This year I picked up the book Red Rising and couldn’t put it down until I finished the trilogy. From the first page “On Mars there’s not much gravity. So you have to pull the feet to break the neck. They let the loved ones do it.” I knew that this book was something special. The series is an epic fantasy that sprinkles in humor and is not afraid to cover darker topics. The story is set on a futuristic Mars where protagonist Darrow rises from the lowest part of society, where the people are called Reds, to infiltrate and eventually overthrow the oppressive Gold upper class. I loved the simplicity of the color caste system to signify roles in society as well as the slang incorporated, such as gorydamn representing a curse word, which helped with the immersion into the world. I hate to use Hunger Games as a comparison because I thought Red Rising was better in every aspect, even as a love story, but the simplest way to describe the first book is Hunger Games in space.
I wouldn’t say that these shows are unknown, but they certainly seem to be underrated in terms of popularity. The Golden Age of Television is in full steam and there are just so many good shows on air and hopefully this can help people narrow down what they should watch. I don’t even have cable so all of these shows are able to be watched online in some way. In no particular order here are a couple of shows that I watched and absolutely adored and enjoyed.
Man Seeking Woman
Of all the shows on the list this one may be my favorite because of how they twisted one of the most ubiquitous premises, a single person in NYC looking for love, and made it unique by taking normal dating/relationship clichés and taking them to extreme literal metaphorical situations. For example the pilot episode has main character Josh going to a party hosted by his ex-girlfriend and she’s now dating literally Hitler. After breakups people can sometimes feel that the next person their ex dates is the worst person in the world, and here they poke fun at that by making him literally Hitler. Another example is when Josh gets a new girlfriend and his mom literally tortures him for more information about her. Hyperboles are taken seriously and the characters acting like the scenario is normal makes the humor of the absurdity better. I didn’t like leading man and Michael Cera knockoff Jay Baruchel or best friend and total weirdo Eric Andre before the show, but they’re both great because of the unique situations. The first season probably felt the funniest and most relatable for me as a single male while the 2nd season felt weaker by comparison, almost as if they were running out of ideas a little bit. The 3rd and final season was the strongest and I thank whoever gave this show a third season because it may have been the funniest and most relatable handling of a new relationship. Kate Findlay only comes in for the final season, but she stole the show from her introduction onward. The first two seasons stream on Hulu and I’m sure the third will follow eventually.
I don’t think I’m breaking any ground here in saying that the Death Note Netflix adaption was an utter failure and embarrassment to the source material. Also it would be even worse without knowing the source material, so while it’s not worth watching, apparently it is worth writing about. Death Note originally ran in Shonen Jump back in 2003 and follows protagonist Light Yagami after he discovers a notebook with the ability to kill anyone who’s full name and face he knows. Light uses this book as a way to purge evil from the world under the surname Kira, while the police try to stop him. It’s probably one of my favorite completed manga of all time but the movie was one of the least favorite movies I’ve ever seen.
I can’t think of a single good thing leading man Nat Wolff has been in, and the deviations from the manga don’t make sense to me. Shortening the length of Death Note, which features over 100 chapters in written form, to fit an hour and a half movie can explain some of the questionable plot decisions, but turning this from masterful intellectual thriller to teenage drama certainly can’t be explained by time constraints and it wasted the source material in doing so.
I have probably reread the Harry Potter saga over three times as a whole, with special attention to my favorite books in the series hitting near double digit rereads. It’s not a perfect series by any means, but it will always be my go to escape from reality. A sense of belonging and comradery with people that also read and grew up with the adventure is also something I will always cherish. These rankings don’t account for the movies at all and I put emphasis in the rankings on how likely I am going to reread the book over my first impressions of when I read it. Now, let’s start!
Here are the rankings I posted in the preseason of 2016, the parentheses mark where the team actually finished in the MLB. I was wildly inaccurate for the most part.
30. (22) Milwaukee Brewers
I thought this team would be the worst in baseball, but they weren’t. Jonathan Villar broke out and led all of baseball with 62 SBs, while other Jonathan (Lucroy), a player long time tenured with the team and a fan favorite, was traded midseason to the Rangers. 31 year old rookie Junior Guerra put together a surprisingly solid year and the team still managed to hold on to superstar Ryan Braun, someone I thought for sure would have been traded away during the season.
29. (26) Atlanta Braves
After pulling off the Dansby Swanson trade 2016 could already be considered a success for the Braves. Freddie Freeman had his best year and Julio Teheran bounced back from a down 2015, which helped them finish not quite at the bottom of the standings.
28. (16) Colorado Rockies
A Rockies’ hitter has won the batting title 3 out of the last 4 years, and DJ LeMahieu was the newest member to achieve it. Offensively the Rockies were one of the best teams, again, but pitching wise they were lackluster, again. There were at least some promising signs that the rotation is moving in the right direction compared to years before. Trevor Story was making the NL ROY race honest before going down with an injury. They always had a good offense and I underestimated how far it would carry them. I also expected them to trade away some of their star players, but they stayed pat. Continue reading
A screenplay is essentially an unfinished product, the blue prints for a movie or a play, but unmistakably not a book. A screenplay is meant to be read by an actor or a director, and then adapted, but by selling it as a book, Cursed Child feels like an incomplete work and a desperate cash grab by the publishing company. My expectations were pretty low coming into it yet I was still disappointed.
Cursed Child has positive reviews as a performance, but numerous subpar reviews as a “book.” It’s understandable that the response to the screenplay would be so negative though, nobody chooses to read the screenplay for Fast and Furious when they can watch the physics defying car stunts. It’s refreshing to read about Harry and the gang, even if it wasn’t a story that lived up to their past adventures, but honestly I think it was the way the book was framed as the next installment by JK Rowling that may have set many fans up for disappointment. The high price certainly didn’t help tamper expectations either. Continue reading
This episode is called blood of my blood most likely because there were lot of family related storylines, Sam meeting his family again and the entire King’s Landing storyline involved family confrontations. I can’t spoil too much new information because most of the characters’ storylines have progressed further than their book counterparts. There will be spoilers for this episode though, duh.
Meera struggles to pull Bran through the forest, a direwolf would have really come in handy here, as Bran downloads the past couple seasons and some spoilers. Honestly I’m impressed she pulled him this far before the wights caught up to them. Before all hope is lost however, a mystery knight, who’s 100% Benjen, comes to their rescue with a fire chain mace and basically takes out 10 wights easily. I’m surprised a bunch of Night’s Watch brothers don’t come out and stab Bran, this is not a drill, Benjen is back.
This episode is titled The Door…and we know exactly why. I can’t spoil too much new information because most of the characters’ storylines have progressed further than their book counterparts. There will be spoilers for this episode though, duh.
Littlefinger has already arrived at Molestown. I’m honestly not sure if this is an abandoned town after the wildlings raided the place 2 seasons ago.
Littlefinger – “Sansa!”
(All my planning has been for this moment, I love you Sansa!)
Littlefinger – “Lady Brienne…”
All his planning yet he didn’t expect Sansa to be mad at him.
Littlefinger – “When I heard you escaped Winterfell I feared the worst…I am so happy to see you unharmed.”
He feared the worst when Sansa escaped Winterfell? Why, was it because she wouldn’t have her husband to protect her?
Sansa – “Did you know about Ramsay? If you didn’t you’re an idiot, if you did, you’re an enemy.”
Why can’t he be both?
Littlefinger – “I made a mistake.”
Before Sansa arrived here, Davos recommended a justifiable punishment for Littlefinger that would make his nickname quite ironic.
Sansa – “I don’t believe you anymore, I don’t need you anymore. Why shouldn’t I tell Brienne to cut you down now?”
Well look at that, I can’t think of any reason either. Fetch that block girl.
Littlefinger – “If you want me to beg for my life, I will do it.”
But he doesn’t do it. Not even a little.
Sansa – “You freed me from the monsters that murdered my family and gave me to different monsters that murdered my family.”
The Lannisters killed her dad. The Bolton’s killed her mother, brother, and sister in law.
Littlefinger – “A time will come when you may need an army loyal to you.”
Like the Knights of the Vale? Killing him would probably gain their loyalty, does anyone actually like him?
Sansa – “I have an army.”
Meh, they have some wildlings.
Littlefinger – “Your brother’s army?”
Stop letting him influence you!
Stop it! You can still kill him! Maim at the very least.
The 4th episode of the season is named after one of the Seven. The Stranger represents death and we can infer that the show runners are calling this episode the Book of Death. Honestly I thought it should have been named “Sister Power” after all the motivational talks they did for their brothers. I can’t spoil too much new information because most of the characters’ storylines have progressed further than their book counterparts. There will be spoilers for this episode though, duh.
Jon plans on heading south to, presumably, retire. He’s seen enough of the North for one life time. Jon Beach Resort has a better ring to it than Jon Snow.
Edd – “I was with you at Hardhome, we saw what’s out there. How can you leave us now?”
Winter is coming, better head south to warmer shores.
Jon – “I did everything I could and they killed me.”
And now he’s given a second chance!
“You want me to stay here after they killed me?”
I mean…he did kill those guys right? So what’s the problem? Too many bad memories?
Before he can leave, Sansa arrives at the Wall and Jon has yet another touching hug. Edd must be thinking, really? Another redhead? Deep down, I bet a small part of Jon wishes she was Arya.
I’m not entirely sure why this episode is called Oathbreaker.
It’s the name of Brienne’s sword, but she wasn’t in this episode and I can’t place a single scene where an oath was broken or someone uttered the phrase. Brienne’s sword is Oathkeeper. Is Jon leaving the Night’s Watch what this refers to? Because technically he didn’t break his oath. I can’t spoil too much new information because most of the characters’ storylines have progressed further than their book counterparts. There will be spoilers for this episode though, duh.
Ghost looks like he’s seen a ghost! Jon Snow
White awoke without needing his Prince Charming, apparently he’s his own prince. His stab wounds aren’t bleeding, so I’m not entirely sure if he’s a zombie.
Davos – “What do you remember?”
Pain? A sexy redhead giving him a haircut?
Jon – “They stabbed me… Olly, he put a knife in my heart.”
Both figuratively and literally.
“I shouldn’t be here.”
What are things surprisingly said by Jon and not Davos.
Melisandre – “After you died, where did you go? What did you see?”
Is her perception of heaven our perception of hell? Probably.
Jon – “Nothing. There was nothing at all.”
He knew nothing, and his afterlife reflected this.
“I did what I thought was right…and I got murdered for it.”
He truly has Ned Stark’s blood.