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What to Watch (and Read): Summer Recommendations 2016

Another season of television has come to a close and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’m breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to new possibilities. To say that this season was trying would likely be an understatement.  While I found a few new shows to enjoy, many fell flat with me and even returning favorites tested my patience and love for them. Then of course, there was the spring doldrums, where each week seemed to bring a new show making inexplicable choices to kill (or not re-sign) vital characters who made a tremendous impact and a general state of misery that befell too many shows. Now that the season is largely behind us, it’s time to look forward and hope for a brighter season next fall.

Summers can be a great time to catch up on new shows that you missed or fell behind on or try out an older show that you hear great things about but missed on its first run. My last summer was spent largely with Grey’s Anatomy and LOST but I was also able to try out shows like You’re the Worst, which quickly became a favorite and a highlight of the fall season. This summer, I’m continuing on my multi-year journey with The X-Files, finishing up Avatar the Last Airbender, watching Freaks and Geeks for the first time, starting Happy Endings, hopefully watching Grace and Frankie, and likely becoming obsessed with Shadowhunters, though I’m sure I’ll find time to squeeze a few more things in there. In case you’re looking for some ideas for your own summer watching, I’ve listed a few shows below that I think would be a fantastic way to spend this hiatus.

Sense8 To understand this show is to understand me and that has nothing to do with these characters (who I love dearly) or the plot (which is fine) but everything to do with its central theme of connection and the beauty that results from it. My love for this show is all about the way it makes me feel. I love shows that understand the value in simple moments between two people, allowing them to share themselves with each other, and this show loves those moments. Its strongest moments are often when two sensates are doing nothing more than talking to each other and lending each other emotional support. The fun action sequences and the excellent romances make it even better but its core principles are what move me and what has made it stay with me.

The Americans This show is in its 4th season and it just keeps getting better, which most TV fans know is a truly remarkable accomplishment. Rather than being a fast-paced spy drama, this show is about a family struggling for connection and facing the consequences of their actions. That family just happens to be headed by two Russian spies. It’s a look at identity and loyalty to one’s country and family and how those things can change over time. It is incredibly well-made television that is comfortable in quiet moments and gives them the proper space to truly resonate. It can be nearly unbearably tense at times but only after it’s asked you to care about these people on an emotional level. It’s dangerous being a spy and external threats will always be a part of the show but the most compelling work is done on a smaller more personal level. The emphasis on the people behind the actions and the talent at all levels of this production make it one of the best shows on television at the moment.

Gilmore Girls With the revival nearly wrapped, what better time could there be to travel to Stars Hollow and fall in love with this special show? The lighter tone of the show is perfect for lazy summer days and the fast-paced, witty dialogue will leave you quoting the show long after it ends. No matter with Gilmore girl most resonates with you, there is inspiration to be gained and laughter and tears to be had. For all of the disagreements about boyfriends on the show, the heart of the show exists in Lorelai and Rory’s relationship with each other and it is something that should be cherished all these years later. If you’re not already a fan of this show, check it out and see what makes it special to so many.

Jane the Virgin I am continuously amazed at this show. It juggles so many different tones and stories and while it doesn’t handle them all equally well, it comes together to form an incredible whole. No matter what it is trying to do, it has three reliable strengths to fall back on. The first is Gina Rodriguez’s talent and love for this role. She puts everything she can into whatever this show throws at her and her natural warmth and light shine through it all. The second is the relationship between the Villanueva women. This will always be the best love story on the show. The dynamic between these ladies is always feels beautiful and real. This is the grounding point in the show, amidst all the telenovela styling and crime boss plots.  Finally, it’s the coherency that the Narrator brings to the show. It adds a lightness and awareness to everything the show is doing and gives it that fantastical edge that sets it apart from other shows. This is such a special show and there is truly nothing else on television like it.

Continue reading What to Watch (and Read): Summer Recommendations 2016

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Best of 2015: Shows

Happy New Year, everyone! I was enjoying a much-needed vacation and now that I am back, it’s time to talk about my favorite shows of last year. My contenders for this list turned into a monster that grew entirely out of control. There was a lot of TV made in 2015, as was been noted, and there was a lot of it that was good. I love the transition to a greater quantity of TV that will appeal to a smaller number of people. Not every show can or should be Empire but all have the ability to resonate deeply with people and that is what this list is to me. These are the 10 shows that resonated with me the most in 2015 (and another 15 honorable mentions just because I love TV and want to see it celebrated).

For even more Best of 2015 fun, check out MGCircles and Nerdy Girl Notes if you haven’t already for their takes on the best TV had to offer last year.

Parks and Recreation All anyone really wants from a final season of a show is for it to honor the investment they have put into it. That means different things to different people and looks a little different for character-based vs. mythology-based shows, but it all boils down to us wanting the things we love to end strongly, if they have to end at all. I would have happily watched another several seasons of Parks and Recreation but since that wasn’t an option, I can’t have chosen a better final season. It was everything I could have asked for as it closed this chapter of the story for these characters while allowing me to see a future in which they are all still close. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it gave me even more of Leslie Knope to be inspired by and that’s really the show in a nutshell. It was a show that made me feel good and believe that people can and want to do good for others and be rewarded for that goodness. It was a show about friendship and the joy that comes from watching your friends succeed. It was a show about believing in yourself and never giving up on your dreams. It was a special show and I’m glad it got the ending it deserved.

The Americans What a brilliantly crafted season. It was gripping and tense from start to finish all while allowing for some quiet moments of intimacy and grounding that prevented things from feeling oppressively bleak. This show isn’t a typical spy show, it’s a character study about faith and allegiances and family. This season highlighted the similarities between Paige and Elizabeth and the wholehearted way they embrace their beliefs and how those beliefs help to provide a structure to their lives. Elizabeth may not understand why Paige believes what she does but the underlying desire to be a part of something greater is the same for both of them. Philip, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same grounding faith as his wife and daughter and he was adrift for much of the season, caught between trying to be a loyal agent and the man he wants to believe himself to be. Seeing the growing divide between Philip and Elizabeth was painful to watch but Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell continue to be captivating screen partners and the work Holly Taylor and Alison Wright did as Paige and Martha was simply incredible. Taylor and Wright in particular took two characters who could have been stereotypes and far less fleshed out and made them into characters we want to root for and protect from the life the KGB thrust upon them.

Jane the Virgin This is one of the best crafted shows on the air right now. The writing is sharp, clever, and incredibly self-aware all while also being funny and emotional. The care that goes into crafting this show and balancing its numerous elements is evident in every scene and I will never think it gets enough credit for the wonderful job it is doing. It is easy for many to dismiss the quality of the show because it doesn’t doesn’t hit the various markers of “prestige TV” but those who do are doing themselves a disservice. Shows don’t have to be dark or constantly serious in order to be well-made. They can be full of warmth and love and joy and be every bit as good as anything else on the air if a person is willing to put down their preconceived notions of what the show is and instead embrace the amount of respect and love everyone associated with this show has for its telenovela roots and how they have played with its genre to create something wholly their own. I love these characters, so I’m already inclined to enjoy the show but at least once an episode, something will happen that makes me pause and marvel at how well-done the show is. Anyone who is a fan of high quality TV should check this show out and enjoy what this incredible cast and crew has to offer.

Continue reading Best of 2015: Shows

Best of 2015: Relationships

Now that I’ve shared some of my favorite individual characters of 2015, it’s time to move on to some of my favorite relationships. Some people watch TV for the plot of a show. I watch for the relationships. Whether that relationship is romantic, platonic, familial or even antagonistic, it’s these relationships that get me invested and keep me coming back for more.

Bellamy and Clarke (The 100) Over the course of two seasons, the relationship between Bellamy and Clarke has grown from enemies to co-leaders to friends. While much of their development happened prior to this year and their time on-screen together was limited, the strength of their bond shone through the distance. We saw the unshakable belief that they would save their people and that the other could do the impossible. We saw the trust they have in each other. We saw Clarke’s concern for Bellamy. We saw that Bellamy would do anything to protect Clarke. We saw them make an awful decision to save their people. We saw them say goodbye. It was basically a year of pain for these two but until the end, they had each other. It has been each of them doing what was best for their people, confident in the knowledge that the other would do the same. Their goodbye may have been sad but in it, you see exactly what these two are to each other. You see the security and the teamwork and the history and the love. That love may not be romantic yet (or ever) but that doesn’t diminish its strength. Bellamy is Clarke’s home and she is his.

Abbi and Ilana (Broad City) I can never get enough of female friendships on TV and while they may not be the most conventional of people, the love they have for each other resonates deeply with me. Thanks in part to Ilana Glazer’s and Abbi Jacobson’s off-screen friendship, the easy dynamic of their on-screen counterparts suggests a long history together. These two accept each other exactly as they are. They have clearly seen each other at their best and worst and at the end of the day, there really isn’t anyone they’d rather spend time with. Ilana is clearly the less inhibited of the two and while that could scare some people away, Abbi appreciates that about her. Sometimes you just need to call your best friend when the guy you’ve been crushing on forever wants you to peg him and sometimes the best response that friend can give is to literally dance in excitement for you. Ilana wants Abbi to experience as much of life as she possibly can and she knows Abbi wants that to but isn’t always brave enough to go for it. She pushes her just far enough outside her comfort zone to try new things all while offering someone supportive to fall back on in case it doesn’t work out. They can be crazy and ridiculous but but they love each other and support each other and that’s what lifelong friends do.

Joe and Barry (The Flash) Of the many wonderful relationships shown on the show, this one continues to be so much of its emotional core. While they aren’t biologically related to each other, these two are father and son. Joe has never tried to diminish Barry’s relationship with his biological father but it’s been clear since episode one that they consider each other family. As his adoptive father, Joe wants what is best for Barry. This was never more clear than their discussion in the season one finale “Fast Enough”. Joe loved Barry enough to give him a chance to grow up with his biological parents, even if it meant losing all the memories and love these two had built. Barry may have missed his parents growing up but all it took was the torn expression on his face to make it clear that this wasn’t an easy decision. It was Joe who got through to Barry as a child to tell him it was OK to grieve and it’s been Joe supporting and loving Barry through his experiences as a superhero. Joe now knows that he does have a biological son but the watch he gave Barry is a reminder that he’s also his son, even if it’s not by blood.

Will and Hannibal (Hannibal) I want to send all of the awards to Bryan Fuller, Mads Mikkelsen, and Hugh Dancy for bringing this beautiful, destructive, and deeply intimate relationship to life. This friendship gave both Hannibal and Will something they had longed for – recognition of who they were. They saw everything about each other and accepted it all. None of the harm they did to each other ultimately mattered because their intersection forever altered their lives. Since their introduction, their worlds have slowly merged as they’ve rotated around each other until there was little space left between them. Where one is, the other is as well. Drawn together by an inescapable force, these two will never be free of the other. They understand each other in a way that no one else in their lives is capable of and while it was not what you would call a healthy relationship, the power they held over each other was strong. It was strong enough for Will to admit that even after everything Hannibal did to him in season two, he would have run off with him. It was strong enough that even after Will betrayed him (in Hannibal’s mind at least) he made it so that Will would come find him. Hannibal was smart enough to live the rest of his life without being caught but then he would have been without Will and he wasn’t able to live with that. Their relationship is intoxicating to them both and absolutely compelling for the viewers.

Continue reading Best of 2015: Relationships

Fall TV, We Need to Talk

At the beginning of every September, I get very excited about the upcoming television season. I want to try out new shows and welcome back old favorites. This year, however, while the excitement was there, the payoff has been lacking. While there are some new shows that I enjoy, I’ve failed to find one that I really love. And though many of my shows are having phenomenal second seasons, many that are older have fallen flat.

With many of my favorite cable shows airing in the spring, my falls are primarily driven by broadcast networks. While often derided in favor of their more niche cable counterparts, I tend to genuinely enjoy many of the shows they have to offer. Until this year. Whether it is an inexplicable writing choice in the hands of new showrunners, a lack of momentum and cohesion, or the choice to make every single character on your show miserable, several of my network shows have lost the things that made me love them.

Even though I have many options when it comes to things to watch, it makes me sad to drop a show I used to love. In some of these cases, I would have counted them among my favorite things to watch. It’s been wearing on me a little as the season has progressed, even if I’m not watching them. I know the medium and these shows are capable of great things. I’ve seen some really good work on all of them. And actually good work, not good for a network show or good for a procedural or whatever other qualification others may want to add. I know they can do more and all I ask is that they remember and believe that too.

So, since I’ve been disappointed in many shows this season and I know I’m not alone in that, I’d like to provide some alternative shows that I am very happy with in case you need to fill a recently developed hole in your viewing schedule.

Sundays

Once Upon A Time I love what the Dark Swan arc is bringing out in this core cast. Jennifer Morrison in particular has been absolutely fantastic bringing out all sides of her descent into ultimate darkness. While this season has been heavy on Emma and Hook’s connection, if you’re not interested in that, there is still plenty more to love with the best versions of Snow and Charming (individually and together) that we’ve seen in quite some time and some wonderful moments for Regina.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine I will love Mike Schur and the things he creates until the end of time. He writes such wonderful characters and ensembles and never fails to make me smile. This season has gotten off to a great start with Jake and Amy entering into a solid relationship that remains one aspect of their characters, rather than the entire focus. With Holt and Gina back at the precinct, I have no doubt this show will continue to do even more and be one of the bright spots in my week.

Continue reading Fall TV, We Need to Talk

How The CW Found Its Groove

Since its creation in 2006 (and before as The WB and UPN), The CW has been in a league apart from the “Big 4” networks. It has struggled to get ratings that would be considered terrible on any other broadcast network and for many years has been dismissed as a network for teen girls. It’s the network that aired my two least favorite seasons of the Gilmore Girls and while I’ve enjoyed many of it’s (mostly failed) shows in the past, they’ve been firmly in the “guilty pleasure” box of television.

When The Carrie Diaries ended last year, I thought my viewing relationship with The CW ended with it and honestly, I was a little relieved. I often got sucked in by their new shows only to have them fall just short of what I wanted them to be and I thought it would free up more time to watch “better” shows (more on that in a coming post). I had seen and loved the trailer for The Flash but my original intention was to watch Arrow at some point before starting its spin-off.

Then fall of 2014 came around and absolutely none of my plans involving The CW happened as anticipated. I couldn’t resist the buzz surrounding The Flash and not only fell in love with that show but started s1 of Arrow as well. I checked out Jane the Virgin after some enthusiastic recommendations and once again, fell in love with it. In the beginning of March, I started The 100 after I could no longer resist the allure of any show described as “Battlestar Galactica, Jr.” and not only has it become my latest tv obsession, I got my boyfriend hooked as well. I haven’t had time to start iZombie yet but it’s on my list for the summer after more enthusiastic recommendations and a cast I already love.

In just one season, I went from having nothing to watch on The CW to it potentially becoming my most watched network on all of television (depending on FOX’s cancellations in a couple weeks). That same year brought the network its first Golden Globe and Peabody Award win thanks to the charms of Jane the Virgin and its star Gina Rodriguez. So what happened? What took this network from the land of teen drama to an award contender with a broadening demographic?

Personally, I think their biggest strength in the past couple year has been their willingness to take risks. In many cases, their small size works in their favor. They take chances because they can afford to. In order to make a splash at CBS or even NBC, you can’t afford to create shows that are only watched by slightly over a million people and only crack a 1.0 18-49 ratings share on the best days. This lets them try shows that would never have a chance at another broadcast network because there is a very real chance that they couldn’t deliver the quantity of audience required to survive.

Continue reading How The CW Found Its Groove

TV Thoughts: 2/8-2/14

What a week of TV! This is the kind of week that is so incredibly satisfying as a fan of good TV. There were so many great episodes this week and so many tiny character moments that filled me with pure joy (and sometimes the best kind of heartbreak). What did you love about the past week in television?

