WORLD IN MY EYES

Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

How to Get Away with Murder: Getting Away with Details

I have been hearing good feedback about this series and I decided to start watching this. As I am writing this review, I am in the middle of season 1 and I, somehow, have mixed feelings about this.

As far a the storyline is concerned, it is made well and I love the twists and turns. It does put me at the edge of my seat. As far as the castings are concerned, a remarkable ensemble. Acting was great and believable.

But eventually, episode after episode, something caught my attention. I am not sure if I am the only one who notices this. Let me break it down for you.

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The base of the story is that in a classroom set-up in college (criminology class), there were students who were selected (5 students) to work with the defense attorney, Annalise Keating (played by Viola Davis), which is a good plot of the series. But the thing that became a pet peeve for me was that in every scene of the classroom, Annalise would engage the students with some questions but she would only choose among the 5 particular students that she selected to work with her on her cases. I know the questions are somehow connected to the plot of the episode but the little details that annoys me is that the class if full of students, trying to learn. When a question is being asked, she only chooses within the 5 students. What is the point of that scene? Would it be better if it was like a special class where the 5 students are the only ones in the room then Annalise then could bombard them with questions of the different cases. The other students in the classroom just looks so irrelevant and yet they all had to be in the scene. For me it was not a critical or make-or-break scene or detail. It could have been simplified and simply relevant.

Also I noticed that Annalise’s personal life is somehow mixed in to the storyline and the students are exposed to this. Well since it’s a pressure setting to be the best among the 5 students like a competition, those “personal mishaps” of Annalise could actually be used to blackmail her to pass the class or win the competition. I know it’s a bit on the darkish but then again isn’t it the core of this series? It could have been titled as ” How to Get Away with Blackmail” – sounds catchy isn’t it?

Nevertheless, it’s still a good series, I must admit. The twists and turns are very addictive and it would leave you to think for yourself on who the real murder is and how the murder was committed.

4/5 Stars rating

Downton Abbey Season 5: Keeps on Getting Better

I will admit that I am a die-hard fan of Downton Abbey. My family and close friends knows this very well.

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I just finished the 5th season marathon and what I can say is that it’s been awesome. For the first time, the way the season ended was splendid – not what I expected. Normally, with all the twist and turns of the plot, there are always something tragic at the end of every season (christmas eposides). But the 5th season was something refreshing. I was expecting as the positive build up is on-going, I thought there’s something that will always turn out to be a downer in hoping to entice the viewers for the next season. But the thing is with the build up of positivity and it ended with a good note, this is something that makes me anticipate for the next season on how things will turn out.

My highlights of this season (spoiler alert):

  • The birth of John and Anna Bates’ son. Finally they have their own family
  • The retribution of Thomas to be asked to replace Carson as butler in the Crawley household
  • The relationship of Edith and Mary as sisters have improved
  • The marriage of Mrs. Hughes and Carson. It was about time.
  • The return of Branson to Downton Abbey and he is back to stay

Downton Abbey never ceases to amaze me with it’s plot and storyline. I find the period plot is very appealing and very much appreciated. When I have a chance to talk to my family and friends about this, the greater majority either does not get it or is not aware of this. I don’t blame them with all the offerings of television series. So I turn to this blog to show my deepest appreciation of the series.

Kudos to the show and looking forward to the 6th season.

5/5 Stars rating

Gary Unmarried

picture courtesy of watchlatestshows.com

I was watching this on cable for the first time and I must say when I decided to write my comments about this show, I was not that surprised that the show was actually cancelled by CBS after it’s second season. Gary Unmarried is a real disappointment for me. It did not only fall short but it fell very far from any reasonable expectations. I must admit that Jay Mohr was the reason for me to watch this sitcom for the first time. From the days of Jerry McGuire with his confident and cocky character, he was very effective. But realizing his comedic skills in this show is very painful to watch. The punchlines were misty and him leaning towards slapstick comedy was a bit done in desperation. I’m not sure how to say this but I find the kids funnier than him, sad to say. Let’s just put it as he’s far better in a supporting role than the lead (ouch!!!).

Jay Mohr admittedly has been away in front of films or TV shows, since he also directs every now and then, but this latest attempt is really not a good comeback. It’s very undeserving, understated and I guess a bad career choice. As far as age and presence is concerned, Jay is not aging gracefully, another sad thing to say. Gaining weight and the receding hairline is not helpful. If there’s a saying that “wine gets better with age”, then in this case, “It’s as good as it gets” (referring to his old shows and movies).

I am just thankful that the shows been cancelled and it’s an ordeal to watch the reruns on cable – probably a last attempt to expose the show but for me it’s didn’t hold that much hope. Right now the cable is doing a marathon of the show and after watching the first one, I’m done – no need to extend the agony.

I sincerely hope that Jay could rise up again with his career and hopefully get more deserving role and tap on his true acting skills.

Clean House

 

picture courtesy of mystyle.com

I enjoy watching Clean House (My Style production). I like the process and transformation of a house. Sometimes I find it hard to believe the “before” house where everything is just too messy.  Too messy that it’s hard to think that this is livable. I started being skeptic about this since practically all the houses have the same extreme mess. I think this is done deliberately for viewing impact and effects but other than that, I think they do a pretty good job.

The comedic inserts are hilariously amusing. It does seem that they are having fun while doing the transformation. Also the yard sale is also fun to watch, letting go of stuff that you no longer need. Something we can all pick up from. Plus after the yard sale, the unsold items are automatically donated to charity so nothing goes to waste and helps charitable institutions. Basically everything in this show has good intentions.

I do, however, noticed changes in the cast but they all are great at what they do. Niecy Nash is a great host and very funny with her loud antics. I do have to admit that the combination of Mark Brunetz (designer), Trish Suhr (yard sale diva and organizer), and Matt Iseman (go-to guy) is just perfect for a team. They compliment with their personalities and antics as well.

Clean House is very entertaining and you will be blown away with the transformation. The objective is clear and they always fulfill and stay true to the show’s name.

Parenthood

picture courtesy of tvbythenumbers.com

Another good, entertaining family series. Parenthood is one of those series you would be skeptic at first, especially after the well-known series of Brothers & Sisters (B&S), but then eventually it’s does present itself independently, going outside of the shadow of B&S. One good thing about the show aside from the typical issues of family, it also tackles the issues of the children and the world they face. Like B&S, Parenthood is also a dysfunctional-functional family dealing with their own issues individually, as a couple, as families and as being parents (both macro and micro).

Setting aside the issues, there are comedic punchlines which adds to the appeal. I guess it makes them less abnormal and more normal as a family. In every crisis, you can surely go back to your roots to seek support and find comfort and balance to be able to endure and overcome the obstacles that comes their way. I think that is the true essence of a family.

The cast are also great, well at least some of them. Admittedly, it’s one of the reasons why I started watching the series. My favorites are Lauren Graham (Sarah Braverman), Monica Potter (Kristina Braverman), Peter Krause (Adam Braverman), and Sam Jaeger (Joel Graham). I am not totally convinced on the role of  Erika Christensen (Julia Braverman-Graham) – too artificial for me.  Dax Shepard (Crosby Braverman) plays a role of loser, black sheep of the family and I’m finding him hard to be connected to the Bravermans but then if that was his purpose then probably I can give that to him. And Craig T. Nelson (Zeek Braverman) is not so effective as the father of the whole family – some of his scenes and lines does fall short. I am not trying to discredit him but he’s better in movie roles and not just a father figure in this series.

For a purpose of pure entertainment, this series is ok and recommended. Somewhere along the way you can pick a lesson every now and then about family relationships. If I was to choose between the two shows, Brother & Sisters stands out more because it’s more relatable.

Brothers & Sisters (Season 1-4)

 

 

picture courtesy of soapnet.com

I first came across this TV series, Brothers & Sisters, from my sister. One Sunday, our family gathering, she mentioned to me that I should watch this series. I was skeptic and intrigued at the same time. She convinced me to the point that she lend me her DVD copies. And so I watched… the verdict? I LOVE THIS SERIES!!!

My sister was right. It’s about a family, a dysfunctional-functional family, dealing with a lot of issues and situations that affects them individually as well as a family. The reason why I described it that way is because it’s quite ironic that each family member has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in each other but the good thing is no matter how good or bad the situation is they will always work it out and at the end, the family bond wins. And in the process, they learn more about each other which makes them closer to one another.

One of the things I like about this series is how the characters were identified and functions. The complexities of the personalities is so worth watching and seeing the development. I also appreciate the vulnerabilities when they make mistakes or make wrong decisions which adds to the endearment of the characters.

One of the things that my sister told me , which I would find it to be interesting, is there is a gay role in one of the family members and I love the thought of it. It does complete the normalcy of the family. And I applaud that this role is not just a background role but one of the forefronts and it gave it’s respect to face issues pertaining to this which completes the whole picture.

The cast is outstanding. Sally Fields (Nora Walker) plays the center of the family and the mother which is very passionate of her family and all her children. She may not be a perfect mother but she has very good intentions for her children and the family as a whole. She’s married to Tom Skerritt (William Walker). The children were played by Calista Flockhart (Kitty Walker-McCallister), Balthazar Getty (Tommy Walker), Rachel Griffith (Sarah Walker), Matthew Rhys (Kevin Walker), and Dave Annable (Justin Walker). Rob Lowe (Robert McCallister) is Kitty’s husband. Ron Rifkin (Saul Holden) is the brother of Nora and the uncle of the children. Luke Macfarlane (Scotty Wandell) is Kevin’s partner. Sarah Jane Morris (Julia Walker) is Tommy’s wife. Patricia Wettig (Holly Harper) is the mistress of the William. Emily VanCamp (Rebecca Harper) is the daughter of Holly and supposedly the illegitimate daughter of William. Luke Grimes (Ryan Lafferty) is another illegitimate son of William.

This series is so good that you cannot create your own expectations because whatever issues or situation they will find themselves in, it will be so worth it. A definite enjoyable series to watch. The completeness of the topics from polities, war, sex, death, separation, divorce, homosexuality, internal relationships, external relationships, love, addiction, career, business, parenthood, and the list goes on. It’s inevitable that you will relate to someone or a particular situation and you will learn something from it. That is how relatable and endearing the series is.

Though it’s a well-rounded series, it’s difficult to consider this for all ages and the whole family. Parental guidance is needed for this due to the topics and scenes but nevertheless, it’s good to watch with your family and siblings (adults). I recalled that my sister and mother with discuss this show while we’re together whether just visiting my mom or while cooking on a Sunday lunch. It’s a perfect conversational piece.

True Blood vs. The Vampire Diaries

This may come as a shock to some of you but there has been a huge uprising of shows that features vampires. What is the hype all about? Ever since the first installment of the Twilight saga started, people are going ga-ga over this and though it’s a good movie to watch, the other form of media started joining the band wagon. I am referring to the small screen. I’d like to explore these shows on TV that has the same format in line with vampires.

picture courtesy of fusedfilm.com

In HBO, they came up with True Blood. One thing I like about this show is that the setting is in the South so with the added southern lingo makes the dialogue a bit interesting and different. They also have werewolves, same as the Twilight saga, but in the TV series, the werewolves are one of the bad guys, or maybe not all. Of course, there is also the good and bad vampires. And they also introduced other characters like shape-shifters, witches and fairies, which again adds to differentiating them from other formats. There is so many twist and mystery that makes you want to watch episode after episode. As far as the casts are concerned I like Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse), Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton), Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northman), Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte), Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette Reynolds), Carrie Preston (Arlene Fowler), Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica Hamby), Kristin Bauer (Pam De Beaufort), Kevin Alejandro (Jesus Velasquez), Denis O’Hare (Russell Edgington), Evan Rachel Wood (Sophie-Anne Leclerq), Joe Manganniello (Alcide Herveaux), and the list goes on. Though I have some issues with some of them like Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton), Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse), and Marshall Allman (Tommy Mickens) are characters that if they die I won’t be disappointed. Tara and Jason are just too much to handle bordering psychopath, while Tommy is nothing but trouble. I also do appreciate inserting homosexual content into the series between Lafayette and Jesus which gives more dimension to the story, not to mention some relationships between vampires.

picture courtesy of thefastertimes.com

While on the other one is The Vampire Diaries. To me this show is as good as the first 10 minutes when I watched the first episode. This is such a trying hard version of the Twilight saga. The gothic and dark setting seems to be a cliche and nothing interesting and new to appreciate. The plot of a girl falling in love with 2 vampires is just exhausting to endure. The storyline is boring and predictable. No interesting character. And speaking of the cast, they’re all mediocre and nothing great.

So obviously I’m leaning towards True Blood against The Vampire Diaries. I think The Vampire Diaries should step out of the box of story-telling about vampires. That’s one thing that differentiate both shows. They really need to get out of the shadows of the Twilight saga and make one of their own. When I watch True Blood, I always get frustrated when the episode ends – that’s how I am engaged with the show and looks forward to the next one. The other one lasted only 10 minutes and I was done with it.

Life Unexpected

 

picture courtesy of tvfanatic.com

 

I happen to watch the first episode of Life Unexpected and I must admit that I wasn’t looking forward to it but when the story progressed, it does seem interesting enough to watch the whole show. I particularly like the storyline. Imagine two high school sweethearts, Shiri Appleby (Cate Cassidy) and Kristoffer Polaha (Nate Bazile), made out and as a result Cate got pregnant and decided to give up her daughter for adoption.

