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

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Top Five TV Power Couples

“Power couple” is a phrase thrown around rather often these days, particularly in pop culture. You’ve probably heard it applied to Brad and Angelina (accurately). Barack and Michelle (obviously). Kim and Kanye (painfully). It assigns a higher status to two influential people who are romantically linked—while giving them an impossibly annoying nickname—and using their combined prestige to make a difference, or, in Kimye’s case, make headlines. I don’t think it can apply to just anyone though. When I think of power couples, I envision those with actual power. It’s a little easier to pinpoint them within entertainment and they run especially rampant in television. So I’ve compiled a short list of my favorite characters whom I believe perfectly encapsulate the notion of the power couple.

Rick & Michonne
The Walking Dead

Rick and Michonne

Romance is rare in the zombie apocalypse, so it’s pretty refreshing when a new coupling makes their first move. Richonne just seemed like something all of Tumblr was screaming for but might not ever happen (like Caryl, though I’m still gunning for that one), but now it’s actually real. At the end of episode 6.10 “The Next World,” Rick and Michonne are chatting about their day “honey, I’m home” style and some impulsive hand-holding quickly leads to other things. The next day, Rick tells Carl “this is different.” And it feels different. Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira have both said in interviews that living in Alexandria and being in a place where they finally feel confident in their safety and their ability to survive has led them to remember that there’s more to life than stabbing, shooting, and slicing walkers on the reg. They’ve recognized something in each other that makes sense and it’s an organic acknowledgement of feelings that perhaps they just didn’t have time to accept before. It was a great moment and now that they’re official, it puts them at the top of my list. Nobody screams “power couple” more than the ringleader and the samurai—the couple that slays together stays together. Continue reading

Best Bad Boys of TV | Vol. 2

Just in case you missed my last PSA, let’s refresh:

You gotta love a good bad boy. That quintessential television character always seems two-dimensional on the page until they get fleshed out into living, breathing, brooding boys who don’t want your heart but you’re still compelled to yank it from your chest and give it to them anyway. It’s up to the actors who play them to let their softer side show through just enough to make you love/hate them and look forward to the next time they grace your screen. I shuffled through my long list of favorite shows in my head and realized that almost every single one had one of those leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding, look-me-in-the-eyes-and-swoon kind of guys. So this topic is going to be broken into segments and we’re going to explore it over the next couple PSAs. (Because I said so.)

Last time, I covered characters from AMC’s megahit The Walking Dead, as well as ‘90s classic Boy Meets World and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.

Next up:

Jesse Pinkman | Breaking Bad
Played by
Aaron Paul

Jesse

Jesse broke bad alright, the very instant he decided to let Walter White sweep him up in a blue haze of thug deals and crystal meth production. A drug-dealing addict, Jesse was kind of a low life to begin with and Walt didn’t exactly help matters much—instead, he turned him into a murderer. While his literal partner-in-crime had next to no redeeming qualities by the end of AMC’s smash hit series, at least Jesse had the decency to show remorse and a desire to leave the biz in his rearview mirror—leaving me cheering when he finally did. Continue reading

Journos on Film

IMG_3478Photo by Danielle S. Tepper

I spent this past weekend in a state of geeked-out bliss; both days were spent touring the Newseum in Washington D.C. I met the friend who accompanied me in 2008; we worked together on our university newspaper and she’s my go-to girlfriend for nerdy journalism stuff. We drove down bright and early Saturday morning and couldn’t wait to explore six floors of journalistic history. It was interesting and engaging and enlightening and inspiring; the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo gallery was humbling and the 9/11 Memorial gallery was heart-breaking. I came away from the experience just being proud to be included, in any small fraction, in the company of the amazing men and women who have come before me and paved the way for me to sit here and write about how awesome it is to be a journalist. One exhibit that I particularly enjoyed was a video loop of clips from movies throughout the years that depicted reporters and photographers both fictional and historical and it got me thinking about some of my favorite silver (and small) screen characters who struck a chord with me. In no particular order, here’s a handful of the women I’ve watched and thought, “I wish that was me.” Continue reading

Five Favorite Finales

I hate goodbyes. As a couch potato, I never want to see good TV come to an end. As I once said to my sister, “I love TV! It’s like a movie that never ends!” Not entirely true, as even the longest-running shows have to end eventually. May sucks. Not only do you have nothing to look forward to each night, but sometimes favorite shows reach the end of their lifespans for good. Which got me thinking about some of the finales that always punch me in the feels—or make me want to punch the writers. So, in the order in which they broke my heart, here are five finales that I look back on fondly … and one, er, not so much.

(Warning: Serious SPOILERS ahead!)

1. Boy Meets World
May 5, 2000: “Brave New World”

1-BMW

The two-part finale to my all-time favorite show, although disjointed and lacking continuity from a storyline perspective, was a fitting send-off to the TGIF sitcom. It was one of those perfect hour-long clip episodes that took you back through everything you knew you loved about the show. Seven seasons’ worth of favorite moments play at rapid speed, so even though the show ends in tears, at least it has the good form to give you 45 minutes of hysterical laughter first. (The Eric montage is my personal fave—and, of course, the Feeny Call.) My heart starts to pound a little when they step into the classroom because I know what’s coming … and then, the very second the music dips into that three-staccato-note melody and Mr. Feeny tells them to believe in themselves … dream … try … do good … the tears are already flowin’. I cannot handle this finale, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. I learned more from that man than I ever did from any teacher in my own life, so I feel their pain as they say goodbye to him. That final scene is brutal, especially coming from a show that went heavy on the silly humor and light on the heavy stuff for seven seasons. I’m a sobbing mess by the time Cory says, “You’ll always be with us. As long as we live, OK?” (Because truth.) And when Feeny finally says those final words? Oh, it hurts so good.—DT Continue reading

I ❤ New York

21465_938554432738_1788822998_nWashington Square Park, Saturday, August 3, 2013.
Photo by Danielle S. Tepper.

At the risk of sounding like a postcard (or a T-shirt), I love New York. I’ve been a city girl all my life. Growing up on the Jersey shore, especially central NJ, you hear about the city constantly. As a kid, it starts to sound like the North Pole. My family has New York in its blood: My mother was born in Brooklyn and my father in the Bronx. I can feel that lifestyle buried deep inside me somewhere. When I get off the train at Penn Station and ride the escalator up to street level and the noises and smells start to reach me, it feels like coming home.

I was eight when I went for the first time. My parents bought tickets to Beauty & the Beast on Broadway for my birthday and we went in with my best friend and her parents. I don’t remember many details, but I do know that my lifelong love affair with Manhattan had to have begun that very day. I’ve since gone in countless times, at least a couple times a year. School bus trips. Annual family visits. Nights out with friends. Ten Broadway shows. The Met. Madame Tussauds. The Museum of Natural History. The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Rockefeller Center. The NY Public Library. Battery Park. Little Italy. The Harry Potter Exhibition. Darren Criss and the StarKid SPACE Tour. An ED2010 panel. Strand Book Store. Bryant Park. SoHo. NBC Studios Tour. Chelsea. Central Park Zoo. Ellis Island. The Empire State Building. Essentially all the tourist traps and then some. I actually hate feeling/acting like a tourist because even though I have yet to be able to call it home, it’s my city. It’s the city. Continue reading