Fantastic Beasts, and were to find them on TV.

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As the days get cooler, the nights grow longer, our imaginations run even wilder, especially with All Hallows' Eve right around the corner.

No better time to discover some new fantasy TV series.

Amazon Prime has created a beautiful alternate universe—Burgue, akin to 1880 London— in which humans reluctantly co-exist with fairies (“faes”) and other fantastic beasts: gremlin-like kobolds, werewolves, and my personal favorite, “pucks,” who are saytres (half man, half ram).

These fantastic beasts, called “crits” by the humans, are war refugees in Burgue, which was its ally against the barbarous Pacts. Even so, except for those who have secured jobs as servants, they are confined to a ghetto called “Carnival Row.”

When a renowned Fae is murdered, a soldier-turned-police inspector,  Rycroft Philostrate (“Philo”; one of Orlando Bloom's best roles to date) is put on the case. It brings him in contact with his long-lost love: a fae called Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne). Both thought the other dead in the last great battle between the faes and the Pacts. Both feel betrayed by the other. Their attraction and animosity for each other ramps up along with the killings of crits by some unknown mystical force.

Great stuff indeed.

Click below to see a trailer.

Or click the photo above to read a Vanity Fair article about the series' shoots-and-ladders journey from concept to greenlight for series.

Another interesting television series on Netflix, The Frankenstein Chronicles, does a realistic twist on Mary Shelley's famous novel.  This is not a love story, but historical crime suspense about redemption for the early 19th Century London police investigator charged with finding a serial child murderer.

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Or is it?

Starring a Game of Thrones head honcho, Sean Bean, the series takes place in the 1820s (as bleakly post-Jane Austen as you can get), a time when corpses were considered public property and legally dug up by “immortalists” (I LOVE that period-appropriate word for “grave robbers!”) for the scientists and doctors who are pushing Britain's political leaders to approve “the Anatomy Act” so that cadavers can be legally used for medical study.

The world-building is sublimely authentic. Even indoors, the poor actors seem to be freezing, if their chilled breath is any indication.

This show has already gone into a third season and promises more head-spinning plots based on things that go bump in the night.

Click the photo above for a great recap article; or the video box below for a trailer peek.

Scared and Bemused,

Josie

Andree Belle’s “Serial Monogamist” has a Mad Men feel to it, dontcha think?


MadMenWomen
Of course, none of the women of
Mad Men (January Jones' Betty, Christina Hendricks' Joan, and Elisabeth Moss' Peggy) are serial monogamists. They may have started out that way, but life and loss made them jaded, when it came to love.

The chords — and the percussion, too — of the song "Serial Monogamist," by Andree Belle, reminds me of the kind of music coming out of the 1960s, with that smoky vamp-and-dance jazz-salsa feel to it. Don't you agree?

 

Enjoy, 

— Josie

 

 

#MadMen creator Matthew Weiner discusses the latest episode (#9, “The Better Half”)

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I love this illustration for Mad Men. It's the type of illustration you'd find for ads from that mid-60s era.

Notice that Don Draper is both coming and going. I like that the artist has captured his duplicity, his wanderlust, and the fact that there are other Don Drapers out there. 

There are other Don Drapers inside of Don Draper.

I also hate the fact that this is the last season of Mad Men. I'm sure the show's actors realize it's a career high for them, thanks to all the elements that make a show great: the direction, the period detail via set design and costumes, and of course the writing. Writer-Producer Matthew Weiner has created an ensemble of characters who faults and foibles ring true as the catapault through life in an era some of us remember all too nostalgically. Six years ago, as watched the first episode with my son, I remember him commenting, “Wow, the men were really cruel to the women who worked with them.”

Yes, to a great extent, barbaric.

Truly, it set the tone of what was to come.

We love these characters,and we also hate them.

In other words, we feel for them. 

It's why it's great television, and why it's sublime storytelling.

Check out the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, discussing the latest episode (9, “The Better Half”).

— Josie

 


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Lauren Allen joins the cast of the NBC TV show based on my novel, SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES

Love it! Another actress has been cast in Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. I loved Lauren Allen in Awake, so I'm sure she'll be great in the show.

Check it out below, from Deadline Hollywood…

— Josie


Laura Allen Joins NBC’s ‘Husbands And Wives’

Laura Allen has been cast as one of the leads in NBC’s pilot The Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives. The thriller/dramatic soap is from Jerry Bruckheimer TV and writer Sascha Penn and revolves around the lives of several couples. Allen, repped by Gersh and Impression Entertainment, will play Alison Dunn, a grounded and levelheaded mother and wife who happens to be hiding the darkest secret of all. It’s a return to NBC for Allen, who was cast in a supporting role then bumped up to female lead on the network’s Awake.

Nellie Andreeva

Fab news! ENTOURAGE’s Perrey Reeves has been cast for SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES on NBC!

Nellie AndreevaCheck it out in DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD:

EXCLUSIVE: In her first major series gig since the end of HBO’s Entourage, Perrey Reeves has been cast as one of the leads in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced NBC’s drama pilot The Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives. The project written by Sascha Penn, was inspired by Josie Brown’s 2010 novel.

The project, from Warner Bros. TV and Jerry Bruckheimer TV,
is described as thriller-dramatic soap that centers on a murder and the
secrets and lies within a tightly woven group of three suburban couples
and their families exposed in its aftermath. Reeves will play half of
one of the three couples, Danielle Deaver, described as flirty and funny
woman with a tightly wound personality and a dark secret that not even
she knows about. Reeves, repped by Paradigm and Mosaic, is best known
for playing Ari Gold’s (Jeremy Piven) outspoken wife Mrs. Ari on all
eight seasons of the Hollywood comedy.

Secret Lives400   Yes you'll want to read the book, before the show is on the air:

 

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It’s that time of month. (Unless you’re on TV.)

  Tampons with eyes

We've crossed the bridge into the 21st century–unless you're an actress in a tampon commercial.

On American TV, we're still squeamish when talking about menstruation.

That is, a woman's period.

Her "little visitor."

Being "on the rag," as it were.

As Adweek points out, it's ironic that a product created in the 1930s — and on television, FINALLY, in 1973 — is still cloaked in AdLandia shorthand.

Forget code words. White short shorts or short skirts was — is — GirlSpeak for "it's okay to use tampons instead of pads, without worrying about bleedthrough."

To paraphrase, Betty Friedan: it's the feminine hygiene mystique.

The FCC has what is calls  "the seven dirty words" which are forbidden to say on TV. I'm too much of a lady to say them here, but you can guess what they are:

Has anyone noticed that dick and penis isn't on the list?

Which is possibly why, yes: those words flow trippingly through the boob tube.

At least, on basic cable, which is known for its potty mouth (DEADWOOD!!! I MISS YOU!!!!

Some of these words have already slipped into major broadcast network viewing as well.

So why not vagina? Why do television hostesses fudge it by saying "va-jay-jay? They should follow Lissa Rankin's advice and say it loud, say it proud.

Lubricant ads show couples in bed. Condom ads have now broken the television barrier, too. Turn on a football game and you'll overdose on Viagra and Cialis ads. (Puh-leeeez: get that couple out of their his-and-hers outdoor clawfoot tubs!)

The 1st Amendment makes strange bedfellows. A disparate group has coallesced around the goal of ending television censorship . It includes the Pacifica Foundation on the left, and the Cato Institute (a Libertarian think tank) on the right.

In fact, on July 13, 2010 in New York, FCC regulations regarding "fleeting" use of expletives were ruled unconstitutionally vague by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals,  which ruled that they violated the First Amendment in light of their possible effects regarding free speech.

Maybe we're finally crossing that bridge into the 21 century.

So that we get our celebrity fix for the day, click onto the video below. At the time (1985) , it was considered groundbreaking because she actually said the "P" word.

Several times, in fact!

Recognize the actress in this Tampax ad? When it comes to their careers, everyone's starts somewhere —

Period.

*Picture: The eyes have it! Tampons–that don't leak–are a girl's best friend.

Ewwww yuck is a fact of life,

— Josie

 

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I’ll say it, if no one else will: THE OFFICE deserves the Emmy for Best Comedy.

The-office

Tina Fey's 30 Rock has been queen of the TV hill for quite some time. Maybe it's me, but I just don't get it. The show's over-the-top farce leaves me cold. Sure, the acting is great, but the laugh lines seem forced.

The Office, on the other hand, is chockful of characters everyone has encountered in real life: the office Nazi (Dwight); the superior prude (Angela); the idiot (Kevin); the airhead (Kelly)…

And then there's Michael Scott, a.k.a. Steve Carrell: an inappropriate boss who thinks his office coworkers are his family, because he truly doesn't have a life outside the office.

At first his character was written to be crass. Then the writers got wise and infused his obnoxious behavior with an underlying pathos. We know that guy: he tries so hard to win us over that we are repelled by him.

In any regard, we feel his pain.

We'll miss in him the (many, I hope) coming seasons.

Many of regulars are also its writers:  B. J. Novak was cast as temp Ryan HowardPaul Lieberstein is human resources director Toby Flenderson; Mindy Kaling is the shopaholic airhead  Kelly Kapoor. The infuse every character with emotional layers that go beyond the typical archtypes. 

And that is why I think The Office should get its Emmy this year.

Ah, if only I were queen of the TV universe…but no, Tina Fey has that throne and sceptor.

–Josie

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