INSIDE PREMIUM: Bored to DeathSeptember 14, 2009


INSIDE PREMIUM: Bored to Death

HBO

INSIDE PREMIUM will keep you up-to-date on the Premieres, Finales, and everything in between that is available at your choosing on Premium VOD. This Week
  • Bored to Death Premiere
  • Nurse Jackie Sneak Peek
  • Doubt Sneak Peek…

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INSIDE PREMIUM: TRUE BLOODSeptember 21, 2009


INSIDE PREMIUM: TRUE BLOOD

HBO

INSIDE PREMIUM will keep you up-to-date on the Premieres, Finales, and everything in between that is available at your choosing on Premium VOD. This Week

  • More True Blood?
  • Dexter's Origin
  • Crash Course...
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The Pink Ribbon CampaignSeptember 22, 2009


The Pink Ribbon Campaign
Breastcancer.org and Comcast have partnered together for the 3rd Annual Pink Ribbon Campaign, an original video-on-demand and online initiative. From September 21 - November 2, Comcast VOD subscribers will have free access to inspirational programs for women who are fighting or have survived breast cancer from the participating networks:

  • Bio Channel
  • Discovery Health
  • Exercise TV
  • HBO
  • Lifetime Television
  • Parents TV
  • Showtime

Highlights include…
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Golden Globe Winners On DemandJanuary 18, 2010


Golden Globe Winners On Demand

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

Last night the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) celebrated the Golden Globes nominees and winners.  Some are pay per view movies, some are premium content found on HBO or Showtime and some are free from NBC and AMC, but all are available right now via video on demand.

  • The Hangover - Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
  • Meryl Streep/Julie & Julia – Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
  • Christoph Waltz/Inglourious Basterds - Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
  • Up - Best Animated Feature Film
  • Madmen - Best Television Series – Drama
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VOD Spotlight on Manish Dayal of Rubicon (AMC)September 28, 2010


VOD Spotlight on Manish Dayal of Rubicon (AMC)

Manish Dayal

On Demand Weekly's VOD Spotlight highlights stories in the On Demand industry. Adam Schartoff interviews actor Manish Dayal from the exciting new series"Rubicon" on AMC. Adam spoke to Manish about getting started, the impact of Video On Demand (VOD) on TV and "Rubicon." 
Email Adam

 

On Demand Weekly: Is “Rubicon” your first series?
Manish Dayal: In a recurring role, yes.

ODW: How many episodes have you appeared in?
MD: I have been in 3.

ODW: Will you be in further episodes?
MD: Yes. I’m in Season 2. PI hope that we get picked up. I think we will. I think we have a good shot. The show’s been doing really well. I haven’t seen anything recently but the last few episodes have been real exciting. It’s the first time I’ve been in a tv show where I can’t wait until the next week.

ODW: It’s a fun show. The writing is really good. It’s taught. Does it follow or preceded "Mad Men"?

MD: It precedes "Mad Men."

ODW: So, they’re riding your coat tails, I guess you could say.
MD: That’s right. We’re their lead in.

Manish Dayal
Manish Dayal / Rubicon (AMC)

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Sneak Peek of Showtime’s New Series SHAMELESS With William H. MacyJanuary 05, 2011


Sneak Peek of Showtime’s New Series SHAMELESS With William H. Macy

Showtime

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: "Shameless" (Showtime).
By Jean Tait

 

Showtime’s new series “Shameless” premieres in January, but Showtime cable subscribers can watch a preview* of the first episode on Showtime on Demand now. Just go to On Demand > Showtime > SHO New Series > Shameless.

Showtime had me at William H. Macy. FARGO, HAPPY TEXAS, THE COOLER. The man can do no wrong. As the woebegone, hard-drinking patriarch of the Gallagher clan, Bill Macy is given a chance to really show off his chops.

And how about the rest of the cast? Can Emmy Rossum give more than the sweet, rather vacuous aura of vulnerability she usually exudes as the young, but already worn down oldest child who’s had to take on Mom’s role? Well, she certainly shows a lot of her body. We’ll have to wait and see about the rest.

 

Emmy Rossum
Emmy Rossum (SHO)

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Saying Goodbye to Our Favorite Boss (VOD Trend Spotter)May 02, 2011


Saying Goodbye to Our Favorite Boss (VOD Trend Spotter)

VOD Trend Spotter is a new weekly column where Kendra Anderson explores the most watched TV Series On Demand (by looking at Comcast (America's largest cable VOD provider)  xfinity On Demand's weekly rankings). Sometimes the trends are obvious; other times, she adds her own spin to the psyche of the time-shifting audience.

 

Saying Goodbye to Our Favorite Boss, While CBS Loses its Edge, and A Good (Police) Story Matters Here (VOD Trend Spotter)
By Kendra Anderson

 

This Week In TV On Demand
 
1. Game of Thrones – HBO
2. Hawaii Five-O – CBS
3. CSI: Miami – CBS
4. Bad Girls Club – Oxygen
5. Survivor: Redemption Island – CBS
6. The Office – NBC
7. CSI: Los Angeles – CBS
8. The Killing – AMC
9. Tosh.0 – Comedy Central
10. Nurse Jackie - Showtime
 
Source: Comcast Xfinity and Rentrak On Demand Essentials (Week Ending April 24th, 2011)
 
 
·         NBC’s (NBC TV) “The Office” (Official Show Website) clocks in for both SD and HD (#6 and #3, respectively). This week marked Steve Carell’s (Wikipedia) last episode as Michael Scott (Wikipedia), the show’s bumbling-yet-loveable manager.
 
o    How can there be an Office without Michael Scott? Will Ferrell (Wikipedia) won’t cut it, and there is tons of speculation (Daily Mail) as to who will be the next Dunder Mifflin (Wikipedia) appointee (Will Arnett, please!) (Wikipedia). To echo Dwight’s words at the end of the show, “Uh oh.” – KA
 
·         Comcast is the first MSO to offer current TV shows from all 4 Major Broadcast networks On Demand (On Demand Weekly). Beginning last Thursday 4/28, more than 20 popular TV series from ABC and FOX began a roll out On Demand the day after live broadcast. Each of the major broadcast networks will offer the four most recent episodes from select TV series On Demand. (Engadget)
 
o    In case you’ve been living under a rock (YouTube), this is an important announcement. First, other cable providers are going to need to step it up to match Comcast’s (Official Website) play – who will be next? Also, are we going to see a bump in popularity for shows on Fox (Official Website) and ABC (Official Website), which haven’t yet been available On Demand?. – KA
 
·         WWE (WWE Official Website) announced a record 1 million PPV buys of annual showcase WrestleMania (Variety), a 30% increase over last year’s numbers. This year’s goal was reached through significant promotion by WWE alumni Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (IMDB) and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Wikipedia), in addition to “Jersey Shore’s” Snooki (Official Website).
 
o    For pro wrestling fans, this actually is big news. Pay-Per-View is the primary option for audiences to see these live shows, and the margins are incredible – events typically run between $35 and $60 (Comcast), to watch live on your home screen. And WrestleMania is kind of like Sweeps (Wikipedia) for the rest of TV, so it’s good to know things are looking up for those among us who like violence. – KA
 
·         CBS (CBS Official Website) lost some of its footing this week, owning only 40% of the top 10 series On Demand, compared to last week’s 67% (6/9) share. The network fared even worse in HD viewing – last week CBS stole 100% of the top spots, and this week, only 40%.
 
o    CBS still hasn’t responded to my requests for comment on their insanely successful On Demand presence. I will fool myself and say it’s karma, but we really know this has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Steve Carell. (The Atlantic) I’ll miss ya, buddy. – KA
 
·         Welcome to the top 10, AMC. (AMC TV) This week their show “The Killing” (Official Show Website) put away the #8 spot On Demand. It’s the first live action scripted show from a basic cable network that’s made it into the top 10 series On Demand (since this column began).
 
o    Guess what? “The Killing” is a police procedural. (Wikipedia) You remember how much America likes those, right? So while the show itself appearing in the lineup isn’t big, the fact that AMC gets On Demand props this week is. – KA

 

- Kendra Anderson

 

Kenda Anderson
Kendra T. Anderson is a digital strategist specializing in social media and marketing, with an emphasis on independent film and branded content. She has worked with Cinetic Media, Magnolia Pictures and Focus Features, and now helps brands build digital and social communication strategies. Read more from Kendra on her blog and tweet Kendra @ktwanderson

 

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The Power of the Throne Reigns (VOD Trend Spotter)May 09, 2011


The Power of the Throne Reigns (VOD Trend Spotter)

VOD Trend Spotter is a new weekly column where Kendra Anderson explores the most watched TV Series On Demand on Comcast / Xfinity On Demand (The US largest cable on demand provider). Sometimes the trends are obvious; other times, she adds her own spin to the psyche of the time-shifting audience.

 

The Power of the Throne Reigns (VOD Trend Spotter)
By Kendra Anderson

 

This Week In TV On Demand
 
1. Game of Thrones – HBO
2. Survivor: Redemption Island – CBS
3. Bad Girls Club – Oxygen
4. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – CBS
5. The Office – NBC
6. Blue Bloods – CBS
7. NCIS – CBS
8. Nurse Jackie – Showtime
9. The Borgias – Showtime
10. Hawaii Five-0 – CBS
 
Comcast Xfinity and Rentrak On Demand Essentials (Week Ending May 1st, 2011)
 

·         For the 2nd week in a row, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” rules in first place in On Demand viewing for both HD and SD. The series premiered on April 17th, and since then has claimed sovereignty of #1.
 
o    Ok, enough with the monarchy metaphors, but, surprisingly, the success of “Game of Thrones” was the only vestige of Royal Wedding Mania to be had this week.  What happened to Middleton Madness? Did everyone just DVR the wedding? – KA
 
·         For the first time since this column began, Comedy Central fell completely out of the week’s On Demand standings, with neither “Tosh.0” or “South Park,” the network’s go to series, making it into the top 10.
 
o    Truthfully, I’ve been surprised that both shows have appeared in the Top 10 at all – each has a substantial online following: full, current episodes (South Park Studios) of South Park are available to stream for free, and Comedy Central’s Tosh.0 blog (Link) has tons of extras for fans. Also, the core college dude audience isn’t exactly the type to pay for cable. Still, I’m sorry to see the joy leave America’s TV screens this week. Maybe instead we got our comedic kicks from the White House Correspondents Dinner (Huffington Post). – KA
 
·         Premium cable had a top shelf week in On Demand series, with HBO and Showtime collecting a total of 40% most watched spots in HD, and 30% in SD. Winning shows were Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and “The Borgias,” and, as previously mentioned, HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
 
o    This lends credit to recent moves by premium cable to enter the On Demand space, in which they’re playing by their own rules. HBO Go, being called “the Netflix of HBO,” (CinemaBlend) gives subscribing customers access to content on any device, and ostensibly makes the network’s value proposition more attractive to potential customers. Remember, part of the digital arms race is providing audiences with the most premium content, and the best access. HBO has long been known to hold themselves to the highest standards in that department, suggesting “it’s not the other networks, it’s HBO” (Wikipedia). – KA
·         Contrary to what I predicted last week, no other MSOs announced plans to round out On Demand offerings by including content from all four major broadcast networks. So Fox and ABC are still on the sidelines. The two nets did not see any traction in On Demand series viewing, despite the fact that many of their shows are newly available to this audience.
 
o    Though the initial announcement may have boosted live ratings (TV By the Numbers) for ABC and Fox, many of their most popular shows are not available On Demand, so if we’re measuring popularity, maybe there is nothing to measure.
 
Why not make these shows available? A recent NY Times article points out that some popular series are not offered On Demand because networks never negotiated these rights with production studios, likely out of concern for a potential loss in ad revenue…and underscoring the fact that cable companies are pretty much freaking out right now as they face fierce competition from all things broadband and the dreaded Cord Cutters (GigaOM).  – KA
 
·         And in professional fighting news, WWE released its first quarter results (WWE Press Release) this week, showing revenues in the Classics On Demand category are down to $1.1 million, compared with $1.3 million during the same quarter last year. The decline is attributed to fewer domestic subscribers.
 
o    First of all, wow. Do that many people really watch bulging, muscled pros duke it out whilst vegging on the couch with a bowl of popcorn? Every quarter? Research shows: “WWE is committed to family-friendly, PG content across all of its platforms,” (WWE Corporate) so maybe the answer to my question is YES.
 
 

- Kendra Anderson

 

Kenda Anderson
Kendra T. Anderson is a digital strategist specializing in social media and marketing, with an emphasis on independent film and branded content. She has worked with Cinetic Media, Magnolia Pictures and Focus Features, and now helps brands build digital and social communication strategies. Read more from Kendra on her blog and tweet Kendra @ktwanderson

 

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HOMELAND - Mid Season Report CardNovember 18, 2011


HOMELAND - Mid Season Report Card

Showtime

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: HOMELAND (Showtime).

 

HOMELAND - Mid Season Report Card

By Jean Tait

 

I know, I know. I just wrote about this show last month, but I said I’d be back for more, and I’ve got to tell you: I’m smitten!

 

“Homeland” is definitely the best show

on television this fall!

 



Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison just gets more and more fascinating. Obsessed with her job, is she going too far in her quest to get inside Sgt. Nicholas Brody’s head? Or is it something more than her job? Does she even have a clue what her feelings are or what they mean? Claire Danes and Damien Lewis have sparkling chemistry. The pull of their attraction is visceral, if confusing.

 



Another highlight is seeing the lovely Linda Purl as a steel magnolia representing the Vice President. Her charming smile and steely gaze would intimidate the toughest Pentagon bureaucrat. There is no doubt that her character is a political shark. The possibilities of her leading Brody into a political career are endlessly fascinating.

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Nelson George’s BROOKLYN BOHEMEMarch 13, 2012


Nelson George’s BROOKLYN BOHEME

Showtime

Editor's Note: BROOKLYN BOHEME is now available on demand (FilmBuff).

 

Media savant T Tara Turk goes deep inside cable TV to reveal Video On Demand's Hidden Gems so even the busiest of our readers can get the most out of On Demand TV. Tell Tara what VOD shows you think deserves her attention.

 

BROOKLYN BOHEME

By T. Tara Turk

 

The first time I moved to New York from Detroit for college, one of the first things I did was go straight to Prospect Park to see the place where Spike Lee filmed his bike scene with Denzel Washington for MO BETTA BLUES. This was a clear sign that I was going to be apart of this movement, whatever it was, since my sights to see were vastly different from the usual.

BROOKLYN BOHEME on Showtime On Demand is Writer/Critic/Filmmaker Nelson George’s documentary on the Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene and it’s popular 1990s art scene.

 

It is a beautiful love story

much like that of Woody Allen to New York or Paris

or Scorsese's tribute to Manhattan.

 

Very few filmmakers could shoot this Brooklyn relationship (although poet/writer/filmmaker Pierre Bennu is one I think who could compliment this one brilliantly) because it’s really something you had to be there to see. I know youngsters hate hearing older people say that (gasp- when did I put myself in that latter group?) but it’s definitely true. If you weren’t there and you’re keen to see how a renaissance gets started, you’ll love this labor of truth from George.

 


Nelson George (Courtesy of Showtime)

George’s doc is comprised of very personal interviews with very known people (mostly because they are his friends) like Chris Rock, Spike Lee, Rosie Perez, Talib Kweli, Lisa Jones and Saul Williams to name a few.

