TIMELESS: Saving History and Inspiring Hope

I watch a ton of television and not all of them are worth blogging about – save a few. Now, I can proudly add NBC’s TIMELESS to that list.

With a touch of sci-fi rooted in historical fiction, TIMELESS follows a dedicated team (a historian, a pilot, and a soldier) determined to protect the present by saving history. Season one allowed us to delve into the wants, needs, hopes, and fears of it’s heroic trio:  Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett), and Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter). We came to understand them, cheer for them, “ship” them, and care enough to take the weekly journey with them.

After the hard-core fan base brought the show back from the TV cancellation bunker, season two honored what made the show so beloved while deepening it’s importance as a must-watch drama series. The creators and writing team didn’t play it safe by any means. They raised the bar each week, challenging their viewers to see history, and those who played an important role in it, as complex yet identifiable throughout time. They seamlessly interwove current struggles with those of who came before. For though our circumstances were drastically different, our hopes and fears weren’t so: love, acceptance, free will, freedom, friendship, and fighting for a cause you believe in.

 

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March for Science, Washington, D.C. – April 2017

 

I’ve reiterated numerous times on my genealogy blog how history was my least favorite subject. My older sister was the history buff, traveling to interesting locales and continuously learning about important points in our country’s foundation. If she were still alive, Jen would definitely have been a weekly viewer. (Wherever she is in time and space now, I hope she’s visiting all those historic places she researched so ferociously.)

Featuring a talented and diverse acting ensemble, TIMELESS makes history accessible to all; for what makes us different strengthens us. The flawed, relatable characters (including Jiya, Mason, Agent Christopher, and even Flynn) are a community, a team, a group of people who care for and love one another – race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation but a part of the whole.

I learn, reflect, and am moved after watching TIMELESS for two seasons. I implore the TV-powers-that-be to see as much worth in this impactful series as we do!

 

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with TIMELESS, NBC, its employees, subsidiaries, or associates is intended or implied.*

Award Show Weekend Prep

Award Show Time

Today marks the start of Golden Globes weekend and though I’d much rather be in Hollywood interviewing artists on the red carpet, I’m still excited for the telecast regardless of my location. Granted, I don’t watch any of the nominated TV shows nor have I seen any of the film nominees, but this is the time when I decide which ones interest me enough to spend my time or money.

I originally planned to host a viewing party, as I’ve done in years past. However, this year’s viewing will be a low-key event involving my couch and some themed desserts. As I look ahead to Sunday’s telecast, I included some of my earlier blog entries regarding award shows and why they fascinate me so.

Enjoy!!!!

CHAMPION THE ARTS – “...So while my friends and family may plan for the big play-off party I’ll be waiting with excitement for the upcoming entertainment award show season.

A GOLDEN REQUEST – “I have no desire of ever attending a Super Bowl but I do have a goal of going to each major award show at least once in my lifetime.  And the Golden Globes are the ones I seek to attend next!

REQUEST DENIED – “I arranged to visit my sister and her family in Los Angeles once I found out the date of the Golden Globes.  I figured I’d multi-task; spend time with family and check off “attend the Golden Globes” from my bucket list.

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with the Golden Globes telecast, the HFPA, or their affiliates/sponsors/subsidiaries is implied.*

 

TV Moments That Moved Me To Tears: ‘THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’

Next up on our list…The Vampire Diaries (The CW Network)

Dramatic television series can inspire, motivate, educate, and empower. However, they also have the ability to reach us on an emotional level. They do so by creating characters we enjoy watching, and rooting for, only to take them on journeys that make us reflect on our own lives and choices. While I’ve cried many a time during TV shows, there are five TV moments that not only had me sobbing like a baby but impressed me on a creative level. 

Moment 4

#4 – AUNT JENNA (The Vampire Diaries, S2 EP21 “The Sun Also Rises”):

While binge-watching The Vampire Diaries, I realized very quickly that the writers on this drama series knew how to create strong, conflicted, multi-layered characters. Rooting for and against a character frequently interchanged and you never knew when the tables would turn. Case in point…

After the death of her parents, Elena Gilbert’s family consisted of her brother, Jeremy, and her Aunt Jenna. Elena did all she could to keep her loved ones protected from the danger, violence, and supernatural beings that infiltrated their lives. While Jeremy encountered the danger early on, Jenna remained an outsider to the reality of witches, werewolves, and vampires. The relationship between Jenna and Elena became one of my favorites, as you watched the elder try to mentor, guide, and parent the younger though they weren’t far apart in age.

