Tags: Downton Abbey, Hannibal, horror, Orphan Black, Penny Dreadful, sci-fi, sitcom, Suits, The Big Bang Theory, TV drama
As 2015 draws to a close, let me just list the top five shows that made my TV viewing experience memorable this year. While some of these shows ended the season in a cliffhanger, there were those that left me either in tears, extremely pleased or with puzzling questions. The episodes I listed below are what I consider to be the most memorable ones for me.
Suits (Season 4, episodes: “Intent” and “Not Just a Pretty Face”)
As a Darvey shipper, I consider these two episodes to be the defining moments of Donna and Harvey’s (Darvey) complicated relationship. For many seasons, Suits‘ showrunners have teased the viewers with hints of a possible romantic relationship between these two characters. On the surface, they had an existing and solid working relationship. Harvey was a hotshot lawyer while Donna was his loyal secretary. But aside from that professional relationship, they were also best friends. They had a bond so tight and knew each other so well that Harvey even considered themselves as one. But all of that changed in the “Intent” episode when Donna was in trouble with the law and Harvey had to help her. It showed how much Harvey cared for her and the measures he was willing to take just to protect her. Then it happened. After winning the case, Harvey finally admitted to her that he loved her. The only problem was, he couldn’t tell her how he loved her. Did he love her as a friend, as a loyal employee or like a sister? But he refused to explain when she asked him. And this story arc ended in “Not Just a Pretty Face” with Donna eventually leaving him to work for another lawyer. That final scene in the episode where Donna walked away just brought me to tears.
The Big Bang Theory (Season 10, episode: “The Opening Night Excitation”)
Where can you find a show where an episode is a mash-up of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the sexual awakening of a brilliant, adult male scientist? Only this show! This is the episode where Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farah Fowler finally did it. Sheldon – being a germaphobe that he was and generally disinterested in sex but worship science – finally decided to “have coitus” with his long-time girlfriend, Amy. When I heard the news that this was going to happen, I was delighted. It was a long time coming. Sheldon and Amy are my favorite couple on The Big Bang Theory and I’ve watched them through the years never expecting that they would finally consummate their chaste relationship. But they did – and it was hilarious!
Orphan Black (Season 3, episode: “Certain Agony of the Battlefield”)
“It was never Beth I loved.” These were the last words spoken by Paul to Sarah before he died. I was heartbroken when I saw this episode. For one, Paul sacrificed himself so that he could save Sarah and possibly eradicate the threat that Project Castor posed on the Leda clones. Secondly, the episode’s flashback scene with Beth Childs was just riddled with emotions. It was emotionally crushing to see Beth with her heart broken after she found out about Paul’s real motive for being with her. Like many fans, I was also curious about Beth’s background and this episode finally shed some light on her, albeit short. But where there’s heartbreak, there was also humor in this episode. Who could forget that twerking scene between Allison and Donnie? That was completely fun and hilarious to watch! It really made my day. I mean, Allison has always been the prim and proper clone compared with Sarah, Helena and Rachel. But that twerking scene just proved that there’s more to Allison than just being a soccer mom.
Downton Abbey (Season 6, Christmas special episode/series finale)
[SPOILER WARNING: Downton fans who still haven’t seen season 6 can skip this part.]
I’m a huge fan of Downton Abbey and despite the fact that the show lost some of its luster beginning the fourth season, I stayed with it until the very end of the series. Season 6 ended in a happy note with everyone getting their own happy ending. Anna gave birth to a healthy baby with Mr. Bates as a proud father. Thomas was rehired and came back to the abbey after a short and miserable stint in another aristocratic house. What’s more, Lord Grantham appointed him as the succeeding butler after Mr. Carson resigned. Branson returned from America as well with little Sybie in tow. And can we talk about Lady Mary? Oh my God, I think she just outdid herself this season! She got so bitter and mean to Lady Edith and the two feuding sisters had a big catfight. Now I know Lady Mary had always been haughty and snob but for some reason I loved that about her. But I think she mellowed down a bit after she married Henry Talbot. And I’m so glad she apologized to Lady Edith after their fight and took the effort to make it up to her. As for Lady Edith – the one person who badly needed a happy ending – finally got hers. She married the man she loved with a little help from Lady Mary. I shed a tear when the servants downstairs sang “Auld Lang Syne” at the end. It was so heartfelt and touching. What a fitting way to end the series.
Hannibal (Season 3, episode: “The Wrath of the Lamb”)
This show had its main characters literally went off a cliff after the end of the final episode. Talk about a cliffhanger! In this episode, Will Graham enlisted the help of Hannibal Lecter in luring a serial killer that the FBI had been wanting to get their hands on. The scene on the cliff was beautifully and masterfully done with Will and Hannibal both fighting and eventually killing the serial killer, Francis Dolarhyde, a.k.a the Red Dragon in slow motion. I admit it wasn’t as great as the “Mizumono” episode from season two, but it’s good enough. In this scene from season three, the Will and Hannibal bromance was shown in full glory as Will hugged Hannibal after they successfully killed Francis Dolarhyde. Their chemistry in that scene was electric. Bloody and wounded, they just held each other for a few moments at the edge of the cliff before Will eventually hurled himself over the cliff along with Hannibal. And of course there’s that extra scene at the end where Bedelia du Murier, Hannibal’s psychiatrist, sat on a dinner table alone with her leg cut off – the severed leg being on the table cooked and ready to be served to her guest. My interpretation of that scene was that Bedelia cut her own leg off for Hannibal to eat. I presumed Hannibal managed to avoid death and was still alive after that scene on the cliff. However, other fans suggested that it was Hannibal himself who cut off Bedelia’s leg. We could never know for sure since the show ended already.
Penny Dreadful (Season 2, episode: “And They Were Enemies”)
Vanessa Ives had finally beaten Evelyn Poole and the witches in a creepy showdown of dark incantations between her and Lucifer. Vanessa is my favorite character in Penny Dreadful since the pilot episode. It’s amazing to watch her fight the forces of evil despite her troubled, traumatic past. Her will to be on the good side despite several temptations took tremendous courage and that was clearly manifested in this episode where she chose to confront Evelyn’s master herself and rejected his offer of joining him. I was at the edge of my seat while watching this episode. I hated Evelyn and her witch daughters and I was so glad when they finally got killed – well except for Hecate. The scene where Sir Malcolm and Victor were tormented about their past was also compelling. I was fearful that the two men would eventually succumbed to the apparitions’ urgings and kill themselves. Thank goodness Ethan came just in time. Speaking of Ethan, I was glad that Vanessa finally knew the truth about him being the Wolfman. Knowing the truth about him would better help them in battling whatever evil forces may come their way. I was left hanging by the end of the episode as I wanted to know what would happen to Ethan now that he surrendered to the police. Well I’ll just have to wait and see next season.
Tags: sci-fi, Star Wars
SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet and don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now.
Ever since I heard that there would be a new Star Wars trilogy, I had been eagerly awaiting for its first installment’s release. But unlike most fans, I was not hungry for spoilers. I avoided reading about leaked photos and possible plots about the film. There were so many of them that I wouldn’t even know which ones to believe. I wanted my experience of watching the new Star Wars movie to be unspoiled and untainted with plot theories.
True enough, when I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the first time, I was blown away. I got so excited the minute the classic theme song played on screen and the all-too familiar opening crawl text came on. The movie started with a raid scene by an army of Stormtroopers at a small village in the desert planet of Jakku. They captured a pilot named Poe who was part of the Resistance group fighting against the evil First Order. Apparently, Luke Skywalker – the last Jedi – was missing and there’s this map that Poe had gotten hold of that the First Order wanted. The map contained the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker, who of which the First Order wanted destroyed. Thankfully, Poe gave the map to a droid called BB-8 before he was captured.
If you’re a Star Wars fan then you’d know that Jedi knights are capable of bringing balance to The Force and the galaxy.
I loved the fact that the movie started off with a battle scene right away. As an audience, I was immediately pulled right into the action and enjoyed every minute of it. Kylo Ren, the main villain and leader of the First Order along with General Hux, was obviously a nod to Darth Vader. He looked menacing and as sinister as Darth Vader in the first scene.
And then there’s Rey, the main protagonist who was a scavenger in Jakku. She sells scrap metal for a living. She lived a lonely life until she met BB-8 and Finn, the Stormtrooper who deflected from the First Order. From then on, her life changed forever.
Before watching the movie, I was mulling over the idea of how cool it would be if there’s a female Jedi. Aside from Princess Leia and Queen Amidala, the movie franchise has always been dominated by male characters. There was never a female Jedi as a main character.
I was surprised and extremely delighted then when I found out that Rey turned out to be a Jedi in the making. She manifested the powers of a Jedi just like Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi before her. When I realized that I said to myself, “Finally! A female Jedi!” I loved everything about Rey. She’s strong, smart, independent and capable. She could defend herself without any male help. And she knew how to fly the Millennium Falcon! I almost made a fist pump during the scene where Kylo Ren was trying to will Luke’s lightsaber into his hands but it whizzed past him right into the hands of Rey. That was such a fantastic scene. And of course the lightsaber fight scene between her and Kylo Ren was absolutely fantastic.
I only wish the writers could’ve given her a much cooler name than Rey. Rey is such an ordinary name for an extraordinary girl. Kylo Ren, on the other hand, is a cool name for a villain.
Speaking of Kylo Ren, I liked him with his mask on. He looked and sounded as fearsome as Darth Vader. But when he took off the mask, I was kind of disappointed. He didn’t look menacing at all. He actually looked boyish – like a teenager trying to look tough. But perhaps that was the intention? After all, he was Luke’s apprentice. Maybe J.J. Abrams and the writers wanted him to behave like an immature teenager rebelling against his parents because he still had much to learn about The Force. He could not control his emotions. He’s not a complete Jedi yet.
The scene where he stabbed Han Solo with his red lightsaber was gut-wrenching. I could feel his conflicting emotions in that scene. Should he go back to his father and mother and be in the light side of The Force or should he continue to serve the evil supreme leader Snoke? In the end, he chose to be with the dark side of The Force and there was no turning back after that.
