Category Archives: TV/CABLE CRITIQUES

My opinion about TV shows that I have actually watched!

CODE BLACK – My rating: 8.5

codeblackCode Black is another hospital series with trauma and drama that takes you beyond the norm.  In it’s 2nd season, Code Black continues to hold it’s own in the ratings.  Grant you, there’s nothing earth shattering happening that doesn’t happen in other medical series, save maybe one, but like the other medical series, it’s exciting, insightful and quite informative.  Over the last two seasons, Code Black has featured many actors. Currently, three main doctors that were featured in season one have been replaced.

Each week after showing short excerpts from last week’s show and a quick lead in to the current show, Code Black displays the following statements to your screen: 


When there are more patients than resources [in the emergency room]. 
An influx of patients so great, there aren’t enough resources to treat them.
The average ER is in Code Black five times per year.
Angels Memorial hospital in Los Angeles is in Code Black 300 times per year.

After displaying their customized definition of Code Black, the action begins.  Like ER and Grays Anatomy, Code Black features mini stories about the patients that have been brought into the ER, with running stories about the staff of their permanent doctors: Residency Director, Dr. Leanne Rorish (Marcia Gay Harden),  Attending ER Physician, Dr. Rollie Guthrie (William Allen Young), Chief of Surgery, Dr. Will Campbell (Boris Kodjoe) four resident interns: Dr. Malaya Pineda (Melanie Chandra),  Dr. Mario Savetti (Benjamin Hollingsworth), Dr. Angus Leighton  (Harry Ford), Dr. Mike Leighton (Tommy Dewey) and senior head nurse of Angels Memorial:  Jesse “Momma” Salander (Luis Guzmán).

SEASON TWO:
Angels Memorial welcomes Dr. Ethan Willis (Rob Lowe), a U.S. Army colonel attached to the U.S. military’s prestigious Combat Casualty Care research program. He joins the ER staff at Angels Memorial after the Army pulls him from the battlefield in Afghanistan.

Dr. Will Campbell (Boris Kodjoe), this highly regarded surgeon from season one, has become the new Chief of the ER as well, in order to save money.

Elliot Dixon (Noah Gray-Cabey), a new intern.

Dr. Amanda Nolan (Kathleen Rose Perkins), a new psychiatrist.

Noa Kean (Emily Tyra), a new first year resident in the ER.

Code Black is exciting and entertaining.  I enjoy watching it and I think anyone else who watches it will like it as well.  Code Black currently airs on CBS.

 

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DESIGNATED SURVIVOR – My rating: 9.3/10

designatedsurvivorThey’ve done it again.  The producers of 24 have come up with another hit series, Designated Survivor.  It’s every bit as exciting as 24 was.  I am having a real blast watching this new drama with a more mellow character.  No fighting, torture, jumping and running from building to building, just plain old fashion deceit, devious plots, murder, terror attacks and plenty of cover ups.  Oh, and lets not leave out brains, meaning cleverness, logic and street smarts.

Imagine all the heads of state, thrown in with some VIPs from other places meeting somewhere in Washington D.C.  Let’s say a bomb were to hit that meeting place and kill every single person there, including the President of the United State of America.  Well, that is just what happens in Designated Survivor.  That is why there is always one man left behind in case such a catastrophe should happen, thus eliminating an argument as to whom would run the country.  In this case, Tom Kirkman, (Keiter Sutherland) U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was also appointed as the “designated survivor”.  He ended up becoming the new President after the explosion claimed the lives of the President and all of his Cabinet at a State of the Union address. Needless to say, Tom was not welcomed with open arms, as no one felt he was really qualified to fill the shoes of the former President, so Tom was met with lots of resistance.  As the series moves on, we find there is something a lot more sinister going on than an explosion.  President Kirkman is under pressure to prove himself worthy, as well as resolve the ongoing problems of the country and punish the rightful terrorist of the attack on the US.  Following another unprecedented attack, the suspense is heart thumping, as we wait for the series to resume,  after the Winter break on Wednesday, March 8th.

