Netflix/Hulu

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Since getting Hulu as a sister to my already Netflix, I’ve started to binge watching TV shows on both now so I decided to start a page.  The primary focus will be on original Netflix or Hulu material, but don’t be alarmed if I discuss something else such as other TV shows I’ve watched in the past.  It will be a slow and steady process, but stay with me because newer content will be coming in the following months.  I need time to watch these things.

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November 15, 2018: TV Recommendation

Nurse Jackie (2009-2015)

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Showtime

Creators: Liz Brixius, Evan Dunsky, and Linda Wallem

Major Cast: Edie Falco, Merritt Weaver, Paul Schulze, Dominic Fumusa, Ruby Jerins, Stephen Wallem, Anna Deavere Smith, Peter Facinelli, Mackenzie Aladjem, Eve Best, Arjun Gupta, Betty Gilpin, and Lenny Jacobsen.
As with many shows, there are many producers, directors, and writers.
Rating: TV-MA
Number of Seasons: 7
Running Time: 60 minutes

Edie Falco is most known for her role in The Sopranos as Carmela Soprano and recently as Leslie Abramson in the Law & Order True Crime mini series covering the Menendez brothers’ trial, but she also shined as Jackie Peyton in Nurse Jackie. This drama/comedy centers around a New York hospital with functional staff trying to keep control over the semi functional staff including Peyton, a nurse with an opiate addiction. She’s the classic work hard, don’t tell type of person. She likes order and routine. She doesn’t like chatty co-workers. She keeps secrets. She minimizes pain. She loves her patients. What makes this show so good is the writing and acting, but the interaction among the cast members is what takes the show to the next level. They couldn’t have put together a better cast selection. Merritt Weaver (Zoey), Stephen Wallem (Thor), and Anna Deavere Smith (Akalitus) are my favorites besides Edie Falco. The relationships between the doctors and nurses is about as real as they come in portrayal (okay, in some respects): the failures, demands, successes, and opportunities. Because Peyton is a highly functioning addict, much of what she views as reality can only be seen through her eyes, but she’s a damn good nurse. She’s also a stubborn nurse with definite wants that she views as needs to keep her going. There’s a good mixture of humor spread throughout each episode, and as the series progresses, you find yourself wondering in what ways her wall will crumble around her because no one can be that lucky.

Pisaries Creator’s Rating

Nurse Jackie gets Four Fingers and One Thumb with 100%.

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October 30, 2018: Hulu TV Review

 Bodyguard (2018-)

Quote from Bodyguard by Julia Montague: “That doesn’t require apologizing for the past.”

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Writer: Jed Mercurio

Director: Thomas Vincent and John Strickland

Cast: Richard Madden, Sophie Rundle, Gina McKee, Ash Tandon, Nina Toussaint-White, Stuart Bowman, Richard Riddell, Nicholas Gleaves, Matt Stokoe, Anjii Mohindra, Shubham Saraf, Stephanie Hyam, and Keeley Hawes

Rating: TV-MA for Sex & Nudity, Profanity, and Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

Episode Number: Six

Episode Length: 60 minutes

I read good things about this show and looked forward to seeing Richard Madden again.  The last thing I had seen him in was Medici: Masters of Florence.  Who knows what to believe about the whole James Bond gossip?  Back to this six episode series where his character, David Budd, is assigned the role of protecting the Home Secretary, Julia Montague.  Yes, he fought in Afghanistan. Yes, he was at odds with his new assignment because of  Montague’s views.  Yes, there were unnecessary sex scenes.  (Sex sells.  Ladies love the romance.  Okay, most ladies).  Sometimes, it advanced the plot forward.  Other times not.  I could have taken it either way.

The first episode hooked me and kept me engaged.  I thought some scenes could’ve been toned down (a touch of overacting), but it led me wanting to know more and why.  I began the second episode, and after that was done, I pretty much decided to binge watch the show in one day.  The tension, both sexual and political, continued between Budd and Montague.  His relationship with his own family gains traction.  He continues to have common issues many go through after fighting a war including flashbacks, drinking, and hiding emotions.  The sixth episode comes to a close with David Budd forced to commit to soul searching.

While this show does highlight the reality of terrorism and terrorists in today’s global world, it’s a tricky subject to tackle.   You don’t want to paint a picture of a certain ethnic group in an unfavorable light, but unfortunately, this does happen at times.  These tragedies repeat itself in many parts of the world and sometimes by the same individuals.  People also can turn on its own neighbors/citizens.  The recent terrorism spreading across the United States last and this week is a prime example.  Because it’s easy to view others as the enemy, it’s also easy to justify deadly means to get a deadly end.  In regards to the show, this model of thinking was present in more than one area. 

Bodyguard is good in the sense of a given a tiny slice of one type of cake to eat.  It allows for complications within and among the politicians and police forces.  It errs on the side of caution when it comes to having a tidy answer by the end (okay, in one story line).  On the flip side, a drawback to this show was the almost band aid like treatment of explaining a few things during the latter half.  There should have been a little more leading up to the answers given.  It’s almost like the creators skipped a letter between X and Z.   We see X happening.  Z was given as a possibility.  Y was the reason given.  There wasn’t enough “ah, that makes complete sense.”  I was left more with “okay, could’ve used a little more detail earlier, but whatever.  I still get it.”  In conclusion this wasn’t the greatest show I’ve seen, but it had enough content to be rated as good overall.

One Sheet by World Productions/Trailer by BBC

Pisaries Creator’s Rating

Bodyguard gets Three Fingers with 80%.

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October 10, 2018: Hulu TV Review

 Castle Rock (2018-)

Quote from Castle Rock by Ruth Deaver: “Life used to go in one direction, forward, like one of those people-movers at the airport. But somehow I got off it.”

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I was looking forward to this show coming out on Hulu during the summer. I didn’t get around to it until August, then took me even more time to get back to it in September, and finally finished the last episode not too long ago in October. For Stephen King fans who can forgive his wordiness and copious description in his books, this will be the show for you because he can do no wrong. Now for those who have never read a book of his or cared for his movie adaptations that are centered around evil and good, life and death, sane and insane, have and have nots, well this probably won’t be the show for you. In other words, this isn’t the best adaptation of King that had been made.

The issue is not that it isn’t compelling because it grabs your attention. The issue is there are so many parts to it that you can’t keep left from right, up from down, and front from back. It’s a show where everything including the kitchen sink is found, and because of it, it’s highly confusing for someone who hasn’t and some that have read his books. Not saying you have to explain everything that every character does, but without adequate explanation you are left with too many unanswered questions. It needed a little more purpose for the back and forth between the past and present. The randomness of minor and major characters was okay, but the transitioning caused unnecessary confusion. There were times I was thinking so X happened, then why did Z happen?

The universal themes of the show such as future uncertainty, past influences, past mistakes, drug addiction, allure to darkness, different personas, effects of prison, and fear of the unknown are not what you have to grapple when the show ends. It’s the significance and meaning of the character played by Bill Skarsgård. I won’t go into detail of his character, but it begs a lot of questions: those with deeper meaning or possible multiple meanings. There’s basically spooky stuff going on throughout the show. It took me a while to be invested.

The actors who shined the most were André Holland as Henry Deaver, Bill Skarsgård as The Kid, and Adam Rothenberg as Reverend Matthew Deaver. Sissy Spacek as Ruth Deaver, Melanie Lynskey as Molly Strand, and Scott Glenn as Alan Pangborn deserve applause too. There were many additional cast members such as Francis Conroy, Rory Culkin, Aaron Staton, Terry O’Quinn, Ann Cusack, and Charlie Tahan. With this in mind, there are 10 episodes with a length of 60 minutes to see these characters interact together. It has a TV rating of MA (Mature Audience). I’m curious what Season 2 will bring. It has been renewed, but no release date yet. I would like to see fewer ideas jam packed into the next season or at least, have more of a direction of the different plots, and if they do intersect, see more definitive answer(s). I feel a little guilty about my rating because King is a master storyteller with great understanding of human interaction and problems. I’m glad I stuck with it to the end, but this is a watch one time only show for me.

One Sheet by Bad Robot/Warner Bros.

Pisaries Creator’s Rating

Castle Rock gets Three Fingers with 75%.

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September 30, 2018: Cheers versus Frasier

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When I made the decision to watch all the Cheers episodes despite not having any interest in bars or baseball, I was completely hooked in the first season. I loved the back and forth between Diane and Sam. They were very strong-willed characters, each trying to capture the essence of what they once were as children, and faced with the reality they were now older and facing adult pressures and expectations. The show’s success wasn’t only due to the cast and it had an amazing cast, and the story lines were realistic. The writers were not shy about discussing taboo topics as they sometimes could be in the 1980s. I would say my favorite characters after Diane and Sam were Cliff, Carla, Coach, and Norm. After Diane left and Coach died, Rebecca and Woody replaced them along with Frasier, Lilith, and Paul taking on more central roles. Cheers ran from 1982 through 1993 for 11 seasons. My top picks from each season are the following.

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Season 1 = “Friends, Romans, Accountants” is the 7th episode where Norm throws an office toga party at the bar.

Season 2 = “Manager Coach” is the 8th episode where Coach becomes a ruthless baseball coach to a young baseball team.

Season 3 = “The Mail Goes to Jail” is the 17th episode where Cliff doesn’t rescue Norm when he is arrested for helping him on his mail route.

Season 4 = “Woody Goes Belly Up” is the 2nd episode where Woody overeats when his high school sweetheart visits.

Season 5 = “The Proposal” is the 1st episode where Sam proposes to Diane on his boat after her insistence he do it properly.

Season 6 = “My Fair Clavin” is the 11th episode where Cliff and his date, Sally, go to the bar so his friends can meet her.

Season 7 = “The Cranemakers” is the 16th episode where the Frasier and Lilith go camping to be one with nature.

Season 8 = “Death Takes a Holiday on Ice” is the 7th episode where Carla learns her husband is dead and has kept a secret from her.

Season 9 = “Rat Girl” is the 1st episode where Lilith finds out her beloved lab rat has been thrown into the garbage.

Season 10 = “An Old-Fashioned Wedding” is the 25th and 26th episode where Woody and Kelly marry at her family’s estate.

Season 11 = “Is There a Doctor in the Howe?” is the 16th episode where Frasier is upset that Lilith has left him for another man.

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Then, I made the decision to watch all the Frasier episodes because how could you not like his character? I did and was completely hooked in the first season. Frasier had a pompous attitude, but he was charming as well. He offered good and bad advice on his radio talk show. He was the quintessential Freudian therapist complete with the dead mommy and son issues, but also with glaring father and son issues. The character of Lilith was supposed to be an integral part of the series, but Bebe Neuwirth did agree to come back for a handful of episodes. I can’t put one cast member ahead of another. They were all equally great. The relationships between Frasier and Niles, Niles and Daphne, Daphne and Martin, Martin and Eddie couldn’t have been any better. It was weird to see people who were just breaking into Hollywood as talking extras or had a role for a few episodes. Frasier ran from 1993 through 2004 for 11 seasons. My top picks from each season are the following.

Season 1 = “Give Him the Chair!” is the 19th episode where Frasier gets rid of Martin’s chair and replaces it with a new one.

Season 2 = “Breaking the Ice” is the 20th episode where Frasier and Niles compete for Martin’s affection on an ice fishing trip.

Season 3 = “The Adventures of Bad Boy and Dirty Girl” is the 7th episode where Frasier and Kate try to ignore their attraction for each other.

Season 4 = “Ham Radio” is the 18th episode where Frasier stages a radio murder mystery with the help from the whole gang including Niles.

Season 5 = “The Ski Lodge” is the 14th episode where Frasier, Niles, Daphne, Martin, Annie, and Guy go to the ski lodge for a getaway and a love polygon ensues.

Season 6 = “The Seal Who Came to Dinner” is the 8th episode where Niles holds the Gold Apron Award at the clubhouse he once shared with Maris.

Season 7 = “The Cranemakers” is the 16th episode where the Frasier and Lilith go camping to be one with nature.

Season 8 = “Motor Skills” is the 11th episode where Frasier and Niles goes to evening class to learn more about cars and where Martin overextends himself with Roz’s new dog.

Season 9 = “Bla-Z-Boy” is the 7th episode where Martin accidentally spills oil on the carpet, which sends Frasier into a frenzy of revenge.

Season 10 = “Proxy Prexy” is the 3rd episode where Frasier tells Martin to run for President of the Condo Board.

Season 11 = “The Doctor is Out” is the 3rd episode where Frasier follows Roz’s new boyfriend into a gay bar and realizes everyone thinks he is now gay.

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After watching Cheers and Frasier, I would say they are pretty neck and neck in terms of story lines and content within each character. I saw more of the issues play out in person between and among people in Frasier. Yet, there was more variation in characters with Cheers and I laughed more overall. When push comes to shove, I conclude that Frasier edges out Cheers by a dog’s hair.

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September 19, 2018: Hulu Show Recommendation

The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-)

Quote from The Handmaid’s Tale by Commander Waterford: “Thank you. We will certainly discuss the issue seriously.”

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The Handmaid’s Tale is an adaptation from Margaret’s Atwood’s book with the same title. This show is about living in an autocracy where “families” are limited in their freedoms and bound by laws rooted in religious doctrine. The different strata found in Gilead often live their days without deviation and as they go through the motions it’s the same events happening over and over again. It becomes clear to the handmaids, whose only responsibility is to give birth to healthy babies, have little resources offered to them. Therefore, they can and do turn on each other, as well as finding it difficult to know who to trust. Much of the show’s appeal is rooted in the common human desires we all have, and throughout the two seasons the abundant lack of compassion and tolerance doesn’t hurt either. Viewers want to see inside the workings of Gilead. They want to witness the brazenness of the people who follow willingly the rules in Gilead in order to understand it. They want to see how well those who serve the wealthy are able to cope and survive the demands placed on them. The weaving of backstory, sometimes lengthy but necessary, allows you to better understand the current events happening. The power struggle is real between the have and have nots, and the line is not so clearly defined as you might think. As the viewer you want to sympathize with certain characters over other ones, and reminded that not all bad people are bad and not all good people are good. If you’re not hooked by the first two episodes, then this probably isn’t your kind of show. It stars Elisabeth Moss, Max Minghella, Yvonne Strahovski, Joseph Fiennes, Ann Dowd, Amanda Brugel, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, and Alexis Wiley. It has guest roles superbly done by Marisa Tomei, John Caroll Lynch, and Cherry Jones. It’s an MGM production. It had the release date of April 26, 2017. The rating is TV-MA for sex/nudity, violence/gore, profanity/alcohol/drugs/smoking, and frightening/intense scenes. Each episode has a running time of 60 minutes. The third season will be ready for viewing in 2019. I can’t wait.

Pisaries Creator rates The Handmaid’s Tale at 97%.

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March 17, 2018: Three Short Netflix Show Reviews

Altered Carbon (2018)

Creator: Laeta Kalogridis

Stars: Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy, Martha Higareda, Chris Connor, Dichen Lachman, Ato Essandoh, Kristin Lehman, Trieu Tran, and Renée Elise Goldsberry

Episodes: 10

Running Time: 60 minutes

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Altered Carbon is a sci-fi show incorporating elements and concepts found today. The dichotomy between the have and have nots will always be a part of civilization. There is a pecking order in any social organization or particular culture. This futuristic world is no different. The main character is a highly trained soldier named Takeshi Kovacs (interesting surname choice played by Will Yun Lee and Joel Kinnaman). He is brought back from the dead to solve the mystery of who killed Laurens Bancroft (played by James Purefoy). There is not going to be an easy task for Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) even though he walks around with a little backpack you’d more likely find on a little girl who’s into trendy accessories. The path he follows zigzags from past and present, the backstory woven well, until the end. There is some nudity in the show, and while some of it may seem excessive, it does lend itself to the story. I’m thinking of a particular fight scene between Reileen (played by Dichen Lachman) and Kristin (played by Martha Higareda). Let’s face the fact of Reileen being a badass fighter who defends first and doesn’t bother to ask questions later even when naked. She is that sure of herself. The fight scenes in and out of the ring are also some of my favorites. While I like Joel Kinnaman as an actor, I hope they don’t bring him back. The appeal of the show is the same characters taking different “sleeves.” But, I do hope they bring the character name of Takeshi back as well Kristin and the comic relief of Poe (played by Chris Connor). While this show included unfamiliar concepts and thoughts, it was not so radically different that you get completely lost. However, there was mild confusion in one of the sub-stories. It has not been renewed for a second season, but more than likely will be and cast to be determined. I give Altered Carbon a rating of 95%.

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Seven Seconds (2018)

Creator: Veena Sud

Stars: Clare-Hope Ashitey, Michael Mosley, David Lyons, Isaiah Butler, Regina King, Peter Jablonski, Nadia Alexander

Episodes: 10

Running Time: 60 minutes

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Seven Seconds is a crime drama involving racial tensions and corrupt cops in New Jersey. It’s created by Veena Sud, the same woman who gave us The Killing. This show threw everything into it, including a few sinks along the way. I understood the reasoning, but it seemed to leave some characters only scratching the surface when they could have dug deeper. I might liken it to jam packing everything into a tiny suitcase, hoping you’re able to sit on it efficiently to close it. Sometimes it works better to leave a few things out or save for a later date. The show follows the Butler family after a tragedy occurs. It takes you into the heart of the police department, court system, lawyers, gang activity, racial and sexual stereotypes. There has been some grumbling about the ending, but it is a realistic portrayal of what could and does happen. The characters of KJ Harper (played by Clare-Hope Ashitey), Fish Rinaldi (played by Michael Mosley), Latrice Butler played by Regina King), and Isaiah Butler (played by Russell Hornsby) were the best in the show. The pacing is slower than The Killing. It does not have as many twists and turns compared to it either, but it kept my attention. It has not been renewed for a second season, but more than likely will be and cast to be determined. I give Seven Seconds a rating of 90%.

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Ozark (2017)

Creator: Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams

Stars: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, Jason Butler Harner, Marc Menchaca, Esai Morales, Michael Mosley, and Charlie Tahan

Episodes: 10

Running Time: 60 minutes

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Ozark is a crime drama involving a Chicago family that is uprooted from their home when a business deal sinks further down a hole that does not seem to end. This show hooked me from the start and never go. This show is about power, control, and expectations within the Bryde and Langmore families. When you add questionable FBI tactics, drug cartel laundering, and church services held on a lake in boats, things only get better for the viewer. The characters of Marty Bryde (played by Jason Bateman), Wendy Bryde (played by Laura Linney), Ruth Langmore (played by Julia Garner), Russ Langmore (played by Marc Menchaca), and Del (played by Esai Morales) were some of my favorites. This is a well-constructed script and the casting is on point. Some may be offended by the stereotypes of the people, but this is bound to happen in writing. While not everyone is in need of major dental work and/or enjoys shooting animals just because there’s nothing else to do, these people do exist in the Ozarks and beyond. When you mix together city life people with smaller town people, it tends to be a good story. It has been renewed for a second season, but the specific story line is to be determined. In conclusion, I give Ozark a rating of 97%.

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November 25, 2017: TV Recommendations

Police, Detectives, and Agents! Oh my!

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Outstanding police departments can make you feel safe in your community. I would venture to say they are cities not heavily populated, which are basically small town U.S.A. Corrupt police departments can dampen a whole city’s image. Los Angeles comes to mind, which The Shield is loosely based from, and in particular the Rampart Division. The rest who carry a gun and badge are in between the two. When you talk about the FBI and CIA, there appears to be more gray areas when it comes to procedural affairs. It might be because these institutions are so large compared to police departments. Nevertheless, these are the shows that have stuck with me over the years, and the ones I want to watch, but not finding the time.

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The ones I have watched!!!

21 Jump Street

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This show catapulted Johnny Depp as a heart-throb centerfold for teenyboppers. I was not one of those teenyboppers even though I was ripe for the age. I swear on my own hands, I was not, but, oh, Tommy Hanson and all the characters of 21 Jump Street. It ran from 1987 to 1991. It had a total of five seasons. Its creators are Stephen J. Cannell and Patrick Hasburgh. It even had a spin-off show, Booker, with Richard Grieco that lasted one season. I can hear the theme song, Hot in the City, to Booker now. 21 Jump Street involves an undercover police unit whose focus was on solving crimes committed by primarily young people in high school. I remember the ex-hippie Captain Jenko that was in the first season’s episodes before Captain Fuller came and stayed. The topics ranged from alcoholism to racism to child abuse to promiscuity. It had an overall seriousness with sporadic goofiness to make it realistic, primarily done by Peter DeLuise’s character.

Homeland

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This show has gotten criticism for how they portray certain Middle Eastern people, but it goes to show you can’t please every living person. This heavy laden topic is important, not the purpose of this blog. I’ve watched up to season three. Remember the shows collecting dust on my shelf. This is one of them. I have yet to watch the other three seasons. It premiered in 2011 and the seventh season starts in 2018. Its creators are Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon. Homeland is about a CIA operative, Carrie Mathison, whose personal complications with her bipolar disorder often get in the way of being taken seriously by her co-workers. The end of the third season brought full circle the story of character Nicholas Brody. I look forward to what happens in season four because another personal complication arises for Carrie and her prevailing is what she does best.

Quantico

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I watched Quantico twice so far, both two seasons, because it was that good. I’m a sucker for learning about different characters and what makes them tick, question, scream, and punch their way through life. It premiered in 2015 and the third season starts in 2018. Its creator is Joshua Safran. The show is about a group of FBI recruits who train at Quantico. The mystery unravels to find out who is the terrorist or if one even exists. The main focus is on the characters of Alex Parrish and Ryan Booth. The ending of season two leaves it at a nice spot to leap into a new story line, sort of, but whether it goes there remains to be seen. There are some borderline knocking on 90210 door moments, but not enough to turn me away.

The X-Files

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This is another show I watched partly in high school. It ran from 1993 to 2001. It had a total of nine seasons. The X-Files picked up again in 2016, but have not watched them. Its creator is Chris Carter. The episodes involve unsolved cases with questionable and often un-explainable phenomenon. Its main characters include two FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who eventually come to the same conclusion about the government agency they work for and their personal and work related discoveries. If you are fascinated with the extra-terrestrial as I am, then this show is definitely up your alley. Yes, I saw the movie too.

