All posts filed under: TELEVISION

Thrilling Thoughts About ‘Black Mirror’ and Real ‘American Horror’ Stories

By LaReeca Rucker Every now and then, I offer a list of some of the best horror/thriller movies, television shows and documentaries I’ve recently seen. Here they are: Black Mirror: I originally began watching “Black Mirror” a couple of years ago when the first season came to Netflix. At the time, I was a little embarrassed to share with others some of the content of this British science fiction series set in the near future with a technology/social media theme. Some of the subject matter in the first season has the potential to make viewers blush, including an episode in which the Prime Minster’s daughter is kidnapped and held for ransom. She will be murdered if the Prime Minster doesn’t perform an embarrassing act that will be recorded and shared on television and social media. So after watching it, I filed it away in my brain as interesting, but edgy until I started to see numerous articles written about “Black Mirror” recently in The New Yorker – which had already labeled the television series “A …

Let’s make Mississippi an ‘American Idol’

In light of the controversial events that have transpired because of Mississippi’s House Bill 1523 locally and nationally, with protests by notable Mississippians and some companies refusing to do business in the state, the yin and yang of the universe decided that on the last season of one of America’s top-rated television shows, two Mississippians were selected to showcase their artistic talent – one of the fine things Mississippi is very well known for – and a Mississippian won the contest. Within every place and every person, you can find both good and bad. For far too long, Mississippi has had a reputation of ranking last in many categories. It has become trite to recite the list. The state has the highest high school dropout rate, the highest teen pregnancy rate, the highest obesity rate, highest poverty rate, worst economy, and the lowest life expectancy in the country. Mississippi students have ranked last in school performance, and the state has one of the highest unemployment rates. We read these studies over and over again, and …

Longwood mansion in Natchez

Here I am on the front lawn of Longwood mansion, an antebellum home in Natchez that was never completed by its owners. Exterior shots of the home were also used as the Vampire King of Mississippi’s home on True Blood. I didn’t see any vampires while I was there, but it was an interesting place to visit. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Our Top 20 fall TV show picks

If television shows are a reflection of our culture – and they always are – here’s what we can learn about ourselves from 2013’s new fall television line-up: 1. We like science fiction, and we’re particularly obsessed with doomsday and the annihilation of the human race. We also like vampires, witches and people with superpowers. 2. We like reality shows and docu-dramas. Even if you say you hate them and don’t watch them, you probably do. 3. We are a nation made up of different kinds of families – some run solely by moms; some run solely by dads; some run by moms, dads and grandparents. Several new shows examine the lives of single parents this season. We also like to retrospectively look back at past generations. 4. We like to watch shows about criminals or psychopaths with high IQs. We like shows about police, lawyers and detectives, and we like a good conspiracy. 5. We like office and work place shows. After taking a look at the list of new fall shows, here’s our …

Mississippi native LeAnn Rimes and hubby next couple to try reality TV

Many couples have done it, and for some, it has ended badly. Starring in your own reality show isn’t always good for relationships. Just ask Jessica Simpson and a slew of other celebs who put their private lives on national TV and later divorced. But maybe things will be different for LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian, who will soon have their own VH1 reality show. “We are really excited to be working together on a unique show that will give you a glimpse into who we really are, or better yet, who we’re really not,” said the Rimes in a news release. Rimes and Cibrian have been tabloid targets thanks to Cibrian’s ex-wife, Brandi Glanville, who stars on Bravo’s “The Housewives of Beverly Hills,” where she has often publicly discussed frustrations about her ex-husband and his new wife. Rimes Tweeted Thursday: “Thx for all the love about our new show. We are very excited to do something new and unique.” Rimes, a Pearl native, who has won multiple Grammy Awards, has been in the spotlight …

Entertainment: Mississippi native wraps up first season of "Pretty Wicked Moms"

Last night, was the season finale of “Pretty Wicked Moms.” Fans of the Lifetime reality show will have to wait until next season to see the antics of Mississippi native Emily Dees Boulden and her best friend, Nicole Noles. And it will be a while before we learn what’s happening with her Atlanta boutique, Swank; her daughter, Amzie; and her husband, Pete. Last night, the friends managed to get in trouble while attending a party at a “frienemy’s” house. While joking around, they found the party host’s preserved wedding bouquet, tossed it to one another as the camera’s rolled, and petals fell out of it onto the floor. The two also managed to knock over her wedding dress on display in the bedroom. Giggling ensued, followed by confrontational reality show drama that involved Emily telling the party host she was “fake.” You’ll have to wait a while to see Eli and Peyton Manning’s cousin steal the show, but she’s back in Mississippi this week. A couple of days ago, Boulden Tweeted: “Wheels Up to Mississippi! …

Check out a Mississippi reality star’s ‘Pretty Wicked’ return to Mississippi tonight at 9 p.m. on Lifetime

For those who have yet to see the new Lifetime reality show “Pretty Wicked Moms” Tuesday nights at 9 p.m., you’re missing the mean girl antics of Mississippi native Emily Dees Boulden – the Queen Bee of the show, who college students and professors studying modern feminism in pop culture may find a bit confusing. On one hand, she’s portrayed as a skinny, blonde, high fashion Barbie doll. Pull her string, and she makes superficial remarks about her “Pretty Wicked Moms” peers. She’s also married to a wealthy cosmetic dentist, and they live in an Atlanta mansion. But before you jump to the conclusion that Boulden is an accessory or trophy wife for her rich husband, she’s also a self-described “tough as nails” business owner who operates a clothing store called Swank that she started before marrying her husband. It’s “her baby,” but she also has another one – a little girl named Amzie. In an earlier interview, Boulden told me the reason she agreed to be on “Pretty Wicked Moms” after turning down numerous …

They’re having a "(Hotel) Hell" of a time at Starkville’s Hotel Chester this week

Sometimes running a business is hell. It certainly will be through Sunday when Starkville’s Hotel Chester welcomes Fox reality star and chef Gordon Ramsay, who will be filming an episode of “Hotel Hell” at the establishment. Can owner David Mollendor handle the wrath of Ramsay, who typically tries to offer salvation to some of America’s most horrendous hotels, troubled inns and struggling resorts? Will Ramsay fan the flames and cause controversy, or will Mollendor humbly accept that the devil is in the details? “We received a phone call from The Conlin Company (casting company) several months ago asking if our business needed improvement, and if so, would we like some assistance,” said Mollendor. “We said yes to both, and things developed from there.” Built in 1925, the restored hotel listed on the National Register of Historic Places features 36 rooms and suites. It also has a Library Restaurant that serves seafood, steaks and sushi and a 3,000-square-foot meeting space. It was voted Best Hotel in Mississippi in 2012 by Mississippi Magazine. “I think the production …

Keep your eye on rising star Katherine Bailess, a Mississippi girl who has "Hit the Floor" on VH1

Keep your eye on Kat Bailess, a Vicksburg girl who just got a lead role on a new VH1 scripted series called “Hit the Floor.” Katherine definitely steals the spotlight with her comedic timing. And on a personal note, she was very kind and down-to-earth to talk to during our recent interview. Check out her official website, to see a showcase of Katherine’s acting, singing and dancing. She also released this video and song that she co-wrote called “Missin’ Mississippi.” You may remember Katherine Bailess, 33, from the first “American Idol” movie “From Justin to Kelly” in 2003 when she played the singing, dancing vixen Alexa. Or maybe you’ve seen her in that recent viral video “$@!# Southern Women Say” that’s circulated the Web. But come Memorial Day, the Mississippi native will “Hit the Floor” as one of the stars of VH1’s new one-hour scripted series about the drama and comedy of a fictional professional dance team called the Los Angeles Devil Girls. The first of ten episodes aired Monday. Born in 1980 in Vicksburg, …

More of the story: Sela Ward talks Mississippi

Many Americans first met Sela Ward through her breakout, Emmy-award winning performance as Teddy Reed on the television series “Sisters,” that ran from 1991 to 1996. Then, there was that “little” role as Harrison Ford’s wife in “The Fugitive.” Today, many know her as Jo Danville, a DNA evidence investigator with a background in criminal psychology, who uses her wits to catch the bad guys. But to some, Ward is just a Mississippi girl who grew up in a little neighborhood in Meridian with two lakes where she learned to swim, and a cave in which she participated in séances with neighborhood children. “We really played outside until it was time for dinner,” said Ward, recalling her Mississippi childhood. “It was a lovely neighborhood. We spend most of the summer there. I go back for family reunions around Thanksgiving, and I usually get there one other time (during the year) for Hope Village.” She’s coming back to her hometown April 20 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Meridian charity she founded in 2002 called …

More of the story: Mississippians believe in faith, family and “Duck Dynasty”

It’s obvious when checking my Facebook  feed, that there are many Mississippians who relate to and love the reality show “Duck Dynasty.” I have watched a few episodes myself, but didn’t quite understand why this show was liked by so many people I know until I interviewed several of them recently and learned that it appeals to their most cherished values – having a strong work ethic, having a strong family and having a strong faith. All of those values are apparently wrapped up in the reality show about a family who struck it rich by selling duck calls. Here’s another interview with Justin Byrd, a youth worker at a Corinth church, that didn’t make it into today’s story because of deadlines. Byrd, a Corinth native who attended Alcorn Central High School and Northeast Mississippi Community College, who is now attending Grantham University while serving in the Mississippi Army National Guard, said he became a fan of “Duck Dynasty” when the series premiered. “I am a die hard duck hunter, and have been for about …

Tweet your thoughts on the Oscars tonight: #CLoscars

Our Weekend story published Thursday took a look at the 85th Academy Awards, and we asked a mix of theater and film professors, as well as working writers, actors and producers, about their Oscar predictions. Most agreed that Daniel Day-Lewis will be hard to beat this year, and Ben Affleck was robbed of a Best Director nomination for “Argo.” Here are more of their thoughts: Chris Offutt Chris Offutt is an assistant professor of English and screenwriting at the University of Mississippi, who earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Iowa in 1990. He has written for HBO’s “True Blood” and Showtime’s “Weeds.” Q. What are some of the Oscar contenders you have seen this year? A. I’ve seen all of the nominees for best picture. Unfortunately, it was not a year for great movies. Individual performances surpassed the films themselves. This was most evident in “The Master.” Two movies were loosely based on real events — “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Lincoln” — and, as such, lose some of the (ending) …

How to do it “Downton Abbey” style

The PBS series ‘Downton Abbey’ has become a cultural phenomenon among viewers, and many Mississippians tune in each Sunday to watch. That’s why we decided to ask local fashion expert David Creel to tell us how to create “Downtown” style. Check out the interview below, along with the slideshow that features some of his work at the front, along with pictures of other Mississippi “Downton Abbey” fans who recently attended Mississippi Public Broadcasting preview parties for the show. You’ll also see pictures sent from MBP of DA cast members. Note: Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t watched the latest episodes. The PBS show “Downton Abbey” has become a nationwide hit, and Mississippi style experts say it’s influencing trends and fashion. We asked local hair and trend expert David Creel, of the Ridgeland salon Beautiful With David, to tell us how he defines “Downton Abbey” style. Q. When did you first become familiar with this show? Do you watch it now? What do you like about it? A.Not only do I watch it, I am addicted …

Mississippi native appears on “Millionaire Matchmaker” tonight

A Mississippi native turned dating coach will be looking for love on Bravo!’s “Millionaire Matchmaker” tonight at 9 p.m. Marks native Angela McArthur Lutin, a divorced, single mother who blogs about the South Florida dating scene, owns a business called Essentially Angela Inc. Through it, she coaches others, helping them get back on the dating scene. But tonight, the tables will be turned when “Millionaire Matchmaker” star Patti Stanger offers Lutin dating advice, and Lutin brings along her ex-husband, Greg, to help find her perfect match. “Working with Bravo! gave me the opportunity to put myself on the line and ultimately step outside of my comfort zone for a chance to find love,” said Lutin. “Sometimes, even an expert needs an outsider’s perspective, and working with Patti forced me to take the harsh advice I so often give to others.” During the week, Angela was set up with three prospects and had to choose one for her master date. Lutin, 38, grew up on Main Street in Marks where five generations of her family had …

Reality television commentary: Veteran ‘reality’ star jumps from ‘Amazing Race’ to ‘Queen Bees’ to ‘Vanderpump Rules’

Bravo! has added another spin-off to its lineup called “Vanderpump Rules” that follows “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Lisa Vanderpump’s employees at Sur, a West Hollywood restaurant she is involved with. And so far, it has proven – to steal a phrase from Bravo!’s “Housewives of New York” show – money (or good looks) can’t buy you class. The star of this “reality” show is a completely unlikable person named Stassi Schroeder from New Orleans, who is so very self-absorbed and entitled that viewers, right away, get the impression that the show is completely fake because it’s hard to believe someone this horrible actually exists. (Let’s hope that Stassi is just playing a character, and is really a sweet Southern girl with manners who only behaves this way on camera.) A site called RealityTea today reported that Schroeder also starred in a reality show called “Queen Bees” for one season about, (wouldn’t you know it), self-absorbed entitled, unlikable, mean girls. I Googled her name, and apparently, a Stassi Schroder was also on the Family …

Mississippi Girl scores big roles on ‘Weeds’ and ‘Suburgatory’

When Allie Grant was in the third grade at Church Street Elementary School in Tupelo, she became obsessed with the film “Rain Man.” “I came to school as Rain Man,” she said, which prompted her teacher to call her mother out of concern. “She said: ‘Angie, I don’t really know how to tell you this, but your daughter won’t respond to anything other than Rain Man. I don’t know what’s wrong with her. I don’t know how to explain it, but you need to come pick her up and make sure she comes back to school as Allie.’” When her mom asked what was going on, Grant confessed she wanted to be an actor. “She said, ‘Well, OK then. That’s what we’ll do.’” Since then, the Tupelo native has landed two significant roles on cable and network television shows. She played Isabella Hodes on Showtimes’ “Weeds” for five seasons, and now she is a cast member of ABC’s “Suburgatory” playing the role of socially awkward teen Lisa Shay. Born on Valentine’s Day in 1994, Grant …

Mississippi native to appear on MTV and Bravo!’s Millionaire Matchmaker

When Mississippi native Angela McArthur Lutin became a divorced mother of a 13-year-old son at 34, she thought it would be a snap getting back into the dating game. “I thought I was a hot mama who was going to do good on the dating scene, and I didn’t know anything,” she said. That led the Boca Raton resident to begin chronicling her experience as a divorcee, mom and dater on a blog called Essentially Angela, and by exposing all of the places her heart has taken her on the journey to find love, Lutin is making a name for herself in the world of reality television. With upcoming appearances on two MTV shows, “Made” and “True Life,” and one appearance with her ex-husband on Bravo!’s “Millionaire Matchmaker,” Lutin is hoping to eventually pitch her own reality show about dating and relationships. The 38-year-old grew up on Main Street in the small town of Marks where five generations of her family had lived. Her father was involved in local politics. Her mother was a teacher. …

Girl Meets World: Reviving 1990s television shows

The buzz in pop culture news today is that Disney and ABC may be reviving the 1990s classic television show “Boy Meets World” that centered around Cory Matthews, a kid who grew up on the show’s seven seasons (1993-2000) from grade school boy to married man. The new show would be called “Girl Meets World.” The girl is Riley Matthews, the 13-year-old fictional daughter of stars Cory and Topanga (Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel.) This is particularly interesting to Generation Y or “the Millennials,” who were still very young when this show premiered, as well as their parents, who watched it with them. I thought it was a brilliant idea on Disney’s part to put these actors to work again. Aside from a Lifetime movie or B horror film, I haven’t seen any of them for a while, and they are talented enough to deserve a pay check. It also made me ponder how long this show has been off the air. And when I realized next year will mark 20 years since it’s debut …

Mississippi native competes on The Voice

Laurel native Liz Davis fondly recalls performing for her grandparents at their Greenville home. “I was very loud,” she said, “so when everyone was sitting around, I would be on the fireplace acting like it was a stage.” Tonight at 7, you can catch a glimpse of her performing on the national stage as one of the Top 64 contestants vying for a recording contract on the NBC show “The Voice.” “It’s a recap of the Top 64, so everybody can see whose on each team and get familiar with everyone before the Battle Rounds start next week,” Davis said. “During the Battle Rounds, a coach picks two members of his team to battle it out, and actually cuts the teams down to half.” Davis auditioned for the show singing the Gretchen Wilson hit “Here for the Party.” Three of the four judges — Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera — pushed their I Want You button. She chose Shelton as her mentor. Davis calls herself a “late bloomer” to singing. The first time …

My interview with Mike Seaver

So I recently got to interview Kirk Cameron. I realize that he has become somewhat of a controversial figure because he has become an outspoken Christian evangelist, but I just remember him as Mike Seaver on Growing Pains, a show I religiously watched growing up. So it was kind of fun getting to speak to him. Here’s the story: If you’re marriage is experiencing Growing Pains, a former teen heartthrob turned Christian actor/evangelist will soon make an appearance in Brandon to tell you that marriage is a Love Worth Fighting For. Kirk Cameron, who starred in the 1980s television show Growing Pains and has since become a popular Christian film actor, will appear Saturday, Aug. 18, at Crossgates Baptist Church in Brandon. “The Love Worth Fighting For marriage event is a very special event that came out of the movie Fireproof,” he said by phone. “That was a movie that so many people saw and loved that we decided to turn it into a live event and bring it to the community.” Cameron said it’s …

Mississippi ‘Mad Men’: Ridgeland ad agency exec offers insider’s take on show

The term “Mad Men” refers refers to the advertising executives who work on Madison Avenue in New York City. Madison County has its own group of “Mad Men” – a Ridgeland advertising firm called Mad Genius. We asked its creative director Eric Hughes his thoughts on the show and how it has influenced pop culture. To better set the stage for his answers, Mad Genius held a “Mad Menius” party in which the entire office dressed like characters from the show. Q: When did you become a fan? A: First show, first season. Right off the bat, I was sucked in by the amazing title sequence and then immediately drawn into how Don Draper captured the specific feeling of doom everyone in this business gets at some point – the anguish of watching the hours tick away as a major pitch approaches, and you grasp for the merest shred of a good idea. Then boom! You have it. And I loved the off-the-cuff statements like “C’mon, it’s not like there’s some magical machine that copies …

‘Mad Men’ Madness

Jackson residents Michael Busbin and Brian Kendrick have gone mad for “Mad Men.”Tonight is the season finale of AMC’s hit show about love, life and business at a Manhattan advertising firm. Currently set in the 1960s, “Mad Men” premiered in 2007 and is in its fifth season. It has become a pop culture sensation, influencing everything from hairstyles and fashion to cooking, decor and entertaining. Because of “Mad Men,” Busbin and Kendrick bought a retro home in northeast Jackson. “It has the grass cloth wall paper and all the cool retro vibes of the ’60s when it was built, kind of like Don Draper’s new apartment now,” Busbin said. “We have updated some of the features of the house that make it more fashionable, but we still have some of the features that are ’60s-inspired, such as the rock garden in the living room. We love Eames molded chairs, scoop chairs, Panton chairs, and anything with that ‘Mad Men’ vibe. That is how we like to live in our home – cool and relaxed with …

How to party like ‘Mad Men’

Los Angeles-based Natasha Feldman and Julianna Strickland host a web-based cooking show about food and movies called “Cinema & Spice.” They are big “Mad Men” fans, and recently taped a segment about how to throw a “Mad Men” party. Q: How did you become fans of the show? A: Julianna: Natasha’s mom was a media manager in the advertising industry for many years and worked for New York agencies mentioned in the show, so she was familiar with that world from childhood on. When a show came out focusing on the intrigues and adventures of advertising executives, she was curious about it and wanted to see what challenges women in the ’60s faced vs. the opportunities they have now. Q: Who are your favorite characters? A: Natasha: We both love Peggy and Joan. They are both strong, intelligent women, who are always growing and evolving in a challenging environment. They both defy the traditional roles that women were forced into for lack of guts and opportunity. We love how talented Peggy is and how she …

‘True Blood’s’ Mississippi ties

A popular HBO show with Mississippi ties returns tonight. “True Blood” enters its fifth season at 9 p.m., and Jackson resident Jamie Shows, who has watched every episode, can’t wait to sink her teeth into it. “I have several friends that watch it as well and most of our Sunday nights of ‘True Blood’ consist of texting back and forth ‘OMGs’ throughout the show,” she said. “And the fact that Season 5 kicks off on June 10, which is my 34th birthday, is ‘blood red’ icing on the cake. The return of the Vampire King of Mississippi is going to be epic.” Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, ‘True Blood’ is set in Louisiana. And, in this setting, there is no need for coffins or human blood. Vampires can co-exist with humans, thanks to the invention of mass-produced synthetic blood. The show is based on the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series of books written by Tunica native Charlaine Harris. They were later adapted into a series by Oscar winner Alan Ball, creator of HBOs “Six Feet …

Mississippians get a reality check

From Brandon native Skylar Laine on “American Idol” to Tupelo resident Brooks Ayers on “The Housewives of Orange County,” this year’s crop of Mississippi reality stars is as abundant as ever. Here’s a look at who we’ve been watching and who we’re keeping an eye on. •The Bachelorette – Tune to ABC Monday at 7 p.m. to watch Clarion-Ledger advertising representative Travis Pope vie for “The Bachelorette’s” heart. Will he become North Carolina resident Emily Maynard’s new beau? Pope, who has been described by colleagues as a “Southern charmer,” is a 30-year-old Mississippi State grad and Madison resident who has worked at The Clarion-Ledger the past three years. •The Housewives of Orange County – Tupelo resident Brooks Ayers has been spending a lot of time in California. He’s been featured on the Bravo! series this year as housewife Vicki Gunvalson’s boyfriend. The show airs at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. Ayers, who has become the subject of entertainment gossip blogs, is a businessman who met Gunvalson through work. You can find the Mississippi State graduate’s bio …