Spoiler-Free Review of “Dare Me” on USA Network: Dark Sensational Potential with Spirit Fingers

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“Cheerleading equals death,” according to Torrance’s hilarious younger brother in Bring It On and he may have been spot on when it comes to USA Network’s new teen drama.  Teenage girls can be dangerous, especially when the captain’s spot on her beloved squad is threatened, as secrets slither into the open, luring us into a promising slow burn thriller.

After watching the Pilot episode, the show already reminds me of Bring It On combined with some dark cult comedy greats like Heathers and Jawbreaker, which could be the formula for a fantastic new show.

Dare Me is based on the novel of the same name by Megan Abbott, following the plot of a cheerleader who seeks revenge on the squad that betrayed her.  The show premiered on the USA Network on December 29th 2019 and will feature 10 weekly episodes.  It stars Willa Fitzgerald (Scream), Marlo Kelly, Herizen Guardiola, Erika Prevost, and Taveeta Szymanowicz.

The show seems like it may have been better suited for a slot on Freeform and a mid-season premiere can be problematic, but the show could be a diamond in the rough.

Does Dare Me do enough to capture our full attention in its Pilot episode?  Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Dare Me USA Network 1
Images courtesy of USA Network

Strong and interesting characters.

I am already a fan of Willa Fitzgerald and she is definitely making waves as the new coach of this cheerleading squad.  Marlo Kelly is also proving to be quite the scene stealer as the mean girl captain with a bitter sweet tooth for revenge.  More please!

Cheerleading can be brutal.

I absolutely love the concept of this show and we are immersed into a competitive world where these girls will do anything to be the one on top of the pyramid.  The dark and sadistic hints are enough to hold my attention, as we begin to explore the secrets leading up to some kind of unspeakable crime.

I have a lot of questions already, but that just means this show is doing a good job of keeping me invested so far.

The Cons:

Dare Me USA Network 2
Images courtesy of USA Network

Super long montages and lots of fluff.

The show is already coming across as a slow burn thriller, which means we will need to invest some time into it before we get any major reveals.  There is a lot of set-up in the pilot episode to really introduce everything, but I could have done without the numerous montages.  Seriously, it seemed like they were endless.

So am I in or out?

Dare Me USA Network 3
Images courtesy of USA Network

I’m in for now, but I’m not completely convinced as of yet.  The show has a lot of promise and potential to become something truly dark and magnificent, but I just need things to speed up slightly so that I don’t lose interest too quickly.

When a show airs weekly episodes, they need to do enough to keep viewers coming back and I think they have, but we need to keep up the pace and introduce more dark secrets involving this major crime to prevent us from losing interest.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Dare Me in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!


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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Ranking the top 5 moments from “Riverdale” season 3 episode 16: “BIG FUN”

Happy Thursday TV fans!  After watching the CW’s Riverdale season 3 episode 16, I remembered why I love Riverdale so much.  It’s not always easy to do a musical episode, even though some shows have done an amazing job in the past, but Riverdale continues to provide us with the “BIG FUN” for sure.  It doesn’t feel forced or out of place, it just works and it gives us some great entertainment along the way, while continuing to further the plot.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s episode, “Chapter Fifty-One:  BIG FUN,” our characters participate in the Heathers musical, but are in for a surprise when Evelyn Evernever is announced as the co-director of the play.  Meanwhile, Veronica’s family begins to fall apart, Toni and Cheryl have a dance-off filled with attitude, and Jughead tries to follow up on a lead that could tie back to his mother.  My top 5 moments from Riverdale season 3 episode 16 are:


“Let’s fight for us.”

Even though we have a fabulous musical going on, the drama continues between some of our favorite couples.  The cat is out of the bag, thanks to Evelyn’s obnoxious share time circle, and everyone now knows about Archie and Josie.  Veronica takes the news surprisingly well, but she is distracted with her own issues at home.  Is Archosie just “two lonely souls filling a void” or is there something more here?  Archie suggests that they take that leap of faith together and find out who they are as a couple.  Even though Josie is hesitant at first, it looks like Archosie is still going strong for now.


“You make me feel better.”

During the episode, Veronica finds out that her parents are separating and she is devastated by the news.  Even though the Lodge family is far from perfect, Veronica insists that they can all work together as a family, but Hiram coldly tells her that he knows about Hermione trying to have him killed and tells her that they are not a family anymore.  Veroncia requests that they show up one final time together at the musical so she can try and hold on to some kind of happy memory, which they agree to for their daughter’s sake, but Hiram is not someone you want to cross.  Now that he knows that his wife has betrayed him, what will be his next move?  Meanwhile, Veronica runs back into the arms of Reggie during all of this, desperately trying to feel something, but she realizes that Reggie has stronger feelings for her and that maybe this wasn’t the best decision, even though Veggie fans are rooting for them.  Are they end game?  I’m not so sure about that, but Reggie thinks that they should cool it for a while until Veronica can figure out what she wants.


“You let it go.”

Jughead finds out that his old trailer could be potentially used to make drugs and he is beyond upset.  Jughead still clings to many memories here, but he also wants to stop his mother’s drug operation.  Betty gives him some advice and explains that he can just let it go, but it looks like Betty is starting a trend of burning things to the ground.  Even though burning the trailer brings Bughead closer, I am worried that Betty’s darkness has re-surfaced, but will she take this rage out on the Farm or on someone she loves?


“Maybe it’s not too late for us.”

While everyone practices for the musical, Cheryl shows off that she is the ultimate HBIC or the “demon queen of high school,” as if she were made for the role of Heather Chandler.  However, Cheryl is less than thrilled when Kevin announces that Toni will be the choreographer.  Toni and Cheryl continue to clash during a dance-off and the tension escalates when Toni wears a red ensemble, as Cheryl reminds her that “I am red…here, I invented red.”  The bitch is back and I wasn’t really liking it, as Cheryl has come so far with the help of Toni.  Fear not Choni fans, Toni gives Cheryl an olive branch of sorts and the two finally talk about their fight, suggesting that it is not too late for them after all.  Cheryl is used to an “all or nothing” approach to love, but Toni tries to remind her that this is not always the way.  Our favorite couple is reunited and they even share a kiss, having Choni fans cheering everywhere. 


“I knew my dad would like it.”

Evelyn has been announced as the co-director of the play, which Betty is not thrilled about at all, recognizing an ulterior motive here.  Betty puts her spy skills to the test and finds out that Evelyn has been inducting some of her classmates into the Farm, but Principal Weatherbee seems unconvinced by Betty’s evidence, suggesting that perhaps he is also caught up with the Farm.  At the end of the musical, a slow clap begins, as Edgar Evernever, played by One Tree Hill’s Chad Michael Murray, stands up.  Others follow his lead, suggesting that the Farm is everywhere, but will Betty and Jughead be able to get to the bottom of this now that Edgar is out in the open?  Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Riverdale 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!


Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl


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5 Reasons why you should watch “Light as a Feather” on Hulu: “Light as a feather…stiff as a board.”

“So who wants to go next?”  If you have ever watched the movie, The Craft, then you know about the slumber party game, “Light as a feather, stiff as a board.”  Maybe you tried this out in your own basement and failed miserably or maybe you called your mom to pick you up early from a sleepover party just to avoid this very type of game.  No judgment please.  Either way, this show focuses around that very same game with an added twist that will have you wondering if any slumber party game is safe.  After watching Truth or Dare earlier this year, I’m having my doubts.  The Hulu series is based on the book by Zoe Aarsen and follows a group of teenage girls who enjoy pre-gaming at a cemetery as part of their Halloween tradition.  A night of seemingly harmless fun turns into something dark and twisted, as each character hears a description of how they will die before they are levitated by the group.  While this is not the version of the game I remember, it certainly adds for dramatic effect, especially when the characters realize that they are in danger of dying that way in real life.

The show features 10 episodes and they are all currently streaming on Hulu as of October 12th 2018.  After watching all of the episodes in one day, I can tell you that the series can best be described as cotton candy sweet with some light and fun horror sprinkled on top.  Yes please!  The show reminded me of a mix between Pretty Little Liars and The Craft and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised overall.  If you are looking for jump scares or nightmare-worthy horror, this is not necessarily the show for you, but there are some cringe-worthy moments for sure.  October is the perfect month to watch your fair share of horror and and Light as a Feather delivers as a binge-watching worthy treat.  Please note that major spoilers have been left out for your convenience.  My top 5 reasons to check out Light as a Feather are: 


A concept that immediately draws you in.