Putting either of Elena’s family members in danger immediately raised the emotional stakes for the show’s heroine.  Losing either of them would be a life-changing moment for Elena. So, when Jenna’s journey came to an end, I knew the stakes had changed.  Elena stood helpless as her aunt, who only recently discovered the truth about her supernatural community, turned from human to vampire. Elena offered comfort to her aunt in those last final moments, and in an instant, the fictional town of Mystic Falls was changed.  It was a moment I didn’t expect, and the sobs escaped.  I understood how painful this death was for Elena, yet it was even more emotional given that Jenna’s final act was to protect her niece as much as she could, trying to thwart the plan that required Elena’s death.

I applaud Nina Dobrev (Elena) and Sara Canning (Jenna) for their hauntingly beautiful work. They embodied the essence of not only their individual characters but the importance of that relationship.  It truly was a stunning scene that won’t soon be forgotten!

The Vampire Diaries writers excel where others do not by getting us to care for characters we love and those we love to hate. We know that no character on the show is safe, but we go along for the ride each week.

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with The Vampire Diaries, its parent company, affiliates, sponsors, or artists implied!*

TV Moments That Moved Me to Tears: ‘REVENGE’

Dramatic television series can inspire, motivate, educate, and empower. However, they also have the ability to reach us on an emotional level. They do so by creating characters we enjoy watching, and rooting for, only to take them on journeys that make us reflect on our own lives and choices. While I’ve cried many a time during TV shows, there are five TV moments that not only had me sobbing like a baby but impressed me on a creative level.

First up…REVENGE (ABC Network)

TV Moment 5

AMANDA CLARKE/EMILY THORNE (Revenge, S2 EP14, “Sacrifice”): When two women, connected through shared juvenile experience, swap identities, neither one’s life is the same.

Years after her beloved father is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and ripped from her young life, Amanda Clarke embarks on a plan of retribution. She enlists the help of fellow juvie inmate (Emily Thorne), though their relationship is fractured, and the two start their lives anew.  Not always liking one another, or trusting the other, Amanda Clarke and Emily Thorne ultimately formed a familial bond; one that the show’s protagonist came to appreciate as her “sister” lay dying in her arms. The woman who first answered to the name Amanda wept at realizing her long-time friend sacrificed her life for the other’s. When “I’m so sorry” broke out through choked emotion, handled exquisitely by the talented Emily VanCamp, tears ran down my cheeks. The strong, independent, and resilient Emily Thorne cradled her alter ego while I sat on my couch sobbing. I cried because the death affected the main character so tremendously, and I give credit to the writers, to Ms. VanCamp, and her talented co-star (Margarita Levieva) for such a heartfelt moment.  Many more emotional/heartbreaking scenes followed in the past two years, but “Amanda’s” death remains at the forefront of great storytelling, acting, and plot twists.

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with Revenge, its parent company, affiliates, sponsors, or artists implied!*

Entertainment Blogging Questions

*I reached out to one TV network and received what amounted to a non-answer.  Hmm, I have a feeling this is going to take a lot of research and someone who understands legal-speak.*

Visit kellydeeny.com to read the Artistic Spirit Pledge entries.
Visit kellydeeny.com to read the Artistic Spirit Pledge entries.

As you can tell from the large gap between blog entries, I haven’t written any new “insights” about my favorite films, television shows, or theatre performances in a while.  Part of the reason is due to the 111 Day Artistic Spirit Pledge that I focused on from October until the end of January (the full list can be found on my author website). For 111 days, I wrote about the link between art (in its various forms) and spirituality.  Given my love for film, television, and theatre, many of the pledge entries were entertainment-focused.  Here are just some of the ones relevant to entertainment:

The other reason I haven’t written anything new is an admitted lack of knowledge and information about blogging rules and guidelines.  The idea that I could be infringing on copyright laws or improperly citing a TV show or film title (unintentionally, mind you) worries me enough to delay posting.  I went out into the great, wide world of the internet to search for “blogging about TV” or “entertainment blogging guidelines”, but found a lack of helpful information.  So, what do I want to know?

  • PHOTOS:  Including images in blog posts adds an extra layer of professionalism and helps catch a reader’s attention.  Yet, when writing about a film, tv show, or musical/play, can I include a photo?  If so, where do I find them and do I need to request permission in order to embed the image?
  • VIDEOS: Similar to photos, can I include clips of shows or movie trailers in my blog posts? If so, do I need permission or are they notified when I copy/paste an EMBED link?
  • TITLES/NAMES:  Whenever I mention a TV show, film, or musical/play, I always include a hyperlink (whenever available) to the original/official website.  I want to make sure that readers interested in learning more about the titles I write about can easily find the original source.  Are there guidelines/rules in place for including links to official sites of using the names or shows/performers?
  • TAGS:  Are there any restrictions to including a television network or actor’s name as a meta tag in a blog post entry?

I hesitated writing about this topic for fear that I would appear unprofessional or come off as an amateur.  Then, I realized there are probably many more entertainment fans (like myself) who are as interested in blogging about their favorite shows as I am.  I sincerely doubt I am the only one wondering about how we can best promote and support the industry without violating any copyright or infringement rules.

I’ve obtained some helpful feedback from fellow writers, but I am interested in expanding my knowledge of this specialty in the ever-advancing blogosphere.

 

Revenge Season 3 Finale Recap

Season 3 of ABC’s Revenge started with a bang and a splash, keeping our interest the entire season through.  So, it’s no surprise that the finale would not only match the opener but take it to the next level of anticipation and intrigue!

Let’s recap, briefly, because there’s a great deal we need to discuss:

  • David Clarke was framed for a crime he didn’t commit
  • He was framed by Conrad and Victoria Grayson
  • David’s 9-year-old daughter Amanda was there the night her father was forced to the ground and taken into custody.
  • David Clarke died while in prison
  • Amanda Clarke, now grown, returns to the Hamptons as Emily Thorne, moving in next door to the Graysons.  Her plan – seek revenge for those who framed her father.
  • She married Conrad and Victoria’s son, Daniel, only to be intentionally shot by him on their wedding night (long story involving a fake pregnancy, alcohol, and a subplot about an ex-girlfriend).
  • Along the way, Emily/Amanda was helped by a handsome trio – David’s protegé (Nolan Ross), another revenge-seeker due to the David Clarke set-up scheme (Aiden Mathis), and her childhood sweetheart who only learned of her true identity during last year’s jaw-dropping season finale (Jack Porter).

WARNING: Spoiler alert!  Spoiler alert!  If you are not up to date on the last two episodes of Season 3, be forewarned that spoilers will follow.  Proceed at your own entertainment “peril”!

 

When we last left the Hamptons, Victoria had figured out that Emily was not all she claimed, Emily and her trio of helpers successfully trapped Conrad into admitting his long list of crimes and he was arrested, Charlotte Grayson Clarke (product of Victoria and David’s affair) finally opened her eyes, metaphorically speaking.  Oh, and Jack informed Emily that there’s a teensy-weensy possibility that David’s still alive.  And that brings us to tonight’s phenomenal season finale…

An entire hour of twists and turns, all lead up to a final few minutes that set an entirely new game in motion.  In summary, Victoria killed Aiden (I sobbed), Charlotte realized Jack was the “kidnapper” (darn it), and Emily had Victoria hospitalized in a mental institution (well played, Ms. Thorne).  Oh, wait…did I forget something – or someone?  A very much alive David Clarke climbed out of that van and revealed himself to a flabbergasted Conrad.  That is, right before David stabbed his former employer and drove away.  This sets up a multitude of directions for the show to take when it returns in the fall.  And I, for one, can’t wait!!  When does the full Season 3 DVD set come out, so I can watch them again? 🙂

Television programs receive my high praise when they keep my interest each week.  They hook me in with intriguing characters and surprising plot twists that ultimately create an added level of dimension to the story and the players.  Revenge is one such television drama series.  I’ve seen every episode from the pilot on through and look forward to seeing what happens next!

TV insights: The “Shipping” Industry

That ship has sailed! Fans of TV romantic pairings are quite familiar with the term “ship” for reasons that differ greatly from what may be your understanding of the word.  They champion a certain pairing, send letters, start campaigns, and write post after post after post in “support” of the fictional coupling that moved them more than others.

California coast

While I acknowledge there are certain fictional couples that I root for more than others, I don’t get as passionately involved (pun intended) as my fellow “shippers.”  I sit back, watch the show, read the fan postings and either roll my eyes or chuckle at some of the absurd remarks.  I’ve spent many years observing, and sometimes partaking in, the entertainment “shipping” industry. From all my years of observation, I’ve come to the conclusion that “shippers” fall into three categories:  Smooth Sailing, Bumpy Ride, or Lost at Sea.

  • SMOOTH SAILING:  You know they’re going to pair up one character with another.  You know it’s coming!  It makes perfect sense from a story purpose and character development.  It’ll add intrigue, conflict, and perhaps set the pairing on a journey all their own.  You enjoy the characters on an individual level but when they are in a scene together, the chemistry is palpable.  You may follow a website dedicated to the pairing or comment to a blog when the writer is blatantly disrespectful, but you wouldn’t take the time or effort to bombard head writers or actors with postcards, gifts, or letters.
  • BUMPY RIDE:  Hold on tight now, because you’re in for quite a ride when your favorite TV pairing hits a story pothole.  “They broke them up?!  Noooooo!!!!!”  Okay, I’ll admit it; I’ve uttered those very words a few times.  But that’s only because the Powers-That-Be were wrong.  Sarcasm aside, passengers on the “Bumpy Ride” ship hold on for dear life while forging friendships with others dealing with the same ups and downs of the journey.  They are passionate, determined, but never prone to cruelty just to make their point.
  • LOST AT SEA:  Some “shippers” have left port and are so far out to sea that they’re on their own deserted island.  They’ve lost the know-how of communicating with others.  They are always right.  Their wants and needs supersede anyone else’s.  So, if they believe that the TV couple they “love” is getting the shaft, they come out claws sharpened and tongues wagging.  They slash at you, pounce on you, and couldn’t care less if they stepped over you just to achieve the goal they deem to be of more value than yours.  They use insults, hurl accusations, and misquote everyone associated with the show if that will prove their point.  They twist words and write with tunnel vision.  They are so far out to sea that they wouldn’t see the buoy if it was floating right in front of them.

Whether you are, or know someone who is, part of the 3 “shipping” groups, don’t worry…there’s plenty of others out there who are on the same boat!

REVENGE: How Sweet It Is!

**SPOILER ALERT:  This post may contain spoilers for those viewers who haven’t seen all of last season’s episode.  Proceed at your own entertainment “peril”!**

Up until the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast on September 22nd, this blog focused on the returning TV shows I’m most excited are coming back.  Time for some…Revenge!

I got hooked in Season 1, Episode 1 and have remained entangled in the web of action that sustains this ABC drama series.  At its heart, Revenge is more than just the main character’s pursuance of those she holds responsible for her father’s incarceration and death.  For as much as “Emily Thorne” (aka “Amanda Clarke”) battles the individuals who wronged her family, she’s simultaneously battling her own demons.  This strong, conflicted, determined young woman fights every week to seek retribution, all the while torn by the damage her own actions have caused.

This remarkable cast excels at keeping the audience uncertain whether to love or hate their characters.  They do so by letting us see the complexity within.  The range of acting talent on this TV drama series makes this a program that is truly an ensemble piece.  Each and every cast member plays a role (pun intended) in creating characters that walk the line between naive, tortured and just plain malicious.  For instance, “Victoria Grayson” made some horrid choices, including letting “David Clarke” take the fall, but the writers gave Madeleine Stowe a canvas on which to paint.  And that she’s done!  We may not like what her character does, but we understand and sometimes even sympathize with her.

On the other side of that tattered coin, there’s “Amanda/Emily”.  Portrayed with stunning subtlety by Emily VanCamp, the series’ protagonist has us cheering her on even when her actions mirror that of those she seeks to punish.  Ms. VanCamp does this by easily moving in and out of two very different characters.  Last season her worlds started to collide and those around her got caught in the crossfire.  While a less gifted actress would choose an easier path, Emily handled her character(s) with care – making us not only sympathize with her plight but empathize with her struggles.  Case in point, this past season’s episode when the real “Emily Thorne” died in our lead character’s arms, I sobbed.  With the words, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” my heart broke.  All it took was a simple moment.  No overacting, no melodrama, no hysterics.  Just a heartbreaking performance by a talented actress.

That example is just one of many that speaks volumes as to what this TV series is all about – while “Emily” seeks revenge, “Amanda” continues to punish herself just as severely.   I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out what sort of situation these characters are in when the new season starts Sunday, 9/29/13 on ABC at 9pm (Eastern Time)!

Champion the Arts

Sports fans wear the jerseys of their favorite players, assemble fantasy leagues, and paint their faces to show their team pride.  They can spout off trivia facts and engage in passionate “discussions” as to the success and failures of their hometown teams.

Sports vs arts

A similar group of individuals exist in the entertainment industry.  We can list off random facts about our favorite actor, actress, writer or director.  We write letters of support or complaint to media outlets and/or the particular interested parties.  And like our athletic counterparts, we have in-depth “discussions” about our favorite moments.  Or more precise…we disagree about which character should be romantically paired with another.

We look forward to our favorite TV shows as much as a football fan readies for Sunday night.  While our sporting counterparts gather with friends and family to drink beer, eat wings, and scream at the referees, we take to the internet to re-hash the positives and negatives of the prior night’s episode.

We watch the special features to learn about the casting process, the set design choices, and the adaptation from book/stage to screen.  We read interviews from the screenwriter to gain insight into the finished work he/she created.  We stand at the stage door after a theatrical performance just to get a picture, signature or to manage an “I loved it!”  We find inspiration and motivation from those who’ve chosen the entertainment industry as their mode of creative expression.

While some of us may yearn to one day play a role in front of or behind the camera, there are just as many who merely want to show their appreciation for a job well done.  Who want to say “Thank You” for creating something that made a difference in their lives.  For giving us an opportunity to look at our life from a different point of view.  To pause and reflect upon the choices we’ve made and to perhaps reconsider a path we were headed towards.

So while my friends and family may plan for the big play-off party I’ll be waiting with excitement for the upcoming entertainment award show season.  May the best team win!