It’s Chaos, Be Kind: 11 Pieces of Pop Culture that Helped Me Survive 2017

Most people wouldn’t argue if you said 2017 was a rough year; it was tough for most of us and I can’t promise that 2018 is going to be any better. But we all need a little joy now and then; so taking time out of your crazy schedule to just relax and do something you love is necessary self-care. I find comfort in true crime and horror and comedy in its myriad forms, smartly written mystery and delightfully British baking shows. Even for a dark year like 2017 – amid creeping authoritarianism, devastating hurricanes and forest fires, and shocking revelations about powerful men in all industries –I always managed to find something that took me away to another place and help me forget about the real insanity for a while.

Sometimes I Needed a Burst of Joy:

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  1. The Good Place

After pulling off the greatest trick of sitcom twist history in the Season 1 finale, The Good Place could go in any direction it wanted. By the time the sophomore premiere is over, any reservations I may have had instantly disappeared. The endless revamp of this afterlife doesn’t seem to affect the motivations of the core group: no matter what fresh hell Michael leashes upon them, those four always find a way back to each other.

As nothing is going as planned for Michael, he is now the one forced to compromise and learn a thing or two about what it means to be human by taking Chidi’s ethics lessons with the rest of the group. But the ever-scheming Michael still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve, and it’s pure joy to watch; each episode is like a morsel of chocolate and I can’t wait to eat another piece. It was an incredible season that just kept getting more imaginative and endearing the more I watched.

  1. GLOW

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I’m not a fan of wrestling personally, so it seems odd that I was on board for this show from the very start. I have actually come around to respecting the sport, though I don’t anticipate becoming an actual fan of the real thing. The soap opera flair element of wrestling – and fabulous 80s wear – lends itself perfectly to the personal dynamic of the two leads, Allison Brie and Betty Gilpin, and is perfected by the sarcastic presence of Marc Maron as their trainer.

Though Alison Brie’s Ruth is ostensibly the main character, the rest of the diverse female cast boasts an array of fully fleshed out characters. It reminds me of the way I felt about the similarly varied female characters on Orange is the New Black. And in the same way that series handled difficult topics, GLOW focuses on the hardships these women must endure – including realistic scenes like Ruth’s character-driven, matter-of-fact abortion. With the sophomore season expected for release in 2018, I must admit: the sequined leotards are already calling my name.

  1. Girl’s Trip

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Hilarious and relatable, Girls Trip was an absolute joy to see in theaters. Road trip comedies don’t get this sincere or this funny, nor do they showcase well written and realistic friendships, without this kind of incredible talent. Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and Jada Pinkett Smith have been household names for years, but the true wild card in this equation was Tiffany Haddish. (And truth be told, she was one of the main reasons I went to see this movie.)

Girls Trip was truly a breath of fresh air. And setting it in New Orleans, at the black female extravaganza that is Essence Fest, lends the film more credence in telling this story. I don’t often see comedies in the theater (I’m more of an action/horror theatergoer), but when my friend asked me to go, I didn’t hesitate to give these women my money. And I would see it again for sure, just to get some more Tiffany Haddish in my life. These women are all forces of nature, but I can’t wait to see more of Tiffany.

  1. Wonder Woman

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When it comes to superhero movies, I can usually take them or leave them. That goes even more so for the DC universe, as I have yet to see a film in that cannon that I’ve enjoyed. However, with Patty Jenkins on board as director, I was excited to see the first female superhero film directed by a woman. And though the film was far from perfect, seeing it in theaters was almost a spiritual experience. When you are forced to look at almost every piece of media through the male gaze, you don’t know what it feels like to experience a different (female) perspective; truly, the euphoric feeling is almost indescribable.

Opening the film on Themyscria with the incredibly badass Amazons was more than I could’ve hoped for in depicting Diana’s backstory. (But for real, not enough Robin Wright.) Diana’s insistence on being the compassionate, brave woman she was born to be is unwavering. Her inherent strength and compassion continually shine throughout the film. I recently re-watched the No Man’s Land scene, when she displays her iconic armor for the first time on the battlefield, and the tears flowed as freely as they did the first time I saw it. Never before or since have I seen such a scene through a woman’s eyes and the singularity of that moment will stay with me for years to come.

Or to Change the World, One Thing at a Time:

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  1. Sense8

Sense8 is a wildly inclusive, positive sci-fi series centering on the mental connection between eight globally and culturally diverse strangers. The group must collectively struggle together to stay one step ahead of the people who wish them dead. This show is ultimately a parable about the human race evolving into something better – a more connected, compassionate species. As such it threatens the powers that be, making it all the more relevant today. The show is more beautiful than I can describe, to the point where it feels spiritual for me to watch.

After a spectacular two-hour Christmas special, released in December of 2016, the anticipation for the release of Season 2 was almost unbearable. It finally dropped in March 2017 without any fanfare whatsoever as Netflix chose to not advertise the second season at all. Despite the lack of promotion, word of mouth traveled fast and more and more people started to find this tiny little show that could. Then, on the first day of Pride Month, Netflix announced it was canceling the series – after concluding the second season on a very intense cliffhanger – and fans (figuratively) rioted.

From all over the world, legions of fans worked together to demand Netflix bring back this series – something we desperately need right now. After all the campaigning, something amazing happened: less than a month after refusing to bring it back, Netflix reversed their decision! They put out a statement indicating they would be bringing the series back for a conclusion in early 2018. With a little time left in the hourglass, I wholeheartedly recommend you watch this show and catch up before it’s thrilling conclusion!

  1. The Big Sick

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It took me the entire year to get around to seeing this film, and I am so glad I finally did. Comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon used their personal journey to really create something special in a genre that often feels stale and uninspired. Their singular experience – beginning with a quick romance, then Emily falling into a coma, resulting in Kumail’s forced introduction to her parents – turned out to be exceptionally poignant material for a romantic comedy.

Michael Showalter, creator of TBS’s biting millennial mystery drama Search Party, was the perfect choice to direct this comedy that frequently walks the line between hilarious and heartbreaking. The film is an excellent commentary on love and race and their intersection with family. It sheds light on how certain experiences force you to grow into a different person, while still constantly making you laugh.

But There’s Nothing like a Good Scare…

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  1. Gerald’s Game

As far as Stephen King stories go, most have already been adapted for film and TV, so I am always surprised when a new one shows up on my radar. I recently began reading Stephen King’s short stories, and I have found that his most simple premises are the ones that work the best; Gerald’s Game is a perfect example. As an adaption, from indie horror darling Mike Flanagan, it is one of the best of King’s intimate horror stories brought to life – and once you’ve seen it, you’ll probably never watch it again.

Minutes into the opening of the Netflix original adaptation, the stage is set for main character Jesse’s (Carla Gugino) personal conflict. As one of only two characters in the whole film, Gugino is exceptional as a woman grappling with several dilemmas (physical and mental) all at once. Without giving anything away, the tension ratchets up throughout the running time, coming to a head in the absolutely most gruesome way possible. Good luck sleeping after watching this one.

  1. Get Out

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It should come as no surprise that Jordan Peele knows how to create effective horror, as evidenced by his expertly skilled satirical work on Key and Peele. However, I don’t think anyone expected him to skewer the well-intentioned white, liberal folks who make up much of his fan base. He slowly removes their masks, exposing the true dark nature in their behavior and language while they play it off as standard operating procedure.

The satire though does not detract from the real terror percolating under the surface, as the film does work as a standard thriller. And just like the title suggests, no time is wasted setting the scene for the horror to follow. Many of the more unsettling moments happen towards the beginning of the film, when it’s unclear to the audience what is actually going on. But once the truth is revealed, the real nightmare begins and it doesn’t ever really let up.

The film was an instant success, with subsequent Oscar buzz, and became a cultural phenomenon. One phrase coined by the film, “the sunken place,” has become an allegory for the metaphorical place white people place black people so they don’t need to deal with them. Peele said it best when he explained that “no matter how hard [they] scream, the system silences [them].” Improving upon multiple viewings, Get Out is endlessly enjoyable – good thing I got it on DVD for Christmas!

Or the Scary Brilliance of Margaret Atwood:

Adapted from novels by Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace and The Handmaid’s Tale are both formidable pieces of work that feel compellingly relevant these days. Juxtaposing truth with fiction, the stories intertwine elements of both until they each feel compellingly realistic on entirely new terms. As difficult as they were to watch, they felt like required viewing in 2017 when women seemed to be under attack from all sides.

  1. Alias Grace

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A Netflix miniseries, Alias Grace is a work of historical fiction surrounding the real life murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in Upper Canada in 1843. Constructing a fictional narrative surrounding one of the servants convicted for the murder, Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon), Atwood weaves a slow burn of a tale about a young therapist’s intention to get to the bottom of what happened on that fateful day. Dr. Simon (Edward Holcroft) is charged with determining whether Grace is guilty or not, through a series of therapy sessions intended to expose her memory of that day. Even once the credits have rolled, the truth is still shrouded in mystery.

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale

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I read Margaret’s Atwood’s seminal novel The Handmaid’s Tale when I was in high school and it changed my outlook on life. The Hulu series does immense justice to the book, fleshing out smaller characters and adding another layer of story to get the whole picture. Elizabeth Moss is a revelation as Offred, saying more with a glance and her eyes than any dialogue they could write. Concluding the first season of the series with the completion of the novel’s story gives the already green lighted second season room to explore elements Atwood never considered. Hopefully she will be on hand again to assist.

But the most special moment this year came from an unexpected source:

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  1. Patton Oswalt’s 2017 stand up comedy special, Annihilation.

As a lifelong stand-up fan, I try to watch all of my favorites’ specials every year. However, there have only been a couple sets that truly moved me and brought me to tears, while simultaneously making me laugh. Tig Notaro’s incredibly personal set from her 2012 stand up special, LIVE, was one of a small handful that was poignant and personal; a true revelation in the world of comedy. After the impossibly difficult year Patton Oswalt has faced in the aftermath of losing his wife, true crime author Michelle McNamara, it is no surprise that he channeled his feelings into his best set yet.

Musing on the absurdity of life, Oswalt talks through a host of things on his mind in the past year, from his traditional skewering of politics to his tragic loss, both of which fueled an emotional firestorm the likes of which not often seen on the comedy stage. Even in his despair, Oswalt gives life to the memory of his wife and manages to put to rest a long running argument they always used to have about the nature of the universe. He laments that he was forced to ultimately come down on her side upon her passing: there can be no order to the universe because it is pure chaos; all we can do is be kind. As I move on into the New Year, I hope that sentiment follows me wherever I go and whatever I chose to do.

Honorable Mentions:

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Podcasts: Crooked Media series (Pod Save America, Pod Save the People, Pod Save the World, Lovett or Leave It), My Favorite Murder, Dumb People Town

TV: The Great British Baking Show, Insecure, Big Mouth, Harlots

Films: Atomic Blonde, John Wick 2, Logan

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My Favorite Movie

I’ve seen this challenge going around where people are compiling a list of their favorite movies for every year since they were born.  This was not an easy task for me, and I will freely admit it took me a couple of days to complete. Take a look at my picks and pass it along to the next movie snob you know and see what they come up with. Let me know what you think in the comments!

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1991: The Silence of the Lambs

1992: A League of Their Own

1993: Addams Family Values

1994: Clerks

1995: Toy Story

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1996: The Craft

1997: The Fifth Element

1998: The Big Lebowski

1999: American Pie

2000: High Fidelity

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2001: Amélie

2002: Catch Me If You Can

2003: Big Fish

2004: Shaun of the Dead

2005: Brick

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2006: Pan’s Labyrinth

2007: Waitress

2008: The Dark Knight

2009: Coraline

2010: Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil

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2011: Cabin in the Woods

2012: Inside Llewyn Davis

2013: Snowpiercer

2014: Force Majeure

2015: Mad Max: Fury Road

2016: Arrival

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There’s No Such Thing As Monsters

Clash Cultures

the_monster-2016-screen2The Monster, a small intricate movie now available for streaming on Amazon Prime, is a simple horror story revolving around a tortured mother/daughter relationship. Kazan stars as Kathy, an abusive and alcoholic young mother to shy and frightened Lizzy, played excellently by Ella Ballentine. A long road trip to take Lizzy to her father’s house leads the pair down a largely abandoned and unfamiliar road during the middle of a thunderstorm at night. A wolf runs into their path and they crash, sending the car spinning out of control and stranding them in the dark waiting for a tow truck and ambulance to arrive. After assessing the damage, they go out to check on the wolf but upon closer examination of the animal they notice it has more wounds than sustained from their car and a giant tooth is imbedded in its back. Then, the wolf disappears from the…

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Oscars 2016: Predictions / My Dream Wins / The Snubbed

Despite the fact that I am still disappointed with the selections this year, I cannot deny that I still enjoying predicting who will win. In fact, I was even tempted this year to participate in my friend’s Oscar pool, but I doubt I’ll get around to signing up before Sunday. Alas, even if I don’t win some cash, I decided to throw my predictions into the wind and see how it turns out. My predictions for the 2016 Oscars are as follows:

Best Picture: The Revenant / Spotlight / Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant or Spotlight could take home this prize, and it’s really a toss us for me. Despite not having seen the film, I’m leaning more towards Spotlight. I saw The Revenant and while it was a good film, I don’t think it was the best I’ve even seen this year. That award goes without a doubt to the film that wins in my dreams: Mad Max: Fury Road. I am already predicting it will sweep the technical categories, but as for best picture I would be thoroughly shocked if it actually won.

Best Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu / George Miller

In this case, I think The Academy will honor Inarritu 2 years in a row (he won for last year’s Birdman) which has not happened at the Oscars in 66 years! But of course, although I do respect Inarritu immensely, I was still gunning for George Miller’s incredible world building with Fury Road. Miller created a spectacular post-apocalyptic wasteland and proceeded to steal my heart.

Best Actor: LEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO / Michael B. Jordan / Idris Elba

I think this is it guys. This is the year Leo FINALLY gets his statuette. And if I’m being honest, this is not the role I would’ve hoped he would win for. Ideally, I wanted it to be The Departed, but alas better late than never right? However, even the nominations for this category are not great. I would have preferred to see Michael B. Jordon on that list for Creed or even Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation, but they were not even nominated. Such a shame #oscarssowhite.

Best Actress: Brie Larson

I have loved her from Day 1 when she played eccentric daughter to Toni Collette’s Tara on United States of Tara. I am so excited for her to get some recognition!

Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone / Tom Hardy / Benicio del Toro

So it looks like Stallone is definitely going to take this statue, and while I understand the choice, I still would have preferred Tom Hardy to sneak out a win for The Revenant. He was truly incredible in that film, even more so than Leo, and it’s a shame he’s likely not going to win. I also would’ve loved to see Benicio del Toro nominated for Sicario because he turned in a simmering and scary performance; despite being a similar character to ones he played before, it is easily one of his superior performances.

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander / Rooney Mara

I agree with the AV Club’s assessment that Rooney Mara should’ve been nominated in the lead actress and Cate Blanchett moved to supporting, but I’m not sure it would’ve made a difference on the winners. Alicia Vikander came on the scene with her affecting turn as a cyborg in Ex Machina, and then followed it with seven more films in 2015 alone. After The Danish Girl, it would not surprise me that she snags the prize.

Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short / Carol

Having just read the Price of Salt just last year, I would love for Carol to win this award. However, I think it will more likely go to The Big Short.

Best Animated Film: Inside Out

This film is brilliant and easily the most inventive and poignant film Pixar has made. It brought me to tears. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop everything and go do that now.

Best Animated Short: World of Tomorrow

Best Cinematography: The Revenant / Tangerine

Emmanuel Lubezki has been doing incredible work for years and after the awe-inspiring cinematography of The Revenant, I think it is finally his time to shine. However, the gimmick in Tangerine of shooting the entire film with iPhones is a staggering achievement and should have at the very least been acknowledged.

Best Film Editing: Max Mad: Fury Road

Fury Road ended up on so many critics best of 2015 lists, that it’s hard to accept it likely won’t win for Best Picture. However, the technical skills involved in creating this film are so impressive that in all its other nominated categories, I think this one is a cinch from nuts to bolts.

Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul

Best documentary Feature: Amy

I still have yet to watch this documentary, but my mother watched it and said it was amazing. The fact that my mother wants to watch it yet again says more about that movie than I ever could.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: Body Team 12

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Fury Road

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Cinderella

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: The Hateful Eight / It Follows

I will be the first to admit that I was more excited for this film because of Ennio Morricone’s score than for Tarantino, but I do have my gripes. My only wish is that it was used more in the film. Morricone’s score for The Thing is one of my all-time favorites, and it’s used throughout the entire film. Tarantino had him create a theme and a couple variations, but they are not used enough in this film. But if you’re looking for incredibly innovative sound, the score to indie-horor darling It Follows truly made the film. If there was not such a genre bias against horror films, I would have no doubt this score would’ve been on the short list.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “Til it Happens to You”

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: Ave Maria

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING: The Revenant

BEST SOUND EDITING: Fury Road

BEST SOUND MIXING: Fury Road

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Fury Road

Take my guesses and go forth and win your Oscar pools! To be completely honest, I might not even watch on Sunday.  But Chris Rock is hosting and the last time he did, I enjoyed it immensely so maybe I will tune in after all…

 

 

Best of TV in 2015

As many of you may already know, I am addicted to TV.  Now that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy great movies because if the mood strikes, I will gladly sit down and watch a movie. And this year I did get to enjoy a few that were new and a few that I’d never seen before. But TV has always held a special place in my heart for being able to tell in-depth stories over the course of weeks.  Movies are great, but they are over too soon.  I like meat in my storytelling and this was a bang-up year for excellent TV.

I realize I’m a little late on this post, as it is already the 15th of January, but you can still check out these great shows if you’re looking for something good to watch in the new year!! Sound off in the comments below  🙂

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  1. Bloodline (Season 1)

I began bingeing Bloodline at the start of 2015, so it feels like I’m coming full circle back to the beginning in order to start fresh in 2016.  Bloodline was captivating from the start, despite knowing what was going to happen from the beginning.  Netflix original series have not burned me so far, so when I heard good things about this show I decided to give it a chance.  The cast, for one thing, is incredibly stacked:  Sissy Spacek, Linda Cardellini, Kyle Chandler and the exceptional Ben Mendelsohn worked like a dream together.  Chandler and Mendelsohn’s scenes together were a special treat due to their incredible skills in front of the camera – an acting masterclass if you will.  Telling the story in reverse might have made a lesser show uninteresting, but despite knowing how it ends, the build-up leading to that moment was fantastic.

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  1. Jessica Jones (Season 1)

After her excellent turn on Breaking Bad, Krysten Ritter has not found her niche yet, despite her great work on the short-lived sitcom Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23.  I think she has finally found that with Jessica Jones.  Despite being a superhero, Jessica Jones does not act like one, nor does her show.  She is an abused woman who is trying to gain back her independence and her sanity by helping other people. The show challenges patriarchal values, explores abusive relationships and PTSD all through a super powered lens.  The antagonist Kilgrave, known as Purple Man in the comics, is a well-to do white man with mind controlling abilities that he uses to control everyone around him to do what he wants.  David Tennant is excellent as the depraved villain with no concept of right or wrong, who thinks his volatile and abusive attitude towards the people around him, specifically Jessica, is done out of love and naiveté, which makes him such a formidable foe. The cast is excellent and I cannot wait for season 2!

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  1. Marvel’s Daredevil (Season 1)

As Marvel’s first entry in their Defenders saga, Daredevil begins a bit like Jessica Jones, in that it is more concerned with the noir and crime elements of the story.  As the season progresses, it becomes more and more like a traditional superhero show.  Matt Murdock, played excellently by Charlie Cox, is a similarly guilt-ridden superhero like Jessica Jones (though he is accentuated by a heavy dose of Catholicism to boot).  As he begins to ensnare the criminals who populate the newly destroyed Hell’s Kitchen (thanks to the Battle of New York that took place in The Avengers), he becomes entangled with the most intimidating and nuanced villain in the Marvel Universe since Loki: Wilson Fisk, played by the indomitable Vincent D’Onofrio.  As the series continues, it leans heavier on the superhero side of things rather than the gritty crime drama elements and as a result loses a bit of magic in the process.  However, this debut season is excellent for many reasons, but for me it is their deft handling of the most incredibly intricate fight scenes which are unparalleled on TV.

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  1. Fargo (Season 2)

The first season of Fargo was heavily invested in the concept of good and evil, right and wrong and the consequences of the choices a person takes than can lead than down a dangerous or victorious road.  Season 2 takes us back in time to the 1979 case worked on by season 1 protagonist Molly Solverson’s father Lou (Patrick Wilson).  The case itself deals with a young couple who get mixed up with two of the biggest crime syndicates in the local areas of North and South Dakota.  Despite following similar patterns of character tropes seen in season 1, this season is far more focused on agents of chaos rather than the individual despicable actions of one individual.  The couple who get caught up in this whirlwind crime spree are Ed and Peggy Blumquist, Jesse Plemmons and Kirsten Dunst respectively.  Highlights of the season include excellent acting work from Kirsten Dunst, Jeffrey Donovan and Bookeem Woodbine as the sharp-tongued Mike Milligan as well as some of the most incredible cinematography seen on television today (only to be rivaled by perhaps another on my list: Hannibal).

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  1. Transparent (Season 2)

Even after the brilliant first season introduced us to the Pfefferman’s and their transgender matriarch Maura, I believed a sophomore slump was entirely possible.  However, under the care and direction of Jill Soloway, the second season has only expanded upon the first, letting us get to know the people that make up Maura’s orbit.  Without giving any juicy details away, this season’s MVP completely goes to Amy Landecker’s portrayal of Sarah as she falls apart following her divorce and marriage to Barb.  Ali (Gabby Hoffman) continues to try to find herself, this time through her exploration of new sexual awakenings and relationship with her best friend Syd (the fantastic Carrie Brownstein).  Josh (Jay Duplass) is trying to find his own footing in life, while still not dealing with the trauma of being sexually assaulted at a young age, as his past comes constantly creeping up on him.  The show has become more than Maura.  She is no longer the protagonist, as all the characters stories hold their own weight.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the third season if it’s any good as this one.

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  1. Justified (Season 6)

The final season of Justified was anyone’s game.  After the previous year’s dud that was season 5, I had hope that Justified would go back to its roots for the final season, and my, was I not disappointed.  Not only did they finally tie up some loose ends, but they did it during an explosive season with perhaps the greatest antagonists since Margo Martindale’s turn as Mags Bennett.  First we have Garret Dillahunt as Ty Walker, who has a nice run as the always respectful, but completely unhinged right hand man to the true evil of the season: Avery Markham.  Played by the incredible Sam Elliot, minus his trademark mustache, Markham is menacingly laid back so when he snaps its all the more terrifying.  Mary Steenburgen also has a great turn as Markham’s love interest Katherine Hale, a woman with nefarious plans of her own who wouldn’t let anything get in her way.  The show did not go out in a blaze of glory, but rather chose to honor Elmore Leonard in the best way possible, stay true to your characters and their development.  After finishing the finale, I realized I had only seen such a masterful ending to a show two times before that:  Breaking Bad and Six Feet Under.

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  1. Hannibal (Season 3)

When I heard that NBC was canceling Hannibal, I refused to acknowledge its inevitable end until it actually happened.  My denial of the show’s ending only made me more eager to savor every morsel that was left while I still had the chance.  The final season does feel a bit disjointed and as a result I have compartmentalized the first and second half of the season.  We begin following Hannibal’s escape with Bedelia in Europe and it almost seems unreal and ethereal; the drama is there but it doesn’t feel urgent. We are very much in Bedelia’s shoes and the absence of Will Graham feels palpable.  However once the drama returns to the US and familiar territory of the Tooth Fairy killer, played by the excellent Richard Armitage, the story feels like it took a detour and then circled back to the place where everything began.  The story of Will and Hannibal has always been a love story, albeit a disturbing and unhealthy one, and the show respects and understands that relationship intensely.  I’m sure that the final moments of this series will haunt me forever.

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  1. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Season 3)

I will admit that I initially thought this show would be terrible, but even after viewing one episode I was sold.  This show has one of the greatest ensemble casts on television, whether it is a drama or comedy, and they work so well together that any pairing of characters works seamlessly.  Each of them bring something different to the table that enables them all to coexist so well.  As a result, this is easily one of the funniest shows on TV.  I have never sat down for an episode and not had a least 2 or 3 belly laughs, usually as a result of Gina’s brilliant one liners and Chelsea Peretti’s spot on delivery. While the storyline progressed a bit from the previous season (Amy and Jake are finally together!) the stakes are never too high on this show, so you can enjoy each episode on its own.  Do yourself a favor and binge this show and if it doesn’t put a giant smile on your face – you are most likely a cold, heartless bastard.

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  1. iZombie (Seasons 1 & 2)

When I look at best of the year lists for 2015, I am consistently surprised to not see iZombie among TV’s best.  There really isn’t another show on TV that melds its case of the week/serialization plots so seamlessly and with such a good sense of humor.  This season we have watched Major spiral downward as a he continues to be under control of Max Rager, learn more about Clive and what he is into (Game of Thrones!), as well as follow Liv as she continues to be a member of the undead while trying to help those in need.  The sophomore season has gotten darker as the stakes have been raised, while always keeping an excellent sense of humor (thank god for Ravi).  Liv’s brain transformations are consistently entertaining and I think I could watch Rose McIver play just about anyone after seeing how talented she is on this show.  I would highly recommend catching up because I promise you won’t regret it.

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  1. Sense8 (Season 1)

If you told me that the Wakowski’s created a TV series for Netflix, I may have been a bit dubious of its possible merit. However, I decided to delve into this show when I heard from other people and critics that is was a solid series with legs to stand on.  I decided to give it a try and I was hooked after episode one.  It really appealed to me for several reasons, including the fact that I didn’t know any of the cast beforehand, and I am usually not one to turn down a good sci-fi series.  The title refers to a sensate: someone who can sense and experience things another sensate is feeling in any given moment.  Sensates are grouped into pods of 8, and they can live all over the world, but still be connected.  And this show has just about everything you could ask for: car chases, crime syndicates, government conspiracies, sensate-fueled orgies and more.  Despite the occasional plot holes, they are really trying to build a world that eclipses time and space that shows the physical distance between sensates and the things they can experience together even on different sides of the world. It’s a very intriguing premise and I am eager to see how the conspiracies build into the second season.

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Honorable Mentions (Because I’m not caught up)

Ash vs. Evil Dead – This show is absolutely brilliant.  Bruce Campbell is the king of camp and this throwback series has everything I loved about the original series, but with even more camp.  There is a lot of blood and a lot of one-liners and I cannot get enough of any of it.  Just do yourself a favor and watch this show.

Jane the Virgin – I am in love with this show and all I need to do is catch up.  Alas, this is what happens when you decide to watch a show with your mother and she never wants to watch TV.  I’m not really sure what is going on in season 2 and I may just have to binge it all once the season is over because they might just be a lot easier.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp – I recently re-watched the movie after years and years and then I started the show.  It is so nonsensical and super weird and has an incredible comedic cast.  I love the absurdity and heightened stakes of the everyday camp minutiae.  Highlights include Christopher Meloni – who frankly should do comedy for the rest of his career – and Paul Rudd playing the perpetual immature rude teenager has only gotten better with age.

Luther – I just finished all 4 seasons of this short BBC series and it was the easiest binge I’ve done of a show.  Idris Elba is fantastic in a role that is more or less a grounded Sherlock.  He relies on series police work and tends to make questionable choices when he is cornered.  Ruth Wilson is also incredible as his sociopathic friend, who sometimes gets him out of a tight spot.  The acting is superb and I really can’t deny that I am just a sucker for British accents.

 

Show that Had Potential: 

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Flesh & Bone – I was so excited for this show from Breaking Bad exec producer Moira Walley-Beckett to be set in the world of cutthroat dance.  Ballet itself is an immensely demanding way of life and I had hoped that the drama would pull from the ballet, but it ended up working in reverse.  Claire Robbins started out interesting and then became a product of her situation with her past constantly creeping up to threaten her current position.  The season took a lot of detours only to land eventually where I expected they would.  I had hoped for a lot more from this show.

 

And the one I feel like giving up on…

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The Walking Dead- I have been enjoying TWD for 6 seasons now and thinking back, there was a lot of story choices I didn’t like, but I was able to enjoy the show all the same.  This season, the writers really lost me.  I find the endless battle between everyone and Rick tiring.  Knowing definitely that a character will die if they disagree with Rick is lazy storytelling, plain and simple. It constantly feels like I’m being bashed over the head with the same story beats over and over again.  Only this season, they decided to drag it out and create one conflict to stew in for the whole season.  They have marginalized characters who I enjoy and have gotten rid of new characters at a rate that is similar to another kill happy show, Supernatural.  I am hoping the back half of season 6 brings something different to the table, but my hopes are not high.  However, I will inevitably continue watching Rick and Co. as they make their way through the end times.

 

Fall Show Recommendations: New & Returning

Alright folks, it’s that time of year again where I get inordinately excited for all my shows coming back, along with some fresh meat.  My fellow purveyor of pop culture Emily and I have gotten together again for another list of shows you need to check out this fall.  Enjoy our Top Ten List of Best New & Returning Shows – Read, then go forth and watch!

Returning Shows:

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1.  Empire

Empire broke records in its debut season as its audience grew exponentially each new episode.  Despite plot issues and some slipshod acting, I thoroughly enjoyed the first season.  Empire chronicles the story of music mogul Lucious Lyon, his ex-wife Cookie and their three boys Jamal, Hakeem and Andre as they struggle for power and the controlling stake in the family company.  Lucious is a bigoted, egotistical father with a penchant for bringing out the worst in the people around him.  He doesn’t really understand his sons as much as he likes to control them and how they live their lives.  It’s a drama, heavy on the soap, and can sometimes veer into exaggerated territory.

However, the show is extremely watchable, mainly due to their secret weapon: Cookie Lyon.  Taraji P. Henson has taken the TV world by storm and she can only continue to tear shit up.  She is a bad-ass mama bear who will bite your head off if you try to mess with her cubs.  She is a tremendously melodramatic character, with all the juiciest one-liners, but Henson plays her with such incredible pathos she is incredibly compelling to watch. She is so fantastic, I would recommend the show on her talent alone. But alas, the show has more going for it than just Cookie.  Timbaland produces all of the music featured on the show and his talent is not to be underestimated; check out some of the fun music that’s already out from the first season for your listening pleasure – and tune in for season 2! – GN

For Fans Of: Scandal, Nashville

PREMIERE: Wed, Sept 23 @ 9 PM on FOX

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2. Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin had a lot going against it when it premiered last October for it’s first season. With a wacky title, oddball plot and scenes entirely in Spanish, it seemed Jane The Virgin might be the laughing stock of the fall television season. However Jane premiered to solid ratings and showed audiences how much heart it actually had.

Jane, the result of a teenage pregnancy by her mother, has vowed not to have sex until she’s married. While it is partly a religious decision, it’s also because she wants to take charge of her life and ensure that nothing will stop her from pursuing her dreams. She is engaged to her understanding boyfriend of two years and is pursuing her degree part time while she works at a hotel to help pay for her tuition. Her life is on track. Then when she goes to a routine checkup at her gynecologist she accidentally gets artificially inseminated and becomes pregnant, even though she’s a virgin. To make matters worse, the sperm belongs to her married boss, whom she also has a crush on. To say her life takes a turn is a bit of an understatement.

Based off a Spanish novella of the same name,  Jane proved early on that it while it could live up to the drama promised by its telenovela of the same name, it could also be one of the funniest and most genuine shows on television. Watching Jane struggle to figure out what to do with the baby is one of the most honest portrayals I’ve seen on tv. The family dynamic is also something other shows should envy. With three generations of strong women who live under the same roof, they always support, love and take care of each other and it’s beautiful. Even their love triangle is entirely original. Though a common device used on television, rarely has it been so well executed. The two men who are competing for her heart, are entirely different, yet completely fleshed out as characters with strong merits. The writers have done an incredible job at not making a clear winner out of her suitors creating two compelling, flawed and realistic men who both deserve to win Jane. With season two promising to bring about a baby, a wedding, and a cameo by Kesha as a neighbor who hates babies, it should be a hoot and a half. -EM

For Fans Of: Ugly Betty and Gilmore Girls 

PREMIERE: October 12, 2015 at 9 on CW

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3.  iZombie

Of all the new fall returning shows, I am most excited for iZombie.  Last season left off on quite a doozy of a finale and I can’t wait to see all of the blowback after some of the tough decisions Liv had to make.  In case you know nothing about the show, medical student Liv Moore is invited to a particularly hellish boat party and wakes up in a body bag with a craving for brains.  She quits her job, ends her engagement with fiancée Major and gets a job at the morgue where she has an endless supply of brains and no one to accidentally turn.  No one of course, except for her boss Ravi whom Liv confides in with her secret.

One of the perks of being a zombie happens to be both visions of the person’s life and traits the person had when they were alive – i.e. obsession with video games, agoraphobia, sniper skills and more.  After accidentally having a vision around detective Babineaux, Liv gets roped into being a “psychic for the police.”  Let me remind you this is only the set up, and it only builds as the season progresses from comedic weekly cop show to deeply serialized drama with high stakes by the finale. -GN

For Fans Of: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars

PREMIERE: Tues, Oct 6 @ 9 PM on the CW

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4. Sleepy Hollow

People were laughing when Sleepy Hollow premiered two years ago. Two and a half centuries after Ichabod Crane’s fateful encounter with the headless horseman, Ichabod is resurrected into present day Sleepy Hollow. He now has to fight demons and unravel history with the help of Lieutenant Abby Mills, all while trying to adapt to modern culture and kill the headless horseman who also has come back to Sleepy Hollow. Watch your head. But season 1 literally and figuratively killed, and it became one of the highest rated new series on television.

However when season 2 premiered, there was a marked difference in writing, tone, and stories. The show seemed to take a lot of wrong turns, by introducing new characters that weren’t necessary, underwriting some of the great characters they had already created, and moved away from the monster of the week format to push for reoccurring storylines over an entire season. Fans and critics were less than impressed.

So why is this show on the list? Well the season 2 finale showed a vast improvement from the second season. Also, the showrunner lost his head. I mean, was fired and replaced. With a new head boss, old fans that have given up should come back and give it another try. If it’s anything like it’s first season, it will return to being one of the funniest, most outlandish, and awesome shows on television. -EM

For Fans Of: Grimm and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

PREMIERE: October 01, 2015 at 9 on FOX

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5.  The Last Man on Earth

There has never been another sitcom like this one.  Will Forte created this series and upon viewing the pilot, I was sold on one of the first gags alone (I’ll let you guess which one).  Forte is frequently offbeat and weird, but creating a comedy about what people do after the end of civilization with such a small cast seemed like it could fail miserably, or be exactly what Forte needed; it turned out to be the latter.

The pilot episode introduces us to Phil, an average guy who is unraveling at the seams after a virus wipes out all of humanity.  Phil is narcissistic and lazy and spends most of his time wasting away his day bathing and drinking out of a kiddie pool filled with margaritas.  Phil thinks he’s all alone – that is, until he happens to run into another person – a woman – named Carol, the always hysterical Kristen Schaal, who is the antithesis of Phil.  Their friendship rivalry fuels the show and Forte and Schaal play off each other so well that even when you are cringing at their behavior, you can’t help but laugh.

This show was honestly a surprise for me; I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not.  It is the single greatest comedic pilot I have seen in years – thanks for that Emmy nod – and Will Forte has never been funnier.  There are a few bumps along the road, but it’s a solid first season.  I’m looking forward to what season 2 has to offer. – GN

For Fans of: Community, New Girl

PREMIERE: Sun, Sept 27 @ 9:30 PM on FOX

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6.  How to Get Away With Murder

How To Get Away With Murder had some of the highest expectations coming into the Fall 2014 television season. It’s Executive Producer was the great Shonda Rhimes, producer of two hit primetime shows, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and the show was starring Academy Award Nominee Viola Davis. It was also premiering immediately after Greys and Scandal providing it a built in audience. Needles to say, it had a lot to live up to.

Luckily for Murder, everything Rhimes touches turns to gold. The show is about Annalise Keating a high power lawyer and professor who teaches a class to freshmen known amongst everyone at the university as ‘How To Get Away With Murder.’ The show opens up in present day as four of her students frantically try to cover up the murder of Annalise’s husband Sam. The show then rewinds back in time to the first day of class. For the first half of season 1, the show splits back and forth between past and present as the puzzle pieces fall into place and audiences realize nothing is quite as it seems.

The second half of season 1 was just as good and suspenseful as it’s predecessor and the finale had one of the most jaw-dropping reveals of the spring. Audiences were finally told who had killed Lila Stangard, the mystery that had been plaguing us since the first episode. As it seemed that season 1 was wrapping up in a perfect bow, another shocking murder rocked the group, setting up season 2, to be just as crazy and unbelievable as its first. -EM

For Fans Of: Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal

PREMIERE: 09/24/15 at 10pm on ABC

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7.  Fargo

When they announced there would be a TV series about one of the Coen brothers’ best films, I think everyone was a bit skeptical.  How do you recreate that type of flash in the pan genius?  For starters, you don’t take a single character from the film and instead create the story around the atmosphere of the film – the cold Minnesota winter and the brutal violence hidden in such an innocent place.  By distancing themselves from the film’s storyline and characters, they were able to carve out a new space for their own story in the ever-expanding Coen brothers’ world.

Despite the lack of Frances McDormand, the show makes up for it with newcomer Allison Tolman as the headstrong and resourceful Molly Solverson, Billy Bob Thornton’s evil drifter Lorne Malvo and the deplorable Martin Freeman’s Lester Nygaard.  The show is visually stunning and the writing full of the darkly comic tone always present in the Coen’s films.  Since the show was released as a mini-series, season 2 will be a related but ultimately different story. (So you don’t even need to catch up to watch the premiere!) – GN

For Fans Of: the film version of Fargo, Breaking Bad, True Detective

PREMIERE: Mon, Oct 12 @ 10 PM on FX

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8.  Reign

Premiering two years ago Reign, was one of the riskiest and boldest shows to premiere. Historical dramas based on true stories are hard to target to audiences because history is often thought of as boring. Also a historical drama costs a lot of money to produce because of the expensive sets and costumes, which is why they are rarely produced on basic cable networks. A lot of heads were turned when the CW network, the youngest and least known of the major networks announced it was creating a show around Mary Queen of Scots with a cast of relatively unknown actors.

When fifteen year old Mary, Queen of Scots when she arrives in France to marry her betrothed Prince Francis, she has no idea what she is getting herself into. Chronicling her rise to power, Mary must face enemies who will do anything to break up the alliance between Scotland and France, dark supernatural powers, and a world of sexual intrigue. Long may she reign.

Though the first few episodes seemed to falter, by the end of mid season 1 finale, the show had gotten back on track. By the end of the first season, the characters and relationships had been fleshed out, the story lines were continuous and more believable and it featured some of the most fun plots on television. I dare any other show to portray a king accidentally/sort of on purpose hump a woman out of a window.

The end of the first season made Mary Queen of France right in the middle of a plague, with her husband riding out of the castle to chase after his mistress who just had his illegitimate child. Basically they set up season 2 masterfully and it did not disappoint. After getting rid of some unnecessary story lines and characters, the writers introduced some crucial new ones who were more fun, interesting, and important to the central plots. They also introduced a sensitive, and well written rape scene that was applauded by critics and fans alike for how it and the aftermath was written. With season three making Queen Elizabeth a season regular, it promises to be even better than before. Long may this show reign. -EM

For Fans Of: The Tudors and Gossip Girl

PREMIERE: Sept 9 at 8pm on the CW

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9.  Brooklyn 99

I was skeptical about this show at first, but after watching several episodes, it was clear that this was not just a silly cop show, but one full of heart and well-drawn characters.  And they are definitely an odd bunch.  Andy Samberg’s delightful prankster Jake plays off every character so well – from sarcastic, deadpan Rosa to Joe Lo Truglio’s clueless Charles.  Andre Braugher is the hardened, but fair Police Captain Ray Holt and his interactions with Jake (and Chelsea Peretti’s hysterical Gina) are some of the best moments on the show.  The station is a safe space for these characters, and despite being very different, they have all found a surrogate family and a home at work. They fool around a lot, but face reality when they need to – and they always have each other’s backs.

Season 2 is changing the casting up as bit as Bill Hader joins the cast as the new police captain while Andre Braugher takes a hiatus.  As much as I love Braugher, I can’t say I’m not excited to see Bill Hader join this already incredible cast.  I think he will fit into the quirky tone of the series and may be be a great way to shake things up at the precinct. – GN

For Fans Of: Parks & Rec, New Girl

PREMIERE: Sun, Sept 27 @ 8:30 PM on FOX

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10. Gotham

Capitalizing on the superhero love in film and on television, Fox network decided to get in on the action. While picking one of the most popular superheros of all time, Batman, creator Bruno Heller decided to tell a side of the story that is rarely told. Instead of giving us yet another origin story of a superhero, he decided to tell the story of the city Bruce Wayne would one day save, Gotham.

The story follows Police Officer Jim Gordon a man with morals in a station filled with corrupt cops, and a city full of criminals.  He and his partner, legendary Detective Harvey Bullock, must navigate the dirty politics of Gotham’s justice system, even as they tackle a high-profile case, the murder of billionaires Thomas and Martha Wayne. Gordon becomes a friend to their young orphan, Bruce. But this isn’t just his origin story, along for the ride is a young Penguin, Riddler and a preteen Catwoman.

Season 1, like a few shows on this list struggled in the beginning. It tried to fit every member of its ensemble cast in each episode, which made it a little crowded. It also tried to wrap up every story in a neat, one episode format. But the writers began to fix these issues half way through the season, and the show ended on a high note. With promises by the showrunners to ‘kill characters off quickly’ and an appearance by the famed Joker, season 2 promises to be better and darker than it’s freshman season. -EM

For Fans Of: The Mentalist and Daredevil 

PREMIERE: 09/21/15 at 8pm on Fox


New Series:

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1.  Ash vs. The Evil Dead

It is rare that a horror comedy does not attract my attention, but this new series continuing the adventures of Ash Williams and his endless battle with the Deadites has me hooked before you can say Necronomicon.  These days, Ash is working a dead end job without hope for the future when the Deadites find their way back into his life and he has to don his chainsaw arm one last time.  It looks very much like the tone of the original series will be consistent in this iteration and for that I am more excited than you know.  Having been badly burned by the remake of Evil Dead, I really look forward to getting back into the campy horror that I fell in love with in the first place.

Bruce Campbell is always a fun treat, especially in the Evil Dead series, and now he has some new faces to brighten up this series – ahem ahem, Lucy Lawless.  If you like your horror funny, and full of retro gore, I wouldn’t pass up this must see series! – GN

PREMIERE: Sat, Oct 31 @ 9 PM on STARZ

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2. Limitless

I am a big Bradley Cooper fan, so in 2011 when I saw he was starring all by himself in a dramatic movie, I knew I had to watch. The film Limitless ended up being a genuinely fun thriller that was entirely unique and really kickstarted Cooper’s career as a serious actor. Flash forward four years and the successful film is getting it’s own television series.

The movie and series is about a special type of drug that allows the taker to use 100% of his brain abilities. While this provides unlimited powers, intelligence and highs, it also causes some unwanted side effects and attention. The movie focused on Cooper’s character Eddie Morra, but the show focuses on a new user Brian Sinclair, though Cooper and his character will appear on the series.

While it’s mainly a gimmick for ratings, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see Bradley Cooper on the small screen. He’s been nominated for four Academy Awards since filming Limitless and is one of the highest in demand actors right now. Him appearing on this show for the first four episodes is kind of a big deal. So tune in for Cooper, but hopefully stay for the unique storyline. -EM

PREMIERE: 09/22/15 at 10pm on CBS

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3.  Fear the Walking Dead

Although the first couple of episodes have already aired, Fear the Walking Dead is indeed a different show than its originator.  (Which is great, because you can watch it without seeing TWD beforehand.) In the 90-minute pilot, there were only two or three “zombie” sightings, and at this point not many people even know what is going on, even after seeing it for yourself.  Where TWD focused on the aftermath of the apocalypse, FTWD is more concerned with the family at the center of the story and how a societal breakdown like this can affect an already strained family unit.

It seems promising not only because it takes place on the other side of the country, but because it is dealing with the chaos only beginning to tear people apart before they even know what is happening.  It’s cool to be excited for a zombie show where the zombies are not the forefront, the relationships are what matters here.  As a sucker for story, this had my attention from the very first scratch. You haven’t missed many episodes, so go and check it out now! – GN

PREMIERE: Sun, Aug 23 @ 9 PM on AMC

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4. The Bastard Executioner

I admit, this show had me at the title. What’s not to like?

The Bastard Executioner is a daring new show that follows  warrior Wilkin Brattle as he becomes an unwilling executioner in the 14th century. In a time of political upheaval, he walks a fine line of protecting himself, following orders, and listening to the advice of a mysterious healer, Annora. He must figure out which master he serves, all while fighting the ever growing connection between himself Baroness Lowry ‘Love’ Aberffraw Ventris.

I am a huge fan of historical dramas, especially British history and this story is taking place during the reign of King Edward III, a rarely explored time period before. I also typically love the anti hero and a show about an executioner with morals who is forced to continue his job is basically like catnip to me. I’m also beyond excited for Katey Segal to be a series regular.  She’s a phenomneal actress in her first regular tv gig since coming off the incredible Sons of Anarchy. FX is also a network who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty when it comes to storylines and gore. All of these elements adding up, make this appear to be an excellent show. -EM

PREMIERE: 09/15/15 at 10pm on FX

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5.  AHS: Hotel

After skipping out on last season’s entry (I do NOT do clowns), I’m really looking forward to this season – it’s first without Jessica Lange as the series anchor.  There’s some fresh meat in town in the form of Mother Monster Lady Gaga.  Gaga has a very obvious love of the macabre and I think she will fit in seamlessly with the minds at AHS.  I am so ready for the buckets and buckets of blood to be released this season, along with some much more risky material now that Gaga is in the lead.

This season we are introduced to the Hotel Cortez, owned by Gaga’s Countess – a vampire queen who has attracted many characters to her hotel, including her lover Donovan (Matt Bomer) and his mother Iris (Kathy Bates), the manager of the hotel.  This season there are some old faces, some new.  Show veterans Evan Peters and Denis O’Hare return along with Sarah Paulson and Angela Bassett.  Some new faces this season include Max Greenfield from New Girl, Darren Criss from Glee and Naomi Campbell. – GN

PREMIERE: Wed, Oct 7 @ 10 PM on FX

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6. Wicked City

This show has the potential to be the most ordinary and common place show on this list. It’s a pretty basic concept that’s been done before, however, if done right, it has the potential to be great and I’m really rooting for it.

Wicked City is a serialized anthology series a la American Horror Story or True Detective that resets itself in a different time period with brand new characters. The singular element between the hopefully  eventual seasons will be a murder in Los Angeles.

The innagural first season takes place in L. A. in 1982 as a pair or romantically linked serial killers wreak havoc on the sunset strip, while FBI, drug dealers, and club goers all look to capture them. This show has a couple of things going for it. With just a ten episode season 1, it doesn’t have to add filler episodes just to reach the 22 episodes it’s contracted for. A rare feat for a prime time show, hopefully the few episodes will be the perfect amount to tell this story.  The show also has a strong cast headlined by Tessa Farmiga and Ed Westwick. Lastly, who doesn’t want to spend some time in L.A. in the 80? – EM

PREMIERE: 10/27/15 at 10pm on ABC

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7.  Flesh & Bone

It has been a long time since I was this excited for a show (two including Evil Dead!) on STARZ.  Flesh & Bone looks incredibly juicy as the journey of a small town ballet dancer rising quickly through the ranks in the cutthroat world of ballet in NYC.  Dance is such a visceral sport and while there have been shows in recent years that take place in the world of dance (i.e. Bunheads), nothing has come close to showing the blood, sweat and tears that go into making a spectacular dancer.  Bring on the dance drama and petty rivalries and bleeding toes – I’m am there 100%.

If you are a fan of the film Center Stage, you’ll see a few familiar faces in this show (Sascha Radetsky, can I get an amen?) so there will be excellent dancers working alongside the actors – who can also presumably dance- and I am thrilled to see that kind of talent on TV. I definitely think it’s worth looking into and who knows, maybe STARZ will finally have won me over with a drama about a sport that I have loved my entire life. – GN

PREMIERE: SUN 11/8 @ 9P ON STARZ

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8.  Lucifer

This show is the one I am most excited about on this list. Lucifer combines my love of angels, acclaimed horror author Neil Gaiman, and angry mothers with online petitions.

Lucifer the Morning Star angel who fell from grace and became Satan, has grown tired of Hell. So where does he go? Obviously the place closest to it on Earth, Los Angeles. Now Lucifer gets his kicks helping the LAPD catch and punish the worst criminals and fussing about with humans.

The pilot premiered at this summer’s Comic Con to rave reviews saying the witty dialogue is effortlessly delivered by the show’s lead Tom Ellis. The character was also created by the great Neil Gaiman for his landmark comic book series, “The Sandman.” Gaiman is author of some of my favorite novels and am minorly obsessed with him. (PSA: Follow him on Twitter, he’s perfect.) Also a group of ‘concerned mothers’ have started a petition to get this cancelled because the show is glorifying and humanizing Satan.

BAHAHAHAHAHA.

Y’all should tune in just because people are boycotting it. -EM

PREMIERS: No Official word from Fox yet.

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9.  Scream Queens

As the Kappa house is forced to open pledging to all female students, rather than just the ones with access to mommy and daddy’s credit cards, a killer starts picking off sorority girls one by one. While I’m always down for a blood fest, I admit I needed a bit more to be on board with this show.  And then, in comes Jaime Lee Curtis to save the day – the OG Scream Queen herself.  I am thrilled to see her back in the horror genre (and I think I’m not the only one more than a little happy to see her on something besides those sad Activia commercials). Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are back with an all new horror comedy series.  Combining the whip smart bitchiness of Glee with the murder and mayhem of AHS was a good idea, and seemingly the logical next step of their journey in TV.

Murphy and Falchuk have created some pretty twisted shows, and I don’t expect this one to be different, but I do expect it to be fun and gruesome.  As Murphy and Falchuck already know, there are no rules in horror and although they have touched on the humor of the macabre, they are really putting both feet in first with this new series.  American Horror Story has bark, but I think this series – especially with snarky Queen Bee Emma Roberts in the lead – will definitely have the bite. – GN

PREMIERE: 9/22 @ 8P ON FOX

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10. Supergirl

In a world where Black Widow can’t get her own Marvel Universe film when all the boys do, it’s essential that we finally get a female super hero starring in her own series.

I don’t think I need to say anything more. Watch and support. -EM

PREMIERE: 10/26/15 at 8:30pm on CBS


Thanks for reading! Sound off in the comments if you liked our recommendations! And check out this post on Emil’s blog here.

The Stalk Stops Here: My Experiences as a Stalking Victim

My dear friend and blog partner Emily has just gone through an incredibly frightening ordeal and she could use some support. Sending lots of love and support her way.

emily miller writes; a crazy random happenstance

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My most recent blog post dealt with my experience getting harassed at work and how my management completely mishandled the situation. You can check it out here. I wrote the article because I wanted to highlight the sexism showed towards me at work and the casualness in which they dismissed my terror at being stalked on the phone. I hoped that if enough people read and shared it, then maybe change could occur. I sincerely thought though that that article would be the end of the story.

I was horribly wrong.

The following is an account of the past two weeks of my life, where I became a stalking victim and realized how difficult it is to get people to take the crime of stalking seriously.

About two weeks ago I was in my house when I received a phone call from the manager who had previously dismissed my telephone…

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