“It’s Just a TV Show,” So They Say

September 10, 2017 at 1:45 AM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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How many of us are glued to the TV screen or computer every week watching our favorite shows and be completely engrossed by the story we are watching? Have you ever shed tears while watching a show or curse and yell at the characters you see onscreen? For some people, TV shows are just a form of entertainment – a past time that they do after a stressful day at work or grueling hours in school. They don’t dwell too much on the story or get invested in the characters of the shows they’re watching.

Photo credit: me.me

But for others, TV shows are more than that. Watching a show can be a life-changing experience for them. While it can be a form of escape for others, for some it can be very influential that it affects their decisions in life. For me, watching my favorite shows is inspiring. It sparks my creativity. It inspires me to be a better writer. That’s why I get annoyed when I read comments online that they find it funny that some fans of a show are so emotionally invested in the story and the characters. They usually say, “It’s just a TV show. You realize they are just fictional characters?”

Well let me tell you that it’s more than just a TV show. I’ve read enough articles, cast interviews and fan comments to know that these shows have had great influence on fans that they became a better person. Some even have launched successful careers based on the fictional characters they’ve watched and loved.

Photo credit: fredfarm.com

One fine example of this is The Scully Effect phenomenon. The Scully Effect is attributed to fictional character Dana Scully, a forensic pathologist and an FBI agent from the hit series The X-Files, which I also happen to love. The phenomenon saw female fans of the show pursuing a career in medicine, science or law enforcement after watching Scully on the show.

Photo credit: rebloggy.com

While I didn’t pursue a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) career, the show still influenced me in the way I view women in society. I look up to Scully and see her as a role model for women. She is strong, smart, independent, can hold on her own and is not afraid to speak her mind. After watching The X-Files for years, I now look for shows with a strong female character in it. I get disinterested with shows or movies with underdeveloped, two-dimensional female characters. I especially get annoyed with shows or movies that have damsel-in-distress or objectified characters in them.

Another example of how life-changing a show can be is the fandom of Orphan Black, collectively known as Clone Club. As a fan myself, I’ve heard so many stories from fellow fans of how much the show mean to them, especially for the LGBT community. Many fans have said the show inspired them to embrace their sexuality and come out. To those who haven’t seen the show, Orphan Black has themes on female empowerment, diversity and inclusivity. Tatiana Maslany, who plays the lead character on the show about clones, also plays other characters, which includes Cosima – a young bisexual student – and a transgender named Tony.

Photo credit: pastemagazine.com

I’m sure there are other shows out there that have a profound effect on fans. That’s why it’s wrong to assume that TV shows are just a form of entertainment that should be taken lightly. There are many good shows out there that inspire people or spark meaningful dialogues about society, politics, religion, science and many more. And I know there are shows that hire consultants to make the story believable or scientifically accurate. Shows can question or challenge your belief on anything, or it can validate whatever you believe in. That’s how significant they are.

Righting the Wrongs of Many: Orphan Black Series Finale Review

August 17, 2017 at 11:34 PM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This review contains major spoilers of season 5 of Orphan Black. Read at your own risk!

 

Weeks prior to the show’s series finale, I was in total denial that Orphan Black was ending. I mean, I love the show, most especially the story and the characters. There’s nothing like it on TV that I’ve ever seen.

It felt like it wasn’t that long ago when I first watched the pilot episode of the show. I remember watching the main character, Sarah Manning, meeting her clone Beth Childs at the train station for the first time. And I was hooked after that.

For it to end after five seasons is really sad. But I know that the show’s creators, Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, wanted it so. And I agree. The story didn’t need to be stretched for several seasons more. This was a little BBC show that could. It became a hit despite the low viewership. Its story could be told in few seasons only.

So I braced myself to watch the final episode of Orphan Black this week. And it did not disappoint. It’s only fitting that the title of the final episode is “To Right the Wrongs of Many” because it spoke of the wrongs that the villains have inflicted on many people – the wrongs that Sarah, Cosima, Delphine and the rest of the Clone Club wanted to right. The title also alluded to the entire five seasons as the final episode tied the loose ends and everything just fell into place perfectly.

Photo credit: vulture.com

The final episode started with a flashback between Sarah and Mrs. S. I was pleasantly surprised to see Mrs. S again. Most fans were still reeling from the previous episode where she was killed by Ferdinand. The episode shifted quickly to the scene where Sarah and a very pregnant Helena were trying to escape the facility where Helena was being kept in. I was on the edge of my seat as I watched them escape because Helena was about to give birth and Virginia Coady’s men were after them.

I love to hate Coady. She’s a cold-hearted villain who would not hesitate to kill anyone that gets in her way – not even the last Castor clone Mark, her beloved “son.”

I watched transfixed as the following scenes unfolded. Sarah had a one-on-one encounter with main villain P.T. Westmoreland. This guy was something else. He wanted to prolong his life through parabiosis. His evil plans to use Helena’s babies to be forever young needed to be stopped. And Sarah was right there to stop him – for good. And I felt a sense of satisfaction when Helena finally killed Coady. Yup, Helena who was minutes away from delivering her twin babies still managed to fool Coady and finish her off with the help of Art.

Coady and Westmoreland’s death was the final blow to Neolution, as the group was crumbling and several of its members had died. Their evil plans had been exposed, thanks to Cosima and Delphine leaking the files to the media.

Photo credit: observer.com

Helena giving birth in the basement of the facility was pretty intense. It was the first time I ever saw Helena so vulnerable and scared like that. And I’m so glad that Sarah and Art were right there with her to help her give birth. The look of relief and happiness on Helena’s face when she cradled her twin babies were touching and heartbreaking at the same time. It was a moment of pure sisterhood between Helena and Sarah. They were initial adversaries in earlier seasons but now they bonded as true sisters.

I know that Tatiana Maslany played the different clones in the show but it still amazes me to watch her play the part of every clone. She truly deserved that Emmy win as best actress.

The second part of the series finale was lighter than the first half. Here we saw the sestras several months later after the incident at the facility. Sarah went back to finish high school – at least she’s trying to. Cosima was still busy with her science and searching for the rest of the Leda clones. Alison was living a new, happy life with Donnie, and Helena couldn’t make up her mind what to name her babies – so she temporarily named them Orange and Purple. Crazy, right? But that’s Helena.

Orphan Black has always been known to end a season with something special. Season 2 ended with the now-famous Clone Club dance party. Season 3 ended with a dinner scene involving the four clones – Sarah, Cosima, Alison and Helena. And now the series finale featured a baby shower. Practically every notable character was in that scene – Felix, Kira, Art, Delphine, Donnie, Scott, and even Charlotte.

Photo credit: digitalspy.com

There was a poignant scene of the four clones hanging out together after the baby shower. Sarah at this point was feeling lost and apparently still grieving about the death of Mrs. S. But her sestras were there to show their support. It was a delight for fans like me to find out why the show was called Orphan Black in the first place. Helena called her written autobiographical book as “Orphan Black” – a story about them and about sisterhood. And guess what she finally named her babies? It’s Arthur and Donnie – named after Art and Donnie – the two important men in her life who treated her like family.

Overall, the Orphan Black series finale was beautifully written and ended in a very satisfying note. Kudos to the brilliant writers of the show for their consistent quality work and their dedication to show science as accurately as possible. This was truly a remarkable show and would go down in my list as one of the best sci-fi shows out there.

 

Side Notes

  • Rachel becoming a softie. I think deep down she cared about the Clone Club.
  • What happened to Krystal? I guess she would forever believe there’s a conspiracy among the cosmetics companies. I would love to see more of her vlog and her beauty tutorials, though.
  • The fact that there were more than 200 Leda clones out there spread across the globe.
  • Whatever happened to Kira’s dad Cal and Helena’s boyfriend Jessie?
  • Anybody ever tried making Helena’s “jamburgers?”
  • Art: You alright?

 Helena: Most excellent! (Just one of the many Helena-isms)

 

Most Memorable & Surprising TV Moments of 2016

December 30, 2016 at 10:52 AM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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It’s that time of the year again when most entertainment news sites round up the best and worst shows on TV this year. As a self-confessed TV addict myself, I watch a lot of shows every year. And while I don’t watch some of the most popular and well-loved shows out there (yes, I have my own unique taste), I have compiled a list of TV series I regularly watch that made an impact on my viewing experience this year. Some made it on the list for the shocking, did-not-see-that-coming twists in the story while a few were notable for their delightful surprise.

Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the latest episodes of any of these shows and don’t want to be spoiled, I suggest you look away now.

  1. Mr. Robot

While I have read a few fan theories about the second season of Mr. Robot, I was still surprised to find out that Elliot Alderson was in prison all along and not living with his mother. This was the first big reveal in season 2. I always suspected that he was in a mental institution because of his rigid daily routine but surprisingly, that was not the case. After watching the “h4ndshake” episode, it now made a lot of sense.

elliot-in-prison

Photo credit: seriouslyawesome.tv

The second big reveal came at the end of season 2 where viewers found out that Tyrell was alive after all and not a figment of Elliot’s imagination. It was a pretty intense season 2 finale as Elliot came to learn that his alter ego Mr. Robot and Tyrell were in cahoots with the Dark Army and planning something big. I cannot wait for season 3 to find out what happens next.

  1. Penny Dreadful

I have a bone to pick when it comes to Penny Dreadful. For me, this show pulled the most shocking reveal this year. This was one of my favorite shows to date and I had high expectations of its third season. Unfortunately, the show abruptly ended its run when it revealed after the season 3 finale that the show was over – as in, it will never come back for a fourth season. It has been cancelled. My initial reaction to this revelation was utter confusion. Surely, they could not end the show like that. There was no prior announcement of the show’s cancellation. There was no warning at all. The story arc of the third season felt like there was going to be another season. And yet, they pulled the plug. And all because the show creator John Logan wanted it that way.

ethan-and-vanessa_penny-dreadful-s3e9

Photo credit: yahoo.com/tv

There was a lot of backlash after Penny Dreadful got cancelled. Many fans were outraged and felt betrayed as I was. In fact, I wrote an article about the series finale on this site where I expressed my utter disappointment with the show. To this day, I cannot bear to rewatch old episodes of the show because I still could not shake my disbelief of its cancellation. We were blindsided big time.

  1. 12 Monkeys

The second season of 12 Monkeys also pulled some surprising twists. For the most part of season 2, viewers were curious to know the real identity of The Witness. The Witness has always been a mysterious figure that wears a mask and a dark robe. Cole, Cassie and Ramse want to kill him because he, along with the Army of the 12 Monkeys, is hell-bent in destroying time.

In the season 2 finale, it was finally revealed that The Witness was the unborn child of Cole and Cassie. Apparently, he was conceived when Cole and Cassie were stuck in 1959. After this cliffhanger, I’m really curious to see what Cole and Cassie will do about this revelation. Will they attempt to travel back in time again to prevent his conception?

12monkeys_memory-of-tomorrow-ep

Photo credit: syfy.com

I’m also hoping that Madeleine Stowe will return as a guest character for the third season. It’s a delight to see her play another character in the show contrary to the role she played in the original movie. I also wish to see Brad Pitt make an appearance in the show in the future.

  1. Orphan Black

One of the things I liked about season 4 of Orphan Black was the fact that it finally showed the back story of the last days of Beth Childs. It was gut-wrenching to see her struggles with work and her personal life, especially her deteriorating relationship with Paul. But one of the most memorable scenes for me was in “The Scandal of Altruism” episode when Evie Cho told Cosima that Delphine was dead. Tatiana Maslany, who plays the different clones in the show, was so fantastic as Cosima in this scene. You can just see and feel the pain and devastation on her face when she found out about Delphine. She displayed such raw emotions. And I’m just glad that Tatiana finally won an Emmy award this year for her performance in the show.

cosima_orphanblack-s4

Photo credit: themarysue.com

Of course, Tatiana’s performance as Krystal was also one the best this season. Her scenes with Donnie at the fertility clinic and at Sarah and Felix’s hideout in the comic book store were really hilarious. The season had the perfect balance of drama and comedy which not many shows could effectively deliver.

  1. Stranger Things

This was the breakout show of 2016. Stranger Things came out of nowhere and it became so big and popular by word of mouth. It was because of the major buzz it made and through the recommendation of a friend of mine that I decided to check out this show. And it instantly became my favorite.

Photo credit: screencapped.net

Photo credit: screencapped.net

There were so many memorable scenes in season 1. But perhaps one of the many that stood out for me was when Eleven disguised herself in a pink dress and a blond wig and went along with Mike, Dustin and Lucas to their school to help them locate Will. Another memorable moment for me was when Joyce Byers hung that now-famous Christmas lights on the wall of her living room and scrawled it with big letters of the alphabet in an attempt to communicate with her missing son Will. The scene where Nancy and Jonathan set up a trap for the monster was pretty intense, too.

  1. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

The last four words spoken in the final scene was the most surprising moment in the Gilmore Girls revival. Those words sort of summed up what became of Rory Gilmore’s life after college. Her poor choices when it comes to her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and current boyfriend as well as her career were surprising for me, not to mention disappointing.

Photo credit: fansided.com

Photo credit: fansided.com

But I think most fans including myself were also surprised at how Emily Gilmore turned out in this revival. It was indeed a delightful surprise to see the softer and vulnerable side of Emily. She became more likeable in this revival.

  1. The X-Files

The mytharc episodes in The X-Files revival were a big disappointment for me. It’s a shame really since I’ve always wanted to see the return of Mulder and Scully for a long time and I was expecting so much in the revival. But show creator Chris Carter has lost his spark when it comes to writing gripping mytharc story lines.

For me, the only memorable episode in the revival that I truly loved was “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” which was written by Darin Morgan. This was a stand-alone, monster-of-the-week episode that was littered with Easter eggs for the hardcore X-philes. The dialogues were just witty and humorous. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were great in this episode as well with their usual banter and comedic timing, which was reminiscent of the old funny episodes of the show.

Photo credit: theworkprint.com

Photo credit: theworkprint.com

If ever there would be season 11, I hope the mytharc episodes would improve. It’s also time to introduce new villains in the show. While fans love to hate the Cigarette Smoking Man, I think it’s time for him to be killed off for good.

  1. Suits

Most of season 6 of Suits was forgettable. The show’s writers stretched the prison story arc for too long that I got bored quickly. It was also a waste of time watching guest characters got more screen time instead of the six main characters, especially Donna (read my season 6 review here).

What saved the season for me was the midseason finale where it was more about Jessica and her back story, and of course that Donna and Harvey scene at the end. It was a major surprise to see Jessica leave the firm. But fans of the show came to learn after the midseason finale that Jessica was intentionally written off because Gina Torres who played the character wanted to leave the show. Jessica’s farewell scene was a truly touching moment.

SUITS -- "P.S.L." Episode 610 -- Pictured: (l-r) -- (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

SUITS — “P.S.L.” Episode 610 — Pictured: (l-r) — (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

The scene at the end between Harvey and Donna was also memorable for me. After seeing Harvey as a tough, uber confident and emotionally unavailable guy in previous seasons, it’s so good to see that he’s finally breaking down his walls. He’s finally willing to be open and show his vulnerability. And he showed that when he told Donna that he doesn’t want to be alone at that time when he realized that Jessica is gone and left the firm in his hands.

When Donna reached for his hand and he held her hand and they stood wordlessly by the window, it was a pivotal moment for Harvey and in their relationship. It’s a sign that their relationship might finally progress towards a romantic one. And it’s about time that they do.

Best TV Moments of 2015

December 31, 2015 at 12:25 PM | Posted in Fandom, TV | Leave a comment
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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”)

Harvey loves Donna_Suits

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.

I love you Harvey_Donna

 

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!

Sheldon & Amy_BigBangTheoryPhoto credit: comicbook.com

Orphan Black (Season 3, episode: “Certain Agony of the Battlefield”)

Paul &Sarah_OrphanBlackPhoto credit: foreveryoungadult.com

“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.

Allison & Donnie Hendrix twerkingGIF credit: afterellen.com

Downton Abbey (Season 6, Christmas special episode/series finale)

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.

Hannibal & Will_thewrathofthelambGIF credit: jessibc21.tumblr.com

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.

Vanessa Ives & Evelyn_PennyDreadfulPhoto credit: neontommy.com

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