Category Archives: HBO

Michelle Fairley Reveals Game of Thrones Lady Stoneheart Absence

Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark
Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark

Fans of the “A Song of Fire and Ice” books (which is the source material for Game of Thrones) might have felt they missed something quite pivotal when the season four finale of GoT came and passed.

 Where the heck is Lady Stoneheart?

It was a question that rang out after the season four finale when Lady Stoneheart didn’t show up, as she did in the epilogue of “A Storm Of Swords” and now fans of the book and television series are wanting to know where she is.

Alex Graves, who directed the final episode, revealed that there were no plans whatsoever to include the pivotal character during that time, though it didn’t necessarily mean that we would not see Lady Stoneheart in the future.

Is this good news?  It was until actress Michelle Fairley spoke with EW recently.  “The character’s dead,” Michelle told EW. “She’s dead.” EW revealed that Michelle was told it would likely never happen, and when asked about a preference — Lady Stoneheart or no Lady Stoneheart — Michelle said, “I knew the arc, and that was it. They can’t stick to the books 100 percent. It’s impossible— they only have 10 hours per season.

“They have got to keep it dramatic and exciting, and extraneous stuff along the way gets lost in order to maintain the quality of brilliant show.”

For those not familiar with the books and are sitting there wondering who the heck is Lady Stoneheart and why does it involve actress Michelle Fairley…well, Lady Stoneheart is Catelyn Stark’s reanimated corpse and of course, Catelyn Stark was played by Michelle Fairley.

After her throat was slit at the Red Wedding, Catelyn was thrown into a river and left to float there for three days before she was pulled out by Lord Beric Dondarrion (who you will know as the leader of the Brotherhood without Banners) and who resurrected Catelyn by giving his life for hers.

The somewhat-brought-back-to-life Catelyn then adopted the name Lady Stoneheart as she joined the Brotherhood Without Banners to lead them in mercilessly executing all traitors – with special attention paid to the Lannisters and Freys, and anyone who associates with them.

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The purposeful cutting of Lady Stoneheart has left many people wondering how this will affect the story-arcs for certain characters including Jamie Lannister and Brienne of Tarth for the shows fifth season as all three characters feature quite heavily in season five’s source material “A Feast of Crows”.

Says Alex Graves “”No, they didn’t do it. It was never on the docket to do this season — ever.”

Game of Thrones returns in 2015.

Valerie Cherish Gets Her Comeback

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It’s taken nine years and a lot of whispers but Valerie Cherish will finally have her second comeback when The Comeback returns for a limited 6 episode run later this year!

The original series, which to this date, is still being called one of the best shows you never watched (it really is), was created by Lisa Kudrow post-Friends and Sex and the City creator Michael Patrick King and saw Kudrow as a washed up actress trying to reclaim her former fame while allowing cameras to follow and record her every move while in search for that elusive comeback.

It lasted 13 episodes before it was cancelled due to low ratings.

The past few weeks have seen stories popping up about a possible return to the series with Kudrow and King both confirming they have been talking about where Cherish would be in this day and age and on Monday, HBO officially announced the show’s return.

The Comeback holds a special place in the hearts of its many fans, including many of us here at HBO,” said president HBO programming president Michael Lombardo in a statement. “I can’t wait to find out what Valerie’s been up to since we last met.”

Kudrow said in a statement about The Comeback“It was almost too fun play Valerie Cherish the first time around,” Kudrow said. “I look forward to revisiting this resilient and ironically self-unaware character.”

The Comeback Season 2 will air in the fall.

True Blood Season 7 Teaser Trailer Released

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The final season of HBO’s True Blood is fast approaching and as we all eagerly await, HBO dropped a teaser trailer on Sunday to further the excitement for True Bloods return in June.

The 35 second preview reveals that our favorite residents on Bon Temps have begun to turn on each other, guns aimed and pointed, and if things couldn’t get any worse, it seems the townsfolk will also have to deal with ‘sick vampires’ ravaging the town.

As you’ll see in the teaser below, neither Eric nor Bill were shown.

True Blood, season 7, returns Sunday June 22nd on HBO and on Showcase via Foxtel shortly after.

