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Tag Archive: NBC


pudi

Not every new television series needs to be the next five-time Emmy winner.  NBC’s new comedy series Powerless doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and the content is as lighthearted as you’ll find anywhere today.  And unless you’re a Scrooge, prepare for a fun half hour every week of positive, clean, silly humor.  The kind we all could use more of.

Lead actress Vanessa Hudgens (Sucker Punch, High School Musical) plays Emily, and in the week’s season opener she was energetic and expressive.  You believe she’s trying to bring together a group of R&D workers in her new job for Wayne Security, because Hudgens looks like she believes in what she’s doing.  Alan Tudyk, star of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Firefly–plays the office boss for all it’s worth.  Fan favorite Community’s beloved Danny Pudi is one of Emily’s new employees and he and the rest of the cast (Christina Kirk, Ron Funches, and Jenny Pierson) are like a sketch comedy troupe ready to dish out the next laugh.  It’s not a riot, but it’s all good-natured fun–a show with a little bit of heart, and something appropriate and accessible to all ages.

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The DC Comics tie-ins are sprinkled across the half hour of humor, and the clever bits produced some out-loud laughs, especially the last line of the first episode.  And the opening credits clue viewers in upfront that this is not a show featuring the superheroes, but those civilians in the background of key superhero scenes across time.

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pudi

No doubt loads of fans from different areas of interest will be all over a new NBC series coming in February.  First and foremost, each of the lead actors of the new superhero series Powerless have their own following.  One of Hollywood’s highest paid young actresses, Vanessa Hudgens (Sucker Punch, High School Musical) has the lead role of Emily, who works in Research and Development for Wayne Enterprises as the Bruce Wayne company develops products to protect regular citizens from the kind of havoc wreaked by Superman in Man of Steel. 

Then there’s Alan Tudyk, star of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Firefly–two of the most outspoken and loyal fanbases of any franchises in any genre–who plays the office boss.  Fan favorite Community’s beloved Danny Pudi is a co-worker on the show.  And securing yet another fanbase, Powerless is a DC Comics tie-in, featuring plenty of references to the pantheon of superheroes.

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If it can only deliver some good humor and have some solid writing that is up to the quality of the cast, the series should be a hit.  But don’t confuse this Powerless with the Marvel Comics mini-series from more than a decade ago.  Also, don’t confuse this series with the Powerless previewed this past summer.  Same actors, similar roles, but the storyline has obviously been significantly reworked.  Check out a preview for Powerless followed by the preview for the series before it was reworked:

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Our borg.com Best of 2016 list continues today with the best in television.  If you missed it, check out our review of the Top Picks and Best Movies of 2016 here and the Kick-Ass Heroines of 2016 yesterday here.

Without further ado, this year’s Best in Television:

Best Borg TV Series, Best TV Borg — Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz), Bruce Campbell.  We searched high and low for the year’s best TV series featuring one or more borg characters, but didn’t really need to go that far.  The brilliantly funny pop culture ace actor Bruce Campbell’s reboot of the borg.com Hall of Famer Ash could have gotten overlooked had it been just another horror series.  Yet underneath this over-the-top, blood and gore-filled demon hunt is a whole lot of silly fun.  And the actors could have been better, with the likes of Lee Majors (pictured above), Lucy Lawless, and Ted Raimi all making appearances.  We couldn’t ask for a better actor than Campbell to take our borg.com TV title this year.

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Best TV Series, Best TV Horror Series – Grimm (NBC).  The fifth season of Grimm was simply fantastic, full of gripping writing and a change-up of character roles in a way we’ve never seen before.  This season we saw the best action, twists and turns, and flat-out excitement, above every other series on television.  Pulling bits and pieces of folklore from Western and Eastern mythologies and everything in between, the writers delivered all season long.  The writing team’s best work was what they have done all along, taking the story in a direction no one could have predicted.

Stranger Things cast

Best TV Retro Series – Stranger Things (Netflix).  It’s nearly impossible to list all the influences that came together to form our pick for this year’s Best Retro Fix.  Stand By Me, Firestarter, Silver BulletStranger Things could be another coming of age Stephen King tale, but with nicely creepy John Carpenter undertones and the wonder and sci-fi of a Steven Spielberg movie.  Think Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, and Super 8.  Whatever it is, great performances by a lead group of kid actors, teen actors, and a few adults from filmdom’s past made for a fun season one.

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Best New TV Series, Best Re-Imagining on TV  – Wynonna Earp (Syfy).  We knew Syfy had a winner in the first episode of this year’s best new TV series, Wynonna Earp.  A great mash-up of Western, paranormal, and horror, Wynonna Earp took an American legend and made it interesting for today’s viewers.  Melanie Scrofano’s Wynonna is a classic heroine in a supernatural setting.  And her interactions with Tim Rozon’s Doc Holliday include some of the best humor on TV.  Did we mention the villains are basically zombies?  Wynonna’s got a gun–a Peacemaker–and she knows how to use it, giving us a fun, over-the-top shoot ’em up each week to look forward to.

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Best Sci-Fi SeriesThe Man in the High Castle (Amazon).  With the slow start of the first season of the series we had doubts where the show would take us for the second season this year.  But the last half of the season cinched it.  A rare look at science fiction on television that showed what could all be attained with an alternate history story, and a great adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel to boot.

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Best Animated TV Series – Star Wars Rebels (DisneyXD).  For the second year in a row, Star Wars Rebels proves that animated shows are just as compelling as big budget theatrical blockbusters.  This season we met the great villain Grand Admiral Thrawn, finally introduced to Star Wars canon.  Every episode gave fans something to be excited about, as in the episode “The Antilles Extraction,” where Sabine goes undercover as a cadet in the Empire’s elite flight academy to bring Imperial pilots over to fight for the Rebellion.  Darth Maul and Captain Rex are also standout characters.  Original trilogy voice actors, compelling visuals, and rousing music, make this one of the best series on TV.

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Best TV Superhero SeriesLuke Cage (Netflix).  Although Marvel Studios adaptations have done well at the movies, its television shows haven’t measured up so well.  Until now.  The Netflix series Marvel’s Luke Cage is full of so many elements that make it a quality series you can expect it to be a contender at next year’s Emmy Awards.  Luke Cage is completely loyal to its 1970s origin.  Carl Lucas, played by Mike Colter (reprising the role he began in Marvel’s Jessica Jones), is a man from Harlem, imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit.  The writers successfully updated the story to today, for today’s viewers, and to make the story timely.  Set in a New York City neighborhood with a gritty tale like Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (with Harlem swapped for Bedford Stuyvesant), the rough-and-tumble Harlem of the series encounters the same class warfare, the same friction between police and minorities, and the same political corruption that is, as once professed by the original Law and Order series, “ripped from the headlines.”  It is at once a mix of the M. Night Shyamalan hooded superhero played by Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, and an updated mobster town story.

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Best TV Fantasy SeriesThe Librarians (TNT).  The Librarians continued its great mix of fantasy and comedy this year with its excellent ensemble cast.  The chemistry of the show’s characters continue to gel, resulting in a fully realized series in the vein of past hits Warehouse 13 and Leverage.  We were excited to see great guest appearances with Sean Astin, Noah Wyle and Jane Curtin.  And we can’t get enough of Rebecca Romijn, John Larroquette, and the rest of the crew.

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Best TV Comedy – Angie Tribeca(TBS).  Angie Tribeca has the perfect setting and ensemble cast for a gritty police procedural.  But it was actually the comedy we all need.  Nothing was written for the screen in any genre this year that made us laugh like this new series.  Every now and then we need someone to try to remake Police Squad! and the sight gags here rivaled that classic.  We just hope the writers can keep the great comedic scripts coming.

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Best TV Writing Baskets (FX).  At first you might not know what to make of Zach Galifianakis, Louis C.K., and Jonathan Krisel’s surreal, black comedy drama Baskets.  How down in the dumps can a rodeo clown possibly get?  And was that really comedian Louie Anderson playing his mother?  Galifianakis was able to play two competing roles as the twin brothers, and Martha Kelly added yet another odd wanderer into the mix to somehow result in a crazy, funny, and strangely poignant series we couldn’t help getting addicted to.

Grimm crew

Best TV Episode – Grimm Season 5 finale “Beginning of the End” (NBC).  Season 5’s finale of Grimm barreled ahead as if the producers believed the show wasn’t going to get renewed, prompting many story threads to be tied-up and a satisfying wrap-up that leaves viewers excited for Season 6.  It’s Black Claw, who caused Sean Renard to rise to become mayor of the city, against Nick and his friends as they work with Eve, Trubel, and Hadrian’s Wall to try to prevent the coming evil that risks the destruction of the barrier between the supernatural and the rest of the world.  Incredibly after all the back and forth over five seasons the original villains are villains again and the good guys back together again.  The season finale left us wondering how this will all play out as the series ends next season.

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Best TV Soundtrack Stranger Things, Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon.  Using 1980s analog synthesizers, the musicians created the perfect sound for a B-movie horror flick that would have fit right in back in the 1980s.  Half the credit for the series success with retro aficionados probably should go to the duo, who helped to fully immerse viewers in this familiar, but strange, look into our own childhoods.

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Best TV Actress – Tatiana Maslany in multiple roles, Orphan Black (BBC America).  In any other year Rose McIver’s weekly new character update on iZombie would have given her the win, but Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany came back this year after last season’s so-so stories to prove she has the best dramatic role on television and is well up to the task, further separating and redefining the differences between the ever-increasing number of clone sisters she portrays.  Runner-up Rose McIver as Liv Moore, iZombie (CW).

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Best TV Supporting Actress – Simone Missick as Misty Knight in Luke Cage (Netflix).  With big name actresses like Alfre Woodard and Rosario Dawson co-starring in this year’s new superhero series Luke Cage, it was Simone Missick who broke through to create one of the more interesting characters this year with police officer Misty Knight.  She believes in the justice system and is assigned to go after Luke Cage–too bad she has a past with him.  Missick plays Misty as a modern version of a Pam Grier character–she’s flawed but she’s tough and smart and we know she’ll cut through all the mess and come up on top.  Runner-up: Leanna Lapp as Gilda (iZombie).

Marvel's Luke Cage

Best TV Actor (TIE) – Mike Colter as Carl Lucas/Luke Cage in Luke Cage (Netflix).  Luke Cage is as mild-mannered as they come.  We first met him in season one of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, but in his own series Mike Colter showed how great this comic book character from the 1970s could be, and how relevant he is today.  The problem with networks dropping an entire series on us at once is that with a day long binge session we don’t get the sense of the work that goes into building a character like Cage over a full season like we’re accustomed to.  Hopefully the studio will realize how great the series is and how its lead actor can provide us with a real, gritty hero that the world needs.  We just can’t wait to see more of what Colter has in store for us next season.

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Best TV Actor (TIE) – Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Ambassador Tagomi in The Man in the High Castle (Amazon).  Tagawa has played in countless TV series and films but his role as a trade ambassador of an alternate world where Japan controls the western United States may be the most stunning work of his career.  His expressions are understated and yet the audience can read so much in his simple looks.  His character’s surprise as he maneuvered a parallel world to his own–our real world–was some of the best acting of the genre and among the best performances of the year.

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Best TV Supporting Actor (TIE) – Louie Anderson as Mrs. Baskets in Baskets(FX).  Louie Anderson has been priming us for this role for decades now.  His impersonations of relatives helped make him one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time.  Bringing him in to play to mom to Zack Galifianakis’s Chip Baskets was one of those inspired moves that doesn’t happen very often.  And the result was TV gold.

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Best TV Supporting Actor (TIE) – Tim Rozon as Doc Holliday in Wynonna Earp (Syfy).  Rozon brilliantly played the ghost of Doc Holliday this year in the new series Wynonna Earp, sporting a lazy drawl and unclear motives that make him absolutely captivating.  He was mysterious as Wynonna’s questionable love interest, an intermediary between Wynonna and the vile Revenants.  He’s a man out of his time, an anti-hero we hope to see more of next season.

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Best TV Villain – Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber, iZombie (CW)).  What kind of sick bastard throws his daughter to the wolves to become a zombie, and then laughs about it?  That’s Vaughn Du Clark, whose barbs with daughter Gilda (Leanne Lapp) provided some of the best quick-witted writing we’ve seen since Veronica Mars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Du Clark was the ultimate corporate villain, and we watched his rise with great interest all season long.  Runners-up: Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard, Luke Cage), The Demogorgon (Stranger Things), Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen, Star Wars Rebels). 

Best YouTube Video – “Seagulls (Stop it Now),” A Bad Lip Reading of The Empire Strikes Back.  You know you haven’t seen this Fall’s funniest Star Wars fan video enough, with that catchy, goofy tune.  Go ahead, watch it one more time.

Come back tomorrow as we reveal more of the borg.com Best of 2016!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

 

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The fifth season of Grimm was simply fantastic, full of gripping writing and a change-up of character roles in a way we’ve not seen on television.  Who knew a horror series full of fantasy, magic, and monsters could fare so well?  Grimm is still going strong after so many competing shows dropped by the wayside: Constantine, Hannibal, Dracula, and more.  In just two weeks a bittersweet sixth season begins, but based on the fifth season finale we’re thinking this show will barrel through to the final episode like the action-filled freight train of fun we’ve come to love.

Grimm’s completely new universe of storytelling surprised us year after year.  In season five we saw the best action, twists and turns, and flat-out excitement of any series in 2016.  So many factors make this a standout series that will stand the test of time.  It’s not another New York or Los Angeles or even a Vancouver-based series.  It is another “save the city” series like The Flash and Arrow, but it uses the lavishly dark, forest-trimmed Portland, Oregon as its background for an all-out war over the supernatural world.  No matter how the series wraps, there will always be room for a reboot.

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Everything about Grimm has been unique.  Local supporting acting roles were filled with the local theater community, providing a look of realism and familiarity for the show.  The main cast proved their range and revealed that each individual–from David Giuntoli to Claire Coffee to Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Reggie Lee, Bree Turner and Sasha Roiz–will likely go on to even bigger roles in 2017.  CGI and make-up monsters provided us that “monster of the week” series we’ve missed since classic episodes of The X-Files.  But Grimm proved to be even better than that classic series.

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Rogue TIE

In the second trailer released today for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, during Thursday evening’s NBC coverage of the 31st Olympiad, so many teased scenes are revealed that it’s impossible not to get excited.  Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones) is tapped to lead a dangerous mission, and Forest Whitaker never looked better as an old rogue.

And an old enemy, maybe new to these characters, makes an eagerly awaited appearance.  But something tells us that appearance is going to be similar to Mark Hamill’s brief return as Luke Skywalker in last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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The newest Star Wars entry takes us to the darker corners of the galaxy, into the process of creating a saboteur capable of destroying an entire planet-sized cannon, and shows us new, detailed views of the TIE Fighter, Star Destroyer, AT-AT, Death Star, and some new transport and battle vehicles we’ve never seen.

Plus Alan Tudyk (Firefly, A Knight’s Tale) appears for the first time as the voice of a new droid.

Plenty of callbacks to the original Star Wars: A New Hope can be found here, from a new samurai Jedi (Donnie Yen) to a Grand Admiral Thrawn-inspired villain (Ben Mendelsohn), new environments, and Genevieve O’Reilly (who played the young Mon Mothma in Revenge of the Sith).

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Check out this second, perfect trailer for the next big Star Wars flick:

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Nick finale five

Review by C.J. Bunce

With NBC’s recently announced decision to renew Grimm for a sixth season, the network indicated it knows what TV viewers know:  The fifth season was simply fantastic, full of gripping writing and a change-up of character roles in a way we’ve never seen before.  Who knew a horror series full of fantasy, magic, and monsters could fare so well?  And who knew Grimm would outlast so many competing shows?  Constantine, Hannibal, and Dracula fizzled out but Grimm is still going strong.