Fifteen years later, Lux Cassidy (Brittany Robertson) shows up in their town, looking for her biological parents to sign an emancipation contract so she can move on with her life. Though she was able to have them sign the document, it was not enough for the court to allow her freedom since she is unemployed and have no source of income. But the twist is the judge decided to give back the guardianship back to the biological parents. That’s where the twist begins, feelings of regret and pay back time seems evident.

These are types of plots that I enjoy watching. The awkwardness between the three lead roles. A simple plot but complicated as it slowly unfolds itself and show they discover not only each other but themselves as well.

The actors are nothing close to spectacular but seemed committed to the role they’re portraying. One of the things I don’t get is Ryan’s attitude towards his long-lost daughter. He is very carefree and irresponsible then all of the sudden, with the presence of Lux, he becomes driven and totally the opposite – in the first episode. It would have been better as this is a development in progress as the story progress. The supporting actors are somewhat insignificant but nonetheless, adds a bit of flavor to the story. It goes to show that if you have a very good storyline, no need to get those very popular actors. The ensemble is sufficient and able to give justice to their roles.

Throwdown with Bobby Flay

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I am not a fan of Bobby Flay. Probably because he comes across as arrogant and cocky. It’s a bit overwhelming for me to endure watching his shows at Food Network. But when I came across this show, it did spark interest with me. Though the arrogance and cockiness is still evident, the results of the show is always not favorable for him – I wonder how he handles defeat?

Throwdown with Bobby Flay is a show where he challenge people who specializes in a specific food. Both of them create the food to the best of their abilities and winner is declared by inviting two judges. I did notice that Bobby takes the popular dishes and somehow make it a bit different, making it his own. Most of the time, Bobby looses to the other chef which is pleasant to see (somehow a humbling experience) and there are shows that he wins the challenge. Overall, I feel that it’s a very appropriate show, a great balance. Sometimes when Bobby fails the challenge, I feel that he’s more human, the ability to accept defeat seems sincere and a bit likable.

The challenges are very simple in concept from french fries to buffalo wings to chili dogs to barbecue ribs – anything goes. So technically it’s very relatable and it’s really all about the flavors, texture and presentation of the dishes. When both chefs gives samples to the spectators to taste, I envy them – wish I was there to try them all.

If ever he will challenge you to a throwdown, knowing that he losses most of the time, always remember that it’s all about attitude and just believe in what you do.

Chasing the Yum

picture courtesy of bradleysimmons.com

I first came across this show at AFC (Asian Food Channel). What got me hooked was the way he explained in getting the “Yum” factor in Asian dishes, the delicate balance of the salty-sweet-soury-spicy taste in all the dishes. I guess that’s the magic of the general Asian cuisine. I also appreciate how simple he makes things to complete the “Yum” factor. I also like when he would give simple tips to achieve the flavor and texture needed.

picture courtesy of vegaslifeofluxury.com

Chef Jet Tila is a nationally celebrated chef specializing in all styles of Asian cuisine. He is renowned for the keen interest and excitement he brings to all his efforts.

His passion for Asian food began at an early age. As a boy, he spent time learning the ancient traditions of classical Asian cuisine in the family restaurants and at the Bangkok Market. At age ten, Jet realized his deep connection to food sprung from an even deeper connection to his history. Learning family traditions from his Cantonese grandmother further piqued his interest and in his early teens, Jet was making appetizers at his familyís restaurants. At 22, he was teaching cooking classes in his backyard ñ a phenomenon that caught the attention of the Los Angeles Times.

Jetís Le Cordon Bleu education coupled with his extensive knowledge of Asian gastronomy has given him a wide range of ideas to draw upon and a broad framework to create incomparable and innovative cuisine. In culinary school, Jet began to develop his style by seeking novel and inventive approaches to Eastern ingredients using classical French technique. Jet has also completed an intensive study program at the California Sushi Academy.” (text taken from http://www.chefjet.com)

Though I must say that the kitchen set he’s working on in his show would have been a little better if they pizzazz it a bit because it’s boring, aesthetically . The size and perspective of the set would suffice but splash a bit of color. But in fairness to Chef Jet, his creations and the process of creation is admirable. It really makes sense to acquire the “Yum” factor in the dishes. I look forward to watching more of his shows and have a new sense of appreciation for a well-balanced, flavored meals.

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