Emma’s Faves of 2015: TV Shows

Daredevil (Netflix)

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The main cast of Season 1 of “Daredevil” (Netflix): Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosario Dawson, Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, & Elden Hanson

This show (unlike Jessica Jones- sorry, big fans) has a likeable lead character, blind vigilante/lawyer Matt Murdock (played by the boyish Charlie Cox), a terrific/multi-layered villain- Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), and even some humor (Daredevil’s best bud/law partner, Foggy).  The writing is quite strong, as are the recurring/side characters; I LOVED the flashbacks (esp. Matt’s relationship w/ his struggling/loving boxer father).  One of the unusual (for our time) themes of the show is hero’s relationship w/ his religion (Catholicism, in this case).  I just found that SO refreshing!  As for D’Onofrio, he was the main draw for me (WOW, I was NOT disappointed)!  There are strong/interesting ladies on this show, too, including the nurse (Rosario Dawson) who also appears in Jessica Jones.

Fresh Off the Boat (ABC)

FRESH OFF THE BOAT - ABC's "Fresh Off the Boat" stars Randall Park as Louis Huang, Forrest Wheeler as Emery Huang, Constance Wu as Jessica Huang, Hudson Yang as Eddie Huang and Ian Chen as Evan Huang. (ABC/Bob D'Amico)
ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” stars Randall Park (Louis Huang), Forrest Wheeler (Emery Huang), Constance Wu (Jessica Huang), Hudson Yang (Eddie Huang) and Ian Chen (Evan Huang). (ABC/Bob D’Amico)

You probably know the history behind this (much lauded) show, BUT it’s VERY funny, clever, and (at times) emotional.  I’ve recommended it to MANY folks, esp. to those who are 1st gen growing up in U.S.  (I even got my parents into watching it, though they prefer films.)  There are some jokes that are even MORE funny if you’re from an Asian-American background!  Constance Woo (just aged 29- WOW)  has recently gotten a LOT of positive reviews; they are well-deserved.  With each ep, I see the lead actor (Hudson Yang), getting more stronger, confident, and on point.  He reminds me of a few boys (and even girls) that I knew back in JHS and HS.  The BEST thing about this show (IMO) the solid, loving, cooperative marriage between Jessica and Louis (Randall Park, an actor I always liked). 

Master of None (Netflix)

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Promo poster for “Master of None” (Netflix)

This comedy series (created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang) is unlike ANYTHING I’ve seen on TV- you NEED to see it now… or VERY soon!  Ravi Patel (Meet the Patels) is a recurring character on the show; he plays an Indian-American actor (just like Dev).  Ansari (just in his early 30s) cleverly brings up themes like typecasting in Hollywood, which even someone of his popularity has been subject to in the past.  The ep focusing on the creators’ parents coming to America stories has been highly recommended by friends, critics, and MANY of you out here online. 

The Affair (Showtime)

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Season 2 promo photo of “The Affair” (Showtime): Joshua Jackson (Cole), Ruth Wilson (Alison), Dominic West (Noah), & Maura Tierney (Helen)

Hopefully, you were able to see the finale (WOW, it was a surprise) last SUN.  I thought that the show (which features 4 strong co-leading actors in their 30s and 40s) was taking a weird turn, BUT it got back on track quickly!  Let me know- are you #TeamNoah (as I tried to be) or #TeamCole (it’s tough to decide)?  Are you excited about Season 3? 

The Affair: Season 2 (Episode 6)

Part 1: Helen

We finally learn exactly what’s wrong w/ Martin!  He has Crohn’s Disease (related to Noah’s side, as his mother died of M.S. when he was in late teens).  It wasn’t a psychological thing, as Margaret kept insisting.

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Helen and Noah decide to be… grown-ups (YAY) re: their divorce.

We have to do better.  I have to do better.  And I will.  You’re an excellent father.  -Helen says to Noah after Martin’s surgery (on perforated bowel)

Helen tells her mom that she’s decided to split custody w/ Noah.  Margaret is shocked and appalled (of course)!

Kathleen Chalfant as Margaret and Maura Tierney as Helen in The Affair (season 2, episode 6). - Photo: David M. Russell/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_206_9643
Kathleen Chalfant as Margaret and Maura Tierney as Helen in The Affair (season 2, episode 6). – Photo: David M. Russell/SHOWTIME

You wanted my marriage to fail… because yours was a sham, and you were jealous.  I loved him… so much… but you convinced me that it wasn’t enough! Helen declares to her mother before kicking her out

Margaret reveals that Bruce is divorcing her (finally).  She looks tired and defeated- she’s STILL a witch though (LOL).

Flash forward: John tells Helen that something was found during discovery on Scotty.  A witness wants $100,000- Helen says quickly that she will pay.  Wow, Helen is Noah’s ride or die chick!  John asks his secretary to call Oscar (the blackmailer, again).

Part 2: Noah

The fam is prepping for Martin’s return home from the hospital (awww, LOVED it).  Whitney even got a gluten-free, sugar-free cake. Noah looks so happy!

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All the Solloway kids are happy… for now!

When Whitney learns of her dad’s new apt (in Crown Heights), she refuses to go next weekend.  Helen quickly offers him the brownstone, since she’s going to visit Marion (an old gal pal?) on Shelter Island anyway.  Noah is pleasantly surprised.

I like it here.  I’m learning a lot.  -Alison explains to Noah (who wants to whisk her away ASAP)

Alison, who has cleared her head some; she has also been celibate for the past 6 weeks (after night w/ Cole).  Noah is upset when he learns that she’s read parts of his book, but tries to explain (saying she misunderstood).

I blew up my life for you! Noah shouts at Alison

We’re not living in your book!  You can’t control me!  -Alison replies

After the reiki session w/ Alison’s mom, Noah does indeed embrace his dark side in a scene that MANY viewers (on Twitter during the first airing) found troubling.  Alison drops a bombshell- she’s pregnant. But who’s the father, Cole or Noah?  He changes the ending of his book (as Harry the editor wanted)- Alison dies. 

The Affair: Season 2 (Episodes 4 & 5)

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the Showtime series The Affair. 

EPISODE 4

Now that the couple are in divorce litigation (thanks, Whitney), the gloves have come off – not only are Helen and Noah individually going for full custody, but now Noah is trying to get whatever he can of his wife’s money. Compounding the situation is the judge’s motion forbidding Alison to have any contact with Noah’s kids. This basically means that even though the lovers – or, in Jon Gottlief‘s word, “paramours” – can now afford a large enough apartment courtesy of Max‘s $50,000, they can’t live together until the divorce and custody battle has been resolved.  -Sarene Leeds (Wall Street Journal episode recap)

It’s NOT going well for Helen. The judge is blatantly unsympathetic to her case, especially once he gets wind of the fact that she and the kids live in a $3 million Park Slope brownstone that was purchased out of a family trust. Gottlief advises Helen to meet with him, Margaret, and Bruce to go over the Butler family’s assets. Helen starts chugging wine the second she gets home.

Maura Tierney as Helen and Josh Stamberg as Max in The Affair (season 2, episode 4). - Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_204_1777
Maura Tierney as Helen and Josh Stamberg as Max in The Affair (season 2, episode 4). – Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME

No one’s good enough for you! – Max shouts at Helen

Max shows up w/ flowers, the news that he gave Noah $50,000, and two plane tickets to Buenos Aires. Helen tries to let him down (let him go) easy, BUT Max is NOT having it!  He lashes out at her (in a VERY harsh way); we know that he’s heartbroken.

Helen takes a pot lozenge Max gave to her a few weeks back. She acts rude to a potential customer in her store, then starts unloading on her hairstylist, as none of her friends would come with her to court.  Helen gets a call from Trevor and Stacey’s camp- she mixed up the days and they are stranded w/o a ride!

She races to the camp with foils still in her hair.  She then tells Stacey to unbuckle her seat belt to move the HUGE foil rocket ship she made at camp, b/c it’s blocking her rear view.  An elderly man is asking her to move the car; his wife uses a walker. Not helping matters in the slightest is Trevor, using his anger toward his parents’ divorce to screech at them at any given moment.

So Helen starts backing out, having forgotten that her seven-year-old daughter was not buckled in, and crashes into another car. Stacey is lucky to walk away with just a nasty bump on the head, but Helen has made enough of a scene that she attracts the attention of a couple of police officers. Things go from bad to worse when she does everything, but try to stuff her purse under her shirt in order to keep the cops from discovering the vaporizer and eighth of marijuana inside.

Trevor screams at his mother to give over her bag, going so far as to yank it out of her arms when she refuses. In their struggle, Helen knocks into one of the cops, and is subsequently arrested for officer assault (YIKES)!!!

Why are you doing this to us? -Helen asks Noah (in her POV)

Jake Richard Siciliano as Martin and Mark Margolis as Arthur in The Affair (season 2, episode 4). - Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_204_6401
Jake Richard Siciliano as Martin and Mark Margolis as Arthur in The Affair (season 2, episode 4). Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME

We (FINALLY) meet Noah’s fam when he takes his sons on an (unplanned) trip to his sister’s house somewhere in the New York state ‘burbs.  It turns out that his dad is ALSO visiting; he sits in the living room glued to a baseball game on the TV.  Martin joins him, also providing him w/ nuts (for a snack).  There is tension and a LOT of awkwardness between Noah and his father (they can barely communicate in full sentences).  Hmmm… there MUST be more to this.

Dominic West as Noah and Jennifer Esposito as Nina and in The Affair (season 2, episode 4). - Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_204_7453
Dominic West as Noah and Jennifer Esposito as Nina and in The Affair (season 2, episode 4). – Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME

Noah’s little sis Nina (Jennifer Esposito, who I was pleasantly surprised to see) tries to stay calm, BUT we soon see that she does NOT approve of the way Noah is handling his life.  They (quickly) get into a shouting match, then Noah drags the kids out.   Awww, I want to see MORE of Nina!

Later on (in the motel), we see that Martin is feeling sick- something is wrong w/ his stomach.  Noah calls Allison (who was a pediatric nurse), and she tells him to take Martin to the hospital, but the kid refuses.

Why do you get to f—k up and I don’t?  -Helen asks Noah (in his POV)

Flash-forward: At Suffolk County courthouse, and Gottlief is pleading for a change in trial location away from the East End, refusing the prosecutor’s offer of the plea deal (“criminally negligent homicide,” which will put Noah away for one to three years) again. The judge rejects Gottlief’s motion, sets a trial date, and Noah’s future as a long-term prison resident comes one step closer to a real possibility: “Descent” is all about the people of Montauk, and let’s just say they’re not fans of his idea of “fiction.”

EPISODE 5

Ruth WIlson as Alison in The Affair (season 2, episode 5). - Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_205_2746
Ruth Wilson as Alison in The Affair (season 2, episode 5). – Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME

Allison is confused out by Yvonne’s cold behavior, but then we learn that the publisher has been reading Noah’s new novel (from Robert).  Speaking of the older man…  When Allison helps him w/ physical therapy exercises, Roberts tells her more of his personal history.  It turns out that Robert cheated on his wife w/ Yvonne, who was also the best friend of the wife.  He then gets a BIT too excited when she massages his thigh- Allison is VERY embarrassed/shocked (as was a LOT of the audience)!  Looks like Robert does NOT think of Allison as a just a friend… SO disappointed by this! 

A bit later that day, Robert explains that Yvonne has chosen a young man (promising writer) to work as her personal assistant.  Allison is surprised by this, but what can she do?  She leaves messages for Noah, then quickly packs a bag to leave the cabin.

Ruth WIlson as Alison and Maura Tierney as Helen in The Affair (season 2, episode 5). - Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_205_2220
Ruth Wilson as Alison and Maura Tierney as Helen in The Affair (season 2, episode 5). – Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME

…she looks at herself in the mirror through tears. All she sees is a sad woman, the furthest thing from a temptress. She heads to Brooklyn and the Solloway family brownstone in a desperate attempt to find Noah, but the only person answering the door there is Helen.  WSJ

Cole has a quickie with Tory, a blond he picked up in his taxi in a previous ep, only to be caught and punched in the face by her husband. He meets Luisa (Catalina Sandino Moreno) who is working as a nanny/housekeeper at Tory’s house.

Cole and Luisa meet yet again later in the day, on Scotty‘s boat, after Cole discovers his brother has called realtors to assess his (technically Alison’s) beachfront property.  Oscar, who has been intent on building a shopping/entertainment center, has lost his loan.  Scotty wants Cole to sell the house and give him the $1 million (so he can go in on a nightclub plan instead w/ a hedge-fund investor).

Luisa has been hooking up w/ Scotty, but she’s MAD when she notices the drug dealing.  Cole drives Luisa to her job as a cocktail waitress at The End (the upscale club where Noah and Alison had that passionate night out in S1, and it’s also where Det. Jeffries  investigated. On the drive, we learn that Luisa is undocumented.  Scotty’s ALSO her boss at The End, Luisa explains to Cole.

A casual quip from Luisa almost destroys this new relationship before it even begins: He talks about how he’s the scion of a multi-generational Montauk family, to which the Ecuadorian Luisa, unaware of Gabriel, jokes, “And your son will be Chinese.” Cole then throws a wet blanket on the evening by revealing his big secret (“My son is dead”), but Luisa, to her credit, owns up to her faux pas and persuades him to stay, buying him a drink as a small mea culpa.  -WSJ 

There is a tenderness between Allison (surprise, she’s back in their house) and Cole (who needs “something different”) as they reconnect that we never see with Noah.  Also, Cole has no idea Alison is engaged to Noah.

While sitting on the deck, Scotty approaches Cole, thinking his brother has started sleeping with Luisa. This drives Scotty to accuse Cole of being a “narcissist” and “taking everything for himself,” stopping his rant only when he sees a blanket-covered Alison step onto the deck.

Flash-forward: The lawyer approaches Det. Jeffries, boasting that he’s been in Montauk for about 72 hours and has found out that Scotty wasn’t “popular.” Gottlief suspects that the killer was “Scott’s brother,” someone “who stole Scott’s business plan right out from under his nose.”  Jeffries isn’t interested in Gottlief’s theory, so he leaves the defense attorney to be served by a name-tag-wearing Oscar, who is now a staffer. Oscar asks Gottlief if he’s “Solloway’s lawyer.” “What’s it to you?” replies Gottlief. We then see Oscar place something (we don’t know WHAT yet) on the table before the camera pans away to the new sign- “Lockhart’s Lobster Roll.”

The Affair: Season 2 (Episode 3)

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the Showtime series The Affair.  

Did YOU catch that Cole was wearing a wedding ring when he met w/ Alison (in previous ep)?  A viewer (Charles Harkins) did, then wrote into the Afterbuzz TV  to point that out.  Whoa, good catch there!

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Love is NOT all you need, Noah & Alison keep learning!

Though he hid it from Helen, we know that Noah and Alison are living together (6 weeks or so) in the Hudson Valley cabin.  (Whoa, it’s WAY too early to get engaged!)  Noah learns some facts about Alison, including the almost drowning herself in S1 E8.  Several viewers have commented that Alison seems “so down” still; they imagined that she’d be happier; Alison Dean (Afterbuzz TV) replied that we will learn more about Alison in the near future (like more details re: her young son’s death). 

Part 1: Noah

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The issues, conflicts, and awkwardness of the Friedmans MUST be reminding Noah & Alison of difficulties of marriage.

In this version, Alison is the one (after an awkward pause) creates a story of how the couple met at the lunch w/ Robert and Yvonne.  Noah looks  (a bit) surprised by this, but quickly joins in.  Later on, he comments to Alison that “it was a bit unreal.” 

Whitney (surprise!) storms into the cabin.  She is majorly pissed-off, cursing loudly, and being nasty to BOTH Noah and Alison.  Then, she spies the engagement ring and blows up! 

Alison offers him the ring back, BUT it’s quite different in her version!  Noah think of Alison as someone who is stronger than she looks, so she is (usually) the active (coming on strong) person in the relationship.

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“I think she’s the most openly sensitive…” -Actress Julia Goldani Telles

Before Whitney leaves on the train, she says that she wants to come live w/ him full-time.  She complains about her mom and grandmother, referring to them as “witches.”  Yes, Whitney is a difficult teen girl, BUT the way she talks and her behavior are NOT so uncommon (in these modern times).

Noah has lunch w/ Max in NYC.  Max gives (few/vague) details about his new relationship (we know it’s Helen).  Then, Max gives him $50,000 (chump change for a guy like him).  Hmmm… what will Noah say when he learns re: Max and Helen?

Part 2: Alison

Yvonne is excited to learn that Noah and Alison are engaged, and she prattles on w/ questions. Noah mentions having 4 kids right away.  Alison is surprised to hear the “I think I’m done” (she wants kids, I’m pretty sure).  Noah notices the sad/disappointed look on her face, then says that they hadn’t discussed it.  Robert is embarrassed by Yvonne’s nosiness, so he takes her glass and pours the white wine out (LOVED this little bit, personally).

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Whitney is a complex kid… she can manipulate her elders well!

Whitney came to the mansion (NOT acting as obnoxious/outraged as in Noah’s version) while Noah and Yvonne were talking re: his new book.  The next morning, she makes coffee and eggs for Alison.  We learn that  her intent is get Scott’s number (“Because I’m in love with him!”)  She and Alison seem to get along.

Do you think we’re making a terrible mistake?  -Alison asks Noah re: their engagement

In her version, Alison is more meek and passive; she asks the above question.  In the background, we see Whitney having a cigarette.  Alison is (obviously) thinking of her (and Noah’s other kids).  Viewers have commented that HE has more to lose than Alison.

