Prison Break: Best Moments of Michael & Sara ❤ | Season 1

Ohhhhh, this has been a long time coming. OK, since my last PSA (two months ago?!), I quit my job, got another one, moved to Maryland, got my own apartment, and watched my life and career do a complete 180. It’s been a little hectic, and I’m admittedly not drowning myself in pop culture news as much as I used to, nor have I recently binge-watched anything (besides Stranger Things, which I’ll write about soon). I’m not watching much of anything actually. I did christen my new apartment with a brief re-watch of the later seasons of Boy Meets World in my first week (I didn’t have cable yet), but I’m trying to read more lately and have happily taken myself on a trip back to Hogwarts, something I haven’t done since 2011.

I’m also working on a new blog! I am now The Jaded Journo and you can read all about my career experiences as I tackle this new chapter of my life.

So, that’s what’s new with me. But I do want to show PSA some love and get back to discussing all things entertainment, particularly as fall sweeps draws ever closer and pretty soon, alllllll the shows will back on the air and I’ll be hardly able to contain myself as I’m reminded of oh-how-very-much I love television.

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Anyway, as I mentioned in my last PSA, I knew I’d be wanting to gush over Wentworth Miller/Michael Scofield’s pretty face after I devoured Prison Break in about a month, because, I mean, come on. I loved the show, even though it didn’t always make sense and parts of it dragged (UGH, SONA). Imagine my surprise when I didn’t totally hate Sarah Wayne Callies as Sara Tancredi—even though in the pilot, I had a moment of “LORI‘s in this? Oh, crap.” I actually really grew to love her relationship with Michael and romances are the easiest target for lists like this, so here we go. (Stay tuned for seasons 2-4 and I’ll also probably talk more about the show itself as the upcoming reboot sequel gets closer.) Continue reading

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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

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

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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

Ageism is Alive and Well in TV Land’s ‘Younger’ Campaign

“Nobody at work knows this, but … I’m not 26. I’m 40. […] and I have to make myself invaluable before anyone figures it out and I become a think piece on Slate.”

Younger

We heard that, Liza! What’s old is new again over at TV Land and not just in their relentlessly lauded new program “Younger.” The network officially announced its rebranding last summer, rolling out fresh original series aimed, they say, at Generation X. They marked the launch with the Darren Star dramedy, which tells a parallel story of revamping image for professional gain. When Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) attempts to re-enter the work force after taking a 15-year hiatus to raise her child, she’s abruptly faced with the harsh reality of today’s job market—you’re either too young and therefore inexperienced or too old and therefore overqualified.

While it’s highly unlikely that this particular plot would be feasible in reality (social security numbers are a thing, people), it does beg the question: To what lengths are people willing to go to find work that’s meaningful to them? Liza Miller, fictional as she may be, probably could’ve found employment somewhere at age 40, but she has her heart set on returning to an industry she loves. In a highly competitive market, especially found within publishing/media, would she have managed to convince a company to let her start “anywhere,” even if that meant being the only assistant not straight out of college? Where is the happy medium between inexperienced and overqualified? Does it even exist anymore? Continue reading