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6 Seasons of Game of Thrones | Review

Title: Game of Thrones (2011 – present, TV series)

Creators: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss (based on George R. R. Martin’s novels)

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Action, Serial

Rating: 4 stars


Note: I wrote a review on Season 1 of GoT too. *SPOILER ALERT!*

Before I go into this review, I just want to say that I watched all 6 seasons from June to mid-July this year, so I didn’t really give myself time to digest every main story line after each season. I’ll just say that the human need to know who will die next is a very powerful force.

Overview of the 6 Seasons

For me, Season 5 was noticeable worse than all other seasons, and Season 6 was probably the best one so far. What I loved about the development of the series was the fact that we had to keep up with several story lines at once. But when they started killing off characters (and hence their story lines), Season 5 got really bad. However, I suppose Season 6 makes up for it, because the characters that do survive end up ‘finishing’ their deceased story lines. In other words, it was very satisfying to see how characters like Sansa and Arya finally realized who they were, and what they were meant to do.

Characters

I absolutely loved the development of the main characters throughout the series; in every season we got to see a different, or more developed, side of each character, directing their story line towards a different path than expected. Below are only some of my favorite characters, because there are too many to name them all!

  • Tyrion: He’s by far the best character (and actor) so far. The only Lannister with brains also happens to be the only likable Lannister. His sarcasm, shrewdness, and even drunkenness all make him such a compelling character. The fact that he has received so many death wishes and gotten out of every single one of them until now, never fails to impress me. I feel that many of the things Tyrion has suffered through in his early life are not shown, which made it a bit hard to empathize with him. However, when we got to see his ‘tender’ side in his fleeting relationship with Shae and how he overcame the situation by focusing on Khaleesi the bigger picture, that was more than enough. Tyrion is really something. I hope he doesn’t die.
  • Khaleesi: Daenerys Targaryen, avaluable name with a list of titles, but I’ll just call her Khaleesi here. If anyone’s untouchable in this series, it has to be her. I particularly grew to like her when she faced the challenges of ruling in the last few seasons, because that forced her to understand the reality that her people faced. Anyway, she looks like a goddess, she acts like a queen, she bore dragons… I don’t even know what she is anymore.
  • Arya: I love how she, ever from an early age, knew where her position was. She knew from the start whose side she was on, and who the enemies were (unlike Sansa, who very well took her time). I feel like she has a lucky amulet everywhere she goes, because there is always someone there to ‘protect’ her – which leads me to believe that she is unlikely to die until she has fulfilled her death list (Cersei?). Favorite quote: “A girl has a name, and it’s Arya Stark of Winterfell”, as Jaqen smiles knowingly. Go Arya!
  • Jaime and Brienne: The only reason I started liking Jaime was because of Brienne. Their story line is/was amazing. Jaime showed that he was, in fact, an asshole mainly when around Cersei, and Brienne revealed her soft heart despite the appearance that she tries to put up with. As much as I want Tyrion to be the one that slays Cersei’s head, I really hope Jaime is, in fact, the “Valonqar” (little brother) that will end her life, according to Cersei’s prophecy.
  • Jon: They killed him once, so I guess it’s safe to say that he’s untouchable, at least for some time. To be honest, I wasn’t very into his story line for the first few seasons; I wasn’t really into the Night’s Watch. But as winter got closer, their importance also grew. And that’s when Jone shone with his bravery, despite all costs. And damn, he will be some major character in the following seasons, and I’m really curious as to what would happen when he finally meets with Khaleesi.
  • Margaery: *mourns silently* Up until she died, I was constantly wary of her attitude. She always seemed to know more than she should, and act in such a manipulative way that it was impossible not to assume that she was onto something. But the scene of her death revealed that she was simply a step ahead of everyone else in the game. She never let herself be the victim, and that, I admired in her. Poor Tommen. Cersei did not deserve the Iron Throne. At all.

All of these characters have each gone through their own sh*t… and yet they have only become a better version of themselves, if they were still alive after that. It’s inspiring and humbling to see how each of them continues the continuous challenges that they face down their path.

Highlights

  • “Hold the Door!”: This scene couldn’t have been any more perfect and meaningful. Hodor’s life purpose came down to that one moment to save Bran. And it also gives us a lot to speculate about Bran’s connection between the past and the present.

  • The Red Wedding: I did not see this coming, at all (I’m so naive). My OTP of the series dying within the span of a few seconds, and then Catelyn’s throat slain at the last second – I almost thought it was a joke. This was probably the most heartbreaking death scene (along with Hodor’s) in the whole series, because it wasn’t just these 3 characters dying, it was little Ned Stark too.
  • Battle of the Bastards: It was the most epic and beautiful battle ever. Enough said. It was a bit disappointing to see Rickon appear one last time for his death, though, considering that every other Stark had a major role in the series.
  • The Winds of Winter: All of Season 6’s finale was a highlight. It was the most satisfying and conclusive ending that I could have asked for, especially after the with Ramsay and Walder Frey’s deaths.

There are so many things to talk about Game of Thrones in all the 6 seasons, but these were just some of the characters and scenes that have stuck with me the most. Now, all there’s left to do is speculate about some theories (Gendry?) and hopefully read the books soon (I really want to read the books).

 

Review: Game of Thrones (Season 1)

Title: Game of Thrones (2011 – present, TV series)

Creator: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss (based on George R. R. Martin’s novels)

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Action, Serial

Rating: 4 stars


5 years after it started, I have finally decided to jump on the bandwagon. I have never been particularly interested in fantasy historical fiction (in both books and films) primarily because I often found their plots too complex for my taste.

But it’s hard not to get caught up in the drama of this show, fall in love with the characters, and become attached to good-hearted characters, who we know may or may not have their heads slain off at the end.

Commentary

I feel that one of the things that has acted as the ‘hook’ throughout this series (at least in Season 1), is the uncertainty as to who are the main characters. Surely, I can point out that Daenerys (or Khaleesi) and members of the Stark family (Catelyn, Bran, Arya, Robb, etc.) are the heroes of the series, while the Lannisters and their minions are the villains. But, just when things were getting convoluted, we have Drogo and… Ned Stark killed. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised to see them both have their eventful deaths, and my initial reaction was, obviously, “what the heck?!”

But every time a character dies, another character(s) grows stronger. Khaleesi is my favorite heroine so far in the series (how can she not be?), and she’s the one character whose growth in confidence has been the most noticeable. From being her brother’s slave, to being married off to the leader of the Dothraki tribe whom she has not previously been acquainted with, to being the most courageous female leader by the end of Season 1.

As for the Stark family, clearly Ned’s death has sparked a closer connection among them, and though this is a weakness for the family now that they’re more desperate to get Sansa and Arya back, they also have their own bargain to trade for (Jaime).

I love the fact that the reason behind all these schemes, wars, killings, whatnot, are rooted to such stupid reasons, e.g. Jaime pushing Bran from the tower to avoid him spreading the news of his incestuous relationship with Cersei, and hence the bastard children. That one thing spread faster than a virus to all the consequent events that followed. It can be for the most emotionally-driven and dramatic reasons, but it’s such a direct reflection of how we often act today.

Note: I’m aware that I’m oblivious to probably MOST things that have happened since Season 1, but I have not seen nor read anything related to Game of Thrones beyond Season 1, and don’t plan to until I’m nearly caught up with all the seasons.

Conclusion

I’m already on Season 2. I don’t think I will stop watching it soon, because I won’t be ‘settled’ with the series until I’m satisfied with it, and I think it’s pretty clear that the show is not going to let me be anywhere near ‘satisfied’ with this show until the producers themselves end the game.

By the way, is it me, or does Joffrey Baratheon resemble Draco Malfoy like, a lot? They both act like maniacal despots (oh wait, Joffrey is actually a despot now), yet they have nothing better to threaten people with other than their father or “mother”.

 

Review: Awkward

Title: Awkward (2011 – present, TV series)

Creator: Lauren Iungerich

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Family

Rating: 4 stars

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Plot

The show revolves around the social and family life of Jenna Hamilton (from her POV) as she goes through the good and awful incidents that, together, enable her to discover what truly matters in her life. The first season takes off in high school, where Jenna faces the typical teenage obstacles regarding family, friends, guys, and fitting in with the social crowd – but with extremely awkward twists. Boy drama and the search for identity are everlasting and realistic themes that the show never gets tired of bringing up (a direct reflection of the chaotic lives of teenagers).

The show is currently in the middle of its 5th season, and after a few months’ hiatus, the series has resumed to when the characters all come home after Freshman Year (Season 5, Episode 13).

Pros

A YA rom-com, ‘Awkward’ portrays many of the possible (and highly embarrassing) scenes that a teenager may encounter in her high school and college career. Though every episode is full of melodrama (even the parents act like teens, geez) many of the events can be highly relatable in other contexts. The characters are quite charismatic, and though I would love to have some of their faces as punchbags (ahem *Sadie*), at the end, they are all down-to-earth perfectly flawed humans.

I have particularly enjoyed this second part of Season 5, because it’s really showing the raw and vulnerable side of even the most egotist and confident characters. After freshman year, when they all go back to their hometown and reunite, from Jenna’s POV it seemed that everyone had changed into these ‘strangers’, while she felt like she stepped back into Awkward Jenna again. But through flashbacks and confrontations with other characters, everyone else, like Jenna, were too blinded by their own issues and flaws, which is just beautiful.

Depression, weight, bullying, rejection, etc. are all confronted throughout the show, and though many of the characters start off as the typical school types – weirdos, geeks, nerds, jocks, cheerleaders – their humane sides enables them to evolve from those stereotypes.

When you look past the drama, the dialogues in the show can actually be pretty good and witty at times, too.

Cons

I’m okay with the show being melodramatic and having their protagonists reciting Romeo & Juliet lines to each other, but, like many shows, the portrayal of love is just too much for me. The Awkward gang you see here (except for the two adult females at the middle back and Sadie the bully, on the right) have pretty much dated each other on-and-off throughout the seasons. Dating your best friend’s girlfriend/boyfriend seems to be the dating theme here, and they just never seem to learn from the same mistakes. Oh, and other students/people have also popped up in the series every once in a while, usually as a romantic interest for one of the characters, or more. Usually the exes are out of the picture for good, but a few have come back from the dead after some coincidental encounter that swoons the character/s back into their arms again.

Besides the love aspect, I wish that, for once, the adults would start to act like adults. The parents still sometimes pretend Jenna doesn’t exist, Valerie the school counselor pretty much disappears and appears whenever she feels like it (and has worse issues to deal on her own than unstable teenagers).

Conclusion

I like the show (and still watch it) because it portrays the characters like raw human beings. Though the excessive makeup sometimes make the characters look 10 years older than they should be (most shows do that anyway), at least most dress like normal people would. The stages of my (high school) life have progressed at a similar rate to the show, and it was often really fun to watch some of the things that the characters were going through that were similar to mine.

I assume that makes the age range for this show’s audience quite narrowed down to teens and young adults. If you are one (mentally and/or physically), and you enjoy dramatic 20-minute rom-coms, then this show is for you.

Review: Quantico

Title: Quantico (2015 TV series)

Creator: Joshua Safran

Genres: Terrorism thriller, Drama, Romance, Action

Rating: 3.8 stars

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Plot

The series follows a group of young FBI recruits; each has a specific (and sometimes dark) reason for joining the academy. Flashbacks detail their previous lives, while the recruits battle their way through training at the academy in Quantico, Virginia. However, the series reveals in a flash forward twist that one of the recruits, Alex, upon graduating from the academy, will be suspected of masterminding the biggest terror attack on New York City since the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Pros

The plot revolves around two settings: the past – in the FBI Academy, and the present – the dystopian yet highly realistic possible ‘future’. After having been watching Criminal Minds, CSI: New York, Castle, and whatnot, for so long, Quantico brought out my secret ambition to become an FBI Agent. Because Quantico is about a group of trainees, instead of working agents, it makes it all even more ‘relatable’. The main characters are supposed to be in their late-twenties to thirties, each from very different backgrounds and lots of experience (and deep dark secrets) in their respective fields. It’s quite idealistic, and that’s what attracted me (and people with similar ambitions) to the show.

