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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25 Shows: Sex and the City

Show 16 of 25: SEX AND THE CITY
(1998-2004)

it’s about:
Four single friends who confide and rely on each other as they navigate through the confusing dating landscape of New York City. It is inspired by the book of the same name written by Candace Bushnell.

my earliest history with the show:
I never really got into the show until its later years (last two to three seasons) mainly because of the subject matter and how late HBO aired the series in the Philippines. By the final season, however, my sister and I stayed up late on Saturdays to catch every episode.

why it sticks:
At the core of it all, these four women shared a friendship that we aspire to have with our own group of friends. Despite having distinct personalities, they kept their relationship intact in sickness and in health, in triumphs and in failures, in heartbreak and in happiness.

As a bonus, the series is funny, smart and entertaining. It gave another glimpse of life in New York and became an iconic comedy that women loved and could relate to. It also served as a groundbreaking series that showed women being open about sex and relationships.

Also, much like wanting to be one of the Friends gang, I also wanted to have lunch with Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. That’s how close you felt with them, which is a testament to how successful a show is in sticking with a viewer.

best memory:
The final episode has got to be the best. Carrie and Big FINALLY end up together when he admits that she’s the one… and in Paris! How romantic.

And in the show’s final moments, let me share with you Carrie Bradshaw’s final thoughts:

‘Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous…’

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

25 Shows: Chuck

Show 15 of 25: CHUCK
(2007-2012)

it’s about:
A computer geek named Chuck Bartowski, whose life is turned upside down when he inadvertently downloads the government’s secrets into his brain.

my earliest history with the show:
This is another one of those shows which I followed from the beginning. I read mixed reviews before the pilot; but because of show runner Josh Schwartz, I had to come on board.

why it sticks:
This is a show that mixed comedy and action very, very well. Despite its far-fetched plot and sci-fi roots, what stands out with Chuck is its wit and humor. There’s a ton of geekiness that goes to the surface; and it is delivered so well by an interesting mix of characters. Even before The Big Bang Theory, this show featured an unlikely group of misfits that were all underdogs in life. At the center of this group is Chuck, who continued to grow from the beginning of the show all the way to the end.

I also loved the romance between the two central characters, Chuck and Sarah. How they grew to love each other through the series just stuck with me. It didn’t hurt that there were a ton of laughs along the way. When they finally got together, it was truly satisfying.

The show just ended this year, with its final episodes challenging the relationship of Chuck and Sarah. I found the conclusion to this series a bit disappointing, employing an amnesia storyline, which I absolutely hate. Still, the past five seasons of this show just entertained the heck out of me… giving me hours upon hours of laughs and thrilling action. It will continue to be one of my all-time favorite shows.

best memory:
A much-awaited moment, which would have satisfied me as a fitting end to the series.

25 Shows: The Little Lulu Show

Show 13 of 25: THE LITTLE LULU SHOW
(1995-1999)

it’s about:
Lulu Moppett is like any other kid who gets into a little mischief every now and then with her band of friends. She may get into trouble with her antics; but she always has the best of intentions tackling any situation.

my earliest history with the show:
It was on Cartoon Network back when they had decent series in the roster. This is another show I loved watching when I was a kid. It starts right when I get home from school. After a tiring day, I turn the TV on, sit back, and relax. It was a routine I stuck with well into early high school. I loved it.

why it sticks:
The Little Lulu Show is one of those cartoons that is not too “young” and not too “adult.” Through the stories, it is remarkable how the writers were able to strike that perfect balance. Proof? My sister, who is 6 years older than me, loves this show as well.

Aside from Lulu herself, every other character has a personality that sticks with you. The naughtiness and hilarity that ensues keep you entertained well into the very end. The humor is witty, the stories simple yet funny. One can’t help but relate to Lulu because her perspective on childhood really holds true; and everyone has gone through being a kid, right?

Anyway, this statement might make me seem ancient; but they don’t do cartoons like this nowadays. Almost everything is represented in a heightened reality. I miss the good old fashioned animation. *now I do feel old*

best memory:
Some of the biggest laughs I got from this show are from the stand-up the title character does before or after every segment. Here’s an example:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KUeOFHEmJU]

And it’s great someone was able to post it, here’s one episode of the show that I still remember to this very day:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujwV9WSVKVc]

Schmidt vs. The Hills

Here’s a little something that brightened up my morning. I can’t believe I’m just seeing this now. Schmidt is the d-bag we love on New Girl; and here’s  an even bigger proof why he’s such a you-know-what.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zkf5SSdfQYA]

And here’s the video he was inspired by… brilliant.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4z1pF0vxGw]

And here’s the interview where I found out about it.

What a way to kickstart my morning!

25 Shows: Full House

Show 12 of 25: FULL HOUSE
(1987-1995)

it’s about:
Full House is a sitcom about Danny Tanner who, after the death of his wife, asks help from his friend Joey Gladstone and brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis to live with him and take care of his three daughters DJ, Stephanie and Michelle. This show centers on their family life and the subsequent circumstances that make their family bigger and bigger as the seasons progress.

my earliest history with the show:
This is another old show that ran on RPN 9. I was probably in grade school then. I couldn’t get enough of the Tanner family, Stephanie’s catchphrases and Michelle’s cuteness!

why it sticks:
This show is an old-fashioned, traditional family sitcom. The comedy is light; but the stories could go from simple to a bit more serious. Still, it’s one of those series that just stuck with me because it reminds me of my childhood. I could picture myself eagerly awaiting new episodes every night and slowly developing a love for the characters.

I have had the chance to watch some early episodes; and for me, the humor is still there. Plus, it’s a testament to the timelessness of a comedy if my young nieces pay attention to the show and like it.

best memory:
It has got to be “You got it dude.” by Michelle and “How rude.” by Stephanie. And so here’s a compilation: