Category Archives: T.V. Junkie

orphan-black-feature

What We’re Watching: ORPHAN BLACK

Spoiler Free! I promise!

orphan-black-feature

We don’t watch a lot of TV lately. I watch So You Think You Can Dance but I watch it the next day and I fast-forward through everything but the dancing. That bring a 2-hour show down to about under an hour. I watch Franklin and Bash because it’s light-hearted and funny. That’s my basic weekly TV schedule lately. Less than two hours a week. That’s unheard of for me.

I do like to have shows on OnDemand or Netflix or something that I can turn to when I want to watch something. Right now it’s Merlin. I’m irritated the show got cancelled so I’m trying not to get too into it. So, it’s mainly just a show the kids and I curl up in bed and watch periodically.

Basically…right now…there’s only one show I’m really into. And that’s Orphan Black. It popped up on my radar a few times recently on list of “Shows You Should Be Watching”. We decided to start watching it this weekend after seeing several people online outraged that the lead – Tatiana Maslany – didn’t get nominated for an Emmy. That’s a good compliment to a show right there. And – of course – we love BBC American, so why now?

We’re four episodes in now and we are hooked. First of all – we both like it which is nice. Donnie usually likes all of the grown-up shows everyone else likes (Walking Dead, Game of Thrones…) and I don’t like those shows. Orphan Black is a good middle ground. I don’t feel like it overdoes the sex and violence (I’m a prude!) and he doesn’t feel like he’s watching The CW.

But that girl – Tatiana Maslany – is amazing. She’s basically playing four+ different characters and I’m constantly forgetting it’s the same actress. Not only that, but sometimes she’s playing one character who is playing another character and she pulls it off. For example: The main character is Sarah, but in one episode Allison had to pretend to be Sarah. Well, Maslany managed to play Allison-being-Sarah instead of just being Sarah and DUDE. It was AMAZING. How does she do that? She gives each of these characters enough of their own individuality that she can even play them being each other and make you forget it’s the same actress.

Plus…the story is super-fascinating. Clones finding each other? And then finding out they’re being hunted? There’s some great secondary character not played by that actress too – including Sarah’s sassy brother Felix who I want to come live with me forever. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.

Anyway…we’re still only four episodes in, but if you’re looking for something gripping to watch at your leisure? I think the first season just came out on DVD. We’re watching it free on Xfinity.

Unless you’re already watching it…and if you are…can you reassure me the whole season stays awesome? LURVE THIS SHOW.

Alphas - Season 2

Putting Way Too Much Thought Into My Entertainment Choices

Alphas - Season 2
It’s no secret that I love television, but I have mixed feelings about getting hooked on the type of shows everyone gets hooked on. In actuality? I get very angry at 99% of television. I hate it when I am hooked on a show that then lets me down after giving it several years of my life. (I’m looking at you Downton Abbey). Or even worse, if I dedicate a lot of my interest and love and enthusiasm and then a third party takes it away from me. (I’m looking at you SyFy for taking away Alphas). I want a show that stays relatively constant in my affection (I allow bad seasons, look at my dedication to Glee.) but gives me a nice, solid ending to walk away from.

But do you know how often that happens? HARDLY EVER.

I started watching Merlin this summer, but after being burned by Alphas, I decided to check to see if it was still on. Turns out? It got canceled after the last (fifth) season and evidently ended pissing off a lot of fans because it opened the door to so many future storylines. So you know what? Now I don’t even want to watch it anymore. DAMMIT.

But here’s the thing – even if a TV show stays consistent and gives me a clean ending? That only works for PAST shows. It doesn’t work for present shows so I’m stuck taking a gamble on them and hoping they won’t turn crappy or won’t get unexpectedly cancelled.

And you know what? This is the same thing I hate about series books. Either I dedicate all this time to them waiting for each book in the series only to be let down when it ends crappily (Hunger Games) or I invest time and then give up because it starts to piss me off and I don’t want to waste any more time with it (City of Bone). I honestly try to avoid all series books for this reason until the series is over and someone (several someones ideally) can guarantee me it was good.

But sometimes I give in, like with Shadow and Bone because I was told the first book had a decent ending that didn’t leave you hanging too much. And they were right! But now it’s been a year and the second book came out and I started reading it and realized I didn’t remember much of the first one. So – now I have another reason to avoid serial books. Even if they’re good and don’t let me down and wrap up excellently, I still have to wait between each one, forgetting everything in the previous book.

So…basically? I’m going to just give up staying up-to-date in pop culture. I’m going to read and watch serial things only when they’re over and trustworthy people assure me they’re worth the investment of time. Everything I watch or read as a current release has to be a stand alone book or show.

Because – this is what it boils down to. Time is precious to me. I don’t want to waste time on TV or Books that I end up regretting. I keep trying, hoping for a Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV show or a Harry Potter book series. But the truth is? I’ve been suffering through too many failures looking for that level of enjoyment and I AIN’T GOT TIME FOR THAT.

So. Is there a TV series you loved that you watched and it ended well? Can I get it on Netflix? What about books series that are over that you think are/were worth the time? Or even better – what about shows that may not have had a nice clean ending, but didn’t really need one as each episode was satisfactory on it’s own? Or books that are stand alone? I’m just sick of investing time and energy and really enjoying things that turn sucky or that end without an ending.

Castle3

“Grown-Up” TV That I Actually Enjoy

I do not watch what I call “Grown-Up” TV. Shows like Game of Thrones or Walking Dead. Shows that no one who’s not at least high school aged would be allowed to watch. But I do watch Dramas! Just shows that wouldn’t require an R-rating.

But it’s not about the explicit material, although I don’t like that stuff. It’s about a note of light-heartedness. I need to have something to counterbalance the seriousness. Some levity to negate the crime.

Which is why Castle is one of my favorite television shows. Every episode is about a murder, but they never try to convince the viewer that it’s a real crime drama. It pokes fun at itself and keeps things light, even when dead bodies are involved. It’s the only drama that also makes me smile.

I gave up on the C.S.I.s and the Law and Orders a long time ago. Not only were they picking more and more disturbing cases involving sex and kids, but they were trying to convince the audience that they represented real crime-solving teams. And…COME ON. Seriously?

Bones would be a good candidate too except that it’s just so DAMN GORY. Why? WHY? Do they make it so gross? The rest of the show has plenty of silly to go with the serious, but the GRODY factor almost cancels it all out. I actually fast-forward through EVERY scene that involves a body. Sometimes this confuses me a bit in the plot-line, but never enough to actually watch the scenes. Last week? Grody gooey skeleton hanging from the dumpster? With bits falling from above? REALLY?

Here’s the thing…is there anyone that says, “I’d watch that show Bones if they just had more gore.” NO! They have to know that people will still watch it even if there’s just a mild amount of gore. But no…they go overboard. If I couldn’t fast-forward through that stuff? I wouldn’t watch the show. BLECH.

But the rest of it? Silly! Even if the Bones/Booth chemistry is kinda lame.

NCIS: L.A. is the other show that I like most of the time. It’s much more light-hearted than the original NCIS, even though that show is kinda silly at times. I still record both of the them, but I watch the L.A. version more regularly than the original. I love Deeks the best, he is rarely EVER serious about ANYTHING so that even when G and Sam are all up in the drama, Deeks comes along and totally lightens things up. GUARANTEED.

So you all can keep your zombies and murderous kings and I’ll keep my buddy-cops.

What about you? Can you handle the hard-core Grown-Up TV or do you need a little silly to balance out your serious?

picture2

Darren Criss Makes ‘Teenage Dream’ Break Your Heart

My love for Darren Criss is well-documented as I discovered him when he hit YouTube as Harry Potter in “A Very Potter Musical.” He then – of course – gained more fame by being cast as the love-interest of my favorite Glee member. Blaine and Kurt are – without a doubt – my favorite couple on TV and the one thing that helps me overlook the nineteen million other things that Glee does wrong every week.

Darren Criss is a musician and has performed many places since he wowed Glee fans singing Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” and – as a very talented musician – his Go To has been to sing that song acoustically. I think the first time I heard it was when he played it at a Trevor event (another reason I love Criss, he does a lot of work for charities close to my heart) and it BLEW MY MIND. I’ve heard him revisit the gem in different arrangements several times in the last few years and they always blow my mind.

Well…this week’s Glee is called “The Breakup” and it looks like Darren Criss is making an appearance with his Go To in the episode, if this “Sneak Peak” is any indication. (Stick with it to the last few seconds when you get a glimpse of Criss’s acoustic “Teenage Dream”.)

So…OF COURSE…the second it was available for download yesterday? I bought it. And it breaks my heart every time. I don’t know what it is about that song, but when you slow it down and put it JUST to piano? It becomes the most heart-wrenching love song I’ve ever heard in my entire life.

I’m not telling you to watch Glee, if nothing holds you to that show then it must seem ridiculous on many levels. I’m just asking you to listen to this song and be AMAZED about how a Pop Song can be slowed down, arranged beautifully, and turned into something simply moving.

bones

Sometimes I Watch Crappy Shows Because I’m Attached To The Characters

I hope you all saw that I updated yesterday…but if you didn’t? EVERYTHING IS OKAY. Well, the baby is still wiggling and his heart is still beating (I say “he” because I prefer it over “it”), but the hematoma is a tad bit bigger which means it’s not cooperating like we had hoped. Evidently this just happens sometimes. They don’t all just slowly absorb into the lining like it did with Nikki, sometimes they become giant assholes and pester you the entire pregnancy. Which WILL make me insane, in case you’re wondering.

So…YAY for baby heartbeats and potential insanity!

I watched the Bones premier last night (No spoilers! I promise!) and I wonder – why do I stick with some shows WAY longer than I actually care about them? I lost interest with Bones when she and Booth ended up together. Something about them being together ruined the chemistry between them for me. (Which is – of course – what writers are always worried about when they put a Will They/Won’t They couple together.) I think I stuck with it periodically because I still adore the ensemble cast. I watched last night’s episode and thought, I love the ensemble but this story line is stupid as hell.

I think that there are times I stick with shows because I become friends with some of the characters and honestly want to see where their lives lead them. I did that with C.S.I. about three years after I honestly stopped caring about the show itself. I just stuck with it for Liam the Lab Tech (Do you know that reference?) and Warwick. I finally gave when my distaste for the show overpowered my interest in the characters.

I’m guilty of that with Glee too. Granted, the performances pull me in too, but in reality it’s mainly just a few of the characters that I tune in for each week. I just want to see what happens to Kurt and Blaine. And maybe I’m a little bit invested in Tina Chang. Not sure yet. Either way – I stick with the show because I’m attached to a few of the characters…NOT the show itself. A part of me completely understands why people hate Glee, because I would too if I hadn’t become attached to a few of the characters. But I have, so I tune in every week to see how their lives are going. And to (hopefully) see some fun song/dance numbers.

More shows I do this with – watch for the characters and not the show itself – are bot NCIS shows. And as of last year, I think I’m more attached to the characters on NCIS:LA than on the original version. The individual episodes are SO RIDICULOUS. Especially with the LA version because I don’t even believe an agency like that is at all pertinent. A specific undercover NCIS unit that operates only in LA? WHAT IN THE HELL? But I love the four leads – especially LL Cool J. The individual episodes themselves, if I think about them too much, are just stupid as hell. But I ADORE watching the characters interact and the chemistry between them all is great. BUT THE SHOW IS STUPID.

Do you do this? Do you watch shows because you like the characters but now the show itself? Do you think this is the writing of good characters or are the actors great at making stupid characters interesting? That’s the question I can’t answer.