My performance of the week ending 10/12/19 on TV goes to…

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Netflix’s El Camino:  A Breaking Bad Movie.  So, Breaking Bad is in my top 5 series of all time and part of the reason why is because of the character of Jesse Pinkman, played brilliantly by Aaron Paul.  Sure, he brought so much humor to the show (Magnets!), but he also tapped into something so real and heart-wrenching.

Jesse’s journey had so many ups and downs and his father-son-like relationship with Walter White had this incredible dynamic, but I always wanted more from the ending of the series.  Even though we end with Jesse driving off, sensing that he is finally free, what happens next?  Well, thankfully we got the El Camino movie to find out!  Please note major spoilers have been left out for your convenience.

I thought that the movie was the perfect addition to this show.  Jesse’s journey was necessary and important and it also brought us some cameos along the way, but they weren’t forced or over-the-top.  There was something about them that just worked naturally.  I loved filling in the blanks from some of the questions I had over the years, but the main focus was Jesse, which was really nice to see.

Throughout the series, we fell in love with the dynamic between Jesse and Walt, but sometimes other things happening with Walt’s family took up a lot of screen time.  Not to say that they weren’t important or relevant, but I thought this focus on Jesse now was welcomed and earned.  Jesse finally got his time to shine, while discovering what his next path would be and I thought that his performance was still so real and inspiring.

It can’t be easy returning to a character that you haven’t played in many years and yet Aaron Paul does it so well, making you truly believe that we are picking up with Jesse Pinkman exactly where we left him in the present.

There are a few beautiful moments with Jesse, where we get to witness some compelling flashbacks and I thought it truly gave the audience a chance to see Jesse’s journey come full circle.  He has made so many mistakes along the way and there is always that “what if” question still lingering, but this movie allowed him to truly think about his past, while deciding what to do now in his present.

Every single action will impact his future, but Jesse continues to try and tap into his inner strength, which is beyond difficult to do after witnessing some of what he had to deal with, but he continues to fight and I think that he will always carry his past with him, but that doesn’t make him a failure in the present.

That just means that he is far beyond a character on a show.  His character is so real and and remarkable.  Aaron Paul brings a mind-blowing component to his character, presenting us with a captivating performance that will never be forgotten.  So glad I took the time to watch this!

Stay tuned for a recognized performance on TV each week!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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! 

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

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What to Watch on TV this Fall: The 2019 Fall TV Premieres I am Most Excited For!

Greetings TV Fans!  As we enter into the Fall season, some of our favorite shows will be returning with new episodes and we can also look forward to some brand new shows as well that seem to have a lot of potential.  Looking to find out when they all start and where to watch them?  You came to the right place!

While some of our favorite returning shows already have 2019 premiere dates announced, others are still giving out a late 2019/early 2020 vague response, but it looks like we have plenty of shows to watch in the meantime!  Without any further delay, the 2019 Fall TV premieres I am most looking forward to are:

American Horror Story: 1984 (Season 9)

AHS 9 10 1
Image courtesy of FX

Premiere date: Wednesday, September 18th 2019

Where to watch: FX Network

Welcome to Camp Redwood!  Who doesn’t love the 80’s?  The ninth season of AHS looks like it is going to provide us with a lot of slasher fun and nostalgia.  While Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters will not be on the newest season (sigh), we do have some fan-favorites returning, including the wonderful and brilliant Emma Roberts.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Season 14)

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Image courtesy of FXX

Premiere date: Wednesday, September 25th 2019

Where to watch: FXX Network

I mean, who doesn’t love laughing along with our friends from Paddy’s Pub?  The gang is back and I can’t wait to see what schemes they come up with next.  After Mac’s moving dance performance, anything is possible!  Perhaps another Charlie Kelly episode?  There is plenty of Charlie work to go around after all.