The fact that we are all familiar with the slumber party game, “Light as a feather, stiff as a board,” definitely helps draw you into this show right away.  The show also does a great job of diving right in and not giving you too much back story that will have you tuning out.  While we do get to learn about each character, I thought that the flashbacks flowed together perfectly.  Sure there are some moments featuring teenage drama that you may find unnecessary, but let’s not pretend like that’s a reason to turn off the show.  Think Mean Girls, Heathers, and Pretty Little Liars. 


Short episodes.

I don’t know about you, but I love to binge-watch.  Each episode is about 25 minutes long so it is absolutely possible to finish this show in a weekend or even a day if you are feeling ambitious.  The writers did a great job of ending each episode on a cliffhanger that will have you automatically pressing play for the next one to start.  Sometimes you don’t even realize how far you have gotten because each episode is fast paced.  It’s also OK to walk away for a moment and grab your popcorn if needed because you will not need to analyze every second of the show to understand what is happening.  No need to rewind unless you really want to.  The show is pretty straightforward and the recaps at the beginning of each episode fill you in on everything that’s important.  The show is just pure entertainment without all the fuss and I have to say that I appreciated that, especially while taking a break from other shows and films that require more attention.


You can’t easily predict what is going to happen next.

You may think you have already figured out the show just from watching the preview and maybe you have, but I think that the show does a really nice job of keeping you on the edge of your seat.  The mystery behind the game unravels with each new episode and the questions that you may have stirring around in your brain are answered, but the answers aren’t completely obvious, which is refreshing.


McKenna Brady played by Liana Liberato.

I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely invested in the characters on this show and no one stood out in particular other than McKenna Brady, played brilliantly by the talented Liana Liberato.  I always look for a connection to a character and McKenna is someone I could see as my own best friend.  While her friends and family have redeeming qualities, there is something magnetic about McKenna.  She is smart and capable, but she is not perfect.  She falls into the classic scenario of hanging out with the mean girls at school and knows that she is guilty of this.  However, McKenna has a lot on her plate and I commend her strength and loyalty.  While I initially got a Single White Female vibe from the antagonist, Violet, I saw some potential here as well.  Either way, I was pleasantly surprised by Liberato’s performance and she really helped elevate the rest of the show, redeeming some other performances that were leaving a little something to be desired.


Throwback to fun horror movies in the 90’s.

What I really enjoyed about this show was that it was the perfect throwback to films like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream, Urban Legend, and The Craft.  I grew up watching these movies and I enjoyed that they were the perfect blend of slasher and terror scares with some predictable, but fun teenage drama thrown in.  I personally enjoy fun horror movies like this that don’t have me terrorized with nightmares for the rest of my life, but everyone likes something different.  Either way, I thought that this show provided me with the entertainment I expected and even pleasantly surprised me, leaving me wanting more.  Ready to watch?

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own theories and thoughts on Light as a Feather in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I would love it if you would take a moment to check out my Whizbuzz Book page via the link below for everything you need to know about my new book, The Search for Alice, including my author bio page and links to my website and social media sites!  Thank you!

My Whizbuzz Book Page

Stay up to date on upcoming premieres of horror TV series 12nightsofhorror.com/horror-series-coming-soon


Amy Koto, 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!

I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy 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!

When Kallie Bennett, a jaded teenage girl plagued by her alcoholic mother and her peers molded out of sheer bubble gum perfection, chases after Alice in Wonderland herself, she ends up lost in her own version of Wonderland, which forces her to face her utmost fears and introduces her to familiar characters with a dark twist. Among these characters is Ches, a gorgeous vampire with a conflicted conscience, who becomes Kallie’s guide and blossoming love interest. She also crosses paths with Queen Hartley, a manipulative witch who has the power to strip away one’s memories and imagination, which brings a bone chilling new meaning to “off with their heads.” In The Search for Alice, Kallie starts to realize that her Wonderland is just as frightening as her own reality and that she cannot always run away from her problems. She must figure out a way to defeat Queen Hartley and return home before it is too late, but she soon learns that escaping Wonderland means leaving Ches behind forever.

Want to read more?  You can click the link directly below for a free preview.  Thanks for your support!

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

The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice Cover


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!


Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl