her kids (you know, while she’s not in forced rehab).

7: Ashley Marin – “Pretty Little Liars”

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The Ashley Marin (Laura Leighton) that is so accustomed to ensuring people perceive her and her daughter to have a perfect life had no choice but to show things are not a peachy keen as they appeared. Accused of murder and shipped off to prison, Ashley had no choice but to let the walls down and ask for help from those she’s been trying to dupe for all these years.  Mix that with Leighton’s compelling performance as a completely distraught mother uncertain of her daughter’s safety and well-being while not having the ability to control what’s happening outside those prison walls makes Ashley Marin a standout.

6: Dr. Fiona Wallice – “Web Therapy”

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What’s best for Fiona (Lisa Kudrow) clearly isn’t what’s best for everyone else and in true Web Therapy form, Fiona never really learns from her mistakes or errors in judgement.  She continuously looks for the monetary advantage and boost in social standing in those she’s entrusted to help yet is shocked when she’s either double crossed or left holding together what shred of professional credibility she actually has.  Of course, thanks to Kudrow’s impeccable performance, we still root for Fiona to come out on top.

5: Joan ‘The freak’ Ferguson – “Wentworth”

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Governor Joan Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) is one demented woman haunted by personal tragedy.  She set out her plan for revenge many many years ago that was finally coming to see the light of day and no prisoner or guard within the walls of Wentworth were going to spoil her scheme, even if it meant there would be blood on her hands.  To me, Pamela Rabe was the most genius and perfect casting of any character for 2014.

4: Daryl Dixon – “The Walking Dead”

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Daryl (Norman Reedus) has always been at the forefront of The Walking Dead but throughout the show, he has (mostly) managed to keep his heart and emotions well and truly hidden.  But it was this year that brought forth a softer side to Daryl – reunited with trusted companion Carol and faced with the death of Beth, the hardened and dirtied exteriors began to fall showing a multi-layered character we all kind of knew was there all along.

3: Carrie Mathison – “Homeland”

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It’s a reinvigorated Homeland that proved killing off a main character can be beneficial to bringing back a show to it’s best and with Brody now dead, we got back a Carrie (Claire Danes) that was no longer split between work and love (well…there’s now a baby…but you get where I’m coming from) now with her eyes firmly on homeland security.

2: Selina Meyers – “VEEP”

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You’d have to imagine just what America would be like if Selina Meyer were actually the president.  She’s completely out-of-touch with modern society, curses like a drunken sailor, is blatantly disrespectful to pretty much everyone and yet, we all cheered when she suddenly became the President of the United States.  Put it down to that hilarious scene between Selina and right hand man Gary in the bathroom when she finds out the big news.

1: Valerie Cherish – “The Comeback”

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All this woman really wants is to stay afloat in an industry where hot one day is cold the next and while Valerie (Lisa Kudrow) knows this first hand, she can’t keep herself away, even if it means playing a fictionalized version of herself in a HBO show written by a man who literally hates her.  And while Valerie and all her irksome habits have a way of pushing you aside, the vulnerability she lets seep out from time to time ultimately pull you back in.

The Comeback Sheds Light on Valerie Cherish

Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) becomes her own (almost) undoing in The Comeback
Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) becomes her own (almost) undoing in The Comeback

You can just see it can’t you?  Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) standing in front of a room full of her peers, accepting an Emmy and saying “Well, I got it!”.  It’s an image that could very well come true after experiencing Valerie actually acting – and incredibly well.

In the HBO comedy’s fifth episode of season two (titled Valerie is taken seriously), we continue our internal (and sometimes not so internal) struggle of loving and feeling incredibly uneasy for and with Valerie as she continues work on Seeing Red but this time round, we get our first glimpse at some of the work Val is doing on the show.

And it’s fucking amazing.

Long time fans will know Valerie the not-so-good sitcom actress and Valerie the star of her own documentary, but this foray for Val into gritty drama is new ground for us and Valerie herself and it’s here with episode five we learn that perhaps Val had spent most of her life working a road she was never meant to take.

The scene in question is where Val sneakily watches some of her dailies with Mickey.. a bedroom scene where Mallory is leaving a nasty voice message for Paulie G.. “That’s fine i’ll leave a message OK.  I don’t care if you’re available or unavailable.  I don’t care if you just found out if you have herpes or hepatitis C from one of those whores you pay to come to your room on show night.  I’ve been in this business a lot longer than you have and i’ll be in this business long after they take you out in a body bag because you are going to O.D on some shit that you’re going to pump into your veins because you hate yourself, and guess what? I’m your way out and you’re too fucking stupid to even know it.”….

There’s that moment when the camera cuts to Valerie after watching the scene and we’re waiting for any hint of recognition from her of the inexplicably incredible work she’s just seen….and there’s nothing.  Not even Mickey’s words of praise “Oh, Red! All these years. You can really act” can stop Val from tearing the scene apart – all for the way she looks – it’s too dark, she looks tired, Paulie G pushed her too hard…even noting that clip was take 12.

Val is completely blinded by the darkness in the scene.

And once again, just as we’re almost comfortable enough to root for Val for the win, she’s off like a bull, hunting down anyone that can make her look better on screen because Val believes that “people aren’t going to want to see me look like that” – a belief only instilled further after a meeting with a reporter from the New York times who after seeing the first episode of Seeing Red, told Val she was brave.  .

So consumed in what others think of her, Val completely misses the actual and genuine positive remark for one of vanity – but that’s the Valerie Cherish we’ve walked hand in hand with all along.

Thankfully, after a second meeting with the NY Times reporter, Val get’s it given to her straight up “It was so emotionally raw.  People have never seen that side of you before.  It felt like you were exposing the inner part of yourself in a very surprising and compelling way.” 

Could Valerie be ready to leave behind the image she wants people see her as in exchange for the credible actress she could possibly be?

Golden Globes 2015 Snubs, Surprises and Nominations

Scandal's Kerry Washington once again misses out on a nomination.
Scandal’s Kerry Washington once again misses out on a nomination.

There’s a whole lot of WTF floating around social media and Hollywood at the moment and it’s all aimed around the recent Golden Globe nominations announced today.  The general consensus is that is a mix of “did they finally get it right?” and “Did [insert name here] really miss out again?”.

This years nominations brought fourth a change in what to expect for nominees.  No Modern Family (gasp) nominations, new shows such as How to get away with Murder and Transparent finding themselves with big time nods, Game of Thrones’s Peter Dinklage mysteriously absent from the list and a small show about virgins getting everyone talking thanks to two serious nominations.

Along with Modern Family’s surprise omission, Scandal and star Kerry Washington were both amiss along with favorite Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) and even Park’s and Recreation lead (and Globes host- AND last years winner for best actress in a comedy) Amy Poehler missed out.

Other notable omissions include Big Bang’s Jim Parsons (nominated three times with one win) and HBO’s Veep which only landed a nom for lead Julia Louis-Dreyfus and just like last years best actress comedy winner Poehler, last years best actor comedy winner – Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine Nine) is also missing from the list.

Perhaps (to me) the biggest omission is any mention of Lisa Kudrow and The Comeback.  How is it possible that Kudrow, who has the inane ability to play both hysterical and utterly tragic, not even get a look in for her work as the completely jaded Valerie Cherish?

Moving along from the snubs, perhaps the biggest surprise this year is the inclusion on the CW’s Jane The Virgin.  The show picked up two nominations (best lead actress comedy and best comedy) and is the first time the network has ever received a nomination. While I’m yet to indulge in the world of Jane and her virginity, the general feeling around these nominations is one of good and much deserved – perhaps I may need to binge this over the Xmas break!

Check out the full list of nominee’s below. (I’ve underlined my suggested wins)

Best TV Series, Drama
Downton Abbey (Masterpiece)
The Affair
Game Of Thrones
House of Cards
Good Wife, The
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama
Viola Davis
(How to Get Away With Murder)
Claire Danes
(Homeland)
Julianna Margulies
(The Good Wife)
Robin Wright
(House of Cards)
Ruth Wilson
(The Affair)
Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
Kevin Spacey
(House of Cards)
Clive Owen
(The Knick)
James Spader
(The Blacklist)
Dominic West
(The Affair)
Liev Schreiber
(Ray Donovan)
Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Orange is the New Black
Girls
Jane The Virgin
Transparent
Silicon Valley
Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
(Veep)
Edie Falco
(Nurse Jackie)
Gina Rodriguez
(Jane The Virgin)
Lena Dunham
(Girls)
Taylor Schilling
(Orange is the New Black)
Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Don Cheadle
(House of Lies)
William H. Macy
(Shameless)
Ricky Gervais
(Derek)
Jeffrey Tambor
(Transparent)
Louie C.K.
(Louie)
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie
Jessica Lange
(American Horror Story: Freak Show)
Maggie Gyllenhaal
(The Honorable Woman)
Frances McDormand
(Olive Kitteridge)
Allison Tolman
(Fargo)
Frances O’Connor
(The Missing)
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie
Martin Freeman
(Fargo)
Matthew McConaughey
(True Detective)
Woody Harrelson
(True Detective)
Billy Bob Thornton
(Fargo)
Mark Ruffalo
(The Normal Heart)
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
Kathy Bates
(American Horror Story: Freak Show)
Uzo Aduba
(Orange is the New Black)
Joanne Froggatt
(Downton Abbey)
Michelle Monaghan
(True Detective)
Allison Janney
(Mom)
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
Bill Murray
(Olive Kitteridge)
Jon Voight
(Ray Donovan)
Matt Bomer
(The Normal Heart)
Alan Cumming
(The Good Wife)
Colin Hanks
(Fargo)

The Golden Globes will be handed out on Sunday Jan 11th 2015.

Drink Up! Cougar Town Returns to Seven on Sundays

Dan Byrd and Busy Phillipps return for more fun on Cougar Town
Dan Byrd and Busy Philipps return for more fun on Cougar Town

It sure has been a long time in between drinks!  One of my all-time favorite ensemble comedies and one that is highly underrated (and suffers from bad show name syndrome) is back on Channel 7, although at a rather poor time slot.

The very funny Courteney Cox led Cougar Town is back on Aussie TV’s, starting from season 5 (which finished airing almost 12 months ago in the US) filling the Sunday night 11:30pm time slot.

I somehow managed to miss this news (or actually never expected 7 to bring the show back) as Cougar Town started last Sunday night (Dec 5th) but fans will be happy to know that this weeks episode will see the appearance of Cox’s former on-screen husband, Matthew Perry, guest starring.

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The 13 episode series 5 focuses heavily on the budding romance between Jules’ (Cox) son Travis (Dan Byrd) and one of her best friends Laurie (Busy Philipps) and Jules’ struggle to accept the inevitable.

Cougar Town continues Sunday nights at 11:30pm on Seven.

HBO Lead SAG Award Nominations

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HBO has once again taken lead with the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations among all networks with the cable channel walking away with 14 nominations thanks to standouts like The Normal Heart, Veep and Game of Thrones.

ABC’s Modern Family will try for a record breaking fifth win in the best ensemble comedy category while first time nominee’s include the often over-looked Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) and surprise entry for How to get away with murder‘s Viola Davis.

Check out the full list of the TV nominations below. (I’ve underlined my picks for the win)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
ADRIEN BRODY / Harry Houdini – “HOUDINI” (History)
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH / Sherlock Holmes – “SHERLOCK: HIS LAST VOW” (PBS)
RICHARD JENKINS / Henry Kitteridge – “OLIVE KITTERIDGE” (HBO)
MARK RUFFALO / Ned Weeks – “THE NORMAL HEART” (HBO)
BILLY BOB THORNTON / Lorne Malvo – “FARGO” (FX)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
ELLEN BURSTYN / Olivia Foxworth – “FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC” (Lifetime)
MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL / Nessa Stein – “THE HONORABLE WOMAN” (Sundance TV)
FRANCES McDORMAND / Olive Kitteridge – “OLIVE KITTERIDGE” (HBO)
JULIA ROBERTS / Dr. Emma Brookner – “THE NORMAL HEART” (HBO)
CICELY TYSON / Carrie Watts – “THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL” (Lifetime)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
STEVE BUSCEMI / Enoch “Nucky” Thompson – “BOARDWALK EMPIRE” (HBO)
PETER DINKLAGE / Tyrion Lannister – “GAME OF THRONES” (HBO)
WOODY HARRELSON / Martin Hart – “TRUE DETECTIVE” (HBO)
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY / Rust Cohle – “TRUE DETECTIVE” (HBO)
KEVIN SPACEY / Francis Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (6 nominees)
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison – “HOMELAND” (Showtime)
VIOLA DAVIS / Annalise Keating – “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” (ABC)
JULIANNA MARGULIES / Alicia Florrick – “THE GOOD WIFE” (CBS)
TATIANA MASLANY / Sarah/Cosima/Alison/Rachel/Helena/Tony/Jennifer and Various Others – “ORPHAN BLACK” (BBC America)
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham – “DOWNTON ABBEY” (PBS)
ROBIN WRIGHT / Claire Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
TY BURRELL / Phil Dunphy – “MODERN FAMILY ” (ABC)
LOUIS C.K. / Louie – “LOUIE” (FX)
WILLIAM H. MACY / Frank Gallagher – “SHAMELESS” (Showtime)
JIM PARSONS / Sheldon Cooper – “THE BIG BANG THEORY” (CBS)
ERIC STONESTREET / Cameron Tucker – “MODERN FAMILY” (ABC)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren – “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” (Netflix)
JULIE BOWEN / Claire Dunphy – “MODERN FAMILY” (ABC)
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton – “NURSE JACKIE” (Showtime)
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / Vice President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)
AMY POEHLER / Leslie Knope – “PARKS AND RECREATION” (NBC)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO)
DOWNTON ABBEY (PBS)                                                                           GAME OF THRONES (HBO)                                                               HOMELAND (Showtime)                                                                HOUSE OF CARDS (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

THE BIG BANG THEORY (CBS)                                                        BROOKLYN NINE-NINE (FOX)                                                   MODERN FAMILY (ABC)                                                           ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (Netflix)                                          VEEP (HBO)

LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Screen Actors Guild 51st Annual Life Achievement Award
DEBBIE REYNOLDS

The SAG Awards hill be handed out on Sunday Jan 25th, 2015.

Its Renewed! USA’s Playing House Returns For Season 2

Lennon Parham and Jessica St.Clair star in Playing House
Lennon Parham and Jessica St.Clair star in Playing House

You know its been almost 6 months since season one of USA’s Playing House ended it’s first season run and until now, there had been no news, yes NO news, on whether or not our sassy and brassy friends and housemates Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair) and Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham)  were going to be gracing our screens again.

In a Christmas miracle, USA network announced Playing House will in fact be returning for an 8 episode run season 2 in 2015!

And we all cheered and clapped and drank wine and smiled!

The well received, but low rated comedy is only one of three scripted comedies to remain on the network after it ‘cleaned house’ of original scripted comedies.  The news of the show’s renewal comes on the back of the networks new approach to television in 2015 which will see USA focus on VOD (Video on demand) platforms first then air it on television, a move which, it seems, saved Playing House.  The show is being used a guinea pig  to test how VOD views affect live to air ratings.

VOD, Guinea pigs, cleaning house….I don’t care as it means we get our girls back for another 8 episodes of crazy!  And if Lennon and Jessica were to ever read this…..please bring back Bird Bones!

Playing House Season 2 is set for a mid 2105 return!

Let’s Talk Streaming Subscription TV

Netflix is due to land in Australia next year
From Melrose Place to Greys Anatomy and Criminal Minds, Netflix lands in Australia next year

With the news that another pay subscription streaming TV service is about to hit our shores next year, it’s starting to feel a little “when it rains it pours”.  From Foxtel Go to Netflix, Stan and now Presto Entertainment, it’s time to sit down and look at just is ‘streaming subscription TV’ and is it something you’ll want?

Subscription TV isn’t a new thing here in Australia.  We’ve had Austar and Foxtel and Optus TV streaming all kinds of television shows into our homes for years all for a monthly subscription fee but we were restricted to programming schedules and having to buy channel packs containing shows and channels we really didn’t watch.  Free to air TV also offers us a wide range of shows, though once again, we’re restricted to scheduling, delays, changes in programming, adverts and more.  We turned to illegally downloading our favorites programs in an attempt to keep up-to-date with our US counterparts so as to stay informed and join in the conversations on social media and to also avoid spoilers.

Subscription TV on a streaming basis however is only just starting to make it’s mark.  Netflix is easily the biggest of the names making the move to break into Australia while Presto, while known and already in the market, only offered movies – until announcing a joint deal with Channel 7 and Foxtel to bring TV programs today.  Stan, the newest of the bunch, is still in baby steps, keeping their content and cards closed off.

Netflix, when it launches will offer a mass library of television shows and movies (that they plan to expand after it’s initial release), though in general, their extensive catalogue consists of content that is usually a year, or a season, behind it’s first run. (hence it’s adoration by binge worthy viewers)  They have the rights to air Batman prequel series Gotham, but can’t make it available until a year after it’s premiere on channel 9 – so October 2015 and aside from it’s original content of Orange is the new black and House of Cards, all programs are usually classed as second-run series.  Netflix is set to launch in March 2015 and will cost subscribers approximately $10 a month

Stan is a joint venture between Nine Entertainment Co and Fairfax Media and plans to make available new content as it becomes available to subscribers.  While not revealing too much, Stan announced they’ll have exclusively the entire series run of Breaking Bad and it’s highly anticipated spin-off series Better Caul Saul. As CEO, Mike Sneesby (speaking to gizmodo.com.au) states “Nobody else will have that.  Not Foxtel, not Netflix, not broadcast.  We make a deal that sees us put it onto Nine, but only if we say so.”  “If it’s big on BitTorrent, if it’s big on Netflix, we wanted it.”  Stan is set to launch in February 2015 and will cost subscribers $10 per month with no lock-in contracts.

