Category Archives: Cable Series

Premium Channels i.e., HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.: The Big C, House of Lies, Weeds, True Blood, Shameless, Spartacus, The Borgias, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Magic City, Dexter, and much, much more.

POWER – My Rating: 8/10

PowerPower is a very intriguing story of a young Black male who is struggling to end his double life style. Ghost played by Omari Hardwick, is a Wealthy, successful Manhattan nightclub owner by night and a drug kingpin 24/7. Although he is suspected of being a drug dealer, it’s been hard for the FBI and police to pin him down, especially since his name, “Ghost” is renowned but no one has ever seen him, except his wife and a couple of friends. Before he is found out, Ghost who  goes under the name of James St. Patrick wants to dump his ghetto wife, Tasha St. Patrick (Naturi Naughton) and life style upon opening a new night club in California. In the mean while, unbeknownst to Ghost, he’s having an affair with (Lela Loran, played by Angela Valdes) the very FBI agent who has been trying to find out what Ghost looks like and make the bust.
This thriller is pretty entertaining and the acting is superb. The first season has come to an end with a fantastic finale.  Power airs on Showtime and is worth checking out!

THE LEFTOVERS – My rating: 6.5/10

TheLeftoversAfter watching two episodes, I don’t really like The Leftovers.  For so long, we were bombarded with trailers and hype about this series.  Now that it’s a reality, I feel let down.  The Leftovers may turn out to be really good but so far I’m not feeling it.  It seems slow, and down right boring.  1.4 million people, world wide have disappeared alluding to the Rapture.  One town is targeted in this series where 100 of all those who went missing were residents.  Husbands, wives, children, mothers and fathers are gone without explanation.  There are a group of people who dress in white, smoke cigarettes, and don’t speak but recruit others who have lost love ones.  They say (in writing) that they are there so that we don’t forget.  Maybe the show is too new but I don’t get what this group is really all about.  I always thought when the Rapture happened, everyone would believe in Christianity.  I’m not sure The Leftovers is about the Rapture.  This just might be a Science Fiction series.  Right now, it’s pretty lack luster and weird.  The Leftovers currently airs on HBO. I will update this critique to reflect what I think after a few more episodes have aired.

I have completed watching the entire 1st season and I still find this series weird.  The drama has picked up but The Leftovers is not what I thought it would be from the trailers and hype advertised.  I stand by my rating of 6.5 and that’s generous.  I think the group in white is sort of spoiling the story.  In my opinion, I think the series should follow a different plot.

Da Vinci’s Demons – My rating: 8.5/10

DaVincisDemons Starz has adapted the untold story of Leonardo Da Vinci as a series. It tells of his genius during his early years in Renaissance Florence. You may not know this, but at the time this story begins, Da Vinci, brilliantly played by  Tom Riley, was a 25-year old artist, inventor, swordsman, lover, dreamer, scientist, architect, engineer and idealist, who struggled to live within the confines of his own reality and time. Da Vinci not only saw the future, but started to invent it.  Famous for his art work, Da Vinci was also responsible for the invention of the Helicopter.  To read more about his inventions go to:  http://www.da-vinci-inventions.com/.  Aside from his inventions, Hollywood is displaying him as a swashbuckling, romeo, wheeler dealer who’s all over the place.  In fact, one of his demons, finds him a bastard son who yearns for legitimacy with his father. There is so much deceit going on, one really has to keep both eyes and both ears glued to the TV so that you won’t miss anything.  Da Vinci’s Demons is fast paced and about life, Da Vinci’s life.  Your head will be wheeling and you may think your eyes are decieving you but it’s all really happening and you might even be entertained.  I like the series and urge you to check it out.   Da Vinci’s Demons is currently airing on Starz.

TRUE BLOOD – My rating: 8/10

TrueBloodEvery time I sit down to watch this HBO series, I brace myself for the introduction theme which I think is totally evil.  I tell myself once I get past the start up, things will get better.  I really enjoy True Blood even though I don’t like the lead in.  I think I like the series because of some of the hot characters and because it’s written so you’ll have some compassion for their situation due to no fault of their own.

Vampires, werewolves, fairies, change shifters, Satan, corruption, evil, good, bad, sex, nudity, murderers, you name it, True Blood has it.  They seem to introduce new species every season.  If it were not make believe, I would be very upset over the foul characters and their stories every week.  What a crazy show of freaks.  Still, despite the dark side, it’s quite entertaining.  I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under 21 or anyone who is trying to live a clean lifestyle.  The consistent bloody mouths of this freak show’s characters are bound to upset the faint of heart and delight the strong willed.  I won’t say I recommend this show but I will say, if you can get past all that corruption, go for it.

THE NEWSROOM – My rating: 8.5/10

NewsroomThe Newsroom is an excellent series presented on HBO about just that, a newsroom and the goings on that go on.  Jeff Daniels, one of my all time favorites, plays Will McAvoy, the Head Anchorman and Emily Mortimer plays Mackenzie McHale, the Program Manager and former girlfriend to Will.  Sam Waterston plays Charlie Skinner, the General Manager of the whole news team and Jane Fonda plays as Sam’s boss.  This is a well put together cast and the dialogue is absolutely brilliant.  I’ve been glued to my seat since it started. It is fascinating to watch what it takes to put on a news show and be politically correct while pleasing the public at the same time.

I’ve just learned that The Newsroom has been cancelled after just 3 seasons.  I’m not sure why but I am terribly disappointed.  There is talk that perhaps Netflix will pick up the series and stream it.  I surly hope this happens.  It seems the good ones always gets canned.

HOUSE OF LIES – My rating: 8/10

HouseOfLiesHouse of lies is about Marty Kaan, played by Don Cheadle, who now leads his own consultant firm.  Marty is cut-throat and clever and will stop at nothing to get a high paying client.  His team, formulated from his former company worships his antics and will stop at nothing to get the job done.  It’s all about the money.  The team consists of Marty, Genie (Kristen Bell), Clyde (Ben Schwartz) and Doug (Josh Lawson).  Marty has an estranged wife, Monica (Dawn Olivieri) who’s not so estranged, a wanna be gay son, Roscoe (Donis Leonard Jr.) and a semi-quasi dying father, Jeremiah (Glynn Turman).  Marty has more sex than a hooker and strikes up more meaningless relationships than “The Bachelor”.  To complicate matters, Marty and Genie managed to sleep together and are now so uncomfortable around each other they can barely be civil.   The fast talking, cleaver team is something to watch.  Marty is a legend and together with his team are unstoppable.  This series  is aired on Showtime and is only 30 minutes an episode.

HOMELAND – My rating: 9/10

HomelandNot since Sleeper Cell have I seen a more compelling series about terrorist.  Homeland shows us how dangerous the world has become.  Intelligence Officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) who is bipolar, lives for her job.  Her hunches are usually spot on and her methods of carrying through her assignments are impeccable.  Homeland starts out telling the story of Nicolas Brody, a Marine hero returning home after eight years of being labeled MIA in Iraq.  Agent Carrie is the only one who suspects that he may have been “turned”.  The story goes in depth telling how and why Brody turned and how Carrie was able to prove her theory.  Brody becomes an agent for the United States, tricking his former captures into believing he is still working for them.  The story unfolds with a sharking season finale making the audience thirst for more.  I am hooked on Homeland and suspect you will be too.  Homeland currently airs on Showtime.

DOWNTON ABBEY – My rating: 9.5/10

DowntonAbbeyDownton Abbey is one of my most favorite series.  I love period pieces.  This one is before World War I and is brilliantly told.  The series revolves around a British, aristocratic family and their servants.  The family presently includes Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, Lady Mary, Lady Edith and  Robert’s mother, Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.  The major servants include Head of all servants, Mr. Carson, Mrs Hughes,  Head of kitchen staff, Mrs. Patmore,  John and Anna Bates, Valet to Lord Grantham and Lady Maid to Lady Mary, respectively.  The personal stories that take place between the staff and the Crawley family and friends makes for a fascinating series.  I’ve been mesmerized by Downton Abbey since it first started.  Just to see how the upper crust behaves in Britain — one wonders whose idea was it to have maids dress you every day.  The whole setup is rather complicated, so I’ve displayed a couple of charts that show the actors, characters they play and the positions they hold at Downton Abbey.  Just perusing the charts, gives you an idea of how the story flows.  Learning the positions and hierarchy of the staff will be challenge.  Overall, Downton Abbey takes you away to a world we don’t really know but can find entertainment and fun in watching.

Actor

Character

Position

Hugh Bonneville

Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham

Lord Grantham, head of the Crawley family

Elizabeth McGovern

Cora Crawley (née Levinson), Countess of Grantham

Lady Grantham, Lord Grantham’s American heiress wife

Michelle Dockery

Lady Mary Josephine Crawley

Eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham; widow of Matthew Crawley

Laura Carmichael

Lady Edith Crawley

Middle daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham

Jessica Brown Findlay

Lady Sybil Branson (née Crawley)

Youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham; late wife of Tom Branson

Maggie Smith

Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

Lord Grantham’s mother

Allen Leech

Tom Branson

Chauffeur of the family (series 1–2), agent of the estate (series 3); widower of Sybil Branson

Dan Stevens

Matthew Reginald Crawley

Heir presumptive (third cousin once removed) of Lord Grantham; former lawyer, latterly co-owner of the estate; late husband of Mary Crawley

Penelope Wilton

Isobel Crawley

Matthew’s mother; widow and former nurse

Lily James

Lady Rose MacClare

Cousin and ward of the Granthams; daughter of The Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire

Samantha Bond

Lady Rosamund Painswick (née Crawley)

Lord Grantham’s sister

Ava Mann (Series 4)

Sybil “Sybbie” Branson

Daughter of Lady Sybil and Tom Branson

Cole & Logan Weston (Series 4)

George Crawley

Son of Matthew and Lady Mary Crawley, heir to Downton and Earl of Grantham

Staff

Actor

Character

Position

Jim Carter

Charles Carson

Butler

Phyllis Logan

Elsie Hughes

Housekeeper

Brendan Coyle

John Bates

Lord Grantham’s valet; husband of Anna, widower of Vera

Siobhan Finneran

Sarah O’Brien

Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid

Rob James-Collier

Thomas Barrow

First Footman, later Lord Grantham’s valet, then underbutler

Joanne Froggatt

Anna May Bates (née Smith)

Head housemaid, later Lady Mary’s lady’s maid; wife to John Bates

Lesley Nicol

Beryl Patmore

Cook

Sophie McShera

Daisy Mason (née Robinson)

Kitchen maid, later assistant cook; widow of William Mason

Thomas Howes

William Mason

Second Footman; briefly married to Daisy

Rose Leslie

Gwen Dawson

Housemaid

Amy Nuttall

Ethel Parks

Housemaid, later Mrs Crawley’s Housekeeper and Cook

Kevin Doyle

Joseph Molesley

Matthew’s butler and valet, later a footman at Downton Abbey

Matt Milne

Alfred Nugent

Second Footman, O’Brien’s nephew

Ed Speleers

James “Jimmy” Kent

First Footman

Cara Theobold

Ivy Stuart

Kitchen maid

MyAnna Buring

Edna Braithwaite

Former maid, then briefly Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid

Raquel Cassidy

Phyllis Baxter

Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid

Jeremy Swift

Spratt

Violet’s butler

SHAMELESS – MY Rating: 8.5/10

ShamelessOutrageous is the one word that comes to mind when defining this  realer than real Showtime series.  With William H. Macy at the helm as a fall down, sloppy, disgusting drunk with 7 children, this series makes for a pretty interesting story.  William H. Macy plays Frank Gallagher.  Frank’s children include 1 genus son named Phillip but called Lip, 1 gay son named Ian, 1 (2) year old son named Liam, 1 potential sociopath and arsonist son who stands by Frank, named Carl, 1 adolescent daughter, named Debbie, 1newly discovered daughter named Sammi and his oldest daughter, named Fiona,  who takes care of the entire family while Frank stays in a drunken stupor most of the time.

BTW: the Gallagher’s do have a mom but she’s in and out of the picture, named Monica.  Shameless shows how a dysfunctional family evolves when the living conditions are unfavorable and the children are self raised in poverty and discord when there are no decent parents around for guidance.

There are so many other characters that help make this series successful.  Joan Cusask has a recurring role as Sheila, who is now head of her dysfunctional family since her husband died.  Fiona’s best friend, Veronica Fisher, who is the Gallagher’s next door neighbor and can at best be described as a real character, married to a bartender, who at times, is a bit of a block head.  Should you find this interesting enough to watch, here are some additional facts:

Resource:  Wikipedia
Brennan Kane Johnson & Blake Alexander Johnson as Liam Gallagher

The youngest of the Gallagher children, 2 year old Liam, is black despite having two white parents due to a recessive black gene the Gallagher’s acquired from Frank’s grandmother, who (allegedly) had an affair with a jazz musician. Liam is starting to verbalize more, however, his character has yet to be developed.
_________________________________________________________

Resource:  IMDB
William H. Macy also plays his brother Jerry Gallagher.

___________________________________________________

***SPOILER***
Veronica, thinking she couldn’t get pregnant, lured her mother into getting pregnant for her, using her very own husband so that their child would be half their own.   Since then, Veronica turned up pregnant with triplets and now is expecting 4 babies.  In reality, at the age of 36, Shanola Hampton, who plays Veronica,  gave birth to her first child, a daughter, named Cai MyAnna Dukes on January 20, 2014.  Child’s father is her husband, Daren Dukes.

LUTHER – My Rating: 10/10

Well here we go again — another excellent series.  Only this time, it’s the BBC who has contributed this master piece of excellence.  A friend recommended Luther, which I had never heard of.  I quickly scanned my Instant Watch on Nextflix and found the series.  This is what I have to say about Luther:

Idris Elba

Idris Elba who plays DCI John Luther is a powerful actor who really does a fantastic job with Luther.  He is brilliant, bordering on genius.  The story has so many surprising twists, that I cannot predict who or how characters will be leaving the show.  Luther focuses on psychopaths and serial killers.  Same old thing you might say but wait, there’s a twist.  Luther has one of these deviants on his side and knows when to call in favors.  Is he corrupt? — absolutely not!  You really have to see for yourself.

There are only 6 episodes in the first season and 4 in the second season, so you don’t have to spend your life on the couch watching it.  Luther is mind tingling and a superbly written series that hasn’t moved me like this since “24”.  I feel I want to discuss Luther with the world — it’s that good.  I hope it’s on for a very long time and I hope you’ll decide to tune in.  Aside from Netflix, you can view full episodes of Luther at TV.COM.