Television Review: Top Ten Reasons to Watch Dark Matter

January is a strange month TV wise, some shows are back on and some are not, and usually not my favorite shows. I was flipping through Netflix recommendations when I saw Dark Matter pop up as a recommendation. A sci/fi show set in space released in 2015, how did I not hear about this? I decided to give it a try, and it was excellent.

Why was this not more on my radar? I have only myself to blame, I definitely should have been on top of this.

Summary from IMDB:

The six-person crew of a derelict spaceship awakens from stasis in the farthest reaches of space. Their memories wiped clean, they have no recollection of who they are or how they got on board. The only clue to their identities is a cargo bay full of weaponry and a destination: a remote mining colony that is about to become a war zone. With no idea whose side they are on, they face a deadly decision. Will these amnesiacs turn their backs on history, or will their pasts catch up with them?

My Top Ten Reasons to Watch Dark Matter:

  1. A diverse crew.  One thing I really liked was its very diverse crew. The main characters are three women, two people of color, leaving only two white men. What? Awesome.
  2. BossBitches. I love that this show is full of BossBitches and women  of substance who lead without being Buffy-Season-7-Annoying, which is  my measuring stick for women in leadership roles on television. You don’t have to be a mean man to be a boss, you can be a woman and have feelings and still lead because you are smart and capable of rational thought and able to get things done and people recognize that and follow you.
  3. Intricate plot lines. OMG. I mean, I can’t even get into all of this without major spoilers, but I will say this, I have never, NEVER, been more surprised with a season finale reveal. I was expecting it to be lame because they have all these major revelations throughout the series on the different main characters and their past lives, I just couldn’t see how they could top their intricate plot lines in each episode with an even greater season arc reveal, but OMG they did! I sat up in bed and stared at the TV screen in disbelief for a long time as the credits rolled.
  4. Fully formed characters. This kind of ties into the previous two reasons. I don’t think you can have BossBitches and intricate plot lines without having fully formed characters, though people sure love to try. It is very apparent that even with their memories erased these are real characters with distinct personalities that tie into their behavior. From a sociological perspective it is fascinating. How much of personality is a genetic predisposition to a certain way of thinking and how much of it is because of environment? This is something the show explores with some very distinct personalities and perspectives and it was really engaging to watch. I give all credit to the writers. Obviously they knew where they were going with the show and that gave them room to explore all these different ideas and perspectives.
  5. Space Cowboys. On some level this show is reminiscent of Firefly and that kind of stings. Like, why does this show get a chance for a second season and Firefly didn’t? Timing? The channel it is on? A hundred of different reasons I’m sure. Setting that aside, it is a show about a bunch of amnesiac mercenaries who are trying to be better people and do the right thing while floating around in space on a cool spaceship. …. so Space Cowboys. Um, yes please. 
  6. Androids. The advanced technology in this television show is pretty cool. It’s some time in the future we know, because there is a Star Wars 36, and Androids are a real thing. One of them even runs the ship. They are logical creations that are part of every day space life, but the one on the ship seems to have a glitch in her system. She’s having feelings and rationalizing actions around them, and it is adorable. Plus, she’s played by Zoie Palmer who I enjoyed watching in Lost Girl.
  7. Wil Wheaton. I wont say much, because I don’t want to spoil his part, but it’s always fun to see a favorite sci/fi actor show up on a TV show.  When they get Mark Sheppard I will know it’s a really sci/fi show. 😉
  8. Netflix and Bingewatching. While it would have been great to know about this show earlier, I really enjoy binge watching these types of shows, especially as it only has 13 episodes in the first season. The complexities of the plot lines do take a couple of episodes to emerge, but that is harder to notice when you watch two or three in a sitting. So, it probably is best that I found it on Netflix and you can too!
  9. Little CGI. I like that the show is obviously on a budget and more concerned about the characters and plot line than huge explosions or high tech gear. There is some to be sure, but it plays into the over all story and doesn’t just sit on the screen to be cool.
  10. Female agency. Female agency in sexual relationships is a real thing in this show, coupled (pun intended) with the complications that happen when people who work and live together in a very small community have romantic relationships. Emotions are flying around, but guilt is not one of them. Power is mostly equal and communication about the relationship happens.

There are a great many things to like about this show, I’ve just listed my top ten. Honorable mentions should go to the wardrobe crew and make up crew for having realistic fighting outfits for the women and awesome retro (with a modern twist) hair dos that I can’t seem to replicate no matter how much I try. If you like sci/fi or excellent story lines or work related dramas check out Dark Matter on Netflix before the next season starts.

The Office Nostalgia

I’ve suffering from The Office withdrawal. Even though Chris and I are now finishing out Parks and Rec and it is an amazing show, I spent Thursday evening reminiscing about The Office and watching youtube videos and reading gifs of The Office quotes. Here are some faves.

Pam gets Dwight

Pam Beesly: We need everything back the way it was.
Dwight Schrute: You don’t wanna move. Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do in life. You’ll probably just take it out on your kid. Jim will turn to the drink. The family will fall apart, and twenty five years from now, Cece will become world famous… for stripping.
Pam Beesly: That’s a sad story. I have another one. We move, the other tenants follow, the bank takes the building, takes your farm, takes your car and beats the crap out of you. Penniless, you die, and my daughter Cece dances on your grave… fully clothed.

But they end up best friends. Dahhh.

best friends


Michael Scott, best and worst boss.

evil snail

Television Review: Endgame (2011)

Endgame (2011) is available on Hulu Plus (which we finally got working at our new place). There is only one season available and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but it was a good binge watch all the same.

endgame image

Summary from TV.Com

Arkady Balagan is a genius who found fame as the world chess champion but who, since witnessing the murder of his fiancée, has become rather agoraphobic and has been living in a posh hotel in Vancouver. Out of money and with his tab being called due he stumbles into helping find an abducted child. Realising (sic) he could make some money as an unofficial consulting detective he takes up a new profession and hires one of his chess fans to do the work which requires leaving the hotel. Arkady continues to work with Pippa Venturi, his late fiancée’s sister, to solve the murder of Rosemary Venturi, his fiancée, and her old friend Greg Lamont.

Balagan is an agoraphobic Sherlock Holmes. He is a genius who solves mysteries with chess strategic thinking. Since he is agoraphobic he enlists the help of a younger chess player, a maid of the hotel, and a bar tender in the hotel. He finds smart people to help him and doesn’t discriminate who that intelligent person is based on their job description. He is able to walk through what people probably did based on his extensive knowledge of how people work because of his chess playing background.

I like this show because I like smart people, and the entire ensemble is a cast of smart people. They all play off of each other beautifully, and there wasn’t a secondary character that I didn’t like or who was just there to fulfill some quota. They all contributed in their own way and each character pushed the show forward seamlessly. Balagan is a great character beautifully played. Sometimes he comes off as the biggest jerk, that smart kid who always thinks he is right, because he usually is. But, Balagan is smart because he understands not only the rules of a game, but how people think. His ability to understand other people gives his sometimes jerk character warmth and charm that really endured him to me.

My favorite episode was “I Killed Her” where a killer shows up at the hotel and confesses everything to Balagan, but in a way that he can’t be caught. At every turn the killer outsmarts Balagan, which was quite exciting to watch. In the end, it is Balagan’s understanding of human character that resolves the case. In a very touching scene Balagan figures out the psychology of the killer and what ultimately drives his behavior.

If you like binge watching television about smart people solving crimes in unusual ways, check out Endgame (2011) on Hulu Plus.

Television Review: Witches of East End

After the bar I needed something to help me decompress from an extremely stressful summer and keep me occupied as I made boutonnieres, glued burlap and lace to jars, and created bridesmaids bouquets for my upcoming nuptials. Netflix kept recommending I watch Witches of East End and sometimes Netflix is right, so I decided to give it a chance and I’m really glad I did. 

witches of east end

Julie Ormond (First Knight, Legends of the Fall, and Sabrina) stars in this show as a powerful witch who is keeping a secret from her two daughters, that they too are witches. Joanna has many secrets from her grown daughters, Freya and Ingrid. But when the girls start exhibiting powers, she can no longer act dismissively and must begin to reveal to them their heritage. Then her sister shows up at her doorstep as a cat, and Joanna’s life becomes even more complicated. 

I really enjoy this series. I think it is an incredible cast of characters and as the season goes on they become more of an ensemble cast than it just being about Joanna. Plus, the series pulls in some serious acting power! Each of the girls characters takes shape and they each have their own story lines that are interwoven with the family and magic. Ingrid is a librarian and her geeky side really helps her understand the Latin spells, plus the library she works in is just amazingly beautiful! Freya is  a free spirited bartender who is engaged to one man, but starts to fall in love with his brother who shows up in her premonitions. Everything gets wonderfully complicated in a this-would-never-happen-in-real-life-i-hope kind of way. And Joanna’s sister, Wendy, sticks around for the season and her character beautifully complements Joanna’s. Where one has a weakness the other has a strength. They don’t just blindly follow each other, but discuss and disagree with respect. Most of the time. 

Witches of East End reminds me of Charmed in that it is a female ensemble cast with their own problems that comes together and help each other out. Often women on television are shown as katty and unhelpful toward each other, so it is quite refreshing to see a cast of women actively and sincerely involved in each others lives. However, unlike Charmed, this show is less campy and more on the dark side. For example, Ingrid brings someone back to life and there are some really serious consequences I thought the show would gloss over, but did not. Some of the choices the women must make are heartbreaking. 

If you like magic, ensemble shows, and empowering female characters who are multidimensional with their own vices and problems, check out Witches of East End. 

Television Review: Bitten

After catching up on some of my Netflix series I decided to check out Bitten as it keeps popping up on Netflix as something I might like. But Netflix can be wrong and so I was a bit wary when I started the series. I’ve watched three episodes, my usual requirement to adequately determine if I do or do not like a show (versus whether or not I like the pilot). My initial reaction, as brought on by the very first scene and many thereafter is: That’s a lotta nekked. And the boys are not afraid to show their butts. (Their very nice nekked butts.)

bitten-castWhile not as gory as True Blood’s vampire and werewolf series, nor as sexually explicit, Bitten definitely dances on the edges of overly sexualized characters as substitute for plot. However, as the series progresses and the characters become a bit more fleshed out (or clothed out?) it gets more and more interesting. 

SyFy’s Summary

Based on the Women of the Otherworld novels by #1 NY Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong, Bitten is an emotionally charged supernatural thriller starring Laura Vandervoort (Smallville, Ted) as Elena Michaels, the lone female werewolf in existence. Desperate to escape both a world she never wanted to be part of and the man who turned her into a werewolf, Elena has abandoned her pack and taken refuge in a new city. There, she works as a photographer and hides her werewolf existence from her new boyfriend. When bodies start turning up in her pack’s backyard, Elena finds herself back at Stonehaven, the werewolves’ ancestral domain. Torn between two worlds and two loves, she quickly realizes that – when push comes to shove – she’ll stop at nothing to defend her pack.

Laura Vandervoot plays her character smart and grounded, and she is what saves this show from being overly campy. Thought I admit to laughing at the show on a number of times in the pilot especially. I really like Elena’s relationship with her boyfriend Phillips. They seem to trust and take of one another on a day to day capacity that isn’t just about danger saving, and Phillip genuinely cares about her for her whole well being not just her sexy side. I hope they last, but I’ve a feeling it might not. Especially with Elena’s incredibly sexy (and hairy) ex-boyfriend back in the picture. 

The human’s change into wolf is painful for them, and painful for the viewer to watch. The graphics are just not that great. All of the wolves are glaringly CGI. But when there is no CGI to mess it up, the cinematography is excellent, with the use of light and shadows to aid in the story telling. The mythology is a bit vague and not as well narrated as it could have been done. Also, I like all the different characters and how the “cousins” interact with one another. Just like any dysfunctional family.

But I do like seeing a female lead in a werewolf show and I’m willing to continue to give the show a chance. Seeing as there are now two seasons, other people must have agreed with my assessment. I definitely see potential for the cast to grow and for the story about the “Mutt” to unfold over the series. It also makes me want to see if I can find the books, usually characters are better developed on the pages of a book, though not always. Poignant at times, a little cheesy in others, Bitten is a decent supernatural series with potential for stronger plot and deeper character development. 

Also, nice butts on both genders. 

Read another review here

Television Review: The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic horror drama television series developed by Frank Darabont. It is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The series stars Andrew Lincoln as sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes, who awakens from a coma to find a post-apocalyptic world dominated by flesh-eating zombies. He sets out to find his family and encounters many other survivors along the way. (Synopsis from Wikipedia)

the walking dead

Well, these zombies are no Hessius Man detective Chakz. They are flesh eating zombies, some in the shape of children. (Which was not a surprise fyi, that first bit was way predictable.) I’ve watched the first four episodes of The Walking Dead, and I’ve yet to be hooked. (Actually, by the time this posts, I may have seen a few more.) I know, I know, season three is this amazing epic season of television and if I can just get through it, I’ll be astounded by the writing and what happens. Awesome. I’m pushing through, but I’m also rolling my eyes a tad.

The eyes rolling bits include: drama because I slept with the person I wasn’t supposed to sleep with, a person is bitten but we don’t kill this person because he/she is one of us so lets go find a cure, and lets through an abusive husband into the mix so we can have all the feels. Though the vibrator bit was funny.

The reasons I’m sticking with it: strong characters with potential for interesting things to happen that aren’t predictable, Glenn (I know that people love Daryl because he’s so…. big strong handsome man, but I would expect nothing less from a McManus brother) because I love when the underdog (pizza delivery guy) is given the opportunity to make something of himself and he shines, and I’m glad I accidentally started watching season 2 episode 2 once, it has relieved some of my general anxiety. But then I’m the girl who reads the end of books before starting them, so that may not be a plus to other people.

*I know I’m behind the band wagon on this tv show, so feel free to post spoilers in the comments (but let’s be nice and mark them so).*

Enjoy some fan art

By semie from DeviantArt


Glen From Walking Dead Commisionby SonKiza


Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead)by lerielos


Introducing My Niece to Doctor Who

I’m sick today and babysitting my niece. Que telly time. Usually, I’m a good aunt, parks and craft time and playing getting trussed up in jail. Which is loads of fun and loads of energy. I don’t have loads of energy today.

Also, I’m tired of Milan, Treasure Planet, and Rise of the Guardians.

So, I put on Doctor Who.

Que questions and comments. My favorite by far was when Micky gets his hands caught by the plastic trashcan. She goes, “Don’t swallow him!” It took everything I have not to laugh out loud when it did and she turned to me with her shocked face.

Most fun sick day ever.


Television Review: Orange is the New Black

orange is the new black


Orange is the New Black is a television show produced by Netflix and streaming on the same. All the episodes appeared on July 11, 2013, and Chris started watching them soon after. It took a while, but he convinced me to give the show a try, and now I’m hooked. I thought it was going to be cutesy and Mob Wives type of drama with no real sense of character development. But I was totally wrong.

Summary from Netflix:

Every Sentence Is A Story: From the creator of “Weeds” comes a heartbreaking and hilarious new series set in a women’s prison. Piper Chapman’s wild past comes back to haunt her, resulting in her arrest and detention in a federal penitentiary. To pay her debt to society, Piper trades her comfortable New York life for an orange prison jumpsuit and finds unexpected conflict and camaraderie amidst an eccentric group of inmates.

Piper is rather naive, or in denial, about what it means to live in a prison, in spite of having read up on how to survive life in prison. Some of the things she does makes me want to bang my head on the table, but then she’ll do something that’s really clever and I get super excited. The women that Piper meets in prison are all interesting characters with some really intense backgrounds that are slowly revealed throughout the season. The show does a good job of intertwining why the name five or so women are in prison with life in prison and what feeds into their psyche and why they do the things that they do.

Orange is the New Black is edgy and doesn’t shy away from racial conflict, one of the inmates explains, “It’s not a race thing, it’s a tribal thing,” which makes Piper’s eyebrows raise to her hair line, or away from sex, there are a lot of boobs in this show, especially the first episode, and even some vaginal fisting, nor does it shy away from characters who are neither good nor bad, they are complex women, most of whom have led difficult lives, or been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and all of them have a reason for being where they are. Sometimes I don’t even like the star of the show, she’s selfish and stupid, and clever and interesting, and she learns from her mistakes.

I’m totally addicted to this show and I’ve been telling everyone to give it a try. Based on the real life story of Piper Kerman’s one year stint in Prison, Orange is the New Black is an exciting, new, and original drama by Netflix that explores the penal system and the women who wind up in prison.

Nodds & Nends: Skeletal Micky Mouse, Diagon Alley, and GoT

Folks, you may have noticed that a couple of posts came out last Friday and funnily enough one on Saturday. Those were mistakes. Somehow, I got dates mixed up while I was putting together my posts and scheduling them for the future. What does that mean? Well, frankly, I’m behind at this point in how I like to schedule, and I really need a TARDIS? Anyone? Doctor? Someone?

Anyway, it also means that I haven’t had as much time to edit posts because I’ve been scrambling around trying to put them together instead. So I apologize for that. However, to make up for all of this, I have some cool things for you all to check out.

A Skeletal Micky Mouse, because awesome. Check out the artist’s site, more interesting works.

You can now explore Diagon Alley (at the theme park) via Google Maps. Which is kind of cool until you get to the end of the lane and hit a wall.

GoT characters as Simpson mash-ups. Because every awesome thing is awesomer if it is mashed-up with the Simpsons.

Amash-up between GoT and that Goyte song. There are spoilers. Even though I haven’t seen the show or read the books I can tell there are spoilers because . . . . I can, and I don’t mind, but you might. If you do watch the video, check out all the other nerdy references from Dr. Horrible to Doctor Who, I love catching (blatant) Easter Eggs like that.

Classic Television Review: Dark Shadows

I’m currently in a long distance relationship and one of the things we like to do is watch movies and television together. We’ve even perfected doing this across five states and a time zone, thanks to Netflix Boyfriend who has not acted jealous at all. Obviously I know how to pick ’em! (OK, so the other night he got up and left the room, but he’s been mostly understanding.) We’ve watched several classic movies such as Chinatown and The Invisible Man (review hopefully to come soon, once I finish listening to the audio version of the book), but mostly I cuddle into my couch and we will watch one or two episodes of Dark Shadows in the evenings. We both come at the television show a little differently. While I’ve seen (and reviewed) the movie starring Johnny Depp that came out in 2012, Chris has not, so I have a better general knowledge of the story line than he does. However, I joined watching the television series partway into season 2 (after the vampire arrives) and so I don’t have a lot of detailed knowledge of the background and Chris does. But if you think about this show as a soap opera (which it totally was) you know I didn’t miss much of anything even in an entire season (and Chris catches me up on events and people as they reappear).

dark shadows castSynopsis for

Dark Shadows was a daytime soap opera on ABC-TV which aired weekdays during the afternoon. With vampires, witches, worlocks, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures, it became a surprising phenomenon, lasting for five years before it was cancelled.

Synopsis from TOR:

Primarily, Dark Shadows concerns the machinations of the Collins family, of which Barnabas Collins, a vampire, is a distant ancestor. They all live at a gothic estate called Collinswood (sic), which is located in the town of Collinsport, a fishing village located in Maine. (Collinsport is not a real place, though it may have been inspired by another town in Maine called Bucksport, which had a rumored history of witchcraft and other things that go bump in the night.) The first episode sees New York City gal Victoria Winters heading by train on a dark and stormy night to Collinsport, for a governess job at Collinwood. Right away, spooky things are going on, an entire wing of the estate is closed, and people are arguing constantly. BUT, no ghosts, ghouls or vampires for a while. . . .

. . . . Initially not meant to be a reoccurring character, Barnabas Collins was introduced in episode 211. That’s right, 211 episodes into the show, the person we consider to be the main character finally arrived. The previous episode, 210, foreshadows what is about to happen by having Willie Loomis very interested in the portrait of the long-dead Barnabas, hanging up in Collinwood. Willie is a con artist hanging around Collinsport initially to attempt to blackmail Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the matriarch of the family. Willie eventually digs up the coffin containing Barnabas at the end of episode 210, and starting with episode 211, the show would never be the same. (Incidentally, James Hall played Willie through episode 205, but then by John Karlen from episode 206 all the way through episode 1106. Weird, when one considers how pivotal the character was!)

After Barnabas Collins, a good deal of the storylines deal with him and his friendship with Victoria Winters, who in some ways is the other main character of Dark Shadows. . . .

Considered a cult classic Dark Shadows is a lot of fun to watch if you don’t mind campy melodramatic goth soap operas. Which I don’t. The characters are almost caricatures of themselves. Perhaps this is because the show’s producers and writers never knew what the heck was going on. I mean they created the main character a season into the show! I understand when a guest star appears and does well and so the writers and producers keep that character on the show (Spike for (another vampire) example), but the main character! That is a little unusual. Plus they decided to add ghosts and other supernatural elements after pitching and beginning production the show. What? This lack of forward thinking is obvious in the chaotic story line, which seems like it is flying by the seat of its pants. But Oh My God it is an awesome ride! Everything is just so over the top that I laugh through most of the episodes. Chris and I make fun of the characters and their dramatic speeches. It’s a great show to watch while making commentary, because nothing happens and all the characters get upset about it.

The other really fun thing we do is try to catch all the mistakes. These people do not do retakes. Not even when a boom mic drops into the camera’s view, or the camera person’s shadow shows, or some crew member walks across the background! The actors flub their melodramatic lines all the time and it is gloriously hilarious and entertaining. Honestly, I don’t even know what is happening most of the time, but it is great fun to watch. Plus I really enjoy Barnabas, he is quite the creepy scary vampire!

If you enjoy campy cult classics, like to find hidden Easter Eggs of hilarity,  and scary vampires, try a couple of episodes of Dark Shadows. Only 22 minutes long, even if it’s not your thing you haven’t wasted much time.