Alison and Robert go look for the rogue dog (Pete) and they have a GREAT conversation.  It seemed VERY “real” and “genuine,” as the Afterbuzz TV hosts commented.  I LOVE Robert!

PaleyFest NY: Red Carpet Interviews

The Affair: Season 2 (Episode 2)

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the Showtime series The Affair.  

I LOVED how Lem Gonsalves (Afterbuzz TV) compared this show to those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books we read as kids!

Part 1: Alison

Who am I to you?  -Alison asks Noah

As Alison Dean (Afterbuzz TV) noted, Alison (Ruth Wilson) is uncertain of… everything, b/c their relationship is VERY new, their lives have changed dramatically, and they’re STILL married to other people.  Noah (Dominic West) is going into the city to handle the mediation, meet w/ Harry. etc.  But Alison (at this point) doesn’t have a life- she’s just reading and hanging out. 

I can tell you’re a country girl.  -Robert comments to Alison

Robert (Peter Friedman), the older writer at whose guest house they are staying, kindly offers her a ride into town. (FYI: This area is the Hudson Valley.)  He and Alison have a nice/friendly convo.  I thought he was just a VERY sweet/laid-back guy!  We find out that Robert prefers the country; his wife Yvonne (Joanna Gleason) prefers the city. 

What, he doesn’t have tools?  -Cole asks w/ slight disgust re: Noah

Cole (Joshua Jackson) comes to the house while Alison is out (guess they don’t have locks).  When she sees him, she’s surprised and a BIT scared.  Cole drove (a long way) to bring her some of her clothes.  Then, he offers to fix the toilet (yeah, that was awkward).

Yvonne comes over to invite Alison to tea later that afternoon.  She sees Cole, who has repaired the toilet, and asks is he’s single.  She has a niece who likes guys like him, she comments. Before he leaves, Cole gives the toy chest that belonged to their late son to Alison (awww…she is shaken up/close to tears).   

At tea, Alison admires the beautiful main house.  Robert, is was recently injured, hobbles in w/ his cane.  Yvonne gives him a sandwich to eat.  She comes off as more Type A than her husband; it turns out that she desperately needs a personal assistant.  Robert offers Alison this job; we learn that Yvonne runs a publishing house (cool, BUT a LOT of work).

When Noah comes home and learns about the job offer, he gets mad.  They are already staying in this house for free, so it’s TOO much to get money from them.  Alison is surprised/upset by his reaction.  A few moments later, they make up (yes, they are STILL hot/heavy)! 

Flash forward: Alison (w/ baby girl) goes to the Suffolk Co. courthouse and runs into Noah’s lawyer, Jon Gottlief (Richard Schiff- Toby from The West Wing).  She gets mad when she learns that Helen is paying for this guy. 

Part 2: Cole

Some people are just destined to fail.  -Bruce comments about Noah’s writing career

Bruce Butler (John Doman) gets in Cole’s cab (that’s his job since losing the ranch) and talks about his new life.  It turns out that he’s divorcing Margaret (NOT such a shock)!  He also talks about what’s been happening w/ his son-in-law (Noah).  Cole mostly listens quietly, but we know that he’s keenly interested.

After dropping Bruce at a house in Montauk (it’s NOT his place), Cole back the cab up and ALMOST hits a little boy (yikes)!  A pretty young woman grabs the boy just in time.  We learn that her name is named Luisa; she is the babysitter of the boy, not his mom.  So, how is this kid connected to Bruce?  Hmmm… we know that Bruce just got back from a vacay w/ his old flame from Michigan.  They are now together; she is quite a BIT younger than him (we know from S1).

Poor Cole!  He’s driving TOO much (24 hours), dealing w/ jerky/drunken passengers, and snorting coke (yikes).  Also, the Lockhart fam has disbanded (as we learn when Scotty comes by the taxi stand).

Ruth Wilson as Alison and Joshua Jackson as Cole in The Affair (season 2, episode 2). - Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_202_4267
Ruth Wilson as Alison and Joshua Jackson as Cole in The Affair (Season 2, Episode 2).  Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME

The meeting between the former couple is VERY different in this version.  Alison and Cole drink tea and talk calmly/pleasantly.  She lets him down easy, BUT then runs over to give him a LONG hug goodbye!

Flash forward: Cole meets Alison and her baby (named Joanie) for the first time.  The baby likes him (awww).  Inside the courtroom, the charges against Noah are read.  Jon says nothing, the bail is set at $500,000, and Noah is taken away.  The camera zooms in on Cole and stays there for a time- there is an intense expression on his face. OMG, do you think he killed Scotty!?