Summer Series Snapshot: Fear the Walking Dead

FearTWDOnly two episodes have aired thus far, so it may not be fair to say I’m already bored. But this “companion series” (don’t call it a spin-off!) to AMC’s zombie juggernaut looks to potentially be rather underwhelming. Even the name feels lazy.

It could be subtitled “While Rick Grimes Slept.” Fear looks to illustrate society’s rapid unraveling from the onset of the virus—? flu? bacteria? We still don’t know!—with the pilot episode showing our new main characters what we already know: No matter how many times you shoot the infected (or hit them with a car), they will continue to come at you until they take a bullet/arrow/blade to the brain.

Speaking of those characters, I don’t like a single one of them yet. “Oh, how nice to see some fresh faces!” False. We’re introduced to new people on Dead all the time and it’s safe to say they are far less bland than this band of “blended” family members.

While it’s interesting (for now) to see the contrast of Georgia countryside versus bustling Los Angeles, one could expect that in a few months’ time, it might feasibly resemble the eerily abandoned Atlanta we remember from season one of Dead.

Come to think of it, I now have a new appreciation for season one of Dead. We were thrust right into the apocalypse, seeing this terrifying new world through Rick’s freshly opened eyes: What happened? Where is everyone? What is that? Oh my god, what IS that? What happened to her face? That lady only has half a body! WHAT IS GOING ON? Continue reading

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Summer Series Snapshot: Girl Meets World, S2

GMWI’ve already written about my overall impression of the first season of this ‘90s nostalgia-fueled tween show and my opinion hasn’t changed much. The forever-a-BoyMeetsWorld-superfan in me has been enjoying season two just as much, if not more.

Cameos from the original show’s characters keep popping up, making it an intense nostalgia fix every single time. My favorite character (behind Shawn) has finally shown up and the return of Mr. Squirrels has been my absolute favorite moment so far. Continue reading

Summer Series Snapshot: The Strain | America’s Got Talent

It’s sometimes really hard to pick just one topic to write about, especially given how absorbed I can get into pop culture on a daily basis. The thing about entertainment is that it’s always evolving and changing and flowing; what was big news an hour ago is old news in even less time. So it’s time to do a little round-up of my current obsessions, specifically, summer television since options are limited but nonetheless entertaining. Here’s a couple items from my TiVo list that keep me occupied during the long dog days (and nights) of summer …

The Strain | Season 2 | Sundays at 10 on FX

The Strain

Basically a vampire version of The Walking Dead, I gave this a shot purely to have something to watch on Sunday nights. Here, we got to see the start of the apocalypse (though they’re not actually calling it that yet) and in some ways, it’s far more gruesome than Dead. These aren’t your teenage daughter’s vampires; no sparkling skin or brooding eyes. These guys dispel snake-length tongues that latch on and bleed you dry. If you manage to scrape by with just a scratch, you’ll likely find yourself with worms wriggling under your skin, spreading the infection. And when you turn, my, do you get ugly. Ugliest of all is The Master, king of the vamps, who has a mysterious tie to one of the main characters, played by David Bradley. He’s joined by a CDC scientist (Corey Stoll) and a small band of determined New Yorkers dead set on killing all the bloodsuckers and keeping the strain contained to the five boroughs. It’s incredibly slow-moving, but when the action does pop up, it’s disgusting. It’s sub-par television horror; I personally prefer zombies. Continue reading

Summer Series Snapshot: Orange is the New Black S3

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The same weekend that had me glued to my seat during Jurassic World is also when I binged (i.e. sat in my basement like a hermit for endless hours every day) the third season of Netflix’s breakout prison dramedy. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who have claimed to give OITNB a try and “just couldn’t get into it.” I don’t understand those people. I will admit that the series probably wouldn’t survive if it was formatted as a typical weekly primetime show, because it definitely doesn’t move fast enough for that. If it’s your least favorite character’s turn to get their backstory exposition, you’d be likely to tune out. But that’s why Netflix is such an awesome platform for TV in this digital era. 12 episodes are so easily consumed over the span of a week or less and viewers are SO hungry for more when those episodes pass and they can’t view any more new ones until an entire year later. It can be torture. At least when “The Walking Dead” ends in February, I know I only have to wait another … 8 months (wow, that sounds long!) instead of 12.

This season had its high and low points. They’ve started to paint Piper as a sort of insufferable monster, but they also focused on some characters who until this point had just been background noise in the grand scheme of life at Litchfield. The internet is freaking out over the discovery of Ruby Rose, the androgynous and beautiful Aussie whose character of Stella became a romantic interest for Piper. And what stands out for me had nothing at all to do with character development, but the final scene in which (SPOILER ALERT), they all seemed to experience such absolute delight in their fleeting moments of freedom while swimming in that lake. How something so simple can become so joyous really illustrated how much we take our freedom for granted.

2015 Summer Movie Preview, Part 2

Eh, what the heck. Here’s five more.

Poltergeist | May 22

PoltergeistI find re-boots to be really frustrating, especially when I’m already a big fan of the original. I still remember the very first time I saw the Spielberg-written and produced 1982 fright flick; I was far too young and just flipping channels at my grandparents’ house. It was already to the part where Diane goes after Carol Anne and the huge hunk of skeleton head snarls at Steve. I later watched the full film a couple years later with my dad and sis, who couldn’t have been older than six at the time. She didn’t even flinch at the scene where that guy peeled his face off, but I couldn’t sleep that night. It’s since become one of my favorite scary movies, so I’m incredibly skeptical as to what an attempted remake can do to the integrity of the original, which already has a real life spooky story to back it up. But the trailer does make it look pretty terrifying and even though I NEVER see horror movies in the theater, I feel like this will be one that I just have to bring myself to sit through.

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Five Fave Vaca Spots

This has nothing to do with pop culture, but so what?
I’m in a summer-y mood, so here, read about my favorite vacation spots.

1. CRUISES

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OK, technically not a “spot,” but I could cruise every single summer and love it; I wouldn’t even care to leave the ship, making it kind of qualify. As long as I’m out on the water (and in the Caribbean), I’m good. They just so happen to have the added bonus of bringing me to a handful of tropical islands in the span of one week. Next summer will mark my 7th time cruising and I cannot wait. My first was when I was only four and a half; we boarded The Big Red Boat, back when it was still owned and operated by Disney (1985-1993). In 2000, we boarded the then two-year-old Disney Magic—best cruise of our lives, to this day; Disney Cruise Line is just on a whole other level, plus it’s an unforgettable combo of numbers 1 and 2 here—and we have since been on three Carnival ships and what we affectionately refer to as the “tugboat cruise” (long story). Next year we’ll finally try out Royal Caribbean, the cruise line that has long been touted as the best by anyone we ask. I’m not sure what it is about these giant vessels that I love so much, but I do know that some of the best times of my life have been spent singing “Celebration” and “Hot Hot Hot,” enjoying a delicious meal (and a show!) in a crowded dining room, and feeling the wind in my hair while walking on deck at night. Continue reading