Best TV Husbands of 2017

There are good men out there. These darlings are my pick of top TV husbands.

There are husbands on TV that will do more or less anything for their highly beloved wives, may it be experimenting with new sex-partners, committing a few murders here and there, persevering although knowing they are not “the one” to their wife or just relentlessly keep on loving, supporting and respecting. Here are a few good men I loved a little bit extra last year.

9. Sylvere, I Love Dick

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Griffin Dunne in Amazon’s I Love Dick

Sylvere does not come off very good in the beginning as he gives younger, female colleagues way too lingering and admiring looks. But as the arrogance and the confidence is being replaced by awkwardness, unease and the feeling of being left out, when his wife is showing Dick a grotesque amount of attention, I feel more and more sympathy for him. He loves his wife and the story of this somewhat odd couple going through a crisis turns into something rather lovely.

8. Kyle, The Arrangement

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Josh Henderson in E!’s The Arrangement

»This is not right.« Kyle may have done a deal with his to-be girlfriend about getting married – if you are a major movie star maybe that is the best way, at least according to his mentor.

But when said mentor/cult leader as well as media do everything to control the narrative of the lovebirds, Kyle has no problem jumping out if his pants and pose butt-naked to assure both them and his girlfriend that no one else decides which story is to be told about them but they themselves.

7. Avery, Nashville

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Jonathan Jackson in CMT’s Nashville

Now I didn’t watch beyond episode 9 this season, so I don’t what happened to Avery and Juliette, but I do remember his loving, attentive caring of her after the plane crash even though she did her best to push him away.

How she screamed about how she did not want to be a chore, a burden and how he finally assured her this was what he wanted to do. And finally how he couldn’t stop talking about his feelings (how very unmanly of him) until both we and Juliette just wished he’d just stop and started SHOWING how he felt instead. Which he finally did thank god.

6. Len, Transparent

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Rob Heubel in Amazon’s Transparent

”I do this for you.” Those are Len’s words when Sarah somewhat worried wonder if it’s okey if they break up with Lila, the young pre-school teacher Sarah met at the sex-addict meeting and decided to write a book with, before it all turned into some kind of relationship of three.

Now I’m sure their threesomes, dominated and directed by Sarah, was not all a chore for Len, but still he makes it quite clear that there’s a lot of things he will do for this woman, who first left him for another woman, then explored her sexuality elsewhere before she decided to come back to him.

5. Kyle, Easy

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Michael Chernus in Netflix’ Easy 

»Kyle, you look surprised«, the therapist states when Kyle’s wife Andi blurts out that it’s time for the open marriage, time to have sex with other people. He is surprised for sure, but since he wants nothing but to please his wife he makes his own hesitant and awkward attempt to have sex as his wife goes on a date with a sexy colleague.

4. Ed, Big Little Lies

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Adam Scott in HBO’s Big Little Lies

“The essence of a happy marriage – the ability to pretend” is the sad conclusion Ed makes when talking to his wife Madeleine of the lack of passion and that she actually doesn’t like him touching her.

Seeing how much attention she gives her ex-husband, the father of her oldest daughter, it’s not much wonder why he feels unappreciated. He knows, or that’s how he feels, that he is not her great love, if also he knew that she had an affair…

But Ed is a good guy. He is kind and he keeps on loving even if he doesn’t get that much back. He even sings Elvis for her, with the hope that she will really see him.

3. Philip, The Americans

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Matthew Rhys in FX’ The Americans

”Do you want to make it official?” Philip and Elizabeth were never each other choice, their marriage is a product of the job. Both have others they were in love with, both have been force to act in love.

The mission to spy on the US has been less important for Philip and he is hesitant of how much they should involve their daughter Paige. But despite of the differences in opinion in regards to these things, or maybe because of them, the love squiggled its way up the cracks between them and Philip’s proposal come as a total surprise and as an obvious given at the same time, as incredibly loving as it was.

2. Donnie, Orphan Black

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Kristian Bruun in BBC America’s Orphan Black

Seriously, is there any more devoted husband then Donnie? He hides murders, berries bodies, sell drugs, takes on the mob an god knows what for his beloved wife Alison during the shows five seasons.

Yes, Donnie was once her ”handler”, but after that was revealed no man has so tirelessly supported, encouraged, reassured and also made a fool out of himself for his snoopy, driven and uptight wife as he has.

1. Joel, Santa Clarita Diet

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Timothy Olyphant in Netflix’ Santa Clarita Diet

What do you do when your beloved wife goes through a change and suddenly feels much more alive, loses all filters and can only feed on human meat?

Never have I seen a husband so eagerly get out of his own way to support and adjust to his wife’s new way of living. Joel struggles industriously to find the balance between what he is prepared to do and what not at the same time as he feels more and more inadequate and lost.

But he continues to stretch his bounds of what he finds acceptable just to ensure the marriage with the woman he loves will work. He wants nothing but to continue his support for her, even if murdering for food is not something he ever will get completely comfortable with.

Joel is definitely my number one best husband of 2017.

Also read my list of Top 10 TV shows 2017: My Top 10 (or so) TV shows of 2017

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Halt and Catch Fire: The Journey of Donna Clark

Halt and Catch Fire does not only give us a mesmerising tale of the computer tech industry in the 1980’s, it also brings us a woman’s very intriguing and liberating journey with it.

That I love the show Halt and Catch shouldn’t come as a surprise, I’ve written about this perfect show earlier. I admitted that I’d fallen in love with with one of its main characters, Donna Clark, portrayed impeccably by Kerry Bishé. This love is strong and I feel there is more to say about her and that she deserves an article of her own.

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Kerry Bishé as Donna Clark in AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire.

Donna’s journey through the four seasons of the show is not only her own, it is in one way our common journey as women. The one from where women are destined to be responsible for home and family to where women can grow, develop and chase their own dreams while also inspiring others to do so.

The one doing all the work without getting any credit

The first time we meet Donna is a while into the pilot episode, where she picks up her husband Gordon from a drunk cell in the middle of the night with the young daughters sleeping in the back seat.

It’s immediately clear that Donna is the on making the family life work, the one solving the problems and the one adapting to her husband.

”You didn’t have to bring the kids, did you?”, Gordon asks somewhat accusingly, although he knows it should be ashamedly.
”I think I did”, Donna answers reproachfully, because who was she to ask for help in the middle of the night and who’s fault was it that she had to come to the police station in the first place.

It’s immediately clear that Donna is the on making the family life work, the one solving the problems and the one adapting to her husband. She is the practical one that worry about the important stuff:
”Do you still have a job?” is the first thing she asks Gordon in the car.
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Donna is not only the project manager of the home life. She has a job that isn’t really challenging enough for her, while Gordon has a job that is very much so. She comes and puts out fires at his work though, since she is smarter than both he and his colleagues are.

The climax of the first season takes place at the COMDEX fair, where Cardiff’s new PC is to be launched and make people gasp. And though it was because of Donna they actually made the fair, it is also her mistake that makes them fail there. Gordon is furious at first:
”He used you!”, he yells and refers to Donna’s boss.
”At least he encouraged me and rewarded me”, Donna coldly defends herself with.

So starved for attention is Donna that she lapped up what she could get from whoever who bothered.

So starved for attention is Donna that she lapped up whatever she could get from whoever bothered. She saved her husbands project a number of times with her knowledge and her ideas, which she has done on her spare time and what did she get? She didn’t get any acknowledgement or a request to join the company he is working for.

But Donna is no victim. The season ends with Gordon picking her up in a new fancy car when she has resigned from her job. He is feeling much better and she is feeling fantastic. They are a team again and there is a balance now. She has taken an active decision, she wants to move on, challenge herself and chase her own dreams.

The one learning to compromise with herself

When season 2 begins it’s almost two years later and we are at the homely office of Mutiny, the company that the SW genius Cameron started and asked Donna to join. Donna seems to be in a good mood, energetic and positive, when we meet her coming into work solving issues and conflicts, but it isn’t all fun. Her and Cameron’s different view on running a company becomes evident and again Donna is the responsible and the practical.
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”I don’t want to be the mom here! I do that at home. I came her to do what I love and I don’t love dealing with the power company”, Donna protests.
”Don’t do those thing! Nobody asked you to”, Cameron counters.

But it is just that, Donna can’t refrain from being the mother who makes sure everything is in order and at the same time sacrifices her wish to create new things. Again Donna actively tries to solve her own problem and decides to compromise, not so much with Cameron but with herself. She will manage the office and take care of practical stuff, but she will aslo make room for her to be responsible for the development of a new product.

”I don’t want to be the mom here! I do that at home.”

This means that Donna spends a lot of time at work, which causes her and Gordon to grow apart, but again Donna is the one finding the solutions, she is the one making demands. Gordon must invest in Mutiny and also in their marriage by following them to Silicon Valley. And she will defenitely not have any more children as a way to repair what has broken.

The one who is not afraid to make tough decisions

In season 3 Mutiny needs to expand and again Donna and Cameron’s differences in what drives and motives them comes to the surface. Donna is the business woman who wants the company to grow and make money. Cameron cares mostly about her games, her products, her babies. Donna is still the responsible one while Cameron disappears without telling anyone. Another side of Donna is then starting to show. She lies to get her way, but she doesn’t do it for her own benefit only, she believes it is the best thing for the company.
Donna Clark S3
The relationship between Donna and Cameron mirrors Donna’s inner conflict about who she is and who she wants to be – mom, business woman, developer, partner, boss.

Donna is the best thing that has happened to Cameron according to Cameron’s husband Tom and she herself agree:
”You anchor me”, Cameron explains (and a few years later when they have parted ways, she still admits that working with Donna is the best thing she has ever done).

”Cam is the genius, Donna is the mom!”

At the same time that Donna is the one steering the ship and enabling Cameron to flourish, she doesn’t feel she gets the appreciation she deserves.
”Cam is the genius, Donna is the mom”, is what she hears from the surroundings loud and clear.

In another room another time Cameron is pissed.
”Stop patronising me, you are handling me like you always do”, she accuses Donna.
”I’m not gonna sit down and watch when this company is taken hostage by a petulant child”, Donna counters.

Being a ”mother” is not simple, finding the balance between encouragement and discipline, guiding and steering. But it was the mother that the others listened to this time, not the genius. By the end of the season it’s a few years later and Donna is now the CEO of a big, successful Mutiny. She has gotten divorced, liberated herself from Gordon and is on the next phase of her journey.

The one that finally embraces the different sides of herself

It’s a new Donna we meet in season 4. A few years has passed and she is now working at that investment company that helped Mutiny grow and get listed on the stock exchange. She is the one being waited on, now by her assistant. She makes people nervous, those who need her money to be able to take their idéas further.

”I’ve done things. It always comes with a price, but I did them”

”You need to pursue you own vision, not aping after others”, she instructs a group of hopeful suckers.
”I was really rooting for you guys”, is then how she softly but brutally ends the conversation while she drinks her vitamin juice and revels in the power she has.

Donna is smart. She has no problem to outmanoeuvre the men that tries to take her place. But being a power-exercising bastard is not something she is entirely comfortable with, to become like ”the men” is not something she strives for and she is not immune to her own unscrupulous actions. Out of the grey ashes of self-pity, grief and soul-searching a new Donna rises eventually.
Donna Clark S4
This Donna has gathered women in the same line of business to an event at her house where she gives a speech telling the audience what it took to get where she is. She lost her marriage. She voted her female partner out of her own company. She does wonder if she spends enough time with her kids. But on the other hand she has achieved things and that matters.

Donna finally embraces the fact that she is a mother. Not only literally, but also the way she is a person.

”I’ve done things. It always comes with a price, but I did them”, she states and stresses that it’s all about people and she had help, from Gordon and Cameron as well as from Diane, the investor that helped Mutiny and who later became Donna’s mentor.
”I’m rooting for you. How can I not?”, she ends it with, ”I’m a partner by trade, a mother and sister by design. I’m so proud to be this journey on you.”

Donna finally embraces the fact that she is a mother. Not only literally, but also the way she is a person, the caring, the fixer making sure the world is turning and the sometimes condescending adult who wants to handle and lecture the people around her, who doesn’t understand what is best for them. But this doesn’t stop her from being the business woman and partner she wants to be as well. The one she has chosen to become. It’s the opposite. It’s her strength.
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In the last scene Donna manages to be both. She ensures that Cameron gets on the road to her mother at the same time as she figures out what their (her and Cameron’s) next business idea will be all about. She has succeeded in affirming both sides of her, they both fit into her life. She can be a mother and a driven business woman. She can make many mistakes and still be successful. She can have loads of flaws and still be perfect.

You have to be prepared to get on a journey, have courage, take risks, make mistakes, pay the price and get back on the road again. You have to find the right persons to support you, but there is no-one else that can make the journey for you. Donna Emerson Clark, in the fabulous shape of Kerry Bishé, does this journey for us. She is an inspiration. She is the woman I was, the one I am and the one I want to be.

For more about Halt and Catch Fire: Halt and Catch Fire was the perfect show

Another female character I adore: Abby Lockhart: Evidence the ER writers created a person, not a woman

My Top 10 (or so) TV shows of 2017

1. Halt and Catch Fire

One of the best shows ever, so perfectly depicting the computer tech revolution – with its failures and successes, struggles and innovations – in the 1980’s and four persons’ personal journeys with it.

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Susanna Skaggs, Kathryn Newton, Kerry Bishé, Lee Pace, Toby Huss, Annabeth Gish, Scoot McNairy and Mackenzie Davis in AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire.

2. Jane the Virgin

The second half of season 3 where Jane is in the wake of healing from her tragic loss is the most clever, funny and fabulous drama-comedy I have ever watched.

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Gina Rodriguez as Jane in CW’s Jane the Virgin. Photo: Scott Everett White/The CW

3. Casual

There’s something so adorable about these confident yet so lost family members, a brother, a sister and her teenage daughter, navigating their lives the best they can.

