Project Runway is back for it’s seventeenth season and while the format is mostly the same, the absence of familiar faces brings about big changes in the design competition show that (mostly) bring a freshness to the long running series.
So what’s different? Former host Heidi Klum and mentor favorite Tim Gunn, two names synonymous with Project Runway, have jumped ship to start their own show on Amazon Prime Video. Hosting duties have now been passed over to model Karlie Kloss while mentorship is now with former Project Runway contestant Christian Siriano (who also takes a judges chair) who has built a rather reputable name within the industry since his stint on the show.
Two new judges are also joining the fold, journalist and Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth along with fashion designer Brandon Maxwell. Thankfully, Nina Garcia has stuck around to keep a familiar face on the show though it feels like she keeps looking around hoping Heidi and Tim will pop out and surprise them all.
The work room has also been given a makeover with the familiar white room now replaced with a more industrial NYC loft feel.
Aside from that, Project Runway moves quickly into its rhythm, contestants jumping quickly into their first challenge, a trip to Mood, a tearful breakdown and designers shining while others fail to micro manage their time well enough to put a garment down the runway. The models, like more recent seasons, are of all shapes, colors and sizes and includes the shows first ever trans model Mimi who has a touching moment with her designer Kovid.
The new workroom and new faces help freshen up Project Runway but the first episode really does suffer from any lack of chemistry between the the judges. That spark between Heidi and Tim just isn’t there with Karlie and Christian, but then again, this is something that could develop over time.
Arena are fast tracking episodes from the USA with express screenings on Fridays at 1:35pm and then again at 8:30pm. Episode one (which has already aired) is available on repeats with episode two hitting our screens this coming Friday, March 22nd.
Taking the what-if around this murder as gospel, the follow up to The People Vs OJ Simpson is more flash than facts but is still a good watch.
I’m putting it out there front and center – the actual murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace is only a fraction of what is featured within the world of Ryan Murphy’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace so much so, the show would have been better titled The Delusional Life of Andrew Cunananas Assassination delves into the world of Versace’s killer (played by Glee’s Darren Criss) more than Versace’s terrible fate as the title would suggest.
Opening with soaring operatic music and a flowing visual tour of Versace’s gaudy Miami mansion, Versace is dead even before the title credits. However, the aim for Murphy wasn’t for us to follow those trying to solve this murder (hence the title) but in fact send us back in time and follow Cunanan and how he ended up with a gun in his hands aimed at the famed fashion designer. Yes, Versace’s untimely death at the hands of Cunanan plays as the pilot episode’s main premise but that’s more to do with Versace’s celebrity status over Cunanan’s four other victims, who also get a look in during the shows eight other episodes in the form of time jumps.
Based off the book Vulgar Favors: The Hunt for Andrew Cunanan, the Man Who Killed Gianni Versace by author Maureen Orth, Assassination is spread among three different lines – Cunanan and his victims, Versace’s loved ones (including Ricky Martin as Versace’s long-time partner Antonio D’Amico) dealing with the fashion empire pre and post murder and the bumbling FBI who can’t seem to get to grips with the ‘gay’ aspect surrounding the murders (it was the 90’s).
The source material also happens to blur the lines between truth and made-up and Assassination quickly becomes a show that will have you asking “did that really happen?” while trying to decide what is fact and what is fiction considering to this day, there is still no actual proof that Versace and Cunanan had even met prior to the murder.
Gianni’s sister Donatella (played with startling verbal similarity by Penelope Cruz) has claimed the series as “a work of fiction” while the programme itself carries the disclaimer: “Some events are combined or imagined for dramatic and interpretative purposes. Dialogue is imagined to be consistent with these events” and that’s because the main players within this world are….well, dead.
Cunanan’s prior interactions (or lack thereof) with his victims – Versace (Édgar Ramírez), Jeffrey Trail (Finn Wittrock), David Madson (Cody Fern), Lee Miglin (Mike Farrell) and William Reece (Gregg Lawrence) – is somewhat pure speculation so while the work is based off fact, it is done so with much “let’s assume this is what happened“.
