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How Accurate is Madam Secretary?

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The Barbara Hall’s political drama, Madam Secretary, focusses on the life of a smart woman, Elizabeth McCord, who becomes the Secretary of State of the U.S. Government. She is shown balancing her highly complex job with her family life and it makes for an interesting watch. What has added to the appeal of the show is the notion that it is quite accurate in its depiction of many people, places and events. This adds a hint of intrigue to the show and makes it even more palatable. Morgan Freeman is also one of the executive producers of the show along with Lori McCreary. Madam Secretary has already completed its first season and its second season is currently on air.

Of course, the showmakers would have taken creative liberties with the plot and screenplay. This is necessary to make the show more entertaining and fit for television. Let us pass the show through a litmus test to gauge how accurate it is one the overall. We will be randomly picking some scenes and see if they pass the accuracy test.

In the show, when the incumbent Secretary of the State dies, the President of the United States comes in person to offer Ms. McCord the opportunity fill in the position. This is a little daring on the part of the writers to make the President fly over to make the offer. Definitely, Secretary of State is a high position and an emergency may well demand an unusual measure. But, The President, in real life, would have rather done it on the phone. There are many security arrangements that have to be made before a President decides to fly. So, this one does not really depict the reality.

Madam Secretary in bed
Madam Secretary in bed

The second thing that does not go well down the fact lane is the two months she is made a secretary. This is not easy to do because the Congress has to agree on all these matters and just getting their consent may take a lot more time than just two months.

The showmakers have to be given their due for designing the set perfectly. They are quite accurate. This has been confirmed by many people who have worked in the original offices. So, the show has been successful in creating the right backdrop and atmosphere of one of the most powerful offices in all of the United States. It also helps for the show to be taken more seriously.

The show has never claimed to be a biography or even a depiction of any of the female Secretary of States, who have graced the office. That doesn’t mean that the audience doesn’t get a taste of reality on the show. Medaline Albright, the Secretary of State from 1997-2001, made a cameo on the show. She is the first lady to have held that position under Bill Clinton. Apart from her, Condoleezza Rice under President Bush and Hillary Clinton under Barrack Obama are the only two other women to ever hold the position. However, the whole character sketch does not seem to resemble in any way to the three women who have held the office in real life, except for some happy coincidences.

Téa Leoni is Elizabeth McCord
Téa Leoni is Elizabeth McCord

For instance, when the show portrayed the blonde Tea Leoni as the Madam Secretary, the viewers’ first thought was that it was going to be similar to the personality of Hillary Clinton. Elizabeth generally takes off her glasses in a certain fashion while speaking and that resembles that of Hillary Clinton. Some of Elizabeth’s crew also has some similarity to the people in Hillary’s staff, including Huma Abedin and Phillipe Reines. Hillary Clinton is married with two kids and so is Elizabeth. However, Elizabeth’s husband is a professor and not a former president. There are also many other differences. Since it is not possible to pinpoint which female Secretary of State she is playing, there is no basis for measuring the accuracy of the facts presented for Elizabeth or her professional and personal life.

Also, the show depicts only a handful of staff running behind Elizabeth, with her secretary trying to keep up with the classified files most of the time. This almost never happens, because a Secretary of State has a ton of staff to take care of everything.

Morgan Freeman has an unbelievable cameo in the show
Morgan Freeman has an unbelievable cameo in the show

Since the show directs some limelight on one of the highest positions in the US political arena, the show is most certainly going to have lots of international problems at the fore. However, international issues are quite complex and simple answers from a superhuman Secretary of State simply dilute the importance of the causes as well as the authenticity of the show. This is where the show has made a departure from real life. The Secretary does solve various problems on the show, but not always in conjunction with how the real authorities would do.

However, a particularly interesting incident took place in November, 2015. The writers showed the drone hit on an ISIS executioner named Jihadi Judd. The very same week, America also ordered a similar strike to take out Emwazi, an ISIS operative. Emwazi was a British national and was nicknamed Jihadi John by the British media. However, in the show, the terrorist is shown to be of American origin. This episode was more of a coincidence than a factual insertion into the show’s script.

Wallis Currie-Wood also stars in the show
Wallis Currie-Wood also stars in the show

The show will definitely have the elements of the US polity, and will also, on occasion, showcase personalities resembling important people in the US Senate. However, the show does not claim any factual correctness and that should be kept in mind. Madam Secretary is not necessarily a political satire, but a drama series that highlights an intelligent woman making her way through one of the toughest jobs in the world. She is a good negotiator and has her head in the right place. With such a strong female character in the lead, a good plot and impressive performances from the actors makes for good television entertainment. How close it is to reality? Well, not too close apparently.


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The Shannara Chronicles

The Shannara Chronicles

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Created by Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, Shannara Chronicles is based on the Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara Trilogy. The show premiered on January 5, 2016 on MTV. It is a fictional drama series that has received mixed reviews. However, the show has just gotten started and may have some surprises for the audiences, which can eventually tilt the scales in its favor, or otherwise, for that matter.

Amberle, played by Poppy Drayton
Amberle, played by Poppy Drayton

The show is set in a mythical time, 300 years after the Race Wars ended. After the war, all kinds of magic have ceased to exist and the demons have been sent to The Forbidding. In The Forbidding, an ancient tree by the name of Ellcrys is what contains all the souls. The story follows the journey of Amberle, Wil and Eretria, who are being led by the last of the Druids, Allanon. They should go to Ellcrys and prevent it from dying to keep the demons from being released on the Four Lands.

Austin Butler plays one of the lead roles, Will Ohmsford, on the show. However, his character is not the most impactful among the pack. His character can be a little annoying, but then again, this may be a conscious move in order to show his growth over time. Amberle, played by Poppy Drayton, is a gutsy and innovative character and her relationships with all the other characters are interesting to watch. She is the princess of the Elves and the first woman to be picked to protect the Ellcrys tree. The character of Eretria is portrayed by Ivana Baquero. At first, she comes off as a petty thief, but as the show progresses, her past and her complicated relationship with her father together give her character great depth. She is an intriguing character and captivates the audiences.

