Sometimes I’m totally fine with letting shows collect dust on my DVR. I know that like Sour Patch Kids or my little black dress, those shows will never let me down and they’ll wait patiently until I have time to enjoy them. Unfortunately yesterday in my haste to make sure I could record the Pretty Little Liars finale, I did the unthinkable: I deleted my entire DVR library. My world is in shambles, I literally called my mom and cried, and I’m pretty sure I put a straw directly in my wine bottle last night. Can we please have a moment of silence for all the precious episodes of Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Glee, and Chopped that I lost? … Thank you.
On a happier note, this week’s edition of Leanne’s Spoiler List features five phenomenal shows that will make you twirl with excitement. I chatted with Shameless star Shanola Hampton to bring you updates on the year’s most important, yet bizarre, baby-watch, and gushed with the Mayim Bialik and creators of The Big Bang Theory about taking Sheldon and Amy’s relationship to the next level. Plus, you’ll find delightful details on upcoming episodes of The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy and The Mindy Project. Read on for all the TV wonder below!
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1. Shameless: Baby Maybe?Whenever some one asks me what my favorite shows are — and believe me when you’re a TV reporter that happens a lot! — Shameless is always in my top three. This season has featured the most jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, heart-pounding episodes that have ever graced my TV screen so naturally I needed someone to discuss all the chaos with.
Last week I giggled with the incredible Shanola Hampton as she filled me in on all the baby mama-drama that V and Kev are currently dealing with — namely, the fact that since V can't conceive, her mom and hubby are doin' it so her mom can be the surrogate for their child. Hampton explains that even though V is using a rather twisted method to get a baby, she understands how her desire to be a mom clouded her logic. “The options were limited for her and that’s what she chose to do. For a woman like V who is determined to always get what she wants when she sets her mind to it, I get it,” she says.
But Hampton says Kev and V's mother’s last baby-making session officially snapped V out of her crazed pregnancy plan. The actress says, “Once she saw her mother getting into it with the music and stuff she’s like, ‘Okay no! This has gone to a whole new level!’” In fact, the Shameless star was so in tune with V’s horror and digust that she almost got sick on set filming that day! “The episode that you saw with the final sex scene where V finally stopped it and said, ‘No no no no no!’ By that point I was nauseous, literally threw up in my mouth a little bit shooting,” she says with a laugh.
We saw at the tail end of “Where There’s a Will” that Kev received a sexy text from Carol, so could this intimate event come back to into play? Hampton teases, “There will be some other craziness that comes out about my mother by the end of the season and Veronica will flip her lid, but it wont be that message.” As we all so clearly know, if there’s one girl in Chicago you don’t want to eff with, it’s Veronica. Isn’t that right, Cheryl?
Potential ass-kicking aside, will all this craziness finally let V get her “little punk” with Kev’s pretty eyes and smile? Not to brag or anything, but I’ve already seen this Sunday’s episode, “Civil Wrongs,” and I can tell you that there will be a pregnancy test involved. I can’t tell you whether it’s positive or negative but I can tell you that my girl Shanola is truly a master at sprinting in heels.
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2. Grey’s Anatomy: Practically Perfect in Every WayDr. April Kepner finally found some luck in the love department last week when her hot new EMT boyfriend revealed he was a virgin and was waiting until marriage to have sex, just like she was! (Well, minus her little dalliance with Jackson, of course.) And according to April's lovely portrayer, Sarah Drew, he's only going to get more perfect when we see him again.
"He’s not actually in this week’s episode but I talk – quite a lot – about him in the episode, and he shows up in two weeks where he gets injured in a gas explosion trying to shield a child from the blast," Drew reveals to Hollywood.com. Risking his life to save a child? Yeah, we agree with Drew: "He’s just perfect in every way."
Too bad April didn't tell him the whole truth about her brief sexual past with Jackson. We have a feeling that won't end well for one of our favorite Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital doctors. "She has lied to him and she is stuck in this in-between where she doesn’t know how she feels about Jackson," Drew says. "I don’t think she can fully articulate that she is in the middle of a love triangle but she is, whether she believes it or not."
But despite her feelings for Jackson, April's lie is the biggest obstacle in her new relationship right now. "She’s so excited that she’s met someone that’s exactly on the same page about sex that she is that she didn’t want to screw it up," Drew explains. "In that moment she felt like it would be such a disappointment to try to explain, 'I was a virgin and then I wasn’t and now I am again.' Who understands that? That’s absurd. I think she should have told him, and if she told him right off the bat he would have been fine. But she didn’t want to screw with it. It’s going to come back and bite her in the ass." Yikes!