Evil (New Series)

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Image courtesy of CBS

Premiere date: Thursday, September 26th 2019

Where to watch: CBS 

I don’t know about you, but I am definitely down to watch another show with Luke Cage’s Mike Colter, but it looks like he will be trading in his super hero strength in order to investigate demonic possessions and other supernatural threats.  I’m in!

Light as a Feather (Season 2, Part 2, episodes 9-16)

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Image courtesy of Hulu

Premiere date: Friday, October 4th 2019

Where to watch: Hulu

Light as a feather…stiff as a board.  I never get tired of hearing that and I’m hoping that the second half of season 2 can bounce back and provide us with some spooky haunting fun.  This show is extremely addicting and there are constantly new twists and turns so I personally can’t wait!

The Walking Dead (Season 10)

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Image courtesy of AMC

Premiere date: Sunday, October 6th 2019

Where to watch: AMC

It’s time to silence the Whisperers once and for all, but what threats will emerge next?  As we approach season 10, we know that this will be Michonne’s last season, but what does that mean for her character?  I can’t wait to find out!

Riverdale (Season 4)

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Image courtesy of The CW

Premiere date: Wednesday, October 9th 2019

Where to watch: The CW

After that cliffhanger ending in season 3, it looks like we will have a new mystery to dive into for season 4, which centers around one of our main characters.  What secrets will emerge next?  Stay tuned!

Nancy Drew (New Series)

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Image courtesy of The CW

Premiere date: Wednesday, October 9th 2019

Where to watch: The CW

It looks like I will be busy on Wednesday nights indefinitely!  Nancy Drew is one of my favorite book series of all time and this new series looks like a dark and grown up version, giving me some Riverdale and Pretty Little Liars feels right off the bat.  I’m in 100 percent!

Supernatural (Season 15) *Final Season*

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Image courtesy of The CW

Premiere date: Thursday, October 10th 2019

Where to watch: The CW

How will it all end for the Winchesters?  After that cliffhanger ending in season 14, it looks like our favorite hunters have a lot of work to do, but luckily they have some backup in our favorite angel, Castiel.  What can we expect for the final season?  I’m not sure, but I would love to see some fun nostalgia sprinkled in with some returning guest stars.  It will be beyond difficult to say goodbye, but I know that the series will end the way it is intended to and I’m looking forward to watching these final adventures with Sam and Dean.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

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Image courtesy of Netflix

Premiere date: Friday, October 11th 2019

Where to watch: Netflix (to be released at a later date on AMC)

So I initially didn’t think to put this on the list since it is technically a movie, but how can I leave out one of my favorite series of all time?!  Jesse Pinkman is back and Breaking Bad fans everywhere can rejoice, as we finally get to find out what happens next in the story!

The Purge (Season 2)

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Image courtesy of the USA Network

Premiere date: Tuesday, October 15th 2019

Where to watch: USA Network

What happens on Purge Night doesn’t necessarily stay on Purge Night.  I love The Purge movies and when I first heard about the television series last year, I really didn’t go into it with high expectations.  Well I was in for a huge surprise, as this show became one of my favorite series of the year.  It’s fast paced, surprising, and a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what happens in season 2 as we follow a brand new group of characters.  Are you ready, citizens?

Castle Rock (Season 2)

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Image courtesy of Hulu

Premiere date: Wednesday, October 23rd 2019

Where to watch: Hulu

The Stephen King anthology series was another bone-chilling and haunting surprise for me last year and I have been waiting quite some time for a premiere date announcement for season 2.  Well it looks like we are in luck, as new episodes will return right before Halloween, which certainly seems fitting.  It looks like we will follow a new story and a new group of characters in the mysterious town of Castle Rock, but I am hoping to get some Easter eggs or connections to season one.  We shall see!

Shameless (Season 10)

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Image courtesy of Showtime

Premiere date: Sunday, November 10th 2019

Where to watch: Showtime

We said goodbye to fan-favorite, Fiona Gallagher for good last season, but can season 10 keep the Gallaghers relevant?  Let’s hope so!  While I am disappointed that Fiona will no longer be on the show, it looks like we will need to turn our attention to Lip, especially now that he is going to be a father.  The laughs never fail on one of my favorite series of all time and I can’t wait to see what the Gallagher family does next!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to comment on any TV Premieres that YOU are looking forward to watching in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

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

**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!

Do you love horror series?  Of course you do!  Please also check out 12 Nights of Horror Series Coming Soon.  It’s your home for everything you need to know about new and returning horror television series including new trailers, premiere dates, reviews, recaps, and renewals! 

 

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

“Breaking Bad” ranking the top 5 episodes of the series

After re-watching AMC’s Breaking Bad all the way through for the second time, this series maintained a comfortable spot in my top 5 television series of all time.  The characters of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, played brilliantly by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, have so much depth.

They both possess flaws but as viewers, we accept them for it, and they transform into even more complex characters throughout the series. Their partnership is heartfelt and tragic at the same time, remaining constant among a whirlwind of dangerous challenges and foes along the way.

After re-watching the series for a second time, I was eager to rank my top 5 episodes from the show.  Please note that spoilers are below if you have not gotten the chance to watch and if you haven’t, I strongly recommend that you get to cooking!  My top 5 episodes from Breaking Bad are:

5

“One Minute” (season 3, episode 7)

For starters, the flashback to “The Cousins” as young boys guided by Hector Salamanca is haunting on its own.  The two boys are fighting and one wishes the other was dead.  Hector proceeds to drown the boy, asking the other one how much longer he has down there.  When the boy comes up for air, Hector reminds the brothers that family is everything. 

In present time, Jesse is recovering from the horrific beat-down that Hank gave him, after Walt had someone prank his cell to claim that his wife was in the hospital.  The end of the episode had me on the edge of my seat, as Hank is seen entering his car in a shopping plaza with flowers for his wife.  Everything seems to be going fine until he gets an anonymous call that two men are coming to kill him.

Even before we see “The Cousins” approach the vehicle, Hank’s reaction to every little sound and flash that goes by almost makes time stand still, which makes this episode that much more haunting.

4

“Dead Freight” (season 5, episode 5)

The opening of this episode is so innocent and tranquil.  A young boy is riding his dirt bike in the desert when he comes across a tarantula, which he captures in a jar.  The sound of a freight train echoes in the distance.  As the episode continues, I almost forgot about this opening scene.  The episode is jam-packed with so much action and drama.

Even after watching a second time, my heart was beating out of my chest when Jesse and Todd were pulling off a heist to replace the Methylamine with water, while Walter monitored it.  Meanwhile, Mike and the rest of the gang kept watch and distracted the drivers.  Everyone played a major part in this heist and I worried about it unraveling with each new obstacle.  The heist is successful and everyone is celebrating when the young boy from the opening of the episode is standing in front of them and innocently waves.

The unthinkable happens when Todd waves back and then shoots him, as Jesse screams “No” in so much agony, that it almost echoes through the television.  In a fleeting moment, the innocence is destroyed and reality sets in that everything is not without consequences.

3

“Face off” (season 4, episode 13)

This is probably one of the most intense season finales of a show I have ever seen.  The previous episode revealed Walter’s failed attempt to take out his nemesis, Gustavo Fring, with a car bomb.  The viewers know by now that although Fring is a worthy opponent, one should never underestimate Walter White, Heisenberg himself.  W

alter calculates every moment of revenge, involving Fring’s former enemy, Hector Salamanca, keeping the phrase, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” true.  Who would have thought that Hector could still be so dangerous in his condition?  The ominous ringing of his bell returned and ended with an explosion.  Perhaps what was most eerie about this, was that Gus adjusted his tie and walked out of the room, keeping up his polished appearance per usual, only to collapse, revealing that half of his face had been completely torn off.

The writers don’t stop here, however.  At the end of the episode, we get a shot of the Lily of the Valley berries that we know poisoned Brock, the child that Jesse had grown so close to.  Walter will stop at nothing to remain on top, but clearly has gone too far this time.

2

“Grilled” (season 2, episode 2)

This is the episode that completely hooked me on the show.  While I enjoyed the short first season, this episode elevated the show to an entirely new level.  Walter and Jesse had been kidnapped by their insane opponent, Tuco.  You may think that is crazy enough, but Hector Salamanca steals the show with his incessant ringing of the bell, which ultimately brings Fring to his demise later in the series.

Tuco explains that the ringing of the bell means “yes”and no ring means “no.”  Walter and Jesse had been trying to poison Tuco, but Hector is not going to let them get away with it that easy.  They try to convince Tuco that Hector was mad because they changed the TV station, but with each threatening ring, Tuco becomes more and more suspicious of the beloved duo.  The episode even ends with the bell ringing throughout the credits to leave the viewer with that sound to remain in their senses for just a few minutes more.  Talk about intense!

1

“Salud” (season 4, episode 10)

After watching the series through for a second time, this episode still remains my absolute favorite.  Any true Breaking Bad fan will take just a glimpse at the infamous pool and be transported back to this intense episode.  Part of what makes this episode stand out so much to me is that Walter is not involved in the action-packed scene, which leads to Gus Fring poisoning the entire cartel.  Jesse, Mike, and Gus meet the powerful, Don Eladio.

After Jesse comes to teach the cartel how cook successfully, the cartel now insists that they “own” Jesse.  Don Eladio is in for an unfortunate turn of events; however, when Gus presents him with his favorite bottle of tequila and proposes a toast.  Gus even takes a sip himself after insisting that Jesse does not have any because he is an addict.  As the cartel begins dropping like flies, Gus is shown puking in the bathroom to get rid of as much poison as possible.

It shows the viewer just how far he will go to bring his enemy down, which is what makes his later demise so extreme.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your comments along with your own favorite episodes below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

Top 3 Favorite TV Series of all time

Happy Monday to all of you TV viewers out there!  Today’s topic will focus on my top 3 all-time favorite television series no longer airing new episodes.  I have to say that coming up with this list was extremely difficult.  What truly makes a show that epic and memorable?  I realize that my favorites may include some of yours or may be completely off and that’s what makes television series so great.  They each impact us in a different way and leave some kind of impression on us.  I always find it so interesting that I can remember where I was in my life or what was going on around me when thinking about a particular episode or season that I watched.  Also, if I can continuously re-watch a series and still find something new each time, it helped it make the list.  So here it goes…my top 3 series no longer airing:

  1. Lost.  Lost is without a doubt my favorite television series of all time.  Out of my top 3, this was the easiest one to come up with.  I recently watched the series for my 16th time this summer and will continue to do so each year.  You may think 16 re-watches of a show is beyond excessive and you’re probably right.  However, Lost brings something new to the table each time I watch.  Forget about the others or the smoke monster or whatever you think you may know about Lost.  This show is about the characters and the connections they make while on the island.  They were all searching for something and found it unexpectedly when flight 815 crashed onto to the island. “We have to go back!” The main character, Jack got it right.  I keep coming back for more and more.
  2. Breaking Bad.  I recently re-watched this series for a second time to see if it would have the same impact on me as the first time I watched.  While I’m not sure I can watch this show as many times as Lost, this show is addictive in its own way.  What really makes this show stand out to me is the partnership and friendship between Walter and Jesse.  Through every betrayal and twist and turn, when it comes down to it, they both truly care for each other and will stand by each other in the end.
  3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  To round up my top 3, Buffy still stays strong.  For a while, Buffy was my favorite show but I realized that it did not measure up years later when Lost and Breaking Bad came out.  I think it has a lot to do with me growing as a person as well.  When Buffy originally came out, I was in high school so the strong character of Buffy really stood out to me and honestly really helped shape who I was as a person.  The series had just the right amount of laughs balanced with the supernatural drama to keep me hooked for years.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post some of your own as well!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl