Three Female-led Shows I’m Currently Loving on Netflix

 

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Fun Fact: For the first few months in 1966, The Newlywed Game aired in black and white.

My relationship with TV can be defined in two words: lifelong friendship, it’s always been there for me and provides me with an easy escape from reality – it’s also just plain fascinating with never ending new shows to consume. I have always watched a lot of television, I had two older siblings and both of my parents appreciated TV. I watched all kinds of cartoons, sit-coms from the 60s to present day, and my family went through a long-lasting gameshow phase where we watched old episodes of Match Game and The Newlywed Game almost every night. As an adult, I still adore TV and it’s possibly become an even larger part of my life.

 

My husband works overseas for a month at a time so it’s just me, the dog, and the television (a truly happy family). Admittedly, I keep myself quite busy while my husband is away with having friends frequently visit, seeing my family often, and exploring my

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A photo I took while I was creating my Stardew Valley character.

hobbies like writing this blog, but the house does get pretty quiet. I often binge-watch shows while I’m multi-tasking, whether that be applying to jobs, writing this blog, playing with summit, doing Sudoku, or playing the computer game Stardew Valley. Television keeps me company and the character’s voices make the house feel less empty (I absolutely talk and sing to my dog on a regular basis, but she’s not that great of a conversationalist).

 

In the last handful of months, I (with and without my husband) have devoured Life in Pieces, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Penn and Teller: Fool Us, Weeds, That 70’s Show (minus the last few cringe worthy seasons), Garfunkel and Oates, W/Bob and David, Don’t Trust the B**** in Apt 23, Detectorists, No Tomorrow, Pretty Little Liars, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, The Returned, Scream Queens, plus a ton of movies.

So, what am I currently in love with on Netflix? Three main shows: The 100, Heartland, and Jane the Virgin.


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The 100: 2014 – ongoing
Best Features: Dystopic, Great Twists, Strong Female Characters, Great Character Development

I watched the first three seasons of The 100 last year and fell hard. I’m all up for some dystopic teenage fiction, but this show is so much more than that. The age of the main stars in the first season seems unimportant in the larger scheme of things; this is not a teenage soap-opera, it’s a well written science fiction show.

the-100The premise: Earth has been left uninhabitable by a series of nuclear explosions, but before the world was essentially destroyed the human race ascended into space to live together on a massive ship. With limited space and resources on the ship, there were laws instated including: only one child per household, and any committed crime (no matter how little) is punishable by death. The stipulation to this latter law was that if you were under 18 years of age, you would go into prison until you reached the age of majority to then face official judgement. For reasons that you will quickly discover, all of the under-18 prisoners are sent down to Earth and it gets a little ‘co-ed-Lord of the Flies’ (one of my favourite books) before the well written twists come into play.

I strongly recommend this show, they paint a fictional future with a lot of issues, but gender, sexuality, and age don’t seem to be the issues that they are in our reality. The series is still airing and Netflix updates the fourth season with a new 40-minute episode each week.


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Heartland: 2007 – ongoing
Best Features: Canadian, Beautiful Cinematography, Character Development, Grandpa’s Moustache

This show has been on for ten years, it’s been on since 2007 when I was still in high school! I remember seeing commercials for this CBC program when it was first airing on TV, but I paid no attention to it. I started watching it last month after finishing Weeds and wanting to watch something a little more moral. I am an animal lover, but have never been very interested in horses yet I really enjoy Heartland. It is an insanely good background show because it doesn’t have subtitles, it has a moderate pace and is really easy to follow. I actually liked the earlier seasons that get a lot of flack for having lower production budgets, I liked them because of the high school flashbacks I was having with the casts’ wardrobe.

The premise: After the passing of a single mother who lived and worked as a ‘horse whisperer’ at her family’s horse ranch in Alberta, Canada, her 14-year-old daughter is left to cope with her inherited gift to keep the family business afloat. She lives with and has

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If anyone claims that they don’t stare at grandpa Jack’s perfectly combed ‘stache when he’s on the screen they’re lying.

the help of her grandfather (my favourite character), her much older sister who is home from New York, and a young ranch-hand who is hired as a rehabilitation project while on probation.

Heartland really focuses on family, caring about animals, moral work ethics, small-town life, and Canada’s gorgeous scenery. There are minor love triangles, estranged family reunions, and more action than you’d think. Grandpa himself gets into the odd fist fight, the family saves/steals a lot of mistreated horses, and fighting off cattle thieves is surprisingly more common (on the show at least) than I would have originally thought. This is a show you can watch with your family and even my husband has admitted that it’s not as bad as he thought it would be – Grandpa’s rockin’ moustache and tough-teddy-bear personality makes it a hard show not to love! Netflix has nine seasons available, and season ten is currently airing on CBC.


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Jane the Virgin: 2014 – ongoing
Best Features: Hilarious, Ridiculous, Fun Narrator, Twists out the Wazoo, Diverse Cast, Fresh

This is probably my favourite show that is currently airing new episodes. The Mindy Project has kind of fallen by the wayside with some disappointing plot choices and its failure to have characters live up to their originally likable natures. Jane the Virgin has filled the Mindy-Project-sized hole in my heart. This show is delightfully dramatic and constantly makes me laugh. It is witty, quick-paced, diverse, and so incredibly fresh. Jane loves romance stories and is obsessed with telenovelas, Latin soap operas that consist of insane plotlines. The show itself, Jane the Virgin, is a modern American-made telenovela that airs on CW. The show has a fantastic (third person omniscient/commentator) narrator who interjects periodically with helpful reminders or he lets us know how the characters are really feeling. So much happens in each episode that what I am about to tell you is not really a spoiler at all – you find it all out in the first episode!

