Tags: 12 Monkeys, Gilmore Girls revival, Mr. Robot, Orphan Black, Penny Dreadful, Stranger Things, Suits, the x-files
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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?
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Tags: sci-fi series, the x-files, x-philes
The return of The X-Files on the small screen brought back my obsession with this show since the series ended in 2002, and since its second movie, I Want to Believe came out in 2008. Like many X-philes around the world, I anxiously anticipated its season premiere last January 24. Luckily for us Filipino fans, we got to watch the new season on cable via Fox Channel Philippines the same day as it aired in the US.
Suffice to say, I had mixed feelings about the first three episodes. The first time I watched each of these episodes, it left me with questions and feeling wanting more. Thus, I decided to watch all the three episodes again before I make a proper review of each. Here’s my take:
Episode 1: My Struggle
I didn’t like this episode. The general feeling I had about “My Struggle” was that it felt contrite. I had a feeling that Chris Carter – who wrote and directed the episode, wanted to build up excitement among the fans about the series’ mythology arc by putting practically all conspiracy theories involving alien abductions and government cover-ups in one episode. The narrations were too long. What could have been explained by Mulder in a couple of sentences were dragged out and narrated in a long, unnecessary dialogue. Carter even crammed the show’s two popular slogans in one dialogue.
“I want to believe!” “The truth is out there!” These words were exchanged between Mulder and Scully during a scene where they were arguing.
To me, this episode was just a general introduction to the newbie fans about the world of The X-Files. Nothing was really new except that Mulder and Scully weren’t together anymore. Yeah, apparently they broke up sometime after the movie, I Want to Believe. Bummer! Anyway, I deviate…
I wasn’t impressed by the supposedly shocking revelation in this episode. The plot twist being that it was a conspiracy of men all along. Men from a shadowy government used alien technology derived from the UFO crash in Roswell in the 1940’s and abducted innocent victims to experiment on them. There were no alien abductions after all. It’s all just a government cover-up.
Also, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson weren’t their best in this episode. I found their performance to be lacking in depth. But perhaps that’s because they’re still adjusting and settling in into their old characters?
Episode 2: Founder’s Mutation
This second episode was better. It felt like the old X-Files I knew and loved. “Founder’s Mutation” was a monster-of-the-week episode about a doctor doing questionable experiments on children and a teenaged boy with strange powers. It’s creepy enough, but not in the traditional sense of the word. I loved that Mulder and Scully were like their old selves again in this episode. I think David and Gillian felt more at ease with their old roles here.
In this episode, Mulder and Scully were back working at the FBI under the X-Files unit with Assistant Director Walter Skinner still as their boss. The fact that this wasn’t supposed to be the second episode from the lineup could explain why there were no mentions in the story about how Mulder and Scully were reinstated in the FBI. But I still have questions about this episode. Firstly, were there any objections from the other powers that be in the FBI about Mulder and Scully’s reinstatement? Where was FBI Deputy Director Alvin Kersh? Correct me if I’m wrong but as far as I could remember, weren’t there supposed to be Super Soldiers masquerading as agents within the walls of the FBI? What happened to them? I guess these questions might be answered in the upcoming final episode, “My Struggle II” which is a return to the mythology arc.
Anyway, this episode also touched upon the sensitive subject of William – Mulder and Scully’s son who was given up for adoption in season 9 to keep him safe from the people who wished him harm. Both Mulder and Scully imagined what life might have been for them if they didn’t give up William. The scenes were sweet and touching. I’m glad that Chris Carter and the writers decided to address this issue since after season 9 ended.
Episode 3: Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster
I’ve always loved the comedic episodes of The X-Files (“Small Potatoes” being one of my favorite funny episodes). It brought balance to the show, which was a refreshing break away from some of the heavy drama and scary stuff that the show was known for.
Such was the case with the third episode, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.” It’s campy on purpose and hilarious as hell! Darin Morgan, known for the funny and quirky episodes he’s written for the show, wrote this episode. I loved this episode for its witty dialogue and fun twist to the age-old story of a man turning into a werewolf during full moon. But this time, it wasn’t a werewolf but a were-lizard. Also, I just loved the banter between Mulder and Scully in this episode. It reminded me a lot of “Bad Blood.”
Rhys Darby, who played the were-monster/lizard, was superb in this episode. The delivery of his punchlines was exceptional. He was funny, lovable and endearing. Kumail Nanjiani, who played the animal control officer, was just as good. His facial expressions were priceless. And who could forget Scully in this episode being all flirty and stuff? That scene was hilarious! Also that scene with Mulder being clueless about his camera app was too cute and funny!
There were a lot of funny scenes in this episode, but what fans probably loved the most were the Easter eggs scattered all throughout the episode. They were a tribute indeed to the X-philes – the fans who stayed loyal even after the series ended. I, for one, belong to that group.
I am enjoying The X-Files revival so far, and there are only two episodes left before season 10 comes to an end. I will be reviewing the three final episodes of the show next time. Here’s hoping that the show will still return for another season. I want to believe!
Tags: bones, Downton Abbey, fandom, fangirl, fangirling, nikita, One True Pairing, OTP, ship, shipper, shipping, Suits, the x-files
A fangirl of a fandom will most likely to have her own OTP (One True Pairing) at some point or another. In fact, a fangirl is almost always synonymous with a shipper. There’s just something about an OTP that makes fangirls ship them obsessively. In Philippine showbiz, this pairing is called “loveteam.”
I myself am a shipper of several TV fandoms. And as a tribute to my favorite fandoms, here is a list of my five favorite OTPs of all time:
1. Mulder and Scully (a.k.a MSR, or Mulder and Scully Relationship)
This OTP is the mother of all ships. Fans of The X-Files such as myself were the ones who invented the term “ship” back in the 90’s long before any other fandom. The Mulder and Scully relationship is my very first and most favorite ship of all time. But it didn’t start that way. I’m a fan of The X-Files since my college days but I didn’t initially ship MSR. I was a fencer back then. But when I first saw The X-Files: Fight the Future movie and seen the bee sting scene between Mulder and Scully, I instantly became a shipper. Since then I’ve been shipping them.
Through the years I’ve come to love MSR because of their unique bond and unwavering support and belief in each other despite of adversities. They’ve been through a lot as FBI partners – from alien abductions and black oil virus outbreaks to government conspiracies. As a fangirl, I’ll never forget such memorable lines like, “Even when my world was falling apart, you were my constant. My touchstone.” and “You’re my one in five billion.” MSR is a classic you-and-me-against-the-world love story and I love it.
2. Donna and Harvey (a.k.a Darvey)
Darvey is my most recent OTP. I’ve been a fan of Suits ever since its first season aired on local TV. But I didn’t ship Donna and Harvey until the show’s third season, although I already suspected that there was something going on between them when I saw season two. Donna and Harvey didn’t start out as a potential couple in the show. In season 1, they were presented to the audience as merely boss and employee, with Harvey being the boss and Donna as his secretary. But their story began to unravel in season 2, when the show hinted of their past together. Like many Darvey shippers, I’ve become fascinated with their dynamic relationship. Their witty banter, teasing innuendos, meaningful looks, and loyalty to each other keep me glued to the screen. Their scenes together are just oozing with UST. Not to mention that they have a weird and mysterious can opener ritual that viewers are not even privy to. Season 3 validated what Darvey shippers have long suspected about their past relationship, and that became a culminating point for me to become a full-pledged Darvey shipper.
3. Booth and Brennan
Bones is one of my favorite crime drama shows since CSI. Its main characters, Special Agent Seeley Booth and Dr. Temperance Brennan, are reminiscent of the MSR dynamic – one is a skeptic and the other one is a believer. I love the fact that Booth and Brennan became a couple only after several seasons and the transition from crime partners to lovers was seamlessly woven into the story.
Booth and Brennan complement each other. While Brennan likes to keep things objective and in the realms of science when solving crimes, Booth is the opposite. He is more emotionally invested in his work, relying on his guts and showing compassion to those who’ve been wronged. Over the years, they have influenced each other in a positive way. Their wedding scene was one of my favorite episodes of the show and every Booth and Brennan shippers’ dream coming true.
4. Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley
One cannot talk about Downton Abbey without mentioning the show’s main couple, Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley. I shipped these two since the beginning of the show. Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley were one of those classic couples who disliked each other at first but eventually ended up together. It reminded me of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Lady Mary was cold and snobbish towards Matthew when she first met him and he was wary of her initially because of her family’s attempts to pair him off. But she eventually warmed up to him and he to her and they tied the knot not long after.
Unfortunately, this ship ended way too soon after the show decided to kill off Matthew. Like many Downton Abbey fans, I was shocked when I heard the news that Matthew had been killed off in the show’s Christmas special. I had to wait a few weeks after the Christmas special aired in the US to see for myself that Matthew was indeed gone. After that season, I had difficulty accepting that my favorite ship no longer existed. I could not even understand why Dan Stevens, the actor who played Matthew would want to leave the show.
Now that the show is on its fifth season, I could not even bring myself to like Lady Mary’s new suitors, Lord Gillingham and Charles Blake. For me, Lady Mary and Matthew were the show’s ultimate OTP.
5. Michael and Nikita (a.k.a Mikita)
Of course when I say Nikita, I’m talking about the TV remake not the 90’s series nor the movie where the show was based on. Michael and Nikita started out as mentor and mentee but eventually evolved into something more. Both shared a troubled past that brought them closer together. What I love about Mikita is that they eventually joined forces after becoming adversaries. They knew they needed each other. They fought side by side against the Division, a secretive group of the CIA that trained assassins such as Nikita. They might had disagreements from time to time, especially when it comes to carrying out assignments but they would always resolve them eventually.
That intense fight scene where Michael retrieved his stolen engagement ring from a bad guy and the look on Nikita’s face when she found out was priceless. And I love the fact that they remained a couple right up to the end of the show.
So there you have it. While one of these ships had a tragic ending, most of my OTPs already have a happy ending. Of course any shipper would want a happy ending in their OTPs. Who wouldn’t?
Tags: boxed set, dvd, the x-files
As most of my friends know, I’m an avid fan of The X-Files. And though I know it has been years after the show had its final run on TV, I still watch random episodes of the show from time to time on DVD. For years, it’s been my dream to have a DVD collection of all nine seasons of the show (original DVDs, mind you, not the pirated ones). Unfortunately, my collection is still incomplete. I only managed to get four seasons of the show from an online seller. The DVD boxed set edition I’ve been wanting to complete is very hard to find. I was a young student then when The X-Files was still on its heyday. I had no access to buying the DVDs back then.
Before I made my first X-Files DVD purchase, I checked Amazon and eBay and found out that the edition I wanted has been phased out already. But still, I managed to purchase four from a Philippine-based online seller, who incidentally gets them from Amazon and DVD Empire. It’s really frustrating for me because I tried ordering the rest of the seasons from the online seller, but with no luck. According to him, he tried ordering the boxed set from Amazon but he got the slim Collector’s Edition set instead, which wasn’t the one I was looking for. Apparently, Amazon can be so unreliable.
I’ve inquired from other online sellers but had no luck finding the right ones either. eBay has the edition I wanted but they are all in Region 2 format, which would be inconsistent with my Region 1 collection. So if any X-phile out there (or anyone for that matter) can help me out, please point me to the right direction. I would really appreciate it.
Tags: bleak house, dvd marathon, pinoy x-philes, the mabuhay manor, the x-files, x-philes, x-philes philippines
Three months after the last DVD marathon I had with my groupmates from PXP, I decided that we hold another one this month. As my group always holds marathons in different venues, this time I thought of holding it at a hotel. Through the generosity of the management of The Mabuhay Manor, a balikbayan hotel in Pasay that caters mostly to OFWs, I was able to procure a room that my groupmates and I could use as our venue for the marathon.
So my groupmates and I decided to hold the marathon there last July 4. It was sort of a special Pinoy X-Philes DVD marathon as the gathering was small and limited. In the last marathon, only Lily and I stayed overnight at Sam’s house. This time, five of us were going to stay for the night at the hotel. But since none of us were able to bring a portable DVD player, we just decided to use Lily’s laptop.
Three of us checked-in at The Mabuhay Manor at noon last Saturday. Sammy the bellhop graciously led us to our room on the second floor. The room that was given to us was spacious and squeaky clean. The two beds were comfortably soft and there was enough space in the room for an extra mattress. The closet in the room was also big and airy, and there were two side tables we could use. The bathroom, though small, was spotless and furnished with the necessary amenities. My groupmates and I were very pleased with the room set-up. It was a perfect venue for a DVD marathon.
After settling in, we headed out to the Mall of Asia, which was just nearby. We met with Christie there and had our late lunch. Shortly after we went back to the hotel and waited for Eugene to arrive before we could start the marathon. Sure enough, at about 4:00 PM, he arrived. We found out unfortunately that he wouldn’t be able to stay for the night with us since he had to go to work the next day. Being the only guy in the bunch that day, I guess that was a good thing.
The swimming pool at the hotel looked too good not to try so the five of us decided to take a swim first before starting the marathon. Ever since Eugene joked that he was going to wear a red Speedo at the marathon just like Mulder did in one episode of The X-Files, us girls (especially Lily, LOL!) were looking forward to see if he really dared. But he didn’t! There were only a few people at the pool and most of them were kids. So we still had the pool quite to ourselves.
The marathon started at around 6:00 PM. We couldn’t decide on which X-Files episodes to watch so we just randomly chose the ones we like. Eugene was only able to watch two episodes before he went home. After we had dinner, the night turned into a Shippers’ Night as we watched classic shippy episodes like “Triangle,” “Small Potatoes,” “Bad Blood,” and “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas.” Good thing there weren’t any Noromos present that night or they would be rolling their eyes in exasperation! Christie brought her DVD copy of Bleak House (the BBC drama series) so we watched a couple of episodes from that one too. The marathon lasted until the wee hours of the morning and by the time it ended we were all too exhausted to stay awake.
A few hours of sleep and we woke up that morning feeling sluggish. So we trooped to the hotel restaurant at Lobby Lola’s and had our buffet breakfast to perk us up. The staff greeted us warmly at the door and showed us to our table. A staff promptly served us coffee and hot chocolate and we had our fill of the menu: a choice of Filipino or American breakfast. We had a lovely, hearty breakfast and lingered at the restaurant for a while then headed back to our room. Not content with the marathon the night before, we watched a couple of episodes more then packed up our things and prepared for check-out.
We took a cab from the hotel through the receptionist’s help and headed off to Makati where we had lunch together. We split up afterwards and I went home tired but happy. The marathon was a whole lot of fun. Too bad some of the members couldn’t join us. But even though we were just a small group that day, we still enjoyed the experience. Thanks to the management and staff of Mabuhay Manor for making our stay at the hotel worthwhile.