The Top 20 Television Moments of 2016 – Part One

Posted by Kim and Sage

WE DID IT YOU GUYS. The end of 2016 is nigh. Everyone take a deep sigh of relief.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that 2016 was a dumpster fire of a year. It was brutal with the celebrity deaths and it felt like the world was on the verge of imploding every time you turned on the news. I can’t help but think of Samwise Gamgee at the end of The Two Towers when I think of 2016. “How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you.” These end of year posts are the stories that have stayed with us. We hope you enjoy the memories as much as we do. –Kim

1) Michael Phelps swims the 200 Butterfly – The Rio Olympics

Michael Phelps did not come to the Rio Olympics to play. After being disappointed with his performance in the London Olympics (you know, a measly six medals, four of them gold), Michael returned to the pool as a man on a mission. The most important part of that mission? Getting back the gold medal in the 200 meter butterfly that South Africa’s Chad le Clos had taken from him. As fate would have it, Phelps and le Clos were in the same semifinal, swimming right next to each other. It’s the perfect sports story, really. The undisputed King of the Pool and the younger and cockier rival who had lorded his victory over Phelps for four years. Who would triumph? Here’s why I love the Olympics so fucking much: the completely pure and unstaged moments of human emotion. As cameramen in the holding room focused on the two rivals they caught le Clos showboating and shadowboxing in front of Phelps. And there sat Michael, his hood up over his head and his trademark headphones on making a FACE OF DEATH. Seriously…laser beams were about to shoot out of his eyes. Thus, the greatest meme of 2016, #PhelpsFace, was born. (It’s also the default facial expression to describe the year.)

Was le Clos trying to psych Phelps out? Was Michael truly just in the zone, as he later claimed, or was he making the face at the obvious showboating? We’ll never know, really. What we DO know are the results in the pool. Phelps and le Clos qualified 2nd and 3rd in that semi, which set up an exciting final that was packed with contenders for the Gold. There was something about Michael’s swimming and attitude in Rio though. While he never looked MISERABLE in previous Olympics, it was clear that Michael had always been focused on winning and shattering records alone. In Rio, he seemed to have rediscovered the JOY of swimming and it showed in his interviews and his emotions on the podium. Michael shaved off nearly 8/10ths of a second off his semifinal time to take back his precious Gold Medal and his jubilation was reminiscent of a certain end zone dance by Rod Tidwell. One might say that Michael Phelps found the Kwan in Rio and we all got to see it. — Kim

2) The #HamilTonys

Look, Hamilton was going to come into the Tonys like a wrecking ball. Everyone knew it. Hence the joke in the opening (Hamilton-themed) number: Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Anthony Ramos, and Okieriete Onaodowan advancing on a Tony-toting James Corden, who stops them by singing, “Just you wait, just you wait…”

The Best Musical award was a foregone conclusion. (In any other year, Waitress. Any other year.) Score and Book were too. The tightest races in a couple of the acting categories were actually BETWEEN Hamilton castmates. And though no choice would have been the wrong one, the Tonys – in our opinion – played it just right. For once, Alexander Hamilton didn’t spoil an Aaron Burr victory; Leslie accepted the Leading Actor Tony he deserved. There was no controversy, since Lin went home with a wheelbarrow of other awards. Broadway veterans Christopher Jackson and Jonathan Groff looked on proudly as newcomer Daveed Diggs was handed the Featured Actor Tony. It’s safe to say that being in Hamilton would change anyone’s life, but of those three, it changed Daveed the most. And come on, the guy plays one character per act, spits RECORD-BREAKING fire, and delivers the best asides in the show. (Whaaaaaaat?) Renee Elise Goldsberry cried as she gave her Featured Actress acceptance speech. And if it hadn’t been for the unstoppable Cynthia Erivo, Phillipa Soo would have been on that stage too.

All told, Hamilton took home 11 Tonys, falling just short of the The Producers‘ record. But that wasn’t the whole story. Hamilton in its very existence is a statement. In the same awards cycle when #OscarsSoWhite trended worldwide, Hamilton contributed to the Tonys’ incredible diversity achievement of all four musical acting awards going to non-white performers. The show made this the hippest Tonys (is that a thing??) in recent memory. The 2016 telecast was the highest rated in the last 15 years. And those new viewers were tuning in SPECIFICALLY to see Hamilton – a piece of art that’s reinvigorated and redrawn the medium by prioritizing inclusion, truth, and a ridiculous amount of work.

A dark shadow was cast on the Tonys. Early that same morning, the Pulse massacre occurred in Florida. The telecast was dedicated to the victims and their families. One of Lin’s speeches was a quickly composed sonnet honoring them too. And Hamilton‘s producers made a decision to alter their performance. There were no muskets in “Yorktown.” The actors and the ensemble mimed their presence. And that image – two dozen people in Colonial garb pointing invisible guns into the audience – will stay with me for a long time.  –Sage

3) The Origin of The Big Three – This Is Us



source: thisisusedits.tumblr.com
I was fully on board with This Is Us from that first trailer that featured guaranteed tearjerker “I Won’t Give Up” as the soundtrack (and because it had Mandy Moore). But I was also completely aware that a great trailer by no means makes a great show and that This Is Us could easily be saccharine overdose. I was lucky to get to see an early screening of the This Is Us at the Paley Center a couple of weeks before it premiered. I was immediately taken in by the sharp and funny dialogue and the tightly drawn characters. (Sterling K. Brown gets Randall from the GET GO, guys.) I was so drawn in by the four principle stories of the pilot that I forgot to look for the twist of how they were all tied together (SILLY ME). I ignored niggling questions like why in the hell with triplets did Mandy Moore’s Rebecca NOT have a c-section scheduled? I missed the hints of Randall saying that he was abandoned at a fire station and adopted by a wonderful couple. I COMPLETELY missed it…and so did most of the people in the Paley screening room.

A collective GASP swept through the room when Milo Ventimiglia’s Jack, mourning the loss of one of his triplets, stood at the nursery window smiling at his two babies and started talking to the fireman standing next to him, who pointed out the baby who had been abandoned at his fire station. “OH MY GOD,” I quietly (or not so quietly) exclaimed, as the camera panned back to reveal people in period clothing wandering the halls of the hospital. “THEY ARE A FAMILY.” It was in that moment that we KNEW that This Is Us was going to be a special kind of show: unabashedly sentimental, expertly acted, and one that would take us along on the journey.  — Kim

4) The Blood Threesome – Penny Dreadful

Rest in peace, Penny Dreadful. You crazy bitch.

Showtime’s literary horror masterpiece pulled out all the stops for what we didn’t know would be its final season. We didn’t get this gory orgy not in the finale, oh no. This was episode THREE.

I have some issues with the way it was resolved. But overall, I am all about Penny Dreadful turning the horror of being a woman of no consequence in Victorian London around on the godless men who exploit them. It facilitated some jaw-dropping Billie Piper monologues, that’s for sure. It also facilitated this consummation: Lily, her benefactor Dorian, and their bloodthirsty protege Justine celebrate Justine’s first kill by indulging in the most indulgent act possible. Lily and Justine are celebrating being masters of their own bodies for once. And Dorian? Well, Dorian’s just a hedonist.

The camerawork, the candles, the score: it’s all so over-the-top and UBER-DRAMATIC and not really that necessary for the plot. I love TV that will throw over subtlety when necessary, and go to these places just because it’s FUN. –Sage

5) Murtagh gets his vengeance – Outlander

When I look back at Season Two of Outlander, I can sum it up with a singular text I got from Sage whilst she watched episode 11, “Vengeance is Mine”: “THIS SHOW IS SAVAGE.” Season Two was a LOT, from all the shenanigans in Paris to the emotional wallop that was the entire episode of “Faith” to Jamie stabbing BlackJack Randall IN THE DICK to a pregnant Claire being sent back through the stones. The entire season was a masterclass in pacing and storytelling because we KNEW the ending in the opening moments of the season premiere, yet the show managed to keep us on our toes and have us HOPING that said ending would not come to pass. But sadly, I can’t single out the entire season for this post. Thus I settled on the moment that prompted Sage’s text message: Murtagh’s savage beheading of the Duke of Sandringham. Because as a book virgin, I did NOT see that one coming.

Let’s face it: Murtagh is the unsung hero of the series. He faithfully stands by Jamie and Claire’s side in France, even though every expression on his face says “I MISS SCOTLAND”. His only reaction when Jamie FINALLY told him the truth about Claire was to punch him in the face for not trusting him with this information sooner. He pulled a “I’m with you till the end of the line” with Jamie at The Battle of Culloden when Jamie tried to send him away. (SIDE NOTE: MURTAGH BETTER BE ALIVE IN SEASON THREE BITCHES.) Murtagh is good people. So it was devastated to see him wracked by guilt over not being able to protect Claire and Mary when they were attacked (and Mary was brutally raped) on the streets of Paris. HE WAS UNCONSCIOUS WHAT COULD HE HAVE DONE? Nevertheless, his promise to avenge Claire and Mary was one he took to heart. The last minutes of “Vengeance is Mine” were absolutely thrilling, from Red Jamie storming in ready to kick some ass to Mary grabbing the knife and stabbing her attacker once Sandringham’s complicit involvement in the attack came to light. But it was all capped off by Murtagh grabbing a fucking AXE and taking a swing at the Duke. Off came his head and he grabbed it and placed it at Claire and Mary’s feet as they looked on in shock. “I lay my vengeance at your feet,” he said, kneeling before them. That’s Murtagh for you. Taking things literally. — Kim

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16 Things We Learned at New York Comic Con 2016 – Part II

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Posted by Kim and Sage

Believe it or not, our first post only took us through the first 36 hours of NYCC 2016. Our con was SUPER front-loaded this year, with Friday being our biggest day and our panel schedule lightening for Saturday and Sunday. (Thank GOD The Walking Dead is dead to us because I think another long day at Madison Square Garden would have been the death of us.) Even once we passed the main hump of our schedule, we still had plenty to occupy our time, from doing several laps around the show floor to studying all the gorgeous work in Artists Alley to observing the cosplay to taking full advantage of the wide varieties of programming. I like to think we truly soaked in everything New York Comic Con had to offer this year, in every respect. My Fitbit certainly thought so. Read on for the rest of our adventures. –Kim

1) No detail is too small in the Mr. Robot Universe

NYCC Mr. Robot Panel

ReedPOP, the company that runs NYCC, has also run a Book Con event in previous years. Rather than fill the Javits for another weekend with authors, signings, and panels, Book Con was made considerably smaller and folded into NYCC for 2016. So after our morning at MSG with the BBCA crowd and a revitalizing lunch at Five Guys, we headed over to Hudson Mercantile for panel about the Mr. Robot companion book, Red Wheelbarrow. Or, in the parlance of the show: eps1.91_redwheelbarr0w.txt.

Book Con panels were all included with NYCC badges. But there was also an option to make purchases in the pop-up book store on one of the floors of the space. For the Mr. Robot panel, the first 150 audience members who wanted to buy the book could have it signed by authors Sam Esmail (also Mr. Robot‘s creator and showrunner) and Courtney Looney (one of the show’s writers). I got the VERY LAST BRACELET, because Comic Con was very good to me this year. And as I learned more about it during the panel, I burned off any remaining buyer’s remorse and was happy to fork over the $30. –Sage

  • It was unseasonably hot that day and we were very reasonably cranky from getting up in the middle of the night to haul ass to MSG. But Book Con restored much goodwill lost during the outside wait when volunteers handed us some high-quality graphic tees on the way in. Yes, we CAN be bought.
  • The Hudson Mercantile space is not SUPER conducive for panels since it’s not graded and there are view-obscuring columns everywhere. But it’ll do.
  • Esmail was very forceful in saying that the Red Wheelbarrow book is NOT a promotional item. It is an original Mr. Robot story. And because it’s a part of the Mr. Robot, that story is not traditionally told. The book is Elliot’s journaling during the 30 days between the season 1 finale and season 2 premiere.
  • Rami Malek and Christian Slater provided writing samples to the publisher, so the whole thing could be told in Elliot’s own hand.
  • Even if you’re married to your Kindle, you probably want to buy this book in a physical copy. The notebook is stuffed with little Easter eggs (because that’s how fsociety does) – envelopes, take-out menus, and other ephemera are stuffed inside.
  • “I mean, it’s fucked up.” – Esmail’s succinct and accurate description of Elliot’s inner life.
  • Other characters appear in the book through Elliot’s interactions with and memories of them. As Looney said, “They all get shrapnel from being close to him.”
  • Esmail, on his directing style: “I’m a huge fan of long takes, because it means you can just do it and move on.”
  • The season 2 finale climax was BANANAS to shoot, with Christan Slater literally running from one side of the room to the other mid-take to his next mark.

NYCC Mr. Robot Panel

  • The moderator had to ask about the show’s insane ’90s family comedy pastiche episode. Esmail said he paid tribute to TGIF in that way because it was a comforting couple of hours for him as a kid. He felt very culturally at sea, stuck between his family life and the world he encountered at school and elsewhere. TGIF was the only place he felt at home. This is incredibly endearing, because TV doesn’t have to be great or groundbreaking to mean something profound to someone.
  • Some poor bastard got up to ask what Esmail would do to end the story if USA CANCELLED the show. The whole crowd turned on him.
  • Elliot likes drawing penises in his notebook, FYI. Just warning you if you flip through it at Barnes & Noble with someone looking over your shoulder.

2) Smaller Discussion Panels Have Restorative Powers

Hour 13 of 16. Fueled by caffeine and the Capaldi high.

Hour 13 of 16. Fueled by caffeine and the Capaldi high.

Marquee TV and Film panels with the stars are the bread and butter of Comic Con, but no con experience is fully complete without taking part in the smaller discussion panels. By luck of scheduling, the “Moving Beyond the Strong Female Character” panel was in the same room as the annual “Your Opinion Sucks” panel, so we able to make ourselves nice and comfortable in Room 1A18 for the rest of our Friday. (Sitting for 2 and a half hours is SUCH A LUXURY, Y’ALL.) It turns out that the discussion panel was as revitalizing for our minds and souls as it was for our bodies. Panelists Sam Maggs (The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy), Jody Houser (Cupcake POW!), Jill Pantozzi (The Nerdy Bird), Amy Chu (currently writing the Poison Ivy comics for DC), and Jen Bartel (artist for Jem and the Holograms) led an hour-long discussion about our favorite female characters, what we can do to promote female driven stories and creators, and why the term “Strong Female Character” is incredibly limiting. It was like Gatorade for our tired man-splained souls. –Kim

  • The panel immediately dove into how the stereotypical description of a “strong female character” (aka a “tough” woman who kicks ass) can tend to be one dimensional and limiting. “It’s not a STRONG female character I’m aiming for, it’s an INTERESTING one.” Strong means more than just physical strength. Strong can and should encompass flaws and intellect and complex human emotions, not just physical strength. This x 100.
  • Favorite female characters shouted out: Imperator Furiosa, Catwoman, Sailor Moon, Dana Scully (YAS), Buffy Summers, and Xena.
  • The panel also discussed the “Mary Sue” and how a character who serves as a stand-in for the audience is not always a bad thing. Audiences of all ages and genders need characters they can latch on to.
  • When an audience member brought up the accusation that Star Wars‘ Rey was a Mary Sue, the panel scoffed. “No one ever watches James Bond and is like ‘UGH, he’s too good at everything he does.'”
  • When asked about the recent boom of complicated female characters in pop culture, the panel posited that it was because of a new generation of writers coming of age. “Everyone who grew up watching The X-Files and Buffy are now at the age to create these types of characters.”
  • Because the universe LOVES irony, the Donald Trump/Billy Bush scandal dropped while we were in this panel.
  • The panel was asked about the Clarke and Lexa debacle on The 100 and they stressed that while the show DID drop the ball (“It was great…until they messed it up.”), it was very important that they attempted to tell the story. People aren’t always going to get it right but what matters is that the door for the discussion was opened.
  • The panel was very pro-Skyler White when they were asked about how the wives of anti-heroes like Walter often get villified. “I think everything she did was justifiable if your husband were a psychopathic meth dealer!”
  • Shout out to the few brave men who got up and asked thoughtful questions during the discussion. The one awkward moment came when a male writer expressed that he had trouble writing a woman dealing with attraction to someone else, essentially saying that he categorized female characters as either constantly pining or sleeping around. Yeesh. “I think you need to stop thinking of your character as a WOMAN and instead as a human being. How do human beings regardless of gender pursue partners?” YES.
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Taking the chance to stretch out in between panels on Saturday.

3) The “Your Opinion Sucks” Panel is ALWAYS a Good Time

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At our first NYCC in 2013, we attended the “Your Opinion Sucks” panel on a whim because it seemed like it would be fun. Now, at our fourth con, it’s a can’t miss panel for us. It ALWAYS earns a spot on our schedule. If the Strong Female Character panel was Gatorade, this one was a Red Bull. (Main lesson from this post: Stay hydrated at Comic Con, folks.) The premise of the panel is simple: there’s an open mic and a panel of movie and television critics. One by one, audience members get up to the mic and express what they think is an unpopular opinion about a movie or TV show (but usually movie). They get one minute to state their case, usually accompanied by shouts from the audience, and then the panel gets a chance to respond, either telling them they are wrong or agreeing with them. It’s basically a living and breathing internet comment section. Pass the popcorn. –Kim

  • “I LOVE Jurassic Park III! It’s the Citizen Kane of Jurassic Park movies.” That’s it. That’s the panel.
  • Given the nature of this panel, it’s usually dominated by fanboys wanting to defend or trash their favorite obscure comic book movie. If there is one thing we would complain about in regards to this panel, it would be that not enough women (and I’m counting us in that number because we’ve never stood up, even though we have PLENTY of unpopular opinions) are brave enough to get up to the mic. There WAS one girl this year who got up and defended I Know Who Killed Me and it was DELIGHTFUL. “Lindsey Lohan is a STRIPPER. OR IS SHE? That’s what’s beautiful about this movie.” Bless.
  • “For once, we can’t blame Ben Affleck for something.” – The verdict on Batman vs. Superman. Honestly, that should have been the marketing tagline.
  • “Are you asking the Fast and the Furious franchise to make sense? How dare you, sir!”
  • Guy: I would like to discuss The Matrix. Us at our seats: Hoe, don’t do it. Guy: I hated that movie. Cue the fanboys chanting for his badge to be confiscated.
  • I don’t know why we were surprised by this, but a DudeBro got up to trash the genderbent Ghostbusters. To the surprise of NO ONE, the guy hadn’t actually SEEN the movie nor did he realize that Rotten Tomatoes is simply a ratings aggregator and NOT the ones giving out the scores. Cue us screaming from our seats and the delightful dude who defended Jurassic Park III chinhandsing at us the whole time. The panel had the final word though. “Ghostbusters II ALREADY ruined the original, man.”
  • “I genuinely believe Zack Snyder is an auteur.” *deafening groan from the room, thank GOD.* “That doesn’t mean he does good work.” Honestly, THIS GUY should have had his badge taken.

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The Winners of the Third Annual Feelies!

Posted by Kim and Sage

After a week-long battle in the Feelie Fandom Arena, these ten have emerged victorious. Some races were runaway victories, some were nail-biters that came down to the final day of voting. What they all have in common is that they were chosen by you, with minimal shilling from us. (Hey, it’s our site and we’re allowed to have faves!) My favorite thing about the Feelies is that it’s almost like taking the pulse of the readership of this website. What are you guys passionate about? What shows give you the feels on a regular basis and how can we cover them? (Good news, I think we’ve FINALLY cracked how we want to do Jane the Virgin recaps, thanks to a brilliant idea from Maggie.) These are YOUR winners and we are so proud of all of them. Feeling Awards all around! –Kim

Best Comedy: Jane the Virgin

Nominees: Broad City, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Veep

For the second year in the row, you guys have voted The CW staple your favorite TV comedy!

And that’s how it’s classified for awards consideration, but Jane The Virgin makes us misty as often as it makes us laugh. And it can serve both purposes equally, because JTV never forgets where it keeps its heart.

Season two ran on the nimble ensemble and creative storytelling that defined this show in the first place, but doubled-down on the intricate machinations of its airtight plotting. The year began with the resolution of Sin Rostro’s abduction of newborn Mateo and ended with an ill-fated wedding (complete with musical number!); dozens of reveals and reversals happened in between. The whole production rallied around the show’s experiments with pastiche, and everyone from the actors to the directors to the writers to the graphics people deserve credit for using homage to everything from silent movies and Shondaland to actually drive story forward, not just to wink at the audience.

It’s a rare series that can balance character and plot so well, especially when the audience is expecting an average of 2.5 gasps per episode. The personalities who occupy Jane’s world are too strong to be swallowed by their own drama, and that makes for one satisfying viewing experience. Also, any show that casts Britney Spears in such a positive light has my loyalty forever. –Sage

Best Actress in a Comedy: Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin

Nominees: Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Ilana Glazer as Ilana Wexler, Broad City; Abbi Jacobson as Abbi Abrams, Broad City; Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Veep

Just like her show, IRL angel Gina Rodriguez is also a two-peat Feelies winner!

Happy tears, we hope!

I touched above on how Jane the Virgin‘s twisty telenovela plot stays grounded in character, and the show’s leading lady is truly its center. It’s easy to forget what a relative newcomer Gina was when she got the part. An actor who doesn’t have her natural confidence (in herself and in the show) would never be able to anchor this series. Think about it: While Rogelio deals with his career nemesis making moves on his ex; Michael chases down a murderous drug dealer who’s also a master of disguise; and Petra has her identity stolen by her long-lost evil twin; Jane struggles with finding an adviser, carving out a childcare schedule with Rafael, and hovering at the perfect level of drunkenness at her bachelorette party. Jane should exist on a different plane than the shenanigans that surround her, but Gina plays her so genuinely and with such warmth that her even her adviser struggle carries the same weight as the Sin Rostro mystery. We care about Jane because Gina does. Now PLEASE, can she finally get some? –Sage

Best Actor in a Comedy: Santino Fontana, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Nominees: Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Billy Eichner as Billy Epstein, Difficult People; Vincent Rodriguez III as Josh Chan, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta, Brooklyn 99. 

For most of the week, Best Actor in a Comedy was a horse race between Tituss Burgess and Andy Samberg. But in the last 36 hours of voting, it was like Santino Fontana decided he could win a Feelie if he wanted to. Thus, in the most Greg Serrano way possible, Santino Fontana is your Best Actor in a Comedy. AND WE’RE NOT EVEN SETTLING FOR HIM.

Listen, Greg Serrano won my heart from the moment he said that Rebecca was his type because she was ignoring him. Emotionally constipated guys may be horrible IRL but MAN do I love them on television. Like Pacey Witter, Chandler Bing, and Jeff Winger before him, Greg wears his sarcasm and his humor like a suit of armor protecting a deep insecurity that he’s never gonna be good enough for himself or for anyone else. (I KNOW I am going to get shit for comparing Greg to Pacey and Chandler, but Rachel Bloom HERSELF compared Greg to Fitzwilliam Darcy, who is the grandfather of ALL of those characters, okay? Deal with it. #TeamGreg) Greg’s default mode is to lash out with a scathing comment aiming to hurt before someone else can hurt him. He calls people out on their shit but shuts down when it’s turned back on him because no one is telling him something he doesn’t know already. He hates his life but has no idea how to get out of it because he has obligations. He self-sabotages because he expects things to end ANYWAY. But he’s also the guy who will show up with a bottle of whiskey on Thanksgiving, a guy who will take care of his ailing father, and a guy who will show up when you’re in the hospital. Under all that sarcasm and self-loathing, he’s a big old softie. I feel Greg on a fundamental level, you guys.

The thing is a character like Greg would absolutely not work without the delightfully wry performance that Santino gives. He delivers all of those one-liners with a twinkle in his eye and that smirk and you’re just like…YES. Of COURSE you are this guy. (Don’t even get me started on the glass-shattering moment that I had when I realized his delivery is VERY Joel McHale-esque because I can’t unhear it and I just wanted to pass that along to all of you people.) And then there’s that singing voice. I bless the casting team of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for filling their ensemble with musical theatre actors because Santino just knows hows to emote through song. If I wasn’t already thoroughly in Santino’s corner, I definitely was after his Billy Joel inspired number “What’ll It Be.” Damn, son.

I would be remiss if I left out the “Three days of you and me ruining each other” moment because both Sage and I literally screamed at that. He has the ability to go from sarcastic goofball to throw me up against the wall and have your way with me and THAT, my friends, is a gift. Someone’s got a nomination for Most Handsome Young Man coming his way to go with his shiny new Feelie is all I’m saying. –Kim

LOOK AT HIM CHECKING HER OUT END ME.

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Vote for the Third Annual Feelies!

Posted by Kim and Sage

The great Ron Swanson said that awards are stupid, but they are less stupid when they go to the right people. No disrespect yet ALL the disrespect to the Emmys, but when it comes to television there are WAY shows more shows and performances than the principle awards bodies can possibly recognize. (Plus the Emmys are fucking lazy and repeatedly nominate the same people based on history and celebrity, whatever it’s fine.) The thing we love about the Feelies is that they are completely determined by YOU. We may choose the nominees but the outcome is in the hands of whatever fandom chooses to mobillize. Any of these nominees would be worthy winners. We wouldn’t pick them if we didn’t think so? So who deserves to be the Feelie champions for 2016? Read on to see who we think deserves a shot at the mantle.The rest is up to you. –Kim

Best Comedy

Broad City
Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Jane the Virgin
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep

Sage: The urban adventures of Abbi  and Ilana raged on in the third uproarious season of Broad City. The girls grappled with period emergencies, apartment shares websites, snooty co-ops, and clever cameos by Vanessa Williams and Tony Danza. But as ever, the best lady friendship on TV was at the heart of it all. Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s skilled and diverse (YAY) ensemble has relaxed into each other, and the continued viability of the Jake and Amy relationship proved that Mike Schur still knows how to make a ship canon without killing our buzz. The cop comedy keeps on quietly slaying with sharp, character-based humor and unexpectedly poignant moments. Veep went into this year with a new showrunner, but the best (and at this point, most true) political comedy on TV didn’t lose its momentum or its foul-mouthed edge. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is still beyond-excellent; the scripts are still sharp enough to draw blood; and the season ended with a stroke of genius game-changer.

Kim: Last year’s champ Jane the Virgin delivered another stellar season filled with heart, ridiculous melodrama, meta commentary, and telenovela antics as Jane and Petra tackled the challenges of learning to be a new mom without completely losing their sense of self. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt took its quirky humor to new heights as Kimmy continued to take ownership over her new life while coming to terms with her traumatic past. And lastly, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend took all the things we love in life (musical numbers, searing feminist commentary, cute boys, body positivity) and blended them into one delicious confection of a television show that EVERYONE needs to be watching.

Best Drama

Doctor Who
Jessica Jones
Outlander
Penny Dreadful
Scandal
UnReal

Kim: Never one to rest on its laurels, series nine of Doctor Who took all sorts of creative risks, from structuring the entire series into two-parters to having one episode be a 45 minute soliloquy for Peter Capaldi to having an entire episode constructed out of “found” footage. (Well, like all risks in life, you can’t win them all.) It also punched us right in the feels as we bid a devastating goodbye (or is it a see you soon?) to Clara Oswald. After a lackluster fourth season, Scandal was revitalized by both Olivia kicking Fitz to the curb and the political intrigue of the Presidential Campaign. (Grant/Ballard 2016, y’all!) In what turned out to be its swan song, Penny Dreadful deftly balanced the terror of the supernatural (DRACULA) with the terror of a more human nature (misogyny, daddy issues) all while Eva Green stood in the center of the storm, giving the bravest performance on television.

Sage: A superhero show that tackles rape culture, toxic masculinity, and survivor recovery? I devoured Jessica Jones in a two-day binge, dazzled by its bravery and neo-noir style. Anyone who tells you that Outlander is a mere bodice ripper has been misinformed. Bodices were ripped in Season 2, thank god, but the superbly-acted genre-defying series also moved effortlessly from the salons of Paris to the battlefields of Scotland to the 1960s and took its characters to the brink yet again. UnREAL had a bit of a stumble in its sophomore outing but technically the Feelies season falls such that Season 1 can also be considered. And Season 1 of UnREAL was a doozy. Anchored by two female anti-heroes (TWO. In one show. And they’re FRIENDS.), the Lifetime drama exposed the seedy underbelly of reality TV and thus, became just as addictive.

Best Actress in a Comedy

Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Ilana Glazer as Ilana Wexler, Broad City
Abbi Jacobson as Abbi Abrams, Broad City
Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Veep
Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, Jane the Virgin

Sage: I know. It feels impossible to separate the performances of our Broad City leading ladies, so much do they rely on and compliment each other. There’s trust and fun emanating from every scene, which is probably why they can collectively take it so far. But both women deserve a personal shout-out. As the more grounded of the two, no one does crushing embarrassment and millennial self-questioning like Abbi Jacobsen. And her Ilana impression in the co-op episode was a true thing of beauty. Kooky Ilana Glazer shined in a different way this season when faced for the first time with her very best kween keeping a secret from her. It was effectively disconcerting to see the worst employee Deals! Deals! Deals! ever had to take something seriously for once. And really, what is there even left to talk about when it comes to Julia Louis-Dreyfus‘s performance on Veep? She can kill a scene with a single reaction and yet she’s the ultimate team player in a devastatingly funny ensemble. JLD may have another iconic character in her past, but petty, under-qualified Selina Meyer is the role she was born to play.
Kim: Look, I know we give the Golden Globes a lot of shit when it comes to their celebrity thirst, but they know where it’s AT when it comes to recognizing new talent in television. Last year, the award went to Gina Rodriguez (who was the Feelie winner as well), who continues to deliver a LUMINOUS performance on Jane the Virgin. There’s no other word to describe Gina’s work, really. She glows and emanates pure warmth on screen and she can flip between comedy and drama in the blink of an eye. This year the Golden Globe went to Rachel Bloom, whose work on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a masterclass in comedic shamelessness. There is no length Rachel won’t go to in order to land a gag, from throwing her heavy (and glorious) boobs into a musical number to fearlessly showing the ugly sides of Rebecca’s personality. She is a GIFT and we should all treasure her. Finally, in a lesser actress’ hands, Kimmy Schmidt would be grating and overly saccharine but Ellie Kemper brings the perfect amount of salt to the role. She may be sweet and sunny but she’s also tough as nails when it comes to getting what she wants. Females are strong as hell, y’all.

Best Actress in a Drama

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser, Outlander
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, Doctor Who
Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, Penny Dreadful
Tatiana Maslany as the Leda Clones, Orphan Black
Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, The People vs. OJ Simpson
Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Jessica Jones
Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, Scandal

Kim: I’ve said it once in this post already but Eva Green‘s Vanessa Ives is one of the bravest and boldest performances I’ve EVER seen on television, this year or any other year. Vanessa is broken and beaten down by the world around her, yet she stands tall in her strength and defiance and HOPE. Eva brings a raw, almost feral quality to Vanessa, with her scratchy smoker’s rasp and her giant alien eyes that have seen horrors we can’t even imagine. I don’t understand why she hasn’t been showered with awards for the past three years, it’s a travesty. There not much that can be said about Tatiana Maslany that hasn’t been said before. She infuses each of the Leda Clones with such a distinct personality, posture, and voice that you forget that it’s ONE actress. She makes it look easy, y’all, and I would hate her if I didn’t respect her so goddamn much. After several seasons of being rendered spineless by her father and Fitzgerald Grant, Olivia Pope found her backbone again, doing what she does best (being a Political Bad Ass) and Kerry Washington flourished. Anyone who was surprised by Olivia FINALLY snapping was watching the show wrong, even if the way she snapped was shocking.

Sage: Look, I don’t understand how the Emmys can sleep at night knowing that Caitrona Balfe‘s work on Outlander is going unrecognized. I won’t say she worked the hardest of any actress this year, because this list is so stacked with BEASTS. But the show asks so much of the woman playing Claire Fraser, especially this season. We saw Jamie’s bride scheme and connive among the elite in Paris; get some practice-mothering in by nurturing Mary Hawkins and Gavroche 2 (I know that’s not his name); and say goodbye to the one, true love of her life. Once to his face and once at his grave. (Or IS it?) But Cait’s shining moment came when tragedy befell the growing Fraser family. Her baby stillborn, Claire loses herself completely in grief and shock. It was primal, her clinging to the body of her child, eyes unfocused and posture tense. These aren’t just pretty faces, you guys. Life is change and change is Doctor Who. Still, it wasn’t easy to say goodbye to Jenna Coleman, who so consistently BROUGHT it as the most polarizing, headstrong, MAGNIFICENTLY messy companion the show has ever seen. I’ve said it before, and absolutely no disrespect to Matt Smith, but Peter and Jenna are magic together. Twelve and Clara’s tragic co-dependency defined this series and the petite, wide-eyed companion got to be the strong one. If any companion deserved and needed that ending, it was Clara Oswald. Sarah effing PAULSON. I wish she wasn’t shackled to American Horror Story because she’s one of our most interesting actresses. Against all odds, the OJ show worked and Sarah turned in a desperately human performance as bullied DA Marcia Clark. I’ll never be over how she played Clark’s bafflement at the relevancy of her haircut to a double murder case or her sweet and sexy chemistry with Chris Darden. (What HAPPENED there, you guys? I need to know.) And Jessica Jones succeeded on the back of the flawless casting and compelling performance of Krysten Ritter. Who else would you get to play a whiskey-swilling, leather-jacket-wearing defender of women? Jessica may wear her damage on her sleeve, but she also allows it to motivate her. Krysten nailed the show’s moments of dark comedy (“I can’t get her to wear a dress for the life of me.” “I’ll wear one to your funeral.”), but also beautifully expressed Jessica’s sarcastic and tender friendship with Trish and her determination to move through her fear to bring Kilgrave down. And if we had some kind of stunt Feelie, rest assured she’d get it for those headboard-breaking sex scenes with Mike Colter’s Luke Cage.

Best Actor in a Comedy


Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Billy Eichner as Billy Epstein, Difficult People
Santino Fontana as Greg Serrano, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Vincent Rodriguez III as Josh Chan, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Sage: I feel a kinship with actors who’ve made their name in part by being LOUD, and that thought includes the delightfully shrill Billy Eichner. The comedian finally gets to scale it back and be a true lead in Hulu’s Difficult People aka the life of every struggling, cynical New York artist that I know. We’re coming out hard as Team Greg on Head Over Feels, because we do love an emotionally constipated boy with a nice singing voice. But really, actual Disney prince Santino Fontana deserves the credit for selling Greg’s crippling fear of inadequacy and his good, good heart. The dude is a mess, but name me one other guy who could sweep you off your feet while bragging (in song) about giving you a UTI? Andy Samberg‘s Jake Peralta is still THE unproblematic fave. Professionally, Jake is actually one of Brooklyn’s finest, but Andy makes sure the audience knows that deep down, Jake is playing one career-long game of Cops and Robbers.

Kim: While Tituss Burgess is Emmy nominated as a Supporting Actor for his work in Kimmy Schmidt, we at Head Over Feels feel that he merits a leading actor nomination. Titus Andromedon remained a hurricane of ego and melodrama in season two but he ALSO fell in love in the sweetest and most unexpected way and it was delightful to see how it threw him for a loop. It’s no easy task to play the dream guy that the heroine is willing to overhaul her life for (just ask Felicity‘s Scott Speedman) but Vincent Rodriguez III brings such a sweetness to Josh Chan that you completely buy Rebecca being the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend who gave everything up for him. I may hold my own shipping beliefs but you can’t deny Josh’s simple goodness (and cluelessness) as he fights the undeniable pull he has towards Rebecca. The fact that Vincent looks like the lost member of the Backstreet Boys is just a bonus.

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“I’ve never been very good at saying goodbye.” – Outlander Recap – Dragonfly in Amber

Outlander Season 2, Episode 13
“Dragonfly in Amber” 

Posted by Kim

I’m not always a fan of starting at the end and doing the whole “how did we get here?” thing for an entire television season. Unless you are Harry Burns, reading the last page first usually takes all the fun out of the journey. We’ve known this whole season that the events leading up to the Battle of Culloden culminate in Claire going back through the stones to the present day and yet Outlander has managed to keep the season tense and surprising. We may know the ending but Jamie and Claire didn’t and it made watching their attempts to change history all the more frustrating. In the same vein, we’ve known the whole time that they were going to be separated but we didn’t KNOW what would drive them to that point. We knew it had to have been the absolute last resort for them but we didn’t KNOW just how desperate they were. Well, now we do. And DAMN. That last page was still a gut punch even though we knew it was coming. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: season two of Outlander has been a masterclass in storytelling. A pox on the Emmy Voters who ignored it. (Don’t worry…the Feelies are coming up and the show will get its due.)

“Dragonfly in Amber” did a LOT of jumping between the past and the present as Claire’s memories and secrets are forced out into the open when she takes her daughter Brianna to Scotland for the funeral of Reverend Wakefield. For the purposes of keeping my sanity, let’s go through this chronologically, shall we?

We are literally hours away from the start of the Battle of Culloden, using a countdown clock like it’s an episode of 24 or something. (Don’t get me wrong, I dug it.) Jamie makes a final plea to the Prince, trying to make him see reason. The men are exhausted and beaten down and the British have the advantage on the ground. They need to retreat. Charles is having none of it, being all “Naw, son. God’s got this.” He even goes as far as to compare Jamie to Doubting Thomas. “Before this day is over, I will make a believer out of you.” This is why Zealots should never be in charge. Jamie and Claire huddle up in the house. They DO have one final option. They can kill the Prince. Yep, they are that desperate that they are FINALLY willing to consider the option that Murtagh tossed about in Paris all those months ago. (Always listen to Murtagh, people.) Claire pulls out a vial of her seemingly endless supply of yellow jasmine and says that they can poison him RIGHT NOW and all this would end. She also casually drops the knowledge that she helped Colum kill himself the night before. Jamie is shocked and is like “Yo, suicide is a mortal sin” and Claire basically says “Yeah, yeah, but he asked. FOCUS.” She knows Charles’ health is poor, she’s been treating him for scurvy for weeks. No one would be surprised if he died and no one would KNOW that they killed him. Bless the 1700’s and their lack of a CSI department, amirite?

Jamie stresses to Claire that what they would be doing is cold-blooded murder. There’s no way to get around that. Claire counters that it’s one murder that will save thousands. They have to look at the big picture here. Jamie agrees and then tells Claire they need to act quickly. Here’s where shit gets real. Unbeknownst to them, Dougal has been listening outside the door the whole time. He bursts into the room and betrayal and agony and rage are written all over his face. You have to look back and recall what Dougal said to Claire back when he joined them in “Je Suis Prest” to understand his reaction. Dougal cares about the Jacobite cause and getting the Stuarts on the throne more than anything else in this world. He doesn’t KNOW that Jamie and Claire are trying to save ALL of them by killing the Prince. All he hears is that they are planning on killing Charles Stuart, son of the man he wants nothing more than to see restored to the throne. YIKES.

You also have to factor in that Dougal’s pride is still smarting from Colum naming Jamie guardian of his son rather than his own brother. It’s a perfect storm of emotion and Dougal is blinded by his rage and betrayal. Jamie tries to tell his uncle that it’s not what he thinks but it’s too late for that. Dougal, already emotionally and physically spent, is too far gone to hear Jamie out. His unwillingness to listen also makes it seem like he’s been WAITING for this to happen, especially when he turns on Claire. (Let’s take a moment to appreciate that even in the direst of circumstances, Jamie gets all “Don’t say bad things about my wife, I will end you.” Prince among men he is.) “What you’ve done to me,” Dougal snarls. “We’re past anger.” Dougal draws his sword and takes a swing at Jamie and it’s CLEAR that he’s not fucking around. Dougal is fighting to KILL. Jamie still tries to reason with him as he dodges the blows but it’s grossly ineffective. This is kill or be killed time. Dougal takes no prisoners, going for Jamie’s bad hand. (Me: WHY IS IT ALWAYS HIS HAND?) Finally, Jamie pins Dougal down and you can SEE the hesitation in his face because he knows what he has to do. He just doesn’t want to do it. Claire senses this and she rushes to his side and they grip the sword together and they push down slowly as Jamie whispers his apologies. Well…that escalated quickly.

As if things couldn’t get worse, Rupert decides to burst into the room and finds Jamie and Claire hunched over Dougal’s bloodied body. Ohhhhhh fuuuuuuck. Jamie begs Rupert to give him two hours to sort some things out and then he’ll return to face up to what he’s done. (Me: IN MERCY’S NAME, THREE DAYS ARE ALL I NEEEEEEEEED. THEN I’LL RETURN, I PLEDGE MY WORD.) Rupert agrees, both to the time and to the fact that Jamie’s going to pay for this. Jamie kicks into overdrive. He quickly finds Murtagh and tells him what’s he’s done. Murtagh’s response? “Canna say I’m that surprised, only that it took ye so long. What’s to do, then?” BLESS HIM. Seriously. Murtagh doesn’t even bat an eye at the fact that Jamie’s murdered his uncle, he just immediately goes to “How can I help?”

Jamie busts out the deed to Lallybroch and signs it over to Jenny’s son. It turns out that Jamie’s always been prepared for things to come to this point and he was always thinking ahead. The legal date on the deed is a year prior, before the rebellion, before Jamie was named a traitor. He’s done everything he can to protect his family in the event of his death. Murtagh and Claire sign the deed as his witnesses and Murtagh asks if Jamie wants him to deliver it to Jenny. Nope. Jamie has other plans. He turns to Fergus and entrusts him with the task of getting it to Jenny because that gets his adopted son out of the direct line of fire. Fergus doesn’t want to leave, of course, but Jamie stresses that he must. “Not just for the deed, but no matter what happens here today, it’s important someone remembers.” (WHO LIVES WHO DIES WHO TELLS YOUR STORRRRRRYYYYYYYY?) “You’re a soldier now, mon fils. I love you like a son” “Like our own son,” Claire adds. Fergus promises his parents that he will not fail them and steals away as Claire and Jamie watch proudly. I AM EMOTIONAL.

Jamie turns to Murtagh and tells him to gather the Frasers of Lallybroch. He’s getting them the fuck out of there. “The battle is already lost. I’ll not have my kin die for nothing.” Murtagh asks Jamie what HE plans to do and he replies that he’s going to get Claire to safety and then return to the battlefield and fight until it’s done. He knows at this point that he’s doomed…whether it be at the hands of the British or the hands of the MacKenzies. All he cares about now is saving as many as he can. Murtagh agrees to getting the Frasers on the road to Lallybroch but then adds that he’ll be there waiting for Jamie when he gets back. Jamie will not be alone in this. When Jamie insists that he won’t have Murtagh die for nothing, Murtagh stands firm. “I won’t be. I’ll be dying with you.” And now I am having Legolas and Gimli at the end of Return of the King feels and I am too fragile for this. Murtagh is SO GOOD and I can’t bear the thought of him not being with us next season. Tell me he escapes. Except don’t tell me.