That aside, the character study of Andrew Cunanan is a rather intriguing one and is explored heavily within the series. Cunanan’s ability to seamlessly morph into any given situation or social standing and flee when his lies have all been revealed is quite remarkable though giving so much focus on his life, his lies and his troubled youth feels like we’re being forced into empathizing with Cunanan in light of the fact he is/was a notorious serial killer.
Part of this comes down to how star Darren Criss brings the killer to life, playing Cunanan as mysterious yet suave with an air of charm, a believer in his own lies and the false world around him that he has created while trying to decide just how much of his true self he needs to reveal. One could only presume by the middle of this series, much more freedom for Criss was enabled with Cunanan as this is where most of the fact/fiction lines become very blurred.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Assassination is the glaring fact that unlike season one’s OJ Simpson story, there is no real hero to root for. While we all knew the end result, Sarah Paulson’s Marcia Clark still had us backing her to go and get hers in a male dominated environment yet in Assassination, that task is less male dominated environment and more gay acceptance.
That job is pretty much left vacant even though it may feel like we’re being forced into believing it should be Cunanan who, while never ashamed of his sexuality, understands how being gay can be perceived by those less educated on the topic.
The missing hero however is through no fault of anyone’s as there just was never one in this story to begin with. It could never have been Cunanan (regardless of his childhood), the FBI, as it’s shown, were a bunch of bumbling bigots who couldn’t have cared any less about Cunanan’s victims and others such as Versace or even Lee Miglin’s wife Marilyn (played wonderfully by Judith Light) were so far removed from the central story line it would have meant stretching the truth even further to find that hero.
On the whole, this tale of Andrew Cunanan is a worthy watch and while lacking in the suspense and law and order that drove American Crime Story’s first season of The People Vs OJ Simpson there is still enough substance to dig in and make your own mind up about how much truth is actually found within this series.
American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace begins Thursday May 24th at 8:30pm AEST, on Foxtel’s showcase.
There are no words to describe just how shocking the season five closer episode of Wentworth was!
That said, my last post – “Eight Wentworth Season Five Endgame Suspicions” once again proved that either i’m a) terrible at reading the set ups and misjudged quite a few things or b) at the whims of the talented team behind the show who masterfully created one of the best finales this show has seen to date and threw every viewer for a six.
My score card from that last post was a measly 3.5 out of 8…same as last season so let’s look back at that finale and how my predictions played out.
SPOILERS BELOW!! Do not continue if you have NOT watched the season FIVE finale!
1: Franky and Allie make their escape /// Taking this as a point from not only the escape plan itself (which we all knew about) but also down to Franky (Nicole da Silva) being the only one who successfully escaped inside one of the Greenwall Project boxes. With Allie (Kate Jenkinson) busted by Jake (Bernard Curry), Franky made her successful escape and made a touching and fleeting reunion with Bridget (Libby Tanner) before fleeing off into the open darkness!
2: Sonia steps up for ‘top dog’ status /// Well, that one is clearly a no! With Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) recovering from her wounds, top dog status went immediately back into the hands of Kaz (Tammy Macintosh). As it turned out, Sonia (Sigrid Thornton) did not even make an attempt to claim a throne that should clearly have been hers!
3: Liz winds up all alone inside Wentworth /// Errrrrm. Another missed point here. Utterly freaked with the knowledge that Sonia had set her up all along and worried for her safety, Liz (Celia Ireland) approaches Franky for protection but after Allie informs her of the escape plans, Liz makes her boldest move to date to protect herself and doses Sonia’s tea with a whole vial of drugs found inside a shipment of mulch causing a very critical overdose.
4: Kaz and Allie team up against Ferguson /// Gave myself half a point for this one as Allie pleads with Kaz to steer clear of Ferguson while Kaz abandons her ‘no violence’ stance to finally take Ferguson out for good but, another plan that was in the works stops Kaz from getting to her.
5: Ferguson makes a plan to escape /// Tick! While I had envisioned Ferguson using Jake’s knowledge of Franky’s escape plan help her get out, it seems when Jake busted Allie, she revealed all to him allowing a plan to be set in motion that saw several people including Allie giving up her escape route, to get Ferguson out of Wentworth for good.
6: Vera sets her sights on Channing and Jake /// Total miss here. Not a single shred of evidence to show that Vera (Kate Atkinson) even planned to tackle Channing (Martin Sacks) though Vera’s “I’m a big girl, fuck you” speech to Jake in the staff meeting room was not only utterly vicious but so so so so good!
7: New inmates arrive to shake things up /// Another miss here. With so many inmates gone this season, there seems to be a vast wasteland of empty beds and tables in the cafeteria – even the head count towards the end of the episode showed just how few prisoners are currently left inside some of the living quarters, and yet not a single new face was presented.
8: Bea Smith returns to Wentworth /// Biting my tongue here as not only was this another miss, this could have made for a killer final scene reveal had it not been for another even more stellar final reveal. BEA SMITH DID NOT RISE FROM THE DEAD.
That final reveal – yes, Allie teamed with Jake to get Ferguson out of the prison using the Greenwall Project box and before Franky could get out of her box, Ferguson’s was taken away by a mysterious person. By the time Vera realized she was gone, Ferguson was BEING BURIED ALIVE in her wooden case of freedom (looking at a drawing of Bea Smith done by Allie mine you) BY WILL JACKSON (Robbie Magasiva)
So what does season six (currently in production and slated for 2018) hold for us? Will Sonia survive her overdose? Will she discover it was Liz that did it to her? Will Jake and Will make amends while bonding over BURYING SOMEONE ALIVE? Will Franky find the evidence she needs to clear her name of double homicide? Will Vera reclaim the position of Governor? Will Kaz finally take control of Wentworth with her reclaimed top dog role? Will the Greenwall Project continue to operate?
Will Ferguson pull a Richard Hart (Patrick Muldoon) from Melrose Place and….
So many questions and such a long wait! Sound off in the comments section!
Another season of the fantastic Wentworth is almost upon us which means it’s time for that annual “Wentworth Endgame Suspicions” that I have been doing for the past few seasons.
Season five took Wentworth into new territory by confirming the death of Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) and bringing fan favorite Fanky Doyle (Nicole da Silva) back behind bars while we also said goodbye to Maxine (Socratis Otto) who left for cancer treatment Juice (Sally-Anne Upton) who copped the unkindest cut of all and Doreen (Shareena Clanton) who finally made parole.
The battle for Top Dog status saw Kaz (Tammy Macintosh) loose out to Ferguson only for her to be stripped of the title when all her past murderous indiscretions come to light while Jake’s (Bernard Curry) troubled dealings were finally revealed to Vera (Kate Atkinson) but her dealings with allowing Bea to escape at last seasons end be held against her from taking action against him.
So here we go, my eight season five end game suspicions and as per the norm, none of this is confirmed! – POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THOSE NOT UP-TO-DATE!
1: Franky and Allie make their escape /// Franky’s bid for freedom has, this season, hinged on her need to escape and find the evidence to prove she did not kill Mike Pennisi (Felix Williamson). Along the way, she has managed to bring Allie into the plan but with the revelation that Iman (Zahra Newman) was not only his killer, but his lover too, Franky’s bid to escape is more dire than ever.
Franky and Allie make their escape plan but only one makes it outside the walls of Wentworth.
2: Sonia steps up for ‘top dog’ status /// She’s garnered the praise of her fellow inmates with the Green Wall Project, has managed to get Boomer (Katrina Milosevic) on total trust levels and is not partial to a bit of causal murder.
With the status of ‘Top Dog’ currently vacant, Sonia (Sigrid Thornton) will take the opportunity to nab the position with the full backing of the inmates.
3: Liz winds up all alone inside Wentworth /// After her meeting with an investigator into her perjury and mistrial, Liz (Celia Ireland) discovers that Kaplan (Steve Bastoni) and Sonia had in-fact targeted her all along to be ‘witness X’ in Sonia’s murder trial.
With Bea dead, Doreen and Maxine both gone, Boomer struggling to contain her wrath at Liz’s ‘lagging’ and Sonia out for revenge, Liz suddenly finds herself without any support within Wentworth but she has the knowledge that Sonia set her up from the get-go, but what will she do with that information?
4: Kaz and Allie team up against Ferguson /// A strong champion of a violence free prison, Kaz has often resorted to the use words as her weapon of choice, a move that earned her ‘top dog’ status but also saw it as the reason for it being taken from her. Allie is still desperate for revenge against the woman who murdered her one true love.
With Ferguson surviving her surprise lynch mob hanging and the fear of retribution, Kaz will abandon her no violence stance to team up with Allie in an attempt to take Ferguson out once and for all.
5: Ferguson makes a plan to escape /// With thanks to Vera, she survived the hanging from the inmates but now Ferguson finds herself vulnerable prey and with no protection from acting governor Channing (Martin Sacks).
Getting wind of Franky and Allie’s escape plan, Ferguson uses Jake to help her with her own plan to get out that involves revealing Franky and Allie’s plans to the guards and using the ensuing fracas to make her escape with Jake and his swipe card. But will she make it out?
6: Vera sets her sights on Channing and Jake /// Stripped of her role of governor (thanks to Channing), Vera finds herself in precarious waters struggling to maintain a grip on her life which has become even harder after discovering her entire relationship with Jake was a fabrication created by Ferguson to bring her down.
While Jake knows Vera was the one who allowed Bea to escape in season four’s finale, Vera will take aim at bringing him down along with Channing so as to reclaim her role as Governor.
7: New inmates arrive to shake things up /// There were some major cast adjustments this season with Bea Smith, Maxine, Iman, Juice and Doreen all leaving Wentworth, leaving it a lot emptier than it has ever been.
New inmates will arrive to Wentworth to fill those empty beds but will any of them bring a familiar face to some of the current inmates?
8: Bea Smith returns to Wentworth /// It’s been a suspicion all season long that Bea did not die at the hands on Ferguson but was gravely injured and put into protective custody for her own safety. Could the season five finale reveal this to be true and bring Bea back into Wentworth?
The move could be the driving force for season six with Allie beginning to show feelings for Franky, Ferguson now at her weakest and the position of top dog up for grabs.
So there we have it! From escape plans to attempts to reclaim the throne to a surprise return, these are my season 5 endgame suspicions. Agree, disagree or have I missed something? Sound off in the comments!
It’s a risky move for a television show with such a staunch world wide fan base to kill off one of its main characters in an attempt to shake things up and introduce fresh blood and fresh stories yet oddly enough, despite the hark from fans claiming they’ll never watch again, the bold move usually works. Homeland, House of Cards, Grey’s Anatomy, M*A*S*H and 24 are just some of success stories where killing off main cast have worked in their favor.
Wentworth, is the most recent entry into this world with the murder of main player Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) at the end of the shows fourth season and questions quickly began to flit about how this show could survive without the driving force that Wentworth sprouted itself from.
The tour de force that was Bea Smith and the story around her propelled the show from a generic Prisoner remake into a modern day drama-come-love-story with an incredibly dedicated fan base, devastated their “Queen Bea” had been mercilessly slaughtered at the hands of series villain Joan “The Freak” Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) leaving her girlfriend Allie Novak (Kate Jenkinson) to pick up the pieces and exact her revenge.
This death, so surprising and utterly shocking, risked putting Wentworth fans off-side with the belief the showwas supposed to be a telling of Bea’s entrance into prison and her rise to ‘top dog’ status and while, in point, we did get that tale, the killing off of a main character is still none the less a gusty move for any show.
What we didn’t notice however was the growing importance and build-up of the other characters within the show, each getting story lines that played quietly along the Bea Smith/Joan Ferguson/Allie Novak main story arc, all ready to take effect when the time was needed.
These stories involving Vera’s (Kate Atkinson) battle to maintain control of her governor position, Franky Doyle (Nicole da Silva) struggling to develop a healthy life outside of the Wentworth with girlfriend Bridget Westfall (Libby Tanner), the buddy buddy snitch snitch relationship between Sonia Stevens (Sigrid Thornton) and Liz Birdsworth (Celia Ireland) and current top dog Kaz Proctor (Tammy MacIntosh) feeling her grip loosen on her top dog status were all slowly bubbling along and came to flourish and hit the ground with both guns blazing when the time was right.
This move not only forced us to move on after Bea’s death but implemented a newer relationship with these characters on the back of strong writing and even stronger acting from the cast, allowing the show to thrive in a time of viewer devastation. The fact that this death wasn’t used as a way to end an ugly love triangle or to move on a story arc that just wan’t working is even more testament to the writing on the show.