The Shield

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This show I could watch a million times and never get sick of it. Okay, maybe I’m stretching it a little too much, but DAMN is this a good show. Someone recommended this to me before I moved to Los Angeles. Thank you E.H. Then when I moved here, I saw the taping of The Shield by accident on one of my runs (when I actually ran instead of now jogging). In addition to seeing Michael Chiklis smiling in a doorway not very far away, I’ve seen a fair number of cast more than once: Walton Goggins (many times with family), Jay Karnes (airport), Benito Martinez (what a nice guy), and Kenny Johnson (many times with family). I’m still waiting to see CCH Pounder, Catherine Dent, and David Rees Snell. Michael Jace will die in prison for a killing his wife in 2014, which is a shame, because he played his character so well. It ran from 2002 to 2008. It had a total of seven seasons. Its creator is Shawn Ryan. The episodes involve the lives of a dirty cop and those that serve with him on his anti-gang task force. The notable guest stars of Forest Whitaker, Glenn Close, Anthony Anderson, and Laurie Holden, to name a few, made it all the better. The final episode is hands down one of the best I’ve seen.

The Fall

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Forget about Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey. He blows his character, Paul Spector, out of the water in terms of creepiness. Then again, how many teenage girls are turned on by serial killers. Well, maybe some, but not to the level of C.G. This is a slower show, but once you get past that, you are able to see it for what it really is: a masterpiece showcasing a serial killer from Belfast going head to foot with law enforcement. It becomes a cat and mouse game between a methodical killer, Paul Spector, and driven police officer, Stella Gibson. It premiered in 2013, and has three seasons so far. Its creator is Allan Cubitt. I have yet to watch the last season, but it was the last for Dornan, so I’m sure it will blast the pressure to maximum force.

Criminal Minds

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The ever revolving door of actors and actresses for this show, but I’ll still take it. I’m still a little upset I’ll never know how Hotchner really was supposed to finish. This is a long running show. It premiered in 2005 and the thirteenth season is going on now. Its creator is Jeff Davis. Criminal Minds is about FBI agents, part of the Behavorial Analysis Unit (BAU), who are profilers hunting serial killers and those committing heinous crimes. It is led by Emily Prentiss. Her team uses the ever catchy term: unsub or unknown subject. I’ve seen all except the current season. This is the reason Netflix exists. I do a dive bomb when it is released, and don’t leave until I’ve watched them all.

24

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I’ve watched this show about three times, and each time the ticking of the clock bothered whoever was around me. 24 ran from 2001 to 2010. It had a total of eight seasons. Its creators are Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow. The episodes involve Jack Bauer, director of a counter-terrorist unit in Los Angeles, and his team. I prefer to think of him as a bad ass who walks the thinnest of lines between sanctioned protocol and what’s on the other side of it. It’s hard to think so much action could happen in one day, and how the people involved are still functioning by the end. Yet, it does happen so it makes the show all the more impressive. There was a mini-series 24: Live Another Day that aired in 2014. There was a spin-off, 24: Legacy, that aired in 2016. It had one season.

The Blacklist

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This show has basically replaced The Shield, for me, in terms of caliber. The level of corruption is astounding where it grabbed me from the start. The well-developed characters was a pleasant surprise. The character arc of Mr. Kaplan at the end of season four was one of the best I’ve seen. The Blacklist premiered in 2013 and season five resumes in 2018. Its creator is Jon Bokenkamp. The show involves primarily two characters: Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington. Keen is a newly married FBI profiler. She comes face to face with Reddington, and throughout the show questions his motives and behaviors at every corner. It will be interesting to see how the second half of season five progresses since a major bomb was dropped on Keen.

The Killing

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This show was slow to start, and admit I had to give it another try. I’m glad I did because it is well worth the watching. Stay invested in it because I eventually didn’t want to turn it off, but had to because I needed sleep. The Killing ran from 2011 to 2014. It has four seasons. Its creator is Veena Sud. Its main characters, Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder, work as a team in a police investigation. As they uncover pieces to the story of what happened to Rosie Larsen, things get unhinged on personal and political levels. It is a great whodunnit and whydunnit show.

NYPD Blue

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This show had the ever revolving door of the main actor that would bring a sex appeal factor to the television screen. David Caruso left the set, never to glance back, and actors kept replacing the last. This never detracted from the show because the writing was superb, but I wish actresses were given more credence to their profession. I think of A.D.A Sylvia Costas and Detective Connie McDowell. NYPD Blue is about the professional lives of detectives in their precinct, and how it often bleeds into their private lives. It ran from 1993 to 2005. There were twelve seasons. Its creators are Steven Bochco and David Milch. It is led by Lt. Fancy and later Lt. Rodriquez. The mainstays throughout most of the seasons were Detective Sipowicz, Greg Medavoy, Bobby Simone, and Connie McDowell. NYPD Blue was a groundbreaking show for a reason.

Mindhunter

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This show surprisingly I had to give another try as well because my eyes weren’t cooperating at the first round. But the second time, I was all in and ready to go. Mindhunter has one season so far, and can’t wait for the next one in unknown. Its creator is Joe Penhall. It involves the formative years of FBI research into the mind of killers by the hands of two agents: Holden Ford and Bill Tench. Both actors are excellent in their roles, but Holt McCallany knocks the ball out of the park. They forgo the old method of looking at crimes and delve deeper into a criminal’s modus operandi. This show is based from actual research and events. I’m willing to watch anything psychologically and/or criminally related. It’s one of the few things that can keep me up at night when I’m bone tired. Enough said.

The Assets

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This mini-series was discovered as I was surfing Netflix. I’m not sure if it is still on there, but it’s worth the watch. It keeps you invested. The Assets is about the ultimate capture of a CIA mole by other CIA officers. This is a cat and mouse game between Aldrich Ames and Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille. This is based on actual events where Ames fed classified information to the Soviet Union. It aired in 2014.

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There you have it: the shows I’ve seen that stuck with me. I’ve purposely left out other notable shows for a time factor. On that note, let’s move to the ones I have yet to see.

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The ones I still need to watch!!!

Graceland

Graceland is a show about a rookie FBI agent trained by a FBI legend in a beachfront residence. Its creator is Jeff Eastin. It had three seasons.

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The Wire

The Wire is a show about the Baltimore inner-city drug scene from the view of the criminals and police department. Its creator is David Simon. It had five seasons.

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True Detective

True Detective is a show about police investigations. It follows different cases in each season. Its creator is Nic Pizzolatto. It has two seasons so far.

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Justified

Justified is a show about a U.S. Marshal going back to his poor, rural hometown in Kentucky. Its creator is Graham Yost. It had six seasons.

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Luther

Luther is a show about a genius detective who is dedicated, obsessed, and consumed by his work in the Serious Crime Unit. Its creator is Neil Cross. It has four seasons so far.

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Top of the Lake

Top of the Lake is a show about a detective attempting to solve crimes while keeping herself in check. It has a gap in between the seasons. Its creators are Jane Campion and Gerard Lee. It has two seasons so far.

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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a show about forensic evidence team in Las Vegas. It had sixteen seasons. Its creator is Anthony E. Zuiker. (I haven’t watched enough episodes to say I truly know about it.)

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Southland

Southland is a show about the LAPD. It had five seasons. Its creator is Ann Biderman.

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The Americans

The Americans is a show about Soviet spies in America. It has five seasons so far. Its creator is Joseph Weisberg.

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There you have it: the shows where people wear badges and/or affiliated with crime in some way. I could say so much more about this topic, but given the lack of time, I won’t. On that note, happy television watching because there’s a lot out there.

September 20, 2017: Five Reasons Why I Still Keep Netflix

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There’s been some backlash over Netflix, mainly their original programming and what they allow to stream on their service. I find it more user-friendly based on my preferences and needs. I prefer the option of binge watching television shows and seeing older movies. Releasing only one season or a few seasons at a time is cumbersome for shows no longer airing and those with many seasons. I will say Hulu has some original programming I’m interested in watching. So far all I’ve seen is the first episode of Handmaid’s Tale. So far, so very good. I can’t wait to see more. Since I was introduced to Netflix first, I’m giving it some needed love, and my choices are in no particular order.

CAUTION: DON’T TRIP OVER THE SPOILERS ALONG THE WAY!!!

#1: House of Cards

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Image by IMDb

House of Cards (original programming) is a political drama involving Frank and Claire Underwood. It is an adaptation from the book, same name, written by Michael Dobbs. The BBC made a four-part series in 1990. There are five seasons, so far, in the current version. Season one starts with Frank as a Congressman who has high sights of making his name mean even more in Washington D.C. I think we all know politicians can be ruthless and the show doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Some of it may be construed as over the top, but we all have private things we’d like to keep private especially when it involves circumstances where coming back seems impossible and lethal means exactly that. The progression through the seasons continue to focus on the different personas the Underwood’s take including the political stage, as well as their pitfalls and achievement. It is equal part a story about the Underwood’s marriage arrangements and their maneuvering in the political world. Season five ended with more questions to the motives of Claire and how Frank will counteract this in season six. I will say after watching this it gave me more respect for Robin Wright’s acting skills and Kevin Spacey never disappoints. Michael Kelly who plays Doug Stamper is a character I find very intriguing. I’m curious how his character arcs when the show ends. There have been great guest roles. A part of me wants to see what Frank has built collapse at the end of the show, and hope I get to see the next part of his life as the next season is still pending. I’m 99% confident there will be a next season. It’s just plain silly to stop it at such a pivotal moment in quality television making.

#2: Narcos

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Image by IMDb

Narcos (original programming) is a crime/police drama about the lucrative cocaine industry and those opposed to it. It is created and produced by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro. There are three seasons and the fourth season is to be released in 2018. I have only seen the first two seasons and one episode of the third. Season one begins with Pablo Escobar and his rise to the top as the drug kingpin in Colombia. Wagner Moura who plays Escobar was highly convincing as the vindictive, egotistical, and family loving billionaire. To give an idea of how he operated, Escobar stapled a cone onto a horse’s head and wings on its back so his daughter could have her very own unicorn. This ended up killing the horse by infection and this real life event is not in the show. He got what we wanted even if it meant death. His cousin, Gustavo Gaviria, was one of the few he trusted. Their relationship was one I enjoyed watching especially when it was tested. The first season involves the interesting relationship between DEA agents, Steve Murphy and Javier Peña, where the latter is not a part of the capture of Escobar as seen later. Season two continues the saga of Escobar’s imprisonment or lack thereof since he planned and built his own prison. He effectively remains hidden due to strict loyalty from his cartel from the police, and only when it crumbles does his life come to an end in the infamous shootout on top of the roofs of Colombia. It leads to the Medellín Cartel to be succeeded by the Cali Cartel. They gained top control of the cocaine manufacturing and distribution before Escobar’s blood turned cold. Season three begins with Peña going undercover in the Cali cartel. I’ve only seen the first episode and it did not disappoint. I suspect there’s going to be moments of surprise and tension as the Cali Cartel operates through bribery versus violence. Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, as head of the Cali Cartel, is both cunning and charming. Season four will set place some of the time in Mexico. I will also say the location manager for the show was recently killed so RIP Carlos Muñoz Portal. No matter how the fourth season ends up, I’m going to like it because it hasn’t lessened its content just because Escobar and Murphy are gone.

#3: Stranger Things

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Image by IMDb

Stranger Things (original programming) is a science fiction drama about a town in Indiana during the 1980’s. It is created and written by twins, Matt and Ross Duffer. There is so far only one season, and the second season is to be released in October 2017. There are plans to have four total seasons. It revolves around a mother, Joyce Byers, and her two sons. Her younger son runs around with a group of children who come across a girl named Eleven. The purpose of her existence is not fully explained, but it is enough to know she has supernatural powers and can use them for good. While Byers and her younger son is reunited in the end of the season, the town has clearly been affected negatively. I’m curious to know more about the portal in season two and hope they delve further into it. Matthew Modine who plays Dr. Martin Brenner works at Hawkins National Laboratory is seen sparsely so far and believe they will go even further in his broken relationship with Eleven in season two.

#4: Peaky Blinders

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Image by IMDb

Peaky Blinders (BBC) focuses on the Irish gang located in Birmingham, England so it is crime drama. Tommy Shelby, protector and criminal, is the boss of the Peaky Blinders. He lives his life always keeping in mind ways to further advance his bloodline and gang family. It is created by Steven Knight and produced by Caryn Mandabach. The actors and actresses are those you might not recognize and were picked for good reason. You don’t want someone who can’t speak in an Irish and English accent convincingly. Season one focuses on how Tommy’s one decision impacts himself and his family throughout the whole season. I know it is vague, but I’m trying not to spoil it too much. Season two is when the charming Tom Hardy character arrives as Alfie Solomons. It focuses on the horse betting scene and where we get a sense that Tommy loves anything that is profitable. Season three started with a great opening episode and ended with a bang I couldn’t have expected. Get ready for the Russians because they come into various scenes in all their glory. Season four will more than likely be released in 2017.

#5: The Last Kingdom

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Image by IMDb

The Last Kingdom (BBC) is a British historical drama. It is an adaptation from Bernard Cornwall’s book series, The Saxon Stories, and set in late 9th century England. The centerpiece of the first season is Uhtred’s survival that leads to him forming a relationship to King Alfred after he escapes with Brida. It was refreshing to see a female character of her strength, but not losing sight of her femaleness. This relationship between two very different men continues into season two full of tension and respect for each other. You get to see the vulnerable side to Uhtred as one tragedy piles on top of another. These were some of the best scenes of Alexander Dreymon. Season two also involves seeking revenge along the way as Uhtred carries out his allegiance to King Alfred. Be prepared to see battles where blood spills whether Saxon, Dane, or Viking. I’m sure season three will not stray from the dilemma of Uhtred honoring his ancestors and those who raised him. I’m curious what will happen with Beocca and Thyra. Season three will more than likely happen in 2018. There is talk about it being solely original programming, but either way I hope it is released sooner than later.

And there you have it, the five reasons I still keep Netflix at this moment.

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