Ranking the top 5 moments from “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists” season 1 episode 1: A Solid Series Premiere

“Welcome to Beacon Heights University, where excellence is not an option…it’s a requirement.”  After watching Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars:  The Perfectionists season 1 episode 1, I remembered why I fell in love with Pretty Little Liars in the first place.  It’s hard for a spin-off to gives fans that sense of nostalgia, while still creating a unique voice of its own, but I have already been hooked after the first episode and I can’t wait to see the new mystery unfold.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s “Pilot” episode, Alison DiLaurentis gets a fresh start and takes on a TA position at Beacon Heights University, but is quickly reunited with our favorite troublemaker, Mona Vanderwaal.  Meanwhile, we meet several of Alison’s new students who may wind up being the prime suspects in a new murder and Alison’s presence here reminds us that nothing is ever a coincidence for a Pretty Little Liar alum.  My top 5 moments from Pretty Little Liars:  The Perfectionists  season 1 episode 1 are:

5

“We are and then we’re not.”

After Alison comes to town and is reunited with Mona, it looks like both of our favorite characters from Pretty Little Liars are in desperate need of a fresh start.  We learn the fate of Alison and Emily’s relationship, as Alison explains that Emily had trouble getting over the past.  Does that mean that Alison and Emily will never get back together?  Not necessarily, as they are tied together by a family, but it looks like this relationship has been put on pause for now.  Alison wants to leave the mean girl behind her and truly wants to help her students and make a difference, but wherever Alison goes, drama is never too far behind.

4

“Is it OK to murder a murderer?”

An interesting question for sure and I have to say that I was actually really digging Alison’s lecture.  Can I sign up for her class?  As Alison gets to know her new students, she asks them to participate in a discussion on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which is actually quite fitting if you think about it.  We are introduced to several new characters and quickly learn that everyone is a suspect and that appearances can be very deceiving.  No one really stood out to me just yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing their characters explored further as the series continues.

3

“Try and stay away from him.”

Perhaps the most disliked new character is Nolan Hotchkiss, who seems to be the resident bad boy on campus.  Alison notices that Nolan is a lot like how she used to be, using manipulation and blackmail to get what he wants, but there also seems to be a lot of complicated drama with his family as well.  We learn that his sister, Taylor, apparently committed suicide about a year ago and that Nolan’s mother, Claire, played by the amazing Kelly Rutherford, seems interested in Alison because she reminds her of her daughter.  Mona says that by her calculations, Nolan could be dangerous, but can we really trust Mona here?  What other connections does Alison have to the Hotchkiss family?  I’m not sure, but I’m already intrigued enough to find out more.  I’m loving this setup so far!

2

“I know a little bit about manipulation.”

Maybe way more than a little bit, Alison, but it appears that you have truly changed, but the past has a way of dragging you backwards sometimes.  We soon learn that Taylor is actually alive, as Nolan goes to visit her secretly.  So why did she fake her own death and what is the bigger play here?  There seems to be quite an emphasis on the advanced security system on campus, so have the Hotchkiss siblings uncovered something behind that or is there another mystery yet to be revealed?  Alison also finds a picture of Taylor and the resemblance is striking, so is it possible that Alison could be related to Taylor?  Toward the end of the episode, Alison uncovers a message behind the wallpaper in Taylor’s old room that says, “They’re Watching,” which furthers my theory on the security issue, but there is still a lot to uncover here.

1

“There are no coincidences.”

Alison recognizes that there are definitely no coincidences.  After all, she comes from Rosewood.  Alison asks Mona why she is here, but it looks like this all needs to be put on hold, as we find out that Nolan has been brutally murdered at the end of the episode.  Nolan is found impaled on a fence, as everyone gathers around in horror.  All of his friends quickly become suspects and so our murder mystery begins.  However, we are left with another cliffhanger at the end, as Mona starts talking to herself and asking if this was her fault and has someone in her ear piece.  Is Mona actually working for the FBI or some kind of secret agency?  I mean, we know that Mona is extremely intelligent and qualified so perhaps her recruiter position is just a cover.

Either way, I am already completely hooked and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.  The spin-off series premiere really gave Pretty Little Liar fans exactly what they needed, but I am really enjoying the college campus change of scenery and I think this will give Alison and Mona the chance to shine, while introducing us to some new faces who may surprise us.  Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Pretty Little Liars:  The Perfectionists in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice Feb 2019

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

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Ranking my top 5 Horror TV Shows: “Well good news I found a piece of pie with no blood on it. Anybody want a bite?”

Greetings TV Fans!  With all of the excitement centered on the release of the trailer for the upcoming Halloween film, I started to really think about some of my favorite horror films of all time and then I realized that there are quite a few TV shows that fit the bill as well.  Whether you enjoy campy horror, slasher suspense, or zombies galore, horror TV shows have been around for quite a while and still stand the test of time.  For today, I am going to be ranking my absolute favorite horror TV shows.  Please note that for this list I have decided not to include TV shows that overlap in fantasy, supernatural, and sci-fi.  For example, shows like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, and True Blood will not be included because I think they have so many other layers with elements of horror.  That being said, if you have read my blog before, you know that I am a huge fan of these shows, but I wanted the chance to let some other horror TV shows take the spotlight.   Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch any of the series below yet. My top 5 horror TV shows are:

5

Slasher

I recently got the chance to binge-watch the first two seasons of Slasher on Netflix and I have to say that the show pulled me in right away.  If you are a fan of slasher films like Scream, this is the show for you.  The first season centers around the character, Sarah who finds herself caught in the middle of a series of murders that are very similar to the murder of her own parents.  The opening episode is beyond terrifying featuring the killer, The Executioner, who will give you nightmares for sure.  The second season follows a completely different story-line and has more of an Agatha Christie type feel, as we learn about a group of friends who were responsible for killing a girl many years ago and try to put together the missing pieces when they later return.  Each season brings different elements to the table, but has a healthy dose of gore, mystery, and twists that are not that easy to guess, which is refreshing.

4

Scream Queens

I am a huge fan of campy horror and I thoroughly enjoy films like Shaun of the Dead, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, The Evil Dead franchise, and The Cabin in the Woods.  I think there is something to be said about the perfect blend of horror and comedy that is just pure genius.  Even though Scream Queens only lasted two seasons, this show had me laughing out loud and screaming whenever the Red Devil made an appearance.  The show follows a sorority who is targeted by the killer, but I have to say that Niecy Nash playing the security guard, Denise is the absolute best part of the show.  While you may think you have seen a million movies like this before, Scream Queens really delivers and I was beyond disappointed when the show was cancelled.

3

Bates Motel

Have you ever wondered what turned Norman Bates into the infamous killer in Psycho?  Bates Motel gave us the chance to really dive into the dark and creepy world of Norman Bates.  The show is a prequel and we get a glimpse into Norman’s life as a teenager.  The acting on this show is outstanding and the characters really draw you in, as you almost feel sympathy for Norman as you see the events that lead to his breakdown.  The show has an eerie and mysterious feel, drawing the viewer in seamlessly.  While we don’t see as much blood and gore in this particular show, Norman’s actions are bone-chilling and beyond creepy, which scare us in an entirely different way.  When Norman dresses up as his mother, it’s scary how he is able to emulate her mannerisms and words to perfection.  While the show answers many questions from Psycho, it also does a great job of paving its own identity, causing you to be on the edge of your seat at all times, never knowing what to truly expect from the Bates family.

2

Ash vs Evil Dead

Ash vs Evil Dead is another show that is the epitome of campy horror.  Bruce Campbell is a genius and I have been a fan of the Evil Dead franchise for a long time.  The show gave fans the chance to fall in love with Ash Williams, or “Ashy Slashy,” all over again, accepting that the only person who can stand in the way of evil is not afraid to deliver a well thought out pun just before destroying a deadite in grotesque and creative ways.  The show also allows fans to get to know the Ghost Beaters, Kelly and Pablo, who team up with Ash against the she-devil, Ruby, played by the absolutely fabulous Lucy Lawless.  The show recently aired its series finale, but provided fans with three seasons of fun, gore, comedy, and great music.  You are seriously missing out if you do not check this show out.  “Groovy.”   

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one pick are:

  • Scream
  • It
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Twilight Zone
  • Goosebumps
  • The Strain
  • Hannibal
  • The Walking Dead franchise

 

1

American Horror Story

It should be no surprise that my favorite horror TV show is FX’s American Horror Story.  The show is created by Ryan Murphy and does an amazing job of covering every element of horror.  Each season features a different premise with a new type of evil never lurking too far away.  While each season is unique in its own way, my absolute favorites are Coven, Hotel, and Murder House.  The show is not afraid to test boundaries and will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time.  There have been some moments on the show that have been so frightening that I was not able to sleep without seeing Twisty the Clown appear in my nightmares.  The show does a great job of bringing one’s fears to the surface, but it also really looks into the darkness that exists within society as well, which really elevates the show.  The most recent season focused on a cult, proving that humanity can be just as capable of performing evil as spirits and vampires.  I was also very intrigued by the comparison of each season to a circle of hell from Dante’s Inferno Dante’s journey through each circle exposes him to different types of sin and evil that exist in the world and within society, which adds even more complexity to American Horror Story.  I am beyond excited to see what the next season brings and what sins it will explore next.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to share some of your own thoughts and comments on your favorite horror TV shows. 

