Tag Archives: Television

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favorite TV Shows and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

I wish this prompt had happened in January or July! I tend to watch lots of TV when the weather is freezing or unbearably hot. Spring and fall are when I cut back on shows and spend more time socializing with friends and visiting the great outdoors to soak up the mild weather.  With that being said, I will follow the prompt and talk about television instead of going off on a tangent about how much I want to go wander off into the woods for an afternoon.

These are my current favourite shows for reasons I’ll explain underneath the photo of each program.  If I were going to go out to dinner with any of you, I’d light up if you mentioned being fans of them as well.

The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t on this list because it won’t be out until later on this summer. Mindfulness is important to me, so I’m doing my best to wait until the first episode is out before getting excited about it.

Anne with an E

One of the things that always bothered me a little bit about L.M. Montgomery’s  Anne of Green Gables series was how much it brushed over Anne’s difficult childhood. She mentioned some pretty serious moments of child abuse and neglect to her new foster parents, and then the plot pretty much skipped over the trauma of those experiences for her. To be fair, these weren’t things that were discussed in too much depth in children’s books back then, and people living in the 1800s also had a much murkier understanding of how adverse childhood experiences could affect someone years later.

The cool thing about season one of this remake is that it hasn’t been afraid to explore how being abused, neglected, and abandoned by multiple caregivers had a serious emotional impact on Anne. I know some fans have criticized it for being too dark, but I think it’s going to be interesting to see how this more realistic approach to her story affects the person she becomes as she grows up.

I still need to watch season two. I’m so behind on shows!

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I love the fact that this sitcom has a diverse cast but doesn’t fall back on stereotypes in order to make their jokes or explain who their characters are. All of the main characters and even some of the secondary ones are three-dimensional individuals. They feel like real people, warts and all.  It’s amazing to see how they’ve grown and changed over the years.

The running jokes are great, too. This isn’t the sort of sitcom I’d recommend watching out of order. There were things that happened in season one that are still being brought up by the characters years later.

Stranger Things

This was the show that taught me that people used to smoke everywhere and let their kids wander all over town without any supervision at all in the 1980s! Yes, I’m mostly joking there, but I was shocked by some of the cultural differences between that era and our own.

On a more serious note, I really like fantasy stories that are set in our world and feel as ordinary as possible. If not for the various supernatural stuff going on in this setting, it could have all really happened to my parents or other relatives who were teens or young adults back then. That’s quite appealing to me.

Black Mirror

I’m brand new to this show. It’s like The Twilight Zone in the sense that each episode is its own self-contained sci-fi or fantasy story. Of the few I’ve seen so far, there doesn’t seem to be crossover between any of them as far as characters or plots go.

I love the creativity of the episodes I have seen. The writers seem to take current trends and extrapolate what they might be like at a distant point in the future or in a version of earth where, say, a parent’s desire to electronically monitor her child is taken to the logical extreme.

I know I’m being vague here, but I really don’t want to give away spoilers. Let’s just say that this is a very thought-provoking program that I’m enjoying so much that I’m even willing to come home from the park early in order to watch it.

The same can be said for the rest of these shows, too. Ha!

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Became Great TV Shows

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s topic was a page to screen freebie. I’ve decided to narrow down my focus to five books that were made into wonderful TV shows. I’ve left off a couple of the titles that I always discuss on this blog (*cough* The Handmaid’s Tale) so I could focus on stories I haven’t talked all of your ears off about yet.

Tomorrow’s Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge prompt has what turned out to be a similar theme this week, so I had to divide my answers evenly between these two hops since so many of my answers would fit into both of them. I would have otherwise written a much longer post on this topic.

The Haunting of Hill House

Based on: Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House

Why I loved it: Paranormal stories always grab my attention, especially if they rely on psychological horror more than jump scares. The fact that this one had so much subtle foreshadowing on top of the psychological horror made it impossible for me to stop reading or watching it.

I also enjoyed the fact that the TV version found a fresh take on the characters while still remaining true to their personalities. That isn’t an easy thing to do…especially when some of the characters were of dramatically different ages and origins in each version!

The Magicians

Based on: Lev Grossman’s Magicians series.

Why I love it: This universe feels like Harry Potter for an adult audience. I love the unpredictability of the magic in it as well as the fact that the characters deal with serious issues like drug/alcohol abuse, depression, and abortion alongside delightfully joyful moments where talking rabbits deliver important messages or centaurs randomly cross your path.

Everything else I want to say about this series is filled with spoilers, so I’ll stop talking now.

True Blood

Based on: Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series

Why I loved it: I spent a year of my childhood living in the south, so southern food, accents, and culture can’t help but make my ears perk up. I also enjoyed the parallels the screenwriters made between the prejudice faced by vampires and the real-life prejudice that other groups deal with every day in our world. They did a nice job of gently nudging the audience into being more accepting without ever turning their episodes into an After School Special.

The Man in the High Castle

Based on: Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle

Why I loved it: Imagine what the world would be like if the Nazis had won World War II and taken over North America. This definitely isn’t the right thing to read or watch if you’re in the mood for something cheerful, but it is a fantastic alternate history for anyone who has ever wondered how terribly things could have turned out in a different version of Earth.

I’m actually taking a break from this show right now because of how dark and gritty it is. It’s absolutely worth watching, though, and I do hope to return to it in the near future.

Little House on the Prairie

Based on: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series

Why I loved it: This show ended before I was even born, but the stories it told are timeless. My step-grandmother taped some of the episodes on those old-fashioned VHS tapes people once had.  I used to watch those reruns in her living room while the adults chatted in another room.

It was so interesting to see how people survived in the 1800s when women cooked every meal of the day over roaring fires, antibiotics and automobiles didn’t exist, and everyone had to work under some pretty demanding (and often dangerous) conditions from sunup to sundown if there was any hope of the family making it through the winter.

This series seemed like an adventure to me when I read it as a young child. Seeing it play out on the small screen really drove home how much easier life is for us now.

 

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Characters I’d Like to Meet

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

All of the characters I’ll be talking about this week are from TV shows. I’m starting with the oldest show and ending with the most current one. Let’s see if any of you were or are also fans of them!

Lucy Lawless as Xena

My family didn’t have cable – or sometimes even a TV at all – when I was a young kid. As soon as that rule was gradually relaxed in the mid-1990s, I discovered Xena: Warrior Princess and fell in love with her campy plots and amusing takes on Greek mythology. It sure would be fun to hang out with her for a while and see what she thought of twenty-first century life.

Gillian Anderson as Dr. Dana Scully

Yes, The X-Files technically started a few years before Xena did, but I didn’t become interested in the adventures of Scully and Mulder until I was in college.

What I liked the most about Scully was her insistence that everything she and her partner investigated must have a rational explanation. As someone who was and is sometimes prone to worrying and leaping to conclusions, I always appreciated the reminder to stick to the facts until I know for sure what is going on.

COMMUNITY — “Intro to Statistics” Episode 106 — Pictured: (l-r) Donald Glover as Troy, Danny Pudi as Abed — NBC Photo: Chris Haston

Community is the funniest comedy I’ve ever watched. Troy and Abed were two characters in it who, among other hijinks, hosted a pretend morning show together for the sheer joy of using their imaginations.

Their personalities complemented each other beautifully. No matter what problems they faced – whether real or imaginary – they always found a funny way to deal with them. I’d be a guest on their pretend morning show in a heartbeat!

 

Simu Liu as Jung Kim

Kim’s Convenience is a hilarious comedy that’s set right here in Toronto and is still releasing new seasons. It follows the four members of the Kim family as the younger generation enters the workforce and their parents continue to adjust to the many cultural differences between Canada and Korea.

Jung, the oldest child and only son, dropped out of high school and got into some trouble as a teenager much to the chagrin of his parents. Now that he’s an adult, he’s working at a car rental shop and trying to piece his life back together. I love seeing the relationship between him and his family evolve in this show. He seems like he’d be a very interesting guy to meet, especially since the show writers have yet to go into a lot of details about what happened to him when he was a teenager.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question, and the image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Shows I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! I hope you all have a table full of delicious things to eat and plenty of kindred spirits to share this meal with. Today’s post will be something short and sweet.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how happy I am to see the science fiction and fantasy genres doing so well, especially on the small screen. There have been times when these genres haven’t gotten as much attention from mainstream audiences as they’re currently receiving. I’m so glad to see the audiences for them growing.

Today I’m going to be talking about why I am thankful for certain science fiction and fantasy shows that I’ve been watching this year. I’d love to see your lists, too.

The picture on the left reminded me of how I feel when I read these genres. The right storyteller can paint such a vivid picture of the world they’re imagining that I forget it’s fiction.

It somehow feels more like exploring a new planet, timeline, or era then reading about a character having those adventures. Even speaking as an author myself who knows the tricks of the trade, this is a magical process every single time it happens.

The Orville

I love the cheerful, uplifting, and hopeful themes on this program about a group of space adventurers. While they aren’t set in the same universe, it reminds me of Star Trek in the very best way possible. Given certain things that have happened in the world over the last few years, we need this optimism now more than ever.

The Good Place

Death and the afterlife definitely aren’t the first things I think of when I’m in the mood for a comedy, but somehow the writers of this show have figured out a way to make serious and controversial topics fodder for jokes. I especially love the fact that the non-humans characters on this show have found so many ways to surprise the audience and defy almost everyone’s expectations of what happens to someone after they die.

The Handmaid’s Tale

I’ve blogged a lot about this series here already, but I can’t help but to include it in this week’s list. Everyone involved in the serialization of this story has done a very good job so far of translating something that was written in and about the 1980s to the social climate of 2018. When I watch season three next year, I think I’ll follow up each episode with something lighthearted since the subject matter of the first two seasons could get pretty dark at times.

Still, it’s something I hope will continue to air for years to come. There is a lot of ground to cover yet with the characters in this world.

Star Trek: Discovery

How could I possibly leave this show off of the list? I was so excited a few years ago when I first heard that the Star Trek franchise was finally come back to television. While the first season didn’t meet all of my expectations, I was intrigued by the differences between the culture of this ship and, say, how a similar episode would have been written if Captain Picard or Captain Sisko had been in charge instead.

It’s going to be so interesting to see where the writers go from here. I’m grateful to have another opportunity to explore this universe, and I’m hoping that the second season will be fantastic.

What science fiction and fantasy shows are you thankful for?

18 Science Fiction and Fantasy Shows I Can’t Wait to See in 2018-2019

Last year I blogged about the fourteen science fiction and fantasy series I was looking forward to watching during the 2017-2018 season. Wow, that was a lot of shows! Somehow I managed to continue watching almost all of them, though.

Today I’m talking about the shows I’m currently watching or will be watching during the 2018-2019 TV season. Once again, I’ll be sharing the release dates and a short explanation of why I’m interested in each one. This list looks like a long one, but many of these series will be finished long before the ones at the bottom of the list are aired. I love the fact that shows are staggered like that these days.

Also, I am a few seasons behind some of the items on this list. So expect to see them reappear in future updates on what I’m watching unless I suddenly stop watching a lot of current programs for some reason.

Disenchantment

Season 1 premiered this August. I’m currently watching it.

Calling all fans of Futurama! The creators of that series have something new for you.

Disenchantment was about a princess who befriended an elf and a demon and proceeded to have all kinds of PG-13 related adventures with them. Yes, this is an animated program. No, it’s not suitable for kids. There’s everything from sex to violence to substance abuse in this tale, so send the small, impressionable humans to bed before you watch it.

 

The Good Place 

Season 3 premiere: September 27.

So much of the stuff I want to say about this program would give away major spoilers for anyone who hasn’t watched the first two seasons yet. Needless to say, the characters have continued to explore the afterlife and learn just how complicated things can get when the line between heaven and hell becomes so blurry.

I would not recommend watching this to anyone who is easily offended or who has strong opinions about what, if anything, happens to people after they die. While the tone of it is tongue-in-cheek and friendly, this is something that will work better for viewers who are easygoing on this topic.

The Man in the High Castle

Season 3 premiere: October 5

If history had been a little different, the Axis powers could have won World War II. This series takes a look at what life would be like in the country formerly known as the United States this had happened. Germany and Japan split the U.S. up into sections in this universe, and everyone who wasn’t a Christian Aryan was in terrible danger.

I should warn all of you that this show can get very dark at times. It’s not something that anyone should watch if they’re easily triggered by references to Holocaust-like events.

Black Lightning

Season 2 premiere: October 9

Black Lightning has been changing my opinion of the superhero genre for the better thanks to everything that was going on in the main character’s life. I adored the complexity of his personality and life. He had to deal with everything from chasing down bad guys to repairing his relationship with his wife in the first season. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to him and his family next.

The Orville

Season 2 premiere: December 30

I adored season one of this program. While it was originally written to be a lighthearted parody of the Star Trek universe, it felt much more like a Star Trek show than Discovery has so far. This isn’t a diss, either. I’m enjoying Discovery, but it doesn’t have the optimism about the future that I’d expect from this universe.

Luckily, The Orville picked up that slack beautifully in its first season. The characters dealt with some serious issues, but there was always a lighthearted undercurrent to their conflicts that reassured me that better days were coming for everyone in that universe. The world needs more material like this, especially now.

Timeless

Movie premiere: late 2018

Technically, the last TV season of this show ended this past spring. There is a two-hour movie about the characters in it coming at the end of this year, though, so I’m including it on this list. I’m glad the fans are going to have a proper goodbye for it. The time travel in this story was really well done. I especially liked the fact that the characters who weren’t white men acknowledged how difficult certain eras would be for them to visit due to the prejudices and laws of those times.  hoping there will be plenty of that in the sendoff.

 

Star Trek: Discovery

Season 2 premiere: January 2019

Despite my comments above, I actually did enjoy the first season of Discovery. There was a huge plot twist in it that I didn’t see coming ahead of time. I can’t say anything else about that without giving away spoilers, but I am looking forward to seeing where this series goes next and if it begins to feel more friendly and hopeful like other Star Trek tales.  (Although I am hoping that the second season will flesh out the secondary characters. So far, only the main characters have gotten attention from the storyline).

Roswell, New Mexico

Season 1 premiere: April 29, 2019

This is a reboot of Roswell, a science fiction show about aliens living on Earth in the early 2000s that I liked quite a bit back in the day.

Like the reboot for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I’d prefer to see this universe revisited in its current form. This doesn’t stop me from feeling excited at revisiting this universe in whatever form it will take.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Season 3 premiere: April 2019

Anyone who has followed this blog over the past few years already knows how much I adore The Handmaid’s Tale, so I won’t repeat myself.

Needless to say, I’m already counting down the weeks until season 3 is here.

Castle Rock

Season 2 premiere: 2019. I have yet to begin season 1, but plan to start it soon.

Two words for you: Stephen King. Every time a TV show comes out that is based on something he wrote, my ears perk up. This was no exception to that rule.

Lucifer

Season 4 premiere: 2019

First this show was cancelled, and now it’s somehow coming back for another season.

All I know is that I have a huge crush on Lucifer. Yes, he’s (sort of) the Lucifer you’d expect someone with that name to be. That is, he is the devil in this universe, but he’s not evil. Children love him, and he only harms people who have already hurt innocent folks. Everyone else is pretty safe around him unless they happened to be horribly annoyed by shameless flirting.

The Magicians

Season 4 premiere: 2019

I have four words for you: Harry Potter for adults. While this isn’t set in the Potterverse, the characters in it do attend a school for magic and end up having all sorts of unauthorized adventures when their professors aren’t looking.

It took me a couple of tries to get into the first season, but now I can’t get enough of this series.

Cloak & Dagger

Season 2 premiere: 2019

Not only are there two superheroes in this story, their powers complement each other perfectly.

I’m also watching this one with the hope that when a romance develops between the main characters, their racial differences won’t be a source of conflict for the plot in any way. One of the beautiful things about living in Toronto is seeing interracial couples living their ordinary lives together without it being a big deal. While I know this definitely isn’t true for every community (or even in every single Torontonian household, to be honest), I think it’s high time for screenwriters to stop assuming that every interracial relationship is fraught with conflicts over race and culture.

That is such an old-fashioned and unhelpful way of perceiving the world, especially if you’re on the outside looking in at someone else’s relationship.

Glitch

Season 3 premiere: 2019

Some of the characters in this show were people who came back to life from the dead without being zombies, vampires, or ghosts. One moment they were corpses, and the next they’d come to life.

I can’t say much else about the premise without giving away massive spoilers, but I’ve loved the character and plot development so far. It’s going to be pretty interesting to see what happens now that more and more townsfolk have realized that some of their new neighbours are actually people who lived there decades and even a few centuries ago.

 

Stranger Things

Season 3 premiere: mid-2019

The first two seasons of this show were filled with stuff that happened in the 1980s but would be frowned upon today. For example, smoking was ubiquitous, and children weren’t supervised well back then.

This isn’t the only reason why I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to the town of Hawkins, Indiana, but it is one of them.

Luke Cage

Season 3 premiere: late 2019 (tentatively)

So, it turns out that I might like superhero shows more than I thought I did. When I first began working on this post, I hadn’t fully realized how many different superhero shows I watch.

One of the coolest things about Luke Cage was how close he was to various members of his community. Some of my favourite scenes so far have showed him talking to his neighbours and trying to figure out how to improve all of their lives. The social justice aspect of the storyline is what originally pulled me in and what has kept me coming back for more.

Black Mirror

Season 5 premiere: unknown, but I’m hoping it will show up in 2019.

The only episode I’ve seen so far from this series was 4.1, “USS Callister.” It was about a massive multiplayer online game populated by sentient digital clones who were treated very poorly by the man who created them. When the clones realized that the world they’re living in isn’t real, they had to try to decide how or if to escape their circumstances.

I was so impressed by the storytelling and writing quality that I’ve added Black Mirror to my to-watch list. I’m hoping to catch up on as many of the other episodes during the winter of 2018-2019 as possible.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (no photo available yet for this one).

Season 1 of the rebooted premiere: unknown, but I’m hoping it will show up in 2019.

To be honest, I don’t know if Buffy the Vampire Slayer will be rebooted in 2019 or come out at some point after that. Either way, I’ll be curious to see how this universe is reimagined for a new generation.

What science fiction and fantasy shows will you be watching between now and next summer?

Saturday Seven: Series That Should Be Turned Into TV Shows

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews. A friend of mine is absolutely obsessed with Game of Thrones. I’d guess that at least a third of the conversations we have somehow include a reference to this show. Even though I’ve never actually watched Game of Thrones, I’m beginning to understand a lot of… Read More

How Social Media Is Changing the Rules About Spoilers

Those of you who have been following me for years might remember my post from 2014 about hating spoilers. Since then I’ve been paying attention to how social media – especially Twitter – has been changing the rules about if, whether, and when it’s okay to share spoilers. It was especially interesting to see how… Read More

5 Reasons Why You Should Read Science Fiction and Fantasy

This past weekend I tried to remember the first science fiction or fantasy book I ever read. After a lot of deliberation, I believe that traditional fairy tales were what originally drew me into this genre. Some of my earliest memories about books in general involve borrowing fairy tale collections from my local library. After… Read More