5 Fandom Friday: Most Binge Worthy Shows

fandom.5.friday

Getting back into the 5 Fandom Friday swing of things and this week, we’re talking binge-worthy shows. To be honest, I don’t even binge-watch shows that often. In a lot of cases, I can only watch maybe two or three episodes of something in a row, before I either have to watch something else or go do something else entirely. The times that I do end up binge-watching a show, it’s usually a comedy and I turn it on just while I’m doing something else or I’m like “I just want to watch something quick before bed” – next thing I know it’s 5 episodes later. So here are my most binge-worthy shows.

1.) FRIENDS

Always have and always will love Friends. So good and funny, and insanely quotable. I remember one summer I made it my mission to go through a season a week. More recently, my cousins and I had Friends going, while we worked on our 1000-piece puzzle (this was during my trip to Disneyland at the beginning of the year).

2.) HAPPY ENDINGS

Three seasons was not nearly enough to spend with these funny weirdos. My usual go-to episodes are “The Kerkovich Way” or “The Marry Prankster”, and then I continue on from there.

3.) PARKS AND RECREATION

I think I binge-watched seasons 2 and 3 while on one of my vacations, which had gotten me all caught up to watch season 4 live, and I just couldn’t get enough! They were just the best; I miss it.

4.) CHUCK

The Nerd Herders at the Buy More – so entertaining, so funny. Again, there was one night I was scrolling through Netflix at like 11 p.m. and I’m like “Chuck! Let’s watch one episode…” and I stayed up an extra 3 hours.

5.) NIKITA

What, you thought I’d make it through one TV-related list without mentioning one of my favourite shows ever? HA! It’s one of the few exceptions to my typically “comedy-only” binge-watching. I loved everything about this show and will do a mini-binge just because.

Goodbye ‘Chuck’

Tonight, NBC’s Chuck aired its final episodes. I’m not going to go into detail about what happened, because if you’re a fan, you would’ve watched it.

For me, the ending was perfect. To watch the show end and not have anything to say about it afterwards is a good thing. That means there was nothing to nitpick, nothing to comment on – just letting the finale be as it is.

It’s been a tough road for Chuck. The first season got interrupted by the Writers’ Strike. At the end of every season, there were questions as to whether the show would come back for another season. Then of course it gets picked up for a 13-episode run, only to get the back 9 episodes picked up as well to make it a full season. It truly is amazing that the show got to be on the air for 5 seasons, and that the writers could do a proper finale like they did. Because as with any show, getting cancelled after the fact is frustrating to all. So an announced final season is really a gift.

I’ve loved Chuck from the beginning. For one, I am a total nerd myself so having a nerd as the titular hero was just pure awesome. But as a TV fan, I really appreciated the efforts made by the writers to create a TV show that was different than most other shows. A show that mixes action, comedy, romance with great flow is no easy feat. Not to mention the show had a lot of heart, which definitely translated to the fans.

Chuck will forever be among my favourite shows (that’s 2 Josh Schwartz shows, along with The O.C.) I love so many things about the show, but my favourite memory is actually outside of the show – going to the WB lot and our tour guide taking us to the set of Chuck (albeit not telling us ahead of time). I freaked out seeing a Buy More sign and the entire time I was in a state of utter shock and awe at standing right on the set, which was the apartment building/courtyard. Actually, before even seeing the set, I saw the Nerd Herd car and I was already happy about that. Unfortunately, I didn’t see Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, or any of the other cast members. But I will remember thinking just how cool it was to have been able to stand on the set of one of my favourite TV shows. Also, I did buy a Nerd Herd shirt at the WB shop, so I’m a total Nerd Herd For Life!

So with that I say goodbye to my favourite nerd spy (Had to be specific. Can’t betray Sydney Bristow and Nikita, after all). Thanks for 5 seasons of drama, fun, and well…awesomeness!

Knowing TV/Movie Shooting Locations: Hindering the Watching Experience?

For the past few years, I’ve become intrigued by finding out where TV shows and movies get filmed. In the past I just thought it was cool when I heard a movie was shooting somewhere in Ontario, didn’t really give it much thought beyond that. I’m guessing it’s safe to say that my interest piqued when I went to Los Angeles 2 years ago. It was my first time back to L.A. in about 5 years, so it was a different feeling being there at 21 than 16. Anyways, when I went I started doing research as to where some things were filmed. I really just ended up looking at where The O.C. used to be filmed.

Now I really started getting interested in where things were being filmed, especially in the Toronto area. Things really went to another level once I found out last year that Nikita was being filmed (mostly) in Toronto. I went into uber-fan mode: “OMG! They are filming in Toronto! I have to go there more often than I do! I could meet Maggie Q or Shane West!” I just thought it was the coolest thing EVER (kind of still is).

I went back to L.A. last December and decided to be my pop culture geek self and went on a tour of the Warner Brothers lot. Best $45 I spent. Being able to see the sets of these shows I love, it was a little unreal. I got to see Central Perk. I stood on the set of Chuck. It was so cool seeing the stages and even just the “regular town” sets.

There is a point in prefacing my blog with these stories, as I so often do. In the past year of watching television, it occurred to me that while it was cool finding out/knowing where some things were filmed, it took me out of watching the show. My suspension of disbelief was temporarily lifted when I knew exactly where something was filmed.

I remember when Nikita filmed for a day in my hometown of Cambridge. They posted in the local newspaper that the bridge in the downtown area was going to be shut down for the day for filming, and when I read it, I freaked knowing that I literally could go see Maggie Q. I made my attempts at trying to find and meet her, but luck was not on my side that day. When the episode (1×18, “Into the Dark”) aired, I got excited watching it but quickly realized I shouldn’t have been. The scenes that were filmed in Cambridge were meant to be a substitute for London, England, so as soon as they said they were in London, I’m like thinking “They’re in Cambridge!” Took me right out of it. Not to mention, as the scenes played out, I’d go “That’s City Hall! There’s the bridge! And the church near the bridge, etc.”

Back in October, after a concert, my friend and I had to go pick up her brother and drive him back with us. As we pulled onto the street where he lived, we saw all these crew trucks and I’m thinking “Are they filming something here? What are they filming? Is it Nikita?!” Short answer: Yes, it was ‘Nikita’ and apparently they’ve been there all week according to my friend’s brother (he didn’t even have the decency to tell us ahead of time.) I managed to catch a glimpse of Maggie Q when we passed by but couldn’t actually meet her. Again, the episode (2×08, “London Calling”) airs, and I’m like “Hey! I know where they filmed that!”, followed by “Damn it! I’m not supposed to know!” Didn’t help matters that in one of the scenes you can still see an Ontario license plate on one of the cars, when they’re supposedly in London (and there I go being one of those annoying people noticing goofs).

Most recently, I saw promo pictures for the upcoming episode (2×11, “Pale Fire”) and soon realized that they had come back to Cambridge to film part of the episode. Unfortunately, I was away on vacation at the time, or else you bet I would’ve known about it and went to find a way to meet Shane West and Devon Sawa. This is how bad it’s getting: I can tell from a picture where they’re filming, and the background was blurry because the focus of the pic was Shane and Devon.

Obviously my interest in knowing where ‘Nikita’ is being filmed is starting to hinder my TV watching experience. And it’s not just ‘Nikita’ that this happens. I’ve watched episodes of ‘Covert Affairs’ and ‘Suits’ where some shots, I’m like “That’s [insert street/place] in Toronto!” because I know those shows are shot in Toronto. Watching the second episode of ‘Hart of Dixie’, they introduced the Rammer Jammer, the local bar/hangout. The Rammer Jammer is also known as Merlotte’s from ‘True Blood’. How do I know that (besides from watching True Blood)? The tour guide pointed it out when I went on the WB Studio tour. From that point on, I’ve been watching ‘Hart of Dixie’ calling the Rammer Jammer, Merlotte’s, and wondering where on the WB lot they’re filming.

But the funny thing is I watch ‘Chuck’ and I don’t even think about the fact that I stood on the set. Same thing with watching ‘Friends’ re-runs – I don’t think about the fact that I saw Central Perk and sat on the couch.

Which leads me to wonder, at what point does knowing a shooting location affect how you watch TV? Is it different knowing that something is a set that was built specifically for that TV show, as opposed to something that’s a part of the world? Because clearly my issues of disbelief arise seeing the streets of Toronto + Cambridge being used as the streets of New York, Washington, London, etc. Also, how do people in LA and NY deal with this? Although I guess, when something is meant to be LA and it is shot in LA, it shouldn’t be such a problem.

Lesson from all this? Maybe I should be less obsessive about ‘Nikita’ and just in general, watch less TV….That’s most likely not going to happen.

Upfronts 2011: NBC First to Unveil Its 2011-2012 Schedule

NBC was the first of the broadcast networks to announce their primetime schedules for the new season on Sunday. In total the network picked up 12 shows: 6 dramas and 6 comedies. As I did last year, I’ll break down all the new shows (based entirely on their descriptions) and see what’s worth watching and what’s not. Of course, this is all my opinion. So a rundown of the new shows and where they’ll fit into the schedule:

  • The Playboy Club [Drama – Mondays @ 10]: Set in the early 1960s at the, what else, Playboy Club in Chicago. This is one of the shows where I’m not entirely sure about. Some of the cast members (Amber Heard, Jenna Dewan-Tatum) gets me interested in the show, but I think I’m going to have to wait until previews come out to make a better decision.
  • Up All Night [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8]: Obviously a comedic take on the challenges of parenthood and balancing that with a career. Most definitely will give this one a shot mainly because of the casting of Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett. With the time period, it’s clear that NBC is trying to take away some of ABC’s comedy night, which I don’t really get. I mean I thought it was a really good idea for NBC to have done their 3 hour block of comedy on Thursdays these past few months. But I’m not a network exec so what do I know?
  • Free Agents [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8:30]: This is based on a show from the UK, which follows two PR execs on the rebound. The show certainly sounds like it has potential and again, with a cast that consists of Hank Azaria, Kathryn Hahn, and Anthony Head (Giles!), it’s worth giving a shot.
  • Whitney [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30]: The plum post-Office slot goes to this new comedy about a couple who are in no rush to get hitched. First of all, considering it’s about a couple, I don’t know why the name of the show is only one-half of said couple. Second…yeah, I don’t know about this one.
  • Prime Suspect [Drama – Thursdays @ 10]: Based on the UK miniseries which starred Helen Mirren, this new adaptation stars Maria Bello as a female detective trying to succeed in her male-dominated precinct. If it hasn’t been noticed from last year, I am very wary of cop shows. That being said I will give this one a shot because it is a well-known entity.
  • Grimm [Drama – Fridays @ 9]: Detective/cop show where characters from the Grimm fairy tales actually exist in our world. I’m not so sure about the whole putting a new show on Friday, but CBS managed to do well with putting Blue Bloods on Friday so why not? Although granted, Grimm doesn’t have as high profile a cast as Blue Bloods. Anyways, I think the show offers a little something different than most other shows (I mean fairytale characters are real?!) that I would definitely watch it.
  • Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea [Comedy – Midseason]: The show is based on the semi-autobiographical book of the same name by comedienne Chelsea Handler. I know of Chelsea Handler, not very familiar with her style of comedy so I don’t know how I’ll feel about the show.
  • Best Friends Forever [Comedy – Midseason]: A comedy which looks at a woman who lives with her boyfriend and also lets her newly divorced best friend move in. This could be really funny or really dumb, and I’m moreso inclined to the latter, but haven’t seen anything of it yet, so I’ll try to reserve my judgment.
  • Bent [Comedy – Midseason]: Starring Amanda Peet, the show revolves around two people who find themselves attracted to characteristics which they would normally hate. This could be funny if the writing’s solid.
  • Smash [Drama – Midseason]: SO excited for this. I am all up for more music on my TV screen. The show revolves around a group of people who are trying to create a Broadway musical. It stars Debra Messing (welcome back to our TV screens Grace Adler!) and Katharine McPhee. I also expect to see a lot of my favourite dancers.
  • Awake [Drama – Midseason]: Another show I’m quite excited for. Jason Isaacs (aka Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter series) stars in this drama-thriller about a detective who finds himself living two realities after a car accident. This could get trippy-weird like Inception or Fringe, but I am such a fan of things that plays with my mind.
  • The Firm [Drama – Midseason]: Based on the novel and movie of the same name. There is no cast yet, and it supposedly takes place 10 years after the events of the book/movie. I want to say I’ll give this a shot depending on who gets cast in it, but to be honest it’s another law-type show, so I’ll more than likely skip it whenever it actually gets to air.

Other notable points in the schedule:

  • Chuck, which was renewed last week for a 5th and final season, is moving to Fridays @ 8. I normally would be worried about a show on Fridays, but considering it’s the last season, the ratings can’t possibly get any worse (right?). And anyways, from my point of view, if FOX decides to keep Fringe on Fridays @ 9, that’s great news because I’ll get to watch my two favourie shows back to back. Perfect.
  • 30 Rock will come back in the midseason.
  • Parks & Recreation moves back to its old time slot of Thursdays @ 8:30.
  • Parenthood renewed and is staying put on Tuesdays @ 10.
  • The Sing-Off will be back in the fall in the 8-10 block on Mondays. I’m assuming that the show’s going to be looking for a new judge since Nicole Scherzinger is going to be hosting The X-Factor. Come midseason, The Sing-Off will be replaced in its timeslot by a second season of The Voice.
  • As noted in a previous blog, Law & Order Los Angeles, Outsourced, The Event, Perfect Couples, Chase, and The Cape have all been officially cancelled.

And with that, we get a glimpse of what TV next season will look like…at least with NBC. I gotta say though, with Smash and Awake both being set for midseason, I’m more excited for winter than fall. Next up: FOX.

Upfronts 2011 So Far: TV Pick-Ups and Cancellations

So it has most definitely been a while since I last posted, but I figured there’s no better time to come back than now. Why? Because network upfronts are here! Well, technically, the upfronts are happening next week, but over the course of the past week, each of the networks have announced which new shows are getting picked up and which of the existing shows are getting renewed (at least the ones that had yet to be announced) or cancelled. I think I’ll wait until the networks unveil next season’s schedule during their upfronts to discuss all the new shows and what I think about them. So for now just a rundown of the week in TV news.

FOX

Pickups:

  • The New Girl – Comedy starring Zooey Deschanel and Jake M. Johnson
  • I Hate My Teenage Daughter – Comedy starring Jamie Pressly and Katie Finneran
  • The FinderBones spin-off show starring Geoff Stults
  • Alcatraz – J.J. Abrams mystery show starring Jorge Garcia

Renewals: Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, House

Cancellations: Breaking In, Human Target, Lie to Me, The Chicago Code, Traffic Light – Of the 5, I only watched Breaking In and I gotta say I’m kind of disappointed they decided not to give this show another season. It’s been a little rocky but I definitely thought Christian Slater finally got himself a good series after his previous 2 shows failed. Not angry over the cancellation, but definitely disappointed.

Other Related News: Doesn’t relay to a pickup/renewal/cancellation, but this week FOX announced that Seth Gabel will become a series regular for Fringe‘s 4th season!

NBC

Pickups:

  • Smash – Musical drama featuring Debra Messing and Katharine McPhee
  • Prime Suspect – Adaptation of the Brit miniseries, stars Maria Bello
  • Up All Night – New comedy starring Christina Applegate
  • Whitney Cummings comedy
  • The Playboy Club – Drama set in 1960s Chicago. Stars Amber Heard, Eddie Cibrian, and Jenna Dewan-Tatum
  • Awake – Thriller starring Jason Isaacs and Wilmer Valderrama
  • Grimm – Fantasy cop drama featuring Kate Burton and David Giuntoli
  • Are You There Vodka? – Comedy based on Chelsea Handler’s book of the same name. Stars Laura Prepon.
  • Free Agents – Stars Hank Azaria
  • BFFs – Stars Stephen Schneider
  • Bent – Stars Amanda Peet

Renewals:

  • Chuck – No more being on the bubble! NBC made the right move by renewing Chuck for a 5th season. Unfortunately, it will be the final season for the show. At least it’ll get a proper ending.
  • Parenthood
  • Harry’s Law

Cancellations: The Event, Law & Order Los Angeles, Outsourced

ABC

Pickups:

  • Good Christian Belles – Primetime soap starring Leslie Bibb and Kristin Chenoweth
  • Charlie’s Angels – Reboot of the 70s show featuring Minka Kelly, Rachel Taylor, and Annie Ilonzeh
  • Once Upon A Time
  • Pan Am
  • Scandal
  • The River
  • Revenge
  • Last Man Standing – New Tim Allen comedy
  • Work It
  • Apt. 23

Renewals:

  • Happy Endings – Very happy about this renewal
  • Body of Proof

Cancellations:

  • Brothers & Sisters – Kind of sad, but sort of expected it. The show just wasn’t the same as it was in the beginning. Also it definitely seemed as though the writers were struggling with coming up with new storylines. Like I said, I’m sad to see it go, but it was time.
  • V
  • No Ordinary Family – Had such promise at the beginning and then got exponentially worse almost going into Heroes (S2-4) territory as it got towards the end of the season. Cancellation was expected.
  • Detroit 187
  • Off the Map
  • Better With You – This cancellation hurt. It was one of my favourite new shows of the past season. Loved the relationships, and I really love the cast as well. Each character has their own quirks and it all just worked well together. Such a shame not enough people watched.
  • Mr. Sunshine – I’m sad that the show’s cancelled too. It wasn’t the best, but I was hoping for a second season so hopefully the writers could find its footing. Not to mention, I was really hoping for a Cougar Town/Mr.Sunshine hour block of comedy (yes, I am still a huge Friends fan.)

CBS

Pickups:

  • Person of Interest: J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk drama staring Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel
  • Two Broke Girls: Comedy starring Kat Dennings

Other Related News: The biggest news of the day is that CBS/WB has signed Ashton Kutcher to replace Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men.

CW

Pickups:

  • Ringer – New thriller starring Sarah Michelle Gellar

I might update this post as more news comes during the weekend (if it does). Otherwise, I’ll be posting next week on the official upfronts.