“Gotham” Goes Goth and Ribeiro Does the Carlton!

Carlton perfection! Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson on Dancing with the Stars. Photo via Adam Taylor/ABC
Wha wha wha wha wha wha wha wha wha wah wha: Robin Lord Taylor as The Penguin
Wha wha wha wha wha wha wha wha: Robin Lord Taylor as The Penguin

Full disclosure: I was never a Marvel kid. I always went for DC Comics — Superman and Batman, so Fox’s Gotham is right up my comic book alley. I have loved Ben McKenzie since Southland and he makes a credible Detective James Gordon in this Batman prequel.

But as good as McKenzie and the rest of the cast are — Richard Kind as sleazy Mayor James, David Mazouz as the young inquisitive Bruce Wayne, Jada Pinkett Smith as the evil Fish Mooney and Donal Logue as Gordon’s partner, Harvey Bullock — the real breakout star is Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penguin. He’s a wonderfully delicious, creepy, if not outright insane thorn in Gordon’s (and eventually Batman’s) side and he clearly steals the show.

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Less clear and more confusing is How to Get Away with Murder. Viola Davis is a wonderful actress. That being said, I thought this show was about a law professor and defense attorney who will defend anyone, guilty or innocent, and who mentors her students by having them help her on cases. But then it took a twist with an apparent murder coverup. Who did the murder? Who covered it up? Why? I am still confused and both judge and jury will remain in deliberation until I can come to a unanimous verdict.

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From good judge to Bad Judge — which is just what it sounds like: a good judge who gets personal and cares about the people whose lives she’s touched, making her a bad judge. Kate Walsh has an amazing range and though I’ve only watched the pilot of this comedy, so far, so good. Once again, the jury is…well, see above.

Polly Bergen
Polly Bergen

On a personal note, this has been a really long, sad month for many of us in the theatre and TV world, with the loss of Joan Rivers, Polly Bergen and now the divine Marian Seldes, leaving me with a gaping hole in my heart. I was privileged to have known all three of these women and had the added joy of working with Joan and Marian. Polly Bergen was a friend — one of those special people who could charm you with a smile and those beautiful eyes. As an actress, she could be intense in Cape Fear and gut-wrenching in her Golden Globe-nominated role in The Caretakers, but it was her Emmy Award-winning performance as torch singer Helen Morgan on Playhouse 90 in the late 1950s that launched her TV career. Starting with The Polly Bergen Show through guest starring appearances on episodic TV and Emmy-nominated roles in Winds of War and War and Remembrance to her final Emmy-nominated turn as Lynette Scavo’s train-wreck mother on Desperate Housewives, Bergen proved that she was so much more than just a pretty face with a great voice and an amazing pair of gams.

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What can I say about the Tony-winning Seldes, unquestionably one of the greatest stage actresses of all time? The premiere interpreter of Edward Albee’s work, Seldes also had quite a career on the tube, from Hallmark Hall of Fame, Gunsmoke and Perry Mason in the 1950s to Murphy Brown‘s eccentric Aunt Brooke and Mr. Big’s mother on Sex and the City later on. Daytime fans will know her as Sonya Cramer, Dorian Lord’s presumed-dead-but-really-in-the-nuthouse mother on One Life to Live, who died in a blaze of glory — literally in a fire! No role was too small for Marian and she once told me that she was delighted and shocked that people would stop her on the street to tell her they were fans from One Life to Live. It made her giggle.

This Just In…
CBS renewed both Extant and Under the Dome for another season. Unforgettable, yet again, is questionable.

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This Week on the Tube…
I’m looking forward to Cristela, starring comic Cristela Alonzo as a law student pursuing success more ambitiously than her traditional Mexican-American family thinks is appropriate. The promos look great. Let’s hope Cristela follows through.

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And don’t get me started…
Dallas is cancelled? No! As of this moment, there is a write-in campaign to save the show. South Fork must not die, do you hear me? JR would not be amused.

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Best TV Moment of the Week…
Since the, er. elimination of Harold Wheeler and the band, I rarely watch Dancing with the Stars anymore, but this week was an exception. In all honesty, having Alfonso Ribeiro as a contestant is kinda not really kosher. I mean, the guy starred on Broadway in The Tap Dance Kid and wrote a book about dancing. How do you spell R-I-N-G-E-R? But this week, he made it all OK by performing what we were all waiting for — and scoring perfect 10s!:

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The TV Junkie was preceded in her family by a large mahogany cabinet that housed a small screen with a large speaker below. Thus began her love affair with the older sibling in the living room. Theirs was a tenuous relationship, prone to mishaps (forgetting to use the special "screen" for Winky Dink), joyous events (Julie & Carol at Carnegie Hall), sad moments (Clarabelle saying goodbye to the Peanut Gallery) and a wide range of emotions (the funeral of John F. Kennedy and the Inauguration of Barack Obama). From Captain Video to Star Trek to Lost; from A Brighter Day to The Edge of Night to One Life to Live; from Peyton Place to Dynasty to Desperate Housewives; there has never been a greater love, than that of the TVJ and the best friend a girl could ever have. Like "The TV Junkie" on Facebook and follow her on Twitter: @thetvjunkiepml.