All posts filed under: TV

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9 Lessons I Learned from My 9 Favorite ‘90s Shows

Oh, 1996: The time in which my eighth year of life on this Earth came to an end and my ninth began. I had begun to take school seriously (#honorrollgoals), spent most of my time in dance class and didn’t care about too much more than my coke bottle glasses and whatever new sneakers were coming out for the week that I could sport on casual Fridays (the perks of being a private school girl.) The year was also a pretty fantastic time for television. I still frequently hear that television kills brain cells and that it’s an idiot box, but I have always begged to differ. Like any kind of media you consume, it can be either imbecilic or informative and, though a balance is best, there’s absolutely no reason why you cannot take any major keys from the telly. I’m still gleaning some epic lessons from television and fondly remember the messages I received from the good old year of 1996. Here are a few from some of the legendary (well, in my …

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28 Supremely Good TV Shows to Stream Right Now (You’re Welcome)

I live in New York and love going out here. But lately, my sofa beckons and my boots face stiff competition from my slippers as dozens of engaging TV shows become available through streaming. Here are some of my favorite reasons to stay home: 14 Comedies (most of these shows run 23 – 30 minutes) 1. Master of None (produced by and streaming on Netflix). The set up is familiar: The show’s creator  ̶ in this case, Aziz Ansari  ̶ plays  plays a comedic version of himself. But everything else about “Master of None” is fresh. Funny, sharp-edged stories take on modern issues of racism, sexism, relationships and adulting. The show is generous toward its characters, and the “Parents” episode is an instant classic. Cinematic filming, to boot. 2. Catastrophe (produced by UK Channel 4; season 1 streaming on Amazon, season 2 not yet available in the US). Boston businessman (Rob Delaney) and London schoolteacher (Sharon Horgan) have a two-night stand in London, and she gets pregnant. The characters are both about 40, so the sane …

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Face Off: Jessica Jones vs. The Man in the High Castle

Netflix is trying to kill me. Releasing an entire season of TV all at once sounds great on paper. You don’t have to wait week after week for the next episode. You can see it all in a row, as a long story, rather than be tortured by trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. Fact is, I’ve caught up on many shows doing the binge watch – Alias, Supernatural, Game of Thrones.  If you didn’t get on board in the first season, you can still catch up to everyone else and be part of the cultural conversation. I’ve also binge-watched some old favorites. I re-watched the entire Battlestar Galactica series one winter, staying up until the wee hours and getting annoyed at Netflix when it would ask me if I was still watching. “OF COURSE I’M STILL WATCHING; IT’S BATTLESTAR!” I’d exclaim at the TV. If TVs could be startled, mine would have been. It all came crumbling down around me on November 20th when Netflix dropped season one of Jessica Jones …

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My Year of Streaming Dangerously

After years of pushing my night owl habit to unhealthy limits, I committed to sleeping a solid eight hours every night. It quickly turned into the most well-rested year of my adult life. Then I got a Roku. I wasn’t a binge-watcher at the time. All I wanted was the ability to keep up with the shows I heard my friends and the internet go on about. I didn’t feel like a pop culture writer who had never seen True Detective or Breaking Bad could call herself legit. I also wanted to revisit Friday Night Lights. Plus, House of Cards was about to begin, and I needed to watch Orange is the New Black. I did not want to watch any of this on my computer. I work on the Internet; I already spend many hours every day staring at a smallish screen, and I didn’t want to move my TV-watching habits there too. I wanted to watch actual shows on actual television from my actual couch. With one cable, the tiny Roku connected my …

7 Shows You Should Be Obsessed With This Summer

What better way to celebrate sunny skies and sultry temperatures than to hide inside, surrounded by the comforts of home and episode after episode of riotous comedies and tissue-requiring dramas? Here are a few that you’ll want to watch in their entirety while hunkered down in the air conditioning. A few you’ve heard of, and some may be brand new — to you. 1. Burning Love A tart refresher for fans of The Bachelor‘s roses-and-rings universe, this Ben Stiller-produced show has some of comedy’s brightest lights — among them Ken Marino (Party Down, The State), June Diane Raphael (Grace and Frankie), Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars), and Natasha Leggero (Another Period) — taking on the American ideal of “happily ever after” and the not-here-to-make-friends archetypes that populate competitive reality TV. Packed with absurd situations (“fruit run,” puppetry) and the sort of people who would only be welcome in your living room through your television, Burning Love offers laughs that are just familiar enough to be passable as actual Bachelor segments. (Stream it here.) 2. iZombie Ever been to …

The Bravermans Are Going to Be Ok — And So Am I

As I write this, the anniversary of my mom’s death is tomorrow. I’m approaching the date with sadness obviously, but nowhere near the numbed out pain I felt saying good-bye 2 years ago. Nor is this moment as hard as waiting for the milestones of that first year to pass. But the spring weeks between Mother’s Day – June 6th will always be raw. I will always remember the last time we spoke on the phone, and the stupid cheery orange pashmina I bought her for her birthday on May 24th that I took back several weeks later. The anxious plane ride from NYC to Pittsburgh I took with my younger sister when we knew it was the very end. Celebrating my son’s birthday while sitting shiva. Though I’m doing fine — trying to be present and feel grateful for my husband and children and other blessings, there is still a major Judi shaped hole in my life. Her loss forced an adjustment and a rebuilding that is ongoing. As Oprah-ish as it sounds, I’ve …

Kids These Days! Why Don’t They Watch TV?

By the time I took “History of the 60s” in college, I already knew a bit about intergenerational perspectives on the Vietnam war — mainly based on watching Archie and Meathead fight bitterly about it. In my rural middle-class neighborhood, I never would have understood that stark class differences existed outside my slim circle if it weren’t for Good Times. I never would have known that stoops existed, that people sent mail from blue boxes on street corners and that trash cans were propped outside of brownstone buildings if it weren’t for Sesame Street. My son has never seen any of these shows. There is never a moment in his life when, given the freedom to do what he wants, he chooses to watch television. His dad and I have tried to get him to see some of these old shows, but just from the opening credits, he can identify an otherworldly production — lengthy credits in an ‘80s or ‘70s-style font will immediately make him leave the room and scoff, ”What? Is this a …

I Know You Are But What Am I? Pee-Wee and Me

When I was five, I accidentally watched every terrifying, adult, weird moment of The Pee-wee Herman Show. PHS was a 1980 nightclub show — captured on HBO — that predated Pee-Wee’s Playhouse by five years. As my parents were busy hosting a party, no one noticed that I was absorbing some of the more adult themes. After witnessing the scene with a hypnotized woman who shed her clothes under Pee-Wee’s command, I was terrified for years that I could be hypnotized into public nudity. From the opening song to the final cut of Pee-Wee magically flying over the stage, scenes from the show have been in my subconscious ever since. There was the hypnotized lady, for sure, but also the evocative set design and costumes. The characters were slightly scary as well. Phil Hartman as a gruff Captain Carl was on the menacing side of surly, Miss Yvonne’s outfits and hair were so over the top it became near spectacle. Pee-Wee showed me an exciting, creative world I hadn’t even imagined for myself. It was …

Mad Men & Office Politics: Different Era, Same Drama

Like many of you, I harbor a very real Mad Men addiction. It’s not so dire that I need it in the morning before work (that would be very Mad Men, come to think of it), but it’s extreme enough that I often can’t get through the day without something triggering a knee-jerk Mad Men reflection, or a Mad Men-related Google search that leads me down a rabbit hole of mid-century minutia. I’m not proud to admit the number of times I’ve excitedly interjected the phrase, “That actually reminds of that one scene in Mad Men when…” into a conversation that, well, wasn’t about Mad Men at all. Even though the show is set in an office, Mad Men isn’t really a show about working, in much the same way that The Sopranos wasn’t really a show about the mob. It’s an evolutionary character study that just so happens to be set in a Madison Avenue ad agency. But strip away the intense psychological examination, and the show does realistically highlight the differences between workers just blindly tadpoling their way into …

Remotely Challenged: My Technological Struggle to Watch TV

At the risk of irretrievably dating myself, I remember a time in my childhood home when we had to get up to change the channel. There were precisely six channels to choose from, so unless you were really unhappy with the program you were watching, you might just grin and bear Perry Mason or Hee Haw. Then, the most important innovation of the modern age found its way into my young hands: the TV remote, an absolute revelation in that it allowed you to cycle through your limited options…while laying on your ass! I cherished my remote as one would a puppy, keeping it groomed and fed (with big batteries), and protecting it from my older brother’s grimy hands as best I could. My pet was brown and surprisingly heavy and you had to aim well and push down hard on his buttons to make things happen, so even though you could stay put, you still needed to earn each channel change. [pullquote]I readily admit to be electronically challenged and blissfully ignorant about issues such …