Cable

Marathoned: Breaking Bad

Marathoned: Breaking Bad

It’s been a while since I marathoned a new TV show, so during the recent TV doldrums of the holiday season I decided to finally check out Breaking Bad. Within 13 days I managed to watch all 54 episodes.

And of course now that I’m caught up I’ve got to wait around like everyone else until July 15th 2013 for the remainder of season 5 and subsequently the series itself.

[You know the drill – spoilers ahead.]

“Yeah, science!”

It should go without saying that I enjoyed Breaking Bad. But I also found the series incredibly difficult to marathon. Not just because of the number of episodes (although I typically don’t wait so long to jump into a series), but also because spoilers are everywhere online. Breaking Bad is seriously on like every best of 2012 list and most anticipated shows of 2013 list, so I found it rather difficult to not stumble across major plot points.Breaking Bad AMC season 3

Unfortunately, an interview with Krysten Ritter, about Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, gave away Jane’s fate, a screenshot I saw somewhere tipped me off to the fact that Skylar would find out about Walt, and one of those ‘Best of Lists’ let it slip that Mike was killed – so obviously that kind of knowledge colored the way I watched each episode. I have to say that season 4 was by far my favorite, because it was basically the only season that I knew nothing about.

I also struggled with the high expectations set for the series. Most of the TV I watch is either guilty-pleasure caliber quality or short lived and loved by few, so its rare that everyone is like, ‘you need to see this’ or ‘this show is flipping amazing’. I’m not going to argue with the fact that Breaking Bad is a consistently good series with a well-crafted world and good acting, but it took a while for me to just sit back and enjoy it. I spent at least a season and a half waiting to be blown away when in reality I think the genius of the show is in the long slow build towards Walt’s transformation from desperate family man to megalomaniac.

On an episodic level though I have to say I love Breaking Bad for its unconventional camera angles, beautiful location shots, and the frequent use of montages / time lapse transitions.

“I’m the bad guy.”

But of course as I mentioned before, I think the most impressive part of the series is the characters’ journeys and transformations. The Walter White we met in the pilot episode is drastically different from the one we see 50+ episodes later, but he’s still fundamentally the same person too, and that’s hard to do. It’s not unusual for a show to change a character for the sake of a storyline (see Glee), but Walt is still the chemistry-loving intelligent man he’s always been. Only now he has agency and relishes in the ability to call his own shots, especially after his cancer diagnosis.

I think the following scene from the episode “Buyout” (5×6) best sheds light on Walt’s motives and why the meth business has been so much more filling than his previous career in education:

But enough about the increasingly nefarious Walter White – it’s hard to root for him these days anyways.  Jesse on the other hand is one of my favorite characters on TV right now. Not only does he have some of the best one-liners, but Aaron Paul is fantastic at both comedy* and drama. I’m constantly blown away by the vulnerability he is able to convey. His face is so expressive and when he’s being goofy, the character of Jesse is absolutely hilarious, but when he’s breaking down, I just want to give him a hug.

And interestingly enough, while Walter has went down an increasingly dark path, Jesse has worked towards becoming a more mature and responsible adult. At the end of the first half of season 5 he is clean and out of the meth business. That’s not to say that he is on the up and up,  I wouldn’t want him to change that much, but he’s come a long way from the “junkie imbecile” we met at the start of the series.

And not to be outdone, Breaking Bad has also done an impressive job of fleshing out other characters like Mike, Skylar, and Hank. Even secondary players like Saul and Skinny Pete have moved beyond caricatures. So it’s kind of a bummer that these awesome characters, characters I root for, are about to have their lives blown to pieces (maybe even literally, it is Breaking Bad). Of course I really have no idea how its all going to end – but if I had to guess, not happily.

Until then though, enjoy this scene of Jesse hanging out in the lab from the episode “I See You” (3×08) – it’s one of my favorite Jesse moments.

*If you love Aaron Paul and 90s teen movies I totally recommend Whatever It Takes

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A Pretty Little Liars Suspect List For Season 3B

A Pretty Little Liars Suspect List For Season 3B

Spoilers ahead for all episodes of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars including the Season 3B premier “She’s Better Now” (3×14). You’ve been warned, happy reading.

PLL ABC Family

The Liars – Hanna, Emily, Aria, and Spencer

The past two times I’ve created one of these Pretty Little Liars suspect lists I’ve been wrong, so I am not going to even try to pretend I know what is going on anymore, but as of right now I still don’t think Aria, Hanna, Emily, or Spencer are working with “A”.

Although if I had to pick someone it would be Aria, because of her name and because the harassment started when her family returned from Iceland.

Who Is A? Currently… Mona and Toby

At the end of the second season finale, “unmAsked” (2×25), Mona became the first confirmed “A” on the show. However, it was also apparent that someone else was calling the shots and about half a season later in the episode “Lady Killer” (3×12), we learned that Toby is in fact on the “A” team too.

When Season 3B starts up Mona will be released from Radley Sanitarium and I guess we will start to learn about whether Toby is really against the Liars or is more nobly working inside the belly of the beast.

The Parents – Hastings, Montgomery, Marin, and Fields

In the second Halloween special, “This is a Dark Ride” (3×13), we learn from Garrett that Alison and Byron Montgomery had a confrontation on the night she died. So Aria’s Dad will be in the hot seat when new episodes return.

Spencer’s parents have also looked a bit suspicious. They did some lying of their own to supposedly protect Melissa when everything with Ian and her pregnancy were going down and of course we know that Jason DiLaurentis is actually Spencer and Melissa’s half brother [“The Naked Truth” (3×19)].

In terms of who is innocent, I think Aria’s mom Ella and Hanna’s mom Ashley are on the up-and-up. They’ve at least shown awareness and concern about this anonymous texter and Emily’s parents are barely ever in PA so they have a pretty good alibi.

N.A.T Club – Garrett, Melissa, Ian, Jenna, Jason

Either they were never really good friends or “A” has it out for them too, because two of the five members of the N.A.T Club are dead. While it’s probably true that they were messing with Alison, even on the day she died, I think it’s still pretty unclear as to any of their roles in her death.Pretty Little Liars Jenna

The only things we do know for sure are that all of them were in her bedroom earlier in the afternoon, at some point in the evening Alison was with Ian, she also had a verbal and fake-violent confrontation with Jenna and Garrett, and that Jason doesn’t have any memory of that night. We also know that Melissa was the Black Swan in the second season finale “unmAsked” (2×25) but that hasn’t really gone anywhere if I recall correctly.

Jenna is an interesting wildcard though. She was blind when Alison was killed so I don’t think she did it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we learn that she is on the “A” team. After all, she loves Toby and hates all of the Liars.

Suspicious Activity – Ezra, Wren, Noel Kahn, and Lucas

Sketchy behavior and suspect timing has these four characters on this list. They always seem to be lurking or show up conveniently after something big has just gone down.

Personally I think Lucas was one of the two characters trying to push the box containing Aria off the moving train in “This is a Dark Ride” (3×13). I suppose we will just have to wait and see if he has any visible wounds on his hands to confirm that guess. We do know that Alison made his life miserable and was friendly with Mona though.

Others – Mike, Caleb, Cece, Holden, Paige

Aria’s brother Mike has barely been around this season so he is looking less and less guilty as time goes by. Cece has likewise been a mostly peripheral player.

Caleb and Holden weren’t even in Rosewood when everything with “A” started, so for now I am going to hold onto hope that Caleb is as nice as he seems.

Paige is another wildcard as she is a bit aggressive and on occasion violent. Plus, in the episode “Single Fright Female” (3×11), Pretty Little Liars revealed that she was also ‘tortured’ by Alison on a regular basis. But Mona and Toby were initially trying to set her up to take the fall for Maya’s murder and she came to Spencer’s rescue when a masked party go-er was attacking her on the train during “This is a Dark Ride” (3×13). That is why she is on the innocent until more guilty-looking list.

Alison’s Twin?

I wrote about this outlandish theory in my last PLL suspect list, but it still hasn’t been proven wrong so I figured it was worth mentioning again.Pretty Little Liars Alison Twin

Not only does Alison tell a ‘scary’ story about twin girls, one of whom is locked away in a mental hospital in “The First Secret” (2×13), but there is also a picture hanging on the wall of Alison’s bedroom that shows two girls and Jason.

I know, the picture itself isn’t exactly convincing, but at the bottom of the photo is an inscription that apparently says something along the lines of ‘double the laughter and double the trouble with twins’ – so there’s that…

Dead – Ian, Maya, Nate and Garrett

And last but not least are the people we can for sure cross off of this list.

Ian and Garrett presumably died at the hands of “A”, or a member of the “A” team for that matter.

Maya was killed by her crazy stalker, not-really-cousin, Nate. And he was killed by Caleb and/or Emily in an epic lighthouse* showdown in the Season 3A finale “The Lady Killer” (3×12).

So who else do you think is on the “A” team? Sound off in the comments section below, I’d love to hear your theories.

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*I live in NJ and have actually visited all land-based lighthouses in the State and while there are no lighthouses in either Bayhead or Belmar, they are actually both real beach towns.

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While We Are On The Topic Of Rebooting 90s TV Shows

With the most recent news that Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel have signed on to revive their roles as Cory and Topanga on Disney’s new Girl Meets World pilot (a Boy Meets World sequel of sorts), I started thinking about other 90s shows that would lend themselves to a reboot or spinoff.

Now Disney isn’t the first network to attempt a sequel, reboot, spinoff, or whatever you want to call it. In 2008, The CW revived FOX’s Beverley Hills 90210, which is still on the air; however, any resemblance or connection to the original has been largely been lost. So I’m going to change things up a bit and turn to 90s Nickelodeon shows for inspiration. I’m sure there are plenty of other Nick kids who would love to revisit some of their favorite characters.

Show: Clarissa Explains It AllClarissa Explains It All

Network: ABC – The network is home to a whole slew of quirky comedies with heart so I would imagine this show would fit in well there.

Premise: Like the Boy Meets World reboot, the proposed Clarissa Explains It All series would include Clarissa’s teenage son or daughter, but like many other current series, the show would provide story lines for both adult and teen characters.

I can’t imagine Clarissa being settled down and all ‘domestic’, perhaps she’s even a single parent just doing her best to navigate adulthood; the show could really cash in on that popular life is perpetually like high school motif. In my mind the show would be tonally similar to Gilmore Girls. Also, thankfully talking directly to the camera is all the rage these days making it very easy to keep with the original show’s central storytelling device.

Show: The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo

Network: CBS – This show was the closest thing to a procedural you could find on a kid’s network.

Premise: The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo might seem like an odd choice for a reboot but I’m also thinking what would be most successful and nothing says multiple seasons like a standard cop/crime/detective show on CBS. Shelby Woo was already an ‘intern’ with the local police department in the Nick series, fast forward a decade or two, and now she’s a full fledged detective. They can also throw some family elements into the mix, like on Blue Bloods or The Good Wife.

Show: Hey DudeHey Dude

Network: MTV –  I’m keeping Hey Dude in the Viacom family, gear it towards teens but remove the PG label.

Premise: In my mind this reboot would become an edgier workplace comedy. I’m only making a loose connection here, but if one of the original characters is back owning/running the ranch, then the show is still free to utilize an ever changing cast of teen characters who are perfect for drama and love triangles. Think Degrassi mixed with Grey’s Anatomy on a Dude Ranch.

What other 90s shows would you like to see get the reboot treatment? Do you think a beloved 90s show will translate to a ratings success today? Should TV networks continue to look back for ideas or should they take more creative chances?

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Happy Thanksgiving – Enjoy Some Turkey & TV

Happy Thanksgiving – Enjoy Some Turkey & TV

Buffy Thanksgiving Panks

Happy Thanksgiving y’all. I’ve got a lot of things to be thankful for this year – and no, those things are not TV related (I do have a life outside of the box), but in the spirit of this blog – here’s some entertainment for your turkey filled day.
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Hurricane Sandy Is Coming – Take Shelter With Some TV

Frankenstorm coming your way? Assuming you have power and/or the Internet, why not wait out the storm with some of your favorite TV characters who are likewise feeling the effects of mother nature’s fury.

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The 2012 Halloween Episode Rundown

Trick or Treat! Halloween is almost here, which of course means it’s time for your favorite characters to get all dressed up for this season’s Halloween episodes.

To help plan out your fall-holiday viewing, here’s a rundown of upcoming Halloween specials:

ABC Family’s annual 13 Nights of Halloween kicks off this Friday, October 19th. Special new episodes of Pretty Little Liars (Tues. 10/23 8pm) and Switched at Birth (Mon. 10/22 8pm) headline the event.

PLL Halloween episode

The other 20+hours worth of programming belong to a smorgasbord of family-favorite Halloween flicks like Beetlejuice, Hocus Pocus, Coraline, Haunted Mansion, Edward Scissorhands, The Addams Family, and cable premiers of Monster House and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

You’ll also be able to catch offbeat movies like Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Mummy, and Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.

More Halloween Laughs than Scares on TV this Year

Kids and teens aren’t the only ones getting dressed up, almost every network comedy is getting into the spirit too. Check out all of the FOX, NBC, CBS, and ABC sitcoms airing Halloween episodes this year:  The Big Bang Theory (Thurs. 10/25 8pm), The Middle (Wed. 10/24 8pm), Modern Family (Wed. 10/24 9pm), Happy Endings (Tues. 10/30 9pm), New Girl (Tues. 10/30 9pm), Suburgatory (Wed. 10/24 9:30pm), The Office (Thurs. 10/25 9pm), Up All Night (Thurs. 10/25 8:The Office Halloween Season 9 30pm), Ben and Kate (Tues. 10/30 8:30pm), The Neighbors (Wed. 10/24 8:30pm) and The Mindy Project (Tues. 10/30 9:30pm).

The 2012 TV season also provides the chance to see characters from 666 Park Avenue (Sun. 10/28 10pm), Blue Bloods (Fri. 10/26 10pm), Hawaii Five-0 (Mon. 10/29 10pm), and Hart of Dixie (Tues. 10/30 8pm) in Halloween costumes.

And Don’t Forget About the Halloween Specials

If you’re a fan of Byran Fuller’s work (Wonderfalls, Pushing Daises, & Dead Like Me) and why wouldn’t you be, than I highly recommend that you check out NBC’s special presentation of Mockingbird Lane (Fri. 10/26 8pm)This reboot of the Munsters has long been stuck in the Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Browncreative stages of production, but now with NBC’s decision to air the “pilot” as a Halloween special, it may be all we see of Fuller’s quirky take on this famous family. The potential series stars Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as Lily, and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa.

I saved the best for last – It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie BrownABC will air the timeless Halloween classic on the big night, Oct. 31st at 8pm.

Looking for The Simpson’s latest installment of  ‘Treehouse of Horrors‘? Hate to break it to you, but it already aired on October 7th. Look for it on FOX.com, Hulu.com, or OnDemand.
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Bunheads Won Me Over With the Mention of a Cupcake ATM

ABC Family Bunheads Cupcake ATM

Watching Bunheads on ABC Family was kind of a no-brainer for me. I loved Gilmore Girls, I have lower expectations for summer TV, and I have a weakness for ABC Family shows in general. (In my defense I am in their target demographic.)

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90s Kids Turned Adults Can Now Watch Favorite Nick Shows

All That Kenan & Kel

90s Nick favorites, All That and Kenan & Kel return to basic cable tomorrow on Nick At Nite. Even better yet, they are on at 8pm!

I know for a while now both shows have been on heavy rotation on Teen Nick during The 90s Are All That block but for those of us who grew up on Nickelodeon and now have jobs and/or don’t pay for anything fancier than basic cable, this is exciting news.

And if you are really looking to capture the nostalgia of the 90s then you might want to tune in on Wednesday because that episode of All That features the Backstreet Boys.

Kenan & Kel will follow at 8:30pm so make sure you have plenty of orange soda on hand.

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