 

Foxtel on Lannisters, Pirates and Game of Thrones

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Foxtel’s head of corporate affairs, Bruce Meagher has been a busy little bee of of late.  He’s been tucked away in his neat little corner typing away an open letter to you, to me, to everyone in Australia in fact, about how disgusted he is with our incessant need to illegally download Foxtels exclusive Game of Thrones here in Australia.

Clearly he’s been working on this little piece ever since Foxtel signed on the HBO dotted line cutting out iTunes and Google Play from also offering Game of Thrones to fans who were not Foxtel subscribers.

Titled “Piracy: At least the Lannisters Pay their debts” (in which, the title alone makes you feel like we should be indebted to Foxtel for even providing us with Game of Thrones in the first place) Meagher literally compares illegal downloading of Game of Thrones to “stealing a  Ferrari on the basis that the waiting list is too long or the price is too high.”

He pleads and begs with us to “think of the actors, extras, writers, camera crew, make up artists, editors, special effects teams and the many others who make Game of Thrones” before we hit that torrent download button and had Meagher continued down this ‘look, illegal downloading is wrong’ line then I’m sure I wouldn’t have scoffed at the letter as a whole.

See, after calling torrent downloaders car thieves and uninformed pirates, Meagher then proceeds to turn his open letter about a television provider dealing with rife downloading of a highly popular television show into a written piece of extended advertising for Foxtel, it’s Foxtel Go and Play services and how awesome it is when compared along side to iTunes and “similar services”

Cripes.

You know what, in the end, you’ll get more out his Meagher’s open letter by the time you hit the comments section.  It’s an absolute gem to which Meagher originally attempts to rebut before he stops responding.

While I don’t condone the practice of torrenting shows, when push comes to shove and someone decides to monopolise a product that was once available to us through other avenues…..

“The Lannisters may not be a pleasant lot, but they, at least, always pay their debts.” – way to keep it cool Bruce.

 

Game of Thrones Renewed for Two More Years

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Considering Game of Thrones season 4 premiere episode broke a whole slew of records for not only HBO but also Foxtel’s Showcase channel, it’s no real surprise that Game of Thrones has officially been renewed for not only a fifth season, but a sixth as well.

Showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff have already signed on for two more seasons, and actors Michel Huisman and Nathalie Emmanuel were promoted to series regulars for Season 5.

The series of civil war, extreme weather and mythical creatures is shaping up to be the Time Warner Inc-owned network’s biggest show since The Sopranos.  After the slaughter of the main members of the Stark family in the “Red Wedding” episode (Myhsa) last season, the season four premiere saw the remaining Starks coming to terms with the deaths of their kin.  Arya Stark, played by 16-year-old Maisie Williams, took a dark, cruel turn as she exacted revenge for her family.

Game of Thrones airs Monday Nights 7:30pm on Showcase

Binge Worthy TV Shows

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I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about ‘binge TV viewing’ lately and it seems, every list, is as different from the other.  We all have our favorites, those we recommend to others and those we keep to ourselves as guilty pleasures.  With quite a few shows now on hiatus or heading into break, you may need something to keep your eyes on the screen so here’s my choice picks for ‘binge worthy television shows’.

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Breaking Bad: Without a doubt, Breaking Bad makes every binge worthy list.  It should.  It’s ridiculously good.  I never watched Walter White and Jesse Pinkman when Breaking Bad originally aired….yes I know that makes me a bad television blogger, but it was one of those shows I had to be talked into watching…and watch I did.  I binged on the entire series of Breaking Bad over the space of 2 months and am somewhat glad I was able to take in the entire story-line in one sitting.  Made me appreciate what was on offer and experience the build-up to that last season without beak.

Stars: Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston and Anna Gunn

Seasons 1-5 available on DVD

The Comeback: Season 1

The Comeback: Lisa Kudrow (post Friends) as a faded and jaded actress named Valerie Cherish who has allowed cameras follow her and her journey to reclaim her former spotlight.  A show that was well before it’s time and only really appreciated after it’s demise. Great to hear talk of a possible comeback for The Comeback!

Stars: Lisa Kudrow, Malin Ackerman and Kellan Lutz

Series one available on DVD

Melrose Place 2.0: Season 1. Bringing back the iconic apartment building with a handful of original tenants, Melrose Place 2.0 offers a rather guilty pleasure for binge viewing.  There's only 18 episodes in this single season that works around a whodunit murder of Sydney Andrews (Laura Leighton) where most of the tenants currently residing in Melrose Place, plus those from her past, Michael Mancini and Amanda Woodward, are all suspects.  Season One available to buy on DVD via Amazon or you should be able to find a copy floating around eBay.

Melrose Place 2.0: The beauty here is that fans of the original series like to claim this re-boot never happened but for those new to the series, we’ve got an 18 episode single season that follows a       who-dun-it murder mystery of Melrose’s junkie landlord Sydney Andrews. Everyone is a suspect and it’s great to watch while playing drinking games (that mostly involve guzzling your wine anytime Ashlee Simpson appears to act or whenever a character from the original series pops up!)

Stars: Laura Leighton, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Calabro and Ashlee Simpson.

Series One available on DVD (from Amazon or eBay)

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The Chicago Code:  Jennifer Beals post The L Word as tough as nails Teresa Colvin, Chicago’s first female police superintendent who plans to bring to light the mass of political corruption currently polluting the town.  There’s connections to the Irish Mob, undercover cops, and this accents all-round.

Stars: Jennifer Beals,  Jason Clarke and Matt Lauria

Availability:  None as yet  😦

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Tim Daly and Laura Leighton. Source Provided

EYES: Tim Daly as a smarmy and cocky Harlan Judd, who is the head of J.R Investigations, a risk management firm that will bend all aspects of the law to get results.  His company is in financial crisis, his competitor wants to buy him out, there’s a mole within the company, his staff have secrets of their own and his love interest is a do-good lawyer who has issues looking the other way.  ABC shamefully only ever aired 5 episodes of this 12 episode first series back in 2005.

Stars: Tim Daly, AJ Langer, Laura Leighton and Natalie Zea

Series One is not available on DVD but can be found on YouTube.

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ORPHAN BLACK:  Fast paced sci-fi thriller that looks into the world of human cloning and accelerated human evolution through the eyes of young mother Sarah who’s world comes crashing down when she discovers she’s not as unique as she originally thought. Edge of your seat stuff that keeps knocking out reveals and epic scenes.

Stars: Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Garvais and Dylan Bruce

Season one now available on DVD.

miranda_2433175bMiranda: Britt comedy at it’s best, Miranda Hart is an unlucky in love, bumbling and fumbling joke shop owner/operator who manages to give the crazy that goes on inside her head a life all it’s own and spreads it among those around her including her highly posh and overbearing mother, her vertically challenged best friend and co-worker and the man of her dreams who works down the road.

Stars: Miranda Hart and Tom Ellis

Seasons 1-3 available on DVD

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Dawson’s Creek: You can’t have a binge list that doesn’t include Dawson’s Creek.  It’s the mega 90’s teen drama that gave us James Van Der Beek, Joshua Jackson, Katie Holmes and Michelle Williams.  Joey has feelings for Dawson but Dawson is too interested in his movies to notice Joey, that is until new girl Jen Lindley comes along while Pacey is having secret meetings with his teacher.  Drama, ugly crying, teen sex…this has got it all.

Stars: James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson.

Seasons 1-6 available on DVD

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Nip/Tuck:  Christian loves drugs, money, women and sex.  His professional partner Sean McNamara loves his son, his wife and his professional career.  It’s the lives of two plastic surgeons trying to rule the roost, deal with their inner demons and still come out on top regardless of who they end up hurting.  One of the greats to come out of the 90’s/00’s period.

Stars: Julian McMahon, Dylan Walsh and Joely Richardson.

Seasons 1-6 Now available on DVD.

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Cougar Town:  Bad title, good comedy says it all.  Cougar Town feels very Scrubs with it’s humor (created by the same team) and as you watch through the seasons, you’ll see this great show evolve from it’s ‘cougar’ story line into a very tight and funny comedy around friends and family.  Don’t judge this show by it’s title!

Stars: Courteney Cox, Busy Phillipps, Christa Miller and Dan Byrd.

Seasons 1-4 now available on DVD.