 



The chapters of the doc are chronological, starting with the early inhabitants of the then super regular and ungentrified neighborhood, which include Lee, Vernon Reid and Branford Marsalis. This was time when most of those up and coming artists were mostly kids of Brooklynite parents or children of jazz musicians who bought homes in Fort Greene early on due the price and location to the West Village (just two stops away). But then this kids starting creating magical art like “School Days” and stayed in the neighborhood where they worked thus creating a movement of familial synergy and cultural discourse that would last for years on end.

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NURSE JACKIE, SEASON 4 - On DemandApril 27, 2012


SHO

Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s reviews: "Nurse Jackie" (SHO), starring Edie Falco.


NURSE JACKIE
Young Women on the Verge of Life

By Jean Tait

 

I have to admit, by the end of “Nurse Jackie-Season 3,” I was a little disappointed. Season 2 ended on such a brilliant note, with Jackie totally busted, but somehow, in Season 3, she wiled her way out of it, and continued on exactly the same as before, with no change or growth. And as much as I love watching this ensemble, the lack of new direction started to wear thin. So I had my trepidations about Season 4.

Happily, they were unfounded. Although I don’t believe she’s quite hit bottom, yet, nor has she accepted that her personal life is a complete failure, Season 4 starts off with Jackie finally admitting she needs help. She is also beginning to see how her behavior is affecting those she loves (and who love her).

Off to rehab, it is! The change of scenery opens the door to new characters, bringing in some more of my favorite under-utilized actors as fellow re-hab patients: Margaret Colin playing a southern grande dame, and Mary Louise Wilson as Doris, an outspoken, wacky paranoiac. Also in re-hab is newcomer Jake Cannavale, all green-haired, sullen teen who becomes an unlikely sort of sponsor for Jackie’s sobriety.

Anna Deveare Smith continues to shine as beleaguered hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus who gets demoted back to wearing scrubs on the floor, which actually brings her closer to her co-workers emotionally as well as in physical proximity. Merrit Wever’s Zoey continues to beguile as her character grows up, but retains all her child-like charm. I’d like to see Peter Facinelli’s Dr Cooper grow up now a little, too.
 

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EPISODES Season 2 Premiere - Sneak PeekJune 22, 2012


EPISODES Season 2 Premiere - Sneak Peek

SHO

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: "Episodes" (Showtime).

 


EPISODES Season 2 Premiere
Who Needs Friends?

By Jean Tait

 

I had given up. Perfection in television was not going to see a second season, and then came the word: Season 2 of "Episodes"!!! Sorry, didn’t mean to shout, but it’s been more than a year, so I’m rather excited! The season resumes July 1, but you can view a sneak peek now!

 



And now it’s as if they never went away. Picking up soon after we left off: Sean and Beverly Lincoln (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) are living separately after Beverly’s ill advised dalliance with Matt LeBlanc (Golden Globe Award Winner Matt LeBlanc). Matt misses the bromance he had with Sean and he even misses the constant snarking of Beverly. He is 100% comfortable in his knowledge that he can win over anyone no matter what. He knows he’s done wrong, but he also knows that eventually (and with a few exorbitantly extravagant gifts), he’ll be able to charm his way out of it.

 



And charming he is. I have to admit, while I enjoyed his character of Joey on “Friends,” I never realized how tremendously talented Matt LeBlanc is. It’s a bit of a cliché, but comedy is hard, and playing dumb is not as easy as it looks. Like Ryan Kwanten’s Jason Stackhouse on “True Blood,” it takes an extremely smart actor to play vacuous, yet confident so well. His Golden Globe was richly deserved.

 



Sean and Beverly have a tough time of it resisting Matt’s charm, especially when he sweetens the deal with expensive cars. The Californization of the Lincolns is definitely in process. Sunshine, cars, and an industry-driven culture are seeping into the intellectual Brits lives. Beverly finds herself enjoying the tan she gets driving her new convertible and her friendship with pot-smoking Carol (the delightful Kathleen Rose Perkins), now that both of their relationships are in trouble.

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RAY DONOVANJuly 21, 2013


RAY DONOVAN

Ray Donovan (Showtime)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “RAY DONOVAN.”

