One of my earliest posts for the site was actually a TV show review and while SOME of you may tease me for my infrequent film viewings, I sure did engage in America’s true favorite past time a WHOLE LOT. So here’s a round up of my favorites from the past year. (WARNING: SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW)
The Netflix series based on the young adult novel became a cultural phenomenon this year with its gritty take on the teen drama genre. The performances of actors Dylan Minette, Kate Walsh, and Brian d’Arcy James were deeply compelling as the best friend and parents, respectively, of a teen girl who killed herself, but it was newcomer Katherine Langford as the suicidal Hannah Baker that stood out from the widely talented cast. Give the series kudos for wanting to portray difficult subjects like bullying, substance abuse, poverty,and rape with some honesty and realism, but their lack of restraint when showing disturbing scenes remains problematic especially considering the age of their target demographic. Time will tell whether the show will have a bigger positive impact than negative.
For more of my thoughts check out my full review/listicle here.
With the big reveal and cliffhanger at the end of its first season, it was hard to tell what was next for this NBC sitcom starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. The second season has surpassed all expectations due to the talent and warmth of its star players (D’Arcy Carden as Janet, the afterlife’s own version of Siri, has especially been a treat). I also haven’t seen a series that tries to take the rules of the world it builds so seriously, which some might find refreshing compared to SOME shows lately (more on that later). With the charisma of this well rounded ensemble at the center, the end of season two is sure to be quite fulfilling.
Probably one of the most hyped and anticipated shows of 2017 (hold your horses, we’re getting to it), the second season of Stranger Things came out swinging with a larger scope and a bigger baddie to tackle. The Duffer Brothers continue their exercise in nostalgia with stand out performances by Millie Bobby Brown and company. Joe Keery and Sean Astin found themselves as fan favorites with Keery as reformed boyfriend/babysitter extraordinaire Steve Harrington and Astin as Bob Newby, lovable boyfriend to Winona Ryder’s Joan Byers. While everyone was fun to watch, I especially enjoyed watching Noah Schnapp be given more to do this season, as he could be equally tragic and terrifying.
The trailer for this show alone could have held its own as a short on Youtube. However, the team at Funny or Die went to great lengths to do a full on satire of the popular true crime specials of recent times, and it hits on all the right levels. The show follows a team of serious to a “t” teenage documentary filmmakers trying to prove the innocence of the perpetual troublemaker at their school (Jimmy Tatro) who was blamed and expelled for a vulgar act of vandalism. Along the way the show tackles high school issues like popularity, gossip, and reputation with both a light-hearted touch and a tremendous amount of nuance. Typical tropes of true crime specials are lampooned so thoroughly, I found myself laughing harder than I have in a long while, so much so that I was shell-shocked by the thought provoking conclusion.
I mean, COME ON, did you really expect this to NOT be number one? While the acting all around remained stellar, the penultimate season of the series met with a fair amount of criticism for its drastic shift in tone, mostly for seeming unwilling to depart with main characters as effortlessly as it once was. However it more than made up for this with its set up for the final season, allowing a lot of story lines to come together and a lot of characters to finally reunite or meet for the first time. This leaves the door wide open to ANYTHING happening in the final season, and I for one can’t wait.
Also, dragons. LOTS AND LOTS OF DRAGONS.
So that’s all for now! Stay tuned for
WAIT HOLD ON EFF I COMPLETELY FORGOT
UGHHHH I can’t believe I almost forgot about The Leftovers. Sigh…okay…
I’m a Lost apologist. I know many people were EXTREMELY frustrated with the ending of that series and the lack of resolution due to all the unanswered questions. To me, I never cared, because I never saw those questions as important to the actual message of the show. And if that bothers you, maybe The Leftovers isn’t for you, although maybe you should still give it a try seeing as it’s receiving widespread critical acclaim. The ending of the series is one of the most intimate, emotional, and human moments I’ve witnessed on TV (and this is from the guy who cried MULTIPLE times during the ending to Lost). So do yourself a favor, just watch it already.
Okay, that’s the REAL end. Stay tuned for my final write-up on my favorite albums of the year!
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