My performance of the week ending 3/14/20 on TV goes to…

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler on AMC’s Better Call Saul season 5.

The entire cast of Better Call Saul is extremely talented and it’s difficult to outshine the infamous scene stealer himself, Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, but somehow Rhea Seehorn’s performance each week continues to move me. Kim Wexler is the heart of the show and she is always so brilliant and believable.

**Please note some spoilers are ahead if you are not caught up on the series.**

While Saul (formerly known as Jimmy) is known to cut through some red tape to make things happen, Kim always tries to do things by the book. Sure, she certainly has had some fantastic cons with Jimmy, but you truly empathize with her internal struggle to be taken seriously as a lawyer.

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Images courtesy of AMC

I honestly don’t know anyone who works harder and sometimes it takes a toll on her, but she is so driven to fight for things in the right way. However, Kim recognizes that following the book doesn’t always pay off even when she has gone through every possible scenario and detail. I actually get so annoyed with the team from Mesa Verde and how they treat Kim.

They take advantage of her and don’t see how valuable she truly is. In season 5, episodes 3 and 4, Kim tries to reason with a man who refuses to leave his home, which is on land owned by Mesa Verde. Kim stands her ground, but also gets a wake-up call when the man asks her about her own morals.

Kim does everything in her power to try and find another way, but when her ideas are dismissed, she starts to realize that perhaps she does need Jimmy/Saul to get some real justice.

Kim’s moral compass is what makes her such a likable character. We accept and know that Jimmy/Saul is going to entertain us with his schemes, but Kim wavers back and forth between what is actually right and wrong. Out of all the characters on the show, Kim is the one I relate to the most. She is so real and convincing and my heart goes out to her whenever something bad happens to her because she doesn’t deserve it.

What’s next for Kim Wexler? We’ll have to see how her team-up with Saul pans out, but I’m hoping that Kim can find her way and earn the respect and recognition that she deserves. I’m also wondering what’s next for Kim and Saul. I think that they are such an adorable couple and almost remind me of a modern day Bonnie and Clyde in the attorney world, but we also know that Kim is not mentioned or seen in the Breaking Bad series.

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Images courtesy of AMC

Was it a bad breakup or do they part on good terms? I’m not sure, but it’s clear that Saul needs Kim in his life. They both are conflicted in different ways and somehow bring out the best in one another. I’m hoping that with the series wrapping up next year, we will get some kind of concrete answers and closure for them.

Since we do flash forward to the future quite a bit, there is still hope for Saul to make things right with Kim, but I am also nervous about what actually split them up in the first place because it honestly breaks my heart even though I don’t know what actually happened.

Through it all, this series continues to be one of the best on television and Rhea Seehorn shines every single week with her incredible performances. Kim Wexler is one of the strongest female characters on television right now and she is an inspiration to women everywhere. Let’s just hope that she doesn’t get caught in the middle of another mess because she deserves the world and then some.

Stay tuned for a recognized performance on TV each week!

Have a performance on TV that you think is simply outstanding? Feel free to contact me with your nomination for the week by Friday at midnight! 

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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My top television shows of 2017 on Cable Networks: The best of the best!

Greetings TV Fans!  For today, I am going to be listing my top favorite television shows that aired in 2017 on cable networks.  While some shows near the top of my list were no surprise for me, there were others that crept into the top 5 that I would not have predicted last year.  There were also some shows that I used to enjoy a lot which fell short this past year and are in need of something earth-shattering to happen in 2018 to get them back to the top of the pack.  While I haven’t gotten a chance to view all shows that aired new episodes in 2017, I did get to more than I initially anticipated.  Please feel free to include some of your favorites below as well.  I will be breaking the shows into 3 categories:  the best of the best, honorable mentions, and shows that have lost some steam.  Please note some spoilers are ahead.

The Best of the Best for television shows airing on cable networks for 2017 in no particular order are:

Game of Thrones

Fear the Walking Dead

American Horror Story:  Cult

SMILF

Shameless

While Game of Thrones and Shameless are two of my all-time favorites, I was pleased with the seasons airing in 2017.  Game of Thrones sped things up to the delight of fans, which I guess makes sense since they are running out of time.  Either way, it was great to see Daenerys and Jon Snow finally meet face to face and discuss terms of an alliance on a war against the undead.  Everything is falling into place and I am eager to see the remaining episodes in 2018.  Shameless is another favorite of mine that has had me laughing out loud this season.  Even though the show is on its eight season, it is proving to still have fresh material.  American Horror Story:  Cult bounced back from American Horror Story:  Roanoke from 2016.  Cult was terrifying and real at the same time, providing viewers with a dangerous view of society.  Evan Peters played his best character yet in my opinion, diving into his terrifying role of Kai Anderson.  Newcomer SMILF is the perfect mix of raw humor and sentimental moments, as Frankie Shaw has had a stand-out performance.  The most surprising one of the bunch for me is Fear the Walking Dead.  I will be honest and admit that I had been previously watching the show out of obligation.  It’s the prequel to The Walking Dead and in some way I felt like I owed the show a chance, even though I wasn’t too hooked.  However, this all changed for me this past season in 2017.  Alicia played by the lovely and talented Alycia Debnam Carey stepped out from her shadow as Madison’s daughter and has grown into an independent and powerful survivor.  Main characters with interesting story-lines were killed off to the shock of fans everywhere; including myself, proving that the show is ready to take on a life of its own.  Rick and the gang should take some notes from the characters in Fear the Walking Dead who are making difficult decisions and moving on to each new obstacle without too much fluff in between.

Honorable mentions for television shows airing on cable networks for 2017 in no particular order:

Homeland

Bates Motel

Better Call Saul

Pretty Little Liars

The Strain

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

South Park

Some of these shows are favorites of mine and did enough in 2017 to earn a spot in my honorable mentions.  South Park and It’s Always Sunny kept the laughs coming and Homeland and Better Call Saul did the same with the edge of your seat drama and big moments.  While the shows had solid episodes, there wasn’t enough of a hook to move them into my top 5.  That being said, I thoroughly enjoy watching these shows and I am looking forward to new seasons.  Bates Motel, Pretty Little Liars, and The Strain ended in 2017 on a strong note.  While none of the series finales were that epic in my opinion, they did a good job of bringing everything full circle and satisfying the questions fans had.

Television shows airing on cable networks for 2017 that are running out of steam in no particular order are:

The Walking Dead

Archer

I have watched all of the episodes from both shows and was somewhat disappointed overall in the seasons from 2017.  While neither show was terrible enough for me to take them off my DVR line-up permanently, there was something missing.  Whether it was too much fluff in between major moments or a missing connection to characters, both shows have the potential to win their fans back and provide some good content.  Are they going to deliver on this, however?  I am optimistic and will continue to watch both series, but am looking for something fresh and over-the-top to remind me why I loved watching in the first place.  I know it’s a lot to ask for, but consistency in television entertainment is important.  Let’s make it a great 2018 for shows everywhere and hope these two shows ignite a spark that will keep viewers coming back for more and more.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post some of your favorite television shows from 2017 that aired on cable networks below.  Happy viewing and the countdown to 2018 is here!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

Ranking the top 5 spin-off television series of all time: Can a spin-off surpass an original?

Is it possible for a spin-off series to surpass the original?  Perhaps not in most cases, but that doesn’t mean that the spin-off can’t branch out into something entertaining and epic on its own.  Creating a spin-off series is always a gamble.  You are relying on the fans from the original series to follow the show and create a fan base with its own separate identity as well.

While many spin-off series have failed to capture this difficult standard, there have been some that are so memorable that you almost forget that there was an original series that started it all.  This really got me thinking about my own favorite spin-off series and why they stand out above the rest.

My top 5 favorite spin-off television series of all time are:

5

The Originals

This show is a spin-off series of the CW’s successful hit, The Vampire Diaries.  Klaus Mikaelson and his family of original vampires are introduced as dangerous and worthy villains, but their history is so rich and intriguing, not leaving The Vampire Diaries much room to explore it among its own plot.

The Originals is set in New Orleans and fans were pleased to see the Mikaelson family as the center of it all, while introducing new characters as well with just as much complexity.  The Originals does not shy away from its roots and all fans know where it started, however; it takes a darker and more historical approach to vampires, allowing viewers to see the full picture of how everything started.

After years of watching both series, I came to ultimately prefer The Originals because it was fresher and explored darker elements.  Klaus, who was previously shown as a ruthless killer with no remorse, now shows a glimmer of a soul and reveals to us how he became so broken in the midst of family and romantic betrayals.

4

Melrose Place

This show is a spin-off series of one of my all time favorites, Beverly Hills, 90210.  90210 was such a success and targeted a teenage audience who craved a drama with more depth and complication than your average soap opera.  Some fans don’t remember that the very entertaining Melrose Place was actually a spin-off of 90210.  Jake is introduced as an old friend of Dylan’s and has a fleeting romantic moment with Kelly, only to decide to ride his motorcycle off to a new town to discover a life of his own.

The opening episodes of Melrose Place even feature Kelly coming to find him to see why he had broken their relationship off, strategically hooking in viewers from 90210.  While a lot of the love triangles, betrayals, and outrageous plots seem familiar to 90210, Melrose Place did a good job of capturing an old generation of viewers as well, breaking out of the mold of a high school drama and paving the way for many more shows to come.

3

Angel

A spin-off of the hit TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon recognized that Buffy and Angel’s story was over…or at least put on pause, leaving fans wondering where Angel would go after Buffy graduated and went off to college.  Lucky for us, Angel was not done with his destiny just yet, traveling to LA with fan-favorite, Cordelia, to help innocents along the way and even start his own business while doing so, taking on one evil lawyer at a time.

In Buffy, Angel’s back story is briefly explored, but his own show allows us to truly see and understand every aspect of his origin.  Also, Angel was not able to shine as much in Buffy since he was obviously not the center of the show.  Angel’s personality and potential were often stifled in Buffy because the focus was on more of the romantic relationship between them, rather than who Angel truly was or meant to be.

This spin-off series did have a strong following and it was lined up right after Buffy on the same night of airings, but Angel did have its own identity and voice, proving that a supporting character could become a principal hero after all.

2

Better Call Saul

A spin-off of the hit series, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is a prequel to the beloved series, focusing primarily on our favorite scheming lawyer, Saul Goodman.  This spin-off is one of the most successful ones I have watched and I adore both series.

What’s so great about the show is that it introduces important elements and characters that fans recognize from Breaking Bad, giving us a chance to further dive into how everything started in Breaking Bad.  However, this does not outshine the incredible acting by Bob Odenkirk who does an excellent job at truly embracing his character.

While fans are pleased with his wit and schemes along the way, we begin to fully learn about his past life and what lead him to the decisions he made later in Breaking Bad.  Saul demonstrates his work ethic and how much he wanted to be a lawyer and prove to his brother and girlfriend that he is capable of being a good man.

This becomes difficult to maintain later on, but it is clear that Saul’s character is deeper and more complex than anyone could have imagined on Breaking Bad, creating something unique and separate from the series it came from.

1

Xena:  Warrior Princess

Who could forget the fabulous and beautiful Xena, played by the brilliant and gorgeous, Lucy Lawless?  While fans remember that it is a spin-off of Hercules, this series surpasses it in my opinion.  Xena paved the way for strong female leads such as Buffy, proving that a female warrior can be just as dangerous as any man.  Xena fights warriors and gods along the way, refusing to back down.

Her iconic battle cry is still memorable along with her heart-warming and controversial friendship with her side-kick, Gabrielle.  While Xena did air directly after Hercules in the lineup, fans became more excited and hooked by Xena.  I did watch both shows and have to admit that once Xena came on, all bets were off.

While the show was darker and more violent than Hercules, it was the character of Xena that drew me in.  She wasn’t just a hero; she was jaded, and searching for forgiveness.  She masked her vulnerability and weakness behind her sword, but the humanity in her provided viewers with a true connection to her character.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your thoughts and comments below along with some of your favorite spin-off television series of all time.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl