What We're Watching: 5 Awesome Things About Binge Watching Gilmore Girls (& 1 Bad Thing)

The only good thing about being sick is that you can binge watch television without feeling guilty about all the time you wasted on your couch. I mean, with the flu, it’s not like you can do much productive anyway, so you might as well curl up on a comfy couch with half a dozen blankets, a never ending supply of cough drops and tea, and watch something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy or at least distracted from how awful you feel.

And that was my excuse for watching more than 2 seasons of Gilmore Girls in 48 hours. Because I have a serious problem and also could not move.

We had previously watched the first five or so season of Gilmore Girls on DVD over a course of a couple of years, but other things distracted us from finishing the series. Now that the entire thing is on Netflix, it seemed like the time to start from the beginning and spend some quality time with the Gilmore clan. These are the five things that kept me plenty distracted during the worst of my illness.

1. The dialogue is the best in the business.

To go from being submerged in pop culture references and bits for hours on end to returning to work where everyone is incredibly boring and don’t get any of my own references is very disheartening. Even if you’re not into the show, you have to admit that it has some of the most consistently fun dialogue of any show I’ve ever watched.

2. Baby boys with difficult last names.

Baby Padalecki is a wonder in his gangliness and Baby Ventimiglia is all bad boy with a hidden heart of gold. The show is generally better whenever one of them is on it. It’s best when they are not both on at the same time though. Those silly teenage boy fights lead Jared into some painful overacting moments.

3. The pleasant fantasy of quirky small town living.

In the normal world, I would hate to live in a small town where everyone knows everyone, but in fantasy land, Star’s Hollow seems like a wonderfully strange place to live.

4. The obliviousness of Lorelai Gilmore.

The will-they-won’t-they of Lorelai and Luke is primarily based on Lorelai being completely oblivious to the most obvious cues. There is a part of me that finds it adorable and another part that wants to throw something at the television.

5. It’s one of those shows where nothing really happens and yet you feel totally fulfilled.

On one episode a school project goes wrong or there’s a fight over Friday night dinner or there’s some sort of misunderstanding between friends. This is not a big plot sort of show and yet it remains captivating through most episodes to the point that I watched over 40 episodes in two days. That’s just insane.

And the one problem with binge watching that much Gilmore Girls in such a little amount of time? It becomes painfully obvious how self-involved and immature all the Gilmore women are, particularly Lorelai. They all go through the same delusional ways of thinking that just end up hurting one another. In addition to being self-involved and blind to the feelings of others, Lorelai seems to have stopped emotionally maturing as a teenager, never fully reaching adulthood. Bits and pieces started bothering me towards the end of my binge watch as she once again held something back from her mother from spite or because she hadn’t learned the other hundred times that perhaps things aren’t going to go as predictably as she expects.

The self-centeredness of Lorelai takes away a tiny bit of the enjoyment and makes me wonder if such a massive binge watch is right for the rest of the series. I started the binge wanting to know these people and be their friends, but by the end, I kind of wanted to slap Lorelai upside the head and ask why she never learns from her mistakes. Rory has an excuse – she’s a teenager – but as a grown woman, Lorelai really needs to start taking responsibility for her own actions and grow up a little.

And despite all this, I really want to spend more time with these characters. It’s a fun little world filled with interesting and quirky characters unlike most anything else that’s on television right now. It’s a nice change of pace from the monsters and end of the world scenarios that usually fill my viewing schedule.

Have you done an epic binge watch like this before? Did it change your viewpoint of the characters?

What We're Watching: Supernatural's 200th Episode, "Fan Fiction"

Last night was the 200th episode of Supernatural. When this show started I had just moved into my own apartment and didn’t own a television. Instead I mainlined the series when the first season came out on DVD after a year of listening to my LiveJournal (oh, LJ…) friends go on and on about these Winchester brothers and their adventures. It helps that I tore all the ligaments in my ankle the very next day and had some free couch surfing time to mainline that series the way it deserved.

Now here we are 9 year later, four seasons post-Kripke’s original plan, and still the Winchesters are hunting things, though not much saving as many people these days. I could rant about the changes to the series since Kripke’s exit – how aimless it has seemed over the last four seasons, how repetitive – but instead I want to celebrate what Supernatural has given me over the years.

This Website

In case you’re new or just have never understood where the name Working for the Mandroid came from, it’s from a second season episode of Supernatural. It is to this day my favorite episode of the entire series, though I will readily admit that if I were to rank them on merit or story quality, it wouldn’t be on the top of my list (but in the top 10).

 

An Endless Supply of Gifs

 

 

Quotes I Insert into Every Day Conversation So I Can Determine Who My Real Friends Are

It makes me sad when I make a mess at work and say, “Confetti! It’s a parade!” I get funny looks and no one knows what I’m talking about. Or yelling “PUDDING!” at random… if someone gives me a knowing smile, I know it’s safe to befriend them.  If only more people knew I wasn’t being serious when I said, “We don’t have time for any of your blah blah blah blah… BLAAAAAH!”

 

The Starting Building Blocks with My Other Half

Yes, we probably would have discovered something else we had in common and ended up here seven and a half years later all the same, but I introduced Fernando to Supernatural after our first date and it automatically provided a reason to have a second and a third and even more until he was thorough caught up on my favorite show.

 

Comfort Television

Goofy episodes like “Changing Channels”, “The French Mistake”, “Tall Tales,” “Free to Be You and Me” and, yes, “Nightshifter” (see previously mentioned Mandroid line) are my go-to programming after a bad day. Even the more serious “Born Under a Bad Sign”, “Jus in Bello” and the end of season 1 are comfort food to me. Just don’t make me watch ”Bugs.”

 

This

 

And Now This

The 200th episode was a nice pat on the back to fans with the show in all its meta-glory officially handing over the characters and the canon to its massive group of fan fic writers and acknowledging that their version of Supernatural is just as real as what shows up on screen every week. The high school musical element was hilarious and a lot of the episode felt like it was Kripke era Sam and Dean. Things on the show have gotten pretty maudlin in the last few years, so it’s nice when the Winchesters’ world can lighten up a bit.

Are you a Supernatural fan? What did you think of the 200th episode last night? Anyone else unable to stop giggling at "A Single Man Tear"?

What We're Watching: Constantine Pilot Review

Constantine
NBC

Starts Friday, October 24, 8PM Central

I don’t really know much about the character of Constantine, outside of the not-that-great Keanu Reeves movie from 2005 and his bit part in Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic graphic novel. I know he’s a grey character that dabbles in magic and fights demons, so a television version of that should be right in my wheelhouse. We were lucky to see the pilot earlier this summer at Comic Con, while the rest of the world gets to see it this Friday, October 24 on NBC.

Knowing I have don’t have much of a background with Constantine or the Hellblazer comics, please forgive me any inaccuracies in cannon.

With that said, the powers-that-be try to cram what feels like a whole bunch of comic canon into 42 minutes of television. That alone bogs down what could have otherwise been a very fast-paced introduction to a darker comic book character. John Constantine has a checkered background and regularly gets taunted by both angels and demons. He’s a bit of a grumpy guy and doesn’t appreciate suddenly getting roped in to protecting the daughter of an old friend.

That’s basically the plot of the pilot – a demon wants the friend’s daughter, Constantine feels obligated to protect her from being dragged into hell. There are some toss ins about previous cases going horribly wrong, leaving Constantine with figurative (and a few literal) demons haunting him so that the only place he can get some rest is in an institution. An angel played by Lost’s Herold Perrineau regularly stops by and threatens Constantine with un-angelic things and hammers home that there’s a bigger mess of things happening than some demon wanting this 20-something year old girl.

Matt Ryan as John Constantine is some good casting. He has the look perfect and his grumpy standoffishness is well-balanced with a sense of humor, so that he doesn’t come out as a complete asshole. Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) plays Liv, the friend’s daughter, and she is equal parts whiney and useless, which is probably why the character is written out after the pilot to be replaced with a different female character. A few secondary characters show promise of building out an intriguing cast.

The special effects are hit or miss with a couple of scenes looking pretty dodgy. This is balanced out by some honestly surprising moments that continued to pique my interest at just the right moments. This pilot feels like it was made for fans of the comics, but there’s enough inside to leave the casual or new fan interested in seeing more. Matt Ryan is a charismatic lead and a fair number of Easter eggs are dropped throughout the pilot episode. If it realizes even half of the potential it hints at with this pilot, this should be a fun Friday night diversion, though I don’t know if it will have the staying power of some of the other comic book-based shows currently on the air.

What We're Watching: Sleepy Hollow Season 1

Sleepy Hollow
On Monday, 8PM Central
FOX

Back when Sleepy Hollow started in August 2013, we didn’t watch it even though it should have automatically made it onto my “must try out list”. I mean, it was a supernatural, sorta-horror thing with a British guy and a leading character that was female. The supernatural-ness of it all should have put it on the list on its own. But then I heard the plot. And I saw the trailer.

It looked bloody awful.

No, I’m not British. That’s just how awful it looked. I figured there was no way it would possibly last. It would be a huge bomb and the first cancellation of the season. I was obviously wrong. It got pretty great ratings from the get-go, most likely because it debuted in August when nothing else was on and ended after a short 13 episode season. By the time I realized this thing was going to last and I started hearing the comparisons to Supernatural, it was already several episodes in and I was still a nay-sayer.

Well, we finally gave it a shot once the first season came out on DVD, mainlining it like it was a rare commodity. For those of you unfamiliar with Sleepy Hollow, it’s a fantasy show on Fox about Ichabod Crane, who died in the American Revolution after being slashed in the chest by an axe carried by a man whose head he chopped of and yet did not die. Some 250 years later, Ichabod rises from his grave in modern day Sleepy Hollow, where he meets up with Lieutenant Abbie Mills, a young beat cop headed to CIA boot camp in a few days. When Mr. Headless starts showing up and popping off other people’s heads, Abbie’s plans change and she sticks around to help Ichabod unravel the crazy.

It’s Supernatural without the car, with two sisters replacing the brothers, and a heavy dose of fictional American lore. You even have a daddy figure, who leaves the siblings a treasure trove of research that help them in their fight against the supernatural creatures. Trying to explain much more of it will just sound like madness, so let’s just say there’s a headless horseman killing people, a demon trying to kick start the apocalypse and Ichabod and Abbie are stuck with the position of witnessing it all.

This show is highly enjoyable, though I never got as addicted to it as I did Supernatural. It has a pretty solid first season, introducing the characters of Jenny, Abbie’s institutionalized sister, and John Noble (Walter from Fringe) plays a “sin eater” whose extreme reluctance to get involved just means he’s going to get dragged even deeper into the crazy. Orlando Jones is a doubtful yet rational in the face of crazy police chief, who inadvertently gets pulled into the apocalypse, while Ichabod’s wife, a witch who cast the spell that allowed him to rise from the dead, helps them on occasion from her place trapped in purgatory.

Most episodes of the first season have a keen “monster of the week” feel to them, though with a scattering of mythology that builds upon itself as the season goes on. It’s very much Supernatural season 1 in that nature. The monster effects are great, if occasionally a bit unnerving (though that’s probably what they were going for).

 

Nicole Beharie plays Abbie as a rational woman in an irrational place, never doubting the crazy she sees in front of her. She doesn’t break into hysterics when a headless man with a giant gun shows up in her path. She barely even doubts Ichabod’s story about being from the American Revolution. She’s reasonable and good in a stressful situation. She has a ridiculous amount of Bible knowledge that’s a little off-putting, but she’s a fantastic leading lady. Not too serious, while at the same time, not treating the crazy as a joke. Meanwhile Tom Mison as Ichabod is hilarious in his straight man act, having to figure out the 21st century while implementing his knowledge of the 18th to save the entire world. He occasionally has some really ridiculous lines that he plays off with the right amount of conviction that they don’t seem so ridiculous.

The cast in general is fantastic at what they’re doing. Lyndie Greenwood is a badass as Jenny Mills, playing things as though she’s a tip-toe away from being unhinged while Katia Winter’s Katrina is a nice enigma that I hope might have some additional motivations to what is obvious on the surface.

I can understand why so many people were upset after the season finale because it’s a pretty gasp-worthy ender with cliff hanger upon cliff hanger. Much like with Supernatural season 1, I was very happy that I didn’t have to wait so long to see how things turned out. It’s a decently shocking ending with twists that I didn’t foresee, so that always makes me happy.

So what do you guys think? Have you watched Sleepy Hollow? Do you love it, hate it, think it’s super silly?

No spoilers for anything past the first episode of the second season. We’re still a few eps behind!

What We're Watching: The Flash Pilot

The Flash
CW
Begins on Tuesday, October 7

How is it October already? I mean, jeez, it seemed just yesterday the television season was ending and now all the shows are coming back in full swing and I’m having fall time allergy attacks that leave me couch-bound for three days (which is why no blog posts the last few days, sorry). I hope you’ve found a new show or two to obsess over (Gotham, anyone?).

One of the other shows we were able to get a sneak peek of while at Comic Con in July was The Flash, the DC spinoff to the CW’s Arrow. We were actually lucky enough to see it twice in two days, and considering we sat through both showings happily, I think that should probably give you a pretty good idea of what our overall impression was for the pilot. So here are some quick thoughts to get you excited for the debut next Tuesday, October 7.

SPOILERS FOR BASIC PLOT SETUP OF THE SERIE

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What We're Watching: Gotham Pilot Review

Gotham
FOX

Begins Monday, September 22

So technically this is a “What We Watched” and a “What We Will Be Watching” column this week. Back in July we were lucky enough to see the pilot for Fox’s new Batman-related crime drama Gotham. This show focuses on a young Jim Gordon as a police detective discovering exact how far corruption goes in Gotham. How many guys are there really? Who’s corrupted? Who can be trusted?