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3. The Big Bang Theory: Mother May I?There are certain things in this world that I love with all my heart: the teeny-tiny meows of a kitten, the first cup of coffee in the morning, the word “adore,” and last but certainly not least: The Big Bang Theory! So you can imagine my delight when I caught up with the scientifically gifted cast and creators on the PaleyFest red carpet last week.
Those who follow me on Twitter know that I one of my goals in life is to be besties with Amy Farrah Fowler and that I consider this moment to be one of the greatest 43 seconds ever created on television. So of course I had to talk about one of my all-time favorite couples: Shamy!
“We are constantly amazed that Amy is able to make progress with Sheldon in the relationship,” creator Bill Prady reveals. “It’s actually fought when it happens in the writers room because someone will say, ‘Amy wants this.’ and someone else will say, ‘Sheldon would never do that. Then the work is what could Amy do to make him do that? She’s a strong and smart, character so it usually works out.”
So what should the next step in their relationship be? Go on a scientific retreat together? Write a thesis together? Or maybe (gasp!) coitus? Well I have an idea that I’ve been wanting to see for months: Amy meeting Sheldon’s mom! Prady agrees that this would be the perfect next step for the couple. “That a good idea! We’ll talk about that.” Executive producer Steven Molaro agrees, saying, “We would love to see that as well, so do not be surprised if in the future that occurs.”
Just thinking about Sheldon’s Christ-loving Texan mother talking with our Sheldon-obsessed Amy makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. When I pitched the idea to Mayim Bialik she was equally excited. “Oh I think that would be really clever!” she smiles. “I mean Laurie Metcalf is just so amazing, so anybody with her would be incredible.” Squee! So keep in mind Big Bang Theory lovers, whenever we see this amazing interaction it was my hypothesis that started it all!
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4. The Good Wife: Best Episode Ever!I kind of feel a little like Saturday Night Live's Stefon trying to describe the next episode of The Good Wife, "The Death of a Client." While I can't tell you exactly what happens, just know that It. Has. Everything! Murder, lawsuits, fistfights, life-changing job opportunities, ball gowns, Fringe star John Noble, drunk Stockard Channing, and some steamy Alicia/Will makeouts.
Yes, that's right — Will and Alicia totally make out. I know. OMG! But before you freak out, know that much of the episode is told through flashbacks after Noble's character, Alicia's eccentric and extremely litigious client, is murdered and the police enlist her help to figure out who killed him. Things only get scarier when we find out Alicia may be the next target. Dun dun duuuuun!
But despite the serious premise, don't expect non-stop drama — although they're trying to find a killer, the episode is pretty funny! What you should prepare yourself for is plot development after plot development. That too vague for you? Okay, fine. Here are some more teases: Someone gets decked in the face, Diane gets a very intriguing career opportunity, Channing's character (Alicia's mom) reveals some secrets about her daughter's marriage to Peter, and there's a well-timed "go f*** yourself."
Of course, as always, Juliana Margulies looks gorgeous, but especially so in a red gown as she heads to an important political event with Peter. (Did I mention the sexy Will/Alicia scenes? Because they're pretty damn hot.)
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5. The Mindy Project: Romance and Bromance The Mindy Project has explored the love lives of two of its main stars, but we haven't seen much of the action the sexy yet womanizing Dr. Jeremy Reed has presumably been getting (aside from the pilot, where he and Mindy ended their ongoing fling).
That's about to change, Ed Weeks promises Hollywood.com. Score! Jeremy is about to spark up a relationship with Mindy's old college friend, Maggie (Mary Grill), and the "fun mismatch" will heat up quickly. "He normally goes for models and 10s and bimbos, and she is slightly more rough hewn," Weeks spills. "She’s a gym teacher, unreconstructed, doesn’t give a s**t about all of Jeremy’s bulls**t, isn’t seduced by his accent or his hair or his clothes. I think Jeremy finds that really intriguing, like a challenge."
While Weeks stayed quiet on how long the relationship will last, you should know that the couple just filmed their first screen kiss. "It was pretty good. My action was bad but I tasted fine," Weeks jokes after popping a piece of gum.
But a new fling isn't all we'll see of Jeremy in the second half of Season 1. "We might meet some of his family," Weeks teases. "We might learn a little bit about his past, how he got to America from England, which will be really fun. We’ll see his bromance with Morgan develop. We’ve shot a few really fun stories of recently."
Like what? Prepare yourselves: "There’s an amazing scene in a sweat lodge where Morgan and Jeremy are topless and are embracing — and are arguing. Buckle up."
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
—Additional Reporting by Jean Bentley and Sydney Bucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Showtime, CBS, FOX, ABC]
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Casino Royale starts at the beginning as James Bond (Craig) takes his first baby steps as a Double O agent. His first assignment is to track down a terrorist cell in Madagascar but he’s a bit of a loose cannon and things quickly go awry. Bond’s superior M (Judi Dench) is soon regretting giving the arrogant Bond the promotion. Nonetheless Agent 007 takes it upon himself to follow a lead to the Bahamas and discovers that all nefarious dealings point to Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) a nasty fellow who has money ties to terrorist organizations. Le Chiffre is planning to raise money in a high-stakes poker game at the Le Casino Royale in Montenegro—and Bond gets in to beat him at his own game. Along with a hefty bankroll M also sends the beguiling accountant Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) to keep Bond in check. They are skeptical of each other at first but as the danger escalates it becomes apparent there is a growing attraction—and affection—between them. Natch. Can these two crazy kids make it work immersed in the cutthroat world of international intrigue? Well this is Bond after all—and we know how he ends up. Craig absolutely gets it. Whatever doubts people may have had when Craig was first announced as the new Bond are washed away in the first few minutes of the film. Sure if Casino Royale was anything like the last few Bond movies then maybe the understated Craig wouldn’t have fit in as well. But this is a different Bond. The British actor plays him not as the icon we’ve come to know but as a flawed man warts and all who flies by the seat of his pants isn’t necessarily refined and yes can even fall in love. Craig also raises the acting bar. His brief scenes with the impeccable Dench for example simmer and pop unlike anything we’ve seen before in a Bond film. Danish film star Mikkelsen (Pusher) is quite effective as the main baddie with a particularly gruesome physical malady while the always good Jeffrey Wright (Syriana) shows up as CIA Agent Felix Leiter. The one weak link unfortunately is Green (The Dreamers). She certainly looks the part of a “Bond girl ” but her Vesper is supposed to be whip-smart able to engage in witty banter with 007 and the French actress can’t quite pull it off. Craig needs more of a challenge. Too bad Judi Dench isn’t 30 years younger; she would have been perfect. Casino Royale the first book in the Ian Fleming series is basic Bond 101. Director Martin Campbell--who helmed Goldeneye Pierce Brosnan’s first and probably best foray into the franchise--strips it of all the far-fetched gadgets (save for a few new-fangled PDAs) and over-the-top action sequences leaving just good clean action devoid of any invisible cars armored Russian tanks and the such. Oh wait Bond does use a bulldozer at one point but that comes briefly in the middle of a rather extensive and hair-raising foot chase. It just proves action can be just as riveting without having to completely suspend your disbelief. Casino Royale is also rare in that it shows how Bond became THE James Bond the one we’ve seen in countless movies over the years in the stylish tuxes drinking the martinis driving the Aston-Martins and bedding all the beautiful women. Casino Royale breathes new life into the franchise and one can only hope they can keep up the good work without once again lapsing into the ridiculous.
When Alien was released almost a quarter of a century ago moviegoers lapped it up to the tune of $78.9 million--enough to make it the second highest grossing film of that year. Renowned film critic Pauline Kael who wrote about the Alien phenomenon in The New Yorker noted: "It was more gripping than entertaining but a lot of people didn't mind. They thought it was terrific because at least they'd felt something; they'd been brutalized." Now in an era utterly saturated with the genre the film still assaults audiences on a level that has yet to be matched. The story in Alien: The Director's Cut remains the same: seven crewmembers of the commercial ship Nostromo are awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate an S.O.S. distress call from an alien vessel. Unbeknownst to crew the distress call is actually a warning. When three crewmembers leave to investigate the abandoned ship they unsuspectingly allow an alien life to board the Nostromo a galactic horror that begins to kill the crew one by one--leaving only one exceptionally tough woman.
Ellen Ripley (a very young Sigourney Weaver) who leads the fight for survival against the alien has to date returned for three sequels: James Cameron's 1986 Aliens which earned Weaver an Oscar nomination for Best Actress David Fincher's 1992 Alien3 and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 1997 Alien Resurrection. For fans who have followed Ripley's evolution from a by-the-book crewmember to a hybrid half-alien half-human clone it's exciting to revisit the roots of her character and understand what fuels her revenge. The rest of the ensemble including Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas Veronica Cartwright as Lambert Harry Dean Stanton as Brett John Hurt as Kane Ian Holm as Ash and Yaphet Kotto as Parker seems just as appropriately cast today as it probably did then and even 25 years later the crew of the Nostromo doesn't look like a '70s interpretation of futuristic space workers.
