Category Archives: TV

TV Blog-entary: Bones S5Ep5

I’m super busy with publication of my first novel, so here’s a quickie:  my latest episode of Bones in my mission to finally watch this awesome series!

Obviously, this could be spoilerrific, so if you’re behind like me…. well, GO WATCH BONES.

  • Oh God, typical security guard of quality:  ping! ping!  Sadly, having worked security for five years, this is pretty typical.
  • ZOMG BONNNNNNES! On a FENCE!
  • Poor Booth.  Actually, no, Booth has had his chance to confess to Brennan for years.  If you don’t move in, your superiors will, dude.  Bones is a hottie.
  • The best part about Brennan is her blunt approach to sex… which, in turn, makes Booth squirm.
  • You know, I have slowly grown to enjoy Lance Sweets.  I hated him for the entire first season he appeared on the show, but he’s grown on me.  It helps he’s a fellow U of Toronto alumni.
  • I do not, however, enjoy his girlfriend.  I HATE DAISY.
  • Mummy!  Ra!  *snicker*
  • I can’t help but dance like an asshole to the theme song.  Truefax.
  • Okay, Daisy reeling herself in is just creepy.  Like, Sybil-ish.
  • Bwahahaha: Brennan and Daisy are fangirling themselves.
  • Assistant DirectorHorker needs to STFU and GTFO.  NOW.  Stop interfering with my OTP!
  • “If she attacks, he can put her down.”  Angela is the ‘me’ of this show.
  • I’m pretty sure Brennan and Daisy are going to have a lesbian affair on top of these bones.
  • Bones quoting a classic movie is just….  wow.
  • Daisy just told Sweets off.  OMFG I take it back: I could like her a little.
  • Ginger Diorama Boy.
  • Shit just got real!
  • Bones is wearing dressier clothes lately… this dress is pure sexy.
  • “The urine of a redhead boy.”  And this is why I love Hodgy. OMFG.
  • Paintings inside a mummy.  Hmm…. Egyptian porno?
  • Okay Ms. Bitchypants, chillax.  It’s a LIGHT.
  • Bones, how DARE you take Hork-boy to Founding Fathers!  That’s where you’re supposed to have dates with Booth!
  • Also, judging from these identically designed yet differently coloured dresses and the way they hide the stomach, I must wonder in my spoiler-free bubble if Emily Deschanel is knocked up.
  • Angela, she’s not bright about love.  Tell her like a five-year-old.  Booth loves you, dummy.
  • It’s taken three seasons but I no longer hate Cam.  I just find her irritating in large doses.
  • I want to snuggle Booth.  It’s so painfully obvious that in spite of his own lines of professional relationships from eons ago, he’s been in love with Brennan for years and in utter denial.
  • UNF!  So much UST!
  • BUSTED!
  • Oh boohoo, cry me a river over your retirement.
  • Ewwwwwwww Lance/Daisy sex.  Judging hard.
  • NOOOOOOOOOOO cock-blocked! AGAIN.

And as usual, I am stomping my feet in frustration and driven to keep watching.  Netflix is how a girl watches 50 episodes in a week.  Addiction, folks.  This is my new X-Files.

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12 Days of Netflix Finds: Jericho

Jericho

Genre:  Television/Drama/Suspense
Rating:  4.5/5 Stars
Recommended To:  Fans of Lost, Dollhouse, Cloverfield
Special Warnings: Violence, a little gore, ‘end of the world’ themes that might upset some

Holy crap, it’s the final day of Netflix Finds (for now)!  For those who’ve been devoted in checking out my posts, thank you! I love you and write for your enjoyment on the days where I just want to be lazy and, well, watch Netflix.

For our final installment of 2011, I thought we’d end with a bang – as in, nuclear explosion.

Jericho is a television series more notorious for the fan devotion to keeping it alive than the content itself, which is a serious fucking shame.  I’m not done with this one yet, but it’s one of fiance’s favourite shows ever, and it’s a show I wish I’d watched hella sooner.

Jericho is Lost set in midwestern America, all in all – only less smoke monsters and flashbacks, and more conspiracy/political intrigue.  Skeet Ulrich (my 90s crush – nomm!) shines here as Jake Green, the black sheep son of Jericho’s mayor who slips into town to snag a few bucks from an inheritance, but never makes it back to his sunny home.  Why’s that?  Oh, you know, just a nuclear BOMB going off!

Yeah: Jericho pulls a Lost and shit gets real.

Jake makes it back to his hometown, and suddenly, the black sheep is the brave leader that no one realized he could be, beneath the criminal mischief and running away from everyone he ever knew and all that.  Need to hide from fallout? Jake’ll hide you safely in a mine, even if he has to blow up the entrance to seal you in from the elements.  Yeah, Skeet is bad-ass.

I don’t want to spoiler you too much, but there is a LOT of “tangled web we weave” madness that unfolds with every passing episode.  Mystery supply drops, incommunicado government, relationship triangles and army mercenary types… and the first season’s not even done!

While some might argue that Lost already did this story, there’s a lot that Jericho gets right/does a little better.  For starters, it’s so much easier to keep track of the characters and their subplots in Jericho.  The storytelling is more linear, and there are definite main characters and definite secondaries.  Jericho also calls for less suspended belief, and is more generous with answering mysteries – at least in part – than Lost ever was.  And I love Lost, so don’t get me wrong.  Jericho is doing something different here, beneath the surface, and it is great at it.

The best part about Jericho, I think, is that it’s believable: I can see this actually happening.  Add in the awesome writing of Stephen Chbosky (yes, he of The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and the fuck-awesome acting of Ulrich, Gerald McRaney and Lennie James (more recently seen in The Walking Dead and Hung), and you’re set for a weekend of marathoning.

Visit Jericho; this ain’t Dorothy’s Kansas, Toto.

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12 Days of Netflix Finds: Degrassi Junior High/Degrassi High

Degrassi Junior High/Degrassi High

Genre:  Television/Drama/Teen
Rating:  4.5/5 Stars
Recommended To:  Fans of Saved By The Bell, Beverly Hills 90210, and their ilk
Special Warnings: Episodes dealing with depression, suicide, anorexia, drug/substance abuse, sexual assault (obvious from descriptions)

For Canadians of Gen X, it’s impossible to meet one not familiar with the kids of Degrassi.  For some of us (like me), teachers showed episodes of this critically lauded show in class as teaching moments/reprieves on the last day of class before holidays.  Joey Jeremiah? Our Zach Morris.  Hell, Kevin Smith loved the show so much, he named the infamous Caitlin of Clerks after Degrassi’s Caitlin Ryan.

Degrassi is your typical “lesson of the week” teen show in its structure, but it still works so well that I found myself marathoning both old series recently in a week’s time.  The difference is in the kids themselves:  these young actors aren’t polished adults playing teens; they’re playing themselves, awkwardness and all.  There is continuity over the series, but mostly, we are treated to a spotlight of a character each episode as he/she deals with a serious issue.  What also endears here is the lack of a laugh track minimizing their lives; instead, these kids face serious issues, screw up, face consequences that sometimes endure, and still have parents bugging them for good grades.  Everyone does not get a shiny new car for their sweet sixteen; these kids buy their own after working jobs.  Condoms break, and pregnancies happen.  Even ableism is handled in an episode of Degrassi High, where well-meaning girls don’t invite their wheelchair-bound friend because they “know” a theatre isn’t accessible and what a shame, only to be confronted angrily that “not inviting me and assuming what I can and can’t do is as bad as places that aren’t accessible – I’m a person”.

The shows are shot in the late 80s-early 90s, so the fashion is fricking hilarious, but the show is impressive for how far it’s willing to go.  Gay characters?  Abortion clinics and protesters? Degrassi has it.  The show is sex-positive while still encouraging, through the thoughts of its teens, to at least wait for someone you care about and be safe about it.

Oh, and they did the caffeine pill abuse before Bell’s infamous Jessie meltdown.  True facts.

Degrassi was a voice for the youth of its time, demonstrating that they were more competent and adult than mainstream media gave them credit for, but also still vulnerable and prone to mistakes.  It endures for being easy to relate to.  Put on your jelly bracelets and tune in, and remember your teens with a laugh (and maybe a tear or two).

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12 Days of Netflix Finds: Big Cat Diary

Big Cat Diary

Genre:  Television/Documentary – Nature
Rating:  4.5/5 Stars
Recommended To:  Animal/nature lovers; families
Special Warnings: None

For Christmas Day, I thought I’d throw out something family-friendly that I happen to love a lot:  Big Cat Diary.  Perfect for kids of all ages, particularly those who love cats, the show follows around lion prides, cheetahs, and leopards on an African reserve, showing their fight to survive, raise their cubs, and thrive.  Each season tends to focus on a new animal/animals, although there are frequent recurring stars – mainly, the cats that are more camera crew-friendly.  One particular cheetah loves to use the jeeps as a perch for spotting prey, and also tends to want to “mark” her narrator on a daily basis, which is hilarious.

The show is realistic, though; animals die, and not only the prey.  In one horrifying episode, cubs are assaulted by stomping, angry elephants.  The fact that this show doesn’t shy away from the truth of the animals’ lives in Africa is what makes it stellar.  The whole series is like a mini-soap opera of animals, really, but in a good way.

Kitties!

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12 Days of Netflix Finds: The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd

Genre:  Television/Comedy
Rating:  4.5/5 Stars
Recommended To:  Fans of The Big Bang Theory; fans of geeky humour; computer nerds; fans of The Office/Clerks/other “damn the man” slacker comedies; Brit-Comedy fans
Special Warnings: Definitely not for little kids (it’ll go over their heads a lot anyway)

I often look at the top recommended titles for our Netflix account and am utterly baffled by their algorithms.  Titles come up that have nothing to do with our watch preferences, or are a great deal like something we’ve just trashed.  But sometimes, Netflix scores a goal; The IT Crowd is one such success story.

Half my DNA is British, so we checked this show out pretty quickly, quickly discovering it was hilarious – so much so that we devoured all 3 available seasons in a couple of days.

The premise: Jen is in desperate need of a job – a good one – but her resume is a little lacklustre.  Spotting a job involving IT – something she’s clueless about – at Reynholm Industries, she decides to fudge her skills and interview anyway.  To her credit, she sweet talks her way into a great job; unfortunately, it’s head of the IT Department, and resident geeks Roy and Moss see right through her.  But just as she needs them to explain the internet to her, they need her to show them how to relate to the rest of their coworkers, and perhaps earn a little respect from their grungy basement home.

Filled with computer-speak gags, The IT Crowd features all of the hilarity of The Big Bang Theory tucked into the IT world.  Moss truly makes the show with his social ineptitude wrapped in a lovable package; I just adore him, and I’m not the only one, given the brilliant Texts From Moss Tumblr that blends the best of TFLN with stills of the show. But maybe you should see for yourself just how much fun The IT Crowd can be?

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12 Days Of Netflix Finds: Being Erica

Being Erica

Genre:  Television/Dramedy
Rating:  5/5 Stars
Recommended To:  Fans of Back To The Future; women (and men) experiencing a “how the hell did my life end up like this?” crisis (or relate well to the feeling); fans of “protagonist keeps making things worse to hilarious effect” storylines
Special Warnings: None

I have to admit that when I first saw the massive advertising blitz in the subway system for Being Erica years ago, the concept seemed cheesy and hokey in the press pictures.  Given that the CBC has been on a bit of a failtastic run for a while now, I also had little faith when I realized it was their baby.

Then, I threw my back out and was sentenced to a week of bedrest.  Being bored to tears, without cable, and having read a review that indicated the show was far more stellar than the pilot had demonstrated, I threw up my hands and said, “Fuck it!” and loaded up CBC’s website (awesome, because it allows you to watch whole seasons of shows).

I devoured the entire first season of Being Erica in a few days.

Like Dollhouse, you need to get past the first few episodes with this one.  They’re not terrible – Erin Karpluk immediately shines and reels you in as Erica Strange, the woebegone heroine of the series, while Michael Riley is her brilliant sarcastic counterpart as Dr. Tom.  It’s just that after the first two episodes, the show truly hits its stride, and digs its way into your heart.

The premise:  what if you could go back in time and undo the regrets that have ruined your life, destroyed your dreams, or just made you miserable?  What if this gift was a form of therapy, a way to become the person you always wished you could be?  This is the gift offered to Erica, after the worst day of her life (and seriously, it is shit-tastic; it plays out in the first ten minutes of the series).  Erica’s got a monster list of regrets, and Dr. Tom has alllll the time in the world.  But is it really better to do what you wish you’d done – and will it change anything at all in the present?

The cast is stellar for this series, and the writing is pitch-perfect.  Karpluk and Riley really make the show special, though; lesser actors could have never made the characters so genuine and lovable.  You want Erica to succeed, to shine.  You want someone like Dr. Tom on your side.

Seriously, one of my favourite TV shows of all-time here, right up with my precious Buffy and Lost.  Watch it.  Now.

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12 Days Of Netflix Finds: Dollhouse

Dollhouse

Genre:  Television Series – Fantasy/Action Adventure/Suspense
Rating:  5/5 Stars
Recommended To:  Joss Whedon fans who’ve somehow avoided it; fans of Profiler, X-Files or Tru Calling; people who enjoy fantasy/sci-fi that has intense character development and exploration of human relationships/interaction
Special Warnings: sexual assault; exploitation/human trafficking elements; domestic-type violence

I am a huge fan of Joss Whedon’s work, and adore Eliza Dushku, so you would think that this show and I would have been joined at the hip from its premiere date. Sadly, not so: not only did I not have cable access (and being in Canada, where Hulu etc. block our asses, streams are not as readily available), but I was underwhelmed by the first episode  and only moderately interested in the second.  I decided to wait for the boxset, and um… forgot.  I bought season one several months ago, but being me, it was lost in the disaster shuffle that is our media shelf.

It’s a huge shame, because I LOVE this show.  Hardcore.

Let me preface with this: Fox forced Whedon to change the pilot around, and to me, it shows.  Having now seen the original pilot, I don’t think either was perfect, but the original felt a little more “Joss”.  Why Fox continues to contract this genius for shows and then fuck with them/put them at the worst time slots ever/cancel them, I do not know.  Thus, I urge this:  stay with it for four episodes.  By then, you’ve got a strong sense of the show’s direction, mythology and promise.

Dollhouse is centred around a pet project of the Rossum Corporation, the Dollhouse.  People with criminal pasts… enemies of Rossum… people with traumatic events they’d as soon as erase… all are sought out and brought to the Dollhouse where they sign their lives away for five years in exchange for an obscene payout of cash and other terms negotiated.  In signing their lives away, their memories are erased and stored, data on a hard drive, and their brains outfitted to be programmed on a whim for the obnoxiously wealthy.  Want a perfect girlfriend? Order up a doll.  Want to spend time with your dead wife? They can program a doll to be her for you.

Echo, played by Eliza Dushku, is one such doll.  The trouble is, something isn’t quite right with Echo:  she’s no longer “wiping” properly.  Memories remain – skills, glimmers – including her own true self.  And with an FBI Agent determined to find the Doll Formerly Known As Caroline, you know shit’s going to hit the fan…

And that’s just one small piece of the puzzle.

Similar in structure to X-Files and Buffy, in that there is usually a ‘story of the week’ with overarching mythology, Dollhouse will have you shaking your head, screaming, “WTF?” at the TV.  My fiance lost sleep marathoning six episodes in a row, because he HAD to know what was next.  I, too, marathoned the entire series in four days.  It’s like fandom crack.  The cast is fan-fricking-tastic – I especially love Topher, Priya/Sierra and Dr.Saunders.

Joss Whedon is indeed my master.  Now, let him be yours…

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2011 Pop Culture Challenge: Status Update

Back in November, 2010, spurred by my decision to read the most banned books in the States (as listed for Banned Books Week), I challenged myself to finally get off my lazy ass and ‘catch up’ on all of the pop culture and reading I always ‘meant to’ finish.  This is the first major status update.

So, four months into a thirteen-month series of challenges, I figured it was time to reflect on my progress, and also, on the recently enjoyed items on my lists.  For those interested in the full extent of the challenge, list items and the original posts, click the 2011 Pop Culture Challenge tab in the header.

We’ll take this by categories, for simplicity.

Literature
Progress:  2 new items crossed off on American list, 1 on Canadian

For all of the reading I’ve done as of late, I confess much of it was pleasure reading done without the list as a guide.  That said, one item I’ve crossed off both lists was really 7 books, so I deserve some credit.

I’ve polished off Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, which was not remotely a book that should be banned.  It wasn’t graphic, and it was appropriate for YA readers.  I personally found it a bit dull, truth be told, but a worthwhile read.

My other checklist completion was finally reading the Harry Potter books, and, with a few exceptions, they were really well done.  I don’t know that I would endlessly reread them or anything, but I enjoyed the journey, for the most part, and liked the end (even if it felt a little too easily achieved).  My favourite of the series was Goblet of Fire, followed closely by Chamber of Secrets.  I’m glad I got off my ass and gave them a go, and much thanks to my little brother, who never lends anyone his books… but lent me the first four.

Television
Progress:  1 new series tried; 2 caught up; others in progress

This is where I’ve made most of my headway; it’s easiest for me to find time and the attention span to watch an episode or two and then scurry off.  TV shows are also easier to find to watch than 150 movies, know what I mean?

Fiance and I finally tried out The Walking Dead and being zombie nuts, we loved it.  We knew we would, but we were so lazy about watching it.  Not having cable is a massive hindrance.  I was a little mixed about the ending of the season, but overall very satisfied and ready for the next.  This show really needs to be seen, because it is about more than zombies; it`s about humanity itself, in any crisis.  It`s what I wished 28 Days Later had been (the ending’s always irked me, because I wanted to know what happened!).

We also finally caught up on Dexter (three seasons plus!) and I have loved them, with the exception of season 3, which just pissed me off.  I think season 2 is the best overall, followed closely by 4.  I wish the Trinity Killer had been used to greater potential; I feel the reveal was way too soon, and we needed more suspense.  I loved Lithgow, though.  The Lumen story in 5 was patchy and hit or miss, but overall good.  Such a fucking good show.

I also finally watched all of South Park… This show really has aged well, far better than I even predicted.  LOVE.  It sometimes misses, but given how many episodes there are, whatever.

I’m currently in progress with Heroes (loved season 3, mixed on season 4 so far) and Robot Chicken (pure genius!).  Now that we have Netflix, this is even easier for me.  Whee!

Films
Progress:  7 new films seen

I’ve begun attacking the films list more thoroughly lately, being as it is so long and I have so many other obligations.  Part of the issue lies in tracking all of them down, of course, particularly older or more obscure films.  That aside, of the films I’ve seen, I’ve been quite happy about doing so.

The most recent one, M, is fantastic, and I never woud have even heard of this 80 or so year-old film without taking this challenge on.  It’s in German with subtitles, which I know aggravates some people, but it’s an insightful look at serial killers and how their crimes affect the public, society on the whole, and the killer himself.  Slumdog Millionaire was a long overdue viewing, as was The Wrestler; both should be seen by film afficionados.  The JJ Abrams reboot of Star Trek was pretty bad-ass, and unlike my Trekkie fiance, I rather enjoy Zachary Quinto as Spock.  Kick-Ass?  I’ve already REWATCHED that one.  The Departed?  It’s what Lock, Stock… wishes it was, even if the ending irked me.

But The Social Network is my big one, thus far, because it, by all rights, shouldn’t work on paper.  And yet, the casting, the score (fuck yeah, Trent!), the way it’s shot and paced…  I love it.  It’s truly one of the best films I’ve seen in years because, in so many ways, it’s subtle to pitch-perfection, and in your face in others.  Jesse Eisenberg’s performance makes it, and it was totally robbed for the Oscar.

I know that ahead lies a bunch of movies I have zero interest in (wtf, IMDB voters, with all the mobster and sci-fi action shit?), but for now, it’s been a blast.

See you in a few months… and hopefully, with a much more diligent progress report…

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New Year’s Resolutions

Everyone else is doing it, right?  Seriously though, without committing to things in writing, I never get them done.

1.  Get down to low weight by Halloween (don’t ask the number; it’s impolite ;)
2.  Mail out the holiday goodies I owe peeps.
3.  Meditate regularly.
4.  Go back to school!
5.  Complete the 2011 Pop Culture Challenge I designed.

Regarding that last one, I gave myself a head start at the end of 2010.  As of the start of this year, here’s my progress!

Movies seen: Blade Runner, The Social Network
TV Show Progress: Caught up on South Park; Seen all of The Walking Dead; Am now at 4X08 of Dexter (2 seasons’ gain approx).
Books: Read Books1-4 of Harry Potter series.

I’ll post updates bimonthly on my progress, just to make my sorry ass more accountable.

I Never Promised You A Rose Garden    Joanne Greenberg
Invisible Monsters    Chuck Palahniuk
The Final Warning    James Patterson
Max    James Patterson
The Last Vampire    Christopher Pike
The Immortal    Christopher Pike
Sharp Objects    Gillian Flynn
Whisper of Death    Christopher Pike
The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl    Brooke Magnanti
Thirteen Reasons Why    Jay Asher
Twisted    Laurie Halse Anderson
Weekend    Christopher Pike
LV2: Black Blood    Christopher Pike
LV3: Red Dice    Christopher Pike
LV4: Phantom    Christopher Pike
LV5: Evil Thirst    Christopher Pike
LV6: Creatures of Forever    Christopher Pike
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Goals For 2011: Television

I haven’t ever had cable since moving out on my own, meaning I easily miss TV shows and fail to follow them.  It usually takes a friend, usually my media studies degree touting buddy Suze, to get my ass motivated to check out a new series.

That said, there’s this endless list of shows in a memo in my Blackberry that I never get around to, so I’ve decided that while I’m throwing down on books and movies, I may as well throw down on TV.  Ladies and gentlemen:  a list of TV series I am determined to either catch up on or actually try out by the end of 2011!

Series To Catch Up On/Finish

Dexter Finished Season 2
CSI Mid-Season 2, Plus Misc Further Episodes
The Big Bang Theory Mid-Season 2
South Park End of Season 13
Angel Mid-Season 2
Dollhouse Early Season 1
Heroes Near End Of Season 3
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Finished Season 2
The Venture Brothers Finished Season 2
Robot Chicken Finished Season 2

Series To Watch/Try

Battlestar Galactica (I’ll try it again; I only got 45 minutes into the minseries and wanted to commit suicide of boredom, but Suze and the fiance are very mad at me for this)
House
Nurse Jackie
True Blood
Bones
Flashpoint
United States of Tara
Weeds
The Mentalist
Fringe
Supernatural
The Walking Dead
Criminal Minds

Before anyone says it:  I KNOW.  Like I said, no cable and broke to boot.  I don’t have the cash to rent/buy DVDs and I’m lazy about downloading.  AND NO SPOILERS!!!

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