Ellen’s Summer of the Binge

Summer gives us some great movies, but the television is bit limited (other than Big Brother and SYTYCD, of course).  While some may bemoan this, I celebrate it by using this time to watch a whole lot of shows that I don’t always have the time to get around to during the regular TV season.  My bingeing is greatly aided by the fact that I can watch while I am at work.

I thought I would run through the shows that I have been watching this summer, in particular order.  Unless, “the order that I remembered them” is considered an order.

chuck-box5Chuck (First Time) – As mentioned in last week’s Crush of the Week, I fell pretty hard for both Zachary Levi and the show itself.  It can be a bit corny at times, but overall, I really loved it.  Fun, funny, and heaps and heaps of sexual tension.

Buying & Selling (First Time) – I definitely prefer the original Property Brothers or the OG PB as the cool kids call it.  Of course, this didn’t stop me from watching a lot of it.  I think my main problem with this version is that the buying is my least favorite part of OG PB.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Re-Watch) – Much like the other Fey/Carlock joint, the rewatchability factor on this is high, there is just so many hidden gems that come out on repeat viewings.

Spaced (Re-Watch) – I feel the need to bust this show out every now and then because I just love it so much. This time around, I watched each episode, then again with the original commentary, THEN AGAIN with the guest commentaries for the special edition DVD. Fun bit of trivia: My first post for this site was about Spaced.  I just love it that much.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (First Time) – This one may warrant it’s own post, so I may not say too much here.  Much like the OG WHAS, the humor here may not be for everyone but I have a major soft spot for David Wain and Co.  Even if the brand of humor is not for you, the cast alone may be enough reason to watch.

The X-Files (Re-Watch in Progress) – This show was on every Sunday night in my house growing up because my mom was a huge fan of both the show and David Duchovny.  I figured that I should give it a re-watch in preparation for the new series.

Rehab Addict (First Time) – Another show that is not my favorite, yet I watched all of it.  While I do like her design style and dedication to restoration, Nicole gets on my nerves and it drives me nuts that it takes multiple episodes to get through one house.

Flip or Flop (First Time) – The reason I don’t like Rehab Addict is the reason I like Flip or Flop.  Tarek and Christina are by no means my favorite, but I like that they get through a whole flip from buying to selling in only 20 minutes.

HFXUP105_BTS_Johanna-Chip-Muscles_v.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.616.822Fixer Upper (First Time) – BY FAR my favorite of the HGTV genre.  I love their houses, I love the format, but mostly I just love Chip and Joanna so much.  That being said, I wish Joanna was out of the picture so that I could marry Chip and run a renovation company with him.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (First Time and then Re-Watch) – I lost track of how many times I watched this show because when I was really obsessed with it, I would just put it on in the background.  Just because.  If you want more of my thoughts on this one, go here.

The IT Crowd (Re-Watch) -I watch a lot of these shows while I am working, so it is nice to have an easy comedy that I can not pay a lot of attention to and still enjoy thoroughly.  Very British and very silly but so funny and Chris O’Dowd is so cute.

Love It or List It (First Time) – You might be able to tell, but I went on a bit of an HGTV bender this summer.  This is yet another that is not my favorite, but it was mindless entertainment for a couple days at work.

Derek (First Time) – I wrote a lengthier review of this one after I had watched all of it.  I’m really surprised that it took me so long to get to this one being the fan of The Office and Extras that I am.  It is very sweet and melancholy in the same way as those shows.

catastrophe-sharon-horgan-rob-delaneyCatastrophe (First Time) – If you are a fan of funny yet realistic romantic comedies then this one is for you.  The chemistry between the two leads (Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney) is very sweet and grounded and made fall in love with Rob.  I dare you to watch and not do the same.

RuPaul’s Drag Race (First Time) – Honey, you better work.  This show is just fabulous and eleganza extravaganza.  Shantay, you stay on my DVR list because honey, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you going to love someone else.  Can I get an Amen?  (This review is brought to you by the catchphrases of RuPaul)

Inside Amy Schumer (First Time) – This has been deemed as the Summer of Amy Schumer by media outlets, so I figured I would get on board and watch her show.  I was not disappointed.  Like most sketch shows, not all of the skits are amazing, but there is a lot of joy to be had from the good ones (my favorite being her Friday Night Lights spoof)

snowGame of Thrones (Catch Up) – I had fallen behind on this one and catching up seemed like an insurmountable task, but that’s what summer is for.  Some of my experience was tarnished by spoilers I had learned through the grapevine, but this show is still pretty nuts.

Silicon Valley (First Time) – I will always support the comedies that get nominated in the Best Comedy category that are actually, you know, funny.  I was happy to discover that this is one of those shows, which is not surprising when considering the people behind it and the cast.

Justified (Catch Up) – This is a show that I love but fell behind on when I didn’t have cable.  This one is a really great drama that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.  Also, I will never be mad at Timothy Olyphant in a hat.

Helena-Tatian-Maslany-in-Things-Which-Have-Never-Yet-Been-DoneOrphan Black (Catch Up) – If you caught a whiff of the excitement around Tatiana Maslany’s Emmy nomination and wondered why everyone was making such a big deal, watch this show and you will totally get it.  I had already watched the first season but needed to catch up on the 2nd and 3rd.  I know that the 3rd has gotten some mixed reviews, but I will always love getting more Helena.

Humans (First Time) – There wasn’t a lot to binge here because it is fairly new, but I did watch all episodes one Saturday a couple of weeks ago.  I found this show quite interesting and hope that more networks start picking up British imports.

I know.  I have a problem.

Ellen

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Sweet Streams: Derek

derekOur category of “Sweet Streams” has never been more because this show is “sweet” both in the “sweet, brah” sense and in the “awww, how sweet”.  This show has been around on Netflix for a quite a while now and I am not sure how or why I went so long without watching, but in the course of two days, I recently watched both seasons.  When I told my mom that Ricky Gervais was in a show that was very sweet, she thought I was being sarcastic, but fans of Extras and The Office may not be as shocked.

Derek follows, you guessed it, Derek, played by Gervais, and his cohorts at the senior home where he works.  Derek is a little odd, but with a heart of gold, caring most for little animals and his friends.  Chief among those friends his Hannah, the manager of the home who has a lot on her hands trying to care for the residence, but more efforts seem to go towards wrangling Derek and his friend Kev.  Her big sisterly love for Derek is the real heart of the show.

If you, like me, sometimes crave a good cry, then this is the show for you.  Even if you ar not a crier, there is no way that this show won’t tug at your heart strings.  Its main message of surrounding yourself with good people who understand what is really important in life is touching.  Give it a watch.

Derek

Ellen

Sweet Streams: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

castThis is the time of year when I start scouring the streaming services for shows to watch.  While I admittedly tend towards re-watching my old favorites, I do sometimes give those unknowns in my “Recommendations” section a chance.  I kept seeing Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries pop up and took it for one of those Miss Marple-type shows that Masterpiece Theater was putting out in the 80’s.  While the show is a Miss Marple-type show, it is decidedly more modern.  Even though it is set in the 1920’s.

The show is a recent hit out of Australia based on a series of mystery novels by Kerry Greenwood.  Both the novels and TV show follow “lady detective” Phyrne Fisher, played by Essie Davis on the show, as she works with, and sometimes against, the Melbourne police force on, you guessed it, murder mysteries. Phyrne is a forward-thinking, glamorous, wise-cracking woman who you could dislike for how cool she is and how many men fall at her feet, but she is just so dang likable and good to the people who are close to her.  My favorite among those people is her demure, ultra-Catholic maid who often helps Phyne in matters outside those of the domestic variety and begins a sweet romance with the equally guileless but Protestant (gasp) Constable Collins.  These two are just too adorable.  In contrast, the simmering sexual tension between Phyrne and Detective Jack Robinson is equally satisfying if not quite as actualized on the show.  The characters make the show for me more than the actual cases, but the mysteries are still dealing with a lot of issues, such as homosexuality, sexual politics, and drug use that you don’t get from some of those old Masterpiece mysteries.

I know that several of our readers, like me, enjoy a good period drama and are sure to enjoy this cheeky, period murder mystery and it really is perfect for some light summer viewing with a dash of intrigue.

– Ellen

Run-On Sentence Review: Daredevil

marvel-netflix-daredevil-trailer-860x442I spent my weekend watching all Netflix’s first collaboration with Marvel and maybe you did, too or maybe you have more of a life than I do and spent your weekend being social and getting outside, but I digress, as I usually do with these things, but if you haven’t checked out this new series I definitely think you should give this a watch because it completely redeems the character from his previous, lesser, portrayals and this is quite a departure for Marvel because it is grisly, dark, and layered, without ever having the DC and that is something I can get behind because if you like superheroes and/or Breaking Bad this just might be the show for you because it puts a troubled hero with some super powers (keen senses due to radiation, which is pretty par for the course in comic books, apparently) into the seedy underbelly of the crime world and it is fantastic with really great performances all around but especially by Charlie Cox as the titular masked vigilante and some of the most kick A fight sequences that I have seen and certainly that I have seen on TV (well, Netflix).

Verdict:  Only you can know if this could be up your alley, but if it even sort of sounds like it might, you need to check it out.

Sweet Streams: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

unbreakable_kimmy_schmidt_a_lNetflix released the first season of their new show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt today, so of course, I have already watched the whole thing.  And I loved it.  That is going to be pretty much a guarantee if you attach Tina Fey to a new project.  Tina and fellow 30 Rock executive producer Robert Carlock bring us this new show about an unbreakable girl named Kimmy Schmidt (get it?) who moves to New York for a fresh start after being released from an underground bunker where she has been living for 15 years with her apocalypse cult sisters.  Did you follow that?

Admittedly, I wasn’t immediately sold on this show after the first episode, but much like 30 Rock and every other comedy, it really finds its groove as it moves along.  Ellie Kemper is utterly charming as the titular Kimmy, who is just rife with sunny optimism, 90’s pop culture knowledge, and a middle school naivete (she was kidnapped 15 years ago, remember?).  The rest of the cast gets plenty time to shine with Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon, Kimmy’s new roommate, Carol Kane as Lillian, their eccentric landlord, and Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney, I mean, Jacqueline Voorhees, Kimmy’s rich boss who hires her as a nanny.

The best praise I can give this show, though, is that it is very similar to 30 Rock in it’s pacing and humor with the sunny optimism of Parks and Recreation.  If you know me at all, you know that is high praise indeed.  The jokes are rapid fire, making rewatchability high, the guest stars are high caliber (I wouldn’t dare spoil some of them for you), the pop culture references are a plenty (the Olsen twins are actually the Olsen octuplets), and there are  moments so bizarre that they rival “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” (VH3’s Joe Invisible Millionaire, anyone?).  Kimmy, who responds to someone calling her a bitch with “A female dog? The thing that makes puppies?”, has the same can-do spirit as Leslie Knope.  Also, at first glance she may be misjudged as weak given the whole cult thing, but really she is a strong, independent woman who doesn’t get taken down easily.  Also, if you like snappy theme songs that are based on fake viral videos, then this is the show for you.

To sum it all up, I’m already eager for season 2 (the only issue I have with the Netflix model of entire seasons at once) and I recommend that you join me in the wait.

Ellen

Sweet Streams: Friends

friends-milkshakes-netflixHave you heard of this quaint little show?  It’s kind of under the radar, but I really think you should give it a shot.

Friends is the first show I remember actively watching. I’d tune in every week or, if that wasn’t possible, get my neighbor to record that week’s episode on an old VHS tape.  If you have ever read this blog or know me at all, then you know that this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between TV and myself.  And as they say, you always remember your first.

Like I’m sure a lot of you, I have been taking advantage of Netflix’s recent addition of the show’s 10 seasons to binge my old fav and it really is like hanging out with an old friend. But only if that friend ended up being a lot more dirty than you remember them being, to the point of calling your mom and asking why she let you hang out with said friend, to which your mother may respond that you didn’t understand any of their dirty jokes anyway. However, I’m fairly certain it is this humor (that went over 8-year old Ellen’s head) that is causing me to enjoy it more this time around because I get the jokes!  And these friends are some dirty birdies!  Am I the only person who didn’t realize how much this show was about sex?  Why did I love it so much if I didn’t understand what was going on?  How I’d love to remember what I thought they were talking about when discussing things like erogenous zones.

Besides the flip phones, Rachel haircuts, and clothes that I tried to mimic in middle school, this show totally holds up.  Perhaps I am enjoying it more now because I am the same age as the gang circa season 3.  Give me a moment.  I have to stop and let that sink in, I mean, Ross had already been married.  Just the first marriage, but still.  Or maybe I am just enjoying the nostalgia factor, but either way I’m finding it very enjoyable.

So let Friends be there for you, like it’s been there before.

Ellen

In with the Old: The Mighty Ducks

Recently, I found myself with some time on my hands and saw that all three of the Mighty Ducks films were on Netflix and thought, “Eh, why not?” I am an adult, therefore, giving me the ability to choose to spend my day watching stupid kids movies. I had a lot of thoughts while watching and thought I would share them with all of you.

MD

Pretty sure that this movie gave me a misconception about the 1970’s. I thought they were a very hazy time… Actually, maybe it wasn’t too much of a misconception.

MD1

Sometimes I think that Disney is a little too heavy-handed in pointing out that someone is a bad boy. Beer! Loud music! Sassing cops!

MD2

Am I too logical in thinking that this prank wouldn’t work on someone driving by? A passerby, sure, but someone driving by is going to come to a screeching halt to stop in the middle of the street and steal a purse? Maybe I’ve seen too many Russian traffic cams of truckers saving kittens.

md4
md3

I’m glad that at least the closed captioning gave credit where credit was due. Also, I posit that a kids sports movie cannot exist without the snarky trash talker (see also: Ham from The Sandlot, Tanner Boyle from The Bad News Bears, etc.)

md5

Seriously, inquiring minds would like to know, is that a phone?

md6

FART JOKE!

md7
Gordon Bombay. Possibly the best name in film history. Also, the best shoulder pads in the biz.

md8

Bombay, you know how movies work, right? Of course, it had to be the Hawks.

md9

Pretty sure that my brother and I were incapable of going to hockey games between the years of 1993-present (?) without saying this.

md10

Ah, the good old days when teenage boys had to make do with issues of Sports Illustrated.

md11

You know it’s a 90’s movie when the menacing gang is on roller blades.

md12

Hans is the Yoda of this movie. So wise. So sage.

md13

Little baby Joshua Jackson!

md14

Oh, movie, I don’t need you to tell me when Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch is playing.

md15

Do I need to call Social Services on this 22 year old movie?

md16

Again, this movie is really delivering on the 90’s awesomeness. Roller blading through the mall?!

md17

The movie the made quacking a haunting battle cry to all 90’s kids.

md18

It’s so convenient that the entire team is in this one Chemistry class, despite the fact that some of them look like they are 5 years apart in age.

md19

Gordon, stop quacking!

md20

Don’t we all, Banks. Let the rich kid play, Ducks! The cake-eater has two more movies to do.

md21

This has to be either the weakest net ever or this puck just defied the laws of physics, right?

md22

What publication is this that has front page headlines about a Minnesota Pee-Wee hockey team?

md23

Haha hijinks. Even as a kid, I thought Emilio laughed weird.

md24

Yeah, go for it, Bombay. She will never be able to resist you in that Cosby sweater. What woman could?

md25

Does Disney have a contractual stipulation that there must be a contrived romance that nobody watching the movie will really care about and that won’t last into the sequel?

md26

Again, what is this “Hockey Publication” and where did they get these pictures of these pee-wee hockey coaches? I would really like to see a Newsroom like TV show about this paper.

md27

What kind of douchebag father isn’t going to root for his son’s team? I don’t care how rich your friends are.

md28

Aw, Banks. You took the stick out of your butt. Presh. See you in MD2!

md29

Um, Bombay, you need to win. Haven’t you seen a Disney sports movie?

md30

You just know that they were so stoked on this shot. “Aw man, this is going to look so cool.”

md31

I cannot believe this worked. I’m supposed to believe that these kids who are growing up on the ice have never seen someone do a scratch spin?

md32

Flying V! Ducks fly together!

md33

Bombay, you are not helping the “Coach’s Pet” taunts that he has been getting. Also, what exactly has Charlie done to elicit this confidence? Other than let you bone his mom.

md34

QUACK, QUACK, QUACK! Now THAT’S how you end a Disney sports movie.md35 Wah-wah, Hawks. It’s because you didn’t have a humorous yet cool chant and, most importantly, because you weren’t having fun out there.md36 Hold the phone. Bombay is leaving his lucrative law career to possibly be a minor league hockey player? At his age?

md37

It must really suck for Charlie that he is the only one of these kids with a present parent. She really cramps his style.

Who wants to go watch this movie on Netflix now?  Sorry if I spoiled it for you.

Ellen