Call It A Comeback: Three Shows I Hope Cash In On The Revival Trend

Last PSA, I explored the ongoing trend of TV show reboots. I talked about Girl Meets World, Fuller House, and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. (I also recently started binge-watching Prison Break for the first time, which will be returning next spring with a short sequel season. As addicted as I am to Michael Scofield’s pretty face these days, I’ll likely be tackling that topic soon too.) Anyway, I’m concluding this theme with three shows that I would love to see come back somehow.

Buffy

Buffy is my second favorite TV show of all time. It somehow managed to straddle the line between drama and comedy, action and romance, sci-fi and reality. Buffy Summers had a fictional calling, but she made it feel so very real. You wouldn’t think a show about werewolves, witches, demons, and “the forces of darkness” could make you laugh so hard your sides hurt or bring tears to your eyes, but Buffy managed to do both. Even though Buff was no longer the chosen one nor was she living on a Hellmouth by the series end, the potential is still there for some sort of whopping evil showdown that would force the Scoobies back together for a reunion special. My fingers (and toes) are crossed for the possibility. Continue reading

When Good Shows Don’t Quit (And Why They Shouldn’t Have To)

tvGood TV never dies. Its characters lie etched in our hearts after years and years of witnessing their trials and triumphs. When you spend countless nights with the same people, they start to feel all too real. How many of us still remember how it felt when Mr. Feeny said his final goodbye, when Heisenberg fell, when McDreamy took his last breath, when Buffy kicked evil’s butt in a showdown for the ages?

My generation loves nostalgia. Kids of the ‘90s were raised on VHS tapes and playing outside until the sun went down, but we were thrust into the technological age at a dizzying pace. Now everything is digital and 3-D or 4-D and watching something isn’t enough—now it becomes a “two screen experience” or a “conversation” held entirely behind a keyboard. So it’s natural for us to yearn for the days when our most technologically advanced possession was a Game Boy or a Tamagotchi.

Television is capitalizing on that soft spot and taking viewers on a stroll down Memory Lane. I’m not complaining; I get to relive my childhood through the reimagining of some of my favorite shows. It’s a recipe for cheese galore, but if you know me, you know I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like.

“Revival.” “Reboot.” Critics toss these around like dirty words, but why the hate? It can’t be that uncommon for audiences to wish they could spend just a little more time with their favorite TV families, to wonder what ever happened after the screen faded to black. Whether it means finding new life on streaming services, movies becoming shows, shows becoming movies, or just a brief glimpse back into their small screen worlds, revivals are all the rage. And I am here for it.

This PSA, I break down three of my favorite nostalgia-driven reboots—why they work, why they don’t, why I love them—and in a future PSA, three other shows that I hope to see return someday. Continue reading

Tempting Television: Two New Hard-To-Resist Shows

spoilerAlert

FOR THE FOLLOWING SHOWS

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They had me at Tom Hiddleston. When I first started seeing previews for this show during Walking Dead viewings, I knew I’d have to give it a shot. Hiddles has been one of my biggest celebrity crushes ever since my MARVEL crash course (“The Avengers”) when Loki became one of the best villains I’ve ever seen grace the silver screen. He’s incredibly charming, charismatic, and cuuuute.

More and more movie stars are recognizing television’s slow evolution as a great opportunity to dive more in-depth into a story and a character, giving themselves over the nuance and intricacy that a long-term commitment allows. Tom disappeared completely into his role of Jonathan Pine (who, in turn, disappeared completely into his role of Andrew Birch). Would I have enjoyed the show as much had a different actor played the part? Probably not.

The Night Manager mini-series—six episodes—was layer upon layer of mystery and deceit. However, I think it lost its footing while establishing too much of a backstory and not enough of a climax. Richard Roper, played with enigmatic ambiguity by Hugh Laurie, was described as being “the worst man in the world” and I think the hype made the reality fall incredibly flat. He never seemed particularly dangerous. He just watched bad things happen and had other people do his dirty work. What real threat did he pose, in the grand scheme of things? And his ultimate downfall seemed far too convenient and, despite some impressive fireballs, not nearly explosive enough. The victory somehow just didn’t taste as sweet as the characters made it out to be. (Or maybe I’ve just become far too critical of TV shows lately.)

I’d still recommend it, particularly for anyone who is a fan of either of the leads or enjoys a good spy story. This series aired exclusively on AMC Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. from April 19 to May 24. You can catch up on AMC.com. Continue reading

Ranking Netflix Original Shows: Part 2

Missed Part 1? Read it here.

5. House of Cards

HoC

I needed something new to binge-watch a couple months ago, so one night I pilot-tested three shows I’d always heard good things about: Friday Night Lights, Sons of Anarchy, and House of Cards. I think you know which one I landed on. I pursued Frank Underwood’s ruthless attempt to claim his spot in the White House in spite of my lackadaisical approach to politics mostly due to the journalism angle. I loved watching Kate Mara’s character carefully cultivate her sources, itching to uncover scandals, and using questionable means to achieve answers. {Spoiler Alert!} The journalism angle didn’t last long unfortunately after Zoe met the business end of a subway train and I felt my interest waning. The show delivers some powerhouse performances though; Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are perfectly bone-chilling. I’ll probably keep up with it when season 5 rolls around. Continue reading

Join me in indulging my Daryl Dixon addiction

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When you love entertainment as much as I do, you sometimes get to a point where you want to drown yourself in it. That sounds hyperbolic, but it’s also sort of true. I get that way around award season or after a particularly explosive season/series finale—case in point, last month’s horrific Walking Dead cliffhanger. I got sucked down a vortex of theory discussions and YouTube clips, which led me to watching one too many supercuts of Norman Reedus being absolutely hilarious (and adorable) when not in character as our favorite crossbow-wielding badass. (Does this sound tempting to you? Enjoy.) Needless to say, my crush on Norman came bubbling to the surface once again, knocking the other boys out of the playground for a while.

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You’d think that was how I stumbled across this upcoming event showcasing said badass, but it was actually a happy coincidence that came as the result of a job application and some brief research. I won’t bore you with details, but it was some very random luck indeed that led me to the announcement of Norman’s appearance at the 5th annual Montclair Film Festival. My only concerns were what day  of the week it was (Saturday) and how much tickets cost (next to nothing). Talk about lucky. After determining that the place was within driving distance—TAKE MY MONEY. In fact, I did something I’ve never done before: whipped out my credit card and immediately bought two tickets, with no hesitation or thought as to who might go with me. Continue reading

Ranking Netflix Original Shows: Part 1

I was hesitant to give a Netflix original a try back in 2013, but when the buzz around “Orange is the New Black” became too loud to ignore, I was swayed to appreciate the brilliant concept streaming really is: Consumers like it because of the lack of annoying network regulations and censorship, plus no commercials, and the ability to devour episode after episode without waiting a week in between (thanks to Netflix for that; other platforms like Hulu lack that particular perk). Showrunners probably appreciate the flexibility and innovation. And Netflix, well they get to see their numbers start shooting up because no one wants to be left out when the hype starts circulating about an awesome new show, so they hurry to sign up. Without delving into too much research, I believe Netflix was the first to offer streaming-only television. Now Hulu and others like Amazon Prime and HBO Go have jumped on the money-making bandwagon. I haven’t strayed too far from Netflix because it’s still top banana in my eyes, but I may have to make an exception soon to check out Aaron Paul in “The Path” (Hulu).

Anyway, the list of Netflix originals started small and has significantly expanded over the past couple of years and within the past few months, I’ve finally started to branch out and try a few more. Some of the newer ones with short episodes and truncated seasons take barely a day to watch. Others are more of a long-term commitment. And many are pleasant surprises. Below is a sampling of the ones I’ve tried so far and where they rank in my personal opinion. 

1. Orange Is The New Black

OITNB

The OG of Netflix originals. I was hooked instantly on the story of Piper Chapman, a wealthy good girl whose brief stint as a drug mule catches up to her just before the statute of limitations reaches its cut-off. She winds up having to leave her fiancé and incredulous family grappling with many questions and a slight inability to cope with these revelations as she enters a women’s prison in upstate New York for 15 months. What ensues is a very real, scary, uplifting, unflinching, funny, and sometimes heart-breaking look at life as an inmate. I read the biographical tale on which the show is based and was impressed with how the smallest paragraph in writing became a running theme for an entire episode on screen. I love learning the backstories of these incredibly complex characters. The show does hit some speed bumps, particularly as the seasons go on, but it still has that X factor that keeps you coming back for more. It’s also morphed into an all-out event that keeps viewers itching with anticipation. When season 3 was released a day early last year, the social handles for the show knowingly acknowledged that people would be devouring it all on the spot, tweeting out questions like, “Who’s still with us?” at 4 a.m. with winking emojis. It’s fun to feel like you’re part of a collective watching party and few shows elicit that vibe the way OITNB does. Continue reading