Ranking the top 5 moments from “Once Upon a Time” season 7 episode 11: Love is Stronger than Magic

So I am thrilled that ABC’s Once Upon a Time has finally returned from its long winter hiatus, bringing us new episodes.  While it was recently announced that this will be the final season for OUAT, it really gives the show the opportunity to sum up its new story line.  When fan-favorite characters left the show and we found out about that season 7 would focus on a new story with only some of our favorite characters still sprinkled in to keep us hooked…pun intended, I had some doubts about how much longer the series would last for.  Now that we know the series is ending, however; this could actually be a great thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore this show and will miss it, but I’d rather see it go out strong than continue to grasp at straws and unconvincing story-lines just to be able to produce new episodes.  Either way, I’m looking forward to see how it all ends and I hope the Lost Easter eggs keep coming!  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s episode, “Secret Garden,” Zelena learns a hard lesson about parenting from Hook, Henry refuses to sit by without trying to help Lucy, and Regina opens her heart to her sister.  Meanwhile, Mother Gothel has her own agenda and Victoria/Lady Tremaine makes the ultimate sacrifice.  My top 5 moments from Once Upon a Time season 7 episode 11 are:

5

Lost Easter Egg:  The Apollo Bar.

So my top 5 moments would not be complete if I didn’t dedicate one to our favorite candy bar, the Apollo Bar.  For those of you who are Lost fans like myself, I am sure you jumped out of your chair with this Easter egg.  While the Apollo Bar has made appearances before on OUAT, I was thrilled that it was actually in a hospital vending machine this time.  In Lost, Jack is seen getting an Apollo Bar from the hospital vending machine and fans swooned over the “vending machine scene” featuring Juliet and Sawyer reuniting in the series finale.  It was great to see our favorite candy bar make another appearance, keeping fans satisfied with a much needed sugar rush.

4

“Test me too.”

After watching the mid-season finale of OUAT, it was clear that Henry was in great pain over Lucy’s condition.  While he hasn’t made the connection yet that he is her real father, he is not about to just sit around and pray that she gets better.  When Lucy’s parents are blood tested, Henry asks the doctor to test him too.  While she explains that the match would be much higher if he was blood related to Lucy, Henry is willing to try anything, even if there is the slightest chance that he could help her.  Little does he know, his test results prove that he is a match to Lucy, bringing to light his relation to her.  When the doctor looks over the results, an unknown threat poisons her and takes the results along with a lock of her hair.  While we don’t know who is behind this just yet, I’m thinking that Rumpel has to be involved somehow.  We’ll have to stay tuned to find out more, however.

3

“We’re going to do it together.”

We’ve seen so many ups and downs for our favorite sisters, Zelena and Regina, but it looks like Regina is ready to put all of their differences aside for good.  When she suggests that they team up to take down Mother Gothel and help Lucy and Henry, Regina suggests that they do it together.  Zelena says “wicked and evil,” but Regina corrects her with “no…sisters.”  These two are a powerful force and now that they have truly embraced their sisterly bond, there will be no stopping them.  Mother Gothel is no match for them, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to take her down.  When Mother Gothel approaches Zelena, she asks her to bring her the resurrection amulet, but Zelena immediately recognizes that there will be a catch.  Mother Gothel will certainly not go down without a fight, but let’s hope Zelena and Regina’s bond doesn’t shatter like the sign of their bar.  They need to stick together and fight the good fight.

2

“Piss off Nook.”

Zelena finds an unlikely source of help in Hook…or “nook.”  She comically comments on how she forgets that there are two Hooks and gives him her new nickname, meaning “new Hook.”  Zelena is distraught over her daughter, Robin’s decision to go to Mother Gothel to learn about magic, but Hook reminds her not to give up.  He tells her that love is stronger than magic and he is absolutely right.  Even though Zelena initially claims that “I don’t need a parenting lesson from a pirate,” she quickly realizes that her unconditional love for her daughter is the only thing that can save her.  Hook tells Zelena that her love for her daughter makes her “so daring, so brave, so utterly fearless,” and I can’t think of a better description for our former wicked witch.  Zelena is able to save Robin by taking her place as the sacrifice, allowing Robin to truly see that her mother cares for her.  It looks like Zelena has found a calling far greater than ultimate magic and power.  Good thing she had Hook…or Nook along to help her see it.

1

Victoria/Lady Tremaine redeems herself.