I have several questions about the movie when I left the cinema. And one of those questions was how come General Leia (formerly known as Princess Leia) never trained as a Jedi or used The Force? She was definitely capable of it. She felt the Force when Han Solo died. She could’ve used the Force to track down her brother Luke.
Also, why did Leia and Han Solo breakup? What caused the breakup? Is Rey the daughter of Luke? Is she a Skywalker after all? I highly suspect that she is Luke’s daughter. But if she is, then who is her mother? And why was she abandoned in Jakku?
What is Kylo Ren’s motivation of joining Snoke and practicing the dark side of The Force? Why does he want to be like Darth Vader?
How come Maz Kanata had Luke’s lightsaber? Who gave that to her?
The movie left so many questions unanswered. And I know the writers intentionally did that to make room for the second installment of the movie. All I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I want more.
- The Chewbacca and Han Solo scenes were adorable.
- Poe and Finn bromance – need I say more?
- Girl power was in full force – from Stormtroopers to Resistance fighters, there were females aplenty!
- Well-known actors in cameo roles
Tags: sci-fi, Star Wars
I am one of the thousands of Star Wars fans out there who couldn’t wait to see the latest installment of the film franchise. I saw the original Star Wars films (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) on a VCR when I was a child. The movies were such a big deal in my family back then. I grew up in a big, ancestral house where my family and my aunt’s family lived together.
My male cousins, aunt and two uncles would talk about Star Wars often and watched the films over and over on VCR. In fact, my relatives were such fans of Star Wars that they bought a tape of the making of the Star Wars movies and watched it again and again. Having lived in the same house with them, I was able to see the movies on tape and watched how the Star Wars movies were made including behind-the-scenes footage of how they filmed the action sequences involving the spaceships and droids. I was amazed by how spectacular the movies were and even more amazed by how they were made.
Back then, I liked the movies enough but didn’t catch on with the important details. For one, I didn’t know the name of Han Solo’s ship (*gasp!*) nor the name of Darth Vader’s killer star (*double gasp!*). I know right?! But hey, I was a kid back then and English was not my first language. So I had trouble understanding the dialogue.
But over the years, I had the chance to watch the movies again as a young adult and came to love them. And I eventually learned all the important names in the movie franchise — yes, including the Millennium Falcon and Death Star.
So when Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit local cinemas, I went to see it as soon as I could. And it didn’t disappoint. It was spectacularly amazing. I felt nostalgic while watching it. The movie felt like it was an old friend I haven’t seen in a long time. It filled me with fun memories and I felt so at ease.
However, like most fans out there who’ve seen the movie, I have questions that are left unanswered by the end of the film. Check out my review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens here.
I finally moved to a condo with my sister. I must say, it’s a nice feeling to have a place of our own. And we’re not even renting it. We got a loan from the bank and bought this condo unit that my aunt’s friend was selling. It was on the market for a reasonable price, fully furnished and still in mint condition. It was a bargain deal so we eventually bought it.
The only disadvantage of the condo is that it is located in Pasig City, which is far from Makati City – the place where we used to live and where we currently work. But so far, it was the most affordable home we could find. We tried looking for condos within Makati, Mandaluyong and even Taguig but most of them were really expensive. And those that were cheap were too small for us. It would be like living in a shoebox.
Anyway, my sister and I just moved in the condo this week. Prior to the move, there was a lot of packing, cleaning and sorting out of old stuff. I didn’t realize how much clothes I had! Then when we moved in, there was more cleaning and unpacking to do and organizing our stuff. Thank goodness it’s all done now. There’s a gym within the condo complex and the swimming pool is big, but I haven’t tried using them yet.
Now we’re adjusting to this new place, especially the city. We’ve lived in Pasig before but that was so many years ago and it was in a different area. I still have difficulty finding my way around this new place. I feel like a fish out of water. But I know I’ll eventually get used to it. It’s just a matter of time before I can make myself feel really at home.
I’m slowly conditioning myself to the fact that I will be leaving my apartment and moving to a new condo by next month with my sister. And while I’m so glad that my sister and I finally have a place of our own, I couldn’t help but feel sad about leaving. I’ve lived in Makati City for over ten years now and to move to another city will definitely be a jolt for me. I loved living in this city because it’s only minutes away from the central business district and the vibrant nightlife. Yes I know the city is known for its horrendous traffic, but then again so is everywhere. This is the Philippines after all.
But Makati is sort of a comfort zone for me. Somehow it doesn’t feel as crowded as Quezon City or any other city in Manila for that matter. I’ve gotten used to the hustle and bustle of Makati and its ever-changing city landscape. Shops have come and gone. New malls have sprung up. Parks have changed. But I can still live with that. That’s how it goes in the big city.
I think I’m going to miss my trips to Ayala Triangle Park where I used to jog at night. I’m going to miss seeing the skyscrapers along Ayala Avenue in the morning on my way to work. I will miss the malls I frequent on weekends, and I will definitely miss the restaurants and coffee shops I usually go to.
But certain things need to be sacrificed. A decision had to be made. And it’s all been done. Next month I will be adjusting to a new life in a new city. I’m crossing my fingers that all will turn out well.