 

Finally, Jamie goes to get Claire. She KNOWS where he wants to take her and she fights against it. She argues that they could both run away together, that it doesn’t have to be this way, but Jamie KNOWS. His fate is sealed. Claire’s is not. She tries to argue her way out of it but Jamie plays the ultimate trump card. He knows that Claire is pregnant. Apparently Jamie is really good at period math, even in the midst of a war. “This child…this one is all that will be left of me ever.” WELL PLAYED SIR. There’s nothing Claire can say to counteract that statement. Besides, she promised that if it came down to it, she’d go back. “YOU are my home,” Claire insists. “And you are mine,” Jamie replies. “But this home is lost. And now you and the bairn…you must go to a safe place. To a man… a man that could care for you both.” LISTEN. I CAN’T with Jamie and all his noble self-sacrificing. You KNOW this is killing him but he is being insistent because Claire’s life and his unborn child’s life are more important to him than anything in this world and he would rather die knowing Claire is in the arms of another man as long as it means she’s out there breathing. LEAVE ME HERE.

Claire: How will I explain all this? How can I go back? To Frank?
Jamie: All that I leave to you. Tell him what you will about me…about us. It’s likely he’ll no want to hear, but if he does…tell him I’m grateful. And tell him I trust him, and tell him I hate him to the very marrow of his bones.

HELPMEHELPMEHELPMEHELPMEHELPMEHELPMEHELPMEHELPMEHELPME.

At the stones, Claire says the thing that’s on ALL of our minds: can’t Jamie just come with her? IF ONLY it were that easy! Whatever sort of cosmic thing is going on at Craigh Na Dun, it doesn’t affect him. He doesn’t hear the buzzing coming from the stones that Claire does. He touches them and feels only stone beneath his hands. (OKAY THEN BUT WHO WAS THE PERSON ON THE STREET IN THE PILOT. TELL ME BUT DON’T TELL ME.) Even if he COULD go through them, Jamie gently tells Claire that it’s not his place. His destiny lies on Culloden Moor and if they have learned ANYTHING from their schemes it’s that you can’t fight destiny. AND THEN Jamie decides to murder us with this speech:

Jamie:  But I’ll find you. I promise. If I have to endure 200 years of purgatory…200 years without you, then that is my punishment that I have earned for my crimes, for I have lied, killed, stolen, betrayed and broken trust. But when I stand before God, I’ll have one thing to say to weigh against all the rest. Lord…you gave me a rare woman. And God, I loved her well.

AND THEN THEY DO IT RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THE STONES BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY HAD TO BECAUSE THEY ARE CLAIRE AND JAMIE AND THIS IS THE GREATEST SHOW EVER. (Text from Sage: Aw, he fucked her one last time. BLESS.) LISTEN what kind of cosmic soulmate romantic GOD I WANT TO DIE shit is this that when Jamie looks back on his life the one thing that he would tell God at the Pearly Gates is that he loved Claire well? SERIOUSLY. Thanks for ruining me for life, show. These are the kind of standards we should DEMAND, ladies.

Cannons start firing in the distance. The battle has begun. That last quickie out-of-the-way, Claire and Jamie go about their final bits of business. Claire hands him their wedding gift from Hugh Munro, a literal dragonfly in amber (is it MAGIC? Why did he give them that? Am I forgetting something or is this the show doing another nod to the title?), telling him to keep it with him. Jamie gives Claire his father’s ring, telling her to give it to the baby. Claire promises to name the baby Brian, after his father. ALL OF THIS HAPPENS WHILE JAMIE GENTLY WALKS CLAIRE BACKWARDS TOWARDS THE STONES. This whole time I had in my head that Claire went back alone and I can’t decide whether or not I think it’s WORSE that Jamie was there the whole time. Their eyes never stray from each other as they ease their way to the stones, trying to soak in as much of each other as possible while they still can. They are memorizing the lines on each other’s faces, the way their skin feels underneath the other’s fingers, the way they smell, everything. It’s intense and loving and sad and JAMIE IS SO DETERMINED AND STRONG AS CLAIRE CRIES and this is DEFINITELY WORSE than the thought of Claire doing this alone. They say “I love you” one last time. The only moment they break eye contact is the moment they reach the stone and Jamie turns her around and takes her hand and they fucking touch the stone together. One second Claire is wrapped up in Jamie’s warm embrace and the next she’s alone in 1948.

JAMIE’S ONE TEAR I WANT TO DIE.

And that brings us to the opening moments of “Through a Glass, Darkly.” NO WONDER CLAIRE LET OUT THAT PRIMAL SCREAM.

Flash forward twenty years to 1968…

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HOF at SDCC AGAIN – Our Expectations and Wildest Dreams

only at comic con

Posted by Kim and Sage

It’s almost the day of the show, y’all! San Diego Comic Con is just over a week away. Surely the city is neck-deep in preparations for the hordes of nerds about to roll in from all corners of the world. It’s our second ever SDCC, so we’re coming back a little seasoned, a lot wiser, and very well-educated on the danger of sand fleas. (Hall H line: bug spray is your friend.) The full schedule dropped this weekend, so we’ve been honing our own. Read on for a sneak peek at the panels and parties we’ll be live-tweeting from SDCC 2016, plus our craziest fantasies and sensible expectations of what they’ll entail. –Sage

Preview Night

happy hunger games

Wildest Dream: We have very little concept of what preview night entails, since we were ensconced in the Hall H line the whole time last year. So our wildest dreams clearly entail getting all the exclusives and swag we want in one fell swoop so we don’t have to lug purchases around the rest of the con.

Expectation: We go home early because this one is on America’s Got Talent that night.

LOOK AT OUR SON.

Thursday

Classic Nickelodeon Animation Panel

rocko's

Wildest Dream: We’ll be launched back into our childhoods by the sheer force of nostalgia. No bills, no periods, no Tinder matches who text gross things after seeming normal for a while.

Expectation: Every millennial at the con will be in this room.

Moana: The Art of Story

Wildest Dream: Lin Manuel Miranda will make an appearance; jump on the dais to perform “My Shot”; and then stay for two hours afterward to take selfies with everyone.

Expectation: Some footage, MAYBE a clip of one of the songs.

The Good Place Screening and Q&A

Wildest Dream: We’ll get to meet Mike Schur and thank him for making inclusive comedies with diverse casts that make us feel like the world isn’t a four-alarm trash fire 24/7.

Expectation: We’ll skip this entire thing to get into the Mr. Robot line.

Colony

Wildest Dream: One or both of us will be lured back in to this show.

Expectation: We’ll ogle Josh Holloway and get spoiled on the first season.

Mr. Robot

mr robot

Wildest Dream: Sam Esmail, Rami Malek, and the rest of the cast will be able to answer any audience question about season 2 without being cryptic and vague.

Expectation: Upon realizing she’s breathing the same air as Rami, Sage will cease doing so and therefore die.

Fandom Comic Con Party

party

Wildest Dream: There won’t be a line to get in. The swag will be sick. The promised “celebs” will be B-list or above.

Expectation: We’ll get shut out and have to eat overpriced rubbery burgers at the actual Hard Rock Cafe.

Friday

The Big Bang Theory Writers Panel

Wildest Dream: Chuck Lorre and crew do an hour-long apology for how this show ACTUALLY makes fun of nerds instead of celebrating them. Mayim Bialik returns and does a sacrificial bonfire of all the misogynistic scripts.

Expectation: Graeme Burk storifies our snarky tweets again.

Bones

bones

Wildest Dream: Creator Hart Hanson makes a surprise appearance and reveals that Sweets ACTUALLY isn’t dead but has been in Witness Protection this whole time and he’ll be returning for the final season.

Expectation: We get an hour-long LOVE FEST as this long-running favorite says farewell to SDCC ahead of its final season. We get the season finale spoiled for us since it will have just aired the night before.

The 100

the 100

Wildest Dream: Ricky Whittle will storm the panel, demanding justice for Lincoln with Alycia Debnam-Carey at his side carrying a banner for Lexa. Everyone holds Jason Rothenberg accountable for how the show went off the rails this season and he says it was all a fever dream.

Expectation: Ricky and Alycia are too busy STARRING ON THEIR OWN SHOWS to be bothered with this. Rothenberg is let off the hook since the rest of the cast fears for their jobs. Bob Morley’s shoulders are broad.

Powerless

Wildest Dream: Danny Pudi and Vanessa Hudgens grace us with a song and dance number. Danny says “Cool. Cool cool cool.” at least once during the panel.

Expectation: We find ourselves completely endeared by this comedy, dooming it to cancellation.

American Gods

ricky whittle

Wildest Dream: Our queen Gillian Anderson and our BFF Orlando Jones are last-minute additions to this panel.

Expectation: Ricky Whittle charms the whole room. Bryan Fuller wears an outrageous suit. We see a sizzle reel for the upcoming premiere.

Orphan Black

krystal

Wildest Dream: Graeme Manson tells us he was just kidding with that whole “Next season is the final season” thing. Tatiana Maslany does the whole panel in character as Helena and/or Krystal.

Expectation: Jordan Gavaris’ natural speaking voice fucks us up once again. Everyone worships Tatiana for the goddess that she is whilst the lady herself gets SUPER bashful about the praise. There is either a party or a protest regarding Tat’s Emmy Nomination. We’ll know which way that cookie crumbles on July 14.

Preacher

preacher

Wildest Dream: Our dear friend Samuel Anderson has let HIS good buddy Dominic Cooper know how awesome we are and WE become friends with Dominic too, bringing us one step closer to becoming best friends with James Corden. THE HISTORY BOYS, Y’ALL.

Expectation: Joe Gilgun (Cassidy) having a British Accent as opposed to an Irish one FUCKS US UP. Dominic Cooper smolders.

SherlockeDCC 

stag night

Wildest Dream: Benedict Cumberbatch drops by, since he’s in town for the Doctor Strange panel.

Expectation: We drink too much wine and start saying “Am I a pretty lady?” to each other.

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“Ye leave me alone in the dark” – Outlander Recap – The Hail Mary

Outlander Season 2, Episode 12
“The Hail Mary” 

Posted by Kim

After the breathless pace of “Prestonpans” and “Vengeance is Mine,” Outlander took a little time to breathe in season two’s penultimate episode. It’s the calm before the storm and a sense of dread looms over the entire episode. It’s three days before what Claire and Jamie KNOW to be D-Day, The Battle of Culloden. The Jacobite army is broken, exhausted and starving after 5 months of retreat. “All that work, all that plotting, how the bloody hell did we end up here?” Claire spits, hopelessly. SAME. In “The Fox’s Lair,” Claire mused about the definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. That’s what they’ve been doing ALL SEASON and Claire’s resources are exhausted and she can’t help her bitter disappointment. Jamie, bless his light, refuses to give up and makes a final Hail Mary pass to the Prince to try to stave off the inevitable. “The Hail Mary” offers us insight into two of the most complicated characters f the series: Dougal MacKenzie and Captain Jonathan Randall. It’s a character study of brotherly devotion and it also FINALLY resolves the fate of Mary Hawkins. (I LOVE the wordplay of this episode title and the multiple meanings. It’s so clever.) Let’s get to it, shall we?

As I said, it’s been 5 months since the events of “Vengeance is Mine” and the Jacobite army has arrived just outside of Inverness with their sails completely deflated. (Side note: So no one’s going to get in trouble for killing the Duke of Sandringham? Is he just a missing person that nobody missed at aaaaaaalllllll? GOOOOOOODBYEEEEEE EARL!) Jamie sends Dougal on a mission to scout out the location of the British Army while he prepares for a war council with the prince. “Dinna wave the white flag just yet,” Jamie urges his despondent wife. Jamie is convinced that there is still time…but what he fails to take into account is the fact that Charles is still putting all his stock in Divine Purpose and therefore he refuses to see reason. Sure enough, all of Charles’ other advisers are targeting Culloden Moor as the PERFECT place to wage a battle. “That is the perfect spot…for the British,” Jamie declares. The moor is completely flat, you see. There is literally no where for them to hide and the Jacobite army simply doesn’t have the resources to take on the Red Coats like that. Jamie urges that the Prince go out among his men, that he needs to see how tired and broken they are before ordering them out into a battle like this. There is also the matter of the aid from France. which has yet to materialize. If they can wait for the French gold, which will allow them funds to replenish weapons and food, the men will be strong enough to fight. It’s all SO REASONABLE yet NO ONE is like “That’s a brilliant idea, Jamie, there’s no way we can win right now.” Charles pats Jamie’s cheek as if to say “My dear Ginger friend, don’t you know the God will provide manna to feed the men and drop down a whole load of ammunition from the sky for us?” I mean…I think he GENUINELY believes that. He’s tired of retreating. (Um, wasn’t that your idea in the first place?) He’s ready to FIGHT, screw the state of his army. “Gentleman, God will provide for us. We do His bidding. May He have mercy on us all.” Like I said. Charles is expecting manna from heaven. And that’s NOT coming. Sorry.

“God totally wants us to win this thing, y’all. Who cares about a rested army?”

Meanwhile, Claire has traveled into Inverness to restock her medical supplies. At the apothecary, she runs into a familiar face: Mary Hawkins. Claire is understandably shocked, considering they sent her home after the whole cutting her godfather’s head off debacle. Mary coldly informs her that once she got home, she was contacted by Alex Randall and that they are engaged to be married. Claire tries to mask her surprise by saying “That’s wonderful” but Mary sees right through it. “IS IT? You pretended to be my FRIEND.” Yep, Mary knows everything about how Claire convinced Alex to leave Mary in Paris and she’s FURIOUS. Claire stammers that she did it in Mary’s best interest (she can’t exactly tell the TRUTH about trying to save her husband in the future, can she?) but Mary only hears that she was denied time with the man she loved, even if that time was to be short. Alex’s health has declined and Mary is doing her best to care for him. Claire asks if she can call on Alex to apologize and Mary offers a cool “If you wish.” Her forgiveness is not going to be easily won, it seems.

STONE COLD.

At the boarding house, Claire finds Alex and he’s basically Satine in the final act of Moulin Rouge. Mary’s trying to ease his breathing with arsenic, but Claire quickly shuns that treatment in favor of whipping up a poultice, which I am guessing is a 1700’s version of Vicks VapoRub. We hear footsteps and then Alex wheezes “Johnny. You remember Madame Fraser.” I know it’s horrible but I LIVE for all these interactions where Blackjack and Claire have to pretend to be casual acquaintances rather than sworn enemies. Their faces are AMAZING as they try to school their mutual enmity into casual dislike. But there is something OFF about Blackjack here. He looks…distressed. We’ve NEVER known to Blackjack Randall to care for anyone but yet we hear his brother call him Johnny with such ADORATION. We learn that Blackjack arranged a special leave with the army in order to see his brother and we learn that he’s been paying Alex and Mary’s bills since Alex has been too sick to work. It’s so incongruous with the man we’ve come to know and you can TELL that he hates that Claire is learning all of this. *sings* “But to cry in front of yoooooooou. That’s the worst thing I could do.”

Mary asks Claire when she thinks Alex will be able to go back to work. Oh, honey. It’s obvious that Alex will never go back to work, that every day he manages to still be breathing is miracle enough. Claire gently tells Mary that there’s nothing to be done, which sends Mary into a panic. She’s pregnant, you see. PLOT TWIST. And both of the Randall brothers KNOW she’s pregnant. OH. Suddenly things are clicking into place. Outside, Randall begs Claire to not let her hatred of him interfere with helping his brother. (How hard do you think it was for him to ask that?) He begs for Claire to cure him and when she says that she can’t, he asks for her to ease his pain. “I do not ask for myself. I ask for my brother and Mary and their unborn child.” Help, I’m starting to see Blackjack Randall as a human being.

Claire is not so easily swayed by Randall’s distress though. She offers to care for Alex in exchange for information on the location and plans of the British Army. It is a STONE COLD move and not quite one I expected from her. Claire is not overtly cruel, I have a feeling that had Mary been the one to ask, she would have agreed right away. But she KNOWS that Alex is Blackjack’s weak point so she chooses to exploit it. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all. “You would barter over an innocent man’s suffering? You surprise me, Madame Fraser.” “I am not the woman I once was, Captain Randall.” No. No, she isn’t. (It feels like Blackjack was almost GRATEFUL for Claire’s blatant manipulations? Like it established their equilibrium or something? Discuss.)

RED JAMIE

Jamie’s “WILL WE NEVER BE FREE OF THIS MAN?” reaction is merited but Claire stresses that this could be a good thing for them. Randall told Claire that the Red Coats are camped at Nairn, a mere 12 miles away, and that two nights from now they will be holding a celebration for their general’s birthday. It’s a perfect distraction that could allow the Jacobites a sneak attack if Jamie can convince Charles. Claire says that she wants to tend to Alex, proving that she probably would have done it anyway. Jamie begrudgingly agrees once Claire says she’ll take Murtagh with her as protection. Before they can discuss it any further, they learn that Colum MacKenzie has arrived at the camp. EVERYONE IS COMING INTO TOWN FOR THE END OF THE SEASON.

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“I lay my vengeance at your feet.” – Outlander Recap – Vengeance is Mine

Outlander Season 2, Episode 11
“Vengeance is Mine” 

Posted by Kim

“This show is SAVAGE.” – a text from Sage upon finishing “Vengeance is Mine”. INDEED IT IS.

Given that this episode was written by Diana Gabaldon (her first time writing for the series), Outlander was at its Outlanderiest (yes, that’s a word because I say it is) with “Vengeance is Mine”. We got more politcial intrigue, swoony Jamie, Claire sacrificing herself for the greater good, a whole lot of answers about shit that went down in Paris, and OH YEAH the beheading of the Duke of Sandringham. WHAT. I knew we were in for it when the “previously on” segment at the top of the episode brought back Hugh Munro, Mary’s rape, Murtagh’s vow of vengeance, AND the ongoing movement of the Jacobite rebellion. It’s a LOT for one episode and yet the execution was so perfect that it never felt like it was too much. The pace of the episode was breathless yet it never felt like it was spinning out of control. (Sage wisely compared the episode to Breaking Bad‘s “Ozymandias” and I HAVE to agree. It’s like the show went from 0 to 100 in one episode but Outlander had been dying to just SPRINT and we just didn’t know it and then the starting gun went off and the show was like WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR.) All the pieces are in place and there is nothing left to do but hurtle towards the finale (me when they said they were going back to Inverness: HOE DON’T DO IT). The best we can do is just hold on and trust that the show will get us there. Let’s do this.

We pick up months after Prestonpans and the Jacobite army has made it all the way to Manchester. (MONTHS? Is Claire pregnant and doesn’t know it yet? SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TIMELINE.) London is a mere 5 days march away but there are three armies standing between the Jacobites and their goal. So what comes next? You guessed it! A whole lotta arguing about what to do whilst the Prince looks on with his God-crazed eyes. Once again the massive generational gap in the Prince’s advisory board rears its ugly head: all the old guys are like “We can’t risk facing those armies” while Jamie urges that now is not the time to back down. The general is all “You’ve shown smarts before, youth, but remember your place.” Jamie shoots back that the chances of them meeting all three armies are slim and if they are smart, they may be able to get past them altogether. The old guys aren’t moved. They are too afraid that one confrontation will wipe out their entire brigade and they aren’t willing to take risks. They’d rather bury their heads in the sand and give up everything they’ve won rather than chance it. (275 years later, these guys’ descendants are going to vote LEAVE with Brexit, I guarantee it.) Jamie AKA Captain Scotland stands his ground and refuses to be cowed into this decision. “That war brings risk should come at no surprise. But if we turn back now, all hope that currently resides in the hearts of our supporters will be filled with doubt and fear.” Preach, Jamie, PREACH.

Charles again plays the Divine Purpose card. “This precious chance of victory, if we spurn His divine gift, there is no guarantee that it will be offered again. So is there no one among you still willing to stand by your prince, your rightful king, and your God?” One person draws their sword and pledges to stand with the prince. GUESS WHO? Yep. Jamie is the ONLY one and eventually he storms out of the meeting, furious. The army is turning around…and even though they don’t know it, they are heading to a certain doom. Claire comforts Jamie saying that even if they had made it to London, there was no guarantee that they would hold it. “But if we had marched on London, then things would be different to what you said happened in your history books. It would mean that just maybe history could be changed, but now…” Destiny is one determined bitch, y’all. Jamie and Claire have been thwarted in every attempt to change its course. Now all they can do is try to protect the ones that matter most. When his men approach him about turning back, Jamie swears that he will see all of them safe back to Lallybroch. “And you, Sassenach, I’ll see you safe, no matter what happens.” STOP INFERRING TO GETTING CLAIRE BACK THROUGH THE STONES I CAN’T DEAL.

The horrible thing about all of this is that Jamie is constantly aware of the promise he made Claire make back in Paris. It’s like he’s just WAITING for that moment to come and every day he’s grateful that he’s had one more day with her. I want to die. That night, Jamie watches Claire sleep and prays over her in Gaelic. “God, shield my beloved, my white dove. And the child that she may one day bear. Preserve her from violence, and from harm. In this place and every place. On this night and on every night.” He does this shirtless because the show never misses an opportunity to remind the audience that Sam Heughan is carved out of marble. Honestly. Let me live in peace. When Claire stirs and asks Jamie what he was saying, he brushes it off. “There’s no’ much I can say waking without it sounding daft and foolish, Sassenach. I can say things while you sleep. Your dreams will ken the truth of them.” (That’s almost a direct quote from Dragonfly in Amber, Diana is no fool when it comes to keeping in her most swoon-worthy stuff.) Jamie’s never been one to mince words when it comes to his affection for Claire, so I really think he’s trying to protect her from how scared he is of losing her by not telling her the whole truth here. I also think Claire probably hears this prayer in her dreams after she goes back through the stones. I know, I know. I ground MYSELF for saying that.

Look how the camera lovingly pans down his chest. STOP.

The next morning, Jamie finds out just what happens to the noisy person who wants to stay in the EU who questions the judgement of the good ole boy generals. Jamie, Dougal, and their men are ordered to proceed to Inverness ahead of the army. (NOT INVERNESS NO.) The generals, being very aware of the influence Jamie has over the Prince, decided that the only thing they can do is get rid of him so they came up with a means of doing so under the guise of him “preparing the way for the army”. It’s a sham and they all know it. Jamie can’t even argue the orders to the Prince because he was taken away at dawn. To add insult to injury, the Prince even took Jamie’s horse because “he knew he wouldn’t mind”. Thanks for nothing, Charles.

Of course, not too long after Jamie and his men settle in a camp on their way to Inverness, they find themselves being fired on by Redcoats. It’s all VERY season one as they scatter to the wind trying to evade them. (I also love how the FIRST thing Claire does is shield Fergus, she’s such a mom.) Rupert takes a bullet TO THE EYE and somehow manages to not die immediately though he’s dangling from his horse. Dougal goes all “NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH” as he refuses to lose another of his kinsmen and literally jumps onto Rupert’s horse with him, pulling Rupert up with a “I’m with ye, lad. I’m with ye.” The one advantage Jamie and company have over the Redcoats is that they are essentially on home turf now. They manage to evade them long enough to take refuge at a chapel (me: SANCTUARY!!!) so Claire can tend to Rupert’s wounds. It’s in this moment that I missed Angus so much it hurts cause you KNOW he would have made a Fred and George Weasley style joke about Rupert’s new eyepatch. (“I’m holey.” “Save your strength.”) I would tell you more about Claire digging in Rupert’s eye socket to remove the bullet but I was too busy screaming.

Eventually, the Redcoats find the church and they order Jamie to surrender or they will burn the church to the ground. They are TRULY trapped with no option to fight back. Jamie immediately goes into hero mode, offering to sacrifice himself in exchange for freedom for Claire and the rest of his men. Dougal and the men know that Jamie would really just be surrendering himself to be killed so they argue that they should all just take their chances and fight. Forever the quick thinker, Claire starts screaming that she’s a British Subject and their prisoner. Jamie’s all DA FUQ U DOIN but Claire’s reasoning is solid. She’s been a bargaining chip before, the Redcoats clearly get off on the whole damsel in distress bit, so why NOT use her instead? It’s highly unlikely that the soldiers will hurt her, Dougal reasons. (Excuse you, sir, allow me to queue up all the episodes where Redcoats attempted to do just that. I’ll wait here while you watch them.) They’ll escort her to somewhere safe and then let her go. Sounds like a plan.

Jamie digs his heels in (“I will not give you up!”) and Claire snaps and it’s GLORIOUS. “Am I not Lady Broch Tuarach? Are these men not my responsibility too?” Remember when Claire was so desperate to get away with the Redcoats so she could get back to the stones. Yeah, me too. Look how far we’ve come. Claire knows it’s of the utmost importance that Jamie stay alive for his clan. These are Claire’s people too now. She feels the same loyalty and responsibility that her husband does. What I love about Claire is that she refuses to be a passive observer in this story. It would have been so easy for her to sit back and watch history unfold before her eyes, but she’s in this too deep now. These are her people and she’s going to do what it takes to save them.

Dougal strikes a deal with the Redcoats: Claire, their weapons, and their horses in exchange for letting the rest of them go. He says that “Mistress Beauchamp” is a widow whose been under their protection (again, are we in Season One?) and while the Redcoat scoffs at the idea of Highlander protection, he agrees to the terms. Fergus suggests that Claire faints as so that they don’t question her right away. Dougal says they’ll likely take her to Hazelmere, the nearest British outpost, and leave her there, as they won’t want to be weighed down with her presence longer than they need to. They will make their way to get her back there. While Jamie makes the move to take her out there himself, Dougal warns that the whole thing will probably go to shit if they realize they have actually cornered Red Jamie, so it’s time to say goodbye. “We will find each other,” Claire promises her husband. “Trust in that.” Her faith in him and in their love is unshakable. She knows Jamie will move heaven and earth (and time????) to get her back and that’s ALL she needs to know.

The exchange goes off without a hitch (save for Dougal getting one last dig in about being a loyal subject once the true King is back on the throne. Claire does her best “OH I AM SO RELIEVED” once she “comes to and realizes she’s no longer with the terrible Highlanders” and the Redcoats totally buy it. Meanwhile, Jamie orders Murtagh and Dougal to head north with the men. Both Murtagh and Dougal are like “You can’t do this alone and you’re not the boss of me, so we’re coming deal with it”. BROS TILL THE END. After a brief round of “who is REALLY Jamie’s best friend?” they agree that Murtagh will go with Jamie and Dougal will lead the men. “Bring our lass back safe,” Dougal orders.

I love to watch your hair blowing in the breeze.

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