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Tommy Dewey, Tara Lynne Barr and Michaela Watkins in Hulu’s Casual.

4. GLOW

Just a lovely story of a struggling actor who together with some other women become the 1980’s Glorious Ladies of Wrestling and end the story with their oh so uplifting ”we can do it” attitude.

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Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin in Netflix’ GLOW.

5. I Love Dick

Very touching and also thought-provoking tale of obsession, a woman going through a crisis and a small town awakening.

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Kathryn Hahn in Amazon’s I love Dick.

6. Santa Clarita Diet

The best show about a marriage ever, seriously funny and yeah, kind of gory.

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Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in Netflix’ Santa Clarita Diet.

7. Timeless

Totally charming, intriguing show which together with its worthwhile, historical lessons make it irresistible (and because it has Goran Visnjic in it).

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TIMELESS — “The Capture of Benedict Arnold” Episode 109 — Pictured: (l-r) Goran Visnjic as Garcia Flynn, Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)

8. The Arrangement

I thought I’d get a cheesy Hollywood soap, but got a smart, thought-provoking tale of identity, control and boundaries among other things.

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Michael Vartan, Lexa Doig, Josh Henderson and Christine Evangelista in E!’s The Arrangement.

9. Mary Kills People

A low-key drama where existential angst and ravishing thrills is mixed with family drama, unpredictable partners and irresistible cops. Mary Harris is a delight to get to know.

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Caroline Dhavernas i Global TV’s Mary Kills People.

10. Easy

A show that very entertainingly calls out hypocrisy, doesn’t stereotypically make people oppressed victims and includes lots of nice husbands/men, except for that genius artist, who just falls further into his self-obsessed hole.

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Marc Maron and Jane Adams in Netflix’ Easy.

And just below the top 10 we have:

Feud: Bette and Joan

A brilliant display of destructiveness and the cruel, oppressive games everyone seems to be playing in Hollywood to keep their head above water.

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Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange in FX’ Feud: Bette and Joan.

Girlboss

A charming and inspiring tale of a young, somewhat eccentric woman struggling to start her own e-business.

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Britt Robertson in Netflix’ Girlboss.

Bosch

There is no better crime show right now, with its embodiment of the dark as well as the dreamy LA atmosphere and with characters we now almost care more about than the plot itself.

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Titus Welliver in Amazon’s Bosch.

And further down we have the lovely new show SMILF about a single mom in Boston as well as the continued story about the ever so messy Pfefferman family in Transparent. Which ones were your favourites?

Halt and Catch Fire was the perfect show

Halt and Catch Fire takes the rise of personal computers in the early 1980’s, follows four engineers through ten years and makes an entertaining, captivating and flawless tech-drama perfectly relevant also today.

As a TV writer I often get asked to recommend shows when getting into conversations with people. It’s difficult, I get dumb, I mean it all depends on what kind of shows people like. But then there is one show that I have come to always recommend, because I think it suits most people and at least before, not so many were already watching it.

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Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark, Kerry Bishé as Donna Clark, Mackenzie Davis as Cameron How and Lee Pace as Joe McMillan in AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire.

The fact that Halt and Catch Fire works for most people is not because it is a smooth and easy watch, but because it is universal and relatable to more or less anyone, as well as a marvellous portrait of people and the times. It takes us back to Texas in the early 1980’s where Joe McMillan (Lee Pace), a former IBM employee and a charismatic entrepreneur, decides to challenge his former employee, enlists Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), a hardware designer and Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis), a software genius to help him create a better Personal Computer (PC).

The characters, except for Joe, seems like they are taken from everyday life, but their stories are captivating as well as recognisable. They women runs companies in the computer business and the men try to find themselves and their context. There is a total retro-feeling to it at the same time as the questions asked are them same as we ask ourselves today, in the world of technology as well as in our private life.

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When the fourth and final season ended in October, I was immensely happy, sad, enlightened and broken all at once and I wondered if there would be a reason to watch TV ever again, since there never could be anything else like it. Halt and Catch Fire was a show that managed to brilliant from start to end.

The one making the world go round

The first seasons gave much space to Joe who gave the story such a brutal kick-start. Then the creators, Chistopher Cantwell och Christopher C. Rogers, did the smart thing and let the other characters get more prominent, first Gordon and Cameron and later on Gordon’s wife Donna, who just demanded presence and became somewhat of the nave of the story.

Donna puts out fires, also at Gordon’s workplace, because she is smarter than both he and his colleagues are. She’s the one making the world go round.

I know the exact moment I fell in love with Donna Clark, beautifully portrayed by Kerry Bishé and my favourite character of Halt and Catch Fire. It was a scene somewhere in the middle of season 1 when she has an outburst, accusing her husband Gordon of not even knowing the name of their childrens’ doctor.

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She just personified so many things I recognise in women also today. She is the project manager of the household and thereby ensures dinners are prepared, children get to bed, presents are acquired and all the other little things need to be done for everything to run smoothly.

She has a job that is not challenging enough for her, while Gordon has a job requiring enormous energy from him. She is being lectured by her boss, sometimes unfairly but always condescending, and can’t help but purr when receiving the appreciation her boss sometimes do find the effort to show her. Donna puts out fires, also at Gordon’s workplace, because she is smarter than both he and his colleagues are. She’s the one making the world go round.

Donna and Cameron S2After a very fascinating first season building concluding after a COMDEX computer expo, the second one still managed to be better. The focus swifts when Donna and Cameron take their learnings and confidence and go into business together and takes part in creating the world of online gaming, shopping and community chat rooms. It becomes quite magical as we get to take part in the successes and failures and how to manage a company together, their company, Mutiny.

While also watching Gordon and Joe trying to find new goals and places for themselves, we slowly get to know all these people better and better. What drives and motivates them, what are their strengths and weaknesses and how does that form their lives?

The feeling of doom

The start of season 3 amazed as the production team so skillfully evoked the feeling of doom as Donna and Cameron with Gordon’s help tried to move their company forward in a new city. I thought we would revisit our friends in a more exuberantly energetic and intense state as they had moved from Texas to Silicon Valley at the end of season 2, but the show just went in the opposite direction.

Those words from the old machine code command, Halt and Catch Fire, couldn’t better describe the start of the season.

The gloomy, almost dystopian atmosphere was not only present at work, where the engineers are lazying around, not knowing what to do as you just waited for the roof to have all the pipes and cables crash down on Gordon trying to jumpstart the mainframe computer in the basement. Also at the house of the Clark family worrying signs, big and small, earthquakes and arguments, made their announcements one by one.

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Those words from the old machine code command, Halt and Catch Fire, couldn’t better describe the start of the season. Everything seemed to be at a stop, there was no movement forward, not at Mutiny and not at the Clarks. Although in another part of the city, at a large stage, Joe appeared like a saviour in front of the audience – uncannily like other computer visionaries from that time – and intuitively it felt that something was going to catch fire.

The creators continued to handle the womens’ stories so utterly well through season 3, but did not forget about the men. Between Gordon and Joe there seemed to be some kind of destructive attraction, the same that belonged to Joe and Cameron in season 1. Gordon may had sued Joe for steeling his anti-virus code and Joe may had acquired a new disciple, but you could just feel how Gordon wouldn’t be able to restrain himself from getting drawn into Joe’s world again. There was something in Gordon that attracted him to the genius and the innovator that is Joe, even if he was awfully tired of the psychopath within him.

halt-and-catch-fire-season-3-e1512167424313.jpgThat season ended beautifully with a chamber play of sorts when all the main characters – Joe, Gordon, Donna and Cameron – together with Cameron’s husband Tom, having a brainstorming session trying to understand that thing called world wide web and what it could possibly do in the future.

The world of ideas and innovations

The combination of the personal journey of the character with the technology makes Halt and Catch Fire so unique. This whole story with startups striving for success – the instinct to always look forward, to get further, understanding what people want, coming up with ideas, exert oneself for what seems impossible, unreachable – it’s so satisfying to see that getting room on television.

There are no bad ideas, because also bad ideas can inspire to new ideas and maybe the next one will be that fabulous one.

It’s incredibly exciting to follow the computer revolution in a perspective that make it not only nostalgic viewing, but relevant also today. We are more than ever looking of new services, new technology, to simplify and brighten are lives and at the same time parents will always worry about what their kids are doing. Technology changes, but behaviour stays the same, as someone taught me not so long ago.

donna-halt-and-catch-fire-from-amc-tvThe fact that it does take place in the tech-world is just something I enjoy immensely having worked in it myself for 20 years. Donna and Gordon embodies this world so well as I have seen and experienced it – Gordon, the introverted, rational designer, together with Donna, the structured leader, who in the longer run gets to lead change and run the company without there being anything strange about that.

I like character dramas where the obstacles for the characters comes from within themselves and their own personalities and struggles create the drama instead of having external forces steer the action all the time. Cameron and Donna were exposed to sexism for sure when trying to get to the next level with their company, but that didn’t stop them and at the end they found the right collaborators. Their main challenges on their path forward had to do with themselves and their different goals, purposes and motivation.

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The role of ideas and innovation got to be prominent in the show. “There are no bad ideas”, is something a friend of mine had learned at a course about innovation, because also bad ideas inspire to new ideas and maybe the next one will be that fabulous one. This thinking is confirmed by Donna (or was it Cameron) about Community: “It was just one idea that purcolated out of one of your ideas.” This is innovation and when you think that all is lost and someone else has won, there will still always be new inventions and more improvements to come up with, even if it might not be evident to you just then.

The reversal of roles

Season 4 touched and captivated me even more than before, yet it was hard to put in words what made what made it do so. We had gotten to know the characters so well by now though, they all had their own story. We’d known them for four seasons and ten fictive years, their journeys became clearer without them having to be explicit about it.

Donna has become Joe, Joe became Gordon and Gordon became Donna, their character journeys made perfect sense, although nobody seemed to be really happy or content.

What startled me was how different things were 10 years later compared to season 1. The roles had shifted around even if their personalities are the same. It used to be Joe that called all the shots and Gordon who desperately tried to deliver whatever Joe demanded. But season 4 starts with Gordon trying to get Joe out of the basement and engaged in the main company, instead of collecting url’s all by himself. Joe still has ideas, Gordon still is the one who do the actual work, but now it’s Gordon who is the chief.

hacf_403_bjm_0501_0144-rt-e1512170003660.jpgTen years ago it was Donna who was the caring one who took care of all problems, private and business problems alike. Now this is what Gordon do, taking care of Cameron in her time of need, tending to his daughters’ ups and downs. He is the sympathetic business owner who after a busy week hits the sofa and plays video games. He is the optimist that knows how to adapt to reality, still getting ideas from Donna though on how to develop his company.

Back then Joe was the brutal leader who had a vision. In season 4 it’s Donna that forces her entrepreneurs to sharpen their ideas while Joe is stuck in the basement, just as Cameron and Gordon once was at the beginning. Donna has become the merciless business woman that without blinking disses proposals not visionary enough. She is arrogant and self-centred and manages to get a promotion she gives to an employee to be more about her own excellence than the employee’s. She is still utterly smart though.

indie-music-and-television-blog-halt-and-catch-fire-joe-and-cameron-reunionDonna had become Joe, Joe became Gordon and Gordon became Donna, their character journeys made perfect sense, although nobody seemed to be really happy or content. The atmosphere the last season was a bit low-key and provided the characters with a bit of reflection and soul-searching. It’s not only the technology that is renewed and improved in the show, it asked the same questions about the people. What drives a person? Can you change and renew yourself, stop remaking the same mistakes? And how do you then do that?

Those questions certainly applied to Joe who’s journey from the genius, but slightly psychopathic innovator, to the softer, more mature man thinking about children and family was not an obvious one. Donna too got prompted to do some personal reflection this season when things just did not go her way.

Cameron final 2Cameron, the coding genius, was a bit hard to like in the beginning, I thought, so stubborn and headstrong. It did become easier to feel sympathy when she had a crisis to work through and her stumbling around this season, a few steps forward then a misstep of sorts, was one of the most fascinating stories of the season. The sorrow and fear as well as the willpower beaming out of her was impossible to fend off.

The season that killed

The show just killed me a little bit with each and every episode of the last season. As Rogers and Cantwell knew season 4 was the last one, they could finish off their stories neatly even if they chose to shake us up brutally before that. Because that is what they did and did so well as the pain was described in sentences that were not finished, farewells that could not be brought off and emotions that could not be expressed. I love when shows go introvert and nothing is explicitly expressed, we are not told what to feel and when. We just do it anyway, in our own way.

I will just have to take Donna’s words to heart. There is always something new around the corner to get obsessed to find, or just to get obsessed with.

Yes, Halt and Catch Fire started as a show about Joe and Gordon before it changed its focus to the women and certainly by the end that’s where the focus still was. I wonder if I have seen a better story of a female professional relationship than the one about Donna and Cameron, both female engineers, yet so different. One of the most rewarding scenes in season 4 must have been when Donna tells Cameron that she finished her game, the scene where they truly confess how much they do respect and admire each other: “I made it for people like you. Unfortunately there are not many people like you.”

Donna and Cameron at Mutiny 2But that was not it. They have also learned to appreciate their differences and I get goosebumps just thinking about the scene in the old Mutiny-building where they reflect over their past and imagine their future all at the same time.

The last episode could not have been better with that phone call from Donnas daughter that she will live on for a long time. How she and Cameron somehow got back to basics when trying to fix Haley’s computer, yet realising things are different. Donna who of course would not give up on her drive and ambition, but was ready to use it in other ways as well, inspiring other ambitious ladies. And then the so utterly touching scene between her and Cameron pictured above, that I mentioned before, forever preserved in my mind. It is the most beautiful and dignified ending I have ever experienced from a show.

Donna and Cameron final
Will this be the end of my TV-viewing life? No, I will just have to take Donna’s words to heart. There is always something new around the corner to get obsessed to find, or just to get obsessed with. She already found herself a new idea to explore.

Read more about Donna here: Halt and Catch Fire: The Journey of Donna Clark

ER’s Abby and Luka: 4 adorable moments of their friendship

The art of Abby and Luka’s friendship shown here in four adorable moments, how it evolved and in the end paved the way for their renunion in season 12 of ER.

There is nothing that I like about the Luka/Nicole storyline in the beginning of season 8 and that includes my view that Julie Delpy was totally miscast. But since the story has a purpose and it actually brought good things, I endure it. It told us a lot about Luka’s character, the caretaker longing for kids, and also contrary to what one might have believed, it actually brought Abby and Luka closer together instead of further apart.

Here somewhere, when the pressure of a romantic relationship is off, their friendship is born.

Despite of their brutal breakup, Luka felt he could confide in Abby and she was supportive, and here somewhere, when the pressure of a romantic relationship is off, their friendship is born and they started to be comfortable in each other’s presence.
I love these scenes and how they are showing their budding friendship, how it evolved and in the end paved the way for their renunion in season 12.

1. Abby being caring and compassionate:
“Thinking about your kids?”

Abby Luka caring s8e10

I’ll Be Home For Christmas, 8×10

2. Luka trying to master the art of joking and getting even while also wanting to protect:
“No, seriously, if you need a place to stay? You can stay as long as you need and you only have to sleep with me on the weekends.”

Abby Luka joking s8e15

It’s All In Your Head, 8×15

3. Luka being supportive and encouraging as always when it comes to Abby’s work, now when she has re-entered med school:
“The coat looks good on you.”

Abby Luka supportvie s10e5

Out of Africa, 10×05

4. Abby so cleverly cheering Luka up after Sam and Alex has moved out by joking with him and at the same time admitting that she knows the part she played in their own breakup:
“Thanks Luka! I always thought it was my fault things didn’t work out between us. Now I know it was you.”

Abby Luka cheering up s12e2

Nobody’s Baby, 12×02

That’s the beauty of this relationship. It started with mutual attraction, it continued as a friendship until they realised that friendship definitely was not enough.

For more on Abby and Luka, check out this page: ER’s Abby and Luka

My Favourite Nashville: I’ve Been Down That Road Before (1×12)

It’s about the desire and fear to change, and the desire and fear to give in, for Juliette and Rayna respectively, in this episode that could just as well be called Three Rides and a Kiss.

Some episodes, in all their richness, can best be described by the the longest texts, but others are just better depicted in other ways. I’ve Been Down That Road Before, in season 1, is that kind of epic episode where pictures and quotes speak for themselves. But let’s get the less important stuff out of the way first.

Scarlett threw out Avery thinking he had been cheating with his new agent, Marilyn. She has no money and finally asks Gunnar to be her roommate. Avery who of course didn’t start sleeping with Marilyn until after Scarlett threw him out, is quite unhappy with that arrangement, breaks it off with her and is on a quest to make nice with Scarlett. But he is too cocky, trying to brag about his success and it all ends in a fight with Gunnar, which for sure does not make Scarlett and Gunnar less friendly with each other.

Teddy and Rayna has discussed their marriage and Teddy doesn’t know what to do anymore to make it better. Rayna has promised that she is not meeting with Deacon again and going on tour will give them both time to think. Teddy though kind of stops thinking when he runs into his old friend Peggy after he hears that Deacon is actually on the tour.

With that out of the way, let’s focus on those notorious days in Chicago.

Deacon makes a surprise entrance on the plain to Chicago and Juliette can’t but gloat about having Deacon in her band and notices that Rayna doesn’t look at her once on the flight to Chicago. Rayna knows exactly how to turn it around though to convince Juliette that she is neither pissed or jealous.

Rayna is amazed
“I’m amazed you had nothing better to do on that plain ride than just to look over at me to see if I was looking at you”

It takes a lot of people to make a good show, Juliette then explains to Deacon when they arrive at the hotel.

Deacon and Johhny only needed three
“Really? Johnny Cash only needed three.”

Rayna next somewhat accidentally steps into the elevator Deacon is already on and the awkwardness just shuts the tiny room up.

Rayna Deacon ride no 1
Teddy is not happy to hear that Deacon is on the tour, when he and Rayna are taking time apart to think about their marriage.

TEddy Life's a bitch
“You know Rayna, I get it. You didn’t know anything about Deacon, you didn’t plan any of this. Life is a bitch sometimes and you are processing. Did we cover it all?”

Rayna is fabulous on stage in the evening performing one of her signature songs, Already Gone.

Rayna Already Gone
Juliette follows up with her glitzy show, belting it out in I’m a Girl!

Juliette with all the glitz
But after Deacon’s eye-rolling looks at her, she takes his words to heart, suddenly thinking her show has too much glitter and stuff. Glenn is NOT supportive when she somewhat accusingly asks him if she ever will be able to change.

Juliette and Glenn a left turn
“A left turn now could be an exit out to obscurity.”

Rayna can’t really get over that Deacon joined Juliette’s tour, uses an excuse to get him over to talk and pretends to casually ask him what he is doing. Deacon has a straight answer for her.

Deacon I'm doing that
“I play guitar for people who pay me money. That’s what I do.”

Juliette might be confident being that diva, the big star on stage, but when it comes to being personal, her insecurities pops up. To be yourself is scary, cause what if she isn’t liked? Juliette wants to be liked, but she’ll settle for adored. Only with Deacon does she dare to voice her fears.

Juliette scared
“What if I decide to walk away from being that girl and no one comes with me?”

Deacon has become a good friend to Juliette after that disastrous beginning of theirs, listening, giving her support and advise. He knows what Rayna would have done, stay true to herself, and no, he replies, he was not always there to help her evolve.

Deacon 1x12 again
“There’s thinking about doing something, and there’s just doing it.”

Rayna just can’t get over that Deacon is there and keeps letting him hear it next time they end up in the elevator together. Also because it bugs her that he refuses to talk to her.

Rayna doing her best to lighten things up
“Never thought I’d see the day you’d be singing Boys and Buses with Juliette Barnes day in and day out, but you know, life never ceases to amaze.”

Well, Juliette took Deacon’s advise and starts her next show with a slow, emotional song and he follows her lead.

Juliette on stage
Glenn is not any happier and lets Deacon know that in all possible, rude ways, which Deacon continuously refutes until he’s kind of fed up.

Deacon Glenn
“Tell me how you really feel, Glenn?”

Deacon decides it’s time to stop thinking himself and start doing. I guess we can thank Glenn for what happens in that third elevator ride, which Deacon rushes to get on.

I'm done talking
“Rayna! I’m done talking”

Sometimes words are just not the only way to explain a feeling.

Rayna terrifeid
And sometimes the unexpected turns up outside the door.

Rayna opens the door
Well, even if the words of First Aid Kit are streaming out in hotel room, the elevator, the corridor and penthouse,

I’ll be your Emmylou and I’ll be your June
If you’ll be my Gram and my Johnny too
No, I’m not asking much of you
Just sing little darling, sing with me

it was not the time for Rayna and Deacon to sing together again just yet.

The episode was written by Meredith Lavender and Marcie Ulin and directed by Stephen Cragg.

Funny note! Stephen Cragg has also directed one of my favourite ER episodes, Bloodline, from season 13.

Read my other Favourite Nashville posts here: My Favourite Nashville

If you like ER, my Abby and Luka post are here: ER’s Abby and Luka

The Affair season 1: A bad-scented soap wrapped in exquisite paper

Season 1 of The Affair is best when it deals with the marriages, which come off as far more interesting than the affair. While the actors, scene and direction is of high quality, the script is trivial and unoriginal. 

I have finally suffered through season 1 of The Affair, for Maura Tierney only, and nothing else. It really comes out as a bad scented soap wrapped in exquisite paper. The actors are good, Tierney is great and I love Mare Winningham, the setting is elegant, the direction impeccable, but the script is just simple, flat and trivial, there is nothing original or nuanced about it.

Helen the Affair.I loved the pilot. It was a vibrant view of family drama and everyday married life. What followed was five episodes of a relentlessly boring affair and seeing it from Noah’s (Dominic West) side and Alison’s (Ruth Wilson) side after one another, and their different recollections of things, didn’t make it more interesting. Episode seven and eight, I found more fascinating, because these were about the marriages, and the marriages are just far more interesting than the affair. The episodes gave us insights in why they were cheating, what emotions were really afloat in their lives and what fetters they were trying to escape. There was history and expectations that made the story richer.

Some of the characters feels like typical clichés, Winninghams matriarch is one, the arrogant restaurant owner, Oscar, another and also Alisons mother comes off as a stereotype. Tierney makes Helen intriguing though, but Joshua Jackson’s Cole could for sure have been deepened a bit.

Episode nine had a really touching Alison part and for once we really got to know her and see her. It revealed so clearly how the affair and everything she did was a way to process her grief. For the first time we also got to know what the crime investigated was really about, another thing that kind of bored me to sleep during those other five episodes.

Helen and Noah
The finale I found kind of plain and undistinguished, just dolled up enough to make us wonder about season 2. I’m still not convinced Noah and Alison actually love each other, they still mainly seem to search for something new, something different that will make them feel something new.

Yes, I will get through the next season as well, since Tierney got an Emmy for it and she’ll make it worth while, I’m sure.

For more of Maura Tierney, check my ER pageER’s Abby and Luka