TIMELESS FINALE — As I’ve posted time and time again, NBC’s Timeless was a show that should definitely never have been cancelled. Its Season One got cancelled and the fans (who immediately become known as Clockblockers) brought it back. Season Two cancelled too … but, a two-hour finale was greenlighted by the network.
Two hour finales are always a tricky situation; usually the first hour is great, then the second, somewhat filler … and, that’s exactly what transpired here; the first hour just sensational and the second lagging. Goran Visnjic, first hitting it big in ER, was in a sense the greatest hero of them all, as he gave his life for a major plot twist in hour one.
That second hour had at least three separate stories going and though they all finally connected, it was a bit of a stretch. Abigail Spencer (as Lucy Spencer), who I first became aware of in Mad Men) was just great and in the opening minutes of hour one, gave just a terrific point-by-point synopsis of the first two seasons. Matt Lanter as the intrepid voyager Wyatt Logan was also pretty spot on.
Yes, the show was a taste of Time Tunnel (remember that one?), but threw in a slew of history that ironically intrigued many. They left the door open for a possible sequel, although that’s rather doubtful and that’s a shame as I consistently saw posts from a particularly diverse group of people. This was one that should have never gotten away. Sad.
MILLER TIME AT NYC’S LOFT — I’ve seen Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam a number of times, but last week’s show at The Loft at City Winery was unquestionably the best. The ensemble has jelled to just a deliciously good degree and leader singer Ziarra Washington vocals were better than ever.
The band is releasing next month Greetings from Serbia; a live recording of their show as last summer’s Nisville Jazz Festival in Serbia.
Guitarist Tristan Clark and sax player Mario Castro just shined this night as the band covered material from all of their albums, including a riveting “Gorilla,” the beautiful “Lament” and the rollicking “The Queen’s Carnival.” Also, Miller’s cover versions –always chosen with exquisite care- were sensational: ”I Can’t Explain” from The Who and “Free” from Phish; which was phenomenally stirring this night.
There was also a great surprise: Dobie Gray’s 1964 song “I’m With the In Crowd,” which Washington nailed perfectly with her vocal. What a great choice; another winner from Miller.
Miller and company ruled the jazz charts this summer as their last release, Trippin’ ascended to the #1 spot on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts. Heady times indeed. This was just an astounding show against an SRO house. Bravo!
Seen in the house were Pop Entertainment’s Brad Balfour; Joanna Bonaro from the TV-series Good ’n Screwed; Miller’s PR-man David Salidor; and Adam Pollock from The Orchard.
ALBUMS OF THE YEAR — In no particular order: Esperanza Spalding – 12 Little Spells; Robyn – Honey; Jeff Tweedy – WARM; Eric Church – Desperate Man; . Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now; David Byrne – American Utopia; Florence + The Machine – High as Hope; John Prine – The Tree of Forgiveness; Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer; Brandi Carlile – By the Way, I Forgive You; Paul McCartney – Egypt Station; Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born; and, Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour.
SHORT TAKES — We watched the finale episode of the re-booted Murphy Brown and thought it was pretty good. There were cameos from newscaster Andrea Mitchell and Lawrence O’Donnell and even a cameo –sort of- from VP Mike Pence. We loved when the idea was floated to reboot this show, but some of the writing was a bit forced. Candice Bergen was spot on, as was Grant Shaud as boss Miles Silverberg. Funny how Will & Grace could be as big a show as ever and Murphy Bown, not. TV is funny … One of the most spectacular flame-outs of the year has just got to be the NBC/Megyn Kelly brouhaha. I never watched her on Fox and my first introduction to her was at the Trump Debate, which she impressed me at. But, her abrupt indoctrination at NBC was rather surprising. My friend Jaclyn Levin was installed as her executive producer and I expected immediate, great success, yet as her show progressed, it became apparent that the powers that be could never quite decide if her show was to be hard news … or, fluff. One show, she’s be grilling politicians or discussing the MeToo movement and the next, she’d be interviewing housewives. I think Kelly herself was confused, then came the final fall, discussing blackface in America. Clearly NBC was looking for an out … and she gave it to them. As of this writing, her exit package is still being decided upon. Hopefully she‘ll get more than Les Moonves. Interesting thing is, she did grow on me. I predict her back on Fox … in a more political position … I’ll be back in the new year … Happy Holidays!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Alan Rothstein; Jacqueline Boyd; Randy Alexander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Robert Miller; Tony Seidel; Dave Marken; Mark Bego; Efrem Harkham; Marsha Stern; Ray Caviano; Jellybean; Glenn Friscia; Heather Moore; Keith Girard; and CHIP.