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.

Advertisements

the IT list #12: Watch List

“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 #12

#ONE
2013 isn’t over; but I could honestly say that this is arguably one of the finest years for Philippine cinema ever. Cinemalaya kicked it off for me with the premiere of films such as Transit, Sana Dati and Ekstra. It was then followed by a mainstream release that definitely raised the bar for local Pinoy action movies — On The Job. New film festival Cinefilipino also produced some noteworthy films such as Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita, Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin and Ang Kwento ni Mabuti. Even Kung Fu Divas exceeded my expectations and truly delivered on the laughs with its unique story and execution. Hooray for Philippine cinema, indeed!

(L to R): Ekstra, Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita, On The Job, Transit, Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin

If you have the chance to catch any of the above films, please do try to watch them. Special mention goes to On The Job, which just blew me away, and Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita, which I couldn’t help but fall in love with as I was watching. Here’s hoping more fine local films are produced in years to come!

#TWO
I finished the well-written, well executed, overall awesome show Breaking Bad last weekend, and I still can’t get it off my head. From beginning to end, this television show has delivered an amazing, well-rounded story without ever dipping in quality. As icing to an already delicious cake, the series finale satisfied me as a fan. Just brilliant.

A lot of the credit goes to Vince Gilligan (for creating it) as well as the talented cast led by Bryan Cranston (for breathing life into these complex characters). Thank you for bringing this show into our lives; and I will never forget it… ever.

#THREE
As I waited for the regular TV season to begin, I decided to check out some new shows from Netflix‘s foray into original programming… and they are AMAZING.

Orange is the New Black and House of Cards are two very different series — one is a black comedy set in a women’s correctional facility and the other is a drama set in the halls of power in Washington, DC. Both are unique. Both are extremely engaging shows in their own ways. Both are exciting additions to my must-watch list. Best of all, Netflix, as a content distributor, is changing the landscape of television by releasing full seasons in one go. No more waiting week after week for new episodes!

If these two shows are any indication of the bar set by Netflix with anything they release, then I’m on board with whatever they produce.

#FOUR
Gravity is the second film I watched in IMAX this year; and that’s pretty rare for me. Still, much like Pacific Rim before it, the film is well worth every peso. Alfonso Cuaron’s latest is an absolute visual masterpiece.  I was glued to every moment. I was gripped. I was in suspense. And for something that in essence only has two characters in it, that says a lot of the directing and the acting that went into the whole thing.

Catch this movie if you haven’t. Watch it in IMAX if you can. For me, it is definitely one of the best films this year.

#FIVE
Wicked is finally coming to Manila! I flew on a quick trip to Singapore over a year ago to catch this musical; and I absolutely loved it. Immediately after, my friend and I promised each other to watch it again when it arrives in Philippine shores. Needless to say, we’ve bought our tickets; and I’m so excited to relive the music, the story and the magic. This is definitely a must-watch! The show opens on January 22, 2014 at the CCP Main Theater. Tickets available at Ticketworld.

the IT list #11

“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 #11

#ONE
It’s been a summer of really entertaining blockbuster movies; but the one that stood out for me so far is Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. I’ve watched it twice. Once in IMAX 3D. Once in the good old 2D format. Either way, the movie is just pure awesomeness wrapped in robots versus monsters goodness. Go watch it.

#TWO
It was one LONG month before I got this; but the waiting was worth it! I’ve been wanting to buy a pocket WiFi device of my own. Thankfully, I held out long enough for LTE to arrive in our shores.

The Smart LTE Prepaid Pocket WiFi kit is worth Php6,995. It includes a ZTE MF93D unit and LTE Sim. I’ve been using it for almost two months and I have no regrets. I’ve only gone up to 12mbps at the most, but it’s even faster than the WiFi in my house! And that’s saying a lot. With the prepaid kit, I get to control the amount I put into my device — no contracts, no lockout. What’s even better is that the unit allows up to 10 users at a time! I can also avail of unlimited LTE in Php50 (1 day), Php299 (7 days) and Php995 (30 days) denominations. That’s a really great deal especially since there’s no data cap.

Visit smart.com.ph/bro/lte for more details.


#THREE
I’ve been watching this YouTube show for a while; but Kids React (TheFineBros) got some mainstream media attention because of a recent episode that showed us how some kids could be smarter than most adults when it comes to viewing race and equality.

I love watching this show… as well as its other incarnations: Teens React and Elders React. It’s a simple concept; but it’s entertaining and it makes you think. Highly recommended.

vmars
#FOUR
The movie is finished shooting. A sneak peek has been released. It’s really happening! I am one of the proud backers of this Kickstarter project; and I’m SO EXCITED for the finished product. I’ve been getting a number of updates related to the movie and so far, things are looking pretty good… definitely worth the $50 I shelled out to help make it a reality. The Veronica Mars Movie will be out early 2014. I can’t wait!!

#FIVE
I haven’t had a chance to watch a concert or a theatrical show this year (and it’s already July!). What I’ve been doing a lot of lately is going on staycations. Last Holy Week, we stayed at Manila Hotel. For my sister’s bridal shower, I treated her to an overnight stay at Ace Hotel & Suites. Just last week, I tagged along with my brother’s family and stayed in Sofitel Philippines.

Needless to say, I LOVE the staycation experience. Getting to stay in a luxurious hotel… Not having to clean up after yourself… Best of all, two words: breakfast buffet, which is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s my way of getting some rest and relaxation without leaving the city.

the IT list #10

“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 #10

01kindle

#ONE
I never intended to buy a Kindle for myself; but getting one from my brother and sister-in-law as an early Christmas present was pretty awesome. It can contain tons of books for a small, thin and light gadget. It’s easier on the eyes (compared to the iPad) for reading. It’s perfect for a bookworm like me. I’m looking forward to bringing it along with me everywhere in place of thick and bulky paperbacks.

02palladium#TWO
I’ve been wanting to buy leather boots for a while; and I came upon the brand Palladium at The Flat Shop in Glorietta. It’s made of durable, high quality leather. You can wear it two ways. And with the right attitude, you can wear it with almost anything. I love it.

03mindyproject#THREE
I’ve decided that The Mindy Project is officially my favorite new show this season. It started off as another comedy to pass my time; but I’ve grown to really like it. The humor is quick and witty. Mindy Kaling is hilarious. The many different guest stars are great as well. Hopefully, the show will be allowed to grow an audience so we can witness more workplace craziness in the future.

04pitchperfect#FOUR
I watched this when it came out last October. Now, the DVD is out and I can’t get enough of Pitch Perfect. It’s “Glee” in college; but much funnier. Plus, with The Sing-Off canceled, this film gives me my a cappella fix, aside from Pentatonix of course.

05weddingband

#FIVE
Wedding Band is about… Well, a wedding band. This series is simply entertaining and fun… more so as the episodes progress. It’s just a bunch of guys rocking it in different kinds of events (weddings, high school parties, adult proms) and the craziness that ensues. I also love the cover songs they do. Here’s hoping that the comedy continues well into future episodes because I’m really liking it.

the IT list #9: “S”

“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 #9

This edition is sponsored by the letter “S” (an honest coincidence).

#ONE
I absolutely love Suits. I’ve already read and heard about this show a couple of times; but only got around to watching it a few weeks ago. When I started with the pilot, I couldn’t stop. I finished 7 episodes in one night… Yup, slept at 1am.
The show is smart, quick and funny. The characters are likable and the cases are always interesting. The second season has especially stepped it up. The current story arc has raised the stakes; and I’m more involved than ever. I now have another lawyer show to obsess over (the other being The Good Wife).

#TWO
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is the first single off of Taylor Swift’s upcoming album RED. I recently purchased it off of the iTunes Store (where it’s currently at #1).
Anyway, I’ve always been a fan of Taylor Swift since her album Fearless. I like how every song is a story and you know that it comes from somewhere very personal. This one is no exception. The lyrics are to be taken as is; and it’s set to a tune that is really addictive and catchy. I’m really liking it.

#THREE
This game has been around for a while; but I only started playing Snoopy’s Street Fair a few days ago. Someone told me this game is nakakatunganga (leaves you idle for a while); and I would have to agree 100%
The premise is simple; but it’s just a lot of fun to play. I can’t let an hour or two pass by without checking on the progress of my booths and ongoing constructions. You just want to level up and make your money grow. Plus, Snoopy and the Peanuts gang are just so cute!

#FOUR
Sherlock is a show that everyone’s talking about; but I put off watching it until a month ago. With each episode being one and a half hours long, I’ve only finished 5 out of 6. I take my sweet time appreciating each and every episode; because it’s an intelligent show… a bit exhausting at times… but it’s extremely engaging. The show is quick-witted and brilliantly executed. Best of all, it features characters with an amazing chemistry. All credit, of course, goes to Benedict Cumberbatch (as Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Freeman (as Dr. John Watson).
So far, The Scandal in Belgravia stood out the most. The storytelling is amazing. The mystery is intricately told; and the revelations unfolded quite cleverly. It’s just awesome television.

#FIVE
I can’t stop raving about this cake! This particular strawberry shortcake from Mary Grace is soft, fluffy, moist and not too sweet. Best of all, it doesn’t scrimp on the strawberries. Every bite is simply yummy.

the IT list #8

“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 #8

#ONE
Pentatonix, the recent champions of The Sing-Off, has finally released an EP. Entitled Pentatonix Volume 1, this EP has six tracks, two of which are original songs. Let me remind you, all of the songs were arranged with just their voices (aka a cappella). I’ve been listening to it for the past couple of days, and I never lose the thrill of hearing their voices blend into varied and beautiful arrangements. Whether it’s Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye or Starships by Nicki Minaj… These guys are the real deal.

Here’s a sampling and you may purchase their EP via www.ptxofficial.com:



#TWO
In addition to the recently opened Mall of Asia Arena, which hosted the phenomenal concerts of Lady Gaga and NKOTBSB (both of which I witnessed, and they were AWESOME!), the first Philippine branch of Uniqlo just opened in MOA a few weeks ago and Forever 21 is about to open by the end of July. With cinemas, a department store, a bowling alley, an ice skating rink, a convention center (SMX) and an IMAX cinema, not to mention the other shops and restaurants it has to offer, SM Mall of Asia is pretty much the most complete shopping mall and entertainment complex in Metro Manila. It certainly has got it all, and there might not be a need to go anywhere else. Wonderful.


#THREE
My favorite new show last year is definitely Awkward. It is a smart and witty series that never ran out of funny stories to tell with great characters that you can’t help but love. The show is back for a second year; and from the first two episodes, I’m feeling good about this season. My favorite part so far? The introduction of Becca, the scary (and hella funny) Asian. I can’t wait to see what Ming will get involved in with that crowd. Of course, there’s also the major love triangle between Jake, Jenna and Matty… That’s not going to end well. Lastly, there is the family conflict that will ensue because of the revelation of Jenna’s mother as the one who wrote the letter. I can’t wait to see what happens next. This is going to be interesting…


#FOUR
I missed all their previous shows here in the Philippines, so it’s absolutely vital that I not miss this one. Maroon 5 has just released their latest album, Overexposed, and with it comes a tour that is the hottest concert this year. Their September 18, 2012 show at the Smart Araneta Coliseum is currently sold out except for the General Admission section… And that’s less than three weeks since they started selling tickets. As an added bonus, they’re touring with The Cab, the breakthrough group behind the beautiful song “Endlessly.” I only bought my tickets last week, so I had to settle for Upper Box B. Still, I’m watching and that’s what matters!

#FIVE
It hasn’t exactly reached the Philippine shores and I just had someone buy it for me from Japan. To put it simply, I love this bag. I can’t explain what it’s made of; but almost everyone who’s seen it is fascinated by it. Bao Bao Issey Miyake is a line of bags that are both stylish and functional. I love using it. I love putting stuff in it. I am especially mesmerized by the smart and simple design. Currently the “it” bag in Thailand… It will only be a matter of time before it makes its way here in the country.

pretty bags in different colors

the IT list #7

“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 #7

#ONE
I’ve bought my ticket; and I can’t wait to attend Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball, which is presented by Ovation Productions. It will be held at the brand spanking new Mall of Asia Arena on May 21, 2012. I missed her concert the first time she came to Manila; so there’s no way I’m passing up this opportunity to watch her live. I believe it’s going to be epic. I can’t wait!


#TWO
This brilliant app is like Pictionary among friends; and it has provided me with endless entertainment the past few weeks. With such a simple concept, it’s terribly addictive. If you have an Android or Apple device, this is the app you should download now. Connect with Facebook and play with friends! You don’t need to be a brilliant artist to play this, though some sites may make you insecure about your drawing ability. (See: Best of Draw Something) Still, it’s a lot of fun to try to draw as well as guess your friends attempts to draw. It’s another way to connect with people and share something with them without ever having to meet face-to-face.


#THREE
I’ve been wanting to buy this gaming console for a while; and I finally gave in… So far, I’m loving this toy. Kinect allows you to play games that make you move, dance and jump without a need to hold a device in your hand. It’s a lot of fun for the whole family. Games like Kinect Sports, Dance Central and PowerUp Heroes have kept me preoccupied the past Holy Week. It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever owned in my life.


#FOUR
You either love it or think it’s “too gay;” but I’m personally loving Smash. I believe it’s an engaging portrayal of what it takes to stage a Broadway musical… from the producer to the director to the writers to the talents. As with any series, there are characters I could do without (Ellis, please!) and I could survive without the personal drama that borders on cliched (adultery, mean girls picking on the new girl, boyfriend drama). What I like is how the musical Marilyn/Bombshell has taken different directions… just like any production in real life. It also doesn’t dwell too much on performing as many songs as possible. And when they do perform a song, original or otherwise, it’s organic to the scene and it’s beautifully done. I’m glued to the show and I hope it only gets better from here.

#FIVE
I’ve known of this site for a while; but it’s only been recently that I got addicted to reading every entry on 9Gag. What can I say? The submissions make me laugh… most of the time. It introduced me to derp and derpina. It made me know about Ridiculously Photogenic Guy before anyone else. Bad Luck Brian, trolling, “Bitch, Please!” and everything in between… They’ve got it. It’s a good source of entertainment when I’m idling by with nothing to do while on the computer.