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Friday, April 17, 2015

Primetime TV Binge Watching Update - April 2015 Watchathon Edition

Here's a quick description of all of the shows I've watched and completed during April 2015's Watchathon week. I will do another posting with shows I watched and finished during other times of the month. Of course, as always, there is a possibility of spoilers for any primetime show I mention.

Xfinity's Watchathon week was held from April 6-12, which explains why I was "radio" silent on my blog for a few days. This is when premium channels and other programming they may not subscribe to normally is made available for free to subscribers with access to on demand. I watched the following shows in full: "Banshee" (season three), "Black Sails" (season two), "Entourage" (all seasons, though watched season one on April 5th on DVD), "House of Lies" (seasons one - four) and "The Newsroom" (season three). These are rather short write-ups as I don't want to spoil everything.

"Banshee" is a Cinemax show that takes place primarily in Pennsylvania, but filmed in the Carolinas. Their upcoming fourth season will be produced in Pittsburgh, so they will finally look authentic. "Banshee" is about the ultimate identity theft as the main character goes by Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) and is the sheriff of Banshee. In the first season, he saw the real Lucas get murdered, and since no one recognized him took over the job. This comes back to haunt him in season three, but he gets away with it again. The audience has no idea who "Lucas" really is even after all this time. The major death of season two gets avenged as well as payback for a lot of what went on in these episodes. We also had more deaths of main cast members and soap alum Tom Pelphrey joined the show in a recurring role as a former Neo-Nazi who gets a job as an officer.

"Black Sails" is a Starz show that takes place in Nassau, but is filmed in South Africa. The second season recently ended and is about life prior to "Treasure Island" when pirates ruled the seas. There was more action on the high seas and the fight over the island of Nassau. There was blood and sex of various kinds (both paid for and not) as one of the main characters owns a brothel. Of course, with pirates betrayals were always part of the plot.

"Entourage" is an HBO dramedy that aired from 2004 - 2011. The entourage was a group supporting Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), a famous movie star, who ended up in the largest grossing movie of all time "Aquaman" based on the "Superfriends" character. It included his brother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) a less famous television actor, Eric "E" (Kevin Connolly) Vince's manager and best friend, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) who was their driver, and Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), his agent. Ari helped make Vince's career while the others had been in Vince's life since childhood. We saw the lives and relationships of these characters from a male point of view over 96 episodes. Since the show takes place in the Hollywood community there are numerous cameos and/or appearances of famous actors appearing as fictionalized versions of themselves. A movie with the cast is imminent.

"House of Lies" is a Showtime program that began in 2012. It stars Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan, Kristen Bell as Jeannie van der Hooven, Ben Schwartz as Clyde Oberholdt and Josh Lawson as Doug Guggenheim. These four main characters use their full names quite often on screen, as management consultants. When we meet them they are all working together at Galweather-Stern and Marty is their boss. They travel around the world advising companies what they are doing wrong. As the series evolved so did their work and personal environments. Marty's former wife Monica (Dawn Olivieri) is in the consulting business too and sometimes usually gets into conflict with the others. We also got to know Marty's son Roscoe (Donis Leonard Jr.), who was a 10 year old gender-fluid child when the show began and now is a teen and grandfather Jeremiah (Glynn Turman). There are a lot of interesting short term roles on the show by soap alums.

"The Newsroom" on HBO aired its final season in late 2014 ending after 25 episodes. The main story in the six episode mini-season was about a whistleblower, who gave ACN damaging information about the government. Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) put his career on hold as he was found guilty of contempt as he protected Neal (Dev Patel) and his source. Prior to his incarceration, Will and MacKenzie (Emily Mortimer) were wed. Due to a fight between the Lansing clan, the station went up for sale causing great stress for everyone. Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) and Maggie (Alison Pill) finally became a couple though she wouldn't give up her dream career for their relationship. Sloan (Olivia Munn) and Don (Thomas Sadoski) had a "fun" story, where they tried to hide their dating from an HR person, to provide some comic relief from the stress. Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) passed before the end of the show though everyone else got a happy ending.

That's my Watchathon update for April 2015. I apologize for not going into greater detail about "Black Sails", but I find that show rather difficult to summarize. I'm glad that over a week's time I was able to catch up with or complete so many different series.

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