To revisit the set of Alien's Nostromo director Ridley Scott (Matchstick Men) and his team of archivists sifted through hundreds of boxes of film footage discovered in a London vault. From this material unseen in almost 25 years Scott selected new footage which then underwent digital restoration matching it to Alien's newly polished negative. The result is six minutes of additional footage which goes to show how little improving the original film needed. The most palpable addition is a scene in which Ripley stumbles upon "the nest " where she discovers that her crewmates have been cocooned by the alien. But the rest of Scott's additional footage is so subtle that even diehard Alien fans will have a difficult time pinpointing the new material which consists mainly of new shots of the slimy and metallic alien. The Director's Cut also features a brand-new six-track digital stereo mix which strengthens the film's slow but intense cadence with its pulsating beats. But remastered or not the film remains as gripping today as it was when it was first released in 1979.
P.J. Hogan's Peter Pan follows J.M. Barrie's story almost to the letter. A girl on the brink of womanhood Wendy Darling (newcomer Rachel Hurd-Wood) loves telling her brothers John (Harry Newell) and Michael (Freddie Popplewell) stories of dastardly pirates as they sit in their nursery under the watchful eye of their St. Bernard Nana. Her 19th-century Londoner parents however believe the time has come for the young girl to grow up especially her father. Then a cheeky wild-haired boy named Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumpter) flies through the nursery window one night with his trusted yet jealousy-prone fairy Tinkerbell (Ludivine Sagnier) telling Wendy he can take her to a place full of adventure where no one ever has to grow up. She readily accepts the offer and with a few happy thoughts some fairy dust and her two brothers in tow she flies off to Neverland. (Not the ranch…the real place.) Once there Wendy encounters mermaids Indians and the Lost Boys (who refer to her as "mother") and gets the whole pirate experience in Peter's ongoing feud with arch-nemesis Captain Hook (Jason Isaacs). But Wendy soon becomes conflicted because on the one hand she likes hangin' with hottie Peter but on the other she misses her mother. She decides it's probably best to go back and grow up but in her hurry to leave she ends up in Hook's clutches. A rescue ensues. Swords clash ticking crocodiles are fed and fairies are saved as our clever fly boy zooms Wendy and company back to London on a giant pirate ship. But does he stay and grow up himself? Hell no he's a Toys 'R Us kid forever!
All the kid actors in Peter Pan are highly watchable and appealing with angelic faces peaches-and-cream complexions and pouty cherry lips. This is the first time Peter is being played by a real-life boy a fact much hyped by the filmmakers and 12-year-old Sumpter (Frailty) does his best to live up to the expectations. (He's soon to be swoon-worthy material for sure.) He's got a mischievous gleam in his eye and a great sly smile but he really lights up when he's looking into Wendy's adorable face. Hurd-Wood the first-time actress who plays the spirited girl earned her role after a long and involved casting process it's well deserved; she fits the typical English-girl profile perfectly and gets the hang of her craft quickly infusing the character with a natural cheerful energy. It's also refreshing to see the young actors play up Wendy and Peter's feelings of first love which prior films always hinted at but never fully realized. Isaacs in a dual role as the firm-but-loving Mr. Darling and the frightening comical lonely charming needy reprehensible Captain Hook draws on his experience at playing exquisitely awful baddies (The Patriot Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and really sinks his claws into Hook. In a stand out supporting role French actress Sagnier (Swimming Pool) is really fantastic as the vivacious non-speaking Tinkerbell portraying the fairy's conflicted emotions with a silent-film over-the-top technique.
Director/writer P.J. Hogan (My Best Friend's Wedding) and his team try to distinguish their film from the other Peter Pans of the world by using all the technical and special effects wizardry at their disposal. Hogan says his Peter Pan is the way its author Barrie intended to be when he wrote it as a play over a 100 years ago--full of fantasy and wonder. In a way he's right and production designer Roger Ford and visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar take his vision and run with it giving audiences a very lush Neverland with waterfalls fluffy pink clouds crystal-blue waters and a gorgeous fairy world. But despite the bells and whistles there really isn't anything original and different in this Pan. Even its look at the dark side of Neverland has been done in Steven Spielberg's 1991 semi-sequel Hook which showed the dangers of Neverland. In this version lives really are at stake and the pirates are not cute and fun. Even the mermaids are mysterious and malevolent with scary faces and murderous intentions a far cry from the beautiful if somewhat mean-spirited creatures of the 1953 classic Disney animated adaptation another inescapable influence on the audience. When the crocodile draws near for example tick-tocking away the croc's signature tune from the Disney film comes immediately to mind. People may love those Disney films for those cutesy catchy songs but Peter Pan really is a good story. Heck it's a great story. But it's just been done.