While it initially seemed like Victoria/Lady Tremaine was a villain without a soul, we now get to see her walls come down, as she finally does the right thing.  She has a lot to make up for and even tries to come clean to Anastasia with all of her horrible deeds.  The truth hurts, but Victoria knows that she needs to make amends, especially after what she did to Lucy.  She refuses to let Mother Gothel keep her held captive, using her Louis Vuitton shoe to get her out of the well.  Who said that fashion couldn’t be useful?  When the power of the resurrection amulet is unleashed, Victoria quickly learns that the sacrifice is now her other daughter, Ivy/Drizella.  Victoria makes the same decision as Zelena and takes the place of her daughter, sacrificing herself in the process to save her.  This act of kindness and unconditional love is truly touching.  Even though one cannot deny all of the horrible things Victoria has done in the past, her sacrifice shows her daughter that love can conquer evil.  Let’s hope that this is enough to bring Ivy/Drizella to the side of good.  We’re going to need all the help we can get against Mother Gothel.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Once Upon a Time below.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

My top television shows of 2017 on Netflix: Binge-watching throughout the year!

Since I covered my top favorite television shows that aired in 2017 on local and cable networks, I thought it would only be right to discuss my favorite shows that aired on Netflix as well.  While Netflix has been slowly taking away some of my old favorites series to make room for the new ones, I have been pleased with a lot of their new shows.  Don’t get me wrong, I desperately want them to bring back shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and One Tree Hill and to consider not taking Lost off.  Either way I will still dust off my old DVD sets and settle for some quality shows on Netflix as a compromise.  Netflix has done a good job of successfully providing me with the binge-watching we all crave once in a while with its lineup.  Who am I kidding…all the time!  Please note some spoilers are ahead.

The Best of the Best of television shows streaming on Netflix for 2017 are:

  1. 13 Reasons Why
  2. Stranger Things (season 2)
  3. The Punisher
  4. Ozark
  5. Orange is the New Black (season 5)

Orange is the New Black is a favorite guilty pleasure of mine and I admit that I look forward to every June for the premiere.  I tend to watch these episodes in just under a week because I am always sad when it is over to soon.  Season 4 ended with a cliff-hanger of Daya pointing a gun at a guard, leaving fans wondering what would happen next.  A lot of the season focused on the inmates refusing to be treated poorly anymore, leading to a riot that allowed the tables to be turned and the inmates to take control of the prison.  Each episode was jam-packed with drama and action, which had me contemplating when to start up the next episode.  I have to admit that it took a lot of self-control to watch everything over the course of the week, as it would have been very easy to finish this within a day or two.

When my friends told me about Ozark, they said it was sort of like Breaking Bad but not really.  Not really that specific of a review, but it did get my attention and I checked out the show featuring the wonderful and brilliant Jason Bateman.  Bateman plays Marty who gets caught up in a money-laundering scheme and is forced to leave his home with his family and set up shop in the small town of Ozark so that the head of the Mexican cartel doesn’t kill him and everyone he cares about.  Marty has a set of skills that are unlike many others and thinks on his feet quickly to come up with a business scheme that can work, all while trying to deal with the fact that his marriage is coming to an end and to keep his children happy.  Sounds like a tall order and it is.  While the series is no Breaking Bad, at least not yet anyway, it was entertaining and absolutely worth a watch.

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.

Stranger Things season 2 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!

When 13 Reasons Why streamed on Netflix earlier in the year, it was considered to be very controversial because of the subject matter and targeted audience.  As a result, it got mixed reviews.  After watching the first episode for myself, I found myself binge-watching the season all in one day.  While I am sure many of you have done the same, the show did an excellent job of drawing the viewer in wanting to unlock the real reasons why Hannah Baker decided to end her life and how her friend, Clay Jensen is involved.  Rather than leave a suicide note, Hannah records everything on 13 audio cassette tapes and has them delivered to the different people responsible so that they can hear the whole story.  While the show makes you want to dive deeper into truth, there is something very raw and painful about the emotions that are revealed along the way from each character who wronged Hannah and how they are dealing with the aftermath of her death along with issues in their own lives that they are facing.  You connect with the characters so much which makes the ultimate fate of Hannah that more tragic and heart-breaking.  While the show is emotionally difficult to handle sometimes, it is worth a watch and reminds us about what is truly important in life.

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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 moments from “SMILF” season 1 episode 7: Bridgette and Larry go to the movies

Greetings TV viewers!  After watching Showtime’s SMILF season 1 episode 7 last night, I am left with some thoughts on motherhood from actress Sophia Loren who once said that “when you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”  Bridgette can absolutely use some of this advice, but part of what makes her so likable is that she is truly trying…one mistake at a time.  But it doesn’t necessarily make her a bad mother.  It just makes her human.  She does tend to think for herself first out of habit, but Larry is still her number one priority.  Part of Bridgette’s forgetfulness is not out of lack of love or devotion to her child, it’s just how she is as a person and she’s learning from it with each new day.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s episode, Bridgette attempts to toilet train Larry and feels an overwhelming sense of boredom creep in, inspiring her to go to the movies.  Meanwhile, Tutu faces an emotional breakdown of her own and tries to recover from her encounter with Edmund.  My top 5 moments from SMILF season 1 episode 7 are:

5

“Fun….fun….fun.”

Bridgette goes to the playground with Larry and feels the repeated routine of pushing him on a swing take control.  She absentmindedly says “fun, fun, fun” over and over with a look of extreme exhaustion and boredom on her face.  She later complains that “I’m so bored I think I’m dying.”  Bridgette is feeling pressure and is looking to escape even if just for an afternoon.

4

Tutu has an interesting bench conversation with strangers.

After Tutu’s encounter with Edmund, she is left with a mixed bag of emotions, unsure how to deal with the baggage.  She leaves her husband in the bathtub and mechanically walks out of the house, not really sure where she is going.  When she ends up at the park, she finds herself waist-deep in the water, staring up at the sky contemplating life.  Like Bridgette, Tutu feels a desperate need to escape her circumstances and looks for distractions along the way.  She sits down next to a father and daughter on a bench and comments that “they burned witches at the stake not far from there” and then starts wondering out loud about what it feels like to be burned alive to their horror.  Tutu then aimlessly wanders around the stores, trying on clothes and make-up and having harmless conversations with the employees, but once she leaves the store she is right back where she started with an aching sense of loneliness.  When she buys a bunch of scratch offs, her husband climbs up the stairs in exhaustion to let her know they won a boat cruise.  This snaps her back into reality and she is so thankful that he felt the need to do that for her, realizing that she does have someone in her life who truly cares for her.

3

Bridgette attempts to toilet train Larry.

In the beginning of the episode, Bridgette is desperately trying to toilet train Larry and keeps commenting to herself that she has no idea what she is doing.  She even tries to guilt him into doing it but his adorable “no” to everything she asks, brings a familiar sense of defeat Bridgette’s way.  Later, Eliza assumes that the task cannot be that difficult and takes a shot at it, only to face the same results.  When it seems like this might never happen, the girls are arguing near the tow-truck lot and Larry successfully sits on a toilet there to Bridgette and Eliza’s surprise.  Perhaps Larry had been feeling the pressure before much like his mother, but is ready now for sure.

2

Bridgette brings Larry to the movies during nap time.

Bridgette was super bummed that she could not go to the movies with Eliza when Tutu is unable to watch Larry.  However, the boredom at the park was too much to bear.  Bridgette realizes that since it is Larry’s nap time, there is no harm in bringing him along.  The girls are watching a horror movie and keep commenting on the violent death scenes.  A couple behind them begins to pass judgment explaining that it is no place for a child, but Bridgette dismisses them, assuring them that he is asleep.  When Larry wakes up, she is disappointed she cannot see the next victim die.  Later on the bus, Bridgette asks Larry if he saw the movie and of course he says “yes” innocently.  She proceeds to ask him then if he has anxiety or depression because of the movie and he says “yes” to every question, reassuring Bridgette that he was not scarred for life by the movie.  However, then she realizes that she hasn’t fed him breakfast or dinner yet.  Luckily, a kind stranger on the bus provides her with a diaper and some cheerios.

1

Bridgette asks for help.

Earlier in the episode when Bridgette is at the playground, a woman tells her in Spanish that it is OK to ask for help.  These words truly resonated with Bridgette, when she agrees to a ride from a stranger with Eliza and Larry to retrieve her car.  Bridgette tries to explain to Eliza the odds of parking in tow-away zones to no avail and then realizes she didn’t check the hours of the lot either.  When Larry runs inside, Bridgette goes after him.  They find the car and drive up to the gate, not knowing what to do next.  A Spanish woman and her daughter approach her and Bridgette tells her that she has a beautiful daughter and then asks her for help.  The woman is fearful that her boss might find out she brought her daughter, so she is more than willing to help Bridgette out.  She pulls open the gate, as Eliza and Bridgette look at each other in disbelief, realizing they could have done the very same thing.  Either way, this moment is important for Bridgette as she now understands that she can’t always be a perfect mother.  She is going to make mistakes but her love for Larry and the support from the people around her will keep her in check.

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl