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The 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

ROUND ONE

THE FLASH

the_flash___poster_ii_by_mrsteiners-d79te0z

VSKingdom-review

KINGDOM

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve already listened to the second episode of The Superhero Hour Hour, PopFilter’s new podcast that focuses strictly on comic book TV, you know that The Flash (pun about speed) right into me and Mike’s collective heart. Could it be that TV has finally figured out how to a superhero show, as opposed to just a superhero-adjacent show? This is why my heart sank when, about 20 minutes into Kingdom, I thought to myself that this show might be good. And it is pretty good. They’re both pretty good, showing a lot of promise with a lot of flaws. I’m going to have to nitpick here.

 

Although both episodes are too busy for their own good (as pilots are wont to be), all of the balls The Flash is juggling seem to serve the same purpose: let’s get this fuckin’ world built, and this fuckin’ origin over with, so we can get on with our fuckin’ lives. Maybe an ideal world would give us a season long Flash origin, where we could slow play everything that goes into turning a geek into a super hero, but that seems like it would be asking for a lot, even from The CW. Instead, the pilot makes it so that the second episode is ready for its first freak-of-the-week adventure, while planting seeds about the origin that can bloom in future episodes. Again, not ideal, but as good as could be expected.

 

I’d say about 75 percent of Kingdom also gets the “origin” story right. We’re thrown into the middle of a family that has drama coming out of their cauliflowered ears. Between ex-MMA fighter Alvey and his failing gym, his rising star son, his piece-of-shit son, his friend that was just released from prison, and his girlfriend, who used to be with his friend that was just released in prison, Kingdom has enough family drama to watch in between the staging of fights. Unfortunately, this just isn’t enough for Kingdom, and it really buries an otherwise promising pilot. Not content to just focus on the people that run this gym, the episode is bookended by two cholos so stereotypical that Speedy Gonzalez would have to smack his head. Towards the end of the episode, we get a scene with Alvey’s piece-of-shit son handing money to a whore WHO IS ALSO HIS MOTHER for seemingly no narrative reason. Alvey’s ex-wife could have been a character introduced at any point in the show’s run, but they felt it had to be crammed in here.

 

Not to beat a dead horse, but one of the more helpful things that Kingdom can do is figure out what network it wants to be on. If it’s HBO, which it seems to think, then slow it down, and show us the small, more meaningful drama inside of this family. If it wants to be on FX, which is cool too, then the mother/whore shit is fine, but it needs to take itself more seriously. The Flash knows it’s on The CW and that – I never thought I’d say this – is a large part of why it’s moving on.

 

– Ryan Haley

NEXT TIME:

CRISTELA VS THE AFFAIR!!!

GOOD LUCK CRISTELA!!!

The 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

ROUND 2

 

SELFIE

abc-upfront-selfie

VS

a-to-z

A TO Z

 

You don’t have to squint too hard to see all of the things that Selfie and A to Z have in common, aside from being new one-camera sitcoms. Both shows feature two likeable leads (of varying degrees). Both rely on the comedic and romantic chemistry between the two. And both shows found it necessary to include a gimmicky premise that hangs over the show as much as the situations deem necessary. This is round 2, so you should probably have this information by now, but Selfie is My Fair Lady for the social media age, and A to Z dedicates each episode to a different facet of a blossoming relationship, all in alphabetical order…for some reason. The nice thing about gimmicks is that they give you an instant elevator pitch, so people, presumably standing in elevators, can say “Did you see that My Fair Lady show last night?” to the uninterested people around them. The reason that gimmicks scare me is because they make me think that the show, or the showrunners, are afraid that they don’t have a strong enough voice to carry the show without one. Sometimes a show’s voice is so strong that it’s able to bail out of its initial gimmick. Happy Endings started off as a show about how a group of friends deals with two members of the group breaking up, but David Caspe and Co. were able to bust through that by episode three or four. Two episodes in, it really seems like these two shows have already painted themselves into a corner that only a lot of awkwardness can get them out of.

 

One of the main things that separates the two is how each show goes to its gimmick well. Selfie can be a bit of a mess story-telling wise, and blindly grasps for its premise whenever its plot finds itself too far off course. Karen Gillan is great, John Cho is good, the chemistry is building, and each episode has had a scene or two of snappy dialogue that gives us an idea of what the show could become. But the premise has already become more of a hindrance than a plot-barfing gold mine. On the other hand, the beginning of each episode of A to Z brings us narrator PopFilter Hall of Famer Katey Sagal, who quickly explains the premise and the letter that the episode is brought to you by. Once or twice per episode she’ll pop in again and say “See? That’s the letter I was talking about.” Other than that, the rest of the show is left to explore its story and express its voice. It’s not perfect yet, and the show still has some cleaning to do (ANOTHER FAT, BEARDED, GINGER BEST FRIEND?!? COME ON!!!), but A to Z is able to out adorbs Selfie and move on to round 3.

– Ryan Haley

 

NEXT TIME ON THE 2014 PFNFTC:

WATCH A SUPERHERO TAKE ON AN MMA FIGHTER!!!

THE FLASH VS KINGDOM!!!

PopFilter Versus Video Game Characters

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BRACKETOLOGY:

VIDEO GAME CHARACTERS

I know you’re probably reading this at home in your underwear, thinking, “I sure do love how the PopFilter Podcast is multi-formatted…but I want a new format! I love Mixtape and Countdown and Draft and Proper, but why can’t there be more?!” And for you, I have mixed feelings. You obviously love our show, which is nice, but you’re a bit ungrateful, which hurts. But here you go crybaby, a brand new format!

 

In our first release of Bracketology, we’ll be pitting the board-approved top 17 video game characters against each other. We’ll fight, and yell and cajole and needle to get our picks to the end of the bracket. But…

There can only be one.

 

 

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

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The Superhero Hour Hour 10/10/14

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In the second episode of the hit new PopFilter Podcast, Mike and Ryan focus on the series premiere of the CW’s The Flash, along with quick hits on Agents of SHIELD, Gotham, and Arrow.

Popfilter’s 2014 Fall TV Challenge

Round 3

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

index

VS

images

TRANSPARENT

Check out all the action at http://challonge.com/popfilter

I’ve been looking forward to this match up since reviewing each of these pilots. These have been two of the best quality shows of the new fall season. So far, the shows we have compared have been unequally matched, with one show easily blowing the other out of contention. How to Get Away with Murder and Transparent, in my thinking, were worthy adversaries. Key term: were.

After watching the second episode of How to Get Away with Murder, I soon lost faith that this would be a good match up. The pilot debuted strong and I was ready to move full-steam ahead. But somewhere between the pilot and the second episode the story lost the steam it did such a seamless job of creating. The first episode interspersed scenes from beginning of the story (the present) with flash-forwards of a murder taking place 2 ½ months in the future. The second episode did the same thing but it was clunky, poorly intertwined and confusing. This show got formulaic way too fast. The second episode barely moves the plot along and is thematically no different than the first. Viola Davis is a powerhouse as Professor Annalise Keating, but even that can’t save it from the attempt to make the second episode a carbon copy of the pilot, a method that only serves to degrade its quality.

Unlike its adversary, the second episode of Transparent picks up the baton handed off by the first episode and progresses forward. The subtle differences between the way Jeffrey Tambor portrays Mort and they way he does Maura suggest that the things we assume about gender are not just biological, but performative. Judith Light (ANGELA!*) walks a fine line between real person and stereotype, which is a fun platform to watch when it’s done right. There isn’t even enough space to mention all the interesting developments going on with the adult children or how well they are flowering into their characters. This show is about a family figuring out who they are together and independently and its doing a remarkable job of showing us how they get there.

It’s almost frustrating. We here at Popfilter would prefer a little healthy competition to get our readership interested in our pseudosport, the Fall TV Challenge. Unfortunately for us, Transparent is in a different league than the other shows in the bracket. Its the Yankees and the Patriots combined. But there are 12 more shows we still haven’t seen, and it’s entirely possible that we have a late in the fall season sleeper hit. I hope.

-Stephanie Rose

 

TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR THE FLASH VS KINGDOM!!!

 

* If you were born after 1990, she’s a character from Who’s the Boss with Tony Danza, you fetus.

#musicreview

This Will Destroy You

Another Language

 

Hello Filterinos, and welcome to another edition of #musicreview. As you may or may not know, This Will Destroy You, the instrumental Texan post-rock band released a new album called Another Language. The band has decidedly come out against being called “post-rock” for this record, preferring to use their own portmanteau of “doomgaze”, combining doom metal with the oft polarizing shoegaze. Going into the album, that’s about all you need to know.

The shoegazing lady hipster.

 

The first thing that will strike you about Another Language is the incredible ability that this instrumental band has to make completely satisfying song structures while eschewing typical patterns laid out by the last eighty years of popular music. Even perennially forward-thinking musicians like Arcade Fire, The Refused and Sigur Ros seem to have more reverence for the structure of days gone by. Add to that the fact that this band uses tones, effects and dynamics to move you instead of lyrics and this feat only becomes that much more impressive. From the first track (“New Topia”), this is a mission the band seems to be all too ready and capable of taking on.

Yes…these dudes…

 

While TWDY is often sited as being one of the greatest applicators of dynamics in current music, this album does it so artfully that you almost don’t realize it’s happening. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of shocking jumps in decibels over the course of this record, but there are an increasingly high number of times where they shift gears in a way that is less jarring and more pleasing. This shows the growth of a band that is able to do so much with relatively little. This is like a minimalist film maker showing you breath-taking scenes of nature while relating it back to the plot. It is gorgeous art with highs, lows and most importantly, substance.

Or maybe it’s just fucking bullshit, right?

 

The most impressive trick TWDY is able to pull off on this album is building tension. The band known for these structures and dynamic shifts (which are on full display here) is also showing an incredibly focused ability to make you feel. It would seem as though the “doom” shift in their self-imposed genre is paying incredible dividends to make a shockingly cohesive album. I have not talked to any members of This Will Destroy You, but I have already come up with a narrative thread that brings the whole record together. I am not going to share it because the beauty of this album is that you will come up with your own. It feels so thoroughly connected throughout that it sounds like a score to a film that has not been released. The theatrics and passion that are on display are beyond reproach.

Or maybe the movie HAS already been released…

 

Truly, this is a phenomenal album and one of the absolute best of the year. To say anything else is to ignore the musical and melodic abilities of this band. Though this album is not without art and fart, it is laden with rich, beautiful melodies that make these enigmatic and crazy ideas accessible in a way that a more pretentious band may not have considered. The kicker? This is as natural to the band as breathing. This is what they do and this is what they will continue to do. Though it is unfair to expect everything This Will Destroy You will do will be remarkable, they have yet to disappoint. If you can find a way to clear an hour of your day and just sit with an incredible piece of art, take Another Language for a spin. You won’t be sorry you did.

 

Oh, and so far as the fancy pants record title goes: yes they use music instead of words to convey their ideas and no, even given that, I do not think it’s a lame name for a record.

 

With Love,

Jason R. Noble

The PopFilter 2014 New Fall TV Challenge

Round 3

GOTHAM

Gotham-TV-Show

VStim-and-eric-s-bedtime-stories

 TIM AND ERIC’S BEDTIME STORIES

 

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Gotham and Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories put their audiences through many of the same experiences, despite the two shows having almost nothing in common. Having now watched three episodes of each, I have spent the viewing time feeling anxious, nauseated, and confused. I have spent a total of three hours wondering if anyone involved has a firm grip on anything that’s going on, and if not, if that’s the point. I have spent a lot of the time bored, but still want another one after each episode. And now, these two titans of the New Fall TV Season have to face each other, and only one can move on to the final four.

I also thought that each show would have a firmer grasp of itself than it does after three episodes, or at least I would have a firmer grasp on both. For Gotham, it’s just the “new show smell” that plagues most freshman series. It teeters and totters from one tone to the next, hoping it can establish something – anything – before renewals and cancellations are handed out. TAEBS is something quite different, obviously, because Tim and Eric are quite different. Both shows are all over the place, but TAEBS is purposefully so, a horror anthology in true Tim and Eric fashion, complete with weirdos and bad costumes and wacky editing. Reviewing TAEBS is a lot like reviewing a skit show. You know that some skits will work, and some won’t. Is the final review the average score of the total skits? Do you reward potential? It’s tough, and it’s made tougher by the fact that Tim and Eric don’t give a shit if my job is easy. If we’re going by average, I’d say that through three episodes we have a good (Toes), an average (Holes), and a borderline unreviewable one (The Bathroom Boys). Holes is probably more successful than The Bathroom Boys, as it does try for something a little more than Tim and Eric’s usual bucket of crazy, but even Toes, which really is quite good, isn’t interested in being anything more than an experiment.

In many ways, Gotham still feels like an experiment, too, and after three episodes, I’m not sure it will ever be a totally successful one. There’s so many dumb things packed into every episode. Thankfully, however, the list of endearing things (a more assured level of camp, a blossoming universe, Bruce and Alfred) is growing with each episode. Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories shows a lot of promise, and I’m sure that this season will provide at least a couple more great episodes, but it’s Gotham that moves on to get the shit kicked out of it in the next round.

– Ryan Haley

 

TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER VS TRANSPARENT!!!

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #81: Spartacus

After a two week vacation in Ireland followed immediately upon my return by the wedding celebration of friends, I think it’s a fair argument to say that I was maybe not quite full of the necessary energy or sobriety needed to consume an almost three and a half hour long Roman epic directed by Stanley Kubrick. I was certain I knew what I was in for — maybe 30 minutes of iconic, mind-blowing footage intercut with hours upon hours of slow, cryptic, infuriating bullshit. From what I’ve seen of his work*, that’s Kubrick’s M.O. and, if Spartacus was made in 1960, I figured it had to have started somewhere. Still, Spartacus was next on the list and skipping Battles won’t win me the war, so I trudged through each and every one its 198 minutes. At least concerning my expectations, I wasn’t disappointed.

The movie Spartacus is based on the novel Spartacus about a real guy named Spartacus who was a Thracian slave working in Libyan mines under Roman rule. After chewing through a guard’s hamstring with his bare teeth, he’s purchased by foppish Roman specializing in the gladiator trade. Still a slave, he at least now gets decent meals, weapons training and, with good behavior, the occasional company of a random woman of the guards’ choosing, apparently. Spartacus ultimately falls in love with one of these women, though they’re not even technically allowed to speak to one another as slaves. When she’s sold to a visiting Roman dignitary for whom Spartacus was made to fight another prisoner to the death, he starts a riot that ultimately leads to a complete escape from and takeover of the prison by the inmates. As the dust of the violence settles, Spartacus discovers the former slaves forcing Roman captives to fight to the death and convinces them through impassioned speech that they are better than the Romans. They are so much better than the Romans, in fact, that they could start their own Army, march to the sea, and hire boats to take them all back to the nations from which a conquering Rome originally stole them. So they do. They give Rome a good, solid run for their money, too. Still, as history tells us they almost always must, Rome’s politics and steel ultimately crushed the rebellion. Yet, even in defeat, Spartacus’ followers are still devoted. When the Roman army offers not crucifixion to any slave who will turn in Spartacus, the slave army en masse claims his identity and fate instead. So, they all get crucified anyway, Spartacus included, but not before he can have the satisfaction of seeing his infant son carried off into the freedomy sunset by the love of his life.

That’s right, R2. It is a bittersweet ending.

If the above paragraph sounds like a pretty decent plot to you, you’re not wrong. Unfortunately, plot alone does not a timeless movie make. You need someone skilled in the art of storytelling to truly make it stand up to 50 years of scrutiny. What I’m about to say is something that will get me in a lot of trouble with pretentious film snobs, but it’s something that someone needs to finally have the courage to say: Stanley Kubrick has a crippling issue with pacing. From my incomplete but not necessarily limited knowledge of Kubrick movies, I’ve learned that if the film has a runtime of more than 2 hours, you should probably be prepared to think the movie is about to end at least 25 minutes before it’s actually over. Spartacus only further supports my theory. Throughout the film, Kubrick intercuts countless and extended shots of men on horses or children eating and laughing or gladiators training. All of these details serve to create a richer environment, but I don’t need them to account for nearly half of the screen time at any given setting. If you’re going to show me 3 minutes of gladiator slaves training poorly and getting beat up by wooden swords, then it’s not necessary to directly show me another 3 minutes of Spartacus kicking their asses. Pick one or the other, place your emphasis firmly, then continue briskly towards your point that Spartacus is smarter, faster, and stronger than the average bear.

And a good thing he was, too, since his fate may have just as easily been “outsmart the average bear or die.”

Spartacus has also been recognized as having one of the greatest ensemble casts possible for the time. This recognition is also deserved, from Kirk Douglas’s mesmerizingly manly and cavernous chin dimple (chimple?) to Laurence Olivier’s cruel and calculating Senator to Peter Ustinov’s opportunistic slave trader to … Tony Curtis’s Bronx accent? How the hell did that get in there? Usually, I really like Tony Curtis. Slap him and Jack Lemmon in dresses next to Marilyn Monroe and you have an instant classic. But as the sort of adopted son figure to Spartacus? As the self-proclaimed Singer of Songs who doesn’t actually sing, but does pronounce his G sounds like he has a permanent head cold? This is where you lose me. To be fair to Mr. Curtis, his performance wasn’t bad. But in a movie so heavily focused on the natural accents of its performers that British actors were cast as the Romans and American actors the slaves, how did no one notice that a kid who sounds like he should be screaming at someone to go get his shinebox might be a bit distracting to the audience?

Somehow, this Tony Curtis isn’t distracting in the least.

Overall, Spartacus isn’t exactly unwatchable, I guess. If epic period dramas involving dudes in togas are your thing, then Spartacus should probably be on your watchlist. They’re obviously the AFI’s thing, since at least 3 made it to the list. Unfortunately, they’re just really not mine, and I think I finally figured out why. Films of this nature from this era are nothing more than that generation’s Die Hards or Lethal Weapons. They’re action movies, plain and simple, with the same child-like level of overt storytelling and character development. However, they’re wrapped in the pompous and grandiose packaging of epic social commentary that deserves to be preserved for the ages. For my money, I don’t want my action stars to be pretentious and haughty, intent on giving me some some higher message to contemplate when the story is done. I want my action stars to be cowboys who just went out to the coast to have some laughs and accidentally had to save the world from German terrorists in the process. Call me crazy. — KSmith

 

*The only Kubrick I’ve seen to date that I truly understand and love.

The 2014 PopFilter Fall TV Challenge

Round 1

MULANEY

mulaney-season-1-key-art

VS

REMORSE

SURVIVOR’S REMORSE

 

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The entire nation remember’s Seinfeld much more fondly than they do Entourage. They also think that stand-up comedian John Mulaney is much funnier than LeBron James. That makes this competition totally lop-sided in Mulaney‘s favor, right? Obviously not. You need to learn how to not get duped by an intro.

Survivor’s Remorse isn’t perfect, and in the second episode, we’ll get a chance to see which of the holes are really there, and which of the holes are because of pilotitis. But with Mulaney, it’s impossible to care about which problems will eventually be fixed. There are so many holes that fixing a few of them will just make the show look worse, somehow. At the very least, the second episode won’t have to introduce us to this endless parade of uninteresting characters, something the pilot struggles to do. But we’ll still have to spend some time with them all, right? I mean, even just a minute or two? And the only respite from all of this mediocrity, Mulaney himself, is just standing there waiting to do one of his stand-up acts that has been very smoothly re-purposed into conversational dialogue. Just when you think that a turd on fire could not be lit on more fire, Zack Pearlman knocks on the door. I think I hate Zack Pearlman.

I’m sure Pearlman is a very nice guy in real life. And I haven’t even seen that much of his work, so my hatred isn’t so much for him. It’s for what he, and many actors that look just like him, represent. Far too often, when shows feel like their cast is devoid of chemistry, or when all of the actors just aren’t “wacky” enough, they will cast someone who usually has a beard, is usually fat, and is usually a ginger. They come in, say some vulgar things, and – for some reason – everyone in the cast puts up with them constantly in their lives. Andre, the character played by Pearlman, could almost be seen as the postmordern version of this stereotype, if the writers of Mulaney had anything to say. Instead, we just get the most poorly conceived character in a long line of poorly conceived characters. He’s called their drug dealer, but he never deals any drugs. They say they can’t stand him, but they still let him hang out. They say he’s the worst, but he never does anything or says anything to show us how or why. Andre represents a lot of what’s going on in Mulaney. If you were to ask the creators why any single part or aspect of the show is in there, they’d respond with “Duh I don’t know, because other shows have it in there?” Andre sucks, Mulaney sucks, and Survivor’s Remorse gets a second chance to work out its wonkiness. More about that next week.

–  Ryan Haley

 

TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR THE FIRST BATTLE OF ROUND 3:

TIM AND ERIC’S BEDTIME STORIES VS GOTHAM!!!

 

PopFilter Podcast Episode 166

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This week, the friends all discuss PopFilter Hall of Famer Jeffery Tambor’s latest show Transparent (and it’s on Amazon! What?!), Robert Bresson’s final film L’Argent, build a mountain dedicated to the best breeches roles and FINALLY rank all seven of the Bresson films they have analyzed until their eyes fell out. It’s a really great time. You’re going to love it.

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

Review us on iTunes!

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Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

TOP TEN – Grown-up Musicals

Grown-up Musicals

Most musicals are for the kids, or at least billed as fun for the whole family. But when you can’t quite identify with High School Musical anymore or are in the mood to sing along with something other than “Let it Go” for a change, maybe one of these will speak to your mature soul. Oh and apparently ‘mature’ mainly means sex and drugs, that seems to be the theme here.

Cabaret (1972)


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In a time before she was the wacky and slightly pathetic butt of jokes, Liza Minnelli was at the height of her pre-Lucile 2 fabulousness in this story of sex and disillusionment in an increasingly Nazi-ish 1931 Berlin.   Bob Fosse’s multi Oscar winning triumph is the movie Moulin Rouge wanted to be, equal parts glitter and grime.
Why it’s not for the kids: That depends on what age you want to explain the finer points of threesomes, abortions, strip clubs or gas chambers.

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)


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It’s only the glowing Technicolor granddaddy of classic musicals, chock full of film history, old-fashioned slapstick and bombastic musical numbers. Of course sometimes Gene Kelly’s lengthy dance sequences border on self-indulgent, especially considering he was both star and Director.
Why it’s not for the kids: Those who have the attention span for old movies may enjoy it, and there’s nothing remotely resembling sex or violence here. But those over 25 will more appreciate the nostalgia fest, and behind the scenes scandals.  Kelly worked Debbie Reynolds so hard her feet were bleeding by the end of some takes, she’s quoted as saying “Singin’ in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life.”

Rent (2005)

 


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AIDS! AIDS! AIDS! Everybody has AIDS! Oh wait, sorry wrong AIDS musical. Despite the parodies (or maybe because of?) Rent is an institution and just so emotionally satisfying. Of course everyone says the film isn’t as good as the stage show and of course they’re right. It loses a little something in the polishing for the big screen but they get damn close, mainly because the majority of the cast originated the roles on Broadway. And you know Idina Menzel always brings it, before she was playing witches and ice queens for Disney she  rocked the Nederlander as bi-sexual performance activist Maureen.
Why it’s not for the kids: Not because of the AIDS, drug use or diverse representation of sexuality, I mean kids all learn about that from the internet anyway right? No this one is dangerous because of how damn cool it makes squatting in a tenement with your slacker bohemian friends look. Seriously if I’d seen Rent at 15 I would’ve dropped out right then and there to run away to NYC and spend my days finger painting or something…and probably lots of heroin.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)


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This video would normally be an excerpt from the movie, which is absolutely fantastic. But nothing beats Neil Patrick Harris’ drag performance of “Sugar Daddy” at the Tony’s, particularly when he licks the glasses of one very surprised Samuel L. Jackson.

Hedwig rocks so hard! Yes it’s a little sensationalist, I mean it’s about a botched sex change operation. That angry little inch is right there in the title, but the themes of love, sacrifice and acceptance are strong and surprisingly resonate with almost everyone…even if you are not a transgender rock star who ran away from the fascism of East Berlin.  And the tongue-in-cheek portrayal of modern America and the general decline of society has some really hilarious moments and messages. Everything about this movie is fantastic but nothing more so than the simply amazing soundtrack of really innovative rock show tunes. Seriously you’re going to be singing “Wig in a Box” for days.
Why it’s Not For The Kids: I’ll let the bridge of the title song will do my explaining for me “The wound healed/and I was left with a one inch mound of flesh/where my penis used to be/where my vagina never was/A one inch mound of flesh with a scar running down it/like a sideways grimace/on an eyeless face/Just a little bulge’/t was an angry inch

All that Jazz (1979)

 

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Written and directed by Bob Fosse, this movie loosely based on his life has one of the very best death scenes of all time…and the main reason it’s only semi autographical. That and Jessica Lange’s personification of the Angel of Death whom apparently Fosse is desperate to bed already. The movie centers on a passionate and driven chorographer and director (hint hint) who pushes himself too far with sex, booze drugs and work until it kills him in a glittering and extravagant hallucination of a stage show featuring everyone from his past.
Why It’s not for the kids: If that last sentence didn’t convince you this one is best watched after the munchkins go to bed, then you deserve having to explain to little ears all about addiction and why some people might actually want to die.

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)


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King of the midnight movie circuit, RHPS has been attracting throngs of dedicated fans clad in fishnets and combat boots since Tim Curry first appeared onscreen in all his smirking, corseted glory. And how could it not? It’s a sci-fi musical about a mad scientist from outer space building himself a sex Frankenstein. The music excels at being both rocking (see Meatloaf on a Motorcycle belting “What ever happened to Saturday night?”)  and ear-wormy (see “The Time Warp” at every Halloween party you’ve ever been to.)
Why it’s not for the kids: What was once the height of avant garde depravity is now fairly tame by today’s standards and most of us discover this gem at some point in High School. But Glee’s watered down travesty of an homage was proof that the word “transsexual” is sadly still too racy for some people.

Tommy (1975)

 


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I shouldn’t even have to convince you to watch this one, it’s obviously awesome…I mean it’s The Who. Not to mention Ann Margaret, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, Elton John and Jack Nicholson all singing their hearts out. Yea, Nicholson sings and it’s just as sardonic as you imagine. Tommy is the classic tale of a kid who goes deaf, dumb and blind after witnessing his father’s murder, gets fucked with a bunch, becomes a pinball wizard then starts a cult. It’s all kinds of psychedelic fantastic.
Why it’s not for the kids: Other than the murder, brainwashing, torture, and molestation? It’s also pretty blatantly anti-organized religion if you know, that kind of thing bother you.

Velvet Goldmine (1998)

 


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Another movie loosely based on a true story, but this one wasn’t written or even endorsed by those it was about. Velvet Goldmine reimagines the glam rock era and the friendship between David Bowie and Iggy Pop. But Bowie hated the script and so it’s not really about him, simply the tale of fake rock stars Brian Slade and Curt Wild with a whole bevvy of new fake 70’s songs.
Why its not for the kids: Mainly because Ewan McGregor flops around completely naked for like 5 full minutes…flops being the key word here.

Gypsy (1962)


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This jaunty showbiz musical is the origin story of famous burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee and her overbearing mother’s drive to make her daughter a star. After all nothing says motherly love like pushing your daughter into stripping to feed your own ego. Rosalind Russell is perfectly cast as the pushy and dynamic Mama Rose and Natalie Wood’s shy, sweet Louise is so heartfelt her first (borderline involuntary) strip show really does feel like a twist.
Why it’s not for the kids:  It’s a tossup between the classic song “You Gotta Get a Gimmick” wherein three dancers give Louise pointers on novelty stripping, and when Rose tells her daughter “I’ve got to think of a new strip for us” and the cringe worthy mental image that produces.

Hair (1979)

 


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Draft dodging has never been so fun! Naïve farm boy Claude signs up for the Army but falls in with the dirty hippies of Central Park, fully embracing their ways of free love and LSD. In a fit of wacky hippie hijinks his friend Berger switches places with him at the Army base and gets shipped off to Vietnam, where he of course dies immediately due to definite lack of combat training. This is somehow supposed to be the catalyst for the peace movement, I don’t know I kind of don’t see how the government is at fault for this one other than keeping terrible track of their guys. Why its not for the kids: You expect public sex and hallucinogens from the hippies but its pretty discomforting to see the mom from Christmas Vacation tripping balls.

– Amelia Steinmetz

 

 

The Popfilter Fall 2014 TV Challenge

ROUND ONE

BAD JUDGE

bad-judge

VS

gracepointcanren1

GRACEPOINT

View the bracket at http://challonge.com/popfilter

Dear Everyone Involved with Bad Judge,

Shame on you. You’ve managed to produced a show devoid of any redeemable quality whatsoever. Your lead, played by Kate Walsh, is essentially that girl from freshmen year who instead of developing interests and a personality partied too hard, slept with an entire fraternity and dropped out by second semester. Instead of bartending, the only job suitable for this person, you situate her as a judge, the most respectable position in law, and allow that absurdity to be the crux of the show. What were you thinking? What are you, anyway? I’m a bit confused, are you about a workplace sitcom about cheeky female judge or is your focus her life surrounding her job? Pick a direction. Or better yet, stop this thing forever. This show is a train wreck from start to finish. The dialogue is insipid and the story goes nowhere. The script seems like it was written by aliens, in that it has no understanding of what human interactions are like. And the speech! The speech she gives as a keynote speaker at the end is so bad I had to watch it multiple times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. I assume you were stoned when you wrote and/or filmed it so you remember it as being brilliant, it so here it is verbatim:

 

The exhilarating and terrifying truth is that nothing adequately prepares you for what it feels to uphold the law. Is there a chance that you will be swallowed whole by your job? Yes. Absolutely. Before you know it you will be using the nearest teaspoon as your makeup mirror or to adjust the knot in your tie. And it will freak you, by the way, because no one ever tells you that you appear upside down in a spoon. But you do. And its an excellent reminder because the very spirit of the law is about making things right side up, and doing whatever you can to keep it that way.

*Applause *

 

If anyone can tell me what the hell that means I will eat my shoe. I saw a baby vomit all over his mother today and I found that a harder hitting and more compelling story than anything going on in this disaster of a pilot.

You went against Gracepoint in this bracket. Gracepoint could have been two stars worse than it was and still beaten you. Have you seen it? It stars a Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn and Dr. Who’s David Tennant. The pilot is the first of a 10-part series that delves into the mysteries surrounding a boy’s death in a sleepy suburban town. The pilot does an adequate job of setting up its universe and introducing its characters (though some scenes linger uncomfortably long.) It shows a spark of promise, which is more than I can say for you.

The truth is that you never had the dream of a prayer of a chance against any of the new fall shows. You are the worst thus far. Pity you, I do.

Devoted TV Fan,

Stephanie Rose

NEXT: SURVIVORS REMORSE VS MULANEY

Popfilter’s Fall TV Challenge

ROUND ONE

STALKER

stalker-official-trailer

VS

a-to-z

A TO Z

See the bracket at http://challonge.com/popfilter

Ryan and I are about halfway through round one! It’s very exciting. But so far, our matches haven’t made a lot of sense. We often compare two shows that are diametrically opposed to one another, i.e a 30 minute comedy and a 90 minute procedural (as is the case with today’s pairing.) But there’s a strange logic to it. It forces us to compare the larger components that make up a show instead of going beat for beat on which show told the best jokes or what had the most compelling story. It becomes an issue of which pilot presented the best, period. A to Z and Stalker don’t need to have anything in common other than they are both premiering this fall. One is a better sitcom than the other is a drama; no accounting for taste. But here’s why:

The remarkable thing about A to Z, an NBC comedy, is how it fits an entire romantic comedy into a 22-minute episode. In order to do this, it forced the characters to act in a way that no human being would ever act just to hurry along the plot. It also relied on the disembodied narrator, played by the AMAZING Katey Sagal, to tell the audience the things the show didn’t have the time flesh out. But if we forgive it that, it was a cute, relatively tight, schmaltzy story about two people falling in love. It wasn’t so encumbered by the breakneck pace that it wasn’t enjoyable to watch. And based on the check that the pilot wrote, that the show will tell the story of their seven-month relationship, it’s going to have to slow way-the-hell down to cash it. That’s because networks capitalize on audiences’ hatred of letting go of TV characters. They like money, you see. It took Ted Mosby nine seasons to explain to his kids how he met their mother, something my father could do in the nine steps from the kitchen to the dining room. Although, I can watch Cristin Milioti and Ben Feldman (who I always confuse with Rookie of the Year star Thomas Ian Nicholas) bumble around a little while before it gets stale. They go really well together.

Stalker is a freak-of-the-week procedural that centers on a special unit of the Los Angeles police department that handles, you guessed it, stalkers. For a show that opens with a woman being burned alive in her car, it’s pretty boring. The show rests on the shoulders of Beth Davis, who’s got the ice-queen-with-an-edge thing down pat, and aging dream-boat Dylan McDermott who play detectives working the unit. In his article comparing NCIS: New Orleans and Gotham, Ryan established a set of rules for procedurals. Number 1: Turn fun facts into a show. Did you know 1/6 females and 1/19 males are victims of stalking? Check. Number two: The story takes 44 minutes to tell. The pilot had a B-plot about a college boy who is stalked by his former roommate. This served to distract from how absurd the murderer in the main plot was, but neither felt dragged out or rushed through. Check, but not great. Number three: Have a little mystery. Here’s where the show goes off the rails. During some unsubtle glimpses into who these characters are, we find out that she’s a former victim of a stalker and he’s stalking the mother of his child. Check, but in the hackest way possible. And number four: No cheating. Stalker actually doesn’t cheat. There are no computer programs that make a low-res picture crystal clear through enhancing nor short-cuts to information there is no reasonable explanation for anyone having. McDurmott gets lucky, but that’s not the same as cheating. I can accept luck. They catch their killer through deductive reasoning and police work. Done and done. Number four alone makes Stalker better than its procedural peers. However, it’s strengths do not overcome its flaws enough for it to go any further in the bracket. That leaves A to Z’s charming cast and comprehensive storytelling moving on to round two.

 

-Stephanie Rose

Next up:

BAD JUDGE VS GRACEPOINT

 

THIS WEEK AT YPF

What You Missed This Week at YourPopFilter.com :

In the YPF Fall TV bracket, Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories fought Madame Secretary, Scorpion faced off with Gotham , Happyland battled Transparent , and Selfie took on Manhattan Love Story .

 

On the podcast side of things, PopFilter Versus Heat Checks (which means anytime someone did something strange with their career), on Popfilter Podcast 165 the friends pretty much talked about Prince the whole time, and a new show got added to the empire!

 

Keep coming back, because it works if you work it!

 

 

 

Superhero Hour Hour (Vol.1)

Play

Popfilter Presents: 

The Superhero Hour Hour 

superhero_tv_cover-01

The  newest show in the growing YPF podcast empire, the Superhero Hour Hour will tackle ComicBook Television every Friday. Ryan and Mike from the PopFilter Podcast will be discussing comic adaptations on TV, new comic TV news, and a whole bunch of other shit every Friday.

Volume 1: Letter from the Editor(s), News, Gotham 101-102, Agents of SHIELD 102-102, Future Volumes.

Enjoy Filterinos!

The PopFilter 2014 TV Challenge

Round One

 

SELFIE

abc-upfront-selfie

vs

Manhattan-Love-Story-Poster-ABC

MANHATTAN LOVE STORY

Follow the bracket at challonge.com/popfilter

 

I’d like to add the title of the new ABC sitcom Selfie to the List of Things People Need to Settle the Fuck Down About, right after bacon and mustaches. Yes, it’s not a very good title. Maybe it will be embarrassing for all involved to look back at this show in 30 years, shocked at the fact that they would ever name something Selfie. But if there was a show that came out in the early 90’s named Pogs, or in the 70’s called Polaroids of Bellbottoms, we probably would have hated them then, but 30 years later thought the titles were cute. Or, much more likely, 30 years later we wouldn’t think of them at all. Yes, it’s a bad name, not just because of how it will be instantly dated, but because it’s generic. But they didn’t want to call their show My Fair Lady 2.0, and they couldn’t think of any thing better. Let’s all move on and discuss the show.

Selfie is another entry into that ever blossoming world of shows with main characters who are terrible, vapid people, also known as the Don’t Trust a Show Starring a B rule. This is a tough corner to put yourself in, and nine times out of ten a show can’t figure out how to do it. Selfie already seems like they have figured it out. The pilot was by no means perfect. I wouldn’t even call it good. But it does seem to have this on lockdown. Here’s a couple of rules of thumb that Selfie gets right:

1. Have your character lack self-awareness. This is how we were able to put up with Michael Scott all of those years. Shitty people suck, but shitty people who love how shitty they are are much harder to watch.

2. Casting, casting, casting. I’m not a Dr Who fan, so the only thing I knew about Karen Gillan going into this was that she was one of Thanos’ daughters in Guardians of the Galaxy. One of the greatest performances of all time, sure, but not really enough to know she could headline a show like this. So far, it seems like she can.

3. It seems like writers enjoy challenging themselves, seeing if they can create the worst character that has ever been the lead of a TV show or a movie. This is a boring thing to do for antagonists, much less protagonists. Even though you want your lead character to be something of a twat, you still have to make him or her fully fleshed out, with strengths and flaws. You can focus on the flaws a little bit more, since you really, really want that challenge, but there has to be something resembling three dimensions.

The clunkiness of Selfie never fell further than average pilotitis. Manhattan Love Story, however, let its pilotitis doom itself from the start. The first scene of the show tried so hard to establish its premise, in which we can hear the inner thoughts of the boy and the girl as they begin a relationship, that we’re given the now legendary “boobs and purses” scene. For those who haven’t seen it yet, the first scene of Manhattan Love Story lets us know that men love boobs and women love purses. It’s a laughably bad introduction to a episode that shows a little bit of spark in its midsection, but can in no way come close to pulling out of its nosedive. Selfie moves on to Round 2, but it has a lot of work to do if it wants to sniff Round 3.

– Ryan Haley

 

THE FIRST ROUND CONTINUES TOMORROW WITH STALKER VS A TO Z!!!

The Popfilter 2014 Fall TV Challenge

Round One

HAPPYLAND

happyland

VS

MV5BMzY2MDI5NTEzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDA3OTMxMTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_

TRANSPARENT

See the winners and losers at http://challonge.com/popfilter

 

Today’s fight is brought to you by MTV and Amazon.com. It’s not enough to say that one show is better than the other. One show is clearly better than the other. This is Pacquiao versus a middle school junior varsity wrestler named Todd. Pacquiao has the fighting acumen that comes from thousands and thousands of hours of training, hard work and intense, regimented discipline. Todd barely maintains a C average and gets a pizza party if he wins a match. It’s a woefully unfair fight.

Transparent is the story of a family whose patriarch comes out as transgendered. The pilot does everything right. It builds its world skillfully. It manages to communicate that it’s more than a premise. The characters and their relationships to each other are introduced naturally. This show is a workshop on how to give characters time and space to come alive. The transitions are sleek and the production value is way up there. The pilot is fortified by the amazing talent of Jeffrey Tambor and Gabby Hoffman. Based on the strength of this episode, this show entered the lineup of things I watch regularly. So far, it’s the contender all the other shows need to beat. My money is on it to fight it’s way through the bracket and take the belt home for the entire fall TV challenge.

Happyland is about a disgruntled teenager who works at a faux Disneyland with her mother who plays the princess. It’s the classic girl meets boy, boy kisses girl, boy turns out to be girl’s half-brother. The flaws of this show are glaringly obvious, especially when compared to Transparent. First of all, MTV has been producing dramas since 1992’s Catwalk. That’s 22 years! Yet Happyland looks like a chintzy, amateur, dollar-store version of a television show. Every scene is saturated with cheapness, from the bad acting to the idiotic premise.  MTV has had two decades to figure this stuff out, so why does this look like the premier of a cable-access-channel show? Second of all, the girl who plays the best friend is the worst actress I have ever seen and it hurts my brain to watch her. How she found work as a professional actress is mind boggling. And finally, the first part of the premise is actually kind of interesting. She’s a girl who works at a theme park she was practically raised in. Her job is to work behind the scenes, holding up a facade of perfection while her life at home with her single, immature mother is anything but. Why in the hell did they throw in the angle about her getting flirty with her brother? That is just utterly weird, and drama just for the sake of drama.

In a bout that surprises no one, Transparent leaves Happyland bruised and beaten on the floor and coasts triumphantly to round two.

-Stephanie Rose

 

Next time Ryan will pit

MANHATTAN LOVE STORY VS SELFIE

PopFilter Podcast Episode 165

Play

It’s all Prince all the time, in this extra-special Prince filled episode! Listen to the friends review 1999, Purple Rain, Sign O The Times, and Bresson’s The Devil Probably (because he’s the Prince of Lies). And it all kicks of with a Rushmore of Princes!

 

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

Review us on iTunes!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

The Popfilter 2014 Fall TV Challenge

ROUND 2

SCORPION

CBS_SCORPION_101_CIAN_IMAGE_404462_640x360

VS

Gotham-TV-Show

GOTHAM

Follow the bracket at http://challonge.com/popfilter

 Sometimes is very difficult to weigh the merit of one show against another. Comparing two shows, what each show did wrong, what each did right and declaring one better than the other can be challenging. Sometimes it’s hard to choose a winner. This, however, is not one of those times.

Gotham is doing something that I haven’t seen before. For lack of a better term, I’ll call it dramatic camp. That means it’s campy on purpose and still takes itself seriously. The camp is applied with a light touch. Comedians are cast in serious roles and play them straight, but with a slight twist. The gunfight looks like a live action Dick Tracy cartoon. The bosses of the crime syndicate are legit bad guys who you’d find in any police drama while the bad guys familiar to those who grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series (The Riddler, Penguin etc) are gobers. No one is winking at the camera and there is no attempt at irony. That’s a bold move for a show that is primarily targeted at the aging, irony-loving hipsters of my generation. Gotham is in touch with its superhero-show heritage at the same time as being a semi-procedural drama about a police force.  It shouldn’t work. Nothing about what I just wrote makes this show seem watchable. But some-crazy-how it comes together in a way that makes sense for the story it’s telling. Gotham has my attention.

I just watched Scorpion’s second episode in a room filled with my dog’s noxious farts. After finishing it, my dog’s farts didn’t smell so bad. That’s how much Scorpion stinks. (Jones is fine, she just got into the garbage and when she eats trash she gets toxic flatulence.) The things that were wrong with the pilot are also wrong with the second episode. All this show does is cheat. It cheats its way through a deliriously incoherent second episode and cheats its viewers out of their precious time. It uses genius in place of making sense. “This sick little girl has a virus bioengineered to be infectious only to her! Yes that’s a thing! I figured it out when I looked at her laptop and saw it had a virus specifically targeted to it. Who cares how I figured it out? Fuck our audience.” That was only paraphrased slightly. I’m just happy to drop kick this show out of the bracket and never have to watch another episode. Don’t watch it. But if you have seen it, and feel like I feel, please write to Nina Tassler, President at CBS Entertainment, 7800 Beverly Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90039-2112 and let her know this crap is unacceptable and insulting to the intelligence of the stupidest people on the planet: people who watch CBS regularly.

-Stephanie Rose

NEXT UP:

TRANSPARENT VS HAPPYLAND

 

The PopFilter 2014 TV Challenge

Round 2

 

TIM AND ERIC’S BEDTIME STORIES

tim-and-eric-s-bedtime-stories

vs

MADAM

MADAM SECRETARY

 

Follow the action at http://challonge.com/POPFILTER

 

The second episode of Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories finds Bob Odenkirk playing a doctor that specializes in toe removal. The second episode of Madam Secretary finds Tea Leoni and crew essentially reading the same script as the pilot, but with a different bad guy (the first episode starred AIDS, the second episode features an ISIS-like terrorist group). Now that we’ve entered the second round of the tournament, with the first round hopefully serving as a way to skim off the garbage, we’re no longer comparing pilots, those wacky bastions of crazy bullshit. Now we get a better feel for what the show is going to be. And as slick and well done as Madam Secretary appears to be so far, it’s easy to see what’s scary about the show.

 

Madam Secretary has already set itself up to be a proseerderal (better name coming soon), a procedural with serialized aspects. Just for the record, if two characters in an NCIS show have a growing flirtation throughout the course of a season, that’s not a proseerderal. That’s still a dumb procedural that can’t even get being a procedural right. The serialized aspects of Madam Secretary actually take a step forward in the second episode introducing an illegitimate, college-aged daughter who is clearly just there to stir shit. It’s a much needed stir, though, and will probably be appreciated by most Madam Secretary viewers. It’s the procedural part of the show that basically settles the series softly into a coma. You see, Madam Secretary (of Madam Secretary fame) doesn’t play by the rules. If she has an idea that the Chief of Staff doesn’t like, she goes over his head, the president gives the thumbs up, the plan works perfectly, she gets high fives, the Chief of Staff awkwardly smiles and tells her not to do that again. Sure, it’s only happened in two episodes, but at the same time it has happened in ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE EPISODES. And based on the history of shows like Madam Secretary, there’s no reason to think that that trend won’t continue for the rest of its run. That doesn’t matter for this competition, though. I can only comment on the first two episodes, which were slick, tight, and boring.

 

Tim and Eric took a huge step up from the first episode, however. Neither of the titular actors were in this episode, which wasn’t necessarily the reason for the improvement, but it gave us a break from their oddly accurate impressions of white suburbanites. Instead, we get a horror story (maybe?) crossed with a cautionary tale (I think?) that weaves its absurdity into its plot, instead of into its editing. I could send Tim and Eric to the third round for no other reason than the odds are much better I won’t be bored while continuing to watch this show. But – believe it or not – the show works on so many more levels than Madam Secretary does, or has even attempted. Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories, welcome to the Elite 8.

 

– Ryan Haley

 

MORE ROUND 2 ACTION LATER TODAY WHEN GOTHAM TAKES ON SCORPION