I like my TV on the far side of ridiculous, so this was always going to be the show for me. Empire, for anyone who doesn’t know, is about a family warring over who gets control of the Lyon family record label, the show’s namesake, Empire. It could also be known as How To Fuck Up Your Children (throw your gay son in the trash, be openly ashamed of your bipolar son and turn the remaining kid into an egomaniac who doesn’t find it weird to sleep with his ex-stepmother).
When a gloomy diagnosis leads him to question his mortality, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) must decide which of his three sons to leave his Empire to. The situation gets a lot more complicated when his ex-wife, Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) gets out of prison and demands her slice of the pie.
There is music, murder, and hostile takeovers.
Most of the time it’s hard to tell whether Lucious loves his family, or just sees them as chess pieces of differing value.
She is one of the best female characters on television right now. I just adore her. She is strong, manipulative, loving, hilarious and one of the only people I can genuinely say carries off an animal print dress. She has never beaten Lucious yet, but we’ll all keep watching with the belief that she’s going to take him down eventually.
People burst into song, all the freaking time.
I only wish everything was a musical where people produced hit singles from prison.
Jane The Virgin
Jane decided to stay a virgin until she got married. Then she was accidentally artificially inseminated with a random man’s sperm and everything got complicated.
That man was Rafael, cancer survivor and reformed playboy. The doctor who did the insemination? His sister, Louisa.
Jane’s adorable policeman boyfriend, Michael, doesn’t deal so well with the whole thing.
A love triangle ensues.
Things get a lot more complicated when it turns out that Rafael’s step-mother is a world renowned drug dealer.
Jane lives with her mother and her grandmother. I love their set up. There are still very few positive portrayals of single parent households on TV, and I like that the show doesn’t waste time on shaming Jane’s mum, Xo, for her life choices.
Rafael’s ex-wife, and at the beginning of the show, the villain of the piece. As time has progressed, however, it basically became impossible to not like Petra. She is needy, weird and frequently irrational, but you can always kind of see why.
She’s just a socially inadequate weirdo. We can all relate to that.
(or maybe that’s just me)
Jane The Virgin has a Pushing Daisies style storyteller narrating every episode. His presence serves to enhance the melodrama and dramatic irony of the show. It’s a show that wants its audience to be conscious of the storytelling, both as a nod to the telenovela it’s based on and because its central character aspires to be a novelist.
That, and he’s very funny.
This is a new one for me. This past week I have binged my way through season one.
A creation of Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright, it’s a lot like Veronica Mars. But you know, with zombies.
Over achieving Junior Doctor, Olivia Moore’s (her name is Liv Moore. They really want us to get that joke) life is changed forever when she attends a party that ends in a zombie outbreak. Newly zombified, she is forced to break up with her fiancé, Major (one of the many delights of zombie-ism is that it can be sexually transmitted) and swap the wards for the mortuary, where she becomes a medical examiner (morgue = easy access to brains). Once she starts eating brains, Liv discovers that zombies have visions of the lives of the dead brains they’ve consumed.
Her next move? Start solving their murders, obviously.
The opening credits.
We all know how I feel about a charismatic bad guy. Blaine is a drug dealer turned zombie with a monopoly on the brain market. He has no morals to speak of and is driven by megalomania, daddy issues and greed.
And he’s the only thing standing between Seattle and the zombie apocalypse.
Blaine: I don’t know if you’re hungry, but you know what my mom always said?
Major: Why’d I stop using birth control?
Blaine: No! There’s always room for soup!
Given the rest of this pro-bad guy list, that I am a fan should come as no surprise.
Watching unREAL is an exercise in disgust.
unREAL tells the behind the cameras account of the fictional, Bachelor-style TV show, Everlasting. Producer Rachel is a natural empath with high ambitions and underlying mental health issues. She is a master manipulator, and winds the contestants (and the bachelors) tightly into her web of control. Mostly without them noticing. Rachel is in turn controlled by show runner Quinn. Together they will create drama, no matter the consequences.
Rachel and Quinn
They have a complicated dynamic. They might be the only people capable of understanding each other. Instead, they spend most of their time trying to destroy each other, despite the matching Money. Dick. Power. tattoos they both display on their wrists.
He is a disgusting menimist-leaning joke who never saw a good idea he didn’t want to steal. He is also hapless and hilarious and I still can’t quite get over how much weight he lost out on his manly summer camp.
This show really is a horrifying satire of reality TV and the culture surrounding it. It’s the only non-violent show I watch that sometimes gives me the urge to cover my eyes. In the first season one of the Everlasting contestants killed herself. This season, Quinn is all about getting those ‘suicide ratings.’
What shows are you watching right now? Do you have any recommendations for me?
Let’s talk TV.