Manu Bannett of The Hobbit and Spartacus fame, plays the role of Allanon on the show. He is a fantastic actor and has not disappointed in this avatar either. Allanon is a no-nonsense guy, but likeable. John Rhys-Davies plays the role of Eventine Elessedil, the king of the Elven Kingdom of Arbolon. He has two children, Arion and Ander, and a granddaughter, Amberle. The actor has also played the iconic role of Gimli in the Lord of the Rings franchise. He is an amazing addition to the show and is very similar to the character in the book. What does strike as odd is his British accent, when his family has an American tone. The roles of Arion and Ander are played by Daniel MacPherson and Aaron Jakubenko respectively. The brothers do not see eye to eye. Prince Ander was one of the most lovable characters in the books, but his personality is slightly different in the TV show, but not in a bad way.

Allanon, played by Manu Bennett
Allanon, played by Manu Bennett

Of course, there is always “the” bad guy and for The Shannara Chronicles it is Dagda Mor. This role is played by another veteran from fantasy movies, Jed Brophy. The actor has been a part of both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. He definitely has the look and the acting skills to scare the audiences. It will be interesting to see a showdown between the ferocious warriors indeed.

Other than the main character, there are many notable recurring characters as well. James Remar is seen as Cephelo in the show, who has adopted Eritria. The role of Catania is played by Brooke Williams, who is a very close aide and a dear friend of Amberle. The other members of the cast include Emelia Burns, Mattias Inwood and Marcus Vanco, among others.

The television adaptation of the Shannara series is quiet close to the book, but does not follow it exactly. Many main characters have quite different personalities, and some of the characters on the show weren’t there in the book. However, the show has delivered excellent results overall.

The show has a good pace, often leading towards frenetic. At some points, the show feels like it is being rushed through, although not often. This can be really distracting for the audiences, since it does not allow them enough time to connect with the backstory of the characters.

Ander, played by Aaron Jakubenko
Ander, played by Aaron Jakubenko

The series airs on MTV. Naturally, it does come with its own versions of love triangles and multiple romantic storylines throughout. It also has a plethora of female characters in it and all of them play distinct, recognizable, and strong roles. The show is also designed in a manner that it will appeal to a younger audience. It is an epic fantasy – similar, but not equivalent to Game of Thrones fans (GoT), with a lot of provision for romantic stories.

The Shannara Chronicles is really beautiful to watch and is shot really well. The action sequences in the show are also well-choreographed and are nicely executed. The show also features some mean special effects and all these factors do play together to make it an overall likeable experience for the viewers. Not surprisingly, this series has also been shot in the New Zealand, just like Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. The picturesque mountains and the natural beauty of the region has been captured nicely by the directors. The executive producers of the show include Stewart Till, Jon Favreau, and Jonathan Liebesman, among eight others.

So far, whatever episodes have been aired, have received an average response. On both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, the series has received a 50% positive response. However, most of the reviewers have not completely written it off, since the show is still running. Moreover, given the good execution and the confidence that the showmakers have placed in the series, it is very much possible that it may become much better as more episodes are aired.

The show seems to be right up the alley of GoT. The performances are good and the background is intriguing. However, it is not as exciting or thought-provoking as GoT. But, people who are a fan of the genre should give it a try.


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The Shield's Shawn Ryan is the name of the pilot episode

Mad Dogs Revived in America

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The new TV series Mad Dogs is based on the U.K. series of the same name. The original British black comedy aired on Sky1 from February 10th, 2011, to December 29th, 2013, concluding after 14 episodes. The plot revolved around 4 middle-aged long-time friends: Baxter, Quinn, Rick, and Woody. The friends unite on a vacation with another one of their friends named Alvo. Alvo is eventually killed and before long the four friends find themselves increasingly deeper in a network of criminal offenses.

After Alvo is murdered the three begin cleaning a drug boat that is connected to Alvo’s death, so as to protect their own names. During this process they are mistaken as being drug dealers and paid a small fortune. The group of friends learn that they are a part of a Servian mafia drug operation which Alvo was involved in. The series continues on with corrupt police, kidnapping, explosions, more drugs, violence, money, and much more.

Romany Malco stars in Mad Dogs
Romany Malco stars in Mad Dogs

The original Mad Dogs was relatively popular and garnered a few different spin-offs. In 2011 Mad Cats was imagined which would feature a very similar plot, except instead of men the primary characters would be women. What everyone is talking about right now, of course, is the 2015-2016 new American version of Mad Dogs. Last year on January 15th the pilot episode was released by Amazon, and the season finally aired again this last January.

The pilot was written by Cris Cole who was also the creator of the original series. Shawn Ryan, creator of The Shield, worked together with Cole on the pilot episode. Additional executive producers include Marney Hochman, Suzanne Mackie, Andy Harries, and Charles McDougall. Directors include: John David Coles, Uta Briesewitz, Randall Einhorn, Craig Zisk, Guy Ferland, Ted Griffin, Charles McDougall, Mark Piznarski, Clark Johnson, and Alex Graves. Sony Pictures TV and Amazon Studios gave the series life.

The American Mad Dogs stars Billy Zane, Michael Imperioli, Romany Malco, and Steve Zahn. Other members of the cast include: Allison Tolman, Maria Botto, Rachael Holmes, Phil Davis, and Adria Tennor. Ben Chaplin is another star in the show, and he played Alvo in the original British series. In the American version Chaplin will have the role of Zane. Although the two versions may have a lot of things in common the American pilot takes a different turn at the end of the episode.

Coby Bell is another star in the main cast of the show
Coby Bell is another star in the main cast of the show

Mad Dogs, the American version, also follows a group of friends all in their forties. All of the men feel like they are at a crossroads where they must make important life-decisions. Married, single, and recently divorced, the friends are all at different stages in their lives. The characters from the British Mad Dogs had been friends since high school, and those from the American Mad Dogs were friends since college. In the new series the group again go on an exotic and exciting vacation which leads them on an adventure of sorts. They unite together as part of a celebration for their friend Milo as he retires early. The celebration quickly turns sour and becomes quite dark.

Soon lies, deception, and even murder infiltrate the friends’ lives. The shocking voyage leads to a roller coaster ride that puts their friendships and identities to the test. Now the group will be forced to trust one another, even though they perhaps shouldn’t. Anyone who has had a long-time friendship–and who knows the evolution and challenges associated with such a relationship–will be able to relate to Mad Dogs.

The original series was given a rating of 15 and the new pilot episode was rated 18. The American version was given a rating of 7.6/10 stars on IMDb. So far it seems to be doing fairly well and has been retrieving a lot of interested fans. A few different reviews have said that this TV show provides everything when it comes to entertainment. Some individuals call it realistic and believable. It has also been called intriguing, mysterious, unpredictable, excellent, and even a masterpiece. The actors, writing, plot, location, and virtually everything else have been praised in regards to the series. Although the series is set forth in a beautiful area some who have actually been to Belize were slightly upset that it was not filmed there—but this seems to be a minor issue. The show promises violence, sex, dark comedy, drama, and mystery. The characters are also praised and it has been said that they are multidimensional. According to some reviews the series gives the audience an opportunity to connect with the characters rather than jumping straight into action sequences.

Mad dogs comes to Amazon Prime
Mad dogs comes to Amazon Prime

There is no doubt that the original and the new version will be compared with one another, especially by those who have already seen the British version. Some individuals scoff at the fact that Amazon calls the series an “original” when it is so tightly based off of another show. There are quite a few people who seem to like them both especially if they liked one or the other. It is important to keep in mind that they were each made for a different audience and that they also have set distinctions. There are other people, however, who claim that the new version isn’t nearly as good as the original and that it didn’t need to be remade. Many people claim that “it’s never as good as the original” and they are “sick of the remakes” which is understandable.

Some of those who disliked the series didn’t like the characters and didn’t think the events which took place were believable. All of the characters seem prone to making extremely unwise decisions which in turn lead to horrible outcomes. According to some this seems very unrealistic, especially considering the fact that the men are middle-aged and have decent jobs. It has also been said that they are trying “too hard” to be young and reclaim their earlier years, which also prompts them to make bad choices. If you enjoy dark comedies like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul chances are slanted in your favor that you will enjoy Mad Dogs–unless you would rather just stick to the original.


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Mary's Date is Interrupted

Reality TV shows’ biggest secret is UnREAL

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Unreal is a dark comedy series that made its debut on Lifetime in June, 2015. Created by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro and Marti Noxon, the show received rave reviews from the critics. The critical success of the show made it possible for the show to be picked up for a second season that will be airing sometime in 2016.

The series showcases the reality of what happens behind the scenes on reality television shows and portrays that it is actually the producers calling more shots than the viewers would like. It is the story of a reality television producer, Rachel Goldberg. Rachel has been through a massive meltdown in the previous season of her show, Everlasting, a reality dating show. With her demanding boss, Quinn King, always standing on her head, Rachel has to do everything she can to make the show a success. Even if it means, manipulating the participants, twisting the stories, and what not. Anything that entertains the audience is okay, and it being real or not, is not a concern at all.

Adam in unREAL
Adam in unREAL

The first person to be cast on the show was Shiri Appleby, who is playing the lead role of Rachel Goldberg. The show very briefly touches on Rachel’s past. She is the protagonist of the show and the viewers see the story from her eyes. The one good part about her character is that she has a conscience, which may be her only saving grace. She is aware of what she is doing. Her struggle and her response to different situations are interesting to see.

The part of the executive producer, Quinn King, is played by Constance Zimmer. She is all about the television ratings and has no reservations about how her team makes it happen. Basically, she has no moral compass, but has her priorities in place, which is a successful show, period! After all, it affects her reputation if the show does not do well.

Another important character on the show is Chet Wilton, who has been portrayed by Craig Bierko. The creator of Everlasting, Chet, is a self-indulgent and vulgar man, who also has a stormy affair with Quinn. He knows the pulse of the audience, which has earned him a lot of wealth. The money has only made him dive deeper into his self-destructive habits.

Then, there is the character of Adam, the suitor on their show, Everlasting, which is played by Freddie Stroma. He is shown to be a rich guy and a playboy. The show is actually a tool for him to mend his public image. So, he is nice to the girls on the show, because he has that agenda on his mind. But as the show progresses, it is hinted that he might have developed a liking for Rachel. Given the format of the show the list of regular on the show is pretty long. There is Jeffery Bower Chapman, who is playing the role of Jay, the producer of the Everlasting. Then there are the contestants, who have been played by Johanna Braddy, Aline Elasmar, Nathalie Kelley, Josh Kelly and Ashley Scott, among others. Everlasting aired for a second season and Darius Hill is the new bachelor, played by B.J. Britt.

The Girls Confront Adam in unREAL
The Girls Confront Adam in unREAL

A lavish mansion, intimate moments, cat fights, betrayal and everything that makes for good reality television, is part of the show. The show promises to lift the veil and bring the messed up world of reality television to the viewers. The show showcases how the producers on the set create situations to make the contestants react in a certain way.

It is also a satire on the audience. There is a Quinn King or a Rachel Goldberg, because it is the viewers who want that kind of television. If that is what the people buy, then the people who sell it cannot be blamed for selling what people want.

