After a bit of a hiatus, I returned to Parade to put together a Fall TV Preview, which was one of my first stories for them last year. My take on this shows are how they managed to be both fresh and familiar — and have a lot in common with some of your favorite shows.
When I filed, I didn’t know that this would be my very last Parade story. But sadly, the magazine was sold last week and the entire editorial staff, including all my favorite editors, was laid off as editorial operations move from New York to Nashville
There are lots of actors in Hollywood who become white hot, and then quickly flame out and are never heard from again. But very few get a second chance to grab the spotlight, which is why Tony Goldwyn — who rocketed back to stardom thanks to Scandal — is making the most of his comeback. In addition to starring in (and directing episodes of) Scandal, he also has co-created his first series, The Divide, on WE tv. I profiled Goldwyn at The Daily Beast, where he talked about juggling both shows, what’s next for President Fitz on Scandal and the joy of becoming a “sex symbol” at 54.
Out of the blue, to be hot again and have this resurgence and become this leading man in my 50s, this sex symbol… [Laughs]. He’s just a very sexy character and women dig him, and it’s given me all these opportunities now. And it gives me, frankly, leverage in my other projects. It’s awesome! But also, I have a sense of humor about it because it’s a moment that won’t last, so I’m just trying to have as much fun and be as creative as I can while this Scandal train is on the tracks. And it’s wonderful.
He also had a very funny story when I asked about something I’d been wondering about for months: what it was like shooting the last season of Scandal while trying to disguise Kerry Washington’s pregnancy.
Goldwyn was a terrific interview. I could have talked to him for hours!
It might sound clichéd to say that Rectify is unlike anything else on television, but it’s also entirely accurate. The show’s languid, deliberate pace is almost hypnotic. Time moves differently in creator Ray McKinnon’s world, and not just because every episode lasts roughly a day (although that pace somewhat quickens in Season 2, which will cover six weeks over 10 episodes). The entire plot of Season 1 could fit into the cold opening of a typical Scandal episode, with one or two twists to spare. The show offers no cathartic “gotcha” moments, no easy answers, and no rapid-fire dialogue.
Rectify is about the journey, not the destination. And no mater what your travel plans might be in the coming months, this will likely be the most rewarding trip you take all summer.
I returned to The A.V. Club for a story about how much the depiction of political leaders have changed on TV from the days of The West Wing’s Josiah Bartlet. As I wrote,
Seven years after The West Wing ended its run, audiences now gravitate toward political shows like House Of Cards, Scandal, Veep, and the new Alpha House, which are all marvelous (okay, maybe not Alpha House, though John Goodman provides the hope that it might find its way), but revolve around presidents and other leaders who are either despicable, incompetent, or both. In other words, they’re just as selfish, sleazy, and/or stupid as we perceive many contemporary leaders to be.
The broadcast networks’ last great hope for Emmy drama recognition fell even further out of favor with voters, as it was unable to claw its way back into the Outstanding Drama category, where it was shut out last year as well. Adding insult to injury, Juilanna Margulies, who won Lead Actress just two years ago, wasn’t nominated either.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to do an Emmy reaction piece, and can only hope that The Americans and Tatiana Maslany make it onto next year’s ballot instead…