Bea’s death was personal but it was also a propeller, not just for the show but for each an every character within the world of Wentworth. Killing off a Queen Bea can be dangerous but when done right, breathes new life into an already fascinating and intense show.
Wentworth continues Tuesday nights on Showcase and will see production begin this month on season six.
We’re only a few short weeks away from finding out what the fallout is following Bea Smith’s (Danielle Cormack) death at the hands of former prison warden and current inmate Joan Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) in the new season of Wentworth starting April 4th on Showcase.
While most of us are hoping for some miracle, it’s no secret that those involved with the show have been very vocal in letting us all know that Bea is in fact very dead and that Cormack is off perusing other projects. That said, the impact of Smith’s murder will play heavily into this upcoming fifth season affecting inmates and prison staff alike.
Foxtel have confirmed that contrary to earlier suggestions, there will be no time jump between the end of season four and the start of season five, with this new season picking up right after Bea’s death with the focus heavily on the theme of revenge as shown in various teaser promos released by Foxtel.
So what do we know so far about season five? Kaz Proctor (Tammy McIntosh) cements her role as the new top dog within Wentworth but will her ‘no violence’ policy react negatively with the inmates when it comes to the punishment of Ferguson – especially with that of Allie Novak (Kate Jenkinson) whom unbeknownst to Ferguson, survived her lethal hot shot.
Liz Birdsworth (Celia Ireland) continues her top secret mission with Don Kaplan (Steve Bastoni) to get Sonia Stevens (Sigrid Thornton) to confess her crimes though has Sonia cottoned on to what Liz is doing?
Boomer (Katrina Milosevic) continues to support Maxine (Socratis Otto) through her battle with breast cancer.
Franky (Nicole DaSilva) and Bridget’s (Libby Tanner) relationship outside the walls of Wentworth continue to go from strength to strength but will Bea’s murder push Franky to do something that will send her right back?
Jake Stewart (Bernard Curry) deals with the consequences of his actions with Ferguson that led to him murdering the key witness in Ferguson’s trial and the smuggling in of the drugs used to give Allie the not-so-lethal hot shot. This begins to put stress on his relationship with Governor Vera Bennett (Kate Atkinson) who is still blind to his unlawful actions.
All will be revealed when the fifth season of Wentworth begins April 4th on Showcase.
A dark an eerie take on the timeless cult horror flick pits Geena Davis against a demonic force that has set its eyes on her family.
Joining the ranks of the ‘reboot’ fad, The Exorcist has a more tender ground to tread on than others within the field thanks to its cult fandom background. Considered to be one of the scariest films of all time, the 1973 movie of the same name produced an iconic film filled with memorable quotes and scenes (a 360 degree head turn anyone?) that have been done and redone so many times that this new incarnation has to be very careful of not to try and out-do or recreate what has been done and done well.
Thankfully, in this new outing for The Exorcist, it leaves little opportunity open for fans and viewers to mock or gripe.
Taking the lead (and bringing in some worthy star power) Geena Davis plays Angela Rance, a religious upper class working mother who is concerned that the noises and strange occurrences happening in her home might be more than just your everyday easy to explain happenings. Her husband Henry (Alan Ricks) is a former version of himself due to a workplace accident, her eldest daughter Kat (Brianne Howey) is dark and depressed after a tragic accident that killed her best friend while youngest daughter Casey (Hannah Kasulka) is a care-free and easy going young woman with the world at her feet.
Concerned that troubled Kat may be ‘under the influence of a demon’, Angela asks local priest Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) to do a cleansing of her house though Tomas’ spiritual demons find him playing cat and mouse between a concerned mother worried her daughter is possessed and another priest, Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) who has very close ties to the world of exorcisms.
What ensues is a stylish and slick tale about religion in the modern day versus the barriers provided by old-school religion.
At an hour long, the first episode doesn’t feel rushed or have too much crammed into it though there lies a problem in that you begin to question how Angela is so convinced there is a demon in her house when we are not actually privy to any demonic activity (the only real signs is through her telling Father Tomas about cupboards and chairs in the kitchen moving about) and the scene where Father Tomas and Father Marcus meet – via demonic children filled dreams is semi-sketchy to say the least but one could say it’s divine intervention from a higher power to bring the two together.
We do catch a glimpse of this demonic force, though it’s not until the end of the episode and provides one of the best surprise plot twists presented in a pilot in some time and it’s not the series only card up their sleeve. The big reveal comes towards the end of episode five that will have those who know the movie literally gagging with excitement about what’s to come.
The Exorcist begins Sunday December 4, 8.30pm on Showcase.
Premiering Tuesday, August 2 at 8.30pm on Universal Channel is a brand new police crime series that sees all-rounder Jennifer Lopez go toe-to-toe with screen veteran Ray Liotta. Titled Shades of Blue, the series delves into the corruptness within a Brooklyn police department led by Liotta’s Lieutenant Matt Wozniak.
What starts out as a cover up involving a skittish rookie with a touchy trigger finger and a drug dealer playing video games quickly evolves into an all-out undercover operation involving Lopez’s cash strapped Harlee Santos against her tight-knit crew of officers.
Harlee must find the line between protecting those she works with, her own family and giving the FBI what they need. It’s not an easy task for Harlee as Wozniak is quick on the mark to note a mole within his crew.
As a whole, Shades of Blue doesn’t really bring anything new to the police procedurals that have flooded our screens over the years involving crooked cops but there is enough twisty plot moments within the first handful of episodes that actually keep the show slightly riveting. Especially with the question of how much information on her crew Harlee keeps to herself and how much she hands out to the FBI while Wozniak is on the hunt for the mole in his crew. Sadly though, once you’re past episode three, the series begins to stray away from its main story and offer up filler weekly cases and a somewhat unnecessary look into Harlee’s home life and her unruly teenage daughter.
Liotta, playing crooked cop dedicated to his team, is in his element here. He tears through every scene he appears in, ready to lay some smack down and dole out some tough talking. While it works for Liotta, he is easily outshone by star Lopez…but not in a good way.
The ‘real’ problem with Shades of Blue is in fact Lopez herself. It’s not that she is a bad actress or over-acts or anything like that because actually Lopez does hold her own against Liotta and fast talking Drea de Matteo (as officer Tess Nazario). It’s that..well…it’s Jennifer Lopez. Curves in all the right places, her perfectly tousled bob flowing effortlessly in the breeze as she totes her gun and flashes her badge in gritty and grungy NYC. If anything, Lopez is basically one big distraction through no real fault of her own.
You’ll like it if: You enjoy serialized cop dramas with a gritty feel and some interesting plot twists.
You’ll hate it if: You enjoy heavily fleshed out police/crime dramas that delve deeply into character development while maintaining a steady pace to the main story line.
Shades of Blue begins Tuesday, August 2 at 8.30pm on Universal Channel .
Mark your diaries people – Wentworth’s fourth season premiere has finally been announced and it’s coming to SoHo on Tuesday, May 10th! I’ll just start with the reveal trailer….
Season four will see Bea and the inmates return to Cell Block H after the destructive fire that tore through the prison in the third season finale but not all is as it seems with another inmate looking to take Bea’s top dog position within the jail. There’s also a confirmation that Frankie Doyle (Nicole da Silva) and Bridget Westfall (Libby Tanner) will be back with Frankie now free from Wentworth trying to adjust to life outside the walls of Wentworth and ‘the freak’ aka Joan Ferguson is still around, albeit spending some time wrapped cozily in a stylish white jacket!
New faces to this season includes Sigrid Thornton as Sonia Stevens, a wealthy cosmetics entrepreneur, recent entrant into Wentworth and murder suspect. Bernard Curry as Corrections Officer Jake Stewart and Kate Jenkinson as another new inmate Allie Novak.
So once again, remember, Season four begins Tuesday, May 10th on the SoHo channel on Foxtel!
That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less. Not even an exact date in May!!! As we’re now in mid March, this is the longest we’ve ever had to wait for any information on the upcoming season of Wentworth (bypassing the new cast members) and this snippet is sure not to be the last before the May premiere date.
So now it’s a waiting game as SoHo relentlessly tease us with these meager flecks of information!
Are you excited for the new season of Wentworth?! Sound off in the comments above!