All the characters have been or still are troubled by their pasts, and that’s what enables each episode to be unfolded with even more unexpected twists. You have the attractive and exotic protagonist, the basic white blonde bitch, the weird geek everyone ends up hating, etc. Mm. I thought they had finished high school long ago. But it’s also this combination that creates so much drama, action, tasks and betrayals.

Cons

Though the trainees are supposed to be mature adults (that have already finished college and have presumably been working for a few years before being recruited), they act like a bunch of love-crazed college students. It’s so obvious it’s stupid, and that bothered me, because it just took away the credibility of the show. Even if they’re still ‘trainees’, I assumed that their past, their experience, and their age would have shaped them into more mature citizens. But apparently, it’s not quite different to How to Get Away With Murder in that sense.

Oh, and in the present setting, I found the FBI Agents investigating the terror attack to be incredibly stupid and gullible. It reminded me of those action and thriller films that try to dumb down the cops to make the good guys look more intelligent than they already are.

Conclusion

It’s a good show, really, if you don’t focus on its flaws too much. It captivates you and puts you in the scene. Next thing you know, you’re pulling your brains out trying to work out the trainee’s task or attempting to solve the terror attack mystery. When I compare it to other TV shows I’ve watched before, Quantico definitely speaks out to a younger audience, with the save-the-world ambition that Criminal Minds nor CSI can convey.

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Review: Gilmore Girls

Title: Gilmore Girls (2000 TV series)

Creator: Amy Sherman-Palladino

Genres: Comedy, Romance, Family Drama, Teen Drama

Rating: 3.8 stars

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Plot

The show follows single mother Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, also named Lorelai but who prefers to be called Rory, living in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. The town is filled with colorful characters and is located approximately 30 minutes from Hartford, Connecticut. Ambition, education, work, family, and questions of class constitute some of the series’ central concerns. The show’s social commentary manifests most clearly in Lorelai’s difficult relationship with her wealthy, appearance-obsessed parents, Emily and Richard Gilmore, and in Rory’s interactions between the students at the Chilton Academy, and later, Yale University.

A show that aired more than 15 years ago, it certainly doesn’t possess the modern technology-driven society that we see today. As someone whose childhood was practically technology-free until middle school, I enjoyed devouring into books with relatable characters all living in a small town. And that’s exactly what this show portrayed: Lorelai and her daughter, living in this town where everyone knew everybody else (even if some of them were a bit snoopy), which created this warm and comforting environment for everyone. I would say that this is what you would call a ‘chick-flick’ TV Series, as the plot always revolves around the girls – their family issues, friendship troubles, boy dilemmas, etc.

I just remembered (yes, while writing this) what introduced me to this series. I was reading a book blogger’s blog, and she mentioned The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge, and the rest is history. The list is full of classics and well-quoted books that is mentioned throughout the series. It’s definitely a really good list. Oh, and I love the actress that plays Rory, Alexis Bledel. She also starred as Lena in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants film, where I first fell in love with her acting character.

Pros

It exposes many family and teen issues that are clearly present in society today. Unresolved bitterness and pride between Lorelai and her parents, Rory’s dating experiences as a young girl and later as a more mature woman, Rory being bullied at school, etc. They are quite simple, but common, experiences, which I like. It doesn’t try to squeeze so much drama into one episode as can be seen in many other drama shows, which just makes everything so overwhelming.

The wittiness in the pop-culture and books references makes the show a good laugh. The main characters possess this kind of flair in their dialogue that is spot-on.

