Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

the-crown

This TV season brought not one, but two series about famous monarchs and as both featured two of the three British Queens, it’s nearly impossible not to compare both shows from the start. The Crown and Victoria, tackling Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria (respectively), have similar starting places – young queens with dozens of men surrounding them trying to influence policy – and even have some of the same cast: actor Alex Jennings is both David, Duke of Windsor (in The Crown), and King Leopold of Belgium (in Victoria) – but the focus of each show is different.

The Crown is taking a longer look at the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from the early days of her rule (as seen in the first season) and progressing through more current times. During the shows run, multiple actresses will play the Queen through the years, and hopefully the two or three other women will do just as well as Claire Foy has done so far. In the first season, Elizabeth’s advisors constantly try to govern for her, be it Churchill, Prince Philip, or her private secretary. She simply follows so much of what these men tell her as if it is status quo that it is hard to find her power and strength amid all the other voices.

With Victoria, Jenna Coleman plays the young Victoria, who ultimately shaped modern Britain that we still see today. She too, follows along with some of what her Prime Minister says (though with the added hint of a sexual attraction), but after she is married to Prince Albert, Albert does his best to guide his wife and monarch.

victoria

However, given that both women are strong rulers, who are equally defiant in their roles as monarch, it’s hard not to compare both shows.

The Crown has the money behind it to really make the life of Queen Elizabeth shine, but it does not focus as much on what Elizabeth might want, whereas Victoria gives the audience a strong sense of what Victoria wants and how she goes about getting it.

Though we all know the history behind both rulers, Victoria seems more willing to bend the truth for the sake of drama (the flirting Victoria does with Lord Melbourne and how she wasn’t already smitten with Albert as the two shining examples of inaccuracies), but if anything The Crown wants Elizabeth’s story to be as real as possible.

Of course, the rationale behind both shows is different and at the heart of each, there is a different purpose and a different audience (with different reactions; it’s much easier to glorify the past rather than the current) but in the end, each show is about a woman ruling Britain, and that is where any comparisons should end.

Is it hard to do just that? Yes, at least for me. But, the next seasons of each show may make it easier to separate them as being of the same cloth.

Read Full Post »

The Un-Cancelled

hayley-atwell-conviction

This year few shows have been officially cancelled by ABC, despite two shows being given either shorter seasons or no-back nine. But, the two shows that fit into this “not cancelled but cancelled” model also featured strong women. I can’t tell what about either show didn’t work, however.

Conviction featured Hayley Atwell, on another ABC show after Agent Carter was cancelled, and Notorious starred Piper Perabo who has seen previous success.

Both shows had premises that should have captured audiences (Conviction took on a case of the week in a way that mirrored Castle and Notorious did a job of setting up a case of the week and the draw of celebrity culture), but neither gathered much support.

Is the reason that these two shows failed something that can be the fault of the structure (Conviction is possibly a little too how the sausage gets made for fans of Castle) or is it just that shows with strong women seem to be trouble for ABC?

piper-perabo-notorious

Fans loved Atwell’s Agent Carter, but it always floundered in the ratings. This time around for Atwell, her character, Hayes Morrison, is rather tough to take, being the sort of unlikeable character that can be charming or disheartening. The same could be said for Perabo’s Julia George, or it could be the premise that rubbed everyone the wrong way.

As we have seen in politics, what was expected is not always what happens, and perhaps in a year where Hillary Clinton was belittled for her strong positions, both Hayes Morrison and Julia George were caught in the backlash?

I doubt we’ll know what the real reason for why both of these shows were essentially cancelled, but to see strong women leading shows and to see those shows not succeed is difficult to take for this woman.

I pride myself on being strong and taking what I want and so did Hayes and Julia. Too bad we won’t see more of their stories, especially if it means I need to watch my own attitude in public.

Read Full Post »

As a young girl in August, there was Little League Baseball Championship to watch as the end of the summer dawned and school was about to start.

Depending on the summer, I would watch with family friends and we’d marvel at the twelve to thirteen year old boys who played baseball with heart.

(Photo Credit:  Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Mo’ne Davis (Photo Credit: Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

In 2014, I watched again. That summer, the world met Mo’ne Davis, who was one of two girls in the final tournament.

Mo’ne Davis wowed the world, pitching a shut-out and getting a hit as a batter.

She turned heads and raised the bar about women in male-dominated sports.

Soon after that summer watching Mo’ne play with the boys, FOX had Pitch hit the small screen. What I feel in love with with Mo’ne Davis was given a few face: Ginny Baker [as portrayed by actress Kylie Bunbury.]

While Mo’ne played with pre-teen boys, Ginny Baker plays with the men. Men of Major League Baseball. It’s no easy task to be the lone girl in the room, testosterone all through the clubhouse.

What happens?

Ginny succeeds. It’s not easy, to be sure, but for a woman watching another woman play with the guys, getting there is the success.

Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker in Pitch

Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker in Pitch

As in most of my life, there are guys who don’t trust Ginny for her skill or her finesse, but as the end of the season closed, Ginny was so close to a no-hitter.

She was just like every other pitcher who had gone through a game without a hit.

In a world where life wants to throw lemons at everyone from left and right, Ginny Baker’s success showed the world that half the population isn’t lesser than these men who hit balls over three hundred feet and throw a ball over one hundred miles an hour.

Pitch is a show that allows women to finally see that in sports, we don’t just have to play with the other girls. Mo’ne Davis and Ginny Baker are two women (one real and one fictitious) who defy odds and make it clear that just maybe the glass ceiling’s ready to be smashed in every part of society.

The message of Pitch didn’t reach as many people as I’d like, but I still hope that the ratings are good enough for another season. Ginny’s recovery from her injury is too important (and too real for sports fans) to not root for her and hope for a longer narrative.

Read Full Post »