Fixers are the new doctor or detective on television. They are popping up all over. SCANDAL features Kerry Washington as a DC fixer for politicians. On PERSON OF INTEREST, Paige Turco plays a recurring character: a bigtime fixer for New York City politicians and celebrities. And why not? Who wouldn’t want someone (good-looking someone, of course) to make your problems go away. Let them get their hands dirty! Showtime enters the game with Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan, fixer to the rich and powerful in Hollywood.

As many of the tributes to the late, lamented James Gandolfini have pointed out, without Tony Soprano, there would be no Walter White (BREAKING BAD) or Dexter, or any other popular television character who is ostensibly evil, but remains sympathetic to the audience. Ray is another. He will gladly beat someone into a pulp with a baseball bat, but is sweet and empathetic to a transsexual hooker who is blackmailing one of Ray’s clients. He can’t resist a young woman’s offer of oral sex, but he fiercely loves his wife and children.

Bringing a complicated character to a series should be expected from creator and executive producer, Ann Biderman (SOUTHLAND), who also wrote the pilot episode. The pilot was directed by Allen Coulter (THE SOPRANOS, SONS OF ANARCHY), who also serves as producer on both the pilot and the second episode of the series. The Gandolfini effect is in full force.

As with Tony Soprano, taking care of the family Ray loves is not turning out to be as easy as bashing in someone’s head. When Ray’s father, Mickey (a remarkable Jon Voight) is let out of prison early, Ray worries that his past is going to wreak havoc on his wife and kids, and sure enough, Mickey heads straight for Ray’s home and turns on the charm, pitting Ray not only against his wife, but against his brothers, too.

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SING ME THE SONGS THAT SAY I LOVE YOU: A CONCERT FOR KATE MCGARRIGLEOctober 02, 2013


SING ME THE SONGS THAT SAY I LOVE YOU: A CONCERT FOR KATE MCGARRIGLE

SING ME THE SONGS THAT SAY I LOVE YOU (Sundance Artist Services)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “SING ME THE SONGS THAT SAY I LOVE YOU: A CONCERT FOR KATE MCGARRIGLE.” is now on demand. 

 

In May, 2011, a memorial concert was held in New York City’s historic Town Hall for Canadian singer/songwriter Kate McGarrigle. Headlined by her incredibly talented offspring, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, the concert of McGarrigle’s music, including both the well known and some obscure songs, is full of extraordinary performances by her family, her extended family and close friends. Family was definitely the theme of the evening, and the love they all feel for Kate, each other, and the music comes through every note and every breath. That the concert was filmed is fantastic news for McGarrigle/Wainwright fans.

Now available digitally through the Sundance Institute Artist Services Program, the concert includes full length renditions of the songs along with interviews, archival footage, recordings and photos of the extended McGarrigle clan. Getting the background of some of her songs makes their meaning deeper, and hearing the songs filtered through the experience of Kate’s death adds even more levels of poignancy. The last song Kate McGarrigle wrote, Proserpina, about a mother who wants her daughter to come back from Hades is especially moving as song by her children, obviously longing for their deceased mother, with lush background vocals by the rest of the extended family.

 



Unfortunately, filmmaker Lian Lunson makes some awkward edits and bizarre choices of intros and exits. Many performers are never named, which is frustrating, and if, as she has been quoted, the point of the film was to bring Kate McGarrigle’s music to a broader audience, the lack of labeling would make it difficult for, say, a fan of Justin Vivian Bond, or Norah Jones, to find this film. 

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MASTERS OF SEX PremieresOctober 03, 2013


MASTERS OF SEX Premieres

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan / MASTERS OF SEX (Showtime)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “MASTERS OF SEX” on Showtime. 

If sex sells, the first episode of MASTERS OF SEX should be the most watched episode of television ever. After the first episode, however, the series settles down a bit, and the sex is definitely not erotic, unless you are into clinical settings and find ekg paraphernalia exciting. After the audience realizes this is not actually about sex, will they stick around for the drama? After meeting Lizzy Caplan’s Virginia Johnson and Michael Sheen’s Dr. Masters, I believe they will!

An interestingly odd couple, she is a down-to-earth, twice-divorced mother of two with a quite advanced attitude towards sex. He is a rather uptight, stern medical professional who nevertheless is fascinated by the physiological mechanics of human sexuality. Michael Sheen walks a fine line between brittle and passionate. It is not easy to like Dr. Masters, especially the way he treats his first wife, Libby (the lovely Caitlyn Fitzgerald), but it is hard not to root for his success all the same.

 

Lizzy Caplan’s Ginny

is absolute perfection.

 

It is quite obvious why not only the men, but the women around her find her irresistible. Smart, warm, sexy, caring and clever, she is the kind of woman who is capable of anything she sets her mind to.


There is a lot of will they won’t they in the initial episodes, but since it is common knowledge that SPOILER ALERT they were married to each other for most of their careers, it is not too suspenseful. The mystery of will the study get cancelled or funded is also moot.

What is intriguing is how they progress to each stage of the research fighting the prejudices of the medical establishment and society in general. Having to set up a research facility in a whorehouse is not exactly a highly controlled setting. It does, however, add a lot of humor and sets up a great relationship between hooker Betty DiMello (played by the effervescent Annaleigh Ashford with a quiet desperation underneath her full-on sass) and Dr. Masters. She, along with Virginia, are perfect foils for Bill’s conflicts.

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HOMELAND Season 4 - Her Without HimOctober 11, 2014


HOMELAND Season 4 - Her Without Him

Homeland (SHO)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review:"Homeland" Season 4 (Showtime).

Seasons 2 and 3 of Homeland both started with Carrie in full lock-down psychiatric treatment. It would not have been surprising for Season 4 to start with Carrie in the hospital in full labor, but no, they skipped right over that and plunged us full into Carrie as Kabul Station Chief.

Carrie is already straining against the leash of her security team and wants to get out into the streets, but her staff is understandably not too happy with the attention an un-head-covered blonde walking around in a pant suit attracts. Back at her headquarters, Sandy (a buffed up Corey Stoll) is urging a hurried drone hit due to his never-been-wrong-before source. Carrie ok’s the hit, which of course kills numerous civilians and gets the ball rolling for Season 4’s Brody-free plot.

 



So how is our girl Carrie? She seems much stronger: confident and in charge. We see her taking her meds, although she is washing them down with Chardonnay, and needs a mouthguard, eyeshade and ear plugs to sleep. Yet when she successfully eludes her security team, we get to see The Smile for which Season 2’s first episode was named. That wonderful smile that Carrie just can’t contain when she is particularly pleased with herself.

Actually, we get to see that smile with some frequency this season (at least through the first 3 episodes). Carrie is feeling on top of her game, even when she screws up, she manipulates her way back into control. She even rather heartlessly uses Saul and Quinn’s love for her to get what she wants. I smell a big smackdown coming her way.

 

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THE AFFAIR - He Said, She SaidOctober 12, 2014


THE AFFAIR - He Said, She Said

The Affair (Showtime)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “The Affair” (Showtime).

A perfect life: four beautiful, healthy children, a gorgeous, funny, smart, sexy wife, a newly published book, a brownstone in New York City and an estate on the beach in the Hamptons at which to summer. So you’re a little sexually frustrated because, well, four kids, and the summer house (and the money that paid for the brownstone) are really your smugly successful father-in-law’s, but it really is a perfect life. Why would you even be tempted to do anything to mess that up? That is both the question and the answers in “The Affair”, Showtime’s new series debuting October 12th.

Dominic West ("The Wire") is Noah Solloway, the man with the perfect life. He is tall, dark, and handsome, but in a rugged/sensitive way that would make him catnip for any predatory female. However, you get the sense he is not easily distracted away from his wife. His wife, Helen, is played by Maura Tierney, whose warmth and intelligence radiate out of her every pore.

 

Dominc West, The Affair (Showtime)



The other couple whose lives collide with the Solloways are Allison Bailey and Cole Lockhart. Their life is not so perfect. They are barely holding onto their folksy beachside full time home in the rapidly fancifying Hamptons with its weekend estates for the very wealthy. They are also mourning the death of their little boy. Allison works as a waitress in the local diner, which is where she first encounters the Solloways. Ruth Wilson (SAVING MR. BANKS) and Joshua Jackson ("Fringe," "Dawson’s Creek") are well-matched for Dominic West and Maura Tierney.

 

Ruth Wilson, The Affair (Showtime)



Since Helen (as played by Maura Tierney) is so utterly flawless, it would take quite an actress to be able to portray a character lovely enough and sympathetic enough to make it believable that someone married her would consider cheating on her. Ruth Wilson is well up to the challenge. With her incredible bone structure, her beauty is ethereal, but her tiny overbite brings her down to earth in a very sensuous way. Since her husband is portrayed by the handsome and lovable Joshua Jackson, it makes it hard to believe Allison could be drawn to anyone else. Yet, the attraction of Allison and Noah is obvious, and, at least so far, neither come off as bad people.

Told in a Rashomon-style showing the same events as remembered differently, "The Affair" isn’t in a hurry to get to the action. Instead it lets us get to know the characters, as experienced by Noah and Allison (at least it is their points of view in the first episode). It’s fascinating to see how each remembers the other as much smoother and cleverer than they remember themselves being. Retelling from varying aspects is an intriguing concept for a television series, and except for the heavy-handed voice-overs, it works well.

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OLIVE KITTERIDGE - HBO DemandNovember 07, 2014


OLIVE KITTERIDGE - HBO Demand

OLIVE KITTERIDGE - HBO

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “OLIVE KITTERIDGE.”

Prickly as a hedgehog. Those are words you could use to describe Olive Kitteridge. Warm, fuzzy, likable are NOT. She is feisty, crabby and does not suffer fools (which she considers most people to be).Yet as played with fierce intelligence and indomitable will by the amazing Frances McDormand, you can understand why her husband adores her and her son admires her. With McDormand’s incandescent blue eyes, incredible cheekbones, and earthy New England accent, it’s as if Katharine Hepburn were playing the Henry Fonda part in ON GOLDEN POND.

It is difficult to be the smartest person in the room, depressing even. Perhaps that is why Olive thinks depression runs in her family. She thinks it’s good to be depressed as it is a sign of intelligence. She never stops to think about how her depression plays out as anger towards everyone in her path, damaging with a scornful look or scathing word.

 

Frances McDormand, Unknown, Richard Jenkins, OLIVE KITTERIDGE (HBO)



John Gallagher, Jr., is very good as the Kitteridge’s wounded but resilient son. Richard Jenkins is superb as Olive’s long-suffering husband, Henry, who remains...

 

...attracted to her intelligence

even as she uses it as a weapon against him.

 

He is not her intellectual equal, but he is a kind, generous, loving soul who rarely fights back. When he starts working with Denise Thibodeau (Zoe Kazan), her fragile, doe-like open heart is like refreshing spring water to poor Henry’s parched heart. Their relationship is lovely. It borders on sexual attraction, without ever crossing the line from safely chaste. It’s no wonder Olive bristles every time she sees that Denise gives Henry what she can’t: someone to take care of.

Olive has her own unrequited affair of the heart with the hard drinking, smoking, poetry-quoting, fellow teacher, Jim O’Casey, (Peter Mullan-excellent as usual) which comes to a tragic end when he teaches the ultimate lesson in why one shouldn’t drink and drive.

Full of such small, tragic moments, along with moments that should be happy but somehow aren’t, is the delicate tale of Olive Kitteridge: the story of a no nonsense woman living in a world that baffles even her sharp mind. She wants to feel a connection but has no idea how to give that part of her that allows that connection. And the not knowing frustrates her because it insults her intelligence. It is the rare person in her life that can call her on it. By the time that person comes in in the form of Bill Murray’s Jack Kennison, we can only hope that Olive is slightly ready to thaw.

 

Bill Murray, OLIVE KITTERIDGE (HBO)

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