Looking Back: Girls Season 3

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We were promised a some-what lighter third season for Girls and it’s lead character Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) and for the most part, Dunham gave us what was promised, but true to form, Girls never dances too long in the light and breezy by showing us that when things start to look up, there’s something to drag you down lurking right around the corner.

I still dislike Hannah and no matter how hard I try to see things from her perspective, I still end up heading to that small place in my mind that wants to throttle the self-centredness right out of her.  I know I’m not alone here.  It’s funny to think that Girls, while incredibly well acted and highly intriguing, is literally about the life of a 25 year old woman who is so deplorable and loathsome that the other people in her world (Jessa the junkie or Elijah the enabler for instance) begin to look like shining beacons of light.

It’s clear Dunham has created Hannah to be particularly unlikeable to the point she’s practically shoving more things for us to hate about her down our throats.

*Hannah’s book editor David dies and at his funeral and proceeds too ask his widow for a contact for another editor.

*Adam’s eccentric and (probably) unstable sister Caroline (great casting of Gaby Hoffman) arrives and asks to stay.  Ignoring Adam’s CRYSTAL CLEAR instructions to not allow it, Hannah moves Caroline right on in.

*Hannah thrives doing advertorial work for GQ, in fact, she shows everyone else up with her quick thinking ability, but proceeds to self sabotage in order to be fired as she feels like, as a writer, she’s selling out.

*Marnie invites the girls over to her mother’s friends beach house where in town, Hannah bumps into Elijah and against Marnie’s wishes, invites Elijah and his friends to join them in order to avoid having to spend any actual time with her friends.

Are we really surprised?  This is Hannah after all.

Out of all the characters this season, Shoshanna grew on me the most.  Yes, I thought her decision to end things with Ray was a silly idea, but that, in itself, brought out a sexually empowered and vocally aggressive Shoshanna.  It didn’t hurt either when Shosh got to say not only what every viewer has wanted to say to Hannah, but also, the line of the entire show to date:

“You’re a fucking narcissist. Seriously, I’ve never met anyone else who thinks their own life is so fascinating. I wanted to fall asleep in my own vomit all day listening to you speak about how you bruise more easily than other people … [I don’t want to be like] you, like mentally ill and miserable.”

Yes! Thank you, Shoshana.

Even Adam, who I’ve never liked, actually began to grow on me.  I think it was around the time his sister arrived that I actually said to myself ‘things are bad when Adam is the sanest character in this show’.

So now, we’ve come to an end for season three.  Adam is flourishing on Broadway which meant he had zero time and zero patience for Hannah.  Shoshanna’s year of sex and debauchery leaves her flunking out of college and a failed attempt to win Ray back.  Jessa agreed to help wheelchair bound artist Beadie commit suicide (by actually hand feeding her pills) only for Beadie to freak out and scream for 911.  Marnie’s professional life is getting back on track, working as a gallery assistant and making some rather nice music with Desi, but of course, Marnie has always been one to blur the line between professional and romantic….and Hannah…well, with Adam pushing her aside for Broadway, it opens the door for her to take up the offer to attend the exclusive Iowa Writers Workshop (when did she apply for that by the way?)

What did you think of this third season of Girls?

Looking for Drama, Looking Finally Brings It

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Jonathan Groff, left, and Raul Castillo in the HBO’s series “Looking.” (John P. Johnson / HBO)

It may have taken 8 episodes and a lot of questions as to where we were being taken (and how long was it going to take), but finally, HBO’s Looking finally gave us a rather great episode – albeit, in the form of a season finale.

Between Patrick and Richie cooling things down and Frank throwing Agustine out of their shared apartment, I was actually excited to see what was going to happen next as the culmination of the past seven episodes events finally came together to create an episode with memorable and surprising moments – something that has been sorely missing in every other episode.

Work, love and sex all became intertwined as Patrick and Kevin (Russell Tovey) have sex and after what seems like a rather successful pop up restaurant event, Dom and Lynn (Scott Bakula) share a romantic kiss, but it was the final confrontation between Richie and Patrick that brought the episode together.

After telling Patrick that he’s basically in love with him, Richie decides it was best for him to walk away from Patrick with his dignity and heart still in one piece.

