Book & Book Adaptation Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before….

Hey All! Okay, so I had one reading goal initially for myself when entering this New Year of 2019 for when it came to dealing with the topic of what books to read. I had the goal of reading more novels that don’t have any adaptations as of yet, you know read to read and not watch a film/tv version of it afterwards.

20190228_181109Okay, so as you can tell by now the first book that I finished reading in this year of 2019 so far was indeed a book that does in fact have an adaptation. At some point during this New Year, I do hope to read more books that don’t have an adaptation at the point I’m reading them, I promise. Technically, I did start to read “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” during the late fall months of 2018 before the New Year began so that reading goal of mine didn’t yet apply, I’ll say. And being somewhat of a slow bookworm reader I finished reading this novel a few months later. So even though I started reading this in late 2018, I didn’t finish reading it until the second week of January. Thus, making it my first official book read of 2019! Oh, for how exciting it is for that moment where you finish reading just a really great book, you know! Slow Bookworm Reader (that is I) says a “Heck Yes” to that!

All throughout the Summer of 2018 there was much talk on the blogs/ twitter/ magazines about this book called “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”, that had been adapted into a film on Netflix.  This is where book adaptations are actually quite awesome. It exposes us bookworms that aren’t maybe quite as in the know when it comes to books and makes these books now front and center stage in our view. Hence, I was made more aware of this book and its book series. I got the book over the summer when there was all the talk about the Netflix adaptation being just about everywhere. Being that indecisive gal when it comes to deciding what to read next I, or course, didn’t end up reading this book until months later after its purchase. Oh, but the life of indecisive bookworm gal that is I!

I finally decide on reading this book after reading two intense thrillers back to back. These two thrillers that I had read were the novels of YOU and its sequel Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. Really crazy and twisted reads, but excellent thriller reads, I have to say. YOU was, in fact, my favorite book read of 2018! Total recommend if you like yourself one heck of a thriller read (and the TV Adaptation is perfection!).

After those crazy thriller reads which I did very much love, I have to say though I was very much now in the mood for a change of genre. YOU centered around the most twisted, crazy and all around disturbing story told from the perspective of the madman. So for my next read if a love story was going to be involved at all, I was hoping for one where all the characters made it to the end of the story. A book read not so intense, one a little more light hearted, per say. So being indecisive, as you may have picked up by now, I wasn’t sure what I was going to read after reading those incredible but oh so twisted thriller reads. Then I saw my copy of “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han on my pile of books that I had yet to read. You know that pile of books that you “just must have when you go to the bookstore” and then take forever to actually get around to reading those books that you just had to have when you where at the bookstore. You know, those books.

Now that I’ve babble your ear off enough about what lead me to finally getting around to picking up my copy of “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” to read, now on to my actual thoughts of this novel……

20190228_180657Book: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han

Genre: YA Fiction – Romance

Pages: 355

Series:  To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first book in a series that consists of three books total

Overview:

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is about a girl named Lara Jean Convey. She’s a high school student. She’s the middle daughter of a family of three girls. Family means everything to Lara Jean, whose Mother had died earlier in her life. Her sisters Margot and Kitty, are not just her sisters but her best friends. With her Father being a doctor he is gone a lot of the time. Lara Jean and her sisters take care of each other because they know how special and important it is to be there for family.

After their Mother had passed away the Conveys sisters grew up fast in many ways. Being responsible for things around the house. Cleaning, making meals, doing laundry, are all things and responsibilities that Lara Jean has besides her schoolwork. Even though those kind of things are considered chores and sometimes they are to her, Lara Jean likes taking care of her family. They are everything to her.  When her Mother passed away, Lara Jean along with her sisters stepped up to help take care of the family. Everyone pitches in to help one another to make life as okay as it can be. They have each other and that is everything. So to Lara Jean helping out with household things can sometimes be annoying, but at the end of everything when it comes to her family she is okay with lending a helping hand when one is needed.

20190228_182247Lara Jean lives a simple life. One she loves. There’s never any kind of drama in it. That all changes one day. You see anytime Lara Jean has ever had a crush or truly liked a boy and didn’t know how to handle her feelings she would do one thing.  To try and forget these feelings of hers so she could move on emotionally she would she would write a good-bye love letter to her crush.  In this letter she writes down and says everything she feels.  Once she has completed writing down all her emotions from pen to paper, she then puts the letter into an envelope and then into a hat box (given to her by her late Mother).  After the letter has been written and stashed away into the hat box she is now done with those feelings. She didn’t have to embarrass herself or get a possible rejection, free of any drama. She has written her feelings to this crush, puts the letter in the hat box, and that’s that.

That’s how Lara Jean has always gotten over someone, she writes these letters. These personal letters with all her true feelings about someone. These letters which were never meant to be seen by anyone, let alone the guys she wrote them to.  All of a sudden one day at school one of these past crushes of hers walks up to her with one of these good-by love letters.  The unthinkable has happened!  Somehow all these good-bye love letters that she has written have been mailed out and sent to these past crushes of hers from once upon a time.  These personal letters with all her true feelings that were never meant to actually be seen by these crushes have now somehow made there way to them…… to all of them! And worst of all, one these past crushes is that of Lara Jean’s sister’s boyfriend!

These letters that Lara Jean had written were meant to be just for her eyes only.  Only now though, these letters that were meant to be just for her eyes only are now known to these past crushes making Lara Jean’s drama-free world go upside down. How did this happen? And better yet, how will she deal with this disaster of this mess that she could never have predicted happening?

Thoughts:

I really, really liked this novel. It was simply such a delight to read after reading a few crazy and twisted thriller reads. Han wrote a story here that is just so sweet, fun, charming and just plain good. I thought it was an interesting thing Lara Jean would do when she would have a crush on someone. Instead of confronting her feelings or telling her crush how she felt, she would do nothing but write down her feelings to this said crush. Once she wrote these good-bye love letters to loves that would never be, she herself could move on from these feelings. It was her way of saying good-bye to a crush without embarrassing herself, so she could move on emotionally from her feelings towards someone she liked.

20190228_183001It’s interesting that instead of pursuing any of these potential relationships (well the Josh one is understandable) Lara Jean let go of any possibility that there might have been with any these guys that she had liked. For all she knew they might have had feelings for her in return, but without ever letting it get that far, she pushed those feelings away once she wrote her letters.

Lara Jean is wise beyond her years and I kind of thought this way to get over a crush was kind of genius. A lot of the times when most people like someone, they might pursue a potential relationship. Although, there’s the potential also of embarrassing yourself in front of that crush and in many ways I think these letters Lara Jean wrote to get over her crushes was actually very clever and quite brilliant. Even though, I do kind of think this was a genius way to get over someone, at the same time I’m also thinking, “Girl, but why?! Your crush might actually feel what you feel!”. I get it though. She was afraid of any possible rejection, embarrassment or hurt feelings, and for that I feel it’s super relatable for her not confronting her feelings in any way to any of these crushes of hers.

When these love letters mysteriously get sent to her crushes, I thought it was a very cute rom-com classic move to have Lara Jean suggest that her and Peter (a recipient of one of Lara Jean’s letters) pretend that they are a couple to avoid any confrontation with Josh. Instead of dealing with all that Josh drama, here was a potential way to avoid any of that because she has a “boyfriend” now. Peter also benefits from this plan because he isn’t quite over his ex-girlfriend Gen.  Peter hopes that when Gen sees him with another girl she’ll want to get back together again. I loved this whole thing of “Lara Jean and Peter Are In A Relationship” because usually in these rom-com like scenarios the people who are pretending to be in a relationship always end up liking each other for real eventually at some point.

I think Lara Jean was such a well written character. I really liked how she just seemed very genuine. She may not have confronted her feelings in the conventional ways others do.  She may have held back, but a lot of us do that and it just made her more relatable. She’s very smart, kind and her own person. Towards the end of the book, I liked how there was the possibility of Lara Jean putting those fears of “what if this doesn’t work” aside with Peter and writing a letter to him saying how she feels (Will she send it? Guess I’ll have to read the sequel for that answer). There is hope that Lara Jean isn’t so afraid now of possibly falling for Peter and that possibility of him have the same feelings for her in return. Maybe that possibility for an actual relationship could happen after all. And with two more books in the series franchise, that might in fact happen after all!

Book Adaptation:

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After I finished reading this book, I finally watched the movie adaptation on Netflix. I was super excited to finally at last watch it because I had heard such good things about this adaptation. Sometimes with book adaptations, it can be tricky. There’s that whole thing of “Will this adaptation live up to the greatness that the book was?”. With a story such as this one, I think it was the right call to make it a film adaptation vs. a television series one. If told properly a film adaptation seemed like a better fit to tell this story, especially with the whole rom-com aspect.

And I thought this adaptation was…….. PERFECTION!!!!! The film just captured the essence of the story Han wrote on paper so perfectly! It was an excellent adaptation completely and I would say if you loved the book, have no fear for this was an adaptation that did in fact “live up to the book in every way”! Sure, there were a few changes here and there as with any book that gets adapted, but those moments that weren’t exactly identical to the book still completely worked and weren’t the type of changes that needed any complaining about.

Changes From Book To Film- Thoughts:

20190228_154150-Josh was much less featured in the film, unlike within the book. I mean much less! In the book, Josh was pretty much what one would call a “major supporting character”. In the film version, he was much less present. Showing up here and there. Where with the book it showed Josh and Peter almost equally, the film focus more on the relationship of Lara Jean and Peter.

-Kitty had different reasons for sending the letters out in the book vs. the movie. In the book, Kitty sends these love letters of Lara Jean’s to her crushes out of a moment of anger because she was mad at Lara Jean. In the film, she does it because she wants Lara Jean to be happy and have a relationship.

-The ending was slightly different. Instead of writing a letter to Peter (as in the book), Lara Jean confronts Peter and tells him exactly how she feels towards him. I liked both versions of the ending that the book and film had. In the book it made sense for Lara Jean to write a letter to Peter. It was a sweet ending for the first book. In the film, it made more sense to have to that moment of Lara Jean walking courageously towards Peter to say her feelings in person.  This ending just worked better for the film.  By ending the film in this way there was that chance to have that iconic rom- com kind of moment where everything is on the line and that feeling of “Okay, Well Here I Go” is in the air. This kind of ending was just better suited for the film rather than her writing a letter to him.  Instead she was in the moment being honest with her feelings face to face with someone, instead of pen to paper for ultimately something no one else would ever see or know about.

Those were the changes that stood out for me. I thought for the film these changes still fit in well with the story. There were differences from page to screen, sure. But in no way were these changes for the story anything to be annoyed about as a reader of the book. These were just some slight creative differences that were made for this adaptation of page to screen.

Casting For Film:

I thought the movie adaptation was just simply perfectly cast. I loved how the casting was a mixture of a few familiar faces, but for the most part largely unknown actors (up to this point, but of course). Unknowns who definitely were no longer of the “Whose that?” category after this movie premiered on Netflix.

The cast included a few past TV Favorites such as John Corbett (Sex & The City, Parenthood) as Lara Jean’s Father and Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars, upcoming spinoff of PLL “The Perfectionists”) as Lara Jean’s older sister, Margot. They were both great in the movie.  Although, the actor that shined the most would by that of Lana Condor, who played the lead role of Lara Jean in the adaptation. I wasn’t aware of Condor before seeing her performance as Lara Jean.  Although after seeing her in this film, Condor is definitely an up and coming actor to look out for.

20190228_155959Condor was the perfect choice to play the part of Lara Jean. She performed the part with confidence, strength and still had the ability to come across as vulnerable when it came to love. Her performance stood out and was memorable. For such a popular book franchise where there would be a lot of expectation for whoever would end up playing the part of Lara Jean Convey when an adaptation would come out, could breathe a sigh of relief moments after seeing what Condor brought to the part.

The Relationship of Lara Jean and Peter:

20190228_160148After Lara Jean, the next crucial piece of casting would be for that of the character of Peter Kavinsky. Peter was played in the film by another up and coming actor, Noah Centineo.  Casting of this part was just as key as Lara Jean because the “relationship” of Lara Jean and Peter had to come across as believable. Even if they weren’t really dating or liked each other (at first). Fans of the book, have no fear the part of Peter was perfectly cast in Centineo.  Condor and Contineo had exactly the right amount of chemistry and acted off of each other just perfectly.

The storyline throughout the book for that of Lara Jean and Peter was basically to pretend to being in a relationship.  A relationship that would hopefully though seem very real to Josh and Gen.  This is very much a major storyline in the book. So for the movie the casting of these two leads who would be in almost every scene together was important to get right. And it was! You could feel these two characters slowly falling for each other. The casting was once again perfect for a major part of the story that you wanted to come across as believable and genuine. And it was.

20190228_180657So simply put, if you’re looking for a read (with an adaptation available that is equally as great) that is fun, lovely, charming, and adorable with some drama here and there while still being very light hearted and sweet, look no further than “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han. Han writes a story that reminds us how when we are young everything seems so important and so big in the moment. How in the moment everything might seem so big and major when taking a risk and not knowing how it might end.  But with a little bit time of eventually things fall into place.

 

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TV Episode Shout Out: This Is Us…

Normally up until now on my blog, when I’ve highlighted a series it’s usually with a write up about a full season or that series as a whole. Then an episode from the current season of “This Is Us” happened and I just had to acknowledge it for being a stand out episode among this current season.

20190219_181821Season 3 of This Is Us has been an interesting one, “In My Opinion”.  On an unrelated note from This Is Us, but still very much TV relevant: Anytime I ever hear the phrase “In My Opinion”, I always think of The Good Wife with Ana Gasteyer.  On that show, Gasteyer played a Judge and always insisted on the lawyers always saying the phrase “In My Opinion” constantly during their arguments.  This TV Nerd always here with “Fun TV Facts” nobody ever asks for.  Anyways, back on to the subject at hand, This Is Us.

I found myself just not really caring for the first half of this season, in all honesty. Normally up to this point, This Is Us had become one of my go- to favorites for just always being on point and being just simply perfection in every episode, every week. I ended up doing a re-watch for the first half of this season which is something I never do.  With so many series out now, I never re-watch episodes that I’ve already seen once.  Although, sometimes a re-watch is a necessary viewing tool to get that feeling back to where you’re like “Yes, this is why I like this show”.  Even though after a re-watch of the earlier episodes from this season, I’m still not sure I felt that exact feeling.  I do have to say though, that I did enjoy them more than I did the first time around.

This season’s first half I just found to be uneven for some reason. I don’t know, I just wasn’t connecting with the series and feeling the feels that I usually would feel after watching the show in the past. In past seasons the show seemed to have a certain flow to it that just didn’t seem to be there for the episodes that were shown in the fall and early winter months of 2018.

20190218_160551The storylines felt all over the place. Randall running for City Council, Kevin searching and trying to learn more of his Father’s past, Kate trying to get pregnant. Maybe it was just the fact that the family wasn’t spending as much time with each other as in the past seasons and that just felt different. Well whatever the case was with the start of the season, the show came back around to being itself again when the storyline of Jack’s brother, Nicky entered the picture.

By making this a main storyline arc for a few episodes, it felt as though life had re-emerged in this series again.  An overview of this particular storyline is that Jack told his family that his brother had died in the Vietnam War while serving his country.  His family (as well as the viewers of the show) had no reason to question if that was actually true or not.  Jack has always come across as a stand up guy despite having flaws, but a person who was always there for his family.  During Kevin’s search to try and find out more of his Father’s past he uncovers that Jack’s brother Nicky, did not die in the war like they had been told.

Nicky was drafted to go into the Vietnam War. He, such as many others did not want to go, but ultimately did end up going. Jack feeling guilt of not being able to be there for his brother, goes to join the Army voluntarily some time after Nicky has been drafted to serve. Once Jack and Nicky are reunited, Nicky is not exactly who he was before he left for the war. He’s become addicted to drugs and his outlook on life is grim. Jack tries, but it seems to get nowhere.

One day a small child from the village where Jack and Nicky’s Army Base had been stationed, comes by to where Nicky is sitting by the water.  The child jokes around and takes Nicky’s glasses off of him and puts the glasses on his face. They laugh at the silliness of that.  They share a candy bar. This is a brief moment where Nicky forgets where he is and a smile goes on his face.

They go for a ride on a boat to go fishing and get food. Nicky had brought onto the boat hand grenades to use on the fish to find them instantly.  Nicky picks one up to throw in the water as he has already a few times by this point.  This one though, is stuck.  Then by accident he drops it in the boat.  He tells the child to jump, then he jumps.  But the child never jumped off the boat and the child is killed instantly from the hand grenade. Jack sees this and this was the last straw for him, he is now done with Nicky.   It was an accident, but Nicky never got to tell him that.

To two disconnect after this, despite Nicky’s attempts to stay in each other’s lives. Jack could just never forgive him for this, no matter how much he wanted to.  This is the first time on the series that we see Jack in somewhat of a new light. Jack has never been perfect, he has flaws like anyone might have. Although, he was always seen as that perfect person for his family. Someone who you could always count on to be there. So as a viewer, it was surprising to see that Jack be could anyone but that “always there for you” kind of person for someone, especially his own brother.

Okay, so now on to my thoughts for the recent episode that was the 12th in this current season:

Title of Episode: Songbird Road Part 2 (Season 3, Episode 12)

Date of Episode: February 12, 2019

I’ll be separating the major episode plot points for this episode three parts:

Part One:

Despite the their Uncle being a stranger to them, Kevin, Kate, and Randall still want to help him and get to know him. At the end of the previous episode it looked as though Nicky might hurt himself and seeing that they all felt the need to help him and they couldn’t just walk away. After they arrive at the hotel they are staying at, Nicky is thankful for their help but not necessarily wanting it at the same time. Kate and Randall say they have stuff back home to get to and they can’t force to help him if he doesn’t want it.  Randall says how maybe there was a reason why Jack told them what he told them.  Kevin feels he just can’t walk away from Nicky like his father did. Rebecca comes to stay and be by Kevin’s side during this time.

Part Two:

Kate and Randall end up leaving to go back home together. They decide before they do that, that why not take a ride to their old house. Obviously the old home is no longer there, but they thought it would still be nice to see what might be there now. They knock on the door and a woman answers basically not interested in their trip to memory lane. A few moments later, her parents with her child say how it’s okay. Randall and Kate start reminiscing and the new owners are smiling at their nostalgia of the past. Then Kate remembers how her,Randall and Jack had this sequin party one afternoon day at the house.

It was this day where Kevin wanted to get his baseball cards signed at the mall. Jack had just returned from what would ultimately be his last visit to Nicky. He just didn’t have it in him to go, so Rebecca said she would. Kate and Randall were going to make Valentine’s at home for their classmates. Jack said he’d be in the garage.  During this time Kate and Randall ordered a pizza cause they were hungry, Jack said it was okay. Moments later Jack returns to the living room to see the room in chaos, glitter and sequins everywhere.

Kate remembers this day one way and Randall remembers it another way. Kate remembers Jack happy and playing and joining in on this glitter and sequin party. She remembers him laughing and them all just having the best time. Randall remembers him coming in and seeing the mess the two of them made and yelling and then throwing a plate at the kitchen wall. The truth is both happened, Jack did get angry at them, but felt sorry for getting angry. Then he started up the sequin party again throwing sequins in the air everywhere and they all had a day to remember. Rebecca and Kevin arrive at home seeing this madness and Kevin joins in on this fun.  Kate questions why she didn’t remember her father getting angry, how she could possibly not remember that part of the day at all.

20190218_175100Part Three:

Kevin is at Nicky’s mobile home trying to fix what he can while Nicky stays behind at the hotel with Rebecca. Kevin is on the phone with Zoe and just starts feeling discouraged. He questions why his father would say his Uncle was dead, why would he say that when it wasn’t true.  We later see towards the end of the episode, how at a low point of feeling discouraged by this situation a sober Kevin sees a bottle of whiskey and starts to drink.

20190218_175019Rebecca wonders as she is sitting in the hotel lobby with Nicky about his and Jack’s life together.  Nicky isn’t what one might call friendly and eager to talk about his past.

Nicky tells Rebecca how it’s just simply to hard to revisit his past. Earlier in the episode during a flashback scene, Rebecca sees Kevin meeting a baseball idol of his who signed a card for him. She sees him just chatting away.  Rebecca asks the player what they were talking about. He says how he might change teams and Kevin was telling him the best things to do in that city if he gets transferred to that team and he just wanted him to have fun things to do there.  They then drive home with Kevin staring out the window in the passenger seat as Rebecca drives home.

Flashback to present day where Nicky and Rebecca return to Nicky’s place where Kevin has been fixing up what he can. Nicky says he’ll try and go to one of the VA Centers and try it out. He can’t promise anything, but he’ll give it a try. Kevin and Rebecca then leave Nicky’s home.  There’s then the same sequence of Kevin being once again in the passenger seat with Rebecca driving the car. Rebecca says how proud she is of him. Kevin at this point is filled with guilt and sadness, but says nothing and just stares out the window.

This episode in particular dealt with a lot. Mostly it dealt with the affect and impact that both people may feel when getting forgotten about or when leaving someone behind. Nicky is definitely someone that broke your heart while watching his story unfold. He went off to a war that he never wanted to be in and as you can imagine he changed. He became someone he might never have become if this never happened. And then the accident happened and he was discharged. Then Jack abandoned him after several attempts made by Nicky to stay in each other’s lives. Left all alone without any family to his name, he sunk further into a  depression and loneliness.  He suffered much trauma of what he went through in his time in Vietnam.  He was all alone with just his regret and sorrow of past mistakes.  To cope he drank, a disease that plagued Jack, Jack’s Father, and his Father before him.

If he only sought some kind of treatment, possibly with the encouragement of his brother Jack, who knows how that might of helped. Thoughts like that are devasting because a difference could of been made with the help of Jack, if he didn’t just completely leave.

It’s somewhat hard to think how Jack could just completely cut him off and stick with that after years and years. I guess once a certain amount of time had gone by, it’s possible that it was just too hard to reach out and return to that time of his life again. It was hard to revisit and possibly he felt an incredible amount of guilt for never trying again with his brother.

Nicky changed the moment he was drafted for war. Any ounce of who he was just left. While talking with Rebecca he said something that is in one way or another relatable to anyone dealing with feeling a loss of who they are vs. who they were:

“I wanted to be a writer.

And then I wanted to be a doctor.

And then I didn’t want to be anything.

I use to be a person.

Wish I could be that person again.

But it’s been so long.

I don’t think I can.” —- Nicky “This Is Us”

20190218_161529Kevin tried to do what his father didn’t. He wanted to help, but he was possibly too late.  At a certain point when someone has just known one way of life for so long and so much time has passed by, a change in someone where hope is there, sometimes is hard to make happen.  As much as Kevin was willing to try to help this relative he doesn’t even know, Nicky at this point of his life was who he was.

Kevin has always been some what of relatable character on the series. He’s never quite content and there’s always something more he feels he can do if someone is in need of help. He was willing to help his Uncle and be there for him, it was just help that was too little, too late. After Kevin has this relapsed in the heat of his despair and takes many drinks in, it was as though he wanted so badly to help this relative of his and his help was just not wanted. Kevin couldn’t make it better.  The past in many ways was too strong to overcome the hopefulness Kevin had when he started this journey of just wanting to know more about his father. The image of Kevin riding in the car in the passenger seat again years later showed how Kevin is just still that little kid at heart. The little kid who just wanted to help and make his Uncle’s life better.

Unfortunately, that was not the case here.  So many years had passed and it seemed in many ways too much had gone on by.  That hopeful and happy family reunion that Kevin was possibly expecting might happen, didn’t happen.  This reunion wouldn’t be one of laughter and talks of better times.  But with a small maybe of a possible try from Nicky to seek some kind of treatment at least.

After mostly an uneven season that Season 3 started off being, the show is starting to feel like that show again that we have all come to know and love. Every show no matter how good can have an off season or some off episodes. That might have been the case with the start of this current season, but like with anything that is good it has found its way back around again. And this TV Nerd is forever happy about that!

That Feeling Of Spring In The Air (Again)….

20190110_191934In the first week of February, we here on the east coast experienced something glorious! Spring like weather. And yes, I am aware that weather like this during this time of the year is quite concerning because cold is all we are suppose to be feeling until around the month of April or so.  On the other hand though, I feel like I always feel a few months into winter which is that “I am soooooo over it”. So it was nice, even though warmth in the air shouldn’t be here at the moment. It was a nice reminder that in a few months warmer weather will be in the air again with just a little bit of patience and time.

I saw that sunshine outside and just had to go out and take it all in. The sun was shining so bright that I, in fact, even with my sunglasses on was like “So much sun! So bright!”. I went to a nearby beach/boardwalk that I often go to to remember that in just a few months swimming in the ocean/pool well be a thing again. A thing again that I very much live for.  It’s here at this local boardwalk where I go to this remind myself that there are other seasons during the year besides that of the winter one.

20181207_235043The very first article I ever wrote on my blog was all about that of this little tree that was put up on a beach sand dune at this local beach of mine.  How when I would see this little tree on a beach sand dune it just simply made my winter last year just a little bit brighter.  It was this little tree standing up against the mighty ocean and bitter cold.  It just seemed so out of place and just not something you see everyday on a beach in the middle of winter.  This little tree has returned once again to my local beach this winter and seeing it has once again brightened and warmed my spirit during theses cold winter days again. I even named it “Sandy Sue”. I don’t know why, the name just called to me I guess. It’s super silly, but every time I make my way to the boardwalk, even on the coldest of days, I say a little “hello” when I get there and a “goodbye” when I leave the boardwalk to this little tree on a beach sand dune that I named a “Sandy Sue”.   One day this winter when I was feeling adventurous I climbed the sand dune that this little tree of sunshine stands proudly on and did my best impersonation of “Supergirl” as I stood next to this little tree that always continues to bring a smile to my face every time I see it.  Did I probably look ridiculous?  But of course!  But who cares, right!  A moment in time this gal will surely always remember as a moment getting me through…. “ugh, winter 2019”.20190210_172602

This winter such as the last one before it, was once again made just a little bit more okay by just seeing this little tree at the beach.  Seeing it continues to make these cold winters months a bit more brighter in an otherwise just annoying part of the year in the northeast region.

Also, an ironic something, something I noticed every time I’ve been to the boardwalk to see that beautiful blue ocean sea this winter is that on the coldest of days the ocean is still.  No waves, as though it is a lake.  The water is so still and so calm, barely a wave in sight.  And then on this warm sunny day in February with a spring like feeling to it, the ocean became alive again.  As I was exiting my car I heard something I hadn’t heard in months, the ever mighty roar of the ocean waves again.  It’s as though the ocean had been awoken after so many cold bitter winter days and was also saying a “thank you” for that reminder that spring/summer will be here again soon with each and every loud wave that hit the sandy shore.

Clearly at this point of my life, feeling the way I do about these long cold winter months I should probably just move already to a region where just because it’s winter that doesn’t mean there will be a winter chill in the air. Maybe one day. Until then I’ll just be that annoying gal saying how she just can’t wait until spring and summer are here again.

TV Show Theme Songs…. Where Did They Go?

I watch TV. Probably more than most, in all honesty. Where life doesn’t make sense most days anymore I turn to TV. Since I watch quite a few programs on the good old tube, something has become apparent to me.  TV Show Theme Songs, where did they go?

20190122_173408Once upon a time, TV Show theme songs were everywhere, every show had their own. There are theme songs for some shows that are so popular that even if you haven’t watched that series you probably are still aware of its theme song. You had “The Golden Girls” and “Full House”, for example. Iconic TV Show theme songs. Do I remember every word 20190122_173618to these widely popular known theme songs?  Well…. no.  But I’m definitely aware of the songs for those series and know most of the words if those shows were to appear on TV.  Theme songs are just simply fun and after watching a few episodes of a series it’s a nice introduction before you start watching an episode of your favorite show.

Original TV Show theme songs for where a song is written and made especially for a TV Show are just not around as much these days anymore. There are still a few series currently playing now as well as of the last few years to have original theme songs, but not nearly as many series have one as they use to.  Having that of an original theme song for a series was just a trend of the times, I guess.

Theme songs for TV these days come in a variety of forms beside that of an original tune and can range from just music to only captions on screen.  Certain series having that upbeat fun theme song just wouldn’t make much sense to have.  Many series of now currently opt for just a music theme song instead of a lyrical one.  Usually series that follow that format for a theme song are ones that are more along the lines of being a thriller, mystery, or medical vibe. A lyrical theme song would obviously seem out of place for a series in any of the genres like the ones just mentioned. Programs which have that of a more serious tone are better suited to having a theme song which would just consist of having music only vs. that song and dance routine.

20181226_010155 (2)One series in particular that is my current favorite for just a music theme song is that of Succession on HBO.  Composer Nicholas Britell, has written a score for this series as well as its theme song that is just so well done.  Anytime you hear a note of music play whether it be the theme song to a moment in the show, you feel as though this music is another character in the series.  The tone of it is just so rich in sound.  The whole music themed introduction just embodies the theme of the series so extremely well.  The show is all about power and how to keep it.  The musical tone is strong and fierce and just has that vibe of “Don’t Mess With Me” when its playing.  On screen as the music is playing the credits are appearing on screen at the same time, along with a small glimpse into what this series is about.

This introduction consisting of just a minute or so, shows how things change and in many ways stay the same.  How things and places and people evolve over time.  In the series the father Logan, has gotten older but at the same time his children who are older now as well, still feel that power that he can have over them.  Even though they are all older now, Logan still has that hold over them and what he says goes.

There’s a moment in the theme song where there’s an image of the family in the past all together sitting at table (probably for an outdoor dinner) and Logan is at the head of the table and you see his back to the camera.  Then a moment later you see the same image but it is now the present and Logan is still in charge at the head of the table in a board room and his back is to the camera.  It’s a strong image, resembling how Logan will always be in charge, no matter how much time has passed on by.  The music playing in the theme song is quite remarkable in detailing that transition of time going on but things staying the same as well, without any words being spoken at all.

Jodi - Good Doc Pict# 10Another notable music theme song currently on the air now is “The Good Doctor” on ABC.  This is a new favorite of mine for a series with just a music introduction. The music plays over medical images and ends with a picture of Einstein’s brain with the title of the series over it.  Dan Romer, who is the composer of this series music, has perfectly captured the spirit of the series in its theme song.  It’s simple yet brilliant.  The theme song for The Good Doctor may only last a mere few seconds, but it’s music that stays with you.  It’s an introduction into this world for this series that works extremely well. If I were to hear that music I instantly would know that it was for the TV Show, The Good Doctor.

20190124_181307The true test of a great music introduction for a series is if you know what show it is by just a few notes being played.  One more series favorite for a show with a music theme song is for a show which is no longer on the air.  Regardless of that, this is a show that will always be my favorite series of all time and that show is Six Feet Under, formerly on HBO.  Written by composer Thomas Newman, it is just a classic and when I hear it, I just think “Six Feet Under”.  The series dealt with loss, tragedy, and death.  The theme song blended that of a musical tone with images appearing on screen representing life and death, the beginning and the end.  Blue skies, flowers alive and then not, crows, a person being prepared for their resting place in the afterlife.  For a show with a very existential feeling, the theme music for the series didn’t feel sad or down.  Six Feet Under was a series that even with its subject matter of constantly dealing with death, the feelings in the tone of its music theme song felt of peacefulness and calmness, and how life still goes on even when sadness is around us.

20190122_174601There are some series for where a theme song of any nature is non- existent.  Another way of a series introducing us into the start of an episode sometimes is simply with just the credits being show.  They appear on screen and then go back and forth between credits being shown and the episode starting.  No theme song or music involved, but it can be just as effective and can draw you in even more.  A series such as The Closer, formerly on TNT, is a great example of a show that didn’t have a theme song or even music before an episode started, but faded in and out with the title of the series followed by credits.

UnReal, a recently finished series on Lifetime and then Hulu, is also another great example of that kind of introduction for a series.  Although, there was a small amount of a musical for that one. The title of the series and credits were in a rosy red. The show dealt with a Bachelor/Bachelorette themed like reality show and the color of that rosy red was perfect resembling roses.

20190122_175145Sometimes TV Show theme songs come in the form of a song already in existence.  Such as for the series, Gilmore Girls (formerly on the WB and the CW).  Watching this series was always one I enjoyed, especially its theme song.  I just loved it!  Years later, I went to see Beautiful on Broadway.20190122_190247-e1548290252289.jpg  It’s a musical about the life of Carole King and the musical features some of her most popular tunes.  All of a sudden I hear the song “Where You Lead” and it sounded so familiar.  I literally had no idea that the theme song for Gilmore Girls was a real song.  I always thought of it as the theme song for Gilmore Girls, so it was pretty cool to find this out.

As you can see by now TV Show theme songs these days come in more than just one formation.  Some series benefit from not having one sometimes and that way of an introduction for a series can be just as effective and just as memorable as lyrics to a song.  Although, who doesn’t love an original TV Show theme song written just for a show? I do!  I do!

They are just fun.  An original TV Show theme song for a series these days on TV is almost like seeing (hearing) a unicorn. They are just rare and in short supply. Although, there are a few shows on TV right now and some of the last few years that have kept alive that TV tradition of having a good old memorable tune before tuning into your favorite series. So being the TV Nerd that I am, of course I have a few favorites!

20180921_0253591. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)- This gem on the CW Network instantly became not only one of my favorite series on TV, but also one of my #1 Favorite TV Show Theme Song(s) Ever. I should clarify how this is a series that didn’t have just one theme song for its whole run, but a different one every season to capture what was happening on that particular season. So, how can you not love that!  The composing team of Rachel Bloom, Adam Schlesinger, Jack Dolgen and Steven M. Gold, all brought a brilliant level of such creativity and spunk into every song featured in this series, and its theme songs were no different.  Such creativity, smarts, and wit went into every season’s theme song.  This show currently in its last season (cue…. Me being bummed) continues to be one of the most smart, creative and insightful programs on the air.

I previously mentioned of how each season’s theme song dealt with the season it was in. The series was always evolving and that change of tone from season to season changed as well for its theme songs.  I’ll briefly talk now about each of those theme songs.  There will be a few spoilers while discussing this subject.

Season One is where it all started.  It was just a brief random encounter with her ex-boyfriend from summer camp that made Rebecca decide to up and move across the country from NYC to West Covina, California.  During the song, it’s basically about everyone calling her crazy for making this drastic move.

The theme song for Season Two, was Rebecca expressing how when she’s in love she might act a bit erratic and sometimes act a bit crazy, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy.  That just means she’s in love.

The theme song for Season Three, dealt with Rebecca’s diagnosis of having borderline personality disorder.  When the season started you didn’t know this, but there were the clues in the theme song.  It featured Rebecca dressing in different personas that would later make sense why the creators featured her like that in that season’s theme song.

The theme song for Season Four, is basically Rebecca owning who she is.  She’s someone whose made mistakes and she’s trying to learn from them and just be a better person.  The theme song starts off with girl who looks so happy and someone who seems like she has it all so together.  She just gives off that impression of how she’s just “winning at life”.  She is casually riding a bike in the middle of the day with a smile on her face.  The song starts off with saying how “That’s Rebecca!”.  Then it says “Wait!  That’s the wrong Rebecca”, the real Rebecca is sitting on a park bench waving “hi”.  The Rebecca riding the bike is the one with it all together and perfect.  The Rebecca sitting on that park bench is a bit more complicated.

I kind of interpret that as the creators saying how Rebecca wishes she could be that Rebecca, the one casually riding a bike with no care in the world, the one with it all together.  But instead she has issues, she has flaws, she’s complicated, but that’s who she is and she’s finally accepting that that’s just her.  One of my most favorite lines of the current theme song is “Meet Rebecca! She’s too hard to summarize!”, I mean, just love! And if you watch the show, you totally get why that’s a genius line. Rebecca is complicated, but at the end of the day who isn’t.

20190122_1849062. Psych (USA Network)- This series has been off the air for several years now, but it did not too long ago have an awesome reunion movie. I have been a long time fan of Psych since it’s very first episode on the USA Network many years ago. It was such a lively fun and energetic show20190124_181853 with laugh out loud performances. It was a silly series with heart and one that I will always be recommending to anyone who has yet to ever see this gem of a series (Pssstt… It’s available on Amazon!).  The theme song was created by the creator of the series Steve Franks’s band.  It had a lively tune with fun lyrics and it was definitely a theme song that got me singing those fun lyrics before tuning into every episode to watch.

20190122_1828443. The Goldbergs (ABC)- Currently in its 6th Season on the ABC Network, is a series that is all about embracing that thing of nostalgia. Taking place in the 80s, The Goldbergs is a series that remembers all about that TV Show Theme Song craze thanks in part to its creator, Adam F. Goldberg. The series is somewhat based on his life20190122_183027 in the times of the 80s and embracing that nostalgia of the past.  A fun theme song was written for the show by the band, I Fight Dragons.  Throughout the song items representing a sign of those times are featured.  A VCR tape is put into a VCR with a label of “The Goldbergs” on it and then the episode begins. Yes, before DVR and Netflix was a thing, you had to record programs on a VCR. Sometimes technology improvement isn’t the worst thing ever.

20190122_1822424. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)- Currently in its 12th and last season on CBS now, The Big Bang Theory is a series where its theme song fits in perfectly with the concept of the series. For those of you living under a rock for the past 12 years, The Big Bang Theory is about a group of nerds in all fields of science. Sure the series has changed and added new characters and evolved to being more about than just nerds picking up comic books. At its heart, its a series about true friendship along with the brains and minds of those in higher education.20190122_182227 The theme song was written and recorded by the band, The Barenaked Ladies.  Thousands of images are featured in a matter of just seconds representing people and things and life evolving over time.  These fast moving images show the progress of how things have evolved since the beginning of time.  How things are always changing, always evolving.

20190122_1832525. Felicity (WB)- Yes, it’s been awhile since our favorite college student has graduated from NYU, but the theme song or songs I should say will always be one of my go-to favorites. The show had two different theme songs for the entirety of its series, but my favorite one would have to go to the theme song for the last two seasons called “New Version of You” co-written especially for the show by J.J. Abrams and Andrew Jarecki. It was a simple theme introduction with pictures of the characters and the song representing a new version of who Felicity and the characters were becoming or hoping to be. Some theme songs are just iconic and Felicity’s two theme songs definitely were, for sure.

A bit of a backstory with me and the TV Show Felicity. Um…… I loved it!  I am complete and utter fan of this series, even after the whole deal of Felicity cutting her hair a few episodes into Season Two. You may not have watched this show, but there’s probably a chance you heard about “the hair cut”. To me, it was like “Whatever. I love this show!”. But the ratings for the series did go down after this “haircut incident” to which I say “REALLY!”.

Anyway, growing up I wasn’t the TV Nerd I am today.  I watched a few shows growing up, but usually never remembered when they were on so I always was missing episodes and with no Netflix existing yet I usually ended up just not watching many shows. Than came Felicity on the WB. This was the one series I never forgot when it was on, with the exception of just one episode. Although, they changed their scheduled air date at the time so I did forget it was on that one time.  I loved this show and I loved the characters. When I was watching this series, people actually leaving home and attending college at the time seemed so far away. The show started when I was a Freshman in High School and ended when I was a Senior. So in a way I graduated when Felicity graduated.

20190122_193829About a year and a half after I graduated from High School, I went into the city to see a Broadway show (Movin’ Out) in October of 2003. This is just something one one does when one is that of a Theater Dork.  The actor Scott Foley, who many of you may now know from Scandal (formerly on ABC), played the character of Noel on Felicity before he was Jake on Scandal.  In the fall of 2003, he was apart of an ensemble cast in a new play on Broadway called “The Violet Hour”.  This show was reopening a theater called at the time the Biltmore Theater (these days that theater goes by the name of the Samuel J. Friedman theater).  There was a massive renovation and this was the first show going into that theater in many years. There was a dedication ceremony to remember this moment.  It was this big event.  The mayor at the time, Mayor Bloomberg, along with members of the MTC (the non-for-profit theater company that took over the theater), as well as actors Liev Schreiber and Brian Stokes Mitchell, were in attendance. I had no idea this event was even going to be happening, I just happen to be in the city that day walking around before seeing Movin’ Out. So I got to witness this whole thing and it’s something I never forgot.  As someone who loves theater this was really cool to see in person and be apart of this moment.

20190122_183323About an hour or so later on, I was walking by this theater again on my way to eat before my seeing Movin’ Out and I saw none other than Noel…ahem, I mean Scott Foley on the stoop of the theater’s stage door with a fellow cast member. That fellow cast member later turned into his sister- in- law, as Foley married her sister. See the awesomeness of theater bringing people together! I20190122_193117 walked by at first and than I thought, “OMG! I can’t just walk by!  It’s Scott Foley!  It’s Noel!”. So my nervous self went up and said how much I was a fan of Felicity and that was basically it. He was super nice and to this day I am still so in shock how I randomly got to meet someone from one of my favorite shows of all time. Man, the randomness of life sometimes can be pretty cool!

20190122_183753Another random “Felicity” encounter was when I saw Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway.  It was a bit of a celebrity encounter of sorts with a few TV personalities, in fact.  I went to see this play and to my left was sitting Kevin McKidd of Grey’s Anatomy, in front of me was Marsha Mason of many projects most recently The Middle, and behind me was none other than one of the co- creators of Felicity…. J.J.Abrams!!!!  Like, WHAT!  Yup!  Sure he’s done a lot of projects since Felicity, but Felicity will always be one of those TV20190122_190625 Series that just holds a special place in my heart .  And no, I didn’t say anything to any of them because they as well as myself were there to enjoy a show being put up on stage and that wouldn’t of been the time to fangirl out.  Plus, I always get super nervous and shy around my TV idols.  Either way, it was still super cool!  Okay, me and my fangirl self and pointless but hopefully fun backstory aside on the TV Series Felicity is done with now, so moving on…..

20190122_175658TV Show theme songs, whether it be a theme song of just music or an original one with some catchy lyrics and a cool tune are just simply fun!  These days theme songs may not be at the very start of an episode, but happen a mere few moments later on.  Either way, it’s a set up for the tone of a series. I’ve always loved a good theme song and will continue to, for I am a TV Nerd now through and through.

And The Nominees Are… The Golden Globes 2019…

20190104_172113In the year of 2018, amazing television shows of every genre were made along with amazing performances that were able to keep us glued to our TV screens. The phrase “it’s just an honor to be nominated” is something people think other people just say.  We are living in a time currently of hundreds of great shows being produced as well as getting to witness such incredible performances by such talented performers.  Therefore, getting that recognition of being nominated with a nomination is truly an honor.  With the Golden Globes coming up on Sunday, I thought what better time than now to discuss my thoughts on what got nominated as well as what I think should and will win.

I would be the worst voter if I was a voter for this award show simply because I loved absolutely everything and everyone that got a nomination.  Well at least the shows  I was able to make it to watching at the time I’m writing this article.  The shows were fantastic, the performances were fantastic! I feel my Chidi like self coming on but I’m going to try to put my indecisiveness aside for the time being and be that person who is decisive and pick my choices for what/who should take home those coveted awards on Sunday.

The Golden Globes cover both the best in TV and Movies of the year.  Being more of a TV Nerd this article will only cover the nominations on the side of television.

*Best Drama*

POSE (FX) *Killing Eve (BBC)*Bodyguard (Netflix)*Homecoming (Amazon)*The Americans (FX)

Thoughts:

What a category of amazing shows! I am such a complete fan of these TV Dramas.  The TV Nerd in me is completely happy to say that I have watched all of these shows!  Therefore, I feel that I can fully make a decision on what TV Drama I would like to see take home the award. That being said, if I could I would give a Golden Globe to every single one of these dramas because that’s how much of a fan I am of all of these Drama Series.

POSE was one of the best new series to premiere on TV this summer. A thoughtful and groundbreaking new series that was just simply perfection in every episode. Killing Eve was a crazy thriller with sharp wit. It was a show that kept you guessing what would happen next in every episode with a finale that is the definition of a “cliffhanger”! Bodyguard was a show that once it started didn’t stop for one moment. It was action packed, kept you on the edge of your seat not knowing any answers to any questions until that very last episode. Homecoming, a thriller that starts off with that of a slightly softer and slower tone that still managed to excite, scare, and thrill.  A new series with a finale that had twinkle of hope after such hardship. The Americans, what can I say about this show that hasn’t been said already. It’s perfect and a show that finally after a few seasons started to get that much deserved recognition.

All of these TV Dramas are all amazing and spectacular series that to only pick one and not all to win Best TV Drama is to say the least a super hard decision.  These nominated programs here are the definition of television at its very finest!

Decisions… Decisions… Decisions….

My choice (as well as what I think will win) for Best TV Drama goes to…..

20190104_175510

This show like I have already said before was just simply perfection.  A series that knew itself, knew its characters, and knew the story it wanted to tell. It never had a dull or off season.  It was a show that only continued to grow as a series.  You saw the characters change and evolve.  I always describe The Americans as that quiet show that packs a punch. Which in a way is also a description of how it took a few seasons for this gem to get some recognition in the award show circuit as well as people in general just becoming more aware of this series.

20190104_175330It was a show that wasn’t flashy or in your face.  That non-flashy factor is the only reason for possibly why this amazing series went under the radar for the first few seasons.  Although, thankfully that’s the case anymore and this is a series that for anyone whose ever watched it will tell you how great it was. Thanks in part to amazing writers who had a vision of where they wanted their story to go and told it. The series wasn’t a happy one or one that warmed your heart. It was a gritty one that was action packed with sadness behind its eyes. It was a series that stood out with amazing performances that continued to break your heart every season.

20190104_174646The series finale of The Americans is one of perfection. For a series that continued to be great season after season it would be a nice to see this show win for Best TV Drama for their final season. My favorite series finale of all time is for that of Six Feet Under (HBO). I have to say though, the series finale for The Americans is a real close second favorite and could definitely go toe to toe with Six Feet Under’s as being one of the best series finales of all time. It was a finale that was heartbreaking and sad, and a finale that stays with you and is one you don’t forget. Not everything was tied up at the end in a perfect bow where everything was perfectly resolved. Normally that would be frustration as a viewer, but here in The Americans is just simply worked.

*Best Comedy*

The Good Place (NBC)*The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)*Barry (HBO)*Kidding (Showtime)*The Kominsky Method (Netflix)

Thoughts:

Yet another amazing category of such amazing shows.  I can’t fully say they are all great series because I’m not fully caught up on all of them.  The one series that I haven’t fully watched yet is that of The Kominsky Method.  Up to now I have only seen just one episode of that series.  It’s good and definitely has the potential to be a great series, but at the time I started watching it I wasn’t really in the mood for it. I’ll get back to it eventually it at some point or other.

This is another amazing category, but one that is a bit off. It is always somewhat annoying when a show that is clearly a drama is put in the comedy category. The Good Place is a comedy. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a comedy. Barry is a comedy, a dark comedy. Kidding is not in the very least a comedy. It’s the definition of a drama. A sad drama that’s also very much an existential program. It’s a great new series but it is not a comedy in the least. This is a case where just because a series is a half hour does not make it a comedy. It’s a drama and a great one, but it is annoying how it gets put in the comedy category and takes away the chance for an actual comedy to get a nomination. Same thing with The Kominsky Method. Granted I’ve only seen the 1st episode so I can’t fully comment, but from that one episode I didn’t really get that laugh out loud funny vibe.  Yet another drama that is a half hour being put in the comedy category simply only because of the time length of its episodes.  So I’m really only considering The Good Place, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Barry to be contenders in this category of Best TV Comedy.

Decisions…. Decisions….Decisions….

My choice for Best TV Comedy goes to…..

20180921_032212

20190104_180359Barry and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are amazingly incredible series for where I can’t say enough of “Watch these shows! I heart them!”. My choice at the end of it just has to go to The Good Place. Currently in its 3rd Season on NBC, it’s a series that has managed to only improve over time and just get better and better in every season.  Regardless of not being a new series, it’s a show people continue to gush about and talk about because it’s just simply that good. It’s The Forking Good Place! It’s unique. It’s original. It20190104_181003 (1) has loads of charm. It has characters with personalities that are one of a kind and are anything but “ya basic” (Oh, Eleanor. Thank you!). It’s a series that once people start watching continue with and don’t ditch.  What can I say I just forking love Chidi, Eleanor, Tahani, Jason, Janet, and Michael and I just want to see them on that forking stage and giving a forking thank you speech because The Good Place just forking rocks!

What Will Win:20190104_173258

*Best Actor – Drama*

Jason Bateman – Ozark (Netflix)*Stephan James – Homecoming (Amazon) *Matthew Rhys – The Americans (FX)*Billy Porter – POSE (FX)*Richard Madden – Bodyguard (Netflix)

Thoughts:

Wow! All these performances were just beyond amazing from every actor nominated in this category for Best Actor in a Drama Series.

Jason Bateman continued in Ozark’s 2nd Season to only grow in his performance. His portrayal of Marty, a man who seems like he’s always about to have an emotional breakdown in every scene just shows Bateman’s talent. His performance here in Ozark continues to just stand out and show his range as an actor in one of his most iconic roles to date.

Stephan James plays Walter Cruz, a soldier back home from war.  His performance in Homecoming as Walter is one that is soft and calm but memorable at the same time.  James is a great up and coming new actor with an amazing presence on screen. He goes toe to toe with mega- star Roberts and can hold his own giving a performance that you will remember.

Matthew Rhys on the final season of The Americans once again gives a remarkable performance as Philip.  Rhys gives memorable portrayal of a man wanting more with his life but stuck in the one he has.  Philip is a character who you can always tell has that sadness behind his eyes. In the final season Philip gets out of the spy game.  It is no longer something he can do. He tries instead of living an average but hopefully fulfilling life outside of that, even though Elizabeth is still a spy.  He now is working full time at the travel agency and tries to have hobbies that anyone else would have.  It’s short lived as he is pulled back into his past. As much as he tried to be that average everyday regular person with a 9 to 5 job, fate had other plans in mind.  Rhys performance on this series was that of incredible talent and a performance on a series that will be talked for many years to come, even after the conclusion of this remarkable series.

Billy Porter mostly known for his stage work is a complete pleasure to see here on the small screen in POSE. He had such an incredible presence portraying the character of Pray Tell. His character tells it like it is at The Ball as the show’s announcer. His line deliveries are everything and he never holds back what he’s thinking. Porter on POSE is perfection.  Porter’s performance stands out and has depth and substance. Any time he’s on screen it’s a moment that you remember.

Richard Madden mostly known as Rob Stark on Game of Thrones, now plays a man named David Budd on Netflix’s Bodyguard. Rob Stark who? That’s what you’ll be thinking after seeing Madden’s performance on Bodyguard.  It’s a memorable performance and one that stays with you. Madden is on screen almost constantly and he portrays every possible emotion that a person on the verge of a breakdown would go through. The finale showed Budd go through an impossible and terrifying ordeal and Madden’s performance kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time entire time.

This is a hard decision with all these amazing performances.

Decisions…. Decisions…. Decisions…..

My choice (as well as who I think will win) for Best Actor in a Drama Series goes to… Matthew Rhys – The Americans20190104_174033

*Best Actress – Drama*

Keri Russell – The Americans (FX)*Sandra Oh- Killing Eve (BBC)*Julia Roberts- Homecoming (Amazon)*Caitriona Balfe- Outlander (Starz)*Elisabeth Moss- The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

Thoughts:

Broken record over here, but amazing performances! I love Outlander, but I haven’t watched Season 4 for which Caitriona Balfe is nominated for. So I can’t really comment on her performance for this nomination. Although, I’ve seen up to Season 4 and Balfe always has given a great performance on this series as Claire and I imagine Season 4 is no different.

Sandra Oh’s performance as Eve on Killing Eve was one that was incredibly strong.  Eve, a person who had a great job and great family.  Oh showed Eve’s want for more.  That more out of her life that she didn’t even know she really wanted until she started chasing after Villanelle. Something in Eve became alive and Oh perfectly portrayed those feelings of not listening to common sense and going for something you know you’ll end up regretting later on.

Julia Roberts on a TV Show is a big deal. Mostly known for her film work, Roberts portrays a character who can’t remember her past as Heidi Bergman. She is a waitress. Than one day a man from the government comes to question her about her time working at a facility known as “Homecoming”. Not remembering anything from this time in her past, she delves into what her role was exactly at Homecoming and why she can’t remember anything. Roberts performance as Heidi is quite remarkable. It’s a soft and subtle performance and it’s never in your face. Her range to be able to give and hold back is perfection.

Elisabeth Moss’s performance for Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale continues to be a performance that stands out. Moss is delivering the performance of her career as Offred. Moss as Offred makes you feel every emotion as a woman who just wants her life back and is put in a place not of her own free will. Her performance on Season 2 at times just broke your heart and you felt all of her characters emotions in every single scene.

Keri Russell on The Americans was a performance that you remember. Not only for Season 6 which she is nominated for, but for the complete series entirely. Russell as Elizabeth was a character who never faltered from her missions. She was never a warm character and always had the missions in the forefront of her mind at all times. That took importance over all. Russell portrayed a character who was one that wasn’t very likable. A character that you were in fear of because you knew what she was capable of. Russell made the performance of her career up to now in The Americans. In the series finale, there was a moment where Russell gave a look as she saw her daughter Paige decide to stay in the US.  As she and Philip are on this train leaving the US, Elizabeth sees Paige  outside of the train and that look of her heart being broken follows and that heartbreak is shown in Elizabeth’s eyes. It’s a look that stays with you. It’s a look of despair and complete sadness. And even though Elizabeth wasn’t a good person your heart broke for her in this moment.

Decisions…. Decisions….. Decisions…..

