December 23, 2016

friday favorites #32: top 5 tv shows of 2016

Today's Friday Favorites is a little different—I'm talking about my five favorite shows of 2016. With all the TV watching I do, I can't believe I've never done a "best of TV" post before! These shows were all airing new episodes in 2016 (which is why One Tree Hill isn't on the list 😁).

1. Pitch

Pitch is one of two new dramas created by Dan Fogelman this season. It's the less famous, less critically acclaimed of the two, but it's my favorite. The only reason it never made it into my Friday Favorites until this special edition is because I've become such a slacker about posting, but trust me, it's a favorite.

Pitch stars Kylie Bunbury as pitcher Ginny Baker, the first female to play in the Major Leagues. It also stars a nearly-unrecognizable (until you know it's him) Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Mike Lawson, Ginny's catcher. It took me about one episode to be all in on this show.

It's only 10 episodes long, and all 10 have already aired and are available on Hulu. Remember how I said that Pitch isn't nearly as famous or acclaimed as Fogelman's other show? Well, it's apparently a bubble show, meaning it could go either way as far as cancellation or renewal. Here's hoping FOX doesn't pull the trigger and gives us a second season of "Bawson"! (Terrible name, I know. But what other option was there? Gike? Minny? Laker? All awful.)

2. This Is Us

I have actually written about This Is Us before. This Is Us is the other new show from Dan Fogelman. 

If you haven't watched and plan to, stop reading now and skip to #3. If you don't, you might feel the same anger for me that I felt for EW's social media handler when I came across a post on Facebook that said, "Now that Rory is _______, what's next?" (I left that blank in case you don't know what happens on the Gilmore Girls reboot.)
This Is Us follows the Pearson siblings, beginning on their 36th birthday. Kevin is a moderately successful yet deeply unhappy actor, Kate is morbidly obese and lets her weight completely define her, and Randall is a successful businessman with a beautiful family who just reconnected with his dying birth father. The present story is interspersed with stories from the past, from when the siblings' parents Jack and Rebecca were raising them. It is simply fascinating—especially the stories surrounding Randall (the 36-year-old Randall is played by the magnificent Sterling K. Brown). 

Side note: In my opinion, the biggest snub from this year's Golden Globes nominations was the exclusion of Brown for his portrayal of Randall (he was nominated for his portrayal of Chris Darden in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, a role he won an Emmy for earlier this year). The Screen Actor's Guild got it right, though, nominating Brown for both This Is Us and People v. O.J.

3. The Flash

Apparently I talk about The Flash a lot. While I enjoy all of the DC shows on the CW (well, I have a love/hate relationship with Arrow), The Flash is by far my favorite. It's so much fun! This season, I've enjoyed that a) "Flashpoint" (when Barry went back and changed the timeline to save his mother) didn't last forever and b) there are major repercussions for his actions. I also love that Tom Cavanagh is portraying a third version of Harrison Wells. This season's version, H.R., just might be my favorite yet.  

4. Fuller House

Critics hate Fuller House. In fact, I just saw it on a list of worst shows of 2016. But I really enjoy it! Season one pushed all the right nostalgia buttons, and, while I've only seen the first two episodes of season two so far, I assume I'll like it just as much. And I'm still 100% Team Steve.

5. The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story

When I heard that Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story) was making a series about the O.J. Simpson trial, I was skeptical. But I was curious enough to tune in for the first episode, and I was immediately hooked. This series is done so well! I watched every episode, and I can't stop telling people how good it is. Seriously. If you haven't watched it, do it as soon as it hits Netflix!

I do have two complaints: I think John Travolta as Robert Shapiro and Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson were a bit miscast. But everything else was absolutely spot on!

There's my list ... but why no Gilmore Girls? Because I haven't watched it yet. (And I also hear that people hated the 2nd and 3rd installments.) I think I'm one of two Gilmore fans in the world who hasn't watched yet...the other being my sister. But we're going to remedy that this weekend!

What are your favorite shows of 2016?

December 2, 2016

friday favorites #31: week of dec. 2, 2016 + giveaway

I haven't done a Friday Favorites in forever (OK, it was really September 23, but that's like forever in blog time), so this Friday Favorites will encompass my world over the last two months. So don't be mad that my #1 happened a month ago, OK?

1. The Cubbies!!!

Though the Chicago Cubs have always had a special place in my heart, I never really paid attention to baseball until this postseason. In fact, I thought baseball was one of the most boring sports on the planet. But in the midst of the Cubs' postseason run and World Series victory, I became a raving fan. We'll see if that carries through to next season, but for now, I'm still loving all things Cubs. In fact, the World Series movie (is that what you call it?) is on FS1 tonight, and I can't wait to watch and relive the greatness! (I've talked about the Cubbies a lot on Christian Chick's Thoughts recently, so here it is if you're interested.)

Also, I'll just leave this here ...

2. The CW's DC Crossover Extravaganza

I haven't actually watched the whole crossover yet—I had choir practice last night so missed Legends of Tomorrow. But I greatly enjoyed The Flash and Arrow this week. (Supergirl was good, too, but it wasn't much of a crossover—Barry and Cisco just showed up at the very end.) I loved seeing the characters interact, and it got me to watch Arrow, a show I checked out of a long time ago. (So dark, that Arrow. I prefer the lightness of the other three shows.) I hope the CW keeps doing these crossover events, 'cause they're so fun!

Speaking of fun, if you're a fan of The Flash, check out this Honest Trailer.

3. Austentatious

The other day, I stumbled across Austentatious on Amazon Prime. As a sucker for all things Austen, I couldn't help but start watching.

Emma Woodhouse, Lizzie Bennett, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, and Grant Knightly are all friends living in the same city. Will Darcy works at the same law firm as Emma, and he gets realtor Lizzie to help him find a house (which, of course, ends up being for his sister Georgiana). Nurse Brandon falls for Marianne, who is oblivious, and accountant Elinor has a flirtation with IRS agent Edward Ferrars. The real Austen-like plots kick into gear around episode seven, and nothing is resolved by the end of the final episode. So far, there's only one season of ten episodes, but I hope that more will come!

The production value is ... not very good, and the acting is just serviceable. (The notable exceptions here are Elise Groves as Lizzie and Kristen Marie Jensen as Elinor.) But I still really enjoyed it!

Also of note is that this show is one of the cleanest made-for-adults series I've ever seen. No swearing, no innuendo, nothing. Totally G-rated, which is nice for a change. While your kids would probably be bored out of their minds, you could watch this without fear of what content may pop up.

If you have Prime, you can watch for free here. It's also available on DVD.

4. Christmas Music

I love, love, love Christmas music! With the advent of Spotify and Amazon Prime music, I'm able to listen to almost any Christmas music I want ... and I can pick and choose songs, rather than listening to whole albums. One of my favorite songs to play is *NSYNC's "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays"—it never fails to brighten my mood! (If you've never seen the video before, do yourself a favor and watch it now. It pretty much screams 90's!)

In between my Michael W. Smith-athons (seriously, the man makes amazing Christmas albums!) and repeated playings of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (both the original and Bieber versions. Yes, Bieber.), I've also been enjoying Amy Grant's new album, Tennessee Christmas. It's more mellow and melancholy than I anticipated, but it's also very good. I reviewed it here, and I have a copy to give away! Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Rules: Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Contest is open in the US only. Winner will be selected at random using and will have 48 hours to respond to email notification, or another winner will be chosen.)

5. The Thirteenth Chance

I debated whether I should really make this a favorite today, but then I found out about a crazy-good sale on Amazon, and I knew I needed to do it! The Thirteenth Chance is going to make my best of list for 2016, no question. It's engaging, romantic, and funny ... and, for a limited time, really cheap! The Kindle version is currently 99¢, and the paperback is just $4.99! (See my full review.)

So that's what's been making me happy over the last couple months. As usual, I'm linking up with Erika, Christina, and Karli. What are some things you've been enjoying lately?


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received some of the products mentioned in this post free for review. The opinions expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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