Sunday

  • Looking: I can’t say that I’m disappointed to see Kevin go. Seeing Richie and Patrick talking and hanging out again reminded me that I like them together so much better, even if it’s just as friends. Patrick needs someone to call him out when he’s being an idiot, like when he’s having an affair with his already-taken boss and getting too emotionally invested in a future that wasn’t going to happen with Kevin. I’m glad it made him realize that he needed to stand up for himself and ask for what he needed out of the relationship, then leave when Kevin wasn’t capable of giving it to him. In other breakup news, I’m also proud of Dom for leaving Lynn. I liked Lynn a lot last season but he’s an awful boyfriend. Like Kevin, he wasn’t capable of giving Dom what he needed because he is still emotionally in a relationship with Brian. It’s understandable but unfair and Dom deserves better. I’m so happy that he has Doris who is so supportive and has his back 100% of the time. We all need a friend who will look into ways to Kickstarter our restaurant and help us make our dreams come true for no other reason than it is important to us. Finally, to round out the group, I cannot tell you how happy I am with the changes and growth in Augustin between s1 and s2. Eddie has been such a good influence on him and I am excited to see how he adapts to working at the shelter.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: This wasn’t a brilliant or groundbreaking episode of this show by any means, but it was so much fun to watch. I loved the more action-oriented scenes as the team took over the training and took down all the other agents. It’s easy to forget that this is a show about cops and this was a nice way to bring their jobs into focus a little more while retaining all of the great character moments I love about the show. Amy’s failure to start the Nine-Nine chant (and her subsequent excitement when it worked) was adorable and so Amy. Terry’s description of the team as “boss ass penguins” may be my favorite Terry line in a while, and Rosa opening up and explaining why she needed Saturday off was perfect. Back at the precinct, I loved Captain Holt’s apology most of all. While I’m not sure that I necessarily agree that they should have ended up with the same personality classification, it’s nice when a leader can recognize that part of leading is encouraging and accepting the strengths of those who work for you. It takes a lot to admit your failings to an employee and it made me respect Captain Holt as a character even more.

Monday

  • Jane the Virgin: I fall a little more in love with this show every week. I am all-in on Jane and Rafael’s relationship (even though he is acting awfully shady at the moment) and thought their mutual concern for the health of their unborn child was so well done. I’m glad that Rafael went with his gut and planned the graduation celebration for Jane even if it was cheesy because it led to the best moment of the episode. It’s just become a fact of this show that any scene featuring the three generations of Villanueva women will be outstanding. Xo’s speech to Jane was beautiful all on it’s own but the shot of the three women sitting on Jane’s bed as she asks for the secret to being a good mother is one that will happily stay with me. No matter what is happening with Jane and the men in her life (Rogelio included), her relationship with her mother and grandmother is always stable and always a source of comfort, love, and acceptance.
  • Castle: Oh how I love the 3XK arc. It never fails to be wonderfully chilling and it brings out such good things in Nathan Fillion’s performance. Both Castle and Ryan carry so much guilt over Jerry Tyson and the murders he committed that both feel responsibility for and you could feel that guilt this week. When they found Tyson, I was not alone in thinking that maybe there was a chance they found someone who really had surgically altered their face to look like a serial killer and I loved that doubt. It wasn’t until that brilliant final interrogation scene that I felt sure they had caught Tyson only to have things go so terribly wrong when the precinct realized it was all a part of Tyson and Nieman’s plan to kidnap Beckett. That interrogation is some of the best work Nathan Fillion has done on this show. He found the story and my jaw dropped when he pulled out the pictures of Tyson’s mom and compared them to the recent victims. I have been anxiously awaiting part two of the episode and I’m so glad that tomorrow is Monday.
  • The Fosters: So many things happened in this episode, it’s almost overwhelming. The most-talked about this week was the Jude and Connor scene at the movies. However this unfolds, I am in no way prepared. I feel so incredibly protective of Jude and his happiness and I just want everything to work out for him. Regardless of what direction his relationship with Connor goes from here, it’s obvious that these two deeply care about each other. They are young and figuring out who they are and unfortunately, only one of them has the space to do so. If Connor decides he might like to move forward with a future relationship with Jude, his dad isn’t going to be supportive and it’ll just make this time that much more confusing for him. I trust this show to handle it all well but I guarantee it will make my emotions a mess. Just the small scene of them touching (and eventually hooking) pinkies tells me that there are so many good and heartbreaking things to come for them. It was full of innocence and excitement and uncertainty and everything that a first crush should be.
  • In other brief thoughts of the week, I love most of what they are doing with Mariana’s character. I love that she is enjoying STEM Club as well as her dance team. She’s one of the more unapologetically feminine characters on the show and it’s nice to see her continue to maintain that identity while excelling at a traditionally male-dominated field. I’m less excited about her wanting to go on tour with the band and would rather see her work through some of her abandonment issues, but I sometimes forget that she’s still a teenager and sometimes they don’t make the best choices. Along similar lines, Jesus could also stand to work through his own issues regarding his mother and how that’s affected him and I will look forward to seeing that happen so he will stop making such stupid decisions. Finally, Robert and Callie. I want these two to have an actual relationship that doesn’t just have Callie calling him when he’s in trouble. I think they have a lot they could offer each other and I want to see that develop. In order for that to happen though, Robert needs to realize that he can be Callie’s dad without being her guardian. As a parent, you have to think of what’s best for your child and I just don’t see how taking Callie away from the family she’s chosen for herself and her brother is going to help her, especially not at 16 when she may not have that many years left at home.

Continue reading TV Thoughts: 2/8-2/14

Galentine’s Day 2015

Happy Galentine’s Day everyone! It’s time to celebrate all of the amazing women in our lives and that includes the fictional ladies of TV. I had so much fun writing my Galentine’s Day post a couple years ago that I couldn’t resist bringing it back this year. This list is made up of just a few of the incredible female characters currently on the air right now and I know you all have plenty more that also deserve some love. So head over to the comments and lets talk about our favorite women!

Jane/Xo/Alba Villanueva (Jane the Virgin) This whole show is one that celebrates women. The showrunner is a woman, as are many of the directors and writers. If today is all about celebrating women and what they can do for each other, the cast and crew of Jane the Virgin deserve a shoutout. These three women, on their own or in any combination, are among my favorite on TV right now. I can admire Jane’s optimism and desire to work hard, Xo’s persistence in following her dreams and selflessness when it comes to Jane, and Alba’s unwavering dedication and support of her family. Jane may be the character I relate to the most, but she wouldn’t be who she is without the influence of her mom and abuela. These women support each other, no matter what, and it’s been beautiful to watch.

Bow Johnson (Black-ish) It’s never easy to be the fictional character in a relationship with another character who has a big personality. If not played or written right, this sort of character could easily fade into the background but I’m so glad that Bow hasn’t. Yes, she may end up reacting a lot to something Dre is doing (though that can often work to the show’s advantage, like her attempted prank on Dre with the kids) but occasionally she’ll get her own rant that will just crack me up and remind me of how much I adore her. She’s talented in her own right and is proud of her successes as a doctor. She’s not afraid to say, that yes, she is in fact pretty great if no one else is going to step up and recognize her and that’s a trait I really admire.

Amy Santiago/Rosa Diaz/Gina Linetti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) I’ve spent the past few days trying to choose just one of these wonderful ladies for this list but I haven’t succeeded so I’m picking them all. Each has found their place in the world and they are very comfortable in it. Amy has found security in rules and organization. They help her make sense of things and she’s very relatable to me in that aspect. Rosa finds security in her tough exterior. It’s partly emotional protection for her and partly her innate tendency to tell it like it is and she can have trouble when others don’t do the same. Like so many of the other women who present a prickly exterior to the world, she does care and she’ll always have your back. She’s not going to pretend she likes you when she doesn’t but if she likes you, she’ll be a loyal friend for life. Gina just exists on her own plane of existence. Like Rosa, she’ll tell you exactly what she’s thinking (which is something about herself more often than not). She’s self-absorbed and a bit intense for a lot of people, but there is something so amazing about the fact that she’s as likeable as she is. What makes these three women great is that they exist simultaneously on the same show. It’s not a show with a token woman with the same basic strengths and weaknesses as the characters on other shows. All are different and all are celebrated for who they are. They are never pitted against each other and are allowed to simply be.

Linda Belcher (Bob’s Burgers) I know that Tina and Louise are internet favorites but Linda has always been my favorite of the Belcher women. She may get stuck on crazy ideas and take them too far (like every other member of the family) but when it comes down to it, she’s an enthusiastic and passionate woman who loves her husband and children. She’ll fight for them and be their champion when others doubt them because she accepts them just as they are.

Continue reading Galentine’s Day 2015

TV Thoughts: 2/1-2/7

It must be sweeps because so many of my shows had big episodes this week. We learned the identity of Sin Rostro, Katrina took her first steps toward being evil, Mindy found out that she is pregnant, Donna got married, Fresh Off the Boat premiered and Nashville returned just as crazy as the last 10 minutes of the midseason finale suggested it would. I really enjoyed many of the episodes this week and I hope you all did too.

Monday

  • Jane the Virgin: This week was great for me and Jane the Virgin for two reasons. First, how great was that episode? I love the Sin Rostro reveal and once again, the post-production work on this show has been stellar with the drop of blood falling out of Sin Rostro’s name in the narration. It also featured Jaime Camil’s best work of the season. That death scene was perfect and it led to Jane calling him “Dad” for the first time, which completely warmed my heart. These two have come so incredibly far in a short amount of time and I have really enjoyed watching their relationship grow and continue to deepen. Finally, this episode also was the perfect example of why Jane means so much to me. Her conversation with Rafael about choosing to see the best in people was everything I want more of in television. I want more genuinely good people who want to see the good in others. I want to see people believe in others and support them even if others think they are foolish. I want more people who will sit down and listen to a woman who has caused nothing but problems for them and offer support. I am so grateful that that is the philosophy this show chooses to promote.
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  • This show also meant a lot to be this week because I was able to visit the set of the show, thanks to a very generous friend. We got a tour of the various sets, meet a few of the cast members, and watch a scene film from an upcoming episode. My lips are sealed about future occurrences on the show but what I do want to say about this incredible experience is that the people involved with this show on every level are so kind and enthusiastic about what this show sets out to do. They genuinely love it and the people they work with. It was an honor to meet the cast, who is in fact as lovely as they appear to be, and a true pleasure to have this opportunity. If you like watching good things happen to good characters on TV, then please tune in and support this show. Not only is it a great show on it’s own merits but I want these incredible people to get to work on this show for a long time to come.
  • Sleepy Hollow: I am all for an evil Katrina. It adds something to her character that has been lacking and even if it’s a disaster, at least it’s something for her to do. It’s also a way to reintroduce Henry to the group as a whole as an antagonist. Henry’s clearly there but Team Witness is crippled so long as Katrina continues to fight for him. Now if she’s fighting with him, not only would it make that mother-son relationship more interesting but it will also provide the catalyst needed for Katina and Ichabod to officially realize that their marriage isn’t going to work in the modern world. No matter what they were like it in the past, they haven’t been on the same page since they brought Katrina from Purgatory and they need to recognize that and put them and the audience out of their misery.
  • The Fosters: Now that Parenthood has ended, I appreciate The Fosters even more. I need my weekly dose of family drama full of characters I love. It’s the little moments with this family that make episodes worth it to me. It’s scenes like Stef enthusiastically embracing twerking once Lena demonstrated what it was. It’s scenes like the ending and everyone having fun as a family together in the lake. The plots of the episode are not the interesting parts to me (though I’m not sorry to see Haylee go), it’s these characters and the love they have for each other.

Continue reading TV Thoughts: 2/1-2/7

TV Thoughts: 1/25-1/31

This week saw the ending of one show and the return of many more. The craziness that comes with spring TV watching has officially begun and I am already behind on things. As we head in a month that historically brings with it lots of good television (thank you, sweeps), here are my thoughts on the TV that I did manage to watch this week.

Sunday

  • Galavant: What a fun and enjoyable month this was with Galavant. I loved the songs, I loved the characters, and I just had a blast watching it each week. I am a bit disappointed that it ended on a cliffhanger since I’m not hugely hopeful for a season 2 and now I’ll be disappointed to not get one and miss out on Galavant and King Richard adventures. Also, if we do get a season two, I need more flashbacks to Galavant’s dad for no other reason than my desire to listen to Anthony Head sing all the time.

Monday

  • Jane the Virgin: I like how willing Jane is to stand up for what she wants from her romantic life. Even if other people don’t understand it, Rafael is the person she has chosen to be with and she’s made it very clear that everyone is going to have to respect that. I understand Xo’s concerns and of course you can’t completely ignore the opinions of those around you, but Jane is the only one who can truly answer what is right for her at this time in her life and it was a nice change from the love triangle that could have happened.
  • Sleepy Hollow: I’m still not really sure how this show managed to so completely lose what I loved about it, but this episode gave me a little bit of hope that things may be back on the right track, or at least an adjacent track. I’m disappointed that the show wants to decrease the serialization but if the writers can’t handle that well, then I’m ok with stand-alone episodes. What I do care most about is losing the characters and dynamics I grew to love in season one. I want more Abbie and Jenny and unstoppable partners Abbie and Ichabod. I would even take Abbie and Katrina teaming up and working together instead of them ending up seemingly on opposing teams because Ichabod doesn’t know how to deal with them together. Hopefully the conversation about Abbie and Ichabod in this week’s episode leads to the return of their teamwork and the dynamic we all fell in love with. I will however remain sceptical until I see it, it’s not the first time this conversation has happened this season only for Abbie to be sidelined again.

Continue reading TV Thoughts: 1/25-1/31

TV Thoughts: 1/18-1/24

I apologize for the delay on this post and the general shortness of my thoughts this week. It’s been extremely busy at work, which makes me more unproductive on weekends unfortunately. Fortunately, it was a shorter and less critical week of TV as shows take a hiatus or air slightly less pivotal episodes in preparation for sweeps.

Monday

  • Jane the Virgin: The episode itself had a lot packed into it. As a result, it wasn’t the best episode this show has produced but it had an important message imbedded into it. Earlier this season, we found out that Alba was undocumented. When she was hurt in the midseason finale, I was immediately concerned for her physical fate, not considering what her status would do to her treatment options. It didn’t occur to me until I was trying to fall asleep Sunday night that Alba had concerns beyond her physical health and it made me sit up and gasp in shock and dismay. I live in the southwest, approximately 1 hour from the Mexican border. Conversations about legal status and what services are provided to whom are not uncommon in our local politics yet it’s still very depersonalized. It’s easier to have these conversations when there isn’t a face attached to the issues and if it’s easy here, I can only imagine it’s easy elsewhere in the country where it is less of a concern. I applaud Jane the Virgin for calling attention to the concept of medical repatriation (which I had never heard of) and for taking a stand on immigration reform. This show knows it has a platform and it’s willing to use it and that’s admirable.

Tuesday

  • Parks and Recreation: I’m so glad we had two episodes of this show to watch last week. “William Henry Harrison” was a decent episode with some moments that made me laugh and any time Andy is a great husband (which is often) it’s a good episode. But it pales in comparison to “Leslie and Ron” which was the real star of the week. Whenever Parks and Recreation intensely focuses on the relationship between Leslie and one other person in her life, the episode is an outstanding success. This show is all about these characters and their relationships and they know how to make them shine. Leslie and Ron have always been very different people who feel equally strongly about their opposing beliefs so their feud seemed inevitable. It was easy to think it was about a difference in politics or misunderstanding as a result of their beliefs but what we got was a far deeper examination of friendship and what happens when the circumstances that brought two people together as friends changes. It was a beautiful tribute to these two characters and their love for each other. Both Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler were outstanding, especially in the scene where Ron confesses that he was planning to ask Leslie for a job, and I know they very likely won’t win awards for it because award shows are terrible and blind, but they really should.

Thursday

  • Parenthood: This was Lauren Graham’s episode to shine. She got to shine as a daughter who is faced with losing her father and as a mother who is watching her daughter give birth to a child of her own. This is the episode I have been wanting to see for Sarah since the show started. Her relationship with Hank played a role as they decided on a wedding location and date, but it was primarily about her relationship with her family. I would have loved to see so much more build-up throughout previous seasons for that scene with her dad, but even without it, it was one of the most powerful moments of the episode. I also loved the ending, with Zeke and Camille meeting their great-grandson. I don’t care if it was expected or not, it seems so beautifully fitting that Amber would name her son after her grandpa. Their relationship has been one of the best of the series and as the family prepares to say goodbye to Zeke Sr., it’s only right that they have a new Zeke to love in a different but equally strong way.