My choice (as well as who I think will win) for Best Actress in a Drama Series goes to…. Keri Russell – The Americans

 

*Best Actor – Comedy*

Jim Carrey- Kidding*Michael Douglas- The Kominsky Method*Bill Hader- Barry*Sasha Baron Cohen- Who is America?*Donald Glover- Atlanta

Thoughts:

Considering how I felt Kidding and The Kominsky Method don’t qualify as comedies, I don’t really think that Carrey and Douglas should be in this category of comedy, but more for the category of drama. I can’t really comment also on Douglas’s performance as I have only seen 1 episode to date. I am such a fan of Donald Glover and of Atlanta. I really like the 1st Season. As the saying goes sometimes of “I don’t have enough space on the DVR therefore some shows I can’t record and have to wait for the season to go up on Hulu to than watch the latest season” and that is why I’m behind on Atlanta Season 2.  That’s why I can’t really comment on Glover’s most recent performance on Atlanta.  I have never seen the appeal of Sasha Baron Cohen’s shows. Sorry to those that are fans, I’ve just never had any interest in his shows and can’t comment on his performance as I did not see any episodes of Who is America?.

Regardless of how I feel of how Kidding is a drama and isn’t in the right category, Carrey does give an amazing performance as Jeff Pickles. His character is a man who is a TV Host and Personality of an iconic children’s television program on PBS. His character on his TV Show is someone who is always happy, always has the answers to any questions, and never goes through anything that would be considered traumatic. In his real life though, Jeff recently lost one of his son’s in a horrific car accident. Not truly coming to terms with this trauma and loss and being the host of a TV Program were he always has to be happy, Jeff slowly becomes a man breaking down bit by bit. Carrey’s performance as Jeff breaks your heart as you see him just completely break down.

Bill Hader as Barry on Barry is one of the best performances of 2018. Hader mostly known as that funny guy from SNL completely shines in this new role. Hader shows his range as an actor who can perform both that of comedy and drama. As Barry, Hader portrays a man who kind of just happens to have fallen into his current profession. He’s an assassin who decides acting is what he really wants to do with his life.  It’s decided, he is now an actor. Not wanting to throw that dream of being an actor away, but not being able to get out of his current profession, Hader shows a person not conflicted but stuck. A person wanting to get away from what he became and become who he really wants to actually be.

Decisions… Decisions…. Decisions…

My choice (as well as who I think will win) for Best Actor in a Comedy Series goes to…  Bill Hader20190104_173110

*Best Actress – Comedy*

Kristen Bell- The Good Place (NBC)*Rachel Brosnahan- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)*Allison Brie- GLOW (Netflix)*Candice Bergen- Murphy Brown (CBS)*Debra Messing- Will And Grace (NBC)

Thoughts:

In 2018, we had memorable performances from all of these leading ladies nominated here in this very category.

Kristen Bell continues to be anything but “YA BASIC!” as Eleanor on The Good Place. Eleanor tells it like it is but has come to realize there’s a nicer way to do that than being harsh or rude.  Bell has a comic wit and charm in her portrayal of Eleanor.  A character who has evolved some much from Season 1 to the current Season 3.

Rachel Brosnahan on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is simply perfection on this series as Midge Maisel.  In Season 1 we saw Midge struggle at first when her husband left her.  She accidentally stumbles upon comedy and finds herself as a comedian.  She finds unexpected happiness out of the unfortunate mess she was put into by her husband. In Season 2 Brosnahan once again shines.  Brosnahan is an actress with such a wonderful presence on screen playing Midge. A character that has charm, humor, sass, and a strong willed to be her own person and pursue her passion of comedy with the talent of Brosnahan playing her perfectly in the role.

In this 80s loving wrestling gem on Netflix called GLOW, Allison Brie is brilliant as Ruth. Brie is a great comedic actress and has the ability to make you laugh even at the most awkward of moments. Brie as Ruth, a character who is incapable of giving up and truly believes in the work that she is doing is worth every sacrifice and hardship that it takes.  Brie’s performance as Ruth is one that you continue to root for. To root for a character who has flaws, made mistakes, been knocked down, and still has hope that things can be better. Brie shines in her performance as this character and it’s a performance that you can’t help but root for.

I knew of the original Murphy Brown, but I never watched it. It took a bit of time to warm up to the revival but it grew on me after a few episodes. I quite like Candice Bergen on the revival. She portrays a strong willed character who believes in what she stands for and won’t be deterred.  Murphy Brown has class, she has humor, and it’s nice to finally get why this show and this character were a big deal back in the day.

I love Will and Grace. Debra Messing has a comedic skill that is beyond perfection of just having that ability to make you non- stop laugh. Grace is a character that says it like it is but also has a heart to her. Messing is wonderful in this revival as Grace and continues to be one of the best comedic actresses of our time. Seeing her play Grace again all these years later makes me so happy to see again. Will and Grace continues to be once again one of the best shows on TV thanks to performances like Messing as Grace.

Decisions…. Decisions….. Decisions…..

My choice (as well as who I think will win) for Best Actress in a Comedy Series goes to…… Allison Brie- GLOW20190104_181955

Since I didn’t do better time management and I really like to think of my choices for what shows and what performances I feel deserve these Golden Globes of 2019, I’m going to leave this article with just my choices for Best Drama/Comedy Series along with the performances for Best Actor & Actress for a Drama/Comedy Series.  Plus this article would be even longer if I continued to on babble on and on at this point already.

Did every show I like get nominated or every performance by every actor/actress I adore get recognized for a nomination?  Of course not!  As always every year because of the enormous amount of new and returning content on the art that is television, some shows and some performances go unrecognized by the award show circuit making you as a viewer say “But….WHAT!”.  Those were my exact thoughts when such snubs as Jodie Cromer as Villanelle on Killing Eve (BBC), The House on Haunting Hill on Netflix, and Forever on Amazon all got snubbed for a Golden Globe.  It happens, but at the end of it these were performances or programs that may not of gotten a nomination, but that does not at all undermine the value of how of great of programs or performances they gave in the year of 2018.

20190104_172157There you have it!  Those are my top picks for which performers and shows that I hope to see win some awards at the Golden Globes on Sunday.  Can’t wait to see Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg host this show and see who the winners are.  Awards aren’t everything.  At the end of the day, it’s just fun as a viewer to see your favorite shows with your favorite actors on an award show.  You get to be reminded why television is so great.  There’s something for everyone to enjoy whether it be a thrilling drama to a quirky comedy.  The Golden Globes is a nice way to start the new year by looking back at all that amazing talent that television had to offer in the previous year that we have just waved good bye to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Favorite NEW TV Dramas Of 2018…Part 2

Here again, back this time with “Part 2” of my Top 10 Favorite NEW TV Dramas of 2018.  In “Part 1” of this series, I talked about my new favorite drama shows for #10- #6 featuring and discussing such programs as God Friended Me (CBS), Killing Eve (BBC), Succession (HBO), and Maniac (Netflix).  For “Part 2” now, I will be finishing up this series of articles with my top picks for #5 – #1.

So without any further ado…..

Here.

We.

Go!

20181226_0130505. Dirty John on Bravo.

Cast: Connie Britton, Eric Bana, Jean Smart, Juno Temple, Julia Garner

Dirty John is a series based on the popular podcast of the same name. I am not one that listens to podcasts, but hey maybe one day.  Therefore, I only became aware of this story when I heard about the podcast being adapted for a TV Series that was to be on Bravo.  The story sounded intriguing and with an All-Star Cast attached, this was a series I was most definitely going to be tuning into!

Overview & Thoughts:

20181226_013324The premise for the story of Dirty John sounds like that of a made for Lifetime TV Movie of the Week.  It’s a thriller that involves deceit, lies, and addiction. All the elements that would make a perfect Lifetime Movie. Except the story of Dirty John is not that of fiction, but a true story.  The story and the characters on this show are all very real and all happened in real life.

20181226_013401It’s about a woman named Debra who lives in California.  She is an entrepreneur who runs and owns her own business.  She is the mother to two daughters and one son.  She is successful in her life with a thriving business and loving family.  What’s missing in her life though is love.  She’s been married several times and each time the marriage never lasts.  She’s never found “the one”.  That one person to spend her life beside her side forever and always.  Even though she’s been married several times she’s never given up on love.  She takes a chance on online dating.  That’s when she meets a man named John.

20181226_012749Debra falls fast hard. After only five weeks of knowing each other she and John move into together.  After only eight weeks they marry. Her daughters never came around to trusting John, always feeling as though something was off about him. That’s when her daughter Tara, hires a private detective to check out John’s past. After that, an unraveling of information of his past emerges that blindsides and scares Debra. He is not at all who he claimed to be.  These dark scary sides to John slowly start to come to light bit by bit, making Debra realize how she never really knew him at all.  That he is not the man she thought she knew, but a complete fraud and someone that she must get away from.

The series currently playing on Bravo, hasn’t yet finished its season.  That being said, it’s so insanely good that I knew I had to include it on my list of top favorite new dramas of 2018. It’s crazy to think that this show is based on a true story and not that of fiction. You have to remind yourself of that fact while watching the show.  At times you feel like you’re watching just another TV Drama, but than you remember this was very much in fact a true story written for TV and not a fiction story written for TV.

20181226_013609.jpgWhile never listening to the podcast or reading about this story prior, I have no idea how this story is going to end. The show continues to have twists and turns that you just don’t see coming.  It draws you in with its every moment.  Thanks in part to its amazing cast, its crazy story, the way it was filmed, and its performances. If you haven’t yet tuned in, turned that channel to Bravo now! The story of Dirty John proves that sometimes real life can be just as crazy as any fictional story that you could ever come across in a book, show, or movie.

20180907_001711.jpg4. YOU on Lifetime.

Cast: Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Shay Mitchell, John Stamos

This is the 3rd time I’ve written about the topic of YOU on my Blog. I’ve talked about it in an article about “Book Adaptations of 2018”, as well as in an article about “Books that I Read in 2018”.  Talking about this book and its companion TV Series is always a pleasure simply because both are so insanely flipping good!

Overview & Thoughts:

I read YOU (by Caroline Kepnes) over this past summer and shortly after reading it was quickly swept in. It’s a very dark twisted disturbing read to say the least, but one of the best books and thrillers I’ve ever read.  I read the book in anticipation of the TV Adaptation that was to go on Lifetime. I knew the moment I finished reading the book, that if done properly this would be a fantastic TV Show!  Spoiler Alert: It was indeed done properly to perfection! Making this one of the best Book to TV Series Adaptations of 2018!

20180907_001237 (1).jpgThe story of YOU follows that of Joe Goldberg. He works at Mooney’s Bookstore. One day a girl he’s never seen before comes in. She goes by the name of Beck. They casual flirt as they talk about different authors and books. She pays for her purchases. Joe and Beck exchange their goodbyes. It looks as though the story might end there, but it doesn’t.

20180907_001423-1.jpgYOU is a tale of madness and obsession told from the perspective of the madman, Joe. This series based on the novel of the same name, is a terrifying story of deception narrated by a character who does unspeakable acts in the name of what he considers to be love. YOU is about how looks can be deceiving, especially in the age of social media. And how sometimes we never really know who someone truly is behind that smile until it’s too late.

YOU is the type of story where twists and turns continue from one episode to the next.  It’s unpredictable with moments that truly are shocking.  Kepnes wrote a novel that had all the elements that truly make a great thriller of a read.  That was than transition to TV and its adaptation to the small screen was just as scary, twisted and insane as the novel was exactly.

20181101_015821 (2).jpg3. POSE on FX.

This summer, in my opinion, just didn’t offer that many great new series. Although, there were a few good new ones.  One of those good new ones was a show called POSE on FX. This new series was just beyond fantastic.  POSE is another wonderful show from the mind of Ryan Murphy.  It’s series that just grabs your attention from its very start and where you couldn’t help but want to watch episode after episode.

Cast: Billy Porter, Evan Peters, Mj Rodriguez, Kate Mara, Indy Moore, Dominique Jackson, Ryan Jamaal Swain, James Van Der Beek

Overview & Thoughts:

20181226_154109.jpgThis is a series that takes place in New York City during the late 1980s. The show follows a group of individuals within the LGBTQ community who are just trying to live their lives. These individuals who are friends with each other and eventually become like family to one another. They are trying to find their place to belong in a world that doesn’t give them the same respect as others. They have a place that they can call their own during the midnight hours called “The Ball”.  The Ball is a place where they are respected and can truly be themselves with no judgment from others for simply being who they are.

20181226_153111.jpgThe Ball is a place where they are the stars. During these moments they can just be as they are. They don’t have to hide who they are or who they love. Here they are free of any judgment and can just simply be themselves.  It’s in this environment of friendship, respect and love of just feeling alive and supported by others who have a mutual respect for one another. The outside world can be cruel and harsh and cold. Inside The Ball, life is happy, life is fabulous, life is glitz and glamour for days. It’s here where life is that wonderful and that happy, if only for a few hours. Where that judgment and harshness disappears and 20181226_154248.jpglife can just be simple and wonderful and happy for some bit of time.

There are many different storylines throughout this 1st Season of POSE.  One main storyline is that of friendship and family.  A lot of these characters are abandoned or disowned by their families for loving who they love or wanting to be who they really are.  Family, the people who are suppose to love you unconditionally no matter who you love or who you are are sometimes the people that can let you down the most.  It’s sometimes the kindness of strangers who become friends who turn into family that can be that family that you never had.  Sometimes family are not the people who gave you life, but those friends that love you and love you for who you are.

20181226_153804 (1)POSE is a show that makes you feel, think, and realize how at the end of the day we are all just people trying to live life in this world.  How at the end of the day we are all the same.  We all have hopes.  We all have dreams.  We all deserve respect.  As far as 1st Season’s go this one was astoundingly perfect and it recently just got nominated for a Golden Globe that was very much well deserved!  The performances and story in POSE makes it a series that you won’t soon forget.

20181226_015111.jpg2. The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix.

This series is based on the Shirley Jackson novel of the same name.  I have to admit as one who likes to read a book before watching its adaptation, this was a time when I ended up watching the adaptation first and skipping the novel. Although, after watching the Netflix series I’m definitely hoping to check out the book in 2019. This series was fantastic from start to finish. It was truly just a wonderfully done series and possibly the scariest show I’ve ever seen.

Cast: Timothy Hutton, Carla Gugino, Michel Huisman, Henry Thomas, Elisabeth Reaser

Overview & Thoughts:

20181226_013922.jpgThe Haunting of Hill House can be described as “This Is Us” with a supernatural element to it.  The story follows the Crain family in the early 1990s. The parents, Hugh and Olivia, renovate and flip houses as a profession.  Their latest house renovation to flip is for a mansion that is referred to in the series as “Hill House”.  Hugh and Olivia than move their whole family into Hill House to live in for the next several months as this renovation is to take place.

Hugh and Olivia, have done these type of house renovations several times before. This house renovation is just like any other job to them….at first. Slowly, all the children and parents start to hear and see strange things in the house. Things that don’t seem to make any sense. Things that can’t be explained.20181226_013907

The series flash forwards between the past and present during the course of the season. We see what went on during the family’s stay at “Hill House” in the past and how their time spent in Hill House affected them in their later years. The constant question of the series becomes was there really something supernatural in Hill House or were all the bizarre occurrences that took place there really just in their minds?

20181226_014034This series did something that you don’t see a lot in the horror genre. It deals with loss, it deals with sadness and it deals with how we sometimes can be held back by our past. The past which if you let it can hold you back from moving forward in your present and future. Those elements of grief and loss are just one part of the story here in this series.  The other is that of the supernatural element.  That unexplained scariness that makes this show one of the scariest I’ve ever seen on TV. Without giving anything away, there’s a lot more to the story than meets the eye in the story of “The Haunting of Hill House”.

20181124_014622-2.jpg1. Forever on Amazon Prime.

For my all time favorite new show of the year, in any category, it just simply had to go to “Forever”.  This one of a kind gem is one that I’d like to refer to as an “existential comedy”. Being more of the existential side, I put this show on the drama category side. It dealt with a lot of deep issues told in a slightly comical way at times.

Cast: Fred Armisen, Maya Ruldolph, Catherine Keener, Noah Robbins

Overview & Thoughts: I wrote about this show a while ago if you’re looking for an more in-depth overview, be sure to check out my previous article on “Forever”.

20181124_011953 (1).jpgThis quirky and delightfully perfect gem of a series follows that of June and Oscar. They meet, fall in love, get married. After several years of marriage, a routine emerges for this couple.  Wake up, work, dinner, sleep. Some don’t mind routine (Oscar).  While some hope for more out of life and for some excitement with new experiences instead that of day to day routine for their life (June).

20181124_034552 (2).jpgForever is a show that is truly hard to talk about without giving away any spoilers. So with that said, it’s a show about life, about changes, about growth, about empathy. With only 8 episodes, it’s a show that tells its story in a timely and short manner. In the manner of only 8 episodes, “Forever” brings you on a journey of ups and downs. Throughout that journey it tells a story that makes you realize that at the end of everything that life is what we make of it. It’s us alone that hold us back or us alone that moves us forward.  If we can be so lucky as to have someone by our side next to us on that journey, than that can truly be the greatest gift of all.

That’s my list of Top 10 Favorite NEW TV Dramas of 2018. This year many great new TV Dramas premiered from ones that were thrillers, to family dramas, to existential gems to were able to keep your attention. Stories told with performances that amazed. Being “that golden age of television” right now I definitely had more shows that I considered to be new favorites this year. Although I said I’d only list my top 10 new favorite dramas and I managed to stick with that.

20180921_030727 (1)Year after year new shows start and returning ones end. It’s a cycle as old as time.  We are living in a time where hundreds of shows are constantly premiering making endless options and choices of what new shows are worth watching.  That constant question of “Is this show worth the watch and my time?” every time you turn on the TV to pick a new program to watch.  Next time you go to turn on your TV to enter a different world by just the flick of a button, I hope I made the question of “what to watch….what to watch?” just a little easy question to answer.

Top 10 Favorite NEW TV Dramas Of 2018… Part 1

This year was full of amazing new TV Programs for all of us to watch and enjoy.  When thinking about what my favorite new shows were that started in 2018 just so many great ones come to mind.  There were some that were “Comedies”.  There were some that were “Dramas”.  There were some that were “Mini- Series or Limited Series” events.  Many shows of every category were there to make 2018 a great year for Television.

When deciding on my top favorite shows of the year, I started my list of favorites and found myself with an overwhelming amount of that of “NEW TV Dramas”.  2018 was a great year for new shows for both comedy and drama.  It did seem like for every one new comedy there were about 10 new dramas.  With that being said, when making a list of new favorites I found myself with just so many new drama favorites alone.  All these new shows of both comedy and drama were so amazingly good and entertaining whether they made you laugh, cry, or go a crazy thrill of a ride.  Therefore, I decided on doing a series of articles for my top favorite new shows of 2018.  I’ll first be highlighting my “Top 10 Favorite New Drama Series of 2018” in a series of 2 articles.  I’ll than be following up those articles with an article of my “Top Favorite New Comedies Series of 2018”.

In this article here, I will be discussing my thoughts for what shows I decided were my go-to favorite “NEW TV Dramas of 2018” and showcasing my picks for #10 – #6.  For my next article I will go on to reveal and discuss my top picks of NEW TV Dramas with #5 – #1.

So with that being said, here is my list of Top 10 Favorite NEW TV Dramas Of 2018 Part 1….

And.

Here.

We.

Go!

20181226_000452.jpg10. God Friended Me on CBS.

Cast: Brandon Micheal Hall, Violett Beane, Suraj Sharma, Joe Morton

Overview & Thoughts:

Before the Fall TV Season of 2018 had begun, I had been hearing here and there about this new show that was going to be on CBS called “God Friended Me”. It sounded interesting with a kind of story that you don’t see every season on TV these days. There are a few dramas on CBS that I am a real fan of, such as the now over “The Good Wife” as well as the currently playing “Madam Secretary”. Although, CBS is a network that has never been one that I would say is a network that I go to for my favorite TV Dramas.  Comedies sure, but not for dramas. They are kind of all the same to me with all the NCIS and action reboots. They are good, but just don’t really standout for me as far as originality goes.

That is not the case with God Friended Me. It’s original, it’s good, it’s heartwarming, it’s lovely, and it’s simply such a delight to watch every week. In a day and age of TV where thrillers are a dime a dozen, it’s a nice surprise to see a show that warms your heart and mind. That’s why when I started to think of my “Top New TV Drama Favorites of the Year”, this delightful gem I knew I had to include.

20181225_235018God Friended Me is about Miles. Miles has a regular 9 to 5 job. His passion in life though is his podcast which he hopes to turn into a career for himself. His podcast is about life and religion. Coming from a family where his father is a priest, Miles strays from his father’s beliefs and is a self-proclaimed atheist.

One normal ordinary day Miles receives a friend request on Facebook from….GOD. Miles thinking this is a joke, a prank thinks nothing of it. Than strange things start to happen and everywhere he goes, everything he sees makes him come to the realization that whoever sent him this friend 20181225_235130.jpgrequest will not be ignored. So he accepts it. Than slowly he starts to receive friend suggestions from God for random individuals throughout the city. He then looks up to see who these people are and he doesn’t know them. Not knowing why this is happening, Miles takes a chance and figures the only way for this to stop is to help these people that he is getting friend suggestions for. Miles thinks that there must be a reason for this, so with the help of his friends Miles accepts these friend suggestions and goes out to help these people in whatever ways he can. He still doesn’t know why this is happening, but after helping these random strangers with20181226_003412.jpg acts of kindness Miles finds himself feeling a sense of happiness. With what started out as a bizarre friend request on Facebook turned into something more, something meaningful. The question still remains of is God really behind this Facebook account sending Miles friend suggestions?  If not, than who and why?

I truly and absolutely adore this new gem on CBS. It’s just such a lovely show that warms your spirit with its message about being kind to one another and how sometimes helping others, even strangers as in the case with Miles, can help the mind and fulfill the soul.

On one of the last episodes before the mid-season finale Miles said something that really resonated with me. This show deals with a lot. Such as tragedy, feeling lost, feeling hopeless, and how the past is something that sometimes is hard to just let go of. It’s with the help of family, friends, and sometimes even strangers that can help those hard moments in life be just a little bit easier to get through with their kindness.

This is one of my favorite monologues that Miles has said on the show thus far about the past and lines like this is why this show is worthy of some recognition for its charm and heart:

“Most people say you can’t go back in time.

That there’s no way to correct the mistakes of our past.

The past is a funny thing.

The only power it has over us, is what we choose to give it.

When we let go of it, we let go of the expectations that come with it.

The need to correct it.

The past will always be a part of who we are.

It’s how we feel about it moving forward that matters.

Sometimes it’s as simple as replacing one memory with another.

Or finding some small way to carry it with us.

And while I know you can’t go back in time and correct the past.

Sometimes you can get pretty close.” – God Friended Me

20181226_003746.jpg9. Killing Eve on BBC.

Cast: Sandra Oh, Jodie Cromer, Fiona Shaw

Killing Eve is based on a series of books (and no I never made it around to reading the book series before watching the show). I had no idea what this series was about before watching it other than it was Sandra Oh’s return to television again in a lead role. So that was all I really needed to know and that I was definitely going to be watching this show.

Overview & Thoughts:

Most series after a few episodes keep the same ratings or go down. The case with Killing Eve was the opposite. Every episode more and more continued to tune in, the ratings just kept going up and up. Thanks to an intriguing story and stand out performances there was no question as to why the ratings continued to climb week after week. In a sum of 8 episodes that consisted of Season 1, Killing Eve was that show managed to do both intrigue you and shock you continuously from one moment to the next.

20181226_003808Killing Eve is about Eve who is a spy and isn’t extremely happy with her life. She likes it, she’s okay with it, but she’s not excited by it. That realization becomes more and more clear with her latest assignment. She and her team are assigned to find an assassin who goes by the name of Villanelle.  Villanelle has no remorse for her career path in life. She goes in, does her 20181226_003625job, and leaves as though that’s a completely normal occupation for one. Villanelle is crazy, end of story.

The more Eve finds out about Villanelle the more she is terrified of her. She knows what Villanelle is capable of. At the same time, Eve is also drawn to her. Villanelle is the definition of crazy but Eve is somehow somewhat memorized by her at the sametime. 20181226_004810The same goes for Villanelle with Eve. They are in a game of chasing each other constantly and by the time they find each other what follows is that of what I’ll call a “legendary cliffhanger”.

This series was that of a great one. The story was never dull or boring, constantly surprising you in every moment. The characters were new and original, along with performances that were memorable. Thrilling, exciting, crazy and surprising are just a few adjectives to use when describing this series.

20181226_004207.jpgEve was an interesting character. To some, it may look like she had it all.  She has a job as a spy, friends, and a family who adored and loved her. She is happy, but not fulfilled.  When tracking down Villanelle something in Eve made it so she couldn’t help but want to know her. Villanelle is a killer and someone to be in fear of. Eve was, but she was also excited by her.  In this time of tracking down Villanelle, Eve felt excitement that she just didn’t feel in her everyday life. But at what cost is this excitement worth it?

20181226_152833.jpg8. Bodyguard on Netflix.

Cast: Richard Madden, Keeley Hawes

If you’re looking for a series that almost everyone was talking about in 2018, it was that of Bodyguard. And there’s no question as to why this was such a breakout hit. It was a series that was as action packed as they come. Bodyguard is a combination of 24 meets Homeland with not a dull moment ever in its sight.

Overview & Thoughts:

20181226_005024This was a series where you don’t exactly know what’s real or not, along with whose on what side of things until the very end of the season. Bodyguard is a story that follows a man named David Budd. He is an officer who latest task is to watch over Julia Montague, who is the Home Secretary of London. Prior to this assignment, Budd was a 20181226_005622.jpgsolider in the war. This time of his life greatly affected him and it’s something he’s never taken the time to properly seek treatment for. It’s affected his relationship with his family including his wife, whom he is separated from.

This new assignment of protecting the Home Secretary is a fresh start for David. It’s a lot of responsibility and one he doesn’t take lightly. At a certain point early in the series there’s a lot going on to make you question both David and Julia and if they have hidden motives behind their actions. It’s a series that you find yourself constantly questioning if these two 20181226_005102individuals are good or are to be feared.

Bodyguard was that breakout hit of this Fall TV Season of 2018. A show like this is one that proves how you don’t need 20 or so episodes to make a hit TV Show. The series only consisted of 6 episodes with each episode serving a purpose. It wasn’t a series that dragged on and had pointless plot points. It was a series that with only 6 episodes had action, intrigue, mystery, scandal and thrill in every moment. Sometimes less is more and Bodyguard proved that with a short season that managed to surprise you from one episode to the next.

Richard Madden widely known as Rob Stark prior in Game of Thrones, was remarkable here as David. Sure there were times at the start of the series where I couldn’t help but think, “It’s Rob Stark!”, but a few episodes in and that quickly went away. He was a real standout in the series.  His acting throughout the season along with the season finale was just above and beyond. After watching that finale I immediately thought, “He just got his Golden Globe nomination right there!”. Sure enough he did and it’s mighty well deserved, indeed!

20181226_010155.jpg7. Succession on HBO.

Cast: Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Ruck, Sarah Snook

This was a series that premiered over this past summer on HBO. I missed watching it at that time because of that thing of “so many shows…..so little time” kind of thing. Although, thanks to that lovely thing of HBO On-Demand, I watched it a mere few months later. This was a show I knew I’d probably end up liking and by the time I finished the 1st Season it was a show I knew I had to include on my list of top new dramas of the year, like for sure!

Overview & Thoughts:

20181226_012220.jpgThis show simply put is as solid and good as they come.  It’s a family drama that involves sharp wit humor at times as well as a heaviness. On a side note: one thing I didn’t realize before tuning into this show was that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay were involved as executive producers with McKay directing the pilot episode.  Ummm…..AMAZING!!!! Little thing about me is that I’m like a mega-fan of the film Stepbrothers, literally my fave film of all of time always and forever! I literally had no idea of their involvement in this show, but it was awesome to find out.

20181226_011700.jpgThe show starts off with Kendall Roy set to take over his father’s (Logan) company. This has been a plan that had been set in motion for awhile. Many steps and protocols were taken for this to happen. Than not wanting to step down from the company he built, Logan changes his mind. He wants to stay, he’s made his decision and that’s final.

20181226_010412What takes place next through the course of the season is a power struggle between Kendall wanting to regain back the company position that he was promised to by his father Logan.  Succession is one of those series that you can’t wait to recommend for people to watch. It’s filled with a story into a world that only a few ever get to see up close. And how sometimes decisions are made more on politics and nepotism than common sense. 20181226_010641It’s a solid show with a solid story filled with elements of how too much power can destroy people and can ultimately hurt the dynamic of relationships. It was a series that once it started did not stop for one moment. It was a family drama in every way, but also had a bit of a thriller like element at times, simply because you couldn’t tell exactly what would happen from one episode to the next one. It was a series that continued to follow its own rules and surprise you until that very last episode in the finale. And those final moments in the finale, let’s just say it was …. A LOT!

This was a fantastic 1st Season to kick off this series. One of the best elements of this series was its musical score. Every show has music in it, that’s not an uncommon part to a series. It’s very rare where a series has a score that just completely and utterly has the exact tone of the series fully. It was almost like another character in the series in that it just fit in so well with the dynamic of the show every moment it played.

20181226_010624This series was one filled with memorable performances of how power once obtained is something hard to let go of. There’s a lot to this 1st Season. It was a show that was ridiculous at times and than could break your heart at times. The majority of Season 1 is that of the relationship between Kendall and his father, Logan. That story of letting the young replace the old. The story of how at some point we will all get to that age of having to let those that are younger step in and take over. That’s how the story usually goes. Here in the case with Succession, that’s how story starts off. That course of the new stepping in and replacing the older. But than that cycle is halted and stopped in its tracks before that usual course of things starts to take flight.

20181024_024249.jpg6. Maniac on Netflix.

Cast: Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, Justin Theoreux, Sally Fields, Julia Garner

Netflix is constantly adding new content to its service in what seems like every day now. I saw the trailer for this new limited series and thought, “Yup! Looks real good! Going to watch this!”. The trailer while intriguing, doesn’t provide a whole lot as to what this show is actually all about. There might have been a reason for that….there’s a lot to this story and more than meets the eye at a first glance.

Overview & Thoughts:

20181024_025928.jpgI wrote about this show previously on my Blog if you’re looking for a more in-depth review.

Maniac is about a lot of things.  When thinking about a description of Maniac on Netflix, I would say it’s at its core an existential drama with glimmers of hope.  It’s about not living in the past and trying your best to move forward still by taking unexpected risks and chances for that brighter tomorrow just beyond the horizon. The story of Maniac follows two people in their late 20s. They are Annie and Owen. Both sign up for a drug trial at this facility.  Both sign up for different reasons. By the end of this trial, these two souls who feel so lost in the world find hope for the first time in a long time thanks with the help of each other.

20181024_034031 (1)Maniac is a series that starts off slow. In all honesty, after watching the first episode I kind of didn’t yet care for this series. It’s a series that you need to digest and go back to and with that 2nd episode things start to come together and make sense in the world of this series.  This show probably isn’t one for everyone. At times of watching the show it may seem like, “What the heck am I watching?!”, but with some patience and time to think its messages in every episode starts to become clear and make sense and have a purpose. It’s a show that packs a lot into every episode and one that you really need to watch carefully to understand what it’s trying to say.

20181024_040904.jpgThe show deals with how loss and tragedy can affect someone. The show deals with sadness and loneliness in a world where we are constantly surrounded by pictures of people having a good time everywhere. And how we feel as though we are the only ones sad. Maniac, may come across as a show that is just too out there for some after watching. At the end though, it’s a show that shows how if you can find at least one person, one who you can call a true friend who just gets you and can accept you completely for who you are that that is more than any of us can hope for on this crazy journey called life.

20181226_175716There it is.  The first half of my “Top 10 NEW TV Dramas of 2018” with #10 – #6.  As with most episodes on TV that involve a cliffhanger at the end of its episode what usually follows next is…. Too Be Continued…..

So be sure to tune into my  next article where I will be revealing my next top picks for New Favorite TV Dramas of 2018 with #5 – #1!