Monday, April 8, 2019

What I'm Watching - 04.08.19

Good morning and Happy Monday to all!

I want to talk today about some of the shows I've been watching, at least a couple. The first one that comes to mind isn't even new, but I seem to have ignored its existence until my daughter Sarah said she was surprised I didn't watch it since James Spader is in it. That caught my attention? He is? Guess I have to check it out, then.

The show in question is Boston Legal. I'm not even sure why I missed watching it before. All I can say is I'm making up for lost time now and have already watched the first season. Boston Legal is about a law firm and it might come as no surprise that it takes place in Boston. It's composed of an ensemble cast, and originally aired from 2004 to 2008. The law firm is Crane, Poole, and Schmidt.

 In the first episode we meet Edwin Poole, who arrives late for a staff meeting, sans trousers. He is inimitably played by Larry Miller, whom I think is an underrated actor. We don't meet Schmidt right away, but Crane is Denny Crane, played by everyone's favorite Star Trek captain, William Shatner. The man who I chose to watch the series for, James Spader, plays attorney Alan Shore. Mark Valley, of Keen Eddie, is the uptight Brad Chase, and Rene Auberjonois, also an actor with Star Trek experience (in his case, as Odo of Deep Space Nine), is Paul Lewiston, who has to keep all these characters in line, a thankless task indeed.

Let's start with my undoubtedly favorite character (and is anyone surprised?) Alan Shore. Alan is a brilliant attorney, very attractive, charismatic, intelligent, unconventional, as well as a thorough womanizer.

 He even makes overtures to Shirley Schmidt, when she enters the picture , played by veteran 
Candice Bergen. The sexual banter between them is great! I think the only woman he doesn't come on to is the one who eventually becomes his assistant, Betty White. She's fabulous as Catherine Piper, a very feisty outspoken woman who has no trouble with speaking what's on her mind.

Alan can be smug, annoying, and insensitive. He is thoroughly candid about the way he sexually harasses women. And he flits from woman to woman like any bee. But underneath all that, he has his own code of honor, and a certain vulnerability which draws me to him. I think he pushed women away before he can get hurt, and I'd love to know what his backstory is, what made him this way. The relationship between Alan and Denny Crane is amazing. Despite being pretty much total opposites, they are alike in some fundamental ways, irresistibly drawn to one another as friends. ****SPOILERS AHEAD****  When Alan is being held at gunpoint by the unhappy husband of a client, it's Denny who comes to his rescue and shoots the gunman in the shoulder (although I have to mention that before he becomes aware of the situation, he thinks the two female lawyers hiding in his office are there fore sex). Alan and Denny have each other's backs, and they can talk to one another as to no one else. The closing segment of the pilot episode, "Head Cases." became a staple part of the series - Alan and Denny sitting together on the firm's patio, smoking cigars and drinking alcohol as they discuss what's been going on.  Iconic. In the picture below, you see them each with a cigar in their ear. Watch the episode to find out way. (Look carefully for the cigars, they're hard to see).

Boston Legal tackles issues from the headlines, but also issues that haven't made the headlines yet, whether controversial or not. There are lots of laugh out loud moments but also some that make you feel, or make you weep. In the last episode of season one, Alan is asked to help out on a case in Texas, a last appeal for a man who is about to be executed and maybe innocent. Despite all his best efforts, at the end of the episode, Alan is forced to watch helplessly as the man is strapped onto a gurney, struggling, and given the lethal injection. The look on Alan's face .... well, see for yourself. I'm looking forward to starting season 2 soon.

I am still watching The Magicians, on SyFy, which is currently airing season 4. I have to say that this show never gets old for me, and each episode ends too quickly, leaving me going already? At the end of last season  *****SPOILERS AHEAD****, our magicians were hidden away behind false faces and false identities in order to protect them but that ended this season, and as usual they have issues to deal with. This time it's The Library, the controlling body which is limiting the use of magic. Add to that, Elliot's body has been taken over by a very selfish, childish and powerful god, the original Penny is lost in limbo somewhere, and Alice and Quentin are still estranged... well, there's a whole lot going on here. Julia wants to become a god again, Margo wants to save Elliot and Fillory, everyone wants to stop the library.

This photo is not actually from this season, but is from one of my favorite scenes, which you can find on Youtube, in which the cast do an ensemble singing of David Bowie's Under Pressure. I've watched it multiple times and never get tired of it. This season, there was a second musical episode, which very much featured the vocal talents of Hale Appleman, as Elliot. I have to say Elliot is my favorite character, and Margo has grown on me. She is one woman who really has balls. I would back her in a fight any time.

One of my favorite episodes of the entire series is "One Life in the Day", and is an Elliot and Quentin story which is very touching and beautiful. I won't tell you what happens, so you can enjoy it for yourself, but it's well worth watching.

And in other news, I just found out that Restaurant Impossible is coming back with new episodes on April 20th! I will be watching for sure!

All for now, more later. Have a great day!

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