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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Ranking the top 5 Binge-Watching worthy shows for the end of 2017: Filling the void of holiday reruns and specials

Happy Tuesday TV Fans!  As we approach the holidays, you may be preoccupied with your never-ending to do list, shopping, cooking, and spending some quality time at home with your family.  There is also that troublesome fear setting in that your favorite shows will be taking a break from new episodes and you will be left with a void of reruns and holiday specials.  So what’s a TV viewer to do?  Fear not, for there are plenty of binge-watching worthy shows to choose from when you may need a break from all of the holiday chaos surrounding you.  My top 5 binge-watching worthy shows to choose from for the end of 2017 are:

5) Fox’s The Mick.  I have been watching The Mick for two seasons now mostly because it stars the wonderfully funny Kaitlin Olson from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  Since the show is on Fox, the humor is not as crude and extreme, but it is just as funny.  Olson pretty much plays a similar version of Dee from It’s Always Sunny, which is hilarious enough, but supporting characters like Alba and Jimmy steal the show.  They are laugh out loud funny.  There are a lot of sitcom-like shows that don’t make me laugh out loud and I find this is hard to come by now.  Here and there I’ll chuckle, but it’s not the same as with Friends and Seinfeld from years ago.  The Mick has the perfect balance of value, or maybe lack of family values is more accurate similar to Shameless, with over-the-top hilarious moments.  I absolutely recommend that you binge-watch this show and check out the Halloween episode from a few weeks ago which is one of my personal favorites.

4) Netflix’s Slasher.  So one of my favorite series of scary movies of all time is Scream and I was somewhat disappointed in MTV’s version of the show they produced.  Don’t get me wrong, I did watch and see it through, but there was something lacking for me.  The characters weren’t believable and there wasn’t that underlying fear gnawing at me.  Netflix got it right with two seasons of Slasher.  Each season is different, very similar to American Horror Story with familiar actors but a different premise, plot, and murderer.  There were moments I had to close my eyes because I was so scared in the first season and the main character is someone you desperately want to root for.  Having characters present that you actually want to see make it out alive does carry weight.  The second season has more of an Agatha Christie like vibe mixed with the movie, Heathers which I found to be very addicting once I got past the first few episodes filled with back story and flashbacks.  No one is safe and it provides some edge of your seat moments as a result.

3) Netflix’s The Punisher.  I am a big fan of Marvel in general and The Punisher is one of my favorite heroes or maybe anti-heroes of all time.  Usually when I say this, fans question this and say why not Wolverine or Captain America?  The Punisher is so powerful to me because he has no super powers and his quest for revenge is sympathetic and tragic.  When Netflix’s Daredevil season 2 came out, the best part of it was the introduction of The Punisher.  I was ecstatic when I heard that the character would be getting his own series.  I am happy to say that I successfully binge-watched this show over the weekend and it is everything I could have hoped for.  Jon Bernthal is so believable as Frank Castle that you would think the comic series was based off of him.  He is someone to root for and although the violence may be extreme, the enemies get what is coming to them.  I also found myself investing time and energy into the supporting cast as well which is rare for me.  The villains are also so intense and heart-breaking, as Frank Castle finds himself being betrayed left and right while he is trying to make amends and bring those who deserve it to justice.

2) Showtime’s SMILF.  There are only a few episodes that have come out so far so you have plenty of time to catch up and binge-watch this hilarious new show starring and created by the brilliant and lovable Frankie Shaw.  The show has you laughing, crying, and cheering for single mother, Bridgette who is trying to find her way and pursue her dreams while maintaining a strong bond with her son.  Bridgette is far from the perfect mother for sure, but she truly loves her son and is doing the best she can.  You find yourself truly invested in Bridgette and root for her through every moment no matter how ridiculous some of them are.

1) Netflix’s Stranger Things season 2.  This show and season is absolutely worth a binge-watch and perhaps a second or third time through.  That’s how good it is.  The music alone sparked new life into this season, the characters and friendships were bonded further, and the quest to find out where one comes from and what “home” truly means is touching and beautiful.  Once again, this season blended the perfect amount of comedy with sci-fi mystery.  New friends and characters are introduced and the adventures don’t stop.  I don’t want to give away too much in case you haven’t gotten a chance to watch yet, but remember “friends don’t lie.”  So please watch and enjoy!

 

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your thoughts and comments below.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl