Category Archives: TV Shows

Orange is the New Black

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The Netflix mode of launching entire periods at the same time is all the rage, and as a unrepentant binge-viewer, count me among the grateful. However it’s worth keeping that in mind before July, when Orange is the New Black debuted, the company’s remarkable output was spotty at finest.

There was the forgettable Lilyhammer, the inadequately received Hemlock Grove, and the compelling-but-ultimately-just-a-guilty-pleasure political thriller Residence of Cards. That all changed with OITNB, a magnificent women’s prison drama that made the leading area on my individual list which drops as one of my preferred watching experiences in years.

This was a show completely fit for the Netflix shipment system, if only because it would have been agonizing to wait a week for a new episode. However there’s even more; the build felt cinematic and compared to your typical program, and I could not help however feel that the all-at-once release plane freed the creators to make something less episodic and more free-flowing.

Taylor Schilling stars as Piper Chapman, a woman living a content contemporary life when her past rears up unexpectedly to tackle her from behind; a decade earlier, she was briefly a drug burro for her fan Alex Vause (the excellent Laura Prepon), and when Vause had to plea her sentence down, she gave up Piper. The tale is based on the real-life events of Piper Kerman, whose book of the very same title was the inspiration, however the fact is that the screen variation is miles better.

Schilling is the engine that drives the plot, and her odd mix of natural serenity combineded with the enhancing anger and desperation at the late turn her life has taken strikes the ideal tone for life inside the ladies’s jail. Over the very first couple of episodes, jail is dealt with like an almost-quirky novelty she’ll need to experience for 15 months, and the wisest selection director Jenji Kohan made (and there are lots of) was to heighten the stakes so that exactly what begins as an off-kilter experience quickly handles the serious proportions prison life needs.

And as fantastic as Schilling and Prepon are together, the supporting cast is so globally outstanding that it practically beggars belief. (A highlight for me– at any time an auxiliary character gets the “how they got to prison” backstory therapy.) There are too many characters who make gold with their restricted screen time to mention separately, but suffice it to state that there suffices funny, pathos and catastrophe here for a dozen programs. The truth that they fit so successfully into one makes OITNB a defining triumph for Netflix.

Creator: Jenji Kohan Stars: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Michael J. Harney, Michelle Hurst, Kate Mulgrew, Jason Bigg

mad men

Mad Men

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Period Six of Mad Men turned out to be its weirdest yet, prompting fans to go crazy on the Net and spout out Lost-esque conspiracy concepts about Megan passing away, brand-new accounts guy Bob Benson secretly being a spy, a cop or– my personal favorite– Peggy and Pete’s time-traveling illegitimate kid.

None of that turned out to be true, obviously, but the touching way this penultimate season wrapped up was simply as shocking after the characters at the recently named Sterling Cooper & Partners experienced a year fulled of darkness and physical violence.

What’ll happen if Don’s totally removed from his work life? Is the infant step he took to reconnecting with his children a sign of what’s to come? What’ll occur to Pete and Ted in California? Is Sally Draper in for a crazy, rocky adolescence (it’s most likely safe to presume she is)? We’ll have to wait till this excellent series returns to take its final bow in 1969 to discover

Creator: Matthew Weiner Stars: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Jessica Paré, John Slattery, James Wolk, Kiernan Shipka

Parks & Recreation

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While its big sibling The Office always struggled with repetition, Parks and Entertainment always strives ahead to check out originalities even when they’re challenging for the program’s format to sustain.

2013 featured Parks’ most significant moment ever, Leslie and Ben’s wedding event, not to mention numerous new stories focused around Leslie’s task on the Pawnee city council that would’ve been difficult if the program just weren’t willing to let her from the parks department.

While the slowdown following their wedding event was a bit divisive, the period ending “Are You Much better Off?” showed that there was a mindful building to these apparently smaller episodes, and made the second half of the season simply as considerable as the very first.

Throughout this, Parks has kept its standard arsenal of heart and humor, taking us in new locations but with the same happiness and humanity that’s made it the best comedy on television.

Creators: Greg Daniels, Michael Schur Stars: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Paul Schneider, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, Retta

breaking bad poster

Breaking Bad

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The American tv audience in 2013 looks like a lot of other facets of our national life in the sense that there’s a crucial, relatively unbreachable dichotomy.

Call it Network vs. Cable, Dumb vs. Smart, CSI vs. Mad Men … whatever the case, there’s a sense that you can be specified by the sort of show you view. What made Breaking Bad so unique, then, was that it became an American Television Event that quickly transcended this divide.

Each Sunday night, particularly as the final period drew to a close, the jarring opening theme was a clarion call for viewers throughout the nation, on the coastlines and in the locations between.

The floating green blocks with their atomic symbols sent us scurrying excitedly to Facebook and twitter searching for like minds. We called our friends and loved ones throughout commercials, and we searched the Internet for testimonials when it was over.

The conclusion of Walter White’s tale cultivated that rarest of phenomenons– a real nation-wide connection. More than 10 million homes tuned in to see the finale, the sort of numbers no cable drama without zombies has ever approached, and for one night, our experience was communal; Breaking Bad went beyond the polarized American audience.

You can enjoy it with your hipster good friend, your spouse, which one auntie who will not stop posting on Facebook. Consider the shows on tv now, and the viewing blocs they stand for, and tell me– when will that ever happen once again?

Creators: Vince Gilligan Stars: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, RJ Mitte, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, Bob Odenkirk


Penny Dreadful

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Explorer Sir Malcolm Murray, American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, and others unite to combat supernatural threats in Victorian London.

Creator: John Logan Stars: Reeve Carney, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green

Details Country: USA | Ireland | UK Language: English Release Date: 11 May 2014 (USA) Filming Locations: Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Technical Specs Runtime: 60 min Color: Color

Cast Series cast summary: Reeve Carney …  Dorian Gray (8 episodes, 2014) Timothy Dalton …  Sir Malcolm (8 episodes, 2014) Eva Green …  Vanessa Ives (8 episodes, 2014) Rory Kinnear …  The Creature (8 episodes, 2014) Billie Piper …  Brona Croft (8 episodes, 2014) Danny Sapani …  Sembene (8 episodes, 2014) Harry Treadaway …  Dr. Victor Frankenstein (8 episodes, 2014) Josh Hartnett …  Ethan Chandler (8 episodes, 2014) Robert Nairne …  The Vampire / … (6 episodes, 2014) Olivia Llewellyn …  Mina Harker (6 episodes, 2014) Alun Armstrong …  Vincent Brand (4 episodes, 2014) Helen McCrory …  Madame Kali (4 episodes, 2014) Simon Russell Beale …  Ferdinand Lyle (2 episodes, 2014) Alex Price …  Proteus (2 episodes, 2014) Olly Alexander …  Fenton (2 episodes, 2014) Lorcan Cranitch …  Inspector Granworthy (2 episodes, 2014) Hannah Tointon …  Maude Gunneson (2 episodes, 2014) Gavin Fowler …  Simon (2 episodes, 2014) Martin Phillips …  Stage Manager (2 episodes, 2014) David Walsh …  Poor Boy (2 episodes, 2014)