Speaking to the L.A Times, Raul Castillo says of that final scene between Richie and Patrick “Richie articulates his most vulnerable feelings in the season in that scene, I thought. And I just wanted to honor that, and what he was feeling. It was this great moment for this character to reveal something very truthful and, at the same time, something incredibly profound. I just wanted to treat that moment with care. And I also was proud of Richie for facing the reality of the situation and, as much as it hurt, stepping away. I was excited, in a weird way, to hear him assert himself. And, you know, he has asserted himself throughout the season, but I think there was something really kind of incredibly human about the feelings that he articulates in that moment.

Thankfully, this won’t be the last we see of Richie.  He’s been bumped up to a series regular for season two!

I’ve criticised Looking for being too boring and for trying too hard to not be too out there and similar to Queer as Folk, but, this final episode of season one proved that the people behind the scenes can bring us something exciting and dramatic without being too cliché or boring.  I’m sad it took almost eight episodes to get me to this point, but, I’m excited for season two.

Speaking of which, what can we expect for Patrick, Dom and Agustine?  Michael Lannan (Looking’s series creator) has been keeping tight lipped about what’s ahead but did say to EW.com that even though Scott Bakula has been attached to the new NCIS spin-off, he’ll still be making an appearance in Looking’s next season and that the likelihood is that season two will not pick up where season one left off, but no word on the time frame between the two seasons.

So, for those who watched…are you Team Kevin or Team Richie?

I’m completely team Richie!

HBO’s Looking Looks Ahead to Season 2

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Jonathan Groff, Frankie J Alvarez and Murray Bartlett in HBO’s Looking

 

Expect to see Patrick, Dom and Agustin back on screens next year as HBO’s freshman drama Looking has been given the green light to continue on with a second season TVNOW has learned.

While the show premiered to a rather small audience in the US (338,000), the last three episodes have seen a rather steep rise in ratings with each episode rating higher than the last (most recent episode nabbed 519,000 viewers) and like all HBO shows, Looking has drawn its greatest audience in gross views, which includes original airings, replays, On Demand and HBO Go, with a season-to-date score of two million weekly viewers.

As part of the renewal, Lauren Weedman (Doris), Raul Castillo (Richie) and Russell Tovey (Kevin) have all been bumped to series regulars.  Weedman plays Dom’s roommate; Castillo is Patrick’s love interest; and Tovey portrays Patrick’s boss.

Production on the second season is expected to begin late this year in San Francisco.

Is HBO’s Drama ‘Looking’ Boring: Part 2

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Agustin, Patrick and Dom of HBO’s Looking

So I’ve just finished watching episode 5 of HBO’s gay themed drama called ‘Looking‘ and upon it’s ending, I felt compelled to put aside all other TV viewings until I wrote something down about how annoyed and frustrated I am with this show.

First up, I need to state, the following is about the writing of the show and not the acting.  Looking is my first encounter with Jonathan Groff and Frankie J Alvarez, (Murray Bartlett I remember from Sex and the City) and I’m impressed enough by all to want to keep watching for these guys – even if it’s at my own peril of dying from boredom.

Now continuing from my original post “Is Looking Boring?” I decided to put aside my worries about how lackluster the show was becoming and hoped that perhaps, these characters may do something exciting or shocking or mean or funny or..you get the idea.

The answer is – they don’t.

It turns out, I’m not the only one having issues with the ‘boring’ factor Looking is giving off.  It’s become such an issue that the writers have taken to having to defend their style of writing, calling it “low-key” and “intentional”.  John Hoffman and Tanya Saracho spoke to selected media about this very issue – “The B-word is what they keep calling us – ‘boring’.  I would rather they hate it than call us boring.”

Hoffman added: “Not to be in defence of boring, but that [style] is very intentional. [The episodes] do feel like little half-hour indie movies.”  Cast member Russell Tovey added “This is showing a section of the community where there isn’t any crisis in the fact that they’re gay and it isn’t the all-defining personality trait of each of the characters.  It just happens to be that they are gay and this is their lives and this what they are doing – they are living. They’ve got over all their shit and they’re just being.”