The show aims at shining light on reality tv shows like 'The Bachelor'
The show aims at shining light on reality tv shows like ‘The Bachelor’

The satire does not spare the contestants either. The people who participate in these shows seem to trust people whom they have met at the most, once or twice in their entire life. That is not a healthy thing to do either. This is the main reason why a producer or another contestant is able to manipulate them easily and make them do whatever they want to. Also, the way the series shows women being manipulated to shred other women is a sad reality.

The satirical nature of the show makes it really interesting. There is no direct comedy in the show, but the situations are so ridiculous and yet real that they give birth to the humor. The show has been liked by both the audiences and the critics alike. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has managed to receive a high rating of 97%, while on Metacritic, its score is a solid 77/100. The show has also garnered a lot of good publicity with Forbes calling it one of the best new shows. The show touches on the reality of reality television. So, it is definitely an interesting one for people who watch shows like The Bachelor.

Anna's Tantric Flirtation on unREAL
Anna’s Tantric Flirtation on unREAL

In the brief time that the show has been on air, it has slowly climbed the ratings and has also won awards and accolades. In 2015, it was declared one of the Top Ten TV shows by the American Film Institute. The same year, the show also won the Critic’s Choice Television Award for the Most Exciting New Series. 2016 also brought good news for the show and Constance Zimmer, in particular, who won The Critic’s Choice Television Award for the Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Overall, the show is a good watch. It is fast paced with ample twists and turns to keep the audiences interested. Not only this, it is also shows the constant inner struggle many people face at their jobs and also what the pressure of a job can make people do. The second season is just around the corner and it will be interesting to watch how the moral dilemma that Rachel is facing plays out for her and the other characters.


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Before you die, you will get the chance to ‘Rectify’

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The first original TV series from SundanceTV, Rectify, was created by Ray McKinnon. The show debuted on the network on April 22, 2013. The second season was aired in the June of 2014, while the third season was broadcasted on July 19, 2015. Even before the third season ended, the channel had ordered the fourth and final installment of the show. This season is expected to premiere in the fall of 2016, although an exact date is yet to be announced.

Clayne Crawford is Ted Talbot Jr
Clayne Crawford is Ted Talbot Jr

The series is about the life story of Daniel Holden from Paulie in Georgia. When he is a teenager, he is convicted for the rape and murder of his 16-year old girlfriend. However, after spending a good 19 years in the prison on death row, some new DNA evidence comes to the fore and he is acquitted of all charges. But, there is still some doubt about him being completely innocent. Anyway, he is released from the prison and returns to his hometown. Rectify is an account of the new lease of life that Daniel gets, his adjustments with the society after 19 years in prison, and the new events that are now unfolding in his life.

Aden Young is amazing in the lead role of Daniel Holden. He is not angry for what has happened to him, but is rather trying to adapt to the society. His character is more nuanced than that. Abigail Spencer has played the role of Daniel’s sister, Amantha Holden. She is the one person in Daniel’s life, who never doubted the innocence of her brother and his acquittal is an achievement for her. Spencer has delivered a fascinating and engaging performance in the series. J. Smith-Cameron is equally amazing as Daniel’s mother, Janet.

Clayne Crawford as Ted Jr. and Adelaide Clemens as Tawney Talbot have done justice to their roles. The same can be said for the entire cast actually. Whether it is Bruce McKinnon as Daniel’s step dad, Jake Austin Walker as Jared, Daniel’s half-brother, or Luke Kirby playing his lawyer, Jon Stern – each one of them is impressive.

Aden Young is known as Daniel Holden
Aden Young is known as Daniel Holden

Season 1 of the show is really slow. In fact, many people might find it quite boring. But, the pace is important for the character development, which will pay off later in the next seasons. It explores the consequences of spending so much time in prison. In all probability, he was not a monster before he went to prison. However, the prison time did make sure that he got a little twisted in the head. It is psychologically stirring and makes the viewers think and reflect on life. The intelligently crafted show has been well-received by the audience as well as critics. It got great reviews across the board. While Metacritic gave it an average rating of 82/100, the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes were even better and got this season an awesome 90% score. However, the disclaimer was reiterated by everyone that the show only rewards who are patient.

The first season of the show was like a Litmus test for SundanceTV and therefore, only 6 episodes were ordered. Even when the season ended, it felt like that it was just the first act of an otherwise longer story. The success of this season ensured that the complete story would be told in the later seasons of the show.

Adelaide Clemens is Tawney Talbot
Adelaide Clemens is Tawney Talbot

The 10-episode season 2 of Rectify is the longest in the series yet. This season impressed upon the audience that the show may be following Daniel’s life, but it is not completely focused on him, and instead, sheds some light on the life of the people around him too. Many relationship dynamics are explored. Whether it is Abigail’s distress over Daniel’s misery or it is Ted’s growing problems with Daniel that are pulling the family apart, it is all there. Then there is the incident where vigilantes beat Daniel to the limit where he lands in a coma. The sheriff investigates the case, but he also understands why the vigilantes behaved the way they did, although he does not support their actions. Then, there are the vigilantes who do not think that they have punished an innocent guy, but also get that the sheriff will have to investigate them. This is the kind of depth that the story has. There are no in-your-face dialogues, there is no black or white, there is no absolute right or wrong and that is what makes this season even more interesting.

This is why this season received even better reviews that its predecessor. Metacritic gave it an outstanding ranking of 92 out of 100 and on Rotten Tomatoes, the season fared even better with a rating of 95/100. The nuanced understanding of how people think and act resonated with the audiences. It was delightful to see that the pauses in the show said much more than multiple dialogues and that audience appreciated the approach.

With the first and second season doing exceptionally well, the third season of the show that came out in 2015, had to match some really high expectations. And match it did. This season was as impactful as the first two. It maintains the slow pace of the show and does not overlook any of the main storylines. The show sees Daniel moving out of his hometown to a new abode. This one also concentrates more on the investigation of the case and Jon’s constant efforts in setting Daniel completely free. Again, a huge amount of time is invested in how the different relationships among the siblings are emerging and the individual paths they are taking in life.

Abigail Spencer is Amantha Holden
Abigail Spencer is Amantha Holden

The third season of the show was highly acclaimed by the critics. But, the audiences loved it the most. On Rotten Tomatoes the show got a 100% rating from them. Its Metacritic score stood at a solid 87/100.
Given the shining credentials of the show, the fourth season has a lot to live up to. The pressure is more here, because it is apparently the last season. The story of the show is something which can go on forever and it will be interesting to see how the showmakers choose to wrap it up.
The show is without a doubt one of the best shows on television. However, it has not been able to rope in as much audiences. Though anyone who watches the show goes gaga over it, the word of mouth has not been that strong for this gem of a show reasons that are beyond understanding.


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Read Moreby chauswp83Comments Off on Before you die, you will get the chance to ‘Rectify’

Is it a catastrophe, or the best thing in the world?

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Catastrophe is a British TV show that is broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and is available on Amazon Prime Instant Video in the USA. The sitcom is created by Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, who are also the lead characters of the show. Rob Delaney stars as Rob Norris, while Sharon Horgan as Sharon Morris. The show has already completed two of its seasons. The show also features Carrie Fisher, Mark Bonnar, and Ashley Jensen.

Rob Delaney in Catastrophe
Rob Delaney in Catastrophe

Catastrophe’s Plot

The show is half an hour in length, including the commercial break. In that half hour, it is hardly possible to introduce the characters, build up a story, have people connect with it, and leave them laughing hilariously on the ground. But, Catastrophe manages to do all of that and much more, thanks in no part to the incredible duo that is Horgan and Delaney. The show begins with their characters – Rob Norris and Sharon Morris, meeting by chance. Morris is a teacher in London, while Norris is a New York businessman or an executive, or something like that, in London. Their meeting starts in a cute way, and within the next couple of minutes invariably ends up in bed. That’s it, after some four odd minutes of this circus, they move on their separate ways. They have some affection for each other, but manage to underplay it. There is not much sentimentality to this whole affair, no cheesy parting lines at the airport and such. It’s clear both of them treat it as nothing more than a casual encounter.

Fast forward a few weeks in time, and Rob is having dinner with a date in New York. Things are fine until he receives a call from Sharon. She is pregnant! Well, Rob could have played this in many ways, but he decides to take a direct flight to London, to find a solution to this. As to why, the only plausible explanation is the “underplaying affections” theory that was discussed before. So, back to London again, and they are now discussing as to what they should do about it. The discussion is not some in-depth listing of pros and cons of each scenario. In fact, the actual decision takes place in a park bench, where they throw crisp and condensed one-liners at each other, leaving the audience feeling as if they are watching a tennis match. At the end, they decide to keep the baby. What’s more, they even move in together, fall in love and eventually get married too. By the end of the first season, however, Morris is yet to deliver the baby.

catastrophe logo

The second season shows Morris still pregnant, but the appearance of a toddler announces that the show has taken a time leap, and Morris is pregnant with a second baby. The nappies in the trash are hers and not her baby’s. There is some depravity, hard hitting comedy, eerily familiar situations, and the showmakers have not left any stone unturned to make it as realistic as possible. The writing is excellent and the comic timing of the cast is simply superb.

Catastrophe’s Cast

Sharon Horgan makes her character Sharon Morris completely believable. That’s not surprising coming from the actor, director, and writer, who has to her credits the likes of Pulling. Horgan has won multiple awards and is hilarious in her role as Morris. Rob Delaney, her character’s husband, Rob Norris on the show is no less either. He has been sending people into laughing fits on Twitter and a remarkable stand-up comedian, which his performance on the show clearly justifies.

Star Wars fans would love to see Carrie Fisher on the show. She plays the role of Rob’s mother, Mia. In the first season she was confined to appear on the other end of the phone. But, in the second season, she is firmly in the life of Sharon and Rob. It seems her visit in not a fleeting one, and is bent on being a part of their lives. On Sharon’s side, Gary Lilburn plays the role of her father, Des. Des is the most Irish dad ever. It has been suggested that he has dementia, and has a hard time remembering the names of the very people he love. However, Des has managed to win the hearts of the audience, especially during that one scene, where he slips a tenner for the baby. Classic Irish dad.

The other members of the cast include Ashley Jensen, Mark Bonnar, Jonathan Forbes, Daniel Lapaine, Tobias Menzies, Sarah Niles, Emmanuelle Bouaziz, Seeta Indrani, Marta Barrio, and Amanda Hale.

Catastrophe’s Production

Sharon Horgan helped write Catastrophe
Sharon Horgan helped write Catastrophe

Rob and Sharon had been trying to get the show happen for more than a year, before it actually commissioned by Channel 4. In fact, the showmakers had first approached the BBC, which had turned down the show after reading the script. Avalon Television came forward to produce the pilot for the show in 2013. The pilot was a quite a success, but it would be another year before Channel 4 picked up the show for their TV lineup. Finally, in May 2014, the show received the go for the production of the first season. The first season premiered on January 19, 2015. The show was an immediate success and has been gaining momentum ever since. In fact, within 10 days after the debut of the first season, Channel 4 commissioned another season of the sitcom, which was to be broadcast in January, 2016. However, the show’s rating and performance compelled the network to do away with the waiting and instead, they ended up premiering the second season on 27 October 2015. Each season of the sitcom has six episodes.

Catastrophe’s Conclusion

The producers of the show have not made it clear whether there will be another season of the show or not. However, going by the ratings, it can be safely assumed that the couple – Rob and Sharon – will be back with more gags. So far, no date has been announced for the season 3.


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Read Moreby chauswp83Comments Off on Is it a catastrophe, or the best thing in the world?

The Bachelor: Love, Money, Scams

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The Bachelor is a competitive reality show that premiered on the ABC network in 2002. The show was created by Mike Fleiss and has been a runaway success. Since its debut, the show has completed nineteen seasons and is presently running its 20th season. The success of the show has inspired many spin-offs which include The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and Bachelor Pad.

The Bachelor logo

The concept of the show is pretty simple. Each season has one bachelor, who gets to choose from a group of eligible women, who are interested in him, his most suitable partner. In an ideal scenario, at the end of the show, the bachelor gets engaged to one of the girls and subsequently get married. Of course, this is not always the case. Sometimes, there is no proposal made in the finale or even when there is a proposal, the couple sometimes breaks up even after getting engaged on the show. The group stays together for multiple weeks, with a girl getting eliminated each week, until finally there are only two left. The group visits beautiful destinations and live in a mansion together, which is interesting to watch.

The bachelor decides everything on the show. There are different kinds of activities that the couples indulge themselves in – the traditional one-on-one date, the interesting two-on-one date and the awkward group date. However, all these give the bachelor a good picture of how any girl really is and helps him in making a decision. There are parties, fun contests, and interactions between the bachelor and the girls in each episode. The Bachelor makes a judgment on the basis of everything that he observes and feels. Then, at the end of the episode, he offers roses to the contestants. Those who get the rose continue to stay, while those who don’t have to leave.

After weeks of spending time together, towards the final episodes, the bachelor visits the family of each of the girls. At this time, four girls are still in competition. After getting acquainted with the families, the bachelor eliminates one of the girls.

Now, it is the time for one-on-one dates. This usually happens at an exotic location and luxurious suite. During this time, the couple spends some real alone time with each other, away from the cameras for the night. At the end of this round, the bachelor selects the two finalists. At this time, it is the turn of the girls to meet the family of the bachelor. This is the point when the bachelor gets the chance to consult his family for help in choosing his fiancé.

This is followed by the final rose ceremony, where the actual proposal takes place. In the history of the show, almost 50% of the seasons have not resulted in the proposal. Also, the girls are free to leave the show at any point in time, if they lose interest in getting hitched to the bachelor. It is a rare event, but it can also happen that a particular girl is evicted from the house for not following the rules.

The bachelor is usually a pretty affluent person

The first season of the show started airing in 2002 with Alex Michel as the first ever bachelor on the show. The management consultant was not sure enough to choose any of the girls to be his wife, but did enter into a relationship with Amanda Marsh. It was a wise decision on his part, as the couple parted ways only months after the show. Alex later married a childhood friend. The very same year in September, Aaron Buerge came on air to find a life partner. He was the VP of a chain of family owned banks. This bachelor did propose to Helene Eksterowicz at the end of the show. Surprisingly, they broke up only weeks after the show culminated. They are now married to different people.

In 2003, Andrew Firestone, a sales executive came looking for his life partner on the third season of the show. In the finale, he did propose to Jen Schefft, but the relationship did not work out. He is now married and is father to three kids. Bob Guiney became the next bachelor in the fourth season of the show. The entrepreneur did not find a wife on the show. But, he left the show with a relationship with the finalist, Estella Gardinier. But, this relationship also met the same fate as all “The Bachelor” love stories. Jesse Palmer, the college football player and The Bachelor of season five did not have any different luck either. He did not make a proposal and his relationship with Jessica Bowlin bit the dust almost immediately after the show ended.

There was a slight tweak in the format of the show in the sixth season. Apart from having 25 bachelorettes, the show also featured two bachelors, Byron Velvick and Jay Overbye. The women had to choose a bachelor at the beginning of the show and Velvick ruled the votes. At the finale, he proposed to Mary Delgado. The relationship seemed solid, but after five years together, this couple also decided to go their separate ways.

The seasons from seven to nine did not see any proposals from the Bachelors. The tenth season did break the jinx with the naval officer Andrew Baldwin’s proposal to Tessa Horst. However, they could not break the jinx of the show and called off their engagement within a month. The bachelor of the eleventh season actually rejected both the finalists.

The Bachelor contestants get to do amazing things on set

It was seasons twelve to seventeen that brought really good news. There was a proposal at the finale of each of these seasons. Season 13 came with a surprise of sorts when the account executive Jason Mesnick broke the engagement he had with Melissa Rycroft on the show and started a relationship with the runner-up, Molly Malaney. They eventually got married, which was a first for The Bachelor. Season 17 gave the audiences the moment they had all been waiting for. A proposal in the finale by Sean Lowe was accepted by the finalist Catherine Guidici. They stuck to the commitment and got married in 2014. Season 18 saw no proposal, while Season 19 witnessed the engagement of Chris Soules and Whitney Bischoff. However, it was called off later.

The twentieth season of the show is yet to conclude and it will be interesting to see if the software professional, Ben Higgins, is able to find his perfect bachelorette.


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Matthew Rhys unbelievable actor and superstar

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Matthew Rhys, a welsh actor, was born on November the eighth of 1974. Many people know him by
some of his more popular roles such as Kevin Walker in an ABC family drama called Brothers and
Sisters and, more recently, the FX drama called The Americans. Born and raised in Cardiff, Wales,
Matthew’s parents were both in the education system with his father, Glyn, who was a headmaster and
his mother, Helen Evans. Having been educated via Welsh-medium schools, Rhys found himself
playing Elvis in a musical at the age of seventeen but decided to further his education in the arts by
applying to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, in which he was also accepted; shortly thereafter he
was also awarded the Patricia Rothermere Scholarship (1993).

matthewrhys
Having an already productive start, Matthew Rhys added to his early success when he appeared in a
BBC police series called Back-Up, as well as House of America, while he was still in attendance with
the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Following this, Matthew returned to his hometown, Cardiff, to
act in his own language in the movie called Bydd Yn Wrol (Be Brave). After the release of the movie he
won best actor at the Bafta Cymru (Welsh BAFTA’s), furthering his already growing list of
accomplishments.

Matthewrhysaccents
Matthew Rhys’s career became official in 1998 when he traveled to New Zealand to star in Greenstone,
a colonial costume drama. His acting career continued to stay active and after Greenstone, however,
and he nailed a role in Titus. This was a break in his acting career especially due to the fact that Titus
starred Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. Next on his extensive list of career roles, Matthew Rhys
plays in Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?, a Peter Hewlitt comedy, as a character named Ray. He
then played in two films with Jonathan Pryce (The Testimony of Taliesin Jones and Sara Sugarman
comedy called Very Annie Mary). His later role on the show Brothers and Sisters would reunite him
with the star of Very Annie Mary, Rachel Griffiths.
In 2000, Matthew landed the lead role in the drama series, Metropolis, for Granada TV. Soon after he
starred in Peaches, written by Nick Grosso, he appeared in a stage adaptation of The Graduate, The
Abduction Club, and Tabloid. Following the long list of performances previously mentioned, Matthew
Rhys made his way back to New Zealand for the filming of one of his most successful roles in the epic
BBC drama Lost. Justin Price became Matthew’s role of 2003 when he played the last murderer in the
last ever Columbo. After playing in a few other roles including Brothers and Sisters, he moved to Santa
Monica. In the more recent years, Matthew Rhys is known for his roles in The Mystery of Edwin
Drood, The Scapegoat, Look Back In Anger and The Americans. From the start it’s easy to say that
Matthew Rhys is a successful and actively involved actor that has skills noticed by millions and his
extensive list of roles are testimony to that.


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Cuba Gooding Jr. on O.J. Simpson Trial- You Have No Idea What Really Went Down

Cuba Gooding Jr’s untold secrets and incredible career

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Cuba Gooding Jr. is an American Actor known for his outstanding performances in a number of movies, including his critically acclaimed performance in Jerry Maguire. He has best known for his appearances in the movies such as Boyz n the Hood (1991), As Good As It Gets (1997), American Gangster (2007), The Fighting Temptation (2003), The Butler (2013) and most recently, Selma (2014). Other than these movies, he also starred in a TV show – Guilty, which was directed by McG as a pilot for Fox. He was given a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the year 2002.

Cuba Gooding Jr.’s Early Life

Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding Jr on #OscarsSoWhite
Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding Jr on #OscarsSoWhite

Cuba Gooding was born in the New York City on 2nd January, 1968. His mother was a singer and his father was a lead vocalist for a soul music band. Gooding has three brothers and sisters – Tommy, Omar, and April. Among them, his second sibling, Omar is also an actor and a musician. His father came from Barbados, and shifted their home to Los Angeles in 1972. Two years after that in 1974, his father took off and never came back. After that, it was Gooding’s mother that raised him all by herself.
In his early years, Gooding had to change high schools more than once because of his family problems and studied at four of them. The interesting thing is that in three of those schools, he was chosen to the position of class president.
Gooding was one of the lucky ones to actually marry his high school sweetheart in 1994. Very soon, he even became a proud father of the three kids – Piper, Spencer and Mason. However, things have not remained as great now as it was reported in 2014 that Sara has filed for a divorce.

Acting Career

He started his career by performing for the very first time as a break dancer at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics with singer Lionel Richie. After completing his high school and before he took an interest towards acting, Gooding spent three years learning martial arts. Then, he began to pursue his career in the field of acting. In the early stage of his career, he appeared in guest roles in a number of TV shows, the likes of which include Hill Street Blues, Amen and MacGyver. Other than this, he had a minor role in the comedy TV show, Coming To America.

Cuba Gooding landed himself his first major opportunity in the year 1991, with the movie, “Boyz n the Hood”. The lead role of Tre Styles was played by Gooding the movie. The film, now considered to be a modern classic, came to be a surprise hit at the box office and got a great critical acclaim. This was the movie that spawned the seeds of his success. It was soon followed by some bit hits, including Lightening Jack, Outbreak, Judgment Night and A Few Good Men.

cuba gooding jr crashes stage during aziz ansari stand up
Cuba Gooding Jr. crashes stage during Aziz Ansari stand up

The year 1996 proved to be a golden year for Gooding. He was selected for the role of a football player whose sporting days may be behind him, in the sports-comedy blockbuster, Jerry Maguire by Cameron Crowe. Gooding brought the character of this arrogant but charismatic player alive in a way that won the hearts of both critics as well as the audiences. This movie, co-starring Tom Cruise, was an immense commercial and critical success. His excellent performance in the movie gained him an Academy Award. His dialogue “Show Me the Money!” gained a nationwide attention and soon became a catch phrase.

The following year, Gooding got an opportunity to act in the movie, As Good As It Gets. This movie too won an Academy Award and with this, Gooding’s career took a long flight in the sky of success. From here, he was constantly praised for his outstanding performances in the movies such as What Dreams May Come True (1998) and Men of Honor (2000).

Cuba Gooding was also known for his performance as Doris Miller in the movie Pearl Harbour (2001). His performance in the Rat Race the same year did not lower his fame either. As part of his next project, he co-stared with Beyoncé Knowles in the musical film The Fighting Temptations. His next notable appearance was in Snow Dogs (2002), a family-comedy, which was quite a big success at the box office. But, during this period, he also acted in a number of movies that didn’t perform so well at the box office nor with the critics. These include Chill Factor (1999), Daddy Day Camp (2007), and so on. During the same period, he also appeared in a number of movies that were a box office flop, which could not overshadow his fame.

Cuba Gooding Jr  joins Big Time
Cuba Gooding Jr joins Big Time

Since then, Gooding has acted in quite a number of critically ignored movies, in complete contrast to his early career. Around this time, the successful movies such as The Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story and American Gangster stand as exception to his streak of unsuccessful movies. He made his debut in the Broadway Theatre with The Trip To Bountiful, alongside Vanessa Williams and Cicely Tyson. The Broadway show was nominated for a Tony Award and received good response overall. In 2014, he was casted for the role of Fred Gray in Selma, which gained him a huge critical acclaim. Since then, he is seen more on the television than on the silver screen. For instance, his performance in the role of Samuel Fraunces in The Book of Negroes has been widely praised. Another one of his notable television appearances is in the role of O.J. Simpson in the upcoming TV show, American Crime Story. He has made his appearance in many hit movies as well as television shows, and has received a great critical acclaim for his outstanding performances. He has even achieved a star in the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in the year 2002.


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Read Moreby chauswp83Comments Off on Cuba Gooding Jr’s untold secrets and incredible career
Justin Bieber - Confident ft. Chance The Rapper

Shocking, Troubling, or just Justin Bieber. What is his real persona?

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Justin Bieber is a Canadian singer, record producer and songwriter who was discovered via YouTube. His debut album, My World was released in 2009, which was certified Platinum in US. Justin, after this first release, became the first artist to ever get seven songs on the Billboard Hot 100, on debut. The pop-star released his first full-length studio album in the year 2010 by the name My World 2.0. It was certified as triple platinum in the US and debuted as one of the top albums in several countries. After this, Bieber brought out his most successful single to date, Baby which was certified as 12X- platinum in the US.

Justin was born on 1st March, 1994 in the city of London in Ontario, Canada. His father, Jeremy Jack Bieber and mother, Patricia Mallette were not married each other. He was brought up in Stratford, Ontario with his mother and his grandmother, Diane, along with his step-grandfather, Bruce. Bieber’s mother has French-Canadian ancestry, while his father has a German heritage, and his other also has Irish and English ancestors. Bieber also has two half-siblings from his father’s side.

Justin Bieber went to Jeanne Sauve Catholic School in Stanford. His interest in music is reflected from the fact that he learned to play various instruments like drums, trumpet, guitar and piano while growing up. He passed out from Michael Catholic Secondary School with a GPA of 4.0 in the year 2012.

Justin Bieber What Did You Mean
From the Justin Bieber – What Did You Mean? music video

At an age of 12, Justin Bieber sang in a local competition and won the second position. His mother uploaded the video of his complete performance on YouTube to share it with relatives and friends. After that, she continued uploading Bieber’s videos of singing various popular songs, and slowly he started becoming popular on the site.

Justin Bieber was discovered when Scooter Braun, who had worked as a marketing executive with So So Def Recordings. He actually clicked on a 2007 YouTube video of Justin, by accident. He was immediately impressed upon listening to Bieber’s voice and tracked him down. Justin Bieber’s mother was reluctant at first, believe it or not, because of Braun’s Judaism. But upon getting convinced from a church elder, she finally agreed to it. Justin was then flown to Atlanta, Georgia to record samples and just within a week he had started singing for Usher. All this at a young age of thirteen.

The first single of Justin Bieber, One Time, was on the radio, when Bieber had not yet even finished recording his first album. During its first week of release, the song reached number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100 and later listed as number seventeen on Billboard Top 100. His first release was named My World, which eventually became platinum in the US. The album also earned a double platinum in both UK and Canada. For the promotion of the album Bieber performed on many tours and European Programs.

The famous song, Baby, was released in January 2010 from Bieber’s album, My World 2.0. The song got international recognition and marked its presence in the top 5 in both Canadian Hot 100 and Billboard Hot 100 list. When the whole album was released it gained favorable reviews and made an entry into the US Billboard chart. The immense success of the album made Bieber the youngest male solo artist to top this chart since the sixties.

Justin Bieber - All That Matters
From the Justin Bieber – All That Matters music video

In October, 2010 Justin Bieber announced that he will soon be releasing an acoustic album known as My World Acoustic, which was released in November, 2010. Bieber was ranked at number two on the Forbes list of best paid celebrities under the age of thirty in the year 2011. He was one of the top seven musicians who earned $53 million in a 12-month period.

After that, he released the Christmas-themed Under The Mistletoe as his second studio album in November 2011. It debuted number one on Billboard 200. Bieber began recording his second studio album in late 2011. The album was named Believe, in which the first song was called Boyfriend. The song became Justin Bieber’s first ever single to reach the top in Canadian Hot 100. The whole album was released in June, 2012 by Island Records. The album came out as Bieber’s fourth number one album on Billboard 200. It sold 57,000 copies of the album in Canada in the first week, bringing it to the top of Canadian Album Charts.

Bieber announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in December 2012, about his plans on the album titled Believe Acoustic, which then came out in January 2013. An announcement was made by Bieber in October, 2013 that he would release a song every Monday for 10 weeks that wound lead to his movie Justin Bieber’s Believe, which was released in December 2013. Justin was also a featured roastee in Comedy Central’s Annual Roast Special for the year 2015.

PURPOSE The Movement
PURPOSE The Movement

Bieber released a new single, titled What Do You Mean? from his album Purpose in the August of 2015. It became Bieber’s first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100. Becoming the youngest artist to ever top the chart, he also received a Guinness World Record for this feat. The whole album was released in November, 2015 and became Bieber’s sixth album to debut at the top of the chart.

Justin Bieber has been one of the most searched teenager on Google for four years straight. Throughout his active years in the industry, he has been in the news with cameras and paparazzi right above his head. The success of the travel tours by Justin Bieber (Urban Behavior Tour, My World Tour, Believe Tour, Purpose World Tour), displays the level of craze for him, predominantly among the teenagers and mostly, girls at that. On Twitter, Bieber comes at number two, after Katy Perry, for highest number of followers at 72,472,285 followers.


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Read Moreby chauswp83Comments Off on Shocking, Troubling, or just Justin Bieber. What is his real persona?