The newly announced Presto Entertainment is a joint venture between Foxtel, Seven West Media and Presto to bring a  “broad range of locally commissioned and internationally acquired content including drama, comedy, factual and entertainment programming”. No content has been announced and no start date either.  Price wise, don’t be too surprised if it matches Presto’s current $9.99 per month it has for it’s streaming movies offer.

So the big question is, which one do you subscribe to?  All will feature content and all will be less than $10 per month.  When they all arrive, do your homework.  Each plan on offering different and exclusive content so know what you want and see who is offering it.  Also, be wary of minimum subscription periods.  Netflix allow users to cancel at will while Presto and Stan are yet to reveal if they will allow this.

So what’s the end game of subscription streaming TV?  Namely, it’s an untapped market in Australia, but it’s also a plausible solution to stop the mass of torrenting that’s occurring here.    Streamco (Stan) while doing research on streaming subscription tv  found that “half of pirates it surveyed would pay for the content they were downloading if it were available on a cheap and convenient platform.”

Do you plan on heading into the streaming subscription TV area?  Does one stand out better than the others?  Sound off in the comments below!

Update – 20/1/15

Streaming service STAN is set to go live shortly and judging by their updated website, there’s a slew of content ready to go when it launches.  Programs including Nurse Jackie, Dexter, Hannibal, Californication, The Bridge, The Tudors, Orphan Black, Doctor Who and Masters of Sex are all featured in the sites background image.

HBO’s Looking Season 2 Trailer

Image Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr./HBO
Image Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr./HBO

While I haven’t been the biggest champion of HBO’s gay drama Looking (see posts here and here) the season one finale seemed to up the ante and bring the drama that I and quite a few viewers were looking for.  Now, HBO has released the full length trailer for the show’s second season, and by the looks of it, we could be in for more of what was given to us in that final episode of season one.

Jonathan Groff, Frankie J Alvarez and Murray Bartlett are all back along with Russell Tovey (Kevin), Raul Castillo (Richie) and Lauren Weedman (Doris) all bumped to series regulars for the second season.

“All of them have been in flux since the end of the last season, and they’ve all been doing their own thing a little bit,” explains executive producer Andrew Haigh to Entertainment Weekly. “This first episode is them being determined to spend more time together and go away to Russian River, which is, like, two hours outside San Francisco. It’s this really beautiful, tranquil place along the redwoods.” But there’s no guarantee of smooth sailing. According to Haigh, “they get outdoors. They go canoeing. Things happen.” We’re guessing they run into at least one or two bears.

Picking up shortly after where season one ended, Patrick (Groff) is dealing with his breakup with Richie (Castillo) and a secret romance with his attached boss Kevin, Dom (Bartlett) is having issues keeping work and romance seperate as he embarks on a relationship with his business partner Lynn (Scott Bakula) while Augustin, who pretty much suffered a personal and artistic meltdown might have found new purpose in the form of Eddie (Mean Girls’ Daniel Franzese)

Here’s hoping Looking has finally found it’s feet and continues on the more interesting path it reached by the end of season one.

Looking returns for Season 2 on Jan 11th on HBO.

More Winners and Losers for Channel 7

Back for season 5, Winners and Losers on 7
Back for season 5, Winners and Losers on 7

It’s great to see Channel 7 showing faith in one of it’s locally produced dramas after the announcement of a fifth season of Winners & Losers to come in 2015.

The drama, currently half way through it’s fourth season, has been officially greenlit for season 5, Seven said yesterday.  “At its heart, Winners & Losers is about the unbreakable bond of friendship and that’s why it resonates with so many Australians,” said Seven’s head of drama, Julie McGauran. “It’s an evolving story about young women trying to make their way in life, connected by shared experiences and supporting each other along the way. We’re delighted the journey continues.”

There’s no real surprise though with the renewal seeing the series averaged 1.05m metro viewers through it’s run in 2014 and is also Sevens highest-rated locally produced drama series in the younger demographic, even ahead of Home and Away.

To refresh you all, last time we saw our favorite winners, Frances had just given birth to her baby girl, Sophie was contemplating single life after another break-up, Jen was struggling to deal with life after her double mastectomy and Sam was left dealing with a dying Luke in her arms.

Season 4 continues in 2015 on Channel 7.