The problem here is without “the shit” or crisis, we have a television show where nothing memorable happens.  It’s the easiest way to describe Looking’s problem.  The dialogue isn’t cheesy, the acting is rather good, it’s beautifully shot, there’s no crazy and campy stereotypical characters – Looking is a show we need to have, but nothing worthy of being remembered happens.  It can’t be a good sign if I walk away from an episode and my first thought is “Wow Jonathan Groff is good looking”.

Let’s break down Looking, season one episode five.

Patrick (Jonathan Groff) wakes up in bed next to Richie (Raúl Castillo).  he quietly grabs his clothes and heads to the bathroom. He showers, brushes his teeth and checks out the medicine cabinet before hearing Richie awake and playing his guitar while singing. There’s some kissing and general talk about necklaces before Patrick leaves for work.

instead of going to work, Patrick decides to stay with Richie. There’s a very ‘in-your-face’ sexual encounter between the two and they go to breakfast at a local diner.  They talk about STD’s while drinking coffee, The Goonies and how Richie is embarrassed of his teeth and then Patrick calls in sick to work so as to spend the day with Richie.

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Richie and Patrick do a lot of walking and talking in Looking

We’re 10mins 30secs in and now, they’re on a bus and Richie asks Patrick about his first sexual encounter. Turns out, Patrick was 15 and it was on a bus headed back from computer camp.  Now suddenly, they’re at the planetarium.  They’re the only two there, looking up at the fake stars.  Richie sings a song to Patrick, they talk about who is Rachel and who is Ross from FRIENDS and Patrick talks about how he’s not too interested in anal sex.

At the 17 minute mark, Richie and Patrick are walking, eating hotdogs talking about Richie’s first time before they exchange coming out stories – it’s all very first date kind of topics.

Then we learn about a Señora that Richie sees.  She’s sort of a medium who uses eggs to see peoples futures.  Patrick offers up some anti-señora ideas before Richie drags him along to see her but upon realizing Patrick doesn’t speak Spanish, they decide to leave.

We’re back at Richie’s house, they’re in bed talking about how much ‘fun’ the day was.  They talk about sex and imply sex is going to happen.

THE END.

OH MY GOD.

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I’m getting more emotions from this gif file than I did Looking 1×05

If I remember correctly, one can make more interesting things happen while playing The Sims.

Without any ads, this was 26 minutes and 59 seconds of scripted television where nothing of substance or worth actually happened. The issue I’m finding with Looking is that the show is trying too hard to not be an expected gay drama. Obviously, as viewers, we’re automatically going to compare it to Queer as Folk.  We kinda have to as we don’t have much else to compare it to, but it feels like the people behind the show know this is what we are doing and are trying their darnedest to ensure that Looking is so completely different from Queer as Folk that they end up making a show where the characters have no substance or chance of evolution for us to actually care.  They don’t evolve, they don’t create, there’s no real interaction….they just are.

This last episode felt like I was secretly watching two people on a first date….perhaps that was the writers intention, but without bouncing off to any other characters within this world of Looking to allow us some breathing space from the dullness of this first date, this show suddenly becomes very claustrophobic and the only way out is to fervently press the fast forward button and hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel (that light being the HBO logo at the shows end)

Are the writers are too scared to create some sort of dramatic elements for these characters in the fear we all start screaming “it’s all too cliché” and turn off?  Don’t forget, this is a television show we are talking about – and not a reality one either.

Don’t hint at Dom’s relationship with his meth using ex boyfriend. Don’t hint at Agustin’s friendship with Patrick.  Don’t hint at Patrick being an absolute idiot when it comes to men and relationships. Follow these up and flesh them out and allow us to actually care about any form of back story these characters are supposed to have had.

I, personally  was offended by Hoffman’s comment of wishing we the viewers would hate the show over calling it boring.  Don’t tell me to hate the show.  I don’t want to hate it.  I need a show like Looking (or the basis of the show) in my life.  By telling us that you’d rather us hate the show than call it boring is you being lazy and trying to find an easy answer to a valid question a lot of people are asking.  Pure and simple.  

Why can’t Looking be a memorable show without having to revert to stereotypical situations and characters?   

I’m not here to tell them how to do their job or write their scripts for them, but for the question of Looking being boring to stop, these writers need to realize that my life (and probably most others lives) is boring enough without having to watch other people’s boring lives on television.

And to continue this point, I present this article by Drew Grant