Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weekly Television Roundup | July 18th-22nd

Oh, yes. It's time to discuss some of my favorite shows currently on air--and let out all the love... or hate towards each program. Summer time means most shows are on a hiatus, with the exception of Pretty Little Liars and Aquarius. I'm perfectly fine with this, given my state of mind in good weather--I seem to be lazy and scatter brained when it comes down to keeping up with television this time of year, but this week I was kind of on fire. I traded in my lack of energy for a bit of entertainment on the good 'ole tube (is that even a saying?) and kicked back to enjoy the show. Aquarius was sadly off this Thursday in order for NBC to air coverage of the various political conventions (don't even get me started...) and while I didn't get my weekly David Duchovny fix, it did give me time to check out two new shows: Guilt, Freeform's latest dishy mystery, and the newest addition to every Netflix junkies binge list Stranger Things. Lastly, in a #THROWBACK to end all throwbacks, I found myself watching an episode of Degrassi for the first time since high school--how could I say no to a longly anticipated reunion with some of my generations characters? Thanks a lot, Netflix. I'm weak, I tell you! Weak!


On the topic of weak with an E instead of an A. Do you see where I'm going? Pretty Little Liars, but I don't really have to say that, do I? Hear me out, guys, this season has been pretty damned good so far. Campy in the way that it used to be. For a good chunk of last year, after its lackluster A reveal, not to mention offensive but let's not go there right now, PLL seemed to hit a few speed bumps and lost part of its charm to me, but the latest season has been proof that anything* can get its groove back. No? Maybe? Oh, fuck it! Earlier in the week, of course, I watched the Tuesday night television gift that just keeps on giving:

*Disclaimer: Gossip Girl couldn't get its groove back after jumping the shark but hey, we're soooo not getting into that right now. Phew. You didn't really think I would not mention that, right?

Anyways. Before I get to the goods, the attempts at recapping by yours truly, can we take a moment to appreciate one of the shows stars Troian Bellisario, aka Spencer Hastings, calling out the PLL official Twitter account for slut-shaming one of the lead characters? I do hate the term slut-shaming but if the shoe fits. As if we didn't have enough reasons to love this outspoken lead actress, she just keeps on proving again and again how badass she really is. Why didn't I have actresses like her, who spoke out on matters like this, or Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) or Rowan Blanchard (Girl Meets World) growing up?

Shout out to all the feminists out there and the women who try and educate.

Onto Pretty Little Liars. A lot has happened this season in such a short amount of time that I am having a hard time catching my breath. This is PLL at its best. This weeks episode dealt even more with the repercussions of a certain doctor's death. Who is Elliot and what was he doing in Rosewood? What is his connection to Cece and Mary Drake, and did he double cross them? Tie these questions up in a pretty little bow with the return of Jenna Marshall, Sara Harvey (ugh) and Noel Kahn, we've got a lot of fucking questions. Not limited to, who TF is Archer--aka Rollins--and is he dead? How is he connected to Jenna? Is Ezra's ex girlfriend (who was thought to be dead after she went missing) still alive? Did Aria just massively fuck-up by not telling Ezra about a phone call she received? Short answer: absolutely.

Seriously, guys, what's going on? And where the fuck is Caleb?

Only on Freeform.

This week we really felt the heat turn up on all the show's biggest mysteries. Ali is released under the care of the ever-mysterious Mary Drake; constantly leaving us wondering what she is up to. A lot of fans have mixed feelings on her and I'm among them, too. I'm intrigued, though, nonetheless. How could I not be? It's nice to see Andrea Parker explore her new character! Could they be heading into a plot of twins and evil doing, much like the novels the show is based on explored with Alison and Courtney? Or are they just trying to throw us off as usual?

Do you think Mary and Jessica are the shows take on good vs. evil twins? It wouldn't be the first time the show ran a book plot in unexpected ways. Andrea Parker is totally killing it, regardless.

Brushing aside the Ezria proposal (I'm indifferent towards them mostly; not only do they bore me, I'm still not over feeling yucked out over the original age difference) and the upcoming shit storm which will surely occur when Aria's lie about a certain phone call backfires, I'm going to take a moment to squeal out over the brief Spoby moment we got this week. Maybe it's because Spencer is my favorites of the liars, but I love her with just about anyone on the show or in the books. Wren, Toby, Andrew, Caleb. Hanna. Especially Hanna. Spencer Hastings is by far the most shippable character in Rosewood, right?

That being said--Emily's love plotlines look like they may heat up. Not only is she about to enter something deeper with Sabrina, I feel like we got a little hint at Ali not being all that over her. Is it just me feeling the Emison heat on that one? I don't know. But, I'm into it. All these girls deserve happiness and I don't really mean that romantically but if it helps ease their pain over all the crap they are put through, then bring it! Something about this season is making me wish that they would have stuck with a lot of the book relationships--I've been exceedingly nostalgic for it, especially with the return of Noel Kahn.

Speak of the devil--what is he up to with Jenna and Sara? I'm so ready for it. I'd rather they didn't turn him all cartoon villainy because one of the biggest crappy mix-ups of adapting the characters is his lackluster ~bad boy~ whatever it is he served in the series' run so far. But, hey, some Noel Kahn is better than no Noel Kahn. Did you miss me, Mr. Kahn? ;)


Yep. I just winked. Time to dip out of PLL and pretend that never happened. Onto the next... Stranger Things, Netflix's latest dive into science fiction thrillers. Boy, that show is good, you guys. SO good. Netflix really brings on the binge format, doesn't it? Stranger Things is probably one of their best original releases, you know, ever and is a total knock-out in its genre. Anyone who loves the 1980s is going to enjoy this thriller, about one small town in Indiana and the events that follow the disappearance of a young boy, and the appearance of one peculiar little girl.


Basically, it's a mix of genres and a total nostalgia fest; giving nods to a lot of past greats in science fiction, horror and more. Though its first season is only eight episodes, it's fast paced and will leave you curious for more. Turn down the lights, relax and lose yourself in the creepy world that is the latest Duffer Brothers work. Fans of Doctor Who, Stephen King and Sense8 are going to definitely be feeling this one. My favorite part? The women of the show.

Although it isn't entirely female driven, the three main girls of the cast round out the show and stand out the most. Joyce, Eleven and Nancy are by far the best of the batch. All around, Stranger Things proves to be intriguing, terrifying and all the best parts of television. It will make you jump, laugh and cry. Not only are the script and casting excellent, the eerie way in which it is shot makes the atmosphere all the more deliciously creepy. The effects are nice, too, and overall Stranger Things is the best original project for Netflix this year.

Get ready to adopt five new fictional children with this one! And good news, it's officially been renewed for a second season--so if that ending left you feeling like you were punched in the chest (which, let's face it, it probably did!) fans can take it easy knowing there will hopefully be more chapters soon. I can't wait until the autumn comes so I can rewatch the series for a Halloween binge.

If you haven't watched it, what are you waiting for? Get your ass over to Netflix and give it a go, mate. Trust me. Next up on my list is the latest guilty (ha-ha-ha!) pleasure released by the artist formerly known as ABC Family: Freeform. As the network begins to embrace is edgier schedule, Guilt is one of the standouts in their lineup. Outwardly inspired by the Amanda Knox case, Guilt follows a young American woman living away at university in London who finds herself thrust in the middle of a murder investigation when, after a night of partying, one of her roommates (and best-friend) is brutally killed.

Watch Guilt on Freeform
All five episodes that have aired are available on the app.  
Catch up now


Admittedly, picking up Guilt was more or less a way to pass the time (I picked it on a whim) and I wasn't expecting that much from it. It surprised me. Think of a story ripped from the headlines, embellished quite a bit, and in a similar vein as to the formula they used on Pretty Little Liars. As I've said before, the story is very reminiscent to the Amanda Knox trial that rocked the papers years back and it's hardly the first, or the last, spin on the twisted "what happened?" air we all followed. In Guilt, the characters are sexy and intriguing (honestly--the cast is, on point with typical Freeform/CW shows, dreamy) and nobodies hands are clean. Except for maybe Natalie, the sister of the main suspect. Or maybe I'm just totally in love with this little princess?

Whatever. The point is, Guilt should be at the top of everyone's buzzed about T.V. mysteries this summer--but isn't. I'm dying to know who killed Molly Ryan, why Grace and Luc are so sketchy and so-on. I'm so incredibly intrigued by Roz and Kaley. And, well, everyone. Although the show is far from perfect and is more or less a steamy, campy, twisty show that is the ultimate score for this time of year, it deserves far more attention than it is getting. Guilt is embracing the edgier, riskier side that Freeform is going for and already five episodes in, I have to say that I am impressed.

Toss in a London setting, a whole lot of sketchy behavior, gossip and scandal. Oh, and did I mention one very mysterious and potentially unhinged prince? And... prostitutes? Crooked behavior from the police? What? Well, there's so much to this series and it's only just getting started. I hope that viewers continue tuning in and that word gets around about how delicious this series is. To top off an already pleasant experience, the soundtrack is killer. Give Guilt a chance, it is worth it (despite some cringe worthy moments like, well, the haters!) and has the promise of growing and wrapping things up nicely in the end.

Fans of Pretty Little Liars, Revenge, Scandal and other similar series will devour this epic trip of a show. Sexy, thrilling and all around fun, you'll be binge watching this beauty so quickly you'll beg for more. So, this leaves me with one huge question. Who killed Molly Ryan? I'll be waiting for answers.

Lastly, we have the much anticipated return of the Canadian Teenage Soap Opera meets Afterschool Special that just won't die: Degrassi. I was a huge, huge fan of this show back when TNG was airing on The-N (now Teen Nick) and when I say this I mean huge fan. Basically, there were a lot of things I grew up around: Degrassi, South of Nowhere, Gossip Girl (the books) and Harry Potter. I stopped watching Degrassi somewhere after J.T. Yorke (sniff!) was killed (and yes, I'm still horribly bitter that he was killed off) and haven't really tuned in all that much since.



What can I say? I hold grudges for a really long. I've been more of a casual viewer for the years that have passed since that plot from hell. But from what I know, the fanbase is still really loyal to this beloved show and a lot of my friends are among them, even now in their twenties.

I can only name a handful of characters that have come and gone through the last seven or eight years and haven't watched any of the newer stuff since Emma and CO. left for good. Which, yes, I'm still confused as to why Spinner and Emma got married and stayed together. I haven't watched any of the episodes that have aired since Netflix picked up the series as its latest revival/original program. But when I heard that a lot of my favorites were coming back for a reunion episode--Paige, Marco, Liberty, Emma, Spinner, Craig and the like included--I jumped on the chance to watch the episode and was surprised to see that Degrassi has improved once more and feels like the Degrassi that I grew up with.

Which, to the episode in question. The older batch of characters who made their reappearance were only in the episode for a small time frame and I feel like we didn't learn enough about all of their lives post-Degrassi, but that didn't bother me. I was just happy to see them on screen and represented as adults. It was nice. And it really was filled with a lot of throwbacks to the good old days for these kids: we heard Craig sing, we got a Terri mention, and Spinner referenced the infamous boner situation from way back when.

*I only wish they could have gotten the whole gang back together--Ashley, Jimmy (the most unlikely but hey!), Toby, Hazel, Ellie, Sean, Jay, Manny, Alex and so on... I'm sure I've forgotten a lot. My memory isn't what it used to be even if this show was pretty much my life for almost a decade. I wonder what they are up to in their adult lives? Any head canons for them, Degrassi fans? 

Holly J. and some of the other kids from the generation after that batch made a little appearance, too. I only wish that they would do a full episode dedicated to these guys, kind of like how Skins did a mini-series to wrap up the original gens. Only, you know, good. I'll take what I can get. As for the rest of the episode, I like how it dealt with the injustice of school systems and protests and it was just nice to see it back in its element. Degrassi felt like Degrassi again for me and it almost made me want to binge watch this newer generation--we'll see.

That's it for this weeks television roundup--and my first, yikes!--and I hope you enjoyed it or, I don't know, tolerated my babbling? What shows did you enjoy this week? Do you plan on watching any of the above/or do you already?


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