‘The Exorcist’ is must see Fall TV for horror fans and non-horror fans alike

While many first think of “American Horror Story” when they think of a great current horror series, the best horror show to be found is actually quietly airing every Friday night on network television.

“The Exorcist,” based off the film and book of the same name, is providing some of the best horror content television has ever had yet only seems to have the attention of a small but dedicated fanbase.

Centered on excommunicated priest Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels) and his protégé come best friend (and some other subtext we won’t get into) Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera), the Fox series isn’t held back in any way by the censorship of a 9 o’clock network timeslot. Much in the way that any great horror film gives you glimpses of fear and provides a false sense of security early on the series does the same with its first few episodes. And then all glorious horror hell breaks loose.

Personally I found my way into the series in its second season when it was announced John Cho was joining the cast as Andy Kim, I’d watch anything Cho is in, but after the first episode I found myself so enthralled with the entire plot and the core priests that I went back and binged the first season before episode two had even aired.

The beauty of it is that I chose to watch season one but really didn’t have to, jumping into season two was as easy as paying attention to the ‘last season on’ opener. However, the content was so good, so smartly scary that I wanted to go back and see if for myself anyway.

While the first season heavily used character and reference from the book and film, season two has breached all new territory. They’ve introduced us to more twists and deception within the Vatican and a new diverse family who’s become befallen to a whole different kind of evil.

It’s scary, gory and well written. As the first season focused on mostly one major plotline, season two is slowly bringing our characters together in interesting and subtle ways that make you pay full attention to every detail. The characters are written in such a way that you want them all to be okay, even though you know they’re probably not going to be. You root for Marcus and Tomas at every turn, you fall in love with Andy and his foster kids instantly and god do you ever hope Father Bennet makes it out of Rome alive.

It does horror the way it should be done. It’s scary, but thought provoking and it does something that not enough modern horror does in my opinion: it doesn’t show all and pour everything in blood.  Sure there’s blood and gore, but the series doesn’t rely on the gross factor to be the thing that scares you. The fear comes from the quieter moments, the whispers and the subtleties. It’s scary in the way that it feels real, not some unimaginable spewing of guts. Admittedly some of that might come from the fact they air on network television, but it’s working for them ridiculously well.

Horror fans should definitely be jumping on this show, and non-horror fans can find a thrill in the characters as well. Season two has really only just begun, so there’s plenty of time to catch up and jump in on this underrated horror gem.

“The Exorcist” airs Friday’s at 9pm on Fox.

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Emmy picks 2017: the limited series and TV movie contenders

Much like nearly every year this category gets dominated by one or two popular mini-series that come around and grasps everyone’s attention. This year the big fight will come down between HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and FX’s “Feud: Bette and Joan.”

 

Limited Series

Should Win: “The Night Of”

Will Win: “Big Little Lies”

“Big Little Lies” took a popular story and adapted it in a smart way that held the audience’s attention. Between its audience popularity and critical acclaim it will win this Emmy, that doesn’t mean however I won’t stop fighting for the captivating brilliance that was “The Night Of” just as I did with Golden Globes. Bear in mind the awards shows love Ryan Murphy though so “Feud” always has a shot.

 

TV Movie

Should Win & Will Win: “Black Mirror: San Junipero”

I’m possibly going out on a limb here saying “San Junipero” will win, but I don’t care because it absolutely deserves to. Aside from simply being another fantastic installment for the “Black Mirror” saga, it was also a smart piece of television that portrayed a healthy interracial same sex relationship between two women where no ‘bury your gays’ trope occurred. That alone deserves an Emmy.

 

Lead Actor

Should Win & Will Win: Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”

Again I’m probably going out on a limb here, but I want it so bad I don’t care if I get this prediction wrong. I’ve said everything you can say about how damn good Riz Ahmed is in “The Night Of” and I still believe every single bit of it. If he doesn’t win this for his impeccable performance the Emmy’s really need to rethink themseslves.

 

Lead Actress

Should Win: Carrie Coon, “Fargo”

Will Win: Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”

Carrie Coon should also be nominated for her astounding work on “The Leftovers” but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t win for “Fargo” as well. However, this battles going to come down between the ladies of “Big Little Lies” and “Feud.” Really Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon all have a pretty equal shot at this award, but Kidman has a standout edge over the rest.

 

Supporting Actor

Should Win & Will Win: Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies”

I never thought I’d say that Eric from “True Blood” was out there giving commanding Emmy award worthy performances, but here we are. While the women of “Big Little Lies” are obviously the selling point Alexander Skarsgard is the one man of the series who truly shines, even if his character is a terrible person.

 

Supporting Actress

Should Win: Regina King, “American Crime”

Will Win: Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”

“Big Little Lies” will dominate a great deal of these categories, this one is no different. However Regina King is always amazing in the very low-key “American Crime” and she has snuck in and won this category before.

Find out who wins on Sunday, Sept. 17 on CBS.

Emmy picks 2017: the comedy contenders

Television in my opinion might be living in a golden age of comedy right now. There’s so many incredible nominees and yet still so many snubs because the content out there is so good. But who’s good enough to win?

Comedy Series

Should Win & Will Win: “Atlanta”

“Atlanta” has been deservingly killing it in the awards world since its beginning due its unique and diverse storytelling and humor and it’s likely to continue its reign with an Emmy.

 

Lead Actor

Should Win: Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”

Will Win: Donald Glover, “Atlanta”

There’s not really any should or will here truth be told. If these two were to tie that would actually be ideal. Both actors are incredible, funny and honest in their shows, but when it comes down to this statue Donald Glover is going to be the one with a bit of an edge.

 

Lead Actress

Should Win: Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”

Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Tracee Ellis Ross finally won a Golden Globe earlier this year, but she was robbed of the Emmy last year. I wish I could say that won’t happen again, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus has just continually been unstoppable in this category over the years. And with the current US political climate making the show even more satirical and relatable than it was before her win feels almost like a guarantee.

 

Supporting Actor

Should Win: Titus Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Will Win: Tony Hale, “Veep”

Titus Burgess has the ability to shine more brightly than anyone else in a unique and wildly ridiculous series. One day he better win an Emmy, but much for the same reason Julia Louis-Dreyfus is likely to win Tony Hale is definitely the frontrunner in this category.

 

Supporting Actress

Should Win: Leslie Jones, “Saturday Night Live”

Will Win: Judith Light, “Transparent”

Watch me get this category unbelievably wrong. Part of me thinks Judith Light has the best chances, but at the same time any of the ladies of SNL could sneak in and take this one. Leslie Jones has proved to be not only a comedic force for the times, but also a saving grace for “SNL” so I’d love to see her take home the statue.

 

Other Comedy Notes

The snubs in comedy are so endless it seems but most notably the lack of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Fresh off the Boat” stand out. Also if “Master of None’s” brilliant and important episode ‘Thanksgiving’ doesn’t win for writing it will be a legitimate crime.

Find out who wins Sunday, Sept. 17 on CBS.

 

 

 

 

Emmy picks 2017: the drama contenders

This year’s Drama categories were left a little more wide open with powerhouse “Game of Thrones” being left ineligible. This made for some new shows to make their way into the nominations, but can those new shows prevail?

Drama Series

Should Win & Will Win: “The Handmaids Tale”

This one is actually fairly difficult to choose. There are a lot of smart shows in the category and while “This Is Us” is making a comeback for network television, the highly political and poignant “Handmaids Tale” has a strong chance of walking home with the win.

 

Lead Actor

Should Win: Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”

Will Win: Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”

Sterling K. Brown is incredible in the NBC hit “This Is Us” his inevitable win is absolutely deserved. He’s emotional, honest and real every week and the fact that this talented man is finally getting his due recognition makes me very happy. That being said I will not rest until “The Americans” receives its due recognition as well.

 

Lead Actress

Should Win: Keri Russel, “The Americans”

Will Win: Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaids Tale”

If you thought Elisabeth Moss was good in “Mad Men” she eclipses all of that with her brilliant performance in “The Handmaids Tale.” That being said as I’ll always remind people Keri Russel is so fantastic and underrated in “The Americans” and no one should rest until she has an Emmy for the work she’s doing.

 

Supporting Actor

Should Win & Will Win: Ron Cephas Jones, “This Is Us”

This category is loaded with some impressive talent, but none are more impressive that Ron Cephas Jones. His arc and journey on “This Is Us” was the most captivating part of the season his portrayal of a changed man trying to be the father he never was managed to tug at your heart strings every single week. This Emmy has to be his.

 

Supporting Actress

Should Win: Thandie Newton, “West World”

Will Win: Samira Wiley, “The Handmaids Tale”

Much like supporting actor this category is loaded with talent. Thandie Newton steals the show every single episode, but Samira Wiley having an Emmy in her hands is long overdue.

Find out who wins Sunday, Sept. 17 on CBS.

Ladies it’s time to stop sleeping on ‘The Bold Type’

Summer’s best show for women is barely scraping by in the ratings and it’s because for someone unknown reason every woman in her 20’s, and hell maybe just every woman out there in general, isn’t tuning in. “The Bold Type” follows the lives of three young women living in New York City working at the women’s interest publication Scarlet.

At first glance “The Bold Type” is another cheesy, girly show. I know I was guilty of taking this assumption at first, but it’s so much more than that. The series leaves every female centric show you’ve ever seen that felt overdramatized (“Sex and the City”) or just plain un-relatable and unlikable (“Girls”) in the dust.

“The Bold Type” feels real, relatable and honest in every sense of the words for many reasons. It should be essential viewing for any woman looking for a show about women that feels like the life they’re living and here are some reasons why:

  1. Women supporting women

So very often with female-centric shows the leading ladies end up being in competition or consistently catty towards one another despite supposedly being BFF’s. This is absolutely not the case with this series. Jane, Kat and Sutton are true best friends who no matter what the situation is, be it related to careers, love lives or anything in between, support the hell out of one another. Even when they do have a disagreement they solve it like adults and genuinely apologize instead of making snide, sarcastic remarks that an audience is supposed to just accept as reconciliation.

  1. No ‘bitch boss’ stereotype

The Editor-in-Chief of Scarlet magazine, Jacqueline, is at first glance another copy of Meryl Steep’s “Devil Wears Prada” character. Quickly though it’s proven she’s not just some powerful, non-feeling boss who terrorizes her employees. Jacqueline is understanding and compassionate while also being a powerful, in-charge force of nature that takes no shit. She supports the women who work for her, even when they mess up, and cares about their well-being because she was once just like them. She’s not afraid to call someone out, but she’s also going to stop and lend a helping hand if she can.

  1. LGBT+ rep (that also happens to be interracial)

The show unexpectedly threw in a lovely, and so far nicely handled, coming out storylines of sorts. Kat, who is African American, meets Adena, who is a Muslin lesbian, and an attraction is sparked between the two. Kat, up until this point has always considered herself straight, but when she realizes that maybe she isn’t so straight and tells her friends there’s no weirdness between them. Just because Kat has now expressed an attraction towards a woman her friends don’t start treating her differently, she’s not suddenly oversexualized nor do her friends suddenly feel uncomfortable being just as freely open about their bodies and compliments towards one another around her as before. Kat and Adena’s relationship is discussed just as normally as the other two girls, but also tackles interesting subjects like being in an interracial relationship and what it’s like for a Muslim woman to be out and proud in America.

  1. Accurate and honest depiction of women’s issues and topics

“The Bold Type” doesn’t skirt around women’s issues that are serious, it’s not all love triangles and bad hair days here. So far they’ve tackled sexuality, the inability to have an orgasm, the BRCA breast cancer gene and women’s underappreciated position in many workplaces. Truth be told that’s not even all of it and we’re only six episodes in. They don’t just look at these issues though; they take them seriously and look at them in modern and intelligent ways that both make them accessible and informative.

  1. Male characters who aren’t dicks

The women of this show aren’t the only thing to admire; the male characters are actually quite interesting as well. We aren’t handed male characters that need to be ‘fixed’ or who behave like jackasses and are instantly forgiven. We’re given genuinely good guys, especially the possibly perfect human man Alex. Even Jane’s love interest, Pinstripe, who at first seems like a brash dude-bro is quite understanding and far more than meets the eye.

  1. Realistic romances

Kat and Adena are complicated and real to a striking degree. Jane and Pinstripe are very uncomplicated to a perfect point. Sutton and Richard seem like a perfect, pretty couple, but as we’re now seeing might not actually be so suited for one another with a love triangle that’s actually not nonsensical or about bitter jealousy rising up with Alex being thrown into the mix. The romances don’t feel forced or overdramatized they just feel like real romances you’ve either seen or experienced yourself before.

 

All in all “The Bold Type” is the incredibly bold, pun intended, relatable show that women deserve to have in their lives and need to be watching, men could probably stand to learn a thing or two by watching it as well. Ladies let’s not let this show that finally seems to understand the realities of being a woman in the modern age slip through our fingers.

“The Bold Type” airs Tuesdays @ 9/8c on Freeform and is available on iTunes & Hulu the next day.

A farewell to ‘Orphan Black’

In 2013 Sarah Manning entered a Canadian train station and witnessed the suicide of woman who had the exact same face as her. Her entire world would be upended and for the first time I found myself completely hooked by nothing but the opening scene of a television series.

This Saturday “Orphan Black” will air its final episode ever, it’s cheesy to say but it’s truly the end of an era.  For five glorious seasons “Orphan Black” will have churned out 50 episodes of non-stop, thought provoking, well-written, brilliantly acted, somehow scientifically sense-making television.

For five fantastic years Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany (does anyone else still get ridiculously giddy when saying that phrase?), has played countless character ranging from countless women, one incredible man and even a scorpion. She’s been surrounded by an incredible supporting cast, most notably Jordan Gavaris’ sorely underrated Felix, Kevin Hanchard’s all-around good man Art, Kristian Bruun’s ridiculous yet somehow brave Donnie and Ari Millen’s many castor clones who carried the heavy weight of living up to the standard expertly set by Maslany.

For five brilliant years the talented people behind this show have brought a fandom, lovingly known as the Clone Club, together. We’ve experienced every emotion, every laugh, every heartbreak, every loss and every creepy thing Kira has said side by side.

And to all that and the many other things this show has given us I simply say, thank you. Thank you for the inspiration, for these incredible, dynamic characters, for the representation and for what has probably been the most overall well done and consistent television series I’ve ever seen. Not even boring old Paul brought down the long time high quality this show has always churned out.

It’s gonna be hard to say goodbye. It’s gonna be hard to let go of these beautiful characters I’ve grown so attached to. But even though it’ll be difficult it’s also a welcomed thing, because I feel confident that this finale will be amazing, satisfying and completely fit of what these characters all deserve.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the finale, much like always I’m sure this show will do something incredibly smart and unexpected. All I do know for sure is I’m gonna take it all in and love every final second we’re given just as I’ve loved and felt every second they’ve given us before.

We’ll always have these five seasons and the amazing things the Clone Club experienced together, so let’s buckle up for what’s bound to be one outstanding final ride.

Welcome to the final trip, man.

UPDATED: A fangirl’s definitive ranking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become known for their amazing films since 2008’s “Iron Man.” But we all know that some have been better than others and some have just fallen flat. So let’s rank the movies so far from worst to best.

Now updated to include this weekend’s latest Marvel release, which nearly drops all the films in the MCU down a notch.

*Authors note: in complete honesty I never could be bothered to even watch ‘Doctor Strange’ hence it’s absence from this list.

15. ‘Iron Man 3’

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I know people love this movie and it made all the money but the third Iron Man stand-alone tried a lot of things and most of them didn’t work. The film’s villains fell flat compared to the first two films and it didn’t seem to know just how to handle Tony’s world post “Avengers.” The biggest problem was the new director; Jon Favreau was sorely missed behind the camera.

14. ‘The Incredible Hulk’

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While Mark Ruffalo has mastered the character, Edward Norton’s turn as Bruce Banner was enjoyable. The story was solid and didn’t try to simply redo the first film, which we should never ever speak of. The film successfully redeemed the Hulk name in the MCU, but wasn’t a stand out worthy of a higher spot.

13. ‘Thor: The Dark World’

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This sequel wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as its predecessor either. Loki yet again stole the show, but supporting characters like Lady Sif and Fandral deserved more screen time than they were allotted. Jane could have used more to do than damsel it for the better part of the movie as well.

12. ‘Iron Man’

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The movie that started it all started it all with a bang. Tony’s enigmatic personality was brilliantly played with the utmost perfect casting decision of Robert Downy Jr. Because of the incredible director/actor duo of Downey and Favreau Marvel’s new era was reigned in pretty perfectly.

11. ‘Ant-Man’

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“Ant-Man” could have been a trainwreck. When the longtime connected director and screenwriter dropped out of the film fans were worried, but the tiny hero rose above the negativity. Paul Rudd perfectly combines humor and hero as Scott Lang and the movie proved itself to be a standout in the MCU. Ant-Man is a lesser known Marvel hero and the movie gave the character a well-deserved spotlight.

10. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

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While not everyone loved the Avengers follow up you can’t deny its awesome villain and witty dialogue. Also for those long suffering Hawkeye fans like me this movie finally gave him some well-deserved screen time. Not a perfect film, but a solid ending to Joss Whedon’s time with the MCU.

9. ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’

It took a long time but Marvel finally got Spiderman right. Tom Holland is a perfect fit for the role, playing the fact that Spidey really is just a kid at the end of the day fantastically. Plus that plot twist was the first time I was genuinely shocked by something in a Marvel film. The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is because it could have been better with a lot less or no Tony Stark at all.

8. ‘Thor’

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Chris Hemsworth was another perfect casting choice by Marvel and no one expected this film to be as good as it was. “Thor” could have been ridiculous, draped in too much out of this world mythology, but it wasn’t. And of course we can’t overlook the fact that this movie graced the world with the rise of Tom Hiddleston who stole every scene he was in as Loki, Thor’s mischievous little brother.

7. ‘Iron Man 2’

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Easily the best of the Iron Man stand-alone films, this one brought us a new side to Tony and the romance we all saw coming. The introduction of Black Widow was in its own way overdue since she should be in everything since the beginning of the creation of all things Marvel. Sam Rockwell, while a ridiculous villain, was brilliant as he tends to be in every role he tackles. The return of Nick Fury and Phil Coulson also made this movie the finest of the Iron Man films.

6. ‘ Captain America: Civil War’

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“Civil War” isn’t a great Captain America movie but it is a well done Avengers movie if we’re being honest. While Steve and Bucky’s relationship still takes center stage in the film, it could have been focused on even more. Because of that it’s amazing. The Steve/Bucky dynamic is one of the most intriguing and deeply emotional connections in the whole of the Marvel Universe and Sebastian Stan and Chris Evans continued to portray it perfectly in this film. Black Panther’s introduction also set’s up for what is hopefully an incredible future onscreen for the character.

5. ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’

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He’s the first Avenger for a reason, because he’s awesome. Steve Rogers is the everyman, nice guy that everyone can get behind. You root for him at every turn and his first major movie is an excellent portrayal of the hero origin story. With a supporting cast comprised of brilliant actors, like the most kick ass woman in the MCU, Hayley Atwell nothing about this movie falls short. Captain America’s first major on-screen appearance proved why he is the man known to always lead the Avengers.

4. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

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Let’s be honest, you put Andy Dwyer in space with a talking tree and a gun toting raccoon you expect it to turn out as a cheesy laugh-riot comedy. That wasn’t the case, though the film is definitely funny it’s also a surprising space epic for the ages. “Guardians” was an unexpected hit with an amazing ensemble cast and a story that was oddly relatable. No one expected to shed tears over a tree and a raccoon, but this movie made us all do that.

3. ‘The Avengers’

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No matter how many Avengers movies they make the first one will always be the best one. It was the first time a superhero team-up had been successfully done in a major film and it was executed brilliantly. Whedon perfectly encapsulated the struggle of bringing together a team of unlikely heroes with a great story and script that was portrayed with the stellar performances from the entire cast. The reality is every Avengers movie will have to live in the shadow of the original triumph.

2. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2’

The second installment of the “Guardians” franchise isn’t just amazing because of the cutest dancing tree in the universe, much like it’s predecessor it maintains humor throughout but also brought new depth to the beloved crew of characters. It also continues to benefit from it’s separation from the rest of the MCU, no pop up appearances of Tony Stark taking over or anything of the like allow the film to just be about this ragtag group of heroes we’ve grown to love. Great music, witty dialogue, excellent performances all around and an unexpectedly poignant commentary of what it means to be family all made up for not only an incredible Marvel film, but just an incredible film overall.

1. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

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The second stand-alone film for Cap very nearly put every prior MCU movie to shame. Winter Soldier gets everything right. Every actor is perfect, especially Sebastian Stan who gives an incredibly emotional performance without saying a word for the better part of the movie. The action is thrilling, the story takes the superhero movie to new political thriller heights and the direction from the Russo brothers is compelling and holds your attention from start to finish. Just as every future Avengers film will live in the shadow of the original, it’s safe to say that every stand-alone Marvel film will have to live in the shadow of “The Winter Soldier.”