As expected with anything even remotely Batman-related, Gotham looks gloomy and dark, all shades of gray for both the scenery and the characters. This show will introduce some of the famous Batman villains before they were the big bads that they will become. In the pilot alone, we get a quick shot of baby Catwoman (Kittengirl?) stalking the roof tops, stealing milk from passing strangers. The Penguin is an awkward bumbling henchman of Fish Mooney, a female mob boss who I believe was created solely for this show. Finally a pre-Riddler Edward Nigma is given a brief moment of screen time as a police forensic expert that doesn’t like to give straight answers. It’s also been said that someone that could potentially become the Joker will be slipped into every episode, so perhaps he was the standup comic trying out for Mooney in her club.

The pilot revolves around the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents as they walk their son home from the theatre. It plays out just as one would expect from the comics, but this time, we get to see the immediate aftermath, the failings of the city’s police and the determination of its newest detective to do what’s right. David Mazouz plays little Bruce in an understandable state of shock, only to then start showing signs of menace and a need for revenge as he reappears later on in the show. Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon seems like a solid moral center for a show that can easily go off the rails into cartoon-land. He scowls a lot, but there seems to be a flicker of hope in him that he can have a positive effect against the corruption around him.

My only real complaint about the pilot is learning that Pamela Isley – the future Poison Ivy – has been renamed Ivy Pepper for no apparent reason. She only has a tiny cameo in the pilot, but the ridiculous name change is going to make me grumpy every time she comes on screen. Camren Bicondova as little Selina Kyle makes up for it though with impishness as she clambers over roof tops. In just a few moments, she conveys both Selina’s carefree “I take what I want” attitude along with an empathy for little Bruce after his harrowing experience.

Jada Pinkett Smith looks like she’s having fun chewy scenery as Fish Mooney and Robin Taylor is perfect as awkward Oswald Cobblepot, who dreams of power but doesn’t yet have the guts to do what is necessary to obtain it. This show won’t hurt for fun villains even if Batman’s rouge gallery doesn’t exist just yet. Meanwhile Donal Logue is perfectly happy trying to out-chew Smith as Detective Bullock, the less than squeaky clean partner of Gordon, who attempts to show his younger charge the ropes to maneuver through the corrupt streets of Gotham and the compromises to integrity that need to be made to prevent yourself from getting killed.

The writers are playing fast and loose with canon, but in the pilot, it didn’t bother me much (except for the Poison Ivy name change). Using Renee Montoya as a fed, who potentially had a relationship with Gordon’s fiancé messes up serious canon timelines, but the fact that Montoya is there at all excites me. Overall the show has huge promise, both for one off episodes and an over-arching storyline. It’s not going to be your standard Batman show, but rather a look at the sickness that was so prevalent in Gotham when Bruce was a child that it created Batman in time. This is probably the new show I am most excited about this season and I can’t wait to see what Easter eggs the writers and producers slip into each episode.

What We’re Watching: Nazis on the Moon & a Doctor Who Update

Hey, look! It’s two weeks in a row that I’m blogging on a Wednesday!

Last week, in the inaugural What We’re Watching post, I had on my grumpy pants. After a lackluster True Blood finale and a messy Doctor Who premiere, I was generally bummed about television. I’m happy to say that this week, my grumpy pants are folded up and tucked away in the back of my closet. First the Doctor Who update.

Thank Moffatt, the second episode was so much better than the first. I’m starting to get a feel for Capaladi’s Doctor and he’s moving away from general “asshat version of Matt Smith” into something more intriguing. He has that childlike hopefulness seen in the previous incarnations, but in a much more subdued manner. The episode itself was pretty silly, shrinking the Doctor, Clara and an assortment of red shirts so that they could go inside a Dalek to “cure it”. The execution was entertaining though.

It was also the first time I had ever seen Clara as an adult. This statement made Fernando sputter in disbelief, but for some reason, Clara has always read to me as being in her late teens. Seeing her with the new ex-soldier guy whose name I don’t remember, but who I am already quite fond of, finally took her from being an annoying bratty child to a palatable young adult. Perhaps I can grow to like Clara after all?

And now for the main event on this week’s What We’re Watching – MOON NAZIS.

For some reason, one Friday night we decided to watch Iron Sky after it had been suggested by Max, the Netflix robot. We’re quickly learning to not listen to him, but not necessarily because of Iron Sky. First of all, look at that poster. It’s Suckerpunch if that movie had been only the fun videogame cut-scene parts and not any of the pseudo-feminist bullshit. Yet somehow I missed the swastikas because I was surprised that, upon starting the film, some astronauts landed on the moon to find… a swastika-shaped compound ON. THE. MOON.

This was the point where I paused the movie and got some alcohol.

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