Category Archives: HBO

Did Looking: The Movie, Offer a Fitting Farewell?

looking_0
Melissa Moseley/HBO 2016

There’s always a trepidation when coming into a ‘farewell movie’ of a series that one has grown to love but was cut short on us.  We find ourselves asking “Will we get the answers we want?  Will it give us a feeling of a proper conclusion?  Will we be happy with how we have to say goodbye?”  Even in Looking’s two season short life span, those questions begged to be asked and required answers.  Thankfully not only did we get our some answers but most fans should be able to say a final goodbye to a pack of characters we quickly grew to love.

Looking back, It’s been well over 12 months since Looking’s untimely demise.  Patrick (Jonathan Groff) ended his tumultuous relationship with Kevin (Russell Tovey) and had all but destroyed any chance of any kind of relationship with his ex Ritchie (Raul Castillo). Dom (Murray Bartlett) rekindled his long standing friendship with Doris (Lauren Weedman)  and was about to start a new professional journey while Augustine (Frankie J Alvarez) and HIV positive Eddie (Daniel Franzese) were on the cusp of starting a brand new relationship together.

The 90 minute farewell movie attempts to answer those looming questions but still leave enough open to assume that while Looking may in fact be over, Patrick, Dom and Augustine are still living their lives and making life changing choices even if it’s not visible to us.

Oddly enough while the series was about three gay men living life in San Francisco, this finale movie sees most of the narrative hinging on Patrick’s love life – or in fact, where he left off and what’s in store when he returns to San Francisco after a 9 month hiatus living and working in Denver.  Granted the Ritchie/Patrick/Kevin triangle played one of the major arcs in Looking’s second season, but the force of pushing this right into the main story for the movie sadly left Dom and Augustine relegated to side characters that only either offered a reason for Patrick to even be back in SF or give him a reason to question his own motives.

It’s a odd move by writers Michael Lannan and Andrew Haigh who seemed to assume viewers were only invested in Patrick and his life and not that of Dom and Augustine’s. It’s a shame really as of the three, Augustine was shown to be the one that had grown the most from the pilot episode to the second season closer.

Yes, we’re offered answers and you know what, while not everyone will be satisfied, we should be happy with them even if certain elements are not clear cut in stone.  There’s enough there for us to make up our own minds as to which way the story ends for Patrick. Perhaps that was the intention all along?  Give us the equation, hint at a resolution but allow us to find the answer that sits the best with us.

I for one am happy we got one last outing with Looking even if it was a bit too much focused on Patrick at the expense of the other players.

 Looking: The Movie is currently screening on Showcase via Foxtel.

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HBO’s Looking: The Movie Reveals Drama is Never Far Away from Patrick

looking_jonathan_groff_raul_castillo

It’s been well over a year since HBO’s gay themed drama Looking aired its final episode and while Looking’s second season was a much welcomed improvement on season one, we were never given a true and proper ending to Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and his drama seeking pals after the show was cancelled.

HBO listened to our cries and have delivered up a movie length goodbye to tie up the loose ends of Patrick and his love triangle involving Ritchie (Raul Castillo) and Kevin (Russell Tovey), Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) and his new relationship with HIV positive Eddie (Daniel Franzese) and Dom (Murray Bartlett) and his fractured relationship with life-long friend Doris (Lauren Weedman) and his newly opened Portuguese chicken kitchen.

Check out the trailer below:

The plot sees Patrick return to San Francisco after living in Denver for almost a year to celebrate the upcoming wedding of some ‘close friends’ and ultimately finds himself face to face with unresolved issues surrounding his love life.

Looking: The Movie is scheduled to air July 23rd on HBO in America.

Checking in: Looking Season 2 and it’s Cancellation by HBO

looking-hbo-episode-2

After getting quite deep into the problems that surrounded Looking’s first season (here and here) I wanted to give the second season a full run before sitting down and sharing my thoughts.  Did it step up from season one?  Did it become more enjoyable and less painful to watch?

Well, I can say that Looking, for it’s second season, took a massive-gigantic-much wanted step forward into becoming a show that focused more on multiple episode story arcs and  about creating conflict and drama and less about the slow-moody snails pace it aimed for in it’s first outing.

Story lines of death, HIV, cheating, drugs, downward spirals, the demise of relationships, professional uncertainty…these elements all gave the show and each character a much needed breath of life and sense of purpose that was visibly lacking in the first season.

The central story line of Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and his on again-off again relationship with Kevin (Russell Tovey) was played out with much more intention and realness.  We were torn watching Kevin cheat on his boyfriend but felt like he and Patrick were a perfect fit but also thought Patrick deserved the punishment of not receiving Kevin’s full attention for how he treated the lovable Richie (Raul Catillo).  The relationship that moved from secret hook-ups to full blown romance made for an intense and well constructed finale that, i’m pretty sure, saw us all side with Patrick after discovering Kevin was still active on gay hookup app Grindr.

It was such powerful moments as that fight/discussion between the two that shows how much more the show was bringing this season and this wasn’t just restricted to the Kevin/Patrick/Richie triangle.

The budding (and somewhat unlikely) relationship between the emotionally/professionally damaged Agustin (Frankie J Alvarez) and HIV positive Eddie (Daniel Franzese) and the distancing of best friends Dom (Murray Bartlett) and Doris (Lauren Weedman) trying to identify where they are in their lives together created equal amounts of compelling stories.

Looking back at Looking, season two offered up more memorable episodes and moments than the first.  Patrick and Dom joining Doris at her fathers funeral, Dom and Agustin rescuing a heavily intoxicated Patrick from making the worlds worst jealousy fueled Halloween party speech, Kevin showing up at Patrick’s door step and telling him he’s left John….it’s situations like this I’m actually saddened to hear that HBO have pulled the plug on a third season.

Looking (while low rating) has a dedicated fan-base that for season one hated or viciously defended and for season two, joined together to equally love and while there is some comfort in knowing HBO plan on giving fans a special Looking finale, the fact that I can sit here and say “you know what, Looking is pretty fucking amazing” after roasting it so badly can only show that cancelling the show is a move not widely supported.

For further reading, may I suggest 11 reasons why HBO needs to renew Looking and An open letter to HBO: Save Looking

Can Patrick trust Kevin?  Will Dom’s chicken window be a success?  Will Agustin and Eddie’s new relationship survive?  Will Doris and Dom be able to sustain their newly defined life-long friendship?  Will Richie be happy?  There’s too much left hanging that I fear a final special won’t be able to cover and so in closing I feel like all I can say is – – –

We deserve a third season of Looking.

Do you agree?  Was season two a step up from season one?  Did HBO make a smart decision in cancelling the show?  Sound off in the comments below.

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?

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.

HBO Unveils Girls Season 4 Trailer

Hanna (Lena Dunham) attempts to move on with school in Iowa.
Hanna (Lena Dunham) attempts to move on with school in Iowa.

The season 4 premiere date of HBO’s Girls is still some time away (Jan 11th to be exact) but HBO recently unveiled a brand new teaser trailer of what to expect when the series returns in the new year.

So as you can see, Hannah (Lena Dunham) has migrated to Iowa to begin school at Iowa’s Writers Workshop, Marnie (Alison Williams) finds herself in a tricky romantic situation while Shoshanna (Zoisa Mamet) discovers life after college isn’t as easy as first thought.

HBO also dropped a brand new season 4 promotional poster featuring the four main girls.

Girls-Season-4-Poster

As Adam toasts in the trailer, here’s to Hannah “taking the next step in a series of random steps!”

Girls returns for series 4 on Jan 11th 2015 on HBO

First Look: The Comeback S2 Full Length Trailer

Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish
Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish

Can you sense the desperation closing in?  The grasp of holding onto a fading spotlight beginning to loosen?  It’s probably because The Comeback’s comeback is almost here!  After a string of small teasers, HBO have finally blessed us with a full length trailer for the eagerly anticipated second season of The Comeback.

Fans can also expect to see Seth Rogen in the new series playing Valerie’s former nemesis Paulie G (first played by Lance Barber in series one). In the original run, Paulie G was the show-runner of Room and Bored, the sitcom Valerie ‘starred’ on in a bid to make a comeback in her career, which was all documented for a reality show filled with tense moments between Paulie and Valerie.

Now, Paulie G has created a new show that chronicles his years dealing with drug addiction and his fraught relationships with his actors, including the “fictional” Mallory Church, whom Valerie will portray.

Comeback starts Nov 9th on HBO at 10pm

She Got Another Take! The Comeback Premiere Date Set!

Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish.  Source: Provided
Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish. Source: Provided

Lisa Kudrow’s The Comeback (yes, that show I’ve been banging on about since it was first brought up as a possible return) finally has a premiere date!

Set your DVR’s as Sunday, November 9th at 10pm on HBO is when Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) finally get’s another take – one that we’ve waited almost ten years for!

Kudrow is back as win-at-all-costs washed up sitcom actress Valerie Cherish whom we meet up with ten years later from when we saw her last.  Kudrow’s first outing as Cherish was back in 2005 and lasted only 13 episodes on HBO before being pulled off air.  It wasn’t until the shows demise that it reached a cult status fan base, all thrilled with the shows return – me included!

Check out some of the teases HBO have been releasing below:


The Comeback’s eight episode limited series starts Sunday Nov 9th on HBO.

GoT Season 5 Will Not Feature Bran Stark and Hodor

Kristian Nairn as Hodor in Game of Thrones
Kristian Nairn as Hodor in Game of Thrones

In a bit of rather interesting news from the world of Game of Thrones, it seems Bran Stark and loyal follower Hodor will be absent in the upcoming fifth season.

Speaking to Yahoo, Kristian Nairn who plays Hodor revealled neither he nor partner in crime Isaac Hemptead-Wright (who plays Bran Stark) will be seen in GoT’s season 5.  “We have a season off and we have a year’s hiatus, solely because I imagine our storyline is up to the end of the books,” he said. “So, I get my year off now to do Rave of Thrones and gallivant all over the world.

Bran and Hodor’s travels to beyond the wall played a significant part in season 4’s story to which we were left with them meeting the mysterious ‘children’ at the Weirwood tree beyond the wall with the three eyed crow who revealed more about Bran’s greensight ability.  

Game of Thrones returns soon on HBO

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