Miranda title screenshot.png

I’m continuing my Tom Ellis TV show marathon. My love for this wonderfully awesome actor keeps exponentially growing with each TV show. I can check Fox’s Lucifer and USA’s Rush off my list. Each are unconventional dramas with plenty of witticism, sarcasm, and dark humor. Time to switch things up a bit. I metaphorically travelled across the pond to the UK for the next show. I’d read good things about BBC’s Miranda. It’s important to maintain an open-mind when approaching a new TV show.

Miranda is a comedic sitcom created and written by Miranda Hart. This show was developed from Hart’s semi-autobiographical BBC 2 Radio comedy, Miranda Hart’s Joke Shop, from 2008. The main character, Miranda, doesn’t feel like she fits in society at all. She is 6’1’’ and awfully clumsy with a child-like sense of humor. Miranda is a lovably awkward comedy revolving how the main character somehow always ends up in socially awkward situation on a daily basis. She is quite socially inept. Yet, Miranda embraces this flaw as part of her quirky personality. Despite being 34 years old, Miranda has no idea how to truly be a grown-up adult. She is always a kid at heart. Yet, she is constantly striving to be independent and forge her own path in life.

Miranda scene_3

I was a bit skeptical of whether I’d actually like BBC’s Miranda. The pilot episode most definitely won me over. It had me busting out in hearty laughter. Honestly, it has been a while since a sitcom TV show has had me in intense peals of laughter. I even clapped my hands aloud often watching Miranda episodes. (Side note: My family gave me a fair share of odd glances as I was watching this show. I couldn’t suppress my laughter or joyous seal claps.) Anyway, this awkward cringe comedy sitcom easily grew on me.

Slapstick comedy is a quintessential element. This involves exaggerated physical activities exceeding the boundaries of normal physical comedy. Miranda’s character is lovably clumsy by nature. It often leads to very embarrassing moments in social situations.

Miranda incorporates one element you rarely see in TV shows. The main character breaking the fourth wall and directly talking towards the audience. I’ve honestly only seen this element in very few of my TV shows and movies. Showtime’s House of Lies and Marvel’s Deadpool. In the opening scenes of every episode, Miranda converses with the audience to catch us up on what’s going on in her life. Also, she often breaks the fourth wall when reacting to her awkward actions in social situations. Breaking the fourth wall enables the audience to better understand fascinating nuances of Miranda’s quirky personality.

Besides the main character, there are plenty of fascinating characters among the main cast ensemble. Stevie Sutton. Gary Preston. Penny. Tilly. Miranda explores the dynamic relationship she has with each of these characters. So much history with each character.

Miranda series cast ensemble.jpg

[From left to right: Tilly, Gary Preston, Miranda, Stevie Sutton. Penny]

Stevie Sutton is Miranda’s childhood best friend. She is the assistant manager at Miranda’s joke/gift shop. Although, Stevie essentially manages the business aspect of the joke/gift shop. Miranda lacks any sense of business. She doesn’t mind taking on this immense responsibility. The best friends enjoy the opportunity to work together. Stevie has some odd quirks despite externally appearing all put together. In the pilot episode, it is obvious why Stevie and Miranda are very close best friends right off the bat. Miranda frequently asks her best friend for advice. Stevie knows Miranda struggles with everyday adult life. These struggles typically land her in socially awkward situations. Miranda can be emotionally vulnerable with her best friend. Stevie is a very important person in Miranda’s life. Stevie is basically the closest thing to a sister.

Gary Preston is Miranda’s old friend from university. He is the friendly, handsome chef at the restaurant next door to her joke/gift shop. Gary eventually buys the restaurant from the owner, Clive Evans, in Season 3. Throughout the series, the restaurant is one of Miranda’s favorite hangout spots. It’s not often you remain close with your university friends many years after graduation. Based off their conversation interactions, you can immediately tell they are close friends. Miranda doesn’t really have too many friends. Gary enjoys Miranda’s company despite her odd behavior in social situations. She can be her lovably quirky self around Gary.

In the first two seasons, the show explores the underlying attraction between these two characters. Neither want to act on their romantic feelings for the other in fear of ruining their close friendship. Mere friendship is no longer enough at some point. Gary and Miranda’s dating attempts have its highs and lows. Despite being confidence and outgoing, he also suffers insecurities when it comes to romance and dating. It’s one thing Miranda and he have in common. They must overcome their insecurities to truly be ready to pursue a romantic relationship. Through the good and bad times, Miranda and Gary cannot deny how they can’t imagine each other not being in their lives.

(Side note: The wonderful Tom Ellis plays the role of Gary Preston. This is a drastically different role from Dr. William Rush in USA’s Rush and Lucifer Morningstar in Fox’s Lucifer. In every role, Tom brilliantly brings to life the emotional nuances of the character. Don’t even get me started on his incredibly versatile facial expressions. Not many actors can make me laugh and cry. Tom Ellis joins this elite club along with few other of my actor biases.)

Miranda scene_2

Penny is Miranda’s overbearing mother. Also, she is very obsessed with what her upper-middle class “friends” think about her life and family. Miranda falls very short of her mother’s expectations. Penny often vocally expresses her disappointment in Miranda’s lack of a respectable career path along with no prospective men to marry. In terms of her expectations, Miranda is a massive disappointment of a daughter.

Penny often meddles in Miranda’s personal and romantic life. She can’t see how her constant interference prevents Miranda from truly figuring out how to properly adult in life. Yet, Penny does this out of love and concern for Miranda. It’s safe to say neither mother nor daughter often see eye-to-eye on matters. Miranda and Penny have a complicated relationship. But it isn’t always full of tension and animosity. Over the three seasons, mother and daughter slowly gain new understanding of each other. It dawns on Miranda that some of her odd behaviors come from her mother. In fact, Miranda and Penny grow closer over time. Penny even comes to truly accept Miranda as she is. The scenes with them are always fascinating. You never know what to expect.

Tilly is Miranda’s old friend from boarding school. Miranda doesn’t have any fond memories of her time at an all-girls boarding school. Tilly almost always refers to Miranda as “Queen Kong”. Unfortunately, this boarding school nickname seemed to have stuck with Miranda well into adulthood. Miranda obviously tolerates Tilly. They have absolutely no common interests. In fact, they are polar opposites.

In the beginning, it’s very perplexing why Miranda even hangs out with Tilly. Penny wishes her daughter was more like Tilly. Tilly gets along rather swimmingly with Miranda’s mum. Being a socialite, it makes sense that Tilly has a self-centered personality. She makes no efforts to conceal her narcissistic tendencies in social situation. We later discover that Tilly acts the way she does being afraid to reveal her flaws and insecurities to people. Like Penny, Tilly is very conscious of what upper-middle class society things about her. Over the seasons, she becomes slightly less vain and a decently likable character in the show. Miranda in no way considers Tilly her best friend. Yet, they mutually care for each other.

Miranda series cast ensemble_2

With a fascinating menagerie of characters, Miranda has an endearingly quirky storytelling style. The recurring characters grow on you as well. The ones that stood out to me were Clive Evans, “Dreamboat” Charlie, Michael Jackford, and “Random Customer”. It makes sense that Miranda has the most character development throughout the show. Penny, Gary, Stevie, and Tilly each have their own character development within the plot arcs. Just not as drastic as Miranda’s storyline.

Often, TV shows have multiple backdrops for the scenes. But majority of the scenes take place in three locations. Miranda’s flat. Miranda’s joke/gift shop. The restaurant next door. You see other various backdrops occasionally in scenes. Those three locations are core central to Miranda storylines.

Miranda seasons didn’t air consistently back-to-back. Season 1 aired between November to December 2010. Season 2 aired between November to December 2010. Season 3 aired between December 2012 to January 2013. The two-part episode finale aired on December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015 respectively.

The creator and writer, Miranda Hart, said that there was a possibility for the return of Miranda in the future. I really hope this wonderfully quirky series returns with more episodes. I’d love to see what shenanigans Miranda and gang get up to. Plus, the focus would drastically shift from Miranda’s single life to married life with Gary. That will surely provide interesting storylines.

This show explores the tumultuous journey of self-discovery for the main character. Miranda navigates the daily struggles of acting like a functioning adult. Yet, she is always a child at heart. Out of all her insecurities, Miranda struggles the most with her lack of confidence. This often prevents her from living life to the fullest. She frequently questions if people can truly appreciate her personality. Quirks and all. Over the three seasons, Miranda slowly comes into her own being.

Miranda scene

Miranda consists of three seasons in addition to two episode specials to wrap up the show. That’s a total of 20 episodes. Best of all, every episode is only 30 minutes long. It took 2.5 days to binge marathon this quirky sitcom. From start to finish, there was plenty of smiling, tears of laughter, and seal clapping. Slapstick comedy is the main element of this show. I can see why people love this awkward comedy sitcom.

This endearingly awkward British sitcom is full of marvelous heart and soul. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. The right balance of drama and comedy.  If you’re looking for an unconventional British TV series, I’d highly recommend checking out Miranda.



Rush promotional banner_1

Thanks to Fox’s Lucifer, I have a newfound appreciation and obsession with Tom Ellis. I tried to deny my new obsession. Yet, there are so many reason I love Tom Ellis. He is an immensely talented actor. I don’t easily throw around the word “gorgeous” when it comes to actors. I cannot deny Tom Ellis is a gorgeous man. Don’t even get me started on his irresistible smiles. It makes me melt into a puddle of feels every time. In promotional interviews, Tom is well-articulated yet also finds the right moments to insert humor. He has an awesome personality. I could honestly listen to him talk for hours. When I become obsessed with an actor, I proceed to watch all their other TV and movie projects. Right now I’m focusing on watching other television shows starring Tom Ellis among the main cast ensemble. I’ll eventually get to his film projects.

Despite being popular in the United Kingdom, he isn’t as widely known here in the United States. In 2014, USA Network’s Rush was Tom’s first American network TV show. Rush is an edgy medical drama created by Jonathon Levine. It revolves around the tumultuous life of Dr. William Rush. Six years ago, Will was dismissed from a major Los Angeles hospital. He enters “concierge” medical field and serves a very specific clientele. Wealthy clients and Hollywood celebrities who need immediate medical attention but require the utmost discretion. No questions asked at all. His elite, affluent clients must pay thousands of dollars up front cash in advance. He essentially is a “medical fixer” who has thrown his moral compass out of the window. Rush is a good doctor with self-destructive habits. Heavy usage of alcohol and drugs. These are his coping mechanisms to fight demons from his turbulent past. Tom Ellis plays the leading role of Dr. William Rush.

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about checking out USA’s Rush. I’ve seen my fair share of medical dramas. The basic concept of this medical drama seemed very cliché. Yet, I was willing to keep an open-mind and give it a chance. I’ll admit Tom Ellis playing the lead role was my main motivation to watch USA’s Rush. My bias actors have led me to some awesome TV shows and movies.

After watching the pilot episode, I was surprised how Rush definitely wasn’t what I expect to be. It wasn’t your typical procedural medical drama. In fact, I wouldn’t even really call it a “medical” drama. USA’s Rush explores the multi-faceted personality of Dr. Will Rush along the complicated relationships with the few important people in his life.

RushBeing a renegade physician, Rush runs an unorthodox “concierge” medical practice that involves personally visiting his elite clients at their homes or workplaces. He is basically a rock star freelance doctor to the elite of Los Angeles. He doesn’t discriminate nor judge his clients’ morals. All that matters is that pay in advance in all cash. It proves to be a very profitable business venture for him. In a way, you could technically say Dr. Will Rush runs not only an unorthodox but also an illegal medical practice. He always knows how to fix the medical issue. Also, he is always well-prepared for any situation possible. Rush lives by the philosophy that he would do anything for the right price. This becomes increasingly not as simple throughout the course of Season 1.

William Rush’s character isn’t what I’d call a likeable character. He is very screwed up. Not even going to sugarcoat it. Yet, he isn’t exactly a bad person. Rush is trying to make the best of his circumstance. He basically an onion with lots of emotional layers. On the surface, he seems so put together and unapologetic about his eccentric lifestyle. The drugs and alcohol numb his inner emotional turmoil. Rush refuses to face the ghosts of his pasts and constantly tries to keep burying them deeper away. He hides the darker parts away for only very few people to see this side.

The show explores the complex relationships with particular characters. He has very different relationships with each of these characters. Eve Parker is his personal assistant. Alex Burke is his longtime friend. Manny Maquis is his drug dealer. Warren Rush is his father. Sarah Peterson is his ex-girlfriend and still the love of his life. Quite the variety of interesting characters. You see different sides of Will when he interacts with these characters.

Rush cast ensemble.JPG

From left to right: Dr. Alex Burke, Eve Parker, and Dr. William Rush

Eve Parker, his personal assistant, goes above and beyond to ensure Rush’s unorthodox “concierge” medical venture continues to thrive. She does so much behind the scenes while he is out dealing with the elite clientele patients. From Eve’s interactions, you can tell she enjoys working for Dr. Will Rush. No matter how some days can get quite crazy. Eve knows about his heavy usages of alcohol and drugs. She tries to keep him on track and inquire about his well-being from time to time. Rush cares about his personal assistant. He appreciates all her hard work and loyalty. Throughout Season 1, you discover the backstory of how Rush met his personal assistant. I’d say this is one of the healthiest relationships in Rush’s life.

Alex Burke and Will Rush’s friendship go way back. Both are Harvard trained physicians. I’m assuming they most likely met in medical school. Alex and Will are total opposites. It’s kind of amusing how they are slightly envious of the other person’s life. Alex vicariously lives through Will. He craves the excitement and freedom in Will’s life. But he has lots of commitments in his life. Will vicariously lives through Alex. He longs to have stability in terms of his relationships. Rush doesn’t typically have healthy relationships with woman. He is envious how Alex is happily married to Laurel and a good role model for his son, Elliot. Rush will never admit it but he secretly wants to eventually settle down. The scenes with Alex and Will are always refreshing. It doesn’t seem Rush has other close friends. This is one of the few healthy relationships in Will’s life.

Rush is quite chummy with his drug dealer, Manny Maquis. The scenes with Rush and Manny are interesting. We don’t quite know the full history between Rush and Manny. There was only one flashback scene from six years ago showing hard-partying Rush randomly meeting Manny at some bar or nightclub establishment. Rush isn’t Manny’s best customer, but he is consistent. Most of their interactions involve a drug transaction. There was an occasion where Manny needs Rush’s help to convince his stubborn dad to see a doctor. Rush agrees to help Manny out. It isn’t too big of a favor. They have a bizarre quasi-friendship relationship which provides for an intriguing storyline.

Rush - Season 1

From the start, you get a sense that there’s tension between Will and his father. We don’t know exactly why until about halfway through Season 1. Rush blames his father for being the dismissed from the hospital six years ago. It is obvious Will and Warren have a tenuous, strained relationship. Warren doesn’t approve of his son’s unorthodox medical venture. A situation arises where he must ask his father for a favor in order to save Alex’s job. To say the least, it was an awkward and tense family dinner. Will meets his father’s new wife, Corrine. She is 20 years than Warren. (Side note: Rush and Corrine have a weird storyline in the show. But I won’t go into the further details.) He is even more shocked to learn he has a half-sister, Lily. Rush is very angry that his father didn’t tell Lily that she has an older half-brother. Warren is convinced his son is a bad influence to be around Lily. Also, he doesn’t want Lily to be disappointed by Will. Throughout Season 1, Will and Warren slowly rebuild their father-son relationship.

Rush - Season 1

Sarah Peterson is a very special person to Rush. He unexpectedly runs into her at Alex’s son birthday. Rush has been with many women. But Sarah is much different. She’s the love of his life. Her return sparks a desire to change inside of him. To become a better man that Sarah can learn to trust and rely on. He wants to settle down with the love of his life. Rush tries to walk the straight and narrow. But his self-destructive habits aren’t easy to kick.

Dr. William Rush is a multidimensional character which provides for some very intriguing plot arcs. He has a sharp, witty conversational style. Tom Ellis truly did justice of bringing this multi-faceted character to life. I’ll admit it took a couple episodes to get used to his American accent. It sounded a bit weird at first. Otherwise, Tom was the best actor for the lead role of Dr. Will Rush.

Rush promotional banner

I don’t normally watch USA Network shows. Three years ago, I randomly discovered White Collar few months before their final season. It was surprising to learn that USA Network has some leniency in terms of content in their TV shows. I’ve watch my fair share of premium cable shows. Strong profanity isn’t that uncommon in MA rated television shows. But I was a bit shocked with the strong profanity in Rush. The most common swear word used throughout Season 1 was “shit”. It is said at least 5 times in every episode. This swear word is typically not allowed on prime-time network TV shows. It would be censored out. That was not the case with USA’s Rush. Apparently, USA Network has a slight leniency on profanity in their TV shows.

USA’s Rush was a surprisingly compelling show. Each of the main characters’ development was amusing. The storylines kept you on your toes. I found it interesting how this edgy medical drama chose an 80’s music soundtrack. These past two days I binged all 10 episodes of Season 1. I don’t regret it.

Sadly, USA Network decided not to renew Rush for a second season. That is a pity. I really would have enjoyed seeing what intriguing storylines we’d see in Season 2. I tried to ponder why this show got cancelled after its first season. I feel the way the plot arcs were structure is most likely the main reason. It was compelling storytelling. But it was more than halfway when William Rush decides to drastically transform his life to earn back Sarah’s trust. This should have happened a couple episodes sooner. In my opinion, this aspect of the storyline in Season 1 seemed a bit rushed. Another plausible reason is that a small handful of the supporting characters really stood out. Eve Parker and Alex Burke. Rush had so much potential but sadly it didn’t garner enough of a following to be renewed for another season.

