the IT list #13: TV’s Freshman Class

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #13
The 2014-2015 TV Season is drawing to a close; and I’m happy to have discovered a bunch of new shows to obsess over. They are all fresh, brilliant and entertaining. Most, if not all, of them have finished their freshman year (1st season); and I could definitely vouch for their quality and potential for longevity. I suggest you get hooked and catch up as soon as you can. As a bonus, I’m adding a mini-series/documentary that made waves early this year. Read on…

#ONE
Better Call Saul is a spin-off/prequel of the groundbreaking AMC series Breaking Bad. But instead of living under the shadows of its predecessor, Better Call Saul stands on its own. Its only connection to the former show is the common characters and the setting. Other than that, it has its own stories to tell and gives great insight into the origins of the Saul Goodman (and even the Mike Ehrmantraut) we think we know.

#TWO
Marvel’s Daredevil is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is meant to be a first in a series of shows that will lead up to a Defenders crossover miniseries.

Honestly, I don’t particularly follow the TV shows from the MCU (Agents of Shield, Agent Carter are not in my radar.). I’m more of a DC follower when it comes to the small screen. However, if this is the jumping off point for the next series Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, then sign me up. The season arc is well-developed and tight as a story. The show is also anchored in reality in that every episode shows just how vulnerable our hero is despite his abilities. The characters are complex. The action sequences are amazing. The build-up to our hero donning his suit is also not contrived. It’s definitely another feather in Netflix’s cap of awesomely-produced shows.

#THREE
Anything Rob Thomas does, I will most definitely watch. As an avid fan of Veronica Mars, I eagerly awaited his latest foray into television — iZombie. It definitely doesn’t disappoint.

It might be another zombie series, sure; but this one has elements of Veronica Mars. You have a strong female lead. The episodic mysteries are engaging, yet there’s an overarching story that spans the whole season. There are hooks at the end of each episode that keep you intrigued; and the characters are interesting and funny. The season hasn’t ended but with two episodes left, I’m positive it’s going to be good.

#FOUR
This is the absolute standout freshman series for me this season. It is loosely based on Venezualan telenovela Juana la Virgen, where our lead, Jane, accidentally gets artificially inseminated. Her world turns upside down when she discovers that she’s pregnant despite being a sworn virgin.

The premise seems crazy; but the show just goes with its telenovela roots yet still infuses a lot of heart into the story. This results in a really unique, quirky and funny show that will let you see past the craziness and just appreciate the characters and their relationships, which is still grounded in reality.

#FIVE
The Flash is a spin-off of Arrow, the other DC TV show that’s pretty good in my book. The Flash is one of my favorite superheroes; so it’s great to see him get his own TV series. As far as first seasons go, this show succeeds in creating its own fun little world within Central City, far and away from the dark and brooding seriousness of Star(ling) City. The characters are really likable; and the central villain (for the first season) posed a real threat to our hero throughout the season. I hope this show doesn’t lose its momentum and continues to impress leading into Legends of Tomorrow.

#BONUS
Documentary crime dramas are my guilty pleasure; and The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst hits that sweet spot. It’s very real. It’s very controversial. It’s seriously intriguing… especially in the end. It’s only six episodes; so I highly recommend that you check it out. I guarantee you won’t be able to stop watching until the gripping conclusion.

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the IT list #4

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #4
I haven’t had the chance to post any list for the month of November; so consider this as a “blanket” countdown for the past 30 days:

#ONE
This book had a title that I seem to be familiar with but haven’t really heard anything about. Whatever drew me toward it, I’m simply glad to have bought The Perks of Being A Wallflower; because it turned out to be SO GOOD. It’s one of those books that struck me as a genuine coming-of-age story. The protagonist’s narration is in the form of letters to a friend… much like a journal. You are then brought into his world where he’s mainly an observer; but somehow through his friends, family and teachers, he slowly gets pushed in the experience of living. I LOVE it so much, it made me cry. I felt like such a dork for it; but it’s proof how much I got into it. Definitely a must-read.

#TWO
I went through a documentary phase the past month, where I got hold of as many critically-acclaimed documentaries as possible and watched them one after the other. Some of them may be controversial as to its truth (Catfish); but there wasn’t a film that I didn’t love watching. Some may have simply entertained (My Date With Drew), others made me feel repulsed with its revelations (Food Inc.); but all of them made me learn certain things about the world. I highly recommend taking a break from Hollywood magic and exposing yourself to some real quality stories.

Other documentary films you should check out not listed here: The Wire, The King of Kong, The September Issue.

#THREE
They just won The Sing-Off; but I’ve been rooting for them since they broke out of the competition with “E.T.”… I think most of us were. Pentatonix is futuristic a cappella in a small package made up of only five people. Scott, Mitch, Kirstie, Kevin and Avi are my new idols. They are fantastic at arranging any song by putting in a signature “surprise” with every performance. It could be a cool breakdown in the middle, a remix with their voices, an abrupt silence… No matter what, what they do is AWESOME. The group remained consistently great with every episode; and I love them for it. I’m so happy they won. I’m looking forward to what their recording contract allows them to produce. I hope it’s as good or even better than their performances on the show.

Just so you get exposed to their talent (if you haven’t already), here’s one of my many favorites, Video Killed the Radio Star:

#FOUR
With the release of the complete film collection on DVD, I was brought back to my love for J.K. Rowling’s beloved series about a young wizard named Harry Potter. I re-watched all 8 films, including special features, in the span of a few days. I was reminded of how special the stories and the films have been not just for me, but for the world. I will forever be a fan.

#FIVE
Brilliant comedic chops paired with a beautiful face? It was quite disorienting but turned out to be even more effective in making me laugh. Petra Mahalimuyak is Ashley Rivera’s alter ego, a fast-talking woman with a terrible “p” and “f” defect, who gives you instructions on how to apply make-up, even how to dougie. Her biggest hit? How to Dance in a Club, which is funny and helpful at the same time.