In the wake of both discovering and finishing the epic AMC’s series Breaking Bad in less than a month – you could easily say that I’ve got television on the brain. Pair that with the fact I’m an absolute sucker for creating and crossing things off lists (they’re kind of my jam) and – well – my mind’s been in overdrive trying to produce a list of my top ten TV shows. Now, this list isn’t some definitive guide to everything that’s been on television and then “Top Shows of all time” it’s merely a list of my tried and true favorites. One key way you can tell: pivotal* shows with huge fan followings are more or less missing. Some I couldn’t get into, others I didn’t get the point; Lost, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Weeds, The Wire, Friends, Oz – all supposedly fantastic in their own right, just not on my terms.
Now, sure – as I alluded to earlier, I more than enjoy finding a new TV show and marathoning the shit out of it in record time. But, another key piece of information to remember is that I’m a socially and physically active 28 year old in Los Angeles so to make me commit to an hour a week devoid of other communication is a huge deal; it takes a considerable amount of gusto from a syndicated show for me to fork over my time. Now, shows on Netflix are an entirely different story….but since the good ones are few and far between, I digress.
For the past week, I’ve been deleting, adding, rearranging, given “special awards”, taken them away, made the list bigger, shrank it again…I think you get the picture – bottom line, this was harder for me than I expected!
1. Battlestar Galactica (SciFi; 2004-2009)
One Line Synopsis: Humanity is under attack by the same forward thinking robotic technology that was built to ensure their safety.
Hands down, my ultimate favorite show. Whether you’re a sci-fi junkie and simply enjoy the idea of a robot versus human sparring match, or you enjoy political or social dramas – this show is totally for you. Between Captain Adama, President Roslin, Apollo, Starbuck and Colonel Thai there’s a hero (and anti-hero!) for every last once of us. I’ve watched the show start-to-end about seven or eight times now and I’m still finding nuanced details that I missed every other time around. Watch it with your parents, your love, your bestie – there’s really something in it for every one of them; also, if they don’t like it, it’s the perfect way to weed people out of your life with poor taste in things 😉
2. Breaking Bad (AMC; 2008-2013)
One Line Synopsis: Diagnosed with cancer, a high school chemistry teacher goes on a meth-inspired-mission to secure his family’s financial future.
Hailed by some as the best show of this decade and hailed by me as a show I’m far too addicted to for my own good, this show is equally anxiety inducing and intelligent, hilarious and serious all at the same time. I lost count at how many times I found myself yelling at my laptop or television in hopes of either a resolution or explanation; and more often than not, instead of answers I received ending credits. There’s a reason I’ve been able to marathon this show so quickly – each episode ends on the most ridiculous cliff hangers I’ve ever experienced; with the aid of Netflix, you can just press the snazzy “Next Episode” button (or, if you’re truly marinating in your laziness, wait 20 seconds and Netflix will magically move on for you.) – but once you get to the second half of Season 5, you’re on your own depending on your service provider.
3. Six Feet Under (HBO, 2001-2005)
One Line Synopsis: Some people need help coping with death, but after their father – and owner of the local mortuary – passes, the Fishers need help coping with life.
I don’t don the title of Genius on many people, but as far as Television Production is concerned – Alan Ball is toally near the top of my list. He’s best known to the film community as the mastermind behind the 1999 classic, American Beauty and he’s the creative brain behind my #10 pick for favorite shows, True Blood. But Six Feet Under is a separate type of genius: it’s morbidly humorous and delicately beautiful; perfectly scripted and aptly acted. If you total all the awards, they’ve received 16 total ( a Peabody, , 3 Golden Globes, 3 SAG Awards and 9 Emmy’s) – even better though, it was Michael C Hall’s first recurring television role. Anyone who’s loved him as the creeptasticly dark and dreamy Dexter would more than enjoy him as David Fisher, especially when he’s dancing around a Gay nightclub like the world’s happiest unicorn.
4. Homeland (Showtime; 2011-Present)
One Line Synopsis: A CIA Agent receives word an American soldier has been turned into a terrorist, all the whlie – an American POW, missing for seven years, is back on US soil and is being hailed as a hero; what do you believe?
Unlike my top three picks, Homeland is currently in it’s prime! This Sunday, while everyone and their mom is busy saying goodbye to Breaking Bad, the third season of Homeland is going to start! In season two, we were left on an incredible cliffhanger: there’s been an explosion and far too many high level government officials have died. I can only imagine that what happens next is some intoxicating combination of shock and awe. The main characters are played by two of my favorites – Claire Danes and Damian Lewis – and each is absolutely incredibly in their respective roles as the mentally anguished CIA Agent and a psuedo-hypothetical-Traitor. The exploration of all of Sgt Brody’s relationships – from his best friend to his family – is hauntingly beautiful; paired with stellar script writing and A-list acting, this is the series to watch this year so hold onto your hats, it’s about to go down.
5. South Park (Comedy Central; 1999-Present)
One Line Synopsis: A group of 4th graders tackle every day issues; and then Kenny dies.
Coming from the deranged and amazing minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, this show essentially punches society in the face each and every time we collectively do anything remotely, well, stupid. Not just that, it’s socially aware, politically aware and incredibly educational. Any and every scenario that’s made the news, has essentially become an episode of South Park – and somehow, through the eyes of these misguided, hilarious, perpetual 4th graders we’re made more aware of our surroundings. Between the “Smug” episode about Hybrid cars, “Margaritaville” which poked fun at the recession and tonight’s new episode with Cartman infiltrating the NSA – they cover the entire gamut of our existence.
6. ER (NBC; 1994-2009)
One Line Synopsis: For the doctors at County General Hospital’s ER Department, the very life they save could be their own.
When I was a kid, I had misguided views about my future jobs because Third Watch made me want to fight fires, Law & Order compelled me to be a lawyer and ER inspired me to be a doctor. Granted, none of those ended up happening by any longshot – but try telling the 20 year old version of me elbow deep in her Biochemistry degree and she might actually disagree with you. Currently, ER stands as the most awarded syndicated television show with 116 – I’m sure any other show on this list would be proud to accomplish half of that. Some of my favorite moments in the show were the intertwining love stories of the doctors and the crossover episodes with Third Watch. From episode to episode, the characters and storylines of ER were so incredibly profound and engaging. Last but definitely not least: sure, Doogie Howser was adorable but Noah Wyle, George Cloony and John Stamos were straight up hunky.
7. Dexter (Showtime; 2006-2013)
One Line Synopsis: Blood Spatter Analyst Dexter Morgan tries to navigate a normal life in the Miami Metro area, so it’s a shame his dark passenger has other plans for him.
Like all great things, Dexter was originally a killer piece of literature by Jeff Lindsay; it all started with the book ‘Darkly Dreaming Dexter’ which became the first season of the show and the characters have catapulted to stardom ever since. Like Walter White, Dexter Morgan is another enigmatic example of the perfect anti-hero; and more often than not, the lives that he touches are worse for him being involved. But isn’t that what happens when your harbor a dark secret to kill? Thanks to the master code of his detective father, Harry, who makes frequent hallucinatory visits to Dexter, these dark moments are only reserved for people who deserve it. But, still; spooky! Michael C Hall is hands down one of my favorite actors; so protagonist, antagonist, whatever – it dosen’t much matter because he’s so adept at playing the part. Now, the show’s finale was actually last Sunday but as with the last two episodes, I want to wait as long as possibe to watch them because I know how sad I’ll be when it’s over!
8. Nip/Tuck (F/X, 2003-2010)
One Line Synopsis: Christian Troy and Sean McNamera are two of Miami’s finest plastic surgeons, but can you really cultivate beauty at the tip of a scalpel?
Miami. The city, the clothes, the cars, the sex appeal; truth be told, Nip/Tuck has it all. It’s glitzy, glamorous and highlights one of what I consider the dark sides of beauty: Plastic Surgery. Created by Ryan Murphey, the man who gave us Glee, the New Normal and American Horror Story, Nip/Tuck follows the antics of Christian and Sean; they’re friends, they’re business partners, and they’re more entangled in each others lives than they know. Secrets ooze out of scenes like water from a leaky faucet, and you get pulled into the juicy plot more and more with each episode. It’s as beautiful as it is disturbing; and like the title track, all of it is the ‘perfect lie.’ Now, I’m obsessed with the first four seasons – and the last few in Los Angeles left me wanting just a little bit more; but Ryan Murphey is known for making ostentatious statements and that’s what I consider the final seasons to be. They’re over the top, they’re ridiculous – and so is the industry they’re in. All in all, it’s a spectacular adventure that I’m definitely going to watch again soon.
9. The Simpsons (Fox; 1989 to Present)
One Line Synopsis: A malfunctioning family in Springfield’s attempt at a normal, middle class life; doh!
Now on the verge of it’s 25th year on air, The Simpsons ranks as the longest running sitcom. So, it’s no wonder I think I was basically raised by it, the show’s been on the TV as long as I can remember being able to turn on the power button. Like South Park, the show is full of hilarious hijacks, on point social quips and statements about our current society. Between Marge, Homer, Lisa, Bart, Maggie, the pets and even the supporting characters – I’m sure we all resonate with one, if not several, of them. And what’s more, the writing staff of the show is chalk full of highly intelligent people who constantly slip in high level mathematics; the nerd in me totally approves! Now, I can’t say I love every episode – but it’s been so fun watching the show grow over the years – from the animation to the story telling, we’ve all been witness to their incredible rise. I can’t wait to see what the show does next (spoiler: the first episode is a Homeland spoof, Homerland).
One Line Synopsis: A fairy, some vampires and a werewolf walk into a bar.
I’m a sucker for the supernatural and Alan Ball surely knows how to play into that; loosely based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries novels by Charlaine Harris, the story is set in a small town called Bon Temps in Louisianna. Vampires are living among the people and a drink – True Blood – was created with a two-fold purpose: to satiate them and keep them from feeding on humans. Though outlandish at times (werepanthers?!), the show is fantastical, magical and fantastically written; the dialogue is on point and the production value is insanely good. I literally just found out that the show is ending in September of 2014, but that gives them one last season to rock our worlds and knowing the brain of Mr. Ball – we surely won’t forget it.
So these didn’t make my top picks but I still want to give them a shout out for being badass shows. In their own ways, each has left an inpact on me. Most of these shows are from my childhood but there are a few (The Following and The Americans) that just finished their first season and I’m waiting to see more before I elevate their status =)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Law & Order
There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as manifesting your own reality and thanks to social media, I firmly believe that each and every one of us is fully capable of doing so. Whether it’s attending the right events, donning the right duds, being up on the latest makeup tips or rocking out to the latest and greatest jams – sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Hypem, Soundcloud and Yelp. Over the past few years, we’ve essentially been watching sites like Facebook and MySpace – broad, umbrella social media sites that encompass the entire breadth of what you would want to share – dissolve into specialized verticals. If you’re shaking your head saying “No, that doesn’t seem right”, take these facts into account; in 2012 Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 Billion and last May Yahoo bought microblogging site Tumblr for about $1.1 Billion. Whether it’s to be part of the competition, or remove the idea of it by purchasing the competitors – both Facebook and Yahoo! seem more than aware that there are other verticals to conquer; so it only seems right to be jumping on that social media train with them and watching the journeys unfold! Now, social media (in my opinion) has primarily one of two functions – either individually promoted posts strewn across the interwebs in hopes that someone – anyone – will acknowledge them, or interactive and community building. Tumblr, for me, sits happily between the two as the perfect fusion of sharing and caring whereas sites like Instagram, Hypem and Pinterest rest their laurels on promoting your individual posts, siding more on the sharing and a little less about the caring. Yelp, for me at least, is on the other end of the spectrum – they’ve built an entire enterprise on helping people cultivate a “small town” community in a big ass city; exhibit (a): me in Los Angeles.
Over the course of my five years in Los Angeles I’ve developed quite the knack for being social media savvy – especially when you consider the fact I dropped my Communications major before the first week of college had started. Not to say that I hadn’t grown up around all sorts of cutting edge technology and extravagant modes of communication + connection, but compared to my close circle of friends it’s something that I’ve gotten to hone in on and develop on my own time as opposed to it being force fed down my throat. When Yelp surfaced a few years back, it was a resource – a way of determining what’s hot and what’s definitely not and to be honest, it fell more on the end of promoted posts versus community outreach. Back in the beginning, I was I guess what you’d call a ‘Lurker’ – I was a non contributing member of the community down to search some data and get what I wanted but somewhere, deep in the heart of my second year something changed: I found businesses – like retail boutiques and family owned restaurants – that I thought were either misrepresented or underrepresented on Yelp and I took it upon myself to start reviewing them. And then, well, it just kinda kept going…and going; what started out as a save-me-from-my-own-boredom style hobby fully escalated to being a Yelp Elite in ’11. What’s that you ask? Oh, just a collection of the nicest, friendliest foodies you’ll ever meet: we get to go to kickass events, try out tasting menus and explore the heart of our cities thanks to our amazing Elite Team Leaders but get something straight before you join, you gotta give a little to get a little – kapish? Over the course of a calendar year, I probably pen at least 100 reviews – yeah, I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of opinion! But I love it…I love telling stories and letting people in on the good parts of my life; I like letting people live vicariously through my proudest moments and my failures. Ultimately, it comes down to this – I love sharing, and Yelp has given me a great, warm and welcoming community to do it with.
This past Monday, our Fearless LA Leaders took us out on the town to celebrate the amazing things that we’ve done and give us a taste of good things to come! Due to scheduling, time conflicts and availability I’ve only been to a handful of Elite events – of the ones I can remember, only a tasting at The Grill at the Beverly Center and a Spa Night at Blue Medi Spa. Truth be told, after I won their amazing Spa Package I had a heart-to-heart with myself and thought I’d rather sit a few out since I’d been so blessed with amazing luck and opportunity; but, when Yelp’s ‘Rock the Yacht’ event cshowed up on my radar there was absolutely no way I could say no – especially since there was a plus one! Ps. Ladies, take note – the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach – so, due to the transitive properties of math: being Yelp Elite is sexy, right? Right!
When Monday night came around I literally couldn’t sit still at work because I was so excited! One perk about working from home is that every half hour, I’d peruse my closet in search of anything nautical – I had snazzy stripes and a crisp color combination of blue, white and black in mind; and my closet delivered! We showed up to the Hornblower in Marina Del Rey around 6:30 and I’m so glad we did, the yacht was almost at capacity and it would have been beyond a shame to not get in. There was a hosted, open bar and so, so many vendors – including, but definitely not limited to: Bombay Sapphire, Hamilton Wines, Beach Pizza, Pork Belly’s Sandwich Shop, Krave Jerky, Balvenie Single Malt Scotch, Grants Scotch Whisky, Scott Cellars, B Sweet, Sapporo and Stella Rosa Wines. Needless to say, I left with a big smile and a full (and slightly tipsy!) belly. Kudos to Hamilton Wines, Beach Pizza, Grants Whiskey and B Sweet for finding permanent homes in my heart and a mega-huge thank you to Katie B, The LA Yelp Elites and Yelp in general for always putting on such great events with amazing crowds. Until the next one; xx!
This is the face of a girl who’s been battling the most ridiculously annoying cough and cold combination from hell for a week. I’ve sneezed more times than I could count and essentially coughed up my body weight; so, why’s she smiling, you ask? Oh, because she gets to do her second big show review in the history of ever. Whether you’re a new follower or you’ve been around the block with me a few times, I’m sure you’ll come to notice sooner or later that the passions I have in life are what makes my world go ’round. Music, writing, cats, beauty in the world, my boyfriend and our friends, sunshine and the good life – in any and every combination possible.
A few years back I was talking with a good friend of mine who continually maintains two jobs – one job being a pain in the ass but money in the bank, and the other the exact opposite: the only richness she got from the job was a feeling of pride. And my, oh my…isn’t that enough? Ever since then, I’ve thought about a two fold approach to what “work” is supposed to be. “Work” is what you do to support your dream job and as a writer for the renowned EDM Web-zine The DJ List I’m now a walking, talking example of it.
I’ve gone to the Palladium at least fifty times in the last two years, possibly over 100 times in my five year span in Los Angeles; but never have I ever stammered when I talked to doormen, and been so confused at a simple press ticket – what I kept forgetting was I got this job by being an avid and energetic EDM fan, not by letting my nerves get the best of me. Thank-fracking-goodness my boyfriend knows how (and when) to take control of a situation that’s slipping through my anxious little fingers. After stopping by the wrong booth, I finally heard the magic words I’ve been waiting for: Here’s your VIP wristband and your photography pass. What. If I died at that very second, which is in fact what my heart felt like it was doing, I would have died the happiest little bouncy kitty on planet Earth.
When we walked in, Candyland was rocking the stage with their OG swag and EDM style; their fusion of grimy Hip-hop, dubstep and electro house got the crowd jumping like crazy. From the rafters, it honestly looked like popcorn just going off in every direction. Not to mention, the duo – better known to their friends as Ethan and Josie – hail from Santa Barbara and know some of my college buddies; small, talented world, right? After their set was another 805 local, Seven Lions. There aren’t even appropriate words to describe how his music moves me – he takes chilled out trance and indie rock, pairs it with some of the most stunning synths and rumbles I’ve ever heard and simply put – the man makes musical magic. His set was effing phenomenal and after seeing him be the opener for Porter Robinson and Krewella I cannot wait to see him headline his own show; shit’s gonna get real!
Finally, after a palpable intermission where we refused to leave our spot on the dance floor – the house lights dimmed, the Volcano was unveiled and Jahan, Yasmine and Rainman took the reins at the DJ Booth; it was all uphill from there! Churning through hit after hit, the sisters interchangeably jumped to stage level to interact with their immensely diverse fanbase and feed off of each other’s electric energy. They went through their entire repertoire – Come and Get It, Live for the Night, Candyland even came out to perform their OG remix of Legacy – their song with Nicky Romero. This Chicago trifecta has worked with some of the greatest across all EDM genres and paid homage to many others that I’ve considered incredibly influential. Pendulum, Knife Party, Gareth Emery, Skrillex, Adventure Club, Nicky Romero, Fall Out Boy. No doubt this list is going to get exponentially longer as their careers catapult – and they’re still fresh on the scene!
Now, I can’t leave you without some jams to get you through the day so here are my current favorites from all three artists; enjoy!
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