Lucifer promotional banner_5It is sad when a show full of potential isn’t fully appreciated by the general public. USA’s Rush being cancelled turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Not long afterwards Tom Ellis had the opportunity to play the role of Lucifer Morningstar in Fox’s Lucifer. This would be his second American network TV show. I cannot imagine any other actor playing Lucifer Morningstar and truly doing this role justice. Tom Ellis is the perfect choice for this particular role! He wouldn’t have had this incredible opportunity if USA’s Rush had been renewed for a second season. The grass can always be greener on the other side when it comes to TV show cancellations.

I was surprised how much enjoyed watching this edgy medical drama. The storytelling keeps you on your toes. Also, you’d never imagine to be rooting for Dr. Will Rush. But this complicated character really does grow on you. I’d recommend checking out USA’s Rush if you’re looking for an unconventional medical drama.


Lucifer promotional banner_1

Lately, I’ve been bored not having any TV show to watch. Starz’s Outlander recently aired its Season 3 finale. It will be several months before Starz network airs Season 4. CW’s Supernatural is currently on winter hiatus and won’t return with new Season 13 episodes until late January. That’s still at least a couple weeks away. I needed a “new” show. Thus, I decided to check out Fox’s Lucifer on random whim on December 27th. Lucifer had been on my “TV shows to eventually watch” list. But I honestly have no idea why I chose this particular show right now. I took a chance not knowing whether or not I’d actually like Fox’s Lucifer. I was hooked after watching the pilot episode. This show is not what I expected at all!

The main character, Lucifer Morningstar, is based off a character from the DC comic book series The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, and Mike Drigenberg. This character eventually became the protagonists in his own spin-off series on DC Comic’s imprint Vertigo. Fox’s Lucifer is a TV show adaptation based the spin-off comic book series. Compared to the comic books, Lucifer Morningstar’s character is interpreted much differently in the TV show.

Lucifer promotional banner_4

Lucifer revolves around the basic premise of Lucifer Morningstar who was cast out of Heaven and condemned to rule Hell for all eternity…until he took a permanent vacation to Los Angeles in 2011 AD. People come to Los Angeles to reinvent themselves and/or search for something. Lucifer owns and runs a swanky piano bar/nightclub called Lux with the assistance of his former demon torturer, Mazikeen. Lucifer is portrayed as a sophisticated, charismatic, and irresistibly charming gentleman with playboy tendencies. He doesn’t really care much for humanity. Also, it makes sense Lucifer would have penchant for custom-tailored designer suit ensembles. Plus, his 1964 black Corvette is a pretty awesome ride as well. It really compliments his elegant, devil-may-care personality.

I find it quite fascinating how Lucifer decided to name his nightclub Lux. Lux translates to “light” in Latin. This is paying homage that Lucifer is the “light-bringer”. It bascially references his former angelic state. Throughout the show, Lucifer Morningstar tries to escape stereotypes referring to his angelic side. He typically is always trying to convince people he is the Devil. Some people are convinced of his claim, while others aren’t quite buying it. Yet, he resents when humanity blame the Devil for the horrible decisions they’ve made in life. Lucifer always insists humans need to hold themselves accountable for their own decisions.

The Devil enjoys punishing evil people who deserve it. Lucifer becomes a civilian consultant for LAPD. He forms an unconventional partnership with LAPD homicide Detective Chloe Decker. She is a pariah in her police department unit. No one wants to work with her…until she unintentionally meets Lucifer Morningstar on a high-profile case. He proves to be quite resourceful. This is a start of a beautifully complex friendship between Lucifer and Detective Decker. Their intriguing relationship continues to be further fleshed out throughout the seasons.

Lucifer S3 cast

[Season 3 cast from left to right: Lt. Marcus Pierce, Dr. Linda Martin, Amenadiel, Charlotte Richards, Ella Lopez, Detective Daniel Espinoza, Detective Chloe Decker, 8Lucifer Morningstar, and Mazikeen]

Lucifer is chalk full of fascinating major and supporting characters. Season 1 introduces us to staple main characters. Amenadiel, Detective Chloe Decker, Mazikeen, Detective Daniel Espinoza, and Dr. Linda Martin. It seems Lucifer can only be emotionally vulnerable with two people. Detective Chloe Decker, his dear friend and colleague, and Dr. Linda Martin, his therapist. Season 2 introduces a couple new characters. Charlotte Richards and Ella Lopez. Lucifer’s mom inhabits Charlotte’s body. Poor Charlotte struggles with her sanity in Season 3 after the goddess leaves Earth in Season 2 finale. The nerdy lab technician, Ella, slowly becomes an important supporting character. In Season 3, we are introduced to Lieutenant Marcus Pierce. This show brilliantly explores the multi-facets of each character. Most of all, I’d say the city of Los Angeles is a character in itself. It is the backdrop for the storylines of Lucifer. It is essentially the heart and soul of the show’s storylines. The supporting characters add more fascinating complexity to the storytelling. Overall, the character development is brilliantly done in this show.

Lucifer S2

Every season explores different themes in terms of Lucifer Morningstar’s character development. Season 1 delves into how Lucifer slowly learns how to care about humanity. His devil-may-care attitude drastically changes as a result of working alongside Detective Decker. He eventually realizes Chloe is his first true friend. Maze doesn’t count. Mazikeen is more of his Hell minion. Lucifer and Chloe come to terms how they deeply care for each other over time. Both are pariahs in their own ways. Season 2 explores the dysfunctional, complicated relationship between Lucifer and his mother, who has escaped from Hell. Amenadiel and Lucifer each have different dynamics with their mother. The goddess takes on the human meat suit of high-profile lawyer, Charlotte Richards. Their mother just wants to be reunited with her beloved sons even if it means being trapped on Earth in Charlotte’s body. Lucifer expressed more vulnerability when it came to tackling his turbulent emotions regarding his mother. Season 3 revolves around Lucifer’s identity. He hated his angel wings so much that he got Mazikeen to cut them off upon deciding to permanently live in Los Angeles. But his angel wings are back for some unknown reason. Lucifer doesn’t even have his devil face anymore. This ignites a personality crisis as he starts reverting back to old Lucifer. Lucifer begins to backslide after the impressive progress he’d been making so far.

Fox’s Lucifer has an incredible music soundtrack. It is one of the first things that I noticed in the pilot episode. Every episode uses no more than two or three songs. Yet, they perfectly fit the scene’s mood. I’d say it even enhances the very mood of the scene. You can listen to all the songs played in Season 1 and Season 2 on Spotify playlists. Whoever is in charge of the music does an amazing job. I rarely compliment a TV show on its music soundtrack. CW’s Smallville was the last TV show that truly impressed me with its music soundtrack.

Lucifer Season 1 official Spotify playlist

Lucifer Season 2 official Spotify playlist

The storytelling in Lucifer is so addictively compelling. I was hooked halfway through the pilot episode. Lucifer’s multi-faceted personality is explored and dissected through the storylines over the three seasons. He certainly has drastic emotional growth since the pilot episode. Detective Chloe Decker is the main reason for his evolution. Lucifer is known for having plethora of meaningless sexual encounters with women (and men on a few occasions). Yet, Chloe is the first woman in his life whom he desires to get emotionally close with. She is the first woman to not express any sexual desire for him. His irresistible charm has absolutely no effect on her. Lucifer and Chloe are fascinating by each other. In time, they realize their palpable chemistry but don’t want to ruin their close friendship to explore a romantic relationship. Detective Decker and Lucifer can emotionally open up to each other. They have each other’s back as well. The show’s storylines brilliantly flesh out the emotionally dynamic relationship between Detective Chloe Decker and Lucifer Morningstar. I love the conversational banter between them. Mixture of light-hearted and serious moments. Their dynamic relationship reminds me of Richard Castle and Katherine Beckett from ABC’s Castle. Never a dull moment between Lucifer and Chloe. (On a side note: I totally ship DeckerStar. Now we must patiently wait until they do become an official couple.)

MazikeenOf all the supporting characters, Mazikeen has grown a lot since season 1. She is repulsed how her boss, Lucifer, is so fascinated about connecting with humanity. Even to the point of caring about humans…especially Chloe Decker. Maze didn’t care at all for humans at first. This slowly changes throughout the course of season 1. Maze forms an unconventional friendship with Lucifer’s therapist, Dr. Linda Martin. She even has a soft spot for Chloe’s daughter, Trixie. I do love the adorably heartwarming scenes between Mazikeen and Trixie. Trixie is fond of Lucifer and Mazikeen, yet Maze is the only one who shows affection back. Lucifer definitely doesn’t like children. Maze eventually wants to discover who she is on her own. The demon bartender/bodyguard quits her job at Lux and even becomes roommates with Chloe and her daughter. Also, she forges a close friendship with Detective Chloe Decker as well. Yet, Chloe has no idea her roommate is Hell’s former demon torturer. Although, Trixie saw Maze’s true demon face and wasn’t frightened by it. The young child accepted her true form. Maze goes on a reflective journey of self-discovery along with how to use her strengths in finding an Earthly job that best suits her. Bounty hunting is the best use of her unique skill set. This way she can still be a bad-ass ninja. Ultimately, Maze wants to find her place in the society considering she ain’t leaving Los Angeles anytime soon. Her former boss, Lucifer, has absolutely no intention of going back to rule Hell. She still continues to keep an eye out on Lucifer every once in a while.

The thing that surprised me the most was the impeccable balance between light-hearted and serious moments in the storylines. I was not expecting to find so much humor inserted into the episode’s plot arcs. It has been a while that I’ve laughed this much watching a TV show. The humor in this show often involves immature and/or innuendo elements. Lucifer can certainly be an immature child sometimes. It is surprisingly one of his endearing aspects of his dynamic personality. Also, the Devil themed puns thrown into conversational exchange are amusingly entertaining.

Lucifer promotional banner_3

This show is classified as a supernatural cop-procedural drama. Another thing that surprised me was how the supernatural element wasn’t as prominent. In fact, Fox’s Lucifer is actually a quirky cop-procedural drama with supernatural aspects sprinkled into the storytelling. Obviously, this show is much different from the other cop-procedural TV shows I’ve seen over the years. None of them involved a crime-solving Devil working with LAPD as a civilian consultant.

It intrigues me how the show decided to make Lucifer Morningstar have a bizarrely fascinating mixture of a posh and generic British accent. Being Prince of Darkness, the posh aristocratic element is helpful when he lords his charismatic charm and power over people. The generic element is helpful when connecting with humanity.

Lucifer S3Fox’s Lucifer has an incredible cast ensemble. Every actor was perfectly cast for their roles. Most of all, it is quintessential to ensure you cast the right actor for the lead role(s). Tom Ellis was a fantastic choice to play the leading role of Lucifer Morningstar. He nails the irresistibly charming, hedonistic, and sophisticated vibe of the character. Best of all, his facial expressions convey a plethora of emotions. He doesn’t even need to speak any words sometimes in a scene. He even lends his singing vocals for the show. I was honestly surprised to learn he actually sang in the show. Tom has a soothingly smooth singing voice. Don’t even get me started on his alluring smiles. Most importantly, he brilliantly brings to life the multi-faceted personality of Lucifer Morningstar. This show has formed an appreciation for Welsh actor Tom Ellis. Lauren German plays LAPD homicide Detective Chloe Decker. Tom Ellis and Lauren German make a dynamic duo. The cast ensemble has chemistry on and off-screen. This element is particularly important for any TV show to be successful.

Lastly, Fox’s Lucifer is in no way glorifying the Devil to make him a likable person. Certain critics such as One Million Mom had tried to petition to prevent this show from even airing its series premiere. They didn’t understand how Lucifer Morningstar’s character is based off the DC comic series The Sandman. One Million Mom claims this TV show is sheer blasphemy. Yet, Fox’s Lucifer is more a fantasy supernatural show. It doesn’t involve anything about the Bible or Christianity. I myself am a Christian and not at all offended by this TV show’s premise and themes. Lucifer Morningstar’s character is honestly more an anti-hero with hedonistic proclivities who is irresistibly charismatic and elegant. Yet, he shows his darker and tormented side sometimes. Just like in Hell, he enjoys punishing evil people. This is why he willingly become a civilian consultant for LAPD. This allows him to connect with humanity to eventually care about them. His time working alongside Detective Chloe Decker has changed him into a slightly less hedonistic person. Fox’s Lucifer revolves around the idea of evolution. Lucifer essentially becomes slightly less devilish and more human over the course of the seasons.

Lucifer promotional banner_5Lucifer is an addictively interesting show that has really surprised me. I’m glad I recently decided to check it out on random whim. It’s been a while since I’ve been this hooked on a “new” TV show. Between December 27th and January 2nd, I basically binge marathoned Fox’s Lucifer. That’s 42 episodes within six days! I watched nearly 5-6 episodes everyday continuously back-to-back. One day I even pushed myself to watch 9 episodes in one sitting. A bit too intense even for myself. I could have easily binged this series in a shorter time span. But I had things to do throughout the day. I can’t just sit on my arse all day and irresponsibly binge watch a TV show no matter how wonderfully addictive it is. Nonetheless I’m quite impressed with my 42 episodes binge in six days. Now, I’m fully caught up the currently airing episodes of Lucifer Season 3. I’m a bit sad how I’ll have to wait on a weekly basis for new episodes. Binge marathoning has its pros and cons. Yet, I regret absolutely nothing about intensely binging Fox’s Lucifer. I can’t believe I didn’t discover this awesome TV show sooner!?! Sometimes, we come across shows at later times when we can truly appreciate it.

Game of Thrones

GoT logoOver the past decade, science-fiction and superhero genres have played an important role in my life. Fantasy genre TV shows or movies wasn’t my cup of tea until a few years ago. It’s surprising how some genres take time to eventually grow on you.

Honestly, I decided to check out HBO’s Game of Thrones on random whim four years ago. It was a short three-day holiday during the fall of my sophomore year in college. The night before I intensely binged all seven episodes of Downton Abbey Season 1 in one sitting. Chrissy, one of my cluster friends, had been raving about HBO’s Game of Thrones. I keep up with almost 10-15 TV shows throughout the year. At this point, my fall prime-time shows were back with their new seasons. I didn’t need yet another show to watch. My plate was quite full. Yet, I still decided to check out Game of Thrones Season 1 the day after my Downtown Abbey Season 1 binge marathon. I proceeded to watch the first four episodes of Season 1. Talk about a drastic change going from Downtown Abbey to Game of Thrones.

True Blood S3This was not my first rodeo with MA rated premium cable TV show. Not at all. During the summer of 2010, I began reading Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series aka The Southern Vampire Mysteries. I don’t recall how I even found out about HBO’s True Blood. By this point, I’d finished the fourth book, Dead to the World. There was enough interest in this book universe to check out this dark fantasy HBO series. Nothing could have mentally prepared me for MA rating in terms of profanity, violence/gore, nudity, and sexual content. It was entirely new territory for me. You quickly learn effective coping mechanism to deal with it. Despite all these elements, I got sucked into True Blood universe. For better or worse, I loyally stuck HBO’s True Blood until its final 7th season in August 2014.

The Tudors S1I unintentionally stumbled across Showtime’s The Tudors in spring of 2011. There was much hype months leading up to Will and Kate’s wedding in April 2011. I was very sick the week before the royal wedding which is why I wound up spending hours watching of programming about British monarchy. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was basically sprawled on the couch. BBC America was airing re-runs of The Tudors. I knew basic details of the Tudor dynasty. King Henry VIII and his six wives. Queen Mary (aka Bloody Mary). King Edward VI and Lady Jane Gray. Queen Elizabeth I. I was willing to keep an open-mind and check out The Tudors. Season 2 episodes was my official introduction. I was instantly hooked after a couple episodes. This was my second MA rated premium cable show. There was much less profanity compared to HBO’s True Blood. But nudity, sexual content, and violence/gore were still prevalent themes in this historical drama. At this point, MA rated programs didn’t make me as uncomfortable.

Mainstream fantasy genre usually is set in a Medieval-esque setting while simultaneously incorporating magic and supernatural elements. Lord of the Rings trilogy and HBO’s Game of Thrones are examples of fantasy film adaptations that achieved blockbuster status. Compared to my other fandoms, Game of Thrones has a very extensive universe. After intensely binging seasons 1 to 2, I truly understood the complex nature of the relationships between the major family houses. The cinematography was breathtaking. It enhances the beautifully dynamic storytelling in the plot arcs. I was even more impressed how Game of Thrones seamlessly transitions between the drastically different worlds. For better or worse, many main characters undergo huge transformation over the seasons. Game of Thrones perfectly cast all the major and minor roles too. The incredibly talented cast ensemble brings their characters and the intricate plot arcs to life on the screen. Plus, the cast ensemble has great chemistry. I had no idea how this fantasy HBO drama would be so addictive. I fall more and more in love with Game of Thrones with each consecutive season. Yet, I regret nothing about joining this crazy fandom.

Plus, the orchestral soundtrack music for this TV series beautifully captures the mood of scenes. I listen to a plethora of soundtrack composers. Yet, I’m picky when it comes to my favorite composers. Hans Zimmer has been my all-time favorite for many years. Thanks to Game of Thrones, I was introduced to another phenomenal composer. Ramin Djawadi. HBO’s Game of Thrones helped him earn many industry awards and recognition. Ironically, Ramin worked with Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt. Ramin is well-known as well for his soundtrack scores for Iron Man, Pacific Rim, and HBO’s Westworld to name a couple.

In August 2016, Ramin announced Game of Thrones Live Experience concert 2017 tour. 24 cities across the US and Canada. Thankfully, one of the concert tours were in Washington DC at the Verizon Center arena on March 1, 2017. “Music is Coming” was the promotional tag-line used for the Game of Thrones Live Experience concert. I bought my tickets for this concert on pre-sale not risking it selling out completely. My ticket was approximately $90 with venue and convenience fees. I’d forgotten how huge venues charge much higher fees.

The last concert I attended at a huge arena was Muse’s The Resistance tour in May 2010. So it’s been a while since I’ve been to a huge arena venue for a concert. They’re must different type of experience compared to small or mid-size venues. But it makes sense Game of Thrones Live Experience would go to much bigger venues. A full orchestra complete with a choir is a huge ensemble that requires a larger stage area. That’s almost 80 people in total! Plus, there are custom-made stages built specifically for Game of Thrones Live experience tour concerts. This would be my first orchestral concert. I was quite excited for it!

The day of the concert finally arrived. The travel to DC wasn’t necessarily fun but thankfully there’s public transportation via bus and metro to get to the Verizon Center arena. The place was filled to almost full capacity. People from all walks of life came in droves for the Game of Thrones Live Experience concert. That’s is evidence of the wide diversity in terms of Game of Thrones fans. Some hardcore fans went the extra mile by cosplaying their favorite characters.

My seat wasn’t close to the custom-made stage. I much preferred a comprehensive bird’s eye view for this concert. It is a 360-degree stage. The main stages feature King’s Landing, Winterfell, and other worlds in Game of Thrones. The most packed section of this massive arena were the seats right by the ginormous screen. Other smaller screens were placed around the stage as well. As the orchestra played the songs, a variety of still images and clips from Game of Thrones were played on the plethora of screens for each performance.

Earlier I mentioned how much a love the orchestral soundtrack music for this HBO premium cable show. It’s even more incredible to hear it played live! Words cannot even begin to describe how mind-blowing it is. There are quintessential orchestral songs from the show. The main title, Rains of Castamere, Mhysa, Light of the Seven to name a few. Yet, Ramin featured a wide selection of well-known and lesser known orchestral tracks. Essentially a highlight of songs from over the past six season. This was a phenomenal orchestral concert and totally lived up to its hype! This was a huge-scale production. Ramin really went all out for Game of Thrones Live Experience concert.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Recently, Ramin Djwaldi announced Game of Thrones Live Experience 2018 North America and Europe tour dates. I hope to go again in September 2018. For the Washington DC tour date, there is even a Game of Thrones exhibition experience option.

In anticipation for the Season 7, a Game of Thrones-themed pop-up bar (PUB) opened in Washington DC. Drink Company and Ommegang Brewery collaborated together on this Game of Thrones PUB. This 3,000 square foot pop-up bar features four distinct rooms. The Red Keep, Winterfell, The House of Black and White along with Hall of Faces, and Meeren. There’s even a separate throne room with a replica of the Iron Throne. People have opportunity to take a photo on the Iron Throne replica with props. Game of Thrones PUB was open from June 21st to August 27th. This pop-up bar closed at 7 pm on Sundays so people could watch Game of Thrones Season 7 episodes without spoilers. As anticipated, there is a long wait to get into this venue even during the week day. It is recommended to go during the week day rather than weekend as the wait time is slightly less. The hours of operation for the week are Monday to Thursday 5 pm to 12:30 am, Friday to Saturday 5:30 pm to 1:30 am, and Sunday 1-7 pm.

On August 14th, I finally had the opportunity to check out Game of Thrones pop-up bar in DC with my friend, Doris. It was Monday. Luckily, it is located nearby the Shaw-Howard U Metro stop. We waited nearly 1.5 to 2 hours in line before getting inside the Game of Thrones PUB venue.  The wait was so worth it!

Got PUB The Red Keep

(Source: https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/game-of-thrones-pub-pop-up-bar-open-in-dc)

You enter the Red Keep themed room upon stepping into the venue. The highlight of this room is the colorful banners of the major houses in Game of Thrones. Here you can pledge allegiance to your favorite family house(s).  My friend and I ventured to the other three room. The House of Black and White themed room wasn’t as colorful. More neutral tone room colors. The highlight of this room is the 3D displays of House of Faces along the wall opposite the bar. The door entry that leads into the Winterfell themed room is fittingly appropriate. It’s the wooden gate on the ice wall of Castle Black. There’s even an ice pick stuck in the ice wall. The highlight of the Winterfell room is obviously the white Wierwood tree with its vibrant red leaves. The House of White and Black, Winterfell, and Red Keep rooms even had intricately beautiful mural paintings on the glass windows facing the main street. Meeren is the only themed room that had no windows as it was located in the back of the venue. This is one of the darker colored rooms. There are two intensely awesome mural paintings of Daenerys’s dragons along the black walls. Also, a 3D dragon comes out of the wall breathing “fire” mist into this room. Songs of Harpy outfits and skulls hang on the wall by the bar. Each of the bar rooms are exquisitely detailed-oriented to its theme. Plus, orchestral tracks from TV show plays on loud speakers in each of the four rooms. I’d say my favorite of the four rooms is Winterfell themed bar area.

Got PUB Winterfell

(Source: https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/game-of-thrones-pub-pop-up-bar-open-in-dc)

img_2352It makes sense this themed pop-up bar would offer alcoholic drinks with Game of Thrones inspired names. The North Remembers. Dothraquiri. The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors. Dracarys. Lady Mormont. The Lannisters Send Their Regards. The Imp’s Delight. What is Dead May Never Die. Valar Morghulis, Valar Dohaeris. Shame. I Drink and I Know Things. Milk of Poppy. Some of these drinks come in specialty Game of Thrones glassware such as The North Remembers. Whenever someone orders a Shame cocktail, bartenders will ring a bell in unison while loudly chanting “shame”. People in the vicinity of bar area are encouraged to join in the chanting as well. It’s quite intriguing and amusing. I personally don’t drink but I could still appreciate these pun-tastically awesome cocktail names.

My purpose of going to Game of Thrones pop-up bar was to get my picture on the replica of Iron Throne. Doris and I waited almost two hours just to get into the place. Then, we had to wait another 1.5 hours before it was our turn to take pictures on the Iron Throne replica. This Iron Throne photo opportunity was in an entirely separate room. There are sigils of the four main Game of Thrones families on the wall above the Iron Throne. House Stark. House. Targaryen. House Baratheon. House Lannister. The staff lets you wear a heavy fur cloak for this photo op. I was hoping there might be a sword prop as well. Not quite. Anyway, it got to our turn. Doris chose to wear the heavy fur cloak when it was her turn to sit on the Iron Throne. I opted not to wear the heavy fur cloak for sanitary reasons. Plus, I’d specifically worn my Game of Thrones tee for this reason. I got that black Game of Thrones logo shirt in the HBO shop a couple years ago. The staff gives you only a couple minutes to take photos on Iron Throne replica. The line for this photo opportunity is very long. So the staff had to keep the line moving as per the electronic wait list order.

Overall, I had a blast hanging out in the Game of Thrones pop-up bar. Doris and I spent nearly 4-ish hours inside the PUB. So much details to absorb in each of the four bar areas. Some people even cosplayed their favorite Game of Thrones characters. In fact, this is encouraged for attendees if they’re willing to put in the extra time and effort. One woman had an awesome Daenerys Targaryen cosplay outfit. I made sure to get a photo with her before leaving the pop-up bar. Also, all the bartenders were in appropriate outfits for their assigned theme bar area.

It was free to visit the Game of Thrones PUB. There was no cover fee. You didn’t have to be 21 or up either to enter this venue. But the staff carded everyone to stamp individuals who were old enough to drink alcohol. Whether you drink or not, you can have a great time at Game of Thrones pop-up bar. I’m glad they chose Washington DC as the location for it!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I plan on reading A Song of Fire and Ice book series by George R.R. Martin after Game of Thrones TV series has ended. Luckily, my college friend, Kaitlyn, gave me her extra paperback copies of books one to four. I pride myself on being an avid bookworm. Yet, I can admit these books are very dense and not light reading material.

Outlander S1 promo posterI’ve started to experience Game of Thrones withdrawal symptoms. I needed some TV show recommendations. Awhile back, I got Starz’s Outlander pilot episode free on iTunes. It has been a long time since I’ve watched a historical drama television show. Let alone a premium cable historical drama series. So I decided to give Outlander a chance. That was on September 10th. Almost a month later, I’m only 7 episodes away from being fully caught up with the current season 3. This historical show is so damn addictive. I can’t believe I didn’t start it much earlier. At least, I’m on the fandom wagon now. Now, I just need to keep myself occupied with other TV shows the next two years. Game of Thrones Season 8 will most likely only air in 2019. That’s two years of agonizing wait for the final season. That’s why I need other TV shows to not dwell on that tormenting thought.

True Blood and The Tudors whetted my appetite for MA rated premium cable shows. From 2010 to present, I’ve watched my fair share of MA rated premium cable TV shows. HBO’s True Blood, Showtime’s The Tudors, Starz’s Camelot, Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, HBO’s Generation Kill, Showtime’s House of Lies, and HBO’s Game of Thrones, and Starz’s Outlander. Quite a variety of genres. In my opinion, premium cable programs have better cinematography and storytelling compared to majority of popular prime-time TV shows.

The Vampire Diaries

TVD_3It’s safe to say I’ve seen my fair amount of TV shows over the past 10-15 years. But there are very few shows I started around the time its first season debuted on a TV network. Let alone the week the series pilot aired on television. This is why it is very bittersweet to say farewell to The Vampire Diaries (TVD). The Vampire Diaries pilot episode aired on The CW network back in September 10, 2009. The pilot was available on iTunes for free the following day. On random whim, I decided to buy it. I didn’t have much to lose.

Around this time, I was in the early stage of my Twilight phase. The Vampire Diaries series by LJ Smith had been around much longer than The Twilight saga by Stephanie Meyers. Yet it was Twilight saga books and movies that commenced the widespread popularity for vampire genre. The popularity of vampire genre books, movies, and TV shows within pop culture resurged between late 2000s and early 2010s. Otherwise, vampire genre was a very niche market. Up to this point, only aficionados cherished this niche genre. The CW bought the copyrights from Alloy Entertainment to adapt The Vampire Diaries book series into a television series. Most of all, The CW network chose the perfect the time to debut TVD in 2009.

TVD bookThis CW show is loosely based off LJ Smith’s The Vampire Diaries book series. LJ Smith wrote The Vampire Diaries books 1-7. Four books are part of first phase. The Awakening: Volume I. The Struggle: Volume II. The Fury: Volume III. Dark Reunion: Volume IV. These first four novels were written between 1991 and 1992. Many trilogy series continued from The Vampire Diaries series. After more than 10 years, LJ Smith wrote The Return trilogy which consisted of three books. The Return: Nightfall (February 2009). The Return: Shadow Souls (March 2010). The Return: Midnight (March 2011). As part of her original contract, Alloy Entertainment publishers owned copyrights to this book series. The publisher fired LJ Smith in 2011. Ghostwriters have written consecutive books in The Vampire Diaries trilogies. The Hunters trilogy (books 8-10) and The Salvation trilogy (books 11-13) were not written by LJ Smith, the original author.

I’d read the books first before I even know they were adapted into a CW series. Between 10th and 11th grade, a fellow classmate let me borrow her copies of The Vampires Diaries books 1-5. It wasn’t until college I finally got around to read book 6. But I stopped reading after The Return: Shadow Souls. I’d lost interest in the books at this point. This rarely happens to me. But I no long cared enough to continue The Vampire Diaries trilogies.

The books provided me enough background to understand the TV show. I was curious how the books would translate into a television series. Yet, I didn’t want the TV show to be marketed like another Twilight. In comparison, I much prefer LJ Smith’s The Vampire Diaries book series than Twilight saga books. Better character development among major and minor characters. Plus, the plot arcs were more complex and captivating.

There will obviously be changes when a book is adapted into a TV show. In the book series, Bonnie McCullough a young human psychic turn witch. She is a descendant of ancient Celtic Druids. But this character was drastically altered for the TV show adaptation. Bonnie McCollough became Bonnie Bennett. She was still a novice psychic turned full witch. One of Elena’s best friends, Meredith Sulez is completely eliminated from the main cast ensemble. Meredith was one of the few human characters with no extraordinary abilities. She eventually becomes vampire hunter. Meredith merely winds up being a recurring character in TVD season 4. Compared to book versus TV show, Elena Gilbert’s character development and storylines are radically different. Literally day and night. No overlap at all. The TV show took the bare bones of the book series and put their own unique twist on it. By Season 2, the show stopped pretending they were remotely trying to follow the book series at all. This is where I had to mentally detach these two entities. Ironically, I actually ended up loving the TV show’s storylines way more than the books’ storylines.

TVD S1 Promo

Season 1 Promotion Poster

TVD’s pilot aired September 10, 2009 but I didn’t watch it until the next day. I watch it with an open-mind. Halfway through the pilot, I still wasn’t convinced to continue watching The Vampire Diaries television series. Then, Damon Salvatore (played by Ian Somerhalder) appeared on the screen. “Hello brother” was all it took to convinced me to stick with this show. Bad boys aren’t my type. Yet, I cannot help but feel attracted to the bad boy stereotype character(s) in my bias books, TV shows, and movies. I was pleasantly surprised by the plot complexity and dark themes in the pilot episode. Most importantly, the casting for main TVD cast ensemble was perfect! All the actors brilliantly bring out the rich multi-faceted layers of their characters on screen. Off-screen chemistry among the cast ensemble enhances the on-screen chemistry between the characters in the episodes. Damon Salvatore is the main reason I stuck with the show for eight years. But I eventually grew attached to the other main characters within the first few seasons. Some sooner than others.

Also, I love it when a show inserts subtle emotional context without always having dialogue in every scene. Facial expressions or body motions can sometimes convey more than actual conversational dialogue between characters. Music can further enhance this cinematic element. Over the eight seasons, the music soundtrack for TVD beautifully encapsulated the particular scene’s mood.

(Side note: Within Temptation is one of my favorite Dutch symphonic metal bands besides Nightwish. I didn’t realize they’d used a Within Temptation song in The Vampire Diaries. Best of all, “All I Need” song was used in an iconic Delena scene. The Founder’s Day dance scene firmly established the concept of Delena ship.)

TVD_2In the first season, I only recognized three actors out the main cast ensemble. Paul Wesley portrays Stefan Salvatore. Ian Somerhalder portrays Damon Salvatore. It’s funny how actors from other shows surprisingly tie back to Smallville. Paul Wesley had a guest role on Smallville in episode 2.15 as Lucas Luthor. Lucas was Lex Luthor’s half-brother. Also, Paul had a guest role on The OC as Donnie, a kid from Corona who befriends Ryan Atwood (portrayed by Ben McKenzie). Ian Somerhalder had a recurring role in Smallville Season 3 as Adam Knight. Adam Knight was resurrected by Luthor Corp to be a spy in order to learn more about Clark Kent’s true nature by getting close to Lana Lang. Matt Davies portrays Alaric Saltzman. Matt starred in 2001’s Legally Blonde alongside Reese Witherspoon. He portrayed Warner Huntington, Elle Wood’s ex-boyfriend. Now I’ll always associate him as Alaric.

Every TV show has its popular “ships”. “Ship” is the shortened abbreviation for relationship. Ships can be romantic or bromance in nature. CW’s The Vampire Diaries was full of interesting ships. Stelena. Delena. Beremy. Steroline. Bamon. Klaroline. Forwood. Dalaric. Not all ship pairings are confirmed with canon TVD universe. Fans can come up with their own non-canon ships. Even if I didn’t support a canonical ship, every romantic or bromance pairing has its purpose within TVD’s multi-season storylines.

I’m emotionally attached to only few canon ships. Delena (Damon+Elena) was the first ship I threw my full support into all way back in Season 1. The first few seasons revolved a complicated love triangle between Stefan, Damon, and Elena. Nothing against Stelena but it didn’t quite emotionally stir me as much as Delena. In Season 2, we were introduced to the Mikaelson clan. The first vampires ever created. The Originals have the motto of “always and forever”. They had recurring roles in season 2 but became series regulars in seasons 3 and 4. I myself was surprised how the dynamic bond between Caroline Forbes and Klaus Mikaelson really grew on me. Undeniable chemistry. I wholeheartedly support Klaroline. I hope Caroline can eventually transition to The Originals show universe.

Of the two Salvatore brothers, I’m very open about my bias towards Damon Salvatore. He never pretended to be a purely good person unlike Stefan. He will always be one of the my favorite characters on this show. Plus, Damon has some pretty damn epic bromances (literally and metaphorically). Three in particular  Damon non-romantic ships always pull at my heartstrings. Defan (Damon+Stefan). Dalaric (Damon+Alaric). Denzo (Damon+Enzo). Bamon (Bonnie+Damon). At some point, fans realized the show revolved more around the complex, dynamic relationship between the vampire brothers, Damon and Stefan Salvatore. Elena’s relationship with the brothers was not the intended main focus. Despite their tumultuous past history , Damon and Stefan realized they couldn’t live without each other in their lives. Emotionally vulnerable Defan scenes never failed to turn me into a puddle of feels. So many tears shed over the eight seasons. Outside of his brother, Damon considers very few people his dear friends. Alaric Saltzman, Lorenzo (aka Enzo) St. John, and Bonnie Bennett. We saw new depths of Damon’s sensitive side with each of them. I hardly  had a dry eye watching Dalaric, Denzo, or Bamon scenes. Out of the entire main characters. Damon Salvatore had the most drastic evolution since the pilot episode. He became a much better person. Over the eight seasons, he retained aspects of his bad boy personality thankfully .  That would have been a damn shame if Damon was totally tamed in the end. Also, his snarky personality provided many unforgettably awesome one-liners. Damon was one of the most multi-faceted main characters.

I can tell when a long-running TV show is running out of ideas for its storylines. Even my favorite shows. Smallville. Gossip Girl. The end is near when US viewer ratings start to slip below 1.5 million. I give it no more than two seasons before it is cancelled. CW’s The Vampire Diaries began to struggle in US viewership in Season 7. Ratings officially dipped below one million viewers in its final season. The CW has a cruel tactic for when shows enter its final season. They are given what I dub the “graveyard” time slot. Friday nights. TVD firmly held onto the highly coveted Thursday 8 pm time slot until the first half of Season 7. Then, it moved to Friday nights at 8 pm during the second half of Season 7. This was a tell-tale sign that the end was coming. I’ve been watching The CW network since fall of 2006 so I’ve learned their sneaky tactics in terms of scheduling time slots. Ultimately, reach and viewership statistics is how networks determine whether a show gets renewed or cancelled.

When a TV show runs longer than 3-4 seasons, there will certainly be at least one or two seasons with weak overarching plot arcs and sub-plots. I struggled to get through a couple seasons of CW’s The Vampire Dairies. Yet, it’s very rare that I entirely give up on a television show. I’d invest hundreds of hours into TVD so I might as well see it to the end. For better or worse.

Over the past eight years, I’ve cried rivers of tears watching CW’s The Vampire Dairies. Hell it’s probably an ocean at this point. They certainly know how to send the viewers on an emotional rollercoaster of feels. Absolutely no dry eye especially with the season finales. So it wasn’t surprising that I basically balled like a baby watching TVD series finale. Series finale episodes are presented with a daunting challenge. Simultaneously wrap up the final season’s plot arc and any other unresolved storylines in previous seasons. Some shows do a good job of accomplishing this arduous task. Others miserably fail. When this happens, it leaves the fans even more distraught and heartbroken but for a different reason. I know from personal experience.

Thankfully, The Vampires Diaries delivered a satisfactory series finale. It is bittersweet to say goodbye to your beloved TV shows. When you’ve dedicated 8 years, you don’t want it to end. But all TV shows must come to an end eventually.  At least it got a long run to tell many incredible storylines.

It’s worse when your favorite TV show gets prematurely cancelled by the network. I’m still angry at NBC, TV Land, and The CW for prematurely cancelling certain television shows. I’m not a person to hold grudges against people for past wrongs. Nope. I’m the type of person to hold grudges against television networks for how they’ve wronged me. Prematurely cancelled shows never get to live to their full potential.

You gain a better overall perspective once you’ve finished a whole season of show. You see the connection among previous season storylines as well. Season 8 had its valleys and peaks. (I won’t reveal any major spoilers. They’re all over the internet and social media platforms anyway.) I personally felt the siren plot arc dragged on way too long. The final four episodes felt a bit rushed in some ways. I had a nagging feeling TVD would pull a “True Blood”-esque ending. Sadly, my prediction turned out to be fairly accurate for one particular character. Despite its flaws, the show took the main characters on insane plot arcs which directly resulted in dynamic, strong character development. None of the main ensemble characters are the same people they were in the pilot episode. So much heartbreak and loss over eight seasons. Yet, they persevered through those hardships and triumphantly overcame it all. Becoming stronger people in the end. Despite all the supernatural madness, it never ceases to amaze me how Matt Donovan remained human all eight seasons! He is the “normal” human among the Mystic Falls gang. Overall, TVD’s final season was a befitting sendoff.

The CW’s The Vampire Diaries appeared on the television scene during the resurgence of vampire genre around 2008 and 2009. Twilight saga films spawned a worldwide phenomenon from 2008 to 2012. True Blood aired on HBO from 2008 to 2014. Yet, TVD was still airing on television. Its longevity is proof of their immense success. A true testament considering vampire genre’s popularity faded from pop culture relevance.

CW’s The Vampire Diaries is over. But it shall forever live in my fond, nostalgic memories. Thank goodness for FanFiction stories too. Since I was 15, this show has been part of my life. This chapter of my life has closed for good. Cue TVD hangover and withdrawal. I won’t get my Ian Somerhalder fix anymore. I will properly mourn the loss of this beloved show. Then, I shall discover other supernatural genre TV shows. At least, I still have CW’s The Originals, a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries. I’ll be very pissed off if it gets cancelled after its fourth season. I can’t lose both shows in such a short span of time.

I’ll end on a slightly lighter note. In February 2011,  The Hillywood Show released The Vampire Diaries parody. It never fails to make me smile like a dork. I’ve legit lost track how many times I’ve seen it over the past six years. It’s easily one of my all-time favorite Hillywood Show parodies. I will eventually make a blog post about The Hillywood Show.

TV Land Network


TV Land network officially launched in April 1996. I had no idea it was owned by Viacom Media Networks. Other sister networks include MTV, Spike, Nickelodeon, and TeenNick to name a few. TV Land shows serve up a huge platter of nostalgia to its audience. The intended audience for their shows is the 30-50 age group. Throughout the day, TV Land airs syndicated classic television shows. Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Andy Griffin Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Golden Girls, The Nanny, The King of Queens, Reba, and George Lopez. The network decided to re-brand TV Land in 2015 along with changing their logo. There was a major overhaul of TV Land’s brand. The new intended target audience for their original programming is Gen X age group.

I have never watched any TV Land programming…but that all changed last summer. All my prime-time shows had gone on summer hiatus. This left a huge gaping hole in my TV show schedule. At this point, HBO’s Game of Thrones and The CW’s Beauty and the Beast were my only summer television shows. I randomly stumbled across two new TV Land comedy-dramas thanks to bias actors I knew well from previous TV show projects.

Darren Star’s comedy-drama, Younger, initiated the rebranded TV Land network. Many people might not recognize Darren Star’s name, but you’ll instantly recognized many of his well-known television shows. Sex and the City. Melrose Place. Plus, he was one of the co-creators of Beverly Hills, 90210. Younger revolves Liza Miller, a recently divorced 40 year old, who must afresh in her career at the bottom by posing as a 26 year old assistant at publishing firm, Empirical Press. Liza has relocated from New Jersey suburbs to her best friend’s Brooklyn loft in New York. Maggie is the only person who knows about her double life.

I’m not gunna lie…at first I thought this sounded like a very cliché show. Then, I found out Hilary Duff, my favorite former Disney Channel actress and singer, was returning back to the small screen…lo and behold in a TV show called Younger. She hadn’t played a lead role in a TV show since Disney Channel’s Lizzie McGuire. Lizzie McGuire ran from 2001-2004. Plus, I’ve seen majority of her films between 1998 and 2006. Disney Channel TV shows, movies, and music shaped my pre-teen and early teenage years. This wound up being my reason to check out Younger.  So I was willing to keep an open-mind about this new TV show.


It wasn’t until last summer I actually started to watch Younger. The pilot episode really took me by surprise. I haven’t laughed so hard watching a comedy-drama sitcom since Friends. Being a night owl, I often watched Sex and the City or Friends episodes. I was 11 or 12 around this time. Younger is essentially the modern-day Sex and the City. Darren Star TV shows always emphasize the significance of female friendships with unconventional quirks. Plus, there are dynamic personalities among the major and minor characters. The comedy is unconventionally fresh and simultaneously relevant with present-day pop culture. The entire Younger cast ensemble has an incredible on-screen and off-screen chemistry. This is an important element for any TV show. Chemistry among the cast member makes their characters’ interactions way more convincing. Overall, Younger is a vivacious show full of heart and soul.

Christopher Vane’s dark comedy sitcom, Impastor, is further proof of TV Land’s re-branding strategy. Impastor is about Buddy Dobbs who is a hardcore gambling addict who is deep in debt with loan sharks. He comes up with a solution of getting rid of his financial predicament. Suicide by jumping off a bridge. Jonathan Barlow, a gay Lutheran pastor, driving on the same bridge Buddy plans to jump off. The pastor convinces Buddy suicide is not the answer to his problems. Unfortunately, Pastor Barlow falls off the bridge to his untimely death when pulling Buddy from over the bridge’s railings. Suddenly another solution to this predicament appears right in front of him. Escaping to the small town of Ladner and stealing the identity of deceased Jonathan Barlow. This is a chance at a new life away from his troubled past. Initially, Buddy only plans on impersonating Pastor Barlow long enough to get enough money to pay off his gambling debt and find a new town to settle down. Obviously his plans drastically change the longer he resides in Ladner. The people of this small-town community genuinely care for Buddy as a person. Ladner no longer becomes a means to an end. He really enjoys living in Ladner even though it’s under the false identity of Jonathan Barlow. But Buddy can’t let his guard down as his false identity must still be convincing to Ladner townspeople.

The CW’s Smallville has a very special place in my heart. Michael Rosenbaum played the notorious Lex Luthor. He was hands-down one of the best villains in this science-fiction show. He was part of Smallville’s main cast ensemble from Season 1 to Season 7. As a special guest, Michael reprised his role of Lex Luthor for Smallville’s two-hour series finale in May 2011. Basically, Michael hadn’t been played a main role in Smallville since 2008. I was happy when I Michael’s tweets hinted at his return back to TV. So this was my main reason to check out TV Land’s Impastor. I honestly had no idea what to expect but was willing to give it a chance.

michael-rosenbaum-before-and-after-smallvilleThis was my first time seeing Michael Rosenbaum in a comedic role. Also, he is one of the executive producers. He is full of surprises. (The only thing that took some time getting used to was seeing Michael Rosenbaum with full head of hair. Still to this day, I associate him as Lex Luthor from Smallville. He completely shaved his head for this particular role.)

On random whim, I decided to check out Impastor last summer. All my angsty prime-time shows were on summer hiatus leaving a huge gap in my TV schedule. I try to fill the gap with some comedy genre TV shows. So far I’d only discovered CW’s Significant Mother and TV Land’s Younger. Impastor’s fascinating show concept piqued my curiosity for this dark comedy. I was officially hooked within the first two episodes.


Impastor is an irreverently hilarious show! The quirky main cast ensemble has incredible chemistry which makes their characters’ interactions more convincing. Also, each character has a unique unconventional quirk. Each of these quirky main characters adds depth to the plot. Dora. Aldean. Alexa. Russell. Buddy forms friendships with each of them. Of course the nature of the each relationship greatly varies and evolves. Over time, Buddy Dobbs grows to love the small town. The townspeople genuinely welcome Pastor Buddy into their small community. He finds a new family. Ladner no longer becomes a means to an end. Obviously, the sentimentality makes it even more difficult for Buddy to conceal his false identity. Overall, Impastor is an addictive dark comedy.

Unfortunately, TV Land network decided to not renew Impastor for a third season. I’m very sad about this news. This show completely took me by surprise. I really grew to love this unconventional comedy. The worst part is season 2 finale left off on a big-ass cliffhanger. It leaves even more unanswered questions! It’s very unlikely Impastor will ever get decent closure at a future date. I hate when this happens to one of my bias TV shows.

There is some good news at least. TV Land network renewed Younger for a fourth season. I’ll take whatever good news wherever I can get it. I’m glad at least one out of the two shows are still ongoing.

I get extremely nervous when it comes time for television networks to determine whether shows get renewed or get axed. My bias TV shows are usually considered “bubble shows”. In general, very few of “bubble” TV shows get early renewals by the network.


Penny Dreadful



I’d like to say I’m generally open-minded when it comes to movie and TV show genres. But usually I avoid psychological thriller or horror genres. Just ain’t my cup of tea. Yet, I’ve made few exceptions. This is applicable to more TV shows than movies.

Despite being behind on many of my prime time shows, I decided to start an entirely new TV series. I had no idea what at the time…except that it had to be fairly short. I wasn’t willing to commit to another long-running TV series. Showtime’s Penny Dreadful was one of the options. I’d heard of this show but just never had time to get around it. Plus, my friend gave high praise for Penny Dreadful. This further cemented my selection. In the end, I decided to check out Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.

First, I must give some historical context. There were many social changes during the Victorian era in Britain including increased literacy rates and technological advances in many industries. The working-class readers desired for more affordable popular literature circulated on a larger scale. This gave birth to 19th century publishing phenomenon of penny dreadful literature. Compared to popular serialized novels of the time, penny dreadfuls cost only one penny. These stories would be published in weekly parts. They were printed on cheap wood pulp paper. Penny dreadful literature included over-dramatic and highly sensational subject matters. Often, these stories included criminal or supernatural themes. This particular type of literature mainly appealed to working-class citizens.

I safely assumed Showtime’s Penny Dreadful would have an overall dark, somber tone. So I wasn’t going into this with unrealistic expectations. Beyond this assumption, I had no idea what to expect with this TV series.

After watching enough premium cable network shows, I’ve developed coping mechanism to deal with gory violence, sexual content, nudity, and profanity. I was hooked after watching the pilot episode. Penny Dreadful is an addictively heartbreaking show. The three seasons takes place between 1891 and 1892. Late Victorian era in London, England.

I’m pleasantly surprised that profanity wasn’t much of an issue. Only a total of 15-20 times “fuck” is used over 27 episodes. Of course mainly Ethan Chandler, the only American character, drops the f-bombs. Even scenes involving nudity were mostly tasteful. Scenes with sexual content is far and few throughout the entire series. Although, some sex scenes were pretty intense. Gory violence is  a common theme with this particular show. It can be tough to stomach at times. Yet, I’ve seen enough premium cable network shows to find a way to deal with it.

I love the opening credits and beautifully haunting theme song. The intense imagery used in opening credits brilliantly represents the show’s essence.  The main actors were perfectly cast for their roles. Each of them deliver incredibly powerful performances individually and collectively.

Penny Dreadful explores an overall theme among the characters. Everyone has their inner demons and we all have different coping mechanisms to deal with it. “There is some thing within us all” is Season 1’s promotional tagline. The show features captivatingly complex characters. Sir Malcolm Murray, Vanessa Ives, Victor Frankenstein, Sambene, Lily Frankenstein, The Creature, Ethan Chandler, and Dorian Gray. Of course there are reoccurring characters that play an important role in the seasons’ plot arc. Each character combats the dark forces that pervading their intertwined lives. I was so emotionally invested in these characters.

Over the three seasons, we learn more background story about the main characters except Dorian Gray. Basically we know nothing of his origins. Dorian Gray remains an alluring conundrum up till the series finale. My first impression of him was formed when he set up a private erotic photo shoot with Brona Croft. I found him uber-creepy until halfway through Season 1. Suddenly, I found him stunning beautiful and inexplicably charming. My impression didn’t change so drastically with the other main characters. (Side note: Dorian ain’t picky with whom he chooses as his lovers. Very experimental with both genders. He certainly gets around in three seasons. Basically he is the man whore out of all the Penny Dreadful male characters. Now that speaks volumes. But it makes sense for Dorian Gray’s characterization.He seeks out adventures of extravagant debauchery to make life interesting.)

Detailed and nuanced elements are intricately woven into each episode’s plot and sub-plots. In terms of the settings and costumes, I was vastly impressed by the accuracy of late Victorian era component inserted within the storylines. One of my favorite reoccurring sets was Dorian Gray’s Portrait Gallery. What extravagant detail in that one room alone. Each character had their own unique fashion style. No two main female or male characters had similar outfit concepts. Although, the characters’ costumes usually used darker color palettes. Very rare occasions were the characters in light color clothing. Most of all, the show’s storylines transports the audience to reputable and scandalous areas of London. Penny Dreadful heavily incorporates symbolism into the storylines. Abel Korzeniowski composes the soundtrack music for this show. The music brilliantly captures the dark themes of the show. Plus, the soundtrack music wonderfully captures the mood of the scenes. There are definitely over-the-top theatrical aspects  sprinkled throughout the three seasons. All of these devices exceptionally enhance your viewing experience. It immerses you into this show’s elaborate universe.

Season 1 gives you a feel for what to expect with this horror drama. Penny Dreadful is not for the faint-hearted. That’s safe to say. With every season, the sub-plots brilliantly ties back into to overarching plot arc. Season 1 introduces you to the dark universe of the show. Each character is richly developed through the intense storytelling. You’ll find yourself growing attached to the characters no matter how much you resist the urge. That’s the point of no return. At this point, you’ve got to see the show through the end. For better or worse. Often, plot twists don’t give me a surprised reaction. Usually I see it coming from miles away. Yet, this show threw numerous plot twists that really took me by surprise. Now that is quite impressive.

Season 2 overarching plot with the nightcomers was difficult to get through at times. I’m not a huge fan of witchcraft storylines in my books, TV shows, and movies. Yet some of my fantasy genre shows (ex. True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural) portray it in a manner that doesn’t entirely freak me out. Not the case with Penny Dreadful. Often, I skipped any scenes involving rituals or spells of any nature. Not my cup of tea.

Season 3 decently wrapped up the entire show. I still have mixed emotions over some sub-plots. In the previous two seasons, the overarching plot arcs typically revolve around London. More than half of the final season swaps between New Mexico territory in America and London, England. I felt the Ethan Chandler origin story dragged on too long. Also, I didn’t like how the crew was split up until the last two episodes. I much prefer the whole gang working together to defeat the dark forces. Not separately. Most of the final season, Vanessa battled the dark forces all by herself. She didn’t have anyone to lean on for comfort and emotional support. Poor Miss Ives. Thank goodness I watched the final two episodes by myself. Overwhelmingly tumultuous emotions. Tears and snot everywhere. I was a hot mess…not in a good way either. Very few show series finales have brought me to legit wretch sobs. Congratulations Penny Dreadful. You join this exclusively elite club.

To put this in context, I intensely binged all 27 episodes of Penny Dreadful over 16 days. I cannot even describe the whirlwind of tumultuous emotions I experienced watching all three seasons. This premium cable show has absolutely no chill with its storytelling. (WARNING: Don’t expect happy endings for any of the main characters.) It will put you through the emotional ringer multiple times in each episode. The season finales especially made me ball like a baby. Yet the overwhelming feels were so worth it! I’d highly recommend Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.

I wish I’d started this fantastic cable TV show sooner. Sadly, Penny Dreadful was not renewed for a 4th season. It has officially ended. The series finale didn’t give full closure for almost all the characters. On the bright side, there might be hope for a spin-off series.