Cons

To be honest, I only watched the show to see Rory’s part of her life. I wasn’t really interested in most issues that went around (such as that of Lorelai’s), which I guess is due to my un-relatability to her lifestyle. Additionally, though the language is clever and well-spoken, I felt that they could have done a better job making each character’s voice unique, and not simply as clever and witty as all the others.

Personally, this is not the pumped up action kind of drama series, so at times it was quite low-key, which is why I didn’t continue watching the last few seasons.

Conclusion

The show portrays a very down-to-earth fictional lifestyle. I often find myself nostalgic of the book series that kept me company during my childhood, and this show reminded me so much of it. The cozy small town, the dynamic range of warm people, the friends that live just walking distances away, the boyfriend at the market – all of that makes the environment so perfect. I don’t exactly live in a ‘big’ city, but I just wish I could have had a close-knit community instead of an indifferent and sparse one.

If you’re a guy, I would love to hear your opinion regarding this show if you have watched it (or are planning to). If you’re girl, share your thoughts as well!

Fun fact: There will be a Gilmore Girls Revival (available on Netflix) in the near future!! It will consist of 4 90-minute episodes.

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Review: Switched at Birth

Title: Switched at Birth (2011 TV series)

Creator: Lizzy Weiss

Genres: Family Drama, Teen Drama, Realistic Fiction

Rating: 4.6 stars

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Plot

The one-hour scripted drama is set in the Kansas City metropolitan area, and revolves around two teenagers who were switched at birth and grew up in very different environments: one in an affluent suburb, and the other in working-class Areas. According to ABC Family, it is “the first mainstream television series to have multiple deaf and hard-of-hearing series regulars and scenes shot entirely in American Sign Language (ASL)”.

What makes this drama series soo special is precisely its innovation to incorporate the deaf (and later, other people with disabilities) as recurring characters in the show. It uses everyday drama and issues – family problems, relationships, friendships, school, whatnot – to become an educational TV program. It poses questions and creates debates about social topics that must be dealt with today.

Main characters

The show focuses on 2 teenage characters: Bay and Daphne (deaf), and each of their families and friends. In the first episode, these two girls are reunited, and both families are challenged as they later decide it’s best for the girls to be living close to both families.

Bay Kennish (by Vanessa Marano): grew up in the wealthy Kennish household, but is biologically daughter of Vasquez. Her character is very well-developed; her strong and driven personality definitely stick out from the beginning, but what’s interesting is how her character develops. Her immersion in the deaf community definitely had a say in her artistry, and by the end of Season 4, I declare her as one of the strongest characters that has gone through some of the shittiest moments in the show.

Daphne Vasquez (by Katie Leclerc): grew up in the working-class Vasquez family, but is biologically linked to the Kennish family. She lost her hearing when she was a young age, and developed proficient sign language skills. Though she is very hard-working and determined, I was sometimes annoyed by how much attention and importance she gave to boys. Both girls have gone through some tough moments together, and the way Daphne reacted to these situations often got her into trouble. But just like Bay, she was very determined: her end goal is to become a doctor, and despite the struggles she has faced at college and other places, those challenges have made her even more determined.

Cinematography and Aesthetics

I don’t have much to say regarding cinematography – probably because it is all done very thoroughly and well-put. Regarding the aesthetics, as someone who’s constantly on the fashion-lookout, I quite like the balance of the characters’ individual styles and the typical urban settings of the show.

First of all, each of the characters has a distinctive sense of style that matches their personality. Bay, who’s into street art and Frida Kahlo-obsessed, has a more gothic and edgy kind of style, which I normally find very appealing. Daphne, on the other hand, wears more sporty and a bit more girly clothes. But what I like the most is that the designers don’t go over the top with their clothes. When you look at other shows like Pretty Little Liars, they dress the girls as if it were a cocktail party every day.

Conclusion & Who would I recommend it to?

