Summer Watch List

Remember those hot summer days when we had nothing to do for two (or more) months but relax, sit indoors in the air-conditioning (or outdoors, if that’s your thing), and spend countless hours doing nothing? Well, maybe that’s still true for the lucky few of you.  Me on the other hand, I like to pretend those are still my summers.  I like the spend my down time doing something people don’t really consider too crazy anymore: binge watch television shows.

This summer I’ve binged watched six shows so far, with a few more up on the docket.  Some shows I watched for the very first time and some shows I watched all the way through for my second (or third, shhh, don’t judge me) time.  All of these shows come high on my list of recommendations.  So, without further ado, I bring you:

Erin’s Summer Watch List 

The New Shows

orphanblackOrphan Black (BBC Aamerica): #CloneClub for life! Orphan Black is by far the number one show I’ve recommended to people over the past few months.  I’ve been trying to convert as many members to the “Clone Club” as possible.  In short, the show centers around a girl named Sarah who discovers that she is, you guessed it, a clone!  Sound kind of cheesy? It’s not. This BBC America sci-fi show boasts some of the best acting I’ve seen from one person (still pressed over Tatiana Maslany’s Emmy snub).  The supporting cast is just as talented and the show does an amazing job at making you believe that Maslany is actually seven+ clones.  The show has ended its ten episode freshman season and is poised to be back in 2014 for season two.

Hannibal (NBC): This show came to my attention after the members of ONTD fawned over the series throughout its first season run.  I was apprehensive at first since a second season for the show hung by a thread for a few months.  I didn’t want to get completely enamored by the show if it wasn’t going to continue on.  The series is fashioned from the infamous Hannibal hannibalLecter character and books, focusing on protagonist Will Graham.  Graham, a criminal profiler with a “gift” to emotionally understand serial killers, befriends psychiatrist Lecter after they are brought in to work together on a case.  The relationship becomes tumultuous as Lecter begins manipulating Graham and taking advantage of his special skills.  The show is equal parts creepy and thought provoking.  For NBC, the series could also be considered pretty gory, not taking away from the horror that is Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Mads Mikkelsen (Lecter) and Hugh Dancy (Graham) lead a talented bunch of convincing actors.

Orange is the New Black (Netflix): During the writing of this blog I decided to give OITNB a shot after hearing rave reviews from everyone who had watched.  My one episode trial turned into a full oitnbseason binge watch. The show is based off of the real life accounts of Piper, a white, affluent, woman who gets sentenced to a fifteen month prison stay after her past catches up with her.  Piper, though, can be considered the “Trojan horse” of the show as the assemble of diverse women are just as largely focused on throughout the thirteen episode first season.  Each character becomes relatable through flashbacks.  Every woman does an excellent job of bringing just the right amount of pain and sympathy to their characters.  In the end, it’s hard not to root for almost all of them.

New-ish Shows

New Girl (FOX): If you asked me to watch a random episode of a show when its right smack dab in the middle of its season I would probably laugh at you.  Not because I don’t trust your judgment on shows, but because I like to start fresh from the beginning so I’m not left newgirlasking a million questions.  Fortunately in this case I have some pushy friends who insisted I would love New Girl.  They were right.  After watching a random episode in the middle of the second season, I fell in love with the sophomore show.  I continued to watch all the way to the season finale of the second season and then went back to the beginning and marathoned the whole series to date.  The show is charming, funny, and ridiculous.  Quirky Jess moves into an apartment with three very different guys who are all best friends.  What ensues is your typical Zooey Deschanel comedy, but the show has a lot of heart.  The relationship between Jess and her roommate Nick (Jake Johnson) is really what sealed the deal for me.  The FOX comedy is an easy watch that will suck you in.

Re-watches

hocHouse of Cards (Netflix): This re-watch came only a few months after I first watched the Netflix hit’s first season.  I had the lucky opportunity to be an extra on the show (filmed in and around my home city) and experience the amazing production of the political thriller.  Kevin Spacey (now nominated for an Emmy for his role) plays House Majority Whip Frank Underwood.  What ensues throughout the show is a whirlwind of dark manipulation through Washington D.C. and its politics.  Spacey takes the lead with an outstanding supporting cast that will have you crying buckets by seasons end.  The second season will be available next year on Netflix and is sure to bring even more craziness than the first season.  (side note: You can also catch me as “sweaty background extra #48” in season 2, episode 5 next year!)

Being Human US (Syfy): I think I’ve spoken about this show ad nauseam by now, which is funny since only several months ago in an earlier blog I referred to the SyFy series as “okay.”  The re-watch of the current three seasons also came on a whim.  I was testing the bhcast2Netflix app out on my iPad and thirty-nine episodes later…well, here I am. The show takes the premise of the beloved UK series and follows the turmoils of a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost as they try to make their lives human-ish as roommates.  The first season of the US remake takes a handful of storylines from the UK’s first season while adding their own twists to it all to accommodate their thirteen episode seasons.  The show veers in its own direction by season two and season three does an amazing job with their ability to make all characters, main and supporting, compassionate.  It’s also fun to note that the cast regularly interacts with fans through social media, conventions, etc. and is one of the most genuine and hilarious casts of a show I’ve witnessed.

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Ridiculous Theories: Breaking Bad Edition

Well fellow Breaking Bad fans, the beginning of the end is officially underway.  The second half of season five premiered last Sunday to an audience of 5.9 million viewers (a personal record for the hit show).  For weeks now, fans have been speculating some pretty incredible theories on what events will transpire in the final eight episodes.  Who will live? Who will die? Will the White family be destroyed beyond repair?  Will Hank persecute his own brother-in-law?

Four ridiculous and highly improbable Breaking Bad theories

Walter Jr. is no longer friends with Louis – uses the name as a code word for drugs/Louis is Jr.’s drug dealer: Since the beginning of the show, Walter’s son Jr., or Flynn as he likes to be called, has been consistent in two things: eating breakfast and constantly hanging out with his friend Louis.  Viewers have only caught a few glimpses of Louis throughout the series, but Jr. has continued to rant and rave about Louis nonstop.  It’s been a while since fans of the show have actually seen Louis on screen, which begs the question: where is Louis? bb2What do the two do together, as it seems they hang out on a daily basis? One theory is that Louis and Jr. are no longer really friends and to keep his parents in the dark about his extracurricular activities, Jr. has been using “Louis” as a code word to use drugs, specifically the blue meth so famously made by patriarch Walt.  Since season one I’ve been waiting for Jr. to take a more prominent role in the series, for Walt’s double life to gravely effect his children.  I’ve been holding onto the theory since the beginning that Jr. has been into the blue crystal and that one day Walt would walk in on his son, seeing first hand the destruction his pure product has caused.

Another theory is that Louis is in fact Jr.’s drug dealer.  In Sunday night’s episode, a dinner conversation surrounding college found Jr. discussing Louis and his carelessness towards higher education.  Walt and Skyler laughed off their sons blasé attitude towards expanding his knowledge beyond high school because his friend felt the same, but could this lead towards bigger problems? Have Jr. and Louis become wrapped up in a darker life than their parents really know?

Walter poisons baby Holly with ricin: Rumors have been swirling for several seasons now that the death of Walter and Skyler’s infant daughter, Holly, was imminent.  Many bb3viewers even thought that the end of season 5A, before Hank took his year long dump of realizations, would bring Holly’s death as Jr. pushed her around in a toy car dangerously close to the pool’s edge.  This was mainly due to the fact that the color pink has continuously represented death on the show (the pink bear from the plane crashes, the pink lipstick found on Jane’s cigarette after her death, etc.) and baby Holly has continuously been fashioned in pink garments.  Viewers have also learned that color is a very significant benefactor on the series, usually indicating something much deeper within the characters themselves.

bb4In the beginning of season 5B, the cold open shows Walter making his way back to his now condemned house for one thing: the ricin which has still been hidden within the walls power circuit.  It’s pretty evident on Walter’s neighbor Carol’s face when she see’s him that she knows who he really is.  In a last ditch effort to save himself could Walt use the ricin on his own infant daughter to gain sympathy from others? It’s been established that Walter will do anything to save himself, even poisoning a child already to manipulate Jesse.  Could his ultimate act of selfishness lead to him murdering one of his own children?  Gus Fring threatened to kill Walt’s children without an upwards glance and Walt has proven to be even more conniving than his predecessor.

Marie kills Walt: The progression of the final episodes of Breaking Bad have brought all of our main characters to do unspeakable and uncharacteristic things.  One character who has stayed pretty grounded throughout the series has been Hank’s wife, Marie.  Marie has tried to stay the voice of reason (in her own mind) for her family but has had some missteps along the way, including a bout of kleptomania here and there.

bb5With Marie constantly teetering on the brink, could she step out of the shadows and deliver a final blow to her brother-in-law? The first scene of Sunday’s episode showed Marie wearing all yellow, a drastic change from her purple she seems permanently attached to.  This could mean a shifting change in Marie and whats to come.  We also heard Marie’s voice as she called Walt “the devil” in a joking manner.  A horrendous incident like the death of one of her family members may just send her off the edge to commit an act so out of character.  She adores her niece and nephew and would do anything to protect her own sister and husband.

It was all a dream: Possibly the most ridiculous and cliche of the theories.  The it-was-all-a-dream theory has floated around for every show, movie, book, etc. since the series ending to the 1980s show Newheart.  Walt’s continual battle with lung cancer has put him in the chemo chair several times now.  Could the chemo have had a lasting effect on Walt? Was  this entire show dreamt up by the side effects of his cancer battling treatment?

As we’ve seen over the past few years, everything and anything is possible and if we’ve learned anything, it’s this: Expect the unexpected.  The final few hours of the series is sure to bring tragedy, triumph, and a few (or episodes worth) of tears.  Breaking Bad has defied the way viewers watch and interpret television, consistently surprising us at every corner.

(this list was compiled by myself and some of the lovely members of ohnotheydidnt)