Top 5 New Series of 2015

Arguably, Game of Thrones is the biggest TV series right now. But as much as I love it, I’m not heartbroken when a season ends because there’s so much good TV to go around. Here are the top five new series I got hooked on this year while waiting for Game of Thrones.

  1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt tells the story of a woman who’s experiencing normal life after fifteen years of being holed up in an underground bunker with three other women. They were deceived by a cult leader that the world is ending and that the only way to survive was to live in the bunker. The premise sounds dark, but Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is actually a comedy.

I watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt during one of my low moments this year, which was great because aside from being a hilarious series, Kimmy’s (Ellie Kemper) story and positivity are uplifting without being sentimental.

You’ll like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt if:

  • You miss 30 Rock and want to see a new series created by Tina Fey
  • You like light (but not dumbed down) comedy
  • You believe slapstick comedy is effectively funny only in small doses
  • You like “fish out of water” stories
  • You want to inject some joy in your life
  • You find this video funny:
  1. Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful isn’t new; its first season aired in 2014. But not a lot of people are talking about it so it still feels like an undiscovered gem.

Penny Dreadful follows the adventure-filled, and oftentimes terrifying, life of Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) in Victorian London. The series takes inspiration from classic novels such as Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Frankenstein for some of its characters and plots.

You’ll like Penny Dreadful if:

  • You love Eva Green. She plays the central role of Vanessa so you could stare at her and listen to her raspy voice for hours. She’s stunning in costumes of corsets and lace.
  • You’ve read the novels mentioned above and found them boring
  • You like stories with mythical creatures like vampires, werewolves, and witches and want to actually be scared of and not fall in love with them
  • You appreciate meticulous production details such as makeup, costume, and set design
  1. Master of None

Master of None focuses on the different aspects of the life of Dev (Aziz Ansari), a thirty-year-old actor living in New York.

This series reflects so much of my values and principles, and I’m weirded out that I find more things in common with a thirty-year-old son of Indian immigrants living in America than the beautiful, good Filipina daughters in our teleseryes.

You’ll like Master of None if:

  • You find conversations compelling. All the characters talk a lot. And each episode is really about what the characters have to say on the issue at hand whether that be feminism, LGBTQ, racism, or marriage.
  • You like seeing real people on screen. Dev is a short, chubby Indian man. Rachel (Noël Wells), his love interest, doesn’t have a perfectly-proportioned face. The most Hollywood-looking person in the entire series is Claire Danes, and she was there for only one episode.
  • You’re a feminist woman
  • You want a realistic depiction of a romantic relationship
  1. Catastrophe

Catastrophe is a British comedy starring Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan who play characters with the same name. Rob and Sharon meet in a bar, hook up for seven days, and accidentally get pregnant. They don’t necessarily love each other at first, but they like each other enough to stay together and do the adult thing of supporting each other in the mess they’ve created.

You’ll like Catastrophe if:

  • You think sex and relationships are topics that can be depicted realistically, intelligently, and hilariously.
  • You’re a parent with a sense of humor when it comes to raising children
  • You don’t want to have kids but want to see what it would be like if you would
  • You’re a feminist man
  • You follow Rob Delaney on Twitter, have read his book, and find him funny
  1. Narcos

Narcos tells the story of the infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, his rise to power, and the people who are trying to bring him down.

You’ll like Narcos if:

  • You like the intensity of True Detective and the drugs narrative of Breaking Bad
  • You miss Pedro Pascal
  • You enjoy reading subtitles; more than half of the series is in Spanish
  • You like historical drama
  • You want to come out of a binge-watching session feeling as if you’ve been intellectually stimulated

Yeah, Bitch! Breaking Bad!

The latest episode of Breaking Bad ended with tons of gunfire. Walter, Jesse and Hank are still alive but you know someone’s going to die. I’m hoping it’s Gomez but only because I don’t want it to be Hank or Jesse. I know all you Team Heisenberg feel for Walter especially when we remember him in his tighty whities in Season 1. And I appreciate that he’s sort of a self-made man. He only relied on his evil science knowledge to build himself a meth empire. But come on now. All bad things must come to an end and Walter has become the literal worst.

That is one of the amazing things about Breaking Bad. The characters are so well-written and well-played that you could empathize with them as humans. Hank embodies what a three-dimensional character is. He started as Walter’s douche-y brother-in-law who got his mind fucked up after that Tortuga incident. I believe his relationship with Marie. He just became more real to me as the seasons progressed. Even that klepto nag Marie became endearing. As for Skyler, I always found her annoying because she’s so fucking self-righteous. And I can’t even begin to describe how unbelievable Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are. I wouldn’t be able to give it justice.

There’s really no question that all the actors in Breaking Bad are just fucking amazing. All of them. Even the dead ones. The question really is how will all these bad things come to an end? Jesse has decided to go head-to-head against Walter. And even with Hank’s help, I’m not sure he will succeed. They’re just making things up as they go along. They don’t even have a Plan B. Many wiser people have died underestimating Heisenberg so this does not really bode well for Team Schrader.

And even if Hank is successful in capturing Walter, what if they go on a jury trial and Walter uses his cancer card? He’s going to manipulate that jury just like how he manipulated Jesse all these seasons. And remember that Walter has that tape blaming everything on Hank? Imagine Hank being his douche-y self again trying to be all defensive and losing his shit. But if we could only let the jury watch Breaking Bad from Season 1 to 5, they would know that Hank is not a bad guy! And if Walter ends up dying, it doesn’t mean the bad things will end because we still have Lydia, Todd’s uncles, and all the small time meth dealers trying to usurp Walter’s throne. Ugh.

I’m so frustrated I want to do this.

Honestly, I don’t know what I want to happen to Walter. I just want him to leave quietly and not endanger Jesse’s life anymore. He’s done far too much damage on this kid. And if we think about it, what makes Walter scary is not that he can make homemade explosives or ricin; he wreaks more havoc when he opens his mouth and fucks with people’s heads. I’m scared for Jesse, Hank, Marie, Skyler and the kids. I’m scared for all us. I’m scared of the void that will be left once Breaking Bad ends.

Images via, via

We are all Jim and Pam’s mistresses.

It must have been one of those days when I was bored and started looking for “must watch” lists when I discovered The Office.  At the time, it was the height of reality TV shows like The Simple Life or The Hills where we got to see how beautiful people “live.” But the concept of The Office is the opposite of that. It’s a pseudo-reality show/documentary that follows the lives of the employees of Dunder Mifflin paper company. What can be more boring? In season 1, we were introduced to the annoying-turned-lovable regional manager Michael Scott played brilliantly by Steve Carell.

But let us not kid ourselves anymore and admit that this show is really about Pam Beesly and Jim Halpert (PB&J). Here we have two cute and dorky people who are great friends, and from episode one, everyone knew—ALL OF US—that they are meant to be together. It took three seasons for the two of them to get the timing right and for Jim to finally ask Pam out. So when he did and the third season ended with DAT SCENE, I was crying and jumping at the same time. LOVE, you guys!

The Office aired its final episode last Thursday and I had high expectations because of the reactions and articles I’ve read. But I was underwhelmed. For me, Pam’s grand gesture to sell their house, move their family and support Jim with his company was a little late. She’s lucky that everything worked out. But what if it didn’t? To make up for my disappointment, I cried buckets of tears during that scene where Joan Cusack revealed that she is Erin’s mother at the cast panel discussion. You can feel her trying to hold it in and not be a mess. It was beautiful. But then Erin’s father appeared and now they’re one big, happy family and suddenly it seemed like it was too sweet.

I may sound as if I hate happy endings but I don’t. I just didn’t appreciate how everything was tied off so neatly. The fans can sleep soundly knowing that their beloved characters are all in a better place. Except Toby, of course. But for me, a good ending leaves questions to ponder on for years to come. I know you Office fans will say, “Well what about Jim’s note to Pam? Aren’t you wondering about that?” Do we still need to know what’s in there? Jim has proven time and again that he loves Pam more than anything. Jim has done a lot of wonderful things for Pam and the teapot note is just one of the many.

And when Pam closed the series with the quote, “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things,” it just didn’t cut it for me. These guys weren’t ordinary. Love is not ordinary—especially Jim’s love for Pam. And maybe we’re all like Mindy Kaling, one of the writers and the actress who played Kelly Kapoor, when she said that having Jim Halpert as a model makes it more difficult to face the reality that most men will fall short of Jim. And don’t we all deserve a Jim, ladies?

Maybe it’s a good thing that the series ended before we got completely tired of it. One day I will find someone who will watch The Office with me from the first season to the last until we die. Of laughter. And tears. I have nothing more to say so I’ll end it with this. PB&J Forever.

Never. Forget.

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Zombie Apocalypse

The Walking Dead TV series is finally coming back tomorrow after its mid-season break. It’s been a while since I’ve had my serving of gore so I AM PSYCHED. There’s always a guessing game of who will die next. I wish it so bad to be Merle but it could easily be Glenn or Daryl next. There are still so many questions. Is there a refuge for non-zombies out there? Will there ever be a cure? How did it even get to the point that everyone carries a strain of the virus? Did they use a Ganali device like in The Amazing Spider-Man? Was this an evil ploy all along by Dr. Curt Connors? Give it up, Dr. Connors!

And all this got me thinking, will I survive a zombie apocalypse? I want to say yes but let’s be honest here, I won’t  and here’s why:

  1. I don’t know how to use a gun. We’ve all got to defend ourselves from those brain-munchers and the easiest way is to shoot their brains before they eat ours. I’m afraid that I might actually die trying to load bullets or accidentally shoot someone in my group or worse, myself. And we can’t all be samurai-wielding badasses like Michonne. By the time I can kill a zombie with a sword, I might have already slashed two to three fingers, a toe, and an ear in the process.
  2. I wear glasses. Visual impairments are a weakness. I mean, have you seen a glasses-wearing person survive a zombie apocalypse except for that pseudo-scientist guy that works for The Governor? No. Even Hershel doesn’t wear glasses and he’s the token old, wise guy. I really have to get that Lasik eye surgery before shit goes down.
  3. I don’t know how to ride a motorcycle. Sure, it’s not that bad since I can at least drive a stick shift but what if I got into a situation where there’s a mob of zombies behind me and the only means of escape is this motorcycle which I don’t know how to operate. Basically, I will die of a heart attack from trying to outrun the mob.
  4. My camping skills suck. I can deal with living in tents and cooking fish caught in a river or something to that extent. But I cannot for the life of me start a fire from scratch. Of course I hope it never gets to the point where I need to start a fire from scratch but this is the zombie apocalypse, people! Anything can happen! Get on with the program. (Come on, Jen. Let’s be real. It will never get to that point because you will be dead eating a poisonous berry in the woods.)
  5. In relation to these poisonous berry ingestion event, I may also die because I have no knowledge on practical cures. I only know that you can use vodka on a great many things. Which things, I don’t know. Probably, I will use vodka during the zombie apocalypse to kill myself by alcohol poisoning.

So basically I’m going to be like Lori or Season 1 Carl because I’m a burden, only worse because I won’t live as long as them. I just hope that I’m as fashionable as Daryl and die with a kickass poncho.