#CurrentlyWatching: Rise

This week’s #CurrentlyWatching is another one I am just going to be cautiously optimistic about. As I have mentioned in previous posts, when I did this last year, a lot of the shows I actually wanted to save or draw attention to with my writing still got cancelled and I was devastated. So, I usually try to not do a whole post for it anymore before at least an entire season has aired, but I couldn’t hold off on Rise any longer.

The show airs on NBC and is a couple episodes away from its first season finale. While it may seem like a cross between Glee and Friday Night Lights, it is actually based on real life events that were chronicled in the non-fiction book Drama High by Michael Sokolove. I haven’t read it, but I checked out some reviews on Goodreads, where a couple of the former students definitively agreed to the excellence of that teacher (while the narrator’s voice and his depiction of the small town is apparently debatable). I know how valuable of an experience it is to have someone like that during your school years, so I always liked the idea for this show from the beginning.

Rise follows teacher Lou Mazzuchelli as he tries to revive the High School’s theater department and faces a lot of pushback from the community about his unconventional approach.

I remember watching the first episode of Rise and it hitting directly home where my heart is. Most of the time, I am not a huge fan of big ensemble casts, just because I like to focus on individuals which gets increasingly more difficult as the plot thickens. So, of course, there’s always episodes that focus on some characters more than on others to the point where there’s still people left to discover halfway through the season. It’s something you have to be prepared for, but I don’t think that it distracted from the overall most important story arcs.

As I mentioned above, many people have compared it to Glee, but the show strikes a much more mature tone. Due to it focusing on a musical production and not Glee club in general, there is also less singing and especially no random bursting into a song when they aren’t actually auditioning or rehearsing for the play. The problems the characters are facing seem very tailored to the characters they are playing in the chosen musical, “Spring Awakening”, so I wonder how that will go over the span of several seasons.

Overall, there’s a lot of different topics that are being treated. There’s a definite focus on the parent-child-relationships and I really loved seeing the various nuances of that so far. In addition to that, there’s conversations about transgender issues, teen pregnancy, underage drinking and alcoholism, exploring ones sexuality, the foster system and general societal pressure to fit into a certain mold. It does all that with a lot of compassion, showing the characters when they overstep or make something about themselves when it’s really not. I am not trying to say Rise does everything right, but it offers a platform for a lot of representation.

I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself, because I am terrible at picking just one person to spotlight, especially when there is such a huge cast. Everyone brings something to the table, but I guess I am a little partial to Maashous’ storyline.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I would like to foster or adopt children in the future. From a young age on, I always had this idea of wanting to help those kids and teens once I was grown up (and able to care for someone else), but somehow I was also too chicken to pursue a career as a social worker. Anyway, before I get off track too much, Maashous is one of those kids in the foster system and I guess that’s why I was so invested in his story.

He is quiet, the kind of person you may not notice, but who is always around. He cares for his friends, seems very open-minded from what I saw so far and is willing to help whenever someone needs him. So, it broke my heart to know that he had troubles in his foster home and ended up sleeping at school. He deserves so much better! I don’t want to spoil what happens, but it gets better and I hope you might tune in to find out how exactly.

Have you watched Rise? Do you want to? Let’s talk!

#CurrentlyWatching: The Good Place

By some miracle, I am able to keep having a theme for each week of #CurrentlyWatching posts and this week is all about sitcoms with depth. I can’t exactly say what it is with sitcoms, but usually they are terrible at holding my attention. It’s not so much that I don’t enjoy watching them, but they rarely have a compelling overarching theme or storyline that compels me to watch every single episode. Well, until the shows came around that I am going to present to you now, starting with The Good Place.

The Good Place airs on NBC, has currently 2 seasons available and is already renewed for a third one (Major YAAAS! for that). As I mentioned, it’s a sitcom, so episodes are usually about 20 minutes long.

Eleanor died and made it to the Good Place. Or has she? A seemingly small mix-up that Eleanor refuses to clear up in fear of having to go to the bad place, leads to consequences for all the inhabitants of her new neighborhood.

Is everything really fine? No, it is not and it’s hilarious. Surprisingly enough, I keep meeting people who haven’t even heard of The Good Place yet, but for me it was such a breakout star when it premiered at the end of 2016. While it is funny at all times, it also manages to carry a life message or get an ethical point across without ever turning really heavy. I can appreciate that, because there are days you don’t want the heavy stuff on your screen.

Also, while the concept may seem formulaic, I can promise you that there are tons of twists and turns that you won’t be expecting. Obviously I am not going to give anything away here, but let’s just say it’s big and very good!

During the past two season, I’d say we’ve gotten a pretty good look at the main characters, without having seen ALL there is to them. With flashbacks (that are thankfully not overused) we discover more about the humans, but also Michael – the architect of the this particular neighborhood in the Good Place.

I like that there is such variation in the personalities. You are bound to recognize both, good and bad, traits in each of them that you are probably also able to find in yourself. Eleanor, for example, may be rude and selfish, but it’s mostly because she had to fend for herself from a young age on and therefore knows the world doesn’t hand out freebies. Or Chidi, the ethics and moral professor, who is so flustered by the idea of making the right choice that he sometimes fails to make any choice at all. I’d like to go more into detail, because these characters are absolutely fantastic, but I just realised how many spoilers are potentially in their description, so I’d rather have you discover them yourselves.

There is so much to love about this show. Janet, who can’t technically be classified as a person, is definitely among the favourite parts of the show. However, there was always something about Eleanor and Chidi’s relationship that fascinated me the most. Actually, all relationships Eleanor has are interesting, because they don’t just make her but the other person a better being as well. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that there are several main characters, with Kristen Bell’s Eleanor kind of being the main main character among them.

So, that’s it for today. I hope I could pique your interest for this show a little bit. Again, it is funny, explores some moral issues but never fails to surprise and stay interesting as it continues on the long run (seriously, the season finales are the bomb!).

Have you watched The Good Place? Do you like it as much as me? Who else is pumped for Season 3?

#CurrentlyWatching: Timeless

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It’s that time of the week again where I get too swoon over a show. As you can see, I have chosen Timeless and I just want to clarify that I am not getting paid by NBC to talk about these shows (seriously, I WISH that was the case. I’d be living the dream). No, no, it’s a complete coincidence that I am featuring two NBC shows in a row, but when my TV-obsession strikes, I just have to go with it.

It’s no secret that I am a fan of time travel, but there were a couple new shows coming out and paired with the already running program from this season and I felt like the topic was a bit of an overkill. I tried pretty much all of them and Timeless definitely stuck with me the most so far.

An unlikely trio, made up of historian Lucy, soldier Wyatt and programmer/pilot Rufus, has to chase a criminal throughout history to prevent him from changing reality as they know it. All the while they are dealing with ripple effects in their personal life and the dangerous agendas of secret societies they are unaware of.

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So, I want you to go into this with low expectations. Not just with that show, but pretty much everything! It helps so much in terms of enjoyment, believe me on this one. Timeless isn’t a bad show at all, however, it also isn’t groundbreaking. It is low-key SciFi. The episodes are sort of formulaic, with similar things happening each week. Let me break it down for you:

  • Flynn (villain) registers somewhere in time, the trio follows with a vague idea of which historic event they have to protect.
  • Some guy (in every single time period) crushes on Lucy.
  • Rufus struggles being the black guy stranded in history, yet remains the character with the most sense of humour.
  • Wyatt goes into situations guns blazing and finds a way to mention his dead wife.
  • Flynn escapes because he was 5 steps ahead the entire time.
  • They get back to their time, something has changed and only they can remember how it was before.

I do realise that it doesn’t sound like I am making much of a case for the show here, but you have to consider that once you know what you are getting into, you can enjoy the really fun part of the show – the characters! Lucy (Abigail Spencer – whom I love) is an insanely smart and strong woman. She might not literally run around kicking people’s asses, but that’s honestly what Wyatt is for. She is so dedicated to saving her family, beating herself up over things that weren’t really her fault, and all the while she’s doing an incredibly difficult job and trying to hold her life together. Wyatt (Matt Lanter) is a bit of a tough one for me. He’s like the Southern gentleman who wants to get his dead wife back, former soldier who went a little astray, if you know what I mean? I usually like Matt, but he’s sometimes a little too rash and then again also bland. He really shines when he takes care of Lucy though, but we are getting to that later. Now, Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) – he’s my precious cinnamon roll! He’s definitely the funniest of the bunch but also the geekiest. So, maybe that’s how I relate to him. He has to make some difficult decisions, but I think at his heart he’s a really good guy, he just needs to believe in himself more.

So, generally, I really enjoy watching this show. I can overlook holes in the time travel logic in favour of interesting historical cameos and development among the relationships of the main characters. If you can dispense belief as well at times, it is definitely worth checking out!

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Choosing a ship was actually really difficult this week! On the one side there is the adorableness of Rufus and Jiya, but ultimately the angst of Lucy and Wyatt won. It’s just that Rufus and Jiya are so much less complicated. They simply had to express their feelings once and they were good to go. Now, if they can keep the communication coming, I am not worried about them one bit.

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Lucy and Wyatt are a different story though. Wyatt still very much wants his wife back and Lucy is technically engaged, even if he is a by-product of changed reality. But those two have crazy chemistry and no one can tell me that they aren’t falling for each other. Can you grasp the implications of that though? Wyatt will have to let go of his wife, which I very much doubt that he is ready for. And Lucy, well, she’s going to sound crazy if she ever comes clean to her family. I think her part in all of this is easier, although she knows that he isn’t emotionally available. Oh, how I love couples that will probably need 3 seasons to get together! I mean, of course they are incredibly frustrating, but it works very well for me on this show.

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There honestly aren’t that many reasons why you shouldn’t watch it. At least nothing much I can think of. Maybe stir clear of this if you aren’t into historical inaccuracies, time travel that doesn’t always make sense (especially when it comes to memory) and shows that don’t take themselves too seriously. *cough* Or if you find it ridiculous that there is at least one guy in every era who’s hitting on Lucy *cough*

Are you watching Timeless? Are you interested in checking it out?

#CurrentlyWatching: Emerald City

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I know, I know, there was something about me not wanting to talk about Emerald City all too soon, but what can I say? I couldn’t hold back any longer, I just love it too much. In case you’ve missed the previous post in this awesomely new feature, you can go check out the the first ever #CurrentlyWatching here. Right now I am just going to jump into the matter at hand!

Emerald City is a new show on NBC, currently in its first season with episodes that last about 40-something minutes. This is a story where The Wizard of Oz meets Game of Thrones. You definitely shouldn’t expect some sort of faithful retelling, because you are sure not going to get it. But go into it with an open mind and I think you’ll find a lot to enjoy about this show. Take a look!

Dorothy Gale, a 20-year old Kansas nurse, wants to build a relationship with her biological mother, who gave her up for adoption. But when she goes to find her, she finds a crime scene and a brewing storm instead. Taking shelter in a police squad car, the twister transports her and a police dog to the Land of Oz where Dorothy promptly runs over the Wicked Witch of the East. Facing a world she doesn’t know, where magic exists but is firmly banned, Dorothy has to find her way home again. All the while she doesn’t know that she is part of a prophecy that will change things in Oz forever.

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You still get Dorothy (let’s not dwell on the fact that there’s no way she’s only 20) the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion (took me a while to figure that last one out), but all of it with a twist! The Wizard is a man of science who has banned magic, but the Witches are still considered most prestigious among the people. It’s a corrupted and more dark version of Oz, one very afraid of what might happen upon the arrival of Dorothy, because there haven’t been any travelers coming this way for a very long time.

I immediately fell in love with the show. The costumes, the make up, the set design – everything! Most of the visuals are gorgeous and it is so much fun to figure out all the similarities and differences to the original story. Not once have I been so invested in anything Oz related (it wasn’t even one of my favourite classic stories before), but there’s such an air of mystery to it now, you simply never know what might happen next. I don’t want to give away any of the twists and turns, because that would take all the fun out of you watching the show, however, there is so much unexpected to explore. I mean, peoples, there is even a transgender storyline! The cast is simply amazing and everyone is fully convincing in their roles. Rather than just focusing on Dorothy alone (although she is being capable and badass AF), you get to see all perspectives, without an overload of information (more the opposite of that). There are so many morally ambiguous characters we don’t know half of the motivation of yet, each week, I am sitting in agony, because I can’t wait for the next episode.

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This is a new part of #CurrentlyWatching that will probably make an appearance in several of the upcoming posts. The thing is, I can’t really commit to a show without people to ship with each other. Interpersonal relationships are my jam and even my dramaturgy teacher had to admit that I was pretty darn good at spying a romantic entanglement from a single scene in a script. So, here I am, needing a place to swoon over all those amazing couples TV offers, starting with Dorothy and Lucas!

Right from the beginning, when Dorothy saves Lucas’ life, you can see sparks flying. The attraction is immediate and palpable TV chemistry at its best. The way they lean into each other or even just the way they look at each other, there was simply no way around me shipping them. But don’t you worry, they are not just perfect boring couple material. Lucas, which is not even his real name (really cute-Dorothy-involving scene how he got that name by the way!), can’t remember a thing about his life before he met Dorothy. The man is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, but when scraps of the man he used to be surface, there is clear tension between him an Dorothy. So, there is conflict, but at the same time they don’t tease you forever, but progress quite nicely.

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One of the things I love most about them, is the way they act when there is danger ahead. It’s like they subconsciously move closer to each other, seeking comfort, even when they had known each other for all of five minutes. They hold hands or half-hug each other as if they could protect the other person that way somehow and it just makes my heart do all sorts of happy jumps. Sometimes it’s the little things that are the best!

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Again, this portion of the post will be pretty short. I would not recommend you watch this show if you are uncomfortable with/don’t like one or more of the following things: unfaithful retellings, suicide, amputations, violence in general, recreational drug use, prostitution, …

So, what do you say folks? Are you going to tune in to Emerald City? If so, don’t forget to let me know, either here or on Twitter!

Chicago Med Series Premiere

Everyone who knows me just a little, knows how obsessed I am with the Chicago shows. Well, last night was the Premiere of the third installment in the franchise, Chicago Med. I’ve been excited for this for what seem like forever and as expected, it did not disappoint! SPOILERS ahead!

First, I want to say that I’ve been tired of medical dramas as well. There are so many out there and it was getting boring, but Dick Wolf, creator of most Chicago shows as well as the Law & Order universe, is simply a genius. Instead of doing a spin-off, he slowly spins the show into the already existing universe. The actors switch between sets almost seamlessly and you just get the impression that it’s all one and the same thing anyway. Which is great! There are characters related to each other and even some crossover-romances, which makes the actual crossover episodes even more fun.

I don’t think it would make much sense to go into the details of the different cases of the first episode. They were chosen wisely and we got to know all our doctors and nurses a lot better. So, lets break it down:

  • Dr. Will Halstead, brother of Detective Jay Halstead, has been on Fire and PD several times by now. We got to know him a little beforehand and I am really looking forward to finding out more about him. He’s really good at his job, but the thing is, he knows it too. He can be a bit brash sometimes, but I like that about him. I find his relationship with Dr. Natalie Manning really interesting, but for now, I hope that it will stay purely platonic. A thing that was definitely fun to see, was Will butting heads with Dr. Connor Rhodes. They are way more similar than they’d like to admit, but it’ll probably take some time until they become friends.
  • Speaking of Natalie Manning. I thought that Natalie was married, because I remembered reading that somewhere, but then April mentioned that Nat wouldn’t have to do the single-mom-thing on her own. I was really sad when I found out that her military husband had died. I’m glad that info didn’t leak to me beforehand.
  • Dr. Connor Rhodes has most of the ladies swooning and the guys annoyed to no end. He is so cool! I totally get it! He stitched his own wound and has some mean tattoos as well. I wonder where he was and what brought him back to Chicago. He definitely has me intrigued already and I see a ton of broken hearts along the way.
  • Dr. Daniel Charles has also been appearing regularly on Fire and PD already. He’s a good psychiatrist, who knows exactly what people need and when they need it. I gather he bends the rule in favour of his patients sometimes, but I don’t think that’s a bad quality. I liked seeing him care for Jamie as much as he did. He grows on me more with each episode!
  • April Sexton – there’s really not that much new to tell. She was really badass before and she will continue to kick ass in Chicago Med.
  • Dr. Ethan Choi – It’s a little early to tell, but I think I like him. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy, but very capable.
  • Dr. Sarah Reese – She sort of surprised me. I knew that she had some troubles with the job, sometimes simply because she didn’t want to hurt anyone, but I didn’t expect her not to want to be at the ER at all. She thinks she’s a lab person, but I bet that the continuous exposure to patients will change her mind soon enough.
  • Maggie – she’s the kind of person who knows about everything that’s going on in the ER. Very cool!

I bet I forgot someone, but I really just wanted to say that I enjoyed the first episode of the show and that I can’t wait to watch the rest of it. There are several crossovers planned, especially around February I think. What did you think of the show?

Chicago Fire Season 4 Premiere

Chicago Fire is back and that means one by one my favourite franchise is becoming complete again. I already showed you a little Preview and First Look (including Spoilers for the entire Season) in a previous post – click here to check it out! Otherwise, let’s continue with the Season 4 Premiere!

Okay everyone, you should know how this works by now, but I still feel obliged to say it every single time. We pick up right at the same moment the last episode ended, but there is so much going on each episode that I just break it down into characters and my thoughts for their storylines. Spoilers ahead!

  • Gabby and Casey – I think everyone wants to know what’s going on with them. Well, Gabby was really worried after finding dead Katya, but Antonio got to Casey in time. He’s changed and now has a more violent/impulsive streak, but after Gabby was in danger during one of the fires, he FINALLY realised that he just wants to be with her. So, in the last seconds of the episode he goes to Molly’s to tell her how he feels and she’s super happy and that’s when she tells him that she’s pregnant and they hug.
    I am so glad it happened this way around and not him wanting to get back together after she told him about the pregnancy. Now I don’t feel like they just got back together for the baby. But throughout the episode you could see how much Dawson was struggling as a firefighter and probably wanting to stay one.
  • As announced, Severide got demoted and I was super mad on his behalf! I think he is handling this a lot calmer than expected, but definitely still not well. I just think it’s so unfair, because while the turnover rate on Squad may be high, that surely isn’t his fault. I am so worried about him, because he wants to leave Firehouse 51 and I am NOT okay with that. I hope that Cruz could dissuade him from that idea.
    Also, we got to meet his new love interest, who he meets at his management training course. They hooked up already, but I read something about complications on the way, so I don’t think it will last.
  • Dallas Patterson, the new Captain replacing Sev, seemed really nice. I wanted to like him and not resent him, because after all it’s not his fault that Sev got demoted. However, by the end of the episode I didn’t particularly like him, especially not because he told Sev that he HAD to show up at his boat for a mandatory group thing. Just give the guy some space to breathe and digest what happened!
  • The new recruit Jimmy totally blew it! He came off like some stupid frat boy and that’s not what Firehouse 51 needs. I am glad he apologized in the end, but he will have to do some serious growing up. I am however interested to see if there’s really something going to happen between him and Chili – she definitely thinks he’s hot.
  • Will Halstead once more got to make an appearance and it makes me so impatient for Chicago Med! Chili and Brett had a really heartbreaking case and they asked for his help to find out about the fate of a patient.
  • The fire the firehouse had to attend to was something different too this week. I can’t believe those people are suing the firehouse even though they were the ones delaying them and causing the death of one of their neighbors. I was really disappointed in humanity on this one. I mean, how can they be so irresponsible?
  • I can see a lot of trouble for Molly’s coming because of the new neighbors

So, that pretty much sums it all up. What did you think?

Chicago PD Season 3 Premiere

FINALLY I had time to watch Chicago PD. Even though I like binging the Chicago Franchise, I can’t really do that because I get confused with all the crossovers. So, I just watch it week by week, which is still pretty awesome. Let’s do this! are coming!

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(If you need a reminder of the Season 2 Finale before starting this, then click here! If you want to watch the First Look/Trailer for Season 3, click here!)

A lot went down in the first episode and I was hoping for a really Jay-centered episode, but since he was abducted for most of the time, that wasn’t really that much the case. However, once again, I’ll be breaking it down into what each of the different characters did/felt/thought/whatever you want to call it:

  • Jay couldn’t believe that Erin would leave him. It wasn’t about romance, it was about her being his partner and not even having the decency to tell him that she quit to his face. It leads to him confronting her after a night of partying and him pretty much giving up on her – her last champion walking away. I have to say, I was really pissed at Erin lately. She pushed away EVERYONE who cares about her and for what? To take some pills with good ol’ mum? I am glad she stepped up and came to Jay’s rescue when he was kidnapped and he was so happy that it was her who came for him.
    On another note, I know that Linstead is endgame, but I kind of want a break from their romance and them maybe pursuing someone other than each other? I can already see the Linstead fans coming for me for that statement …
  • I am also glad that Voight is not making it easy on Erin. His conditions are valid and she needs to cut ties with her mum if she wants her badge back for good. But he has made some odd choices himself in the episode. I have a bad feeling about prison Eddie.
  • Olinski is so clueless when it comes to handling his daughter. We know that he can be good with female teens, so why is he so counter-intuitive when it comes to her? That girl is in trouble and he better man up and help her.
  • Platt wants to plan the Burzek wedding – that is just brillant.
  • Attwater will be Adam’s best man for the wedding. I so thought he’d ask Olinski, but I don’t know why.
  • I can see conflict ahead for Burzek. Aside from Roman messing with Burgess head a little, there was also the fact that Adam didn’t want Burgess on the Intelligence case because it was too dangerous. She knows that the job comes with danger and she accepts that her fiancé is in certain precarious situations a lot of the time. I think they could butt heads over that topic. Is it really a new issue though?
  • Burgess saw a syringe in Roman‘s backpack. What the heck was that about? I don’t think it has anything to do with drugs, they have Lindsay for that story, but I have no idea what else it could be about. Diabetes? Accidentally taking it with him from Sylvie’s place (even though it still doesn’t make sense for a medic to have that stuff lying around?)
  • Lastly, we get another tease for the Chicago Med connection, with Will Halstead drinking with the CPD guys at Molly’s and saying that Jay will be fine.

Any thoughts or theories for the new season? I think most storylines have been set up nicely so far. Mainly I am just glad to have the show back!