Jane has been brought up in a household with conflicting views on sex; her single mother had Jane at a young age and exudes sexual promiscuity confidently, while Jane’s grandmother is very religious and has drilled the sanctity of one’s virginity into Jane’s head from a young age. The three jtvpilotwomen live together in the grandmother’s house and Jane is now in her early twenties. Working a waitress job at a fancy hotel while finishing her post secondary education, Jane is in a happy committed relationship and is still waiting for marriage to lose her virginity. Within the first episode, a grave mistake occurs at what is supposed to be a simple appointment with her Gynecologist and this is the point in which her average life is inseminated with outrageous drama.

I fell in love with the show immediately, but if you think that it seems too overdramatic for you, give it a few episodes to see if you get the humour behind it all. Netflix currently has up to the middle of season three available and the new episodes are being released on a weekly basis. (PS. Prepare yourself for a moderate amount of sub-titles that are completely worth the portrayal of the natural flow of conversation in a Spanish-American home environment)


Do you watch any of these shows? What are your opinions on them? Let me know a TV show that you think I might like and I hope you might try watching one of mine.

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Talking (Quickly) About Gilmore Girls: Reviving Relationships of Old and New

DISCLAIMER: You must read the following blog post twice as fast as other blog posts.

 

tumblr_mf3zy3jtqe1rbumi6I was just hitting double digits when Gilmore Girls first aired in the year 2000. My sister and I watched the show regularly and I found myself looking to Rory as a bit of a teenage role model. She was 16, smart, kind, genuine, and a brunette – all things that I looked for in someone to admire at that age and exactly what I hoped to be at her age. Of course, Rory’s character became less admirable as the seasons went on (her character was pretty annoying sometimes), but I wasn’t any less interested in who she dated as I vicariously lived through her love life.

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Image from season one.

I was eager to rewatch the series when Netflix put Gilmore Girls online. It was funny how different my viewing perspective had become as I was now more interested in Lorelai’s love life (team Max forever) and Rory’s boyfriends seemed a lot less perfect than I had remembered them being. Jess was actually a terrible boyfriend, Dean was a bit obsessive, and Logan, who I used to hate, wasn’t actually that bad of a guy – all conclusions that I never would have come to at the young age that I had originally watched the show. Amazingly, Netflix announced the upcoming Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life mini-series while I was in the middle of the rewatch which made my excitement for the new productions even greater!

 

If you’re also a mega-fan, then you’ve been researching, reading, and watching the Gilmore Girls revival updates like I have been (Check out the subReddit I follow here). Tomorrow, November 25th, the four 90 minute episodes will be released on Netflix and the binging will begin.

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So what do you need to know before midnight tonight?

Luckily one of my good friends Harley Pageot, founder of the independent record label Fallen Love, has documented some of his age calculations that he made during his rewatching process! Here are the ages of some important characters that we hope to see back in Stars Hollow:

Our leading ladies and one cute canine:

  • Lorelei – 48  (will turn 49 in April)
  • Rory – 32
  • Paul Anka – unknown; at least 12 (his breed usually lives 12-15 years)

And what about all the kids that were born in the GG universe?

  • Luke’s daughter April – 23
  • Lane & Zack’s twin sons
    • Steve – 9 (will turn 10 in March)
    • Kwan – 9 (will turn 10 in March)
  • Rory’s dad Chris’ daughter Gigi – 13 (will turn 14 in February)
  • Sookie & Jackson’s:
    • son Davey – 13
    • daughter Martha – 11
    • unnamed third child – 9
  • Luke’s sister & brother-in-law Liz & TJ’s daughter Doula – 10
  • Gil’s daughter and son – 20 and 19

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These ages could be central to new plotlines; I’m really hoping that the show gives us a glimpse of some of the firsts that we got to see with Rory for these youthful characters. Part of the Gilmore Girls charm is the presentation of relatable life experiences through the eyes of different generations. Netflix’s accessibility has already introduced the series to a new younger audience that missed the show originally air on television. I’m hoping that the creators feature a few of these younger characters in their own version of 16-year-old-Rory-like-innocence, experiencing the ups and downs that come with coming of age.

What else do I hope to see?

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Remember this awesome Destiny’s Child video?

 A lot of fans are team Jess, team Dean, or team Logan, but Rory will likely be a reflection of Lorelai in the original first season – single, independent, and strong. #TeamIndependentWoman #TeamDestinysChildSongTitles

I have less specific hopes and a more general desire for the four mini-movies to feel like home. Gilmore Girls always had Stars Hollow at it’s heart of the story and the town felt immersive – who wouldn’t want to imagine living there? The seven seasons allowed us to feel right at home as we became overly familiar with the quirky town residents who seemed lovely on TV, but you’d likely want to kill in real life.

I’d like the new episodes to have a similar feel with Amy Sherman-Palladino’s amazing writing style, use of pop culture references, sense of humour, and warmth that originally drew ten-year-old-Cassy to keep watching each week.

I haven’t set my expectations too high in terms of wanting exact plot outcomes because I know that the creator and writers of the show will provide viewers with what we need: more mother-daughter moments that seem almost too good to be true, romance, character closure, some mistakes, some tears, a lot of hugging, Kirk and Taylor getting on Luke’s nerves, and small town nosy neighbours. We will get answers and like anything in life, not everyone will be pleased, but TV would be boring if we always got what we wanted.

Therefore, my expectations are that Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life will be what us fans need rather than what we want, but maybe…just maybe… it will be both!

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