Psych

As I’ve written in multiple posts previously, I’m a total slut for mysteries, whether it’s books, TV, movies, and even games. A mystery is to me the culmination of a well-constructed plot and engages the reader/viewer/player more than anything else.

While there have been many good mystery series on TV, most of them tend to focus on police procedure and violence, especially those in recent years/decades. One great series that puts more focus on comedy, wit, and a nice dash of irreverent 80s references is Psych.

Debuting in 2006, Psych was the second mystery/crime hit for the USA Network, following Monk‘s debut in 2002. In this series though, the eccentricities have been dialed way back, and we also get phenomenal chemistry and interesting interactions between all the main actors. Even in the very first pilot episode, Sean and Gus already have a great background story growing up in Santa Barbara. Once he is caught and nearly in jail for trying to help solve a case for the police, Sean desperately relies on the skills he acquired growing up with a single father who was a detective for the very same police department.

Wowing the officers and getting off the hook with the detectives, the chief pulls Sean in on another case, and not before long Sean pulls in Gus to start a psychic detective case. It sounds as wild as Gus’ exasperated look belies, but Sean is a very keen observer with a photographic memory, assisting the police and his own clients solve everything from robberies, missing persons, hauntings, and of course murders.

Over the course of 8 seasons, the actors and characters have a very nice growth and maturity. In the center would have to be Sean and Juliet’s relationship, as his crush is agonizingly and slowly, but surely, returned by Juliet, and it’s a very sweet friendship as well as romance that we get. Sean also repairs and grows the relationship with his father, and that is also really nice to see. Sean’s friendship with Gus is pretty steady with a few ups and downs throughout the series, much like a normal friendship should be.

In conclusion, it’s really nice to see a series like this come along, something that truly has its heart and mind in a good place, and isn’t overly violent, mean, or anything else drastic that seems to overwhelm TV these days.

Stranger Things

 

You need to watch this show! Yes, pay for a Netflix subscription if you’re not already a member. Let’s start with the incredible music of Stranger Things and logo shown in the intro; I could literally listen to this all day, and I already have. These pulsing synths continue throughout the show, coming in at perfect times and never over-staying their welcome. We also get some other songs throughout the series, and they’re hit or miss; I’d have preferred just the score by SURVIVE.

The cast of this show is also wonderful. The five younger kids, arguably the main characters, are some of the best child actors I’ve been in a TV show or movie, so kudos to the actors themselves as well as the directors who helped draw out these performances. The high school kids are also very good and show the teenage turmoil we’re all painfully aware of. Winona Ryder has a bit of a comeback in this series, as I can’t honestly remember what else she’s been in since the early 90s. David Harbour as the local sheriff is terrific, and easily conveys the conflict as a widower and divorcee. Matthew Modine is great as the scientist without any apparent morals.

I won’t go over the plot here, as it’s something you can find on its IMDB page and also because I recommend watching it with a blank slate. The show is equal parts mystery and thriller, with a bit of X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Call of Cthulhu thrown in. In other words, I feel this show was made exactly for me, and I can’t wait to see what future seasons come up with!

And Then There Were Fewer

 

I remember watching Family Guy way back in the day when my brother had purchased the first volume on DVD. I had never heard of it before, but it was quite funny and I became a fan, buying a few of the additional volumes released over the years. Eventually my interest waned, but would still occasionally watch it either on DVD or Netflix. I didn’t watch many of the later seasons, even as Netflix added more and more of them. I’m not sure how I found out about the episode And Then There Were Fewer (spoiler alert!), but as soon as I learned it was a riff on And Then There Were None crossed with Clue, I HAD to watch it, and thankfully it was already on Netflix.

Simply put, I love this two-part episode! The music, the lighting, the genuine mystery of who the actual murderer is, it’s all here and works perfectly together. Now this is a Family Guy episode, so there’s a lot of characters making appearances and doing their spiel for a joke fairly often; luckily it doesn’t fully detract from the mystery at hand. I was both very happy and pissed off when the episode ended, because I wanted more! A few other shows I’ve watched have done a similar mystery-centered episode, but I can’t remember one ever being as well-constructed as this.

Game of Thrones returns!

It doesn’t seem like it was as long of a wait as it actually was, but it’s over. Game of Thrones is back! As is customary for this and many other TV shows, the first episode of the season is spread pretty thin over many many plots, characters, etc. Things won’t begin to deepen until next week, but oh boy will it be worth it.

Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch

Jon is still dead, at least for now. Friends of his are plotting for revenge, and one has left for reinforcements (I guess the Wildlings, but why would they either listen to an unknown Black Crow and also turn back around to head North where they just came from?).

Melisandre

Stuck at Castle Black, she is obviously troubled by Jon’s death, certain she saw in the flames fighting at Winterfell. After this and the defeat of Stannis, her faith is shaken. It was a sad ending to the episode seeing her true form. We don’t know if this is merely a low point or if she’s preparing to sacrifice herself to resurrect Jon Snow.

Arya

I guess she’s still being tested by the faceless god? She’s blind and stuck wandering the streets. The bratty girl throws her a stick and kicks her ass, then says she’ll be back tomorrow. A foe Arya must eventually defeat to become worthy, or another guise of the god itself? Do I care? I used to, not much anymore.

Sansa and Theon, Brienne

Having escaped Ramsay and Roose, Sansa and Theon are running on foot through thick snow and icy-cold water, with men and hounds always a few minutes behind. They quickly catch up, but just as these weakling characters are about to be captured (or killed), Brienne and Podrick conveniently show up and (somewhat) kick ass; somewhat, as Brienne is knocked down and Theon has to kill Podrick’s opponent before being killed.

Cersei and Jaime

While they’re still Lannisters and I guess considered villains, it’s hard not to feel sorry for what they’ve been through. Cersei is excited when Jaime returns from Dorne, but then sees the casket of their daughter Myrcella. Jaime swears revenge upon basically everyone, but right now they don’t even have control of King’s Landing thanks to the Faith Militant, so he kinda needs to work on that first. Maybe they’ll free Margaery and gain the help of her family.

Tyrion and Varys

They walk the streets of Meereen without bodyguards or much thought, discussing Daenerys’ absence and what lies ahead. They come upon the burning ships in the harbor. I couldn’t care less.

Daenerys Targaryen

Daario and Jorah are searching for her, and conveniently find her dropped ring. Jorah is slowly becoming scaly, oh noes. Daenerys has been captured by the Dothraki, and it feels like we’re back in Season 1 again. Her dragons are gone and she’s whiny.

Dorne

I barely remember this plot from last season, and I don’t care. There’s too much going on in Westeros, I don’t care about this Mediterranean/Arabic society that’s suddenly being taken over by someone and her three crazy daughters. I don’t care.

Not Seen Yet

  • Bran and Rickon Stark, Hodor – Bran went into a tree. Could be a potential bad-ass, who knows. Hodor. I have no idea what happened to Rickon, and don’t really care.
  • Lord Baelish – this scheming bastard is lurking in the background. I have to wonder what his future influence will be.

Sources

Murdoch Mysteries

Did I already mention I’m a slut for mysteries? Well if I haven’t, I am. I’m such a filthy person, I love mysteries. Love them. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Murdoch Mysteries until long after I’d been a Netflix subscriber.

The backdrop of the show, late-1800s Canada (and Toronto in particular) is gorgeous. So green, no cars, horses and bicyles. Oh what a time to be alive (yeah the medical care wasn’t so great, oh well). As this is a television series, we don’t get to see as much outside locations as I’d like, but even just the glimpses show what a great city and country it is. I wish more of Toronto was shown; besides the police station and morgue we rarely see the main characters anywhere else that isn’t a crime scene.

Netflix up until recently only had the first three seasons, but now there’s eight(!); we’ve just started the 6th season.

There are a few things that I’m not super enthused about. The relationship between William and Julia, at first charming and sweet, has really been milked to death. And at the beginning of the 4th season, she went to Buffalo and is already engaged?! Now she’s trained a replacement and is leaving to have her own practice in Toronto? She’s leaving, yet again?! William needs to buck up and move on, right? Yet she keeps making those doe eyes at him and fantasizes about being ravaged by him. I like that they’ve dropped the political ambitions for Inspector Brackenreid, but now it feels like he’s treading water. There’s already a new Chief Inspector residing over him, and makes Brackenreid and company look incompetent at every turn. Although, the Chief Inspector does seem to show up too often, aren’t there other stations in the big city to go check out? I liked how Crabtree has been given more and more responsibilities, and was even an interim inspector while William was gone. But I wasn’t comfortable with his authority over Higgins, and I do think they work better on equal ground.

I do hope there’s a few better long-term developments over the next few seasons, and hopefully this show will get at least a few more seasons and can have a proper ending (unlike, oh, Warehouse 13 D: ).