In fact, if Friday night’s season five, two-hour finale is any indication, nothing can stop this action-filled freight train of fun.  Grimm’s completely new universe of storytelling surprised us year after year.  But last night we saw some of the best action, twists and turns, and flat-out excitement than we’ve seen on any TV show this year.  This is the same series that, back in the fall of 2011, no one believed it had a chance against the ABC/Disney fantasy Once Upon a Time. 

Grimm crew

So many factors make this a standout series that will stand the test of time and make a great re-watchable series in syndication one day.  It’s not another New York or Los Angeles or even a Vancouver-based series.  It is another “save the city” series like The Flash and Arrow, but it uses the lavishly dark, forest-trimmed Portland, Oregon as its background for an all-out war over the supernatural world.  Local supporting roles are filled with the local acting community, which grounded the show.  The main cast proved their range and revealed that each individual–from David Giuntoli to Claire Coffee to Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Reggie Lee, Bree Turner and Sasha Roiz–will likely go on to even bigger roles once the series wraps.  CGI and make-up monsters provided us that “monster of the week” series we’ve missed since classic episodes of The X-Files. 

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Grimm 100th

Five seasons straight for a network supernatural horror drama?  It must be NBC’s  Grimm, a show that has reinvented itself each season to become one of TV’s best series.  If you’re missing the classic X-Files monster of the week show or an engaging season-long or series long mystery plot thread, Grimm is the series you’re after and this season is every bit as good as the first.  Tonight Grimm is pulling out all the stops as it ties up several plot threads in its 100th episode, “Into the Schwarzwald.”

Last week Nick (David Giuntoli) and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) finally made a trek to Germany, the historic realm of so many Blutbaden noted in the Grimm diaries.  Tonight we find out what the seven keys were meant to unlock–those seven keys forged by knights who fought for the seven royal families in the fourth Crusade.  We first learned of these keys in the series pilot from Nick’s aunt.  Tonight, from Portland, Oregon, to the Black Forest, we get to learn the nature of the legendary hidden treasure taken from the raid of Constantinople.

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Another plus from tonight’s episode is the Wesen of the week was created by a fan, New York City college student Jessica Short, the winner of Grimm’s Tumblr #GrimmeYourBestShot fan contest.  Check out her elaborate creation, the Wettbewerbsgewinner, on her website here.

Check out this preview to tonight’s episode:

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Arnold Terminator Genisys

Well it’s been one long year, with plenty to do and see, plenty of good and not-so-good to read and watch, and as with last year we’re certain we reviewed more content this year than ever before.  This year was a big year for borgs in TV and film, so we had some difficult decisions to make.  All year long we sifted through all that Hollywood had to offer and honed in on the genre TV, films, comics, and other books we thought were worth examining.  We went back and looked at it all and pulled together our picks for our annual Best of the Best list.

Today we reveal the entire list–the best genre content of 2015–with our top categories Best Sci-Fi Fix, Best Fantasy Fix, Best Superhero FixBest Animated Fix,  and Best Borg selected regardless of medium.  A dozen properties garnered multiple mentions.

We hope you agree with many of these great creations of the entertainment industries, and wish everyone a great 2016!

Killjoys

Best Sci-Fi Fix – Killjoys (Syfy).  Surprised?  Killjoys pulled together great worldbuilding, characters and actors in a year of a dozen new sci-fi shows to provide us the closest thing to the next Firefly we’ve seen in a long time.

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Best Fantasy Fix – Galavant (ABC); Runner-up The Librarians (TNT).  It aired early in 2015 but nothing surpassed Galavant’s medieval high adventure and all-out Princess Bride-style fun.

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Best Superhero Fix – The Flash (CW).  Of all the Marvel movies and TV series from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Agent Carter and from Arrow to Supergirl, nothing had us coming back for more each week like the superhero world in The Flash.

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Best Animated Fix – Star Wars Rebels (DisneyXD).  Compare it to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and see if you think this animated Star Wars galaxy had an even better story and characterization, along with the return of its own group of original trilogy actors, compelling visuals and rousing music.

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Best Borg – Pops (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from Terminator Genisys (Paramount).  Schwarzenegger created yet another borg that could stand up against his prior successful characters from the series.  A cool, moving character in a big year for borgs on screen!

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Best Borg Movie –  Ex Machina (DNA Films).  Incredible storytelling and a small cast of talented actors provided a classic science fiction story and Oscar-worthy film about our favorite subject.

Humans series

Best Borg TV SeriesHumans (AMC).  On television the most in-depth look at life as a borg and among borgs has never been portrayed more dramatically than on this year’s surprise sci-fi hit series from AMC.

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Best Kickass Genre Movie Heroine – Rey (Daisy Ridley), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney); Honorable Mentions: Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), Terminator Genisys (Paramount); Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Mad Max: Fury Road (Village Roadshow)

Liv Moore

Best Kickass Genre TV Heroine – Liv Moore (Rose McIver), iZombie (CW); Honorable Mentions: Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), Killjoys (Syfy); Helena (Tatiana Maslany), Orphan Black (BBC)

Want to know who we picked for best villain and best comic books of the year?  Take a look after the cut…

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TELENOVELA -- "Pilot" -- Pictured: (l-r) Jencarlos Canela as Camilo Amante de la Rosa, Eva Longoria as Pasion Bustamante, Jose Moreno Brooks as Cesar Rojo Roberto Ramirez Ruiz Casagrande -- (Photo by: Danny Feld/NBC)

Review by C.J. Bunce

Have you ever started watching Univision or Telemundo or shows like Sábado Gigante or even Plaza Sésamo on a Saturday morning and discovered you’re still watching it four hours later, and you don’t even speak Spanish?  (Put on the subtitles and it’s a great way to learn Spanish, folks).  If so, a new sitcom coming in January may be the show for you.

NBC offered a one-hour sneak peek at its new comedy Telenovela Monday night, and it’s smartly written, funny stuff–really–funny comedy you’ll find yourself laughing out loud to.  It’s self parodying of a variety we haven’t seen since Billy Crystal & Co. starred in the similarly set-up sitcom Soap decades ago.

You’ll find some great talent here, helmed by the beautiful (and beautifully outfitted) Eva Longoria (Dragnet, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and an attractive Latin cast mixing equal parts melodrama and slapstick.

Amaury Telenovela

Longoria is Ana Sofia, who plays Pasión, star of a Latin soap opera, complete with fainting and shirts ripped off and off-screen fans blowing hair and dresses for effect.  Diana Maria Riva plays her confidante Mimi who works behind the scenes on the show–together showing some real chemistry.  The show within a show features Amaury Nolasco (Transformers, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Burn Notice) as Rodrigo, the show’s villain who is a softie in real life, José Moreno Brooks as the young male lead stud Gael, Jencarlos Canela as Ana’s ex-husband and new co-star Xavi, and Alex Meneses is Isabela, the (not really that much) older evil ex-star of the telenovela.  Even Chuck’s Zachary Levi shows up as the non-Latino network exec, in the kind of charismatic but silly role we like to see Levi play.

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We last saw Wesley Snipes in this year’s better than you’d expect sequel The Expendables 3.  Snipes has a history of being the coolest guy in the room going back to Passenger 57, Rising Sun, and Demolition Man.   He’s giving his famous tagline “always bet on black” a new spin in his next venture as a high stakes gambler in NBC’s new series The Player.  Only this gambler isn’t just playing cards in a Las Vegas casino.

Originally titled Endgame, The Player stars Philip Winchester (Fringe, 24: Live Another Day) as Alex Kane–The Player–a former intelligence officer working as a security expert.  Think Robert Redford’s character in Sneakers.  When Kane’s wife is murdered he is pulled into a strange world of crimefighting without the supersuit.  Snipes plays Mr. Johnson, a pit boss of sorts.  Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall) plays Cassandra King–The Dealer.  At stake is whether bad guys will succeed at committing violent crimes.

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The previews for The Player showcase a fast-paced Bourne Identity meets Burn Notice vibe that should bring in viewers.  Check out this trailer:

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