Jason Atwood, (Malik Yoba) is the Deputy Director of the FBI who works closely with Hannah Wells, (Maggie Q) his most dedicated agent and closest friend in the FBI.  Together they are trying to unravel, what Hannah expects is a sinister plot, that may involve the newly appointed Vice President, Peter MacLeish (Ashley Zukerman).  Chuck Russink, (Jake Epstein) is an FBI technician who aids Hannah in her investigation.  President Kirkman’s wife, First Lady Alex Kirkman, (Natascha McElhone) is also an attorney, employed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Their two children Leo Kirkman, (Tanner Buchanan) and Penny Kirkman, (Mckenna Grace) have suddenly been uprooted from their everyday routines to come and live in the White house while also dealing with personal issues.  After an awkward encounter with President Kirkman,  Seth Wright (Kal Penn), who was the former speechwriter for the late president, initially harbored strong doubts about Tom Kirkman’s abilities to lead the country but quickly becomes one of his closest advisors and the White House Press Secretary.   Aaron Shore, (Adan Canto) who was the former White House Deputy Chief of Staff  became the new White House Chief of Staff and a close friend to President Kirkman along with Emily Rhodes, (Italia Ricci)  who happened to be Tom’s former Chief of Staff but is now his Special Advisor following his ascension to the presidency.  Mike Ritter, (LaMonica Garrett)  is Tom’s personal Secret Service agent, tasked with ensuring the Kirkman family’s safety in the wake of the attack.  Kimble Hookstraten, (Virginia Madsen) is a Republican Congresswoman and the designated survivor for the GOP who supports Tom’s authority while secretly harboring her own agenda. She is later elected Speaker of the House by the new Congress.

In my opinion, Designated Survivor is well done and before the winter break, it left us panting, with our minds racing and our thoughts running rampart.  The suspense in unbearable.  Reminds me of Dallas in the old days when everyone wanted to know “Who Shot JR”?  This time we want to know “Who Got Shot”?  Well I advice everyone to check it out on FOX where Designated Survivor is currently airing.

 

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PURE GENIUS – My rating: 9/10

puregeniusWhat a refreshing new series. While it’s not perfect, it is different enough in the category of  hospital series to consider Pure Genius a keeper. I’m willing to bet most people feel when one is faced with a fatal disease, the FDA’s bureaucratic rules only stand in the way when there’s a potential treatment out there they won’t allow you to participate in because they haven’t done the years of testing they feel is necessary for approval. When you only have a few weeks or months or even just year to live, does it matter?  If it does, say no, if it doesn’t, say yes.

Pure Genius is about the cutting edge of technology. Originally called Bunker Hill, it’s not about defying the FDA, it’s about thinking outside the box and saving lives. The staff is often at odds with the FDA, trying to get them to approve treatments using new techniques that shows promise toward a cure for a patient that has some awful, otherwise incurable disease. James Bell, (Augustus Prew) who just so happens to have a fatal, degenerate disease (GSS) only one doctor knows about, is dedicated to saving lives and has a heart bigger than anyone you’ll probably ever meet, is also a  Silicon Valley tech billionaire and the founder of Bunker Hill.  Dr. Walter Wallace (Dermot Mulroney) has come on board since getting fired for administering a non-FDA approved procedure on a dying 8 year old in order to save his life, except the child died anyway.  Dr. Talaikha Channarayapatra, (Reshma Shetty) is a brilliant Neurosurgeon and a former Miss Indiana.  Dr. Zoe Brockett, (Odette Annable) is a double board-certified doctor of pediatrics and critical care.   Dr. Malik Verlaine, (Aaron Jennings) is head of the Ehub, which does remote monitoring of patients.  Dr. Scott Strauss, (Ward Horton) is also a Catholic Priest.   Angie Cheng, (Brenda Song) can build almost anything, be it on a 3D printer or just a mechanical device made by hand.   This staff actually goes out scouting for rear cases — the harder, the better.

The ratings are not so high on this series, which means it may not be around for long.  I read somewhere, the personal stories surrounding the supporting characters was not strong enough to develop the concept and message being created.  Despite what critics say, I really like Pure Genius.  It often gives me warm fuzzes and new information about the latest technology.  Pure Genius is currently airing on CBS.  I urge folks to at least, check it out.

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GOOD BEHAVIOR – My rating: 8/10

goodbehaviorGood Behavior is a sign of an excellent actress. The star role is a far cry from the famous “Lady Mary Josephine Crawley” role from Downton Abbey, the popular BBC series that ended in 2016. When I heard Good Behavior was going to air in 2017, featuring a British actress from the Downton Abbey series, I was thrilled. After watching the first couple of episodes, I was amazed. Good Behavior is about a drug dependent, alcoholic, thief, con artist and single mom, who will do what is necessary to get what she wants. Estranged from her son, Jacob Raines (Nyles Steele) because of her lifestyle and absence, due to bouts in jail and prison, Litty Raines (Michelle Dockery) is on a conquest to get her son back from her mother, Estelle (Lusia Strus) since she is fresh out of prison. In this series, Litty meets up with an assassin, Javier Pereira (Juan Diego Botto) who is both good and bad for her — so the journey begins.

There are various characters that support Good Behavior and it has the best rating out of all the new series introduced in 2016.  The story is different, adding humor, drama and OMG moments.  Litty has an unconventional parole officer Christian Woodhill, (Terry Kinny) who brings all kinds of smiles to your face.  There’s also an FBI agent, Rhonda Lashever (Ann Dowd) who needs a therapist as much as Litty.  Together, Christian and Rhonda are quite the  addition to the series.  The first 10 episodes have aired and were received with high ratings, which means Good Behavior will probably be around for a while.  I personally love the show and highly recommend it to all adults.  Good Behavior currently airs on TNT.

WAYWARD PINES – My rating 7/10

WaywardPinesSo far I’m not impressed with Wayward Pines. It’s not the acting I have a problem with, it’s the story.I guess there hasn’t been enough episodes to connect the dots. (I’M NOT SURE ABOUT THIS, AS I AM STILL PIECING THIS TOGETHER — It seems corporation(s), who are members of this secret conspiracy, are sending chosen people to a town called Wayward Pines to either be murdered or be banished from the rest of the world.) Wayward Pines has it’s own set of rules, and everyone there is watched and monitored. A couple of the rules, that will get you killed is, never speak about the past before you arrived there and never try to leave. Sheriff Arnold Pope (Terrence Howard) is the first and last word of the law. There has only been three episodes aired and things are very mysterious. Beverly (Juliette Lewis) a bartender, is the only person currently trying to escape along with the town’s newcomer, Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon), a US Secret Service agent investigating the disappearance of two fellow agents.  Another mysterious thing is about time.  Even though a person may have only been in Wayward Pines a couple of weeks, they think think they have been there for many, many years.  I will revisit this critique again before the season ends and give my final verdict on Wayward Pines.  It may turn out to be very good, or not!

AMERICAN CRIME – My rating: 7/10

AmericanCrimeAmerican Crime is focused on a crime committed against a married couple in their home.  The husband was killed and the wife beaten and possibly raped.  As she lies in a coma, an arrest is made.  This story gets pretty complicated as we learn more and more about the victims and those accused of the crime as well as the parents of the couple.  Felicity Huffman plays Barb Hanlon and is easy to dislike as she plays a prejudged parent with a cold heart and a vengeful agenda.  American Crime is racially and politically charged with a lot of truth and a lot of falsehoods.  Each episode does not stand on its own.  You have to follow the story in order to know what’s going on.   There are several families that make up this drama, the surviving victim and her parents Eve Carin (Penelope Ann Miller) and Tom Carin (W. Earl Brown),  the estranged parents of the dead victim, Barb Hanlon (Felicity Huffman) and Russ Skokie (Timothy Hutton), the Hispanic, single male parent/father Alonzo Gutiérrez (Benito Martinez), one of the accused and Alonzo’s son, Tony Gutiérrez (Johnny Oritz) and his daughter, Jennifer Gutiérrez (Gleendylis Inoa), Aliyah Shadeed (Regina King) the sister to another of the accused, Carter Nix (Elvis Nolasco) plus his Caucasian girlfriend, Aubry Taylor (Caitlin Gerard) and lastly, the actual guilty person who is also the witness and accuser, Hector Tontz (Richard Cabral).  The series looks like it will get better and better.  American Crime is a look into the justice system through the eyes of the victims as well as the guilty and accused.  Let’s see where this one goes.  So far it’s off to a somewhat, slow start.

SECRETS AND LIES – My rating: 8/10

SecretAndLiesJuliette Lewis has come a long way from a wild, cold blooded killer in Natural Born Killers to conservative detective in charge of a murder investigation of a little boy, Tom Murphy (Aiden Malik) bludgeoned to death and left dead in the woods.  I couldn’t understand how Ben Crawford (Ryan Phillippe) could be blamed for the killing so I watched several episodes to determine if Secrets and Lies would end up in the 1013 file or go full steam ahead.  After 4 episodes, it’s beginning to wiggle it’s way out of harms way and into potential-ville.

A man (Ben) running his routine morning jog, discovers a little boys dead body in the woods.  He turns the body over, sees that his neighbor’s child, they call little Tommy, is dead.  He then runs home and calls 911.  Ben has 2 daughters Natalie and Abby Crawford played by Indiana Evans and Belle Shouse, respectively) and a wife, Christy Crawford (Kadee Strickland).  Eventually, Ben is suspected of the murder and soon learns someone is setting him up.  The investigation has a Columbo (Peter Falk) flavor as Detective Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis) makes an extraordinary amount of visits to Ben and Christy’s home.  I’m anxious to see this mini series move on.  A few profound secrets have already been revealed but if there are too many secrets, the audience will lose credibility with Secrets and Lies.  In my opinion, less is more!  The 5th and 6th episodes should be a real challenge.