This is a show I recommend to everyone. Though Seasons 1 and 2  were not as developed as  3 and 4, I feel that its improvement with each episode makes this show even more worthwhile. I started watching SaB when it first started, and it was really relatable for me because I was going through similar life stages after the girls (high school, summer, family and relationships, college). It definitely erases some misconceptions about the people in our own society, such as the existence of the deaf community, and the importance of such community. Each of the characters ends up having his or her spotlight of dramatic scenes every once in a while, and though I can’t understand how they pull through such issues so quickly – it’s a drama show, after all. It makes everything more exciting, unexpected, and thrilling.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Review: Scream Queens

Title: Scream Queens (2015 TV series)

Creators: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan

Genres: Teen Drama, Horror, Black Comedy, Mystery

Rating: 3.6 stars

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*Spoiler Alert!*

Plot

This TV show takes the typical lifestyle of young Americans and makes it satirically twisted and ludicrous that it becomes fascinating. In this 1st season so far, the episodes take place at fictional Wallace University, zooming into the lives of the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority. The situation is that there is a murderer on the loose on campus, nicknamed the ‘Red Devil mascot’. The purpose of these crimes goes back to a murder committed 20 years ago, and now those involved are seeking vengeance  against KKT.

Main characters

There are some really good and/or attractive stars that have either starred or acted in this first season – which I feel is one of the reasons the show has attracted so many young viewers.

The main cast involves Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin, the tyrannical bitch of her own minions of ‘Chanels’. I have grown up watching Roberts star in films such as Nancy Drew, Wild Child, and Scream 4, and having portrayed some of the cruelest characters before, she was the most annoying and superficial Chanel that could ever be. Now, her ‘nemesis’ who constantly threatens to shut down KKT is none other than Dean Munsch, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, again – someone really well-known. Like most characters, she is apparently oblivious to the danger that goes on around campus, and seems to be more focused on her personal love life.

Other characters include Lea Michele as Hester – her character is very juicy, Abigail Breslin as Chanel #5 (minion), Billie Lourd as Chanel #3 (minion) and Skyler Samuels as Grace – the ‘good’ girl of the show. Basically, the show seems very star-focused, as many of its secondary characters are none other than Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas, Niecy Nash and Chad Michael Murray. Most of them have had much experience in the spotlight though.

So overall, one of the ways the show keeps the action rolling constantly is by keeping, introducing and killing famous characters. For instance, Ariana Grande (one of the Chanels) was the first murder of the Pilot episode.

Cinematography and Aesthetics

One of my favorite things about SQ is the cinematography itself, and the settings. Alright – the scenes are mostly shot inside the KKT mansion or somewhere on campus, and as a girl, I can’t help but be awed by the mansion itself. And obviously, as KKT rich bitches and wannabes, the characters are couture-ly dressed or weirdly dressed in their own style. If you’re not in the rich club, then you’re your own self. Which is okay. Because everyone else around you is weird too.

However, I do applaud the cinematography. The shots are taken from different angles and slants, which heighten the dramatic scenes much more.

Conclusion

Personally, I did not find it as interesting as I thought it would be. After watching the first few episodes, I got tired of the constant drama and skipped to the end to get to the verdict. To some extent, I commend the show for its black humor, which I believe is something that can easily go downhill if not handled carefully. However, I usually cannot stand this form of fake drama, especially when the characters seem to deliberately make so stupid mistakes to drag the show even more. Like the fact that Chanel keeps pursuing Chad despite disagreeing with his public promiscuous behavior, and the stupidity of the officials/authorities themselves. For instance, when the ‘security guard’ Denise is hired to guard the KKT mansion, her irritable and blundering behavior could not piss me off more.

But it all has a purpose, though (at least I believe it does). When you look beyond all that ridicule, derision and lunacy, it makes you understand about what is reasonable.

Who would I recommend it to?

If you’re not into college/chick flicks, then you would probably find this show ridiculous. If you are very much into some hot spotlight stars, you might enjoy it. Oh, and if you’re a Taytay fan… well, let’s just leave it there 😉 Besides that, because the plot is not very developed itself, and is led more by the sparks of drama that come and go 24/7, I would give this show a limited audience range. I would say that you only need to see the first 1 or 2 episodes to get a taste of what the rest of season 1 is.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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