The Watch List – Quarter #1 2017

Television happens when I’m not in the mood to read. Or when I’m in the mood for television. There’s a difference, I swear. Here’s what I’ve been watching and flailing over recently. All are highly recommended if you have my exact tastes.

613_1024x411Big Little Lies – Let’s lead off with the heavy hitter. Get thee to HBO Go and binge away. It starts slow, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better adaptation of a novel EVER. EVER. EVER. The performances (particularly Nicole Kidman) killed me. I felt uncomfortable in the best way. And the ending slayed my heart – made me laugh and cry and smile like a goddamn idiot. Give it all the awards.

MITJ_DigitalAssets_Landing_540x360_R1_GCMozart in the Jungle – Want to keep smiling? Head on over to Amazon (don’t @ me) and watch this gem. It’s such an underappreciated comedy about an eccentric conductor taking over the New York Symphony Orchestra. It’s strange and quirky while being grounded in the slice of life narratives of struggling orchestra musicians. Gael Garcia Bernal absolutely shines as Rodrigo. Season three was bonkers.

la_ca_1223_black_sailsBlack Sails – The most epic gay pirate love story that is also a prequel to Treasure Island. And maybe one of the most sexually fluid shows ever created for mainstream audiences. Very adult, very violent. And also slow as hell where characters get the time to breathe and develop. Episodes might center around a crazy battle, but might also center around a quiet conversation between two people. The women are amazing – always two steps ahead of the men. You didn’t watch this show and you should have.

tvd-castThe Vampire Diaries – This is a rewatch. I watched live until midway through the fourth season when the show took turns I couldn’t get behind. But knowing how everything ends and having processed my complicated feelings years ago, I’m giving this show the full watch treatment. And I have to tell you, it holds up so well. The first season is one of the most expertly plotted seasons of television I’ve ever seen. And so far season two is almost just as great. TVD is a show where I actually appreciate the blooming love triangle (which, to me at least, is an actual triangle) and takes plot twists super seriously. What I mean by that is the writers never waited for the season finale to do something major. They liked to switch things up and break your heart every few episodes. And I loved them for it. Plus, the acting is mostly superb. I particularly love Paul Wesley’s performance as Stefan Salvatore. (I’m a Stelena shipper – bite me)

Also, iZombie is back and if you’ve never watched this show PLEASE RUN DON’T WALK.


The Walking Dead: “A” and a Season Four Wrap-Up


Within The Walking Dead community, it’s a widely accepted opinion that seasons 2 and 4 were the slowest. Bitch, bitch, moan, moan. Whatever. These 2 seasons are my favorites. I like the slow storytelling aspect of both, that they allow the characters to breathe and grow and evolve.

“A” was my favorite season finale thus far. It was the perfect ending to an almost perfect season. Rick, Michonne, Carl, and now Daryl – to me – are the absolute best grouping. Carl and Michonne might have the most interesting relationship on the show. Loved that the final episode focused on them. The brutal scene between them and the Claimers was just amazing. No, seriously, AMAZING. Rick using his teeth to save his son’s life grabbed me in the gut. The lengths this man will go to. The monster within he now embraces to keep his people safe is one of the most compelling dynamics on television. And he no longer gives a fuck. Rick Grimes has ascended to a new level of being. And I can’t wait to take that journey with him.

Daryl and Rick’s scene the next morning. ALL OF THE FEELS. Thank God Daryl’s back with his family. I’m so glad Rick’s first instinct is to take Daryl’s guilt away. To claim him as brother. And I’m glad they discussed Beth. Because Beth will play a MAJOR role in season 5. I’m calling it now.


TERMINUS. Fuck those motherfuckers. Rick is so right. He’s going to jack these sons of bitches up so bad. Team Prison is back together and that’s perhaps the biggest mistake the termites could have made. Because Team Prison reunited and headed by warrior!Rick is an unstoppable force. Not to mention, I think Rick and his group went into Terminus with a plan. Rick leaving those weapons behind – including his signature python – is telling.

So what is Terminus? Are they simply cannibals? We saw the human bones. But we also saw the memorial room that screams religious cult of some sort. I think they might be the cannibals from the comics but with a twist. As for how Team Prison will get out of this scrape, I imagine that Beth will be essential to that. Which is one of the most fantastic twists the show has taken (along with no deaths). Everyone online was clamoring for Beth’s death, expecting it, hoping for it. But not under Scott Gimple’s watch. Too obvious. Too boring. I believe Beth was taken by Father Gabriel (from the comics) and that they’ll form some kind of team to help Rick and the others escape. Am I crazy? Maybe, but in the final Hershel flashback, Rick throws his sheriff’s hat on Beth’s head and proclaims her the ‘new sheriff’. I think that was done on purpose. I believe Beth will become the Andrea of the comics. And I’m so ready for this. The weakest becoming one of the strongest? Yes, please. And then her and Daryl can have their sexy little way with each other and it will be the hottest thing on television EVER.

Speaking of the Hershel flashbacks: I miss him so much!! But I can see how his journey, his story, was very, very done. Hershel wanted something for Rick and Carl that just can’t be. He wanted them to be something they’re not. And as much as Hershel’s morale strengths and lessons really helped both characters, ultimately, they can’t come back from the things they’ve done. They are different people now. They all have a monster within that is undeniable and even necessary. Recognizing, accepting, and embracing this part of themselves is the only way to continue on this journey. Like Carol said, “You can be a farmer, Rick. But you can’t JUST be a farmer.”

Where are Carol and Tyreese and Judith???

I actually really liked little punk ass Gareth as a villain. He has this weird control obsession – this evil genius – this horrific cat and mouse game going that almost makes him more formidable than the Governor. Because this kid thinks things through. He’s well-organized, calm, calculating, and extremely smart. But we all have our weaknesses.

So, kudos, TWD for being awesome. Kudos for making a believer out of my husband. He’s never really watched the show but LOVED this finale. I hope that Melissa McBride earns an Emmy nomination. I hope that season 5 raises the bar, yet again. More than anything, I just hope that the next 7 months hurry the fuck up.

Also, I’m thinking of taking a trip down to the Terminus mill and (hopefully) taking pictures this weekend. First, I’ve got to discover its location, which shouldn’t be too hard between the interwebs and Google maps. Excited!!



March Movie Madness

Not an entirely accurate post title because I didn’t watch a whole hell of a lot this month. At least, not beyond The Walking Dead. Remember how I was supposed to be embarking on a new cinematic journey? Well, did not happen. Didn’t watch a single one of the four films I had vowed to make time for. Here’s what I did manage to get around to:


Veronica Mars (The Movie):

Of course I watched this and loved every single stupid second. LoVe for life, bitches.


Thor: The Dark World:

Jimmy and I just watched this On Demand a few days ago and mostly enjoyed. I love Loki so he steals the show for me EVERY TIME. Jimmy thought the cinematic scope of the film was gorgeous and wishes he’d seen it in IMAX theaters. Wasn’t the biggest fan of Natalie Portman’s character, but loved, loved Kat Dennings.


House of Cards:

Just started watching season one. Enjoying the Southern campiness of Kevin Spacey. And Robin Wright is fierce.


Game of Thrones, Season Three:

Squeezed this in just in time for the beginning of season four. The Red Wedding might have been even more brutal on screen than on the page. Of course, I did throw the book across the room during that scene and refused to pick it up again for three days. So both were highly affecting.

What did you watch in March?

The Walking Dead: “Us”

tumblr_n2wqirrlhZ1slwvwgo1_1280Well, Terminus looks like a place that is filled with rainbows, sunshine, and evil fucking clowns that eat people. Seriously, how can this group walk in, guns lowered, and not suspect a damn thing? This place has ZERO fortification.

Glenn and Maggie’s reunion was one of my most favorite moments of this show. EVER. God, I teared up and I’m not even bothered by that. I was just screaming at my tv – it’s Maggie! It’s Maggie!! Jimmy thought I had gone insane. I’m a bit worried about that whole burning the picture scene. It seems to foreshadow imminent death. You can’t ever just be happy on TWD.

I’m glad Glenn loves Tara.

Eugene is weird and odd and I didn’t like him at first but now I do? My feelings for him are confused, but he went back for Glenn and that made me happy. Plus, this show just needs more mullets.

That scene with Rick, Michonne, and Carl was utter perfection and made my heart so happy. I know next episode will be brutal for Rick (see above picture) so I’m glad he’s getting these small moments of familial happiness. Michonne and Carl are just too damn cute.

DARYL, though. Get away from these people, please. I know you saw Michonne’s candy wrapper, and I know you know what her favorite chocolate bar is. So I know you know who they’re tracking. You better just be with them now to protect your family. That line Joe fed him about being an outdoor cat trying to be an indoor cat crushed my spirit. I hope Beth’s words were running through his head louder than that nonsense. Also, when he picked up that sheet to cover Len’s body, he was totally channeling Beth but then he put it back down. I HATED THAT MOMENT.

I don’t know what happens next week. I have ideas and sad panda thoughts. But it’s going to be brutal. I’ll need bourbon. Lots and lots of bourbon.


The Walking Dead: The Grove

14503359-mmmainLike Talking Dead said: Sometimes there are just no words.

Mika and Lizzie’s deaths were brutal. And Carol. Oh, Carol. Melissa you are by FAR the most talented actress on this show. I’m really worried you aren’t going to make it to season 5. Like so, so worried.

And Tyreese. That was so much for you to deal with. UGH. Thank you for forgiving.

Part of me can’t believe TWD had the guts to go there, but the other part of me is so proud of my little show. Push the limits. Challenge your audience. Teach us something.


Prediction for next week: Rick saves Daryl!!! PLEASE???? I wish Beth could somehow save him, but that’s highly unlikely. Also, I hope Daryl puts a knife in that janky ass redneck fucker’s gut.

The Walking Dead: “Alone” & The Best Ship EVER

I just erased this really long analytic discussion post because I have only one thing I really want to talk about:


I mean, how could you not after Sunday’s episode? I’ve never thought about or cared about shipping anyone on TWD until this very moment in time. Sure, I like the Richonne dynamic, but I don’t live for it. I enjoyed Daryl and Carol’s platonic, familial bonding. Maggie and Glenn are fine in their own boring way. But Beth and Daryl break my fucking heart.

And I fought this. I fought this something fierce. Beth and Daryl prior to season 4 had little to no screen time together. I didn’t even know they knew each other’s name. But when season 4 started, they shared a hug in the very first episode that had me totally icked out. I literally yelled at the television, “Yuck! Do not do this, Scott Gimple. Do not do this for the love of all things good and holy.”

I take it all back.

What changed my mind? Episode 13, for the win!!

It’s no secret that Daryl Dixon is my favorite character on TWD. And it’s not because I think Norman Reedus might be the sexiest man on this earth. It’s really not. His character arc has just been the most well-played and best plotted I’ve seen on tv in a long while. The little redneck baby brother who belligerently bumbled across our screens for the first time in 2010 resembles our current leading man NOT AT ALL. And in the past two episodes he’s had an almost coming-of-age thing (at least emotionally) right alongside Beth Greene.


So why doesn’t the age difference bother me anymore?  First, see the last sentence of the above paragraph. In episode 12, I really came to understand just how emotionally stunted Daryl has always been despite his age. I think, for him at least, age really is just the random amount of years he’s been stuck on this planet. His emotional maturity really isn’t any further along than Beth’s 18 or so years.  He’s never been a grown ass man on his own making his own decisions. And likewise, Beth has never been a fully grown woman doing the same. Now they are doing this together and with each other and holy shit is it compelling.

The second reason I’m not bothered? Daryl Dixon is not a womanizer. He doesn’t go around lusting after and being grotesque with the women on the show. Mostly, he’s terrified and avoids them unless he has a specific job to do with Maggie, Michonne, or Carol. I’ve never seen him objectify or sexualize anyone in any kind of yucky way. So this development with Beth feels honest, real, and incredibly touching. The way this scene below plays out? All of the feels. Daryl Dixon is falling in love and it wasn’t planned. It wasn’t expected. And it’s the best thing ever.




Reason three? This is the goddamn zombie apocalypse and both characters are consenting adults. We’re in a new world. A brutal, harsh world where Beth and Daryl have watched their families be destroyed. Beth is an 18 year old who has attempted suicide. Watched her mother and brother die and become undead creatures. Watched her father beheaded by a madman who makes the zombies look tame. She’s killed. She’s survived. I have to imagine years in TWD are more akin to dog years than human years, ya know? The rules of before are gone. They don’t make sense. What we’re left with now are humans stripped down to the core of what being human means. We’re in a world where preteens shoot their moms in the head. Daryl offers Beth safety, guidance, loyalty, and stability. Beth offers Daryl love, hope, and faith. And that is more than enough for me.

AND WHEN DARYL RUNS ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT TRYING TO CATCH UP WITH BETH WHICH GOES AGAINST ALL REASON BECAUSE HOW CAN HE RUN DOWN A CAR? If that ain’t love, folks, I don’t know what is. Watching him collapse for the first time, I believe, completely defeated, tore my heart out. Beth and Daryl might have sneaked up on me, but now that they’re here, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. POWERS THAT BE – HEAR THIS: Give Beth back to Daryl you heartless assholes!



The Walking Dead: “Still”

9451268_600x338It’s almost zero dark thirty as I write this so I’m a little drunk with the need for sleep right now. Tonight’s TWD episode (and yes, I skipped the Oscars for this) centered solely on our oddest post-prison pairing (OMG, the alliteration), Beth and Daryl. And I loved every single beautiful disaster of a second.

I just finished reading a long article that discusses how TWD deals wonderfully with class issues that seem to stick around even in the zombie apocalypse. Daryl is clearly a have-not kind of person as he moseys around that country club. Loved it.

But you know what I loved the mostest? Beth fucking Greene. I’m so glad the writers of the show finally gave Emily Kinney a chance to shine. Even if it’s only so that she can be killed off in the next couple of episodes. I’m not actually certain she dies, but TWD seems to have a formula for major character deaths that revolve around big existential conversations and life-affirming moments. Am I right?

Anyway, I loved that Beth just wanted a damn drink. I loved that Daryl resorted back to season one Daryl all night. I loved that Daryl wouldn’t let Beth drink peach schnapps but suggested moonshine instead (but seriously though, Beth would have been on her ass if she was drinking moonshine on little nourishment and little water). I loved that Daryl and Beth both called each other on their shit and went a little bonkers. I loved that Beth was able to pull all of that out of Daryl when no one else, thus far, has. EVER CAROL. Sorry, I’m not a Caryl shipper.

I’m also not a Bethyl shipper. Although I might have softened towards them as a pairing during the episode. They fit together wonderfully in this complex and interesting way. It’s unpredictable and strange and a little wrong. DON’T HATE ME.

Moving on, I hate that Daryl thinks he’s nothing. I hate that Beth questions her survival. I just want them to find their family again, dammit. As for burning down the cabin/house/whatever, it was almost a bit too much – a little overplayed – but I won’t begrudge this nonstop horrorfest a lighter moment or two.

Next episode looks super intense, y’all. Like maybe death is going to happen. Bob? Sasha? Beth? But surely not Daryl. RIGHT? RIGHT?

P.S. Did you see Daryl and Beth holding hands in the preview? Why does this make me so happy even if it’s just this platonic bonding thing that is epic and wonderful and gooey and filled with chocolate, sunshine, and unicorns?

Oh, show.

The Walking Dead: “Claimed”


It’s my birthday and I’ll write what I want to!! Which is The Walking Dead. Because. See first sentence.

Anyway, Michonne gets a new shirt, but Rick is still running around (I use the term running loosely) in that nasty rag. What is with that guy and dirty shirts? Thankfully, he manages to find something new and clean. I like that Rick and Michonne are both wearing white. Does that make me weird?

My favorite thing about the show right now is Michonne and Carl’s relationship. It is so perfect.

Rick running around in that house with those crazy fuckers had me on the edge of my seat. This show can really do suspense like no other.

Oh! And Rick was reading a bedtime story. Jack London’s short stories.

I do think it’s weird how accepting everyone seems to be about signs advertising sanctuary.

Glenn and Abraham were boring to me. I just have nothing invested in Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita yet. Plus, mullet dude seems shady. Tara wasn’t as annoying this week.



Anyway, see y’all tomorrow with a book review. Now back to my birthday celebration that includes huge spreadsheets, cubicles, and that annoying thing called work.

The Walking Dead: “Inmates”

the-walking-dead-inmates-glenn-2Normally, I like to watch the episode twice before writing about it, but I’m winging this tonight after one viewing. Let’s get started.

Yay, Norman’s back!! That was my first impression. Sorry, not sorry. He’s shut down emotionally and Beth is trying to keep him going. BETH. I think Emily Kinney has more lines in this episode than she’s had through the entire series. Not sure how I felt about the emo voice over. And how can these characters be almost on top of each other and not find each other? Not much happens with these two.

Next, Tyreese and the children. Baby Judith is alive!! (I already knew this. I read spoilers.) Lizzie is a crazy, psycho and someone needs to understand this quickly. The most gut-wrenching part of the episode was her smothering Judi nearly to death with a glint in her eye. WTF? I felt bad for Tyreese being left alone with the kids. And are we suppose to think that Luke and Molly got eaten? And then…CAROL!!! She’s back sooner than I expected. She’s clearly terrified of Tyreese finding out about her killing Karen and David. And she’s a liar on top of it all. Terminus scares me.

Maggie. Poor, poor Maggie. Watching those walkers come out of the bus just knowing she was going to see walker!Glenn at any moment. I cannot even imagine. Bob is a little too lighthearted about the whole thing, don’t you think? He’s all like ‘I’m gonna hook up with Sasha now that big brother Tyreese isn’t around’. I’m worried about Maggie’s psychological well-being.

And finally, Glenn is alive and stranded at the prison among the zombie horde. When he got into his bed I thought he might decide to never get up. But then he goes into badass, riot gear Glenn and saves himself and Tara. His face and reaction when he hears about Hershel had me mourning Hershel for the millionth time.

Rosita, Eugene, and Abraham have arrived!! Next Sunday can’t get here quickly enough (she says every Sunday).

The Walking Dead: After

14244378-mmmainIt’s back! Our favorite zombie survivors are once again going to be gracing our televisions each Sunday. Last night’s episode picked up right where the mid-season finale left off – the destroyed prison and the loss of our beloved Hershel.

The first five minutes with Michonne were heartbreaking and exactly what I love most about this show. She’s forced to put Walker!Hershel down and you can see how much this affects her.  Instead of pulling her katana out with her foot, she lovingly places her hand on Hershel’s cheek, mourning the loss of a great man and the moral backbone of Team Prison. RIP Hershel.

We get to dive a bit into Michonne’s grief-filled past through dreams that show her as she was pre-apocalypse. We’d already suspected she was a mother after her reactions around baby Judi, but seeing her with her child is emotionally moving. I loved how we follow Michonne throughout the episode – how she rarely speaks yet we seem to know exactly what’s she’s thinking. At first she casts off her human family, refusing to follow the footsteps of the Grimes boys. But once she realizes she’s chosen to walk among the dead rather than the living, she gloriously downs the zombies and goes in search of her boys. I’m totally a Richonne shipper. The ending scene where she knocks on the door was maybe the second time I teared up during the episode.

As for Rick and Carl (the only other characters featured in this episode), we see them struggling, not just with the prison’s downfall, but their own downfall as father and son. Rick is badly injured and Carl is pissed as hell at him – showing his true teenage bitchiness. At one point, he even wishes his father dead which most teenagers do at some point. But watching Carl come to terms with the literal death of his father was another extremely moving moment.

I liked following Carl around on his own for awhile. We get to see just how much of a kid he still is – despite the atrocities he’s seen and committed. How many times can one teenage boy almost get bitten in the span of 45 minutes? If your name is Carl Grimes…a lot. His pudding eating scene made me giggle – with his one shoe having been stolen.

Many have labeled this episode as boring which I definitely do not agree with. After the loud, crazy, epic prison showdown in the previous installment, the quietness of ‘After’ felt appropriate and moving. Many of the actors and producers of the show have said that the back eight episodes are far more psychological than the show has ever been. You get to see that with episode nine as the dialogue is at a bare minimum. I think it’s an interesting storytelling technique and gives the actors a real chance to shine.

I do have one small gripe. Carl and Rick cannot have wondered too far away from the prison in the battle’s aftermath. With that in mind, how can there be so many un-looted, un-scavenged houses and buildings? Wouldn’t they have gone through everything nearby at this point? Just a minor detail, but it irked me nonetheless. Also, why aren’t they looking for the others??????? Did they not have a plan in place for this kind of catastrophe? I find that incredibly hard to believe, TWD writers.

Can’t wait to meet up with the others in 410! I miss my weekly Norman Reedus fix!!