Things I liked in 2017: Television

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Justina Machado and Rita Moreno in One Day at a Time. Image courtesy of Netflix.

It’s the time of year where we all feel the need to rank things for some reason, and here is a list of TV shows I liked this year. My personal rules for this list are that I have to have seen all of the most recent season, or at least be up to date on what’s aired in Australia. I added that second part because otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to put Jane the Virgin on there. I haven’t seen any of Halt and Catch Fire, but the final season hasn’t aired in Australia either, so the point is moot.

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Streaming Guide November 3 – November 9 | I GO TO THE ZOO

via What’s New In Streaming For The Next Seven Days — DeciderTV

This song is the only thing that matters.

In all seriousness though, there’s some great stuff on here. I’ve seen the first episode of Alias Grace (after finally admitting that I wouldn’t be able to read the book in time), and it’s stunning. Sometimes the best drama comes from two people sitting in a room talking, and this show is a perfect example of how to do that well. The best examples are psychology shows – the other one that comes to mind is HBO’s In Treatment, and Alias Grace‘s Doctor Jordan is a “doctor of the mind.” Either way, I’d still watch more of these shows, because when they’re done well, you don’t need anything else.

I hadn’t seen any of the new season of The Girlfriend Experience when I wrote this guide yesterday, and since it’s been published I’ve watched the first three episodes. The parallel storylines are a new approach to anthology series, and it works. I’m intrigued as to why the show decided to tell the story this way, but two episodes are released each week, one from each storyline. Right now my main concern is why all these buildings in D.C. appear to be empty for clandestine meetings and shady business dealings. Anyway, there are some really great things there, but if you take nothing else from this, watch the clip for “I Go to the Zoo.”

Streaming Guide October 13 – October 19

Rebecca Cactus

This is my desktop background, I love it.

via DeciderTV

Hey, remember when I posted this GIF yesterday? It was so my erstwhile editor Steve Molk could save it, because Slack won’t let you save GIFs. That’s what I learned late last night while I was watching the Dynasty premiere. Netflix did a number on me when they didn’t give me any warning that the latest seasons of Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend were dropping, so I had to highlight them retroactively. Last week was a little busy, so I couldn’t do both which meant I got really into my Crazy Ex-Girlfriend synopsis.

So, other things in streaming: I’m still not sure how I feel about The Babysitter, which I watched on Tuesday night. If you want to talk about it, please leave a comment or contact me on Twitter. At the start of the film I began counting how many songs had been used – there were 5 in the first 15 minutes – but when it gets to the point, it’s pretty fun. I know that last song choice as they cut to credits is supposed to be funny but it still rubbed me the wrong way. I liked that last line though! Oh well.

I haven’t watched The Meyerowitz Stories yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I have seen the season two premiere of Good Behavior, and I was drawn in immediately, despite not having seen the second half of the first season. I think Michelle Dockery’s performance is fantastic, but when I read the description, I was hoping it would be a little more like Leverage. Plus Ann Dowd and Laura Bell Bundy are guest starring! Okay, Ann Dowd was in the first season, but I’m definitely more interested in the show now than I was during the first season.

I think I’m going to start writing Riverdale recaps, but starting next week. I might put in a few bullet points tomorrow if I have time/remember. There’s a direction I think it’s going to take based on plot points I’m not allowed to reveal from my screener emails, so I’m looking forward to seeing if I’m right (I haven’t watched ahead yet – I’ll probably stick to one episode per week because I like talking about it with my friends).

Things I wrote in 2016

I’ve seen various writers post things they’re proud of this year, so I decided to do the same. This year I started to pitch pieces to other websites, which was scary, but I’m glad I did it. My experience working with editors has been positive, and I’m looking forward to doing more of it next year. This list of pieces is things I’ve written for the blog and other websites, roughly in chronological order.

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Claire Hooper and Mel Buttle in The Great Australian Bake Off

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5 songs that show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is in on the joke

As I wrote earlier todayCrazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s first season is finally dropping on Netflix ANZ tomorrow, so I thought I’d write something about this show that I love. When I first heard that there was a show called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I had a similar reaction to hearing the premise for Jane the Virgin: I scoffed and rolled my eyes. Like Jane, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show that’s smarter than its title suggests. The term “crazy ex-girlfriend” has become a cliche – a throwaway line used to dismiss an ex’s behaviour (“That’s a sexist term”). The premise is that Rebecca flies across the country to be with her boyfriend from summer camp, but as she says in the first season theme song, the situation is a lot more nuanced than that. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is in on the joke of its title. It’s a feminist show at its core, co-run by two women, Golden Globe winning star Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh-McKenna. The songs are funny and insightful. I’ve put together a list of songs that demonstrate that this show knows exactly what it’s doing. This isn’t a list of the show’s best songs (that would be much longer, and I’d probably include all of these anyway), but they give the best sense of what the show is about.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Season 1 Episode 1: “Josh Just Happens to Live Here!”

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Image courtesy of The CW.

When the CW announced that they’d picked up a show called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend at the upfronts last year, I was worried. Yes, Jane the Virgin isn’t a great title for a show either, but the term “crazy ex-girlfriend” is one that gets thrown around with abandon, usually by men. Thankfully, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show written by and starring women. I don’t know how far the show goes towards reappropriating the term, but it’s off to a promising start. I saw the explicit version of the “Sexy Getting Ready Song” on YouTube back when the hsow premiered in the United States, and I wasn’t really a fan of that either, so I just left it. Then Rachel Bloom won a Golden Globe and I decided I really should be watching this show. Luckily it made its Australian premiere on Eleven last week, and I’ve now had a chance to watch it.

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